One, I was involved in one of the local theater’s production of Beauty and the Beast- my first musical since 2002. I forgot how intense musicals could be! It was grueling, especially the two weeks before the show opened, but no regrets. I was in the ensemble (one of the villagers, or, heh heh, Village People), but I also got to help with set design! Now that was cool, and something I never got to try before.
In fact, I was actually allowed to design the main flat for Gaston’s tavern! They gave me free reign, so I mocked something up on paper, they liked it, so I drew it on the flat. There were some minor modifications (improvements) made later, but for the most part that was my baby So that is the 13th new thing I got to do for my 42 goals challenge. Woot!
I also painted two portraits – one for the prince, and one for Gaston. I have a whole new level of appreciation for portrait painters. I never considered it easy, but painting portraits (I attempted to use the actors as my models, but both wound up looking more like the animation; ah well) is much more difficult than I could have imagined. That was ambitious but I had fun trying it.
This was not the only new thing I tried.
14. Tried two different types of Margarita. One, at Chipoltes, was… OK. Nice citrus taste going down but strong alcohol afterburn. But I tried a second at Rose’s Run, strawberry- now that was delish.
15. Went to Rose’s Run Country Club for the first time, to hear a local band, The Copper Pennies. I know everyone in the group and that night knew a third of the audience. That evening was a blast! I even danced a bit for the first time in who knows how long. Then, as things were winding up, I turned to Lynn.
“Ah, man, can’t believe the evening is over so soon. I don’t want it to end yet.”
Lynn: “Well, several of us are going out for milkshakes afterwards. Do you want…?”
Me: “You had me at milkshakes. I’m in!”
Was up too late but no regrets. Don’t remember the last time I had that much just pure, unwound fun.
16. Tried a Pink Elephant martini – yum yum yum! Also tried a baby sip of a peach martini. Ehh, a bit too strong for me!
Seems like I might be missing something in terms of new experiences. Hopefully I’ll think of it later. At any rate, I know I’ll have some new experiences to report on next time I post- some really cool experiences, too! Sooooo excited! More later. In addition, fingers crossed, but I hope I’ll have some other exciting news to report as well- something I’ve been hoping and wishing for a very, very long time.
We’re sort of paying for our uber-mild winter with a very hot summer. Nothing off the bell-curve, just high 80s and 90s. For the most part the evenings at least have been cooler, which makes sleeping bearable. So far I’ve been OK with fans. This week has been humid. Not sure what the temps were yesterday but I felt like I was gagging every time I left air conditioning.
Still, could be worse. The south just got hit with massive flooding; I know at least one person who lost everything, save his and his family’s lives. Three young kids.
I’ve also finished three more books. Actually, two books and a play script. That reminds me: I’ll be handling props for Little Shop of Horrors at one of our local theaters. Look forward to this! Should be a fun show. Plan to get started on that full-throttle after this coming weekend. Can’t believe we are in mid-August already. I know I say this every summer (heck, every year) but where does the summer go?
At any rate….
The Book Mouse’s Book Report
22. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. This one completes my challenge for reading a book about politics. WOW. What can I say that probably hasn’t been said already? It took me most of the summer to read this biography on one of our Founding Fathers, but it was worth it. I’ve heard the storytelling tone described as Dickensonian, especially in describing Hamilton’s early days in the British West Indies. This is apt.
Of course, I became interested in Chernow’s biography when I became hooked on the Broadway musical Hamilton. The musical takes a lot of its inspiration, even some song titles, from this biography, and it was neat for me to read passages and think “OK, I recognize this scene,” or “so that’s the inspiration behind those particular lyrics!”
But back to the novel (I can digress forever on the musical, which I will be seeing very soon!). I really want to check out more of Chernow’s biographies now. I don’t recall the last time I was actually sad when I had finished the last page of a book; probably the seventh book of Harry Potter. I certainly don’t recall that ever happening with a nonfiction book. I tend to be drawn to nonfiction, and love to learn about history, but I was actually a bit blue when I finished this one. It was such a captivating read, on such a fascinating man living through a singularly epic time: the founding of a new country. Chernow has a great gift for not only storytelling, but connecting the dots. Actions early in Hamilton’s life have a deep impact on his thought process and actions later in life, and Chernow points that out without bludgeoning the reader.
I also loved his last chapter, which was dedicated to Elizabeth (Eliza) Hamilton. What an amazing woman, whose own legacy to continue her husband’s work and her own charitable causes cannot be overstated.
Chernow’s treatment of our Founding Father’s is fairly balanced; Hamilton especially is seen, warts and all. I am thinking of reading something on Thomas Jefferson; after reading this book I have to wonder (and I’m not the only one) why Jefferson is lionized so much. Jefferson was a smart man, but at best could be horribly myopic when it came to the future. He also was a walking mass of contradictions. At any rate, I felt Chernow was thorough without delving too much into minutia.
I know many people will feel daunted by the length (it’s 731 “reading” pages, with a lot of index, notes, etc. in the back). It is long, and it is a dense book. You can’t just fly through it. But again, it’s worth the read. It’s a well-told story about a fascinating person in this nation’s history, a person who, until the past couple years, never really got the spotlight he deserved. I mean, this man created our banking system, Wall Street, the coast guard and was one of George Washington’s most trusted advisors. He wrote copious amounts of reports, letters and pamphlets, in an era of the quill and scroll.
23. Little Shop of Horrors, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman. This will complete my challenge for reading a play script. Since I’m handling props for an upcoming show, I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. I’ve seen this play before a couple of times, so this was a fairly quick read. I still prefer the movie ending, but it’s a weird, wacky play with a lot of fun songs and memorable characters. The most known character, of course, is Audrey II, a carnivorous plant not just content with Miracle-Gro. No, Audrey II’s tastes are more sanguinary. At any rate, I was reading it from a props perspective, and it makes me appreciate how much is needed for a musical such as this.
24. Murder in Spokane, by Mark Fuhrman. If you can get past who the author is (and the infamous case he was a big part of is mentioned briefly a couple of times), this is actually a good read. It is a bit dated, but it’s an interesting perspective that reads like a whodunit at times. When several bodies of prostitutes start turning up in the mid and late 90s, the local law enforcement in Spokane (and other areas) find themselves looking at a serial killer case. Much of the story concerns the investigation (and what Fuhrman lists as the many, many mistakes made in said investigation). If Fuhrman’s statements can be taken at face value (a cursory check didn’t reveal anything contradictory) then there were a lot of appalling mistakes made by law enforcement, and perhaps as many as nine lives were needlessly lost. Leaving crime scenes overnight. Not following up on tips. Lack of communication and cooperation with other enforcement agencies. In the end, Robert Lee Yates is known to have killed at least 13 female prostitutes, most of them also drug addicts, and probably killed more. It’s sad because you see this a good deal with serial killer cases. With a few exceptions, the victims tend to be marginalized, so no one really notices – or cares – when they turn up dead. Indeed, I guess Fuhrman’s wife was talking to a Spokane resident, who flat out said who cared about a few drug-addicted prostitutes, and perhaps the killer was doing the area a favor. Ouch. I have to wonder if this was a part of the reason for the lackadaisical attitude on the part of law enforcement and the community when it came to these crimes. The Yates case reminds me of the more recent Anthony Sowell case here.
Currently reading: Speaking of Murder, by Les Roberts, and Hamilton, the Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.
It’s been an eventful summer, both good and bad. Did not mean to leave off posting for so long and as it is, I hope I don’t forget anything.