Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Moon On Monday

I often think that autumn is the only season that hasn’t lost its magic for me.

Midwestern springtimes have been marked with more tornadoes and freak snowstorms, than mild winds and fledgling birds, more end-of-year decisions and goodbyes than rebirths and renewals.

The past two summers, possibly the final ones in my life to signify a break from normal life, have been fragmented, split between the summer-dwelling places I call home and locales with no change in seasons. What used to be my summer is becoming as sticky and disheveled as my hair appropriately becomes during the season.

Christmas, the only redeeming part of the world’s bitter wintertime torpor, has lately been more a mad dash to complete academic obligations and find people-pleasing presents, spells of waiting for mall-bound trains in the cold and being perpetually disappointed when I miss my favorite Claymation specials on TV (or, worse, they’ve been replaced with uninspired holiday rom-coms that I cannot fathom anyone enjoying)

The fall used to depress me to no end, with thoughts of schoolwork, inane classmates, and the idea of the summer heat dwindling away. I began enjoying school by the time I reached university; it’s not that  these nuisances went away, but after realizing just how splendidly chilling it was to walk under a crisp full moon covered in black clouds (I've always associated the moon with fall even though it's there, obviously, all through the year. I guess it's something about full moons and spookiness and stuff, but I find myself playing "Sisters of the Moon" by Fleetwood Mac a lot more once the days grow shorter and cooler), while a smoky breeze wove through an apparently-too-thin green jacket, none of these things mattered.

Besides, Halloween, what I consider to be the heart of fall, had come to signify all of my favorite things: spending entire afternoons and impractical amounts of money in order to express myself by pretending to be someone I wasn’t for a night, sipping pumpkin ale and being able to feign enjoying beer for a time, donning the cheap polyurethane minidress that I, for the rest of the year, wistfully pushed to the back of my closet, in preparation for a night of shouting vulgarities that I otherwise frowned upon as Brad and Janet made their way to Frankenfurter’s mansion. Spring seems the season most ripe for reinvention, but I’ve always found October to be wrought with ways to change who you are, if even for one slightly too cold for your attire, somewhat intoxicated night.

Maybe the fact that it took me eighteen years to realize all that autumn has to offer is what has kept me from meeting the season with such indifference, or abject dread, every year.

I’m taking off for the Caribbean in November this year, and regret that I’m leaving the fall prematurely. I can at least rejoice that I've been here for the best of it. After weeks of the yellow leaves clinging precariously to the maples and poplars while the summer lingered, they all seemed to fall at once, suddenly burying windshields and the occasional bewildered squirrel, assuring that I’d get a chance to traipse through some crunchy, wet foliage before setting sail for the land of palm trees and perpetually blistering heat (wah wah my life is hard). Running through the park each day this past week, I’ve slipped in slick piles of leaves, been stuck in deluges caused by freak rain storms, been pelted with acorns and the oversized fruit of an Osage orange tree (which, in case you don’t know, can be confused with having a spacey biker crash into your back). 

And now let's watch this entry devolve since I've had too much caffeine tonight!

I don't really know how to end this entry, or what the point of it all is. I don't even know if it's about appreciating the fall any more, or about appreciating the time I'm getting to spend with all the people that have made previous falls, and this one, really awesome. Now I killed any potential metaphors so if somehow someone thought my writing deserved analysis, they wouldn't be able to. Except they'd still find a way. Ramble ramble. Lots of run-ons in this entry. That widget that told me I wrote like DFW (the entry's somewhere earlier in this blog) really wasn't lying. Except for the part where DFW was brilliant and I'm mainly just full of myself.

K bye bye bye.

Oh, since I mentioned it, here's this. 100% of the Mac was obviously 100% seeing their reflections in the 100% snow-covered hills during this, but Stevie is at her most captivating.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Little about the library had changed, but now that it was no longer mine, everything looked different. I walked in to find, of course, the new acquisitions shelf in the same place as before, though all the titles had changed between May and October. The shelf used to be replete with seemingly fascinating books that, between my Spanish Lit readings and shifts at an art museum, I had little time to read. Now, I had plenty of time, but had long since chucked my faded student ID, the card that served as a key to worlds upon worlds and minds more fertile than mine.

I flipped through a few paperbacks, toying with the idea of snuggling into one of my favorite spots on the third floor and trying to finish a whole book in one afternoon. I decided against it, fearing what would happen if I got caught with a book that had mysteriously disappeared from circulation for a day. Besides, I had come to write.

I walked past packs of students, rushing to class or scrambling to finish term papers, and somehow felt guilty about bringing my lack of stress into a place so conducive to the feeling. I found a top floor nook where the suspiciously warm October sun precisely hit a deep blue chair. It was time to do some brainstorming, while splayed out like a basking cat. I could write about my time at sea, working on a cruise ship, I thought, but now that I had two weeks to live my old life, it almost felt like my experiences on the ship had never even happened. I opened up a recently completed screenplay to make edits, but was too busy wishing that I'd had time to take a second semester of screenwriting while at college. I considered working on my next novel, but couldn't seem to chart any personal growth for my protagonist. I started to if I was capable of moving a fictional character forward, if I couldn't seem to even forward myself.

The sun filtered through a big window, warming my face and temporarily bleaching the tips of my hair. I closed my eyes and

Eventually I decided that if I was going to nap, I wanted to be on my own uncomfortable air mattress, with a borrowed comforter and the stuffed animal I still couldn't fall asleep without. I packed up my things, walked down the steps that for four years were the location of in-library phone conversations, gameplans for streaking across campus, running into old friends and vapidly telling them that we'd hang out soon.

As I passed the new acquisitions shelf, I noticed a wisp of blue on the floor and immediately recognized it as a feather from my rainbow boa. I couldn't remember the boa ever making it to my backpack, but it was entirely plausible that some feathers had made their way into the front pocket, ready to spill over whenever I retrieved my phone. Since buying the boa at a pride parade in June, during a too-short trip home to Philadelphia, it had become quite a well-traveled piece of neckware, just in case an appropriately ostentatious occasion arose. The night before I boarded the cruise ship, after removing all of my piercings made me fear that I'd lose my last vestiges of iconoclasm to my job, I wrapped myself in the synthetic feathers and wished that I was back in Philly, or back at my university, or back to anywhere that wouldn't fragment my life as much as the job I'd signed on for. Until the '80s-themed party for my department that I helped to plan in August, it sat on the edge of my bookshelf, merely serving to brighten up the off-white walls of my tiny ship cabin. It acted as a source of stress every time they checked our cabin for cleanliness; by merely brushing the boa while reaching for my copy of Just Kids, it would shed a slew of multicolored feathers that, in the face of an overused vacuum cleaner, clung resiliently to the striped carpet and sprinkling of sand.

That night in August, I cheerfully sported the flamboyant plumage around my neck as I placed neon wall hangings, greeted guests, and tried to teach my colleagues the electric slide. The boa found its way into everything, from my plate of jalapeño poppers to the neck of my Strongbow to the cracks in my cheap metal bangles. When the festivities were over, we party planners wheeled the aftermath to the ship's galley and trash room. I'd like to think the feathers dropped there brightened up the 10-hour night shifts of the workers in those places, but they probably served merely as another thing to dispose of. I left a trail of feathers to the crew bar for a small afterparty, to a friend's cabin where I was complimented on my attire multiple times, and finally to my room, where I molted my feathers and got four or five hours of blissful sleep. In the morning, a co-worker commented that every time he walked down the ship's main corridor, he'd discovered new feathers along the way. He added that the ship's officers were probably not too pleased, and suggested that I hide the boa during cabin inspections from that point on. I complied for a while, but missed coming home to something so resplendent after a long day.

With my onboard contract coming to a close, I, as usual, waited until the final night to round up my belongings. I've been a pro at procrastinating from a young age, but when it comes to packing, my last-minute tendencies are tied to my reluctance to leave any place I've stayed at for a while, my inability to accept any change, be the change positive or negative. My boa was one of the last things I packed, and after I shoved it into any cranny of my suitcase that it would fit in, things begin to change for it, too. When I arrived in Pennsylvania and unpacked it, parts of its synthetic string vertebrae were exposed where feathers had fallen off during the trip. The plumage that remained was considerably flattened. I fluffed the feathers out and its appearance improved greatly, but since, I've been more discriminating with where I take my boa. Now that pieces of the boa lay dormant in every piece of luggage I own, however, I never truly leave home without it, and it's rare that a floor in any of the places I've hastily bounced to and from is left without part of my boa and me, either.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I haven't written on this thing in ages, but I think that it's time.

Here's a video completely unrelated to my triumphant return, but totally relevant to my interests.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There's a web like a spiders' web...

“All loves have to die - of that there's no help;
My favorite way to end 'em
Is the orb-weaver spider's, whose pedipalp
Enters the female pudendum,

Then dies on the spot, his corpse there still stuck,
Left for his rivals to curse it.
He would rather die than not get to fuck:
Personally, I reckon it's worth it”-“Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me” by TISM (it’s a classic song, in case you didn’t know)

I think what I’ve been staring at every time I patrol the museum is an orb-weaver, at least. Which makes me feel better, since in my research on what kind of spider it was they seemed to be fairly benign as far as huge spiders with fangs go. It has the big, funnily shaped and brightly colored body for it. And the giant web. Perfectly symmetrical as far as I’m concerned, but if nobody’s knocked the thing down after I gruel through a few more seven hour shifts at the art museum I’m sure I’ll have spent enough time staring to find a few flaws. I’m hoping so, at least, since I can barely cut a neat circle out of paper. I can see that the web hangs by a few almost-invisible threads at the ends. I want to go outside and touch the silks, see how strong they need to be to hold such a behemoth. It’s not the risk of getting fired that worries me; it’s the risk of having a hand wrapped in gossamer and venom. I point out the web to my co-workers; those who have seen it just don’t know what to do with it.

Inside is our newest installation of modern art, the name of the exhibit I’ll withhold. Apiarian pieces hang from the ceiling, dangling over a pneumatic structure (that’s the word they told us to use with visitors…don’t confuse it with pneumonic when assisting a patron, I keep telling myself), a plastic bubble of air on which to lounge. When a guest comes in, we tell them to mind the black cords that stretch from the ceiling to the concrete floor. Should one snap, or should a reckless patron snap it, notify the security supervisor before the whole piece collapses, as it’s all connected. I think of the time and money put into this structurally-sound-until-proven-otherwise piece, the people who clamored to see it on opening night. No doubt if they weren’t horrified by the thing on the window it’s because they missed it entirely. The greatest masterpiece of that thing’s life. What else is left for it? If it isn’t swept off its eight suctiony feet by a broom or clobbered by someone’s size 10 loafer, maybe being spared by someone’s cutesy anthropomorphic mind, it gets to eat some crunchy bugs that get caught in its web, then the guy spider dies right after losing his virginity, the girl spider ends up devouring the body of the one she was saving it for, it doesn’t get to see its children grow, probably doesn’t even get to save the life of some pig. If it’s obliviously lucky, maybe it’ll get an admirer or two, just maybe someone bored enough to not only notice it, but go home and learn about its species and write out a page in dedication.

I know, nine months without writing and this is what you get? I mean I did have my Ecuador blog if you haven't read it...and I'll try to write in this more, since I've been in a writing mood as of late.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let's Hope It's a Good One, Without Any Fear

Wow, I really haven’t written all semester. Haven’t had time to do much of anything…which is probably good, since I haven’t been stuck inside my own head stewing over things. Really can’t find much to brood about, anyhow. Cept maybe how environmental ethics is making me care less and less about my major cause there’s no way to make everyone happy and nobody can come up with a compelling argument in any direction, but that’s for another entry.

“So, this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun…”

I’ve done quite a lot, actually. Funny how the most event-filled years seem to zip by. So much has changed, and for once, I think I’ve changed along with the circumstances, and probably for the better. But the year in retrospect shall, too, be for another entry.

And I’ve a feeling that’s not what John Lennon and Yoko Ono were thinking when they wrote “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”. It’s a song protesting the Vietnam War, and for it to be about personal accomplishments and strife would be nearly as selfish as a song about all the material goods you want this year (so hurry down the chimney tonight!). Christmas is, of course, a celebration of the birth of Christ, but from a secular lens it seems to boil into two things: presents and dropping everything to spend time with loved ones. Nothing necessarily wrong with the presents part: gift giving, when enough thought is put into it, can be a great expression of love and selflessness (the problem comes when you give gifts to either get one in return or raise someone’s opinion of you). But isn’t it really all about stopping and focusing on what is really important to you? And peace, admirably, was what was important to Lennon.

So here I am, on the 30th anniversary of his assassination (I’m not quite sure of the murder/assassination distinction, but in my mind he was as important/political/whatever the qualification is to warrant this term) thinking about how awesome he was/is. He wasn’t like the celebrities who adopt a cause as a PR stunt; he actually lived what he believed. Where are the people in my generation who just want people to Give Peace a Chance? It’s remarkable that Lennon still inspires young people today, but not nearly enough of them. Famous musicians release new Christmas songs every year; why are there so few that, in the spirit of peace on earth and goodwill towards men, talk about what the world needs? Have we given up?

Not that I necessarily mind commercial Christmas songs. I look forward to the day the local soft rock station starts playing them 24/7 (though recently they’ve started playing them eerily early, making it less special once the holiday season hits). “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”, “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “I Want a Hippopotomus for Christmas”, “My Grown-Up Christmas List”. Whether religious or secular, novelty songs or serious ones, all of the songs take my mind off of finals, the cold weather, what have you, and get me ready for the month that reminds me of being a kid who barely slept for all of December out of excitement for family, food, and fun (barring maybe “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”…how did a song about date rape end up being played on family-friendly easy listening stations?).

It's not like my taste in Christmas songs has stayed the same throughout, elementary school I always looked forward to the day before winter break when we all gathered in the gym and sang novelty songs; they were so much more enjoyable than the "pretty" songs we sang in chorus (also, in the fifth grade we sang this sound called "Holiday Romance" that had lines like, "Holiday romance in the snow. Though there's a storm, our love will be warm", and at the time it seemed awkward and dirty to us). But now I can barely listen to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" if it hasn't been recorded by Carnie and Wendy Wilson or whoever sang it in the Rankin-Bass movie, and the right version of "O Holy Night" can give me goosebumps. And I never really got the appeal of love songs about Christmas—it’s the one time of year when most songs are about other stuff entirely, and you’re trying to make them just like any other conventional pop song (“Barring Hey San(t)a” by Carnie and Wendy Wilson since I have such fond memories of listening to it as a kid). Funny how you’re faced with the prospect of a month away from someone who’s meant the world to you all semester and BAM! It’s “Bells Will Be Ringing” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” all Winter Break. (The same logic goes not apply to replacing classic Christmas movies with made-for-TV romcoms…you hear that, ABC family? People of all ages want to watch “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” and put one foot in front of the other with Topper the penguin. One would have to run out of every other winter break boredom-buster (including room cleaning and shoveling your entire neighborhood’s sidewalks) to watch “A Boyfriend for Christmas” (Umm wut, that was supposed to be a made-up title, but it turns out there’s a Hallmark movie with the name. Meh, in that case I shouldn’t judge…maybe it is somehow a wonderful film)

But I digress. Maybe someday radio stations will fill December with the perfect balance of songs that let one escape from the world’s problems and ones that seek to solve them. For now, I shall leave you with a few of my favorite Christamas songs:

1) Stevie Nicks-Silent Night Mmkay, I confess, I like this song more because its' by Stevie than I do because it's a good rendition. But I do appreciate that with a few “Well, it was a”’s it almost sounds like an unfortunate Stevie original [she does have a song with the line, “Well, she dances around in a circle, well…](Also, look what I just found)

2) Wilson Phillips-Hey Santa Like I said…and ignore the cheesetastic video

3) Joan Jett and the Blackhearts-Little Drummer Boy So David Bowie and Bing Crosby also have a beautiful rendition of this. But I’m quite partial to Joan Jett,and of course this version of the song lends itsself to some awesome drum playing, so…

4) No Doubt-Oi to the World My first favorite band ever, so they needed to be included. Yay, punk puns.

5) The Waitresses-Christmas Wrapping¬ This has always been another exception to that “eff love songs at Christmas” thing. Back in high school when Blondie and The Pretenders were all I’d listen to, this was right up my alley. And tells a nice little story. And 2010 has, indeed, been a busy blur. Maybe I don’t have the energy to add to my already mad rush just cause it’s ‘tis the season. But like the protagonist does in the end, surely I shall find the time.

6) 2000 Miles Speaking of The Pretenders and exceptions to rules…

7. The Eagles-Please Come Home For Christmas/Bells Will Be Ringing Just cause it's the Eagles

And finally…

RIP John Winston Ono Lennon

Monday, August 9, 2010

To ten million fireflies I'm weird because I hate goodbyes...

I haven't posted a legit entry on here for over a month. Oh dear, oh dear. I've been working +/- full time and at night I'm either busy with friends, invested in something from Netflix (most dangerous invention ever) or passed out in my bed. So, ironically, the thing that's got me thinking the most (working with kids) is keeping me from getting those thoughts down on virtual paper. Not necessarily a bad thing; the kids are one of the few things keeping me sane this summer. Actually, leaving them is going to make the summer ending really hard. I mean, maybe I'll be back next summer and maybe I'll see some/most of them, but there are no guarantees on any of that. And really I just wanna stick around and watch them grow up and see them every day forever and ever. But that seems on the edge of living vicariously through a bunch of kids that I barely know, and really I should be finding my own life, so yeah

     Anyhow. Childhood. Going away. Way too quickly. It didn't really hit me until I was sitting in a movie theater watching Toy Story 3. Funny, I never cry at movies, even if they're really, truly heartbreaking.  But I shed a few tears and would've been flat out bawling if the guy behind me had silenced his phone, or maybe even if he'd just selected a ringtone that wasn't "Who Let the Dogs Out" (By the way...Baha Men==>Bahaman? Mind was recently blown). I was relieved that I had such an obnoxious person behind me that made me roflmao during a very emotional part of the movie; I would've been totally embarrassed  if I'd been weeping at an animated picture about a bunch of toys. I remember not even liking Toy Story when it first came out (I think more than anything them getting chased by that dog scared me...I guess liked the series by the time I was around 11 and saw the second one. I thought Jessie was pretty cool). But I really wasn't that invested in any of the characters before this, and, again, as emotionally driven as I usually am, I never cry at movies. So why was I crying?

     I mean, I'd been spending all day with kids for a few weeks at that point and they'd been saying how sad it was.So maybe I was just expecting to be sad. But I think more than anything I could relate to Andy's character a lot. When I was a kid he was a kid in the first two movies, so I guess I've sort of grown up with him. And maybe I didn't cry at Water because I've never been widowed or sent to a widow's ashram as a result. But I have gone away to college and left lots of stuff behind. And I've been made to give away my toys, and worse, I've lost one that I really cared about.

I got Push Push when I was...I want to say 4...from my cousin as a Christmas gift. I immediately forgot about all the barbie dolls and accompanying accessories I had received, embraced the baby harp seal, and exclaimed "I love it!". I didn't really know what seals were, mind you, but this was the cutest, most cuddly thing I'd seen in my whole 4 years of existence. I started to play with her, making that sounds that I'd imagined a seal would say, which turned out to be something like, "puuuush! puuuush!", hence the gorgeous name. And from that day on we were inseparable. Push Push went to pre-school with me every day, and with me to my babysitter's. Obviously she was soon not white and fluffy, but I learned that adolescent harp seals are a more mottled gray, so I just played it off as my little girl growing up. I freaked out if I left her at my grandmother's or at a friend's house. My best friend had a similar seal named Sealy, and I was really excited for Push Push to have a friend.

 And I didn’t stop with just one friend for her. The next year we were going to send my cousin’s son a stuffed seal as a present in gratitude for my seal. But on the car ride home from Toys R Us I became attached to it, and my mom eventually gave in and I ended up with a second seal, Softy (Which would come in handy like 8 years later…keep that in mind). And then, over the years, I acquired upwards of 20 seal toys, figurines, books (some on tape), pictures, and whatnot. When I had to make a ceramic animal in middle school art class—a harbor seal. Even when I had to map a species for 12th grade ecology—the Galapagos Fur Seal, which is threatened due to global warming (their fur means they need relatively cold water—relatively since they live on the equator and all) (I’m refraining from a rant about the seal fur trade, but I needed to throw a “save the seals!” in there somewhere). In fact, Woofy Seal, my former open-relationship companion on Facebook, who is 3 ft long, accompanied me on an ecology field trip to the Jersey shore (No, we didn’t pump our fists and party with Snooki; rather we counted blades of dune grass), in our crammed minivan, after my teacher explicitly said not to make the car look like a slumber party. Teacher may not have appreciated it, but I’m sure Woofy loved learning about aquatic ecosystems.
But, yeah, those grungy little plush animals with oversized eyes and blood-stained, ripped blankies and cowboys that say “You’re my favorite deputy!” can mean a lot. Even the less significant toys meant a lot to me—I remember the little cliques I had my Polly Pockets form (since 10 year old girls think in terms of cliques and all), and the personalities I gave the paper dolls I cut out of American Girl magazine (weird since they were real people with real personalities living out there somewhere). I have no clue what movie the plastic figure of the little girl in a canoe I got in a Burger King meal is from, but I remember how she always played the lost little orphan that another toy would take in. Kids put a lot of thought into these things, and it sucks that something they paid so much attention to often gets stuffed in a bag and kicked to the curb.
I mean, sometimes you have to get rid of things and it’s nice to give things you don’t use often to other people, but more thought/care should really go into something like that when toys can mean so much; sure, they’re cute and cuddly or shiny and fast, but I like to view them as mementos of a time when everything was new and exciting, when being asked what you’re going to be when you grow up is a fun question. A more innocent time, when death was something that happened to animated Disney parents and the ants that were crawling onto your sandwich and not to people you knew and when someone having a crush on you just meant they wanted to hold your hand at lunch (hell, a time when sex was completely nonexistent in your mind, and if it did exist it was just a word you giggled at because you knew it was naughty, even if you had no idea what it meant). To a simpler time, when a good day meant you got ice cream after dinner and your favorite episode of Rugrats was on and when school was about what you could learn in the here and now, and not what you (c/w/sh)ould do in the future. 

When you're always around people who have lost sight of that time, you're likely to forget it, too and get caught up in the rat race (I was gonna abandon that cliche but I just quoted Owl City on my Tumblr...actually "Fireflies" is what inspired me to sit down and write this I'm a pretty cliched person. I wanna hate the song but I love it) I just wish that when approaching the issue of "growing up", people would make more of a distinction between moving on to a new stage of your life and completely abandoning the things and ideas you valued for upwards of a decade of your life. Being with kids and the stuffed animals that they insist have their own pillow and blanket at naptime and Legos that they fight over and silly bandz that they fling at their siblings has reminded me of the things I used to love and probably still would if it were okay for a 20 year old to enthuse over American Girl dolls and aspire to act in a production of "Annie" (I guess I could be Miss Hannigan, but...) and watch 9 episodes of The Land Before Time in a row (oh wait, I just did that one yesterday...I sure love having friends who aren't too "cool" for Little Foot and Ducky). Anyways, I'm overjoyed that in a few weeks most of my interactions will once again be with people my own age, but this jaunt down memory lane has definitely restored some of my faith in this world/in people. Sure, finding genuinely good people is always possible, but I think it's way easier to find them in a group of children.
I got misty eyes as they said farewell
But I'll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
Because I saved a few and I keep them in a jar

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Because everything is never as it seems

Sorry for the saccharine attack. If this entry gave you a toothache, beware of the upcoming sequel to this, about best friends.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Most of the entries I checked gave me gave me Dan Brown. I think David Foster Wallace is much more accurate.