Sunday, January 27, 2008
The first day I went in and there were only three other people, which I was rather excited about since that would mean extra attention in my math-deficiencies. We went around the room and introduced ourselves.
The other girl's name is Jenny. Last semester Jenny wrote a 10 page paper on marine biology.
Jordan sits in front of me. He wrote a 10 page paper on archeology last semester.
Austin was rather proud to tell me that he was the number one C++ (or is it C plus plus?) student in the class. I was confused. Isn't that a bad thing? However, everyone else was very impressed. I didn't figure out for a couple days that C++ (or whatever) is actually some sort of advanced computer program.
It finally got to be my turn. "Well, I'm Jo. I don't really like math; I just so happen to be good at it. I'm in here to finish my pre-calc credit. I like to act."
Never have I seen a more scandalized class. Scandalized isn't quite the word for it... It was more the reaction of surprise at the fact that someone who dislikes math and is social would come into an advanced math class.
Anyway, I thought it was funny.
As for my Jane Austen class, my teacher is as wonderful as she promised to be on the first day. To get us in touch with our 18th century selves, she's having us do three things.
1) She wants us to cut down our TV/movie time. Right now it's at 1 hour a day, but she hopes to have it down to 1 hour a week (or was it month?) by May.
2) Modern slang has got to go. Ms. Hanson wants us to be articulate young people, so she's having us cut down on three slang words a week. This week it's "crap," "um," and "like" (out of context).
3) Have you ever noticed how Jane Austen's characters take walks a lot? We've been encouraged to take walks to reflect on our character. Right now it's 15 minutes a week, and by May we should be at 1/2 an hour a day.
And don't forget tea parties every Wednesday. Woot!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I started Paradigm High School yesterday. It was like my first day of high school all over again. I didn't know very many people, I had no idea where my classes were, and I just felt like an awkward teenager trying to fit in.
To be fair, I really liked all of my teachers because they were so engaging and personal. The other students seemed nice, too, but it was the whole situation where I'm the new kid and I don't feel very inclined to be the first one to say "Hi!" and they already have their friends and, while they would like to be nice to the new kid, they have to check you out first, and it's just a weird thing for both of you. (Yes, I realize that's a run-on. Only a run-on could describe such a situation.)
Eventually I found someone to sit with at lunch. She's this nice freshman in my chemistry class named Hannah, and she was a friendly individual. I did have to be the first one to make a move, but I was okay with that. I just hope all the times I was kind to the new kid pay off in mucho karma bucks.
It was a very stressful day on the emotions, though. I had to get my transfer papers and signatures from West Jordan, then go to Paradigm and get all that straightened out, then take a test to make sure I'm in the right literature class, and then I didn't have anyone to talk to all day. After school was out (at 3, which is when I'm supposed to be at work), I rushed to my place of employment, and I wanted to strangle every customer who came in with more than 3 articles of clothing. My emotions were more raw than they've been in a while.
After some Korinne therapy, I felt much better. However, I still hoped that today would be better than yesterday.
It was. I don't know why. It just was.
And so, this is your Modern Jo March signing out, feeling content with the world.
PS- A preview of coming attractions:
-My advanced math class where I am one of four people and the only one who hates math.
-What Ms. Hanson (my Jane Austen teacher) is having us do to get in touch with our
18th century selves.
-More things which I have yet to think of!
Monday, January 21, 2008
Today there was no school (huzzah! I start Paradigm tomorrow!), and as such I slept in. I was rudely awakened by one of my scapegrace brothers thundering down the stairs at about 9:00. Unable to go back to sleep, I went upstairs to eat breakfast.
The scene that awaited me outside was possibly the most obscene and horrific I have ever laid eyes on. There was at least eleven inches of snow on the ground. I hate snow. There are few things I hate more than snow. One of these things is being beaten savagely over the head by a far too-hard plastic toy by a 4 year old. Anyway, there was a ton of snow, and I was less than delighted about it.
Fortunately, my life (not to mention my day) didn't end there. My family went to see The Bee Movie, and, not being a particular bee fan (unless Strong Bad is involved), I decided to hit an arcade that I hadn't been to for a while.
It's called Nickelcade, and it was all the rage when I was in about 4th grade. My friends and I would go there at least 4 or 5 times when we were off track. I have some good, good memories from those times. Plotting what we were going to get with our tickets, eating grape slushees, feeding Big Bertha. I learned a lot of lessons, among which is "Don't waste your money on retards." Hee hee hee.
Anyway, so I braved the snow and the cold and the fishtailing semis and went to the arcade. My mum warned me that it probably wouldn't be the shining specimen of glory I remembered it as, but I took no heed. Once a shining specimen of glory, always a shining specimen of glory. (Besides, Nickelcade was ghetto 5 years ago; the ghetto-ness is part of the charm.)
I walked inside where the flashing lights and obnoxious noises greeted me. I paid admission and got $5 in nickels. (Back in the day, Terysa and I usually spent $20 in nickels.) Just to scope things out, I wandered around a little bit, getting reacquainted with certain machines. To my distress, several of my favorite machines (including those cheap-o crane things that I dominated, the aforementioned Big Bertha, and some awesome jet-ski/river raft ones) were out of order. Oh, well.
I tried my luck at the gambling ones that had always gotten the better of me when I was 10 and hit the jackpot a fair few times. I played skeeball and was disappointed to see that I was rusty. I grinned when I realized that the same buttons were broken on the Miss Spider one. The one where you hit stuff with a mallet still befuddled me. That thing has no rhyme or reason to the tickets it cranks out.
Back in 2002, the non-ticket-giving variety of games bored the heck out of me. I mean, what was the point of getting a high score killing zombies if it didn't even help me get that inflatable sword (700 tickets)? This time around, however, I decided to give it a whack. They were all right, but my brother Seth and I played this Atari Gauntlet Quest game that wasn't half bad. In fact, I think we spent more than a few nickels trying to stay in the game. It was good fun, especially when we beat the dragon! Hoo hoo! It was pretty awesome, but I cramped my arm trying to hit the "attack" button too rapidly.
All in all, good times all around at Nickelcade this afternoon.
Now I must go get some sleep so I'm at least mildly alert for my first day at Paradigm.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
It's not like I have anything against dances or being social or anything. On the contrary, I love people (most of the time) and love to be in big crowds (most of the time). It's just that boys my age are S T U P I D or shy. I never get asked to dance, which is okay with me, but I don't really like dancing in line dances or anything anyway. (Dancing in shows is acceptable.) So, in short, I never have any fun at dances that I couldn't have while I hang out at a friend's house.
And I don't support the dance scene, either. Think of many a nerdy Mia Maid who goes with timid expectations to be asked at least once, only to have this girlish fantasy mercilessly slaughtered by the fact that most boys are only interested in the girls that are already taken or too scared to bestir themselves from beside the refreshment table.
Think of many an oblivious teacher who waits in vain for a someone to come ask him, without realizing that it's his freakin' duty to get over himself and, for goodness' sake, go ask somebody.
(*A side note: I don't hold anything against boys being shy, but they make no sense. They don't want to go ask anyone; however, if an outgoing, or, say, "different," girl comes and asks them, they either act intimidated or embarrassed. Heaven's sake, if you don't want to be there, DON'T GO.)
Therefore, I choose not to go. Instead, I like to spend time for myself, writing on my blog and listening to show tunes.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to go hide out in my room and sing along to Spamalot.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
It's not really a story so much as it is an idea. I also couldn't believe what a moron the main character is. The man's got the brains of headless chicken.
And so, without further ramblings on my part, I am, as a connoisseur of exceptional literature, pleased to present The Chaser.
Alan Austen, as nervous as a kitten, went up certain dark and creaky stairs in the neighborhood of Pell Street, and peered about for a long time on the dim landing before he found the name he wanted written obscurely on one of the doors.
He pushed open this door, as he had been told to do, and found himself in a tiny room, which contained no furniture but a plain kitchen table, a rocking-chair, and an ordinary chair. On one of the dirty buff-colored walls were a couple of shelves, containing in all perhaps a dozen bottles and jars.
An old man sat in the rocking-chair, reading a newspaper. Alan, without a word, handed him the card he had been given. “Sit down, Mr. Austen,” said the old man very politely. “I am glad to make your acquaintance.”
“Is it true,” asked Alan, “that you have a certain mixture that has – er – quite extraordinary effects?”
“My dear sir,” replied the old man, “my stock in trade is not very large – I don’t deal in laxatives and teething mixtures – but such as it is, it is varied. I think nothing I sell has effects which could be precisely described as ordinary.”
“Well, the fact is –“ began Alan.
“Here, for example,” interrupted the old man, reaching for a bottle from the shelf. “Here is a liquid as colorless as water, almost tasteless, quite imperceptible in coffee, milk, wine, or any other beverage. It is also quite imperceptible to any known method of autopsy.”
“Do you mean it is a poison?” cried Alan, very much horrified.
“Call it a glove-cleaner, if you like.” Said the old man indifferently. “Maybe it will clean gloves. I have never tried. One might call it a life-cleaner. Lives need cleaning sometimes.”
“I want nothing of that sort,” said Alan.
“Probably it is just as well,” said the old man. “Do you know the price of this? For one teaspoonful, which is sufficient, I ask five thousand dollars. Never less. Not a penny less.”
“I hope all your mixtures are not as expensive,” said Alan apprehensively.
“Oh dear, no,” said the old man. “It would be no good charging that sort of price for a love potion, for example. Young people who need a love potion very seldom have five thousand dollars. Otherwise they would not need a love potion.”
“I am glad to hear that,” said Alan.
“I look at it like this,” said the old man. “Please a customer with one article, and he will come back when he needs another. Even if it is more costly. He will save up for it, if necessary.”
“So,” said Alan, “you really do sell love potions?”
“If I did not sell love potions,” said the old man, reaching for another bottle, “I should not have mentioned the other matter to you. It is only when one is in a position to oblige that one can afford to be so confidential.”
“And these potions,” said Alan. “They are not just – just – er – “
“Oh, no,” said the old man. “Their effects are permanent, and extend far beyond casual impulse. But they include it. Bountifully, insistently. Everlastingly.”
“Dear me!” said Alan, attempting a look of scientific detachment. “How very interesting!”
“But consider the spiritual side,” said the old man.
“I do, indeed,” said Alan.
“For indifference,” said the old man, “they substitute devotion. For scorn, adoration. Give one tiny measure of this to the young lady – its flavor is imperceptible in orange juice, soup, or cocktails – and however gay and giddy she is, she will change altogether. She will want nothing but solitude, and you.”
“I can hardly believe it,” said Alan. “She is so fond of parties.”
“She will not like them any more,” said the old man. “She will be afraid of the pretty girls you may meet.”
“She will actually be jealous?” cried Alan in a rapture. “Of me?”
“Yes, she will want to be everything to you.”
“She is, already. Only she doesn’t care about it.”
“She will, when she has taken this. She will care intensely. You will be her sole interest in life.”
“Wonderful!” cried Alan.
“She will want to know all you do,” said the old man. “All that has happened to you during the day. Every word of it. She will want to know what you are thinking about, why you smile suddenly, why you are looking sad.”
“That is love!” cried Alan.
“Yes,” said the old man. “How carefully she will look after you! She will never allow you to be tired, to sit in a draught, to neglect your food. If you are an hour late, she will be terrified. She will think you are killed, or that some siren has caught you.”
“I can hardly imagine Diana like that!” cried Alan, overwhelmed with joy.
“You will not have to use your imagination,” said the old man. “And, by the way, since there are always sirens, if by any chance you should, later on, slip a little, you need not worry. She will forgive you, in the end. She will be terribly hurt, of course, but she will forgive you – in the end.”
“That will not happen,” said Alan fervently.
“Of course not,” said the old man. “But, if it did, you need not worry. She would never divorce you. Oh, no! And, of course, she herself will never give you the least, the very least, grounds for – uneasiness.”
“And how much,” said Alan, “is this wonderful mixture?”
“It is not as dear,” said the old man, “as the glove-cleaner, or life-cleaner, as I sometimes call it. No That is five thousand dollars, never a penny less. One has to be older than you are, to indulge in that sort of thing. One has to save up for it.”
“But the love potion?” asked Alan.
“Oh, that,” said the old man, opening the drawer in the kitchen table, and taking out a tiny, rather dirty-looking phial. “That is just a dollar.”
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am,” said Alan, watching him fill it.
“I like to oblige,” said the old man. “Then customers come back, later in life, when they are rather better off, and want more expensive things. Here you are. You will find it very effective.”
“Thank you again,” said Alan. “Good-by.”
“Au revoir,” said the old man.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I realize that the right to elect our president is a sacred right and duty that our founding fathers treasured with all their hearts. Heck, they fought a whole war based on not being properly represented. However, I think that, if they could come back and watch an election (and the few years before it that psyche it up), they would be a little disgusted.
I am so very sick of all the name calling that goes on. That's one of the things that I don't really like about politics. Parents usually teach their kids (or should teach their kids) to not call other kids names. All that teaching seems to be thrown out the window when the children grow up. Politicians are forever calling the other party names, and adults are apt to verbally abuse anyone who doesn't hold the same views as them.
And it's not like you only hear about these things if you keep up on politics. You get bombarded with it no matter what. It's on the radio (not just news stations, either), in the newspaper (in the comics; thanks, guys), on TV, and on the Internet (my blog included). It's everywhere.
Anyway, I'm tired of hearing what people think of Mitt Romney. I've heard both sides of it. "I'm not voting for him because he's a Mormon!" from people who aren't Mormons. "I'm not voting for him because he's misrepresenting the Mormons!" from some of my Mormon friends (who can't vote yet, so I can't comprehend exactly why they care). For crying out loud, he's NOT representing the Mormons. If you don't like him, don't vote for him. It's not like you have to. There are plenty of other candidates to choose from. If you don't like Mitt, don't vote for him. If you don't like Hillary, don't vote for her. If you don't like Obama, don't vote for him.
But for heaven's sake, don't abuse them, either. Vote for whoever you think will do the best job, and leave the others alone.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Due to my recent anything-that-has-to-do-with-Louisa-Alcott obsession, my mum found a novel at the library that she thought I might be interested in. It was called March by Geraldine Brooks, and it told the story of Mr. March from Little Women who, as you may remember, we see very little of.
Well, it was very deep, rich, and enthralling. I was reading some of it during down time at work, and one of my coworkers said something to me and I didn't hear a blessed word she said.
Ms. Brooks' presentation, word choice, and description was very Alcott-esque. She introduced Mr. March as an eighteen year old peddler and up and Marmee as a hot-headed, passionate young woman who takes part in the underground railroad. Ms. Brooks shows the coming-to-be of the March family and their woes (as well as a little bit of background on why Aunt March is such a cross-patch). It's an involved story that weaves Civil War history with slavery woes and other issues of the day.
For example, Mr. March (a chaplain) gets sent to a contraband camp, which is basically a place where they keep the slaves they've liberated so that they can work the cotton crops. He teaches the once-slaves how to read and write until some Confederates come and set fire to everything and take all the slaves away. Even then, that ends up with a heart-wrenching conclusion that made me cry/laugh hysterically (and I never cry when I read).
Also, do you remember the part where Mr. March gets sick and Marmee is sent for? Marmee goes on the trip to find Washington D.C. in gross conditions, and the hospitals fair no better.
My personal favorite part is when it tells how the March family helps runaways on the underground railroad. There's one part when a pregnant young woman comes to hide and has to be laid up for a while because she's in such a frail condition. She's quiet and shy, and Beth makes friends with her. Beth even flat-out lies to a constable who comes and storms the house, looking for the slave, a feat that made me laugh out loud, even though I was at the DMV and people looked at me like I was crazy.
My only complaints were that Marmee and Father had, um, pre-marital relations in one part. It wasn't explicit (on the contrary, it was very subtle), and he did go the very next morning and ask her father for her hand in marriage, but I didn't like it all the same. Even if that's how Louisa had in mind for their romance, she didn't write it, so I don't feel like it was a necessary part of the story.
Another part I didn't agree with was a subplot that struck a sour note. Mr. March fell in love with a slave when he was a peddler, and he meets up with her again when he's being a chaplain. The author spends entirely too much time on that by-way. It also results in some jealousy from Marmee, which brings me to my next point...
Ms. Brooks portrays Marmee perfectly as a young woman. She shows her temper, her accomplishments, and her loveliness in a way that's easy to imagine. My favorite part is when she's learning to curb her temper because she bursts out with these completely passionate, cutting words that I found both amusing and awe-inspiring.
However, at one point in the novel (when she goes to Washington), the story is told from Marmee's view. She just didn't ring true to me. Gone is the strong, wise woman that everyone loves when reading Little Woman. This Marmee is jealous, she's weak, and she never talks about God. She resents Mr. March for stifling her temper, she resents him for leaving her and going off to war, and she doesn't show any of the inner strength for which I admire the true Marmee.
I understand that she's under a lot of pressure. I understand that people are not always the same on the inside as they are on the outside. She does talk about her love for Mr. March and her daughters. However, for the real, outside Marmee to work as well and cope as well as she did, the inside one couldn't be like Ms. Brooks portrayed her. She could have her weaknesses, which we all have. She could very possibly have resented Mr. March for going off to war, but there is no way in heck she could have buoyed up the girls like she did if she had resented it that much.
All in all, March was a cleverly written, spell-casting story, but I believe that I'll stick with the original, with all due respect.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I am always thirsty, although I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe I was born with screwy glands or I developed an addiction to natural juices in my childhood.
Either way, I don't meet many people as thirsty as I am. In fact, at school there are some kids who never seem to drink at all. It always amazes me that they either refuse to drink anything, or they just swish it around in their mouths and then spit it out to be forgotten in five minutes.
And then there are times when I ask for a drink and my teachers let me go, but only for a minute or two. My classmates always sort of make fun of me, as if I ought to bring my own water bottle rather than ask the teacher so often. What's more, they seem to ask me with their malnourished eyes, oughtn't I be content with the sixteen years of drinking I already have under my belt? Do I really need to drink MORE? Aren't I about ready to explode?
As it is, I like my thirstiness. I can't imagine life without it.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
I turned in my Paradigm stuff on the 2nd and my schedule's all lined up. I'm taking theatre II, honors history, advanced math (pre-calc-ish), Spanish II and, are you ready? Drum-roll, please...... *ratatataratatataratatataratatataratatataratatat*
A Jane Austen class. How totally awesome is that? I am so very excited. I met the teacher when I took the tour of Paradigm way back when, and she was fabulous. She just so happened to wander into the office where I was waiting for the secretary to come back and we got to talking. The reason she was in the office at all was because she was looking up a phone number of a publishing company to see if her novel writing class could take a field trip to their premises to see how it all works.
AND the secretary said that the same teacher is planning a Jane Austen book tour in the spring. (As in, in England, in the place where Jane Austen wrote.) And besides all that, when I was talking to her, she was vivacious and full of spirit, and I was like, "Where the heck are all these teachers?" Then I remembered that they're in charter schools. Duh. Which is why I'm going. That, and a better environment that's more conducive to learning.
Only two more weeks, only two more weeks, only two more weeks...
Saturday, January 5, 2008
When Kate Fisher came out, she was holding this huge-ola box and a dress bag and was looking pretty tired, but she stopped and gave me her autograph anyway. I then ventured to ask tentatively, "Hey, Kate? How many rejections have you had?"
She got this look on her face that only a seasoned actor/actress can comprehend.
"Honestly, loads. Way too many to count. Are you thinking of going into musical theatre?"
I said yes, and she proceeded to give me some very very useful advice.
"It's probably the most rewarding thing you can do, but it's also the most demanding. If you have a strong voice and an iron backbone, you'll make it. It's rough, though, because sometimes you won't get a role because you don't fit it physically, and then it has nothing to do with you and you can't fix it, so it's hard. But you just gotta keep going and some day you'll get it. And when you do, it'll be worth all the rejections."
This was back in 2005. Flash forward to 2008 and my call backs. Wow. I worked with some seriously talented people today. There were about 20 of us, fifteen girls and about five boys. The director kept us there for an hour and a half, having us singing "Five Forever" and learning the parts. He paced among us as we sang, lined us up to see how we fit physically with the others, separated us out into Beth/Meg/Amy/Jo/Laurie groups with people who looked like they could be siblings, and had us sing in those.
The director rearranged the groups more and almost tore his hair out. He kept saying, "You guys are making my life hell right now!"
Finally, after much hemming and hawing, he said, "This has been the hardest casting decision I've ever made. It's been a privilege to work with all of you, and just because I didn't cast you doesn't mean that I don't think you're all incredibly talented. I would love to see you all back at more auditions. Those whose names I call, please stay. Those who don't, I'm so sorry."
My name didn't get called, but the name of the cute college guy sitting next to me did, so I shook his hand and wished him luck and he said it was nice talking to me. I stuck the libretto on the piano and went home.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mad or upset or hurt at first. What had I done wrong? I'd messed up! Just because the other people were older...! I AM Jo March! Couldn't they see that?! I told my parents and they tried to console me, but I parried it with, "Well, it's not my first rejection. And at least I got callbacks." But I didn't really feel it.
So I stormed down to my room to sulk and ended up taking a nap. Well. That helped tremendously. Whenever you're mad, just take a nap and your logic clears up. I thought about the whole experience and came away with some positive points about it.
1. First of all, the fact that I even got callbacks is impressive. I was one of the youngest people there, and I did well.
2. I can't do anything about not looking similar to anyone else there. That's just a rum toss of the dice.
3. I'm not entirely ready for that role vocally. I have a good voice, yes, but I still need some work so that I can do the music justice.
4. They were probably worried about my schedule, too, because I wrote that I work until 7, so they probably didn't think that I could handle a seven hour school day, four hours working after that, and three more hours after that rehearsing.
There's a life that I am meant to lead....
*walks off singing "Astonishing"*
Thursday, January 3, 2008
No, my leg is not being eaten off by an alligator. Guess again.
No, my boyfriend did not break up with me. I don't have a boyfriend. And probably never will. But I digress...
No, I am not dying slowly but surely.
That scream is a good one. The kind that you hear people doing on the radio after they've won a gazillion dollars or a trip to see Hannah Montanna. (Hey, my co-worker would do it if she ever won.)
I am screaming because I just auditioned to be Jo March at a community theatre, and I got callbacks! That's a big deal for me because for every 7 auditions I do, I get called back maybe once. Maybe. I sang "Nothing" from "A Chorus Line," and I could tell that they liked me. One of the women was like, "Will you back up and sing the chorus for us again and just belt it out? I can tell that there's more down there, and I'd love to hear it."
And so I did. And I have never ever ever ever sounded so good in my LIFE. I belted for all I was worth and it filled the entire theatre! (granted that it seats perhaps 100 people, but still) The auditors grinned and asked me if I could come back on Saturday morning at 11:30 for an hour and do callbacks.
I said I most certainly could.
To be continued...