You find me in a rather pensive mood. (You also find me typing this at work in an e-mail format, as a) my dear place of employment blocks LJ, and b) if I read anything else, my head will explode. Breaky time!) This has been an interesting time in PA-Land. My five-year college reunion is coming up in June (!!!), so, of course, I've been thinking about how things were then, and how present-age PA stacks up against PA-5 from then. On the whole, I think then-me would like me now, and me-now would tell me-then to get out more. Or, maybe, they'd agree they both do. But, to spare all of us a scary Back to the Future II word-choice moment, let's just say, that's what has me in a pensive mood.
I'm pretty sure I told you all that I'm currently in a two-year program for an acting degree. If I didn't, guess what! Surprise! On the whole, it's been rather fascinating, fun, frustrating--and helpful. I went into college a little nervous and vowing that I was going to "set myself right". What I meant by that was that I knew I was a little shy, maybe a little oblivious, and definitely a little overweight, and I wanted to work on both of those. The obliviousness, well, I've been told it makes me a riot at parties. The shyness (sp? shiness doesn't look right), I thought, boy, that was going to be a tough one to fix. Why didn't I fix the body first, and then I could work on the brain stuff?
Fast-forward (faster every year) five years, and I can say with pride and a little annoyance that the body is basically a check. I'm down to a healthy weight, and, aside from a little definition and speedwork (and an annoying few vanity pounds that I could not pry off with a crowbar), I'm basically where I want to be. And all it took was being forced to the sidelines for a couple weeks from working out too hard and blowing something out too hard to ignore for Lieutenant Oblivious (I've been promoted!) to notice that fact. Sweet! And...damn. That only leaves the mind. And the mind is a very treacherous, shifty thing to fix.
You see, my friends, I have come to realize that the brain may be a definite thing you can take out and quantify (or eat, if you're so inclined), but the mind is not. The mind is tricksy, and it will help you lie in a heartbeat: to yourself, to friends, to family...and you might not even know you were. This is where the Lt. Oblivious shades get to be a real pain, where the habits and standards and codes of conduct all parade together to block me from even seeing what the main problem is or where to start fixing it. Gain a few pounds, and you can see it; you know how to attack the problem, if you have the gumption. Grow up with what the grand poobahs call a "defense mechanism," and you will never know that it's not "normal," that what you do and how you think is not the way millions of others do.
Now, not to alarm people with my pretty prose, I'm not saying I'm (to use that delightful phrase I've heard bantered about) a "hot mess"--I just pass at cute. *wink* I'm just saying that acting class has forcibly brought to my attention that I built up some defense mechanisms and some habits that no longer work for the me of today--and might have starting becoming obsolete as the college me first started spreading her wings.
Yes, my friends, I have, apparently, been struck by the dreaded disease of being..."thinky." Now, my acting teachers have been quick to jump in and say that intelligence* is not a bad thing. In fact, it will be quite an asset, once I know how to wield it properly. No, the problem apparently starts in the fact that I think before I act...a lot. Literally. Always, in fact. According to them, this keeps me "in my head" rather than "in my body"** and could be what gives me that lovely, oblivious charm people tell me I have. (How would I know? ;) )
Now, we come to the crux of the matter, my friends (as I rush through the cold and the dark to get to acting class--that is, if my silly legs will get with the program this time. No twinges! I haven't exercised since Sunday. Surely, that's enough?) Help me see through the Lt. Oblivious glasses. Give me your idea of what a coupe things mean. I won't ask you about what living "in my body"*** means. That is probably something I have to figure out myself, and acting will probably help me, as it already has in uncovering the very first problem to solve.
But those oblivious goggles extend beyond the acting realm. Let's move on to my favorite bane of my existence, social dynamics. Let's leave aside for the moment the fact that I don't know many of them, won't employ a lot of them, and tend to miss a fair share of the social cues they inspire in people.
That said, one cue, or really, two conflicting ones from one person in my acting class--so blatantly obvious that even I started to suspect it--and the other "thinky" girl in the class (my confidant and fellow catch-phrase torturee) agreed she had the same suspicion as I did. So, if two thinky people saw it, it's confirmed, chummers.
I'll explain it first, and then, I would adore any light you all could throw on this puzzle for me. What does it all mean? First, the background: Two days a week (until Monday, that is, when we're all combined all the time--so I'd like to have a game plan by then!), we have myself, the other thinky girl, and our third doing scene work. We've already been together three/four months now, so we're pretty comfortable with each other. We three tend to be very low-key. Two days a week, they combine us with the three first-semester kids (One of whom is an honest-to-goodness guy! We have a guy in class. That changes everything dynamics-wise. Think of a scene with a girl playing the guy part. Then think of an actual guy playing it.) doing projection and body-movement class.
The voice class is fine; the teacher is somewhat formidable, so people tend to be a little subdued. But the second class features a brace of rather jokey teachers and mostly improv for the activity--whatever else we're doing^, nine times out of ten uses improv as a foundation. Mix all of that together and add the personalities of said brace of teachers and higher-key first-term kids, and you wind up with a somewhat...salacious?...tone. Very different from Monday-Wednesdays and the voice class. (We'll see how things turn out with it's all first-and-second term kids together, all the time.)
So, yeah, to be more direct than I normally am, one of the new kids is flirting with me--like, really hard. Really, really hard. Bordering on silly-in-an-uncomfortable-way. But only in class. In class, she (yup) directs comments, improvs, poems we're supposed to recite, you name it, mostly to me. The other thinky girl agreed she was flirting with her, too, and was so weirded out about it that she's decided that, whenever I stand up to do an activity, she's going to stand up to do the same activity, just so that she doesn't wind up with the other girl. But the other thinky girl--let's call her Amina; I so dislike using 'this girl', 'that teacher', 'the boy'--Amina tends to generally be a little shy, so I figure it's the combination of us having been together for three/four months of class, and she and I being somewhat of two peas in a poddle over this "thinky" thing (We're also more reserved, more modest, and, although I have no evidence for this, probably geekier.) rather than a direct fear of "Danielle"^^ herself. Makes things somewhat fascinating, though, because that means I tend to only do activities with Amina, and Danielle, I think, tends to look disappointed. Not that I don't like Amina, but I'd like to try a few scenes with "Jason" or "Belinda" (the other two new kids), too. Even Danielle. We've done a few scenes, and they are, invariably, interesting, at the least.
Now, it could just be that Danielle has a rather dirty mind and has figured out that I am very easy to embarrass (and that I turn a lovely tomato color at fifty paces, if you aim right^^^. As I was so elegantly told recently, I don't "do sex".), as is Amina. I'd like to think that that is the case for a couple reasons. A) She leaves Belinda, Jason, and "Maricela" (the other second-semester girl) well alone, most likely because all three of them can give as good as they get, so they're not as fun to pick on. And they do. The three of them plus Danielle are hysterical, in scenes or just in class. B) She's flubbed her pronouns when talking with one of the teachers about who she'd like to date for a particular activity for class (see note about the atmosphere of the class). I think she has to remember that she's decided to focus on us. C) She only flirts in class. Before class or on breaks, she doesn't really talk to anyone and tends to sit off by herself on one of the computers.
On the other hand...In class, she's relentless. We have to choose scene objectives when we play with a one-page excerpt of a script we don't know, and hers are invariably about something to do with extremely suggestive themes. She's gotten very physical in a couple skits when I've been paired with her. (I should also note, she has incredibly fast reflexes!) She works way too hard to pull me into discussions, laugh at something I've said&, or ask me how I would play such-and-such a suggestive tactic in a scene. (Then gets confused when I answer honestly: "I wouldn't use that tactic.") She also acted a little weird last class. We had a viewing of the fourth (final) semester kids' one-act, and we were all heading out to see it. I was heading out of the room, and Danielle was running behind putting her stuff away, when she kind of preemptively called out for me to wait for her. *shrug* I did, but I had to make a pitstop. She about scared the crap out of me by waiting for me (unbeknownst to me) in the restroom, and we walked into the little black-box theater together. Amina was looking to me to sit with her (I always do at these viewings), but the play was about to start, so I sat next to Danielle, since that chair was closest and easiest to get to. Danielle kept kinda looking at me at various parts in the play, normally when something funny was being said (it was a farce; good, too) but not always. I laughed a lot, but I didn't really look back.
So, my friends, what do I have here? Color me very confused. What is she up to? I should note, she's quite fun to chat with when she's not being, ah, formidable. If it's just goofing around, then why not have a toned-down chat outside of class? (Although the jury has now gone out on that with the viewing. We also generally head up in the same direction after class, so she waited for me to walk with Amina and me out of the building, as we do every night, then with me before we parted ways at the first stoplight. We had a rather flat discussion, but it wasn't bad. Ugh. I hate confusion.) If she's serious, then why doesn't she talk to anyone outside of class? Is she just that shy? If someone can just point me toward a social cue or two, then I can classify it and figure out what to do about it from there. My normal ways to deal with this aren't working. I've tried kidding back and ignoring it, and they both have no effect. (I should note, as an example, that I'm being mildly hit on by a coworker at work, but a) if I pretend not to notice, he doesn't push, and b) he's easily distractable with chats about geekery, so he presents no problem.) I could ask her outright, but that just draws attention to everything, which is not what I want. Also, if I've pegged things wrong, that could make things really awkward. I have also flirted (ha ha) with flirting back, just to see what she would do, but a) that has astronomical chances of backfiring on me, b) I'm pretty sure the Attack of the Tomato Face would give me away, and c) I just don't flirt. Normally, when I'm interested in someone, I get so flustered that I tend to just avoid them entirely.%
Oh, social cues. You're so confusing and, ultimately, pointless. But, really, some things even I don't miss.
As for the other question I brought up at the very beginning of this Epic Post(tm), which has nothing to do with acting and everything to do with a FAHscinating website that I have lurked more off than on for several months, I think I figured out what to do, myself. Besides, after this big, long, hairy post mostly of me going "What's going on! Help!", I feel bad asking twice. I think I'm going to go for it. Please e-mail or call me if you haven't heard from me in two months. *innocent look* Just kidding!
I had an overall thought for this article beyond begging for advice on my puzzle I can't solve (I can provide clarification, if you need it--but please help! It kills me when I can't solve a puzzle.) I think acting class is going to help me with that goal PA-5 set for us way back in college. First we fixed the body, now we fix the mind. Can't wait. But, man, is this going to be a frustrating ride.
* It is not to be confused with smarts; not bragging, but I know that I am quite intelligent. I don't think I would have gotten into our illustrious alma mater--or had such intelligent, witty friends *double wink* --if that weren't the case. But my good ol' oblivious glasses prove I'm not exactly "smart."
**If I hear this phrase one more time from the mouth of a living soul, I shall scream, bash something over their head as hard as I can, and pummel them into admitting that I am most definitely both "in my body" and "in the moment"--all on their head. Ahem, I mean, lovely weather we're having, if it weren't so cold and grey...
***Or that other so-annoying-I'll-pummel-the-next-user phrase, "send out your energy to the other person," hippy stuffs I am keeping my "brain soft" about. I still don't get the energy stuff; use a different analogy! Humph. On a tangent, my acting school is just fascinating. It's giving me WONDERFUL ideas for the cult in Former Kingdoms!
^More on that soon, either in this post (depends on how much I want to subject you all to evil grin) or as a separate post coming soon.
^^You know, I think I've only ever known one actual Danielle in my life, back in my first main town, the City that the Government Built. Great girl. I wonder what happened to her? I haven't found her on the ever-popular Facebook yet.
^^^I believe, on an entirely unrelated note, that my GMs for Shadowrun have figured this out, much to my dismay, and have decided on a little fun at my expense. Ah, well. They're not harming anything too much, and maybe it'll help with the Tomato Effect, especially since none of this stuff is face-to-face. (But, if they push, I have something up m sleeve in reserve to counter. I just have to be brave enough to play it...) By the way, Self, add Shadowrun as another to chat about In A Future Post (bearing in mind that 'in' and 'a' are not normally capitalized but are here so changed for an emphatic effect ~ Grammar Maven). It's gotten Intriguing again and needs some good puzzling out. Might as well let my lovely LJ friends along for the ride. They might have some good ideas--and at least one of the GMs reads this occasionally, and influence can be helpful, as can broadcasting one's ideas...
&The subject of yet another Future Post, I suppose, but, somehow, I am So Funny to ALL of the first semester kids. And Maricela, when she's with them--and, normally, she's unflappable. I really don't understand it. I can say the most standard stuff--at least, I think so--and they all just die on the floor laughing, and I have no idea why. I can't remember anything specific I said that made them howl, or I'd mention it. Oh, well. We have Movement class on Tuesday; might happen again. (Stay 'tooned!) I have the sneaking suspicion it's somewhat akin to the rash of tacking on "that's what she said" or "...in bed" to everyone else's comments fad that people went through. I didn't really get the novelty of those, either. Ah, well. I know I have Foot in Mouth Syndrome, and, I suppose, it really comes out in acting class.
%Because I can actually hear you thinking it through the computer screen, yes, this has done wonders for my love life. No, I will not give you details.
On an entirely unrelated note, if it weren't for the brand new novel$ I bought and savored all of last week--and, by savoring, I mean staying up way too late to read--I have totally gotten my schedule finally manged! Hence the fact I am caught up enough with everything (every hand grenade, as they say, at least) enough to ramble in this lovely, too long post that I am currently scribbling longhand as I breathe to keep my pen thawed and maneuver around Georgetown's glorious potholes and cobblestones.
Expect a Future Post to tackle what's actually been going on with me, you know, in a more mundane sense, very, very soon. We have been doing fun acting things! I haz a PLOT for FK! One with an honest-to-goddess villain! (Can you guess who that might be?) Aaaand life is generally good. But my eyes, they are a droopin' (didn't sleep well last night :( ), and I have to clean all of this black (emphasis BLACK) hole of an apartment tomorrow, as someone was foolish enough to invite a bunch of people over next Friday for a game night. (Anybody in DC with a Settlers game I could borrow? Will exchange fresh-baked goods for the priviledge.) Damn social twin. Ta! And help with my puzzle very much appreciated.
$Ghost Ocean. Jury's out currently on how good it is. The first half to two thirds are just AMAZING. The characters pop, the location is so well described that I could just see it, it's based on and uses a bunch of myths and legends, and it is so gloriously creepy that you end up being able to forgive the new author for an occasionally a little disjointed plot. But the end got really, really fantasy all of a sudden, and a little metaphysical. Then ending just kind of falls apart, a la Stephen King's do (but not that horror). Pfft. Not a fan. So, I'll have to read it again in a bit and decide if the first amazing bit outweighs the sagging end bit. Stay 'tooned.