It has been an insane past week.

Hurricane Sandy royally fucked up a lot of people’s lives. The storm destroyed property. It destroyed families. It destroyed cities.

Basically, Hurricane Sandy destroyed nouns.

Somehow, in the middle of the storm shenanigans, I had my own 28 hour mini-adventure which resulted in having one of the best worst days ever.

As this best worst day was in progress, I couldn’t help but think that everything was unfolding exactly like the plot of a movie. There were highs. There were lows. There were completely unavoidable hurdles that forced our protagonists closer together in order to just make it through the day (hopefully in one piece). The amount of crap we went through trying to get from point A to point B was astounding due to unseen forces of nature. Car trouble. Getting gas trouble. Crossing bridge trouble. Communication trouble. Meeting up with people trouble. Seriously – one dumb thing after another. It got to the point where you just had to keep laughing in order to prevent yourself from smashing your head against the wall.

But, because of who I am and who I was with for the whole of the day, it all ended up okay. And we agreed throughout the day that what was going on felt like the plot of a movie, to the point where we joked that we should probably have a fight at some point because that kind of movie needs one big fight.

We didn’t fight. There were some miniscule disagreements throughout the day, but never any fighting. So, I guess I’ll have to write one in.

I already started a script based off of this best worst day. Because I need to exaggerate what happened between the protagonists and take their story farther than what went down in real life, I’m not using my name for the character who is going to be mostly based off of me. But, I will keep his name in tact because I need to keep the late-night mix CD scene in and part of that hinges on a certain James Taylor song.

And so I will write. And I haven’t been this driven to write in a few months. I punched out a feature script this spring in a raging fit of catharsis. As I sit here ready to type out my new project, part of me thinks I had to get that other stuff out first so that I could write something like this. Get all the angsty crap out of the way so I could wrap my mind around something lighter. Like, it’s possible for the characters to be happy around each other instead of just mopey and wrecked.

Or MAYBE, it’s possible for me to be happy, and not just mopey and wrecked.

Oh shit.

I actually just made myself burst into tears. WITH MY OWN WRITTEN WORDS.

(It’s also Shark Week, so I’m just on edge right now. And a little sick from lack of sleep/the weather.)

So maybe this script will be a catharsis too. But, I was always told to write what I know.

So…

We’ll see how this script goes.

Have a good one

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Well, I crawled out of bed at 7:35 this morning and have found my way back by 8:45 tonight. Sleep… it’s what’s for dinner.

I woke up feeling pretty good. Slept in an hour later than the past few days… nice. I had breakfast with my parents while we watched GMA. Also nice.

Because we’re expecting the snow storm of the century around here, my parents made the executive decision to postpone our holiday party until Sunday. Of course I will be at work now during the party, but c’est la vie. It’ll be safer (hopefully) for people to drive on Sunday than it’s supposed to be tomorrow.

So, because the party got moved, my mom was not in as big of prep-mode as she was supposed to be, so she took my dad to his eye appointment today instead of me. I spent my morning and early part of my afternoon glued to what I have dubbed my “thesis chair” (the large, red recliner in my room) and coded like whoa. I got through another 5 years of information (100+ cases or so). I probably could have gotten more done, but I get easily distracted on Wikipedia. See, when someone’s name is gender-ambiguous, I have to look them up online to verify if one is male or female. So, Google images and Wikipedia have become my most frequent websites as of late… and Wikipedia is so freakin’ fascinating. I am learning so much stuff about filmmakers I have never heard of – it’s all so interesting 🙂 (I know, I’m a huge dork)

After coding, I was supposed to help my mom bake some more cookies and make Buckeyes, but she opted to do that by herself. That ended up being a good idea because after lunch, I started feeling a bit off. This, unfortunately kept me from getting to see my BFF and her husband at all today 😦 As by time she called, I was getting my pillow and blanket to curl up on the couch and die for awhile while my dad and I watched Terminator Salvation.

I am not a fan of the Terminator franchise, but it was nice to just lie down and watch Christian Bale and Sam Worthington for a bit. Even with the attractive men on the big screen TV in front of me, I began to drift in and out of sleep. I know I missed some major plot points and, at times, woke up to find that I had drooled on my College sweatshirt. (Best $3.50 I ever spent at a thrift store, mark my words.)

By time the credits rolled, I knew I wasn’t going to last very much longer the rest of the night.

My parents and I ate dinner while we watched part of the news, trying to see how much snow we’re likely to get (upwards of a foot, supposedly). Then, my dad told me to put on another movie. As we’re Netflix people, I put in the Blu-ray we got in the mail yesterday – Body of Lies. I put it in our queue because I will watch anything with Leonardo DiCaprio in it. He’s a great actor – it’s ridiculous how talented he is.

The parts I saw of the movie were good… as I fell asleep off and on during key plots points. For part of the movie, Moose was on the couch with me, so I shared my blanket with her and we napped together.

So, when that movie ended around 8:10, I was ready to call it a night. I’m yawning as I’m typing this, and my clock reads “9:12”. Yipes.

I did hope to make it through last night’s episodes of Community and 30 Rock. But, at the rate I’m going, I know that’s not likely to happen. I just feel so sleepy.

I’m thankful that I was not scheduled to work tomorrow, especially since we’re supposed to get all that snow. This will give me a day to do some laundry, some more coding, and still take it easy. I haven’t been sick in awhile, and I’d like to keep illness away – at least until after next weekend’s audition. I’m still trying to narrow down my song selection. I had a bit of a musical epiphany today… I just need to practice a lot more.

Have a good one and stay warm & dry 🙂

Because I had Thursday and Friday off and have worked yesterday and today, it doesn’t feel like it’s Sunday even though I know that it is. I know this because I watched Christiane Amanpour’s show this morning and The Amazing Race this evening.

For the record, it was not awesome starting today off w/Amanpour’s show. Today’s topic was the “mosque” being built at ground zero and whether or not Americans should fear people who practice Islam. First of all, there are a bajillion things wrong with that sentence… there is no mosque being built at ground zero. There are plans for an Islamic Community Center to be built a few blocks away… but that’s totally different than a mosque directly being built on ground zero. That’s not an opinion – that is factual information.

Second of all, it is a bit bonkers to me for anyone to even think that all Americans should be fearful of everyone who practices Islam. What the what? On the show they were discussing 9/11… my understanding of 9/11 is that some waaaaaaay radical Islam terrorists hijacked those planes and caused those 4 huge crashes. Some radicals. Not the entirety of population who practices Islam. Am I fearful of terrorists? You bet. Am I fearful of people who practice Islam? Nope.

Just because someone is Muslim does not mean that he/she is out to get you.

But there were some very, very religious Christians on that program this morning arguing that Islam is bad and that building the mosque on ground zero is more than disrespectful.

Again – what the what?

Part of the First Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights states that we have freedom of religion. Now, in my journalism classes, we talked about that First Amendment a lot, mostly with regards to free speech and freedom of the press. But in addition to those two freedoms, as well as assembly and petition, there is the freedom of religion. Which means if you’re an American, you are free to practice religion. And not just one specific religion, but any religion of your choosing. In our country, there is a separation between Church and State, which means that the State (i.e. our government) cannot control our Church. And vice versa. Or at least those two entities are supposed to be separated… though it seems that Church and State have blurred the lines a bit. And by a bit, I mean a lot.

I’m not going to continue on about this, even though I have a lot more opinions on the matter. But basically, what I am trying to say is that Amanpour’s show made me sick to my stomach this morning, to the extent that I asked to put in a movie because I physically couldn’t watch those adults fight about this topic. It just seemed that some of Amanpour’s guests were so set in their ways that they weren’t even going to hear the other side out. I sometimes wonder why some people never got the Common Sense Gene. Or at least the “I may not agree with you, but I’m willing to shut up for a minute and listen to what you have to say.”

*sigh*

Anyway, I worked this afternoon and got home in time to see the last half of The Amazing Race. That’s a neat show because you get to see a lot of different parts of the world 🙂 On today’s show, they were in Ghana. Awesome!

After the show, my parents and I watched Fever Pitch. I love that movie because I love Jimmy Fallon and baseball movies in general 🙂 My folks hadn’t seen it before – they both liked it a lot.

I have to work tomorrow from 6:15-9:15. A three hour shift… how silly. I basically have a day off, except for at the end of the day when I would be watched all of my favorite Monday night shows, I’ll have to drive a couple towns over, work for 3 hours and then get home in the middle of Castle 😦 I’ll watch HIMYM online, I guess.

I’m not complaining about working… it’s my job and I’ll go. No big deal. But a 3 hour shift is a bit bonkers. Especially when one has to drive 15-20 minutes to work… basically the 3 hours will pay for the gas it takes to drive there… Oh well. At least I have Tuesday off. It’s my mom’s birthday, so perhaps we’ll celebrate or something. She’s not usually up for celebrating her own b-day, but maybe we’ll do something fun. We’ll see.

Well, I am way sleepy… I did sleep in till almost 9, but I was up late last night b/c of SNL.

Best part of the show, for me, was the Miley Cyrus Show sketch. That new girl does a spot on impression of the (annoying) Miley Cyrus. And that new guy did a great Johnny Depp impression. Well played, new people.

Today, I volunteered with my mom and dad at a habitat restoration project on the Mississippi River at Pig’s Eye. This River Action Volunteer Event was put on by the Mississippi River Fund and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (i.e. my dad’s park… he’s the Superintendent).

We planted some seeds that naturally occur in this habitat, as well as picked up trash and recyclables, and cleared away invasive plants. It was super hot outside, but the work wasn’t horrible and we were doing a good thing for a great park. A lot of people in the Twin Cities area are probably not aware that the 72-mile stretch of the Mississippi River surrounding the Metro Area is a National Park (one of 392 Park Units in our country!).

Sure, part of the reason I agreed to volunteer today was to physically remove me from my thesis proposal stuff (can’t type anything if you’re elbows deep in invasive plants…). But another part of the reason why I agreed to volunteer is because volunteering is always a good thing. It’s a way for one to help give back, and it also makes one feel pretty darn good about him/herself.

Volunteering has been an important part of my life since I was younger… in Girl Scouts, we used to volunteer at a soup kitchen around the holidays. When I was an RA, we volunteered at Rural Action and Last Chance Corral. When I lived in Indiana, I spent a summer volunteering once a week at PALS – a place that gave therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children and adults with learning and/or physical disabilities. Not only did I get to assist in the lessons, but I got to groom horses and muck out their stalls… which was therapeutic for me 🙂 PALS was amazing… I would love to volunteer at a place like that again.

If I was financially well off, I would not work and just volunteer. Volunteering is great because it helps others and (as an added bonus) is often waaaaaay more enjoyable and fulfilling than an actual job. Volunteering is super fun. None of the jobs I’ve ever had have been super fun. Almost all of them have been tolerable, and even at times enjoyable. But I’ve never had a job where I went home thinking “Man, I could do this every day for the rest of my life and be happy,” Maybe one day I will have a job that is super fun (and pays well) and I’ll be like, “Oooooooooooooh, I get it. Work doesn’t have to suck all of the life out of you.”

Besides the volunteering, I played a couple rounds of Yahtzee w/my mom and had a super great chat with Robin (who did well presenting at the conference she just got back from – yay Robin!).

And when I hung up from our super great chat, I kinda laughed to myself because I was thinking about what I was going to write on my blog tonight. And I laughed because the title of this blog is “Two Degrees and Separation.” And when I first started this blog, the “Separation” had to do with me being hundreds and hundreds of miles away from all of my grad school friends. But you know what, right now, I’m actually super thankful that I am hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

The visit back to Ohio in July was a real eye-opener. I might not have realized it then, but all the crap that went down then and since then has lead me to understand that I should be grateful for this epic distance. I am hundreds and hundreds of miles away from high schoolesque drama, people who keep ridiculous secrets, and people who have yet to grasp what being someone’s friend actually entails. Being separated from people who I just spent almost an entire year with is a good thing – like I get a fresh start.

I’m not saying that I am glad to be done with everything about Ohio. I made some great friends this past year. And though some of those friendships have drastically changed (some for better, some for worse), I’ve grown from all of them. I have a couple more notches on my life experience belt and I am more ready to face the world. My mom used to give the “everything happens for a reason” speech every now and again. So, even though at times I thought things were super unfair or extra crappy for some reason or another, I’m still here to tell the tale, and even laugh about most of it. I know who my real friends are 🙂 And to the others who have gone by the wayside, I hope you have a nice life. Honest! Have a good one.

So, as I am slowly becoming at peace with myself (not including the whole thesis proposal stuff… I am definitely not at peace with that yet!), I will leave you with a “Have a swell week!”

I have a great week ahead of me – my brother will be in town and my family (minus my sister who is in Kansas – boo!) is going to have an awesome time!!!

Have a great day 🙂

Before I crawled into bed to type up this blog (as seems to be my nightly ritual), I was brushing my teeth and inspecting the t-shirt I had on – it’s a Marvel shirt with dozens of characters on it. And I noticed that there are not one, but two Iron Man’s. The red/gold Iron Man that we’re all used is kinda tiny and seems to be in mid-flight. But then the Iron Man that Tony Stark first crafts up is friggin’ ginormous and featured prominently toward the front of the pack (next to equally large Incredible Hulk and Thor). My questions are, “Why are there 2 Iron Mans on my Marvel shirt?” and “Why is the red/gold Iron Man so small?”

These questions will never get answered, but I’m okay with that.

So, I woke up this morning in a better mood than the past few days. I felt rested (always a plus), but more importantly, I had a dream that at the time kinda sucked, but after some thought, decided it was surely a sign of sorts. I will not delve into specific details, but let’s just say that at the location where the dream took place, I had a hand-drawn schematic to share and the other person had a fully-loaded (pictures included) scrapbook/photo album. I took the dream to mean that the other’s person’s photos were a physical representation of his/her situation, while my hand-drawn schematic was just an idea of how I thought things should be. I know that is uber cryptic, but it makes sense to me, and that’s really all that matters for this specific scenario.

I walked upstairs to find my mom back from dropping my dad off at the airport. She was halfway through a chocolate chip muffin and told me there was one for me waiting on the kitchen counter – aww, moms. I grabbed a peach and glass of juice and my mom and I played some Yahtzee as we planned our day – errands and chores.

It was a hot one in MN and the weather people were predicting some storms for later in the day. I was told I needed to be ready to leave for errands at 10:15. I brought all my mail and magazines to my room and got ready. I also checked my email and saw my friend Michael Match WON Cincinnati Opera Idol!!! I was soooooo happy for him 🙂 He’s a great performer and totally deserves this amazing honor!

By time I walked upstairs at 10:15, my mom was on the phone with my sister. We switched on and off talking to her (she told me about seeing Inception a second time and fully understanding the movie while I shared Glee news from Comic-Con) for 30 minutes, so my mom and I ended up leaving around 10:45.

We drove somewhere so I could pick up my dad’s birthday present (his b-day is tomorrow). Then we drove to a couple stores to pick up what my mom wanted to get him (success!). We stopped at Panera for lunch and I got the low-down on family stuff. Remember, my great-grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, so eventually we’re getting a truckload of furniture from Florida. There’s a bajillion family stories floating around, but seeing how this is my blog and stranger people don’t need to know all my family’s business, those stories are staying with me 🙂

After Panera, my mom and I went to the library so we both could get some books and stuff. My mom reads more than anyone I have ever met in my entire life – which I think is an awesome thing. Everyone in my family is big on reading. I’m just thankful I finally have some time to enjoy some books. I read 4 books in the past few weeks (not including me being in the middle of HP7 again). I got 3 Broadway CDs (Aida, Ragtime and The Producers) and 6 books… I love biographies and autobiographies (non-fiction interests me – I like learning about people’s lives, which is probably why I am more drawn to writing non-fiction than fiction). Having just finished that biography on Gilda Radner, I got her autobiography, “It’s Always Something”. I also got autobiographies from Julie Andrews and Sarah Silverman. I picked up Denis Leary’s “Why We Suck,” a book from the guy who wrote “Little Children” as well as the book that the movie “The Prestige” was based on. Ah, books… love them 🙂

We got home and played a quick round of Yahtzee while we plotted the rest of the day. It was hot as balls outside, but the grass needed mowing. So, mom mowed the front lawn while I vacuumed the main floor of the house (w/o breaking anything this time!). We reconvened for cold drinks and Yahtzee upon completion of our respective chores. Then mom went through all of the brochures and stuff from her and Sarah’s trip while I sat in my dad’s chair to read the latest issue of Rolling Stone (hello, Leonardo DiCaprio… day-ummmmm). Then somehow I fell asleep again… only for an hour this time. But still – I have never napped this much in my entire life.

Upon waking, I played with the dogs for awhile. Then my phone rang – it was Robin!

I sojourned downstairs to my room and we chatted for almost an hour and a half… always nice to catch up on what is/is not going on in Ohio as well as thesis stuff 😉 I am super thankful for coming out of this ridiculous year of grad school with her as a friend!

After we said good-bye, I helped my mom get dinner ready. She grilled chicken while I chopped up some vegetables for chicken nachos. (Delicious.) We turned on the TV during dinner to see if the storm was on its way – it was. There was a giant string of storms working its way toward the Twin Cities. It hit our house around 8 and lasted an hour. Some big flashes of lightning and a few loud crashes of thunder accompanied the rain that fell kinda hard. Our power stayed on and Yukon didn’t flip out too bad, so we knew the storm wasn’t going to be horrible. I watched an episode of Dexter while my mom updated her lists of books she wants to read.

When the storm let up, we let the dogs outside and then called it a night. Which brings me to now… I’m typing this up while listening to an epic Glee-mix on my iTunes.

Oh – I almost forgot – I had a minor epiphany today with regards to my Literature Review for my thesis proposal! I had an idea of how I can frame my literature review so that my overall thesis topic comes across as more academic and relevant than people might assume it is. See, because my topic is not super popular or well-researched, I’m having to piece together other kinds of studies to be like “see, all these other ones combined kinda equals my study”. But, I thought of how I can link the other studies together to legitimize my topic! This too sounds cryptic, but it makes sense to me.

I didn’t actually work on any thesis stuff today, but our street is going to be paved in the next couple days, so I won’t be able to leave the house… which means I will totally get some more work done this week. Just not tonight. Tonight I’m going to keep reading Sarah Silverman’s book…