Happy Pioneer Day...wish I had it here!

Do you ever notice certain words that stand out for you? When you're not really listening to something, to someone else's conversation, are there certain words that you pick up automatically? Words that hold special significance for you, perhaps?

Sitting backstage at a poetry/fiction reading this evening, I unfortunately couldn't hear the words very well. No backstage monitors turned the stories and poems into mush to my ears, with only every few words standing out. However, in both the technical rehearsal and the performance, one story--one word within one story--stuck out, even though I couldn't hear what the rest of the sentence was about.


I find that, especially here, mention of religion always perks my interest. Especially when I hear it from my coworkers, I often catch myself thinking they are talking about me. The misfortune of being religious among a group of others who are not particularly so.


Ah yes, always. "Democrat" and "Republican" get me sometimes, but not as often. "McCain" just puts my hackles up.

Things that I'm interested in get me, too. "Creative writing" and "Stage management" always perk my interest. Here, that's enough to get a crick in your neck, since there's a whole department of creative writers. Stage management, not quite as much, since there's only two of us.

I wonder if we are hard-wired, if our ears pick out certain words simply by association, regardless of our interest, or if we secretly have a constant fascination with certain things, which results in our mind subconsciously being aware of these in-passing references.


Life updates

Yesterday, I taught a stage management master class, which was optional and open to all the students here. I had seven attendees, which I am told is a decent number for this workshop. I taught for about an hour and a half, and we were crunched at the end because I ran into dinner. My students were engaged, they asked questions, they laughed, and I felt like it was a success.

It was a kind of test, for myself. To see how I liked teaching. Granted, I know I can't get a real sample from one small workshop, informal, teaching one subject that is most familiar to me. However, it was, as I said, an experiment. It was surprisingly nervewracking! I wanted to hold their attention, I wanted them to respond, to ask questions, to laugh. And they did, which was swell. But I'm not sure that I really liked it. Teaching, for me? Who knows.

Now I'm knee-deep into theatre rehearsals. This year I'm stage managing the theatre department's "Round 2" performance, a show called "Ivona, Princess of Burgundia". It's an interesting piece, the directors are doing some unique things with it. I'm reserving judgement until it's over, because the process is guarenteed to be...interesting. I'm stepping in a week before the show, to learn it, get to know the cast and directors, then call the show. It's totally unrelated to anything that happens in the real world. (We're getting the set design...today...hopefully. We load in in two days, tech the day after. This is craziness.) So if I utterly disappear for some time, it's not because I'm dead. Well, hopefully. My brain may be leaking out of my ears, but hopefully I'll still be alive.

I have no real thoughts today. It's hot, I'm tired, and I have no down time. I'm currently watching the BBC's Robin Hood again (the second season comes out on DVD next month), I'm halfway through "Eclipse" in preparation for next week's "Breaking Dawn." My hands hurt--one of my fingers has been twitching for several days, and now both hands are starting to ache. If I get carpul tunnel, I'm gonna kill somebody. Oh, and I really want to cut my hair. Like, all of it. But I must perservere in the hopes of growing it out.

That is all. Peace.


The Dark Knight review--spoilers abound

Really good movie. Not sure how I feel about it yet.

In all honesty, Heath Ledger's Joker outshone every other member of the cast, hands down. And no, it's not just because he's dead. He really outdid himself here. The Joker was creepy, funny, and--surprisingly for a comic book character turned bigscreen villain--believable. A truly masterful performance, which I could have wished for in a whole other movie, but alas.

Christian Bale was something of a disappointment this time around. I loved his performance in Batman Begins, where he managed to turn this comic book antihero into a human being with real motivations. He (and the screenwriters, to be fair) didn't seem to feel the need for much character development this time around. Oh sure, there was his conflict regarding the necessity for keeping Batman around, but that's just because he wanted to be with Rachel. ***SPOILER*** Once Rachel was gone, there was no longer any real need to get rid of Batman, ergo the conflict disappeared.

Now, Aaron Eckhart is something of a newcomer for me, I haven't really seen him in much before, but I was pleasantly rewarded by his performance. Nothing really stunning, but overall a good choice. ***SPOILER*** His Two Face was so graphic as to be distracting, though. Once his face got seared off, I didn't really pay attention to anything he said, I just kept staring at that terrible face. I am surprised that they killed Two-Face off so early; he easily could have been the villain in a third movie, especially now that Heath Ledger is gone--anyone who tried to pick up The Joker from there would be crazy.

Maggie Gyllenhaal was as big a disappointment as Katie Holmes was. WTF?

Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman were, as always, underappreciated and underscripted. Alfred's jokes seemed a little forced, trying to lighten the tone of the movie, and his relationship with Wayne seemed a little too old-hat, nothing new there. Of course, this is tied into Batman's lack of development; it only makes sense that his cronies would suffer a similar lack.

Jim Gordon/Gary Oldman had some nice step-up moments this time around. ***SPOILER*** I absolutely loved the moment when Gordon meets Bruce Wayne after the latter's lamborghini gets smashed. Nice reminder of the Wayne/Batman duality, which we didn't have nearly enough of.

The plot was a little involved this time, too. The stint in Hong Kong didn't really seem to serve a good plot purpose, except to show off some more Bat-gadgets. The Joker's plan certainly could have been developed a little closer to home, and the screenwriters could have introduced the sonar similarly.

However, I simply loved the Dent-Dawes-Batman-Wayne love pentagram, and frankly the Joker was so fascinating it couldn't help make up for the rest of the movie's flaws. The ins and outs of his battle with Batman kept the entire audience on nerves' end throughout the movie--we kept expecting him to pop out of nowhere in every scene, and still we were startled whenever he did.

All I can say at this point is that the movie appears to have been misnamed; it's not really about the Dark Knight, but about his greatest nemesis, who will never be so great again.



I feel like I'm part of the wrong generation, as far as blogging is concerned. And as weird and unnatural as it may sound to say, I feel that I'm too young for my preferred blogosphere.

Most of the people my age that I connect with via blog are still using blogs as either a space to rant, or as a literary commons, or some mixture of both. Nothing wrong with this, of course.

However, many of the moms I connect with via blog are using their blogs as something much more interesting--a regular, sometimes daily, dialogue about their lives. This is not a journal by any means, but a specific, often satirical commentary on what goes down around them. And often it's not just specific events, its these women's opinions and thoughts on the world around them.

It's fascinating! It's what I try to use this blog for, rather than a diatribe about my personal life. A social commentary, written from a single viewpoint, acknowledging that not everyone will agree, not trying to really sway anybody, just out there for anybody who's interested.

What's more (and something I wish I had a bit more of) families are using blogs to keep up with each other. My son's adoptive mother keeps a separate blog just about him, that has limited access for people she knows, so she can protect him. But this is an easy, fast way to keep family updated about what's happening in his world! We can see pictures and videos and read stories, without her needing to write a dozen emails every day.

My cousin Hollie uses her blog in a similar fashion, keeping friends and family updated on her daughter Elaina, who's still in the hospital after her third open heart surgery. She doesn't have time to call thirty people every day with updates, but a blog satisfies almost everybody.

And then there's just the housewife's blog, the woman who writes about people she met that day, or things she read, or thoughts she had. This is the truly fascinating blog, the one written by ordinary, everyday people, who can turn their ordinary, everyday lives into something entertaining and thought-provoking for other people.

I wish I had a blog community. I don't fit into the "Mom" circle, because I don't have kids to blog about, and unfortunately that is a major component of those "housewife" blogs. And my own circle of blog-friends are not "regulars"--they don't hunt around and read each other's blogs every other day, they're only on when there's something significant happening in their own world. (Not that it's bad, guys! Just a different style!) And so I'm left without a major reader-base, and I'll admit that I feel somewhat neglected.

The time will come, perhaps (and perhaps it will wait until after the babies come) that I can find a better place in the blogosphere. Can't wait.


Pee funny!

Seriously, it's just one good thing after another! Check it out:

Things Younger than John McCain


A Mormon girl working in the theatre on a Sunday afternoon

My mother complained to me today that I haven't blogged in forever, so I endeavor to remedy that. I'm pretty sure my mother is my only consistent reader, so I do try to keep her happy. You know, besides all of the OTHER reasons I try to keep my mother happy. :)

Part of the reason it's been awhile is that we have been kah-razy busy the last few days. I've talked about Site Specifics before. Basically, it's theatre based on the venue, rather than on a script. However, that means we don't have the base of a theater to work from--we're building from the ground up, creating scenery, lighting and sound effects, and anything else you can think of, to a PLACE--anywhere on campus the directors like and can get approved. Once we're past, I'll post more details and hopefully some pictures. But like I've said before, this is pretty much the coolest thing we do here. The most unique, anyway. It keeps our whole crew hopping for the week leading up to the shows.

At church today, I couldn't help noticing how many pregnant women there were. I kid you know, half of the Relief Society is pregnant. Granted, it's a pretty young ward, lots of toddlers running around. But still, I don't think I've ever been in such a group. All these crazy bellies! It was strange to see the age differences, too. There were expecting mothers who looked no older than me--their early twenties, if that. There were late-twenties moms with a kid or three already. But then there were a couple pregnant women who seriously had to be in their late thirties or early forties! Now, there's nothing wrong with this, of course, it's just funny to see the difference. The young mothers were spry and cute, with tight-fitting maternity blouses and chic skirts with expanded waistlines. The older ladies...heck, they don't care anymore, they were in loose, sack-like, flower-printed dresses to keep cool and comfy. I had to laugh. Those younger moms will learn!

Have you ever had a group of babies staring at you all at once? Toddlers, too, I guess. I don't know why I'm a target for this attention. Sitting in the congregation, surrounded by the aforementioned young families, I kept catching these young watchers. I would smile, then look back at the speaker, or my hymnbook, or the wall somewhere away from their wide, innocent eyes. There was the little boy next to me, his older sister on his other side, the little girl and her littler brother in front of me, and the four-year-old redhead in front of them. Hardly a moment went by where there wasn't at least one set of eyes on me. I didn't see them staring at anyone else in particular. Maybe I had Sharpie on my face? It was somewhat disconcerting, I'll admit. I didn't really mind, though. I like little'ns, as Sam would say.

It's hard to remember that it's Sunday, at work. That's part of the reason we (Mormons in particular) try not to work on Sunday, I suppose. Everybody's talking, everybody's in a rush, people are irritated and frustrated and tense and trying to make things work. Nobody around here but me is trying to focus on anything else, I suppose, but if they were, I'm sure they'd find it just as difficult as I do.

Part of the mission statement here is that we function as an artists colony, separate from the outside world and focused entirely on the kids' art. That's the biggest focus, really--the kids. Still, the atmosphere here is infectious. All of us have said at one point or another that we feel inspired here, that it affects our own artistic inclinations. I can't help but to write. One of the other women here broke out her paints practically upon arriving. There is just something about being surrounded by other artists that invokes the muse.



You know, I can't remember the Fourth of July very well? It's just not a holiday that stands out very well in my mind. Last year, of course, I was a lamesauce loser and didn't really celebrate the Fourth. I remember thinking how lame I was at the time, that I should be out watching fireworks or something, which indicates to me that I usually do watch the fireworks, but my memory being what it is, I can't really say. Last year, I watched "The Queen" the night of the Fourth, which was incredibly ironic to me--celebrating our nation's independence by watching a film about Britain's monarch. Lamesauce, but in an entertaining way.

That being said, this year I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Friday afternoon we had an Interdepartmental concert--a recital that consists of student work from across our program. Music, dance, theatre and creative writing, and occasionally some video projection from the visual arts students. That was fun. I had most of the afternoon off; I did some shopping, bought Vantage Point (good flick). That evening, we played Guitar Hero in the shop for awhile, testing out our new outdoor movie screen. I actually didn't die, which was progress. Then the whole crew climbed up to the roof of the theatre to watch fireworks.

This was no ordinary fireworks-viewing. The city of Erie sits literally on the banks of Lake Erie, and slops upward from there. As such, the theatre (being probably the tallest building on campus) sitting on a hill overlooking the bay, had a clear view of the multiple fireworks displays up and down the waterfront. We had a 180 degree view, with fireworks going off in every direction. It was the sweetest thing EVER. I wish I could've taken a picture, but you'd seriously need a powerful panoramic shot to really capture the experience. It was so cool.

Then it was back to work pulling off the pit cover--an adventure in and of itself. But it was still fun, all of us there together just gettin' it done. Then it was home to watch House. Yeah, I have become re-obsessed. :D


strange new grief

I can't even express how agonizing it is to be away from my family right now. My 'niece' Elaina is suffering, and the doctors are reaching the limits of what they can do for her. Her mother is trying to deal with the decisions she will soon be faced--whether or not to take her daughter off the ventilator, whether to stop the suffering. I'm glad that Hollie's parents are there with her, but I wish more than anything that I was there with her too. I feel so helpless. I can't express in words what I want to tell her, not over the phone or over email or blog. I want to hold her, I want to see Elaina, I want to be there with them. I've never felt anything like this before, and I don't know how to deal with it. I've never been incapable of supporting someone before. I've never been devoid of my own comfort when I needed it. This is why families are drawn together at times like this--they need the physical, nonverbal support of one another's presence. Right now, I can't offer or receive any of it.

I'm scared. I'm scared for Elaina, I'm scared for Hollie, and I'm scared for everybody that cares about them both. That includes me.

I wish I was there.