Sunday, December 16, 2012

coffee break

What I listen to

When I'm writing. Generally anything with acoustic guitar? But then sometimes, I listen to like, hardcore, nasty rap. This is a post about me. Because I can. And because I don't listen to Muse, and am thus insured from not spinning out another Twilight (which, by the way, also spawned 50 Shades of Grey, which as far as literature was a complete disaster, but in many ways is a great book for women, fuck you very much, but that's another post for later. Which maybe might lead me up to Twilight????? Making something??? Good????? How very much confused no likee would not recommend).

If I'm going through some dramatic writing sprees, or am reading/writing something very sentimental/cheesy/trying too hard, I like to listen music like Bon Iver, men with incredibly high voices and quiet guitar strums and beautiful but confusing lyrics, which is also a description for what I write, menos todo but 'confusing'. And Fleetwood Mac, but the softer stuff from the 70's, like 'Dreams' and 'Oh, Daddy'.

For when I'm angry I listen to boy bands with lots of angry and with distinct vibes of "I am listening to this because it sounds cool and am angry at my parents and this is my own personal montage". Expect lots of loud, angry repeats of "Don't Speak" by No Doubt and Marina & The Diamonds as I try to encourage myself to get my shit together.

When I'm sad or nostalgic. Frank Ocean and The Weeknd or "Butterfly" from Meg & Dia. I once heard some guy describe listening to The Weeknd's music as something that makes him "Want to slash his wrists, and vertically, man." A quote that goes for both Ocean and the band.

Pretty much, anything that's chill and subtle, kind of quiet, gives me room in my head to think. You know that  thing about turning down music so you can see better when you're driving? That's how it is with me and writing. I like my music slow, but with the ability to be able to be able to go louder if I need it.

It's interesting that I like my music quieter when I'm writing. When I'm doing say, graphics or layouts for Torch, I like my music big. Friendly Fires and SBTKT and Ellie Goulding, fast and inspiring and all over the place. That it speaks of what parts of myself I dedicate to each creative activity, maybe. I think that I'm quieter when I'm writing. I think I'm more scared and a little frustrated. Graphics are easy and therapeutic. Where aesthetic design is a puzzle with infinite amount of pieces fit into the 8.5 x 11 page, and I can literally do whatever the hell, how many times I want, with ever I want, writing is literally like trying to paint my portrait in blood. It's exhausting, and it's often scary, and humiliating, and I only have so much blood.

But I do have enough words for this post.

Response/Letter to Wherever I May Roam

After reading a good friend's blog, I'd just like to add some of my own thoughts and comments. Click here to read the starting point of this conversation.

There's a lot of love about this piece, chica: I love that you'd love to leave. I love that you see the world is your oyster. I love that you know that you'd even rock it. I love the design you see in people--"We just keep striving for it."—it, being, the word for perfect happiness.

I have been—like you, very much like you—contemplating roots and wings. We're at that age. There is something itching beneath my skin—I think it's wings. I coughed up a feather the other day and thought, well, that does it. These are pinions intended to scratch and prod my bird bones, and they and I are both restless in this body. I want to spread them, and this is a visceral want. And it's want, as from seeing what you've wrote, I think you understand.

There is a love, and deeper curiosity, for the places we can't reach when we're young. Sometimes, when you talk about leaving (and you're always talking about leaving, and we're always talking about leaving: graduation, college, jobs, workforce, marriage, children, the things we've been promised) I think that it's because you don't love the soil your planted on. And sometimes that scares me, because we're friends, and it scares me to think that our friendship isn't worth much as you dig in your heels, trying to get up and out, isn't worth much.

But then I also think, that's a little hypocritical of me, isn't it? A little ironic, all of us: pushing us to jump out of the nest, like flightless birds who have a plan but no means, and then when the time comes we get scared and start edging away as fast as we can.

I hope you visit all those places you want to, and I want you to have a fucking fantastic time when you do. Hop on those airplanes and get the hell out of Dodge, chica. But I hope you don't forget what you leave there, either. Rock the hell out India, and Scotland, and England, and learn every language there is to learn and then two more, and maybe get a tattoo, because Lord knows just how much you need to get in touch with your rebellious side--And do so while not getting caught by your parents, like, two years later (You know what I'm talking about). And do so carefully, no more Ross Roads. Ok, maybe a couple of more Ross Roads, but not your car, and make sure everyone is wearing their seat belt (And you know who I'm talking to, you tumbling weed, you).

And I hope you think the same of me.




There are no words for what the families and friends of victims of the Newtown Massacre are going to go through in the next week. How could there be?

Words for the parents who go home to the hidden Christmas gifts. For the fear that their kids must have felt--innocent children, alone--before an unnamed walked in with a gun. There are no words for what the kids must have felt before they watched their friends die. There are no words for the absence that these people cannot even begin to understand. None. And there never will be. Grief, birthed from something as inexplicable and tragic as violence, is something so painful that there will never be a tongue that could capture its essence. And there never should be. 

I keep thinking about the morning before.

When they woke up, what was the first thing they did? Did their moms have to wake them up four times too many? Were their shutters open or shut, sunlight warm on their skin? Did the stretch or hide under the blankets, complain about headaches or how their stomach hurts, trying to wriggle out of going to school that day? Did the girls cry when their mother yanked their hair into pigtails, a little too roughly, hurriedly because they were going to be late for school and work? Did they eat breakfast with the eggs hard or sunny side up? Did they eat breakfast at all? Wear the green shirt with the stripes, which they hated, instead of the blue one, which they swore up and down that they asked their dad to wash for them? Did the have plans after school? Soccer or playing with an early Christmas present or hanging out with their friends? Did they trip over their own feet as they got in the car, bodies still growing? Could they see their breathe in the cold morning air, and if, when they did, they reach out and try to grasp it, then, a tangible thing? Was their favorite song playing on the radio on the way to school?  Did their parents count the seconds from home to school? Tell them not to talk to strangers at recess? Did their parents tell them that they loved them, as they left the safety of their car?

In my living room, my mom has this poem, titled "No Regrets", and it goes something like this: 
In the morning I sometimes
wake early and listen
to the quiet breathing of my children
& I think to myself,
this is the one thing I'll never regret.
And I carry that quiet
with me all day long.

They'll keep that quiet forever, and those parents will yearn for nothing more.

coffee break


Sunday, December 9, 2012


I've been thinking about the human spirit. It's the one thing my father's only believed in. It's one of the few things that can give me goosebumps.

This isn't me contemplating the soul, or ghost, nothing like that. I'm talking about the indomitable will and love and determination that has never stopped amazing me. The power that comes when people can come together to achieve great things, good things.

I've heart the argument that as a whole, people suck, and that individually, they're alright. I completely understand this. Anyone who's ever had to deal with any social clique/group ever understands this. But I also understand that when we break such boundaries, that we can do incredible, incredible, things.

Look at the Olympics, for example. I'm not going to lie, it brought wee shining tears to my eyes, that's how gorgeous London 2012 was, everyone coming together as one, as equals. Maybe I'm ignoring the bigger issue/ undercurrent of international supremacy like the whole China v. US power struggle, but for a couple of weeks, in those stadiums, people from everywhere went to London to compete, to celebrate, to just enjoy the clash of culture.

I'm thinking about the human spirit because it gives me hope.

As I've mentioned earlier, this last week has been terrible, and not much has been resolved. I'm sucking in the crossroad dirt right now: decisions, decisions, decisions. And not the kind that involve what's for dinner. They're more like: if I do this, or if I do that, my whole life can change on what I want right now. Like college. Like career planning. Each one is a domino on the longest effect I'll ever get.


After the abject shitshow that has been the past week, let's cool down with something most people find boring but I find dreadfully delightful. FONTSS

Fonts are different kinds of typeface, and they have subtle but powerful effect on how we read and interpret things. For most people, fonts come down to what their professors like on their term papers and MLA format. But any graphic designer worth their salt knows the obsessive-compulsive like feeling when it comes to typography.

Probably the most familiar debate on fonts is the one on Comic Sans.  Comic Sans, as explained in the link above, was originally made 'for the little comic book style help speech bubbles in programs like Microsoft word. However, it quickly became popular for use with young children in primary schools & other childcare thanks to its fun, child-like appearance.'

But as it became popular, it became more and more in common for it to be used to type out serious information. There is a critical difference between reading something that says  than 

Anyway, people noticed this trend of its use in serious situations, and it soon became the butt and disgust of anybody whose ever heard of a font. Dr. Ayers linked us to this hilarious article by Mike Lacher, 'I'm Comic Sans, Asshole', which is a monologue by the personified--and angry--comic sans.

Helvetica is often noted for its overuse, and is primarily associated with more 'trendier' groups like Hipsters and teens (like me) who think they're graphic designers. We're not. We're just discovering a world without serif. 

I remember I few years back about reading about the power of fonts in an article in Newsweek. Of course, this being Newsweek, and Newsweek being tanked (was anyone surprised? It was a good paper. But when they partnered with the Daily Beast, well, it was only a matter of time...), I can't find any links/sources to where I read it. What I do remember though is that in a study about the uses of fonts in college papers, students who turned in the same papers of the same quality, but used the font Georgia, generally got overall higher scores on their paper, simply because they used the font. I remember that the reasoning was something like: "It's like Times New Roman, so it's trustworthy, but it's not as boring, and not as used as TNR, so it becomes refreshing when someone reads it."

Cracked has funny infographic/chart explaining fonts. An excerpt: "In fact, a true graphic designer will have about 20 fonts on their computer that will be indiscernably different." It's true. The thing about fonts is that it's the littlest things that people subconsciously register about a typeface, that graphic designers have to figure out and craft into an artform: from serifs to slanted edges to thickness to spacing, fonts can be overwhelmingly tedious, especially when you're on crunch time and have to choose between three types of serif for one simple sentence. I'm on the school newspaper. I know. 

But I've been playing around with fonts, lately, on my PSE, seeing what I like. This is probably my favorite so far:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On December

It's going to be a shitty month with shitty people and shitty bills.

It's only been the first weekend of December, but already I've listened to ten hours of cheerful holiday music at Younkers and had to listen to customers play the 'should I get this? What do you think? Which one's cuter? What coupons should I use? I really want something nice for Christmas. You guys should have more Christmas clothes, oh, and--' game once too many times. I had one lady thrift through the Kids Dept. for two hours, indecisive and unaware, holding items and then coming back just to cancel her purchase to go do more shopping and then doing that all over again. By the time she was gone entire sales racks had to be reorganized, and I was left doing the mind-numbing work with the distantly astounded thought of how the hell did she even do that? how the hell did she even do that?

It's only been two weeks since I started working and it's already taking over my life.

Then gifts. It seems, despite my best efforts, I still have enough friends that it's going to expensive to get them presents this year. I don't know how it happened. The only time I can say I eat lunch with people is if you also categorize 'people' as the noontime KCRG anchors and Steve Martin in Roxanne which for whatever reason, is always playing when I come home. These people are like flies to glue. I am the glue. But sometimes I also feel like the fly.

Ok, I just checked my blogfeed. None of these other bastards are doing their homework. Awh, screw it. Today I handled freshly-warm bras from fifty year old women and spilled milk all over the felt of my car so it's sure as shit going to smell tomorrow. When I find it in me I'll write something condescending but endearing. Let's just call this blog the official tag of postponement, and a reassuring update that my Gmail account is no longer being threatened by Peruvian hackers.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I've always noticed that

people are shy to share their writing and art. When you hand someone your paper you spent five hours pouring your heart and soul into it, there is implacable stress that comes with. You're nervous, you want them to like it--like you. This is is a part of you, a piece of your soul you've handed them. What is written in their hands is also written on your heart, and sharing something that is of yourself, the essence, is terrifying. Sometimes what you create scares you, so you try to demolish.

When you go through someone else's art or writing or photography, you're seeing something you're not necessarily supposed to see. People are unearthed by their own hands, their creation. It's a sneak peek through a door they're afraid to open. We are so scared about who we are.

I've hated almost everything I've ever written. I've never shown anyone what I've actually enjoyed. What I've made is what I am, it belongs to me. I'm bad at opening up.

But I'm trying to do better, which is the most you can expect out of anyone, really. Working on some more projects, filing through the oldies to see who I was when I wrote this and that. I find it strange to see the kind of person I once was in contrast to who I am. I find it relieving.

It's OK to be scared about sharing your stuff. That's you, that's human. But don't be afraid to write or draw or sing for yourself. I suppose, that while the goal is to have your works known and contributed to the skeptic eyes of people, that in the end the number one person you'll have to answer to is yourself.

Virgil tried to burn his own work. Michelangelo threw away thousands of his own drawings. It's natural to dislike what you've created, the best of them did. But don't you ever stop creating. There is one quote I really enjoy from Kurt Vonnegut:
The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."
— Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country, 2005 
You will have created something. And what is more beautiful than creation?

small things

            My dad once told me that things like not throwing the trash out, putting lids back on the toothpaste, and not putting the toilet seat down are things that often cause divorce. Though I've never been married, I found the same principle can be applied to a lot of things, like friendship and teamwork. The small things that people do that really speak about your character, like whether or not you attempt to do a homework assignment that you completely do not understand (like math), or if you kick your friends stuff if they drop it, it was always the small things that occur often that you tend to remember.
            And that's what I think I could do to make a positive difference, anywhere and anytime. No, I'm not saying that I'm going to go out and do another one of those ridiculous Pay It Forward things, where you have to do something blatantly nice for people. But as I said, the small things. Helping a person in the hallway. Respecting another person's opinion, even if you disagree with it. Picking up trash that's not yours. The small things that people notice and sometimes forget.
            As for the past example thing and the future plan thing, I don't really have much to say. I help people out when they drop stuff. I help people with their homework. Pick up trash that's not mine. I even compliment things, but only if I honestly like it. I know how it is to have a bad day, but I also know about how one small thing someone does for me, like compliment my shirt, or help me clean up after a project, really turns my day around. So I think I'll do that small thing, and help turn around other peoples days, whether it's doing dishes for my mom, or picking up a pencil for a stranger.
            Small things build up. They are significant. The earth is made of atoms, and atoms split can cause big destruction. Small things can become big. This post is made out of 400 words. There are only 26 letters in the alphabet, and when you put them in the right order, they can say big things. Ideas are intangible but sentient and you cannot destroy them. They can start very small, but can be very incendiary. Radical. Even the ocean was once a drop. Even God started the universe with a band of light. 

Once I wrote an article on Triond

And now I need a new blog post. I made a penny.

Learn to Let Things Go

"One of the hardest things we, as human beings, have to learn is how to let things go. This article is your guide for learning how to understand, accept, and move on.

You’re hurt. You’re angry. Somethings happen–you’ve been betrayed by a trusted friend, you’ve gotten in a fight with a loved one, things are ending in an important relationship to you. These things happen in life, and they are not always fair. Sometimes, people must just let go. That is not say every “useless” effort and relationship is unsalvageable, but when they are, it’s often hard to accept, often digging hole deeper on these unfortunate trials. Everyone heals differently–but here are some steps to consider on your personal path to peace. 

1. Understand what happened.
The crucial first step. If one does not understand how events spiraled out into they way they were, how can they ever expect to know how to avoid history from repeating itself? Understand what happened, why it happened, how it happened. Evaluate anyone else and yourself in the issue clinically and objectingly. Your feelings may keep you from truthfully admitting to yourself what happened–but if you can come overcome this obstacle, you will become a stronger person with a clearer, more honest sense of self. Don’t be the person who deludes themselves to serenity but wonderingly keeps finding themselves wound up in misery. 

2. Talk to someone not involved.
People involved in a conflict have already developed their own opinion on the issue–making it hard for you to fully express yourself in fear of repudiation. Talking to someone unbiased allows you to fully gather your thoughts aloud without this fear. Though they might not get all the sides, they can give you advice for yourside. From there, it is up to you to interpret their guidance and apply it to everything you know about what happened. Sometimes, all someone needs is a friend to let them vent out too– you will find a lot of anger and frustration released just by talking and discussing.

3. Ignore your hatred.
Nothing is more temperamental and short lived than hate and disgust. When people hate someone, they tend to naturally avoid them. Reasonable human beings understand that most conflict is best be avoided. If you are a type of person who is aggressively violent and catalatic, you probably find yourself in many dangerous situations much due to your offensive tactics–and you need to grow up. Do you see most adults arm wrestling and hitting each other over the heads with chairs because they are angry at each other? No. And if this happens, obviously, there is serious consequences. When something makes you angry, your always the angriest the moment it happens, descending. Life has no time for grudges. Hatred is an honest, natural emotion–but it is a barrier that blocks everyones path with foolish decisions to getting on with their lives.
4. Tie up loose ends.
In lost causes, most things are said and done. But, if for example, you attend the same school or work at the same place, meetings and accidental bump-ins result in awkward and very uncomfortable circumstances. Work something out with these people–things left unsaid are things said everytime you look into each other’s eyes. 

5. Plan for the future.
Things are done. The feelings, the thoughts, and the emotional value is still there, however. When big break ups and fall-outs occur, your heart and mind are often on overdrive of the predicament. One way to stop mulling on the past is to start planning for the future. Look up. Look at all the things you can do in your life, all the people you can now spend time with now that there is nothing left for you to give to them. Becoming lost in the past makes the roads unclear for the future, and sadly it happens to many of us.

6. Be alone for a while.
Solitude is often one of the best tools for self discovery. Be alone for a while. Read a book. Go on a walk. Play some video games. Just enjoy and observe life. Explore your hobbies and interests. In abusive and detrimental relationships, people often find they have lost their sense of self during it, because of the influences the other person administered. There is no shame in what you like and what you do in your free time as long as it’s not hurting others. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can not do with yourself.

7. Live your life.

After many years, feelings of anger and hurt dissipate. You’ve moved on with your life, they’ve moved on with theirs. Nostalgically, you might find yourself comparing and contrasting the way things were compared to now. We learn to forget the things people say and do to us, but we never can learn how to forget how they made us feel. Wounds heal. Time is short and it goes by fast. By living your life, you continue to seperate these events day by day until you don’t even think about it anymore. Living your life, as happily and truly as you can, is the ultimate step to letting go. "

Thanks, past me.

coffee break

Pajama Dance

People keep blogging about other people wearing pajamas to school.

The only thing I have to say to that is: why the fuck do you care. 

Normally I wouldn't deem this with a 400 word post, but I'm also a little bit desperate and I have to pop out like five more of these babies before Ayer's notices the lack of posts and their sub-par quality.

But really, this topic is somewhat relevant. "No. Just no," both posts ordered. How about, it's actually really none of my business but I'm going to tell people how they can and can't live their lives because for some reason having an opinion on this topic gives me authority to impose my personal ideas down onto them, even though they have not made any personal attack on me nor have asked me for my opinion. 

Now, I understand the importance of dressing nice and presenting your self correctly in the appropriate situations and environment. Looking like you've got your shit together makes other people think you've got your shit together. Employers are more likely to pick out someone who looks nice compared to someone who wears sweats in a job interview because it shows that the person took the time to look decent--a sign of respect and consideration of their opinion towards you.

But I also don't think that there is any place for you to tell other people what to do. People aren't ignorant--they understand their social expectations and the appropriate outfit decisions depending on their situation. Just because somehow dresses how you don't want them to doesn't mean you can make them stop. You have your own philosophy on life, they have theirs, and are probably just as content with theirs as you are with yours. And their probably not being dickheads about it, running around telling other people that they have to wear pajama pants simply because they do.

People's clothes are a faucet of expression. Pajama pants say: I don't care. And what's wrong with that? Maybe they don't. You don't know. You can judge a person on their appearance, but if you judge solely on that, then I feel sorry for you. The best people are always hard to find.

I understand that there is some good intention in their efforts, but like the Jehovah Witnesses that roam around the suburbs, trying to save as many souls as they possibly can with the Word of Jehovah, there good intention is simply unwanted. Unless someone asks you for your opinion, it's generally best---smart----to keep it to yourself.

Live your own life. You make your own choices. Why do you care about what other people are doing if it's not affecting you? I understand in group efforts, where they are trying to make a good impression, that's different, because such a decision is not singular. But does someone in pajama pants make your outfit any worse? Is it really going to ruin your day? Only if you make it. Jesus why do people even care. Having an opinion or a judgment on someone for their outfit is perfectly OK, but when you're on the crusade to ban fucking pajama pants, you care far too much.

Instead of worrying about what other people are wearing....why don't you worry about yourself! There, problem solved, and 556 words done.

Under pressure

Junior year is commonly the hardest year for high school students. It's when the race for college truly picks up. You've got your PSAT, SAT, ACT, National Honor Society, college visits, and scholarship opportunities to start worrying about. You've got your sports, clubs, and grades to worry about. You've got your job, family, and friends to worry about. It's really loaded on this year, and it's almost impossible to find a balance, especially when you weigh in the acts of god and the unavoidable, like car accidents or sickness or losing friends.

It's hard to find space just to breathe.

The other day my dad handed me my National Honor Society application and I almost started crying. I was already knee-deep in AP homework and cleaning the house and getting ready for school the next. Another application, another day, but it managed to worm into the places where I shove the crap I don't know how to deal with, that fear of never amounting to anything, of being a disappointment--- not good enough not good enough not good enough---but I shoved it back into its place before it could well up and get the best of me, cause me to lose everything that I had barely been keeping together. I didn't cry. I didn't kick and scream, even though I desperately wanted to. No doors were slammed, no feet pounded out the door in frustration and humiliation.

Because we're all under pressure right now. My problems are no more important than anyone else's. I don't have any right to stomp out when things get tough, when I feel like I'm fishtailing out of the fucking road. I guess I'm growing up; I guess I'm learning my place. But these things I'm doing right now are important. No one else is responsible for your own failures---but they're also not responsible for your successes. And that's hard to remember, especially when you're young, when you're inexperienced, when you're so damn scared because each step you're taking feels like one more to a cliff.

It is so much easier to blame others when you're under pressure. When people are just there. Growing up means taking credit for your choices, good and bad. When you start to do that, you get a little stronger--and the pressure is a little easier to bear. It makes it easier to lift up instead of feeling like you're just squeezing through.

You've seen what happens in nature when things are under pressure. Some are flattened and destroyed, but the most valuable things can come out over time and pressure---diamonds and oil. If that's not a lesson from mother nature, I don't know what is.

We're being pressed down so tight right now. It takes a lot of grit and gumption to get through. Sometimes you're going to have to take things with your very teeth if you want it.

I want it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Death of Style

Yesterday I was at a conference for IHSPA. One of the speaker's was Casey Lynch, Editor in Chief at IGN. He talked about how to make it as a writer. He had six main points, but I can only remember three, but that's probably because they were the most important.
  • Go to college---but don't become them.
  • Read.
  • Make yourself memorable.
He stressed the importance of individuality and impact. Make youself memorable, he'd said, do something that makes people react to you, grabs them through the wall of apathy and gets them to feel. Go to college, learn, but don't become just another formal drone-- keep what is inherit to you still you. And of course, read, because a writer who doesn't read is the same as the athlete who doesn't exercise.

I've been thinking about this a lot.

In journalism, there is a set style that all writer's must learn and be apt pupils of. There are different ways to write on-the-spot, investigative, and features in the most objective and interesting way possible. There are rules for how quotes are attributed and how transitions must work. God, don't even get me started on the lead. The lead is the live-or-die of any good story, but there is only so much flexibility between the rigid columns of the rulebook.

I've been thinking about this a lot.

Go to college. Read. Make yourself memorable.

I'm at the point in my life where I finally have everything I want: I'm making my own decisions, for myself. And that's scary as hell. Do people know me? I should never be placed in the power to make these decisions. Saturday is PSAT, which is the entryway to National Merit Scholar---scholarships. Moneymoneymoney. It's all coming down to college, and I don't even have half idea of where I'm going (I delete all the emails that come in my inbox, I burn all the letters in my mailbox at home).

We're not adults, we're not children. We're on the precipice of both, in between.

I've been thinking about this a lot.

So I want to be a writer, but I'm at the crossroads of what kind. I am---secure when I am reading, breathing when I am writing. It's a shame to feel so good and natural about something that has no place for you in it's world. I am not a good writer and a poor critique. What I can hope for is to stick to the journalistic style, and go to college and learn their way of writing.

Make yourself memorable. And that's where I'm at a fault. I find myself censoring my original writing a lot because I don't know what it's going to do. Like anyone else whose ever struggled as a writer, I do not know my voice yet. Like anyone else whose ever struggled as a writer, I am not encouraged to do so---how can anyone say there is when we are so pressed to write in one style over another?

I've been thinkin about this a lot.

I feel like it's pretty hard to develop your own style, and I guess that comes with the business. But I want to start actually putting my stuff out there. Not just some paper that I think will get me easy points. I'm done with people telling me, 'no, you did this wrong', because they don't get my style. I'm tired of being scared to write in my own voice.

It's time for a revival.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

If you start a sentence

with "I'm not racist but..." or "This may sound racist but..." There is a probability of approx. 123497348234% chance you should shut the hell up. How does that even sound good in your head? 

Saying "I'm not racist but..." does not make whatever following comment more or less racist. It does not make you more or less racist. Saying "I'm not racist but..." is just a way for people to set up their incredibly racist comments while shielding/protecting themselves from the idea and fact that they are actually incredibly racist.

The best example right now could be the racist comments in politics about Obama. There are so many people---whether you, or even they acknowledge it or not, that do this all the time.

Twitter is the worst offender.
NOOOOOOOOOOO. For anyone who says that a person who makes comments like these isn't being racist, doesn't discriminate against Obama because of his color, they need to do some serious re-evaluating.

Think before you speak.

coffee break

I think a lot

about writing. I'm not a very good writer, but I'm definitely not the worst. I hate almost everything I've ever written, which my mom says is good. That all the best writer's do, because that's how they make progress, knowing they've got to be better. Sometimes I don't know if I can. 

I actually like these blog posts a lot. In a way, they're almost therapeutic, getting my thoughts out into the air, having to actually think when I write my argument. I like how sometimes I'll start with the opinion at one end of the argument, and as I do my research and try to form my opinion it actually changes by the end of the article, because I've actually taken the time to think about the choice I'm making on something. I suppose it's enlightening. It certainly is critical to me, as a writer, as a person.

The hardest thing about writing is actually doing it. Ideas will come and go through out the day, but it takes an insurmountable determination to start penning things down. You probably know it. Doing something that feels impossible and then laughing when you're down. In athletics they say the time you should work the hardest is when you feel at you're absolute weakest, because that is when the training matters most, where it will kick in. It's true about writing.

I don't know where I stand as a writer compared to my peers. I don't know where I stand at all, and I'm either not comfortable enough with having someone critiquing my work or the people I actually do feel comfortable enough don't have enough experience/expertise to validate my writing. I love tough editors because they get you places. The thing about praise and success is that it gets you nowhere, builds this sense of security that is hard to get out of because it's safe---so you never move on to greater things.

I remember I won this contest for the Love My Library Contest. I won a NOOK, which was awesome, but I was also really embarrassed. I consider it one of my poorer essays. And I won, and was lavished with all this unmitigated praise and congratulations and I felt like such a fraud because the essay was actually pretty terrible. And then I had to read it at this groundbreaking ceremony downtown, and I just felt bad. Resist the urge to publicly apologize bad, and I ran off the stage when everyone was clapping. Oh man, and then people personally congratulated me after, and I did not deserve that. I smiled and thanked them, but inside I was handling it badly.

As a writer, it's not as though I don't like winning. But only when I feel like it's deserved. And how the hell am I supposed to know when something is deserved when I can't even honestly tell how good something I write is? Because this is important to me. I want to be a better writer.

Also, scholarships, which pretty sums up my life right now.


Does anyone besides thirteen year old pubescent girls, aspiring show choir geeks and nostalgic fortysomething mothers wanting to re-live their dreams watch Glee nowadays? I mean, I totally used to watch the first season, but after that I was just kind of done....

But yesterday was one of those days where you cook yourself some ramen and chill in sweatpants and watch that weeks TIVO with your mom. The last episode had like ten main couples break up because they were going separate ways and such. And while it was a fun time to remember that I actually do enjoy some of their covers, my sisters claim that Ryan Murphy (the creator) is a genius is pretty far-out.

For one thing, for a show that takes pride in its ethnic diversity, Glee is surprisingly racist. An article from Cracked, The 5 Most Baffling Racist Shows On TV Right Now puts it best:
"But then it was pointed out to me that every non-white character is such a non-white character that it's like the producers had actually just come here from an albino world and were so taken with the novelty of people who weren't white that they had no time to look into or care about their cultures at all. Hence the two Asian characters on the show have the same last name. The Jew's last name is Ben Israel and he's as sexually deranged as Gladstone. The Latina cheerleader is actually named Santana Lopez, possibly because they had to cut Conchita Luisa Mexicasa out of the script. There's even actually an Irish exchange student who is immediately believed to be a leprechaun."---Ian Fortey
 The bad part is that he's not even exaggerating. And what's worse--is that this show is a recidivist of perpetuating the same stereotypes. Why? Because simply there are no new character types. They simply take one character, copy and paste their personalities and beliefs onto another actor, and change their name. Take Quinn and Kitty. They could be sisters. Both blonde, religious advocates, cheerleaders who don't practice what they preach and are overly cruel. Even the show calls her a "young Quinn Fabray, except that she's not pregnant."

Glee 36-becca-02 4391 v2kva.jpg
Even the fucking background.

The writer's make little to no attempt at trying to create new people, simply sticking with their stock characters. And all of them are extremely one dimensional. And since I've mentioned Quinn, let's talk about her a little more. Quinn was one of the most disappointing characters I've ever watched on TV in my whole life. In season 1, she gets knocked up by the really hot dude with the mohawk, Puck, unfortunately while she is still dating the school's most popular jock, Finn. I mean they sing it out a lot, but Quinn had this really beautiful character development in the first season as she is forced to make the decision on whether or not to keep her baby, while handling getting kicked out of her house, lying to Finn that he's the father (who she was living with) and deciding to give the baby to her teacher's wife. And the whole falling to bottom of the high school caste system. We really got to watch her grow into this mature, kind, compassionate woman, who became more caring and accepting--almost wise--as she got further along in her pregnancy. And then she had the baby and her entire character development was thrown out the window. She completely reverted to her prepregnancy days. I understand that it could be rationalized as her way of trying to regain her life back and continue the way she had before, but Quinn had learned shit. And you just don't drop those kind of life lessons after you pop a kid out when you're like 16 years old. You just don't. 

And that's a problem. While a lot of characters did develop in more mature ways from the first to last one, the strongest they came through was the first where everyone had to set aside their differences and learn how to accept one another. While the whole breaking the system is so unoriginal, they pulled through in such a powerful way that actually made you support them.

So Glee just got more and more popular, causing the spin-off The Glee Project, which is where a bunch of other young singing/dancing/quadruple threats of various disabilities and backgrounds (for diversity) compete against each other for a position on the show.....which just shows that the telecast thinks it's more important than it actually is. And so these kids would win and be entered on the show, literally just written-in, and it was always poorly (and offensively---remember the Irish kid who everyone made really juvenile Leprechaun and lucky charm jokes?) and the characters would be there for half a season with no real purpose to the overall plot, sometimes even the small subplots and it was all just really terrible.

So they have all these throw-away characters but there clasping with a death grip on their favorite characters who have already graduated, Rachel and Kurt, who moved to New York city to follow their dreams of Broadway. It's so cliche and painful, and it just makes me want to tear my eyes out. They should have either created a new series that followed all of the cast instead of just focusing on two of the old ones and footnoting a few others, and creating a whole new cast which no one really cares about. OR they could have followed the Degrassi style, where each generation gets their own focus, building on to each other.

So I'm pretty disappointed. The show started off really strongly, and it should of ended strongly, too. There are some other things I could talk about, like Santana's lesbian arc and the whole strange school funding thing and Sue Sylvester situation, but I thing I'm done with Glee. I'm just done.

A note on gender pricing

Little-known fact that ladies pay more on the same thing as men. It's called gender pricing, and the simple reason the same stuff for girls that costs more than guys is simply because companies understand that women will pay more, for less. It's because more so than men, simple toiletries and beauty products are almost an requirement to be a women in this society.

A 2010 study by the Consumer Reports estimate that women could be paying up to 50% on basic products then men. Items included shampoo, razors, and deodorant. The argument by the companies is that women's products have more scent, specialization, and last longer. Here is a basic chart: (He paid, she paid)
Chart showing that women pay more for similar products purchased by both genders
What the CR concluded:
"Bottom line
Try ignoring gender labeling and buy the cheaper version. "You're paying for the perceived value of the package," says Allan Gorman, owner of Brandspa, a company that helps make brands more desirable. "Can you really tell the difference? Most of us can't."
Though while many states (California being the first in 1996) have bans against gender pricing on certain things like haircuts and dry cleaners, there is no overarching federal law in the US that bans such discrimination---the only law is on jobs and housing. In one article by it was revealed that in certain countries, like New Zealand, the unfair pricing stays the same.
"One salon charged women from $75 to $107 for a cut and blowdry, and men from $59 to $79. Another charged women from $85 to $130 for a cut and style, but men only $75 to $90, and a third $62 for a woman and $44 for a man."---Sometimes it's hard to be a woman, Elle Hunt.
These subtle differences add up. According to Forbes, gender pricing could cost about 1,400 dollars more than men in hidden fees and extra costs.

But the most disturbing of all is that woman pay more on health insurance--that's right--for simply being a woman. Not for maternity reasons, either. The practice is called gender rating and it's in use simply because insurance companies understand that woman go to the doctor more often than men.

Man, I just want to shave my legs. I use men's razors and lady deodorant. I don't want to have to pay an extra amount on the same stuff boys use just because I'm a girl. And I definitely shouldn't be paying more for my health insurance simply because women statistically use it more. Isn't that a little backwards? So we have to buy more even though we're paid less? It's tough, and it's understood, but there aren't a lot of people trying to change anything about it. But I guess women have always been fighting an uphill battle, and what the hell, we've made it this far, haven't we?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

coffee break

Remember how

I posted earlier about how more and more I've been catching in on all the discussions on politics? Yeah, it's just getting worse. I didn't think it was possible, but the arguments that I usually eavesdrop in during the middle of class have actually been deteriorating. I'm actually kind of disappointed.

This is one of those blogs that's so late that I don't know what to do about it. So I'm just going to ramble? To be fair, I've read most of these other kids' blogs, and mostly they come in diary rantings or consumer reviews. Which, as far as excuses go, is a poor one, but I'm desperate. I need to get to 400 hundred words and simply by stating that I'm getting there.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been writing! Just mostly fiction, which does nothing I suppose for an AP Comp class, because the entire point of these blogs is to help build research skills and argument building. Which I don't think everyone has caught on yet? Anyway I try not to post an argument that I haven't fully rounded yet or at least have three sources to help support evidence. That's because while my standards are actually very low, I haven't succumbed to the pressure to write about what kinds of tennis shoes to wear yet and why...Aren't most arguments supposed to beget from conflict? Mostly I see a lot of blogs doing the whole 4 out of 5 stars or whatever.

This is literally an entire blog post of me just rambling. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm really not. I'm tired. I drank a cream soda and now I have heartburn. I'm being a complete brat and deciding that my problems are more important than everyone else. At least I'm self-aware? Who knows.

Oh my god, I just checked word count and this thing is still only at 300 words. WHY. Can I write about how excited I am about the new Supernatural season premiering tomorrow? Because I so am. Season GR8 HAS RISEN. I'm excited but nervous, because last season was done really really realllyyyy poorly. Boring plot line, throw away characters, a lot of plot holes and loose ends. AND THERE WAS SO MUCH POTENTIAL BECAUSE CAS WAS A LEVIATHAN FOR LIKE TWO EPISODES and there could have been such character development and drama but instead the writer's just dropped it like a hot potato when the potato WAS GOLD.

I'm going to go elsewhere...because this train don't stop.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I'm really picky when it comes to what I read. I'm a snob, because I've spent the past 16 years reading every and anything that passed through my hands no matter how poorly written and juvenile it was. I loved Twilight when I was in sixth grade, Jesus. But the older I grow--and the more well-read---the more liable I am to kick out a book by its cover alone. To be fair, though....
2011 YA covers by color

The covers have been pretty telling.
Look closely. See any books that have been recently noted or significant in our culture? See any that don't look like they could have a common plot line? That's because there aren't.

The problem, as with any sub-culture, is that it's all about marketing. Publishing houses buys what sells, and little to nothing else. Remember that huge explosion of the vampire/paranormal romance genre after Twilight? How after The Hunger Games blew through the ceiling, all sorts of teen survival/post-apocalyptic series popped up?

As creatures of habit, when we find something we like, we prefer to stick with it then venture out and find other novels when we already have a set taste. Movie studios, TV producers, the Kardashians, Publishing houses and especially fast food chain stores know this. So the same novel gets mass-produced ten more times with minor changes in names and setting, but quintessentially the same where it matters most. God, they can't even change the cover, either. It's like the call sign.

Because a lot of these books are just...bad. Besides the whole being unoriginal as dirt thing, they're poorly written in terms of style and narrative, have weak story structure and character arcs, and tend to have lots of meaningless details that don't build character or move the plot. It hurts my brain. Like eating fruit snacks and McDonalds every day for your whole life, it just clogs the vital parts of your brain (like creativity, problem-solving, self-evaluation, moral and ethical considerations) turning it into mush. You cannot transcend what you do not know, and many of these books aren't worth knowing.

The reason Harry Potter and The Hunger Games were so popular was because they were, in contemporary literature, novel. They had interesting characters, an interesting setting for the drama to play out, and an unusual plot. While they may have succeeded from the genres before them (Think Lord of the Flies to The Hunger Games), they came together well and weren't terribly written. And they weren't like everything else that was printing at the time.

Because as much people like their easy-pleasures, they love new experiences more. What's more refreshing that an original book?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dumb It Down

"You're too smart," my sister told me, nonchalantly painting her nails.
"What?" I'd said, cutting off my diurnal rant of why I hate my life and the week's culmination of grievances.
"For boys," she assured, "You're too smart for most boys. They don't like smart girls. It's intimidating."

It wasn't the first time I'd been told that I was too intimidating, which is a lie mom's like to tell their daughters when their years as a single lady turn from one to five. It was, however, the first time I'd been told that I was too smart.

I don't know why I was surprised.

Women have been told since the beginning of time that it's their job to dumb it down. Take care of their man. Have a certain beauty, a certain grace, reserve. That they're only as good as the clothes they don and the household they keep. We only just earned suffrage in America around the late 19th century/early 20th century, when men finally decided that our sally little ideas were just as valuable as theirs. Like the idea is even dead.
But you know why? Because girls themselves help to perpetuate the notion. We dumb it down.

This is one of the most common tricks women like to pull in order for men to like them. Men like to feel powerful, women like to be cared for. We dumb it down so their ego won't deflate and make ourselves small so that they can appear to be big. Because we know that guys like this---In February 2011, a study showed that 73 per cent of men would prefer a pretty, dumb girl rather than a clever, more plain one.

But what does that mean for the girls who are playing meek and find themselves in a long-term relationship? The more time one spends with a person, the more comfortable people become. They begin to really, honestly, open up. So when a girl is done playing games and obscuring her intelligence, then what does that mean for the relationship? What does it mean for both of them---the girl who has demeaned herself and belittled her own mind, and the guy who by being responsive in effect helped encourage the act? What does the relationship even become when the essential part of honesty crumbles?

I've heard of it as Silly Me Syndrome before. It's mentioned often in articles about girls not correcting their love-interest if he says a word wrong or if he states a fact that is inaccurate. But the uncomfortable part is that this implies that girls don't correct them simply because they are girls, while it's perfectly OK for guys to do it to girls. As far as I'm concerned, it shouldn't be about gender, it should be about how close two people are: you won't go around making any new friends if you correct everything they say because it will cause them to embarrass (which they'll blame on you), but if you know someone long enough or in rare cases where you need to save them from embarrassment, then it's fine. But to divide that rule on gender? A little bit disconcerting.

Speaking of which, in the article Should a Girl Dumb It Down to Impress a Guy? Chester Bloom bullets some key points on why guys like dumb girls. And why they don't like smart girls. For the former, some of his reasons include that they are more friendly and responsive, less intimidating, boost the man's ego, make them feel powerful, gives them power. My personal favorite was the one where "dumb girls are more easily fascinated." Here, let me quote.
"#1 Dumb girls are easily fascinated. It’s true. All a smooth talking guy has to do is talk about his imaginative experiences and she’ll sit doe eyed with little bits of drool and beam at him all night long. A guy would like any girl who gets fascinated by him."
I'd rather stab my eyes with a spoon than kiss ass. And hey, just because a girl falls into the lesser IQ, doesn't mean that she does either. Remember that whole thing about men disliking feeling inferior to someone smarter? Girls feel that too. 

For why men hate smart girls: they almost always earn more (which intimidates them), they're smug, they can "be insensitive to a man's wallet", which in the context of the article means that they get him better gifts than vice versa. Again, the implication that it's only wrong for women to do this, but that it's fine for men. The truth is that most women hate it too. But because this has been enforced by society, this has become commonplace and thus stood untested and understood. And while I understand that being smug or making more money can be intimidating, that doesn't mean that all smart women are. Flaunting one's wealth looks good on no one. And on being smug--hey, I know, it's called not being a complete jackass. That doesn't jump any gender boundaries, this goes for e v e r y o n e.
I'm so sick of these little games women think they have to play to get men. The games that they actually do to get them because a lot of men have been told that if a women is too smart for him than somehow that makes him too good for her. It's disgusting and belittling. Why can't we learn that we are all equals? That gender doesn't need to dictate the qualities of a person, and then define them as good or bad? 

Forget it. I'm probably going to die old and alone. I'm never going to to dumb it down. I owe it too much for the women who fought like hell before me for my rights that I naturally deserve, but have just only legally attained. I owe it to my mother and my grandmother who keep their families together while knowing that playing stupid is no way to keep a marriage. And I owe it to myself because I know that I can be--that I am--so much better than anyone who thinks they can call themselves my friend, a partner, or even someone who respects women while still belittling me in my own self-worth.

I'm done.

coffee break

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saw the Dark Knight today

with one of my besties. We wasted the first half the day on homework and Starbucks and circling around Twixt Town before we went to the movie. It's September, so a lot of the hype from the movie was calmed down. I knew one of the major spoilers already because the internet is terrible. I wasn't expecting anything out of it, just a nice time to sit and relax and enjoy Joseph Gordon Levitt's face.

But I do like surprises, and this was an especially nice one---the movie was actually pretty good! A friend recently posted something on this topic in her blog about movie reviews and seeing a movie with an open mind. I read it right after I got home from the movie---good timing. So anything I'd have to say on that has already been said in her blog post.

As an average movie-goer I'd have to say that the third installment of this Batman movie was pretty solid. There were lots of good twists that were only subtlety hinted at, and thus managed to come as a complete (and believable) surprise when they were revealed. Some of the pacing was a little bit off, but no scene was there without reason.

I liked the characters. Instead of discussing their development the characters showed it through their decisions and actions---nothing got too sentimental. Bruce Wayne didn't really develop any further other than to return back to his life in the suit. Certain relationships had nice developments throughout the movie, but a few were a bit overdone and obvious. I want to give examples on them---but I don't want to reveal any spoilers!!

Because the plot twists are plenty and great. There are a lot of ways you can guess how a story is going to play out----like the trope of Spoiled by the Format and when there are too many plot lines that need to be resolved in an efficient and obvious way and therefor aren't done in a creative and novel manner. Think of how in romantic comedies all the side characters get paired up with each other in unlikely and humorous combinations. It's literally a writer's way of keeping them busy and finished.

My favorite element of the whole movie was definitely the action and technology though. Because holy crap have you seen Batman's new flying space machine thingy? It looks like it came out of a video game! Out of my wildest dreams! The love child of a sci-fi nerd and a CGI Picasso. It was so COOL. And then his motorcycle that could reverse the wheel's direction! I've taken some tough engineering classes at Kirkwood and the U of I and so seeing something switch gears like that kind of blew my mind. SO AWESOME.

And that's a blog post.

It's just a bunch a BS

On how people conduct themselves in society. Recently I read a friend's blog ranting about how girls dressed in either scandalous or promiscuous implying clothes don't have respect for themselves  title ATTENTION ALL FEMALES. The ending that sums it up: "Put some clothes on and dress with modesty. Stand out and show the world what a self-respecting woman looks like. Be respectful of your body, extend love to everyone, and be the kind of mature woman a classy and respectful man wants to be with. " It wasn't the first time I'd heard the argument, or the cruelest. But it was one that hit me hard because of the proximity, and because of the pure---well, the pure abhorrence of which it intones.
"It’s not cute when you post pictures of yourself in a bra and panties. Have some self respect." [Same article as above]
But the point that the author of this article is this: What if a girl who posts such a picture does respect herself?
What if she loves her body, and respects herself so much that she doesn't mind posting pictures of herself in nothing but her undies, or you know--her birthday suit? What if she chooses to dress that way, for herself and self alone? And hey, what if she even does want to dress up nice for a boy she likes? Who are we to condemn her, when she has made a clear and conscious decision about she wants? 

It's hypocrisy. Feminists and women like these advocate the choices of women yet at the same time antagonize and condemn other women for doing exactly what they preach. And still they do not see the irony of their actions. "Be respectful of your body, extend love to everyone, and be the kind of mature woman a classy and respectful man wants to be with." How is this extending love in any way whatsoever? How is telling another woman to respect herself and love everyone while condemning a certain group of women who respect themselves and love everyone, just in a way that this author doesn't agree or see as doing? How can she pass down such pure judgmental, biased criticism without first placing herself in their shoves? The writer of this article lacks empathy and insight.

People should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want to do. I'm not saying that it's against the law for her to express her opinions on other people's actions and write about how she thinks people should conduct themselves in society. But I sure as hell wish people would educate themselves before passing judgement. Because really, what's it matter to them? Live the life they want to, the way they think they should. The only time I have a serious problem with other people's opinion  (or hatred, criticism, idiocy) is when by some authority they try to boss me around. 

I respect myself too much than to let some girl who thinks she has the authority to write ATTENTION ALL FEMALES and then simultaneously slam on certain women for their life choices and belittle them if they don't.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Nice Guy Lie

Let's just shove this one out before it gets in the way of everything: "Nice guys finish last." There. It has been said. The phrase that became a law, a theory that became the motto of millions embittered men. Nice guys finish last is the popular phrase used to describe how males who define "the nice guy" stereotype are rejected by their love interest for another man who is usually either a bad boy or a jackass.

The best way to understand this cultural phenomenon is by being coined and defined by the culture itself. Urban dictionary, which is a website updated freely by the public, is kind of like having that older, sexually-experienced sister who you go to when you want to figure out a term you've overhead by someone but are too embarrassed to ask what it means. While your parents continue their lives in complete obliviousness, you now know fun terms like "Zubrug" and "Freedom Fondle" are. But I'm getting off topic.

So I went to Urban Dictionary and looked it up. Read several of them for yourself to get a sense of the general consensus on what a Nice Guy is. And count the number of definitions where the author identifies as a dude, and times that by a million. Now you have the Nice Guy defined by Nice Guys. If you didn't read the definition, here is some reoccurring elements:
"A male who can't get a girlfriend, never mind get laid, because he DOESN'T treat women like shit." ----Definition #2 by D.
"the person every girl will compare their would-be boyfriends to, for they possess every trait a woman desires. However, for whatever reason, women avoid them like the plague." Definiton #4 by ares1013.
"Feeling emotionally unsatisfied, the female will then turn to her nice guy friend, whom she has long since castrated, for comfort, and complain to him about how men suck,..." Definition #5 by Killing Kittens.
Simply, it is a long procession of glorifying a male for characteristics generally admired in our society--but saying that their only downfall is that they are too good, that they are too nice, or by saying that women are still to shallow to appreciate them because they may be lacking in the male-dominance attribute and good looks department.

Nice guys are the people who apparently give everything to women, but yet their individual woman never takes notice in them and instead goes for jerks....And so, excuse me? If you don't get the glaring implication right there, let me explain: by this definition alone the intimation is that if a guy is nice to a girl, then she is apparently in some sort of way indebted in returning and/or expected to reward his "nice guy" behavior by starting an intimate relationship with him in any sort of romantic or sexual nature.

The idea that just because a guy acts like an above-decent human being to a girl doesn't mean he really is a "nice" guy, and even if you accept that he's a nice guy doesn't mean that the girl has to like him that way because of his personality. It's the behavior-reward system that is enabled by the ideology itself that somehow manages to make the "Nice Guy" a sympathetic victim and villianizes the girl of the pursuit. It's a method that is insidious and premeditated---and that is no way nice at all.

Because why should I date a man just because he's "nice"? In what way, shape, form, or natural law does that make me obligated to him in one way whatsoever? Considering what I have just talked about, shouldn't I be wary of someone who is termed as a "nice guy", when I understand that his personal motivation and behavior is a means to an end? That it is an act---because he's doing exactly what he thinks a women should want in a man and therefor should invest in, but not really being himself? People are assholes--that goes for everyone---so why are they surprised when we go to the people who act like themselves, who are real? How am I being in anyway self-centered when his whole motivation is self-centered for a single want?

I am not alone in the women who see Nice Guys for what they are. Heartleats Bitches International  has a whole archive filled with essays criticizing "the self-professed" Nice Guys. A lot of the essays include personal anecdotes of women who experienced first-hand the worst of them---they're stories that I unfortunately find that I can relate to.

Because you know what a Nice Guy is? A lie.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

coffee break

I'm so done

I absolutely cannot control myself. Every time I log onto Facebook, I will inevitably start to browse everyone else's Facebook stuff, pictures and comments and mostly more pictures, ultimately making me feel like a pile of utter crap. It's a matter of comparison: I already hate myself enough, seeing all these people positively delighted with theirs makes me want to throw myself off a bridge.

But hey, thanks to research, I know I'm not alone!

"According to the study by Utah Valley University, the more the people use the hugely popular social networking website, the more they will believe that others are much happier, the Daily Mail reported."--IANS, of the Tribune.

So, I nailed it on the head. Something about seeing everyone else having a great time makes you feel like you're not. The United States, which is the superpower of the free world, is second place in the world for life-time Depression, right after France. Think about it: we're one of the most prosperous, educated, elite countries in the world, and we're the second most depressed. Think of all those countries in Africa that you see on TV reminding you for all that your life sucks, it could be so much worse. And yet, those countries, on  the sliding scale of depression, don't out top us. So again: it's a matter of comparison.

Man, screw this. I am so done. All of it is just a bunch of pretentious, dick-measuring contest in the first place. While I'm not the type to advocate the evils of new age technology and social media, I'll be first to say that what Facebook does is make us diminutive, a tool that flattens the complexity and struggle of a human being to 140 characters or less or some stupid picture of cartoon animals with the caption, "tag which one applies to you! xoxox." Because we are so much more than that---and people are in flux, and we are growing, and Facebook lets us remember our stupidity, how we looked and how we thought when we were younger, envelops old grudges in a manilla folder format, when really they should be let go, let bygones be bygones. But nothing truly dies on the internet.

And do you know how absolutely creepy and disturbing that is? My uncle died several years ago, and being able to see his profile on Facebook felt wrong. In a sense, it felt disrespectful. He was so much more than his profile. It presented him less than he actually was. I...if I die, I certainly don't want to be an old profile haunting Facebook. God, anything but that.

Jesus. Guess what I'm gonna go delete now?

Buffy Speak

"Everybody talks first draft."
Larry Niven, Niven's Laws for Writers

Remember that whole saying when you're trying to find the right word and you know and you can't just think of it, so you say "It's on the tip of my tongue!" (succeeding or proceeding a rather colorful blue streak), or when you want to describe something to someone but you don't know where to start, because words have failed you and start to ramble like a fool? Yeah, there's a name for that---Buffy Speak. And if you're like any other human being on the planet, it's most likely that this applies to you.

What I really like about this article is how they describe it. "A thing you see a lot with this is when they don't know the right words and stuff, so sometimes you see noun and verb things combined like in "shooty-gun thing", and stuff that goes in a cycle thing in frustration: "That idea went over like... like... like a thing that doesn't go over very well." That's exactly the idea.

The most associated with this trope is teenagers. Teens have this special kind of ability to just make up words and phrases and repeat them until their past the point of funny and become commercialized, like "Swag" or "Call Me Maybe" or "Cool Story Bro". It's a skill that is more highly refined than any political propagandist could ever hope for and then any rap artist would hope to coin. But part of the reason for this is that a lot of times, teens--like any other human being in this world---are just awakening into new emotions, feelings, internal struggles, and other conflicts, and have a hard time describing or relating these new emotions and translating them into something that even they can understand. So they often try to work around it by creating new hypes either to help them feel as if they have some sense of control in how they describe things into things they can start to comprehend.

Expect a lot of expletives---primarily the versatile "fuck". It's used as a placement word for, well, anything. Sometimes when thoughts are so jumbled and incoherent, you just have to get it all out. In addition, it also helps relieve the frustration and anger that comes with not being able to articulate your thoughts--which are probably serious and important to your or another's feelings--in an intelligent and comprehensible format.

After all--this should be noted and important to anyone who is going to write realistic dialogue--because you know, what the hell, Realistic Diction is Unrealistic. 

Reality of Honey Boo Boo

My first introduction to Honey Boo Boo was this lovely gif set:

"You guys are so right! That girl Alana from last night’s Toddlers & Tiaras was saying some pretty wacky things! Where does she get this stuff from? Kids today! [Random quotes generated by the perennial favorite, The Nietzche Family Circus]"--comment by Tumblr user imsosorry.
After cleaning the spurted Pepsi off my keyboard, I went to Google and looked up who she was. And oh man, there was so much more than I could ever imagine I was in for. Honey Boo Boo, christian name Alana Thompson, was released into the wild (also known as TLC) on the show Toddlers & Tiaras last January. If you don't know what T&T is, save yourself while you still can. The premise of the show is that the production team of TLC follows around young girls and their families as they enter and prepare for pageants. Think Little Miss Sunshine only written as a macabre comedy. And who are we kidding--- I'm sure all of you have heard of this show before, and the outlier that is Honey Boo Boo.

And now she has her own show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. But really, why? What makes Honey Boo Boo so noted by the media and society, when the media and society is already at 210% full of bullshit, ignorance, general stupidity, and Jersey Shore? Especially after considering the fact that even The Hollywood Gossip described some of the quotes as nauseating? 

Primarily, it's the family itself. Living in the boons of McIntyre, Georgia, 7 year old Alana has her mother, June Shannon--"Mama"; father Mike Thompson, "Sugar Bear"; 17 year old sister Anna (who recently just gave birth to niece Kaitlyn); 12 year old sister Lauryn; and 15 year old sister Jessica, "chubs", to which have all separate fathers. They also have a pet pig named Glitzy. 

And oh man, where to start. Ok, so Sugar Bear just got in an ATV accident the other day, resulting in crutches. As he puts it, he was "mud-bogging". All of the girls fathers have been convicted in one way or another, from arson to child exploitation.  They spend about 10,000 dollars a year on pageants. They participate in the Redneck Olympics, which includes the family-fun game of bobbing for pig's feet. 
If that doesn't convince you that their life is absolutely crazy, then let the universe convince you: Alana's new niece, Kaitlyn, was recently born with two extra thumbs. I shit you not, the baby had two extra thumbsIts that quote about reality being stranger than fiction, recorded on live television. If that isn't a sign I don't know what is.

The media is currently exploding with various opinions of Honey Boo Boo. The hype ranges from careful defendants to explosive rage, like one overzealous writer (who runs the blog People I Want To Punch In the Throat) on the Huff criques: "The language that they speak (I've been told that it's English) is so garbled and fucked up they need subtitles just so you can understand when Honey Boo Boo's pregnant sister tells the world she needs to go to the hospital because her "biscuit" hurts or Honey Boo Boo tells you "A dollar makes me holler."

Speaking of which, Honey Boo Boo, is ridiculously easy to quote: "A dollar makes me holler, honey boo boo!", and "You better redneckgonize!" are just two that I can mention without feeling the cell count in my brain drop. 

And the thing is, people love this. They are drinking this stuff up faster and harder than Alana's infamous "Go-go" juice (Which, by the way, was such a volatile concoction that even Child Services had commented on it, along with the whole thing about them eating roadkill and consuming too many cheese puffs. Also, the reason they were even involved? Alana was caught on video dancing for dollars in a college bar. "Not a sleazy one," according to June. Full article here. And that's not even counting the recent trouble with Lauryn feeding Kaitlyn mountain dew with a pacifier.)

But continuing. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo's ratings topped RNC's last August.  They were featured in People this summer, and the rating's have skyrocketed since then. Cracked does a nice job covering on how Honey Boo Boo has redeemed reality TV--their number one reason? "Bringing Back Reality." And really---what's more real than eating roadkill and talking about your bowl movements with the people you love?

 Anyway, if you still haven't got your fix of enough Honey Boo Boo Child---here, I've got you covered.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My girl is not a slut

I love TV Tropes. If you've ever been on the website with even the slightest of interest in TV or literature, than you already know the dangers of tabs, like it's some kind of weird addiction and I can't stop. As such, some of my blog entries will be my own interpretation, thoughts, and analysis on 
certain tropes that I find intriguing, prevalent at the time, or representative to certain subjects I write about.
Or, you know, tropes that pop into my life. As it is today, this one titled: My Girl Is Not a Slut. A short summary of a short summary, this trope discusses the stupidity of the common idea that while men can have multiple sexual partners without being criticized, for a woman who is sexually active means she is too be condemned and scorn. In my peers term, common on Facebook statuses: "How come when a guy sleeps around he's a stud, but when a girl does she's a slut?"

It's a double standard, Older than Feudalism. And everybody knows this. However, each person tries to rationalize this in their own way. But with the 2012 Elections coming up, this is a common issue that is becoming more imperative to discuss everyday. Perhaps the views of society may not change, but the laws certainly will depending on who is elected to our next president. You know what I'm talking about: Romney, and his plan to cut the cord on Planned Parenthood. It is, I believe, a testament to the double standard that condemns women for their sexual lives more than we condone men for their own private lives.

Yasmin Nair does a great job with dissecting this issue further in her essay In Defense of Sluts. The timing is important--it was published during the infamous case of Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student who was ripped apart by Rush Limbaugh for making her case in court about birth control. Nair puts it beautifully at there: "That brings me to an aspect of this case which leaves me, at best, deeply uneasy and, at worst, terrified for the future of women's sexual lives in this country: the fact that the media coverage and responses of feminists so far have been to first criticise Limbaugh's "slut-shaming" and then to insist that Fluke is no slut." 

What's wrong with being a slut? The most important part, I think, is that woman should be allowed to make whatever the hell decision they want to, without the double standard hanging over them, a mechanism built into our society made to shame and condemn women for their lifestyles, while glorifying men for theirs. That is not to say people are not allowed to have their own opinions on other people's lives, men or women, but when it comes to the law---then it's a problem.

Because, really, in the end, who's going to care if your girls a slut?