Saturday, September 26, 2009

Blown Away

I saw A Steady Rain on Thursday evening.

It stars, as you undoubtedly know, Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman. They filled the seats. They are A-list actors.

Last week in previews A Steady Rain became the highest grossing non-musical play in Broadway history based on a comparative week's receipts because, let's face it, of Hugh and Dan.

It blew me away. I didn't get to spend my hour and a half (no intermission) watching Hugh and Dan. I got to spend it with two stressed-out, over-worked Chicago cops named Denny and Joey whose lives and decisions were thrown in my face.

Hugh Who? Dan Who?

It was all Denny and Joey.

I rarely -- if ever -- get sucked into a play. Movies, yes, I'm fair game for those. Books, absolutely. But plays, while I love them, not so much. Maybe it's due to my bad eyesight. I can never get close enough to see what's really going on.

I had a good seat Thursday night -- and that helped. But it was, frankly, the actors who drew me in, who made me forget who I thought I'd come to see, and who became those cops.

Pretty amazing.

Well worth the trip, research aside. But in the aftermath, I discovered that subliminally I did some research as well -- about intensity and focus and motivation. Things that will help me not just on George, but on all the heroes to come.

There is talk that it may go to London next year -- with Dan and Hugh -- they hope. I'd be interested to see how Londoners (and those further north, from, say, Lincolnshire, who live with C.A.T.S -- like, um, Sid) react.

It's a very American play, for all that Hugh and Dan are not. The sensibilities are American and the cops are definitely American. It will be interesting to hear what people think. Maybe they will only go for Hugh and Dan and that's all they'll see.

I hope not.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Counting the Minutes

I spent the day walking miles around the Metropolitan Museum of Art wondering if George might do that, too. Don't think so, but who knows? I think he enjoyed the armor exhibit as a boy.

And now I'm back at my friends' house and counting the minutes until we head out to our Ethiopian dinner, followed by the evening with Hugh and Dan.

Kate Walker just sent me an email telling me to do lots of good intensive research. No fear, I wrote back. Will be paying deep and unrelenting attention, believe me.

Reporting back tomorrow, I hope.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Over at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs

I have begun blogging again once a month at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs -- and the 22nd of the month is "my" day.

So you can stop over there and visit me if you want. I'm talking about the up side of research. In this case the very very very up side -- which entails a trip to New York City tomorrow.

I'm working on George's book, so I'm going to be prowling around Columbia University and, I hope, meeting with a physicist to ground George a bit (not that George isn't grounded. Dear heavens, he's as grounded as they come).

And then I'm going to a play.

Kate Walker wants to go to the play with me. She's been machinating and muttering because she's trying to figure out how to get across the pond and do away with Nancy the cat slayer and take her place (Nancy is coming with me).

Thursday I am going to see A Steady Rain on Broadway. Have you heard of it?

It's a two-man production -- over-lapping monologues, I hear. Stark, disturbing, tough -- about two Chicago cops and the night that changed their lives and their friendship.

Two Chicago cops played by Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

Do you think I'll even blink?

Now you see why Kate wants to come along.

I sent her a clipping last week that said they are considering bringing it to London. So she may get a chance to see it there. Hope so.

In the meantime, I'lll be enjoying it on her behalf -- and anyone else who wants me to enjoy it on theirs as well.

When I get back we'll celebrate with a Hugh and Dan contest, so keep an eye out starting October 1st.

Sadly you won't win either Hugh or Dan, but you'll get a chance to win a couple of DVDs starring you know who and some good books and other treats.

Check back!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Difference Between Men and Women

A friend sent me one of those emails the other day which explained why men never got depressed. It was funny and rather true and I passed it on to a few people I suspected would appreciate it.

Differences between men and women always interest me, and I think people who say there aren't any -- besides the biological, of course -- are, um, mistaken.

Later the same day I got further corroborating evidence in case anyone wants to dispute it.

My kids and I have a "dropbox" folder into which we put pictures, articles, etc. that we believe the others will want to share. (If you don't use dropbox and you want a useful online way of sharing large files and syncing material over several computers -- Michelle, are you listening? -- this could be your answer.)

Anyway, into my "family photos and stuff" dropbox the other night twenty-six pictures fell.

No indication who posted them at first.

Then, due to the identity of the grandkids in the photos -- Ellie and Hank -- it became clear which family they were from.

It also became clear who sent them -- my son or my daughter-in-law.

There were five pictures of the kids -- four of Ellie looking as if she were hunting for a rock to throw at her cousin, and one of Hank looking like, well . . . Hank -- and twenty-one pictures of every conceivable angle that it is possible to photograph a beat-up, needing-desperately-t0-be-restored Ford truck and camper, including four taken from underneath it.

Any questions?

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bad to the Bone

Sometimes you see a perfect gift when you're not even looking for one.

And you have to get it because it's sooo absolutely right, because the recipient will know it's right exactly just as you did when you saw it. And even though it's not his birthday or Christmas or any other holiday that might occasion it, you have to get it.

So you do. And you send it to England.

You send it Air Mail to England because the USPS does not believe in sea mail anymore. And sending it air mail means that it costs 6 times as much to send it as the gift itself.

But it's perfect. So that makes it all right.

It just so happens that the gift is for a cat.

Not just any cat, though. Sid.

Sir Sidney, ACOSB -- A Cat Of Superior Breeding -- who lives with Kate Walker and keeps things running on the far side of the pond.

Sid and I go back a long way. He was scarcely more than a teenager when I first met him -- not quite a full-fledged feline romantic hero. But he definitely had Potential.

He grew into his potential -- and then some. He became a charmer. An alpha cat. With just a hint of bad boy in him. So that when I saw the dish with its motto -- Bad to the Bone -- I knew it had to be Sid's.

Not just because of the motto, but because Sid believes in food. He relishes it. Adores it. Delights in it. Consumes it. A cat who feels that strongly about his nutrition should have a bowl that speaks both to his passion and his nature.

Hence, the perfect gift.

He has written me two thank you notes so far. He's had his picture taken with it eight times. He has chased Flora the Floozie away from it -- allowing her a few Greenies (sent along to Sid and his housemates Flora and Dyl the Vil because all cats love Greenies.) but not allowing her the use of his bowl.

So, Sid, I'm delighted you are enjoying your new china -- and the Greenies that came with it. I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.

ps: this is the sort of thing writers do when plots are eluding them.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter!

It's my daughter's birthday today.

She's reached a milestone which makes me feel old. But it's okay because it probably makes her feel old, too, and so we can be old together.

She is my only daughter and my oldest child, and believe me when I say she set the bar very high for all those boys that followed.

If I'd only ever had one kid, I wouldn't have understood what all those other parents were saying when they'd wring their hands and moan about what their children were up to now.

Mine, of course, was perfect. Well, she was. Pretty much. Still is.

Of course when we sent her off to school, her teachers thought otherwise. They agreed she was smart, hard-working, determined, hard-working, smart, determined -- oh, and going to do things her own way.

They also said, "Why doesn't she turn her work in on time?"

That's the other thing she can be --- about things that matter --- a bit of a perfectionist. When the teacher said, "Draw Bill and Jill at the duck pond," the other kids, my boys included, would draw two stick figures, a circle and some vague rendition of a bird. . . and move on.

Not my daughter.

Everyone else was finished and ready to go to lunch and she was still sitting at her desk, totally focused -- drawing argyle socks on Jill.

She hadn't even decided what kind of duck was going to be at the pond yet. That would mean getting out the bird identification book, reading about the migratory patterns of ducks, figuring out where the pond was and the time of year the ducks were migrating and which ones were likely to be at the particular latitude and longitude at that particular time of year.

And no, it didn't matter that she was in first grade when she did this.

It was pretty typical.

She was a joiner and a volunteer, and she rode horses every Saturday at a friend's farm about 10 miles from here. Luckily for me, she got a ride to the horses. But ferrying her to and from all the things she had joined or volunteered for kept me busier than all of her brothers combined.

It's fun to watch now as she's still doing the same thing, but she has to get herself -- and her own daughter -- wherever they're volunteering or joining now.

She was a Girl Scout and could sell you cookies mute and with her eyes closed. She could have sold you the Mississippi River and all its bridges just by smiling at you. It turns out her daughter can do the same thing -- 100 times over.

Now she's a Girl Scout troop leader and, trust me, the Girl Scouts in her troop are the luckiest kids in Texas. They're going camping this weekend. Lucky kids.

I don't get to see her nearly as often as I'd like as there's about 1000 miles between us. The one blessing of her daughter getting mono last fall was that I got to go be with them for three weeks while granddaughter recovered.

So I'm grateful every day for inexpensive phone rates, for memories that always make me smile, for Mom camp every summer which I wouldn't miss for the world because she and I have sooo much fun (her daughter loves summer sports camp, but she asked last summer if she could come to Mom Camp too when she got 'old enough.').

Mostly I'm grateful she's my daughter.

Happy birthday, kid. I love you!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sailing Away redux

Remember these?

I posted them when Demetrios and Anny finally left the building.

Of course they sailed back for revisions, but by then I had those summer-camping grandkids here.

And then we went out west to see Sol and Hank and Ellie and the revisions were becalmed, just waiting.

Finally, when I got home, I got back to them. And basically, while the ed didn't ask for much, what she asked for (wisely) made me rewrite the last eight chapters of the book -- and add an extra chapter for good measure.

So if I've been quiet here, it's because I've virtually rewritten 160 odd pages in the past three weeks.

But it's done. And gone. And now I'm thinking of things I should add.

Somebody stop me!!!

Labels: ,