Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Wrath is Swift and Terrible

I didn't know what to write about today, and I wanted to do something special for the last day of BEDA...I've decided (since I don't have a whole lot of time left today in which to blog--this is because I've been so busy today; I had Doctor Who to watch!) to take one of Maureen Johnson's suggestions on what to blog about on this last day as we run out of ideas. I'm choosing option 5 (I think?) which was to write an angry complaint letter to something in your life that hasn't been working properly and tell it off.

Here goes. I am now flexing my flamer muscles in my fingers. You do not want to be on the receiving end of my Wrath.

Dear Old Computer,

Remember back in the good old days when you fooled me into thinking you were awesome? We used to have fun together; I would sit in front of you and we'd play games: minesweeper, jezzball, solitaire, you name it. We were pretty good buddies, you and I. Back then you were dependable. You were always there for me.

But then you changed.

You became distant. You began shutting me out (of programs, of the internet, of you life). And who could forget that time you mysteriously lost and then deleted EVERY FILE IN MY VERY EXTENSIVE ITUNES LIBRARY?!!!! I don't believe I can ever forgive you for that. And then there was that last week we were together when you got even worse. You stopped working altogether; you completely crashed and left me all alone.

I'm not writing you this letter to get an apology. (You're too proud for that...and'm not sure it's within your computer-y capabilities to respond to this in any way that I could comprehend because you are a TOOL. That's it. You're nothing without a person controlling you. You are worthless!!!) I'm just writing to tell you that I've moved on. You no longer have any effect over my life; I'm through being stung by your thoughtlessness and disregard for my every happiness.

Yes. There's someone else: a shiny, new model that is more than I could ever have hoped for--better than YOU ever were. And we're happy together.

So you can think of that as you rot in your fragmented brokeness, the pieces of your shattered moniter mingling with the pieces of your shattered hard drive and the pieces of your shattered soul. And you know how shattered souls never work out, right? You saw how well that turned out for Tom Riddle. And in this situation, you are the Tom Riddle. I am the Harry Potter. I have risen victorious, and there's nothing you can do to change that.

I hope the remainder of your life is miserable and full of crap.



Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
vengeance (n): the return of an injury for an injury, as in retribution or revenge

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"Gee, I'm really sorry your mom blew up, Ricky. The doctor said she'd be okay, though; she'll just have to stay away from spicy foods for a while."
-Lane Meyer in Better Off Dead

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Attempting To Not Appear Insane

Seriously, it's harder than it sounds. (That's what she said.) (NO! We are not going into Michael Scott jokes. NOOOOO!)

Okay. I'm forcing myself out of that mode. So do you guys ever have those moments when you are in a public-ish place* and you laugh about something that only you are being entertained by and whoever can hear you thinks you're crazy? That happens to me ALL the TIME. Here are the situations in which it happens most often:

1. When I'm sitting at a computer with headphones in, generally watching YouTube videos.
2. When I'm reading a book.
3. When I'm listening to my iPod.
4. When I'm at some large gathering such as church, high school choir concerts, or a lecture.

In that last instance it's usually because I'm remembering something funny that happened earlier that day; it's always at an inappropriate moment, like when someone else is speaking about something really serious--I just remember something comical and can't help laughing and then I get dirty looks from everyone who thinks I'm making fun of the speaker.

Multiple times this has happened when my family sits down to dinner and someone is saying the prayer on the food. The funny thought comes back to me and just...Oh dear.

So here's what brought this on: I was catching up on my YouTube subscriptions on my work computer at the writing lab because I didn't have any students today, when I came across this video:

I don't even remember if it was THAT funny, but I was just in one of those moods and I started cracking up. I literally had to clamp my hand over my mouth and nose to stop myself from sounding like a lunatic because I had headphones in and there were a bunch of math tutoring people in the room with me. They could probably still here my stifled giggle fit even with my muffling precautions AND the fact that I was pausing the video every few seconds so that it wouldn't keep being funny at me! Wow; I sure do sound like an insane person.

So there's your daily dose of Kiera looking insane! Let me know in the comments if this happens to you, too.

*public-ish place: any place where there is at least one other person within fifteen feet of you

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
maniacal (adj): wildly/violently insane

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"Mental, that one, I'm tellin' ya."
-Ronald Weasley in Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adventures From My Youth

Nothing life-changing has occurred today, so I shall regail you all with stories about my childhood.

First of all, my best friend's name was Erica. And we're still friends to this day, see?:

(Also, hello to Erica if you're reading this since I know you occasionally get on and read my blogs!)

Okay, so before I get off topic, distracted by the shiny happy picture specialness and shout-outs to friends, I will go on with my story.

When Erica and I were little, we got into all sorts of trouble; we just liked to call them adventures, though. You may remember my mention of selling hot-dogs from door to door as a five year old with a friend in my "Remember That Time" blog. That friend was most definitely Erica. To elaborate on the story, this is basically what happened:

1. Erica and I, as curious and ambitious five year olds, overhear her mom talking to some other grown up lady and she says, "I know. Hot dogs are getting SO expensive."
2. Erica turns to me, as she always does when she gets brilliant ideas, and says, "We could make a killing selling hot-dogs to people!"
3. We, being little kids, automatically decide that hot-dogs would be much more valuable if they were already microwaved, cut up, and ketchup-ed, and so prepare the hot-dogs.
4. We set out with a plate of ketchup-y hot-dog slices and attempt to sell them to her unsuspecting neighbors at an astronomically high price for what they're paying for. (Something like twenty dollars PER SLICE if I recall correctly.)
5. Mrs. Across-The-Street phones up Erica's mom to tell her what's going on and our entire business scheme is ruined.
Ah. Such good business people we made. I look back on that time as one of the happiest and most successful in my life; I wish I had that kind of stamina now to get things done at such a high rate of speed. Like, can you imagine how exciting my essays would be and how effectively they'd get written if I was still that innovative? It would be like BAM idea BAM write BAM perfect finished paper.

Erica and I also started several clubs which convened in her tool shed. We were surrounded by random gardening tools and assortments of various fruits and vegetables in jars as we pretended to discuss important items while jotting down notes in our colored, paper folders. The club evolved a few times over the years: sometimes we were "The Mystery Club"; other times "The Spy Club"; I believe our club culminated in the completely ingenious, masterly-thought-out, imaginatively and aptly named "Fun Club". And I'm not even kidding when I say I'm PRETTY sure our motto was "Fun Fun Fun". How creative. But good times were had by all in that "clubhouse".

Too bad we don't all have the attitude of children anymore...this world would be freakin' amazing if we all still had such child-like ideas and beliefs that we could easily make any of them happen in a second. Don't get me wrong, I'd still want everyone to have the intelligence and experience of an adult, just with that perfectly confident feeling of a child. We'd all do so much more stuff that we wanted to do without being so synical and discouraged about what is and is not "possible". When you're a kid, the word "impossible" is kind of just doesn't really exist for you at all.

Wow. I really just started writing this blog post to share some funny childhood stories, but it's made me wax nostalgic and reflective; who'da thunk?

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
pristine (adj): characteristic of the earliest period; unspoiled

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"If you were my kids, I'd PUNISH you."
"If we were your kids, we'd punish ourselves."
-Stimey in "Little Rascals"

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Life's Soundtrack

Hey there, blog readers.

Today's post is inspired by my little sister's school assignment: she was challenged to come up with a playlist of ten songs that describe her/her life in some way. I thought it sounded like an interesting and fun assignment, so I'm going to do that myself and share it with you. ( I tried to limit down the number of songs as much as possible, but once I got to this point I couldn't narrow it any further, so here are my eighteen songs.)

1. "Across the Universe" by The Beatles. Because this song speaks so much to the writer in me.
2. "The Call" by Regina Spektor. Because everything that starts small can turn into something so much bigger and memories are precious; they should not be forgotten merely because those you share them with aren't around or because nobody around you understands them.
3. "Some Things Are Meant To Be" from "Little Women". Because some parts of our lives are meant to be happy, some sad, some in between, and some difficult. We have to accept all of them together.
4. "Lessons Learned" by Carrie Underwood. Because every mistake is worthwhile if we learn from it.
5. "In My Life" by The Beatles. Because I look back on a lot of things with fond memories and "in my life I've loved them all."
6. "Music Box" by Regina Spektor. Because I hate the conventions that society forces upon us, and sometimes I long to break free and "sing another melody completely".
7. "My Life" by Billy Joel. Because it drives me nuts when people with no authority over the choices I make try to tell me what to do with my life.
8. "La La Land" by Demi Lovato. Because I believe we should all live the way we want--be able to stay down to earth and not be too concerned with what the rest of the world thinks of us.
9. "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. Because "sometimes my tries are outside the lines". I don't always want to be like everyone else.
10. "Over You" by Daughtry. Because this is EXACTLY how I feel about guys when I get over liking them. Kind of a "What was I thinking? What did I see in you?" syndrome.
11. "Fairytale" by Sara Bareilles. Because life doesn't end at marriage--after the "happily ever after" there are still hard times. There are always things that need to be worked out. Also, it's kind of a "Be careful what you wish for" song, and I love that theme.
12. "One Fine Day" by The Chiffons. Because this what goes on in my head when I like a guy who doesn't know I exist.
13. "Fidelity" by Regina Spektor. Because when it comes to love, I'm kind of a coward; I'm scared of getting hurt so I don't take the leap.
14. "I'll Be Seeing You" by Linda Eder. Because it's a gorgeous rendition of a gorgeous song, and it perfectly describes my feelings whenever someone I love is away and I miss them.
15. "Like A Song" by Lenka. Because certain people who make impressions on me/are influential in my life stick in my head "just like a song".
16. "Enchantment Passing Through" from "Aida". Because sometimes I dream of all the possibilities out there that I have yet to explore and I imagine experiencing them.
17. "The Spark of Creation" from "Children of Eden". Because I'm a curious creature, don'tcha know?
18. "Just Around the Riverbend" from "Pocahontas". Because I love the way there are constant changes in the world, and I need to remember that change isn't always a scary thing.

So there you have it. What are some of your songs that describe you or your life?

P.S. Also, thanks go to Sean (livin4hymn) for his blog which reminded me I wanted to compose this list.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
subvert (v): to destroy completely; to ruin

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"Life continues a quick succession of busy nothings."
-Fanny Price in "Mansfield Park"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Picnics Are Where It's At

I've had a fantastic day today!

After church, my friends and I threw together a little picnic; We went to Joelle's house (which is a PERFECT picnic location since she has a lot of property surrounded by trees) and wandered to this lovely little patch away from her house that we like to call "The Secret Garden". The reason behind the title is pretty self-explanatory, so I'll not sport with your intelligence with a lengthy explanation; it's simply a quite, solitary meadow-ish thing that you can't see from the road or her house itself and it's full of grape hyacinths, daffodils, and red tulips. It's what Lady Catherine DeBourghe of Pride and Prejudice would call "A pretty-ish kind of little wilderness on one side of the house." I love it there! And the weather was splendid. Here are some pictures!

It was a lot of fun to hang out with my friends and just have a perfect, relaxing Sunday together. Once it started to get windy we went inside and talked for a while and THEN I got to hold a super cute baby lamb! See!!
It was the smallest of triplets, so Joelle's family--who live on a farm--have been taking care of it and bottle feeding it; apparently sheep mamas can't really handle more than two babies at once, but they occasionally have triplets.

YAY! So it's been a really great day. Sometimes outside can be fun!! XD

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
volitant (adj): flying or capable of flying

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"Everything in this meadow is eatable. Even I am eatable. But that would be cannibalism, my dear children, which is, in fact, frowned upon in most societies."
--Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Something extremely strange happened...So, remember a few days back when I posted that blog on "chesterly fellows"? I know I do. And remember how there was that guy that came into the writing lab that day who INSPIRED that blog? Well...he died.

That isn't a joke--I wouldn't just randomly kid about that kind of thing; I'm completely serious. I woke up this morning and my dad yelled to me, "Kiera! Hey, do you know..." I was waiting to hear the name and thinking, Of course I'm not going to know this person, because, you see, my dad is a Newspaper junkie and any time there's a person close to my age that lives in our area in the local paper--whether it be a person on the sports page, marriage announcements, arrests, or the obits--he asks me if I know them. I NEVER do. So I was surprised when he said the name and I recognized it.

"Yeah, I do know [insert name here]. Why?"

"Well, it says that he went to [my school]. He died this week."

So basically, I'm writing this blog in a state of surreal shock. (Not the shock that I'd feel if it had been someone I knew well and loved, but a shock associated with the death of a human being that I've spoken with in the past week nonetheless.) And possibly some guilt. I mean, I wrote a rather mean blog entry about him (not that it wasn't true, but still!) and then he up and dies the same week. It sort of makes me feel like a bad person or something.

This whole occurrence just got me thinking about death and how strange it is. Every time I find out someone I know, however casually, has died, my thoughts about life and how precious it is really float up to the surface. It's just such a strange thought that anyone at any time can just cease to exist here on earth. (I myself am Christian and believe in an afterlife, so I don't think people just completely end, but it's still strange to think that in an instant we just leave the only kind of life that we have known/remembered.) It's just a really hard concept for me to wrap my head around.

Generally these thoughts also lead to me evaluating the type of life I've led thus far; I think of things I've accomplished and things I've never tried; of people I've really gotten to know and some that I've not even begun to understand; of books I've read and things I've done and things I've wasted time on; It just puts everything into an infinitely larger perspective for me: that I should live my life being the best person I can be because in a moment all of my plans for the future--all that is ME in that particular instant--could vanish.

I know this is a somewhat morbid/dreary post, but it's what's on my mind and I'd feel really superficial writing about anything else today. Sorry that it's not funny; it's not entertaining; it's just true--it's just life. Death and life are so closely knit, even though we think of them as opposing entities. They walk hand-in-hand throughout history, the world, and everything we know.

And yet, it's good for us to forget about death most of the time; to just live our lives as we do. If we're always focused on Death we forget to Live, and if we never think about Death we forget to Live the way we should. I guess that's just one paradox of many that govern our existence.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
memento mori (n): a remider of death or mortality

Random Movie Quote for Your Enlightenment:
"You've been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you. [...] You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"
-Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life!"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Are You Kidding?

Seriously? I have to write a blog today? I don't wanna....but I will because I am committed to this project. Boo ya.

This is going to be SUPER short today because I have to go to work in about a half an hour and as soon as I get home I'm heading to a little party at my friend Erica's house. I'm sure I'll get home too late to use the computer, so this is really the only time I have. Anti-Squee. (Not about hanging out with my friends, but about being at work all day.)

Today's blog is just a random fact about me that you may not have known before:
I am a connoisseur of movie quotes. I love quoting them in my everyday conversation, despite the fact that most of the time no one catches the quote; they just think I'm being particularly strange. It's great though.

I just had a great idea: I'm going to include one of my favorite random movie quotes at the end of every blog now along with my under-appreciated vocabulary word.

Hopefully I'll have time to write up a proper blog tomorrow.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
oneiric (adj): of or pertaining to dreams

Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
"Do you know who I ABSOLUTELY adore; who I just want to...wrap up and put in my pocket?!"
--Mrs. Elton in "Emma"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Timelord Beckons!

As many of you know from my Twitter and DailyBooth (I don't THINK I've mentioned it yet on here...), I've recently begun to partake in Dr. Who. Yes. I now actually understand what people are talking about when they mention the show instead of just going, "Dr. ...Who?"

And the verdict is........

(insert drum-roll here)

I'm completely hooked!! E-gads. It's like a frackin' disease or something! I can't stop watching it! I'm really close to finishing Season One right now, and I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to lose Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor. I love him! And I know everyone's become pretty much obsessed with David Tennant and such, but I don't feel ready for a new actor yet! Not to mention I adore Rose as well, and I know there's a new assistant coming....Wah!

Anyway, the point is, Dr. Who is now definitely in my list of favorite shows. (Currently this list consists of Bones, The Office, and 30 Rock. And now Dr. Who.) And it takes quite a bit for a show to be added to that list. I have standards! ;)

Sorry if you don't like Dr. Who, and I've bored you with my enthusiasm for it, but it's what I'm thinking about at the moment. Plus, I couldn't think of any good topics to blog about today.

This post is short because, frankly, The Tardis is calling me and I'd rather return to the doctor than continue typing this blog.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
iconoclast (n): one who attacks widely accepted ideas, beliefs, etc.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chesterly Fellow Colonies

There are many different types of human beings; whether in looks, behaviors, or internal processes there are thousands of variations....but what I want to know is are we really sure all of them are human? Seriously? Because I for one have noticed one category that seems to differ far too much from the conventions of your average human. This group is what I like to call "The Creepos" and my friend's little brother likes to call "The Chesterly Fellows".*

Chesterly Fellows, or Creepos, are basically just those people (if they ARE people!) who have a certain aura about them that gives one the heeby-jeebies. They can be either goodlooking or badlooking--it's their demeanor, facial expressions, and "vibe" that determine the creepiness factor, not their outward appearance alone. I had one such person use the writing lab today.

He's come in before and makes me feel really ansty. Most of the time I love my job, but every once in a while I really regret that I have to be ALONE with any student who comes in and have a private tutoring meeting with them. This particular guy has NO idea how to use the writing lab and seems to have this idea in his head that these are the appropriate steps:

1. Walk into the lab unannounced.
2. Look at me in a very creepy way while I greet him.
3. Pull out his laptop and skoot as close to me as possible.
4. Tell me he doesn't know how to do his assignment.
5. Have me read through his paper, which is full of awkward and vulgar references.
6. Try to get me to tell him what the common theme is in a bunch of nude pictures he's supposed to analyze for an Art Essay. (Pictures of his own choosing, by the way.)
7. Generally not say much throughout the entire session, while never forgetting to laugh creepily after everything I say.
8. Not recognize when I'm concluding the tutoring session and sit there in creepy silence for a few minutes after we've finished.

Needless to say, I am very glad that's over, and that it's the end of the semester; hopefully he'll forget that the writing lab is here in his future English classes. Sigh.

I think there should be a special, separated living quarter for these Chesterly Fellows. (Maybe the mothership?) We would be free of their chill-inducing presence, and they would get to spend plenty of time in each other's company--completely oblivious to one another's creepy-ness. It would be a happy arrangement for all involved, I believe. They could just live in their own little Chesterly Fellow Colonies, which would be located somewhere near the Evil Baby Orphanage.

OH! Brain Crack is a-coming!! There could be a Chesterly Fellow Baby Orphanage so we could get them out of this creepy-ness as youngsters! That's a better plan than the colonies probably....but the colonies should be in place until we have the time-travelling tecnology to make this thing work. The colonies could also be helpful afterword for anyone who slips through the cracks of the system and isn't recruited to the CFBO while still young and impressionable.

*Though there is no precise definition of a chesterly fellow, here are some pictures that you can refer to in order to soak in the general concept:

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
inveigle (v): to entice or trick into doing or giving something

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This just in: I am now an even bigger English nerd than I once was.

About a week ago I checked out this book at my local library; it's called How Fiction Works by James Wood. It's REALLY nerdy. Like, it could easily be used as a text book for a Literary Analysis class. And I'm reading it for fun. During my semester away from school. You may think this sounds crazy, but I actually find it very interesting to read some critic (who, like all critics, thinks his opinion on EVERYTHING is the only correct one...ha ha ha....I mock their narcissism) ranting and raving on which elements work well in fiction/narratives and which ones don't.

Thus far I've been reading his thoughts on which perspective of narration is the superior-est one. He likes what he calls "free indirect style", which is basically third person narration with a really close tie to the main character--sometimes the reader can't tell if a descriptive word in the narration is the author's word or his character's. I thought immediately, of course, of Harry Potter because that's the type of narration J.K. Rowling uses.

Now, you all know that I adore Harry Potter, so don't take this the wrong way, but...seriously? James Wood thinks that he's special enough to declare which type of narration is "best"? Say what? I think various perspectives are excellent in literature! Which one is "best" is entirely dependent upon the author's intentions! That's like a person approaching you and saying, "Here. Look at these outfits and tell me which one is the best." The person then reveals a diving suit, an evening gown, a police uniform, a t-shirt and jeans, and an astronaut uniform. You can't choose one that is "best". You don't know for what occasion you are picking the outfit!!

For instance, I think that Wood's "free indirect style" is a good one, and I've seen it used very effectively in lots of different literature, but every style has it's place. I, for one, am a big fan of first person narration because as readers we get extremely close to the character; the tone is generally much more conversational. Wood dislikes this form of narrative in most cases (with a few exceptions, including that of Jane Eyre) because of its unreliability--we can't ever be sure we are being told the real story all the time because the character's judgment is skewed and biased; I think there's something to be said about this skewed bias--it too has its merits! Sure, we may not be given an accurate account of events, but we are seeing the events as told by an involved character, which is an entirely different story on its own. Imagine reading Looking for Alaska from the perspective of a third-party narrator. Or even in first person, but from...say...The Colonel's perspective....or The Eagle's. It would become a completely altered book!

To be fair, Wood doesn't actually claim "free indirect style is the best", but he beats you over the head with how amazing he thinks it is, barely even mentioning the other forms of narrative at all: I'm to page 77 and so far he's included one paragraph about each of the alternative perspectives; the remainder of those 77 pages is absolutely devoted to free indirect style. He is a man obsessed, I think. He's spent way too much time focusing only on literary criticism instead of enjoying the literature for what it is every once in a while.

I'm just glad that I'm reading this book using my handy-dandy critical thinking skills and not just blindly accepting everything this guy has to say. Sorry if I bored you with my English-ness!

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
myrmidon (n): an unquestioning follower

P.S. Share your literary opinions in the comments if you have stuff to add to this/weren't scared off by my outburst.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hey, Remember That Time....

Today's post is going to be short because 1. Maureen Johnson gave everyone the day off, which I'm not accepting since I joined Blog Every Day April late anyway and 2. My little sister, Mariah, is waiting for me to do this so we can watch our free RedBox movies together.

This blog topic was inspired by a Regina Spektor song ("That Time") that I listened to on my iPod today at work. (I love Regina Spektor; she's awesome!) The song is basically a collection of random reminiscences--each line beginning with, "Hey, remember that time when...." (Examples from the song: Hey, remember that time when all I would read was shakespeare? Hey, remember that time when all I would read was the back of cereal boxes? Hey, remember that time when all I would eat was boxes of tangerines?) So basically, I'm just going to list some random bits of my life in that form, even though none of you guys will remember any of those times. Sound good? No? Too bad. That's what I'm doing.

Hey, remember that time when I....
  • fell down two flights of stairs in front of all my peers?
  • went door-to-door with my best-friend selling microwaved, ketchup-ed slices of hotdogs for twenty bucks when I was five?
  • stayed up ALL night reading the seventh Harry Potter book and had it read before it had been out for a full twenty-four hours?
  • really, really enjoyed the song, "Tell Me What You Want" by the Spice Girls?
  • was terrified by a deranged, drunk, homeless man in the London Underground who looked EXACTLY like how I picture Mundungus Fletcher in the Harry Potter books?
  • joined YouTube just so I could subscribe to vlogbrothers and the two 5AG channels, and then ended up making my own videos and joining a collab channel?
  • watched The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast EVERY DAY?
  • took gymnastics as a child and sprained my ankle on parents night?
  • almost beat my dad at chess?
  • was driving to my first ever figure skating class and was late because I passed the rink and went through two other cities before noticing I wasn't in the right place any more?
  • took piano lessons for two years and then quit because I hated practicing and then proceeded to love playing the piano later in life for relaxation?
  • listened to nothing but Frank Sinatra for several weeks?
  • listened to nothing but The Beatles for several weeks?
  • first realized I was in love with everything Jane Austen?
  • became obsessed with the "CRAZY CORES!" flavored Skittles? And was super upset that I couldn't find them in the big bags? (Oh wait that was today.)
  • wrote a blog about random things I remember from my past? (That, too.)
That's all I'm going to write about now. Feel free to leave your own "Remember that time when I"s in the comments or on your own blogs!

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
frolicsome (adj): full of high-spirited fun; playful

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Harry Potter Bliss and What Makes for Good Literature

Well, my punishment blog is completed, so now it's time for my regular post for the day (I'll keep it short for your convenience).

Yesterday I spent the majority of my time finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I've been re-reading it for the past two weeks and haven't been covering very many pages per day, but yesterday....holy crap. I just couldn't put it down once I was to the point where SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Harry gets caught by Fenrir Greyback and is taken to Malfoy Manor. I ended up finishing the whole book. I think it's a mark of a truly well-written book when you've read it multiple times and can map out in your mind exactly what's going to happen in the upcoming chapters but you STILL just have to keep reading. Jo Rowling (I love her so much that I can't just call her the unfriendly "J.K."!) is such a fabulous writer. The way she's crafted all seven books just...Ah...and particularly SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER the end-ish chapters of book seven from the point where Snape dies to the point where Harry defeats Voldemort...words don't even express how brilliant she is. Re-reading this book has also helped to revitalize my love for Snape's character. Sigh.

Sorry, non-HP types if this bores you, but it's a big part of ME.

Today I've been watching some more Dr. Who online, which I'm just starting to get into. I started at the beginning and am now four episodes into the first season. I just wanted to check it out to see what all the hype was about, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm hooked.

That's all for now. Hopefully this post wasn't too crap-tastic, but I don't feel too bad since I already posted one of my date stories today.

No under-appreciated vocabulary word since I posted one earlier today.

Random Question for everyone:
What do you guys think makes for a brilliantly written book? There are so many different definitions that work, and I'd love to hear yours!

Mine: When you can re-read a book over and over and still be surprised and engaged in it; you can still find new themes and underlying meanings. You find yourself in its characters and still catch yourself getting teary eyed/emotional by passages that you've already met before.

Dates, Dates, Dates

....and I'm not talking about the ones you eat. (Unless you are a vampire or a zombie, in which case you might eat this kind of date as well...)

It seems you commenters have reached a consensus: you want my bad date stories. (And, oh boy, do I ever have a PLETHORA of those.) Sooooo.....where to start? Perhaps the beginning; that's always a good place.

My first (real) date:

It was my sophomore year of high school. One of my guy friends from school, we'll call him "Brad", called me up at the beginning of the week. The phone call was a little awkward, and I wondered why he sounded so nervous. We didn't talk a whole lot at school generally--we were mostly just friendly acquaintances--but he seemed more jumpy than usual.

At one point in our very short conversation he said something like this:

"So, I was wondering. Um...Tom and I were planning this thing...we want to get a bunch of people to go see Spiderman 2 on Friday...would you wanna go?"

So that doesn't sound like a date right? It sounds like "a bunch of people" going to see a movie together.

"Sure!" I said, "I've been wanting to see that; sounds fun. What time?"

"Well, it starts at seven so..."

Then the conversation was awkwardly ended.

So Friday rolls around, and at about 6:45 after hurriedly getting ready for a casual movie with my friends, I leave the house, my parents' crappy ford windstar in tow. I get to the theater, buy my ticket, and wait for about ten minutes for the "bunch of people" to get there.

I began to wonder where they were as time ticked closer and closer to 7:00.

"Kiera!" I looked up at the sound of my name. The voice surprised me because it was one I recognized, but CERTAINLY not one I was expecting.

"Mom?" I was completely flaberghasted. Mom looked like she had something important to tell me; her hands grasping around as if that would help her figure out what to say next.

"Kiera, Brad came over to the house to pick you up for a date! Why are you here already?!"

And so, I ended up selling my ticket back to the theater (after my mom embarrassingly explained the whole situation to the woman at the register) and meeting my "date" in the lobby. My mom and dad had both come in the car so that my mom could drive the van home, allowing me to ride with my date and our group in their car for the remainder of the evening.

The worst part was going back through the ticket line, Brad paying for my ticket this time, and enduring the cash register lady's extremely obvious amusement. Brad noticed it, too, but had no idea why she was so entertained. She leaned forward and said something to the effect of, "Oh, it's nothing. I just know this girl's mom, and I've seen her coming into this theater since she was little. It's just so cute to see her growing up and on a date!" I'm SO glad she said that. It DEFINITELY improved this situation and didn't make it more HUMILIATING at ALL.

The rest of the "date" was fine, but the entire time I was inwardly agonizing about how dumb the beginning had been; to this day I still wonder if I just missed something in the phone conversation that should have tipped me off that the movie invite was a date and not a hang-out, but I've never been able to discover it.

I was going to share more than one "bad date" story, but I'm pretty sure this post will end up ridiculously lengthy if I do, so I'll end it here.

This has been Bad Date Story Hour with Kiera. Tune in next time for more exciting tales of woe.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
anadipsia (n): an incredible desire to drink any kind of liquid

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Must Not FAIL!

Every once in a while when I have an online project going on, there's this little thing called "real life" that tends to get in the way. I am referring, of course, to the fact that I did not post anything for BEDA yesterday even though it was only like....the fourth day of me doing it. Oops.

I'll tell you what I was doing, though:

Yesterday I was working at one of my part-time jobs (the one where I scan loans all day at a Credit Union, not the English Tutor one) for virtually the entire day. As soon as I got home I warmed up my voice a bit and rushed over to a local university graduation ceremony at which I sang the national anthem. It was rather scary; I got much more nervous than I usually do when faced with the prospect of singing in front of others. I mean, "The Star-Spangled Banner" can be pretty daunting. Fear not, though, it went rather well.

As soon as I finished up at the graduation I hung out with one of my friends; we ATTEMPTED to watch a John Wayne movie with her male cousin and friend. It took us about an hour just to pick a movie that all of us were willing to try, and though I'm not a real fan of old western movies or John Wayne, I was all for watching this movie because I was sick of the boys picking a movie that we didn't want to watch and us picking a movie that they didn't want to watch. Turns out this movie wasn't even a Western. Mr. Wayne was a pilot in this show. And it was REALLY boring. I NEVER fall asleep in movies, and I could NOT keep my eyes open. Oh man.

Anyway, to make a long story short (or at least LESS LONG), I didn't get home until it was quite late and my family was already in bed so I couldn't use the computer. Basically, sorry I failed BEDA as far as yesterday goes. BUT---I will make it up!!!

Here's the deal, leave me comments requesting a specific type of story from my life that will be sort of a punishment for me to share with you. Think bad date stories, embarrassing moments, silly recurring nightmares, whatever you want. I will post said request either tonight or tomorrow in addition to the post for that day.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
roorback (n): an ugly rumor used in politics against an opponent

P.S. Random thought: Have you guys noticed how generally at big national events the person who sings the national anthem gets so into "jazzing" it up that the song hardly has the same melody any more? That so drives me crazy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Dark Past of Unavoidable Injuries

I don't really have much to blog about because my day has been made up of only work, thus I shall entertain you with unlikely (but very true) stories from my dark past.*

To begin with, there are a couple of things you should know about me:
  • I am an extreme wimp, which is sort of like being an extreme daredevil only it's much more dangerous.
  • As a youngster I was very active and did all sorts of dangerous things but NEVER got hurt severely.
  • Nowadays I spend most of my time doing perfectly safe INDOOR things.
Taking all of these points into consideration, reader, you might assume that I don't get injured very seriously or very often; unfortunately your assumption would be incorrect. Being an extreme wimp, I attempt to avoid situations in which I'm likely to hurt myself; consequently I tend to attract injuries in a variety of other ways that, on the surface, are extremely safe--almost to the point of boredom.

I've paid several visits to the emergency room suffering injuries from activities that you would not think capable of injuring a person badly enough to go there. I would not be lying if I were to tell you I've received stitches twice: the first time was due to sitting on an immobile skateboard in my own driveway; the second was the result of a pumpkin carving gone horribly wrong. I also once sliced open the back of my hand during a read-a-thon in my sixth grade English class. Another time I sprained my right ankle doing a cartwheel on the grass at a church next to my friend's house. Yeah. A cartwheel.

Every scar I have has its own ridiculously domestic story behind it. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't have a single mark on my body with a heroic tale of bravery or adventure tied to it. Sometimes when people ask me how I hurt myself when the injury is still fresh and noticeable I'm very tempted to just make something up so that I'll feel less silly....Picture this conversation between myself and an acquaintance of mine:

ACQUAINTANCE: Oh! Kiera! (noticing a HUGE bloody looking gash on the back of my hand) What did you do? That looks so painful!
ME: (thinking, "Oh great. She thinks that I punched through a window in a fire-y building to rescue a baby or something....Maybe I should just say that's what I did....) Um....(trying to think of something believable but not as embarrassing as the truth...)...well...I....uh....(finally feeling resigned--pwned by inability to lie)...You see there was this read-a-thon.

And that's when I lose all the sympathy that my audience felt for me. Alas, that is how my injuries always are.

The moral of the story here is, of course, to do lots of dangerous stunt-like things because you will not get hurt--and if you do, face it: you'll have a heck of a better story than, " see, there was this read-a-thon." And anyway, if you attempt to avoid catastrophe, it will only seek you out. And now I'm off to go bungi-jumping, I guess.

* I do not actually have a "dark past", but I felt it was a good descriptive to keep my readers interested. Did it work?

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
ubiquitous (adj): seemingly present everywhere at the same time

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Punctuation; It's important!

I'm interrupting your regularly scheduled program to inform you that
1. My brain was just turned to mush by the brilliance that is John Green.
2. I'm sick of the snow.
3. Much of a sentence's meaning is dependent upon punctuation.

I don't really want to go into a deep post in response to John Green's, but just know that some of his topics blow me away and put me into a zombie-like state wherein I'm completely non-responsive to my surroundings. His blog can be found here. Go become a deep-thinking zombie.

On a completely unrelated note, It snowed today. It's April, for crying outloud!

Dear Weather,
Please limit yourself for at least the next sixth months to light rainfall, thunderstorms, sunshine, partly cloudy with a light breeze, and fair. This is non-negotiable. Your full cooperation would be very much appreciated by many people, including myself. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way.
Hoping you are well,
P.S. You don't even want to know what the hard way is.

Moving on from the weather to the truly important matters in life, let's talk about punctuation really quickly, shall we? I'm an English nerd. I adore learning about punctuation and grammar: all that technical crap that makes most students hate the English language and learning more about it. To me, English is an intricate dance between our thoughts, our words, and the symbols that some person scribbled onto primitive parchment, declaring, "These are letters!" But I'll stop myself before I start boring you with my geeky fascination with the written word--my purpose here, of course, is to bore you with my geeky fascination with punctuation which supplements the written word.

As an English tutor, I'm frequently lambasted by punctuation crises. Seldom do I read over a university student's paper and find myself completely satisfied with the way it has been punctuated. Today I found a particularly humorous situation that I would like to share with you:

I was reading over a paper submitted to me through my writing center's online tutoring program when I spotted this sentence: "Students will be mailed along with their test results positive incentives." I believe what the writer was trying to say here was that test results and positive incentives would be sent through the mail to the students; however, she has neglected some very crucial punctuation, causing this sentence to sound as though the students would, in fact, be physically stuffed into the envelopes and placed in very large and accommodating P.O. Boxes. Chortle. All that is needed to clarify the meaning here are two strategically placed commas so that the sentence reads, "Students will be mailed, along with their test results, positive incentives." We'll ignore the fact that this sentence would be made better still if worded, "Along with test results, students will be sent positive incentives."

And so we see that punctuation really IS important; all those dusty English teachers really weren't lying to us.

In conclusion, I'd just like to add that I will be mailed along with birthday presents chocolate cake.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
ramshackle (adj.): loose and rickety; likely to fall to pieces

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Am I Getting Myself Into?

Lately I've been introduced to blogging from a series of influential sources--the main one's being YouTube, Nerdfighting, and Maureen Johnson. I've never really considered having a blog, and heaven knows I don't need any more websites to be keeping up with; I already have two YouTube channels, a Twitter account, a DailyBooth, a Facebook, various profiles on "the ning", and multiple e-mail accounts. Do I really need to publish myself elsewhere on the internet? Really?

Um...yeah...apparently I compulsively sign up for these things against my own will--and I might add "better judgement". Oh well. I've already created my blogging account, so there's no turning back now. As Andrew Lloyd Webber would say, I've "passed the point of no return".

Today it's been raining a lot, so naturally it made me decide to join BEDA fourteen days late. Those two things are OBVIOUSLY inexplicably related. Rain does weird things to me like that; for instance, today I've randomly burst into "Drip Drip Drop, Little April Showers" and "Singin' in the Rain" more times than I care to admit--and in public, too. Not that I really care. I've kind of stopped caring what the public at large thinks of me. My motto--if I had one--would go something like this: WHO CARE'S WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK? IF YOU LIKE YOU, THAT'S WHAT REALLY MATTERS!

I only wish that I had figured this out much sooner in life. Like in third grade when I would have given ANYTHING to be friends with "The Popular Girls". Their pink glitter and shiny pigtails enticed me to join them; I could never figure out what set them apart from me. What is it? I would think to myself, Is it the way their moms perfectly curl and fluff their bangs every morning? Is it because they have more money? Is it the giga-pets? I honestly desired a giga-pet as an elementary schooler merely because I thought it would magically make me more "cool". How wrong I was.

I have learned much since then. I no longer attempt to be one of the "In-Crowd" by buying giga-pets...I've moved on to bigger and better things...which is why I've started a blog: it's what all the cool kids are doing!! Ha ha ha ha ha. I'm totally kidding, of course. I'm starting a blog because I've missed writing lately....AND all the cool kids are doing it.

I think I'll go play with my giga-pet now.

Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
monoglot (n): a person who speaks only one language