Sunday, November 18, 2012

Things I Haven't Already Said on Tumblr.

[I've missed you guys too. It is all Tumblr's fault. Beyond this bracketed statement, I am going to ignore the existence of the hiatus wheeeeee...]

Oh, you guys. Off at non-compulsory* schooling these days.** While I've just been "over [here] getting into Dungeons and Dragons".

Yeah. That's been happening. It's rapidly becoming the highlight of my week, actually, because a.) I associate it with the start of the weekend b.) it really is genuinely fun and c.) I am a little bit in love with the Dungeon Master.***

It's pretty much the weirdest thing I've ever been a part of. Week in and week out, people are slapped, thrown down holes, used as human shields, and generally abused (in-game, don't worry). There are arguments out-of-game, too, and points when I've felt slightly unwelcome and considered not coming the next week.**** But I've never skipped. Dysfunctional family is still family. No one flips over the table and walks out, no matter what goes down. And I appreciate that sense of solidarity. I won't bore you with the mechanics of the game (unless you ask), but suffice it to say our "Gamers' Guild" should really be renamed "Introverts' Social Club and Support Group with Snacks and Dice." (Admittedly, much less catchy.) Roughly half of the meeting is just setting stuff up and talking, unfiltered, about all the nerdy stuff we like. It's really nice to have a weekly outlet for a.) all the aggression I accumulate in the week (even in a fictional universe, there's something immensely satisfying about repeatedly slashing trolls in the face with a sword) and b.) all the enthusiasm I have for [insert thing]. To quote myself (in a slightly different context) from the one time I blogged in March (and yes I'm rereading all recent-past our posts for nostalgia's sake...): "It was kind of like the internet, which was nice." GG is concentrated IRL internet, let me tell you. Everyone acknowledges "fandom", "ermahgerd", and "kawaii" as acceptable in normal conversation. Every Friday is Nyan Cat Friday, even though that meme is over a year old I think. Whovians and Bronies and Sherlockians and Tolkienites roll dice together in (as mentioned, relative) peace and harmony. I am quickly picking up on Japanese interjections (anyone else have those words you've only ever seen written and thus can't pronounce them? "Weeaboo" was one for me, until recently). I (politely) gave a freshman a feminist smackdown face to face. Corrupted by the Internet: It's No Freakin' Wonder We Play D&D.

It is very late and I should sleep but yes let's talk in comments about things like this post or your life or whatever.

Footnotes (remember those?)

* although that's debatable in this economic climate! *badum-tss* *panicked laughter*

** Things you should blog about hint, hint. *notes own hypocrisy*

*** A title much less kinky than it sounds. I am working through this tiny, confusing, "would rather vomit and die than do anything about it"-crush***** with my Real Life friend Abby via tumblr, where she offers such sage advice as "fuck him i mean literally i'm not insulting him he has pretty eyes go" and "SHOVE YOUR HEART INTO HSI [sic] HEART."

**** Until recently I was referred to only as n00b. Supern00b, for variety. The first time aforementioned DM called me by my name I was surprised he knew it.


***** Which, in all fairness to him, is the only kind of crush I am capable of having.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I miss you guys! Come back to me.

I feel like it's an indicator of the depths of disuse this blog has sunk that I am going to school now--kind of--and I have not written one post about the experience. It's my third week. Also, Vita has started at UNIVERSITY and Rena is over there getting into Dungeons and Dragons.

I apologize for offending anyone but I'm going to have to blame this one on tumblr.

Tumblr did this to us, you guys. It was tumblr. Also, life. But I choose to point my finger at tumblr because it's easier than examining all the things I could have blogged about here and didn't.

I'm going to sleep but first I have a question: what is it going to take to get you two to blog here? I would settle for once a week. I want to know about your liiiiiiiiives. I need to know. I know I'm a part of this too. So I'll promise to write if the two of you will. I will blog until you beg me to stop. How can I persuade you to join me?

Think about it. I'll wait.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"I Love You" is hard.

So tomorrow is Esther Day.

Esther devised a concise, meaningful way for the Nerdfighter community to honor/remember her.

I haven't literally told anyone I'm close to the words "I love you" in a very, very long time. (Long before the previous Esther Day, I admit.) They know I love them, and I know they love me. It's easier to be offhand about my affection for these people:

"Okay, love you, bye."
"You too, bye."

Is how the ends of all my conversations with people I love whom I won't see for an extended period go. But literally sitting someone down, looking them in the face and saying all three of those words apropos of nothing, is extremely uncomfortable to me. I know the point is that it's supposed to be hard. I know it probably shouldn't be this hard, because I should do it more often. The fact remains that I am very, very bad at dealing with things with gravitas. "Serious conversations", whether the subject is good or bad, can literally make me squirm if I go too long without saying anything that elicits at least a slight mildly amused laugh from the person I'm talking to.

But enough about my personal flaws. The reason I typed out this thing is because now I have the internet (or, my notion of people on the internet's judgment of me) to hold me to this. I will do Esther Day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

what is going on in my life

Well. Well. Weeeeeell. Weeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllll. Wouldn't you like to know.

On May 7th, I embarked on this road trip with two of my sisters and my mom and we drove around the Olympic Peninsula (a.k.a. vampire territory), down the Washington and Oregon Coast, inland to Ashland in Southern Oregon and then down the California coast, from Crescent City to Los Angeles. It took about two months to get to Southern California and then I took a two day train ride home with my friend who had joined us in San Francisco, leaving my famjam to head East and North and wherever the road continues to lead them (i.e. away from droughts and 100 degree weather).

Now I am back to Canada and to trees and the streets that I know. I'm living with my dad and The Cat and attempting to resume my brand of normalcy--with varying degrees of success. My work has yet to put me back on the schedule but I've dropped my resume off at the local bike shop and am hoping to intern there for a while and pick up some skills. Maybe make some friends? Wouldn't that be crazy.

I read quite a few books whilst on the road. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (I think that's the author, or something close to that) is reccommended as well as The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (which is non-fiction and lovely). I've only just finished Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (sequel to Finnikin of the Rock--excellent, excellent fantasy) and found myself lying in a park yesterday, pounding my fists on the ground and yelling "WHY?!?!!" But in a good way. I've now moved onto A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut which is totally brilliant. And I've gotten a bit carried away with the reading thing so let's move on.

On the topic of friends, since I got back two weeks ago, I've been making an effort to reconnect with friends I don't see a lot or haven't seen in a while (which is everyone considering I was away for two months) and enjoying the fruits of this labour immensely. Can I just say that people are generally awesome? Like, I know people are somewhat aware of that but I don't think we give it enough thought. People are really, really cool--in their uniqueness and individuality and their interests and quirks. I lovelovelove my close friend group but branching out and connecting with different people has been so refreshing and wonderful. Since my return home, I've watched Doctor Who with someone I hadn't seen in a year and eaten the most amazing peach with someone I practically grew up with. On Saturday, I hung out with a friend I met online through school and she printed off my full star chart and we bonded over Sherlock and it was perfect. Then, of course, a week ago, I got turned away from a concert with three of my closest friends and ended up eating gelato and climbing a rope tower at a playground*.

What I'm attempting to get at is that variety is pretty freaking great. I'm unbelievably grateful and priviledged to have such awesome people to spend time--and write blogs--with. You're all excellent company and I thank you for merely existing.

*which is what I reccommend to anyone who gets turned away from something for being too young--embrace your youthfulness and go play at the park!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Let's talk about friends

What's weird to me is less that I was 14 (almost 15) when I met all y'all but that I was a high school freshman (albeit a second-semester freshman) when I met all y'all. I was a baby! A child. A young teenager!*

(Side note about teenage girls: I long for the day when we all cease to use "teenage girl" (also: "teenager") (also: "youths") as an insult. Okay, fine, I've never had to live with a person younger than I, and when my sister was teenaged, I thought she was too cool to truly despise adolescents, but you know what? I like teenagers. I like teenage girls! I think they're awesome. At the very least I think they are just as wonderful and just as flawed as any other demographic, so stop yo' hate, greater population of the world.) (Addendum to side note: I don't feel like a teenage girl anymore. I know I am, but "teenager" to me invokes the 14-17 crowd. From this side of adulthood, I stand with the 13 year olds in hearing high schoolers' silent cry: Okay, fine, technically we'll include you in our demographic, but us real teenagers know you're Out, or yet to be In.)

And now I've graduated from high school (it's been a long hiatus, not much has happened, just became an official ex-student in the public school system in which I've been enrolled since the age of 5, just moving to the absolute opposite side of the continent in two months, no big) and about to be a freshman again and here we are. Wow. Weird. Millions of other people do the same thing, the whole graduating-from-high-school thing (Rena, it's your turn next! What what!), and it doesn't feel revolutionary, I'm sort of over the novelty of it, but I feel I ought to mention it. For posterity? I only recently learned that "for posterity" actually has, like, a meaning? that renders it nonsensical in several different situations.  The learnin' never stops.

Anyway, the nostalgia feels relevant not only because I've abandoned this special corner of the internet for way too long but because there's a post that I posted over on the Ning, not during Beda #1 but in August 2010 (wow, I was almost in 11th grade! I definitely thought it was earlier than that!) that's been floating around in my mind lately:

"I start thinking about my closest friends and how I'm not even THAT close to them. [...] I just don't have that best-friendy connection with them. Do you know what I'm talking about? That person that you're supposed to share a brain with; the person that laughs at all your jokes, whatever. I mentally go through my past and present friends and think, nope, nope, nope, I don't know anybody who qualifies for that. It's like there's a block between me and society. [...] Ironically, I'm not that close to the person (other than my family) that I feel the most comfortable around. Like, when we see each other it's like we're best friends, but we rarely talk that much outside of our shared time together and even though we get on really well, I don't actually know them very well at all, if that makes sense."
Somebody told me in the comments of that post that they found their best friends in junior year of high school, and I think I assumed that wouldn't happen to me. And this was only two years ago, right? But guys, over those two years -- really, especially, over this past year, though it feels much longer -- I've become better friends with people than I ever thought I could.  Like, the person I was talking about in that post is actually one of my best friends now, for serious. Do you know how amazing and novel it is to have a friend -- and several more who come close -- around whom I feel completely, totally, effortlessly comfortable? Good-amazing and also awestruck-amazing.  Maybe it's a testament to how much more comfortable I've become with myself over this past year. Maybe it's a testament to opening up more and trusting people around you to stay calm enough to get to know you better.  All I know is that my two closest friends make me laugh more and understand me better than and make me feel better than anybody else I know. All I know is that when other friends ask me to go out, I hardly ever turn them down in favor of moping around by myself anymore.  Guys, I made so many friends senior year, both my age and younger. Most of them weren't close friends; most of them I'm not going to keep in touch with -- I know that -- but that's okay; we were never going to be friends for life. All that mattered was that they made the time we spent together in the place we were infinitely more entertaining.

It's just such a good feeling. I won't pretend like I'm 100% happy with myself or that I enjoyed every moment of high school or anything, but man, I went from being completely miserable in June 2011 to being so blissfully grateful that I went to the school I did with the people I did by graduation in June 2012. It's ridiculous.  Be friends with people, guys, it's the best.

Speaking of friends, how awesome is it that you guys still make this blog feel as personal and welcoming as it ever did, even after a two month absence (ahem, 7 month absence on my part, oops)? You guys give me such a good feeling, too. Thanks for sticking with me throughout all of my high school years (!) and, I hope, throughout a substantial amount of my university years and whatever may lurk beyond that.

(I think I might do an update blog later this week. A bulleted list feels in order but doesn't feel appropriate to this post. Prepare yourselves (or not, whatever, it's your life).)

* Um, speaking of the flaws of youth, or whatever, I've been considering deleting just a couple of older posts of mine? All the embarrassing-thoughts-of-an-angsty-sixteen-year-old posts are free to humiliate me as much as they like, but I feel like there are just one or two that are straight-up ignorant that I don't really want lurking around the internet because, you know, people tend to think that what you thought two years ago is indefensibly what you think now.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Is it strange to anyone else that 2009 was three years ago?

And that three (at least) years of your life is documented on the internet and preserved for eternity?

Our magnificent internet journey of magic and friendship began in April, 2009. (Remember when? Oh god, the memories.) This was, for me, the beginning of the end of Not a Good Time in My Life Generally. (TM, generic brand name: middle school) On MJ's application, I fudged my age by a month and got grouped with you lovely people.

Some of my blog posts from that year (here and on the Ning) literally make me cringe. Silly 14 year old self. I'm so much older than that now.

The thing is, when I check this blog in another three years (and who knows where it'll be post-wise, but it will still be the same collection of pixels attached to this URL), I'll end up shaking my head wistfully at my silly 17 year old self. C'est la vie. You're never any older than you are in the present, or whatever the saying is. Although hopefully I won't loaf around on the internet when I'm 20 as much as I do now.

And with that sentence, I could begin a whole slew of excuses why I've been 33% responsible for letting this blog fall into a hiatus. I could, but I won't. I haven't blogged here for almost 4 months (and even that was cross-posted from Tumblr. . .), and that's my own fault. Regardless of how (in)frequently I blog, though, it IN NO WAY WHATSOEVER means I value your friendship less and/or want to stop talking to you. Got that? Lessthanthree 5eva etc., other internet memes.

Tumblr's fine, for casual, usually image-based glimpses into each other's minds, and maybe it's a testament to the strength of this particular internet-centric friendship that we no longer feel obligated to devote ourselves to extended monologues about our lives. But it's still nice. It's nice to have this space to come back to. So yes, if you guys are up to it, I will try to frequent this conversation more as well.

Standard updates about my life and such:

This entire summer has so far been busy chunks interspersed with lazy chunks. The upcoming ( < two weeks) chunk promises to be VERY BUSY, featuring my mom and I pinging around most of the midwest looking at colleges, about which my anxiety has turned into slight excitement. (Maybe you've just caught me on a good day. . .)

So, a question (remember when we used to end with questions?) :

What's going on in your life?

I want to see The Oh Wells play

I'm going to quickly acknowledge the two month gap and move on because it makes me a little sad. What has become of our once lively BEDA inspired blog? Well, this, and now it will become something else, evolve into something beautiful and wonderful or maybe it will continue to be hauntingly vacant and both of those things are okay! What do you want to happen? Let's talk about it! And now on with my blog post.

Last Wednesday night, I went into Vancouver with some friends to see a favourite local band of mine. My introduction to them took place at a intimate Earth Day event they played at. I was there with my mom and fell in love with their gorgeous harmonies, clever lyrics (referencing Harry Potter in two different songs didn't hurt my opinion of them) and badass harnessing of the ukulele.

That Earth Day show would have been three years ago and I've been listening to their music and trying to follow their performances ever since. Unfortunately, actually seeing them play is not as easy as I would like. Last Wednesday was the fourth time I tried to see them play and could not--for varying reasons. The first time, their bass player was ill. The next incident, the time they wrote on their website was three hours after their scheduled set and I arrived to an empty coffeehouse. This week we couldn't get in because the show was taking place a bar, though the band website clearly specified the show as all ages.

As we walked away from the venue, down the sidewalk and onto the next adventure, I turned to my friends, all but disillusioned. What does it say about me, I said, that I keep coming back for more? No matter how many shows they don't perform, no matter how many times I've gone home disappointed, I still show up at the next one--handing over my heart, daring them to break it. Hoping this time will be different, that they'll play and it'll make all their absences worthwhile?

One of my friends said simply, "It says you want to see them play."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

just an update

I'm currently in the process of packing up all of my stuff (and family stuff--wherein lies the challenge) so that two of my sisters and my mom and I can hop in our Westfalia van and road trip across the border for a couple months. And I also got one of my wisdom teeth removed yesterday which means I have chipmunk cheeks and can't eat much food that is worth eating (cold liquids are lame).So busy life is busy and does not spare much thought to blogging.

As it goes, I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging from the road but if you two want to, you know, do that, I would read it. And hey, maybe I'll be blogging all the time. Who knows?

Hope you guys are excellent. Don't forget to be awesome.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

philosophy and The Hunger Games

I have this presentation I'm giving tonight about films and philosophy and I chose to talk about The Hunger Games (because I'm obsessed, obviously) and here is a snippet from my speech-y thing because no one has posted anything since March 22nd and that's SAD.
What’s philosophical to me about The Hunger Games is how it draws parallels to our own lives today, from what we see as entertainment to how our capitalist culture is inherently exploitive and how that goes by unnoticed by most of its inhabitants. 
But thinking about this so much, I started to wonder if I was reading way too much into things. I could probably take any half decent movie and find some scraps of philosophy to explore. And what’s the point of having philosophical undertones if no one is noticing? Is anyone, apart from me, noticing? 
The Hunger Games film made 152.5 million dollars in the opening weekend and has since grossed 466 million worldwide. But how many viewers are leaving the theater and asking difficult questions like how their lives similar to the Capitol citizens, how North Americans currently exploit others for their comfort and luxury? And how, to a certain degree, we accept violence in our lives as inevitable  or worse, overlook it altogether? Has this film impacted anyone or do most people just see it as a story of a faraway world, a story that has nothing to do with us?  
Films can be a great jumping off point for discussion and a catalyst for thinking about important topics but I don’t think a movie can do it all. And going further with that, discussion doesn’t necessarily make change occur. So while a movie can inspire us and give insight, in my mind, it’s in no way a substitute for thoughtful discussion that leads to positive action. 
So get out there, kids. Talk about important and difficult things. Make stuff happen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On Muggle Quidditch and How People Don't Suck That Much.

So yesterday I played Muggle Quidditch.

I also got hit in the neck with a Frisbee (hurts way more than it sounds), which should indicate my level of athleticness. But it was really fun. I met Nerdfighters who actually go to my school in the flesh and we talked about TFiOS and wanting to date Augustus Waters and weird Harry Potter slash fiction porn. It was kind of like the internet, which was nice.

The way I think has become so messed up since around middle school--when I split from my large-if-shitty group of "friends", found the one real person I'm closest to as a friend (On Tumblr, I've tagged a lot of stuff "Teresa is the Holmes to my Watson"--this is way accurate on a lot of levels. There is no reason why elementary school should have instilled in me a distrust and distance from people seen in war veterans, but it kind of did...), and turned to the interwebs to fill in the gaps in social activity--that internet people = good and 97% of "real people" = approach with caution, if ever. It's not black and white, though, and a larger handful than I originally estimated seem to not inherently hate me and it's worth having conversations with them because human contact is enjoyable. Even just discussing things in random groups for class doesn't necessarily have to be moderately anxiety-inducing, because hopefully people don't know me well enough to have an opinion about me, let alone a negative opinion, right? And I'm figuring this out second half of junior year, for crissakes. So, too little too late, maybe. But, I don't know, I'm on my way to caring less about petty shit and being less cynical.* Which is good, yeah?

* Remember, children: Conan O'Brien wants you to not be cynical. (This is what I think of when I think of cynicism for some reason...)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

just a little existential rambling going down, carry on.

My life  ...

I don't even know how to finish that sentence actually. I kind of just want to convey myself gripping my face, eyes squeezed shut, as I sway back and forth in front of my computer. But in a good way.


Depending on what day of the week it is, I alternate between viewing the future as a land of opportunity and a deliverer of DREADED CHANGE. In short, I have no idea what I'm going to do with my time on this earth, how I'm going to organize my life or even where I'll be living five months from now.

I mean, I'm turning 18, guys. Eight-freaking-teen. In two months. I have two months left of blissful childhood before I enter the harsh adult world. Or something. I don't really know what I'm saying but I've heard things.

The thing is, I have a general image of what I'd like to do and it's pretty simple. I want to drink chai tea lattes and philosophize and grow my own food and write things that change lives and play my ukulele on grafittied steps and have fun with my friends and fall in love with more fictional characters from the great books I haven't read yet*.

One of the issues with this picture is the whole, how am I going to produce income, and am I going to be dependent on my parents, and for how long (to a lesser extent, where am I going to do this and with whom). These are the quandaries that plague me. I assume that a fair share of contemporary grown ups have gone through this very thing that I am going through but it does little to comfort me.

I suppose I'll keep you posted on how this existentially fraught period of my life goes**. It's nice to think that it is going. Though on uneventful leap days like today, it doesn't feel like it, my life is far from static.

*also save our species from completely destroying our habitat.
**hey, maybe it never ends! Wouldn't that be great?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


There's a certain awkwardness to the moment when you text your friend asking if they've seen your changed relationship status on facebook and they're like, No! That's so exciting. What's he like?
And you're kind of like, um actually i have a girlfriend now.

And I know that our society basically spoon feeds heterosexuality starting from the first Disney movies we watch and also that I haven't technically come out as gay or bi or whatever but I can't help wishing there was a moment of doubt before the assumption that I'm dating a guy.

I never sat down with my parents and told them I was straight and that it wasn't a choice, just the way I am. My facebook profile doesn't specify my gender, let alone that I'm "interested in" men, strictly.* And I know it's not the most important aspect of who I am but I can't help wishing that people would not make assumptions of this--or any--variety about me.

*I like to share as little with facebook as I see necessary, meaning no birthday, no gender, no "interested in."**
**but apparently my romantic relationship can go on there *shrugs*

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What if I'm secretly an ostrich, what then?

I'm being courted, in a sense. In the really Victorian-era sense, with all the interacting parties putting on their best faces and acting polite towards one another to prevent even the slightest suspicion that they are in any way unsuitable.

By colleges, not people. (Well, yes, people, deans and directors and whomever else puts their name at the bottom of a piece of paper, all claiming personal interest. Some I've committed to memory for no explicable reason--Todd Rhinehart, Karen Schrum, Marc Harding, Jessica Eads--my own little group of suitors.)

It's weird, this whole process: kind of exciting and ego-boosting and wanderlust-inspiring and overwhelming and just a fuckton of mail to sort through. At the end of emails and letters, they all say to keep in touch or something like that, like we're buddies already. I'm pretty sure it's someone's (possibly not the person whose name is in the closing) job to insert my name into the opening paragraph about how exceptional I am and how much potential I show and how the educational institution would love to have me and then click send. Or they've got computers doing that, I don't know.

I play my part too, not exactly keeping in touch with all my new dean friends, but mailing in cards for brochures or logging in to the school's website, being engaged and studious. Being the lovely person full of potential that the letter was meant for. There are things I'm not telling them: that I'm not really well-rounded, that I haven't shaved my legs in over a month, that I have no sense of direction, that I entertain myself by lip-synching Disney songs, alone, apropos of nothing, at midnight, and most definitely that I'm terrified they'll all hate and reject me and I won't be good enough to get into any college at all. These don't seem like college-bound-person traits. There are things they're not telling me either, though: that the showers are mildewy and the English professors have distractingly unkept facial hair and things like that, I'm sure. We'll learn these things about each other eventually.

I should go to bed.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It's not that I don't care, it's just that I don't care

I have this persistent habit of destroying things.

I don't mean that as some depressing metaphor. I just can't keep anything in pristine condition. I crumple and rip the edges of papers; I fold parts of pages of books; I'm more effective than a paper shredder when it comes to disposable cups. I don't know why I do it; I just can't stop myself. I think that somewhere in the back of my mind it all just relates back to how for a person who has so many things I am hardly at all sentimental about my actual physical possessions.

When my computer hard drive crashed in September last year, and me being me didn't back up half the files on my computer, I instantly lost virtually all of my pictures and files from my middle school years. Such is my attitude now that everything's gone digital; I hardly ever print anything out, and unless it exists somewhere on the internet, it makes its lonely home on my computer, and maybe a flash drive, if I don't get too lazy. You'd think that I'd be really upset about losing all these fond memories from my relative youth. But what upset me more than losing all of these files was that when my laptop was rebooted with an empty new hard drive, the dock from my desktop was missing. Never mind that I easily downloaded it from the Dell website later, when I turned on my laptop and it was missing, I burst into tears.

Yeah, that small outburst was just my release of my frustration over my computer dying in the first place, but the whole thing is just reflective of how I am sort of aggressively unsentimental about most material things. That is not to say that I live a life free from materialism or that I don't care about anything I own -- because there are certainly some things that I would be really upset to lose, and god help me on the day that I become too poor/financially independent from my parents to afford, like, new slipper boots -- but I just sort of have an implicit just-let-it-go attitude towards most things I own. I don't let the physical things replace the memories I have associated with them -- my memories, the ones that really matter to me, are meaningful to me without a physical token to represent them -- so I guess I'm just not that bothered when the actual thing goes missing.

(And, okay, when you lose a whole bunch of stuff, it makes the few remaining pieces from that collection all the more special. I have a few pictures and such from middle school and I think that ultimately those show more about me than the hundred crappy ones that I took with our old digital camera when I was 13. It's annoying but also sort of peaceful to start from scratch.)

That's also why the copy of TFioS that I'm annotating is the signed copy that was signed actually-in-person by John and Hank. I have two copies, and the other one I want to keep clean for lending out to people, and I didn't really want to get a third copy just for annotating... so I was like what the heck, it's just a book, and books are all about the interaction between the text and the reader, so I will write all over this goddamn signed copy because it's not the signatures and the pristine pages that make this book special, it's what I take from it.

I kind of like that attitude, to be honest. I figure all things in this world are some kind of fleeting (even memories, really, when you get into the whole memory reconstruction thing), so why bother getting so upset about the inevitable?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

thoughts from places: Tour de Nerdfighting

I know I'm not the only person in the world to claim to not possess the talent of making friends. This social awkwardness seems to plague more individuals than myself, I realize that, but I want to share with you a three part breakthrough I had last night which starts with a road trip.

On Saturday, my family and two friends piled into a rental car and headed south. After forgetting the tickets and realizing this fact as the border guard handed back our passports, we drove five hours to Portland with no tickets and the hope that we could reprint them somewhere before the show the next day. (spoiler: we did. It turned out fine. Yay.)

It's a dalek, you guys. A DALEK!
Portland is an excellent city. I haven't had enough experience there to accurately describe its loveliness but I will say that if an opportunity ever floats by you to visit, I encourage you to seize it. The architecture is delightful, the food is amazing and there's something about the feel of the place--enhanced by signs featuring sci fi beings instructing you to not block the sidewalks and rainbow umbrellas wherever you look--that makes you want to stay and explore.

We took the bus to the theater on Sunday. It was raining and there was a line that snaked down the sidewalk and around the building. There were also so many really awesome t-shirts. I talked to the people next to us in line a bit and then went hunting for a massive umbrella that was sure to make us many friends with its vastness. This plan did not work out due to the fact that it stopped raining but, before it stopped, I heroically held the umbrella over the carts loaded with TFIOS copies as they ferried the books   down the line and received some cheering. Let me just say there was a lot of cheering in that line, despite the precipitation. There was also a lot of people telling other people that their stuff was really awesome, mostly because there was a lot of really awesome stuff and it's easier to be vocal about that in the kind of space that was created there. It was just so comfortable and excited and connected and caring. 

The show was fun. John is brilliant and Hank is hilarious and their collective energy was entirely captivating. The signing process went very smoothly and I was only mildly embarrassed when I stumbled over basically telling John that his books mean a lot to me. I had some solid eye contact with Hank and then we were shuffled along which was fine.

Adorableness does not completely diminish the creep factor.
The next day, we drove to Seattle, took pictures with the world's largest and arguably creepiest bridge troll and then made our way to the Seattle tour stop. I pretty much immediately struck up a conversation with the people next to us in line, some of whom were vaguely familiar to me. As it turns out a couple of them were of Bizarre Fruit fame*. 

And it was just so natural and not forced and we started to play Apples to Apples which lasted only one round before we were moved into the bookstore but was still pretty great. I exchanged info with one of the girls and we went to find seats**.

After the show, I was leaving the washroom when I looked up and recognized justmargaret whose tumblr and youtube I follow and, without even thinking about it, I just walked over and started talking to her. I can't explain the thought process because it doesn't make any sense to me in retrospect. I completely surprised myself with the lack of doubt and total and immediate commitment. I just strode across the bathroom to where she was waiting in line and said something along the lines of hi, I watch your youtube videos and your blog is my favourite part of tumblr and I'm sorry for obnoxiously liking practically everything you post. It was almost like reuniting with a friend who didn't actually know me and the whole thing was so surreal I can't capture it with words. 

Proceeding that, I had an extended fangirl moment as I explained the encounter to my friends, blushing in excess, and they looked at me and asked, "Who is Margaret?"***

The last guy I met was named Eli. He came up and gave me a high five after seeing my 'YA SAVES' tshirt and so I followed him when he ran away from me and we started chatting. He'd been at the Maureen Johnson event I went to and actually lives very close to me. It was also kind of strange, in a fantastic way. I made a note on his annotated copy of Paper Towns and it was all very swell.

I left with usernames and this feeling of satisfaction that was hardly even related to being in close proximity with the Green brothers. (I didn't actually get to go up to the signing table in Seattle because the security was really tight and we had to leave early because of the two hour drive home. I didn't mind.) I tried not to fall asleep on the way home and then was so ridiculously tired that I couldn't fall asleep when I got into bed, all of the events of the weekend swirling around in my head.

It's absurd when you meet people in person whose tumblogs or videos you follow avidly. It's strange being forced to wrap your head around the fact that people are just people, whether or not they have an online following. It's weird to hear John talk about his severe social anxiety and how he has to pretend we're not there to be able to function on stage. It's odd to be in a place where there are so many nerds that the very idea of being self conscious doesn't even cross your awareness.

And I mean all that in the very best way.

*which was featured on the vlogbrothers' Nerd Factor
**which ended up being in the front row. Not sure how that happened but it was really cool.
***eventually they figured it out because I had previously told them all to follow her on tumblr.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Well, according to Erikson I'm doing alright for myself

(Background: Psychology references, anyone? Going on the assumption that people do not generally read ahead in textbooks for fun--Erikson categorized human life and success into 8 stages, each with a question to answer and a challenge to overcome, in the form of [good trait] vs. [bad trait] to be added to the personality based on whether or not said challenge was met.

Ages 13-21 are based on Identity vs. Role Confusion. What's interesting about the question ("who am I?"/"what can I be?") is that's it's arguably the most philosophical and the the only non-yes-or-no question of all the stages. This is why teen angst is a thing, methinks. But anyway, the main issues include developing a stance on politics and sexual identity. I'm going to muse a bit on the latter.)

Okay, so, just generally, gender is a socially constructed concept and I personally think the gender binary is kind of bullshit, and I regret that inserting phrases like "socially constructed concept" and "gender binary" makes my point inevitably sound a little (or a lot, judge as you will) pretentious.

I don't particularly know if I'm exactly straight. I don't know if I'm bisexual, either. I don't know if I'm pansexual or just lonely or what. The reason this is a difficult question to assess is because, of course, I have had no experience with. . . anything. Like, should a female human with a pulse and in my general age range express a desire to spend time with me in an even vaguely romantic context, and I felt a reciprocal such desire, I wouldn't refuse. (As in heterosexual relationships. Why should I limit myself to strictly dating people based on the compatibility of our genitals? Why should anybody? No one is attracted to everyone of the opposite sex, no one is attracted to everyone of the same sex. I don't know. I'll stop my filthy hippie ideology for now.) How much of this is my desire to be wanted, and how much is my rejection of conventional sexuality? Ehh, some and some. I will freely acknowledge the attractiveness in people, and since attractiveness is subjective, it can be said that I find select females attractive. But do I want to be Emma Watson (as an example) or know her or date or her or crawl into bed with her? It's quite a spectrum. I've been speaking in hypotheticals for most of the last paragraph, anyway.

I also think I might be a transvestite. (Play this song at your leisure. ;))* I've never tried it because there are no suitable male clothes lying around my house. Basically I dress like this. I don't aspire to dress like a male version of this (which wouldn't be hard), but in terms of formal wear, I'd much prefer wearing  this** to, say, this. Matter of preference, etc. I don't want to literally be a man or even pass as one, but suits are both more aesthetically pleasing and confidence-boosting to me than other forms of clothing. I realize that the dress in that last picture isn't even what some people would classify as formal, except maybe for the fact that it's black. Some girls wear dresses to school all the time; I consider myself overdressed for my mandatory job of learning if I'm wearing black pants that day.

This is a bit more personal than my usual blogs lately (because I've barely been blogging, whoops), but I guess I've done it so this will be out on the interwebs, and maybe someone using Google to try and define their identity will find this and know there's someone in the same boat.


* Also featuring about half a minute of sheer gems of dialogue. This isn't the junior chamber of commerce, Brad!

** Ahem, minus the gun. I'm using iStockPhoto, cut me some slack.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Yay, books

Carrying books around is considered a marker of intellect, or being an introvert, leading to long, wish-fulfilling schlock urging guys to "date a girl who reads"--insinuating that girls who read are inherently more datable, not taking into account any of said girl's other personality traits, and/or that girls who "don't" read (even though it's almost literally impossible to get through life without reading at all, the literacy rate in the US is 99.3% or something, etc) aren't worthy of the reader's attention. This was meant to appeal to me and people like me, the readers. But it just dawned on me that that's kind of a shitty thing to perpetuate.

Okay, so aside from that paragraph being little more than an extremely run on sentence, I actually had a point to make in this blog (I was reminded of a Tumblr post that I reblogged a long time ago and got sidetracked, c'est la vie), going back to carrying books around. I finished TFiOS in a day. In the week or so since then, I still keep it in my bag like a homesick kindergartner who brings their favorite stuffed dog to school. I'll pull it out, open to a random page, and read for a few moments when I can find nothing else to do but still want to look busy. Looking busy is an old and valuable tactic I crafted in freshman year, when I wanted to sit alone at lunch without being approached by people. Not really a sociable maneuver, but it worked.

Just knowing that TFiOS (or any book--I will be practical about it and keep books that are assigned for English with me for this purpose, but this week was a special occasion) is within arms' reach is comforting in a way, going back to the kindergartner-and-stuffed-animal example. This is just a more sophisticated version of that, with the bonus of creating an air of scholarly demureness. I realize this was not actually about TFiOS itself, but I can't quite do it/my opinion of it justice coherently. Anyone else want to try before me?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

so in love

My life is so ridiculously full right now. There are letters and TFioS and endless mugs of hot chocolate. There is hand holding and hugging and a fair amount of cuddling. There is road trip planning and games of Uno and just the right amount of cheese. My smile is nearly perpetual and the number of winks per day is dramatically on the rise--even if most of those winks are directed at my own reflection. ;)

These past two weeks of January have been pretty excellent. I just feel so good that I almost can't believe it. I don't trust myself enough for this to last. But, god, I hope it does.

Just felt like sharing. I wish you both the best of Januarys.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I have so much to say and yet nothing to write and it's like it's all stuck somewhere on the way from my brain to my fingertips. Sometimes I let myself forget that the internet is a place where anyone can hear you and that you shouldn't just say everything you want to--even if it feels good at the time to purge the words, watch them spill out onto your screen.

I'm way too melancholy for my own good. Maybe I just need to get back into situations where I like myself. I miss not feeling like a crazy person half the time. I think I'll sort that shit out tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simple Things and Beauty Queens

(Or, The First Lurve Blog of 2012!)

This post comes to you in two vaguely related parts.

Thing 1: I just kind of want my life to be this song is that really so much to ask.

It's cuter than my usual tastes in sentiment and musicality, but (beyond admitting that) I'm not going to apologize for wanting a relationship like the one described in the lyrics. What I want is to be in love without the beginning processes of falling in love, the "Jesus-Christ-are-my-eyebrows-the-correct-shape-am-I-breathing-at-the-correct-pace-I-just-want-to-stare-at-your-face-without-being-creepy-and-overt-about-it"-stage. I speak from extremely little experience, (Remember this tidbit of blog? We are in the same Spanish class. Everything was going swimmingly until (December 1st) I was informed that he has a girlfriend now. And then I was (only slightly unreasonably) upset about that for around two weeks. To date, this one human being is the only person to have inspired in me such girlish mental frothing, during and after our quasi-flirtation. I hated myself for it in those two weeks, having prided myself on not frothing over much of anything, least of all a guy.) but this seems to be a prerequisite for behaving like a normal person around someone you hope to attract. (Or it's an unfortunate presence of YA novel cliches in my life.)

Basically, I want to skip the awkward uncomfortable bits (especially when the frothing turns out to be for naught) and settle painlessly into the creamy, fluffy-clouds-of-nougat center that is adorable contentment.

Thing 2: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (references things but contains nothing that is necessarily a spoiler.* You should read it if you haven't already. End PSA.)

In the book, Adina goes through pretty much the same Frothing Dilemma I had. I granted myself 0.0 license to Be Frothy**, and once it went over that 0.0 came the Sense of Conflicting Self Loathing but Not Stopping because I Like His Everything.***

On an unrelated (and probably almost contradictory) point, I present a paraphrased quote:

"They [society, corporate marketing, etc] make it so hard for us to love ourselves."****

To which I say: really? Blaming society is tres en l'mode***** for disillusioned youth, but to play devil's advocate, I have to say: it's also kinda your fault for giving a shit what society thinks.****** Until the advent of literal mind control, you can just choose not to give a shit, which is part of the conclusion the titular queens come to. Unless you want to argue that society makes you care about society's opinion of you, which is, also to quote the book, "one more meta than I like."

Regardless, the above quote and similar opinions on Tumblr got me thinking. I'm really in a minority on this front. I do, for the most part, cliched as it is, love myself. (For the sake of avoiding the cliche, "accept" myself really is more accurate.) I'm fine with the fact that I'm not perfect mentally or physically, but I'll admit I'm not a troll (either sense of the word). Moreover, I've never ascribed my various character flaws to simply having a vagina. Maybe they are and I'm deluded in the opposite direction. Maybe I've repressed memories for the sake of making a point. Maybe I'm just lucky to have fallen into a non-traditional-gender-roles family from birth, with supportive parents, supplemented nowadays with bunches of kickass forwarding-thinking-people on the internet. Maybe it's just the perfect storm. Fingers crossed this type of upbringing becomes less rare, like with this awesome little kid.

But I see plenty of evidence that it's not. Pieces of paper written on in Sharpie and posted on Tumblr with thousands of notes saying stuff like, "I wish I was good enough.", "I'll never be yours.", and it's horrible and I wish people didn't think like that, but as we've discussed, mind control is currently impossible. Sigh.

* Okay, maybe except this: disabled-maybe-pansexual-Illinoisan chick gets shit done. REPRESENT. (I'm heavily biased in this footnote, read it for the other awesome characterizations too hey hey what what.)

** I clearly can't do adjectives right now, so have an extended my-brain-as-a-Starbucks-beverage metaphor.

*** Look At All the Random Capitalization someone Please Stop Me.

**** I'm going to add, "as girls" to the end, implied based on the usage of "ourselves". The book does eventually delve into "not every issue is attached to being female and guys are festering holes of insecurities too sometimes", but not at the point in question.

***** a.) Excuse my mangled French.
            b.) I've probably done this in my head, and can't promise I won't again. I'm making not giving a shit sound way easier than it is. But for now I'm in an empowered sort of mood. I include my less-enlightened past and/or future self in the general "you".

****** re: "loving yourself". Please give all the shits you deem necessary re: legal procedures and such.

Now that I've noticed that footnotes can be made a smaller font size (thanks Alex!), I feel like this gives me permission to add them in copious amounts. I hope you've enjoyed reading them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I started this at 4:30am so... beware

Don't blame me for being incoherent. Blame yourself for not residing inside my head at 5 o'clock in the morning on January 1st.
What? Did I just say that? It's staying. Obviously.

1) What did you do in 2011 that you had never done before?
Sheesh. A ton. I lived in a house with no older sisters and took a 14 hour bus trip all by myself. I got my license. I learned a shitload about colonialism which has made me a far more radical person that I ever thought I'd be. I had what I will call a legitimate crush--well, more than one, I suppose. I STARTED WATCHING DOCTOR WHO!!!!! (Vita...). Also tumblr.

2) Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions?
I only really had one which was to be more patient--vague and unhelpful. But I really can't say if I'm more patient than I was 365 days ago. I like to think I am but I'm probably not, at least not by a wide margin.

3) What countries did you visit in 2011?
Basically nowhere. I mean, I went to the States more than once but America is practically Canada anyway (BLASPHEMOUS-ANTI-NATIONALIST-CRAZINESS). Shhhh.

4) What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Cuddling. Not that I particularly lacked it in 2011 but there's always room for more. ;) Also, hugs.

5) What dates will remain etched upon your memory and why?
January 4th is when my older sisters went away on planes for extended periods of time. May 17th is when I passed my driving exam. July 15th. Harry fucking Potter. December 26th/27th. Yeah.
Actually, I'm remembering a lot of my December as days. Such as, this happened on a Thursday and that happened on a Monday and so on. I'm not sure why, exactly, it's just something I've noticed myself doing.

6) Biggest achievement? 
Not murdering anyone with a vehicle? Or anything else, really. I don't actually know. I don't think I'm a person that actively "achieves" things.

7) Biggest failure?
Likewise, I don't think of myself as someone who has failures. Or maybe I'm just really good at repressing my memories. I suppose I've pretty effectively failed at imagining complexly people who don't ask for what they want and then complain about not getting it later on. I'm working on that.

8) Best thing someone boughtmade for you in 2011?
A TARDIS. I kid you not. 

9) Where did most of your money go? 
Chai tea lattes and sweaters. I like to buy sweaters. I'm trying to stop.

10) What song will always remind you of 2011?
Tik Tok Together. If you have not heard this, I don't even know what to say.

11) How did you spend Christmas? (or, y'know, whatever holiday you celebrate)

Moping and watching movies and texting and YouTubing. And then dinner was nice and delicious. And then more moping, unfortunately. Chocolate egg cake! Let's move on.

12) Did you fall in love in 2011?

Define 'fall in love.' But yeah, maybe, I think so. Maybe. I don't know. :)

13) What was the best book you read in 2011?

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta. Honourable mentions go to Hold Still by Nina LaCour, Irma Voute by Miriam Toews and A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson. 
I'm so glad I have GoodReads for situations like this. 

14) Greatest musical discovery?
I don't even know. I've been rediscovering a lot of stuff.

15) What did you do on your birthday and how old did you turn?

I remember the day after my birthday ridiculously clearly but the memory of the actual day I turned seventeen is evading me. It was a Tuesday, I know that much.

16) What is one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Make out sessions. No, but seriously... I think if I had figured out that being authentic was more important than trying to make everyone happy earlier. Or maybe if everyone else did more dishes.

17) What kept you sane?

Tumblr, the vlogbrothers, Gilmore Girls, my family. Donnie (hi).

18) Who did you miss?

My friend Alana, who has spent Christmas in Florida. She's coming back soon, though, so that's good.

19) Best thing you ate?

ALL OF THE THINGS! Probably Nelson food, though. Or this amazing panini I had in Calgary. Cranberry, apple, brie, SO GOOD. I love food.

20) What lessons did you learn in 2011?

a) If you're going to tell someone important things, don't chicken out and only go halfway there. Seriously. Just person up and say what you need to say.
b) As I kind of said, authenticity is something I've realized I value intensely. Sometimes that means quitting. Quitting is actually not always a bad thing. Who knew?
c) I think an important thing I learned is that I'm going to be okay. I used to get incredibly sad and think I was never going to feel anything but this forever but at some point I figured out that things do get better and just because I feel crappy now, doesn't mean I will tomorrow. The way I phrased that makes it sound like I don't get sad anymore. I totally do. More than I'd like. But I'm tying to focus on the moments when I'm incandescently happy and work from there.
d) Final lesson (at least that I am going to scribe here): Do your fucking dishes. Like actually. Here is some news: no one else wants to. Take responsibility for yourself. Make good choices.