Boxing Bull$*!#

On Friday, I arrived home to find three packages waiting for me. One had The Hamilton Mixtape cassette, one had 3 bars of Native deodorant, one had a corset. I was pissed off. Let me show you why.

I am not exaggerating. The box on the left was used to ship a cassette tape. The box on the right:

Three full-sized bars of deodorant. They fit three bars of deodorant into that box while the other contained a bunch of air-filled packing materials and a cassette tape. When I ordered the tape, I figured it would arrive in something small that would fit inside the mailbox. I’m planning to e-mail them and point this out. There is no reason to use a box even a 1/4 that size to ship a cassette tape.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, but it’s the first time it’s been to such a drastic degree. I’m not going to stay quiet about it anymore. It’s a ridiculous waste of material and resources. I’m tired of it. I’m definitely not buying anything from Urban Outfitters until they change their shipping policies. I guess we’ll see if they listen to what I have to say. But Native is a company I will gladly keep supporting!

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Look Around List

“Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

“America the Beautiful

Listening to these amazing ladies sing, while getting to see it beautifully signed? Where are the tissues?

Cooking. I got back to my apartment tonight and did dishes. It’s hard to cook if you don’t have clean dishes. I cooked up a very tasty dinner, and that always feels good.

Groceries on sale. I’m on a bit of a budget right now. So when I got to the store to discover that I could get over 3 lbs of boneless chicken thighs for about $1.50 a pound, as well as peppers and mushrooms for $1 each? I was so happy! I was able to get everything I needed as well as a few wants and got change!

Media apps. I do not have cable. It seems so silly for me to have it since I bought a Roku last year and have had Netflix and Hulu the whole time. But, networks are pulling their stuff from Hulu, which is frustrating. So today I made a couple of changes. First, I finally got CBS All Access. It’s the only place they are going to be showing Star Trek: Discovery, and hubby and I have been discussing getting it for that reason. Luckily, most of the TV I watch is on CBS. So it’s a double bonus for me. Second, I figured if I’m going to get CBS without commercials, I should upgrade my Hulu so I don’t have to deal with commercials, too. That will actually be useful when teaching because I only have 50 minutes to show something. Take out the commercials? It fits!

Technology. All of my love for the fact that I don’t need cable is such a privileged thing. The fact that I can afford to have a Roku stick with all these apps on them and a television and to be able to pay the monthly fees to keep using some of them is privilege. But I’m still grateful for that privilege.

Teaching. As I’ve mentioned many times lately, I am grateful for the opportunity teaching gives me to make a difference in the world. I know that might sound cliche, but it’s true.

Pure Leaf Raspberry Iced Tea. Sometimes it’s the little things. Being able to go to the store down the road to get this instead of giving in to pop…something I am very grateful for.

My hubby. I am always aware of how lucky I am to have him in my life. But this weekend he went above and beyond. He not only set up our haircut appointments, but he sprung for me to get my hair back to red. My hair is now not only shorter, but a lovely shade of red. I love it! Of course, that’s not the only reason, but right now it’s a big one.

Look Around List

“Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

I know it’s a day late, but here’s my List, which includes why it’s late.

BroadwayCon 2017. From Friday through yesterday, I was in “the greatest city in the world!” attending BroadwayCon. It is an amazing convention to go to if you are a fan of Broadway. I’m still unpacking the weekend, and I’m sure I’ll post about it once I have the chance to. So many amazing panels and experiences and people. I’m still getting overwhelmed when I think about it.

Hamilton: An American Musical. Yes. I finally went! Another amazing part of the weekend that I’m going to be unpacking for a while. And, again, there will be a post, but it’s not going to be too involved because there is so much about it that cannot be described!

Hell’s Kitchen. Yes. It’s geeky, but I am so excited that my hotel was in Hell’s Kitchen!

Brooklyn! I have family in Brooklyn and spent an amazing Saturday evening with them. But, again, geeking out, not because of Captain America, but because of Freestyle Love Supreme (Episode 4: The Great Debate)! But seriously, it’s wonderful there and they do have some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting! And it’s always great seeing family.

My health. Like I mentioned before, I had a cold. I managed to jump up and down on it until it finally went away. It reminded me that we cannot take our health for granted.

My husband. I missed him like crazy, but he’s always so supportive. The only time he questions me is to make sure I’m not doing something that I either can’t afford or would be dangerous.

Quarters. I mean the coin. I know. Boring. But because of the trip I can now do 3 loads of laundry! The little things are just as important.

Broadway Cast Recordings. My playlist to get me to and from NYC was almost nothing but cast recordings. I also had my annotated Hamilton soundtrack and The Hamilton Mixtape. It made the drive so much more fun!

Remember to “look around” and remember and realize “how lucky we are to be alive right now!” It may seem like there’s not a lot, but there is if you look the right way.

16 Years, 1 Year

It’s been almost 16 years since I’ve been in NYC. Almost 16 years since I’ve seen a show on Broadway. That ends now.

I’m at BroadwayCon!

Tonight, I’m going to be in the room!

But before I get my geek on. A little history. Growing up, I didn’t really listen to cast albums. I knew of Broadway. But I knew about it because it was in the culture. Because my Mom loved old musical movies, many of which were adapataions of Broadway shows. it wasn’t until the 8th grade that Broadway became something real. My high school included the 8th grade in all levels of band. Including the trip they took every other year. For the previous few years, they had gone up to Toronto to see The Phantom of the Opera. My parents felt that 8th grade was too young to go on a trip like that, and I can’t blame them. Also, it was expensive and they wanted to be able to afford to help me go my sophomore and senior years, and then do the same for my sister. I appreciate that still.

My freshman year is when things really changed for me. That year in concert band, our director, of our little Catholic School music program, got a medly of songs from this amazing new musical Rent. She even got the cast album out from the library to play the songs for us so we knew how things should sound.

I was in love. I was probably the reason that disc set stayed at the library for so long. I would get it out and renew it and listen to it over and over and over again. It was the first time I wanted to see a Broadway show, badly. But I knew there was no way it was going to happen any time soon. There was no way we were going to see it on our trip. There was no way I could convince my parents to take me. But I was willing to wait.

The next fall, it was announced that our band trip that spring would be to somewhere they hadn’t gone before: NYC. We would be seeing the sights as well as two, not one but two, Broadway shows! We would be seeing Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Les Miserables. I knew just enough to understand how amazing it was going to be to see Les Mis. I started getting that cast album out regularly as well. Every time I listened to it, it made me look forward to seeing it even more.

Both shows were amazing. They made me even more excited for my senior year when we would be coming back. Our director decided it was silly not to just keep going to NYC. There was plenty to see and plenty of musicals to see. Why change that? My senior year was even better. We got to see Stomp and Annie Get Your Gun! We were doing Annie Get Your Gun as our HS musical, and most of the cast and crew was in band as well, so we were extremely excited. Being those freshman who were first exposed to Rent, we tried over and over again to convince her to let us go see it. Those of us who were under 18 already had our parents chaperoning. But, as much as she really wanted to let us, she knew there would be backlash over letting us go, so she didn’t. Luckily, we did drive past the street the theater is on, so we took a bunch of pictures as we went by. Which was costly at the time, because these were the days before digital cameras and smart phones.

So, thanks to my HS band director and my parents for covering the cost that I couldn’t after fundraising, I was introduced to the amazing world of Broadway. But around exactly a year ago, my love of Broadway was reignited. My friend introduced me to Hamilton.

You can look up on here about how much I have fallen for this show. So much that I’m planning on writing my dissertation about it and the fans that have sprung up around it, including myself. It’s part of why I’m here at BroadwayCon. I’m here to get a feel for the convention so I can come back next year and do real reseach.

Yesterday, on the drive over…yes I drove 11 hours; it’s much cheaper than flying. On the drive over, I decided that if I can find a ticket for around $500, I should go ahead and buy it and go. I’m already in the city. I’d be throwing away my shot if I didn’t at least look. Well, there was a ticket for tonight’s 8p show. I bought it. I still can’t believe I’m typing that. I’m going to see Hamilton! Sadly, unless there’s a miracle, I’m not going to be seeing Javi. He’s still out at least until tomorrow. I don’t want him to make any injury worse, but it would have been cool to see him. But I still get to see this amazing show! Finally!

So, for everyone who will be seeing me for the near future, I’m sorry. I’m going to be talking about this for months! Eeeeee!

Still processing

So, The Hamilton Mixtape was finally released on Friday. I’ve listened to it a few times. But I’m still processing it as a whole. It is a mixtape. The songs have been put in a specific order for a good reason. I’m trying to figure out for myself why they are in that order. There’s an article out there that’s about the songs and the album and I’m avoiding it like the plague. I want to try to and figure out the structure on my own before I go reading why Lin put it together the way he did.

Part of why it’s taking me a while is…well there are a few reasons. One of which is the fact that I’m taking a class, have a thesis to work on, and am teaching a class. Or to put it simply, I’m a graduate TA who has no life. The other is because it took me a few times to remember something important: it’s a mixtape! I was listening to each song individually instead of as a whole. It’s probably partly due to the fact that we only had a few tracks to listen to for a while, so I wasn’t thinking of them as one long story. But that is what they are. They are an amazing, beautiful, moving, and awesome story. Now if I can just figure out what that story is…

Music of my life

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Hamilton music. Like many others, I have The Hamilton Mixtape pre-ordered. It comes out on Friday, but Lin-Manuel Miranda has been releasing a track or two here and there over the past couple of weeks. We’re currently at 6 tracks released. And if you pre-ordered it, you get those tracks and pay that much less when the rest comes out.

It is amazing. Some of my favorite tracks are some of the more recently released ones. “Wrote My Way Out” is amazing. It’s got four different artists talking about their own experience and how they “wrote [their] way out” of their circumstances. It’s inspiring to listen to. Usher’s “Wait For It” is my other favorite, right now. I love the song to begin with, and his take is just beautiful. Seriously, just go listen to it now. It’s out there on Spotify. Go. Listen.

The whole thing is just amazing. “Satisfied” has multiple levels of awesomeness, including Queen Latifah. “Helpless” has Ashanti and Ja Rule, which is so beautiful. I feel like I cannot do it justice because I do not know these artists very much if it all. If you go on Twitter, people are fawning over this amazing music.

But…anyway…

Today I tried something new. When I listen to Hamilton in the car, I find myself having moments of inspiration about my thesis. The two are nowhere near related. But I think it’s somehow either inspiring the scholarly side or I’ve listened to it often enough that it’s allowing me to zen out and freeing my mind to think about my thesis. So I decided to see if that’s the case of if somehow driving is a part of it. When you’re on a decent drive, it can be a very zen, freeing experience, mentally. I sat down with the laptop and decided to focus on one section of my thesis and write. I didn’t worry about citing or finding the information in books. Basically I was aiming to lay a solid foundation I can go back through and flesh out with the books and graphic novels and such later.

It worked.

I wrote over two-thousand words this afternoon. And they’re really good words. I recently transferred that section over into Word and formatted it accordingly. I wrote almost eight full pages today. That’s without any citations or headings or anything. Just eight pages of words. It’s giving me hope that I can get at least a solid first draft done by the end of the semester to give to my committee to get feedback on. I think I could get a solid draft of the entire thing done over Winter Break when I have no teaching materials to prepare, reading to do for class, papers to write for class, or grading to do.

So, evidently Hamilton needs to be in my rotation for writing music. Who knew?

One-thousand words

I have a few things that I use to remind me to keep going when I feel overwhelmed when trying to work on my thesis. I’ve got Wil Wheaton:

wilwheaton

That has been really useful. I have to remember to give myself permission to sit down and simply write a bunch knowing there is going to be a lot of editing later. I also tell myself

Remember...Hamilton wasn't written in a day. It took six years, lots of research, and tons of writing.

The more I found out about Hamilton, the more I found myself reminding myself of this. I’m sure this is going to be my mantra when I’m working on my dissertation for my Ph.D.

But the best advice I’ve found that’s helped me immensely is from one of my favorite authors, Seanan McGuire. I can’t find the post now, but she posted, I thought on her Tumblr, about using a d10 to keep visual track of her writing. She would sit down and write 1000 words at a time. When she hit 1000, she would take a break and then go back to it. I’ve been using that. I’ll sit down and make myself write 1000 words at a go. I haven’t done it as often as I really should. But I did it tonight, and it feels so good!

I really should do it on a daily basis. Then again, it is Monday. Maybe this is the week I start writing 1000 words, minimum, a day. Hopefully it’ll get me motivated to get the basics down and then go back and start fleshing things out, editing, and getting a rough draft done. I keep freaking out over it and not doing anything. The better thing is to get something done that you can ask others, in my case my committee, for their opinions on. They can’t help you if you have nothing for them to look over!

Relaxing

Ever since it became clear that Lin, and possibly more of the original cast, will be leaving the show sometime soon, possibly next month, I have been desperately trying to get a ticket to see the show. Considering people and bots are complete asshats, I haven’t been able to get one.

At first I was panicking. I want to see the show with as much of the original cast as possible so I can have the experience and be able to put that toward a possible dissertation. Also, the fan in me wants to see these amazing human beings in the roles they originated.

Now…(and this has nothing to do with the results of last night)…I have come to terms with the fact that I am not going to see this (Tony Award winning) cast. Yes, I won’t see how people react to the cast or their specific performance. But, the people playing the parts are what is going to change. That’s all. The music isn’t going to change. The choreography isn’t going to change. Yes, how people portray their characters will be different. Everyone puts their own spin on the character. But it will still be the same story. It will still be Hamilton: An American Musical. I am okay with that.

But I’m still hoping to win those two tickets and hanging out with Lin. I probably won’t, but I can hope!

Tony Award links

I thought about going through and adding videos as appropriate to Tony Time! But I’ve already gone through and added a bunch of pictures and James’ opening remarks. So I’m just going to leave the link to the playlist I created for last night: YouTube playlist!

I haven’t been able to find a lot of the acceptance speeches. Hopefully they will be posted soon. Especially the ones that were awarded during commercial breaks. I want to hear what people said!!!

Oh, and have tissues ready. Everyone gave such touching speeches.

ETA: Now including the Creative Arts Awards speeches (aka the awards they gave out during the commercials or before the broadcast)!

Tony Time!

I am going to just keep updating this post as the Tony Awards keep going.

7:58p – I feel bad for the other shows. Even CBS is putting all of it’s attention on Hamilton: An American Musical. But I have to be honest. I’m almost more excited to see Marlee Matlin present!

8:00p – Wonderful way to start!!!! *tears*

8:01p – YES!!!!!! I can’t wait to download this opening!!! They had better put it on YouTube!  The applause after he sings his name. Great! “Just you wait!”

8:04p – “The Oscars with diversity”…burn!

This tribute to Broadway musicals is just great! So many musicals getting included! But, where’s Rent?

8:17p – These School of Rock kids are amazing! Just damn. And a girl on bass!!

8:22p – They’re doing live “#Ham4Ham” for the Tony’s. I wish I was in NYC!!!! Jealous.

Featured Actress in a Musical – YES! One down! RENEE ELISE GOLDSBERRY!!!! I love her! So touching! It doesn’t help that her castmates all have tears of joy in their eyes too! They are such a wonderful group of human beings.

I admit to wondering if any of the other nominees expect to win against Hamilton. Everyone’s performances speak for themselves, but so much hype has been following it that we know nothing about the others.

Costume Design of a Musical – Paul Tazwel! The man is a genius!! That’s two! Those costumes. I wish I could see them up close. I’ll have to settle for the amazing sketches in the #Hamiltome.


Featured Actor in a Musical
– DAVEED!!!!!!!! Daveed Diggs! Yes! That suit! Love it! Three!!
I was really, really hoping he would get it. He does such an amazing job with two characters. Yay!!

Exclamation points!!!! 😀

Best Original Score – Hamilton!!!! Go LIN!!! Four! Now for the rap …oooh. A sonnet. To his wife….*tears*. And he wrote it today. Wow. Non stop. *tears* That man is going to drain every tear from me one of these days. Probably the day I actually get to see the show.

Best Direction of a Musical – Thomas Kail!! Thomas! Thomas! Five! YAY! So touching! I didn’t know I should have the tissues nearby during the Tony Awards.

I’m kind of wishing the #Ham4Ham-ish performances were longer. They’re little snippets, why not the entire song? #Ham4Ham does 3-5 min performances. I hope the people there are getting a longer show than we are.

Best Scenic Design of a Musical – wow. There goes the sweep. Congrats She Loves Me. It must be amazing to beat out the originality of Hamilton. But that’s just my opinion.

That 360 during the Bright Star performance is cool, but it was definitely aimed for the TV audience. I feel bad for the people who are there. That camera must have interfered with enjoying the performance.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Howell Binkley! Number six!

Of course! Everyone’s been on Law & Order!

*jawdrop* James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury on the stage together! Wow.

On Your Feet. That is awesome! Wow. Those kids can really move! And of course they pull Lin up to his feet. 😀 He was probably dancing in his seat.

Yes Spring Awakening! Bring on the signing!

Carpool Karaoke!!!! They’re having so much fun! James nails the Lafayette raps! Damn! And, of course, Les Mis with Lin in the car. WONDERFUL!! But they edited out the Rent part. Oh well. But they’re so awesome in the back seat! Such a theater geek in the front passenger seat. 😉

Frank Langella wins for best acceptance speech! Wow.

Marlee!!!!! And her interpreter!!!!!!! YES! Access to all! ……okay. They need to win! *jawdrop* He was on Switched at Birth!!! Non-sim-com signers are more fun to watch in my opinion.

Hamilton doing Rent!!!!!! Goosebumps!!!!! But I want to hear them do the entire song!!!!!!!!!!

Best Orchestrations – Alex Lacamoire! Seven!

Book of a Musical – Lin-Manuel Miranda! Eight!

I’ll have to find those acceptance speeches later.

Are the President and First Lady really introducing the Hamilton piece?! *speechless* *adds to “Videos to find on YouTube tomorrow” list*
Nope. It’s Common! Damn!

“History Has Its Eyes on You” and “Yorktown”!!!!! Lin mugging right into the camera! Cheers for Oak!!! Took me until the end of the battle to realize they didn’t have their guns! Amazing job! Just goes to show what amazing, Tony Award winning choreography can do! Moving those props into place, just beautiful! EVERYONE on stage!! AWESOME! Wow! Breathtaking! I feel a little better with knowing I probably won’t see that in person.

Best Choreography – Andy Blankenbuehler! Nine! Totally deserves it. The man is a genius! Seriously, if you haven’t already, watch the #Ham4Ham and the interviews he’s given explaining his choreography (here and here). He packs just as much into the choreography as Lin packs into the music.

I didn’t know Bebe Neuwirth did musicals. Damn can she sing!

Now to break with #HamWatch2016… Best Revival of a Musical – is not Spring Awakening. 😦 Oh well. Congrats, The Color Purple.

…and now they’ve killed me. String quartet doing “Seasons of Love” for In Memoriam. 😥

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical – Leslie Odom, Jr.!!! Ten!!! He so deserves it! He does an amazing job!!! And his acceptance speech….awwww. All these human beings are amazing!

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical – Damn. Obviously she earned it, but :(, it’s not Philippa.

I must admit, it is wonderful to see so much diversity on Broadway! Ethnic, religious, linguistic. Wonderful!

Best Musical – HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL!!!!!!! Wait…Lin’s letting someone else talk?! 😉 Lin looks like he’s about to cry. Chernow’s there too!!!!!!! Wonderful speech.

Closing with “The Schuyler Sisters”!!! I’ll have to find that video later. They’re having so much fun!

Eleven Tony Awards!! Woot woot!!