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Wahoo! I’m 2!

It’s May 30th, 2015; today marks the 2nd blogiversary of That’s So Jacob!

Today was kind of a lazy, rainy day, so here’s a look back at some posts you may have missed this past year; they didn’t get many views at the time, but I think that they’re among my best posts.

Take a look:

3/3/15: Flip The Script: Hayavadana

2/14/15: Flip The Script: The Post Office

2/12/15: The Little Red Book of Mau Mau

1/25/15: Miss Universe 2014-ish, my semi-serious top 16

9/30/14: The Queen of Soul-ed Out?

8/21-29/14: Ronnie in Retrospect, and Part II

So, enjoy, friends!

Here’s to another great year.

I hope it won’t be the Terrible Twos.

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A To-Do List for 2014

So, apparently, it’s New Year’s Eve.

I feel like if I write a super-sappy post I’ll look back next year and say, “Jacob, what the hell is this?”

So instead I will make a list of things. This is not a list of new year’s resolutions. Resolutions are so…passe. The whole concept is like, “OMG I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it’ll be the BEST DAY EVER AND MY LIFE WILL BE GLORIOUS THE ANGELS WILL SING”…um, no. I’m still going to be me when I wake up tomorrow. We don’t have resolutions for any other holiday. In fact, for most other holidays require us to make lists. Wish lists, shopping lists, that whole naughty-and-nice list thing, I could go on and on…

So I’m going to make a 2014 To-Do List. No big whoop, just some things that are on my mind.

BEHOLD…

To-Do List

  1. Write more blog posts. Self-explanatory.
  2. Start a new writing project, and finish some old ones. Possible.
  3. Keep up the 4.0 streak. I’ve never had it until this semester, so hey, why can’t I just keep it around?
  4. Exercise. Not more, not less, just exercise.
  5. Read more. Books, not BuzzFeed.
  6. Avoid spending too much time on phone. Apps = death.
  7. Start keeping Shabbat again. Or at least stop using technology.
  8. Maintain better friendships. A visit to Houston might be in order for this to happen, otherwise I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing in Madison.
  9. Do something active whenever possible. Not too keen on running outdoors, especially in wintry Wisconsin, but gym, dance class, or maybe even judo if I can find the time.
  10. Pay more attention in class. My new iPad is not helping with this, but maybe it’ll get me to start.

To-Done List (AKA Things I Got Done in 2013)

  1. Got into a PhD program.
  2. Did some fun dramaturgy work.
  3. Found amazing help when I needed it most.
  4. Defended my thesis.
  5. Got a master’s degree. (I can’t believe I JUST thought of this)
  6. Got back in the game with Alpha Phi Omega at UW.
  7. Got published in a print journal.
  8. Made some good friends.
  9. Spent less time being sad.
  10. Started a blog and stuck with it.

That’s all for this year folks. See ya in the morning.

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A Moment in Orlando

For the past 4 days, I’ve been here in Orlando, Florida, at my favorite event of the entire year: the ATHE conference. This it the fourth consecutive ATHE I’ve attended (Los Angeles 2010, Chicago 2011, Washington 2012) and by far the most chaotic and busiest. There was just so much going on, so many amazing panels and workshops and performances that I desperately wanted to attend but couldn’t for whatever reason. I’m typing this from Orlando International Airport where I’m waiting for my flight back to Houston. I can’t believe that the trip is already almost over.

As a veteran conference-goer, I advised newcomers against “conference burnout,” or attending too many events and getting sensory overload and brain saturation. I kind of did the reverse this year, I felt, conference “underload,” since between staying at an off-site hotel and skipping basically two days of the conference to explore Magic Kingdom and EPCOT with Nana – who, after much deliberating, decided to come with me on her first-ever vacation/flight/hotel stay, I managed to attend two half-panels, neither of which were particularly insightful. I did, however attend the LGBT pre-conference cabaret show, three grad student sessions, the keynote speech/performance by Bill Irwin, the opening reception, the all-conference meeting (which I got to for the first time ever and won’t be missing again), 2 focus group meetings (Dramaturgy, where I got elected as Grad Student Rep alongside Walter and LaRonika, and the first ten minutes of Religion & Theatre), and the Mickee Faust paid performance. Not included in that list were multiple nights in the pool and hot tub, Dramaturg’s Night Out, catching up with old friends, and making new ones. Oh, and I also spoke on a panel this morning.

An interesting moment happened yesterday as I was running in between the two focus group meetings, which were 2 floors apart. Right in the middle floor, between the escalators and the registration booth, was a camera overlooking 2 chairs with a clothesline strung between them. On one chair was a marker, some blank slips of paper, a jar with written-on slips of paper, and a jar with written-on slips of paper rapidly disintegrating into water. On the other chair was a real-life person (the identity of whom I discovered later when I saw her setting it up elsewhere) with a black hood over her head and body and an exposed back, with words written on it in Sharpie. The instructions, written on papers clipped to the clothesline, stated to write down a fear or anxiety on the paper, put it in the jar, draw another paper, write that word on her back so she could “carry around our burden,” and then place that slip in the jar with water.

I was in a rush, but was drawn to the jar. I wrote down “constant self-doubt” and dropped it into the jar, drawing “loneliness” out. I wrote that word in neat script under her left shoulder blade, and then dropped the paper in the water jar. Other feelings were written on her back too. I walked back to the person and the camera recording her, stood for a minute, and reflected on both the feeling I dropped in the jar and the feeling I wrote on her back. I can’t remember what I specifically thought about; I just focused. To the woman’s back I stood and whispered “thank you,” and then darted away to the dramaturgy meeting, where I was elected grad student rep. This meeting is always fun but this time, I was feeling particularly inspired and at peace, enjoying every moment of the room around me and the people in it, my dramaturgs, my colleagues, my friends. As I rushed out at the meeting’s end, I slipped back downstairs for something and passed her by again. Someone had written my phrase, in big, bold letters on the right side of her back, right at the top over her shoulder blade. I didn’t even stop as I walked by, but smiled knowing that someone else had drawn the paper and hopefully had been as affected by the words as I had been when writing down someone else’s biggest fear. It was a moment of peace in an otherwise busy vacation. I felt rejuvenated and refreshed, if only for a brief moment.

I can’t wait for next year’s ATHE, which will be in mid-July in Scottsdale, Arizona. Right now, people are lining up to get on our plane, but I think I’m going to sit for a moment more to enjoy the last bit of Orlando.