Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scotch'n'soda theatre: all about takin' up your whole life

Dear SnS,
I like you a lot. Without you, I'd be lost at CMU. That's not true. Without you, I would have taken longer to find "my place", which is to say, my friends, but I would have found them eventually, unless I was totally in the wrong university, in which case maybe I would have transferred. But all the great folks in SnS have shown me that I'm not in the wrong university.

However, now that I've found said niche, I'd like some time back! See, in the end, I'm not one of the 10% of SnS who wants to go on to a Broadway career. I just act to have fun, which is to say, to meet people. I've acted in seven shows (as five bit parts and two old men) and am about to start my eighth (as an old man). Of those, maybe two have been great experiences (WASP and Little Footsteps, my two "old men" roles), three have been "why the hell am I in a musical" experiences (The Wiz, Children of Eden, and City of Angels), and two have been sort of fun-to-hang-out-I-guess bit parts where I did a lot of sitting backstage (SotR '06 and The Lounge). Not to say they haven't been fun, or I didn't love the people doing them (have I mentioned that I like SnS because of the people?) but, you know, bit parts are hard.

So why have I stuck with it? (SnS: it hits because it loves) I don't know! Maybe because I don't want to be a mooch. I could hang around the SnS people (because I've made friends here) without doing shows, but then I'd feel a little out of the loop and I'd feel like I'm not contributing anything. But more likely, it's because I'm still in the "world is a resume" mindset, which (to quote The Lounge) "is so fucked!"

I have to realize that some people can be interesting without being in whatever organizations. It's true that there is a correlation between being cool and being involved. However, you can also be cool without being super-involved with everything. Say you are secretly an awesome cook. Or you go camping in neat parks. Or you carve your own canoes in your spare time. Whatever.

Beej is right though: it sorta eats up your undergrad experience. And boy, I'm glad I've done it, because SnS/CMU has been (and still is) a blast. But it makes me wonder what would have been, had I not been socializing with SnS so exclusively.

(answer: probably nothing. what would I do, join a frat? a sports team? the tartan? GCS? come on! all are lamer options.)

This is a little meandering, because I have Pascal's syndrome: "If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter." I'll claim the busy excuse. But it's getting better! A little better, all the time!

PS. Dear Future Dan who may be looking up this post in the archives, to sip on the sweet nectar of your (college) memories: at age 21 you promised never to lose your idealism. How are you doing?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A bit of self-reflection

Because what's a blog for?

One trait that I have that is probably one of my greatest strengths and greatest flaws is the unflagging belief that yes, you can have it all. Given a choice between two contradictory options, I will choose them both. Sometimes I will get them both! That is great! Sometimes I will not. This has awkward consequences.

For example, last night, my German friends Daniel, Michael, and Rena were in town. Also, it was Sarah's 21st birthday evening (ps. happy birthday, Sarah!). Plans got bandied about, with the conclusion that we all wanted to go to the Church Brew Works. Fine, except there were not enough cars, and we had just sat down to dinner at home. So I borrowed Aaron's car, rather presumptuously (ps. thanks, Aaron!), and took two trips, so we arrived just as they were all finishing their meals. A little awkward. Whatever.

And then the Church Brew Works wouldn't serve us beer because they couldn't accept their German ID's. D'oh! I guess this is a bad example of how you can't have it all, and a good example of how ID requirements are stupid.

Anyway, I overbook, overcommit, and don't really like to concede defeat or let anyone down, and sometimes I just can't do something, and (as my mom is fond of saying) I drop a plate, resulting in me conceding defeat and maybe letting someone down. I don't apologize for my certainty that everything is great all the time, but I should fine-tune it, and know when I'm justly confident and when I'm totally overcommitted, and stop overcommitting, because it really sucks when it all falls apart. If I've dropped your plate, I'm sorry!

ps. I'm all booked up (totally, all the time) until May 18.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

much work - lunch + Jens = n

where n is a large number.

I had a long day today! It reminded me that there is work to do in this wonderful-yet-stressful little bubble world called CMU. For example, classes! 3 classes = 3 projects. Youch!

Also, as I walked into Formal Languages, Automata, and Computability (say THAT 3 times fast), I inadvertently dumped my lentils and black-eyed peas all over the floor. It was really quite funny. I think I'm the only one who found it funny. It helps to have a sense of humor when you walk into your class for the first time and dump your lunch on the floor.

All that aside, I just put Jens Lekman's "Night Falls over Kortedala" on the iPod, and I'll tell you, it's not often that I get so transfixed by a disc as to skip whatever else I was doing and play it all the way through, but this disc is one of them. Aaah! It's so good! Pop music with a little bit of kitsch and a lot of catchy beats. Plus his voice that is sweet and mellow like chocolate.

Did I mention I went skiing in Utah? Snow was the best, crowds were nonexistent, I took a group lesson and ended up getting a private lesson, our condo was deluxe, and (most importantly) I was staying with good friends. I am a lucky guy. My mom said "Well, you may have a new guardian angel who loves those black diamonds". As silly as that is, it's really a pretty cool sentiment.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ski fever is back...

Winter Storm Warning is Here!

1/5/08 - Winter Storm Warning is Here!

January 5, 2008
10" so far and a Winter Storm Warning is in effect through Sunday night: 1-3 feet possible by Monday morning! Watch for delays and closures.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

January 3 is a great time to think about your next president, and winter is a great time to think about Summer.

I'd go with Obama. Edwards seems not to actually have a chance, and Barack will be less polarizing than Hillary. I mean, my dad's even warming up to him (he's reading his book). Plus he (at least claims that he) doesn't take campaign money from special interest groups (or something) and that's a nice change. The Plain Dealer had a page about the Republicans' stances on issues, and I'd say I'd still go with Ron Paul, but the rest are about the same, except Fred Thompson is particularly terrifying.

Whatever you do, vote for someone who cares about the environment! Because we can dick around with wars on terror and stupid stuff all day, but we can only put the environment on the back burner for so long.

But more enjoyably: Want to travel this summer? I do! If you're looking for a travel companion for sometime this summer, let me know! Or if you have any recommendations for places I should visit, let me know that too. I've got to take this chance to travel a bit, and I've got some destinations in mind, but I'm always open to more input. Particularly places that I can do more than just be a tourist (that is, places I can help out, or places where I know someone).