Monday, May 5, 2014

The Final Stretch and Farewell

April 16th - 26th, 2014 (Plus a little bit of April 27th-May 5th!)

Those last ten days got a little hectic. But I owe you a recap and final thoughts of my last week in the New York Arts Program.

I met with a woman from Hachette Book Group who is in marketing. In all honesty I think the coolest tidbit I got from that is that she is paid to go to Comic Con and a bunch of other Cons a few times a year. Yes, she has to be at a table to hand out Hachette Books (they did the Twilight graphic novel, for starters), but that doesn't mean she can't get a stand-in and wander some, either. She is one of my supervisor's friends, and so before work one day I took a subway and a shuttle to Grand Central, walked around the corner and into this ginormous and intimidating building that has those kinds of elevators that go so high so fast that your ears pop. Everything was businesslike, dark colors-bright lights, and shiny in there.

I also went home for Easter weekend, and my roommate even crashed a night but had to go back early to help set up for her art show to display the first chapter of her comic book. Family, food, and cat--who is now my 15-year-old kitten as of that weekend!!!--were all lovely, but it was also a weekend of work!
Sunday evening rolled around, visiting family and friends departed, and that awkward parental question of "So...when are you leaving?" Answer: "Whenever my project's done." I commuted into the city the next morning. But I did finish my project--a short story about a seven-year-old and his imagination that I also illustrated--turned it in, and have gotten it back with notes!

It still needs a few things here and there, but I'm happy with it. And the illustrations were fun. Like this one:


The art show that my roommate and other housemates were in went very well; there were photo series, clothing designs, comic pages, documentaries--some executed better than others, but that's what experimenting is for. The Actor friend's final project was acting in an intern-written one act at the Ensemble Studio Theatre called House Broken. (Show #12. BAM.) It was funny! Man gets a tree through his roof, comes home to avoid his bigger problem that an old flame--the lost love of his life--is getting married and he got an invite. (The Actor is the guy in the bottom left corner of the playbill.)

My adviser took our small group out to dinner. Since there were all of five of us instead of his last semester of a dozen students, our budget was bigger than he expected which meant we were taken to a really fancy French restaurant. They also had paper table cloths and I had a pen. Cartoons ensued and my adviser had me tear it free so he could take it home, water rings and food stains and all! To each his own.

The Texans and I also had one last run to French Roast for coffee and dessert, I scheduled social media at DAW a week beyond my  last day plus a little something for release day May 6th, got a few last minute free books, celebrated my and the other intern's semester with them (there was cake!), hung out with a high school buddy--and basically everything was chaotically packed into those few days but really nice.

My dad came to pick me up and it turns out there was a street fair happening, and it was sunny and gorgeous outside. As far as send offs go, I was pleased.

Yeah.That was my semester, and it feels weird not needing to go back into DAW. I turned in my ID card (right), walked out, and that was it.

I'm currently back at school visiting seniors before they graduate, seeing friends, going to final performances and a theatre banquet that announced next year's shows, meeting with my professor about my senior project next year and what I have to get done over the summer...

The strange part about being back at school is it almost feels like I never left, because I still have all these places to be and I'm still hanging out with the same friends, but I've got no stress or deadlines. I'm just drifting around until I go home and am thrown into my summer schedule. It's nice, but odd. And when I come back, I'm to contact my supervisor at DAW to see about meeting another one of her publisher friends in the city, which is neat because it means my contacts are not totally severed after the program terminated. I still have things to keep me tied to the city until I graduate in December and might be able to get a real job then. Woo!

So what'd I do in New York this semester?

Read fantasy and science fiction everyday, wrote about them, did some social media and organizational things, made my resume look snazzy and professional, saw twelve shows, helped submit someone's play to the Fringe Festival, and networked.

There were ups and downs to everything, of course, but above all what my experience did was helped me network; meeting people is what makes cities such great places of opportunity as well as expense. Unnerving, exciting, loud, peaceful, tiny, BIG, dirty, shiny--all of these opposites coming together to make up one place. It's strange, and while I still don't think I'd categorize myself to ultimately be a city person, I kind of like it. I may well be coming back to a place like this to see out my 20s.

Thanks to everyone who have kept up with my blog this semester, and I hope it's been entertaining if not occasionally insightful! Feel free to post any other questions about my internship/NYC experience below!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Something for Everyone, a Comedy Tonight!

April 14th-15th, 2014

Yesterday was the night of the Smile High Club, and show number 11 of my 10 show challenge! Oddly it was also the first show purchased at the top of the semester, but better late than never.


My actor friend and I went over to this 9 o'clock performance to arrive thirty minutes early so they'd count our reservations. The Smile High Club is where they bring in guest comedians who have ranged from performers from Comedy Central to MTV, and a bunch of other cool brand names in the middle. Only expectation: laugh till I can't breathe, take a deep breath, and do it again.

It let out at midnight--longer than I expected, but fun and we definitely got our money's worth--and they had more comics come up than I've fingers on my hands. Some were really good! Others overly raunchy. Others just had their moments. There was no one who couldn't get us to laugh at least once, though, and each one of their bits lasted 5-10 minutes. For some reason there were maybe 5 other people in the audience from the US, everyone else ranged from Canada to Sweden in nationality. The host was from NJ, so we had a moment of bonding over that--I even got a laugh out of the audience, so I'm gonna count that as a win.

One of my favorite comics was a very tall woman who had a rant about how she didn't dress up as much as others, but when she did, people would frequently make comments like:

Friend: Oh my god! You look amazing--I didn't recognize you!

Her: Thank you...?

So once she'd been in this bar but left her makeup at home, and a very drunk girl came up and said:

Drunk: You kinda look like my ex-boyfriend...

Rude to say of course, but the comedian let her down easy.

Her: Well, you've gotten fat since we broke up.

Overall a good night and nice weather to walk in!

While on weather, bummer for all you folk who got Random Snow this week. NYC doesn't have that problem, although it did rain today and the wind was not having it with umbrellas.

I've still been trying to practice through my sales pitch, and hopefully that'll be put to good use very soon, and reading some more manuscripts. I found another I really like, so we'll see what happens with it!

Meanwhile, my supervisor seems to have been chatting with some of her publishing friends about me--HOW COOL!

I've scheduled a meeting with one of them from Orbit Books for next week. The other one I'll be back in the city some time early in the summer and arrange a meeting with her, which is way super exciting. It makes the end of my program seem less final, because I'm making contacts here that'll give me a reason to come back, you know? I just got to keep it up at least until I graduate in December--there might be hope for me in a job market somewhere, yet!

And tonight on the docket: Teen Wolf and Chinese takeout! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slightly Less than Productive

April 9th-April 13th, 2014

I decided that I needed a change in atmosphere to try and get more headway into my final project for the program, and so I called up my mom to announce I'd be coming home this weekend.

She said that the weekend would be gorgeous--so meet her at the beach!

...

I did not get very much work done. But I did enjoy the weather, food, location, and company. Plus, it was certainly a relaxing weekend, which is lovely. And happy Palm Sunday for those who celebrate it! I look forward to it every year. Because the church gets armloads of palm branches that I can fold up into crosses. I do about twenty of them compulsively through the service, show a few curious folk how to make their own, and hand out the rest until I go home with only one, or none. The pastor saw my trove of palm crosses after church and announced in good humor that I have a problem. Which is possible.

Wednesday was my last day at Torn Page studios. There was not much to be done, but collect evaluation forms and try to see if they need my help with any other last things before the evening was out. I ended up doing some dishes that had been left in the communal sink from the night before. Mundane, but I'm glad to be helpful, and I still got out early.

DAW had me working on my sales pitch to the editors about a manuscript I love. I got feedback on my write up for it, and will practice it for the supervisor in a pretend-round next week before the editors hear it. I pretty much have to give the highlights, and be familiar enough with the story that I can answer any question about it, and know a good bit of background on the authors too, if I can. I have to have a summary, and tell whether the story is standalone, or in a series, what to expect in the coming series, what will need to be edited that was less than grand, etc. This is absolutely going in my portfolio when I'm done with it, and I'm really excited to talk about this manuscript! Even though another big publisher already bought it, fun fact. But the editor said that just means I picked a good manuscript, so I'll count that as a win.

While I'm practicing my pitch in my free time, the other intern and I did get to have the big Q&A with the editor, and had lunch in her office. A lot of our questions pertained to how scheduling a season works, what factors need to be decided in the line up, how does an editor gauge how much time he or she has to devote to new authors, etc. The editor is supposed to be that person who looks at a manuscript and says bluntly "this thing doesn't work, so how about you try...?" To which the author needs to respond something along the lines of: "Hmm. Actually, that reminds me of something else we can try that might work even better!" And so on and so forth. It was really interesting to get her talking about her personal experience in the field, and even though that was the official Q&A, we're 100% free to come in and ask her questions if we think of more.

I tied up the weekend with a walk on the High Line with one of my housemates--the actor from my school. It was a coat-less night, despite the wind, and there weren't a ton of people out, and the city was all lit up on the water--it was really cool. I'd never been there at night, and all those wacky architecturally designed apartments were more visible than I thought they'd be, and actually took on some new "personality" with all their lights on against the dark. And now I can say I've walked from one end of the High Line to the other! It actually isn't that much farther than I'd walked on it before, I'd just somehow only stayed in the middle of the walk every time before. Now I know.

On for this week: the Smile High Comedy Club with the actor friend; pretend to sell a manuscript to DAW editors; work on final writing project; don't die.

It's a good list. I like that list.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fingers Crossed

April 7th-8th, 2014

I've definitely gone through over twenty manuscripts from the slush pile throughout the whole semester. That does not include "priority manuscripts" or books I've read on my own. That's kind of awesome.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not a super reader--I've only read the entire manuscript of a few books, and usually get to around page 100 before I write a report, or some I only get past page 20. It really varies.

On Monday I was invited to an Ohio Wesleyan promotion meet and greet of students, alumni, and prospective students from the New York City area. An alum who is now in a fancy PR company that did publicity for the last three Harry Potter books played host all the way up on the 28th floor, and giant glass windows that overlooked 7th and Broadway. I actually went because they asked me to and I heard there'd be snacks, but the view was pretty nice too, even in the rain.

Not that I should be surprised that NYC turns out future thespians, but several of the prospective students were interested in studying theatre, and at least one of them is definitely coming to the school next semester. They spent a lot of time talking to me about the NYArts Program and campus and transportation in Ohio and all that. The funny thing really was that the girl I was talking to was a prospective student overnight to one of my friends. We sent her a picture entitled "LOOK WHO I MET". --Okay fine that story isn't very interesting, but I was entertained, and this is my blog. So I'm gonna share it anyway.

Really what this week amounts to for me is serious crunch time. Evaluations are due tomorrow, projects are due in less than two weeks. I'm trying to do my sales pitch for a manuscript tomorrow!

In a program without exams or classes: Welcome to Finals.

I'm also planning to go home this weekend for an intensive independent writing workshop. That also means I'm tempting fate that my laundry and last pair of socks holds out so I can bring all my dirty clothes with me. We'll see. Fingers crossed--on so many things!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Marvel

April 4th-6th, 2014

You see what I did there? Because last weekend's post was DC? Heh. If you don't get it you don't read comic books, and that's alright, too.

Besides that, Friday was the release of the second Captain America movie, Winter Soldier. No spoilers, but my inner fangirl broke out in an excited squee when the teaser clips after the credits rolled. I freaking love superheroes. During one of the earlier fight sequences in the movie, I also realized I was the only one who seemed to be vocally reacting to the genius of the fight choreography, so I thought it'd be in my better interests to stop.

I tend to watch superhero movies like sports fans watch the Super Bowl.

Refraining from yelling "YES! TAKE HIM DOWN!" at the most American uppercut you'll ever see did not stop me from shaking my roommate at key moments throughout the movie to make sure we were on the same page of crazyawesomefandom excitement. I'm glad she was cool with it or that could've been awkward for the both of us.

Saturday was it's own series of adventures. I walked down to Beeker Street, which is a very lovely, bustling place in the nice weather, and also where the Magnolia Bakery is located--huge tourist trap, and from what I understand, it's with good reason because their cupcakes are legendary. If I ever make it back there and brave the line, I will definitely let y'all know if those rumors are true.

I walked to Amy's Bread and met up with a woman who once worked for Penguin, but now works for Simon and Schuster. She was connected to me by a mutual friend who goes to my church back home. And, she's an extremely awesome lady who not only purchased my coffee, but we chatted for a good couple of hours. She is willing to take a look at my resume and maybe send it out, too, which is amazing! There's hope I won't be jobless post graduation yet!

Later that evening, I went out to see SHOW #10, everyone! The challenge is officially met! I have seen TEN whole shows while in NYC this semester, and I'm not totally broke! Nearly, but not yet.

THE 10 SHOW CHALLENGE

1. Peter and the Starcatcher 
2. The Disinherited
3. The Glass Menagerie
4. Cinderella
5. 50 Shades!
6. Aladdin
7. La Soiree (the sexy circus)
8. The Witchelor
9. Bindlestiff's Cavalcade of Youth Circus at Coney Island
10. Man of La Mancha

And I still have the comedy show that's prepaid since the first week of the semester, plus one of my friend's final performances. But let's talk about Man of La Mancha.

I went with a musically inclined housemate who plays piano, and we got balcony seats at this university in the Bronx for $12. They were some pretty good seats, actually, and the whole auditorium felt more like a Colosseum the way it was designed.
The technical design behind the show was amazing! I am forever ruined by my theatre education to notice the tech in every show I see, but truthfully I'm not complaining. This set has a drawbridge you can kind of see in this picture, it's up now, but the front is on two chains attached to the fly lines up top, so all someone has to do is lower one baton and the stairs are set down into the prison for the Spanish Inquisition to come and go as they please. 

The lighting is harder to explain, so you'll have to take my word that it was fantastic. The windmill scene, the most memorable moment from Don Quixote (this musical is based on his story, for those of you who don't know--a man who is delusional into believing he is a great knight, and the windmill scene is his thinking it an ogre and attacking it. When he loses because he was jousting a building, he swears is arch nemesis the evil sorcerer in the last minute transformed the ogre into a windmill), was executed with rotating gobos. A gobo is a metal plate with a design cut in it that you put in a light fixture so you get the lights to make shapes on stage. A rotating gobo is exactly what it sounds like, and so the windmill "wings" were actually moving around, and went out after the battle ended. 

The singing was clear and pretty, the characters enjoyable--my only distraction was the woman playing the leading lady (a whore who is mistaken by Don Quixote as a fair and virtuous highborn lady) chose a most unfortunately rigid posture for her characterization that to me didn't seem to fit. Her singing was very lovely, though her speaking held more fire than her singing.

The TECH, though!

Sunday was a beautiful, lazy day. I went to Panera with my roommate, and actually was semi productive today. Like blogging. That was good. 

The evening finished off with the final session of our World of Darkness game that ended with heroism, death, destruction, FEELS, hope, resurrection, and overall badassery. Really my roommate is a great storyteller and Game Master and I had a ton of fun. The best part about these role playing games is to play exactly how your character, flaws and all, would do it--because even though you know some of your character's actions is a mistake, it makes the game way more interesting and fun for everyone. Great game!

Here Comes the Sun Do-do-do-do

March 31st-April 3rd, 2014

Yes, there's been some drizzling but overall this week has been quite lovely and I think my sweaters will soon be more than redundant.

There was another sales meeting this week that both the other intern and I had been trying to help prep TI Sheets for last week, and there were plenty more people in there than the last time. Not that that increased how long the meeting lasted, it was still about 15-20 minutes tops.

The other intern (she looks like Anna from Frozen--even has the streak in her hair, so let's call her Anna) turned 22 over the weekend, and since everyone in the office wasn't there until Wednesday, that's when cake was ordered to officially celebrate among coworkers. Anna picked a vanilla cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and it was a good decision, even if most of my icing was scraped onto my plate. Sacrilegious, I know.

There were also two more big releases for us, both the announcement of Patrick Rothfuss's novella in his Kingkiller Chronicle series (sorry--not the third book yet!) called The Slow Regard of Silent Things featuring Auri, a side character, and her home life in the Underthing; and the announcement of a new Tad Williams trilogy from his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy universe. I've not read any Tad Williams yet, sadly, but that's supposed to be one of his most famous works and has been promptly been added to my ever-growing list.

Tad Williams (left); Patrick Rothfuss (right)*
*The novella cover hasn't been released yet

















I've also been waiting for a long while to try out a food combination I'd read about in the Toby Daye series. Since my trip to the Tea and Coffee Festival, I had just the thing I needed. I had an iced coffee in my fridge, and popped off to the store for some Lucky Charms.

They were surprisingly magically delicious and breakfast has never made me more awake. My supervisor was so amused that it will be added to the social media some time in the next week. 

Sugar intake aside, the project I've got assigned from this week is to choose one of the manuscript's I've read and loved--ONE--and write up a sales pitch for it for Wednesday. Not just write it, but practice it for my supervisor and deliver it to the editor. I'd mentioned this possibility in earlier posts, but now I've got a deadline on it so it must be real. I'm so excited! And nervous! It'll be great!

DC

March 28th-30th, 2014

There are times I instinctively look out for myself; it's a most helpful function of my subconscious. Like packing for DC the night before because I already only have time to throw in last minute items before I book it to the bus station--overshoot it by a couple blocks and an avenue--and get there with only a minute to spare. But I made it, and that's the important thing!

By 10:30, Captain Cadaver met me at Union and whisked us back to her campus via a very cheerful and oddly accented subway driver just in time for pizza and introductions.

Captain Cadaver lives with her boyfriend and his roommate--his roommate has a bow tie collection and a fez, so he will be the Doctor (as in Doctor Who), and since I first heard the Doctor refer to Captain Cadaver and her boyfriend collectively as "The Ponds" (also a Who reference), I'm changing their collective nickname to that, as well.

The weekend was pretty much rainy the whole time, but as Cap'n had warned me, nobody in DC uses umbrellas. They just walk through the rain a little hunched and look irritated about it. For the most part this was true, and there were a number of broken umbrellas in most of the trash cans we passed.

Rainy as it was, it was also warm so I didn't mind. Also this weekend was the weekend of BURGERS.
 Anyone who knows me well knows that these are my weakness--which I am well aware is going to come back to haunt me on day--and so I was taken to a couple good burger joints this weekend and I'm not sorry about it. (I've been trying to go for salads all the following week, though.) But really. Look how beautiful that is. Enough to make a carnivore cry.

To help work off some of those burgers, we did do a little walking around. Unfortunately even though it was supposed to be the Cherry Blossom Festival, it had been too cold for any to have bloomed along the water. I did see two of them on campus, however, and they were quite lovely. It just means I have to go back to DC some time when they actually come out. I saw them once with my dad when I was little, and...well, here's an internet picture--doesn't do it justice to being in person, but still beautiful:
You understand why I'd want to go back? As for any allergies, I'll bring my own tissues and hand sanitizer. Worth it.

On our misty walk, we went into the National Gallery. I was hoping that I'd see some Han van Meegeren forgeries that had been donated to the museum with Andrew Mellon's collection, but I suppose I'm not totally surprised he did not get his own display. Having a museum in our capitol celebrating a forger probably isn't good press, no matter how good the story. And maybe they've sent Meegeren's work back to the Netherlands or have it in storage somewhere for special requests. The did have Vermeer, though, and plenty of other Dutch artists on the second floor, so that's where we spent most of our time.

Vermeer (right) has a painting of a Girl in the Red Hat that I saw there, and while it's not really like a portrait Meegeren (left) did of his wife, I still made a connection to it. It's probably the slant of the hat.


Back at the apartment, I was informed that Saturday is Movie Night, and Captain Cadaver had never seen any of the Back to the Future movies, which is just not allowed to continue, which is why the trilogy was marathoned. The Ponds sat on the couch, the Doctor and myself around a plate of vegan molasses cookies he'd made (I brought the tea), and the marathon commenced! Two more people showed up for the second movie, and overall it was a good night. Even if the nostalgia of childhood science fiction is lost on Cap'n having only seen these movies in her twenties, but she didn't dislike it, which is probably the best we were likely to get out of her.

The rest of the weekend involved some wonderfully nerdy board games, watching some Game of Thrones season three in preparation for the upcoming season (okay so that's just me, I haven't totally gotten around to watching season three, but I've read the books so it's less of a big deal), and of course, I can't come to DC without stopping for cupcakes.

Surprisingly, Georgetown Cupcakes was not where the Ponds get their cupcakes. Their guilty pleasure is a cupcake shop nearby the aforementioned other store, called Baked and Wired. Baked and Wired started as a Mom&Pop FedEx-like place, that started serving coffee and cupcakes in the back, and eventually the back got bigger and the owners said bye-bye to postal services. My favorite part about their cupcakes is that the cake-to-frosting ratio is much bigger than in other cupcake places I've been. I'm not an icing person, so having just enough sugar to seal in moisture for the cake is the best way to make them.

















And yes. It was delicious. Your jealousy is understandable.

Thank you--Ponds, Doctor, $50 Greyhound Bus--for such a wonderful weekend in the capitol! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ooo I'm So Excited!

March 18th-27th 2014 (As of April 6th I've added some pictures to make this epic less overwhelming.)

It was warm enough out to ditch the coat a couple days last week!

Happy Springtime at last!

Sort of. It dipped down again later this week but I'm hopeful enough that my heavy winter coat is safe and sound at home, and it has evolved to trench coat weather for the time being. And to answer the question you undoubtedly have, yes. I look awesome.

While I've been mostly reading manuscripts, mailing out books to authors and reviewers, and totally annihilating the next two weeks' worth of social media scheduling, there's also something pretty gosh darn exciting happenings this week in the DAW office.

BINGE READING.

Okay, that's not the exciting part. But if it's any indication to you from the last time I binge read...it means we got DAW authors in the office.

Over the weekend I almost slaved over Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind, which I finished Monday and then started on Diana Rowland's My Life as a White Trash Zombie (which is hilarious, full puns as well as badassery, and finish-able in only a few hours). Laura Resnick's  Disappearing Nightly is the last one I need to read, and so far so good! I do have to admit I didn't even try with the fourth book. The other author I wasn't positive would come in--he did of course--but he writes SF about the same size as Patrick Rothfuss' Kingkiller books, and there was just not enough time for it. I'll get around to it eventually I'm sure, but I won't have appreciated meeting him as much as I would have had I read his work beforehand. Ah well.

But yes! That DOES indeed mean that I met Patrick Rothfuss. He has a pretty glorious beard, and all around he's a nice dude. I thought ahead and made cookies this week to help relieve stress of that many people mulling about.

I was so proud of myself for finishing his book before he showed up--and actually the coolest part of the book for me is really underwhelming for other people, but my favorite quote of the whole book is:

"You have the sweetest face...it's like the perfect kitchen...
 Everything matches and the sugar bowl is right where it should be."

I ADORE this line! It suits me perfectly, and I've already gotten a demand from my friend Miss S (the teacher-to-be) that I say this to a future lover. I sincerely hope he's at least read the book first, but it's not a deal-breaker if he hasn't. Just a project. (Kidding. ...almost.)

You know what I found out about this line on the second or third glance that makes it so much cooler than it already is? It's on page 626 of the mass market copy of Name of the Wind. Why is that significant? 6/26 is my birthday. Favorite quote. Birthday number. Coincidence? Yes. But I get by on the little things, and this one is stupendous.

The office also got in new computers, which was exciting--a little too much so in some respects. For some reason when they transferred the files, my username profile was the only one that got everything copied to the new computer. That is a much less significant username to transfer than, say, the accountant who uses the same computer. Oh yeah. That got fun. But they figured it out, so nobody dies yet.

Sales also sent out a call for those Title Info sheets for books through 2015--so books that don't all have synopsis yet, got to write out some sheets to express why they deserve to be published. They're allowed to be a work-in-progress, so that's good. The other TI sheet though, that one is for a reprint for something older than the online database. So it required some actual file hunting. The good news is that I retyped all that out, so it should be in the server now in case it needs found again. It makes me feel like a kind of mundane detective...

I repeat: the little things.

The coffee run also got a little more exciting, because this time it included a quick pop over to Papyrus to pick up a sensible card for an author and long time friend of one of the editors. Tasteful, but also some nerdy reference to the book. (It's perfect. And a lovely short cut through Washington Square Park, complete with scenic birds.)

On the way to work, too, an elderly woman and her little dog stopped me to say how much she LOVED my style! I didn't have it in me to tell her I was still in my black converse walking shoes, and not my office shoes that actually went with the outfit of bright red stockings, shin-length black skirt, heart blouse, houndstooth coat, flower clip, blue sunglasses, and neon green headphones. She said "You're such an individual!" I thanked her and replied, "Welcome to New York!" She informed me that she'd lived here her whole life, and I was "Not run-of-the-mill". Huh. Whatever the reasons, spirits were high and I felt quite stylish. I still changed into my office shoes.

And, at around 4 o'clock, I get this text from my mom that my dad was getting back from Norway that night and if I made it home for dinner she'd cover my ticket. I threw on some speedy music, and I've never walked back so fast. Great food, my own bed, my own shower, my own cat--and my parents were cool too, I guess. (Kidding. Maybe.)


My dad got me a Norwegian cookbook. Most of it's fish, and I don't know when exactly I'd get to the elk sandwiches, but I'm game to try if I find it! This going home in the middle of the week thing also gave me a taste of the commuter's life. I got up at 6:30 instead of 8:00, and I was not quite 5 minutes late. Not bad considering I'd missed the train I intended to be on and stopped off at the house before coming, but still. 6:30? Gross. Not for me if I can help it.

Torn Page is basically the same, but they've got all this fancy camera equipment in there now, so it feels like an actual set. I've sat in front of the camera a bit too, because it means more stuff to wire up and make sure works before the students show up. Mostly that means I'm rambling out anecdotes until the mic works.

Recreationally, I was trying to spend as much time with my Kalamazoo friends as possible since they left this week.

That meant two final shows (I'm at 9 out of 10 now! BAM. And that comedy show I bought tickets for in the first week that I haven't gone to yet. Soon...), Sherlock, and some good ol' Dallas BBQ. No seriously, there's a Dallas BBQ down the street I'd been dying to go to for the longest time, and nobody would go with me. Turns out Miss Techie-mazoo had been having the same problem. Problem solved: we went together. And it was delicious, of course. What really set the mood, though, was this guy who literally threw things at people when he didn't get the only thing he ordered that existed no where on the menu. I'm talking plates, foot, the chair, and the table got thrown. Not far, but enough that the table a couple inches closer to this guy than we were, was in the "splash zone". The restaurant called the cops on him, but ended up throwing him out themselves since he got too rowdy. It's a little sad, because I'm almost positive he wasn't all there, but part of me also hopes it was an elaborate ruse for him to get a free meal from the rest of what he'd ordered. He wasn't wealthy looking, but this wasn't an expensive place depending what you got. If it was a ruse, good show, sir! Rude, but well done. And they gave us free cupcakes. I don't know if that's a usual thing for this Dallas BBQ place, but I'll take it.

The first show I saw over the weekend was Techie-mazoo's show that she helped do lights and stuff for. It's called The Witchelor, and it makes fun of The Batchelor if that show ever met up with Sabrina and Carrie. It was a one act in a black box theatre, and I almost didn't make it in because they were sold out. By lucky happenstance, we both got in free and it was hilarious. A witch goes on The Batchelor and tries to fit in as she falls in love with the leading man, but when he falls in love with her back, the other girls find out her secret and in a jealous rage try to reenact a Salem witch hunt to get her out and away from Jason, whom they fear is under her spell.



The second show was out on Coney Island, and the fire eater from the house was in it. He didn't eat fire this time, though. He juggled and did some neat tricks to ooo and ahhh the crowd. Good as he was, he got schooled by this 9 year old ginger with a bow tie and six balls he juggled at once. Dang. Not to mention an absolutely adorable six year old Asian magician named Moonlight who made balls disappear under a series of cups. She wasn't just cute either. She was actually really good!
The show did make me wonder how weird it is being one of the acrobats at a young age. The fire eater was the oldest, just making the cut-off of "under 21" by about a month. Most of the performers were between 11 and 16. Much of the cast was dubbed "jailbait" specifically because performer clothes, like for acrobats, accentuate the body since that's what does the flipping and twirling and twisting and making whatever shapes it is that bodies are not meant to make. And a lot of the movements are fluid and should be sexy, except...the kid's 11. Talented as anything, but...you're 11. The glitter is lovely, but where are your pants?
It was still a really fun show, and the trip even came with an outing to get some NYC pizza. Yum!

You wanna know my favorite part of the weekend, though? Well I'm gonna tell you anyway.
THE NYC TEA AND COFFEE FESTIVAL!


















I got there 10 minutes early, and the line already almost covered the whole perimeter of the block. And that's after tickets sold out. Right? But I loved it! No one else in the house ended up going, but I didn't mind. It's the Comic Con of caffeinated beverages, both of which I love, and I was there for several hours. It was about halfway through that I'd realized I had only eaten/drunk caffeinated beverages, and many of them. Why not when they're free? You walk in and are handed a goody-bag already with free stuff in it. Then pretty much every stall set up has another sample for you, and multiples of them. What makes it differ from reports I've seen of Comic Con, is that instead of smelling like nerdy sweaty bodies, it smelled like a tea and coffee shop plus nirvana. Right? And they had a crepe stand in the back!

Some how I'm going to be around the next time this happens and go for the whole weekend. I'll need to save up, though, because I ended up buying almost $60 of tea to build into my arsenal. Oops. It'd be a shame except I regret nothing and tea has a shelf life of forever until you drink it all. But still...and on top of $20 tickets? Should've gotten tickets earlier. Then they at least would've been half price. Ah well. Next year!

And this weekend, get ready: rainy though it may be, I'm busing off to DC to visit Captain Cadaver in her natural habitat.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Swear the Lapse in Posts is Unintentional

March 10th-March 17th, 2014

Well, for starters, HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! No really. It's a fun day. Once in high school some random woman wanted to buy me a drink because I have an Irish name. She didn't though because 1, high school; 2, we were no where near a bar; and 3, even if she had bought me a St. Patty's Drink I had never seen her before and my mild paranoia would not allow me to ingest gifts from her, no matter the holiday. People are strange.

And you know who's festive? THIS girl! I wore green and ate Lucky Charms. It may not be stumbling down the streets of NYC through a green-beer drunken haze kind of festive, but I'm good with it.

What did get a little too exciting was a mouse in our room at 3 AM this morning trying to find little crumbs to nibble in our trashcan. I think the little guy's presence broke my roommate's calm. That in mind, I sort of hope that the brand new traps in our room never go off. We are definitely going to be way more meticulous about what goes into our bins so that it doesn't attract Mickey to come back.

After work today, I met up with my adviser at O CafĂ© on 12th St. and 6th Ave.-- some pretty good cappuccinos there. The barista made the foam in the shape of a scalloped heart, and to all you purists out there, I'm not sorry to say that I add sugar. In the raw. So there. But adding sugar did mean I had to destroy the foam-art. Oh well. Doesn't matter. Had coffee. Anyways, he was checking in about my internships, and then suggested I check out the Strand Book Shop while I was nearby. I had already had a recommendation to go there from a previous NYArts student from my school, and had actually been talking to someone about needing to go there last night. So of course I had to go there.

And naturally, my wallet cried when it realized how beautiful the shop is (and to top the unfairness, it's right next to Forbidden Planet which is a big deal comic store), and then I found items that I don't need, but I must have. I bought an Old World Mythology: Myths and Legends of Europe, Africa, and Asia--really who wouldn't want to catch up on the adventures of Pwyll and the Goddess Rhiannon (page 16)? Exactly why I wanted it--and I bought a moleskin storyboard notebook which is AWESOME.

I know what some of you are thinking. "What do you need a moleskin storyboard notebook for? They're just pages covered in boxes, and besides, you're not an aspiring animator!" Well, Fun-Killers, it's an activity that makes me happy enough to spend $18 on a book that is unlikely to ever leave my desk. Besides, when my filmmaker brother gets famous maybe that'll give me an "in" to have some of those doodles go somewhere near the big screen. Or the small screen. Or any screen. It's fun regardless.

And, when I walked in, I found this poster and it's kind of great:

 

 And that's just today! Brace yourselves, friends, this is post is going to be an epic! (Epic as in long journey. Feel free to take bathroom or snack breaks. I won't feel bad.)

This weekend, a few visitors came to the city. First, my roommate's Texan parents came in and took a bunch of us to dinner at French Roast--it's a really cozy place that's not too fancy but still far from run down. And besides they've got some really good coffee there. And burgers. Don't forget burgers.

My brother was also in town because my mom had a hotel room reserved for a conference that she never ended up needing, so my brother took it instead. We had a really decent brunch, then went to see The Grand Budapest Hotel which is a very cute, beautiful, yet somewhat dark movie. It's done by the same director who did Moonrise Kingdom, and his style is written all over this movie, too. Basically that means an awesome cast, storybook cinematography with the pastel colors from the neighborhood in Edward Scissorhands, and goofy situations played with the utmost seriousness. After that, we didn't really mean to, but we ended up going back to the hotel under the pretense to pick up my brother's jacket, and we both napped through the afternoon instead and did not wake up until 5:00 pm. Oops. At least it was much needed! And it left us plenty of time to go for a long walk from 46th to SoHo for dinner at Bubby's Burgers.

I am super glad I actually got to go back to Bubby's since the first time I was there and was too full to actually try one of their burgers. I'd made plans several times before, and they just never happened. And when I got a piece of sour cherry pie, my brother had told me he wouldn't share it but he'd have a bite and promptly forgot his promise and ate at least half of it. It was that good. Captain Cadaver (remember her?) she is a super taster. That means that her taste buds are more sensitive than your average person, and she can take a bite of a thing and pretty much tell you exactly what's in it. I immediately wanted this power while eating that pie. Oh well.

After, we walked over to Union Square Theatre where we saw a show that was originally described to me as "naked Cirque du Soliel". That is of course an exaggeration. The performers had at least spandex booty shorts at all times. But I would still go as far as to call it a "Sexy Circus". The ring master introduced one of the acrobats with "And this one goes out to all you ladies out there...and from the looks of the audience, probably quite a few of you men, as well!" The routine was an extremely chiseled and attractive man wearing jeans only and sitting in a bathtub while a rope was lowered from the fly lines, and he used it to hoist himself up to do all these really awesome (and intentionally sexy) acrobatics that included a splash zone. There were no pictures allowed of the actual performance, but here at least is a look at the space it's in:



Now back to Captain Cadaver, she and Booth came up to visit on Monday for spring break. So when I got off work we three met up for dinner. Mostly that meant meandering around SoHo in the direction of the house and stopping to ogle a menu if a place looked interesting enough.

The place that looked most "interesting enough" was The Meatball Shop. The Meatball Shop allows you to build your own meatball meal whether that means between bread or on top of something like pasta, whichever decision with your choice of sauce. And there were puns everywhere about "balls". For instance, if you want to add an egg to your meatball sandwich, that option is called adding the "family jewels". If you don't get it, good on you--stay pure. But that is precisely what I ordered, and look at that beauty (and a salad! See? Healthy.) :



I will be visiting the Cap'n and Booth in DC at the end of the month. It's gonna be awesome. I've already been promised a fieldtrip to Baked and Wired; it's a delicious cupcake place that is better than Georgetown Cupcakes or something.

The days between those adventures, involved Torn Page setting up the classroom with higher camera tech and movie lights so it actually felt like a set, several manuscripts and reviews at DAW, and a farewell to the Kalamazoo students on Wednesday. They actually had another week after that, Wednesday was just so there was little stress and a party in the basement for them to show off their final projects.

And actually there was more to DAW this week than what "several manuscripts and reviews" suggests. For starters, I was shown the Penguin Employee Bookstore. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and we get pretty decent discounts on whatever is in there. Whether I want a Penguin sweatshirt for $10, a mascot plushie for $11, or actual books for...well, I don't remember the percentage off. I think it may be about 60%.

AND.

I went to my first ever sales pitch! It was much briefer than I had imagined. Each editor pitches her own book, which makes sense, and then the sales people nod or ask questions. And you feel super connected when people are like "Oh yeah, I can get Barnes&Noble on the phone no problem." I'm paraphrasing. But still. A cartoon would have her set in a high backed chair at an enormous desk, petting a fluffy white cat with a sly grin on her face, a big cigar sticking out of her mouth, and some pretty awesome looking aviators to reflect just how many connections she's really got. Like to Barnes&Noble. Oh yeah.

AND.

I got to check out a TOTALLY TOP SECRET MANUSCRIPT. I mean, that's why publishing houses are so big. They're full of secrets.

But in all seriousness, I was asked to take a look because I hadn't read any of this author's other stuff before. So that pretty much meant that for the first several pages, I was quite lost. I was the only one in the office with zero idea who this character is or where the character is or why the character is there. I like to think I caught on pretty well to who the character is supposed to be and the gist of the location. It was written well, and I even got to scribble notes in the margins in my fancy-pants red pen! But the author's other books are definitely on my reading list. It'll be interesting to get to know the character after this first, backwards glimpse.

So there is the epic that was this past week. Until next time!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Another Lovely Weekend in the Neighborhood

March 8th-9th, 2014

Before I talk about yesterday's Family-Mine Shenanigans on Broadway, I want to acknowledge why today is a very particular happy occasion and a big part of who I am today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!

That's right! It's my father's 55th birthday! And without this special day, I wouldn't be me! And I kind of like being me. So it's a pretty big deal.

And in honor of the joyous occasion, the whole immediate family plus my brother's friend--who looks a lot like Dean from Brad Bird's Iron Giant, but with a little more beard--all came to NYC to celebrate and see Aladdin on Broadway. It's still in previews, so I didn't get my dad the CD like initially planned for his present, specifically for the reason that being in previews means that the CD hasn't even been recorded yet. I ended up getting him the soundtrack to Cinderella since that was the last show we saw together.

I love all things Disney--most of all, their animated stuff--and Aladdin is definitely one of their classics. I loved being able to see this show; the costumes were fun, the whole experience great, and I think my dad had a really good birthday. See? Look how happy he is! Poppa Shash and me and Aladdin! (Photo courtesy of Momma Shash.)


But, if you can only see one Disney on Broadway and are torn between Aladdin, Lion King, or Beauty and the Beast, then I'd wait on Aladdin and see one of the other two. Shows can change a lot if you give them a few years, and even though Aladdin is super fun and I'm not saying DON'T see it, I don't think it's quite as ready as the other two. They are different from the movies, and so is Aladdin, and they have more songs and great voices, costumes, staging, etc...but above all, they have a level of seamless-ness to them that Aladdin doesn't yet. Although the magic carpet scene is freaking amazing AND the original voice actor of Jafar, Jonathan Freeman, has come back 18 years later to play the wicked sorcerer on stage. He was lovely--and surprisingly a very white man.  

We also took advantage of the gorgeous weather to walk along the High Line. The High Line used to be a railroad track. Now, it's a really pretty second level of road to walk on and be surrounded with art and commissioned graffiti panted on the surrounding buildings. In ideal weather like this weekend, this is a gorgeous place to meander, albeit a bit crowded because everyone else feels the same way. I ended up going back by myself today, too.

After, we went to the Chelsea Market and picked up a snack at Sarabeth's Bakery (freaking awesome cheesecake and crazy delicious creme brulee--high expectations, I know, but I love what I ate and I'd go back for more another day) while waiting for my brother and his friend to go get pizza at Artichoke Pizza down the block. (Also delicious, by the way.) 

After the show, my parents and I went to a coffee shop. Remember when I said I wanted to write a children's book for my final project? Momma Shash took a look at one of the early drafts, and talked about it with me over a mocha and a Diet Coke. In my experience, I have never had someone make my papers and grammar bleed red ink more than this woman, which is why I hold inhuman standards for anyone else who offers to edit my work. It's fine. I don't hold it against them!

I have a lot more work to do on it, and now I have a clear direction to go. Or clearer, and I'm okay with that.

Before my parents drove back, we went to Friedman's for dinner. Mildly pricey, but they had really good food and were super nice about letting my mom and I split a meal. They split it up on separate plates aesthetically for us instead of handing us an extra one to divvy up the food ourselves, and didn't charge us extra. We also ended up running into the family of a kid I went to high school with. Given how many people are all crowded into the space that is NYC, I am consistently surprised how many times I seem to come across people that I know. I wonder who I'll find next? I hope they're famous. Then I'd be proud of myself for recognizing their face out of context. Normally I'm REALLY bad at that. I'd totally never realize Clark Kent was Superman. At best I may think "Wow, they sort of look similar. Go, Clark!" 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm late! I'm late! For a series of updates!

February 26th-March 7th, 2014 (March 8th and 9th will have their own post tomorrow)

...No time to say "I know, my bad!" I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!

Seriously though. I feel sorta bad for not having blogged over the course of the past ten days. So here it goes...the saga of my week and a half--and no, much like the Game of Thrones television series, it won't be in order chronologically.

I did watch at least some of The Oscars, and for those of you who didn't and were unaware of John Travolta's name-flub, he ended up introducing Idina Menzel (Broadway goddess and the voice of Elsa from Disney's latest Frozen, of which won a couple Oscars for being totally awesome) as "Adele Dazeem". Within 24 hours, there was already a name-generator site where you can enter your name and it will tell you how John Travolta would mess it up. I am Seonaidh Doon. Not a clue how that first bit is supposed to be pronounced, but regardless it does the job of absolutely not being my name.*

Check out what yours is: http://slate.me/1kPwk1H 

*Looked it up. Apparently it's been Anglicized to "Shoney". A Celtic water spirit or something. Them Celts, man. For not having had a written language, they sure troll the phonetics in the English alphabet.

Speaking of foreign things, Torn Page was overrun with Danes last week. Really nice Danes, too! Statistically it's the happiest place on earth, even though they have some of the highest tax percentages, too.

Normally there are only 2-4 actors in a class, but I walked in and there might have been around ten extra people in there? Clark had worked with some of them in Denmark once before, so now they were visiting and bringing friends. I got to act for the first time this week, too. Just int he last five minutes, but ti was a fun exercise. Just a few lines:

A: Where were you?
B: I was here.
A: You were?
B: I was.
A: You sure?
B: I am.

And we're given some scenarios, like your boyfriend is throwing a surprise party and you're suspicious. Or your sister is accusing you of...something. It's fun.

And at one point, every single one of these Danes--from generally chilly Scandinavia--all got cold enough in the building to put on scarves and sweaters during the break. They must have had a weird sixth sense, too, because the next day class was canceled because the heating broke. Oops. I do feel kind of boss not having put on my own sweater when our Scandinavian guests needed theirs.

Heh. The cold never bothered me anyway...

My new favorite Youtube thing is Idina Menzel singing "Let it Go" with Jimmy Fallon using children's toys as instruments. It's fabulous: http://bit.ly/1djJcvt

Last weekend, I ended up hopping a train to Rutgers to go visit friends and play an RPG (role playing game, i.e. Dungeons&Dragons, World of Darkness, Dresden, etc. Basically I make a character with a personality and a background and someone else gives me a scenario and with the created characters of my friends, we get to tell a story about how we deal with said scenario. It usually involves killing monsters or something). Since my friend has a quarter-free laundry machine and dryer, it was absolutely not beyond me to bring my giant laundry backpack and do it there while we watched a couple of Disney movies on Netflix. He'd never seen Atlantis before, and we both hadn't seen Aristocats in years. The latter used to be one of my favorite movies, and I still have it on VHS. Super old school, I know. We also may or may not have had a singalong to the Frozen soundtrack. I regret nothing.

Also got the chance while I was there to 1, see a friend from high school that I hadn't seen...well, since high school scenic design, and had a delicious but unfortunately priced brunch at Old Man Raffery's; and 2, had my first ever Rutgers grease truck experience!

It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A truck. Cooks with a ton of grease. Throws whatever it is between two slices of bread. Hands the heart attack sandwich to the buyer and the buyer leaves happy, if not a little bit fatter. Apparently the menus on the trucks are all the same, but it's the style of cooking it that's unique depending which truck you get. That could mean quantity of sandwich, could mean kind of bread, etc. Reminds me a little of Hoagie Haven in Princeton, though.

In DAW news, a bunch of things have been happening, even if it might not seem like a lot to most of you. I sent out packages of 15 different books to the judges of the Fantasy Awards this year, and the editors had a few straight days locked in an office organizing royalties for the past six months or so of books. It seems like some seriously arduous business given how battle-worn everyone looks when they emerge from the office for coffee. But it is a necessary thing. E'rybody likes getting paid the right amount they're owed.

I was also shown the makings of rejection letters. Surprisingly not as depressing as they sound. In retrospect, DAW publishes between 50 and 60 books a year. Half of those are reprints from hardcover to paperback, which means only 25-30 are actually new books, and most of those are new books in a series, and most of the remaining books are new from authors DAW has already worked with before. That means that new-author-new-books are much harder to get a hold of, and for a small company like DAW, the editors have to seriously weigh how much time they have to give to a manuscript verses how much they seriously want it. They've already promised their time via contract for X number of books from preexisting authors. And since they've only got two editors...well, yeah. It's rough. The silver lining is when there is no telling when these promised manuscripts will actually come in--editors don't want them until they're ready, so it leaves some gaps in the schedule. Like, for new authors, even if there aren't a lot of them.

Seanan McGuire came back into the office last week, too. The more I talk to her the better I like her, even though I've also determined that she's sort of awesomely insane. I'm talking the method actor of authors. She likes to know what things feel like so she can describe it...I respect that. A lot. But what that means for her is shoving her hand in an Australian meat eating ant mound to see what it feels like when they bite. Or signing a waiver to get bit by a bullet ant and stung by a Japanese hornet. Or researching which parasites don't kill you, putting it in your body for some days until you get the research you want, and then getting it removed. Twice because the first time it didn't take.

Given the nature of her books, specifically the InCryptid series, it makes total sense and when I read those I will take zero descriptions of violence and feelings of pain for granted because I'm sure she knows, but it's still insane. Badass, but...not for me. Ever. I hate bugs. And pain is just unfortunate.

She did buy us donuts though. Which was fantastic.

I also finished reading a couple of manuscripts--not even the 50-100 pages that I read before making a report, but the whole thing. Because I wanted to; I legitimately loved these manuscripts enough to keep reading. And because of that, I may get to practice writing a five minute pitch. If the editors have already nixed the books, then it's just practice. If they haven't...well, I might get a shot to say why these guys are some pretty awesome candidates if they want to take a second look at them before decision making time. Which is AWESOME. But nerve wracking. I can't wait!

One of the best parts of my week though, was a conversation with my supervisor about job hunting in publishing. She wanted to know if I was thinking about pursuing it, and you know, I think I am. Whenever I talk about it I get this stupid grin on my face--and maybe that's because I'm working with science fiction and fantasy (SFF) books, but I do think I love it! I had just worried that whatever jobs are open post graduation are ones that I'm not qualified for. She looked at me and said, "What do you mean 'not qualified'--you're super qualified!" And proceeded to Google search book jobs and found a handful that are all entry level (which are the key words for me to be "qualified") and there it was. She said "See? You already do a lot of this stuff now anyway..." There's hope for me yet!

In the meantime, I've decided that my final project is going to be a children's story! My current problem is that I'm about 500 words over the technical 2,000 word limit...but I'm working on it, and trying to make the language tighter, and I'm really excited about it. My goal is to get it at a place where I can submit it at the end of the semester somewhere. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Show Time!

February 24th-25th, 2014

Okay, when I say "show time" I mean that my house's unfortunate internet connection finally allowed me to get through a movie or two on Netflix, and I only had to reconnect to the internet three or four times!

It's still sad. I'm aware.

Netflix doesn't count towards my 10 show challenge. That'd be silly. BTW. Headcount: I'm at FIVE SHOWS! WHAT?! Peter and the Star Catcher, The Disinherited, The Glass Menagerie, Cinderella, and 50 Shades! I've gotta get in five more shows, and I'm hoping to fill up one of those with the comedy show that my friend and I still need to cash in our tickets for from our first weekend in the city, another with a Met Opera, and at least one more with a circus show from where my fire-eating housemate interns. Think I can do it?

Also my roommate and I decided we were going to ruin our lives by starting a new TV series together: Teen Wolf.

It is comically bad. In a glorious way. I hope their budget got better as the show went on.

What's more, I can't stop watching because the best friend character on the show, Stiles (played by Dylan O'Brien), seems to have the superpower to make me cry with laughter. And he's pretty adorable. He reminds me a little of the Starkid Production's actor Joey Richter who plays Ron Weasley in Very Potter Musical. But more adderall. He's gonna be totally awesome.

See? Joey Richter (top) and Dylan O'Brien (bottom) in the LEAST have the same mouth. Also. Intense eyebrows. Just saying.






Thus far in the world of DAW, I've been tearing through manuscripts. Some great. Some less great. It happens.

DISCOVERY: it is, in fact, possible for manuscripts to get lost to us in the mail. When that happens it is very sad. And dramatic. Address your mail wisely.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend the Seventh

February 21st - 23rd, 2014

With my supervisor out of the office until Tuesday, I had a "chore list" to accomplish on Friday, which I did by around 4:15 or so, leaving me time to do some manuscript reading, and also raid the Take-Shelves on the fifth floor. Gotta keep up my book hoarding!

Later on Friday, I partook in another Meet Up with the Dinner and a Movie group--and some of the people I met at the last one were there, too! We saw Pompeii with Kit Harington. Kit Harington plays Jon Snow on Game of Thrones. I guess he got tired of the snow and wanted somewhere warm to shoot. Can't really get much warmer than a city buried under a volcano explosion. There he is from both of those respective sites. I think he looks better happier in the hotter climate, don't you? I think he's gonna be the next "Orlando Bloom," but maybe that's just me.


After the movie, we hit up another Italian place called Scarlatto. Pretty good, but I think I liked the other one better--although that could just be a difference in what I ordered. Prices were about the same. There were a surprising number of Europeans at this Meet Up, but what that meant was getting into a lengthy conversation with a Brit about Doctor Who, which is great. I apparently know more of the side characters than she does. Don't know if I should feel awesome or embarrassed...I'm gonna go with awesome...Yeah. I'll be happier with awesome! 

Saturday was a whole new bucket of fun--and it was GORGEOUS weather! Finally! Fifty-one degrees and sunny, and my roommate and I walked through Central Park on our way to the Met. 

Central Park seems to be the only place left in the city still hoarding snow, so the hills were still white but the walkways had enough rivulets that I almost wish I had on water shoes.

I've been to the Met a couple times before, and I've never made it past the third floor. I just can't manage to find a better way up, and then I get lost in places like Egypt or European Renaissance Paintings. At least Egypt has a bathroom. 

I wanted to find out where I might go to do some research on this guy Han van Meegeren who did Vermeer (among others) forgeries during the 1920s through WWII. I knew the Met has a library, but I didn't know how easily it could be accessed. Apparently pretty easy. I'll be back. 

In the meantime, I didn't mind meandering around the upper floors in a futile attempt to make it to the mythical place that is the roof, but instead found myself--HUZZAH!--suddenly surrounded by the Dutch masters of the Golden Age. AKA - Vermeer&Co. 

Okay. Check these out. One of the techniques Meegeren did was to make it look like the newly discovered "Vermeer" paintings were lost pieces of a series. Not as hard to convince people as it sounds, because the guy had his trademarks. On the right and the left -- those are both real Vermeers. The center girl with the pearl earring is a Han van Meegeren original. In hindsight, she looks like she's taunting us with a secret. Which, well, she sort of was. The Vermeer on the right is the one featured in the Met.

Another favorite inspiration of Meegeren's was Frans Hals. Frans Hals' The Smoker (left) is at the Met, and the other is Meegeren's allusion to the painting. I am quite far from an art historian or an expert or anything--I took AP Art History in high school but didn't take the AP exam because I didn't want to pay $80 for it to tell me what I didn't know. I appreciate art. As much as someone who can't remember all the names, eras, or most of the terminology can appreciate it, anyways. But. I can sort of acknowledge that these don't look like the same hand made them...but I also know that, in fact, they are not. Even still. What Meegeren was good at was manipulating the people around him into believing in what they want to see. Many of Meegeren's Vermeers were considered Vermeer being an artist way ahead of his time! ... I'm going to leave it to you to uncover why that is pitifully hilarious. 




Last thing I'm going to say about Meegeren is that one of the reasons he's one of the most significant forgers in history is that he's the only one to have succeeded in making up an entire period of his mask-artist's life that never existed. There was a hopeful rumor from ages past that Vermeer had a religious period of his life, but people hadn't found it yet. 

The Allegory of the Catholic Faith (left) is one Vermeer is said to have made, plausibly in response to his converting to Catholicism in a predominantly Protestant country in order for him to marry his wife. The Man and Woman at the Spinet (right) is Meegeren's. True, it's not religious--the religious "Vermeers" are way more obvious with Jesus front and center--but he copied enough of the style, not just from the same room of the first painting, but characters and stances and motifs from others of Vermeer's work as well. Sneaky devil, that Meegeren, and he was only sentenced for a year of prison, out of a maximum period of two years. And he was a fascist sympathizer and an opportunist of Nazi occupation during WWII when both of those things might as well have been a death sentence! Basically the guy was more charismatic than Tony Stark.



In finding the exit once more, my roommate and I headed back through Central Park towards the house--but not before getting a couple of good ol' fashioned New York City food cart pretzels!




And I thought this sign was funny. Get it? Cuz...cuz history. And BC. But also the subway. And...yeah. Whatever. I'm hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious, my high school buddy came to the city on Saturday night for a trance concert, which is pretty much dub-step for Dracula. The concert ended late, so while he was jammin' to the beat, I played some World of Darkness (an RPG, which stands for "role playing game," set in a post apocalyptic world, and you play with creativity in storytelling and dice. It's great.) with my house mates, then he came back and crashed.

When we were both among the living again--almost the following afternoon--we wanted to catch a matinee. My roommate and another housemate tagged along, and we ended up seeing--wait for it--50 Shades! The Musical which is a parody of 50 Shades of Grey which is a terrible raunchy book about abusive relationships and bondage. It's Twilight for lonely 30-year-olds and no vampires. The hunky, fit, mysterious, billionaire fetishist was parodied by a very expressive fat Asian man, and the story was mostly told from the perspective of three exaggerated lonely housewives in a book/drinking club. Frankly the whole performance reminded me of some of the things Starkid Productions have put on, like the Very Potter Musical. It was hysterically funny. Not for kids. And actually until the finale when one of the ushers carried his toddlers in the back, I am almost positive I was the youngest person in the audience. But that could just be that matinees tend to be for old people.

My friend and I split off after the show and meandered about the Nintendo Store. I am saddened that I no longer know what pretty much anything in there is unless it's old school like Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, or Pikachu. Oh well. Guess I'm old. Which must be why I went to a Sunday matinee for a bondage comedy musical. Huh.

To end it all, back at the house there was a pasta dinner waiting in the basement for all of us, and I got me some Jamba Juice. Fun fact: "juice" was my first word. You know why? Because it's freaking delicious and at least I can never be too old for juice.

...if I ever start drinking prune juice though, I want an intervention. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Toby Day(e/s)

February 15th - 20th, 2014

I didn't go outside all weekend until Monday afternoon because my dad needed to get the cars inspected. Turns out it was also an unnecessary expedition because of the holiday, so it was a swift trip right back to my couch to continue binge reading Toby Daye books. The shame was in that it was gorgeous weather despite the snow and my cold, but I didn't want to tempt fate or my immune system for a walk. 

As far as any other kind of "movement" over the long weekend, when I was reading One Salt Sea, Toby Daye was eating pancakes. So I decided that I needed pancakes. And I made blueberry pancakes. They were awesome. I will have to make them again to better appreciate how they taste when I regain a sense of smell.

Due to how married I was to Tissue Box and its sister-wife Hand Sanitizer, I did end up requesting a sick day. I would have otherwise been an unfortunate person to work near.

Oh, and before I forget I must suffer you to understand how awesome my cat is. Every time I woke up in the middle of the night she hopped up beside me and meowed in my face, then sat with me until I fell back asleep. In truth she was probably bored and hoped to goad me into feeding her. But I'm choosing to believe that she was mothering me to get better and to make sure I was okay. What a regal little ewok.


Later on Tuesday, I did manage my way back to the city and got to meet up with my equally not-as-sick-as-before-but-not-quite-100%-well friend who is already on break. Lucky jerk. 

Probie and I are friends from high school (believe it or not his nickname is at least 7 years old. We like NCIS.), and I am pleased to be the first of our high school friends to meet one of his college friends! Ain't I special? 

We went to Kobeyaki for burgers--and my verdict is that they are cute and spherical and fairly tasty. But I like their teriyaki bowls better. Afterwards at Argo for tea is where I met Miss Viola Health-Kick (because she plays viola and studies human health...or something health related. Like that. Yep. She's pretty fly). We stayed until closing, story swapping. Love those kinds of evenings. I've always been a story person, if you haven't guessed it by now.


WEDNESDAY. Finally back to work!

Good timing too. Why? Well. Not only did I gather myself a handful or so of more books--including the last available Toby Daye book--BUT. Seanan Mcguire came to the office today.

Yep. Met a real author. In the flesh. Because apparently my mom and aunt don't count because I knew them before I was aware they did cool things. As it is, I am pleased to make the acquaintance of the creator of the fantasy universe of which I have quite recently become a fan. I especially love Tybalt, King of Cats. I want one of those for Christmas. (Family members reading my blog: to clarify, I am objectifying an extremely attractive fictional character of whom it is impossible to actually receive for Christmas. But I LOVE your enthusiasm!)

I am not totally sure what Ms. McGuire is working on with the editor, but I can at least assure you that it's PROBABLY secretly book related. I think I saw her holding paper once. I'm observant like that. Also, surprisingly, despite Toby Daye's love affair with all things coffee, when it came time for a coffee run, Ms. McGuire got hot chocolate instead. I respect her decisions because hot chocolate is also delicious. But. Now I want to know who she knows with a coffee addiction that gave inspiration to the character. Everyone knows somebody like that. For me it's my aunt. The author one. (http://www.katebrady.net/ for you curious people out there. If you're really into youth ministry books, you're odd, but that's cool and I can send you links to my mom's stuff if you want). I don't actually know if my other aunt is partial about her coffee. Maybe she's a tea person.

Now, to the Bat Fax!

I mean my seminar.

The marketing director of the biggest independent publishing house in the English speaking world came as a guest, and I had actually expected her to talk more about what that was like. Actually, she calls that her "day job" and does about a bazillion other things and indie projects like in film stuff, too. AND she manages 8 hours of sleep a day. How? Trade secret, I guess.

She is one of those people who discovered that college wasn't for her and went right in to working hands on for projects she wants to. She's living proof that it's possible to get where you want to be through odd jobs, favors, and being a self-made professional of social networking. For those kinds of people, yeah, college doesn't make sense. You can spend your time and efforts doing different useful things. I am not one of those kinds of people, and need to learn other skills to get me somewhere in the job market. Time will tell how well I did--but for now I have the internships I got in which I will hopefully make a good impression or two, and that is good enough for me!


And news via Torn Page:

I have taken many. Many. Theatre classes. Situational hazard of being a theatre major. Who knew? Even though my concentration is backstage, I've had my share of acting classes as well, and I remember doing "silent scenes". This is the first time, however, that they've been described to me as "internal monologue scenes". That makes way more sense.

Communicate with your eyes is essential. And there's a huge art to it. I don't mean acting--of course there's an art to that. People are paid to have that kind of art. I mean in normal human interaction. It's natural, though, because it comes from how you understand people and pick up their social cues. A lot of it comes from how well you know somebody, like how spouses seem to read each other's mind and have a silent conversation for several minutes without misunderstandings. But they're not mind reading, they're reading the body language that is a specific thumbprint or flavor to that person.

Actors make it into a real art because they don't just have to have these silent understandings with people who know them well, they have to be able to do that to a whole freaking audience! Become universally understood and look natural doing it. That's hard, man.Think about silent films.No wonder Talkies kind of sucked before they could perfect the concept of body language balanced with verbal communication!

Clark says that one of the most important parts of acting at all is to remember to take your time. Actors who rush to please others risk throwing out the identity of their characters, and they will lose everything. You need time to have the will and the determination to figure out what is strong about yourself--that's what connects all the pieces, the tasks and the actions within the scene that lead to your super objective/need/goal.

Neat, huh?