Sunday, December 28, 2008

Drive With the Windows Down

It's a wonderful experience. I was in PA this weekend for the wedding of my friend Becky Robbins (now Beer), and I drove back today. Sadly, Philly, Wilmington, Baltimore, D.C., AND Richmond were all on my way. The traffic is always atrocious, so I looked up back roads. I drove down through Delaware and Maryland, over bridges and through tunnels, rain at sunset and after dark. I forgot how much I love driving by myself; living in the city kind of negates that activity. I'll have several trips this spring though, so I'll have plenty of time for contemplation and music and sunsets.

I meant for this to be a long, chatty, romantic blog, but I'm watching Anne of Green Gables and I am entirely absorbed. Farewell!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! and A Review: The Eight

Before I get to the description of The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, I would like you all to understand what an amazing thing just happened. I was popping M&Ms while waiting for some music to download. Being the OCD person that I am, I was, of course, eating an even number at a time. I had four in my hand, when I looked down. Lo and behold, TWO orange and TWO blue!! I didn't even choose them! They just arranged themselves according to my preferences. It was a Christmas miracle, I'm sure.

On a sad note, which still has to do with theatre, playwright Harold Pinter has died. To be honest, I had no idea who he was until today, but he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2005, and he wrote a play that I have long looked forward to seeing, The Dumb Waiter.

Anyways, last Friday night was the last Philly RA outing. We went to dinner and then to the Society Hill Playhouse in South Philly, where they were performing The Eight for I think the third year in a row. I knew that it would be risque, to say the least, and it really wasn't that bad, except for Cupid. The premise of the play is that Santa is a horrible pervert who molests the reindeer. Some don't let him get away with it, some do and like it, and some do and are horribly scarred. Supposedly, Rudolph is no longer involved in the Christmas run because he is horrifyingly and permanently scarred from his experiences with Santa.

I know exactly what you're thinking. Comedy? Not so much. But going into the play, it does seem like it will be full of sexual humor that makes you a bit uncomfortable but is ultimately amusing. Seeing the personalities of the "deer" is very funny, and the idea of Santa as a pervert is, you must admit, not entirely alien. It is a little creepy, particularly to the young adult age group of which I am a part, that kids line up to sit on a jolly old man's lap.

Dasher, a pseudo-gangsta in a track suit with a Jersey(?) accent, mentions in passing the controversy that is the center of the play, but, as the lead reindeer, is more concerned with rescuing his reputation from the one year when Rudolph, the one-hit wonder, took his place. Cupid, the only "openly gay" reindeer, admits to enjoying Santa and Mrs. Clause's bawdy lifestyle. Blitzen, a feminist type, descries the discrimination and exploitation that takes place at the North Pole. Her character gives a hint to the later, more serious content with allusions made to a lawsuit that Vixen is bringing against Santa Clause.Prancer, whose real name is "Hollywood" apparently, has an amusing monologue on the commercialization of Christmas, and how the classic claymation Rudolph movie discriminated against any other reindeer who wanted to pursue a career in entertainment. Dancer told a sad story of her life of ballet, which was ended when the discrimination, and even racism, against reindeer in the human world became too dangerous. All the reindeer make subtle comments to the controversy caused by Vixen's accusations against Santa Clause, but none are specific. Comet, a Latino former gang member, is the only firmly pro-Santa reindeer. He claims that Santa saved him from the violent gang lifestyle and kept him on the straight and narrow. He appeals to the traditional viewpoint that Santa couldn't possibly do anything slightly perverted because he is simply Santa. Such a great institution who has done so much good in the world couldn't possibly be a menace. Donner, Rudolph's father, is the last monologue before Vixen, and he finally expounds on the strange story of Rudolph. Donner was an out-of-work herd deer, with a mentally challenged son who had no hope of acceptance. Santa, as the song says, offered Rudolph a chance to lead the sleigh on Christmas night, but in the play, he offered Donner a position on the team as well, for the high price of surrender to his perversion. Donner shakily described listening to Rudolph's screams from the other room, but defends his decision with the knowledge that his family would never have to go hungry again or feel unaccepted or unsuccessful.

The play opens firmly as a comedy, but even in the early monologues, Cupid for example, there are jokes and allusions which feel wrong. There was a point when Cupid was screaming in the most effeminate way possible about how the holidays are worse for dysfunctional families, and the audience laughed, but hesitantly. Reindeer with personalities ought to be a hilarious premise, but the jokes about Santa's sexual nature united with the stories about Rudolph's mental instability and the abuse taken by other, unknown reindeer to create a story for serious consideration.

Vixen is a young, beautiful and glamorous reindeer. She explained her situation, that she refused to stand by and let Santa do what he wanted with her, and why she spoke up, so that another Rudolph would not happen. Then, she explained why she was keeping quiet, not protesting beyond the lawsuit, which would undoubtedly be tossed out. Christmas, and Santa along with it, was an institution, and to continue to press charges would surely ruin Christmas for people all over the world. The play ends with Vixen moving to Florida, but not before she describes the ironic reception she has received as "Santa's attacker" in a profanity-laden but honest speech recalling the questions put to her in the trial. Questions concerning her sexual history and whether or not she may have 'invited' the sexual interaction with Santa.

Walking back to the car with my friends after the show, we all couldn't really make up our minds. It was something that had to be processed. We knew that it was funny at some points, and serious at others, but I didn't really know which I wanted it to be more. My friend Jon made a good point when he said that he would have been upset if they treated a subject like rape as a comedic opportunity. At the same time, the entire setting for the show, reindeer at the North Pole, is somewhat ludicrous, and it's hard not to be a little bit annoyed that I couldn't just sit back and enjoy the over the top personalities of the actors. The balance between comedy and tragedy is confusing, and even a week later, I haven't fully processed what it says about Christmas, Santa and cultural revolution (as in revolving around, not rebellion revolution) around the two intertwined.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Life Thus Far

Iiiiiiiiiiii should talk about what I'm doing. I haven't written a decent post in a while. And I bugged my friend Dave into updating, so if I don't, I would be a hypocrite.

And this last sentence has been sitting for the past...hour maybe? I'm so completely unmotivated.

As a side note: The line "Run, August, run!" is horrible. What were they thinking??

Sooo, last week was finals. I took my roommate to the bus station last Monday so she could fly home to Vietanam for break. She made it home fine, of course, and now she gets to enjoy her family for the first time in a year and a half! Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty much all spent on planning and writing my final paper for 19th c. American Fiction. It involved minimal sleep. Also the final from hell, Medieval Literature, was on Wednesday. Thursday there were no finals, so there was much sleep involved, but I woke up feeling rather odd. I managed to delay studying for my two relatively straight forward history finals until 4ish, but by that time I was shivering, and clearly had the flu or something similar. I crawled into bed and did the obvious: called my mom. Friends got medicine and various necessities (Sprite, thank you Jon!) throughout the night, and I did study for several hours. My professors didn't offer me any alternative because their deadlines were Monday, so they really couldn't postpone the exam. I went to bed around 2, planning to get up at 6:30 to study some more...

...and woke up at

So the whole two finals thing didn't really happen. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. Fortunately, I have a very generous professor who knew that I was sick and, when I didn't show up for the final, emailed me saying that he would give me my average for the semester, a B. Wooo! My other professor agreed to do the same thing after a little begging.

So yeah, several hours of major stress. But really, how could I help it? I slept for 12 1/2 hours through two alarms and three phone calls. Clearly, I was ill.

Enough with that. It makes me cringe to think about my grade point average. I just have to put it out of my head, and determine to have no life for the next two semesters to make up for it.

So. Now that I'm done with that whole topic, I would like to describe my experience at The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, the show I saw with the Philly Res Life staff on Friday night, but, after all, it is break, and my brain is fried. I will have to continue this tomorrow. Hold me to that promise, because The Eight was a great show (I think). Good night!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's the Last Night

I should write a blog entry tonight. It's my last night in Philly. But I can't. It would be too much for me right now. Maybe later.

Sleep calls.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How Is This Possible?

Sometimes people (one certain person) amaze(s) me. In a wonderful, horrible, passionate, how-can-you-be-so-incredible kind of way. That's all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I had such a great idea for a blog yesterday in class, and I knew I should have written it down right then or I would forget it. Guess what happened?

I actually didn't forget it, but the inspiration is gone. Completely. Meaning the entry is slightly depressing and I wasn't so exhausted yesterday that it would depress me even more to write it, but that state of exhaustion is today the case. Late late nights studying. I think last night I just lay down when I was tired for 20 minutes to an hour, and then got up and started working again. In the end, though, I finished my paper in time to take a shower (yay for hot showers!) and rush to class.

Which brings me to my blog idea. I will attempt to do it justice. Today was the last day of classes, so now I study and write for finals, which start on Tuesday next week. Normally the end of the semester is a relief, because it means I get a break from the constant onslaught of academics and essays and just thinking. There is always sort of nostalgia that accompanies it, just because each class represents a mental journey that you took through the semester, but it's not too bad because (at my small school at least) I know I will see the professors and classmates again. Now that I'm going back to Grantham, the last day of class here at Temple really is the last day of class. The professors I've grown attached to or would like to take more classes with will not be at Messiah, and the guy I buy my lunch from every day is staying in Philadelphia.

This is such a military cliche, but I never thought I would intentionally and willingly move once I was out of my dad's house. That is in effect what I am doing. I could stay in the city if I wanted to, but I'm not. I am intentionally severing relationships in order to pursue opportunities in a different location. Of course, there are people I've met in Philly that are continuing to Grantham with me, and that's awesome. It would be even worse if everyone was staying here and I had to leave. But they're not, so it's ok.

Also I'm tired now, so this entry is over. Bye!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dangerous Things


So I put my life in danger tonight for the sake of my friends.

Meaning I went ice skating so I could hang out with my friends. Exact same thing, really. But honestly, my knee is sore from my one fall. This guy attacked me. But don't worry, I made sure he fell too :/

I had a good bit of fun today. After class, I got a sandwich and read Fellowship of the Ring for a little bit. Frodo had just woken up in Rivendell, and he has now just met Bilbo again. I wanted to keep reading, but I needed sleep. Also, I skipped dinner for more sleep.

We (friends, etc.) then proceeded to the Franklin Institute, where we saw Narnia: The Exhibition. Truly, it was fun, but no revelations to be had. I would have been happier if the C.S. Lewis part was extended much more. But no worries, I will see the real thing in a little more than a year!

Ice skating came directly after Narnia, where I was dragged around the rink with friends on either side. I'm sure they thought I was pathetic in my terror, but they hid it well. Thanks guys!

Another dangerous thing I've been thinking about is committing my heart without trusting God for the results. I've got to keep telling myself that no matter what I would choose for myself and my future, God has something so much better for me. It's a cycle I recognize well now. I get excited about the possiblities and let myself dream, and then one thing doesn't go the way I want it to, and I'm thrown into despair and disappointment. I don't mean that I shouldn't dream, because I think that that capability is one of the best that humans have. It's just that sometimes we dream for things that might not be best for us, even if, at the time, it seems like that and that alone would make us happy beyond belief.

Umm, that's all for now I guess. I'll have a lot of time on my hands next week as classes are wrapping up. Let's see how well I can finish out this semester :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


ONE: I found a book that is not as good as the movie!!! I know of other such rare circumstances, but this is my first primary experience. The story under examination is The Devil Wears Prada. The movie is absolutely wonderful. I bought the book on Saturday, and I finished it on the plane back to the city yesterday. The best I can say about it is a shrug of the shoulders and "meh." Maybe the story, with its NYC and Paris setting and beautiful clothing, just lends itself to a film format.

TWO: I did not write the paper that was due in my Medieval Literature class. I got into that panicky, early morning, paper writing mood and emailed the TA, asking for an extension. She reminded me that the professor allows two grace days, neither of which I had used. YESSSSSS!! So, I've now outlined the paper, which I will write tomorrow. I really need/want to do well on this paper for two reasons. 1) I got a C+ on the first paper. That's all. 2) I've decided that I loathe much of what this class is about, particularly eight page poems rhapsodizing on the merits of an estate in the English countryside. If I do well on this paper on Henry IV (which I actually quite like), it is basically sticking it to the man (medieval poetry specifically) English-major style. That's a good thing.

THREE: (this doesn't really merit a number because it's not exactly an event, but whatever) For those of you who have not yet discovered how much of a dork I am, this will tell you down to the decimal. I am currently listening to Jingle Spells, a wizard rock Christmas compilation. Wizard rock (spelled wrock in the Harry Potter fandom)? Yes. Bands with names like Draco and the Malfoys or The Mudbloods. With Harry Potter themed songs. It's absolutely amazing. Jingle Spells was a compilation organized last year by the news website The Leaky Cauldron as a charity fundraiser. So on top of the amazing-ness of Harry Potter themed songs, they are also Christmas songs! Which makes for double joy in listening. Jingle Spells 2 is now on sale, but being poor, I'm hoping an iTunes gift card will be in my stocking or a sibling was wonderful enough to actually purchase the CD for me. We'll see what happens, but right now, I'm listening to The Whomping Willows rap about a Christmas party at Hogwarts.