Friday, December 30, 2011

Wild, Mysterious Life!

Henne's surprise party! Wednesday.

Henne is probably the person that makes me laugh the most, which is especially extraordinary since about half of the friends I've ever made are involved in some kind of improv/comedy/theatre.

A conversation we had a couple months ago:

Henne: So, I'm imaginary shopping online and being a bitter troll.
Henne: What's going on with you!
Me: I am listening to "Blister in the Sun" and writing feedback for grades.
Henne: Great American Pastime!
Henne: Also, isn't it weird that is Pastime and not Pasttime? Since I thought it was a compound word.
Henne: Life, wild mysterious life!

I was fifteen when he was my best friend--my bus partner to speech meets, the second half of many a Rent duet. But on Wednesday a gaggle of his pals and I were sitting around a small city apartment swapping student stories. Student stories! Adulthood all around. At my fifteen-year old self's best friend's surprise party.

That was my last match.
Our eyes will adjust. Thank God for the moon.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cheese with That Wine

Ethiopian food with Lowsta & Splosian. December 2011.

Today I have been more unproductive than a bum ovary.

I know what would make me feel better is just doing my stupid work. But I cannot. I simply cannot. I wish I had no ideas sometimes. Then, I could just open my tuft of scalp and let everything in, instead of constantly cheese grating everything out. Truth.

I'm just an insect
trying to get out of the night.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Live Yo' Dreams

Last night I went to Second City's South Side of Heaven, and I loved loved loved it. It was different than past SC show's I've seen. It was more poignant (of course still funny). It helped me feel happy about being alive, which is probably the point of art.

I have this thought about dreams: You really can live your dreams now. Like, okay, when I saw that show last night I was like, Wait, Let Me Quit Grad School For A Sec--Must Pursue Sketch. But, why? Because...because the show was so good, and I want that Goodness for myself. But, it was good because the cast wrote a good show, because they had Good thoughts clutched in their fists, released their fingers slowly, and slid all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. And maybe I am never destined to be on that stage--not even for a class. I really don't know! How could I possibly! Even if I had a iron-will, what does that guarantee?

What is guaranteed is that I too can clutch at Good and mush it carefully into a dough and roll it flat and cookie cut something out of the concoction. You know? You know, it's like, it'll still be a cookie, you know?

Christmas sugar cookies, yestadayahhhh!

It doesn't matter how many people see the Good we do as long as the perfect intended audience sees it. If the one stranger remembers not even the poem you wrote for the lame literary review, but the simple way you were candid that one time you talked about your experience in choosing your school, your partner, the popsicle flavor.

I plan to work really hard this next semester. Very tired right now--still reeling from the last. It's great to see all these people, family, places, but I want to sleep forever, and I need to write for days.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Are You Still There?

Today. Chicago Theatre.

My kind of town Chicago is not.
There's a grit here--the Buicks with bullet holes,
the frigid whip along Lakeshore Drive.
I visited Fran in the suburbs.
We took a walk around her upper middle class neighborhood.
One single streetlight, no sidewalks.
It was night before I knew it--
it bit, it bit.
This afternoon I crossed the holiday Fields' windows,
and Bennigans'. I can't be sure, but I think those are the windows
I sat on the other side--the inside--of one winter,
with my mom and other adults while our waiter beat the glass
because a homeless man was up against it, pointing
to his mouth.
Felt so low, felt so low.
My mom packed up my potato skins in a to-go box
and said we'd give them to the bum if he was still out there when we left.
He wasn't.
I think about him.
There's a grit here--in the huge blue snowflake of Southwest Ice Arena,
in the combo BR/DD 24/7, in the large black woman with the hot red lipstick and bluetooth on the bus, she says, "I just have to decide the best thing to do and then do it the best I can."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

True Meaning of Christmas

This morning I was sitting in church, and I was thinking about The True Meaning of Christmas. I think Jesus was a real neat dude. I know, I know, there's a good chance you probably don't believe he existed, and my theory is I don't really care. I like the guy--fiction or non, and I think we could learn a lot from his* lessons.

But I really don't think Christmas means Jesus to me. A. He probably wasn't really born December 25th. B. We should think about being good people all year (what I think Jesus symbolizes--or should). I don't love Christmas. I really don't. I like the build-up--like the songs and color schemes, but I find it a lame, sluggish, stressful, consumerist holiday BAGGGGH. I KNOW I RUIN EVERYTHING. Still, if I celebrate it, it should mean something. And, I think it does, but I don't know what exactly. Maybe family, I think. Something about it. Something about good cheer. I do believe in that. Peace--yes, I think peace is part of it. Bill Murray's Scrooged, stars, cute depictions of manger scenes, cookies, cartoon trees, George Bailey. I'm very very blessed to have my family.

I was icky sick on the drive from Pookie's to my dad's, so they drove. I sat in the front seat while my dad drove ahead in my car. After a while my sister's phone rang--"Checking on the Pookie," he said. My sister rubbed my neck.

Yesterday night I got to my mom's apartment in the city. "Voila!" she said. I had forgotten I had sent her a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake I found online. SHE HAD MADE IT. A great surprise.

Baker's Square French Silk.

*Purposeful non-capitalization.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Currently Braindead

Cake! 12.2011.

Happy Eve Eve.

Children carry through the streets
a brightly painted star.
Angels gather round the hearth,
strumming on guitars.
Men of great renown and faith
say prayers on boulevards.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Driving Pride

Did I tell you guys I won some comedy awards this semester? Not like legit awards, but dinko group awards like "Audience Choice" for my improv team and "MVP" for sketch. Also, did you know I got an "A" on my Theatre History final paper and presentation and a perfect score on my final Dramaturgy paper--you know, the one graded by my dramaturg professor who's background in 15 years of dramaturgy at Yale?

Well, I have some things to be proud of after my first semester of grad school. But, honestly, I am most proud of the fact that I drove from AZ to my sister's Midwest home in two days. This is huge. I hate driving. A lot. And, yet, I managed the trip in two twelve hour chunks. My dad was my accomplice and only drove for a few hours this morning. We stopped minimally. We spent one night at a Motel 6. I am here in my sister's nook house, and she will carry us the rest of the way to Chicago for Christmas.

How I Sustained Myself (A Food Log of Yesterday and Today):
1 chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese
1 granny smith apple
1 6-inch veggie egg Subway sub
2 24 ounce Circle K pumpkin spice lattes
2 gas station microwavable bean burritos
4 guacamole flavored chips

I know some people can drive forever (Truckers what? How do they do it?) and they don't think they deserve a medal or anything, but, you know, I think it's okay to celebrate overcoming our downfalls--even if our downfalls really shouldn't be downfalls.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lack of Blogging

Been in San Diego with fam-a-lam.

So much food. Running to the ocean. A graduation. Gift exchanges. Slugging hard.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

PSA: Tacos

Clara at In-N-Out. 2011.

I hadn't eaten at T Bell for like ten years. Yeah, I can actually TELL you the last times within ten years I ate at a T Bell:

2002--After my junior high competed in a scholastic bowl competition.
2004--Stopping there pre-movie (The Incredibles) with Ty and Jules. I ate maybe five nachos.
2011--While I was preparing for my final Theatre History presentation.

NEWS: Obvi, I've tried to avoid the chihuahua place like da plague, but GUESS WHAT? Taco Bell is actually really satisfying as a vegetarian meal option. One dollar for a delightful bean burrito with tomatoes? Well, okay!

The world needed to know.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gay Ads, Whatever It Takes, Asberg Movie Endings, Packing (Or Not), Unique Dinner

1. I can't think of any advertisements featuring a gay couple. Obvi, no brand wants to be known as "The Laundry Detergent for Gays!" but, really, come on. Every faux group at an advertised restaurant looks like the freakin' UN. Can we get some gay love up in here or what?

2. I love Degrassi.

3. Another long day at the testing center--beginning with a very long conversation with a student with Asbergers. His thesis: Twilight is a bad movie. Later he told me his favorite movies and wanted to tell me the end of them all. I said "Oh, no! Please don't." And he literally said, "I have to. I have to tell you." For someone who doesn't even like watching movie previews, this clearly disturbed me. Eventually, he started talking about who should be allowed to create art in this world (not serial killers). And I actually have a really strong opinion about this...and I just started to get so upset. KID, STOP TALKING OVER ME AND STOP SAYING SOME PEOPLE DON'T DESERVE TO PAINT AND STOP SAYING JOHN WAYNE GACY IS THE WORST BECAUSE MEANWHILE THERE IS A MEAT INDUSTRY. So, I got short and started texting obviously as if to say This Convo Is Finito. And he got the hint after a few more attempts at conversation, and then he started talking to someone else. I don't know, am I horrible? I just...I just think even if you have a mental issue, you still shouldn't decide if someone else with a sicker mental issue is allowed to paint or not.

4. I do not want to pack even though I am quite excited to be in California tomorrow for family holiday reunion bonanza bash explosion party woop woop! Nope. Even that ridic string of shindig vocab did not enthuse me to pack.

5. Dinner: Wheat tortilla, spread with peanut cashew almond butter, stuffed with broccoli. Iron Chef--literally. So much iron.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rain in AZ

Rainy day in Kyoto. 2008.

It rained all day. I'm done with finals--I turned in my last paper yesterday at 10 PM. It was anti-climactic.
It doesn't feel like vacation because 1. it's not Christmas weather yet. 2. I still have work--long, long shifts at work.
Today I worked a ten hour shift. I made a lot of deliveries around campus.
My hood was up and the manilla envelopes holding students' finals were shoved under my sweater.

Everyone was complaining about the weather all day. Gloomy.
My purple Chucks were victims of many a puddle. I do agree with my co-workers: Rain blows. But, also, it's beautiful 98% of the time here. On Sunday night I took a writing break and walked a couple blocks to the mailbox. In shorts. When I got home I kicked off my shoes and continued work on our balcony. I feel like it's just rude to complain. Like, I mean, I could have gone without the chilly drips on my cheeks, but Mother Nature can only do so much, can she not?

I guess we always just want things to be how we want things to be.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nevermind I'll Find

I declined a game of Hanging with Friends, a word game, with Chelle because she kept losing.
She says she's bad at the game, but she keeps playing. I don't understand.

She pole-vaulted in high school, and I asked Why? We were having late lunch together on Thursday at the bar on the corner of Apache. Happy hour nachos. There is a world record for vaulting, and most high schoolers are never going to get it.

Chelle explained, No, it's about your PR. That's it.

But what have you done then? What have you done besides arbitrarily gotten better? Lord knows the ghetto production of Neil's Simon's Fools I was in as a high school sophomore was no Tony Winning Gem, but we created something unable to be duplicated.

I said Why even invite the other teams? Why not just do your individual events and call them, compare scores over the phone and declare winners?

Today Chelle asked Why not play a subpar game of Hanging with Friends? I said I could not rationalize it. She said I do not have to rationalize everything, and I countered, "I do."
"Would you die if you didn't?"
"I will die regardless."
"But would that be the cause of your death? Would you explode if you didn't rationalize whether or not to play a game with me?"
She was testing my "I do"--implied "HAVE to rationalize." The word game.
I said, "Avoiding explosion isn't my motive for living."

In fact, I do think I have to rationalize. I do. Because I think my motive for living is to live a rational life.

...But then I arrive at the reoccurring conclusion that life has no rationality. And so even to live as rationally as possible still means swirling through a vortex of Made Up. And then what? Pole vault anyway? Play the game your opponent will lose?

You know how the time flies.
Only yesterday was the time of our lives.
We were born and raised in a summer haze
bound by the surprise of our glory days.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Don't Think

You can't win them all, but that really wouldn't be fun, I don't think.

Treehouse in Germany. 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2011










Nah, it's cool. I have chocolate to get me through the night.

Wait. I said I ate the whole box of Whitman's already?


Yeah, that's totally fine.

How's It Going to Be?

Germany. June 2011.

Don't know why, but I do love this photo of Pookie and me. We look old here--like we're the adults with jobs and big kid lives we supposedly are.

I'm on a huge 90s kick lately with music. And kind of with everything. I just love the stupid 90s. I really just do.

I wonder how it's going to be
when you don't know me.
How's it going to be
when you're sure I'm not there?
How's it going to be
when there's no one there to talk to?
Between you and me--
'cause I don't care--
how's it going to be?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Declaring Murder: Part III

We've talked about my place of part-time employment, right? I work at a disability center proctoring tests for students. It's different every day. Sometimes I just sit with ADD kids in a small empty room and read, periodically checking if they are cheating. Sometimes I fill in scantron bubbles for kids with casts. Sometimes I walk around campus delivering completed tests back to professors, wondering how many freaking holiday office parties I am going to interrupt, and how come no one has the decency to offer me any of those delicious cookies.

So, recently I was proctoring for a woman with slow speech, a big leg brace, glasses. I had to read her test aloud and follow her instructions from her to look up answers in her text book. It was an intro biology class. She had failed it three times before she told me. A 100-level class with open book exams. Multiple choice.

This woman did not get how to play the game. For example, if the question was like, "When was the first Homoerectus fossil, Lucy, discovered?" she would say, "Okay, check the Index to see if "fossil" is in there." As a proctor, I can't help students with any material based questions. So, I couldn't offer a simple, "You know, fossil gives us a lot of pages...why not try "Lucy" first?" I just sat there, flipping back and forth between all the uses of "fossil" and reading sections aloud. Sometimes I would read the answer to the question in a section of text, and she wouldn't catch it. I'd repeat, but only as much as she would ask me. I couldn't say, "'s this. It's D. I just read it."

State Fair poultry. November 2011.

She was really nice, but she just didn't know. Ultimately, I think she did alright. I was just so flustered to be a drone. So flustered this is what education is in the United States at the University level. I asked what her major was as we walked out of the little testing room. She explained she was a sociology major--hoping to one day be a counselor for battered women. "So I can help them get out before it's too late, even though I couldn't," she said. "My husband shot me in the head."

I exhaled. I am so glad I was not short with this woman. I am so glad I have learned patience and understanding over the years. Lord help this woman become a counselor even if she doesn't have a brain for biology.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In Defense of My Laziness

It's not unusual for me to write in this blog about how much I don't want to do homework or grade or something, but, actually, that's not how I feel a large majority of the time. It probably seems like it though because if I am excited about play revisions or grading a stack of comedic scenes, then why would I be procrastinating on my blog?

So, the other side of the coin: Today I was extremely productive.

I woke up and without sitting up, immediately plopped my laptop on my stomach to take care of business: e-mails, grading, writing, revising. Here's the thing: when I feel like working, man, do I work. It's not even like I have to conciously try to stay focused. When I'm iin the zone, nothing else sounds good. I even TRIED to get myself to break. "Hey, Alice, why not just pause for twenty to watch an episode of Boy Meets World or something? Hey, you haven't eaten today. Don't you think you should do that?" TV is out of the question. I wouln't even watch it, like a child forced to attend the opera, I would just mentally consider all the other things I could be doing. I considered eating, but the only thing that would have satisfied me was my work--looking at my to-do list, imagining the next check mark.

By 1 PM I had done full revisions of my new play and graded a bunch of screenplays. I cleaned my entire room and ran five miles. While my hair dried I watched half of The Kids Are All Right (which I loved) and ate a wheat tortilla filled with jalepeno hummus.

Then, I started writing my Dramaturgy paper due Tuesday. I started planning revisions for Theatre History's paper. My professor got back to me with feedback of my first draft. I have a ton of new research to do before Monday. I did not worry. I am the champion of this paper. I will win the World Series in this paper. It took all the strength in the world for me to shut my computer while zooming ahead on these projects. But, I promised myself I'd go to church tonight. I was onto me.

I am scheduled for a long shift at work tomorrow. I start early. I should sleep early, but all I want to do is stay up all night doing my homework. That sounds divine.

Monday, December 5, 2011


"It hasn't hit me yet"--This sentiment always feel jagged to me, rough cutting. I know what it means, but I don't like it. I know what it's like to terminate a relationship and then check my e-mail and weigh the pros and cons of an e-coupon. I know what it's like for my grandfather to pass away, cry for five minutes, and then dress up as a talking piglet or dance to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" during a "Best Of" sketch comedy show. I know because that happened yesterday. And then I know how to write my final paper on the racial themes of Show Boat throughout it's five Broadway productions while I miss that man, and suddenly Chelle shows up with a cake frosted in red and green.

It hasn't hit me, but why must it? I don't like the "yet" because who says when "big" things happen they must be big? Why is it natural to come to a point of absolute devastation, horror, drunken elation about new chapters? We live day by day, and it all strings together like Cheerios on yarn weaving between the fir tree branches.

There shouldn't be a moment when everything in your world closes up. Ever. No clam shells, no ring boxes, no tight-fitting Tupperware. Even if it's all meant to be reopened! Even if that's the intent! Even if you're meant to transform! No, no, just string along. Just string along--one spool, one life.

May 2009.

Here's to a sincerely great man.

He don't plant 'taters.
He don't plant cotton,
and them that plant 'em
is soon forgotten.
But ol' man river,
he jus' keeps rollin' along.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Semester of Lulz

Lowsta and me covered in donut debris from a sketch yesterday.

It kind of blows my mind how much comedy I've done in the past few months. I don't know how to feel about it. Most of the time I've really enjoyed it and tried to learn from it, but, oddly, when you do it so much, you start to operate at a lower level of excellence...not because you're tired, but because it's not special.

If you do a new sketch show every week, it's not a big deal if you kind of flub some lines and turn something that was good on paper into something that's just mediocre on stage. Improv every week? It all runs together and you start not to care.

Thursday we did our last improv show of the semester (for me the year since I teach during our show in the spring term), and I didn't even think to think of it as meaningful. Tomorrow is our sketch "Best Of" show. Today we rehearsed for almost five hours to prepare. At the end of it all, my face was on fire, my brain clogged with all the lines of previous week's work and props to bring. Isn't this supposed to be fun? It is. It really is. I'm just overworked.

I did stand-up last night too. I did alright, but I would have done better if I had actually worked any of my bits instead of just sort of prancing around a couple funny ideas I had been mulling over lately. Just no time. I mean, gosh, I've got three final projects due in the next, like, 72 hours.

Basically: I'm not sure what my future holds for the funny biz. I've got sights set on a summer program, sure, but what about just next month? Can I do this again? I really do not know.

I do know I have met some good people through comedy--some better than others (boop). Ultimately I guess that's what everything's all about: "Well, did I meet some cool people?" And, if you do comedy, it's basically a given. I dunno, guys. I dunno.

What made us think that we were wise?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Emizzle from Henne

"I forgot to tell you about the bones I had to pick with your stress baking post...BECAUSE THIS IS ALL I HAVE TO DO AT WORK TODAY, KIND OF.

A. I loooooove to stress bake and I am not a woman (and i'd rather be a woman. just kidding. kind of. being a woman sounds stinky! but they do get away with a hilariously gaudy lifestyle much easier than I do). the point is, i live to make cheesecakes when i should be doing anything but. and i'm baking it all with my wang.
B. I loooooove to give away stress baking. It's just a temporary diversion, and hopefully, by the time baking is done, I am less stressed. If I've taken an hour to bake a cake and then I feel like I am owed that entire cake because I'm still so stressed, I should probably quit whatever I'm trying to do. Also, all stress bakers' hearts would explode with alllllll the funky stress-baking butter if we didn't give it away.
C. What the stress baking giver-away-er is not telling you is how little they did while they were baking. Their paper, in the case of a fellow estudiante, probably is kaka. Being emotionally unstable takes up a lot of time, so rather than scrutinizing people who bake while stressed, we should probably take a long hard look at their dark, dark soul (not mine) and figure out what's actually wrong.
D. I love all uncooked doughs and batters. Sometimes that's enough to push me to bake. Then I've really not needed the baked treat by the time my oven proverbially dings.

The End!

I look forward to continuing this dialogue about treats because I would really like one right about now."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

As Many Oreos

Needed advice from Muff:

"I love you so much, sleep a lot, don't kill yourself over finals, you're already doing an in-depth job, eat as many Oreos as you want (maybe that's bad advice). "

Falling asleep! Bye!