Friday, October 25, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Days 44, 45, 46, 47, and 48. Whelp.

My apologies for being absent so long. I have been doing challenges each day, but I've honestly had a lot going on, and been unable to spend a lot of time online. So, I shall now do my best to mentally re-stitch the crazy, threadbare, patchwork quilt that has been my week in an attempt to reconstruct for you the challenges that I've done while I was away from all you lovely humans.

Day 44: I finished reading Two Gentlemen of Verona, a Shakespeare play that I had never studied, seen, or read before. I'm currently working on a monologue from that play for Young Company.

Day 45: I learned how to write a geometry proof by contradiction. Whoop-de-do. But honestly, it was kind of fascinating. I like them much better than normal proofs; I feel like they're more creative.

Day 46: I finished reading A Tale of Two Cities. I may or may not have started crying on the Metro.

Day 47: I used a Shakespeare lexicon for the first time. And I. Want. One.

Day 48: Today, I discovered the sheet music from some songs I had written when I was about four years old. Now, before you begin wondering how on earth I learned to write music when I was four, let me assure you that it was transcribed for me at the time by my father. For the first time, I played these pieces that I had written with the eye and ear of someone who actually understands music theory. I've gotta say, I wasn't awful when I was four. The songs actually have discernible melody lines (for the most part), stay within a given key, and (mostly) follow the basic rules of music and melody. That being said, the four songs I wrote are creatively titled "Lemon Drop," "The Doughnut Song," "Lollipop," and "Cupcake." The lyrics are even more amusing and confection inspired. I'll upload clips if I get a chance tomorrow.

I really am sorry for my absence. I know that the few of you who read this blog aren't exactly waiting on pins and needles to devour my every post as soon as I publish it, but I said I'd be more on top of this, and I wasn't. Honestly, it makes my life easier if I don't have to try to remember the things I did for the challenge for a string of days, so I'll definitely be making more of an effort from here on out to write about a challenge the day I do it.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Days 39, 40, 41, 42 AND 43...

*slinks into blog through the back window* hey guys...

I don't need to regale you with the reason that I've been absent more than is customary, for three reasons: 1, I don't feel like it. 2, you probably don't feel like reading about it. 3, the version that you will conjure from the depths of your imagination will probably be much more entertaining than the truth ever could be, and I don't want to spoil that for you.

Day 39: I tried a new kind of memorization technique in Shakespeare. It consists of saying a piece of text aloud as one continually draws a picture of what is happening. If it weren't 11pm where I live, I would upload a scan of my cartoonish depiction of Hamlet's soliloquy. Perhaps tomorrow.

Day 40: I learned of the existence of the dhole, a fox-like animal that probably lives in Asia.

Day 41: I watched a Disney short that I had never seen before. Boring, I know, but it was from Tangled. What can I say? I adore that movie, and the fact that Flynn Rider isn't real is a real source of grief for me and often feels like a very physical wound in my side.

Day 42: I finished season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, I acknowledge what a hopelessly lame challenge this is. But let me point out that the reason for my absence on this blog (as you've probably guessed, you clever thing) is that I have been (say it with me) extraordinarily busy and tired this week! So I'm giving myself a pass here. And it is true that I had never done that before.

Day 43: I began season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Deal with it.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely week. Onwards and upwards!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 38

Today, for the first time ever, I grew a large, healthy crop of mysterious orange mushrooms. Completely by accident.

Yes, you read that right. No, I am not making this up as part of an elaborately crafted excuse to get out of doing today's challenge. Still don't believe me? Please observe these photos:

What you are looking at is half of my tea garden. When I checked on my plants this afternoon with the intent of surveying them to see what kind of a final fall crop I was going to get this year, to my great surprise, I found that a bunch of very healthy, very happy, bright orange mushrooms had taken up residence alongside my mints. What do you call a group of mushrooms? A mob? A pack? A murder, like crows? I like the sound of "a murder of mushrooms," so I'm gonna go with that one.

And so, because I have truly never done so before, I am counting "accidentally growing a murder of mysterious orange mushrooms" as today's challenge. These sorts of things just seem to happen to me, and I've decided to simply roll with it.

As always, lemme know if you've been following along or if you have suggestions for me!



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Days 35, 36 and 37

I am still alive. And I am still doing new things. I have just been thoroughly exhausted during the past couple of days, and when I wasn't being thoroughly exhausted I was out of the house. I'll switch back to posting every day from now on, don't worry.

Day 35: Just for fun, I began to read a Shakespeare play that I'd never studied at all before: Pericles.

Day 36: I learned the word "Lethologica." It means 'the inability to recall a precise word for something.'

Day 37: Today, I made French toast in a mug in the microwave. It was pretty good, and satisfyingly quick to make, but next time I'm putting in maple syrup, as it was a bit dry and not sweet enough. Here's a link to the recipe that I used:

Also (and this is completely off topic), I figured out one thing that I definitely want to do as part of my future career as a musician/actor. Observe the process that I went through to reach this epiphany:

My brain: "Hey, Maddie, did you know that you've got an entire board on Pinterest devoted to 'how to be a princess?'"

Me: "What did you say? I was singing a Disney song and I couldn't hear you."

My brain: "Also, I've noticed that you're planning to be Cinderella for Halloween this year, despite the fact that you are sixteen years old."

Me: "Yeah. So?"

My brain: "You also really like acting and singing and being nice to children."

Me: "Brain, where are you going with this?"

My brain: "Maddie, why don't you just give in already and aim to work for Disney as a character actor someday?"

Me: "That sounds like a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?"

My brain: *hangs head in despair*

So yeah, this is a thing that is happening now. I really want to work as a character actor at a Disney park. Preferably as a princess, because I've been a princess in a play before, and it was pretty wonderful to have little girls I didn't know run up to me for hugs and autographs. But honestly, I'll take whatever I can get.

May all your dreams come true. Except for that one about showing up naked for a test that you didn't know you were supposed to have been studying for all year.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 34

Busy day today! I shall rant about it for a moment, and then tell you all about today's challenge.

I had my first Girl Scout meeting of the year, and my friend Daniella came and is most likely joining the troop! (For those who don't know, I have an awesome Girl Scout troop. We are more colloquially known as the Evil Minions-- a strange tradition dating back to 2008. Basically, you had to be there. Our mascot is a rubber duck. We actually do hardcore camping as well as other things, so don't tell me all about how Girl Scouts don't do as many outdoor activities as Boy Scouts). Anyway, we had a great time and a really productive planning session. Then I was off to rehearsal, where we did a lot of scansion (analysis of Shakespeare's writing). So, all in all, it was a good day, albeit very busy one. In the cracks between activities, I was pretty much doing as much homework as humanly possible.

But I still managed to do today's challenge. As I type this, I currently have a scratchy gold pseudo-necktie (read: re-purposed costume sash) around my neck that I tied myself. It does not match my pajamas, but I think I am probably mature enough to move past that.

Actually, I found an entire website dedicated to tying ties in different configurations. Apparently, there are all sorts of different knots that can go with various kinds of outfits. Who knew? Certainly not me.

Farewell, dear readers. Farewell.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Days 32 and 33

Been off for a while, as I've been exceptionally busy and tired (shocker, I know). By the way, I originally titled this post "Project 365 New Things: Days 32 and 34." I am that tired. I only mention this as a sort of disclaimer: If I wake up tomorrow and re-read this to find that I in fact wrote it while sleepwalking and these conglomerations of letters that I now believe to be words turn out to be mere gibberish when both the morning light and my common sense and coherency return, do not be surprised. However, if you've made it this far in the post, that is hopefully not the case.

Day 32: I got further up towards a headstand on my own than I ever had before. My legs briefly brushed the wall in a much-anticipated gesture before they realized that they were not in their normal orientation, panicked, and made a sorry and rapid return to the earth's surface. Still working on it!

Day 33: Today, I learned the word "pecuniary" from reading A Tale of Two Cities for lit group. Good ol' Charles. It means 'monetary' or 'economic.' Example: "Despite her unfortunate pecuniary predicament precipitated by congress' inability to participate in progress, Maddie still, against all odds, managed to pay for Metro fare to her Thespian training. At least, so far."

I am tired. Dear and gentle readers, I cannot seem to stress this enough. I am rapidly losing the ability to form coherent thoughts, let alone string them into comprehensible sentences. In the immortal words of one of my fellow company members, forever spoken into living memory after we had just done a particularly difficult and tiring physical exercise: "Maddie no verb, adjective or adverb. Maddie noun."

Farewell, friends. As the moon rises sluggishly in the sky and the owl goes about his dark and organic business, I bid adieu to this day and ask myself why, as a culture, we are so inordinately obsessed with both cheesy, poetic descriptions of the nighttime and random French words.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 31

Today, I got a Pinterest account. Well, technically I got it yesterday, but I really got into it and started exploring it today, so I'm counting it as Day 31's challenge. Deal with it.

I am sort of addicted. Pinterest is very shiny and pretty, and I find myself checking it more often than is probably good for my health and the well-being of my homework. I have spent more time looking at pictures of baby geckos today than I did when I was looking to adopt my own gecko years ago.

And now, I would like to share with you an example of Pinterest's marvelous, state-of-the-art search function. Observe:

Yes. Because if I can't find the page of my best friend, the next best thing is obviously corgis. Duh.

Farewell, friends. Good night.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 30

Today was the first truly relaxing day I've had in a while. I know from experience that if I don't spend a while simply taking it easy when I have a cold, it will persist for weeks. So I was only minimally productive today. It was really nice.

For today's challenge, I learned of the existence of the dwarf azalea, which grows in Asia. (It's the picture in the middle).

This picture was shamelessly stolen from,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=84&cntnt01returnid=21

For those who aren't botany enthusiasts, here's a picture of a regular azalea to give you an idea of why I found the existence of the dwarf azalea to be both entertaining and adorable.
This picture was shamelessly stolen from
And then after I had been googling pictures of tiny azaleas for a while, I began to think about other tiny plants. Observe:

Thank you for sharing with me this brief foray into the land of adorable, teeny tiny plants.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 29

Today I was very busy with homework, attending to a sick family member, and trying to register myself for the PSAT, so I sort of left off doing today's challenge until, like, an hour ago (read: 10 pm. I don't know why, but the timestamp on my posts is always off). I was out of ideas, too. But luckily for me, Drew came to my rescue with the idea of writing a letter to someone by hand. I have, of course, done this before, but it's been a while. To make it even more challenging and new, I decided to write him a letter backwards, so that it could be read in a mirror.

Now, I've read that some synesthetes are able to write backwards very easily. Let me assure you that I am not one of these people. At the end of three and a half paragraphs, my brain was like a very colorful alphabet soup. It was actually pretty fun, though. I enjoy word puzzles and things like that immensely, and the combination of writing in a way I'm not used to while actually trying to record something interesting in a message to someone was rather entertaining, in a head-breaking sort of way. Tomorrow, I shall place this letter in the mailbox and send it on its way to Drew's residence. I think I'll write the address on the envelope in the normal direction, however.

And now, sweet and gentle readers, I bid you goodnight.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 28

Today, Young Company was cancelled because of the shootings at the Capitol. I'm just sort of tired of humans being awful, and that's all that I have to say about it right now.

In happier news, my new thing today was that I participated in a role-playing game of the dice and character-sheet variety. I don't know if I've extensively mentioned my literature group on this blog, but here's a sketch of them just for background. The group consists of six of my friends and me, and every Thursday we meet and discuss a work of literature. I love all of these people. We drink a lot of tea. We have deep discussions about characters. We talk about a lot of fandoms. We call ourselves "hermits united."

Anyway, today we brought a Doctor Who RP game to play after the discussion. It went quite well. Before we even began, we lost the dice (I think Ellen had been sitting on them). Kaila and I had an argument over whose character was more attractive, and Elizabeth lamented the fact that Martha Jones didn't get a special object whenever Rose Tyler was in the game. We all discussed the metaphorical resonance of this rule. Then we realized that Elizabeth didn't have a discernible pulse, and was probably dead. She thought this was amusing. Then, Elena, Kaila, and Missy and I began checking for our own pulses, and after some initial fear, finally found them.

I suppose we sort of deviated from the direction of the game when our characters stole a shop full of unattended candy, all donned bikinis (especially Captain Jack), and they all boarded a pirate ship on which they found the body of Jay Gatsby, covered in shirts. At this point, Joseph, our game master, claimed that there weren't any rules in the game book that pertained to this scenario. I remain skeptical on this point.

I don't think we're ever going to get invited to D&D meets. Maybe we'll become writers for SNL or something instead.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 27

Today I did two new things. One was intentional, and the other was an accident that I rather wish hadn't happened.

The purposeful new thing was (wait for it): I FINALLY got into a headstand. For those who don't know, I have been attempting this ever since Young Company started a few weeks ago. (Has it really only been a few weeks? Hard to believe). Now, before you start sending away for trophies to be engraved with my name on them, let me make two things clear: I was supported by a wall at the time, and my friend actually had to grab my feet and help me get into position. BUT. Success was, ever so briefly, mine. It was weird. And pretty nice.

The accidental thing was that I witnessed a theft. It was quite jolting. A few of us were walking back to the Metro from rehearsal, and as we were passing through the turnstile, this guy came running towards us, vaulted over the barrier, and ran out of the station. This woman (whose iPhone had been taken) was yelling "THIEF!" What kills me is that I was literally right there-- less than a foot away from the guy-- and I did nothing. I just didn't react fast enough. My reptilian brain was totally ready, but it couldn't get the rest of my mind to do anything. When he was in midair, he was RIGHT in front of me. I could have just given him a solid push and he would have stopped. But I didn't, merely because my brain didn't react fast enough to grasp the situation and do something about it. I know it's probably slightly irrational, but I actually feel guilty. Because I am a thought-y sort, I got to thinking about how society lulls us into false senses of security, which we invite, because we all want to feel safe. But it's an illusion. At any given moment, literally anything could happen, and we forget that in favor of the illusion of normality. Humans are so wedded to ideas of 'how things should go' that many of us don't react properly when stuff like this happens. I thought about a lot of other things along that theme, too. Anyway, I really just wanted to talk all of it through with my friend Drew on the train home, because he really helps me think through stuff like this. But he STILL lives multiple states away from me. I wish he'd stop that. It's annoying.

Anyway, I hope your day was better than mine. Hasta luego.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Project 365 New Things: Day 26

Is it October already? Jeepers.

So, I'm absolutely mentally and physically exhausted, and I'm still fighting this cold. Thus, I shall try to keep this report brief.

For today's challenge, I ate a cupcake with a spoon. I would not recommend this to others, on the grounds that it is a very unwieldy way to consume one's dessert, and I ended up having to fish chunks of cake out of a pool of ketchup. So, technically, I suppose I did two new things today, because in an attempt to salvage the chunks of cake, I tried to eat them. Do not eat chocolate cupcake chunks with ketchup. It only leads to despair and heartfelt sighs. Mark my words.

In other news, I came back to rehearsals today. I was still feeling a little too sick to do this, but I am incredibly stubborn when it comes to my passions, and so I may or may not have let on that I was feeling a little healthier than I actually was. However, I did not pay too dearly for this, as for the first half of the workshop, we all lay on the floor in a dimly-lit area and closed our eyes as we did various voice exercises. It was actually quite lovely and very relaxing. And I enjoyed it from a synesthetic point of view, too, because one of the exercises involved letting out vibrating 'puffs' of sound with each breath. As I lay there with my eyes shut, I got to watch the different colors of everyone's vocalizations in this rainbow of colored dots. It was absolutely beautiful.

In other news, I am out of a dog walking job until congress can act like adults, because my employer is forcibly home from work (she works for the government). I don't know how this will effect my ability to pay for Metro fare to Young Company, and it's actually concerning me a bit. I've got some money saved up, of course, but I don't know how long this madness will last. And that's all I'm going to say about it here, because I'm honestly just sick of arguing, politics, whining, whining about politics, arguing about politics... well, you get the idea. Congress, you had *one* job...

May sunny fields be involved in your future activities.