Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Young Adult" Review and Acne

Whenever I read a book on writing or an article about a writer I am instantly interested and slightly biased to like what I read. Thus, it shouldn't be a surprise that I loved the movie "Young Adult" with Charlize Theron.

I went to go see the movie with my girlfriend's family, who are going through a movie marathon in preparation for the Academy Awards. And honestly, Young Adult needs to win something. But it never will because it's a dramatic comedy with little social significance. It focuses on the life of a woman who is stuck living life like it is still high school. She lives in Minneapolis and makes a living ghost writing for a young adult book series. She goes back to her hometown to try and win back the heart of her high-school boyfriend, which is where the movie begins. I will not spoil it for you, but I will tell you that I loved it and it inspired me to open my laptop and write while my girlfriend is out doing yoga.

I have been very busy this break, and I feel like I have a buildup of words that need to find somewhere to live. Which explains my super long previous post that I was reluctant to publish because it's really angsty and pointless, but I need to write something. I feel useless if I don't write. And today I just watched a movie about a failure of a woman who writes about high school for a living. I can TOTALLY be a writer, and it's time for me to hop back on the wagon as far as writing.

Don't get me wrong. I have still been writing observations and journal entries, but I haven't been able to sit down and organize it all. I am living my life day-to-day. "When are you going to be home?" My parents ask. "Not sure." I reply, and I am being totally honest. I am currently living on leftovers and Subway sandwiches, and spending most of my time out of the house.

I am also learning how to drive. Okay, I know how to drive, but I am doing a lot more of it. Gwenna lets me drive her around in her Prius, and she gives me helpful pointers on how to be a little more assertive on the road. My father always taught me to be a defensive driver, but with Gwenna I feel like I am learning the ways of the dark side... like speeding up to go through a stale green light before it turns yellow.

A note on my complexion: I don't think my complexion is bad, but I've had a couple monster zits over the past couple weeks. I have named them. First, there was Madeline, a huge, multi-bulbed, green pimple on the corner of my mouth. And as she died, Margot appeared half-a-centimeter away. And then there was Jasmine and Rosaline. I went to Peet's recently and I ran into my old biology/physiology teacher.

"Hey Connor... what's up with your complexion?" he squinted at my face. "Are you taking care of yourself? Getting exercise? Drinking water?"

I laughed it off and I told him that I loved college. I went home and my sister stopped me as I was going through the fridge.

"Auntie Carol stopped by. She dropped off some Proactive and told me to give it to you."
I couldn't believe  it. I can't believe it.

"Is it really that bad?" I asked my sister.
"Well... I've gotten used to it. So I don't think that it's that bad."

For your records, here is my face. You decide.

Click for an closer look at the war-zone. 

There are other random blemishes on my face that I don't even think are worth my attention. Honestly, I am not concerned with the zits on my face. Zits are natural.

"What is wrong with your face?" Asked my grandma. "You are eating to much fat. Or you are in love."

I will settle for the latter, which will make me feel a little bit better when I am washing my face.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

As Many Words as Possible at 5am on Boxing Day

Truman Capote wrote in his introduction to Music For Chameleons that he would sit down and write for five hours a day, so much writing that his friends would ask him why he was busy all the time.

In a PBS documentary on Woody Allen, he showed them his nightstand where he writes an observation every day on a slip of paper, and then puts it into a drawer. When he is ready to write, he pulls out one of the observations and begins with that idea and just goes with it.

For Christmas I got a couple notebooks, some rolls of duct tape, The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, a scarf, some money, The Best American Non-Required Reading of 2011, two sweaters, a vinyl LP of Charlie Rich's "Rollin' With The Flow", Band Aids, mistletoe, a wireless mouse and The Complete Poems of e.e. cummings.

I have a burn on my thumb that hasn't healed completely in the past couple of weeks. I've been doing a lot of "field work" (and by "field work" I mean having fun and hanging out with friends) and at night I try to write down ideas in my notebook but my thumb hurts too much to write with a pen.

I am taking this as a sign to start typing more and more every night. I am taking some pointers from Truman and Woody and going into a more intense writing regimen for the rest of the break. More blogging! More writing!

The sketch comedy show, 'Keets, was a success. We had a total of 15 people in my garage and they laughed a couple of times. My girlfriend's mom commented that she thought "it was like Saturday Night Live Junior." That night we had a lot of talented people inside our garage. We had Marcus who is a political science major and Mickey who designs clothing in LA. We had Alex who is extremely intelligent and is now applying for colleges, and Ysabel who is studying at Azusa. Everyone who was in our garage seemed to be on the road to glory. I have a theory that Pinole is the new Paris in the sense that all the great thinkers of tomorrow currently live in Pinole and that one day someone will read the newspaper and realize that a lot of influential people have their hometown in common.

But now it is five o'clock in the morning on Boxing Day, and I am up and wide awake worried out of my socks that I am not writing enough and I am seized by this urge to write a full length novel. I want to write four novels and a collection of short stories. I want to write a memoir, I want to write an investigative journalism article, I want to write a book on one subject, like on hip-hop, or a book on every single person who inspires me.

I am familiar with this feeling, the freak out feeling where I want to do everything. Where I scroll through all of my RSS feeds and I wonder "What the fuck am I doing with my life? I need to act now. I need to make something."

And it's tough to decide what I am going to make at 5:0o in the morning, but I cant go back to bed with my mind racing like this.

I went to my girlfriend's house today after celebrating Christmas with my family. I met her cousins, her aunt, and her uncle, and they proceeded to grill me with questions.

"What book are you currently reading?"
"What college do you go to?"
"What is your career path?"
For this question, I told them how much I want to write, how I want to write for The New Yorker or to report for This American Life. They nodded and then asked me about my classes at college.
"I'm taking Early Childhood Development." I said.
"Would you consider a career in that field?"
It was almost like they were unsatisfied with my life choice of being a writer, and instead were trying to groom me in another direction. No, I thought, I just told you what I want to do for a living.
"Yeah, I would consider it." I told them.
"What do you contribute to the relationship?"
"What are your intentions with our niece?"
"Boxers or briefs?"
They were half joking, half serious, and I had a good time trying to defend myself. In the end, they voted "yes" or "no" on whether they approved of me. The verdict: three yes, one undecided.

"Here's what I think," her uncle told me, "I like you. But I am not sure if I like you with my niece. But as long as she's happy, I am happy." I shook his hand. He and his family left.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat Pray Love", said in her TEDtalk that writing is a dangerous profession. Writers have a reputation for being manic depressives, and the death count is, in her words, "odious."

"...and what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each other's mental health in a way that other careers kind of don't do, you know? Like my dad, for example, was a chemical engineer and I don't recall once in his 40 years of chemical engineering anybody asking him if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer, you know? It didn't -- 'that chemical engineering block John, how's it going?' It just didn't come up like that, you know?

I think writing is as serious of a career choice as deciding to become an chemical engineer. I work hard at what I do and I intend to work hard for the rest of my life at becoming a writer. I write every single day with no exception. Whether it is observations in my journal or e-mails about my day, I write every day.

And for Christmas my parents gave me three notebooks, and I know I will fill all of them. I need to fill all of them. Or else I will wake up in panic at five o'clock in the morning like I am now.

I am really enjoying my Christmas break. I am having fun, I am hanging out with people I love and miss. And I am realizing that under no circumstances will I ever give up writing or creating or performing. I will never stop doing stand-up, I will never stop scribbling in my journal. I would, quite honestly, lose my mind if I did so.

So this super-long, distracted blog post should probably be called "Thanks to My Thumb", which has made writing in my notebooks very difficult. The words just sort of built up inside me and I needed to release them somehow in some way.

And now it's almost six o'clock and I still can't sleep. I still feel like I haven't done enough.

Maye this is a panic attack.

Maybe it is fear.

Or maybe it's just my body's way of telling me that it is physiologically impossible for me to ever stop writing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Break Update

Christmas Break has been intensely filled with lots of friend-meets and personal projects, that it's almost like I am still in school but with a different cast of people. People keep on asking me if the weather is warmer here, and honestly, it isn't. I was out yesterday wearing three jackets and I was still cold, but that possibly could be attributed to the fact that I was wearing shorts.

So my Christmas Update: I returned home on Saturday and that evening I went with friends to go see "Killing My Lobster" (, a sketch comedy show in San Francisco. It was mediocre. There were some laughs, but most of all it was a little boring. I sort of sympathize with the cast, though, because they put on this show in three weeks. But nonetheless, it was disappointing, and I felt somewhat cheated out of $15.

On the bright side, there was live music performed by "The She's" ( . They're "sort of like the Beach Boys, but girls" and they were the highlight of the show. After the performance we went into the lobby to buy a CD. Lucas tried flirting with the bassist.

"Hey, it that a Gibson?" he asked.

"Yeah." she avoided eye contact.

"Cool. Well... keep at it! You guys are great."

"Is it wrong?" he asked me later. "That I was trying to flirt with her?"
I told him of course not.
"Even though they're still in high school? And I'm a sophomore in college?"
I told him not to worry, and that I am pretty sure there is a grace period that allows 19 year olds to flirt with 17 year olds.

In the car ride back, we speculated that we could write a comedy show that was ten times better than the one we just saw. "We're funnier, we have more energy, we could totally do it." We said in so many ways.

So, on Monday I met with Lucas and Arzhang at Peet's Coffee and we brainstormed a sketch comedy show. It is pretty much like Sarah Lawrence's "Midnight Cabaret". We write a show on Monday that we will perform on Friday. Except now we are performing it in Pinole in my garage instead of in a lecture hall on a college campus. As a result, there are a couple problems.

Our audience consists of my relatives, my neighbors, and my girlfriend's family. The family doesn't really know me too well. They see me sometimes in their house and my brain turns off when I try to talk to them, and I am worried that I appear to be socially retarded (a perfectly acceptable condition at Sarah Lawrence!). And now they are coming to see me in a comedy show where I will be pretending to masturbate onstage. Great.

My garage looks great, though. We turned it into a stage. My mom bought sheets from Thrift Town and we hung them on the walls to hide all of our junk. I borrowed shop lights from Pinole Community Television and chairs from my Grandma and a birdcage from my aunt. My sister made programs and popcorn. Today I am going to have to clean out the rest of my garage, and then we will be ready to go.

The show is called:"Keets: A Sketch-tacular Extravaganza of Avian Proportions". We wrote ten sketches, all having to do something with parakeets. We open tonight at 10pm.

So until then, I will attempt to make conversation with my girlfriend's parents, who are going about their business in their home, as I type awkwardly at their dining table watching an electrician install lights. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homeward Bound

Went to bed after a long night of partying. It wasn't really a long night, it was just that I was really early and spent about two hours blowing up balloons and arguing whether Eminem is alive or not (look it up, there's an overwhelming case for the latter). I fell asleep at around 3:30am and I woke up at 9:30 to start packing.

I had my last conference with my don. "It's very interesting. You seem to have two paths cut out for you, Connor. You have this serious, studious writer side, and then you have this comedic side... not that comedy isn't serious. It's just... interesting." I told her my plans for the break (lots of reading, lots of performing) and then I grabbed my luggage and left.

Lugging a suitcase full of a month's worth of clothing and books through New York City is... difficult. I was not the most popular person on the trains and the Subway (lots of dirty looks), but under the circumstances, I handled myself very well. The hardest part was going through the turnstiles in Grand Central Station. I had to push the luggage through and then squeeze along with it. In retrospect, I could've lost a leg pretty easily, but luckily I made it to Penn Station completely intact.

I sat next to a fat guy on the train who was talking about his high school girlfriends and how he "really respected them because they were good people."

"I tried getting in contact with Sally, but she never called me back, but that's ok because she was really a good person. Like I respected her, you know? And like, she would do my homeworks and I will always be thankful for that. And she would talk like a valley girl, but in reality, she was smarter than all of us. She's a lawyer now, but she still hangs out with the likes of us. Because she's a good person, you know?"

I got off at Bayside and met up with Aunt Sue. We ate dinner at "Taco King", which is, as far as I can tell, a Mexican restaurant run by very friendly Asian people. We brought burritos back to my aunt's place to eat, and now I am showered and changed and ready to fly.

One of my friends said that I should stay awake as long as possible so that I just fall asleep on the plane. He's from Paris, so I think he knows what he's talking about (that felt really weird to say).

So now I am finishing up Music for Chameleons and writing and watching TED talks until my flight tomorrow at 7:20am.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


One of the questions we're supposed to ask someone when we interview them is "If your life was a movie, tell us what you think would be one of the most important scenes."

Tonight I had two presentations, one in Early Childhood Development and one at the Oral History Exhibit. The one in my Early Childhood class went relatively well. I used construction paper cut-outs of children to illustrate how kids overcome shyness, and the class seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards, I made posters for The Best Day Ever, cleaned up my room a little, touched up my Spanish Play, took a nap, and then went to Spanish tutoring.

I learned that next semester I would be the only guy in my Spanish class . All of the other males (all three of them) are dropping the class, but I'm staying. I'm excited for next semester though. I will organize study groups and practice more, because honestly Spanish is something I really like doing and I think will be a kick-ass tool that will help me get hired when I graduate with a liberal arts degree.

I talked to my Spanish tutor about Christmas and tried to explain my family history, but she seemed distracted and kind of bored, which is understandable, because over break she's going to Colombia. I asked her for a favor.

"Si tu ves Shakira, la dices que yo di 'hola'." If you see Shakira, tell her I say hello.

After that I ate a quick dinner and went to Stories With Benefits, our Oral History Exhibit in Slonim Living Room. Everyone had their posters and their laptops and food. I set up my poster in the corner with my laptop and some quotes that I propped up with construction paper. I talked for almost thirty minutes straight, explaining my project again and again to people who stopped by to look at it. They laughed, so I think they liked it.

Then we started the program. I went second, after Brazil read an amazing piece about her uncle. I read my piece, a piece I wrote for the prompt "A Story I Thought I Would Never Tell Anyone." I didn't look up at all when I read it. I just said what I wrote and paused to let the audience laugh a couple of times. My friends were there, sitting on the stairs, and a lot of people I didn't know were there, sitting on the couches, and my Oral History teacher was there, and so was Penny Arcade, Penny Arcade who called me out on my Occupy Wall Street article a couple months ago, telling me that it was "cute". And they were all there listening my story, and when I finished it was silent for a moment, and then they all clapped and I felt like they really meant it.

The rest of the program was fantastic. People read their own stories about doing hash, having sex, and pooping on the floor. Penny Arcade did a couple performance pieces and when it was over I played music from my laptop while we cleaned everything up.

Penny Arcade came up to me while I was putting my laptop cords into a box. "I told your story in Alaska. The one about Occupy Wall Street. Everyone really liked it. I just thought I should tell you. Also, I was telling Gerry, I could see you writing for the New Yorker. You're a good writer. Good job."

I thanked her and told her that I loved her performance, but my mind was racing. I packed up my project and walked as fast as I could to Westlands so I could sit down and write about tonight.

In the preface of Truman Capote's "Music For Chameleons", he talks about how he started writing when he was eight, and then one day discovered that there was a difference between good writing, and bad writing, and how from that moment on he worked hard every night, spending hours reading and writing and honing his craft, constantly pushing himself to be the best.

In Early Childhood Development we read an article about motivation, and how the people who succeed in what they do are the ones who are intrinsically motivated to dance or to play piano or write; the ones who love the process of dancing rather than being the best dancer, like Fred Astaire, who claimed that he was not the best dancer in his classes, but simply the one who kept at it.

Today getting a compliment from Penny Arcade was one of the proudest moments of my life. She didn't gush, she didn't tell me that I was hilarious or that I was going to be famous. She told me as-a-matter-of-fact-ly that I was a "good writer." Not a great writer or a bad writer. A good one. With room for growth. Growth that will hopefully help me write for the New Yorker. Heck, growth that will help me write for a living. But that's a given: I'll always be writing for a living.

So today was a good day. I love Sarah Lawrence College, I love everything I have learned in my classes, and I am really really excited for next semester.


Huge shout out to England, Massey, Seattle, Ray (sorry, I don't know where you're from so you have a name), Ohio, Connecticut, and my don for coming to the event. I really appreciated you guys coming out to support me. If I forgot to mention someone, let me know.

The Best Part of Conference Week Is...

CBS's "hit show" titled "Unforgettable" was filming on campus today. They had huge lights and film crews and while I worked in the office I could hear them yelling "Rolling!" and "Action!" I also saw the red headed star, who I am so uninterested in that I can't even muster the motivation to google her name. I also saw her stunt double, who was less attractive but was able to do things like run and jump.
I got a text from a friend while I was working, who told me that the crew was actually asking for students to be extras in the episode. I was working, so I texted Seattle, who wants to be an actor, and he send me a heartbroken text message back saying that he had class. Twas a shame.

Another fun fact: Red-headed TV star's "alone-time room" was in The Black Squirrel.

"Don't they have trailers?" asked my supervisor.
"Yeah, but they couldn't find anywhere to park hers."

Massey actually bumped into Red-headed TV star. The way he tells it, the bump turned into several rounds of passionate intercourse. His friends tell me that she simply bumped him and touched his shoulder. "Sorry."

"- and then she took off her clothes." says Massey.

After work I went to Spanish class, where we discussed our hometowns. I spoke with a guy from Paris, and we compared it to Pinole.

"Que haces en Pinole con tu tiempo libre?" What do you do in Pinole with your free time? 
"Yo camino y monto mi bicicleta. Que haces en Paris?" I walk and ride my bike. What do you do in Paris?
"Ah... um... video juegos." Ah... um... video games. 

I also spent along time trying to explain Chalk Hill in Spanish. My teacher was very confused, and thought I was describing an enormous chalk-board.

After class, I talked to Senora Panama about dropping Spanish, and she said that she liked meas a student, that I was doing well, and that I should stay. I knew she was serious, because she even told me this in English. I spoke English back to her, but if felt very wrong. I didn't like it. But I do like speaking Spanish, so I am going to stay in the class, and create a study group to make homework and grammar lessons more bearable.

After dinner, I went to the Hour Children performance. Remember those interviews I did a ways back? The ones with the incarcerated women? Well, we gave the verbatim transcripts to  actresses and tonight they performed them for SLC students AND the women they were portraying. It was really interesting. A lot of the times the audience laughed where I don't think they should have (like when one woman was talking about how her husband fed her food constantly to keep her fat so she couldn't leave), but other than that it was a relative success.

ALSO tonight was Midnight Breakfast in Bates! Free food and music in the dining hall to take the edge off of conference work. I talked to some of my friends and they saw girls crying in the library because of the stress. I am sure guys were crying to, but in the privacy of their own rooms. It's a stressful time here at Sarah Lawrence (by the way, I recently read an article that said that our school is "colloquially" called "Scarry Larry". It's not. At all.)

I am currently hanging out with Massey and England in Hill House, who are engaging in "uber-man sleep" in order to get conference work done. This means they are taking twenty minute naps every four hours.

"It makes you feel so amped!"
"I feel so productive!"
"They say it can really fuck up your system!"
"Yeah, but we're idiots!"
"Germans invented it, right? So we shouldn't do it."
"No, I think the 'uber' is just in there."

I, however, will not be engaging in uber-man sleep. Tomorrow is a big day: I have a presentation in my Early Childhood Development class, and then an exhibit and a reading for Oral History. Time to get uber-Connor sleep.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Soldiers and Spanish and Semesters

Walked to CVS and bought poster board, construction paper, and craft glue. The result, the beginnings of my Oral History Exhibit!

They're army men! Glues to poster board!

Other than that, there isn't too much to report. I am tired and I am ready to go home. I am in the process of figuring out how I am going to get to the airport on Saturday, which involves going to New York City the day before. I initially thought that I was going to sleep in the airport for 15 hours, but my dad said that it probably wasn't a good idea and my roommate called me an idiot. So I am probably going to stay with my aunt the night before and then get a cab at four in the morning. WOO! Love it.

So a fun college fact: One of my friends sends out a mass text message twice a day telling everyone in our "friend group" to go to Bates to eat together. It's a great bonding experience and it guarantees that I'll have someone to sit with during dinner, which is better than wandering around with a plate and a cup trying to find people you know. However, today I received no texts, so I ate lunch with Truman Capote, which was enjoyable, and I ate dinner with Vermont and Daly City. Good stuff.

Also, I am planning to drop Spanish. I love the language, but the class is steadily getting more and more difficult and less enjoyable, and I think if I stay I am setting myself up for failure. So I am getting my Spanish forms signed and looking through the course catalog to find something to fill the void. I am considering something science-y or math-y. Or maybe public policy. I'll use the break to figure it out.

Also, just letting ya'll know I am 300 views away from hitting 10,000, so maybe I should do something ridiculous and/or exciting to bring in more viewers. Sitting in the airport for 15 hours would've been good, but now I have to somehow make my own magic.

FOR THOSE WHO GO TO SARAH LAWRENCE: I am reading a story I wrote ("The Story I Thought I'd Never Tell") at "Stories With Benefits", which is our Oral History exhibit/performance. 7:00pm in Slonim Living Room. BE THERE! It will be amazing. I need to bring at least two people, but if I bring more, my teacher wil like me more and maybe he can hook me up with a publisher.

Six more days until home!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stand-Up TWO

Tonight I did stand-up again at the Black Squirrel. I did an ok job, but I am realizing that I really need to memorize my jokes. However, with conference work looming overhead, this isn't really a possibility. However, when I return to the Bay Area, I plan to memorize a set and possibly go to some venues and perform for the experience. According to Mike Birbiglia (a hero of mine) some places actually pay you to do stand-up, even if you are terrible. It is my goal to find these places and to make enough money to buy excellent Christmas gifts for my family. And to buy groceries.

Conference work is going well. I get distracted very easily, partly because I don't know if I am ahead of the game or grossly behind. I am making headway on my papers though. And tomorrow I am going on an expedition to Michael's for my Oral History project. So I think I am ok.

The play that I am writing for my Spanish class, however, is horrid. It's not bad as in I am doing a bad job writing it, it's just that the plot is making me cringe and the dialogue is really corny, and it's hard to control because I don't know a lot of Spanish. If my play is ever performed, it will be performed for kindergarteners in Cuba, and they will look at each other and say "Esta obra de teatro es mierda."

 Things I Notice About My Life At Sarah Lawrence:
I don't get out much. I stay on campus most of the time, and my time is pretty much divided between Bates, The Pub, Westlands, and the classes I have during the week. I would like to go out walking more, and I think I would enjoy it if I had a designated time to walk and a designated time to study. My life is pretty much up in the air every day, and to have some solid work schedule with a set time for play would be incredibly useful.

One of the saddest things that has happened to me is my crippling addiction to Facebook, which I open whenever I am bored. This was a thing I dealt with in high school, but in college it is tough to regulate myself. I need to start implementing the strategy I used senior year: whenever I getthe urge to go on Facebook, do something productive instead. Redirect the Facebook impulse into something useful.

Food is scarce. I have a lot of junk food in my room that I have tried to avoid, but late in the night I open my care packages and try to pick out what seems the healthiest and I eat it. The "healthiest" so far has been macaroni and cheese, Cheez-Its with peanut butter, and Kashi Brand cookies. The next time I go grocery shopping, I will be on the look out for cheap, healthy snack foods.

Also, going to the gym is pretty difficult. I go consistently once a week, but I am told I should be going five times a week. I have seen no noticeable weight gain (I just weighed myself to make sure), but I still need to use some calories, because I am restless in class, and I feel like a loser when I sit inside my dorm room all day.

The humor here is great. The people I talk to generally have a really biting, politically incorrect sense of humor which I love. The delivery is very dry, and for a couple weeks I thought a couple of my friends hated me, but they were actually joking. Right? Yeah. Totally joking.

My sleep cycle is completely out of whack, which I am sure my parents will LOVE when I comeback home for Christmas.

"A house? What's a house?" says Sebastopol.

I am going to sleep now (I just wrote about a page of dialogue for my Spanish play [HATE THIS THING]). Posting at midnight... so there is basically eight days until I come home.


LATE NIGHT UPDATE: I figured out the solution to my scheduling problem! I am now organizing my day on Outook and designating specific times for work and specific times for free time, so that the two do not bleed into each other. YEEEAAAH BOI. Like a boss. Taking charge of MY LIFE. Next I need to learn how to use Excel so I can budget my money, so I don't spend a ridiculous $3 a day on breakfast.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Conference Week Update

I am freaking out less about conference work. Right now it's just a matter of DOING, and I have been doing tons. I am on my ninth page of writing for my Childhood Development Case Study, I am on the seventh page of my Spanish Play, and I am on the 13th slide of my PowerPoint presentation for Oral History. I have some reading and rereading to do, but I am not worried. All is well in Westlands.

I have to go to Michael's this week to get materials for my Oral History Exhibit. The problem is, the closest Michael's is an hour's walk away, so I am trying to find friends to travel with so that I will not get a lost alone. I am told I should ride the bus, but I do not know the bus routes here in Westchester (A quick Google search just solved this problem. High-five for being proactive).

I've also been asked to DJ the dance that is supposed to happen after our Oral History exhibit. I've been putting together a playlist of crankin' jams. My Oral History teacher had only one guideline. "I heard a song that they were playing outside on the North Lawn. The people were dancing, it was almost tribal. I don't know what the song is called, but I know the lyrics. Look it up. It's 'OH my gosh' or something."

IThe class laughed pretty hard. And it's on the playlist.

I am still managing to have fun. I am doing stand-up at the Black Squirrel this week, which I am pretty excited for. I ran all my jokes by my roommate from Sebastopol, and he says "Yeah, it's funny," so I am pretty positive I'm going to do well.

I also went to a couple parties this weekend and I ran into LA who told me that she reads my blog. "I stalk your life, man."

This sort of inspired me to post again.

Lastly, I am pretty excited to go home for Christmas. I sent my parents my Christmas list of things that I would like, and Mom, Dad, if you are reading this, please write in that I'd like a copy of "In Cold Blood". You can put that right below where I wrote "knitting supplies."

Also, Bertha, I got five post-cards from you. I read them all to my classmates before my Early Childhood Development class. They were a hit, and I will definitely use them to prove that I live here so I can get a New York City Library Card.

*sigh* Back to work. Around campus everyone is working hard or at least pretending to be. One of my friends was in Westlands staring intently at a computer screen.

"Conference work?" I asked.
"No, I was trying to watch TV in the library but everyone is using the internet. So I have to watch it here. It's so annoying that everyone is studying."

10 more days and I am home. Four more days until I have to have all this work done. And one more day until I do stand-up. Yee.

Friday, December 2, 2011


It's conference week at our school, which is sort of like finals week anywhere else. The library is now open 24/7, and a handful of my friends have taken to buying Red Bulls at midnight to give them a second wind to work on their conference papers.

I have had a couple freak-out moments my self, but thanks to my don and my extremely supportive friends, I am now cranking out the conference work. I wrote the preface and the first page of my Spanish play inspired by Jose Marti. I wrote the first several pages for my case study on the two children from the Early Childhood Center. And my PowerPoint for Oral History is going swell.

My don (who teaches my child-psych class) is a crafty woman. For the end of the semester, she assigned us reading on self-efficacy, which is basically the belief that you can do something. The basic theory behind the concept suggests that if you believe you can do something, you most likely can (Albert Bandura explains why this works in great detail, but... we'll talk about that later). This is extremely helpful in these stressful times. I believe I can do it. And thus, according to Bandura, I shall.

Along with some letters (one had a frog postcard in it [shout out to Bertha!]) I got a package today from Gwenna that truly rocked my socks. Here are some photos:

"A lot of people are jealous that you get so many packages." says Connecticut, who lives down the hall from me. I shared the cookies with them to ease the pain.

This week I participated in Midnight Cabaret ("Really? During conference week?" are most people's reactions).  I needed something fun to do to alleviate stress, so I went to the meeting on Monday to put together a show on Friday (today! in a couple hours!). We wrote scripts, edited, casted, and blocked the show in five days, and tonight we will be performing "Meth is a Four Letter Word For Family". It's a collection of sketches. I wrote four out of the fifteen we will be performing. It wil be interesting, if not good. Audiences for MidCab tend to be intoxicated, so if we bomb, nobody will really remember.

I love this school. Like, really though. I am learning so much and I have a group of friends that I have dinner with every night and everyone is really excited about what they are studying and my teachers are geniuses.

But even so, Christmas break is going to be fantastic. My life needs some Pinole, some Ellerhorst, some Fernandez Park, some Berkeley, some San Francisco, some PVHS, some Pinole Community Playhouse, some Pinole TV, some Pinole Valley Road, some Pinole Shores, some Chalk Hill...

Two more weeks. Until then, keep cheering me on.