On the Outs…

Of escrow that is. Well, we knew the job was dangerous when we took it. The “buyers” of our home chickened out today. Sissys. They couldn’t take the heat of having to sell their home and buy ours–they wouldn’t make the commitment like we did–to take some chances, believe that their house will sell and make the connections to get into this house.


It’s not the salad days of 2001 when our house sold in 24 hours—for the asking price. This is the real market. This is the real deal. And we’re in it for the long haul. We are still moving and we are still selling. We never left the MLS and now we are back active, price dropped a little bit and we’re good to go. Open houses again, aggressive you know–we mean to sell. No more contingencies.

Yeah, yeah–you don’t care, I know. I’ve got a wine tasting tomorrow and I’ll post that here. I don’t even know what the lineup is and today was a day to catch up on sleep again after perfomrances. I’m afraid light posting is in the offing for a few days. Contact me with any items of note–especially food and wine related….

OH! I forgot. We love our little town and are generally happy here. Most recently, a couple of good fine dining choices have opened up (one of them the wine bistro that I’ll attend tomorrow) and even a couple of wine bars. But there has never really been a good pizza joint–never. We’ve got all the major store brands of course, but no one really set up shop to do the real thing, you know?

That changed during the past couple of weeks–and tonight, we discovered it—Cucina Isabella (no website yet)! It’s owned and run by Gino Milano and it rocks in the pizza-licious sort of way. We’re talking here about crust that is edible all by itself and fresh toppings. These aren’t the Sysco delivered meats and cheeses—these, my friends, are the tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, meatballs (our choice, that one) and oh my….I still taste it. In my mouth, this time, not burping it up in some foul smoky conconction charring my esophagus and eating away at my stomach lining and in a hellish fashion. No–this is the fine taste of real pizza–New York style–that is just delightful, tasty and…Real.

Would that there were more such places. For now–I’ll be happy with my own hometown pizza. And that is something I’ve wanted to say for a long, long time.

"A Night of Revels…"

“Oh, come now….The galants demand it! ‘Tis a night of revels…”
…Iago in Othello

Well I was right. Last night’s performance of Othello was our all around best. It was my personal best and I thinkas a show, it really took off, had a cohesion that it didn’t have before and I felt like there was a real story in which we all took part. It was a lot of fun. The crowd was large–and very electric. They “got” the play and were there for good reason–wanted to be there.

The best part was I actually got home and was in bed by around 11:30. Sue was awake when I got home which was even nicer and I got a pretty solid night’s sleep right here in the middle of the play. It’s a good feeling, I tells ya.

I am trying to get some photos of Othello–maybe even of myself, but I have to be careful. Non-publicity shots are frowned upon, so I may have to settle for some backstage stuff that I take. I cannot take a picture of the stage so that’s right out.

Gentles, I’ll not bore you with more particulars. Suffice to say there will be much more to report here soon–but now isn’t the time and….well…..yeah. That’s it. Big finish.

Time and Tide

Before I get started, I have to bring to your attention this article on my pal Edd. I used to freelance for the Ventura County Start and while doing that, I met Colleen Cason-a columnist at the paper. She wrote the piece and with a few minor errors, it tells Edd, Leanne and Jacob’s story wonderfully.

O.K. Some big news is in the offing, at least that is my plan. But once again, I am forbidden to write anything here until I have more clear news on the matter. I’ll await that news early on Monday or Tuesday of next week and of course, will report here. It is decidedly wine news–that’s the best I can say right now.

Last night began weekend two of Othello and it went pretty well. The director still thinks our scene could use more energy and that I could be more “commanding” as the Duke. What keeps puzzling me though is that he bases this solely on my voice. He wants me to be involved with all the other senators in mumbling and political dispute, but he wants me to be commanding at the same time. I’ve been confused by this and am trying to work through it. Fortunately, one of the veteran actors with whom I work in the scene, Charlie Hutchins, an equity actor and a good guy, has been helping me figure out my character pretty well. Along with my pal Richard–another veteran actor who is also in the scene, we are getting it straight and I am confident tonight and tomorrow will be even better.

I must confess to having been, if not fully bitten then at least mildly stung, by the “bug.” I’m really enjoying being on stage with the production and find myself thinking about how to do more work on stage. I’ve no desire to pursue acting, mind you, as a career–or trying to “break-in” to the business. Rather, I find I really enjoy working with a theater company and doing scenes. Depending on schedules, I will pursue that–at very least during summers when school is not in session.

We continue to pack and ready ourselves for the big move. It’s a busy and distracting time as we await escrow closing on both houses and the stress is building. We are handling it well, I think–and Sue and I make conscious efforts not to take that stress out on each other or Peanut. That’s an important lesson in a time like this.

Weekends and Wine

So behind, so behind. OK–Wine.

Went to a tasting the other night and found everything we drank wonderful. That’s almost as bad as not liking any of it because then you’re sort of bound to buy something (we did) and spend money you don’t have (we didn’t). We split a case of meritage with our pals Brian and Karen and we spent well under $100.oo. I had the list of the night’s tastings in front of me and thinking that I wanted to blog about it, I wrote notes to myself…..so: “lots of black fruits with a nice peppery core, even some smoke…” And what did I do with the list? Well, I can tell you this–I didn’t bring it home.

I know what we purchased was Hahn’s Meritage. It is a typical Bordeaux blend albeit from California. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot were the varietals. I remember the sales guy, Chuck–a good guy who knew his wines well–saying that the winemaker liked the sort of Blueberry color and mouthfeel that the Petite Verdot provided. And he was right, by Gawd. There was that sort of hint in the wine and it was really exceptionally good at about $10.00 a bottle. Thus, as I have said, I really like going to these wine tastings–any wine tasting where I get to try new wines I probably wouldn’t have found on my own. Sometimes, I’m so pleasantly surprised, I become sort of the new Champion of the wine I’ve tried and tell everyone I know about it. It then, of course, sells out thus defeating my purpose and I am foiled yet again.


We did a brief run-through of the show tonight to cement it a little bit for this weekend’s performances. Three shows–Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I am excited. It is a fun show–a lot of fun to do and my wife has been so very supportive. She hasn’t seen it yet–but she will next week. I don’t want Peanut to see it as it is a very dark show and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t like it very much–except when I came out on stage. She’d love that but wonder what the heck I was saying. So, I think she will be home.

Thus begins another very busy and exhausting weekend so posting will be–present, but light.

Summer is soooo much fun!

Soft Landing

The schedule has been way out of whack what with living the actor’s life and all. I can tell you that as much as I have learned and as much as I am enjoying being part of the cast for Othello, I thoroughly enjoyed the night off last night with Sue and Peanut. We went out to dinner with my sister-in-law at Sawadee, a locally owned Thai food restaurant that one of my colleagues at the Reporter called “one of the very best meals in Ventura County.” I think she may be right. The usual suspects for us: Pad Thai, Thai fried rice, Chicken sate, Thai iced tea. Sue and Laurie opted for Lychee fruit in Strawberry puree for dessert. I went with freshly sliced mango and sticky sweet rice. Wow. Good stuff. Tonight, a wine tasting at Enoteca. It’s good to have my life back a little bit. I’ll fill you in on the particulars of the wine either this eve or in the morning.

Meanwhile, still packing for the move and preparing for the big day. We have more time than usual because our escrows are incongruous. The escrow for our new home closes on the 11th of August, but the escrow here is not set to close until the first of September. This is actually rather nice because we get to hang out a bit and move slowly.

I’ll get into more of a writing groove here soon. Movie review to come as well: Pirates of the Caribbean

Out of Sorts

A kind of tired I am unused to has phased in. Sue and Peanut went up to visit Sue’s brother, his wife and Sue’s niece yesterday in Fresno. Now, it was 117 degrees in Fresno, so I cannot complain about the heat here too loudly. But it was 110 in Thousand Oaks yesterday. By the time I got on stage, it was closer to 90 (probably 88 or so) with no breeze, no rain, nothing. Did I mention that my costume weighs about 12 pounds?

Anyway, the show is going well. We are at the point where we’re sort of just playing now. Our lines are pretty solid (most of the time) and the play moves along. It is three hours long, though–and since my small part is a mere 10-12 minutes on stage, I confess that it gets rather boring backstage.

The opening night party was held last night and since the fam was out for the eve, I thought I’d pop round and share a cigar with the boys. I also drank a martini. I was convinced to do this by my pal, Richard–he plays Brabantio in the play, because he’s a martini fan. However, Richard did the blending and these were like drinking Everclear. I was drunk before I got to the bottom of the glass. I wasn’t buzzed. I was drunk–but perhaps only at the beginning of it. So–knowing this had happened and already beginning not to feel well, I grabbed a bottle of fruit water from my pal Scott and then drank two more bottles of water. I also ate a little food and within an hour or so I had sobered up appropriately.

So–them, home. I got home at 2:00 in the morning or so and took a shower to cool off. It had not cooled off in the evening at all and so I was a bit ripe. Now, my guess is none of you think this a big deal, but I do. I got into bed and for some reason watched a little TV to wind down. When I turned it off, it was 3:00 A.M. I don’t think I can remember the last time I went to bed at 3:00 A.M. I missed my family a bit and the house was so still, so quiet–but even so, exhaustion drove me to sleep and the next thing I knew it was light outside. I rolled over yet again and got up around 9:00.

The migraine kicked in after lunch and so I popped one my miracle pills and dropped off to sleep around 2:30. At 5:00 this evening, the phone rang and it was Sue–they were dropping off Aunt Laurie and on their way home. So–I am getting ready to go back to the play tonight in the hundred degree temperatures and do the play one more time. No play tomorrow night and off through Friday. So, I’ll catch up on some wine news and other things once tonight is over.

Opening night

Hard to explain last night, really. I’m not an actor (nor do I play one on TV), but last night I lived that life as Othello opened on the mainstage at the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival. My part is a small one, I’m on stage for about 10 minutes or so, but the play is so good–so well done and such a beautiful production that it was fun to be a part of.

While I’m not an actor, I have performed–many times, mostly as a musician, in lots of places. As a radio-host, I’ve done lots of live shows. I found similarities between these kinds of performances and unfortunately, one of the biggest similarities is the kind of let-down I feel when it’s over. A combination of two feelings, actually, one is the feeling that my part of the show didn’t go well and the other is I’m sorry it’s over. They are almost diametrically opposed, but I maintain both thoughts at the same time and then I go and sit in my chair and wait. It’s a long show–too long right now, my guess is there will be cuts, and my part comes within the first 20 minutes of the show. My duty discharged, I go back stage and sit under the trees and….wait. Curtain call comes around 11 P.M. (again, I am guessing this will be earlier tonight and subsequent nights) and then, home.

It’s an odd feeling right now…having so many other irons in the fire and being so incredibly busy, I don’t have that feeling of “freedom” I like to have going into shows of various kinds. There are so many things going on in our lives what with selling one house, buying another, taking Peanut on summer vacations and such—it’s hard to focus on just the show. Kingsmen did a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream before this one of Othello and one of the board members, a good friend of mine, gave me a tongue-lashing about not coming to see it and supporting my fellow actors. Thing is–I would love to have come and seen it, but there was rarely time. I had no baby-sitter access and Peanut has been going through a phase where she defies a lot of our instructions about bedtime. We’re trying to calm that down and make it stop, but so far–not a lot of luck. Result? Hard to take her to a play that goes until 10:00 or 10:30 at night which appears as some kind of reward for behavior that doesn’t really warrant it. Parenting come first, I think.

Oy. Rambling. So–it’s an interesting time. I’ll tell you this, I’m fascinated by this play for many reasons. The stars of the show, Thomas Silcott (Othello) and Marc Silver (Iago) are simply astounding in their roles and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. Come and see it.


Ah, gentles–last night’s tech/dress rehearsal was a minor success and tonight….The show goes on tonight. As I have a young child and my daughter is not, shall we say, a person who sleeps in–sleep has come in fits and starts. I did not return home from rehearsal last night until well after midnight again and was in bed asleep by 1. But, at 2, right on cue, Peanut awoke and needed a little comforting. Happens a lot to kids her age–no big deal, except when I’m not getting a full night’s sleep. It’s been a little rough.

Meanwhile, home purchasing and home selling has moved into phase two–escrow. This is the third home I have purchased and I have become rather sanguine about it all—well, not entirely. But, I do realize that while escrow has all kinds of financial implications for the lenders and borrowers, it has really none on me unless: A) you fall out of it…or B) it ends. And therefore, while we are in escrow, “it ain’t over till it’s over…” It will, of course, be nice when it is over.

So, The Readiness is all…and we are ready. And the waiting is the hardest part.

New habits

As I write this I am at late rehearsal for Othello. We’re running Tech/dress rehearsals the process of which is maddening, but enlightening. Right now, Iago is swearing his “allegiance” to Othello to undertake whatever Othello wishes. I, on the other hand, am exhausted. I am no longer a nightowl as I was in college. 15 years of teaching and 5 year of being a father have beat night out of me for early mornings. Result—not much sleep–though my sister in law came to the rescue today, took Peanut swimming and left me alone to sleep two blessed, oblivious hours.

I am in the new habit of keeping a wineblog
over at my pal Greg’s site, The Studio Bar. I will write there only about wine, though at times I will copy what I’ve written here–if what’s here is about wine. Sometimes, there’ll be more expansive pieces like the one yesterday on Disney and one today on terroir. I humbly ask you to visit and wine-up.

The house is in escrow–making Sue and me very happy. We are in fervent prayer that escrow goes well. It would, indeed, provide for all of us to be happier.

Well–Othello is now trying to catch Desdemona in his “trap.” The hankerchief!”

UPDATE: Yes, I know the new wine blog is password protected. My apologies. Let me see what I can do…

Disney's Wine Programs

Sounds like Disney is struggling to figure out their wine program. This article is pretty interesting from the Wall Street Journal, a reputable and strong wine source. As a California resident and Disneyland season pass holder, I think the Florida experience mirrors the California one. (h/t The Disney Blog).

According to the Disney Blog, The Mouse employs over 300 sommeliers. If that’s the case, perhaps some of those folks can start convincing the Mouse that he needs to make some subtle, yet important changes.