Monday, August 31, 2009

I Wore a Hat!

This past weekend I received an award. Which I had to accept in front of a crowd of 200 (ish). I was so nervous all night (of course it was almost at the end of a 2 hour awards ceremony) that I both felt like vomiting and peeing my pants for most of the evening (the nervous pee's are the worst).

The oh so talented Mr. Rose helped me craft my acceptance speech and I practiced it twice in the car and yet when I was on stage I was still so nervous that my entire body was vibrating.

On the car ride home I was musing about why on earth I get so nervous on stage. I speak in front of people all the time. I deliver presentations to groups of strangers, I do media interviews (print, radio, tv, pre-recorded, live, you name it), I just don't have a problem with public speaking.

But being on stage is horrifying for me. I have acted in a show once. I was a last minute replacement in a 5 minute sketch and I didn't stop being vomitously nervous until the final performance.

After much musing I did finally figure it out. The difference is stage lights. When I deliver workshops or presentations, I can see the people I'm talking to. I can make eye contact and alter my delivery to suit the mood of the crowd. In a media interview I'm ultimately talking to the person interviewing me. And a camera lens is different than a crowd because it's more like talking to a piece of furniture.

But there is something about the indiscernible crowd that completely wigs me out. I know that there are people out there but I have no idea how they're reacting to me. And for some reason I find that terrifying.

Most people with public speaking issues are the other way around. They can talk to a crowd with lights in their eyes exactly because they can't see the people.

The gist? I have no gist. Just sharing a little Lady Rose moment with y'all. And I wanted the opportunity to share this photo with you. I think I finally managed to pull off the wearing of a hat:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pantyhose are from the Devil

The real reason that I could never be a 50's housewife (like, actually in the 50's) is pantyhose. I freaking hate pantyhose. But I hate my bare, chubby, glowingly white legs more. So on the rare occasion that wrangle myself into the ONE dress that I own, I also pull out my ONE pair of pantyhose.

Monday night was the annual theatre awards show that I attend with members of the theatre board that I sit on. I found myself with a serious lack of dressy pants and decided that since it had been two years I could wear said ONE dress again without anyone noticing. One person noticed. Drat! I even accessorized in turquoise instead of red!

Anyways, if all the fashionistas out there are done cringing (done ladies?) I will now regale you with my tale of pantyhose horrors.

sidebar: I actually own two dresses. But one looks so hideous on me I don't know why I keep it. And I guess my wedding dress counts. So three dresses. And a number of long skirts not appropriate for a formal event (but can be worn with knee high hose, which I hate slightly less than a full hose).

Being a petite plus sized girl comes with a variety of challenges. Basically, nothing fits. Pantyhose are no exception. They are either so big that I have to roll them up into my armpits or not wide enough to accommodate my generous behind and thus fall prey to the worst of hose horrors, slippage.

I had to climb what felt like an unusually large number of stairs which then required no less than 5 seperate bathroom trips to attempt to correct my wayward hose. To no effect. Basically every time I took a step my hose started the move towards my knees.

Maybe I shouldn't have shaved my legs. That way the hose would have had something to grip to.

Let's just say that by the end of the night I was wearing a crotchless pair of hose with no less than 3 runs. I pulled those babies off the second we hit the parking garage, security cameras be damned.

The worst part of this tragedy? Another awards show this coming Saturday. Methinks I need to make a trip to the dressy pants department of the local mall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 4

and the long road home. Well, not long so much as dull.

Breaking the trend of the past 4 days, the first show we see is excellent. Edmund is sharp and clever, well crafted and well acted. Our friends from the rainy city are in attendance and we catch up on what we've seen the last two days. (they are seeing even more shows than we are!)An excellent start to our last day. 4 stars.

One green onion cake break later and we're in line for Ryan Paulson: I'm Uncomfortable. The magic of fringe brings another chance encounter and we while away 30 pleasant minutes (for me anyways) waiting for the show to start. Ryan is funny and sweet and genuine. His show is really stand-up and therefore not entirely what I'm looking for in a fringe experience but he finishes with a very catchy musical number. You know how I love a catchy musical number. 3 stars.

We dash off to buy a purse and retrieve rain gear from the car (picture of purse to follow in later post). Afterlife is our final show of the fringe and sends us out on a high note. The first of the three stories is my favorite, featuring an old-timey lady who becomes the Dr. Kevorkian of her community. An interesting concept and well executed. 4 stars.

I'm sorry to leave the Fringe (though my ass is supremely thankful for the end of uncomfortable metal chairs) and I can already sense those post-fringe blues sinking in. But I am sitting here typing this entry with a purring cat in my lap and I do love being home.

In total: 18 shows (only one of which was truly awful), 2 bags of mini-donuts (I cracked today and had another), 1 cute new purse, encounters with 3 genuine friends, run-ins with 5 friendly acquaintances (including one in Red Deer at our dinner stop on the way home), and head-ducking to avoid 3 not so friendly acquaintances.

A satisfying fringe indeed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 3

Day 3 at the Fringe and we decide to skip free breakfast for a sleep in. You spend so much time at the Fringe standing (in line) or sitting (in uncomfortable seats) that it’s glorious to spend some time lying down.

We rearranged our schedule to see Space and ultimately wish we hadn’t. One day someone will produce a funny sci-fi show. We’ll probably end up missing that one and just have memories of poorly done sci-fi humour. My lowest ranking yet. 1 star.

We decided to mix things up even further and do some walking around. At the mall!! West Edmonton Mall is like every other mall you’ve been to. But bigger. And with a sea lion. And a sloth. And a water park. And an amusement park. All those stores and all those purchasing options, where do we end up making a purchase? HMV. In my defence, in this enormous 2-floor HMV I found a tv show that I’ve been looking for to give to my mom for nearly 5 years. Score!

Battling my questionable navigation and rush hour traffic we barely squeak in to nggrfg. Fortunately the thinner Monday crowds mean that we still get a great seat. I really liked some individual bits in this show and some of his stories are genuinely touching. To be perfectly honest though I feel like this show is well received because it is a gay black man talking about being black and gay. 3 stars.

A 2-hour break in our schedule (crazy!) and we meet up with Sterling for dinner. Remember the Tao? We bumped into him earlier in the day and confirmed our meeting time. Still no cell phones! I eat vegetables for the first time in 3 days. My body thanks me.

Back to the stiflingly hot venue, Chaotica starts out with a ton of promise. A neat concept and an energetic performance keep my beer sleepies at bay. Ultimately though the show doesn’t build to any sort of climax, it just…ends. 2.5 stars.

We finish off the day with some classic Fringe sketch comedy as The Skinny Presents… Adventures in X-Ray Theatre. Hit and miss as all sketch seems to be, this isn’t the most polished performance I’ve ever seen. But they generate a few genuine laughs out of me with Star Wars references and Sylvia Plath jokes. 3 stars.

Tomorrow is our last day at the fringe. 3 shows and then the boring drive back to Calgary. Fortunately I still have the donut place in Red Deer to look forward to.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 2

The pleasant words would be something like well organized or focused. Less generous would be anal retentive or controlling. Like all vacations, my fringe experience is guided by a spreadsheet detailing activities I will engage in each day.

When Fringing, I do make a heartfelt attempt to adapt to Mr. Rose’s Taoist approach to life. Go with the flow and all that. The spreadsheet is still with me at all times but I will not be a slave to it. Plans change and I attempt to bend to the will of the universe.

Despite a complete lack of a cell phone we manage to make plans with Sterling for the next day. The universe provided a chance encounter. Clearly I was meant to dine with Sterling tomorrow night. Stay centered in the Tao and the world comes to you.

Our opening show of the day leaves something to be desired. While I enjoyed the talented performance and physical movement in this piece, ultimately there wasn’t enough drive or build for my taste. A low energy start to me day. 2.5 stars.

We have to drive to the next venue which is a fair distance away from the main grounds. We make it in time and I thoroughly enjoy the world created for us in Grimmer than Grim. Fucked up fairy tales so disturbing that you have to laugh. 3.5 stars.

The venue for The Accident is so hot that I feel close to passing out 30 minutes in. The air is immobile and stifling and reeks of human. I try hard to focus on what I think is a great show. Another one that does a great job of combining physical movement and prose. 3.5 stars. And I think the venue cost this show at least .5 of a star.

A quick jaunt over to Pitch Blond where we meet up with a few friends from the rainy city. A lovely performance that would be fantastic for fans of Judy Holiday. An interesting snapshot of the period. 3 stars.

Belly full of all day breakfast we head over to our second viewing of Gordon’s Big Bald Head. The 7 Lives of Louis Riel provide the fodder for their improv tonight. Yesterday’s was better but I still almost peed myself at the scene done entirely in French by two men who have only Grade 4 french. Ou est le bibliotecque? 4.5 stars.

Our sixth show of the day and I’m starting to get a little punchy. Fringe days stretch out like taffy. Fruitcake is funnier than I thought it would be. The individual bits are very well delivered, a mix of verse and prose and beat spoken word. The overarching concept is weak but it ends with a musical number so who am I to complain? 3.5 stars.

Tomorrow we head to the mall in the morning for a bit of a break. Don’t worry, we’ll still manage to squeeze in at least 4 shows. I flow on.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Edmonton Fringe: Day 1

Calgary to Edmonton. Easily the most boring and ugliest stretch of highway I have ever driven. With no Meatloaf to kick off our road trip I feel an emptiness inside of me. 5 minutes of car dancing to Madonna ultimately soothes my spirit. Edmonton Fringe, we have been too long apart.

Tickets secured we head off to our first show, Reflections on Giving Birth to a Squid. A low energy beginning to our fringe, this show is just not my cup of tea. Too many characters and too little action leave me feeling napish. 2.5 stars.

After a Diet Coke pit stop we head in for G-Men. I want to laugh and I am not disappointed. I haven’t seen Sterling in a show for 9 years (or thereabout) and it was great to see him on stage again. I always thought he was a talented artist. I give the show 3.5 stars. They lost .5 of a star when they involved me in an audience participation bit. shudder.

A quick zip over to our next show, Teaching Shakespeare. We scored a coveted plastic lawn chair in this venue that features benches on the stage as seating (just as awful as audience participation. shudder.). An hour of nerdtacular iambic pentameter jokes left me surprisingly satisfied. 3 stars.

Dinner break leaves me with a satisfied belly full of taco and mini donuts. A tweed purse caught my eye at one of the many handicraft stands. I was lured in with their one-of-a-kind patter but I shall not blow my clothing budget without checking out all the purses available to me at this fringe.

Gordon’s Big Bald Head have never let me down. This year’s Grand Theft Improv was exactly as good as I thought it would be. These guys are masters of long form improv and I was laughing hard from start to finish. 4.5 stars and we’re trying to rearrange our schedule so that we can go see it again.

The downside of seeing two long form improv shows back to back? It’s hard to live up to the standard that Gordon’s Big Bald Head sets. SCRATCH had several laugh out loud moments but ultimately I was thinking about a shower and hotel bed by the mid-point. 3 stars.

15 (ish) more shows and 1 mall visit still to come. But it’s safe to say that I’m already having a fringing good time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scooter Love

I want this:

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, but Lady Rose, you already have this:

Yes, it's true. I do already have it in blue. But think of all the outfits I could coordinate to a pink one! You know how really rich people have a garage filled with snazzy sports cars? Well, I could be a middle class person with a garage full of scooters!

But seriously, have I ever told you how much I love Gracie? She is truly a fine vehicle. Not only is she extremely cost efficient...hold up. Let me tell you how cost efficient she is. When I bought her 4 years ago I worked out the difference in cost between Gracie and the bus. We are a one car family and as Mr. Rose is a horrible transit snob I am the one bussing it to work. Anyways, as long as I rode her for three years (for at least 8 months of the year) she would work out to be the same cost as a bus pass. We've been going steady for 4 years now so I'm saving literally tens of dollars a month!!

And on top of her positive economic impact on my life (ready for this car drivers? $6 a month in gas. And that's with today's crazy gas prices! Used to be $4 a month) she is way, way, way better than the bus. The bus does not come and go exactly on my schedule. The bus is filled with crazy, smelly people. I frequently cannot get a seat on the bus.

The only crazy, smelly person on Gracie is me. And I always get the best seat. Plus, people think it's cool to drive a scooter. That's pretty much the only cool thing about me. I milk it a bit.

The only downside? For some reason people think it's okay to talk to me when I'm on her. But why? Do you talk to people in cars next to you if they have their windows rolled down? No, you do not. And it's always the same questions: what's the gas mileage on that? aren't you afraid to drive that on Calgary roads? what are you doing later tonight? Seriously, it wears on me.

Next weekend I'm going to learn how to change her oil. If I learn how to do the maintenance on her that's even more tens of dollars I'll save every year! Plus I'm considering become one of those snooty scooter people who ride in scooter rallies and talk about stuff like changing our own oil.

If that fails I may just bedazzle my jean jacket. Mostly because I like saying bedazzle. Surely that will continue to up my cool factor, no?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shake Hands With the Devil

...or Why I read books that I don't really like.

SHWTD is a perfect example of why I always slog on, slog on with a book I'm not truly enjoying. I have been reading this book for...well...for longer than I like to admit. I noticed that the book mark I was using in it was from two jobs ago. yipes.

To be fair, I always struggle with non-fiction. I read, primarily, for entertainment. But I get these pangs of conscience sometimes where I feel like I should know more about the world.

If you're not familiar, SHWTD is the story of the 1994 UN peacekeeping mission in Rawanda. The mission leader dude (that's his official military title) was a Canadian General (actually a Lieutenant General - what is the difference??).

The problem with the book is that Romeo Dallaire is a military guy and not a writer. So huge sections of the book are just facts about where he went and who he talked to and who tried to kill him.

In the end though, I found that I rather enjoyed that style. He wasn't trying to tug my heartstrings or manipulate my emotions. Dude just tells it like it is. I came away with an understanding of how a peacekeeping mission works and what, in fact, those peacekeepers DO.

sidebar: I often struggle with understanding what it is people DO. "Well, I'm the regional VP for Information Technologies." "Yes, so what do you dooooo?" "Well I supervise the regional implementation of information and technologies." "Uh-huh, uh-huh. So, again...what does that mean? What do you actually dooooooo in your office all day?" Other people's jobs are a mystery.

So, it turns out that it's really hard to be a peacekeeper. In fact, I don't think that the UN really knows what they're doing. How do you commit to a mission when you don't actually have any resources to guarantee?

This book was good for one thing. Making me angry. Not quite Naomi Klein angry but at least Eric Schlosser angry. Did I just compare the UN with MacDonalds? I don't think that even makes sense.

So, would I recommend this book? I would I want to say yes. But unless you're someone who's really into dry non-fiction you probably won't be too into this book. And there's probably just a Wiki entry you can read about the Rwandan genocide. :)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

iTunes Revelations

When I find a song I like I am prone to listening to it over and over and over (much to Mr. Rose's chagrin). My most recent discovery is Lady GaGa whose perky tunes about getting drunk and having rough sex have been cheering me during this odd spate of gloomy weather we've been having.

So I realized that I have spent (according to iTunes) 60 minutes of my life funking out to Just Dance. With some hesitation I sorted my library by play count and I must admit that I was a bit horrified to discover what my most listened to songs are. Here are my top 10 songs in iTunes:
  1. Release - Timbaland
  2. The Way You Are - Timbaland
  3. Circus - Britney Spears
  4. Crash the Party - OK GO
  5. Hip Hop Thighs - Ike Reilly
  6. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! - ABBA
  7. Womanizer - Britney Spears
  8. Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen
  9. A Million Ways - OK GO
  10. Still Rock and Roll To Me - Billy Joel

When people ask me what kind of music I like I always have trouble answering the question. I'm not embarrassed that I lean towards top 40. I like music that is easy and pop-y. I also like more complex pieces and have been known, on several occasions, to groove out to Chopin.

But two Britney songs in my top 10? Timbaland?

Truly peeps, this is not my finest moment. I can only hope that someone else out there shares an equally embarrassing top 10.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Fringing Good Time

It's just a theatre festival kind of summer for me. Magnetic North in Ottawa, Fringe in Montreal, Fringe in Calgary and next weekend, Fringe in Edmonton.

Unless Edmonton really lets me down, the tragic truth is that my most disappointing festival will have been the one in my very own hometown.

I feel like the Calgary Fringe has been struggling to gain traction for about 10 years and while it's made leaps and bounds in the last two years it still feels like a small-town fringe. But without the charm of actually being in a small town. Everything feels low rent, low budget, and to be honest, low effort.

I mean, seriously, opening and closing the door to the venue to execute the 'light' cues? Said cues being turning the overhead fluorescents on or off. Is that really, really the best we can do Calgary?

I mean, c'mon. I'm starting to get Edmonton envy over here. And that is just not right.

Closing Note: If you live in Calgary, go see Drunken Fucker at said Fringe. But only go if you're willing to cry a little bit. And if you don't cry, your heart is probably made of stone. In which case you might go just to enjoy the balls. If you're into that sort of thing. Balls, I mean.