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2017-07-21 04:26 pm

Accomplishment chart, 7/14 – 7/20

Accomplishment chart, 7/14 – 7/20



Writing


- drafting for GenCon-exclusive quests for EO

- drafted scenes 2b, 9a, 9b, 12, 13b, and 14 for Mrs. Hawking 4, version 1

- worked on drafting scenes 9c for Mrs. Hawking 4, version 1

- scrubbing for “Continual Practice” scene for Mrs. Hawking 6

- scribbling for Mrs. Hawking 6

- 2 journal entries



Theater

- had 3 performances of Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP



Physical

- 2 two-mile runs

- 1 fighter abs routine

- 1 weight machine routine

- walked 10,000+ steps 4 days

- walked 15,000+ steps 1 days



Media

- listened to episode 118 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest



Cooking

- made mixed berry pie with puff pastry crust

- made baked chicken thighs with steamed broccoli
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2017-07-19 07:41 pm
Entry tags:

My Batman

Every few years or so, I rewatch Batman: The Animated Series. And every time it shocks me with its quality, its style, and the powerful effect it has on me.

I've adored it since I was a child. It so much to shape my aesthetic of storytelling and style. It did more to inspire me to create Mrs. Hawking than anything, and I actually have to work to distinguish my character from the prototype, rather than just recreating everything I found cool about the original.

I say I love Batman in general, and I do. I've read the comics since childhood and even enjoyed some of the films. But who I LOVE-- what I think of when I think of LOVING BATMAN-- is this Batman. This is MY Batman, the character that inspired me, that still shakes me with just how cool he is.

So many excellent choices. Kevin Conroy's performance-- he is still THE ONLY TRUE BATMAN TO ME --contrasting Bruce Wayne with his true self wearing the mask, which was HIS OWN INVENTION, by the way. The way he presents himself as Bruce Wayne as a nice guy but ultimately too vain and dumb for anybody to really take seriously-- I prefer that to the douchebag Bruce any day. Alfred's sweet relationship with him and his hilarious low-key snarking. Robin's conception as a college kid rather than a young boy. The character of Renee Montoya. The way they use the villains made me believe this is the best rogues' gallery of all comic book superheroes, giving human weight and motivation to what might otherwise just seem absurd. How COOL everything is-- Batman's costume, the Batcave, the Batmobile (in the style I affectionately call the Batillac), how the fight scenes look.

This most recent rewatch made me particularly appreciate the characterization of the hero-- his childhood trauma INFORMS his personality, and sometimes rears its head in his present life, but mostly he's COPING and not RULED BY IT. After all, being Batman? PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME COPING MECHANISM! It mitigates the melodrama and pitfalls the character tends to fall into when he's played too grimdark. The freaking films should have taken note.

I wanted to be this Batman so badly as a kid, such that to this day I can't wait the sequel series Batman Beyond without being suffused with naked envy for Terry McGuinness learning at the master's knee. Writing Mrs. Hawking is in a way getting to live that fantasy. Without this show, there would be no Mrs. Hawking-- one of the best things I've created in my life.
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2017-07-18 07:26 pm
Entry tags:

Need to keep up journaling

I have not been writing in my journal much lately. Between my day job being writing and trying to finish the first draft of Mrs. Hawking part 4, I've been doing so much writing I haven't had the wherewithal to journal as well. But I hate not keeping up with it, because I like having a record of my life and thoughts to look back on.

Not that I have too much to say right now. My life has been mostly taken up with working on those projects and I don't know that I have much to report on those fronts right now. But this journal is important to me, and I want to keep it up. Maybe I just need to write just something tiny, anything at all, rather than nothing. I like being able to look back on what I was thinking or doing at any given time, and I can't do that if I don't keep the record.
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2017-07-14 09:18 am

Accomplishment chart, 7/7 – 7/13

Accomplishment chart, 7/7 – 7/13

Writing

- drafting for faction quests for EO
- drafted scenes 3a, 3b, 11c, 5c, 6b, 7, and 9c for Mrs. Hawking 4, version 1
- worked on drafting scenes 8c and 14 for Mrs. Hawking 4, version 1
- 1 journal entry

Theater
- had cue-to-cue rehearsal for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP
- had 2 dress rehearsals for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Costuming/Sewing
- finalized costuming for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Website
- made gallery of John Benfield’s photos of Act I of Base Instruments at WCSF ‘17

Physical
- 1 two-mile runs
- 1 fighter abs routine
- walked 10,000+ steps 2 days

Media
- watched Edge of Tomorrow movie
- listened to episode 117 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

Cooking
- made baked chicken with peppers and onion and strawberry spinach salad
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2017-07-12 09:06 am

Midsummer report

Since it's almost halfway through the summer, I thought I'd give a report while I actually have a moment.

I've been at my new job with Evil Overlord Games for almost a month now, and I think it's going well! I am definitely enjoying it, and I'm working very hard to do well. I've produced an enormous amount of writing, though I'm still getting used to the situation of doing it for a set time for an entire workday. Creativity on a regular schedule takes some adapting! But I'm enjoying the challenge, and I am very determined to deliver good work. This past week I was working as fast as I could in an effort to meet a deadline, so it will likely call for a lot of editing, but getting it down on the page is always the biggest challenge for me.

I've also been working on drafting Mrs. Hawking part 4, tentatively titled Gilded Cages. (I'm not crazy about that title, but I'm not sure what else to call it.) What I've got so far is very rough, but I've made a good start-- as I've mentioned, I've got to just get some garbage on the page in order to have some material to work with and improve. It's been a bit harder and weirder, given that I've got so much other writing to do lately, but having my day job provide way more writing responsibilities is actually a pretty good problem to have.

I'm also in tech week for Murders and Scandals, the PMRP double feature of Murders in the Rue Morgue and A Scandal in Bohemia. I must say, it has been quite some time before I've had a tech week that was this low-intensity, given I've been doing the piece-heavy Mrs. Hawking shows. We open this coming weekend at Responsible Grace in Somerville, so check out our schedule of performances to see which show you can make!
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2017-07-10 10:36 am

New post on Mrshawking.com -- "Completed outline for Mrs. Hawking part 4!"

New post on Mrshawking.com!

"Completed outline for Mrs. Hawking part 4!"

I have hit my first milestone in my process of putting together the fourth Mrs. Hawking story!



For the month of June, Bernie and I worked on creating a complete outline with all the story events with the proper structure. Our goal was to have it done by the end of the month, and we completed it with one day to spare. That means I can successfully move on to drafting it, which is in some ways more fun than planning, but in other ways more challenging— because I have to move on from theory to actual execution.

Read the rest on Mrshawking.com!
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2017-07-07 08:55 am

Accomplishment chart, 6/30 – 7/6

Accomplishment chart, 6/30 – 7/6

Writing

- completed outline for Mrs. Hawking 4
- wrote director’s note for The Murders in the Rue Morgue
- drafting for faction quests for EO
- drafted scenes 1, 2a, 2c, 2d, 3e, 3d, 4a, 4b, 4c, 5a, 5b, 6a, 13e for Mrs. Hawking 4, version 1
- started drafting scenes 8c for Mrs. Hawking 4, version 1

Costuming/Sewing
- organizing costuming for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Physical
- 2 two-mile runs
- 2 fighter abs routine
- walked 10,000+ steps 5 days

Media
- watched GLOW season 1
- listened to episode 116 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

Cooking
- made broiled turkey sausage with strawberry spinach salad
- made sausage sandwiches with sautéed peppers and onions
- made broiled pork chops with steamed broccoli
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2017-06-30 12:15 pm

Accomplishment chart, 6/23 – 6/29

Accomplishment chart, 6/23 – 6/29

Writing

- plotting for Mrs. Hawking part 4
- outlining for Mrs. Hawking part 4
- drafting for recruitment quest for freelance EO assignment
- 3 journal entries

Theater
- had 1 rehearsal for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Costuming/Sewing
- organizing costuming for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Art
- modeled for forest elf and gender-swapped Crow photo shoots with Mark Edwards

Physical
- 2 two-mile runs
- 2 fighter abs routine
- walked 10,000+ steps 2 days
- walked 15,000+ steps 1 day

Media
- read Holmes pastiche story by Jeremy Holstein
- listened to episode 115 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

Cooking
- made cinnamon applesauce
- made fusilli with sautéed shrimp and roast zucchini
- made seared strip steak with roast potatoes and glazed onions
- made Cajun-spiced chicken with trinity potato salad and red cabbage coleslaw
- made sugar cookie dough
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2017-06-29 05:58 pm
Entry tags:

Since I'm ranting about everything this week

You know what weirds me out? When people date people who look too much like them.

It's WEIRD. If people could mistake you for blood relatives, you shouldn't date. It looks weird, it leads to uncomfortable assumptions by people who don't know you, and it has screwed up implications. Are you... attracted to yourself? Or your relatives? 'Cause those are the people who tend to look like you.

Like, it's lovely that Benedict Cumberbatch is married to a woman who is age- and socially-appropriate in pretty much every way, but is nobody else struck by the fact that she looks like she could be his sister? I'm sure they're very happy together and a very nice couple, but is their baby entirely made up of recessive genes? Is he going to grow up to play a banjo on a porch? That's a mean joke to make about a baby, but I'm sure his very privileged upbringing will insulate him from my insensitivity.

Of course, the Hapsburgs were very privileged too. And it didn't stop them from suffering for their ancestors being a little too into people who looked a little too much like them!
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2017-06-27 12:08 pm
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Tried Blue Apron

Recently I got a chance to try out Blue Apron, one of those meal subscription services that has become popular recently. Basically I got sent a box with three meal's worth as a free sample that Bernie, who also tried out the service, was allowed to send to somebody. It's an interesting idea-- they send you the raw ingredients plus recipes for chef-designed meals to cook in your own kitchen. You can choose what gets sent to you from a number of recipes offered each week, and you can personalize a little according to your dietary habits, such as vegetarianism or not eating pork.

I tried it for the first time at Bernie's house, when he had received his own free samples from his brother. The food is very high-quality; everything they send you is fresh and even mostly organic, and just the right amount for the recipe. The plates are clearly designed by creative and talented cooks, who put a lot of thought into flavor combination and ingredient use. Each plate is fairly balanced too, with a protein, vegetables, and a starch. The recipes are clear and well-written; you don't have to be a good or experienced cook to follow them, and none of the techniques are difficult to execute. The results are really good meals, particularly if you like a lot of variety and combination in what you're eating.

They had some downsides, though. While not exorbitant, each meal is not cheap-- they work out to about ten dollars a portion, which if you order out a lot is low, but if you're used to doing your own grocery shopping to cook, like I do, that seems excessive. None of the cooking is difficult, exactly, but because the recipes favor lots of ingredients and many-step dishes, they always took me a fair bit of time to prepare. Finally, there is a LOT of plastic packaging for the individually-portioned ingredients, which seems wasteful. I think most of it is recyclable, but still. And I'm annoyed with the fact that despite the three-meal sample being free, they basically immediately sign you up for another three-meal delivery which they don't give you a chance to cancel.

Ultimately, I am not going to continue using it. It's too expensive for me, especially since I cook pretty regularly already, by doing my own much-cheaper grocery shopping. I also generally prefer to eat a little simpler than this style, with fewer ingredients, fewer sauces, fewer starches, that sort of thing. It's a very good product though, and if you want an easier way to get into cooking restaurant-style meals, it's probably worth it for ten bucks a plate.
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2017-06-26 08:35 am
Entry tags:

UNPOPULAR OPINION WARNING -- pocketsarepointlessokay

IT'S TIME FOR AN UNPOPULAR OPINION RANT, KIDDIES!

Pockets on dresses are pointless. Nothing that's important to carry can be carried comfortably or attractively in a pocket.

FIGHT ME.

Do I want my iPhone crammed in the pocket of my skirt, making a big old bulge and banging around my legs while I walk? NO. If it even fits in there, which it never freaking does. Will my wallet fit in a pocket in a dress? And even if it does, do I want it to look like I'm growing a hip tumor? If the pockets are big, and you can actually store important shit like that, it's so heavy it just drags on your clothes and looks stupid. If they're small, nothing fits! Oh, look, I can put my change in my dress pocket! I'VE SUCCESSFULLY KEPT THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS ON ME! SO USEFUL. I sure hope it doesn't like fall out if I shift myself the wrong way. I CAN WARM MY HANDS IN THERE. On the days where it's warm enough to wear a dress, anyway! MANY USEFULS. MUCH BIG DIFFERENCE.

I guess you could give everything one of those stupid kangaroo pockets like on sweatshirts! But that's EVEN MORE FLATTERING though, right!? I mean, every woman looks better when you strap a bulge on that padded part just underneath the bellybutton. THE ONLY THING THAT WOULD MAKE THAT BETTER IS TO SHOVE STUFF INTO THE BULGE TO MAKE IT EVEN BULGIER. Or just slap one on the front like an apron! Then you can look like you're a six-year-old in a pinafore! With your shit bouncing around on your crotch as you walk, with the attractive bump leading your way!

YAY POCKETS! YOU HAVE ACTIVELY MADE ME UGLIER WHILE HELPING ME IN NO MEANIGNFUL WAY.

So: pockets on dresses? POINTLESS. Bah.
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2017-06-23 10:17 pm

New post on Mrshawking.com -- "Our important new character in Hawking part 4"

New post on Mrshawking.com!

"Our important new character in Hawking part 4"

I am busily working away at my plan to have Mrs. Hawking part 4—tentatively titled Gilded Cages —ready to go into rehearsal by the end of the summer. That means all this month Bernie and I have been working on the outline for the story, as I like to get the structure and shape of it down before I actually start drafting.

As I’ve mentioned, one of the toughest parts of this piece is dealing with the presence of Victorian colonialism. It’s a major factor in this story, and I want exploring the issues that stem from it to have an important place in the story’s theme. Without revealing too much, I will say we’re including a character who is an indigenous resident of a colonized place in Asia. It is incumbent upon us to be as respectful as possible in that character’s portrayal. This is particularly challenging because we will be adding this character to an already established cast, where the protagonist is a white woman. Even under the best of circumstances, there is a very real danger of what I refer to as my theory of The Problem of the Protagonist— in short, where the centrality of your main character necessitates subordination of any other character’s story, which can result in those supporting roles’ marginalization or dehumanization.

DSCF7713


Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!
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2017-06-23 09:00 am

Accomplishment chart, 6/16 – 6/22

Accomplishment chart, 6/16 – 6/22

Writing

- plotting for Mrs. Hawking part 4
- outlining for Mrs. Hawking part 4
- drafted external quests for third and fourth faction for Susurrus
- had 1 request for Hood pilot
- 1 blog entry for Mrshawking.com
- 2 journal entries

Theater
- had 1 rehearsal for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Costuming/Sewing
- organizing costuming for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP
- put together costuming for forest elf photo shoot
- put together costuming for gender-swapped Crow photo shoot

Physical
- 1 two-mile runs
- 2 weight machine routines
- 2 fighter abs routine
- 1 one-mile run
- walked 10,000+ steps 3 days
- walked 15,000+ steps 1 day

Media
- watched Orange is the New Black season 5
- listened to episode 114 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

Cooking
- made garden salad with smoked tuna
- made panko breaded chicken tenders with roast potatoes and squash
- made roast sirloin with pepper and squash farro salad
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2017-06-21 06:34 pm

Food is holy

I haven't been cooking much lately. Too busy, too tired, or not home at convenient hours for it. But I love it. It has great meaning for me, beyond just a fun hobby. Food is holy; cooking is art and love at once. There's no other art or craft quite like it, in that everybody eats, everybody must eat, and so everybody can get something out of food. I know food's not a big deal for everybody, but nobody can go without it. Food is basic survival, so you can use it to be good to anybody, and then make it so much more.

I cooked tonight. Nothing fancy, just some panko breaded chicken and roasted vegetables. But it was delicious, and I felt so much better and stronger after eating it. I remembered that I made it, that I have the power and knowledge and ability to create something like this, to deliver this feeling when I want to. It's so powerful. I think of how my mom and dad showed love with beautiful meals. I think of how prone I am to bad attitudes about food because of my overwhelming desire to be thin, and how much my love of food helps me avoid those dangers. I think of all the wonderful occasions I've centered around dishes I've lovingly prepared.

I've got a scene in my head that I've wanted to include in a piece of writing for a long time now. I've just never had the right project for it. I imagine a novice chef laboring over a dish taught to them by a mentor. They put everything they have into it. They approach the table with the dish, to lay it in front of their mentor who sits at the head. The novice looks on in trepidation as the master takes a bite. All is still for a moment, then the master lays down the spoon and covers their eyes with their hand. The novice panics a moment, thinking they've failed. But the master stands and embraces them, weeping, because it was just so exquisite.

It reminds me of my mom, teaching me to make her lobster bisque, the most important recipe in our family. I don't have a place for it yet. But I've written other stories involving other passions-- sewing, ballet --so maybe someday I'll write a piece about cooking.



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2017-06-20 07:59 pm

"Murders and Scandals" - Poe and Conan Doyle with PMRP!

You may recall that this summer I am for the first time participating in a show with the Post-Meridian Radio Players, a group I have long admired but never had the chance to work with before. This summer I am directing an audio drama version of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which I helped PMRP artist-in-residence Jeremy Holstein to adapt, and which has the distinction of being history's first detective story. Our version also has the leads gender-swapped, so our detective is a female version of Dupin, as well as the narrator in the form of Dupin's companion Edelle.



It's exciting to work in this different form-- never directed a complete audio drama before --and it's lovely to have a much lower-key theatrical project than I've usually been occupied with of late. I'm also working with some great actors, some great people in the Mrs. Hawking cast as well as a bunch of lovely new people.

So I'd like to invite you all to the performance! Here is the link to the Facebook event. There's a link to buy tickets on the page, or they can be bought in the door. My show will start first at Responsible Grace church in Somerville, to be followed by Jeremy Holstein's excellent adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia," which features the only appearance of the beloved character Irene Adler.

Hope to see you there!
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2017-06-16 09:15 am

Accomplishment chart, 6/9 – 6/15

Accomplishment chart, 6/9 – 6/15

Writing
- accepted part-time writing job for Evil Overlord Games
- submitted first set of quests for freelance game writing assignment
- plotting for larger faction quests for freelance game writing assignment
- plotting for Mrs. Hawking part 4
- outlining for Mrs. Hawking part 4
- plotting for second faction for game company job
- drafted 4 external quests for second faction for game company job
- submitted 1 written pitch for Hood pilot
- 1 journal entry

Theater
- had 1 rehearsal for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP
- saw Penny Penniworth with Titanic Theater Company

Gaming/Larp
- bid Game Wrap Magazine article writing workshop for NELCO ‘17

Costuming/Sewing
- began organizing costuming for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Website
- made gallery of photos from Act II of Vivat Regina at WCSF ’17 by John Benfield

Physical
- 1 two-mile runs
- 1 weight machine routine
- carried buckets and carboys 4 days
- walked 10,000+ steps 3 days
- walked 15,000+ steps 1 days

Media
- saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 film in theaters
- listened to episode 113 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest
- watched Untucked season 9

Cooking
- helped make grilled chicken with grilled Brussels sprouts and roast sweet potato
- helped transfer 50 gallons of home brewed wine to secondary fermenters
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2017-06-14 06:25 pm
Entry tags:

New job! In WRITING!

So I had a really cool development happen recently! I was recently offered the opportunity to join the team at Evil Overlord Games to help out as they work to meet the release deadline for their first game!

Evil Overlord is a game startup company working on an urban fantasy interactive fiction browser game called Susurrus. The head writer, Tory Root, is someone who I have known and larped with for years now, so the high quality of her game writing has long been known to me. First she offered me the chance to do some freelance writing for the project, but then I accepted a part-time position to come onboard to help her, both with content generation as well as with wrangling the other freelancers, gathering their work and making sure they meet ther deadlines.

This is super exciting for me. It means WRITING PROFESSIONALLY, which is a total dream. It has to be part time because of the teaching commitments I made to Lesley, but I am so happy to have this chance. Plus it's a validation of all the time and effort I've put into game writing over the years, that it honed my craft to the point where someone had faith in my abilities to hire me for it.

I've only just begun, but I am determined to do a good job. Wish me luck!
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2017-06-10 09:32 pm

New gallery on Mrshawking.com -- Act II of Vivat Regina at Watch City Festival '17

New photo gallery posted on Mrshawking.com!

"Act II of Vivat Regina at Watch City Steampunk Festival '17"

Photography by John Benfield
Costume design by Jennifer Giorno
Set design by Bernie Gabin
Production design by Phoebe Roberts

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Featuring Cari Keebaugh as Mrs. Hawking, Circe Rowan as Mary, Christian Krenek as Nathaniel, Matthew Kamm as Arthur, Jackie Freyman as Clara, Sara Dion as Frau Gerhard, Remony Perlman as Mrs. Braun, and Andrew Prentice as Herr Austerlitz.

See the photographs on Mrshawking.com!
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2017-06-09 12:17 pm

Accomplishment chart, 6/2 – 6/8

Accomplishment chart, 6/2 – 6/8

Writing

- 1 blog entry for Mrshawking.com
- plotting for Gilded Cages with Bernie
- outlining for Gilded Cages
- accepted a freelance game writing assignment
- drafted 4 quests for online game writing assignment
- drafted locations and character descriptions for online game writing assignment

Theater
- had 1 rehearsal for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP
- consulted for sound for Murders at the Rue Morgue with PMRP

Gaming/Larp
- had 1 editorial meeting for Game Wrap Magazine

Physical
- 2 two-mile runs
- 1 fighter abs routine
- walked 10,000+ steps 4 days

Media
- read chapters 1-4 of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
- watched The Amazing Screw-On Head pilot
- saw Wonder Woman movie in theaters
- listened to episode 112 of Tom and Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinionfest

Cooking
- made sliders and green salad with cucumber, yellow pepper, and almonds
- helped make garden salads with grilled tuna steak and steamed green beans
- helped bottle 40 gallons of home-brewed wine
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2017-06-02 10:13 am

New post on Mrshawking.com -- "The plan for scripting Mrs. Hawking part 4"

New post on Mrshawking.com!

"The plan for scripting Mrs. Hawking part 4"

So now is the time that my collaborator Bernie and I are seriously buckling down on the script for the fourth and next installment of Mrs. Hawking. We’ve been at work on it for a while now, but the demands of production pushed it to the back burner. But now that it will be time to debut part 4 for the next Arisia in 2018, we have made a plan to get it completely scripted.



Read the rest of the entry on Mrshawking.com!