Sunday, December 15, 2013
I have updated my life, and surprisingly to me...the answer given to the question,''So, what do you do, John?''.
It's a year later. I moved from my home in Scotland to Los Angeles with a small suitcase, leaving all my worldly possessions in my home in Scotland. Based on a weekend spent with two dear friends in LA a year ago last summer, I decided that I might try my hand at acting in front of a camera. Chuck and Megan, the friends, are both casting directors and told me I could work in the industry. I found a very workable room to rent with a young man that is now a dear friend in No Hollywood. The room had the advantages of location, space, good light an proximity to my brother, who lives 12 minutes away! Seemed like a good place to start a new adventure.
Trying something new with my life didn't come quickly. I spent over two years after Margie's death in Scotland wondering what might come next. I don't know if other folks have plans set for when their lives course comes to an end. I didn't. Living successfully with Margie pretty much meant that I lived in the moment. Many people, including myself, think they live in the moment, but they don't. What they do is make decisions on the run about what they might do tonight, or where they might go for the next week. But really living in the moment means you REALLY don't have any plans for next month, next year, five years from now. I actually took me a couple of years with Margie to get to that point, a necessity for us, but her passing did leave me wondering what I might do tonight, the question of the rest of my life on my own was truly the dark side of the moon in my life plan.
So...a year later, a commercial, a pilot for a new series on the Biography Channel, many auditions, many more paintings, a website for my art, some new friends, and two plays with a new and growing repertory theatre company later, I am still enjoying the adventure. I still haven't filled in the blank with what will be happening next year, or five years from now. However, I have found some likely locations for a second home...built an ETSY site for my artwork...want to help some good folks build their theatre company in reputation and scope...am excited about finding some new locations to display my paintings...am much fitter than I was a year ago...confidant and ready for the next audition...am enjoying my daughter and her family, grandsons, my son and his girl friend...and thinking about what I might do tonight. Oh! I have stopped saying, ''I am a retired teacher.'' These days, I have finally started saying to new acquaintances, ''I am an actor and an artist...and a retired teacher.''.
Here are the ETSY site and the Theatre Company.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/GamrieArt , art by John Lambie
http://www.lakearrowheadrep.org/ , theatre company
http://www.lakearrowheadrep.org/ , theatre
Thursday, February 21, 2013
There are unlimited ways to express yourself, and I am enjoying blundering through some new and old ones. I have recently started to pursue professional acting as a, yet again, new career. I have been writing and singing some new songs, which I haven't done in quite some time. And here, I am even posting a current blog for the first time in nearly a year! Thank you, Sarah, for suggesting I get back into this old blog format. The absolutely brand new artistic expression I have been enjoying for almost the last year (10 months is close enough) is painting. Like so many things, I wish I had taken art classes when I was in school. I have drawn pencil sketches, set designs, some costume designs, and doodles for many years, but oil and acrylics and brushes and canvases are a new language to me.
I have found myself making beginning amateur mistakes with almost every effort. I have called my daughter, and posted questions to You Tube all along the way. But experimenting with a different idea almost every time I squeeze a tube onto my plate has been a very enjoyable journey of discovery. I am hooked. To now, I have found two universal responses to this new medium. One, I really don't know when I am done with a painting. I have asked several other artists how they know when they are done. For me, it more like a cat playing with a mouse, I just sort of lose interest in batting it around after awhile, and move on to the next thing.
So, I will be continuing to learn how to better express what I feel and see. I have good examples for both in my daughter, Sarah, and my grandson, Walker. Both show a great freedom with their brush strokes that i hope to emulate someday!
Monday, March 19, 2012
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I have a grandson who likes to talk. Conversation around the dinning table is constant and lead by Walker whenever adult imagination or interest flags. There are countless, and I really mean countless, conversations during the day about his toy sharing plans, potential nap times, determinations of how many books to read before sleep time, what will be eaten, what will be drunk, what will be watched on television, where to spend play time, who should be pushing him on the swing, where others should sit in relationship to his own location, what is the subject of conversation (both those involving him and those which do not), plans for the near future, and ...well you get the idea. Walker is the king of Yickety-Yak. Now don't misunderstand, Walker rarely is outright demanding. His interests and personal desires are usually achieved through a series of seemingly innocuous questions. For example, instead of asking for a piece of the candy he suspects you are sucking on right now, he will ask a series of questions...''What's in your mouth Pa John?''...''Is it good?''....''Do you have more?''....''Would you like me to have one?''....and the closer, ''Would now be a good time for that? Because I'll be taking a nap soon, and you might feel better knowing you shared.''
Walker's logic and conversational skills are really amazing, and often entertaining, for a three year old. When he grows up Walker wants to be a fireman. Mom and Dad are open to any options, but if modelling has any influence on development, he'll likely be an artist or or some such creative professional. Me, I know he'll be a major Negotiator for tactical SWAT teams in hostage situations. This is how the dialogue would go today.
I've got four hostages here and I'll kill them all. I want the cops to pull back...I want a million dollars and a car in one hour OR THEY DIE!
What if...what if...I get you a train?
TRAIN!? I want a car parked outside, a million dollars, outside the door, one hour!
I want to play with the car. You can have the train.
What are you!?! Put a man on the phone now!
You can't have the Thomas train or the diesel, but you can have Percy, no...you can have Hiro. And are there any little boys there?
A mother, two boys and a little girl. All dead in one hour if I don't get...
Wait, what if...what if...just listen to me...what if you let the boys come out and play with me...now.
ARE YOU NUTS?! You don't make demands, I...
We'll just play for 5 more minutes and then back to you...and...and the boy can bring you the train.
I don't want the train! I want the car.
I could let you play with the bus.
OK! The BUS! ...One hour or they're DEAD!
Can you send him out now?
Why not now? Now we can play. If we play now, we can ride in a bus later. We could...we could...listen to me...we..we could...(long pause)
WHAT?...We could what?!
What are you eating? Can I have some nuts and raisins?
What? Who are you? People are gonna DIE in here! Money-Car-No Cops-One Hour!!
Do you have pistachios? We should eat. And then play for 5 more minutes. And then...we should...take our nap.
NBC Reporter (outside the hostages home)
We have activity at the front door!...THEY@RE COMING OUT! The hostages are coming out!! Followed by...the terrorists with their hands in the air. The siege is OVER!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
My daily, morning, summer schedule usually includes a pot of coffee, a couple of hours writing before most folks are up and about, and a walk on the beach. It doesn't matter what kind of weather Scotland is enjoying on the day, but there are a large number of beautiful, sun scattered late mornings on many of them. Often I have the beach to myself, though that isn't a requirement for me to enjoy the activity.
Growing up, I used to see older people on a beach throwing a stone, or moving over the sands with magnetic metal finders searching for small treasures or an ancient lost city. Sometimes there'd be a good Samaritan with a bag, picking up discarded trash. I wondered if I could ever be the guy walking slowly up a beach just to fill my day's hours until another had passed without much to show for it. 'No, that won't be me.', I thought. What an idiot I was (maybe still am...).
I know it all falls under the category of 'stop and smell the roses', but I am always amazed at what I see on the same patch of beach, now that I am filling my day's hours. My beach has the history of an eleventh century church built on the slope overlooking me, and beach landings of Viking raiders on that same stretch of sand. There followed other centuries of settlement fishermen using the beach as their home while they plied their livelihood in the North Sea. I have a vivid imagination and can envision much of this. I putter among the tide pools discovering sea life waiting for the tide to change. Sure, I like the wild-flowers, or the waterfall that runs over the towering, red sandstone cliffs.
In one of the photo's I took this morning, you can see seagull parents nesting with their young up in a cut in the sandstone. Thinking of seagulls, often, as screeching, feather-covered vermin that poo on my car...I was surprised at the cooing affection they were giving each other up there as they fed and protected the baby feather-covered vermin. Ok...I'll have to adjust my thinking on that issue.
In another photo there is a great blue heron walking through a tide pool looking for breakfast. Look closely, he's there...
However there is a particular activity that employs me on all walks on the beach any more. I search for blue glass. Blue glass is harder to find than green, white, brown, or amber glass. The rarest glass to find is red glass, but I am partial to looking for blue. Since the blue glass is mostly incredibly tiny slivers of the stuff, there are some key procedures that have to be employed. I find myself moving very slowly over a scrabble of small pebbles deposited in various spots on the shore, often stopping to hold my eye on one small portion of the sand....waiting for the right angle of the sun to sparkle up a hint of blue treasure. The shard is often so teeny that I have to dab it up on a finger along with grains of sand, and rub it between my fingers, gently blowing the grains of sand away until I have the shard, or the smooth rounded blue trace of glass that I drop into my shirt pocket for later inspection. Then back to staring at another two foot square of pebble deposit. Some days I realize that I have travelled the length of the beach and not raised my eyes off the sand. Today I finally lifted my head and there was a small boy out walking his dog, standing just ten feet away, looking at me oddly. I'm pretty sure I know what he was thinking. I wanted to say, ''Yeah...so what...it really relaxes me and I just enjoy it!...Ok?''.
I've avoided picking up green or white glass up to now, because I'm a purist, and want to believe that my life has more meaning than the lives of those that just collect the glass that's easy to find. Starting today, however, I am also picking up particularly lovely green and white glass too. 'Hey...it really relaxes me and I just enjoy it!...Ok?!'
Friday, May 20, 2011
Excerpt from morning BBC news broadcast...This is why I LOVE news from Scotland...
And now we go to South Uist with Fiona, where there is a pod of mellonhead whales in trouble.
I'm here with whale expert Calum West, Team Leader of the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit. Calum, we see a pod of whales out in the water swimming in a tight circle. Can you tell us what is happening?
There is a pod of whales out in the water swimming in a tight circle.
Is that normal behaviour for whales?
Well they seem to be doing it, so I would say yes. It would not be normal if they were out of the water.
Will it become dangerous if they move into shallower water?
Well no, not if we don't go into the water with them.
Will the whales be in any danger if they approach shallower water?
That would depend on the depth of the shallow water.
What rescue efforts has the Cetacean Research Team made already?
We attempted to drive them out of the channel into the deeper waters of the sea. The whales just swam around our boats and returned to this area.
Do you know why the whales did that, or what the whales are experiencing or thinking now?
Actually, we have no way of communicating with whales.
What will be done now to try and help these endangered whales?
We'll continue our research, and then probably break for lunch, should these whales still be here later.
Thank you Colum. Well that's it from South Uist. We'll be here later in the broadcast for an update on the rescue efforts. Back to you, Devon...
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Yesterday, the Reaper pulled into Gardenstown Harbour for the day. The ship has been travelling up the Moray coast stopping at many ports to provide a historical experience for locals, school children and their families. The Reaper is a very large Zulu fishing boat, commissioned in 1902. This design of fishing boat was used extensively in the last century and is, sadly, the last remaining one afloat. The Scottish fishing industry once boasted a fleet numbering near 80,000 zulu designed ships. The hold of the Reaper has been converted into a museum, as well as providing meagre quarters for the current crew of eight volunteers. It really wasn't so long ago that the fishing industry in Scotland's small fishing communities bellied up as a mainstay of the country's economy, but that is a completely different story from recent history. Living in a country that supports its heritage, and the rich culture of it's past generations is one of the reasons I moved to Scotland. I love reading and learning about history. I think people in general, though, have become separated from the lessons of courage, character and sacrifice that past generations have grown up knowing and incorporating into their daily lives. No...this isn't the 'why when I was young we walked through drifting snow...' rant. Rather, it is an expression of a sense of loss. Sure there are great examples of selflessness and courage and sacrifice to be admired from individuals of every country these days, but those stories just don't seem to interest most folks or demand the attention of viewing or listening audiences on our television flat screens, films, computers or blackberries. Any American who has ever watched late night with Jay Leno and listened to JayWalk interviews is appalled by the average citizen's lack of very basic knowledge of their own country and history. And we find that entertaining. Memorial Day is fast approaching in the USA, and most people don't even know what it is we're supposed to remember. Winston Churchill said that a country that didn't know it's own history is destined to repeat it's mistakes. And we do. I doubt that most local students could guess why these boats are called zulus, even if you clued them that the design was first introduced in the late 1870's. Last year, American students finish 23rd in a measure of mathematical knowledge compared to the world's leading countries...28th in science...and 26th in history (including their own!). Surprisingly, US students only finished 1st in one category...confidence. Yikes! So, I guess what I am saying is take your kids out to a museum, an art gallery, or a location of historical interest. Read up on it yourself so you can model knowledge, curiosity and gratitude. Tell them about what your grandfathers and grandmothers did and accomplished in their lives. If you don't know...read up.
(more on the fishing industry at www.scotfishmuseum.org)