Friday, April 25, 2014

So We Beat on, Boats Against the Current, Borne Back, Ceaselessly, into the Past

I finally got a chance to watch Baz Lurhmann's Gatsby. I'm not going to write a review on it because, let's be honest, that has been and overdone.

April and May are probably the two busiest months of the year. Tomorrow is the Carnegie 5K, and I have an SAT prep class afterward, and then running tech for Mr. Carlynton. I think it is times like these where you just 'do' without thinking much about it. 

What do I mean about that?

Last week, among other things, I scrambled to put together a resume for English class which will eventually be a part of my senior project(!) and I realized just how much I do. I don't mean that in some arrogant look-at-how-wonderful-I-am but rather in the wow-I-should-probably-stop-to-breathe-here way. I rarely make impulse decisions, but I take comfort in repeatedly doing something.

Tomorrow's Mr. Carlynton will be my second event of this caliber and probably my 20 or 30th event with Carlynton Tech. I was talking with a friend of mine and I realized that with the start of my senior year brings the start of the 'last' designation. I am fine psychologically with being in the middle of doing something, but I'm not sure what happens when those things stop. 

If you keep yourself busy enough you don't think about that - honestly, you don't think much about the scale or impact of what you're doing. You just start, do, finish, and move down the to-do list. But what then? What happens after that finish? I'm not sure. And I'm not talking just tech, I'm talking everything habitual. 

I don't know, I was out of ideas and out of time on this one. I'm in the middle of a spiraling of sorts - life. And to take a break for a second may seem appealing, but what happens when I do that? I start thinking about it all... and that leads to some really scare metacognition and listening to strange music. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vote for Me! Or Not.

I've no doubt blogged before about not being in control, but I feel that at least once a year (usually during the week leading up to Easter) I am reminded that I am not in control. Usually I consider it all some form of divine intervention, but to those less inclined to go along with that take it as a coincidence of human will.

I ran for president of the senior class. The fourth estate and politics don't usually mix well, but it was worth a shot. I ran a minimalist campaign, putting up roughly 25 posters around the school and talking to people face-to-face. This took place from last Friday through Thursday. Thursday afternoon they announced the winner - not me. Which honestly I'm okay with. My friend Greg put it into perspective for me - do I really need something else to do and to organize?

Backtracking a bit, Tuesday I turned 17. They say that you're supposed to be wiser as you reach certain numbers of spins 'round the Earth, but honestly it's all arbitrary. I grow wiser with every conversation with people, and every book I read, and every blog post I half write and want to pitch. I feel no different from 16, or 15 for that matter (but I have a license!). I've said about three times that day that only two things matter to me on my birthday: that my family is there, and that there is chocolate cake*. 

That was the day my (paternal) grandmother came back from rehab following a knee replacement, and we had that chocolate cake over at her house. She and I are pretty close, so it was nice since I had seen her all of thrice since the start of the year. 

It is much easier to say that you know you're not in control, but it's a different thing to acknowledge and deal with how that actually works. We finished cake and got the call that she needed to go back to the hospital for something else. Because that's what she needs. Less cake and more hospitalness.

I guess that's what I love about Good Friday - it is something that usually is constant. The conversations and clothes and all the stuff that doesn't really matter changes, but in reality nothing changes. I'm fairly sure this is the second to last (or third) Good Friday that I'll be in Slickville for. But I can't dwell on that - after all, I'm not in control. 

*Okay, so once upon a time there was this coffee shop in the plaza just over the Carnegie-Scott border called "For All Seasons Cafe and Gifts" owned by a guy named Andre. Anyway, we used to go there after a day at the pool or in Scott or at church or whatever and I'd get two things. The first would be a smoothie (I wasn't a coffee drinker [I was like 10!] so I usually got a creamsicle smoothie) and the second would be a piece of cake. He called it "death by chocolate" and you could get a refrigerated piece on a plate or to go. This cake was THE BEST CAKE. Anyway, For All Seasons closed in 2011 or 2012 over some rental dispute or whatever and I was cakeless.

But then my mother figured out where it was from - and that you could get this Death By Chocolate cake. So last year I asked my mother to find this cake and have it for my birthday. We ate it at the rehab facility my grandmother was at at the time, and from then on my two conditions were set. Family and Chocolate Cake. For now.

Happy Birthday Matt (though you don't read this... Oh well)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

As We Stumble Along, We're Off to See The Wizard

Complete Side Note: We pass Franklin Regional on our way to Slickville every Sunday. My heart goes out to them, I have no idea what they're going through but I admire their strength and resolve during this whole insanity. Stay Strong, FR.

So this week I did something I've never done: I saw two musicals two nights in a row. On Thursday I was at Bishop Canevin for their Drowsy Chaperone and I was at Carlynton for their production of The Wizard of Oz. Some background: the first Carlynton show I was in was Drowsy two years ago, and Oz was the first Carlynton Show I've had no involvement in since 2011's 42nd Street where I was an usher. 

Canevin's version of Drowsy was fantastic, and I may be biased because I know the show so well, but it was so nice to hear the music flood back. There's something to be said for watching a live show with a live orchestra, and to know the show word for word. I went for that reason: I never really saw Drowsy live because, well, I was in the show. 

On Friday I went to see Carlynton's The Wizard of Oz, which was AMAZING. Everyone (Clay, Greg, Maggie, Natalie, Mikaela, Andy V, Dave, so many more, all of you!) was great, and the show was technically done well. Overall it was an amazingly enjoyable experience, and everyone involved should be proud.

It donned on me Friday that I haven't actually sat through a production in the auditorium seats in about three years. Generally, I am either on tech for something, or I'm on stage for something. In one sense, it was nice to sit back and have it all handled, and have a seat that was assigned.

In another sense I was totally and hopelessly lost. This is my kingdom: this is the auditorium we clean, maintain, and do the best tech work we can. What can I say? I'm a control freak. I enjoy being a cog in the wheel, not the one reading the watch.

It wasn't necessarily bad that I wasn't a part of it, it was just strange not being a part of it all. After it all, I still (stressful as it always is) prefer the lighting stand or stage manager's stand to being in the audience. It's just how I am.

Saturday I took the ACT at Canevin. Another first: I've never been in a Canevin classroom until then.

I hope to get something out for Tuesday (Mon Anniversaire) or Friday (but you realize, this is going to be one crazy week for us... If I don't, Happy Easter to you all!). 

Friday, April 4, 2014

After Four Years and 14,000 Pageviews I Still Can't Consistently Title Stuff

Usually I am listening to some music while I write these, but I'm in a library so I don't posses that luxury. That music becomes the title, which I usually relate back to whatever I'm writing about. Unlike what Jamie just told me, I usually title first.

I'm at that point in the school year where everything is moving at hyper speed but the school day. As a result, you've begun to despise everyone around you while simultaneously the workload quadruples. If I miss a Friday (as I did last week... I don't usually skip whole weeks but I couldn't get a draft off the ground), I apologize, but that's why.

I'm also in the middle of planning for my Eagle Project. You'd think that redoing an outdoor sign would be a simple planning process and the challenges would stem from my inability lack of experience to do any sort of construction. Turns out it's the opposite. The goal is that by June I have something in stone and we start work.

And it's at this point the bell rings.

After this, and about a gap of ten hours, I'm back at it; typing away. I want to acknowledge that this site hit the 14,000 mark within the last week or two. I have to stop looking at these numbers. I spent a day working the numbers and if all goes on the track that it has been, I'll be at 23,000 or so by June of 2015. So that's cool. But really, why do I care?

I changed my across-the-emails signature recently. I noticed that a bunch of teachers and professionals I email have some deep and profound quote dotting the bottom of their signature. I've had this quote at the bottom of mine for a while now:
"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got" – Walter Cronkite
I haven't really talked about success here, and I think there are two reasons for that: 1) I don't know that I truly understand what success is and 2) with all of the metacognition I've been toying with, the question usually goes into a why does society put such an emphasis on success? So I've decided to think about it for once. Webster is interesting with how it defines it. It first reads "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame" and then "the correct or desired result of an attempt".

Why do I say interesting? If you recall from the latest installment of me gushing over F. Money Bojangles' Gatsby, I talked about a sense of superficial sense of authority. The rich have power merely because they have a wealth of resources. If success is measured by wealth or fame (which in a capitalist society makes the most sense) then we're all doomed. The rich merely get richer and the famous breed fame, leaving success to those who we respect and beyond that an oligarchy of sorts. Which I personally think is a bunch of baloney.

I prefer that second definition, or at least the inclusion of "desired result". Success is something defined by someone actively striving for something. What is the desired result of me writing here week after week? That's for me to define. Honestly, at this point it's to become a better writer, not necessarily to gain a following or gain accolades (in the past three weeks alone I've been added to four or five lists on twitter of "top bloggers" or "top designers". WHAT DOES IT MEAN?).

So again, thanks for following along, and joining me. Nothing personal, I'm just not sure why you're there. Nevertheless, I'm thankful you're there (a 60+/week readership is a great motivator).

One week from now I'll be in the audience of Carlynton's The Wizard of Oz. This is a show which, depending on the next two days, I might be assisting in the lighting design. Because you know I can't stay away from these things.