Monday, January 29, 2007
I have a shower curtain liner in the bottom of my closet, waiting for the day when she finds a partner so she can fulfill her eternal purpose.
Actually, my shower curtain liner's eternal companion is sort of arranged. They haven't met each other yet, but the day is pending. I've already picked him out; I just can't afford him yet.
He lives at Kohl's. A beautiful crimson curtain, with a strip of red bead tassel about a foot from the top. Regularly $35, but I have a rain check in my purse, sans expiration date, which will allow me to get him for $20. Soon, I'm going to take him home with me, and I'll introduce them. It will be happily ever-after.
My little curtain liner and I are both pending. She's a symbol of where I'm going to be, with a little dreaming, a lot of hard work and some blessing. There's not much she can do while she waits, but that's where I come in. It's me who's applying for the internships, me who's dating, and me who's having fun and loving what's going on in the meantime.
I love where I am right now, but dreams are still important. One day, I'll have a job, a little family of my own, and if you walk into my bathroom, there might even be a beautiful crimson curtain hanging in my shower.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
You might have been sitting right next to me at one time or another when my secret happened, actually. Or maybe across the room, on a different couch. Possibly on a Lovesac. Maybe you were even cuddled up with me - but I still don't think you noticed. I'm usually pretty sneaky.
Every movie I ever watch. Nearly every single one. From Rudy to The Dirty Dozen to Wordplay.
Tears. Not, like, running down your face, have to mop it up with a towel, tears. Just Hollywood tears, where they well up in your eyes and you blink or swallow them away before anyone notices. You know, the romantic kind that make your eyes look bigger and magnify the color. It's probably a shame that no one ever notices, really. Maybe then I wouldn't be single, or at least I'd have landed a movie with a big paycheck by now.
Now, if you've ever watched a movie with me, you probably don't believe me just yet. You're probably hung up on the fact that I also jump in every movie (and that was your guess for my big secret, but you were wrong, weren't you?), or maybe you're hung up on the fact that I try not to let too much yellow into my orange personality, most of the time. You might also be hung up on the fact that I detest chick flicks (which is a story for another day), so how many other movies are there, really, where you could get choked up?
Lots. All. (We can exclude Tron. I did not cry in Tron. Actually, skipped the tears in most of those aforementioned chick flicks, too.) Think about it...to be successful, all movies have conflict, resolution, a human element, and terribly convincing music. Factor in my journalistic experience (a deep interest in all things human), and voila - you have a surprising amount of emotional involvement.
If you were to make it onto the Notre Dame football team after years of effort, wouldn't you cry? How about if it was your brother who made it into Notre Dame football history, after you spent years trying to convince him that it was impossible (while yourself becoming a miner)? Wouldn't you cry?
If you were suddenly offered a chance off of a military death row, wouldn't you cry?
How about if you were in the final round of a huge competition, that meant a lot to you, and you had a chance to escape your perpetual third place finish? And then, at the last second, when you could have won, you instead got - guess it - third place - again - because you forgot a word?? Wouldn't you cry?
Don't answer that. We've had enough soul-baring for tonight.
Tonight I used a term that, right up there with "I love you," is just such a one.
It's been said that there's no greater compliment than for someone to sit back after experiencing your work, nod, and go, "Yeah." My jazz director was of the opinion that this response was the only one he would ever really solicit, and I think he was right to feel that way. What more could you really need to say at a point like that, for which this term was quite possibly designed?
So, tonight, I sat in my padded auditorium chair and listened to a collage of my university jazz groups, and just to test it out, at one point I breathed a quiet, "Yeah" out into the forum of public opinion that always exists at a good jazz concert.
It just felt wrong. It was an all right song, but not a particularly excellent one. I shut up and listened, amused that I was placing equal importance on this term as most people do the single most uniting phrase in any global language (actually, really a split decision in the civilized world between "I love you" and "touchdown"), but decided to keep my ear out for something that might be more worthy.
I listened to some interesting scatting jobs (they were decent, but you have to learn somewhere, and I've never really heard a really good scatter under the age of about 40), some fair-to-middlin' "crowd tunes," and a couple of pretty-good-but-not-particularly-incredible solos. All pretty good music overall, but was it really "yeah" caliber? In the end, it was a Woody Herman tune that sounded to all heaven like a Kenton chart that ripped it out of me.
The sax soloist who played that chart just crooned the thing. There's a standard that a regular Joe soloist would play; staying in the key, some decent variation but not anything super spectacular....and then there was this guy's solo. Sassy and radio-sexy, his tone danced around under the radar in a hot whisper half the time, and the rest just barely broke into the full sound range. To quote Wynton Marsalis (in reference to his "Midnight Blues"): "When you hear those footsteps at night, and it's not your mama."
I sat back in my chair and closed my eyes.
Cool colors overlap and swirl,
Bright orange crashes against neon yellow with a lick of blue flame,
He starts to add his own silvery whisper of charged fuscia
A part of himself,
and the white-hot electricity slides into his once-cold veins.
He thinks it's there,
until the actinic green combustion slips
Gently between the sound
and lightning flashes a deep red,
surprising even himself,
as it channels forth from his own heart.
Who is good at either of these all-American (neither are, are they?) pastimes? Okay, maybe there are a select few. But those few (who either joined a bowling league, golf for real, or who just go on too many first dates) generally just serve to embarrass the rest of us. I guess it's good for learning not to take yourself too seriously, but I don't usually have to ask for that lesson...
First: bowling. You spend most of your time watching the next guy's back. You can't even wear your own shoes (although, admittedly, the bowling shoe isn't a bad look...did you bring those laces from home, buddy?), and if by chance you aren't watching the next guy's back, you generally get good and involved in a great conversation just as it's time for your turn. You have time to get into that conversation, too, because I've hardly ever seen this one done with less than six people. Awesome. I love the 25-cent games, too, except they don't come without the shoe rental, which is about sixteen times 25-cents. At least the food is usually cheap.
I do have a bowling dream, however. For this, I would actually cough up the five bucks myself to participate, too, instead of watching the poor guy cover me and thinking, "Hey, this was your idea." I would love to try bowling and, before starting the game, get the attendants to put the bumpers in. Then we'd compete for golf scores - with the foolproofs in, who STILL can't hit any pins? (This could get old fast, however, depending on how many ways there are to avoid those bumpers...I wouldn't know, I've never been able to get anyone to try this one with me.) Interestingly enough, the unique scoring system leads into our second topic...
Miniature golfing. It takes a long time and is generally known as a cold-weather sport, but only if you're wanting to use the outdoor course with the bigger windmill so you can hear the freeway cars laughing at your par 90 (that's what it was, wasn't it?). Of course, no one ever remembers it's a cold-weather sport until they're on the course, at which point it's too late to go home and dig out the snowpants. But you can get Dip 'n' Dots inside!
I used to be fascinated with those buildings until I realized that if you went behind those locked doors on the equipment, it would not be interesting and I could probably get in trouble for being there. Last time I went miniature golfing, we were, however, fascinated with the neatly-placed rocks right in front of where we were trying to put the ball. Man, even in real golf courses they get those out. Maybe they just didn't think about it because you don't have to mow Astro-Turf.
But it looks like everything in this world has something redeemable about it. Last week I got a call from a friend asking if I'd like to go miniature golfing with he and his apartment.
Miniature golfing, huh? Great idea. But, hey, they're fun guys...how bad could it be?
True to form, it was cold. (I remembered this time, though, and wore two jackets. Apparently the other girl did, too, because she had gloves.) And, true to form, we played outside. (It was less crowded. Weird.)
Freeway cars? Check. Par 90? Check. (Mine was the Helen Keller ball, because when I talked it wouldn't listen and when I pointed and signed it obviously couldn't see. Quite the language barrier. Needless to say, I won with the highest score.) Even the rocks were snugly in place.
However...it was a blast. How weird is that, I know. Miniature golfing. I guess I've seen it all, now...a group of guys who, on a Friday night, say, "I really want to go miniature golfing. Let's see if anyone wants to come," instead of a group of guys who, on a Friday night, have dates, and say, "Well...I guess there's always miniature golfing."
We joked around and played, made fun of each other and quoted stuff the whole time. (And of course discussed the latest Irish drinking music on the market...what good get-together is complete without that?) On the way home we blasted All-American Rejects and talked about the guy we'd seen leaning out of his passenger-seat window blowing a trumpet at other cars stopped at the same light.
I guess the secret is the same as the secret to anything....but if I told you, I'd have to kill you.
A gust of wind blew the door open and swept into the office.
Papers swirled and pencils danced,
and leaves crunched across the computer keys,
Speaking to no one,
And caring nothing.
Dust flew to meetings and out again,
And then the day was over.
Yet the wind continued to rustle,
And blew out again late into the night.
Blew down the streets and finally, finally home,
Into his sleeping family's empty arms.
But empty they remain,
For who can hold the wind?
Set I: The Grade School Phase
Exhibit A: A good place to start could be with elementary school math, when I would bring home my assignments and my mother would find all the careless mistakes and make me fix them. From the beginning, I had no patience for math.
Exhibit B: We could also start with eighth grade algebra when I tried to help a 7th grade pre-algebra student with her homework and couldn't figure it out.
Exhibit C: Or, we could go to my sophomore year of Algebra II, when I missed a few days of school for a funeral and then didn't feel like I could do any current assignments until I finished the previous ones, which were due "when you can get them in." (The end result of that one was a parent-teacher conference in February in which my teacher conceded to allow me to turn in my twelve "zero" assignments as long as I was finished before Spring Break. That was the most intense grounding of my life - homework every second I was awake - I wasn't even allowed to go to Wednesday night activities during that three weeks!)
Exhibit D: Maybe we could turn to my AP Statistics class. That class made me want to major in stat (it was a much more English-based math, but as I continually failed to note, still math). After I almost passed the AP test (a 2...so close, yet so far away), I decided that idea was a bust.
Then I proceeded on to college.
Set II: The College Phase
Exhibit A: When I was a sophomore in college, I decided to change my major from public relations to bioinformatics. My mentor teacher was cautious about giving me advice either way on this, considering he never wants to tell students they can't do something, but honestly? I think he knew I couldn't do it, haha. My parents were incredulous but I was stubborn, so off I embarked on my first semester of bioinformatics.
That semester was the hardest twelve credits of my life. My six intense credits were Chem 105 and Bio 240 (Molecular biology). My greatest moment of discovery in chemistry was the day I read in my textbook that if you superheated lime, it would glow in the dark. I tried and it didn't work at all. (Scholastic books like that should be more specific when they mean "limestone" - otherwise they get poor college kids with a pan of boiling juice and a smell in the kitchen that wakes up the most dormant of noses and the most fervent of laughter.)
Grace allowing, I passed both classes. I'll never know how it happened in 240, but the clear turning point in chemistry was the last day of class, when the teacher allowed the class to vote for test answer choices consisting of "a, b, or c", "a, b, c, or d", or "a, b, c, d, or e." We voted for "a, b, or c;" I passed the class. (You see, I needed a 36% on that final to pass the class. I had done worse on various midterms and held out very little hope for success; with this amazing class decision, my guessing odds were statistically enlarged and I called home ecstatic about my 46%.)
I changed my major.
Exhibit B: This is nothing to say of Accounting 200, Economics 110 (the week or two before I dropped it), or Statistics 221. Just know that they're over. (And stat was not terribly bad.)
May there never be a post-college phase.
In elementary school, I was seriously considering my options concerning going down in a shark cage. However, there was one family reunion in particular at which this decision was threatened.
We had a beach house for a week on the coast of North Carolina, and on our way back from town one night, we stopped at a drug store. There were a lot of books for sale there, one of which was Jaws. I read the back cover of the book and was freaked out for the rest of the night (almost the rest of the week), considering I could hear the waves from my window in the house. I don't know if I thought the sharks could come out of the water and get me in my bed, or what, but it was traumatizing. I think I'm over it now, but now every time I listen to Linda Ronstadt's lullaby album, I remember that we listened to that CD on our way back to the house that night and even now I remember the terror I felt.
It didn't completely ruin my fascination, however. In sixth grade, I had a friend in my class at school who was pretty cute, for a twelve-year-old (besides the fact that his name was Clark - I was an avid fan of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - my best friend was impressed that I had managed to find my own Clark), and he loved sharks, too. Even so, I was proud to say that my fascination had existed before I knew him. I kept a list that he gave me of every shark species that had ever existed in the world. The plan was to research all the sharks on the list, until I knew at least a few things about all of them. I never got very far, but one I do remember in particular was the Carcharodon megalodon, a prehistoric shark which was probably extra interesting considering it was extinct and a lot of the information I found about it was speculative. Later, I did a science report on the tiger shark, which was another favorite of mine (mostly because I knew about it).
"What would I do, if little Dierdre were suddenly here, bursting out of her St. Mary's uniform, asking me what comes next? I'd say, Baby, don't you worry about a thing. Everything's gonna be great. I mean, how many of us turn out the way we think we will when we're kids? How many of us grow up to be astronauts...or prima ballerinas? We just all do the best we can."--Disney's "The Kid"
And, like any recovering addict, even though I've been free for about seven months now, sometimes I have relapses. I've been doing pretty well at fighting them, but sometimes you just lose control.
Hi. My name is Olympus, and I'm a ballroom dancer.
I quit dancing seriously in January, and have since taken small, token classes just for fun, to keep my foot in the door. However, the dance world is not one in which you can be half in-half out. You kinda have to choose one. If you only half try, you get left behind.
You know that feeling where you aren't just doing figures anymore - where you know the figures well enough that you don't have to think about them anymore and you just feel the dance? That's where the wonder in dancing lies. That's where the addiction comes from. I haven't felt that in a long time.
Today in my gold Latin class, I tasted it - just for a minute - but I got it back. And I kinda remembered why I don't strive for that like I used to.
It hurts!! I felt it, and I remembered. And then I still have to walk away, because I've made my choice already (and I still know it's a good one). When I left class today, I almost cried. I used to sacrifice anything for this stuff, and I was remembering why.
"My favorite thing is to go somewhere I have never been, walk along their silver shores, cast a corner of my heart to the wnd, and move on."
So, when I came to BYU, one of the first things I did was make an appointment with the BYU diving team coach. I didn't tell anybody about it before I went because I had no idea how it would turn out. I had always wanted to dive for my high school, but the program had just started out, and I never had the transportation available to do it anyway. Now, though, that wasn't a problem anymore.
On the day of my appointment, I walked into the cold room, wearing my swimsuit and carrying this bright pink towel that was so conspicuously not BYU-issue, and waited for the coach. A lifeguard wearing one of those bright red lifeguard swimsuits came up to me and told me that I couldn't be there, but I told her I had an appointment and that I was just waiting. She let me stay.
While I was waiting, I talked to a guy who was already on the team, who was just there practicing. We had a fun conversation about diving in general - this distracted me pretty well until the coach walked up.
He was shorter than I'd imagined, and seemed so nice. He asked me if I wanted to warm up, and I said no, but that I would just dive. I got up on the board, and walked out almost to the end on that rough board! I love the feel of a diving board under my feet. Anyway, I took my prep step, got way more spring out of the board than I was used to at home, tried to aim out at the water while keeping my form and getting my height, but I flipped almost all the way over. Three times!
The coach was so nice about it, but I apologized lots of times and left as soon as I could. My neighborhood pool diving board hardly had any spring to it at all; I was used to having to put everything I had into every jump, and I hadn't even tried out the BYU boards before diving for the coach. After I got home, I called and told my mom what I had done, and she was SO proud of me for just walking in there and doing that. (My roommate had the same reaction when I told her what had happened.) It was so out of the blue and not an expected thing, I guess, ha...
I went back to the pool the next day. Within an hour I had the board mastered. Geez louise.
"The Trials of Darryl Hunt" last night, with Yellow, who was nice enough to drive at the last minute, and Dimmi. It was glorious.
The movie was amazing. I learned so much. It was about a black man wrongly convicted for the murder and rape of a white woman in North Carolina in 1984. He was exhonerated and released from jail when they found the right guy in 2004, 19 years later.
-It kind of made me wonder why I don't do more important things with my time. (Not things that are more important - why aren't more of the things I do, more important.)
-you can't really compare yourself with that type of thing all the time. the little things often ARE important.
-this man suffered loads of horrible things over the course of 19 years. Christ only suffered in the Atonement sense for a week, and he still understands everything and more that this man went through.
-Nature vs. nurture. The man probably avoided a lot of problems, messes and setbacks in his life by being put away for the most immature years, but he showed the purity of his core by his reaction to the whole situation - no bitterness, resentment, etc.
Way more. Update more when I get time to sit down and think about it more. but whew! It was very well-made and amazingly objective, too - they started working on it before the big conclusion of the third and final trial, so it wasn't directed against one side or the other. It presented the facts (a gaping hole in the trial itself the whole time) and the mistakes, but in a very clear fashion, without a lot of emotionalism or sensationalism.
Q&A with one of the directors afterward was quite insightful as well. The kicker is that it's all REAL. wow.
Any takers, the next one is December 7th.
Feel free to comment, especially if you saw it and want to add.