Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm Not Dead... Yet!!!

I have been shirking on my blog duties. :( There's a reason, though! I promise!

So finals week is coming up, and the work load is growing exponentially in front of me. As a result, I'm a little stressed and need to focus on school.

So I'm going to try and post as often as I'm able, but don't expect much over the next 2 weeks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wobbly

Exercise #145 : "Wobbly"

Make a list of things that are wobbly.

Well, ok then! 1,2,3, GO!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chocolate Cake

Exercise #144 : "Chocolate Cake"

Do this exercise either for yourself or for a character. What memories does "chocolate cake" evoke?

1,2,3, GO!

I love chocolate cake. Probably too much. It's just... so good! Before I get a serious craving, I should probably just get going with this exercise.

Here's the problem, though: I have had so many chocolate cakes in my lifetime that I cannot possibly even begin to whittle down the memories tied to each. So... I'm going to go with Natalie, my main character from the WIP that is currently on hiatus.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Terrible Ending to an Awful Weekend

I had been having a good day. Really. I went to church, sang a good bit, and saw a movie (Date Night... Yes, it was for the 2nd time) with a good friend of mine.

I was on my way home when I realized that I had forgotten to deposit my check at my bank.

Stupid Move No. 1: Never go to a bank, wherever you are, after dark when you're all alone.

So I pull up to my bank and fill out the required paperwork to deposit said check. As I open the car door, I hear someone walking nearby and immediately go into autopilot, positioning my keys between each finger, pointing outward. Ladies, remember this. It's extremely useful.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Foyer

Exercise #143 : "Foyer"

Make a brief list of adjectives and nouns to describe each of the following foyers:
  • of an elderly society lady
  • of a college football player
  • of a convention center
  • of a funky city bookstore specializing in poetry
  • of a model condominium unit being marketed to hip yuppies
Here's an example:
foyer of a young painter - bright; yellow paint splashes; shiny; inflatable cherry red rhinoceros; dirty old tennis shoes; dog's tennis ball; smell of turpentine

1,2,3, GO!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Date Night: A Review

First and foremost, this movie is hilarious. Go see it. Secondly,

Steve Carell + Tina Fey = Comedy GOLD

That's all you need to know.

Just go see it, ok?

Now on to my review, but I guess you know how it's going to go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Time Elasticity

Exercise #142 : "Time Elasticity"

List 10 situations / activities that make time go slow (i.e. sitting in a dentist's chair). Then list 10 situations / activities that make time speed up. Once you have your lists, go back and notate which are the slowest and the fastest. See if sometime today or soon you can use these in your writing.

As an impatient person, I know a great deal about things that make time seem to crawl at a glacial pace, but I'll be hard-pressed to elaborate about things that make time speed ahead. We shall see.

All ahead full!


Things That Make Time Slow Down:
  1. a really bad day
  2. waiting for test results at the hospital
  3. waiting for the results of a competition
  4. waiting in general for something to happen
  5. laying in bed with insomnia
  6. having a really awkward conversation where most of the time is spent thinking of things to say to keep the silence from deadening my brain
  7. having a conversation with one of the Kardashians
  8. watching "Repo: The Genetic Opera"
  9. doing chores
  10. doing homework / studying
Things That Make Time Speed Up:
  1. having a good time
  2. sleeping
  3. having a lot of things to do
  4. taking a well-deserved break (they never seemed to last long enough)
  5. going on vacation
  6. surfing the internet / checking facebook
  7. watching a movie
  8. performing in a show
  9. deadlines
  10. caffeine
And the winners are...... Drum roll, please!

Slowest:
laying in bed with insomnia

Fastest:
sleeping

And there we have it! Can you think of anything else? I was starting to run out of ideas at the end of each list.

In other news, I went and saw Date Night on Saturday night with a close friend of mine. Expect a review soon! :)

Peace.
Stef.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Remember how...

I said that I was neurotic and would probably come running back to you after my decision to disregard all vibes from Boy that I may or may not have been feeling?

Well, that time has come, and I must say it's come much more quickly than I had anticipated.

This is the face I'm making right now:

This is me... except, I'd be making
this face in girl form, of course.


This is not what I wanted. At all. I wanted so badly for things just to be normal. That's all. Normal.

What was I thinking?? Why on earth did I expect to just push these feelings aside and pretend that they didn't exist?? In truth, it just exacerbated them. I was suppressing all of it, and then boom! The problem increased tenfold.

I was talking to a friend of mine last night, and I said something of myself that I needed to hear:

"I need to stop being a neurotic little crapazoid."

Now, I'm not entirely sure what a 'crapazoid' is, but I'm sure it's entirely applicable to my behavior.

Here's the thing. The other night, after a concert at my University, Boy and I sat outside and talked for three hours. THREE HOURS. I didn't get home until midnight.

Really? I mean... really? I'm officially dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I knew that spending more time with Boy would make Little Miss Brain go to places that I didn't really want her to visit, yet there I was, chatting gleefully away. Meanwhile, Little Miss Brain up in my cranium was going nuts. I even had a moment of panic.

Somehow, we got onto the topic of how men think differently than women, and I was talking about how I frequently have 1 bajillion things going through my mind at any period of time. He looked at me and said, "What's on your mind now?" and pointed at me, expecting an immediate answer.

I wanted to play along with the little game, but the only things swimming through Little Miss Brain were Does Boy have feelings for me? Do I have feelings for Boy? Why can't I just read Boy's mind? Why can't Little Miss Brain make up her mind? and other such crazy-talk. I absolutely could not utter those things! He would surely have run away screaming with his hands flailing in the air. And that most definitely is not a good reaction.

I have a terrible feeling that things are going to be coming to a head soon, and I am terrified of the outcome.

Or maybe... just maybe things will dissipate, and all will return to normal. I'm holding out for the latter.

Peace.
Stef.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Red, Yellow, Blue, & More

Exercise #141 : "Red, Yellow, Blue, & More"

This exercise is to strengthen your ability to visualize colors and objects. Name a red object (i.e. a red wagon or a cherry). Name a yellow object, a blue object. Go through all of the following colors: lavender, orange, pink, brown, black, white, turquoise, silver, gold, purple, orange, raspberry, magenta, green, and then add at least three more colors of three more objects.


When I was in elementary school, I had an art teacher - Mrs. Henderson - who would cycle through a particular list of colors whenever we were getting too loud in class. She had a really thick southern accent, so everything came out sounding hilarious to us, and I still mimic her to this day.

"Muhjintuhhhh," she'd begin. "Shartroooooze... Fyooooooshuhhhh..." and we'd all close our mouths and attend to our current artwork in progress.

I don't know why, but it always stuck with me. That and the fact that when she said kiln (for when we worked on pottery) it always sounded like she was saying "kill." Kind of scary for an elementary school kiddo. Killer kiln on the loose!! Everyone duck and cover!

Anyways, GO!!
  • red - a fire engine
  • yellow - the sun or a daffodil
  • blue - the sky or the water in the Bahamas
  • lavender - um... lavender!
  • orange - a basketball
  • pink - a kitten's nose
  • brown - a brown recluse or wood
  • black - a black widow ... ooh, scary
  • white - the doors and windows of my house
  • turquoise - an Indian bead
  • silver - all of my rings and jewelry, really
  • gold - my Mom's wedding ring
  • purple - a king's robes
  • raspberry - the pimp's disco-tastic leisure suite from by my apartment in New York
  • magenta - 80's lipstick
  • green - my eyes!
  • chartreuse - 80's prom dress
  • burnt umber - umm... burnt... umber?
  • cerulean - one of my favorite shirts... yummy
  • fuchsia - this flower ----->
END

Yay for pretty pictures. :)

Can anyone else think of other things to correlate with these colors? Or can you think of other colors?

Off to do some homework. Have a lovely day!

Peace.
Stef.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Not Enough

Exercise #140 : "Not Enough"

The Tao Te Ching says, "To know you have enough is to be rich." What does your character not have enough of? Make a list.

This exercise makes me think of this quote:


It's a good one, eh? I've always liked it. I also like the aesthetic of the artwork. It gives a feeling of hastiness and rashness that I believe further supports the need to own what we see immediately. Good job, Hugh, whoever you are.

1,2,3, GO!
  • gumption - There's a movie starring Kate Winslet as Iris called The Holiday in which she meets this old man, Arthur, who is actually a successful, Oscar-winning screenwriter straight from the Golden Age of Hollywood. In a pivotal scene, the two are out having dinner, and he asks her why she doesn't behave like the leading lady of her own life.
He says, "Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies, and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you're behaving like the best friend."

Iris responds, "You're so right. You're supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God's sake. Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained anything to me that well. That was brilliant." She takes a pause. "Brutal, but brilliant. Thank you."

Throughout the movie, Arthur encourages Iris to mimic the leading ladies from old movies. Irene Dunne, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford... It is this "gumption" that my main character needs to find. She is moving blissfully through life without having to do much other than wake up every day. Thankfully, circumstances force her to do more than wake up, but she still needs to grow a good bit.
  • She also doesn't have enough adversity in her life. This ties in to the gumption thing, but, as I said before, her life has always come easily mainly because of her father's wealth. It might seem like a stretch, but it is adversity that shapes a person. It's how they deal with it that really forms their character.

  • She needs a sense of humor. Fo' realz, yo. My MC is boring. Ok, maybe boring is a bit harsh, but she takes everything so seriously. Her coping mechanisms are intense, and she always seems to have a stick up her butt about something at any moment in time. So she just needs to relax and laugh a little.
Five minutes up already? Whoops. I meant to come up with more than just that. I guess it's my own fault for being so verbose on the first bullet point.

Speaking of verbose, I have a funny story... kind of. It's an anecdote from my childhood.

As a little girl, specifically in English class, I frequently tried to wow my classmates with my mature vocabulary and frequently would use words that, in truth, I had no idea what they meant. Verbose was one of those words. I had an idea of what it meant, but I thought it made me sound smart, so I used it.

"Not to be verbose, but-" I said haughtily, but my teacher interrupted me. It was a blessing in disguise, because I had no idea what I was going to say next.

"Stefanie," she said, "would you care to let the class know what verbose means?" She wasn't doing this to make me feel stupid, but I did this frequently. My classmates would look at me with their eyes all glazed over. There goes Stefanie again.

For a moment, I panicked. What in the hell does verbose mean? Of course, I thought in much less crude terms, being a young'n. I had no idea what to say, so I just blurted something out.

"Well," I began a bit too confidently, "it means when you say a lot."

My teacher smiled. "Right. Now what were you going to say?" Whew! I pulled that one out of my ass. Good thing I've always been talented in the skill of b.s.

The rest of the class went on as normal.

Funny. I haven't thought of that story in a very long time, but it just popped into my head. Man, I was such a self-important little spitfire! I was always right, and no one could convince me otherwise. Now, I tend to be a little proud even nowadays, but I've gotten so much better. It's something that I really took it upon myself to work on. No one likes to be around a Proud Patty. She's oppressive and all sorts of annoying.

Well, this post is long enough. I hope everyone had a lovely Easter!

Peace.
Stef.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Shutter Island: A Review

I knew what was going to happpen within 20 minutes of the movie.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In my honest yet humble opinion, I am a firm believer that Leonardo DiCaprio can do no wrong, but maybe that's just me...

In all seriousness, however, let's get on with the review. If you don't want the story to be spoiled, stop reading right this second and check out this hilarious blog that I just found the other day:

Hyperbole and a Half - It's seriously hilarious.

Moving on...

To say that I knew what was going to happen within the first 20 minutes might be a slight overstatement. Not by much, but still.

First, let's talk about the actors. As I expressed earlier, I am a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and have sincerely enjoyed watching him grow up on screen, honing his acting craft to become an extremely talented and skilled actor to be reckoned with. His performance as Teddy Daniels was completely believable, and even later, once we've discovered that he's mentally ill, he fully encompasses his character. I don't doubt for a second that he believes the world that he has created for himself. But I'm getting ahead of myself.


Sigh... So. Pretty. (Even if he is grimacing!)

At the beginning of the movie, Teddy Daniels, a US Marshall, joins his brand new partner, Chuck Aule, on a ferry that is taking them to a hospital designed to treat the criminally insane. A woman, Rachel Solando, has inexplicably escaped, and their job is to find her. She is a delusional woman, guilty of drowning her three children after her husband is killed, and she believes that, in spite of the fact that she is living in this asylum, she is still inhabiting her old home. To her, all of the doctors and staff are postmen, delivery men, etc.

Teddy and Chuck walk around the asylum (their firearms have been taken from them because they are not allowed to be packing heat while within the electrified hospital gates for safety purposes) and ask questions of the staff and somewhat functional patients, but everyone seems to be giving them the run-around. In fact, everyone seems to be out-right lying.

After a lot of snooping around and obligatory scary moments involving crazy people, Teddy finally makes his way to an enigmatic lighthouse which is located just outside the hospital because he believes it is the key to cracking this place wide open. He believes that they are experimenting on the patients by lobotomizing them or using other dangerous methods to quell the crazies, but exploration of the lighthouse only reveals that Teddy is not Teddy at all. Instead, he is Andrew Laeddis, a delusional former US Marshall who killed his wife after she, in a fit of mental illness, drowned their three children.

The whole movie was one of the largest role-playing exercises ever completed at the hospital, and it was all for Teddy / Andrew's benefit, to help him acknowledge and cope with the previous traumas in his life. His partner, Chuck, was actually his primary doctor, Dr. Shein. He had once before accepted his past, but immediately afterwards he regressed, almost as if his mind had re-set, incapable of dealing with his past. This role-playing was a final attempt to grasp Teddy / Andrew by the shoulders and pull him back into reality, and it works.


"My name is Andrew Laeddis, and I am here [the hospital] because I murdered my wife, Dolores, in the spring of ‘fifty-two after she drowned our three children." (paraphrase)

The next scene shows Teddy / Andrew sitting on the stoop of one of the hospital buildings, smoking. Chuck / Dr. Shein approaches him, and it is quickly apparent that Teddy has returned, and he is once again a paranoid US Marshall visiting the hospital in an attempt to blow the lid off of the place. One of the more puzzling lines of the movie, utteredy by Teddy, is as follows:


"Would you rather live the rest of your life as a monster or die as a good man?"

He says this just as he stands up and joins the orderlies as they motion for him to follow them. The audience then realizes that he is about to be lobotomized because the role-playing exercise failed.

So here's the question: Did Teddy actually regress at the end of the movie? Or did he make a choice to play the part of Teddy so that he would get a lobotomy? He couldn't handle what he had done and what his wife had done, so he made a choice after his second progression into sanity to pretend to be Teddy in hopes of dying "as a good man." I don't know, but it's totally trippy.

All in all, the acting was top-notch. Ben Kingsley was excellent as the head of the hospital, but who expects anything but excellence from him anyway? It wasn't only Kingsley, though. Every single actor was spot-on, completely present, and absolutely believable. During the middle of the movie, I kept catching myself thinking as if these people were actually mentally ill. That's the trademark of a job well-done, says I!

Another thing I really enjoyed about this movie was the soundtrack. It was entirely comprised of 20th century composers, and each piece fit the mood of the film so well. Of course, being 20th century music, some of it was really minimalist and simple, but, once again, the feel of each piece complemented the action perfectly.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure I'll go out and buy this movie, but it was incredibly enjoyable. I recommend it if you're in the mood for a suspense / thriller. Even though I essentially figured out the ending, there were still pieces of the puzzle that I didn't figure out until the last minute.

END RESULT: If you don't want to pay the money to go see it in the theaters, rent it for sure. It's a trippy ride to say the least. Trippy and all sorts of entertaining.

Peace.
Stef.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

This is what I'm telling myself...

For those of you not up-to-date on my current romantic vibe woes, visit THIS POST and THIS POST to catch up with what's going on in my life.

I have made a decision.

There are no vibes. Plain and simple.

That's what I'm telling myself, at least. And I'm going to believe it. That's just how it needs to be.

These vibes, or lack thereof, have made me get all bajiggity and awkward, and I simply don't want that. I just want to enjoy spending time with this guy without letting myself look too far into something that, at the end of the day, doesn't really matter. If something comes out of our friendship, then so be it, but I'm not looking for anything right now.

Knowing my neurotic little self, I'll probably come back to you guys and complain about what the hell I was thinking or why I can't tell what he's thinking, but for right now I'm content in the fact that we are just friends.

Glorious.


Peace.
Stef.

A Body of Water

Exercise #139 : "A Body of Water"

Imagine a body of water. This might be a lake, or a pond, or a rushing river - it can be anything. What do you see in your mind? Describe the body of water in detail - detail that addresses all of the senses. What colors do you see? Lights and shadows? Sounds? Smells? Textures? How does it feel on your skin? What is in it, near it, above it? In the remaining minute, jot down the feelings this body of water evokes - either in you or in a character.

1,2,3, GO!!

There is a medium-sized pond on my Dad's farm land that I absolutely love. Sure, during the summer it is inhabited by annoying mosquitoes and generally humid weather, but it is gorgeous. One side of the pond is completely open, but on the other side, there is this glorious canopy of tree branches that perfectly frame a little walkway. It's so quaint that I can't even stand it. Tufts of dead grass shoot from the water's edge, and small sprouts of some wheat-like plant sparsely decorate the surrounding earth.

The water is generally calm, but every once in a while, a fish - a catfish, maybe - jubilantly rejoicing in the simple life (or at least that's what I tell myself they're doing), jumps into the air and splashes back in, causing a large ripple to form and slowly spread across the surface. The sound interrupts an otherwise ambient silence filled with the noises you don't usually notice: crickets chirping, branches swaying in the gently blowing wind, etc.

On the back side of the pond, there is a pump, but whenever I'm there it's not activated. To be completely honest, I'm not sure what it's used for.

I love this place. It instills an immediate sense of calm and oneness with nature within me whenever I'm there. Nothing can harm me, and I can do whatever I want. There's no one there to judge me for talking out loud to myself as I walk along the branch-covered walkway, and I am free. The world would be a better place if everyone spent some time in a place like that at least once a week.

END.

Now I want to go to my Dad's farm land. He's had it for years, but due to time limitations I have simply been unable to go as much as I would like. Dad hasn't even been able to get up there as much as he wanted, but he does make sure to stop by whenever the turkey and deer seasons roll around.

Don't worry, folks. Dad does not hunt for sport. When he kills something, he takes it home, and we eat it. Nom nom nom. Wild turkey and venison are scrum-diddly-umptious.

Anyways, time for me to go away. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

Peace.
Stef.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Self, Meet... Well... Yourself

Merriam-Webster defines neurosis as
a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, does not result in disturbance of the use of language, and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances (as visceral symptoms, anxieties, or phobias).
Ok, so maybe she's not as bad as they come, but she's pretty high up there in the list of those affected.

To get to the point, I have come to realize that I'm much more neurotic than I have ever given myself credit for. I'm not sure when or how it happened, but it did. Throughout the show, Elliot drives herself crazy in each relationship she enters because she overthinks and obsesses about every tiny little thing. Why did he act this way? That way? He hates me, I know it. I just know it! Why am I even trying to be in a relationship with him when he hates me?!?! AAAAAHHHHHH! Ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

I remember watching the show and thinking, Oh, my goodness. This woman's head is going to explode! How can anyone stand her? Of course, after a few episodes, I grew to love Elliot and her neurosis, but lately, I've been seeing a bit of this in myself.

No, not just a bit. A lot.

I like to consider myself as a pretty level-headed person. I base my actions on carefully thought-out, logical facts. However, I have recently come to realize that this is completely wrong. In truth, I am completely and utterly nuts-o. Really and truly a headcase (don't worry, I'm still mildly functional in society).

When did this happen? I don't really know. I don't remember being as crazy a couple of years back...

Oh. My. Goodness. It just hit me!

So if you've been reading this blog for a long time, you'll know that last year was really difficult for me. I finally acknowledged the facts that a) I was severely depressed and b) needed help coping with it from a professional. I started seeing a therapist who put me on Welbutrin (generic bupoprion). I stayed on it for a year, but when I got mono, I stopped it so I could focus on getting better without all of the drugs in my system. I was pleased to discover that I didn't need to take it anymore, so I've been off of it ever since.

Before my meetings with my therapist and the bupoprion, I was a zombie. I would wake up in the mornings and attend class, but I would not be present emotionally. I spoke to no one and did nothing other than what was required of me academically. Sometimes I didn't even do that.

I can't even tell you when it started. If I were forced to choose an onset period, I'd wager that it all began while I lived in New York during 2005 or 6, but it may have been longer. At any rate, that means I was essentially numb emotionally for approximately 3-4 years.

I'm thinking that I've finally reached the point where I'm allowing myself to feel... really feel. I'm allowed to do that, you know. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. As a result, these emotions are slowly creeping back into my life, and I'm allowing myself to recognize them.

Hey, that's a great thing!!! :)

So why am I obsessing over it now? Well, I'll tell you.

If you remember back a few posts where I was asking your advice on a certain boy-related issue, it's still based on that same problem. I'm still getting these vibes from him, and I still think that it might possibly be wishful thinking.

I found out the other day that this guy might have a special ladyfriend, and I was actually happy of the prospect of him going out with someone. That meant that I was, in fact, making up the vibes and overreacting to nothing. It was a golden day, because I had been freed from this weird thought process that kept bouncing around in my head. Does he like me? Do I like him? Golly Moses, nothing makes sense anymore! Oh, God, Oh, God, Oh, God!!

I'm sure you've noticed that I am referring to all of this in the past tense. That's because things have changed. Ugh.

Expressing my excitement about this possible girl in his life, he tells me that "it's a bust" and that she turned him down (what a dumb, dumb girl). Now, I'm still "free" at this point, thinking that, if he was interested in this other girl, that there was no way he could still be having thoughts about me, so I asked him if he wanted to go see a movie with me later in the week. We've had the end of the week (Thursday and Friday) off from school because of the holiday weekend so we had some evenings free to hang out, and I thought it would be fun now that the weirdness was gone.

We decided to see Shutter Island with Leonardo di Caprio and Ben Kingsley (expect a review from me in the next few days), and he calls me the day of to see if it's ok if he brings some other friends with him. I have access to 4 free tickets care of my ex who works at the theater, so I could take 3 people in with me for free. At first, I was a little bummed because I was hoping to spend some time one-on-one with him, but then I thought Why do I need alone time?? C'mon, Stef! That's old news. Get over it! and moved on. Not only that, but I really enjoy one of the other people who came with him, so I was excited to get to spend some time with all of them.

So we got to the movie theater, and I retrieved the tickets. Two of the other guys decided, however, to go see Clash of the Titans instead of Shutter Island because they had both seen the latter already. That means that Previous-Vibes-Guy and I were going to see the movie by ourselves. That was fine with me. Except for the fact that I was starting to feel the vibes again. I brushed them off a few times, but I simply cannot be making them up! Or maybe I am... Man alive, I don't know.

This is where the neurotic behavior comes in, if you hadn't guessed already.

Throughout the entire movie, there was pretty much constant contact. Nothing overt like holding hands or anything, but it was subtle leaning so that our shoulders grazed slightly, etc. And it wasn't just me doing it! I swear! Gahhhhhhh...

So I'm still in limbo-land and unsure of what to do. I also still have no idea whether or not I like it.

Shoot me in the face, please.

Peace.
Stef.

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