A Christmas Story

Today the run of this local play comes to an end.

The stage production of Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story produced by Sunsets with Shakespeare, a community theatre group in the Lansing area, has its eighth and final performance (not counting a dress rehearsal with a paid audience) this afternoon. The play is staged in a barn theatre at the Woldumar Nature Center, which is a fairly intimate venue.

As mentioned previously, my younger son, William, who recently turned 14, stars as Ralphie Parker, who is determined to get a “legendary Red Ryder 200-shot carbine-action range model air rifle, with a compass and this thing that tells time built right into the stock” for Christmas. Alas, he is thwarted at every turn with “You’ll shoot your eye out!

This part has been a big deal around here. William had to rehearse almost every night for a month, and since he is on stage for every scene, he had to be there all of the time. He was on the cover of Noise, an area newspaper, reenacting the scene in which Flick gets his tongue stuck to the cold metal flagpole (though the image is not online). He was interviewed for, and quoted prominently in, an article in the Lansing State Journal (which gets no link because of their delusion that people will pay to read an article from 10 days ago). He and Flick also did a video introduction for Entertainment Express, a local television program that covers the arts.

Not everything went smoothly, though. William got his hand stepped on during one of the scene changes in the dark, and during his two-day break between the first and second week shows, he came down with strep throat. Also, the one area media outlet that actually has a decent web site gave the play a bad review (so no link). The review was rather dubious, however. It gave a great mention to a local media personality for his performance as Santa Claus; the only problem was that this person was not in the play at all. Besides, how much credibility can one give a review that, in a full page writeup, does not even once mention the actor who plays the main character?

Still, A Christmas Story was selected as one (#3) of five “best bets in entertainment” in a newspaper article from yesterday. (Look fast, before they want to charge you to do so.)

After this production closes this afternoon (and following the cast party, of course), William will already be learning his lines for his next role: He will be playing the (major) part of the King in Shahrazad, though this one will be with his school drama club.

His mother and I are very proud parents.

Back on Board

I will again be joining the ASP Board of Directors.

Last week, members of the Association of Shareware Professionals voted to bring me back as one of six Directors. I last served on the Board in 2004, and I made the decision then not to run for election at the end of my (second) term. Having served that year as Chairman of the Board, I needed to take a break from volunteer service for a while to concentrate on business. After a couple of years, though, I was asked (and nominated) to run again. I accepted and stood (not ran) for election.

Three of the six Director terms expire each year, and (obviously) the terms are each two years. This time, there were 5 candidates, and the membership seems to have wanted experience. I (a former CoB) received the most votes, followed closely by Mitchell Vincent of K Software (current CoB) and Sam Bellotto Jr. of Crossdown (sitting Director). Sam is another game developer/publisher, and I know that Mitchell is a closet game developer (and successful business software publisher). There will not be much turnover on the ASP BoD this year, but I know my election (replacing an absentee Director) will be a net positive in terms of participation.

So, on January 1, 2007, I will again be a Director of the Association of Shareware Professionals, with all the limited prestige and complete lack of remuneration that entails. One nice thing, though, is that I have personally met all of the other 2007 Directors, as well as the current Officers and Executive Director; this is not always the case for an international organization. I think that we have a good team for moving the ASP forward.

My first public act as Director-elect is to now ask anybody reading this who is not already a member to please consider joining the ASP. When I first joined (last century), it was the best $100 that we had ever spent on our business. The annual cost has not risen, and the value of the marketing and business information has not decreased, so the investment is better than ever. If you already are an ASP member, please volunteer.

Thank you for your support.