Saturday, December 30, 2006

"Can't sing but I've got soul." ~u2

I've been spending more time doing nothing over the past few days and am loving it. I never get bored. I'd love to just do nothing all the time. I've been hanging out with Kim and Matt a lot; the past two nights we've spent hours playing games. I love games (and I'm usually pretty good at them). Over the past two nights I've won Apples to Apples, Would You Rather?, Gin Rummy...Joseph won Urban Myth. Would You Rather? was an awesome Christmas present from my friend Sam, who knows how much I love games. Kim got a karaoke machine for Christmas, so we've been doing that a lot as well. I'm awful at it, but it's so much fun. So far I've performed earachingly bad renditions of I Want You to Want Me, Sweet Home Alabama, Eternal Flame, I Don't Know How to Love Him, Elevation, I'll Be Watching You, I Don't Want to Miss a Thing, and some others that I've already erased from my mind.

I've been reading a lot, too. I read A Hat Full of Sky, which is an amazing sequel to The Wee Free Men (on which I wrote my English seminar paper this semester). I highly recommend Terry Pratchett's Discworld books to everyone. Now I'm reading Dave Eggers' memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It's very good so far.

I'm off to see Dreamgirls now. I'll report back on it later.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"It's not going to stop, 'til you wise up." ~aimee mann

Merry (belated) Christmas, everyone! I had a lovely holiday. My grandparents stayed with us and my aunt, uncle, and two cousins from NY came down for the day. Some family friends joined us for dessert. We had lots of great food, conversation, and games. I received some wonderful gifts. My grandparents gave me an absolutely beautiful antique diamond and sapphire ring that I love. Some of my other favorite presents were the Little Miss Sunshine DVD, a few fun t-shirts, the Spring Awakening OBCR, and tickets to see The Vertical Hour on Broadway (starring Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy, two of my absolute favorite actors). I was reminded of how fortunate I am. The best part of the day was spending time with everyone, though.

The day after Christmas I woke up and felt awful. I'm glad it didn't hit me until after Christmas. My throat hurt like crazy and my nose wouldn't stop running. I've spent the past couple of days doing nothing but lounging around the house, and I'm feeling better. I've watched some good movies, including The Man in the Moon (Reese Witherspoon is so young) and Mulholland Drive. Mulholland Drive was sooo confusing, but I really enjoyed it. It was almost as confusing as my first viewing of Magnolia, which is saying a lot. Have I written about that here? First of all, let me say that I adore Magnolia. I think it's a fabulous film. The opening quote for this post is from a song that the characters in the film sing, and it's a beautiful moment. There are some amazing performances (including one by Julianne Moore). Anyway, Storytime: My mom and I rented Magnolia from Blockbuster a long time ago, back when VCRs and VHS tapes were in fashion. From the moment it started, we were completely lost. My mom kept asking me what was going on, and I kept shushing her, telling her that it wasn't supposed to make sense and that we weren't supposed to understand it. It gradually began to make sense as we got to know the characters, and I think by the end we both got the gist of it. When I took the tape out of the VCR, though, I noticed that it said "Tape 2." Apparently the movie was so long that it was on 2 VHS tapes, and we had only gotten the second one, so we watched the second half of the movie without realizing that we had missed the first half. We went back to Blockbuster the next day and they apologized and gave us the first tape (along with a free rental). So then I watched the whole thing (in correct order), and it made much more sense. But anyway, it was very confusing at first (and understandably so). And Mulholland Drive was just as confusing. I understand it now, though, after perusing the IMDB boards and running everything through my head a few times. Naomi Watts gives a fabulous performance.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Somebody hold me too close, Somebody force me to care, Somebody make me come through, I'll always be there, As frightened as you of being alive. Being alive, being alive." ~stephen sondheim (company)

I went to see the Broadway production of Company last night. The Entertainment Weekly review says, "If you get through 'Being Alive' without crying, you're a hell of a lot stronger than we are." I am slightly stronger than EW; I had tears in my eyes, but I managed to control myself. I was pretty choked up, though. Raul Esparza gave a fabulous performance. The EW review also says of the show, "[John Doyle's] actors-as-orchestra trick doesn't work as well as it did in last year's spectacular Sweeney Todd. (Mental patients carrying tubas are easy to buy; uptight yuppies take some getting used to.)" I agree with that statement. The actors playing all the instruments worked better than I thought it would in this production, but not as well as it did in Sweeney Todd. But overall I loved the show. It would be great to see Raul win the Tony for best actor this year.

After the show I got to spend some time with my friends Nic and Tiff, which I was really glad to be able to do. I only spent about an hour with them and it seemed much shorter than that; time flew by and we had so much to talk about. Nic gave me an awesome Christmas present; she gave me a few bootleg cds and a shooting script of Little Miss Sunshine, my favorite movie ever. I saw it in theaters a few times last June when it first opened in NYC (I can't believe it's still out in theaters in some places). The DVD is the #1 thing on my Christmas list.

Tonight I'm going back to see The Pursuit of Happyness. Fingers crossed that I actually get to see the end this time.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"No big differences these days, just the same old walkaways. And someday I'm gonna stay, but not today..." ~counting crows

My grandparents are here! It took my brother and I 40 minutes to drive to Newark Airport last night, and then we drove around the airport for an hour and a half. The flight was late and there isn't anywhere that you can park without paying, so we literally just kept driving in circles for an hour and a half, waiting for my grandparents. At least we had good music with us. And we got them home without any problems.

Heather, you inspired me to think about my family members and how different we all are. So here we go on my grandparents: I love my grandparents. They're southern; my mom's anscestors have lived in the South since before the Civil War. My grandmother has this story about her relatives landing in Virginia among the first settlers and then eventually walking to Georgia with their 22 slaves. I think my southern family history has made me fascinated with the South; I love studying it and trying to understand it.

My Grandad is, without a doubt, the funniest person I have ever met. He's hilarious. He also has very old-fashioned, southern ideas. He's racist and homophobic and doesn't intend to change his ideas anytime soon. Last night he yelled at my brother for wearing his hat inside the house and at my mom for allowing him to do so. A couple of years ago I walked in the NYC AIDS Walk and he did not approve because he believes that only gay people get AIDS and they deserve it. I hate having to type that, but it's what he thinks. He is extremely blunt; he has no qualms about saying exactly what he thinks. I'm terrified to go out in public with him lest he say something offensive, which is always very likely to happen. My mom always tries to convince him to open his mind a little, but he argues that there's no point in trying to make him change his ideas this late in life. He never calls me Claire when he's talking to me. He calls me Clarice or Clarissa. My parents intentionally named my brother (Brett) and me with one-syllable names that can't be shortened. My mom's name is Elizabeth, and she tried to go by that through the first twenty-something years of her life. She hated how other people kept giving her nicknames, though. Different people called her things like Liz and Beth, and her parents didn't even stick to Elizabeth (they alternated between Libbie and Betsey). Her twin brother is named Robert (he now goes by Bob), so throughout their childhood (until they were old enough to rebel) they were Bobby and Betsey. Now my mom just goes by Betsey (although my grandparents call her Libbie). Anyway, the point of that long digression was that my mom wanted my brother and I to each have one possible name because of the frustration that she experienced. And my grandfather managed to get around that by elongating each of our names. Brett becomes Brettsky or Brettster and I become Clarice or Clarissa. Which I love. Despite Grandad's prejudices and faults, he is hilarious. He is constantly making me laugh. And he is very loving towards his family. And I love him very much, despite all his faults. He always ensures interesting conversation.

My grandmother just might be my favorite person in the world. She is more open-minded than her husband. She is tolerant and accepting and easy-going and selfless. She loves movies and musicals as much as I do, and she always sends me her many magazines after she finishes reading them. She also clips out specific articles that she knows I'll like. She is absolutely wonderful and I love her to death.

I have to go now, my grandfather is complaining that I'm not joining them for lunch. So I'm off. Here's my grandparents after falling asleep on our couch:
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Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Oh, what a beautiful thing when you sing. Hear all them bells ringing out in the street. Blue sky cracking and it makes me believe. Oh, hear all them bells ringing out in the street. Hammer strikes the metal and it makes me believe." ~ryan adams

I'm home! I drove home on Tuesday, and it only took me 4 hours and 15 minutes. That's a record for me. I deserved a good drive; it took me 8 hours coming home for Thanksgiving.

Last night I had a great time with my best friends from home, Kim and Elizabeth. We went to Friday's for dinner and ate way too much. Here's Betsy and I with our massive drinks:
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Then we went to see The Pursuit of Happyness. The first hour and forty five minutes of the movie were great. Then the projector broke. We sat there for 20 minutes while they tried to fix it (to no avail). I was mad. We got free movie vouchers, but I hate having movies interrupted, and I want to know how it ends. Everyone else was laughing while they were trying to fix it because the lights kept flickering and there were these really weird noises and the people sitting in front of us were saying it was the time machine from the movie that was really working. I was not amused. I'm a movie nerd. I hate when people talk during a movie. I hate having to stop a movie. I like achieving complete suspension of reality. So now I'm going back on Saturday to see it again.

J.K. Rowling revealed the title of the 7th Harry Potter book; it's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I can't wait for it to come out.

Tonight my brother and I have to go pick up our grandparents from Newark Airport; that'll be fun. I'm sure traffic will be a nightmare. But I'm excited to see them. I love my grandparents so much.
On a final note, here's me and Josie, my baby (who is less than thrilled about her reindeer ears):
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Monday, December 18, 2006

"And I'm just trying to get a little sleep. Strung out like some Christmas lights , out there in the Chelsea nights. Strung out like some Christmas lights , out there in the Chelsea nights. Strung out like some Christmas lights, out there in the Chelsea nights. Strung out like some Christmas lights, out there in the Chelsea nights." ~ryan adams

Good song. That part is my favorite, where he repeats that refrain over and over again. I can't wait to be in New York. And it'll be soon! On Friday I'm seeing the Broadway production of Company; I am so incredibly excited about it. It's directed by John Doyle, who also directed the most recent Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd and did a brilliant job with it. Here's Adam Duritz's "review" of Company (he also wrote an amazing review of Sweeney Todd with which I completely agree but I can't find it now). I'm seeing the show with my family (I convinced them to go), and then I'm meeting up with two fabulous friends afterwards.

I'm finished with finals! Actually, I took my last undergraduate final exam ever today. It was American Lit., and overall I think it went okay. I'm mad at myself about one quote ID that I correctly identified and then crossed out that correct answer to write something else. Arg. But I don't care (much) because I get to go home tomorrow.

Tonight Kelly, Michelle, and I went through our fridge and emptied it out. We found a few things that Joy left in there that needed to be dumped a looong time ago, such as 2-month-old chili (that I ended up scooping into the garbage bag with my hand...yuck). Why do I always end up dealing with all the disgusting things in our apartment? When we found raw, rotting, moldy chicken in our ventilation system that had seriously been polluting our air and got to be completely unbearable (courtesy of Jack, Will, Gordon, and Reynolds) I ended up getting it out of our apartment and into the dumpster (faster than humanly possible because it smelled so bad). Actually, I don't mind doing things like that. I think it's funny that my apartmentmates usually come to me for that stuff, though.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"But you'll fight and you'll make it through, you'll fake it if you have to, and you'll show up for work with a smile. And you'll be better, you'll be smarter, more grown up and a better daughter or son and a real good friend. And you'll be awake, you'll be alert, you'll be positive though it hurts, and you'll laugh and embrace all of your friends. And you'll be a real good listener, you'll be honest, you'll be brave, you'll be handsome and you'll be beautiful, you'll be happy. Your ship may be coming in, you're weak but not giving in to the cries and the wails of the valley below. Your ship may be coming in, you're weak but not giving in and you'll fight it, you'll go out fighting all of them." ~rilo kiley

That's my song of the moment. I can't stop listening to it. It's wonderful. Go listen to it.

Joy left this morning. I feel like I should be leaving too. Unfortunately I have to wait until Tuesday. I've sort of stopped caring about my last final exam. I think this is my last undergraduate final exam ever; I'm student teaching next semester and I don't know what the seminar for that entails, but I'm guessing if there's an evaluation at the end it will be based on some sort of portfolio. I am so over school. Last night I meant to study/reread some stuff, but instead I watched 2 movies. Joy and her friend watched Edward Scissorhands, so of course I joined them, because who can pass up a chance to watch Edward Scissorhands? And then I watched Groundhog Day because Kelly was watching it for a class. I love that movie, too. The line "Watch out for that first step, it's a doosie!" gets me every time I hear it. My apartmentmates thought I was insane when I said it along with Ned the first time in the movie and then proceeded to crack up. I don't know why I find it so funny; I guess I have a strange sense of humor.

I've been going swimming with some of my apartmentmates this past week and teaching them synchro. It's so much fun to just play around in the pool. It's very theraputic. I love being in water; I could live in water.

I guess I was trying to put off studying by blogging, but I really don't have anything to write about. I'll stop rambling now and get back to American Lit.

Friday, December 15, 2006

"In the light of the sun, is there anyone? Oh it has begun, Oh dear you look so lost. Eyes are red and tears are shed, this world you must have crossed." ~augustana

One final exam left! I finished my Instructional Design portfolio, which was huge. I hate writing lesson plans; I'm so glad to be finished with that class. Then I turned in my history take-home final yesterday morning. It was 16 pages, which I'm pretty sure was waaaaaay too long, but oh well. So now all I have left is American Lit. on Monday. I can't make myself study for it. I am SO ready to go home.

Veronica called me today and asked if I wanted to work at an MTV shoot on Monday if I was home. I hated having to turn her down; I'll be taking a final exam when I could be on set making some money at a shoot in New York. Arg! Stupid finals!

Last night I had a crazy fun experience. It was Kristen's birthday, and 8 of us participated in an event that she's been talking about for awhile. It involved running across the Westhampton Green at 2:00am. And it felt very liberating. That's all I'll say. Here we are preparing for the big event (Joy's face is priceless):
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Heather, if you happen to read this, I've been trying to comment on your blog for days now but it won't let me. So anyway, I hope grammar went well (I'm sure you aced it), and let me know if you want to study for American Lit. this weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"In a way, it's someone else's story; I don't see myself as taking part at all. Yesterday a girl that I was fond of finally could see the writing on the wall." ~chess

Because I wrote about Sweeney Todd a few days ago, I now feel the need to pay homage to my favorite musical, Chess. A musical about Chess, you say? Why, how boring. Wrong. It is fantastic. It's about so much more than Chess. It's about love, nationalism, the Cold War....I could go on and on about how much I love it. It is my favorite musical and the one that can most easily make me cry; it is also one of the most undervalued musicals ever created. I collect recordings of Chess, and I have quite a few considering its relative obscurity. Unfortunately it only lasted on Broadway for a couple of months (in 1988) and was a commercial failure. I keep hoping for a revival, though. It did well in London. Someone needs to revitalize the book. There are too many different versions of it and all of them are flawed. Tonight I watched my video of the Actor's Fund Benefit Performance from a few years ago and was, as usual, blown away by Julia Murney (playing Florence). That woman is fabulous. So someone needs to update the book, revive it on Broadway, and cast Julia Murney in it. That would make me so incredibly happy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Catch a boat to England, baby, maybe to Spain. Wherever I have gone, wherever I've been and gone, wherever I have gone, the blues have run the game." ~jackson frank

So many people have recorded that song, it's crazy. Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Nick Drake, Eddie Reader, Counting Crows...of course Counting Crows' version is the best. Actually, it's not crazy that so many people have done it because it really is a fabulous song.

I finally found out my student teaching assignment. I'll be in Tucker High School, which I'm very excited about because that's where I did my practicum this sesmester. It's pretty close to campus and I'm familiar with the school already. The teacher that I'm working with is the head of the English department and she's supposedly an amazing teacher. She teaches 3 12th grade college prep classes and 2 AP English classes. I'm not allowed to teach AP, so I'll be working with her college prep classes. 12th grade is devoted to British Literature, which isn't exactly my specialty. Here's a direct quote from the teacher's email to me: "I usually start right into Cavalier poetry at the beginning of the semester, followed by Donne and Milton. We also have to do SOMETHING with 18th century and the Romantic, Victorian, and Modern Periods. Oh yes -- They also need to read LORD OF THE FLIES and 1984, as well as do a research paper! Are you ready to quit yet???? :-)" Yeah, that was slightly intimidating. I don't even know what Cavalier poetry is!! But I think I'll survive. Hopefully 12th graders won't be too crazy, especially during the second half of their senior year. I'm excited and terrified about the whole experience.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"And if you're beautiful, what then, with yellow hair like wheat? I think we shall not meet again, my little dove, my sweet Johanna. Goodbye, Johanna, you're gone, and yet you're mine, I'm fine, Johanna, I'm fine." ~stephen sondheim (sweeney todd)

I want to talk about the upcoming Sweeney Todd film. This subject concerns me very much. I absolutely love Sweeney Todd. I think it just may be the best musical ever written. Sondheim is a genius and this is arguably his best work. I cannot say enough good things about the show; it is simply brilliant. The most recent Broadway revival was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen onstage and I am so grateful that I was able to witness it. So, understandably, I am terrified that Tim Burton will butcher it. I liked the idea of Sam Mendes as a director better. Burton's first few moves once he was attached to the project did not inspire confidence in me. Casting Johnny Depp seemed way too unoriginal for him, even though I love Johnny Depp. When he cast Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, I had to work very hard to calm myself down. Those two casting choices were far too predictable for him. Does he ever use any other lead actors?? Couldn't he have put more thought into his choices and explored some other possibilities? I have calmed down, however, and am more open-minded now. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter just might work. I'm going to give them a chance. The most recent casting decisions did much to ease my mind. Any movie with Alan Rickman in it is okay by me. Casting him as the Judge was brilliant. I CANNOT WAIT to hear Alan Rickman sing Johanna; the mere thought of it makes me shiver in anticipation. I love that song, especially the second act version. Seeing that song performed live (the second act version) in the 2005 Broadway revival made me cry. I know, I'm a dork, but it was so indescribably beautiful. The cellos were what put me over the edge. Have I written about that performance here yet? There were 10 cast members, and they were the entire orchestra as well; they played all the instruments onstage as they sang. Lauren Molina and Benjamin Magnuson (playing the parts of Johanna and Anthony) both played the cello, and when thet sat onstage next to each other, playing in unison, it had such a heartbreaking effect. Okay, I got really sidetracked. Back to the movie. There are rumors about Jim Broadbent being cast as the Beadle, which is also an example of wonderful casting. So things are looking up. Please don't disappoint me, Mr. Burton.

On another musical note: Spring Awakening officially opened tonight. The reviews have been released throughout the evening and they're good. Which makes me so happy. Luckily Isherwood reviewed it for the New York Times (instead of Brantley) and he gave it a rave. It also got rave reviews from the AP, Variety, Theatremania...everyone involved with the show will definitely be celebrating tonight, because this is very good news. Hopefully it will give the show a Tony nom for best musical and will help it bring in more revenue.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Hello sunshine, come into my life." ~super furry animals

Yesterday my mood improved exponentially. I had been grouchy, depressed, angry, cranky...basically, since Thanksgiving break, I had been feeling pretty much every negative emotion you can name. And yesterday it all turned around. I turned in my English seminar paper and my education journal, I had my last real college class as an undergrad (I'm student-teaching next semester), I performed in my last synchro holiday show (which went very well), I got to see my mom, and I realized how many people care about me. At the holiday show, two of the kids I babysit came to cheer me on. They made signs that said things like, "I Love You, Claire!" and "Go Claire! Go Claire! Go Claire!" and they danced and cheered all through the show. They were adorable. A bunch of my friends came as well, which made me so happy. Even though I probably haven't been a very good friend and roommate in the past few weeks, my roommates and friends came to support me, and it meant a lot.

I suppose I should start thinking about finals now. *sigh.* I'll leave you all with this picture of my lovely synchro family.
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Friday, December 08, 2006

"These train conversations are passing me by, and I don't have nothing to say. You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way." ~counting crows

Weird conversations I've had today:

This morning when I went to turn in my Instructional Design journal, my professor started a really random conversation with me. It was totally out of the blue. She said something like, "I know you've travelled a lot; aren't your parents missionaries? What are some fun places you've been?" I have NO idea how she knows I've travelled a lot. I'm absolutely positive that I've never mentioned it in class. My parents aren't missionaries but they were in the Peace Corps in Cameroon (that's where they met), so I suppose she was close. I lived in Cote D'Ivoire for the first three years of my life, and I told my prof that. The way that she reacted made it seemed like she already knew. Anyway, of course I didn't mind talking about any of that stuff; it actually led to an interesting conversation that I really enjoyed, but it just caught me off guard. I told her a funny story about my trip to Turkey and she told me one about Thailand.
Our conversation reminded me that I need to get going on my plans to go to Antarctica! My goal is to visit all 7 continents, and I've been to 6 so far, so Antarctica is all I have left. I want to make it happen soon.

Weird conversation #2: I was in line at the grocery store. I was buying flowers, hair nets, and 8 boxes of Knox gelatin. The lady in front of me eyed my items curiously and finally got up the courage to ask ask me if I was making something. I explained to her that I'm a synchronized swimmer and we use Knox to put our hair up. I explained the whole process to her (put your hair in a really tight bun, secure the bun with a hair net, cover your hair, including the bun, with a Knox gelatin mixture, allow it to harden, attach headpiece). She found it very interesting. The cashier even got involved in the conversation, asking specific questions. They loved hearing about it. Funny somewhat-related remark: Joy keeps telling me how much she loves my synchro "hat." I have to keep reminding her that it's a headpiece, not a hat. Can you imagine us swimming around the pool in hats? Ooh, that reminds me of something else! A long time ago I had the strangest dream (I may have already posted about it, I can't remember). I dreamed that we did a cereal-themed synchro routine. Someone was Capn' Crunch, someone was Trix, someone was a Cheerio....Our headpieces were actual cardboard cereal boxes, which obviously wouldn't have worked very well in reality. It was pretty funny.

My mom's coming down today for the synchro show. It'll be good to see her.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"Still the water sparkles here. The calm drifts away in here...Inside your head. Inside your head." ~eberg

Tonight was the first night of our Synchro Holiday Show. I swam well, and overall it wasn't a bad show, although there were some glitches. I'll miss not being in it next year. During the candlelight routine tonight I couldn't help but grin because I was just so...content. I managed to forget everything else that's been stressing me out and just enjoy swimming by candlelight. It was beautiful. Come tomorrow (Friday) night if you can. I love my synchro girls. Here's me and my synchro family (me, my little, and my little's little) at initiation. We have been labeled the "straight-edged" family, which is pretty funny and actually pretty true.
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I've dedicated so much time and effort to my English seminar paper in the past couple of weeks, and I just don't know how to make it better. It's so frustrating, though, because I know it has its weaknesses. I spent most of today sitting at a table in the Commons selling tickets to the synchro show, and I worked on tweaking my essay the entire time (unfortunately that meant I didn't sell too many tickets). I cut out about 3 pages, which was so difficult to do because I worked hard on those pages, but it was necessary. There's more I want to say, but my paper's already too long and I'm not sure I could work in my extra information seamlessly. It's hard to tie everything together in such a long paper, and it's hard not to repeat oneself. Oh well. I'm just going to have to be content with what I turn in and know that I did my best.

I'm anxious to get my student teaching assignment. Most of the other people have already heard, but I'm still waiting. Hopefully I'll be somewhere close to campus.

I know there was something else I meant to write about, but I forget now. Maybe I'll think of it later.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"I wanna roll around like a kid in the snow. I wanna relearn what I already know. Just let me take flight dressed in red, through the night on a great big sled, and I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas, ho ho HO." ~the killers

That's from a new song by The Killers that was released today on iTunes called A Great Big Sled. 100% of the profits go to Product(RED). If you don't know about RED, please check it out; it's a great project dedicated to fighting AIDS in Africa from the brilliant mind of Bono. Because I love The Killers and support Product(RED), of course I bought the song and I recommend y'all do the same.

I love the song. Rolling Stone doesn't, though (it's not the first time I've disagreed with Rolling Stone). They wrote a whole article about how to write a good holiday song by explaining everything that The Killers do wrong. It's funny, though; one of the main reasons they don't like it is the main reason that I do. They say it's too angsty. I love that about it. It's not your traditional sappy, cutesy Christmas carol. It's got some edge.

Come see the Annual Synchro Holiday Show this Thursday or Friday at 7:00pm in the Sports Center Pool. It won't last more than an hour and it'll be fun. You'll get to see us swim our competition routines as well as a holiday-themed routine, a funny routine by some guys (including Will Kelly, Reynolds Chapman, and others) AND a candlelight routine. Everyone always loves the candlelight routine, even though it's the easiest part of the show for us. We turn off all the lights and swim around the pool holding candles. Bring your friends, family, and anyone else you can convince to come. We've been working really hard on it, and will be continuing to work very hard every day this week. Being at the pool 4 hours a day is not easy, especially when I have other things I need to focus on, but hopefully it'll be worth it when we put on a good show. As a senior, it's my last Synchro Holiday Show, which is sad; I think it's my favorite part of the synchro season.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"You don't know who you are. You get your light from a star. But I, I can see in the dark. And I....Living in this world, day to day, nothing can be so strange as to make me want to stay. I found out a long time ago, there's a voice in my head, I can't remember what it said. It said....You always answer the phone. You never go out alone. But I'm never lonely alone. No I'm never lonely alone. No I'm never lonely alone. No I'm never lonely alone." ~space needle

Those are the complete lyrics from that song, which lasts 4 minutes. I love how he draws out the words; he's not afraid to rush it.

I saw Spring Awakening on Broadway while I was home for Thanksgiving, and I never posted about it. I don't have time to write a detailed review now, but it suffices to say that it is a fabulous show. It's based on a German play written in 1891. It takes place in that setting and time period, but the music is very modern (Duncan Sheik did the music). There's a music video on the show's website; let's see if this works. Here it is:

I had a seat on-stage, which was pretty cool. Funny story: I had a great view of the audience from my seat. During one song, called "Totally Fucked," the cast is lined up along the very front of the stage. It's a really loud song, and the actors do crazy dance moves and basically just go wild. Because they're so close to the audience, the lighting illuminates the people sitting in the front row pretty well and I could see everyone clearly. There was a middle-aged Chinese man sitting in the exact center of the front row, and he was fast asleep during this song. Head was tilted to the side, mouth wide open...he was out. It looked like he was there with his teenage daughter, which was sweet of him, but I wondered why she didn't nudge him awake or something; she had to have noticed he was asleep, because his head was practically resting on her shoulder. He slept straight through this incredibly loud, wild song, and through a large portion of the rest of the act. The actors had to have noticed him, which was probably pretty funny for them. I thought it was hilarious. Anyway, go see the show if you get the chance.

As usual, I babysat for four hours today, and it wasn't bad. Meilin asked me to play Christmas carols on the piano, so I did my best to plunk through a song using the beginner's piano book that she had. I got through about five notes when she said, "Never mind, you're bad at that, come back and color." Oh well, at least I tried.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

“Captain take me to the real, Electric blondes in summer feel, Pretty hearts that never die, Captain take me to the sky. Captain win and you and I, pick a star and we do fly, Love the world and it will know, Captain I don’t want to go.” ~shapes of race cars

My English seminar paper is depressing me. I’m writing about The Secret Garden, which is one of my favorite stories. The Secret Garden was actually the first Broadway show I ever saw. I remember it; I was eight years old, and it was December 26, 1992. My aunt took my cousins and I as a Christmas present, and it had such a huge impact on me. It got me addicted to Broadway. I have all the songs memorized; I could sing through the entire show if you asked me to. I listen to the OBCR very frequently. I think Lily’s Eyes is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I love all the songs, actually; some favorites are Wick, The Girl I Mean to Be, A Bit of Earth, Race You to the Top of the Morning, Hold On, Round-Shouldered Man…they’re all just so wonderful. I love the novel as well. So I have deep emotional ties to the story. Now I’m reading lots of criticism about the novel for my essay, and I’m recognizing that the text has its serious flaws. The article I just read argues that, “Mary’s strengths [are] harnessed for patriarchal pleasure and imperial power.” And it’s a very valid argument. I’m having a really difficult time defending Burnett. Which makes me so sad.

Here’s something that demonstrates how twisted and crazy I am. Earlier today I posted an entry contemplating my future. Two hours later my mom sent me an email about that very subject, and she suggested that I consider other options besides teaching, like theater or music, which is exactly what I had been thinking about. I’m almost positive she doesn’t read this blog, and I haven’t talked to her about the subject at all, so it’s pretty creepy that she sent me that email. Anyway, I was actually bothered by her suggestion. Here’s how it’s supposed to go: I’m supposed to say that I want to take a big risk and try to get into a career in the entertainment industry, and my parents are supposed to tell me that I should be a teacher because it’s so rewarding, it will mean a steady income, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do, it’s respectable, blah blah blah…then I’m supposed to rebel and follow my heart despite their opposition…
The fact that they’re encouraging me to go for the risky, less sensible, adventurous choice actually makes it less appealing to me. How crazy is that?! I have a fantastic family that loves and supports me whatever I do and I resent them for it.
"One, one, one, one or two won't do. ‘Cause I want it all. And a sip, a sip, a sip or a spoonful won't do. No, i want it all." ~m. ward

Are y'all aware of the brilliance that is M. Ward's music? Seriously, go check him out if you haven't heard him before. His bio describes his voice as "a three-pack-a-day rasp that sounds like it should come from a 75-year-old Mississippi Delta bluesman," which is a pretty good description. I love distinct voices like that. I love it when I can hear the words catch in a singer's throat and can feel the heartbreak oozing out of them. For the longest time, I thought that the first three "One's" in the above quote were actually him singing "Wine, wine, wine." That's really what is sounds like. And it kind of makes sense, too. The above quote is from a song called "Poison Cup," which was featured on the best show on television (Veronica Mars, of course) a few weeks ago. If you watch the show (which you should be doing), the song was playing as Logan saw Veronica in the cafeteria (she didn't see him, though), called her cell phone, and watched her look at her phone and then press the 'ignore' button. The look on Jason Dohring's face combined with the song playing in the background broke my heart. I had tears in my eyes. Yep, I know, I'm a loser. Ooh, but I'm not the only TV junkie on this campus, and I'm not the only one obsessed with Veronica Mars. My English professor is also aware of Rob Thomas's brilliance (he's the show's creator). A couple of times I went to talk to her about a paper I was working on and we talked about the show. It's nice to know that one can be an intelligent, academically-minded individual and still appreciate good television.

I would love to be the music supervisor on a TV show; it sounds like such a fun job, and it combines two of my main passions. I don't know how I would get into that, though; I'm sure it would be incredibly difficult. It almost makes me want to take a job at MTV after I graduate, because that could possibly pave the way for a job as a music supervisor. My boss at MTV this summer said he could help me get a job there if I wanted one, and the possibility keeps nagging at my brain. I know I've always wanted to be a teacher, but I wonder if I'm limiting myself by not fully considering other options.

Synchro inititation was last night, and it was fun. I controlled myself, but I can't say the same for some of my crazy teammates, which made for good entertainment. This week is filled with synchro, which is going to be rough considering everything else going on. Our holiday show is on Thursday and Friday and we are sooo not ready. We still have to learn the entire opening routine. Heh. But you should still come, because hopefully we'll manage to pull it together. The kids I babysit should be coming on Friday; the girl has been practicing cheering for me. It's so cute. She says, "Go Claire! Go Claire!" over and over. And she keeps asking when she'll get to see me "dance in the water," because that's how I described it to her. Of course babysitting is another thing complicating my life. I love it, but it takes 10 hours out of my week that could be used for something else. Okay, I need to stop procrastinating and get back to essay-writing before I go babysit in 10 minutes.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"I guess its Christmas coming down, I don't want to go back home. If I'm not gonna be with you then I don't wanna be alone. So fuck your Christmas coming down, I'm not gonna go back home, and I'm not gonna be with you, and I'm not gonna sleep alone. Screw your Christmas coming down, I don't wanna go back home. I don't wanna be with you and I'm not gonna sleep alone..." ~counting crows

Don't worry, I'm not really that bitter and those lyrics don't actually express my viewpoint. But I definitely get it. AD wrote Goodnight Elisabeth (the song in which those alts are used) after his breakdown during the tour for August and Everything After. His girlfriend dumped him right before Christmas and he was miserable. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I have no one to break up with me, so I don't have to worry about that sort of heartbreak right now. But the constant Christmas music, decorations, store displays, etc. really bug me right now. One of the radio stations I sometimes listen to in the car is now playing nothing but Christmas music and I can't listen to it. I love Christmas. I love everything about the holiday. But being constantly surrounded by it now is not helping me, because it reminds me of the fact that I can't throw myself into enjoying the season right now. Ugh.

On a happy note, hooray for the fact that people actually read this blog. Even though I mostly write this for myself, it's nice to know that these words expressing my random, disjointed, unfinished thoughts come across some other peoples' ears. It's somehow comforting. Thanks for the encouragement; it really, really helped.

Here's a tiny picture to go along with yesterday's entry. See, isn't he adorable??
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I get to read Harry Potter #6 for my children's lit seminar this week. The first time I read the 6th book was in New Zealand. Because of the time difference, it was released 18 hours before it was released in the U.S. I had finished reading it before any Americans had even gotten it. Here's a lovely picture of me in my room in NZ with good 'ole Harry. Check out the cool cover (it's different than the American version). I think I posted this picture in an entry that I wrote in NZ but I'm too lazy to go back and look.

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Synchro initiation is tonight, which would be fun if I didn't have to organize everything (because I'm the team captain) and could enjoy it without my mind being overwhelmed with other stuff.

Friday, December 01, 2006

"Sometimes the world seems like a big hole. You spend all your life shouting down it and all you hear are echoes of some idiot yelling nonsense down a hole." ~adam duritz

Have a mentioned that I want to marry him (Adam Duritz)? Despite the facts that I've never met him, he is old enough to be my father, and some people think he is a large unattractive man who looks like he has a pineapple on his head, I would marry him in a second if he asked. Really. I'm waiting for the day. He's brilliant, hilarious, always honest...he's even attractive in my opinion. His music can make me cry and smile at the same time. His latest journal entry is a review of the new Broadway production of Company, which I have tickets to and cannot wait to see. He wrote a great review of Sweeney Todd as well, with which I completely agreed. He loves musical theater! We seriously would be perfect for each other. Seriously.

I really can't write about reality right now because it would make me want to pull my hair out. I cannot describe how much work I have done so far this week and how much I have to do over the course of the next two weeks. I'm just about on the verge of a breakdown and I'm trying really hard to hold everything together. One more week of classes and then a week of finals and after that I'm finished with undergrad college classes. I can do it.