Wednesday, July 16, 2008

it downright shocks me, at times,

the personal information i'm apparently willing to share with people i've only just met. my mouth flies open and words come out of it that i have previously had difficulty even formulating to myself. scandalous.

other times, i'm a fucking clam, and that's not a conscious choice, either.

contemplating one's flaws is far more pleasurable in the summertime, i've discovered. seriously. an iced mocha, a sunny stoop, and some light navel-gazing? best show in town.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

my innate cheekiness leads me

to sometimes reply to the subtext, rather than the actual statement, in a conversation. i don't even always know i'm doing it. people don't tend to like that - understandably, i suppose.

it's worst, though, when i reply to the wrong subtext and get that blank stare, telling me i've missed the mark by the length of a ball field. i think i may have myself convinced i read people far better than i really do.
should just learn to accept that some people, as far as i'm concerned, might as well be dusty scrolls written in sanskrit.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

we're sipping drinks

on the triangle patio after rehearsal and we're talking about clutter. you know, the stuff amassed in the back of your closet. old pictures, letters, boxes full of sentimental garbage... to ditch or to keep? all those in favor of 'ditch' raise their hands. i'm not one of them.

not that i'm a pack rat. anyone who's ever been to my apartment knows i travel light. but if i were to collect the essential pieces of my life in a bundle and hang it on a hobo stick, 90% would consist of keepsake shit with no real value to anybody else. i like to carry my history around with me.

"but, you know, tossing all that clutter is so much more liberating. memories are contained within you - why would you want to cling to the physical manifestations? it doesn't make sense. it's only what society's telling you you should do."

"on the contrary, society tells you you shouldn't do it. there's a mass culture of self-help books out there preaching the virtues of 'letting go' and 'moving beyond'... i think what you're talking about is the bastard child of basic denial and a materialism-is-the-root-of-all-evil notion. if you truly learn from and grow with your past, then why this ritualistic need to purge yourself of its reminders?"

"umm, well. it's just a way to... start with a clean slate, i guess. who wants to look at old love letters from people they don't even care to remember?"

"i do. it reminds me why i don't care to remember them."

"do you really need the letter to remind you, though?"

"yes, sometimes. for the most part, i don't actively remember them. i think that says more about having truly gotten over something."

there is more to it than that, but i get the sense i've said enough - the conversation reaches a halt and i realize there will be no consensus, and no consensus is needed. people have different ways of dealing with their past. theirs is just as valid as mine.

besides, i don't really expect anyone to fully share my taste for nostalgia. most people only like to reminisce about the good moments, the happy golden snapshots of times gone by, and i'm exactly the opposite. it's the sad moments i want to remember the best. it may seem a little backwards, but i've always been of the opinion that this is actually healthier, and makes me more of a natural optimist.

healthier how?? well, i'm in no danger of getting stuck on the past, for one. i don't miss anything about it. in keeping a memory bank of my unfortunate experiences - and the negative aspects of certain choices i made - i appreciate my nows that much more, and look forward to everything new that is to come. a friend told me last week, in an entirely unrelated context, that he's impressed with how well i deal with change - where he himself wishes for same-ness and stability. i do take a certain amount of pride in that, whether or not i should. i gamble a lot with the life decisions i make - financially, emotionally, and in every other way. i burn, i heal, i go back for more. it never stops. thank god it never stops.

but yes, i like the reminders. they're tiny imprints in time of all the different people i used to be and am not anymore. i like having a connect-the-dots map of where i went before. and maybe, in the end, it's a cultural issue as well: one of the things that forever sets me apart from those around me who grew up on this continent, with its default ideals and sentiments. or maybe not. but the concept of needing to exorcise bad memories in order to "move on" from them seems a very westernized pop-psychological party trick to me. no?

the aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware; joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.
~ henry miller

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

yes. this is just how i

remember it: the exact moment in the process where you start seeing texture. it's a little oasis of feel-good in a gruelling desert of repetitious work and logistical torture.

do you know what i mean? someone out there surely does. putting together a show is such an emotional rollercoaster - from the first wave of excitement over the gorgeous unfamiliarity of a new script, straight through to opening night anxiety attacks. here's the basic structure i have found is rarely deviated from:

stage 1 - unbridled enthusiasm
stage 2 - terrifying chaos
stage 3 - hard fucking work
stage 4 - TEXTURE! hooray.
stage 5 - more hard fucking work
stage 6 - sudden paralyzing fear over timeframe; second-guessing choices made thus far; second-guessing entire vocation
stage 7 - annoying, obsessive nitpickery
stage 8 - mad scramble
stage 9 - pre-opening nerves/excitement
stage 10 - opening night; happiest moment of life; desire to drink all the booze in the entire world.

and today, today today, i realized i've hit stage 4 and there was something so great about that. so reassuring, especially in anticipation of the scary territory from here on in. it just helps remind me that these are all perfectly natural phases of what i do. and that, when i do start losing my mind over deadlines not met and props not procured, that will be natural, too.

but perhaps the most gratifying part is actually watching that texture emerge for the very first time, in a very physical sense. you're never prepared for it. everything takes on a new quality of life and the artificial reality you've been so painstakingly constructing is suddenly so complete, so overwhelming... it sent chills down my spine and made my eyes water. and i was dumbstruck for an entire five seconds, searching for something i could say that was useful direction.

it feels like. well, it feels like. staring at a garden-variety road map and it turning topographic right before your eyes. or something.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

this is what's known as the

obligatory you-don't-know-me-as-well-as-you-might-think post. also known as the post that every single blogger at some point writes, whether or not they should, because online vanity just ain't the same without it...

"without further ado":


1. i know how to make the perfect espresso and i'm hopelessly snobby about it.

2. i also make (in no particular order) a mean caesar, a more-than-decent martini, and an abolutely delightful tom collins. to name a few.

3. i have no sense of direction. i'd get lost in my own back yard. i can never take the shortcut through scotia square because it adds about 10 minutes to my travel time.

4. i used to have ridiculously lush woman-of-the-jungle hair down to my hips for a good seven years of my life. pulled into a ponytail, it was as thick as my wrist around.

5. the cellophane wrapping around new cds drives me absolutely insane. i bite and claw at it like a crazy person and usually have to get someone else to open it for me in the end.

6. when i was about 14 i had a crush on this boy who was utterly obsessed with movies. i used to be at his house all the time, watching stuff, thinking about wanting to kiss him. he never clued in. anyway, a year or so later i went to see him in a school play and ended up sitting next to his older sister. i'd never met her before. she was stunning. she made me feel funny. pretty sure that was the first time i felt that way about a girl, although i couldn't for the life of me explain what was going on at the time - yet, funnily, after this occurrence i had suddenly lost all interest in him.

7. i love the pet shop boys and modern rocketry and really cheesy new order songs. i am not one bit ashamed.

8. i'm disturbingly flexible. i can lay both my palms flat on the floor without bending at the knees, and do a backward bridge standing straight up. the sad part is that i tend to do the latter on dancefloors, while drunk.

9. i like small, feral cats and eerily precocious children.

10. drawing was an early and major interest that i abandoned at some point in my teens, but (for all the good it does me now) i can still draw a perfectly anatomically accurate female form.

11. a shortlist of things i can't do even a little bit: drive, skate, roll my r's, get to sleep before 2 am.

12. a shortlist of things i do rather poorly: cook, swim, sing, gracefully end a small talk conversation.

13. a shortlist of things i always wanted to do: skydive, bungee jump, work on a tall ship (preferably in the 1800's, and preferably while also being a teenage boy), international espionage have a lucrative career that involves travel, anonymity and deception.

14. i've read everything stephen king wrote up to and including hearts in atlantis. so sue me, i love most of the dude's early output.

15. cockroaches don't bother me. snakes are my friends. mice can hang. however, anything remotely arachnid makes me want to run and scream and die.

16. i hate people who hear the above confession and instantly launch into a scary spider story. hate them with a grim passion.

17. deserts are incredibly sexy. the cliched beach fantasy that people have, i have that with deserts and i'm not above admitting it.

18. i never get the hiccups. ever. that's right, you wish you were me.

19. i have a (small and barely significant) fascination with true crime stories, inexplicable phenomena, and tales of archaic psychiatric practices.

20. i can recite more poems from memory than you've likely ever read, though i'm not sure how this has come to be as i never actually try to memorize poetry.

21. i never knew a damn thing about jesus until starting grade five in norway, but i firmly believed in santa claus till i was eight years old.

22. my natural body temperature is ridiculously low. something like 35.6°C. this means high-temperature climates don't faze me at all, but also that i'm more often cold than the average person. or in other words, am incredibly ill-suited to life at my current latitude.

23. there was a time in my life when ribbed corsets, patent leather pants and heavily studded accessories were pretty much what my wardrobe consisted of. people tend to assume i'm a dominatrix more frequently now than they did then. i don't know how to make sense of this.

24. one of the classic stories that always gets brought up at family reunions: i am, oh i don't know, probably three and i'm being forced to hang out with my mom and her friend at a coffee shop. i'm cranky and i don't like the friend one bit. she coos and slobbers all over me, asking silly things like "who's a cute little baby girl?" so i look at her, deadpan like only cute little girls can be, and i say (direct translation): "i will put you in the garbage and leave you to rust." who knows where i picked that gem up. anyway, thus began a lifetime of being rude to well-meaning strangers...

25. two bulgarian superstitions i actually observe: never passing a ring from one person's hand into another; walking over freshly spilled water on one's way to a new job/important meeting/whatever for good luck.

26. i have a near-fetishistic relationship to all things jewish. don't ask me about that one, because i really fucking can't explain it.

27. the obligatory list of future baby names, milestone of many an adolescence: my girl names were always unusual and pseudo-artsy, like ronya and valencia. my boy names, in comparison, had a flavor of tradition and ivy league, like benjamin and sebastian. weird.

28. sebastian is still my favorite name in the world and i've yet to meet someone who manages to ruin it for me.

29. a novel i have a particular soft spot for is beatles by norwegian contemporary author lars saabye christensen. i've never been successful in finding it in translation, but it's a coming of age story about four boys in 1950's oslo who indentify with the members of, guess which band... anyway, the george harrison alter ego is a boy called sebastian. he ends up a junkie in paris in the early 70's.

30. george harrison is, incidentally, my favorite beatle.

31. i know the words to every beatles song ever, including obscure unreleased shit and bootleg covers. i also used to know the working titles to most of 'em. you can't stump me.

32. few people seem to have even heard of an 80's animated tv series called the mysterious cities of gold, but it was my favorite thing in the world as a kid - next to pulp novels about cowboys and shipwrecked sailors.

33. i desperately want at least one real car chase to occur at some point in my life. where i'm not the one driving, and i don't get caught. :P

34. the first thing i ever did on stage, school play nonsense excluded, was an oddly ambitious project based on sylvia plath's life and poetry. it was andy warholesque peformance art, really... and i could defend it even now, but it's not worth the trouble. anyway i was 17. the waldorf school pta set was left doing some serious head-scrathing, i can tell you that much.

35. i hate the color yellow. plain and simple. it only has bad associations for me.

36. ...oh my god. is this really only #36?! crap. um. i had my first orgasm when i was five. WHAT? it was bound to come up eventually.

37. in stark contrast, i didn't have my first real kiss till i was 15. is that late, in north america? 'cause it's pretty darn late for a european.

38. LOGIC PUZZLES! love'em. you know, the things with the grid. "mary can't sit next to anyone who's wearing blue or has curly hair. tim's last name is not smith", etc. i've books full of them. i get them off the net, too.

39. i lost a year of my life to the online multiplayer sensation that was everquest, when i could've been out drinking it away instead... sigh. my inner nerd and my inner alcoholic, eternally at odds.

40. my primary character was a wood elf druid. my secondary character was an erudite enchanter... or was she a wizard? i'm only happy to forget. jeez, i'm really running low on pointless trivia here.

41. my favorite place in the whole world will always remain sozopol, a small-town community of grecian heritage on the bulgarian black sea coast. it was the town where my grandmother lived, and where 95% of all my happy childhood memories took place. i haven't visited there for at least five years.

42. i somehow got away with cutting the same class every week for an entire year in junior high. i leave you to wonder what one.

43. i once had a serious, long-term relationship with a "former" jehova's witness. (i say "former" because we had deep, passionate arguments about things like blood transfusion.)

44. the tattoo i have on my back is not the tattoo i wanted. i went in with a photocopy of two designs and pointed out the one i liked best. somehow, i still ended up with the other one... life-long lesson on the subject of paying attention, that.

45. bad spelling = instant deal-breaker.

46. one time i was climbing down some rain-slick scaffolding from the top of a cathedral at night, and i had to pee so bad, and i was so sure i'd slip and fall to my death. and it occurred to me that probably only a handful of other people in the world had found themselves in the same predicament, in my lifetime.

47. worst panic attack of my life: drunk and stoned at cafe mocha after hours, 2001 or maybe early 2002. i got up to use the washroom and suddenly, i went blind. dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. it took minutes to remember how to use my muscles again. then, the heart race, and an overwhelming wave of nausea... repeatedly sticking my fingers down my throat to make it stop. eventually i made it out to the sidewalk and threw up again and again. all i could think to do was lie face down in the snow. the cold, for once in my life, was calming - an anchor to reality.

48. i quit smoking pot for good shortly after this incident.

49. the first horror movie i ever saw was poltergeist, the original one. i couldn't have been more than eleven. my world was never quite the same.

50. next time that i go to a fair (which had better be soon), i want to wear a dress.

51. a small treacherous part of me really wouldn't mind living a life of much leisure and little consequence, waking up to champagne and kittens every morning.

52. the rest of me, however, positively revels in dealing with adversity and romanticizing trouble.

53. oh and also, i want to change the world.

54. i used to shoplift when i was sixteen... jesus, that's only eleven years ago.

55. i wanted to be in gymnastics as a kid but my parents wouldn't let me. they had this odd idea that i was too slight and brittle-boned - although i've never broken a bone to this day, save my nose (in a faceplant off a jungle jim).

56. dreaded phrase #1: "say something in norwegian/bulgarian".

57. i deal with confrontation much better than with passive-aggressive behaviour.

58. i cry at plays more frequently than movies.

59. i always do my crosswords in pen.

60. i still don't get why you north american folk love monkeys so much.

61. it sometimes pisses me off that i'm completely useless at science. the rest of the time, i know i would never trade science smarts for anything i'm good at, ever.

62. i like challenges. ok, no. adore challenges. they are at least 50% of the motivating force behind everything i do. this probably makes me sound bad, but it sure beats apathy, doesn't it?

63. i want to quit smoking before i'm thirty.

64. i smoked my first cigarette when i was eight, with two eleven-year-old friends. we were playing dress-up and we felt so cool. hid behind some foliage in the back yard and smoked. my uncle could smell the tobacco off me when i went back in the house and i got in real trouble... i didn't have another one till i was 14.

65. my uncle, my mom and myself are all born on the third day of our respective months. all the women in my family have blue eyes, and all the men have brown. on both sides.

66. i have, at one point in the very distant past, walked to a cornerstore in the wintertime dressed in ONLY boots and a long winter coat.

67. cds that have somehow made their way into my record collection without my knowledge or consent: marilyn manson, dio, lenny kravitz.

68. it's very, very sad how many hours i can waste playing computer games of the crime-solving variety.

69. no hour of the day or night is inappropriate for any one of the following: breakfast food, rehearsing for any sort of show, beer, going on a trip, sleep, burgers, coffee, sex.

70. i have this thing about flowers. i don't especially like them. i hate floral patterns and designs and i'm not much for the real thing, either. if you're trying to win me over... don't give me flowers.

71. if i could play anyone in anything at all, written or not, i would want to be tallulah bankhead in a play about her life. i know there is one in existance, although it hasn't been around long and i've never read it - i'm tempted to write my own, anyway.

72. one of my biggest pet peeves is ill-informed people who insist on talking politics.

73. i like an obscene amount of cream in my coffee. cream, not milk. and no sugar, ever, in anything.

74. in my younger and rather more wayward days, i had a myspace account. on this myspace account, i had a tagline which read multisyllable words make me wet. that's right. i used to receive messages from strangers every other day, consisting of nothing but a list of items such as 'onomatopoeia' and 'histrionism'. i guess i should have specified that context was at least equally important, but why make things easy?

75. i never really played with dolls the way you're "supposed to", i don't think. my favorite childhood activity involving dolls was to create elaborate art installations with them, using strings and props and pieces of furniture. sometimes i did things like take their heads off and fill them with confetti. sometimes i would suspended household utensils around them. usually i would paint their eyes red with nail polish. i sure was a weird kid.

76. i'm a skeptic. i don't buy into shit easily. but i also never firmly disbelieve anything i can't disprove... i suppose skepticism works both ways.

77. for years, i held onto this notion that i'm the least romantic person you'll meet; now i know that's not really true. it's just that my sense of romance does not apply to any hallmark standards. i even hate the word "romance", it evokes images of cheesy couples photos and stuffed animals. it's superficial trappings of love without the actual thing. maybe that actually makes me a profound romantic, i don't know.

78. i went out with someone - a long, long time ago - who used to say you should never attempt to describe yourself to a third party, as doing so instantly alters you and makes each statement a lie. i suppose i see the point, sort of. i just choose to continuously ignore it.

79. i have notoriously bad luck with people called megan (meaghan, meghan and whatever other variations exist) and andrew.

80. i love travelling anywhere alone.

81. i don't take gender stereotypes seriously at all and this pisses a lot of people off.

82. in my high school history final, i disregarded pretty much the entire curriculum for the year and wrote emphatically - and exclusively - about youth propaganda during world war 2 and the cold war era. still not sure how i got away with relating absolutely everything to that topic, but i made a surprisingly good grade.

83. i have never played risk, watched the sopranos or read the five people you meet in heaven.

84. i don't appreciate people calling me 'honey' unless they're sweet little old ladies. 'hon' is even worse. oddly, though, i take no issue with 'baby'.

85. i'm sorry. i think shakira is totally hot. i do!!

86. i resent catching myself in a lie. i deeply resent being forced into situations which require me to lie in order to keep others happy. sometimes i ponder, for hours and hours, the moral intricacies of coddling people's feelings.

87. i have a account that nobody knows about. it's been there for years. and you'll never find me on it, and i'll never share the link.

88. the only expensive thing i have ever successfully saved up for was a two-week trip to the greek islands, in the summer of 1999.

89. i very nearly killed myself driving a scooter, on this same trip. when i say "very nearly", i do mean i saw my life flash before my eyes and shook uncontrollably for two whole hours following the incident.

90. i absolutely love jeans. love the way they look on me, love the way they look on others. i think a pair of well-fitting jeans and a t-shirt is possibly the sexiest outfit in the world. yet i loathe the whole process of shopping for them and usually only own two or three pairs at a time that i really like wearing.

91. ...only nine left, come on, you can do this. oh, here's one: i can't fucking stand johnny depp. seriously. it always ruins a perfectly good movie to have to watch his self-important mug prance around, being all "character actor"-y.

92. i have frequent dreams about dying in plane crashes, yet i've no fear of flying whatsoever.

93. or heights. i actually really dig heights. i get crazy impulses to climb things (especially when drunk, as evidenced by #46). there's been many a situation where i've had to be restrained from carrying out these impulses - most memorably, the time stewart had to talk me out of climbing a crane at four o'clock in the freakin' morning.

94. vampire: the masquerade. yup. anybody want to play this again ever?

95. when i dance with other people, i tend to copy their dancing style(s). i'm not usually aware i'm doing it.

96. i hated on the road but loved the dharma bums. go figure.

97. cruelty to animals fills me with a rage like you can't even imagine.

98. the longest period of time i've gone without any sleep - and without the aid of class a narcotics, at that - is 44 hours.

99. my favorite bagel is cheese & onion - today, a near-extinct bagel species. why can we not live in natural equilibrium with our cheesy, onion-flavoured friends?

100. i love the sound of crickets and the smell of steamed corn.

whew. well, i commend my own stubbornness but this was quite possibly the worst idea i've ever had.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

at the same time,

it's really not all bad. what am i even saying - i love it, most of the time.

i went for a long walk around the north end tonight. and while there was nothing particularly special about the night or the walk, on some level it was profoundly memorable. i know i will miss it. i know i will never have it again, not like this. i can already sense the impeding shadows of stress that are just around the corner - stress about the show, stress about money, stress... about other things, bigger things, scarier things.

but right now and right here, there is a calmness unlike anything i've felt before. or perhaps i have, but not since i was a child. nothing can touch me here; i'm surrounded by some kind of golden shroud of peace, and i walk at an extremely even pace, and all my thoughts are so wonderfully lucid. i had a dream last night that they offered me my job back at the restaurant - "it was just a test, you're back on the schedule now" - and i just stood there, watching the boiling bubbling chaos of service industry hell around me, wondering what i could do to make them fire me for good.
i woke up laughing with relief. oh, it's so good to know it was a dream! i wouldn't go back to that life if they offered me twice what i was making. i'd rather eat nothing but kraft dinner for months.

i really would, you know. this is something i was thinking about while wandering around tonight: how it was all too easy to forget that living on a tiny budget can be more rewarding; how fully i had myself convinced in no time that i couldn't do without a serving job i hated, under a boss i didn't get along with. there is literally not a thing about it i look back at fondly. time slid away from under me like quicksand in that job, and so did all that glorified cash i was making. jesus, how much money did i throw right back into that bar? all i ever had there that's worth remembering was fun, but fun and being happy are so fucking far from being the same thing.
besides, come on - even the fun wasn't usually much to write home about. all my best stories come from other places.

i'm realistic. i know i probably won't love the next "real" job i get, either. but i'll be cautious this time, and mindful of what chances i take. it's far scarier to be owned by a shit job than to have to cook your own dinner. i chose the career path i did far from naively: i knew i would end up living in houses that look like junkyards, and that i'd have to budget for things that are bare necessities. i knew and i didn't care. i know how to function under dire financial conditions, it's what i know. i came from that. how to put money away and invest in the future? not so much. i chose a moment-to-moment kind of life, and when that moment-to-moment yielded more funds than i was used to, i spent it just as lightly as i had come by it. and then that's what i became used to.

concentric circles, though, right? i'm here right now, happy to have reclaimed a peace of mind that's been lacking from me for entirely too long. also happy to be in better control of how i'm living and what i'm spending. it will get old, of course, as being broke tends to. in a year i'll likely be making more than i was leading up to all this.
well, either i'll be making more or at the very least i'll be much happier. maybe both. but definitely one.

right this minute, i'm feeling pretty optimistic about everything.

i used to have favourite

restaurants. now i have a favourite superstore clerk.
we always chitchat and he makes fun of my grocery purchases, because i can't afford to buy anything good.

...well, he doesn't yet. but i'm sure he will soon.

in other news, all this idle time on my hands has led to undertaking a blogging venture i almost instantly wished i hadn't. i started compiling a list of '101 little-known things about me' and dear god, it's taken me three days so far and i've only gotten to #85... of course, now it's past the point of no return and i have to finish the fucker. shit. who knew it was going to be so hard and so dull to make me sound interesting?!