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Ladeephoenix
Pushing the limits of sleep deprivation
Three words:

I'VE BEEN ACCEPTED.

[Does happy dance, yelling from the rooftops!]

Current State: giddy giddy

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Got an email from USC's wonderful department director saying she's mailed off my decision letter. [Gulp] Mail from Cali seems to take roughly 3 days to get here, so I'm thinking I should know by Monday or so. She did say that supporting documentation was still being finalized and should follow shortly. So that begs the question....does anyone know if they send supporting docs if you've been rejected??

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Had a bit of an automotive scare these last 24 hours. Was driving home from work last night when my Service Engine Soon light came on. Oh, bloody hell. Now what? Visions of having to open my wallet to the tune of $500 or more flashed through my mind.

That's when I wished auto manufacturers would install warning lights that tell you what you really need to know: Warning: You're fucked. Car requires $750 of repair. Or: Warning: Relax, you're not *that* fucked. Repairs estimated at $250.

Unable to sleep this morning, despite having gone to bed at the butt-crack of dawn (yes, I'm writing again after a week's hiatus), I called the garage to see if I could get in. Today was the only day available. Bloody hell again. I have to be at work by 3:30, and have a 3pm chiropractic appointment. But, the garage isn't open tomorrow, and I don't want to be driving around the whole weekend with the Service Engine light on. The receptionist said they could fit me in after the lunch hour, so I drove my needy little beast down to the garage.

The mechanic was able to crack her open and render a judgment in about 15 minutes. One of the cylinders was firing out of order. When the mechanic went to remove the spark plug wire, part of the original (as in 1997) spark plug came out with it. One tune-up coming right up! So, my little beast needs about $200 worth of tune-up and oil change, but that's much better than what I'd been fearing. Luckily, it's right after payday. And it'll only take a couple of hours to do.

One of the mechanics was going to give me a lift home while my car was being worked on, but then he stopped and asked, "Do you have a way back?"

"Um, no, not really, unless I walk."

"Well, here. Go ahead and take the car. It's our loaner car."

"Oh, awesome! Thank you so much."

So, while I'd prefer not to shell out for automotive service, at least things seem to be falling into place rather easily. :knocks on wood:
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Just found out today I've been accepted to Chapman University's MFA in Screenwriting program in Orange, CA!

While I am ecstatic at the prospect, I am left with one - ahem - slight problem...I won't find out about my status with USC until probably next month, and Chapman wants a decision, and a hefty deposit on next Fall's tuition!, by March 31st in order to hold my spot open in the program. [Gulp]

I'm going to call USC tomorrow to see if I can find out where they are in the decision process. This kind of sucks...I was hoping to be able to visit the campuses first, and hoping I'd have news from *both* schools at or around the same time. I'd hate to hedge my bets with Chapman, decline their offer, and then find out I wasn't accepted at USC. Grr.

Stay tuned...more news as it becomes available....
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Okay, where to start....?

Am back from a weekend at my mom's. Sorry, Seattle crew, I missed out on the dancing! I appreciated the invite but was ready to settle in for the night. :) Hope you all had fun and got down with some hotties for me. Okay, not like *that*! ;)

Got in touch with USC today. Called and left a message at the department office re: my application. She emailed me with their fax number. Forwarded that onto my manager, who faxed off his letter of recommendation. Tonight, I emailed the USC office to confirm that they had received the fax, but didn't expect an answer until tomorrow. Lo and behold, I just got a reply a few minutes ago from the nice lady at the department office:

"I had a student worker walk it directly to the folks checking materials in. I expect the database to be updated with it shortly. "

Does that RAWK or what?? :) So, hopefully, it's all good now. Whew!

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Went shopping with my mom yesterday, and after I got back to B-town, did even more shopping today. Had some gift cards left over from my birthday and the holidays, and was wanting to perk up my wardrobe a little. Splurged on a beautiful red suede jacket that I don't really need and had no intention of buying until it called to me from the rack at The Bon, er, Macy's. Sorry, to us Northwesterners, it's always gonna be "The Bon," no matter what company bought out the other. :P Anywho, I fell in love with it, and it jumped in my arms and begged me to take it away, so, yeah. There ya go. I hate trying on clothes, tho'. I feel like that damned 'Cathy' comic strip. It's "How to Destroy One's Body-Image in Ten Minutes, 101." PPPBBBLLLLTTTT! :P Overall, was pretty happy with what I came away with, tho'. And happy the stores were still holding sales. Let's hear it for the price mark-down!

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Okay, not only has the Scriptwriting prof at Western volunteered me to help lead the Scriptwriting Independent Study course next quarter, I'm now brainstorming ideas for the group. Lord help me. The Seattle International Film Festival is coming up in May, and part of the festival is a series called the Filmmakers Forums. Usually, they're panel discussions and/or Q&A's covering any and all facets of filmmaking, and I thought it would be a great resource to those students who are budding Scorseses. :) The prof emailed me to say he loved the idea. So, if all goes well, we'll probably be doing a 'field trip' to the festival sometime in May/early June.


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Saw Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education tonight with a friend at our local indie cinema. Awesome film. Lots of layers of mystery/"reality" to peel away. And Gael Garcia Bernal is absolutely mesmerizing. Not only is he, let's face it, quite the piece of eye-candy (as either a man or a woman, I might add), those eyes of his just *talk.* They hypnotize you. He has a face you can't help but watch. I swear, the man could stimulate ovulation with just a look into your eyes. Oy!

My friend and I had polar opposite reactions to the film, though. She had a real gut-level reaction to it, wound up crying. I was still piecing together all the intellectual bits and hearing those lyrical Spanish accents (I know enough Spanish to pick up words and phrases here and there, but mostly, I just love the *sound* of the language). As you find out more about each character, your sympathies do some shifting, so my feelings at the end were a bit ambivalent. Definitely a worthwhile film, though. If you get a chance to see it, do. It touches on a lot of big themes in a really personal way.

Okay, think that's it for now. Ta!
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The Chapman letter of recommendation debacle has since been fixed, and they sent me a letter confirming that my file is now complete and ready for review.

But now I get this...

AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

What the fuck is going on?? After having called USC a couple of weeks ago to confirm that my application file was complete - and I was reassured that it was - I get a letter in the mail today saying that one of the letters of recommendation is missing, and that they can no longer guarantee my being considered for this Fall quarter. Altho' if a new letter is sent by March 3rd, I *might* have a chance.

BULLSHIT! That letter was mailed at the same as the other letters. I have the postal receipt--and credit card bill--to prove it. (I had sent everything Express mail.) They told me my file was complete. Some schmuck must've lost it in the meantime.

So, USC is going to get a call from me on Monday. It's so frustrating that I didn't get this notification until today, when of course, all the offices are closed and I can't do anything but wait and worry for the next 48 hours. If they deny me because of this, I'm appealing the decision. They can reject me based on my actual application, because they think my writing sucks ass, but I'm not about to be made a victim of clerical error. This is too important.

Add to that a pissy drive from Bellingham to Seattle--full of lane closures, stupid drivers, and heavy traffic--a lack of sleep and a major caffeine deficit and you have, my friends, a grumpy bitch. BBQ sauce that dripped from my chicken sandwich to stain my jeans was the final dollop of humiliation for the day.

Ugh! I declare this a do-over day. I want to go back to bed and start over. Harumph!

Current State: pissed off pissed off

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Two things: 1) I am a sucker for sunsets; 2) I like to try to find beauty in unlikely places.

Was downtown today running errands. Downtown, by most standards, is not the prettiest of places. Lots of older and/or rundown buildings, lots of crime and poverty, or...more crime and poverty than most would care to acknowledge or deal with. Most people try to get in and out of downtown as quickly as possible. Run the errand, have lunch, and/or buy that knick-knack, CD or DVD and beat a hasty retreat stage-right. Then there's me. I love people watching (lots of interesting people), watching the war protesters outside the Federal Building, studying the old 1800's facades on the buildings, and today, catching an exquisite sunset I don't think anyone was expecting. It had rained most of the day, but just as the sun began to set, the clouds began to break up, and voila! "Ooohhh, purty..." :D

Most of my pix today turned out rather ho-hum, but I liked these two...



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Earlier this week, all of the vending machines here at work decided to mutiny. Decided they either weren't going to accept coins, or they certainly weren't to cough up any as change. Post-It™ Notes started popping up all over like zits on prom night, all demanding justice: "Owes so-and-so 35¢" "Owes another so-and-so 50¢" and "Can I get my life back, too, while I'm at it?" I am convinced that the Pepsi machine is actually a singularity in space-time, into which money may travel, but from which it will never emerge. Yet people insist on dropping their hard-earned ducats into it. Apparently, these are the same folks you'll find playing the slots in Vegas at 5 in the morning. At one point, I actually posted a sign:
The definition of blind faith:
Doing the exact same thing as others before you
and expecting a different result.
(It's actually a reiteration of the definition of stupidity, but I figured I should tone it down for work.)

I can only surmise that the Pepsi machine has been the leader of this particular Vending Machine rebellion, inciting the others with its insidious electronic hum and pretty glowing lights. Soon, the Coke machine was withholding money. Then the snack machine. Then the other snack machine. The other day, I put in a dollar, got my 75¢ snack, and no quarter. Perhaps I should've remembered my "blind faith" sign.

I put up my own Post-It™ Note, suggesting that the machine could at any moment begin "dispensing" pea soup into people's faces and was in dire need of a Catholic priest.

And then I went on vacation yesterday, and forgot all about it.

When I came back today, I had an envelope from the vending machine man sitting on my desk. Oh, goody. My hard-earned ducat was being returned from out the abyss. I opened the envelope.

IT. WAS. EMPTY.

It's a sign. A conspiracy. The End is near. All machines should be approached with extreme caution.

Disclaimer: Post-It™ is a registred trademark. Should anyone infringe upon it, you will find a Cease and Desist order stuck to your front door - written on several hundred Post-It™ Notes.
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Just got back from the trip to Seattle and the Scissor Sisters concert.

First off, some shoutouts:
Megan: Thanks for letting me crash at your place (and separate shout-outs to your roommates for being patient with all of us) :) and thanks for sharing the NYE pix and recaps, the picture-taking excursion to Gasworks Park, and the giggles over the impromptu Blazing Saddles line recitations. You are too much fun, girl! Bitte-schoen, baay-by. .

Lorie and Wendy You both rock my world! I always look forward to spending time with you! Here's hoping we all got - or get - some decent sleep! :)

We all met up around 5pm at Megan's place. For once, I was the first one to show up - a little early even, as it turned out! :) Megan's got a kick-ass house in the artist-intellectual neighborhood of Wallingford/Fremont in Seattle - right near the water. Great view! Megan wound up driving us all into Seattle, as none of us really wanted to negotiate downtown Seattle at night, especially after experiencing varying degrees of sleep-deprivation and/or bad days. Just who the hell designed Seattle's streets anyway? The Marquis de Sade? Megan handled them like a true pro. I was impressed.

I always experience a feeling of agoraphobia, of being overwhelmed by big cities, after so much time spent here in my cage in B-town, but seeing Seattle all tarted up in her bright lights, Lake Union gently reflecting them like something in an impressionist painting, I fell in love with her all over again. We had dinner at Pacific Place, in a restaurant named Gordon Derweinerschnitzel Fahrvignugen something or other. . My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I went in thinking I'd partake of their gourmet burgers and fries, but wound up sticking to a salad - which alone could've fed a small army - and getting an infusion of caffeine with limitless refills of Coke. Next time, just run an I.V., okay, love?

From there, we headed to the Paramount Theater which, as Megan pointed out, with its ornate architecture, looks like something out of "The Age of Innocence." We had great seats in the mezzanine section, looking down at the main floor - which was standing room only. The opener was a techno group called, "Hey, You Can't Dance!" J/K. It was something - Willpower. And while the music was decent, the choreographed moves with the lead singer and his two backup dancers made it look like Olivia Newton-John and Dieter from SNL's Sprockets had given birth to strange love-children with an affinity for Jazzercise. At one point, the lead singer was even writhing all over, and humping, the floor. Think Madonna at the 1984 VMA's. Minus the wedding dress. Minus the charisma. Minus the sex appeal. I told Megan and Lorie, "That's probably the most action that boy is going to see all night." Ooh, snap! Did I say that aloud?? .

Hey, You Can't Dance! did about a half-hour set, which was followed by another half-hour of watching the roadies set up for Scissor Sisters. By the time a sheer scrim was lowered, with the band's logo projected onto it, we were soooo ready for things to start. Wendy and I had recently bought the CD, so we pretty much knew the songs, although Wendy remembered a couple I hadn't. At last, backlights outlined the silhouettes of the two singers and the two guitar players against the scrim. Woooooo!

SCISSOR SISTERS KICK ASS. Their music - if you haven't heard it - channels a combination of Elton John-type piano based pop, mixed with dance and disco, and a healthy dose of attitude and risque lyrics. The album is really strong. Great hooks, tightly produced. Love the whole CD. But in performance...THEY. LET. LOOSE. At 80-bazillion decibels, you can feel that dance beat thrumming in your breastbone. They know how to work the crowd. The two singers, lead Jake Shears and a voluptuous woman whose name escaped me, but whom I'd like to be when I grow up, :) are wonderfully charismatic. Jake is lithe and lean and seems to be channeling - to some degree - David Bowie. And the BeeGees. That boy has a wondrous falsetto that had me wondering just how much fucking starch he put in his underwear. And yes, Wendy, I have to agree: after watching him prance and dance across the stage, I think I needed a change of underwear. . The whole groups seems to have taken 70's glam and refined it for the new millenium.

The two guitarists also managed to pull off an interesting switcheroo throughout the show, trading off between playing electric guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, with one guitarist also managing the backup synth/drum machine. When they first switched off between lead guitar and bass, Megan and I looked at each other, confused: "Wait I minute: I thought the *other* guy was the bassist."

Special treat: a slower, stripped down version of Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out that got everyone singing along with them.

The audience was an amazing potpourri of people. Everyone from gay and lesbian couples to older "Mom and Pop Mainstream" types who were probably around to see Elton John in concert in the 70's, to us 30-somethings. By the time the band launched into their encore, complete with Take Your Momma, the whole place was on its feet dancing and clapping.

Wendy had bought one of the band's logo tees before the show, and after being wowed by them, I had to buy one, too, as we attempted to file out of the theater through the mass of bodies. We were all pretty tired by then, but I think Wendy and I had kind of got a second wind. She even ran into one of her Myspace friends outside the Paramount! and took a moment to say hi. :)

We gathered back at Megan's. Wendy and Lorie headed home for the night, while Megan and I went down to Gasworks Park to take pictures. It was butt-cold, but a beautiful night. The clouds had parted just enough to reveal Orion hanging over Lake Union. Megan took a few test shots, with the camera's flash firing. Managed to startle a couple that was making out near the water. :) I tried to take a few shots with her camera (I had stupidly forgotten mine here in B-town), but managed to blur most of them. Megan fired off a few keepers, which we should be able to post soon. (hint, hint, Megan.) :)

The park itself is a mix of the grotesque and the beautiful. The remains of an old refinery loom up in the shadows above the grassy area, but the boardwalk along the water offers a breathtaking view of the Seattle skyline, complete with the Space Needle. I was being charmed by the place all over again. Some stupid little inner voice suggested, "Maybe we should just move back to Seattle, skip the L.A. thing."

ARGH! No. Every time I've made a decision out of fear or a need for security, things have always turned to shit. No more. Seattle will always be my playground, but it's time to move on for sure. On the drive home today, I listened to the Singles soundtrack, remembering being an undergrad in the early 90's, when Seattle had suddenly gone from, "Seattle? Where's that? Isn't that where it rains all the time and people still use whale-oil lamps?" to being reborn in grunge and flannel. I let myself jog briefly down memory lane, then switched the iPod to shuffle mode. Can't linger in memories too long.
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Postscript: Megan, I about gave myself a heart attack last night. As I was getting ready for bed, I reached into my messenger bag, searching for my iPod. I wanted to listen to a little music before I fell asleep. No iPod. Shit. Where's the iPod. Oh, crap! I left it in my car! Shit, shit, shit! So, dressed in my PJ's, I donned jacket and boots and headed out to my car, probably looking like some homeless person wearing her last set of good clothes. I was praying my car hadn't been broken into. Thankfully, it hadn't. My iPod was still there, resting comfortably in its little nook under the radio. Whew! Thank god for quiet residential neighborhoods. :)
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Today's modern woman has many options available to her for taking care of "that time of the month." Tampons with special applicators, dry weave pads, extra absorbency for overnight protection. Heck, we've even got wings! Used to be, you had to make your first solo flight before you earned your wings!

Our forebears were not so lucky. They were stuck stuffing rags into their undergarments. Hence the phrase, "On the rag."

But what did the earliest women do? What did Eve resort to? When it was her time of the month, was Adam heard muttering, "Damn. She's on the fig leaf again!" ?

How did they deal with cramps? Doubt Eve could send Adam running to the nearest pharmacy for Midol. Did he mix up a brew of medicinal herbs? How about bloating? Mood swings? I bet it wasn't such a Garden of Eden when Eve was retaining water and craving cocoa beans.

Did Adam think he'd been "cursed" as much as Eve had been by God?

"And on the first day, Eve did suffer cramps. And it was a pain in the ass. And she did order out for pizza."

Footnote: why are most drug detox/rehab programs the same length as the average menstrual cycle: 28 days?
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There's a pic of me in the family album, maybe about 3 years old, a little tow-headed blondie in pants and pullover, looking at the camera as if to say, "Yeah, so?" I'm standing in my father's workboots. They look about 10 times too big for me. That pic seems to say so much about which parent I identified with growing up, whose little girl I really was.

I was a tomboy growing up. Hated wearing dresses ("Ewww!"), always had boy-friends (not *boyfriends*), and was always trying to keep up with the boys - academically, physically, you name it.

In 7th grade, I remember arriving a few minutes early to 1st period history class every day. The other students there would gradually migrate into groups like iron shavings pulled by magnets, boys in one or two groups, the girls in their own group. The girls would talk about hair and clothes and books and boys. About 5 minutes into the discussion, I'd be bored senseless and drift over the boys' group and be accepted there as a silent minority. They talked about movies and sports and games, always punctuated by the sound effects that boys always seem to be so good at making: things blowing up, things blazing by at roughly Mach 1. Farts. Burps. So much more entertaining to my way of thinking.

Conversely, my dad was - and still is - a Certified Nurse Anesthetist. Believe me, I got no end of shit about the "nurse" part throughout elementary school. By the aforementioned 7th grade, I was afforded a certain amount of grudging respect because anyone who tried to tease me would find themselves in the verbal equivalent of a half-Nelson. I was shy, didn't really fit into a clique, but my father's guidance had given me some semblance of a spine. I took no shit. And especially not about my dad.

I think because of this particular upbringing, my sense of sexuality and gender tends to be rather unfixed. Gender is not so much male or female, sexuality not so much gay or straight, but a continuum, a spectrum.

Which brings me to the subject line of this blog: a quote from Eddie Izzard's "Dress to Kill" comedy DVD. If you don't know Eddie, get to know him. He's a British stand-up/actor, and a transvestite. His humor reminds me a bit of our dear Bonno's: rather stream-of-consciousness, likes to play with words, concepts, bizarre juxtapositions. Just subtract the guitar, add women's clothes and a lot more political humor, and presto: Eddie!

Eddie's also dead-sexy. (Not that Bonno isn't, but I digress...) ;) My friend Summer and I puzzle over this every time we watch one of his DVDs. How can a man in women's clothing be sexy? Is there something wrong with us? Are we confused? Or just open-minded? What's the dividing line between the two? Political affiliation? "Just a jump to the left and a step to the right?"

I have a few theories. The woman's garb makes him unthreatening in a way. Part of the female brain says, "A-ha. He's one of us. Sort of. Maybe he understands things other men don't. Like how to accessorize. Or what 'taupe' looks like." Another part of the female brain is constantly undressing him mentally, trying to get to the male bits we *know* are there. Sigh.

And then of course, there's the accent. Aren't we girls such silly suckers for the accent? Brits could be talking about the bowel movements of the Queen Mum, and depending on the accent, could still sound learned and sophisticated.

Comments on any of the above are, of course, welcomed. Interested to hear what you all might have to say about this. :D

Current State: calm calm
Current Groove: Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill

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