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Thursday, May 27, 2010

"On Vacation for the Weekend"

I'm heading north tomorrow morning to visit with my fiancee, so, until Monday/Tuesday, this blog is on vacation. Here's hoping your extended Memorial Day weekend is good one. Be safe, enjoy the nice weather, and I'll see you when I get back!

Your happily blogging friend,

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"A Night at Miller Park"

My friend Steve invited me to the ballpark tonight. He had two tickets to the Brewers/Astros game, wanted to get out for a while, and was looking for some company. I had the evening free (after spending the early part of the day painting), so we met up, and headed out to Miller Park.

It was a warm muggy day. Even as the day was ending. Not particularly hot, mind you, just muggy and humid. The retractable roof was closed when we got there, so the sticky atmosphere was present inside the stadium too. Somewhat unpleasant, but bearable. And our seats were way up on the forth deck. Great view (perhaps my favorite!)... just nowhere near the breezes drifting in from the open panels above the outfield.

The predicted rain never became as heavy as expected either, so, by the later half of the game, the skies were clear enough to open the butterfly retractable roof. It's always fascinating to watch those massive roof segments pivot open. There's nothing like it in North American baseball; truly a feat of engineering. And when that roof opened, the park was flooded with the cool air that had settled into Milwaukee once the sun set. Much more comfortable!

In the end, it was a wonderful night for baseball. The Brewers lost 5-0 -- sad, I know -- but there were some thrilling plays nonetheless. The company was great (it's always nice hanging out with Steve!), the Miller Park baseball experience was second to none (always is!), and I had the opportunity to take in a low-cost Brewers game before I get married and move north. I'd call that a great end to a great day!

Tomorrow, I'm painting again. Another exterior door and some door frames. Today's rain brought in cooler temperatures, so, I anticipate a great day to be working outside. Hopefully, anyway. And then on Friday, I travel north -- by Greyhound bus -- to visit Kelli (my fiancee) for the weekend.

So, yeah... it's been a good day. Painting and a baseball game. Very enjoyable. For now, though, I think it's time to find something to eat, and then head off to bed. I'm tired. I need sleep.

Tomorrow is another day.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Quote of the Day"

"Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you."
-- Saint Augustine


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

"K-Strass: The Yo-Yo Master"

A strange man in suspenders and a yellow baseball cap has been showing up on television morning shows throughout the Midwest. He goes by Kenny Strasser, or K-Strass, and claims to be a yo-yo trick champion who uses his skills to spread a message about environmental awareness. Unfortunately, once he's featured on the air, it becomes woefully clear that K-Strass is not what he seems. He's terrible at yo-yo. Yet he keeps getting interviewed.

So far, little is known about Kenny. He claims to be from right here in Wisconsin, although where is unknown. He's also the spokesman for Zim Zam, which, on their website, claims to be 'the first and only "green" non-profit yo-yo maker'.

His television appearances have gone viral, and many are left wondering -- is this just a big prank, or an incredibly creative marketing campaign? Watch and see for yourself. What do YOU think?

K-Strass Interview #1: KODE-TV in Joplin, MO ... [video]
K-Strass Interview #2: KQTV in St. Joseph, MO ... [video]
K-Strass Interview #3: WGN Morning News -- 5/18/09 ... [video]

There's also a K-Strass Facebook page and an "official" K-Strass Twitter page.

"Instant replay: Alleged yo-yo champ dupes TV shows"


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Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Simple, Practical Color Theory"

The mastery of color theory, relations, and harmonies is one of the primary steps to uncovering the full beauty and potential of your art, design, or photography. Here is a simple, practical, and colorful guide to color theory. Enjoy!


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"The St. Nicholas Church House"

St. Nicholas Church in Kyloe, North Cumberland, England was built in 1792. It was deconsecrated in the 1980's, and stood derelict and abandoned for 20 years. Then, in 2002, it was taken on as a residential conversion project. Now completed, the former church has 4-5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, two reception rooms, two kitchens and a huge open plan living area. It sits on one acre of land, and contains a large garden. The property is currently for sale.

Here are some stunning photos of the house. The website can be found here.


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"Oklahoma City Hail Storm"

This past Sunday (aka, May 16), a devastating hail storm hit Oklahoma City. Hail as large as softballs pounded the area in what may go down as the costliest and most damaging hail storm in Oklahoma City history. Thousands of cars and homes were damaged, with many windows and roofs completely destroyed.

Here's a video taken during the hail storm. If you wait for the 1-minute mark, you'll see just how vicious the falling ice becomes.


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Friday, May 21, 2010

"Friday in Review"

Woke up after a restful dream-filled night. Had breakfast. Picked up some paint and supplies at the local Ace Hardware. Painted white exterior door and window frames, and a "dried tomato red" front door. Put away supplies. Took a late afternoon nap. Woke up. Had a tasty Subway sandwich for dinner. Watched "The Forbidden Kingdom" on DVD. Watched a few Star Trek episodes with my roommate. Did some work in my office. Staying up late... just because.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Quote of the Day"

"To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson


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"The End of the Beginning"

Well folks, my play, "The Trip To Bountiful", has come to an end. The curtain has closed, the sets are disassembled, and the lights have been turned off. It was a successful run. Very enjoyable. Highly reviewed. But now it's time to set my sights on the next big thing in life... getting married.

Fifty-two days. 52 days until I say "I do", and I become Kelli's loving husband. So... here's to a smooth and expedient two months. May they pass by quickly, and may the next event in my life be the most memorable yet!


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Friday, May 14, 2010

"'Bountiful' Review #2: Waukesha Freeman"

Our second stage review is out for "The Trip To Bountiful". It was published in the local Waukesha Freeman, out on newsstands this morning. Take a peek, and enjoy!

"Trip to Bountiful' arouses memories of the past" -- (Waukesha Freeman)


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

"On Stage: Performing in the Dark"

When you're on stage performing, it's a given that unexpected events will happen. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened to us with tonight's show. The light board went dead. Kaput. Fried. Didn't work at all. The stage manager went to turn it on prior to the show.... and nothing happened. No lights. No lighting design.

Without the intended illumination, we had to perform with only the house lights and two last minute jury-rigged spotlights. That, of course, left shadows and a total lack of all the pretty lighting that helps make this show sparkle. It was a bit disconcerting to say the least, but, what can you do. The show must go on. Thankfully, we had a small audience, and the story (aka, the acting) still moved those in attendance. It was a successful show. Dramatic. Emotional. Just not quite the visual gem as we had expected.

Here's hoping we can find a suitable fix before tomorrow.

UPDATE: (Friday, 1:05pm)
The prognosis is good. Our creative director has found a temporary new light board. A rental, actually. And our original lighting designer is coming in today (Friday) to reprogram the lights before tonight's performance. Everything should be back to normal by this evening.


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" Turns Eight!"

As of today, is now officially eight years old! This site went live on May 13, 2002, and has been entertaining fans and visitors alike ever since. To all of you who have helped make what it is now, thank you... and welcome to year number nine!


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"Bountiful: The Second Weekend Begins!"

And thus it begins again. "The Trip To Bountiful", the final weekend.

After three days off, my play has resumed performances again. We're running for two weekends, last weekend was the first, this weekend -- starting tonight -- is the second. Four performances, and then we close. If you haven't seen the show yet, it's been highly reviewed (see previous post!). So, come check us out. The lights come up at 8pm tonight, Friday night, and Saturday night, and then we close with a 3pm matinee on Sunday. After that, well... you'll be left in the dark.

All performances are held on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin (in Mequon, WI), and tickets are $15. They can be purchased from the Acacia Theatre box office, or at the door.

I'll see you at the show!


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"'Bountiful' Review #1: Shepherd Express"

Our first stage review is out for "The Trip To Bountiful". It was published in the local Shepherd Express, out on newsstands this morning. Take a peek, and enjoy!

"‘The Trip to Bountiful’ Worth Taking at Acacia" -- (Shepherd Express)


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Quote of the Day"

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children... to leave the world a better place... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Monday, May 10, 2010

"The Death Of An Uncle"

Today was a sad day in the Baas family tree. My uncle Paul passed away. His heart stopped around 1am this morning, and after 45 minutes it was restarted, but only with brain stem function. He's been in the hospital all day, and died a few hours ago at 8:20pm. As his wife said earlier: "His spirit went to heaven around 1:15 this morning. Now we're waiting for his body to follow."

As a Christian, I can find joy in his passing, because I know he's in a better place. His death was sudden. Yesterday he was up and about, healthy, in good spirits. He went to church, mowed the lawn, and watched a movie. It was a good day. Today he is at home with his heavenly Father.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. May the Lord bring comfort to those affected by this loss, and joy in the knowledge that we will all see Paul again someday. Life is but a journey. Heaven is our home.


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"Wedding: Eight Weeks To Go!"

Yep, that's right... only eight weeks remain until I become a married man! In exactly two months -- on July 10th -- I will become the loving husband to Miss Kelli. And shortly after that, I'll be leaving Milwaukee and moving north to live in the small Wisconsin town where she lives and teaches.

Only eight weeks to go. Eight weeks! Wow! Time flies, doesn't it!


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"Bountiful: Weekend One Recap"

Well, folks, "The Trip To Bountiful" is finally in performance. As of today, we're four shows in... with four more to go, starting Thursday. All of the reviews have been positive, and each audience (so far) has connected to the story on a deeply emotional level. Two theater critics have seen the show (although their reviews haven't hit the news-stands yet), and audience turnout has been strong. I think we can call that a successful first weekend!

Plus, Kelli was in town. She saw both Saturday shows, and loved each. So, I think it's safe to say too, I impressed my fiancee! ... [happy little cheer] ... She's never seen me act before, so, being able to share one of my greatest passions with her has deeply gratifying, and oh-so very exciting!

Our current run of performances continues on Thursday with an 8pm curtain. Friday and Saturday are also 8pm shows, and we close on Sunday with a 3pm matinee. If you haven't seen the show yet, I invite you to come check us out. All performances are held on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin (in Mequon, WI), and tickets are $15. They can be purchased from the Acacia Theatre box office, or at the door.

And for those of you who are aren't able to take in a performance (due to distance or other plans), fear not... I'll be uploading photos to my online gallery next week -- after the show closes. I've got quite a few good ones too, so stay tuned!

For now, though, I'm enjoying a few days off -- Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I'll do a little more apartment painting tomorrow, get some more of my non-theatre work done, and then dive back into my character of Ludie on Thursday.

It'll be a good week. And a nice little break from the emotion of the play.

Here's hoping all of YOU had a good weekend too. Enjoy your week, be good, and hopefully, maybe, I'll see you at one of our upcoming performances!

Your happily blogging friend,

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Friday, May 07, 2010

"The Curtain Rises on 'The Trip To Bountiful'"

Tonight is opening night for my stage show here in the Milwaukee area. If you're in the city and would like to see some great dramatic theatre, come see me and eight other wonderful actors in "The Trip To Bountiful". All performances are at the Todd Wehr Auditorium on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin, in Mequon, WI. Tickets are $15, and can be purchased from the Acacia Theatre box office, or at the door.

I play the role of Ludie Watts.

Oh, and if you do see the show, feel free to leave a comment or review on my Facebook page. I'd love to hear what you thought! Comments are available on the "Wall" tab, reviews can be posted on the "Discussions" tab.

And on a more personal note, I'll also be hanging out with my fiancee, Kelli, this weekend. She's coming down from Brillion to see the show. I'm not sure which one yet, but, if you see her around, feel free to say hi. It'll make her smile!

Have a wonderful weekend all, and until next time,

Your happily blogging friend,

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

"Web Site Story: The Musical"

What happens when you take the popular musical, "West Side Story", and update it to our current tech-savvy culture? Why, you get "Web Site Story" of course! Take a peek, and enjoy! ... [video]


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"The Trip To Bountiful: A Radio Interview"

Two of the actors from my current stage play, "The Trip To Bountiful", were featured on Milwaukee Public Radio this morning. Mary Ellen Atwood ("Mother Watts"), and her daughter Maura ("Thelma") were interviewed and performed a short scene together. You can listen to the 13-minute audio segment here (scroll down the page as necessary).

"The Trip To Bountiful" opens tomorrow at 8pm. Performances are at Concordia University Wisconsin, in Mequon, WI. I play the role of Ludie, Mother Watts' son.


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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Rehearsal: First Day On The Stage"

Last night was a good rehearsal. As it turned out, it was more of a tech rehearsal than anything else. Cue-to-cue. Mostly for the benefit of the sound and lighting guys so they can sync up the cues to the action that happens on stage.

But the set is built! We got to see it for the first time last night, and it looks snazzy! It's not overly intensive, but it's not simple and "representative" either. What we need to play with in on stage, we have. Furniture, walls, bus seats, etc. And, what fascinates me is, the part of the set that takes place in a small two-room apartment, is actually on a large platform that moves upstage, disappearing behind the curtain when not needed. It looks nice!

We didn't actually finish the cue-to-cue for all seven scenes last night, so tonight, we'll start with what's left, and then move into a full-costume run of the show. I've been looking forward to that part too. I always feel more in-character when all the details are in place. Costume, set, lights, sound, etc. Rehearsing a show is fun, but putting all the pieces together in the final week is even better!

So, here's to a fun rehearsal later tonight. It'll be a long night again. Perhaps tedious too. But worth it. We've got a great show, and we're just about ready to bring it to life.

We open on Friday. Come on out and see us perform!


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Monday, May 03, 2010

"The Death Of A Beloved Cat"

I received word today that my childhood cat, Rusty, has been put to sleep. Normally, I wouldn't write about the passing of a pet, but this one was significant. He was 17 years old. In cat years, that makes him a very old man.

Unfortunately, he was also in pain, arthritis was claiming him at a rapid rate, and he was slowing down day by day. It was just his time.

I remember that sandy-colored cat well, though. I was only 13 years old when he wandered into our yard. I was still living at home in Minneapolis -- just starting high school. My sister, Becca (younger than me), took a liking to him, and we started feeding the little guy. As we later found out, he was 1-2 years old, had his shots, was healthy, and very likely an abandoned former house cat. We asked around, but no one claimed him... so we took him in, named him Rusty (for the color of his fur), and he became part of the family.

Over the years, be provided much entertainment -- as pets usually do. He took to announcing the presence of the mailman every day. He howled loudly every time the snowplow roared by in winter. He kept the house free of any mice and insects, yet refused to eat his catch. He would zip around the house in his younger years, yet go hide in a corner whenever he ran into something. He loved to crawl inside paper bags. He developed a certain fondness for sitting in the kitchen watching my mom cook. And he was known to be very friendly and chatty, yet rarely ever begged for something. He was there as the six of us siblings grew up and moved away, and he kept my parents company as the house grew empty.

He was a good cat. Feisty sometimes, but always aware of when someone was sad or down. He wasn't always the best lap cat, but he loved to curl up beside whomever was sitting on the couch. He adored catnip, balls of any kind, yarn, and unguarded feet. He was curious, loved to watch the cars and birds outside our enclosed front porch. And he made sure people knew he was there. Not at all a shy feline. He was a beloved pet, and he'll be missed.

It doesn't sound as though my mom is going to replace him now that he's gone. I don't blame her. I think the days of having a pet at home in Minneapolis are over. But it was a good 17 years. My family has had cats, all the way back to when I was even younger and living in the country (we had many generations of outdoor cats back then), but I think Rusty will be remembered the most.

So, here's to that opinionated sandy-colored cat that kept us company for so many years. He's gone now, but his memory lives on in those who knew him well. Rest in peace old man.

Rest in peace.


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Jon Baas

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