Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Let's Try To Get Beyond The Drama

February is drawing swiftly to a close, and with its ending, bringing the start of the best month of the year. That's right, March is almost upon us. There are many reasons we should like March:

-In elementary school, we got to take time out of learning our multiplication tables and that Henry VIII had six wives to color pictures of little lions and lambs. The point of this exercise escapes me, as I have no recollection of any meteorological link being brought up, but who cares. WE GOT TO COLOR.

-Since March does, indeed, either come in like a lion or out like a lamb, or come in like a lamb or go out like a lion, no one really has any idea WHAT is going on with this crazy month, or how to dress for the weather. And since I can't dress myself normally, I fit right in, finally.

-The Academy Awards are being hosted by Jon frickin' Stewart this year, ladies and gentlemen. Who doesn't love that?

-The Ides of March. Someone should throw a party.

-So many people have birthdays in March. Happy birthday! And if there's a birthday, there's a chance that there will be funfetti cake sitting there for me to devour. I love funfetti cake. Like I told my friend Geneius the other night, it's fun, and there's edible confetti in it. EDIBLE CONFETTI. You cannot argue with logic like that, peoples (and that is why I make such a great philosopher).

-Elder Brown comes home. In ten days. Ten. That's right, ten. At which time, he will swiftly kill me for falling off the writing-him-once-a-week-every-week horse and landing on the I-haven't-mailed-a-letter-since-August cold, hard ground. Jennifer keeps mentioning his homecoming in a terribly excited voice, and can't really understand why I want to throw up every time she does. She was a good friend. A responsible friend. Who actually mailed the letters she wrote. Instead of starting them and forgetting about them and letting them pile up in various notebooks scattered throughout my room. SHE has nothing to worry about. But it'll be fun to have him home again, too, so it's another tick for March.

This actually wasn't supposed to turn into a post about March; I apologize. What I really wanted to say is that some of you (most of you!) have restored my faith in decency. I want to take this opportunity to tell you to click here and keep the campaign going.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I Should Charge For This Kind Of Advice. I Shouldn't Have To Have Customers, Though.

Here is a note for all of you living with other people (and I know most of you are): You are LIVING with OTHER PEOPLE.

I shouldn't need to point that out. You're telling yourself, Hey, that's pretty obvious that I'm living with other people, what does she think I am, a retard?

No. Just self-absorbed. Not that that's a bad thing. It's actually a pretty natural thing. I mean, how much of your day do you spend actually in somebody else's mind? Exactly. None of it. It's how we're designed to function. Which is why things happen like people not wearing headphones and playing music their roommates don't care for; or someone not emptying the dishwasher even though they were supposed to; or someone "borrowing" something while their roommate was away and breaking it; or some girl making a snippy, passive-agressive remark about someone in front of that someone's face; or people not picking up after themselves; or waking people up two hours before they needed to be up with a loud voice; or turning the heat down too low or up too high; or singing badly, yet loudly, to yourself at 2 a.m. while other people are around for any reason; or not wiping off the countertop; or reading someone else's internet conversations over their shoulder (or while they step out for a moment, or while they're at work and you lie and say it was an accident or someone else who told you about it, you liar, yes, I know all about you); or having sex in the room while someone else is trying to sleep; or making messes in shared areas; or vomiting in the kitchen and making someone else clean it up; or eating someone else's food without asking, or even with asking, but without their offering; or....

And I bet you have lots of stories of your own. We spend most of our lives living in close proximity with other people. Clean up your messes, wear headphones and don't sing along, stay quiet when others are sleeping, wait for something to be extended to you, and don't try to be a lying, weaselly little sneak, because you're not that sneaky. Just be considerate. And for heaven's sake, if you're too hot in your apartment/house/dorm room/storage shed/whatever, do not move the thermostat down 20 degrees. Move it five. Because you know what? The apartment/house/dorm room/storage shed/whatever temperature will move to whatever you set it. Surprise! No one wants to wake up shivering, especially not if heat is free.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Small Thought

I had ice cream and apple jacks for dinner. (Not together.)

I love being in college.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm Bragging, But This Is My Blog, So It's Allowed

You know what feels good? Consistently getting the highest class grader on every paper you write. Apparently I'm a god in the English department, and I'm getting my own (good) reputation in the philosophy department as well.

Which reminds me of a conversation I overheard as I was sleeping/reading Mrs. Dalloway. Two girls were sitting near me, in the philosophy end of the hallway, where there is (appropriately) a bulletin board with philosophy information on it. All the departments have one.

Girl 1: I hate philosophy.
Girl 2: Hate?
Girl 1: Well, not hate. I just...yuck.
Girl 2: Why?
Girl 1: It's too abstract. Like in math...there's one answer. In philosophy, there are, like...three or four. And who knows what the professor wants!
Girl 2: Huh.
Girl 1: English is so much better. Except my professor wants us to write this "scholarly paper." I mean, why?
Girl 2: Well, this is college. I think all my professors want scholarly papers.
Girl 1: And my family life class--[mumbled something I couldn't hear, and I'm pretty sure I didn't want to anyway]
Girl 1: AND! They want me to write a perfectly grammatical paper. That's not even possible.
Girl 2: Well, you have to proofread. And take it to the writing center.
Girl 1: What's that?

And then Girl 2 took the textbook she was holding and killed Girl 1 for being so dumb. Or maybe I added that part in my imagination.

No wonder professors think I write good papers; the ABOVE is what I'm competing with. People who don't want to waste their time proofreading, much less thinking.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Finding Comfort In Myself

I don't want to talk about it.

I had a really fun weekend, doing all kinds of things I've never done before and getting dirty in the process, which is always a plus. We went out into the wilderness of Utah and had ourselves a nice little 5-hour hike (and by "hike," I do not mean we walked around; we brought rope and harnesses and helmets; we had to suspend ourselves in the air, wedging our bodies between canyon walls to get around the icewater in the canyon bottom; I needed help, and I actually willingly accepted it). Ed took lots of pictures, and in the event that I actually get them, I might post one here so you can see what was up. It really was a GREAT day. Oh, and the weather wasn't too cold, so I didn't freeze to death, which is a plus in my book.

Of course, I came home and dropped my bag, which got grassy stuff all over the floor I'd JUST vacuumed, which was not so cool. And there was some tragedy involving missing files on my computer. And of course there was the never-quite-ending realization of how things are just refusing to work out. I think that's why I have this intense relationship with literature. All of the characters have someone scripting their life out for them, so whether they get a happy ending or their just desserts or a sad, tragic, this-is-awful-but-this-is-life ending, it's all planned out from the very beginning. (Well, in most cases. I won't talk about that other kind of literature.) The characters can't control anything, they're just words on a page manipulated by a greater force, so if something doesn't work out, well, that's just how it goes. I AM in control of my life, and I STILL can't make the ends match up. I know what I want. I have some things decided. I know exactly who I am and how I fit (or don't fit) and what I need to go where I want. People like this really shouldn't be floundering the way I am. That's for people who haven't quite figured everything out yet, or who aren't ready to settle down into something, or who are just too messed up to function.

No, I'm not talking about how life likes to throw curve balls and how sometimes plans fail, etc etc. That's understandable; it happens to everyone, near as far as I can tell. I'm not talking about the confusion of being single in a family-oriented culture. It's stressful, I guess, but not really a big deal. I am not talking about worries over money or grades or friends or keeping Mom happy while being realistic. I am talking about the kind of stuff that reduces you to asking "What do we do?" over and over and over again, with no answer. No workable answer. And having no idea how it got that way or how to get out, or how to work something out so that someone can be happy.

It's frustrating. But it's a story.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm Not Going To Tell You What I Actually Saw In My Dreams Because, Wow, Boring

Apparently I pulled an Art this morning. As in, my roommate tried waking me up, only to fail, and fail bitterly. As in, there was a moment when she considered checking my heartbeat to see if I were still alive. (What she would have done if she had discovered I had died sometime during the night, I have no idea. I never would have forgiven me if I'd had to deal with a cold, lifeless corpse in my room. And I probably would have kicked me in the head. And then stolen my soft soft scarf and kept it for myself. And that game of Risk that's been sitting on the shelf for years so SOMEONE could put it to use and learn to play. That's what I would have done if I'd have been her and discovered me dead one morning. But I don't know what she would do.) From her point of view, she kept shaking me and shaking me and calling my name until fifteen minutes in to the process when I responded with "Wow," and told her that I was awake.

I am such a liar, even when I'm asleep. Because I never woke up, I promise you that. I was probably in the middle of an extremely vivid, life-like dream. I had them all night long, I think, and they kept changing people and situations, playing out realistic scenarios that never were. Dreams like that mess with my head, because I spend hours or days afeterward trying to piece out what really happened or what didn't. I remember one time when I was in elementary or middle school, my friend Stephanie called me up and asked if I wanted to hang out. In the middle of our conversation, I told her that I thought our friend Alex's mother had died the other day, and I wasn't sure if I had just dreamed it, or if it had really happened. There was a pause in the conversation, and Stephanie sadly told me that yeah, Alex's mom had died, and that maybe we should go visit Alex and cheer her up. So we walked over to Alex's house, and it was all very awkward, because what do you say to someone whose mother has just died? And then Stephanie started laughing and told me I'd just dreamed everything, and I was kinda ticked that I had just been put through a lot of emotional strain for nothing.

The good thing about all of this, though, is that my body finally got a decent amount of sleep after days of almost none. And since this three-day weekend is technically our Spring Break, I'll be livin' it up tonight and tomorrow. Heck yes.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sometimes Perfection Can Be Perfect Hell

Kafka was wrong: There is hope; there is hope for me.

For us.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Clock Reads 5:44 a.m.

5:30 a.m. IM conversations are best partaken of when you've already tried sleeping twice, and have given up both times, first to read philosophy for class in the (early) morning, and second to organize the episodes of The Colbert Report stored away on the computer.

They're great (the conversations, although The Colbert Report is great too), because all participants are tired, so filters are down, and syntax isn't quite clickin', either. The conversation inevitably leads to Myspace and a quick rush of comment battling. (For those of you unfamiliar with the cultural tenets of Myspace, I'm sure you're all thoroughly and sadly confused. Don't worry about it, just be glad you are completely unaware of the drama inherent in such a beast. Merciful heavens, I love it.)

And then, in the midst of comment battling, I discover an anonymous e-mail in my inbox. I click to open it and discover...poetry. Yes, that is right. Someone I do not know e-mailed me poetry in the middle of the night. And that's pretty much why I'm still up; I'm just waiting for the next great thing to happen.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What A Marvelous Holiday

Today in honor of Valentine's Day, I was going to post naked pictures of myself rolling around on my bed in big stacks of money, as per Miss Jerilyn's request.

But then, as I was walking across Brigham Young University campus, I saw a guy dressed up as Cupid, running around distributing candy, while Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" rolled through the air around him/us. And I thought that would be way, way more interesting to tell you guys about.

He'd run up to unsuspecting girls who were buried deep in worrying about their upcoming midterms and he would extend his BYU Bookstore bag filled with candy. The girls would startle out of their reveries and look shocked and awkward at this half-naked man draped in white with WINGS ATTACHED and a "Happy Valentine's Day!" sign scribbled in red marker hanging from his belt/rope/thing. It was FANTASTIC. I wish I could have bottled up the awkwardness of the entire thing and gifted it to you, my friends, with perhaps some candy hearts and doily fringe. This is my valentine to you.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Carve Out Your Heart For Keeps In An Old Oak Tree

How To Charm Me, Part Two.

First, tell me you have bought me the best present ever. This will immediately snag my attention, because presents have happy connotations, and also because I will want to know what this present is. Curiosity killed the Elizabeth, as the saying goes, and it can be used to great effect in situations like these.

Maximize the manipulation of my naturally curious nature and lead me on an hours-long guessing game while giving me vague hints like "It's something terribly hard for you or anyone else to procure for you," and "I don't think I can mail it. Them."

Laugh secretly at me when I show an inability to keep all of the hints you've given to me in mind when guessing. (For example, I learned it wasn't an animal, and yet guessed "an octopus," then "octopi," then "ducks," then "goldfish." It's amazing that I graduated from elementary school, and yet here I am, supposedly at a well-regarded university. I guess I write a killer application essay?)

Finally when I get close enough to the truth, reveal that you have spent an entire year searching for a mint-condition set of Unbreakable movie-promotion posters such as that Blockbuster puts up to advertise new releases. You know that Unbreakable is my favorite movie, that my walls are absolutely bare, and that the only picture in existence of physical contact between us was taken in a Blockbuster store, so it's become a thing for us.

Wait while I absorb the fact that you spent an entire year searching for these posters in mint-condition, that they are huge, and that they are absolutely more perfect than anything I could have chosen for myself.

Be insufferably cool about the whole thing, verbally shrugging at my inquiring "But why?"s, and only saying that "it's what you do for chill girls." Liar.

I'm not even (completely) bummed that it didn't turn out to be an octopus. At least I don't have to go through the trouble of finding an appropriate name, right? I mean, what does one even name an octopus? Or feed it?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lazy Sunday

I won't even tell you about the mess I just made in the kitchen. You'd think making tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch would be easy. Heck, I've done it a million times (it's one of my staple meals, of which I have about three), and I've never had a problem before. But first I couldn't find the can opener (a new roommate didn't know where it belonged and put it away wrong), and THEN. Then, I just couldn't open the can. Stupid can. (I can hear my mother's voice saying It's not the can that's stupid.... See, Mom, even when you're 2,000 miles away, it's like you're right here with me.) It was all mangled and rough edges of metal were still holding lid and can together. I tried and tried to separate them, but I couldn't, so I ended up scooping the soup out anyway in a rather awkward and extremely messy fashion. I try so hard to be graceful, but then things like this happen and throw it all away.

But I told you I wasn't going to tell you about all of that, and so I won't.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I've Got A Dark Alley And A Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth

There's one in EVERY class, and every office, and every sunday school class. You know what I'm talking about: The "smart guy" who thinks he's an expert/funny, or both at once, and who actually is just annoying and pretentious and has no idea what he's really saying.

I'm NOT knocking on the people who are actually intelligent and/or funny. I welcome those people; I wish there were more of you. Of course, you stay respectably in the background until the appropriate time, instead of prostituting your shabby wares around all over the place, like so much verbal puke.

What I AM saying is this: Kid in my class with the tan baseball cap and the blue sweater, who always carries that gym bag from his place of employment, and who is apparently somehow married -- Shut up. No one likes your jokes. We do not think you are funny. And if you force the professor to do an hour of MATH PROOFS on the board instead of giving us an interesting lecture on a subject I (willingly!) signed up for ONE MORE TIME, I will be forced to pass you a note with this blog post's title written in stark black ink.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

In Happier News:

I almost forgot! Last night, Mr. Glowie 2.0 was officially sold and carted off by some shady law-school type (and you know how THOSE are, wink), so I got pictures.

Glowie Unglowed

And Now In Full Glowie-ness

I think I sum it all up nicely when I say: Soooo preeettty.

What Do You Say We Go For A Ride?

SNAP OUT OF IT, I say to myself. Self does not listen so well. Self seems to have lost all the self-control she once bragged about; that is what you get for bragging, it seems. It's a fair punishment, I suppose, even when it seems so very very not fair.

I am the little girl who cried, not wolf, but "Unfair!" So unfair. What that cry does, though, is it cripples. It takes away your grace and your goodness, and it leaves you cold and empty and feeling sorry for yourself while your toast gets cold on its plate because you just can't stomach it. (Does this example seem a little autobiographical? It should, even though I ate my toast today.)

So here is my side of the story: If your girlfriend and other guests are over, I don't think it's polite to chat online with other people. I just don't. When I find out that such has been going on for weeks or longer, I am going to be, first of all, confused. Why would someone be online when people (especially a girlfriend) are over? And then I'm going to feel bad, because decency is my lowest standard of interaction, and I've been made to be indecent for a long time, without my knowledge or consent. I haven't stopped feeling bad, either: I still think it's somehow wrong, though I can't exactly communicate how.

I don't want to apologize for feeling this way.

But I think I have to. I upset my internet friend in revealing this, and I cannot stomach upsetting people and leaving them that way. So unfair -- so...there it is.

And all the rest of it you couldn't begin to guess at.

[Note to God: Where did your sense of humour go?]

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Done With What We've Lost

When you write (as in, label yourself a writer), there is a natural cycle to it. You begin, and the thoughts and the words come, and things go well. You start to have delusions of grandeur. A lot of people stop here, caught up too far in their pleasant daydreaming to go any further, but there are a few who are more ambitious. They are willing to read what they have written, and they read it critically. They read it to peers. They read it aloud, alone in their bedrooms, or to audiences. And they read what others have written, aloud, to themselves, in the quiet, where nothing can stop the flow of better words than their own.

It is at this point that the writer hits a kind of wall. He realizes that everything he writes is absolute garbage. He wants to give up. Many people that saw themselves through the delusional stage stop here, afraid to go on. They perhaps do not know that there is another stage in the cycle.

A stage of bitter, hard-won, small improvement. You listen to what the critics have to say; you make changes. A line or two produce themselves, and they aren't so very bad. So you put something together, and you smile at it, and you start the cycle all over again.

I'm in the middle stage, right now. I've been there before, and I know I'll come out again. But for now, I'm mostly just discouraged. What's not helping is that this self-awareness of the extreme suckage of my writing has bled over to everything else, including academic writing. Including the three papers I have (had?) due this week. So if I sound a little despondent, it's probably because I've been scribbling "You are a piss-poor poet" in my notebook over and over again. It's also probably because a person I considered to be a pretty good friend of mine (if not always a pretty good person), told me that our friendship had been filler until he could find himself better "friends" ("friends" meaning, in this case, "hot girls to date"). Add to that the other items of drama that are constantly fluttering about me, and, well, it's getting to be more than I want to handle.

I honestly can't believe I just admitted that. I might be getting better after all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oh, I Do Love A Good Intrigue

The word "intriguing," when used to describe someone, is a terrible, terrible choice, unless you have only just met them and intend on changing the word for a better one in the foreseeable future. It's almost as bad as "I miss you," I think; both strip the subject of their reality and make him into a shadow puppet, a tangible memory, something unreal, but compelling....

It's a mess of watery gruel you're feeding them. Be careful -- no one wants to feel that way.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Changing Poseur to Connoiseur With Wit And Candy Bar Rewards

I'm cheering for the Steelers; my pa done raised me right.

The conversations between my roommate and I centering around today's game waxed hilarious, if you could ignore my soul's weeping for someone who didn't even realize today was the Big Day. Sad, Jennifer. Very, very sad. But she'll learn; don't worry, she shall learn, and be a football pro by the end of it, some eighteen hours hence (football always seems to take a long, looooong time).

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Proposal

I'm thinking now that maybe I should have chosen a major that just required me to memorize formulas and apply them to different situations. Is it possible to actually sprain your mind?

Good thing I figured out how to make a time machine. Now I just have to figure out if I'll go back in the past to get more time to write these papers, or if I'll go back in the past, run into the classroom before I tell my professor my idea for said paper, and hit Other Me on the head before I have an opportunity to overextend myself.

I think it would be pretty awesome to get in a fistfight with myself. Maybe I'll set up a time and sell tickets and let you guys watch, even. Sound good?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fear Me

You thought I was just a (somewhat) innocent little college student, didn't you? Well, that perception's about to get a swift kick in the pants. Witness the following conversation:
Me: I almost called you last night.
Art: You should have, silly.
Art: But I was feeling pretty horrible, hence my non-[inter]netness.
Me: Are you okay??
Art: Yeah...my back was KILLING me last night...not really sure why.
Me: GAH.
Me: Forget avian flu, I'M the new global pandemic.
Scary, no? Even scarier if you know he's 2,000 miles away -- I can blight people THROUGH THE PHONE LINES. (Insert delicious cackling here)