One Word Wednesday

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TV Tuesday

final-ng_22-wall-group_1906_jw7aaFINALToday, I’d like to share part of a spec script I wrote a little while ago. I’m hoping to make it a habit to write more stuff for television as I prepare for my future career. For those of you who are unfamiliar with “specing” it is when you write an original script for a show that exists as a way for agents and producers to see that you can write in the voices of the shows you want to work for.  This episode “exists” between season 2 and 3 so Jess and Nick are new to their relationship while Cece and Schmidt are avoiding each other. Without further ado, please enjoy the following never-to-be-seen episode of New Girl! Feel free to comment below and thanks for musing with bananagrapes!

TEASER

INT. Loft kitchen/living room DAY. (D1)

JESS closes the fridge.

SCHMIDT

Jess, what have you done with my ‘om-a-lette’ eggs?

JESS

What’s up Schmidt?

SCHMIDT

Every week I purchase exactly 3 dozen free-range grass fed organic eggs from the farmer’s market.

JESS

Three dozen? That’s a lot!

SCHMIDT

And now they are missing from their rightful place on my shelf in the fridge.

JESS

Why are you looking at me?

SCHMIDT

Who else in this loft would re-appropriate perfectly good ‘om-a-lette’ eggs?

JESS

What about Nick?

NICK watching TV on the couch.

NICK

Don’t drag me into this!

SCHMIDT

Jess. Please.

JESS

Ok. Fine. I took the eggs.

JESS pulls out a carton of eggs from her bag.

SCHMIDT

I knew it! But why?

JESS

I need them for a class project. An egg-speriment, if you will.

SCHMIDT

I won’t.

JESS

They are going to take care of egg babies! I’m teaching my students responsible parenting skills.

SCHMIDT

Ha! You are going to teach children life lessons that you have yet to learn?

JESS

I know plenty about parenting! In fact, Nick and I would make ‘egg-cellent’ parents!

NICK watching TV on the couch.

NICK

Don’t drag me into this!

SCHMIDT

Oh, that’s hilarious. Nick Miller. Egg Father. Winston and I would make better egg parents than you and Nick!

JESS

You wanna bet?

SCHMIDT

Yes I do. $50.

JESS

Rules: egg baby must be returned to this fridge without a crack.

JESS and SCHMIDT shake hands.

SCHMIDT

I’m so egg-cited! I’m gonna text Winston!

JESS

Nick, get ready to be the best egg daddy this side of Tegg-sas.

NICK watching TV on the couch.

NICK

Don’t drag me into this!

JESS picks up an egg from the carton and tosses it to NICK.

JESS

Schmidt, It’s on!

The egg lands on the coffee table splattering everywhere.

JESS picks up a new egg.

JESS (CONT’D)

Starting now.

SMASH TO MAIN TITLES.

EXT. WINSTON’S CAR. DAY (D1)

WINSTON, waiting at a red light, is singing along to Wicked.

His phone beeps. WINSTON stops singing and picks up his phone.

WINSTON’S POV: text message from Schmidt: “Today we are egg daddies”

WINSTON shrugs and goes back to singing Wicked.

Phone beeps again.

WINSTON’S POV: “Got the package. Where r u?”

WINSTON

Jeez, Schmidt. What the hell are you talking about?

WINSTON’S POV: (typing) “gunna be at the mall. Please explain.”

WINSTON hits send as the word “gunna” autocorrects to “gunman” and explain autocorrects to “explode”

GUY in car behind WINSTON honks.

WINSTON’S POV: Green light.

GUY in car points to a sign that reads DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE!

WINSTON (CONT’D)

Sorry!

WINSTON puts his phone down and starts driving. A BLACK CAR pulls out and starts to follow WINSTON’S car.

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Look Nick, I’ve created an eggenda for the baby today.

NICK

An egg-genda? Really?

JESS

If we are gonna beat Schmidt and Winston we’ve got to show them we’re the best!

NICK

Don’t we just have to not let it break?

JESS

I’ve already done number one on the list: Give your egg baby a cute face and bonnet. See?

JESS reveals the egg with a cute face and bonnet.

NICK

When did you make that??

JESS

So you can start with number 2: build a crib.

NICK

Yay(!) Listen Jess, I don’t think I’m really into this whole egg parent thing. Can I just keep it in the fridge ’til you get home?

JESS

No! Nick, this is serious. It’s a chance to see how great we’ll be as parents.

JESS (CONT’D)

I know we will be!

NICK

I know we won’t be. Will.

JESS (CONT’D)

I need to go to work now, but I’ll be home early so we can finish the list together.

NICK

Great(!)

JESS runs to the door and opens it. CECE, her model best friend, is standing there about to knock.

CECE

Hi Jess. Is Schmidt here?

JESS

No, I think he’s taking his egg baby to meet Winston. What’s up?

CECE

Thank god. He is the last person I want to see since…

NICK

Since he ruined your wedding and won’t decide if he’s in love with you or his college girlfriend, Elizabeth?

CECE

Pretty much.

JESS

What are you doing with a suitcase?

CECE

They are fumigating my building and I need a place to stay, but it’s gonna be weird with Schmidt here. I should go. I’m gonna go.

JESS

No, you can stay in Nick’s room. Schmidt is not allowed in there.

NICK

It’s pretty scary.

JESS

And it’s unoccupied now that Nick and I are shacking up.

(singing porno style)

Bow-chicka-bow-wow…

NICK

Jess. No.

JESS

Sorry.

NICK

But yeah, Cece, you can stay in my room as long as you want.

JESS

Just watch out for Nick’s half-refurbished closet. It’s a hazard. He keeps saying he’s gonna finish it.

INT. NICK’s BAR. FLASHBACK.

SCHMIDT, WINSTON, and JESS are sitting at their favorite table. NICK enters with four beers and sits, passing out the beer.

NICK

It’s happening. I’m gonna finish refurbishing my closet. Today.

No reaction. ALL including NICK take a drink.

INT. LOFT BATHROOM. FLASHBACK.

The shower is running. SCHMIDT and JESS are brushing teeth. NICK sticks his head out of the shower curtain.

NICK

I’m gonna finish refurbishing my closet today!

No reaction from SCHMIDT or JESS. NICK sticks his head back in the shower.

BACK TO PRESENT.

JESS

But he never does.

NICK

Nope. And it’s pretty dangerous. I’ve gotten stuck in there for hours. And lost some personal items as well.

JESS

It’s the Bermuda Triangle of the loft.

INT. NICK CLOSET. FLASHBACK.

NICK is squashed in the space between the wall and his closet flailing.

NICK

I’m definitely gonna finish refurbishing my closet today. Oh, there’s my toothbrush!

BACK TO PRESENT.

CECE

Thanks Nick. I think I can stay away from the closet.

CECE heads towards Nick’s room and opens the door. She recoils from the sight and stench of pure Nick.

JESS

And you’re probably gonna need this.

JESS hands CECE a gas mask.

EXT. WINSTON’S CAR. DAY (D1)

WINSTON is now singing along to Celine Dion’s greatest hits. We can see the BLACK CAR is still following WINSTON. He has not noticed yet.

His phone beeps again. He looks at it and as he’s reading he swerves into the other lane. Cars honk.

WINSTON

“Do not text and drive.” Ok. I get it. I’m almost at the mall, I’ll just wait.

WINSTON continues to drive and the BLACK CAR continues to follow him even as he swerved into the other lane. WINSTON looks in the rearview mirror and sees the black car. He shrugs and goes back to singing.

INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Ok class. Now that you’ve all got your egg babies. You can get out your ‘egg-gendas’ and follow along.

STUDENT raises her hand.

STUDENT

Miss Day?

JESS

Yes, Kelly?

STUDENT

Why do we have to do this?

JESS

Because you are learning how to be responsible parents.

STUDENT

By keeping an egg from breaking?

Oh, Kelly, it’s so much more than that. So much more. To the Egg-genda!

INT. LOFT. NICK’S ROOM. DAY (D1)

CECE is reading a magazine on Nick’s bed. She kicks off her shoes and one of them flies into the closet. She looks at the closet. She can see the heel of her shoe.

CECE

Gotta go after the Jimmy Choos.

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK

Ok, Egg-genda, what’s up? Build a crib? On it!

NICK tinkers over a heap of wood and other materials. He backs away to reveal a very shoddily built ‘crib’ for the egg.

NICK (CONT’D)

Hmmm. It could use a little more work.

INT. LOFT. NICK’S ROOM. DAY (D1)

CECE is leaning carefully into the hole between the wall and the closet.

CECE

How am I not finding my shoe?

CECE slips and falls into the space between the wall and the closet.

CECE (CONT’D)

Oh, crap.

CECE struggles and bangs on the wall.

CECE (CONT’D)

Help!

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK wearing headphones, eye goggles and singing “Cotton Eyed Joe” while using a power drill. He does not hear Cece.

INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Now that you’ve given your egg a face and a crib, it’s time to name it. Think of a clever egg-themed name like Shelly…

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK

I shall call you: Gregg.

INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Next: You should give it a bath.

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK in the shower with the egg. An eye falls off. He does not hear Cece.

INT. LOFT. NICK’S ROOM. DAY (D1)

CECE struggles and bangs on the wall.

INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Play a game. Like Monopoly or Backgammon.

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK rolls a soccer ball across the table to the egg in its new “crib.”

INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Sing your favorite song and dance with your little egg baby. My favorite song is “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” from the classic film Dirty Dancing.

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK dancing with the egg while blasting and singing “Cotton Eyed Joe.” He does not hear Cece.

INT. LOFT. NICK’S ROOM. DAY (D1)

CECE struggles and bangs on the wall.

NEXT. WINSTON’S CAR. DAY (D1)

WINSTON turns in to the mall parking lot. The BLACK CAR turns as well. WINSTON looks concerned. He looks at his phone and then back to the BLACK CAR.

WINSTON

Man, they are really serious about that texting stuff.

WINSTON drives around the parking lot to see if the car is really following him. It is. He starts to panic. He drives out of the parking lot and back onto the street. The black car follows him.

INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

NICK is watching the game with the egg on the couch. The phone rings.

INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY./ INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

JESS

Hey Nick, how’s it going?

NICK

You know this “egg dad” stuff is a lot better than I thought it would be.

JESS

I knew you would be great! Oh hold on, I’m getting another call. Hello?

EXT. SCHMIDT’S CAR. DAY/ INT. JESS’ CLASSROOM. DAY./ INT. LOFT. DAY. (D1)

SCHMIDT

Hello Jessica. Just letting you know that I’m on my way to meet Winston. Egg-savier and I had a lovely day at the spa and his music lessons went splendidly.

JESS

Well, Nick and I are about to take little Shelly for a walk in the park!

SCHMIDT

Watch out for ‘veggrants.’

JESS

Good day, sir.

SCHMIDT

That $50 is mine!

JESS

I said, “Good day!”

JESS hangs up on SCHMIDT and switches back to NICK.

JESS (CONT’D)

Nick? So let’s meet at the park so we can take little Shelly on a walk!

NICK

You mean Gregg.

JESS

I’m pretty sure Shelly is a better name for an egg baby than Gregg.

NICK

Look, I’ll meet you at the park. I’m leaving now.

JESS

Ok. See you there.

NICK packs up the egg baby and heads out the door.

CECE struggles and bangs on the wall.

CECE

Help! Nick! Anyone?

EXT. PARKING LOT. DAY (D1)

SCHMIDT is sitting in his car with the egg baby in a car seat in the back seat in full egg baby face and outfit. He is on the phone leaving a message for WINSTON.

SCHMIDT

So, I’m at the mall. Where are you, man? I’ve got so much to tell you. I took little Junior to the park and we kicked around a few balls. We got ice cream. You should see him now, he’s all tuckered out. Anyway…oh, you’re here!

WINSTON pulls up next to SCHMIDT with a panicked look on his face.

WINSTON

Schmidt, have you ever had the feeling that you were being followed?

SCHMIDT

Oh Winnie, is that ole’ Latvian paranoia setting in again. Relax! No one is following you.

WINSTON jumps out of his car and into SCHMIDT’S car.

WINSTON

Get in.

SCHMIDT gets in WINSTON locks the doors.

WINSTON (CONT’D)

I think I lost him.

SCHMIDT

Check it out! I bet Jess that you and I can take better care of an egg baby than her or Nick. I named him Schmidt Jr. AKA Egg-savier. AKA Humpty McBenedict. Isn’t he perfect?

SCHMIDT hands WINSTON the egg.

WINSTON tosses it SCHMIDT screams. The egg lands safely in the cushioned egg car seat.

SCHMIDT (CONT’D)

What are you doing?? That’s our baby!

WINSTON

We don’t have time for egg babies, Schmidt. Do you hear what I am telling you? Someone is out to get me.

SCHMIDT

But why?

WINSTON

I don’t know. It all started when I got your text today.

SCHMIDT

Winston, what have I told you about texting and driving?

WINSTON

I know. I know.

SCHMIDT

Were you singing Wicked again?

WINSTON.

No. (beat) Yes.

SCHMIDT

It was probably that.

Winston

No it wasn’t.

SCHMIDT

Yes it was!

Winston

No it wasn’t!

No it wasn’t!

SCHMIDT

Yes it was!

Yes it was!

MAN approaches Schmidt’s car and taps on the window. WINSTON and SCHMIDT scream.

WINSTON

Calm down! Gotta pull it together.

SCHMIDT

I think he wants you to open the window.

WINSTON opens the window. MAN flashes a badge.

MAN

FBI.

WINSTON and SCHMIDT scream.

END OF ACT ONE.

The Paine in My Life

Today’s post is from the writing prompt:

Write about a book that has affected your life.

WARNING: My apologies to any of my Christian friends who are reading this. My feelings about religion are not related to my feelings for people who are religious. I love all my friends regardless of what you believe. This essay simply reflects upon my own journey through the waters of faith and reason and is not meant to offend.

**********************

ageofreason21Mark Twain wrote, “It took a brave man before the Civil War to confess he had read The Age of Reason. […] I read it first when I was a cub pilot, read it with fear and hesitation, but marveling at its fearlessness and wonderful power.” In this simply written, straight-forward two part masterpiece, Paine systematically and meticulously destroys the entire institution built around world religions, namely Christianity.

First, a word about the man, my hero, and our forgotten Founding Father, Thomas Paine: You may not recognize him because although he almost single-handedly inspired the American Revolution, his face is on no currency. And though he was the best-selling author of the 18th century and wrote the things that inspired the crossing of the Delaware, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, he has no national monuments or holidays. He invented the name “United States of America,” yet Americans desecrated and destroyed his headstone. He matched wits with every great political figure of his time – Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson, Napoleon, Voltaire, Robespierre, Monroe, and Washington. His biography is like Forrest Gump meets Jason Bourne with a side of Die Hard. He was loved wherever he went…but when he died in 1809 only six people attended his funeral. Today, in Greenwich Village, a small unexceptional plaque hangs on the wall outside the piano bar, Marie’s Crisis to mark the spot. No one knows where his remains are buried.

Paine was not only one of the most gung-ho of revolutionaries, he was a radical activist who fought against, slavery, sexism, poverty, and elitism. He inspired future leaders of this country including FDR and Lincoln, who was such a fan of Paine’s works which basically influenced his beliefs and actions as President during and after the Civil War. And though history has all but forgotten, Thomas Paine should best be remembered by his own words, “Independence is my happiness, the world is my country and my religion is to do good.”

I was introduced to Paine during a period of great struggle with identity especially with my connection to faith and religion. I had grown up as a moderately traditional Protestant vacillating between the Presbyterian Church and the United Methodist Church and to be perfectly honest, in my youth, I really did not know the differences between the two. I later came to know the relatively significant doctrinal distinctions, but it was after I had already rejected Protestantism as a whole anyway.

By the time I read Paine’s works, I had already sampled the 31-plus flavors of Christianity and had reluctantly settled on Greek Orthodoxy. I was attracted to the pomp and ceremony wrapped in history and music and art. Orthodoxy is very beautiful. And it was something so different from what I knew growing up and it had almost all the answers to all my questions—at least the ones that I was willing to ask. At the same time, I had just graduated from college with a degree in Religion & Philosophy, but looking back, I feel as if I basically frittered away my time in college being so blindly devoted to Jesus that I missed a huge opportunity to actual learn something about myself and the world. In many ways, I really regret how obtuse I was about Christianity and how many people I must have hurt or offended for all my stupid thoughts, words, and actions. It was partly my reflection on my behavior in college that made me so ripe and open to Paine’s words and ideas.

The other force that primed my wheels for Paine was love (or what I took for love at the time). I met and started dating a man who was no longer a Christian and though, at the beginning of our relationship, I thought I would be the one to bring him around to my way of thinking, it actually happened exactly the opposite way. Our whirlwind romance led to a short engagement and an even shorter marriage, but the one good thing that came from an otherwise unsalvageable stinking pit of hell and that was the fact that he introduced me to Thomas Paine. And he asked me some questions that I had never asked (or wanted to ask) myself, including, but not limited to: Why do I have to have faith in anything at all? All this time, I was looking for justifications for what I already believed and I never once stopped and asked myself if I really believed the thing I was justifying in the first place. I do not wish to give full credit to this horrible man for my honest and complete transformation from a mindless zombie of faith to a freethinking soul unfettered by the shackles of organized religion. I prefer to give that credit to one of the greatest minds in history: Thomas Paine.

The more I read of The Age of Reason, in particular, the more I came to believe that everything I thought I knew was wrong and I had to become born again—as a freethinker. Some of Paine’s words stick with me now:

“It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.”

“But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different, as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given. Instead of this, a small number of persons, not more than eight or nine, are introduced as proxies for the whole world, to say they saw it, and all the rest of the world are called upon to believe it. But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection; and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I; and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas.”

“It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”

These words of Thomas Paine rang true for me over a decade ago and they continue to ring true for me now. It is my hope that regardless of how you feel about religion or faith, that you might simply take the time to read his words and decide for yourself what is true.

The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine

Please comment below and follow for daily posts.

Thanks for musing with bananagrapes!

Six Word Sunday

Every Sunday, I’d like to use six words to describe my current life/mood situation.*

So here goes:

Too many police in my neighborhood.

That’s it for this first week of musing with bananagrapes! Check back tomorrow when I do it all again. Please follow for daily updates and thanks for joining me on this bloggy ride.

*Thanks to The One-Minute Writer for the inspiration.

Goodnight, Mr. Colbert

the-colbert-report-to-resume-taping-mondayI just watched the last Colbert Report and I must say I am sad. Sadder than I thought I would be. Of course, I’m super excited for him to take over the Late Show, but next week when I look for something to watch after work, there will be a Colbert-shaped hole in my life. Some of you may know that it is a dream of mine to work for Mr. Colbert someday. As a tribute to my hero and his future job, I’d like to list my “Top Ten” favorite Colbert Moments. Just kidding, I couldn’t pick just ten, so here’s my top 15:

15. Better Know A District. This is my favorite segment overall because it’s a chance for Colbert to invoke the most awkward moments in Colbert history. I even started writing my own idea for better knowing a district that will, sadly, never be better known.  The best Better Know a District editions are the first and the last: Jack Kingston, Georgia’s 1st, The fighting first!

14. I Am A Pole And So Can You/Maurice Sendak Interview. I’m a huge fan of children’s books and now that my man works for Random House I can get all the books. This three-part series of interviews is delightful!

13. Colbert SuperPAC taught me about the dirty underbelly of election politics. It also taught me some dirty puns.

12. China Rips off the Colbert Report. After living in China for years, I love me a good rip-off.

11. All of Colbert’s LOTR Geek Outs. As a relatively geeky LOTR fan, it’s fun to see those who can geek bigger than me.

10. Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I was supposed to be there. Long story short: I watched most of it on the live stream.

Colbert-Stewart_2010_DC_rally_posters

9. From Russia With Love (But No Gay Stuff). I grew up watching The Kids in the Hall. I’m totally jelly that Stephen and Buddy are besties!

8. Vancouverage 2010. I have a secret obsession with the Olympics so there is a special place in my heart for Colbert’s sweet enthusiasm.

7. A Colbert Christmas. He truly earned his Emmy on this one. I’m just sad that it never became an annual tradition.

6. Colbert For President. I was really gung-ho about Colbert’s Presidential bid. I even tried to change my residence to my grandparent’s house in South Carolina just so I could vote in the primaries. This country would be a different place if Colbert made it to the White House.

5. Working podcast. This raw look into the daily life of the real Stephen re-invigorated my plans to work for this man someday. Soon.

4. Colbert goes to Congress. On the show, he did a great series of segments about the experience as a migrant worker, but I was especially moved by his personal appearance in Congress.

3. 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. This was the moment I fell in love with this man’s soul. I enjoyed him on The Daily Show and I watched his new show regularly, but this speech but him in the spotlight of my heart.

2. The time I saw The Colbert Report LIVE! It was the same night a tornado hit Brooklyn. Memories!

me and colbert

1. Daft Punk Music Video Dance Party. It is my life’s goal to perfect the spinning dance move that Colbert executes with grace and insanity.

Honorable Mentions:

The slow smile. Colbert’s perfect facsimile of Herman Cain’s creepy campaign ad smile is unforgettable–it haunts my dreams.

i8BBQ1vaVnU6z

The Late Night Fight. During the Writer’s Strike of 2007, everyone had to get creative. One of the best bits to come out of that time (besides Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog) was the knock-down drag’m out fight between Colbert, Stewart and Conan. It was a thing of beauty and (fake) blood.

So that’s my list. How about you?

What is your favorite Colbert moment? And how do you feel about his switch to the Late Show?

Please comment below and thanks for musing with me, bananagrapes!

Grant Me Money

free-moneyFree money. It’s out there for the taking. You’ve just gotta know where to look. Last night I attended an amazing seminar called Grantseeking Basics for Individuals in the Arts to learn the hottest tips on how to get my hands on some of that sweet, sweet free money. Oh yeah…

I’d love to share some of the biggest takeaways from this amazing seminar provided for free by the Foundation Center:

  1. Do your homework. Research funders whose interests most closely match your needs. Tap into all available resources and services. Explore as many sources of funds in both the public and private arenas.

Public: federal, state, city, and local councils for the arts

Private: foundations, corporations, individuals, non-profits, and earned income

  1. Network! Network! Network! Grantseeking is all about relationships. Go to the ballet, museum openings, and the opera. Look in the program and see who gives money. Research the corporate logos in the programs of your competitors and projects in your field. Look for the most personal contact and ask for guidance.
  2. Befriend those who decline you and ask for guidance. Find out who is on the panel. Ask for the panel notes. Volunteer to be on the panel. Keep the doors open.
  3. Don’t give up! Never stop. The hardest grant to get is the first one, then you can use it for leverage to get the next one, and the next one, and the next one!

Finally, there were two statements that really stood out for me from an evening full of fantastic and useful advice:

“Network until you don’t have to introduce yourself”

“If you ask for money, you get guidance. If you ask for guidance, you get money.”

I highly recommend taking these free classes offered by the Foundation Center. But that’s only if you like free money. So let me ask you this:

What would you do if someone gave you a $50,000 grant?

Please comment below and don’t forget to follow for more musings with bananagrapes. Thanks for sharing!

I Stalked Someone

stalkingYes, it’s true. Last night on my way home I was waiting in a station of dare I say, hipster fame, when I saw somebody that I used to know. It was a person I had once considered a friend. One day it all went sour. I won’t go into details, but the phrase “cease and desist” may have been bandied about. We’ll call this person my Former Friend (FF).

Both of us are transplants to the Big Apple. I moved to Brooklyn about five years ago and FF moved here about two years ago. I figured our seeing each other in Brooklyn was likely some day, but it still caught me by surprise.

FF passed me on the platform. I swear we made eye contact, but FF made no indication of recognition. I thought maybe I was wrong, so when the train arrived, I followed FF onto the same car–different door–and snuck creepy little peeks to be sure.

Then, lo, FF got off at my stop headed toward the station exit opposite from mine. So I started to follow. Several yards behind. Podcast in my ears. Pink Panther theme song in my heart.

Maybe I shuffled my feet or maybe FF could feel me staring; but something made FF turn around, and I panicked. I flipped my course almost mid-step and bolted up the stairs and out my normal station exit. I kept my eyes fixed ahead of me, with the fear of Lot’s wife’s fate in my soul. In my head, the whole thing was totally stealthy. Like a ninja.

I don’t know if FF actually ever saw me or recognized me or what. There was never any indication.

Maybe instead of stalking FF, I should have just walked over blithely and said something like, “Oh hai, FF! How’s it going? Hope you’re not still litigious. Byeee!”

Your turn!

Have you ever stalked or been stalked? 

Please comment below and don’t forget to follow for more minikin musings from bananagrapes. Thanks!

Cold Remedies

sickIt’s the most wonderful time of the year? Nope! It’s the cold and flu season! Every morning I cram into a crowed bus or subway car and pray that the people next to me are not sick. I am not usually such a germaphobe, but as the temperature drops, my paranoia rises.

And rightfully so because today I am sick.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

Stuffy nose, cough, headache, body ache, sore throat, and general ickiness. And now I have to become my greatest fear. I must cram into a crowded bus and subway and do my best not to cough or sneeze on the people around me.

If I could stay home, I would, but there is too much work to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done. So off to work I go.

My desk is piled high with tissues, cough drops, DayQuil, and vitamins. I drink water like it’s going out of style. I looked up some home remedies for getting well soon and here’s what I found:

chibirdCold Remedy #1: Drink plenty of fluids (8 to 10 glasses) to help break up your congestion.

Cold Remedy #2: Inhale steam to ease your congestion and drippy nose.

Cold Remedy #3: Blow your nose often.

Cold Remedy #4: Use saline nasal sprays or make your own salt water rinse to irrigate your nose.

Cold Remedy #5: Stay warm and rested.

Cold Remedy #6: Gargle with warm salt water.

Cold Remedy #7: Drink hot liquids.

Cold Remedy #8: Take a steamy shower.

Cold Remedy #9: Try a small dab of mentholated salve under your nose;

Cold Remedy #10: Apply hot packs around your congested sinuses.

Cold Remedy #11: Sleep with an extra pillow under your head.

Cold Remedy #12: Learn about natural remedies like zinc, echinacea, and vitamin C.

Source: WebMD

Do you have a preferred cold remedy? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for musing with me today.

My Anti-Bucket List

anti-bucket-300x258Today’s post is brought to you by The Daily Post from a few days ago. People always talk about the things they want to do before they die, or turn 30, or 40, or whatever. As someone who has traveled the world and done some pretty bucket listy things so far in my not-so-long life, I found this post to be a great challenge. I decided to take this question seriously instead of being snarky, so it won’t turn into a tirade against Taylor Swift, so here goes:

There are three items at the top of my “anti-bucket list” — first, the thing I never, ever want to do is go bungee jumping, next, the book I never, ever want to read is Atlas Shrugged, and finally the place I never, ever want to go is to a professional (or college) football game.

SONY DSCFirst of all, I am not the biggest fan of heights. I have spent my life trying to combat that fear by pushing myself to do things that take me out of my comfort zone like rock climbing, hiking up big mountains, navigating crazy tall ropes courses, walking on wobbly bridges, going up ladders, etc. But there is one thing that I will never, ever, ever, ever voluntarily do and that is go bungee jumping. I know many of you may have done it or have it down as something you would want to do, but you won’t see me there. No way. No, sir! The thought of being jerked around at the end of a rope makes my neck throb and my brains rattle. I’ve done plenty of awesome, scary, fun, risky, and adventurous things in my life, and I hope to do many more before I die, but dangling from a rope off a bridge or something is not one of them.

Read-Things-Besides-Ayn-RandNext, I am a book addict and now that my boyfriend works at Random House, he has become my dealer. And I know I shouldn’t judge a Atlas Shrugged by its cover, so I will judge it by its author, and its biggest fans. Basically, Ayn Rand was kind of the WORST. I’ve seen her interviews and read about her, and the more I learn about who she was and what she really believed, the less I want to read the stuff she wrote. Let me point out that I love dystopian fiction and in spite of the fact that Wikipedia describes the book as a mix of “science fiction, mystery, and romance” – three elements in a book I usually very much enjoy, I know that I will never be able to stomach the load of cow manure that is wrapped inside that pretty packaging. And some may judge a work on its ability to influence great minds, but in this case, it has truly influenced great asses. The fact that some of her biggest fans are Glenn Beck, Paul Ryan, and Rush Limbaugh, I cannot abide!

Comedian John Rogers sums up my own humble opinion in his blog:

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

I’ll stick with Tolkien. Ayn Rand can go to her own dystopian hell.

foosballFinally, the foosball. I hate it. Sorry to all of you real A-mur-i-cans who love it, nothing personal, but I hate it. Always have, always will. (*side note—I do love The League.) During my four years at a high school in the Deep South, there were two major building projects that affected the student population. The first was the new football stadium and the second was the new auditorium. As president of the drama club and the chorus, you can guess which one was more important to me. Yes, I was the girl who skipped the pep rallies and pretended to have my period every week in gym class. I hated the athletics department unilaterally. So, the time came for the stadium to be build. It was done in three months, in time for the football season and it was state of the art. Big whoop, right? Do you know how long it took for the auditorium to be completed? THREE YEARS!! It wasn’t until my junior year that I could have a decent performance space at my school. We were promised it would be completed in my freshman year and it took them two more years!! Why?? Because all the money and effort was going into the sports teams and away from the arts!! (*side note—my favorite movie at the time was Mr. Holland’s Opus. duh.) Am I still bitter? Not only will I NEVER go to a football game including professional, college, or high school, I can’t even watch Friday Night Lights!

So there it is—my anti-bucket list.

So, what is yours? It could be anything that you never, ever want to do, places you never want to visit, books you never want to read, etc.?

Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for musing along with me.

Connection and Reconnection

ConnectingHello! And welcome to my new blog!

This is my first post so it’s gonna be a long one. Stay with me. It’s worth the ride!

Some of you may have noticed, and some of you may have not noticed that I have been less outgoing or social in recent years compared to most other times in my life. I would say it’s been happening over the past two or three years, I have lost touch with something fundamentally me—my “outgoingness” and social aptitude. I want to bring back that loving feeling!

Shameless bragging alert: I have over 2000 facebook friends and over 1000 followers on twitter, I have a successful career (in one field), a still blossoming career (in my preferred field), a loving family, and a wonderful and supportive boyfriend. By all measures, I should be happy. But for some reason I still feel like I’m not myself, and that makes me feel like maybe I’m not happy, or not satisfied, or at least not really. So that is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog. But how did I get here?

The last time I felt so down in the dumps was immediately after my divorce and my circumstances were much direr. In 2007, I had been left by my husband in the middle of nowhere China—a place that I did not understand nor did it understand me. I had almost no friends, no one I could really talk to or connect with. So I looked to the internet–on the newly ‘open-to-the-public’ social network “the facebook” and I found friends from happier days like high school, college, and friends from home.  I also could use a new app called Skype to talk to my family and friends and along with hours of re-watching “Friends” on undeniably pirated DVDs, those connections kept me alive in those cold, dark times immediately following the loss of my marriage. I survived and I grew stronger.

The act of writing a blog helped me as well. It became my therapy–a way to express my deepest and shallowest thoughts and feelings. It was open to the public, but I did not share it with people I knew because I didn’t want them to see me suffer. Through my writing, I came to terms with a lot of things about myself and my life that I wanted to change, but the biggest lesson I learned was to simply accept myself for who I am.

Those dark days in my Zunyi apartment (sometimes literally dark due to power outages) are what shaped the fortitude and success that I achieved and continue to achieve in the years to follow. But something happened a few years ago that nearly broke me again. It was actually a series of things that eventually led to me disconnecting almost completely and only recently have I felt like I can get out of the tunnel. (I’ve been seeing the light for a while now but I want to get completely out of the darkness.)

After suffering alone in a remote part of China for over a year, I got back on my feet and eventually moved to Beijing where I made so many friends and had so much success! (I will undoubtedly talk about my time in Beijing on this blog.) I was on such a high, so I decided to take that momentum and move to the Big Apple—the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. I knew it wouldn’t be easy

But it was more than “not easy”–it was devastating. I went through a series of hardships that would be tough for anyone if only one or two of them happened, but all of these together one right after the other was debilitating.

Those events include, but are not limited to:

  • My miscalculation of the cost of living in NYC as an artist.
  • The entire collapse of the American economy at the exact time I moved back from China.
  • My successes in the theatre world were often overshadowed by crushing poverty in my personal life.  (Without a full-time job I was struggling to make ends meet on a daily basis. It was very stressful and exhausting and all the while I was trying to keep up appearances so I could garner support for my theatre projects.)
  • I lost my wallet including my ID and cash on the streets of Bushwick.
  • I wrote, produced and directed my own show which financially destroyed me and my reputation with many theatre artists in NYC. (I was so damaged from that experience emotionally, I did not do anything related to theatre for almost one year.)
  • A house fire in which I lost everything and became homeless.
  • I eventually found a new place, but after struggling to pay rent on time for over two years, I was evicted because although I gave him cash every month, my roommate was apparently not paying the landlord.
  • At the time of the eviction, the cops found a secret grow room belonging to my roommate and I was subsequently arrested on false charges of possession because I happened to come home at the wrong time. (I knew nothing about the situation or I would have moved out immediately.)
  • I discovered that my ex-husband stole my SSN and had been filing fake tax returns in my name for at least three years. (I hadn’t been filing because I had almost no income and I had just come back from China.)

All this within my first two years in New York!

I want to point out that I’ve had many great and amazing experiences as well. The most significant is meeting the love of my life. We’ve been together now for almost three years. And I have a great job that fulfills me in so many ways especially by providing me with financial security which eliminates a lot of the stress I was living with being unemployed and underemployed for so long.

I’ve also had countless opportunities and successes in the theatre world of New York including acting, directing, writing, producing, costume design, and more. I’ve worked on shows from off-off-off Broadway to the Great White Way, herself. And I expect I’ll have many more great experiences in the Big Apple in the years to come.

I’ve also met some amazing people who have touched my life in many ways—some of whom I hope are reading this right now!

But getting back to the “why” of this blog. Why here? Why now?

Well, I’m now closer to 40 than I am to 30. I want to make a difference in this world. I don’t want to finish my life without ever giving back. I’ve started volunteering and looking for more opportunities to volunteer. I’ve alsolearned that volunteering is very different from interning and I would like to discuss this difference in another post.

For reaching my writing goals, I’ve been using writing prompts like The Daily Post and The One Minute Writer that have helped me get over some serious writer’s block. I’ve also started to adhere to a strict daily writing routine. This blog is one way to keep me accountable to that aim.

What will you find on this blog?

  • writing (from stuff I’m thinking or working on)
  • artwork/design (from projects I’m working on)
  • photos
  • jokes
  • lesson plans
  • rants
  • recipes
  • haiku
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • songs
  • who knows?

The main purpose is to express myself and share; to connect and reconnect in my non-virtual life and online through this blog. So I want to hear from you, too!

Is there a time in your life when you felt disconnected? What did you do to change that feeling?

Please respond in the comment section and don’t forget to subscribe for more minikin musings from bananagrapes.

Thanks for connecting and reconnecting with me today!