Tony Time!

This year I’m trying something new. I’m building a thread on Twitter with thoughts and reactions as the show goes. It’s much more suited for that. Here, I’m writing more in-depth thoughts and ideas as we go. I’ll post the link to the Twitter thread at the end in case you want to read it.

Musical-wise, I’m pulling for The Band’s Visit in every category it’s nominated in. It looks so amazing!

Play-wise, I’m really behind Angels in America in every category it’s nominated in. I’ve never seen it, but I know what it’s about and it’s so important and brilliant.

And, of course, I’m cheering for any and all Hamilton alum!

I really liked the opening. Two pianos. Talking about not winning. And including ensemble members…not just including them, featuring them! Ensemble gets overlooked too much! Great way to open the show.

Maybe it’s because of the research I’m doing, maybe not, but watching that Mean Girls performance didn’t wow me. It felt like I was watching a combination of typical Broadway choreography with some exposition and a lot of repetition. I wasn’t wowed. I was almost bored. The thing that caught my attention was the guy’s Alyssa Edwards t-shirt.

I love the #TonyDreaming. I wish I could post something to it, but I was on stage crew in high school, so until the last show, you didn’t see me. Also, I’m not Tony dreaming. I’m just enjoying being an audience member.

I’m wondering what has contributed to this being the best attended Broadway season in history. It’s not just what’s on right now. Although I’m sure Harry PotterSpongeBob, and Mean Girls are helping. It would be interesting to look at the trends leading up to this year and the shows that are bringing in new audiences, like Hamilton. I guess it’s something else to look at for my dissertation.

I really hope my one professor is watching the Tonys right now! The Parkland students are getting so much love. And then they go and sing “Seasons of Love”. They are some amazing human beings! …Oh, and my one professor is working on something that looks at the ways students were using music during March For Our Lives events.

I have to admit, Frozen looks much better than I thought it would. Then again, Disney has a good track record of turning its animated musicals into Broadway musicals. My only problem with that performance is it was another medley. I understand you want to include some of your most iconic songs. But Hamilton did two songs that go together in the show. Why not just stick with that? I want to see an entire song, not parts of one and parts of another.

Okay. I thought  Once on This Island was being performed from Circle in the Square theater. Damn. They did a great job recreating their stage on the Tony’s stage. Wow. And how are they not nominated for more? And they won!!!!!!!!!

I love that The Band’s Visit is not only bringing more diversity to Broadway, but they’re bringing the message of inclusion, of peace. Ari’el Satchel said in his acceptance speech that they didn’t think they would get to portray their ethnicity on stage. Now they get to do a musical about a group of Arabs taken in by Israelis for a night. I hope they win.

To me, the winners of Best Play/Musical should not just go to the best production, but to the production that brings something new to Broadway as well as making a statement about something. That’s why I’ve been rooting for Angels in America (which is know is a revival, but still so important!) and The Band’s Visit. The other nominees for Best Musical are based off of something from TV or a movie. Nothing new. But The Band’s Visit is new and has a wonderful message of the power of music. Angels in America is the most Tony-nominated play in Broadway history. It tackles topics that we still don’t talk about enough today. I am so glad Angels won. Now to wait and see if The Band’s Visit can win, too.

So, deNiro said “I’m gonna say one thing, fuck Trump!” I’m guessing CBS is on a delay for just these occasions. But I’m glad he said it and I’m glad other people are sharing what he said.

YES!!!! The Band’s Visit won!!!! I have faith in the system! I really was worried one of the others would win because they are adapted from already popular works. I don’t know why. “We are far more alike than different.”

So, The Band’s Visit won 10 Tony Awards! Angels in America won 3! Now to somehow see them!

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Settling in for the summer

Life has been quite complicated lately. The first week of May was finals week. The end of my first year as a Ph. D. student. I didn’t write the best papers for my classes, but they were good enough to get me Bs. It took me almost another week to get caught up on my grading. But, my students didn’t seem to hold it against me too much. I got some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten. Even their problems and critiques were useful, not just “it sucked”. I am so happy and grateful to have had this class. They really helped me to become a better instructor.

The weekend after grades were due was Marcon. It was so nice to get to see my friends again, go to panels, and be on panels. I’m starting to realize that my attitude is keeping people from approaching me in costume. I don’t know how to change that. It’s who I am. But as much as I am an introvert, I do like getting compliments and recognized when in costume. I put a lot of work into the whole thing, from the clothing to the props to the make-up. But if it doesn’t seem like I want to be approached, no one will. I need to be more aware of it when I can. Lets face it, sometimes you have ten minutes to get all the way across the con –  which is a very long distance at DragonCon. Sometimes you can’t be stopped.

Anyway. After Marcon, summer semester began. Well, the first term of summer semester. We have two terms over summer, two six-week classes that contain all the information of a 15-week class. In order to get caught up with where I should be, I’m taking one class each term. My first class is online, and it’s a split undergrad/grad student class. That is the more interesting aspect of it, not being online. Grad students have different readings and different responsibilities. Thankfully, because of my two theory classes and International Popular Culture, it’s going over topics I’m already very familiar with. It’s from a slightly different angle, but similar enough that I’m not too stressed over it.

At the beginning of the month, my dad moved to New Hampshire. It’s a very good move for him. He didn’t need to take any furniture with him, so I got to take some things off his hands. We now have a dining room table, the old microwave hutch (which is at least 20 years old, probably more) that is now our bar, one of the end-tables that my parents have had since before I was born, and an almost 20-year-old wood futon frame. The futon is in my room, patiently awaiting the spring mattress to arrive so I can finally properly use it to stretch out on and study on.

But those weren’t the only things he couldn’t take with him. He couldn’t take Harry. We have had Harry almost his entire life. He’ll be 15 at the end of July. But between his age and the fact that he’s black, we knew that he wouldn’t last if my dad took him to the local humane society. He’d be high on the list to go if they needed more space. We’ve been taking care of him until Saturday. He hadn’t adapted well to being here, and we just can’t take care of him properly right now. So I drove him to Columbus to a no-kill shelter. They couldn’t take him. They had no space, but, more importantly, they couldn’t have taken him even if they did. He’s never been to the vet. Without vet records, they couldn’t take him. The lady there said that at his age, the best thing would be to have him put down. He’s perfectly healthy, as far as we can tell, for a cat his age. Why would I do that? So after a breakdown in the car, I decided to take him to Columbus Humane. But they require you to make an appointment to surrender a pet, and charge more than I can afford right now.

So I changed plans. I found Marion Area Humane Society and headed there. I felt bad because it wasn’t cool out yesterday, and he had been in the carrier for over an hour at that point. But he seemed to be okay. We got to MAHS and I started to break down again. He had been part of the family for almost 15 years. They had space for him. As they processed his information and mine, I talked with one of the volunteers. She said that they get people looking for older cats sometimes. More importantly, she told me that they are a no-kill shelter! He is going to be taken care of for the rest of his life. I am completely fine with MAHS being his home for that time. They are going to take care of him. Last night I had to fight the urge to check on him behind the futon – where he had made his home. I miss him, but he’s going to be fine!

Remember, always take your pets to the vet. You never know what will happen to you. They may have to go to a shelter, and vet records are required by some before they will take your pet in.

Well, that went longer than I thought it would. I’ll just leave this here and get back to working on the paper and presentation I need to have ready for CPAC and my summer watchlist.

Flabbergasted Queen!

Flabbergasted. That is the right word for how I am feeling right now. I watched the trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody.

O.M.G.

So, I have been a fan of Queen since I discovered their song “Princes of the Universe” was the theme song for Highlander: The Series. Because of that I bought Greatest Hits III. From there I slowly expanded my library to include Greatest Hits and Classic Queen. Then I got to college and found early file sharing sites. Since then I’ve bought every Queen album. I have both DVDs of music videos, the Wembly Stadium concert, and Queen on Fire Live at the Bowl. It is safe to say that I am a Queen fan despite not finding out about the band – outside of “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” – until years after Freddie was gone.

The casting on this movie looks amazing! Gwilym Lee looks and sounds so much like a young Brian May… And Freddie. Rami Malek looks exactly like him so many times during that trailer! And it looks like they’re not shying away from disagreements and showing the whole story. I can’t wait!!!!

Class is done

About fifteen minutes ago, the last exam was handed in. My Spring 2018 Introduction to Popular Culture class is gone. I’m kind of sad.

It’s been a great semester. I know all teachers say this, but they really did help me to become a better teacher. Just asking them their opinions helped on that front. Around spring break, I made an anonymous survey that they could participate in if they wanted to. I took all their feedback into account, but I implemented the more common responses. I integrated more videos into class. I integrated discussions into class – instead of lecturing for a day or two and then having a whole class just for discussion. I learned to release my grip on the control of class just enough to let them have some input. I was still the instructor in the end, but letting them bring up examples worked so much better than me trying to explain my own at times.

I know there were days where it was mostly lecture, and that tends to be kind of boring. But there are some topics where you have to get the basic information explained before you can discuss it. But, once we were able to discuss it, off we went! I’m looking forward to grading this last exam and seeing their feedback from the course evaluations. I can’t say I’ve ever had that feeling before. I’ve usually dreaded the evaluations, but not this time.

So if any of you reading this were in my class, thank you for a wonderful semester. And thank you for helping me to become a better teacher!

Now to get their papers and exams graded, and write three papers of my own – of varying lengths – so my semester can be done!

Veritable Vitamin Variety

I am continuing my efforts to improve my diet, and thus my health. Honestly, listening to RuPaul:What’s the Tee? w/ Michelle Visage has been a source of inspiration. Both Ru and Michelle enjoy talking about eating healthier. Michelle has been openly sharing her battle with autoimmune problems. I have no idea if I have any autoimmune problems, but eating better isn’t bad for anyone.

So, I’m coming to that point in my “no sugar cycle” where I really try to step up my game with eating less processed food and less fast food. Granted, this past weekend wasn’t great for that. But I was away at a conference, stressed, and PMSing. Not a great combination mentally. As I’m driving home from campus today, the podcast reaches the episode where they were talking with Suzanne Somers (Episode 68 – yes, I am way behind). They talk quite a bit about healthy lifestyles, including diet, as I’m eating my Southwestern (Grilled) Chicken sandwich, fries, and drinking my large green tea from Wendy’s. While it wasn’t the most unhealthy thing on the menu – by a long shot – it’s not great. For my waistline or my wallet.

As I’m driving, I decide that I need to stop and get some fresh food before going home. I needed to stop and get one thing anyway, so why not pick up some veggies. When I walked in, I made a beeline for the lettuce. Then I picked up some green onions. They also had some good looking pears. Which reminded me I wanted strawberries. But on the way to the strawberries, I found the grape tomatoes and avocados. Before I knew it, my basket was full and heavy with fresh fruits and veggies. A veritable variety of vivacious vitamins in their original packaging. I think that was a sign that I wanted fresh.

Now I just need to keep inspired and eat it all up before it turns into a pile of mush in the fridge. I’ve got a good start. I’ve eaten about half of the strawberries already. Hopefully the momentum will keep going this time and I’ll be able to continue making permanent changes to my diet for the better!

Now I remember!

I remember why all those times I cut out sugar it didn’t stick. Today reminded me.

I have been slightly foggy lately. I’ve been unmotivated and unfocused. I haven’t felt like constantly making myself a cup of caffeinated tea to stay focused. I’ve been avoiding sugar, but I allowed myself a break on Sunday. Even then it wasn’t completely sugar, just a delicious carrot cake torte. But I can’t shake this fog.

I got going this morning just fine. A travel mug of tea on my drive in and I was great to teach. But I got back to my office and I was very hungry. So I microwaved my lunch. I was still hungry. And quite unfocused and foggy. I accidentally bought a bag of gummies yesterday out of habit and left them in my bag. I tore into them in the hopes that they would at least take the edge off. They didn’t.

This is why I always end up slowly eating too much sugar again and again. My body adjusts to the lack of sugar, but my habits don’t. But this time I’m aware of it. I’m conscious of it.

I’m at the PCA Conference in Indianapolis for the week. I packed food to eat in the room for two reasons. First, to cut back on paying for fast food. Despite getting a pizza tonight. Second, to keep these good habits up. I even stopped by the nearby Wal-Mart for some yogurts for breakfast, raspberry tea for the evenings, and milk for my hot tea. I packed my utiliTEA, three tins of tea, sugar crystals, mug, teabags, and measuring spoons so I can make tea whenever. I even brought my Starbucks travel mug for a cup made here in the morning and refills throughout the day.

Granted, getting enough sleep would help, too.

Stepping back

For whatever reason, I was in a funk recently. During that funk, I was eating horribly. I was eating too much candy and fast food and not enough actual food. Thankfully I realized I was in a funk and decided to start making some changes.

First step, reducing my sugar intake. Right now, that means cutting out pop/soda, candy, and other mostly processed sugar items. I’m still allowing myself things like green tea from Wendy’s, my bottled raspberry tea, sugar crystals in my tea at home – which I’m trying to get back into the habit of drinking instead of the raspberry – and foods with naturally occurring sugars, like fruit. I don’t want to cut out all sugar, but I figure consuming stuff that is basically just sugar isn’t the greatest idea on many levels. I’ve been mostly successful, with only one intentional indulgence because I couldn’t get the thing off my mind.

The next step is going to be a reduction in fried foods. I’ve actually been kind of working on it, but it’s been more out of a desire to spend less money than intentionally not eating them. It also helps that Wendy’s grilled chicken has improved, or I’ve gotten used to it. Either way, I’m back to preferring that when I stop by. I had really developed a taste for Homestyle, which is not the best thing in the world to be eating more than once a week. I’m hoping that by easing myself into this, I’ll be able to build some lasting habits that will help me fight the funk.

Getting things taken care of around here will help too. But I have to remember to stay focused so I can get my school work and unpacking done. Hopefully eating better will help with that. It sure can’t hurt.

Trying to make changes

Lately I’ve been listening to RuPaul: What’s the Tee? w/Michelle Visage as I drive to and from campus (mostly because I would have to use my phone to over-listen to The Hamilton Polka). I am way behind. I’m not sure if I’ve even hit episode 10. But in one of those episodes, Michelle talks about how turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. It seemed like something worth looking up.

Turns out that turmeric has compounds called curcuminoids, and they… well I’ll just quote the article I’m getting this from:

“Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high… it’s around 3%, by weight.” (“10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin“)

They go on to say that there are supplements that are mostly, if not all, curcuminoids, and that is the most effective way to get it in high doses. Also, in order for the curcumin to be more easily absorbed into your bloodstream, you should take it with black pepper. The piperine in black pepper boosts absorption.

Thankfully the Lucky’s Market I love to go to in Columbus has a turmeric supplement that is 95% curcuminoids and 5% piperine. The article says that most studies have people taking 1 gram per day. These supplements have 450 mg per capsule, so I’d have to take 2 a day to get 1 gram. Considering I’m just starting out – and the bottle is $25 for 60 – I’ve only taken one per day.

In recent years I’ve noticed that I’ve been itching more in places where my skin is sensitive. I was diagnosed with having eczema on my hands back in 8th grade. I have been attributing the itching to that spreading to vulnerable areas. I know that things like stress and eating crappy cause flare-ups. But I noticed that when I’d take my allergy meds (OTC of course), the flare-ups would go down. So I started associating allergies with flare-ups. Probably not the smartest thing in retrospect, but oh well.

After hearing about the way it’s been helping Michelle with her autoimmune problems – she includes turmeric in her green juice – I decided to give it a shot. I really shouldn’t be taking the allergy meds if I’m trying to control something else. Sunday was the first day. I didn’t notice much either way. My palms were itchy all day before I took it and it went away soon after I took it. But I wasn’t sure that it was psychosomatic. Yesterday, my right eye was driving me nuts – something that would have had me running for the allergy meds before. So I took the turmeric, noted the time, and tried to ignore my eye. It didn’t stop itching quickly, but it did eventually. It might have done that anyway for all that I know.

Until about midnight, that is.

My eye started itching like it had before. It had been a little over 12 hours since I took turmeric. It seems that it’s worn off and it’s working! It makes me feel better that I can manage smaller things with the supplement and save the meds for when I’m actually dealing with allergies.

Now if I can just cut back on the sugar consumption and actually stick to it. That would really help with the whole inflammation problem. But that’s for another day.

Am I being punished?

Around the time we started the whole moving process, and the whole me driving 2.5 hours every day, my service indicator went on. I needed to start working on going in for an oil change. But between the moving and my forgetful/procrastination-prone brain, I didn’t. Slowly I watched as the percentage went down from 15% to 10% to 5% to a flashing 0. Then it starts flashing every mile you go past that. I’m over 5000 now.

Every time I would go on to try and make an appointment at my nearby dealership, the next available day for appointments was two weeks away. I realize now that I should have just made an appointment the first time I saw that. I could have always cancelled it if I got in before then. But I didn’t. I would just say to myself, “I’ll get in before then,” and forget to go in.

Then the moving started in earnest. I was making trips to Columbus as well as up to campus regularly. The trips back from Columbus had my car filled with our stuff. All the while my miles keep going up. I was trying to balance teaching and being a student and moving. I didn’t have time to sit around and wait for them to work on my car. I kept coming up with excuses.

This weekend I finally decided to get moving. I went to the nearby dealership, hoping to get a walk-in spot and get things taken care of. They aren’t open on Saturdays. I knew Honda as a company is not open on Sundays, but this dealership isn’t open on Saturdays. I should have known. I had checked their site often enough. So I did very minimal driving yesterday with the intention of going to the one near campus today. I get over to them and the first appointment they have today is 4:15p. I’ve got a meeting at 4p. That won’t work.

So I made an appointment for tomorrow. But I have to drive home and back. Another hundred or so miles.

I feel like I’m getting punished for not going in when I should have back when the light first went on.

I’m going to try the dealership at home tonight. If I’m lucky, they can fit me in…or not. They close at 5p. I guess I’m going to have to drive back up tomorrow. Why can’t I simply get my car taken care of?

How am I going to do this?

Last Thursday night, we dropped off the keys to the first place we have been able to call home. The place we have been living in for almost 8 years. He slipped the envelope with the keys in the slot at the rental office, got back in my car filled with the last of our things, and we drove off for the last time. It was a bittersweet moment. I’m getting a little teary thinking about it. We left our first home. We headed to our new home.

Since I finished my master’s degree, we decided that we cannot keep only seeing each other on the weekends. But he’s still working in Columbus and all of my business is in BG. So we found a new place in between. It’s bigger than the last place – 3 bedrooms instead of 2, and 1000 square feet instead of 700 – and it has vaulted ceilings in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It is on the third floor, which is taking some getting used to. Although moving helped with that. But we don’t have to worry about upstairs neighbors, and heat does rise.

It’s been nice so far. I’ve been here for over a month now as we slowly brought things up. It’s allowed me to not only be closer to school and get used to the drive, but it’s given me time to get my room/office set up and functioning so I can actually get work done at home. It felt like things had been for the past two years: on my own during the week, home on the weekends. It also allowed me to get things unpacked as I could, keeping things somewhat organized so we can find things later.

It was really useful when we moved the furniture in. We put the couch, TV stand, and TV in the living room no problem. We were able to actually sit down in the living room! We had dinner while watching Leverage. Or at least I watched as much as I could while eating and then came in here to get work done. One of those things I had to adjust to, not being alone anymore.

Honestly, that, not the stacks of boxes everywhere, is what has taken the most adjustment. Not being alone anymore. I’ve become used to being able to make what I want for dinner when I am hungry. I’ve become used to being alone and having no interruptions – aside from my phone. I’ve become used to being the only one here during the week.

It doesn’t help that there’s so much to unpack, go through, decide what’s being kept and what’s getting tossed, and finding somewhere to put things. Unfortunately in the last frenzied week of moving, the living room became the dumping ground for everything that we didn’t already have a space for. Now I make dinner and we retreat to our desks, because they’re the only place where each of us can sit down and have a flat surface to put things on.

During all of this I still have to teach class three days a week, take class three days a week, hold my office hours, drive 2.5 hours a day, and get reading done for class. Why did I think we could move while I was taking/teaching class? Why didn’t we just wait until Spring Break to get the move actually done, giving us 2 months to get everything packed and ready to go in a couple of trips in a truck? It would have allowed us to get everything properly packed and labeled. It would have allowed us to properly go through everything and only move what was being kept. It would have let me keep going to class last week.

If I can just get through the rest of this week and next week, I’ve got all of Spring Break. All of Spring Break to get caught up on my reading. All of Spring Break to get my students’ assignment graded. All of Spring Break to start going through the boxes of stuff. All of Spring Break to get things put away or thrown out. All of Spring Break to recover. But I have to get there first.

How am I going to do this?