Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sister Time

On Sunday I told my parents about being poly, okay, I used the term open relationship, so they would both know what I was talking about.  As far as it goes, it good have gone much worse.  They weren't horribly judgmental (at least to my face or anywhere I've been able to hear them) and I wasn't disowned or something, so good news in general.

Today I went shopping with Shea, the younger of my two little sisters (she's about to turn 18 and is a senior in high school).  I needed more fabric for Christmas gifts and then we both ran some various other Christmas related errands.  As far as my sisters go, generally Shea is the one I actually tell much about my life.  Carla's mind tends to explode at disruptions to patterns in my normal life.  I've been meaning to talk to her about my open relationship with Boyfriend for awhile, but this is the first chance I've gotten.

Below is the conversation I had with my sister.  I tend to get a little teach-y in situations like that and my sister is still new in her education about sexuality and gender, so pardon us both. 

Me: Do you know what an open relationship is?
Shea: Umm. No. Wait, maybe.
Me: What do you think it is?
Shea: Isn't that where you're seeing one person but you can also mess around with other you're not really dating?
Me: Sorta.  An open relationship does mean that you can see other people, but it doesn't mean that you aren't dating.  Do you know what polyamory is?
Shea: No.
Me: Polyamory is essentially a non-monogamous relationship.  It means that you are dating or fucking multiple people.  It's similar to what you know as the Mormon practice of polygamy, but in a healthy polyamorous relationship everyone has equal power.  Open relationships and polyamory have a lot in common, but open relationships tend to be the better known, more socially acceptable term.
Shea: Oh. So you can date more than one person at once?
Me: Yes.  Polyamory and open relationships operate on the principal that love is not a finite quality.  When you love one person romantically, all of your love isn't used up, like popular culture would have us believe. That's why you can have a crush on more than one person at once.  Love isn't a feeling that can all be used up.
Shea: Oh. That actually makes sense.
Me: I think so......Boyfriend and I are actually in an open relationship.
Shea: You are?
Me: Yeah.  We decided to try it.  There are other people besides Boyfriend I'm interested in and likewise for Boyfriend.
Shea: Oh, okay.  And you guys are both fine with this?
Me: We're both completely okay with this.  I'm really happy with my relationship right now, but sometimes your partner just can't fulfill absolutely everything you need.  Society would tell you to break up, but expecting a person to fulfill your every possible need is just unrealistic.  
Shea: So if you and boyfriend both wanted to date the same person?
Me: Then we would talk to that third person and see if they were interested and we could have a three person relationship, which is generally more difficult than having two separate, two people relationships because it has more complicated, less predictable dynamics.  I'm sorry if this is weirding you out.
Shea: I'm not weirded out, I'm interested.
Me: I'm glad.  But just imagine what it would be like so that if you liked someone else you could just tell your partner and ask them if it was okay you pursued a relationship with them.  Cheating wouldn't be as much of an issue.
Shea: I was actually just thinking about that this morning.
Me: That's awesome.  But you can have cheating in an open or polyamorous relationships.
Shea: You can?
Me: Yep.  In a monogamous relationship, you have the unspoken boundary of if you decide to date or fuck someone else, that's cheating.  But in an open relationship, you set the boundaries by talking about them.  So you talk to your partner and say: "It's okay if you see anyone else, but you just have to tell me about it." Or, "I'm okay with casual hookups, but I don't want you actually dating anyone else."  Then if either of you break the boundaries you set up in your relationship, that's cheating.
Shea: Oh, so cheating is more open ended sorta?
Me: Exactly.  Cheating is a betrayal of trust (sorry, I know I just wrote about this last post, but my sister doesn't read this blog, thank god) in regard to the boundaries of your relationship.  Poly people need to set up boundaries in every single relationship they have.  But, a polyamorous relationship is not necessarily an open relationship, which is where polyamory and open relationships differ. Six people who are dating each other...
Shea: That's a lot of people.
Me: It is a lot of people, I don't think I could handle that many relationships at once.  But six people who are dating each other and agree not to see anyone other than their five partners are in a closed relationship and trying to date or fuck- sorry, I'm not sure you're comfortable with that word, but it's just part of my vocabulary- someone else would be cheating.
Shea: No, I use that word sometimes.  When I'm really angry at you ever ask out a girl?
Me:  Yes, I would. 
Shea:'re bisexual?
Me: I don't really identify that way.
Shea:'re lesbian?
Me: No, otherwise I wouldn't be seeing Boyfriend.  I identify as queer.  Do you know what queer means?
Shea: Isn't that offensive like using the word "faggot"***?
Me: It used to be, but it's largely been successfully reclaimed.
Shea: Then what does it mean now?
Me: Queer is an umbrella term for non-heterosexual.
Shea: But what does that mean?
Me: When you say that you're queer, that generally comes with some sort of explanation. So: I'm queer but like semi-masculine presenting men and beyond that it's a case by case basis.
Shea:  What does that mean?
Me: Semi-masculine?
Shea: Yeah.
Me: So, you know that Boyfriend likes to tinker with thinks and fix broken things and that's generally considered a masculine trait?
Shea: Yeah.
Me: But he's not heavily into sports or aggressive, etc, etc.  That's what I mean when I say semi-masculine presenting.  And every guy I've ever been attracted to has had that type of gender presentation. But move beyond that and it various what I'm specifically attracted to, particularly in women.
Shea: Oh, did you tell Mom and Dad this?
Me: Not yet, I figured telling them I was poly was a good enough first step.
Shea: This kinda makes my head whirl.  It's so much to take in.
Me: If it helps, I felt like that when I was first learning too.
Shea: I'm glad we had this talk though.  It's cool.  Thanks for telling me.
*We promptly got out of the car and proceeded to Victoria Secret's for a free pair of underwear*

***I apologize for possibly triggering or offensive language, I'm just trying to be faithful to the conversation we had.

Why have I told my family you ask (or maybe you don't, but I've gotten this question enough that I would like to answer it).  I've told them for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I thought that they could handle it without judging me too harshly, which I appreciated.  Secondly, if I do start dating/fucking/etc someone besides Boyfriend, I don't want to have to hide it from my family.  And thirdly, they're my family and I still like to try to keep them updated on things that are relevant to my life.

Note: Imaging Shea calling Boyfriend by my silly pseudonyms as opposed to his actual name is actually incredibly amusing for me.


I keep wanting to write posts about my personal life and things that have happened to me.  But I looked back over the past few weeks of posts and realized that I've shared some things I never thought I would ever be comfortable sharing (I did do so in a semi-anonymous, pseudonym way, but I definitely have friends who know who I am who read the blog).  Part of the reason for all the extremely personal posts is because I love figuring out how my mind works and remembering things that once (or still do) caused me a lot of pain is a good exercise in this for me because I can look at how I react to things.  This all being said, I wanted to give myself permission to look at an issue I have not personally experienced.

As I said, I have not personally been cheated on.  I know several people who have been cheated on and I know several people who have done the cheating.  And when I first found out that a person I knew in college had been cheated on (as always names and pronouns mixed or changed for anonymity), I'm sad to say that my first reaction was: "No, there's no way, he cheated on him.  He's such a nice guy."  I didn't go as far as victim blaming (small favors), I didn't think the person who had been cheated on was at fault, but I was also didn't quite believe that his partner had cheated on him in the first place (because he was just such a "nice guy" #sarcasm).

But Kaylee, you say, "You're in an open relationship, isn't cheating irrelevant to you?"  And the immediate answer to that would be that: No, cheating is definitely not irrelevant to people (not just me) in open relationships.  Cheating is all about boundaries.  In a monogamous relationship, the (generally unspoken) boundary is that you cannot initiate any form of intimate relationship outside your current one.  To do so would be cheating.

With open relationships the boundaries should be just a firm, but much more explicit because you actually have to talk about and set your boundaries.  What are your stipulations? Do you need to tell your partner about any relationship or potential relationship you are going to/might enter into before you do it?  This is a fairly common stipulation.  Is cuddling with other people okay?  Is cuddling with other people without your partner okay, even if you have no intention of getting into a relationship?  Would you actually prefer not knowing about the other relationships besides that they are happening?  Would you like specifics from your partner?  All of these are very real boundaries to set with any partner you have.

With Boyfriend, if I were to ask someone out or fuck someone without telling him, that would be cheating.  That would be a betrayal of his trust and it would go outside our agreed upon boundaries.  So you see, cheating is very very possible (perhaps even easier in some respects) in an open relationship.

Before I move on, I also wanted to mention, that cheating is also possible in a six person closed group relationship.  If anyone of those six people decides to fuck someone other than their five partners and not tell them about it, that is still cheating.  You would think that would be obvious, but I have found obvious things often need saying.  The number of people in a relationship does not make cheating less real.

To be completely honest, cheating is just something I've never understood.  Even before I was in an open relationship, I think if Boyfriend had come to me and said: I really like _____ and would like to fuck/date/etc them, I'm fairly certain I instantly would have agreed (to be fair, this just would have meant opening our relationship earlier than we did).  But I feel like if you have a comfortable, trusting relationship and you're interested in someone else, then just tell your partner.  Maybe they will agree.  But if they do say: "No, I'm uncomfortable with this" you need to accept that.

Cheating, in essence, is one of the worst forms of breaking the trust of your partner.  And what people who have been cheated on need to know is that you didn't drive your partner to do this.  Even if they said they did it in revenge because you acted in ____ way, it was still your partner who chose.  Because you got cheated on doesn't make you any less of a good lover or partner.  It just means that your partner isn't as good of a lover or partner as you expected.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Social Beliefs Over Time

I had the idea when I got up this morning to track my different beliefs on social issues throughout the course of my life and below is the table I came up with.  I'm having a hard time finding a readable size in blogger (and inserting actual tables into blogger is a pain in the ass), so here is a google docs link.

It's interesting to look because after elementary I began to have a more clear view of the issues, and thus a more coherent statement of my beliefs.  Then I had several large belief changes throughout the course of high school.  College however stayed largely the same, with the exception of my views on the legality of drugs.  And then post college (which honestly has been only half a year) I have some fairly large changes to my thinking.

It was a fun exercise for me and I learned quite a few things about myself.

Note: I promised Boyfriend I would add this as a note.  He wanted to add: "Church and State, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" to my views about separation of church and state.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Personal Boundaries

In most situations, I am not a person who generally enjoys being touched.  I hugged my family only when necessary growing up.  I rarely put a friendly hand of a friend's shoulder.  I certainly would never think of touching a stranger.  It just seemed weird to me for a long time and I didn't really crave the physical contact.

Then I met friends senior year of high school and realized I liked hugs and a friendly touch on the arm or cuddling.  I'm not quite sure what changed.  It might have been when I started dating Boyfriend and just realized that I didn't like being so isolated.  But I think it more likely that I just have less personal boundaries with these friends.  It wasn't something that happened instantly and when I haven't seen my friends for quite awhile, the touch barrier exists far more than when we've been hanging out for awhile.

When I went to college I had a few friends who really liked hugging, which was fun and good, but I also was never totally comfortable.  I suppose what I'm getting at is that for me personal boundaries change a lot, particularly depending on the group of people I'm with.

Our culture really doesn't encourage physical contact.  Casual touching (that sounds far dirtier than I intended) is reserved only for flirting or people you know very intimately.  And as time passes, touch becomes more and more taboo.  At this point, someone you don't know touching your shoulder could be considered assault.  Quite frankly, I don't really want a stranger touching me, but I also think calling a simple tap on my shoulder to get my attention (something that I don't mind) assault is taking matters too hard.

Certainly it's important to protect people and I am glad we have laws that take assault more seriously than they once did.  However, I do think that these laws have an interesting consequence of isolating everyone physically from one another.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This will probably be my last post for today (considering this is my third, plus the one I wrote late last night).  I had an interesting, though short (we were both exhausted), conversation with a friend yesterday.  As a beginning, here's the definition of racism.

1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among thevarious human races determine cultural or individualachievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon orfostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

My friend's argument centered around the first definition listed above.  It is racism/sexism/etc if one group has power and discriminates against those in the minority, with out power.  It is discrimination if an oppressed, minority says or does hateful, intolerant things in regard to the group in power.  It was an interesting distinction, one that I had not really considered before (Note: my summary does very little justice to my friend's argument which was but well structured and compelling.  I just did my best to summarize it as accurately as possible).

My definition of ~ism words (sexism, racism, etc) had not generally included the idea of people being in power and more reflected the third point of the definition listed above.  Thus, generally I believed that something like  "reverse sexism" (women discriminating against men) could exist.  And my friend's point wasn't that women discriminating against men would exist, it just meant that it didn't make it sexism.  I do agree in some respects, by calling a situation like that listed above sexism, we over-value an action that is less common, thus equalizing men's more prevalent oppression of women with women's less prevalent oppression of men.

I'm afraid I'm not summarizing this very well.  I think it might be a point of semantics primarily.  But I will admit that for some reason my friend's argument hadn't occurred to me previously and I found it really interesting.  I love hearing other people's points of view.  I don't generally hold my beliefs because I think they are inherently right, I believe what I do only because I have yet to encounter a better point of view.

Facing Myself

I don't want this to be the last post I write today, so I guess I'll just write it now.  I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and I'm finally to the point of owning up to it.

Awhile ago, I read this post about abuse over at the Pervocracy.  It's a great post, albeit one that's a bit hard to  read and face up to.  When I read the post I had a hard time because my dad was pretty emotionally abusive.  But my biggest and worst realization was that I was emotionally abusive to Boyfriend and had been for a long time.

I've always had anger management issues.  I have a short temper and my constant fighting with my dad never helped.  I didn't think it would ever really affect anyone other than my dad, but after I had been dating Boyfriend for awhile, my temper started to slip more and more.  I was picking stupid fights for no reason and saying horrible things.  More horrible than I feel comfortable repeating ever.

Reading Holly's article forced me to face this.  I had already been working on my anger issues at this point and talking to Boyfriend about the things that I had said were sort of the natural next extension.  I haven't blogged about this yet because every time I think about many of the things I've said, I can barely stand it.  I make a point in my life about owning up to the things I've done, but this is by far the hardest.  I don't want it to ever happen again and for awhile I was definitely of the opinion that it would be better if Boyfriend and I broke up.  I didn't want to risk hurting him again and there was no way to adequately atone for the things I'd said.  I talked to Boyfriend a lot about it though and we decided to stay together and see how things went.

I still struggle with facing up to this.  I don't like what I did when I got angry in the past.  I hate it.  I still sometimes feel like breaking up would have been better because I honestly don't deserve his forgiveness.  Things feel really good between us right now.  I'm happy and I'm able to catch myself when my temper starts to slip.  But I still have a long way to go and I just don't want to hurt people again.  It's something where I think I will always be worried about it in the future, but hopefully that will serve as a reminder.

Stage Management as Gendered

I meant to post more yesterday, but I was exhausted, so I will post a few times today instead.

A friend asked me when I mentioned it in an earlier post how stage management is gendered and what I meant by that.  Now when people of the general populace think of stage management, they aren't going to think: Oh that's a female job.  More likely, they aren't going to know what a stage manager is.  However throughout the course of my time in theatre I have met five male stage managers.  I am currently working under a male stage manager, I trained a young asm as a stage manager, I met two male stage managers at a conference, and I met one male stage manager at my internship.  And I will just say that I have met probably close to a hundred female stage managers.

For a long time I just couldn't figure out what it was that drew mainly women into my field.  It's not like professors or people were out there encouraging women to join.  Generally students at my college were discouraged to stage manage because of the amount of time commitment involved.  But somehow, women tended to be more drawn to the profession.

I have been thinking about it for awhile and my thoughts were leaning towards: there are more female stage managers because there are more female actors and a lot of female actors decide that they would rather have more steady work stage managing instead.  But beyond that, I couldn't come up with many reasons why stage management was gendered.  Then I talked to a friend yesterday and she pointed out that stage management involves extreme organization and people skills, which are two traits that society thinks women are inherently good at.  When she said that, things clicked into place for me.

This revelation revealed something else that hadn't occurred to me: having a majority of women stage managing is in fact a problem.  It's just as much of a problem as having the vast majority of computer science people be male.  I hadn't thought of it as a problem because women are under-represented in most fields and so, in my head, the reverse of the normal situation shouldn't be a problem.  But that's the thing, if I truly believe that women and men are much more similar than different (and I do), then there shouldn't be a gender disparity in any job to begin with.  Women are channeled, sometimes incredibly subtly towards some jobs and men are channeled towards others.  Even in a profession like mine, where general society doesn't have much sway, women tend towards stage management more than men because it involves skills that are "feminine" and "for women".

Note: There are obviously many more male stage managers out there than I've noted.  I am simply saying that I have met very few personally and while my experience easily could be disproportionate, I don't think it's so disproportionate that there actually isn't a gender disparity.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


As a warning, this will be one of at least two posts tonight.  I have been out with friends the past few days and they've given me a lot to think about.

I didn't learn how to sew until college.  Before then I had done a few straight seams that my grandmother made me do, but basically it just involved pushing the presser foot down.  I took a costume design/construction freshman year of college and actually learned a fair amount about sewing: different types of seams, different methods of hand sewing, etc.  I am so so far from an expert, but I realized that it was something I enjoyed a lot.  I don't present ultra-femininely, so sometimes finding things that are considered "feminine" is a bit of a surprise for me.

The summer after my second year of college, I did some cosplay for a local anime convention which involved some fairly complex (for me) sewing.  It was quite the challenge, but again, so worth the struggle.  This year I'm running a bit low on cash, and I made a plushie for a friend (with a good deal of help with the pattern from another friend) and realized that I wanted to make all my friends/family plushies for Christmas.

Now, there are a few reasons that I never learned how to sew before college, especially since both my mother and my grandmother offered to teach me.  Firstly, it seemed obsolete and boring to me.  I could just buy my clothes, I didn't need to make them out of scratch.  Secondly, sewing was feminine and for women, so I didn't want to be caught doing it.

As I ripped through many pairs of pants growing up, I realized that I really needed some basic hand sewing skills.  Repairing clothes that I could afford to just replace was important, and certainly not obsolete.  When I met Boyfriend, who could sew circles around me, I realized the sewing wasn't only for domestic women.  I realize I should have come to this revelation earlier, but for some reason it just never occurred to me that men might enjoy sewing or find it relevant to their ripped clothing.

As with anything designated "female" or "feminine" sewing can be for anyone and I just wished I'd realized that sooner.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friends are the Family you Choose

I admit, the title is cliched and overused, but that really doesn't mean it's not true.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to those Americans out there.  Like almost everyone else I know, I spent the entire day yesterday with my family, an occurrence that very rarely occurs anymore. And what I was struck most by was how horribly sexist, racist, and intolerant my family is.  I heard some absolutely awful things said about gay people and fat people and women and non-white people.  I should have expected it, and to some extent I did, but the amount of crap my uncles (in particular, though they were not the only ones) heaped on people that were different than them.

With my immediate family (my sisters and parents) I would speak up and say: You realize that's racist? or Your realize that's sexist/judgmental/intolerant? And I will give them credit, throughout the day, they did start getting better (whenever they're around my uncles, they slide down into intolerance pretty quickly).  But my uncles don't respect me, I'm still a kid in their eyes, and if I had said anything, they just would have a) ignored me or b) ridiculed me and called me over-sensitive.

It was just such a rude awakening.  I spend my time at my job where people who are different are excepted without question.  And lately, several of my closest friends (including Boyfriend) have been home and I've been hanging out with them, and when I'm with them not only is everyone accepted, we even talk about intolerance.  In these circumstances, it's easy to forget that the entire world isn't like the people I interact with on a regular basis.  Thus interacting with the "real world" is frequently a rude awakening.  But, it's such an important awakening for me, because it does reaffirm that there are important rights to still be fighting for.  Things are better than they used to be for a lot of groups, but they still are not nearly equal.  I'm not sure I would necessarily classify myself as an activist, but it's times like these that make me want to be more of an activist.

Again, it's cliched, but I am grateful for a fairly large group of people who are accepting and allow me to be myself, and I wish everyone who feels that they're different from mainstream culture had similar support in their life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Flirting has never been something I'm good at, so, out of curiosity, I looked up the dictionary definition.

verb (used without object)
1. To court triflingly or act amorously without seriousintentions; play at love; coquet.
2. To trifle or toy, as with an idea: She flirted with the notion ofbuying a sports car.
3. To move with a jerk or jerks; dart about.

I found that distinctly unhelpful, so I moved on to my trusty friend, Wikipedia.  

Flirting (or coquetry) is a playful, romantic or sexual overture by one person to another subtly indicating an interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, and can involve verbal communication as well as body language.

Okay, this matches more with what my idea of flirting is, but it got me even more curious so I decided to do a quick google search: How to flirt.

The variety of answers I got was fairly impressive, but my the first result was some typical pick up artist bullshit.  It suggests that instead of compliments, that you should tease girls (this article is strictly directed at men looking to pick up women).  It suggests the following as some tried and true teasing pick up lines.
  • If a girl says something nerdy I will say “You usually hang out at the library don’t you?”
  • If a girl spills her drink I will say “Bartender, I think you need to cut her off”
  • If a girl is acting a little spoiled say “Looks like someone put their cranky pants on this morning
Is there a single one of those lines that isn't offensive? Are there women who actually like some creep insulting her? This seems like a beyond foreign concept to me. Whatever happened to a friendly, "Hello, my name is..."?

It also suggests that you can tease a girl when she gets up to go to the bathroom by blocking her path a couple times. And, no, just no. Maybe the bathroom is her escape from you, or maybe she just needs the bathroom. But that is creepy and overly possessive of a person you don't even know. It also gives off vibes of stalker and aggression.

This tip was unique to the first several top results of my google search. However, many of the sites did have advice like: "Break the touch barrier by touching her arm" or "Maintain eye contact at all times, it projects confidence." And I would just like to say that if were aren't friends, or at the very least, acquaintances, you damn well better not be touching me. That very well could be considered assault, if you decide to take a picky definition of the word. Also, I really don't want to be stared at all evening, at all. Eye contact is good, staring is just creepy.

There were some sites that had a lot of things I agreed with. Be friendly, be confident enough to at least introduce yourself, and most importantly, listen to the other person. But two things I did notice both about the bad and the good advice:

1. The advice was strictly aimed at men looking up to pick up women.
2. The advice was strictly aimed at men picking up women in a bar setting.

Can't people who are already friends flirt? Can't women flirt with men? Or women flirt with women? Or men flirt with me? I'm not horribly surprised by these two things, but I am disappointed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'm currently working with kids whose ages range from 12 to 17 (which translates to grades 7 through 12).  And just looking at the kids in a casual glance, I'm realizing that the vast majority of them have not yet gone through puberty?

The reason for the question mark is a) sometimes it's hard to tell and b) I'm not actively staring at the actors pondering this (which would be horribly creepy), it was more an idle observation.

But, the majority of the actors are 16 and 17 but it looks like only two of the guys shave.  One of the boy's (14) voice hasn't broken.  Most of the girls still haven't really started to develop.  The seniors in high school generally have, but the juniors in high school definitely haven't, which just seems interesting to me.

This was just really surprising to me.  I started puberty stupidly early (needing a bra by third grade) and my sisters didn't start at that much of a later age (around fifth grade).  Most of my friends were in similar situations.

If you do a quick google search about the age puberty starts you'll find numbers like: 9-13 for girls and 10-14 for boys.  So why are these actors so different when there's a plethora of research saying that the age of puberty is starting earlier and earlier.

Maybe it's just my own experience skewing my opinion? That's certainly possible.  I don't know, anyone have any thoughts?

Also, I apologize if this post seems creepy, it really really wasn't intended that way.  And anticipate Saturday posts to be about my observations of junior high and high school students since I work with them for 6+ hours those days.

I Find this Funny

Talking with some of my friends yesterday and my favorite quote to come out of our conversation:

In regard to sexist jokes: "I'm not humorless, some things just aren't funny."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Good Rehearsal

Rather recently, one of the actors in the show I'm currently working had to quit the main cast.  The actor had some rather serious and difficult issues to address and began to feel like doing the show would just not be in their best interest.

Today (with at the urging of the actor), we informed the rest of the cast what was going on and why  this actor was quitting the show.  They'd still be around occasionally, whenever they could manage, but they would be gone more than they would be present.  The reaction of the cast was fairly amazing.  They sat there, completely silent (a group of middle schoolers and high schoolers is rarely completely silent), just taking in what their close friend was going through.  The few actors who had known about the situation beforehand had not told anyone else out of respect and when we told the whole cast you could just tell that they were honored to be trusted with the sensitive and intimate information.

The rest of the rehearsal was subdued.  There were laughs and a lot of good work put in, but there were obvious undertones oh sadness.  We were learning exclusively ballads today, which fit the mood of everyone in the room perfectly.  Towards the end of rehearsals, we reviewed songs we had learned previously, and the songs the cast asked to reviewed stuck with the theme of rehearsals.  The last song of the day we ran had been the actor who quit's song.  The replacement did a fantastic job and rehearsals ended on a really nice note.

Afterwards, the directing and stage management team hung around and talked to the actors more in depth about the situation.  There were some tears and a great deal of hugging going on within the cast.

 But what most astounded me about today's rehearsal was the incredible feeling of support and empathy the rest of the cast felt for their friend.  Teenagers can be harsh and hard to deal with sometimes, but they can also be overwhelmingly supportive.


So, I've posted about my family, about going to try an open relationship, and about coming to terms with my sexuality, so I might as well finish the last of my secrets off and put it out on the internet (this is clearly the logical choice...clearly).  I would say trigger warning, but it's really not a trigger warning, it's more a possibly offensive warning, but all sorts of the things a say are possibly offensive. So. I guess this just might be more offensive than usual?

Anyway, I discovered masturbation when I was very young.  I remember knowing what it was (though not the name of it, I wouldn't learn that till much later) at the age of five, so I must have discovered earlier than that.  When I was six, I made a male friend in my grade and we hung out all the time together. It was fun, he didn't talk about frilly "girly" things, which at that time in my life, I despised.  We were friends from the first grade through about third grade (when I changed schools to get more of a challenge out of my education).

We were kids and we played.  We played all sorts of things: knights, we played dragons, we played various board games and video games, but we also played "torture".  We had both discovered the tickling sensation that masturbation caused and we shared that with each other and we played around with that.  It wasn't all the time, but it did happen occasionally.  We didn't come close to anything even remotely resembling penis-in-vagina sex, but we did sorta touch on oral sex.  It's all very strange to look back on frankly, and when I got into  junior high and high school, I looked back and realized that we had discovered on our own, what we were later to be taught (of course we didn't know anything remotely resembling safe practices, etc >.< ).

I don't think of it as exploitative or abusive, we were both the same age and had a fun time together.  I do recall all the shame I've felt over the years, but I was a kid, I hadn't been taught anything and I was just having fun.  I'm not sure it possibly could have gone any differently.  I don't know how normal this is, but if you look at the internet, at least some people (they can't possibly all be trolls) have had similar experiences.  I'm not really sure how it's affected my life today.

It's also fascinating because it was purely platonic, if that can even be possible.  We tried the whole, cutesy, elementary "dating" thing (a few years later) for a few days and it was just awkward.

Anyway, that's my story.  Sorry for offending anyone (possibly) and bearing my skeletons to the entire internet, which I still feel kinda weird about.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is it I Don't Even?

I had an interesting conversation yesterday, which mainly started with both of us being unable to articulate what we wanted to say (I will admit I was the worse of the two of us about it).  I had a question I wanted to ask, but  could just not get it to translate from my head to my mouth.  What we ultimately decided it boiled down to is: What is gender and how do you know you are the gender you are?

Now, before everyone jumps on me (I have very few readers, no one is actually going to care, but I still feel like this disclaimer is necessary), I want you to actually honestly think about the question.  I'm a woman, a semi-feminine woman.  But why?  Gender roles (ie women take care of the children and men are the bread winners, men like football, women like ballet) and gender presentation (ie women wear dresses, men wear suits and ties) are societal constructs.  Thus, this very deep seated feeling I have of: I am a woman seems unlikely strictly to be based on society.

I guess, even if the feeling is based strictly on societal norms, that doesn't invalidate the feeling.  But, at the same time, I don't identify as a woman because I like ballet or wear dresses.  I like ballet and wear dresses, yet those aren't defining features of my existence.  Defining features of my existence?  An open-mind, commitment to projects, a good work ethic, loyalty to my friends, willingness to help.  These are all things I define myself as and those things aren't gendered.  Tangible things that I define myself with? Stage management, writing, books, theatre in general.  And largely, I don't think of those things as gendered either (with the possible exception of stage management, which is sort of fascinating and I will discuss at a later date).

So why do I feel like a woman then?  Because I do have that strong feeling, which I know not everyone does.  I want society to view me as a woman, even though there is still blatant sexism in the world.  I like the pronoun she, though I could also be convinced to go by a gender neutral one probably.  I believe that people are equal. Woman, man, genderqueer.  I think that different and opposite but equal is bull shit.  So why then do I want to be seen and accepted as a woman?

So if I don't know the specific indicators of how I determined I am a woman, other than simply a gut feeling, what is gender?  Is it just that gut feeling?  I know it's supposed to have to do with societal concepts and your feelings about yourself but where do those feelings come from if they don't come from the societal constructs?

This post has had an enormous amount of questions, and the thing is, I just don't have any answers to them.  I really wish I did, but I just don't know.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scan Tailor

I wasn't planning on this being my next post, but I just had to scan in a part of my score and turn it into a pdf, so I thought I would talk about another handy tool for stage managers.

A few years ago, while I was scanning my script in, Boyfriend suggested I use a free program called Scan Tailor to clean up the scanned copies before I put them into a pdf.  Scan Tailor specializes in cleaning up scans to make them readable and usable.  And I would like provide a step by step guide of how to scan in a script and create a nice, neat, professional looking pdf from it.

Note: I've used Scan Tailor for more than just scripts, it's an excellent all around program, so I suggest checking it out whether you're a stage manager or not.

1. Scan the Script
Most stage managers I know either physically cut up and paste their script to create the type of script they need (such as combining a script or score or such) or some actually type up the entire script.  I honestly can't imagine this and you can get programs/drivers that will scan text straight into a document, but in my experience those don't work horribly well.  So I just stick with images at first.  Images can be cropped and spliced and if there are major script changes, then I will just type up only the script changes.  While scanning, if you have an unbound copy of the script, document feeds can be a great time saver.  I also tend to try to name the images sequentially, so that they will be in the correct order and you don't have to do any renaming.

2. Download Scan Tailor
You can download the program for free here.

3. Put the Script in Scan Tailor
All you need to do is open Scan Tailor and go File > Create New Project.  You will get a box that looks like this:
You need to select your input director (the file where the scans are) and then Scan Tailor will automatically put the finished product in a folder called Out in the original folder.  This can be changed if you so wish.  You can also select which files you want to be included.

4. Fix Orientation
You can do this in pretty much any program nowadays, but since you're already putting the script in Scan Tailor, you might as well do it here.  Just change the orientation how you want and then press the play button next to Fix Orientation and Scan Tailor will reorient all of your images.  Here is a picture of the original page without any changes made to it:

5. Split Pages
As you can see from my example about, this play came from an actual book (and is not in loose leaf form), so there are two pages per image.  Scan Tailor can detect that there are two pages (it did this selection for me automatically) and then you can hit the play button and apply the split all of your script pages.  If you do have a loose leaf form of script then you can basically just skip this step.  Below is an example:

6. Deskew
Unless you are magic (and I certainly am not), it is likely that in your scanning your images got slightly rotated or skewed.  Scan Tailor will straighten the images out for you.  Like always, you have the option of Scan Tailor doing it automatically or doing it manually.  Sometimes Scan Tailor does make mistakes, so I tend to let the program do it automatically and then browse back through for any errors.  Press the play button to apply the deskew to all the images.

7. Select Content
Many times when you're scanning you end up with the lovely black boarder around much of your image (pictured above).  Select Content allows you to completely get rid of it.  Be careful though, like the image below, Scan Tailor frequently does not automatically select page numbers (which you probably need) or headers (which you might not need).
Note: Since this was just an example and I didn't notice that it didn't select the page number until recently, it will not be in the following images.

8. Margins
This is really nice, because you can choose the type of margins you want for your image.  I tend to like a large right margin and a small left margin when making a calling script.  In order to do this, you need to unlikely the right and left margins and then you can change them independently of each other.  In the image, you can hopefully see that the left and right margins are not linked by the broken chain next to the left and right boxes.

9. Final Touches
The last step in Scan Tailor is when the image gets really cleaned up. As you can see in the image you have several options in this step.  You can change the output resolution (600 tends to be plenty for me, so I don't touch that generally).  You can also flip through black and white, greyscale, and color options.  One of my favorite features is the thinner/thicker slider.  If your text scanned in blocky then you can make it thinner and easier to read (like I did in the example).  If your text scanned in faint and thin, then the thicker slider can salvage it.  The final option on this screen is to despeckle.  This will get rid of dots and artifacts of scanning.  In the example I've been using, the scan had managed to pick up some of the text on the other side of the page and despeckling removed a lot of that problem (though not all, it can only do so much with a bad scan).  When you are satisfied with your result for your first page, you can press the play button and Scan Tailor will automatically send the files to your output directory (mentioned above) as it completes them.

10. Putting it in a PDF
You can do this with several programs.  Once Scan Tailor is done outputting, you can highlight the entire folder and (assuming that your files are named well) it will put the entire script into a word document in order.  You may need to adjust the size of the images within Word, which can be a pain (since Word doesn't handle images very quickly).  I also tend to minimize my margins in Word as much as possible.  This is the step when you can add score in or delete certain parts that were cut from the script.  Just be careful with page numbers so that you can always be on the same page as the actors and director.

Boyfriend also suggests using Adobe Acrobat (which I don't actually have) to make images into pdfs.  I would give some brief instructions, but since I've never used Acrobat (I should ask Boyfriend to teach me) I can't, so sorry about that.

Why bother with a pdf?  Pdf's print much faster than a Word doc full of images and they are easier to scroll through.


On an unrelated note, this post is going to make my post on pronouns (which I also posted today) jump down the page, so if you're interested, I encourage you to go read it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yoga Pants

We had a six hour choreography call for the show today.  It was great, we got the two biggest numbers choreographed completely.  However, something that I noticed and then later the stage manager noticed: every single one of the girls was in yoga pants.

Now, actors are expected to wear clothes that they can move in to dance rehearsals, so some of you might be thinking that yoga pants are that surprising.  However, over the past shows I've worked, I have run into remarkably few people (female or male) that wear yoga pants.  Sweats are extremely common, as are shorts (basketball shorts in particular).  It just seemed very weird to me that every single girl (I'm not trying to be diminutive by saying "girl", my actors range from 12-17)) were wearing yoga pants.

In sharp contrast to the girls, the guys were wearing very baggy sweats or basketball shorts.  You could look at the group and sorta squint and still be able to instantly tell the men from the women by clothing shape alone.

Why is this worth a post?  I was just fascinated because I have remarked many, many times that theatre is much less restrictive about gender roles and boundaries (with the very large exception of casting, which I will talk about in another post when I'm more awake).  And, since boundaries are more transitive, people tend to push them more.  What I don't think I realized was that this pushing doesn't generally start until college.

And even more interestingly for me: generally it is men who have the harder time pushing gender roles, but in theatre, it's always seemed easier for the men than the women to me.  For example: two of the guys were wearing yoga pants (clothing "typically" meant for women) today, but none of the women were wearing masculine clothing.  I know many more gay male actors than gay female ones.  The women actors I know tend to relax as they get older, but the pressure for them to be attractive and skinny and demure in their teens and twenties seems a great deal higher.

I'm not sure I really have a point.  It's been a very long day, but it was an interesting occurrence that I wanted to share.


In one of my very first posts, I said that I would post about pronouns later and I have started this post at least five times and just not been able to finish it, so I'm just going to try to get it done.

I would like to preface this post by saying that I have not actually ever met someone who told me that they were genderqueer.

My friends and I joke about how English is an inadequate way to express ourselves and the way that I have found most inadequate is in regard to pronouns.  English has "he", "she", "you", "they", and "it" (and I guess, technically one).  "He" and "she" are fine, but they obviously promote a gender binary.  "You" is both accusatory and only for use when directly talking to a person.  I am really fond of "they" but proper grammar conventions insist that the word "they" is plural (I'll discuss singular they in just a second).  "It" is used to refer strictly to inanimate objects and thus would be extremely offensive in regard to a person.  "One" sounds like you are trying to write a paper without using singular they; it's stiff and formal.  Those are the problems with the pronouns currently in use in English.

Now, people are creative and have come up with all sorts of ways to get around gendered language.  Singular "they" is the most popular and according to Wikipedia, has been in use since the 15th Century (you would think that since it has been used in the singular for so long, the grammar police would just let it go).  And in papers and just casual use I tend to use it in the singular.  The problem becomes when you are referring to someone specific and say: "They like to read."  That becomes an extremely ambiguous statement.  Do you mean that you know several people who like to read or that you have a genderqueer friend who likes to read?

Another common solution that is used (at least in writing) to solve the gender neutral language is the construction she/he or s/he.  This is a construction I have never been fond of and thus had never used.  It is ugly and more importantly, it still has the problem of enforcing a gender binary.

Another solution I have run into (on the internet, not in person) is invented pronouns.  There is a very long list of them on Wikipedia (which actually does encompass all of the pronouns I've encountered) which is worth looking over because I learned a few new gender neutral pronouns.  My biggest problem with invented pronouns is that they're invented.  As my linguist friend would say, pronouns are a close class of language and thus adding to them is far, far more difficult than just coining or borrowing a new word.  Unless you raise a new generation of children with using the gender neutral pronouns, it won't really become a natural part of English.  As an addendum, I also have the problem with a lot of invented pronouns sounding too similar aloud to he and she.

That being said, if a person asks me to use a particular set of pronouns, including invented pronouns, I will do it.  If that is how that person identifies, I'm not going to say no, I can't honor your simple request of using the pronouns you feel best with.

My favorite new non-conventional pronoun I found in the list I linked to above is: Per(son).  Which conjugates like this:

Per laughed. I called per.  Pers dog.  That is pers.  Per likes perself.

Why do I like it?  It feels natural to me.  It's just an abbreviation of person (which is about as gender neutral as it gets).  It's not easily verbally confused with he or she.  I really like it.

Related: I have a friend (I never know when it's okay to use names so I'll let per speak for perself) who has a friend who isn't partial to just one particular pronoun.  Thus my friend has used he, she, and they in relation to the person and I find that really cool.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Behind Glass

One of my biggest frustrations about grocery stores is that they put condoms and pregnancy tests behind glass. The stated explanation when I've asked? "Well, they're one of our most shoplifted items."

This is very subtle slut shaming.  Perhaps they're most one of the shoplifted items.  I actually would really like to see some statistics about this subject.  Statistics of how many condoms they have shoplifted and then statistics about how many condoms they sell before put condoms behind glass and after they put them behind glass.

Four years ago I can only think of one store that kept condoms and such behind glass.  Now I can only think of a maybe a handful that don't.  At this point in my life I would be completely comfortable asking a person if I could get some condoms, but that's not the point.  The point is that by putting them behind glass you're making teenagers and people just beginning to have sex ashamed that they're having it.  You're making them endlessly self-conscious about having to ask someone about something that they aren't comfortable telling the whole world, because we are constantly told sex is shameful.

And what about pregnancy tests?  I know several adult women (older by me by nearly ten years in a lot of cases) who are trying to have children tell me that they aren't comfortable having to ask to get a pregnancy test.  How then are young women who are afraid that they're accidentally pregnant ever going to be able to approach some one?

Shop lifting would go down if we were more educated and more accepting and putting condoms and pregnancy tests behind glass is not the correct way to handle this situation.  We ought to be promoting use of condoms and they way to do that is make condoms actually accessible.  I'm not even talking about free condom give away, I'm just just talking about not shaming the poor people who are actually doing the right thing and being safe and using condoms.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Empty House

My family leaves tomorrow for a trip to a time-share condo on the coast.  In high school I would have spurned such a trip, reveling in my alone time, and in later years, Boyfriend and I would have enjoyed the time without family constantly encroaching.  Now, I desperately wish that I could go with them.  I have such fond memories of the condo when I went as a child.

My immediate family and grandparents leave two days before New Years, for their annual trip down the coast to celebrate New Years.  I can't go with them.  I have a sixty hour work week that week (tech).  I have been going every other year, spending one year with friends and one year with family.  This year that pattern has been broken and it makes me sad.

In high school I would have invited friends over and we would have hung out.  I was that kid who parents trusted to have friends over, even when they were out of town.  I never abused that power (well, at least not with drunken parties).

Now, I know that when my parents leave, I'll be left alone in an empty house.

Note: The post is fairly stylized, it came out less poetic than I was expecting, but more poetic than a normal post.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


One of the big talks that I was given at least once a year in school regarded labels.  Jock, nerd, slut, prep, theatre kid, hipster, fat, indie.  I've read some interesting articles about how calling someone fat or a slut isn't technically an insult.  It's just calling a person what they are, and because our culture so stigmatizes those words, they  become insulting.

And the point that calling something what it is isn't a very creative insult is valid.  But, saying something shouldn't hurt because it's true is verging on the edge of ridiculous.  My friends always used to teasingly say, "It's not mean if it's true" (thankfully I haven't heard that phrase in awhile).  I have to vehemently disagree, that's why I think labels can be so incredibly harmful.  In many, many cases, saying something that's true can actually be more vicious and more harmful.

The reason?  If a person has a trait commonly construed as negative in popular culture, than I can promise you that they are painfully aware of it.  I know I'm fat, I am thoroughly aware of that fact and do not need it pointed out by every single person I encounter.  "Stereotypes are stereotypes because they have some truth" is another truism that I've heard and I agree to an extent.  Generally, a person isn't going to be given a nerd label or a jock label or a slut label without there being some truth to that statement*.  But labels and stereotypes take a person and brew them down to one particular quality and amplify it a thousand fold.

Thus you get the harmful mindsets like a football player can't like art because that's not how football players work.  Or nerd can't be failing biology because nerds are smart, everyone knows that, duh.  A fat person can't be healthy or play sports because they're overeating, lazy, slobs.  The fact that some people can't lose weight despite exercising and a healthy diet completely is invalidated because that's not why people are fat.  A slut isn't sleeping with people because they enjoy sex, but rather because they have deep-seated insecurities and a constant need for attention.

A person is more than their label.

*This is not to say that people aren't given labels that they completely don't deserve and this can be just as harmful.  A person who is the given the label "slut" but is actually a virgin has fallen victim to the assumptions and simplifications that go along with that label.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Score? Script? Both?

I apologize for the plethora of stage management related posts lately, but I just started my next show, so it's on the brain and all I can really afford to think of for the moment.

I have run into the thing that I feel out of my depths in for the real world.  I never worked a musical in college (we only had one a year, so I wasn't the only one who didn't get to).  The last show I worked was a musical, but our director was also the music director and the actress knew the songs so well, that even she didn't need the score.  Now I'm in a situation where I have both a music director and the need for both a score and a script.

The solution? I need to combine them.  (In truth, I don't actually need to combine them, since I'm just asm, but I am running enough rehearsals that it would be helpful).  I've never done the combining before (though I have compiled scripts before).  I have to think about how best to do that.

Also, we had a stupid hole puncher at rehearsals today and none of my pages are in line with each other so I need to rehole punch them/completely reprint and hole punch them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So Much Blood

As promised in my previous post, here is a story from the last time I asmed.  And in case the title isn't a warning, this post considers mention of things that may make squeamish people...well, squeamish.

We had a high schooler on the crew along with us college students.  He was a really sweet kid, competent, learned quickly.  In the play, we had a fight scene that involved thick wooden dowels, and despite how many times we had warned the two actors, they kept hitting too hard and breaking the dowels.

We were in between fight call and house opening on opening night and one of the dowels had cracked, so we had to remove the tassel from the old dowel and put it on the new dowel.  It was stuck on there really thoroughly and I had things to do, so I gave the high school kid, Nate, my unused (very sharp) knife and told him what to do.  I was working on taping an actor's ankle (she had sprained it (we had a lot of injuries because the show was very physically intensive)) and Nate came up to me and said, "Kaylee, I'm bleeding."  I told him I would get him a bandage in half a second as soon as finished.  He told me that would be fine and I finished up and grabbed my first aid kit.

I turned to Nate.  He was standing in front of the sink holding a finger that was gushing blood.  I remember my eyes widening. "Oh.  You're BLEEDING." I said and grabbed bandage and frantically unwrapped it.

"Kaylee, it's hurts."  Nate said.  "It hurts so much."

"It'll be okay.  Here, I have a bandaid." And I wrapped the bandaid around his finger and heard him sigh in relief, but I immediately realized it wouldn't be enough.  I started unwrapping another bandaid while I got on headset (thank god we had wireless) and let my sm know about what was happening.  She immediately took care of keeping the actors and crew out of the way so they wouldn't panic.

"Beth, go get George (our technical director)."  I told the stage manager, knowing that he was still hanging around since it was opening night.  I got the other bandage on Nate's finger and realized he had no color in his skin at all.  The other asm hung around, not knowing what to do.  "Get orange juice (which I had bought for my sm as a joke for opening), it's back by the booth"  I told her, realizing that he was going into shock

"Nate, it's okay.  I'm going to wrap your finger in gauze, I told him."  He nodded and I started wrapping his finger, the old bandage sliding everywhere, totally soaked through with blood.  Suddenly his eyes rolled back in his head.  My technical director came running and we caught him as he fainted and eased him down to the ground.  In retrospect, we should have gotten him sitting so much sooner, but I was so caught up in trying not to panic and trying to get the bleeding to stop.  His eyes fluttered open and George and I both breathed a breath of relief.

We finished wrapping Nate's finger in gauze and George told our director (who was still  around) to call 911 and tell them that we needed the paramedics.  He immediately got on the phone with him.

"Where the fuck are the rubber gloves?" George asked angrily, rifling through the first aid kit provided by the theatre.

"Here," I said, grabbing a pair for myself and a him from my own kit.  I should have put on rubber gloves sooner, but what I realized in this incident?  That all of the safety precautions that you're warned about are very important, but preventing a person from bleeding out immediately is more important.

In the meantime, Beth and I were explaining to George what had happened and one of our actresses comes up to check her props (as she was supposed to do).  She froze, her eyes wide open, her mouth agape slightly.  I looked at Beth and then back at the actor.  "Rebecca, go back to the dressing rooms and don't let anyone come up, okay?"  I told her and followed her down to the dressing rooms (which were down a level).

"I can help, I have first aid training," Rebecca offered.

I took a deep breath.  "No, thank you though.  We have it under control and we need you to focus on acting.  What I need you to do is keep anyone from going upstairs, okay?"  She nodded and I made the announcement that we were running behind and that everyone would need to stay down in the dressing rooms until we told them otherwise and that they could check their props then.  I think there must have been something about my tone because all I got was nods from our cast and not one of them budged in the succeeding time, an impressive feat with a cast of 30+ college students.

When I got back upstairs Beth called to me.  "Kaylee, go tell the house manager a simplified version of what's happened and tell them that we'll need to hold house."

I walked to the front of the house.  "We'll need to hold house.  One of the technicians has had an accident.  I want you to know that the paramedics will being coming, so please keep the audience calm."

I vividly remembering the house manager gulping and nodding her head.  I headed back to backstage and the director was looking for me.  "Kaylee, do you know anything about Nate's personal information and background?"  I nodded and gave him everything I knew.  "I'll need to call his mother," my director told me and I got his mother's number from a very shaky Nate.

By this time, the paramedics had arrived, and they of course entered through the lobby and the house, causing a big stir from our audience members.  They looked at Nate and told us to get a blanket and more orange juice and that he was in shock.  I knew where a blanket lived in the dressing rooms, so I grabbed it, needing all my will to move normally in front of the actors.

The paramedics draped Nate in the blanket and told us that he was actually fairly stable.  Our efforts with the gauze had stopped the bleeding.  They asked when his mother would be here and we told them she would be here momentarily.  George designated someone to go out and watch for Nate's mother, and then the paramedics informed us that if we wanted, Nate would be allowed to drive with his mother to the hospital where he would get stitches.  Nate said that he really would prefer to go with his mother than they nodded and said that they would be going and left us with instructions about how to look after him.

The paramedics left and we got Nate into a sitting position in a chair, which was significantly more comfortable than the cold concrete ground.  His mother came and a few of people helped him walk out to the car.  I looked down a my gloved hands, the latex (need to get nonlatex gloves) was speckled with blood and I asked Beth for a bag, took my gloves off the way they taught me in first aid, put them in the bag, and dumped it in a trash can.  George did similarly and then he hugged me.  This very tough, gruff, tactless man hugged me and he was shaking.  Shaking as hard as I was.  "I have EMT training and I hate experiences like that, I hate them so much.  They just make me shake."  He said.

I agreed fervently.  "George?"  I asked.  "Should I not have given him the knife?"

"No, you did what you were supposed to.  He was part of your crew, they should be able to handle knives. Things like this can happen to anyone."  He assured me, and I let out a breath I had been holding.

One of the crew had mopped up the blood and Beth asked me to let the house manager know that she could open the house.  We opened only five minutes late.  The whole thing had only taken twenty minutes.  After I talked to the house manager, I looked down at my hands and ran to the restroom, letting warm, soapy water wash over them, washing the blood from the experience away.  I went back to the theatre, we made adjustments to the scene changes so we could do them without Nate and the show went flawlessly.

Nate came back two days later with a heavily bandaged thumb, but did his work as usual.  We filled out an incident report and things went back to normal.  At the end of the run, when his bandaging was significantly less, he showed us the slice he had made.  He had almost taken off the pad of thumb and managed to do it in a way that they couldn't even stitch it up.

And you know what?  To this day only two of our actors know what happened to Nate that opening night.  One was Rebecca and the other had been texted by nervous friends in the audience about the paramedics.  Luckily she had the sense not to say anything to anyone other than stage management.

Note: I am shaking just writing about what happened that day.


I am assistant stage manager (asm) for the show I'm working for, and though it's not a head stage management job, it's still a position I enjoy immensely.  It's less stressful at times (though definitely not all the time) and I don't always have to make the decisions.  One of the problems I have with asming though is that I never know how much of a prompt book to put together.  I need a script certainly, and I have taken back up blocking notes before, but do I need to print all the rehearsal reports and design paperwork?  Generally the answer is that I don't need to have all the rehearsal reports in my binder, but I do need to have essentials such as a contact sheet, schedule, and character breakdown (which lists which characters are on which page).  It's sort of a silly thing to worry about, but it's something that's always struck me. (This post reminds me that I should probably do a post on prompt books at some point, even if most of my readers don't really care).

Now, two quick stories about the last time I was an asm (anyways I hope I can tell them quickly):


During tech, we had been sitting in a cue for around thirty minutes (our lighting designer was horribly slow at writing cues) and finally we were going to run the transition into the next scene.  Well, we had a seventeen foot tree that was engageable (ie we had an actress up in it) and it was sitting offstage as far as we could get it.  We also had a scrim (a type of drop (piece of fabric) that covers the entire stage and that lighting can do some cool things with) which was right next to the tree and for the transition the scrim was going to fly out and the tree was going to go in (I was in charge of moving the tree).

Katie, one of the actresses, was being very patient and had just been waiting quietly in position up in the tree.  Well, as we started the transition, our incompetent fly rail operator (the person who moved the scrim in and out) flew the scrim the wrong way.  The stage manager yelled: "Stop" but I'm not sure that it registered with the fly rail operator.  There was a deafening crack and a scream from Katie.  The fly rail operator had flown the scrim further in, rather than out, and the pipe that the scrim was hanging on (which was only about five feet above the tree to begin with).  

I  immediately scrambled up the ladder for the tree, calling to Katie.  She didn't respond, which caused my heart to stop beating for just a second.  I got to the top of the tree and found a quietly sobbing Katie cradling her hand.  I asked her if she was hurt anywhere other than her hand and she shook her head no.  I asked her if she thought she could get down right then and she shook her head no again, so I told her to hold tight and I would get her an ace wrap and ice.  I climbed down the ladder as fast as I could and nearly slammed into my technical director.  I explained very briefly what had happened and asked him to talk to her while I grabbed an ice pack and ace wrap from my kit.  I did so and climbed up the ladder again and wrapped the ice pack onto her hand.

At that point, I finally felt safe enough (ie Katie was secure enough) explaining to my stage manager what had happened.  She was horrified, but also had to deal with the fly rail op.  After I finished explaining (I was still sitting in the tree next to Katie, making sure she was okay) the head of the design program showed up and demanded of me why was Katie still up in the tree.  I told him that she didn't feel safe climbing down and he demanded that she come down.  I looked at her and she nodded that she could, so I helped her climb down one handed and we got her seated in the dressing rooms.  We kept her hand wrapped, iced it off and on, and had her mother (who was a nurse) see look it over.  As it turned out, she had only sprained her hand, but it was incredibly scary.

After this whole ordeal the head of design talked to both me and the other asm (separately).  He told us that we should have been watching the fly rail op (despite the fact that I was on the other side of the stage and that the other asm had also been in the middle of a complicated scene change).  He said it was also Katie's fault for not crying out and I defended, saying that she had. He blamed her for being in the tree when she didn't need to be, which was bullshit, since she had done exactly what we asked of all the actors: be in positions one cue early.  The person he blamed least? The fly rail op.  And yes, stage managers are responsible for pretty much everything, but in this case we just weren't.  He told us that we hadn't handled the situation properly since we hadn't informed him immediately.  And I rarely rarely disagreed with a teacher to their face but told him in no uncertain terms that getting to Katie who was 17' in the air had been my first priority and I would not ever apologize for doing that, especially since I have significantly more first aid training that he does.  Surprisingly, he actually backed off and apologized to me.


I know I promised you two stories, but this post is already long enough, so I will post the second one separately.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I'm not sure I want to be blogging about this subject.  I have permission from Boyfriend, who is involved with what I want to discuss, but I don't want to get judged.  I've never been afraid of being judged, not even when I was a little kid, so this is very strange for me.  The hardest thing for me?  Not telling the entire internet, but telling the people I know in person who I know read my blog.

So now that I've built it up to be this huge deal, I suppose I should actually talk about what I'm thinking about.  Boyfriend and I are currently living in different cities (far enough away that it's not easy to visit him necessarily). And I've had a couple people tell me it would be good for our relationship, which I only sort of agree with.  But one thing living away from him has done is give me more free time.

I read a lot more blogs on feminism, gender, sexuality, and political issues in general now.  I've learned more that I could possibly quantify over the past few months and what I've learned has changed my world view quite a lot.  Couple that with the fact that I'm dealing with my anger management issues now and I feel like a fairly different person.  One who is distinctly me in many ways, but one whose view of the world is profoundly different.

Senior year of high school (which is when I consider my life really starting to change) I believe that monogamous relationships are the only valid ones.  And that for me, the only relationship I wanted was a heterosexual one.  And even now, I will still admit that primarily am attracted to men.  I will give this to my past self, I didn't say: "I'm not attracted to women", but I did say: "I haven't been attracted to a women in my experience."  Years later, I have been attracted to women, so that's one part of the equation that's changed.

So, if one part of my romance equation wasn't true, it probably stands to reason the other wasn't.  Even a few months ago, I talk about how polyamory wasn't for me.  And the more time that has passed, the more I realized I hadn't really ever legitimately considered the option.  For quite awhile, I was hesitant to even talk to Boyfriend about what I was thinking about.  I finally got to mentioning it occasionally and we had a few brief chats.

A few days ago I finally talked with Boyfriend about the possibility of pursuing an open relationship.  I felt so much dread I was shaking and there was just no reason because he agreed that it was something that he would like to try.  The thing is, I don't want to go out an have casual sex with strangers. That really wasn't the point.  But a friends with benefits situation or even another relationship with another person interests me and is something that I would like to have as an option.

I haven't told very many people about this but I've already been forced to justify myself.  Yes I love Boyfriend.  Yes, our relationship is actually wonderful right now.  No, the reason isn't: "He's not enough for me."  What brought this on?  The belief that I honestly am not convinced that people are designed to be monogamous.  Do Boyfriend and I have limits/boundaries/ground rules about it? Yes, we've agreed to talk to each other about any relationship we may or may not start. (Note: Some of these were totally legitimate questions asked out of curiosity and not out of judgement.  But I find myself being very defensive, overly defensive even).

I don't like be judged.  I really don't.  But this is something that I would like to explore.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A New Sports Paradigm

I grew up playing sports.  I played soccer and I played volleyball for the vast majority of my pre-college years. One of the things that became utterly ingrained in my mind was that men and women perform separately in sports because they are so completely different.  And the thing is, to some extent it's true.  Women sprinter's records are slower then men sprinter's.  The same thing holds true for swimming and various other sports.

But then I think about it and a lot of sports, soccer and volleyball included, don't necessarily hold much/any advantage for men over women.  The men I've played volleyball with recreationally do tend to hit harder than many of the women but because of they do have that strength that many times they don't have to work as hard for (generally), their blocking is sloppy, their accuracy is poor, and their vision of the court is worse.  This isn't the case for everyone, but most of the women players I've played with tend to be smarter about how they play the ball.  This of course isn't because women are inherently smarter, it has everything to do with how women are trained.  Less of them can just power the ball and blow people over, so coaches teach proper blocking and  vision of the court to find holes.  However, I would like to say that I have seen girls I was playing with whose noses just became faucets from getting hit in the nose my women hitters.

There are also positions in volleyball that favor women, who tend to be shorter (although on the whole volleyball is a sport for tall people).  The defensive specialist and libero specialists require agility, mobility, and being low to the ground.  So, there's a position that shorter people would excel at.

As for soccer, and there are a lot of other sports that I know less about that I could also use as an example, Shea is currently training with boys and she scores just as many goals when she plays with them as when she plays when her own team.  The boys are fairly astonished by this, she just takes it as how it should be.

I'm not claiming that all sports should be integrated.  As much as I hate to admit it, women are generally shorter and lighter (less muscle mass in particular) and men are generally taller with more muscle mass.  And I do think that having gender neutral sprinting would be fairly devastating to women sprinters and then would you make every race be 50% women?  It doesn't really work.  There's a lot of problems with how sports are set up in general right now and it's certainly not an easy fix, but it is interesting to think about.

This entire page is very very good, but the section on  "Gender and Sports" is relevant.  Check out the one on ski jumping in particular.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Firstly, this post contains major spoilers for Torchwood, particularly Children of Earth (but not Miracle Day).  It also contains very minor spoilers about Joss Whedon's works and Doctor Who.  The rest of the post is after the breal.

Note:  If you are going to give spoilers in any comments you make, please do so with an easy to see spoiler tag at the beginning of your comment.  Also, if you are reading using "View Post" as opposed to "View Blog" their will not be a jump break, so beware (stupid Blogger).


Thursday, November 3, 2011


I have a grudge against psychology.  I am biased against it by my experiences and I would like to put that disclaimer up front.  I have debated this several times with Boyfriend and I will admit before I start with what I find objectionable that: 
1) Psychology is a valid science 
2) Psychology can give us valuable insights into the human mind 
3) Counselors can genuinely help people

Now.  Psychology's approach is what I have a problem with frequently.  People are all different, so making generalizations is very very dangerous.  Many psychological studies have flaws in their methods which will lead to flawed or incomplete conclusions.  This is particularly true in regard to the field of gender.

Boyfriend's biggest (valid) criticism of my view of psychology is when I read studies about how women and men are inherently and biologically different (battle of the sexes and so on) and my first, immediate reaction is denial.  I honestly do believe that studies like this have some flaws.  Frequently inconclusive results are taken (generally by the media) as something very conclusive, and it drives me crazy.  I also am loathe to admit that there are biological differences between men and women (beyond basic anatomy).  And the reason I am loathe to admit it is that any slight difference is going to be used as an excuse for blatant sexism.

There probably are biological differences, but how are you ever going to be able to prove that they're biological and not societal?  How are you going to prove to what extent they're biological and to what extent they're societal?

Also, while I do believe counselors can be a lot of help, I've also seen them do a lot of damage to people I know personally.  I object to the belief that everyone should be "normal" because so often "normal" implies homogeneity and I like to celebrate our differences.  And I know, I really do, that not all of psychology conflicts/conforms to what I've said, but I've ran into a lot of times when it does. 

Sex Ed

An exploration of my sexual education in private, public, catholic, small, large, Protestant, and Catholic schools (I switched schools a fair deal).

My first large, public school I attended from ages 5-7.  Unsurprisingly, I was told exactly nothing about sex or even about reproduction.  I can remember my parents talking about it briefly, but not much was said in general. The biggest thing I remember being told is that even though my parents lived together before they were married that generally was considered bad and not desirable.

From ages 8-11, I attended a small, Protestant, private school.  There was no sex education my first two years there, but when I was 10 and 11, I remember them having an optional class to be attended with parents.  I naturally skipped this, because I was embarrassed that I would have to attend with my mom and/or dad.  I remember hearing stories from friends about how they just talked about anatomy and how sex was just for reproduction.

In junior high, I was still at a small (though slightly larger), Protestant, private school.  And this was I think the most sexual education I got throughout my schooling.  We spent three days both years entirely devoted to sex ed.  The entire school stopped and we attended various classes on various subjects, and for the most part, we got to pick what topics we attended (though some were required).

I remember the one on STDs fairly vividly because we did the glitter exercise (the one where a few people get glitter on their hands and then go out and shake everyone's hand and the glitter transfers).  We also saw fairly horrifying pictures (as seems to be standard in sex ed).  However, and I honestly had forgotten this until I set out to write this post, we did talk about condoms.  This was the only time that sex was spoken of as something that you would want to have and they very specifically told us to always use condoms: even if we didn't want to, even if it didn't feel as good, we were always supposed to use condoms.  This was all very well and good, but they never actually explained what a condom was or how it was used, which I why I forgot I had even learned about them.  I will note though that they never mentioned any other form of protection.

Some of the other classes were actually fairly interesting.  The one on relationships was really actually helpful and surprisingly said: dating (they weren't willing to go as far as saying sleeping) around is fine and a valid choice and we should not judge people who did it.  That was the only time I was ever told that advice.  However some of the classes, like the one on nutrition specifically for women, was mostly bullshit enforcing media's view of women.  Overall though, the classes on eating disorders, all the classes on relationships, and the ones about puberty were genuinely useful and addressed many common myths (though the one on puberty was less than useful since I started puberty at 8 and got my period at 9, and was essentially done with it by the time I got to junior high).

Both years, the whole segment culminated in a school wide assembly about abstinence.  For extremely conservative people I am actually retrospectively impressed with a lot of the things they told us, but it was really unsurprising that it ended in preaching abstinence only.  And then they publicly asked us to raise our hands if we were going to commit to no sex before marriage (I mean our eyes were supposed to be closed, but still).  I raised my hand, oh how naive I was.

Really quickly before moving on, at that school we were also required to take quarter long classes in Media and Relationships, which were absolutely fascinating, because they looked into media and relationship stereotypes and looked pretty deeply into teen/non-married relationships and the conclusions we came to (such as, it's okay to date around) were fairly impressive for such an incredibly conservative school.

My freshman and sophomore years of high school, I went to a medium sized, private, Catholic prep school. It was a very interesting atmosphere, one I hated very thoroughly because their goal was to make me question everything I thought, which frustrated me severely.  Again, in retrospect, I'm really glad that they did teach me this, otherwise I wouldn't have learned till much later.  But, anyway, in regard to sex ed, the only thing we had was a segment in health class sophomore year.  They did the standard anatomy, STDs, and made us watch a live birth and then called it a day.

After sophomore year, I transferred to a large, public high school for my junior and senior years.  We did a small (very small) unit on sex ed in Homeroom.  Junior year, we learning how to put a condom on a banana. And as silly as the lesson was (there was lots of joking), it was the first time I had even actually seen a condom (okay...I guess the used ones we had to clean up after football games probably count...probably).  Our senior year, we did a very stupid, horribly outdated, and incorrect small unit on STIs (it was the first time I had heard them called STIs and at the time was such a joke that I still call them STDs).  That unit was literally the joke of the school for a week afterwards.

This post is already quite long, but I briefly want to touch on the Psychology of Gender class I took with Boyfriend in college.  I'm not a fan of how psychology is applied to many different situations and I believe that the field is years, possibly decades, behind in the areas of gender and disorders.  But, my grudge (because I will admit it is exactly that) against psychology can wait for a different post.  What my biggest problem with the class was that every single thing was taught as fact.  We were taught g-spot/vaginal orgasms don't exist, and thus women don't really enjoy penetration.  Excuse me?  I could you give you directions to find my g-spot.  It's really not that hard, and while penetration is not actually my favorite part of sex, it still feels good.  And no, maybe it doesn't for everyone, and a lot of women's g-spots aren't at all sensitive or even make them uncomfortable or in pain, that very thoroughly doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  We were also taught for weeks and weeks about Freud, who has mostly been disproved in regards to his sexual theories.  It was possibly the most frustrating class I've ever been in.