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?

Saturday, February 15, 2014


January 10th-15th, 2014


I'm already a third of the way through the semester!

That's only slightly terrifying.

...but enough about my future 10-weeks-of-NYC: week five!

At DAW on Monday, the other intern and I sat with a woman who does DAW contracts with authors and agents and distributors, Oh my!

She was actually really excited about it, and only an idiot would think she didn't love her job. Also she flat out told us how much she loves her job. So there's that.

It is actually really interesting how publishing works that way. If there are two companies distributing the same book at the same time, they have to give each other really extensive lists saying which countries they get to sell to.

For example, the US might get all of North America which includes the US, US territories, Canada, and sometimes Mexico. The UK might get the British Isles, India, and a few specific European countries. (Both generally have a bit more than that, especially the UK since their territories are more plentiful than big, but you get the idea.) These lists almost look like divorce papers, and who gets which countries in the split.

But say neither specifies that they're selling to China. China is now fair game, and if they so chose to both distribute in China, they'd be in competition, but it's okay to do. But say the US is like "mmm....no I think we'll distribute in India anyway." That's the height of rudeness and leads to harsh words, name calling, and probably some lawyers and a pretty sum of money to placate the breech in the agreement. It's also a huge no-no for two publishers in the same territory to sell the same book. I mean, why would they? Common sense is a pretty big factor in the Big Leagues. Who knew?

All publishing companies apparently work like this (even though my explanation is as idiot-proof an example as I could come up with...that's why there are experts in this stuff, and it's not me!), which means they're all way more connected than they look.

The moral of all of this knowledge: writers seriously need a good agent.

There are several exciting things that occurred this week after that, but sadly they are all pretty much exciting-for-me things, not exciting-for-anyone-else things.

Like me having a FREAKING SNOW DAY. YES.

I haven't had a proper snow day since high school.

This picture doesn't say a lot, because my phone is less good at picking up that it's actually flurrying like crazy, but it is. And my supervisor couldn't get into the office, so I didn't either.

Instead, it turned into one of these kinds of beautiful days in which I can sit in my Joker snuggie and read!

And read I did--this is the second book of the Toby Daye books by Seanan McGuire. I finished the last half of this book and I finished all but 70 pages of the third book.

I swear I only left my bunk to eat, get more tea, or go to the bathroom. It was great. For me. Really unproductive and unexciting for anyone else. But that is my story. And more importantly, Seanan McGuire's story. As of today I am on book five. There will be ten, but there are only seven out. Winter Long comes out in September. I love binge reading, but it is extremely disappointing not to have the entire series at my disposal at once. Still felt like I had to read them since the author is supposed to be coming to the office this month some time. Glad I'm reading them, too! It's as much a Fairy-Detective story as Joss Whedon's Firefly is about Space-Cowboys. Technically true, but does nothing to do the series justice by way of description.

Before the snow day occurred, my mom came to visit and we tried to get into this thing called the Moth. http://themoth.org/
That's the website for it if you'd like more details, but from what I gather it's a story telling event held in a really cute bookshop in SoHo.

Do note my use of "tried" though. Unfortunately I was not attentive enough to buying online tickets ahead of time, because the portal to do that closed so we were going to get tickets at the door. They said they let in the first 200 people. The show is at 7:30, and they open doors at 7:00. My mom and I walked by at 5:30 and there was already a line starting. Also, it was colder than the Halls of Elsinore outside. For non of you Hamlet fans out there, the Halls of Elsinore is not only in Denmark but also haunted as all get out by ghosts and crazies, and for some reason when Hamlet movies are made there's a lot of use of blue/cold lighting to emphasize coldness and loss of love and suicidal thoughts of the kingdom...

Ironically Denmark is the happiest place on earth. Go figure. Huffington Post is supposedly just above Fox News in reliability, but you can Google Denmark being the happiest place in the world if you're not satisfied with their article about it here: http://huff.to/1khFvGm

Anyways. Cold as we were, we sought out food and afterwards attempted the line. It was wrapped around the corner. Also I have a dark suspicion that despite the Nordic winds trying to blow us away like the unwanted nannies outside the Banks's house, the doors did NOT actually open at 7:00 because the line didn't move until a little after 7:30.

I am forced here to admit our defeat. The door of champions was in sight, but soon so was the bookshop-bouncer to announce that they were at full capacity. There is no room at the inn. Do not pass "Go". Do not collect $200.

Our greatest triumph after that was fairly quickly hailing a cab and getting the heck out of the icy winds of Christmas past. At least dinner was fun.

Of course it was probably the combination of that frightfully cold night, plus walking to internships in perhaps one too few a layer on, plus being surrounded by plenty of other sick people this week that landed me with the happiest of Valentine's Days.

(Warning: contains sarcasm.)

Yes, this single-lady got a cold. I was in denial during my whole snow day, and I had god knows how many cups of tea. I finally had to face up to the fact that I was unwell. Not so unwell that I didn't go to the office--but enough that I decided it was in my best interest to come home for the weekend, especially since I have off on Monday for President's Day.

My cat may or may not have been a convincing factor to my home coming, also. I regret nothing.

Towards the end of the day, I honestly don't know if I couldn't focus on the manuscript I was reading because of the manuscript, or my distracting stuffy sinuses--whatever it was I absolutely hate blowing my nose in public places because it sounds like a dying elephant, so that meant that I was running to and from the bathroom more frequently than a woman menstruating for the first time after having given birth. Not that I know that experience, but I can logically assume that for the average recently-un-pregnant woman, bathroom trips must be quite frequent. You're welcome for the imagery. It's a gift.


Despite my irritating illness, my Valentine's Day was far from ruined because besides coming home for a few days, two of my good friends from school got me a sing-o-gram.

Translation: one of my school's a Capella groups called my cell and sang me a Valentine's inspired song from One Direction. It was unbelievably sweet, but in hindsight the sweetness of the gesture makes absolute perfect sense given who it's from.

Your internet names shall be dubbed Ms. S (the a teacher-to-be who sings like an angel of gospel and soul) and Puns of Steel (we collectively love puns more than we should).

Thank you, lovely ladies for the wonderful thought--it made my week!

Oh. And I discovered I still had a box of chocolates in my room. Not expired. If that even happens. Which was awesome.

Happy Valentine's too all, and to all a happy half-off chocolate day after that! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Meet Ups

February 8th-9th, 2014

Milestone: I went to my first meetup.com Meet Up. 

My first two, actually. One was in a dinner and a movie group, and the other was in a walking tour group. 

The movie we saw was Monument Men featuring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, and John Goodman, among others. It takes place in WWII, and is about a group of men who went to Europe to save precocious and historic pieces of art from Hitler and/or being destroyed in the crossfire of war.

My favorite part of the movie experience was actually how many art people were in the audience, so at just the right moments the whole theatre would gasp. 

Afterwards, we walked down the street to an Italian place called Trattoria Trecolori. It's a little pricey depending what you get, but I got the cheapest entree and I dunno what the other entrees tasted like, but mine was fantastic! Penne with a spicy pepper red sauce... I know I want to try out a bunch more restaurants when I'm in the city just to get a better feel around for what's good, but I would not mind going back there, either! The staff couldn't have been nicer, especially given that there were at least 40 of us shoved in the back, and we didn't even arrive until 10:30 pm, and definitely stayed until a little after midnight. I left after that, although many people were going to The Playwright bar another block or two down.

The other group toured around the Chelsea Galleries, hopping from place to place. We all gathered--and there was a lot of us, even though several people didn't come that said they were going to--at 12:15, and the tour was said to go until 5:30ish (though the site said the latest it would go was 8:15--I left around 4:10 or so).

In the other group, I was definitely the "baby" because I won't be 21 until June. This group, I'm pretty sure I was still the "baby", but there were a few more people at least close to me give or take a couple years. And we actually have plans to hang out in Brooklyn next weekend just the few of us and check out the Brooklyn Museum on our own. Yay for making friends! It also helped getting to chat not just over art but over some super delicious Thai food at Thai Chai Yo. Also a place I want to go back to. And it was cheaper! 

One of the first museum's we went to is currently featuring a display by Richard Serra.
This does not do it near enough justice, but it's basically a big squiggly maze made out of a material that looks like wood, but is actually steel. Also it feels like suede, and the only reason I knot that is because the security guard only told us not to touch it after the act. Oops. Still cool. (Oh heyyyy I'm in this picture!)
The next place we went featured Iva Gueorguieva. Not all of hers were 2D canvas, some she actually built in a way reminiscent of wild shipwrecks on the walls, but all of her stuff was textured. When you look up close, it's not all splatters and lines, but strips of canvass matted over top of each other, and on top of the base frame/canvas. It's pretty cool! And, call me uncultured, but if it were smaller, it looks like something a normal person might have in their house over their couch. Well. Depending the rest of the decor, of course.

The third place we went was an exhibit on Andrew Moore. I have no idea if Moore used photoshop or photorealistic painting, but they're still cool. They were available to purchase, too--if I had upside of 20,000 or so to drop on it. 

Okay. Now check this one out. A Lihongbo sculpture gallery. 

I want you to guess what this is made out of. Just Guess.

Nope. Not that.


Still nope.

Give in?




Look at it! This foot looks like a slinky and I am entertained. You're welcome.

Week Four

February 4th-9th, 2014

What I learned most notably this week is that being prepared for rain is not also equal being prepared for slush. And unfortunately this week, there was an awful lot of slush.

Word of advice if you find yourself in NYC on a slush day: Every puddle is deeper than it looks.

It is an even more prominent observation when the subway you take every day is out of power, so is your back up subway, and there is standstill traffic that make both bus and taxi routes longer than walking to your destination. More specifically, I trudged through the slosh 35-40 minutes to my internship. My toes were definitely wet by the time I finally showed up, although however late I was my supervisor only beat me by five minutes, and a lot of other people in the office couldn't get there at all because of the conditions. Also the building was technically under emergency, the day must go on! Upside we got let out early.

AND AND AND--there is a relatively unlimited hot chocolate, tea, and coffee packets and hot water and cups in the office which is really super exciting! Other exciting food thing: in addition to the usual fleet of food trucks that hover outside the Random Penguin building, (Random House and Penguin merged and share this building, so Random Penguin it must now be named!) there was a freaking waffle truck. Conveniently, I hadn't eaten breakfast yet AND I had 10 minutes to spare. LOOK HOW CUTE THE MINI WAFFLE IS.

Inside DAW, everything was pretty low-key. Since neither editor could make it through the snow, the meeting that the other intern and I were going to have got pushed to next week. Other than that I updated some missing book synopses and checked out a couple manuscripts. One of the coolest articles I came across for the newsfeed this week was a post about "Sensory Fiction".  It's a book that makes you literally feel what the protagonist is going through. I can't see how that would always be a good thing--I mean, Harry Potter, for instance, goes through a LOT of stuff I have zero interest in feeling. But it's still pretty cool: Sensory Fiction

The best part of the week was my supervisor's birthday; not only did we eat chocolate cake, but we spent the last 45 minutes at work having a full-office discussion about the many portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, and the unanimous favorite being Benedict Cumberbatch.

And for my other internship...

Some nights I stay up...! Nope. No rest of the song. Some nights I seriously just stay up. That said, it was worth it to do so for Torn Page this week because that script I had been helping type up in past weeks was finally sent in to the New York International Fringe Festival. Which is pretty cool. And for those of you who don't know what it is, check it out: http://www.fringenyc.org/ 

It's basically this big 16 day long party of thespians and performances at more than 20 venues. It's kind of a big deal. The BIGGEST deal for the arts because it's the largest multi-arts festival in North America. So it'd be pretty amazing for this script to get accepted.

The classes have finally started up, too, which means that I'm helping set up to make sure they run smoothly whether that means note taking, filming, setting out chairs, pulling up scripts, whatever. The actors seem pretty cool so far, and one sorta looks like a younger Ethan Hawke (fun fact: I know E.H.'s grandma from church--and she's a really fly lady) or sort of like Robert Pattinson. Odd comparison, but I swear it makes sense.

And he's a Hugger.

I admit it took me off guard. Ultimately I very seriously don't mind, but I think all hugs should be "good hugs" and that requires a certain amount of pressure/effort in the embrace so it's not like you've got a rag doll flopped over you. Like a dead-fish-wrist handshake. Nobody likes those BUT. "Good hugs" tend to happen after knowing the person. If I don't know you, I don't particularly see why I'm being touched. He is really nice though, and that just seems to be a thing he does. I'll let it alone. Also. Ethan-Robert-Hawke-Pattinson.

On the note of awkward, I had my first ever figure drawing this week. Oh yeah. Real live naked people you stare at for several hours and try never to make eye contact. Woo!

And honestly, it wasn't awkward at all and was really cool. Besides, being in a basement surrounded by legit art students, I'm proud I held my own even to the extent I did! I'll not be showing my whole sketchpad, of course, but here is one of my favorites:

I proudly say my "skills" come solely from doodling in notebooks. BUT CERTAINLY NOT WHILE IN CLASS I'D NEVER DO THAT. *exaggerated coughing jag intensifies*

This weekend I caught up with my Brother in Brooklyn, and had another subway adventure in which I met a DJ who is intimidatingly tall, has dreads, bandannas, low-riding jeans--the works--and he struck up a conversation about birthstones and zodiacs. My birthday's in June, so my stone (not really a stone, but eh) is a pearl, and my zodiac is cancer. He is an amethyst, but he DJs with a legit cancer, who is super creative, but very sensitive because if he's pushed too hard about something, DJ Amethyst doesn't hear from him for about a week. DJ Amethyst also appreciates the finer, classier details in life. He really was a quite lovely individual to talk to for a spell, and there was a guy on the other end of the subway jamming some Christian Rock music on his acoustic guitar. By far my favorite subway ride yet.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snowmageddon Strikes Again

February 3rd, 2014

Well for starters, I'd like to say a BIG BIG BIG


To my best friend from home, who is rarely but fondly referred to (by me) as Captain Cadaver--it's clever because she studies forensic anthropology. Shut up. I'm hilarious. But yes, Cap'in is a smart one! Always has been. "Bones" is an equally acceptable title. Because both TV series Bones and the Star Trek franchise are great. She agrees. 

So happy 21st you dead-thing-and-pottery-sherd* scientist, you!

*I was informed that it's pottery sherd because "shard" is for bone or glass. Technicalities. Thanks for the note Bones and Booth! (I've decided Cap'in's significant other can be Booth because it still fits the fandom humor and he does electrical things. Like Edwin Booth. BAM. HISTORY JOKE.)

In other news, it's BACK:

The snow has returned! Silly of me to think the lovely 40's that graced the weekend were there to stay. At least it looks pretty on the trees. You can't really see it here, but from the morning until around 4:00 the snow was coming down like being blasted with confetti continuously over anywhere you stepped. Down in the subway when it had all melted it looked like I'd just come out of the pouring rain. 

DAW duties today were all housekeeping. First I sent out the pub newsfeed throughout the office; mostly the internet buzzed about J. K. Rowling "sinking a ship" because Hermione wasn't supposed to end up with Ron at all, and she sort of regrets letting that happen. Whatever. That's what the internet is for: multi-universes when we don't like what happens in books or shows. Then I was to update social media. 

Uh-oh! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr--HOW DOES ONE HASH-TAG?!

Actually I didn't do Twitter today, I was just on Facebook. As for hash-tags I get the gist, but I'm not sure I'd actually use it right on twitter. Unfortunately my hash-tag skills are stunted because I'm too far gone in the nasty habit of punctuation. Back in MY day the hash-tag was called "pound" or "numbers' sign". There will come a day that the next generation or two will discover the remains of a Nokia and question how old Twitter really is since the phone clearly has a hash-tag button. 

DAW was a little behind in their social media, so I just pulled together albums of book releases from December to February so that the Facebook group showed all the pretty cover art plus descriptions with the title, author, an exciting blurb, an exciting quote, and a link where to buy the book.

Here, check it out on Facebook and you can see how pretty I've made some of the things, or you can just like the page because it's cool: https://www.facebook.com/dawbooks?ref=br_tf

February's is really exciting, actually, because tomorrow is a Pub Day. That means that any February book is available to the public that day, and the new fancy title highlighted this month is C. S. Friedman's Dreamwalker. I'll be doing a few posts on the Facebook page tomorrow about it, too. 

I have read enough publicity for this book that even though I have never read it, I can pretty much guarantee that it's going to be a very interesting and cool read if you're interested. (Buy/look at it here: http://bit.ly/1aWTiUl)  

Speaking of social media, I confess that I joined a site called http://www.meetup.com/. It's not angled as a dating site, although I'm sure that's what some people are there for, but it's meant to be a social gathering shtick. I say: "I like movies and dinner." Suddenly there's a ton of groups showing up on search that all focus around dinner and a movie. There are sometimes hundreds of people in each group, and there's a calendar set up with events. Like on Friday, I'm going to see the Monument Men movie (the one with George Clooney in WWII trying to save art treasures from the Nazis). There are about 65 other people who said they're going to see it, too. We're in charge of getting our own tickets, but then somehow we're meeting up afterwards for dinner to talk about it. I've also signed up for a group that does walking tours around the city and each one is $1 or so, and those events are first come first serve, so I'm actually on a waiting list to go to some Chelsea art galleries. But hey--$1! I can do that. The other group I'm in is a tea lover's group. One of the events they're going to is the Tea and Coffee Festival at the end of March. That sounds SO fabulous I sent the link to my housemates to see if we can actually make it a house event instead. You really shouldn't be surprised when it's a house full of art kids and half or more adore tea while the others have their coffee fix and go weak at the knees every time they pass a barista. It's a two-day affair, and I fully intend to go at least one of those days. In the meantime, this site seems like the way "real world" people make friends. Can't hurt to check it out, and at least I'll get to see a little more of the city that way.

Because of the snow, I actually got let out of the office a little early. Which was actually awesome because I had some housekeeping of my own to do. Mainly: laundry. 

Unfortunately several of my clothes are hand wash and/or no-dryer, so I really do need to set aside a chunk of time to do laundry. Also, it seems I will be hang-drying all of my clothes from now on because that poor dryer seriously needs to retire. Here are most of what DIDN'T get dry. In the dryer. Everything there hanging up. Plus some socks laid out on my desk thing. It is not worth paying another $1.25 or two to dry these things if I'm hanging up some of it like that anyway. So upside is I'll be slightly more economical now. Go green, save quarters! 

It is more significant that in this Snowmageddon I am no longer dangerously low on socks. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday

February 2nd, 2014

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, and R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman! (I am secretly hoping that he's just gone into hiding with a secret resistance like he does in Hunger Games, so that way he'll come back. I mean seriously. Not even in his fifties! Don't. Do. Drugs.)

Also I have been hearing helicopters all day, though I can't imagine they're for the game. One, it doesn't start until the evening, and two, it's in New Jersey. I know that because I both looked it up and the subway was insanely packed with people scrambling for NJ Transit to make it in time for the game.

Beyond all that seriousness though, twenty people from the house went on a tour at the Metropolitan Opera this morning, and didn't get back until one o'clock at the earliest. My group of ten toured around with a guide named Paul. Paul was an old, talkative man whose motto seemed to be: "You'll have to discern for yourselves after the tour what I've said is fact verses opinion."

The stage is unreal. The picture below (left) is Paul gesturing at a floor plan of the theatre, and the spot that his hand is hovering over is stage left. Center stage is built on top of a giant elevator that sinks into the floor 28 feet, and then stage left and stage right are built so that when Scene 1 disappears below, Scene 2 is already set up in the wings and can be ROLLED ONTO THE STAGE --the whole wing rolled on to show off a second totally built new set for Scene 2! There is a fake wall/curtain set up that actually bisects the main stage into two parts. The back can also roll onto main stage like the wings can, but this one is a rotating stage, too. Basically it's a set put on top a lazy-susan. Also pictured below (left) are the construction crew reassembling a set on the elevator. Pretty much everything is too heavy to carry up by hand, so this is what they do every day.

The Met is a repertoire theatre, which means that at any given time they are running about 5 or 6 different performances at the same time. Kind of like the Stratford Festival in Canada. So these techies are working all the time just taking sets apart and shoving them somewhere in the limited backstage space they actually have, and reassembling them later. So say Madam Butterfly goes on Friday evening. You won't see it scheduled for another 6-7 days because to sing like that at full voice for an entire opera, they need a break! And that's why they put on so many shows at once, so there's still something happening even while one cast is on break. And they plan for their seasons five years in advance. That within itself is tricky because a lot can happen to somebody in five years! Cast members get sick, pregnant, voices change...it takes a lot to plan that far ahead. But they can't do it any later because of how much work everything else is to put together from sets to costumes, etc. 

Look at this stage here. It's HUGE! And they've gotta fill pretty much all of it. In La Boheme, the cafe scene has about 250 people on stage at the same time, all doing different things. It must be crazy! Paul told us that if we've never seen opera and want to check it out, the two shows we must see are La Boheme and Carmen. If we don't like either of those shows, "Then guess what? You don't like opera and it's not for you." 

And here are some renderings (left) for costumes coming up for Werther. The rehearsal space is exactly the same measurements of the stage, so when the set isn't being used up there, sometimes they'll put what they can in the rehearsal space so that actors can always practice being on a raked stage (which means angled downwards so the audience has better sight lines of the action, but it also means the cast is walking slanted the whole show) so that there are no surprises for the performance and the technical people know that everything will work. The chandelier (right) is apparently real. Real in that it works like any chandelier should, though I'd bet they made it there. If he said so I couldn't hear because there were people actually working in the shop and I was in the back for this bit. But still. This thing is taller than we are by half at least!

And here's the house. Part of it--I couldn't get it all because the seating capacity is 3,625 plus 224 standing places in the back. I wonder how often they get a full house? The prices can go from $20 to about $280, too. Right?! Students get crazy discounts though. Rush tickets on weekdays are $20, $25 on weekends, and student prices on special for the best remaining seats in the house are about $55 instead of $280. Therefore, I will be coming back at some point in time to see an opera.

The ceiling has been brushed in 24 karat gold. It's less money to redo the scaffolding on the whole building than to fix that ceiling if it ever needed it. Even though some of the operas are actually in English, the back of every chair still has electronic subtitles that you can choose from 5 languages which translation you want. They put those in because obviously they want patrons to understand what's happening--even for those who are there to listen to music, with the subtitles they can gasp in the right places, laugh, cry, everything--because they can follow the story and not just the action on stage. 

There are two in particular that I'd like to see--La Boheme because I did costumes for it once at McCarter Theatre, I enjoy Rent quite a bit, and Paul told me to; I'd also like to see The Enchanted Island. That one is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest written by the Met staff, and I want to see it because that is my favorite Shakespeare. And who doesn't love a comedy? Fun-haters, that's who.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Week Three: Part Two - Funzies

Also January 27th - February 1st, 2014

I bought groceries for the first time being in the city: home food has run out. BUT NOT MY $10 15 LB BAG OF RICE! So I basically just bought extra things for it to make chicken fried rice for the week. And you know, it was pretty good even though it was all the same color!
If you notice also, I have bandages on my fingers in this picture. That is because while I achieved flavor and nutrient success, I also burned myself. Apparently you should not pick up a metal fork that you were unaware was resting over an open flame for a minute or so. If you do, you will become very familiar with a feeling of immediate regret. And pain receptors actively rejecting your poor life choices.

I am also steadily working through my 10 Show Challenge because my dad came to visit me this week, and we saw Cinderella. It is beautiful! A childhood dream! The costumes are gorgeous, the music is great--and to make the stage revival different from the movie, there was actually a lot added to the story. Prince Topher is given more back story, and I nearly DIED when he came in on the last verse of "In My Own Little Corner" sitting on his throne, to sing with Cinderella in her own little chair. Also, check out these trees...none of them are flown in; they're all on tracks that freaking swivel the set around the stage when the actors move--and they're not even on a rotating stage! It's the set that moves. That's genius! And don't even get me started on the costume changes. Not only are they stunning, but all the actors have to do to change is spin around like Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen in her Cinna dress, and suddenly it becomes a completely new wardrobe! They also added some politics, new music, and changed around some of the characters so that one of the step sisters is actually really nice and Cinderella's friend. I noticed some parallels to the Disney sequels like that--one step sister falling in love with a working man to the disdain of the step mother; also the scene where Cinderella's dress is ripped, there was a scene in this that reminded me of that for the second invitation to the palace--yep there are two! 

The Asian woman from Avenue-Q plays the other step sister and she is hilarious! The Fairy Godmother (aka Crazy Marie) is also someone famous, though I'm mildly embarrassed I have no idea who she is. She's been interviewed several times about the performance, her bio looks impressive, and she's got a very nice, matured voice.

We also had a perfect sight line because in front of us were a bunch of little girls. And you know, there were more disturbances from the adults taking out cell phones (and one woman was illegally recording and taking pictures during the performance. Yikes!) than there were from them. The girls were pretty much silenced with the awe of theatre magic and fairy tale lands of make believe. 

Cinderella was an AMAZING experience, but I'm not done. Please hold on to your jealousy--because I also saw The Glass Menagerie this weekend with Zachary Quinto. That's right: Mr. Spock in a Tennessee Williams play on Broadway. The director chose to make the whole family southern, not just Amanda, although the setting is in St. Louis. Jim O'Conner comes on, though, and breaks the dialect up with an incredibly thick Mid-West accent of his own. His performance of a charmingly awkward high-school hunk is spectacular, and even though every person in the audience knew it was coming, the whole room gasped when Laura's precious glass unicorn fell off the table and broke! Spock is great, too, giving knowing sighs and looks to the audience whenever his mother Amanda goes off into her day dreaming about when she was a spry young girl and had seventeen gentlemen callers! 
It was a matinee, and there were a lot of old people, but I sat in 10th row-center and could see everything! The set is simplistically elegant, but what blew my mind the most was the couch. It's really simple, but when Tom makes his entrance and crosses over to sit down, he pulls Laura through the couch cushions and into the scene like she literally popped out of his imagination back to this moment.

I loved seeing the show, even though I had a lot of trouble getting there. The moment I got a block from Times Square, I got absorbed into the human traffic blob. There was no way to move your arms, and you got very familiar with the personal space of the strangers surrounding you as we scuttled like sheep going about five minutes per block. 

Sportsfans. Are nuts. 

They're all there for the Super Bowl tomorrow! All I wanted was to get to the discount ticket lines! WELL. The good news about it all was that because all these people were there for sports, there actually weren't any lines for the Broadway/Off-Broadway tickets. So I got to grab my ticket and dive back into the fray to walk the two blocks I needed to reach the theatre. It was almost as bad leaving as coming, though, and there were several moments of standstill body-crushing, followed by being bottle-necked before I could turn the corner and actually breathe. 

The crowds weren't nearly that bad when I went to Chinatown for the New Year, either!

Yep. Happy year of the horse! 马念快乐! 

In hindsight it makes sense that the festivities had actually taken place midnight before, but oh well. The ground was still dusted over with rainbow confetti, red lanterns and wrapping paper and boxes of gifts were still everywhere, and people were still gifting loved ones red envelopes of money over dinner. 

Initially I was going to meet some friends down there, but for various reasons they couldn't come so I got to explore some on my own for the next couple of hours. Equipped with bubble tea, I wandered around for sites and food. I toured around Little Italy some, too, but there was no chance I'd not get Chinese food on Chinese New Year. 

I found a take-away place near the Manhattan Bridge, and then walked back to the train station to head to the house.

Back at the house, some housemates piled into my room to watch Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, followed by a rousing game of "Gloom"!

"Gloom" is way up there with "Cards Against Humanity" in objectives, but with cover art reminiscent of Tim Burton and Lemony Snicket. Basically you're given a creepy family of four, and then there are modifier cards to tell whether these people are happy or not: positive numbers are happy, negative numbers are sad. They translate into self worth. This is also a storytelling game, so when you play a card that says: delighted by ducklings or menaced by mice, you have to say what happened to whichever character that involves these things. The goal is to make your family as miserable as possible before they die. The happy cards you can play on members of someone else's family so they're happier than yours, and they lose the game. 

Sick, sadistic, twisted, fun, and full of drama.

Speaking of drama, I finally went into the Drama Shop this weekend! It's a very lovely shop, and this picture here is a mannequin wearing a dress made out of handwritten script pages full of notes and everything. How cool is that? She's standing over the shelf for books on period costuming. I brought my gift card from my friend when he found out I was going to this program, and I walked out with the piano and vocal score for [title of show]. That is actually the name of the musical. It's about a bunch of people in the middle of writing a show, and from what I've heard it's very funny. I don't traditionally sing or play the piano (actually I'm much worse at the piano than singing even if I can manage to keep rhythm), but I've always wanted to look more into this show. Perhaps there's something in there to use for a voice lesson when I go back to school...

So where does that put me on my 10 Show Challenge exactly? I saw Peter and the Starcatcher, The Disinherited, Cinderella, and The Glass Menagerie. I have tickets to see a comedy show sometime in the near future. So 4-ish-almost-5. Not bad! I also gotta catch Richard III before it's out of town. Next weekend maybe? Tickets for that are about $25, so I may just have to do that.

Week Three: Part One - Whistle While You Work

January 27th - February 1st, 2014

The new part time intern came in this week from NYU. I haven't actually gotten a lot of chance to have conversations with her, but from what I can gather she's pretty cool and in the right place at DAW for the sake of shared fandoms, specifically Joss Whedon, and we'll see what else she's into as time goes on.

A lot of this week at DAW had to do with housekeeping, so besides manuscripts and book reports, I also went through to update the database for quotes, author bios, and book synopses. I also combined some pdfs so that they'd be ready to print for advanced reader copies and bound up with tape, sent out to a select few who would get to review the book before the actual release date--build up hype and such. Smart! Also it would be awesome to be one of those people. New books are great, but there's something so...exclusive about having something that looks enough like a manuscript but ideally is as perfect as the book is gonna get, and you know that you're one of the first people outside The Biz to set eyes on it. It'll be less rare in about a month, but before then it's an uncommon treasure.

Next week sometime, the other intern and I are supposed to meet with the editor to talk about her experience editing books and conversing with authors about their work. I'm really excited about it! That love-hate working relationship between an author and an editor has always sounded like so much fun to me. Hard work, certainly, but also really fun. The kind of people that would go to a pub together and banter sarcastically, but also always have each other's back on stuff.

I also got some practice making sheets for marketing pitches for a couple books coming out this year, just to get a feel for what they're for and what they look like. Basically it's a stat sheet that explains why this book is worth marketing dollars, and why it's cool enough to make bank or better.

I also have some on-my-own-mostly-for-fun reading for the weekend: my supervisor gave me Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue of the Toby Daye series since I'd never read her work before, and she's going to be coming to the office some time in early-mid February. I'm excited, and apparently my supervisor is a huge fan of hers anyway, so she's excited for me, too!

At Torn Page, I think I may actually be done with that script I was writing out notes for. The actor has it now, anyways, and they're going to film some scenes out of it this weekend for publicity, I guess. Or the actor's own notes. It's basically a vignette of an Italian American, written from the recordings of this guy's life story and made into a piece meant for the stage, rather than film.

I also talked to Clark about my goals and such for the internship, and he explained to me what Torn Page really was, what it's "flavor" was--because every studio has its own. He said that Torn Page is meant to be a safe place for actors to learn from other actors who have more experience. There is not meant to be any inferiority complex because of working with, sometimes famous, professionals, because everybody is at the same level of humanity. Clark is also good friends with John Hurt--and I asked: John Hurt apparently is as cool as he seems. Spectacular.

Alex Orlovsky came to my seminar as a guest this week, answering questions about what it's like being a producer of films and what exactly that job means. He produced moves like The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), Blue Valentine (2010), and Half Nelson (2006). Very impressive movies, and I know that because I've heard of them. I don't usually hear about less-than-famous things because the fact that I'm not pop-cultured enough combined with a terrible memory for names does not give me a whole lot to go on. I tried actually watching Blue Valentine before he came to our class, but the internet at the house was so shotty for my computer, I would wait five minutes for the internet to kick back on before it would allow me to watch maybe two minutes of movie. I walked around to three different locations in the house, but after I got halfway through and got kicked offline again, it was time to call it a night. I'll finish it eventually.

Orlovsky also was my brother's professor at SUNY Purchase a few years ago, so that was kind of cool. The gist of what I got from him talking to our class about the movie business was that NYC was a great place to come and live for 10-15 years, and then things might start happening to you; basically all that time is spent making connections so you can actually do stuff. He was really informative, even if sort of depressing about the immediate future, but at least there's hope you'll get somewhere you wanna be eventually.