Saturday, August 6, 2011
The next day, however, was going to be a challenge. Sure I could have called a friend or my mechanic to pick me up and take me to work but I decided to ride my bike. It is only 6 miles and I had just done a 9 mile ride the week before. And fortunately there is no one else in the office on Friday afternoons so my sweatiness would not be an issue. What almost was an issue was not bringing the keys to the office. They are normally with my car keys and when you hop on a bike that's not something you usually take with you. Thank goodness, Patti was still there. I was pretty hot when I got there but at least when you work for a chiropractor there are plenty of ice packs. I used one to cool off so I could get to work.
Pinellas county is not the safest place to bike or walk but I had mapped out a couple routes that would keep me off the busy streets and even through a park and a rec center. Sometimes on a bike you can go where cars cannot.
The trip was uneventful as far as traffic was concerned until I was almost to the office. Seems there was a little SNAFU with the railroad crossing, the arm was down but there was no train in sight. It was backing up traffic like crazy but when you're on a bike you can avoid things like that. I snuck under the arm and continued on my way while other motorists were honking at each other and trying to maneuver through the crossing when they realized there was no train. I did have a minor flashback to the movie we had to watch in Driver's Ed about car/train collisions.
It took about 45 minutes to go 6 miles and I figure I burned about 265 calories. It takes about 20 minutes in the car and very few calories when you just sit there. It was good to find out that I can do it and I will do it again. Maybe when it cools off a little, or do a combo bus in (to avoid getting so sweaty) and bike home, or bus/bike both ways. Things to think about. As I found out when I tried my bus experiment awhile back, we need some work on our infrastructure. I wonder who I could talk to about that?
My mechanic came to pick up so I could get my car and so my bike remains at the office for now. Hmmm, wonder how to get it home.
And another thing I learned, running your car close to empty all the time is not good for the fuel pump. Guess I'll have to change that strategy, too.
What keeps you from finding alternatives to driving your car to work?
Saturday, June 18, 2011
So...a few weeks ago I saw a twitter message about a free ticket giveaway for the May 25th matinee performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the freeFall Theatre. What the heck! After I was notified that I won a pair I had to find someone willing to go with me in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. Luckily, my friend Loren was available.
I hadn't been to the freeFall before but I must say I was quite impressed. The production was wonderful. It had only been about a year since I saw Dream last (at FSU) so it made for a good comparison. The set was sparse, the costumes were a mix of modern, vintage and fantastic. The "choreography" was delicious. The confrontation between Hermia (Jackie Rivera) and Helena (Jennifer Christa Palmer) in Act 3 was nearly like ballet. But it was Giles Davies' Puck who stole the show. He leapt about the stage, naked to the waist, clad in a gorgeous pair of bottoms made up of numerous pieces of elegant fabrics. The physicality of his performance could tire out the fittest of the fit.
And of course, the play within the play was ridiculously inept as it is supposed to be.
One side note, 3/4 of the cast of reasons to be pretty were in the audience.
Next up was The Studio 620 production of American Duet written by theatre critic Mark Leib. I had the pleasure of having Mark for a professor last year at Eckerd College for a class called Film and Literature. I had to attend this show solo, and nearly solo in the audience. It was a Sunday evening performance, the only one I had time for in my busy schedule.
The 2 character play follows a 30 year relationship between liberal Jessica and conservative Charlie. They connect with each other over key political moments in American history and it is like a history lesson wrapped up in a play. The acting was superb and the only problem I had was with Jessica's character. Her period of victimization and subsequent rescuing by Charlie did not feel authentic with her otherwise unrelenting liberal/feminist viewpoints. The final scene where the couple live through the uncertainty of 9/11 was deeply moving and brought back the feelings of that fateful day.
Last night I saw Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at American Stage. This show runs through July 3, (Pay what you can on June 21) so if you have a chance I recommend you go see it. This story takes place in one night immediately following Frankie and Johnny having sex for the first time. Johnny (Tom Nowicki) tries to convince Frankie (Tonia M Jackson) that their little rendez-vous could actually turn into something long-lasting and wonderful. We follow them through their ups and downs (pun intended) as they reveal their secrets and faults to each other. The dialogue is frank and authentic and not suitable for kids. Once you get past Nowicki's accent (reminded me of Christopher Lloyd) it is an irresistible look at the determination of love.
Even though this is the slow season for theatre there are still lots of shows on the horizon and I intend to see as many as I can.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
On another knitting note I have set up a Facebook page for a LYS, The Flying Needles. Check them out if you get a chance.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
First up was Rent, this year's American Stage in the Park production. I originally had tickets for April 24th but it decided to rain that night. My son was in town on the reschedule date of May 7th but opted not to go because "Rent is so dated." Evidently, according to most 20 somethings AIDS doesn't matter anymore. I guess that's a good thing, the stigma is gone, we know how to treat and prevent it, there may even have been someone cured. I still enjoyed the show. The talent in the cast was incredible. Light My Candle is a bit stilted but La Vie Boheme, Tango: Maureen and Take Me or Leave Me make me want to get up and dance. Seasons of Love still gives me shivers.
It may have been Friday the 13th, but it was Twelfth Night for me. Groupon had an excellent deal a few weeks back to get $9 tickets for the show, it was a deal I couldn't pass up. I did a quick google search to refresh my memory about the story (it has been a long time since my high school Shakespeare class). At the start of the show we found out that the part of Feste would be played script in hand by a last minute substitution due to illness. I'm sorry to say that I did not get this actor's name, but he did an awesome job! Brian Shea (Malvolio) stole the show. It was great to see a nearly full house. Can't wait to see more productions from this group.
The following night was 8 o'clock Theatre's The Drowsy Chaperone. Before I left for the show my son asked me if I was familiar with the story. "Someone gets drunk so kids can make out?" was my guess. Boy, was I wrong! It is an absolutely delightful story of a man in a chair (John Forgione) sharing his love of musical theatre with the audience. Forgione was perfect in the role.
The final show in this week's adventure, was reasons to be pretty, Jobsite's latest production. I will take free tickets whenever I can get them (Twitter) but I was prepared to shell out my hard earned $10 for student rush tickets. After their last production, Yellowman, I knew I would not be disappointed. The acting was superb and the fight scenes beautifully choreographed but I think I may be a little too.....ummmm....mature....to understand Steph's (Kari Goetz) reaction to Greg's (Dayton Sinkia) guy talk comment that she had a "regular" face. I wanted to shake her and tell her to get over it, couldn't she see what a great guy Greg was??? I guess I've known too many Kents (Chris Jackson) in my day. Grace Santos Feeney was achingly clueless as Carly.
I feel so blessed to live in an area of such great theatre. Next on the radar Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at American Stage, I Hate Hamlet from 8 o'clock Theatre, Jobsite's The Taming of the Shrew and American Duet by Mark Leib, theatre critic for Creative Loafing and my professor for "Film and Literature" last semester at Eckerd College (I got an A). I'm more than willing to scrounge around for deals and new venues in my pursuit of the "Summer of Theatre." If you hear of a good deal or show please let me know!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So while various governmental agencies speed the cars up and then slow them down, bikers can go their own speed and their own way, ahhh freedom!
Friday, March 25, 2011
A few weeks later it was time for the 8 o'clock theatre production of Bye, Bye Birdie. I've had season tickets with three of my friends for about 7 or 8 years now and the productions are usually quite good. The shows are staged at the Largo Cultural Center and the audience tends to the "silver" side. The musicals are generally more popular with this crowd. I had seen the 1995 TV version of Bye Bye Birdie and the wonderful Mad Men episode where Sal tries to recreate Ann-Margret's performance for "Patio Cola." Back to 8 o'clock....the production was up to the usual standard with the exception of the decision to cast Trey Ryan as Conrad Birdie...WRONG!! Now I realize that community theatre is limited by the talent that auditions, but there had to be someone, anyone, who would have made a better choice for Conrad. Ryan has been in many 8 o'clock productions and has been perfect when he is playing characters such as Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast or Jack Manningham in Gaslight. But to cast him as a teen idol? Not so much.
The culmination of the month was definitely the Jobsite Theatre's production of Yellowman. This, for me, is what theatre is all about. Jim Wicker and Fanni Green gave spectacular performances as they deal with the prejudices of skin color within their black, South Carolina community. Wicker and Green portrayed not only their characters at several ages but their own parents and grandparents. The intimate setting reinforced the tension and both actors give brutally honest and powerful performances. The final scenes are gripping in both intensity and desperation as we see the unraveling of promise. Go! Experience it while you still can.
Friday, March 18, 2011
I had made a decision this year to only buy what I really needed and then with a certain set of criteria...used, local, handmade, or sustainable, in roughly that order. Now a girl needs new underwear once in awhile so I decided to do my research into sustainable undies because that was one thing I was not going to buy secondhand...and I couldn’t really knit them either.A quick internet search got me some possible options, American Apparel was one of my initial choices but let’s face it I am NOT and I NEVER was a skinny 20 something. While I admire their mission, the undies were not for me. I need a little more coverage. Another choice was Rambler’s Way:
Fabulous idea! Love the ethical and sustainable aspects, however, a little pricey for my budget. I understand that my shopping choices have an impact on the world and I am willing to pay more for things I feel will have a better impact, but I do still have a budget. My choice finally came down to CottonfieldUSA. Their garments are made in the US from organically grown cotton. Their mission fit my shopping criteria but better yet they fit ME. So I ordered a couple pair. They arrived in 3 days, no unnecessary packaging, and fit perfectly. They were more expensive than you what you get at Wal-Mart, but that’s the point. For some further reading on these subjects check out a recent post by a like-minded blogger I follow, a story on the clothing industry and the book that inspired me, "In the Presence of Fear" by Wendell Berry
Saturday, March 5, 2011
This time of year is especially busy for me because I work part time preparing taxes or should I say bartering my expertise in exchange for a Visa gift card. After all currency is only worth what we agree it’s worth. So taxes have got me thinking about how the new sharing economy could affect our infrastructure and the services that are paid for with our tax dollars. Now nobody WANTS to pay taxes but we all want to benefit from what our taxes pay for, such as roads, parks, libraries, police and fire protection, etc.
Legally speaking all income received is subject to federal income tax and most states have some sort of sales tax. Here in Florida we have no state income tax, most of the revenue needed is generated from property and sales taxes and tourism. So what happens when tourists come to Florida and instead of staying at a hotel they decide to try Airbnb or Couchsurfing? Is the owner of that spare room going to pay the 5% bed tax to the county and federal income tax on the money received? On a small scale it will probably not make much of a difference but as sharing becomes more and more popular it could have a huge impact.
My year end bonus last year was a barter gift card. The doctor I work for does a lot of barter business through a barter agency and we always have a surplus of “dollars.” Cash flow was down a bit last year and so we got barter gift cards instead of a cash bonus. I finally had a need this past month to use one of the other members of the barter community. I needed graduation announcements for my son and there was a printer in the network who I contacted to help me. When it came time to settle up the bill I gave her the gift card but I also had to pay the sales tax (7%) in cash. I understood why it was necessary, and realized that the printer could not pay the state of Florida in printing services, (or could they?) it had to be remitted in cash. Then a few days ago I “helped” my friend do her taxes in exchange for dinner. This got me to thinking about all the other barter and sharing transactions that happen without the state getting their cut and the financial shortfalls in the federal, state and local budgets. After all if I had done her taxes at my job she would have had to pay in cash and the income I received would have been taxed. In our transaction very little tax revenue was generated.
Shareable.net has an excellent soup illustration about how things change when we start sharing. Maybe as we move to this new economy we need to start thinking about the tax consequences. What kind of options could there be? Why couldn’t some people elect to pay their tax obligation in service to the respective tax collector? Do we really NEED a tax system to get things done? Look at the Detroit Robo-cop initiative. Maybe we should pay tax in proportion to the size our personal carbon footprint? These are just tiny examples. We have to start asking the big “What ifs?” So I’m asking...