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I’m a Degree!

January 9, 2015
Image, Musical Concept, Music and Lyrics all copyright E.G.D.

Image, Musical Concept, Music and Lyrics all copyright E.G.D.

So, I spent a day rocking Finale Notepad, and I wrote the opening song for my proposed new musical.  It’s an understated solo, like “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” rather than a production number like “Belle,” “The Happiest Town in Town,” or “Little Shop of Horrors,” and I sort of went for a distant echo of “I’m Just a Bill” (the song has a similar rhythm). This is the only straight-up spoof/parody song I’m planning.

DegreeRock.mp3

The lyrics are as follows:

Degree: (Sings)

I’m a degree.

You can bet you’ll need me

To get ahead in modern society.

 

High School, you get a diploma,

And sometimes that’s enough.

But in modern times

Finding the right job can be tough.

 

Yeah, for most people, that means GET A DEGREE!

Or maybe two or three, if you find

That you want a job using your mind.

(Light up on students in the dorm building lounge.)

Student 1: Hey, I could write novels without a degree, and you only need an Associates if you want to be a Licensed Practical Nurse. You can be a schoolteacher with just a BA and a teaching certification.

Degree: You have a valid point, but I’m afraid that if you want to be a medical doctor, a professor, a lawyer, or even an engineer or a scientist in the higher paying jobs, you’re going to need at least two degrees, and even if you have two, you’ll have a hard time competing with the people who have three. Employers really trust me when I tell them that someone is an expert in their field.

Student 2: Yeah, but watch out! If you list a master’s degree on an application for a lot of jobs, they’ll label you “over qualified,” and that can be a real deal breaker.

Student 1: A bachelor’s degree should be enough for me. I’m an actor.

Degree: You’re probably right. There are a good number of professions for which a Bachelor’s is useful and higher degrees aren’t really necessary. Still, more than 40% of Americans over the age of 25 have degrees. Not having at least one could really put you at a job-finding disadvantage.

(Sings)

I’m a degree,

And I hope you can see

That the way the cards are stacked recently

 

I can give you the advantage

When you try to advance.

In work, life, finance,

Come on, give yourself a chance!

 

You can go farther if you get a degree.

So come on, go to college. You’ll see

That with me, you’re in great company.

I know the recording quality is low (my recording equipment is in storage at the moment), but I hope you enjoy it, anyway!  I expect more is forthcoming ^_^ -E.G.D.

Rocking my Own Socks Off

January 6, 2015

I made a cool thing!  It is a cool, cool thing!  I desperately want to write this musical, now.  I claim this concept (seriously, I just stuck a flag in it.  Nobody else can have it!) What do you think?

Art by E.G.D.

Art by E.G.D.

This seriously tickles me pink, and I am totally hitting Finale Notepad A.S.A.P.  Rock on, everyone! -E.G.D.

Happy Holidays: Continuing the Crazy Card Tradition!

December 24, 2014

As most of you well know, every year I send out at least one crazy, hand-made e-card to my friends and family.  When there’s only one, it’s always at Christmas.  This year, I chewed on a number of different card topics (I actually performed in a Chanukah show for Mad Science this year that included some quite spectacular explosions, which would have made a fun card topic, and I have a TON of interesting stuff going on in my life to fuel a card like last year’s), but what cinched this year’s card for what it is was that I had a photograph taken with three of my San Jacinto College students after a production of Santa’s Christmas Magic while they were still on set and in costume.  I hadn’t used a photo in a card since the year I was in a production of Miracle on 34th Street, and it seemed high time. Without further ado:

Crazy Card 2014 (Copyright E.G.D.)

Crazy Card 2014 (Copyright E.G.D.)

Tada! To explain further: one of my major struggles as a music director for Santa’s Christmas Magic was my attempt to help the cast kick their bad pronunciation habits (it’s easy for people to slip into pronunciation laziness in songs they’ve been singing since they could produce sound!), and my response to repeat offenses was to raise my fist and cry out “FIST SHAKE!” before, once again, pointing out the problem.  Yes, I actually verbalized my physical action, and when my students opt to imitate me, that’s the gesture and phrase they almost always choose.  As you can see, for the sake of the photo, my students were in on the fist-shake action!  Anyhow, I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe holiday season.  Incidentally, next up at San Jacinto College Central this theatrical season is Beauty and the Beast Jr.  I’ll keep you posted!

Holiday Hugs- E.G.D.

Here Comes Santa’s Christmas Magic!

November 30, 2014
I stole this self-portrait from last year's e-card.  I thought it might suit ^_^

I stole this self-portrait from last year’s e-card. I thought it might suit ^_^

As we plow into tech rehearsal, it seemed as good a time as any to proclaim to the world at large that Santa’s Christmas Magic opens this Thursday (12/4) at San Jacinto College Central!  It feels like this semester has rocketed by, and it wasn’t that long ago that we were wrapping up Little Shop of Horrors.  Anyhow, the Christmas show (for which I am serving in my usual capacity as music director) is open for two weekends, and many of the shows sell out, I’ve been told.  If you happen to be in the area, I encourage you to come, and I expect you won’t be disappointed! -E.G.D.

Ye Merrie Folk of Fulshear

October 27, 2014

merryfolk

It is officially that time of year again: that time of year when I design, render, and build six Ren Fest costumes and keep my costuming skills alive!  This year, in case you couldn’t tell, we went as the Merry Folk of Fulshear.  The story behind this is as follows:  right after last year’s Ren Fest, I asked my little nephew, “what do you want to be next year, Liam?” to which he responded, “an archer!” to which I responded, “an elf archer?” to which he responded, “no, just an archer,” to which I responded, “how about a faerie archer?” to which he again responded, “no, just a normal archer.  Just an archer, Aunt Elisa.”  Well, when I asked him again in August, when I had a week between summer and fall classes to work on costumes, he said exactly the same thing as last fall.  I was amazed he actually remembered!  At that point, Kristie (my big sister, and Liam’s mom) proposed we pick that up as a theme and go as the Merry Folk of Fulshear.  Kristie is delightfully clever with wording, and I quite fancied the idea, so we went with that.  While I was doing my initial sketch renderings, it became very apparent that the costumes I was planning did not fit into the medieval-England technology box (the kids had specifically asked for shiny buttons and no laces, this year), so in the end, we were a sort of Dungeons and Dragons/Robin Hood group of three archers, one crossbow-wielding scout, a quarterstaff wielding quartermaster (Little Joan?), and “Cleric Tuck.”  My friend Travis (you’ve seen pictures of him from previous years, if you’ve seen my previous costume posts) was slated to be Cleric Tuck, but he couldn’t make it to the fair on the same day as the rest of us, so I don’t have pictures of that costume to include in this post.  I may show you pictures of that costume at a later date, but today, I’ll give you the rundown of those of us who were there.  First of all, if you look on the far left of the above picture, you will see my brother-in-law’s cousin Jonathan, who went as a Knight Templar.  I did not build his costume, but Kristie and I decided he was our King Richard the Lion Hearted.  He did not like the idea at all, but the idea stands in my imagination.

Next!  Here’s me:

Little Joan?  (Costume by E.G.D., photos by Kristie and Ryan McLin)

Little Joan? (Costume by E.G.D., photos by Kristie and Ryan McLin)

The quarter-staff is actually one of my weapons from my Tae-Kwon-Do days, and you may recognize the dagger from last year’s costume, though I re-embellished it for this costume.  The boots are from a sketchers outlet, but I embellished them myself.  Everything else in that costume was hand-made by me.  Yes, I actually made myself pants this year from the same faux-suede with which I lined the bodice.  I would like to point out the gigantic pocket-bag I had hanging off of my belt this year.  That was among the best ideas I’ve ever had!  It was super-handy, and I couldn’t possibly lose the thing as we wandered the fair.  Finally, did you notice the hat detail?  I made 4 Robin Hood style hats out of wool/polyester blend felt for our costumes this year, and that was a bit of a process!  Like most of the things I design, I made up the pattern as I went along, and I’m pleased with how well those hats turned out in the end.

Next!  Kristie, the leader of our merry band:

Kristie Hood?  (Costume and photos by E.G.D.)

Kristie Hood? (Costume and photos by E.G.D.)

You may want to click into that image for the full-sized version.  Anyhow, I love the pockets on Kristie’s vest this year, though they were surprisingly hard to make.  You may recognize the pouch, riding tunic, and archer gloves from Kritter’s previous Ren Fest costumes, but they were just as hand-made-by-me as the new elements (granted, last year and the year before respectively).  I thought her idea to affix the pouch to the strap of her quiver was genius!  Also, she is significantly more photogenic than I am!

Next is Ryan, who made my costume-making-year by agreeing to let me build him a costume and join in on the family fun!

Ryan the Bold (Photos and Costumes by E.G.D.)

Ryan the Bold (Photos and Costumes by E.G.D.)

Bearing in mind that the sunglasses and the wristwatch are not part of the costume, Ryan is sporting the “forward scout and crossbow wielder” costume I designed and built for him this year!  WOOHOO!  Did you notice that he’s the only person in our Robin Hood group who is actually wearing a hood?  Originally, the quiver was designed to buckle to his thigh, but he found that uncomfortable, so we moved it to his waist-belt.  The waist belt is actually from Kristie’s 2012 ranger costume, but everything else is new to this year’s set, including the boot-caps.  This was actually my first year making adult-sized boot caps, and I think they turned out quite well.

Here’s Liam, the origin of the archer idea:

Liam Hood (Photos and costume by E.G.D.)

Liam Hood (Photos and costume by E.G.D.)

WHAT A CUTIE!  Liam’s costume this year is pretty much all-new, though you may have noticed that he used the backpack I built for his costume last year.  It actually contains the kids’ cloaks, which they never had to wear this year, because it was actually quite hot the whole time we were there.  Sooo… this marks the second year in a row that I don’t have pictures to show you of the outerwear I built for them.  Anyhow, Liam and Oona picked their own costume buttons and chose their own costume cloth.  They also both requested “castle sleeves,” which were BEASTLY difficult to manage with the fabric Oona chose for her costume (which was, incidentally the same fabric I used for the Cleric Tuck costume).  Speaking of…

Oona!  Our final costume for the day:

Oona Hood (Photos and costumes by E.G.D.)

Oona Hood (Photos and costumes by E.G.D.)

I’ve got to say, she wears it well, and she was just as super-cute as Liam.  She is actually wearing the boot caps I made for Liam two years ago, because they fit her now!  Funny how kids grow like that.  She was getting pretty good at using that toy bow by the end of the day, thanks to the help of her cousin Jonathan, the Knight Templar.

To round off the post, here are a couple of nice family shots, though I have no idea what Ryan was looking at…

A Merry Family (costumes and photo by E.G.D.)

A Merry Family (costumes and photo by E.G.D.)

Until next year! -E.G.D.

merry2

Better Late than Never! Little Shop of Horrors at San Jacinto Central

October 17, 2014

LittleShopAlbum

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!  I… sort of forgot I had a website there for a while.  I’ve been very, very busy, but it’s been the sort of busy that should lead to posts, not stop them!  San Jacinto College Central’s department of Theater and Film presents Little Shop of Horrors this very weekend!  In fact, as of posting this, we’ve already had three shows >_>.  Come on down and see one of the three remaining!  Friday: 7:30PM (yes, that’s in 20 minutes), Saturday: 7:30PM, Sunday 2:30PM.  It’s a great ol’ musical with a homicidal plant~!  What’s not to love, right?  Also, I’m the music director, even though it doesn’t say so in the program.  Thanks, and I hope you can still make it! -E.G.D.

A Labor of Labor-Day-Weekend Love

September 1, 2014

So much for barbecue and pool parties! Apparently, what I do on Labor Day weekend is design and sew. I am now officially finished with all six of the renaissance fair costumes (we’re going as the “Merry Folk of Fulshear,” in a sort of fantasy Robin Hood theme this year), and I spent Saturday turning 3 ¼ yards of fabric into three dresses and two shirts. Now I know many of you out there who sew are thinking “the heck, you say?” but let me clarify: Two adult-size-8 sundresses, one adult-male-medium shirt, one kid-small shirt, and one size 6T dress. Aaaaaaaand I will be the first to admit that the adult shirt turned out certifiably weird, because I made it last, and by that time, I had a motley assortment of scraps, and even those were not in consistent and easy-to-use shapes. I think that perhaps the only reason I pulled it off was that I didn’t use a pattern for any of the above (at least not a paper one… I basically used a marker and a clear-view ruler and drew straight onto the fabric), and that freed me up to go a little crazy with shapes. Also, almost everything wound up roll-hemmed, so I didn’t need much seam allowance. The real challenge throughout the project, in the end, was in keeping the lines on whatever bits of fabric I was using up-and-down and side-to-side (3 yards of the fabric was woven in a grid pattern), because I decided that I didn’t want any of the final pieces to look like a crazy train-wreck. All five pieces wound up looking neat and tidy, even if the adult shirt is interestingly colorful.

The only reason I am writing this post at all, and I know some of you are wondering, is that I did a load of laundry today that included the shirts and dresses, and when I hung them up to dry in my apartment, they made a pretty neat picture; so much so that I grabbed my camera and took this shot:

Drying (photo and clothing by E.G.D.)

Drying (photo and clothing by E.G.D.)

If you are wondering, as anyone who sews should be, why I was washing the finished products when I should have washed and dried all the fabrics before using them… erm… well… I’m in a coin laundry situation, and I am saving to buy a house. And all three are non-natural fibers, so they were unlikely to shrink. And yeah, I know, I’m still lucky they didn’t turn into misshapen and color-bleeding lumps. Moving on, after I took that initial shot, I rearranged the clothes so the colors balanced better (at least in my mind), and took this shot with my camera in portrait-mode:

Still drying, but re-arranged!  (photo and clothes still by E.G.D.)

Still drying, but re-arranged! (photo and clothes still by E.G.D.)

And because I am still amazed I pulled this off, I gathered up the sum total of the scraps left from these fabrics and took a picture of me putting the lump on my coffee table. And yes, all the scraps fit easily into my left hand before I started to let it go:

Scraps

Scraps

Finally, in my defense, my family and friends are out of town this weekend, and I am not. I am not a totally crazy, anti-social, Labor Day party pooper! I’m just not very good at not doing anything, and I recently cut back to three jobs (gasp!). Aaaaaaaanyhoo, happy Labor Day, everyone, and welcome to the unofficial start of fall! I finished a batch of summer clothing for my family just in time, right? Yyyyyyeah –E.G.D.

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