Does Anybody Really Buy Sheet Music Anymore?

Or, I suppose I should say, “Does anybody really buy sheet music written by somebody who isn’t dead anymore?” Not that I mean they *were* dead and somehow became not dead and then wrote music which nobody would buy. I meant… Well, I’m sure you know what I meant. Forgive me, I just saw Eric Idle and John Cleese at the Hippodrome last night, and clearly some silliness is lingering in my noggin.

So, ANYway… At the beginning of this year I decided to try using sheetmusicplus for selling digital sheet music versions of my pieces. I had been trying to sell stuff through my own web page for about 10 years or so, with very limited success. It’s also a pain to maintain and keep up with it. I’ve only had a couple handfuls of sales over that period of time, so it hardly seemed worth all the fuss of putting this stuff out there. So, this seemed like a good option since I could just upload the PDFs to a digital publisher/distributer, link people to the stuff there, and let them handle the sales part and all that nonsense.

It took about 10 months, but somebody in Colorado bought my cello and piano piece. Yay for few bucks that I didn’t have before!! I purposefully didn’t engage in a whole lot of marketing efforts or talking this up, because I just wanted to see what would happen for a handful of pieces up there over a stretch of time. Since it seems to work, I can start throwing more stuff up there for sale and also start engaging in more of that “hawking one’s wares” stuff that we artists have to do but aren’t always that great at doing.

Feel free to check out what is up there now, and I’m sure I’ll start mentioning things as they become available!

sheetmusicplus logo

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Wilderness Anticipation

In less than 24 hours I will be on my way to Shenandoah National Park. This is actually the first significant trip I have taken where it has been completely by choice, and a destination of my own choosing that was not influenced by other factors. At least, no factors other than wanting it to be within driving distance and staying within a particular (and frugal) budget.

Usually, trips and vacations have been influenced almost completely by family or friends. Either because family or friends were going somewhere, or they have been the destination. Significant business trips can be counted on one hand. These trips have always been quite enjoyable, but it is nice to feel more in-command of the content and character of a vacation. I feel less like a hanger-on, or somebody who is taking advantage of the hospitality of others. I honestly feel like this is my first “grown up” vacation.

I’ll be heading out tomorrow morning, and going to the North entrance of the park at Front Royal, VA. Then, I’ll drive almost half the full length of Skyline Drive (41.9 miles) to Skyland Resort where I have a cabin room waiting.


I have a few things that I want to do for sure: Visit Luray Caverns; Hike a stretch of the Appalachian Trail; Try some Geocaching. There are a couple of other hikes and rock scrambles I’ll probably try, but want to get there and ask around before making decisions on those.

I invested in some good basic equipment, including good hiking shoes, backpack, water bottles, food, headgear, bug repellent (I’m already a little bitten-up from rehearsals at the PFI!), sunscreen, and more. It’s not really going to be particularly dangerous, but since I will be on my own, I wanted to be well-prepared.

I haven’t quite decided if I will go completely dark. I imagine I will still be connected, and will probably not be able to resist the urge to post some photos and micro-blog on Facebook. There are some other hopes about the trip, in terms of inspiration. I’ll have my music notebook with me, and my keyboard app in case any musical inspiration strikes. I’m bringing along some reading, including the writings of John Muir.

This trip comes at an interesting time, where there is a bit of a change in the wind. I will be finishing my Masters in December, and when I return from this trip I will start officially searching for that Arts Management Rock Star job that I want to land by some time in 2016. I will be looking beyond just local opportunities, so my search will not be limited by geography. So this trip has excitement to it for what it represents, and for what it is leading into after.


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The Artistic & Creative Side of Life

When I made the commitment to graduate school, I did so with the understanding and companion decision that I would not be able to do any music or theatre projects of great significance. In fact, I had settled on the basic idea that I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything else in the context of working full-time and school. If I learned anything in the couple years prior to starting the Masters, it is that my fuel tank of time and energy is hardly bottomless. I would really need to give some careful thought and analysis of how any side project might impact my studies, before adding it to my stack.

The first thing that came up was doing the sound design for Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Fall 2013 production of Dracula. Doing a sound design is the kind of work I can schedule anywhere, and most of the work is done once the show opens. It also isn’t necessary to be at a large number of rehearsals, although I tend to go to more than just a few as part of how I approach a sound design. Based on these facts, I decided to just go for it even though it came up during my very first semester of study.

This one was a lot of fun, and the most challenging aspect was finding enough different and realistic versions of wolf howls and bat sound effects. I also enjoy the opportunity to do a sound design with lots of underscoring. The basic idea was to make it seem more like the audience was watching an old, Gothic, horror film. This production was a moveable production, where the audience moves around to different sections of the ruins for each scene. This, of course, presents certain technical challenges in terms of producing the sound. One of my favorite experimental ideas was using a wireless bluetooth speaker for some of the scenes. For one, the audience was standing and surrounding the players, and we hid the speaker in a bowl of fruit on the table. The sound person played the cue from their mobile device while standing there amongst the audience. The background music for the scene was relatively subtle and unassuming, but also quite spooky. And the audience could see no obvious source for the music which was clearly coming from right where the players were. This technical choice had some shortfalls and issues, but I look forward to a chance to try it again and improve upon the idea.

The next opportunity to present itself was music directing CSC’s summer 2014 production of As You Like It. Since CSC productions aren’t really musicals in a traditional sense, but productions that incorporate live songs and music, this project would also be more about preparation. My spring semester would also wind down just before the need to make some stronger commitments of time and energy for the show, and my one Summer class would not start until after opening when I would no longer really be needed. So, this was another easy one to say yes to, and I think it is CSC’s strongest presentation of live music in one of their productions so far. This can be highly attributed to the fine pool of musical talent (and enthusiastic giving of energy) that was available in the cast. Preparation, guidance, and decision-making were certainly involved, but everything went so smoothly that it was a magical and rewarding experience for all.

I could say that the next “possible” project proved a bit more challenging to consider. It really was more of a no-brainer, and I simply had to make it work. Not many people actively involved with a theatre company have a chance to be a part of the grand opening of a brand new theater unlike any other. Whatever I might be asked to do, I would very happily do. As it turned out, I got to music direct, play piano, and appear on stage as Snout for CSC’s inaugural production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. To make this possible, I decided to take both of my program electives in the Fall semester, which were online courses. So, I could more flexibly schedule the coursework around the time commitments required for the production. Since I could go on and on about this experience, it’s probably best if I just say that it is certainly at the top of the list of most rewarding experiences ever.

Following this, was a very light commitment to help music direct a choral piece used in Richard II. And then, was our first of what will be an annual production of A Christmas Carol. Christmas Carol was definitely one of the more challenging nuts to crack. It is much closer to an actual musical than anything done so far, as there were many musical selections incorporated into the production. But, we also had 2 professional musicians, and that was a big help. My personal favorites were the rendition of Sleigh Ride we presented, as well as a very charming and laid-back version of Good King Wenceslas. Both are holiday favorites of mine. A lot of important lessons were learned in the first production, and I have no doubts that those lessons will be very helpful for the company when we do it again next year.

Wrapping up 2014, and leading in to the first week of January 2015, I took on a little project for The Vagabond Players production of Interlock. This is a seldom-performed play by Ira Levin, who wrote Deathtrap and Rosemary’s Baby. One of the characters is a piano player who wrote an award-winning composition when he was 14. I provided pre-recorded piano music for the production, coached the actor a bit on the mock playing of the (non-working) stage piano, and one of my pieces was used as the piece the character composed.

Right now I am in one of those moments where a project has just wrapped up, and I don’t officially have a next project lined up. This is okay, because I certainly have plenty to worry about with the two main priorities of the day job and the graduate school. Until I have the piece of paper, I will continue with the current approach. If something falls in my lap, I will carefully consider if it is something I can devote the right time and energy to doing well without negatively impacting my grades. Clearly, I’m managing the balance okay, since I’ve kept up the 4.0 GPA.

In the meantime, I ordered a book and picked up some other books at the library. I’ve had an idea for a musical bouncing around in my head for a about a year now, and it is about time I do some research. But, this is a subject for a future post…

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In Pursuit of the Masters

My main focus since early 2013 has been my graduate work. At this current moment, I have completed 24 credits of the 36 credits in the program. I have maintained a 4.0 GPA the entire time, and completely intend to keep that up for the final third. I will actually earn two credentials when I finish: A Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations. The latter is actually an 18 credit program, but the way things are working out means I take a required course for both programs in the final semester.

One of the things I’ve greatly appreciated about this program is the real world element to the coursework. Almost every class has incorporated projects or presentations that involved working with actual organizations. I have also made it a point to add a Performing Arts focus to as much of my coursework as possible. The goal, after all, is to become an Arts Management Rock Star.

Some of the highlights of my graduate studies…

Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Sector (Fall 2013) – The first main project was to do an analysis of the Mission, Vision, and Values statements for an organization. Since this had just come up recently with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company artist retreat earlier in the year, it was a natural choice. I can’t go into detail, but I can certainly say that CSC constructed a very good set of statements. We also did a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for The Wise Penny. The final group project was to develop an actual Strategic Plan, and my group had the chance to work with a very spiffy organization in Baltimore called The Book Thing.

Leadership & Organizational Development in Nonprofits (Fall 2013) – One key aspect of this class was exploring the difference between Leadership and Management. The basic summation is that Leaders are concerned with doing the right thing, and Managers are concerned with doing things the right way. For an early class, the professor announced that she was going to show a video of segments that feature charismatic leaders as depicted in the media. Before she hit play, I chimed out that the St. Crispin’s Day speech should be in there, or I would be very disappointed. It was, and this event helped create the situation where I was being referred to as “The Shakespeare Guy”. (I didn’t find this out until my second semester, but was very amused…) I read and analyzed a very nifty paper about Cultural Leadership. This wasn’t one of the official leadership styles or classifications we studied in class, but it is the one that I latched on to as it really resonated with me and is much more applicable to the Performing Arts. It helped define my other projects. I did a presentation that was a profile of Francesca Zambello, the Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera. Our final project and presentation was to profile and analyze a personal nonprofit leader we admire. I ended up thinking a bit outside the box, and my presentation was about Franz Joseph Haydn as a “Great Nonprofit Leader from History”. He really can be considered a nonprofit leader by today’s standards, and this project was a lot of fun. My main point in my presentation was that Haydn was the kind of leader that always stood up for his musicians. Even in cases where they shoot off a pistol and start a fire, or poke out a fellow musician’s eye. (Yes… really happened!)

Board Development and Human Resource Management in Nonprofits (Winter 2014) – As a winter term class, this was rather intense since it happened in such a short period of time. One of my projects was an analysis of the diversity of an interesting organization in Baltimore called The D Center, which was part of a full group project. Another big take-away for this class was some good information on working with volunteers.

Nonprofit Marketing (Spring 2014) – Everyone in the organization is in Marketing! (It’s true…) That’s the pretty key point right there. This time I got to do some work for a group I am connected to, and did a paper and presentation reviewing the marketing efforts of The Baltimore Homeschool Community Center. Up until I started my graduate work, that was the home for my piano studio and I certainly miss my students. But, it was nice to revisit them and throw some good ideas their way. (I think they actually used some of them!) For our final group project, we created a marketing plan for Annapolis Dog Rescue. One of my areas of focus for that was an analysis of the social media efforts, and suggestions for best practices.

Program Evaluation Methods (Spring 2014) – My favorite class so far! I’m clearly fond of the more technical classes like this one and the Strategic Planning class. I developed a program evaluation plan for Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s summer High School Corps program. I’m really excited at the idea of finding a clear way to evaluate organizations and specific programs in the Arts. It requires some creative thinking, since it can sometimes seem a little less clear than something like a program to feed the hungry where you can see and count how many meals you have provided. How do you quantitatively measure the success of a music or theatre camp? There are ways, and I can see myself really enjoying this kind of work!

Government Nonprofit Relations (Summer 2014) – Probably the most dry course so far. However, it was important and had useful information on things like the legislation process, and lobbying regulations. My main paper and presentation was a detailed look at The Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2911), and the potential impact to nonprofit performing arts organizations. (See what I mean about “dry”?)

Data Driven Business Decisions (Fall 2014) – This was one of my electives. Also a very technical, but enjoyable, class. I know I took a statistics class in High School (that I don’t even really remember), but it certainly wasn’t as intense as some of the math for this class. This featured sampling, hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and decision trees. For a while, I was actually a bit worried that I wouldn’t pull out the A in this class.

Web Development (Fall 2014) – My other elective. (My two Fall 2014 electives were online, and this was necessary due to my involvement with the Chesapeake Shakespeare productions.) Since I already had some good experience with web pages and HTML, this class was not hugely challenging. I did learn a lot more about CSS specifically, and that was really quite useful. My final project was to create a new web page for The Venus Theatre Company. At the present moment, the web page I developed has not been adopted. They may end up going a different route with it, and in many ways I think they would be better off using WordPress as a platform.

And here is what is needed to finish…

Nonprofit Law and Ethics (Winter 2015) – I have just started this class. A good chunk of this will be the actual nuts-and-bolts of creating a nonprofit organizations. Plus, some case studies on issues relating to ethics.

Managing Financial Resources in Nonprofits (Spring 2015) – This looks like it will be about accounting, financial reporting & analysis, and budgeting. I’m guessing I will get a lot out of this one, since I’m a numbers guy.

Fundraising and Grant Writing (Fall 2015) – Pretty self-explanatory. Since I needed to take both my electives in Fall of 2014 due to the aforementioned involvement with Chesapeake Shakespeare productions, I actually missed this course that semester. I’ve already gotten permission to take and transfer courses at Goucher College to meet this requirement. At Goucher it will actually be 4 credits since it is a 3 credit class on fundraising, and a 1 credit class specifically on grant writing. I’m actually excited at the idea of taking the classes at Goucher, as they are a part of their Masters in Arts Administration program. I have a feeling the classes at Goucher will be more detailed, and have more of an Arts focus anyway. And fundraising and grant writing is one of the most important things about Nonprofits!

Masters Project Seminar (Fall 2015) – This will be the capstone project. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, and I actually have the secondary goal of looking to get it published after. So, for that reason, I won’t go into huge detail. It will have a focus relating to music organizations.

So, I am on track to finish all my coursework at the end of this year!

Looking beyond the Master’s…

I have actually been scoping out possible Doctorate programs. In many ways, I think it would be completely insane to continue. However, I have been so successful with this that it is also worthy of consideration. A few that look interesting or promising are: Doctor of Public Administration from University of Baltimore (I like the idea of staying local), Doctor of Philosophy in Strategic Leadership from James Madison University (based on the fact that the more technical and analytical classes have the greater appeal for me), or one of the several Arts Administration PhD programs I have found.

Up next in the January 2015 series of reflections… The artistic and creative efforts!

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Hello, 2015!

I didn’t do a usual reflection process at the beginning of 2014, and there’s so much that has happened over the last couple years. I don’t think I can successfully go through the process of reflecting on 2013 and 2014 without compartmentalizing. The overall summary is that 2012 is still at the top of the list for most craptastic year ever. I succeeded in starting to turn things around in 2013, and that year worked out reasonably well. At least, up until the very end of the year (for now, I’ll refer to it as a “perfect storm” of financial whammies). Some really awesome and exciting things happened in 2014 (participating in the opening of Chesapeake Shakespeare’s new theater and the opening shows in its first season of productions), but these were counteracted by some equally powerful negative things (the way-too-early passing of a dear friend I’ve known for over 15 years). In general, I do feel like I continue to dig myself out of a pit. There’s been some avalanches, but I think I’m making progress.

So, a quick and general run-down would be:

2012 – Craptasticist ever
2013 – Much better, but challenging
2014 – Extremes, balancing into what can only be called a “not so great” year

I shall leave things there for now. I’m pretty sure this will be a series of posts. Since my last real post of substance was about my orientation for my graduate program, I will make my first more substantial reflection entry about the graduate school experience so far.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (Plus a few key updates…)

It is nice to be busy, and I’ve had a lot to add and update to the page. A reasonable chunk of this work was just knocked out, and I found myself digging through some old programs as part of this process. There was a bunch of recent stuff to update, but I also wanted to stretch back and touch on some older archival things as well. This included adding my very first stage appearances as an actor back in Junior High!

Another important update, is that a new recording is now available! The Laden Swallow is a solo piano piece, and my very first composition which was composed in May of 1992. It is now available at CDBaby, and should be finding its way to iTunes and other online distribution sources over the next several weeks. The main motivation for this offering? This piece will be used in the upcoming Vagabond Players production of Interlock in January & February of 2015. It is playing the part of Paul’s Nocturne, a piece composed by a character in the play.

That’s all for these wee hours of Christmas Day. More substantial updates on graduate school, recent artistic projects, and life in general, coming soon!

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Graduate School Orientation

Yesterday was new student orientation for my graduate program at NDM. The day proved to be a lot more tiring than I anticipated.

The official start time for the event was 8:00am… on a SATURDAY! They were smart enough to serve coffee and a continental style breakfast and didn’t really start official event activities until 9:00am. I picked up a folder, my name badge, my parking sticker, and then went to get some coffee and pastries. This gave me time to nibble, review the schedule, and take in my group of fellow students.

This particular orientation was for their College of Adult Undergraduate Students, and other Graduate Students such as myself. I think I may have been only a bit above the average age, as it seemed to swing between late 20s and mid 50s. I didn’t really notice it at first, but at one point I came to the realization that there were many more ladies than gentlemen. This really didn’t come as a shock, given that NDM has been historically and predominately a college for women. Since my brain had slipped into a mode of analyzing demographics, the final observation was that it was much more ethnically diverse, which was nice to see.

Shortly before 9:00am, they corralled us into the lecture hall. After the welcome and opening remarks, there was a presentation of the school’s history and some history for The School Sisters of Notre Dame. I actually started to tear up a bit when they had all of us stand to recite NDM’s Honor Code:

With a keen sense of responsibility, I accept this symbol of my entrance into the world of scholarship.
And I give this pledge of my purpose to wear it worthily.
I shall try to follow all truth.
I shall try to see all beauty.
I shall try to be all goodness.
And thus to come to that eternal wisdom,
which is the word of God.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious, but I do think of myself as a spiritual person. We’ll leave it at that for the moment, and just say that the experience of reciting that aloud with all my fellow students was moving.

On the amusing side of the spectrum, we had some excitement after our scheduled 15 minute break. The lovely lady from the library got no more than 45 seconds into her presentation on Library Services when the fire alarm went off. We all looked around at each other and the presentation staff for a few moments before coming to the conclusion that it was not a scheduled drill. Everyone stood up and, in a very orderly fashion, stepped out the nearest exits. I ended up in a back parking lot with the group of students who exited out the front side door, and found myself next to a chap who looked like a fellow geek and had a name badge that said he was also a graduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences section. After just standing there for a few moments, I decided to just break the ice and said something like, “Well, this is one way of giving new students a chance to bond and have a communal experience.” It led to some general fun chit-chat with another student joining us, who I will simply describe as a fellow geek who happened to be a gal. After about 8-10 minutes the fire truck pulled up right next to us, and so we talked about which buttons, levers, or wheels were the ones we were most tempted to go over and push/pull/turn. One of the funner moments was my exchange with the female student in our little trio:

Me: “So what is your program?”
Her: “Communications.”
Me: “What?”
Her: “Communications.”
Me: “I’m sorry, what was that?”

She caught on quickly, and the other chap chimed up with, “Oh, I hope I have a class with you.”

After the 30 or so minutes it took the firemen to determine that it was a false alarm, we wandered back into the lecture hall. I speculated that the library presentation might get shortened to, “There’s a library. We have books. Thank you.” This actually would have been just fine for me, as I had visited the library the week before. They did do some streamlining of the last 2 presentations. Then we broke off into groups, picked up our nice box lunches that were provided to us, and were taken on a brief campus tour. I had already visited campus twice, so this was mostly review.

On previous visits, I found an awesome spot on campus in LeClerc Hall just outside the music department. This is where I chose to sit and eat my box lunch before heading home. So I leave you with the picture I took of the window in this stairwell area that will hopefully show why it is a nice, quiet, contemplative, and now favorite spot.


I imagine I may find myself some moments to sit and eat, read, or study there in the future.

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The Year So Far…

So in my post at the beginning of the year, I reflected on the challenges of most of 2012 and my desire to have a much better 2013. Despite some recent bumps in the road, this year has gone well and looking at the Fall ahead, things are really set to finish out nicely. I feel like this coming November will be a key month. I will have been back in my house for a year and other things will be in place that should allow me to feel more in control and fully recovered from my most challenging life segment to-date. Maybe I should just call it my “Lost and Dark” year, although it’ll be more like 14 months.

A Superhero at McDonogh School
Working on A Superhero at McDonogh School in April was a wonderfully awesome experience. Jon Waller‘s music was fantastic, the kids were great, and the musicians in the pit were amazing. I’m not sure when, or if, I’ll have a chance again to work with such an incredible and dedicated group of people. Having the opportunity to conduct a 19-piece pit orchestra including 10 professionals is a rare opportunity.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Summer Shows
Right on the heels of A Superhero came the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company summer shows of Antony & Cleopatra and Taming of the Shrew. I was honored to have original songs performed in each production based on some of Shakespeare’s adapted text. This now means that I have 4 songs based on Shakespeare and it’s a project I intend to continue for CSC productions. The next Shakespeare coming up is Merry Wives of Windsor, so I need to start scoping out the text for ideas of what to use for a song. I also provided some direction and guidance for the live songs in the shows and sound design for Antony & Cleopatra. Here’s a fun (but apologetically SHAKY) video I recorded at the closing performance:

Back to School!!
I’m very excited to begin my graduate study on September 4th. I will be working on my Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at Notre Dame of Maryland University. My first two classes are NPM-501: Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Sector; and NPM-510: Management and Leadership in Nonprofits. I hope to finish in 2 years, and halfway through the program I will earn a postgraduate certificate. In the spirit of the overall graduate school experience, I intend to find out about their Concert Choir and theater group to see if I might be able to participate in some capacity. It would be nice to write or arrange something for the choir, or act or help out with a production. Finding the time will be the key challenge. I have already made contact with one person in the music department there and it was a good start to finding out more.

Home Life
I have some housemates that moved in to Invercauld recently. They are a young couple and friends/colleagues of mine from the theater world. We all share a pretty comparable fun and laid-back kind of vibe/attitude, they needed a new home, and I needed the financial advantage of sharing living expenses. There are always the usual concerns of living with friends, and I find myself a little out of my element in the mature, responsible, landlord role. But having that awareness and understanding of the concern is also key in preventing any conflict or issues, and the confidence is there from both sides. Truly the beginning of a noteworthy chapter of life.

Music Projects
I started trying to work on a YouTube video project. Unfortunately the scale was a little too big for me to accomplish with the resources at my disposal. I need a more robust video editing capability. I will still post something before the end of the year, but I will likely scale it down. I’m slowly starting to play more again after a bit of a down time these past couple months. Right now, I’m plucking away at some Scott Joplin rags. Some I’ve worked on before, and a couple new ones. If there’s any kind of full CD of pieces I think I would get into, it would be this. Perhaps an album just called, “Scott plays Scott.” Seems to have a nice ring to it.

Employment and Income
So far the job at Howard Community College has been relatively stable. I am also still teaching on the side. I have another job opportunity I hope to hear more about by the end of the week. I still have the goal of having just ONE full-time job with benefits, but until then I just have to continue to putter away at making a living the various ways I can.

Here’s to life being better, a productive and wonderful closing third-of-the-year to 2013, and an exciting and noteworthy 2014 ahead!

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Long Overdue Web Page Facelift

Now that the two Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Summer shows have opened, I found myself with a little extra time and managed to squeeze in some efforts on the web page. I was way behind in updating the version of WordPress I was using, and also needed to do some general tweaking before that could happen. I also took the time to switch to a different overall theme/look for the page. This one is more friendly and adaptable to looking at the page from mobile devices.

I’ve also simplified a few things, and have some more playing around to do on here.

Feedback is always welcome.



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30 Day Video Game Challenge – Days 26 – 30

This was a fun project and exercise to do. I hope people found it amusing, especially any fellow video gaming types.

Day 26 – Best voice acting.
I’m going with a game that just really took me by surprise with the voice acting. This is difficult to do, because I can usually pick out a voice pretty well. So the game in question is XIII for Playstation 2. I had borrowed it from a friend and wasn’t expecting a whole lot. But I got into the story and the voice work and stylized comic-book style sucked me in. There was one character in particular, a general, where I immediately heard the voice and knew I should know who it is. I played the game for a while, and it still just never came to me, but I knew I recognized it. Eventually I gave up and did some online research and… What the? ADAM WEST!!!! Duh… And I totally didn’t pick up that the title character was David Duchovny.

Day 27 – Most epic scene ever.
Many of the WoW cinematics are really great. However, this one really sticks out as being in the epic category. This was the opening cinematic for the release of Wrath of the Lich King.

Day 28 – Favorite game developer.
I’m going with Activision Blizzard. Having the Activision part in there harkens back to some of those Atari 2600 games I fondly remember, like Kaboom! in particular. And WoW, SC2, and Diablo III have been what I’ve been playing recently so it makes sense for this choice now.

Day 29 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.
A friend told me about this game called Freedom Force.

Freedom Force

Freedom Force

I remember my first thought being that the main character was coming across as having all kinds of extra cheese. But it was supposed to have that golden age comic book feel, so once I settled into embracing that I very much enjoyed the game. The way they introduced the characters was quite nifty. And customizing superheroes was fun. And let’s face it, there’s a lot to be said for being able to tear up a street light and use it as a club!

Day 30 – Your favorite game of all time.
After some pondering I’ve decided to go with the good old coin-op game Tron.

Even the look of the machine with that glowing pistol-grip joystick, spin knob, and black light really made it stand out from other games.



It was basically 4 games in one, but of course it was really all about the light cycles, right? Add the uber-nerdy romanticism with the tie-in to the movie and this just floated to the top as my favorite. When I win the lottery I’ll buy one and put it in the basement!

And as a reminder, here’s where to go to get the full list if you’d care to take the challenge yourself:

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