Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By that time I thought that I was cried out. I had already cried off all my mascara ten minutes into the first act, and it just kept going from there. I really thought I had no emotion left for this show. Boy, was I wrong. I could hardly contain myself. Out walked Colm Wilkinson himself, looking a little old and grey for a Jean Valjean, but still obviously capable of the role. Beside him strode Michael Ball, showtunes singer extraordinaire and original Marius. My grandmother likes his voice almost as much as his dimples, but in my opinion the dimples play second fiddle. The man has the voice of an angel. The rest of the cast was there too, and just in case you thought it couldn't get any better -- and I couldn't be any more surprised and blown away -- Colm Wilkinson stepped up to the microphone and began singing the most famous solo of the role. But instead of a solo they turned it into a quartet with a few other Jean Valjeans, including the man who acted the part tonight. The two (or three? I couldn't tell) casts sang a couple more songs together, the Important Men (Mackintosh, Schönberg, et al) said a few words, and then they shot off fireworks, as it appears is becoming customary at these anniversary things.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
This room has somehow come to mean so much to me. These four white walls, not exciting or comfortable or intrinsically meaningful, have seen so much within the past 18 months that it would be impossible to be completely detached from them.
In this room I see the sun rise every morning and the moon come up every night. I can see the lights from the apartments across the street, and if I lean a little to the right I can see the complex I lived in the one year I wasn't in this building. I can see what used to be Hooters, now an Irish pub; I watched the employees there go from plastic under-dressed girls to slightly more realistic, slightly more clothed girls and a beefy bouncer.
In this room I've slept with the bed facing every direction; in this room we made love for the last time; in this room we made love for the first time; in this room his picture sits on my window sill. Into this room are packed all my possessions (except the bag of stuffed animals under my bed at home and the books on my bookshelf). In this room are reminders of the friends I've had, the boys I've loved, the girls I've watched over, and the classes I've taken. This room holds the memories and the things I've learned, the laughter and tears and breath of my entire last three semesters of school (nearly half of my higher educational career). The holes in the wood from my pictures and calendars. The marker on the walls. The dust on the floor. The feel of the air.
In this room, this 20 x 30 ft space, I studied, procrastinated, created, destroyed, learned, was entertained, and lived.
To the new inhabiter of this room, I leave my legacy: a leader that everyone loved, an acquaintance that most will miss, a teacher, an employee, a co-worker, a lover, floormate, friend. A girl about to move on with her life, about to make the next step into the world. To this room's new occupant, I leave my love for this job and my passion and caring for the others who live here. May you live up to the shoes you have to fill.
It's no simple task, living in this room.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
This is how I feel.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
A guy goes into a nice restaurant bar wearing a shirt open at the collar and is met by a bouncer who tells him that he must wear a necktie to gain admission. So the guy goes out to his car and he looks around for a necktie and discovers that he just doesn't have one. He sees a set of jumper cables in his trunk. In desperation he ties these around his neck, manages to fashion a fairly acceptable-looking knot and lets the ends dangle free. He goes back to the restaurant and the bouncer carefully looks him over for a few minutes and then says, "Well, OK, I guess you can come in -- just don't start anything."
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
This exercise gave me an opportunity to discover something about myself that I couldn't even have guessed at. I haven't read the books I want to, and the books I have read I hardly remember. Is this a comment on the way I read? Do I read too fast, too glancingly, not thorough enough, not enough like an English major (taking notes in the margins, etc.), not enough like a reader, not enough like a writer? I haven't had time to read anything at all this semester; I'm only 50 or so pages into a great book by Jhumpa Lahiri, a wonderful author whose books everyone should read at some point.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Let's Face It. English Is a Stupid Language.
There is no egg in the eggplant,
No ham in the hamburger
And neither pine nor apple in the pineapple.
English muffins were not invented in England,
French fries were not invented in France.
We sometimes take English for granted, but if we examine its paradoxes we find that:
Quicksand takes you down slowly,
Boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
If writers write, how come fingers don't fing?
If the plural of tooth is teeth,
Shouldn't the plural of phone booth be phone beeth?
If the teacher taught,
Why hasn't the preacher praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
What the heck does a humanitarian eat?
Why do people recite at a play,
Yet play at a recital?
Park on driveways and
Drive on parkways?
How can the weather be as hot as hell on one day
And as cold as hell on another?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language where a house can burn up as it burns down,
And in which you fill in a form
By filling it out
And a bell is only heard once it goes!
English was invented by people, not computers,
And it reflects the creativity of the human race
(Which of course isn't a race at all.)
That is why:
When the stars are out they are visible,
But when the lights are out they are invisible.
And why it is that when I wind up my watch
But when I wind up this poem
-- someone that isn't me (again)
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
By: Andy Weir
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.