Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A bit of this, a bit of that

Another treasure was unearthed today:

No need to try to read it.  You can get the gist of things by glancing at it.  This is the 124 page solution book which accompanies the text book, "Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics," which I typed when I was working at the physics department.  That book had lot and lots of text and lots of equations, but this book is almost entirely equations.  124 pages of equations.  Can you imagine typing  that?

This was in the days before the IBM Selectric had interchangeable balls for different typefaces, which was probably a good thing.  What it had was interchangeable keys.  Google has finally failed me.  They have no pictures of the interchangeable keys, but just show the balls, which came shortly after the books were published.

I had a board with single keys hanging from it, and when I was going to type an equation, I could substitute one of the regular keyboard keys with a key that had a character on it.  It was better than the ball because the ball is all characters, but sometimes you are using the same character many times and you can just keep that key in the typewriter instead of a key that you seldom use, so you don't have to change in and out many times when typing equations.  I got to be incredibly speedy changing those keys in and out.

I actually found an email address for Roger Knacke, the grad student who wrote the solution manual.  He's now retired, of course, and I have no idea if this email address works or not, but I sent him a brief note an the photo of the page.  I hope he responds.

In 2007, early in my "critic life," I saw a production of a show called "Every Christmas Story Ever Told," the holiday offering that year of Capital Stage in Sacramento.

It is a play for 3 actors and during the course of two acts, they do indeed put on just about every Christmas story you've ever seen or loved.  It's their salute to "B.H.C."s (beloved holiday classics) and before the show starts, they call for suggestions from the audience (since there aren't all that many of them, they can easily work off a script to salute each favorite.

Of Gary Martinez, I wrote "  Martinez is loveable in a "cowardly lion" sort of way, a big man with the gentleness and simplicity of a child, bringing all the heart-tugging moments. He gives a beautiful rendition of Linus’ "True Meaning of Christmas" from "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown," and he plays nearly all the characters (except George Bailey) from "It’s a Wonderful Life." In the midst of all the frenzy on stage, Martinez becomes the heart of the season.

(The photo above shows him as "Gustav the Green-nosed Reingoat."  They couldn't do "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer because of copyright infringement problems, they say.)

Over the years, I saw Gary do that show one or two other times, and he appeared in several other shows that I reviewed as well (I last saw him in "Diary of Anne Frank" in 2017) but I had a soft spot in my heart for his Gustav.

When I found him on Facebook, we became Facebook friends and I followed his timeline and found we had a lot in common.  I read about the shows he was in in No. California.  I never saw him do Shakespeare, I don't think, but apparently he was quite a Shakespearean actor.

A few years ago, his brother died and it threw him for a loop.  I've watched him struggle with the grief and depression, very open about both on Facebook ever since the death.  I was not, however, prepared for his entry yesterday, "my body and brain just can't/won't take it anymore.....my onstage acting career in the USA is over....its hard to face, but the reality of it all is all too apparent....I will be doing other things in the theatrical/musical arts....again, I've had a great 45+ year run....I'm collecting my Equity pension, social security, and I've made some wise investments...I'm ready to party/travel/wander aimlessly through life...I've withdrawn from the Berkeley Rep production of Kiss My Aztec!---perhaps what could have been my most prestigious onstage appearance.......ah, the irony....."

I am sad to realize the pain he must still be in and will miss looking forward to his next appearance, but I am glad that I have had a chance to experience his acting and that we remain Facebook friends.

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