Anne Frank

We’re back onstage, this time with a High School production of Anne Frank. I’m most proud of the set for this show, though the costumes and lighting are pretty nice, too. A nice touch is that one wall of the set is a scrim and in between scenes, we illuminate an orchestra behind it to play music to fill the scene breaks.

Photos after the break.

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Back in May of 2006, I bought a new car, my Hyundai Elantra. Judi pointed out to me yesterday that we’re about to make our final $70 payment on the loan and then we will own it free and clear. That feels good.

I just saw something else that made me feel good about the purchase: Consumer Reports published their list of cars that “do the best job combining good performance and reliability with a low owner cost over the first five years.” Here’s their list of the top 5 economy cars:

  1. Honda Civic EX
  2. Honda Fit (base)
  3. Hyundai Elantra SE
  4. Toyota Corolla LE
  5. Honda Civic Hybrid

I notice two things: 1) my car is in the top five, which validates my purchase and 2) all of the top five cars were among the ones I seriously considered, so I know I was on the right track.

I also looked at Kias and Saturns, which didn’t make the top five, but it feels good to know that an external source validates my findings. πŸ™‚

Work and kids

A friend of mine blogged the following recently:

Arrived at work: 7:20am. Left work: 7:42pm. That’s 12 hours and 22 minutes. Must be some sort of record, even for me. (Sidenote to SD: how the heck do people with kids stay in this profession?)

I’m assuming that I’m the SD in the sidenote. πŸ™‚ Presumptuous, I suppose, but what the heck. As the three regular readers of this blog know, I keep late hours at school. Crazy late. I get to school before 7:30 every day and often don’t leave until after 10:00. I stay that late to work on school stuff, theater stuff, newspaper stuff, etc.

How do I manage it and my kids? Easy. I don’t; Judi does. I’ve had friends’ wives tell me that they wish they could marry a woman like Judi. She handles the kids on her own most evenings and even lets me get away from time to time to do the waste-of-time playing I need to do to stay sane.

Any moderate success I have in my life is due entirely to the fact that Judi is a majority shareholder in my life. Having a Helpmeet is awesome. (Thanks, babe!)

Back in the theater

I haven’t written anything about it, but I managed to get a spot in the theater department here at my school in Miami. I’m not directing, at least not the same way, but I’m Tech. Directing, which is a whole bunch of fun and keeps me so busy it’s stupid.

This is the only picture I have on my iPhone to share right now is this one, a nice shot of Joey the stagehand rigging our trap-door.

I’ll write more about the show and our program later (when I’m not writing on my phone).

Appigo Todo

Todo logoI’ve been looking for a to-do manager for a while now. I often tend to let things slip through the cracks and, given how busy I am with school, grad school, the theater, my family, my hobbies, etc, etc, etc, it’s no surprise. So, geek that I am, I have been looking for a piece of software to help me stay on top of things.

There is no shortage of available tools but most of them… well, suck. Or, they cost money and I’m remarkably cheap. I looked at every free to-do list manager available in the iTunes app store (for my iPhone) and they all leave something to be desired. Well… almost all of them. There’s a nice one there called Remember the Milk, but in order to synchronize tasks with the RTM website, you need to pay a $25 annual membership and, for reasons I’ve already explained, that’s out.

Then, for Hanukkah, I got an iTunes Gift Card and – presto! – I can now try one of the for-cost apps. I browsed what’s available and found a good looking candidate in Todo (iTMS) by Appigo. I checked it out, kicked the tires, watched the screencasts, and I think I’m going to buy it. I was pushed over the edge by reading the User Reviews in the iTunes store. Check out just the titles of the first ten reviews (all written by people who purchase the app):

  • The best way to stay connected to your tasks!
  • A great to-do application
  • Great application
  • What a great application!
  • Excellent application, especially when combined with Toodledo
  • GREAT APP!!!
  • Perfect to do application
  • Looks nice, but useless for GTD
  • This is the one app I have been waiting for since I got my iPhone
  • Very helpful indeed

Sounds good, no? The one negative review deals with the app’s integration with the GTD system, which I am not a acolyte of, so this seems like a good fit.

The only potential pitfall is that the app’s free online synchronization uses Toodledo, which seems to be ugly and complicated. If I hate it, I won’t use it… but we’ll see. I will post a reaction once I’ve been using it for a while.

PokerPub Complaint letter

I used to play poker in free tournaments at bars hosted by a company called The Poker Pub. The following post is a letter of complaint to them which I am forced to post here since, as you will read, they have revoked my ability to post on their message board and they will not respond to my emails.

Here’s the story:

For a period of more than a year, I played in these tournaments, hosted for free at bars and other establishments in the KC area. I won several and, by doing so, racked up points which could, according to The Poker Pub, be turned in for prizes. Just before I moved away from KC, I submitted an order for several prizes. They never came.

On July 3 at 9:47 a.m., I sent the following email:


I placed two orders for Reward prizes last week and, other than automated responses, I haven’t heard anything. Now, I understand that these things take time, but I could not find any information on your web site about how long it should take. And, unfortunately, as I travel around the KC Card Rooms, I hear rumors of PP Players who have been waiting for their prizes for a long, long time (over a year in one case!).

I am moving away from KC on August 1 and, as such, need to get my hands on my prizes before then… so I’m contacting you to see if there’s a chance of that.

Thanks for running a great program – I’ve never had any issue with the services you guys provide (and hope that I won’t now).

They replied at 12:32 that same day:

Sorry for the delay in response. We are currently filling back orders and we should have your order filled by the first week of august.

I waited, but nothing came. So, on Aug 12 at 9:51 p.m., I sent:

In your last email, you told me that I should see my order filled by “the first week of august.”

Can you give me an update? I have already moved and, unless you can ship the products, I am going to have to arrange pick-up from a distance, which is most inconvenient. I’ve emailed you twice since your last response and not heard back from you – please respond.

Their reply came two days later, on Aug 14 at 12:55 p.m.:

Sorry for the delay in response, we have been moving to our new offices. Please send me your mailing address and I will notify you once we ship out our order.

So far, everything seems reasonable. They offered a rational explanation for the delay, apologized, and asked me for the information they needed to make good on their promise. I sent them the info they asked for at 2:10 same afternoon.

Nothing came. At 9:08 a.m. on Nov 4 (three weeks after the last exchange), I sent:

This is getting silly. You’ve told me now, several times, that you will send my prizes to my home if Florida. Do you actually have any intentions of making good on this promise?

I submitted my prize order in late June.

No response. On Nov 11 at 1:15 p.m., I copied and pasted the previous email and added:

Could someone please respond to me?


Nothing. So, on Nov 18, I posted a message detailing this saga to the message board on The Poker Pub’s website. The post was erased that same evening and my posting priveleges were taken away. So, that evening, I sent this message via email:

Here’s how things look from my perspective:

  • I play lots of tournaments.
  • I earn credits.
  • I order prizes.
  • You promise to send them.
  • You don’t.
  • I complain.
  • You apologize.
  • This goes on for months.

I then post about it on the forums on your website, and the post gets deleted… and my ability to post is revoked. Really? Is that how you’re going to handle my issue?


  2. IF SO, WHEN?
  4. IF NOT, WHY?

Then, at least, I will know.

Thank you,


I got a resposne from them on Nov 19 at 5:32 p.m.:

Can you please send us the address again. I am checking the emails and cant seem to find it. I will try to get everything out the beginning of next week and send you the confirmation numbers of how it is sent. As for the posts on the forums, the moderators pull all posts that they deem should be handled by the office.

So, optimistically, I sent my address again.


On Dec 9 at 9:42 a.m., I sent the following:

Please look at the date on this email:

On Nov 19, 2008, at 5:32 PM, The Poker Pub wrote:

Can you please send us the address again. I am checking the emails and cant seem to find it. I will try to get everything out the beginning of next week and send you the confirmation numbers of how it is sent. As for the posts on the forums, the moderators pull all posts that they deem should be handled by the office.

Over three weeks ago, you told me that you would “try to get everything out at the beginning of next week.”

Did you actually mean it?

Did you ever actually intend to send me my prizes?

Word on the “street” is that you guys don’t really send very many people their prizes… I used to think the complaints were just unreasonable people being impatient. But now I know better… It’s simply not important to you to follow through on your promises, is it?

PLEASE respond to this email.

As of today, Dec 23, I’ve heard no response. I called their telephone number (913-575-5840) and left a voicemail asking them to call me back. They have not.

I am posting this now and emailing a link to the post to their address. Here’s hoping they respond.

Of course, if they do respond and make good on their commitments to me, I will add that happy conclusion to the story.