Wednesday, August 27, 2008

11,000 hits on YouTube

On June 29th, 2008, I blogged about getting 5,000 hits on a YouTube video I posted in January 2008 of my MaltiPoo puppy.

Now, 2 months later, the number of hits is just 8 short of 11,000.

I'd like to thank the cast and crew, my agent, and most of all, Pumpkin the MaltiPoo, for her amazing performance.

If you missed it the first time, here's the movie again.

Experimenting with blog service

I've been experimenting with the blog service, a really simple solution for blogging that I learned about on Guy Kawasaki's blog . I've set it up so that blogs posted to will automatically be posted to my other blog address, 

You can also set up to automatically send its postings to Twitter, Flikr, Tumblr, or almost any other mainstream blog service.

If you choose to have posts relayed to Twitter, the first 130 words are posted on Twitter, and a URL links to the complete blog. 

Posted by email from jtChatter (posterous)

A cool feature of

You can set up to automatically send blogs entries to any other blog you've created. For instance, I've set to automatically post it's content to

Now I'll go see if it worked.

Posted by email from jtChatter (posterous)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

We did Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner today at 1:30 pm. That's the name of the play we went to at The New Theater, not our eating schedule.

It's a story about an obese woman who gets so fat that she spends the entire second half of the play floating near the ceiling (I know, it didn't make sense to us either). Meanwhile her husband is Mr. Nice Guy, and her sister is a sexy babe sex addict who falls in love with a cop. My artistic suggestion would be less floating in mid-air by the blimped-out fat-suit woman, and more lingerie scenes with the sexy younger sister. Or, just let the younger sister float for a while.

There seemed to be a point being made, but I'm not sure what. The happy ending was in the form of the blimp-woman exploding in a poof of flower petals as her spirit happily floated off into the vast expanse of the universe.

Warning: do not attempt to watch this play and Coriolanus (or Othello) within the same 24 hour period. It's sure to have psychotic consequences. I personally ran to Lithia Park and started gulping the water from the river, hoping it really had Lithium in it.

OK, I'm being cruel. It wasn't that bad. The stage settings were great. The lighting was great. The acting was great. And it was amazing to realize that this was the same theater we'd been in the night before to watch Coriolanus. The space was so totally transformed that it was absolutely unrecognizable, including the audience seating area. Ah the magic of stage designers.

Tonight we plan to go to the downtown movie theater a couple of blocks away and see Mama Mia!

Tomorrow we find a ride to Medford and fly home.

Saturday morning stroll

After breakfast we strolled through Lithia Park, which runs along the river.

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Robin tosses a couple of coins in a fountain.

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A pond in Lithia Park.

Two more plays

Last night's performance of Coriolanus in the New Theater was intense and interesting. The costuming was modern-day soldiers and politicians. Coriolanus, a war hero, is banned from Rome, after defeating the enemy, because the Tribunes (who speak for the rioting merchants) fear his arrogance and think he'll become a tyrant. And they think he should lower the cost of grain for them. Coriolanus thinks they should shut their yaps be grateful that he saved their city. After being banned, Coriolanus joins forces with the recently defeated enemy (the Volcians) to extract revenge on Rome. He's such a great leader that the other Volcian leaders are jealous of his power. When Rome hears he's joined forces with the enemy and is seeking revenge, they're like, freakin' out. They send Coriolanus's mother, wife, and child to him to beg for mercy. It works. He makes peace with Rome. Then the Volcians kill him, Julius Ceasar style (knives and lots of blood). The End.

The stage decoration was sparse, but imaginative, with multiple trap doors in the floor providing entrances and exits, and used a props for foxholes during battles.

The theater itself is an amazing venue. It's a fairly small, round theater and our front row seats kept us within a few feet of the actors most of the time.

A Tribune in the Roman Senate questions war hero Coriolanus about his arrogant attitude towards the common people.

Yesterday afternoon's performance of The Clay Pot was visually stunning. But the classic East Indian drama was a little too boring for me. It's a story of a rich man who loses his fortune and most of his friends, then falls in love with a young courtesan. The brother-in-law of the king is also in love with the young woman and kills her (he thinks), then blames it on the poor man. Blah blah blah, then a happy ending for everyone. You know, the usual 1600 year old East Indian classic theater stuff.

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The Clay Cart.

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The young courtesan paints a portrait of her lover.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Moving Day

We moved out of our Patio room (at the Winchester House) today, and into the Sunset room on the second floor.

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View of the Ashland Springs Hotel from our room's balcony.

As we strolled to the afternoon performance of The Clay Cart, we saw a local in a store window (below).

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Music on the Plaza.

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A blogging spot in the Winchester House bar.

Official Mermaid Tavern signage revealed

Carmen and Gregg Sheldon, friends from Santa Rosa, California, left yesterday to return home. They both work at Santa Rosa Junior College and school starts today. Gregg is a student counselor. Carmen is head of the Applied Graphics department, meaning she teaches design, art, graphics software applications, etc. Carmen made this beautiful wood and clay sculpture sign for Robin.

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A new sign for Robin's Mermaid Tavern.

Robin's house is known as The Mermaid Tavern. In Shakespeare's day, the original Mermaid Tavern was on the corner of Friday and Bread Streets in London. All of the notable writers, thinkers, and poets of the day (not including the man named William Shakespeare) met there on the first Friday of every month (on Friday Street) to socialize and discuss politics, literature, and whatever.

The original group was known as The First Friday Club. The group of Shakespeare readers that meet at Robin's house on the first Friday of every month is also known as The First Friday Club.

Robin visited the location while in London. It's still a pub. It's now named The Seahorse. The current owners had no clue about its illustrious history, but it's interesting that they happened to choose a name that's closely related to the original, even though they didn't realize the original name was The Mermaid Tavern.

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The Friday Street side of the original Mermaid Tavern.

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The Bread Street side of The Mermaid Tavern.

A very good play and a really great play

Yesterday afternoon we saw The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler. The original play Hedda Gabler became a national sensation in 1902 when it was performed on Broadway. The play is, by some, considered to be a female Hamlet. I don't think so (I've seen it on DVD), but suffice it to say it's an important play in the history of theater.

The version performed here is a comedy, based on the concept that fictitious, iconic characters live in a sort of purgatory until they're forgotten by society. Hedda meets other cultural icons from fictitious plays, movies, and TV shows, even Greek myths. Funny and thoughtful. Very entertaining. Great performances, especially by the two stereotypical gay men, and the black "Mammy" from Gone With The Wind.

Last night's performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream was fantastical wondrous (to paraphrase Mary Sidney). The fairies were over-the-top gay men who occasionally broke into disco dance and song. Some of the dialog was spoken as disco songs or as rap music. This was one of the most interesting plays of the week so far.

This afternoon we'll see The Clay Cart (an 8 hour play from India that's been cut down to 3 hours). Tonight performance is Coriolanus. Word is that it's great.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lithia Park

Beautiful Lithia Park is located between the Shakespeare Festival complex and a river that flows through donwntown. It's named after the fact that the water contains Lithium. Well, there seems to be some debate about that, but supposedly, if you drink the water from one of the public water fountains in the center of town, you'll notice a strong mineral taste, but probably won't notice any mood stabilizing effects that you were hoping for. So don't cancel your lithium prescription if you have one.

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Maybe these guys have been drinking the water in Lithia Park.

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A wading area in Lithia Park.

We saw The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler this afternoon. Now we're off to see A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Ashland photos

Friends Carmen and Gregg walked the one block from their hotel to our B&B to meet us for a great breakfast and a leisurely visit before they start the 6 hour drive back to Santa Rosa (North of San Francisco).

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Carmen and Robin discuss the Othello tragedy.

Morning blogging at the Winchester House B&B.

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A chocolate chip cookie makes its entrance.

Othello and A View From the Bridge

Box seats for the production of A Comedy of Errors.

Last night we enjoyed a great production of Othello from the front row in the outdoor Elizabethan stage last night. Great actors made Iago wonderfully disgusting and Othello disgustingly jealous. Lots of great line deliveries, like Desdemona screaming at the top of her lungs "Kill me tomorrow! In thirty minutes! After one prayer!" as she futilely ran for her life around the stage, trying to escape Othello. The stage lighting and the passion of the two main actors provided a literal shower of spit and sweat across the stage. When the usher had earlier shown us to our seats, she'd said "I hope you don't get spit on." We didn't, but it was close. We also found ourselves cringing in defensive postures in our chairs as sword fights spilled offstage into the audience and metal cups were thrown and kicked in anger.

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Lobby of the Angus Bowmer Theater, one of three theaters of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

We had a horrific experience at the afternoon play (Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge). Once again, front row seats. It's an intense story of illegal Italian immigrants in New York City. The tension builds for a couple of hours, the main character is dying on stage, and my iPhone, which I powered completely off and put in my jeans pocket, starts ringing. Not really ringing, just playing Zorba the Greek as a ring tone. Somehow, my jeans pocket had pressed against the power button, and our friend Lew was calling to arrange meeting for a drink. I fumbled desperately for the phone, Robin pushed the mute button. Fortunately the volume was on low and just a few people near us realized what was happening. If any of the actors heard it, they didn't let on.

Our friends in other parts of the theater said they didn't hear it. I felt like Othello, realizing what a horrible thing I'd just done. It took about an hour and several glasses of wine at Liquid Assets (below) to put it all behind me.

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Gregg, Carmen, and Robin.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sirrah! It's Ashland, Oregon!

jtChatter reporting here with exclusive reports from lovely Ashland, Oregon. News, reviews, and paparazzi-style photos.

We arrived yesterday in Medford. Pal Lew Nelson picked us up at the airport, drove us to Ashland. Lew is the long-time leader of the Corvallis Mac User Group, probably the best and most active Mac user group in the world. So, in addition to Shakespeare, we'll be having great Mac discussions for the next few days. I just hope we can conjure up the will power to NOT iChat with each other during the plays. That would be rude (but fun).

Last night we attended A Comedy of Errors at the Elizabethan Theater. The theater is spectacular. The play was an adaption, meaning they took huge liberties with the plot and dialog. The setting was a western town of cowboys (instead of ancient Greece). It was also a musical. A very good one actually. Costuming, acting, singing, and set designs were great. Unfortunately, the second half after intermission became chaotic and silly to the point of transforming into a mixture of the Keystone Cops and the Three Stooges. I was, however, impressed that someone could choreograph such chaos. The fascinating thing was that while Robin and I were sitting there sober-faced, thinking how over-the-top silly it was getting, most of the audience was practically falling out of their chairs laughing. It was like they'd never seen slapstick humor before. A woman (and her young daughter) was sitting in the same box seats with us and she was beside herself, laughing hysterically, leaning over the balcony and pointing at the actors. Interestingly, her young daughter (looked about 9 years old) had the same sober reaction that Robin and I had… huh?

Pictures later. Meanwhile, here's the link to a web gallery.