Monday, August 29, 2011


Hey guys! I apologize for all my blogs being such shit lately. That's the problem with sticking to a schedule, I suppose; it forces you to occasionally (or, uh, not-so-occasionally) post mediocre content. On the other hand, if I didn't have a schedule, I'd probably blog about twice a year because of my sheer disorganization. Hopefully I'll be back to my brilliant* self later this week.

- I got on to Pottermore today! I won't spoil anything for you, but it's really cool. It's definitely still in Beta mode (like, it's really well done, but there is definitely some room for improvement) but it's gorgeous, informative, fun, and I can definitely see it being an excellent companion to Sorcerer's Stone -- it would be so cool to use Pottermore for SS and read SS at the same time. I got sorted into Ravenclaw -- I was sort of expecting it, and I'm quite happy, especially with the description that followed -- and my wand is hawthorne and phoenix feather, fourteen and a half inches, slightly yielding. Funny how easy it is to memorize your own wand, even if it's virtual. I haven't finished yet, but I will soon. The whole site is just really cool; I can't wait until you guys get on it too!

- I started school today. Sigh. I will probably blog about it Friday once I get my thoughts together -- but to put it mildly, although I have some cool teachers, I hate -- nay, loathe -- school, nearly every single aspect of it, and really don't know how I'm going to last another year.

Anyway, I've got to head off to bed. Hope you're doing well!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Help

"The Help is fiction, by and large. Still, as I wrote it, ... I was scared, a lot of the time, that I was crossing a terrible line, writing in the voice of a black person.
"What I am sure about is this: I don't presume to think that I know what it really felt like to be a black woman in Mississippi, especially in the 1960's. I don't think it is something any white woman on the other end of a black woman's paycheck could ever truly understand. But trying to understand is vital to our humanity. In The Help there is one line that I truly prize: 
"Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.
-from the author's note at the end of The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
 Here's what I think, rather simply put: The Help is a beautiful novel. It's a truly meaningful story and masterfully written, in my opinion. It's an important book.

And when I say that, I am simultaneously acknowledging my juxtaposition to this book, that I am an educated seventeen year old Canadian of European descent living in a predominantly white, largely upper-middle class town. I am recognizing that this story that I've just finished reading is just that, a story. Though set in a very real time and place, The Help is fiction and should be treated as such.

It is controversial for this author to have written this book, as I came to pretty firmly believe after a Skype conversation with Vita. Maybe Stockett crossed a line. Maybe she shouldn't have. But I've thought about this, compared it to other stories that have been written and I've started to think that crossing those lines is kind of important. Because, as said in the book, those lines really only exist in our heads.

I'm not saying that to belittle racial differences and push aside atrocities that have been committed in the past. I'm only saying it because we can't let those lines rule over us. Even though we can never imagine each other perfectly, we still need to try. This is a theme I saw as much in The Help  as in Paper Towns. We need to try and we need to get it wrong and we need a safe space to be able to do that. Because the second we give up trying to imagine what it's like to be another human being, that is the second the hate and prejudice creeps back up behind us to take the small amount of control we had.

I enjoyed reading The Help. As much as it's a story about Jackson, Mississippi in the 60's, it's a story about love and strength and courage and solidarity and friendship. It's about sameness and difference and, overall, it's just a really good story.

I recommend it highly and I welcome your disagreements with any of what I've said here. I'm learning how to deal with being wrong and this is just another instance where I probably am. And that's okay with me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

News from my hometown

I don't feel like talking about my life today, but I do feel like procrastinating! So, news:

The college in my town is the first/only in the country to ask about sexual orientation on their application, and if applicants say that they identify as being GBLT, they might get scholarships for it.

Yay? Nay? I can't speak for anyone this would effect, but I don't see the point in another label (in addition to race/whatever else) being part of the college application process, especially when it seems like all the members of the GBLT community really want is acceptance and not really to be singled out even if it is for something positive like diversity/scholarship $$.

There's also the issue of diversity for diversity's sake here. There are 20+ churches in a town with 4o,ooo-ish people, and there's a bible study group at my (public) school. The townsfolk are as conservative as any town in the forward-thinking, nice suburban North would admit to being, and I can't help but thinking this is a ploy to better their reputation/attract any semblance of a gay community.

This isn't to bash the school itself, it's supposedly great for academia/student life and what-have-you (which is a shame considering that, whatever I do with my life, I just want to get the heck out of this general area), and the theater is supposedly haunted. Neat-o.

So, there you go. Vita, I hope where you are doesn't get ravaged by Hurricane Irene; Alex, how goes things in Canada?

Friday, August 26, 2011

This is a happy title to supplement an unhappy post! :)


Everything is stupid and I hate it and I don't want to blog and I don't want to do homework and I don't want to practice guitar and I don't want to go to school and literally all I want to do is sleep and watch TV shows that make me feel better about my life and read the billions of books I have in my room that I haven't read yet and eat and not leave my bedroom for the next two months.

So. Bullet points, let's go.

- Still not quite sold on Torchwood. Definitely warming up to it, quite like the characters, but still sort of feel like it's a less lovable Doctor Who. Sticking with it mostly because I hear Season 3 is really good. Except I already know who dies, which is a bummer. I mean, it should still be alright, because I don't know how or when and the Season 2 finale of Doctor Who was one of the first episodes I ever watched and it still made me cry my eyes out the second time I saw it, but it's still a little disappointing. That's the problem with watching shows after they've been on air for a while: spoilers are everywhere. Still, the Cybermen and Daleks still freak me the fuck out whenever I see them. Even though they have been used so many times. You always know those episodes are going to be ugly. Oh man.

- This is where I would complain if I had less self control.

- I don't want Hurricane Irene to come here because I don't want people to die and shit but if it just wants to selectively shut off the power for all the schools in my county that'd be really nice. Thanks weather, you got my back (jk you shut off my power at the most inconvenient times which to be fair is more because Pepco is bad at being a power company than your fault).

- I have to go do homework and shit. Read and outline an entire book in two days, let's do this.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

grammar and an obnoxious metaphor

I am not really a grammar nerd. The whole 'your vs. you're' thing annoys me as much as the next Nerdfighter and I had a childhood phase of correcting people when they said that-annoying-grammar-mistake-that-I-can't-seem-to-remember but, in the long run, grammar isn't a passion of mine. It's kind of that thing in the back of my mind that I think about sometimes and laugh about on Facebook.

So on Tuesday, when my mom brought up in conversation how it annoys her when my sisters and I* say "me and you" instead of "you and I", I was a little irritated. When I think about it, having my grammar or pronunciation corrected--unless I specifically asked for it--is always a little irritating, especially when it's such a pointless correction because it's obviously clear what I was trying to say and your automatic interruption/correction is only making me self conscious. Thanks for that.

I sat there for a moment, opening and closing my mouth before I responded. Because, excuse me for the apparent apathy, I just don't care.** I explained that, for me, it wasn't a clarity issue and so that pretty much negated its argument for grammatical importance. In my opinion, grammar and punctuation are there to be the traffic rules and road signs of language. They're important, even crucial, to civilization and communication getting along smoothly, yet sometimes there are some pointless rules out there. To ride this metaphor a little further, let's say there's a stop sign without any reason, intersection or safety need in the middle of nowhere? No, that doesn't work. Okay, say there's two merge signs that look different, but convey the same message. One of them is technically right but they both achieve the same thing and are widely recognized, provided you know how to read them. But one of them is wrong.
Metaphors are sometimes confusing. Why do I try? *existential crisis* *gets on with life*

In the end, my mom owned the issue and we moved on with our lives. Or maybe she's still holding a grudge, it's hard to say. Regardless, it got me thinking about grammar and, then lo and behold, effyeahnerdfighters posted a John Green quite with the subject of grammar very soon after this debacle. Here it is:
"The point of grammar is to facilitate clear and precise communication, to make language reflect thought and intention as closely as possible. On that front, a lot of colloquial bad grammar is actually good grammar. I think focusing on grammar for grammar's sake is a mistake."
See Mom? John Green agrees me. Or at least I've think. Based on the lack of context, I'd decided to see it that way. Taking-quotes-out-of-context-to-serve-your-point for the WIN.

*Haha. See what I did there? Okay, so it only make sense at the end.**
**Only in writing this blog does it occur to me that this blog existing means I care.
***Are you one of those people that reads the footnotes as they appear in the blog or ignores them, gets to the bottom and is confused? Polls! Seriously, I want to know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Skip to the end, there's nyan.

This is a story about the girl who cried "Hah."

Much like the story of the boy who cried wolf, there is a moral. (I'm going to spoil it straight out and tell you that the moral is the same as the original; that there are some things that should not be joked about, and once the joking goes past a certain point, no one will believe you.)

The girl was conflicted--her anxious, very possibly obsessive-compulsive temperament clashed on multiple occasions with her desire not to draw attention to herself or raise her family's concerns. Said family was a well-meaning bunch, who taught her from a young age that humor can make the best of a bad situation, that everyone's life needs a little levity. This is good in theory. However, this lead to the girl repeatedly saying, "Oh, I'm so OCD about that. Heh." in a nonchalant manner when her truly irritating behaviors came to light around them.

One situation in particular has come up, and made itself a well-loved punchline at the dinner table: The girl dislikes being touched. Not for fear of contamination, just the sensation of being touched and the texture of another person's skin on her own. Any such sensation must immediately be counterbalanced by seven quick scrapes of the girl's fingernails against her own skin. This isn't as bad as it sounds; the compulsion only presents itself as being necessary when her bare skin is touched, and she will accept gestures involving physical skin-to-skin contact in appropriate situations, including high-fives and as comfort when she is ill or in pain.

As a sort of taunt, though, she is occasionally, unacceptably, lightly stroked on the arm or face without reason. Most people would consider this an invasion or annoyance of some sort, but would probably not flinch or jump with a small whine as she does, fighting the urge to start clawing at the touched spot.

It is unpleasant, and only one flavor of the girl's compulsions, but because the most forceful way the girl can express her desire for this game to stop is, "Ajsldjslakfl stoooop. I'm so OCD about that." It continues.

The girl who cried hah has made herself a punchline, all possible plausibility removed from meaningless repetitions of "I'm so OCD about that."

(Said girl also refers to herself in the third person. This blog post was too intense for her to even bear you reading without some kind of humorous conclusion--strengthening what she has revealed in this story--so she leaves you cowardly with smooth jazz nyan cat.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't be a dick about things

Oh man, I better make this snappy as I'm intending to read the entirety of Death in Venice by midnight. 58 more pages if you don't count the three that I'm going to have to go back and reread because I have absolutely no idea what Thomas Mann was jabbering on about!

Perhaps that was disrespectful as the concepts I managed to glean from those pages were that the main character (Aschenbach) in this novella spent his entire life searching for honor as a writer and, that, uh, heroes are born of weakness? Yeah, I've got nothing. All I know is that it seemed a bit meta, since it could easily be Thomas Mann's opinions superimposed on Aschenbach's opinions, and that it introduced a whole bunch of ideas about youth and passion and art that I don't want to think about but will have to contemplate at some point anyway. Once I figure out what Mann was saying.

This endeavor to finish my English work before I go to sleep (somewhat of a lofty goal, but I figure if I don't do it now I'll end up dragging it out over the next week and I got shit to do) has left me thinking about how difficult it is to dislike a book deemed "classic" or "masterful." (I s'pose the same goes for other forms or art, but as I know little to nothing about paintings and films, I usually limit my opinions to "pretty," "entertaining," or "stupid" anyway.) In order to announce your distaste for such a novel, you'd better have several essays written on why you didn't like it, or else you'll get accused of "not appreciating" or, more annoyingly, "not understanding" the text.

I don't mean to nullify the work that English professors around the globe have spent hours on, proving all the ways that various books are (all, simultaneously, somehow) the most brilliant things in the history of the world, but just because I haven't dedicated years of my life to analyzing English literature doesn't mean that my opinions are unwarranted. For example, last year I had to read Heart of Darkness. I despised it. It's one of those books that I can appreciate as having historical significance; for example, it was relatively not-racist (at least railing against colonialism) for the late 19th/early 20 centuries and it was apparently one of the first novels of its style (the name of which I forget and, conveniently, don't really care about). These are things that I can objectively say are merits of the book. Beyond that, however, I don't think it's well written (it's far too dense, for one thing), I find the subject boring (which admittedly is not the author's fault), all of its 'morals' or 'themes' are ones which, living in 21st century America, I have already read in countless (more enjoyable) other books. It's not at all a plot or character-driven novel and I don't believe its themes or writing validate that decision. There are certainly individual sentences that are well crafted, but altogether I don't think it's a good book. And people really get super indignant about that.

I guess I just want to say that we're all entitled to our opinions, and don't be dick about defending your favorite things. Also, as whoever wrote that song said, "it's okay to not like things but don't be a dick about it," which really are quite good words to live by.

Anyways, I've 4/5 more of this story to read (suffer through? That may be premature; it's got 58 more pages to capture my attention), so laters!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

what I want to be

If I was normal...* I would be entering my last year of high school next month. It would mean a lot of things that, because of my situation, it doesn't, but most relevant to me is that at some point a few people want to know what I'm doing next year (and for the rest of my life), nosy buggers.

For all of this year, I didn't know, and I'd say that. I guess I had a bit of an idea (that idea being more of the same) but nothing concrete. This summer, it's been slowly coming together.

So here is the great unveiling, my friends, not that it's really been a secret up until now. Actually, this may be a little anticlimactic because, well, I want to do a bit of everything.

I can see this future conversation taking place between myself and, say, a friend's parent who doesn't REALLY care but feels as if they should ask the question all the same.

Ambiguous grown-up: So Alex, what are you planning on doing next year?
Alex: Well, I'm not getting super focused on any one thing. I'm looking into becoming a bike mechanic and I'm still working on my most recent novel, of course. I'm volunteering in a non-profit coffeeshop, if they ever call me back and in the community wherever I'm needed. I keep trying to learn more about vegetable gardening. Oh and I'll probably still be a part time grocery clerk. Also: TRAVEL!!!
AGU: You're not going to be at school?
Alex: Meh, I don't know. Could happen eventually. It might be cool to take an ESL teaching certificate or maybe do the library technician program. We'll see how the rest of it goes.

There you go. Those are my plans for this year: 1.Bicycle mechanics, 2. Novel writing, 3. Travel.

More of the same, really.

*hehehe. That could literally go ANYWHERE.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Don't console me. I'm not fishing for compliments, I swear.

I only signed up for Creative Writing because I didn't want to take any sort of painting or drawing class. I burn myself and everything I touch when cooking. Study hall doesn't earn me any graduation credit. I don't aspire to be a mechanic or an engineer. So I chose Creative Writing.

I realize I should be grateful that my upper-middle-class high school even offers all these classes, but I'm starting to regret my choice. I've always fancied myself a writer, and I don't want to shatter that illusion. Fiction I can do half-well, and I've been conditioned to write complex critical and persuasive essays. But the first unit is creative nonfiction, and I'm scared. Scared I'm going to have to reveal how dull my life really is, how I haven't sucked the marrow out of life enough to have any stories worth retelling (I'm too young and too timid), scared that even if I find a suitable topic, my writing will be horrible.

Yes, I've seen this video. But I feel that's really more about writing fiction (that time will come, I will then have similar anxiety. . .). What in hell am I supposed to write about when we were prompted to write 13 short pieces on 13 experiences that were extremely happy, sad, frightening, difficult? Newsflash: This is my life. I spend it in my room, listening to music, reading, and writing. Not writing writing much, either. Writing blogs and tumblr posts. Having an elaborate typed conversation with the inside of my computer to keep my mental health in check. Making half assed passes at my novel. I'm not good at finishing things. (Theoretically, these should ultimately be helping me to improve my craft. But this class is different. Someone is going to have to see this, read it, judge it. Do not want. In the passages I submit, I can't swear or reference memes or use excessive parentheses or just let sentences trail off. Do not want.)

Sure, I occasionally venture out into the real world to get an "education", interact with people, eat. But I'm happiest where I am right now. I'm content, but contentment doesn't lend itself to well-defined, well-described moments. It's a routine state of being and I try to keep it that way. It's my life. Maybe it's dull on the surface, but it's really all I can handle.

Now please excuse me while I go scour previous blog posts for suitable material. (It's not plagiarism if I take it from myself, right?)

Friday, August 19, 2011

I live a lively life

First things first: ALEX! VISIT ME. Then pick me up so I can road-trip with you. Our final destination (no, not death. See, I know pop culture references!) would pose an inconvenient problem as we only live the span of a continent apart, but I'd just teleport back home. Or something.

Secondly... oh God, I don't know what to blog about. This is the problem with doing absolutely nothing with my life. My options are either to complain (something I do enough of during the school year), write about something meaningful that I can contemplate without leaving my computer (nope, I've got nothing), or blog about the non-events in my entirely uneventful life.
...Today, I did some French homework and made some tentative plans to see Fright Night with my sister! (I say "tentative plans." In real life, I mean that I suggested we go see Fright Night sometime and she replied, "Maybe, but I was going to just get it on DVD and fast forward through the scary parts." I assume she meant "fast forward to the David Tennant parts." For shame.)

I've decided that I might actually start posting videos on Youtube. Not vlogs, really, 'cause I have none of the appropriate qualities for being a vlogger. I have actual ideas but the problem with my ideas is that, first of all, they always look and sound better in my head and also I totally lack the motivation to do anything. For example, I've been meaning to learn the harmonica for 6 months and despite having a lovely, fairly nice one, I've yet to start. It doesn't help that somebody is always home besides me and it's a sort of loud instrument to practice when you're just beginning. I've decided that since I'm going to absolutely hate this school year, I need as many distractions outside of school as possible, and Youtube seems like a fatal attraction (I'm just knocking these references out of the park today, aren't I?) for disillusioned youth.

I'd better go and do more of my neglected summer work, so I leave you with this suggestion: watch "Sherlock" on BBC (and by BBC I mean the internet). I totally just fangirled about it with a friend. It is legitimately one of the best shows on television (of course, I think that all of the shows I watch are some of the best of television, because I only watch about four shows).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

in which I follow a trend and talk crushes

I didn't realize that I'd never had a crush until I had what I would refer to as a 'real one.' As a preteen/early teen, I'd see my preference of one boy over the other as a crush but now I would describe that as an inclination or desperate attempt at normalcy. Then came a boy-less mid-teen period. Cue fantasy relationships projected on one rare commonly reoccurring boy figure. And then comes the start of my job last September, wherein coworker relationships with teen boys ensue and I am left somewhat dejected at the sorely lacking (in my eyes) apparent sample of my male peers.

And here's where the cliches kick in because I didn't realize what I'd been missing until it smacked me in the face and suddenly I was smiling at the thought of him and swooning over things that weren't just his hair. I was crazy in like, not with his hottness but with his very person and how I felt around him and how he seemed to care about me and like me as well. It was strange, too, because I was completely and utterly aware of how absurd I was being. My giddiness was consciously acknowledged and accepted--hell, embraced. It felt really good. If nothing else, I'm glad of the journal entries and memories I have from those weeks of self-indulgent crushing.

Now is the time to note the past tense and think, "What happened?" And I'll indulge you with that question because it's relatively simple: reality. Reality happened.

You see, it's not enough to be a romantic 17-year-old girl who reads too much and wishes she was a character in one of her favourite novels; that same girl has to be somewhat delusional when it comes to real-life relationships and those delusions have to eventually crash down around her.

That might be a tad dramatic. It was a bit lower key, perhaps, than delusions crashing down around me. I mean, I won't lie; there was in-car-with-friends-driving-to-Dairy-Queen-ranting. There was confusion and disappointment and hurt. Maybe a little anger. Understanding. Acceptance.

But it was a good experience. Something to write about. Something to angst over. Another chapter in my story. The trouble is that being friends with this person has recently been very difficult for me due to the small fact that he won't respond to my emails and doesn't seem to want anything to do with me despite the fact that six weeks ago he wrote that he loved being around me and wanted to know everything about me, even the insignificant things.

So I think I'll just do what I normally do in these situations which is write an honest letter which I may or may not send with my guts spilled all over it and go from there. And then maybe I'll look for the next boy I feel I can get emotionally attached to and wait until he one day deserts me.

I. Am. So. Dramatic.

p.s. Life update: This week has been good. I bought a capo and a dress that I then altered. I also slept on a trampoline in someone else's sleeping bag which was fun. And just tonight, I saw a free production of As You Like It in a park, which was thoroughly enjoyable. Tomorrow is the book club I am hosting and Saturday and Sunday, I am working. Then, because it's not exciting enough yet, I'm going to be watching all the Star Wars movies for the first time in a suicide marathon.
p.p.s.  Beware: I'm planning a cross-continent road trip with my sisters next year and want to visit you both. You've been warned. (probably taking place in late spring-early summer period.) And yes, I am for real.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vita, it's like we share a brain. (Online slumber party part 2)

I was, honestly, considering writing about this before I read your post, and now you've convinced me I can because it's more like commiseration now instead of awkward unprompted soul-bearing.

I also experienced my first "real" crush about a year and a half ago. (Still practically a spinster when it comes to school age mind-romance.) He was in my Spanish class* freshman year, let's call him Atticus.** I developed a friendly, do-you-know-what-the-past-subjective-of-ser-is sort of relationship with him and his friend, Guillermo. This past year, Guillermo and I reunited with him on the bus for a Spanish field trip. More awkwardly quiet friendliness throughout.*** Guillermo (ever the sarcasm-er and general semi-dick) tells me the next day that Atticus likes me. I don't question him, letting this statement stew in probable-but-not-certain mutual likedom. Stupid move.

During this year and a half I also developed a "safer" crush, i.e, The Completely Godlike Unobtainable Founder of a Band. (not the school band, a Band.) (He shall be called Lars.) Whether or not this was to subconsciously take my mind off The Obtainable If I Tried remains to be seen. The more I thought about it, though, I liked Lars in an "I greatly appreciate your general beauty and singing ability" way and not the more complex "I would really like to engage in intelligent conversation with you over hot chocolate, with occasional sarcastic jokes and/or Doctor Who quotes" way I liked (still like) Atticus.

To complicate matters, Atticus was my best female friend's (because everyone else got a codename and I know she'd want one, heretofore referred to as Stella.) childhood neighbor and friend (childhood as in way before I met either of them), his mom and her mom are best friends, her mom has unofficially adopted me. His mom and I are friends through them, and recently (ie yesterday), the four of us drove up to Wisconsin to have an actual girl-to-girl, secret-bearing slumber party. At night the conversation drifted to the subject of romance, especially the romantic histories of the two of us who are single. Cue my paranoid "Are you bringing this up because you can sense I like your son?" glances at his mother. Stella knows all about this whole situation and I'm sure she found it hilarious.****

(Un?)-Fortunately, there's a 96% chance Guillermo, Atticus and I will be placed in the same Spanish class AGAIN. (Also, his mom might be my brother's special ed aid. But that's cool. She's a genuinely nice lady, but I really don't want to admit to her that I've liked her--equally socially awkward--son for a year and a half of my young life. I have a feeling she'd be happy about it and try to set us up.)

* Honors level. I never thought I'd say this, but it's really, really attractive to me that he's in more honors and AP classes than I am. (Looks don't hurt either, but primarily, he's a socially awkward nerd--and I do not mean that in an insulting way--so my mental attraction to him is high. Even better, in a twisted way, he's in the highest level courses for subjects I can barely understand, like precalc. But that might just be my respect and awe for people who can do math, because I still struggle to multiply two-digit numbers in my head.)

** I codename people what I want.

*** Guillermo suggested we'd make a cute couple. Fuck you, Guillermo.

**** I don't know if you've found this or read it but in case you are, I'm glad my misery entertained you, bitch.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This is too long to have a title; I don't want to make you read more

Tonight, blog readers, snuggle down into your sleeping bags because we're going back to a middle school slumber party.
I'm going to tell you about my first crush.*
Guys. Stop giggling. This is, like, serious.
I'm not sure I should even post this on here because it's a tiny bit personal and embarrassing but people have done more embarrassing things on the internet in the past, so why not.

I didn't develop my first real crush on a boy until the beginning of junior year, when I was 16, almost a year ago. (So I'm a 17 year old eighth grader, let's move on.)
This is the sort of secret that causes people to freak out a little bit, wondering what's wrong with you and if you are secretly asexual or developmentally challenged or something, which is not the case. I've liked boys for a while, I just would look around at the ones I knew and imagine kissing them and getting really grossed out, not by the act of kissing, but at thought of kissing them individually. It's not that they're all really disgusting people or anything, it's just... you don't like kissing people you don't want to kiss, you know? Picture Cher from "Clueless:" "Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie."
I suppose this comes across as weird because a lot of my friends seem a little incomplete if they don't have a guy to obsess over. It's not like they are a bunch of clingy weirdos who revolve their whole lives around boys, but it's like a hobby, a small distraction from school. I don't feel the need to do that. Maybe it's because I tend rather to look for deeper relationships. It's not like I want to marry the boy I like; I don't stray to the other end of the scale where I need a promise of eternal commitment to go out with someone. But I figure, if your first date is virtually guaranteed to be awkward, it might as well be with someone you actually like not just in a romantic way because they're cute but also as a person. Otherwise it hardly seems worth it, other than for the sake of a funny story.

Let's backtrack a little to my first, shall we call it, fake crush.
So when I was in third grade. Gangly kid, new glasses, on the brink of ceasing to be cute. I guess it was around the time when a lot of girls start getting the idea that they should have a boyfriend because I started getting a little worried that I didn't like any boy like that. So I looked around the classroom and decided that if I had to like a boy then Mike** would be the best candidate. I didn't know him very well, but he wore glasses, and in my limited experience with him wasn't too obnoxious. So poor, unsuspecting Mike became my first pseudo-crush.
I don't think he deserves much sympathy for this because as far as I can remember I didn't do anything about it. I was fairly shy back then. I think it was just so I could have a fallback option if the topic ever came up in conversation, which I don't remember it doing.
You see how serious this crush business is.

Let's go back a year further to second grade.
This was at the peak of the girl-boy wars during recess. Did you ever play them? If not, let me explain. Basically, all the second grade boys declare war on all the second grade girls. There's not much of a point to this game. Essentially it involves chasing each other around and guarding your own territory and occasionally being told off by the recess patrol when they realize that you are not just playing a friendly game of tag.
Well, I was informed by a few friends and random other second graders that a certain boy liked me.*** I still don't know if this was actually true, but it seems to have been confirmed by a few people over the years, and at any rate the accuracy of the statement is somewhat irrelevant. This drove me to stay inside during recess helping out around the classroom for at least a week, like the cowardly human I have been since birth, until at long last some girl pestered me into going outside and talking to him.
We crossed over into the boys' territory after being harassed by some of his friends until I met up with him. I can't remember what happened exactly. I know it was uneventful. We just sort of looked at each other and then I left.
Mark one down for failed normal human interaction.

Let's fast forward to about seven months ago. Keep in mind that I am still a lameass today. Basically, this guy I know kind of sort of asked me out (I know that if any of my friends from off the internet are reading this they're probably going to be angry at me for not telling them right about now, but, calm down, people, let me finish). Which was okay. Except then he texted me twice and I just ignored them. I mean, didn't even open the text messages because I didn't want to look ignored. Which is not a good strategy for dealing with people and is also quite a bitchy thing to do, although I wasn't trying to be bitchy, I was just... bad at dealing with things. Anyway it's come to the point where I still feel really bad about but I feel like too much time has gone by for me to apologize without making it more awkward, so on the off chance that he is reading this, I'm really sorry and talk to me about it sometime because I'm fine with talking about it in person, I just don't want to be the one to bring it up. Thanks.

What I am trying to say by all this, other than that I have never been quite normal, is that I am somewhat of an awkward, curl-up-in-my-shell-rather-than-deal-with-the-world sort of person sometimes, which is certainly a rather large flaw of mine, but doesn't make me a lunatic. And I also would like to say that have you tried being a teenage girl who doesn't have a crush on a boy? Because your friends will never believe that you don't to the point where you may feel driven to make one up so they'll stop distrusting you. So the fact that I actually like somebody for an extended period of time is sort of monumental for me. Of course I haven't done anything about it (other than the surface fear of rejection we all experience, it's sort of a long, depressing story why) but I will. I will.
I mean, that's what I say now.

*I'm not going to name any names because the internet can sometimes be smaller than we think and circuitously lead certain mentioned people to this blog and that would be awkward for me.
**I'm just going to go ahead and use his real name here despite my previous statement about not naming any names because it's a common name and on the off chance he reads this (I still know him today, albeit very casually) : Hey Mike, how's it going? I would like to assure you that I don't still "like" like you today. I think you're a cool person and all but I was eight at the time and probably more awkward than I am now, so please don't think that I am at this very moment plotting to jump your bones. Thanks! Hope you're having a nice summer!
***We're not going to use his real name because I still know him today too, and, well, let's just say that while I haven't talked to him in probably two years, if I did, we wouldn't exactly be the best of friends.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

So. Much. Fun.
Speaking of enjoying things, you know how, as a kid, (and hey, maybe this still goes on in school, how would I know?) when you were trying to figure out what you wanted to be as a grown-up, you’d get the advice to pick something you really liked or were really good at.* And I seriously thought about it, I really did. Maybe I’ll move furniture around when I grow up. People get paid for that shit, right? Interior decorating? (Okay, so I didn’t say “shit” in italics as a child, but you get the point.)
But on the whole, I decided against it. Why? I don’t know. Maybe I liked thinking I’d do something a smidge more meaningful with my life than redoing rich people’s kitchens. Maybe I just didn’t want to turn the act of pushing my bed around my room into a career and potentially taking all the joy out of it for myself.
And again I take more happiness from my Schroedinger's cat way of living* because if I don't decide what I want to be, then I can be both everything and nothing at the same time.
*As a side note, how many kids do you think actually stick to that elementary school dream?
**Maybe I'm missing the point of the whole Shroedinger's cat thing but living out of context can be fun, too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Casual Knowledge

I have a casual knowledge of a lot of things.
  • Art history
  • How to play guitar
  • Sign language
  • How to do HTML
  • How to sew
  • Astronomy
. . .among other things.

This knowledge goes just a bit deeper than general common knowledge but not deep enough to really do me any good. But instead of focusing myself on learning and accumulating absolute expertise about one or two things, I collect samplings of things. This is a particularly futile effort when it comes to skills (I don't even own a guitar), but I still do it. Especially in the summer, when Google and Wikipedia and a few hours are available to me, I just pick something and research it, pretending I will go back and research deeper and/or apply what they've taught me. I pretend like I'm setting myself up to form a hobby and then abandon it by day's end. I know this base-level knowledge about things is pretty much what everyone achieves through the course of their life, but I started thinking about this today, and it concerns me that I accept these things as knowledge but I have no real, consuming, fountain-of-knowledge-supplemented-by-application passions.*

Maybe this stems from my college major confusion--that I don't want to/can't choose a subject that I'm going to settle down with and learn the shit out of for four years. It could be argued that these smatterings of knowledge are useful and will serve to make me a well-rounded person, but aside from HTML and sewing, none of the things listed could serve a purpose in reality unless I were on some sort of game show.

What do you guys think? Would you rather your knowledge be shallow and wide or narrow and deep?**

* Aimlessly browsing the internet/reading excluded.

** It's been such a long time since I ended a post with a question. . . Is it time to bring it back?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Three Vaguely Controversial Thoughts, One Blog Post

Thought the First
I've recently come to appreciate rap more as a genre of music. In the whitest possible way of describing it, it's basically like slam poetry set to music. The more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it, even if I don't actually like the music of that many rap artists.
But here's the thing: as much as I avoid identifying race where it's irrelevant, it's no secret that rappers are predominantly black. Yet my limited knowledge of rap revolves around Watsky, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg. It's a tiny sample size, yes, but it's still 2/3 white where the entire genre is 3/4 black.
I don't make it a point to make sure that my interests are racially diverse, but see my problem?
*insert profound statement about veiled racism and self-induced pseudo-segregation in modern society*

Thought the Second
Speaking of race, does "The Help" strike anyone as a little...patronizing? An enforcement of "white do-gooderism," as one review put it. I haven't seen the movie or read the book so I can't judge it yet. But from the trailer, at the very least, it seemed uncomfortably like another episode of "Save Us, Motivated Underdog White Girl!" It seems like it'll turn out to be more about Emma Stone's character becoming empowered and the savior of the black help rather than an actually progressive story.
I don't deny that it was essential that at least some white people were on board with the civil rights movement, nor that it's an incredibly good thing to be white and not racist (or any race and not racist, let's be real). But it smells like just another story where the white girl is the true hero rather than the black people being heroes in their own right. You know, a feel-good movie for white people who think they're really progressive.
Still, I don't know for sure, since I haven't seen it yet (I doubt I'll read the book, to be honest).

Thought the Third
I've been thinking about all the stupid stuff on the internet and how entertaining it is. I admit that I find it hilarious and a little bit charming how much people are entertained by stupid stuff, like nyan cat. But the more I think about it, the more I question if it is really an okay thing to be so obsessed with stupid things.
No denying the internet serves many other uses than just cats with bowties and videos of people falling over. And I don't think there's anything wrong with low quality entertainment; not everything in life has to be intelligent, profound, and/or serious. Still, the amount of time I spend watching dumb videos and being entertained by stupid little things is worrisome. I'm legitimately worried that it's hurting my intelligence, my ability to think sharply, and definitely my attention span.
So should I cut back? Should I not worry about it? At some level it is worrying that we can be so entertained by the same basic level of thing that would entertain a two year old.
I don't think it's just a happy sign that we're all children inside. I really don't.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Public Schooler Problems

So I managed to catch a cold despite having been outside only briefly in the past 2 days. The whole "fresh air" thing might not be a conspiracy. . . Or it's allergies, I don't know. This says something about my overall level of activity, though.

I've also managed to turn myself pretty functionally nocturnal, which will be absolute hell to reverse. (Some days I go to bed at the time I have to get up for school.) My attention span is completely shot (I couldn't even finish this blog post without opening Tumblr), and for some reason, right before school starts I'm always afraid I will have forgotten every single thing that I learned last year. This is highly improbable and the first month is going to be review anyway, but that doesn't mean I'm not absolutely terrified that the first day of AP English Language and Composition (such a long, scary name. . .) we will be asked to write a large and complex essay in 48 minutes and I will be staring at a blank piece of paper going "WAIT OH FUCK HOW DO I REFUTE THINGS AGAIN?" and possibly pass out. Nevermind that the first day in particular everyone is lulled into a false sense of security by the handing out of syllabi and cheerful "getting to know you" hoo-hah.

At this point I should sign off and go to bed, seeing that I need to venture outdoors and accomplish tasks at a timely hour.*

* I will sign off, but the chances of my actually going to bed are slim.

Monday, August 8, 2011

At some point, you have to step back and consider our priorities

This isn't meant to make light of the riots in/near London...

But shit happens all the time. Like all the time. Like so much bad stuff happens in the world.

And you're insensitive because you don't cry over something bad happening in another first-world country.

Like, okay, I get that it's scary to see things fall to shit in first-world countries, because hey, if the rich, powerful countries are losing their grip, a) what's going to become of the lesser countries, and b) ARE THE TERRORISTS GOING TO WIN?!??!!11 And, of course, my fellow non-immigrant* first-worlders are probably more likely to have friends in a fellow first-world country as opposed to a country with no internet connection, so of course you're scared for your friends.

But while nothing excuses stupidity like the rioters in London, objectively, we should feel sorrier for, like, the people in Somalia dying of starvation than we do for the people in London who have lost their businesses.

Make no mistake, I do feel incredibly sorry for people whose homes, businesses, communities have been burned and looted. And while I can't blame the rioters for being angry, nothing short of gigantic, miserable excuses for human beings would participate in the riots right now. Looting and burning is not productive or a way to make yourself heard; it's not even a protest; it's selfishness and stupidity and just bad. Lots of bad.

Still, there are thousands of people being robbed or kidnapped or enslaved or raped or murdered or killed by disease or driven to starvation daily.

And what do we focus on instead?

We feel outraged when a mother apparently gets away with killing her daughter. We devote news broadcast after news broadcast to finding missing children. News outlets run what feel like 24 hour tribute reels when celebrities die. When we don't especially care about all of that, we're apparently being 'insensitive.'

Excuse me, I can't hear you over the deafening sound of Other World Suck.

*We're all immigrants, yes yes, but I mean, like, the recent immigrants.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mixed Feelings on Everyday People

In my life, I have lot of misunderstandings and communication issues and general screw-ups in relation to interfacing with other people. Shocker, I know. When these sorts of things take place, it's really easy for me to retreat back inside and think, I really hate people. 

Then come the brighter days when a comment will reach me in a certain fashion and rather than get angry, I can take a step back and evaluate. I'll metaphorically tilt my head and think, People are so incredibly fascinating.

Today was a bit of both. I got angry and then felt bad for it. I ranted and then wondered what part of the story I was missing. I made some hasty statements and then amended them. And that, my friends, feels like growth.

I'm not at a point where people don't bother me and I'm not in complete control. Maybe I never will be. But it's nice to know I'm pointed in that direction. I'm conscious and thoughtful, if not totally on top of every stray thought and feeling. Seems progress-y to me and I'm happy about it.

p.s. Pottermore! w00t! Me: sparksfelicis142. See you there.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In Which : Rena is narcissistic and conflicted and muses

By this time tomorrow, my hair will be short. Really short. The shortest it's been for about three years, anyway.* My hair and I have a complex relationship, and I suppose it's a bit immature of me to decide it's better to just hack it all off rather than put effort into managing it. I have a habit of twirling it absently around my finger** and/or wrapping it around my neck like a beloved yet flexible pet or a large, fluffy scarf. Lately, because it's hot out, my hair spends most of its time perched on top of my head looking disheveled. (When let out of its restraints, it falls to the middle of my spine, more or less.) Maybe I'm making an impulsive decision and will wish it back during the winter. This remains to be seen.

I'm doing this before school starts*** as a sort of signifier of things. Of change. I'm not shallow enough to believe that because of some quality time with a pair of scissors and the arbitrary beginning of another year of my formal education I can emerge as a beautiful butterfly, but I'm going to make an effort. (There's that word again.) An effort to break the chains of my self-constructed and self-imposed awkwardness, an effort to enjoy even the non-academic aspects of school. My hair has little-to-no role in this change, but it is perhaps a universal symbol of female empowerment****, of starting anew and being reassured that some changes aren't permanent, that hair grows back and I can always go back to being comfortably awkward if the effort is unbearable.

* I've discussed this on Tumblr but can't find the link for it.

** I'll be getting it cut too short to have much to twirl, which is a good thing because it's a pointless habit really, and I'm trying to stop.

*** T-minus 11 days, holy crap.

**** Unless you're Justin Bieber, I'd venture to guess that hair cuts are not an emotional matter for those of the male persuasion. Whereas I've had many opinions from my female relatives regarding my choice, varying from my mom urging me to cut it extremely short ("Like Emma Stone's? Er, no, Watson's--is now." She seems to have forgotten the Great "getting bangs will make me look like Hermione"-Regret of 2003-2005.) to my grandma's pleas to keep it long. My head, my rules, guys.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Volunteering, Shmolunteering

There are a lot of kind of personal hurdles (some of which I've posted about on here) that have made me come to this forthcoming realization. Long story short, I've been looking for something that I can do, knowing that it makes a positive impact on people's lives, with as much hands-on involvement (i.e. preferably not the office components to jobs) and with little political worry as possible. I don't want to have to constantly think about whether what I'm doing is truly beneficial or if it's really more harmful than helpful. I kind of wanted to be a firefighter, either volunteer or professional (I know, you would never look at me and think, "Wow, what bulging muscles and a heart of steel; that girl is such a potential firefighter!"), but obviously I can't do that right now and I doubt I will in the future either. I've decided that being an EMT is something I might seriously want to do. I don't think I'd do it as a profession but I am seriously considering becoming a volunteer EMT. I can't do it this year without dying/dropping Drama (seriously, I want to do a lot more with my life, but I also have accepted that I have to do what I can manage, not what other people can manage. It's hard enough for me to balance school with the activities I do now; I know I can do more, but there's no way I personally would be able to balance being a volunteer EMT with school) but I am very seriously considering trying it out in college and beyond.

Someone suggested doing a ride-along in an ambulance which I think is an excellent idea. I definitely should see what it's actually like before getting my heart set on doing it. I think it would be a huge shock to initially see seriously hurt/bloody/dying/dead people but it's also one that I think (and hope) I can manage. But we'll see.

In the meantime, I've started looking for a lot more volunteer things again. I want to volunteer at a nature center (god, my family will laugh at me for hours on end when they hear that one) but I have a serious aversion to bugs (which I really want to get over), so that may not work out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

13 minutes, BTAWIA

Hey, BTAWIA: Just so you know, you will not beat me.

Let's talk about today.
Today, I did not want to get out of bed, but I did. I went to teach English slang to Japanese exchange students. These are the third group of students I've taught. I'm getting pretty pro, I must say.
After school, I went to America with my mom, sister and her friend to see a movie. It was about how ethanol does not deserve its bad reputation. I am still iffy on the matter. Corn freaks me out. Still, it was a generally well done documentary (entitled Freedom, in case you were wondering) and I applaud the effort.

Now let's talk about relationships.
They're hard. Like, constantly challenging and difficult. And I love it and thrive on it but sometimes I really do not like people. But all of the time I love some people. There's a tenuous balance there that I love to focus on.

Tomorrow, I'm hitting up Science World! It's going to be fantastic. I can just tell.
Oh, other exciting news, I got into Pottermore! When I found out it was a million people, I lost a bit of excitement (my exclusivity issue appears again) but I'm still really looking forward to it.

Vita: I hope you come to UBC and that all the (financial, among other) issues work themselves out.
Rena: You need to get yourself on Skype, girl. Pronto.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Also known as "Blog Twice a Week in August."

Alex suggested this and I latched onto it. I'm not really up for doing BEDA -- the original Ning seems to be over and I rarely blog independently of this and I can't find the motivation to start -- but I resolve to post every Monday and Friday on this blog in August. I propose we all take a short trip back to 2009, when we always posted on schedule and were perhaps disproportionately ashamed to miss a day.

That said, I have little of consequence to say today.

But hey, sometimes that's okay. Every blog has its update posts, right?

I'll come back to you on Friday with something brilliant to convey. For now, I'll just leave you with a little anecdote about the awesomeness of Nerdfighters: basically, I've been Skype calling other Nerdfighters in my area (this is based on a Facebook group for local Nerdfighters... sometimes Facebook actually does have its uses) until the wee hours of the morning while we wait for the Pottermore clue to be released. I wasn't too excited about getting to Pottermore early, as I posted on Tumblr (and have since deleted. What a hypocrite), but when the second day's clue appeared on the website at about 5 a.m. Sunday morning, my heart started pounding like crazy, I almost couldn't double-check the right answer in the book because I was trying to flip through it so fast, I was whisper-swearing as the other Nerdfighters on the call hurriedly relayed that the site wasn't working on Google Chrome, and felt such a sense of victory when I finally registered for Pottermore. Guys, I don't know why I was so down about it before. Now I can't wait for the site to open. But it's just really fun, laughing my ass off at 3 in the morning while trying not to wake up my family, talking about the most random crap with other Nerdfighters, reading aloud from the books... guys, I love Nerdfighters. Also, we three need to Skype call sometime. It's so much fun.