Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I don't want material gifts for Christmas this year. All I want are pure expressions of love.
Ha ha, that was a lie.
PS: Where's that flying pony I keep asking about? And don't give me any nonsense about how they "don't exist". You are Santa Claus, for goodness' sake - you've got to know better than to try that little argument.
PPS: Please and thank you.*
*No coal in my stocking this year!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
First of all, I am only halfway through Season One. That is as far as I've gotten. I refuse to know what happens next, at least until I get tired of guessing. So DON'T TELL ME. I will rip you apart faster than Niki the Angst-Ridden Stripper's creepy alter ego. I have heard that the current season will annoy me even more than Season One does. I would like to find that out for myself, thank you. Secondly, yes, I admit that this show is at least like 30% kind of annoying. However, it is like 75% really addictive, so who cares? Plus, anyone who knows me well will guess that I'm just really into the comic book vibe this series has. I feel that it will prompt many blog posts from me in the future.
Now, a quick rundown of the characters as I know them so far (in other words, if you haven't watched the first half of the first season, I'm giving things away). First of all, you have Mohinder Suresh (pictured left), who is important to remember because he is DEAD SEXY. Also, he's smart or something. The other hot guys are Peter Petrelli, aka Jess from Gilmore Girls but with better emo hair, and Isaac Mendez, the OMG so moody heroin addict who paints the future. I would totally read Isaac's comic book, and that's not even a euphemism for anything. Both of those two have slept with Simone, who is kind of an art dealer but is mostly just there to be everybody's angsty love interest. Peter also has a brother named Nathan, who's kind of like Harvey Dent except that Harvey Dent is cool. Then there's Hiro Nakamura, who is pretty much everybody's favorite character. You don't have to ask anyone's opinion to know that; you just have to watch the show. Also, he is proof that everybody loves an enthusiastic supergeek. Especially one who can bend space and time. He's currently traveling around with his friend Ando, who likes to use Hiro's powers to get himself stuff, which I respect. Oh, and there's Matt Parkman, an LAPD officer who reads minds and has a perpetually angry wife. One might be tempted to say that he's henpecked, but come on, can't he see that she's PISSED!!?! Good thing he's Mel Gibson from What Women Want now. Comes in handy, that.
The girls are currently mostly annoying, largely because like most comic book heroines they are more or less walking fetishes. First there's Niki Sanders. Her name looks like a misspelling of my sister's old name. Unlike my sister, however, this Niki is good for only 2 things (but only because she's 2 people): sex and killing people. Occasionally she's also a mom, largely for angst reasons. The other main lady to know is Claire the Cheerleader. She's blonde, sexy, constantly in her uniform for some reason, and capable of taking an infinite amount of abuse! Oh, sorry, I mean that she regenerates from pretty much every injury. If you save her, you save the world. Claire saving herself doesn't count.
At first I figured everything would end happily on this show, but then I got a good look at Claire's dad, Noah Bennet, and the ending became clear. First, the bomb will go off in New York, throwing America into a post-apocalyptic world in which Lost Vegas is the only remaining free state, ruled by The King. The King will die and Claire's dad will pick up a guitar and a katana and begin traveling across the country. The rest of the group, if they survive, will buy really cool shoes and band together to form The Red Elvises. Except, that is, for the Creepy Psychic Killer Dude, who trades in his baseball cap for a top hat, forms his own evil band, and generally starts dressing like Slash from Guns N' Roses. Niki the Stripper's son Micah also survives the bomb, but he stops talking and just goes by "Kid". You can see a theatrical trailer for the ending of Heroes Season One here.
Annoying Girl Who Hangs Out With Suresh will not survive the blast. Though at least I'm glad to know he's into white girls with short brown hair. Hey, maybe it'll end a different way! Maybe he'll leave her when he finds out she's really EVIL and then he'll come find me and fall madly in love! Oh my gosh, maybe that's my Heroes superpower - making hot guys from TV appear in real life and fall madly in love with me! DO NOT TELL ME IF THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS. I like surprises.
For now, I'll be watching. And waiting...
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Last night we finished my senior project, the supposed culmination of all my theatrical experiences here at BYU. It was a wonderful process, at times unbearably frustrating, that I got through only by the grace of God and one amazing cast, crew, and director. I don't think I ever wanted it to end. Now in the bittersweetness of the day after, I find there are a few little letters I didn't get to send.
To Agnes Mundy:
We built a bridge between our hearts, you and I, and pulled each other back and forth across it. It was a long and arduous process, one I was hopelessly intimidated to begin until I started to discover just how much we had in common. But surrounded by our family - those actors became a family for me just like their characters were supposed to be for you - we accomplished something wonderful. Last night when I walked out of the light and into that amber-lit hallway for the last time, I turned around to realize you were gone. All I had left was the oppressive grief I'd been staving off all night - the understanding that this whole experience was really over. I like to think that I left you somewhere in the imaginary greenery that existed just outside the set our wonderful designers created. Wherever you went, no one's ever going to see you again.
At first I cried when I realized you were gone, that it was just Alexis and me standing outside the doors to the Margetts Theater. But then I walked back in for curtain call, and then I was crying because it turned out it was Alexis and me (and Emily and Maggie and Becca and Rhett and Critter and Gary and Stephanie and David and everyone else) all along. And that's what made it all so beautiful.
The set may be gone, the performances may be over, the costumes may be back in storage. But you and the rest of this cast and crew will always be a reminder of what I can accomplish if I'm just willing to let it happen. I learned so much from all of you. Thank you.
Yourself in Another Life,
To The Cast and Crew of My Beautiful Senior Project:
What can I say that we haven't already tried our best to say to one another? You are amazing. You are beautiful. We've gotten through a lot, the little group of us that made our family, but we got through it together. I can do things now that I never knew I was capable of doing. I realized things I never knew I needed to know. I'm a better person than I've been. And that's because of you. In lieu of thinking of anything new or original to say, I dedicate to all of you the following poem by e.e. cummings:
i carry your heart with me(i carry it inWhen I think that all I've been through in the past few years allowed me to end with this, it makes me grateful for everything. I've had other perfect shows before, but never one as special or as meaningful as this. Thank you.
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Faced with the possibility of no longer getting to play Switzerland in the Great Marriage War, I did the only thing I could think of at the time: I ran away. I avoided the conversation altogether. "I don't vote in California," I said, and decided that was that. But now that the GLBTQ community and its allies are howling with pain and perfectly understandable outrage, and extraordinarily well-meaning, faithful Latter-Day Saints are once again finding themselves the targets of persecution for merely doing what they believed to be right, I'm starting to recognize my silence for what it was all along: plain old ordinary cowardice. And in the face of a personal attempt to become a fully authentic, honest person, I think I might just have to face this thing head on. And guys, that has me seriously freaked out.
Confession time: I cheated on this blog this week. In a flurry of pain and anxiety Sunday night, I wrote a post on the Feministing Community site. I'm not totally comfortable recommending that you read it (though you can if you want to). I chickened out at the last moment and instead of writing a clear statement of my ideas and the conflict I'm facing, I think I accidentally spit out a lot of passive aggressive whining about my fears with only a little substance behind it. If you're reading this post here right now, I think you've got the gist of what I said. I wrote it in a state of some duress, hit "submit", immediately regretted sending out something before thinking it through first, and then assumed that a few people might look at it and then the whole thing would just blow over.
WRONG. The post went up on the site the next morning. By the time I got home from classes around noon, the comments were climbing and it was being called a "Community Fave" (meaning it's recommended on the Feministing main page). Within hours, it was reposted in full on the main page at Feministing - a very high traffic area, Feministing being one of the major feminist blogs out there (note: I love Feministing, but strong language and content warnings apply). The post topped 150 comments by the end of the day and let me tell you, it was a mixed bag. Several Christian feminists popped out of the woodwork to offer support (some in comments, some via email, one fantastic lady even ventured over to this blog, of all places). Others told me the anxiety I felt was due to cognitive dissonance, since Mormonism and feminism can never be compatible in any way, and I was going to have to leave one community or the other. I was challenged to change things within my faith - I countered by saying I'm perfectly happy to do so within my community. That was good enough for some people. And there were some straight-up anti-religious types who told me to get out while the getting was good. A surprising number of ex-Mormons popped out to offer empathy and their own stories about how this sort of conflict is what led to their leaving the Church. I was asked many, many times to clarify some fairly complex doctrines and comment on the usual skeletons in the Mormon closet (racism, sexism, etc.). Though uncomfortable filling the role of spokesperson for a whole religion - a fact I stated pretty openly - I did the best I could. Some of my words and beliefs may have been distorted by those reading, but that's to be expected. Others were overwhelmingly supportive in their attempts to engage with me, which I ought to have expected even though I didn't. I tried to stick by my convictions but my opinions tend to run toward the fluid end of things, and that made it hard. It was an intense experience to say the least, one that's certain to lead to a lot of intellectual/ideological growth for me. But I can't say as I'd ever like to go through it again.
So in the aftermath of a somewhat battle-weary Monday, I find myself still here. Caught. Still unsure, and still ashamed of that fact. But I'm determined to abandon cowardice and try to make sense of things, even if I can only do so after the time for action has mostly passed. So for the record, here are some of the things I DO personally believe about this issue:
- I believe that Christlike love and Charity is the greatest force for good on earth, the quickest and most effective route to true equality and empathy for all living beings. That sounds cheesy, but it's true. It may be that, as Ivan Karamazov states so succinctly, "Christ's love for people is...a miracle impossible on earth" (BK, p. 237), but I still think that if we all work all our lives to exemplify the traits attributed to real charity, then justice, equality, and compassion for all must naturally follow. Just ponder the attributes listed here and in the highlighted passages here and you'll probably see what I mean. Even if you don't believe in Christ, or God, or any kind of deity or afterlife or whatever, maintaining charitable attributes is still the best thing for a harmonious society.
- If feminism is really about making sure that both genders are equal in every way, that everyone is loved and cared for and accepted, that everyone has equal opportunities for success, happiness, and personal fulfillment, then all Mormons should be feminists. We may not fit as a whole into the feminist political movement as it is currently defined, but feminists we are nonetheless.
- A civil union is not the same thing as a marriage. Everyone knows that or we wouldn't be arguing about it so much. I'm not saying that that's necessarily a bad or a good thing because sadly I'm just not there yet; I just wish everyone would stop talking around this point and start saying what they really think and believe. It would certainly help me figure out what I think and believe. Right now I'm sensing that there's something underneath a lot of the flawed rhetoric coming from both sides but I just can't figure out what it is.
- No one is a label or even a collection of labels - including me. No two people are alike, even if they have enough in common to justify a person categorizing them together. And that's a beautiful thing.
- I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be!
- Oh wait, that's what Whitney Houston believes.
- Thomas S. Monson is an actual, literal prophet of God. That's one I actually believe.
- Proponents of gay marriage are generally good people who are fighting for what they honestly believe to be right and just. So are opponents of gay marriage.
- Religious persecution is very, very scary. So is constantly being targeted, called out, threatened, and "othered" because of feelings of attraction over which you have no control.
- There might not be any way to easily sort all this out.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Someday soon I will complete a project of any kind. I will work effectively and efficiently and consistently over a long period of time. I will throw tremendous amounts of time and effort and passion into it. I will sacrifice my social life and little pieces of my sanity because I will believe that creating something beautiful is worth pretty much whatever it takes to get there. I will have stress dreams, I will exhaust myself, I will experience more frustration than I'll know what to do with at times. And then when it's all over, do you know what I'll do then? I'll just start over. I'll do it all again. And that, I think, is more or less how I'd like to live my life.
Does that sound like a crazy person to you? Because I'm pretty sure that's how crazy people live.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I was optimistic at the outset today, maybe a little nervous. I told myself it was too early to worry about it anyway, and besides that I voted like 3 weeks ago so tonight there was nothing for me to do but wait for the results to come in. I told myself things could go either way and that I had to be OK with that. That worked for most of the day, though it didn't stop me checking out my favorite Obama videos one last time. Around 5:00 PM I sat down to work on my new play; by 5:30 PM I was not so much writing as pacing around my room. At 6, I started stress eating. I stumbled onto the first reliable election results site I could find and told myself not to pay attention to the numbers now since very few of the polling places would be closed yet. I finished off Season 4 of The Office. I listened to the Obama playlist on imeem. Finally I stumbled out to the kitchen, grabbed all the brownies I had left from the batch I made last night, and plonked myself in front of the TV. I caught the end of Indecision 2008 on Comedy Central and watched Jon Stewart announce my candidate as the newest President-Elect. I flipped channels. I flipped out.
I was unprepared for the feeling of joy that came over me when I knew that Barack Obama was going to be president. Maybe it was the sense of participation; this is the first presidential vote I've ever cast that actually counted (my 2004 absentee ballot got sent back too late) and the person I chose made it. Maybe it's just that I've been with this guy since January, inspired by him for so long. Part of it might've been relief - no more election fatigue (and no more hating Sarah Palin, which was tiring all by itself). Maybe it was just that feeling of history actually being made right at this moment - and my being a part of it. All of that and more than that all at once.
We live in a cynical society - often with good reason - and I've tried very hard to make my choices in this election on as non-emotional a basis as possible. I've looked at issues. I've researched policy proposals. I've read things. Old patterns dying hard (and then dying harder, and eventually living free or dying hard), I at first tried to maintain my cool tonight. But you know what? The race is over; why not bask in the glow? So I cheered. And I danced. And I'll admit to getting a little choked up when Obama spoke at Grant Park, even as goose bumps spread over me again and again. Because it's true that you need to use your head as well as your heart. And it's true that people who make big promises only rarely seem capable of keeping them. But tonight? Tonight I feel like believing in something. And tonight I really believe that We Can.
UPDATE! A video and the full text of Barack Obama's acceptance speech is now available here. Please, please, please if you missed it the first time, check it out now.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
If you dismiss a girl's (likely perfectly legitimate) anger as "just PMS", then you are being sexist.
If you say something like "I never trust anything that bleeds for 10 days and lives," then I don't care if you happen to be a Sociology professor; you are being sexist.
If you tell a girl that whatever she's studying in college doesn't matter because she's just going to be a mom anyway, you are being sexist, denigrating motherhood, and devaluing education. Do some soul-searching before you rejoin society.
If you tell a girl in a competitive, lucrative, male-dominated major that she's taking a spot that should be given to a man (even if he's a future breadwinner), then you are behaving like a sexist moron. This happens with surprising frequency around here. Let's put a stop to that.
Don't tell me that girls are "crazy" or "irrational". I think the more accurate term you're looking for is "not like men". Similarly, don't tell me that my somehow "talking like a guy" is a compliment because it means that I make sense. The idea that men are the only normal ones automatically carries with it the assumption that women are less than that and therefore deserve to be dismissed. So even if you don't think that's what you're saying, that's what I'm hearing.
That person who beat you at Halo last night by a wide margin did not "rape" you. S/he just played significantly better than you did.
In general, if we're not that close and our interaction has nothing to do with my body, then I don't want to hear an in-depth description of my physical proportions from you. Sorry, I just don't.
It's OK if I like high heels and comic books. It's also OK if I don't like either of those things.
Problems that you have are not always problems had by your entire gender, or even most of your gender. Sometimes they're just problems that you have. Please learn the difference so you can stop telling me that "women" do this or "men" believe that when you're really just telling me about yourself.
OK, rant over.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Maybe I should get a pizza.
Yes, I just found this in my YouTube favorites.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Woman at McCain Rally: "I don't trust Obama, he's an Arab."
McCain's reponse: "No ma'am, he's a decent family man."
The Daily Show:
Here's a documentary that I want to see really badly:
Jay Smooth and the economy. So glorious.
(Note that this last one comes with an annoying advertisement at the end. But it's worth it.)
Also, How to Tell People They Sound Racist:
Ian McKellan's thoughts on acting:
And now, 3 reasons why I love 30 Rock:
And finally, something completely different:
(This one is a composite of a couple of clips, so it's like 9 minutes long.)
OK, well, that's enough to fill some time you should be using more productively. Enjoy!
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
OK, OK, so I don't really hate libraries. I don't think anybody with a soul can actually hate libraries. In fact I think the library system is one of those things that modern society can really be proud of. Free books! Free books for all (who have library cards)! It's beautiful, really. So I'm a great supporter of libraries on principle. And I really do love them in the run in, get what you want, get out kind of way. Libraries and I have always gotten along famously provided we didn't actually have to spend much real time together. I take the books and I go. Later, sometime relatively near their due date, I bring them back. This system works well for us. So why did I have to go messing with it by staying in the library all day?!
This place is too quiet. And it's too...the ideas kind of hang around in the air so that after hours of reading Crime and Punishment and Tennessee Williams plays, you start to feel crushed under the weight of all the writing, all the thinking, the overwhelmingly one-sided exchange between you and the book. And at the same time you're surrounded by people - there are people everywhere - but they're so focused on getting done what they have in front of them and not disturbing each other that nobody acknowledges anyone else. It's surreal, I tell you.* I don't know how people spend hours on end here. I've been in and out all day on an extended monologue search/rare study binge and let me tell you, after about the first hour I started to feel completely insane. I know my choice of reading material isn't helping - Suddenly Last Summer alone can make you feel rather mentally disturbed - but still. This place? Not my favorite.
Anyway, I'd better get back to work now. Just another hour or so and then I can go to rehearsal with joy and relief in my heart. I was going to include a video here before I conclude, but YouTube is blocked on campus (way to redeem yourself, HBLL...sheesh). Fortunately I did discover this lovely image:
Yep, that about says it. (And no, I have no idea who made it or where it came from originally.)
*I'd say I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone, but then you'd probably think of the "Twilight Zone" section that they have in the BYU Bookstore. Which isn't a bad place, really - people talk there, and they have an awful lot of food. In fact, I'd much rather be in the Twilight Zone than the library right now.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I also love learning as long as no one's grading me on my learning. For some reason learning for credit makes my brain go into power-down mode. Maybe it's that I'm supposed to be learning boring stuff for credit (like what holds the universe together) whereas when it's on my own time I can learn about sweet stuff (like dead, supposedly crazy German kings). You know, things that really impact my life. Um. But this love of research makes the "pre-writing" stage its own particular kind of fun, because not only does it give me an excuse to pick up a whole lot of trivial information; it also gives my research a focus and a purpose. Which makes everything easier.
So right now for one project I'm researching:
- James Buchanan
- Comic Books (art, writing, and the industry in general)
- San Francisco
- Concept Art
- Graphic Artistry
- Army wives (the real people, not the show on Lifetime)
- Artifact/antique collectors
My other favorite part of starting (or restarting) a project is choosing the writing playlist. This one relies heavily on:
- Priscilla Ahn
- The Weepies
- Ingrid Michaelson
- The Eels
- Brett Dennen
I love that I can spend hours on the second floor of the HBLL reading James Buchanan's memoirs on microfiche and then sit at home reading Will Eisner comics and call both of them necessary research. All while I listen to some sweet, mildly quirky indie folk - you know, because it's important for establishing mood. Yeah, it's a good life I've got. Now if I can just find a way to incorporate video games into my new found writing life so I won't have to feel so bad about playing Twilight Princess during homework time...
I do think that it's going to take me some time to really get back into the swing of writing and researching again. It's definitely been a long time since I've done this with any regularity, and it shows. But it's a start, and for now I'm good with that. I've said a couple of times that I feel like someone who blew out her knee playing soccer, and now after several surgeries and months of recovery she's been given the OK to get back on the field only to find that she's back at square one. She wants to throw herself back into the game with all her old power and skill, but she has to go through some re-training first. That, more or less, is where I find myself. It'll come back, but right now it's not as easy as it was a couple of years ago. Not that it isn't an awful lot of fun.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I learned to cook with tofu and it was delicious! This is good, because I'm on a reasonably high-protein diet and I hate hate hate cooking with meat. With the exception of some types of fish, raw meat grosses me out in the extreme. I'll go to great lengths to avoid having to actually touch the stuff (usually a fork in each hand can do the trick, but I've certainly tried more creative maneuvers in the past). If I do touch it, I typically lose all appetite for whatever I'm making. There's been more than one episode of me throwing out large quantities of raw chicken because the process of thawing it got too icky and I couldn't take it anymore. And I don't even go near raw red meat except for the occasional, very carefully handled steak (is it my fault if I happen to make a mean steak marinade?). We're talking, like, once a year at best. What I'm trying to say is that I've got some pretty major meat neuroses. Plus I adore animals in general*, so it's probably not that long before I give it up and become a vegetarian**. So it's a really, really good thing that I can cook tofu, and that I LOVE it. I tried this recipe for marinated, baked tofu squares. If you want what I made, leave out the smoke flavoring, do slightly less soy sauce, replace the sesame seeds with flax seeds, and replace the hot sauce with a spoonful of salsa and a generous helping of cayenne pepper and chili powder. Oh, and throw in some cumin. Because, I mean, who doesn't like cumin? I ate them with my pesto pasta today (I kind of like random flavors mixed together) and I craved it for the rest of the day. So good!
I also learned to knit. Well, started to learn. More on that as it develops.
I made my New School Year Resolutions. I prefer to make resolutions at the beginning of the school year, since that's really how I measure time while I'm in school. After graduation I'll switch to the more traditional January method. Anyway, I made two of them. Here they are:
- Write for at least one hour every day. (Not counting blogging...unless I get lazy later and decide it counts.)
- Read scriptures for 1/2 hour every day, to be broken up into two 15-minute increments (one in the morning and one in the evening), or if that proves too difficult, three 10-minute increments (to be spread throughout the day). Possibly portions may include non-canonical study, ie Lives of the Saints or the Tao Te Ching. We'll see.
I found a dramatic monologue for my Auditions class, though I might not stick to it. Choosing monologues is the worst.
I got rid of Creepy Grocery Store Guy. It's a long story that I aim to blog about more fully once I've finished the guitar ballad I'm writing about it, but about a month ago I had one of the most bizarre pick-up experiences of my life while standing in the book aisle at Smith's. In a dramatic mix of idiocy and morbid curiosity, I wound up giving the guy my number. Fast forward a month, and he was still calling and texting (once he sent a model-pose picture of himself with the words "Do you remember me?" at the bottom. Weird, weird guy). Well, by Friday night the whole thing had gotten terribly unamusing and besides that I never wanted to be one of those girls who just ignores all your phone calls for months on end waiting for you to get the hint so I just texted him (I figured texting was acceptable since we never once spoke on the phone and besides that he doesn't speak english with a whole lot of confidence) and said the following: "You seem like a nice guy and i appreciate that you think i'm beautiful, but i don't think this is going to happen. I'm sorry. Please stop trying to call me." Short, to the point, not totally mean (right? I'm still a good person. Right???). Haven't heard from him since.
And I figured out what I'm going to say at my character presentation tomorrow for Lughnasa rehearsal. I mean, I need to write it all out and organize it, but I made all the decisions about background, likes, dislikes, and basically who she is in general. Which I'm told is a good thing that will prove useful in my acting (who'da thought?).
Failed to accomplish this weekend:
Read The Double for my Dostoevsky class. Looks like it's online plot synopsis time for me. Which is sad, because it's a really good book and I like it a lot. And I mean, I got halfway. That's pretty good, right?
Have a social life. Wait, 5 hours of rehearsal and 3 hours of a Burn Notice marathon while I "do homework" - those don't count as having a social life? Curses.
*But I'm a chronic pet owner which places me much more in the Animal Welfare camp than with Animal Rights Activists, who don't believe in animal ownership...but I digress.
**I should say, "become a vegetarian again" - I was a vegetarian for about 6 months of Freshman year and I loved it. But I decided to quit once I moved off-campus because I didn't know how to think about nutrition. Or cook. Like at all.
ALSO: I chose a new blog template. But that just happened and it isn't likely to stay this way for long, so it isn't in the main part of this post.
Monday, September 08, 2008
King Ludwig II, king of Bavaria (1845-1886) used to sleep from 3 pm to midnight every day, instead of all night like most of us do. At the end of his life this was seen as further evidence of his supposed madness, but personally I think it just points to his genius. 3 in the afternoon is the start of Julie's sleepy time - you'll find me more sleepy at that time than almost any other period of the day. But no matter how tired I get, I always stay awake, rendering the late afternoon and early evening hours of every day effectively useless. I come back alive around midnight every night - my creativity is most awake then, I have some of my favorite friend experiences around that time - but by then I'm so tired from staying awake all day that I only get a few magical hours before I collapse into my bed. But I don't just want to sleep in because I actually kind of like mornings, provided I've had enough sleep. Especially misty mornings touched with dew. Man, I can't believe it took me this long to figure out how backwards I had everything! Now I just have to convince everyone else to adopt my schedule so that I won't sleep through all my rehearsals and performances. Hm.
So lately - well, tonight, mostly, though the idea has been simmering for quite some time - I've been thinking that my life needs to be more romantic. Not romantic in the John Cusack way (not that I'd mind that), but in the fairy tale kind of way. More adventurous. More fantasy-like. You know what I'm saying? I am not, however, totally sure how I am to accomplish this. I'm already spending at least 6 hours per week swordfighting by virtue of my job as a stage combat TA*. So that's a good start. And I'm thinking I should also choose my clothes a bit more carefully. Definitely I should start wearing more dresses. This one in particular. Seriously. Does that not just scream "Romantic!"? And the model even has super short, dark brown hair, just like I do! It's perfect. My dream life is obviously imminent. Once I've secured my new wardrobe, it's just a matter of finding a devastatingly handsome man with a castle, a fortune, and an accent. Who will fall in love with me, obviously. Bonus points if he has some deep, dark secret (a family curse, for example) that I can discover so we can deal with it together and then live happily ever after.
Tying back to Ludwig II**, his life serves as a cautionary tale against taking your fantasy life a little too far. He was called the "Dream King" or the "Fairy Tale King" in Bavaria because he pretty much preferred fairy tales to his own life. He was obsessed with Wagner, both the man himself and the romantic stories in his operas. A major focus of his life - an extraordinarily expensive hobby that led to the crushing debt that contributed to his betrayal and overthrow - was building castles. His most famous, now called Neuschwanstein, was the inspiration for Cinderella's castle at Disneyland. Check out that picture. Beautiful, right? Imagine if I walked into that castle wearing the dress from above. Perfection***. The interiors are just as lovely. Many of his castles also include other fantasy elements, such as a fantastically-lit grotto or oriental pavilions. At least one included a water-filled catacomb where Ludwig would ride in a boat while musicians performed for him. Just incredible.
The problem, of course, is that Ludwig became so caught up in his imaginary life that he completely withdrew from the real world. By the end he was hardly seen outside his castle, where he allowed almost no visitors. He spent his time having midnight picnics and moonlit sleighrides, going to private concerts and other performances where he could be the only audience member, and planning new castles for which he had no money to finance construction. He fell deeper and deeper into debt. His people loved him (he rather liked talking to farmers and other commoners during his various outings, which certainly helped), but no one seems to have really known him outside his trusted servants and the one or two close friends that he corresponded with throughout his life.
Finally he ignored and irritated his cabinet so much that they, suspicious that he was going to replace them, conspired to have him deposed. A former-friend-turned-enemy collected gossip and stories from a few of the king's friends and many more of his disgruntled former employees, wrote a report, and got four prominent psychiatrists to sign a recommendation that the king be removed from office due to insanity (without having the psychiatrists examine him at any point). Then the cabinet's delegation went to Neuschwanstein, where they were thwarted by a combination of the king's personal guard, a large group of Bavarian commoners, and one eccentric lady who beat them with an umbrella. The king imprisoned them, threatened their lives, and released them. It was said that if he would go to Munich and make public appearances to curry favor, Ludwig could maintain his throne. He was advised to do so, or to flee to Austria. But Ludwig did neither. Perhaps he just wasn't used to coping with reality anymore. Anyway, in the end, Ludwig lost favor with his people and the cabinet succeeded in imprisoning him at one of his smaller castles - the same place he first entertained Wagner, in fact. Now it had been converted into an asylum. Peepholes were drilled in the walls and most of the artwork was removed so the walls could be painted clinical white. They didn't let him keep his brilliant 3 pm - midnight sleep schedule anymore. And all his most trusted assistants were gone.
A day or so later, he went for a walk with his psychiatrist and never returned. Both men were found drowned in the nearby lake, circumstances unknown. In a way it's kind of nice that Ludwig got to end his life both tragically and mysteriously. Pretty impressive from the "dramatic life" perspective. But the actual experience of living it has got to have been pretty sucky.
Stories like these make me grateful for my art, because I can live a fantasy life for a while, but in a constructive way that eventually allows me to return to normal life. I'm also really glad that I wasn't born into royalty, because for all that fairy tales make it look pretty great to be a princess, most of those people were (and in many cases, are) deeply and profoundly screwed up. But beyond that, I think Ludwig's life demonstrates the importance of balancing an active imaginary life with a very fulfilling real life. It's okay to go on a days-long writing binge, for example; just don't do it so often that your family forgets your first name. Or to spend 14 hours a day in rehearsals and performances, so long as you can spend some time on you and yours at the end of the day. And spend an entire weekend reading your favorite book series if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it for all-day-every-day for the rest of your life. Because the thing that Ludwig forgot, I think, is that life - regular life, the ordinary, day-to-day existence that we're all experiencing right now - is much more beautiful and complex and intriguing than it can sometimes appear from the inside. And it's terribly, wonderfully worth living.
I can still want to wear the pretty dresses, though, right? And while we're at it, where's that man with the castle?
*Seriously guys, I love that they pay me for this.
**You know you're having a strange day when everything seems to lead back to Ludwig II.
***Except not in the summer. Apparently they get up to 6,000 visitors a day in the summer.
Wikipedia article on Ludwig II - always a good place to start. The Schwangau tourism site also has a pretty good, rather biased biography. You can find your way to more information from there.
That gorgeous dress was from Nordstrom. I don't know if they sell that exact dress there anymore, though.
Picture of Neuschwanstein shamelessly downloaded from Desk Picture.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
When I think back on that closing night, I still kind of want to cry. Something about the loss and the gain of this entire experience, what it gave me and how suddenly it left me, how special it became along the way - pieces of this show will always be little pieces of me. I don't mean to overstate it. I don't want to be too sentimental. It's just that when the right people come together in the right place for the right show at exactly the right time in my life...well, that's a little too rare for me to just throw it away when it's over.
I came into auditions for this show feeling disillusioned, disaffected, and generally dissatisfied with my life. I was insecure and feeling pretty lost. For the first time I could remember, acting was something I did because I have to do it, because my life doesn't make sense without it, not because I particularly liked it (I think I thought I hated it, actually). My passion had become my obligation, and I didn't know what to do about it. I don't want to get too personal here (one could argue that that's what a blog is for, but one could also argue that there was no lunar landing*, so there), so I'll just say that my great 'actor crisis' was only one of my more annoying personal problems at the time.
So it's no coincidence, I think, in the narrative structure of my life, that I made it into a show made up of the most supportive, safe, low-stress, fun group of people I've ever met. The part was phenomenal to play, the director was wonderful to work with, my fellow cast members were a joy (and I don't use that term non-ironically very often). There was just something magical about the entire experience. I wish I could describe it and convey it to you here, but I don't think that's going to work this time. So just let me say that by closing night, I was happier - in terms of life threshold base-line "happy" - than I've been in a long time. I have to thank these people, and this show we all worked so hard to create, for that.
This isn't the first summer I've spent with Shakespeare, and I'm reasonably certain that it won't be my last**. But there will never be another summer like this one, with these wonderful people in this beautiful place. They've given me something to like about Utah - that alone is pretty significant, really. Anyway, at this point I think I'm just repeating myself - I guess I just can't get over it and I thought something needed to be said (and said, and said). So let me just finish it here. Consider this my "goodbye to the show" blog post. Aaaaaaaaand...curtain***.
*Another thing that blogs are good for.
**I'm pretty sure I accidentally sold my soul to Shakespeare somewhere, actually, and now he just occasionally loans me out to other shows.
***Cheesy theatre joke, but it had to be done.
For whatever reason, this song always makes me think of this show, so I'm going to put it here.
Note that the Patty Griffin "Kite Song" is not to be confused with the Rosie Thomas "Kite Song" referenced in the last post. Just so we're clear.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
And it's starting to tinge all my recollections with sadness. I even tried listening to "I Wanna Be Sedated" like three times in a row today, and I still couldn't get it out. It's starting to get a little annoying. OK now, on to the rest of whatever I have to say. Ahem...
So I just realized that both of my roommates are out of town for the next week, leaving me with the place to myself for something like 8 days. Now, on the one hand this is a bit daunting. I mean, what if I get bored? Or what if I get...really bored? That would be awful. But on the other hand - and this would be the good hand, the hand that solves the problems of the other hands - this week presents the perfect opportunity to do all that stuff I would do if I had the place to myself for a week. Which would, of course, help to alleviate any possible boredom. So to that end, here are my goals for the Week of Julie.
This week, I pledge to:
- Watch at least one movie I know I'll probably like, but that I think my roommates would find too weird. (Suggestions: The Fountain, The Science of Sleep)
- Turn the air conditioning up to at least 75 degrees.
- Eat a pizza. Preferably while watching a movie. Maybe the same movie from above, maybe The Godfather Part 2.
- Play really loud music in the mornings. And any other time I feel like it.
- Perform A Midsummer Night's Dream at Sundance at least 5 times (OK, so I was going to do that anyway).
- Play the same 3 songs on my guitar every single day.
- Zelda. There must be Zelda. Ocarina of Time: Master Quest is one option. Wind Waker may also make an appearance. I'm saving Twilight Princess for later.
- Eat as much of that leftover lasagna in the fridge as I can take.
- Talk loudly on my phone late at night.
- Shower with the bathroom door open. While singing.
- Take over the entire living room.
- And if I'm feeling really cliche, I might even have to reenact this*:
Yeah, that should be a pretty good start for a Week of Julie. One week of that (plus one day of cleaning up after that) and I should be sufficiently sick of myself and be very, very glad to have my wonderful roommates back home again. But until that day...bring on the Julie!
Man, I love that show.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Note: I may or may not "spoil" some major comic book plotlines here, so if that bothers you, watch out. I'll try to only discuss past storylines so openly, but all the same. OK, continue.
On my bookshelf, nestled amongst forgotten plays and Dostoevsky novels, I have The Essential Spider-Man: Volume 6 - Volume 6 chosen specifically because it contains the whole Gwen Stacy saga, of course. Brilliant, classic stuff that you're welcome to come over and read through, provided that you actually know me in real life*. Spider-Man is my first love in comic books (though not my first love of life - that honor will always rest with
I also recently acquired Joss Whedon's story arc from Runaways, another Marvel comic. Best accidental Ebay purchase I've ever made. I was checking out the comic, since I'm a fan of Whedon's style but hadn't quite found anything of his to actually latch onto (I'm told I should stick with Firefly and it'll see me through), and on a whim bid on the whole arc. And then I won. Annoyed at the time at the unexpected purchase (a girl's checking account can only take so much), I now know it was more than worth it. The series is great and compelling as it is, but Whedon's work is fantastic. He had me hooked from Issue #25 (his first) when the kids are all sitting in a restaurant awaiting a meeting with - that's right - Kingpin. Selected dialogue from the scene:
Chase: That's totally her. That's totally She-Hulk.PLUS they totally cross over with The Punisher***. All that and some gorgeous cover art by Jo Chen:
Nico: Victor, we don't have a lot of other options.
Victor: I'm not gonna talk to this guy. I'm just here if things get ugly.
Nico: Things are ugly. They're all ugly.
Chase: Is somebody gonna deal with She-Hulk having scampi like three tables away?
Molly: She-Hulk has the fakest boobs I ever saw. And those aren't scampies, they're shrimp.
Chase: Vic, you gotta check this out. I'm not into muscles but, I'm, now I'm sort of into muscles.
Hot stuff, people. Seriously. Once I've got some disposable income again, I'd love to check out the rest of the series.
Now you didn't seriously think I'd silence the Geek In Me without mentioning Batman, did you? Because really guys, I love Batman. I've never really been a DC girl in general; in fact, there are times when I think Batman is really all they've got going for them (though I have been thinking of checking out Jodi Picoult's story arc for Wonder Woman). But as far as I'm concerned, Batman is more than enough. And so, as a great Batman fan, what did I think of The Dark Knight? Three words, friends: I. LOVED. IT. And I love Christopher Nolan for finally making Batman as dark and conflicted as he was always meant to be. And I love Heath Ledger for giving the world the darkest, creepiest, and still one of the funniest Jokers ever. Straight-up amazing. And that's not even mentioning Christian Bale, who is the only Batman hot enough to be Bruce Wayne AND tough enough to be Batman. They'll give you flack for your Batman voice, Christian, but don't listen. You know that's how Bruce Wayne would do it if he were here in real life. People. Seriously. The Dark Knight. Genius. I'll admit Maggie Gyllenhaal was more than a little out of place (loved her in Stranger Than Fiction but seriously, not a classic superhero leading lady and never will be), but that just served to make me okay with how her character was uninteresting and little more than a tool for the further development of other characters. I'd get in depth here, but I don't want to spoil the ending. Or the rest of the story. And the Geek In Me has gone on for quite some time already. But I appreciated the appearance of Harvey Dent, and the casting of Aaron Eckhart as the same (but I met him one time at ACTF in Cedar City, plus he graduated from BYU, so maybe I'm biased). Maybe someday, after I've watched the movie again, I'll post a real, thoughtful review here. At any rate, I am happy to talk to you about it. All day long if you want. But for now let me just sum up by saying how glad I am that there are finally a set of movies out there that let Batman be Batman. And the Joker be the Joker. Because it's easy to forget, if all you've seen are the Batman cartoons from my childhood (and I mean no disrespect here - I mean, major hats off to Mark Hamill for his voice acting in the series), that the Joker is terrifying. Funny, sure. Silly, whimsical, dare I say puckish. But also the only villain to genuinely murder important characters in the Batman storyline (including, yes, one of the Robins). The evil clown, an antithesis and natural arch-nemesis to Batman's benevolent predator. One is bright, funny, and murderous; the other dark, frightening, and good. And this movie - Nolan gets that. So yeah, I love him for it. The end.
Alright. There's always more the Geek In Me can say. We could talk about Halle Berry in X-Men (hated her, hated her, hated her), or how I can't wait to read Terry Moore's Echo (not to mention Strangers in Paradise, about which I've heard incredible things), or my favorite Punisher crossovers, or how I just FINALLY discovered the genius that is Will Eisner. And we haven't even gotten into my intense love for video games. But I think for the first (semi-)public appearance of the Geek In Me, this is quite enough. Hopefully I'll bring her back soon, but you never know - she can be a little socially awkward.
*Because, I mean, otherwise that's just creepy.
**It's true! Check out Spider-Man: One More Day.
***And let's face it, everybody loves a good Punisher crossover. Especially me.
Special thanks to Wikipedia for providing, well, pretty much every link in this post.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
My job is awesome. Yesterday they called me in early so I could get ice cream in honor of a co-worker's last day. It was awesome. And I think I'm getting a raise. Yay!
My room is clean! This is pretty big news for me.
I created a sweet music mix. And then got it to actually burn onto a CD, after many many battles with my computer's disgruntled CD drive. Ever wonder what happens when you put The Paperbacks next to Fountains of Wayne close to Bright Eyes with The Beatles and some Amos Lee mixed in? Magic, that's what happens. Magic.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. We're talking classic adventure gaming of a particularly brilliant and challenging variety, with lots of fun characters and a creepy voodoo twist. The voice acting is pretty great, too - Tim Curry's weird New Orleans accent is, if not exactly impressive, consistently entertaining. And I gave myself bonus points for recognizing Leah Remini as the voice of Gabriel's wisecracking assistant, Grace. Finding yet another way to use up hours of my time without accomplishing anything important...now THAT is something to celebrate.
I had the best Memorial Day weekend ever. I spent the weekend up in SLC* with one of my favorite people in the whole entire world. I choose to use sub-points to explain this one, since trying to give a sample of the awesome things about the experience led to a sentence too long and messy-looking even for me.
- We hiked Grandeur Peak. Which, as it turns out, really is pretty grand.
- I finally saw Ice Age. Now I know what everyone's been quoting around here!
- I met some of the nicest girls ever, such as the girl who walked me to Gospel Doctrine class on Sunday and then stood around with me waiting for my friends to show up, even though she didn't know me and was planning to attend a class on a different floor. It was like something straight out of a Relief Society conference talk.
- I got to play with an adorable almost-grown-up black lab.
- We watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (cheesy acting! Fake accents! Alan Rickman! Hurray!), belted out some Bryan Adams, and then I got to actually sit and watch Girls Just Wanna Have Fun for the first time (SJP** + Helen Hunt + Dance TV = Awesome). The other awesome girls I met during this experience just made it that much better (they were super funny, plus we resurrected the "to french" verb, as in, "We totally frenched outside his car last night". Can't wait until that one hits my word-a-day widget).
- I didn't have to sleep at home, which made it feel like a vacation even though I was only 40 miles away.
- There was definitely some HOT sequin-clad dancing to be seen. Now if only I'd taken a picture!
- I finally, finally saw Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration up at Temple Square. Not that I got much out of it in between spotting Tim Threlfall, thinking about all the writing and production drama I'd heard about it, and wondering if anyone else noticed that Matt Bellows plays two different characters. Oh well.
- Even though it rained, my hair still looked good thanks to the (mildly) cute black hat that I picked up at the mall last week.
- Apparently I give really good hugs. Score!
Well, that's all the big stuff right at the moment. And now, in preparation for the fulfillment of my last bit of good news up there, I'm going to get off this computer and quit blogging for a bit. Which is good news for everyone, really.
*That's Salt Lake City, if you're not cool enough to use initials for everything.
**Sarah Jessica Parker. Come on people, get with it!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Still in the middle of Anna Karenina. I come back to it whenever I'm between books. That and The Last Unicorn are my go-to books for when I just want to be reading but I don't know what. Next up I'll probably read Persuasion. Haven't decided yet.
2. Given the chance, what special ability/power would you like to have?
Shape-shifting. Think of the mischief!
Honey Bunches of Oats
4. What's your favorite color? Why?
Pink. It's cute and fun and pretty and kind of controversial, I guess. I don't know, I just like it!
5. Where is the place you want to go the most?
Hm...back to London. Or someplace where I'm on-camera and the writing is exceptional.
6. Name two places you have lived:
1. McMinnville(ish), Oregon
2. Provo, Utah
7. Do you believe in seeing a rainbow after the rain?
No, that thing doesn't even exist. It's just a big, multicolored fantasy.
8. What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Absolutely nothing. It'd be awesome.
Except maybe I'd put all the money in a big vault and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.
9. Which type of person do you hate the most?
Closed-minded people. Also, genocidal maniacs.
10. What are two things on your to do list right now?
1. Organize finances
2. Actually write my screenplay. Yeesh.
11. If you have a fault, would you rather the people around you point it out to you or would you rather they keep quiet?
Wow, that's a pretty big "if". I mean, I'm going to have to get entirely out of my own experience here. Now, if I could possibly IMAGINE having a fault...I guess I much prefer to have other people be honest with me. The worst thing in the world is suspecting that someone is not telling you something, even when it's to make me feel better. I mean, that never actually happens to me, but if it did, that would suck. Right?
12. List two jobs you have had:
1. HVAC Maintenance worker for BYU
2. Human Resources slave (well, paid slave...who chose to be there...and could leave anytime she wanted...) for Kaiser Permanente
13. What do you think is the most important thing in your life?
Money. Or puppies.
14. Is there anything that you have done which you regret?
It's cliche, but I really do tend to regret the things I didn't do more. Like when I didn't work harder to get what I wanted, or when I didn't say what I wanted because I was scared, that kind of thing.
1. Skipping classes at will
2. Chewing on things - pens, fingernails, that kind of thing
16. What are your feelings about the person who tagged you?
I have a great amount of love for Janae. Plus I had this really weird dream about her last week where she had this really crazy blonde, blonde hair, and that's just got to mean something good.
17. Who do you Tag? Why?
I tag...you. So if you read this, and you haven't done it, then consider yourself tagged. Why do I do this? Because it's a good cop-out since I don't really feel like thinking of anyone who hasn't been tagged yet. But seriously, do it!
Friday, May 09, 2008
I cut my hair
And it's a very significant change. Like, it went from past the shoulders to above the chin. Which I know is a very small area of the body, comparatively, but it makes a world of difference in how people look at you. Not only that, but I let some girl at a hair school do it. Being as I'm a bit of a control freak, this was a pretty major adventure for me. The stylist was great, though the end result looks nothing like what I came in planning on getting. This was a little hard to deal with at first (see two sentences ago), but now I'm loving it. And hey, here's some before and after photos. Note that in the before, I have patchy remnants of show makeup on my face, and in the after, I am in serious danger of going emo. And I'm sitting in a closet for some reason. Anyway, just remember these pictures are about the hair, people.
See? It's like looking at two completely different people with the exact same face and body!
I started Spring Term classes
But have I actually attended my Physical Science lecture? Um...let's just say not yet.
I wrote 60 pages in one night
See, it suddenly occurred to me last Wednesday that the submission deadline for WDA scripts was...last Thursday. So I stayed up pretty much all night, wrote for about 8 hours straight, and managed to turn a 28-page idea into an 88-page finished draft (which admittedly was 18 pages shorter than my projected length estimate), and yeah, maybe the second act is not fantastic, but the experience itself was remarkably satisfying and hey, at least it's done. And submitted. And now I just have eons of rewrites to go, which is the part I complain about the most even though secretly I find it very enjoyable.
Final Draft! Final Draft 7 Academic! Woohoo!
What is this Final Draft of which I speak? Only the most glorious scriptwriting program ever invented! It arrived yesterday, and I found it sitting in a FedEx box, propped against my bedroom door (thanks, roommate, for bringing it in). After the considerable coaxing it took for my computer to actually run the install CD, I got it going and started to play. And oh. Oh people. It's incredible. And so fun. And convenient. And I love using it. Seriously, I haven't been this turned on by a computer program since...well, let's be honest, computer programs don't turn me on. That would be kind of creepy. But I love it so much. And I just want to be writing scripts all the time, but then I realize I don't have anything to write because I haven't gotten through all the prewriting stuff yet and that's just plain annoying. But in the meantime I've been playing around with short screenplays and let me tell you, it is fun. I'll be trying out the stageplay formats later today. You cannot fathom the ridiculous joy this brings me.
In related news, I'm about to get to work on my first ever full-length screenplay (or screenplays, since I'm grappling with two ideas at the moment). When I'm not feeling like a sellout, I'm just real excited about it. I'll definitely let you know how it goes.
I started watching 30 Rock
And by "started watching" I mean watched every episode of both seasons of the show between now and two weeks ago. People, this show is downright brilliant. You can catch the first season online if you have Netflix (or you can just find someone who has it on DVD), and the current season is all available on NBC.com. Please watch it. Also, I now want to be Tina Fey when I grow up.
I overdrafted my checking account
Then I got paid
And now it's all good. Right? Oh boy. Next up on my list of skills to acquire - financial responsibility.
I figured out that I'm kind of good with kids
Like, kids other than my nephews. Who knew?
I started listening to Brett Dennen
Listen to him right now. Please. Here's one to get you started.**
And those are just the random things from the past two weeks that occurred to me right now. Let me tell you, it's been a very significant fortnight. I feel like a completely different person. I look like a different person. I'm loving to write again, I'm loving to do my hair in the morning, I'm actually getting to know people in my ward...it's a very good place to be in.
On a completely unrelated note, I am thisclose to writing and posting a rant/critique about some sex talks I've gotten from parents and church teachers and how I feel they fit into the development of a rape culture (don't believe we live in a rape culture? I can point it out to you). Not totally sure if it's a good idea in light of a recent discussion on Feministe about posting certain things under your real name. Of course, most of them were talking about people discussing their own (often controversial) experiences rather than just writing opinions, and I'm almost certainly being paranoid, but it's enough to give a person pause.
*The real ones as well as those featured on Saved By the Bell.
**Seriously, join imeem. Now THAT will change your life.