Blog abandonment

Oh, my poor, neglected blog. Like every paper journal, slam book, Open Diary, and Livejournal of mine to come before you, I am terrible at maintaining you. Now, I’ll promise to be more attentive and probably fail. I swear my relationships with actual humans are far more stable than with my blog.

A solid chunk of things have happened since my last post. I am one of those perpetually overscheduled people who optimistically talks about some amorphous future time when I won’t be so busy (summer/Christmas break/after this work event I’m planning/when that midterm paper is finished, etc.) so my excuse of “the last few months have been CRAZY” might ring hollow, but I’ll try to fill in the gaps nevertheless. Mostly for my own future edification because I’m pretty sure my handful of readers all know exactly what I’ve been up to.

I finished my first year of grad school. I love what I’m studying. I love my teachers. I don’t love the schedule. I am dreadful at balancing work and school. The coming Fall semester is starting to loom at me and I’m wishing the summer would slow down a little. This will be an interesting test of my maturity level because, unlike high school and college, I don’t have anyone telling me I’m obligated to go back, and unlike my first year, walking in sort of blind and naive and then just riding the momentum of delirium and scholastic nerdery through to the end, now I’m walking into the next semester knowing what’s waiting and having crawled out of the academic swimming pool (which I like but is HARD).  I’m going to do it. Yes I am. Deep breaths. I will just require some pats on the back for overcoming my intense inclination towards laziness.

Some of my dear friends opened a theater this winter. Arcade Comedy Theater has comedy of every kind (improv, stand up, variety, magic, music, etc.) and I’m on the main house improv team. Frankly Scarlett also performs there and I’ve organized a couple of side projects. What I’m saying is, I’m there a lot. It’s become a huge part of my life, artistically and socially. Arcade has sort of become our default clubhouse. If you’re reading this and I haven’t dragooned you into checking it out, yet, please do.

I celebrated my 30th birthday at Arcade with a full house.

I celebrated my 30th birthday at Arcade with a full house.

I went to Africa! Over Spring Break, Abby, Kaitlin, and I flew to South Africa to visit Robin and Collin in Cape Town, where Collin is doing his post-doc. Travelling the world is one of those things that reminds me how unbelievably privileged I am. I can’t overstate how great a time I had. I really should document the trip in its own post, but who has time for all that gushing?SA1

We swam with penguins, and pet an elephant, and stood in the jail that housed Nelson Mandela and did improv on a new continent. The landscape is screensaver-breathtaking but the poverty is shocking. A different kind of breathtaking.
And now for the mushy, schmoopy part, which is that, a world away, seeing sights I’ve never seen, the best part is always being with the people I adore.

Sa1

 At work I got a quasi-promotion and tacked on a few events to plan, some of which were easy and some of which went sort of bonkers on me (like when the plaque didn’t get delivered for the plaque unveiling ceremony). All told, though, my worst days here are still better and less stressful than some former positions. Though I do miss the people. Ok, I’m wrapping this up. Perhaps I’ll get my shit together and blog more. I, uh, tweet a lot. That’s micro-blogging, right?

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The Groupon Diaries: Archery Lessons

For someone who doesn’t hunt, arrest criminals, or even play video games, I sure do like to shoot things. So when there was a deal offered for archery lessons, bow & arrow rentals, and practice time on the range, I jumped at it. Vicki got in on the action as well, having grown up a non-hunter in a hunting family.

We promptly forgot about the deal until May, when it was nearly expired. That is how I roll.

Finally, we trucked out to semi-rural PA for our lesson. There was some trouble finding the entrance:

Some people go both ways

My graphic designer friends may notice that there are two arrows. In addition to this sign, there was a large billboard next to the dirt road turn-off for the building. But it didn’t have the white arrow. So the logo pointed directly to an empty field. Obviously, we worked it out. But maybe be careful with including arrows in your logo, is all I’m sayin’. 

Inside, the staff was courteous, but reserved, in the way that seriously outdoorsy people often are. Our teacher took us to the range and tested our “eyedness” before handing us our bows.

He showed us how to place the arrows, how to draw, and did his best to explain how to release without like, releasing. Having read “Zen and the Art of Archery,” I understand, intellectually, that the release is supposed to happen sort of magically: plucking the string will disrupt the flow of the arrow. So a master in the art will be first in a state of tension and then in a state of release, without like, releasing. Yeah. Zen. Let’s be clear. I… don’t know how to do that.

But Vicki and I did alright even without spiritual enlightenment. I was pretty comfortable at least making it within the target. Vicki struggled a bit with her bow. She’s right-handed, but after testing left-eyed (not lopez), she was given a left-handed bow. I’m not saying the instructor was wrong, per se, but after she switched to a right-handed bow, Vicki got 2 bullseyes.

You can tell she got more badass because the lighting is different.

I got one bullseye, scouts honor, but the it was during the lesson and I was too embarrassed to ask the instructor to pause so I could take a photo of it for my blog. Because surely, that would be what gave me away as a nerdy city slicker. I figured if I got one, I would be able to get another during our practice time, which was a very stupid assumption.

While the instructor was still there, he would tweak our form or give advice (bending the bow holding arm ever so slightly will prevent nasty string ricochet!) and then say, “sooo, do you guys…have any questions?” Ah, the Socratic Method*. Interesting approach. We came up with a few questions, but mostly I didn’t really know enough to know what to ask.

“Uh…how do you get….good?”
“Practice. Like, a lot of practice. I sometimes practice 5 hours a day.”
“Oh.”
So there’s not like…a trick? Just practice, huh?

Cue training montage

We got to watch a staff member fixing and testing a crossbow, which was good fun. But the end of our practice time, both Vicki and I could feel the whining of muscles we rarely use, and I can see how with this whole “practice” business, they might strengthen and improve stability and therefore aim. I think both Vicki and I would like to return to practice more. I feel better prepared to survive the apocalypse, but perhaps not the zombie apocalypse, as my accuracy is probably good enough for a body shot, but not a head shot. I’m trying to figure out how to turn my basement into a range… I would definitely have paid full price for this, but I’m not sure I would have thought to go without the catalyst of a groupon.

 *Please no one leave a comment explaining the actual Socratic Method.