Friday, April 29, 2011

Winning things is better than losing things

The Vagnino Monologues is (are?) BACK!

My thesis has been submitted and I have taught my final class of the semester. Now I can get back to blogging and reading things other than my own poetry. Very exciting.

The title of this post is pretty master-of-the-obvious, but still, it's not often that I enter into contests and win them. But recently, Lady Luck has been smiling on me and I have to say -- winning? So much more fun than losing. Y'all should try it.

Win #1: Scholarship money for my trip to China.

In February, I applied for financial assistance for my July trip to China, organized by the Yale Alumni Service Corps. I had to write a brief essay about why I would be an asset, and what skills I bring to the table (karaoke?). I also submitted my tax return, as evidence of my poverty. And lo and behold, they are giving me $1600, the maximum award amount.

I can hardly wait for this trip. I will be staying most of the time at the Smoky Willow Resort in Xiuning, a rural town in the Anhui Province. I really hope I get to stay on the Ladies Floor:

"Specially designed for the female guests who prefer the most peaceful and quiet environment that they so enjoy when being alone, the Ladies Floor section is located in a separate building hidden behind the main hotel block. In addition to the excellent views through the windows, each room and the common area are designed with the fine touch of feminism suited for today’s women with their discerning taste for fine quality of life."


Win #2: A bottle of Jim Beam "Red Stag" whiskey

This I won at Lineage, as the champion of the first-ever edition of Lineage Jeopardy. Lineage Jeopardy was created to test the staff's knowledge in five categories: wine, beer, cocktails, food, and service. I dominated the wine, food and service categories, answering questions like "this herb tastes like green apple" (what is sorrel) and "Gruner Veltliner is traditionally from this country, but the one on our wine list is from this region" (what is Austria and Monterey, CA).

I'm not much of a whiskey drinker, but I figure I should have some booze at my place that's not wine, for guests who are not fellow winos. And look, Kid Rock likes Red Stag!

And obviously, it's my goal in life to emulate Kid Rock in every way. My skeevy goatee is growing in nicely.

Win #3: An all-access Chrome pass to Boston's IFF (Independent Film Festival)

As an Elite Yelper, I get the chance to enter contests every so often. This past Wednesday, I happened to be on Yelp and see that they were giving away a film festival pass and all I had to do to enter was answer a question, which was something along the lines of "what can independent films offer that mainstream Hollywood movies do not?" I wrote something about untidy endings and subtlety and talked about the movie "Once." And voila! I won the pass -- I can attend any and all movies this weekend and get priority seating. I also can go to the after-parties, all of which have open bars and free food.

Last night, I saw the narrative feature "On the Ice," a somewhat grim morality tale about an accidental death that haunts a small town in rural Alaska. Tomorrow I'm seeing the new Miranda July film, some narrative shorts, and a documentary about an artist that reanimates skeletal animal remains using robotics (?!?!)

On the topic of movies, I also recently saw "The Room," written/produced/directed/starring Tommy Wiseau. It was a life-changing experience that warrants its own post, so look for that soon.

It's good to be back, friends! Hope you'll keep reading the 'Logues! Zai jian! (that means see you soon in Mandarin)