Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome, 2011

If only I were a person who could change their life without the deadlines and due dates that come along with New Year's resolutions.

However, I am not. I won't say if that's a good or a bad thing; it's simply a reality of my life. If I want to get anything done ever, I need the checkpoints along the way. It's most helpful when they're set by someone else, but since I control my own life, I absolutely have to set them for myself, too.

And that, my friends, is why I am a fan of New Year's resolutions. Yes, they're often impractical. No, most people don't fulfill theirs. But anything that encourages people to make a good fresh start is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Normally I either forget to make New Year's resolutions or I completely disregard my own by the end of January, but this year I feel this intense internal pressure to do everything -- and I do mean everything -- on my List O' Goals.

See, for the past few years, I've been in a funk. I couldn't tell you when it started, but for all practical purposes we'll say it was in ninth grade. I wouldn't call it depression, exactly; to call it such seems to take away from the many people who actually have chemical imbalances and only fake smiles and all the other shit of which I have no real authority to speak because I'm not depressed. If I lived before the age of psychoanalyzing away every last fidget and blink, they'd probably call it A Lack of Motivation and tell me to Get Over It and Get a Move On. Whomever they are, however they spoke back then. Whenever "then" is.

The point is this: there hasn't been an extensive period of time over the last three years when I've been truly happy or truly satisfied with my life. I've had many good moments. I haven't had any real hardships but nothing truly great has happened and nothing I've done has made me truly proud of myself. If I were a line on a heart monitor I'd be the comatose patient, squiggly lines indicating that I'm not dead, but there's certainly nothing to get excited about. Stable yet disappointing.

I could take this space to get into a whole list of my flaws and my personality and who I am and what I want, but I'm afraid that if I started, I'd never stop. As I said on Twitter (oh, Twitter, sometimes I wonder if you were ever meant to exist for a purpose other than an outlet for complaining about one's life), I'm fairly certain -- almost as certain as I can be without going in for a blood test -- I have a mild form of anemia.* (That would certainly explain my perpetually freezing fingers and toes and the fact that by the end of a school day, I am thoroughly exhausted (more than the average person seems to be). Additionally, it apparently makes it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork and, uh, regular work, so then I could scream from the rooftops that, at long last, my procrastination is validated!**) If I do, that's only half the problem. I don't believe that any medical illness, aside from mental disorders of any kind, stop people from being whom they wish to be. It puts limits on what you can do, sure. It gives you a hell of a good reason to be grumpy, of course. But I truly believe that anyone can become a person who can look in the mirror and say, "I'm proud to be these eyes and this nose and this mouth and this irregularly shaped head and this hair, or lack thereof, and this forehead and this skin and everything pulsing and beating and coursing and living inside of me." That's who I want to be. That's who I will be.

There's much more that I want to tell you, and maybe I will later, but this post is already getting hella long. For now, let's focus on these New Year's resolutions/life goals/changes (for the record, I wrote these to myself, which is why I use "your" instead of "my"):

- Find your copy of Hamlet. If you can't, pay for it?
- Study for your math unit test until you actually understand.
- Don't procrastinate on your homework for the rest of this quarter.
- Actually study for your midterms this year; don't just flip through your notebooks and expect it to magically seep into your head.
- Go get a blood test to see if you have anemia, and if you don't, figure out why you're so tired all the time. Subsequently, sleep more.
- Get a real harmonica and learn how to play it. By the end of this year, you have to be at least decent at it.
- Start studying the classical guitar for real. Practice a lot more, and especially learn a lot more about the technical aspects of the guitar. Put yourself through a mini guitar-specific music theory class.
- Figure out what you want to do with your life, and I don't mean an inflexible plan, but at least get some ideas about jobs you might want in the future/where you might want to live/etc.
- SERIOUSLY: start looking at colleges; see what colleges you want to attend and which colleges might accept you.
- Fill out your goddamn CAS forms; this is not going to be a repeat of your mad scramble to fill out the paperwork for your MYP hours.
- This summer: find a paying job.
- In preparation for this summer: find an internship or volunteer job that you're interested in, and apply for it soonsoonsoon!
- Freaking stop eating so much junk food. You need to sit down and figure out what kinds of foods you should be eating. Go to a freaking dietitian if you have to.
- Subsequently, freaking exercise more. (Important: go to a doctor to see if you have low blood sugar or something.) You also need to make a realistic plan for this, because if you don't, you're just going to go running once and then wallow about feeling sorry for yourself.
- Start and COMPLETE NaNoWriMo 2011. If you find yourself simply incapable, at least get halfway done.
- Start writing regularly. It doesn't have to be one project; keep writing those strange, short, philosophical/descriptive pieces that you love so much.
- Read all the unread books in your room (there are a lot) and read a lot more.
- This summer, spend at least 2 weeks without any internet at all.
- Make an active decision to be more outgoing. You're a natural introvert and that's fine, but sometimes everyone else around you is a little introverted too and they just want somebody to say hello.
- Do the things you say you'll do. If you can't/won't/don't want to do them, tell people upfront instead of waffling about.
- Use your big hanging calendar! You're never going to be naturally organized, but you can at least keep track of things better.
- Be more inclusive of all the new people on Set Dec. Most of them don't have the huge influx of fellow freshmen to rely on, like you guys did in ninth grade.
- Speaking of Set Dec: be waaay more organized. You don't have to be totally anal about it, but take initiative (even though you're only assistant chief :] ). If something needs to be done, get on it. Talk to Ms Davis & co. about what you need, realistic goals, etc.
- Get back on track with blogging. Don't use the excuse of being too tired; you're tired because you procrastinate so gosh darn much. It's only two days a week, and you enjoy doing it.
- Additionally, improve the quality of your blogs. Sadly, your earlier blogs were better quality than your recent ones, even though you were nearly two years younger.
- Have an honest conversation about your parents with religion. Keep calm, but don't back down.
- Be more assertive. I know you hate confronting people or even asking for help sometimes, but your problems multiply when you let them stew.
- Freakin' study for French...? Let's face it: the rest of high school is going to be substantially less fun because of French, but you have to take this class. You're not going to become fluent or anything, but at LEAST learn enough to do decently in the class and get at least a 5 on your HL exam.
- Stop procrastinating. Fact: you're never going to completely stop procrastinating. Fact: the extent to which you procrastinate is not normal and definitely can't be healthy. Get it under control.
- Find an EE topic that you love; something that you can actually get excited about writing. Don't procrastinate on writing your proposal, and actually refer to your EE adviser.
- Watch all the Doctor Who that you need to (you know what I mean).
- Don't use the internet on your phone unless you NEED to.
- Clean your room. Keep it relatively clean. Redecorate this summer.
- Organize your backpack. Seriously.
- Study for the SAT. I know you think it's dumb, but you need to retake it. Talk to Dad about developing a study plan for the math section.
- Organize your iPod. Catch up on Pottercast.
- Go to at least one Wrock show.
- Go to the midnight premiere of Deathly Hallows. If possible, do something within the fandom.
- Develop a good skin care routine.
- Get your driver's license! :)

It occurs to me that I am more honest on this blog than I am with most of the people I know offline, despite the knowledge lurking somewhere in the back of my head that millions (billions?) of people technically have access to this information. It's a strange thought but not a particularly nerve-wracking one. It's not that I say anything I wouldn't want people to hear; it's that most people don't want to listen. Not that I expect them to. You can't care about everyone, not on a I-earnestly-follow-your-exploits-on-a-blog-that-you-neglect-to-update-half-the-time level. I suppose that anyone who reads this blog cares just enough about what we have to say, and if you're willing to take the time to listen (figuratively speaking) then you've earned the right to my honesty.***

* The trouble is, of course, once you go about trying to self-diagnose on the internet, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell if you actually have those symptoms or if you're just twisting your body to fit the label that you want (sometimes we're all just big masochists at heart, aren't we?). As far as I can tell, I do, although there is a curious one about possibly having a desire to chew things, which of course led to a train of thought something like this: "A desire to chew on things...?" Wait... I like to chew on things! I used to chew on paper and wet dishtowels all the time when I was little! And I like to chew food! Oh my gosh I totally have this symptom. Make a room for me at the hospital right now. Actually, I kind of want to chew on something now... mmm... wait, no, do I actually want to chew on something? Or is that just some subliminal messaging going on? Okay, think of the last time you chewed on something that wasn't food...
** Okay, not really. Procrastination is a) not validated and b) present in many non-anemic people's lives. But how great would it be if I could just take iron supplements and actually feel focused?
***Pretentious blogger is pretentious. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

resolve or lack thereof

I hear a lot of mixed opinions on New Year's Resolutions. My mom disagrees with the idea but I'm not entirely sure why. I think it's something about the wording. She calls them Intentions. Kayley Hyde (of 5AG) says she likes to think she can change her life at any time of year.

But I like the idea. I like people reevaluating themselves and their values. I like it when everyone gets ridiculously idealistic. It warms my sometimes shamelessly idealistic but mostly just jaded heart.

With all of their optimism and dreams, I find that a lot of people have similar type goals. Eat better, exercise more, read more (if you're nerdy like that). I want to do all of these things. But why start January 1st? Why not now or yesterday or tomorrow or next month? And what percentage of resolutions actually become reality? Am I being too cynical to assume that most of our hopes and aspirations for the new year get pushed back to the next, trampled and forgotten or guiltily nudged away? Don't we all want to be healthier every year? Well I've been alive for sixteen--you think I would have got around to it by now. And yet I don't have a formula.

A part of me wants to make a set list of goals and rules. I will spend X time running and Y time aerobicizing and buy less processed junk and drink less Starbucks beverages. But at the same time, I don't want to live my life off a piece of paper, counting the number of restrictions and having to ask if I'm allowed to eat this, or buy that or sit on the couch instead of doing yoga. That sounds vaguely suckish.

So without the lingering prospect of guilt or disappointment, because I won't let myself feel those emotions, here are some of the things that I'm foreseeing as being important for me to do/be in the new year in a couple of categories. Don't quote me on any of this.

Continue to pursue creative endeavors

  • Blogging, of course.
  • Novelling. Specifically, I'm attempting to spend 50 hours editing this past year's NaNoWriMo in January. And after that, who knows where I'll be. 
Learn stuff. "What?" you ask.
  • maybe some more Spanish
  • more writing craft and publishing tips.
  • how to play the ukulele (now I just need a ukulele)
  • continue attending Philosopher's Cafes and asking the questions that you can never completely answer.
Self ... improvement? Which I guess all of this kind of is.
  • The main bullet point I'm going to write here is Patience. That's right, capital P.
  • Imagine people complexly and eventually cease being disappointed when people fail to meet my unrealistic expectations. Respect people for who they are and don't expect more.
  • Listen to recommendations and consider them and then potentially read them.
  • Nonfiction for pleasure.
This is a pretty short list, or it looks like it to me, but it could grow. It actually seems exceedingly lame at this moment but I'm hitting publish and we'll see how this goes.

Q: Do you get resolved?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Disorganized Christmas Blog!

Alright, so I'm starting this on Christmas Eve.** That doesn't necessarily mean this will be properly bloggily organized by tomorrow, or that I won't be collapsed from exhaustion by the time I have 10 minutes in which to hit the magical orange button which releases these fragments into cyberspace. So I'm planning ahead, or something like it.

Mess of craziness as it may be, Christmas is awesome, especially because someone in my household still believes in Santa, so I'm allowed to get pretty vicariously excited. I also have SEKRIT KNOWLEDGE (different from knowledge acquired through SNEAKERY, mind you--I was told what it was so the giver could see my reaction to it beforehand, instead of my nerding out over it in front of people who wouldn't care. . .) of one present I will be receiving*, so that's just cool.

Tangent: Much as it may seem to send the message, "I am broke and/or an elementary school student.", I like giving and receiving handmade gifts. Even if (especially if, really) they are of dubious quality (in the style of MJ's crapfts) and/or are novelty items. They speak of the giver's knowledge of the receiver's sense of humor, which is, of course, the key to true everlasting friendship.

SKYPE: Not today, (it's 10:27 and I must sleep, in order to awake at a reasonable hour, in order to spend 50 minutes in hell*** whilst metal is extricated from my mouth. I would much rather spend the night on the Internet.) Earliest I'd be able to would be Tuesday afternoon/night, failing to coincide with Alex's schedule, then Sunday afternoon (if Skype ever loads on my computer, and if I'm not roped into actual socialization.****)

Original engaging comment question: How was your Christmas/how is your holiday season going so far?

* It's a piggybank shaped like Gringotts. (No, spellcheck. I do not mean "Gringos".)
** And posting on Boxing Day, note the chronologically backwards footnotes.
*** Known to persons who don't overuse hyperbole as "the orthodontist".
**** Wow, I'm tired. I read that as RAPED and decided I needed to clarify. I've never been raped, and I don't loathe human interaction that much. But you get the point.

This seems like the longest blog I've written in a while. Is it? Have I been devoid of a topic for that long?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

reality and belief

I don't know when Santa stopped being as real to me. I never remember asking my parents if Santa was real and, if I did, I doubt I got a straight answer. No, my question was, "Mom, do you believe in Santa?"

If there's something I really value, it's my mom's opinion. And sometimes this is useful and nice; I love the support and sureness she can give me. But sometimes it's crushing. I have this down to a stream of logic. I think it makes sense yet despite knowing it, it can still hurt to feel it in action.

In action: I like something (ex. Taylor Swift songs) > my mom voices a negative opinion of it > I am offended and hurt. Why? Because I care. I care what she thinks and when she disapprove of something I like, it's like she disapproves of a part of me, which stings.

There. Logic. Even knowing that, though, I can't quite detach myself from the pain of knowing it's not me she doesn't like. But back to Santa.

Maybe I asked my mom if she believed (rather than if Santa was real) because I knew reality is fragile and I didn't care if Santa was real or not. All I cared about was my mom's opinion. And so that's what I asked for.

I'm struggling with reality lately. Is this worrying to anyone? I just don't know if there's anything that *isn't* real. Or, on the flip side, if anything at all is real? Even dreams and imaginings are real, right? Or are they? Like Harry Potter and... you guys. You're real, right? Or are you some figment of my imagination created by my subconscious in the vivid dream that I'm currently having?

How can I know? I can't.

This is what becomes of me when I don't have a topic or anything on my mind really except working tomorrow (which I'm excited about, weirdly). But I remember when Vita said she likes reading my blogs even if they are somewhat meandering and pointless. I don't mean pointless in a bad way, just in a 'I don't know if there is a point to any of this, thesis less' kind of way. So I'll sign off.

Merry Christmas. Think of me tomorrow, packing groceries in the madness.

Oh wait! SKYPE. WHEN ARE YOU FREE? Sorry, excited. Anyway, I am.... not really that available after Christmas. I'm working on Boxing Day and then going away from Monday-Wednesday next week. But if you guys want to Skype sometime on Christmas Day or Boxing day after 6:00PST, that would be cool. Otherwise, it'll have to be after the 29th. Yeah. Let me know.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

sisterly affection

I don't know how I feel about the following reaction to my saying "I have three sisters":
Your poor father. 
Variatations are... varying?

But seriously? Like what? We're not that bad. On one hand, I'm like, That's a burn and on the other, I don't know if that qualifies as sexist or just kind of close minded. Or is it a joke? I guess my previous reaction has been to give a fake laugh because that's what I'm trained to do in awkward situations. Force a smile and retreat.

I love my sisters. (and so does my dad!) I love having three and I don't feel like a greedy grabber at all. And yet we're getting so old and I'm afraid to let go where we are. This year has gone by so ridiculously fast, as every year seems to by December, and I have no idea what the next six months are going to be like.

It has always seemed to scare people that my sisters and I are close friends. We have the same friends, we read the same books, we don't just tolerate each other but enjoy each other's company. And yes sometimes I want to slam doors and stomp my feet and not talk to them for a couple hours but we're friends. I just find it strange that some people are weirded out by that.

My big sister is coming back from England tomorrow at three o'clock and I love picking people up from the airport--the anticipation, the peering around pillars and trying to see through translucent glass doors, the moment when you see them and they see you and there's nothing more pressing than the need to run and hug them because you haven't in almost a year. Whoa. Run on.

What's scary is that both of my older sisters are leaving in little more than two weeks, either back to England to continue nannying or off to Calgary to live with strangers and I can't seem to stop letting that hang over me. It's like this ticking clock until I'm alone again (with my parents and younger sister, of course). Caitlyn's not even here yet and I can't stop thinking about how hard goodbye is going to be. The lead up to watching your sisters disappear behind airport security's perimeter is a kind of tricky to navigate but I'm doing my best.

Why do they both have to leave on the same day? Why can't fate* have given my easily provoked tear ducts a freaking break? Two sisters leaving on two planes in one day? It's a bit much.

Ah well. I'll survive. Life is exciting and terrifying and everything is exactly as it should be. Adventures will be had. All is well.

*not that I believe in fate but sometimes it's necessary for dramatic effect.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lip Synching at a Funeral

Una dia muy loca en la casa de Rena. No puedo hablar la idioma correcta. Es tan loca.

Srsly, folks. I'm going to start with an analogy:

Remember what Vita said about guilt over not crying during Deathly Hallows? Today was like that.

Oh, the things Catholicism does, even to the non-practicing association. To be fair, I didn't know the dead guy. Or if I did, I hadn't seen him (or almost anyone else in attendance) in 11-12 years. No emotion connection to be mourned, more a general realization of mortality itself and how much it sucks.* I'm not saying that being in a church during a funeral mass wasn't awkwardly depressing, it was. At points I cried out of guilt that I *wasn't* crying previously, which makes no sense at all. Other times I stared at various windows intently (one thing about churches--and maybe I'm just nerdy enough to appreciate this--but the architecture is really awesome to look at) and mouthed the occasional response to a prayer or some such. Also reflected upon my own funeral (morbid and selfish, but why not. . .) and pondered music selections.**

I didn't mean for this blog to sound as awkward and un-relatable as it may be, but it's how I spent my afternoon. Moral of the story: Death sucks, let's all live until science has figured out immortality.

* Crass as it is, there are some times when the adverb "balls" is effective and necessary. Mortality sucks balls.

** The only qualification now withstanding is that all songs be in English.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

resenting turkey

Sometimes when I'm doing monotonous tasks I have conversations in my head with the people around me. I'm not sure why this is. I guess it's my constant need to imagine beyond reality. 

I went to work in the commissary of my grocery store chain's today. And for those of you who, like myself, did not know what the word 'commissary' means until today:
A catering facility, restaurant, or any other place in which food, containers, or supplies, are kept, handled, prepared, packaged or stored; A distribution facility that prepares, stores, or supplies food to a mobile unit or other retail food facilities.*
Yeah. Quotes. It's where they make most of the stuff they sell in the deli (potato salad, macaroni, wraps, salads, etc.).

Anyway, it's a pretty small grocery store chain, only 8 stores in the Lower Mainland of BC but, at Christmastime especially, there is a lot of food going through that kitchen. And a lot of turkey, most of which, I must have vacuum sealed today for four hours. So much turkey.

I have these conversations to entertain myself or whatever as I place turkey roast after turkey roast in the bags and onto the sealer thing (official name unknown).

One such conversation I made up with a boy who I knew when we were eleven/twelve but haven't seen very much of in recent years except for through his sister and sometimes when it so happens that we are both working in the kitchen that his dad manages
Me: I am very close to placing my head in one of these vacuum bags and sealing it. That's how bored I am.
Him: *chuckle*
Me: So suicide jokes are funny to you?
Him: *chuckle*
Me: Yeah, that's what I thought. Also, nice hat.

Anyhow, I'm exhausted. Time for bed in which I hope I don't dream of airtight packed turkey or hairnets gone wrong.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Dog Days are Over

I'm seriously concerned about the quality of the food that has been introduced to my inner digestive tract over the past week or so. I can't remember eating decent food between the hours of 3 pm and 12 am, save for dinner at around 6 pm. To complicate matters, over the past couple of months, my coffee intake has somehow zoomed up from once every couple of weeks to every day. I mean, I realize some people drink coffee multiple times every day but I don't want to be one of them. Unfortunately, I enjoy the taste of coffee. This is a problem because ever since I started Psychology and learned about, like, brain malfunctions, every minute twinge of discomfort in the upper half of my body qualifies as cause for alarm. Therefore, I'm convinced that I'm going to have a heart attack if I continue on like this. My mind jumps immediately to what I ate that day and then I think oh my god at my autopsy everybody is going to know that I am an obese person trapped in a thin person's body. Not that that's a well-kept secret.

I'm not the world's healthiest eater, but it's not usually this bad. I've just been so ridiculously stressed out these past couple of weeks. The few days when I haven't had much due-the-next-day homework I was so out of it that I didn't even take advantage of the opportunity to get a head start on, I don't know, this freaking 100 point Hamlet essay that, as it lies blinking on my computer screen right now, is more akin to a steaming pile of dog defecation* than to an actual coherent essay. I mean, I know I complain that every single rough draft I've ever written sucks (which is mostly true, to be honest) but this one is actually terrible. How can I impart upon you the extent to which this essay sucks? How about an nice excerpt:

"...she clearly cares about Hamlet a lot. Ophelia sounds like she really wants to convince her father that Hamlet is a good man; her use of heavenly similes shows this. Ophelia reports that while she was 'sewing in [her] closet' (which makes her seem very innocent), Hamlet caused her to be 'affrightened' and proceeds to list all of the horrible things that Hamlet did (2.1.85-87). "

Where's your formal -- screw it, intelligent -- language? It's more readable this way. Analysis? Unnecessary. Transitions? Nope, don't need those either. Relevance to thesis!? It's more of a stream-of-consciousness jaunt.

(There is no need to shower me with your "Oh, it's just a jewel in the rough" comments. It sucks. I know. You can't truly appreciate its awfulness unless you read the whole thing, which is um, how can I say this, a tangent of an essay that barely resembles its thesis? Like, it's just a rough draft, so I'll most definitely change, uh, all of it before next Tuesday, but still! It's a travesty. I feel like I'm besmirching the good name of Hamlet.)

Anyway, I think it's a combination of stress eating, sleep-deprivation eating (is that a thing? It is now), and the general hunger that accompanies you into the depths of the night/early morning. My #1 New Years/'s/s' (oh my god, back we are again to the realm of misplaced apostrophes. Already?!) is most definitely to get back into shape. Seriously, I feel gross. Blerg.

Anyhoo, besides all of this lovely regurgitation of pent up anxiety and the fact that I just want to go to sleep boo-hoo-hoo, life has not been treating me too badly as of late. The work I have to do for school is pissing me off, but school itself is keepin' on, as it does. I like some classes, others not so much; it's the same for the days. At any rate, I've only got eight more days of school until winter break so at least there's an end in sight. I hope you all are doing well and I'll see you tomorrow!

* You're welcome for that lovely image.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

forever unfinished?

Lately, I've been starting a lot more blog posts than I've been finishing. I guess this may be some kind of symbolism for my life--but no, I finish things. Things like knitting projects and novels, both written and read. Is the way I spend my time indicative of my priorities or do my priorities indicate how I spend time? And is it possible for me to care about the things I don't commit to spending time on or does the fact that I chose not to spend time on it mean those things aren't important?

I ask so many questions. In this way, I should be producing a blog a day but the thing is, I suppose, that you can only ask so many questions at a time. My opinions on everything lately are half formed, with flimsy arguments and I can't make up anything definitive which is why my blog posts have no endings. Everything really is up for debate or recall. As it grows closer to the end of the year, I feel like I should be coming to a few conclusions about life--something to show for my sixteen and a half years on this planet--but all I do is realize how unstable and foggy my world is. Not in an emo, depressed way but in a 'whoa, the world is so big and I'm so small and I really don't know a thing' way. I still pretend that I do know stuff, though.

There have been some interesting situations in my life recently. My mother, due to working in retail at Christmas time, is a bit more fragile and tired than I'm used to. My friends and I are kind of in some sort of peaceful time, while hostility is directed elsewhere. My Ranger group is having a kind of revolution. My oldest sister is coming back from across the pond in a week and two weeks after that, both my older sisters will be leaving, Caitlyn back to England and Rachel to Calgary. At this point, on January 5th, there will be only three of us in my house (an unimaginable number to me, as I've always been used to a living with a bustling 5-6 people and the loudness that brings) and I will be the oldest child. And I can't help like feeling that everything is going to change. Which, as big a fan as I am of the thing itself, is scary.

Obviously, I've turned to dissecting the lyrics and spending a lot of time on Harry Potter.

Things are so much easier in Harry Potter's world. I mean, yes, he's an orphan and, yes, his life is pretty freaking horrible but there are some pretty clear answers to his problems. There's good and there's evil (only not really in the later books, I guess, as Harry starts to actually grow up). There's a quest to be fulfilled. Harry knows what he wants. Also, Harry doesn't really care what people think of him. He has these great, loyal, fierce friends and he knows who he is. There are no passive aggressive emails or cold silences from supposed friends. When Harry says the wrong thing and hurts someone, it's always understandable whereas I have no excuses for when I act horrible.

And yes, I have been thinking about this way to much.

Maybe one day I'll go back and finish those blog posts. Maybe every draft will one day be published. Maybe we should even have a month next month where we clear up the drafts folder on Raving Persuasions. You guys up for the challenge? How about Draft January? Rather than start fresh, we can go back to the start of all of this and finish each other's incomplete messages. Maybe some blogs have to gestate longer than others.

Or maybe some things can just stay unfinished. There's something immensely satisfying about that in a backwards way. Like a '...' sentence that can trail off and go absolutely anywhere.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Could Watch 3 Hours of Filler and Die Happy


Deathly Hallows: Cons** (I'll try not to be redundant; general agreement to what Alex & Vita have said.)

-- That radio. It's shown, but pointless. No Pottercastwatch? It seemed like it was going to be significant, and then was just abandoned.

-- The animation shift for "The Three Brothers". On the whole it's very Tim-Burtonly-cool-looking, but it made the scene less fluid.

-- Pettigrew survives. Sigh. I don't want to wait until the second movie to see his death. There should be some kind of rule in films with excessive death. Number of good characters dying = number of evil characters dying. Eye for an eye, as they say. . .

-- CGI Dobby, as has been said. Maybe because I like Chamber of Secrets more out of nostalgia, but he just didn't look right.

-- *Incredibly superficial postscript con* Harry with stubble. JUST MAGICK THE HAIR OFF YO DAMN FACE.

-- Everything except everything else I mean seriously come on.

-- The comedy, first and foremost. Especially considering the deathy horrible sobfest Part 2 is bound to be. Everything that made me laugh (E.g. George cheerfully watching Ginny and Harry kiss, De-Polyjuiced Ron kissing that guy's wife, etc.) made me laugh a little more than it should have, just for the sake of breaking the tension.

-- Delicious, delicious filler. The dancing, haircut, all the little tidbits that probably detract from the plot, but are there for the sake of detail. Over the whole course of the movies I like the filler the most. We all *know* that plot is fantastic, but the embellishing is just fun.

-- Verbatim dialogue FTW!

-- The acting, duh. I know these are vague, but they're accurate, and it's late.

* © Rena, must be used with permission.
** Always start with the bad news.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

feels like cheating - a Wednesday treat

"What do you think about social media as providers of useful social skills - is it true? What are these skills and how will they be beneficial once youth move into a more adult world?" 

I've been doing a bit of reading on social skills and youth and social networking sites. And I'm thinking about all of this and asking questions at the tea table and not really delving into it further. I don't know if it's lack of interest or something else but I've pushed it kind of aside. So I suppose this is my way of trying to reinforce my motivation: a blog.

I'm honestly not sure if social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter teach social skills. Well, I'm sure they don't "teach" them. But *can* we learn something by using them? I think the answer to that question is yes because there's some sort of social skill to be learned from any experience. But whether teens actually *do* pick up any skills using Facebook is negotiable.

Both my mom and dad pretty much automatically said no. But I could be misrepresenting this as it was at least a month ago that I brought it up.

"But there has to be something," I said so naively, "There has to be one skill that can be taken away from using Facebook or Myspace or whatever. One beneficial lesson that not everyone will pick up but some will."

With no idea of what that skill could be, though, my argument is flat.

I don't know whether online social networks are more harmful or helpful. But I do think that those kids who already have some sort of social IQ are going to use their online network in a more fulfilling way than the people who aren't already fulfilled IRL. Because email and instant message do hinder us in a lot of ways. As much as I love writing, not everyone can express themselves in empty characters. I hope we don't lose the ability to read tone and expression simply because there's no smiley emoticon to send into the world. 

Anyway, as you can see, I don't have a formed opinion. But this is kind of an assignment and I thought I've give a half assed attempt to ask the question to someone.

Can social media provide social skills to youth that will be useful in our lives and, if yes, what are some examples of those skills?

If you feel like attempting to answer in the comments, I would be grateful, but if not, I will get my responses elsewhere (or cry in my room). Do what you want with your life.

p.s. This article talks about kids reclaiming their private space. Our lives have become so structured with homework and extracurriculars and juggling all kinds of relationships that we struggle to hold onto the space where we can be together without a schedule--online. One of the resources I read that I found interesting. Just wanted to share.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This would've been about Harry Potter

But it isn't, because (the return of the LISTS! Have you missed them? I have. So short, yet so informative.)

1. I've been running halfway up and down the stairs trying to explain the coordinate graphing system to my brother (and subsequently also my mom). Aerobic exercise, being helpful, and testing my ability to paraphrase. These things get increasingly difficult.

2. I'm juggling conspicuous little nips at the shiny flashy Internet between typing a symbolic analysis of Bless Me Ultima. Oh BMU, whenever I feel the need to abbreviate you in my (ineffective) notes, I almost always write BUM. And, you make no sense. I feel guilty over you, BMU, because this has been the first time I--being a reading-oriented nerd--haven't actually read you--being a book assigned for academic assessment--entirely, but am basing my opinions on the fact that I couldn't force myself to get through you. (Oh, second person pronoun. I wish I could quit you.)

3. I want to write a thoughtful post on HP, and am now not quite up to maximum thoughtful/analytical capacity.

Other list of more positive/entertaining yet disjunct things:

1. Uglydancer. Swedish pop music + ENDLESS DANCE = Loads of perfectly wasted time.

2. There's ~5 inches of snow on the ground (voice of never-ending pessimism says: Yes, but it's freezing cold out and everything is turning to ice. Not melting away, not staying untouched snowy wonder. ICE.)

3. Michael Cera (The new millennium's posterchild for adorable awkward nerds), was in Braceface, a Canadian cartoon shown on American television that I remember really liking as a kid despite forgetting everything about the plot now, save the fact that the protagonist wore braces (magic, electrified braces?). The things Wikipedia reveals. . .

4. I got to hassle (by "hassle", I mean passive-aggressively accuse of plagiarism) a fast food chain via Twitter.

What did you do today, everyone? *listens intently in comments*

Friday, December 3, 2010

Small Towns

Perhaps as product of living in the same relatively large suburb for 7/8ths of my life, I have developed this incredible fascination with living in a wilderness town when I'm older.

Okay, not actually a wilderness town, whatever that is. The log-cabin-and-no-neighbors-for-eight-miles-around life is not the life for me. Really, what I want is to transport myself to Stars Hollow (from Gilmore Girls, if you're not familiar), extract that small town/unrealistic banter/quirky yet lovable characters dynamic, and inject it into a leafy-but-not-foresty/coastal/I don't care as long as it's beautiful and surrounded by nature but not in an overtly dangerous way town, bonus points if the residents of said town have Scottish accents.

Not that I'm picky, or anything.

Actually, if you've read Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, I pretty much want to live in that perfectly snowed-in mountain village. Honestly, I'd be happy if I could just be transported into that actual town every winter. More bonus points if I get to keep the teacup pig.

There's something about small towns -- the ones that aren't overrun by Walmarts and McDonalds and a general sense of streamlined asphalt highways -- that intrinsically fascinates me. I'm probably romanticizing the idea, but all the same, I feel like everything happens in those kinds of towns. Not the huge corporate deals or the making it into the big time but the meeting the people and the growth of some sort of culture that is impossible to replicate. Those are the kinds of places with personality. Yes, that is a dumb saying, seeing as everything has a personality (dull as it may be), but the sentiment still stands.

As Liz Lemon once famously said, I want to go to there.