Right Where I Want To Be (Phase 3)

Hey there ‘gurts fans! So, I realized that, ever since my depression got a hold of me in college, this blog has been largely about challenges and the reality of trying, and often failing, when it comes to staying healthy. It got to the point where this site was a way to share the struggles I was facing, and little else. I have been happy and healthy for a while now, and I have to get back in the habit of writing when things are good! I started this blog because I was happy, had learned a bit about nutrition, and wanted to share it in a fun and readable way. My ‘gurts started as a food blog and morphed into a lifestyle and growth blog, and right now, I am incredibly healthy and happy, so it’s probably going to be whatever comes to mind when I sit down to write!

So, let me get you caught up. If you’ve never read my ‘gurts, you are in luck because this is a different-ish style and starts with who I am and where I’m at in life.

As you may know, I am Dana Balkin and I am a 23 year old actress/comedian.* I went to Northwestern and worked in the theaters there for three and a half years, then moved on and worked at The Second City for a few months. Now I have been hired as a tour guide at The Chicago Theatre. (Sensing a pattern yet? No? You’ll get there). I do background work on the Chicago shows (meaning Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire) as often as I can get it, and have just been accepted to a brief internship with the lovely folks at O’Connor Casting.

My resume includes a fair amount of live performance experience, as well as on-set, film/television work and it is SO much fun! I’m not doing anything featured or high-paying, but I’m finally starting to really work in and around the industry, and I am very happy with the path I’m on.

I also have recently started doing stand-up open mics in the Chicago area – I just…love attention. Also making people laugh, but that attention…I am a fan.

So this has been a little check-in to let everyone know where I am in life and what position I am writing from. Not a nutrition-loving high schooler, not a college student suffering from binge eating and depression – just a happy and upbeat young performer with way too much energy and big plans. Can’t guarantee I know where this blog is going, but I know I love writing, so I’ll try to be better about it (she said, for the seven billionth time in the roughly-six years since starting this blog). I’ll let you know where I’m at periodically, when I remember! Who’s pumped!? I’m pumped!!! Things are looking up.

*At least, I’m 23 in this post. Number one rule of acting – there are no HARD ages. Just ranges/suggestions. Am I old enough to drink? Who knows!

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The GFD Report: Celiac Edition

Hello and welcome to my newest segment, The GFD Report or What’s Annoying Me Now. Today’s topic: Gluten Allergies. For those of you who have been with me for a while now, you may recall that I was diagnosed with a gluten-allergy a few years ago. For those of you who are new…that happened. A few years ago. So you are all caught up. After grinning and bearing it for not-very-long, I have decided to create a segment where I complain at you, and don’t really offer solutions. I think it sounds pretty fun. Let’s give it a go.

Bread group

Perks of a Gluten Allergy:

No matter what, you are the WORST

Allow me to explain. I am a people-pleaser by nature. Nothing bothers me quite as much as being an inconvenience to others. When you are allergic to gluten, you are automatically one of the most inconvenient people on the planet (second only to vegans #amIright). And there is no way to NOT be annoying about it. Take for instance, when when you want to go out to dinner with a group of friends – Naturally, you want to go because you want to see your friends, but you know that you can’t eat anything at the restaurant everyone is going to. You can:

A) Mention the problem and force everyone to change their plans to cater to you

B) Go and just not eat, making everyone in the group annoyed with you for not mentioning it and also, somehow, for not eating, even though you can’t…

C) Don’t go at all. Because sitting alone at home beats dinner with friends every time…

This is MUCH more fun when you are visiting your friends and their families. If they forgot about your allergy (which isn’t exactly uncommon) you can often find yourself in a house without food you can eat. After all, when people are expecting guests they plan cheap, easy large-group meals, like pasta, or pizza, or sandwiches, or fried chicken…noticing the trend at all? Because normal (non Celiac) people honestly don’t need to notice most of the time. When you are someone’s guest, you take what they give you. And when you have allergies that means:

A) Finding the side-dish that you can eat and eating that as your meal, regardless of what it is. (At my last job, I spent a weekend-long training excursion surviving off of chili cheese Fritos and fruit snacks, while every dinner managed to somehow be cooked with wheat…I was relieved one night when I saw there was a rice dish — nope, rice pilaf. No go.)

B) Telling your friend, who will inevitably tell the host, making them feel bad. Then you can uncomfortably stand there while they will search the house for non-party foods that you can eat, and you’ll feel super bad about it as they repeatedly offer you more things that you are allergic to. It’s swell.

So good job, you ruined the outing and upset the host. All because you just HAD to eat…selfish ass.

This particular allergy is also apparently a personality trait (i.e. the worst one a person can have)

Nothing says middle class white girl like a gluten allergy. When people started getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease, food manufacturers started making a point of clarifying whether a product was “Gluten-Free.” This seems obvious and helpful, until you consider human psychology. When people see the word “free” on food, they assume it is somehow a healthier option. Whether it’s “sugar-free” or “fat-free,” people see that ending and think “diet.” This is, of course, not the case AT ALL. If a normally glutenous product is made “gluten-free,” it usually means that they added a bunch of extra sugar to make up for the lack of delicious gluten. Giving up processed food it one thing. Just giving up gluten, if you don’t have an allergy, is pointless.

That being said, if there is a stupid reason to waste money, people will do it. So if there is a more-expensive and less appealing food option on the market, folks will buy into it. As a result, there are a lot of hipsters out there who are “off gluten” just for kicks. Now this is fine on the surface. It’s your life, eat what you want. The problem is that those hipsters are perceived to be the norm. When you ask for gluten-free things, people naturally assume you are just being a jerk, and that they can just claim something is gluten-free because your hipster ass won’t know the difference. But if you have Celiac, your ass does know the difference. Your ass gets angry and nauseous and, for some folks, critically ill. The same thing happened when milk alternatives became popular. Soy lattes were trendy, baristas thought it was annoying, so people with genuine lactose allergies weren’t always acknowledged or believed. I had a friend who spent a day in bed after a barista scoffingly ignored her request for a soy (lactose-free) beverage. Which is just ridiculous! Who would choose soy milk? It’s GROSS!

To sum up: Everyone knows allergies are not a choice. But so many people have chosen to act like they have Celiac disease that outside folk assume everyone is pretending. So we, the cursed, are looked upon with scorn and distaste. After all, what kind of monster would choose not to eat literally all of the best foods?

You have cravings? Whelp, sucks to be you. Hope you are rich and fine with “good enough”

As someone who grew up eating bread and bread by-products, I know EXACTLY what I am missing. And, more importantly, my body knows. This means that, anytime I have cravings, they are guaranteed to be for the real, wheat-tastic versions of comfort foods. But if you want something WILD like cookies or muffins, you better be ready to order it online at a ridiculous price, then wait two to four weeks for it to get delivered. Oh yeah, and it still won’t be as good as the cheaper wheat-version that you could have gotten in five minutes at the nearby grocery store.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, being allergic to gluten is like some weird, never-ending punishment, but on the upside, people also dislike you for it. This has been The GFD Report or What’s Annoying Me Now? If anyone has something annoying them and wants me to articulate it for them more vehemently, hit me up. I love me some good ol’ fashioned complaining.

P.S. This is merely a segment. I will still write real posts as well. Upcoming posts likely to include Northwestern’s A Starry Night gala and my many jobs at The Second City.

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My 23rd Birthday

First off, Happy Groundhog’s Day everybody! Phil saw his shadow and we are all shocked and horrified and okay cool, back to me. Yesterday was one of the best birthday’s I have had (and that is saying something because I am all about celebrations).

My friend Mali picked me up in the afternoon after a morning of video games and doing nothing (like a grown up!) We had an early dinner at Weber Grill, and we both LOVE eating, so we really committed. We had drinks and shrimp cocktail and whipped sweet potatoes, then we both had steak and potatoes! Also, our waitress was a sweetie who went out of her way to make sure we had a nice double-birthday, and after dinner she brought out a gluten-free brownie sundae for us to split. It was absolutely too much food, but what am I gonna do, not eat it? Come on.

After dinner, we waddled over to an Uber and headed for the Chicago Theatre, where my very exclusive checking account with Chase got us into “The Chase Lounge.” The Chase Lounge was a cool little spot in the Chicago Theatre’s basement that was full of free food and drinks, with a cash bar for alcoholic beverages. Here’s the thing though — we weren’t hungry, and there were no seats available in the lounge…so we kinda just left. We went in though, so, ya know, still pretty swanky.

The show we saw was “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous” and it was FAN-tastic. His opener was a talented comedian named Matt Silvestri (who was surprisingly entertaining. Surprising because I didn’t know his name before that, so he must have been completely unknown to everyone. Things only matter once I find out about them.) John Mulaney’s stand up was hilarious and so incredibly physical and energetic. As someone who has thought about doing stand-up I realized wow…I would need to get into better shape to do this. I was warm and a little winded just from sitting and laughing, meanwhile he was all over the stage, in a suit jacket, for an hour and a half. He also is great about covering all areas of the stage, so no one side of the theatre feels like they missed anything. If you are going to stray from just standing center stage, you have to watch out for getting stuck on one side. Also, as any performer or public speaker may tell you, it is surprisingly hard and awkward to start and stop walking, while also talking, on a stage. Either you weirdly just feel stuck in one area or, more often, the walking and moving comes off too fast, like a nervous tick. You get stuck in a pattern, to the point where you are pacing and making the audience nervous. Or once you take one step you literally lose the ability to stand still. One of the reasons I really like this performer is he has a very natural physicality on stage.

The show was great, and all material I hadn’t heard. (He came out for an encore and told an older joke about going to the diner as a high schooler, but with more details and the help of a friend on the drums. So that was just like a fun bonus.) This is another thing about stand-up comedy that is a little crazy to think about. In my head, you write a good joke that plays well, get a good reaction, and are like, “Awesome, that joke works so I’ll keep it forever.” But no. You do a great bit and people love it, and then it’s like, “Whelp, used that one. Time to write something new” I’m not saying this is surprising information…clearly I am just kind of talking here. Anyway, it was an amazing show and a fantastic night, and if I could I would go see him perform again tonight. When I bought the ticket to see John Mulaney back in September, there was only one show, but the tickets sold out so fast that they added another. And that happened again and again until he had seven sold out performances booked. You may not know this about the Chicago Theatre, but it is big. It is bananas to think that one comedian could fill that theatre at all, let alone SEVEN times in a row. That’s impressive. I want to do that.

So anyway, that was a long and rambling way of saying my birthday was amazing and I’m 23 now! Wooooo!

Kid Gorgeous

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The 23rd Year (like that Disney channel movie The 13th Year about the boy who starts turning into a merman…you get it)

Hey there ‘gurts fans! As usual, this post is coming after several months of radio silence, and a CRAZY couple of months it has been! I started working full time in retail right as the holidays were starting, I gave masters classes a try, and my unreasonable anxiety levels were exacerbated by trying, despite logic and instinct, to keep a very one-sided relationship afloat. With my birthday tomorrow, and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I was feeling kind of hurt and bitter over some of the relationships I had in college. It was definitely the first time (outside of group projects throughout my education) that I really felt like people took advantage of my eagerness to make life as easy as possible for those around me. That being said, I wrote a slightly poison-pen ‘gurts — not for publishing…I later realized. It was petty…and accurate — and for the first time felt like I actually got some of the toxic relationships I’ve been in off of my chest. So now, on the cusp of my 23rd birthday, I am feeling pretty great.

I just used my MoviePass for the first time to go and see the movie The Post, which was amazing! Ever since I was little, I have left every film and television show thinking, That’s what I want to do. I want to be a(n) insert occupation here. When I went through my West Wing phase as a kid, I wanted to work in the White House. Then I got hooked on scrubs in middle school and wanted to be a doctor. Then I had a long (and recurring) Criminal Minds phase, where I thought, Yeah, I could be a profiler. It wasn’t until I actually tried my hand at basic medical techniques that I realized, no, I have no interest in doing this whatsoever. What I want is to pretend to do it for a while, then move on to the best parts of another fun and thrilling career without actually doing the job. So when I walked out of The Post, I did not think, Man, I should be a journalist! Instead, I thought, Whoa, that guy from Better Call Saul is all over the place now! Ironic that he played a Nixon-era journalist in this after playing Nixon himself in an episode of drunk history…But also I thought about how much I love acting, and how amazing it would be to play literally any of the roles in that movie.

So (did I mention tomorrow is my birthday?), things are good and I am hoping to get back in the swing of things, ‘gurts-wise. I have some exciting plans for tomorrow, but I think I’ll let future me tell you about it AFTER it all goes down.

Tonight, I leave you with this. I am a very positive and optimistic person, and I genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason. Dated the wrong person early on in college, but he introduced me to Mali, one of my closest friends and my birthday date for tomorrow. I had two people who I thought were my friends abandon me and try to tell me it was my fault, but that doesn’t negate the fact that, before that, they helped me get through incredibly severe depression and, by extension, college. And finally this most recent disaster. It kept me in Chicago for a while to get my next steps into adulthood figured out and get a little bit of acting experience. Also, it showed me that, compared to many, I am a super fun and worthwhile person, and I deserve much better. Apparently the college friend thing wasn’t clear enough because I fell right back into the same trap. Hopefully, this boosted self-confidence will help me, not to stop looking for the best in people, but to stop blaming myself for the worst in them.

I will hopefully be checking in again very soon!

P.S. IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! (In case you didn’t catch it…it was subtle)

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The new IT, and my complaints

WARNING: This post will be discussing the new IT film, the old TV movie, and the book. That means all kinds of SPOILERS — just a warning, in advance. I am gonna be talking details, so if you are hoping to be surprised by one of the three, this is where you should check out.


BEGINNING OF SPOILER POST (you’ve been more than fairly warned):

DISCLAIMER: Okay, so a LOT of things bothered me about this movie. I will admit right now though, I am a bit biased. I grew up on the TV movie, and have watched it with my closest friends over the years. The old IT wasn’t the greatest movie by any means, but the dialogue and delivery was so bad that it was funny, and I always had a great time watching it with me friends whether it was with my neighborhood gang in middle school, or my best gal pals in college. Also, I watched IT when I was way too young, so Tim Curry’s Pennywise occasionally makes appearances in my nightmares to this day. It was the first movie I watched where I completely recognized and understood how bad it was, and why, on my own (without just adopting whatever opinions my older siblings had). It was one of the earliest examples of a role played so well that I couldn’t find the actor in it. (Was this mostly because it was a terrifying clown, and recognizing the underlying actor would have helped assuage some of my fears – maybe. But even now, Tim Curry’s performance is undeniably fantastic, so that may have only been a small factor.)

Not only did I love the movie as a kid, but I love the book and have read it multiple times. The first time I read it, I was living alone in an empty apartment. My roommates wouldn’t move in for another week or two, so I pretty much had my bedroom set up. The rest of the two bed, two bath apartment was dark and empty. I didn’t have internet or anything, so I figured a good thick book was the way to go. So one night I was reading “IT” in my bed, which was next to a wall of windows showing off the amazing view from the 22nd floor of the Park Evanston (it was an AMAZING apartment). Outside, there was a crazy thunderstorm raging. I didn’t mind one bit since thunderstorms are one of my favorite things, and my view was incredible. Anyway, every so often I would glance up from my book to look at lightning or watch the rain lashing my windows. During one of these glances, I watched as a single red balloon floated up, right past my window. My window on the 22ND FLOOR! IN A THUNDERSTORM! WHILE I WAS READING “IT”…so yeah, I have a lot of fond memories associated with IT as a rule, and naturally had some affectionate bias when I went to see the new one.

Okay, onto business! I had so many problems with this movie, so I’m just going to try to keep them as clear and organized as possible.

1. The Basic Plot

If you are gonna complain about a movie, why not start with the framework? This new film was certainly based on the Stephen King book, much like The Shining was — that is to say, he laid the groundwork, and then the director changed a whole bunch of stuff. The problem is, Kubrick absolutely nailed it. It was not necessarily the movie that the book-lovers wanted, but once you accepted it as it’s own piece, it was an amazing film. That wasn’t the case in this movie. The changes that the director made often felt unnecessary, and what little plot managed to escape the cutting room floor was not from the book. Well, that’s unfair….the character’s did have the same names. But that’s about it. In the book, Georgie’s mutilated corpse* was found directly after the attack. Bill wasn’t on a quest to find Georgie’s body — he wanted to take vengeance on who (or what) -ever killed his little brother, and to bring his parents back. When they lost Georgie, Bill’s parents became empty and hollow. Bill believed on some level that if he could get rid of the evil enveloping Derry, he could snap his parents out of it and make them love him again. Bill remembers what it was like.

“‘Go on, Bill,’ Zack said, and Bill could feel the coldness again. The coldness that made suppers a kind of torture as his father leafed through electrical journals (he hoped for a promotion the following year), and his mother read one of her endless British mysteries: Marsh, Sayers, Innes, Allingham. Eating in that coldness robbed food of its taste; it was like eating frozen dinners that had never seen the inside of an oven” (673).

Bev’s dad was physically abusive, but not sexually abusive. That is why it was so scary in the book when he became sexually threatening toward Bev — IT had essentially possessed him so he could attack Beverly and she wouldn’t** be able to fight back. As a child, she believed that her father loved her, and that his abuse stemmed from a sort of parental concern. In the chapter “June of 1958” Bev remembers a specific incident when her father claimed his abuse was for her own good.

“She felt her love for him. never hit you when you didn’t deserve it, Beverly, he once told her when she had cried out that some punishment had been unfair. And surely it had to be true, because he was capable of love. Sometimes he would spend a whole day with her, showing her how to do things or just telling her stuff or walking around town with her, and when he was kind like that she thought her heart would swell with happiness until it killed her. She loved hime, and tried to understand that he had to correct because it was (as he said) his God-given job. Daughters, Al Marsh said, need more correction than sons. He had no sons, and she felt vaguely as if that might be partly her fault as well” (397-398).

Yes, it was still abuse, but changing it to sexual abuse so that Bev could chop off her hair and (possibly) murder her father was a significant change in Bev’s family dynamic. Maybe this was just a quicker way to establish that home was not a safe place. That her father could supposedly “love” her and hurt her….still it felt out of place. Like there wasn’t time for her and her father’s relationship to begin with, but they wanted to squeeze in some backstory as quickly as they could.

In general, the plot was breezed over or altered. It was like they tried to reference things from the book and old movie, but didn’t have time to explain any of it so the editors were like, “Eh, the ones who have read/seen IT will get it” Pennywise says, “Beep Beep” to Richie in the new movie, despite the fact that no one else has ever said it. It was creepy of him to say that in the other versions because his friends said it, which meant that he had been watching them or could read their minds. If Pennywise is the only one who ever says it, it doesn’t mean anything. The same goes for the bloody note on Bev’s wall that says, “You’ll die if you try.” In the book and old film, Pennywise threatened Bev, saying, “You’ll die if you try to stop us. You’ll die if you try. You’ll die if you try…” In this new film he never said that, and Bev was the one who was kidnapped so…whoever gets the note will die if he/she tries…to stop Pennywise? To rescue Bev? To wash the bloody note off the wall? Who’s to say?

2. The Characters (or lack there of)

So some of the characters in the new movie were under-developed, or just flat-out wrong. For example:


Eddie was a wheezy and weasley little kid with an overbearing mother who had serious hypochondria on his behalf. He was little and he looked up to Bill. He was not the quick talking kid who carried an inhaler around but didn’t really seem to need it. In the book, Mr. Keene the druggist informs Eddie that his inhaler (which he depends on) is really just a placebo that Eddie receives because his mother is determined that he is sick and fragile, and his doctor is too weak and cowardly to stand up to her. When Eddie realizes Mr. Keene must have been telling the truth, he has a very cool and calculated showdown with his mother in the hospital, where he essentially blackmails her into letting him continue seeing his friends.*** He doesn’t go off of the word of some bitchy teen who told him he was taking placebos before graffiti-ing “LOSER” on his cast, and he doesn’t just yell that he knows they are “Gazebos!” and throw a pill bottle. Yes, this was a funny addition to the new movie, but the actual conversation that he and his mother have in the book is awesome. Eddie is determined and forceful without being a rude or temperamental kid. In fact, his calmness is what scares his mother into submission. When I saw in the previews that Eddie’s arm gets broken, I really hoped that this fight would be included, but instead it was reduced to a gag followed by Eddie behaving rudely to his mother and running out without her permission. It didn’t fit the character.

Butch and Henry Bowers

Henry Bowers is the main bully in all takes on IT, and his father is a crazy man named Butch. Butch is notoriously closed minded, blaming others (the Hanlons – a black family – in particular) for the fact that he is poor and unsuccessful. He was not intelligent, nor sane enough to be made a police officer. He was always crazy, and that crazy rubbed off on Henry. His dad raised him to be a racist, closed-minded bully and he had his father’s pre-disposition toward mental illness.

Henry’s descent toward insanity was much clearer in the book, and was even touched upon a bit more in the old TV movie. At first he was a bully; then he became more violent and tried to carve his name into Ben’s stomach (a moment that was REALLY downplayed in this new film), then he chased down Mike, hurling small sticks of dynamite and rocks forcefully at him and the rest of the Losers. After losing the rock fight, he caught Eddie on his own and beat him, shoving gravel in his mouth and breaking his arm.^ A shop owner (Mr. Gedreau) tried to stop him, but Henry was past worrying about consequences.

“Mr. Gedreau looked back at Henry and got just as far as ‘You get on your bikes and–‘ when when Henry gave him a good hard push…Henry’s shadow fell on him. ‘Get inside,’ he said. ‘You–‘ Mr. Gedreau said, and this time he stopped on his own. Mr. Gedreau had finally seen it, Eddie realized — the light in Henry’s eyes. He got up quickly, apron flapping. He went up the stairs as fast as he could, stumbling on the second one from the top and going briefly to one knee. He was up again at once, but that stumble, as brief as it had been, seemed to rob him of the rest of his grownup authority. He spun around at the top and yelled: ‘I’m calling the cops!’ Henry made as if to lunge for him, and Mr. Gedreau flinched back. That was the end, Eddie realized. As incredible, as unthinkable as it seemed, there was no protection for him here” (783).

While this is him on the more extreme end, there was a clear deterioration . The Henry in the new film was strange and underdeveloped.


Honestly, they pretty much deleted Mike’s entire character, or gave it to Ben. Instead of being the one who gives them the history of Derry, and notices the pattern of violence that happens roughly every 27 years. As an adult, he is still passionate about the history of Derry, and interviews the older people in town to learn as much as he can while all of the other Losers are off living life and not remembering anything. In this new film, Ben does all of the research and groundwork, so Mike is just…the one who brings the cattle killing gun I suppose. Also, his dad lived through “The Black Spot” Massacre and gave Mike a first hand account. But he and Mike’s mom are dead in this film for some reason…so I guess we’ll just ignore that, just like this film sidelines a lot of the racism from the book and old film by instead disliking Mike for being homeschooled. I think that trying to make your fifties (or even late eighties) bullies politically correct is a bad move. They weren’t. They were racist, anti-semitic bullies, and you can’t change history. (Yes, these bullies were fake, but look at the news…they are still out there now, and they were a lot more vocal before the early 2000s.)

3. The Minimization of Violence

Part of the reason Henry’s insanity was underdeveloped in the new movie was because the violence in the film was downplayed and a bit cartoonish. His character literally carved an “H” into Ben’s stomach, and it just sort of happened. It was fast, and immediately followed by Ben flying backward down a hill. It was an incredibly violent and sadistic thing for a MIDDLE SCHOOLER to do, and this movie just rushed through it as wasted time between the endless jump scares.

Another example of this weird downplay of violence is the rock fight that the Losers have with Bowers and his cronies. They are standing about ten feet apart and hurling rocks at each other with all of their strength. One hits Henry directly in the head, and bounces off forcefully and cartoonishly. Henry is unfazed by the blow, which minimizes seriousness of the confrontation. In the book, Henry was throwing rocks along with small explosives. The protagonists were defending themselves (and the new addition, Mike) from serious injury or worse. Before Mike makes it to the group, Henry throws an M-80 at him, and even Henry’s cronies are stunned and visibly frightened.

They’re ascared of him now, Mike thought suddenlyand a new voice spoke inside of him, perhaps for the first time, a voice that was disturbingly adult. They’re ascared, but that won’t stop them. You got to get away Mikey, or something’s going to happen. Not all of them will want it to happen, maybe — not Victor and maybe not Peter Gordon — but it will happen anyway because Henry will make it happen. So get away. Get away fast” (688).

4. The Lack of Grounding

Alright, so the old movie is not particularly scary, but it was grounded in a sort of reality. Yes, Pennywise was a monster, but the things he did were real. Tim Curry was dressed as a realistic clown. They didn’t CGI the way he looked, the way he moved. He was a real and believable threat that felt like he could be around the corner, or in the basement. When blood gurgled out of Bevvie’s sink in the old movie, it exploded out of a balloon. It was gross and realistic looking. The sink was covered in blood and Bev was spattered with it. In the new film, the sink spews a CGI geyser^^ of blood that covers every inch of the room, and Bev. But somehow she is perfectly clean the next day, (though her bathtub is still a bloodbath) and her and the boys manage to completely clean the entire room. IN another seen, Ben looks out the window of his cab and sees Pennywise pointing and laughing at him while holding a bunch of balloons. When Ben turns back, there is a balloon in the car with him. It doesn’t matter that it is just a balloon because it is startling and eerie. Georgie’s boat shows up in the sewers during part two, and it is simple and creepy and ACTUALLY THERE! In the new film, the boat, the balloons, Pennywise most of the time….it was all CGI. It would have been easier, cheaper and far more effective to just use the real things.

5. The Clown

I know that everyone new that no one was going to top Tim Curry, but I still have to mention it because this clown was pretty annoying. He was usually looking in two different directions, and somehow the lack of eye contact managed to make him less threatening. His movements, face, teeth, etc. were generally CGI-ed which, as I mentioned, made it cheesier and less haunting. Also, this clown relied on looking scary and popping out suddenly, whereas Curry’s Pennywise was scary all on his own. The reason that Tim Curry’s Pennywise was so scary is that he felt like a clown. He could be kind and encouraging toward kids, he made jokes and faces throughout the film that were genuinely funny (even if it was just because he was so clearly annoying the characters around him), and he could be terrifying and threatening without the help of special effects. Also, he just had a great laugh (just watch from 17 seconds to 33 seconds). Being threatened by Tim Curry is already a terrifying prospect. Once you factor in the greasepaint…more than enough to give you nightmares. Skarsgård’s Pennywise was creepy looking from the get-go, which is already not what you want. You want him to become creepy through his actions, but start out friendly like a clown at the circus. The whole reason IT takes the form of a clown is to lure in kids and get them to let their guards down. This clowns scary face and whispered, “Hi” followed by his Gollum-like speech style wouldn’t exactly set a child at ease. I think Tim Curry managed to really give Pennywise a character, while Skarsgård was just designed to look scary and pop out ever ten minutes. This is how the book describes Georgie’s encounter with Pennywise. Beneath that is a link to Tim Curry’s. I don’t think there is any good clip of that exchange from the new film online yet, but you could always go see it and find out. Theaters tend to have deals on Tuesdays.

“He saw himself getting up and backing away, and that was when a voice — a perfectly reasonable and rather pleasant voice — spoke to him from inside the stormdrain. ‘Hi Georgie,’ it said…There was a clown in the stormdrain…’Want your boat, Georgie?’ The clown smiled. Georgie smiled back. He couldn’t help it; it was the kind of smile you just had to answer. ‘I sure do,’ he said” (13-14).

For Tim Curry’s version, click here

The interaction is much longer, but this gives you an idea of how it felt. Pennywise was not creepy and drooling and off-putting. He was a friendly clown, just like the ones that made Georgie laugh on TV. Making the new Pennywise super creepy was kind of the exact opposite of the goal.

Anyway, these are just some of the things that bugged me. There were others, but they were much more the complaints of someone very bookish, like the newer Dumbledore yelling at Harry about the Goblet of Fire, or Tom Bombadil not being in the Lord of the Rings movies. I would be happy to go through them, but I won’t for everyones sake. While I definitely have my biases, I also genuinely disliked this new film, and wanted it to be more than just “Well…because it was bad!” I completely agree that the child actors were good, but they weren’t good enough to make the movie enjoyable for me.

P.S. For those of you who assumed that Pennywise called himself “The Dancing Clown” because he did acrobatics down the street (as in the TV movie), I am sorry to say that that was not the new director’s interpretation.


*Pennywise grabbed Georgie when he reached for his boat, and ripped his arm out of it’s socket. Georgie died immediately.

**I emphasize “wouldn’t” because a normal person (or writer) works under the assumption that a daughter wouldn’t be able to beat the living shit out of her father with a heavy chunk of porcelain, and later ram a pipe down a facsimile of him. This film had no such assumption.

***I wish I could include the fight here, but it would require multiple pages to do it justice. Maybe Google it?

^This bugged me in the new movie — Henry broke Eddie’s arm, not falling through the floor of the house on Neibolt Street.


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Abandonment Issues

So, I am not the most secure person. (Yeah, it’s one of those posts today. Not too late to bail.) I’m not good at asking for help, and hesitate to accept it when it is offered. I am uncomfortable with being taken care of and that is largely because I worry that, if I’m not always fun and easy to be around, people will just decide I’m not worth the effort and leave. When I took a quarter off from college to try to get a handle on my depression, one of my — let’s say, camp counselors* — said that it is not uncommon for people with depression to feel this way. We (the depressed) are constantly burdened by this huge, seemingly unconquerable thing.

And it doesn’t go away.

You aren’t just depressed one day. It’s all the time. The people who know you best are aware of it, and just that already feels like more than is fair to put on another person. So you do things for other people. You are always willing to help a friend move, pick them up from the airport at 4:00 am, cover lunch that day — because then they’ll stay. It’s not that you are trying to buy their affection — you are just constantly trying to make-it-up in advance, preparing for the day that you have to cancel plans because you can’t leave the house, or you feel too hollow to act “normal.”

Here’s the secret though: if you are depressed long enough, this becomes a habit. I have my depression under control – my medicine works, I don’t binge anymore, I leave the house – all that good stuff. But that fear of being a burden hasn’t gone away in the slightest. I still have the occasional bad night (like anyone**), but I am always afraid that if I bring it to someone else, that person will decide I’m more work than I’m worth.

I know there are people who care about me. I know that I would never desert a friend going through the same. But on the bad days it feels like they’re allowed to feel like that, and I’m not. It is my job to be the fun, easy one all the time so that people will like having me around. Unfortunately, the best cure I have managed to find so far is faith in the people you care about (which is not very satisfying – sorry loved ones, IT ISN’T). The people who are worthwhile aren’t going anywhere, and the ones who do abandon you are not people who deserve your friendship anyway.

Oddly, what brought this up was the idea of imposter syndrome which, when I started this sentence had a very clear connection…hmm…OH! Both are kind of like you are faking it, worried that if people find out the truth about you…something. I guess it was kind of one of those train-of-thought connections that, when put on paper, is kind of a leap. Well whatever. For anyone who doesn’t know, imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are not actually as good as people think you are, and you are just faking it. At any moment the teacher will realize you are making it up, your boss will realize you are under-qualified, third example, etc. It is INCREDIBLY common because, as we all find out around age 20, everyone is faking it. Seriously, if middle schoolers new how much of adult life was BS and dumb luck…well, then they would know. Oof, this paragraph is really wandering. I’m watching Whose Line Is It Anyway and the coherent ideas stopped after burdening others….

So, to summarize: you aren’t a burden, the good ones stick around, most people are faking it, those ideas are totally connected, and the only real cure to these problems is GET MORE CONFIDENT. So, good luck with that everybody! Peace! Here is a picture I took during a walk one evening a few weeks ago.


*The hospital program that I went to was not right for me. It was for people who were learning to cope with things that made life difficult, not with people with depression. It was not a particularly pleasant experience for me, but it got me back on a schedule. I didn’t let my dissatisfaction for the program over-all prevent me from picking the occasional smidgen of wisdom.



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Flirting with the Devil in the Chicken Pit

Okay wow, I haven’t posted in like six months. I guess it really is like the saying goes: Time flies when you aren’t posting details of your life onto a widely accessible internet forum. A lot has happened since I last talked to (at) you all. On the opening night of that show I was helping with in my last post, I went out with a guy for the first time, and we have been dating since. I graduated from college and walked with my class. I found a new apartment…It has just been crazy! Instead of trying to catch you up on the past six months, I’m just gonna leave it at that and talk about what has been going on this week.

When I got back into town after the Fourth of July, I was in-between apartments and promptly started moving. Believe me, I know that moving can be stressful, but the upside is that it is a great workout. And you can’t just skip it because then you don’t have your belongings. I am a huge fan of necessary activities that have a workout built in, and this week in particular has been great for that. Once I moved all of my things to the new place, I had a bunch of furniture to put together. I “built” a shelf, a coffee table, two end tables, and a counter-height table for my kitchen. On days that I wasn’t homemaking, I was at my job where we are cleaning the building of all of the big, heavy stuff that has been lying around, unused, for the past ten years. Needless to say, (but I am going to) it has been a very physical week. Here are some photos of the stuff I assembled (or, as I like to say, built — it implies a lot more ingenuity on my part, when really I just followed instructions.)

IKEA Shelf:


Kitchen Counter Table Thing:

My kitchen has next to no counter space, so I got this to give me some room to work.


“There, it’s done. Whadda ya think?”


Getting there


Pew pew — done!

If you are curious about the metal things hanging on the wall, they are just that: metal things. We found them at work while cleaning, so I snagged three for my kitchen. We also found a cool old Shure microphone from back in the day when they were still called Shure Brothers. Unfortunately, my boss’s friend beat me to it, but I love it!


For the last bit of this hastily written post, I would like to call your attention to this amazing casting call I came across yesterday while looking for acting gigs.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.13.46 AM

I wish…

Anyway, I will check back in soon! Or at least, probably sooner than six months from now! Bye all!

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