Author Archives: Mike '10

A Brief Christmas Overview

With half block starting on Monday, I’m heading back to Colorado today. It was a nice two weeks to have all to myself (and family, of course). I finally got a change to catch up on sleep from second block and regain some weight lost through the numerous shows I was involved in last semester.

The second tree that sits in our dining room with candles on it.

So, Christmas was lovely – as Christmas always is. In recent years, my family has rekindled an old (German) tradition from my mom’s side of the family of lighting candles on the tree. This is a picture of last year’s tree sitting in the corner of our dining room. We light it during Christmas Eve dinner with my grandparents – and this year we sat and watched until the candles were burnt out all the way. It’s neat to watch, although it takes a little while.

For Christmas, my older sister is still the one to wake everyone up early for presents. Her fiancee was here for a week centered around Christmas. My family decided we didn’t really need much this year, which resulted in more clothes than usual (but they’re comfy). I did get WALL-E, probably the best Disney movie ever – on my list, it beat out Tron. Then, the traditional Christmas afternoon in my family consists of going to my grandparent’s house (on my dad’s side) for dinner with the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This visit is guaranteed to include receiving the annual Hess truck – I have one from every year of my life, plus some I think.

I have to go pack, but I’ll leave with this picture that was a present to my mom from the three of us. The man playing Santa seemed pretty disgruntled by this situation, but you’re never too old to sit on Santa’s lap…

My dad, me, Santa, and my sister.

L to R: My dad, me, Santa, and my sister.

Uff da!

Well, I haven’t written in a little while. This last block has been a little bit (more) hectic (than usual). I was the sound designer for ‘The Odyssey’ which was put on by the Drama Department last weekend. A week before that was our tech weekend which had me in the theater for literally over 24 hours between that Saturday and Sunday. I think I averaged somewhere around 4 hours of sleep each night for a week – Wednesday of 3rd week to Tuesday of 4th week.

Thankfully however, I did (somehow) find time to finish all my work for my class before I got sick this past Wednesday. A big hint on how to survive on the block plan: don’t get sick. (Especially not a fever of 101.8). They say missing one day of class on the block plan is like missing a week of class on the semester plan. I’ll be honest in saying that missing one day of class each block is doable, when you get sick and start to miss three or more days in a row… it’s not a good thing. Some professors ask for the note from the doctor which makes me feel like I’m back in third grade sometimes. But I’ve known kids who drop classes because they’re sick. High stress levels really don’t help you get better by the time you want to.

So a major staple of every CC student’s diet: Emergen-C. I mean, 1667% of your daily vitamin C in one go? It works wonders.

Getting sick does make it that much better to get home. Laying on my couch with home baked cookies right now makes every stressful moment of this past semester worth it.

Over the next few days I’m going to finally work on getting my show up on youtube – I’ll post the link once I do. But for now, I’m going to hit the hay in preparation for all the holiday shopping I need to do tomorrow.

Have a wonderful holiday season, everyone!

A Thanksgiving Dilemma…

It’s been a little while, but my life has been strangely calm. Usually by the second week of the block I’m already stressed out… Maybe it’s the inverted block and having just come back from a break. My Thanksgiving was just lovely, thanks. I, like many people I know, did not go home.

This year, my sister went to her fiancee’s house, my parents stayed home (as they were just out here for my show a few weeks ago) and I went up to Littleton to my friend’s house and spent it with her family and a few other friends. I made the pumpkin pie and hand whipped the whipped cream. (It was delicious, if I may say so myself.)

The ironic part of this break, is that my homework for class (‘Environmental Inquiry’) was to read Michael Pollan’s book “An Omnivore’s Dilemma” which follows four different meals providing detail on what goes into the food, (material, work, resources, etc.) It’s a really simple connection, but not many people really think about what such a large effect the foods we (as a modernized world) eat has on the environment. So, after consuming a weeks worth of food in under two hours, I sat down to read the first part of Pollan’s book which can be summed up in the following sentence: Everything we eat comes from corn. Because of this, corn is grown in ridiculous amounts, sells for more than its worth, while farmers get subsidies giving them more profit than they’ve worked for. I switched from feeling like I had gained 10 pounds in foodweight to feeling like I had gained 10 pounds solely in corn.

The latter is not a good feeling – physically or morally.

I would definitely recommend reading one of Michael Pollan’s books – if you’re interested in any aspect of food. For example: eating it. He’s an interesting writer and is very passionate about the topic. If you’re not one for buying books without a sample, here is a talk he gave last year, entitled The Omnivore’s Next Dilemma, in which he covers some of the points made in his book. He also writes for the New York Times Magazine every now and then. I found this article pretty interesting: Unhappy Meals. His books also make great gifts… You know, just something to think about.

I guess that’s it for me – time for sleep? I think yes.

Alright everyone, break’s over!

So the last few hours of block break are dwindling to a close and I’m just trying to make them as relaxing as possible… It’s a little difficult when I think of everything I have to do tomorrow. The first day of the block is often the busiest day of the block for me. A lot of the faculty and staff that I work with have the mentality of “It’s the first day, what could you possibly have to do?” – which is a reasonable assumption. Until everyone who thinks that assigns meetings.

The good thing about this year is the wacky schedule of fourth block. Normally, third block break falls on Thanksgiving weekend, making the schedule look like this: three five-day weeks and a three-day week. But the block break fell a week earlier this year, inverting the schedule: a three-day week and then three five-day weeks. “What’s the good part,” you ask. Well, because we have a block break followed by three days of class and then thanksgiving, it’s like having two block breaks in a row. So, I’m not too worried about this coming week being too busy, because I know on Wednesday, I’ll be off on another break.

This weekend, some friends and I took a car trip to Las Vegas. Only one of us is over 21, so we didn’t partake in the sinful festivities. But believe it or not, Vegas can be fun when you’re under age.

The fountains at the Bellagio in front of Paris Hotel and Casino

A view from behind the Bellagio fountains facing the Paris Hotel and Casino.

My friends and I stopped in front of the M&M store to bond with the blue one.

My friends and I stopped in front of the M&M store to bond with the blue one.

Despite the environmental policy major in me crying a little bit from the amount of wasted water and electricity, it is rather exciting at night. We saw Zumanity – a Cirque du Soleil show (which made the drama major in me just ecstatic). The level of skill of the performers was just amazing. Beyond the shows, strolling down the strip is always a delight.

Despite the fact that I slept through most of the 12-hour car ride today, I’m pretty exhausted. I think a shower is due, and then a nice long sleep before class and meetings begin again tomorrow.

…and life goes on.

My show went up this weekend. I was wondering what would happen after the process was over. You know, as if the entire world stops for you when the main thing controlling your life ends. It turns out, the world keeps going. Weird, huh?

‘Marigolds’ went very well. There was low turnout on Thursday and Friday, most likely due to other events going on around campus. But we had a surprisingly full house on Saturday. It’s strange how actors can surprise you sometimes. We had two blocks of rehearsal and just when I thought everything was set the way it would be for the performances, one of my actors made a brilliant change in the entire way that she did things in one of the scenes. It was amazing and made the scene so much better than it was. Some people just really surprise you sometimes.

Pictures of performances kind of make me laugh sometimes. It’s like catching a glimpse of a person through a store window and trying to make a guess at their whole life. You never understand the relationships as well as when you see the show, and sometimes people just look plain weird. But that’s just how it goes.

My parents came out from New Jersey for the weekend. It was nice to see them. I was one of those people who considered CC so I could be far away from my parents (not as the sole reason, mind you), as if a seven hour plane ride gives you that much more freedom than a two hour car ride. With these fancy new communication technologies out these days, where saying ‘hello’ is just a push of a button, I never thought I would miss my parents, I mean really miss them. There’s something about seeing them in person that makes a difference.

However, the joys of the weekend are over and I’m trying to catch up with my life again. Everything I temporarily pushed out of the way to work on ‘Marigolds’ came flooding back today. I had a two hour meeting about the sound design I’m doing for another show, my credit card bill is due soon, and I’m currently taking a break from stressing over a paper. I can honestly say this is the busiest block that I’ve had so far and it’s definitely going to show up in my grade for this class. There’s only two more days though and chances are good that I’ll make it through alive. I’m just worn out and I have no desire to do anything but sleep.

On a lighter note I’m pretty sure I figured out what I’m going to do for my Drama Thesis. It’s great when things come to you on a whim. (But it’s also scary to think about that already.)

I guess it’s time to turn my attention back to this paper so I can release one more monkey from my back. Good thing it’s block break in a few days…

My Coming Weekend

My big plan for the weekend is to keep my sanity.

I’m directing a show right now called “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” by Paul Zindel. It just opened tonight, so I’m in limbo between being stressed and knowing that there’s nothing else I can do to change it. I have watched the show so many times (and I’ve found something to add or change every time) so it’s a weird feeling just letting go and knowing that this project that took over my life for two blocks is out of my control. When asked if she was ready before tonight, one of my actors said “I’m never ready for shows, I always want to push it just one more day.” This seems to be the theme of my life lately, I’ve never quite had enough time to do everything that I need or want to do.

Rule number one of college: Don’t over commit yourself.

My show only runs until Saturday – two months of work compressed into three nights. After I’m out of limbo, I have to put all my effort back towards my class. You know, the reason you come to college. I have a 25-30 page paper due on Monday. I have about 25-30 more pages to write until it’s finished. I’ll hop right on that… Once one stressful thing is over, another one emerges from its suppressed state.

Rule number two of college: Drink coffee.

I’m also designing sound for the current Drama Department show (“The Odyssey: A Stage Version” by Derek Walcott). Remember rule number one? Oops. It is a lot of fun though. It’s like taking an independent study class on Caribbean music.

As a final non sequitur: My professor posted this on facebook the other day. (Yes, professors are real people too.) Countdown with Keith Olbermann He gives a special comment on the passing of Proposition 8 (which banned gay marriage) in California. Keith Olbermann can get a little dramatic and absurd sometimes, but I think he does a really good job taking the situation out of the sight of politics or religion. Plus, the Edward Murrow sendoff made my day.

On that note, I’m off to start my homework for the night.