Meep meep

Jul. 31st, 2008 07:08 pm
bookzombie: (Default)
After work today I beat my previous best running record: 21 minutes running, 3 minutes walking then another 11 minutes running. The 21 minutes beats my previous best by 2 minutes. Not exciting for the marathon runners amongst you, but very good for me, especially at the end of the day!

I was particularly pleased as it had been a rather 'cludgy' day. I woke up feeling tired and felt like my head was packed in cotton wool pretty much all morning. It's been a typical post-implementation week, with lots of unexpected faults (which is to be expected if that's not too confusing!) needing lots of running around to fix, plus trying to finish of my design for the next release. I'm on top of things (just about) but so looking forward to the weekend.

Other than that , rehearsals are going well, though I continue to be worried about the time schedule. We've got a week break now, though I must make sure that I spend some time practicing.

Rogue Galaxy on the PS2 is still a major time sink; but I'm using the excuse that once Clarke & Carl Brandon award stuff starts coming in I'm not going to have much time for playing computer games!

Sleep now...
bookzombie: (Default)
So what's been happening besides the Clarke Award stuff mentioned a few days ago?

Work continues to be work; I had my QR yesterday and it went pretty well all told, certainly nothing to worry about. Today we had our annual business review in which I failed to win the Gold Award I was nominated for. No real surprise there; the person who did win in my category frankly deserved it far more than I did. But no free trip to La Manga this year...

Rehearsals are going about as well as can be expected - we are part way through setting the most complex dance routine, causing great hilarity at certain points!

Gaming time sinks have been Rogue Galaxy on the PS2 - an sf JRPG. It's much like other JRPGs, like the Final Fantasy games, but as I really like those that's not an issue!

But, given I got my annual bonus last week, and despite my annoyance at the prices expressed in these pages a few months ago, I have bought Rock Band! And it is great fun. I've not had much chance to delve into it yet but I've mainly been concentrating on having a go on the drum kit (I've always fancied myself as a drummer...) Looking forward to the weekend when I'm hoping to persuade [personal profile] pennskito join me in some multiplayer sessions!

So. just out of curiosity, a question for f-listers who have already been playing Rock Band: When you are playing, what is your (and your playing partners where appropriate) preferred choice of instrument?

ETA: For anyone who is interested my XBox Gamertag is bookzombie, predictibly enough!
bookzombie: (Pickering)
A couple of weeks ago we lost one of our four (count them, four) men in the concert for reasons far too complicated to go into now.

Last night we pretty much lost another one.

Paul (who some of you have met and who played Higgins in My Fair Lady), our best male singer, has had throat problems for a while and he went to the doctor in the last few days.

Turns out he has something wrong with his throat (he couldn't remember exactly what it is but from the description sounds like throat nodules to me) and has been told not to sing for six weeks to see if it gets better. If not he will have to have an operation.

So he has now arranged to just sing his two solos and nothing else. So we are down to two men, and Denyse who sings tenor.

Arghhh! Things have never got quite this bad before!

Just to add insult to injury, we had a request from Salisbury Operatic Society who are doing the musical of Titanic asking if we can help them out. They've got 20, but they are still two short...
bookzombie: (Default)
Just realised that I haven't done much updating in the last few weeks. No particular reason, no crises or anything, just not a lot to say! I have been keeping up with reading my friends list though.

Work is going okay at the moment; I'm actually being reminded of the things about the job that I like, for the first time in ages. Also my line manager is no longer my task manager, so we are getting on a bit better. Things are likely to be very busy in the next few weeks as we enter a very short, intense, design period for the next set of projects. But could be quite interesting.

Other than that, we are back in the throws of rehearsals for the concert at the end of October, which is going okay. Still a bit shaky on some of the music, but it's getting there.

I've also been spending way too much time playing Okami on the PS2, which is a Japanese-mythology based 3rd person action/RPG game which is beautifully put together and one of the most charming games I have played in some time.

We have booked the flights for New York. We're flying out on 11th November and flying back on the 20th, which means I'll be having my 41st birthday in New York. Still need to sort out hotels, though.

We've also been doing a bit of gardening and organising someone to come and sort out the exterior woodwork and guttering on the house.

Other than that, things are just pootling along quite pleasantly!
bookzombie: (Default)
Had a good rehearsal for the autumn concert last night, rather spoiled by the official NODA review of My Fair Lady (for those who don't know NODA stands for 'National Operatic and Dramatic Association' and is the British umbrella organisation for Operatic societies). Good comments on Paul, Carol & John (Higgins, Eliza & Doolittle respectively) but I just got a negative which was roughly 'Chris Hill as Colonel Pickering did not have the gravitas required to carry off the part'.

So three reviews, two didn't mention me at all and the third was negative. Now I had lots of positive comments from other members of the cast and audience (some of them complete strangers!) so I know that I shouldn't take one comment too seriously, but you know how it is. I was quite upset for a while but I've pretty much calmed down now.

Unfortunately I woke up abruptly last night from a dream, went back to sleep and then woke again at about 3:30 and took at least an hour to get back to sleep. This morning as well as tiredness, I'm also starting to feel like I'm just getting the early part of a cold.

Bleurgh.
bookzombie: (Phantom)
Rehearsals are going well on the whole. Barring one small scene we have pretty much finished setting the first (and longest) act. Paul (Higgins), Carol (Eliza) and myself (Pickering) have really bonded and are having a lot of fun rehearsing together. Remind me sometime to describe the alternative plot hidden under the surface (I'll just say that we have decided that the play is a love story, just between Higgins and Pickering, not Higgins and Eliza)!

We are having fun with the director, Chris, though: he is the most anal person I have ever met. He has the rehearsal schedule planned from the beginning of the year right through to the production in May to the nearest 15 minutes!

In some ways this is laudable but it does mean that he has left himself absolutely no flexibility at all. So someone hitting bad traffic and being 20 minutes late is sufficient to throw out the entire rehearsal schedule. Of course that means that he gets very stressed at the slightest delay and ends up blowing his top for no real reason.

You want to take him aside and tell him to relax. And this is me saying this...
bookzombie: (Phantom)
...belongs to one of the women at rehearsal last night. Picture me (wearing t-shirt - yes it is relevant!) with a woman on each arm ready to start walking forward at the beginning of a song.

Woman on right hand side: 'You've got very smooth skin on your arms. You must moisturise'.

Okay, the slightly sardonic tone of voice did make it slightly less camp than it sounded...

(My response? 'I have an indoor job with no heavy lifting.' The only time I moisturise is when I get dry skin on the sides of my nose!)

In general rehearsals are going okay. We ran the first section (of four) from start to finish for the first time and proved that we all knew it rather better than we thought (with a little prompting). I was particularly pleased last night because I finally managed to get my part of the harmony for 'Tom, Dick or Harry' (from Kiss Me Kate) pretty much right. I've been really struggling with it for weeks and last night it just suddenly clicked.

I've also got the slightly bizarre experience of performing a solo number ('42nd Street' from ... oh, work it out!) surrounded by a group of tap-dancing women. I've never had my own dance troupe before!
bookzombie: (Phantom)
We've just had a Musical and Operatic society Extraordinary General Meeting. There were two main subjects of discussion: where we are on finances and putting on the next show (which involves there not being an orchestra pit in the renovated theatre after all which adds layers of awkwardness and inconvenience to the whole thing) and getting more people involved in the committee and running the society.

I always find these sorts of events fairly stressful, mainly because I am not a committee person - I've served on a couple of committees over the years and it has always made me miserable - and so of course I feel guilty for not volunteering to join. That doesn't mean that I'm not happy to help do particular tasks that need doing on an ad-hoc basis, but that I don't want to be a 'proper' committee member.

Frankly the sort organisational and management skills you need for main committee membership are the things I already do in my job every day and are the parts of my job I least enjoy, so I'm not going to rush to volunteer to do more of it!

Back home we've just been talking about why it is more difficult to get people involved in this sort of thing these days. Part of it, I think, is because we have so many different demands on our time now.

Back when [livejournal.com profile] pennski and I lived in London we used to go out and do things most evenings, but then we had a small handful of videos, no computers, video games, etc, and jobs that, although we had longer overall working hours, were considerably less demanding. No internet either (how did we cope?).

Normal rehearsal schedule will continue from Thursday, thank goodness.

(Note the 'Phantom of the Opera' pose picture which will be used for future show-related postings! Yes I am singing The Music of the Night:-))
bookzombie: (Default)
Well, that's a week that I'm glad to have got out of the way.

I dunno what it is but the last couple of weeks I seem to have been exceptionally tired most of the time (I've been home three weeks now so I don't think I can blame it on jet lag).

So of course, work has been its usual extremely busy self, with lots of me doing several other people's jobs again. Sigh. Still, I am almost where I am supposed to be, though I could do without my boss sending me an email first thing Friday morning (and I mean first thing: about 12:40 a.m. - she has weird work and sleep patterns) volunteering me to present stuff at the design stage launch on Monday, which of course I am a)unprepared for and b)have little time to get prepared.

As you may have gathered, working at Yell seems to vary between the best job I have ever had and hell on Earth!

Still, had a very good night's sleep last night, the best for ages.

I'm still trying to shift that last couple of pounds of extra fat that I seemed somehow to pick up while I was in the States (funny how that happens...). I've been reasonably disciplined, but I'm not getting to the gym as often as I would like to. Definitely feeling like less of a complete lard ball now than I did a week ago, though.

On the good side, rehearsals for the concert are quite enjoyable, though Kathy, who is directing and choreographing most of the concert, is a little inconsistent. There's been a lot of this sort of thing:
'Do I do this move 2 or 3 times?'
'Oh two.'
'But last week we did it three times. Have you changed it or have you just forgotten?' Given that she was one of the people who was rude about Eve's choreography in the last show, this is a bit rich...
bookzombie: (Default)
Only another week and I'm on leave (yah, WisCon!). Unfortunately, of course, that always leads to a certain amount of rushing around like a mad thing trying not to leave stuff mid-progress at work (and yes, this is me posting in the office - call it displacement activity!) - not helped when a new project with an analysis deadline of while I'm away was dumped on me at the end of last week. Sigh.

So what else is happening? Doctor Who rumbles enjoyably on. A couple of plot holes aside, I loved The Girl in the Fireplace (well, I'm a Steven Moffat fan anyway and his two-parter from last year was my favourite). Also, if you get the chance listen to the episode commentary on the BBC web-site where Steven Moffat and Noel Clarke (Mickey) do a very funny and engaging double act. I'm less bothered about Rise of the Cybermen. The problem is as part one of two it's all setup and not much action. Still, I'll reserve judgement until part 2 airs.

Between now and this time next week I need to sort out my costume for the WisCon fancy dress party and also make some notes about the panels I'm on (details to follow when I have access to my list!).

Oh yes, and we have auditions for the solo pieces in the concert next Tuesday (about 12 hours before we fly out!).
bookzombie: (Default)
We had the band call and tech rehearsal for the show yesterday.

The band call (the first time you hear the orchestra) was great - it really helps lift the spirits and make you feel like you have a proper show.

Unfortunately the tech. rehearsal always makes you feel the opposite. Lots of stops and starts, tempers get a bit frayed, you never get done everything you want to, but you do find out what scene changes are problematical - which is a few at the moment. They'll be sorted for tonight though.

I've not had enough sleep though! We didn't get out of the theatre until 11pm, so we didn't get to bed until close to midnight, and back up just after 6am for work. And I've been wearing my contacts for rehearsals so my eyes are a bit tired. Still, I'm only working this morning and tomorrow morning and the rest of the week is off.
bookzombie: (Default)
Yeah, I know, I seem to be starting way too many entries with 'sorry I haven't posted for a while' comments. So take it as read, okay? :-)

So what's my excuse this time? Well, that great triumvirate of illness, work and rehearsals really. [livejournal.com profile] pennski and I have both been down with a particular lurgi that has been going around (involvess interestingly active mucus membranes - don't ask). I managed to lose a day and a half's work, but really should have taken another couple of days, but something urgent came up at the office, yada yada yada.

Over a week later and I'm still not 100%, but definitely on the mend. Pennski's turned into full-blown sinusitis with need for antibiotics so she's been out of it for a week or so. She is also, thankfully, much better too.

Of course, to go with this work has been, even by my standards, really frantic. I'm afraid I've been irritable with some people again! I'm still enjoying it, mainly, but could do with a few days of doing one person's job, instead of trying to do what feels like three people's!

I also had my annual appraisal on Wednesday, which was...okay I suppose. Much appreciation of the work I've been doing, but still just getting a high 'Good', not the 'Very Good' I hoped for (our range is Poor, Generally Satisfactory, Good, Very Good and Exceptional). They have been, over the last couple of years, making it more difficult to get the higher grades. Of course, as I pointed out, if you make it too difficult people are going to stop aspiring to it! I'm not greatly bothered, but given that I have taken on lots of new responsibilities in the last year, and I have been one of the few people at my grade who have, a little bit of me thinks 'what else can you possibly expect from me?'.

Rehearsals continue to go well. We are only a week away from the band call and tech. rehearsal and 10 days away from opening but I'm confident we will have a good show.

So what little spare brain I have has been taken up watching crap TV, reading or playing computer games (just finished Psychonauts on the PC, which is great fun).

We did have a visit from [livejournal.com profile] olivia_circe, over here on Spring Break, last week which was really nice. We haven't sat up late talking Buffy and Angel with someone for ages. We were touched and amused by her excited reaction to seeing us actually using a (whisper who dares) tea cosy!. I gather you really don't have those over the pond?

Oddness

Feb. 15th, 2006 01:39 pm
bookzombie: (Default)
We had a very strange rehearsal last night. We started with 'The Real American Folk Song', which is mainly a trio for myself and the other two named cowboys (actually a duo last night as one was missing). And I forgot the words and some of the moves and felt unaccountably edgy throughout.

Now I admit that I woke up depressed yesterday morning (though I'd mainly shaken it off during the day) so I thought it was just me.

But no, the whole rehearsal was like that: for some reason everyone was off their game, not just me. 'Slap That Bass', for example, had been really good and snappy - a couple of moves needed tidying but on the whole it was great. Last night it was a shambles.

I have no idea why this happens - once in a while, the whole thing just goes flat and there is nothing you can do.

I'm sure the next rehearsal will be fine!
bookzombie: (Default)
I realise that I haven't been posting much in the last week or so. It's a mixture of busyness and mood. So a quick summary of the last week or so:

1. Rehearsals. I've made the mistake of telling lots of people that I haven't enjoyed rehearsing a show so much for years. So I get rewarded with a bit of a rotten week. We have been setting the end of the first act, a big chorus number ('I Got Rhythm'). For some reason the choreographer has decided to treat it as a women's chorus number and for about 3 out of 5 minutes the men (all 6 of us) are stood at the back of the stage doing nothing. Not only is this boring and annoying (I was told I would have the chance to do some tap during this number) but it also doesn't make sense for this point in the plot. By this time in the story we have established that the men can dance (after 'Slap that Bass') and to have them then reverting to standing watching the women dancing is just silly. Joe, the director, is also annoyed so hopefully something will be sorted. Anyway, I've been promised a tap solo in a later song (which I also have to choreograph, gulp!).

2. I've been on a two day 'Communications Skills' course, which was in part a revision of earlier courses, but also had some interesting new thoughts. I actually came away from it with a genuine Action Plan! What was nice was that there were only 4 of us (down to 3 on the second day) which helped discussion.

3. We went to the christening of [livejournal.com profile] pennski's oldest friend's baby on Saturday. This was a Catholic service which was, for a good (ex)Protestant like myself, a bit odd in places.

4. I succumbed to bidding for something on eBay for the very first time - a 1970s meccano set. I didn't win, but it was a curious experience.

Other than that, the usual spending too much time watching television (including first DVD of the anime Full Metal Alchemist which is rather good), writing a review for Vector, reading and generally slobbing around. I'm still trying to shift the mild winter depression I've been suffering from since the New Year. It's not debilitating, just enough that if it comes to a choice of slobbing around or posting to LJ (or anything else constructive!), slobbing around seems to be winning at the moment.

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