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Sunday, July 31, 2005

I evidently missed my true calling in life. If only I were a fat nutjob, I would have made a wonderful furry. I discovered this fact this week when given the task of creating a new lion's mane for our upcoming production of Aesop's Fables. A trip to Walmart yielded all the materials (around $25 with tons of fabric and fur left over) and in about two hours I whipped up the mane at the right, modeled by my frighteningly yiffy husband.

Remember, kids, creating animal costumes for loved ones is only OK when there is a children's theatre production involved and absolutely no sexual overtones whatsoever.

In other news, the Melissa Dunphy mediafest continues ...
  • The article about employee blogs is in this week's edition of the Central Penn Business Journal. Matt saw a copy of it at his work, since his employer is a subscriber, but the issue won't hit newsstands until Wednesday. I'll post a copy as soon as I can lay my hands on one.

  • On Friday a photographer from the Patriot News took some shots of Gamut's Improv Camp for Teens to accompany the article in which Sean and I were interviewed.

  • Bizarrely, an article in Thursday's Patriot News about Theater of the Seventh Sister's production of Love's Labour's Lost this weekend was accompanied by a picture of Tim Riggs and me playing Romeo and Juliet.

  • I heard on Echoing the Sound that my old interview of A Perfect Circle was replayed on Channel [V] in Australia!

I had a nightmare last night about being killed or at least severely injured in a terrorist bombing, which is odd, because I don't feel consciously afraid of bombings. I haven't even been looking at graphic photographs or descriptions of the recent London incidents, although I suppose they've been on my mind. In the dream, I was lining up to see some sort of tourist attraction (it looked a little like the Capitol in Washington DC) when a terrorist rushed in and threatened to blow himself up if anyone made a move. Without thinking, and appropriately terrified, I rushed past him into a wide hallway, but he triggered his bomb, and the entire area was rocked by a series of explosions. I was pummeled by the shockwaves and landed on the ground barely alive and moaning incoherently. When I woke I was shaking all over and so afraid I had to wake Matt and cling to him.

Today we took the time to wash my car, which was literally covered in bird shit. Unfortunately, the nextdoor neighbor's tree bears berries all summer, and its branches provide birds with a popular venue for daily shitting parties above my car. We're rearranging our parking positions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
Fare you well, my dove!

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.

You must sing a-down a-down,
An you call him a-down-a.
O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
steward, that stole his master's daughter.

This nothing's more than matter.

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.

A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.

Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.

And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy death-bed:
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
God ha' mercy on his soul!
And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.

I abandoned Linux. Thank you to those who helped me make up my mind. I'm disappointed that I gave up, but I spent the day effortlessly filling my new Win2K Pro PC with useful expensive things like Dreamweaver MX and Photoshop CS2, as well OpenOffice, Firefox, FileZilla, iTunes, etc etc. Tomorrow I guess I'll tackle connecting to the network printer.

In other disappointing news, Robinson Smith is too busy to design a column for me. I'm not surprised, I suppose - being as good an artist as he is, it's no wonder he's swamped. This leaves me with two options: go with Plan A, and create a website around one of his posters, or move to Plan C and try and create a column in his style myself. Gah. I like Plan C very little, since I can't draw, but I discovered while carving up Rob's designs last weekend that they don't work very well when reduced to pieces and textures. I guess I'll ruminate some more.

I have my calendar for the next year at the theatre. We're going to be starting rehearsing an abridged version of Hamlet soon.

Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?

How now, Ophelia!

How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

Say you? nay, pray you, mark.
He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.

Nay, but, Ophelia,--

Pray you, mark.
White his shroud as the mountain snow,--

Alas, look here, my lord.

Larded with sweet flowers
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.

How do you, pretty lady?

Well, God 'ild you! They say the owl was a baker's
daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not
what we may be. God be at your table!

Conceit upon her father.

Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they
ask you what it means, say you this:
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.

Pretty Ophelia!

Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:
By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.

How long hath she been thus?

I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I
cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him
i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it:
and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my
coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;
good night, good night.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005



• Linux is cool.
• I ought to learn how to use Linux. This is a good opportunity.
• It provides another platform on which to view websites I develop.
• Two words: Crack Attack.
• Multiple desktops.
• It's free.
• I don't have WinXP easily available. I have Win2K Pro, though.

• Dreamweaver.
• Fuck this retarded learning curve.
• Dreamweaver.
• I can't get Firefox 1.0.6 to install in Mandriva 10.2LE.
• I'm used to it.
• Networking with the other machines in the office will be easy.
• Company time could probably be better spent doing things other than grokking Linux.
• Dreamweaver.
• Everyone's on damn Windows these days*. I'd be better off working on a Win PC if I'm developing anyhow.

Ah, shit. I don't know.

* = the last ten years.
I mucked around some more with the Gamut dev page last night, and finally came up with a way to keep the column on the left going all the way down the page cleanly at any resolution, in both IE and Firefox. It took a little agonizing, and naturally, Matt started talking about how much easier the entire exercise would be in a table, but I persisted and worked it out.

The mindset I have to adopt to program in CSS is so odd. It's a complete change of brain gears; maybe I go into an alpha state or something. When I'm immersed in CSS, I feel like I'm connecting to the computer with a lower part of my consciousness - some lizard section of my brain that understands only failure and success. I nudge around the code slowly like a dowser, and when my brain is on the right track, it leans in the right direction like a divining rod.

And when I'm not coding, I have no idea how I do it. No idea at all. I have to take ten minutes to work myself back into that state of mind before I can understand a single thing I typed.

At some point while I was cleaning up the CSS last night, I stopped checking the page in Firefox, thinking I could get by with only IE. This morning when I woke up, I discovered the page had left-aligned in Firefox, causing much gnashing of teeth. Turns out I had deleted an 'auto' from the margin on the container which is necessary for Firefox. I couldn't work that out, though, until I had thrown off my panic and found my CSS zen.

I've come up with a new concept for the Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival and Popcorn Hat pages. I was going to just incorporate one of the poster designs into the HSF page and make up something wacky and completely different for Popcorn Hat, but now I'm considering keeping the column idea on the left. I'm going to ask Robinson Smith to create a column for the HSF page in his style, and design (read: get someone with actual art sk1lz to design) a c-c-c-crazy colorful column for Popcorn Hat. Anyone know anyone who can draw pretty bright kids' stuff?

On the menu today: how to use NVU. It took me about half an hour last night just to work out how to install it. Damn you, Linux!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Forget the link on -- the new Gamut development page is now on their new phpwebhosting page. Oh, god, so much to do.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dammit, I lent my Sigur Ros CD to someone, and I don't remember who. Anyone have any idea?

Friday, July 22, 2005

  • I want to see Sigur Ros very badly. It's not going to happen, though - I will have just come back from the UK, and the chances of me having any money at all this September are zilch.

Speaking of the UK, I discovered the other day while talking to him on AIM that Wix and I are going to be in Heathrow at exactly the same time on August 26. He'll be flying out to come to the USA as per his blog, and I'll be flying into London to see my dad. Time willing, we might even be able to breeze past each other, luggage in tow, and say hello. In any case, I'll probably meet up with him in September in DC anyhow.
I've been interviewed by two media outlets in two days - yesterday by the Patriot News as a new core company member of Gamut (I think the Leviathant + Mormolyke NINternet love story is going to get another airing in the press) and this morning by the Central Penn Business Journal as an employee who blogs.

The latter interview took quite an interesting tack, and brought up a question which is more difficult the more I think about it. I understand that employers should fire bloggers who reveal confidential information or, for example, post pictures of themselves acting inappropriately on the job -- but should employers fire bloggers who simply complain about their job or their boss online?

As I see it, as "good bosses," they shouldn't. Most realistic employers realize that employees will complain about their job at the water cooler, to their friends and family, or in IRC and on online messageboards every day. A boss with an interest in good employee relations should have a desire to know their employees' concerns, even if highly negative, and upon learning of them, would seek to talk to the employee and resolve them in some way. If the problems cannot be resolved, then maybe firing is in order. But I don't think bosses should sack someone just for venting on a blog.

The more I think about this, though, the more I realize that this is an idealistic way of looking at the issue, and that this rarely, if ever, happens in the real world. Most bosses truly worth complaining about on a blog (take my bosses at Kauffman Peters in 1998, for example) would fire first and not even consider asking questions.

I did mention to the reporter the caveat that bloggers must be responsible for their words and realize that blogs are public and able to be viewed by anyone and everyone. If I include someone's full name in a blog entry, I'll get hits from search strings of that name pretty soon afterwards. Everyone does Google ego searches these days, and if you write about someone or a company, they'll find your words eventually. If you do happen to get fired because of something you wrote, it's your own fault, and although I might not agree with the action taken, employers have the right to fire at will.

Not very comforting, is it?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From the No Sanctuary Production Notes page:

Click pic for giant version in color.
File under 'W' for 'What?'

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: jonathan scott
Date: Jul 19, 2005 10:48 PM
Subject: puppy needed





Have the Nigerian spam scams expanded to include ... puppies?

In further news, I have been contacted by a reporter from the Central Penn Business Journal regarding a feature on employee blogs. At first I wondered if my blog had been mistaken for something in the vein of, say, the Google blog or the CMT Dukes of Hazzard blog (I'm not even a particular fan of The Dukes of Hazzard, and Christopher Nelson has my undying jealousy), but doing a little Googling of my own, I discovered that Yahoo issued guidelines for the personal blogs of their employees a couple months ago, and it seems personal employee blogs have become all the rage in tech PR lately.

It gives me ideas. You know, being !!PR DIRECTOR!! and all. Ideas like an blog for core company members on the 'about' page of Gamut's site. Hrmm.

I found a few fun things while surfing employee blogs, including:

Monday, July 18, 2005

I created the basic submenus for the Gamut site in CSS. Woohoo! The menus for the first four buttons are operational. Mind you, the page design is going to completely change when you click on the HSF or Popcorn Hat buttons, but the options are there.

I've been working on the HSF design, but it's tough. Rob Smith's designs are so cool, and I really want to do them justice.

Here's some information about Robinson Smith. Man, he's pretty tough to Google. If that article is still accurate, here's where he works (they need to work on attracting Google hits too).

The bat is out of our house. We were sitting in the computer room when we heard a miaow followed by a piercing chirp from the kitchen. Tripoli was on the window sill, staring fixedly at a point above her. The bat had somehow crawled or flown up between the kitchen window panes. Easy enough - we shut the inner window and opened the outer window, and after a while, he crawled down the flyscreen, opened his wings, yawned a few times, scratched himself, and flew off into the sunshine.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Showcase PA reviewed Henry V. I am a "standout," apparently. She loves Robert!

Though shorter than some of the actors around him, Robert Campbell was every inch a monarch in the title role. He was true to all the nuances of Henry V's complex personality--determination, self-doubt, intelligence, charisma, ruthlessness, mercy, and awkward romanticism. Best of all, there's a naturalness about Campbell--reminding us that Shakespeare wrote in an eloquent spoken language, not a "stilted" literary one, and that good acting is about "being."

It's really odd that she couldn't hear Danielle. Maybe she came on a night when the mics weren't out because of bad weather.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I am the smartest person in the entire world.

I was just talking to Maria this week about the supreme satisfaction of coding. Sure, to anyone who doesn't work with code, it seems like an entirely unexciting and lacklustre activity involving hours of sitting and typing, drenched in Mountain Dew sweat and swearing profusely, but nothing, nothing beats the thrill and elation of achieving success after an eternity of programming-related frustration and pain. It's an intellectual mathematical satisfaction even more orgasmic than solving ludicrously complicated algebraic equations, since there's usually something pretty on your screen at the end of it.

And yes, I'm smoking a virtual post-coding cigarette as I type this.

Matt and I, having figured out vaguely how we want the new Gamut page to look, set about implementing the design in completely different ways. Matt began with a table. This is a time-honored method of laying out a website, and the majority of fancy HTML sites are laid out this way.

However, CSS, the way of the future!!!!, was invented to render this method of designing obsolete. And, being a fan of the CSS Zen Garden, I can understand why.

I have played around with CSS before for font and colors. This website, for instance, was created with style sheets. I never really sat down and grokked CSS properly, however; I still use tables for the overall layout here. Some of the designs on Zen Garden, particularly those involving positioned background graphics, were a complete mystery to me.

But yesterday, I took myself through this excellent CSS tutorial, which I found on this equally excellent CSS resources page (run by an Australian, huzzah!). And from the bottom up, completely from scratch, I created the new Gamut page entirely in CSS without using a single table tag. Seriously, check it out. There's one iframe, and everything else is CSS-based.


Next: fiddling with the scroll bars and creating the submenu.

BTW, Clark, if you're reading this, we now have DSL in the back, so you no longer have to use dial-up. Also, you and I will have access to the office printer.

Friday, July 15, 2005

THERE IS ANOTHER FUCKING BAT IN MY HOUSE. I was watching Law and Order: SVU and learning about CSS, when it flew in and attacked us! Well, maybe it just flew near us. Anyway, I had to shield myself with my laptop to prevent instant eye-gouging plus rabies, for sure!

It circled around and around the ceiling. At one point, I managed to throw a towel over it, but I lost it just before I got it outside, and instead of flying out the open door, it flew back into the house. We also tried Angela's trick of putting a white sheet on the ground in the hope that it would land on it, but to no avail.

Suddenly, it flew on top of a high shelf in our computer room and DISAPPEARED. Poof! Just like that. We think it may have squeezed into a small crack in the wall, which means it's either inside our wall or possibly in the neighbor's apartment. Or, possibly, it is a vampire and simply vanished into thin air in that special way vampires do.
Community Banks proudly presents
The Susquehanna Valley's only resident theatre for children

Popcorn Hat Players'
Sometimes believing in magic (beans, that is) can make all your dreams come true!

July 13 through August 20

Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 AM and Saturdays at 1:00 PM

Tickets are just $6.00 per person (child or adult)

Popcorn Hat Players is located on the third level of Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg.

Visit our website at or call the theatre at 717-238-4111 to make a reservation.

Hee hee hee!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I finally have my "administrative" title sorted out at Gamut. I'm already an actor and head of the costume shop, but now I'm also public relations director.

Public relations director. It sounds like I have a staff of thousands, doesn't it?

Now all I need to do is figure out exactly what a public relations specialist does and how exactly to make this company the best known theater in the area. I think the website is a good start.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I am developing some lovely fat callouses on my fingers from all the cello playing I've done lately.

Matt and I are redesigning the Gamut Theater website. Thank Christ. Oh, my lordy. It took us two hours just to map out the pages in the site and figure out what the hell is going on - the links are all over the place and the amount of redundancy makes me want to violently smash nearby fragile objects. After staring at the current fractured design for the last four hours, I think I might have developed schizophrenia. I understand how it got that way - being designed at different times by different people (many of whom use Frontpage - AIEEEEEE!) is enough to do that to any website. I guess.

But the Dunphys are on the case! I love sitting down and designing stuff with Matt. I learn all sorts of new web tricks. And we get to spend quality geek time together. Matt's doing a whole bunch of PHP implementation. Meanwhile, I have to get to work grokking CSS better. Oooh, it's going to be lovely.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm bored and nostalgic and screwing around on Google.

  • Victoria Lambourn
  • Dale Barltrop
  • Simon Cobcroft
  • Danielle Bentley

    Wow. I have incriminating photos and fond memories of many of these people. Moreover, I sang (poorly) the part of the Sorceress to Victoria's Dido! *grin*
  • It's a stupid pipe dream. I looked at the per semester tuition cost and accidentally thought it was per annum when I was making my calculations. D'oh. Plus, a decent Apple laptop is an requirement. A fricking requirement. Goddamnit.

    I mean, it's still a possibility, but one that would completely suck me dry. I guess I'll just stop dreaming, keep practicing, and see what I think in the new year.

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    Courtesy of the ever fine and totally gorgeous Arabia, there are now a few more photos from New York available for your viewing pleasure, including this one, which makes me grin like a jackal:

    I also enjoy this photograph, in which Matt and I make out safely thanks to a free dental dam:

    motherfucker - motley crue

    I ♥ NY.
    I bought a plane ticket from Sydney to New York City about a month before 9/11. Three and a half weeks ago, I nabbed a plane ticket to London.

    The best thing in the world is having a day job which I enjoy, not just something I do to pay the rent. This has been the best first week of work I've ever had. In addition to rehearsing my first Popcorn Hat kids' show, Jack and the Beanstalk, which opens next week, I've been creating giant beanstalk leaves with a sewing machine and green felt, mucking around with tools and ropes, repairing and adjusting costumes, troubleshooting the office network, and exploring the wonderful world of Linux on my own PC. Next week, I'll be teaching at the Shakespeare Camp for Teens. I'm too happy for words.

    And all this gushing has nothing to do with the fact that my boss sometimes reads this blog. I honestly feel like I'm getting paid to do things I would do for free.

    Mandrake is growing on me. I'm curious about if, how, and how well it connects to a PDA, specifically Windows Pocket PC. If it will do that, I think I'd seriously consider the huge step of putting it on my laptop at home. Bah, I never have time to play games anyway, and all the music recording is done on the PC in the living room.

    I have an idea to bring my cello to work and practice after everyone has left for the day, and have Matt pick me up when he finishes work in York. It would be a steady practice regimen away from my home computer. This may possibly be because yesterday I found myself reading this, and my pulse quickened alarmingly. Shit. Shitshit. Shitshitshit. Berklee!??

    What the fuck? 75% of applicants to Berklee get in. 75%! And auditions aren't necessary - you just need to provide documentation that you can play, which should be easy enough. It would cost around $5000 per year more than West Chester, but many of the credits I've taken at HACC would transfer, since there are similar general education requirements. We'd have to move to Boston. Boston is cold, but Matt has some relatives there (Matt's dad is from Boston). I'm not sure what the public transport situation is like, but I know the roads are full of awful crazy drivers and terrible traffic problems. They have an excellent NPR station, which is half the reason I know that.

    I have seven months to decide if this is a stupid pipe dream or not.

    Berklee!?!? WTF!?!? Damnit, this is all Fluttr Effect's fault. I saw them play the other night at Gullifty's with Meathead and Anita, and it put ideas into my head.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    I made the Dean's List at HACC again - and for the last time, since I'll be a part-time student for the next two semesters. Although I was fairly accepting of it at the time, I will acknowledge now I am pissed off in some dark bitter corner of my soul that I scored a B in Government. I was digging the 4.0 for a while.

    I installed Mandrake 2005LE on my PC at work yesterday, then realized that I desperately need more RAM, so today I'm heading in with a stick of 128Mb I pulled out of one of the PCs we have lying around the house. I figure I'll spend most of today grokking Mandrake's software packages and figuring out how much ethernet cable I need to connect to the router. I can't do without ready-at-hand internet at work! What happens if I don't know something? How will I run to Google? What if I get a great idea and need to type it out immediately and e-mail it to sundry soundboards? What if there's an emergency and I need to order a book or buy a replacement part on eBay? The world is a dark and dangerous place without net access close by.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Waking thought: When I as a kid, I often heard the term "up your Khyber." In fact, when we went to the Khyber Pass, I remarked as much to Matt. The first thought on the tip of my brain when I reached consciousness this morning was "Of course! Khyber Pass -> Arse!" I'd never thought about it before, since I first heard the word 'Khyber' when I was too young to understand. I guess I use more rhyming slang than I realize.

    This, of course, led me to Google other bits of rhyming slang I use without realizing their rhyming origin.
    • dipstick -> prick
    • tin lids -> kids (Not that I really used the term, but Jimmy Barnes' kids had a band called the Tin Lids. All makes sense now.)
    • rabbit -> rabbit and pork -> talk (as in "Jeez, you rabbit on about shit sometimes."

    I should keep a look out for more. There are a few others I already knew about, like 'butchers' and 'seppo,' but they don't count.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005


    I can't for the life of me remember the name of the Indian restaurant where we ate dinner the first night. It was on St Mark's Place, nestled between about two dozen other Indian restaurants.

    I started full-time work at Gamut today! Ah, it feels good. Now if I can just figure out the cheapest way to get the internet working in the back area (I think I need at least 100ft of ethernet cable and a hub), my life will be as near perfect as it can be.
    al fresco cliff al fresco scott and christine chinatown
    chinatown - anita chinatown - anita and cliff chinatown - anita cliff and mel
    chinatown - anita hates me chinatown - dirty habit chinatown - pearl tea
    chinatown - stalls christopher street park christopher street park - cliff
    christopher street station devil's rejects graffiti
    subway subway - cliff subway - scott and christine

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Back in Pennsylvania! You know, it occurs to me that potential burglars could probably track down the physical addresses of bloggers and burgle their houses while they were blogging on vacation. Scary thought. Perhaps I shouldn't have put it into print.

    We had a lovely time in New York, although we spent far too much money. In fact, we have only two dollars in the bank to last us for the next four days - and rent was due three days ago. Oh well. We're only short because I haven't had a salary the last few weeks, and I've had to pay for a plane ticket to the UK. The situation will improve soon, and I luckily have enough food stockpiled in our kitchen to last until Friday.

    The money was mainly spent eating out - whenever I'm in NYC, I try and eat as much ethnic food as I possibly can, since there's not much in the way of interesting culinary fare in Harrisburg. We ate at an Afghan restaurant last night, and began to have a spirited conversation about the war in Afghanistan before Matt became uncomfortable about our setting and refused to continue. Hrmmm. I'll have to follow up on that one of these days.

    We came home with more luggage than we took, but only because the pathologically and compulsively over-generous Cliff parceled out the discarded acquisitions of his ex-girlfriend, who has thankfully moved back to California and stopped unrestrainedly ravaging his bank account (and not his person). I picked up a nice hat, three quality mixing bowls, and a whole bunch of spices and canned goods that Cliff will never use. I'd post pictures from the trip, but Matt thinks he may have left his camera in Cliff's apartment.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    We're in NYC! Matt, Meathead, Anita and I are staying with Cliff this Fourth of July weekend and helping him get over a somewhat horrendously sapping relationship.

    Happy birthday for tomorrow, America. Here's a birthday song for you, which I heard on Weekend America in honor of America's birthday.

    In the same broadcast, I heard this awesome story about a father who shows his three-year-old daughter horror movies. God, this is the only good reason to have children. "My favorite color is the blood!"