Here, There be a Writer

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What will you do with your life...?

On the drive to Darien Lake yesterday-on a much needed day off-I had some random thoughts running through my head. It's kinda of like highway hypnosis, but you are still aware of the road. I was thinking about my life and where I came from, who I am now and where I am going. It's a lot to think about, but when you are driving for a long distance it's easier to focus your mind on other things (yet still seeing the road).

I came up with a few realizations.I don't know how this happened, but suddenly I was like HEY, do you realize?.....and Hoo Boy! Did I realize! The first and the biggest realization was I have only just begun to live. When I started doing theatre (in the smallest sense of the word) with the Market Street Irregulars in 2006, I started to become the Cindy that you know now (if you actually know me). You see, while on the drive I was thinking about the different times in my life: Childhood, High School, College, Post-College/Car Accident, Dallas, Post-Dallas, Theatre Life. The time that I really focused on were the Post-College/Car Accident, Dallas, and Post-Dallas.

After I graduated in 2001, I moved to Corning, NY, after a quick trip to see my parents I ended up in a the hospital for a week and spent 3 month of recovery time following my car accident on Interstate-86, just outside Falconer, NY. I had fractured my ankle in 2 places and cracked/fractured the tail of one of my vertebrae. The irony here was I had just had  physical and a gotten a clean bill of health from the doctor. The me from college was a naive, not super world savvy, but ready and itching to leaving her small home town for something bigger. I was headed to Corning, NY, 3 hours away from the hometown I grew up in, Fredonia. I was ready to live and grow up. After the accident, I spent 3 months recuperating. Those 3 months were pretty horrible. I couldn't go anyway and I felt very alone, after all I had just moved to Corning to be with David my then boyfriend. I had very few friends, those I had were mostly through David and no social life. After college, this was really rough on my mental state. I feel that late May 2001 (after graduation) to April 2002 was my lost weekend, something akin to a dream or being encased in a cocoon.

When I moved to Dallas the playing field changed, and thus I changed. No longer was a shy and quiet. I had to work and work hard. I did. I proved that I could sustain myself for 2 1/2 years, but I was not really happy (didn't realize it at the time though). I thought I had it all. I did not! It was no mistake to move. It was a life lesson, that came with many a price, but I now would not change those lessons. After thinking about it yesterday I realized that while in Dallas, I lived without purpose, almost self-serving. My best friend in Dallas Joey, he said is best about Dallas-a city of mostly transplants from other areas-that Dallas has it's own lifestyle and attitude, dubbed "Dalitude" (by who, not sure). It's a selfish, pompous way of seeing the world. I wish I could say that I was stronger, to resist tit, but no, in some ways I fell to the mercy of the Dalitude. My time is Dallas was brief, but I doubt I left any mark on that city. I barely wrote and aside from my job as a Barista at Crossroads Market (it does not exist anymore) I did very little with my life. Not quite a lost weekend per se, but more like I was back in college and not taking life seriously.

Upon my arrival back in Corning, I had to get a life, get a job. From October 2004 until June 2006 I was temping and eking out a mere living. We lived with David 's parents until Spring of 2005 when we found an apartment and started to be adults again. The jobs I worked at that time were lousy and I was miserable for many of the same reasons that people are today: shitty pay, terrible hours, horrible boss or co-workers. It wasn't like I wasn't trying, but I guess I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, so a seetled. I worked as a receptionist at a Vet Clinic, a Cashier at a Grocery Store, a Lab Tech in a Factory, and finally landed a temporary Admin Clerk position at Schweizer Aircraft in June 2006 that turned into a permanent position. I lasted there until August of 2011 when I was laid off. Also, during that time David had started doing theatre again with ELT (Elmire Little Theatre) and met some people in a little organization called MSI (Market Street Irregulars) who did Dinner Theatre on Market Street at the restaurant on Market Street: Sorge's and Fat Cats. It was with them that I auditioned for my first ever show, at David's urging. He had already worked with them on "The Last Dance of Dr. Disco". "Audition for Murder" was my first show, I had three lines as the Stage Manager (the beginning of it all...).

This, I feel was the beginning of the REAL me. See, I think at that time I needed something and I think  told myself to get out, find friends, and make a life in Corning. I wasn't going anywhere. Corning was my home now. I couldn't just stay in a cocoon, like I did the last time I lived in here, nor could I run around without a care in the world as I did in Dallas. I had to earn my wings. Although the realization of what I wanted to do with my life had yet to surface. Almost like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon.

They say that to succeed at something/anything you must put in 10,000 hours to reaped any success. Now on the week of my birth (this Friday I turn 34), I have only just started clocking hours for my new plan, to be a writer. I have made a few accomplishments so far, but I still have a LONG ways to go. I am not giving up hope though. I have some great friends from High School, College, Dallas, and long distance friends that  have helped to give me support on this trek. My local friends has been wonderful, mostly theatre nerds, Whovians, and book worms. They are the best kind! But also the long distance friends are just as important, those are some of my strongest supporters as well.  I also have an awesome Mentor that reminds me that it is totally worth it to go for it. I may have only started living in 2006, but in that time much has happened and  surprised me and continuous to surprise me. "This looks familiar, vaguely familiar... There's not a word yet for old friends who've just met. Part heaven, part space, or have I found my place? You can just visit, but I plan to stay."  I do plan to stay and now I have purpose.

I am still clocking hours for my writing. Everyday I try to write something, anything. It might not always happen, but I keep at it. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I write. Other times, it's crap, but as least I wrote something. Right?

You bet!

"If you want something, nobody can stop you. If you don't want something, nobody can help you." ~James Owen

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sonnet of Steam Pipe Alley

You know what's harder than writing a sonnet about Green Day, it writing a sonnet about the 80's kid's show Steam Pipe Alley and all in iambic pentameter too. Seeing as I knew next to nothing about the show, it wasn't one I watched with regularity, but from clips that David has shown me. It seems to have been a kid's game show with silly tasks to do to win prizes, some skits, and cartoon. It reminds me of Double Dare, Weinerville, and Commander Tom, but on crack! Hope you enjoy!

Screen shot of the show

Steam Pipe Alley (or A Long Time Ago…)

A long time ago the television
Saw the likes of one, Mario Cantone.
The games that were featured were the reason
For other such shows that were to be shown.

Do you remember that time when Mario was…
Imitating the great Sammy Davis?
When he introduced the game because…
All were there and waiting for the bonus.

You see, she had to find the hidden prize,
Somewhere deep inside a dish of stuffing
But there are rules; this is not a surprise,
She cannot use her hands and so she is laughing.

The funniest thing that has been conceived--
To see, because I wouldn’t have believed.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Okay, after stage managing a children's production of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" I realized that I knew nothing of the original story. This is my closure for the summer of Tom Sawyer.

I am NOT blogging about the original 1876 Mark Twain novel, but the 1999 animated movie rendition by MGM called "Tom Sawyer".  I discovered the DVD  in the $5.00 bin  at Wal-Mart. I couldn't help but buy it and hope that i hoped it was going to be delightfully terrible. listen to this, it features a cast of country singers and anthropomorphized animals. Sounds wonderfully awful, right? It also features Betty White and Don Knotts. Also a selling point, right?  All these things were enough for me to fork over my $5.00 dollars to buy it.

Note: let me say that I do plan to read "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain in the near future, so I can understand the original story.

I am basing most of this review/blog off of the theatrically production that I was recently involved in, while it is also for children, it still retains a fair amount of the original story, as does this movie oddly enough. The theatrical production includes a slew of songs (different form the movie). It was written as a musical, but the songs can be removed and it  performed as a straight play as well. Our production (available through Dramatic Publishing) we did as a non-musical, it was a fun story. I really enjoyed it (makes he want to read the novel now) The kids really did a fantastic job learning the 1850's southern dialect, by the way.

Plot (includes changes found in both the theatrical and the movie version): Tom Sawyer is a boy and includes his adventures going to school, getting into fights (theatrical version), getting into trouble (with ticks or frogs depending on the version), and playing with his best friend Huckleberry Finn-a free spirited child of the world. Tom falls for Becky Thatcher (a new girl in the movie), after he already having been in love with another girl, Amy Lawrence at school. Tom and Huck discover the plot of Injun (Injurin') Joe, Muff (Mutt) Potter, and Doc Robinson (in the play version) and witness the death of Doc Robinson (Deputy Bean) by Joe. Muff (Mutt) is framed and Tom and Huck have to keep mum. They end up running away and are perceived as dead, until they crash their own funeral. Tom saves Muff (Mutt) from hanging and Joe is discovered as the murderer/thief. After the congratulatory party, Tom and Becky wander off into MacDougall's Cave (Dead Man's Cave) and discover the treasure. Joe is killed/dies and the kids find they can go back for the treasure. Happy Ending! The end.

Now, the movie is fairly similar to the novel, at least based on the Wikipedia plot synopsis. To be fair, each version is different, and each version has made changes, as I'm sure some of the other movie versions that also exist out there. For a kid's movie, it's oddly accurate to the original. Some of the changes made to the movie that clearly stand out for me, I can at least understand why.

First, is renaming the characters of Injun Joe (Injurin' Joe) and Muff Potter (Mutt Potter). It's a small pet peeve, but still. Makes it lose something just to get use a gag. Then there are other characters that are completely changed, like Doc Robinson, who is now Deputy Bean and without the same motivations. Doc Robinson was grave robbing (implied) with Injun Joe and Muff Potter in the theatrical version. I'm sure that the reason Injun Joe got changed, simply because of the racially sensitive nature of the world in 2013.

Characters that are perceived as different, or poorly represented. Muff Potter in the theatrical version is a shiftless loafer and the town drunk, but harmless and often helps the townsfolk. In this movie he is portrayed very poorly, with little to no back story and a bad memory. It makes his character less important in this version than the play version (and possibly the novel). As for  Deputy Bean, who is visiting his wife's grave-the scene in the graveyard plays different in the theatrical version, but with the same outcome, murder (in a kid's movie too). I realized that the changer in character means that the murder has to be adapted into the new scenario with just Joe and Mutt, whereas the theatrical version has Doc Robinson grave robbing with the help of Injun Joe and Muff Potter and Injun Joe betraying Muff by killing the doctor.

As a movie, it is pretty cohesive and falls within the 90 minutes time frame (for a children's movie), but that's doesn't mean that I consider this a great movie. After contemplation, I give it a 6 out of 10. It's not a classic, but it's not down right terrible, yet not completely boring, just slightly above average.

Most animated kid's movies seems to fall into the musical realm.n Why? Not entirely sure! Music is a great way to engage kids, but if not done well, it falls by the wayside. While this is not always a bad thing, when the songs fall flat in their delivery then it makes the movie much weaker. The movie falls into the county vein as 90% percent of the cast are county music artists. This means that the soundtrack is also country heavy, oh screw it, it's a various artists,country album. I am not normally a country fan, but that has nothing to do with why I can't stand the music in this version. All of the songs feel thrown in. It feels like someone said, we have songwriters in the cast let's have them write and sing some songs. Half of these songs tat are not even needed, like "Leave Your Love Light On", which is sung by the Preacher. It could have been cut out and the story still remained in-tacked. Of the 8 songs, only 5 are even really songs that support the movie. The last song "Never, Ever, and Forever" is the standard end-of-the-movie song and not really needed either. It's felt awkward when the 2 lead females (Amy Lawrence and Becky Thatcher) are double cast, having different speaking and singing voices. It feels like overkill or they were appeasing someone, somewhere.

I know I am being harsh on a kid's movie, but some many animated movies get made now-a-days that I think people forget that you still need a decent plot , good voice actors, and you don't always need musical number to support your storytelling. Show don't tell!

There are things that could have been cut out and things that should have been left in and it still could have been with the 70 to 90 minute time limit. To me, Mutt Potter (played by Don Knotts) deserved a little more than a poorly developed bit part. In the play version, at least, he saves Tom and Becky from MacDougall's Cave (called Dead Man's Cave in the movie). Betty White was Aunt Polly and while she did a fantastic job with what she could have been showcased more. She seemed like her character was just there and not part of the story. She is just Tom and Sid's Aunt, or when Tom's been bad she punishes him and makes him paint the House Boat to teach him a lesson.

Hey movie, way have talented voice actors and not use them! I certainly hope it wasn't because they weren't country artists.

Not to down play anyone, but Rhett kins and Mark Wills, who can obviously sing-they  played Tom and Huck-did not sound like kids of 11 or 12 that go to school, play hooky, and go on adventures. From a realism perspective, it didn't feel convincing. I know they needed real singers who could see their songs, but why have to grown men in their 30's play children who are 11 or 12?  At least men in there 30's who can play 11 and 12 year olds. I know I mentioned the double casting of Amy Lawrence and Becky Thatcher (Clea Lewis and Hynden Walch), but really they sound like younger girls and both of whom are voice actors. Hynden has played Starfire in Teen Titans, Princess Bubblegum in Adventure Time, and Harley Quinn in Batman; while Clea Lewis has appeared on Spongebob Squarepants. These are voice actors that sound young and while their singing voices might not fit the songs. Truthfully, I actually had no problem with Alecia Elliott and Lee Ann Womack singing for Amy and Becky. To me, would may have helped the general feel of the show double casting the 4 lead: Tom, Huck, Becky, and Amy.

As for the over all quality, as I said earlier, it felt average. It was just good enough to be enjoyable, but not stellar. I could enjoy watching it for it what  cheese factor it did have. I love watching really bad or cheesy movies. I love to see over acting when possible, as Christopher Eccleston did in the movie "The Seeker". That is a case of bad movie and one that I would watch again, because of all things they got wrong (and there were plenty), but also there were things that they got right, or at least utilized right, like Christopher Eccleston. Man, I love those blue eyes!

"Tom Sawyer", you are not the best movie out there, nor you are even the most decent one. You are very average as a whole, but you do have Betty White and Don Knotts! You also have Rebel the Frog, who is the Tom's pet, is clearly the comic relief of the show. Something else, Injurin' Joe's, he was interesting, a violent sort and his death scenes, yes he dies about 2 or 3 times, are worth watching this movie. The animation is 'purty good', by 1999 standards anyway, but the CGI river boat at the beginning and end really looked out of place. Not very well done. I figured what they were trying to go for, but it didn't quite get there.

Is it a good children's movie? Yes, I think they made something that kid's will like. Will it be memorable? For me, probably not so much.  For $5.00 dollars, it' wasn't terrible, just average.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hot Summer Nights and Green Day!

It's been a long week and even longer weekend. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" has come and gone. The kids were wonderful, the building hot and stuffy, and I am still sore for the friggin' Courthouse. The wind down feel less obvious this time as I am already starting another show, this time I will be onstage in a production of "The Best Little Whorehouse is Texas". I find future blogs might spring from this adventure, or when I watch the animated-using anthropomorphized animals-musical movie adaptation of "Tom Sawyer" made last year and found in the 5 dollar bin at Wal-Mart. It looks terrible. I cannot wait to watch it. Gonna be fantastically horrible.

But anyway, it's been a long and busy weekend with the three performances of "Tom Sawyer" and the "Whorehouse" read thru yesterday. I chose to take today, Monday, off fro  work to decompress a bit.

Of course this weekend is also the weekend when FULL ON SUMMER kicks in the Twin Tiers! Today was in the mid to upper 90's in Corning. I did not do much today. In fact I and the cats chose to nap or do very little today, but that left a blog to still be written. I had nothing really lined up, most because I was moving courthouses and giant Styrofoam rocks, but I still belief that you lovely reader like to have something to read. So, after a bit of deliberation, I decided to cash in my Poetry Topic Contest winners on my Facebook page Here, There be a Writer (I post various writing adventures there. stop on by to see what else I am up to) and write a sonnet with the topic that had the most votes. There was a tie between Green Day and Steampipe Alley, so I am going to write sonnets about both topic, today is Green Day. Tomorrow will be Steam Alley, a game show from the 1980's starring Mario Cantone.

*Thank you Google image search for the pictures.

For Moo and Sara Love!

Sing of Green Day (or You Hear the Guitar)

You hear the guitar and it starts thrumming,
The sound waves resemble a living thing
In a miasma of pulse and strumming,
Pushing out in time they begin to sing.

The volume picks up and the singer moves,
Calling out across the liquid rhythms
Of heart, truth, and inner wisdom that grooves;
A soul that breathes of musical theorems.

You echo back as though a reply to
The voice singing to you on the other side
That is familiar with the old haiku
Of emotions that he too will confide.

Like a long distance call that is gritty
Is all that is needed of this ditty.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Words, words, words.....I love words!

I have had a long week and it's only going to get longer. I am in hell week (AKA tech week) for the Lake Country Players, Junior Production of Tom Sawyer. the long rehearsal and large set pieces (I <3 you Andy!!!) on a gymno-theatre (part gym, part auditorium). There is no A/C in this space, but it's an acoustically sound space. I do theatre for the pure fun, even when I have to sweat my balls off!

Not the image you wanted to hear, right? Well, it was Ball Sack hot backstage, without the gym lights on, but I had my crew: Krissy, Merv, Ash, Megan, Chuck, and Moo. Quite the collection of names right? Well, they work well and they got my back. Anywho, I will probably write more about Tom Sawyer in the few hours free I have this week...

 When I dive into something, it's usually head first and all others are pushed to the back. I hate to ignore my other hobbies, but I always come back to them. Something that doesn't always get pushed aside is my love of words. Often when I am stressed, frustrated, or just plain confuzzled I turn to words. The very essence of words are calming, as words in song lyrics, or words in a books will relax me, sometime to the point of putting me to sleep, but they are blissfully polite and wonderfully serene.

Sometimes I just like writing my favourite words on a piece of paper. Only times I find ways to include them in a poem , or piece of fiction. There are some words that I always come back to. These are the words that are somehow a part of me: quixotic, sanguine, factitious, azure, periwinkle, vermillion, Draconian, equine, supine, cacophony, resonance, acquiescence, Aquila are just some. I bet you are wondering what some of his mean. Why, yes, I would love to explain these words (borrowed the definitions from, by the way).

Quixotic:  [kwik-sot-ik] adjective 

1.  resembling or befitting Don Quixote.  

2. extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable.  

3. impulsive and often rashly unpredictable.

Favourite use? Well, probably when I wrote a poem in high school that used the phrase, 'Quixotic Tendencies'. I love the imagery of Don Quixote and the oft perception of his overzealous chivalry. Chivalry might be dead, but Don Quixote won't let it dissipate in the mist. I feel that quixotic could also be a noun in the right circumstance.

Vermilion [ver-mil-yuhn] noun
1. a brilliant scarlet red.
2. a bright-red, water-insoluble pigment consisting of mercuric sulfide, once obtained from cinnabar, now usually produced by the reaction of mercury and sulfur.

3. of the color vermilion.

4. to color with or as if with vermilion. verb (used with object)

1250–1300; Middle English vermilioun, vermillon  < Anglo-French, Old French verm ( e ) illon,  equivalent to vermeil vermeil + -on  noun suffix
If I were to choose a type of red to call me own, it would have to be vermillion. I see vermillion in the colour of Phoenix feather, in a fire, or a sunset. It's a poetic word, because when you want to say red, but don;t feel that red would do it justice, then go with vermillion.

Resonance [rez-uh-nuhns] noun

1. the state or quality of being resonant.
2. the prolongation of sound by reflection; reverberation.
Resonance has a number of definitions, but I will stick to the main two. It's a fun word to say. I like the second definition. I imagine the plucking of a string and the vibrations of the sounds that comes afterwards, like a guitar, maybe a bass string, or even a harp string. It's is contract to Cacophony. They are like twins, two side of the same coin.
Cacophony [kuh-kof-uh-nee] noun, plural cacophonies.
1. harsh discordance of sound; dissonance: a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.
2. a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds: the cacophony produced by city traffic at midday.
3. Music. frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand.
1650–60;  < Neo-Latin cacophonia  < Greek kakophōnía.  See caco-, -phony
Now maybe I can use a few words for you tonight...
The resonance of the quixotic tendencies flows from the radiant sunset in rays of vermilion and I feel less alone on this night, warmed by the trailing fingers of my solar lover.
I am really tired, so maybe it's a tad silly, or really poetic. I hope you enjoyed my word play. I may revisit this theme in the future. So, tell me what are your favourite words and why?