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Archive for January, 2012

Spring or any other type of cleaning

My goal on Saturday was to tidy up my room. By tidy up, I mean all of my clothes seemed to have exploded from my drawers and were now lying on my floor. And anywhere not covered by clothes was filled with papers. It’s embarrassing to say how messy I am, but I had four beer bottles hidden in my room. It might have been fun if they were full, but it was like a sad and disappointing scavenger hunt when they’re not. I used to think I was a complete slob and I probably still am. To some degree though, I think some of my behavior can now be explained by the ADHD.

It seems like it takes me years to get a room clean, or it would if I followed through. I’ll try for a second but I can’t continue so I turn the TV on to help me. Then a small corner of my room gets cleaned and I end up watching a whole season of Arrested Development in a day. Or I just can’t figure out how to organize and then anything else will happen, and I will devote all my attention to that fascinating thing and forget about cleaning. Or there are moments when I get focused and in the zone and almost my whole room and bathroom get cleaned until I get burned out and have no will to clean at all for the next few weeks and then everything has gotten messy once again.

I’m not averse to being neat. I’ve always been able to clean when I’m being paid to. When I’ve cleaned at various jobs the only choice was to clean or be terribly bored, but there’s too many distractions at home. One tip I read was to spend ten minutes a day doing the tough jobs that you can never get done. This is good in theory but once I get busy it’s hard to keep it up every day.

So I had the whole on Saturday to get things clean. I managed to wash all my clothes. There’s still some that need to be folded but I managed to get most of them. I even got rid of some clothes I never wear anymore, like the t-shirt from sixth grade that I still had even though I can’t even pretend it fits me anymore. The season of TV I watched this time was Black Books, which isn’t terrible considering the season is only six episodes. My family was also cleaning and getting rid of stuff because they’re moving soon. Well I guess we’re all moving but they’re going to a smaller town where my dad got a job at and I’m staying here and mooching off friends and family as much as possible.

We were all making progress. Me in my room, my mom packing items, and my dad was using some fancy carpet washing/cleaning thingy. My father finished cleaning his office while I went into the laundry room to switch out a load of darks. Some stuff from his office had been moved into the laundry room. There was a trashcan on top of an office chair and the broom was across the chair in front of the trashcan. I started rolling the chair back into his office and somehow the broom fell down and got caught into the legs of the chair and the trashcan went pitching forward. Normally there’s just papers in the trashcan but because of the intensive carpet cleaning there was a huge mound of gray dust that embedded itself into the still drying carpet.

So it seems even when I take a step forward, I still end up making a mess. But on the bright side, I did get the opportunity to learn how to use a carpet cleaner thingy on Saturday.

Aspiration: I’ve been trying to learn Spanish so I need to pick that up again.

Are you a neat freak? Or do you dread cleaning? Either way, any tips?


The Benefit Of My Ethics Class?

I had great professors in college that were witty and challenging, and some who I didn’t bother setting my alarm for. Some professors like to make you think, others don’t care they just want you to know the material. And there’s that third category that pops up sometimes of professors who do want to make you think, but only about how brilliant they are.

My ethics professor was this third kind of person. He liked to pose moral quandaries and no matter what was said he wanted to poke a hole in the other person’s argument. One could say he was trying to make us critical thinkers but he didn’t give up until everyone agreed with him or just stopped trying. He liked asking vague questions then judging our character based on the answer. One question was would you rather see a play or eat a fine meal? The play is supposed to prove you’re a thinker, and you value the important things in life, but I picked meal because my idea of a great meal at the time was crab cakes and I’d take that over an unknown play anytime.

I once got asked if a person who bought a gun and bullets and went to shoot someone was guilty of the crime even if they stopped beforehand because they wouldn’t be able to get away with it. The answer he was looking for was a sin in the heart is an actual sin, but my answer was no. Attempted murder alright, but unless he pulled the trigger, I wasn’t willing to call it murder. I gave up once I started getting a lecture about Christian teachings, most of my ethics and philosophy classes turned into religion classes instead.

Of course, I could have had a worse teacher. My best friend Megan used to text me in class about what her professor was saying. The one I remember most was the lesson about how it’s okay to eat animals because they can’t feel pain. I thought she should have debated that one since its pretty easy to call bullshit on that but she went the smart ass route and muttered that abortion must be fine then so she was glared into silence for the rest of the class.

There was a bright side to my ethics class and all the boring classes and self righteous teachers I encountered in college. I wrote instead of listening to them. There was a whole chunk of time where my only choices were listen to someone drone on or get some writing done. It was probably one of the times I was most productive.

A lot of my ideas happened like this,  sitting spacing off in a class, and a lot of them have grown since I’ve been out of school. Right now I’m working on a pilot that I thought of in that ethics class.  However, at one of my last screenwriters meetings I got a kind of reality check. A writer there has been in the business for over thirty years. He’s sold dozens of scripts. One was used. And he didn’t get to stay on any of the projects. I’ve been working on one of my ideas since sophomore year in that class. It would be absolutely heartbreaking to have it sitting somewhere unused. Or to have it turn into something that I don’t get any input in.  I’m trying to get used to this, even though it makes me nervous. I suppose the brightside would be that someone bought it at all. The reality is that even if my scripts do get bought, it’s still unlikely they get made, and once they do, it’s even more unlikely that they’ll make it to the point where they get six seasons and a movie (I’m having Community withdrawals). I know this is the reality, I just prefer not to think about it. I don’t really know what to do about it. The only answer I’ve come up with so far is “oh well”, and then I just keep writing.

I’m not sure what that ethics class taught me. The professor thought separation of church and state was an injustice. But hey, if my script is bought some day at least I’d get some use out of that class afterall.

Aspiration for the day: I’ve got nothing to do all afternoon. I need to clean something. Ugh.


Chess Pawn

The pieces weren't quite this big.

While strolling around the Irish Fest this past October, I stumbled upon a giant chess set. It was sitting in a little clearing, shaded by trees, put out by people that were selling mats for chess. I didn’t know people needed special mats for chess, but I didn’t know much about the game. I’d never liked playing chess. I called the knights horseys, and I always got bored and made my own system of rules which consisted of me being able to move wherever I wanted. But I wanted to play with the giant pieces because they looked fun and I am a five year old. I challenged my father and got slaughtered, even though I had three people helping me. These three people were middle school girls that wandered over and by the end of the match I doubted they actually knew anything about chess, but still.

After playing this time, I found it fascinating. My father and I kept playing every night for a while after that. We even bought one of the mats that has a picture of the Irish countryside on it. We never use it. I suck at chess. I have no offensive strategy, I play the computer and loose sometimes even though its set on a really easy level. I call the whole game ‘chest’ now which could be vaguely dirty, but it’s only because my mom can’t pronounce it. She’d ask “who won chest?” in the same way she says “I’m going to the lieberry” and the name just stuck. I still call the knight a horsey and now I call the rook a dalek. The way my piece looks just fits it, especially when it slides across the board while I do my best robotic “Exterminate! Exterminate!” The only thing nerdier than loving chess and loving Doctor Who would be getting the Doctor Who chess set. Which I want badly.

I love chess now. Even without the mind for strategy, there’s something so interesting about it. It seems like it should be simple to move pieces and capture others, but it takes thought. I love the feeling I get when I capture the queen, or am one step ahead of an opponent. I jump and scream and run around like a loon the few times I’m able to beat my father.

I saw a large queen keychain a fellow volunteer had at the thrift shop I volunteer at and asked her if she played. Her face lit up and she talked about how she just beat a group of old men at the park earlier in the week. So I’m guessing she’s better than me but we’re playing this week when we volunteer. I’ve been trying to practice, but I’m probably going to get killed. I’m excited about it anyway and if I don’t improve soon I’ve been thinking about getting some books from the lieberry to learn about strategies.

Asipration for today: Try a harder level of chest.

Does anyone else play chess or other games of strategy?


Heard About Pluto?

She was described to me as the “breath taking girl in the red cardigan thing”, and she happened to be sitting at my table. I ended up spending my whole Friday night trying to get a server to talk to her. He liked her immediately but this guy who bursts into song, talks in funny accents, and chats with everyone is also afraid of girls.

Deciding to not be offended that I didn’t count as a girl, he then asked me to tell her she was cute so I did, why not? I pointed him out and figured he’d go talk to her later. He got all red and ran away when he tried. I rarely see someone as bad me at this stuff. I’m currently trying to figure out if I agreed to go on a date with someone or if we were joking around like I thought. We have a place picked out now, so that makes it more real. But, I doubt he would really eat vegetarian food, so maybe it is a joke. And somehow, I was giving advice.

Of course most of the advice amounted to: talk to her. We had several conversations about what he should say, from the very formal “Hello, may I please sit down?” to “heard about Pluto? That’s messed up right?” from Psych which was my personal favorite. Instead, we decided he could just write her a note on her receipt. Then he got scared so I wrote the note.

Things sort of went according to plan. I gave them the receipt, she took her copy even though no one ever does that. We briefly debated that she thought the note could be from me since his name is unisex, so he finally got the courage to go talk to her. His first attempt went wrong, he told her the note was just something funny his friends did so he had to go back over with a little speech we prepared where he said that she should in fact call him if she wants since she does have his number now. He went over there the third time under the context of trying to take their water glasses. It wasn’t the smoothest, but it worked.

I guess it’s nice to see that someone so outgoing can have problems talking to people too. Or maybe the lesson here is if I’m willing to spend my whole night trying to get him to overcome his fear of talking to a girl, imagine how I could improve my own life. Or maybe it’s just that restaurants can be boring sometimes and I had a lot of fun doing something unexpected for a night.

Today, I’m aspiring to: Learn about AFTRA. It’s a union actors can join that I’d never heard of. My acting teacher suggested that this might be a better option for some of us instead of SAG.

Obviously, Gus has the greatest line ever, but what else have you tried?



Sophomore year I lived in an igloo. I was in a suite with seven other girls, which was a nightmare of its own, and my roommate and I lived in the coldest room. All the other girls had lofted beds and all the other girls were bossier than us. Which meant the temperature was normally kept around 60 or 65 because their rooms were always too hot. They told us heat rises, so we should loft our beds. This led to us standing on our beds and desks and raising our hands as high as we could to feel the air at the top of our room. Still cold. Though that probably wasn’t very scientific.

We both slept with as many blankets as we could. I brought them from home, I stole them from the common room, and my friends in a warmer room made me a blanket. I think the most I had was eight blankets. It helped a little. In the winter we learned our window was letting massive amounts of cold air in, along with snow. It actually snowed a few times in our dorm room, right over my roommates bed. And of course the college didn’t do anything about it. Junior year our door could be opened without a key if pushed and the campus didn’t do anything until we had our parents call and complain. One of the things college is supposed to do is teach you to be an adult or some shit like that but we learned we could get anything done fast if the people who had the money complained. That’s probably a good lesson too. But sophomore year I hid under blankets and adjusted the thermostat when no one was looking.

My roommate put something on the window to seal it and that kept the snow out but it never did anything for temperature. Once I left that room, I was used to having so many blankets. I liked the weight of them and how comfortable it feels to snuggle underneath all the covers. Today I have six blankets, including the garish orange and green one with some kind of jungle print that my friends made for me. At least it’s warm.

The blanket. I'm the Forbidden Forrest for a Harry Potter showing.


I decided instead of just observing people, I’m going to work on all the five senses so

Heard: The oscillating blades of a fan before I opened my eyes this morning. I can’t sleep with ambient noises so it’s my cheap noise canceller, though I don’t normally notice it in the morning.

What quirks do you have while sleeping? Do you use a million pillows, do you sleep diagonally, or something else?


The screenwriting book I’m using talks about using lean yet descriptive writing to introduce characters. So probably not the string of adjectives and lengthy backstory I sometimes create. It’s also important for characters to have a unique trait. For example, the girl with the dragon tattoo has a dragon tattoo, Blair Waldorf always wears headbands. Or she used too, I don’t keep up with that show as much anymore. I can pare my descriptions down, but I think I need more work on giving characters something distinctive.

Another thing my acting teacher said is to always be working on my five senses. Which basically means to be aware, to experience what’s happening around me and take it in. This is difficult for someone who is always spacing out. So I’ve decided to try to start observing people and documenting their quirks. Maybe this will give me inspiration when developing my own characters, or at least give me an acceptable reason to people watch without being too creepy.

So person number one, a waiter at work: He’s a boy having a love affair with water. He slurps it out of a tiny paper cup with a straw and always exclaims “this shit is so good”.


Grand Opening: new "water drop bouquet&qu...

What is your favorite drink?

Mine is water too. I don’t drink anything else, except for alcoholic beverages. Okay so maybe a margarita is my favorite drink, but thankfully I drink water more.

Small Progress and Small Bugs

The little things matter. I didn’t get started until ten today. When that happens I tend to berate myself and feel like I wasted the day. Today, I made the best of it. I started writing anyway, even got a bit of freelancing done. I did a load of laundry. Sure right now I’m distracted by the Big Bang Theory, but I’m only watching a half hour of it before I do some more writing. And I’m getting this blog post done.

A lot of the time I feel like I’m taking too long to get things finished or I don’t accomplish as much I wanted to. I have to accept that it might take me more time to do things then it takes others. That I do those things is what is important.

The small things matter, and here’s an example I found while going through the sporadic journal I’ve been trying to keep for a while. In the summer I wrote that I saved a grasshopper from the obliteration it would have found under my uncles shoes. While everyone else screamed about the bug, I grabbed my empty water glass and a broom and took it safely outside.

English: A grasshopper at the fort
I save bugs whenever I see them in the house. I’m not a pro at it. It’s a safe bet that while everyone else was screaming about the bug, I was too. At least they have a small house. When I see a spider in my bathroom I have to run down a flight of stairs. I have a spider in a cup and a flimsy piece of paper over it, and I shriek all the way. Bugs scare me, I hate them being in the house but I would never squash one. I plead with them to just get in the cup while I make nervous noises anytime they move closer.  It’s a little thing but I refuse to kill them. Even though it could be agrued that I scare them to death when I fling them out into my yard, I won’t squish them. My family and friends laugh at me and say the bugs don’t matter. But they do to me. If I can put the effort into saving bugs I don’t like, even when I’m scared, surely I can do the same with my own life. I can do the things that frighten me, I can put effort into the small things. Even if it doesn’t seem like I’m doing much, if it matters to me then that’s whats important.

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