Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twenty Thirteen

Obvi, I want to improve tremendously in 2013, but, a lot of those changes require vague goals like "get sleep."

Touchable Goals 2013:

-attempt doing the splits every single day until I can (or it's like August and I've gotten nowhere...then I can give up)
-write in my gratitude journal every night
-eat more vegan--to help start 2013 right, I may do my annual vegan month in January

Christmas has felt like last chance non-vegan hurrahs. Observe my mom's pumpkin cheesecake with Oreo crust.


For self assigned penance.
For problems with easy solutions.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thoughts on Lincoln

-Coulda been better.
-Joseph Gordon-Levitt was pushing it.
-Tommy Lee Jones was hilar, hilar.
-The film argues that the ends justify the means when it comes to politics and corruption. I still think I disagree despite this very famous example.
-The beginning was too slow, and the first scene was superfluous.
-DDL had the right soul.
-Best part was "Battle Cry of Freedom," which I know all the words to and is now stuck in my head thanks to my 4th grade choir class and our Civil War unit.
-I'm glad I do not live in a country with war on her land. I wish I lived in a country that was not part of any wars, but I also concede war is complicated.
-Robert California! What you doin' with a handlebar 'stache in the 1800s?! Go back to Dunder Mifflin!
-I would hate to have a boss who stopped everything and told cute little stories.
-I am surprised more women in that time period didn't go crazy considering their societal placement.
-Ate a lot of Chex Mix. Hashtag YOLO.
-Wonder who made the final call on how to deal with assassination.
-There is a ticking, and urgency, to everything we feel we must do, but we have to learn to sort when that urgency is just panic and when it is carved-out and necessary.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sleazy Wednesday

Welcome to the future.
We're all so glad you came.
Attacked me in the laneway--in this town you don't get nowhere unless you're on a bicycle.
So hip and out of touch.
Parked out on a speedway.
Just trying not to move.
It's only getting harder now.
We can engineer a wall that couldn't fall with all this time.
My life in Technicolor, can you check the shutters?
Someone get my mother on the phone--
she oughta know what I'm up to.
Out here in Hollywood you don't need a sweater 'cause the sun feels better in slow motion.

I'll ride the wave back home.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

BH



Cookies 'n' cocoa.


Ghost of Christmas Past: Let's face it, Frank. Garden slugs got more out of life than you.
Frank: Yeah? Name one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Grinch's Log: Entry #0007

Shells' gift. Filled with pb.
The days are long and full of sugar, artificial heat. Stir crazy is setting in. 7th day in my sister's tiny apartment. First mate Char keeping up the morale, but also falling asleep pretty regularly. Henchman Pookie on KP--washing dishes with lightening speed from the multiple entrees of pie and mallomars I am consuming at breakneck pace.

Journeyed to a local cinema to see a buffalo nickel movie yesterday. Ironically, we chose Argo, you know, the one about the hostages. Hitting too close to home. In other news, still hating the cold, snow, being indoors, having to drive everywhere, and, of course, Christmas in general.

Waiting for heart growth steroids. Worried will not arrive based on holiday parcel traffic. Fear for my henchman and first mate. Their souls are subject to my bitter seasonal rage, anxiety, and moodiness. Over and out.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Halfway

I am officially halfway done with my MFA. It was a good semester.

Fall 2012 in 26 Snapshots

Pumpkin bagels on top of the crockpot.
John D. croonin' out my laptop speakers.
Imagining Slender Man in the corner, by my closet.
I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her. Oh-oh-oh.
Longform sets on the park blacktop. Planes overhead.
Grey running shorts. Orange spotted dress.
"We Are Never Getting Back Together."
Chickpeas in the food processor.
Sitting in the back row of Primary Colors with Hill.
Warm-ups with Barren Mind in a Santa Monica parking garage.
Riding my scooter to Los Favs.
Shy boy sitting on the MU stage holding a sign that says "Period."
Wearing combat boots.
Watching The Mindy Project while grading screenplays about sushi.
Ro sitting at my kitchen table.
Stretching in a circle of green improvisers.
American Horror Story discussions in the ed building basement.
"Ball is fine."
The red cover of Topdog/Underdog.
Miming skipping rocks on a railroad track in Wisconsin.
The sink in Ermo's office. The plastic mug on his desk.
The town lake bridge in lit blue.
Ru saying YOLO.
New squishy bicycle seat.
Pincushion sprawled across a sofa in the theatre building foyer.
Opening the door from a dark room to a woman holding two blankets.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Heresick

Tomorrow I fly back to the Midwest for holidaze. I am looking forward to seeing my family, but I do not want to leave.

I love Arizona: pink skies, cacti, mountains, boys outside the Circle K glugging plastic gallons of water, My Friends, Sunday improv in the design building, Tuesday improv on the library lawn, students who say "I'm not just saying this--," the click of my bedroom door closing, my cushy bed, fresco bean burritos, the stone bus stop, the rainbowed aisles of Mexican soda, my poster of Peeta. When I have to leave here, I feel sick and sad like it's the last night of summer camp.

Some people will never experience certain kinds of love in their lives. I will probably never "get" that hardcore sportsfan-die-hard-my-blood-runs (insert color). I can't imagine what it's like to be an only child and have that sibling connection missing from your experience. The first time romance is a true possibility something is exposed to you, from you. And me? I love the place I live so fiercely, that it pains me to take a vacation.

Ironically, this is not AZ. This is Disney's version of AZ in Cars Land. Hill and me this weekend.
So I went to Arizona to escape my blues.
That paradise bird sang and my life was never ever the same.
Arizona, Arizona you were good to me.


It's a Small, Small, World

"You'll remember that so much more than the grading you should have been doing."--Heart, after I told him I went to Disneyland in the middle of finals.

Two weeks ago Hill texted me, "But what if you went to Disneyland next Friday?" and although a teeny part of my brain chirped "Please do not do that" I could not stop my fingers from racing "YES YES YES" because it's Disneyland at Christmas.

Disneyland is corporate America at it's best, over-priced, sentimental, and subtly racist at every turn, but guess WHAT? I love it. I had The Most Fun. It was exceedingly refreshing to spend a few days with people I don't know very well, and as cliche as it sounds, Disney makes me happy. It's overpriced because there is magic to be made--or at least synthesized. I am in debt to that magic. Schoolwork and logistics don't seem important on Space Mountain. There are no personal offenses to consider in the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion.

The group right after It's a Small World lit on up.
At about 6 PM I started feeling ill. At 7:30 I was vomiting my guts out. Goodbye burrito from Downtown Disney. Farewell, Dole whip. Sayonara, bread bowl from California Adventure. I really wanted to push through and finish out the night, but I just couldn't. I needed to be thankful for the good I had already received. Jungle Cruise and Indy and Cars, oh my. I stoically bid everyone goodnight and walked, shaking, back to the hotel alone. I counted blessings in the dark on my pull-out until I fell asleep. In an hour I was awoken by fireworks, and everything was perfect and beautiful. Stomach still, head relieved. I kicked on my shoes in joy and ran to the balcony! The sky show was not only fantastic kiddy excitement with mouse ears, it was a celebration of my well-being. I jogged back to the park, where everyone was spilling out with throbbing feet. I was not phased by the hoards of tired tourists shoving on the faux main street of yesteryear. I was in love with everyone--I had my health.

I walked to up to this group of friends I only kind of know nursing aching backs in Tomorrowland, and they cheered for me. "You rallied!" said Spiff. We took a ride with C-3PO. All were exhausted and ready to call it at 11:15. I could not! Too much glee. I told them to leave, but I was going on Peter Pan. Reluctantly, one by one, they all joined me in line. The perfect end to a perfect day--flying over London, fighting pirates, think happy thoughts.


Photo by Hill.
Think happy thoughts.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finals Are Happening

So blog is backburnin'. See y'all in...a while.

If you're wondering what I'm up to....it probably looks like some for of this.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This Is Out of Character for Me?

Spent a solid twenty minutes defending a comedic rape scene to my advisor today. I'm really trying to understand how to approach rape in art. I think it's important. Rape is a thing that happens. A complicated thing that happens. And complicated things are meant to be unraveled--not shut into shoe boxes.

Rape is also really in right now--as slang, jokes, perpetually in young adult lit. As a writer, I need to explore it. As humans we should all explore what we think rape means--how we can uplift our communities from it, how we can help victims heal and avoid. As a comedian, it's in my personal philosophy that anything can be funny. Not that everything is. But that anything can be. So. I'm paddling in strange oceans. I am in school. This is the time to take risks. I don't appreciate being told there is a topic I simply must avoid. Especially when the same professor assigns Anne Bogart's "Embarrassment" essay to me. LEAP?

During college I was a champion for all rights all the time, and I was a stickler about a lot of things...but it's complicated. It's complicated to give ideas power by rolling them into punchlines and also complicated to give ideas power by only accepting them in episodes of Degrassi.

Someone will be offended. Of that I can be sure. But someone always is.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spent Gladiator

Do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive.
Do every stupid thing to try to drive the dark away.
Let people call you crazy for the choices that you make.
Climb limits past the limits.
Jump in front of trains all day.

And stay alive.
Just stay alive.

Play with matches if you think you need to play with matches.
Seek out the hidden places where the fire burns hot and bright.
Find where the heat's unbearable and stay there if you have to.
Don't hurt anybody on your way up to the light.

And stay alive.
Just stay alive.

People might laugh at your tattoos.
When they do get new ones in completely garish hues.
I hide down in my corner because I like my corner.
I am happy where the vermin play.

Make up magic spells .
We wear them like protective shells.
Land-mines on the battlefield.
Find the one safe way.

And stay alive.
Just stay alive.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Love You, John Darnielle

Kicking myself for not writing down the setlist as it happened. The Mountain Goats. Such a good, loving, happy concert. I've never seen a performer so absolutely sweet to his adoring fans. Even in the midst of screeching his lil heart out, John was smiling like "Oh, you guys, it's alright." He sounded absolutely beautiful live and often prefaced songs with "This song is about--" which from a post-modern standpoint is insignificant, but, from a personal This Man Is Such a Beacon of Talent standpoint was riveting.

Favorites were the opener "White Cedar," "Cry for Judas," and, of course, the encore finale was "This Year." Ro and I jumped and danced and beamed as this creator beamed down on us.

There is a True Grace in love, and you don't have to know who you are loving to love them. For them to feel loved. That is what I learned last night in the pretty little Crescent Ballroom on December 8th, 2012.

I don't have to be afraid. Speed that day on its way.
And you can't tell me what my spirit tells me isn't true, can you?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On This Per-Fect Day-Ay

Yesterday was a horribly unproductive wonderful day.

It is amazing how fast a promise of "We will all grade and study at my condo until 4 and reward ourselves with vegan milkshakes even though we just had lunch at Thai Basil" between Ru, Kale, and me turns into "Except isn't it time for Alice to get a new ringtone?"
We got the shakes anyway.
Someone planned a theatre mixer for professional/academic reasons, but the main thing is Hill, Ru, and I got together for free spanokapita and lemon bar reasons. Ru stuffed his pockets full of brownies for our long walk home.

At night there was sketch comedy and my improv team beat our rival sister troupe in a battle show. Last of the semester. I was awarded some Top Ramen with "MVP" written on with marker. It smudged onto my fingers. I washed them in the In N Out sink.
Ru, Ro, Shells, Dronin
"Aren't you coming to the party?" texts. I reply, "No, thank you!" and it is time for bed.

The rest of the weekend will be so full of production, you may as well call me a sweatshop.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Doing What I Want

Departmental issues etc. etc. led me to be spokesperson of my program in the face of rapid changes that undercut our studies. I did not want this position, but no one else would or could take it. So.

I complained about it to my sister on Thanksgiving, and she was like, "What if you just...don't?" I hadn't considered that. Where there is injustice, something much be done. I told her I had already scheduled the meeting, and I didn't want to back out, but perhaps she had a point.

On the way to improv class I told Kale's BF I hate being in leadership positions, and he was like, "Pssh. Well, be prepared to hate your life." Because I am someone who ends up in charge. It happens to me everywhere I go. From this important meeting to my improv team sitting down at the restaurant last Friday night, realizing the entrees were $15 and looking at me before I nodded, we all got up, and left.

I know other people who wish they didn't have to be in charge, but then when they aren't running things, they fidget like wild. I am not that way. I don't often mind watching most things implode--as long as someone is steering the disaster. However, if everyone's just running around and screaming, I sigh and take the reigns. I realize this might come off as egotistical. I'm not even saying I'm good at being in charge. I'm saying I'm responsible and for some reason people generally respect me.

This summer I sat on a grassy hill with Heart and said something offhand like "Well, it's important we all do things we don't want to." And he was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa...no?" I was all, "Yeah--I don't want to go camp in Africa, but the Peace Corps is important, so maybe one day I will." And he was like, "Yo, Alice, some people LIKE camping in Africa. Let them do that." That's true for sure. But, is it always true? If you're a good person, should you just do what you want and leave it at that?

Three important things happened today.
1. The big meeting. Now, I've said my piece, I've voiced my programs needs, and that's as far as I have to go.
2. Leaving, I walked with Ermo across campus. We discussed the pros and cons of what had just happened and then chittered a bit. I realized we were both walking to the same place, but I had nothing more to say. Usually, I try to be honest about every stupid thing--including not white lying about "Oh, I have to go to the library now," but with "Do what you want, Alice" dancing in my head, I did just that. I walked down the library steps thinking I would pause and then head back in the direction I had been moving with Ermo when I heard my name being lovingly called by three friendos. One I almost never see. I sat down and we three proceeded to have delightful conversation. I would have missed it if I hadn't been selfish. And not even selfish! I'm no dummy, Ermo was running out of stuff to say too.
3. I saw a play. It was good--some parts great! Awesome choreography, tech, acting, space, costumes...but I was still bored at part. Not the play's fault at all. It had just been a twelve hour day at school, and that's enough. And in that odd headspace of unwanted boredom I realized that theatre is really dumb sometimes because no matter what you make, people will hate it. Even if they want to love it or objectively do. And there goes the last scrap of definitive drive I had toward my degree.

In short: from now on, I think I will try doing what I want? Updates forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Semester Trois Closes

"Hello Alice,

What exactly do we need to put on the title page of the script again? 

Also, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are the best T.A. You are very understanding, fun and optimistic about things and I can tell you care about us which made the recitation class a lot more comfortable. Especially when we had to present our work. I have recommended you to some of my film buddies and I hope your future classes will be as good as our class was! Thank you for a great semester! "

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cat Calls

On Thanksgiving, my sister and I were on a walk, and she tweeted something I said to the effect of, "I hope Obama doesn't fix the jobs act soon because the bums calling me beautiful on the way to school is necessary to my self-esteem." I was kidding, but only kind of. Because in my short fifteen minute bike ride I usually get at least one cat call of some kind. I really have no idea why this is. I really don't understand cat calls--especially to girls on bikes.

A couple weeks ago, Ro and I were on a walk when a guy screamed out of his speeding car, "YOU'RE HOTT." I yelled in mock desperation, "Wait! Come back! If you love us, why would you leave us!?" And the car paused a couple blocks up, and we panicked before realizing there was a stop sign.

It's like...what's the purpose? It's not an actual pick-up. Is it some kind of hope to exert an uncomfortable power? To make women feel victimized for no real reason? It's not earnest. 80% of the time I'm on my bike I'm sweating my face off. And, as a strong, independent female, how does one react? I usually show I'm not intimidated and say "thank you" as I whiz by. Does this encourage that behavior? Is random yelling at women "Good morning, gorgeous" offensive in the first place? Because maybe it's not.

Today on my way to work I was stopped at a big intersection with lots of cars and people all around. A man jogged right in front of me as the crosswalk was blinking a red hand. He yelled out, "WOO! I MADE IT." And I smiled at him, because we should celebrate just making lights. He turned to me and boomed so allllll could hear: "Oh. My. GOD. You are BEAUTIFUL." Since I didn't have the security of motion, and all these people were watching, I blushed down at the ground, and put up my palm.

Immediately, a thunderous, "THAT WAS A COMPLIMENT. I'M NOT HITTING ON YOU. GET OVER YOURSELF."

And you betcha I felt victimized for no reason. And I bore a hole into the asphalt under my front tire, and I took off like a rocket when I got that green.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Just Got Home and I Honestly Can't Even Remember What My Real Life Responsibilities Are

1. The weekend felt much longer than it was. It was a true vacation--fresh faces, friendly faces, and getting to know my teammates on a deeper level. An unfamiliar place to run--past all the Mexican markets, Korean pre-schools, a robin's egg blue Victorian-style house with chipped siding and a hole in the roof. Vegan club sandwich. Sprinkles ice cream. Buttermilk donuts. The. God. Darn. Ocean.
2. We won our regional, and I couldn't be happier/prouder. NATIONALS-BOUND!

Right after finals!
A bunch of our LA-res supporters came out--including my own personal fan club of Jamin, Dizz, their sig others, P-San, and EE. I felt super loved, and my cheerleaders were really happy for me. Everyone was really happy for us, of course! But, you know, I don't think anyone can understand what this means to us. It may only be a little regional competition, but to us it was the Nobel Prize in comedy. And that feeling might be smudged away by a stack of papers on the ethics of handling child actors or a revision deadline tomorrow, but, tonight, I will dream sweet longform improv dreams.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts

Tomorrow my team heads to LA for a big improv tournament. We might win. We might not. I'm just happy to feel legitimately proud sharing the stage with all of them. I love my teammates very much. I am sick and tired of rewrites and grading, but I am not sick of these goobers even one tiny little bit.

Some scrappy boys at Tuesday's rehearsal.
Back on Sunday, y'all. Hopefully with a plaque.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Morning Inspiration

Bathed myself in inspiration to prepare for today's demands. Some essays by Brecht and an article by Paul Stark Seeley.

"It is significantly hard to find out anything about what other European writers think. But I take it that where literature, for instance, is concerned they all share more or less the same view, namely that writing is a melancholy business. As usual Shaw, whose views about anything under the sun are far from unknown, differs from his colleagues here...he likes writing. There is no room for a martyr's halo even outside his head. His literary activities have in no sense cut him off from life. On the contrary. I am not sure if it is the right way to measure his gifts, but I can only say that the effect of this inimitable cheerfulness and infectious good mood is quite exceptional."--Brecht, "Three Cheers for Shaw"

"The accomplishment of this demand may be a long-continuing one, but let us remember we cannot find any objective to compare with this one, and the rewards are immediate and continuous."--PSS

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The For Sures

Just want to take a moment to defend making choices based on the little things.

People ask me why I ended up at the school I did. Truthfully, I have a different answer for every level of depth into my life the asker is willing to go (knee-deep? waist-deep?). But, the surfacey-est answer is that it's dang warm here!

I wore gym shorts to school today (as I do probably 60 percent of days). It's almost December, and that inspires no fear into my cold toesies. Two years ago I remember the first brisk day--in September, dear sweet Lord--and feeling like my time was running out. Soon all will be a cold frozen wasteland.

Anyway, some people might say you shouldn't choose your grad school based on how many months a year your pool is useful, but those people are WRONG. Because the little things are little, but at least they are FOR SURE. If you try to make decisions based on big things, guess WHAT. YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE LIKE NEVER MET AND THEN WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF? But, if you're like, "Yo. I'm taking this job because it seems alright AND it's easy to bike to" even if the work turns out to be ridiculous, you'll always have a nice commute. It's FOR SURE.

Transition from fall to winter breakfast Sunday.
And what's "important" anyway? What's "insignificant" and what's not? I'd like to know who is making these rules. Because I think I've probably found the most consistent joy in stuff that doesn't seem like it should matter.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making Dreams Come True

It's a double-edged sword not having a dream.

Was talking with a friend a few summers ago, and she kept referring to her future children in a factual sense. "So, you definitely want kids." I surmised. She nodded and I told her she'd be a good mom (she would). She looked down into her lap, paused, then said, "It's scary. What if I never meet the right person?" It was the first time I had considered the fear associated with having a dream. I thanked the Maine stars above us that as a gal without strong maternal instinct, I'll never feel that pressure.

We are bathed in "live your dream" and "shoot for the moon" posters in elementary school, but I know a guy who's dream was to be a pro tennis player. And at age 22, he wasn't. And, guess what? That's when you're in the best shape of your life. Dream deferred? Nah, dawg, game over.

I give thanks for my spiritual education that has taught me to seek treasures in heaven instead of the flesh. What we do is just stuff. It's who we are and how we love that fill the pitcher full. But.

Friday I told my sister how I revisited my high school blog recently and how comical my life goals were when I was 15:

"Seven things to do before death( these all are very difficult to actually accomplish)
1) find out what deja vu is
2) fall in love
3) be on SNL
4) go to state in speech or group interp
5) paint a pretty picture
6) look really hott for something important*
7) eat an entire box of chocolate while watching my favorite movies"

Embarrassing/hilarious. But, at least I'm 6 for 7...subjectively.* I mean, obviously there's one goal here that doesn't quite fit in with the others in terms of ease/lack therof...

Pookie exclaimed, "Do it! Go be on SNL!" But, one, that's not something you can just do. Two, there are formal steps I could be taking to improve my chances, but I'm not in an appropriate location for that, and I'm not going to drop out of school. And, THREE, I don't actually think that's my dream job anymore. I really don't. Each passing year edges me closer to page and further from stage. I'm no longer a performer who writes. I'm a writer who performs. Probably in terms of talent, surely in terms of preference.

There are some things I can do to keep poking at the possibility of New York sketch comedy in my future. (Oh, that's a whole other thing. I don't want to live in New York!) I can keep writing sketch (I've been distracted this semester by major focus on my newest play). I can do more stand-up. (But, it stresses me out, and it often interferes with my grading routine.)

It's not an end-all, be-all dream, so I 'm not too concerned with making end-all, be-all strides in that direction. Maybe I want to be a classroom educator forever! Maybe an English teacher! But, wait, my resume is thin. I don't have time for more English classes so I can take more writing classes.

Maybe my biggest dream is writing the Great American Play? Doubtful though. Since I'd rather go to improv rehearsal than do rewrites. It's this horrid cycle of having several key interests and no dreams. On one hand, if I have no dream, my dream can never be crushed. On the other hand, I am a hard worker and an officious person, so right now without one clear focus, I pour over lectures to give my students and don't sleep in order to edit new scenes and only break from grading long enough to show up early to improv rehearsal. Since I don't know where I'm going, every single step is make or break. You might think, "That doesn't sound so bad. We should strive to do everything well." And I agree, but doing everything you do well is different than plain doing everything. And I know this was long to read, but I've been up for hours writing and I can't even tell you why.

Hey now, hey now. This is what dreams are made of.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pookie Caught a 6 AM Flight, and I'm Just Up Missin' My Sis

Six hours ago.
She thought it was a kiss. Nope. A lick.

Pride. Disgust.


Revenge.

Disgust. Comeuppance. 

Blobbin'. 
Ruv.

But I think it's best if we both stay, stay, stay, stay.

Monday, November 19, 2012

And Lights

Light is a miracle too. There's this power that illuminates! That light even exists at all is incredible. And then when I think that I have the power to erase the dark from an entire room with the mild force of my finger on a plastic wall tab...and I am given this power--no, I feel entitled to this power--without even having to ever understand it?

Biking home tonight the AMPM looked so beautiful. Barf if you want, but it did. The purple top being lit up by a trillion pennies of light. Little spots pouring down onto each pump. Red 98 CENT sign in the background. Next to the block letters of the Mexican place I've got a gift certificate to. Ro smokes two cigarettes on my porch and the end is a teeny torch, making our faces glow. The jets crossing over my condo, blink blink. Blink blink.

You little wonder, you. Wish you could see it too. Baby, how I see you.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wasser

A moment of appreciation for water. Life is truly a miracle. Not only is my civilized life a miracle in that this magical fluid lives inside metal cylinders ready for my every need, but Life as we know it on Earth is a miracle because there is this substance that cleanses, that hydrates, that in different forms both  floated and sunk the Titanic.

I am so grateful for water right now. I am in a sleepy slump--still behind a giant paper mill of grading, but also in bed--with wet hair from rinsing on the account of chlorine in my hot tub, which Bug and I just melted into after nomming on the s'mores bars I made. A plastic movie theatre cup on my bedstand--full of the stuff.

Lil melon I picked up at the farmer's market in September. Had to bike home with it.
So I hope I never see the ocean again,
pushing and pulling at me as I go deeper and deeper in--
'til I'm so far from my shore, so far from what I came here for.
I let you surround me.
I let you drown me out with your din,
and then I learned how to swim.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Known Your Onion

I believe there is a reason you were alive today every day. It's your job to find it.

Shells waiting... 
...for "Best Dessert in AZ." September 2012.

God speed all the bakers at dawn. May they all cut their thumbs, 
and bleed into their buns 'till they melt away. 
I'm looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find. 
Without a trust or flaming fields, am I too dumb to refine? 
And if you'd 'a took to me like--
Well, I'd a danced like the queen of the eyesores,
and the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thee Pop-Tarts by Anton Chekhov

In the past month I've eaten three new kinds of pop-tarts!

1. Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tart. A! It tasted like pumpkin pie! But crunchier! I wrote about it in my annual pumpkin review. Google my full name and "pumpkin." Ye shall find!
LOLOLOL PART OF THIS BALANCED BREAKFAST (Strawberries who am I kidding?)
2. Is the I-Scream Cone Pop-Tart. D-. Sprinkles on a nasty lil choco tart with sugary vanillia(ish) interior. Not sweet enough to be dessert, but definitely not breakfast.


3. I've seen "Confetti Cake" Pop-Tarts on shelves for a long time now, and I'm always not into it (ditto the Sugar Cookie Pop-Tarts...you'd think I'd try anything once, but. No.) But then, Kelloggs changed the little picture on the box from a block of white cake to a cupcake, and voila, it's in my grocery cart.

I TA until 7:15 on Thursdays. And the movie we were watching went a million years late. And I had to talk to students. And I biked home. At 8:30 PM I was famished and so excited for my date with these puppies.



Major A. Tasted like a cupcake! For real! Not too sweet! So enjoyable! Confetti sprinkles!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Is Appropriate (Huh)

"I love when we talk about what is appropriate for young girls." Hill Gchats me. She is at the front of our giant lecture class we team-TA, and I am in the back, while the 150 film students (mostly men) discuss Kick Ass and how that child was overly-sexualized despite there being no mention or allusion to sex with/for her in the film.

"Her clothes are tight," someone says, referring to the spandex superhero costume she wears. Huh.

I wrote "Huh?" in the feedback section of a student essay after "I don't know what you're saying in paragraph two." Then I quoted the nonsensical sentence. This guy accosts me after class: "Your feedback was unprofessional, rude, and not helpful at all."

Baffled, I followed his finger to the "Huh." I explained I meant I didn't understand, but he attacked again. And then he stood there arguing his paper was much better than I graded it. Meanwhile, he cannot look me in the face. His eyes keep dashing down to my low hanging wooden necklace and back up and down and back up and down.

In our improv show today, Skars was explaining a game, so I walked across the stage to grab my water bottle and two goofy guys sandwiched me with their bodies. I gave a faux shriek. This is part of ensemble work. Skars turned around and said, "C'mon, Alice! Get it together!" and the entire audience laughed. I scampered offstage, and from behind the flats I hear Skars, "Always trying to get attention. Look at how she's dressed!" I cry out in mock anger, "I dress like a librarian!" But it's true. I'm wearing a knee length purple dress and an extra large knit sweater that makes any curve of my body impossible to see.

Last week everyone at work got an e-mail with dress code reminders. "That's weird," I thought. "Who is this for?" Everyone looks good at work. The next morning one of my superiors comes directly up to me. No good morning. Just, "Did you get the dress code e-mail?" I say yes, and she raises her eyebrows.  I have no words. I mutter, "Is this not...?" And I reach for my bra strap, which admittedly is peeking around my shoulder, but before I can even apologize I'm hit with, "I see three violations in one outfit." I look down. It's my knee-length orange polka dot dress. I am only quizzical, so she says, "It's a bit short." I stand and show her how it is much longer than my fingertips. "Well," she says, "Definitely not shorter than that." And then she says, "And cleavage." The dress completely covers my whole front. There is not an option of anything else. I show her the cut. I say, "But, you can't see anything" to which she replies, "I could when I walked by." It's not possible! She tells me to wear a sweater and grimaces half-heartedly like, "Yup, those are the rules, wish they weren't, bummer!" My male co-worker was next to me the whole time. Listening and watching someone else define what parts of my sack of flesh that can and cannot be seen.

I love when we talk about what is appropriate for young girls. Huh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trust Me on This

Can we all agree that everyone has something to offer the world? I think we can. Well, okay, actually, I don't care if you think so. This is my blog and I think so.

In artistic communities it's easy to get judgmental. There's so much subjectivity for the taking! But, look, you have to dang trust that something amazing can come from any one or any idea at any time. It feels horrible to produce art and get flat out denial of potential. And, it's frankly never true. There's no such thing as a complete artistic failure. Even I like that one Starlight Express song.

So start with the standpoint of This Could Be Great. Then move on from there. I'm not saying nothing should ever be scrapped or everything is good. No! Far from it! I'm just saying, trust me on this.

Take me to everywhere,
but don't abandon me there.
Just want to say I've been.
I believe in you completely
though I may be dreaming sweetly of the--
I can hear the train, here again.
Can’t explain that midnight train, that midnight train.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12th

Last night a staged reading of my newest play went up. This production has been a point of stress in my life since my proposal for the show was accepted last year. It was garbonzo bean size when I left school in April, rolled to the size of a lion cub by summer (conceptualizing etc.), and by yesterday morning I could barely breathe with the Taj Mahal of anxiety that had been constructed on my chest. Two hours pre-show I was too inebriated by worry to even lead my cast in a warm-up. I secluded myself and got my tech cues together and stared at my shaking hands.

I feel good now that it's November 12th. I've been looking forward to this date for a long time. Last night after the lights came on, and I ran a talkback, and I hugged and thanked friends, and the cast went out for froyo, and I got onto my scooter, and I got into bed, I felt overwhelmingly emotional: happy it went well, nervous it didn't go as well as it maybe should have, grateful for my hard-working cast, surprised by some zany comedy friendos who actually showed up, disappointed by peers who didn't make it, unsupported, supremely supported, worn the heck down from being "in charge," excited by the idea of rewrites, horrified by the idea of rewrites. Mostly? Just tired.

Hill asked me what my favorite part was, and I answered truthfully the bows (to "Hey Hey Hey" by Jack's) because I knew it was OVER. I really do hate seeing my work performed--it's part of that terror I blogged about a couple weeks ago. I know it's just an itty bitty thing, but I dunno, as an artist if you don't take the itty bitties seriously, the serious things never happen for you.
Me and the cast post-show
But, ultimately, mostly thanks to the affirmation of the people shown above, this morning I woke up fresh as a daisy. Terror at bay, emotions drained besides an aftertaste of pride, mental space immediately filled with what comes next. I am very grateful.

Where I'll be tomorrow is God only knows,
seems there's science at hand, but I'll finish the shows when I land.
I said hey hey hey. We're all gonna die.
Hey hey hey. We're all gonna die--

we're all gonna die someday.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dad on Frankl

Today is my poppa's b-day. I sent him an e-book of Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, which is a philosophical book by an academic who survived the Holocaust.

Talked to him this AM:
"I mean, you know what this is, right? Just another smear campaign on the Nazis. It's like, they got a free place to stay, food...there's just no pleasing some people!"

September 2012

Happy Day to a great Dad!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Proud to Be an American

Drones closed last weekend, and while I was relieved because I started to drown by the end of the process, it's typical to feel slightly sad when a show is over.

The cast after opening night.
Our curtain call music was "Proud to Be an American"--a song I've always despised. It takes me back to middle school when it played incessantly on the radio post-9/11. Even at that age I was skeptical of it's message. I have a vivid memory of hanging around a Poms competition and that song blasting through this giant gymnasium and all these people singing and clapping, and all I could wonder is "Why is being terrorized something to be proud of?"

I'm not anti-America. I'm really not. I love my country f'real, but the song is hokey and a bit unwarranted. Drones was about military ethics and, in my interpretation of the play, how screwed up they are. Our director chose that song kinda ironically, and I loved bowing to it.

So, while ten years ago a super emotional song did nothing for me even though it was linked to horrible tragedy, now, I will always feel nostalgic when I hear "Proud to Be an American" because it will transport me back to the black box in Arizona, waiting for my cue lines with Simba next to me making faces and scrolling through Instagram.

And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died, and gave that right to me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hiatus!

You guys! So remember when I got hit by a truck? Yeah, I was carrying my computer--not awesome. It started malfunctioning, and it's now in the Mac shop until this weekend! Hence lack of blogging.

But, Macs doing an 800 dollar repair for free. I love you, Apple. And I'll be back soon.

I'd write more, but I'm on my phone, so.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Some Thoughts on Dating (Part III)

Recently realized a sexist thing I think. We all know ladies who date guys and then are hyper aware of their critical opinions. I'm not that way, but even I understand. Like when Kay and I took Poetry I together our sophomore years of college, and I valued his opinion more than anyone else's--despite him being in the bottom half of knowledgable (in terms of that class).

I was thinking about a friend of mine who is very talented, but the guy she's into has a completely different style than she does. Thus, he doesn't appreciate her work. Thus, she doesn't appreciate her work. Super annoying.

Then, I wondered if I knew guys like that, and I realized I have, but in my eyes they've always been victims of pushy and over-bearing girlfriends of doom. Uh oh. I subconsciously always blame the girl! Never fear, I  have been shocked out of my own backwards thinking, and I will go forward with more understanding that sometimes girls who conform have been manipulated and sometimes boys who have been manipulated need to grow more spine spindles.

Bug and Kale at improv rehearsal last Sunday. I took a picture because she looked like she stepped right out of an episode of Dawson's Creek on her way to Lillith Fair. But the ladies of my improv troupe accepted her ANYWAY.
I don't wanna wait for our lives to be over.
I wanna know right now what will it be?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Some Dating Thoughts (Part II)

Magazines are deceptive impish devices. I've talked about this before. I used to love them, but oh man, do they wreck you. After a ten minute browse of Cosmo, I need a new wardrobe and body and boyfriend AND OMG 60 DOLLAR MASCARA I NEED IT.

But.

At some point in my life, probably around ten years ago, after I had exhausted every ounce of copy in a CosmoTeen, I read the Editor's note. And I never forgot it.

In summation: The editor displayed two pictures of herself--a headshot from her 20s (skimpy dress, pouty face) and a school photo from middle school (mini-fro/perm, corduroy pants with zipper undone).  She talked about how she was so much happier in the former. Who friggin cares how she looked? Pretty big idea for an impressionable teen. Then, she went on to discuss how around the time of the sultry pic, she went to a party and saw a super perfect guy there. She approached him as perfect as she could be, and he totally bit the bait. They started dating, and she never actually liked it because she was being what she thought he wanted. She broke up with him, and he was semi-devistated. Of course he was! He had no clue where that came from. She explained subjectivity in success in terms of dating. Whoa. Blew my brace-face brain wide open.

Anyway, those were some pretty rad lessons to learn at that age. And I got them from a semi-vapid place. Thank you, you CosmoTeen editor, wherever you are...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some Dating Thoughts (Part I)

Kale's boyfriend is a weirdo. Weird-o. Doesn't help one of the first times I met him he was high off Pepto Bismol running around our sketch rehearsal and screaming the N word.

When they started dating, it was like, "Wait. Wut." And then I went away for summer, and in that time they fell in love. When I came back, it didn't take very long at all to see that they are great together. A clear case of a romantic relationship pulling both parties up toward betterment.

Because of Kale, the bf seems more tender. Like, he's still a nutjob, but now, he's like...a nutjob that someone loves. And that someone will take care of him and his nuttiness. We don't have to worry about it. When he starts screaming about harvesting babies (or whatever) in my improv class, no one is worried, "Oh no. This kid is too strange." We look over at Kale, laughing to herself, and believe there's a sweetness to his extremity.

Here dey is at Shells' birthday dinner. April 2012.
I don't think people need to be in relationships. I don't think we're here to become part of a whole. But much to my chagrin, there is a validity involved. I must admit.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hit

I was hit by a truck today. On my bicycle. The cliche is true. Time does slow down. One second expands to a million decisions. One minute my biggest concern was wondering if I would have enough down time at work to grade. Next, I see the driver only look one way as he's turning out of the parking lot. I was already in front of his grill. I knew it was about to happen. I screamed with everything I had. My brakes couldn't save me. The vehicle plowed into me. I flew. The tires moved forward, and I thought I was going to die. But, no, it was a lurch from being put in park. A man in construction garb ran around to me asking, "Can I call 9-1-1? I'll call 9-1-1." I had burst into tears. It was as if someone had injected me with a triple shot of espresso. My adrenaline was so high. Busy time of day on a busy street--people stopped traffic, ran from their cars, "I saw what happened!" they yelled. I was partially blind by my nerves. I stood up and all I could think about was how scared I would be if I had hit me. I kept assuring the man I was okay. I was okay. I was really okay. I wanted him to know. I wasn't thinking straight, but I knew I needed to make the man feel like he hadn't done anything wrong. That it was going to be okay.

I wanted to walk. A voice in the back of my head said, "You have to get to school still. You're subbing today. You'll be late." I honed in on that need and started walking. I couldn't stop crying. It was instinctual--surely chemical. My bike chain was screwed up, I walked. I felt like I should call someone, but I knew it would sound much more dramatic between sobs. I put my phone away. I got to the class late, really fine, but still crying. I couldn't stop for about an hour. I held up my bloodied, bike-greased hands and excused myself to the bathroom. I taught. I let them out a little early. I got hit by a truck, you know? I also had two pieces of cheesecake for dinner. I got hit by a truck today. I think it's okay.

EDIT: After to waking up to concerned texts I want to say I AM TOTALLY FINE. I have some scratches and bruises, but I really am fine! I actually had a pretty good day. I was let out of work early and baked and saw some friends and had a rehearsal. I even got my bike in decent working condition at the school co-op for free.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How People Communicate


Real live text I received from Mia on December 14th, 2009:

“Hey I texted big gay. So we’ll see but I’m down to go after 7 just let me know when you’re done at mac. I will pick yo a$$ up. (good grammar?) hahahaha”

Mia at our fave Mexi place in STL. May 2012.
I practice all my lines to a telephone while you were sleeping.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tree-O

It is my sister's birthday. It's been a grand year for the Pookie. As a close outside observer, I would postulate that this has been the happiest year of her life. It's hard to exactly say why, but I do believe it to be so.

Pookie probably has her own accomplishments and memories on this date of reflection, but this is MY dang blog, so here are some of MY dang thought on her last year:

It's been difficult being so far away from my sister--location, time zone, and also her limited understanding of my life out here. But, we've managed to stay in touch a pretty good amount--not Grey Gardens level like I prefer, but probs Leslie and Anne level. Most importantly, she is "there" for me if I need anything.

One weekend this summer I was suddenly in the grips of a very scary physical problem involving extreme nausea, pain, and itchiness. I called Pooks for a general morale boost and support the morning the symptoms began, and immediately she asked if she should make the drive from STL to Chicago. I didn't think it was necessary, but by afternoon she decided to hunker up anyway. It was a miracle she had that intuition because by the time she arrived (with pints of ice cream as I had texted her in last-ditch despair), I was completely immobile. I could not even walk ten feet to the bathroom. So my sister walked in the door after a five hour car trip, and before even sitting down, carried me to the toilet.

It was a torturous experience--and she did not complain when I spent the whole night screaming, bawling, and whining for backrubs. She cracked jokes, she fetched water, and she stayed until I was able to hobble.

This is my sister. A person who can make what should be the worst moments of my life somehow not.
Takin' pics at Buckingham Fountain. September 2012.
Happy Birthday to my favorite person past, present, and future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Disability Momma

Last spring I wrote about a girl I saw at work (the disability center) who was nervous about a math test to the point of tears and pregnant and very young. I was worried for this girl.

A few weeks after I wrote that post, I saw her again. She was outside a building, waiting for a ride. She looked miserable and was very ripe with babe. It's against policy to approach a student I know from work outside of the center, so I had to just walk on by. I've considered that gal a few times a week spring.

This year, the girl showed up again! She had dark dyed hair now and seemed very happy. She wore a wedding band and carried a cute cartoony backpack. She made small talk with me and showed no signs of anxiety at all. I was so happy. I have no idea if she has the baby or not. I am just glad she is okay.

You never know who is rooting for you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Person Who Birthed Me's Birth

Yesterday was my mom's birthday.

This summer when we were both in Chicago, we were on our way home when she peeled into a Jewel Osco parking lot. "We'll just pick up the staples," she said. Five minutes later, this is what we were buying. I made her pose for a picture. This is how I know I wasn't adopted. These are my genes:
"Staples."

And this. This is one of my favorite pictures of her I've ever taken:
The Chicago Diner, waiting on a veggie burger.
Happy birthday, Momma!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Terror

A staged reading of my newest play goes up in three weeks. This weekend I sent a draft as done as it could be out to potential actors, and pressing send was terrifying.

When artists talk about terror, it often sounds over-dramatic. And, it is. To an extent. But fear is fear, and, no, whether people hate or love my writing doesn't put me in life and death peril...the results of sharing art with someone who dislikes it is, in my opinion, often worse. I know because people I love have shared art with me I don't like before, and now, I don't care because I digest asteroids-worth of colleague/sketch partner/fellow comedian work, so it's same jokes different day, some good, some not. But, when I was more immature? There was a little grain of judgement I got to keep in my pocket about kids in class who wrote crappy short stories, the students in the Acting I showcase. Oh, dear God, please do not let me fall to that fate! Do not let people I respect see me as I brattily saw that dummy freshmen doing a subpar scene from Barefoot in the Park! It's childish, but I can't help it. TERROR.

It was luck that I brought Anne Bogart to work to read on downtime today. I fittingly decided to read her essay on terror, and I so needed to read this quote by Martha Graham (bolding is mine):

"There is a vitality, a life-force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unque. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you."

Read: I can do eet!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Productivity

This weekend's productivity has been a complete joke. In the very tiny time period I had between my five hour Saturday rehearsal and going to see Rye's new play, I scheduled in an hour long break to make and eat a pumpkin pizookie. I regret nothing. But my grading pile is roughly the exact same as it was when I left school Friday.

I have not set myself up for success in this upcoming week of a million hours of rehearsal, but I can't imagine any other way I could have lived. I needed each foray into the unnecessary. Using my Sweet Tomatoes coupon with Kale and Shells. TINY CORNBREADS FOR ALL. Talk of ghosts. The monster bar and haunted basement. My castmate's house party themed Robots and Sluts (for the record, I was a robot). Cuddling up on Kale's pull-out couch, falling asleep to Adventureland and Ru's soft snores. Riding my scooter towards mountains at sunrise. Six hours of improv rehearsal today. A subpar horror film with mucho above par people at the cute arty cinema on the main strip of town. Writing this dumb post instead of grading one more screenwriting presentation.

Some nuggets. Bug is holding white cheddar popcorn seasoning.
True or false: sometimes you have to sabotage yourself, just for a commercial break, in your otherwise "put-together" life. Ex: Ice cream for breakfast--indulgent, kinda nice, and reminds you how good oatmeal feels in your bod? Or, indulgent, dumb, you-should-know-better-don't-waste-your-time-being-a loser? Ditto watching YouTube clips of Cheaters. Procrastinating your dang work for three whole days. Three things I did this weekend that I can't tell how to feel about.

No other road. No other way.