06 December 2008

Holidays, Vampires, Mustangs, and Finals

Well, it's that time of year again. Contrary to the music I've recently added to my blog, I'm not referencing the holidays. No, instead, I'm talking about finals: those dreaded, generally cumulative exams all college students must slough through before Christmas Break, an interim period that stretches just long enough to ensure complete insanity and non-comprehension when everyone returns to school in January. Those first few days of classes, the green room is always so filled, so noisy, so chaotic, you can hardly tel one conversation from the other. These days, this close to the end of the semester, it's the exact opposite.

Gripes abut professors, moans over going to class as textbooks are opened, seniors frantic to graduate rather than spend another semester in school, all this seems to lessen and increase at the same time as the semester winds down. Some people, myself included, are alternating between studying and procrastinating, planning our study schedules around our exams. Others are already making holiday plans. I've recently learned two of my friends from school live in Austin, which was cool to find out. More good news: I got a new (old) car, an '86 Mustang Capri. It's not much of a looker at all, but I love it. We had some bad luck today, though.

Today was my first day of exams and man, was it crazy! I got a flat on the way to school, which was ever so much fun, especially since I was worried I would be late to my first test. After making phone calls to my best friend and my Mom, who called my cousin, I eventually got to school...just in time to discover that my 11:30 exam which I've been studying for all weekend is in fact scheduled for...tomorrow.

Yeah. That was fun.

After that, I proceeded to the scene shop to work on the cabinet I'm building for my technical theater class. This time tomorrow, it will be sitting in the dining room, probably being painted since I ran out of time. The final for that class is 8 a.m. tomorrow, followed by the history final I thought I had today.

Despite my moment of complete foolishness, I did remember one of my exams, thank god. This afternoon, I took my final for English, a one-question essay test we were allowed to use the text for. To make things even easier, we were able to choose from about twenty questions, so I could afford to be picky. ;)

On Thursday I have my last exam which is for Spanish. *cringe* Oh, how I dread that one. After that exam, however, I'll be finished for the semester and will just have to wait for grades to be posted. Once I finish my finals, I'll also get to get back to my latest recreational reading: the Twilight series. I've only read the first book so far - in two days as a matter of fact - and can't wait to read the rest. I don't ever see myself owning the books, but I'm enjoying reading them.

So, what book did you read last? Did you like it? What's next on your reading list? When did you last have car trouble? I hope everyone find their 'knight in shining armor' to help them off the side of the road.

Happy holidays; try not to run over anything your tires won't like! ;)

29 November 2008

Auditions and Thanksgiving

"Acting is a sport. On stage you must be ready to move like a tennis player on his toes. Your concentration must be keen, your reflexes sharp; your body and mind are in top gear, the chase is on. Acting is energy. In the theatre people pay to see energy." - Clive Swift

What a week its been! Monday and Tuesday, I was heavily occupied with auditions for my school's production for West Side Story. As a techie who has never 'gone into the light' as an actress while in college, this was a very big step for me. As a person who rarely speaks up in front of people, can't dance, and never ever ever sings in front of people, my mere presence at auditions was downright monumental. I was one of sixty-six people there to audition, all of us feeding off one another's energy and nervousness. The open auditions meant there were a lot of non-theater people there; twenty-something people from the theater department showed up that I saw.

Once everyone filled out contact information sheets and signed a contract, we split in half with one group learning a small amount of coraeography ten people at a time and the rest giving cold reading in groups of two or three. I started with the cold reading where I was teamed with two other girls and read as Rosalia. After that, I waited nervously for my turn to dance and eventually went into the workshop theater with nine other people.

The coreographer showed us some "simple" coreography for the song 'Cool.' Of the ten people in that room, I was the only one who didn't get it. I just stood there at times, trying to figure out what I needed to do to get to the next position. The fact that the coreography was stylized a lot like the movie didn't help. After that lovely little failure, I drove home with my tail between my legs, constantly reminding myself that at least I had tried and telling myself that no matter how badly I'd screwed up, I would go to the next evening's auditions. If nothing else, this would prove to the director and to me that I could do what was required for the audition.

The next night, Tuesday, was much easier since it was the singing audition. I may not be able to dance, but I can sing and I like to think I can act. My song was from Avenue Q. If I say so myself, I nailed that portion of the audition. Everyone has had to wait through Thanksgiving break since results won't be posted until Monday. Now I'm not sure which way I want things to go: whether I want a role on-stage or not.

Over Thanksgiving break, I went to my Dad's family reunion with my dad, step-mom, and two year old half-sister. It was a lot of fun. I've also received a new car: an '86 Mustang Capri. It's not the prettiest with its cancer gray color, but I'm slowly getting used to it and really enjoying it. Wednesday, I have an exam in Spanish and a final in Tech. All in all, it'll be a fun week.

26 November 2008

Verbalism on the letter V

So apparently there's this new fad of blogs based around a letter of the alphabet. My mom's done it, as have several other people, so I asked Mom to give me a letter. We picked randomly with a very sophisticated piece of equipment - Mom held up my laptop and I shut my eyes and pointed at the keyboard. The result (after hitting two number keys) was the letter V. So, here we go.

Valentines candies

I love munching on these little candy hearts every February. So many sweet little messages and so much variety: I've had chewy conversation hearts, tart ones, sweet tarts, and jumbo sized ones. People don't generally give me chocolate around Valentines Day; they give me conversation hearts.


With all the traveling I do this semester, I actually had a bag of extra clothes in the car just in case I ever had to stay the night. During the run of Godspell, I was stranded on campus because my car went belly up - on tech weekend, prefect timing. :P Next semester, I'll be living in the dorms, so there'll be no more packing for a night of couch-dwelling.


Ah, these creatures of the night have triggered such a craze recently! I haven't had a chance to read the Twilight series yet, but have always loved Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles...until she tried to turn Lestat into a Christian...


I think I know what this word means... Right now, I'm on Thanksgiving break, which is only two and a half days - Wednesday at noon through Friday. Christmas break will be much nicer since I've got about a month off.


Jeff Dunham is a hilarious ventriloquist. Anyone unfamiliar with this name needs to set aside a few hours with youtube at least. My favorite puppet is Peanut, though Achmed the Dead Terrorist runs a very close second.


Arguably the best 'v' word out there. Who doesn't love the feeling of victory, the rush of winning, being the best? Yeah, I thought so. ;)


A delicious flavoring...or - if you travel the "right" circles - a hilarious joke about "the normals."


Excellent musical that can be complicated if you try and describe it to someone else. It's a show about a female who's masquerading as a man who's pretending to be a woman.


As this image shows, most women will do anything for a good sale. I look for bargains and have noticed a lot of strange things: like how a $10 pair of shoes from WalMart will last easily five times as long as a $50 or $200 pair of name-brand shoes. Why a person would spend $200 on a pair of shoes is beyond me...


This is also known as seaweed or kelp. So delicious when wrapped around sticky rice and raw fish or added into a good egg drop soup with some tofu. Seaweed salad is another excellent dish.


Pictured above is illusionist, escape artist, and mindfreak Criss Angel. Anyone unfamiliar with this man's modern day mysticism needs to spend some time on youtube or catch a showing of his reality show, Mindfreak. He's doing a show with Cirque du Solei this year; I'd just about do anything to get to see a live show or just see him in Las Vegas.


As soon as I got the letter 'v' this word came to mind. Nessa lives across the street and she's such a wonderful neighbor and an amazing friend. She's got a big heart, a wonderful sense of humor, and a bad habit of putting other people first. ;) It's said to save the best for last and I figure that's just what I've done. Love you, Nessa! *hugs*

15 November 2008

Tags and giveaways

Another great giveaway is being offered at Sunshine and Lemonade, this one geared especially towards Twilight fans. I haven't been sucked into this fandom...yet...but it's growing harder and harder to resist as I grow more and more curious. Right now, I'm trying to decide which of my friends I can hit up to borrow the series and read it since certain other friends have hinted at bodily harm if I don't give it a chance. ;)

Next on the docket is taking care of this tagging issue. Apparently, my Mom tagged me, so I must pass on the favor.

The rules are simple. I link back to the person who tagged me (done above), share 7 random facts about myself, tag seven random people, and let them know they've been tagged by commenting on their blogs.

First up: seven random facts about me.

1. After high school, I tried going into the Navy - stress on the word 'tried.' Only making it through three weeks of an eight week boot camp, I was sent back to the civilian world with an OTH (Other Than Honorable) discharge. After a year in the work force, I headed off to college and haven't heard from Uncle Sam since.

2. I love role-playing. Dungeons & Dragons, White Wolf games, or play-by-post websites. One site I've been on for three years now, the only role-playing site I really visit anymore, has a weekly 'tradition' of sorts that started when I lived on campus in fall of '06. Every Friday is YouTube night: we go to YouTube and browse different vids, normally Firefly based, and share the URLs in the shout box. What started between myself and an equally bored administrator has since become almost site-wide.

3. I have automatonophobia, a fear of dummies, animatronic figures, wax figures, etc. When did I learn this? Standing in a mental health hospital turned museum surrounded by 20+ wax figures. Yeah. That was entertaining.

4. I love trying new foods. Sushi, dolma (stuffed grapevine leaves), manacotti, naan (East Indian flatbread), matzo... The list goes on and on; I'm a true 'foodie.'

5. I played clarinet for seven years and am one of a handful in my family with musical talent. Those who have heard me claim I can sing, but I don't do it all that often. With rehearsals for West Side Story coming up next week, this may change. ;)

6. I love live theater and I got to go see Stomp last night! The show was absolutely amazing and well worth the $5 I paid for my ticket. I went with my school's theater department and we had a bake sale during our last show. That money, combined with a group discount, and some help from the department's financial backers let to a spectacular show for a wonderfully college-friendly price.

7. I was diagnosed with adult ADD last year. Very interesting since the Navy diagnosed me as having OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) tendencies before they sent me home. When these two work against each other it can be...fun. Since I enjoy learning the 'why' behind things, this helped explain an awful lot for me.

Alright, facts done! (It's only take me three days to write this. How's that for ADD?) Now, to tag.

First up is Redneck Mommy. I don't recall just what took me to this blog, but I've loved reading it. Some of these posts have had me cracking up!

Next up is Rhea. This woman has an interesting take on life and a good eye for pictures. Her blog is well worth a look and has become part of my morning routine.

Pink Ink is another must tag in my book. This is one of the newest on my list of blogs to read and I'm so glad it's on my list. Keep working at that novel; you've already surpassed me and Mom!

We're now on day four of working on this blog and I need four more tags.

12 November 2008

Waking Spirits

As promised, this blog will focus on the Cemetery Walk. It was held on Nov. 2 and was absolutely wonderful to see. A good majority of the actors and actresses involved were from my school and the theater department helped with all the costuming. Although we showed up later and ended up missing one performance, all the monologues and duologues we saw were wonderfully delivered and most were very well written. The first performance we saw was of Josh and Harriet Lucas, played by my friends Van and Courtney.

Don't these costumes look great? Josh and Harriet were some of the first black residents of this cemetery until they were moved to an all Negro cemetery at the suggestion of Ms. Pearl Wylie Cage, a woman who lived with all kinds of powerful connections, working for the "greater good" as she saw it. (Pictured on the right)

According to Ms. Cage - whose actress moved around too quickly for me to get many clear shots - the cemetery's colored residents had to move so that the cemetery could expand. This part was very well cast, the actress well coached. She played the part very well.

Of course, my favorite monologue of the day (also the best of the nine we saw) was delivered by Mr. Bernie Connally and written by yours truly. Bernie Connally lived in the small town of Selden with his mother, grandmother, and stepfather Francis Marion "F.M." Snow. The two men butted heads constantly, F.M. unable to understand exactly why his stepson always had his nose in some book. While Bernie was always seen with his books, F.M. was just as meticulous: he was never without his hunting dogs, his rifle, or his double-bladed axe. One November evening when Bernie was about 20 years old, F.M. met him coming home from a trip into Stephenville to sell lumber to local farmers. Joining his stepson in the wagon, the two remained quiet, each still fuming over a fight that had taken place earlier that day.

As Bernie turned, perhaps to speak to his stepfather, he was shot in the back, a second bullet going through his chest. His body fell to the ground, loaded into the back of the wagon by Snow, who continued towards home, stopping near an old abandoned farmhouse long enough to decapitate his stepson and leave the head in a tow sack in the cellar. It was found by two local hunters and, soon enough, was put on display in the local funeral home. The hope was that someone could identify the head. In the space of a few hours, Bernie became the missing child of some 200 couples, many coming from Houston and Ft. Worth in search of their sons.

Finally, Bernie was correctly identified. The farm was searched from top to bottom and Snow was eventually convicted of three counts of first degree murder; not only had he decapitated Bernie, but he'd shot his wife and mother in law. Using the axe, he chopped their bodies like kindling and burned them in the stove. He agreed to go with the Sheriff on the grounds he wouldn't be hanged. "Little did F.M. know, hanging had been outlawed [in the county] two days before." He went to the electric chair.

Any ghost stories in your area? In your family? What's your favorite urban legend?

07 November 2008

Sophomore slump and chaotic calendars

This week has been so strange; for some reason, I've been losing track of days. This Tuesday, I didn't realize until almost lunch-time that it was Tuesday and Stop Kiss would open that night. Wednesday, I thought it was Monday, and yesterday I'm not sure I knew what day it was. I've also had music from Godspell in my head all week long, which is really unusual since we've finished that play and it would normally be out of my head by now. Doing follow-spot and being on headset for the production didn't help since the songs are layered with cue calls from the stage manager. Oh, well. Maybe I'll get my head screwed on straight by Monday...

School's going pretty well, I think. Thanks to the beauty of a professor who believes in and uses the curve grading system, my Spanish test got bumped from a C to a B. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my decision to do a dual major and whether or not I want to continue with it, whether or not I can continue with it. On my drive home yesterday, realization hit me over the head like a bolt of lightening. I'm a sophomore in college. I've hit the dreaded sophomore slump! That thought explained everything: my doubts about the future, doubts about my decisions, boredom in class, and all the rest of it. I'm so glad I figured out a cause of sorts. This means that next time I start doubting and second guessing myself, I can take a mental step back and say "wait. You know why you're doing this; things are getting stressful. Just let it go and keep doing what you have to do."

I'll blog more later, including the promised pictures of the cemetery walk. Tomorrow I've got Stop Kiss at 7:30 with strike immediately following the performance and next Sunday, I get to go see Stomp!

03 November 2008

Back and forth

With a word count of over 3000 on my novel and Stop Kiss opening tomorrow night, I'm sure I should be thrilled. However, I'm too much of a realist for that. ;) Rather than being thrilled about my word count, still 2000 short of where it should be today, or tickled about the upcoming play that so many of my friends are involved in, I'm just taking things one day at a time, doing what I need to do and collapsing afterward.

The time change on Sunday has everybody out of whack, I'm sure. I've been tired most of the afternoon/evening, felt like I was slogging through Jello, and almost fell asleep on the drive home - thank God for the power of Green Day on full blast. I'm a little nervous about this fatigue since some kind of bug has been circulating the theater department. Today, in the green room, we discussed the high probability that some sickness or other will strike right around West Side Story, the first production of next semester. With such a large cast spending so much time together in rehearsals, it's practically guaranteed. We managed to avoid any cast-wide cold/flu epidemics during Godspell, though a lot of the crew took sick. Then again, Godspell only had a nine person cast. West Side's cast will surely contain half the department!

After discussing the upcoming possibility of illness, we got onto another of our odd subjects of conversation. Fairly often, whomever is in the green room will start up some deep conversation that will often turn into a debate. Abortion, same sex marriage, spousal/child abuse, I'm pretty sure we've covered a lot of the biggies. Why? No idea. Maybe we're proving to ourselves that we can be intellectual and artistic at the same time? Lol. Today's topic shifted between theater majors - how we decided to do this, what we said to convince our parents we weren't selling our futures, etc. and homosexuals. I didn't have a huge argument or anything of the sort with my parents about my theater major. Then again, it is only a part of my degree. Still, it makes me very grateful to have understanding parents who are willing to let me spread my wings without them and discover what I want in life. Some of my friends aren't so lucky.

The homosexuality subject was one I joined in on readily, sitting and siding with two of the four gay students in our department. We, of course, made simple anti-homophobic comments based on our own experiences. It was pointed out that acts, not people, are homosexual and nobody would chose to be homosexual. As a resident of a very small town in Central Texas, I've never been able to stand up and say "this is who I am and proud to be." To do such a thing in high school would've earned me nothing but daily beatings from my peers. Now, in college, most in this two mile by two mile town know I'm gay, though I don't often admit to it if asked. It's not a lack of pride; it's self-preservation. Now that I'm in college, my view has changed to the truth as I see it: my sexuality is nobody's business but mine. Today's green room discussion, like so many, ended in a sort of stale-mate as people had to depart for class. I myself had a Spanish test which I feel I passed.

To completely jump subjects, I had an excellent weekend, despite the dragging day that was Tech. On Sunday, I went with my Mom, Stepdad, Dad, and adorable two year old half-sister (whose world revolves around me, quite appropriately) to the cemetery walk. I knew two of the performers, pictures of whom will come later, and felt that my monologue was the best of the bunch. Of course, before everything started, I got a little shaken as I realized a terrifying truth: I didn't remember writing the monologue. I knew, knew, knew I had turned it in, but for the life of me couldn't remember writing a word! Checking my laptop's files put me in a further state of worry and panic. I couldn't find a complete copy of said monologue. Did I finish it? Of course I did. After all, if I hadn't finished it, they would've handed it back and let me know I had left out the murder of my character. Kind of an important detail since it's what he's known for.

As it turned out, though I never did recognize any of the delivered monologue as belonging or not belonging to me, the actor who delivered it had taken the time to do research on the part and had edited the manuscript to add in the things he'd learned. He seemed so worried, apologizing for changing my writing. I just smiled and reassured him that it was beyond fine and he'd done a wonderful job.

Enough yammering for now. I'll post pics of the cemetery walk this week. time to work on my novel and finish studying for an English test.

01 November 2008

Paint spattered and still typing...

Today, I was off to a roaring start for NaNoWriMo, writing over 1300 words in just under an hour. If only tech weekend hadn't gotten in my way... Oh, well. I spent my day painting set pieces, moving curtains to mask the backstage, and hanging scenery for Stop Kiss. The ten hour tech was longer than I'm used to and I'm pretty sure we still had things to do; it was more a question of space and a lack of multi-person jobs that prompted Mark to start sending people home. Not asking any questions, I headed out the door once dismissed, letting the other ladies stay put for "girl's night." I'd like to go, but they're heading off to see The Promise, which I've seen before. Besides that, to drive all the way out there, see the show, get back to school, and then drive home, I'd be gone until far too late for my own tastes. The show opens on Tuesday and I must say, though I'll love seeing it on Saturday night, it's rather pleasant to not be involved for a change. I'm not in the play, or on the prop crew, light crew, run crew, board op, or anything of the like. Might make some cookies for the bake sale we're having during the run of the show, but I'm still metaphorically dragging my feet about it all...

I've been broadening my reading list...my online reading list, I mean, thanks to some blogs my mom pointed me towards. One in particular had quite a wicked kickoff to a ten week long series of giveaways. I just had to join in on the fun over at Sunshine and Lemonade!

More good news: on Facebook, I've recently gotten back in touch with my best friend from high school, a girl I haven't seen or spoken with since '95. It's so great to be talking to her again; she's one of the few readers I know that are as ravenous as I am; we used to spend our time together not talking. Instead, each of us would be curled on an end of the couch, noses buried in books. Sometimes, I truly do love the miracle of technology... It brought my best friend back to me!

Well, I'd continue this, but still have about 600 words to get into my novel before the day is out. Til tomorrow, then, I wish all my readers a shiny day!

31 October 2008

Wardrobe, work, and woe

I'd like to wish a Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain to all! I went to school today in costume and enjoyed a lot of the reactions I got. Not many people at school wear costumes all day the way I do, so I guess they weren't expecting to see a devil walking towards them looking like this (um...add some devil horns to the top; I forgot to put them back on before I took this pic...)

I got a few stares and a lot of "cool" and "looks good!" My favorite compliment, however, came from a girl in my sound design class. As I walked in, all smiles with a black velvet cape billowing behind me and my backpack giving me a hunchback, she returned my smile. "You would be in costume. That's awesome!" Today's costume provided very few mobility issues, but comfort was a minor sacrifice. My own fault, I suppose, for wearing boots that have heels of about 2 1/2 inches. Oh, well. I've always had fun showing my Halloween spirit!

Checking my calendar put me in a minor panic as I realized tomorrow is November first, the official beginning of NaNoWriMo 2008. I haven't touched my plot or my characters since late August/early October and have no idea whether or not I'm ready to dive headfirst into the story starting tomorrow. I did find an excellent motivational tool here. The simple textbox that is provided - after the main menu - lets you type freely and keeps track of your word count at the bottom. If you stop typing, depending on which mode you choose, you'll either receive a pop=up message or hear an annoying sound once a certain amount of time has passed. The screen changing colors makes it even easier to keep track of time's passage, how long your fingers have been motionless, etc.

Tomorrow, as well as launching NaNoWriMo, will cue the final tech weekend of the fall semester. Fun stuff, always. I also have the cemetery walk on Sunday, a test in Spanish Monday, and a test in English Tuesday. Tuesday marks the opening night of 'Stop Kiss,' our last mainstage production of the fall semester, which will run through Saturday. A bake-sale will be going on during the run of the show to raise funds for the theater club. Strike will be Saturday Nov. 8 immediately after performance with a post-production critique Monday the 10th at 4 pm. On the 15th, several members of the theater club are going to see Stomp, a trip I'd love to go to but keep talking myself out of. I'll likely be spending Thanksgiving studying for finals, which begin the first week of December. The more I think of all this, the more I wonder just how crazy I am to be trying NaNoWriMo this year...

A thread in the NaNoWriMo forums proved that most WriMos who don't succeed fail simply because they don't start. Of course, for me to cite this fact seems something of a moot point since I've never broken a word-count of 10K. Oh, well. This year, I'm going to have fun and stick with it.

I'm off to study Spanish and eat candy. Everybody stay safe tonight!

26 October 2008


What a terrific weekend! My mom has already blogged about it briefly. Now, the activity has died down and all is peaceful again as everyone crawls into bed to prepare for Monday. Ah, Monday... My weeks are very hectic, quite a lot of my free time claimed by school. Here's my planned routine for this week.

Monday: Alarm goes off at six. Whether I wake up then or not remains to be seen. Nevertheless, I know I'll be up by 7:30 to take our family's babysitting charges to school, never mind my own trek to school. NaNoWriMo should actually push my wake up back an hour, so that's a five a.m. alarm to buy an hour's writing time - assuming I stick to that. School starts at nine a.m. with sound design, an amazingly awesome class and one of three theater classes I am enrolled in this semester. We spend the class period discussing mics, amps, connectors, recording methods, and a lot more. It's just plain fun; there's a lot of hands on work and projects and the like that keep me busy as far as homework. After sound design, I have Spanish at ten a.m. What we do in this class is pretty self-explanatory. There are four other theater majors in this class, so it's not too bad. Our professor is from Puerto Rico, which makes her pronunciation difficult to understand, but she brings a lot to the class, telling us about different Spanish cultures. After Spanish is Technical Theater I at eleven o'clock. This class, taught by the department head, is arguably my favorite class of the semester. In Tech, we've been learning the basics of scenic construction: wood, power tools, hand tools, pneumatic (air powered) tools, fasteners, etc. After lunch, at one, I go to my language lab for an hour. These lab hours are spent doing Spanish exercises on the computer. After lab, I'm done for the day and normally get home around three or four.

Tuesday: The early wake-up calls continue. First up at school is history at nine twenty-five. My history prof is awesome. He loves theater majors and has been cast in productions quite often. He's got a great sense of humor. Next on the docket is Backgrounds of Western Literature. My professor holds her masters degree...and knows it. This is the prof I tire of because she gives the same lecture every day before we get to our assigned text. "When you read a work that has been translated, you are being affected by the word choice of the translator and receive the translator's opinions on said piece of work." No shit, Sherlock! On and on she goes, showing us three different translations of the same text, a twenty line segment we will analyze or, more often, stare at mutely while she points out the subtle differences in word choice between each translation. If I learn nothing else in this class, I feel sure I'll know, for the rest of my life, that reading a work that has been previously translated gives it a bent which matches the point of view of the translator. After Lit. class, I head to lunch and then go to the costume shop from 1-4. Generally, lab students will assist however needed for whatever the next production is or work on a personal project - something they or a family member/friend will wear/use. Right now, several of us are making various sizes and types of vests for the theater department to use in the future. These days, I get home around six.

Wednesday: See Monday. Lather, rinse, repeat. At two in the afternoon, I go to a writer's meeting for our improv troupe's weekly performance. At four, IMPROV at Tarleton performs. Shows last one hour. I get home around six or seven.

Thursday: See Tuesday. Lather, rinse, repeat. No lab hours. Get home after lunch if I leave once class is over.

Friday: See Monday. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lab hours from 1-4 in the scene shop. Here, I help build anything from set pieces to props to flats (false walls) or help paint. These lab hours are attached to my tech theater class and get averaged in as part of my grade. At the end of the semester, the scene shop supervisors - older students who are employees of the university's fine arts department and designate tasks/instruct lab students - will administer a proficiency test, making sure we know how to properly use all the tools in the shop.

Saturday: This weekend will not be like most. Because we have a play performing next week (Nov. 4-8) this Saturday is our designated Tech Weekend. During Tech, the entire theater department gets together to run around doing last minute preparations, builds, paint jobs, light hangs, sound checks, and anything else that isn't quite finished. It's insane and I love it all. I'll have to find NaNo time in the evening.

Sunday: For an even more unusual weekend, we've got the second annual Spirits of Erath County Cemetery Walk performed in the afternoon. Starting in '07, this is a sort of historical reenactment in miniature. Students selected from the theater department (including me) are assigned a specific person/pair that helped found Erath County and the city of Stephenville, where Tarleton is located. Different theater students get into period garb provided by the department and perform the monologues written by their peers in the local cemetery. It's a lot of fun.

Alright. I'd love to type more, but have been typing in the dark for about twenty minutes and my eyes can't take much more. What does your typical week look like?

Word count: 943

13 October 2008

Overheard conversation snippets

So, I'm sitting here in the FAC Mac lab, killing time until this afternoon's post-production critique for our last production, Wylie and the Hairy Man. With nothing to really do, study, etc. I'm half-way listening to the conversations around me. Some interesting comments I've heard include:

"My mom actually wants me to get a tattoo! I'm so scared to get one." I'm proud to be inked, still planning my second tat. Finances is a huge influence for me. My first tattoo I didn't get until five years after figuring out just what I wanted. (Started planning at 16, didn't get it until 21) The delay didn't really bother me because it gave me more than enough times to change my mind. After five years, I still had the same idea, so I knew this wasn't something I would regret having on my body the rest of my life.

"I just don't understand kids these days..." I can't help but wonder how much right, if any, most college students have to make these sort of observations. Not that I don't... Still, in the minds of most, a lot of college students (especially freshman/sophomores) are still 'kids.'

"I'm pissed... No, whatever. I'm mad and that's it." Tell me my ears are tricking me, please. What the hell is this?

"Maybe she doesn't really like him, but if she does..." Ah, gossip! Such an amazing waste of time! I remember once a friend of mine actually made the mistake of asking my opinion. Someone she liked was ignoring her and she was getting 'I like you' texts from someone she didn't like and blah, blah, blah. Me: "We're not in high school anymore. You've already been and broken up with the guy who is ignoring you. Why would you want to get back with your ex? As for the texting that guy #2 likes you, if you don't like him like that, find out what he means when he says he likes you. If it's something you don't want to pursue, just tell him and see if he'll back off. Stop bitching about it; you've got a test tomorrow!"

Yeah... She hasn't asked me for advice since then. I won't tell you what you want to hear; I prefer to boil the problem down from the mountain its been turned into and look at it realistically. Can't help but wonder why college students, these people who are supposed to be my peers, are so concerned over who is dating who and who broke up with who and why and who is sleeping with who and where. Some of the things I've heard... *shudder*

I distinctly recall one night about a month ago when I heard about a friend's recent...sexual conquests. She's looking to me and the other two friends who were there, both of them freaking out as she asks us not to judge her. Poor thing clearly doesn't know me well. I look at her and told her the truth. "Hon, first of all, you're straight. Therefore, I don't care who you sleep with. Secondly, it's your choice and doesn't affect me at all. Again, I don't care. And thirdly, that doesn't change who you are or the fact that we're friends. I may not look at him the same way again or go there again, but it's not going to change anything between us." The hug she gave me made me wonder: just what kinds of friends does this girl have if she's worried about being judged over a fling?

And now, my random wonderings must cease, primarily because the room just emptied. I promise plenty more randomness later.

For a good laugh, check out the link in my title. This had some of my theater professors cracking up!

Word count: 628 {At some point, I'll stop doing this word count thing, I'm sure...}

10 October 2008

November planning

Here it is; my first blog entry...FINALLY! I've been in the grip of writer's block, or so I tell myself. It seems more likely that I'm wanting to write something that "has meaning" or some such nonsense; something that's more than me just talking about my life. Then, I realized, again...for about the billionth time in my life, I'm sure...that all that matters for me is that I write. As my mom always says "you have time for what you make time for; make time for what's important" and "you have to repeat a task until it becomes habit." That's what I'm trying to do: make writing a habit. Why? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Writing is something I've always wanted to do. However, I've never been able to actually finish writing a story. As a result, my computer is bogged down with old stories, some of which will never see the light of day no matter how much potential they might have because, really, after five, seven, ten years, who cares? My storage unit also is (was) drowning with spare scraps of paper, extra spirals filled with random scribblings and sporadic stops and starts of story after story. In '05, I discovered National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) which can be found at www.nanowrimo.org and which I'll likely be plugging for all of October. NaNoWriMo is a world-wide event in which authors, both hopefuls and already established, work to compose 50,000 words in the month of November. I've participated since '06, but have never completed a work or even broken 10,000 words. This year, I'm changing tactics. Here's how.

#1 To get into the habit of daily writing, I'll be keeping this blog. (Duh.) What I'll wrote about remains to be seen.

#2 As a part of my blogging, I'll be keeping track of my word count so that I'm ready for NaNoWriMo. This necessity for word count might lead to a lot of repetition on my part, unneeded sentences, etc. (Much like this one.)

#3 Checking my schedule, I've noticed some very fortunate scheduling, which may help me succeed.

A. November starts on a Saturday. Hooray for weekend writing!

B. The one play TSU performs in November is scheduled for the first week of the month. Since I'm not cast onstage or placed backstage for anything, I'll only have to show up Saturday for strike (and to see the play, of course - hooray for free theater major tickets!) Better yet, my theater classes have no real mid-terms and my history mid-term was yesterday. This means the only exam I'll be studying for is in my English class.

C. My family already knows about my goal, as do several of my friends. My best friend (I hope) will be participating this year with me. Hello, word wars!

#4 Halloween candy goes on sale November 1. I'll be tearing off to the dollar store to buy large goody bags at half-off, which makes it .50 to 1.50 per bag! Hooray for cheap sugar!

#5 I plan on getting up earlier in the mornings, which will be my writing time. This will guarantee that I don't fall behind in classes and can do my homework and studying in the evenings.

That's the only plan I have so far. Now, I just have to figure out a plot... Already, the forums at NaNoWriMo have opened up to be flooded with participants as well as posts. I'm bumming around as scagamer, reading up on tips and tricks left by past winners of NaNo. A few things I need to remember:

1. School work > NaNovel

2. Delete key is off limits. Typos are okay.

2A. Re-reading is off limits. Typos are still okay.

2B. Visit NaNo forums, check BDV as reward. 1000 words = 10 minutes online goof-off.

2Ba. Use reward time during the day instead of in the a.m. so as to not be late for school.

3. If net wont' work, use M&M/candy reward method.

3A. Freeze candy when possible so it'll last longer. (Charleston Chews, York Peppermint Patties, generally anything that starts as "chewy;" no Bit-O Honeys though - must avoid breaking teeth)

4. When hit by writer's block, skip to next scene/next exciting scene.

5. School work > NaNovel

6. Coffee, Cherry Coke, etc. is your friend, but water is great too.

7. Snacks/meals are better when prep time is brief and/or someone else can fix it and/or it can be eaten with one hand.

8. Keep notebooks by bed, in backpack, in car, in pocket, etc. at all times. Writing utensil behind ear. If no utensil can be found, check green room/call board or hit up friends. Writing in blood is a last resort. ;)

9. Chain up and gag inner editor in late October. Feed editor intravenously while allowing muses and characters to feat in sumptuous fashion. Only release editor for school related projects. Ignore muffled screams.

Hm... I know there was supposed to be more here. Ah well. That gives me something to write about in my next blog. So, does anyone else plan on joining me in this madness? It's a lot of fun; I promise!

Now, for my plot ideas. Which one should I use!?

Idea #1 came to me in July/August. The story centers around a group of 20 something college students who will be better described below. They're all screwed up in their own special ways as they try to navigate life in the real world. The first character to talk to me is likely to be my Female Main Character (FMC). As I stood at the bathroom mirror, she appeared out of nowhere in all her OCD glory as she studied the counter top. "Would it really kill me if I moved the brush? It's been on that side of the sink for so long," she wondered. Slowly, with a slightly trembling hand I know she was trying to hide, she reached for the brush as if it were a bomb. Her fingers wrapped around the handle, moving as if she expected a snake to strike, the brush flying to the opposite side of the counter. As she moved her hand away, I saw her look up and smile wide, a look of simple victory. "Yay, me!"

The next character to appear, the Male MC, stood with smart military carriage, looking straight into the mirror. Slowly, slowly, he sighed, shoulders relaxing as he looked down. "I don't want to be here. This isn't for me," he whispered, posture still ramrod straight though he had relaxed. It took nothing for me to study him and realize he was in the Navy at his father's demand. He grew up in a military family, seemed more mature than several of the other characters, and didn't want to admit how scared he was, how much he wanted to get out. I saw him escaping the base only to be told he could leave anytime. An OTH discharge will cause his family to disown him as he tries to find his feet in the civilian world.

The supporting characters came next, one of them still trying to steal the spotlight. He's older, a sophomore or junior who acts as resident adviser to Navy boy and plays teacher's assistant in several freshman classes. This guy has both sympathy and attitude to spare, loves wearing all black, and is always two steps ahead of everyone else mentally. Quick witted and impatient of stupidity, he wont hesitate to tell a freshman their concerns of who to date are stupid. He's an academic through and through and loves that people judge him by appearance, expecting him to know nothing just because he's got a lip ring. This guy is the one I've got to pull from the spotlight a bit. The other SCs are pretty straight-forward cardboard characters at this point. The self proclaimed 60s flower-child is rooming with FMC, trying to get her to loosen up, do what feels right, etc. while the spoiled rich kid and the scholarship case who took a year off to work and save up more $ just might kill each other down the hall.

Idea #2 was inspired by the famed "play within a play" scene in Shakespeare's 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' It's fairly straightforward, but has more room for the random insanity of ninjas, zombies, et. al. that seem to infest NaNovels when the word count drops or the plot bunnies go on strike. For this idea, my MC is participatin in NaNoWriMo. It's a novel within a novel, or more to the pint, a NaNovel within a NaNovel.

Well, I've babbled plenty about my plans for November. More to come later, I'm sure. NaNoWriMo, here I come!

Word count: 1467; approximately 200 short of minimum daily word count for NaNo.