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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Internet people are weird. I've always known this, but sometimes stating the obvious is comforting.

(2004-12-28 08:00:12) elsisy_my_love: hello ... i need friends .. can you chat with me .. i think you my sister :)
(2004-12-28 08:00:24) : Buzz!!
(2004-12-28 08:00:32) elsisy_my_love: im swear
(2004-12-28 08:02:23) : Buzz!!

(2004-12-30 20:11:19) slavvikk: hi.... i'm on my knees at YOUR great feet begging YOU to give me a chance to have the honor of being YOUR loyal slave and YOUR obedient servant.... i would really love to spoil and pamper YOU

I'm trying to screw with my sleep patterns so that next week when I start working third shift weekends the crazy schedule won't be such a shock to my system. I tested a VasoPro today, and I have to say, ephedrine (this is synthetic ephedrine, which hasn't been banned by the FDA ... yet) is actually a pretty decent workaday stimulant. It's not at all speedy and, unlike caffeine, doesn't leave me anxious. And I only need to worry about heart attacks, strokes, psychoses and death if I abuse it! What counts as "abuse," anyway?

When I discovered that the velocity on my Kurzweil SP-76 wasn't working properly a while ago (after a malfuntioning radiator squirted rusty water into it), I was distraught. I never do my best repair work when I'm upset, which I was for several weeks, so despite taking it apart a number of times and cleaning it, I couldn't fix the problem. However, having bought a real piano to replace it, I've felt much more at ease. So yesterday, I opened it up again, switched around a few components, and managed to put it back together in such a way that it's fully operational! This is good news, because, as much as I've loved this keyboard, I think it's time to move on. I'm planning to shift it on eBay (and replace it with a Korg MS-2000).

In further preparation for its listing, I decided to replace the side panels, since one of them was smashed during shipping from Sydney to Baltimore. New plastic sidepanels from Kurzweil cost about $40, so I bought some poplar and a jigsaw for half the price and made old-skool wooden side panels. I've stained them dark walnut. Tomorrow I'll varnish and attach them, and post pictures. I can already tell it's going to look hot. Hopefully I can pass it off as an ULTRA RAERE CUSTOMIZED synthesizer. Heh.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Some advice, please!

For a while now, I have wanted a PDA so I can take notes at college and read e-books. That's really all I want it for.

So last night at around 2:30am, while I was watching (O, glorious!) multiple back-to-back episodes of the X-Files (TNT, I LOVE YOU FOR YOUR WEDNESDAY 12AM TILL 5AM PROGRAMMING. You are the BEST CHANNEL EVER.), I bid $50 (the starting amount) on a Palm i705, thinking I would surely be outbid. And I wasn't. $50 happens to be just what I have left in my Paypal account after my sloughing of shoes a fortnight ago.

It's a Palm i705, and it's new in the box. Two years ago, these PDAs cost over $450, mainly because they use WAP and wireless email tech. But three months ago, Palm shut down palm.NET, the service needed to access the internet with the i705 (it was a stupidly expensive and slow service anyway). So now, the i705 is just a basic Palm PDA, with normal Palmy stuff, and an unnecessary WAP antenna. The screen is kind of small, monochrome, but backlit. Refurbished/new ones still seem to cost around $100 from stores.

But I don't know if I should get it. I keep wondering if $50 is even too much to pay. The seller made the mistake of waxing lyrical about the PDA's wireless capabilities in the description, and I have already sent him a faux-disappointed e-mail about the demise of palm.NET in the hope that he will reduce the final price. If I wanted to, I could probably get out of the auction altogether.

Do you think I should buy it? Or should I wait? Wait until ... until ... until I don't know.

I still need to buy Matt his keyboard. The WHP job will certainly help.

Tech toy addicts! Christ Jesus, we shouldn't be buying any of these things. What the hell am I doing?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Insane with the pressure of things to do, I update my wish list.
I got the third shift job at WHP-TV. I start January 7. I have ordered a couple of bottles of VasoPro over the Internet.
Tripoli keeps walking on the piano keys and scaring the hell out of me when I'm at the other side of the apartment. ARGH! GHOSTS! No, it's just Tripoli playing the piano again. I'm making such slow progress on the Goldberg Variations, I think she sounds better than I do. When I play, it's not a piano, it's a paino.
Songfacts. Neat site.

Freedom Of Choice by Devo
Album: Freedom Of Choice
Date: 1980

Songfacts: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Devo was founded by Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, who met at Kent State University. Here's what Jerry says about this:
"We loved that song very much when we were creating it. It was about how people were throwing away their freedom of choice into meaningless choices like between Pepsi and Coke, or pink fur shoes or blue suede shoes. Just mindless consumerism, they'd rather not be free, they'd rather be told what to do, because that's what appeared to us was the case, especially in the Reagan years. That was a very Devo position - Freedom Of Choice is what you've got, Freedom From Choice is what you want."

The lyrics about the dog in ancient Rome who had 2 bones are based on an old Aesop's fable about a dog that's walking across a bridge with a bone in his mouth. He looks down in the water and sees another dog with a bone, and he gets so upset that he finally goes to attack the other dog and loses his bone. Or, as Mark Mothersbaugh explains, "It could have been about the Cocker Spaniel that lives in my house. There's 2 Pugs, and if I give the Cocker Spaniel a treat, she's happy until I give one to the other dogs, and then she drops hers and can't believe that they have the treats too. She thinks they've gotten her treats, so she's upset until that's over."

Jerry Casale: "Today, when people use Devo's music in commercials, they either completely miss the point or excise the irony on purpose. Target used 'It's A Beautiful World,' and of course, left out the line 'For you, for you, but not for me.' They just made it a beautiful world straight up. That Freedom Of Choice ad by Miller Lite shows a guy making his Freedom Of Choice by stepping out of the way of this line of human dominoes that has been falling for 30 seconds. He's finally smart enough to back up and let it pass him by as he grabs his beer. The same with "Whip It," which has been used to sell Swiffer."

Argument for Abortion No. 1,212,938

From: disrupting distance
To: Mormolyke
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:05 am
Subject: excuse me
-----
I actually respect you, but do you have somthing against me did I insult you or somthing. Did I rape you integrity? I usally dont let peoples harsh and very crude posts burn me, but I actually respect you. So just lay off, please its all I ask. Have a great day.
d.d


From: Mormolyke
To: disrupting distance
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:11 am
Subject: Re: excuse me
-----
Do you think you will gain my respect by whining at me?


From: disrupting distance
To: Mormolyke
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:15 am
Subject: Re: excuse me
-----
NO, YOU KNOW WHAT FUCK YOU IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR? WELL THEN GO GUZZLE CUM! OKAY, THERE ENJOY BE FUCKING SATISFIED. FUEL FOR YOU GOD DAMNED FIRE. I DONT WANT YOUR RESPECT, ITS A FOURM! I JUST WANTED PEACE!


From: Mormolyke
To: disrupting distance
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:19 am
Subject: Re: excuse me
-----
Seek help.


From: disrupting distance
To: Mormolyke
Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:23 am
Subject: Re: excuse me
-----
no just fucking with you

Monday, December 27, 2004

OK, you brain freeze experts, I just took a huge soup-spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, fresh from my freezer, and applied it in one big dollop to the roof of my mouth. I tried to push it as far back as I could to the soft palate. I held it there with my tongue for about 30 seconds. The roof of my mouth started to get sore because it was so cold, but I can't feel any pain in my head or behind my nose at all.

So there you have it. I am an android.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I have never had a "brain freeze" - the headache people get behind their noses and eyes when they drink too much ice-cold liquid at once. I remember seeing a preview for Shallow Hal a couple of years ago and wondering what the hell Gwyneth Paltrow's character was complaining about. On Friday, while eating spinach and artichoke dip at Molly Branigan's downtown, I asked Matt about it, and he tried to explain brain freezes to me. I drank as much ice-cold water as I could, but didn't feel any sensation like the one he described. Being from Australia, land of the stinking hot, I've drunk plenty of slushies in my time, too, and never had a brain freeze.

Aha, this site states that only 30% of the population experiences them, so I guess I shouldn't feel so left out.

I thought it had something to do with my inability to burp.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Here are some things I have made recently.

Behold, the quilt I whipped up in a day a week or so ago:


Behold, the Wee Willy Winky stocking cap I knitted last month:


Behold, the Elegant Gothic Lolita skirt I made tonight from deep purple velvet and black crushed velvet upholstery fabric. There's an apron in front edged with lace, and petticoats underneath. I'm planning to make it my uniform this winter:


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2004

GUITAR SONG

I bought the guitar,
because I thought guitars were poets,
That gave words of wisdom
to those who know how to caress them.

My first one came from Sears.
Twenty-five dollars in a cardboard box.
I sat with it for nights and practiced it 'til my fingers bled.
But "Shoo Fly" wasn't the poem I wanted from my poet.

So I saved my money, and I got a bigger, shinier poet.
And I learned more chords and I learned real songs
And I let that mumbling box steal my nights.
And it never sang the songs I wanted it to even though I knew the motions.

I got myself an electric poet, with shiny strings and switches and dials,
And it could scream your ears out.
But even that poet, that shiny new poet
Didn't sing the songs I wanted.

I got mad one night, not necessarily about the illiterate poets that littered my room,
Although I had been mad at them many times before.
But I was mad and depressed and I wondered what life was for
And that twenty-five dollar piece of junk from Sears was close by.
I touched, then picked it up, then stopped, then held it,
Then hugged, then kissed it with my fingers.

Then that poet whispered. Then louder.
And the poet sang all night long.

That junk sang.

-- Clark Nicholson (in high school)
Someone on ETS responded yesterday to my post with a private message saying he was sorry about my mother. The guy who wrote the message is about as pretentious as you can get, so I was kind of short with him, but I did include this in my reply:

"I am who I am because of where and who I've come from, and if my mother weren't manic depressive, I wouldn't be as smart, as creative, or as independent and resilient as I am. I am not a victim of my experience or my genes. Even my mother recognizes that bipolar has an evolutionary purpose and doesn't regret her disorder (she regrets taking lithium for 11 years, as she missed experiencing my childhood while all her emotions were wrapped in a wet blanket). She wouldn't be who she is without it either."

I used to be literally terrified of madness. My uncle on my father's side also has a mental disorder, probably bipolar, and has been hospitalized a couple of times. I've considered genetic counselling, but I've never gone through with it, claiming either that I don't want to know or I don't care to know.

Actually, there's a really neat experiment I heard about a few years ago, developed by a neurobiologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane called John Pettigrew (or Jack Pettigrew). I always wanted to hunt him down when I was in Australia and offer myself up for experimentation, but I never had the nerve. Without getting too much into the science of it (you can read more here), he found that if one eye is shown vertical stripes and the other eye horizontal stripes through polarized lenses, the brain sees not a mix of the two, but a few seconds of horizontal and a few seconds of vertical stripes. It kind of "switches" between right and left hemispheres of the brain. He also discovered that when he performed this experiment on himself, it took about ten times longer for his brain to "switch" between the two images - he would see, say, thirty seconds of horizontal stripes and thirty seconds of vertical stripes. John Pettigrew has bipolar disorder. Preliminary experiments seemed to show that other bipolar sufferers experience the same thing under the same conditions. Unfortunately, he's facing some opposition concerning his research from the field of psychiatry, which seems to think that neurobiology has no business interfering in the diagnosis of mental disorders. But I still think it's pretty fascinating. I wish more people would pay attention to this study.

I'm obviously going through a mini mental health interest phase. I've just started reading Daughter of the Queen of Sheba.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I posted this on ETS yesterday, and I get the feeling I'll need a variation of it again someday, so I'm reproducing it here:

My mother has bipolar. Not pussified cyclothymia, but fullblown, breakdown-every-year, long-stays-in-psych-wards, extreme-mania bipolar. About 0.01% of manic depressives have her type of bipolar, which is almost exclusively manic and very recurrent.

She has had three courses of ECT so far. Honestly, I don't remember exactly which years they were, but they were in the late 80's and early 90's. ECT is not some outdated treatment discarded by modern medicine but is still practiced.

Many people think ECT is "barbaric," but it's no more barbaric than most other treatments that routinely occur in mental institutions. Restraints and solitary aren't a walk in the park. Neither is having to share your room with a couple of potentially dangerous schizophrenics, IMO. One time when she had an episode while we were on holiday in Singapore, she was literally tied naked to a bed (mind you, after seeing the inside of a Singapore psych ward, I think Singapore is a barbaric country). Psych drugs aren't exactly good for patients either, you know. Aside from the psychological effects, after 11 years of taking Lithium (she thankfully stopped lithium in 1998 and is now on Epilem), my mother has developed type II diabetes, and I'm sure more physiological ill-effects will manifest themselves in the years to come.

But let me tell you a story about ECT. In 1992, when I was 12 years old, my mother had an episode of bipolar. Normally during an episode, she has to stay in a psych ward for around four to six weeks. Her bipolar is almost always manic, so if she is not institutionalized during episodes, she tends to do things like running out into the street half naked, loudly screaming that she is Christ, and threatening people with knives (To the artfuck types who glorify bipolar: her mania was far too extreme to allow her to do anything creative. Imagine taking five hits of MDMA a day for three weeks until you are psychotic. That's about where she is when she is when having a manic episode.). Quite often, we had to call the police to help take her in. Episodes occurred up to three times a year between 1987 and 1998, and she has had two episodes since she changed her medication.

Back in 1992 (I think it was 1992 - it might have been 1993. You tend to lose track of the psych stays after a while), Mum was showing no signs whatsoever of coming out of her episode after the usual period of time. They doubled her Lithium prescription, gave her a slew of other drugs like Melleril, tried psychotherapy, everything. Every day after school, I would catch a bus to the mental hospital, meet my stepfather, and we would go in together to see how she was doing. She would usually recognize us, but it was never long before she started babbling, usually about religion, and it was clear that she wasn't herself. Sometimes we wouldn't be allowed to see her because she had flipped out and they had had to sedate her or lock her in the solitude room.

She stayed in the psych ward for three months without any improvement. To put it another way, my mother and I lost each other for a quarter of that year. Finally, her psychiatrist decided to give her ECT. This was the third and last course of ECT she has ever had. The previous times I was too young to really understand and observe the results. ECT is administered once a week for three weeks. They anaesthetize her during the shocks, so it's nothing like the sensationalized scenes in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Requiem for a Dream.

The first time I saw her after the first shock, I couldn't believe it. She was lucid and completely normal. It still makes me tear up remembering it. I was talking with my mother for the first time in three months. You cannot have any idea how much I had missed her. The day before, she had been insane, but now my mother was right there in front of me, and we were having a normal conversation. She was tired, and her hands were shaking from the shock to her nerves, but she felt fine. I cried with happiness when I left the ward that day.

Over the course of the next week, the effects of the shock wore off. She lapsed back into her manic personality. After the second shock, she was normal again. And after the third, the normalcy hung around. She was home within a few days.

To everyone who thinks that ECT is a horrific treatment which should be banned, I understand where you're coming from, but I also think you have no idea what you're talking about. No one understands how it works, but it works. I know, because it gave me my mother back once.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The GAIM freak parade continues:

(2004-12-09 14:27:29) badboy4fun26: Hey whats up nice pics you have a great smile
(2004-12-09 18:30:47) badboy4fun26: hey whats up
(2004-12-11 14:31:48) badboy4fun26: hey whats up
(2004-12-14 19:17:51) badboy4fun26: hey whats up
(2004-12-14 22:03:15) badboy4fun26: hey whats goin on
(2004-12-18 17:30:36) badboy4fun26: hey whats up

(2004-12-10 15:07:16) heat_of_my_meat: hi there :) how are you? damn ur a hottie! wow

(2004-12-11 14:16:54) jb777x: you are georgeous, beautiful eyes, your hubby is a lucky guy

(2004-12-14 14:07:06) bhagwatmusale: hi jan
(2004-12-14 14:08:03) : Buzz!!
(2004-12-14 14:08:21) bhagwatmusale: i thik we r meet before some days
(2004-12-14 14:08:27) bhagwatmusale: am i right
(2004-12-14 14:09:50) : Buzz!!

(2004-12-15 05:56:38) shifuthivi: hi i am from india
(2004-12-15 05:57:37) shifuthivi: Welcome. I've been expecting you.
(2004-12-15 05:58:45) shifuthivi: haiiiiiiiiii
(2004-12-15 06:10:11) shifuthivi: Buh-bye! Buh-bye now. Buh-Bye!

(2004-12-17 18:07:02) isitinyou0: hi...would you like to watch me? =)


But this is hands-down my favorite random GAIM message ever. The last line is the killer.

(2004-12-10 14:51:24) paksegu: hi
(2004-12-10 14:52:34) paksegu: you so fine that I will like to ... the hell out of you
(2004-12-10 14:53:48) paksegu: are you there princess
(2004-12-10 14:55:10) paksegu: girl I like to fuck you real good...I got some blk dick for you
(2004-12-10 14:56:07) paksegu: i bet u like to be on top
(2004-12-10 14:56:49) : Buzz!!
(2004-12-10 14:59:03) paksegu: hi
(2004-12-12 15:55:37) paksegu: hi melissa
(2004-12-12 15:57:36) paksegu: did u go to hacc
(2004-12-12 16:59:00) paksegu: u sexy thing
(2004-12-12 16:59:35) paksegu: i bet u like it from the back huh?
(2004-12-13 09:36:42) paksegu: hey mellissa
(2004-12-13 09:42:13) paksegu: o thou my heart
(2004-12-13 17:12:45) paksegu: what u up to
(2004-12-13 17:15:16) paksegu: hey I am a web developer so let me know if you want you site redesign I got reseasonable rates, seriously
Aha! Thank you to Sue and Sheryl for recommending Planned Parenthood. They are wonderful! Best pap smear experience ever.

Now I am considering the possibility of an IUD, even though I haven't been pregnant before. Specifically, the Mirena IUD, which is much better than the old copper one, which I have always thought was a dodgy gamble. I'm mulling it over. Anything has to be better than the pill - and in fact, even though it would cost $450 to get the Mirena, it would be cheaper than the pill in the long run since it lasts five years.


A new version of an old classic! Today has been a good day indeed.
This is a good day.



4.0 GPA, baby. Hopefully I can keep it up on 16 credit hours next semester.

A couple of months ago, I was disappointed because I had been turned down for a part-time weekend graveyard shift master control op position at WHP-TV. *cue heavenly sound of singing angels* Good things come to those who wait. The guy they hired didn't show up last weekend, and the job is up for grabs again - and once again, all indications seem to suggest that I will land it.


PROSCONS
• Studio is five blocks from our apartment

• $10-per-hour, 20-hours-a-week regular gig

• Really slow shifts = studying, composing, learning lines, possibly even sleeping are allowed on the job

• Good experience for future television ops jobs
• The hours will probably make me chronically tired and/or insane, at least for a while

• Would have to seriously juggle theater commitments - might not even be able to do Macbeth

• Less weekend time with Matt

• It's Clear Channel. Clear Channel is the devil.


My knuckles are bleeding from kung fu again today. It seems Monday sessions are the most taxing on me.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Heh. "More than a few" errors on that VB.NET assignment ended up being two points, so my score was 116/118. I'm a little suspicious - was my professor being excessively generous? I'm sure I gave her more than two points' worth of dodgy answers.

Final grades are being posted on Tuesday. In the meantime, I am trying to juggle piano practice, composition (or rather, thinking about composition, since nothing is on the page yet), preparation for the spring term, catching up on domestic housework*, and spending some long overdue quality time with Matt. Thus I am finding myself rather busier than I thought I would be four days after my last final.

I saw Lemony Snickett with the aforementioned husband tonight. Visually stunning. Accents confusingly disparate.

*For example, two days ago I decided to make a quilt out of all the scrap material I have stored under the sewing machine table. It took all day to sew, but I'm proud of the result, as it turned a very old and ugly off-white duvet which we were thinking of discarding into a rather dashing red-and-black coverlet of mixed textures. And it's useful - since the temperature has dropped sharply (tonight snow lay on the ground for the first time this season), we need an extra layer on our bed if we are to save on our gas bill by turning the radiators off at night. I might take a picture later.
can't talk playing piano

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fucking money-grabbing doctor bastards. The doctor I've been seeing, Thomas Hargest, is only going to fill out my birth control pill prescription for a month because apparently I need to have a pap smear before they will continue refilling it. Which is complete fucking bullshit. Firstly, it's bullshit that I need a pap smear every year. Their pap smear guidelines are outdated - at my age, one every two years is more than sufficient. Secondly, I don't have fucking health insurance, and I don't want to pay for a fucking unnecessary pap smear. Moreover, the girl on the phone actually tried to say that this was some sort of legal requirement in this country. Which has got to be bullshit. I am so angry.

So I just changed doctors. Of course, the new doctor is also going to give me a pap smear before prescribing me a contraceptive, but somehow it makes me feel better than I'm not paying Dr. Hargest to have it done. I've been dissatisfied with him since he prescribed me low-grade Prozac for PMS, but I haven't had the energy to make the switch until now. The assistant at the new practice has already convinced me to get Dep Provera shots instead of taking the pill, which is not only more convenient, but seems to be cheaper for someone who isn't on health insurance. Huzzah. And my new doctor is female, and her name is Shannon Livingstone. Which would make her Dr. Livingstone (I presume).

What am I procrastinating now? Ah, yes, collecting evidence of the administrative error on my green card to send to the INS. Also, my Australian 2002-2003 Tax Return.

Aha, I just received word from my VB professor that my assignment will be accepted. I would be overjoyed ... if I knew I had done a good job. Unfortunately, it was very rushed, and I'm sure there are more than a few errors. We'll see, we'll see.
Well, that's it. Finals are over. I just completed my VB.NET exam, and it kind of sucked, so I'm not exactly rejoicing. I guess we'll know how I performed next week when the grades are posted. Of equal concern is my VB.NET assignment, which I tried to hand in 30 seconds too late last night. It wasn't accepted, so I had to e-mail it to the professor directly. I didn't do a very good job on it anyway, and I don't know if I'll get full credit because it was late (even if it was only about one minute late). I'm a bit depressed about it. I'm going to be bummed if I get a B.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

ARRRGGGHHHHHH AHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA SO BEAUTIFUL

Don't click unless you have a container of bleach handy with which to wash out your eyes immediately afterwards. It's a (very real looking ... perhaps it was created with the entire goatse.cx photo sequence, which I have saved on a CD-ROM somewhere) animated version of the infamous goatse.cx picture. For all my fascination with and use of the original still image, you'd think I would have seen this before today, but five minutes ago was my first time (awwww).
Added to the list of things I don't understand in this world: Christmas cards containing nothing but the senders' names. I understand that writing out dozens and dozens of personal messages in Christmas cards is a chore, but I think I would rather receive nothing than a generic Hallmark card with hastily scrawled signatures at the bottom. What's the point? I already know your names. No need to tell me again.

To all who expect Christmas cards from me: I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm going to get time this year. If you're lucky, I'll send you a personal Christmas e-mail as soon as my finals are over.

It's strange to think that I will probably never have to do any algebra ever again. I'd better not say that too loudly, or something will change, and I'll have to do some sort of calculus pre-requisite for music composition. Hey, you never know.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I'm looking at Lemony Snicket stills, and my abdomen is physically hurting with jealousy. I wish I had been born 15 years later than I was. Thanks to this and Harry Potter, it's a wonderful, wonderful time to be a junior bookish goth.

Actually, my stomach is hurting because of something I ate. I'm not sure what.

I had my English final tonight. It was a piece of cake, though I don't think the essay was the best piece of writing I've ever produced. Still, I am not worried about English in the slightest; I don't think there is any doubt of an A.

Earlier, I did some acting work for Aurora Films which I mentioned in an earlier blog entry. Film is fun! I was having a good skin day, and I was wearing scrubs in my role as a nurse's aide. What I caught on the monitor looked a lot like General Hospital, snigger snigger.

I just found out that the starring child in Lemony Snicket is from Melbourne. I think I've seen her on an episode of Halifax F.P. I'm fascinated by her. Dammit! Lucy knows how I feel.

Monday, December 13, 2004

I just finished my final exam for math. I have absolutely no idea how it went. For some reason, I have felt particularly slow and stupid the past few days. It's not PMS; maybe it's because I haven't been able to catch much sleep lately. At any rate, I moved very slowly through the questions, and my mind frequently felt woolly and useless. It was something of a shock when I finally looked up to find there were only ten minutes left, and nobody was left in the exam room. Every HACC exam I've taken before this one has been simple and easy enough for me to complete in under an hour. Still, maybe it was a particularly difficult exam. Nobody else in the room was taking the same test. In fact, according to the sign-in sheet, I am the first person in my class to take it.

I came home so frazzled that I have begun drinking the Vanilla Smirnoff Bill Dickensheets left in my freezer at our housewarming. Just to take the edge off the stupidity. Or something.

My hands and forearms are still shaking with fatigue from my kung fu class, and I've only just realized that my right wrist is sore, presumably as a result of repeated palm blocking.

Now I'm going to make a sweet potato and butternut pumpkin bisque with the leftovers from the WITF cooking show this weekend. Apparently these are two exampes of SUPER FOODS. I'll let you know if I acquire the ability to fly.
*smacks foreheard* That's why chloracne is familiar to me! Ever since Yushchenko was diagnosed, I've been wracking my brain for the reason why the name of the symptom tickles my memory. This post on Portal of Evil news gave the answer. Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson! Of course!
I just came back from kung fu, and I am most displeased because the eBay auction I had been hoping to win finished when I wasn't looking. A $250 Korg MS-2000. The seller listed it wrongly in the title as an "m-2000." That doesn't happen very often. And now I've missed out.

My arms are shaking with fatigue, even though I don't feel like I did a whole lot with them in class today. I can barely type properly.

I was supposed to take a math test this morning, but I didn't feel like it, so I'll probably try the session tonight. Virtual courses have their pros and cons, but being able to choose when to take your final exam is a definite pro.

Time to knuckle down figuratively and review.
I was just outside 15 minutes ago, and it didn't seem all that cold (I mean, it was cold, but not FREEZING), and I was just on my way out again, and it's SNOWING, it's SNOWING!!

I guess the novelty hasn't worn off.

SNOWING!

It snowed for all of thirty seconds, and the snow melted as soon as it hit the ground. Still, it was neat to see. I had to think for a second when I first saw all the white flakes drifting down: "What the hell is going on?" One day, I'm going to look back at this blog entry and laugh. Probably in February. Bitter laughter.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

It's Ryan Taylor's birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy birthday, Mr. Taylor!

Lordy, I'm swimming in friends' birthdays!!!!!!!!!!!! But I have all these college finals to finish. Of course, this doesn't seem to have stopped me from staying up late to list shoes on eBay last night instead of studying.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

IT'S LUCY'S BIRTHDAY!!!!

I called her just now, but while we were talking, the phone went dead, and now I can't reach her again!

But here are some pictures of her to make everyone happy!




Friday, December 10, 2004

I AM A MATH GOD.

*dance dance dance*

FEEL ME CRUSH YOU WITH MY IMMENSE MATHEMATICAL SKILL AND POWER!

160/150 in the second proctored algebra test. Yes, 100%, plus the 10-point bonus question.

NO ONE CAN TOUCH ME.

*dance*

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

(2004-12-03 23:22:41) guidoforfun: are you in harrisburg Pennsylvania

(2004-12-03 23:39:12) canyoumakethatputt: what do you do in tv production?
(2004-12-04 04:36:33) canyoumakethatputt: What TV work have you done recently?

(2004-12-06 00:59:59) jtothedbaby: hey you asian

(2004-12-06 19:44:23) letsmeet65: Hello I'm kelly from manhattan, KS and will be in Harrisburg for a few weeks in January. Hope to chat with you. Have a great evening. @};-

(2004-12-07 19:12:24) djkaeproductions2004: what's up?
(2004-12-07 19:15:00) djkaeproductions2004: sorry to bug ya
My problem with procrastination becomes worse and worse. If I emerge from this finals season academically unscathed, it will not only be a minor miracle, it will probably also be damaging to my future college career - how will I ever be able to justify studying steadily if I can do well by frantically cramming?

I attended my third kung fu class, which was much easier than the last class - there were less required sit-ups and push-ups, and nobody forced me to repeatedly punch a canvas bag. Still, I punched the damn bag anyway. Ow. I can't wait until my knuckles are conditioned. I also discovered that, contrary to praise received from audience members at The Tempest, I am an uncoordinated gumby. Enough said about that. Hopefully I will improve.

The most exciting news of the moment is that I am buying a piano. Since the Kurzweil SP76 fell victim to a leaky, rusty steam radiator valve, I haven't been able to get the velocity working quite right, and a large part of my soul yearns for the real vibrations of piano strings anyway. On eBay, I saw a baby grand piano located in West Chester for $200, so I called a piano technician in Harrisburg to ask his opinion. He informed me it would cost about $500 to transport anyway, advised me against buying it, and gave me lots of good advice. Since he had earned my trust by being so helpful, I asked if he happened to have a piano for sale. Wouldn't you know it, there is a mahogany console piano sitting in his garage which he's letting me have for $465 tuned and delivered. It's being delivered on the 17th. The only problem is that I feel terrible, buying a piano for myself while Matt goes without the Korg MS2000 for which he's been yearning for years. I've set myself a goal to get him that keyboard sometime in the next couple of months, without touching our savings. Hopefully, my part-time work at WITF and occasional acting gigs will earn enough.

Other methods of avoiding study have included:
• Deciding, what the hell, I might as well learn Mandarin even though I don't have the time
• Listening to how the US government was quite aware of the attack on Pearl Harbor before it happened
• Making curry
• Building shelving
• Sewing curtains
• Watching Law and Order

I have done a little study. Just not enough.

But here are some pictures from the recent Two Front Teeth "Fight Club" choreography camp.


I should have the hang of Tiger Claw by the time I get to learn it in kung fu class.


Here I am practising having my throat cut with a plastic spoon handle.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Wow, there is a forum for everything these days. For instance, here is a forum especially for the most retarded NIN fans on the internet. All that's left is for me to pray that they enjoy talking among themselves so much that they stay there and cut their ties with the rest of us.

I am so sore. So, so sore. I spent a couple of hours today at the kung fu school, punching a canvas bag filled with sand until my knuckles were red raw and bleeding a little. The bags themselves are covered with dark brown smears from past students' knuckles. Afterwards, some time was spent blocking, or as I prefer to call it, getting the crap pulverized out of one's arms. All while in horse stance. So sore. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the dozens of sit-ups and push-ups I did. Christ. Ow.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Yesterday someone found my blog with the Google search string "phoebe ling fuck." Good lord!

I attended an introductory kung fu class, and it intrigued me enough to make a commitment to ten months of training. I am already impatient to know as much as I can about the art, and I've been searching Amazon for the required reading material. My prospective favorite book on the list is Deadly Karate Blows: The Medical Implications, which, as its name suggests, describes how to kill people with your bare hands and contains drawings of the righteous internal damage you will inflict as you do so. I'm already chuckling my way through the preview on Amazon; I can't wait to read the whole thing.

The instructor took us (being myself and another potential trainee, Chad) through sit-ups and push-ups like a drill sergeant. This is fine as far as sit-ups go, but any attempt I make at push-ups is remarkably like that scene in Stripes. "That's ... three. You're almost ready for the Special Olympics!" I have always had useless twigs for arms.

Of particular amusement to me is the instructor's pronunciation of Chinese phrases. Sure, I don't know more than a couple dozen Chinese words, but I can clearly hear that he has a thick Western accent. Part of me wishes I had a Chinese kung fu instructor. But I think I'd actually want to learn Mandarin beforehand. And when the hell would I have time to learn Mandarin?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Of Mice and Men ...

ZING! My darling Tripoli has caught her very first mammal as part of the Dunphy household!




'Sfunny, some guests were saying we would get mice after firing (more than) a few spud gun rounds on Saturday night. I guess they were right. However, with Tripoli's hunting skills now apparent, I welcome the mouse invasion with open arms! Do your worst, puny rodents! My fat, happy killer cat will destroy you with glee and vigor!

In other pictorial news, here is a picture of Mr. Clark Nicholson impersonating Trent Reznor in my kitchen.


He has another Trent Reznor impression which I am eager to digitally record and turn into an animated gif one of these days. Unfortunately, we didn't have the required props on hand for that one.

Hrmm, I'm being distracted, aren't I?
I created a snaps page for the housewarming stills.

I'm trying to cut down on distractions so that I'm forced to concentrate on college study. I've withdrawn almost completely from my usual forum haunts (although I have had some fun with a particularly crazy and stupid member of ETS), and I'm limiting my presence in the lounge room, where that great flickering god of catatonia sits atop its pedestal, tempting me with neverending episodes of Law and Order. I haven't watched or listened or read any news whatsoever, meaning I have barely anything to discuss with my husband.

Of course, now that I need all the spare time I can get, WITF has entered its TV pledge drive, so there's far too much part-time work available, none of which I can turn down because I need to pay for next semester's fees. Last night, I had to sit through three hours of pledge performances from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and John Denver. I had no idea that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra were so much like Scorpions*, except that TSO headbang to Christmas carols. Also, I hate John Denver. Very much. It isn't an arbitrary hatred, it's a hatred of every aspect of him, gained through reluctant close study during two PBS pledge drives. I particularly dislike the fake yodelling.

Happily, I have been offered a role as a nurse's aide in some sort of medical instructional video, for which I'm being paid rather nicely.

*Okay, I confess that I actually bought the cassingle 'Wind of Change' in 1991. Screw you for smirking, I was eleven years old, and I found it in the dollar bargain bin. And something about really schmaltzy metal ballads appeals to me. I also like Metallica's slower songs. I don't admit this often, so count yourself lucky to have caught me in such a revelatory mood.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I opened Gaim for the first time in yonks, and was confronted by a few pages of hilarious random chat solicitations. I read a bunch of them out loud to Matt as I deleted them, before he had the brilliant idea of saving the better ones for comic value. There was a great one from ipayy4sex, for instance, which is now lost forever. But here are a few that I managed to save for posterity:

(2004-11-24 18:47:17) gepsymen: When you love someone - you'll do anything
you'll do all the crazy things that you can't explain
you'll shoot the moon - put out the sun
when you love someone

(2004-11-26 07:26:50) ordnance6502: Hello Melissa...Mike here how are you young lady?

(2004-11-29 17:18:36) fooloflies: uhm, im taken too... but i just wanted to say... YOURE CUTE

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Yay, that was fun! I got too drunk (shouldna started so early) and forgot to make the steamed buns, but the curry seemed to go pretty well, judging from the emptiness of the crockpots this morning.

We discovered to our chagrin at about 10:30 that the webcam hadn't been saving pictures, which is kind of a pity because the lounge room was jam-packed between 8:00 and 10:00. But I made a goofy mpg of what was saved.

CLICK HERE TO LOOKY!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Well, that sucked. I turned on my keyboard for the first time in weeks to discover that five or six of the keys aren't functioning. A few weeks ago when we first turned on the central heating, one of the valves on the steam radiators sprayed rusty hot water all over it, and it seems it's screwed up the circuitry. We took it apart and cleaned it, but only succeeded in causing a few more keys to malfunction. I am not best pleased about it.

And then I noticed that the sole has come off my platform mary janes. The ones I have been wearing nearly every day for the last two and a half years. I met Matt in those shoes. I don't know how I'm going to find a pair like them. I have no idea of the manufacturer, and anyway, I bought them in Sydney.

However! There is now a live webcam set up in the living room and I have created a webpage to display the shots. The camera takes a shot every minute, and the page auto-refreshes every minute, so it should work. It will most likely be dark for the next seven hours or so, but after that, you should be able to see Matt and I preparing for the party every now and then. And after that, there should be a shindig going on, approx 8pm EST till late.

Click here to see the wonders of modern technology!

And for a taste of it:


That's the most recent image from the time you entered or refreshed this page. If you click on the picture or the link above, you'll be taken to the auto-refreshing page, which is much more fun, if you're into that sort of thing.
MENU FOR THE SHINDIG AT THE DUNPHY'S
(Being the party tonight to celebrate our newish apartment and my slightly erroneous green card)

• Lemon/Limeade

• Apple slices brushed with lemon juice

• Steamed buns (red bean paste, custard)

• Scotch eggs

• Butter chicken curry

• Beef korma curry

• Lamb rogan josh curry

• Saffron rice

• Chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream

And whatever else anyone brings. I am going to spend all day today (after I've caught a few hours' sleep) cooking up a storm. I even bought a crockpot and a spare electric element to accomplish all this. Pictures of the celebrations will be forthcoming. In fact, I'm considering broadcasting the party live. We'll see if I can get it sorted in between chopping and stirring.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

In happy news, I visited the Kung Fu center on Rte 22, and I am booked into an introductory class Friday week. (The bad news is that it's $109 per month for continuing classes. I'm mulling it over.) And while I was on that side of town, I went looking for the Asian grocers I have heard is in the area.

There are not one, but two excellent Asian stores tucked away back there! One is an Indian grocer, and sells lots of curry pastes and sauces! And the other is a Chinese grocer, where I can not only get red bean paste and custard steamed buns, but fresh produce, teas, and plenty of knick knacks which I wish I knew were available in Harrisburg sooner. And both stores sell good light soy sauce! Ah, consumer bliss!
The Department of Homeland Security are a bunch of incompetent buffoons.

Aside from all the other errors, misinformation and poor organization I have had to deal with, consider this:



This is my Green Card. They told me it would arrive in four months or so. It arrived in three weeks. I guess that's not such a bad thing, but do you notice something a little strange about the information on the card itself? Look closely now.



WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS THAT!!?!?!?! Never, NOT ONCE, in any of the forms that I have filled out, have I given them any reason to think I was born in fucking FRENCH POLYNESIA. I have never even BEEN to French Polynesia. Seriously - WHAT IN THE FUCK?

Are they hiring actual chimpanzees to do the data entry? First, they enter my father's name in the husband field, then they record that I was born in French Polynesia. You'd think that, oh, my AUSTRALIAN BIRTH CERTIFICATE and the fact that I state on every form I have ever filled out for them that I was born in AUSTRALIA and am an AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN would lead them to believe that maybe AUSTRALIA might be my country of birth.

So, I called the USCIS to ask them what I should do. I have to fill out form I-90 and book an appointment to come IN PERSON to the Philadelphia office of the BCIS. Then I have to prove that it was the BCIS's fault so that I don't have to pay the $185 filing fee. So I have to bring copies of all my forms to show that I never entered "French Polynesia" in the country of birth field.

Basically, I have to drive all the way to fucking Philly, and wait in line for three hours.

This is ridiculous. And this is the Department of fucking Homeland Security. Even the woman on the help line said, "Whoops, I guess someone must have been asleep at the wheel." How secure do you feel?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Herein lies the danger in contributing regularly to a blog. Blog in a moment of crisis, and you will incite false alarm. Elucidate a blog entry at four in the morning, and Champollion himself couldn't penetrate your obfuscation.

Suffice to say that both of the assumptions in cleric1104's comment are now true! However, I may need to pee again shortly.

Here is a familiar refrain. I swear that choice gets harder as one gets older. This year, I have faced more agonizing choices than ever before, and fewer of those divine moments of clarity I seemed to enjoy so often previously. In the past, I was sometimes so preternaturally certain of the path I should take that I wondered about the existence of a higher power of guidance (NB "wonder" spoken like a true agnostic). Now, I flounder in a sea of dread every time a new option is laid before me. I'm developing a phobia of choices.

And, yes, I do realize how ridiculous it is for me to be talking about dread when I'm being faced with such wonderful choices. It's like being disappointed at scoring 100% in an exam. It's absurd, right? (Dammit, that test brought my average down to 101%.)

I have made my choice this time, after much angst and thumping off fists. I made the choice a while ago; I just had to make it again. And it's a great weight off my shoulders.

I just posted on alt.fan.devo, asking if anyone knows if there really is an Ancient Roman poem about a dog with two bones. The guy who runs the unofficial Devo FAQ has no idea.
My bladder just woke me up.

To elaborate a little on the last entry, I received an unexpected piece of information shortly before 8:04pm that made my mind, or perhaps more accurately, my ego, light up like a Christmas tree. After throwing myself violently to the ground a few times, writing a cracked-out blog entry, and being taken on a walk'n'talk along the river by Matt (I married him with good reason - when my mind retches, he seems quite happy to hold the bucket), I think I'm back to square one. Which is not such a bad place to be, because almost invariably when you're at square one, the only thing to concentrate upon is how to get to square two.

In Ancient Rome there was a poem
About a dog who found two bones:
He picked at one,
He licked the other,
He went in circles,
He dropped dead.


Once you've chosen, then you're free. Choice enslaves you to the act of choosing.

(Hehe ... hi, Clark!)

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I AM TERRIFIED OF CHOICE.

I love to work hard at my talents. When my hard work pays off, opportunity knocks. Why does opportunity always seem to knock on the back door just when I'm on my way out the front?

Then I must choose which door to open.

Choice fills me with such terror that I literally run screaming and shaking.

Who would have thought that opportunity could lead to such despair?
I find Omahyra's face and physicality intriguing. Also, her measurements are the same as mine! Only ... she's six inches taller. Um, yeah.

More strange dreaming this morning. Matt and I were attending a stadium football game, when it was announced over the loudspeakers by a group of old cardinals in red robes that Matt had ascended to the rank of Regent in the Catholic Church. We were both stunned, and sat for some time discussing what it could mean. Eventually, we stood up, only to discover with some shock and embarrassment that the spectators around us had been waiting for us to stand so they could leave themselves. Apparently we were seated in the Catholic section of the staduim, and the other spectators were following strict protocol. Matt and I walked to a food tent, and I received a too-large serving of steak strips on rice. I mentioned that Matt's status as a Regent implied that I was a princess. After eating, we returned home (it was no house I recognized). In the driveway, Matt produced a five-inch blackened needle from his pocket and told me it was poisoned and that he had the antidote inside the house. I didn't understand why he had made such a thing, and assumed it had something to do with being a regent. I asked him to show me the antidote, but he hedged around my inquiries until I lost my temper. "Well, what's the poison made from?" I asked.
"Burnt meat."
"Ha ha! You can't die from burnt meat!"
"It will make you very sick."
"But you can't die! That's not a real poisoned needle!"
"It will make you sick! And I have the antidote!"
We had a roaring argument, and at some point I grabbed my jacket and made ready to storm out of the house.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going to the library to research Regents of the Catholic Church, since you don't seem to care."
Matt grabbed his own jacket and ran out the door before me. "Matt!" I yelled. "Matt, you could stab me a thousand times with that poisoned needle, and it wouldn't hurt as much as this!" I started to cry ... and then I woke up.

Interpret that!

There is only one public performance of The Tempest left, but there's no need to cry yet, as there is one more student matinee this Tuesday. I think I'm getting strep throat - I just hope it will hold off until Wednesday.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dick Smith offers to buy Vegemite from Kraft

I'm running horribly low on Vegemite, and I can't take it. And everyone back home is either too poor or too mad at me to send me some, so I have to look at the option of purchasing it over the internet. I can get a kilo of it for $17.95, but the shipping charge is nearly $30. So the question is: would I pay $45 per kilo (US$35) for Vegemite?

Of course I would.

(Since when does an AU$ cost US$0.77!?!? Holy shit. This time two years ago, the AUD was pushing US$0.50.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Who the hell did that?

I just went out to check the mail, and someone had put the arts section of the Harrisburg Patriot News in our letterbox. I assume he/she did this because there is a review of The Tempest within.

Mysterious! Who could it have been?

As for the review ...

Ariel, played by Melissa Dunphy, who slithers and slides on the stage and leaps and climbs all over it, seeks to be freed from Prospero's spell and serves as his eyes and ears. She also plays a recorder competently, adding to the production's eerie tone.

I guess that's a good review ... depending on your interpretation of the words "slithers," "slides," "leaps," "climbs" (I am a snake-monkey!), and "competently." (Recorder = eerie!!??)

He should have included "stumbles," since the reviewer came to the only show in which I have lost my footing. Climbing up a flight of stairs. It was embarrassing.

On another note, I made a few more little errors on the Spanish test than I had predicted, scoring 97%. 97% is hardly terrible, but after my straight run of full marks or more, I am disappointed.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What's this?



This, my friends, is the very first white hair I have ever noticed growing out of my head.
Matt took some atmospheric shots of the bedroom after I had spruced it up a little:



Here is a fleshed-out piece of news that I alluded to mysteriously and briefly a couple of entries ago. The folks at Gamut Theater have offered to take me on as a fulltime core member on a contract of at least one year beginning June 2005.

This is so perfect for so many reasons that I barely want to talk about it for fear of becoming too excited and exploding.

Firstly, I would be working fulltime in theater and being paid a decent wage. It's not a lot of money, but it's more than the nominal pay I've been accepting for acting all year, and health insurance is included. (Since Matt works for a small business, it would cost us $200 per month to add me to his health insurance plan, so I need health insurance for myself. Did I mention this country's health insurance system is RETARDED!? I bought the absolute maximum coverage single health insurance in Australia for only $70 per month.) And I would be working fulltime in theater.

In addition to performing in shows for Popcorn Hat, HSF, and Gamut, the job would entail giving acting classes to children, and working on marketing and PR. And I would never have to worry about juggling work and theater commitments ever again.

Isn't it funny how events and desires tend to come full circle? Seven years ago, I quit my degree in medicine because I wanted to become an actor. I dicked around for a few years, and eventually forgot about my passion for theater when music took precedence. Yet, suddenly, here I am being offered an acting job (with musical benefits).

I may need to cut down on my college classes, but as some of my work with the theater company would involve music composition (which is the purpose of my degree in the first place), this doesn't bother me in the slightest.

As for the six-month delay before being hired, I have a heavy load of classes in the Spring semester which would make a fulltime job impossible anyway. In addition, there is some exciting musical news which I have also alluded to in past entries, but which I will not flesh out at this time. I can't have a 9-5 job until June of next year. Everything is so perfect, I want to cry.

(In fact, I did cry during an episode of Judging Amy yesterday afternoon. I guess I'm hormonal.)

Man, I hope I didn't jinx the deal by writing about it.

We're getting rid of some posters on eBay. Clicky clicky.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

-- Kahlil Gibran

Today I visited a tiny essential oil and incense store in a strip mall on Route 22, and came one step closer to finding an answer I've been chasing for years. In Sydney, I used to visit a beauty clinic which served the most gorgeous tea I have ever tasted or smelt. When I asked what sort of tea it was, they said it was some sort of Egyptian rose and difficult to come by. Relishing the challenge, I have been trying to find that tea ever since. There was no tea for sale in the store today, but I did find an essential oil that smells exactly the same - "Egyptian Geranium." Aha! Further investigation reveals the plant, Pelargonium graveolens, is also known as the Egyptian rose geranium. It makes sense, since I've often drunk plain old geranium tea.

Of course, I still can't find Egyptian rose tea, Egyptian geranium tea, or Egyptian rose geranium tea for sale anywhere. Phooey.
Dreaming on a Theme

This morning I dreamed that I was on some sort of working vacation in Japan. By a stroke of pure luck, I spotted Phoebe Ling from my high school as I was making a phone call home to Matt from a public phone booth. She was travelling with the group of geeks and overachievers I hung out with in high school. I sat and had coffee and ice-cream cake with all of them in a cafe, then went with them to some sort of art and media studio, where I found Ray Manlove and Clark Nicholson in costume about to record a television show on American history. The group of geeks went upstairs to an art studio where models of fantasy characters were created for movies and passed around the fattest joint I have ever seen. I excused myself, being averse to marijuana, and hung out with Ray for a while, marvelling that my old school friends had become potheads.

What the hell is up with dreams of Japan and old high school friends?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It still amazes me that I live in an urban environment, yet there are wild rabbits running around my backyard when I come home.

Today, after only four hours' sleep, two exams, three assignments and an English class, I was fraying at the edges. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I had been scheduled to work a Smart Talk shift at WITF after class. As I walked to the college parking lot, I wished desperately for a cigarette.

I smoked socially for six years or so. By "socially," I mean that I would often go for weeks without smoking, but when I went out it was not uncommon for me to suck my way through a pack in one night. I liked to call my habit "binge smoking." When I met Matt, I quit. By "quit," I mean I have about a dozen cigarettes per year, usually when I am feeling stressed and always bummed from other people's packs.

As I approached my car, dreaming of a cancerous puff, I noticed something lying on the ground just underneath the driver's side door. It was an intact cigarette box with two cigarettes and a book of matches within.

Today, I bummed two cigarettes from God.



P.S. I think I did all right in my exams. The math test had a handy 10-point bonus question which I know I licked, so I'm hoping for at least 100%. The VB test was multiple choice, and experience has taught me never to count chickens when it comes to multiple choice exams.

See, now that I'm feeling more confident about my chances of getting a 4.0 GPA, all thoughts concerning the adequacy of a lesser grade have vanished. This supports my long-held view that the only people who try to convince themselves that marks aren't important to them are those who don't achieve good marks.
The math assignment is not dead! Dr. Kong is accepting my incredibly late effort after I sent him my INS sob-story.

And w00t! I am getting all the credit for the VB assignment as well! Calooh! Callay!

Now I'm back in the running again. But I'm not out of the danger zone. Life is so much more fun when you're flying by the seat of your pants, right? Right??
Yeah, this about sums it up. Although I'm not really an American yet, so I can't get quite so hoity-toity, I certainly feel his/her heart's in the right place.

Bah. College is really going down the shitter. By that, I mean that there is a distinct possibility that I might achieve a B in one of my subjects. I found out today that one of my Visual Basic assignments which I completed last week (the grammatically troubling one I mentioned on this blog earlier) didn't go through properly (or, more likely, I uploaded it but forgot to press the submit button). So I may well get a reduced mark for it because of lateness. I sent my teacher an e-mail with the assignment attached to it a moment ago. We'll see.

Other than that, I know I got a couple of questions wrong in the Spanish test this afternoon. That's not my real worry, though, as I'm 95% sure I still scored over 95%. My real worry is math. One dead assignment, and an exam tomorrow for which I'm not feeling particularly confident.

I console myself with the knowledge that it's not really all that necessary for me to get a perfect 4.0 GPA for a music composition degree. I mean, it's not like I want to study anything particularly academically competitive. A GPA of 4.0 isn't really important when my ultimate goal is to create film scores and chamber music. I might as well take it easy, right? Right??

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Some very exciting things are happening musically, and I'm so knee-deep in theater, college and decorating the house that I can't do the things I want to do.

Well, no. Really, it works like this: Performing in theater makes me tired, so I don't feel up to studying for my upcoming exams. I can't justify composing music in favor of studying because I know if I start composing, I'll be consumed by it and won't do any college work at all. So I decorate the house, a completely fruitless exercise, except that I'm planning on throwing a Green Card party sometime in the next couple of weeks.

But there are some very exciting things happening musically! I just can't talk about them yet for fear of jinxing.

Oh, by the way, the Chanticleer link below is working now!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ryan! (And anyone else who found they were unable to listen to the Past Life Melodies link below)

I found an mp3 of the Iowa State Singers' performance of the same piece. I still prefer Chanticleer's performance, and I'll keep trying to get it for you, but to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

Iowa State Singers | Past Life Melodies
Yesterday was one of those beautiful days which remind me why I love living.

The afternoon saw the birthday party of Clark Nicholson, the artistic director of Gamut Classic Theater and Prospero to my Ariel. It was a roast, and even though I haven't known Clark for more than a few months (Matt and I were probably the most recent friends there), I cried with laughter at some points and was touched to the point of tears at others. One guest read a letter from Clark's high school English teacher which included a poem Clark had written about making a piece-of-junk guitar sing. The poem is still running through my head. If I can work up the courage to ask him for a copy without sounding like a dork, I'll post it here.

I gave Clark my first-knit scarf, which, without really meaning to, I had woven around the number seven - seven ribs on each side, seven feet long, seven strands of yarn in each tassel, seven tassels at each end. The seven-pointed star, or septacle, is associated with the elven or faery world, and in the two Gamut shows I have done so far, I played a fairy and a spirit, so maybe there's a correlation there. Zach once told me in all seriousness that he thought I was a faery.

Matt and I also prepared a stack of burned CDs for him, from Tears for Agnes and Slow Andy to the Dillinger Escape Plan, Skinny Puppy, Phillip Glass and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Afterwards, at the show, Vince Petrosino was in attendance, and, most excitingly, Bill Dickensheets brought along his *brand new girlfriend*! Her name is Sabrina, and she looks like a ballerina. She has blonde hair to halfway down her thighs. During the second act, they held hands! It's wonderful.

Vince gave Matt and I another bowl. I think he is establishing a tradition of giving us favorite bowls - the bowl he gave us for our wedding is now the most hotly contested noodle bowl in the house.

The middle-of-the-run cast party was at Green Street. Sometimes I can't stand it when too many actors are gathered in a room with alcohol, although I know I occasionally slip into ultra-high-decibel mode myself when I'm not paying attention to my behavior. However, I had an intriguing talk with Doug, who will be directing Henry V next year. Suffice to say, I am excited and overjoyed, even with the knowledge that everything we talked about might fall through ...

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I had very vivid and dadaist dreams this morning.

I dreamed that Matt and I were living in Japan. We returned from driving somewhere and were walking back to our apartment a block away. Matt went ahead while I locked the car. For some reason, I couldn't get his door to lock no matter how hard I tried - it still opened easily from the outside even when the lock was activated.

Finally I gave up and walked to the apartment alone. I had a black satin waist-cincher loosely tied around me, and I was carrying my light-blue corset. A group of Japanese schoolchildren walked past me, and suddenly I recognized a face in the crowd: Clare Stroebel, the daughter of my high school counsellor. Clare had been in the fifth grade the last time I saw her. In the dream, her hair had been dyed dark brown, and her face was so tanned it was nearly orange. She explained that she was attending college in Japan, and we swapped business cards. For some reason, I still had a Central PA Computers card in my wallet, but I wrote my updated details on the back.

When I arrived at the apartment, I handed Matt Clare's business card, which had somehow turned into a letter. As he was reading, Dan Puentes, the actor playing Ferdinand in The Tempest, appeared in our apartment. Through a strange twist of space and time, he was writing the letter as Matt was reading it. He picked up a green pen, and the words Matt was reading turned green.

Matt was very excited as he read the letter, because he also knew Clare Stroebel. This didn't strike me as strange at all.

The dream slipped into another dream in which I was lying in my bed here in Harrisburg, staring at my feet. I saw the window behind my clothesrack swing open by itself. I tried to tell Matt that there was a ghost or an intruder in the house, but I couldn't move. The clothes on the rack started moving as though they were being tugged by unseen hands, and I struggled to call Matt, but I felt as though I were too tired or drugged to form coherent words.

As I struggled, I awoke. I must have been doing something strange in my sleep, because Matt was laughing at me.
Most of my anger at the election result has been vented on conservatives in the Echoing the Sound forum. Since the election result was in their favor, justifying their beliefs in their own minds, they have come out in droves to restate their views on religious and political issues. Because Echoing the Sound is a Nine Inch Nails forum, the outspoken conservative members all have the IQs of lower primates, and, like shooting fish in a barrel, it has been effortlessly entertaining to slaughter their arguments. I feel like Ares, dancing through multiple threads spreading war and flames. It doesn't make a difference to the outcome of the election or the state of the country, but it saves my sanity.

I have also joined the forums for A Prairie Home Companion and St Paul Sunday. I'm not quite sure what I'm hoping to get out of them. The PHC forum contains a lot of political debate because of Garrison Keillor's liberal leanings, but there's also a lot of restraint, which ultimately leaves me feeling empty. The St Paul Sunday forum is almost completely unpopulated, but allows for interesting discussions about classical music - and I can have one-on-one conversations with the producers of the show. I guess I'm looking for more intellectual discussion and reading to supplement my POE-News diet.
Tuesday/Wednesday Retrospective


Now that I've pulled myself out of my post-election funk to some degree, I'll try and go over some events in more detail.

Tuesday left me exhausted. I performed in a student matinee of The Tempest (too early) in the morning, and since downtown Harrisburg parking is horrendous and/or expensive, I rode my bike to the theater. As much as I appreciate the exercise, I'm still the most unfit skinny girl in America. After half an hour of peddling, and with only a two-week hiatus from cycling, I reached Market Street almost as sweaty and dizzy as I was the first day I rode downtown. Well, all right, I wasn't quite that bad, but my exertion was shameful nevertheless.

Note to self: cycling for half an hour, then performing a physically demanding play, then cycling for another half-hour is an adequate recipe for exhaustion. But the day didn't end there.

Of course, I can't vote yet. In fact, I probably won't be able to vote next election, since the citizenship process will take at least another four or five years (on an aside, it's amazing how many people have asked me since Wednesday if I can vote now that I have a Green Card. Pfft! Americans.). Instead, I operated the teleprompter during WITF's election night coverage.

An interesting discussion took place between guests and analysts in the TV studio, and we cut regularly to the WITF-FM newsroom for updates on election results, but I miss being in a real TV news studio. I laugh at myself saying this, because Channel Ten in Sydney was hardly "real" TV news - the example I always cite is the afternoon I watched the news producer drop a story about warfare in Israel in favor of a live cross to the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial. Nevertheless, I adored being on the inside of the news, reading the wires as stories are posted, and watching the mayhem from the center of the tornado. There's mayhem at WITF, but only because they don't produce daily live broadcasts and every upset precipitates a feeling of panic.

The election night coverage ended at 10pm, and I was already dreading the result. I drove home, trudged back into the house, and set about packing for the infamous Adjustment of Status interview.

We should have been more organized. Matt only checked alt.visa.us.marriage just before we left, and with horror, we learned that, along with all our other evidence, we needed a letter from Matt's employer stating his salary and terms of employment.

We were so much more organized last year although we had more forms to fill and hoops to leap through. I guess success has made us blase and careless.

So, after driving down to Philly with only one wrong turn (why the hell isn't the turnpike called I-76 the whole way!?), we woke up the next morning at 6:15 and braved the biting Philadelphia air, armed with a confidentiality agreement and paystubs from Affinigent, and hope.

They confiscated my knitting needles at the security checkpoint of the BCIS office. The officer remarked on autopsy photos she had seen of a man attacked with a knitting needle.

After a wait of around 45 minutes, we were invited into the interview with officer Garcia, a man with a very muted sense of humor and an unnerving shake in his hands. I pointed out the mistake on our interview letter, and with a quick phone call he corrected our record - as I suspected, someone in data entry had captured the wrong field. Thankfully, they didn't expect me to marry my father, or bring him to the interview.

Then he moved onto the questions. Both Matt and I can't recall most of them, but we do remember:
What were the circumstances of our meeting?
When and where did we get married?
Matt, what is Melissa's birthday?
Are you still fans of Nine Inch Nails?
Melissa, where do you work?
Where do you live now?

The questions were pretty mild, but perhaps this is because our relationship isn't suspicious in any way, so we didn't need to be grilled.

Of course, then he asked for a letter from Matt's employer. The confidentiality agreement and paystubs were not enough. Matt had to call Affinigent and have them fax a letter to Officer Garcia while we waited. It was nailbiting, and we were both pretty angry at ourselves. Matt was even more down because his income last year didn't quite reach the minimum requirement for a sponsoring citizen, and if it hadn't been for my assets, we wouldn't have made it.

But there's no sense in beating ourselves up, since everything worked out. My passport was stamped, and I was informed that my physical green card would arrive in the mail in five to seven months.

I can't figure out why it takes five to seven months to send me a slip of cardboard either. Very strange.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It angers me to the point of tears that the Bush camp is proud that Bush won with more votes than any president in American history. As soon as I heard that particular line, it occurred to me that Kerry lost with more votes than any president in American history. The winningest loser evar.
As of three hours ago, I am officially a permanent resident of the United States of America.

Now I can be a part of this great nation as it goes to shit.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I stayed at home and worked on Visual Basic all day. I managed to complete six assignments in 24 hours, most of which weren't due until November 11. If I can achieve the same singlemindedness in my other subjects within the next 48 hours, I'll have everything under control.

I do have some gripes about my teacher in VB, though. English is obviously her second language, and while I am for various obvious reasons extremely tolerant of people who are still learning English, when a situation arises in which her communication skills may result in a lowering of my GPA, my blood pressure surges.

For example:

"When defining arguments and parameters for sub procedures and functions, what matters between arguments and parameters? (3 pts)"

"What is the difference with the general procedures (event procedures) and user-defined procedures (sub procedures and functions) (2 pts)"
Things to note about this question:
Event procedures are not general procedures.
Sub procedures and functions are general procedures.
Sub procedures are not user-defined procedures.

The weather is so beautiful at the moment. I dread the coming months.

If you want to hear an amazing piece of music, follow this link:
Chanticleer on St Paul Sunday
Click on the "Listen" link at the top of the page, and move the cursor to around 28 minutes. I heard this show on the radio about a month ago and was so awed and distracted that I nearly crashed my car. The piece is Past Life Melodies by Australian composer Sarah Hopkins, and this performance showcases some of the most amazing harmonic singing I have ever heard. It's hard to believe that it's a live performance on radio, not a studio recording. The harmonics fly so wildly in the last minute or so, I find myself crying in exultation. Be sure to keep listening for the maddeningly effortless demonstration of harmonic singing by one of the members of Chanticleer after the performance.

Since hearing it again fifteen minutes ago, my tongue aches from intoning "now-reee" over and over. Oddly, I'm getting some pretty decent harmonics. I couldn't hit harmonics nearly this distinctly or loudly when I've tried in the past.

Sunday, October 31, 2004








Play went all right. Ellen and Nick Hughes and Sean Adams were in the audience. I received one proposal of marriage. There was a reception afterwards at which I got drunk and had long conversations with a similarly tipsy Clark about politics.


Drunk wifey after the show, waiting for Matt to return from a Slow Andy gig at Field of Screams correction: the Waterway Bar and Grill in York.

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Backstage at rehearsal for The Tempest.
That's my "Juno" costume.


In the Gamut Theater green room.


Group shot in the kitchen.


Matt's and my facial expressions magically switch.
Hold on - you have a blog?

I've been kind of down lately. Part of me wants to blame it on the lunar eclipse a couple of days ago, but it's more likely the sudden cessation of regular work, the building tension of the play, the lack of time spent with Matt, and the onset of cold weather. For weeks, I've been too busy to pay proper attention to my college work, and now that I have time, I'm having difficulty finding the motivation to study. This leads to poor grades, such as the 70% I managed to squeeze out of the mini online math test I did last night (it was open-book, so I was literally learning the concepts as I took the exam), which in turn leads to poorer self-esteem and a sense of hopelessness.

I was quite capable of finding the real roots of high-degree polynomials when I was twelve years old, but I never learnt "Descartes rule of signs" or the "conjugate pairs theorem" (in fact, I don't think I ever covered imaginary roots with Kumon) or other bothersome (however useful) named concepts.

The Tempest opens tonight, and I hope I can pull out of this funk and enjoy our first performance before an audience.

"Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Melissa made her HSF debut this summer as Cobweb and musical director for A Midsummer Night's Dream. This year she has also appeared as Juliet in Theater of the Seventh Sister's Romeo and Juliet, and Margot in Open Stage's The Diary of Anne Frank. She holds an Associate Diploma in Speech and Drama from Trinity College of London and an Associate Diploma of Music from the A.M.E.B., and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Music Composition to be completed at West Chester University. Melissa has toured internationally as a violist with two orchestras and played with bands of all varieties, currently Second Sky and Tears for Agnes. Upcoming acting projects include Macbeth with Seventh Sister in 2005, and Two Front Teeth, an independent horror film to be shot in Maryland in January. Melissa is thrilled to be working with HSF again, and hopes to one day repay her wonderful husband Matt for all the missed dinners."

Friday, October 29, 2004

Maybe two weeks ago, Matt received a letter from the Bureau of Registration and Elections stating that because he had changed his address on his driver's license, his voter registration address would also be changed, and he would receive a new voter registration card in the mail before the election.

A couple of days ago, Matt received his voter registration card in the mail. There are problems.

Matt's middle initial is P. It always has been. However, he never entered a middle initial on his driver's license, so according to both his license and his old voter registration card, he is simply "Matthew Dunphy."

The new voter registration card states his name as "Matthew L. Dunphy."

More strange than this, despite being a registered Democrat for years, Matt's card lists him as a registered Republican.

The information cannot be changed before the election, as it takes ten days to enable changes in voter registration information.

My worry (and it is my worry - since I can't vote, Matt is effectively voting for both of us) is that there's some sort of voter fraud going on. Matt spoke to the Bureau today, and they claim there won't be a problem on election day, but I have grave doubts. My fear is that someone is trying to disqualify Democrat votes by either screwing up electoral roll information or creating duplicate votes.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid and tinfoil-hat. But it has been such a dirty campaign, and this is possibly the first election in my life in which I have had an emotional investment. I've been intellectually interested in elections in Australia for almost as far back as I can remember, but I've never personally despised a political machine as much as I do the Republican Party right now. I guess it's a result of having worked in TV news - suddenly my eyes are open to more than I would have noticed as a member of the general public.

On another note:

YO! It’s the green machine
Gonna rock the town without bein’ seen
Have you ever seen a turtle Get Down?
Slammin’ Jammin’ to the new swing sound
Yeah, everybody let’s move
Vanilla is here with the new Jack Groove
Gonna rock and roll this place
With the power of the ninja turtle bass
Iceman, ya know I’m not playin’
Devastate the show while the turtles are sayin:

Ninja, Ninja, RAP! Ninja, Ninja, RAP!
GO GO GO
Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
Go Ninja, Go Ninja. GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
GO GO GO GO

Lyrics, fill in the gap
Drop that bass and get the NINJA RAP
Feel it, if you know what I mean
Give it up for those heroes in green
Just flowin, smooth with the power
Kickin’ it up, hour after hour
Cause in this life there’s only one winner
You better aim good so you can hit the center
In it to win it, with a team of four
Ninja Turtles that you gotta adore it’s the ...

Ninja, Ninja, RAP! Ninja, Ninja, RAP!
GO GO GO
Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
Go Ninja, Go Ninja. GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
GO GO GO GO

Villians, you better run and hide
Because one day you might not slide
Choose your weapon but don’t slip
Vanilla’s in control with the flex of the mic grip
Rockin’ the crowd the way it should be rocked
With the Miami drop that you like alot
Hittin like a Ninja Turtle when the bass kicks in
You better check your level
The power of the Ninja is strong
Fightin’ all the crooks until they’re all out cold
I turned on the television just in time to catch Al Roker and Matt Lauer hilariously dressed as Oprah and Paris Hilton. I only last night remembered how close it is to Halloween when I encountered my first-ever batch of American trick-or-treaters. Damn our glass front door - I was on my way out of the house via the back when I heard a strange knocking. Poking my head into the darkened hallway, I saw six 4-foot ghouls with their faces pressed up to the glass at the other end. The sight scared the piss out of me for a second. Door-sized curtains are on my shopping list, along with candy.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

At rehearsal last night, Tim Parsons brought to my attention the strangest thing - one of the actors in Two Front Teeth, Eric Messner, is well known to the HSF crowd.

Speaking of strange coincidences (though not really all that strange), Lucy, with whom I have had a strange borg connection since 1998, has also recently and randomly taken up knitting. I have long been convinced that there is something extraordinary connecting our lives; these little correlations serve only to help convince non-believers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

"Please, don't kill me."

All right, I am officially turning into a knitting nerd. Now that I am no longer working regular hours at WITF, knitting seemed somehow like the right thing to do. And it's at least a more productive way to watch TV as I try to work up the motivation to do all the schoolwork I need to do to maintain my average.

I am currently knitting a scarf, which I may well give away, since I already have a lot of black scarves, but I have no spare money to purchase a birthday present. Next, I plan on creating a knee-length Wee Willy Winky hat in black and grey. I must finish the scarf first, however - I have convinced myself that knitting teaches a certain mental discipline that small menial tasks can produce results when adhered to long enough. It is a lesson I dearly need to learn.

I have an enormous crush on Brown Sheep Co's Burly Spun wool. And Crystal Palace's Thick and Thin yarn.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Where has Melissa been these last six weeks?
The only friends she's seen are theater geeks!
In all her spare time, she's been locked away
Rehearsing for a dark and stormy play:
As Ariel, she's knocked her shins and knees
And stretched her hamstrings leaping, climbing trees
And dancing in a way befitting quite
The role of Prospero's airy-footed sprite.

If you would like to see her tread the boards,
Depriving frightened villains of their swords,
And singing sweet and soporific songs,
And doing deeds to right three nobles' wrongs,
And conj'ring storms to wreck a royal fleet
Whilst speaking lines of five iambic feet,
O, then you should most certainly attend
The Tempest, which will open this weekend:






October 30 - November 21

Friday at 7:30 pm
(Bring a Friend)

Saturday at 7:30pm

Sun at 2:30pm
(Bring Your Own Price)

Third Floor, Strawberry Square
(Above the Food Court)
Harrisburg, PA 17101

$20 General Admission
$15 Students/Seniors

If you be short of money in your hand,
Fear not, for they provide a low-cost plan:
"Bring Your Own Price" on Sundays if you're poor
And any sum will get you through the door.
For Friday shows, it's buy one, get one free,
Which means half price if you have company.

Now, if you're flu$h, and want to do your part
Supporting the pursuit of Shakespeare's art,
Adopt a Tempest role (like ME, wink wink!)
By clicking on this handy little link:
http://www.gamutplays.org/hsf/HSFadopt.htm

If you aren't bored and wish to read more yet,
There's more material on the Internet:
http://www.gamutplays.org/hsf/Shows/Show_Hi-lites/tempest-04.htm

Come see The Tempest, if you have a care:
I guarantee you'll find Melissa there!

(..because I am she. Enough of this third-person garbage.)

-- Melissa Dunphy

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I found a photo CD-ROM which I thought I had lost.

random shots of sydney
history
POE-News is having a Sinclair Boycott Banner Bashing contest. Create the best anti-banner for any of Sinclair's advertisers and win a copy of Political Machine By Stardock.

Yesterday, Matt and I met up with Jadezuki after she presented a paper about Moravian Music at Moravian College in Bethlehem (The Bethlehem in Eastern Pennsylvania, not the Bethlehem in Judea. Though, oddly, as we were driving to Bethlehem, we passed Lebanon and New Tripoli. PENNSYLVANIA IS OBVIOUSLY FULL OF ISLAMIC TERRORISTS.) I'll post pictures in the next couple of days, but it's about time I actually did my Visual Basic assignment instead of talking about it and studied for my Spanish exam.

Oh, wait, one more thing: I noticed a picture of Rodney Dangerfield as I was flicking through Rolling Stone a minute ago ... ironically, while I was on the toilet. And he reminded me of ...



The resemblance is startling, isn't it?