Saturday, March 30, 2013

A White Girl Struggle

I try to be a socially conscious person, and am very aware that I am a privileged upper-middle-class white girl. Because of this, I sometimes stress about situations that maybe I shouldn't stress about, but then again, maybe I should? Today I was walking through the Wilk and the Native American powwow was on. This means there were a lot of people walking around in costume and "Native" tacos being eaten (why aren't they being called Navajo tacos anymore? Now I'm worried to call them that). When I was in Monument Valley last summer, I bought a necklace with a Zuni Sunface pendant, which I wear everyday. People sometimes ask me why I wear it, since I'm not Native American, but I just like it, okay?! I think it's pretty and it reminds me of one of my favorite places. Anyway, walking through the powwow, wearing my necklace and moccasins, I became super self-conscious. I wanted to yell "I'm not trying to commodify your culture!" but then again, maybe I am? But part of the powwow was selling Native American handicrafts, so is it approved commodification?

This happened on the same day as Holi, the Festival of Colors, which is Utah County's favorite profile picture factory. Throwing colored chalk at each other and dancing is great fun, and the point of the holiday is celebration, but should the hordes of BYU students feel guilty that they know nothing about the religion observed by actual attendees of the temple they are running around? Does it matter, as long as they continue to pay for tickets?

On a related note, did you know that the colored chalk will only dye your hair pink if you are a bleach blonde? I know this because one year my two blonde roommates went-one was natural and one wasn't. After a shower, one was a blonde, and one still had pink hair. So if you're ever suspicious of someone's hair color, throw some chalk on 'em!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Judging an author by their sleeve picture

When does one become a novelist? Is it when they simply decide to be? Or is it not until they publish their first book?

 I have started a novel. Whether I finish it someday is a mystery.

 I have also been swallowing sub-par young adult fiction in an attempt to get 15 done before the end of the semester.

Carol's bi-weekly rants have given me a greater appreciation for the book industry. While I used to close the book after the last page, I now read the acknowledgements and the auther bio. These extra few minutes have led me to a sad conclusion; there are two types of young adult authors.

All of these women are successful (whether you like their writing or not). I have read their books (yes yes I read twilight) and admire each woman for a different reason.

The question becomes, if I decide to finish my book, what kind of ya author will I be?

Team Alpha: Wear makeup, put on clothes, brush hair, get nice photos taken, go out in public
JK Rowling
Stephanie Meyer
Veronica Roth

Team Beta: Don't wear make up, wear t-shirts, don't brush hair, use mug shots, stay indoors, eat my feelings

Suzanne Collins
Julie Kagawa
Carol Lynch Williams

I think being on Team Beta is one of the advantages to being an author. But do I really want to go there?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Few Conspiracy Theories I Have

I once read a Michael Crichton novel about time travel, and I don't quite remember what happened, and it being a sci-fi novel I don't know how much real science was being used, but I have a vague memory of it talking about matter on the quantum level slipping in and out of dimensions or realities or something. I thought of this the other day when I am pretty sure my chapstick disappeared from this dimension for two weeks. One day I emptied my backpack looking for it, and when I couldn't find it, I went and bought a new one. Two weeks later, I opened my backpack, and there were two things of chapstick. There is absolutely no way it had been in my backpack the whole time-it had to have slipped into another dimension for a spell. Only plausible explanation.
I also think my apartment complex is stealing my underwear so that I have to do laundry more often.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm not a vengeful person but...

Definition of POACHER

: one that trespasses or steals
: one who kills or takes wild animals (as game or fish) illegally

If I could annihilate one group of people, it would be poachers. 
Those guys that kill elephants and white rhinos and pandas.
They deserve to suffer.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Just another Tuesday

So here was my Tuesday:

"You know how I feel about sex in books. I'm not allowed to write it, but I love to read it."

Just an FYI

A little while back, I suddenly realized that I was an adult, and therefore I got to make my own decisions. And that was the day I stopped eating bread crusts.

A Foray into Gardening

I recently acquired a decorative bucket of grass. It looks fairly similar to this: 
Althought mine is cuter.
AHH! Not that cute!
Anyway, grass seems like it would be fairly easy to care for, right? I mean, it grows everywhere and seems to do fine with people walking all over it and just gets watered and cut every now and then. Well, neglect may work fine for your lawn or sidewalk crack variety of grass, but bring it inside in a bucket and suddenly I feel obligated to tenderly care for it.

When I first received the grass, I may have caressed it a little bit (it was super soft, okay?!), which I thought was harmless, because it's grass. (I am aware that some may see this as a lengthy description of a marijuana plant, but I promise it is for realz just regular grass. Like the stuff in the picture.) The next day I looked at it, and not only had it seemed to have grown an unruly two inches overnight, the tips were brown and there were some limp blades that looked very sickly. I don't know if it's because I was touching it the night before, or if it needed water, or sun, or hates me, but I gave it a trimming and water, and it kind of looked better. But not a whole lot. I looked at it again today and there were more grosso pieces, so I watered it again, but now I'm afraid I may have drowned it because I got a little overzealous with the water pressure.

It shouldn't be hard to care for a bucket of grass, but it also shouldn't be hard to care for an ant you stuck in a bug catcher, which I did once when I was 4 years old, and failed to notice the ant was smaller than the air holes and apparently loved his freedom more than the snickerdoodle crumbs I gave him.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why do I love being a comms major?

Because I get to make memes for a homework assignment

Ms. Grumpy Gills

Sometimes, I go through periods of being really mean and cynical, one of which covered the last few weeks. Now that I'm back to being fairly level-headed, I feel I can go back and laugh at some of the things I said and did while I was grumpy. For instance, I once rolled my eyes at a comment someone made in a class. Big-time. She was not talking to me, nobody needed to see my annoyance at her ignorance, but I felt the need to express my distaste. I'm hoping my professor didn't see so that he can't link that eye roll to the sometimes incoherent answers I wrote on my test today, which I only studied an hour for (why come up with specific examples when you ramble on about imperialist America?)

Last week, while walking through the Wilk, a kid asked if I was going to the Hunger Banquet. I said no and he made some sound like "ah, why not?" and I turned around and pointed at him across the crowd and said "do not guilt people into charity" in a really weird low voice. I'm not sure why I did this, since I usually ignore these people, and he wasn't even guilting me, but that happened.

BYUSA elections also happened during this time, and two guys from my ward came by one night to try to get me to vote. After they listed off their friends' platform, I said the issues don't matter because BYUSA doesn't really do anything, and that voting is really just choosing whose resume you want to pad. Direct quote.

Now that I'm in a better mood, I think these things are kind of funny, but I'm afraid my few weeks of being crazy may have affected my reputation with people. I know a lot of people here at school and have quite a few students, so someone could have easily seen me accuse the booth kid. Also, I actually know the two kids from my ward who were just trying to help their friends, so that could make for some weird future conversations. I don't feel entirely bad about that one, though, because the guy they were campaigning for won, so...whatever.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tools and Daffodils

What do Tools and daffodils have in common? They are the first creatures to stick their pretty heads out when Spring finally comes.

It's the first Saturday of Spring here at King Henry, and the Tools have emerged from their dungeons and taken to the field where they can prance around in all of their glory. For the past 4 months they have been quarantined to the ToolTub. Only those girls silly enough to go to the ToolTub without a significant other and/or guy friend are accosted by their presence. But now, one cannot take the trash out without having to deal with the Tools.

For future me and our visitor from South Korea, I have three ways for you to spot a Tool. I will do so in the context of a volleyball court, since that is the axis of King Henry Tools, but once you know the basics you can apply this knowledge to any situation.

Characteristics of a Tool:

1. Tools play outside in regular shorts without a shirt on.  There are three acceptable reasons for guys to peacock without their shirts.
    1. They are on a beach somewhere, switching off between swimming and playing volleyball. In this situation, the guys are wearing a swimsuit, not regular shorts. Throwing a shirt on a wet body is an unpleasant sensation, so walking around shirtless is understandable.
    2. It is 120 degrees outside. In this case, the girls will be inside by the air conditioning, so any guys walking around shirtless are doing so to attract other men.
    3. They are homeless. In which case, they would be standing by Walmart begging for food, not playing volleyball at the King Henry Toolshed.
      To be fair, shirtless guys are not always a bad thing. Shirtless guys, like daffodils, are pleasant to look at. Unlike daffodils, shirtless guys talk. Which leads to the next characteristic of a Tool.

2. Tools frequently call each other by noncreative pet names such as "dick" and the all the variations thereof. This language appears most on the volleyball court when a Tool misses the ball, fails to serve, or cheats. I'm a fan of trash talk as much as the next person, but there are plenty more creative names with which to insult someone--Tonya Harding and Lance Armstrong are two of my personal favorite athlete insults. But Tools either don't have the brain capacity to come up with such comparisons are they are just too Tool-ish to do so.

3. Tools will exaggerate every move if it means they can be the center of attention. One example is spiking the ball over the net so hard it flies out of the court and someone must run to get it. Instead of mourning the fact that they just gave the other team a point, they congratulate themselves on a job well done--they are much manlier than that ball could ever hope to be.

In recap, the Tools are officially prowling. Now you know what to look out for, you will never fall for a Tool again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Awk-o Taco

A friend once told me that she thought one of the saddest things you could do was eat Taco Bell alone. Though I kinda love Taco Bell (and so did she), I have to agree. Something about eating cheap, fake Mexican food without of the camaraderie of others is sad. That does not stop me from doing it, though. I was hungry after my evening class tonight, and I still needed to do some things before going home, so I went to get me some Taco Bell. I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money, and I just needed a little something, so I ordered a soft taco and the nachos express (which is just a bag of chips and cup of cheese). I realize that is just about the saddest order on the menu, but I did not expect the cashier to laugh at me! Which he did. And of course, while eating alone, I dropped nacho cheese on my skirt, which left a big spot, but most sadly, meant I was missing that much cheese from on top of my chip.
Also, I think this is hysterical:
Thanks for the memories, Taco Bell!

Monday, March 11, 2013

5 Life Lessons from Neopets

From ages 11-12, I came home after school and commandeered the family Dell. I hogged the phone line to play Neopets, an online combination of Pokemon and the Sims. I had four virtual pets that ate, read books and traveled Neopia to gamble and play games. Despite what my parents thought, I was learning valuable life lessons from this pretend world.

1. British English is a different language. British entrepreneurs started the website that they later sold to Viacom for $160 million dollars. My superior sixth grade english knowledge thought that they spelled "colour" wrong until learning that in fact, they just spell things weird. I also learned about "guilds", which an American website would have called "fancy clubs." This comes in handy when reading Shakespeare, watching the Oscars and reading The Guardian.
A Christmas Zafara
2. Basic HTML. I owned one of these guilds/fancy clubs. Using google and fellow members, I learned how to change the font size and color for different information on my homepage. I also learned how to add a separate, linked web page and then change its background using templates from the web and how to manipulate images. This was useful when I created a MySpace years later and working for a news website today.
3. Hard work pays off. The work equivalent in Neopia was playing games. There were over 100 games that required skills like memorization, fast reflexes, and neopets trivia. Instead of money you earned "neopoints" which you then used to buy food (even though your pet never died), paintbrushes (yes you could paint your pet a different colour),  petpets (a pet for your pet) and even petpetpets (a pet for your petpet). You could play the games up to three times a day and often the return was barely enough to get by. Paintbrushes and petpetpets were for the rich. When working at minimum wage throughout the years, I remember my many hours playing Meerca Chase and eventually having enough neopoints to paint my Zafara Christmas colour. One day I hope to use my money to buy a car. Or a house. Or another adult purchase.
The stock market representative
4. The stock market is the way to wealth. I remember asking a member of my guild how he got enough neopoints to paint all of his pets special colours. Obviously an adult playing in a child's fantasy, he told me that he gained enough neopoints for a paintbrush every day from the stock market. I tried it out and gained 10 points when the price of Water Faeries increased. But I pulled out my stocks after a short time--the games were much more satisfying. As a college student I still don't entirely understand the stock market, but I do know that it makes you rich.
5. The reality of coup d'etat. My neopets downfall occurred when the Vice Minister of my guild accused me of stealing the contest donations from other members. Despite my protests, he reported me to the Neopets police and my account was shut down. I lost everything, including  my beloved pets. I logged on to my little brother's account to see that he-who-must-not-be-named was dubbed Prime Minister, had received all of the donations, and that everyone hated me. This tragic incident taught me that leadership positions are overrated. Unless you are putting them on college applications.
Looking back, I see that Neopets shaped who I am today. It was worth every sibling rivalry, every parental discipline, and even every time I was called a n00b.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

So this is on TV right now

Who looked at this picture and said "Yes, that face is acceptable"?

Until I Dream of Flight

I had two dreams about birds this week.

1.  I was back home in my bed. There was a fan above me, and my mom came to tuck me in. We looked up and in the fan a family of sparrows had built a nest. We marveled at the sight, and then decided that tomorrow we would have to take the nest outside because there weren't any worms in the house. The next morning I woke up and saw that the baby bird had tried to fly out of the nest, but during the night the momma bird had tied a string to her own neck as well as the chick's neck to keep it from falling out. Instead, the chick had hung itself off the edge of the nest and the momma was choked to death in the nest. The remaining chick was squawking for food.

2. I went to feed my finch, Darwin, and inside his little nest contraption there was an egg. Apparently he is a girl or a new species of hermaphroditic avian. A tiny bird-like creature popped out of shell. It was a cross between a dragonfly and a finch. I cupped it and brought it home and I was so afraid to squish it or have it drift off. I got it to my apartment and placed it in a cup. While off to look for a fishbowl, my brother inspected the creature and accidentally dropped it on the floor. It broke in half and its guts spilled out. I wasn't angry, because I knew it had no chance of surviving anyway.

The dream interpretation websites all agree--birds are a symbol of hope, freedom and imagination. A  bird in my home means I am dreaming of a new love. A dream of a bird dying means the end of all good feelings. So dreaming of dead birds in my home means that I should just put off relationships until I start dreaming of flight.

There is a book titled "How To Make Anyone Fall In Love You," and because it is easily accessible online, Mal and I have read a good portion of it. Don't worry-it's all based on science. It uses words like "copulatory gaze" and "premature we." Hide your boys, world, we have upgraded to scientifically proven powers of seduction.