Tag Archives: throwback thursday

tbt: Theatre Obsessions

I remember this one time, in my sophomore year of college, there was this production of Falsettos. I wasn’t working on the show but I had seen it a couple times – I don’t think we ever ran a show longer than two weekends, but I had to go to a tech rehearsal for a class. I had become obsessed with the show…an obsession that’s lasted for the next decade.

It was a Sunday night, closing night of Falsettos. I wanted to go see it one more time. But there was another show closing that weekend – a one-man show by another student. I’ll call him Ivan. The show was called Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! Good gravy.

I had promised the stage manager of the show, a friend of mine and someone I looked up to, that I would come see his show that night. But by late afternoon I was just lying on the floor of our apartment, tormented because I wanted to take my very last opportunity to see Falsettos. I was completely torn. I was a little over-dramatic.

The moral twin of my Gemini sensibility must have been on duty that night, because I went to Ivan on Ivan: In Reverb! But I regretted it almost immediately. I mean, it was just ridiculous. At intermission, I left and went down the street to Falsettos, where I snuck into the back. Man, that’s a good show.

The thing about theatre is that if you love something, there really isn’t a way to just save it and rewatch it. Even a bootleg version of something isn’t the same as being there. And I know there’s bad theatre. I have seen bad theatre. I have peeked at my phone to see how much longer this act could possibly be. I have left things at intermission (not often, but I’ve done it). I’ve seen things out of an obligation and not necessarily out of joy.

But then there are the things that you can’t get enough of. When I saw Wicked for the first time (cheesy example, I know), it was the first time in years and years of shows that the curtain call ended, the lights came up, and I was like, “Okay, reset everything, I will watch this all again from the beginning RIGHT NOW.”

I went years without having that feeling about a show. But I am having it again. Right now. (This is not a marketing ploy.)

My work is currently presenting Sweeney Todd. I love Sweeney Todd. It’s one of my favorite musicals. This particular production has something extra. It’s addictive. I can’t stop watching it. It has been running for the last three weeks, and closes this Sunday. I have seen it five times so far, which is already two times more than I have seen any other work show. I saw it yesterday and again today. I am sitting here debating whether I should go back for the closing performance on Sunday night. The only reason I’m not sprawled out on the carpet, conflicted over my decision, is that I have a couple days to work it out. If I don’t go, I will never see this particular production, with this particular cast and set and direction again. But maybe the five times I’ve gone should be enough.

This time, instead of missing out on a student-written one-man show, I would be missing out on precious weekend time with my family. I would be driving all the way down the peninsula a whole extra time. But I would be helping out by filling a seat, and I would be getting one more chance to bask in the pure joy that I experience while watching a show about an insane guy who kills people, and his girlfriend who bakes them into pies. “God That’s Good.”

I think I might have my answer.

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Throwback Thursday: Short Fiction

March 2003

Andrew’s father was learning to be a squirrel.

“What is your dad doing?” the other kids would ask.

“He’s practicing—” was Andrew’s reply.

Andrew was almost eight years old.  He lived in a yellow two-story house.  The staircase had a banister he could slide down, when his mom wasn’t watching.  The upstairs bathtub had been leaking for almost a year, so Andrew showered downstairs.  They had a cat, Adelaide, who brought the family gifts of small rodents from the acres around the house.  The backyard was big and sloping, enclosed by a fence that came up to Andrew’s chest.  Flakes of blue paint were chipping off the fence, and you could see Andrew’s footholds that he used to vault over it.

“Andrew, use the gate!” his mother would cry from the kitchen bay window where she sat to do crossword puzzles.  Andrew’s hands would grasp the top of the fence, and in two steps he’d be over and running down the slightly sloping land, into the trees that grew on the acres behind his house and yard.

This is where he first saw his father talking with the squirrels.

 

Andrew timed his breathing with his footsteps, in, out, left, right, in, out, left, right.  Leaves crunched under his feet like the screams of tiny elves.  He grabbed hold of a branch to slow himself, and swung his body around, feeling the sharp bite of the bark in his palm, smelling the moss and the fungus that lived in the trees.  His breathing slowed and he ran his hand down the tree before walking on.

He heard a voice to his left, and he walked toward it as quietly as possible—a difficult feat over dry late-September oak leaves.

It was his father, on the ground on hands and knees.  There were leaves in his brown-gray hair and a little twig on his shirt sleeve.  He was peering up intently at an oak tree, and didn’t see Andrew approach.

“What?”  His father cocked his head toward the tree.  There was a squirrel, bushy tail spread out behind him, clinging to the bark on the tree.  “Ah, I see.”  Andrew’s father rose to a crouching position, and Andrew could see he held something in his left hand.  His father raised it to his mouth, and holding it in both hands, began to nibble at it–it’s a walnut, Andrew realized—as he would at a piece of pound cake, or a chunk of smoked Gouda cheese.

Andrew watched, fascinated, as his father finished the nut and wiped his lips with his thumb.  He then moved, still in a crouch, toward the tree.  The squirrel, who had watched Andrew’s father the whole time, suddenly looked at Andrew.  His father turned too, just as suddenly, and almost fell over when he saw his son standing there.

“Andrew!  What are you doing?  Don’t you have chores to do?”  He had stood and was brushing off the jeans he wore on weekends, and shaking leaves out of his hair.

“Finished ‘em.  What are you doing, Dad?” Andrew asked.  He pointed to his father’s sleeve, and his father brushed the tiny twig away.

“Oh, just chatting with the squirrels.  They’re great company.  You can learn a lot,” his father said cheerfully.  “You ought to try it some time.”  He patted Andrew’s head and hugged his shoulders.  “What do you say we get some lunch?”

“I already ate,” Andrew said.  The squirrel had run up the tree into the high branches, and he scanned for it, but it had blended in and disappeared.

“Oh, did you?  Well, I’m going to go get a sandwich.  Are you going to stay down here awhile?”

“Yeah.”  It was the perfect time of day to play in the woods.  The sun was beginning to fall, and it was slitting through the trees in places, creating glitter out of the dust in the air.  There were places Andrew could see the actual shafts of light, and he liked to stand still and watch them shift and then disintegrate as the sun moved out of place.  He liked the way tree trunks went fire orange right before the sun finally set.  The woods could never be the same because leaves fell and trees grew and squirrels ran madly like small senile old ladies and the sun never stopped crawling across the sky.

“Well, you know to be back in the yard by dark—”

“Yup,” Andrew said.

“I’ll see you later then.  Remember, the squirrels are very interesting.  They can teach you anything.”  His father winked solemnly.  “Just listen to them.  Bye, Andrew!” He began to make his way back up the hill.

“Bye, Dad!” Andrew called, then turned and surveyed the trees around him.

Read the full story

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Throwback Thursday: Graduation

Graduate college  
Become an Adult  
Fight with technology  
Get up super early  

30-year-old Me laughs right in 22-year-old Me’s face.

tbt graduation
So cute. Enjoy it (everything) while you can, 22-year-old Me!

 

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Throwback Thursday: Last will and testament

I wanted to find a good tbt blog post from my old livejournal. But most of them are just…incredibly embarrassing. I went back to April of 2004, because I thought that’d be cool, but man. I was so not cool. Everything is so angsty, and it’s all music or book references, and I basically cannot get through a post without berating myself for being “not pretty” or something. Yikes.

So, I skipped ahead to April of 2005, when things were really starting to look up. And I found this.

tbt blog post

And I thought, Still embarrassing, but it’s young love, and I’ve always been cheesy, and at that point it’s not like my livejournal was something I censored or worried about other people reading, so okay. And then I clicked on the 5 comments and saw a comment from me saying, “I DID NOT WRITE THIS! That would be Drew.”

So, this week’s tbt blog post is brought to you by 2005 Drew…which is a lot like 2014 Drew but with fewer responsibilities and access to my online journal.

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Throwback Thursday: Public Transpo

In honor of my new routine of taking BART to work, I’m throwing back to an NYC subway post from my LiveJournal. This post hails from Feb 23, 2009.

==

I just need to marry someone who has good vision coverage…

This morning on the train a manly man got on and stood next to me. While glancing over his shoulder (bored) I noticed he was reading a paperback copy of In Her Shoes. This delighted me secretly and I admired him for his casual reading of chick lit on a crowded New York subway. Glancing over again, I saw one of the chapter headings: “A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw.” Hmm, that doesn’t really sound like Jennifer Weiner. I squinted closer at the book title in italics on the top of the left-hand page. Up From Slavery. (It’s the autobiography of Booker T Washington. I looked it up on Amazon.)

I think I might need a new contact prescription.

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Throwback Thursday: Poetry

I wrote this in May of 2003 for a friend who worked in a mall, and used to complain about it occasionally. (It was an Abercrombie, I think.) (The poem is written in blank verse.)

To Work In A Mall

How tepid a life, to work in a mall
To see the same overfed, overbred
crowd, lurching around vendors & candy
machines.  To stand in a doorway & spout
the same rubbish—  “Hey, how ya doin’?  If
I can help you with anything, just let
me know.  Stenciled Ts and flip-flops half off.”
How worthless to fold that same pair of shorts
eighteen times in one day (& you know they
are the same pair because of the crease in
the waistband) because people try them on,
Take them off, drop them on the thin carpet
for posterity—or you—to pick up.
How tiring to be manhandled and
questioned for eight hours a day about
the same things—FAQs—when all you want
is to go down the way to the Starbucks,
& ask them for the strongest drink they have.

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Throwback Thursday: New York Thanksgivings

New York Thanksgiving 2006: Drew, our then-roommate JP, and I were just going to forego Thanksgiving entirely, until about 2pm when we decided that was nuts, and we ran to the closest grocery store (which closed at like 3pm) to assemble a makeshift Thanksgiving feast. The oven in our tiny Brooklyn apartment didn’t work, so we only bought things that we could cook on the stovetop or in the microwave. Drew thinks it was kind of sad, but I think it was just a mess. We’d only been in New York for like 3 months, and we just hadn’t gotten our sea legs yet.

New York Thanksgiving 2007: My parents came out, and we drove to their friends’ place in New Jersey. Apparently I still didn’t have my sea legs, as I rented a car from a place in Hoboken, and we had to go pick it up the day before, and then on Thanksgiving morning we tried to drive through Manhattan. Idiotic. I would do it so differently if I were doing it again.

New York Thanksgiving 2008: What are a bunch of crazy kids in their mid-20s to do, living in the Big Apple, three thousand miles away from their families? Have the franciest Thanksgiving of them all, of course! Thanksgiving 2008 started with us getting up early to start cooking, and start drinking while were at it. I believe Drew and I ran out of wine and had to walk down to the liquor store to buy more, and we got there before it even opened, and kind of hung around outside for awhile. CLASSY. Despite being completely inebriated by 10am, we put together quite a spread for six people. I have very fond memories of drunk Thanksgiving. (Not that I could handle that these days.)

That's our door! And the elevator! And Erin excited that Joe is arriving.

That’s our door! And the elevator! And Erin excited that Joe is arriving.

Checking the turkey - look at our weird kitchen.

Checking the turkey – look at our weird kitchen.

All three Chicago posters were Thanksgiving-ized. That'd some Disney level decorating.

All three Chicago posters were Thanksgiving-ized. That’s some Disney level decorating.

A pilgrim (Drew) and an Indian (Joe) at the first Thanksgiving

A pilgrim (Drew) and an Indian (Joe) at the first Thanksgiving

Lots of food. Lots of wine.

Lots of food. Lots of wine.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013! Make some memories, so that 5 years from now you can TBT this Thanksgiving.

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Filed under Awesome, Drew, Friends, Holidays, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment

Throwback Thursday: NaNoWriMo

I am doing nanowrimo again this year, and I’m determined to win. So of course today, when I’m almost 3500 words behind, I have decided to do things like: read past nanowrimos; throwback thursday blog post; make plans for hanging out with old friends via Facebook.

So this will be quick, and then I’m seriously going to get writing. I’m doing this thang this year. I have a plot in mind and everything. I’m pretty psyched about it.

I’ve done it in the past. I think I’ve only “won” in 2003 and 2011, but I might be forgetting a year in there. 2007? I’m not sure.

Here is an excerpt from 2006, a year I started writing, but didn’t finish it. Enjoy!

==

Luke started stealing when he was three years old. Goaded on by his older siblings, Luke loved being the center of attention when, around the corner from the store, he would turn his little pockets inside out and wield to them the treasures he’d gleaned. For Moira, the ten-year-old, there was always nail polish, and for Gavin, the eight-year-old, mostly candy and occasionally baseball cards. Luke never stole anything for himself. He hadn’t associated stealing with gaining things; he only associated it with pleasing his siblings.

It began very casually, in a department store, on a shopping trip with his mother and brother and sister. His mother was taking forever in the underwear section of the store, so the three children wandered off together: nothing new, as Moira often babysat her two brothers. They found themselves around the corner from the department store, facing a candy shop with a display window filled with things so tempting that a diabetic nun would have to pause and consider it.

Gavin went in first, followed by Luke. Moira, trailing after them, was already forming an idea in her head. She selected a piece of peppermint salt water taffy (her favorite) from one of the barrels, and when Gavin wasn’t looking, she handed it to Luke behind the racks of novelty candies.

“Here, Luke,” she said. “This is for Mom. Put it in your pocket like a good boy.”

Luke worshipped his mother and delighted in the idea of bringing her presents. He put the taffy into the front pocket of his little overalls. As soon as Gavin came back from the chocolate-covered pretzels, bemoaning the fact that they didn’t have any money, Moira raised her voice to say, “We should probably get going, Mom will be done shopping soon.” Then she hurried them out onto the sidewalk.

They were back in front of the department store when she held out her palm to Luke. “Give it back now, baby,” she said, one hand on her hip.

Luke clutched his fist over his pocket. “Nuh-uh,” he said sternly, “This is for Mama.”

“You can’t tell Mama about it,” Moira said slyly. “You know why?”

Gavin looked back and forth between the two of them; he’d missed it altogether.

“You stole it, Luke,” Moira said. “Do you know what stealing is?”

Luke didn’t, but he understood that it wasn’t a good thing.

“Stealing is when you take something that’s not yours to take,” Gavin said solemnly. “Did you steal something, Luke?”

Luke’s eyes were big. “Moira gave it to me! She said it was for Mama!”

“What was for me?” his mother said, coming around the corner.

All three of them jumped, although their grasps of the situation were all slightly different.

“This, mama,” said Moira, with the true cunning of a ten-year-old child, and she gave her mother a big hug around her middle.

“Yeah,” said Gavin, and he and Luke joined in. Luke could feel the lump of taffy pressing uncomfortably against his chest as he hugged his mother, and he could feel a lump of similar size rising in his throat as he thought about what he had done.

Later, Moira convinced him that stealing was not bad. She convinced him that store owners had more than their fair share of things like candy, “and nail polish,” she added seriously, letting that sink in. All stealing was doing was spreading around the wealth. And there was nothing wrong with that, was there? Luke shook his head, understanding that Moira was right, she was right about things like this all the time. His mother said to listen to Moira, especially when she was in charge of him, and that’s what he had done, he had listened to his older sister. He knew he had done nothing wrong.

And that is why, when Moira took him to the corner drugstore the next afternoon, and in the back of the store, pointed out a color of nail polish she had been coveting, he obediently slipped it into his little pocket once again. It lay there, heavier than the taffy, and making a bigger lump, but Moira zipped his jacked up over him, claiming she didn’t want the baby to catch cold, and carried him out of the store, right past the store owner. The store owner didn’t even look over, he was flipping through magazine pages, bored with the kids who came in to check out the comic books or the gum rack, but never had money to purchase anything.

He noticed the little girl with the baby brother coming in more and more often, though. Sometimes it was the baby brother with an older boy. But always the baby brother. And the kids often bought things: shampoo, a magazine, a bottle of juice. He imagined that their parents just sent them out on errands frequently, and they brought the youngest one along to keep him out of the way. He didn’t put the little kid with the faded overalls, and his inventory which kept coming up short, together.

By the end of the summer, Moira’s nail polish collection had increased considerably, Gavin had been comfortably kept in Bazooka bubble gum and tootsie rolls, and the owner of the corner drugstore was out a little more than a hundred dollars. Luke had celebrated his fourth birthday, and had become one of the slickest fingersmiths on the Lower East Side.

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Throwback Thursday: An Explanation

In the summer after I graduated from high school, I worked on a B-movie being shot in my hometown. And OMG wait I just googled it and THERE’S A TRAILER ON YOUTUBE AND IT’S JUST AS CHEESY AS I REMEMBER IT.

Oh wow, I think I just got what the plot is.

Okay. So that’s what I’m talking about. This production company (meaning, the director/producer, a camera guy, another guy, and the actress who played the mom) came to town and we shot this thing over the summer. The rest of the crew consisted of like 4 teenagers (me included) who were all interested in “drama” and were likely getting paid a “pittance” but I don’t remember because it was all in “cash.”

I do remember learning a lot, but also starting out knowing nothing. The director depended on us a lot but without always telling us the details of what we were meant to do. I think she expected us to come in knowing more than we did. We did our best, but it was stressful. I was basically fulfilling a stage management role (before I knew what that was) although in the movie credits I’m listed as Production Coordinator (holla!).

I have this one really clear memory of being out at the goldmine (?) in the middle of the hot summer, and I was supposed to be holding this umbrella up to shade one of the kid actors. At one point, the director sort of barked at me that I was supposed to be shading the actor, not myself. But the thing was, because of the angle of the sun, I had to hold the umbrella pretty much up and down in order to shade the kid. I pointed it out and she ceded the point. This was a major victory in my life…that I’ve clearly hung onto.

I was thinking about this recently because I realized that I still have this deep down need. I sometimes daydream up situations in which I’m in some kind of major trouble, and then I think of the circumstance that would make it all go completely away. Like, “Okay, so I’m a key witness in a major investigation, but I leave town, and then the police are calling me but I don’t return my phone calls, and it’s looking really bad for me…BUT THEN, when they finally get ahold of me, it turns out that I called the precinct a week ago when I left town, which I had to do for a family emergency, and I told them that my phone was lost, and gave them a different number at which to contact me, but a lazy officer didn’t pass on the message, and it’s not my fault at all!”

Stuff like that.

So yeah. There’s a fun fact about me, backed up with an amusing TBT anecdote. Hope you enjoyed it.

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Throwback Thursday: Memoir

I pulled this gem off my old LiveJournal. I’m actually surprised (but very grateful) that I still remember the password.

This is from August 5, 2005. I’m really working hard to restrain from editing. (Oh, and as far as I can tell, the title means nothing but was probably the angstiest word in the song I was listening to at that exact moment.) Enjoy!

==

COLLAPSE

I have been at UC Davis for three years, and the number of things that I have exclaimed “Yes, let’s do that!” and then never done is astounding. Here is a brief list of examples:

1. Run through the maize maze (Woodland?) in the fall.
2. Gone, with any sort of regularity, to the Farmer’s Market. (And “But it’s SATURDAY MORNING” is no longer an excuse, as they have Wednesday evening FMs for which I know I am awake.)
3. Mini-golfing…Scandia…Sacramento…wherever.
4. The Davis Public Library: If I’m missin The Babysitters Club, they’re only a couple blocks away.
5. The MU Games Area.

Until tonight.

A bunch of us went to go bowling. It’s cheap, it’s accessible, it’s fun, it’s not too athletic (heaven forbid we do something cardio), and we all claimed to be bad at it. (Which was a huge lie, be careful of Drew, he will try to hustle you, but he’s bad at hustling.)

As far as I can see, bowling is bowling (*unless it’s $1.35/game and $.85/shoes*) and I thought it was all going to be very…familiar. Bowling. Ugly shoes and socks with shorts (what else could possibly be hotter?), and people watching your back, golf clapping for you whenever you turn back around but secretly chanting “gutter ball!” to themselves.

HOWEVER, UC Davis, well-known for several things, cows and a ginormous library being not the least of them, also features a “Rockin’ Bowl” to put all other “Rockin’ Bowl”s to shame.*

*Note: Writer has never actually been to any Rockin’ Bowls, nor does she know whether the term is “Rockin’ Bowl” or “Rock & Bowl,” but frankly, neither does she particularly care, and if you are still reading this, maybe you should just marry editing if you love it so much.*

So it seems to me that “Rockin’ Bowl” is made up of 4 main components. I will go through these for anyone who is unlucky enough to have never experienced the majesty.

#1. The music. Already loud when you walk in, and louder when you descend into the bowling pit, I mean area, it is turned up by a kid who can’t be older than 18 who tight-rope-walks down someone’s gutter to crank up the volume on the speakers sitting mid-lane. The number of times this exchange occurred is more than I want to remember:

*something unimportant*
“What?”
*repeat something unimportant*
“What?”
*repeat something unimportant, again, and louder, and also in a slightly embarrassed tone*
“What?”
“Never mind, it wasn’t that funny.”
“WHAT?”
“NEVER MIND!”

Then both parties would pretend to have heard the other, and that bit of conversation would be over.

Oh the glory.

#2. The music videos. Four large projection screens plummet from the heavens, and for the next…I don’t know how long it lasts. From then on, music videos are played on these screens. Music videos for songs whose names I only vaguely recognize. Music videos that are not nearly as clever as Britney Spears’ “Lucky” or Blues Traveler’s “Run-Around.” Music videos with angsty-looking men whose voices remind me sort of Phish, except I’m not thinking of these men as fondly as I think of Phish.

If I wanted to watch music videos, I would have been sitting at home whining about not having MTV. Or I would be going to Erin’s gym to “work out” and watch TV. It would not have occurred to me to go to Rockin’ Bowl at the UCDMU Games Area.

#3. The lights. Strobe and disco, namely. As soon as the fluorescents dimmed and the colored lights began to spin and I began to think about maybe getting a headache, I was also transferred immediately back in time to high school dances. (Probably more middle school, honestly, because in high school I went to 1 dance that was not a prom or formal (neither of which seemed to feature strobe lights to the degree of your everyday school dance), and I left that 1 dance pretty early.) So, middle school dances. So why was my impulse, on the strobe lights, to make out with someone? I was definitely not doing that in middle school.

Hold up, I wasn’t doing that in high school, either.

#4 and finally. The fog. I didn’t notice it for awhile (or maybe it didn’t get going until a little bit after the lights, etc., made their appearance on the scene), but once I did, I was transported to the backstage area of the Mondavi Center, kneeling on the ground, with my head in the Coke machine, filling it with fog so that the guy who played Eddie could trip over me to get in it before all the fog drifted out and we missed his entrance.

It’s funny that I “hated” Rocky Horror so much while it was going on, but now I can totally look back fondly and think “Awwww. Backstage at Mondavi, dressed up with Katie and Tyler and Eric. How cute. And foggy.”

So while, for a minute or two, I was thinking to myself, “Man, I suck at bowling…good thing I’m good at mini-golf,” I spent some time post-our-game checking out the other people playing, and I realized that most people are not that good. Except for this one girl who got three strikes in a row, I saw on her screen. There was a little cartoon of bowling-pin Caesar in a chariot. But I digress. I don’t think that the UC Davis Memorial Union Games Area is the place to be super-concerned about your bowling skillz. (I am, frankly, more worried about my inability to write “skills” instead of “skillz.”)

So all in all, I guess I learned a good lesson tonight.

And that lesson is, remember to bring socks so I don’t have to wear socks that I find in the backseat of the car, socks that dump sand everywhere when I turn them right-side-out.

Oh, and I also learned not to stress about my bowling abilities.

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Filed under Awesome, Beginnings, Being a girl, Drew, Friends, Games, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Sentiment