31 October 2011

A Taste of Insanity

It's October 31st, which means tomorrow is the beginning of NaNoWriMo! I've written about NaNoWriMo here before, a challenge in November where participants attempt to each write a 50k word novel manuscript in 30 days. Well, this year, in true NaNo spirit, I've decided to take leave of my senses.

My personal goal will be 2 50k manuscripts in 30 days. Two different ideas and a total goal word count of 100k. I'm sure this is going to be an interesting month. Best of luck to any other participants out there.

12 October 2011

Good advice

"I'll forget the pain it took to finish, but I'll always remember if I quit." - Brian Foux

I came across this saying last night and loved it because the words ring so true to so many aspects of life. Sometimes, we have to take risks and push on to find success. I do remember every time I've quit or given up on a challenge, phoned it in and finished with work that was the result of only a partial or paltry effort. I also remember every challenge I've succeeded at and how fantastic it felt, how all the pain and intense effort fled from mind and memory as soon as I crossed the metaphorical finish line.

I thought this quote appropriate for me as I train for a 5k later this month and prepare for another year of NaNoWriMo. I also felt it worked well for this, my 100th blog entry. Though I love writing more than anything, blogging isn't always easy for me, never mind the challenge of finding something to write about and the time in which to do it. Thankfully, every word I write, every step I run, puts me closer to success.

Succeed at something today - every day - and congratulate yourself when you do.

03 October 2011

A couple of poems

I wrote these in creative writing class and liked them a lot. Enjoy!

Writer's Block

Blank page
Empty, white and clean.
It taunts me.
Potential -
there's so much there,
but nothing comes.
Make a mark,
a line,
a doodle -
anything to mar that white.
Still, nothing comes.
What if nothing ever comes?
Can this empty page
take away what I am,
how I define myself?
Why is my most important tool
so menacing?


You dance wildly,
not caring who sees.
You run with an energy I envy.
Then, you are by my side,
a picture of innocence.
You giggle madly
and tug my arm,
begging so plainly,
grinning wide.
Already, you know I will give in.
I could never refuse you.
Hard to say no to a five year old.

19 September 2011

Theater poetry

As one of the requirements for my creative writing class, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and attempting to write poetry. I thought I would share one of my first attempts, which was written completely on the fly right after I found out I was stage managing our first main stage production. Enjoy!

The Stage Manager
Show up early.
Staying late.
Keep track of actors, designers.
Remember your crews and cues.
All on your shoulders.
You can bear it.
Dimmer checks.
House music.
Prop check,
prop check,
prop check.
Calls to make.
Notes to write.
Things to post.
Til now my voice was not my own.
Now, this show is mine.
I am ready.

16 September 2011

Planning for the Future

For months now, I've been playing with the idea of creating a vlog. I just checked the web cam I've got and the resolution isn't quite as clear as I'd like it to be, so the idea will have to wait until I can get the equipment, meaning it will have to wait until I get a little more cash flow. Money's tight right now after the textbook buying and food for the apartment and such. Current plans are to purchase what I need in the spring when I get my other refund check OR use my iphone when I get my upgrade next month, depending on its capabilities. Time will tell, I suppose.

To my knowledge, neither my laptop nor my netbook has a built in webcam. Even if the netbook does, it wasn't made to store something like a vlog, so I feel that option is out. I plan for the vlog to be an extension of this blog and will be posting on youtube with a channel under the same name - InkandGrit. I'm hoping this goal of setting up a vlog will prompt me to post things more regularly, increase traffic to my blog as well as the vlog, and help me personally with things like confidence, organizing my thoughts, and working on my facial expressions and body language.

Here's hoping this vlog goal will come to pass in the not too distant future.

Edit: I checked out some of the features on my current cell phone and found out that the video camera on it (my phone has a video camera!) isn't bad for quality. Maybe I can make this happen sooner after all. I just need some practice with video editing software.

09 September 2011

Stupid mistakes leading to ideas

Today has been...interesting. Not necessarily in the good way either. I was, frankly, stupid and skipped breakfast this a.m. Combined with my (very) early dinner yesterday - it was more like an incredibly late lunch, I believe - I screwed up and had gone about 18 hours without eating. As I said, stupid of me. Of course, I paid the price with interest when I blacked out in science class this morning. Not fun. However, I came around and was perfectly aware of my surroundings and exactly what had happened. In fact, my first thoughts when I came to was "dammit" and several other expletives that were more to the point.

Despite that more-than-irritating setback, my only  complaint now is a sore finger, which I believe the EMTs bruised when they stuck it to check my blood sugar. My head doesn't even hurt anymore - apparently, I hit it on the chair to my immediate left. Then there's my injured pride, but it's resilient as well. This just means I'm going to not skip breakfast again and will take my backpack (packed with emergency snacks) to every class.

After this morning's lovely little episode - going back to class on Monday is going to be so much fun - I bought myself a medic alert bracelet, which is something I've been telling myself I needed for several years now. Thankfully, as I informed the EMTs, these episodes don't hit me very often at all and when they do, I can always pinpoint the cause. The last time my hypoglycemia got the best of me, excluding today, I was in junior high or high school. Normally, I do manage it fairly well. Now, finally, everyone around me will be aware should anything like this happen again.

The purchase of my new hematite beaded medic alert bracelet seemed to set off a bout of good old fashioned retail therapy. A friend came over to spend the evening with me and we went out to dinner - we had each only got one plate from the buffet when a high school marching band came in. Both ex-band students ourselves, we had clearly not thought ahead. Rather than wait out the crowd, we opted to do some window shopping that, for me, quickly turned into real shopping.

Today, I purchased my first ever pair of running shoes (pics to come later) for a mere $65 after tax. I also bought two books on running. My friend was a little surprised at "how serious I must be taking this running thing." I just smiled and shrugged. Until he spoke up, I hadn't really thought about my running as any kind of serious beyond a thing I liked doing that kept me in shape. Kind of silly from someone who, at the time of this statement, was holding a pair of bought-and-paid-for $65 running shoes and two books on the same subject.

Tomorrow - after a good breakfast - I'm going to lace up my running shoes and go for my first run in weeks. (Working out didn't seem like the brightest idea today, you know.) Tonight, I'm staring at a web page for a local 5k run that's only six weeks away and trying hard to talk myself out of it. Frankly, I'm running out of excuses.

I wonder what kind of day I would've had if I hadn't had to buy that medic alert bracelet...

26 August 2011

A real page turner

My series of blog posts on literary villains has been put on hold since real life doesn't seem to want to slow down for me and it's difficult to write about specific villains when you don't have the literature in front of you. My books are all packed up right now, ready for me to get moved into my on campus apartment tomorrow. Today, I thought I would write about a different book that doesn't fall in with my preferred genre of fantasy. Of course, after the first few chapters, I hardly noticed. The night I finished book one of G.M. Dyrek's The Seer and the Scribe series, I stayed up late to do it. I couldn't stop turning the pages and had to know what happened next. Nothing turned out the way I expected, but I was smiling by the end.

Spear of Destiny is the first book in a series that "begins where recorded history is silent" introducing characters such as Hildegard of Bingen and Volmar, a monk and scribe at the monastery at Disibodenberg. The story is set in 12th century Germany, which is a period I know I've never studied. Despite that, I had no trouble at all keeping track of what was happening in the book. Everything starts fairly suddenly, with news of Hildegard's talents as a seer that allowed her to see a murder that had taken place generations ago at the monastery. Volmar listens to her story and helps her find proof that it was true, but before they can find a way to bring the old murderer to justice, Volmar is told of a holy relic with a powerful curse. When another body turns up at the monastery, it is up to Volmar's scientific mind to find out what really happened.

The book isn't very slow to start; it seems to be just the right amount between the opening scenes and the first subplot. Foot notes are provided at the bottom to explain details of monastic life that modern readers may not understand otherwise. I don't normally read historical fiction or murder mysteries, but I already want to get a copy of the next book in the series, Methuselah's Secret. Another cool detail: the author's son and niece are the models for Volmar and Hildegard, respectively. They appear on the cover and in the pencil illustrations inside. The illustrations added another cool angle when they appeared; the black and white style seemed very complementary of the setting and time period of the story. Thank you so much to my mom over at Crazed Mind for letting me review the book. I loved it!

No money was made off of this review. It's just my opinion. :)

08 August 2011

Literary Villains

I'm contemplating a series of posts revolving around villainous characters in literature and the root of their cruel tendencies. Asking what might make a character tick is a lot like asking what makes a person tick - there are very few brief answers. I'm not sure how many blog entries this may give me. A lot of it will honestly depend on how long the topic holds my interest.

Currently, I'm planning blog entries on Tom Riddle AKA Lord Voldemort from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Henry Bowers from Stephen King's It, Javert from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Bill Sikes and Fagin from Oliver Twist, Saruman and Sauron from J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series, and Xayde & Gmork from Michael Ende's The Neverending Story. Any villains you'd like to see added to the list?

For the purposes of these entries, I will be examining each villain on their own. These aren't compare and contrast pieces - that may come later, just because I'd love to see Voldemort own Xayde. Lol. In these blogs, I intend to look at each villain: what makes them bad, what might explain their particular brand of evil (if any back story was provided in the original work), and why the readers so love to hate them.

Writer Woes

My 50k work from July is currently hovering around the 55k mark on word count. No chapters yet, very little editing, and a 10k scene still waiting to be re-written after it got eaten up by human error. My main character is falling rather flat and seems to be humming the same old tune and many of my villains simply refuse to make a real appearance on the page. It's possible I've got too many villains running around and not enough heroes. Yeah, that's probably it. More heroes though... That means more characters which I'll have to introduce now and then remember to add in to earlier segments once the editing begins in full force.

It's true what they say - writing can be a very lonely profession. I spent the last month writing during almost every spare moment I had. Now, in August, I'm volunteering to do the same thing. Now to remember where I left my mind... My characters may have absconded with it weeks ago.

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (Hamlet, Act II, scene 2)
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't." (Hamlet, Act II, scene 2)
"This above all: to thine own self be true." (Hamlet, Act I, scene 3)
"When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.'" - Neil Gaiman

31 July 2011

Camp NaNoWriMo

Last night at 10:16 p.m., I completed the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge. I crossed the finish line with 50066 words and a story that's only half finished. This is the first win I've had in five years of attempting novel in a month challenges. Over the past month, I have found some NaNo specific benefits to my writing.

First of all, as NaNo founder Chris Baty says in No Plot? No Problem! "The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline." I have found this to be 110% accurate. With a firm deadline of July 31st and a goal of 50k words, I actually finished a day early.

To anyone who participates in NaNo and feels overwhelmed by the 50k goal, I say break it down. Just write 2k every day, even if it's pure gibberish. You can tie it all in later. I don't feel the 50k word count goal should be lowered simply because 50k, once completed, is too big a project to completely ignore. When you've got 50k+ words written into a story, you're not going to be turning your back on it with much success. Even if you stop at, say 35k, it's still a hefty amount of words that will not take being forgotten very lightly at all. Challenges like NaNo make you write such a sheer volume of words that you only have a small window in which to give up.

In the interests of not giving up, I've chosen to be a NaNo rebel and spend the August Camp NaNo session finishing my novel. I intend to use a separate online word counter that I've found to be fairly accurate when compared to the one on the NaNo site and write until the story is finished. My word count goal is 80k, though that number is not set in stone. I'm going for a finished novel, no matter the word count. Editing will begin in Nov or Dec.

For now, I'm going to get some more writing done in my novel. After all July isn't over yet.

15 July 2011

Writing vacation

Well, it hasn't been much of a summer vacation unless you want to count a six nights a week job that pays nothing as vacation. However, I am getting to work in a theater, so I'm not complaining. this way, I'm at least getting no pay to do something I love. When I first got this internship, my adviser told me that the point of a summer theater internship, of any internship really, is to be invited back. I consider this a goal well met - I've been invited to return before I got a chance to leave.

Dallas will have to deal with me for a week longer than expected, during which time I will be paid to do the same job I'm doing now for the Jr. Player production of Twelfth Night. I'm not ashamed to admit: I agreed because money was offered. Besides that, it will look fantastic on my resume.

Aside from hauling heavy speakers around and taping mics to sweaty actors, I've spent the last few months doing a lot of the classic soul searching and finding of self that is typically expected of twenty-somethings and have finally come to my senses and chosen to pursue a different starving artist career than the one I've been going after thusfar. I'm not changing my major or anything stupid like that, not in my last year of undergrad, but I am looking at grad school and planning on an MFA in creative writing.

With this goal in mind, as well as my goal of completing my current Camp NaNo novel, I'm sharing my planned personal milestones in hopes that others (and my huge amounts of chattering about said plans) will keep me on track.

Goal 1: Reach 50k before the end of the month on my Camp NaNo novel. (This is for my own personal bragging rights more than anything. After five years of attempting and failing, it will be doubly pleasurable to brag that I completed an internship AND wrote a novel at the same time.) Deadline: July 31, 2011

Goal 2: Complete my Camp NaNo novel. (Just in case 50k doesn't cut it.) Deadline: August 31, 2011

Goal 3: Edit my camp NaNo novel beginning after finals, December 2011

All of this is geared towards the hoped for final result.

Goal 4: A complete manuscript, ready to be sent out to publishers by March 29, 2012 - my 25th birthday.

In addition to the ultimate goal of a publish ready novel manuscript, I will also be stretching my writing muscle by working on short stories and, of course, trying to get those published as well. As you see by the sidebar widget, I am nearing the half-way point on my NaNo word count and have officially surpassed my 22k record. As of this blog entry, my word count stands at 24,528 assuming my word counter is correct. I've hit several minor and major plot snags along the way, but I have fallen in love with my story.

This summer hasn't been much of a vacation, but I've begun to develop the habit of writing daily. I've spent the past fifteen days straight practicing my passions and can think of no other way I would rather spend a summer.

28 June 2011

Waiting for Friday

Why can't I wait til Friday? Simple. It's the beginning of July and the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, a summer challenge to write a novel manuscript of 50,000 words in thirty days. NaNoWriMo traditionally takes place in November and has been going since 1999. Now, with Camp NaNoWriMo, participants have the option to turn any month into a writing month. This year, I'll be participating in July.

My NaNo record over five years of participating is 22k last November. I'm still very proud of that, but it's time to top my record. I already have a fantastic idea that I'm itching to start. Until Thursday, I will work on developing my characters and making a list of possible plot twists to incorporate when the story begins to lag. I feel that a NaNoWriMo in July will better fit my schedule this summer. I know my schedule fairly precisely and can easily carve a couple hours per day for writing before work claims me. In August, after my internship, my schedule will be more up in the air and November has never been the best month for me. There's always a play in the first two weeks and studying for finals is a must in the last week, then there's the holiday.

Scheduling conflicts aside, the whole idea of NaNoWriMo works well for me. With a strict deadline (30 days) and a set goal (50k) I don't have time to fret over tiny details or go crazy with editing when I'm still in the middle of telling the story. Who knows? Maybe this year will be my year. I've placed a widget on the sidebar to track my novelling progress.

I have heard a lot of criticism about NaNoWriMo, people arguing that writing must be focused on quality rather than sheer quantity. My personal philosophy is that there will be no quality without quantity. If there's not something there initially, there can be no judge one way or the other if it is quality.

Anyone interested in taking up a fun, crazy novel writing challenge, either in summer or in November, check out http://www.nanowrimo.org for more information.

27 June 2011

Internship - Good Things

I'm over halfway through this eight week internship and things are going well. It feels great to have confidence at work and to have that show for others as well. Some good things that have happened:

The directors of both shows know my name as do all the actors. The only people who call me my first name are front of house staff.

The actors thank the technicians most nights as they are leaving and we're cleaning up. Most of them thank us by name.

The tech director said I was one of the best interns they've had running the sound effects.

I can now carry the big, heavy backstage speakers down to the bunker without having to set them down and catch my breath.

I've been allowed to do several small jobs not directly associated with the position I'm there to fill.

The last piece of good news isn't really work related, though that is where it happened. I was up at the booth, helping out with another small not-related-to-my-position type job. After that was done, I jogged to the bunker to help mic actors. When the actors came down for their mics, one of the actresses I was miking commented that she'd seen me. When she told me she'd seen me and that I had a wonderful, smooth gait. I'm sure I beamed as I thanked her, told her I was flattered, and then told her I was trying hard to start running regularly. She then turned to another actress and said "you were right, she is a runner!"

Oh, sweet sweet justification, how I love it. Hearing those words, hearing myself described by a complete stranger as a runner, made my night. That little bit of non-work-related comment is probably one of the best things that's happened out here.

14 June 2011

Love that new blog smell

Hello there, readers! I see you've found your way to my new blog and, hopefully, you'll be following me over here soon. I can already hear you asking: why the change? And why so much blue?

The blue is easy to explain. It takes me ages to find pre-made templates that I like and even longer to get them installed. rather than spend a day on that headache, I used the template designer and I like the color blue.

The change to a new blog is something I've been batting around for a while now. I feel like this idea has been sitting on the back burner and only made itself known yesterday, but it's always bugged me that my url and blog name never matched. Besides that, the old url is a saying I thought of at the last minute when initially signing up for the blog. In truth, that lovely little tech theater pun doesn't really fit me anymore.

I've spent a lot of time these past six months in self-discovery, most of it unplanned, but all of it welcome and needed. Because I'm learning more about myself and becoming aware of who I am, what my future goals are, etc. I'm working to reflect those goals and changes in my personal life. After all, what's the point of gaining new insight if you don't somehow use it or let it change you? This blog, hopefully, will be a way for me to reflect and act on some of the changes I've been trying to carry out.

Other than that lovely bit of existentialism... I guess I got bored. My hair is already dyed bright red and I haven't got the money for any new piercings or tattoos. Something had to change. ;)

I'm already looking forward to this change, honestly. I think it will help me in a lot of different ways. If nothing else, it may get me blogging more. More blogging leads to more followers and, even more important for me, it means I'm writing on a more regular basis. Everybody wish me luck. I hope this change isn't too hard on any of my current followers. Have a great day!

10 June 2011

Fantasy can't last forever

Today, I'd like to write about a personal pet peeve of mine - one that I've encountered far too often. Worse yet, I've almost volunteered to run into it as often as I do as a result of the circles I choose to run in...but I'm getting ahead of myself. I am, as I feel I've said many times before, a writer. I am also a theater student and a role-player. While a good dungeon crawling session is always fun and something I've been away from far too long, most of my role-play fix comes in the form of PBP (play-by-post) forums.

An explanation, for those who may not understand: These usually take place on message boards/forums where each member writes for a different character. Everyone works together, writing through the eyes of their characters, to tell the same story. It is, in essence, communal story-telling and has been likened to a group of people, all writing the same novel. Each person brings their character and their own personal writing style to it; in the end, hopefully, you have a coherent, cohesive story. Of course, I can't say I've ever witnessed a PBP site reach an official end, perhaps because the characters always have more stories to tell.

All in all, PBP is my very favorite form of RP. It's a writing exercise, after all. By varying things like character types and background, a wealth of possible characterization is available for anyone to tap into. However, there are some who tap into it too much.

I can't stand it when the only thing people do is role-play, no matter what form it takes. Escapism is amazing and can be a wonderful break, but there are some out there who seem to forget about their real world responsibilities. Addictive personalities, perhaps? I've always wondered. In the past, even I have been guilty of this crime, spending a whole day working on a character application, trying to get inside their heads, but I have my limits. When the characters I'm writing for get to be too much, I'll get away from the computer, maybe go for a walk or a run. I'll read a book, something that has nothing to do with whatever universe my characters came from. After a few hours or days in the real world, I go back to the characters and find them fresher and easier to write for.

Excess, in anything, can be harmful to self and to others. I was once friends with someone and broke it off because all they ever discussed was our role-play characters. Frankly, it got to be exhausting. With no opportunity to distance myself from the character I was writing, the fun went out of it and the character was abandoned. I still role-play on various forums, including one I have been a member of since it's inception six years ago. I love it as much as I did when I first discovered role-playing over ten years ago. However, I urge my fellow RPers to take a step back every now and then.

There's a real world out there too. Remember to live in it and visit the others, not the other way around.

05 June 2011

Gone Running

It's time to go. My mind kicks into gear with no hesitation, but my body must be coaxed. I stretch, slowly, letting each muscle tense and lengthen. Muscles too tense, I've forgotten to breathe. As the air wooshes from my lungs, the stretch becomes easier. I can reach farther, curl in a few degrees more. Slowly, my muscles begin to revel in it, to cooperate and move as I want them to. Endorphines are flowing as my blood pumps. Another stretch, focusing on the muscles that always seem to seize up on me - my hamstrings, my sides. I check my laces once more and reach for my water bottle. Another drink, checking that at least eight ounces worth are in my system, and I'm outside.

Nature greets me in one form or another. The sun beats down; I put my shades over my glasses - no need to squint and tense up my facial muscles. The breeze runs past with all the care of a laughing child. I start walking at my normal pace until I reach the spot I've chosen. The cell phone comes out, the timer set for two minutes. I take a moment to survey my domain. Even if I'm in unfamiliar territoy, as I am now, this is something I know. Even if my feet have never before disturbed this ground, I feel it instinctively. This is where I will run. I push a button, my feet moving a second before the countdown starts.

My breathing comes easy, moving with the rhythm of my feet. Four count inhale, four count exhale. Before the two minutes are up, of course, this is completely shot. All I can do is keep my feet moving in time, my arms moving, eyes on the road. No need to look at the timer. When it beeps, I turn it off, drinking in air through burning lungs. My thumb taps a button, re-starting the countdown, as my brain forces my feet to move. This is a walk, a two minute cool down. Through most of it, I pant and gasp, trying to get my breathing back, slow in and out, through my nose. Yeah, right. Too soon, the beep sounds again. Inwardly, I groan. Just a little more walking. Thirty seconds or another minute, just until my breathing evens out.

My discipline won't let me. I tap the button again, feet moving in the same rhythm, seeming stilted and awkward. My run seems, to me, more like a hybrid of a jog and the desperate last minute sprint of the dead tired. Minute three of running passes a little easier than minute one. I hardly notice minute four, determined as ever not to look at the timer. The times I do cheat, I am proud of myself. The mantras for these cheats are one of two. "Only a minute left. You've done one, so do another." "Thirty seconds. If you reach that landmark, that sign, that tree, before the alarm, you can stop." It's all a mind game, of course. The landmark I've picked is too far ahead or so close I know I'll breeze past it and keep going.

More walking. I check my heart rate as I walk, eyes now glued to the timer as I count beats in my head. My pulse seems to be everywhere, my blood humming. I hear the echoing dull thud in my ears. I feel the beat in my shoulders, my legs tingling, aching in a positive way. Even my scalp seems to pulse with the beat of my heart. I count. One, two, three, four. My heart rate is up, where it needs to be. Another minute of walking, four total now excluding the journey to my running space. The next, I know, will be the worst. As always, I hear the beep.

 Why did I ever decide to do this? I push the button, my legs sluggish, objecting as I push forward. Minute five is the best part of my run - for about the first thirty seconds. I feel great, I'm getting fit, I'm doing something I love. All these thoughts are derailed as my focus rapidly shifts to oxygen. My whole world is the breath moving in and out of my lungs, moving too fast, giving no nourishment I can detect. There is very little feeling of relief tied to any inhale right now. It is an automatic thing, something I have to do in the same way my feet have to keep eating up the pavement.

This is the halfway point, my personal mile 20, my wall. Rhythm is gone now. There is no form to the run in my head, no feeling of my muscles working together, my body a well-oiled machine. I gasp and pant and will my feel to keep going. If I reach a hill, I feel the weight pulling at my feet, my legs. I want to slow down, to walk up the cursed incline. I want to lean forward to ease the gentle pull that feels like I'm moving through water. As always, I don't let myself. I count each foot strike, working on the most basic of the human body's actions. Breathe in. Breathe out. Keep moving your feet. One, two, three, four. Minute six seems as if it will never end, but it does. The beep sounds. This time, I come to a dead stop.

I lean over, still gasping, wondering how the hell I must look standing here, hands on knees, breathing too hard to talk. I can't swallow the saliva that has gathered in my mouth, as if my throat no longer works. I spit, just trying to get the collected moisture out of my mouth. Sweat has started. Another breeze comes by, just when I need it most. I start to walk.

My feet are sluggish and feel clumsy. Though there is no muscle ache in my legs, I don't want to move another step. One foot in front of the other. I plod now, breathing in harsh pants, pulling the air in with all the speed I can muster. I breathe through the stitch in my side, knowing that is the only way to work it out. Again, the beep. Again, the running. Minute seven is nearly as bad as minutes five and six. Minute eight is a completely different story. I've passed the wall. I find my rhythm again, or some shadow of it. Air is what it was when I started almost fifteen minutes ago, something that comes easily, in more generous amounts. I've passed the wall and run eight minutes. I walk, wishing, as I did in my walking minute four, that I could just keep running. That feeling, in minute eight, is why I run. In minute eight, minute nine, minute ten, I am invincible. In this time, I truly feel like a runner.

I toy with the idea of running another two minutes. No. Not yet. I know I need to quit while I'm riding the high; quitting a workout while I feel miserable could make me quit altogether. I head home, walking, taking my time, still pulling hard breaths, but I don't care. At home, I'm careful. I stretch, loving the way sweat covers me like a thin second skin. These stretches are slower, cool down stretches. I mentally tabulate the way each muscle feels, the way it moves. Is anything too tight? Did anything pull or hyper extend? Is there any pain?

I find water, careful not to drink it too fast, careful not to stand too close to the fan. Cooling down too quickly seems like a bad idea; my mind rebels against the idea of hopping in the tub immediately after a run or even of sitting down right after. Rather than read or research, I trust my body. My body says cooling down too fast is dangerous as wearing sandals in long grass when you know a snake is there. I take my time, walking, not settling anywhere. My pacing makes others edgy at times, but right now, I don't care. I listen to my body.

I'm home a good ten minutes before I dare to look in the mirror. The sweat is still a sheen on my arms and legs as I move to the mirror. Secretly, I dread the day I come in from a run and find my face bone pale instead of red. That would mean a drop in sugar levels. I can't afford that. Of course, my face is pink, as always. Pink, I can live with. It means I've exherted myself, but in a good way. I've taken care of my body's needs without putting any kind of a toll on myself. My hair is wild, sweaty, my eyes glowing with pride. In the mirror, I smile.

No matter my pace, no matter my rythym, my pink face and the sweat on my skin are a confirmation I find myself needing. Rhythym will come later. Breathing easily will come later. Speed and endurance will come later. I've taken the first steps. I feel great and am ready to face the rest of my day. I am a runner.

02 June 2011

Summer in Dallas

No, I'm not on a glamorous vacation. I got a call, very unexpectedly, last Wednesday, telling me that I was needed at Dallas' Shakespeare in the Park. Translation: I got my theater internship. This means I will graduate on time!

After some mad rush packing, Mom and I drove up to Dallas. She catches a flight out of D/FW tomorrow, more details about the trip coming on her blog. I've spent the past week working up at the theater and have loved it. I'm the sound intern, also known as the E3. It will be my job, during the run of the show, to cue up the programmed sound effects when they are needed. For now, I view myself as just another techie.

Tech work is the thing I love most about theater. Wires and cables, screws and nails, tie line and wood, I'll work with most any material and do most any job. So far, I've hung speakers, ran wires, built and positioned 20 and 30 foot steel towers to hang lights from, cleaned mics, and untangled more cable than I'd care to remember. It's all been a lot of fun. I'm keeping hydrated (it's an outdoor theater), eating well, and even gaining some muscle from helping lug around heavy equipment. My internship is supposed to end about a month before the fall semester starts; maybe I can keep whatever weight, muscle, etc. I develop out here. Fingers crossed!

10 May 2011

Sore muscles

Went on another run today. I am still keeping walking in my alternating routine. I managed to run two minutes in a row instead of just one and did a total of ten minutes running time. My muscles are very sore now, but I'm still loving it. Taking it easy this evening and will determine whether to run tomorrow or give my legs a day to recover. I need to figure out a few more hamstring stretches; my right hamstring is getting sore faster than my other muscles. for now, my focus for each run is time, not distance. After I get some good endurance, a good base on it, etc. I'll start tracking my mileage. Til then, I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other!

I've noticed lately that my interest in spending time online goofing around has seriously waned. I don't want to role-play as much as I used to; I haven't been on twitter or facebook in ages. This has really got me to thinking, wondering why this change has come after a lot of time with the internet as a prime source of recreation that I chose to fill so much of my time. Guess I forgot how much I really enjoy being on my feet and doing things. Maybe in time, I'll be running instead of sitting in front of the computer.  Maybe. ;)

09 May 2011


The semester's nearly at it's end and the past few days have been great. Today, I went to my end of semester conference for the theater department and it went really well. I was commended for my organizational skills and paperwork - something I need to improve in my life outside of school. After the conference and listening to a lot of talk about how I need to design more, be more creative, etc. I realized that I am not a designer. I am a technician. My skills lie in the act of carrying out someone else's design rather than coming up with my own. I'm just not necessarily that inventive on my own.

Thankfully, it was fairly cool out today. I was able to go for a run, my first since deciding I want to try and become a runner. I went up to the graveyard by our house and did some jogging. I jogged one minute, then walked on minute, alternating like that. On the way home, I ran between landmarks I saw, so there was no focus on time. If I'm right, I ran a total of five minutes. It may not sound like much, but as someone who walks exclusively, I'm taking every small bit of improvement as great gain.

I started hydrating a few hours before my run, then got my run postponed while I joined Mom, Other Mom, and Ms. Emma in running some errands. I did regret slightly that I started my run without any fluids in my possession since my water bottle was at home and I got dropped off so I could run sooner. Nevertheless, I did enjoy my run. I need to work on my rhythm and finding my stride as well as breathing properly while I run. I also need to reach a point where I can run for a whole minute without wondering when I can stop. All this, I know, will come with time and practice.

I'm already looking forward to my next run!

11 April 2011

A new relaxation plan

I'm using the word "relaxation" somewhat incorrectly because my plan has very little to do with the relaxing most people think of. I'm not thinking of taking it easy or spending a day doing nothing. Instead, I'm thinking about ways to relax my body, to make me less aware of it, less concerned about how I look to others. Yesterday, I managed it. How do I know, you ask? The answer is quite simple.

At rehearsal last night, the director praised me. He said I was doing a great job and had been doing everything he'd asked me to, from my voice to my movement. Then, he gave me ideas to inject a little more character into my lines. I know this is pretty standard; after all, this is the meat and potatoes of what acting is. However, it's big news for me because I never made it past the basic bread and butter stage of "we can't hear you! speak up!"

I credit last night's extreme relaxation to the fact that I spent the day with Emma. I watched her all day and most of that time was spent out on the swing, me pushing her. I swear we went out there no less than half a dozen times and each swing session lasted at least fifteen minutes. At least, that's how it felt to me. I was completely amazed at how happy she was, just for this simple act from me. All she wanted was for me to push her on the swing, for us to spend time together. I am so grateful that I got to spend so much time yesterday with my sister, even if there had been no benefit for me.

06 April 2011

Desires and Blessings

Well, I'm showing my age. I've been setting a lot of goals lately, thinking about the future in a manner more tangible than what is offered through mere dreams. I've been doing a lot of soul-searching - and doing it in some of the most unusual and unexpected places. One of my new goals is to be in a committed relationship before I graduate college. By my count, I have about a year to meet this goal. (As well as meeting the person. Lol.) In the past, I've made a brief and far from incomplete list of what I'm looking for in a partner. The lists I'll be writing for this blog will have a slightly broader focus.

Some of the things I want in my future include:

Writing - I really need to stop kidding myself. Writing is and has always been my passion. I am never happier than when I am writing, even if it's a simple little blog like this. Yes, I'm going to complete my theater degree. Yes, it may even lead to a job. Writing, whether for the theater or not, will be my career, starving artist be damned.

Financial stability - I've had this goal pretty well carved out since I was in middle school or high school. I don't want to be fabulously wealthy (though I don't think I'd complain if it did happen) and I don't want to be famous. I'm not a big fan of being in the public eye and never have been. I just want enough money that bills can be paid on time and where I can go out if I want to instead of having to wonder if I can afford it. Frankly, I don't feel this is much to ask of the universe.

Spirituality - I hesitate to use the word religion because I don't believe a label has been made yet for my personal beliefs. Do I want to parade my feelings about God down the street or hang a banner outside my house for everyone to know exactly who I believe hears my prayers? With no pun intended, my answer is a resounding "Heavens, no!" I'll openly admit that I keep my beliefs very close to the vest. I rarely share them because  feel I don't have the right to assume that I know more than someone else simply because I have different beliefs. However, if I'm honest with myself, I know that I need the inner peace that spirituality provides. I need to make time for myself and time to commune with my choice of higher power.

Love - I've always had love in my life, possibly more than I myself have ever been aware of having. This excessive beautiful emotion must continue to color my world so that it can spill over into the lives of those around me.

An equal partner - Whether male or female, I know my body and soul is searching for my other half. Maybe it's some biological clock, maybe my heart's just tired of being lonely. I'm not analyzing it. I'm just waiting.

Animals - I have owned pets all my life. I can't see myself not having a few dogs around, at the very least.

Books - What is life if I can't read?

Listen to myself more - If this blog has shown little else, I think is does provide evidence that I am, in some ways, more mature than some of my peers. I really do need to learn to listen to my own advice more often since I know myself incredibly well. The second-guessing needs to stop and I need to stop short-changing myself.

Listen to others more - I have a tremendous support system. My family, my friends, my professors - there are so many sources there, many of them more experienced than I. I need to be more aware of taking the advice they give rather than taking more time to make my own mistakes and reach a decision they already suggested.

Those are just a few of the things I want out of life. Now, I'm going to take some very good advice and count a few of my blessings by taking a look at what I already have.

Intellect - I am very smart. I know how to think. Sometimes, I use that skill a little too much or not enough, but I still list it as one of my strengths.

Diplomacy - I have the ability to talk to people and relate to them no matter their situation. If I can't relate, I find a way to empathize. I'm generally able to look at all sides of most any situation rather than focusing only on my needs or wants. I know how to go the extra step and consider who else is involved and effected by my decisions. When making decisions, I'm usually able to remove the emotional aspect and base my choice in logic rather than feeling.

Simplicity - My life, in truth, is very simple. I have simple needs and even simple desires. This is a treasure.

Family & Friends - There's so much overlap that I'll just lump these groups together. There are so many in my life who have stood beside me in support, not only recently, but for years on end. I'm eternally grateful for that and need to make it a point to be there for more of these people rather than using them only for my own gain - not that I do this maliciously, but everyone could stand to practice a little more self-awareness.

Responsible - I know that I and no other am responsible for myself. I make my own decisions and am to blame for whatever negativity may come as a result. Many people my age don't seem to have this awareness and it hurts them in the long run.

Imagination - I still have this wonderful gift. I always have and always will, provided it is used regularly and kept in shape like any other muscle.

Emma - Possibly the biggest blessing in recent years, my little sister is an absolute ray of sunshine and my everything. It's amazing that one person can make another feel so strongly. If this feeling of love, of combined ownership and being owned, increases when a person has children of their own, I'm not sure how I'll be able to bear it. One of the surest ways to put a smile on my face is for me to hear her voice and to know that I'm someone important in her young life - not just another face, I'm her Sissy. That title means more to me than anything I could be given by any other.

Well, there's a nice little wrap-up of some of my desires and some of my blessings. Think about some of yours. What are your true, bone deep, soul fulfilling desires? What wants are so strong that they become needs? Count your blessings today. If nothing else, this will ensure you smile once today.

04 April 2011

Hemingway Enlightenment

"We are all apprentices in a craft where noone ever becomes a master." -Earnest Hemingway

This quote is all about humility, which, in my mind, is not nearly common enough these days. Everyone is critical of others, as if convinced they have all the right answers. I've experienced this at all levels in my life; I rarely understand it. As Hemingway points out, though it's likely he's speaking of writing, nobody is ever a master. There's always a boss, a supervisor, someone with more experience and authority. People don't realize this these days; they tend to think no further than themselves and judge others based on their own experiences, which isn't fair.

Here's to humility and remembering that we're all just apprentices sometimes.

22 March 2011

I got cast!

I got a role in the play! I'll be playing the role of Mrs. Winemiller in Summer and Smoke! The read-through tonight was really a lot of fun. We have the next few days off and I have to be completely off book - meaning I know all my lines - by Sunday's rehearsal. I've also got an assignment due next Monday, a test on Thursday, internship things to do, and a work call out at our properties storage Saturday. Time to get back into the swing of things.

21 March 2011

School days again

Went back to classes today after spring break. Time to knuckle down on my internship work; I spent most of my day doing exactly that. Had auditions for summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams. Cast list will be posted tomorrow. Not sure how well I did yet.

20 March 2011

Back to school; relaxing

Classes start tomorrow. Rehearsals tomorrow night. Time to finish some homework.

19 March 2011

I love a parade!

Today, I went with all the parental units, grandma, and Princess Emma to see a St. Patrick's Day Parade. We headed out early to eat breakfast beforehand. The meal was good, warm and filling. The parade was very nice to watch. There's nothing like the excitement of a four year old to make everybody else get a little more energy themselves. Emma was asking all through breakfast if it was time to go to the parade and when her food was coming.

When it was time, we went outside to watch the parade. Emma loved it, especially the dresses and the horses. Hearing her voice change in pitch as she smiled and said "those horses are so small!" was adorable. It wasn't her first parade, but as she watched it, it was almost like she was seeing everything for the first time. Of course, I had my job during the parade: candy detail. I got to gather the pieces that Emma didn't see or that just hadn't been thrown far enough. When we got home, we divided the spoils.

A parade is a great way to start the day.

18 March 2011


My Mom has always said that when she gets bored, there are only two things to do: rearrange furniture for a change of scenery or dye her hair for a change of looks. She and I spent today defrosting the freezer and, since we had to move it outside anyway to do that, we moved things around in the kitchen and dining room. Princess Emma was with us today and got to play in the water while Mom washed the frost from the freezer. She loved it.

The downside to all the furniture moving was the time it took. The chore took most of the day and we still have a couple of things to get put up. Better yet, my left calf is killing me. I've done some internet research, but don't know what I did to my leg, just that it hurts. A lot.

Pain aside, I like the new look of the kitchen and dining room. We cleared a lot of space and moved a lot of things; it's made the space a lot more comfortable and created more room both around the table and near the refrigerator and freezer.

Spring break is almost over. All in all, I've enjoyed it. I even managed to get some homework done, thankfully. Yeah, to be honest, I'm ready to go back. I miss the routine of school, the regularity of the schedule. On Monday, after I finish my classes and get my director's notebook turned in for Shakespeare (boy is that assignment going to take a while...) I'll be joining the rest of the department in auditioning for roles in our next production, Summer and Smoke.

For the moment, I think I'll revisit an old past time and test my new (used) memory card for my PlayStation. Seems like a good way to spend what is left of the day.

17 March 2011

A day with Princess Emma

Today was spent with Princess Emma while the other parental units went to a doctors appointment. I'd just like to note how proud I am for my own ability to remain productive while entertaining a little girl. It really was a good day; of course, any day spent with Emma is good. how could it not be when I've got a Princess keeping me company?

Lately, Emma has been telling me all about her little red dragon, Ruby. This is the first imaginary friend she's come up with all by herself. It brought back my memories of my own imaginary friends. I'll admit, I was a little older and borrowed from stories I'd read. Falkor, the luckdragon from Michael Ende's The NeverEnding Story, was one of my favorites. Another was Little Bear from The Indian in the Cupboard. I'm so thrilled to see my sister using her imagination. She really has a knack for it.

16 March 2011

Flying a Pillow

I tried to be productive today; really I did! Turns out jet lag got to me instead. I managed to pound out about half a page worth of a cover letter. Not nearly enough. I got another act read out of Hamlet, but still haven't finished the play. I still need to read The Mousetrap for lighting class and will be trying to get Summer in Smoke  read by Monday - I doubt that'll happen - so I can be ready for rehearsals that evening.

Instead of all that, I spent a large part of my day trying not to fall asleep and a small but most enjoyable part of my day in the park with my little sister. Getting to the park, on the other hand...

It didn't take much for Other Mom and Princess Emma to convince me I needed a break. I'm not sure whether it was because the jet lag had me functioning way below my usual level or because I wanted to spend time with my sister. I'll be sentimental and chalk it up to option two. So, we loaded up and I hunted a snack before we left, thinking falsely that my exhaustion was caused by a drop in my blood sugar. Yes, this jet lag thing is completely new to me; I didn't recognize it for what it was.

On the way to the park, the car died. Something about an oil leak. A rather massive oil leak. Car's not going anywhere. We call Mom, who comes to get us and ended up joining us on our trip. At the park, I got to help my little sister slide and watch her climb and swing. I also got to fly my kite. I remember owning kites of various kinds since I was about thirteen, if not younger. Thirteen is the number sticking right now in my sleep-deprived brain, so I'll go with it. However, no matter how many kites I owned, I could never get any of them to fly. Of course, we lived in apartments, trailer parks, etc. so flying kites probably wouldn't have been the brightest idea where we were.

This kite, my triangle shaped nylon fabric rainbow kite, actually flew. Not only did it fly, but it made a kind of flapping motion on its own between catching the wind currents to ride. It was amazing. I had a blast.

It also woke me up, but the jet lag set in again with a vengeance. Of course, I didn't know what the problem was until Dad told me this evening after dinner. I hope this passes tomorrow. I feel completely off kilter and really don't need to end up snapping at Princess Emma just because my body thinks it's tired. She doesn't deserve that. Maybe tomorrow we can have a good day emotionally, if nothing else. I'm going to go check my eyelids for cracks. Will try to tackle the to-do list again on the morrow.


15 March 2011

Bad Recipie

Hm. Friday night was interesting-and I wasn't even there! I opted to skip the karaoke night event in favor of catching up on this blog and working on homework. I don't regret the decision; I needed some productivity and normalcy. Funny thing is, what happened didn't even during a convention event!

Here's the disclaimer that might keep me from having to delete spam comments. I'm writing about this as someone who was not there. This is here say with my own opinion added. Because this is my blog, I'm allowed to give any opinion I wish. I will not name names, however.

as I heard, a group of Twitter friends got together for dinner and drinks. the met up at a bar in the hotel. at some point, somebody arrived late and got upset because someone else they hadn't had a chance to meet yet had already left the bar. Keep in mind, it's the end of the first day in a jam packed weekend. Most of the people there had had to fly in on Thursday and the entire group was collectively running on little sleep, perhaps as result of decisions to drink. With all these ingredients, I'm not shocked to learn that the person who was upset got a little teary-eyed.

I was surprised to hear that someone else at the table said "If you're going to bring the rest of us down, you can just ******* leave."

They let her go.

Excuse me while I die of embarrassment at how incredibly rude this is to do to someone.

After hearing about that event and watching the others hang out together while drinking, smoking, gossiping, etc. I pretty much decided it was time for me to take care of my own skin. I chose to ignore it and go about my business. I want to enjoy myself while I'm here and I bought the (expensive) convention ticket to attend convention events, not to avoid them.

Because of this decision, I spent a good portion of Saturday fending for myself and loving every minute of it. The people I was sharing a room with chose to sleep in. They missed Leah Gibson's second Q&A as well as Q&As with Patrick Brennan, Gil Birmingham, and Charlie Bewley. So, you know, everything. When I won a $100 gift certificate in a twilight trivia game, they were in the hotel room, as they'd been the entire day, drinking. They showed up in time for the evening's autographs.

That evening, at the formal event organized for some attendees, one of the ladies wanted to go back to the room. I volunteered to accompany since, much like clubs, dances aren't my thing. In truth, I wasn't 100% ready to leave, but not 100% committed to staying put 'til the event ended. Another member of our party insisted that the person who mentioned leaving finish their drink first. I reached over for a taste with no complaints from the drink's owner. As the insisting continued, I took another sip. If the drink has to be finished, fine. It'll be finished. When the drink owner objected, I said hell with it, put the glass back on the table, and grabbed the room key.

I'm sitting in the room with the lights off because there's someone sleeping. The person who wanted to leave the event has yet to show up and I've got the room key, meaning they can't get in unless I open the door. How the hell did I end up getting screwed over in this situation?

14 March 2011

Truer words were never spoken

"Whenever you have a little bit of time for yourself, read a book. Always carry something with characters written on it with you and look at it when no one's looking." -Hojo Soun

 I read this quote and think more deeply of the idea of living for your passion, keeping what you are passionate about close to you all the time, no matter what anyone around you says. I want to live for my passion. I won't get dragged into people's real life soap opera style dramas. I want to focus on me.

12 March 2011

Volturi,and Nomads, and Wolf Dads oh my!

Day two was even better than day one. I was flying solo, baby, doing my own thing! I attended all the Q&A sessions and got autographs from every star appearing there. I was really struck by Breaking Dawn's Patrick Brennan, who played Liam. During his Q&A, he sat down on the front of the stage and, at one point, lay back on one arm, totally at ease and relaxed. I loved it!

Leah Gibson did a second Q&A session. I was a little shocked at how empty the room seemed during this time. I was the only person sitting in my row and I was hanging on her every word.

Though I've been teased by some others in my group for this, I don't care. I admit to having some complete and total fangirl moments today. The first came when I won WON a $100 gift certificate in a Twilight trivia game. I'd participated in the first round on Friday, but got eliminated after about five questions. I was expecting the same this time, but I WON! I was eliminated in the next round, meaning I didn't get to double my winnings, but that's fine. I can use the gift certificate for merchandise the vendors are selling, meaning I can get some of the things I've been looking so hard at all weekend and it won't cost me anything!

Fangirl moments two and three came during the autograph sessions. Charlie Bewley, who plays the Volturi tracker Demetri, smiled at me and called me "sweetheart" after he signed my notebook. I melted! As if that wasn't enough, Gil Birmingam told me about a Native American tribe that has my name and Patrick Brennan called me "love." Again with the melting!

I really don't care about the teasing. Nobody else in my particular group got called sweetheart or love. Besides, I'm allowed to fangirl as much as the next person. Everybody gets a little starstruck sometimes.

11 March 2011


The first day of the Official Twilight Convention in Nashville was so much fun! This is the first event like this I have ever attended. I've already decided I'd love to do so again, maybe as a volunteer.

The convention hosts, Hillary and Hannah Hindi of The Hillywood Show, were gracious and very welcoming. Leah Gibson, who plays Nettie in Eclipse, was graceful and a true lady. Very sweet! She had one question and answer session today and is scheduled for another one tomorrow. I found her to be very down to earth and very real.

Nikki Reed, who plays Rosalie Hale, is just inspiring. She quit smoking two years ago in effort to become a better role model and take better care of herself. She admitted in Q&A that these choices changed her relationships with a few fellow cast members. Boy, do I know how that feels! I never thought something so simple as a Twilight convention could bring me to so many realizations about myself.

I've noticed that everyone eventually finds a group of friends, like minded individuals they spend most of their time with. I can't help but feel that I'm still looking for my group. I know I'll find it someday.

Fan-girl moment: in her Q&A session, Nikki Reed answered a question I had submitted. I asked for advice she might give a student actor. She was honest about it, with the first words out of her mouth. "Run. Run far away very quickly." She then went on to talk about what an inconsistent business it is, with no guarantee of a paying job from day to day unless you luck out and hit it big-and even then it doesn't last forever. Of course, as she continued, she spoke of passion; doing what you love and loving what you do. It was so amazing to get such clear cut advice from someone who is actually working professionally in my field of interest.

Nikki & Leah, you are both beautiful, talented women!

10 March 2011

Truths Taught in Bars

Today, I went to Nashville with my neighbor, Nessa, for the weekend. No, I'm not mad about country music. We took this trip to attend a Twilight convention. It lasts all weekend and everything starts tomorrow. I'm excited, which is a nice change from the plane ride. Well, just airport security, really.

No, I wasn't sneaking anything onto the plane. I simply hadn't set foot on a plane since '98 on a trip to New York City. I was with my parents during that trip and travelling as a minor. Very different experience. For this trip, things did go very smoothly. The flight didn't feel as long as it really was, maybe because there was no real change of scenery from the inside of the plane.

After we landed, I got to meet some people I know from twitter. It was pretty cool-and very interesting. The person who picked us up was hyped up on caffeine and energy drinks. I think she might be more ADD than me. I have learned that she's a partier, while I am not. Our first night in Nashville, we went to Coyote Ugly.

God, I am so not a bar person. Yes, I enjoyed it, but its really not my scene. The experience was interesting, sitting directly under a speaker mounted above the bar. Once my budgeted alcohol money ran out, I spent most of my time looking for a quiet corner where there was none. One of the ladies in the group I was with danced on the bar quite a bit. Again, fun to watch. Highly amusing. Still not my scene.

I know it might sound like I'm doing nothing but complain. I really don't want or mean for it to come across that way, honest. It truly was a uniquely fun experience-just one that lasted a little too long for my tastes. Besides that, quite simply, it sucks having to walk out of a bar after a good four hours, at least, and know you're stone sober. Coaxing people who can't walk straight or prying a couple of strangers apart from where they've attached at the lips isn't my idea of a good time. Despite this, I did find out that cinnamon whiskey tastes pretty damn good, though I can only really handle it a shot at a time.

Convention starts tomorrow. I'm so excited!

07 March 2011

Confidence Sells

"Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em "Certainly, I can!" Then get busy and find out how to do it." -Theodore Roosevelt

This is a statement I've heard a lot, though not always in this exact way. In the theater dept, our professors always stress to us that we need to help out around the building all the time. The point of this is to get word out that the theater students will help out anyone. The idea of it is, I would guess, to make us look better around campus.

I also follow this within the department myself. I'll volunteer for a job and then figure out how it needs to be done. As they say, confidence sells.

06 March 2011

Guilty Pleasures

I've spent this evening watching my favorite musical of all time - Les Miserables. Last year, the musical celebrated it's 25th anniversary. What I'm watching is one of three celebratory performances, this one filmed at London's O2 Theater. The three performances all took place in the first days of October 2010, all in London theaters. This was a first in theater history, three performances running simultaneously in the same city. This also took the play back to the city that saw the very first performance.

When it comes to Les Mis, I will proudly admit that I'm a snob. It's the first musical I remember seeing live at a professional venue. I own about five copies of the soundtrack on CD and a VHS recording of a performance. Most of the CDs and the one VHS are all of the 10th anniversary "Dream Cast" edition, which came out when I was eight. This cast consisted of the creme de la creme. For each role, they cast the person who, in the last ten years, had done the best in that part. In the lead role was Colm Wilkinson, a brilliant Irish-born singer best known for playing Jean Val Jean. I'm fairly certain he was the Val Jean I saw when I saw the show live.

Now, with five years of experience in educational theater, I'm noticing a lot more about this 25th anniversary performance- other than the differences in casting from one production to another. I've seen several intelligent fixtures lighting the stage, moving on their own based on the programmed cues. I do see some similarities that prove what I've heard so much in class-some things in theater are maintained over time simply because of tradition. I'm noticing this in costumes more than anything. Enjolras is always in a red vest with gold brocade. Monsieur Thenardier and his wife both wear blue, as does young Cosette. The students are always clad in earth tones.

Of course, at the end of the day, I still love the musical, no matter who's singing it. Below is a video of Colm Wilkinson, THE Jean Val Jean, in another iconic Broadway role, The Phantom of the Opera, followed by a video from Jesus Christ Superstar. Please enjoy "Music of the Night" and "Gethsemane."

05 March 2011

Visiting the Classics

I read a lot. Any chance I get, really. Of course, during the semester, my free time to read diminishes significantly in favor of academia related reading. A lot of that reading is good, of course-Macbeth, Henry V, The Mousetrap, etc.-but there's nothing like reading a good piece of literature and knowing I won't have to analyze and dissect it afterward. This semester, I'm visiting some classics.

The first one I picked up was originally read for school. I simply couldn't keep up with the rest of the class when we read Gone With the Wind. I hadn't really been exposed to it before, so I knew nothing about the story. As a result of the forced march reading style the class demanded-I remember having to read four chapters in one night to catch up-I didn't take to the book or it's characters on my first read-through. Some parts of it were over my head. I found Scarlett O'Hara to be stereotyped heavily, a flat character, always the spoiled child pouting to get her way. Why was she the heroine of this story? Why had the story lasted so long?

A year passed before I could pick the book up again. Visiting it on my own terms, within my own schedule, made all the difference. With the ability to go back and re-read passages as often as I wanted, to linger over some, I finally fell in love with the book. I truly saw, for the first time, every sign of Rhett's care for Scarlett. I saw every small change in the Southern belle as she was forced to face the real world. I watched the characters grow and evolve. It has since become a favorite, though one I only pick up when I have the time to dedicate to reading it.

Another that was more of an instant favorite was Watership Down. Richard Adams was brilliant in his writing, taking simple creatures-rabbits-and inventing them an entire culture, with its own myths and legends. I've made the journey with Hazel, Bigwig, Fiver, and all the rest countless times and have loved it more each time. Anyone who hasn't read this book needs to because it is spectacular.

My most recent acquisition in the area of classic literature has much the same story, for me, as Gone With the Wind did. In all honesty, the whole reason I picked up The Grapes of Wrath was because the book I was reading I had left in the car. I looked to my bookshelf and considered before spotting The Grapes of Wrath and thinking to myself I'd never read it before. I grabbed it, taking a chance. So far, I'm only on chapter six and I've completely fallen in love. The simple wording Steinbeck uses makes the images he paints all the more vivid. He doesn't waste words; I appreciate that immensely.

Still, wordy or not, I love most of the literature I've picked up. I wonder what I'll be reading next.

04 March 2011

The Show Must Go On

Some kind of bug seems to be circling the theater department. It sure has led to some interesting performances. During our tech run, one actress was on a no speaking/singing restriction because she'd lost her voice. The restriction was maintained until her voice returned, which was before opening night-and what a beautiful voice it is. Another actor was in the green room before the show last night, drinking hot tea and sucking cough drops. One of the spot ops was sick last night as well-his call was adjusted so he could show up right before curtain and leave immediately afterwards to go home and rest. If they could've found someone to take his place during the show, he wouldn't have had to come in at all.

Things like this happen a lot in the theater, which can be particularly troublesome at times. My school doesn't employ the practice of casting understudies. Why? No idea, but there are a lot of reasons I can come up with including a limited number of students in the department, costume complications that would stem from having to fit two people for one role, and the fact that an understudy might not have to appear onstage at all for the entire run of any given show. I've heard some interesting stories and witnessed a few as well; all of them just increase the idea that the show must go on.

Once, an actress got her nose accidentally broken onstage during a performance. I wasn't present to witness this one; I believe it happened one year during summer stock. As I recall, she finished her lines and got off stage to stem the bloodflow.

I've seen actors and actresses work through sore throats, sprains, strains, migraines, colds, and every shock, ache and pain you could possibly imagine. Once, an actress had to get her costume and blocking adjusted when she hurt her elbow a few days before a play opened. She played her roles, including two costume changes during the show, wearing a sling with her arm as immobile as possible.

There are times I have to admire the other students I work with. I'm glad I share their determination. No matter the cost, the show must go on.

03 March 2011

Facing Fears

I love my work in the theater department at school. Painting, sewing, acting, lighting, sound-if I'm honest with myself, I really am happy with any and all of it. Complaints mainly stem from exhaustion, my own failings at time-management, and things that don't make sense to my scattered, but logical mind. For our latest show, which has run this week and closes Saturday, I am running a spotlight. This is an easy enough job, to the untrained eye, and a fairly simple job once a person knows what they're doing. I've acted as spot op for two other shows, so I'm confident of my skills. However, for this show, I had another obstacle to face.

The spotlights and, of course, their operators are located on the fourth catwalk, high above the audience. This means...ladders.

Ladders have always made me nervous, as have heights. Of course, it didn't take me long to figure out the height wasn't my big probem. It was, in fact, the ladders to the catwalk. Once I was up there, I was fine. The catwalk is solid enough and doesn't sway like crazy or anything; there are rails on either side at different heights, used as hand holds and light hang locations as need demands for each production. Logically, the catwalk is perfectly safe so long as nobody hangs off it or something equally stupid. No, my hang-up was entirely with the ladders.

I'm very cautious when it comes to ladders. I climb no higher up than absolutely necessary and always keep as many of my limbs connected to the ladder as possible. Both hands, both feet, always in contact with a rung until my feet find solid ground again. Logically, I know the fear and know exactly where it stems from. It's the spaces between the rungs that worry me. All it would take is one mis-step, after all.

Of course, the show must go on. When we were hanging lights before tech weekend, it took me twice as long to get down the ladders as it took getting up them and I took more time than anyone getting to the catwalks. During the tech runs of the show, I had a flashlight with me that I could turn on to make my way back downstairs after the show. Now, with two tech runs, a dress rehearsal, and opening night down, I'm not as nervous as I was.

Am I going to be speed walking along the catwalks any time soon? Sliding down the ladder or skipping rungs? Going down a ladder with a lighting instrument in one hand? I doubt it. Maybe that last one, if I have to. I never thought theater, something I love helping out with and being involved in, could help conquer a fear.

02 March 2011

ADD & Loving it!?

I love this PBS show. Very informative and amusing. Check out the trailer here.

01 March 2011

The Truth of ADD

I found this video and decided to post it. This guy has a pretty good, clear-cut idea of what ADD is like, probably because he has it as well. He made some really good points. Video used without permission.

27 February 2011


Yesterday, I was reminded how much I love the theater. It was tech weekend - the last minute scramble to get everything set up in the weekend prior to opening. Because we're doing a smaller show, things were much more laid back than usual. I spent a large part of my day helping set up a huge flat. First, we had to get it off the ground and get sawhorses under it so we could install hardware to hang it over the stage. Then, it got covered with black duvateen, a fabric some people might mistake for velvet, and was eventually hung overhead. The flat in question was taller than the proscenium arch. Huge. It was an interesting job that helped prove a simple fact - work expands to fill time allotted.

Time during tech weekends is always fluid. Sometimes it drags, like when waiting for lunch. Other times, it  moves too fast and a job is finished earlier than you thought or complications have shown up to make the job last longer. During shows, things are more structured and everything moves into a routine. A part of me is looking forward to that routine.

As a change in my own routine, my mom has offered me a challenge. For the entire month of March, I am going to try and blog every day, at least once a day. Mom's incentive is simple: she's threatening to take away my bedroom. I hope everyone will keep reading and see if I can meet this goal! Wish me luck!

02 February 2011

No Electricity

Was it a wild party? Was there alcohol involved? Did she play D&D while drinking and tweeting way into the early morning hours and fall asleep while driving her car and run into an electric pole in front of her house? No. Sorry, nothing so great. The electric company decided to shut of power during the coldest winter in 20 years to keep from having a blackout. Brilliant people turn off peoples heat source when it is 12 degrees outside. Makes sense, no not at all. Hopefully power will be restored soon and she will be able to post again. Until then, best wishes and I hope you stay warm.
jenjo3d @ Rants and Raves
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27 January 2011

When sayings aren't just sayings...

This time last week, I had a day that went down the toilet. Literally. How, you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

My car, the sad looking rustbucket of an '86 Mustaang that is my favorite of the cars I've owned, had to have some repairs done. When the car's as old as this one, and had been pre-owned, it kind of happens. While waiting for my brakes to get fixed, I was using my grandma's truck. It ran nicely, was newer than my 'Stang, and, best of all, had a working heater. Not that I'm totally freezing in Johnny 5 (the Stang) but it was an added benifit.

So, scene set. I'm using grandma's truck to get to and from school and anywhere in between. I hit a lull in the day between my classes and rehearsal that evening, so I decided to go to WalMart and spend some of my refund check. I wanted to get a netbook (which I'm typing on right now, coincidentally enough) and had decided now was the best time. I did already have the cash. As I walked into the store, I made a quick stop in the bathroom.

Automatic flusher. Coat pocket too big.


The keys to my GRANDMOTHER'S TRUCK took an unexpected dunk.

Despite the handicapped assistance keyring on it, a piece of plastic as long as my hand designed to make turning the key easier -


I was, needless to say, in a complete panic. I remember staring, dubfounded, frozen, one hand stretched out to pluck the keys from the water - until the moment they got sucked down. Oh god... I was going to die.

Somehow, I kept myself together and, calmly enough, got some help from customer service.

Wait - did I say help? Yeah, wrong word.

Apparently, their plumbing system is too extensive for there to be any hope of anything to be retrieved once it's been swallowed. This, of course, meant I had to face my other fear - telling my grandmother I had lost the only key I had to her truck. the same key I needed to get back into the vehicle, never mind make it back to school for rehearsal.

SO not my day.

Ever the chicken, I took a roundabout route to my confession of being double crossed by the forces of gravity. I called my mom instead. She, in turn, called the grandparents.

Thank god they have good senses of humor.

They laughed. I calmed down and practiced some retail therapy while waiting for them to come, a cavalry of sorts, to bring me the spare key. The, not a, as they were careful to remind me in their ribbing. Needless to say, I took them seriously and kept the new key attached to my beltloop rather than trust my pocket. I also checked to make sure it was still there at least three times during that evening's rehearsal at school.

The true irony of this story? 1. The store was sold out of the netbook I wanted, seriously minimizing my opportunity at retail therapy. 2. My grandpa, a retired Navy Chief, talked to the management, the district, and possibly then some. I'm not sure how far up the corporate ladder of WalMart he climbed, but he got them to pull the toilet to search for grandma's key in the trap directly under the bowl. You know, after they told me they couldn't do anything to help me.

As I heard later, they found a couple sets of keys.

Not a one of them was my grandma's.

18 January 2011

100 Facts About Me

A new trend has hit the RP community on Twitter: posting 100 facts about RL - real life, the person behind the character. As some may imagine, this can really boost a person's tweet count. I also thought it would make for an interesting blog entry, so here I go!

1. I'm left handed.

2. I have ADD and wasn't diagnosed until college.

3. I've worn glasses since I was in third grade.

4. I've never been able to wear contacts; I just can't get them in my eyes. Of course, the only time I tried was in middle school. Maybe I could do it now.

5. I love writing. It is my passion. I have always identified myself as a writer.

6. I love animals and have always owned pets. I spent two summers in middle school as an intern of sorts with a veterinarian.

7. At one time, I owned thirty-eight pets, all in a trailer house. The tally was: five fish in a 50 gallon tank, three jumbo sized rats (best rodents EVER!), two to seven mice (worst rodents ever; hard to identify sex), three to five hamsters of various types, two gerbils we wanted to get rid of - those bastards bite, a ferret I wish we still owned, four dogs, three cats, a guinea pig, two finches, two parakeets, a cockatoo, a beta fish, and two rabbits.

8. I love wearing sweaters. Mom used to have to box up my sweaters every summer because if she didn't, I'd keep on wearing them,

9. I didn't like Pepsi until my senior year of high school. A senior class trip to Medieval Times had me drinking the only soda they had, Pepsi, and I found out I actually enjoyed it as my taste buds had changed.

10. I'm a dog person. Always have been.

11. After high school, I briefly enlisted in the US Navy. It didn't work out; I only made it through three weeks of the eight week boot camp. The "mind games" were just too much for me to take. Those were easily the longest three weeks of my life.

12. I arrived at boot camp the day before Thanksgiving and made it home in time to celebrate Christmas.

13. I've been in two relationships that lasted longer than a year. Only one was sexual and it was with a woman.

14. I'm an incredibly logical person and pride myself on that fact.

15. I've been likened to an absent minded professor and am completely okay with that comparison.

16. I have to, HAVE to, have at least six and a half hours sleep to function properly through the day. Five hours to function at all.

17. The fastest way to get me to speak up, be assertive, etc. is to put me with a misbehaving child. I expect obedience from them and make sure I get it. I'm actually pretty good with kids, or believe myself to be.

18. I have automatonophobia, an illogical fear of automatons, wax figures, humanoid robots, or other figures designed to represent humans. I discovered this fear while touring a mental health museum that had once been a hospital. The two rooms Mom and I were standing between housed over two dozen wax figures and the display on phobias was down the hall. Pretty ironic timing.

19. I enjoy studying and researching. In eighth grade, I researched the Holocaust for an entire year simply to learn exactly how Hitler came into power because someone else wanted to know.

20. I've leash trained all my dogs by myself and walk them, on average, two miles a day

21. I was in the same school district from second grade through ninth grade.

22. I like red hair on guys and girls. Five of my previous partners have been red-heads.

23. I got a tattoo when I was twenty-one. It's on my left calf, about the size of my palm. It's a Celtic heart design based on a necklace I own. I decided on the tat when I was sixteen and it took five years for the money to get saved up and a fair price to be found. I've never regretted it and now want to get inked again.

24. I got my bellybutton pierced when I was sixteen, didn't keep it clean, and had it re-done about a year ago.

25. When I got my bellybutton re-done, I got my left eyebrow pierced as well. I wasn't told it would hurt to go through the scar tissue of my bellybutton until it was too late.

26. I've had my ears pierced since I was a baby. I don't wear earrings often at all.

27. I'm allergic to most metals and can only wear jewelry that's sterling silver, 24K gold, plastic, or titanium. Makes shopping for jewelry hell. This allergy was the reason my first bellybutton piercing was unsuccessful - I was allergic to the surgical steel.

28. I've had my hair cut almost in a buzz - all I had was bangs and the rest was cut down to maybe a quarter inch I think?

29. I have hypoglycemia, which is the exact opposite of diabetes. Whereas a diabetic's body can't make insulin, my body can't make glucose/blood sugar as well.

30. I used to have asthma.

31. I was born three months premature. I was 2 pounds 1 1/4 ounces and was 12 inches long.

32. The first letter I learned was 'E.'

33. Because I had to have needles stuck in my heels as a baby for blood tests, I still walk on my toes more often than my heels.

34. I played clarinet from sixth grade through high school and need to pick it up again.

35. I was in marching band in high school and loved it.

36. I still like some kids shows, specifically Arthur, Wishbone, and Reading Rainbow.

37. I love the 90s Nickelodeon shows and miss them all.

38. My favorite book has always been The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. The movies don't do it justice in the slightest.

39. I love re-reading books, something that completely baffles my mother.

40. I enjoy drawing, but have no significant skill at it.

41. I know how to dress for my body and can easily transition, wearing completely different looks from day to day. Despite this, I prefer comfortable clothes and classic cuts. My standard look is still jeans and t-shirts, though I am pulling some nice blouses into my look instead of the t-shirts.

42. One of the weirdest shows I've watched and enjoy watching regularly is Taboo. It, too, grosses my mother out. I like learning about the perspective other people, cultures, nations, etc. have on some every day things like death, marriage, coming of age ceremonies, etc.

43. I've got a pretty quick wit and a well-developed sense of humor and sense of sarcasm. It normally takes time for me to relax enough for people to see this.

44. I've recently gotten hooked on the game Sudoku.

45. I like reality tv shows that teach things. Taboo, My Strange Addiction, Project Runway, Top Chef, Intervention, Solitary, etc.

46. One of my favorite genres of music is showtunes.

47. I love being in the water, but can't swim.

48. I can grow my nails (fingers and toes) fairly long. My toenails have actually gotten so long in the past that I've cut my toes.

49. I've never bitten my nails.

50. A habit I've done most of my life is often thought to be biting my nails. I'm actually running the smooth edge of my nail across my top lip. Mom tells me I've done it since I was a toddler.

51. When I was young, a stranger creeped into our apartment, climbed over two of my sleeping brothers, and moved to me. I woke up and screamed, scaring whoever it was off before anything happened. From that day to this, I refuse to sleep in a bed that's pushed against a window.

52. I fall asleep and wake up in the same position every night/morning - fetal position, right side, facing a wall.

53. I do move in my sleep and always have except for times when I'm exhausted.

54. The only time I nap during the day is when I'm sick. It's usually one of the most telling signs that I'm sick.

55. I run a low grade fever. Any time I'm sick, my temperature 99% of the time sits squarely on 96.8 degrees exactly.

56. My favorite flowers are sunflowers and thistles. For the more typically "romantic" flowers, I like peach and yellow roses to red.

57. As a little girl, I once stepped on a burning cigarette butt.

58. I've never had to have surgery.

59. My boxer's fracture (described above) was the first time I broke a bone. Since then, I've broken both little toes. No major breaks yet.

60. When I'm feeling nauseous, I try to get sick because I feel better afterward.

61. I love going to art museums and have been doing so since I was around age four.

62. I love interactive science museums and would love to go to one now at age twenty-three.

63. Every car I've had including my first has been pre-owned.

64. The first car I bought with my own money died in the same month I made the last payment.

65. Every car I've owned has been a Ford. I'm beginning to sense a pattern.

66. I've never owned a car made in the same decade I was living in at the time I owned the car.

67. I didn't get my license until I was eighteen.

68. At twenty three, I still carry my under twenty one license because it hasn't expired yet.

69. I passed out in the Capitol building, under the rotunda, because I locked my knees while we were listening to the tour guide.

70. I've been to NYC twice, but didn't get to do many touristy things. Mom and dad were on a talk show.

71. I've traveled to Mexico on a mission trip with my youth group.

72. I once saved up money to pay for half of a VCR I wanted. My parents agreed to pay the other half. My allowance at the time was $2 per week and I saved every penny once we made our deal.

73. Our electricity went out at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1, 2000. I freaked out.

74. I don't gross out easily at all. At home, I'm the one who gets to clean up bodily fluids from people and pets and I once worked as an aide in a nursing home.

75. Through my life, I've tended to hit trends later than everyone else. I think the only ones I hit while they were still huge were Pokemon cards, Pogs, and Beanie Babies.

78. I still own all three of the above collections. I think I have a Furby somewhere too. My GigaPets/Tamagotchis/NaNo Pets have all gone away.

79. I've studied the religion of Wicca and have managed my own personal blend of beliefs between this and Christianity.

80. I raised goats for FFA shows my freshman and sophomore years of high school.

81. I got out of FFA and my dream of being a veterinarian when our move and my change of schools led to ag classes where nothing was taught.

82. I've only changed my major once in college, moving from English to Theater after my first year of school.

83. I started school in Fall of 06. If all goes as it should, I'll graduate in Fall of 11.

84. I've only been suspended from school once and it happened in college. This episode was what led to my diagnosis of ADD.

85. I took ballet and gymnastics classes as a very young child. Because of finances, I had to stop.

86. I don't like the cold at all. Winters are no fun.

87. My learning style is kinesthetic, visual, then auditory. First, I remember things that involve movement, then what I've seen, then what I've heard. Sometimes, when taking tests, I will picture my notes in my mind and can tell exactly what the page with the needed info on it looks like.

88. I don't wear jewelry often. When I do, I will generally pick specific pieces that I'll wear for days, weeks, months at a time.

89. One of my favorite classes was creative writing in seventh grade.

90. I've participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every year since 2006 but have never made it to the halfway mark on the required word count. The closes I got was this past year.

91. I've always named my cars. Current vehicle, my 86 Ford Mustang is Johnny Five.

92. I'm incredibly diplomatic by nature. This drives a lot of people nuts.

93. I'm stubborn and I know this doesn't help me. I don't always gain all the knowledge I need before considering myself a "pro."

94. I throw and hit better with my right hand than my left.

95. Fuck is my favorite swear word. I started swearing at age sixteen.

96. I like food fights. They used to be a sort of family tradition and a favorite for birthdays.

97. I don't have the best sense of direction and use landmarks to know where I'm heading.

98. I have to fight to keep weight on my body. Every semester, my weight drops near the end and I have to spend breaks re-gaining weight so that I'm not underweight.

99. I know the alphabet in sign language.

100. My wisdom teeth still haven't come in, though I'm missing teeth in the back, upper row on both sides, which I hope will mean my wisdom teeth can grow in.

17 January 2011

McLinkyMonday - Limitations For All

Following my Mom's example, I'm joining the McLinky Monday fun over at Real Housewives of Oklahoma. I thought it would be interesting to write up five things I can't do anymore - it didn't seem like a blog subject many 23 year olds would be taking part in.

1. Ride a scooter - I remember my old Razor scooter, Silver. I named him after the big rusty bike "Stuttering Bill" Denborough owned in Stephen King's It, which, of course, was taken from the Lone Ranger's horse. I used to zip all over on Silver, who was a fine replacement from the bike I never did learn to ride (can't even ride a bike now.) I loved Silver - even after the day I took a too steep hill too fast and tried to hit the brake. Over I went, falling off a platform that was, maybe, three inches off the ground. I broke my fall with my hand and got a boxer's fracture. On my left hand. The hand I write with. I kept Silver for a few years after that, but I don't think I rode him nearly as much after that fall.

2. Write as freely - When I was younger, when I wanted to write, I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and wrote. Nothing more, nothing less. I just wrote whatever. These days, I analyze things half to death and, more often than not, talk myself out of my ideas or get too critical of my own writing skills. Is the idea good enough? Can I write it? Why should I write it? Can I finish it? Will I finish it? I miss the old freedom.

3. Walk in grass - I know a lot of people are scratching their heads, so let me explain. I remember the last day I could freely walk in the grass barefoot. I was over at the little park in the trailer park we lived in at the time. I and my brothers, boys I've known for nineteen or twenty years and grew up with, spent the entire day running around, rolling down a hill in the grass, everything. It was so much fun. Until the next day. My face was red and swollen, a rash all down my arms and legs. As it turned out, I had been bitten by chiggers and was highly allergic. I had to spend a week out of school and go on steroids for the reaction to pass and the swelling to go down. From that day to this, I only go through grass if I'm wearing shoes, socks, and pants or won't be in it long. I can't even sit in the grass. Yes, it was only one outbreak, but I don't want to go through that again, so I don't risk it.

4. Make birthdays a big deal at school - In elementary school, a birthday that fell during the week was awesome. Even in middle school, birthdays were pretty cool. You got cake or cupcakes and a small party in the middle of the school day. Some of my favorite teachers would even get me small presents that they knew I would like. College? Forget it. Of course, college birthdays mean people get to buy you drinks. That's even better.

5. Goth look - I did the goth look in high school and blew my little town out of the water. I enjoyed it, despite the stupid comments. "Whoa! You're goth? Are you a Satanist?" "Um...I'm wearing a black t-shirt that says 'Fueled by Christ Alone.' Can't you read?" "You're wearing all blue today. Are you a blue goth?" "There's no such thing as a blue goth. My black jeans were all dirty and I happened to grab a blue t-shirt." "You can't be gothic and Christian!" "They're clothes, moron!" Yeah, that was...fun. These days, as a theater major, I've changed my thinking. Now, black clothes are not for daily wear - they're for backstage work. Only. That's why I buy black dye for my jeans, why I prefer black long sleeved shirts with no logos or decals on them. Black clothes mean work.

And there it is. My five things I can no longer do.