Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aloha-oe!

Well hey there, campers! How nice it is to be back in the states! We got in around 4:00 am, and I still had yet to go to sleep from the rehearsals the night before... imagine that! Us. Rehearsing! Go figure. Anyhow, I got in line for the crew immigration inspection around 6:30, and I was still way toward the back of the line. Very frustrating, a US Immigration inspection. Let me explain:

Imagine if you will, 892 crew members from all around the world, all needing to go through Inspection. This is the time where the US folks come aboard and make sure that everyone's I95 (not the interstate) are up to date. This includes us poor US folks. I know, we don't get I95's. But we still have to wait in line. So. I am there early, kinda tired, but having made a bunch of phone calls upon our arrival... the guy behind me in line is from India, the one in front is from the Philippines. What an interesting situation already! Let's just take a moment to discuss the human phenomena of "personal space" shall we? Now, usually when you are in a queue, you allow a certain amount of personal space between yourself and the people on either side of you, right? Let's just say that this is the case for the US and the Philippines, but not necessarily India. For over an hour, I had this Indian guy literally breathing down my neck. We are now picking out china patterns and deciding what to name the family dog. Man, that was frustrating. I tried to be polite, and eventually, when we got to the point where the TWO immigration officers were checking all 892 crew members (you do the math time-wise) I was able to get a little ahead and not feel like I had been violated with my clothes on.

So. After Immigration inspection, I went to get a bite to eat in the Horizon Court. The captain came over the loudspeaker to announce that there had been a severe earthquake off American Samoa, and that there was a tsunami watch out for Hawaii and the other islands nearby. In my head, "The Morning After" started playing, and all I could hear was Shelley Winters bellowing out "But Manny...I can't swim!" Needless to say, everything turned out okay, and as of yet, there are no huge waves headed our way. Yet.

So. Wanna hear the new Hawaiian words and phrases I learned?

ComeonIwannalayya - roughly translated as "I am horny and want to jump your bones."

Youknowyougonnalikeit - roughly translates as "You are horny too, aren't you?"

Downdahallandtotheright - roughly translates as "My cabin is over there."

CanIhaveabeer - roughly translates as "Can I have a beer?"

And that all conversations should end with "Mahalo" which means "Thanks!"

Isn't that thrilling? I tried out the first one on one of the locals and although she smacked me, she was very nice about it and smacked me on the behind. I understand this to be a local custom of greeting. When I tried that out on another guy, the taxi driver, he didn't react the same way. he made me get out and walk.

Went to Wal-mart and Borders. What else are you supposed to do when you are in Waikiki? Came back to the ship around 5, took a nap, had dinner, and now I am waiting to go to...rehearsal! at 11:30 until who knows when.

Tomorrow there is no shore leave for crew until after our US Coast Guard inspection. It was supposed to be today, but I think the tsunami had the guys all out guarding the coast. Hopefully it won't take too long tomorrow. I was hoping to go ashore in La Haina and get some taro chips. If you have not ever had them, they are an amazing potato chip-like thing. Made from the taro root, they are very meaty and hearty, and when they are kettle cooked, they are like the crunchiest meatiest chip you have ever had. Only in Hawaii, folks! I'll let you know if I am able to get them. They are a favorite of mine since coming to the islands the first time way back in whenever hundred and ninety whenever! More later!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Karen... I got your email, but can't reply...



I think your ideas for the audition are great... I hope I don't get this to you too late. Just go in there and knock them dead! Be confident and sell it like you've never sold it before! I believe in you!

And the pics below are of Bora Bora, not Moorea... my bad.

More pics


This kitten was sleeping on the counter in Moorea. I have no idea what the kind of store was because this was the cutest! And I was needing some fur therapy.

Problems...


For some reason my last couple of posts don't seem to be wanting to appear on here... here are some assorted pics of Moorea, Tahiti, and a couple of the other places we have visited so far.

We Put the Count... in Country!

Opened our next show tonight. Man, talk about nerve-wracking! I think we only had one or two full rehearsals before we put it before an audience. They need to send this show to the bad show graveyard... But it went well, and the Aussies seemed to enjoy laughing and clapping with the cast of bumpkins bouncing around in front of them in scanty outfits. Go figure.

Things are going well. We are finally in US waters tomorrow. Honolulu, to be exact. I think we are all planning on going to Target or Wal-Mart. Don't ask. Anything that resembles civilization will be nice. Besides, I need a new toothbrush. I am hoping my mail gets to me tomorrow as well. We shall see. My phone will work, and I will be making oodles of phone calls.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hmm... some photos didn't make it in the last post...






My cabin, other stuff...

Water Water Everywhere...




And not a drop to drink. And yes, the ship water makes me thirsty!

I made it to Australia! I am on the ship, after four long and gruelling days at sea. I am sitting in the crew mess hall, which smells like old fish and sterilization chemicals. Amazing to be able to log in in the middle of the ocean.

We are in Tonga today. It's 3am, and I just got out of another late night rehearsal. We ran Moments to Remember, and started to block out Shimmy. Words!!! Man, this sucks. I wish I could just plug myself in to the show and have it automatically be there.

Earlier tonight we started to work on Vogue from Tribute... okay, can you say this show is way outdated? Vogue? Really? Madonna? Hello! Update the show, ir get rid of it, folks. Can you tell I am cranky? No sleep and frustrated with all these words.

Okay, i don't want to waste much time chatting about just the bleah stuff. I want to post pictures.... my cabin, Sydney, stuff from out here so far. Enjoy and I will try to put more up later! More from Tonga!

The crane is for Peggy! Love ya!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I made it!

Hello all! Greetings from Down Under! It is Friday, September 11th. Thursday, September 10th will never exist in my personal history. Interesting, that. Had two very long flights from Atlanta to LA, and from LA to Sydney. I was stuck in a center seat for the leg of the first part, and then I was on an aisle in the center section for the 18 hours it took to get to Sydney. Long time to be stuck in a can with a bunch of strangers. Now I know what sardines feel like.

Princess Cruise lines showed us how welcome we were by having us wait over an hour for the shuttle to come pick us up from that airport. I must be honest, looking over the documents we had to fill out for customs and immigration, I was a bit worried about whether or not they would let me into their country. With the amount of medicines I was bringing in, I bet my luggage looked like a pharmacy. No worries, though, we flew through customs, and I am now officially allowed into the country. Whew!

Sydney is a gorgeous city! We had a bit of chill in the air as we arrived, but by the late morning, it had settled into about 75 degrees. Nice and sunny, too. The lot of us had lunch, then took the train into Sydney, as the hotel is out by the airport. We stopped at Woolworths to get our toiletries for the ship, and I stopped to see if they had any Maynards Wine Gums... they didn't. So I bought Smarties instead. The British kind, not american. They are like our M&M's only better. The candy shell is thicker, and the chocolate is sometimes flavoured with orange.

I have taken tons of pictures, and hope to post them soon. We all saw the Opera House, the Bridge, the Rocks... all of this is stuff you must see when you get to Sydney, apparently. The opera House is spectacular. Thought about going to see Aida there tonight, but it was sold out, not to mention expensive. Tried to go see the final preview performance of Wicked also, but got to the box office a half hour after they had sold the last ticket. Went to see Avenue Q, but decided to save the money and head back to the hotel and get a good night's sleep.

Wow. I really don't know where to begin. Tomorrow it will all change. Sightseeing is over for a while, as we go immediately into rehearsals again, and costume fittings. No show until Monday night, when we will be doing Save The Last Dance... a good one, as I actually know 99% of the words! And, I am fluent in making them up if I don't know them, as evident from the presentation this past Monday.

I miss everyone, and wish you all could have been there to experience Sydney with me for the first time. Peggy, Michael, Mom, Dad, Gaby, Amy, Bill, Curt, Mary, the girls, Hamlet, Gregory, Othello, Kelly... everyone. You would really love it here. More later. My time is wearing out on this computer. If I want to publish this, I need to get going.

Talk again soon. I made it! I am okay! I can do this!

I am really tired!

JMB

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oh... the house.


Is on the market for $385K. If any of my readers would like to pitch in and buy me a house, feel free to donate. It needs a lot of work, but it is waterfront, thus making the price go sky high.

The Plane'll Take Off...Tomorrow!

Bet your bottom Australian Dollar!

Yesterday's presentation went really well, considering we all looked deer in the headlights. I think the terror level of the cast was beyond red. I managed to make it through Rocket Man unscathed, but then Another Cha Cha came along and totally did me in. I started out okay, but my heel caught Lee Anne's foot, and got me thrown a bit. I made up the words to the song, and somehow managed to make them rhyme and fit in the right amounts of beats. I think what I sang even made sense.

Ugh. Now the chore of packing and repacking. Thanks to my folks and friends for coming up and over and down to see me. The gifts are amazing, if only just the gift of having company to keep me sane for a few days.

Lots of laughter. I learned in the few short days that they were here that laughter heals most wounds and definitely helps relieve the stress of everyday panic when it comes to learning shows and literally thousands of words of text.

We still don't know who our line captain will be, but hopefully we will know before we actually embark on the ship. Final payday today, as well as a bank run and last minute wal-mart run. I don't think I need anything, and Ben asked me to go to the mall with him. I probably will, if only just to get a sense of that Americana before I am without the luxury of "malling it" for six months. Maybe a hot pretzel will help calm some of the nerves.

The task of cleaning up the apartment, cleaning out the refrigerator, doing dishes, cooking the last supper. Chicken. Ramen noodles or rice. Mango slices. Tilapia. Who knows. Probably chicken will win out in the end. Maybe I will make it all and see what everyone wants to eat. I will suggest a pot luck dinner of everyone's leftovers. That'll learn 'em.

Kind of a sad day today as well. Leaving behind loved ones. Trying to wind up the loose ends of conversations that have not been resolved, finding out what time will do to relationships is an unanswered question that will remain unanswered.

I'm sitting in the kitchen drinking my last Dr. Pepper for a while, hopefully forever, as soda will not fit into my new life equation. It is delicious. In a yucky kind of way. Sci-fi channel is on... first wave, I think the program is called. I am making list after list of people to call, emails to send, things that I still have to do before I get on that plane tomorrow.

I have no idea what time the flight is, where I am flying through. I hope I get a stop in LA so I can see my brothers and families. It would be nice to know ahead of time, no? But, as thins have gone down up to now, this, too, is to be expected. It has been a challenge knowing that I have no control over pretty much anything in my life right now. That will change in 24 hours, thankfully. It will be so nice to get onto the ship, into my own room, with my things where I want to be able to put them. Sigh.

Anxiety creeps up on me.

More later.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Holy Cow, Batman!


I can't believe I leave in 48 hours! Okay, practically. Tomorrow is our "presentation" the powers that be. Are we ready?

(insert long pause)

I dunno. I hope so. Do I feel prepared to get on the ship and open a show? Absolutely freaking not. Can we make it through the presentation? Probably. It will be good. It is 23 minutes long. I am nervous, but looking forward to it.

Paul went to the Kennedy Space Center today. mom and Dad went over to Merritt Island and did the Cocoa Beach thing. Peggy hung around at the Dixie. I had rehearsal.

Nicole and I got put into most of the rest of Shimmy. We got to the finale, and then we stopped. I guess I will learn the rest of that on the ship as well. Sigh.

I have so much work to do. I won't freak out, I won't freak out, I won't freak out.

Pray for me, man (tis).

Friday, September 4, 2009

Setbacks


So today dropped down to about a 2 on the scale. Just kind of a crappy day. I can't help feeling like I am being rushed through things because of someone else's bad scheduling. It's not Zack's fault, goodness knows he is busting his (nice) ass to get the work done in the time they have allotted him. I just feel like I have been put on the back burner to the dancers, and that yes, they are also working their butts off, it is the singers who really have to carry the shows.

I really hate bitching. I am just very tired and stressed and overwhelmed and to be honest, scared out of my wits that maybe I can't do this. Am I too old for this? I certainly feel like it sometimes. My mind fills up so quickly, and it becomes more and more difficult to retain the information from the day before because we only get the chance to run it maybe twice before we move onto something else. I write everything down, but to actually get it in my body is another story. Nightmares. I am anxious to get on the ship, settle in to my room and get to work.

I have a November 1st deadline for the next draft of my play, and thankfully, it will get done by then.

I am very excited about Paul, Peggy, and Mom and Dad coming into town. But I am terrified about the presentation on Monday. We still don't know what we are doing for it, and we still have an entire show to learn. I still have not had any contact with the musical director, and I should be getting paid way more than I am. I mean, think about it. I am doing the work of the music director myself, in teaching myself the music. The shows are designed for four singers, and we are doing them with two. That's twice the material. Is it worth going to Australia for? Unfortunately, yes. Fortunately, yes. I am so screwed up.

Happy place... go to my happy place.

There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I am pooped!


Tough day today! Good day, but a tough one. Frustrating and expected. Ran through both Extreme Country and Save the Last Dance... Country went better than I expected it to. But I was able to get MOST of the words! I only messed up a couple of phrases in two songs. It will probably be our last run through before we embark on the ship. Scary. But I am glad to get it over with and into my body at least.

So... why was it frustrating today? Stephen,, our musical director was scheduled to meet with us today to go over music. Well, wouldn't you know, something came up to delay him, and eventually, he ended up canceling altogether. Gee, like I didn't see THAT coming. Hopefully no one from PGT will be reading this... I'm not bitter, I just don't think this has given the company the best impression for a new employee.

We leave in less than a week!!! Man, I am getting excited. Scared out of my wits, but excited.

I am sitting eating a bowl of ice cream with oreo cookies on the bottom. I needed that. I am called in tomorrow at 11am, until 9pm. Makes for a day from hell, if you ask me. We shall see.

Hung out with Sophie this evening after dinner, and we sat out on the veranda, she drinking a beer, me Mr. Pibb. Some crazy homeless woman cam along and asked if Sophie could help her out, and then when Sophie went to get her some food (pretzels), she said she didn't like pretzels. What?! So beggars CAN be choosers, apparently. The woman then went around the apartment complex knocking on people's doors asking for cigarettes and whatnot. Go figure.

Today was Gaby's jump rope team try outs. Hope she did well. I am waiting for her to call me and let me know.

Gonna head to bed soon. More later. Good night.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

As promised... the view out my window!



You gotta love the view! It is so helpful for creativity and learning! Not to mention the feeling of freedom and light. I love it here! I want to stay here FOREVER!

Life in Cocoa... I like this house.


This house is for sale... it is waterfront property, and it is in an historical part of town, which used to be all orange groves and slave houses. Very cool.

But it is very hot and humid here.

The Manatees knees!

video

The bees knees

Run Throughs... and more run throughs

Okay day today. About a 6, but still on the plus side of the scale. I can't wait to have a day that ranks up in the 8's or 9's! We worked this morning starting at 10 am on the Piano Man stuff. Some of the choreography is very intricate, and i found out that we will probably be doing the Elton John section for our presentation on Monday evening. Yuck. Now i really have to sit down and learn some of the more obscure Elton John songs, if there are any. Saturday night is one of them that everyone knows the chorus to, as there is only one words... "Saturday" but those darned verses throw me for a loop every time!

Tried unsuccessfully to upload my videos of the manatees, but thanks to Bill, I am now able to do it through a universal USB port thingy. So, hopefully I will be able to attach them in the post.

The picture of the bee swarm as well.

I am not called in tomorrow until 2pm, but Nicole and I are going in around noon to run stuff. Our run of Extreme Country is at 7pm tomorrow night. We ran it tonight after our run of Shimmy, and it went better than I thought. I am not the fondest of this show, as the keys are all in the stratosphere, not to mention at the end of the show, when I am out of breath. I am sure it will grow on me, though. I enjoy Shimmy, though. It is very fast paced, and the songs sound good for my voice. A little ragged tonight by the end of the day, but hopefully a good night's sleep and a good warm-up tomorrow will help that.

My folks and Peggy are coming this weekend to see me and the presentation, which is very exciting. I just hope I can get the words before they come. It's not like I have a choice. But it would be nice to know what numbers we are doing for the presentation ahead of time so we can prepare. It looks like there is one show we won't even get to while we are on land. That means we will be learning it on board the ship. Kinda sucks, because it will probably take away some port time for the cast. Ah well. The show must go on.

I had an article published about me in the SETC website, which was exciting. I tried to post it on here, but seem to be unable so far.

I'll try again when I have a free minute.

More later. Good night!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A good day!




Wow! Today actually was a good day. Finally! Only about an 8 on the scale, but still, the best one yet. So what made it so good? Not sure, really. I think I was just kind of in the zone, and was able to get two run throughs of one of the shows in, which added to some sort of reinforcement.

So, our cast ran Moments To Remember, and it was honestly kinda sucky. I know that I nned to really buckle down and learn the freakin' words to "I've Got You Under My skin" as well as the new swing section... Zoot Suit Riot, Mr. Pinstripe Suit, etc. FUN stuff to sing, but the words are killing me! So many words, so little time.

We then did a run of Shimmy, because we are having to do a full out run tomorrow. It also went well. I was happy that I have been able to retain most of the notes I got from what little time I had with a musical director. Route Sixty Six. Ugh. Words! Shimmy went well, as I was saying. We still have not been blocked into it, but we kind of were shoved into a sink or swim version
of the show, and we survived. I know tomorrow I will not remember a thing about where I was when, but hey, it worked for that run.

Zack is so patient. I am so totally the weakest link (good-bye) in the cast, and he is being so helpful with me and my total brain farts. He is the choreographer, and he is really quite brilliant.

I saw Manatees yesterday! I finally got out to walk yesterday afternoon, after rehearsal, and I was listening to my ipod, trying to memorize words, and I walked down by the waterfront and the docks, and there were three there flopping around in the water. Two big ones, and a little one. They were so cool. I took some video from my camera, but of course, I am having technical difficulties getting it uploaded onto this website. I also saw a swarm of honeybees, which was kinda cool. If I can get that photo uploaded I will try to do that, too.

I have to be in early tomorrow, so i need to get to bed. I can only hope tomorrow is as good a day as today was, if not better. I really miss my cats. They are my pride and joy.