Friday, July 29

August Buzz Reviews

It's that time of year, when The Buzz's August supplemental "Caught In The Act" to be perused, line by line by those summer performers on PEI who have a vested interest in the reviews of summer theatrical productions.
First off, I want to say thanks to Joseph Sherman for writing an accurate review of Canada Rocks.  I think he's spot on with his criticisms and it's good to see them in print.  Especially on the opposite side of the page to the full page Confed Centre AoGG ad.
I'd also like to thank Norah Pendergast for her, well, positive review of Sketch 22.  While I find it hard to believe statements like "the show is as memorable and hilarious as any show, any time, anywhere", I do appreciate the enthusiasm.
I'm glad that Norah "got" the show (and I don't mean that to sound condescending as if our show is not one that is easily 'gotten'.).  Our fear with this year's show (not just for reviewers, but for all who see it) is that they'd see the explicit trees only and miss the forest; that the vulgarities and obscenities would overshadow the comedy that we present.
We are glad that this is not the case.  Most everyone who sees the show is embracing the raunchiness, and that makes me glad.
Back to the review.  My criticism of it (and of others, particularly the 4 Skits Sake 'review') is that it reads more like a press release than a review.  But that is too much nitpicking on my part.
Thanks very much, Norah, for appreciating the show with such kind words.  I particularly liked: "Sketch 22 succeeds in leaping beyond the boundaries of social acceptability while maintaining moral integrity, therein lies its true brilliance."

Come Running Back

Ah, the madness in South Florida continues.  Last year, about this time, as I was trying to convince myself that the Miami Dolphins had a reasonable chance to make the playoffs and then who knows what might happen, the star of the team, the man the whole offense was built around, Ricky Williams, the guy whose doll I have sitting in my living room, left the team.
His reasons were many, mostly depending on what mood he was in... tired of football... needs to find himself... didn't want to be penalized by the NFL's drug policy... the Taco Bell dog told him to quit...  Anyway, his departure caused the Dolphins to have their worst season since the 1960s.

And now, after a year of living in a tent in Australia, learning meditation techniques in a holistic univeristy in northern California, after travelling to the oddest places (both geographically and personally it seems), after learning that he owes the Dolphins 8 million dollars because he broke his contract with them... after all that...

Ricky has returned.  Yes, Ricky Williams is back as a Dolphin.  He is at training camp, right now, as I type (I just checked the NFL football sites online and no reports of him leaving, so that's a pretty safe sentence).
He'll miss the first four games of the season because he's a dope smoker (or was a dope smoker, he claims to have given it up), but I cannot wait to see him back in action.  Yes, I fully expect that he'll never make it onto the field in a regular season game, that he'll hear a bird tell him to become an astronaut or he'll be caught with illegal substances in his system, but I also fully expect him to make a glorious return to the game and be the star of the entire season (except those first four suspended games, of course).
Who knows whether his return is motivated by the desire to play the game, or the desire to rid himself of the debt he owes the Dolphins - - okay, we all know it's the monetary reason that brings him back - - I'm just glad to have him back.

So, Ricky, welcome back, you flaky nut, you.  All I ask from you is to run hard as a Dolphin until this season is over.  With you, that is a lot to ask, perhaps.

Wednesday, July 27

The DP Got Cranky

Early Sunday morning last (and sorry for saying "Sunday morning past"), my son, who had been sleeping over at his friend Keaton's house, called and asked if he and Keaton could make another movie on Sunday.  Reluctantly, I agreed.
So for the rest of the morning and half the afternoon they excitedly dreamed up scenario after scenario, creating an epic film full of action and intrigue.  Being the one who'd have to try and make sense out of it all, and do the actual tough work of editing it into a coherent and not-too-long movie, I nixed most of their ideas.
What they finally decided upon was that Cameron would play "The Black Ninja" and Keaton would play "The White Ninja".  They would also elicit the help of a third person, Matt, to play "The Wizard".  Their after-Rob-rejected-the-too-complicated-plotlines truncated story was:  The Wizard appears to the White Ninja and tells him to kill the Black Ninja.  The two ninjas fight, Black Ninja wins, end of movie.
I suggested: How about the wizard appears to white ninja, tells him that black ninja is bad and to kill him.  Then he appears to black ninja and tells him that white ninja is bad and must be killed.  He appears a couple more times to each, each time telling the one to kill the other.  When the ninjas finally meet, they discover the duplicitous intent of the wizard and end up killing him together.
They loved this idea, and so we all waited for the next hour and a half or so for my wife to get home with the car.
We needed a car, you see, because Keaton had a "great place in mind" to shoot the movie.  It involved a drive of a few minutes to park the car near the Trail and then a couple of minutes walk to to a path, down which there was a great place in mind for shooting.  It had a bridge and a stream and a lake and some wooded areas.  Sounded good so I agreed that would be the location.
Car arrives, I ask Karyn if she wanted to come with us.  She declined and off we went, me and The White Ninja, The Black Ninja and The Wizard.  Parked the car and began walking down the trail.
It took about 15 minutes to get to the path.  I was not anticipating a 15 minute walk (not that it's long, but you know, I was told a minute or two), so once I got to the path, my desire to continue (or to begin, really) the production was evaporating.  Still, I trudged down the path for another 5 minutes or so.
And we get to the 'great place in mind' and I see right away that it's not going to work.  Too small an area, the bridge was situated in such a way over the stream as to render it useless, the lake was a large green-algae puddle, and the wooded area looks like it's been used by witches and wiccans, what with the cauldrons and fire pits and corpses (ok, there were no corpses).  And the mosquitoes were infuriatingly bad.
So, I was not a hampy camper.  Still, we went ahead with the setting up of the first shot, which would take place near the firepit.  As I was setting up, though, the mosquitoes literally attacked me and not-literally carried me away.  I declared the fire-pit area a non-shooting worthy location and moved production over to the bridge.  Just as we were about to shoot the first shot, the rain started.  It poured.  Hard
So I aborted the shoot.  We trudged the 5 minutes back up the path, getting soaked under the rain.  We trudged back along the trail. After about 5 more minutes of rain, it stopped, the sun came out and we were dry by the time we got back to the car.
We drove home and spoke no more of the most unfortunate attempt to shoot our latest movie.

The Sixest Feet Under Ever

I've been enjoying... no, not so much enjoying... rather anticipating each week's episode of the new season of Six Feet Under.  Well, last Monday's episode had me on my knees (metaphorically) begging it not to stop when it did.
I almost couldn't handle the ending.  I won't give anything away, but, and I use this phrase entirely in its teenaged girl form: OH MY GOD.
How many more sleeps until next show?

Thursday, July 21

Logo Design by: Ben Dover

A while back I posted a link to an unfortunate logo for a pediatric office.

Here's a link to another one, this time for a Japanese pharmacy

Go Fish

I'm putting up here, for a very limited time, the lates MacDonald Family Film Production.  It's called Go Fish.  It's a study of the corruptive power of greed and its consequences.

It's a fair sized download, about 40MBs, but this film contains some of the best acting and dialogue I've ever seen.  The tension that builds throughout is palpable and by the end of the movie, I dare say everyone who watches it will be on the edge of their seat, wondering what will happen.  And then, when you see how it concludes, well, it will blow you away.

Seriously though, this is a fun film.  My favourite, of the 3 or 4 that I made with my son and his friend Keaton.

Click on this link to download, if you like.
It will only be around for a little while, because it eats away at my monthly bandwidth allotment.

(I have removed the link.  It was pushing me over my limit.)

Monday, July 18

Alone, At Last, You And I

Okay, I think it's safe to return now.
Finally, Devoted Reader, you and I can be alone. All those fair-weather posters and hangers-on to this blog have by now departed for other blogs; tired of waiting for updates on the minutae of my life, desperate to comment on anything, anywhere, they have gone.
Now it can be just as it should be:  Me, posting my little moments of nothingness, and you, Devoted Reader, reading and occasionally responding.
This should show you, once and for all, Devoted Reader, just how committed I am to our relationship.  Do you have any idea how difficult it's been, in the past ten days, to not post about the growth of my grass, or the status of my toilet bowl?  Yes, I know it's been hard for you too, not having new updates about the Fist of Fingers, wondering how in the world you'll get your updates on what I think of the final season of Six Feet Under.  I know it was hard for all of us.
But it had to be done.  I had to purge this site of its pending popularity.
Now it's a wasteland, except for you, Devoted Reader, a desert of deserted thoughts and ideas.
Now that it's just you and me, alone, well, now we can really get something going.

It's the return of Daily Postings, here on The Annekenstein Monster.

Friday, July 8

I Saw Your Balls

Well, our first show of the summer is finished.  What a relief.
The house was pretty much full, the crowd was ready for a show, and they got one.  It felt really good to hear laughter at the places where we were hoping laughter would occur.  It felt really good to hear gasps  at the places we thought there might be gasps.  Overall, I was somewhat overwhelmed by the positive response from the audience, both during the show, and afterwards, talking with those who stuck around, and who showed up at the Opening Night party at St. James Gate.  I believe much of the positive commentary was honestly offered, too, which is nice.  But maybe I'm necessarily naive in that respect.

Comment of the night, as it related to me:  At The Gate, talking to a couple of people, and this pretty young lady that I didn't recognise walks past me and whisper-speaks:  I saw your balls.  As for the context of how that might happen during the show, I'll leave that to the imagination of those who haven't seen the show yet.  I was left speechless when she said it.  I almost asked her if she liked what she saw, but I was afraid her reply might be in the negative and I'd be forever scarred emotionally by her potentially cutting remark.  So, I didn't say anything.  I was kind of wishing she'd have said "nice balls" instead, though.

As for the rest of the show, I was very pleased with the way we performed it, and the way the audience reacted to it.  I was very nervous about performing my Debbie Gaudet monologue (especially with my in-laws in the audience), since she is, well, let's say she's [understatement} a bit potty-mouthed [/understatemnt].  I walked out and there was probably about 30 seconds of huge laughter just at the costume.  After that, my fears disappeared and I launched into a speech that I found very therapeutic.  That sketch was probably my personal highlight.
I am, of course, very fearful to perform it again tonight.

To those of you who came out to the show last night, thanks for laughing and being generous with that laughter.  You are all very kind.

Tuesday, July 5

Sketch22 or Sketch Two, Too

Well, our second season gets underway this Thursday evening, a mere 23 hours from now.
I'm pretty nervous, wondering how the audience will react.  I have a lot of confidence in most of the material, although there are a few sketches for which I wonder how an audience will react.  We are, of course, fearful that the audience won't share our group's sense of humour, yet we also know that much of the show makes us all laugh a lot.  And the few people who've seen snippets of the new material have been genuinely laughing at it, so that's good.  Still, the "Will They Like Us" nerves are definitely there.
It's going to be a long 23 hours.  We have a late night dress rehearsal tomorrow night which should wipe us out.
Gulp.  What have we gotten into?  Whose bright idea was it to come up with all new material for this summer?  It sure would have been safer to rely on the successful sketches from last year.  But then, I probably wouldn't have this pit of worry and nerves in my stomach right now.
The payoff, assuming that audiences dig it, will be worth it.  And the excitement and anticipation of giving the audience all new material is pretty intense.

Stay tuned...

Friday, July 1


I like the band OK Go.
I like their bass-heavy upbeat pop rockiness.

After seeing this video (quicktime), I like them even more.  To take the time and bother to learn the choreography, they endear themselves to me.

Only, not 'endear' because, well, that word's kinda pussy.

Happy Anniversary, Darling Wife

Today is my and my wife's 18th wedding anniversary.  We got married on Canada Day in 1987.  We chose Canada Day because we thought that each year, we'd both have our anniversary off to do whatever we pleased.
I think in the past 18 years, we've maybe had one or two Canada Days only where we've both been off work.  Karyn is a summer tour guide and most Canada Days she works.  I've had probably a third of my Canada Days in the past where I'd have a show performance or rehearsal...
Oh well, so much for those "day off" plans.  We'll have them in our retirements, perhaps.

So, on this day of anniversary, both personal and national, a day that was spent by me cutting the grass and helping my father with a couple of computer questions, I'd like to say to my wife, who has spent the day telling tourists the history of our Island, that I love her.
And so, I will.

I love you Karyn. 

You're the best thing that's ever happened to me or my world.
Many more, okay?

Sketch22 Summer 2005

We are less than one week away from opening our second season of Sketch22. Last year was a pretty big success for us. We decided early on in writing for this new season that we wouldn't rely on last year's characters or sketches and that we'd come up with all new material. As daunting as it was, I am glad we made that decision. We have some great new sketches, plus a couple that I'm a bit nervous about, due to content, not necessarily quality.
Come and check us out!