Exploring Louisville

Life has settled into a sort of rhythm here, with weeks that are long but overall pleasant. We’re making steady progress in rehearsal, and I’m getting a little more of a feel for my place in the order of things. I’m definitely more comfortable in the reherasal room than I was the first week, though I still have moments of feeling a little bit out of my depth.

I still have a fuzzy grasp of what day of the week it is sometimes since we have rehearsal on the weekends the same as the rest of the week, but I worked weekends at home as well so it’s not been too hard to get used to. Mondays have been glorious days–or at least this past Monday was (the Monday before that was less glorious in that it involved grocery shopping and getting caught in a thunderstorm, but it was still a fairly relaxing day off).

This Monday I spent the morning hanging about the house, but in the afternoon I had the sudden feeling that if I stayed inside another minute I’d go mad, so I went a-wandering.

I wish I had taken more pictures, because the places that I wandered ended up being quite pretty. First I went up to the river and visited Waterfront Park and just sat in the grass for a bit, which was so lovely–I forgot how much I had missed trees and grass and unobstructed sky living amongst city streets and buildings. Louisville’s tall buildings are not terribly abundant, but they’re enough to make me appreciate the park. Plus it was nice to be able to just lie in the grass with absolutely no timetable or list of things to do–I moved on when I started getting hungry and the sun was having a hiatus behind some clouds.

The other stop on my mini-tour of as-yet-unexplored Louisville was East Market Street, in a part of town called NuLu (I assume short for New Louisville). It’s a very hipster-ish sort of place, but in a way that was quite pleasing. A lot of the places were closed on Mondays (SAD DAY IT’S MY ONLY DAY OFF GUYS WHY) but I wandered in and out of some neat antique/vintage/vintage-inspired shops and “green” shops with fair-trade and environmentally friendly things. One of the shops had this beautiful patio in the back that was straight out of a magazine:

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But my favorite places I visited on my jaunt were the last two:

  • Please and Thank You, the perfect coffee shop (except for its unfortunate distance from EVERYWHERE), in that it has excellent coffee and chocolate chip cookies, great decor, and is also a record shop. Just sitting at the little table by the window with my thick mug of coffee made me feel writer-ly and creative.
  • Taco Punk, a sort of indie-Chipotle that serves tacos made with fresh, delicious corn tortillas and really excellent chips. It’s actually probably a good thing that this place is not an easy distance from my apartment. I would go there all the time.

It was refreshing to get a chance to explore Louisville beyond the fairly narrow radius I frequent on a daily basis, and also to see a side of the city I hadn’t seen yet–I don’t miss driving, but I do miss the level of mobility it gave me, especially since the bus system here is not the greatest for the places I want to go/times I want to go there. So it was nice to have the time to wander farther afield, knowing that I had no obligations and more than enough time to get back home, even it did take over 45 minutes.

I’ll leave you with one last image of the wall outside a tiny (closed) art gallery on Market Street. I love interactive art like this, and this one was a cool concept:

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The longer I’m here definitely a lot more to this city ¬†than meets the eye. I can’t wait to explore more and see what else Louisville has to offer.

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First day in rehearsal!

The problem with only having Mondays off is that I’m already losing track of what day it is, which is problematic when you need to know what you’re doing at work tomorrow. Yesterday I thought it was Monday, and the day before I thought it was Sunday, or maybe Tuesday and I’m just all sorts of turned around right now. But now that we’ve started rehearsals, I think things should fall into a rhythm and hopefully it will be easier to keep track.

We started rehearsals for Noises Off today, which was both awesome and it’s own strange brand of overwhelming. We’ve been prepping all the past week for the start of rehearsals, so we were all set to go. The first thing on the agenda was a “meet and greet”, which I had thought would be just the cast and production team all going around and saying hi and who they were and all that. It turned out to be EVERYONE – the cast, production team, costumes, props, lights, sound, marketing, development, a few volunteers, and all the apprentices. There were a lot of people in that room, all talking, very few of whom I knew. It was loud and hot and I was kind of glad when it was over, but was also really cool to see just how many people were working to make the things we’re doing at Actors possible. And that wasn’t even everyone.

It was really cool to be in the rehearsal room of a professional show, seeing how things run here and how the actors work. Noises Off is not an easy play to read–there’s so much action going on all the time, and the second act is completely insane (a column of stage directions for what’s going on backstage next to a column of the dialogue that’s happening onstage), but even at this first readthrough it was already highly entertaining. I’m really looking forward to watching the actors and Meredith (the director) work, especially once we get on our feet and start actually blocking and moving around.

I’ve gotten used to working on shows where the stage management was just me, or me and one other person, so it was a bit strange being one of five, with actually very little to do in this first rehearsal besides listen. I took notes on some things, but our biggest job today was making sure the coffee stayed plentiful (there’s more an art to it than you might think, as we discovered). I know I will have things to do in the future (tracking props, among other things, including a multitude of plates of sardines), but having come from shows where I was stage managing, it’s sort of weird being back in the assistant position. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though–there’s so much for me to learn here. The process of putting up a show at a regional theatre is so different from the theatres I’ve worked at, simply because it’s such a big organization and there are so many more people involved. I’ve already picked up some new things, and I can’t wait to learn more as we go along in rehearsal.

Last week was really good, and a great introduction to the program and the theatre, but I’m so happy to be in rehearsal. Now it feels like my internship has really started!

Actors Theatre of Louisville

I AM HERE!

I currently don’t have internet in my apartment, because our schedules are already crazy enough that we don’t have times that would fit with the company’s appointment times until Saturday. SO, until then, I’m taking advantage of any place that has free internet, from the library to the theatre to the McDonald’s a block from my apartment. It’s worked pretty well so far, but I will be so glad to be connected again. You don’t realize how much you rely on the internet for little things like checking the weather until it isn’t there anymore.

It’s been a crazy few days. We took a leisurely route from California to Louisville via the lake (for a day of much needed relaxation) and Cincinnati (to pick up things my uncle had been kind enough to store in his attic since graduation). I think it’s a good thing that we didn’t fly straight to Lousiville, because if I had gotten off a plane and tried to move in to my apartment on the same day I think I would have just collapsed.

The apartment is HUGE (pictures forthcoming), and now at least partially furnished, though I am still lacking a mattress. It’s amazing the sorts of things you take for granted living in university housing–desks, chairs, drawers, beds–all the things that fill up a space and are most conspicuous in their absence. I managed to pull a dresser from the basement and got a desk and chair for $22 from Goodwill, so between that and the mattress topper I got from WalMart, made up like a bed, my room looks much more habitable than it did when I first arrived:

my bedroom!

terrible iPod picture of my corner of the room with terrible lighting. but you get the gist. ūüėÄ

We also spent the first day or so discovering the kitchen things we’re so used to having that we suddenly didn’t have, like a can opener. The next few weeks will consist of many trips to the store to pick up groceries and sundry devices we forgot to pack, but I think it will a fun learning experience as we learn how to live in this space.

So the first two days were moving-in days. Yesterday we had a big dinner for all the interns sponsored by Actors Associates, the volunteer group at the theatre, which was a bunch of delicious homemade food, and then we went out to the bar for drinks. It was a fantastic evening because we actually got to meet and converse with all the people we had only seen as profile pictures on Facebook. ¬†Everyone is so great and energetic and excited, and I can’t wait to start working with them. It was especially great once the stage management interns all found each other–we found ourselves gravitating together without meaning to, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic group to work with.

Today was FIRST DAY AT ACTORS THEATRE OF LOUISVILLE, which was actually a lot like the first day of school in that we sat and people told us lots of information about the work we’re going to be doing this year, and there was a tour of the theatre, and then more information, and lots of times when people asked us if we had any questions. Most of the time we just said no, not because there aren’t things we have questions about, but because it’s just SO MUCH information in such a short time that we needed time to process it before we could even begin to think about what we still wanted to know.

Despite the information overload, it was a really good first day. Everyone at the theatre seems genuinely excited to have us there, and the theatre itself is amazing–I can’t wait to get lost in it tomorrow when we get sent to try out our keys (yes, I have a FAT set of keys to every door in the theatre, so I will be jingling a plenty when I walk around :P). It sounds like it will be a lot of work and many long days, but I can’t wait to get started.

So, that’s my update on life for the last few days. I’m not sure when I will next have internet, but until then, adios!

LIFE, Theatre, and Much Ado About Nothing

It all got in the way and hence the hiatus.

In that time, I had a rather stressful tech week, a really good opening week, and not very much sleep, got certified in First Aid, saw Much Ado About Nothing (OMGSOGOOD) and freaked out not a little about the fact that I am LEAVING IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.

It feels like I have simultaneously too much and too little time before I leave. There’s so many things to do and people to see before I leave, and time is moving fast and there’s not enough of it for everything, but at the same time I really just kind of want July 29th to come so I can start work, because I’ve been thinking about it and imagining how it will be since April, and I just want to find out already.

We only have four more shows for Twelfth Night, which in itself is another one of those weird feelings where it seems like we’ve been working on this forever and also like we just started (I guess that’s what short rehearsal periods do to you). This show has been an experience–both good and bad. The good: the people, and the play, and the size and consistent engagement of our audiences (especially the kids. We had a ton of kids laughing in the audience last night and it was the best). The bad: PUBLIC PARK. Interference from outside parties actually hasn’t been much of an issue for performances (probably because of official-looking set and lights and the number of people in the audience and the staff), but I gotta say guys, the set up and tear-down every night is wearing on all of us a little bit, especially since our storage is at the top of a hill and the set is at the bottom. I was saying to a friend yesterday, it’s like being on tour, except that we don’t actually go anywhere. I shouldn’t complain too much, because with all of us working it actually only takes about forty minutes tops to set up and thirty to strike, which is actually not much time. But I will be so happy to work on a show where I can set things and then they STAY THERE.

Lastly, let’s go back for a minute to Much Ado About Nothing:

Much Ado About Nothing

My favorite Shakespeare play. Made into a film by Joss Whedon. Let me tell you, to say I was excited about this when I first heard about it is a gross understatement. I was also not a little apprehensive, because when two things you love a lot come together, things could go really well, but if they go badly it’s that much more painful because you love both things so much.

Well, I needn’t have worried. Much Ado was AWESOME. First, it was really pretty, and the black and white film really worked well with the setting. But I have to admit that I wasn’t paying much attention to the scenery or the look as much as I sometimes do, because I was too busy being fascinated and impressed by how well this adaptation worked.

Adapting Shakespeare to modern day is something that people do quite often, but it’s actually really difficult to do well. There’s all kinds of lines that don’t make sense when taken out of the original context, and you basically have to go through and find parallels and ways to make it all fit. But this one really worked, in more ways than I can list here, from making one of Don John’s henchmen a woman (evil couple is somehow way more interesting than two evil dudes) to Benedick cringing when Claudio makes a racist comment.

My favorite part was, of course Benedick and Beatrice. Even though their plot is technically a side plot, they are the reason people like this play. Benedick and Beatrice make Much Ado the original romantic comedy, from the classic banter and bickering to being tricked into admitting their love for each other. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof were brilliant, of course (though I think Kenneth Branagh still wins as my favorite Benedick), but what I loved so much about this interpretation was that it made them such a believable couple. There’s a bit in the text that implies that Benedick and Beatrice have a history, and Joss took that and ran with it–the film starts with a scene (implied to be a while before the main action of the play) of Benedick leaving Beatrice in bed without a word, thinking she’s still asleep (spoiler: she’s not). It was so simple and so painful and it made all their subsequent interactions so much more interesting, because you could see that incident hanging between them.

My second favorite was surprising: Dogberry. I’m not a big fan of the Dogberry scenes, possibly because I always think of Michael Keaton’s interpretation (in the 1996 film) which I never really liked. But Nathan Fillion’s Dogberry was perfect: he was played as the clueless head of security with Verges (Tom Lenk) as his smarter subordinate trying to keep things going. I think it worked so well in part because it was played very understated and natural, but also because it was so believable–the guy in the suit is a bumbling idiot, and the guys under him try to figure out what actually needs to happen without contradicting the boss directly. Also, Nathan Fillion is ¬†really really good at playing a doofus (see: Captain Hammer), which is funny considering he’s also really good at playing smart (see: Castle, Firefly, etc.)

I could go on with all the other things I loved (Borachio being in love with Hero, the really understated use of technology) but instead I will end with this conclusion: if you are into Shakespeare, go see this film. If you’re not into Shakespeare…go see this film. It really is fantastic.

One Year Later

Last weekend marked a year since I graduated college.

WHAT?

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. It’s a very strange feeling. On the one hand, it doesn’t feel like it’s been all that long; on the other hand, when I think about college and my life at Denison, all of it seems very far away, very far removed from where I am now. I guess life is like that–time goes by quickly and slowly all at once, depending on how you look at it.

There are times when I miss college a lot. Most of all I miss my friends–I especially miss living with my friends. II miss having a social circle who were always there, always no more than a five minute walk away. It was so easy to hang out when no one really had to travel anywhere (though on the other hand, it’s amazing how much more daunting a five minute walk up the hill was when you never had to go up except for an occasional class).¬†¬†miss small ridiculous things and late night runs to the doughnut shop, and the opportunity to see free live music regularly. I miss the theatre and the scene shop and DITA and all the crazy awesome things we did.

But for all the things that I miss, I don’t know that I would want to go back. I was ready for something else by the time college was over–not necessarily ready to leave my friends, but ready to stop being a student. Even though it’s an intensely scary thought, I was ready (and am ready) to be my own person, and take all the stuff I learned in school and start living.

Life after college has been a mix of surprises and disappointments; things that turned out pretty much how I expected, and other things that really didn’t.¬†In some ways, my first year since graduation has not been quite the resounding success I had hoped for. I’m living at home. I have yet to get my own apartment or a salaried job (see previous post re: the difficulties of adulting). Living at home means that I am far away from my friends here, so I see them less. Socializing is harder, and sometimes I get a bit depressed about how little I hang out with people compared to at Denison.

But on the bright side: I’ve been doing theatre. I’m so glad that I got the gig with Shady last summer, not only because they were awesome shows (and they were really awesome shows), but because through them I got introduced to a really fantastic, friendly, welcoming theatre community that I hadn’t even known existed here. I’ve met so many amazing people here in the last year, had such a great time working with them and getting to know them onstage and off.

And now I’m leaving for a new adventure. I have this feeling that I might end up bouncing back and forth between the Midwest and California (and possible England, if I have any luck) for the next while, because I love all these places, and I might have difficulty picking just one place to settle down. Who knows where I’ll be in a year’s time?

I think when you graduate college you expect something exciting and profound to happen in your first year in the real world. You’ll go to new places and do new things and find your calling and figure out who you really are, or whatever. I did go to new places and do new things, but I’m only a little less clueless than I was this time last year. And that’s okay. Someone once told me that no one expects you to have your shit together until your twenty-eight. I hope to have things figured out a little sooner than that, but it’s comforting to think that leaving school doesn’t mean you automatically have to know everything. Surprise! Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. I can’t wait to see what I learn during this next year.

Here’s to the next adventure!

(And congratulations once again to all my newly-graduated friends! Welcome to the real world. :D)

 

Motivation Levels Critical

As evidenced by the increasing late-ness of these posts, motivation seems to be particularly thin on the ground lately…thin in the air…just generally pretty trim.

(Eddie Izzard, folks. Particularly this bit)

I don’t really have anything to blame this on this week. I Hate Hamlet is over. My show at the high school is over. Things haven’t really started revving up yet for Twelfth Night (although I do need to finish putting my book together and print out paperwork and other fun pre-production things).

Apart from work, I’m the most un-busy I’ve been in a while. Not that I don’t have things I should be doing–I have to fill out paperwork for Louisville, and I’m trying to find an apartment, and work out a budget, and make a list of all the other things I have to do before I leave (including fun questions like “Do I need to get a Kentucky driver’s license?” God I hope not).

Maybe it’s because it’s End-Of-The-School-Year time and since all my big projects are finished my brain has decided it’s summer vacation, but I have had immense difficulty getting myself to do anything productive in the last week. I wonder how long it will take before my brain stops being programmed for School Time and Summer Time and starts being programmed for Adult Time. Actually what will probably happen, if my yearly schedule remains much as it was this year and will be next year, is that School Time will become Season Time and Summer Time will be Summer Stock Time, which is almost the same except Summer Stock Time isn’t vacation. Sad Day. This is one thing I like about my chosen career/lifestyle so far–there are distinct beginnings and ends to certain parts of the year that break up routine, so it’s not just one long expanse of Work.

On a semi-related note, thinking about moving and apartment hunting has made me realize how many Adult things I am still mainly ignorant of. I’ve never had to look for an apartment before because I went to a four-year residential college. I’ve never had to pay rent or utilities or do all those adult things that come with having an apartment. I have had to make budgets, but they were missing key Adult factors because a lot of the costs of living were built into school expenses. So this year will be a learning experience. I think I will do okay, but sometimes I feel a little behind in some ways in the whole Growing Up department. I guess a lot of people probably feel that way, and maybe I shouldn’t worry about it, but worrying is a thing for me, and so I do. It doesn’t help that I’m looking for housing in a place which is several thousand miles away from my current location. I feel like I would feel better about all this if I could go and look at the places instead of just trying to figure things out from promo pictures.

But I have time, and potential roommates, and prospects, so all will be well. I do sort of wish I could skip this part, but I guess this is part of Adulting–not getting to skip or sidestep the hard, annoying parts of life. This is good for me.

Yay adulthood!

An Attempt at Vlogging

I’ve been working my way through the original Brotherhood 2.0 videos on YouTube (which, if you don’t know, is a project John and Hank Green did in 2007 where they communicated solely through video blogs for a year. Their channel, vlogbrothers, became famous and six years later they performed on stage at Carnegie Hall. Life is weird like that).

Anyway, watching all these videos made me want to try out vlogging for myself–although I’ve never been terribly good at talking to a camera. I didn’t realize till later that WordPress doesn’t let you embed videos in your posts unless you pay them a lot of money, so here’s a link:

Vlog! (In which Rachel has obviously been watching way too much Brotherhood 2.0, and also has some exciting news).

I don’t think this will become a regular thing, but it was fun to try. Enjoy!

Fandom

Yesterday was Impossible Astronaut Day, or, for those of you who don’t watch Doctor Who, the day when a bunch of Whovians went around with tally marks drawn all over their arms to celebrate the anniversary of the airing of the episode The Impossible Astronaut, which introduced a particularly scary monster into the Doctor Who canon (you don’t remember the Silence after you look away from them, hence the tally marks, to keep track of the ones you’ve seen).

So yesterday I drew a bunch of tally marks on my arm. It was fun, and I got some strange looks, and freaked one girl out, and got to explain Doctor Who to a couple people who otherwise wouldn’t have known about it.

The way this became a thing is almost as much fun as the actual event. Here, have a link:

The Post That Started It All

Basically, a fan on Tumblr told a story, and other fans saw it and thought it was a great idea, someone else added a date, the official Doctor Who Tumblr got hold of it, et voila Рhundreds (maybe thousands?) of perfectly ordinary people walking around with tally marks on their arms, scaring the shit out of each other.

And this is why I love fandoms, and why the internet is such a great thing for fandoms.

A lot of people look a little askance at fandoms and fangirls, assuming that they are crazy/obsessed/antisocial or otherwise not-good things. I think this is grossly unfair. Of course, there will always be people who take things too far, who are a little over the top. There will always be trolls, and people who like to spread hate and feel the need to bash someone else’s ship or show or whatever to make themselves feel better. People are people. But on the whole, these people are in the minority.

At its most basic a fandom is a community of people who say, “You love this thing? I love this thing too! Let’s get together and talk about it and make fan art and celebrate this thing we love together.” Which I think is fantastic. And with the internet it’s never been easier. Instead of wandering around wherever you live hoping to run into someone else who happens to watch that show you like or read the book series you’ve been obsessed with, you can go online and find a ton of people who are into the same things as you, and who are excited to talk about it. It’s one of the reasons I love Tumblr, despite all the crazy, strange stuff that goes on there–there’s a ton of people getting together sharing the thing they love, and the things they have made–whether fanfiction, fanart, spoofs, crafts, cosplay, a deep analysis of an episode or character–inspired by the thing that they love. For every silly internet meme post, there’s another post of some really fantastic creation someone made based on their favorite show/book/movie/whatever. It’s truly amazing.

As great as the internet fandoms are, my favorite part is when this community extends off the internet into real life–like the Impossible Astronaut event. This sort of thing, much like wearing a Doctor Who shirt or having a sonic screwdriver keychain, is a great way to draw Whovians around you out of the woodwork. One of thing things I love about the Doctor Who fandom, at least in America, is that we are all so excited about it and so excited to meet another Whovian and talk about our beloved show. Maybe this is because for a long time not all that many people (relatively speaking) watched Doctor Who in the US, so when you found someone else who did it was like “OH MY GOD you watch Doctor Who? Let me talk to you about all the things I’ve been dying to talk to someone about!” There’s a feeling of instant connection because you’ve found something you’re both really enthusiastic about. There have been plenty of times when I was sitting around at some social gathering feeling awkward, only to find that someone else in the room watched Doctor Who (or was an Eddie Izzard fan, or a Joss Whedon fan, or what have you), and instantly felt at ease, because we had common ground, we had something to talk about.

I guess my point (if I ever had one), is that fandoms are like any other group of people who get together to share their common interests (think book clubs, knitting circles, bike clubs, sports fans).  We go through life looking for ways to connect with other people, and sharing our love of the same TV shows or movies or books is just one of those ways.

Also, the look on someone’s face when you freak them out with tally marks on your arm or a picture of a weeping angel? Priceless.

My Recent Life in Pictures

Usually these sorts of posts are “the week in pictures” or “the month in pictures”, but I think it’s silly to put such time constraints on things, don’t you? Why exclude perfectly good pictures just because they weren’t taken this week?

Basically, I finally got around to transferring a bunch of pictures from my iPod to my computer, and I found some that I would like to share.

ANYWAY.

Here’s the last whatever of my life as seen from my iPod.

FOOD

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Adventures in cooking continue!IMG_0030¬†Salted Caramel Brownies Take Two was a success–as you can see, the caramel was the right consistency! Huzzah! It still left some craters in the brownies, but I don’t think anyone will complain if more experimentation occurs. And in more savory adventures, I discovered that spinach quiche is the easiest thing ever (especially with pre-made crust, which, while it might possibly be chef-sacrilege, I think tasted really good), and that homemade pizza is crazy delicious (and when you can make a really delicious sauce by throwing tomatos, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a food processor, it’s even better). Also, carrot soup is officially my favorite way to eat carrots.

THEATRE

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IMG_0066The I Hate Hamlet set is gorgeous and wonderful, especially in Act II. Fun fact: the fireplace is made from an old footboard that our set designer found in a dumpster. And he made the throne partly using the footboard. Also, the bricks were made by marking out a grid in tape, spreading plaster over, the pulling the tape off to make the grout, so they actually have texture! In short, our set designer is awesome.

FUN AT WORK

So as you may know, I work in a toy store. Admittedly, it is not all fun and games, but sometimes (more often than perhaps I should admit), stuff like this happens:

IMG_0054  IMG_0049

The best part is that I am encouraged to do this sort of thing on a regular basis. When we got our new marble run display, my manager and I spent at least twenty minutes play–I mean,¬†stress testing it (among other things, we tried to see if we could get all the marbles in the run at once). I love my job.

And finally…

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I leave you with a picture of the view from my front door, taken some time in February. The tree in the background suffers from chronic seasonal confusion; it kept its leaves all through fall and began turning red sometime in December or January. I think it’s forgotten about spring completely.

And on that note, Happy April! See you next week.

Tired

I am doing lots of different things at the moment.

I wish more of them paid me.

I am tired, and I am sick of driving. I have lots of things to do when I’m home–fellowship applications, and emails for my summer show, but when I get home all I want to do is read, or watch Buffy, or otherwise do nothing. It’s very difficult to keep my motivation up.

I am having a lot of fun with my show, but I’m very much looking forward to having some days off. Maybe I’ll cook something. For now,¬†I am sitting here listening to the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Neverwhere, (which is brilliant, and you should go listen to it immediately) and I’m probably going to go to bed early. Hopefully tomorrow my motivation will be higher.

Sorry for my grumpiness. Next week will be better.