The Dark-Eyed Mistress of Sweet, Sweet Pain (jenni_the_odd) wrote,
The Dark-Eyed Mistress of Sweet, Sweet Pain

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This week has been. Um. Something.
  • Monday - Got to show off the proof for the magazine, everyone agreed it was sexy. Managed to not make out with magazine. Dr. Lowery expressed appreciation for my restraint. Had to miss poetry to go to two rather uneventful group project meetings. Have been a horrid lump in one group (seriously, I have contributed so little that I cannot even look my other group members in the eye anymore and I suspect they think I hate them), and decided to take over the other group to make up for it. Wrote a script for a presentation skit, told group members again and again DO NOT READ OFF THE SCRIPT, JUST USE IT AS A GUIDELINE. Have little hope.

  • Tuesday - Went to bed at 3 AM because my body refuses to sleep before then. Massive fuck-off thunderstorm outside. Tish asked if she could stop by and catch a few hours of sleep after dropping off a friend at the airport around 7ish, I said sure. She sleeps rarely and badly, but is generally out like a light when she sleeps on our couch. Our couch is magic. I receive a text message from her at 5 AM or so: "It is dangerous out, we might stop by earlier than expected." I make a sleepy note of it, tell her to be careful driving through crazy weather (ahh, Texas) and return to slumber. I am simultaneously awoken by a text from Tish and my mother knocking on my door telling me to get up and help her. I mumble something and check the text. "Walking. To you. Car died. Wet." I frown and put on some clothes, figuring I can go get her. Then I step into the hallway, look out the window, and realize that our pool has eaten the entire yard and is now nibbling at various rooms of the house. We're flooded. There is no way I can go get her or go anywhere-- the street is completely under water. There is a brief period of "WTF" all-around-- even during Ike, we only got a bit of water lapping at the corner of the living room; now three rooms have a significant amount of water in them. Thank god our whole first floor is tile/hardwood, because I do not want to imagine the stench of flooded carpet*. As we start sweeping the water-- and that is a bizarre activity-- Tish and Friend (who I shall call Doc Valentine, because that is the name he uses on DeviantArt, I believe) appear, soaking wet. I do not care, and squeeze Tish anyway, because they were not eaten by a water moccasin or swept away into the bayou. She tells me that the car stalled in high water a short distance away, in the parking lot of the local mall, and they forded the streets. The water was knee-deep most of the way, and poor Doc discovered the hard way at least once that the streets around here have no curbs, they simply drop off into a ditch with an inch or so of grass as a warning. They graciously offer to help us with our water sweeping, and prove exceptionally good at it. Once most of the water is out of the house and the rain has lessened enough that the water is actually receding a bit, we gave them some of Emma's clothes (she and Tish have worn similar sizes for years, as Tish is tiny, and Emma's habit of wearing oversized men's clothing-- which she may or may not have learned from a certain oldest sister-- meant she had stuff that fit Doc as well) and they both took naps. Emma's school was closed due to being more flooded than we were, but UST decided it only needed to delay classes until 11 AM. So all day long I watched the water level go down, until around 2 or so the streets were dry and aside from residual squishiness in the yards and a disconcerting line of debris along the exterior walls of houses, you'd never know the area had been underwater that morning. I took Tish and Doc to Tish's car, which had dried out and seemed sort of willing to work. I could not stay until she got it sorted out, though, as I had class. Stupid UST. I then got to go to class and give two presentations. I flubbed my part with the group where I've done nothing, and was the only one NOT reading off the script in the other group. Le sigh.

  • Wednesday - The reading rehearsal went pretty well. I am grateful we were able to have them this semester, as I don't think we've actually done rehearsals (beyond an intro/maybe a runthrough right before the reading) in the entire time I've been on the Laurels staff. This time we managed three, with the rule that unless a contributor/staff member has attended at least one of them, they cannot present at the reading. The format takes some getting used to, so the rule is kind of necessary. I workshopped a poem that was a slightly edited version of some angst-spewing I posted here a while back, of which I was not particularly fond, and everyone loved it. I do not understand this, and it unsettles me. As it turned out, I did not in fact have class that evening, and I opted to go home instead, only to discover that we did not have an internet connection. Emma magically got it up and running on Tuesday afternoon once things had dried, but our ISP sent out a guy to check on a 'weak signal' anyway. As soon as he left, the connection was gone. Rar.

  • Thursday - I made bacon chocolate-chip cookies. Travis declared them a success, but needs moar bacon. Dad ate half of one, was informed they contain bacon (in the panicked tones that only a 13 year-old vegetarian can muster: "DAD THOSE HAVE BACON IN THEM!"), shrugged, and continued. No one died or threw up, so I'm putting them in the 'win' column. I arrived at the Laurels office (seriously I am there ALL THE TIME) to see a pile of boxes. We'd asked Minuteman Press, our printer, to give us 100 copies by tomorrow in time for the reading, under the assumption that they'd get the rest of the order to us the next week. They managed to deliver all 525 copies a day early. Dr. Lowery and I made many high-pitched noises of glee, and Travis and I grinned like crazy as we showed off the magazine to one of his professors and I show him my collection of silly hats (my family has amassed quite a few, even without counting Karl or the lobster hat). After briefly remembering that I have an actual class to sit through, I managed to get my Global Marketing exam turned in, and stay up way too gorram late stressing over the reading. And also baking vegan blueberry-lemon scones.

  • Friday - Up at 9 AM for baking. I cooked mini-frittatas with potato, spinach, and roasted red pepper, cranberry-orange scones, and turkey/vegetable sausage rolls. You know what, I'm not cutting this part. Pbpbpbptbpbtptbtt.
    The reading, rather surprisingly, went off without a hitch. I got there when I was supposed to, by some sort of miracle (I am chronically late to everything-- even when I leave the house fifteen minutes earlier than necessary, I will hit traffic or my car will die, or SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN to prevent me from being on time), bearing food and some decorations. Travis, who is apparently some sort of tea wizard, brought various types of tea and something like eight teapots. Dr. Lowery brought two lovely tarnished silver teapots, and Kim, one of the other staff members, got her friend to bring cupcakes and a cake. Her friend? Is trained as a French pastry chef and owns a bakery. AWESOME. The cake was shaped like a Mad Hatter-type hat, with "READ ME" (the title of this issue) written across the band. The cupcakes had little fondant hats that looked like the cake, card suit symbols, or layers of purple and pink icing with a fondant grin stuck on (CHESHIRE CUPCAKES. THEY WERE PRECIOUS).  Yet another staff member, Alexx, brought cheese and crackers to round out our feast.
    All the contributors who agreed to show up, showed up (and within an acceptable time frame). Facilities and food services delivered everything in plenty of time, and we had enough staff members there early enough that setting up was fairly painless. The table (well, it was two tables put together to form one really long table) looked AMAZING-- white tablecloths, red and white rose petals (fake) strewn about, black and white platters of scones and mini-frittatas and sausage rolls, all sorts of different teapots, a few cups and saucers, and one of the contributors even ran up to his dorm room and brought down a deck of cards, which we put all over the table. The readers were seated in an arc around the table, with several rows of audience seats on the other side. We were able to do an almost complete run-through before guests started really arriving, and even managed some group shots of the staff, and of the staff plus the contributors**. Many of us wore silly hats (I wore Karl! It was awesome), and everyone stuck to the dress code. Generally, there is a vauge sort of dress code for readings, often "wear black" or such. This time it was "wear black, white, red, or some combination thereof", and everyone did so (and, might I add, looked quite sharp). I was very pleased. We even had the original of one of the art pieces in the magazine on display, along with several gorgeous photos from staff members that were used as chapter title images.
    Previous readings (at least, the ones I've encountered) have been held in the second floor foyer of the English/Education building. They were always on Dead Day, when there are no classes, but the occasional student is still wandering around sometimes. And they were in the middle of the afternoon. Attendance has always been a major issue because of this-- people are at work, studying for upcoming finals, or just trying to enjoy their time off and don't feel like wandering out of their way into the building. Then during readings, people would have to walk through our space to get to classrooms or offices, and if the elevator was used the noise was beyond distracting (the Malloy elevator is the loudest elevator ever built. Trufax).
    This time, we held the reading during the evening, in the downstairs lobby of the dorm, which is gorgeous, spacious, and full of students. While it was a Friday night, and the last Friday of the semester, there were students milling about. I was worried that we'd wind up with more contributors than guests (a very real concern when you realize that we had 17 people up there-- a new record for Laurels, I believe!), but we had about 20 guests when we started, and more kept coming in! I lost track after 25 or so, but I know more people showed up. I would not be surprised if there were 30 (or maybe a few more) folks there to see the reading, in total. The stairs were to the audience's back, and our setup allowed anyone coming in through the doors behind us to sneak around us without interrupting (I don't know that anyone did, use those doors during the reading, though).
    We were concerned that the noisy A/C would make it difficult to hear people, but we all worked hard to project and I heard no complaints about difficulty hearing from the audience afterward. If we use this venue again, we'll probably try for some sort of sound system to combat the noise. Or practice reading REALLY REALLY LOUD.
    The actual presentation of work went wonderfully. A few people stumbled a little, but nothing memorable. The serious pieces were greeted solemnly, the funny pieces got laughs, and when the funniest piece was followed by a sad story about World War II, the absurdity forced awkward smiles on a few faces (we laughed later). I realized we had a very good balance of work-- some hilarious, some neutral, and some sad. I was the last to read, and then we introduced ourselves and handed out the magazine, answered a few questions, and invited everyone to partake of tasty foods.
    Also, Dr. Lowery gave me flowers, and a card signed by the staff! It was very sweet, and the flowers are sopretty. They are in a vase in our kitchen right now.
    lllano came! And she and her friend were in dress code, unwittingly. Her red shirt had a wookiee on it, even! I made the Wookiee Noise at her and reminded her of my threat to crash her wedding and throw those godawful Twilight conversation hearts as she and her new husband flee. And yet, she still speaks to me.
    paperquilt also showed up, and won the award for Most Hardcore Attendee because she apparently ate some pavement on her bike on the way over and scuttled in with a bleeding elbow and a shaken expression. But scuttle in she did, and lllano and I were extremely impressed by her dedication.

    Overall, definitely a success.

    Now, to figure out how to top it next year.

    *For those of you who have never been in a flood of any sort and are imagining frolicking in the waters like a child at the beach, let me tell you something. This is not water you want to play in. This is not happy water. This is sewer overflow, straight off the bayou, and it smells and looks like it. The news generally advises that if you do wind up swimming in it for whatever reason, you get yourself a tetanus shot as soon as the doctor's office dries out. So, yeah. Not pretty.
    **The staff picture may or may not have been The Last Supper-style, after some Eddie Izzard riffs about who got to do the big arms***.
    ***I did.
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