random quarter

October 26, 2013

one. last night i cast votes for the people's choice awards. i've never done this. i probably won't do it again. why? because in the favorite movie category, the choices included the croods, despicable me two, fast and furious six and monsters university. the best movies to be released this year were gangster squad and the way way back. and i had to write them in. also, the categories include things like favorite tv bromance and favorite music fan following. FAVORITE MUSIC FAN FOLLOWING? why? WHY?

two. i've finally hopped on the elementary bandwagon. that show's pretty cool.

three. john corbett's voice annoys me. you kind of make me not want to eat at applebee's, sir. so that ad campaign? not so much.

four. in so many ways, i can identify with sheldon from the big bang theory. see? there's a good example right there. i felt compelled to add that bit about the television show. as if there was a need to specify this. because who doesn't know who sheldon is? i mean, you google sheldon and the top five results are, in order: sheldon cooper - wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; sheldon isd / overview; sheldon comic strip - daily webcomic by dave kallett; sheldon cooper (character) - imdb; jim parsons - imdb.

the best example of this is how i react when approaching my spot at the bar. if someone's sitting there, i mumble a curse (usually goddammit!) and sneer at the bastard (or wench), pick a seat nearest to my spot, sneer some more, heft my darth vader backpack on to the granite bar top, sit, grumble at the staff when they ask what i want to drink. after five minutes or so, i acclimate enough to be cordial. and as soon as the bastard (or wench) has vacated the premises, i reclaim my spot.

if the spot's empty, i examine the proximity of the bar stools to mine and shift them (usually the whole line) so that they are evenly spaced so that no one encroaches on my space. and then i survey the stool in my spot because they're not all the same. and i like the ones that have the aged leather instead of the smooth. so i have to switch them if it's not right.

and yeah, the people gawk at me. and yeah, i know it's weird. but i can't really help it. it has to be this way.

five. yesterday was one of those days that started out troublesome. i didn't want to get up off the couch. and i was almost late for work because of it. but then, when i got there, every customer i met was kind to me. and one of them spent lots of money. LOTS of money. because she pretty much said yes to everything i suggested. and i talked her into opening up a store charge account, which means i'll get her to spend more money. and my boss that night gave me candy.

six. i have felt ugly all day. except for that second i was parked at the gas station filling up phineas' tank when i looked in the mirror and thought i like the shape of my mouth, and my eye make-up (navy eyeliner and black mascara) looks alright. but i'm sitting at this bar, and i'm recalling times i was told i wasn't pretty, and there are all these beautiful people around me, and it really sucks, having this face. it really, really sucks. and there's not a damned thing i can do about that. and then one of those beautiful couples has to sit down next to me. you know the ones, the dark-haired, handsome man with the beautiful blonde. the classy sort. not barbie and her dark-haired ken. but that other kind. like jimmy smits and teri polo in the last season of the west wing. that kind. it's not the best example. but it's the first one that came to mind.

seven. i don't like dark beer. and guinness? GROSS.

eight. i used to hate that i didn't have a sister. like when i was ten and didn't have any girl friends. i'd always thought that if i'd had a sister, it would've made it alright that i was friendless. but then i got older. and i've learned how catty and nasty a gal can be. and really? i'm glad i don't have a sister. really, really glad. i would've had to share a bathroom with her. hell, i probably would've had to share a room. and that would've sucked. so much.

nine. not that brothers are that much better. most times they drive me bat-shit crazy.

ten. i want the red sox to win this series.

eleven. i don't understand why people have to fake kindness. it's not kind when it's phony.

twelve. i just confused james ingram's just once with glenn medeiros' nothing's gonna change my love for you. why am i listening to either of these atrocities? because this is the music pappadeaux's plays. why am i confusing one crap song with another? i don't know. do i get points at least for realizing that they both suck? because i know how sad it is that i remember either existed. maybe yall can overlook that.

thirteen. these are the highest-grossing films of the year to date. of the first hundred listed, i have seen eight in theaters. of those eight, i've only loved two. and i've only been compelled to see one more than once. this from the girl who saw star trek twenty times and pirates of the caribbean: the curse of the black pearl eighteen. in the the theaters. this cinematic year, in my humble, opinion sucked ASS. i am unthrilled.

last year wasn't that much better. i paid to see nine in the theaters. i loved six. i watched three at least twice.

this is the last year of film that i liked. i watched seventeen films in the theater. i loved eight of them. i watched seven of them at least twice.  

this year was pretty good, too. and this one, it's pretty near perfect--as close as can be expected, anyway. hey hollywood? can i have more years like these please? and when i say like these, i don't mean sequels to or regurgitations of films released in those years. i just thought i should throw that out there.

fourteen. seven american cities i want to visit: monterey, california; beaufort, north carolina; boston, massachusetts; savannah, georgia; charleston, south carolina; san francisco, california; lahaina, hawaii.

fifteen. seven international destinations: athens, greece; vienna, austria; sydney, australia (HELLO, ERIN!), edinburgh, scotland; one of those seychelles islands (just give me a good beach and some beer); dublin, ireland; tokyo, japan.

sixteen. seven things i'd buy: a) personal training sessions (because this seems to be the only thing that gets me to the gym on a regular basis); b) a better wardrobe (once i got my fat ass back into a somewhat respectable shape--to be read a size eight. six seems so impractical. i've only been able to maintain that for a couple of months. but eight... eight i could do. should do.); c) i'd get phineas refurbished (he's got body issues, and his interior? he is in serious need of some new upholstery because i've trashed him much too often); d) a week's vacation in monterey, california; e) a new mac; f) new aggies t-shirts ; g) new hard rock cafe t-shirts.

seventeen. i'm stranded on a desert island and can bring one person, one book and one food item (that never goes bad and is in constant supply) or plant. they are: robert downey, jr; eleanor and park by rainbow rowell; chicken spaghetti.

eighteen. if i didn't have to work, i would sit on my ass and watch movies all day while tinkering with this here blog.

nineteen. five sources of inspiration: my victorian literature professor; tragedy; stories; rejection; chaos.

twenty. i want to play settlers of catan. 

twenty-one. five superpowers i'd like to have: telekinesis; invisibility; the ability to apperate; power mimicry or absorption; regeneration.

twenty-two. if i had amnesty for a twenty-four hour period and could break any law, i'd break into skywalker ranch and steal a ton of star wars paraphernalia.

twenty-three. if i could have a candid conversation with anyone dead or alive, i'd want to talk to my older brother.

twenty-four. five favorite desserts: blue bell ice cream; paula deen's bananas foster bread pudding; pappadeaux's bayou city cake; angel food cake with strawberries and cool whip; chocolate pudding.

twenty-five. i don't like mangos.

food for thought

October 21, 2013

failure at some point in everyone's life is inevitable,
but giving up is unforgivable
catherine biden

in september of last year, i attended a blogging conference in dallas, texas. it's about a four-hour drive from here--a northern suburb of houston--to there. i'd meant to leave at about ten that morning so that i could get to the hotel around two, get checked in, wander a bit and make myself presentable for cocktails. but my car's stereo decided at eleven, when i was finally ready to hit the road, to stop working. and it took two hours and a couple of hundred bucks to get it replaced.

i liked the display on my old stereo better. i'm not one of those gals who has to have the top of the line in electronics. my iphone, for example, is two years old--a four with three-g service. and yes, sometimes i wish it were a little faster, but it does what i need it to do. it works. when it stops working, i'll replace it.

my car stereo? i'd been using the factory one for seven years. the new one? it's got one of those digital displays that flashes the name of the song being played. but when i'm listening to a cd, more often than not, it can't display the title. instead it reads: FAILURE.

i see this a lot in my daily travels. i've thought this a lot in my life. i am a forty-year-old, single, childless woman who resides with her parents because she can't support herself.

in the past year, i've gone on two dates. two. with different guys. the first? he showed up forty-five minutes late and split the check. the second? he wined and dined me. swept me off my feet. blindsided me. and then he disappeared.

i work a part-time gig as a sales associate. when i find the confidence to apply for better employment, i'm denied the possibility of an interview. i don't even get a reply for having submitted my resume. but these, ultimately, these are not the things that concern me the most.

maybe i've given up when it comes to love and life. but my worth, my talents... they're tied to my craft.

i sat here at this bar this morning with a copy of my manuscript--a collection of personal essays, many of which have been posted here--and an issue of writer's digest that featured agents seeking new authors. i looked over the list. i googled how to write a book proposal for a nonfiction piece.

and my heart sank. because i wondered why anyone would care about this. my blog's not got a great following. i don't get thousands of page views per day or dozens of comments on each post. and these are the sorts of things that would convince an agent to read more than a few pages of your work.

i shut off my laptop. i closed the magazine and the binder containing my manuscript. and then i got out my pen and paper. and i wrote.

because this is what i do. this is what brings me happiness. this is where i succeed.

have you got a quote you love? something that's touched you?
made you laugh? gave you strength? i'm looking to do a series
come november and am in need of guest posts.
the more the merrier. email me if interested.

an explication of the comedy of errors

October 3, 2013

ABBESS:   And thereof came it that the man was mad. 
The venom clamors of a jealous woman 
Poisons more deadly than a mad dog’s tooth. 
It seems his sleeps were hindered by thy railing,
And thereof comes it that his head is light.
Thou sayst his meat was sauced with thy upbraidings;
Unquiet meals make ill digestions;
Thereof the raging fire of fever bred.
And what’s a fever but a fit of madness?

The Comedy of Errors (5.1.68-76) 

By using eloquent imagery, orderly structure, and kindness, the abbess reprimands Adriana’s behavior and offers advice. The use of alliteration, assonance, consonance, and metaphor furthers character development, emphasizes the advice, and promotes comedy.

The line, “And thereof came it that the man was mad.” (5.1.68), constructed primarily of monosyllabic words, gains Adriana’s attention because of its simplicity. The abbess believes Adriana’s conflict requires a simple remedy. The shortness of “a” in most words alludes to the abbess’ disapproval of Adriana’s behavior. The repetition of “eth” softens the line, while the resonance of “m” lengthens it and lends it musicality.

The abbess equates Adriana’s jealousy to poison in, “The venom clamors of a jealous woman” (5.1.69). The “s” hisses this comparison, suggesting Adriana’s behavior is vile as a snake’s. The nasality of “n” and “m” draws out the analogy. The repetition of schwa “e” softens it, as though the abbess tries not to offend.

The abbess builds upon the previous line by likening Adriana’s jealousy to “Poisons more deadly than a mad dog’s tooth.” (5.1.70). In making this comparison, she says Adriana has made herself sick with jealousy and, like the rabid dog’s bite, she’s made her husband sick with it, as well. The diphthong in “Poisons” accents the first syllable, holding Adriana’s attention. The resonance of “m” and “n” lengthens the line, allowing the previous to blend into the next. The “d” thuds sharply, as though the abbess thinks Adriana’s hard head needs sense knocked into it.

In, “It seems his sleeps were hindered by thy railing,” (5.1.71), the abbess reiterates one of Adriana’s complaints, offering a reason for her husband’s mindlessness. The shortness of “i” and the length of “e” depict a restless night’s sleep. The “h” and “s” hiss throughout, typifying Adriana’s behavior and the abbess’ disapproval. The diphthong in “by” and “thy”, in such close proximity, emphasize Adriana’s “railing”, proving Adriana has some fault in the matter. These contribute to the image of her husband lying in their bed, trying to sleep, and Adriana standing beside him, “railing”.

The abbess strengthens her argument in, “And thereof comes it that his head is light.” (5.1.72). Most of the words are monosyllabic, again establishing the abbess’ hold on Adriana’s attention because of their simplicity. Despite the presence of “h” and “s”, it lacks the unpleasantness of the previous line. The words flow into each other smoothly. The repetition of “t” gives the line a gentle chiding effect.

The abbess addresses Adriana’s next complaint in, “Thou sayst his meat was sauced with thy upbraidings;” (5.1.73), comparing Adriana’s jealousy to a venomous sauce, which sickens, as opposed to nourishes. The hiss delivers the line more eloquently. The thudding of “b” and “d”, the resonance of “ng”, the length of “upbraidings”, demands Adriana’s attention; its short “u” hints at the abbess’ disapproval. Each defines the image of Adriana’s husband sitting at the table, trying to eat, with Adriana sitting opposite, “upbraiding” him.

The abbess impacts this image by adding, “Unquiet meals make ill digestions;” (5.1.74). She reiterates the importance of providing proper nourishment; she insists meals full of resentment and anger make him ill. The short “u” in “unquiet”, muttering its disapproval, the sharp knocking of “q”, followed by the diphthong, and the gentle chiding in “t”, add significant weight. The resonance of “m” lengthens the line; the sharpness of the diphthong in the first syllable of “digestions” and the hiss of “s” command attention, making the previous metaphor more vivid.

The following line, “Thereof the raging fire of fever bred.” (5.1.75), furthers the image. One imagines a fire crackling in the hearth next to the dinner table. One hears the crackle in the repetition of “f”. The abbess likens Adriana’s “upbraidings” to the fire, making her husband unhealthier by causing him physical discomfort.

She completes the speech with a question, “And what’s a fever but a fit of madness?” (5.1.76), in hopes Adriana will assimilate the advice and see the solution. The repetition of “f” continues, allowing the sentiments of the previous lines to linger. The use of the word “madness” circles back to the beginning. Initially, the man is mad. Conclusively, the situation is and the abbess earnestly provides a remedy to cure that madness. She concocts that remedy by using imagery and kindness. In structuring her advice around each of Adriana’s concerns, she uses maturity and wisdom to teach Adriana how to be a subservient, mature wife. Her earnestness in assisting Adriana heightens the comedy of the play, because neither Adriana nor the abbess fully understands the situation. The advice, though good, will do nothing to solve the problem, thus making The Comedy of Errors a truly comical play.