Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I am currently writing from my new room at school. College is...yup. College is. It just is. And I'm loving every minute of it. I've been doing the marching band thing for over a week now, and let me tell you something-a little analogy, if you will. Spartan marching band:high school marching band::Costco:RiteAid. Or, here's another one. (Yes, I realize that I ruined a little more of the anonymity of this blog by telling you that I am at Michigan State University. Good luck stalking me, all you non-existent fans...there's 45,000 students on campus.)
Quick college experience story: I was riding my bike home the other night and this guy stumbles and hollers "HELLO" from across the street. Normally, I would ignore it...except that he shouted this in a flawless British accent. (Apparently, people can change nationalities when they're drunk. that was news to me. Fake or not, however, this accent made me smile.) So, naturally, I hollered back, "HEY!" He asked how I was, and I said well, and asked him, and he said well...and THEN...the greatest thing...I know, the suspense is killing you...take a moment to wipe the sweat from your upper lip...now it's not even worth it...he said, "Pip pip cheerio!" So now I have to know if people actually say that when they're sober. I've lost sleep over this.
Hmm...well, that all for now, folks. (Disappointed? I've written a lot before today...if you're bored, reread. I wonder if my writing style has changed...why don't you tell me? No pressure, of course. I don't even feel like reading this.) There will be more as soon as I have time. This is the most fantastic insanity I have ever experienced.
Me. Who else?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I typed "provocative questions" into Google just now (word to the wise/those under 18 years: don't do that), and it came up with all these questions that really don't require an answer. For example, "What would a burger of ham be called?" Or, "If Pinnocchio said, 'My nose is about to grow,' what would happen?"(That one actually blew my mind. I think he would just spontaneously combust and run around in circles. That image shouldn't be funny, but...I think I'm a pyromaniac...)
The point is, none of those questions cured my writer's block.
By the way...you know that movie "Julie & Julia?" With the fantastic Meryl Streep and Amy Adams? Well, I looked up Julie Powell's blog, the one the movie highlighted...and it's still online and everything! I got super excited, and got ready to read the whole thing...until I realized that reading a cooking blog while not being obsessed with cooking is not the most enjoyable pasttime. I don't mind cooking, it's just...not what I like to do when I have free time. Besides making chocolate-chip cookies. My family and friends would probably be ten pounds lighter if it wasn't for my cookie-cooking habits.
"Cookie" is such a weird name for a food. I mean, yes, one cooks cookies. But one also cooks meatloaf...and I don't hear people saying they're having mashed potatoes, corn, and a cookie loaf for dinner. Just sayin'. Someone should have reevaluated once they started cooking more than just lumps of doughy goodness.
It's about forty-five minutes later and I've done nothing but translate the poem "Litany" by Billy Collins from Swahili to Traditional Chinese to Albanian to Irish (I didn't know they had their own language...silly, ignorant me) and back to English. Using Google Translate...I wish I could do it myself though. Maybe someday. Anyway, here's the original poem:
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.
Think that's funny? Here's the version I managed to come up with:
You are the bread and the knife,
And wine glasses.
You are the morning dew on the grass
And the burning wheel Sun
You are the bread and white apron,
Marsh birds, suddenly the aircraft.
However, you are not in the garden of the wind,
Or card room.
And certainly you pine-scented air.
There is no way to smell the air you are venting.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
Even pigeons on his head
But the date
And the field of cornflowers at black.
And look for the mirror shown rapid
You are not the boots in the corner
Not fallen asleep in the boat, the boat house.
It may interest you know
He said many images around the world
my voice, rain shadow.
I also happen to be a Meteor
Basket of chestnuts and the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in a tree
Glass and blind woman.
But do not worry, I'm not bread knife.
Or a bread knife.
You always bread knife
Moreover, glass and - in a way - the wine.
That right there is truly romantic. If some guy ever comes up to me and said, "There is no way to smell the air you are venting," I'll know I've found the one.
Although I'd still be pretty impressed if he said something full of simplicity and clarity like "I also happen to be a Meteor Night crash Basket of chestnuts and the kitchen table." He could put a ring on my finger right then and there.
So, anyone else want to join me in the field of translation editing? Not that the world needs it or anything.
I mean, we have Google translate. Clearly, that's more than enough.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
One thing you should know about me is that I go through phases. Looks like the obsessive blogging phase is over...but I'll still write periodically, don't worry. As if you were worried.
If you've been reading this for...well, since I started writing, you know that I am a fan of a certain Malcolm Gladwell. I mean, I don't adore and cherish his work as much as Sara Bareilles, but he's up there on the list, right around Panda Express and jumping in puddles. Anyway, I'm reading his book The Tipping Point and the other day, I had this epiphany (I know, dangerous...get ready, kids): why not make the blog two social experiments in one?!? I know, it's crazy, we can't, it's impossible...ridiculous, what was I thinking? No, we're gonna try it. You and I. (There's a handful of good songs called "You and I," by various artists including Ingrid Michaelson and Michael Buble. Just throwin' that out there.) Let me explain.
The Tipping Point is all about the power of small things. Shakespeare says "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are simply players." (Player=actor in this context, not "a guy who is sustaining supposedly exclusive relationships with multiple girls simultaneously." Just to clarify for the less mature minds.) This book makes me realize that not only is the world a stage, but the world really is just one big market, and all the men and women are buyers, sellers, and advertisers...without even knowing it. It's not as catchy, but it works. we are all separated into categories based on our relationships and intellect. I'm only a quarter of the way through it, so right now I'm learning about the "strength of weak ties." In order to keep from writing a novel right here about the actual novel I'm reading--yes, I'm that fascinated--I'll break this into three parts, and have you actually categorize yourself in the "world market" based on some descriptions.
If you're a Connector you are basically the popular one. Not Mean-Girls-Popular, when everyone knows you because everyone hates you, but because you are genuinely friendly to everyone, and you make an effort to stay in touch with everyone you know. The true Connector is the person who sends birthday cards to coworkers they met at just one business meeting, the person who writes you down in his or her address book after waiting in line with you at Starbucks. These are the people who ask you to have lunch when they're in town, even though you never really knew each other. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the "strength of weak ties."
The Connector in the "world market" uses these weak ties to spread the word about something--anything--to anyone and everyone.
(Side note: Connectors are the reason Paul Revere's ride was a success. He knew enough Connectors in towns all across the colonies so that all he had to do was pound on a few doors, knowing that those people would know how to spread the news that the British were coming!!)
Mavens are the ones who KNOW. The Connectors spread the word, but the Mavens know the word, the word's etymology, every definition of the word, and every phrase that the word is a part of. We all know a Maven or two; they're the ones who you confront about big purchases and undertakings, like which laptop to buy or which hotel to book for three nights. A Maven will compare prices, list alternatives, and recommend what you need based on who you are. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it, Mavens are more than just experts. Not only do they know all there is to know, but they share what they know purely because they want you to know too. Without Mavens, the Connectors would be sending a bunch of empty envelopes to everyone on the planet. (Figuratively, of course. Nowadays, we send emails.)
The last category is made up of Salespeople. So far, the Mavens have taken all the information needed, and the Connectors have sent all the information to those who need it. Now the Salespeople are going to convince those who need the information of how badly they need it. (Realize that I say "information," and not "products." This "world market" is made of a lot more than "stuff." The world market is everything we come into contact with every day, just by being human.) The Salesperson is charming, intelligent, and open to others. People trust Salespeople to tell them what they need...although at this point, we know that it's the Mavens that know about it and it's the Connectors that know who needs it. At this point, the Salesperson just ties all that work into a neat little package, spray-paints it with some shiny gloss and a big personality, and says, "Please sign here." Without Salespeople, the hard work of the Mavens and Connectors would go completely to waste. No one would even know what they were looking for if a Salesperson didn't approach them and say, "I have just the thing," and that Salesperson knows it's "just the thing" because they heard it from the Maven and the Connector. It's a beautiful cycle, and it's how our world functions.
Fascinating, isn't it? Maybe I'm just a dork, but that's a pretty incredible cycle of near-coincidences.
So, in addition to the previous challenge (inspired by Gladwell's Blink) why don't we say...everyone who reads this should send the link to two or three other people, depending on whether or not they fit under a category of either Connector, Maven, or Salesperson. We're testing the power of the word-of-mouth, guys, not advertising my blog. Although that is a nice little perk. (Did you know "perk" is short for "perquisite?" I didn't until just now.) Not everyone fits into a category, and that's okay. Don't start overdosing on Tylenol to take away the pain of not being on this side of the "world market." I know my ramblings have a huge impact on your self-image. Try not to take it too personally. (Is my sarcasm translating onto the screen?)
So, just to clarify: if you're a Maven, send this to a Connector and a Salesperson. If you're a Connector, send this to a Maven and a Salesperson. Got it? Okay. If this works, we can change the world. Or at least be guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
On your marks...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
All right, before I go on my little rant, let me just say that I am very open to peoples' opinions, and I don't enjoy putting ideas and choices down. But I'm a little bit outraged, and now I'm going to blog it. It's a big one, you guys. Put down the Hot Pocket. Shut down your Skype. Pull your creaky reading glasses out of that tube sock (hey, I'm not judgin', those socks make for excellent, safe storage). Time to focus.
Religion(s). Plural, because I would very much like to discuss the short-sightedness of a large number of people. Especially in the United States. *cough cough* Get over yourselves, Americans. Please.
I guess I'm really just focusing on the biggest one today: true Islam vs. our perceptions of Islam.
Hi, I'm a Christian, and I don't hate Muslims. I have no reason to hate anyone. In fact, my God tells me to love my neighbor, and heck, modern technology puts us side by side everyday, all over the world. Muslims are my neighbors, and I love them like I love the people in my own church family. There is absolutely no harm/shame in that.
Wake up, folks. The entirety of the Islamic people did not take part in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. They were radicals. We hear about "American/white/Christian radicals" every stankin' day. The dictionary, as in good old Merriam-Webster, defines a terrorist attack as violent or destructive acts. If we adhere to that definition, every murderer, rapist, and professional wrestler is an active terrorist. Granted, that's a little extreme...but I feel like we're all forgetting how to keep these situations in perspective. A group of people did a terrible thing. Americans categorized that group. Now, everyone who falls under a related category is instantly condemned, because we are predisposed as to who they are. Can we try to forget? I'm not asking anyone to forget what happened to this country, because words cannot describe the horror. I'm not even asking anyone to forget who did this to America. I'm asking, and I know I'm not alone in this, that we forget the news reports that tried to define these monsters by attributing them to clothing and a religion. If you want to label terrorists, look at their pasts, their pressures, and their predispositions. (Merriam-Webster says that's not a word, but I don't think I care at the moment.) Some people have a history that becomes a shoulder-devil. (Like in cartoons..."The Emperor's New Groove," anyone?)
I had to read a book called Zeitoun by Dave Eggers for school this fall, and it details, in places, one woman's conversion from Christianity to Islam. I won't go on and on about it here (although I could), but I'll just tell you one thing I learned: the Q'uran is based on the Old Testament of the Bible. Christians and Muslims are all sons of Abraham. You guys, we're all brothers and sisters, for crying out loud. The next step is to make the world realize it.
Okay, I don't know all the facts. I apologize for anything that is innacurate, and therefore void. I do not, however, apologize for being the why-can't-we-all-just-get-along voice in a sea of accusers and the accused. And what I do know for sure is that we do not live in a perfect world. We are not a perfect people. Our ideology is skewed everyday by almost everyone and everything with which we come into contact. You can try to deny it, but that just proves your imperfection. Mine, too, believe me.
That's all the intense emotion I can muster, for now. It comes in...er...spurts. Not like hot flashes, that's weird. What? I know you were thinking it.
Toodles, anonymous children of boredom.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I learned something today: Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase "You're fired"--with and without an exclamation mark. Can't imagine why they turned him down. (If they hadn't, maybe people really would start using the "you've been Trumped" thing. Hmm...)
Did you know his dad's middle name is/was Christ? I don't exactly follow this guy, so I apologize if that's common knowledge among fans. But seriously...who gives their kid the middle name of Christ? That's a lot of pressure. At least they had Donald.
I, like many people, am OCD about iTunes. I have to have all the album art and artist and album title and everything as accurate as possible. So I was thinking...if I was to record a CD, my band name would be "Unknown Artist." My first album would be called "Unknown Album." The cover art would look just like that stupid gray and black music note album art thing that iTunes automatically puts in when it can't automatically upload the real album art.
You know, just to help people like me to get over themselves. My music would have to be that much better, though, to compensate for the disorganization. I'll work on that...in return, when you see my Unknown Album on iTunes, please buy it.
Glad I can count on you guys.
Friday, August 6, 2010
On the road again, headed to family reunion…part two! This is the second-grad-party session, when my extended family that lives far from home congratulates me on my accomplishments and eats good food. God bless ‘em.
A comment on an earlier post asked when I address questions from comments…to address your question, Anonymous, I usually address your comment questions in a later post. As is being demonstrated as you read this. (If you’re even reading this.) Unfortunately, I am once again blogging on the road and can’t go back and see what else you asked. You’re right, blogging can be a handful at times.
You know what’s a real drag? Writer’s block. When I don’t know what to write about, I usually turn to song lyrics…they often provide some food for thought. (Isn’t that a funny expression? “Food for thought?” I picture one of those cartoon thought-bubble clouds gnashing its teeth at a dictionary/steak.) So, naturally, I listened to one of Sara Bareilles’ lesser-known songs…I think it was “Red.” She says (or sings, rather), “You cannot change what you do not own…if you live deep and love strong, you get pretty close.”
I was thinking about what that could mean…I take it as a life lesson, saying that when you live life for yourself, you can end up changing the way other people live theirs. I mean, you can’t change others; the world is the way it is because we have free will. It’s not a perfect world, but I’d hate to see it without individuals. Anyway…”if you live deep and love strong,” people are likely to follow suit.
I have 113 songs on my computer that include the word “love.” And I don’t even have all my music on there. I can’t help but wonder how close these songs are to the real thing. Love isn’t something that people take seriously anymore.
How many times a day do we use the word “love?” What about the phrase “I love you?” I wrote a poem several years ago commenting on how we can “love both our spouses and onion rings.” Shouldn’t there be a middle ground between a vague appreciation and true, unconditional love? Just about every language besides English has more than one word for “love.” Greek and Hebrew have seven, I believe. I dunno. Clearly some things are just lost in translation.
And when it comes to music…maybe the most sincere love songs are the ones that don’t include the L-word at all. Those singers/songwriters realize that real love shouldn’t be a top-40 hit or just a click away for an iTunes download.
And maybe I’m just hypercritical. But you know…someone has to be.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Eleven hours into the drive. Feelin’ good. Not really…that’s just the song I suddenly want to listen to.
family road trips…
Now, don’t be so quick to judge. I don’t drink, never have, and I honestly don’t think I ever sill. Excuse me, “will.” The road is getting to me. It’s a personal choice. The not drinking, I mean. Not the typo. Maybe I should go back to sleep.
What I mean is, you go into the road trip bar thinking, “This is exactly what I need. It will be such a great feeling to be cruisin’ down the highway with a destination in mind, with the promise of something new to see and learn on the way.” Once you get started, you actually believe yourself. For a while, road trips just feel right. Music, snacks, good ol’ family fun, wide open spaces, kum-bah-yah. (Is that even how you spell that? Does it matter…?
Next is the intoxication. After a few hours (road trip shots, eh?), you hit the road trip high, when you’ve forgotten how normal people sit in a seat, and you end up slouching with your torso bent in half with headphones stuck in your ears, possibly permantently. You have spontaneous giggle fits and you realize that your iPod playlist ran all the way through and you’ve been staring at the cornfields in total silence for the last half hour. Of course, you will soon pay for your road trip drunkenness.
Now, your stomach starts to reject the sweet and salty treats you’ve been eating just to occupy time. Your bladder threatens to overflow. (That doesn’t happen. It’s not a cup. You know what I mean.) A dull throbbing starts just behind your eyes, and you don’t know which is worse: the roar of the pavement rushing beneath you or the same songs you’ve been listening to all day, ringing in your head. All that’s left to do is sleep, but suddenly the car temperature is alternating between way too warm and way too cold, and there is no way to sit comfortably. With your belly churning, head aching, and your backside full of pins and needles, you try to ignore everything around you and enter a Zen state. (Is “Zen” usually capitalized? Spell-check keeps autocorrecting it…) Okay, maybe that’s just me. My family doesn’t seem to understand it.
When you finally arrive, you have the inevitable family road trip hangover. You know it will be quite some time before you pull another stunt like that again. Unfortunately, you also know that if you don’t do the road trip again, everyone will get cranky really quickly…seeing as no one brought enough clothes to stay forever.
Okay, so it’s not a perfect metaphor and/or simile. I know the difference between the two, by the way…I introduced it as a simile and explained it metaphorically. And I’ve been sitting for over eleven hours. I’m pretty sure there’s significantly less blood flowing through my head than usual, which means my thoughts are a wee bit scrambled. Well, that’s my excuse, anyway.
Seriously, you could wander into the cornfields around here and be lost for days. Have you ever been in one of those things? It’s like something straight out of a horror film. Or the sixth Harry Potter movie, when they’re chasing Bellatrix…never mind. Once I wandered into one at the farm and thought Old Yeller or Lassie or some other faithful canine would have to come to my rescue. Then again, I am a cat person. So I’d probably be gone forever.
I’d say that’s quite enough for now. I’ll go back to counting cows or something. See you when I have internet access…
Mahtooshay S. Asleep.
It’s a not-so-typical late Monday morning…we’ve been on the road since five, on our way to see the extended family. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll just say we are headed somewhere in Minnesota. At the moment, I think we’re somewhere in/near Wisconsin. In case you were wondering. (Besides, I don’t have WiFi at the moment, so I’m not even posting this until we arrive…most likely.)
I love having a little brother—for a number of reasons, of course—but right now, it’s because I managed to convince him that a factory smoke stack was a rocket launch. It’s actually quite entertaining to picture a spaceship taking off about 500 feet from the highway. And spectacular white clouds billowing around all the local buildings and homes.
Okay, here’s something new. We were just cruisin’ down the highway watching “Nanny McPhee” (good movie, I might add) when I glanced out the window…only to see a white van with the words “NEON NUTS” emblazoned across the side in bright, capital letters. Clown pictures all over the windows. To be honest, I was torn between amusement and fear.
I don’t know when it would be appropriate to hire the “NEON NUTS.” They sound either really naïve—not understanding how purely creepy they look, driving a giant white van with ads designed to attract small children—or just deliberately obnoxious, relying on a good sense of humor for business. I like to think I have a decent sense of humor, and, to be honest…the NEON NUTS won’t be coming to my birthday party/family reunion/wedding.
I’m not one to be self-conscious about my body, but I’ll tell you what gets me: those super-intense hand dryers in public restrooms. You know, the ones that make an imprint on your skin with their streams of air…? I can’t help but watch my skin flap around under that hardcore dryer and think, maybe I should run more often…and I should probably not eat semi-sweet dark chocolate chips straight out of the cupboard…and not put more ranch dressing on my pizza than sauce. I always end up crouching to see how much extra skin there is on my upper arm…and maybe my cheeks…and before I know it, concerned mothers are ushering their six-year-olds out of the bathroom, muttering about the youth of the modern world. Just kidding about that last part. They’re already gone by the time I’m halfway through a whistled rendition of Bernstein’s “Slava!”
I wonder if the evil stepmothers in fairy tales were based on stepmothers that the authors had and legitimately didn’t like, or if stepmothers are evil because some fairytale-writer just decided they should be one day, and made it the norm.
(Side note: notice that I wrote out “legitimately.” I’m fine with the abbreviation “legit,” but “legitly” just doesn’t cut it. Not in my opinion, anyway. But, you know…to each his/her own.)
Confession of the day: I name everything. Especially inanimate objects. Our old TV’s name was Marvin. The staircase is Hubert. The desktop computer is Scrooge, and the printer is Ebenezer (because they’re always crushin’ my spirits. Har. Har. Har.). Oh, the best one is Vannah Montana…she’s a Montana van, and one of my very favorite parts of life. No joke. I love that car.
Well, I’m done for now. Time to crash with Cory Morrison…he’s my iPod, named after Finn (Cory) and Mr. Schuester (Morrison…his last name) from Glee. Dunno if I spelled that right, and there’s no way of checking, seeing as I have no internet. Ahh! I feel rather helpless. I am such a typical example of my generation. Oh, well. I blame society and what not and wheretofor.
Happy travels, or a lack therof!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
So I've been blogging for exactly a week now, and I think it's time to catch up any new readers (if I even have any new readers, besides friends) on what this blog is all about.
1) Information underload. In a world where we have a world of knowledge at our fingertips, I challenge you to read this random webpage by someone you (most likely) do not know. Nor will you know anything about me, besides the sporadic details included here. Read for you and no one else. Who cares what kind of person I am, or whether or not your friends like what I have to say? Even if you don't agree with me, I dare you to follow, and comment. Comment, comment, comment. I want to know.
In a way, this is a kind of social experiment. Not flawless, no. Maybe it will be a miserable failure. But humor me, and let's see where this goes. Maybe we can alert just a few more people to how much they are weighing themselves down with the unneccessary details.
2) Learning something new..together! Awww. Start singing "Kum-bah-yah," everyone. (I'm on the third chorus, accompanied by the mouth trumpet and rubber-band guitar. I don't know, something about this blogging thing just gets to me.) Trust me, this is a learning experience all around. I'll include the things I learn about every day, and if you have something to say about it, I'm all ears. Seriously. Let's see the word vomit, folks. And keep it comin'.
3) Umm...not sure what else. I just like to go by a rule of three. I guess this is, like most blogs, just...something for me to do. And something for you to do. I suppose, in a way, I was always just hoping that something that is typically used to kill time could be used to change...the world. Oooh. Melodramatic. But...not entirely ridiculous. Let's do something together. (Kum-bah-yah again, if you please.
If you want to know more...or, you know, if you're just bored(/intrigued? Just a little? What, I can dream, can't I?), you can always go back to the first few entries. You can figure it out.
It's just another blog...right?
Let's prove that wrong.