Saturday, May 18, 2013

Anniversary or succession?

In preparation for This is Kirtland! this year, there has definitely been some excitement because it's the 10th run of the show. A lot of people, though, keep referring to it as the "10th anniversary", when, in reality, it's not since the show started in 2004 and 2004 + 10 = 2014. This isn't the first time I've noticed this and people seem to confuse anniversary with other things, especially events that occur annually.

An anniversary is the celebration of the number of years since something has happened. For instance, the first wedding anniversary for a couple is one year since their marriage. In other words, it celebrates the end of that first year and is also the beginning of their second year.  The same is true for birthdays. When someone celebrates their 16th birthday, they have just ended their 16th year and now they are above that age. In reality, when we celebrate an infant's "first" birthday, it's really the first birthday anniversary since the first real birthday (in the truest sense of the word) is the actual day of birth.

Now, in some things, particularly annual events, we have two ways of marking time. One is to celebrate the anniversary of the first time something occurred (like an organization celebrating 10 years in existence), while the other way is numbering beginning at the first event (like the Super Bowl). Because we use both, people seem to think they are synonymous, when in reality, they aren't, but they're obviously still related.

What's interesting is when I point out the difference, it's often treated with contempt, like a detail that doesn't matter or I'm just being too picky. OK, then why use it if doesn't really matter? All it takes is simple counting and knowing what it is you're trying to celebrate. One of the tricky things, though, is when the first year of something is a year that ends in zero. That happened here in Kent with the annual Pops Concert. The first one was in 1970, so I noticed just the other day that the ads were promoting the "43rd annual Pops Concert". Nope, it's the 44th, but the 43rd anniversary of the first one. What's even better about that is that Pops '09 was celebrated as the 40th concert (though it was often referred to as the "40th anniversary" even though 2009 is obviously not 40 years after 1970) and there hasn't been a break in the concerts since then. Again, the simple confusion of succession vs. anniversary.

Here's a visual for This is Kirtland! to show how it works:

#1: 2004 (first performance run or "season")
#2: 2005
#3: 2006
#4: 2007
#5: 2008
#6: 2009
#7: 2010
#8: 2011
#9: 2012
#10: 2013

Note that 2004 subtracted from 2013 gives you only 9, again, since it hasn't been 10 years since the show opened, but this is simply the 10th time it's being put on (as is demonstrated). It's always going to be a year ahead of an anniversary because of what I explained earlier. As such, if you noticed the logo I designed for the show in a previous post, it says "10th Season", not "10th Anniversary".

The same is true for the Pops Concert at Roosevelt:

#1: 1970 (this would've been the "1st annual Pops Concert")
#2: 1971
#3: 1972
#4: 1973...
#40: 2009
#41: 2010
#42: 2011
#43: 2012
#44: 2013

Note how the succession is one number higher than the year since #1 was in 1970. It makes it easy to remember anniversaries when you have a year that ends in zero (like my graduating class of 2000!!), but can be a tad confusing if the annual tabulation is used.

And really, those of you who know me KNOW I'm a details person and a history person, so YES I definitely notice and I do actually care. Like I said, if you're going to go to the effort of publicizing how long an event has been around, there's no reason it should be inaccurate, especially something so simple. SO, make sure you know what you're measuring to celebrate: anniversary or succession.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Profile pictures

In case you haven't noticed, I never change my Facebook profile picture to the latest movement, which most recently was the pink equal sign on a red background. Now, before you jump to conclusions (and really, if you know me, it shouldn't be of any surprise), I long ago decided that my profile picture would always be me and just me. That's right, you won't see a profile picture on my page of any movement, team, cartoon, or even a group shot. Why? Well, I want people to know it's me they're looking for when they find my profile, not have to guess who I am based on a symbol or which person I am in a given group picture. So yes, you can always count on my Facebook profile picture (or any profile I have) to be of me and no one else. To each his or her own, but that's how I do it.

I definitely have considered it, so I was very happy Facebook introduced the "cover photo" option. That way I can put a group shot up or use a picture from an interest while still having my profile picture of me. I have put cover photos of my family, the Titanic, Kent, my sports teams, patriotism, etc. I typically stay away from movements or causes, though, because first, I see personal opinion things like that as very private, and second, they tend to just be lightning rods for debate, often between my "friends" who don't necessarily know each other. I'm happy to discuss my opinions one-on-one or here on the blog where I can really explain what I feel and why. Facebook tends to not be a place where we can go into greater detail. I mean, honestly, how many of us see a long post and skip over it? How many of you have done that on some of my long posts? Bottom line is, the people that really want to know will come read the blog or message me. Most of my Facebook friends are people I know in real life and many of them know me pretty well. I want Facebook to be something I enjoy checking once in awhile, not something I dread because I have to sit down and respond to a bunch of comments about this or that (especially negative comments).

I used to be very expressive on Facebook about anything, but over time I have moved away from posting or even commenting on most things political or otherwise controversial. In the end, I found I didn't enjoy getting on Facebook to find out if anyone responded and half the time, the responses were from people I didn't know or care about in any way, or people just took what I said completely out of context or applied a tone of voice in their heads that was never there. I was also disappointed when I noticed some "friends" would drop me because of a disagreement. I always try to disagree civilly and respectfully. Apparently, though, I have had Facebook friends that would rather not associate with me simply because we see a certain issue (or issues) differently. Whatever. That's their choice. I still use Facebook to express opinions here and there or just to vent, and recognize when others are using it for similar purposes. Hey, in the end, if you don't like what someone posts regularly, either end the "relationship" or just filter out their posts. I just find it somewhat ironic when people complain about others using Facebook to...well...complain. I tend to just filter out posts if I find I don't enjoy reading them (like overly political, constantly negative, inappropriate or tasteless, or endless random pictures), rather than deleting the connection.

A new level

Anyone who follows this blog and/or my Facebook page knows that my posts about This is Kirtland! are hardly infrequent. You probably also know that my involvement in this show stretches back to its beginnings. Outside the very first season of the show (2004) where my role was simply to assist my dad in setting up and aiming the brand-new stage lights and then taking them down and storing them, I've been in the cast. Every year since 2005 (except 2008) I've been in the cast. I've been about every male role in the entire show, with the notable exception of Joseph Smith. This year, though, represents a whole new level with the show as I'm directing it. 

Near the end of the 2010 show, I was asked to be part of the script committee, my first time doing more than just being in the cast, in preparation for the 2011 run. The following year, I was again on the script committee and also worked more with the music, as we made some more changes for 2012. Going into the preparations for this season, I had a feeling I might be asked to do more, but honestly never thought I'd be asked to direct the show. Sure, I had thought about the "what ifs?" but still, I never thought I'd actually get asked, mostly because this is a stake-level production and I am not a member of the Kirtland Stake. That said, I received an email that was gauging my interest in increased involvement, and answered back that I would welcome more involvement, but wanted to be on stage in some form. It was no surprise when I was asked a short time later to be the director.

The whole process has definitely been stressful at times, but not painfully so. In many ways it's a welcome distraction from the job search and life's other stresses. The biggest things are mostly making sure I have the right people where I want them and the commitments I need. I've noticed I have certain stages of development that I think "as soon as I get this taken care of, everything will be fine." I get it taken care of and then I realize there's something further down the road that needs to be taken care of that has me worried a bit. Step by step. So far, though, I can't complain. I have a fantastic production crew that has tons of theater experience and enthusiasm that has made my job not only easier, but fun.

I'm very excited about the show this year. The cast is great and I already mentioned the crew in place. This promises to be one of our best years in all aspects of a show: musically, theatrically, and in all the details. Those of you who know me personally know I'm a details person and that hasn't gone by the wayside in the least, even as we've just been doing music rehearsals.

Our first blocking rehearsal is scheduled for this coming Saturday. Since May 4, we have been doing just music rehearsals after having our informational meeting May 1 and our read-through May 2. Our dance rehearsals start May 21. Hard to believe we are already in our third week of rehearsal...time flies!

Special thanks to Nate Johnson for the photos, both of which come from our first cast meeting on May 1!