Monday, September 29, 2008

Me and Neil'll be hangin' out

And here's video of Neil reading from his new book. It didn't want to post in the other one, but here it is now!

Neil says hi by the way

I have two favorite authors, Lois Lowry and Neil Gaiman. (My favorite book ever is The Giver by Lois Lowry. ) So, when I found out, about two months ago, that Nei Gaiman was going to be at this year's National Book Festival, September 27 was booked for me. I repeatedly told the roommates that if he was the only author I saw that day, then I'd be a happy girl.

Well, he was, and I am.

After a super tasty breakfast at Eastern Market, it was off the Mall. I bought a copy of The Graveyard Book, which isn't even for sale until Tuesday, for anyone except those at the festival.

First, I heard him speak. He talked about his inspiration for this book, and writing in general, and then read an excerpt from the book.

Then, with all the other geeky Neil Gaiman fans, we lined up. And waited. For three hours. In the sun (I got a little burnt) AND the rain.

But I met him. And had a two sentence conversation. He signed two of my books ("Sweet dreams" in my copy of Smoke and Mirrors and my name on a tombstone in The Graveyard Book). I apologize for my goofy, goofy smile, but I was having one of the bigger geek moments of my life, so can you blame me?

Then the rain came down even harder, but I couldn't care a bit. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a new book to read.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What's it like in New York City?

Man. What a rad weekend. The drive up Friday night was easy, hardly any traffic at all, and I made great time. I stayed with my fabulous friends CorryZahn. Saturday morning, we drove into the city. I attended a wonderful session at the Manhattan temple whilst they went a movie. I did lunch backwards, with dessert first. I visited Magnolia Bakery and had a cupcake that was almost too pretty to eat.

Then lunch proper was the recession special at Gray's Papaya, where I pretty much always go now if I'm in the neighborhood.

I met back up with the guys as well as our other friends, Ender and Mrs. Ender, to see a matinee preview of the new musical 13, by Jason Robert Brown. It was quite entertaining, lots of good one liners, and the music was excellent. Corry suggested that we were all a little older than the intended demographic, but we still enjoyed ourselves. It officially opens this coming weekend.

Sometime during the second act, I looked back and saw Mr. Brown sitting on the stairs to the balcony watching the show. After the performance, he was still standing in the back, so I dug up some courage and introduced myself. Inexplicably, my knees went weak. I was even more star struck than I thought I'd be. I thanked him for the show and he thanked me for coming. I mentioned that I'd entered his karaoke competition and he said "Yeah, that's a distant dream." I suppose that opening a new show on Broadway can be quite time consuming.

Since Ender had a meeting with his boss, CorryZahn and I headed back to Jersey to spend the evening barbecuing. SO tasty! The weather was gorgeous, and I miss having a back porch.

Sunday morning, I took the train into the city. First, I registered for my audition time. It was too late to make church at 11 and my audition would make a later meeting difficult, so I decided to check out Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market. I approached what I thought was the end of the market, at 44th and 8th, when I discovered the 8th Avenue Fall Festival, a huge open air market. I do love a good open air market.

It also makes for good people watching, including this guy just standing and bumping his hip to the blaring reggaeton. He was there for at least an hour or more, that I'm aware of.

I walked up all twelve blocks of the market. And back. In my three inch heels. My feet STILL hurt.

Then, it was time.

The Audition

Went well. I was singing "Who Will Love Me As I Am" for Side Show. I had a hard time remembering where to direct my focus and I forgot the words to my show off measures (where the notes go highest), so I just sang some words I'd already sung. I probably would have hit the notes better if I were more confident. Then, my accompanist continued past my big red STOP mark. Suddenly, I couldn't remember what happened next. How many measures of rest were there? What were the words? The NOTES? The RHYTHM!? I think I got the words and notes right, but I came in to early and made the rhythm my own. The accompanist followed nicely. The casting director was looking at me and smiling the whole time, and after my song, thanked me and said it was nice to meet me. So who knows? But the point is that I've now auditioned for Broadway, and that's good enough for me.

I continued to browse the expo and talked to someone I know from DC area theatre before attending a seminar on having acting success now. I learned a few things, I think. Then, with a black and white cookie to celebrate my success, it was back on the train back to Jersey. A quick clothing change and hugs, and I was on my way home. I did hit some traffic, but Fran kept me company for more than 90 minutes, and my dad checked on me a few times. I made it home around 1 AM.

I consider it a successful weekend. Successful in that I achieved my objective [to audition for a Broadway production company]. It was less successful in that I inadvertently introduced my archnemesis to the girl of my dreams and now he is taking her out on dates and they are probably going to French kiss. Or something.

Or something. That might not have been me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oh, look what you've done

Thanks Theater Geek!

All you have to do is copy the list (after the jump) and bold the things that you have done.

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby’s diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said “I love you” and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don’t
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (lemonade stands count, right?)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone - verbal or physical
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions (the joys of being in quality control)
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (didn’t know it was my dream, but I’m living it anyway)

99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all fours
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people

109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where at least four people asked for the recipe.
113. Buried a child
114. Been inside the pyramids
115. Shot a basketball into a basket
116. Danced at a disco
117. Played in a band
118. Shot a bird
119. Gone to an arboretum
120. Tutored someone
121. Ridden a train
122. Brought an old fad back into style
123. Eaten caviar
124. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
125. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
126. Published a book
127. Pieced a quilt
128. Lived in a historic place
129. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
130. Asked for a raise
131. Made a hole-in-one (mini-golf counts, says I)
132. Gone deep sea fishing
133. Gone roller skating
134. Run a marathon
135. Learned to surf
136. Invented something
137. Flown first class
138. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
. Flown in a helicopter
140. Visited Africa
141. Sang a solo
142. Gone spelunking
143. Learned how to take a compliment
144. Written a love-story
145. Seen Michelangelo’s David
146. Had your portrait painted (sketched, yes)
147. Written a fan letter
148. Spent the night in something haunted
149. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
150. Ran away from home (only temporarily)
151. Learned to juggle
152. Been a boss
153. Sat on a jury
154. Lied about your weight
155. Gone on a diet
156. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
157. Written a poem
158. Carried your lunch in a lunch box
. Gotten food poisoning

160. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
161. Hiked the Grand Canyon

162. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
163. Gone to the opera
164. Gotten a letter from someone famous
165. Worn knickers
166. Ridden in a limousine
167. Attended the Olympics
168. Can hula or waltz
169. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
170. Been stuck in an elevator
171. Had a revelatory dream
172. Thought you might crash in an airplane
173. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
174. Saved someone’s life
175. Eaten raw whale
176. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
177. Laughed till your side hurt
178. Straddled the equator (Prime Meridian!)
179. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
180. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
181. Sent a message in a bottle
182. Spent the night in a hostel
183. Been a cashier
184. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
185. Joined a union
186. Donated blood or plasma
187. Built a camp fire
188. Kept a blog
189. Had hives
190. Worn custom made shoes or boots
191. Made a PowerPoint presentation
192. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
193. Served at a soup kitchen
194. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
195. Know CPR
196. Ridden in a convertible
197. Found a long lost friend
198. Helped solve a crime
199. Shaken hands with a famous person
200. Commented on The Book Guardian’s blog

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?

In my offices (did I mention that I have jurisdiction over three?), I have some 4 file cabinets/sets of drawers and 5 desks, all with many drawers/cabinets/nooks/crannies/places to hide things. They weren't really cleaned out when I moved in and I've been trying to clean them out and organize them as I go. I pretty much my actual desk under control (in that I know what everything is and am no longer surprised), but the rest of the place still needs work. Some of the drawers contain things that might be important (archival checkout records, catalogues, directories, etc.). Others, I find many fun and interesting things in all the time.

Today, I finished up a receipt book and went to look in one of my cabinets for another, knowing there were several in there at one point. I find and pull out their box, realize I've used all the receipt books now, and just before I put the box back in to decide another day if I want to keep all these old books, I see the following in the back of the cabinet.

To Use Only In Desperation, eh? My predecessor labeled lots of things, and I've come to associate her handwriting with well-meaning craziness. Today was no different. What would I find? A secret stash of alcohol? Chocolate? A gun!? What qualified as "desperation" for this woman?

I decided to find out.

Magnetic card holders? Boring! What kind of desperate act requires magnets? Would she have pinned these to her husband's clothes and stuck him to a cabinet? Who knows!?

If you have any ideas, please let me know. Even the mysterious around here are tedious, and I have to decide what to do about my lack of receipts now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When I get my name in lights

I miss performing.

I miss being in a cast, learning and creating show, being on stage in lights/costume/makeup, gossiping backstage/being gossip fodder backstage, late night trips to diners, singing and dancing constantly, and everything else associated with being in a show.

Have you ever noticed that I don't have a theatre tag? It's because I haven't been in a show since March 2007!!!!!!!

For someone who was a theatre major and has been in a show almost constantly since the age of six, I'm going a little crazy. I honestly can't remember the last time I went this long without being in a show, or at least in dance classes. The last (and only) two other times that I went without being in a play for more than a year, I was at least either in dance classes or on a dance company.

I am still singing, with Mormon Choir of Washington, and solo-ing as often as the opportunity presents itself (like yesterday in Sacrament meeting) . Yes, I'm teaching dance classes and choreographing, but I only ever get to dance an entire piece full out once or twice before just watching and cleaning up my dancers.

It's the darn grad school that's getting in the way. I have found dance classes that I want to take, but they are at inconvenient times and locations. There's just not enough time to even think about auditioning for anything. I don't even know what's going on in the local theatre scence most of the time, which is sad.

Unfortunately, I'll just have to wait another 11 months before I can even really even think about auditioning somewhere. Then again, I'm not even sure I'll want to jump in that quickly, as I may just want to sit like a lump somewhere for a couple of months before I make any sort of long-term commitments. The withdrawal symptoms may have eased by then.


That I'm auditioning in New York City this coming weekend for some Broadway producers. They have an open casting call for a list of shows they're responsible for and I figured it was as good a chance as any to do this. Even if nothing comes of it, I can say that I've auditioned for Broadway!

Wishes of luck and positive thoughts this weekend will be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

That don't impress me much

Going to the salon is always good for dishing dirt, reading gossip rags, and, of course, getting a (hopefully) excellent hair cut, all of which I did this last Thursday. It's also super useful for eavesdropping on other people's gossip sessions.

This time I got to listen in on a conversation about dating between a male stylist and his male client (surprisingly, the stylist was the straight one). I enjoyed discovering that the guys talk about dating the exact same way we girls do. There were some statements made loud enough for me to hear, and a couple times where the blowdryer was left on and the client had his stylist stand in front of him so they could discuss more discreetly.

I was quite entertained, but also learned/was reminded of something. The thing I was able to glean from their conversation was that guys, once they ask us out, want to be impressed. The stylist had recently met his date at a riverside restaurant, overlooking the Potomac, and she showed up in jeans and flip-flops. He wished that she had put a little more effort into her appearance, because, like it or not, clothes really do make an impression on those who see you. My stylist and I agreed that jeans are okay, but with heels maybe, instead of ratty flip-flops.

Personally, I totally agree. I had a blind date with a guy last week, where we met at a mall for dinner and a comedy show. Sure, it was a casual place and activity, but I still wore a nice top, slacks, and heels. My date was not dressed to impress. (He also hasn't called me all week, but that's beside the point.)

The moral the story? Guys and girls need to dress to impress. Look your best (appropriate to the occasion) and you'll be remembered for it. An alternate title to this post could have been "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man", because, by golly, it's true.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Closing time

What is it about closing times/days that people don't understand?

A conversation I had recently:

Hugging Orchestra Teacher
: Have you seen Larry today?

Me: No. What's today? Tuesday? He's only in Monday, Wednesday, Friday, so he won't be in today.

HOT: Well, I sent him an email and he never responded.

Me: Yeah, it's Tuesday, I wouldn't count on it. Unless, it's Instruments for All time, then he's probably over at the building next door.

HOT: They moved it back here this year.

Me: They never tell me these things.

HOT: It doesn't start until Friday. But they've cleared the area and are ready for all the instruments.

Me: Well, it's Tuesday, so he's probably not ready for it.

HOT: Last year, he let me come a couple days early. I have all these instruments, you see.

Me: Yeah, I have no idea, but since it IS Tuesday, I probably won't see him today.

HOT: Okay.

I have no idea what Larry does on Tuesdays, or Thursdays for that matter. I wouldn't be checking my email either on my days off, if it weren't also my contact email for school. She came back yesterday, Wednesday, and Larry was indeed here.

Another conversation I have every couple of months:

Teacher: I came by this morning, but you weren't there! I left my music on the ledge by your door, is that okay?

Me: Sure! [It's an inside ledge.] We must have just missed each other! What time did you come by?

Teacher: Around 8 AM.

Me: Oh! Sorry! I don't open until 9:30 AM. [I'm lucky if I'm in the shower by 8 AM . . .]

Larry and I don't exactly keep our schedules secret. Yes, we are the only people who can help you with our individual purposes, but we keep our hours well known and stick to them as much as possible. Mine are on a sign right next to my door. Oh well.

Oh, and she's still hugging me . . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Half the fun is to plan the plan

I'm a planner. Always have been and likely always will be. I like to know what's happening and when and how many people and what I should wear and so on. Luckily, I'm not totally crazy about it. My daily planner is oft neglected, my M&M's wall calendar still says August, and my Outlook calendar is rather bare. I'm totally okay with all of that. I'm even really chill when a friend says "Let's hang out on Friday" and we don't plan our actual activities until that same day.
There are two things that really bug me. One is to decide we're hanging out (or worse you've asked me on a date) and instead of spending the precious time we have together doing something fun, we sit there debating what to do. Let's just decide and do something! (This does not apply to when we're just talking.)

The other is have to changes in plan, particularly if Plan A is not something that happens very often. The longer the plan has been in place, the harder it is for me to budge willingly. This is one cause of my year from the dark side - I had absolutely NO future plans and I had no idea what to do with myself. It doesn't bother me if we say we're going to see Movie A, but on the way decide to see Movie B. It does bother me if, say, there's been a plan for a week to go to Gettysburg, it's confirmed two days before, and then the next day all but one person involved decides they'd rather spend the day closer to home. That's what happened this weekend. I'd been looking forward to G-burg all week, since I've never been there and it's not something I'm likely to up and do by myself, and everyone else suddenly decided they wanted to do something that wouldn't take all day. I didn't respond particularly well (which I realized later may or may not have had anything to do with a hormonal imbalance), but they did want to still hang out with me.

In the end, that's the point, and one that I brought up as I was being less than flexible, that it matters more who you spend time with than what you do. These friends could have just said "Hey, we don't want to go anymore, so peace out." Instead they said, "We don't really want to do Plan A anymore, but we do have some interest in Plan B. What do you think?" This was incredibly thoughtful of them. We ended up with Plan C, which was an afternoon at the Nationals v. the Phillies, and was quite a lot of fun. They don't even like baseball all that much, but when I showed more than just compliant interest in something, anything, they were game. We even included more people than we would have originally and everyone had a great time.

On a related note, it's that planning part of me that really likes the RSVP. I don't think it's necessary to state that in an invitation, but when an invitation comes, via email, phone, text, Facebook, or carrier pigeon, it's considerate to respond with either a "Yes", "No, thanks", or a "Maybe". In recent invitations I've sent out, I've had more silence than response of any kind. There was one activity that didn't even end up happening because of the more than twenty people I sent messages to, only two responded at all, and they were both regrets at not being able to attend. There's no one culprit or anyone I'm mad at or anything, it's just something that I, and others I've talked to, have noticed our culture has been rather lackadaisical about lately. It's just unfortunate.

However, I'd much rather spend time with people doing absolutely nothing than having immovable, elaborate, minute-by-minute plans. Some of the best stories and memories happen that way.