Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Scares Me

Today I was at my old school's fall fair, and the 7th graders were selling used books. As I wandered by the table, I overheard a conversation between a parent and a teacher helping with the sale. One asked "Do you ever think that maybe, one day, we won't be able to do this? Will books become obsolete, something you only see in pawn shops or thrift stores?" The other contemplated for a moment, then replied "Well, maybe people will show up to things like this so they can buy books and show their kids. Or kids will come by and ask 'What are these? You used to read like this?'"

Thoughts like this one scare me. Will books in their printed form really become obsolete? I'm somehow inclined to think they will not. Maybe it's wishful thinking, or obstinate optimism in the face of the oncoming annihilation, but I truly believe that printed books will live on. There's nothing like holding a book in your hand, turning its pages, seeing the typeface and the little nuances in the text. Maybe the binding is a little different on your copy than on someone else's, or the paper is a different texture. You can't mark up an e-book, write notes on it, place flowers or memorabilia between its pages for later contemplation. The smell of a book can bring back memories, as can that little smiley face you drew next to a quote that resonated upon the time of reading. You can't spill coffee or water on an e-book and expect it to survive. That small stain on page 73 of your beloved copy of an old classic won't appear in an e-book. Those blades of grass you used as bookmarks won't exist. All that is good and comforting about being able to hold and feel and experience a book in a physical sense just isn't the same with an e-book.

But then I stop and think. Here's me, writing my thoughts on a computer. Cold, clinical type, not hand written, no small pieces of me embedded in a page. Only words in their most basic, impersonal sense. No sense of personality, other than in the reading and the execution of the writing. This poses an interesting question: am I hypocritical? Or merely judgmental? The fact that I may be undermining my own ideas really scares me. That, or I'm just over-thinking as usual.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Creative Writing

Creative writing. Is it an oxymoron? "Creative" implies making something new, and "writing" is the act of putting thoughts on paper (or in this case, on a computer screen). If all thoughts are new and different, isn't all writing creative? It's a conundrum.

School is starting to finish up, and with it English class. We've covered a variety of material this year, from Lillian Hellman's plays to personal essays and The Great Gatsby. These are classified as different genres- being plays, poetry, novel, personal essay, etc. But under the banner of creative writing, things get murky. Is creative writing based on ideas, or fact? Can an essay on Andrew Jackson be called creative? Is a play written in iambic pentameter creative, as Shakespeare took this style and made it his own? These questions must be considered, especially by English teachers.

For example, when our class was covering personal essays, we wrote our own personal at the end of the unit. I was all set for a great project, until I found out we had requirements. We had to base our essays off of quotes from the essays we had read. This made me think: is it creative writing anymore when there is a structure and required elements? If one were to design a creative writing course, would it be purely based off of things in the heads of the students, or would it have structure and regurgitation of other ideas? The questions are not easily answerable, but they are certainly something to ponder.

Monday, May 9, 2011

All I Think About

For the past couple of weeks, all I can think about is hair dye. Shallow but true. I have a feeling it's becoming an obsession- or is it now a part of who I am? I love having crazy hair. It helps me be more confident, even though I do get funny looks. I like to say that crazy hair is an expression of my crazy mind. That's true, but deep down I think it's because I want people to notice me. In the end, I probably live up to that stupid stereotype that teens do things to be noticed.

In the most basic sense, that's true. People do things to attract the attention of other people. This attraction happens in nature as well- look at peacocks. They flaunt their tails to attract the other peacocks. I'm a peacock, and I love it. A crazy haired peacock.

The only problem with being a peacock is that people see only that- the flaunting and attention seeking. Underneath though, is just a need to have fun. I love unnatural colors, the power and confidence they give me, and the fact that I can change my appearance at will. It's a lovely feeling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Generosity of Strangers

It always surprises me how wonderful people can be.

Today I arrived home to a package on my front porch. At first I was a little suspicious, as I was not suspecting anything. But after some pondering, I remembered that back in January I signed up as part of a traveling box called the Luggage (based on the Luggage from Terry Pratchett's Discworld), through an online knitting site/forum called Ravelry. I just put my name in, and was told to expect the Luggage at some point. Of course I promptly forgot about it.

Imagine my surprised when I opened the box. Inside the shipping box was a bag, and inside that back was a beautifully painted shoebox, made to look like the Luggage from Discworld.

Inside that box... well, wow. I had no idea people were so generous! The whole premise of the Luggage was to put in what you take out, but still. The contents were practically magical. Gorgeous yarns (I picked out a lovely blue sock yarn), treats (Kendall Mint Cakes- yum!), and various knickknacks and postcards. It just astounds me that people are so generous, putting in handmade yarns and stitch markers, expensive chocolate, and other beautiful items, all for someone they have never met. I feel exceptionally proud that I can participate in this kind of swap- I replaced the sock yarn with a skein of Merino superwash, and the Mint Cake with some chocolate. I also took a postcard, and put in a card with a pretty horse head on it.

There's also a notebook that goes with the Luggage, in which we're supposed to record what we took out, and just general thoughts. I didn't say how amazed I was by the generosity, but I hope it was still evident. Sometimes, people just make your day, even anonymously.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On Being Part of A Team

When I say "I row crew", the responses are usually:
1) Are you crazy?
2) Wow, that's intense.
3) What's crew?

So, to answer: yes, yes, and crew is rowing: fast, hard, and intensely (yes, this is grammatically correct- I checked). It's a completely crazy, hard, fun, passionate, team sport. It's also full body and will put you in the best shape you'll ever be in. Trust me on this. It's also the most intense team sport I've ever encountered. Each and every person has to give their all- when someone takes an off stroke in the boat, it's that much more work for everyone else. If someone doesn't lift the boat up, the other people have to take more weight. If you don't respect the coxswain, you'll crash.

For me, being on a team is a new thing. I've never been into the "team sport" thing, mostly because I've never liked the sports involved. I tried- and rejected- soccer, tennis, swimming, basketball, track, field hockey, and softball. I chose instead horseback riding, which is an individual sport on a very individual level. Crew, on the other hand, is something I'm fairly good at and a team sport, something previously unexpected for me. So far, it's working out, and I love it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Procrastination

It's a plague. It's a scourge. It's here in my room with me, and I can't get rid of it. It's procrastination! *insert dark theme music*

Funny thing is, I've been meaning to write about this topic for a while, but I didn't because, you guessed it, I was procrastinating. There are so many things that distract me!

1) The internet and all it's wonderful colorful graphics.
2) Skype and Facebook (not under the category of internet because they are different).
3) Knitting
4) Reading
5) Schoolwork. Yeah. That stuff.

It's terribly difficult to blog when I've got so much on my plate, and so many tasty delicacies to choose from, be it sleep or Tumblr-stalking or a new Terry Pratchett book. But I shall persevere, namely because it's good for me, but also because blogging is a way of not feeling so bricked up. The whole wide world of the internet can see this, and even though I've taken precautions to keep this blog from most of my friends, I have no issue with total strangers reading it. Strange, but possibly a bit of basic psychology. Who knows?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reflections on New York City

The past two days I've been in NYC. It's... different. I don't live there, and I don't think I'd ever want to. It's too big, too crowded, and too dirty, but it is fun. There's just so much to do. That, I think, is the main charm of New York City. There's something for everyone. It's a giant melting pot and collision of cultures. You can walk down any random street and see at least three stores advertising items in different languages, and hear said languages being spoken. It's hard not to follow your nose when you pass a restaurant with delicious smells emanating through the door. In the press of people on the street you're sure to see someone wearing a weird, wacky, tacky, or just plain cool item of clothing. (For the record, I saw a TON of Doc Martens!) Stores overflow with amazing merchandise, and if you go to the right places, you'll be sure to find something unique.

On the other hand, NYC is dirty, plain and simple. For whatever reason, it seems like everyone smokes. It's impossible to move more than a few feet without getting a whiff of cigarette smoke. Nasty stuff, to say the least. The city is also incredibly crowded, and crowds create trash, cigarette stubs, and seemingly mountainous piles of gum on the sidewalks. Grime is everywhere. Then again, New York is an old city, and the older things become, the dirtier they seem.

One thing that bothers me about NYC every time I go there is the lack of natural light. In some neighborhoods, no matter how sunny it is, there seems to be a general cessation of light, which intrigues me. It's probably because the buildings are so tall, but I have a theory that it's actually the lack of trees. Even in a forest when the sun is shining, the light is alive, if muted. In New York, the sunlight seems almost dead. In Times Square at night, with the neon and huge lights cranked up, it seems almost like day. The key word here is "almost"- it's not the real thing. Real light needs to be living, and to be reflected off of living things. Without light, life can't really exist. New York is definitely a living city, but the light lives in a different way than the light where I live. It's a change, certainly.

Monday, March 14, 2011


"Sometimes things just happen." One of the most generic quotes ever to be spoken by a member of the human race. It's a multi-layered phrase with so many meanings it's impossible to make perfect sense out of it. For example, what's your definition of "sometimes"? In this particular situation, do things just "happen"? Or always? Is it karma, fate, destiny, or any deity of your choice controlling the "happen"?

I don't necessarily believe in God, but I do believe in karma and fate. I have a sort of mish-mosh of spirituality rolling around in my head. I know it sounds silly, but most of my thoughts on religion and spiritualistic ideas thereof come from reading Terry Pratchett. His ideas just... make sense. I love the idea of many gods, and then one Creator who sat back and let the world run, ala the Deists during the Enlightenment. I especially love the idea of many parallel universes that influence each other, many worlds spinning through space, the Trousers of Time, and the idea that magic exists everywhere. You just have to find it.

Perhaps if there was more magic in the world, the world would become an easier, softer, more peaceful place. I'm not talking magic in the Harry Potter sense, though that would be awesome. I'm more interested in magic as in the kind of wonder and respect you have for the world when you're looking at a super tall mountain range, or an exquisite sunset, or an untouched swathe of ancient forest. If we felt like that for each and every human being, and respected them as something as unique and fleeting as a sunset, as a completely real and individual person, then maybe we could learn peace. Instead of viewing other people's ideas and feelings as barriers, we should see them as a springboard for a mixing and collaboration of ideals to further a common goal.

Think even bigger: what if we thought of our world as a tiny particle in a giant universe? What if we respected it as a unique individual, indispensably part of our lives, the source of our life itself? Imagine a world, but not a round, spherical one. Imagine a flat world, on the back of four elephants on the back of a giant turtle. Wouldn't it be amazing if a place like that coexisted with our own reality? If we open our minds to the possibilities, anything is possible.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On Not Laughing

One of my friends took a big risk yesterday. She sent me part of a copy of a story she's been writing. I think I'm one of the first people to read it, and I'm honored 1) that she chose me and 2) that I'm allowed to edit! It's a huge responsibility- someone's hopes and dreams there in your hands, or on a computer screen. I'm also really proud of her for even sending it to me. For her, I think it's a huge step forward in sharing her work with the world.

And it should be shared, because my friend is a fantastic writer. She blogs, and even though I wasn't originally supposed to know about her blog, and found it completely by accident, I love reading her posts. Her philosophies and point of view are so original and completely accurate. And I can't say enough good things about her writing style- she's lyrical, with just enough emotion to convey her ideas, but enough esoterica to keep it anonymous.

One of her recent posts expressed a fear of people laughing at her and her writing. She is completely entitled to that, as are we all. Everyone will be ridiculed at some point in their lives, whether it be for something stupid they wrote, said, or did, or something deeper, like sexual orientation or religion. It's part of human nature to laugh, but not to ridicule. There is a huge difference between lighthearted laughter and cruel, pointed snickering. I may laugh at my friend for walking into a wall, but I would never make fun of someone for being gay, lesbian, or transgendered, or Christian or Muslim or Jewish. I have friends who fall under all those categories. If I laughed, I'd be alienating friends extremely quickly.

But back to my friend. I'm doing the opposite of laughing right now. I just read through her story, and I'm in awe. I could never write something that good. I know her fears are well founded, as she doesn't like to share her work, but I am extremely glad I am one of those who gets to view it.

I am definitely not laughing.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Being A Real Person

What is being real? What is being superficial? And who's to judge if someone is one way or the other?

One of my friends who blogs would probably be much more articulate about this, as she's super philosophical and an amazing writer on top of that. But here's my attempt:

Sometimes people pretend to be something they are not. But if they become that something, does it make them superficial anymore? Or do they become real? If someone changes, does that make them fake as to who they were before, or is their new idea of themselves the real person? I know it's incredibly cheesy to say so, but if everyone accepted everyone else, we wouldn't have this issue. For example, I have blue hair. Because of this, I am judged. I am asked all sorts of questions, stared at, and treated differently. I knew this would happen when I went blue, and I understand why. People don't like things that are different, and they don't like change.

So is the blue haired me my "real self"? Or is it just a "phase"? Both of these concepts are in quotations because they are just ideas, not concrete. What I am is here and now, in this moment. It does not make me any different fundamentally than my future self, or my past self. I will always be me, even if I am a different incarnation or idea.

I don't know if I'm making any sense here, but I feel like I've made a good post, so I shall end here. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Perils of the Internet

I love the Internet. It's one of the greatest inventions in the near past, in my opinion. However, there are some times when I just don't understand why people say the things they say or act the way they do.

My friend has been getting college emails, and this past week she got one from the University of Advancing Technology. Being the nerds that we are, we immediately started trolling their website, and we found a "what kind of geek are you?" quiz. We took it, and had a good time. Thinking our friends would like it, we emailed it to some people and she posted it on Google Buzz. This of course set off a flurry of activity, and the inevitable rain of comments.

When asked to describe herself, one of my friends usually says "hipster before hipster was cool", "indie", or "so hipster even hipsters think I'm hipster", or something along those lines. So of course she has a complete disdain for Nerdfighteria and all it entails, it being too mainstream and "fake", in her opinion. So she posted something on the quiz being like "alpha geek, I really know what I'm about, unlike you sissy Nerdfighters" (not an exact quote). So I posted back saying "Nerdfighter is different from geek." And she went off on a paragraph long rant about how Nerdfighters are (and here I quote), "asinine", "moronic", etc.

So much for friends respecting friends.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stuck in a Rut

Fuck. Stuck in a rut. Excuse my language, but that's exactly how I feel right now. This week has been terrible, and the weird thing is nothing really bad has happened. I've just been really down, and feeling like I can't go anywhere, that all these negative things are happening and I can't do anything about it.

My concentration is shot. I can't do homework, or read, or do anything productive. Falling asleep in class? Check. Lack of interest? Check. Huge screaming fights and tears? Check. Music addiction is growing at rapid speeds? Piles of stress and not giving a damn? The need to run and scream simultaneously but also feeling exhausted? Check, check, check. Strangely, I'm really looking forward to things that are coming up this year (new vlog, a concert, crew season) but I can't be happy right now. I'm usually a really upbeat person, but it seems I've hit a roadblock. What's happening?

Monday, February 28, 2011


I did a bad thing today. I snooped. And I didn't even mean to.

A friend of mine has a blog. I know she reads this blog. I know she wanted to keep her blog a secret. That didn't bother me, because everyone is entitled to secrets. I was in no way trying to pry, but I still feel terrible.

What's the likelihood of this type of thing happening? Maybe a million to one? There's this interesting little thing on all the Blogger-style blogs that allows you to see the "next blog", which I think refers to blogs that are similar to yours. So I was casually clicking through the blogs, because that's how I find interesting new things to read.

And then BAM. I see a good looking blog with an interesting title that contains a word I don't know. This word intrigues me, so I start reading. I read the first post, and it's quite good. Then I look at the little "About Me" box.

Shit. It's my friend, or it's pretty damn likely. And now I feel terrible, because I know she didn't want me to find it, accidentally or otherwise. But the writing is so amazing, and now I know it's there, so it's going to nag at me like a loose tooth. Can't stop worrying at it, and worrying about it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tomorrow Is...

Blue hair day!

It's been a long time coming. Last year I had red hair, the year before that I had purple streaks. Blue has been on my list for a long time, and now it's finally coming true! I had to wait til my birthday, because I don't have the money to pay for a bleaching job, as my mother refuses to let me do it myself. So my birthday finally came around, and with it my opportunity.

My parents are of two minds. My mom doesn't really have strong feelings one way or the other. Her refrain is "it's just hair. It'll grow back." My dad, on the other hand, does not feel the same way. I'm not entirely sure why- maybe it's because blue hair isn't traditional? He shouldn't be such a hypocrite if that's the case- he did a lot of "nontraditional" things when he was my age. Or the reason may be because when I dyed it red my mom and I... neglected... to inform him of our plans until after the fact. It was a good idea at the time, because he flipped out when he saw the red (and he saw red, hahahaha punny). So perhaps now he is suspicious, but at least we told him in advance.

Its' going to be a gorgeous dark indigo blue, that will hopefully fade to a light purple color. I'm not doing my entire head- just my bangs and a good portion of the top layer. I'm extremely excited! I'll hopefully post pictures tomorrow, while it's all shiny and new.

Best wishes, and cheers to colored hair!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Can't Stop Thinking...

... about last night. It's kind of a problem, because I really have no cause for said thinking.

Last night I went over to a friend's house to watch the original Tron movie (from 1983!) because we're both total nerds and I really wanted to see it. (For the record, it was a very cool movie- old style video game graphics as special effects!) I had a good time, and that was fine. My friend is a guy, and that is fine as well. I've know this guy since I was three, and I consider him my brother and I'm like a sister to him. There's nothing "romantic" between us at all... we both acknowledge that would be extremely weird and awkward.

So why did we end up curled up on the couch together? It's a dilemma... I'm not sure I want to ruin it though, because it was super comfortable and not awkward at all. No kissing or anything, just kind of being there. In a completely non-romantic way. Thus the dilemma. Just what I need.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On A Music High

Good music + good weather = good mood. A sure recipe for success. Today was perfect in that respect. I spent two of my free periods outside basking in the sun with my friends. Then I had crew practice where we got to run outside, an activity I usually loathe. Today I was booking. Nothing could keep me from running. It was amazing.

Then I get home and tell my friend Aaron that I bought tickets to the Streetlight Manifesto concert in our area. He was super excited (as am I- it's going to rock!) and then he imparted a bit of interesting news: there are three opening bands, and one of them is Larry and His Flask. So I watched the very video that is linked here, and my first reaction was "Oh. My. God. These guys are AMAZING!" My second reaction was "Beards", followed by "That bassist is INSANE!" and "I can't believe I'll get to see them live!"

To cap it all off, the Strokes came out with a new single called Under Cover of Darkness. It's honestly my favorite song of 2011 and I can't wait for the full album to come out. I've been listening to the song on replay and I still can't get enough.

It seems that music is my drug.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time Is Stretchy?

Chemistry class:
I look at the clock. We've taken two pages of notes, and it feels like our hour-long period should be almost over. Lies. It's only been seventeen minutes. Class drags on forever, at least two hours by my internal clock, but the outer clock says it's only been an hour. How is this possible?

Spanish class:
A class I usually do not enjoy. The teacher is usually late, and today is no different. My internal clock is set to accommodate that. We're rolling right along, going through the homework, and I glance at the clock, thinking that it's been about fifteen minutes. Surprise surprise! It's been more than a half an hour! In a class that usually drags! Will wonders never cease.

Time is stretchy. That is my theory, stolen from Terry Pratchett. If you want to know more, read Thief of Time. It's an amazingly mind bending book, with monks, time travel, the Death of Rats, and Death's granddaughter (named Susan, thank you very much.) Oh yes, and a flying horse named Binky (owner: Death).

Saturday, February 5, 2011

When Everything Comes Together, Even a Little Bit

It's the best feeling in the world. Today was the third time riding Koby (he's the new horse I'm working with) and things finally fell into place a little bit. I won't go into details, as they will get too technical for non-horsey people to follow, but suffice it to say we had an awesome lesson. We jumped for the first time, and we managed not to fall on our faces. He hasn't jumped in probably almost six months, and I haven't jumped a new horse in forever. But we did it, and it was super fun, if slightly disorganized.

But something finally clicked. We're figuring each other out. He's a super fun horse, I can't wait to take another lesson. Lessons are the glue that binds a horse and rider together. Without lessons, no matter how good you are naturally, you can only go so far. But there's also the bonding time outside of riding, which makes the blood, sweat, and tears worth it. When your horse gives you a hug, or comes running in to the gate when he sees you. That's the best feeling in the world.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

On Persevering

I'm a quitter. I'll say that right out. If I don't have to do something, I won't do it. If it gets hard I'd much rather stop and go around or avoid it than keep going. Maybe that's why crew is good for me. My coach is a right pain in the ass, but he keeps me from quitting. I hate him (with a fiery burning passion), and I hate winter crew, but I'm persevering for purposes of being out on the water in the spring. For me this is a big gamble, because then I'd have to basically give up riding. And that would be quitting in and of itself, because I've been working so hard to finally get back in riding shape and get over my fear of falling off. So it's a dilemma, to say the least.

I'm not sure what I'll do, but either way I know I won't be quitting. I'll find a way to make it work. Perseverance is the key.

Monday, January 31, 2011

An Essay from English Class

Terry Pratchett changed my life. This assumption may or may not be an exaggeration, but it is true. For those who don’t know, Terry Pratchett is the extremely successful British author of the Discworld series and other assorted books, over 30 in all. If you were to go into a bookstore, Pratchett novels would be shelved under “Sci/Fi- Fantasy”. However, his books are so much more than fantasy, or even science fiction. They are reflections on life as we know it: satirical, humorous, but ultimately about the human condition and how humans live and die.            I do not think there is a single book in the Discworld series in which the character Death does not appear. He’s a fairy obvious sort of person: tall, skeletal, black robe, scythe, white horse (called Binky, in case you’re wondering). He typically appears doing what Death does: escorting the dead over to the “other side”, but he also has his own trials and errors. When I first started reading Discworld books, Death as a character intrigued me. He was so… human. When characters (dead or alive) encountered him, they seemed unfazed by his presence. This portrayal of death as a personification rather than a blind force really changed my outlook on life and death.One of the themes that run through most Pratchett novels is the fact that death comes to us all, or life is terminal. Before I started reading Terry Pratchett, death was a sort of abstract idea for me. I have never experienced the death of a close friend or family member, eventually death will come to someone I love. I know that when that time comes, it will seem horribly unfair and sad, but at the same time I know I won’t be able to do anything about it because of one simple fact I’ve learned: death doesn’t chose who lives and who dies. That idea is where Terry Pratchett comes in. In his books, there is death (lower case) and Death (upper case). Lower case death is the actually dying part. Upper case Death is there to sever the soul from this world and sent it on its way.  The blind force of death just happens, while the personification of Death is there to make sure that the action of dying actually occurs. The underlying moral is that death happens to everyone, and there’s no use fighting it because in the end, Death always wins.The idea of Death and death may seem very strange and cynical, but to me it makes a lot of sense. Of course, it may make sense because I’ve never encountered death personally. Personal experience in this department is somewhat lacking for most people, and once they’ve encountered it, they are not exactly in a position to relate their experiences. Eventually Death will visit everyone, because everyone starts to die as soon as they begin to live. However, this eventuality does not mean we should be afraid. As Seneca said, “The man, though, whom you should admire and imitate, is the one who finds it a joy to live and in spite of that is not reluctant to die. . .” Terry Pratchett, though he was born centuries after Seneca died, conveys the same basic idea. His characters walk with Death every day: policemen, kings, wizards, swindlers, witches, musicians, orangutans, trolls, dwarves and everything in between. Each one lives with the idea of Death (some even see or talk to him on occasion), but also without the fear of dying.As a character, Death does not begrudge the living. As an idea, death cannot change how you live your life. It can only end it. The best we can all do as humans is to accept the fact that death happens to every single living soul. If death didn’t happen, there would be no such thing as life, because without life there would be no death. They are polar opposites, but clearly so intertwined and fundamental that one cannot happen without the other. Terry Pratchett offered that idea to me, the same idea that has filtered down through the centuries, since the beginning of time. And since the beginning of time, humans have pulled through and continued living joyously. Despite death, happiness and life still, and will, exist until the end of time. All we can do, here and now, is keep the trend going and live life to the fullest. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Too Many Secrets

Everyone has secrets. That's fine. What's not fine: making that fact blatantly obvious and then only sharing with certain people. Or saying "oh, you wouldn't understand." That may be true, but I'd understand a lot better if you told.

Everyone has secrets. That's fine. What's not fine: having a secret and keeping it so close no one knows until it's too late.

Everyone has secrets. That's fine. What's not fine: letting your secrets explode all at once. Drama is never good.

If you have a secret, tell someone if it's destructive, don't wave it in someone's face if it affects them, and don't let them all out at once. Basic rules of life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This is the Monster Cake

4 layers... 2 pounds of chocolate... a pound of butter... 2 pounds of brown sugar... sour cream.


So starting last night we got hit with a huge snowstorm. Huge for this area, that is (about 6 inches). Obviously we were off school, so I've spent the whole day doing nothing! Things that count as nothing:
  1. Watching Dr. Who. I've recently become addicted to this show. My friend lent me Season 1 of the new series on DVD, so I've been working my way through. (Though I must say I prefer David Tennant to Christopher Eccleston).
  2. Wandering the grocery store looking for cake-baking items. This adventure was quite fun, especially because on the way out my sister and I spotted a new storefront... for the Museum of Unnatural History. Intriguing!
  3. With said baking items, we baked a huge (read: four layer) chocolate cake out of the Serendipity cookbook. It's not frosted yet, but it's going to be decadent. Can't wait!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hair Dye

I'm considering dying my hair. Blue and purple streaks, since you're wondering. I don't know why, it's just been an idea rolling around in my head for a while. Last year I had red hair, and the year before I had purple streaks, but my mom wouldn't let me bleach my hair so they didn't work. Hair color is something of an obsession for me: I always want a new color but I never have the guts to do it. I'd love to be one of those people who changes their hair every month, with awesome results and much eyebrow raising. However, I don't think my dad could survive that. Every time I mention the words "hair" and "dye" in the same sentence he looks perturbed and makes a kind of groaning noise that sounds a bit like a sick dog. I don't understand his problem. Maybe it's because the last time I dyed my hair (a really awesome red-auburn color), my mom and I went to the salon and didn't bother to tell him until after the fact... that's probably it.

This time it's a bit of an argument between my mom and I, because I want to dye/ bleach my hair at home and she wants me to go to a salon. I agree with her, but there's a small problem. I don't think any salon around here is going to 1) have the color dye I want and 2) be willing to do the job for me if I bring my own dye. It's a problem.

These are the two colors I'm thinking of doing:

SFX Blue Velvet
SFX Deep Purple

Tell me what you think!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When Everyone Around You is Happy...

... It's hard not to feel jealous. Especially when people are pairing off and you're a third wheel. Even more so when it's girls that are pairing off and you wish you could too. Last night was a major turning point for more than a few people. I'm so incredibly happy for them all, and I know they couldn't be happier, but at the same time I can't help but think "When is that going to be me?" It's hard knowing other people are out in the open doing what they want and I'm stuck in, because I'm too afraid of what might happen if I told the truth. I know that most people wouldn't have an issue, but I know (and they know) I've always been a follower and they might think I'm hopping on the bandwagon, so to speak. It's incredibly frustrating, to say the least. I'm sure I'll snap out of this funk, but for now, I feel like an incredibly lonely person who isn't part of anything.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I just sent an email submitting some of my artwork to a local show next week. It's a local show, really open and interesting, with performance art, photography, painting, etc. I saw the signs up earlier and thought about submitting, but my parents finally told me I should, so I sent the email. I'm so nervous! It's in a collective house that's pretty free-for-all, hipster, etc. I don't know if I will fit in, or if my artwork will be "unconventional" enough. Probably not, as I'm basically taking a classical art class, and that's what all my stuff is from.

Blabberment. That last paragraph was horrible. This is what happens when I've been studying. My brain falls out of my ears and oozes across the floor where it falls in between the cracks and disappears.

As the great author Terry Pratchett said, "Insanity is catching."

Thank you and goodnight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Why is it so hard? I've got exams tomorrow, and I even got an extra day to study because school canceled today. So why can't I concentrate? Distractions abound. Here's a list:
  1. Knitting- I've been coveting Blue Moon Fiber Arts sock yarn, and I can't get enough of Ravelry. Also, I've got a lovely cabled hat pattern that's very distracting...
  2. The Internet- self explainatory
  3. Inside my head- last night I had a really serious conversation with someone close to me, and the result of that has got my head spinning in circles. 
  4. Lack of exercise- when I don't get out of the house, hyperness ensues.
At least my English exam will be easy tomorrow. Surprisingly (according to my English teacher) , I'm pretty bad at grammar. This fact interests me greatly because when I write, I don't really have issues with grammar. It's a conundrum. Math, on the other hand, is going to be a nightmare. Too many theorems, not enough numbers. We'll see how that goes.

On top of all that, there's ice all over the place, which doesn't help the general atmosphere, and my brother is sick. So I'm stuck trying to avoid contagion and ice. And insanity, but everyone knows that's catching.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pandora Radio

Whoever invented Pandora Radio is a genius, or at least very skilled at making people happy. For those who don't know, Pandora is an online, customizable music player that you can program with music that you like, and it will provide other music and songs that you may like according to specific criteria. They have some sort of formula that takes into account music style, vocals, instruments, and a ton of other factors in deciding what kind of music you already listen to, and what you might appreciate.

And appreciate it I do. Even with the occasional advertisement, Pandora gives me music to fill my life. I'm too much of a miser to actually spend money on iTunes, so I get my music other places (legally, I might add). Also, there's something incredibly fun about putting your ears in the control of a computerized program that decides what you shall listen to based on some sort of formula or algorithms. I've never thought of music like that before. Usually it's how it sounds, or what other people are listening to, that influences the listeners. With Pandora, it's from what you already like, but objectively, not subjectively. A bit of a takeoff from traditional musicology, in my opinion. I could be totally off base here, but as far as I know music was (and should be) about achieving sound and a connection with the listener.

Pandora's changing that, but not in a bad way. The listener still gets a connection, but it's with themselves. Bits of personality get embedded in the music you listen to, and bits also come out, influenced by music. It's like telling a circular story, but with a different ending each time. And if you don't like the ending, you can simply click the thumbs down button, and viola! you've got a new ending. Happy music listening times are here to stay.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Over The Shoulder

There's something intriguing about the little snippets of other people's lives. A few words of a cell phone conversation, the book they're reading on the train, strains of a song emanating from too loud headphones, glimpses of a computer screen. Today was one of those days. My dad, my brother, and I went out to coffee with a friend of my dad's from high school. The place we went is a quick walk from our house. It's a funky coffeehouse/ restaurant/ lounge kind of place, with couches and tables and a lot of people working on computers, reading, or chatting with friends. There's always a great mix of people in there- young, old, be-suited and in jeans and plaid flannel shirts, heels, running shoes, Mohawks and cornrows. Because it's a pretty open seating plan, it's easy to end up sitting next to someone on the same couch, across the same table, or with their chair opposite yours. It's also easy to eavesdrop a little on other people's lives.

About halfway through my chai, a young Asian guy took an armchair right against the couch I was sitting on. I didn't pay much attention until he took out a laptop and began to type. Naturally, I glanced over his shoulder to see what he was doing. What appeared on the screen looked like the beginning of a story, clearly fiction, about someone named Gabriel, after the angel Gabriel who told Mary she was pregnant, because the character was born on Christmas. I was immediately pulled in, and wanted to read more, but I couldn't. In the almost half an hour between the time he sat down and we left, he had about 4 sentences. I watched him change that little tiny snip of a paragraph about six times, each time in a different way. There was one sentence he wrote that I particularly liked, but he deleted it.

That deletion almost convinced me to tap him on the shoulder and say "Hey. That was really good. Keep it." But I didn't. Most people don't appreciate being accosted by random strangers about their work. Especially if that stranger is reading over your shoulder.

I wish the world worked like that. I love talking to random people, even though I'm shy, and I wish I could just tap people on the shoulder and talk to them about what they're working on. With more open communication, the world might end up being a better place. And that one difference in the sentence might make or break whatever he was writing. You never know. Sometimes all it takes is one comment to change destiny, fate, or whatever you want to call it. At least that's how it should be.

We make choices every day, some simple and some more complex. With everything we do, we influence others. Each little snippet our of our day, witnessed by someone else, can set off a chain reaction of unprecedented events. Just something to think about.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Missed Chance, or the Doc Marten Connection

Sometimes I wonder about the power of footwear. You can tell a lot about someone by the type of shoes that they wear. What sort of image they want to project, that sort of thing. I wear my Doc Martens for many reasons, but the one main reason is to stand out a little. When I first got them (3 years ago), everyone in my school was wearing either Sperry Topsiders or Uggs, maybe Converse low-tops. I wanted something different, something more edgy, something more "me". When I first wore them to school, I was incredibly nervous because I knew I would be judged, and I was for a while. However, as my Docs have broken in, so have others feelings about them. I used to be (and probably still am) that crazy girl with the big red boots. But now they're used to it. Amazing what people can get used to.

When this particular story starts I was not wearing my big red boots. Having just gotten out of crew practice, I was in my crew stuff and running shoes. There was a big swim meet going down at the pool, so I wandered up to take a look. Most of the spectators were either parents, siblings, or girls in uniform plaid skirts and polos from the other school competing. As I scanned the crowd, one girl caught my eye. Bleached blond mohawk, Sex Pistols album cover (I think) on the back of her jacket (complete with studs), studded belt, white jeans, and on her feet- black Docs. I know it sounds stereotypical, but the second thing I thought was "Wow, typical punk." The first thing I thought was "Doc Martens! A kindred spirit!" The immediate reaction was to run and change back into my pants and boots, and then bolt back to the meet before she left.

I really wanted to talk to that girl. When I saw her face to face, the first impression was "vulnerable", followed by "wow, red lipstick", followed by "she looks a lot younger from the front", followed by "screw that, she's got car keys". The thing was, I didn't know how to approach her. For most Doc-wearing folks I've met, a quick "Nice boots" usually breaks the ice. With this girl, I wasn't so sure. There was something... standoffish about her, and it wasn't the mohawk or the multiple ear piercings. I wish I had the guts to pull off a mohawk, I've wanted one for years. Anyone who can wear one with that much pizazz is definitely someone worth talking to, but she looked really defensive, scared even. So instead of accosting her, I left her alone. Another missed connection.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Music's a funny thing. Some days you feel like a certain type of music, and some days only one song will do. Each song has a unique ability to hold a particular memory or emotion, at least for me. Situations each come with their own song in my memories. Other times the lyrics or chords will play in my head, or I'll hear a snippet of a song and suddenly be back to a certain time or place that somehow became connected to that music. I have no idea why my memory works like that, but work it does.

I also seem to have my own private radio in my head, that plays music and lyrics from the countless songs I've listened to over the years... from Elton John and the Spice Girls (my two favorite artists when I was about 4-6), going through the Beatles, Queen (the first record I ever heard on vinyl), the Rolling Stones, Destiny's Child, a brief stint in R&B/ hip-hop, moving on to Top 40 pop, tangent-ing into Good Charlotte and MCR, migrating to Green Day, Nirvana, the Ramones, and the Strokes, hopping over a little to Streetlight Manifesto, taking the plunge with Black Sabbath, Seether, and Metallica, riding the wave to Smashing Pumpkins, the Sex Pistols, and Pearl Jam, surfacing for some Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert, and Trace Adkins, and finally landing (for the moment) with Avalanche City, the B-52's, Sons of Admirals, Eddplant, and Tom Milsom. Each of these artists have affected me differently, given me a little bit of them, their music, and their culture. The beauty of music is that the artists give only themselves and their music, and we, the listeners, take so much. On that level music is completely pure.

I remember the first time I heard Black Sabbath. I was in study hall, trying to do some homework, with my headphones in and my Pandora radio on. Suddenly there was a science, and then a single drum, pounding, pounding, and then that chord. That single power chord, building, building, rising up, and then the riff. I was floored. I'd never heard anything even close to that type of raw, heavy POWER. I literally stopped what I was doing, sat back in my chair, and just listened. I think I actually felt my heart beat in time with that riff. Going back and listening to it again, it still has that sense of pounding, inevitable, incredible power to it. Admittedly, there's not that first impression of starkness and "wow", but there's still something that resonates. I guess it's one of those things that will stay with me for a long time, simply for the impact it had at that one moment in time. Music's like that. And I wouldn't have it any other way.