Tag Archives: chicago

two thousand and ten;

In 2010, ladyfriend over here….

- withdrew from new college. a thing i had wanted to do 8 months earlier but didn’t have the “cajones” to do so. no regrets, best decision i’ve ever made. I’ve always been a very safe person. and some may regard it as ” a dumb, teenage decision”, but i only have 3 more months of being a teenager, so to them i say “WHAT IS THIS, HORSEVILLE?! I’M SURROUNDED BY NAY-SAYERS! NAY-SAYERS!”.

-went to chicago . (and dreamt that sufjan stevens fell in love with me. many times). oh, how two weeks in a city you’ve never been to before by yourself in can make you feel so lost and so found. i love you chicago. you made me feel like i am woman and the world can hear me roar. and all that cool feminism stuff. thank you for that.

- visited too many beautiful libraries to count. (harper library @ uchicago, widener @ harvard university, boston public library, new york public library, chicago public library. swoon!) so much beauty. so much nerdiness. i almost found myself tearing up when i was near very beautiful rotundas in various library reading rooms. yes, i am just that type of broad. the one who gets misty eyed under ornately painted rotundas. i really am such a catch.

- went to boston. oh, boston. who knew a frivolous paycheck spent on a plane ticket on some random friday morning could be such a good decision? once again, thank you for reaffirming what chicago put in my silly little head: i am woman and hear me roar and beyonce and independent woman and all that cool stuff. and the fact that i got to experience “mit henge” was also a plus. and found myself in the basement of an mit frat party, but that’s another story for another day.

- was cast in a musical (‘aphra’ in children of eden) and a play (an insane inmate of an asylum. i got to twitch and everything. creative freedom for the win.) ! AND I EVEN HAD NAMES IN BOTH! and in the latter, a nun actually came to all of the shows and told me that she loved my portrayal of a twitching schizo. and a man told me he watched me the entire show and tried to see if i broke character and he said i didn’t once! and i even learned how to do scabby, bruised make-up on myself, which i’m sure is bound to come in handy one day.

i know, i know. i wrote this all down in my diary, where i write all of my “cool story, bro” entries.

- went to THE QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP! once again, best random train ticket to nyc purchase ever. never have i been surrounded by so much lovely nerdiness.

-other honorable mentions include : went to MoMA. got my first tattoo. was serenaded by drag queens after late night performances on more than one occasion. got to take improv classes at second city chicago. ate dinner at the top of the prudential building in boston. went to the top of the sears tower in chicago. went to central park. took african-contemporary dance classes. stopped getting crushes on mean boys. crafted and crafted and crafted some more. ran 13.1 miles in one go, without training. got accidental backstage passes to a vampire weekend concert. and partied with my high school valedictorian at an mit frat party.

it’s eery to think that this time last year i had absolutely no expectations, no real plans set in stone. i was just rolling with the punches with a lot of hope but a very downcast girl who had no big girl pants on. i was in the middle of a friendship that was deteriorating, a school i lost hope in, and a plan for a life that was not anywhere near what my eight year old self would have hoped for.

and i can say without a doubt that i am there. i have the big girl pants, and they don’t feel too snug! i am not at that school anymore. and gosh darnit, i’m actually traveling! by myself! to places i’ve never been before! and i’m in theatre and making music and doing things that just make me want to do happy dances on end. and it’s all because i knew i could. and that’s a really powerful thing.

and it’s making me all giddy-pants mcgee to think of what 2011 might have in store for this little lady over here.

san francisco? france? prague? produce some music? take more african dance classes? woo myself a gentleman caller? be on a shining little stage a lot more often?

who really knows? that’s the beauty of it.

i hope 2011 brings you what your eight year old self would have wanted for you. ’cause it sure has for me.

the unsettling nature of settling

Salut! Guten Abend! Buenos dias! Boa noite! Buonosera! Добрый вечер!

There’s been a lot stewing around in my mind lately. Lots of chunky, weird things a-stewin’ to be quite honest.

From hearing weird news about my dad (not bad, just weird) via Facebook (Oh, 21st century…), hearing from an old crush, and closing the door on a big plan that I had been making arrangements for, it got me thinking on the subject of settling.

I’m one of those people who would rather be uncomfortable than settle. Whether it’s with a school, a boy, a job, a crappy group of friends, or anything like that. When it came to making the decision to leave school this past April and adventure a bit, I knew it was oh-so-right. Like the combination of peanut butter on about….everything. Because when you find yourself settling on something comfortable and familiar it feels like the following analogies:


- forced and wrong, like trying to put a dog into high heels and tell it to walk.

-depressing and futile, like trying to force that same dog into another pair of heels. ‘Cause everyone knows the dog is just going to rebel and take a crap in those heels while you’re sleeping.

Which, in a really terrible and gross way, I’m doing.


In a really paradoxical way I find the feeling of settling to be well, unsettling. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve never really lived anywhere besides my childhood home for more than 2 years at max, making the grand total of places of places/houses I’ve lived in to around 12-15 (After about 10 you lose definite count). And I don’t mind that at all. I definitely think it’s one aspect of my upbringing that has molded me into the play-doh figure of someone who doesn’t settle or feel a need for feeling comfortable for a long time in order to feel happy.

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First there was my brief rendezvous with the city of Chicago, which to me sounded like the “right” thing to do, and for a tossed salad of reasons was completely wrong at that time. And then when I got home I made plans to go venture off to Boston to metaphorically “paahk tha caaah in Haavhaahd Yaaahd” and get my “big girl pants” on in baby steps with a friend of mine.

And then that just felt wrong, like the aforementioned dog analogy of infinite eloquence I just made.

So what am I going to do exactly that doesn’t make me feel  like I’m settling, exactly?  Well, I’m not sure. But I have some ideas, a window full of craigslist ads, around 10 college websites, ta-da! lists abound (less dreadful “to-do lists”), and links to a jillion different hostels on my computer screen.

And that is making me feel unsettled but oh-so giddy like a Wisconsin grandma that just won “The Price is Right”.


See, 11th grade giddiness. With my good ol’ friend Vladdy <3 Not as good as Wisconsin Granny giddiness, but close.

So I’m gonna put on some metaphorical “Depends” undergarments and get ready for the next couple months of ridiculous plans in the meanwhile.

And go frolic in cemeteries and orange groves with my BFFs:

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Fare the well, darlin’s!

why my life provides great stand-up material:

Reason #398769487698479687495876:

Let me just cut to the obvious before I start breaking this down like the last five minutes of an episode of “Full House” when good ol’ Danny Tanner teaches all of the people a valuable life lesson, with the typical ‘90s background music to complete the set.

“Now, Uncle Jesse, cut off that mullet. You look like a Shetland pony. DJ, stop getting eating disorders for 7 hours and dramatically fainting on treadmills. Kimmy, stop breathing. And Michelle, go sit in the corner. Man, guys. I really think we learned a valuable lesson today…”

So. I’m leaving Chicago. In two days.

Yeah, I know?! It’s a very weird situation. It’s on par with watching a dog walk on its hind legs. Or me giving up peanut butter forever.

And I wish I could figure out an easy way to describe the reasons why I’m leaving. It’s not because I’m lonely or I don’t have friends or any other subject that might be what most emo-poems are based off of. Not at all. ‘Cause I actually have made quite a few friends since I’ve been here and gallivanting through the city has actually been quite fun, although it is more fun and less loner-y to have someone to explore it with you.


No, it’s more like this overwhelming feeling of “THIS IS WRONG. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200” is flashing around in my brain like strobe lights at a European Discotheque. It’s this feeling that hey, I really enjoy this place but I really am here at the wrong time in my life.

I’m nineteen, after all. The youngest person in my Second City Improv acting class. There is no rush for me to be here. No reason for me to rush out of school to come here. It’s not like SNL will suddenly be let to sail the seas on an ice-floe within the next two years that I need to rush myself up here.

Especially since that being here has made me realized how much of a hardcore nerd I am that I really, really want to go back to school.

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And if this picture doesn’t prove that, I don’t know what will. Yes, that is me in ((** Da LiBrArY Of MaH Dr3Amz**)) at UChicago. And I reaaaally tried to suppress my squeals as I entered it.

Because this trip made me realize  a lot of things and, as I’m sure some people expect me to, I really don’t regret this little trip at all because…

-It was just a really long, weird, awkward,yet fun and hilarious vacation when it comes down to it.

-I have SO MUCH MATERIAL FOR STAND-UP now. So much. Including moments of the last two weeks where :

1. I was asleep on the floor in my room and overheard, for lack of less dirty terms, moments that Barry White and Marvin Gaye would’ve liked to have sung background music to in the room next door.On my second day here. And oh yes, it was awkward.

2. Incredibly ridiculous amounts of delusional, drunk screaming in Polish until 3 a.m. as I am still trying to sleep on the aforementioned floor.

3. Sitting next to a neo-Nazi calling this poor black man a “filthy cockroach” for 20 minutes on the El. Yeah, that wasn’t freaky or horrible at all.

4. Most Chicago train stations are really speedy and efficient and actually kind of fun to go on. But they ALL also smell like a combination of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, poop, and hairspray. Yes, I have tried to find out why this is.

- I also realized how much life is better when  you eat at Panera Bread almost every day and finally order tomato soup in a bread bowl. Why did it take me nineteen years to learn this?

- I’m not ready for big-girl pants, even though this trip really confirmed that Improv acting and comedy are what I want to do. Like I said, I’m nineteen. I have plenty of time to come to Tina-Fey-dom. And it doesn’t always have to be on some set path, like I’ve come to believe from obsessively studying the Wikipedia pages of all SNL cast members. Not everyone has to go through the same path in order to get there. I’ll be back in Chicago some day, but just not right now. No need to rush it.

-I love Second City. And I’m also pretty sure that one day I’ll become that place’s extremely creepy and clingy lover. It’s amazing. And I just can’t say how much it lived up to my expectations. The feeling from Second City was on par with my tomato-soup-in-a-bread-bowl epiphany. For now, I just want to figure out what school I want to go to and go from there. No rush. ‘Cause rushing gets you nowhere and I’m pretty sure I came to Chicago due to my frustration with the academics at my other school. I still really want to do some sort of fusion of writing, linguistics, and theatre as a major, and that was kind of shot down at my other school by my advisor. Thus a very angst-ridden Mackenzie decided to use up all of her “Frivolous Teenage Decision” cards all in one go.  No regrets. Just a realization.

And I’m truly happy with this decision. So happy. Not only because this gives me about 39067948698745 new pieces of material for stand-up, but also because it has given me another chapter in my expectedly ridiculous memoir one day. That chapter will obviously be called:

“Why screams in Polish, sleeping on hardwood floors, and Chicagoan tomato bread bowl soups got me on ‘SNL’ “

And hopefully it will be as cool and ridiculous as Steve Martin’s “Born Standing up”.

‘Cause seriously, that book’s basic doctrine is that it’s okay to screw up, make terrible jokes, wear bunny ears, travel the country without knowing anything or anyone, and be an all-around “wild and craaaaazy guy” and still making something of yourself.

And that concludes “Deep Thoughts with Mackenzie” for the day.

music monday: cheer up, charlie

Friends, let me just tell you that I still have no words.

Well, that’s a lie. I do have words, but to be honest if I use too much of them you might think I became a wonder-twin and somehow changed into the form of…

Gary Busey.


or Ke$ha when she first decided to single-handedly demote the majestic nature of SNL.

(Which, I’m not going to lie, was entertaining nonetheless.)

But a good friend of mine suggested I do a Music Monday post, and at first I was a bit wary. Wary in the sense that I might just feature total Debbie Downer music up and down this thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love love love LOVE this city, aside from the part where I got lost in a TOTALLY SKETCH area for about an hour and had no idea where I was. With 3 packed bags of groceries. Looking like a deer in headlights.

But really, I love it here. I love that everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I love that when I first got to go to Second City for orientation,  I nearly writhed on the floor with glee (I might’ve lost control of my bladde…What? ;) ) and foamed at the mouth when I saw Stephen Colbert, Gilda Radner, the Belushi brothers, Tina Fey, and Steve Carell’s heavenly visages on the wall.

And not only did that lovely little episode happen, but I met a lot of great people while I was there getting oriented, like a woman named Dana who was just now starting in the conservatory program. And after I gushed at her that she was livin’ ((*mAh Dr3Am**)), she gave me lots of Second City tips, Chicago tips, and the like.

And it made me feel all warm and snuggly inside. Like I was wrapped in my good ol’ Snuggie back at home.

But I can’t lie and say that it’s all heel-clickin’ and “Mary-Tyler-Moore-you’re-gonna-make-it-after-all!” moments over here.

It’s really hard to be here too. I just moved into my place and I think it was then that I really felt the impact of what I’m doing. I’m here in a city I’ve literally only been to once because I had a layover . For an hour. Four years ago. Where I know approximately two people. There isn’t any such thing as running into people you know in the grocery store, which was pretty common in Orlando. It’s lonely. And I’m really fighting myself to put back my world’s smallest violin back into its world smallest violin case.

‘Cause deep down I love this place. And I know I’ll make friends soon. It’s just that I can only keep myself company for so long.

And I can only talk to myself for so long.

Just kidding.

(Not really.)

So without further ado, here’s my first Music Monday post, including some songs that have been cheering up my silly little self.

1. “Cheer up, Charlie” , from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Just for irony. And not going to lie, I sing this little ditty whenever my friends are sad, because I am a very cool person.

2. “You Can Call Me Al”, Paul Simon.

Some of you already know about my intense love for this song and video. You can’t get away from it on this blog. Marharharhar! ;)

3. “Clementine”, Washington.

My good friend introduced this song to me, and to be honest I played the CRAP out of this song and still do. Sorry, roommates. My b. This song usually starts off my morning dance parties in my room.

4."Warm Heart of Africa”, The Very Best feat Ezra Koenig.

Yeah, you weren’t getting away from anything that could be related back to Vampire, suckers! (See what I did there? ;) ) This is also included in my daily-morning dance party in my room. Sorry, only VIPs (and my dogs) are allowed to THAT party.

5. “You Don’t Know Me”, Ben Folds feat. Regina Spektor.

Yeah, I know. I nearly writhed AGAIN when I found out that mah’ girl Re-spekt collaborated with Ben Folds. Ben Folds, I’ve found, can heal all wounds. Yes, Ben Folds is mightier THAN TIME. Yeah, I said it.

And I meant it!

Sigh. Well I feel a loooooooot better now. I don’t know if it was just from listening to all of my favorite tunes, or from creeping on the cute grandma across from me at Panera, who is drinking a smoothie. And talking to herself. And is alone. And is smiling.

Things are gonna be a-okay, methinks.

Until later!

in transit!

…Currently in transit to Chicago!

What up, four hour layover in NYC?

Oh. Don’t feel too bad for me, kiddies. I’ve got Season 5 of “Gilmore Girls”, “Elf”, and “Roman Holiday” to tide me over :)

Cannot wait to be in Chicago already. I have so much to write and talk about, that I feel like a drunken Russian man who has had far too much vodka. At 12:32 in the afternoon.

I know. Classy. ;)

I have no idea what I’m going to do once I make landfall in Chicago, but I’m thinking a few of the following are definite must-dos:

1. Not get mugged. (I’m wearing a shirt that says “Hairy Otter” and a picture of an otter Harry Potter on it. I think that will help my case a little bit.

2. Possibly sneak into the Harper Library at UChicago


3. Get acclimated in the hostel I’m staying in for the next few days. Hopefully make friends with a bunch of swedes, as that seems like what you normally do in a hostel.

4.Cause a raucous i.e. gallivant around Lincoln Park, Millenium Park, Grant Park, and/or see Second City (and have my Mary Tyler Moore “You’re gonna make it after all” moment of glory.

5. Scrap all ideas for #4 and just sleep. And try and get a job. ‘Cause I totally got scarred today in JFK by having to buy a $10 sandwich as that was the most reasonable thing.

Le sigh. What a hard life I lead. :)

I’ll see you when I see you!