Friday, December 5, 2008

That Girl Misses Vampires

I admit it.

I enjoyed Twilight. I’ve read all of the books, and they’re a total guilty pleasure. Like Bagel Bites. I know that I shouldn’t just throw a tray of Bagel Bites in the toaster oven and eat all of them, but I do it anyway. When the rest of what I’m reading is Stanislavsky and Nietzsche, sometimes I just really crave Bagel Bites.

I’m getting quite tired of people comparing them to other vampire books, though. I can see the Buffy comparisons, but Buffy has the important distinctions of a) being well written and b) portraying vampires as dangerous fucking monsters. The one series that makes me want to stab people upon comparison?

The Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles.

I know these aren’t great literature—if Twilight is Bagel Bites, the Chronicles are DiGiorno pizza; the kind that pretends it tastes JUST LIKE REAL PIZZA but doesn’t at all. The real problem I have with the comparison is how people compare the two kinds of vampires without looking at the fact the TWILIGHT VAMPIRES AREN’T REAL VAMPIRES.

I’m serious. Stephenie Meyers has admitted she didn’t do research on vampire legends. She just made shit up and used an already-present name for it. Traditionally, vampires are scary as shit, and somehow still incredibly sexy. The act of drinking human blood from the neck is extremely sensual, so when you add mystery into the mix they’re irresistible. In the Chronicles, they can set things on fire, fly, hear thoughts, and move shit with their minds. They’re fucking badasses with more money than God.

Oh, and they’re also tortured, miserable, bored creatures who are incinerated instantly upon contact with sunlight and are faced with the prospect of facing eternity alone, because even if they turn a person into a vampire for a friend, they’ll just end up hating each other.

They don’t have venom, they don’t have powers like motherfucking X-Men, they don’t eat moose, and they sure as hell don’t sparkle. They’re VAMPIRES.

And yet, a new generation of potential vampire fans is presented with a pussified version of the most badass antiheroes EVER. My generation (okay, technically the generation just before) had Lestat, who became a rockstar and almost gave away the huge secret of vampires existing because he was BORED. We had Armand, who was part of a vampire theater group that killed and ate people in public BECAUSE THEY COULD. We had Louis, who bitched and moaned AND WAS TOLD BY EVERYONE ELSE TO PUT ON HIS BIG BOY PANTIES AND KILL SOME PEOPLE. They were fucking awesome.

But what do these girls get? An abusive boyfriend. Who fucking sparkles.

Please, someone, give the vampires back their fangs!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

That Girl Just Doesn't Care

I'm taking a course on rhetoric and discourse, and it's the single most absurd thing I've ever studied. I think it's utterly pointless, and a completely unnecessary model being imposed on language that just overcomplicate things.

I feel like a lot of things are like that-- we can't just let things be, we have to analyze and pick apart and try to explain them. By doing so, we're really just making relatively simple ideas incredibly complicated, when really you just need to live it and let it wash over you.

There's this wonderful Billy Collins poem that pretty much exemplifies how I feel about the universe at large:

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

I feel like a fucking hippie, but... can't we just exist and shit? To quote the movie Independence Day, "All you need is love. John Lennon. Smart man. Shot in the back, very sad."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

That Girl and the Guy in Philosophy Class

So, I'm taking Philosophy 101 this semester, just because I can. Really, it's a pretty absurd course taught by the biggest dork I've ever met, who uses episodes of Battlestar Galactica to illustrate the integration of virtues as discussed in Plato's Protagoras dialogue.

Yeah. It's pretty hilarious.

So, I'm using this class as an opportunity to call people out on their bullshit and generally use big words and crazy analogies to make people's heads spin. I'm doing a really good job of it, especially when I'm able to throw in the name of some obscure playwright and use terms like 'Brechtian' in perfect context.

This, however, has a side effect I was not prepared for. You see, there are these two guys in my class who are much smarter than everyone else. They have taken to following me after class and attempting to strike up the most inane conversations. I got to class early today, as did the more insistent of the two guys, and I was singing to myself as I walked up the stairs. He turned around, smiled, and said 'I thought I heard a pretty voice.'

Seriously? I mean, today I'm wearing a gross sweatshirt with a tea-stain on it, jeans and clogs, I've got NO makeup on, and my hair is a mess. And this guy is CLEARLY hitting on me.

I mean, at least it shows that people are interested in me because of my intellect (and the occasional cleavage-baring shirt in class).

Still, not going to lie: I thoroughly enjoyed telling him I spent the weekend with my boyfriend when he asked if I'd done anything interesting.

Monday, November 10, 2008

That Girl is a Mama Hen

I've been calling myself the Mama Hen in varying levels of seriousness since maybe my freshman year of high school-- by this point in my life, it's so ingrained in my identity that it's never leaving.

Usually it's not that bad-- I just care a lot about the people close to me, and put a lot of work into keeping all of my chickies safe and happy. I've lost track of how many times people have commented on how actively and ardently I care about them, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

But being the Mama Hen is not without its drawbacks. They are many, and they are serious.

For one thing, defining yourself as a caretaker effectively negates any self-sufficiency, because your self-worth and happiness are always related to other people. You need other people to exist, and you need them close to you.

You feel like you can fix people if you just care hard enough. I'm just beginning to really understand that I can't care and love people better, especially when they're going through some pretty serious shit. That conviction used to get me into a lot of shit... several relationships in high school with college dropouts (I was fifteen, he was nineteen, and I KNEW I could make him all better), socially awkward angstbunnies (too many to name) and epileptic stoner poets with anger management problems who had been kicked out of public high school (my senior prom date).

So, I'm trying not to make the same mistakes again. But it's really fucking hard... At least if you try to love someone better and fail, you've still loved them. But trying to help people in other ways is a lot more complicated, especially if what you need to do is tell the person you love more than anything else-- the person you're willing to go through hell and back for-- that they need to cut the crap and deal with their stress before it really hurts them. "I love you" is a hell of a lot easier to say than "You need to find more effective coping mechanisms than hysterical breakdowns."

Because the Mama Hen doesn't want her chickies in pain-- even if that means taking all of their problems on, because they're more serious and more important than her own.

I love my lab rat more than I can say, and seeing what he's going through tears my heart out, because all I want to do is hold him and whisper in his ear that it's all going to be okay. The problem is, I don't know that. I don't know how things are going to turn out, and I can't promise a brighter day anymore when I know it might not happen.

It's quarter to two, and I'm writing this instead of sleeping. I guess I really suck at this "not taking on other people's problems" thing...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Controversial Film Festival

So, I'm in the Honors Forum at my school, and to keep my membership, I need to complete a "citizenship project" for the school community.

I think I want to host a weekend-long film festival for controversial films-- movies that have been banned, censored, and generally considered 'unacceptable' by a lot of people. I'd like to play films that aren't as well-known, in addition to the really big ones like Clockwork Orange.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That Girl Is Okay

I'm back at school now, and I'm really glad-- most of my summer was fun, but the end was really traumatic for several reasons.

First of all, I've stopped talking to Mary, and I really do regret it. We can't work together in a professional environment, EVER, but she was a really good friend and I hope that I can rebuild that bridge.

Also, for the first time in my life I was completely and totally rejected by a guy, not just as a date but as a human being. This resulted in me literally collapsed on the ground between an apartment and my car, sobbing so violently I was unable to move, and then wailing on the drive home. I still really haven't dealt with this emotionally, I probably will with my acting class later this semester.

Finally, and kind of tangentially, I was on a family vacation when I took a Benadryll and was forced to stay awake, which led to a hysterical episode and me later curled up in a bed, almost catatonic, while everyone else on the vacation screamed at each other for various reasons.

So, looking back, the end of my summer kind of blew.

Well, except the part where I met this amazing guy I'm now madly in love with.

I'd posted about joining that online dating site, but I hadn't really expected to find anyone for anything substantial. But by chance, I messaged this guy who lives pretty close to my school because he had a picture of himself dressed all steampunk. We talked for a few months, we met in person when I got back up to school, and about an hour later I found myself in bed with him.

I regret nothing, because he's absolutely wonderful, and I love him very much.

Not much else of interest is going on, except for the play I'm in right now, so I'll probably next update with a rundown of some of the CRAZY kids I taught this summer. Oh, Shakespeare Camp, the weirdos you attract!

Monday, July 28, 2008

That Girl is an Intern

I grew up in a suburban New Jersey town that, when I was younger, seemed like the most stifling place ever. Now that I am spending most of my time in North Bumblefuck, NY, I have a newfound respect for my hometown.

For example, there are a lot of theaters in the area, something that probably (read: completely) influenced my decision to pursue theater, especially theater education. One of those theaters, which I’ll call Jersey Shakespeare (JS for short), is the place where I discovered that there was a viable future in teaching classical theater—I was fifteen, and my life was completely changed. This summer, I have returned to this place as an education intern, assistant teaching the students enrolled in the same program that affected me so deeply.

At least, that’s what I thought.

As it turns out, the education interns are really like the stage managers of a summer-long, site-specific performance art piece called ‘JS.’ We schedule everything, and make sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and where. We are at every location before anyone else, and we leave it after they do. We help teach four programs over the course of the summer—two middle school sessions and two high school sessions—and we serve as production and tech crew for all of their final projects. We do the laundry for both of the Graduate-level actors’ touring shows every night, so that their costumes are clean.

Also, we don’t get paid.

I’ve come close to a mental breakdown several times this summer, but I really feel that it’s shown me that I can totally handle this industry as a career—after all, I’m doing the job of at least three theater professionals, doing just one will be easy!

I haven’t been blogging this because I’ve been so busy, but now that the summer is winding down, I figure I’ll do a series of entries about my experiences—some about the people I work with, some about the kids I’ve taught, and some just about the insanity that is the classical theater world.

I’ll start with a quick rundown of the major players in my summer:

Cher: Named for her terrifying Cher impression, this is one of the other education interns. She’s going to be a senior in college, and I’ve really warmed up to her over the course of the summer. She says some of the most ridiculous and random things I have ever heard.

Mary: She did the same program as I did at JS, and we’ve been friends ever since. However, I don’t know if I can continue to be friends with her after the summer, because she’s been driving me up the fucking wall.

Abigail: One of my bosses, she seems like a sweet woman at first, and she usually is. Unfortunately, the weirdest things set her off (for example, when the postings I put up on the bulletin boards are not straight), and she turns into a rampaging bitch.

Jake: Another of my bosses (he outranks Abigail, and I work most often with him), he is a great guy, but often lives in his own world, not understanding what his demands actually require me to do. A total gossip whore. No one’s quite sure of his sexuality, and it’s a HUGE point of contention amongst the interns (for the record, I have not yet made a decision). Responsible for The Costuming Incident.

The White Rabbit: The third, and highest ranking, of my bosses. So named for his affinity for Alice in Wonderland (he directed a VERY well received adaptation a few years back), as well as the fact that he is ALWAYS in a hurry, he appears to subsist entirely on cigarettes, regular coca cola (not cocaine, though I have my suspicions), and adrenaline. I have never seen him eat. Brilliant, but insane.

Chava: A directing intern, she has been working with the classes I’ve helped teach. Love her as a person, can’t stand her as a director. Very Jewish.

Tank: Also known as The Boy. Alternates between acting like my boyfriend and ignoring me like a thirteen-year-old girl. Currently driving me nearly to insanity.

That’s pretty much everyone I work closely with, although there are certainly a LOT more colorful characters. It has definitely been an eye-opening summer, to say the least.