22 May 2016

Life Stories, Year Two


Once again, I am back with my annual installment of Life Stories! For those who are unfamiliar with this series, this post consists of numerous miscellaneous moments that I have been a part of that I have wished to share, but never could find the right time and place to create it. If you would like a taste of last year's Life Stories post, go here. Thus, this post is a bit of the garden for these moments to finally be shown off, in its comedic glory.

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"Now, one of Woodrow Wilson's goals from his 14 Points did become a reality: The League of Nations." The world history teacher tapped on the SmartBoard. The image of a new slide made itself apparent as what had been previously been plastered on the screen slowly dissipated into tiny molecules, a sign of a screen transition. My eyes lids shot more energy than my right hand, unwavering to the new string of coherent characters positioned eight feet before me. I slowly rolled both of my wrists, bracing themselves for another abusive session of fevered, illegible note taking, before my pencil lands on the sheet of paper. 

"And here is a photo of what I bet you all think of the UN." The teacher's fingers hit the board again, revealing an cartoon image-- which, by its round features and medium usage of red, yellow, and orange paint strokes, was a fan creation-- of the Justice League. "Get it? League of Nations?" Some of the class stirred and elicited a small, pitiful, chuckle. They too, by their peeling facades of attentive composure, were attempting to chug through the remaining thirteen days of school.

My pencil landed on the sheet of paper, a part of the ripped leaflets originating from my friend's notebook. A scribble of lead shavings danced their way in a tango line. I was too engrossed with completing the writing task in front of me to nearly miss someone ask, "So, people in the UN have to wear their spandex?" My mind mentally sprouted annoyance-- who would have asked such an innate question?

The teacher, ignoring the student's mocking tone of voice, continued to play along in this cheesy banter. At this point, the cheese wrapped itself around the teacher's smiling mouth as she replied, "Yes, when you have to go to the UN, you have to wear your spandex. And capes."

Another girl abruptly looked up from her notes. Her hands became a whir of energy. "Oh my gosh, why can't people just learn?" Then many, in varying shades of vocals, channeled their inner Edna as we each angrily expressed the words, "NO CAPES!"

We have been brought up well.

---

"What is the meaning of love?" 

I sat on the foldable steps connecting the school's stage to the audience floor, a connecting dot in a circle consisting of all middle schoolers. The swig of Fanta shooting down my throat caused for me to rumble slight choking sounds in all its orange-flavored, fizzling glory. My eyes closed, shaking off the feeling of carbonated water tickling its way around my nose, "YOW! Out of all things you middle schoolers want to talk about on our closing night of Grease, you want to talk love?"

"Well, yeah... What're you doing here, anyways? Shouldn't you be hanging out with your high school friends?" a middle school girl retorts, stuffing down a cupcake. She reached for the napkin neatly placed in middle school Doody's hand, which the male actor pulls away. "Come on! We've literally known each other since preschool. It's not weird."

"They all decided to head home and get Subway. They're still out, while I just got dropped off by my parents." I horked down the remaining chocolate covered macadamia nuts in the bag given to the cast by our choreographer. "It doesn't matter. They'll get here soon. But love? Seriously?"

"Yeah." Doody continued. "I have crushes on two people in this cast, but I don't know if I like them like like-love or if I like them like, 'Oh, this is my Grease family?'"

"So, you can't tell if you're in love in the lovely-dovey way or if you're simply in a platonic relationship with false feelings brought upon by this sense of family?"

"Pretty much."

"Okay." I still was amused by the notion that these middle schoolers knew anything of romantic love, but how could I laugh at them? Even several years older, I had absolutely no idea of the word's meaning itself. "Fine. Let's go around in a circle and you each tell me what your definition of love is. You're first," I said girl sitting left of me.

"I think love is all mushy and disgusting and, uck, it just messes around with your feelings," she answered, plucking the strings of her ukulele. 

The napkin girl spoke up next. "I honestly don't know what love is. Like, I've literally seen in movies and in real life that guys tend to fall in love with their best girl friends since their childhood, which I find pretty stupid. I'm glad that won't happen to me!" 

From the corner of my eye, I saw Doody appearing shocked at that revelation, though he tried his best to hide it. He pursed his lips shut, as if not wanting to talk, and judging by his rather unruly and uncomfortable appearance, I detected something was going on. I strained to mask my own revelation as my thoughts quietly uttered the words,

"Uh-oh."

"Um, uh..." This awkwardness had to brush away, quick. "Hey, Kenickie!" I waved the middle school actor over to our group, wanting someone to lighten the mood. The boy sprints up to us, with his prop flip-switch hair comb in his hand. "Tell us about your definition of love."

"Love?" His expression resorted to a sedated-like composure. He stood up taller, with his shoulders slightly arching back and his chest puffed up proudly-- his entire poise had altered. "Love," he began, outstretching the palms of his hands, "is the mutual agreement between two people in which them attempt to fulfill their desire to be with someone and to not be desecrated in their fear of loneliness." Finger tips came together, and he nodded, satisfied with his response.

Doody goes up to Kenickie, and whispered something in his ear. "Pst, pst... Distraction... pst, away." I raised my eyebrows to the two boys, curious as to what scheme they were brewed within their mostly silent exchange. They both nod heads.

"Hey, look over there!" Kenickie exclaimed, splatting uneven amounts of fake-excitement in his voice. Doody had disappeared. The napkin girl gave me an odd look, before her expression grew wide. My gaze followed the pathway of her's, revealing to be middle school Doody running away. "Huh... DOODY, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO RUN THE OTHER WAY!"

"AUUUUGGGHHHH!" The blurred figure of the napkin girl whizzed past, and the only expression I saw was the look of confusion and alarm which stood equal to her speed.

Ah, middle school.

---

"I want you all to get out a piece of paper." The classroom, mixed with freshman through seniors, shuffled to reach for their binders as the English teacher continued. Our classroom assignments that were someone dysfunctional than the usual coaching groups arguing about the themes within the papers written by Plato and Huzinga-- after all, why would have the teacher spent half of the class period attempting for the rest of the class to decipher his reasons behind playing Jessie J's "Price Tag?"

"Now, each of you have to write about what your future will be like in ten years. "

The corners of my lips spread into a smile. Writing about my future in ten years would be easy-- the plans of my future was something which rolled around in my mind before I went to bed. My fingers clench the wooden pencil, processing my thoughts for transcribing, but nothing came into my mind. 

Minutes passed. The deadline for the paper was coming close, so immediately I had scribbled the best of what I remembered from my nightly ponderings. I felt extremely flustered, reading what I had written on my paper. "In ten years, I imagine myself living in a stable house due to my financially stable job, enjoying life with healthy friends and possibly a healthy relationship. My writing career will have transcended, meaning I will be published and somewhat well-known with several of my books, which will be aimed towards the middle-grade and YA audience, being on the New York Best Sellers list."

I pulled at my shirt collar. Drops of perspiration settled on my skin. "Oh my shish kebabs," I muttered to myself slowly. "This is literally making me question everything that I have planned for my entire future."

---

A/N: Before reading this next story, first listen to this song down below, if you are unfamiliar with it, otherwise, it will not make sense.


The stage lights danced overhead, dancing upon me, as the tech crew, alongside my director and stage manager, were discussing stage light technicals. Being the first one to arrive an hour earlier than call time on the last day of tech week had its perks-- and disadvantages. I pulled at the thick jacket I wore that day, which I had regretted wearing due to the birth of ice sleet brought upon the town, rather than the usual snow. Being asked to help and stand in solidarity on the same stage that tour Broadway shows used for a whole fifteen minutes made me extremely exuberance and giddiness. I tried my best to contain my elatedness by wallowing my dripping snow boots through the spiked pieces of tape, restraining myself from pulling at my camera out of my cold ridden pockets and taking photographs.

The actor playing the role of Ching Ho appeared from the side of the stage. "Hi, Morning!" she exclaimed enthusiastically, running suddenly onto the stage. Her excitement did not plan to be contained as she stood in front of me, her feet shuffling to the reminiscent echoes of tap music. Despite being a newcomer to the snow stunned state, her cheeks didn't show any nipping by the one and only snow prince, Jack Frost. "What are you doing alone on stage?"

"Oh, um, hi, Ching Ho. The director told me to stand here for a while, so, here I am." 

"Cool! Well, I'm going to stand here with you." She shuffled in closer and stood right next to me. "I can't believe that we're opening in three days, on this stage! I can totally feel that vibe that Broadway performers get, even though we're on a smaller stage..." Slowly, as she continued rambling on, other cast members began to trickle onto the stage. I tried to hide my disappointment that my solitary time onstage was disappearing. "I also feel like we're like the cast members in Rent, when they sing 'Seasons of Love,' before Act Two."

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. One aspect I've learned in the world of musical theatre: never turn away a song opportunity if it can be brought up into the conversation. "Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred moments so dear..."

Slowly, the rest of the cast chimed into the song. The sound filled the auditorium, rising and falling as we continued through the various verses. Our director, who was so caught up in focus lights on the control panel, did not notice our unified song until she rubbed the temples of her forehead and screamed, "GO GET YOUR MAKEUP ON!"

---

"Come on, sit down. We're having a confession circle sort of thing." Our softball team sat in the circle on the grass-ridden field. Dirt clumps emerged from the ground as we clawed our fingers deep within the earth, pulling the dead vegetation out to make way for the budding new grass. The coach of our team said that he wanted us to discuss one of the plays which went wrong, during our first game, and state what could have been alternatively accomplished.

One of the girls on our softball team stuttered as she spoke of her play. "There was a ball batted to the outfield that I tried to catch, but I wasn't able t-to c-catch, and well, everyone remembers what happened next." Faint smirks appeared on everyone's faces as we recalled the memory of our center player running backwards and falling smack onto the ground.

"And what could you have done better?" The coach inquired.

"I could have.... I don't know. I could have turned around and ran back faster?"

"Good."

Another girl, one of the catchers on our team, snickered. Something fishy was going on, I sensed it in the way that she sat up straighter from her previous lounging position. She held her right hand out, swallowed hard to possibly hide whatever devious plan she was about to unfold. No one spoke. "Center field, your sins have been forgiven."

Instantaneously, our entire team bursted into hysterics.

---

The Grease Casts Show Rituals, a Transcript

Act One, Scene One

[Scene: The DIRECTOR banned the CAST to undergo their pre-show ritual, involving screaming. EUGENE FLORCZYK, in charge of leaving the CAST in warmups, creates a new plan.]

ALL
"AhhhhhhHHHHHHHHH!"

EUGENE 
"Eugene!"

CAST 
"FLORCZYK!"

EUGENE 
"Eugene!"

CAST 
"FLORCZYK!"

EUGENE 
"Who's you're favorite character?"

CAST 
"EUGENE FLORCZYK! AHHHHH!"


Act Two, Scene Eight

[SCENE: The Grease CAST heads out the door after one of their performances. ROGER rallies up the cast.]

ROGER: "What team?"

CAST: "WILDCATS!"

ROGER: "What team?"

CAST: "WILDCATS!"*

ROGER: "WILDCATS!"

CAST: "Get your head in the game!"

* Note: Later, to represent the cast's pride for Rydell High, "wildcats" was represented by "ringtails," the mascot, mascot of the fictitious school in Grease. This was also one of many instances that High School Musical references were brought up throughout this school year.

---

Once again, by the time you have read this, I will have embarked on another trip and will be absent from the blogging world. Since this is a short vacation, I do not have any other posts planned until I return, which will be around June 5th.

Unlike last year, my wifi where I will be staying will actually quite strong, but since I am not allowed to use to an actual laptop or desktop, so I will be cleaning out the daily influx that I gained in my inbox as well as making sure that things on the blog run smoothly. Also, I will install the new design on my blog once I get back, unlike the previous two years where I installed the new design on the last day of school.

Hope to see you all in two weeks!

15 May 2016

May Tidings


May tidings have been plentiful for me! The summer vibe is ever-growing in my town. Despite the fact that I have been cooped within my room these past couple of weeks, frantically studying for finals and ready to embark on my summer journey, I have been enjoying, during the weekends, many social activities. Usually, anything which requires me to be in a room filled with people tends to tire me out within thirty minutes (Walk the Moon understands my dilemma when they say "talking is hard") but they are a nice change from my usual seclusion. Send me good vibes for when I take my finals this weekend, everyone.

One word: food.

A numerous number of seniors throughout the field area.

Here is a photo of my friend, entering in the bouncy house.

At the beginning of the month, I, along several other friends, ended up attending an the annual end-of-the-year party hosted by the school, which took place after the grade crossover assembly. There was a food line, along with many bouncy house activities-- the overcast hovering above our heads that day did not damper our moods. One of my friend's sisters challenged me to race against her through a bouncy house obstacle course, which I accepted, immediately entitling me to endure her taunts, bellowing, "YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE!"

 Waiting in line for the bouncy house.

Here's the sign depicting class colors! I'm not stating which one I wore and painted all over my face, though.

One of my favorite little attractions at the event which I wasn't able to capture a photo of was this mechanism known as the Wipe Out. Eight people would stand on platforms while attempting to evade two bars on an arm rotating both clockwise and counterclockwise. The top bar on the arm caused people to duck, while the bottom was one people had to jump. Many times, I jumped and would be knocked off to simply land on my head, something that wasn't entirely good for myself-- but the landing's impact was softened by the bouncy, air floor structure.

 The back of this coloring sheet had etches of blue, so we just called it, "The Side of Sadness."

There are a lot of kids in the studio I dance with, thus, the stuffed elephant.

Kids coloring backstage.

Our finished coloring project! It was a team effort to color.

On the seventh, I attended a dance recital to perform "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vanellas, and "What is this Feeling?" from the musical Wicked, but little did I know that one of my friends from the production of The Phantom Tollbooth would be there! We decided to grab a stash of crayons and color various coloring sheets, and once we were tired of that, we resigned to playing chess. Chess was not something I was entirely familiar with, but the concept, for a long time, did intrigue me. Thanks to my friend, I understand how to play the game! It's a bit sad, though. Three people that I've known since I became an active participant in the performing arts community are moving away-- one to Texas, one to Wisconsin, and one to India. It does make me teary-eyed and sad that they're leaving, but I know they are starting a new chapter of their lives and I am keeping in contact via social media and snail mail!

How have I not had Cold Stone ice cream before? Now I somewhat understand the hype behind it.

My book competition team finally had a season-end party, even though the season ended several months beforehand. Our coach, the librarian, allowed us to each choose our own Cold Stone ice cream (I've never had any before), and eat within the library (one of the perks of being a book competition kid), while maintaining a facade that the library was still closed for AP testing. All four of us on our team, not including our coach, caught up and discussed some of the nerdiest references.

Japanese food is good.

It was a very Japanese-themed weekend-- completely unintentional.

On Mother's Day weekend, my family and I went out to a sushi restaurant, then afterwards, my brother and I watched the movie Spirited Away, which is now one of my all-time favorite movies ever. If you haven't watched the movie or any of Studio Ghibli's films, I definitely recommend for you to watch some of them. The plot line is weaved intricately, holding much substance within its numerous layers-- you won't be disappointed.

 The combined band and orchestra rehearsing.

Audience members waiting for the graduation ceremony to begin.

As a member of the audition choir at my school, I was required to perform at graduation, a daunting task because it was going to be broadcast throughout the entire state. This was my first time doing so, as well as attending one. The fact that people I know were graduating fazed me. Most of the people graduating this year I've known for years. The weight slowly began to dawn on me not just at graduation, but also as I listened to Senior Statements, greeted my book competition team member congratulations, and hugged goodbye to one of the seniors I have known since my early days of middle school. I simply cannot fathom that in less than a couple of years, I will be in their shoes, removing my graduation cap and throwing it up into the air.

 One of the coach's kids ended up making a string cup phone...

 ... Which he made us all try.

Anxiously watching the game.

 Team watching as the pitcher begins to release the ball.

The team gets one of its members to begin batting at home plate.

The softball season ended, and I can honestly say it was a rather profound experience-- it has been awhile since I've played a team sport, and the amount of growth which occurred throughout the entire season was exponential. I can actually catch and throw better than I did nearly two months ago, and my batting average is rather crazy. I don't know whether I want to continue with softball or start up again with track, but hopefully whichever sport I end up playing again, I'll be happy with it.



Lastly, I attended the Grease cast party, where I caught up with so many people (and talked a lot of the seniors). It was a nice day outside, and so our cast split up into two different teams to play Capture the Flag, whose name was dubbed to be Captain America: Civil War. 

The rules of the game were simple: no pushing or shoving can be involved, the "flags" (two gray sweatshirts) must be visible couldn't be tied to a tree, and the shortest person on the team had to be able to reach it. Since I was the shortest, it took some time to brainstorm a place to hide the flag, until one of the show's leads suggested to hide the flag within the passenger's seat of her car, which we all agreed to.

Team Captain America plans their strategy.

Team Iron Man frolics around with bubbles.

The game began with the montage where our team leader, acting as the titular character, said to the other team's leader, "I'm sorry, Tony. We can't be under the government control-- you're on your own." The beginning sounded intense, only to be bogged down to many swirling in circles as they blew bubbles. Another friend of mine and I were in charge of scavenging the forest area for any lurking enemy members, involving a lot of screaming and throwing of my camera bag. The entire day was so much fun, and by the end of the event, I came running into my parents' car, sticky sweat glazed on my skin, complaining that I was extremely tired.

Once vacation begins, I will be able to post more frequently! I haven't heard from you all in a while, so tell me what your summer plans are, when you're getting out of school, the whole shebang-- I'd love to hear about it.