What to get a one year old

I got my niece this dress for her birthday. Considering she’s turning one, I don’t think she’s going to log on here and peek. Her parents may be another story. But I don’t think they’ll tell.

A birfday dress

Sometimes it’s more fun to buy clothes for her than it is for myself. Cheaper, too.

Embarking on the journey that is “Infinite Jest”

Not one but TWO bookmarks required

At the beginning of this month I started a second challenge: reading David Foster Wallace’s 1,079 page treatise on… well, I’m not all that sure yet. I first thought about tackling this book last summer when I saw this site, which documented the process of reading the thing over the course of three months– from June 21 to Sept. 22. An “Infinite” summer. However, I stumbled upon it some time in July and knew I wasn’t going to be able to catch up. Instead, I am reading it this summer, June 1 until Sept. 1. It averages out to about 75 pages a week — in theory. The thing I don’t understand about that method is the darn endnotes.

The last almost 100 pages of the book are endnotes, which are made reference to throughout the first 900+ something pages, so you’ve actually got to keep two bookmarks with you– one for the book and one for the endnotes. One endnote I came across within that first 75 pages last week was ten pages itself. I feel like I can’t go on reading the main text until I’ve read any endnote I come across; some online readers I’ve heard from say this is the way to do it, while others say you can go back and read them later. As long as you do read them, because they swear they’re important later.

I read “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men,” a collection of DFW short stories and essays, last month. I felt that was good practice for “Infinite Jest,” getting used to those bizarre endnotes and all. However, with that book, the endnotes were at the bottom of the page they are referred to on (and in many cases, the bottoms of several continuous pages). That’s not the case with “Infinite Jest,” but I think I actually prefer IJ’s layout between the two.

I want to write a review of “Brief Interviews” soon, especially since I finally got to see the movie over the weekend. The movie, which came out last fall, may have solidified my interest in DFW. It was adapted and directed by John Krasinski, who said in an interview that he used his first paycheck from “The Office” to buy the rights to this book. If that was not going to pique my interest, nothing ever would.

I got through the first 75 pages in Week 1, which means I better somehow get to 150 before Sunday night. For some reason it feels like it takes several minutes to get through a single page. There’s a few words I don’t know so I either have to figure them out in their context or look them up. I keep making notes of pages with passages I want to go back to, or lines that I liked. It’s a surprisingly difficult book to read, and it’s only the beginning, from what I hear. Wish me happy reading.

Michael Tolcher, “Sooner or Later”

My friend Christine (who lent me that first Jillian Michaels DVD) came over to visit for a while Saturday and we had one of those really great conversations where you’re a little more honest and open than a normal day usually dictates. Those are the conversations I live for, which is weird because I am too guarded for my own liking. Part of our conversation included her telling me about this song. We pulled it up on YouTube and I fell absolutely in love with it. I just bought it on iTunes.

“Sooner or Later”

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
Try not to say anything weird

Save your questions without answers
‘Til your old enough to know that things ain’t as they appeared

Before you go out in the sun
Cover your skin and don’t get burned
Beware the cancer, it might kill you when you’re old

Be first in line, raise your hand
Remember everything you hear
And playing in the rain is worth catching cold

Sooner or later
We’ll be lookin’ back on everything
And we’ll laugh about it like we knew what all was happening
And someday you might listen to what people have to say
Now you learn the hard way

We only want what’s best for you
That’s why we tell you what to do
And never mind if nothing makes sense

‘Cause it all works out in the end
You’re just like us without a friend
But you can build a privacy fence

[Repeat Chorus]

Some things you have to learn them all on your own
You can’t rely on anybody else
Or the point of view of a source unknown
If it feels good and sounds nice
Then it’s your choice don’t doubt yourself
Don’t even think twice

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
You know they like it when you smile (Find a reason to smile)

Try not to focus on yourself
Share that love with someone else
Don’t let the bitters bring you down
Don’t let anything bring you down

Something has to go

Stuff I have 100 percent willingly committed my time to:

  • My job
  • Blogging every week night
  • Working out and losing weight
  • Writing for the Shadowbox Cabaret
  • Being in a wedding party
  • Reading “Infinite Jest” this summer (more on that soon)
  • Driving to California for a week in June
  • Writing a feature length screenplay
  • The Kafe Kerouac Monday night writers’ group
  • Finding an apartment by July 1 and moving days after returning from California
  • Starting a blog and doing video for the Summit Workshop
  • Attending Young Professionals of Columbus and Mid Ohio Filmmakers Association events on a semi-regular basis

Not to mention hanging out with my friends and family. I’ve definitely bitten off more than I can chew. On top of it all, I have all these feelings of guilt when I am doing one thing instead of another, like reading a book instead of writing a sketch. Or writing a sketch instead of working on the screenplay. Or working on the screenplay instead of cleaning the apartment.

I applied for a YPC internship to do their social media outreach, but now I really, really hope I don’t get asked to do it. What was I thinking?

Last night I was planning on writing while at the laundromat, but fifteen minutes after I got there a freak flash flood occurred, flooding the place. Instead of writing, I helped push water out the door with a giant broom, a near exercise in futility. But it was nice how everyone came together to help out the owner. And I still got all my laundry done, so it wasn’t a total bust, productivity-wise.

My closest friend in Columbus is moving across the country in less than three weeks. I am on the verge of a meltdown. This is not good.

30 Day Shred, Day 2

Day 2 is complete. My legs are now jello.

I was reminded this afternoon that you aren’t really supposed to work out seven days a week, and that I need to take a rest day. I’ve picked Friday. So, I guess I’ll do this six days a week this month and see what happens. I’ll be amazed if I can make it all the way through tomorrow’s work out on top of my aerobics class at work.

Also at work, we started our annual walking program. We are encouraged to walk for 15 minutes on our breaks and/or at lunch. I went today, despite leaving my walking shoes at home. I’m ready for tomorrow, though. Bring it on.

I say that now. We’ll see how much more gelatinous my legs are by then.

Goals for the month of June

About a week ago I decided to start anew with my diet and workout. I’ve been doing pretty well about eating decently and doing aerobics at work and cardio on my own, but I didn’t have a lot of structure. And I wasn’t really paying attention to results, either. So, since today’s June 1 I decided to start Jillian Michael’s “30 Day Shred” DVD. For the past two weeks I’ve been doing her “Trouble Zones” workout, a grueling 40 minute (plus 10 minute warm up/cool down) torture instrument. I did it four times in one week and stayed within my calorie range and lost four pounds (technically five, but gained one back) in that time. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay away, and for all I know it may have been a fluke, but I think if I maintain that kind of dedication for a whole month I can do some real work here.

Also, I bought this dress in Chicago for Christina’s bridal shower and I want my arms to look nice in it:

That is one yellow dress

So, 30 days in June and 30 days to be shredded by Jillian. The DVD advertises losing up to 20 pounds in 30 days, but I am extremely skeptical. Also, I realize I’ll be on vacation the fourth week of June, but I figure if I manage to stick with this up until June 21, I’ll find a way to make it work. I know Eileen will want to find any way to exercise on our trip even if it means doing sprints in a rest stop parking lot.

Also, I made some more Green Monster with frozen berries instead of fresh. I actually preferred it, it was sweeter this time.

Unfortunately it still looks repulsive

My goals this month are to:

  • Do a Jillian Michaels work out each day in June
  • Drink iced coffee with sugar free caramel syrup INSTEAD of iced mochas or lattes
  • Stay below my Lose It! calorie limit
  • Eat more fruits and veggies ala Green Monster smoothies
  • Tone my stupid arms if it kills me

Away we go! Tonight’s work out was a relief compared to her “Trouble Zones.” It was only a half hour. Still extremely difficult, though.

A warmer trip to Chicago

I should be going to bed because I have to go to Twinsburg for work tomorrow, but I just really want to write.

Chicago was a great experience. Going there this time, the first time after I began to imagine what it would be like to live there, was important for me. I wanted to see how I felt there with this new idea for myself and my future, and it felt right. I was by myself a few times on this trip, and walking alone and navigating the city was exciting and fresh. This was also the first time in several visits that I was there when it wasn’t November, and I have to say, Chicago is gorgeous in fair weather. Maybe this conclusion means I should go back once more in the dead of winter before I decide for sure I want to live there.

Waiting on the red line

I rode to Chicago Friday with two women from improv, one of whom I’d taken my intro class with and one I’d met only two days earlier. I immediately got off on the wrong foot with one, who I was supposed to tell that the other woman and I would be arriving at her home by 7:45 that morning. I forgot, and she was clearly displeased but graceful about this unexpected arrival. An hour and a half and one breakfast at Panera Bread later, we hit the road as planned.

Outside the iO

Our carful arrived in Chicago around 6 p.m. Central time. The two women had reservations for an 8 p.m. show at the iO, or Improv Olympics. I rode the red line with them to the theater and, since I had a reservation with the rest of our group for the 10:30, I went off to get dinner by myself. I called my uncle, who lived in Chicago for a long time, to ask for a restaurant recommendation. I couldn’t find either of his suggestions, but since one of them had been a Mexican place and that sounded amazing at the time, I found a different one. After I ate I called one of the other travelers and found out they were on their way up. I walked back toward the red line to meet them and ran into them outside of the iO. It was still early, so we went to a bar across Clark St. to wait for the show’s doors to open.

We saw iO’s Improvised Shakespeare Company and it ended up being my favorite show of the trip. Five men dressed in Shakespearean clothes took an audience suggested title (“The Merchant of Penis”) and improvised an hour long show about a male gigolo. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. They are well versed in Shakespeare and take a class on the Bard once a month or something like that, to stay completely on point with their genre.

Bubble tea from Chinatown

The next morning, Saturday, I woke up later than anyone else in the room. The two women I’d rode up with left for Chinatown and offered to wait on me. I told them I’d catch up with them shortly, since Chinatown was only six blocks or so from where we were staying. I got ready and met up with them with my video camera. I carried the camera with me all day Saturday but ultimately only shot about eight minutes of footage; I probably won’t do anything with it, either. For people so used to being on stage, I could tell they were for the most part collectively uncomfortable on camera. As a videographer you’ve got to respect those kind of feelings.

I was kind of the odd one out of the group, since I am no longer taking improv classes and I opted out of the workshop Saturday afternoon. Most people left for the workshop at the Annoyance around 12:30, and I took the bus to the Magnificent Mile. The last time I’d been there was this past Thanksgiving, with Brandon’s family and that awareness made me really miss all of them. But, I tried to get past that and focus on the wonderful feeling of independence I had, all alone in a city I love, trying on dresses in stores with no one to rush me. Not that Brandon or anyone ever did, but not having to worry bout anyone else’s schedule or agenda was a nice feeling.

Showing team spirit

The Stanley Cup, in which the Chicago Blackhawks were competing, was going on while I was there of course, and I saw two interesting displays of support; on the bus ride up Michigan Avenue I saw a very formal looking public building with two stone lions outside– and they were wearing giant Blackhawk helmets. Then, outside of Tiffany’s, a male statue was not only holding up a very classic looking clock, but wearing a hockey jersey.

The Uptown Broadway Building near the Annoyance

Nearly four hours later, I navigated my way (via a useful iPhone app) to the Annoyance theater and waited for someone to call and let me know they were out of the workshop. They called around 5 when I was waiting in a Border’s Books and walked to a Starbucks near the theater to meet them. Together as a group again, we took the bus to a restaurant favored by many of the improvisers who’d taken a trip to Chicago last fall. We ate dinner and then watched two very different shows at the Annoyance.

The first was a three person troupe from Detroit, and they were really good. Almost every scene involved all three of them but they kept it going and fresh and interesting all the same. The second show was called Swear Jar, and it was actually scripted comedy, sort of. It was pretty dark, to be honest, but I knew it would be going into it, as that is the Annoyance’s reputation. It had some great moments, and some very inspired musical numbers, but I still maintain that Shakespeare was my favorite show of the trip.

A cool show poster I liked in the hallway at the Annoyance

On Sunday morning, I declined a second trip to Chinatown and slept in instead. I don’t know why, but I was exhausted almost the whole trip. I also forgot to pack my contact lenses so I had to wear my glasses the whole time, which I hated. I grabbed some coffee and a banana for breakfast and we headed back to Midway airport, where our car was parked. Then, we headed home. I slept at least two hours of the trip home, and then slept for another 11 hours that night.

Tomorrow I’m going to a Young Professionals of Columbus meeting, an organization I’m finally joining at my uncle’s suggestion when I actually voiced my very real concern of losing friends in the days after Brandon and I broke up. Nearly four months later, I know I still have some of those friends (enough of them) and I don’t really need to join YPC to go out and meet new people, but I want to do so. I want to take advantage of the opportunities in this city as much as I can, and I am looking forward to the people in YPC I’ve yet to meet.