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Candles, which were originally made from animal fat.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.