justplainuniverse: (grass handstand)
most of this journal is viewable to friends only. if you want to be added to my friends list, i'd love for you to introduce yourself here first, but if you're shy, you can just add me and i'll add you back if we seem to have interests or friends in common.
justplainuniverse: (grass handstand)
a lot of smart, bookish, literate people i know who are great writers and enjoy wordsmithing their friends' and colleagues' work wonder if they would make good copy editors. i'm never sure the best way to explain what copyediting involves beyond sprucing up someone else's writing. so today i made this list of challenges and judgment calls i faced in a mere hour of copyediting a nonfiction MS (that's short for "manuscript"). i hope it gives you a better sense of my job.

Read more... )
justplainuniverse: (grass handstand)

(just passing through, i'm afraid)
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today i finally got to spend half an hour doing the thing i've been fantasizing about for two years!

it is HARD. in part because i don't actually train handwalking and don't excel at it. and in large part because getting the squares to make noise requires a lot of force. and in part because half an hour of playing around is just not enough time to yield anything interesting yet. i'd really like to work with a composer and go in with a set sequence and rhythm of tiles to hit and choreograph my movements around that.


Nov. 9th, 2012 11:24 pm
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something i've been thinking about recently: correctness vs. casualness. lauren did a phone interview about a play of hers that's being produced this winter, and it was transcribed and edited and sent to her for review before publication. she asked me to look it over. she really liked the way it sounded casual and off-the-cuff and was glad that sentence fragments and conversational sentence structure had been retained. i was willing to tolerate those things for the most part, but there were places we disagreed. i wanted to alter punctuation to clarify sentence structure, arguing that the reader knows what's coming next and how to read the sentence based on punctuation clues. she wanted to leave it the way she said it, without pauses, which sounded realer.

that night she told me that a man we'd met at that evening's party spoke as if he had his tongue pierced, though she couldn't see any jewelry; his tongue, apparently, didn't quite touch the roof of his mouth when he talked. i love when she points these things out to me. i'm oblivious. she also said he pronounced "i'll" like "all" and that it sounded terrible and made her hyperaware of every time she says it like "all" and how bad she must sound. i thought that was absurd; "all" is what we recognize and "i'll" pronounced like "aisle" sounds hypercorrect and like the pronunciation is being emphasized to make some mysterious point. she felt that the "aisle" sound makes it crystal clear what word one is saying and is thus preferable. it was the inverse to our earlier argument. mine, earlier, was the argument of a copyediter, and hers, this time, was the argument of a theater person.

i've been listening to roomful of teeth lately, and last night i listened to some opera. a thing i find off-putting about some of the former and most of the latter is how crisply everything is enunciated. it doesn't sound real, and i don't like the artificial, forced quality. i'm accustomed to folk music, on the opposite end of the spectrum. but classical art is all about the rigorous technique, right? that's one of the things that's being showcased. and meanwhile lauren finds ballet hard to appreciate because it's so unnatural. i understand that intellectually, but i love and appreciate how unnaturally beautiful it is.

i'm wondering how someone with classical training goes about shedding technique to become more casual, more real, more approachable and relatable to a layperson. like, if i have ballet training and i want to include movement in a circus piece that doesn't look like classical ballet, how can i retain skills i spent so many years on without moving in a way that's alienating and disconnected from the circus skills? i suppose it's a question i've been asking since high school: if i know how to create beautiful, elaborate braided hairstyles that are sleek and tidy and perfect, but i know that for casual wear, one is supposed to leave out tendrils and wisps, how can i disregard actions and techniques that feel to me like doing things right and well? how can i allow myself to do something sloppily?
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i'm selling zines again!

over the course my 12-day zine residency in halifax i wrote 17,000 words about my experience in circus school at NECCA last year and took 20 handstand self-portraits to create this 88-page quarter-size zine with a hand-sewn binding and color cover.

buy one! mail me $3 (PO box 1065, brattleboro vt 05302) or send me $3 through paypal.

also, did you ever hear about trabant #4? i finished it in 2009 but barely distributed it. you can get that now too. i'll sell it until i run out and then i doubt i will print it again. it's a sweet 12-page zine full of line drawings of the beautiful small objects that friends have made or given me over the years, conceived as a tour of them within the apartment i used to share with [livejournal.com profile] sitonmykarma.

want to see? mail me $2 (PO box 1065, brattleboro vt 05302) or send $2 through paypal.

note that i won't be back in brattleboro, where my stash of trabant #4 is, for a week. but if you order both now, i will fulfill your order as soon as i get back. and if you order just the most recent, i will mail it right away. went out and bought envelopes today!

also note that there are no added paypal fees or international prices. i'm trying to keep it simple. three bucks for issue 5, two for issue 4, finito.

(this is an LJ-only offer for now because i don't want to advertise to the wider world until i am back home and can send everybody's orders right away.)
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harvest? freshbooks? paymo? pulse? makesometime? do any of you use any of these?

right now i track hours using a pomodoro timer, which saves all my data as a text document (so i have a record of how i've spent every 25min of work, which i round up to half an hour), and i create invoices in excel, and i have no system in place to easily check, right now, what invoices are outstanding and how much $$ should be coming my way and what clients to contact to say "i submitted an invoice 60 days ago; can you look into the status of my payment please?" nor do i have any easy way to see how many hours i work per week.

my concerns with the systems i mentioned at the top are that most of my clients like pdf invoices, not cloud-based ones (do those systems export pdfs?); i never ever get paid by paypal; i often invoice based on pages edited rather than hours, though i still want to know for myself what my payment works out to per hour; and some clients require that i use their own invoice templates. will any of those systems work with those restrictions and still help me track outstanding payments, for example?
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i've just been gifted an ipod touch (like an iphone, but no phone capabilities. also it's ancient, 1st gen, so no camera, flashlight, or even mic). this means i can have APPS! oh goodness. so tell me, where do i even start?

(lack of phone-network capabilities also means internet-connected apps will be minimally useful)
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tonight i made the eggplant with date sauce recipe from the world food cafe cookbook, which i like so much that last time i made it i wrote an "A+" next to the recipe in pen. this time i used ghee as a cooking oil and supplemented the only three dates in the pantry with sauteed apples to make up the difference. as i was eating it, i thought, you know why this is so good? it's basically DESSERT. it's made with cinnamon and ginger and allspice, and it's all soft and gooey and delicious. it's basically apple pie filling without the crust. and then i got really confused because i don't eat dessert, as a rule, even if it doesn't have sugar in it, and what if, instead of eating an incredibly delicious vegetable dish like i'd planned, i was actually cheating horribly and eating dessert for dinner? i may have even paused and put my fork down in horror. before i devoured every last morsel from my bowl.

and then i scooped the leftovers from the skillet into tupperware and i realized that the primary ingredients in this dish are onions and eggplant, and i cooked them in a cup of chicken stock, and it seems unlikely that those three ingredients have ever been part of any dessert ever (OK, go ahead, prove me wrong), and if i think THIS is dessert then i must be completely off my rocker.
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would you care to watch the video of my aerial rectangle act?

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would you like to watch a video of my handbalancing act, as performed in my pro-track graduation show?

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i used to write up an LJ review of every book or cultural event i experienced, and i haven't felt interested in documenting them lately, but i do feel regret that i no longer have a record if i want to remember what a show i saw last year was like. so here's an initial attempt to resume the habit.

last night i saw the vocal group roomful of teeth perform songs by merrill garbus (tune-yards) and william brittelle, at the WFC plaza as part of river to river. heather and i saw them all together last year at merkin hall as part of the ecstatic music festival and this was a very similar show, except free and shorter. the evening opened with judd greenstein's ensemble the yehudim singing music that references jewish lore and history. what i know of greenstein as a composer is one of my favorite nadia sirota tunes ("escape") and another of hers that i always skip ("the night gatherers"). the yehudim i'd probably skip, but they were pleasant enough.

roomful of teeth sang "hatari" with merrill, and another of her songs without her, "ansa ya" (starts at about 7:00 in the music player on this roomful of teeth page chaotic multilayered wordless/jibberish burbling wailing awesomeness, interrupted by a haunting spiritual-style "when the time comes i will be no more" refrain, and returning to chaos. i so hoped they'd all sing "doorstep" together, which captivated me at merkin hall, but no dice. watching roomful of teeth sing garbus's work is great, but after seeing garbus on stage with them being such a riveting performer, they seem wan by comparison. they also did brittelle's "high done no why to," which is thrilling and fascinating in its repetition of nonsense syllables that hint at phrases, and in its playful call and response. and also brittelle's "amid the minotaurs," about football coach bear bryant, with the bowl-you-over belt solo "there is no subtlety in death, it's like a hurricane, it's like farrakhan," which is still banging around in my head today.
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html help?


i like how when you hover over any part of a column, the whole thing changes color. that happens because each column is wrapped in a link tag and each section of the column has defined style changes when the link is hovered over. but i have just learned that you aren't supposed to put a div (a block-level element) insinde an a (an inline element), and each column is made up of divs. there must be some other way to achieve this look. but what?

also i wonder what the best way is to learn how to design web sites efficiently. my self-taught method is so slow, because it's full of guess-and-check, and constantly re-teaching myself how to do things, and not knowing about cool new developments (webkit fonts!?), and doing things the quick lazy shoddy way even though i know better (inline style, i'm sorry!) and then trying to fix it all at a later date. not to mention vague awareness of software/tools that might help (aptana?) but unwillingness to tackle their learning curves. i don't want to put a lot of time and energy into education, though, and i don't want to put ANY money into it, so i suspect i'm stuck. unless there's some blog i could read for a bite-size, incremental education, geared toward behind-the-times hobbyists like me?
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can't stop obsessively googling info about rotator cuff tears and surgeries. show in ten days. trying to sit with uncertainty; also trying to convince myself and actually commit to belief that my shoulder will get better in time, on the premise that the body responds to the mind's instructions; also reluctant to spend time on costume construction and act visualization that may be all for naught. i still can't lift my left arm today. the story i want to believe: i will let my shoulder rest completely for three days (yesterday, today, tomorrow), and by friday it will be well enough that if i warm it up and stay gentle, i can rehearse on it, and i will be able to perform in the shows next weekend. but i don't really believe that. okay, maybe i won't be able to work on it friday. but perhaps i will by, say, wednesday next week. that'll give me enough time to prep for the first show on saturday, right? if i visualize myself successfully performing my acts daily until then, so my body is subconsciously TOTALLY READY and well rehearsed? as i write this it also occurs to me that, there being two weekends of shows, it's possible i'll have to miss the first weekend but still be able to perform in the second weekend. (17 days! that's plenty of time to heal.) that makes costume prep and act visualization feel less futile.

but the fact that i actually cannot lift my arm (i have to stop myself from continually trying, because i know it is only aggravating things further, but okay, i just gave it one last try, and getting my arm to 90 degrees was so painful it made my eyes water and i seriously, seriously could not lift it higher than that, even being willing to push through the pain) really makes me nervous that i have a full-thickness supraspinatus tear that will not heal without surgery.

i don't even mind (so much) not being able to perform in these shows -- what i mind is NOT KNOWING and having to act as if i'm performing and commit time and energy to preparing when it all might be a big waste. and, also, i mind the possibility of surgery.

rotator cuff surgery is about like ACL surgery in terms of recovery, from what i gather. about 6 mos until you can get back to full activity. hey, that's no big deal. i've had lots of ACL surgeries. i'm a surgery pro. it hasn't stopped me yet; won't stop me now. and this should be way easier than an ACL surgery: sure i'll only be able to use one arm during recovery, but at least i can walk around, right? and elevating will be no problemo! also i know three people who've had this surgery. one had it just a couple months ago but the other two are 100% back to training and performing, strong as horses. so it's nothing!

that's one way to look at it. the other is, shit, i need knee surgery this summer and maybe ALSO shoulder surgery? how many surgeries can one girl endure and then keep returning to acrobatics? knee surgery has never been terribly limiting since i don't use leg strength a lot in handstands or trapeze, but losing all my arm and shoulder strength after shoulder surgery is going to be hell to get back; even now my upper body is nowhere near as strong as i want to be. and not being able to use my left arm for however long it has to be immobilized is going to make it hard to cook, dress, clean up. i've worked so hard this past year and i know that i can regain all my skill and strength but it's just so miserable to think of enduring yet another 6-month training setback.
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so i now have a nascent circus website and i also have a simple editorial/wordsmithery website (the bulk of which i made, then abandoned, in 2008).

why is it that while the former is a big fancy wordpress site made with a template i actually paid some money for, and the latter is hand-coded and has one image on the whole site ... i like my wordsmith web site better?

can i/should i actually simplify the circus site?
(part of the problem with the circus site is probably that i don't actually have a great image for the fullscreen background.)


Apr. 20th, 2012 12:07 am
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how did anybody do costume research online before pinterest? i had to make a whole second pinterest account so i could fill it up with costume ideas and inspirations and not make everybody hate me (everybody who's ever friended me on facebook is now adding me on pinterest, which skeeves me out).

but seriously how can i make a costume that looks like this but is actually a tank top and capri leggings or maybe a unitard? i love the softness, texture, color, and spiral lines. has to be made of relatively slippery material so my big white cotton shift will slip right on over it. it should have the quality of a black-and-white photograph.
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saw a PT today who i LIKED. he actually assessed and treated my injury. it felt revolutionary. it happened in the same treatment room where i got craniosacralled, and it was uncanny to feel my body tense up with dread as we approached it.

of course i was right. simple AC sprain. healing well. imma go in twice a week for a couple weeks (oh insurance! i love you!), and in the meantime he says i can actually train on it, even through pain, as long as the pain 2 hours after the activity is no worse than the pain was before the activity. i've never heard this rule before. kinda cool but also tricky cause it means you don't know if you're overdoing it till a couple hours later.

in the meantime, my body temp is still 99.2. what's uuuuup? i kinda wanna use it as an excuse not to go to trapeze class this evening, because i just got books (!) at the library (!) and i want to curl up with them, and also my energy is low, and also it's snowing and i already spent almost an hour today trudging through the snow, and also it's going to be really tough to meter my participation in class (i figure i can do most of warm-up and better sit out most of the rest).

[footnote about books: hooray for goodreads, and those of you with kids/YA lists on it, because i was able to sort your lists by rating and then make a list of books to get at the library from there. very useful for someone who hasn't read a new kids' book or been to a library in at least a year.]
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i sprained my shoulder this morning. all things considered, it's not a big deal. it'll heal in 7-10 days. and i have 7 days off, for our winter break. and i had a good morning and i hurt it doing something fun. but damn it hurts! it hurts to lift my arm at all. and also, i wasn't planning to rest completely for 7 days!

as soon as i stopped thinking "owie my shoulder damn that hurt" and started to think about what had happened and where it hurt, i realized immediately that i had sprained my AC joint. i've never hurt that part of my shoulder before. it was funny to know exactly what happened. like in my last knee injury when i knew right away i'd torn my meniscus, or when i sprained my ankle last year but didn't think of it as an ankle sprain but rather as a strain to my peroneal tendon. i like to imagine i have developed a superpower where the injured tissues of my body actually communicate with the conscious part of my brain. but instead i know it's just that i have 6 years of injury and rehab and research under my belt. i went to my PCP for a pap today and told her i sprained my AC joint and she was like, are you getting it treated? did someone at school dx you? NO SILLY I JUST KNOW. i'll do some PT when i get back in town next week. SIGH.

that said, before hurting myself, this morning i whipped out several unspotted back walkovers! without warming up my back a lot first, and without doing a single spotted one to get the feeling into my body, like i usually have to. back walkovers! yeah! i KNEW i was gonna learn those over break.


Feb. 18th, 2012 10:03 pm
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yesterday i presented an aerial rectangle piece that i made to laura marling's itunes live version of alas i cannot swim. based on the feedback i got, i'd say this was the highlight:

i chose that song because it is so much fun. listening to it makes me feel exuberant. and i chose it because i'd wanted to make a trapeze act to it last summer, but i hadn't had foggiest idea how to move to that kind of music. so i felt very satisfied that i created 2:34 or so of movement to the song that felt good to me and seemed to make sense with the music.

the lyrics are about the things that lie across the river (a house, a pretty garden, a boy, a life, gold...), but alas, the narrator cannot swim. as i began to work on the piece i realized it's actually perfectly suited to the rectangle, which is a sort of house that i can't escape from while performing on it. i created the piece in an episodic manner that seemed to mirror the verses, in that i did my sorta-clunky transitions during the instrumental interludes between each verse, and started tricks again as she started singing. i reached for and looked longingly toward a part of the room that i decided was where the boy and house and garden all were. i dropped back dramatically into ankles during the line "instead i live my life in constant misery."

i worried that the choreography i made was too literal, campy, mimetic, and merely an accompaniment for the music.

instead, all those choices were apparently all but invisible to the audience. all the feedback i got was that if i was going to use a song with such clear, compelling lyrics, i really needed to illustrate them, and the structure of the piece perhaps should match the structure of the song, so that i return to the same position every time she sings the refrain, for example. i thought i did do that! i thought i did match the structure! i thought i did illustrate the words!

there is a line where she sings, "there is gold across the river, but i don't want none," and i, in play defiance, cross my arms and turn up my nose.

i thought it was a super cheesy moment that probably didn't belong at all; instead, people said it was a fabulous moment of playfulness and character and that i needed way more like that all throughout.


so now i am very much perplexed as to whether i want to keep going with this idea. i love the WIP i presented a month ago, with the white dress tied to the trapeze bar, and i think that will make a fantastic act, but i also think i could make that any time, by myself. if i want to make an act to this song, clearly that is something i have NO IDEA how to do and need help on, since my idea of what works and what reads is so off-base. but i'm not sure if i WANT to make the kind of acting-heavy work that the song seems to require. maybe what i've learned from this experience is it's just not a good song to make a circus act to. oh, oh, i don't know.
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