Crisis of American Values

All those reports about how Americans read only like four books a year or whatever, and no one can read anymore? Whoever did those studies needs to spend a week working retail in a bookstore in December. (For God's sake, it's not even December yet. It's bad enough now Thanksgiving is past.) Also all those people who were like, oh, there's a recession, so post-Thanksgiving sales are down, and blah blah blah. They should work retail too.

Because it's all nonsense. The world is full to bursting with people who want books, and aren't sure what books they want, and and are appalled -- appalled, I tell you! -- when we don't have the book they aren't sure they want, and do we have any recommendations for a blind parakeet who hates books and can't read, and why not, don't we call ourselves a bookstore?

Sweet Christ, does no one stay home and watch TV anymore?

The World Makes Sense Again

Is it only me who has this bizarre sense of relaxation when her room is clean? Perhaps my mother scarred me at an early age. But as ways to relax go, it's a relatively simple -- if sadly rare -- one. And last Wednesday I got it in spades, as I unpacked my last box, took out my last trash bag, and threw my back out with my last piece of furniture. So of course I spent Turkey Day hobbling about and getting my small cousin to walk along my spine.

Other than that, Turkey Day was great fun. Good food, family, chess. I teamed up with a couple of family members against my uncle, who is actually good at chess. He gave us a bishop to even it up a little, and between that and coaching from my stepdad (what I actually mean by "coaching" is that every time my hand moved toward a piece, he would raise his eyebrows and inquire, "Are you sure you want to do that?") I actually made it in to a fairly even endgame. then my brain failed and I went off to play with more relaxing family members.

But now I am back home and have the benefit of the clean room and cookies from my grandma, and it is all very wholesome and relaxing. Plus, I got a holiday bonus today, which, double yay! Just when I was starting to use up my credit! So all is peaceful and happy, except that there was another round of callbacks today (which I sadly could not attend) and now I really want to know how the OS cast the show. I'm not antsy, like I would be if I were somehow up for a part or something, but I still really want to know. It's the same kind of overpowering academic interest that leads me to buy so many books.

That's what I mean about my life making sense, you know?


Little House Near the Train Tracks

I'm moved! I've moved! It's so exciting.

I'm still unpacking, of course, and I need a few more things before I'll be truly settled, but I've made great strides and I am loving the new place. My own room! Sleeping on a bed again! having most of my books out so I can read them at will! All in all, I am extremely pleased.

Of course, I still need a dresser, and groceries are expensive, and I can no longer walk to work. But the good far outweighs the bad.


Maybe I Should Just Cut and Paste That Last Entry and Use it as a Default

For this week, at least. What do I like? Theater. What do I hate? Packing. What is just there? Work.

And... that was yesterday. First work, which mostly went well, although by the end I was tired and hungry and therefore over-sensitive. Then dinner with dad, which was good. I tried to explain about casting and how we only get a total of two AEA people, one of whom has been cast, and why that made it difficult. I'm not sure how much Dad appreciated the explanation, but heh.

Then I got home, and forayed into the basement. Sigh. On the plus side, I accomplished some good stuff; I found lots of stuff I was pleased to see again, and many things were sorted. ("Trash or Sell", "Storage", "Taking With Unless There's No Room In Which Case Storage," "Definitely Take With," "Um, Where in God's Name Did I Pick That Up?") On the minus side, I have butt-ton of crap, most of which is now dirty and/or bent out of shape from its life below stairs. Anyway, I burned out on that, came back upstairs, and tried to stretch my back back into shape (of course my back picks the weekend that I'm moving to throw itself out. Of course).

And then got on a long phone call with the OS about callbacks, namely how we are scheduling them, how we absolutely don't have enough time for them AT ALL, which sides we are making the actors read, where those sides should begin and end, is that one side too long, but if it is, how do we cut it down, because it's got great transitions and it's all important, and God, Shaw, why can't you make this guy shut up occasionally, etc., etc., etc. It sounds crazy but it was great fun. Eventually we just had to read the sides aloud and time them.

The fact that I love conversations like that is another tick in the "director" column. After auditions on Sunday it was lunch with the OS and her friend, an actor who read opposite the auditioning people, and we were talking about whom to call back. More than once he was like, I'm glad it's you two making the decisions and not me. And I sort of see what he means, because I'm glad that the OS has the final say and I don't, because I trust her judgment a lot more than I trust mine. But that doesn't stop me from having actual really clear and defined opinions about people, and casting, and seeing people opposite and all that. And looking at how a bunch of disparate things work together and enjoying trying to make them make sense.

(I like ticks in the director column, even as they make me a little uncomfortable. They make me feel like I'm being myself, which is nice; but it's odd to think about it as something I'm good at, because I still feel like everyone in the world could do it better than me if they just put their mind to it, so I end up feeling presumptuous. ADing for the OS is a really good middle ground between those feelings, what with the her listening to me and then making her own decisions.)

Ah, the ramblings of the post-collegiate. Someone needs to smack me.

Today, I have lunch with the DD. Lunch with the DD and the OS in the same week! So happy. I swear to God, one day I am going to introduce them to each other and then just... stand back. It will be great. And I will feel awkward because I am actually taller than both of them, which just feels so wrong.

Anyway. Yes, lunch with the DD. Who says she has made me a birthday cake, possibly because she is one of the sweetest people ever. And we will talk about how she is really for reals restarting PRs, and how that is some of the best news ever. (She's starting with the perfect combo, too.)

Okay, now I'm really just putting off packing and working and moving. HAAAAAAAAATE. I could ramble on about this stuff all day if it meant I didn't have to pack, but alas. I do have to pack. I have to pack and do laundry, all the livelong day. And cough until I choke on my own mucous. It is extremely irritating.


The Sort the World is Mostly Made of, I Should Think

So the good is, auditions put me in a great mood. Working with the OS, getting introduced as "the AD," (which totally gives me chills -- shut up, I'm young yet), listening to the readers' and stage manager's opinions of the actors, sorting headshots, not having to do any auditioning myself, just sitting there with notes and opinions... so much fun. Plus, eye candy in the form of the totally hot house manager, with whom I bonded over the having of a yucky cold. The OS said thank you a time or two and I was like, "um, you're welcome, for doing my most favorite thing ever," (no, seriously, I actually said that), and that pretty much sums it up. I still want the play to start tomorrow, but I'm going to use the intervening time well, in researching and thinking and all that good stuff. I still have to reread the play like sixty more times. (Ah, for the halcyon days of college, when the first time I would read a play I was directing was at the first cast readthrough. Heh. Bad plan, guys. Don't do that. Incidentally, what exactly is a halcyon, and why is it used to describe days?) (I piqued my own curiosity. Apparently I'm not using it incorrectly, which is a relief.)
The bad, of course, is that I am moving in two, count 'em, two days, and I have not packed. Because I have been too sick, and also because I loathe packing with every fiber of my being. Hate it. Cannot stand it. There are not enough negative words in English to describe how I feel about the necessity of packing. Everything good I feel about theater is canceled out by everything bad I feel about packing, and I assure you that that is quite a feat. I am excited to be moved in, but I am completely un-excited about packing. Even unpacking is better than actually packing. With unpacking you can organize and make a home for yourself. Packing, it's just realizing how much crap you have. Haaaate.

And that pretty much sums up my state of mind. Plus some vague worries about work scheduling, annoyance at still having the sniffles, and a sense of fun 'cause I finally joined my local alumni chapter, and will have the chance to meet up with some college friends soon. Whom I can face now that I will no longer be living with my parents. Whee!


Sick Day

Under orders from my manager, I took the day off work today. (No, I haven't changed at all since college.) Yesterday I had such bad laryngitis that I couldn't speak at all, and my coworkers were sympathetic and/or teasing, depending on their temperaments. But when my manager found out, she called me at home and said for God sakes, if I'm not feeling well, stay home. So, today I did.

I was actually feeling better than yesterday, but since I've been coughing up mucous like I just got saved from drowning, so I figured that wasn't a good sign. So I started a new mystery novel (even though I haven't finished Clouds of Witness yet -- I am so fickle, but I can't help it, I missed Mary Russell) and watched like four hours of Veronica Mars, and dosed myself with cough syrup regularly, and felt pretty useless. But I was determined to stay home and suck it up, because tomorrow I have a double day and I am going to both if it kills me.

Tomorrow morning are auditions for The Winter Thing, which I am going to as "an extra pair of eyes," and I've missed so much work this week that if I don't go there tomorrow afternoon I will be eaten up with guilt. The supportive people I surround myself with are so great -- my Manager, and the OS would both say to stay home, in a heartbeat, and not to push myself, etc., etc. Which it's great to have, don't get me wrong -- it's for sure an influence on myself that I need, as anyone who knew me in college would attest (loudly and prolifically). Because my tendency is absolutely the other way -- the cold will go away sooner or later, I think, so I might as well work through it. (Isn't this the attitude that ended up giving me two or three potentially very serious illnesses and several nervous breakdowns while in school? Why, yes. Yes, it is. Have I learned anything? No. No, I have not.)

But if I missed tomorrow I would have to throw something very heavy, possibly at my own head, and then no one would benefit. Well, someone might, but not me. So I rested today that I may work my ass off tomorrow, which may be considered progress by some. What, like I'm going to miss auditions for this thing.


Play! Yay!

I could SAY that all DAY. Hurray!

Shut up, no one asked your opinion of my poetry.

The Winter Thing is started! I can stop crossing my fingers (I hope. I'm going to leave them crossed for now.)!

I had a meeting with Omnipotent Softy today, to talk scheduling and interpretation and stuff. And we only just scratched the surface, but that's okay, there will be plenty of time for in-depth stuff before and during rehearsals. And I love, love, love talking play-stuff. I got on the BART train home and wrote two pages in my notebook about one of the main characters, based on the conversation. (Now I have to do it for the other five.) And we talked procedure and some stuff I was worried about was sorted out. I am so excited about this. Directing always makes me feel so much me, like my education and thoughts and perspective are all coming together like they're supposed to.

I also like the way the OS listens to me when I talk. It's a really simple thing, but it's energizing, like being back in college, to talk to someone who knows their stuff and yet listens to me as if I knew mine. This is very good for me, as it helps me stop being self-deprecating every third sentence. The Divine Dictator has been doing it for years, only with books, so I barely notice anymore, but I haven't know the OS for nearly as long, and I'm much less sure of myself with theater than with books. But she listens so definitively and responds before I remember to equivocate. It saves a lot of time when I just say what I think and don't finish every sentence with "of course, I don't really know, I'm not a real director." OS does not put up with that sort of nonsense, so I don't say it, to the benefit of the conversation.

Anyway, so we got caught up on The Winter Thing, her telling me her basic thoughts about concept and us just discussing each character in turn, scratching the surface. There are so many weird things in this play, besides even the challenge of making all the characters real people instead of mouthpieces for opinions. I would never have taken it on in college, but I am so, so excited now. Working on plays that are a little too hard for me is the best ever; I always learn so much about everything.

So now I can't stop thinking about it and wanting to talk about it more more more. It's lucky December and January are such busy months at The Store, such that there would be absolutely No Way I could attend rehearsals of anything at all, let alone a full-length Real Show. Otherwise I would be wicked upset that it doesn't get going for reals right this very minute. My attention span is roughly that of a gnat when it comes to theater.

In other news, I have lost my voice. Sigh. Croak.


You'd Think I'd Be Sick of Books

What with having to organize and shelve them all day and then reading them all night.

Okay, I am a little out of patience with certain books, and am becoming pickier by the day. The newest restraint is that I have sworn off all books with a picture of the author on the front cover. I don't want to see anyone's ugly mug, smiling or not, on the cover of a book, ever again. If you want the world to admire your face, be a movie star.

But I'm still reading, doggedly paring down my list. (It's at an honest-to-God manageable five now. Still overloaded with non-fiction, though. Nonfiction is good but often takes longer to finish than fiction does. But my weekend is here, and enough of it shall be spent on public transportation that I should be able to knock some stuff off there.)

Soon I Will Be Invincible had its good and bad bits, but the end was so good that it made up for the rest. I didn't like the whole first-person present tense point of view thing. Was not a fan. And, you know, Grossman could have given us more answers, that would have been okay. But there was so much cleverness in the world he created, particularly in Doctor Impossible. Doctor Impossible was pretty much perfect. I love Doctor Impossible. Anyway. So parts of it were disappointing, but it was clever enough that I forgave them.

In other news, I'm in theater withdrawal, and if I didn't have The Winter Thing to look forward to, I might be in danger of killing my sister, who is overloaded on theater at the moment. Or at least tying her up and taking her place in certain situations. But I do have The Winter Thing, and it starts this week. Unofficially starts this week. Theoretically. It's all I can do not to cross my fingers every time I think about The Winter Thing. Theater withdrawal means I am much more dramatic in my everyday life, and begin to hyperventilate when I think about theater stuff I will soon be doing.