Category Archives: ramblings
Blugh. Glargh. UGH. FEELINGS.
I don’t like to admit that I’m a romantic. In fact, I go out of my way to prove that I am bitter, cynical single female who needs not this emotion you humans call love.
But then…urgh, ARGH, but then I’ll catch myself listening to a certain song or watching a certain movie and then all those girlie feelings will bubble to the surface and then it’s all tears and swelling hearts and BLARG!
Up until recently, I’ve been able to keep these episodes private. But then…Train Man. Freaking Train Man.
Well, this weekend is Canadian thanksgiving (or as I like to call it, REAL thanksgiving). I am currently at my grandma’s in Kincardine, and this is being posted from my phone as my grandma does not have a computer or internet signal.
Read the rest of this entry
Back in December, I made the big switch over to a Fancy Phone. I love my Fancy Phone. It does many Fancy things. Alarms. Music. Giving Errol five different ways to contact me.
I protected it as best I could, cleaning it, buying those protective sheets that keep it from scratching, avoiding storing it places like my pocket, because…what goes into my pockets never comes out whole again. Read the rest of this entry
As I’ve said before, I’m an actor. I was trained as an actor, I still perform as an actor and more importantly, I think like an actor. This can be beneficial in many ways. It makes me more sensitive to people’s emotional states for one.
But as with any career, there are downsides to being an actor as well, downsides that manifest themselves as bad habits that you might not even be aware.
Let’s talk about validation. Read the rest of this entry
Something interesting has been happening in video games lately.
Escort missions have become interesting and fun.
You remember escort missions, right? In which you’re tasked with protecting some poor, helpless character for a level or, heaven forbid, the entire game? Sometimes they’re meant to be a sidekick who is supposed to aid you in the game but has clearly grown up with a very different definition of “aid”.
Manda Tries a Caramel Apple
For my thirtieth (ugh) birthday one of my friends gave me a caramel apple. I have never had a caramel apple before. Normal people would just eat it. I am not normal people, so I made a video.
I am oddly proud of this video. Mostly because well…I made it. I set up the camera, I shot it, I picked out the music and I edited it all myself. And I did it all in an evening! Now THAT is incredible, at least to me, she who usually takes six hours to shoot a one minute video.
It is weird though, because really it’s not all that impressive. I mean, I’ve come a long way since my Windows Movie Maker days (for those of you who have not experienced Windows Movie Maker, you lead a blessed life). But I have friends who can do fancy things like colour correction and animation and SPECIAL EFFECTS!
And yet I look at my video, with its hasty editing, crappy sound, and those two little bars at the top and bottom that I forgot were there but that I know drives Errol mad, and I think “LOOK AT THAT! I MADE THAT! IT’S AMAZING!”
It’s almost like having a kid. You see other people’s kids. You might think they’re pretty neat. But then you have your own and there is nothing better in the world. It doesn’t matter to me that other people’s video children are amazing athletes and getting science awards and my video child is in the corner eating glue, I made that video child! And then I’m like that annoying parent who keeps showing people photos of their children and talk about how amazing they are.
And it made ME laugh. Which is a feat. Oh, I laugh quite easily, but not always at myself.
So enjoy! Because I also got caramel in my hair and my suffering has to count for something.
Everybody has their own unique creative process. Mine is to panic.
This probably comes as a surprise to no one. After all, I am not known as a particularly calm person when it comes to my creative endeavors. Read the rest of this entry
The Doubleclicks- Nothing to Prove
So a couple of months ago I saw a concert in our local comic shop by a band called The Doubleclicks. I sort of instantly fell in love and became a fangirl. For those that don’t know them, I recommend you check out their website.
Anyway, one of the songs they played was called Nothing to Prove, which was their own unique response to the whole “fake geek girl tests” that have been cropping up around the internet and conventions. The song is lovely and awesome and, I feel at least, is a great heartfelt personal message as well as a message for all geek girls out there who get harassed for “not being geeky enough” .
After the song was done, the Doubleclicks mentioned they would be making a music video for it and, if we were interested, would be taking video of various geek girls and their geek girl story. So I volunteered! And I’m in the video! And this is the result, and it’s awesome.
Musings of a Straight Man
Hello my name is Manda and I…am a Straight Man.
Not the heterosexual male type, the comedy type.
For those who are new to the term, the Straight Man refers the more serious half of a comedy duo or the serious character among a crazy ensemble. Their job is less to act and more to react to the crazy eccentric, also known as the Comic, they have gotten saddled with. Think Abbot and Costello.
For many years I was the Comic in productions. I would often be cast as the kooky, eccentric crazy lady and I had loads of fun doing it. I didn’t want to be the Straight Man. The Straight Man was boring. Nobody laughed at the Straight Man. These were the roles I was born to play.
But the more people got to know me, the more they got to know the shy, neurotic, sarcastic side of me that naturally fit into that Straight Man role. So I started getting cast in those roles. I fought against it, trying to go for as many zany roles as I could, dead set against taking on the Straight Man role.
Then I met Errol, who is the natural Comic and my fate as a Straight Man was sealed. My nervous and easily overwhelmed personality was a natural fit for his exuberant insanity and our chemistry was apparent right away.
In our comedy duo, weTangent, I serve as the Straight Man 99% of the time. Errol is loud and crazy and spouts some hilarious punchlines. I am shy, embarrassed and get frustrated with his antics. I am the Simon Pegg to his Nick Frost, the Bert to his Ernie, the Marlin to his Dory.
Being a Straight Man is tough. Nobody really wants to be the Straight Man. They rarely get the punchlines, they don’t get to go wild with joy, and their existence seems purely to serve as a foil for their more enthusiastic partner. Most of the laughs and praise go to the Comic who is far more memorable.
But just because they are not as noticeable does not mean they are not important.
For one, they have to do a lot of the set-up to the jokes. Yes, the Comic gets the punchline and therefore they get the laughs but it’s up to the Straight Man to help with a lot of the leg work in pulling it off. Think about it this way: have you ever heard a friend tell a joke like this?
“A blonde, a brunette and a redhead rob a bank. So the police are looking for them and…oh wait, sorry, I forgot, first they get away and then they hide and the police are looking for them and the blonde one says “Potatoes!”…No wait, I forgot to mention they’re in barrels and…hang on, let me start over…”
The punchline is nothing without the set-up. Without it, the joke falls flat and the audience is left to throw acorns at you. The ability to set up the perfect joke is incredibly important, and it often falls to the Straight Man to achieve this.
I’m not just talking verbal set-up either. I’m also talking about emotional build-up. Comedy is rooted in misery and pain. It’s a truth you quickly learn the more you do it. The emotions a character feels in even the most whacky of comedy must be just as genuine and real as if it was the most serious of dramas. A lot of the reason we find comedy funny is because we love identifying with and laughing at the pain those characters are feeling. If the pain isn’t real, it just isn’t nearly as funny…yup, we’re that sadistic.
The Straight Man is also there to ensure that the Comic’s personality is considered funny. By himself, the Comic would be considered by many to be an unfunny, overbearing annoyance. They are loud and obnoxious. The Straight Man acts as a counter balance to that. More importantly, they act annoyed on behalf of the audience.
Think of…oh, I don’t know, Adam Sandler.
By himself? Freaking unbearable (at least to me). He shouts in his baby voice as loudly as possible while running like a lunatic. But put him next to normal people…well, he’s still kind of annoying but he also suddenly starts to become funny. The Comic is funny, but only with someone to bounce off of and to act as the audience surrogate. Likewise, the Comic provides the zaniness that the Straight Man lacks. It’s a wonderfully balanced and symbiotic relationship.
But that isn’t the most important thing I learned about being a Straight Man. The most important thing I learned is that despite appearances, being the Straight Man is just as much fun as being the Comic. You don’t get a lot of the glory and you don’t get the punchlines, but you get to play around with some really challenging comedy. Being a good Straight Man is a lot harder than it looks. You have to be willing to give up the spot light, you have to have impeccable timing, and you have to be genuine.
I’m getting used to being the Straight Man. To be truthful, it wasn’t easy at first. I was pretty quick to assume that being the Straight Man meant that I simply wasn’t funny. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It only meant that I was a different sort of funny, and it’s okay that this happens to be where my talent lies.
It certainly helps that I have a creative partner that I mesh with and who is easy to play off of. Errol’s at his best when he has someone who will react to him. He is crazy energetic and fun.
I’m the straight man. I’m at my best when there is someone to react to. And most of the time, those reactions will range from frustrated to worried to petrified. And I’m quite okay with that.
How about you guys? Who are some of your favourite straight men?
Geek and Sundry
Hey guys! Funny story. I submitted a video to Geek and Sundry to become a vlogger. It was my Whitless Letter to Kerrigan. I actually submitted it twice. Once because I had the incorrect youtube link formatting.
Then I was sent a letter saying it couldn’t be accepted because it was a webseries, not a vlog, and because it was an already established series as opposed to a video I made specifically as an entry.
Then I get a comment on the video from someone saying they loved it and found it through the Geek and Sundry submission page and hoped I would get voted in.
So it seems I am…undisqualified. Which is exciting! I have missed out on five days of voting because I thought my video wasn’t there. But hey! Can’t hurt to try! So vote for my video. Share it around. And let’s see if I can get into Geek and Sundry at the eleventh hour! Here’s where you can vote.