Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mid-Week, Mid-Performance Updates

Hey, guess what? I've been swamped with play practice. I've been spending literally 8 hours a day working on that play.

Friday was our first performance. It was a totally awesome show. I got a ton of applause, and a lot of people were surprised that this was my first part in a play ever. I was very happy. Everyone did great, and so thrilled that we had a successful opening night. (Incidentally, everytime someone mentioned the words "opening night" I either sang that song from The Producers, or the song "It's bad luck to say good luck on opening night" -- I know...I'm a nerd.)

Saturday was another story, though. We met out back, which is theater tradition, to get eachother pumped for the show, and our supervisor told us to try to avoid the "Saturday Slump" -- which is where the cast gets comfortable after the first success and sucks it up totally the second night. So we were on our game, doing great, making sure to give it our all. But by scene 7, I saw the lights flicker and I knew something horrible was gonna happen. Then, we blew a fuse, and the lights went out. We had early intermission, but had to run on limited lighting after that. And then, to make things worse, we all got rattled from that first big disaster and started screwing up. And to make matters worse, Beauty's dress ripped and she had to wear a shawl to cover it up until we could get it fixed. After that horrible show, I went to go see The Dark Knight to make myself feel better (and it did, because it was awesome!).

Sunday made everything better. We made sure that everyone who came tonight got the best performance ever -- especially if they had come the night before. We blew them out of the water, and did excellent.

Now, however, I have to look forward to next weekend -- Beauty and the Beast...Cast 2! This weekend is with an entirely different set of girls, and it's going to be interesting. I think we'll do awesome though.

Anyway, just a quick update while I dive back into the play...again. I sure can't wait until it's done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight

This has taken it's place as my favorite movie of all time. If you have not seen this movie, go watch it. Even if you're not a fan of superhero movies, go watch this movie. It's plays almost like a normal crime drama. It's never over the top, it's never campy, it's never slow. The movie is fast paced, but never leaves you confused. It is Heath Ledger's best performance ever. Go watch this movie. If Heath Ledger doesn't win an Oscar for this movie, the entire awards assembly crew should have their heads examined.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Caturday Lolcats

This is how I feel after performing. I thought it would amuse you guys. I'll let you know how the performances went on Monday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Performance 16

1. Furiously read through the script because even though you've run this play at least 200 times, you seem to have forgotten the order of the scenes.

2. Constantly check yourself to make sure your fly is zipped, your shirt is buttoned, your wig is on straight and you are in fact, wearing your pants.

3. Avoid water 7 hours before your performance in fear that you will need to pee in the middle of the performance.

3 a) Despite your efforts, you have to pee anyway, and for some reason this is the time you decide to contemplate how Noah avoided sea sickness on the ark.

4. Scratch your legs until you bleed trying to keep from itching that spot in the middle of your face and screw up your make up.

5. Develop the habit of blinking frequently and rapidly because you're brand new contacts have chosen this moment to screw up and glaze over.

6. Frantically quadruple check that all the props are in their proper places, reorganize them, forget your "improved" organization order, and panic when you can't find one prop.

7. Sit in a corner, crying, and asking yourself why you chose to be in a stupid local play in the first place, you don't like talking in front of people anyway.

8. Write out Post-Its with custom deadly threat and place each one in the seats your friends will sit in. Make sure they understand, if they laugh at you, they will suffer.

9. Tear down every flyer in the town and throw a bucket of paint over the giant sign advertising the play and hope nobody will show up because they don't know what time the play starts.

10. Fake a sign saying the play is canceled.

11. Dress in dark clothes and a white mask and, through the power of song and special effects, scare the audience away and close the show early.

12. Practice loosening your lips for 2 constant hours before the performance in fear of messing up a line during the play.

12 a) Work your lips too much and suffer a rare but painful face cramp in which your face locks down and you cannot move your lips to say your lines, and just so happen to look like you're sneezing through your nose as well.

13. Badger your fellow actors back stage every 5 minutes to ask if your make up still looks fine.

14. When someone mentions breaking a leg, stand and curse loudly for 10 minutes, accusing the director and the rest of the cast of trying to jinx you before your first big performance.

14 a) Insist a witch-doctor be brought in to rid the area of its "bad joo joo."

15. Write a blog post about your fears that will help you loosen up and then try to relax before your performance.

16. Call up the local government officials about being entered into the witness protection program to escape your humiliation if the performance goes bad anyway...just in cast.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sherlock Holmes

I love mysteries. When I was younger, I was obsessed with the Encyclopedia Brown books. The thought that a kid could be so smart, and he could help his friends, and even the police sometimes -- I thought it was awesome. Also, the EB books made you turn to the next page for the solution, so it gave you a chance to solve it yourself. I loved that, too.

When I got older, I read the Hardy Boys, and when I got older still, I read the Hardy Boys Casefiles, which was Hardy Boys for adults, with Frank and Joe, but they were grown.

When I got into middle school, I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books, and my love of mysteries grew to a whole new level. I had never encountered a character like Sherlock before. He was maladjusted, you didn't always like him, and he was rarely nice. Being so smart left him being somewhat of a social outcast, and his only friends was Dr. Watson, the only person who was patient enough to put up with his moodiness.

I started watching Sherlock Holmes movies -- a few of the ones with Basil Rathbone, the movie Young Sherlock Holmes, The Great Mouse Detective, the show Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, anything really. I was intrigued by the surely detective. I wasn't always happy with the TV and movie adaptions of Sherlock though -- many adaptions had reduced a lot of his character flaws down, thereby making him a friendly, happy, well-liked, but extremely smart guy. That's just not Holmes. A few good recommendations that were pretty good but weren't by Conan himself would be The Baker Street Irregulars, and the movie Young Sherlock Holmes.

Then, I saw the TV show House. I had avoided it, because I don't normally watch much TV -- a lot of them seem to be the same crime investigation shows with a different cast -- but after a few episodes I knew where'd I'd scene Dr. Gregory House before. He was Sherlock Holmes!! He walked with a cane, he had one really good friend who was patient enough to put up with his characer flaws, he was addicted to drugs, he was maladjusted and cynical, and he was extremely smart and solved cases most people were stumped by.

Now it seems they're gonna try to bring back Sherlock Holmes to the modern public. I saw on Yahoo news, where there's two new Sherlock Holmes movies in the works. One of them is a Columbia pictures comedy that is supposed to star Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrel that I'm hoping will be as good as The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, and not totally stupid. The other one fills me with hope, though. It's a Warner Bros. film, and when I saw who they got to play Sherlock, I thought, Wow, if they couldn't get Hugh Laurie, that guy could definitely do the part justice. They got Robert Downey, Jr. His smart alleck, cynical personality is perfect for the crabby detective, and with what I've heard about Iron Man, this movie will be fantastic, and hopefully be a box office smash.

I'm daring to get my hopes up. Don't let me down Hollywood!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Muses and Inspiration Revisited

Remember my post about the muse? Well, Maureen Johnson had a post on the fifth that answers my question in a very interesting way, and I didn't even ask her. You can find it here. Go check it out. It's a good post.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lolcat "Caturdays"*

*Name credit goes to Beth. If you visit here on Saturdays, you'll remember that I'm starting a new tradition: Lolcats for a good weekend laugh. Below is this weeks.

Also, Burn Notice is back. Yaaaay!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Magnificent Memorable Movies Meme

I got this from Heather's Blethers, and from S.M.D's blog, The World in the Satin Bag, so I figured...why not? I haven't done a meme in a while.

This is Entertainment Weekly's list of 100 Classic Movies of the past 25 years. Anyone who wants to play, consider yourself tagged! The rules: Bold the movies you've seen, underline or *asterisk* the ones you plan to, strike out the ones you HATE and refuse to watch ever again.

... P.S... for those of you who, like me, didn't know how to strike out something, here's how: <> strike out < / s >

That might save you a Google search.

Here's the list:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. Goodfellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire(1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)
25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1987)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998)
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Huh, I did better than I thought I would. But still, I feel like I let myself down. There's some movies on there I really should see, since they're classics. And I really have to question who made this list. South Park? The Blair Witch Project? I hated the Blair Witch Project, and while I can't say I hated South of the top 100 movies of the past 25 years? Really? Couldn't that spot have gone to something better...anything better?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parallel Universes

One story idea that has always been a favorite of mine is parallel universes. Stories where the heroes travel to worlds are mirrors of eachother. I love to read stories where the worlds may resemble something close to what we know with minor differences, and stories where the alternate world has been wrecked because of some catastrophic event where Johnny McBoogernose was elected mayor in Hicksville, USA instead of Timmy Straightentrue.

When I was a freshmen in highschool, I discovered Stephen King's series The Dark Tower, and they remain some of my favorite books. I love how they explore alternate worlds and alternate time lines and the idea that the universe is like an onion in reverse -- there are layers of worlds stacked on layers of worlds and each one may only differ slighly, while some may be enormously different.

Well, oh denizens of the SoaM universe, I have invented a machine that will let you explore alternate dimensions. The diagram of my invention can be seen below, although it may be too technical for most of you unscientifical folk. Just trust me that I spent many hours perfecting this design.You may question the morality of this. "Jason," you may protest, "couldn't even glancing briefly at another world throw ours into chaos, much like messing with the time stream." "What is this, freakin' twenty questions?" I would reply with anger. Seriously, why in the world would you be questioning me anyway, I just invented a freakin' transdimensional portal generator. When my findings are reported to the International Scientists Organization and Recreational Center -- or I-Soars -- I'll be able to buy and sell you guys like goldfish anyway....

...anyway, until the boys in white coats recognize my excellence, I will offer free rides to anyone who wants to visit a few alternate dimensions. Remember, these things may frighten you, but just remember that this is only a demonstration and a real ride will cost you your first born child -- so, basically, cheaper than a full tank of gas.

Without further ado, SoaM of the Other Worlds: SoaM Beta, SoaM Gamma, SoaM Delta, SoaM Epsilon -- (this world calls their site "The" Scribblings of a Madman. Everyone knows that my scribblings are "THE" scribblings, all others are imitators. I'm SoaM Alpha.)

I hope you all enjoyed your trip. Please watch your step and thank you for travelling.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Books and TV

I don't really have much to talk about today, but I do have some news that was pretty cool. My town is not a town that is known for its readers. The only bookstores we have are a used bookstore, and our Wal-Mart, and slowly but surely, our Wal-Mart has been reducing the book section down to Junie B. Jones, other kids books of that nature, and self help books. But it looks like our Wal-Mart is starting to exand their stock a little more. The other day, I am happy to report, I saw Twilight Fall in the with the book that Lynn Viehl advertised a few days ago -- Death Angel. My only let down was that I couldn't find The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu. I frantically checked my money supply. I was going to buy them and have SoaM's first book give away, but sadly, I was broke. So, in a few months, I may have a book give away, if by then everyone doesn't already have those books, ha. We'll see, though -- money is looking tighter this semester.

And in other news, I saw the last episode of Death Note the other day -- God bless you, my lovely DVR -- and I have only this to say: HOLY COW!!! AMAZING!!!

That's really all. I'll try to have something cool to post later this week. I'm stewing ideas.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I've been thinking about this post for a while. It's something that I would like to talk about. At first I thought it was only me, but I've talked to several people and they all have this problem.

Inspiration, aka the muse. She's a fickle friend, and one that often leaves you. It's the fire that drives you to write, the passion that makes you love what you do and want to see the thing to the end. Every writer and wanna-be writer knows what I'm talking about. You get that idea and your pulse quickens and you feel your adrenaline surge and you just can't wait to get started.

But, what I've seen happen a lot is the inspiration goes away. Sometimes early on. For those who feel dedication and love and such, sometimes halfway through the book, but eventually it seems that writing becomes a chore...and everybody hates chores so why would you want to write? Let's go watch some Smallville and give the muse a rest. We'll write tomorrow.

Tomorrow you say, geez, man. I still don't want to write. Oh well, I'll go read this book I've been wanting to read and go wash some dishes and tomorrow I'll do a big writing day to make up for what I missed today.

And the next day you don't.

And the next day you don't...

...and eventually you stop writing entirely. That's happened to me more times than I can count. I have a whole ton of stories that I started, but never got around to finishing, some of them I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, some them I knew exactly, but all of them eventually became no fun to write.

I thought it was just me, but one of my college friends was talking to me the other day -- she's a creative writing major -- and she said that she gets like that too.

That's why I've been writing so many random genre stories lately: A Lover Scorned was a kinda noir-ish murder mystery, Silence and Darkness was a horror-ish story, and Detective Sheen is sci-fi, which I've never written before. I've been trying variety to give the muse other flavors and make her want to work, but I still lose interest.

So this is kind of a discussion question for those of you who want to participate, how do you finish things? How do you keep interested long enough to finish the whole project, whether it be a short story or a novel?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday Lolcats

I've decided to add a new feature. The weekends around the blogosphere are somewhat dull. Everyone is spending time with their families, and that leaves the few survivors that are hanging around nothing to read. So for your pure entertainment, I'm going to post on Saturdays. I'm thinking Lolcat Saturdays? They're funny, and they leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Get it? 'Cause they're cats? Ha ha? ...anyway... >.>;

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

To all of you with me in the US, Happy Independence Day! My family and I are having a barbeque and I'll be using some of those awesome recipes I found from the Recipe Round-up. No matter what you're doing, though, I hope you're with people you love.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pet Scare and Relief

We had a scare recently here at la casa de la Rayburn. Our poor mini-dachshund Jimi Hendrix got sick. (While he bears no actual resemblance to the rocker of the same name I can hug my Jimi Hendrix and roll him around on the floor and play with him. I couldn't have done that with the other one without causing some risque gossip...although my Jimi can't play the guitar as well as the other Jimi either.)

Anyway, we came home a few days ago and poor Jimi was laying on the floor shaking and whining. I was instantly worried, because I was instantly reminded of when my chihuahua Sugar got sick when I was 10. She had cancer and died, and before she died she laid around and shook and yelped.

Luckily, my mom, God bless her, has a clearer head than mine. She immediately knew what it was. She took him into the kitchen and gave Jimi some mineral oil and some medicine and said, "He's constipated. It sometimes happens to dachshunds. Don't worry. He'll be fine." I wasn't so sure.

My heart sank when, the next day, he still laid there yelping and whining. I was getting panicky, but my mom just gave him more medicine and said that he would be fine. Next day, he was perfectly fine. He's been bouncing around for the past couple days as happy as he can be. I'm so glad that he feels better.

Below is a picture of both Jimis. Try to guess which one is mine, :D

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chocolate Drop Cookies

I'm posting this because Barrie Summy is having a cool little Recipe Round-Up for July 4th -- Independence Day here in the US. Check out her blog for other awesome recipes as well. This should be a ton of fun.

This is my mom's fantastic recipe for her "No Bake Drop Cookies." They are so fantastic and rich and yummy...yeah. Enjoy!

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. cocoa

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups oatmeal (not cooked)

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Bring 1st four ingredients to a rolling boil.
  2. count 90 seconds SLOWLY
  3. take mixture off fire
  4. Add vanilla, stir
  5. add oatmeal, stir really well
  6. drop teaspoonfuls on buttered or waxed paper
  7. cool for 30 mins.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Book Plugging

I just realized how out of the loop I was today. I went and visited PBW's blog, and her post reminded me of several books I've been looking forward to reading. So today, to make up for that, I'm just gonna give you guys a little bump and some info about some books that have come out that you should check out.

First on the list is the one that reminded me of the others. Lynn Viehl has a new Darkyn book out -- Twilight Fall. It just came out today. This is the 6th novel of the Darkyn series chronicling the tribe of vampires. The last two Darkyn books released -- Evermore and Night Lost -- appeared at the 12 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. Lynn has announced that there will only be one more book in the series, and then it will be finished. From what I hear, these books keep getting better and better. If you're into dark fantasy/romance, go check these books out.

Next on the list is a new release by Holly Lisle -- The Ruby Key. This was released on May 1st, and it's the first in her new YA series Moon and Sun. I've been looking forward to this release for a long time. Snippets from her blog have made me foam at the mouth in anticipation, and as soon as I can get my hands on some money (which, sadly, may be a few months) I will buy this and revel in its awesomeness. Definitely pick this one up.

Third on the list is yet another release by Holly Lisle -- Hawkspar. This is the anticipated sequal to the amazing Talyn, and it is #2 in what will hopefully become a series following in the world of Korre. If you remember the splash that Talyn made, you know you can't miss out on this one. Another one that I will pick up as soon as I can, since I devoured Talyn.

And finally, Odd Thomas is back in his quircky, beautifully tragic adventures in two released -- Odd Hours and In Odd We Trust. If you haven't started reading the Odd Thomas series yet, I recommend that you go out and get them now. They are spectacular. Odd has such a sad/hilarious view on the world: to see the tragedy and the comedy in most situations. And he's up to his usual wise-cracking. For a while, the story seems unlike the other Odd books, but by the middle, Dean Koontz cracks open and you see the quick, hilarious, odd ball (ha ha) conversations that you expect from Odd. In Odd We Trust is trying something new. This one is a prequal to the amazing Odd Thomas, but that's not all it does differently. This book is done in a graphic novel manga style, which I can say only makes me want to read it more.

Sorry that the post isn't anything special, but I'm kinda out of it today, and I've got a lot to do to get prepared for the play. I hope you enjoy these recommendations and remember that none of the author's tell me to do this. This is on my own and because I like spreading the word of fellow writers. I remember some contraversy about that a while back and I just want to remind everyone.