Liebster Award Post

liebsterblogaward

I’d like to thank the Academy.

And especially Nicole Davis, for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Her blog is a lovely, honest collection of posts about suffering through chronic illness, so check her out!

Here’s how the game works:

The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules of the competition are as follows:

  • The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.
  • Provide 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions set by the person who nominated you.
  • Choose 11 more people and ask them 11 questions.

Now, get ready to learn a bit more than you wanted to about me…

 

11 Facts About Me

1. I have extreme anxiety around/fear of balloons. I don’t like them trying to shock me, and I think it hurts when they pop on me.

2. I started writing a fantasy book when I was a little kid. I thought it was going to change the world. But then Harry Potter books started coming out, and they were oddly similar to my stories. So I half-maintain that J.K. Rowling stole Harry Potter from me. I don’t know how she found my little first grader book without even a digital copy online or anywhere, but somehow she did.

3. My biggest goal in life is to make it to the Academy Awards someday. Ideally for a directing or writing nomination, but even just to be invited would feel like a huge accomplishment.

4. I hate having weekend plans. If I can look at the weekend and see no parties, no family get-togethers, no coffee meetups, and no fun, I think “Wa-hoo! I finally have time to get some work done!”

5. I have a crush on Alan Rickman. It’s inexplicable and irreversible. Especially Alan Rickman as Professor Snape. And that Die Hard movie he was in.

6. Chuck Palahniuk is my favorite author. Charlie Kaufman is my favorite screenwriter. Both of their influences together have hugely impacted the way I write, look at life, and see myself.

7. I’m in love with California. I’ve traveled to gazillions of cities in the world, but every time I end up in California it somehow feels like home. I hope to live there someday.

8. I don’t think Star Wars is that great.

9. I always want greasy Chinese food. Every second of every day.

10. I love to sleep. I would sleep 12 hours every day if I could.

11. The easiest way into my heart is expressing an interest in me. It doesn’t matter if you share none of the same values as me, seem like a creep, or whatever; if you ask questions about who I am and seem genuinely interested, I’m too flattered to not love you. This is definitely a curse of mine.

 

11 Questions for Me

1. What is your simple pleasure in life?

A cup of coffee. The way it tastes (especially if I splurge with a mocha), its warmth, and the hour it gives me of pure energy and clarity makes me happier than most things.

2. If you could talk to one dead person, who would it be? Why?

I would talk to John Lennon. I would ask as many questions as I could think of, and just listen to him. Even if I couldn’t think of questions to ask, I’d like to just sit by the dude for a while. He’s always been this major force in my life; maybe he’s a hero, or maybe just a fellow Libra. I just love him.

3. What is one thing you have lost that you wish you had back?

I lost my huge booklet full of Pokemon cards that I had as a kid. I have no idea where it went, and I wish I had it again. Not for any money value, but just so I could relive those glory days where my holographic Gyrados defined my worth as a human being.

4. If you were in your dream home, describe how the view from your back window would differ from your current view.

Definitely a beach. Preferably a public beach, but one that’s not too popular and only attracts maybe twenty people tops at a time. My view now is in the suburbs, which is all fine and good. But I’d rather be able to watch people during moments of their life that are different from the norm.

5. Do you share your blog with family/friends in real life?

I do not. I only share my posts with my boyfriend, and one friend of mine who is very clever with the Google and managed to find my blog on her own (you know who you are). I like to know that I can talk about what I want to talk about here freely.

6. Do you have any annoying habits?

The thing that my boyfriend hates the most about me is the way I eat finger foods. This only applies to finger foods that are “crumby,” such as chips, fries, and anything else with salt or other little particles. I can’t stand to have the stuff on my fingers for very long, so after every fry I take I’ll sprinkle my fingers over the basket to get the salt off. Then I’l take a drink. Repeat. He can’t stand that I have to sprinkle the salt back off after every fry. First world problems, am I right?

7. What habit do you find the most annoying in other people?

I have a real problem with sneezing. It all started when an old ex of mine used to sneeze like crazy after eating potatoes, sometimes to the point of throwing up his meal. Sneezing then became a stressful thing for both of us. Each sneeze was followed by cursing and anger. Now, every time I or someone else sneezes, all I experience is anger and stress. It’s kind of awful.

8. What is one life event you never saw coming?

My stepdad died really suddenly last summer. Besides losing a family member, it completely changed the way I had to treat my mom. She’s always been really strong, and was a single mom for a long time. But when she found my stepdad, we all thought  that she had finally found happiness and could finally settle down. Now she’s alone and much more dependent on me and my brother. Since we aren’t the type of people to talk about our feelings much, it’s taken some adjusting to get back into the swing of that kind of a relationship. But overall its been positive for us.

9. At what age did you truly grow up?

I remember experiencing a really significant mental shift at age 12. I don’t remember the circumstances around that time, but I do remember that it was extremely dramatic. To the point where I spent a whole week essentially reevaluating my whole life and everything I’d learned up to that point. I would think “What do I know about the dentist? Yesterday, the dentist was scary and I hate that little drill thing they use. But now I just realized the importance of going to the dentist, and when I think about the consequences of not going, I’d much rather go.” It was like my logical sense suddenly kicked in. That same week I also remember looking at my collection of childhood books and feeling really sad. Like I had just left the time when those were my books. It was a strange time.

10. If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be and why?

My younger self actually had a pretty impressive grip on what life was going to be like. If I said anything to my younger self, I would say “You’re right. Life is going to be really awesome.”

11. Tell us something that has made an impact on your life.

The story “The Nightmare Box” by Chuck Palahniuk. You’ll have to read it to know what I’m talking about.

 

11 Questions for My Nominees

1. Why do you write?

2. If you had to choose any movie to become the next hit Broadway musical, what would it be?

3. What method do you use to wake up on time in the mornings? Does it work?

4. Where is your favorite travel spot? Why would you recommend it to others?

5. Which Disney character that is NOT a prince or princess would you compare yourself to?

6. What is your deepest fear?

7. Describe your first kiss. (Or, your ideal first kiss.)

8. If your bucket list had to be narrowed down to one item, what would it be?

9. Which decade of the 20th century is the coolest?

10. If you had to write a screenplay to be produced, what would it be about? Who would the movie star?

11. What cheers you up, no matter what kind of mood you’re in?

 

And the 11 Nominees Are…

1. Out with Lanterns

2. PTSD~From the Inside Out

3. Kat Grant Freelance

4. AnieKSteph

5. piecesofkrystal

6. whyilovestuff

7. Off the Porch

8. palinodiae

9. doubleinvert

10. The Rollercoaster Ride of a fairly Boring Life

11. pens and musicnotes

 

Woot woot!

 

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A Partial List of My Awkward Celebrity Encounters

20140423-123050.jpgDespite all my plans to become a famous person, I really suck at interacting with famous people.

It is so awkward to me, having a run-in with a celebrity. I am torn between the obligation to say something to them, and having absolutely nothing original to say and thus the obligation to say nothing to them. I don’t talk to strangers without provocation, why should I talk to THE Tina Fey with nothing to talk about other than I LOVE YOUR WORK?

(I haven’t met Tina Fey, but if I did I think I wouldn’t get far enough to give her generic praise and would resort to making a huge physical and emotional mess of the space around us.)

No, in general I’d say that it’s better to maintain the semblance of normalcy and say nothing.

This is only a partial list of the times when this method did or did not work for me.

1. Andy Serkis

When Andy Serkis released his book about the process of creating Gollum for the LOTR movies, he came to my city as a part of his book tour.  I wanted very badly to talk to him, but was too afraid. So, instead of standing in line like a normal person, I got into the area behind his table (apparently security was very lax) and crept up to look at the back of his head.

The next day, I was barraged by family and friends calling to say they saw me on TV with Andy Serkis. The news people were filming right then, and caught me looking like a creeper/bodyguard behind the table.

So, win?

2. Ice-T

I saw Ice-T’s film “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap” at Sundance. I was sitting right in the front row/corner, which was directly next to where Ice-T stood at the mic for the Q&A afterwards. Being so close to him made me feel pressured to ask a question, since he could see my face and thus it would be more like a real conversation without me having to be creepy.

I spent the whole Q&A trying to think of a good question to ask, and the only ideas I came up with were “Was that your helicopter?” and “Do you have a helicopter?” I think that, in the end, it’s for the best that I didn’t ask any questions.

3. David Yost

David Yost was the Blue Power Ranger from the Morphin’ Power Ranger days. Normally my rule of thumb for dealing with celebrities holds, but I arrived at Comic Con wearing a Pink Power Ranger costume. So, this time, the obligation to speak to him was very very real.

He started the conversation first. “Hey, I like your costume.” I beamed. I said “Oh geez. I’m a huge fan. I’ve loved you since I was four years old.” His face fell a little bit, and his hairline receded a little bit more.

Later, the old Black Ranger actor passed me and called “Hey, nice costume!” I refused to say anything back. The Pink Ranger will break no more hearts this day.

4. Patrick Stewart

I know almost nothing that Patrick Stewart is in. I saw X-Men once, and have not seen Star Trek. And yet, his face off in the distance was so glorious to me.

I said absolutely nothing to Patrick Stewart. I got close enough to see his face, and that was that.

This, again, is for the best.

5. Daniel Radcliffe

Another Sundance encounter, but under much different circumstances. I was a volunteer at one of the Sundance theaters, and we were screening Daniel Radcliffe’s latest movie “Kill Your Darlings” to a packed auditorium. I was technically an employee, and even I shrieked a little bit when they told us Daniel was coming in for the Q&A.

I feel as though I grew up with Daniel Radcliffe. I was 11 when he was 11, and would have gone to Hogwarts with him if it hadn’t been for my Muggle parents. So to know that I was supposed to help “escort” him in, be so close to him but to remain silent and professional, was both exhilarating and heartbreaking.

I had so much to talk to him about. So many lost memories to fill him in on, so many moments I spent with him as a child that he has no idea about.

But I said nothing. He walked in with the whole team from the movie, and I had to do whatever I could to avoid eye contact with him.

(He was Harry Potter to a tee. He was giggly with his friends, yet quiet, shy, and polite with strangers. Heartbreaking.)

The director of the film, on the other hand, was extremely chatty. He struck up a conversation with me about how nervous he was that people might not like the movie, that he hoped nobody was disappointed. When I told him I saw the movie and loved it, he threw his arms around me and gave me a huge, long hug and thanked me.

So close, yet so far, from hugging Daniel.

Now that I sound like a creep, I would like you to share your celebrity encounter stories with me. Because I absolutely love them.

The more awkward, the better.

 

The Difference Between America and Europe

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Today I’ve been thinking about my first time to Europe as an American. I was 15 years old and totally out of my comfort zone. My emotions during that first week were a strange mixture of fear/awe/shock/comfort.

The trip was a week-long educational tour across a few European countries, so…. that’s why it only lasted a week. Duh.

I went back five years later, this time for two months. I studied Italian in Siena, with an apartment and normal school schedule every day alongside a bunch of American peers

That time, the fear/awe/shock/comfort lasted two months. DUH.

Two months isn’t a super long time, I know. Out of the two months and one week of my life I’ve spent on the continent, I guess it’s pretty understandable that I’ve never become quite settled in the European way.

At the same time, though, there were many moments and places that felt so comfortable it felt like a new and different home was instantly created. Especially in Italy. These are the things that I remember when the travel bug bites while I’m at work and I start looking up plane tickets, hoping to go back soon.

I’ve read lots of lists based on the main differences between Europe and the  US, from people much smarter than I am. Things like education, politics, etc. But from a simple person still not recovered from her culture shock, these are the main things I noticed about what makes Europe different.

1. Buildings are treasures. Every European city felt different. It looked, smelled, sounded different than any American city I’d ever visited. The day I realized this difference was the day I saw a Pizza Hut embedded into Shakespeare’s neighbor’s house. The buildings are ancient and beautiful everywhere you look. Even the dirt ingrained between every brick is magical. It’s like glitter.

2. Food is slow. You learn quickly that, to be able to survive off their small un-American portion sizes (the horror!), you have to eat verrry slowly. To be able to keep enjoying this pasta with bell peppers that taste unlike any other bell peppers you’ve ever tasted before and that you will never taste in America, you have to eat slowly. To be able to fill up the time that essentially everyone takes to close down their shops and just eat, you have to eat slowly. Soon, you wonder why you ever ate quickly, because it starts to seem like life is all about eating slowly.

3. People are fearless. While I generally dislike stereotypes, in my experience the people I met in France had the “appearance” of being “rude” and sometimes “terrifying” (I’m qualifying so much because I don’t want them to kill me). They are not afraid to get short with strangers, or speak their mind. My bump-in with my hotel matron was enough to scare me into never accidentally stealing hot chocolate ever again (I promise, accidental). In Italy, none of the boys were the least bit afraid of sexual rejection. A “no” would be met with laughs and lighthearted pats on the back from his friends. Although I am not a scary person in the least, I did realize that there is a sort of overall fear that governs the way strangers interact in the US.  I never felt this in Europe; if there was no language barrier dividing two people, there was always room for conversation (no matter how heated).

4. Nights are alive. During my study abroad, I ended up in Rome between the hours of 3-6 in the morning, trying to kill time. Being a traveler in Europe will hopefully afford you these kinds of situations: ending up in a city, spur-of-the-moment planning, and with nothing to do but to walk and see. While every city was beautiful, the nights were absolutely something else. I’m not sure if it’s the attention to lighting that these cities seem to have or the late-night musicians that choose to play for nobody in the wee hours of the morning, there is a suspicious sense of security in the dark there. There are less people, and its the city itself that comes alive in the night. That sounds like a cheesy cliched way of saying that it’s pretty cool, but this right here is the inexplicable difference between Europe and America. It’s a different planet, and you just have to see it for yourself.

 

 

How to Easily Produce 400 Pages of Writing a Day…?

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Writing is the worst. I love it so much that I hate every second of it.

Not only am I tasking myself to write blog posts as often as I can (that’s the easy part), I have an approaching deadline for one of the most complicated screenplays I’ve ever written. Needless to say, every time I sit down to write, I end up just watching cat videos and crying.

know they’re not sad, this is what I’m saying. My hatred of writing is a serious problem.

But I’m sure all you other writers can empathize. The Thomas Mann quote “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” most likely rings true. Those moments where I’m in the zone, so focused on my writing that I don’t even notice someone  has sent me an IM (a modern-day accomplishment), are the moments I live for. Even if all I’m writing is crap, those times when I experience absolute concentration are blissful. 

But getting there is so. damn. hard.

This is not me giving you any advice, I’m afraid. I don’t have any to give, because I’m a terrible writer. This is not even me trying to promote cheap discussion. This is me begging you for help. Pity me.

What are your methods? What do you do to stay concentrated?

 

The Hardest Part of My Day: A JT Love Story

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This is a story about a girl.

This girl has first world problems.

And this girl just decided she doesn’t want to write this story in third person.

So, anyway. I was listening to some JT today, pumping through my busy work, generally and metaphorically wading through the songs’ pretty alright verses and choruses to get to some of the sick, sick breakdowns.

That’s what blows my mind about Justin Timberlake. He’s talented. His songs are catchy. But his breakdowns. Mercy. I always anticipate the end of every song. I only ever listen to Mirrors to get to the breakdown because, as much as I hate Mirrors, the breakdown makes me want to weep.

I hadn’t listened much to his FutureSex/LoveSound album, so I was giving that a try today. Two things happened: 1) I have a new favorite JT song. And 2) I’m going to slap whoever is responsible for this album.

The song? Well technically, it’s called “Medley: Sexy Ladies/Let Me Talk to You (Prelude),” but that’s just stupid.

So instead, we’ll call it “Cowbell Sexy.”

Cowbell Sexy takes up the last bit of the song, which would make it appear to be the breakdown. But, it’s not. It’s actually a type of prelude/remix of the more popular song “My Love.” Which is the next song. On its own track.

Cowbell Sexy has nothing to do with the first part of the song. In fact, the first part of the song is actually not very good. It’s boring. Not catchy at all. One of my least favorite JT songs. It drawls on for about 3:45 minutes, and then?

A hard stop.

Not a choreographed transition.

A literal moment of silence. Awkward, painful, pungent.

And then it goes into Cowbell Sexy. Like nothing ever happened, and no idiot ever made that horrible, horrible decision to combine those two unrelated songs on one track.

So, what does this mean for my day?

I have to listen to 3:45 minutes of shit to get to my 1:00 favorite song.

I’m so sorry JT. I love you. But you need to talk to your manager or something and get this album you released eight years ago fixed, or I’m going to talk to him for you.

You ruined my day.

I love you.

 

My 5 Big Beefs with Busy Work

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Does my writing look infected to you?

I hate to be one of “those people,” but work has gotten in the way of all my passions and dreams a little bit. I’m in a position that’s brand new to my company, which means I have to work my ass off to “impress” them. If I don’t impress them, then I probably lose my imaginary job and have to live a life of wandering and pursuing said passions and dreams and eventually lose all sense of material worth and that which society deems me responsible to be and live on a beach.

And, thus, I work ’til I’m fried.

The amount of work I’ve done every day, and the nature of quite a bit of the work I’ve done, is mind numbing. It requires incredible focus, speed, and just a pinch of creativity that can be at times hard to access when my brain gets too hot. And really, no matter what you’re doing, if you have to work off of eight Word documents open at a time, your brain is a little bit just like “FUCK IT.”

Which got me thinking the other day (or what little thinking I could do during my hour of “quiet time:” if you can’t visualize it, it’s me sitting with my hands propping up my forehead and staring unblinking at the wood fibers of my desk, like a turtle with a mildly boring but still quite traumatic Vietnam flashback):

I wonder if I’m incurring brain damage every time I get to this point.

What’s more, get to this point for the sake of dispassionate, formulaic, protocol busy work.

I’m sure there’s an article somewhere on the internet titled “Busy Work will Kill Your Brain.” I could just do a Google search to see, but I’m too tired. I could also just use that title for this article and make it up as I go along. But I’m too tired to do that, too.

These are my five biggest beefs with how much busy work consumes my life, and why it must go.

1. Brain cancer. This is how it will kill your brain. With brain cancer. I’m assuming.

2. Wasted time. Every moment I spend filling in fields with data is a moment I could have spent filling in fields of my screenplay with character names that seem normal but actually mean something in Latin that defines their character similar to but not quite the same as George Lucas once did.

3. Gives me permission to be lazy. Shit, I’ll be lazy any chance I get. And that’s the problem. While I’m working hard, I’m giving the creative and logical parts of my brain a break, at times for way too long when I’m engaging in busy work. I want to be exercising those bits of myself almost constantly, only giving my motor functions a break every now and again.

4. Little impact on the world. I save no lives doing busy work. In fact, even the client I’m filling out information for will probably only glance at it and then make a grunting noise and then do something else. That’s pretty sickening.

5. Doesn’t let me watch Netflix. Wait….what?

Here is where I spin you for a loop and tell you the argument I’m really making here. Busy work is not okay. UNLESS, it’s so mind numbing that I can watch Netflix effectively while I’m doing it.

Ta-da.

Did I fool you? Or do you agree?