Saturday, August 18, 2012

Edmonton Fringe reviews part 1!

I realized a few things:
I really freakin' love the Edmonton fringe
I want to keep track of the shows I've seen and my opinions of them
Other people keep asking me what I saw and what I recommend
I have a blog

So Fringe reviews time!

My first 3 shows:

Jem Rolls: Ten Starts and an End

Quite enjoyable. While I've seen other Jem Rolls shows that I preferred, and I don't think this will be my no. 1 show this year, it was a good hour of entertainment. It's a spoken word show, so don't go in expecting a play, but if you like that sort of stuff (I do!) it's worth considering.

A Kind of Alaska

Not AT ALL what I was expecting (I thought it was some sort of mystery for some reason) but nevertheless, a great show. I wished I had gotten a little more into it, and maybe that's my fault and not the play's, but I found myself drifting out of the story a little. Brian Copping was a stand-out for me, he seemed to be a perfect choice for his roles.
It's based on the same story as that Robin Williams movie, Awakenings, so if you're looking for a good ol' drama, this one's for you.

Spare Change

I wasn't planning to see this one, but a guy was giving out comps, and it's hard to turn down a free show.
Wow. What an excellent production. As someone who works in an environment that gets a lot of traffic from the homeless, this was a really great perspective for me to see. It was one of those shows that leaves you thinking and rethinking, not something I'll forget anytime soon. The whole cast was fantastic, and it was a show I could really get into.
This show doesn't deserve a 3/4 empty house, my favorite so far, go see it!

More to come!

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia."

If you are a nerdfighter, which many of you reading this blog are, you'll almost certainly recognize the quote - one of John Green's more overused ones (sorry, but it's awesome!) from his novel Looking for Alaska.

I think it's very relevant to what I'm doing right now - looking back at the history of this blog.
As I think about what has changed, I also find myself visualizing what may change in the future.
My excessive commas have turned into excessive em dashes - probably a product of trying to look pretentious in social essays - and maybe this will soon develop into semicolons or parentheses or interrobangs (Seriously; wouldn't that be awkward?!) or punctuation my late-night internet surfing homeschooled brain has yet to uncover.

The point of this is that I try to imagine what I will be like in the future, but just as I didn't see the pretentious em dashes coming, I don't know what this blog, or my writing habits, or to get really philosophical, my life will be like when I go back to read my old posts.
The problem is, just like looking at the past, we can't change our futures, or even understand them correctly. I can look at an old blog post and get a sense of what I was like in 2009, but never go back. We value different things as we grow and age, and our circumstances change too. We gain knowledge and lose innocence, we gain patience but lose that spontaneity we have when we're small. We don't know what we will be like in the future, so it's rather like nostalgia to envision our future, and foolish to assume we know it all already. And maybe that's true maturity - understanding that you don't know it all, that there is so much left to learn.

When I first started this blog, I liked to write short (but comma and cheese joke laden) posts in which the focal point was a picture of some type. These also tended to be the types of posts I preferred to read.
There's nothing wrong with these, but if you've read any of my "recent" (I really don't blog much) posts, I've changed styles quite a lot.
These posts are rambling and full of asides and jokes and metaphors and weird philosophical statements, and that's okay too.

I feel like I've grown, too. I don't care so much about who reads my blog - I just write for myself and if someone reads it and enjoys it, then that's wonderful. Before I know I would worry about making a post someone wouldn't like, or would make them think I was annoying, and maybe that's just a typical 14-year-old girl thing to fuss about, but I'm still happy that I got over it.

So in light of this nostalgia, both past and present, I'm going to try and continue growing in my rambling writings by blogging more. I've updated the layout and the widgets on the side, and while I'm not committing to a particular schedule of posts, I'll make an effort not to neglect this old blog quite so much!

Thanks for coming along for the ride - it's em dash time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Still alive...

These past couple of months have been full of things I didn't think I could really do.
Most notably, doing nearly 50 hours of diploma preparation classes in about 8 days. I am not the sort of person that has endless mental energy. Put me in a dance intensive and I last pretty well, but a lecture hall and I would have though I'd fade within a couple hours.
But I'm doing well! I have only 4.5 hours left, and I'm feeling good. Prepared, yes, accomplished, maybe, and definitely tired, but still alive!
The night I left for my first class I made a little log of how many hours I would be there because I was weepy and teenage girl-ey and terrified of the diploma and I wanted  to try and encourage myself and somehow make it look less intimidating. It didn't look much less intimidating, but damn, it felt good to cross each hour off like a battle won. Just that little thing made me feel more in control.

I think I've learned a lot from doing English and Social in general, but also the prep classes for them, and I really hope I'll learn something from the diploma too. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but I've kind of learned more about learning than about these subjects in some ways.
I know now that excessive espresso is not a good learning aid, that stairwells are a beautiful, beautiful thing that for some reason make me giddy and foolish, and that exploring and getting lost in a random engineering building can really cheer me up.

What do you do when your brain is sabotaging you after long hours of sitting at a desk? Derp up and down stairs like me, or do you have another method?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The perils of lacking information about Adam Smith's personal cat population

I am assuming everyone reading this blog knows I have been the strange vegetarian homeschooler next door for my entire life- you know, that one you quietly whisper to the neighbor on the other side about- "You know the one. I saw her leave the house in a kilt the other day." "Someone should get that kid a math textbook."- but if you don't, now you do.

That's been me for the past eleven grades, (or potentially more or less since I am forever forgetting which grade I'm in- which numbered slot to use as an identifying feature so people think I'm doing some "real" schoolwork.) and now it is The Final One, the One With The Diploma, the One Where People Ask You Constantly About Exactly What Will Happen In The Rest Of Your Life and you reply I Do Not Know, But I Really Like Matt Smith's Hair So Maybe That Is Something I Can Study and they decide that you are probably a lost cause.

And I am doing my first curriculum course ever. That's right, I sit here eating dairy-free yogurt and organic granola with a large and imposing text book entitled Perspectives On Ideology and many official Alberta Distance Learning booklets and modules and instructions on How To Be A Good Student. I have lists of terms I must use and sample outlines for position papers taped to the wall, and I have the refined procrastination skills of a professional Curriculum Goer even though it is my first time.

And it is strange, and it is awful at times, and I laugh at their misspellings that occur just a page turn away from the lecture on proofreading, and I consider writing a snarky paper about how I was unable to complete my assignments because I did not know what the terms "economci freedom" and "private propety" aimed to represent. And some of it is pretty good, and some of it makes me cry for those that have done this for eleven years, and some of it is just work that needs to be done.

But maybe I am learning more about learning that Social Studies, really. I've learned that sometimes you need to stop digging through your book for typos, complaining about the lack of strange and unnecessary facts ("What were Adam Smith's hobbies? Did he have any cats? They're keeping this from the general public! WHY? WHAT ARE THEY HIDING?") and try to make the best of the course. Get the work done, learn as much as possible, and take it for what it is. This is not a lesson from a shoeless raw vegan who is intensely enthusiastic, this is a dry textbook that may be rather biased, may not dance the way Barefoot Bob did to explain mathematics, but maybe, just maybe, it can still teach me something worthwhile.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Time Travelling via iPod

I think perhaps the best way to remember how I felt at a time is to go back and listen to an album I played frequently back then.

If I switch on Coldplay's Prospekt's March, I am suddenly in the back seat of my parent's sun warmed car, driving through rural Alberta to the Catholic Family Life Conference back in '08. All the feelings I had then are there, the anticipation of the conference, the anxiety at what it would be like, the sleepiness that I always follows me on roadtrips.

Jack Conte's VS4, and I'm right back in last summer, reading Terry Pratchett in the beautiful sunshine, swinging on a patio swing. Happiness and melancholy and a sense of calm all blurred together.

And, embarrassingly enough, even Avril Lavigne brings back memories. I was obsessed with one of her songs, "Hot" (terrible song in retrospect) and I can remember exactly what the book I was reading was like, and that smug happiness you get when you have just started a good book and you have the whole thing ahead of you.
The "Avril Lavigne Age" is one of the ages I'm most ashamed of, but remembering that helps me to realize what it was really like for me back then, and I understand myself a whole lot more.

Somehow this seems to be the truest way for me to remember years past, not the solid events, but in a snapshot, remembering more how I felt than what exactly I did, what I thought.
For, if we can relate to our past selves, then surely we can learn from them, and that's really my goal in life, to