Rick Cutler

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Transmitting from Las Vegas, NV... Here are some recent ramblings from the past week which I wrote a few days ago: A creature of habit...that's what I've become to a degree out here. Been getting to sleep around 1-2AM, getting up around 9-10AM, meditate, go down to the cafe for my "salmon bagel sandwhich" as they call it here (basically lox, cream cheese, cucumbers & onions....hold the tomato, please) & large coffee. I bring a book to read while I'm waiting for my food. (I tried the employee cafeteria for breakfast, which is free for us, & cancelled on it. To walk 30 minutes round-trip from my room for lukewarm eggs isn't worth it). Cost for the salmon bagel sandwhich & coffee, by the way, is $14.05. I usually have the amount out & ready to hand over before the cashier finishes ringing it up. Then, it's usually back to the room to check email. It's kind of uncanny because, sometimes, even though I'm gone for less than an hour, the room will be made up by the time I return. The "Do Not Disturb" sign is a little red light as opposed to a sign so I'm thinking that maybe when I turn it off, it shows up in Housekeeping Central Command & they run up to clean. The afternoons usually consist of reading, web surfing & maybe a nap. I've been deliquent as far as hitting the gym but will get back in there when I get home. We've also been having extra soundchecks & rehearsals. Out of the 7 shows we're doing here, there'll be soundchecks or camera blocking stuff for 5 of the days so our afternoons are not entirely our own. The evenings, of course, are the shows themselves. I spend about 30 minutes a day or less outdoors as you can walk from our hotel to the showroom through indoor walkways. The only extended time I've been outside has been during breakfast. The cafe has an outdoor area that's pleasant. Mostly though, I really don't like Las Vegas so the less time I can spend among the throngs who actually chose to come here for vacation the better. I can't imagine spending any time here for any reason other than work. There's just nowhere to walk that's anything other than gross & gaudy as far as I'm concerned. The only diversion that I remotely considered was trying to catch Penn & Teller's show, mostly so I could try & corner one of them & ask their opinion about a psychic we recently saw. They swear that there's no such thing as paranormal abilities & claim that everything done in that zone is a trick of some kind. As the show we witnessed was pretty impressive, I'd love to ask them about it, especially because they usually have no problem debunking these things and revealing the secrets. Doesn't look like it'll happen, though, becuase we have no nights off. Now, back to the present tense: Tonight is our last show before heading home tomorrow. As it's a show specifically for the casts & crews of other shows (called a "Gypsy Show") it begins at midnight. My working hours today will be from 7:30PM until around 2:30AM. Last night was filmed as tonight will be as well. An interesting little event during last night's taping was during a song where I have a fair amount of solo lines to play using an accordian sound. Usually I have 2 very bright lights attached to 2 music stands for reading the music but, becuase of the mood required for this piece, my lights are turned off & my stands are lit from way above using soft blue stage lighting. As we were performing, one of the huge cameras on a boom stand hovered over me creating a complete shadow over the music so that I couldn't see a thing! Luckily, having played the piece quite a bit & because of the brevity of the incident, there was no problem. Still, for that one moment when I saw complete darkness descend over my music like a solar eclipse, I thought to myself, "WTF!!!" Any little distraction that diverts your attention can be a huge problem, especially when you have to play some solos! Luckily, all was fine. I mentioned this to our stage manager &, hopefully, tonight my blue lights will shine free & clear. And there you have it! More coming in a couple of weeks from down under.