Sunday, November 10, 2013

To the parents of my children

This past semester I have been student teaching in two middle-school choir classes. It has been an experience. I have learned that all those rehearsal strategies I spent the last two years learning mean nothing if you can't get the students to sit down and be quiet. I have learned that choir students do not want to listen to explanations, they want to sing. I have learned that depending on the mood of the class, a lesson plan can go extremely well or absolutely nowhere. And I have learned that I can and do genuinely love people even if they drive me crazy and even if I sometimes don't know their names.
To the parents of M, who flip houses for a living: please do stop forcing your daughter to switch schools. This is her second this semester, and she has said you may move before Christmas. She is so hard-working and loves being involved, but that is hard when you keep uprooting her.
To the parents of E: at the beginning of the semester I thought your daughter may not speak English, because she was so quiet and shy. But she has an excellent musical ear and picks up her part faster than anyone in the section, and has really blossomed socially. I hope you encourage her continued musical development.
To the parents of H: your son is smarter than he thinks. I hope he realizes that soon.
To the parents of C: your daughter has a beautiful voice, and I hope you allow her to take lessons and that her teachers are aware of the caution needed in working with a young voice.
To the parents of B: your daughter is incredibly bright, and I hope both you and she realize it. She reminds me often that she does not read music, but I'm starting to think she can read more than she knows, because she picks things up so fast.
To the parents of G: your son has ADD. I know his tendency to be a constant distraction is not malicious, but it does make things very difficult for me. He craves attention and responsibility. Some teachers will not be as forgiving as I am, and it would be a shame for him to end up hating school because he gets in trouble so often.
To the parents of A: your daughter seems to be going through something difficult. I don't know what it is and she hasn't said anything to anyone, but her behavior has drastically changed in the last few weeks. Don't let her just give up.
To the parents of P: your son is a joy to work with. He is always willing to do what I ask and loves singing. I hope you allow him to continue with choir.
To the parents of M and S: your children are in different classes right now, but I hope they somehow end up together. Both are eager beaver singers and would make the cutest choir couple.
To the parents of J: your daughter seems to have been through a lot. When I talk to her I feel like I am talking to an adult, and she defies my requests like one.
To the parents of R: your daughter makes me laugh every day with her no nonsense attitude. Way to raise her.
This is a small fraction of the things I would like to say to the parents of my children. Though I only see them for less than an hour a day, I care about all of them. Your kids are great-be grateful that they are yours.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The way I see it

Middle-schoolers in Halloween costumes=adorable (even the one who said "I'm a pin-up girl. My mom really wanted me to be one.")
Adults in Halloween costumes=amusing and acceptable as long as I can see your face and you don't act weird
Kid in my Literature class who was Dr. Who and answered questions in a struggly British accent= I found you annoying before, but now you are embarrassingly insufferable
Couple who just walked into the HFAC dressed as Han Solo and Princess Leia with their baby in a giant R2-D2 stroller=absolutely winning Halloween

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanks a lot, Orlando Bloom

I have long straight hair, and every now and then I like to pull it half back. Unfortunately, this was also the hairstyle given to Legolas in the Lord of the Rings movies. For many years I have tried to avoid looking like a man-elf by having bangs and making sure there is some volume in my hair when I pull it back like this. Today, though, my hair was really flat and my bangs were too long to not pin back. I didn't have time to redo my hair, so basically, this is what I looked like when I had to stand in front of a room of judgmental middle schoolers:
Sit down children!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

What's More American?

Back in the day, I was in a youth choir called “Voices of a New Day.” Apparently, it was once prestigious-ish, but by the time I was in it, it was mostly a small group of kids who did not want to be there and a very frustrated director. We did sing at the National Christmas tree thing once. And then when we got home my dog was paralyzed and we had to take him to the dog hospital for surgery that he never really recovered from. In preparation for what I assume was a Fourth of July concert (which I don’t really remember, so maybe not), we sang a song called “What’s More American?” It was ridiculous. It would list a whole bunch of things that I guess the lyricist thought were “American,” and then ask what’s more American than those things??? I am! I am! I am! Unfortunately, I quickly forgot the lyrics to the song, and only had vague memories that it was really really bad. Then today, while looking through a middle school choral library, I found it! A whole packet of “What’s More American?”s. And so I typed up the words:
What’s more American than Corn Flakes? The Fourth of July and Uncle Sam? What’s more American than baseball? I am! I am! I am!
What’s more American than toothpaste? Rock n roll, peanut butter, toast and jam? What’s more American than O.K.? I am! I am! I am!
The Stars and Stripes, the Capitol Dome, bubble gum...
There’s General Grant, and Robert E. Lee...
But most of all you can count on little old me! Me! Me!
What’s more American than ice cream? Chow mein, pizza, Virginia ham? What’s more American than Bingo? I am! I am! I am!
Ours is a heritage, second to none. We are a nation, united as one. Our Founding Fathers gave us that start, and their love for our country lives on in every heart.
What’s more American than football? And TV and mighty Superman? What’s more American than Swaaaaaaneeee? I am! I am! I am!
The Bill of Rights, and Betsy Ross, the Liberty Bell, and Paul Revere’s horse...
Old Santa Claus, and a Christmas tree...
But most of all you can count on little old me! Me! Me!
What’s more American than praying in the church of your choice across the land?
What’s more American than saying I am?!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Promise of Morning

    There are these monkeys in Animal Kingdom--White Cheeked Gibbons.

Those cheeks can flap
They swing around all cute in their large enclosure, a major attraction for the guests. 

But in the mornings, they are completely different. The dominant male monkey perches on his bamboo piece and screeches, cheeks flapping, spit squirting. His cries echo through the park, even up through the Mountain, like a baby Yeti squeaking.
He is calling for his mate who, spoiler alert, is five feet away in their little house.

I see the resemblance.
There was something about walking to work in the park at 4am, the mountain, navy against cerulean, pink at the edges from dawn, with the haunting screeches piercing the low fog, that fired all your senses. Like a promise that everything was going to be new that day, even if you had done it yesterday and the day before.

Why morning shifts were tolerable

This morning, I felt it again, for the first time in two years. Descending from the night, the yellow lights punctuated by flickering green and red looked just like the New York I had flown out of 14 hours before: we may as well have gone a circle.
 I stepped off the plane and was hit with that promise feeling, that one that fires your senses. The humidity, the dim lights, the scribble on the walls that everyone else seemed to understand, but most of all the quiet. No one is at the airport at 4am. Like hollow Everest and the gibbons, the only sound was the echoing snores, coming out of corners and behind planters and other places sleepers try to hide.
I watched the dark airport fill for the next twelve hours, an entropic whirlwind of people, and I knew that that promise of morning, was only a promise of mornings to come.

PS: 26 hours is a long time to be stuck with only your own thoughts

Friday, August 23, 2013

No Touching!

Dear Produce People at Shoppers Food Warehouse,
I am excited that you are expanding the range of fruits you offer at your Burke location. However, due to the exotic nature of some of these fruits, your customers may unwittingly injure themselves if not warned of the intricacies of handling them. For instance, hypothetically, someone is walking down the aisle looking for a mango and happens to spy a pile of prickly pears. The customer is intrigued by the strange, monster toe shaped blobs, and considers purchasing one, just to try it. She/He can see that the large spines have been removed, rendering the cacti harmless, and she/he picks up and squeezes various specimens in an attempt to determine what makes a good prickly pear. As she places the chosen one in her cart, she feels a small stab. While inspecting the hide for the offending prick, she realizes her hands are covered in miniscule barbs and splinters. If I had known the risk, I never would have handled so many of the prickly pears, and I would not have to spend my days fruitlessly hunting prickle pieces embedded in my skin. I strongly recommend that you clearly label and describe the risk of touching such dangerous produce. And provide utility gloves.
Thank you for your time,
An Unsuspecting Customer

Handle With Care

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some irony in my life right now

We got lost on our girl's camp certification hike

Isn't there an easier way?

My library job is more interesting than my reporter job

Yes that is a dunk tank. Yes I was in it.

I'm bringing my own soy sauce to China

Thank you Amazon

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Things that should be recorded

I love kilts
There are two bagpipers who live across the hall and practice a lot
There are so many Asians here
I prefer Cadbury to Galaxy
Everyone here is really nice, like the cashier who noticed I was buying the shorter roll of digestives and went and got me the longer one for the same price
I prefer Scottish accents to English, and Glaswegian to Edinburgh
I want "wee" to become a thing in the States
I get Robert Burns but not really Walter Scott
Everything here tastes slightly different, except bagels
It has been sunny and warm for the last week and I feel robbed of my Scottish experience
The Highlands are incredibly beautiful
 I have seen so many naked torsos on so many different body types
Sometimes if feels like a travesty to not be out traveling somewhere, and sometimes it is so nice just to sit and work on things (like this blog post)
The water has been tasting funny lately
I need a new water bottle


I recently went on two very long roadtrips in a 15-seater bus, and I made some observations on the progression of the general mood of a group of people confined to a small space for a long period of time. Read carefully in preparation for your next cross-country trip to ensure you still like your friends by the end of it.
Depending on the start time of the trip, the first stage is often the "fun bus." There is a feeling of excitement and adventure, people are laughing and telling stories, if the group is younger there might be songs and games (if just a group of girlfriends there would definitely be Taylor Swift and Broadway sing-alongs). In the fun bus, time passes quickly, stops along the way are joyous as everyone piles out in the same happy-time mood, and great memories are made. PRESERVE THE FUN BUS AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
If the trip started early in the morning, the first stage may be the "quiet bus." This is marked by people sleeping and having hushed conversations. Hopefully, the quiet bus eventually progresses to the fun bus, but it may fall into the trap of "silent bus," in which everyone puts their headphones in or reads. Time passes very slowly on the quiet bus and people feel perpetually tired, even at the most exciting of stops.
The stage to be avoided at all costs is the "angry bus." This happens when people are sick and tired of being together and looks similar to the silent bus in that many people will have their headphones in, but any conversation will be clipped and sarcastic instead of sleepy and sad sounding.  Someone may blow up at some point, which often marks a point of no return. Everyone's opinion of each other changes after the angry bus.
The fun bus can almost always be saved through two means, though. The first is the sharing of snacks. It is hard to ignore or be angry at someone who just passed their Cadbury chocolate bar around to everyone. Once someone starts, everyone pulls out their offerings and eventually polite conversation turns to stories about that one time you were on a long car ride and dropped a piece of chocolate and when you got up it was stuck to the back of your pants and people thought you had crapped yourself. The other nearly surefire way back to the fun bus is crazy souvenir shops. Everyone loves knickknacks and funny photo-ops. Differences are forgotten in the delight of finding ridiculous Loch Ness monster t-t-shirts, and shopper's high is contagious.
In a few days we will be leaving on a week long bus trip through Ireland, and fun bus preservation will be of the utmost importance. Snacks and lightweight conversation topics must be plentiful, though I am afraid none will leave Survivor: Ireland unscathed.

Eater's Digest

A good friend of mine studied abroad in London  a few years ago. She told me that she constantly carried a roll of chocolate covered digestives with her. I found this concerning, because the word "digestive" connotes "helpful with digestion" aka fiber. She assured me that they are actually just cookies and that they are delicious. After a few days in Scotland without eating any chocolate, I was suddenly overcome one day at the store with the need to buy everything tasty, which is how I ended up with my first roll of digestives. The next day we spent a whole day in Edinburgh and I decided to take my digestives along as a snack. Thus began my love affair with digestives. I could feel the judgment from others as they believed I was eating some type of laxative all day, and despite my protests that "they're just cookies!" I knew people were concerned about my proximity to restrooms. A few people were willing to try them and became firm believers in the way of the digestive, but the doubt coming from all other sides caused me to become worried. So I Wikipedia'ed "digestive biscuit" where I discovered how they got their off-putting name. Digestives were first produced in the 19th century, when people didn't know science, and because they contained sodium bicarbonate, people thought they would have antacid properties. In summary, old-timey people thought anything with baking soda would work like Tums and a delicious cookie got cursed with a weird name. So, all the judgment I should receive for finishing that roll of digestives in one day (I shared some, okay!) is from the fact that I just ate that many cookies.

Friday, July 5, 2013

On growing a new limb

One of my dear friends is about to come home from a two year mission. I was thinking about my life; the things that had changed and the important updates too long to put in an email.

One that immediately came to mind is the acquiring of a new limb known as my iPhone. It has become such a part of me I literally feel anxious when it is even in a different part of the house. I would also feel anxious if my finger or ear were in a different part of the house.

Is my phone chained to me, or am I chained to my phone?
This concept was reinforced last night when driving home from Massachusetts. We stopped at a rest area, and on my way to the rest room I remember thinking, "I shouldn't have left my phone in the car, now I'm going to have to wait in a line/wait for someone to come out with no pleasant distractions". I happened to be wearing my small pocket shorts (bane of my existence), so I couldn't have stuffed my otterbox protected limb inside.

Just asking for trouble
So my bathroom trip was rather boring without my phone. I came back to the car and we left. A few minutes later I had this eerie feeling, like I was missing something. I dug through my purse, took off my seatbelt and crawled around the suburban, demanded that my brother use the flashlight on his phone to help, asked my mom to call mine, only to conclude that my newest limb was certainly not in the car.

We pulled over and continued the search and I decided it had to be in the parking lot of that rest area. My parents thought that was doubtful--did I take it inside? No definitely not, because I remember wanting it inside.

If you've ever driven the freeway in New England, you know that exits only crop up about every 20 miles. This is unfortunate for two people in particular: those with small bladders, and those that need to turn around. We spent 40 minutes and paid $5 in tolls to finally reach the rest area. During that trip, my mother texted my phone with the quaint message "you have found my phone! Call this number: (her number)." And sure enough, some kind soul had found it. But no, not in the parking lot. 

They found it in the bathroom.

It's been 12 hours now and I am still disturbed by this. The fact that I was wishing my phone was with me when it was in my hand.

The only way I can take peace of mind from this is that you don't notice a limb...unless it's missing. I don't think about my pinky toe on a daily basis despite it's necessity to my balance. However, if it were suddenly chopped off by a wayward knife or crushed by a car, I would certainly notice it. 

So it's official. My little/big otterbox encased iPhone is a part of me. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Carpool Lane Musings

I woke up with this interesting thought:

Can a hearse carrying a corpse be in the carpool lane (legally)?

I concluded that if we are going with the purpose of the carpool lane, to reward those who carpool, then no it would not because a corpse cannot drive a car and therefore you are not saving the environment by sharing your vehicle with it.

The carpool lane has always mystified me because it is one of those very few things that runs very much on the honors system. In my opinion, driving by yourself in the carpool lane is like cannibalism: it's just morally wrong and something you don't do. And yet there are those that do.

There are also poachers though, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

Nice try


A friend randomly pointed to this postcard in a shop, saying it was cute. I nearly had a heart attack I was so excited, and she did not quite understand.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Should you ever be in Glasgow...

Yes, you definitely should, Glasgow is awesome. So, when you are in Glasgow, be sure to pay a visit to the Kelvingrove museum. It has many features you would expect to find in any other museum, but also many charms that larger galleries lack. I think the best description I can give is imagine that all the Smithsonian museums were stuffed in one castle-like building, and that they didn't have a whole lot of money or acclaim, but a whole lot of Scottish good-humor. One of the main gallery halls has Sir Roger the elephant and some other animals, as well as an airplane. The hall of Scottish wildlife has a large pike head in a glass case (they aren't sure where the body went), a statue of a rare bird they apparently don't have a specimen of, and a haggis.
They also have organ recitals everyday, which you can hear through the whole building, providing a nice soundtrack to your museum-going experience. Many of the artworks are simply displayed along the hallway, and the only one I saw with a Do Not Touch sign was this one:
I only spent about an hour in the museum today, but I look forward to many returns. Srsly, this place is awesome. 

Scotland's Burning

Seriously, every door in this country says "Fire Door Keep Locked" and there are signs for fire exits everywhere. Apparently, the fire alarms in my apartment building are tested every Thursday morning, and you can't use hairdryers or hairspray under them because they are so sensitive. Is it all because of a children's song?

Sunday, June 23, 2013


They do indeed say "wee" in Scotland

A Wee Bit o' Scotland

I arrived in Scotland yesterday morning, and so far my main impression is that everything is tiny. Or "wee" as they might call it here, an assumption I am making based on dialect in one of the books I'm reading for class, not because I have actually heard anybody say that. The cars here are little, and even if they look roomy from the outside (like the taxi I took from the airport), somehow there is not much room inside. The hallways of the building I am staying in are small and labyrinth-like, my bed is actually just a cot. I went to take a shower today, and I could hardly lift my arms up and there was no way to have all of my hair be shampooed at once because there was no way to not be in the direct line of water. I am not sure how anyone mch larger than me could fit in the shower stall, nor do I understand how you can shave your legs. Which is why I brought tights. I went to buy groceries and discovered that all of the packages of food were small (and expensive), and that the store itself was very small. Even right now, the number of hours when the sun is down is very small. Here is a picture I took out my window at 10 last night:
Another thing that is rather small is the amount of words I understand when someone speaks with a thick Scottish accent. My new gal for this trip is no longer to come back with an accent, but to be able to understand one. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Hairline Paradox:

What happens when you see a cute boy on campus who you would like to flirt with, but you can't tell if he's a freshman or not because he has such a full head of hair. Sadly, what was once a desirable trait is now a potential source of aversion.

Remember, the version on the right is the one that got married

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Maybe I am a vengeful person

Shortly after winning the "Freedom of Speech Award" Glenn Beck's vocal chords were paralyzed.

There is something beautifully biblical about this.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

5 Things to Do with Your Placenta

Kim Kardashian is considering eating her own placenta  When I heard this, I experienced a range of emotions starting with fascination and ending with disgust.

For those of you who don't know what a placenta is (males), it is a wall full of nutrients and hormones between the womb and the baby. The bloody mass exits with the baby and is quickly disposed of in a sanitary manner.

Placenta: officially the grossest thing you will ever google

But now some moms are eating their placentas claiming that it must be good because all animals do it. And I say look where that got them. I'm all for loving and understanding animals, but there are some evolutionary factors in play here. You are human. You are on top of the food chain. You do not eat your placenta. So why change that?

If you're really concerned about connecting with this natural part of you, I came up with five other fun things you can do with your placenta.

1. Bury it in a sunny spot and plant a Callery Pear tree over it. Every spring time, the wet beaver smell will remind you of that short time you had with your placenta.

Looks heavenly, smells Satanic
2. Have a professional artist come and sketch your placenta. Hang it on the wall of your baby's room, so your baby will grow up grateful to the organ that gave it life.

Tell your baby it's his placenta, tell everyone else it's a jellyfish

3. Burn it. Invite your friends to cook s'more over the campfire. True friends will come.

No one has to know what you used as kindling

4. Take a picture of it on your iPhone and set it as your background.

Because the original background doesn't symbolize life at all
5. Freeze dry it and keep it with all of your emergency food. It may in fact save your life during a zombie apocalypse.

Eat yourself before they eat you
Despite my disgust, I am still fascinated by the concept. So if anyone has eaten their placenta, please message me a description of your experience. I'm too afraid to google it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Dream On

So I've been having some vivid dreams recently (they are vivid, but not interesting. I mostly go about my day like normal but every now and then something will appear in my hand or I will suddenly switch locations), and whenever I wake up from them I feel very confused because just a moment before I was living in a fully-formed reality where I was happily walking around and doing things that has now been replaced by me lying in bed, exhausted and dreading getting up. During one of these surreal mornings, I started thinking how weird it was that you spend a third of your life in various fully formed, imaginary worlds, and that all it takes to obliterate them is a little beeping on your phone.
The definition of a rude awakening

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Saturday Night

You know you're at an old person's birthday party when the after-dinner conversation consists of speculation over how long the birthday boy has left to live, and you inherit ancient pairs of nylons afterward.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hashtagology 101

Hashtags are a marvelous tool. They bring reason and order to the chaotic worlds of twitter, instagram, and maybe even facebook.

If, people knew how to use them.

Like people who use the wrong their/there/they're, your/you're, and too/to/two, I used to find people who misuse hashtags silly. Now it annoys me.

First, let's go over the origin of the word:
Hash mark: the mysterious key on your phone that didn't have a common use until 2006. "#"
Tag: a way to identify an object (a luggage tag)
So, a hashtag is a way to identify a digital object using a hash mark.

No one cared until Twitter

Once you hashtag a tweet or photo, it is then categorized and can be searched, connecting people around the globe.

Let's do an example.
Just say you took a picture of your puppy licking chocolate off of your finger. After writing a witty caption (I guess not all dogs are are allergic to theobromine!), you add the hashtags. Hashtags should be keywords
Good hashtags:
Do you see what this does?
Now, if someone across the world wanted to look at pictures of puppies, they would type "puppies" in the search bar and voila they see your cute puppy! Or, if some sucker in biochemistry needs a picture for class (modern teaching method or laziness?), they will be pleasantly surprised by your little joke and your puppy will probably end up in their Powerpoint presentation.
Here are some examples of bad hashtags, or what I like to call bashtags
Because nobody would search for these tags. All you're doing is making the reader squint to figure out what you're trying to say.

If your bashtags hurt my head, I will hate you

Here's a good rule of thumb: if your hashtag is actually a sentence, it should go in the caption

Let's practice: Think of some good hashtags
#kitties #cats #wedding #bride #groom 
There are MANY more. In fact, hashtagging is really a science, but I'll go into that in a later post.

Here are some bashtags

Do you see the difference?

Upcoming: Hashtagology 102...more ways to use a hashtag

Monday, May 20, 2013

On the Origin of FOMO

I read this book once about the creation of the oxford dictionary (because I'm just that cool). Wealthy people (or prisoners)  in Europe with nothing else to do sat around reading the classics, trying to find the origin of a word.

I remember the exact moment the acronym fomo came to me. I was walking down 5th Avenue (see? I am cool), talking to one of my best friend's moms. She was saying that she has an intense fear of missing fun, or missing out on anything. I told her that this is a very common fear in my generation, because facebook tells me hourly all of the things I've missed out on. It was so common it should have an abbreviation. And the neurons that spark ingenuity came, "fomo". Not only does it sound like a real disease, but it also rhymes with "slow", "no go" and "can't wait no mo'" and yes I fully intend to make a rap one day.

The facebook feed: the solution to fomo or the cause?
I have had a lot of opportunities to use this acronym in the past year (because I have a lot of friends and can't be everywhere at once, not because I'm not invited obviously). It is so applicable and catchy, all my friends started saying it, then I started hearing it around campus, and then today I saw this:

A few hours later I was reading a TIME magazine article about my generation (remember my coolness?) and saw the acronym again! I would put the link to this article, but the poor magazine is now charging for internet subscriptions, so you'll just have to believe me.

Now, I know this phenomenon didn't stem from me. I just don't have the entitlement and ownership issues baby boomers claim millenials have.
What I do know, is that fomo came to me strolling through New York City.

Which brings the question, is there any such thing as an original idea?

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Rationale Behind an Irrational Fear

Now that Malarky has confessed one of her greatest fears, here is mine. I have a great fear of ever seeing a ghost. Not necessarily of ghosts, but of the possibility of seeing one. Think about it, if you really saw a ghost, that would mean that there are dead people floating around doing and seeing who knows what. If you didn't really see a ghost, that would mean you were just hallucinating in the middle of the day and therefore crazy. Both of those are horrible possibilities.
Having to wear a sheet over your head
would certainly prolong the eternities.

Real Imaginary Friends

What if your best friend was actually imaginary, and everyone you knew just pretended that your best friend was real in order to preserve your sanity?

This is my greatest fear

Friday, May 10, 2013

I Don't Get NPR

For a while I just set my radio on Scan, which was an interesting experience.  The lower numbered stations have hipster and classical music, then up through the numerous Top 40, all the way to the Spanish stations. Then one day while driving around Point of the Mountain, there was something relatively interesting on NPR, and I haven't changed the station since. These are my thoughts:

Did they ever provide news coverage that was better than what you can get from Yahoo News? I heard a story about a guy who died in a really fancy yacht race. Then they talked about what the race was. The last line was about prize money, and how participants would really need that money as the boats can cost $10 million. Really? They really need the money? In order to participate in such a sport, I think you pass the point of "needing money."

What is the deal with the random music they play between segments? Every now and then I think I recognize a song, but most of the time I think they just use parts of those songs predownloaded on Windows Media Player.

How come all their interviews are super short and all the sound bites they use sound like they cut off right before the person is going to say something insightful? They have 24 hours everyday to fill with talking, and yet it seems like they don't do a lot of real talking.

All this being said, I really like NPR's website. Which makes sense because the station kind of seems like the internet, on the radio.

I'm Just Gonna Come Out and Say It

The hike to the Y is the worst. The absolute worst. Anyone who tells you it is fun is lying.
This is actually Hell. Satan is very deceiving.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Everyone Has a Weird Medical Condition

Senior year of high school I came home from school one day and my foot was swollen. 4 years later, it is still swollen, because my lymphatic system is weak/under-developed/stupid. When I first came to college, I was worried and embarrassed about the fact that I had fat feet and had to wear old lady stockings, but soon learned that everyone has a weird medical condition. I know people with diabetes, epilepsy, chronic nosebleeds, eczema, random noncancerous lumps in their breast, irritable bowel syndrome, blank affect, schizophrenia, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, crazy allergies, alopecia, toe thumbs, gastric reflux, thyroid conditions, chronic staph infections, and the list goes on.

I think it is about time to admit that everyone is weird and kind of gross, and instead of judging each other, being fascinated. This same approach works for when you find unidentifiable moldy items in your fridge.

Aren't they magnificent?

When virtual life and real life mix

While watching my brother play Call of Duty, I had a thought.

What if Call of Duty was actually real? What if millions of teenagers/lifeless adults were actually running around killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan from the comforts of their living room?

Perhaps Call of Duty is really a government program to replace real lives on the ground.


Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card, is the story of a genius boy called into a government program to "practice" killing their nemesis. The twist? Turns out the "practice training games" were real life. Ender actually annihilated an entire planet without knowing he was doing so. I won't give away the last twist (and it's a doozy). Go see the movie, or better yet read the book (you have six months, what else are you doing with your life?).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Day I Realized I was a Homegurl


      1. Your crushes' girlfriend
      2.  Any girl that gets up in your business

        Jake and homegurl broke up: all is well and right in the world!
         I was going to hang out with Jake today but homegurl beat me to it.

You will not find this word in the Merriam-Webster, mostly because my roommates and I made it up. Or at least, we gave a new connotation to an existing word. But the more you apply it, the more you realize how useful it is!


I have a lot of homegurls in my life. Mostly because I have a lot of guy friends. And, call me possessive, but any girl they hang out with that isn't me is a homegurl.
Homegurls are the worst possible type of girl--they are not fun, cute, or even interesting--and yet your guy friend/crush likes them.
Homegurls make you feel horrible about yourself because you think, "he's into her? what does that say about me?"

The other day I had a shocking revelation of Siddhartha proportions.

To have a homegurl, you have to be a homegurl.

There have to be two girls in the equation, and you are both each other's homegurls.

I'm still reeling from all the implications of this discovery.

A Custodial Poem

I am the steward of 54 trashcans.
54 trashcans that will be empty before 5:00 a.m. every morning.
54 trashcans that reveal to me what you eat for lunch each day (a clementine, three granola bars, Wendy's chili).

I am the one who sprayed hepacide on your desk, phone, and doorknobs when I noticed piles of tissues in your trash.
I am the one who cleans that giant conference room table and wonders whether the fingerprints are actually new (have the chairs moved?) or if somehow my cleaning wasn't good enough yesterday.
I am the one who vacuumed the dandruff off your chair and wondered how the flakes got so big.
I am the one who prays you will not suffer from intestinal distress during your workday.

I have smiled when I saw your desk decorated for your birthday.
I have seen your family photos as well as the glossy magazine cut-outs of delicious looking food you posted in your cubicle (ice cream sundaes, cupcakes, fancy hot chocolate, why?)
I have nearly fallen asleep when I sat down under your desk to plug in my vacuum.

I am the morning shift.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Win an Argument with Irrational People

There are a lot of irrational people in this world.

And one thing they all have in common is they like to argue. It's ironic because they are the last people who should be arguing, but they just can't help it. It's an irrational quality.

The thing about irrational people is that they don't like to be told they are irrational. In fact, they hate it. I know this because I have tried.

So, instead of arguing with irrational people, I choose to shut them down with a simple phrase. They walk away speechless. They still don't know they were being irrational, and they will never apologize, but they will shut up. For a time.

Here are some examples:

"I'm sorry sir, your FastPass was from 10:05-11:05. It is now 3:00."
"So what?"
"So, your FastPass is invalid. You have to wait in the standby line. It's only 20 minutes right now."
"WHAT? I paid $1000 to get into this park and waited for hours to use this fast pass and now you're telling me I can't?"
"Are you kidding me? I thought this was supposed to be the most magical place on earth! You are so f***ing rude I'm going to talk to your manager and get you fired!"
"That's an interesting thought."
"...*storms away*..."
Dream for the guest, nightmare for the cast members

"I shouldn't have to put my dishes in the dishwasher because I did that yesterday."
"That's an interesting thought."

"We have to go back to the island!"
"That's an interesting thought"

"Obama is a Muslim socialist Satanic Nazi who is going to take my guns and then kill you."
All together now,
"That's an interesting thought."

I'm sure you can think of many more instances to use this simple phrase and I encourage you to try it next time you find yourself in an irrational argument.

Make the world a better place. Maybe one day they'll give up.

The Internet is the Best Source

While hanging out with my sister one day, I said "let's blow this popsicle stand!" She said that sounded like something our Dad would say, and I said I was pretty sure I first heard it from our brother. We then began to wonder where the phrase came from, so we turned to Google and learned many things.

Anything you can imagine exists on etsy

Urban Dictionary was the first result, and in typical Urban Dicitonary fashion, there was one useful entry and then some more interesting ones. The useful entry defines the phrase as "A very silly way to say 'Let's get a move on.'" Thanks, I already knew that.

The second entry is a bit more entertaining: "Lame, 50's, white-people way of saying, "Let's get outta here!" Example sentence: "Golly Gee! There's a trouble a comin'! Let's Blow this Popsicle Stand!"
Then there is the great grand third entry. Because I have not been able to find any confident origin story for the phrase, this one has to remain on the table as a possibility:
"Legend has it that this term was first coined in the 1940's by a Jamaican named Antoine Cleo. Antoine Cleo believed that filling the area of a popsicle with deadly radiation, could be used against certain countries as biological warfare. He believed that the radiation had certain brainwashing chemicles inside of it and that placing the popsicles at stands at random areas could allow more people to buy the popsicles, thus was his plan for world domination.

However, his plans were soon foiled when a strange cult called the Kindred Spirits (The Cult leader was Later identified as a man named Dushka Deshvky) blew up all the popsicle stands in America, including killing the perpetrator, Antoine Cleo.

"Lets blow this popsicle stand" was then started as an inside joke between 4 teenagers, then it spread throughout the United States, the phrase from then on meant, "Lets get out of here fast, before something bad happends to us."

Now maybe after hearing this, we can walk away a little wiser about what this phrase means."
Whoever wrote this definition included a source (Evil Minds of the 1900s), which in the world of academia gives it the most credibility (though a search of that works title does not produce any exact results).
Like I said, I was not able to find any confident results for the phrase origin. Yahoo! Answers "Best Answer" brings up the fact that it couldn't have come from earlier than 1924, because that's when popsicles were invented. Another contributor posits that "I think it was the same place that 'pop a squat' originated.'" One person says it comes from SNL's "Ambiguously Gay Duo," which I have never seen and therefore cannot confirm nor deny the truth of that statement. And of course, there is this:
"In the middle of the 20th century, when the back-street abortions were rampant, the FBI in the U.S. mounted an unprecidented crack down on the abortion providers. In an effort to avoid being arrested (or worse), the abortionists took to hiding their programs in ice cream parlours and popsicle stands. Anti-choice terrorists used the phrase to signal their compatriots to leave the store quickly just before the explosion in order to avoid dectection. Oh, and, I have no idea."
Someone brought it up on a Snopes forum, but that degenerated into people just saying they had or had not heard the phrase before and someone saying they thought it was "taco stand." StraightDope has some references to shows on which the phrase was used, but no origins.

Basically, lots of people know of the phrase, but no one has any idea where it comes from. It seems to have been spawned out of thin air, like how people thought maggots were spontaneously generated from rotting meat. So if you know where the phrase came from, please let the internet know, and you could basically become Louis Pasteur.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Malarky vs Airport Laziness

For the most part I love people.

Even the annoying ones, the loud ones, the quiet ones, the ones that think they're funny but they aren't. I love them all.

But I hate a lot of human behavior.

Exhibit A: I'm in the Baltimore Maryland Airport. All of the convenient outlet benches are taken (by people without electronics of course) so I'm sitting on the floor next to a pole with an outlet in it.

"This swivel chair is the perfect place to read my book" -everyone in the airport 
 There are about three feet between the pole and a row of chairs, and me and my stuff take up most of that room.
But does that stop people?
They say, "oh, I don't want to walk an extra 10 feet around the chairs to get over to the window so I guess I'll just STEP OVER this girl and take the chance that her head doesn't bang up my laptop case."

You could say that airports bring out the best in me.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Good Glory

I may have a job cleaning campus bathrooms and I may have lived with an incontinent dog for many years, but nothing prepares you for the realization that the yellow crusty stuff down the toilet is probably vomit and it definitely isn't yours.

An Inspiration To Us All

I love Yahoo News, because it features a wide variety of badly edited articles that cover everything you never dreamed of wanting to know. For instance, "Degrees you can earn on your lunch break," "Best career paths for women" (the tagline is "Two jobs allow you to spend all day online" and the article doesn't really explain why any of these jobs would be great for women specifically) and "Charlize Theron's red carpet fun with Clinton." A few months ago, Yahoo News introduced me to Obie, the obese dachshund. He used to live with an elderly couple that fed him all the time, and when they died he was rescued at 77 lbs. This is what he looked like:
Here is a beached whale for comparison
His new owner made a Facebook page for him where you could follow his weight loss, and the posts are some of my favorite things on my news feed (only rivaled by the capybara I am friends with).
His current profile picture
Anyway, Obie has been doing really well with diet and exercise and now he looks really skinny from on top! And I am just so proud of him, because life has got to be hard when you have no idea why people stopped feeding you treats all the time and made you go for walks, but he is so happy! He's not my dog, nor do I have any personal connection to him, but I am so proud! 

More inspiring than Oscar Pistorius. Especially since he shot his girlfriend.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Challenge Accepted: Hiking the Hoodoos

There are a lot of liars out there.

Disneyworld is not the happiest place on earth.
The best part of waking up is brushing your teeth, not Folgers in your cup.
Yes I can eat just one potato chip.

Don't be fooled--these people hate their lives.
But I am here to tell you that there is one thing in this crazy world that tells the truth.

The Queen's Trail/Navajo Loop in Bryce Canyon truly is the most beautiful 3-mile hike in the world.

I went to the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago and stopped by Bryce Canyon. We didn't have time to go down the amphitheater, but I was intrigued by the "Hike the Hoodoos Challenge". The free newsletter said that the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge was half scavenger hunt half hike with a special prize at the end. I searched the internet for at least three minutes trying to find clues to the "special prize" with no prevail. I promised myself that I would do the challenge and post a picture of the prize. Someday.

So I finally returned and hiked the hoodoos. We followed the signs down into the red towering rocks. The trail was steep down but mostly flat at the bottom, meandering through pine trees and tumbling scree. We took selfies at special markers and anticipated the special prize.

After two hours of being struck with wonder, we returned to the Visitor's Center and talked to the working park ranger:
"I completed the Hike the Hoodoos Challenge."
"So...what do I do now?"
"Do you have any pictures?"
And I emphatically showed her my selfies. And she then handed me my prize. I felt like a hipster walking around with my prize--a seasoned hiker, a Bear Grylls-apprentice, a Steve Irwin tributee. But in a much larger sense, a poser. Because I am no where close to any of those things. But that just gives you an idea of how incredible the prize is.

Google image woman who also felt like a poser
Final word: I know that this is the most beautiful hike in the world because I've hiked every hike in the world. Ok that's a lie. But I did promise I would reveal the secret prize. Ok that's a lie too.

I guess I'm just like everyone else.

Friday, April 12, 2013


We read T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" in one of my classes, and talked about how Eliot makes tons of references to works of classic literature, places, things he remembers hearing once, etc. The poem is very hard to read without having the exact same life and background as Eliot, so to try and bridge this gap in understanding, Eliot eventually made some footnotes. This made me think about how there are many things that I say and do that make sense (and are funny) to me because I'm referencing something, but are completely random to others.
For instance, I love Spongebob. A lot. If you know me, you might have heard a few of these gems:
Arrested Development favorites:
This one came in handy the other day when I accidentally crushed
my brother's balsa wood airplane. He's 24, so I think he's gotten
over it by now...
30 Rock:
This is just all around the best movie

These kids know what I'm talking about
  • "Sometimes, we take it away!"-a video of 4-year-old me yelling at Malarky because she wouldn't let me get on my bike