Thursday, January 29, 2009


I'm back, and boy do I have stories to tell. I shot 2 hours of hi-def footage and snapped about 400 digital pics. The trip was a success beyond all my hopes, and was an adventure every step of the way. I will begin editing all my images next week, and I will also be writing up a full account of the journey to post here. For now, here is one of the most iconic images I took of the Moai of Easter Island (click to embiggen).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You're going where?

Twenty one and one half hours. That's how long it's going to take me to get from Washington, D.C. to that little triangle-shaped piece of real estate you see pictured above. That, my friends, is Easter Island. It's the most remote inhabited island in the world, and it is absolutely rich with history. It's a place I've wanted to see since I was a kid, and now I'm finally going to be there. This is definitely on my top five list, number one being the Pyramids at Giza.

Twenty four hours from now I'll be flying from D.C. to Miami, and then on to Santiago, Chile. From there, it's a 5 hour hop across a big blue swath of Pacific ocean. Easter Island is on the same clock as the US East coast, and you can also see what the weather's doing down there by checking out my sidebar.

Of course, I'm not packed yet. My suitcase contains most of the gear I'm taking, but I haven't set aside any clothes, packed any toiletries or charged up my photography gear. There are still a couple of items I need to pick up, such as a coil lanyard for my underwater camera housing. I don't want to lose my grip on that thing in choppy seas and send it to the bottom of the pacific. I'll be diving on a fairly deep sea ledge, and it might go somewhere that I'm not able to follow!

I hate that this trip is going to be so short, but there's a lot to do when I get back. Class starts 10 February, and I'll also be starting my new job. Voice lessons will be continuing as well. Those are going awesomely, by the way- I've begun to read/play a little music, and next week I'll start practicing a new song.

Catch you all on the flip-flop.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Stuff and Junk

Yes, I have a shiny new background. It's not my final, but it's close. I need to rearrange some of that artwork to peek out from behind the blog a little more. What's that? The blog looks wider, you say? You say correct, friend. I wasn't a fan of how Blogger made my writing space so damn narrow, so I went into the HTML and widened it out. Unfortunately, that junked up my beautiful header art, so I had to stretch the ends of it to fit. Now they're all blurry. I'll fix it later, so stop your crying. Also, for those of you complaining that the pictures are too small- clicking on them will show them to you at full size.

There's just too much to blog about these days, and thanks to Cate, I am now fully addicted. This is a much better place to put out a public journal than MySpace. Take THAT, mediocrity.

So, tonight, I'm spending the evening at the American Sleep Center. Yep, it's that time again: SLEEP STUDY. They're going to take another stab at why I seem to have a nasty habit of not breathing at night. According to their charts and graphs, my sleep apnea falls in the "extreme" range, which means I'm at 30% higher risk for heart attack or stroke. Couple that with a demanding schedule and having to constantly fight off fatigue while making critical decisions and relying on quick reaction times and you have me. It don't do much for my singing or acting, either, let me tell you.

Hopefully, I won't grow a unibrow like the gentleman pictured above. I can tell you why you're not sleeping, pal. Because you're stalking people at night under the full moon.

This is also my last weekend before I fly off to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I have to put my thinking cap on and figure out how I'm going to get all my photography gear, diving gear and (oh yeah) clothes onto the plane. I also need to get a power converter and convert some currency into...uh... into... what is it on Rapa Nui? Dung wheels? I'll figure that out later.

And if that weren't enough, I got invited to a dinner/ball at the French Embassy. Trouble is, it's next weekend. Isn't that the luck? (watermarked and smudged for your protection)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh What a Beautiful Evening

Dateline, Virginia Beach.

Just past 8-ish last night, it was my turn on the mic. There was an audience for the recital of right around 175, and it was a friendly room. I was following a rendition of "I'll Never Smile Again," which was sung quite well. Before that, another singer had proven that, in fact, it is possible to make an entire room full of people bleed from the ears.

I was a little nervous, but not for the standard reasons. The performing for a crowd thing doesn't affect me the way it used to many years ago. What makes me nervous is when you introduce any amount of uncertainty into a performance. I'm big on rehearsals and getting things airtight before a performance. Well, this was far from airtight.

For starters, I hadn't performed this song with my voice teacher/accompanist in about three weeks. Sure, I had been rehearsing with a recording I made of his playing, but it's just not the same. Secondly, it was a venue I had never been to before. Third, and most distracting of all, thirty minutes before the show, I was told I'd be using a microphone. When you're used to moving around and expressing yourself with your hands during a performance, introducing a hand held microphone and cord into things is not productive.

All that aside, it went well.

I took the mic and stepped to center as Mr. Fox introduced me. I said, "Good evening. How's everybody doing tonight?" After a warm response, I continued, "I'll be singing 'Oh What a Beautiful Morning' from 'Oklahoma.'" Then, those familar opening notes floated out of Mr. Fox's piano, and I began to sing.

Immediately, there was a problem, because the song was being played slower than usual. Noticably slower. This caused me to slow my pace down and change pitch. Not good. I know that I'm supposed to sing at my own pace and let the accompanist catch up, but, well, I screwed up. Chalk it up to inexperience. By the time I had gotten to the first chorus, things smoothed out a bit.

I hit my notes, high and low, and made it through to the end. There were a couple of times I forgot to breathe, which has been my biggest hangup so far, but I was able to work through it. There was a nice round of applause, and I left the floor pleased.

After the show was over, I had a few final words with Mr. Fox and expressed my gratitude for his teaching. During that conversation, several people from the audience came up and gave me some really nice compliments. All in all, it was a great evening. Can't wait for the next one. According to Ms. Winter, that should be in June sometime. I bet it will be night and day different.

Here are some photos I was able to coerce a nice guy in the crowd to take.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thirty Five years of Hijinks

Don't let the picture fool you.

This is just me having a little joke on myself today. I was out of town until yesterday afternoon, and when I returned, after being medically checked over, I was immediately whisked into work. That work continued, in earnest, until early this afternoon, when I was finally released. I came home, took a quick nap, and then went off to my first voice lesson with Ms. Winter. By all accounts, I should have cancelled it after being awake for two days straight on the heels of an exhausting week. I didn't, though, because it was my first lesson, and it was ME time.

After catching up with all my mail and messages at home, I realized I didn't have any food in the house. My Dad talked me into buying myself some sort of birthday cake to celebrate, and I couldn't get over how pathetic that seemed. I was going to have maybe four hours of my own birthday to myself. I was going to spend it alone and exhausted. It was ridiculously cold. I was sticking candles in a boxed single serving of cake. How stereotypically depressing was that?

So, I had a little fun with my decorations. It certainly doesn't reflect my actual mood. I feel very accomplished right now, even if my head is literally pounding and my eyes feel like they've been sandpapered.

Tomorrow, I have to wrap things up early and head down to Virginia Beach for my recital. I feel really out of touch with it right now. Hopefully that will rectify itself tomorrow. I wish there was more time to practice.

I get to have Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off, barring an unforseen work circumstance. Then, next Thursday, I'm heading to Easter Island. I think it will take me the entire five day weekend to figure out how I'm going to pack all my photography gear. I can't wait. The most remote island in the world. Mysterious culture. Adventure rules.

I made a LOT of headway on my video project over the holidays. I've gotten almost all the way through the VHS tapes already. It has been an incredibly good time watching the progression my films went through, and the leaps and bounds I took as an actor. It's also fun watching the amazing evolution of hairstyles. I think I could make an entire reel just dedicated to that.

Ricardo Montalban died today. On my birthday. That sucks. He was one of my favorites. Besides being the single best Star Trek villain ever, he was just a class act all the way.

This blog is so random and so stream-of-consciousness that I'm dizzy. Maybe I'm just tired. I think that's more than maybe. There are other things I know I wanted to put in here, but I'm quickly losing coherence. I'll probably read this tomorrow and wonder what was wrong with me. The drive is wearing down now. Time to recharge the batteries.