Happy Anniversary

My parents have a song for anniversaries; sort of like the "Happy Birthday" song. I have no idea if this gag originates with them or not, but I've never heard it anywhere else. The tune consists of them signing "happy anniversary" over and over again to the tune of the William Tell Overture. This may sound dumb, and it is, but it can also be highly entertaining when you hear someone try to articulate the quicker changes in the song, especially when you have to abandon the word "anniversary" for a couple of measures:

"Happy happy happy happy happy anniversary,
happy happy happy happy happy anniversary!"

Not just classy, but classic. I sing this song unto you, Aviary, on this, your day of inception.

In a year's time, Odin's Aviary has accomplished its modest part. I'm afraid I learned the ways of tracking visitor-ship somewhat late into its life, so can't be certain how those initial stages of growth fared in the world. Bearing this in mind, that the first few months don't even enter into it--some statistics (and mad gratitude to the gang over at statcounter.org):
  • For roughly the year 2007, we've had 6,909 unique visitors, 4,476 of those being "first-timers," and the remainder returning visitors (variable results, determined by a cookie).

  • April through June was the period of greatest popularity, but May has August as a neck-and-neck competitor for most page loads (most likely because I left town [and day-job desk] for Prohibitive Standards in August, vanishing from the 'blogosphere for a bit, and everyone went, "oh crap did he die?").

  • We've had 9,810 page loads as of 10:41 AM today, since loading the Aviary onto Statcounter. This means we've probably technically already surpassed 10,000 loads, but come on people now! Smile on each other! Just keep refreshing the page 200 times before the 31st!

  • Some of the more distant and exotic places that have dipped in to this here 'blog:
    Hungary (friend of mine, I'm sure)
    United Kingdom
    Australia (circus folk?)
    Finland (no earthly clue)
    United Arab Emirates
    New Zealand (more circus riff-raf?)
    Ireland (friends of Patrick, I'm sure)
    Slovakia (0.22 must be the smallest figure Statcounter gets to)

  • I'm bigger in Ontario than I am in Virginia. NoVa boys, what up? 703- represent!

  • By a landslide (of tracking cookies, of course), the most popular entries were May 22, 2007, and July 10, 2007. However, judging simply by comments, the most popular (or controversial) entry, with a whopping 23 comments, was August 14, 2007, the famed Batman v. Wolverine entry. And they say art is dead . . .

  • Some things people searched for on the interwebz that landed them (to their great dismay, I'm sure) in the Aviary:
    "When there's nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire..." (holy crap: so many search variations on these words--guess I wasn't the only one who was curious about their source)
    "When you can snatch the pebble from my hand..."
    busking workshops
    who the hell is brian dennehy
    travel italy gypsies
    improv soup uncommon theatre
    rilke on love and other difficulties
    'swonderful 'swonderful chips chips
    hits of the 90s

  • The vast majority of visitors stay for under 5 seconds. Wow. I feel so violated.

It's been quite a year for yours (truly), and hardly a tenth of it has made it onto the log of this 'blog, I'm sure. Odin's Aviary is aligned to a purpose, or two, so I make a point of not getting into too much personal information on it. You can probably count the references to my family on one hand, and I knew, probably before I even knew what the 'blog would be about, that my love life would never ever enter into it. No, my mission statement, to journal the exploits of just one dude living what I termed The Third Life(TM), didn't justify that kind of public disclosure, and though the purposes have evolved through the year, I still would rather write about theatre, acting, comedy, anxiety and improvisation (apparently in that order). Maybe this journal isn't so much focused on The Third Life per se these days, but it can't help but be involved in it, as I am, every day. So even when I'm writing about Batman clearly being victorious over Wolverine in a fight, something of that has to do with the unique nature of a life lived for challenge and artistic expression.

Of course, too, one can't help but share a lot personally over a 'blog. Particularly when one's profession is as intricately personal as acting usually is. I've learned a lot about the pratfalls of sharing just a wee bit too much (pratfalls which are funny only in retrospect) in this format, as well as about how cumulative angst can overwhelm a reader when received all at once. Some people have been hurt that they weren't mentioned here. Others quite upset that they were, or just that I used their real names. It's been worth all the slip-ups, to me, at least. I feel like I've learned a lot through working in this medium. It's a little like therapy, or meditation, and like those venues, it can be overdone.

A few weeks ago I contemplated the decision to close the Aviary. This decision is tied in to the possible decision of switching my focus from trying to be a really, really, extraordinarily successful actor, to some other satisfying pursuit. That's not such a profound or unique thing as it may at first sound; like religion, I feel my career is only true to me if I choose it every day. Questioning keeps me in touch, keeps me fresh to the thing I'm questioning. It's a bitch most of the time, actually, but always worth it. In acting, there's a curious little habit of "bad" acting that I'm reminded of. Sometimes an actor will stop asking the questions in his or her lines. Whether it comes of memorizing the script by rote, or the monotony of rehearsal's repetitions, or simply knowing what the other character's answer will be, actors occasionally have to be reminded: Really ask the question. Well, I'm getting some different answers these days to the acting question, when I ask it, and mean it. It could be that change is on the horizon. It usually is.

But the change will not happen today. Or, perhaps it's happening already, but for today Odin's Aviary will live 10,000 visits more, and I will keep treading boards, slapping sticks and donning masks. Thank you, sincerely, for checking in on the progress from time to time. I love a friend-filled audience.