Sunday, August 29, 2021

Taking a break...get it?

Pic of the Week

That, my friends, is a fractured 5th metacarpal. I crashed into someone on the bike path who wasn't paying attention.  Because of that injury, I may postpone typed updates for a few weeks as I'm typing this one-handed and it's terribly tedious.  Seeing a specialist this week though, so I'll keep everyone updated.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Utah, people working together...

Pic of the Week

Zootopia gets intense.  Loved spending some QT with this pile of QTs.

What's going on?

This week I said goodbye to the kid I've been nannying for the last year.  He's moving with his mom to New Orleans, so this was our last week together.  It's been fun hanging out with him once a week, he's a cool kid.  I'm gonna miss him.  

I purchased some more cheap airfare for a weekend trip to Utah again.  Came out to spend some time with the nieces and nephews.  We went swimming (for about 20 minutes thanks to a thunderstorm in the area), played at the park, got pizza, watched a couple of movies, had a dance party, the usual.  It was really fun.

And that's about all that's going on around here right now.

What I'm reading

A recommendation from a friend.  It's a teen romance novel set in Provo, UT.  The main character is a bisexual high school kid dealing with going to school in a town where everyone is Mormon, but he isn't.   It's honestly a delight.  And I think it does a great job at treating the church fairly from an outside perspective.  It's factual, but fair.  It is interesting that they got so many things right about the culture in Utah, but there were a couple of things where, as an insider, I thought, "We'd never say that." or "That's not how we'd say that."  Kind of funny. There is some sex in the novel, but nothing explicit. Highly recommend this read.  Especially if you want some perspective into what it might be like to be a gay Mormon (yes, there's one of those in the book, too.)

What I'm listening to

The Man Enough Podcast. This episode was a FASCINATING conversation.  I can't even do it justice, just check it out.   

Sunday, August 8, 2021

The back side of water!

Pic of the Week

Made the trek with some friends down to San Juan Capistrano (famous for the swallows) for some live outdoor theater (we did not see any swallows).  The show was...fine.  But it was fun to get out, and also to see live theater again.  Plus we saw You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, which I was in in high school and haven't seen since then and it was a DELIGHT to experience it again even if it was just...fine.

What's going on?

Summer is in full swing around here - which is probably good since it's rapidly coming to an end.  And since life is kind of returning to normalish maybe, that means outdoor activities!  I've been to a couple of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, done some picnics in some parks, some paddle boarding, even went to a taping of The Masked Singer where we saw 2, yes TWO, contestants get unmasked.  And no, I will not reveal here who they were.  

The weather is warm and that is mostly pleasant, except when I'm walking and the sweat starts rolling down my face, or when I'm sleeping and I wake up because sweat is rolling down my face, or I'm just sitting here doing nothing and sweat is rolling down my face.  Basically summertime is sweaty around these parts.  And really, it's not even the height of summer weather yet.  It usually doesn't get unbearably hot until September.  So. 

I landed my first professional audiobook gig!  My friend who does audiobooks all the time said that if I really want to make a go of this industry, and I really want to work, I should be open to narrating romance.  Even if it's under a pseudonym.  And my first book is a romance novel.  Gay vampire romance, in fact. And the first book in a series, so that might mean more work in the future. I'm happy to point you in the right direction to hear that once it's released if you're interested, but since I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, I'll let you know when something more...accessible comes along. I will be narrating romance under a pseudonym, though.  My friend's pseudonym is Lidia Dornet and we thought it would be fun/funny/marketable if we shared a last name, so I will also be narrating under the Dornet name.  ;)

ALSO, in that realm, I've gotten some great feedback from my project team for Ronan Boyle (see my last post for more info on that) and look forward to doing more work with them. 

What I'm reading

Fun, thought-provoking story about what happiness is all about.

What I'm listening to
I don't think you can be too picky or focused as an audiobook narrator, but I would, ideally, like to focus on children's and YA literature.  To that end, I've been listening to a LOT of award-winning audiobooks in the genre.  Some good ones so far:

In 1970, amid turmoil and social unrest due to the Vietnam War, 4 students were killed on the campus of Kent State.  This book is written as a group of people who were in Kent, OH at the time, telling the story of what happened from various perspectives.  It is beautifully done, wonderfully informative, and eerily relevant.  Definitely check it out.

This book tells ten stories of kids who all live in the same neighborhood.  They are all connected, and are at once funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and human.

This is also a sweet, funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking novel about a Native American kid who grew up on a reservation in the Pacific Northwest, but decides to transfer to the local public school in the nearby town to get more opportunities.

What I'm watching

I was honestly a little worried this was going to be terrible, but I think they did a great job with it - corny jokes and all.  The cast is great, the story is fun and adventurous, and the nods to the ride are beautiful.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

I'm getting through so many audiobooks...

Pic of the Week

Haven't seen one of these beauties since my basement apartment in college.  This guy was hanging out in my driveway last night.  Fun times.

What's going on?

Have I expressed how much I love a fresh, farmer's market peach?  Cuz seriously, they're incredible.

Chill week around here.  A little bit of work, a date or two, putting in some time on this whole audiobook journey, an audition, and a trip to the Hollywood Bowl.  It was so nice to get back to the Bowl.  They do a series of concerts during the summer, many of them with the LA Philharmonic.  They had a sale a few weeks ago and I got a couple of tickets - including last night's - for only $1!  So, I went with some friends and we had a lovely time.  Last night's concert was an artist named Ledisi (sounds kind of like legacy) who sang the music of Nina Simone and put on a VERY good show. Definitely recommend looking her up.

Oh, in a very adult moment, I also bought a rubber broom - you know those kind that you sometimes see on late-night infomercials that are for pet hair?  Anyway, turns out, they are incredible and really do get pet hair out of everything.  I used it on our living room rug AFTER I thoroughly vacuumed and it pulled up so much hair.  It was both impressive and disgusting - much like watching me eat my fill of donuts. 

 What I'm listening to

Fun little crime thriller mystery.  Award winning narration by Robert Bathurst.

What I'm recording

I'm volunteer recording this for an organization that helps kids with learning disabilities get better at reading. This is a fun, pretty funny little Irish tale about a kid detective solving crimes in the land of the faeries. It was a bit of a mixup getting this project, but it's been fun!  The whole thing is in an Irish accent, which has been challenging, but I'm still enjoying it. :)

What I'm watching

This is a continuation of the series from the 80s and so far it's really well done.  The whole vibe of the show is pretty true to the original and it's so much fun.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Back back back again

Pic of the Week

So...I'm getting into audiobooks.  It's something I've though about looking into for a while, and a good friend of mine is essentially a narrator as her career, and she basically said to me, "Absolutely you should be a narrator.  I got you." So, she's helping me out and step one was building a little sound-dampening booth in my room for recording.  So here we go.

What's going on?

Oof!  Been away for a minute.  I had a friend in town for a couple of days doing Disney things and then I was out of town without internet and then I just forgot.   But we're back.  What a whirlwind of a few weeks it's been.

I got to back to Disneyland for the first time in over a year.  It almost felt like I hadn't ever been away.  They're still at limited capacity, so it didn't feel too busy.  I don't think we waited more than about a half an hour for any ride, and most were far shorter.  I got a churro and some chicken fusili pasta and all was right with the world.  The new Avengers Campus is open in California Adventure and it was pretty cool.  The new Spider-man ride was fine.  It's like Toy Story Mania 2.0 in a lot of ways, but cool to check out.  And a lot of the new food they have was delicious.  Also, in our time on the campus, I think we saw 16 Avengers characters walking around.  

I went home to Utah over the fourth of July.  It was my 20-year high school reunion, and I decided to bit the bullet and attend.  I hadn't been to any of my other reunions, and this seemed like the big one.  It was fun to catch up with people and see where everyone has ended up.  Quite a few from my graduation class are still in Richfield, or back in Richfield.  And I think almost everyone is still in Utah - but I think that's pretty standard.  I ended up winning the trivia game they'd set up for us - one of the questions was "Which musical did we do our senior year?"  And I was like..."Oh, you mean the one where I played the title role?" 😂Anyway, 4th of July in Richfield is always a good time.  It was also fun, as always, to spend some time with friends and family in Utah.  I think I ate more ice cream in the week I was in Utah than in the entire year beforehand combined.  And I'm not mad about it.

I've had my apartment to myself for the last few days which has been so wonderful.  One of my roommates is house sitting across town, and the other one is home with family recovering from surgery, so it's just been me and the cat.  

Oh also, after a year and a half without being sick at all, I came down with strep throat.  *eye roll*.  Thank heaven for quick telemedicine, and antibiotics. Feeling much better.

 What I'm listening to

Turns out I get through books much more quickly when I listen to them.  This is kind of a fun, dystopian series - narrated by my friend who's showing me the audibook narrator ropes.  It's a little like Red Rising meets the Hunger Games.  Class divisions, super powers, North America in several hundred years, a brave unwilling girl sparking a revolution.  I enjoyed the whole series.

What I'm reading

A little small-town, slice-of-life, Americana action.  A cute little story so far.

What I'm watching

This was pretty great.  I'll agree with the internet and say that it's honestly long overdue.  Also, Florence Pugh in this movie is my new celebrity crush.  She's so funny.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

"Shopping is our greatest skill!" *facepalm*

Pic of the Week

My friend Rob and I took advantage of this gorgeous weather we've been having and took a walk up to the observatory.  It's not open, but the grounds still are, and it's one of the best views in the entire city.

What's going on?

I survived my week of 2 working hours!  I also got an audition in there, that I did not book, but felt very good about regardless.  It's always nice when the person running the audition says, "I don't have any specific direction for you because you got everything we needed on the first take, so just do something different." *hair toss*

Recently a friend and I had a discussion about getting into audiobook narrating.  It's something she's been doing for years now, and something I've looked into before, but I think I'm gonna really give it a go.  I think it's something I'd enjoy and be good at.  So, I spent some time this week doing some work on that - learning some recording and editing software, getting some samples together, etc.  It feels like a good direction to take.  Plus it's a VERY portable job - which is a nice thing to have in the long run.

Now.  How about this heat wave we're having?!  It actually hasn't been too bad in Culver City as we're close enough to the ocean to mitigate the worst of it, but I've still had to run my fan the last few nights.  

What I'm listening to

One of the things everyone in the audiobook industry tells you if you want to be a narrator is that you should be listening to audiobooks.  So, I'm shifting away from my podcasts a bit in favor of audibooks.  This one was narrated by none other that Utah's favorite son - Kirby Heyborne.  I knew that he narrated audiobooks, but what I didn't realize is that he's an award-winning narrator, and justifiably so.  He's very good.  Heads up that this particular title has some language, and is about people digging up graves, so it gets dark.  But it is a YA novel, so not too dark.

What I'm reading

Got a little curious after watching Cruella recently, so decided to check out the book.  It's...not great.  I mean, it was written in the 50's, so it was a different time, I guess, but it's just got me wondering why ol' Walt picked this particular, probably pretty obscure story to turn into a film.  However, I will say it's kind of interesting to read and see how it compares to the movie adaptation.  For example, the half-black, half-white hairdo IS in the book!  BUT! Perdita is not Pongo's wife!  Pongo is married to a dog named Missis, and Perdy is another dog that they bring in to help feed the 15 original puppies.  WILD!

What I'm puzzling

Television History.  1,000 pieces by White Mountain. I love puzzles like this.  There's so much going on and it's great.  There are a lot of things happening in this puzzle, though, that I have no reference for!  Some old TV shows that I've never seen, or moments I never witnessed.  It's kind of fun.

What I'm watching

What a delightful romp, that does not hold up well. 😂 My friend Rob up in that picture at the top has a
pretty big collection of movies and a podcast where he's reviewing them all.  This was one of them, and since I'd never seen it, he brought it over.  Shelly Long is actually pretty great, and there are some genuinely funny moments, but overall it's a pretty out-dated movie.  Still had a good time watching it.

What I'm playing

Azul.  In this game you own a Portuguese tile factory and draw tiles from the showroom floor to build up your display and earn points.  As my friend, who introduced me to the game, says, "If you're getting discouraged, or having a bad game, just remember - you own a Portuguese tile factory!"

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Why do I have earrings though?

Pic of the Week

A portrait of me from the kid I nanny.  Complete with bags under my eyes, "Because you don't get enough sleep."  

What's going on?

Not a lot, honestly.  Since basically everything I do to earn money is related to either entertainment or education, things slow WAY down in the summer.  In fact, in the next 10 days or so, I think I have 2 hours of work on the books.  Luckily, we have some GORGEOUS weather coming up as well, so I'll be spending quite a bit of time outdoors - hiking, cycling, paddle boarding - it's gonna be great. 

I have a new friend here in LA that does audiobook narration for a living, which is something I've been interested in looking into for a while, and she basically told me, "You'd be perfect for this, you should absolutely do it!" so I'm gonna spend some time getting together some samples and starting on that journey.  Should be fun!

What I'm reading

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.  Just a little adorable YA LGBT romance situation.  Missed connections and young love.  A little bit of language and tastefully dealt-with teenage sex to watch out for, but overall pretty wholesome.

What I'm watching

This is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian situation with some light fantasy elements.  It's kind of gritty and quirky and thought-provoking and beautiful.  Language warning here as well.  Also, the premise of the show revolves around a world-wide viral pandemic, so if you're not ready for that, maybe steer clear.

What I'm cooking

Some good old caramel brownies.  My aunt Lisa sent me a little care package with all of the ingredients.  I'm not even sure she knows that these are my absolute favorite brownies. I used this recipe because I can't remember where I put the one my mom used to use.  They taste the same, but I don't recall eggs being part of the recipe I grew up on, so this batch was a bit cakier than the brownies I'm used to.  Still.  SUPER rich and indulgent and delicious.  Highly recommend giving them a try, but I'm pretty sure you shouldn't use eggs.