Tuesday, August 25, 2009

camp half-blood.

The Percy Jackson books were all the Art Camp kids could talk about. That and their respective kooky Spanish teachers. Still, kids in each age level of camp were gaga for this adventure series by Rick Riordan, featuring a pack of ADHD misfit pre-teens and the greek gods that sired them with mortals...illegally.

I began reading these to know what the heck The Kids were talking about, and because one of my favorite campers lent me his copy the last week of camp. When I returned it to him after reading only the first thirty pages, he kindly informed me about these places? Libraries? You can go and borrow a book there and there are lots of books, and they have this one, probably?

I could further describe the plot and characters of the books to you here, but do yourself a favor and have a ten-year old you know do it. It will be far more entertaining, and set up the conceit of these books much better than maybe even the author does. Book One is shaky going, Book Two hits a few scenes right out of the pre-YA Fantasy/Adventure/Coming-of-Age Series park, and Book Three - well, I just started Book Three.

I mostly read them because the kids from camp worked their way into the fabric of the story. The heroes, the villains, the characters inbetween are all played by campers in my mind. It doesn't hurt that much of the action is set at a summer camp for demigods.

It doesn't hurt one bit.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"whatever. your name's brittany."

Some ladyfriends and I were trading tales recently, and somehow we got on the topic of crazy things crazy people say to you at parties. The title line of this entry was uttered to one said ladyfriend when she accidentally got in someone's way in a keg line. Maybe some other reason brought on the damning- she got caught peeping someone else's boyfriend? Stepped on a toe? Ate the last of the Cheeze Curlz? Whatever it was, what a ridiculous response.

Yesterday, my next door neighbor blasted daddy/daughter dance-style Country Music for three hours straight. I shut the window and turned up the volume on the TV show behind-the-scenes Youtube Video I was watching. Then I laughed at the silliness of one dork trying to tune out another.

I usually walk the line of being an eye-for-an-eye sassbomb and the kind of goody-two shoes that could make Ned Flanders tremble with pride. Still, for all my inherent prickliness/righteousness, I can't get behind people who "hate" subsets of people for ridiculous reasons. And I hereby announce the subset of people I come close to hating.

The People Who Hate People...
named Brittany
who like "bad" music
who say "like" too much
who read books
who watch TV
who use emoticons
who don't know when to use "who" or "whom"
who are gay---oh wait. Too serious!

There are a million better reasons to hate people than the ones listed above! Apathy, self-loathing, superiority complexes masking inferiority complexes: there's a smorgasbord of stupefying traits to despise and crucify each other for. But why even do that? Misanthropy is so cheap. And nobody likes cheapskates!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Let me start by being real: I've never read anything by Flannery O'Connor in my life. Well, aside from the first few chapters of Wiseblood, which I kept way too long and have yet to pay overdue fines on. I do hope to one day finish it. Crazy preachers and the stories that unfurl around them always interest me - but that's beside the point.

The point is that I learned of the title "Everything that Rises Must Converge" the same way everyone else who's never read anything by Flannery O'Connor did: from an episode of LOST. I'm not sure what the title means in the context of the book. Perhaps it's something bleak or sinister, but what it seemed to mean in reference to that LOST episode and for me, now, is that Shit is Connected Hardcore. And you don't always see how shit's connected, and even if it isn't explicity connected it's almost always thematically connected, and because theme is another name for meaning and observation there is some meaning to find and meaningful observation to be made about pretty much Everything we go through individually or as one big honking cast of sprawlingly-storylined-characters. AKA people.

I've been having an everything rising & converging kind of a time lately. Concepts I've been dwelling on alone, events I've been following in the news, TV shows I've been watching, books I've been reading, realizations I've come to about myself, life, others, life, myself are expressing what seems to be a badass synergy through events personal and global. I know many people criticize the ol' People See Meaning In Meaningless Events In Order To Deal With What They Can't Understand argument for a lot of reasons, but I pretty much like the whole finding-meaning-in-things-and-learning-from-things response. Though it can and has blown up in some faces, I think it's one of the greatest things about being alive and sentient. There's a world we live in. There's stuff we and others do. Sometimes it's pointless and harmful, sometimes it's great; there are realizations waiting to be won and made to make individual and group life better, stronger, fuller - and more willingly connected.

One of the smaller, art-related things that done rised & converged for me recently was discovering the work of Felicia Day, a young writer/actress/filmmaker/webmistress who made a web series called The Guild and was the love interest in Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Maybe you were expecting me to launch into my feelings on health care reform or at least something headier than web tv, and I'll just say: trust that those feelings are there and deal with my expressing powerful beliefs through appreciation of pop culture & its makers.

Felicia Day is a badass, and it isn't because she's a really cute redhead with a sense of humor and wickedly funny friends. It's because she was/is a trembling ball of neuroses that gave herself the benefit of the doubt, worked hard to make something great, and tries to share her thoughts on getting out of neuroses-balls with others. Neuroses-balls. Gross. You get what I'm saying.

Below is an excerpt from Felicia Day's blog about what got her writing. It really rings my bell: way up in the sky with all the other bells, you know?

A lot of people ask me about writing The Guild, but I realize I don’t often say WHY I wrote it. The reason: Because I was tired of doing nothing.

It takes a very brave person to express themselves creatively. I know the paralyzing fear of being bad very well; it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. For years I had a voice inside me telling I “should” do this and I “should” do that, but I couldn’t overcome the possibility of being horrible to actually risk doing something about it. So I did nothing. And I loathed myself for my weakness.

Finally I had a strange realization that time passes whether you’re doing something with it or not. It would be easy to let every day go by easily with no risk and then, at the end of the day (my life), I would look back and realize that fear ruled me: At that point there would be nothing I could do about it. So, I got off my butt! It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of lapses (I still do) but the experience of being ruthless with myself was an amazing lesson to learn.

I don’t want this to be a self-help entry (although it already kinda is, LOL), but I wanted to share a few of the resources that I used to overcome my fear and be willing to suck and start DOING stuff.

-The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron: This is a 12-week program that helps you “discover your creativity.” It is seriously self-help-y and has a large spiritual element to it (an aspect I skimmed over personally), but it does force a lot of introspection, exploring what you enjoy doing, what drives you etc. It also makes you to write every day for the 12-weeks, which was one of the most invaluable aspects.

-If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland: This book was written in 1938, which I find amazing as this authors voice is as fresh as if it were written yesterday. If The Artist’s Way is touchy feely, this book is nothing but pragmatic. The greatest thing I took away from this is the spirit that you can’t care what other people think, you have to create for yourself and no one else. It brings out the fighter in you. It’s geared towards writing but the lessons apply to anything really. This book is a kick in the pants and big warm hug all at once.

-Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. This is the best writing book I’ve ever read. The overwhelming idea of sitting down and “writing the whole thing” sets up expectations that are WAY too high! So much pressure This book makes it manageable, and is an enjoyable and frank look at writing by a wonderful author. Actually, I need to reread this as I’m experiencing this right now, LOL.

-Daily 5 Minute Writing Exercises by CM Mayo. After I finished “The Artists Way” I did these writing exercises every day for a year. I love having my notebooks full of these exercises to look back on! Creating the pattern of behavior of writing in the morning really helped me uncensor myself. I’ve lapsed a lot last year, but just started again and it’s amazing, doing the same exercises, how different my entries are.

- Lifehacker.com, zenhabits.net, 43 Folders and lifehack.org helped me get organized and prioritize. I am no saint but subscribing to these sites reminds me to get my act together when I go on a videogame or mystery novel bender.

-Sharing goals with friends. This entry doesn’t have a link, but it could, because your friends can be offline or online. It’s invaluable to share your goals with others so you can see that we all struggle together to make things happen. I had a weekly group I went to that helped me kick my WOW addiction and re-prioritize. I wouldn’t be here without that group of lovely people. We all share the same human weaknesses, but working in a vaccuum makes you lose that perspective. Having people in your life to use as a touchstone is important to get you through the hard days.

If you have any tips or links to resources that get you going, organized and creating, feel free to share!

You can watch The Guild at http://www.watchtheguild.com !

Monday, August 17, 2009

how on earth are we going to narrow it down to like, 5 of these?

BRGC does "The Obama"

and "The 90s Sitcom"
being creative + awesome + photogenic is hard work sometimes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

silver t-strap sneakers!

Young Ian McShane arm wrestling!

Old-timey cthulu arm!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the interview

So. How do you feel about that interview?


Stomach! I'm not talking to you. Heart?


Oh come on! It wasn't bad. I think they liked you. You were perfectly smart, friendly, witty. Unflappable, even. You're clearly passionate and creative. Stellar references and track record. They'd be nuts not to hire you. I mean, it's not like you included clips of you advocating safe teen sex through hilarious, if bawdy, sketches you wrote for a hit comedy podcast in your Artist Portfolio.


Seriously, Heart? SERIOUSLY? Where was I when you were pulling that ace move?

Thinking it was a good idea because it's work we're proud of!

Shit. Well - shit. We're....no, it's cool. That was a good move. We're awesome.

I hurt a little bit.

Shut up!

on being funemployed

Funemployed is not a term I made up. In fact, though it is one of my favorite things etymologically speaking (portmanteaus are my crack), it is a near-stupid thing that does stupid things to my brain.

These things include erasing all sense of proper bedtime. Doesn't matter if the day was full of productive, meticulously planned attack formations laying waste to To Do list items like so many ragtag armies; or loosely planned hours of consuming what the TV on DVD world has to offer me. This chick just don't know when to go to bed when there's nowhere to go at 7 in the AM.

My sister recently got back from a trip to the Dominican Republic. Of all the times she had there, and with all the folks, she was stunned that so many of her fellow travelers were bouncing around the world for indefinite stretches at a time, sort of planning on opening a store someday ("Once I find the right country") or waiting for the right moment to "start a modern-day jugband." Some of my blood boils when I hear about people like this, most likely having their own FUNemployed lives bankrolled by very much EMPLOYED parents, while jokes like me scramble to make rent money on wishes, prayers, and oddjobs. Then the rest of my blood gives a sidelong glance to the boiling blood and wonders when the heck I'll figure out a way to chuck it all and make the world my own personal lazy river ride.

And then my sprightliest blood cell will give its most oxygenated laugh, and reassure its brother and sister blood cells that if ever there is world-traipsing, band-starting, or store-opening, it will come amidst the unfolding of the other wacky plans up my sleeves & arteries.

That is, if I get the sleep to wake and take it all on.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

could it be i'm The Fall-ing in love?

Amy and I just finished watching The Fall, a film about anguish and anger and love and perseverance. It's beautiful. And it's got everything: An epic story wrapped inside a common tale. Love. Friendship. Pirates. Dentures. Blue cities, the Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, the deep blue sea. Gorgeous, almost ridiculous cinematography. Humor. Insane levels of cuteness (and frustration.) Heartache. Bitterness, pain, triumph. An honest little girl and an angry young man (played by Lee Pace, one of my favorite actors/human beings to look at.)

It's really easy for me to fall in love with TV shows and songs and stories, but hard to fall in love with movies and people. Both have the propensity to be too far off their marks, show so much potential but ultimately fall flat.

This movie doesn't fall flat. If it were a hero it would be one of the meaty, fucked-up ones. The ones who give up a few times before they get the hell back on their half-dead horse and ride, half-doomed, into battle.

Truth be told, I was scared off by the MirrorMask-y styling of this film's poster/DVD case for a long time. What a laugh: the undeniable cheeseball shys away from undeniably cheesy marketing. Whoever designs the jackets and such for amazing stuff like this should just stamp the box with HEY. KID. QUIT PLAYING IT COOL AND RENT THE HEARTFELT MOVIE.

Go see it. Go The Fall in love.