Saturday, October 09, 2010

it's been a long long time

I'm going to try to get back into the habit of writing- not that I have anything very interesting to write about, but because I like to be able to look back on things and remember them. I'd be pretty shocked if anyone still checks this page, but hey, maybe it can just be for me.

So, let's see. I had a really wonderful summer teaching cherubs at Northwestern- great kids, more confidence in myself as a teacher, good friends on staff with me. I got to see most of my Chicago people, although not nearly as much as I would have liked. "6 weeks" always sounds like a really long time, but it's not, especially when seeing friends usually means trekking into Chicago. A few really unique things happened, both in the form of visits- Bre came to visit on her way back to her parents' house from Michigan, and Danielle came to visit from New York. Well, Danielle wasn't visiting ME, specifically, but she was in Chicago so we went to Hecky's with Kevin Welch. I'd seen her in May, but it was awfully nice to see her again. It's great to have friends who don't change, don't randomly turn on you or stop acknowledging that you exist. I feel like my friendship with Danielle will always operate on the same level, and that's exactly the way I like it.

Breezy coming to visit was interesting- basically, she had just been to Michigan to sign divorce papers, and came and spent the night in dorm on the way back. We had a lot of fun the first night she was there- we had snacks and played Ball Game (more on Ball Game in a minute) and watched movies with the rest of the staff. I think she was happy to be with people her own age, and I was really, incredibly happy to see her. It was the first time I'd seen her since she and Jake had moved away from LA in May 2009. The next day, though, I think the reality of signing divorce papers sort of hit her, and she was pretty upset- and it didn't help that I had to be roaming the campus, checking on 17 year olds shooting documentaries. It's an issue I really don't know how to help her with, and I feel like I'm an awful friend because of it. I am really glad she came, though- and we got to go to Panera, just like the days of AFI.

So, like I said, more about Ball Game! Ball Game is an utterly ridiculous game the staff invented over the course of the summer. We were in Jones this year, a Residential College with suites instead of long hallways, so we had a couple suites staked out as "faculty only." My suite became Ball Game Suite, and we spent many a happy hour throwing a tennis ball back and forth, with lots of nonsensical rules and variations. The Ball Game Game Ball is a tennis ball with decorative black gaff tape on it, and the Ball Wand is a 2' flourescent light bulb used to get the Game Ball out from under the couches; there are the Primary Chairs, 1st Chair, and 2nd Chair, plus "the keys" and floating, Phantom Ball Shaggers, if there are enough people playing. There is Intellectual Ball Game, and Super Intellectual Ball Game. There are Ball Stares, and Ball Steals, particular things to call when you are traversing the suite and want to play (New Player!)/do not want to play (Fragile!), or when you are playing and you have to respond to a text (Text Out!), and there are special rules when Zanne, one of the FA's who isn't very coordinated, is playing. There is no way to win. It's spectacular.

Ball Game is, really, how I spent the bulk of my summer.

But I mentioned the kids, didn't I? The kids this year were a bunch of lovely little nerdlets, kids who were legitimately interested in being there and learning all we had to teach them about film. They were active and engaged and polite and generally just darling. Oh, sure, there were a couple that bugged me sometimes, but they were all trying so hard that I was just kind of in love with them all summer. It made me want to teach them more things, and I think I did end up teaching this batch of kids a lot more than last year's kids. Part of this was because we were shooting on HD cameras, the HVX-200s, for the first time- but most of it was because they listened and absorbed things more quickly. It was great, and I think their final projects were significantly better as a result. Next year's kids will have a hard time living up to it.

Staff photo 2010! Post 4th of July touch football game.

David and Dusty, two of our FAs, playing detectives in one of the kids' noir-esque final project

one of my advisees shooting in Dearborn Library

the last night of Cherubs, when they all stayed up all night just like good little high schoolers. they look like brats, but they're not!

Oh, one more thing- Tim and I finally got to see a Twilight movie together. We've had a suicide pact ever since the books first got popular: to read each of the books and see each of the movies simultaneously. For most of the movies, this meant timing our West Coast/Midwest viewing times to coincide, but Eclipse came out on July 2nd, which meant we got to see it together. Danielle came with us, because she was in Chicago at the same time. It was awful. They are each a different kind of awful, and this one was just really, really boring- which is odd, because as much as the books are wretched piles of simpering girly crap, the third one was the only one with some semblance of plot. Seeing it with Tim and Danielle, though, was definitely the way to do it. Sadly, neither half of Breaking Dawn (for they are, inexplicably, Harry Potter-ing it) is slated to be released in the summer, but who knows- maybe they'll get pushed back.

So, that was Cherubs 2010 in a nutshell. As soon as I got back from Chicago- and I mean literally as soon as- I got in my car and drove to Camp, making it just in time to go out to dinner at La Morenita with Mom, Dad, Laury, Sue, Zach, and his girlfriend Marria. They were just up for the day, basically, and I was incredibly glad I made it in time to see them. Laury and Sue stayed at the Strawberry Inn, while Zach and Maria pitched a hammock in the woods behind our tent area and slept there. I can't imagine it's comfy to sleep in a hammock with another person, all rolling on top of you and stuff, but it was all very lovely and California just the same.

Can I mention how happy I am that Zach, Jarrod, Spense and Jake are all living in the Bay Area now? Now Taylor and I just have to get our asses back there and all the Camp kids will be within bus distance of each other. By the way, this is the 8 of us (including Tim and Leo) at Jarrod's wedding in May:

Tim, Leo, Jarrod, Jake, Spense, me, Zach, and Taylor
Tim, Leo, Jarrod, Jake, Spense, me, Zach, and Taylor

By comparison, here we are in the Golden Revue Talent Show at Camp when we were very small (I'm that disembodied arm behind Jake):

Jakey and the Eggheads, featuring the Small Fries
Leo, Jarrod, Taylor, my arm, Jake, Zach, Tim, Spense


Camp was great, as usual, even if it was mostly just me and Dad and Mom for the week. I'm ok with that now- I would rather have everyone there, of course, but I really just enjoy being at this place that I love so much, even if others can't come. And being in the mountains, with real air and dirt and trees, is the best. The stars are incredible. We went out to the softball field one night and looked at the stars- Mom said she hadn't done it since we were little kids. I showed them the Hula Clown, a constellation we made up when we used to go out there as a group after the Burger Shack closed, and the group of stars that ALMOST spells CAM (it spells CA and then a sort of M-type-thing). Dad and I played in the Trivial Pursuit tournament, again, and came in 2nd to the same people as last year- but this is a couple where the guy is some sort of physicist or something, so I don't feel too bad about it. At least we beat Bean Guy, who has been our Trivial Pursuit Arch Enemy for about 15 years now.

The best part of the week was the day trip we took, I think on Wednesday, over Sonora Pass to Mono Lake. Sonora Pass itself was incredibly beautiful, and over 9,000 feet high. Mono Lake is a lake on the Eastern flank of the Sierras that was once where LA got its water- but that stopped when these weird limestone formations called tufas started rising out of the water when it got low enough to uncover them. It looks like some kind of otherworldly sculpture plopped in the middle of a lake:



We had lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, which is also a gas station, and then went for a short little hike down to the edge of the lake at the part where there were the most tufas. It was pretty neat- I would love to see what the place looks like covered in snow.

THEN- and this is what I was most excited about- we drove about 13 miles off the main road to Bodie, California, a ghost town in a state of "preserved decay." It was once a gold mining town, and was fairly large, but the gold started to run out and the town was officially donated to the State Park system in 1962. Since then, it's been kept up as a State Park, so you can go and look at all these tumbledown buildings and walk around and pretend things... or at least that's what I did. Besides, it has the COOLEST GRAVEYARD:

Bodie Cemetary

Bodie Cemetary

And you all know how much I love graveyards! Here is Bodie the town- I have a ton more pictures that I took, recklessly, on real film, and have not yet processed, so don't be surprised if you see more of these sometime soon:




rumbledown Bodie house #2

through a window into a Bodie house

Ghost towns and strange geological formations. Yum.

On the last morning of Camp I woke up early, pre-breakfast (a first for me at Camp!) in order to get on the road early enough to get to Morro Bay in time for Deirdre's wedding. I made it with about two hours to spare, and totally fell in love with highway 41, which cuts across the state from around Fresno to Morro Bay on the coast. The drive was beautiful, and I was really bummed that I didn't have more time to dilly dally and take pictures. I did, however, stop for this, near Atascadero:



This is really the type of homeowner I aspire to be.

Anyway, I got to the Masterpiece Motel in Morro Bay ("A masterpiece in every room!"), where Sarah, Zoe and I were sharing a room with Danielle and her boyfriend Drew, just in time to run into Martha and Danielle walking up the hill from town. We brought my stuff inside, and then made a random trip to a yarn store across the street. There we found "fancy brooches" for all 5 of us suitebonding 1 Brown girls, and packaged Deirdre's up as a collective gift from the 4 of us, then wore our own to the wedding. Mine is sparkly and blue, and tacky in the extreme. In other words, it is most excellent.

Deirdre's wedding was absolutely beautiful. It was on the deck of the Inn at Morro Bay, which looks out on the Rock at Morro Bay, a protected bird sanctuary. It was at 5pm, so it was backlit by the sun starting to set, and the whole thing was very atheistic (lots of quotes from Carl Sagan) and low key and wonderful. It was so Deirdre and Karl- I couldn't have imagined a better wedding for them. Deirdre looked gorgeous, of course, and the setting was just perfect. There were a bunch of birds, maybe cormorants, perched in the trees around the Inn during the ceremony, and right as Deirdre and Karl were pronounced husband and wife, and kissed, the birds all took off and flew over the guests. Very dramatic and well-timed... if perhaps a little messy- Martha's boyfriend was unfortunate enough to be, well, BLESSED by a bird. But beyond that, what a great way to usher in a marriage!



Martha, Danielle, Deirdre, me, and Sarah- 1 Brown Forever =)

with Eileen and Anne at the after party

The next day we all woke up and, missing Deirdre's presence, went to breakfast and read over two books of suitebonding notes from college. I suppose I should explain- suitebonding was an almost-weekly ritual we had in college, started in our suite, 1 Brown in CRC, during which we would lock ourselves in a room and vent/gossip/girltalk/what have you. It began one night fresman year when Sarah and Martha were being pursued by boys they didn't want to deal with, who were just hanging around our suite and wouldn't leave. We locked ourselves in Sarah and Deirdre's room and didn't come out for about 4 hours. Every week after that, until Danielle graduated our junior year, we would get together and talk about Life, Boys, School, whatever there was. And we took notes, mostly in the form of funny quotes. This is what we read over at breakfast, and we didn't stop laughing for almost an hour. It was great- and I hope no one other than one of us ever gets their hands on those notes.

After everyone left, I drove out to the Rock at Morro Bay to look at the birds, and then drove home. It was Mom's birthday, and I was working at Pac Prim the next day. That's where I'm going to leave it for now, as this post is ridiculously long already. I'm glad I'm back to blogging- you can expect to hear from me again soon, to recap the rest of the summer, the more recent weddings, and hey, maybe I'll even backtrack a bit and tell you about the spring, which was interesting, to say the least. We'll see =)