Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Razhumikin (sp) Razzmatazz Guide to Enjoying Movies

It has come to my attention that I watch movies. And I am, in my opinion, better at watching movies than most people. And the reason is that I watch them with an agenda. I watch them with questions in mind that help me to evaluate the successes of the film. I'd like to share these questions with you, so you, too, can watch movies and enjoy them.

A caveat: It almost goes without saying if you've seen an overly crass or gory movie with me that I very often dislike movies that I consider "gross"-- if a movie is overly crass or gory, I probably will not enjoy it and will very, very likely stop watching it before the ending credits, so this guide does not apply to those movies.


Does the movie appear to have a populist theme? I appreciate movies with populist themes because it's so ironic. Yeah, we're a big movie company, but it's the little people who matter! Especially since little people watch so many movies!

Does the movie have Neil Patrick Harris? Extra points if it's Doogie Howser-era, a la the TV production of Cold Sassy Tree.

Neil Patrick Harris can't redeem all of his movies, but if you're stuck in class watching Starship Troopers... well, you're stuck in class watching Starship Troopers, and every little bit helps.

Does the movie invite the invention of new catchphrases, either by possessing a memorable script or inspiring its audience to yell at the screen? For example, my vocabulary has been vastly different since I saw Peter Pan in French. And I'm working on turning Northanger Abbey into the new and improved Rocky Horror Motion Picture Show.

Can you analyze the movie's philosophy and religious themes for hours? It has been my experience that talking about a movie for hours makes it more fun. And I don't have to agree with its philosophy. For me, the movie's perspective can be drastically different from my own outlook. As long as it promotes deep thoughts and not crazy ones, I'm fine with antiheroes or funky theology. Carousel is a really good example. I love the music and dance of the movie. However, Julie seems to be a-ok with domestic abuse. I am not a-ok with domestic abuse, but I can still watch most of the movie. It also seems to suggest that you can give people stars after you're dead. This is not my view of the afterlife at all. This invites instant debate, because my sister doesn't agree. And there you have it! Stimulating discussion!

Can you turn the movie into a rock opera? The answer is always yes, so turning a movie into rock opera fodder is a foolproof method of enjoying many films.

Is there something unique about this film that you can appreciate and/or make fun of? The answer is not always yes. Example: most movies with Pauly Shore do enough making fun of themselves without including anything to appreciate. Once the environmental science club at my school showed Bio-Dome. I left before it was over... I just couldn't appreciate its "uniqueness" (see caveat about overly crass movies.)

Can you crochet/knit/sort socks while watching this movie? The answer is mostly yes. Crocheting is the reason I watch so many movies now. I just can't bear to just crochet.

I will readily admit that many movies are intolerably stupid. But many movies are also entertaining. Several movies that I've seen recently have been particularly good to crochet to. I have liked Lives of a Bengal Lancer (in which--catchphrase--"Gary Cooper goes postal"), Stalag 17, Mr Deeds Goes to Town (ok, I have not seen it recently, but it is one of my favorite movies of all time, and Gary Cooper goes a little bit postal)... and I haven't watched Witness for the Prosecution yet but I can tell you that I will like it because I will crochet to it, Billy Wilder directed it, and it would make a killer rock opera. Now if we could just find someone for the Charles Laughton part....

Because I can tell you right now that my brother's approach to watching movies differs widely from my own (since he doesn't watch girly movies) I would love to invite comments. How do you know if you're going to enjoy a movie or not? Is it imperative that the movie supports your worldview? Did you like Napoleon Dynamite? More importantly, would you like it if it was a rock opera?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Developmental Disorders in Literature

(Boy, wouldn't something like that be a terribly interesting course?)

I am fascinated by the autism spectrum. I'm intrigued by the attention it's gotten in recent years and the vaccination controversy. I'm shocked by its recent growth. I'm bemused by its spurts of publicity: it's almost like sometimes it's the chic life-complicating disorder, coming with weird social quirks and superhuman powers.*

It's like the attitude is sometimes... Peter Tork has Asperger syndrome! Peter Tork is my favorite Monkee! Craig Nicholls of the Vines has Asperger's! Einstein was socially awkward! I wonder about Andy Warhol? Autism autism prodigies vaccines JENNY MCCARTHY!

*I'm exaggerating. Autism spectrum is far more complex than a set of habits and sensory perceptions and it looks different every time. And do you know what? Individuals are more important than diagnostics. Each human being--all of us--are created with neuroses and gifts, advantages and disadvantages to growing up in society.

So it's always super interesting for me to see characters with autism spectrum disorders depicted in books or TV or movies. I've read far more autobiographies of individuals and their experiences growing up with varying social disorders than I have seen fictional characters with similar disorders.

I think most of this is that a lot of so-called "retarded" people in comedies make me sick and that kind of initially turns me off of movies and literature that feature any kind of character with special needs. I hate it when disorders are exploited so somebody else can laugh. But anyway, I'm all for art involving every kind of people, and I've tried to write plays with characters that come from a variety of perspectives and I know first-hand how challenging it is to write someone who doesn't speak or looks at ceiling fans for an entire act.

I just read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and that was duly super interesting. The narrator and hero of the book, Christopher, is a fifteen year old boy. He is never labeled in the narrative as having a specific condition, but he goes to a "special" school. He also has one habit that I immediately recognized: he tells the truth as he sees it.

He has the chic tics of most fictional autistic characters: he's got the mathematical genius, acute sensitivity to touch, and weird obsessions with certain little things.

So in a way it left me a little nonplussed. It didn't seem to me that Christopher was as terribly original as the quoted praises on the back of the book would have me believe.

But at the same time, fiction doesn't work unless it's true. Christopher sounds unreal, because he is unreal. And at the same time, I recognize familiar things in Christopher's character, because I see them in real life.

The other major success of the book was that Christopher wasn't alone in his quirkiness. You find that the other characters have serious flaws in their coping mechanisms, that Christopher isn't the only one who doesn't always make sense.

All things considered, I thought the plot flimsy and uninteresting. Don't get me wrong. That's a big deal. I hate stories that don't really hold up. But I will say that, in this book, the plot isn't what sticks with you. It's Christopher, who is far more intricate and harder to decipher than a so-called curious incident.

But really, Peter Tork is my favorite Monkee. John is my favorite brother. I wouldn't have either of them any other way.

And now I want to read The Sound and the Fury. It's time to for me to spread out to other developmentally delayed narrators, and Benjy's probably the original.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Movies I've Seen

Do I like populist, corny Christmas movies as much as the next person? Of course I do. But sometimes It's a Wonderful Life gets a little old... not stale, just overly familiar.

I have decided that, this year at least, my favorite Capra Christmas movie is Meet John Doe, a flawed but nonetheless insightful movie, with more darkness than Wonderful Life. It concerns a young journalist who creates a "John Doe" to protest inhumanity by writing letters to the editor and planning to commit suicide by jumping off City Hall on Christmas Eve. Amid cries of shenanigans from the opposing town paper, she casts a vagrant as John Doe. Eventually, the saccharine odes to American small-town society conflict with monopolizing corporations and political corruption. The movie's mistakes lie in its Icaruslike ambition and spotty (long) script. And I don't like the ending.

I purchased my copy of Meet John Doe at the Dollar Tree. This might tell you something about the state of civilization.

To me, Meet John Doe is a parable painted in shades of gray. Everyone makes an unexpected choice and reveals his or herself as greater or less than what they appear. It functions as a really interesting allegory; it is exquisitely, beautifully directed; Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper, and James Gleason give amazing performances.

Also, I just saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on ABC. It was so much less scary than Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! I am not entirely opposed to books or movies aimed at children that are a little bit creepy, especially if you wait until you are a twenty-something child before you watch them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the incarnation

Religions are weird.

I was sitting in church, and as we were singing about Emmanuel, I just thought about how weird the doctrine of the incarnation is and how weird it is to believe in something like the incarnation.

Emmanuel means God with us. This represents one of the fairly important (I think) tenets of mainstream, canonical Christianity, which basically says that God could be (and was) born and lived.

That's a pretty big, strange belief. And it's fairly pervasive. It's not just a fundamentalist thing to believe that God could become a person. It's not a belief that only a few people in big, scary churches espouse. A lot of people believe in the incarnation, and still more sing about it every December without really thinking about what it means.

It's one of the things that makes the beliefs of this kind of Christianity unique. It's not like God appeared as avatar Jesus, showing us what a human should look like without necessarily being one.

I wrote a play once about a trading card with a holographic image of Jesus on it. I was inspired by real life events, I might add. It's really unfinished, but the gist is a bunch of people interacting with the same trading card that they keep finding and passing on. I always think of avatars as being a little bit holographic. That's really my only tie-in.

It'd take a really big God to be born, to allow yourself to be that limited and constricted. You don't see lots of other myths where that happens. Lots of religions pretty much content themselves with holographic images that kind of flirt with human qualities.

But in orthodox Christianity, it's pretty important that God can be born and can die. (A bunch of dudes debated this constantly in the proto-orthodox days in these cool things called "councils" and ended up with "creeds." It seems like a long, drawn-out process, and I hope somebody made refreshments.)

And, by strict standards, it's kind of like Jesus didn't play fair. Satan can't become a human. If you're not human, according to canonical Christianity, you're pretty much staying not human.

And then you get into atonement theology and all sorts of messy issues! Yay humanity!

Like I said, the incarnation is weird and either you believe it or you don't. But either way, it's kind of shoved in your face at Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

negative space

I have never been good at not including negative space, even white space, in my artwork. For one thing, I like the clean edge left by emphasizing the negative space around an object rather than imposing an outline on the subject. That's my adulthood answer.

My childhood answer is that my art teacher through school, who, I might add, was on par with Mother Teresa and Bernadette Peters, always said, "Color in all the white!" And I tried. However, paper is big, so it was ultimately very difficult and traumatic.

I've even won awards for paintings that consisted of about fifty percent negative space, simply because I got tired of painting the subject and just washed the whole thing with dark blue or something.

Now that I'm a little more philosophical, I have grown to appreciate what negative space says. I think it's why I like Sudoku. Now, the easiest few levels of Sudoku I usually solve number by number, mentally highlighting rows and columns and putting the number in the space left. However, in the harder Sudoku puzzles, I have to use information I don't have to solve the puzzle, which is far more interesting. The logic is still there--I'm not guessing--but I have to think in combinations and possibilities and in numbers I don't have yet.

I wonder what this means.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things I'm LOVING Right Now

My sister informed me yesterday that FreeRice has branched out, subjectwise. Not only can you test your vocabulary, but you can also quiz yourself on grammar, famous paintings, four languages (including French AND German), math, chemistry and geography. I have found my new nerd hobby. In the past twenty minutes, I have donated 1760 grains of rice simply by knowing der Beispiel, Vincent Van Gogh, schnell, and l'ordinateur.

Really, I am really ignorant when it comes to film scorers. And I haven't branched out at all. My brother constantly scoffs at this. But John Williams makes it so easy to, well, just listen to soundtracks by John Williams. My current favorite soundtrack themes to listen to are from Harry Potter and E.T. What can I say? I like tinkly, evocative melodic noise.

Although, I will say that I am not at all opposed to Danny Elfman from what I have heard of the Batmans and Edward Scissorhands.

And, really, music is one of my very favorite things about being home. I am simply amazed by how much my brother continues to grow as a pianist, and I'm so thankful that I like cinematic music with as much enthusiasm as he does, even though he's much more musically erudite than any of us and is, therefore, kind of a snob. (Example of this: I ask, "Is that DAD playing jazz piano?" Bro responds, "Yes." I say, "Wow..." Bro says, "I know, doesn't it sound sort of... childish?" I say, "I mean, I was kind of amazed.")

(Dad, I tell this anecdote because I think it's cute. Both John and I think you're definitely improving, and, like I said, I thought it was quite good.)

This is the series I crochet to. It's kind of flimsy--come on, I can solve all the crimes and I'm not a detective--and I much prefer Poirot--and David Suchet--but I love, love, love the very Eighties take on 1920's design. It's very extravagant, true to the Beresfords, and clothes get changed all the time.

Although I will say that I am getting very tired of someone making a very revealing but enigmatic statement right before they die in mystery novels, like "She wasn't there!" in A Murder is Announced or "Why didn't they ask Evans?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Break... By the Numbers

SIX crocheted stockings. Giant socks are my favorite holiday decorations, a testament to the accumulation of candy and to big feet.

SIXTY-THREE-THIRTY might undergo a name change. Hmm.

TWO dreams in German. One of those dreams also involved a purple dinosaur. (Barney.)

I blame Barney on babysitting last night. My two charges were bent on stabbing a small, stuffed Barney with forks. I must have saved poor Barn (and the forks) (and bare feet) at least three times.

NINE days until Christmas. Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to the day and giving my family cute stuff. My family calls me a humbug because I don't believe in expensive indoor trees with "memories" as decorations (excuse me, but an eleven-year-old, eroding craft is not a memory.) However, the fact is that I like retro Christmas music like Bing Crosby stuff and anything that Harry Connick, Jr. sings... and giant socks. I like big, rogue socks. And, this year, I'm really liking warmer weather in winter solstices.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Listen... bitte noch einmal.

a. Here is a quote from one of my English professors. He wrote this sentence on our midterm.

"Part V. Sometimes I wonder if I divide this document into sections only because I enjoy the pointy nature of Roman numerals."

Now, this sounds like something my broface would say. Also, I identify with idiosyncratic tastes in document composition. I cannot use serif fonts. They really, really annoy me.

b. Mom, I found the defect in my 2.50$ sleep pants from the Peace Frog outlet store that we shopped in forever. One leg is significantly longer than the other. I can deal.

c. I learned something about myself this week, and that is that I will fixate on absolutely any possible conundrum if it keeps me from studying. Example: When I was a small child, I owned this video about this boy who gets sucked into a board game. Or maybe I checked it out multiple times from Trinity Church Library. In hindsight, that is also very possible.

It started out as live action, and then when he got sucked into the game, everything was claymation. Cool, huh? (John, were you around for this? Do you remember it?) It was also mildy creepy at times because the boy strayed off the path and almost didn't make it out of the board game.

Well, I found out that I will look online for about a half hour, trying to find out the name of this movie, rather than write essays.

Incidentally, I found out the name of the movie. Rockin'. It's actually based on the book of Proverbs. Oh, Christian movie business, you are weird.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Well, I'm relaxing with a cup of dee-licious caramel truffle coffee (thanks, Bets! And, because I'm a bit of a communist with coffee, my suite thanks you, too.) I'm working up the energy to put the finishing touches on my Schroeder paper. I write a sentence or so about every five minutes and I already have five pages... I should be good, eh?

But the real deal is that I'm going to list how I feel about some things...

1) Pens. My pen philosophy is this: pens are essential, pencils are for wimps who secondguess themselves. In Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne Shirley says something about how she cannot write love letters with a scratchy pen. Now, I know quite a few classy ladies who'd say cantankerous pen be hanged, I'm writing Gilbert Blythe a love letter. I mean, am I right or am I right, classy ladies?

But I think that I pretty much agree with Anne, and quality pens are devoutly to be wished for.

Right now I am a huge, giant fan of the Sharpie pen. I got sucked in by the clever advertising--have you seen the spread with David Beckham and the teeny Sharpie writing?

So far, it's really been a fantastic felt-tip pen that doesn't bleed onto the chisel tip of my highlighters. I guess it could be a love letter pen, but I think it's probably more of a poetry pen, and it adds quite a bit of urbanity to my class notes. Call it good marketing (word up, Bethany) but I feel so cool when I write with a Sharpie pen. I haven't even lost one yet.

2) Best purchase of the past two days? 2$ Disney Princess scented markers from Big Lots, an eight-pack, I think. I might be high as a kite... but... they smell so good. I'm writing all of my German flash cards in Strawberry. P.S. My other philosophy is this: markers are essential, colored pencils/crayons are for weenies who don't believe in vibrancy.

3) Christmas trees. I don't like them. They are messy and a pain and they get lost every year somewhere in the theatre. I'm glad my ideal apartment is too small for them.

4) You know, every day I thank God for my family. I just wouldn't be as interesting without them (not to mention that they are all awesome people and the best family in the world. My dad just gets more cool with age and my mom doesn't age at all. And meine Geschwister are both fascinating and funnier than any sitcom on network television.)

My brother has recently been psychoanalyzing the heck out of Through the Looking Glass and wrote about ten posts on my facebook wall about it. I came home from the holiday party hoping he'd written on my wall, and lo and behold! I love that there are multiple critics in my family. I'm appreciating my family so much that I'm a little sick of it and I'm going to ruin the sentimental moment right now: Mom, I want a coffee maker for Christmas. Also, I will still be blonde.

Suckas. I'm SO back on normal terms with my family.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Songs of Water

A shoutout. Songs of Water is perfect pre-finals week music. Perfect.

What is Songs of Water, you might ask, if you're not from the Piedmont area?

I could talk about the people in the band and how they're the epitome of cool local artists. But instead I'll say that it's a joyful noise with hammered dulcimers and schruti boxes and yes, Jeff, a djembe, I'm pretty sure. It does for my ears kind of what visiting the Roanoke area does for my soul. If the Blue Ridge mountains and faraway friends had a soundtrack, Songs of Water would be on it. It's even global enough for Jesse, I promise.

Because I am not a tease, I have provided snippets of it on my playlist for you to sample and I encourage you to look Songs of Water up on myspace or facebook or download the self-titled album (at least, I think it's self-titled) from iTunes.

Oh, by the way. I'm done with classes this semester. Four finals and I'll be back home for the holidays.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving. Joyce-style.

woke up the punk rocker in a cold hard bed that was a sofa. God bless you you thank God you eat muffins. When do we live? We live as soon as we're ready to go. Stop before you're out the door step over the dog lose the dog chase the dog put the dog away.

In the car the pillows kiss our little heads the blond the really blond and the brown. we try to live the broadest way immarginable... she's not smart enough to be original here isn't it enough that we write in second person polar? plural? she's not smart enough to be original here isn't it enough that we question?

fastforward several centuries of mayan history of greek history of the fall of rome and we're there.

fastforward several bodies of water of petersburgs and richmonds and getting lost and gloucester like the movie "The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!" And we're there.

pumpkinpie and pumpkinpie and pumpkinpie and we spilt it and you're so blond and it's good to see you and love and one more pumpkinpie. (because grandma's not making not one this year. )

the dog coughs and I cough, they cough, you cough, we cough, I conjugate, she, he, it conjugates et cetera et cetera etc etc ftw.

it's good to see you again and love and pumpkin pie and I'm drinking all of your coffee because I am so tired, almost as tired as you are generous with your coffee and everything else.

there are umpteen pairs of big blue eyes umpteen hairs of different colors umpteen people who really all act almost exactly the same. pop still has his moustache... it's charming and white like an upper lip polar bear.

Is it hubris to say that my family is almost as interesting as college football day?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Part One.
Listening to: Mezzamorphis by Delirious?

I have a few thoughts, and this is one. Oksosometimes on this CD, I feel like Delirious? thinks it's U2. Is that a sacrifice of their artistic integrity? Discuss.

The other thought is that Delirious? really liked concept albums. There's such a clear journey in Mezzamorphis. It's like a Pilgrim's Progress, U2 rock opera. Now, I have to respect this. I love a good (or a bad or a subpar) rock opera. (Note: I am classy and trashy, but mostly trashy.)

Dad, do we have Glo?* Because I kind of want to listen to it in rock opera terms. Worship rock opera terms.

(*I miss my dad.)

Part Two.
Mute Math, it is time for you to stop phunking with my heart and being on everyone's soundtrack without releasing your next full-length album (I mean, Twilight? Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2? Do you expect me to follow you that far into the dark?) (Aside to Twilight fans, I am not a hater. I like trash. However, I just can't get into hormonally-charged undead high school soap operas. I tried... ok, no, that was a lie. I didn't try.)

Back to Mute Math--you're missing my entire season of commercial gifts, from Christmas to birthday! Shenanigans!

Part Three.
Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte, you were so good, but you're messing up my sleep schedule LIKE WOAH.

Or maybe I'm just wired because it's THIS close to Thanksgiving and to spending time with my family.

Part Four.

It's that time of the year when I start looking (not feeling) like Vsevolod Garshin (to the left, to the left.)

I love this painting (by Ilya Rupin; he's like the Tolstoy of painters, but I like him better--he's a "realist" in the Marxist critical sense and he's so dang revolutionary!) because it seems much more honest than photographs of Vsevolod Garshin. ("Vsevolod" sounds like the name of a worthy space adversary, I think, though.)

Garshin was a really tormented individual, and I think you see a bit of how sad he was in this portrait. And a bit of his paper clutter problem, with which I can empathize.

I feel like if Garshin lived today, he would have a stack of Diet Mountain Dew cans on his desk, as well.

And maybe things would have turned out ok for him.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Includes many salutations!

A brief, open letter to my wonderful dad:

Dear Dad,

There is a boy at school whose hair is the epitome of Puppy Bouf-Bouf. It's more bouffant and puppier than yours could have ever been. In case this boy ever reads this brief, open letter--and realizes with a start that only he could be Puppy Bouf-Bouf boy--he should know that I'm fine with Puppy Bouf-Bouf hair and I'm not trying to poke fun at him. But his fluffy hairstyle choice just brings me joy, and it reminds me of you every day. And you are my favorite dad, ever.

Love, me

Prose for my pink hair:

Cotton candies and rosy tones caught my eye in the mirror every time, making me feel otherworldly... or like a My Little Pony... or like Pink. In a way it was cool... and spacy... and lovely. But there comes a time when one tires, if not of pink hair, then of being a pink-haired person. Of the stares from the scandalized sweet little old ladies. Of the honks from the adoring punk crowd in their trashy punk cars. One longs for a hair color that belongs.

So it's over.

I wear hats.

Who inspires me at the moment:

60's era Twiggy. She's just so cutely vacuous and I empathize with that, since I now rely on a lot of medicine to get me through my day. I only relate a little bit with the skinniness, because although steroids make me more ravenous than a pride of fasting lions, the antibiotics make me pretty heinously nauseated. I'm sure you wanted to know that.

Although I do recommend ginger chews. Ginger chews, which I have just discovered, are fantastic. They're pretty much what they sound like--candy-looking chewy ginger things. They're odd-tasting and spicy but they work. Now if I can only find out where they are sold.

Oh! And also one of those English professors I haven't had yet. I just today found out that he speaks, or has spoken in his life, upwards of three languages that are not English. That's inspiring. Rachel says I'm going to learn every European language. I don't know... but I love her.

Listening to Le Roi Soleil and Mozart! Das Musical. Recommend both. Beth Nell, the first Emmanuel Moire song is from Le Roi Soleil--it's a French musical. Emmanuel Moire has such a soothing voice, doesn't he? And the song is gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Couple of Reviews

The book Starship Troopers: too many pages about space suits and benevolent fascism.

The movie Starship Troopers: not enough space suits (I never thought I'd ever say that) or Nazi Neil Patrick Harris. Too many Aryans and douche bang, too much bug guts. I do not recommend. I do, however, love Neil Patrick Harris, and he is a beacon of typecast intelligence in this film. (Neil Patrick Harris!)

We had this cool guy from Spain in our German class today. Frau Doctor commended him on his independent study of German. For a split second I was so jealous that I'm not independently studying something. Not German or French, obviously, but Arabic or something like that, and then I remembered that Arabic is a ridiculously impossible language to learn independently. (Jesse, you can teach me, right?)

And then I was incredibly jealous that he was European and lives in Europe because we all know I'd love to just move across the lake, where there is actual history and where people speak multiple languages. Oh, Europe--the continent of Beckett and Ionesco and Nicolas Sarkozy (and Carla Bruni) and Ioan Gruffudd. I have not forgotten the sight of the Swiss Alps when I flew to Italy in the spring--big, cold-looking mountain things. So glorious, so big, so cold-looking.

Oh, if you are related to my brother, and are planning to give him a Christmas present, he would love the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack. Now, I find the movie schmaltzy and weird, so I don't often watch it. Apparently, my brother appreciates the sounds of schmaltz and weirdness and was nearly moved to tears by the strains of Danny Elfman. (Yeah, I know, I have the cutest brother on the face of the earth. I'm so spoiled. Other kid's brothers leave the milk out and play video games all day, and mine leaves the milk out, plays video games, and listens to film music.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I love my mom.

She called today after she saw me post-show last night because she said I seemed upset and/or sick. I was both, and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when she totally read my mail. Because she's my mom, and she knows.

I keep saying I'm done with being sick, and then I keep... not being done. That is the essential summary of my bout with bronchitis thus far.

Most of the movies I have seen lately have been too campy for their own good and I haven't read anything for a week or so, so I don't have much to blog about. If I was my brother, I'd write something deep and philosophical but I don't have enough lung capacity for that.

Except I no longer have a mohawk. That's noteworthy.

Still pink, though. For the moment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

1. I really like show business, and I'm tired of it at the same time. I love crawling into small spaces and popping out of them; I enjoy teasing the mohawk; I like to dance, if badly. At the same time...

2. Ender's Game is phenomenal. I can say this now that I've read it through once. The motifs are so sophisticated and it's so internalized. You really get to know Ender, and I don't care what adults say, kids think like this.

3. I suddenly (still) miss Chagall Guevara.

4. Campus is unusually loud today. It's like Universal People Yell At Each Other Day. Not a fan.

5. Official Post-Election Thoughts: I'm not a hater. I'm not going to say, "Well, of course Obama won, because he's charismatic, smart and has excellent taste, while McCain is an old white guy and Sarah seems a little unbalanced and I hate Republicans." I'm also not going to say, "Well, I hate that Obama won and I hate Democrats and we're going to hell in a handbasket." I don't believe in any of those statements.

No political leader will be the one who will save civilization and the problems in our country. Laws written in stone, enacted by liberals or conservatives, won't necessarily make any individual truly believe in the value of human life or the danger of greed or the importance of protecting our natural resources.

I just have to commit to treating people with love and respect, as I believe Jesus called me to do. I hope that I will be able to see evidence of love and respect in Obama's decisions as president, but ultimately, it's not all up to him. It's up to the grace of God to cover the decisions that we all make.

6. Secret: I actually like having pink hair and, though I will give it up, I won't really want to.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

1. Shows can be exhausting.

2. Cool book that I just read: The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl. It's got a bit of language in it, but it is not too bad. It's kind of quirky, a short read, and it's quite clever and prophetic.

3. I just decided on the post-pink hair color. It is a secret. I am determined; it will take determination.

4. I have been sick for about a week with The Bronchitis, shortly following my roommate's adorable-but-also-really-scary bout with The Bronchitis. Basically, we have bad air over here and so my suitemates and I have all gotten respiratory problems. My roommate had one of the worst cases; she wheezed a lot and missed a lot of school and we were all terrified for her and babied her as much as we could. Well, she also got on this heavy-duty cough syrup with hydrocodone. And she was high as a kite and did some really funny things. I am now also on heavy-duty cough syrup and heavy-duty allergy medications. It isn't so bad now, but my head has very often felt like it isn't really attached to my body. I've had so many metaphysical realizations. I've tripped very many times, and I've found joy in many simple things, such as trying to catch moths and reading the fourth and fifth Harry Potter books.

(Side note: The Harry Potter series was not marketed well. Teachers clung to it because it made children want to read, and many evangelicals called it heresy and witchcraft and never exposed themselves to it. My take on it is this: Harry Potter is pop mythology. If you never explain allegory and myth to your students or children, they won't know how to take it in context. Harry Potter is not about actually becoming a witch; it is not designed to lead children into the pursuit of witchcraft; the series is really just an epic myth. It's not supposed to have practical application; it's supposed to instill in people mythic culture. Mythic culture is not all bad. There are many true things that are echoed and perpetuated in myth, and I would assert that J.K. Rowling echoes and perpetuates true things even if she didn't intend to do so.)

5. I am reading Sartre's La Nausee and to help not-very-adept-in-French me do so, I am also reading Nausea, the English translation. La Nausee almost should never be translated. It's so much better in French. Rien de nouveau.

6. I've started reading Ender's Game, too. I'll let you know what I think of it later.

7. Confession: I wish I had the money/self-discipline/fine motor skills to wear false eyelashes every single day. Because I totally would.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Warning: Size Limit Exceeded

There's so much I feel like I have to post. I haven't posted in a while, but I have been thinking a lot.

I also have a thesis to work on, and I will get to it this afternoon, I will.

1) I checked my email today and there was Camryn. The dynasty just keeps on getting bigger.

2) Doubters (read: my brother) said it couldn't be done. (What he said was, actually, "So much for the pink mohawk.") Well, scoffers (read: my brother), read 'em and weep. Hugh is here and he is various shades of pink.

Side note: In the process (ha! hair color pun!) of turning my hair into strings of cotton candy, I was bleaching my hair, yada yada... and you know what? With yellow-white hair, I look like Draco Malfoy. I think this is an interesting tidbit of information to keep in my back pocket for special occasions.

3) It's so interesting how humans have such weird things in common (even beyond the things I discovered in the epic conversation I had last night). My suitemate and I are huge cookie-dough fans, and we've just discovered that both of us have dreams of ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough... wait for it... without the chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are fine in baked cookies but they mess up the texture of dough.

4) I'm going to point out that sometimes, it's hard not to be a process theologian. I do not consider myself a process theologian. But, for one thing, I think the trinity can be construed as a a protoprocess thought. So I, very cerebrally, want to see how that works within a Christian context and within my own framework as an adult.

But then again--how much is one supposed to think about the trinity anyway? So much of what I think Christianity is hinges on the idea that to follow Jesus, you need to be getting out and doing things like feeding people or building houses or bandaging wounds.

But sometimes you just feel like you have to think about theology for a bit. I've been in a very active mode for a while, and I don't want to lose the action of the faith... but I'm tired of not approaching religion cerebrally.

5) Politics. Voting makes you feel so responsible, doesn't it? I keep reminding myself about the flawed system to make me feel like my vote counts less. But really.

No, I don't argue the cause of either candidate. In these messy times, advertisers, in a variety of guises and using lots of mediums, try to guilt us into putting our trust into total strangers. But really, all I can do, personally, is trust in God instead, search my heart, vote my conscience. For the country I still belong to. It's full of family who are dear to my heart and strangers who I have a duty as a citizen to protect and as a follower of Jesus to love.

And you know, this election is going to affect a lot of things for me on a personal level, too. It's real now. I'm an adult.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

True Story. I call it "Tokio Hotel."

I have good news and I have bad news.

The bad news is that, unfortunately, my eyeballs hurt, my legs weigh two-hundred-six pounds each, and I kind of want to... what's a good euphemism for vomit? The only one that comes to mind is "upchuck," and I was always told that wasn't nice. I'm going to wait it out and drink Dr. Pepper. Some people seem to scoff at this remedy, but it is how my wonderful mom took care of me when I was a kid. I swear, Dr. Pepper works and it's more accessible than ginger snaps, which also take care of nausea and if Mom were here, she would get them for me.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that last night something happened that I thought was really funny, and that was this.

I call it "The Sheltered Homeschooler Doesn't Really Know What to Do with Boy Bands."

Oh, a little less than a year ago, I guess, I was starting to really try to acclimate myself to a variety of languages. So I decided to listen to pop music, and somehow I stumbled across Ich Bin Nich' Ich, right? It's a song that's a few years old, from a band called Tokio Hotel. The lead singer had this great, raspy, plucky belt. Full of character and rock and zip. I wanted to sing just like her.

I listened in blissful ignorance for a while. Like months. And then I decided to, you know, listen to a little more Tokio Hotel. Come to find out.... Tokio Hotel--and you probably know this because they're crossing over into the States after scandalizing France* AND you're probably not a sheltered homeschooler--is pretty much the German Jonas Brothers. Like, they're really big, really obnoxious. I know. If I was a normal person I would know all of this.

(*Honestly, France is really just jealous that their boy band scene is sadly lacking.)

Not only was I envious (for months) of a prepubescent boy's voice, the boy in question looked like the spawn of Gavroche from Les Miserables, Michael Jackson, Pete Wentz... and just generally like he belonged in a Stephen King novel. I don't say this to be mean; he was really a cute little kid, in kind of a Lost Boy meets The Omen sort of way.


Of course, that picture is a couple of years old, and now Bill Kaulitz looks like a really beautiful scene porcupine.

(It's not fair. He really does have nice ears and a nice face shape and nice eyebrows and a nice nose. They're just nice. Nice, delicate features are wasted on boys, but they do help them become rock stars, I suppose. Just look at Kurt Cobain and Toby Mac.)

And I've realized that I do not like Tokio Hotel's current music. It is lame; it is scene; Bill's hair looks porcupine quills; Tom Kaulitz dresses like he's trying too hard to be Eminem, who is so passe anyway.

Tokio Hotel is the most American German band I've ever seen.

That said, I also cannot stop listening to the original Schrei. The debut album. The one Ich Bin Nich' Ich is from. Because I can't help still kind of wanting to sound like pre-voice change Bill Kaulitz. Because now that I look back on it, yeah, the vocals do kind of remind me of Taylor Hanson's in mmmBop (Taylor was better, of course) and I really should have known it was a boy. Because you know what? Sometimes I like cheesy boy bands even, yes, sometimes if they're scene and kind of horrid and try way, way, way too hard. True confession. Because Durch den Monsun does get in your head, like emo boy band songs should. True confession.

Monday, October 20, 2008

list! ka-boom!

a) I stayed up way too late last night. Necessary? Yes, yes, AND yes.

b) The main reason for this entry is to recommend a book I read for fun over the weekend. The book is Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. I had not read Greene before. I think I'd seen somewhere that someone smart liked him--and once on a crossword puzzle for THE NEW YORK TIMES the answer for one of the across phrases was The Quiet American. Now, I sort of have a crush on the New York Times, so I decided to read Graham Greene.

Our Man in Havana is political; it's satirical; it's complex yet short; it's funny. It's my brand of humor--a little too soon, a little dry, a little absurd.

Vacuum cleaners are automatically funny, and this is a story about a vacuum cleaner salesman in Cuba who gets involved in espionage so he has enough money to buy his daughter a horse. He turns in designs of vacuum cleaner parts to the U.K., saying that they're Cuban missiles.

I liked this book so much. So, that's my Reading Rainbow segment for the day.

c) Other thing about the show I'm in? I'm learning Russian dance moves! Sweet!

d) I can't help but think that my life is exciting and it's going to get even better.

e) I've been really getting into quotes attributed to St. Frances of Assisi lately. Mostly because I don't want to be showy or pharisaical. I just want to be a person who can walk around loving people.

f) Oh! And coffee? Chocolate flavored coffee from Folger's gourmet line is possibly one of the best seven dollar purchases one can make. It is caffeinated heaven.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Any Perks of Being a Wallflower...

...are totally eliminated by adopting a countercultural haircut.

You may quote me.

I have had a mohawk (not a fauxhawk) for two days.

I named it Hugh.

If there is one thing that has assured me that I am not a punk, it is having a punk haircut and feeling stupid.

A lot of people have said that it looks really good. This, I think, is sometimes code for "You have an unusual haircut and I feel I need to comment on it--but I don't like it at all," or, sometimes, "I appreciate that you have the guts to do what I would never do... but it looks stupid." And there are a few people who actually mean it when they say they like it. Anyway, it's too much hair attention for my liking--but what do you expect? I'm a girl with a mohawk. I'm used to it and I am secure in who I am--I am a child of God; I am a peacemaker; I am a dreamer--and right now, I am a child of God, a peacemaker, and a dreamer with a mohawk.

Mohawks are not like dreads; dreads are a way of life. (I love dreadlocks. I love dreaded people. I kind of wish my baby sister was a little less Hollister, a little more hippie so she could have awesome long blond dreads). Mohawks are a lot less time-consuming and you don't have to have a mohawk soul to have a mohawk.

Am I glad I currently have a mohawk? In a way, yes (although I will be completely ok once I can return to a less alarming haircut.)

I honestly think it will contribute scads of authenticity to my characterization in this musical. (Y'all, my hair will look SO good in this play and I am justifiably excited.) (It's also a perverted theatrical status symbol to look weird for a show. I always looked longingly after the muttonchops and curlers of the period-show actors. Is it misguided? Yes. But still.)

I will also one day be able to say, "Children, when I was a senior in college, I had a mohawk. This means I am countercultural; you may obey me now."

And I now have the authority to dispel myths about mohawks. For one thing, it is not essential to shave the sides of your head to have a mohawk. If the hair on the sides of your head is very significantly shorter than the hawk part, it is not a fauxhawk. For another, mohawks can be worn down. The lady who cut my hair spiked it. Hugh hates being spiked. Mohawks do not have to be fanned in order to be legitimate. I looked this up online to make sure. Also, mohawks have minds of their own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

echoes of jesse

Who you are is what you do, not who you want to be. As Michael said, faith isn't for the future. Hope is for the future. Faith is for the now.

Faith means you do what you hope to be.

So all of a sudden I'm thinking about my friend Jesse--the skinny, weird one with curly hair--and the stuff we do and fail to do, because all of it applies to where we hope to be.

So, here I am. I'm getting out and doing what I hope. I am looking for a school--not as hard as I should be, I admit... but I am thinking about a few schools in the Midwest and, oddly enough, in Germany; I am voting--because the next time there will be a presidential election, I will be directly affected by the international policies of the upcoming administration; I am learning languages--"les paupieres" are "the eyelids" in French, German's going pretty well, and I just recently considered that I should be attempting to learn Arabic (if Richard Engel can do it, so can I); I am writing plays and doing a thesis, because one day I could be a documentary filmmaker or a playwright who travels the world doing research. I know I will be a traveling artist, because I am an artist now. I have a passport now.

So, if where you are isn't where you hope to be--why are you where you are? What are you doing to be who you want to be in five years? If you have a dream, and it's just lying stagnant... why? What's the point of that?

Friday, October 10, 2008


What I am Reading:

Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
One thing that I just recently learned is that Robert Heinlein popularized the acronym TANSTAAFL. Thank you, Robert Heinlein. Starship Troopers is a moral/philosophical novel cloaked in the guise of science fiction. Which means that I love the moral/philosophical parts and I am trying to like the sci-fi, "powered armor" parts. (Apparently, "power suits" mean different things to sci-fi than they do to the eighties).

What I am Listening To:

Urinetown. Duh. Is it hard to be in a show that is nominally about bodily functions?

Yes, sometimes it is. Mostly because I don't want my family to hate it and I feel like they will.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


There is one distinct time when I wish-I wish-I wish that I had life figured out; that I was (sorry to Caitlin and anyone else who might miss me come May) a graduate; that I was, you know, not in school, but off serving, doing wildly creative things to bless people, preferably in a country where they don't always speak English; preferably with some pretty awesome husband of a guy who accepts me, even with my short hair and propensity to say dumb things; maybe, you know, a tribe.

And that time is shortly after midnight when I am "working" on an essay that's due tomorrow, listening to Songs of Water and/or French music.

My question:

Who are we but the time we spend?

Who are we besides what we do with the time we spend?

I know--
I have to spend my time doing what I'm supposed to be doing. It's not about me, and my time has to reflect that.

But first, before the husband and the missions and the orphanages and the languages and the tribe, even before my next haircut, I have to finish this dingdangpaper.

Monday, September 29, 2008


1. Ok... thanks to my roommate, I have discovered the best BBC-TV show this side of "Are You Being Served?" It's the next "Charmed"-- it has cheesy flying arrow effects, more suspense than my Human Biology final, anachronisms out one's ears, and Harry Lloyd (progeny of Charles Dickens) (not to mention Joe Armstrong, progeny of Alun Armstrong, who you will recognize because he plays every villain--ever--on anything BBC).

So really it's not like "Charmed" at all. What it is, is "Robin Hood." AND IT'S H-AMAZING, in an anachronistic, cheesy, suspenseful, Harry Lloyd way. Roomie says it's going to get really intense. I can't wait. I hope it stays just as cheesy throughout its run.

2. Languages. Believe it or not, I still like doing my German homework. We're learning plurals. Isn't that cute? I have trouble weakening in my resolve when I think about how sure I am that I will not be in the States for a significant part of my life. New (read: old goal I've had for a zillion years but don't quite reach... ever) goal: retain French, even though I am very often intimidated by one roommate of mine, who is a French major and knows so much more and reads Hernani by Victor Hugo and reenacts the death scene to great comic effect...

3. There will, come hell or high water, be an ETC next semester. And it will, come hell or high water, include a number of plays that will be staged for the first time. chesseandaaron, if you promise to make me not be a slacker about this, I promise to not let you be a slacker about it. For real, for serious. We need to do this because you guys are mad talented and we're also going to graduate.

4. My broface called me on Saturday. I love talking to my brother! He's just so smart and I'm totally ok with being a soundboard for his brilliant ideas.

5. This past "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me" was awesome. Thank you, Mo Rocca. Fact: Mo Rocca is really smart and wears bow ties and I love him and he is just so funny on "Wait! Wait" and on "Wishbone" and on everything he's ever done, ever, including "I Love the 80's" and "The Today Show" and thesmokinggun.com. I. Love. Mo. Rocca. In my dreams, I am as savvy as Mo Rocca and I look just as good in a bowtie. Then I wake up and I'm clueless and wear sweats all day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Academic novels came up in Literary Criticism today. I brought up the fact that I have tried to read Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis... tried very hard... based on two very heartfelt recommendations. One of them was from a professor in the book that I got in high school that basically consisted of a bunch of lists of all these books that professors from a variety of colleges recommended. The other was from Hugh Grant.

I wanted to know what my professor's thoughts on Lucky Jim were; if he could persuade me to read it. I sort of wanted to like Kingsley Amis, even though I've only ever liked him in moments. (But when I like him, I really like him! Gah! So conflicted!)

My professor's response? "That does not speak well of Hugh Grant."

"Kingsley Amis, pssh... Lucky Jim is not that great of a book."

I FEEL SO VALIDATED. I LOVE THIS CLASS. And then we talked about Nietzsche!

But I have to say--I love all of my classes this semester. It's a good year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Die Religion

...ist das Opium des Volkes.

I've been reading Marx lately, for class. I've been reading German, for class. (And for fun.)

And so this famous quote from Marx is stuck in my head a little.

Which is interesting, because I'm sure that--

"Why, Claire, don't you consider yourself a religious person? Because I certainly do! Why would you even think at length about this one flyaway comment that ol' Karl said?! It seems to be completely against everything you've ever believed in!"

Why, I guess I am a person of faith-- I enjoy talking about it and writing about the phenomenon of religious experience (I mean, obviously.) I like personally experiencing faith. (Most of the time.)

But I think religion can be an opiate. I think that religion, both the major religions and the cultural gods of materialism, etc, can mind-numbingly perpetuate the status quo (which, as Dr. Horrible would say, is not quo.) And I don't want that for my life. I want to be awake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today in class we did one of those acting exercises where you look everybody in the eye for a really long time. If you've ever done something like this, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't... basically, what happens is that you look someone in the eye. Sometimes they start laughing or you start laughing or... someone loses focus because someone else does something socially inappropriate... or something...

So I've been thinking about eye contact since. What is it about four eyeballs that make people slightly uncomfortable? We're all so scared if we look at someone, they'll see what's inside us--and I know that's silly. You are not going to be able to interpret my secret crush on Henry Tilney from staring straight into my eyes. (Ok, so my "secret" crush on Henry Tilney is... not.)

(Side note: Um, Twilight? I am up to here with all of this Edward Cullen love. It's like Jane Eyre on crack, with hormones. Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey has been around for years; his family is [kind of] bloodsucking [in Gothic parody-fashion] he wears a greatcoat really well, he has dogs, he is a clergyman [!!!!!] he is tall, dark and [kind of] handsome and [kind of] everything any girl should ever want.)

I'm just not going to try to hide my eyes; why should I? Why can't we be a society that sincerely looks at individuals, in all of their unique craziness?

Oh! Even though my hair is longer that it has been in the past year and a half (I can almost put it into a ponytail... sad) I'm still getting excited about the hair possibilities for the show. It's going to be punk meets Les Miserables meets NYPD Blue.

Yeah. All of that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


was singularly long and singularly eventful.

The highlight of my day was at 5:51 when my brother called me of his own volition, just to talk. I mean, I could have melted in a puddle on the sidewalk. This has never happened before, ever.

Unfortunately, that phone call came thirty-six minutes after my sister called me of my mom's volition to tell me that my dad was going to the hospital--probably the big bummer of my day.

And now for a bit of context. At Sunday School there was a brother and sister (approximately the ages of my brother and sister) whose dad (who was younger than my dad) was rushed to the hospital. We prayed for him, and that was it. That night I learned that he had passed away. And then the next day my dad went to the hospital.

It was sort of a freak sequence of events and it left me really on edge, probably more so than I would have been otherwise.

Right before rehearsal, I finally called Mom, who has been convinced this whole time that Dad would be fine. When we hung up, I started bawling--a combination of grief for all the stress that he's been under that has caused all of these problems; relief that it sounded like his heart is okay and that his vitals were good. It was then that I got down on my knees, on the concrete, by the theatre, and told God that I was confident that He loves Dad, Dad loves Him, and I love Dad. It was kind of interestingly full-circle--when I was born, I had a little bit of trouble with the whole being-alive aspect of living, and my dad knelt down on the hospital floor and prayed that I would survive.

It was also a heck of a lot better than the last time Dad went to the hospital. It was when I was in high school, it was the middle of the night, and we'd just had a major knock-down, drag-out fight. I went to bed very angry. And then at 3 am I felt just terrible because there was my dad, going to the hospital, and it was an epic-ally bad night for that to happen. And here we are, on good terms, with a lot of mutual respect there.

But seriously--last night felt really, really long because I was constantly wondering how Dad was doing and what was going on. It wasn't until eight-ten that I finally got peace about the situation because Mom said that she was going to get Dad some Chik-Fil-A for dinner. For some reason, I don't think of Chik-Fil-A as a deathbed food.

But there you have it. It was a little nuts, but God has always been in control, and He loves His kids. My dad is one of the coolest people I know: he reads a lot, he plays bass, he wears patterned sweaters... the list goes on and on.

(Dad, you should get into the washtub bass; it's got less strings, it's more temperamental and you'll look like a hillbilly. I'd laugh and take pictures.)

I know my dad will be happiest in heaven and if he were to go there suddenly, I would not wish him back... but I'm still glad that he has some unfinished business down here first.

But really, in conclusion, please pray for the Call family.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Press "Delete"

Sometimes I am reminded of just how many mistakes I make.

I goof up far too much for my own good. Can we say "Alpha Psi Omega?" (I really don't like to be reminded that I'm a terribly incompetent leader, but it's also good for me and everyone to know...)

My halo slips; I trip over my feet; I don't listen.

Mistakes suck. If I really think about it, I hate that I cause people pain. I mean, part of me really hates to not be universally admired and loved.

But you know what? Life goes on. Every day that I get is another chance to play fair.

And one day it'll work.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I've Lost my Subconscious Mind

Lately, my dreams, like ten-minute plays and songs from the early 20th century, have been really, really topical. It's pretty unusual.

Like, not even Freudian anymore. I'm beyond the nebulous point of dreams, and it's like my subconscious and my conscious are speaking the same language.

It's like, I think about the script for the show I'm working on right now, and how it was irretrievably lost, and I dream about the script for the show I'm working on right now, and trying to find it in its irretrievably lost state.

And then last night I dreamed about Neil Patrick Harris, a widdly celebrity crush of mine, who I was praising to the skies last night to Landon, who is apparently unfamiliar with Neil Patrick Harris. (I mean, Doogie Howser, MD? Cold Sassy Tree? How I Met Your Mother? Old Spice commercials? Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog? Will and Grace? Assassins? Sweeney Todd? Cabaret? I, fortunately, tend to see Neil Patrick Harris a minimum of all the time, and it is a good thing.)

(Widdly, like posh, is a word derived from an acronym. I coined this term from the phrase Wish I DiDn't Like You, and it describes boys I wish I didn't like because they're unattainable or jerks or taken or gay or some combination of the above.)

In my dream, I met Neil Patrick Harris and he was considering replacing both Jeff Probst and Ryan Seacrest as the hosts of Survivor and American Idol, respectively, and I was vehemently against this. "No, Neil Patrick Harris! You should totally NOT be a host! Your place in the universe is being a ridiculously talented, if unattainable, actor!"


What's next? Dreaming about class assignments and dreadlocks? Not that I have dreadlocks, but I'm conscious of the fact that if my hair was not short and/or naturally poo brown, that I would consider them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A List

A 1. Eisley? One of the ten or so English-speaking bands I still listen to. Yay for a gene pool of preternaturally beautiful people with haunting vocals that minister to my furtive emo inner life-- while still making me happy. Quite a feat. Also, my brother says to listen to The Planets by Gustav Holst, because every major soundtrack composer steals from him. Also, I read in... I think it was... geez... some womanly magazine with a cover story on Heidi Klum... I can't remember the magazine... but Seal totally compared Heidi to the seven-movement orchestral suite. Seal is kind of really funny when you think about it. I mean, jeez--he's clearly taking Heidi Klum way too seriously.

A 2. Don't judge my propensity to cherish musicals and/or rock operas from the seventies.

Or, more realistically, judge away, because I know you will, but my opinion isn't going to change. I'm listening to Working right now. I'll also defend Starmania and/or Tycoon with my very non-Gen-X, very cush, square life. Give me Tommy! Give me The Wiz! Dang it!

And eighties schmaltz like Phantom of the Opera can go straight to theatrical Hades, where Allegro and Can I Hear a Waltz and Anyone Can Whistle live, and it can take Cats and Evita and Starlight Express and Miss Saigon with it. I know that some of those are also from the seventies, but--whatever, they're eighties schmaltz in spirit.

A 3. So... workshopping new plays? It makes me dizzy--or maybe that's the allergies--but I couldn't be more in love with the process of structuring theatrical greatness. I love how collaboration makes the ideas of individuals ten thousand times better. I love how in a collaborative process, the idea of intellectual property tends to vanish in a crazy groupthink that allows everybody to steal the best of everybody else.

A 4. But for real for serious. I wish I was an Eisley.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yet Another Reason...

...I wear a WWJD bracelet, even though they've been out since their overcommercialized stint ten years ago...

I was at chapel last night for the first time in a while. I tend to forget about chapel, and I'm not affiliated with the United Church of Christ so I don't have a denominational obligation to show my face. But I was around the chapel area and I saw the little tricklers trickle into the sanctuary so I thought, "Why not?"

Ok--the gospel reading pretty much almost made me cry. It was the Sermon on the Mount, something we've all heard: basically, we all love our friends; it's time to love our enemies and bless those who persecute you.

I'm a very diplomatic person. I might even be gracious at times. There just aren't people I consider enemies. I don't have a vendetta against any particular person and I haven't sworn vengeance ever in my life. It's kind of a zen life. But I was still convicted. Even though there is no Captain Hammer to my Dr. Horrible, is it in my nature to bless those who persecute me? I still have pride, so I get offended; I still have a heart, so I get hurt; and what do I do? I GROUSE. It's true. I mumble; maybe I vent to my roommate over ice cream; I wish doctoral dissertations against my nine-minute nemesis, and then I'm back to zen.

And then I was like, "Dang son. I am a craptastic follower of Jesus." I thought about sharing that at Sharing Time, but I didn't want to say "craptastic" in church. There's still a stigma, at least for me, I think.

But really--what if I really responded like Christ all the time? What if that became my knee-jerk reaction, my gut response? Love? What if?

It's sad that I need reminders to love; it's grace that I get reminders to love; it's because of love that I may ever get to love at all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ok, so there's a little list.

So, Labor Day Weekend was about a half-hour longer than it was supposed to be. I am mortified for missing my One Important Meeting of the Day. Sigh.

Maybe I unintentionally blocked out the meeting (though I had written it, in black ink, in my day planner) because it's for work, and I fear that work will cause me to retire my pajama pants temporarily. Screw appropriate daywear; it is for mensches, professors, and news anchors.

I've been told by people on varying sides that no, I should not be a conscientious objector to the national election. Sigh. It is hard to be an American, where citizenship comes with expectations and democratic responsibility. I want to dodge it, hardcore, but I know I shouldn't. There's really just no easy answer for someone with such a conflicted conscience, and, I mean, tempus fugit, so what matters anyway? Four years of consequences forever; why am I such an existentialist all of the sudden? On the plus side, I love how animated my polisci professor and Mo Rocca get about election coverage. They are big ol' dorks.

Geez, louise, Mo Rocca. I don't even care if he just misspelled Marni Nixon's name in a recent Morocca180.com post. I love him, I love him, I love him. Mo Rocca likes [title of show]. Theatre people, have we seen this? Do we like it?

Craving Cherry Coke Zero soda because someone mentioned soda about five seconds ago. I gave up soda for this school year but I may have to recant. Ugh.

Things I have Learned from Dramaturging my Current Show:

1) The washtub bass is not a subtle instrument.

2) Theatre is nebulous and often scary.

3) Professors have opinions.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Predictable--the opinions are more of the same, plus in list form

1) I'm trying really hard to not be apathetic about the national election. I think I am the only one who is apathetic about it; there's a polisci professor at my school who always wears bowties, and I have never seen him look this animated before in my life. It's just like... they've chosen the running mates--and I just got bored. (However, I will say that sometimes Governor Palin reminds me of Tina Fey and they could have so much fun with her if Tina was still on SNL.)

It's hard for me to see this as something that actually matters. In the grand scheme of things, America's just probably going to suck and I'm probably going to move. That sounded really jaded, didn't it? Yes, yes, it did.

(I'm going to get lynched by a bunch of really conservative homeschool campaign volunteers for saying that, if I don't get shot by very anti-2nd Amendment Obamites from the theatre department first.)

2) I've been kind of apathetic anyway lately. Like, today I wore pajamas. All day. I even had three meetings with professors. I hope I sent off enough subliminal messages of "Don't judge me; this is academia and we're postmodern now so it shouldn't matter that I did not care enough to appear before you in 'appropriate' daywear like jeans." I just... I just... I care about my thesis far more than I do about getting dressed. And I, very appropriately, I think, care about other things far more than my thesis. (Dr. B, if you ever read this, I don't care about a WHOLE lot of other things more than my thesis, but you know, the standard post-grad plans, family, sleep, etc. still reign supreme.)

3) Today I got a picture in the mail of me and my brother from Aletheia. So many wonderful memories... and it brought back his short-lived goatee in living color. My brother's zealous pursuit of facial hair, however patchy and/or BRIGHT RED, was really precious, you guys. (Yeah, I know! Bright red! And this is the gypsy-lookin' brother with the mad dark eyebrows and hair!) It was a really rocking picture. The colors were slightly funky, so I looked like I had gray-violet eyes. I was neo-Elizabeth Taylor only her eyebrows never stunk and mine do.

Sigh. I miss my bro.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday List Time!

1) I have succeeded in giving up my pretty-intense diet soda habit. I would not have been able to do this without coffee. Thank you, coffee.

2) I may or may not be up to something. What?

3) My roommate says that I sound weird speaking German. New French Acquaintance (yes, I have an acquaintance who is French, which makes this year already cooler than last year) might argue that it's because German is an ugly language; I disagree. I think I sound weird speaking German because it doesn't come as naturally as English or even French. I know how I sound speaking English (very animated); I know how I sound speaking French (very frontally placed and much more monotone). I'm now determined to watch a lot of German television so I can tell how people talk. My mom met this Vietnamese girl in the Harris Teeter the other day and she learned ridiculously good English by living here and picking it up. I'm determined to be one of those people who picks languages up.

4) There is no such thing as too much mascara. I mean, I'm sure there is, but I haven't experienced mascara satisfaction. Ever, in my life, yet.

5) Ionesco is better in French. I've come to really be peeved by translations; I think I just have to learn every original language.

6) Catch-22. Still need it.

7) Save me some time, people. I've been plugging Northanger Abbey at every single opportunity. It is time for all of you, especially my lovely girlfriends, to READ THIS BOOK and save me some breath. You will thank me later. Or sooner.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beginning of the Semester Update

Hello, world. I miss you. I used to have free time. Now I research puppet theatre and junk instruments and people; I'm loving it a little bit, but it means I have officially, officially asserted my ownership of the Theatre Arts computer lab in a way that kind of freaks me out. (Yo, I redecorated it. It's pretty rockin'.)

So, I have this friend who is a pretty rocking guy who reads my blog when it's not long and he pointed out to me that I am "too creative to go to Bible school." Thoughts?

My college library has lost its sole copy of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I will never be a literate individual. Dang. I did, however, check out short stories by Kafka. I'm not sure why I read so many stories by messed-up individuals. It's cathartic, I guess--I go through a trial by fire of pity and fear when I read Kafka. He just... he just needed a hug so bad.

Ok... speaking of short stories. "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's like The Scarlet Letter, but much shorter. And minus Pearl. Hated it, can't wait for the other stuff I'm going to read for SciFi class. Let's lose the Twilight-Zone crazy red hand blemish, let's think about robots and space wars.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Friday! LIST TIME!

1. It's early in the school year. It is August. I am fighting the crushes. Yes, I am occasionally plagued by mild-to-moderate distractions from men, usually ones of the "extremely unavailable" persuasion. This year (and by "year," I do not mean calendar year, I mean school year) it is, so far... ta-da... Phil Dalhausser and Dr. Horrible, of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Previous to this month, I had never heard of Phil Dalhausser or Dr. Horrible. Now, I've quite obviously heard of them both, let me tell you. Phil Dalhausser is a beach volleyball player. I used to, feministly, pooh-pooh beach volleyball for being the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue of the Olympics. Then I saw men's beach volleyball--and by "men's beach volleyball," I mean the very bald and well-shaped skull of Phil Dalhausser--and was reformed. Beach volleyball is, ladies and gentlemen, equal-opportunity eye candy. He looks like the Silver Surfer--only not silver.

My other new sort-of crush is on Dr. Horrible. Have you seen Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog? No? You're the worst Joss Whedon/musical/Neil Patrick Harris (NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!!!!) fan ever. You're so corporate you probably were anti-writer's strike. And you probably have no soul, so you would probably never sing along to the Bad Horse messages anyway.




(NEIL PATRICK HARRIS!!! I mean, DAG, yo! AND he sings!)

(DAG, yo!!)

2. Apathy. I let it slip in last year, ghostlike and invasive and unfortunate. I didn't care enough about what I should have cared tremendously about--others, my integrity, being positive, fellowship (which is, apparently, now available on Facebook to sessionites. Just a plug.). I feel the temptation to do that again--not necessarily in a major-rebellion way, but in a just blah way--and I'm fighting that, too. Help me, dear Lord. And help me, sisters. And You are, and you are. So life's cool.

Please suggest, if you can, authors and philosophers who care. About anything. I just want to see fervor.

I'm thinking Immanuel Kant. I hope in his native language.

3. The shows that I'm working on right at the moment make me feel fierce. I must be weird, because I really enjoy that there's a possibility that my oversized, tiny-print railroad books are going to give me major back pain and eye strains.


4. So far, and this is totally a Jesus thing, so let me just say, I love everybody at school. So far.
So, if you're at school--hey! I love you this year! Enjoy it while it lasts.

5. I have too much Flair. I wish you could delete individual Pieces of Flair because people keep sending me Pieces and I am completely and totally content with my current Flair--it includes Brian Williams, Buster Keaton in jail, Kuzco doing his "llama face," Magritte, "Zombie: Eat Flesh," gangster Gollum, and all the Flair pieces I've ever wanted. So, dear, dear, dear people, including my brother, no more "Sith Happens"--I don't watch Star Wars. No more "You Know Nothing of Javert" Flair because I got over my bad-guy crush on Javert by sophomore year of college. No more Flair spam like "I sent you this because I needed more Flair points." That's just going to make me hate the world and Facebook, and we've already talked about the fact that I currently love everyone at school. I wish this habit would continue, but in order to do that, I must have no more Flair.

Just kidding. I really don't care.

4. Coming up with a list of good places to film B-zombie movies in honor of Sci Fi and Culture, my other new favorite class besides German, LitCrit, and Musical Theatre Perf (by a mysterious coincidence, those are all of my classes. Yes, that's right--they are all my favorites) .

Babyland USA (home of Cabbage Patch Dolls) and the Salisbury-Rowan laundry room currently top the list.

Please suggest, if you can, other areas that would also work. I doubt I could get permission to film in Babyland.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

back at school... and maybe nuts

Some things... and by that, I mean, specific things about myself that I don't happen to like very well... some things never change.

Some lines... some eyes... some things will never fail to move me.

I am wired, dude. I am up and I am wired. I have crazy college jitters. I have just been up... so up... and just thinking things through, off-the-wall things through. And praying, a lot, because apparently I do that now. It's on my Aspirations for the Year list of things to do, so I'm accountable to my roommate about it.

So I just shared some secret plans that I've sort of made over the summer with one of my dearest friends--and if she thought I was nuts, she did not say so, which made me pretty incandescently happy. And she's feeling pretty good herself, it seems. So, go friends!

I'm also excited about underground theatre. I think it should happen. I was so inspired by this little friend I have and our deep talk about his cinematic philosophy of "motion graffiti." I can't do movies yet--I don't have a camera--so I will have to content myself with "live performance graffiti" for now. I want to study cultural, non-Western art. I want to write a lot of theatre, preferably with a bunch of other people. And then, dang son--I meet the freshmen and from what I can tell, they should be a creative, inspired bunch--wait, it gets better--and they sing, too. I know. My feet are cold because my socks have been rocked off.

If you, poor lost soul, are reading this jumbled mass of type relayed from a fevered, underslept imagination... you can pray for me, if you do that, and also, if you are an artist, and you know you are an artist, go make art! It's what we do!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Unsolicited Endorsements

And now, for another instance in which I proselytize regarding things I like and you should, too.

ANY AND ALL HARRY POTTER SOUNDTRACKS COMPOSED BY JOHN WILLIAMS: I don't think I need to explain this one. However, I will say that my brother does not agree. He thinks that John Williams is playing it safe with the boy wizard and his themes. To this I say, "Hedwig? Hello?" To this he says, "Aside from Hedwig's Theme, a lot of it sounds like it was borrowed from Hook!"

BANDANAS: Now that my hair has migrated from "fine, too short, I admit it" to "too long to fauxhawk--sad day!" I have been ganking bandanas from the land of the gangster. Bandanas are addicting.

MUTEMATH: I mean, have you seen the "Typical" music video? No? YOUTUBE IT, dillweed!

(Side note: I think I give them an unsolicited endorsement pretty much every time I write a post with unsolicited endorsements.)

Nope! No excuses! Youtube it, NOWnow!

HAROLD AND MAUDE: One of my favorite romantic comedies since Sunset Boulevard (which should tell you something--do not watch it if your definition of "romantic comedy" is "Sleepless in Seattle"). And the reason is mostly Bud Cort (I think I went into hysterical convulsions over his cameo on the third season of Arrested Development--that was such a good episode...) and Ruth Gordon (a talented actor who is also an absolutely fantastic screenwriter? What a novel idea!).


JONES CREAM SODA: Why? It tastes like heaven. As in, I will be disappointed if, once dead, I stick out my tongue as if to catch a snowflake and heaven does not taste like Jones Pure Cane Cream Soda. Bevnet.com gives it four and a half stars, and Jesse and I give it a zillion.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Noncreative Process

Welcome to the last week before school, where I defer packing to a later date by blogging all...the...time.

Observation about writing:

Bait-and-switch does not work with writing. Bait-and-switch works pretty well with marketing. Abercrombie will tease you with hot, wet men and then sell you a baby doll t-shirt that will fall apart in the third hot-water wash. See? Bait-and-switch all the way, and Abercrombie's stocks are solid. However, if you start with a dark comedy, you sure as heck must end with a dark comedy instead of a melodrama. I'm still working on that. Darn you, melodrama. Chicken pox on all of your houses.

Observation on religion and creativity:

Here's a paradox that would have caused me to doubt a while back. If Christianity is real, Christians should make the best movies. However, they do not seem to do so. Is Christianity real? In other words, Christians--and I'm going to generalize here, so you can beat me up and steal my lunch money if you want to, but I've been pretty apathetic this summer so I might not cry-- believe they have a divine channel--the Holy Spirit--to the source of all creativity. Blaise Pascal (who I read like he's going out of style, 'cept he's not because he's BLAISE PASCAL) described God as "a master talent ruling all the rest." So, why do movies made by Christians tend to suck?*

(*Side note: There is no such thing as a "Christian" movie. It's a movie.)

And don't give me the "funding" issue. Look at "Clark and Michael." Does their production budget look intimidatingly unending? Look at any retro, cult-classic horror movie. Horror movies didn't use paper currency or financial backers until the eighties. The old stuff, like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was made with sweat, tears, and real blood!

You know what I think? We could make better movies, but we don't. A lot of Christians are scared to be artists because it's not mainstream. It's not the clone thing to be an artist, to reference Steve Taylor's biting satire of Christianese culture, in which the point of being sanctified is not to be like Jesus, but to be like everybody else in the church.

You know what? That scares me. A lot of evangelical Christians are scared of Obama becoming president. That is a stupid fear. It's not like cloneliness. Cloneliness is antithetical to the entire Bible.

If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus and you believe that you are, innately, an artist of any kind, don't try to squelch that! You were born a unique expression of God's creativity and it's your responsibility to discover what that means for you.

I love entertainment. Nothing is more telling about a culture or subculture than the entertainment they produce. I want every country, every religion, every fringe group to produce a play and then I want to see it. I almost wish there were more Zoroastrians in the world because they'd make really awesome movies that would knock the entire Left Behind series out of the water. Maybe after I write my science-fiction musical, I'll write a Zoroastrian eschatology play. There is nothing better than a good ol' end-times piece of theatre. Just look at Endgame.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


1: Five, six, seven, nine...


1: What?

2: We messed something up, something about the order; I don't remember.

1: Five... six... seven... nine... ten...thirteen...

2: NO!


2: Boondoggle!

1: We'll be fine. Everything's in order.

2: No, it's not! We missed something...

1: Well, it's the order now!

I started writing this, and it started reminding me of the End of the World play, so I stopped.
I almost haven't written anything all summer--except for two letters to Cody, but it's summer, this is what I do-- so I was rusty. But the only way to get un-rusty is to write something, right? And that's also what I do, and that's what I love. So here goes a piece inspired by Facebook statuses and my den:

CLAIRE: Who's that in the corner?

(A tall lump is in the corner, covered in a tight cap and absently mouthing the lyrics to music streaming through earbuds.)

SISTER: Michael Phelps.

CLAIRE: Why is he here?

SISTER: He's waiting for a race.

CLAIRE: Okay...

MOM: Something might be wrong with the space-time continuum. Just letting you know. I had a little trouble cooking dinner tonight.

CLAIRE: Okay...

(A mustachio-ed young man in a Speedo and bling enters through the living room door entrance.)

CLAIRE: Dang, son. It's Mark Spitz.

(Michael Phelps looks up as if he's not paying attention, but he is. He's kind of intimidated by Mark Spitz, who has been known to not be happy about the possibility of his record being broken.)

SISTER: Doesn't he know that swimmers don't wear Speedos anymore?

CLAIRE: This is clearly Mark Spitz circa 1972 or 3, Boo. He won seven gold medals and he won them with facial hair.

MICHAEL PHELPS: (muttering) Aaron Piersol can't even do that. (mumble mumble mumble to iPod) Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur...

(Bloody French people come through the backyard door, eating figs and peaches on their way in from my family's verdant pasture).

SISTER: It's the French! I thought we killed you last night!

ALAIN BERNARD: We're ze French. We will never die.

SISTER: I resent the obvious implied contempt.

ALAIN: What can I say? We have a reputation to uphold.

Obviously, I cannot write this. It has tons of conflict (I have visions of Zombie French and Mark Spitz beating Michael Phelps into a little bloody pulp, and of Michael frantically searching for a hiding place in my tiny house that will accommodate his wingspan) but I haven't really got to the plot yet, and I got bored with this.

But yeah. Everybody's Facebook status is referencing Michael Phelps. Who remembered Aleksandr today? I ask you.

P.S. I want to go on record as saying that I like France and the French. It would be real cool if they were zombies, but then Jordan and Joe and I would have to kill them... I don't know how I'll resolve this.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pardon my French. No, really. It's slang and it's probably really unladylike.



Je vous prie de bien vouloir m'excuser pour cette intrusion qui peut paraître surprenante à première vue d'autant qu'il n'existe aucune relation entre nous.
Je voudrais avec votre accord vous présenter ma situation et vous solliciter pour votre aide.
Je me nomme Mlle TAPE Carole, j'ai 20 ans et je suis la fille
unique de mon Père Honorable JEAN-MARC TAPE, qui était un
très riche et puissant producteur en café/cacao, empoisonné
par ses associés lors d'un voyage d'affaires . Après la
mort de mon père, ma mère détenait une ATTESTATION DE SOLDE
BLOQUEE ET SECURISEE à mon nom dans une Compagnie de
sécurité de la place d'une valeur de (2.700.000 EUROS).
Ma mère mourut 4 mois plus tard d'une hypertension
artérielle dans une clinique privée à Abidjan.
Ainsi avant sa mort, elle me fit part de tous les documents relatifs justifiant l'existence d'un compte bloqué d'un montant de (2.700.000 EUROS) que mon père m'a laissé comme héritage et elle me conseilla sagement d'ouvrir un compte fiable à l'étranger dans lequel ces fonds doivent être transférés
selon le testament écrit par mon père.
Elle m’a recommandé aussi de chercher un associé étranger qui pourrait honnêtement me faire bénéficier de son assistance pour sauver ma vie et assurer mon existence.
- M'aider à vous rejoindre dans votre pays
- Poursuivre mes études
D'ailleurs, je vous donnerai 15% sur mes fonds, pour l'aide que vous voudriez bien m'apporter Je vous serai reconnaissante de pouvoir bénéficier de vos
aides et conseils utiles.
S.V.P veuillez garder la discrétion à cause des problèmes socio-politiques que nous vivons en ce moment en Côte d'ivoire. Mon père a été assassiné et "LES
CRIMINELS " qui l'ont assassinés en veulent terriblement à ma vie.
Je compte sur votre bonne foi et votre honnêteté
pour que mon héritage soit transféré le plus vite possible
pour que je puisse vous rejoindre.
S'il vous plaît, contactez moi urgemment par mail dès réception de ce courrier.

Dans l'espoir de vous relire et d'une suite favorable.

Que Dieu vous benisse


Mlle Carole Tape


Bonjour, Mlle Tape!

C'est quoi ce cirque?

....You know what?

Ce n'est rien. Je n'en ai rien à foutre.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


This is worse, much worse, than when Kurt Vonnegut died.

My other old-man/writer crush has been dead for six days, and I was vacationing in a neighboring state, blissfully unaware that my heart was going to be put through a veritable mosh pit at an unnecessarily lame hard rock concert.

I found out this morning that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died last Sunday. Thanks to the Cal Thomas column in the paper, of all things. I never read Cal Thomas; his picture freaks me out. But today's entire column was devoted to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and how perceptive and wise he was.

I immediately changed into black sweatpants; red plaid pajamas were just too cheery for such a dark week in the global scheme of things.

Although Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a bit like John Updike in the sense that you pretty much figured he was dead already and it always kind of surprised you that he was still alive and kicking, he was always more influential to me than John Updike. You would never see me quote John Updike on my facebook wall.

I'm now determined that I WILL finish August 1914, which is pretty epic and has been described as positively Shakespearean and which I have had for years without really finishing. (BECAUSE I SUCK, ALEKSANDR, AND I AM SO SORRY.)

(Note: if you have never read any Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, shame on you. Go read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich right now. It's SO much better than anything Tolstoy, and much shorter.)

I am in the depths of despair, and I will leave you with these quotes so you, too, can be crushed by the fact that this dear, bearded man will no longer grace us with his searing intellect or devastating criticism.


A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.

For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones. (John Grisham and Danielle Steele, anyone? Oh, did I just hit a nerve?)

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the 20th century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.

If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?

You can only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power--he's free again.

Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yes, Virginia, I Do Believe I Will Get Married

a. Clay Aiken? First Sir Robin, and now a father? He is getting entirely too much power.

(Also... this is ER's final season? Who told me? Oh, no wait! Nobody!)

b. Once upon a time, I was kind of monastic and moody and also fifteen and I decided that I wanted to get married so much (one day, not at fifteen) that God would deny it from me on the basis of marriage being an idol.

I have recently decided that that thought is stupid. I'm going to get married (yes, I know this) and my relationship with God is more important than that. So that was a stupid thought on my part. I did have craptastica theology on some accounts when I was monastic and moody and also fifteen. I don't recommend being fifteen, as a general rule, unless you are fifteen.

My friend Crystal is getting married. Actually, several of my friends are getting married. But with this friend, it is different. It is different, number one, because she is younger than I am. This makes me feel old.

It is also different because I am a bridesmaid. I love being a bridesmaid. I licked fifty-eleven envelopes for this woman's invitations. I felt so useful.

(My dress, by the way, is vaguely Lord of the Rings. More Arwen than Galadriel. When I wear it, my hair feels too short but my paleness feels just right!)

But anyway, it stuns me how happy she is--and how happy I am for her. I am unreservedly thrilled because of how wonderful her story is and how blessed and loved she feels. Some people seem to have the attitude, she has told me (because she is real, just one of the most genuine people you will ever know) that her story is good for her, but "we can't all have what you and your fiancee have." Well, I think that if God wants you to get married, He wants you to have that.

God wants to give me that.

I think my future husband is out there, somewhere, thinking, "Dang, son, I will never get married because my life will be so nomadic and exciting and cerebral and blessed that no beautiful woman will want to share it with me."

I have news for you, dude--it doesn't matter if, right now, you're rebelling or building shacks in Thailand. One of these days, you're going to be nomadic and exciting and cerebral and blessed, and I'll marry you anyway. I am not ready for G.K. Chesterton's "perpetual crisis" of marriage, but give me a little while, and we'll see.

(I don't think he actually thinks the words "Dang, son," because that is an expression pretty unique to me. )

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Will the real Miss Claire please stand up?

Not to get all deep on you, dear lone RazRazz reader, but lately I've been thinking about me.

Hopefully not in as selfish a way as that sounds.

Now more than ever (and by "ever," I mean "in my teenage years") I am wondering who I am.

Teenage Claire was subject to bouts of melancholy, but on the whole pretty carefree. Teenage Claire had no overarching mission, but she tended to be happy and fulfilled doing the youth group thing. Life was so simple. I was pretty darn irresponsible.

Now? Well, I'm twenty-mumblemumblemumble. I am irresponsible and I balance the melancholy with the carefree. I am a strange combination of apathy and analysis and entertainment. (I'd like to point out that this new combination tends to lead to stupid decisions. Since college started, I have watched more really lame movies than ever before.) (And sometimes, I've really enjoyed them.) I read more Dorothy Sayers, Blaise Pascal, and Kurt Vonnegut than I did when I was in my teens.

And the other thing is this. I knew, at fifteen or sixteen or seventeen, that I had no idea who I was.

And now, as my youth meets a fledgeling adulthood, I have little sparks of ideas of who I might be and it's vastly frustrating. I am convinced--I don't just believe this; I am convinced--that somehow, somewhere, a loving deity dreams up people. An ultimate Creative Mind and Personality, the Unmoved Mover, the God of the Universe, has designed me, what makes me tick, what movies make me cry, what songs make me go nuts, and how I can uniquely worship Him.

This means that I need to accept the things that I know I am. I like absolutely everything about art... I like to engage in slightly dangerous activities... I like nerdy stuff like words...

So... that's part of me, anyway. Who are you? Or, at least, who do you think you are? I'm really curious.