Monday, October 27, 2008

Now that's cold!

My hair froze today.

I kid you not. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there saying, "So what? Happens all the time." In fact, maybe I even wrote about it happening last year, but I don't remember. If it did, I don't think it happened on this scale. I usually don't go out with really wet hair because it makes me colder. (Duh.) But this morning I was in a hurry and I had to walk the dog, so I went out with the ends of my long hair still wet.

As the dog sniffed along, I pushed my hair away from my face. When the ends scratched my cheek, I looked at my hair thinking, "That's funny. I don't remember putting hairspray in my hair!"

I'm just lucky that moving my hair about like that didn't break off the lot of it. I left it alone until I got back in the house, where I gently pressed it between my palms and felt it go soft again. This time, when we left for work, I tucked my hair inside my scarf so it wouldn't freeze again.

Later on, I told one of the managers about it and he told me a story about a girl who had just moved to Alaska and got her hair done at a salon. She was in a hurry (hm, sounds familiar) and refused to let them blow dry her hair. She dashed out to her car. He said that as she hustled, she flipped her hair back and the ends shattered off. She sprinted back to the stylists, crying her eyes out. She ended up with a 2nd new hairstyle in the same day.

Well, I've been doing a lot of sitting on my @$$ and playing vulture over the new office manager's shoulder at work. She's doing fine, but she and my boss both said they feel better with me there to oversee things, so sat I did. I know a lot of people wouldn't mind being paid to sit around, but I don't like wasting my life, no matter how much I'm making. (Okay, maybe I wouldn't mind if it was a s--t load of money, but it has to make being bored for that long really worth it!!!)

But then today the girl I will eventually replace said it's her last day because some things came up all of a sudden and she'll be leaving sooner than she thought. So Thursday I start back in receiving. I hope my manager doesn't think I'm an idiot because I've pretty much forgotten everything already. Ah, well.

Saw some Halloween pictures on my friend Tiff's Myspace page. Sigh. I miss celebrating Halloween with my friends. Looks like this year I'll be wearing my costume to work and then giving out candy if anyone knocks on our door that night. Of course, if I'm working in receiving that day, my southern belle frou-frou may not be a good idea! I'll have to talk to the manager. I'll be lucky if I can fit the thing in my car. No hoops, just lots of fluff. And it's kind of heavy, too.

Of course, with how freaking cold it is (13 degrees at 8 am this morning), I'll probably wear my hiking boots under the skirts. I'm sure no one will notice!

After Halloween, I'll post pics of my costume and probably some of my coworkers' costumes, too.

Pumpkins here don't last very long. I remember the ones in California would last at least a week before they got soft and moldy. I've been through two pumpkins and had to throw them both out after two or three days! Must be because we have to keep the heat up in here since it's so cold outside.

Also, because of the insane growing season, the pumpkins are generally larger and more hollow. I got a ton of seeds out of each one and now I'm addicted to pumpkin seeds. I may go back for a third pumpkin soon.

Rehearsals for the Spitfire Grill start on November 3rd. I actually got the lead! I'm so stoked and nervous at the same time. The last lead in a full blown musical I had was Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. That was, oh, about a decade ago! I hope I can pull it off.

Okay, that's it for now in my current Alaska life. Nanowrimo starts soon and I was thinking of taking this blog and making a novel out of it! I can't think of anything else I want to write about at the moment. Usually I have an idea all planned out by October, but nothing is biting me yet. Bummer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween approacheth!

Last Halloween we were doing store set and working everyday for 21 straight days from 7 am to 10 pm, so Halloween slipped by completely unnoticed last year. I think someone knocked on our door once that night, but it was rather late, so no way did we answer it!

This year, I've made a southern belle costume. No one has mentioned throwing any Halloween parties, so as long as my petticoats arrive in time (thanks for mailing them, Mom!), I'll be answering the door for trick-or-treaters this year. I'll buy a huge bag of candy. (Make that two: one for the kids, one for me!) Perhaps I'll wear the costume to work, unless I'm working in receiving that day as it is not practical to wear when slinging boxes of product around!

I got a pumpkin, too. The ones here in Alaska are HUGE! The one I picked out was one of the smaller ones, and it was large by California standards. Must be all that sun during the summertime. I bought one of those pumpkin carving kits with stencils for making neat pictures.

I chose a cat with a crescent moon. I added a few stars because I had all this space on the pumpkin that needed embellishment. In one area, a small chunk broke off because it was too narrow, so I took a darning needle and stuck it back together. (I didn't have any Superglue or toothpicks.)

Here are a couple of pictures:

All lit up:

This one turned out kinda neat looking!

I know for sure now that my dog will try to eat anything. When my back was turned, he bit off the chunk that I had put back together with the needle! He was nibbling on the pumpkin piece when I caught him. I freaked out because he could have swallowed the needle, and I put the pumpkin higher up so he couldn't reach it.

In other news, I've auditioned for the Spitfire Grill here in town and the results are supposed to be posted on the website possibly by Friday. It's only Tuesday and I've checked three times today! I'm so excited, I think I'll bust wide open.

These auditions were different from all the ones I've been to before. Usually the singing is done first (maybe because everyone comes in warmed up to sing?) and then cold readings from the script, learning a few of the songs from the show, that kind of thing.

This one was all individual improv. I'm surprised we didn't do any readings from the script with other people because you can get an idea of how people look together in certain roles and chemistry between actors, etc. Ah, well. It was tons of fun this way.

The first one was pantomime. The first day I did one of a teenage girl who drops her books at school and rips her pants when trying to pick them up. At one point I threw myself against a nearby counter, shimmied along it, then picked up a trash can and held it in front of me.

The second day (when I was there for the whole thing), my pantomime was to be an overweight person trying to pull on a very tight pair of jeans. So I did a lot of rolling around on the floor and hopping up and down, on my feet and my knees!

Then we did interviews. We were to pretend we were at an interview talking about ourselves. We could talk for real or make things up, whatever. But we were given an emotion or state of being to portray. You know, stuff like timid, mean, angry, sexy.

I got "weird". So I said to the director, "Your kind of weird or my kind of weird?"

Anyway, I started doing lots of "weird" stuff, like sitting on the table in the director's face, playing with the assistant director's hair, picking up the chair and offering to fix it, discussing the aliens that abducted me, laughing like a loon and saying, "I'm not insane! THEY are."

When my time was called, I was shaking like a leaf.

We also did conversation. We held a one sided conversation with someone in a given situation. Mine was telling my boyfriend I'm pregnant. So I started telling "him" about this stick that sometimes shows a plus sign and sometimes shows a negative sign. I held it out and after a beat I said, "No, no, see the bar that goes this way, and the other one goes that way, like a plus sign." That got a laugh, the dumb blonde explaining a positive pregnancy test.

We sang last. No one volunteered to go first, so I stepped up. I was going to go last because I don't like forcing people to sing after me and I had no idea what kind of talent there was in this group. They were all marvelous actors. (There were about 10 of us, I think. Two guys, the rest women. A third guy cut and ran in the middle, so we think he changed his mind.)

I chose to sing the last couple of verses of "It's a Privelege to Pee" from Urinetown the Musical. I figured this might be my only opportunity since we were singing a capella and there were no kids present. I gave a bit of the storyline first, since it's not as well known as other musicals. I got a few laughs, but I got my laugh when I hit the final note. There's a chorus that sings along and hits a big "Ahhhhhhh!" at the end. So I hit the top note, way up there, and really loud, too.

Several people were so startled, I saw them jump out of the corner of my eye.

There were no really bad singers here. Everyone could carry a tune pretty well. The older gentleman had a fantastic voice. The younger one had a great voice, too, but he forgot the words part way through. Actually, most people forgot or hesitated somewhere in their song. I helped him out by singing a few words until he caught on and kept going himself. I ran into him at the store after the auditions and he thanked me. I was worried he'd be upset. Some people don't like to be helped! He was a nice guy. I hope I'll get to meet him again.

So now I wait. And wait. And try NOT to bite my nails! As usual, I think it'll come down to who they put in the guy's parts. That's what determines if I get a role at all most of the time. It's been a constant problem. At TED, I was too young because most of the guys were middle aged. When I got old enough for them, suddenly I was too old because the guys were teenagers! I couldn't win!

Well, that's all the news in Heather World. I'm going to go check the theatre website one more time...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Here comes the snow again... and criticism, to boot!

Yes, ladies and germs, it has officially started snowing here in Wasilla. I wonder if we'll have a white Halloween. That just sounds so wrong. You won't be able to see anyone's costumes because they will be covered in snowsuits and "Fargo" hats.

Now that the weather report is over, we'll now turn to our reporter in the field ready to start whingeing.

Yes, I'm going to whine. Because Logan doesn't really want to hear it and because everyone else I know is probably asleep by now.

I joined Fanstory, a cool website where you can post your writings and get any number of reviews on it. It's more competitive than Critique Circle because you can "purchase" things to help promote your work to make it more visible and get more reviews, possibly even being reviewed by a panel of published authors and professional writers. You are also ranked by how popular your work is (a very complicated system that I haven't figured out yet). Unfortunately, it's not free. You can only read and review others' writing if you have the free membership. You have to pay to post things yourself, but I think it's a reasonable price if you purchase a year or two-year membership.

Anyway, one of the things I like about the website is that they warn you what the purpose of the site is. I say warn because warning is certainly needed. This is NOT a support group or a bunch of people who will only say good things about your writing, even if they have to make stuff up just to be nice. This is not a "white lies" type place. Much as I love the karaoke website Singsnap, no one can ever say anything bad on it or they'll get blasted; the ratings are a joke because no one ever gives less than five stars, if they even bother rating at all.

Fanstory is all about getting criticism to improve your writing. You need to have a thick skin and remember that people are expressing their opinions on what they think will help you improve your writing. People on this site are working towards selling their work and getting published. People are on this site because their friends and family all love their work and now they need to see what the real world thinks.

So I've been reviewing a few stories and gotten the customary "Thanks for the review" response. I have something of my own posted and so far have received a string of good reviews and people were not afraid to point out a few things that needed fixing.

But I got one response to my review where she numerated every single thing I suggested and ripped into me about how wrong I was and justified everything she wrote. And then she bitched at me for giving her a low rating.

I admit, I'm not familiar with how things work on this site yet. I didn't think the rating I gave was all that low, but maybe that's how it turned out. And no one ever said she had to take any of my suggestions. That's all they are: suggestions.

I sent a diplomatic response, I'm sorry you were disappointed in my review, blah, blah, blah. I refrained from reminding her that it even says right there in the reply box that it's not for retaliation or for defending your work, but to say thanks for your time.

The hardest part was not sending an extremely sarcastic response. This was what I WANTED to write:

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize that your story is perfect and that you posted it on this site to show the world how perfect it is."

Sigh. You can't help some people.

Okay, rant over. Now I'm going to sit at my window and watch the snowflakes come down...

Ah, who needs Autumn!

Apparently, Alaska has decided to bypass Autumn (or at least cram it all into a couple of weeks) and head straight into winter. I saw snow on cars coming out from Point McKenzie this morning. My car was frozen solid. I had to break out the scraper for the first time.

It hasn't snowed here yet, but it was trying to in the middle of the day a couple of days ago. There has been frost on the bottom of the staircase to our apartment. I've had to reel Bruno in close to me to make sure he didn't yank on me while trying to walk!

When I walked him this morning, I made it past the staircase just fine, but I didn't realize that there was a frozen wet spot next to the where I cross the parking lot. Had my first skating experience of the season! Thank Goddess I didn't land on my @$$!

Well, I've gone from the bum of the store I work at to the Band-aid of the store. Things are looking up! (NOT!) I'm glad to help out where I can, but why must it always be in the front end? I guess I'll be helping to train the NEXT office manager and be her assistant for a while, at least until the position in receiving that I THOUGHT I had opens up at the end of the month.

Gods, this is worse than being between jobs, I swear. I'm not really sure what I can and cannot be doing because people still ask me if I can do managerial things, even the managers! It will be interesting to see how things turn out.

I'm counting the days until the auditions for the Spitfire Grill at the Valley Performing Arts Theatre. They are this Saturday and Sunday and I have a good feeling about getting into it. There are only two parts I would accept, but ALL the roles have to be filled by solo quality singers and I wonder just how many of those there are here in the Valley!

The downside is that since I'm subbing for classes most of the rest of this month, I won't be able to visit friends and family in California until February. We're supposed to get a week off for Christmas from rehearsals, but if I'm still working at the store, I may not have the time off to go. I'm so totally bummed it's not even funny.

Ah, well, if the weather is any indication, the time until then will simply fly by, especially with the show to occupy me.