Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why We Need to Fail

We only see our mistakes and everyone else's final product. That is why we feel like failures sometimes.

I watched the video below on a friend's Facebook page and loved it. I knew I did because it immediately made me want to write. I think our society- although we like to think that we value hard work- just wants instant success. The tendency to avoid failure also seems closely related to how people want rights and not responsibility.

If you do not watch the video, I will summarize for you:

The reasons why you need to fail:

1) Failing is required for learning
You build muscle by doing something a little out of your ability. To learn effectively you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes.

2) Failing keeps you in the growth mindset
This is one of the points that excited me the most. A growth mindset believes that you can achieve something (a new skill, etc) by hard work. On the other hand, a fixed mindset believes people have innate talent and so outcome and  ability is based on that. So, someone who has a growth mindset will fail and think: "I need to work harder and I will get better at this." A fixed mindset will fail and think: "I am just not good at this." I plan on making sure to compliment my son by saying things like "You worked really hard on your throwing and look how well you've done!" Instead of: "You are a natural athlete!" I want to compliment his hard work and not his natural talent.

3) Failing reminds you that everything is just an experiment
When you experiment then you try things and discover. If it doesn't work, it was an experiment and not a failure. It doesn't mean that everyone's work is as good as another one's work. It is saying that experimenting can lead to great work because of a great discovery. If we are afraid of failing, then we stay in the same rut creatively, which seems an oxymoron anyway- "Creative" and "stuck in a rut" do not go together.
It reminds me of exercises in my acting class where we discover the meaning of the script by trying it a number of ways and doing odd things with it. Such as doing the play like we are 4 years old or like we are high. It may not work one way but you learn that it doesn't, or you discover something about the script you had not before. My acting teacher has said that actors don't like for people to see them in certain ways, they don't want people to see their ugly side, but we have to be able to display it.
 I like to cut up clothes and do new things to them. Sometimes I make a cut and think "whoops." It doesn't turn out like my original thought but it turns into something else that is cool. We are all perfectionist to some extent, we don't like for people to see us fail, but experimenting is a great way to break that paralysis.

I think this is totally exciting! If you know it is not only okay to fail but beneficial, then there is a freedom in that. And there is beauty in freedom.




Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ear Assault

You know what expression I hate?

"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

I am sure it can be applied to many things, but what do you think of when you hear it?

Pretty insulting all around.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baytown Spots

So, I really miss Houston sometimes and when I say that I mean the area I grew up in which was a few minutes from the Heights/Montrose area. Which, if you are not from Houston, is the independent, antiquey, artsy, eclectic, multi-culrtural part of Houston.
 I now live in Baytown and struggle with the fact that probably 90 percent of the restaurants and stores are chains and not independent and also that there is not much variety. You can find five Mexican restaurants per block, I am pretty sure.
I also lived in Hitchcock, TX when I was a Camp Director at Camp Good News and it was even worse there. But both places I searched and discovered. So, this post is to let everyone know that I am going to share some of the spots I have found in Baytown, hopefully this will give these spots some recognition and maybe a few people will patronize the restaurants and (other spots) I have found more frequently or for the first time.
I hope more independent, interesting places pop up. As they do, I want to let people know. Someday, I want to open a coffee shop/record/bookstore/place that promotes the arts. Until I do (and I am sure after I do) I am going to share my finds. So, look out readers. I am going to tell you a little more about:


Antiques!
1) Goose Creek Emporium- (219 Defee)
Large store with quite a few booths. Price depends a lot on the booths. But you can find some good things there. The owner is a little rude. Found an antique door for $20 but only because I talked to the booth owner. Otherwise I bought a cute milk jug to hold my sponges and dish soap for $6 and I bought a Fossil Wallet for $5.

2) Jack's- (12 Defee)
Great people, really cute set-up, you can find some good things there, sometimes it can be expensive but you can bargain and there are definitely good finds price wise. Even if you don't find something you can afford they have the most things to wish for and the best aesthetic. I bought two end tables for $15 each. And really it was less because they didn't charge me tax since $30 was all I had.

MUST BE CLOSED NOW, I HAVE NOT SEEN IT OPEN IN AWHILE THOUGH IT IS NOT EMPTY.

3) Vera's- (N. Main between James and Sterling)
Vera loves to talk, the outside of her shop is really cute and she has some great things there. Pricing is here and there. You can bargain with her, just be prepared to talk. Don't look for records there though, they aren't in good shape. Bought 2 Gold bird wall decorations for $10 total.

4) Goose Creek Antiques- (Texas Avenue)
This is half antique store, half junk store, billed as antique store. The junk is in piles and some things are way overpriced and some things are a find. The antique half is overpriced. I have found it is most useful as far as the smaller things you might want to buy to decorate. 

Eats-

1) Rooster's -
Barbeque and all American, good food, but not excellent. Good service. But this is off one visit.

 2) Nara Thai- Go here! Great Thai food, so glad to have it in Baytown. 

Beats!

1) Revolution Records-
Disappointingly, this shop also sells adult paraphernalia and videos making it not appropriate for all ages and making it really awkward for me and for other females who feel like I do. Also, the records are overpriced and the selection is dissapointing, BUT Baytown does have a record store. 

2)

Treats!

1) *See "Drinks!" for CORKGRINDERS

Ice cream

Reads!

UNFORTUNATELY, THERE DOES NOT SEEM TO BE ENOUGH INTEREST TO KEEP A BOOK STORE ALIVE IN BAYTOWN. TWO HAVE CLOSED SINCE I HAVE MOVED HERE.


Drinks!
1) The Dirty Bay Beer Company-
Beautiful on the outside and the inside. Only been once. No craft beers, but otherwise a good selection. https://www.facebook.com/thedirtybay/?fref=ts

2) Corkgrinders- What I describe as one of the cool places we have in Baytown. There is non-Starbucks coffee, craft beer, open mic nights, and concerts. Yes. The decor is casual, cool, industrial. There is a shelf of books and games for customers to use. https://www.facebook.com/CorkGrinders/

Arts!

Baytown Little Theater- baytownlittletheater.org/
Quality theatrical productions in Baytown! Summer musicals are a must-see.

Lee College Theater Department-http://www.lee.edu/pac/
Quality theater in Baytown!

2) Corkgrinders-
Open mic poetry nights, open mic comedy, and local musicians. 

Thrift!

The Cookie Jar-
benefits the Women's Pregnancy Resource Center. Good stuff, organized, good cause, good prices.

Goodwill-
 Not independent, but the only non-independent one. Overpriced clothes. Decent priced housewares, shoes, belts, etc.


Consign!
1) Karen's Closet-
Mostly women's clothes, good prices, good finds


Here and There
1) Health Food Store on Baker-
Good selection, good prices.

2) Hall's Carpet Haus-
Quality work. They have installed vinyl in our Kitchen and bathroom, and refinished our wood floors. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks

I am thankful for my parents who:
  • Didn't let us watch much TV and so we used our imaginations
  • Bought our clothes from thrift stores because we learned to find great things in unexpected places
  • Had dinner with us every night because we learned to be polite and we learned to eat healthy
I am thankful for my mom:


  • Who read books and taught me to read 
  • Who didn't tell us what words meant but told us to stop and consider if we could figure it out. And then to look it up in the dictionary. I have an excellent vocabulary because I learned to be curious about word meanings and look them up myself. 
  • Who danced in the kitchen because now I know for sure kids love it when you do that. 
  • Who wrote down everyone's birthday and remembered people's birthday because it taught me remembering a fact like that about people makes them feel special. 
  • Who created a "costume" bin for us out of things she found because it was fun! And I learned to direct and to create and it fostered my acting bug.

I am thankful for my dad:

  • Who let us play his drums (until 10PM) because I can play the drums now and I learned to respect neighbors nighttime. 
  •  Who took hours picking out a card for birthdays or drew one himself because I can still read over the one's he gave me and I learned that making cards for people makes the cards that more special. 
  • Who talked like Donald Duck and Foghorn Leghorn because we laughed and laughing is good. And I practiced imitation as well. 
  • Who played Dodgeball and Baseball outside with us because my athleticism was nurtured and he taught us to have fun outside. Also, it confirmed that girls could have fun in this way too. 
  • Who played Hide and Seek, Checkers, Armwrestling, and the Get-Away-Game with us inside because I had a dad who played with us and taught us we could have fun inside beside video games... and because I learned that you could make up games!

I am thankful for my siblings:

Joseph

  • Always made ridiculously detailed Lego structures.
  •  Made contraptions out of things in his room. 
  • Told me I look cute with braces (if my parents said it...they have to! But your brother? Maybe I do!) 
  • Let me dress him up, do his hair, and take pictures of him. I'm a hairstylist now. 
  • Told me not to worry about what people say 
  • Made fun of my Feminist streak (so now it is even stronger)
  • Asked my advice about stuff
  •  Generally went along with my schemes. Such as a having a karate match, being whatever part I cast him in our plays, filling our plastic pool with freshly mowed grass and swimming in it, Pinecone wars (with trash can shields), etc.

Noah

  • Did some amazingly accurate voice imitations 
  • He also let me dress him up and take pictures 
  •  And he would comb my hair although he got a comb stuck in it "curling" my hair 
  • Let me dye his hair 
  • Was my personal GPS even at 10-that boy has sense of direction. 
  • Made us laugh. 
  • Rode bikes with me from our house to Downtown Houston. That was an adventure. 
  • Saved me from a Mosh Pit that I had gotten us into. "Noah, let me show you how to get all the way to the front of a concert" which I succeeded in, but I had never been to a POD concert before.

Camille 

  • Always asking questions... and I shared a room with her 
  • So generous that it affected me in positive ways
  •  Loved for me to sing her to sleep. It made me feel special that she wanted me to.
  •  Likes hanging out with me
  •  She thought I was cool: "Let's ride in car, roll the windows down, and listen to music real loud." 
  • Creative in thinking of ways of having fun 
  • Is that girl that everybody knows and who's phrases turn into catchphrases, but she's the nice version. 
  • Always looks cute and can put together outfits in an instant that would take me half an hour. 
  • Is wise beyond her years.

We all played outside together, made puppet shows together, rollerskated in the house together, played in the flooded streets together, rode bikes, took walks, made a backyard circus together. So many things. And now, my sibling are all still interesting to me. I am thankful I have an interesting family.

I am thankful for my husband, Bobby:

  • That we met serving kids outside in the great outdoors.
  •  That he watches our son so I can go out (a husband should do this, but many don't) 
  • That he doesn't think I am made only to be home. He is coaching basketball but is making sure that I can still take my acting class, even if Elijah has to go to a game. 
  • Thinks about my family (helps my dad with computer stuff, he took my mom out to lunch before, is interested in my siblings ventures). 
  • Wants me to be at his basketball games 
  • Still gets mad at me, which means he cares what I think.
  •  Likes music and searching for it, so I don't have to. I love awesome music but not searching for it. I like to happen upon it. 
  •  Swing dances with me and dances at weddings with me (even though it may require a drink to get him through it.)

My, son, Elijah:

  • His laugh His dimple 
  • That he looks like me
  •  That he hugs me 
  • That he wants to be with me
  •  Watching him be creative with toys 
  • And without toys. 
  • That he says "Hi" to everyone and loves people 
  • That he smiles at strangers who need it 
  • That he sings in the grocery store, and the car, and in bed in the morning before I get him. 
  • That he is silly and loves to laugh.

My best Pal, Nat:

  •  For being one of the most thoughtful people I know. When she comes over she washes her dishes, when she has spent the night she folds her bedding! She helps in a way where you don't even know what is going on and it is done.
  •  For being adventurous 
  •  For going along with my schemes
  •  For appreciating the art I do 
  • For pointing out beauty
  •  For loving life 
  • That she doesn't care about age!
  • Painting together, making food together, gardening, kicking a ball around, open mic nights, concerts, jumping in Barton Springs, making silly videos, watching "Dude, Where's My Car?" together, washing her car, having a garage sale, starting our Etsy shop. So, much more. I am thankful for Nat.

  • I am thankful for acting classes, so freeing 
  • Mixed Martial Arts classes, aggression feels good 
  • Painting 
  • Beautiful weather 
  • Creating, imagination 
  • Music, how many sounds can humans come up with to express themselves. So beautiful. 
  • The written word, I love Smithing and reading the written word.
  •  My camera, it captures moments and tells stories. 
  • Canoeing, it is like hiking on the water. 
  • Hiking 
  • Camping, my favorite part is making fire and waking up to the sounds the woods make. Trees, majestic. 
  • Laughing.
  •  Food. 
  • Dancing, dancing, dancing. It is like laughing and art married.
  •  God who created it all.  Amen

Friday, November 4, 2011

I was thinking

Just a ponderance:
Saying something over and over in a fight is like when people try to speak louder in English when someone who speaks a different language doesn't understand them. It is just annoying and they don't understand, but, on the other hand, you just really want them to understand you. You feel like what you are saying is important.

There are so many different smiles. Isn't that weird?

-I'm not sure about you
-I have to
-I've been posing for this picture a long time
-I just want you to see my dimples
-That was funny but I know I am not supposed to be laughing
-We are cohorts, what's next?
-I'm pleased
-I'm embarrassed
-I'm embarrassed and pleased at the same time
-Yes, I just said something funny
-Do you get it?

Just a few. I had written more, but then I cut it to this point because it almost sounded like a poem.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Etsy Store

My friend, Natalie, and I are soon opening a new Etsy store and we have yet to come up with a name for it, but below is a sample of the items that will be available.
"Dirt is your friend." I think more than the words "adventure, confidence, strength" this embodies something I wish little girls were given to ponder and something I wish was demonstrated for them.
The dresses, dolls, and bibs are from recycled t-shirts because we want everything about the store to embody our values and envision them being passed down through the what we make. Resourcefulness, loving the earth God has given us, and enjoying sunshine, rain, words, music, the strength, wonder and beauty of our bodies. Enjoying food and laughing and dancing. Adventure, confidence, strength, getting messy. Hopefully, little girls will be encouraged in this way and one day they will grow up to be interesting, confident women.
If anyone has an idea for a name, leave it here. We will let you know when our store is open!
Cheers!

In a box

I think to some extent people are always labeled. Some people are labeled and they walk around. Some people are labeled and put in a box. And some people are labeled, put in a box, and the box is labeled.

Sometimes I feel like the latter of these three. I listen so much that I don't think people take the time to see me and it is easier if I am already put somewhere neatly. Fortunately, this box and label is only in their brain and so I have the ability to be free physically and know who I am.

But it is frustrating to be something else in someone's mind because everything you say, whether it fits within that box or not, is stuffed in there and made to fit. Here's my box . And I sit in it. Tap the top  and the bottom  and the sides. Labeled "Sweet, Naive, Cute." And now I am In your Neat Little Box.

 You don't need to look at me anymore. I am on a shelf  and Jack can pop up from the box and nod his head from the release. You just want agreement. Silent nodding. And you can make me what you want me to be. "Hi Jack! Do you believe the world is flat?" And once you get my nod, you push me back under.

10/27/11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Broken Record

A broken record
You play me
And I say the same thing.
And I say the same thing.
And I say the same thing.
And I just want to be fixed
I want to be smooth
I want to make you dance
I want to make you dance
I want to make you dance.
Don't ignore me
So many distractions
Can't you fix me
Fix me
Fix me?
I want you to understand
The song I sing
But I am garbled
I repeat myself
I just want you to hear
I just want you to hear
I just want you-
Emily Chumchal Andrews

Thursday, October 6, 2011

See and I Have to Name This Post: Spotify

Do you sweat over titling your photo albums online? I love naming things and so if I can't find the perfect thing to say I don't want to publish it. I have, but I don't like it. What started this thought? I have to name playlists in Spotify, my newest social media interest. I named one that I didn't make public called: "Songs I Should Be Ashamed To Be Listening To." Let's just say the album includes "Whip My Hair" by Willow Smith and that is the only freebie you are getting today.

 I have enjoyed naming things since I was young, one of my favorite parts about imaginary play was making up a name for myself. When writing a story, the sound and meaning of the name had to fit the character perfectly. I loved Anne Shirley because she loved naming things. She called a road that she traveled frequently "The White Way of Delight." If you don't know who the fictional literary character Anne Shirley is, then shame on you or whoever never introduced you to her!

Are you ever interested in a person you never met? Or have never seen? What I mean by this is that I walk by some people's houses and they seem to be bursting with character. I wonder who lives inside them. I want to meet them. I have considered knocking on their door with that sole purpose, just to meet them. I have also seen people and the way they dress, their eyes seem to tell me that they have a lot to add to this world and I want to talk to them and let them add to me. If they are beside me, sometimes I will talk to them, but mostly they just are in passing and I know they have so many stories. Sometimes I feel sad for people and I don't know why. I imagine what must be going on, mostly they are people I see while driving or riding in a car, so there is no way to gift them with a smile or word.

Speaking of that, I like to be left alone when I am angry, even when I am sad. I don't want happiness around me, I don't want sympathy. In fact sometimes I think I want people to be mean to me then. I like to exercise when I am angry or sad. I don't mean that it is easy to start but I mean that I like the result. I am inevitably more clearheaded and mature by the end. I wear myself out doing something useful instead of expending my energy on words or actions that will get me nowhere.

People are interesting creatures. I wish that interesting ones felt more free to express themselves in words. But maybe that is why they are interesting, they know when to speak. No, NO. They should speak sometimes and don't get a chance. It is generally the uninteresting that are the loudest. I don't mean expressive, I just mean the ones who feel they can say whatever they please and it is never edifying, it is never constructive, or smart. It is only loud and frequent.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Musings

When making a speech, do not begin stories with lines like "I was ironing my shirt this morning and..." because then the only thing people will be paying attention to is how many wrinkles you have in your shirt and the only thing they will be pondering is whether you are good at ironing or not.

In a play you have to remember that what the audience is seeing are the most joyous or the most heartbreaking moments in a person's life. It doesn't matter if the person is doing something as mundane as eating cereal in a scene, eventually their heart will be full or broken.

In a play, and often in life, the only things worth fighting for are love and recognition. When you are acting you must have an end goal as a character and you must be fighting for something and it will be, in one form or another, for love or recognition. This is so interesting.

Map out a character's goal and actions and then throw it away and only know your goal. That is what we do in life. We only know our goal, perhaps we map out a few actions but Life doesn't usually follow the script we would like. You change your actions to meet your goal. The same with acting, just listen and respond after you have examined your goal.

In a scene we see some of life's most beautiful moments and we are witness to it. But life's most glorious moments usually only happen between one or two people. That is truly wonderful. And only glorious moments happen in real life.

It seems to me that we must all know all feelings. Although we have not experienced all of life's setbacks or joys, we have the ability to know and rejoice or cry with the characters. We, perhaps, cannot know it fully, only dimly, but we know it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cold Reading


A cold reading is when someone auditioning reads from a script with no prior preparation. As you can imagine, this is likely to be a nerve wracking experience, One in which you could possibly be so nervous about not studying the script beforehand that you don't do as well as you know you are capable of. I am taking a Cold Reading acting class.
I have only been to one session out of four so far but I experienced the nerves which I imagine an actor feels when giving a cold read. I did not do well this past session and that is an honest assessment of myself. I don't want to feel like I did well when I did not. I know that I am not at the same level as anyone in this particular class because I am just beginning. I don't want to say I did well, but I do want to keep my confidence up by remembering that I am a beginner and that it is okay not to be as good. I think I was nervous mostly because I didn't want to feel in the way of progress, as if I did not deserve to be there as much as everyone else. My extreme desire to do well led to extreme nerves which I could not calm enough to think clearly.
My goal is to get over these nerves by preparation and so I gave myself an assignment for this week. I am writing down actions and then writing down physical actions that go along with them. I will tell you why. In class we were taught that an actor should act with actions and not emotions. Certain emotions go with action. Therefore, you will act more honestly if you decide on an action or goal that the character is trying to achieve rather than an emotion they are trying to portray. You don't want to be "angry" which is an emotion, you want to be "ignoring" which is an action. You will then turn your back or do whatever comes naturally when you are ignoring. It will be more dynamic because you can only go so far with "angry." There are so many things that "angry" can be a result of or result in. We also learned that if you pick an action for the end of a script (monologues are what we are concentrating on and I find those very hard) then your action at the beginning should be as far as possible from the end action. So, if you are ignoring in the end, you should have started out listening.
One of the most interesting things I was made to think about was that you should look at the words for clues (because the words never lie) but that the words can be made to coincide with your action. Basically, words can mean almost anything when said a certain way in a certain context. I love playing with words so I have thought about word and context and word and emphasis a lot, but not related it to word and action and context before. Here is an example of interpreting an action and it changing the meaning of a phrase.:
Phrase:
"Oh yeah"
Actions:
Reminiscing (said softly, your hand on your cheek).
Remembering (said with a high note at the end, snapping your fingers)
Climaxing (well, I won't describe it)
Distancing (said monotone, lifting your chin)
Ignoring (said Staccato, with your back turned)
Agreeing (said drawn out, with your eyes wide open)
I have been trying to really concentrate on what goes along with actions. What do people do when they are trying to achieve a short-term goal? What emotions are they displaying? What physical actions are they doing? When you aren't in the moment, it can be hard to think of. That is what happened to me in my acting class. I was overwhelmed with information and desire and I could barely get "breathe deep" out of my head to pick an action, to analyze my script and then perform it (and we were given 15 minutes in which I used part of to go to the bathroom). Also, I was mainly trying to concentrate on "pulling words" from the script which is what we had been practicing and which I had improved on. So, examining the script in a limited time threw me. Hopefully these exercises will help. I just find it fascinating though and that is why I want to do this. It is all so fascinating to me.
So, different instances in my life led to me not being able to pursue it until now, but I have loved it ever since I was the fourth commandment in my Children's Choir production of "Angels Aware", it grew as I was on my Youth Drama Team, and as I had my first experience with the mechanics and tactics in a semester of college-Acting 1310- I realized it was still there. Now I am acting on it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Austin City Limits


This past weekend I went to Austin City Limits music festival. My mother-in-law bought tickets for my husband and I to go. I have never gone before, but it has been a yearly tradition of my husband and brother-in-law. My husband even went when our son was born three weeks prior to the festival. My only goal was to not intrude on their fun. I had an inkling that in this area I am not as cool as they are. But I wanted to try out the festival.

I didn't really examine my intentions. I think I wanted to get away, I wanted adventure, I wanted to see somebody I knew or meet a stranger. These were all reasons I went. It's funny, really, because I avoid going to concerts often. Mostly because the act I want to see comes on about the time I am ready to go to bed. But I wouldn't feel so tired if the venue wasn't dimly lit (which it usually is), if I didn't have to stay in one room (you usually do), if I didn't have to stand in a crowd for hours, or sit in a crowd for hours. I like to be moving around and I like space.

I overheard a guy at ACL this weekend saying to his friend "she doesn't like music and she doesn't like people so I don't know why she came (to ACL)." I love music. I love people. But loving people doesn't mean you enjoy watching Coldplay with a ponytail swishing in the front of your face and a backpack smacking the side of your face. It doesn't mean that you enjoy some random girl who is upset at her friends pushing you deliberately to get out some of her aggression. Okay, it was kind of funny. Liking music doesn't mean that you want to stand in sweat and rain and use port- a- potties. Liking music doesn't mean you want to stay all day. So, I think there are music people and then there are music festival people.

We went to a concert after the festival and I got to stand on the upper floor right by the railing. I could see! I wasn't tired when they came on! I wasn't hungry! I enjoyed it. It was Ty Seagall and his drummer was female and named Emily. I really enjoyed myself. My guidelines for perfect concert going don't line up with the realities of concerts and festivals though. My opinion is that everyone should spread out and then everyone can see. And if everyone gave enough space for people to twirl and dance then I would be at festivals all the time. Music + outside + dancing without abandon = exhilaration. I think I wanted to love the festival like my BIL and husband. they get tickets as soon as they can, they check the website everyday to see the lineup. They map out who they are going to see and what stage they will need to be at when. They get there when it starts and they stay until the closing act. They go for all three days. That isn't me. What is so funny about that is that I am a planner. But at something like this, I want to chill. I want to lie in the grass, throw a frisbee, go to a couple of shows, have room and dance and sing and not worry about who plays when or have the other people with me do so. But I was a guest and besides, like I said, festivals don't follow my criteria.

I do want to share some of the wonderful moments I did have this weekend though because there certainly were plenty to make it worthwhile. Here they are:

  • We sat at the stage where Asleep at the Wheel was playing. Everyone was sitting so the stage was visible and there was enough space in between people to lay on your back or spread out your legs. The wind was blowing and the sun was not scorching. As the band tuned up for their second song Bobby asked me to dance. We danced barefoot in the grass. I don't know if it was the magic of the festival but he wasn't self-conscious and he was the one to ask me to dance. Twice. My heart sang. This moment alone made it worth it.
  • We were in more of a crowd and the sun was hot enough to make sweat run down our backs but every once in awhile there would be a reprieve. Bobby held me in his arms from behind while we stood and listened to one of his favorite bands. It felt like when we first started dating.
  • I went off by myself and looked at the art section of the festival and picked someone I felt like listening too and did so (Wanda Jackson), then I sat down and met two guys who I talked to for awhile. They wondered what I was writing in my notebook and although, at first I was writing lists, I began to write thoughts. One of the things I was pondering was which guy at the festival was my dad in the 70's. They looked with me after I described what I knew about me dad at that time in his life.
  • After they went off, I made a sand alligator eating a sand turtle.
  • I went outside the festival and walked down the road to Yum Yum Yogurt, taking the free sample offered on the street although I had already decided to go there. After I tried the Tart flavor and the Vanilla. I decided to get a little bit of both and mix in Snickers. I sat down at a table right by the window which looked out on the sidewalk. There was a constant stream of people walking back from the festival and I as I sat at the table I just began writing down any thought that popped into my head. I enjoyed seeing my thought on paper and I realized it was a great writing exercise. It wasn't the exercise where you write and write and don't set down your pen no matter what you are writing and it wasn't sitting there trying to think of subjects. It was an organic brainstorming. After I was done, I walked back against the steady flow of festival goers to the bikes where I said I would wait for the rest of my crew.
  • Riding bikes to and from the festival. Riding a bike is exhilarating.
  • Eating at Takoba in Austin. Go there if you are in Austin. The food was amazing. It wasn't good or delicious, it was amazing. We went with Danny (my BIL) and his girlfriend (who is also my friend) Lauren. Beside the food being amazing, I felt young again. We didn't have Elijah, we didn't have a certain time we needed to be back (my MIL had him for the whole weekend), we ordered a carafe of mimosa (two, actually!) and drank if all between the four of us. The restaurant was super loud and we had to yell to be heard. We just chilled and drank and ate. I loved it. It has been so long.
  • The first strains of "Yellow" being played live by Colplay and the crowd roaring with enthusiasm. It was a true psychological experience the whole crowd mentality. It was synergy and I was caught up in its influence.


It was a fun weekend. I felt younger. I am not old, but I am at another time in my life where this kind of experience is not so readily available. For example, as I type this my son is throwing a tennis ball and yelling "baaaaallll!!!", now pushing his feet into my side, now falling into my lap, and, finally, in a last attempt, sitting on the keyboard I am typing with, while I still endeavor to type. It was a sweet fantasy that I enjoyed for a weekend.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ponderance of Today; Strong Language

Strong language is like a Hallmark card. It can be cliche and should only be used to convey an intense feeling that you could not otherwise express accurately.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Explanation of "Pause"

My last blog was a poem entitled "Pause" and the idea came out of a class that I audited recently. I thought I would share a little bit about it because it is something that I fancy.

The class I audited was an acting class taught by Kim Tobin that I hope to be taking the next time a session opens up. One of the statements she made after she had observed a monologue had to do with pausing and how important it was in acting. She observed that the actor should take some time to pause during an angry moment she had created. She said that sometimes we, as actors, are afraid to pause because we might lose the emotion we had built up, but that in a real life situation we would pause.
I thought about it as I sat there and while it is true that you would pause if you were yelling at someone, I also find it true that you might NOT want to pause sometimes and it is because, as Kim observed you do not want to lose the emotion, that momentum. You want to stay mad. Sometimes the reason you may not want to pause is that you do not want to lose your lack of emotion or the wall you have created. If you were to pause for too long then there are many things that could invade.
So, that simple statement was something I pondered for awhile. Acting has a lot of relevance to every day life. If you are a good actor you are recreating real emotion in a moment-you aren't putting on an act. I took an acting class in college and I remember people saying that it must be an easy class because all you have to do is memorize lines and say it with feeling. That comment was wrong in a couple of different ways. One, it wasn't easy (except I enjoyed every minute of it) and, two, you are recreating and listening and observing. It is about where the character came from, is going, what they love, what they hate, who they are talking to, what they are talking about, what they are REALLY talking about. It is about making strong choices before you begin and in the moment, it is about listening and observation. So much more.
We have to get past many social mores and many hangups to get to the point where we can have no wall when we are acting. We have to be able to listen and observe and react accordingly.
Shakespeare said that all the world is a stage and in some ways it is. Oscar Wilde said “The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.” I think that is an interesting statement as well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pause

I have sat at this desk a few time in the past week and not been able to write anything. I decided to just begin writing and see what came and that I must post whether it is as perfect as I would like to be or not. It is not. So, I will probably come back and refine this. Maybe not. But here is this week's post.

Pause


We are afraid to pause
To lose our momentum
Our emotion
Our meaning
If we pause
We may discover-
And that is frightening.
We may betray ourselves
And that is appalling.
We might observe
And we would rather remain
Blind.
Pausing is vulnerable
It allows others to speak
To observe
To step onto the stage
And change a reaction
A thought
You.
-Emily Chumchal Andrews

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fashism

Before you comment on my misspelling of the political ideology "Fascism" let me assure you that this blog post is not dedicated to discussing that radical form of government. Instead, this post is about a new website I found called Fashism.com Interesting choice of a name, though, if you do consider the dictates and power of fashion and compare it to the ideas of Fascism.

Anyway! This site is interesting; it taps into the whole narcissistic side of people- which is a side I think we all have. The original intention of the site was also a good one but I am not sure, after my experience, that it reaches its goal. Which as stated on Fashism.com is "...not to punish you for dressing poorly, but to make you dress better." The problem is that you have to have a bunch of people who have good taste and who mean well for it to really work. Let me tell you about the site, the creator's intention, and then I will tell you about my experience with the site.

Fashism is a site where you can go to upload pictures of different outfits that you are thinking of wearing and ask other people's opinion about it. You post the picture and then title it with a question. For example: "What necklace should I wear with this?" or "Does this outfit look good for a concert?" or "Should I buy this dress?" You can even post two or three looks side by side and ask people to rate which one looks better. Kind of makes you feel like a celebrity, "Who wore it better?" After you have uploaded your picture and your question, other people who have a Fashism.com account can look at your photo, click on "Love it" or "Hate it" and then make a comment. The comments are supposed to be helpful. For example "I would wear a white belt with that instead of a brown one" or "Maybe tuck the shirt in" or "Lose the jacket and it would look much better." Next to the photo you have uploaded there is a black circle that shows the percentage of people who "loved it" and below the photo are all the comments or suggestions.

The creator of the site is Brooke Moreland, who said she had the idea for it "after walking out of the dressing room looking for her husband’s opinion and found an empty couch." She figured there must be some way to use the internet to solve this problem. The site even has guidelines for users. "Comment Guidelines: Please only constructive comments. You don’t have to like everything, but the goal here is to help people look their very best, not to make fun of poor sartorial choices. Again, no hateful or obscene speech will be tolerated. We reserve the right to revoke your site privileges if you engage in such behavior."


I have to say that when I found out about the site and started looking through it, I found it addictive. I skimmed the different looks that had been posted recently (the twelve most recent uploads are displayed at the top of the page) and glanced at some of the comments that were left. I decided that I would sign up for an account and have some fun with it. I found out as soon as I uploaded my first look how addictive this could be. I had to stop myself from constantly refreshing to see what my new rating was. I was also sort of testing out the site. The first picture I posted was a cute outfit (and I know it is) except that the mittens I was wearing were not. They weren't bad, but they weren't fashionable. I asked "Different mittens next year?" People were fairly helpful, except the first guy who said "You'll have to cause those need to be burned! Not a good look." He did not leave any sort of edifying comment. Everyone else suggested what I could do instead. That was the main reason I posted what I did because I wanted to check out how people responded.


Next I uploaded a picture of my face and asked them "What do you think of the makeup and hair?" I purposely picked a picture that I know has a good look. Before I relied on this site too heavily for fashion advice, I needed to finish this experiment. This picture had only a 47 percent rating of people loving it. However, the comments were disparate with the rating. My 47 percent rating had comments like this: "I think your make-up and hair are stunning! Your look has a very fresh, vintage feel to it. Make-up close to your natural skin tone is the way to go:D" and "I find it classic and beautiful. Perfect example of makeup that enhances beauty rather than beautiful makeup." and "Very cute! You look fresh and natural." The only suggestion was that I should perhaps put on a little more mascara. I found it odd that the rating and comments were so disparate. If they hated it so much, why didn't anyone help me out? That is what the site is supposed to be for.

In the end, for me, I don’t think it will help much when it comes to picking out my outfits, but I do find it a rather fascinating social experiment. For example, I have noticed that “Love it” percentages are higher when the person posts a picture of a model wearing an outfit rather than themselves. Of course, there could be variables. Is the model just inevitably going to make the outfit look better? Is it because someone in the fashion industry dressed the model up? Or is it just because we gravitate to the beauty of the person and picture and it skews the view of the outfit? Does it make us less truthful or more truthful? Do pictures of an ugly person get rated better than pictures of a pretty person? We are supposed to be looking at the clothes and how they suit that person. I think I will try a few more experiments and one of them will be to actually ask about an outfit I am trying to decide on. Maybe that will change my view. But I wonder how many people are actually trying to make a fashion choice and how many want affirmation that they are, indeed, a pretty person? Facebook is mainly your friends, Hot or Not is for people desperate for dates anyway (almost everyone is at least a “9”), maybe Fashism is confirmation that you are pretty or ugly or plain. Or maybe people just want fashion advice.


NOTE: One thing I must add, though, they do have a blog where special fashion experts will examine looks you post and comment on them via a live webcast. That's pretty cool and they supply comments that really help out. Haven't done it yet myself, but I intend to.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Like

I like high fives. I want to give and receive some.

I like jumping around like a fool.

I like dancing anywhere...like a fool. I want to go dancing.

I like singing. It calms me when I am scared. It gives me a thrill when I am happy. I want to karaoke.

I like learning new things.

I like smashing things, but there are not many things to smash. At least that will not cost me a bit.

I like acting or performing in general, it gives me a feeling of being somewhere else and I can be anyone and I forget everything. I love it. It has been a long time since I have done it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Look At The Stars

My life runs into different shades of
The same color
No distinction
I look at the stars
And their glory
And my own muted colors
Against them
And I sigh
To be up there
Gazed at
Admired
Studied
Each human
Desires public adoration
Importance.
Chests heave deep sighs
Reverberating throughout the world
In response to life.
But where would the stars be
If no one to admire them?

-Emily Chumchal Andrews

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Owl Rug

One of the biggest challenges for me in both decorating and fashion is that I always have a specific idea before I began looking for something. If it is fashion, I have an idea of the outfit in my head and shopping is just searching for that outfit. Usually I don't find what I am looking for.
When it comes to decorating I usually see the room in my head. The problem, again, is finding all those things that are in my head because I have never seen them before (except for in my head).
So, I try to make what I can. I have a very specific idea for the room we use as the library in our house. One part of that idea was a very specific rug and it was not something I thought I could make on my own. I searched the internet and stores for the rug I wanted. The picture I had in my head was an owl sitting in a tree reading a book. I found owl rugs and sometimes owls in trees but never owls with books in trees.
I began typing "custom rugs" and "design your own rug" into Google. I found that "custom" and "design your own" just meant picking out the shape, size, and color of the rugs. One other website that appeared was for businesses looking to put their logo on a rug. They didn't have any information about what was required to prove you were a business, they just had a place to e-mail your logo.
I decided to enlist my brother, Joseph, to help me create a digital piece of art to send them. My job was to translate to Joseph what was in my head so that he could draw it. After we created it, I sent it to the company as my "logo", they translated it to the colors that they had available and then they quoted me a price. They never asked me to prove I was a business and they only required you to buy one rug. So below is the picture of my truly custom rug. Also, below I included a link to my brother Joseph's website. I enlisted him for a reason. He has designed quite a few shirts for camps and missions trips, etc. But the website below is for his handcrafted jewelry. Check it out!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/JosephChumchal




The Owl Rug
IMG_1609 by EmilyWindowSeat
IMG_1609, a photo by EmilyWindowSeat on Flickr.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Headboard

I found this door at an antique store. I scored it by talking to the owner of the booth and telling her about my project. She was using it to display other items so it had a lot of nails in it but I got it for the price I had set in my head ($20).




The door had a lot of nails in it and the hinges were a bad sort of rusty so I had to pry the nails out and unscrew the hinges. Then I took care to putty all the holes. Then I sanded it with an orbital sander and by hand.



The next step before was to cut the door to make it symmetrical.





Then I sanded it with a finer grit before painting it. For some reason I don't have a picture of it after I painted it white. But it took 4 coats to sufficiently cover it.

After I painted it white, I taped the five panels around the edges with painter's tape. Then I painted two panels on each side dark brown. I traced an outline of two birds in the middle panel and let it dry.



Then I painted around the outline. It took 3 coats total. I also did not get a picture of the back, but I used picture hanging kit. Attaching two d-rings to the back and looping wire to each one. Then I screwed a hook into the wall to hang it up. Here it is:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vent

I typed out something that would be of no help to anyone if I posted it. Therefore, it won't be posted and this is the post for today. Maybe it will be turned into a poem or short story and the ambiguity I can hide behind in those forms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coming Soon

Hopefully by the end of this week I am going to post of blog (with pictures) of how I made a headboard out of an antique door. Look for it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Cabbage Worm

This poem is a story. In my mind I can see the events that lead up to this moment, but I don't want to tell them because I want whoever reads this to have their own story. It is about deception and the way others react and feel when they realize they have been deceived (especially as a mass).


The Cabbage Worm

It was the seventh day
That is, the seventh of May
And he would hang
On the gallows.
He had beguiled us
Reviled us
And we felt distaste sting
In our mouth.
Though his words
Had been smoke
We had believed
This fable-full man.
Our vanity
Our vanity
No elixir
For that disease.
The solution?
Let his au jus
Run down the
Wooden platform
And pay for
His sulfur sins.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daddy

I think my Creative Writing professor wanted to read this poem and find something reminiscent of Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" poem. This was the first poem I turned in (the one below is the edited and re-written version) but she wrote that the poem was like a Hallmark Card. You may think means that she liked it. In fact, that is an insult in the creative writing world. I think it also led to her having a preconceived idea about me the whole semester. She was surprised when I turned out some things and answered certain questions. Her tone said "Emily? That must have been pure luck!" I had never actually had a professor think this way of me. Usually in every class from Brit Lit to English 2, History, Sociology, Government, even Algebra I had my work held up as an example. It could be embarrassing, but if was also affirming. So, I worked hard in Creative Writing (and all the other classes too, hard work got the "A's") and I think it paid off in my writing. It still wasn't what she wanted, which I think was what fell within what was popular in Creative Writing at the time(there should not be trends in Creative writing!) But she did like a couple of lines (which happened to be some of my favorite)and I have kept those in this version of the poem.

DADDY

Your green eyes laugh
For your number one girl
And she wants to be like you,
Spitting sunflower seeds
Like a machine gun
In her best daddy fashion.

I put my soft child hand
Into your rough and hard-worked ones
And trust that life is certain.
I'll wrestle your muscled arm down
White where the sun has not browned
You. And I'll keep you there forever.

We played the "get-away-game"*
You holding me tight,
I would loosen your grip
Trying to see who was strongest
You always won, but our delighted fun
Was that I could never really get away.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews

*The Get-Away-Game is an actual game that my dad and brother and I made up. The object was to "get away" from my dad. We had to be able to unloose his hands and legs and run away. He would hold us by his legs, we would wriggle out, think we were home free and he would grab us by the ankles. Or unhinge his hands and then get caught between his legs and so on.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Confidence

I find that at times I wish I had the confidence in life, love, and myself that I had at ten years old:

Knocking the wood down
With my ball
Gathering up spit
Standing there tall.
The first woman pitcher
That was me
Nolan Ryan style
Just wait and see.
Practicing and sweating
In the sun
Determined and smiling
And having fun.
I was so sure of myself
And I was ten
And what I'd give
To be so certain again.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Posting Poetry

I have decided to post my poetry and short stories on my blog. I intended to do this when I started the blog and then I begin to read about selling the written word. To post something on a blog means that it is considered "published." Therefore, your work is not as valuable as it was before posting.

Now I have come to the conclusion that it may not be valuable just sitting in my closet either. Also, it hinders me from writing anything new. If I publish it here, I am required to write more. Better to share some of me with the world.

 Perhaps I was making excuses because I was afraid to share myself, I don't know. I do know I legitimately want to make a mark on this world. I feel as if my life can be summed up like this: I am a dreamer, but practical. Therefore if I do not know how to being, I don't start. If I start I put my all in. So, I live a safe life but not always a happy one. I don't know how to start with getting my writing read. There is so much to read on the internet why will someone read mine? I don't know, but I am putting it out there for all who do.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Alphabet Exercise

The challenge I gave myself was to craft a poem with the alphabet. First line starts with A.

Above
Below
Couldn't
Didn't
Echo.
Far
Gone
Hollow
In
July
Kite
Lost
Mourning
Nigh.
Oh
Please
Quiet
Restless
Souls
Troubled
Unrested
Vile
Woes.
X
Yearning
Zealous foes.

-Emily Chumchal-Andrews

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