Still Finding the Energy

I’m nearly there.  So close.  Last one goes down on Sunday, and that (my friends) will be the “thud” heard round the world (…or at least the “ding” heard round the world since it’s being submitted via e-mail).  After that, I wish I could say I get a real break, but instead I’ve got two weeks to polish a paper for a publication deadline (say that ten times fast) and churn out an abstract for ASTR (which I am determined to make this year because it’s in Nashville and thereby will give me an excuse to wear my fantastic cowboy boots to my panel).  I also only have a week and a half between last final submission and German classes starting up so… yea.  Breaks are for the weak.

In an effort to maintain my sanity, today I’m making you Another Random Finals List because I really don’t have the brain space to leak anything else out.

1)    I’m a grown woman and My Little Ponies (Friendship is Magic) still makes me smile.  I

Pony with a library!!!

have no shame about this.  You should try watching it; especially if you’re an over-worked academic who would love to find more time to be with her friends because (I kid you not) the lead pony is ALSO an over-worked academic whose friends insist on her making time for them.  Yes, I am Twilight Sparkle.  Deal with it, academy.

2)    The Muppets also make me smile.  As an archetype of everything I love about theatre, watching the Muppets is a sure-fire way to make me remember why I chose this profession.

3)    So is watching “The Shakespeare Code”.

4)    I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that I now have a designated study/paper-writing blanket.  It is both warm and fuzzy.  And I haven’t managed to get red ink on it yet (though I await the day… it already has a war-wound from a crafting project gone awry).  This blanket may be the most comforting thing I own and I’m truly hoping that A) I don’t begin to associate it with the emotional trauma of finals time and B) I don’t turn into Linus because that would just be sad.

5)    Saw a pretty decent production of The Importance of Being Earnest this past weekend by Theatre to Go.  For community theatre, it was solid.  Those long Victorian scenes can be really difficult to make read to a modern audience (lots of antiquated wit flying about), but I thought it was fairly well done.  I took my favorite companion (who had never before seen nor read any of Wilde’s work) and he had a good time, which is probably a better gauge of the production than my snobbery.  I do wish there had been some dramaturgical gloss in the program, however, since so much of this wit is out-dated double-entendre (…dramaturgical gloss for those not in the know: “Earnest” is, debatably, a nineteenth-century euphemism for “homosexual” and if you’re not also reading that in the term “bunburying” you’re additionally missing the joke… I could go into a long explanation about the close proximity of the play’s London premiere to Wilde’s trial, but I’ll save that for a time when my brain functions a bit better).  Also, I am of the personal opinion that Lady

Brian Bedford as Lady B in the 2009 Broadway Revival

Bracknell is a role best played by a man of at least six feet in stature and barrel-chested.  TTG’s actress (Kate Beattie) definitely had the fire, and did a great job, but there’s nothing like cross-dressing to really get wild with your Wilde.

6)    Speaking of theatre, I will be hitting 28 Seeds again on Friday.  The show closes this weekend, so if you haven’t seen it yet, get your butt over to BCA and fix that!  Well worth the cost of admission.  I’m also hitting Bad Habit Productions’ Much Ado About Nothing tomorrow which should, at the very least, prove interesting.  The entire show is done with five actors.  This will either be a hurricane, or a train wreck.  Stay tuned.

7)    …I feel like that phrase (“hurricane or a train wreck”) could pretty much describe my life in general.  With great risk comes great reward… or great laughing at yourself when you fall on your face.

8)    I’m going to the gym now.  Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t just shoot their husbands.

A Plague on Both your Houses

So I have this problem….(you know, I really wish I could go back through and easily determine how many blog posts I’ve written in the last year which begin with that phrase).

Inevitably, every year, no matter what else is going on in my life, no matter how well I’m handling things, no matter how tranquil I seem on the outside, I get sick during finals time.  If it’s a particularly stressful midterms time, I get sick then too.

I think the worst part is there is actually nothing I can do about this.  I am a healthy individual.  I work out regularly, my diet is bountiful with vegetables and lean proteins, I limit my carb and sugar intake, and I keep a good balance of work and fun in my life (it helps that I consider “going to the library” a “fun” activity).  I’m convinced that I could be the Buddha and still have this problem.  Even reaching a state of complete and utter spiritual nirvana would not save me from the finals crud.

Oh and even better than that; it’s not just normal sick.  Oh no.  That is FAR too maudlin for

Some year, it's going to be the zombie virus. My finals crud will be the start of the zombie holocaust.

this diva body apparently.  Every year I churn out a new and improved illness that is a perplexing case study for the medical profession at large.  I don’t just get a cold, I get the untreatable cold from hell that doesn’t respond to any medication (even symptom-relieving stuff that SHOULD WORK DAMMIT!).  I don’t just get a flu, I get the undiagnosable flu that Persephone got upon her first visit to the underworld and that’s why she had to eat the pomegranate because there was nothing else she could eat at the time and this flu has never since been heard from in myth or reality but oh man will it make some Medical Resident’s year that they have discovered another case of it!
Previous finals-time illnesses have included (but are not limited to): shingles (yes, people do get shingles… apparently the chicken pox virus attaches itself to your brain stem and outbreaks of shingles can be triggered by any number of things including stress), mono (yes, you can give yourself mono… all the bed-ridden splendor and none the fun-yet-apparently-not-required extracurricular activities that are supposed to precede it), and an undiagnosable eye problem which resulted in my vision fluctuating so wildly that I thought I was losing it and twelve (count them, TWELVE) trips to the eye doctor before they were able to figure out what the heck was going on.

So it just figures that, since I’m in the home stretch of finals, since my birthday is on Sunday and I have a full weekend of celebrating planned (including a requisite booze-a-thon which I will hopefully be able to participate in as my meds will have worn off by then), since I was handling things so well before some cosmic force decided to inexplicably add another thing on top of my teetering pile of stuff I’m juggling, I’m on day seven of the apparently untreatable illness from hell.

I’ve been two rounds of meds already for this (one the preliminary over-the-counter, the second prescription) and had my second doctor’s visit this morning (from which I emerged clutching a veritable atomic bomb of medication in hopes that this will clear things up).  I have missed a week at the gym, four pre-planned social activities, one day of classes, and countless hours of productive time at my computer spent otherwise curled up in a miserable ball on my couch.

There are few things more infuriating (and more devastating) than betrayal.  And the worst kind of betrayal is betrayal from the inside.  It’s not even like I can keelhaul my mutinous body for breaking down over something that my clearly superior mind had well in hand.

I’m working through the misery as best I can.  Really my body needs to recognize that slowing me down is doing it no favors as that simply makes me MORE rather than LESS stressed out.

I promise, body, there is a rest in your future…. Just not until after the holidays.  Stay with me for at least two more weeks, then at least you can collapse in a pile of mush for a few days before we sweep off to fulfill family obligations and spend the break making conference papers readable and getting a jump on the comps list and searching for publication venues and fellowship hunting…

….at least we can do most of that in our pajamas.  Pajamas, like muppets, make everything a little more tolerable.

Smile, it’s Thursday!

Since tomorrow is the big move day, today I’m going to cheat.

My brain’s a little grid-locked with final moving prep.  I will attempt to provide witty commentary.  Mostly, though, here are some fun Shakespeare-related youtube clips.

Words cannot express how much I love this. Muppets make everything better.

….Actually Henry VIII is considered a history, so it wouldn’t fall into either purview. Sorry, Sam.

Though Henry V IS a great show to learn about the human condition with. I think Picard is a pretty good casting director.

I would post the entire episode if I could, but I guess this will have to do.

Another one that I could post a great deal of the episode from… really, though, how can you go wrong with Carmen?

…I especially enjoy the interpretation of Puck’s last line.

A very very young Ian McKellen in Trevor Nunn’s 1978 RSC Macbeth which became a 1979 filmed version. Incidentally, this was staged at “The Other Place”, an RSC theatre opened in 1974. The Other Place was a converted rehearsal room and an all-around big deal for the RSC as it was their first blackbox theatre and thereby represented a HUGE shift from GINORMOUS FANCY SHMANCY RSC PRODUCTIONS to a closer-to-the-audience theatre-for-the-people style. Today, The Other Place has been transformed into a slightly more upscale (but still smaller than the barn that was the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) Courtyard Theatre.

And, to wrap things up…

Have a good weekend!  See you in Boston!