Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Clean Underwear, Algebra, and Younger Men

Plans for the day thwarted by snow. Again. So, instead of lunch with a friend I studied for the GRE in my pajamas and Jem hoodie (it’s truly, truly, truly outrageous). And I did a load of laundry because it appears that I do not have an infinite supply of clean underwear.

I’m nervous about the GRE, but more than a little excited. Because the test feels like something I can control, unlike the number of applicable letters of recommendation I’ll be able to garner. I haven’t taken a math class in 10 years and while the thought of being tested on skills that have lain dormant for years is frightening, if I do a bit of studying and practice (I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.) I should be fine. Whereas there’s no book that can help me go back in time and foster stronger and longer lasting relationships with my former professors (My kingdom for a TARDIS). SO instead of freaking out about that I’m focusing on test prep. And Dear, God, do I need it.

The problem I have had with math is that somewhere along the line I grabbed onto the idea that if I didn’t get something right the first time that meant I was bad at it, that I was stupid. In my head, for as long as I can remember, I have equated hard work with not being good enough. Which is why I have no discipline and tend to suck at rewriting. It’s also why I’ve never really worked hard at anything in my life. And you can see how well that turned out for me.

IN OTHER NEWS:
According to this comic it’s not at all creepy for me to date 20 year olds. So we’re good to go on Michael Cera and/or Zac Efron. Sorry, 19 year olds, rules are rules.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In a Yellow Wood

English teachers and guidance counselors like to pin up posters of a glossy Autumn wood with Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken blazoned across it in their classrooms and cozy tell-me-all-your-angsty-teenage-problems-and-I’ll-give-you-a-pass-out-of-gym-class offices. They gaze adoringly up at it and find solace, direction; and they want us to do the same. What they forget though, what most of us forget, is everything but the concluding lines of the poem.


I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference




We remember that the narrator tells us that taking the road less traveled “has made all the difference” but we tend to forget that Frost never tells us exactly what that difference was.

All through my youth this poem was held up as a standard for going your own way, for making choices that few others have made before. Frost is telling us to take the road less traveled. Or is he? Few people point to the first line of the last stanza when trying to rally you to the cause of the individual.


I shall be telling this with a sigh


If this is really the instructional, inspirational poem that we have been led to believe why is he telling us this with a sigh? Is the narrator really doling out advice or is he simply an old man reexamining the choices that he has made wondering what if?

I’ve been bludgeoned with those last two lines of the poem so many times that for the longest time I thought the poem was called The Road Less Traveled. But it’s not, is it? It’s The Road Not Taken. Two more often neglected lines are the last two lines of the second stanza


Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same



About the same! The poem doesn’t give us a narrator confronted with a choice between the trodden way of the majority or the hard going yet righteous plight of the individual; the right path or the wrong path; a path of thorns or a path of flowers; a path of darkness or a path of light. By the time we get to the end of the poem we seem to forget that the road the narrator chose was really only slightly less traveled than the other.

Now, I’m not saying that the narrator regrets his choice, but what I am saying is that the choice wasn’t as simple as we are often led to believe, nor was it simple to live with. As good or as bad as “the difference” was, the narrator can’t help but wonder what his life would have been had he taken the other, “just as fair” road. Because more often than not life isn’t a straightforward series of choosing right over wrong or even the lesser of two evils, but of trying to figure out which, among a host of choices “just as fair” as the next, is the one you should make. And, more often than not, the deciding factor is as arbitrary as flipping a coin or there being slightly more grass on path A than path B. And we never know what the difference is going to be until after the road has been taken.



I get inspiration and instruction from The Road Not Taken but not in the way that I have been told that I should. To me this poem isn’t about either road; it’s about the traveler. It’s about making a decision, any decision. Because no matter which road you choose or how long you take in choosing there is always going to be a wistful part of you that will look back and wonder what if? It’s human nature to want to go back to that yellow wood and take the other road just to see what there is to see. We’re always going to be curious, we’re always going to have regrets. The important thing is not to get stuck in the crossroads.



The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sloth love Chunk

Giant Sloths are pretty much the coolest things that have ever roamed the Earth.

sloth, with a lower case s, not so much.

I’ve been in my bathrobe all day. It’s funny, cause it’s my day off and I got up early to actually do stuff but then I decided to freak out instead.

For the past few days I’ve been getting excited and hopeful because I found a Masters program at my alma mater that I want to apply to. Then, slowly, I've been rolling to a panicky boil because you need letters of recommendation to apply to grad school and I haven't talked to any of my former professors in years and how would any of them possibly remember me enough to recommend me- if they even remember me at all. But last night I figured what the fuck I'll email them and see what happens.

Then I wake up this morning, rejection-issue dread hanging over me as I go about my internet wanderings and I realize that the application deadline is February 1st and even if I did email my professors and find someone willing to write a letter for me it's way, way too short notice and I'm fucked and my life is just going to continue to be one long chain of misery and dashed dreams. Which was when I REALLY started panicking. Then, for no reason that I can think of, I suddenly remembered that it was the Creative Writing M.F.A. that had a Feb 1st deadline and NOT the Theatre program... which has a deadline of APRIL 1st. So, basically, I've been shitting myself for nothing.

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 5 hours.

I should probably shower now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's alarming how charming I feel

I’m not exactly what you’d call a girlie girl.

I like bugs.
I hate American football because I think it’s a pussy sport (if I’m going to watch a rugby derived sport it’s gonna be Aussie Rules).
I’d rather drink Guinness than anything else.
I fear the mall.
I’m watching Battlestar Galactica right now.

But two customers complimented my eyeshadow today and that made me feel pretty.

P.S. I’ve always like the idea of being alarmingly charming. That line from “I Feel Pretty” is probably my favorite thing about West Side Story

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tale of Old C$%t

H.B. is on vacation this week and I was lulled into a false sense of security. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and children of all nations, races and religions were joining hands and dancing through the streets. Getting up for work Tuesday morning wasn’t nearly as painful knowing that I had a blissful H.B. free week ahead of me.

            *sigh*

            I had forgotten about O.C., or, more accurately, it wasn’t so much that I had forgotten about her as I thought that the absence of H.B. would mitigate any suffering O.C. chose to inflict. *sigh*

            O.C. is a terrible beast with noxious, flaming breath and poison dripping from her jagged claws.

            She used to manage the store but retired a while back and now comes in part time because she enjoys the challenge of trying to make me cry. She addresses me in the same contemptuous tone H.B. employs and I often imagine them at the Olive Garden, cackling over unlimited soup, salad, and bread sticks, as they plot the next wave of their assault on my will to live.

            In order to make it through her shift without punching her in the face I focused on unpacking shipment while listing school that I am thinking of applying to. Also, an Ace of Base song made an appearance on the company controlled playlist and that helped.

 

P.S. Today I unpacked a box of “Fairyland Lavender” sweaters. This isn’t the Limited Too. Grown women shop here; I think lavender alone would have been sufficient. Unless instead of Asian children our sweatshops employ magical creatures and the sweaters really were more than your average purple… I’ll have to take a closer look tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Readin' 'Ritin' an' Prime Time TV

Good writing always has a profoundly physical effect on me. Either the writer inspires me and makes me feel like I must immediately throw down the book and pick up a pen, or,  he/she has a way with words that makes me feel as if I am the tiniest creature on the earth, that I will never write anything of significance; how could I ever hope to achieve anything that nears the brilliance of the words before me!

Jeanette Winterson is one of the later. John Green, one of the former. I asked for, and received, his latest book, Paper Towns, for Christmas.  Two pages in and it’s already a struggle to get through because I just can’t resist the urge to push his words away and start crafting my own. Which sounds like an insult but is probably the highest compliment I could give him.

I scribbled for a while before retracting my pen and heading upstairs. I’m fairly certain that, a couple of days ago, I finished the story that I’ve been working on. Which is good and all. You know, woooo! But, well, my head always feels a bit empty after I’ve finished something, like I can hear a rattling in my brain and what is rattling around up there is usually self indulgent drivel. So, as I said, I scribbled for a while and then I went upstairs; because it’s Monday night and I had a date with my televison.

I have always wanted to be one of those people that scoff at television, ranting condescendingly about how it’s replaced religion as the opiate of the people and there are far better, less pedestrian  things I could be doing with my time; both of which are sadly true. But, just as I will never wear a size 0 pair of jeans or go to the circus (clowns….*shudder*), I will never be one of those fully liberated, totally self actualized, TV free people.

Yes, there is a lot of crap on television. A lot. But there is also a lot of good. Okay, not a lot, but there’s some good out there. There’s even a bit of great, though they tend to cancel that rather quickly. Thing is, I am overwhelmingly in love with stories. And if someone is going to give me a good story; a funny story, an interesting, unusual story, well, I’m going to pay attention regardless of the medium and the fact that I had to wade through sewage to find it.

Monday is a good night for TV. I watch House because it is often interesting and Hugh Laurie is a god. And if you don’t believe me watch an episode of House and then watch an episode of Blackadder. I watch the Big Bang Theory because I am a raging nerd and they make me giggle, and Two and Half Men because my parents got me started on it and there’s nothing quite like having to stifle your laughter over a hummer joke so you don’t have to explain to your parents why it was funny (Chuck Lorre seriously needs to give me a job). And I watch How I Met Your Mother because it is usually quirky (though, I have to admit, this season they’re not quite up to par on the quirk) and because it gives me that little sliver of delusional hope that you need when you’re 27 and wondering if maybe you should just give up the ghost and become the cat lady already.

I would make an exceptional cat lady. But, hopefully I’ll get my shit together soon because tonight’s House reminded me of something. I decided a while ago that one of the things that I want to do with my life is to be a foster mother, and probably adopt.

I want to get married one day; I want nothing more than to meet someone who is insane enough to not only understand me but to also want to spend their life with me, in spite of all they know. But I don’t see marriage as a task I need to accomplish. I’m not going to settle for less just to have someone around. I have also never been one of those people that feels the need to have a biological child for the sake of having a biological child. If I meet a man who makes me want to have his child that’s great, but if not; there are just so many children already here who desperately need love and if I can save even one of them from the pay-by-the-child foster care system then that’s what I want to do. The foster care system makes me want to punch people in the face.

Course, none of that matters til I actually get said shit together. But a finished story is progress. Also, am hoping to apply to grad programs unless Steven Moffat wants to give me a job in which case, screw you all I’m going to Wales! I’m thinking of writing him a letter:

Dear Sir, I think you’re swell and I want nothing more than to be you when I grow up (I mean seriously, Dr. Who AND Coupling). I have negligible training and absolutely no experience but you should, like, totally hire me to write for and star on Dr. Who. Yours sincerely…

 

Yeah, well, it was just a thought.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

*spoiler alert*

Bears.

Koalas are not bears; they are marsupials. They’re also junkies. The exist solely on eucalyptus which has little nutritional value and is a narcotic. Which is why when you see them they’re usually asleep.

The bear’s closest living relatives belong to the family that include the walrus, sea lion and seal (at least, according to wikipedia).

 

Beets.

I think they’re yummy.

 

Battlestar Galactica.

  Oh, it’s back! It’s back! It’s back! It’s back! I have been dancing around gleefully since I set my DVR to record it last week. 

Oh, how I have missed Lee Adama’s gorgeous face and righteous indignation; Kara Thrace’s ass kicking insanity (that girl is my fraking hero!); and the cylons! The Cylons!

Okay…so… I’ll admit it, I’ve been kind of waiting for Duala to die for a while now. I liked her when she was with Billy but once she got with Lee she just started to piss me off. She just never seemed like anything more than a roadblock between Lee and Kara (Funny, though, I don’t have the same problem with Sam, at all. Interesting.). Apparently Lee and Duala were married in the original series, so I’m guessing that’s why they were put together this go around as well. Never saw the original so I don’t know what kind of relationship they had in the 70s, though, as Starbuck was a dude back then there probably wasn’t as much sexual tension between him and Apollo. So, I didn’t care for Di, but still, What the fuck?! Was not expecting that to happen at all like it did.

Speaking of what the fucks?! Am DYING to know what’s going on with Kara. There always is something going on with Kara. And if she’s not the final cylon (and I’m really glad she’s not because there would just be something innately wrong with Kara Thrace as a cylon. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a cylon) then what the fuck is she?

Which brings us to the big reveal…the final cylon… Ellen. ELLEN TIGHE. Ellen, who died on New Caprica. Though, there were still resurrection ships around then, so she may still be with us, but none of the cylons seem to know that she is one of them and wouldn’t her rebirth among them have tipped them off? What I want to know is, did she know that she was a cylon?

So many questions. I’m trusting the writers not to let me down; I’m sure they want their last season to be the best fraking thing they’ve ever written. I just wish it was Friday already.

Friday, January 16, 2009

nobody knows but jesus

At work today I had to continuously remind myself that my current situation is entirely attributed to my decisions and no one else’s- or else I’m sure I would have punched H.B.* in the face.

She’s horrible, at least, she’s horrible to me. 95% of the time she speaks to me with this tone in her voice, as if I am a stepchild she wishes she could hit. I still have the lines in the palm of my hand from where my fingernails dug in as I internalized the waves of evil I wished to unleash upon her.  Oh, what I would do if I didn’t have debt.

Thing is though, H.B. isn’t really the problem here, I am. When you’re happy with your life you don’t cry in the bathroom at work. Which is pathetic, I mean, really. Okay, it’s not like I was wailing; it was more of a small, angry burst followed by a what-the-fuck-are-you-doing-get-your-shit-together-and-get-back-out-there series of deep breaths as I blotted my eyes. Yeah, still pathetic.

If I were at all happy with the state I’m in I wouldn’t be bothered or I would take steps to resolve the matter. But H.B. is a problem that isn’t worth resolving. Sure, I could have an awkward conversation with our boss about it, followed by an even more awkward conversation involving boss lady, H.B. and I. And maybe we would hug it out and things would get better. Then what? Then I would be slightly less miserable as I run for a pink pencil skirt in a 10 for Ms. “I’m sure I’m an eight, it must be marked wrong”.

 

If only I got paid for blogging.

*H.B.=heinous bitch. i feel slightly less guilty talking smack if I don't use her actual name. Not like anyone at work knows about this blog.


awwwwwwkward

If you find yourself forced to use an unlockable, one at a time, public restroom where the toilet is in full view to the entire restaurant when the door is opened, the next person who has to use the facilities will undoubtably open the door -WITHOUT KNOCKING- while you're trying to change your tampon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Universe and Daniel Radcliffe's Penis

Rabbie Burns was right, the best laid plans of mice and men often do go astray. Not like my plans are ever well laid though.

            This is how things go when I make plans. I decide to do A. The Universe says, no, you will do what I want you to do. I decide to do B; the Universe says no. Repeat for C, D, E, etc… until I stumble upon what it is the Universe wants and it allows me to proceed. Apparently, last night, what the Universe wanted, more than anything, was for me to see Harry Potter naked.

            I wanted to see Spring Awakening. It’s closing on the 18th so if I don’t see it within the next few days I probably never will. But by the time Sadie and I got to the box office the student rush tickets were all gone (and sorry, I wasn’t going to get up at 6am to get tickets- or pay full price). Then I remembered that I wanted to see Speed the Plow because Norbert Leo Butz is in it for a limited time. Turns out I misremembered just how limited his time there was because when we got to the box office they informed us, yes they did have student rush tickets and that Norbert’s last performance was the night before. Thwarted again. We gave Billy Elliot a go but the guy at the box office curtly informed us that they did not have student rush tickets. He seemed somewhat insulted that we would think his theatre did that sort of thing. Then, we basically flipped a coin on whether to try for Equus or the Little Mermaid. You can guess from the above paragraph what happened next. After finally procuring tickets I went off to SoHo to meet up with Paul and Anna.

            There are some people in your life that you just fall in with immediately and things are just easier than they are with most everyone else. You’re more relaxed, funnier, more yourself. Sadie is one of those people for me, so is Paul.

Paul and I met on a backpackers’ tour through southwest England and Wales. He managed to save me from death and dismemberment many times as I was the stupid American who continued to look the wrong way before crossing the street. (I also can’t help remembering that I was rather embarrassing over the tour guide. It’s not my fault, though, he was Scottish. Scottish accents make my brain go loopy. When a Scot is speaking I cannot be held accountable for my actions… ANYWAY…) I remember walking through Shakespeare’s house at Stratford-upon-Avon, they had it all decked out even so far as an assortment of fake foods, as if Mrs. Shakespeare was going to hurry into the kitchen to start on dinner before Will got home from a long day at the theatre. And I felt the need to make such asinine comments as, that’s the ham that Shakespeare was eating when he wrote Romeo and Juliet (I mean, why else would it be in a museum?). It was funny at the time.  

            I hadn’t seen Paul for 5, almost 6, years and I had forgotten just how easy of a friendship we had had. It was nice to just fall into that, even if only for a day. They left that evening for 3 days in Dubai before returning to Australia. The “they” including his finacee, Anna whom I got to meet yesterday. She is lovely. I friend requested her on facebook. We went to the planetarium; we totally bonded.

            All too soon –insert sad face here- it was time to say goodbye. I went off to meet up with Sadie at the Shubert for Equus. Which was fantastic. I had read it senior year of high school, but, as that was 10 years ago now, I had forgotten pretty much everything other than that a kid blinds a bunch of horses and then talks to a shrink. Which, I guess is a pretty fair plot summary. But the play is so much more than plot.

            It was a very bare, very grey set. Sparse. Four, large blocks were all that was used in the way of furniture and the cast manipulated them into becoming what they needed them to be for each scene; a chair, a bed, a psychiatrist’s couch. You didn’t need to see the fabric, you believed that they were there. The cast was great. Richard Griffiths was phenomenal. And the writing. God, the writing. It’s a haunting play; disturbing as fuck, but God, Peter Shaffer’s words. Here’s an example:

 

Martin Dysart: All right! The normal is the good smile in a child's eyes. There's also the dead stare in a million adults. It both sustains and kills, like a god. It is the ordinary made beautiful, it is also the average made lethal. Normal is the indispensable murderous god of health and I am his priest.

 

I mean… fuck. The whole play is like that, brilliant sentences violently, and sometimes almost silently, sprayed at you, covering you like a damp you can’t get out of your clothes no matter how long you hang them to dry. Writing like that makes me feel terrifyingly insignificant, in the most amazing way.

 

I wrote a sentence at intermission that I am rather fond of. Kept it in my head all the way home, sitting on the train back to Ronkonkoma, saying it over and over until I found suitable fellows for it. It is, apparently, the start of something new. Who knows, maybe a play. Maybe a screenplay as it seems all the money is in L.A. and none in New York. Whatever it may be it is new and that’s exciting.

 

All in all, it was a very good day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Microwavable Socks and Other Wonders of the Modern World

I seem to have a blog blockage. For the past couple of weeks every time I have attempted to compose a blog I have gotten no further than a paragraph before scrapping it to go read Harry Potter or play Rock Band. As long as you’re alive there’s something to write about; sometimes it’s just hard to see what’s worth reading about. But here I am, once again, four sentences in, and already staring vacantly at my DVD collection wondering if there isn’t something better I could be doing with my time. And distracted by the fact that Word is drawing red squiggly lines under each occurrence of the word blog in this blog. You’d think that it would recognize blog as a word by now.

One of my least favorite sentences is: “That’s not a word.” Well, says who? All words are, are sounds with meaning. You make a noise and communicate to someone that the noise you are making correlates to this tall brown thing with the green things on top and voila! You know have a word that means tree. Or, rather, you have the sound “tree” that now means “the tall brown thing with the green things on top”. You get what I’m saying.  Words are not these innate, inalienable fixtures in the universe. We can create and destroy them as we see fit. And we do. I mean, how often does anyone say affable anymore? Everyone knows what a blog is, though. No matter how often Word tries to argue the point with me.

Well, that was an interesting tangent. Though, can you really go off on a tangent if you had yet to establish a topic?

ANYWAY. Battlestar Galactica (2 more words unrecognized by Word) starts up again on Friday. FRIDAY! Yipee! I heart Battlestar Galactica and I have the social life to prove it. If a geek and a nerd found a way to simultaneously fertilize the ovum of a dork, I would be that zygote. Battlestar Galactica is a truly wonderful thing and I am looking forward to finding out who the final cylon is and what the fuck happened to Earth.

Speaking of truly wonderful things: my feet are currently housed in microwavable slippers. Scented too. Cranberry. They were a Christmas present from my brother’s girlfriend. Not only are my feet toasty warm but they smell delicious! Microwavable slippers. Brilliant!

And I’m staring off into space again…

 

I’m still kicking ass on Rock Band, btw. Cause I know you’ve been wondering. Problem is I don’t actually own it. My cousin brought it over here and has yet to retrieve it, though I know the extraction date is growing ever closer. Any moment she’ll step out of the darkness to claim what is hers. She could be on her way. Right. Now.

So, I’m thinking about eloping with her Rock Band. Because absconding with it would just be theft and stealing, let alone stealing from family, is tres uncool –at least that’s what I’m telling myself, daily- HOWEVER, if Rock Band and I are united in the bonds of holy matrimony well then, what is the phrase, let no man tear us asunder. There’s gotta be some religion out there with no qualms about till-death-do –you-parting man and machine. I bet if I did a google search I’d find some pretty startling results. Hey, I mean, it worked out pretty alright for Helo and Sharon.

It’s 9:30 and I just turned on the Golden Globes. I have no idea why. I feel a little bit like Audrey Hepburn in the beginning of Sabrina as she stares longingly down into a dinner party that she was not invited to. Except, you know, dirty. I’m sure I would feel entirely differently if I were wearing a shiny loaner dress, sipping champagne and waiting with bated breath for them to call my name, but as I’m not I kinda wish that I hadn’t already showered.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

You’ve gotta find your big, gigantic drum kit

It often feels that my life has just been one long, drawn out existential crisis. While that may be great for my writing life it makes the rest of it, the finding a way to pay the bills part, kind of a bitch.

We're all just looking for our big, gigantic drum kit; something to fill our lives with passion and purpose. Some of us (like my mom who obnoxiously found her calling at the age of 4 while watching "Miss Frances' Ding Dong School") figure it out and go on to live happy and productive lives. The rest of us, well we blog from our parents' basement and fret about our negligible contributions to society. 

And we play Rock Band.
oh yes, Rock Band.

The following is a pretty accurate representation of what happens when I play Rock Band



after years of searching it turns out that my metaphoric big, gigantic drum kit might actually be a literal big, gigantic drum kit.