Tag Archives: Gravity Falls

How to Festival

18 Oct

Greetings, friends! I’m afraid you’ve caught me in my semi-annual if-it’s-not-about-OSF-don’t-talk-to-me post.

Obviously, I’ve just returned from my group trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. As you may know by now, I typically take this trip with a gathering of twenty-something high-schoolers, and it was with that group I saw the plays and attended a few activities – but for the most part, my mother and I stuck with our carpool team, my friend Gracie (the Wasp) and her parents.

The Ashland carpool teams in themselves are always an interesting study.

Every year, when our group congregates outside the Angus Bowmer theater, you can always tell which kids took cars together because a highly-caffeinated four-hour drive has a certain affect on people. They walk in sync, they say things in unison, and they basically walk around going

As Gracie was sentenced to sit next to me for the entirety of the trip, the image above is more or less an accurate photograph of us (she’s classic Dipper) ((Plus, she brought a couple of Cabin Pressure episodes to listen to. 10/10 would sit by again)

This year we enjoyed a spectacular trip, and should you consider making an Ashland trip of your own, I dearly hope it is as good as mine. The OSF experience is different for everyone, but there are some constants in the equation. I’ve recorded such constants in the below five steps that my group took and would now highly recommend.

1. See Ashland

Ashland is a gorgeous place. Simple as that. Gracie and I took many walks downtown, exploring stores we’d not seen before and trying out new restaurants, always making sure to drop in what became one of the taglines of our trip, “Oh my gosh I want to sit down so badly.” Of course there were high-energy times of the trip as well, and you could tell when one was going on, because one of us was belting out “SUITS” at two-second intervals and the other was swirling around street lights, crooning “THE WINGMAN I CAN WEAAR.” Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit is the first track on the official soundtrack of this trip.

2. Participate in the activities Ashland offers

Museums, walking tours, the Green show – Ashland won’t let you get bored. The group with which we bought tickets arranged a field trip to “Exploring Design,” a workshop led by Chris Tufts to explain how the costume designers at OSF use symbolism and character studies to decide on the best possible costumes. During the group activity, my team got so into the spirit of things that we very nearly dressed The Tempest‘s Caliban in Steampunk Darth Maul regalia. In any case, I expect a job offer with the festival within the month.

3. Meet the people

When you separate from your group of peers, you are freed up to meet more of the fascinating Ashland locals. Of course everyone has different ways of getting connected. Some people may strike up a conversation with their neighbors in the audience of the plays they see. Others might greet the people enjoying beautiful Lithia Park. My personal strategies included holding eye contact with the SOU students wearing fandom t-shirts and talking loudly to the Wasp about the Festival in the presence of OSF actors who were trying to get errands done in peace. What’s that? Passive socializing is not for you? Then may I recommend seeing Into the Woods and waving so hard at orchestra musicians onstage that you nearly lift off your seat?

(My row and the trumpet section really bonded. We’re going for coffee next week.)

4. Enjoy the plays

Obviously the plays are a must. The people at OSF know what they’re doing, and each play is a masterpiece. This season I saw The Cocoanuts, The Tempest, Into the Woods, and A Wrinkle in Time, though I would have loved to see more. They were all astounding in their own ways, from the ingenuity of the stage design in the Tempest, to the frankly ridiculous amount of fun the cast of the Cocoanuts was obviously having. There are tips to enjoying it as much as possible. Before A Wrinkle in Time, I read a chapter of the original work out loud to my seat buddy, and I finished the Tempest shortly before making the trip. Pre-show preparation can only do so much when the play is actively going on however, so my most certain suggestion is that you sit next to someone you may punch in the arm mercilessly, should the mood take you.

Sorry, Gracie. But I’m pretty sure we were even on that front, right?

5. Be a good audience

I love a lot of things about live theatre, but one of the main things has to be that it’s one of the few story-telling outlets where overt, unbridled enthusiasm is encouraged. Actors don’t want to play in front of a room of people half-asleep. They want to know you’re there. And considering that my one true gift is enthusiastic response, there’s no question as to why OSF is my happy place. Every audience I was a part of was excellent – it’s hard not to be responsive in Ashland. Like I said, they know what they’re doing.

When we went in to see A Wrinkle in Time, Gracie even started a small-scale round of applause for Calvin’s impressive basketball-twirling, and the actor went on to do that move for far, far longer than he had when I’d seen this play before.

Encouragement! Try it today!

At the Q&A session after the play, the darling who played Mrs. Who bounced in and said that the whole cast had asked her to tell us that we’d been a wonderful audience.

And don’t fret, Gracie and I went ahead and took way more credit than we probably should have.

The morning after I arrived home, I awoke with a cough that announced itself as the incarnation of the last four days having been spent alternately singing at the top of my lungs and scream-shouting “WHY A DUCK,” “YOU’VE GOT DREAMBOAT EYES,” and”AGONYYY” at every shadow of an opportunity.

If anything is a sign that a trip went well, that’s got to be it.

All by following five easy steps!

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Changing of the Seasons

18 Aug

Everyone loves fall. It’s comfortable, fuzzy, and just the right amount of predictable.

There’s always warm drinks being served, long pants are embraced, and every conversation for the next three months will yield at least one confession of “you know, maybe I’m crazy, but I actually think I like fall most. Is that just me?”

(We’ve all been that person. Next time someone says it to you, resist the urge to slap them with a scented pine cone and instead just give them a quizzical look. )

I mean, just look at this awesome setup we have going for this magnificent new season! I’ve tweaked it with just enough regular things to be slipped into a conversation or a cutesy illustrated list of “fave fall things”

  • Pumpkin pie-flavored everything
  • Changing colors on the trees
  • Doctor Who materializes August 23rd. Agents of SHIELD hits back on September 23rd, and its queen Agent Carter will show her face during a mid-season SHIELD hiatus. Once Upon a Time is back September 28th. Gravity Falls races on from its original Season 2 premiere this September 8th. Arrow is coming October 8th and the CW’s Flash premieres just before then (appropriately enough) on the 7th. Sherlock is a joke.
  • Hot chocolate
  • Extra blankets on the bed

Ahh, yes.

Don’t ever underestimate the glory of new seasons.

And yeah, I’m only half-talking about the seasons of the year.

Summer is unofficially the season of weird TV movies you wish you’d never heard about.

There’s other things to do during the summer, I get it. That’s not the problem. Summer is absolutely the time to get outside, go camping, picnicking, whatever – to enjoy the weather, of course. But summer also allows for that one precious commodity that people with school crave the most.

Time free from responsibilities.

The best.

With such long-sought free time, it’s not unusual to turn to television to unwind.

And in turn, it’s not unusual for summer television to respond,

“Do you want a Hallmark movie about memory loss, or a comedy about unhappy married couples yelling at each other’s in-laws?” *badly-timed laugh track rolls*

Yes my friends, the time has come for us to exit this particularly uncomfortable waiting room.

Feels good, like a cool breeze.

You know, fall is probably my favorite. Is that just me?

Priceless

28 Nov

In any given guide to writing, you are sure to find something about starting off with an interesting sentence.

The problem with that bit of advice is that what is interesting to one person is by no means interesting to someone else. I could start every one of my essays for college with a sentence about interesting parallels in the Marvel comics Civil War storyline and I would be hooked, but chances are my professor would be less than impressed.

Every Fanboy and girl knows very well: no one is required to be interested in what you are interested in.

What is to you

will at some point be  to another.

It’s something one learns to live with, as one learns to live with, shall we say, uncomfortable relatives at Thanskgiving (just to throw it out there). You accept it because it’s real, but darned if you’re not going to at least try to change your circumstances to make it easier for you. It’s understandable. Who wouldn’t do it?

Whether it’s placing those unfamiliar extended family members at the extra dinner table or forcibly making a friend watch a Sherlock marathon (because they’ll thank you later), it does happen, even if it doesn’t always work.

What you love and what you do can define who you are, but if everyone had those things in common, the world would be a disturbingly boring place to be. There’s a reason everyone is different, and that is because we all have a unique place and purpose, and no two of the 7 billion of us are interchangeable.

That’s why the thought of someone not thinking they are worth anything, or believing that they don’t matter, is, and should be, heartbreaking. There is every possible variant of diversity among humanity, but not a single one of us is inconsequential. That’s the one thing we can all say we have in common – our importance.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic, one that says it way better than I can, is from Asa Butterfield’s title character in Hugo,

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.

And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

You’re not an extra part. You are an enchantingly beautiful, incalculably valuable human being with an important purpose, and you are surrounded by people who have their very own brand of those things as well. Every person with a different type of beauty has a beauty all the same.

And of course, none of us are perfect, but our flaws alone do not define us, and we must not let them. They may contribute to who we are, but they do not change the fact that who we are is loved, cherished, and utterly priceless.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

And that’s something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless!

My People

22 Mar

Several weeks ago at dinnertime, my sister Jennifer and I were talking about how badly we wanted to attend the San Diego Comic-Con. As our discussion grew more heated and our voices more maniacal, my daddy interrupted us – “Girls, I went to a comic convention once.”

“Did you?”

“Yes. Once.” He laughed. “Those are not our people.”

Jennifer and I turned and shared a look.

Oh, but Daddy,” I sighed, leaning in to give him the bad news, “those are our people.”

My people.

Fangirls cannot exist by themselves. We are not lone wolves. Many of us are introverts, and therefore not exactly pack animals, but alone, we wilt. If I didn’t have my Fangirl friends to support me, I would keep every well-placed Disney quote to myself, and I would never be able to squeal without shame over Mr. Darcy’s face. I would not know the pleasure of being able to share a knowing look with a companion when someone said the word “spoilers” and I would certainly never be able to yell “You’re such an idiot! You’ve been Loki’d again! LOKI’D!” in someone’s face without being carried away by security guards.

This is one of the reasons that my friends are the best friends. They not only put up with me, they go along with me.

My Canby friend told me that when she got a car, she would name the keys “Heimdall” and her car “Bifrost” so that when she went to unlock her car, she could yell (think Thor), “Heimdall, open the Bifrost!”

Phoenix (Yes, I nicknamed my friends with superhero identities. Don’t judge) dressed up as Amy Pond for Halloween, and I dressed as River Song.

Invisible Woman and Wasp sang “Dramatic Song” with me at the top of our lungs (in public) with no shame and all splendor. One of my favorite moments this year.

Kuuipo has the honor of being the first to tell me about the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who, and the first to warn me to never watch them alone. I did, by the way. At night, no less, in a room with bad lights that kept blinking. (Incidentally, when my friend Aydray allowed me to force Doctor Who upon her, her first Weeping Angel experience ended up also being in a dark room at night. Atmosphere is everything, Love.)

I could go on [forever], but I don’t want you all to get massively jealous. Many of you are my people too, after all, and I love you guys. And I love my friends. Yes, of course, even the ones that aren’t Fangirls. Love. That’s why it’s so unfortunate that I don’t let them know how smashing they are more often.

I find, and I don’t think I’m the only one that does, that it’s pretty darn easy to take friends for granted. They’ve been with me through so much, that I tend to think that they have no choice but to go on that way – but they do. The fact that they haven’t abandoned me yet is cause for celebration in itself. The friends who I have not kept as well, I miss, but the ones I have? It is harder to remember to cherish them.

If anyone doesn’t consider themselves a nerd and yet is still reading my blog (my my, how brave of you!), I they as well know what I’m talking about. This is not a problem exclusive to me, nor to nerds. Even if you don’t have conversations with friends that consist mainly of pop culture references, you still have friends that are precious. So let them know! Write a letter (handwritten – don’t cheat) or meet for tea or plan a Marvel Movie Marathon day.

Okay, so that one is a bit more exclusive to nerds again, but hey, work with me here. I was totally normal for about five seconds. Small victories!

That said, I have to go write a letter.

Have a sparkling day!