Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Seriously? It's a flippin' movie! Did women stop having babies after Rosemary's Baby?
I get so tired of people jumping on bandwagons and raging against the evil Hollywood machine without thinking it through first. People who want to adopt aren't going to see the movie and say, "Well, we were thinking of adoption, but then we saw this totally fabricated movie and realized our child would probably be the devil."
And, as for giving adoptees a bad name, do you really think that's going to happen? Are people that shallow? I can't imagine people suddenly looking at my son (who is from Guatemala) and believe that he is evil.
I wonder if stories that focus on this drivel help clear it up? Or do they encourage people to stand up and protest everything and anything without thinking?
Does every little thing need to be a discussion? Can't we just rifle through the facts: movie, made-up, from Hollywood, horror flick, and dismiss it? I am offended that these protesters do not believe that I can think critically for myself. Do they feel that I'm so shallow that I'm easily swayed by a character from a movie? Umm, I may just have answered my own question.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
When summer began, I kept thinking it would be over too soon and I needed to relish every moment of it. I luxuriated in the boredom of the lazy summer days; long afternoons at the pool, trips to the library, movies for the family. Now, I'm sewing. I think it's time for the next production.
This is why I'm so suited to theater--productions never last more than a couple of months, right when I'm getting bored with it. I start a show and I'm all excited and nervous and a bit stressed about juggling family and theater; finding sitters, planning dinners, taping the stage, getting to know the actors. Then I get to know the actors and their quirks and we're into tech where I spend days in a dark room getting to know the design team and hoping my family has learned how to forage for food. The show opens and I have a bit more time which I plan on using to straighten up the house (when in reality, I use the free time to catch up on movies). The show is still fun and I enjoy the repartee with the actors (whom I've pretty much ignored during tech week). Then it's the final week and I'm so looking forward to closing night. While the actors want to enjoy a post-show drink and discussion in the green room, I become like Nurse Ratchett getting them off to bed. "Take your medicine and go! I don't want to be here any longer than I have to!"
After the show closes, I stay home and bake and clean and cook and enjoy every minute of it. FOR A DAY. Okay, maybe a bit longer but I always end up getting antsy. Is this it? Didn't I just do laundry? What do you mean you're hungry, I thought we ate already? And right when I'm about to re-arrange the glasses in the kitchen-cabinet, a show starts and I settle down once again.
Some people have seasonal rituals; they welcome each season by airing out the beds or packing away the winter clothes. I guess I have dramatic rituals...in every possible sense of the word.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Okay, NOT. There's no smile, hardly any exercise, and homemade breakfast? You've got to be kidding me!
Lately, I've been on this jag of trying to accept that my life isn't going to be like the "ideal" picture that I've concocted in my head. As I've said before, my lawn isn't going to be gorgeous and I'm not going to be so organized that everything gets done and no dust will ever enter my house.
Of course, it doesn't stop me from comparing my life to others when I see moms who bake goodies for the last day of school while keeping their house spotless and volunteering numerous hours at school. (And yeah, they dress well too.)
But luckily for me there is the Internet and my favorite thing to interact with in the morning--and it's not my kids who are probably grouchier than I am--the New York Times where I found this great post on the Domestic Disturbances blog. It's all about getting older, lowering our expectations, and accepting our lives. My favorite image is of Judith Warner spilling coffee down her shirt as she yells at her children to get up. I've been there.
Then I just read this post on another NY Times blog called Happy Days, about how the Danes are the happiest nation on earth. I really don't know how you can measure happiness but there you go. Anyway, the post explains that the Danes have low expectations so they are pretty happy with what they have. Granted this post is slightly different from Ms. Warner's post but it has the same theme; if we expect less of ourselves and society, we'll probably be much happier.
And, it makes sense: if I stop expecting to get up with a smile on my face, I might just enjoy the morning more.
Lowering my expectations has come in handy in the past, I just hadn't realized that I had been doing it. When I ran the Broad Street Run (all 10 miles of it), my only thought was: let me finish, I'd like to do it in a 10 minute/mile pace but finishing is good enough. Imagine how happy I was that I finished the race in LESS than a 10 minute/mile pace. In case you can't imagine it, I was pretty damn happy!
I think I'm going to sell myself short so that when I meet or exceed expectations, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Of course, I still want to know about those moms who bake all those goodies, make all the beds in the house and still have time to volunteer at school. But that's the subject of another post, which I may or may not write. I could commit to one post about it but don't hold me to it; I'm certainly not going to hold myself to it.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I bring it up now because I need to channel my inner-Joneses again, only this time regarding my lawn. I live in a neighborhood of beautiful yards. Granted, several of these yards belonged to older couples who are retired or who do not have young children so they have more time to work on the lawn. But, even when my kids leave the nest, I won't be weeding; I'll be doing what I do every Sunday, namely the crossword puzzle.
- It's time to re-think our priorities.
- It's time to forget about the petty chores that fill our day.
- It's time to sit our butts down with a pencil and the paper.
- It's time to be the Joneses.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Then, my sister wrote to me about her idea about the theme and I realized how intricately linked the stages of life are to theater. Yeah, I know probably quite obvious to most people but sometimes I need a slap to the head. Mr. Shakespeare designates seven stages of life but what's left out or perhaps implied is how we get from one stage to another; that's where the drama of life lies and the drama of theater as well.
When we attend theater, we are seeing characters at a certain stage of their life. We're introduced to them "in medias life" so to speak. The characters we encounter have lived through several stages already; the mewling puking baby, the whining schoolboy, perhaps ever the lover if we are to use Mr. Shakespeare's descriptions. The backstory of the character is shaped by these stages as determined by the actor. And, the play we watch presents us with these characters dealing with yet another stage of their life.
My sister's description of her stage of life really clarified this idea for me: widow with a 20-year old son, should be getting ready for retirement. But, much to her dismay, she has discovered that her current job may not last and she may have to find another position in this troubling economy. There's a character right there: at a stage in life where one thing is expected (retirement) when suddenly, a wrench is thrown into the works and mucks it up. Curtain up!
Of course, in theater she'd have to have perhaps another serious conflict to deal with and everything would be resolved in a couple of hours. Unfortunately, life is not like that. I have had those days, those really bad days, when I wish I could take an intermission, have someone sweep the stage, set out new props, and I could join the action 10 minutes later but in the world of the play (and thus my world) it would be the next day.
Yet, the actor on stage is subject to the words of the playwright, the direction of the director, and is allowed only one part of that collaborative process (and they often don't have a say in who their co-cast members are). We, in strutting and fretting our hour upon the stage are at once the playwright, the director, and the actor rolled into one. It is up to us to decide if our tale will be told by an idiot or if our "stage" is truly a kingdom and we the princes.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It is meant to be funny and to make us think. He has a rather Michael Moore-esque approach to the film meaning he tends to make fun of those he disagrees with in order to prove his point. Perhaps right-wing Conservatives do the same thing in their documentaries. I wouldn't know. As a bleeding heart liberal I tend to stick with my own kind.
(For full disclosure I will add that I do believe in God. I'm not so sure about religion. I was brought up Catholic but have questioned my faith on and off through the years, most recently when a colleague said she had a hard time belonging to a religion that did not accept her as a full member.)
The movie was pretty funny but I don't feel that Mr. Mahr made his point well. For one thing, he kept interrupting the person with whom he was speaking. He'd ask a question and before the other guy could respond, Mr. Mahr would be off on a tangent. The other guy, usually a religious figure, would keep saying, "Let me finish." But Mr. Mahr seemed to full of his own witticisms to let anyone make their case.
He did enlighten us (or at least me) on several interesting topics including the Egyptian God Horus who was also supposedly born to a virgin, performed miracles, rose from the dead and predated Jesus by 1500 years.
While it was a pretty funny movie and Mr. Mahr is extremely intelligent, I feel that the best part of the movie came in his summation. He delivered a monologue at the end of the film that I feel truly drove his point home in a way that the film did not. I can't re-print it all here but I've a few quotes. His entire summation can be found on the quotes page of IMDB.
"Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking."
"Religion is dangerous because it makes human beings who don't have all the
answers think that they do."
"And, anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you
die, I promise you they do not. How can I be so sure? Because I
don't know and you do not possess mental powers that I do not."
"The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not
the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt
is humble, and that's what man needs to be considering that human history is
just a litany of getting shit dead wrong."
Monday, July 13, 2009
I discovered the joys of napping one summer when I babysat by day and stage managed at night. Nights run late in theater when you have to have the obligatory post-rehearsal/show beer. So during the day, after lunch we had quiet time. I found that I just needed 10-15 minutes of shut eye to take the edge off. After my "power" nap, I became sprightly and more fun and way less interested in the latest torture techniques.
My favorite place to nap is on my couch. It lends just the right amount of comfort and structure to send me zzzing to the land of Nod. When I nap in my room, it seems too formal and I feel the need to sleep now! This pressure only allows me to lap at the shores of a deep, restful sleep without actually getting there. It's as if the nap is teasing me; no, the couch is sooo much better.
When my kids were young, I used to think of the hours between 5-7 pm as the witching hour. I thought my children became horrible beasts during that time. Turns out, they were and still are fine and truly well-behaved. It's me, in need of a nap, who is cranky. Really, around 4 pm, my entire body shuts down and screams for a bit of shut eye. Unfortunately, I can't usually nap at that time because it's when my kids are coming home from school. So I've had to devise ingenious ways of getting my body to nap earlier in the day. Sometimes, when a production has screwed up my sleeping, I'll stay up really late after a show or rehearsal. The next day, I'll get up to get my kids on the bus, forgo coffee, and then return to bed for 45 minutes. That usually does the trick, giving me the energy I need to get things done. Because nothing slows me down more than when my body is in need of sleep. I wonder if high-powered negotiations would fare much better if everyone just took a nap during them?
I've heard that Napoleon wasn't much of a sleeper but he'd nap often throughout the day, catching 5 minutes here, 15 minutes there. I've also been reading a memoir from writer/runner Haruki Murakami who believes that he is so healthy partly because he naps. And, I've heard about companies designating nap rooms in their offices so their employees can get a little shut eye. So, you see I'm not alone. But still, I can't see NPR producing an essay about believing in naps: I believe in America! I believe in community service! I believe in naps! Nah...
Saturday, July 11, 2009
So two days of great culture! It's time to go back to staring at the walls. Hope everyone has a great weekend.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Three Viewings is the name of a Jeffery Hatcher play that I worked on many years ago. The play is essentially 3 monologues given by 3 different characters at a funeral parlor. It doesn't contain any ghosts but I liked the title as my theme Thursday will consist of 3 viewings of ghosts.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Anyway, we decided that since we have no money, we'd spend part of next weekend volunteering. We've been trying to volunteer as a family but with my theater schedule it's very hit-or-miss. When I get a chance, I take the children to Cradles 2 Crayons, an organization that provides school supplies and other essentials to underprivileged children. Usually, we are there for an hour or two (until my 7 year old son decides he's had enough) cleaning sneakers or whatever.