Um.  Yeah.  The third semester of my graduate-student career has struck.  Rehearsals.  Classes, too, but oh the rehearsals!  So, y’all are going to come to see this show I’m more or less killing myself for, right?  Right…?

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Ok, so I have parts of three different pumpkin pies in my fridge at the moment, and all three were made by yours truly in the little-bit-less-than-a-week.  Crazy, I know.  The first one, I made on my self-declared “Pumpkin Pie Day” last Tuesday.  I wanted to buy pumpkin, so I got my butt down to Walmart and I bought pumpkin, gosh darn it!  While I was there, because they were cheap, I also grabbed a couple of graham cracker crusts and a box of vanilla pudding.  Inspiration struck when I got home and was fishing through my mind and the sides of packaging for a pie recipe while thinking of how dang hot it still is around here.  I didn’t want to turn on the oven or the stove, so I invented the recipe for two of those partial-pies hanging out in my fridge.  I call it (you’re going to love this): THE EXTREMELY LAZY CHEF PUMPKIN PIE!  Ok, so here’s what you do.  You get a cheap-o pre-made graham cracker crust.  Then, you start following the directions on the side of your box of Jello-brand instant vanilla pudding until the part where it tells you to let it set in the fridge.  Instead of letting it set in the fridge, whisk in a quarter cup of brown sugar and 1.5 tbsp of pumpkin pie seasoning.  Once those are whisked in, stir in the contents of one 15 oz can  of Libby’s Pumpkin.  Then dump it all into the pie crust, stick it in the fridge, and in 5 minutes you have pumpkin pie.  No kidding.  It really is incredibly good, and everyone who’s tried it thus far has loved it.  I brought the second LazyPie to the jingju cast Halloween party on Saturday, and even the teachers from China loved it, despite the fact the only utensils we had to eat it with were chopsticks.

Now, about the controversial pie I mentioned: As you all likely know, I spend my Sunday nights with the Hawaii Gagaku Society (see “Rum’s Favorite Cookie”, if you need a reference post).  Last week, I promised the gang that I would bake a pumpkin pie.  I used the recipe on the side of the can of Libby’s Pumpkin more or less, but I left out the eggs, added a tablespoon of butter and a half cup of flour.  I also added some ginger along with the pumpkin spice.  The resultant pie was quite nice, and I liked it, and it made the weirdest stir at the Gagaku society.  More or less simultaneously, Evelin across from me made a face and said there was too much spice, Chow to my left turned to me and said “next time, more spice,” and Yuka and Yoko to my right were holding a conversation in Japanese about how they’d never tasted a more perfect blend of spices in a pumpkin pie.  Polly agreed that the spices were perfect, and Yuka and Polly decided between them that their tastes matter more than Chow and Evelin’s because they’ve been in the society for longer.  Yuka claims it was the best pumpkin pie she has ever tasted.  Chow said the crust was too hard.  The rest of the society, I am sure, had an opinion, but they kept it to themselves.

I’m going to eat what’s left of that particular pie for breakfast in the morning.  There’s not much of it left.  The only person who left some on his or her plate was Evelin (who thought it was too heavy as well as over-spiced).  All in all, I’d say it went over well.  If I decide to bring pumpkin pie again, I think I’ll use exactly the same recipe.

Ok, so I’m barely coherent at the moment, but get this: we got out of Jingju class early today so we could go see Ben Vereen talk in the temporary dance building on the other side of campus.  A) As we all know, the man is one of the greatest greats Broadway ever saw (have I mentioned I have a BA in musical theatre?), B) MAN OH MAN can the man tell a story, C) I got a free ticket to his show this Saturday, D) HE SIGNED IT!!!!  E) He said I have beautiful eyes (SQUEEE!).  I also got a picture with him and a few of my friends from the theatre department.  I may post that later when I have my camera cable and stuff handy.  I’m totally going to frame this ticket with that picture if it turned out at all well.   Yeah, I’m really hyper-high at the moment, and now I need to go play an elegant female Jingju part in rehearsal in something like ten minutes.  We’ll see how that goes.  In the meantime, OMG BEN VEREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Dang.  Wow.  -EGD

Ok, so it isn’t just jingju.  The vog, an evil, evil volcanic pollution-fog that comes here to Honolulu all the way from Kona, has been making it extremely difficult for me to focus.  My eyes are streaming, my sinuses are full of burning goo, my ears are all plugged up, I’ve been pushing migraine in the headache department for days, and on top of all that I’m in an insanely intense training program that requires me to memorize large swaths of a script in extremely stylized Chinese, which is NOT one of the three languages I speak and understand.  It’s like memorizing very specific and important (not to mention long) monologues in gibberish… with tones.  Also, the movement style is so counter-intuitive for one of my roles that it’s painful and mind-bending.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more completely out of my depth and incompetent in my life.  And one of my long-suffering professional actor teachers from China appears to be growing disappointed in me, which makes it all worse.  Blargh.  The vog and the jingju, they are eating my brains slowly (and apparently with a dull plastic spork), and if nothing more important, my ego may not survive the ordeal.

In my defense, the play isn’t until February, and if I have even an eighth of my brain left by then, I WILL KNOCK EVERYONE’S SOCKS OFF SO HELP ME THE GOD OF LONG LOST BUT FONDLY REMEMBERED FREE TIME SO HA!

If anybody needs me, I’ll be hiding in the closet rocking back and forth and reexamining my outwitted zombie plan.  -EGD