Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Complicated new technology? Please.

In a writing class I had to take my freshman year at Emerson, we had to write a paper on what defines our generation and what we would call our generation (a la Generation X and the Baby Boomers).  I don't remember what I wrote about, but now I think our generation is the Technology Generation.

I've been noticing more and more lately that I'm actually quite good with technology.  I'm not good with technology the way a computer hacker is good with technology, but I know how to figure things out.

I'm becoming particularly aware of this because of one of my internships.  For the past four or five weeks, most of what I've been doing for the independent producer I work for has been fixing all of her computer problems.  She's constantly asking me to fix this application or that, and she's always got questions about how to use her iPad 2.  (I don't even own an iPad, but I know how to use one for whatever reason.)  I've figured out so many techy things for her; she's constantly saying, "I don't know what I'd do without you!"  It feels like one of those classic situations where the older person is hopeless, and the younger person just goes, click-click-click-done!

While I've never really considered myself a huge tech whiz, I'm realizing that I am a bit of a whiz largely just because of when I was born.  I was talking about this idea with one of the assistants I work with, M.  She was telling me that she thought the woman we work for should really take some computer classes.  M had just gone through the woman's computer and realized that the trash had never been emptied and that the woman didn't even really know what emptying the trash meant.  But I can no longer get irritated at people for things like this.  Because during the same conversation, M articulated a point that I had always been aware of but had never really been able to put my finger on.

We (M and I and people in our generation) have grown up with technology.  Not only that, but we've grown up adapting to new technology.  Think about how often a new iPhone or a new model of some computer or operating system comes out.  People my age have always had that constantly developing technology in their lives for as long as we can remember.  People my parents age, on the other hand, had to get used to technology in general when they were already adults.  I can't imagine life without technology, as I've discussed in my internet post, but to have a life without it and then have to assimilate it into your life?  It would be SO HARD.

So really, I only know how to figure out technology.  I couldn't tell you what RAM stands for, but I can tell you what it means when you don't have enough and what to do about it.  I don't know WHY flash player is fading into obscurity (much to the dismay of my boss), but I know that it is fading into obscurity, and I know what the alternatives are.

Somehow, technology has become automatic for me.  I have a feeling that the same thing's happened to most people of my generation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

And the Oscar goes to...

I am so pleased with the people in the film industry right now.  I think that the fact that a silent, black and white film won Best Picture of the year reflects very well on the voters over at the Academy.  I'm so happy that our society isn't so inundated with loud noises and giant explosions and chaotic media, that they can't appreciate a good, old-fashioned love letter to film; a love letter that came in the form of The Artist.  Jean Dujardin's astonishing handsomeness aside, The Artist was an extraordinary film.

Now, I can never help hoping for an upset in awards shows like the Oscars, but, although there was a little bit of that in the back of my mind as Tom Cruise read the nominees for Best Picture, I really wanted The Artist to win (even though it seemed like a shoe-in after the best acting and directing awards).  Besides, I'd gotten my fix for upsets when Meryl Streep won Best Actress.  I felt like I'd won something myself when the best picture was announced, because film history is really what initially got me hooked on film, and sometimes I feel like it's under-appreciated, compared to other aspects of film that can actually get awards for existing (sound, writing, cinematography, etc.).  But I mean, there can hardly be an Oscar for film history-- "and the Academy Award for the industry with the most interesting history goes to..." No.  I think that The Artist really embraced film's roots in a very classy, artistic way.

But honestly, I vividly remember the exact moment that I decided I wanted to go into film.  I remember the exact film I was watching on exactly which TV channel and everything.

It was Fredric March night on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  (For those of you who don't know, TCM is a channel that shows classic films without commercials.  They also sometimes have someone discussing the history or development of the film before or after it airs.)  I'd never heard of Fredric March before, but my mom and I were looking for a movie to watch and that was what was on.  The first March film that was starting when we turned on TCM was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (it's pronounced "JEE-kull."  Let's respect Robert Louis Stevenson, ok?).

I've said in a previous post that I don't do very well with scary movies, but I didn't think that this would be that scary because it was made in 1931 and the effects couldn't be that great, right?  Oh, was I WRONG.  The effects were actually very impressive (better even, I hear, than the 1940s version of the same film).  Multiple times, we got to see a straight-on shot of Jekyll changing into Hyde without any cuts to his shadow on the wall or any other kinds of filmy cheats.  It was very impressive.  I was legitimately scared.  I was 16 years old and I actually had to sleep in my parents' bed, I was so freaked out (luckily my dad was away on a trip so I fit in the bed).  Looking back, though, that was a piece of what was so fascinating to me about the film and it's place in film history.

I have this as a poster in my room at home- I love it.

The little tidbit of history that TCM gave us before was about the censorship laws put into place during the 30s and how Jekyll and Hyde had just barely slipped under their radar because of its timely release date.  And indeed, the film was pretty racy for a film of that time period, including a possible rape scene and a stripping prostitute-type character.  I also thought it was great that Fredric March was the first person to ever win Best Actor for a role in a horror film (I believe he still remains one of the only ones).  The film itself was also the first horror film to win an Oscar at all.

In any case, despite the fact that I was scared by the film, I loved it.  It was the first film that made me feel a good kind of fear.  Then I started thinking about film studies.  That morphed into screenwriting, which now seems to be growing a little bit of an interest in sound.

One last cool thing about my own personal Oscar Night-- I had a moment of realization last night of where I really am when I was driving home from the people's house where I'd watched the Oscars.  To get home, I had to drive about 3/4 of a mile down Sunset Boulevard.  I considered taking a detour so I wouldn't get caught in the Sunset strip, but I thought, "you know what? I'm going to brave the storm and take it because it might be cool."  And it was.  I really like being in the middle of things, and Sunset Blvd. was exactly the middle of things last night.  It took me about an hour and practically a quarter tank of gas to get all the way home (normally a 25 minute drive).  There were lines and lines and lines of cars at practically a complete standstill all up and down Sunset.  It was so COOL though!  You know those big beams of light that shine up in the sky to mark a big event or something like that?  Well, I actually saw the source of those lights that were going last night.  I drove right past it (some fancy-looking hotel- I think it was the Vanity Fair after-party or something), which was pretty cool.  Also, the traffic was so slow that I actually made friends with the guy who was driving in the lane next to me.  We bonded over the fact that no one around us could drive.

All the up-close-and-personal-ness made me realize that I'm actually here.  I'm in LOS ANGELES.  THIS IS ALL REAL.

Anyhow, last night made me very happy in numerous ways.  If anyone hasn't seen The Artist yet, I shouldn't have to tell you this, but SEE IT.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How my body maps my life.

Scars tell stories.  I have four little scars on my right shoulder from a surgery I got last year.  People have told me that I could easily get them lightened if I wanted to.  But I don't.  Those four little blemishes in my shoulder tell a story about a specific time in my life; a story that leads a number of other ones.  For example, why did I get surgery?  Well, I dislocated my shoulder a whole bunch of times...
You can't really see all of them here- but you get the idea.

I've got a scar on the knuckle of my middle finger that I got when I was spending a summer in Wyoming and I accidentally shut a jackknife on my hand.  Even though it's not a scar that anyone's aware of because it looks kind of like part of the wrinkles on my knuckle, it still means something to me.  I spent two summers in Wyoming and they were both very important to me.  I love and miss Wyoming very much, and it's nice of my body to remind me of it.

I've also got a scar on my calf from when I was hiking in Panamá (where I also spent a summer).  Panamá was equally important to me as Wyoming, so that's another fond memory that my body calls to my mind.
It's the little dark spot- try to ignore the goosebumps on my leg!

I've got plenty of other scars (my legs are covered in them) that tell other stories, but I don't think it's really necessary to discuss all of my body blemishes in my blog.  But, needless to say, I'm fond of my scars.  I like people to know who I am, and somehow I feel like my scars help me with that.

When people look at me, they don't really expect me to be the kind of person who's into things like body art.  They're all wrong (although I understand why they might have that perception because I look like I'm 12 years old).  I got my nose pierced the day after my 18th birthday.  It was a little bit impulsive, but I had been planning on getting some sort of new piercing when I turned 18 anyway.  I've never regretted my nose piercing.  It makes me seem older (at least, to me it does) and it looks good too!  About 8 months later, I got into tattoos.  Tattoos are scars too.  They're just scars that I get to choose what they say.

I mentioned in my Valentine's Day post that I got my first tattoo about a year ago.  That was the beginning of an obsession.  While I was actually getting the tattoo, I was practically breaking my friend's hand from squeezing it so hard because it hurt so badly (it's on my foot, which I'm told is one of the more painful places to get a tattoo).  I kept thinking, "Oh, my God.  I'm never doing this again."  Then of course, the very second the artist finished, I thought, "I want another one!"
This tattoo is a ribbon-esque design with a piano keyboard on one side and music notes on the other.  I wanted to have something that illustrated my passion for music, particularly the piano.  Piano is one of, if not the most important inanimate object in my life.  Actually, I think it's so amazing to me because I have the ability to make it into an animate object...

In September, I got two more tattoos.

The one on my wrist, first of all, probably hurt more than anything I've ever done in my life (yes, that includes dislocating my shoulder).  Just letting you know in case you were thinking about getting a tattoo there.  It HURTS.
I suppose it's pretty self-explanatory.  I love animals, specifically dogs.  I grew up with dogs.  In fact, until I went to college, I've never lived without a dog.  As soon as I have a real job and can afford it/have the space, I'm getting a dog.  Period.  No one will convince me not to, so don't even try.  Right now, I have three wonderful doggies (well, not me personally. They live at home in Maine): Clara, Kate, and Guster, in that order in the photo.

My other tattoo looks like this:
Sorry about the weird angle- it's REALLY hard to take a picture of the back of your own shoulder.

This is the symbol for Unitarian Universalism, which I was raised on.  The link I put there goes to the seven principles that UUism believes.  In reality, UUism is more of a philosophy, but technically it's a religion. I was never super into the religion or going to services.  But I got the tattoo because I had recently rediscovered those seven principles, and I realized how amazing they really are.  They're basically a guide for how to be a good person, and they make me proud to be part of something that has them as its core.

In retrospect, I wish I had switched the locations of the last two tattoos I just talked about (dog paws on my shoulder and UU symbol on my wrist), but in the end, they still express the same thing.

I'm planning on getting more tattoos, but I'm waiting until after my adventure at sea, because I don't want them to be at risk of healing badly, etc.  Unfortunately, tattoos are very addictive.  But I'm ok with it, because it's become my favorite way to express myself.  I don't like people to think I'm someone I'm not, so it's important that I express myself accurately to people.  Self-expression is really what this is all about.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My musical life. (and an album review)

People sometimes talk about how some song or band or type of music really "speaks to them," and they're inspired by it or something like that.  That's never really happened to me.  I mean, I've grown up with music in my life: 12 years of piano-playing, a lifetime of singing, experimenting with various other instruments (trombone, guitar, drums, etc.), and a newly acquired skill on the ukulele.

In high school, I was involved in all sorts of musical things.  I played piano for the jazz band, I accompanied the show choir on piano, I sang in chamber choir, and I was a part of the Tri-M music honors society.  Our show choir pit band (made up of myself and a few other people) won the Best Rhythm Section award two years in a row at the state show choir competition.  Music was my niche in those years.  Unfortunately, college made it tough to be quite so involved, but I kept it up.  I bought myself a keyboard last summer so I could play in my dorm room and not have to deal with the hassle of reserving a rehearsal room and having a limited time to play.
Jazz Band performing at Disney World
Us with our show choir trophy
(the other folks' identities will remain secret)

So, music is (always has been) HUGE for me, and I know a lot about it and I'm very attached to it.  I'm very attuned to music in general, and I really "feel it" when I'm listening to good music (or any music, really).  My mom often says that I should pursue some sort of career in music.  I agree with her, but I want to find something that can include my passion for music and my love of film, perhaps something in audio editing/mixing or soundtrack compilation.

For those of you who listen to the radio, you may have heard a song called "We Are Young," a band called Fun..  I put two periods there on purpose.  Fun. (with a period) is the name of the band, which I think is cool.

Anyway, when I first heard "We Are Young" on the radio, I thought it was some song from the 70s or 80s because it's got this really cool, somewhat electronic, pounding style that made me think of that time period.  I looked it up and realized that the album the song is from, "Some Nights," actually came out 4 days ago-- so definitely not 80s.  But it prompted me to look up the whole album, which, after previewing it on iTunes, I bought-- something I don't normally do.  But since then, I've been listening to it nonstop.

But my point is that, until the other day, I've never really been "spoken to" by music, just strongly aware of and into it.  But this album profoundly touched me.  I didn't do a whole lot of research on the band or the album before listening to it, and I'm glad I didn't, because it left me open to any sort of interpretation.  I first listened to it in order, because there's almost always a reason songs are arranged the way they are on an album.  I usually have to work to find the correlation between the songs, but while listening to the full album for the first time, I felt it.  I didn't even need to listen to the lyrics to feel a pattern (although the lyrics are equally as fantastic as the music).  I felt like Fun. had played my life.  As cliché as that sounds, it's true.  The whole album felt like the story of someone's entire life, and it fit with how I feel about my life right now and in general.  Every song said something different about some sort of internal or external turmoil, excitement, etc.

After looking into it a little bit more, I found out that the band actually did write the album with the idea of a changeable personality in mind, so I definitely felt that right away.  I think this was huge in the way the album "spoke to me," because, as I discussed in my astrology post, I have numerous, distinct personalities, and I turn on one or other depending on where I am and who I'm with.

But besides the meaning of the songs, the musical style of the album was incredible.  It was like a mixture of indie, alternative, theatre, pop, electronica, and rock.  It started with a strange, circus-like number that was very showy and included a bunch of strange sound effects called "Some Nights (intro)."  This song title definitely made sense because it sounded like the opening number to a Broadway show.  There was one song, "Stars," where they made a very interesting, deliberate choice to autotune the singers' voices.  I know it was deliberate because 1) none of the other songs were that obviously autotuned and 2) I've seen videos of the band live and the singer does NOT need autotune.  He's got a wonderful, pure, but wailing voice that pulls at your heartstrings when you hear it.  It strangely reminds me a little bit of Freddie Mercury's voice.  But in "Stars," I thought it was cool how autotuned everything was, because it was very clearly a stylistic choice.

So, needless to say, I've found a new favorite band.  Fun. spoke to me, in all seriousness, and it makes me want even more to pursue music.  I'm glad that I've just started another internship with a music producer, because it's keeping me in touch with music while I'm here (especially since I don't have a piano I can play- just my ukulele, which is great, but not the same as piano).

Here's a video for "We Are Young," which turned me on to the album.  I would suggest just listening to the song and not looking at the video, so you can fully appreciate the music.

If I haven't convinced you, here are some critics' reviews of the album.

In any case, I'm in shock and awe at where this album brings me.  I'm absolutely inspired.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ahh! Life!

Do you ever have those days when you just feel off and you can't put your finger on why?

Do you ever have those days that are just awesome?


Thursday was one of those gross days.  I couldn't say why, but I just felt like everything was bad.  Nothing even went pointedly wrong.  In fact, some pretty good things happened; I found out that something I had written for one of my internships had gotten spread around to my other internships and everyone was really impressed by it-- always nice to hear!  I got a DVD copy of "Grease" in the mail that I had ordered and had been excited to watch.

So WHY did I feel like a SHADOW of DOOM was hanging over me?

Well, that's the point.  I don't know.  I wouldn't be writing about it if it weren't a mystery.  I think that's what people call getting up on the "wrong side of the bed" (although my bed's against a wall, so there's only one side I can get up on).

But here's the thing: having a bad day makes the next good day you have FRICKIN' AWESOME.

Today, I just felt great.  Some good things happened, but it was just a normal day.  Friday.  Yeah, sure.  That probably wasn't a contributor.  But I felt focused on my work and I felt good about everything.

THEN- I was leaving my office and walking across this big parking lot that's in the middle of the lot I work on and these guys were tossing around a football.  I experienced that awkward moment when you're walking by someone on the street or somewhere and you don't want to be rude and look at your feet, but you don't want to smile at them too much and end up walking like- ten feet making weird eye contact with them.

Luckily, I chose to smile at one of the people throwing the football and he smiled back and said, "go long!"


So I put my keys around my neck and ran across the parking lot.  The guy threw it and I caught it spectacularly!  And one of the guys said, "That was so awesome! Will you marry me and bear my children?" Despite the strangely detailedness of that comment, I laughed and tossed the football back in a PERFECT SPIRAL. Yup.  Then I said, "have a nice weekend!" and left with an insuperable grin on my face.  I don't even know who those guys are...

I got home and I was in one of those moods where I just sort was laughing at everything (to myself- which is weirder) and dancing around the kitchen while I made dinner and everything.  Then I played ukulele until my voice started crackling and GAH!  It just felt so good.  But I mean, there wasn't anything that happened to me today that doesn't normally happen to me (with the one exception of the guys in the parking lot- but I was in a good mood before that).

And nothing super bad happened to me on the day before, when it all sucked.

So, what's going on??

Hey!  Brain!  Stop defining my moods for me!  Let my day do it! (unless you're going to put me in a good mood, in which case, go for it)

The internet is really, really great...

Ever wonder what puppets use the internet for?

All prurient interests aside, I LOVE the internet.  It's really an amazing thing.  My maternal grandmother doesn't really know how to use computers at all, and I just can't imagine how that must be.  Well, for her, it's probably fine.  But I couldn't handle it.  I probably check my various email/social network/etc. accounts at LEAST-- well, I don't even want to give a number.  That's where my love of the internet becomes a little obsessive.  I've read in numerous places that people who check their emails too many times a day develop depression or low self-esteem or some such problem, so I try to be aware of that because depression is no fun.

Regardless, I still couldn't survive without my computer because I'm constantly emailing with my various employers (even when they're right in the other room- if I need to send them coverage of a script for example) and facebooking with my friends back on the east coast.  It's how I stay connected with everything that I miss back home...and how I get connected with everything else over here in LA.

ALSO, it's how I entertain myself.  I mean, I don't know THAT many people out here on the west coast, but thankfully, I learned early on how to be on my own (although being on my own by choice and being on my own because I have nothing else to do are very different beasts). So emerges another reason the internet is so great: NETFLIX.  Yes, I am actually paying for my own Netflix account, not mooching off a friend's or family member's (anymore).  It's totally worth it, and that means something coming from someone as cheap as I am.

I spent a few hours babysitting this evening, and I couldn't get any wireless on my laptop once I'd put the babysittee to bed.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I thought, " I guess I'll just watch actual TV now...ok..."

PARENTS- I know what you're thinking.  "You should have read a book!"  I FORGOT.  Trust me, with all of the channels blocked with a mysterious, child-proof code, and the only things to watch are Legally Blonde 2 or Phineas and Ferb, I was longing for my "Science of Doctor Who" book, which I accidentally left on my bedside table.

But it made me realize that, while I was able to kill some time by writing out some notes for a friend about her script, I should really get a little less attached to the internet, as wonderful as it is.  I'm going to go ahead and assume that being away from internet and phones, etc. for about 6 months to a year starting in April will most likely cure me of my obsession.

I don't care how addictive the internet can be though.  It's still one of the most useful tools of the generation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Since I've come to LA, I've met an inordinate number of people who are into astrology.  I'm not talking about people who like to read their horoscopes in the newspaper now and then, or who like to wear necklaces with their sign on it because it's pretty.  No, I mean people who put legitimate stock into what people of their sign are supposedly like, etc.  I have nothing against it, but I've just never bought into it myself.

Within my first few weeks here, I went to a party with a friend of our family and she and her friend starting talking about signs and how someone did such-and-such a thing because they're a Scorpio and how that person acts like this because she's a leo.  Then they turned to me and started trying to guess my sign.  They were all analytical and trying to pick apart my personality, etc.  They actually were able to narrow it down to three. (I'm a Gemini, by the way)  Until then I'd never really known how much actually goes into all these signs.  I thought it was just to do with when in the year you were born and that there were some characteristics that went along with that.

Another reason I was a little skeptical of the whole astrology business was because all of the characteristics that are supposed to go along with the signs seem so general that they could be used to describe anyone.  For example, in my dorm during my last semester at Emerson before I left, our theme was zodiac signs, so our RAs put up each sign and characteristics that went along with them.  There were about 4 positive adjectives and 4 negative adjectives with each sign, and it all seemed so DUMB.  They said things like: Pisces- friendly, caring, intelligent, artistic, vain, impatient, stubborn, violent. Or something like that.  So basically, every sign had so many adjectives that it made me think, "ok, so everyone is everything.  Good."

But I've found out since being here that the actual characteristics that supposedly go along with Geminis are quite fitting for me.  Things like not wanting to leave a job unfinished and having two distinct sides of your personality, etc.  So maybe there's something to it, but who knows?  I actually heard a really funny thing today, which is why I'm even writing about all this.  One of the people I work for (actually just started working for- another internship!!) was talking about being a Gemini and how he fits the description, etc.  But, he told me, his birthday is right on the edge of Taurus, so he thinks that he might exhibit some Taurus-esque characteristics too.  So he ended the conversation by saying he was like a "bullheaded schizophrenic," which I thought was awesome.

I'd really like to find out what it was that the Greek folks were basing their theories on when they made up the signs.  I'd also really like to know who gets to decide what people who are born in the new sign, (What's it called again? Homunculus, or something?) are like.  We don't have any ancient Greeks around anymore to let us know.

Oh.  And I'm only kidding.  I know that the new sign is Ophiuchus.  But how cool would it be to meet a Homunculus Ophiuchus?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


When I was in 8th grade, our social studies teacher taught us about something called "TINSTAAFL"(rhymes with "thin waffle").

A (just "a." yeah that's right- I'm using a single-letter word in an acronym)

TINSTAAFL was an illustration of the economical concept that, if you get something for so-called "free," you'll pay extra for something else later to make up for it.  For example, if you're in a clothing store and there's a one-day sale on sweaters (only $15.95!!!!!), pants and bathing suits will probably cost a little more that day...or next week, so it's not so obvious.

I'm learning the most literal definition of TINSTAAFL during my adventure in LA.  It's kind of fun to see how many free meals I can get while I'm out here.  Well, it's always fun to see how many free meals I can get, but now that I'm actually buying all of my own food, I'm much more appreciative and aware of it.

At my various internships, my bosses will sometimes buy me a coffee or lunch and it's great.  But TINSTAAFL comes into play with the fact that I'm not getting paid for any of them.  That's not meant to sound bitter; I didn't expect to get paid by my internships (although it would've been nice).

Anyway, I never really thought a concept that I learned in middle school would stay with me this long and actually apply to me in the most literal way so many years later.  (another concept from the same teacher that stuck with me: Baby Socialism- a naked baby doll with an 'S' drawn on her in sharpie.  The teacher would smash her head against a desk repeatedly to make the point that socialism is BAD and only leads to COMMUNISM.  In retrospect, that, and a number of other things he did in class made it transparently obvious that he was a conservative republican- but also a wonderful teacher.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nice people with sad stories (or, how the Mexican flower shop man taught me a life lesson)

Sometimes the best people have the worst fortunes.  I feel lucky when I think about how easy I've had it.  Yes, my life has had it's tough times, but those consisted of things like not knowing when or how to grow up or getting a stomach ache.  I've had to work hard for a lot of things like getting into college, getting internships out here in LA, etc. but even with all that work, a lot of stuff just worked itself out.  It's an amazing thing to have some luck in life, but I feel guilty about it when I see people who are truly sacrificing almost everything so they can have a better life.

The other day, the woman I live with, J, and I went over to a mutual friend's house for dinner.  We stopped by a flower shop on the way to buy a house present.  As seems to be her custom, J got to talking with the owner of the shop and we soon got to hear his whole, sad story.

He was working in the U.S. to make money for his family back in Mexico, and he was adamant that he would go back before the end of this year.  The saddest part: he hadn't seen his wife and kids for 9 years.

I can't even imagine not seeing my family for one year.  It's such a sad story, which it feels like many people here have.  It seems like this man's story will have a happy ending, but I know that can't be the case for everyone.

I was very touched when, after a long chat with the man, he gave J and me each a rose as a late Valentine's Day gift.  J tried to give him a small tip because he had been so wonderful, talking to us and then giving us flowers, but he wouldn't take it.  J finally convinced him to take it by saying it could go towards his children, but I was baffled at the man's generosity and humility, even in those circumstances.

It sometimes makes me wish I could experience that kind of adversity, just so I could learn how to really make the most what I had, the way this man had.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Being afraid of the dark

I like my imagination.  It would be hard to write without one.  HOWEVER, it comes with some downsides, the worst of which is being afraid of the dark.  There are people who are afraid of the dark who don't necessarily have a crazy imagination, but I'm going to play the self-pity card and say that people with imaginations have it worse.

I don't really understand why people are afraid of the dark.  At least, I haven't been able to think of any rational reasons why.  It seems like a general fear of the unknown, which kind of makes sense, except for the fact that, when the lights go out, if we're thinking rationally here, there's nothing there that wasn't there when the lights were on.  I don't want to get controversial or anything, but I think that could have been where the concept of God came from.  I think people were afraid of certain things like volcanoes erupting, and what happened after you died, so they (reasonably so) came up with a concept that would make them feel better about what was going on.

I don't know what other people are afraid of when they're in the dark, but for me, it's mostly things that don't exist.  For example, as much as I like zombie-related things (I'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead and Night of the Living Dead, etc.), after I finish watching things like that and turn the lights off, I lie in bed with my heart pounding.  I am somehow able to convince myself that an army of zombies are going to come into my room and eat my brains (and then the rest of me).

Even if something real is scaring me, like spiders, I still blow everything up in my head when the lights go out.  So, instead of a normal spider crawling onto my bed and killing me and feeding me to its young, it's a giant one.  (It didn't help that two really gross, creepy spiders showed up in my cramped, little bedroom within my first week of coming to LA.)

It's actually better, in my opinion, when I can't see anything.  You know that feeling when you open your eyes, but it seems like they're still closed?  I like that a lot, actually.  It's shadowy darkness that scares me-- when I can see silhouettes of things.

Sometimes, I'll get so freaked out, that I have to resort to desperate measures.  One time, I was home alone and I kept hearing noises (which, in retrospect, were probably just creaky sounds our house makes because it's old), so I grabbed a giant knife from the kitchen and brought it to bed with me.  My more (or maybe less?) reasonable solution to all of these fears is to curl up under my covers and make sure that none of my skin is exposed to the open air.  According to my brain, that way, the monsters won't be able to find me.  I'm so much smarter than they are...

When I was in 7th grade, I saw The Grudge in theatres, which ended up being the worst decision of my life.  For weeks, I couldn't sleep, no matter how tired I was.  Even now, I sometimes get freaked out about that dead woman or her son showing up in my bed and ripping my jaw off and killing me.  After that movie, I quarantined myself from scary movies of any kind.  Until my freshman year in college, I hadn't seen another horror movie.  Then I watched The Shining and loved it, and I've gotten really into thrillers.  So I'm clearly getting a bit better (although I've still got miles to go).

All of this scared-of-the-dark business leads to some strange habits too.  The most obvious one for me is that when I get into bed (especially if the lights are off), I have to take a flying leap a few feet away from the bed to make sure the monsters underneath it won't grab my ankles.

In fact, I think it was actually The Grudge that caused me to make a little anti-monster contraption in my bedroom at home in Maine.  It's a little ribbon that is tied down next to my bed on one end and tied to my light switch on the other, so I don't have to get out of bed to turn the light on or off.  In the picture here, the ribbon isn't there, so I drew it in.  Just imagine that the jagged black line is a blue ribbon.

I take some comfort in the fact that I'm able to write about the things that scare me and not scare myself in the process.  I think it's a good sign that I won't end up being unable to live by myself when I'm 35 years old because I'd be too afraid that something was going to break in and murder me.  So that's something.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The eternal conflict of when to grow up

As long as I can remember, I've been trying to grow up fast.  A lot of this probably comes from my little complex about how young I look, and I think I've done a pretty good job of growing up the way I'm supposed to.  Every time I do something independent or super mature or something, I feel really empowered and awesome.  That said, here I am, doing something most adultish thing I've ever done, and I'm so CONFLICTED.

For example, if I go to a party or something, I have lots of fun and it feels good to be free and making my own decisions (even if they might not be the best decisions in the world).  But then, I'll get home the next morning and find a letter in the mail from my dad.  I'll read it and it'll be full of wonderful things about how proud he is of me, and how much he loves me, and it makes me feel really happy (albeit a little homesick).  Then I'm suddenly filled with guilt about the partying and all I'll want to do is fly home and hug my parents and apologize.

I'm not saying it's "adult" to go partying, but my point is that it's a weird feeling to be SO ready to get out of my childhood life and yet have such a strong inclination to call my parents all the time and tell them about my day, etc.  I guess that's what I get for having awesome parents.

Anyway, back to my dilemma.  I was talking to my brother, S, the other day about how strange it is that all four of us (my 3 siblings and I) are actually doing real life right now.  We're all off on our own, working and living on our own.  Even though, my situation is a bit different because I haven't actually finished school yet and I'm not going to be here permanently (yet), it's really strange to have my brother or sisters call me and when I'm not at school or home.  I keep thinking that this is almost exactly how it's going to be in a few years when I'm really working a paying job and being a legit person and everything.  It sounds weird to talk about real people versus...not real people.

All I really mean by that is that it takes a while before you actually get into the real, adult world.  Yesterday, I was talking to one of the assistants I work with, T, about planning for retirement when you're younger and how to do it when you don't have any money and you're still in college.  This brought us into a conversation about life in general, and T said, "college isn't real."

That couldn't be more true.  Sorry, all you high school students who think their real lives will start when they get to college.  It won't.  I figured this out pretty quickly when I went to college.  For one thing, although I had more social freedom than I'd had in high school, there were still professors controlling most of my life by way of essays and exams.  For another, Emerson was still in control of my living situation.  So, yes- it was different.  But it wasn't real.  I also realized that, even though I developed a lot as a human being while I was at school, whenever I went home, I would involuntarily revert back to my childish self a little bit.

So what does that mean for me now??

Am I going to revert back to my somewhat less mature, college self when I go back in a year and a half? Or do I just postpone growing up now so I don't have to beat myself up later because I'm reverting? I don't want to take any steps backwards.  Ever.  But I want to be able to do that and still hold on to what I like about my life before now.

I like where I am and I like where I'm going.  How am I supposed to stay away from where I was?

I haven't had any photos in my posts for a LONG time!!!  It's mainly because I can't think of enough topical photos that I can add without feeling guilty about pirating them.  SO- I'm asking you guys what photos you think I should put in my next post.  Tomorrow's post is called:

Afraid of the Dark: if the monsters can't see me they won't find me


Friday, February 17, 2012

"Assistants run the world"

One of the women I work for told me the other day that, "assistants run the world."

It seems like a silly thing to say, but it's SO TRUE.

In one of my internships, I'm the equivalent of an assistant.  In the other two, I just help out the assistants who already work there.  I've been getting some really interesting insight into how important assistants are in the entertainment industry.  It's incredible.

A lot of the time, assistants in films are portrayed as kind of wimpy and meek, and they just cause problems and get in the way, but this is SO inaccurate.  Honestly, when I see what the two assistants that I work with/for do their jobs, it makes me want to be an assistant.  There's this weird network of assistants and they all know each other and it's bizarre.  Well, they don't ALL know each other, but within one studio, most of the assistants know each other because, they're constantly connecting their bosses to each other and working out schedules together to make sure they're matching, etc.  Being a single person responsible for organizing someone else's schedule and everything is HUGELY important and pretty powerful.

I'm also realizing that the way that assistants do their jobs is also really important.  You don't want to make enemies with the people you're constantly calling, etc., so at least your phone personality (if not your real personality) needs to be really cheerful and helpful.  Thankfully, I work for two people whose real personalities are like that too.  But here's the thing that I want to learn how to do.  I really want to learn how to be cheery and helpful and be able to do everything I'm told without seeming like some airy drone.

I think that I could definitely move beyond the world of assistants as I go on with life, but I'm becoming ok with the fact that that's what my life is right now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Everyone's depressed

I know I just did a "bright side of things" post, but the theme seems to be popular.  In the last week, two of the blogs that I follow have blogged sad-themed posts.  One of them was my mom's blog.  The post was called winter blahs edition.  It's about beating those blahs and finding what's not "blah"-ish about it .  The other was from Hyperbole and a Half, called Adventures in Depression.  Her post was more about general, inexplicable sadness, but I suspect that the timing of the post also has something to do with the time of year.    Although the weather here in California is nicer than it is at home, it actually gets chilly, believe it or not.  Personally, when I get cold, I feel more trapped because I'm stuck inside (or more specifically, in bed) and I don't want to move.

There's something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (a.k.a. SAD) that people get around this time of year.  As to what it does, I think the name speaks for itself.  I'm skeptical about it, but I guess it's accepted as a real disorder.  To me, it seems like people making an excuse for why the dismal weather makes them sad.  It's okay for bad weather to make you feel bad!  You don't need an excuse!  But despite my cynicism, I know that blahh feeling that isn't really coming from anywhere.

I guess that's all I have to say on the matter.  Well, it's not really, but I don't think it's worth beating to a pulp.  Strive to be happy.

Sorry today's blog was boring.  I'll write something more interesting next time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughts on silver linings

The other day, I was at a Q&A session with actress Kathleen Turner and she telling us a story about a time when she was unhappy with her life.  But she told, 'you learn more when you're sad than when you're happy.'  This really resonated with me; it's just so true.  And it can apply to anything.  Even in circumstances where there might just be one little issue, that issue could teach you more than all of the other great things put together if you look at it in the right way.

After having lived in LA for about a month and a half, I know a bit more about entertaining myself (it's very difficult to meet people here) and meeting people for that matter.  I also have learned what kind of city I would be better suited for in the future since I don't like LA.  In theory, all of this new knowledge is a lot more valuable than having all of my various internships simply confirming that I do in fact want to work in the film business (although that's also important to know).

Of course, my own personal situation is a matter of seeing the bright side of things, but for some people, there is actually something innately good about the bad things in their lives.  For example, my sister, A, is really into the band, Keane.  A few months ago, she was telling me about the band's lead singer, who was into some pretty serious drugs.  He was very unhappy and his life was spiraling as happens to many famous people's lives tend to do.  He still wrote songs during this time, but then eventually he went to rehab and came out much better.  However, A doesn't think that he's written any songs even close to the caliber of those he wrote before rehab.

I'm not saying that it's a good thing to drug yourself up so you can learn more about life, but my point is that the darkest times in our lives can draw out some very deep-seated, powerful emotions that we might not be able to access if everything was perfect.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The obligatory Valentine's Day post

Around this time of year, my facebook newsfeed blows up with people talking about how romantic and amazing Valentine's Day is, all of whom are counteracted by all those cynics who are bitter about it and refer to it as "singles awareness day," or something.

And now that I've written that, I bet you're wondering which category I'm in!


I am about to drop some serious knowledge on this blog: Almost without fail, everyone with V-Day-related facebook statuses fail to consider the fact that it's also called SAINT Valentine's Day and was originally a day honoring sacrifice and martyrdom.  The martyrs the day is specifically referring to were called Valentines who wouldn't renounce Christianity and were persecuted and died, etc.  It only became associated with romance and love when Geoffrey Chaucer referenced the day in a love poem.  The line where it talks about Valentine's day is such a quick little reference that I can't BELIEVE how seriously people took it at the time.  So seriously in fact, that it turned February 14th into a day about love.  All it says is something like on Valentine's Day is when birds go find their mates.  So there are a number of problems with that whole thing: one, VALENTINE'S ARE PEOPLE WHO WERE KILLED FOR THEIR BELIEFS, and two, WHY DID EVERYONE AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME THAT CHAUCER WAS REFERRING TO FEBRUARY 14TH?!?!!?!?  That makes no sense.  BIRDS DON'T MATE IN LATE WINTER!!!!  I mean, come ON.

(I also really can't stand those candy hearts- they don't even taste good!)

ALSO, the Saints Valentine were obviously NOT AMERICAN, because Columbus hadn't even discovered America when they were off being martyrs.  Joan of Arc hadn't shown up yet and no one had ever heard of the BUBONIC PLAGUE when they were off being martyrs (well I guess no one really heard of the bubonic plague until they stopped calling it the black death, but still...).  I believe that two of the main Valentines were Roman, and I couldn't find anything specifically about how today is celebrated in Rome, but in a lot of other places in Europe, it's either on a different day, for a different reason, or not really at all.

Anyway, I don't like that Valentine's Day has now become a day about getting your significant other chocolate and flowers.  And it's also become a day when people who don't have a person to give chocolate or flowers to get all sad and watch romantic comedies and eat chocolate by themselves (although I might go watch Chocolat now because I'm thinking about it).  It's become another way for Hallmark and EVERYWHERE ELSE to make money and it honestly means NOTHING to me.  Last time I had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day, I didn't even spend money on his gift.  I mean, I made him something, but it just felt so lame because it's just another day (I also might've felt indifferent about it because I broke up with him 2 weeks later anyway...).  It feels like a desperate attempt for people to hear that they are loved.  I'm sorry, but I tell my family that I love them all the time and vice versa.  I even tell my friends that I love them.  It sucks that some people need that kind of excuse to say and show how they feel.

The main thing I with which I associate Valentine's Day this year is the one-year anniversary of my first tattoo (complete coincidence), and what could have been the day that I could finally give blood again, but I've gotten more tattoos since then so I guess I'll have to wait until next September to help out the Red Cross.

MOM, I want you to know that none of my vehement irritation at this holiday means that I didn't totally LOVE the annual poem you sent me today.  It put a huge smile on my face.

So see?  I'm not super bitter about Valentine's Day, but I think it's a bit overdone and unfortunate that no one really thinks about the irony of the fact that it was originally about self-sacrifice.  And I also think that a lot of people tend to celebrate Valentine's Day, not necessarily because they actually care about someone.  THAT I think is the biggest problem I have with Valentine's Day in concept.  Next time I actually  have a romantic person to celebrate Valentine's Day with, at least I'll celebrate it and be educated on what's really going on.

I apologize if this post seems angry or pretentious or bitter or cynical or anything.  I absolutely appreciate the sentiment behind the holiday.  Promise.

I don't actually care what people do on Valentine's Day, but I do have an opinion about it and I felt obliged to write about it today because let's face it; everyone's thinking about it.

Update: another face perk

This'll be a short post because I'm also posting about V-Day today.

But I thought of another perk to having a babyface!!  If I wanted to, I could TOTALLY get into a lot of places for cheap or free.  Just a little while back, someone almost let me into an art museum for the child fee, which was all of $0.  Also, today, I was going to something at Universal Studios with one of the people I intern for and they didn't even ask for my ID at first because they thought I was that young.  Later today, someone also told me that I looked like I was 13 (it was ok in that context because I had already told that everyone thinks I'm younger than I am already).  Unfortunately, I'm so used to automatically telling people my real age when they think I'm younger because I feel so defensive about it, that I usually don't have the time to think about lying and saying, "yeah, I'm under 18 and you should let me in for free."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Grow up, face!

Growing up as the youngest of four, I developed a huge complex about age.  I tend to get irritated at the smallest things regarding youth, even though they really don't mean anything.  For example, my tall friend likes to pat her shorter friends on the head.  She did it to me once and I got really annoyed because I felt like she was treating me like a child, which was highly irrational.  Even though I thought I had gotten over this complex at least a year ago, I still haven't.

Unfortunately for me, I have a very young face, so the world doesn't make it easy for me to get over it.  I've still got big baby cheeks that will probably never go away and no matter what I do with my hair, clothes, makeup, etc. I still look at least 2 years younger than I actually am (usually more).  For people that know me well, it's not that noticeable, but when I'm around people who don't know me, I get very irksome looks and comments thrown at me.  I always tell myself that no one ever means anything by it, and I'll appreciate it in 10 years or so, but I still can't shake the supreme feeling of inferiority every time it happens, which is a lot.

I had a summer job once at a really cool tasting room for olive oils and vinegars.  The job involved giving every customer a little tour around the store and telling them all sorts of information about the products and how to taste them, etc.  I think a lot of people were put off by someone so young knowing so much about something so sophisticated, so I actually had a lot of fun showing off my knowledge.  Sometimes people would ask about my age, and most of the time they assumed that I was the owner's daughter, which was...whatever.  However, sometimes people would really get under my skin.  There was one woman I specifically remember.  I was ringing her up at the register and she asked me something about where else we sold our products.  I told her I wasn't sure because I had only been working there for 3 months and she cut me off in the middle of a sentence and said, "you look like you're 12."  I kid you not.  That's exactly what she said.  And she said it kind of snappishly too, so I felt a little bit defensive.  I quickly told her I was 18.  She sort of laughed and said, "oh, well you'll appreciate it when you're older."  I really wanted to say, "I'll appreciate it when I'm your age," but I was working and that would've been highly inappropriate.

Nowadays, work is still where it happens the most.  As I've said in previous blog entries, I work with some very profane people.  It doesn't bother me at all, but almost every time someone drops and f-bomb or anything, they immediately look at me and apologize.  Really?  REALLY?!?  I mean, it's bad enough that I feel inferior here anyway, because I don't know what's going on half the time and I'm still new the film business, but I really don't need that extra inferiority kick of them thinking they can't swear in front of me.  Honestly, having a babyface doesn't stop me from saying fuck, so you shouldn't worry about it either.

I think what also bothers me about all this looking young business is that, not only am I not as young as I look, but neither is my mind.  In fact, I'd say my mind is a bit older than I actually am.  I've always enjoyed hanging out with my older siblings and their friends much more than hanging out with most people my age (although there are exceptions) because I feel like my maturity level is closer to those of people who are just a few years older than I am (most of the time this is why people who know me well don't really notice my young-lookingness).  I realize that that sounds incredibly pretentious, which is why I don't really voice that feeling very much, but the fact is, it makes looking and being treated younger than I am even harder.

Despite all this, there are up sides to looking so young.  For one thing, as you may have read about briefly in my last blog entry, people don't really want to make someone who looks so young and innocent sad.  I can tell a lot of the time if someone thinks I'm younger than I am if they're being particularly nice or patient with me, even if I'm being dumb or not doing something quite right.  Even the people I work with do that with me, and I've seen them lose their cool with other people over the tiniest things.

Another upside is that, whenever someone actually thinks I'm as old as I am or older (it does happen), it feels AMAZING.  I had another summer job more recently when it was very clear sometimes that customers thought I was older than I was.  It may have had something to do with the fact that part of my job included selling alcohol, but it still felt good not to feel patronized.  Also, very recently, I was at a party with my family and someone asked my dad and I how long we had been married.  As awkward as the situation was, I still felt very pleased with myself.  Of course, it might also have been that my dad looked younger, but, although he does have a youthful face for someone his age, it's not so youthful that someone who was my age would realistically be married to him.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strangers that don't suck

Sometimes, you run into people in the world who you don't know, and who, in all likelihood, you'll never see again.  While everyone has different sides to them, it is so important to show the best side you possibly can to these people.  I mean isn't it great when you run into a really friendly cashier at the supermarket or if somebody sees you getting out of your car an says, "cool car!" or something?  It feels so good.  I actually really enjoy talking to operators at call-in help centers because, even if they're not friendly (which we all know they sometimes aren't), I always make it my goal to not be some asshole who's just calling about some small problem and blaming the operator for it.  I'm friendly, I ask how they're doing, I'm cooperative, and I'm not irritating.

So today is a story about two strangers I met in my day who dichotomize this concept.  First, there was the cashier at CVS.  My bread had all gone bad, and I had a coupon to CVS, so I went there instead of the grocery store.

This my bread (it's a lot moldier than it looks here).  Sorry-- I just felt like the blog needed a picture...

The cashier was a sullen, heavyset old woman who had permanent frown lines around her mouth and eyes.  It turned out that I couldn't use the coupon without my CVS card so I gave the woman my phone number so she could look up my card (I didn't have it with me).  It didn't go through.  I told her that I had just used the card the other day, but she wouldn't cut me any slack.  I bit the bullet and bought the bread (!!alliteration!!) without the coupon because there had been a discount on it anyway.  THEN she told me I couldn't get the discount without my card.  UGH.  She wasn't helpful, she didn't suggest any solutions and she NEVER smiled or looked apologetic or anything.  She just had a really bad attitude and everything she said to me sounded angry.  In the end, she finally said, "Fine.  I'll let you have the discount, but I'm NOT letting you use the coupon."  At this point I was really wondering why she didn't just quit her job; she seemed so unhappy.  Anyway, I left and told her to have a nice day and she glared at me and I left.

Which leads me to the second stranger.

I had just parked quickly because I had planned on just running in and running out.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I had parked pretty close to another car.  I came out to see two woman looking at the car and when I walked over to my car, one of them said, "How am I supposed to get my passenger into my car?"  Yeah.  I had parked a bit too close...I apologized.  She went on saying things like, "that's inconsiderate!" and "you need to be mindful!" and "that's how you get your car scratched!"  I kept apologizing after everything she said.  What else could I say?  It was a really bad parking job.

So here's why this was a good stranger even though I think that reprimanding other strangers isn't a very good habit because it's condescending and somewhat rude, because you don't really know the person.  She wasn't just mad at me for blocking her door; she was worried about my car getting scratched (or at least that was the impression I got when she said "that's how you get your car scratched!") and she was giving me a lesson in kindness ("you need to be mindful!").  She wasn't just like "I can't believe you blocked me in like this!  You should be ashamed of yourself!"  And finally, when she was done she said, "ok" and got in her car (which somehow felt like she was accepting my apology, terseness aside).  And I think I heard her say something to her friend like, "somebody would kill her for that!" which I think might be a bit exaggerated, but oh well.

It's possible that because I look so young, she thought I was 16 years old and didn't know how to drive and was too young to yell at (that's one up side to having a babyface), but either way, it was nice not to have another mean stranger being rude to me within the course of about 5 minutes.

So, friendly, instructive woman, wherever you are, thank you for not keying my car, and thank you for not being rude and mean like the cashier in CVS.  I hope you have a good drive home in your little smart car.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Being Organized

Today, mostly what I did at work was organize a closet.  Sounds like a slow day?


This was not a small closet, nor did it lack things to fill it up.  It basically took me the entire day to clean this thing out.  It was full of all sorts of stuff that I didn't know anything about because it was only my second day, so it was tough to actually organize it in a way that made sense, but I was told that "there's no wrong way to organize the closet," so I just did it.  There was a lot of dust, accompanied by a lot of Tessa-sneezes.

This may sound like one of those draggy intern tasks, but it wasn't so bad (and for what it's worth- I completely understand why I had to do it.  I mean- if I had an intern, I'd make them clean my closet.  That would be so awesome).  In fact, it was incredibly satisfying.  Even though the closet was still packed to the brim with things when I was finished, it looked nicer and I knew where everything was.  I always surprise myself at how much I like being organized.  I'm not a super tidy person, but there's something about organizing things that used to be a complete mess that is like eating chocolate; it feels so good.


But here's the thing: it's only satisfying to organize if it used to be messy.  That awesome feeling of satisfaction only comes from a feeling of accomplishment.  You can't accomplish anything if there was nothing wrong in the first place.  So that's why my normal habit is to let my clothes build up on the ground until I can't walk through them without falling and breaking my face open on the floor.  Then I tidy up.  I'll fold, put away, and hang up all of my clothes, and sometimes I'll even make my bed.  AND even if my sheets aren't that clean or something, they still feel nice and fresh if I make my bed.  Then I lie in my bed and think, "that was so awesome."  And it'll be excellent.

Microwaves, dancing, stuffed pigs and other wonderful things

What a Wonderful DAY!!

^This feeling doesn't happen to me enough anymore.  But it did today and I love it.

I didn't expect to have a good day because I couldn't sleep for the life of me last night.  I just lay in bed for an hour or two and then gave up.  But that was actually the beginning of the goodness.  My mom says that even lying in bed and not sleeping is restful, but when I do that, my mind starts wandering and I either convince myself that zombies (or whatever monster is in the TV show I'm currently watching) are in my room and going to kill me, or I start thinking about things I don't want to think about and don't even come close to sending me off to sleep-land.  So I decided to distract myself with something other than my errant brain.  Luckily, there's another person who lives across the street from me, who was having similar sleep issues as I was last night.  So at 2AM we decided to go for a drive and get a midnight snack (well-- a 2AM snack).  It was lots of fun.  I got french toast, the leftovers of which I am eating right now for part of dinner (it tastes much better than it looks).  I'm trying to touch it as little as possible so I don't grease up my keyboard, so that's a nice challenge.

It was great to actually have some real social interaction because I've been somewhat isolated from the world of people my age since I came to LA.  I also realized that it had been over a month since I had even gone out that late.  There's a place in my hometown where young folk go late at night (and all the time) for some tasty food.  It's a wonderful gathering place called Dysart's.  It's a truck stop (MUCH less sketchy than it sounds) and going out late normally, at least in part, consists of a Dysart's run.  So it was nice to go to a place called Norm's here in LA and get nostalgic about Dysart's and home and spend time with a new person (although Dysart's has Norm's beat when it comes to late night food).  We got back home around 3:15ish, and I was dreading having to get up at 9:30 for work....

It's impossibly satisfying to have your alarm go off in the morning and to be up and raring to go in minutes.  That happened to me.  I'm thinking that 6 hours of sleep might be the perfect amount of sleep for me to get because my alarm this morning seems to have caught me right at the perfect moment in my sleep cycle.

I went to work for the first day at my new internship.  It was lots of fun.  The assistant who works at the office (I'll call her M) was really great and helpful.  My suspicions about working with someone a bit closer to my age were right.  Work was great.  The office is also much more comfortable than the other places I'm working.  I had to sign a confidentiality agreement, so unfortunately, I can't elaborate very much.  But trust me, it was awesome.  So I'll be working there for two days a week, which makes me happy too.  One thing I can say about my day that was specifically great is


Yes, that's right.  Microwave.  The woman I live with doesn't have a microwave, which is fine.  But as a college age person, I'm very fond of microwave meals and popcorn, etc.  TURNS OUT that they have an extra microwave at the office of my new internship that they don't need, so I can have it for free!!  How great is that?  So that was another piece to the puzzle that was my awesome day.

AFTER WORK: I thought my day was about to drop off into the oblivion that is a bad day.  NOT SO FAST, DAY.  My plan was to go to a zumba class at 7:15 that I found last week and really liked (I did Zumba at home, but I've been having a hard time finding a good, cheap class here in LA- found one!).  But I had to run to CVS before I went.  I didn't have time between work and Zumba to go all the way to the CVS by my house, get stuff, and then go all the way back to class (the class happens to be very close to work), so before leaving work, I looked up a CVS nearby.  I found one and set off.

NOTE:  You are reading the words of a girl with such an abysmal sense of direction that she has on more than one occasion taken over an hour to get somewhere that was 15 minutes away, and when she was 11, she walked home from school and turned the wrong way, only saved when her mom happened to be driving by and asked where she was going.

So, as you can imagine, knowing that, a quick CVS trip almost cost me a Zumba class that was literally 5 minutes from where I was.  But not worry!!  The Good Day Gods were on my side today.  Here's a drawing I made of the Good Day Gods, just so we're all on the same page.

I made it to Zumba with Time to Spare!!!  It was a wonderful class; one hour long, cardio workout, a wonderful instructor, sweat, dancing.  Ahh!!  All wonderful.  Zumba makes me feel really good about my body because, despite the fact that I have the coordination of a drunk 10-year-old, I can move my hips.  That's a lot of what Zumba's about; some of the dances we do mostly involve ab-workouts in the form of shaking our booties (it really is tiring).  There's a big mirror in the front of the dance studio so we can all see ourselves, which normally would bother me when I was contorting my body into funny, dancy poses (I have little to no dance experience besides my prior Zumba classes), but it's great, because everyone's doing the same thing and no one cares what you do.  It's all accepting and friendly and hardcore and GREAT!  (I mean, they call their classes parties...come on)  Any exercise I can get now is HUGELY important if I don't want to die when I start working on the Wanderbird.  I need to be in shape.

funny side note: my face gets really REALLY red when I exercise at all (I don't know why- it just happens) and the instructor actually stopped and asked me if I was ok in the middle of class because my face looked like it had been severely sunburnt (so RED- I'll post a picture of it sometime).  Anyway...

My day was almost over, but it didn't cease to be lovely.  Even driving home among some asshole drivers and not being able to find a place to park on my street for 10+ minutes, I felt so happy!  I would try to park somewhere, not be able to, and actually laugh out loud to myself!  How often does that happen?  I mean, parking sucks, period.  There's nothing fun or funny about it.  Well, clearly there was to me today.  I went to clean up and was just singing and dancing right there in the shower.  I couldn't stop.  It was great.


I've realized that this was a long, drawn-out (albeit cheerful) saga of my entire day with hardly any pictures and lots of words.  I will now try to finish the story of my excellent day in the opposite fashion: more pictures and other stuff, less words.

I'm sitting here with my stuff pig, Elliot, who is adorable and is making me feel cuddly and even happier.

I'm teaching myself more songs on my ukulele, Everett (the name similarity between it and Elliot is purely circumstantial) which is ALWAYS fun, without fail (perhaps I'll play and post a song for you sometime).

I am also listening to ragtime by Scott Joplin (I would suggest the palm leaf rag) which makes me very happy, despite that it makes me miss playing piano myself.  Hearing piano is enough (especially if I also have my ukulele as a supplement).

It also makes me feel very happy that my name is Tessa because most of the songs on this album were performed by a man named Dick Hyman.  Ouch.  Talk about unfortunate names.

This view was also what greeted me before I left for home.  Very beautiful, even with the telephone wires.

And finally, I got a postcard! Mail is so much fun.  My mom sent me a postcard from Texas, where she and my dad have been for the past week.  Now they're back home, but I have this letter now, and I love it.

I am Joyful!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let's rewind...and then fast forward a little bit

But Tessa, why did you take a year and a half off from college? Why are you in LA? How long are you going to be there? What's happening for the rest of the year and a half off?

I'm sure nobody's wondering these things because I don't have any followers yet. But I'm going to write about it anyway because it's important.

I decided to take a year and half-long leave of absence from Emerson College because I loved it there. Now that sounds silly, but it's true. I really liked it and it was the hardest thing in the world to leave my friends and Boston and the prospect of some amazing (albeit difficult) classes. It all involved a lot of tears on my part. BUT -- I was starting to feel a little bit disillusioned by some things and it was affecting the way I felt about everything, even if it had nothing to do with the root of the problem, which really, was myself. I won't go into the nitty gritty details, but I just was having some emotional issues (for lack of a better phrase) to which the rational (and thankfully stronger) side of me said, "shut the fuck up. stop messing with this girl. NOW! RAWWRRR!!!!" (my rational side is super badass- I love it) There wasn't anything unfixable about my situation, so I took control! Before I started hating Emerson for reasons that Emerson couldn't do anything about (nor was it even responsible for any of it), I decided to take a break. That way, I'd still want to come back after all this time off.

SO the first thing I did was think. I needed something that would completely take me away from everything. I wanted to pack up and have a new life for a while. The first thing that I thought of was this "cruise" that my parents did about a year ago. I put "cruise" in quotes because the ship they were on was actually a ninety-foot, ex-fishing trawler-turned-cruise-ship called the Wanderbird. Mom and Dad spent a week on the 12-passenger boat off the coast of Puerto Rico and they had a blast. They became close with the two captains (a husband and wife) and in some conversation, they found out that they actually look for crew members who have little to no sailing experience so they can teach them how to do things. I didn't think anything of it when my parents first came back from their trip and told me about it, but when I decided to take time off and was looking for something completely new, it seemed perfect. So after a number of emails, a tour of the boat and an interview, I got a spot as a crew member on the WANDERBIRD!!! I honestly can't wait for it. Starting in April, I'll be training on the boat, living on it. I'll be learning all about sailing (right now I don't know anything about it) and charting and navigating and doing tons and tons of harder work than I've probably ever done in my life. Then we're going up to the North Atlantic (Greenland, Labrador, etc.) for 6 months and working for passengers, doing ecotourism things, and working and stuff! If I like it enough, I'll do another 6-month season down in the Caribbean. It's gonna be great.

So that being set in stone, I went searching for something else to do with the four months between the end of my semester and April. I originally wanted to stay on the East coast/in New England so I could be close to home and my family and friends since I'd be leaving them for another 6 months starting in April. But I ended up finding all of these internships in LA that I'm doing now, which is great. I'm happy for the warm weather especially (although I do miss everyone back home- it's weird to think about their lives going on the same without me).

So that's what happened, what's happening, and what's going to happen. Now that's over-with, let's keep on.