10 December 2010

My inner need

"I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another." ~Brenda Ueland

Wow, do I ever know this feeling. When I'm writing, really writing, I'm into it, even if the words I'm stringing together don't make sense. Editing is step two, after all. Sometimes, I'll only manage a paragraph, like last night when I wrote less than ten sentences in a story that currently has no direction. Still, it felt good to write that little bit of words before I rolled over to sleep. Kind of like this blog. It's short, it's quick, and it's a way to get the thoughts out of my head and onto the page where they belong.

"I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down." ~Kaari Utrio

05 December 2010

Keeping up

November has come and gone. My final word count on my novel was 22,117 which is more than I've managed any other year I've participated. Most of that was written in the first two weeks, including the time spent working on the last play of the semester. I'm proud of what I accomplished.

School has been insanely busy and it seems like everyone's getting sick. I know this is a problem just about everywhere, but it's not helped by the fact that students in the theater department tend to spend so much more time together. I'm sure I've been spreading my share of ick, though I know my cough and sore throat is nothing more than sinus drainage. I've come close to losing my voice a few times and am sick of being sick. Having a sore throat and occasional muscle aches does make acting class more difficult. The professors keep stressing that we all need to get more rest. I'm just trying to keep on top of the workload.

I've taken my yoga final, which gives me one less class to attend twice a week and one less thing to worry about. Now, I've just got to make it through the last week or so of class and then get through finals. I can't wait for Christmas break.

03 November 2010

November Noveling Again

Yes, it's November, and yes, I'm making another attempt at NaNoWriMo. For those who may not have known, November is National Novel Writing Month. Participants number in the hundred thousands and live all over the world with ages ranging from young teens to 50s+. They all have one goal: write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I've been attempting NaNoWriMo since 2006 and haven't won once. This year, I'm already behind on my word count and missing about two days worth of writing. I also have three weekends out of the month claimed by school or social activities. And I have finals in December.


None of that matters right now because my characters finally figured out a way out of last night's major league plot curve-ball. It's not that I didn't like the idea of writing about bringing down a major energy drink conglomerate, but giving my main character an addiction to energy drinks 400 or so words in wasn't exactly what I'd envisioned. If she's hooked on energy drinks and following one guy around, how is she supposed to meet and fall in love with the other guy and then start plotting to get him from his girlfriend? Last night, this plan changed to bringing down the evil energy drink conglomerates and their grip on America's youth. Now, I'm back on track and thrilled about it!

Okay, I've got to go build my word count now.

17 October 2010

I trust it because it makes no sense

Lately, my world has been turned upside-down - in, potentially, a good way. I'm questioning a lot of assumptions that've been there for years, things I've thought about myself and the type of people I love. My subconscious mind has been sending signals I can't ignore, so I feel I have to follow them. These feelings are so strong and came on so suddenly that I can't ignore them. I'm going to start walking a new path in my journey through life.

I've suddenly realized there's someone I'm deeply attracted to, attraction on a level I've never reached before with others. I'm hoping to develop a better friendship with this person and, at the same time, break out of my shell a little and get noticed by others. Today, I cleaned out my closet and changed up my wardrobe (yes, part of my motivation for doing this was probably Special Someone.) I only kept a few t-shirts for theater work, a few pairs of jeans that look particularly flattering (read: tight) on me, and other than that it's all slacks, pants, leggings, skirts, dressy tops, and dresses. I've been reading up on good conversational skills, conversation starters, basic body language, etc. I also have all my make-up set out in plain view so I can wear it regularly. I'm trying hard to re-make myself without being fake or becoming someone I'm not.

How do you get people to notice you when you've never really wanted to be noticed before?

06 October 2010

Backstage Life

I'm standing in the Green Room, the domain of the theater students. The room's cleaned pretty often, but never really neat - especially not with a performance lurking an hour an a half away. One of the round tables is littered with glass bottles of different sizes as well as a two liter bottle of off-brand cola, a cylinder of 5 pre-measured containers of off-brand kool-aid mix, a jug of Sunny D, a ziplock bag full of small bottles of food coloring, a bottle of cran-grape juice, and a bottle of sparkling white grape juice. People move freely in and out of the room, a steady flow of traffic as another table slowly gathers items brought for a bake sale and the third table still holds the remains of various quickly-eaten dinners. Some people, half in costume or dressed all in black, lounge on the worn green chairs/couches that line the walls. With black clothing encasing me from wrist to neck to my black steel-toed boots, I'm dressed for backstage work.

We're all hanging out, joking and laughing as I and my prop crew work on mixing drinks. Watered down cola becomes whiskey in one bottle. Some kool-aid and red food coloring turns it into rum in a second bottle. Water from the tap is used for fake vodka. Green powerade becomes absinthe. One or two actors ask what they'll be drinking, if the recipes have changed. They receive samples in shot glasses, which are them washed until they sparkle. Before long, though the drinks are not finished, I have to leave and trust my crew to complete the job. Out of the green room, I move down the hall and through the door marked 'Restricted Access - Backstage Employees Only', walk through the lobby, and into an unmarked door. The spiral staircase carries me up to the booth where I flip switches and start the house music playing.

It's 6:45, fifteen minutes til the gathering audience will be allowed inside the theater. As the music plays (I still haven't flipped the switch that will allow the lobby to hear anything) I run through the show's sound cues, making sure the right sound is coming out of the right speaker at the right volume - "checking levels," to use the technical term. Once I'm sure everything is working, I cut the sound effects, bump the levels (volume) on the house music, and head back downstairs, returning to the green room. I find the stage manager and let her know everything's ready. She heads out to help the light board operator run a dimmer check. Once that's done, the curtain will drop, hiding the set from view. I go to the green room and check on the drinks, reminding actors to check their props - once the show starts, those are no longer my responsibility until Saturday's post-performance strike. Seeing the drinks are underway, I'll claim a chair and open a textbook. This is one of the few chances I'll have this week to get my homework done and I've only got 15 minutes until the house opens. By then I have to be back in the booth.

I spend the show, an hour and a half of each evening from Sunday through Saturday, listening to a mix of dialogue from the stage and the SM's voice, the house manager's voice, the voices of stage-hands, etc. Everything but the dialogue comes in through the headset that wraps snugly around my skull. "Actors, house is now open. You have thirty minutes to places. Please check your props and keep quiet when on-stage." Were the curtain not down, the actors wouldn't be allowed on-stage during this time. Whoever's on headset takes advantage of the half-hour break and we start talking about anything until the house manager from the box office speaks up. "Are you ready to close house in five?" "Yes, ma'am, we're ready. Actors, I have five minutes to places, five minutes to places." (five minutes later, the SM asks for a pause in headset chatter) "Actors to places. Actors, I have places." "Warning, lights and curtain... House lights out. Curtain go. Warning, sound out and light cue 1. Lights go. Sound go." I slowly move the slider on the board down, letting the music fade out. Once it's out, I mute CD1, open the CD player, remove the disc and replace it with another for the end of the show, check that CD2 is muted on the board, check that the player for 2 is on and set to track one, turn back to the board, unmute 2 and wait.

While waiting, my eyes move up the row of buttons and knobs with perfect understanding. The small yellow key labeled mix doesn't need to be hit on row 2, only 1 and 3. Instead, the small keys next to 3 and 4 should be pushed, sending any sound from CD2 through the speakers backstage instead of the ones in the house. I bump the level up to -5 and wait for the SM. "Stand by, sound cue A." My thumb holds down a button on the small box at my waist, the mic close to my mouth. "Standing by." I release the button, making sure not to depress it twice and lock it into the on position, which would cause feedback. The line comes onstage, my cue, but I don't press play until the SM says "Sound cue A, go." At the word go, my body turned away from the board and towards the CD player in a space so narrow I couldn't possibly get a chair between the board in front of me and the bank of switches behind me, I push the play button. The sound lasts two seconds; I push pause as soon as it finishes, turn back to the board, and hit mute over the row that controls CD2. Once it's muted, I make the disc skip to the next track and wait again.

By the end of the week, it's all routine, something I could do in my sleep. I know the lines, the cues, the show, nearly as well as the actors onstage. Still, I never press the play button until the SM says the word "go" because that's just how it's done, how it works. It's one of the unwritten rules of the theater, like calling aloud before you fly something in or out so people know to get out of the way ("Curtain coming in!" "First electrics going out!") or leaving a "ghost light" on backstage once everyone's left the building or, in my department, calling "Hey, Clyde!" anytime you hear a strange noise in the catwalks or a light flickers when it's not supposed to. It's just a part of life backstage.

Now that that show has closed out, a week of performances where this commuter never made it home before 10 pm and then had to finish homework before waking up at 7 the next morning to get to class, I get to explore the acting side of things with our children's show. Once it's finished, I have mid-terms to study for and take, a project to complete for scenic painting class, and have to help paint the set for our third show. Though I didn't get cast in it, I might get to sound design. If not, I have to admit I'll be glad for the break.

17 September 2010

ADD Awareness

Did you know that this whole week has been AD(H)D Awareness Week? I had NO IDEA! WOW! Well, as someone who has Adult ADD, I'll take this opportunity to talk about it a little. Or a lot. We'll see.

A lot of people these days are anti-medication. They prefer to seek out herbal or holistic remedies to their problems, which is fine if that's what you wanna do. If it works for you, more power to you. Reading online has shown me that some people don't consider AD(H)D a disease, that it's something children grow out of, and - somewhat illogical to my mind - that AD(H)D sufferers should meditate rather than medicate. While I agree that AD(H)D is somewhat over-diagnosed in today's schools, I also know that it is a genuine disorder, a chemical imbalance, and not something I'm going to grow out of. Meditation? Sure, I'll just try that.

I sit with my eyes shut, breathing slowly. Briefly, I wonder how stupid I look. Is there some way to communicate to others what I'm doing? Should I put a sign on my door "Meditating - Do Not Disturb"? Okay, that sounds even stupider. By this point, I've lost the rhythm of my breathing. My brain kicks in and starts analyzing something that happened at school, something I forgot to do or something that went really well or something I said that just didn't come out right. How could I have changed the situation? What might it have lead to?

I wonder about tomorrow. What homework haven't I done? What lines do I need to learn for acting class or for a show? Do I know my scene for acting as well as I think I do? What if my scene partner isn't there? In the middle of muttering lines under my breath, I wonder what projects I have to work on. Have I been putting something off til the last minute? Is there something I could get a head-start on? Which projects have I finished? How do I think I did? What could I have done better? What will I have to do on my next project to bring my grade up?

By this point, I've probably opened my eyes and dug out a book. The answers to the above questions, which all came at once, will determine whether I've grabbed a textbook or not. If it's a textbook, I'll put in some real effort...before getting bored and reaching for a different textbook. If it's not a textbook, I'll make myself put it down because I'm supposed to be doing homework. Which assignment should I work on first? Which one will take more time? Which one am I more worried about? Which one's due first? Which one might be graded easier? Time to dig out the planner. And the assignment sheets. And the syllabus for each class. And my script so I can review my lines in those moments where I just can't read another sentence from that dry, dusty textbook. Can't find one syllabus. Damn. Room's a mess, I'll never find it. Need to clean the room, especially if the mess is getting to me. No telling how Mom feels about it. I'm glad she hasn't said anything.

I look around, trying to figure out where to start. The textbooks I'll need later, but they don't need to stay on my bed. I stack them up to go on the desk, but there's a pile of papers there. I have to sort through those first. Then the trash needs taken out. Passing through the dining room, I realize I'm hungry. Need a snack. Dump the trash, head back inside, grab something simple - some candy, an apple, whatever. Fuel for the body. What was I doing? Oh, right. Need to start some laundry before I run out of clothes. Gather up the pile and shove it into the laundry bag, all the while asking myself why the clothes weren't in the bag to begin with. I know why, of course. Lack of follow-through, no habit formed yet. Fill up the laundry bag, digging dirty socks and shorts out of the bottom of the closet and out from under the bed. Put away the clean laundry sitting on the desk chair from mornings of reject outfit after outfit as suitable for the day's expected workload at school.

Since I'm a theater student, it does make a difference some days what I wear. On days I have yoga, I don't need to wear jeans. Some days, I have to wear clothes that I don't mind getting pain all over. I always have to wear/bring close-toed shoes in case I have to do any work in the scene shop. My black pants and shirts need to stay clean for shows where I work backstage and for Improv performances every Wednesday, where I'm a camera operator. Since I commute, this is more of a challenge, as my clothes are generally worn all day. After all, driving to school, going to class, and driving home for a change of clothes only to drive back to school is a waste of gas, even on days I would have the time to do it. Anyway, back to the room cleaning.

I see the food sitting by the tv or where ever I've put it and realize I haven't been eating. Take a few bites. Go to the computer to turn on some music. Dig through playlists to see that nothing overly objectionable is played.(I tend to avoid my Avenue Q playlist any time my three year old sister is visiting or I think guests might be coming by.) Adjust volume so my music isn't heard through the whole house. Adjust it again cause it's too quiet. Switch to a song I want to listen to. Switch again. Stupid shuffle feature not pulling up good songs. Figure out which song I really want to hear and find it; to hell with the shuffle feature. Back to cleaning, singing along.

Dog runs in and jumps on the bed, most likely landing on something I don't want him on. Scold him, then take it back, realizing he doesn't know any better and just wants to see what I'm up to. Pet the dog. Give kisses. Get scratched when he jumps on me. Pet the other one-three dogs who have come in, realizing I'm giving out some love. Pet the cat(s) who have joined. Yell at the dog(s) for chasing the cat(s). Check that the pets have food and water. Finish my snack. Pick up a book. Remember that I'm supposed to be studying and reach for a textbook. God this stuff is boring. Switch the music to a new song. Turn it off. Go to the music channels on the tv and find some classical, which is supposed to help you study better. Back to the boring textbook. Get confused. Go talk to Mom or Dad to try and make sure that what I'm thinking sounds right. Tell them about my day. Remember as I'm talking about another something I'm supposed to be working on. Back to the bedroom.

Find the project/assignment stuck somewhere, already done. Huh. I don't remember doing that. Oh well. One thing off my plate. Shoo cats away from the dish my snack was in; there's nothing left for them. Switch the music to a DVD I've seen millions of times, probably Friends, which I can totally ignore and use as background noise. Open the textbook again. Doodle in the margins of my notebook in the middle of taking notes. Lose my spot. Read the same passage twice. Skip to the next chapter. Remember a possible vocab quiz in another class and start looking for the sheet with the terms on it. Can't find it. Damn!

Time to send some texts. Does anyone in class have the list? Find it, get it, copy it, send eternal thanks to whomever helped me. Remember to thank them in person next time I'm on campus. Mom calls. Dinner time. Go eat. Return to studying. Finally get through the boring chapter of the textbook, understanding nothing. Write down questions to ask the prof. Make note of people to talk to about whatever I'm doing for the latest play. Remember something funny one of them said. Share anecdote with Mom or Dad. Sit and watch tv with parentals, ready to relax some before bed. Grab my laptop & head to twitter or facebook or a RP forum. Remember homework. Start doing research online. See a random update on facebook and react appropriately, whether by offering virtual hugs or commenting or liking or sharing good news with whoever else is in the room, even if they don't know who I'm talking about. Focus on the tv for a while. Remember my earlier attempt to meditate. Whoops. Too late now. Stay on the computer til it's time for bed.

Yeah, that's probably a fairly accurate depiction of the way my mind works. Meditation? Not so much. Though there are days I hate having to swallow a pill, I'll stick with it cause it works. Well, I'll try to stick with it. If I remember.

Busy, busy, busy...

Well, the semester has started and, as usual, the theater department has hit the ground running. We had auditions the first day of school. I didn't get a part onstage, but I am acting as prop head for the fifth time and getting to run the sound board during the run of the show. By virtue of my scenic painting class, I'm also on the paint crew for, at least, our first two shows. We're laying and painting floor for the first show. Yay... -.-

Though I didn't get a role in our first show, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, I did land the role of a pirate in our Young People's Series production of Peter Pan and Wendy. Though I only have one line, I also get to sing with the rest of the pirates and get to help play the crocodile. Tech weekend for the first show is next weekend and I'm already foreseeing a lot of work to get all the props ready in time. Thank god I've got a good sized prop crew this time around. I just have to open up the lines of communication and see who's working and who's not. Going to work on that today.

The week following tech is, of course, performance week for our first show. I'll be spending my evenings up in the booth, listening for cues from the stage manager and praying no props get broken since I won't be able to run downstairs to help fix them. The parental units got season tickets again, of course, and are going to our Friday shows this year. Last year, they came to our closing night performances, but I never really got to see them since we strike everything immediately following the final show. This year, we'll be able to hang out afterward, if the show doesn't run too long. Yay!

Once the first show closes, we've got a week to pull everything together before Peter Pan. It performs during the day to usually full houses of local elementary school students and opens on Saturday for the public. One perk of being involved in a children's show is not having to attend class the week of performance. I'll have to make up whatever work I miss, of course, but that will really only effect government.

Yes, on top of a solid month of working on shows, I also have to keep up with my classes. Sometime around the time Peter Pan closes and our third show gears up, we'll have mid-terms in most classes. I'm not always sure how I keep up with everything, but I've managed it for four years now. I know I must love it, otherwise I would've dropped all of it long ago. See you on the other side of the chaos, readers! :)

01 September 2010

School Daze

I am so glad to get back into the routine of school! Of course, that also means I'm already sick of it - even after three days! Go figure. Oh well. Risk of boredom aside, things are going well. I'm thrilled to be back with the theater department, back to class, and all the rest of it. Commuting isn't all that bad; I'll have no problem adjusting to it at all. I actually like being able to go home each night, getting to touch base and return to my family, my pets, my belongings, etc. I think it keeps me more organized.

Classes are going well so far, especially since nothing's been graded yet, which means I'm technically making As in all my classes. :) I won't say no to that. Auditions were the first day, as always, but I didn't get a part in the play. I'm okay with that. Auditions went really well, I think. I was asked to read twice for the first time ever, which made me feel really good. I also found out I can do a French accent! Yeah, school's going well. I haven't managed to fall behind yet. Here's hoping I can keep things rolling along this well.

29 August 2010

Getting Back to School

School starts Monday and I'm really looking forward to it. My first class isn't until ten, which is cool. The only downside is that the first class is government. Oh well. My schedule's not that bad. Two classes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, three on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm also really missing a lot of my friends and wondering about how things might be different this year. A lot of people have graduated, one professor has gone to another job, and our old department head is temporarily coming out of retirement until we find a replacement for the professor who left. Another of the theater professors, Ms. Glitter, is now running the scene shop. Wow. The woman drives me insane, quite frankly, and I've got class with her for the first time in about two years. I'll also be spending this semester looking for summer theater internships. All in all, it should be a fun year.

I'm a senior, finally, and hoping to capitalize on that to get some more opportunities within the theater department. The "I haven't done this before and am about to graduate" card is very powerful. Of course, I've got another year to year and a half to go before I get all my theater classes completed. After that, who knows? I really don't yet. Only time will tell.

18 August 2010

Riddle Me This - Answers

Here are the answers to my recent riddles post.

Riddle 1: I have a face but no mouth and my day starts with an energy drop. I don't speak, but I communicate effectively. I can go anywhere.

Cell phone

Riddle 2: I'm very small and see everything from my vantage point. You see from somewhere very close to me. You won't find me everywhere, though my home can be found on everyone. I like young people.

Eyebrow piercing

Riddle 3: I carry a lot and get very hot. Hold me close to your chest.


Riddle 4: Colors everywhere, see some living art.


Riddle 5: First coming from animals, I pierced darkness before Alva.

Candles, which were originally made from animal fat.

Riddle 6: Take a trip with me; you won't have to go anywhere. Just open your eyes and pick me up.

A book

How many did you get right? If you didn't comment on my original blog, how many might you have gotten right?

12 August 2010

You've never what now? A reader recommends...

In the past, so many people have spoken a phrase that baffles me. I've heard this from people of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of education. Well, maybe not all ages, but widely varied age groups. The phrase? "I've never read an entire book in my life." I've heard this phrase from college students - English majors, even! When I was a senior in high school, I took an English course at the freshman college level. Our final paper in the class was a book report on a novel. A student in class, astoundingly, raised their hand and asked the teacher "does this mean we have to read a book?" My jaw dropped. For all those people and anyone who might need to add to their own personal reading list, here's some easy, but entertaining reads I would recommend to anyone.

Michael Ende's The Neverending Story - The movie is nothing compared to the book, not that they two can ever really compare. This book was a favorite from around elementary school age. I'm not sure exactly when I first fell in love with it, but I've always had so much fun in that world. Fantastica (Fantasia based on movie dialogue) is a wonderfully rich fantasy world with so many unexplored adventures. Hence, the title of the work.

Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling turned a generation on to reading. The series is masterfully written with clues scattered throughout for the reader to find. I'm currently working through the series for the second time myself and loving every minute of re-discovery. The characters, major and supporting roles, are well written and rounded out with any changed in motivation explained clearly.

Tuesdays With Morrie - A short, simple story that has a greater effect than some might guess. The fact that the story is true gives it even more meaning and depth.

The Wayside School series - Nice, nonsensical, short books about a sideways tilting school that has no thirteenth story and only one classroom per floor. Classic, always.

Chronicles of Narnia - Yes, there's imagery and symbolism. Yes, the author was a strong Christian. Yes, Aslan represents Jesus. Move on and just enjoy the story.

Walking Across Egypt - Short, sweet, to the point, and a very well characterized story.

The Year the Horses Came - The most controversial item on this list, this fictional novel deals with the idea of white men first arriving from present-day Russia to slowly take over the lands of the Goddess-worshiping natives. There are scenes of strong sexuality, but it's a logical part of the narrative storyline and not the focus of the book.

Harriet the Spy - A classic. Very accurate portrayal of a pre-teen mind and of the social interplay in middle school.

Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story - The story is told in the cleanest way possible with interesting moments of interplay between one time-period and another.

The Phantom Tollbooth - So much to enjoy in this book. The wordplay is wonderful. Shows some of the dangers of taking things too literally.

Artemis Fowl series - Has its far-fetched moments, but who can't love reading about a young criminal mastermind continually plotting against the Lower Elements (faeries)? The series has decent continuity and the author is careful to explain each oddity in sufficient detail.

I could go on and on, but with people who don't read, what would be the point?

10 August 2010

Things I Miss From Childhood

The Ren and Stimpy ShowImage via Wikipedia
Now, at twenty-three years of age, I spend a lot of time with my four year old sister. This has made me pay a little more attention to what kids are watching these days. My god, I miss the nineties.I miss good television shows, like Rugrats - before they grew up, Doug, Hey Arnold!, Ren & Stimpy, Daria, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Guts, Legends of the Hidden Temple...oh, there were so many. I miss Sesamee Street - before everyone started speaking Spanish. I miss good vampires - Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac. I miss kids who were able to play outside; seems like so many these days won't leave the electronic babysitters for longer than twenty minutes. Of course, that may be just my little sister. I miss playing outside. When I was in fifth grade, we discovered I was highly allergic to chigger bites, which put an end to my rolling in the grass. I miss kids being taught respect, being expected to return it and to obey their parents. I miss kids being encouraged to read instead of sitting in front of the electronic babysitter. I miss kids being taught basic facts - once, a fifth grader we were babysitting told us the capital of Texas, her home state as well as mine...was T...and that the capital of the United States was US. She didn't know the state flower of Texas. What are they teaching kids these days, really? What kind of students might I end up with?
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08 August 2010

I'm Quitting My Day Job

Yes, I'm quitting my day job. I'm re-focusing on what I want to do, moving back to my passion, the thing that makes me happiest. I'll focus on school and my various responsibilities as I need to, but it's time to pay attention to me. I want to make myself happy and be satisfied in my own life.A lot of my motivation, it's true, likely stems from the fact that I'm twenty-three years old and at a stage in my life when I can, to a point, do what I want without serious repercussions so long as I maintain balance. Thankfully, I'm both logical enough to realize this and good at balance when I need to be.

What am I focusing on? Well, if you ask that question, you don't know me or are a new reader to my blog. (Realistically, these add up to about the same thing.) I believe Gloria Steinem said it best. "Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel like I should be doing something else." When I'm writing, I love what I'm doing. These days, the creative ideas have flowed easier than before and I intend to take advantage of that flow before the demands of academia dry up my oasis wellspring.

"Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer." ~Susan Sontag

07 August 2010

Reading & Dancing

"Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world." -Voltaire

This may be one of the simplest and one of the most profound quotes I've come across in a while. Interesting may be a slightly better word than profound, but it's my blog. :-P This quote reads like one of life's basic truths, a bite-sized snack of a good saying that, once digested, makes you realize there was more meat to it than you thought. I wonder how much harm might be prevented by dancing and reading?

Reading certainly teaches us of the evils of human nature, things to avoid, ways others have failed. Dancing lets us cut loose, burn energy, and have fun. With energy burned and fun had, tempers drop. How much harm could be avoided with reading and dancing?

Irony: I found this quote in a book I've owned for years. Apparently, I've never really read it before.

04 August 2010

Fables can come true

There was a traveler going on a journey, climbing a steep hill. It took him several hours to reach the summit; once there, he found a small snake, who slithered up to him. "Hello fellow traveler," the snake greeted with a smile. "I've just slithered up this hill and am far too tired to make it to the other side. Would you please carry me down? I'd be eternally grateful." The traveler, feeling this fair, offered his hand for the snake to slither onto to be carried. Once they reached the bottom of the hill, the snake slithered off the traveler's hand. Turning, he then bit the traveler on the ankle and dashed off into the tall grass. "How could you do that? Why did you bite me when I helped you," the traveler demanded. The snake's slim head poked out of the grass. "You knew the risks when you picked me up, friend. You knew I was a snake. Still, you chose to help me. The risk was yours," he replied before slithering off, flicking his tail as his poison moved through the traveler's system.

I first read this poorly paraphrased fable in a Bible. It teaches the lesson of thinking through your actions, of being careful who you offer help to. It's a lesson I feel my parents and I need to learn. We've helped people, out of the goodness of our hearts and because it's the decent thing to do. I'm sick and tired of getting bitten by the people we help, getting pulled into problems we shouldn't be involved with. Too many people seem so focused on themselves, not realizing that the world doesn't revolve around the spot where they stand, not realizing that we're trying to live our own lives around them. They don't know or don't care if we go out of our way to help - provided we're still helping. Then, we might as well blend into the woodwork for all the good we do in trying to help others from an outsider's perspective. Friends burn us or don't realize that what they do does come back to us and it's all completely stupid. What ever happened to paying it forward? Or laying in the bed you've made? Why is it everybody's looking for a handout these days? Work to better yourself by yourself!

03 August 2010

Riddle Me This

Unable to come up with a really good blog idea, I decided to type up some riddles. Feel free to take a guess at what I'm describing here.

Riddle 1: I have a face but no mouth and my day starts with an energy drop. I don't speak, but I communicate effectively. I can go anywhere.

Riddle 2: I'm very small and see everything from my vantage point. You see from somewhere very close to me. You won't find me everywhere, though my home can be found on everyone. I like young people.

Riddle 3: I carry a lot and get very hot. Hold me close to your chest.

Riddle 4: Colors everywhere, see some living art.

Riddle 5: First coming from animals, I pierced darkness before Alva.

Riddle 6: Take a trip with me; you won't have to go anywhere. Just open your eyes and pick me up.

28 July 2010

Books, books, books!

Well, I've met my personal goal. Yesterday and today, I worked on getting every book I own out of storage and sorting through them. Anything I've read a million and one times was put aside to be passed on for someone else to enjoy. Anything I know I won't read, but was holding on to for sheer sentimental reasons was also passed on. Counting the boxes that fell apart on me, I brought fifteen standard-size cardboard boxes into the house. One box went straight to the trash - the bugs had done too much damage, eating into the pages of the books. After that, the organizing started.

There was a lot of stacking, moving around, re-stacking, etc. last night. I flitted around the dining room table, sometimes like a butterfly searching for a specific stack or leafing through each stack. Other times, I was a woman on a mission. I knew exactly where whichever book was and knew it had been put in the wrong pile. Add in our new cat, Diana, who proved herself a feline Wishbone when she curled up and fell asleep on my books, knocking piles as she got comfortable, and it made for a very interesting night.

Today, I got all the books put away. Two boxes worth of books went into a plastic storage bin - something bugs can't get into - to be returned to storage. Five boxes were packed up to be passed on to whomever wants them. The topics vary wildly. Books about Lenin sat next to a collection of religious texts - everything from the Book of Mormon to the Bahagavad-Gita - and all that sat beside books from my childhood that are in need of new homes. Now, I'm sitting in my mildly rearranged bedroom with my bookshelves crammed full of the works I decided I wanted to keep and have accessible. If I did my math right, excluding the 6-7 dictionaries/encyclopedias sitting in a basket together, I currently have around 280 books in my bedroom. All this just so I could find my Harry Potter series - which was fully recovered, completely unharmed, and is currently sitting with my favorite Stephen King book of all time, It, on the fourth shelf of my small bookshelf.

Hm... I think I have some reading to do. :)

25 July 2010

I must not tell lies

I've always loved writing and reading both. Lately, I've found myself hungering for a favorite fandom of the past. Rather than my recent obsession of Twilight, I've been wanting to delve into the Wizarding World. Yes, I've been missing the world of Harry Potter. In my opinion, it's better written than Twilight and has more "staying power." The seven books were truly the story of a generation. They hold themes that last forever: friendship, bravery, love, loyalty, and many more.

I started re-reading the books last semester and made it to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. However, those books belonged to my room-mate. Now that I'm home, I'll have to dig my own books out of storage. Haven't done it yet because storage is...well, pretty full and mostly books. I've been re-watching the movies - the ones I can find, anyway. Order of the Phoenix seems to have vanished, which is really irritating to me. Of course, my DVDs are getting a little worn out. They've developed scratches and the like, which makes movie watching difficult. I did some research this week and learned that James Potter's birthday is two days before mine. :)

Research has also told me how much I missed in the books, how much I forgot. I didn't remember the back story of the Ravenclaw diadem as detailed in Deathly Hallows. I lost so many details of Severus Snape's story-line - though I did remember the ending and most of the important facts. Yeah, I forgot a lot of little stuff and I genuinely want to get back into that world. Just need to make time to go dig through my boxes and locate my books.

21 July 2010

Electronic Mishaps

Yeah, I'm doing a great job of blogging, I know. I've had my six year old niece and two year old nephew visiting this week as well as my three year old sister coming over for babysitting. This only reminds me that I am not ready to have kids. On top of this exhausting job of helping to keep track of kiddos and trying not to depend too much on the electronic babysitter for them, I've also spent most of the summer without my own power cord for my computer.

The problem started very simply: one power cord went out and the new one was shorter than my first. Because it was shorter, I pulled it too far, which caused some of the wires to be exposed. Well, that's easily fixed. That's one reason electrical tape was made, right? Okay, it's not a legitimate fix, but it held together for months. One day, a few weeks after I'd come home for the summer, I found out that one of the wires had totally been stripped. The fibers in it had disintegrated or something cause they were just gone! Well, damn. Now I've got to scrap the cord.

Thankfully, the battery pack is still good. Not that it does me any good when it can't plug into the wall, but it's better than nothing. We got online that day and ordered a new cord (thanks again mom!) and everything was gonna be fine, awesome even. I'd only have to wait a week or two and my new power cord would come in the mail.

Sadly, it has now been over a month and still no power cord. I've been borrowing compatible cords from my stepdad and neighbor, who both have laptops. However, since I don't want to put either of them out, I'm not going to just lay a claim and steal the power cord from their own computers. That's just plain rude and I don't honestly need my laptop that badly. I am getting impatient for that power cord, but a wait of longer than a month seems excessive for such a simple item. They were on back order when we placed the initial order, I get that, but come on!

As if this weren't enough electronic trouble for one summer, my laptop hinge has knocked itself out of whack so badly that there's a crack in it and screws are falling out. For all these irritating reasons, I'm typing this blog on mom's computer (thanks again, mom!) and will be picking up my lappy from the local repair store tomorrow. (thanks for the $ dad!) With any luck, I can get some smooth sailing on my side sometime soon.
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14 July 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Alright, I'm trying something a little different. Maybe a weekly feature will give me reason to write here. The new feature is called Wordy Wednesday, a spin-off of the ever-popular Wordless Wednesday. What is Wordy Wednesday, you ask? Well, other than an attempt to inspire this writer to get writing, it's also an attempt at bettering myself. I'm going to find a word and write about it. Hopefully, I can find some words that I don't already know. Nothing wrong with building vocabulary, after all.

Okay, explanation over! Time for today's word: diaeresis. The word has Greek roots and comes from the verb diairesis, which means "to divide." It indicates the separate pronunciation of two adjacent vowels in the same word, like cooperate. This is shown via a punctuation mark that looks like this: coƶperate. A diaeresis is commonly used in the German language as well as Dutch and French.

Of course, diaeresis has a few other definitions, all of them stemming from the root. Free dictionary gives an added use in poetry, where a diaeresis is a break in a line of verse where the end of a word and the end of a metrical foot coincide. Dieresis, which has a slightly different spelling, is a medical term indicating surgical separation of two parts.

13 July 2010

Hyperfocus - the key to my goals

Today was a hyperfocus day. That hyperfocus was what really brought me back to this blog. Hyperfocus is this amazingly awesome thing that comes part and parcel with attention deficit disorder, which I was finally diagnosed with my first year of college. (I'll save that story for more potential blog fodder.) My hyperfocus days are kind of rare, at least in my opinion. Others who know me might disagree, but hey, its my body and I know it best. Maybe I need to back-track and explain.

Hyperfocus, when it comes, allows me to narrow my normally wide focus down to just a few things. I never really know what I'm going to be focusing on until it happens; it's not something I can choose to do, though I've tried in the past. Sometimes, I'll get lucky and hyperfocus will kick in while I'm studying. It's not a side-effect of my medication either - which I actually didn't take today. Oops. Oh well. I managed fine without it. Today, fortunately, became a goal setting day.

Goal one: clean my bedroom. I've been wanting to do this for days. Today, I got it done. My closet got emptied and re-organized, my bed got fresh sheets put on it, and there are big empty spaces on my dresser and desks where piles of books, notebooks, and papers used to be. A few days ago, when this need to clean up my personal space started, I dug everything out of my closet and even got rid of a few things I never wore or had owned too long and wore too much. The rearranging was done carefully as well, deliberately designed to prevent me from pulling out the same dozen or so t-shirts that I wear all the time.

Goal two: blog again. Yes, yes, I know, my blog has been far too quiet for far too long. Real life caught up to me with a vengeance. That, too, I'll keep out of this particular entry. Things just got crazy during the semester. Today's entry is the first step on a new road of blogging.

Goal three: work out. I already walk daily - two miles a day average while walking the dogs. Today, I didn't take the dogs and man, oh, man did I kick up some dust! Using my iPod to keep my feet moving in rhythm, I kept up a steady pace, faster than a leisurely stroll, for the entire two miles! I felt so good as I was heading back home that I found myself looking around for a way to lengthen my route. I'm hoping to reach a point where walking can turn into jogging and, eventually, running. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Goal four: eat more. Tied in with goal three. By jogging, I can do twice the work and cover half the distance. Because I want to work out more and, in addition to my daily walk, will be taking a yoga class twice a week next semester, I know I've got to up my caloric intake. Every semester, school reaches a point where I don't have time to really eat as much as I need, never mind enjoying the meal. Then it hits the point where I simply don't enjoy the food because the options never change. Breakfast is the worst culprit, a meal I'm already not terribly fond of. Hopefully, this semester, I can figure out a balance.

Goal five: find next semester's class schedule. (So much for the room cleaning... I know it's in here somewhere...) I need to write down a schedule and include my classes, my meals, my work-out time, and a potential part-time job, along with study time, writing time, blogging time, down time, and time to do the work I need to do as part of a member of the theater department. Budgeting I'm not so hot on, but scheduling I think I can do.

I've read before that you're not supposed to share some goals with other people. Of course, that bit of advice was solely in reaction to writing and I have tried to keep a few of my story ideas under my hat. These goals, though, I'm sharing here so I can be held accountable.

Yeah, my blog on hyperfocus turned into me yammering about personal goals. Oh well. Welcome to the mind of an ADDer! What personal goals have you set? Which ones would you like to set? What holds you back from meeting your goals?
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27 March 2010

Freedom of speech protected only sometimes

Alright, I know I haven't blogged in ages, but man oh man do I ever have things to blog about right now! First, the stupid er, standard disclaimer to dissuade any comments that will end up deleted anyway. This is my blog. This is my opinion. This is my own little corner of the internet in which I can gripe and whine, bitch and moan, and throw all the text hissy-fits I want. This is my chance to tell the story as I see it, as I'm living it.

Everything started innocently enough. I'm on the cusp of my senior year in school, still a theater student, still happy as a clam spending my days in the classroom learning to do what I love and look forward to doing the rest of my life. This semester, I'm enrolled in Acting II and finally getting to do some acting. I snagged two roles in one of our one-acts and a small role in Major Barbara, the last main-stage play of the semester.

The one-act plays were intended to be a project for the advanced directing class. They were to be performed for free. The directors chose their own shows and paid royalties out of their own pockets to have these shows performed. Auditions were open to the community, as they always are, and we got a lot of interest which was excellent since the acting class only has a dozen students this semester. One of the plays selected is entitled Corpus Christi by Terrence Mcnally. The play in question, as I've understood, is set in 1950 Corpus Christi, Texas and follows the life and death of Joshua, a young gay man who passes on a message of love and acceptance for everyone. At the end of the play, he is crucified. Yes, his life parallels the life of Christ. His followers are all homosexual and all retain their Biblical names. Because I was not cast in the show and have not read the script, that is all I know.

Big shock - living in the Bible-belt, this show has been surrounded by controversy for the entire rehearsal process. I know the director. I know he is both a gay and a Christian. I know he had no agenda in choosing the first available production date (today) with it being so close to Easter. I know he is an intelligent man and I doubt he would've chosen Corpus Christi simply to rile people up. I genuinely believe his claim that he is passionate about the play and wanted to deliver the message of the work.

Some readers might notice I'm using the past tense a lot. Well, in the midst of the storm of controversy surrounding a single play, everybody continued rehearsing. In addition to Corpus Christi, the plays Road to Rome, Women of Lockerbie, and The Importance of Being Ernest were scheduled to perform. There was talk of protests from the community, which I recognize is their right. I'd also point out that 1. these plays were free admission and not at all a part of the theater department's regular season; they were only performing once 2. attendance to the plays was not required for anyone excluding, possibly, those in the directing class; as I am not enrolled in that class yet, I do not know. The audience size was severely restricted with only parents and spouses of cast members allowed. My guest list of eleven was narrowed down to four, then two as my grandparents would be unable to attend. The plays were moved to early morning instead of the afternoon, when they were originally scheduled. Then, last night at the technical/dress rehearsal, we were told our family members could only come to see the play we were in.

Five hours after leaving rehearsal, our last one, I was told by another cast member that the plays had been canceled completely. Ten or so hours before the first show was scheduled to go up, everything got canceled. Apparently, the call was made because of threats of violence against the actors, directors, and technicians, as well as against music students that had a jazz festival to perform. It too was canceled. With rumors of protest from groups that varied from local community Christians to the KKK and Black Panthers, I understand the concern. I understand the objections from people who have probably not read the play and can't seem to give any specific examples from the text of what it is that offends them against the play. Frankly. I'm not that small-minded. However, I do not understand why my school's newspaper would air their March 25 edition with the headline "The Show Must Go On," why the University President and Fine Arts department faculty would go on about protecting the students, allowing the play, protecting our own rights to free speech, for everything to be taken away from us. After a month long rehearsal process, which involved students from the community and the theater department, it was taken away...but there are still protesters in the parking lot outside the theater building. What are they objecting? The play got canceled. All the plays scheduled for today got canceled for good. They're protesting nothing!

In my mind, the fact that protesters are still allowed to gather while the theater students are not allowed to do what we're going to school for, what we're seeking careers in, what we love, speaks volumes about the school administration's view on the issue of "free speech."

The reason cited for the cancellation was safety and security for the students involved. So many threatening emails and calls were received by faculty members over a simple 45-minute play that there were worries over protecting the students. I can't, in all fairness, disagree with this, but those who caused the move to become necessary... Frankly, they sicken me. What ever happened to "judge not lest ye be judged," "love your neighbor as yourself," love the sinner hate the sin, etc.? Everyone involved in these shows, from Corpus Christi to The Importance of Being Ernest, is a human being who has lost their right to free speech so that the rights of protesters can be upheld. It's so refreshing to attend college and learn lessons like this. Free speech is only permitted so long as religion is untouched. Never knew it was that sacred. Thanks for setting me straight, Hicksville!

Had the shows not been canceled, I'd be taking my bow right about now.

UPDATE: Less than two dozen protesters turned up. To protest nothing. There were no signs or megaphones, no way to hear anything they were saying. Fifteen police cars were in the fine arts parking lot with barricades set up around the building. Inside of two hours, all of it was gone.

19 January 2010

New Beginnings

Classes started today. At 8 am. How very thrilling - except not really. The good news: the 8 am class was all I had today. The better news: I made it to class on time. After class, however, my ear started acting up. Having an earache, a toothache, and a headache all at once, all on the same side of your head is no picnic, let me tell you.

All in all, the 8 am class really wasn't that bad. It was great getting to see everybody again, though the lack of compliments on my 40 minute prep & makeup was kind of a downer. Of course, self-esteem tends to tak a backseat when pain enters into the equation. I'm just glad my ear didn't start hurting seriously until after class.

I've got a new roomie this semester, a freshman in the theater department. All in all, it looks like this is shaping up to be a pretty cool semester. I just need to get my ear to stop hurting & my cell phone to work.