Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Tomorrow, in a few minutes, we'll be living in a new year.

I never make resolutions, unless my parents insist, and then I don't take the resolutions very seriously. I don't understand the point. In my experience, if you want to change your life, you have to start today, this very instant, exactly when you decide you want those changes. Otherwise, it never happens. If you say you'll make those changes this year or next year, you'll procrastinate because you think you have all year. If you say you'll make those changes tomorrow -- whether tomorrow is a new year or not -- it will always be "tomorrow" that you plan to make them. Today is the only day that ever arrives.
I haven't been on top of my life for a long time. I want to make changes and do what I love and be what I'd love to be, but it never happens. When I work up the guts to start changing, it will happen. But a new year won't give me the guts I need. That's how I see it, but I suppose some people actually feel different in the new year.

Not me. New Year's Day always feels like Old Year's Day, just another in a long line of dull pearls. In reality, that's all it is. However, maybe it's the mentality that counts. If you THINK the new year will be different, maybe it will. That would be nice.

2010 hasn't been the best year for me. I miserably failed one of my last high school classes (which is why I currently doubt that I can take any class successfully), spent the other classes half asleep (even though they were subjects I normally love), lost my best friend (she was a cat, but still -- my best friend), apparently lost my love for the County Fair (usually the highlight of my summer), and only lasted two weeks at my first job (at McDonalds no less, and if I can't do that, what can I do?).

Overall, I've come to realize I have no skills with which to survive in the world. Writing is the only thing I love and know how to do. I'd get a job in writing if not for the fact that I'm really not very good, and the fact that it's nearly impossible to get fiction published. It's probably also hard to get a job in journalism, and you probably can't write about what you want, and I gather that the journalism world is almost as cutthroat as showbiz. (I haven't done much research on this, though. Perhaps I should do more.) Besides, I don't want to just write about great changes and fantastic experiences. I want to MAKE them and EXPERIENCE them in the real and physical world. I could do that with engineering. If I can even engineer. See, I've put myself on a path towards such a career, having been accepted to schools of technology and engineering. I, however, know little about being an engineer. I hate math, I'm not crazy about science, I don't work well on a team, I'll probably be terrible at engineering, but I don't know what else to do. I admire engineers, and it would be amazing if I could do what they do, and they don't have to worry about money.

For months now, I've been living off my parents without doing any school, and I understand it's important to them that I'm in school as long as I live under their roof and don't work a job. And it's scary to me because my parents think -- rightly enough -- that everyone should stand on their own two feet, and I don't know how much longer they'll put up with me or what they'll do when they've had enough. I don't want to put off picking a career any longer than I already have. I also don't know how they'll react if I take a year in engineering, waste their money, decide I just can't do it, and apply to some other school and some other career if I have to courage to do anything at all. I don't know how deep their patience runs.

(I hate to sound this whiny. I really do. But I'm just telling it like it is. I'm a wimp. And a whiner. And I don't have time to tone down the whining because I have to get this published before midnight.)

It's been like this all year. I wish I'd been one of those kids who knew right from the start what they wanted to be when they grew up. I had absolutely no idea -- and I mean that very literally -- until a few months ago when I picked engineering. I don't even really want that. Sometimes, even now, I wonder what I'm going to do with my life, and engineering never pops into my head. Other times, I think about it for quite a while before I remember, "Wait, I did pick something, didn't I? Oh, yeah. Engineering."

Basically, lately, I have no idea what on earth I'm doing.

It's all very uncertain.

I hope it changes next year. At least the uncertainty. It seems, for me, most years have been no better or worse than the others. Just different. Different troubles, and different triumphs. 2010 brought good experiences as well as bad. For example, I started this blog. And I feel a lot more secure for having divulged many secrets without the roof caving on my head under the weight of a million motorcycles, as I'd always imagined it would. I got a new cat. Several actually. I saw movies and read books...

Unfortunately, I always focus on the bad stuff.

Whatever happens, even if the New Year doesn't bring an end to the uncertainty, blessings will come. I probably won't recognize them, but they will come.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to spread some Christmas cheer. I don't have any ideas for this post.

But you know, something just hit me.

I've always wondered why we celebrate Christmas with joy but recognize Good Friday with sorrow. I mean, I KNOW why we sorrowfully recognize Good Friday. It's when we remember the Crucifixion. But that was coming from the moment Jesus was born, and yet we celebrate His birth because it showed how much He loved us. He loved us so much He took a fragile human form along with the rest of us, at the mercy of the world, to suffer and die. But Good Friday showed that just as much, if not more. Okay, again, I KNOW it would be inappropriate and cruel to celebrate a crucifixion, especially on the anniversary of the day it happened. And maybe that's the only difference: time. We celebrate Christ's birth because of subsequent years He had BEFORE his death, years He had at least some happiness, years He taught and comforted people while physically amongst them. That's surely worth celebrating. (I've always understood why we celebrate Easter, the end of Jesus' death, the beginning of His life with no coming death.)

Furthermore, they've written many songs and many sermons on the subject, but I only truly got it recently. Out of all the places, all the palaces, Jesus could have been born in, He was born in a stable. Not even the measly inn nearby. And Jesus was born, well, a baby. A POOR baby in a barn with a price on His head. People are at their smallest and weakest as babies. Like any child, Jesus was truly helpless. Herod wanted to murder Him, and he would have, if Joseph and Mary hadn't taken Jesus into exile in Egypt. I know how it feels to be small, helpless, and outcast. Not nearly as well as He knew, but on a minuscule scale. We live in a world that exalts the strong, powerful, beautiful, accepted, magnetic, and dominant. Jesus counteracted all that with the way he came into the world. It was a tribute to all the "useless" people. God obviously values the little people, and I'm glad. So do I. Christmas is a celebration of the lowly, the weak, the outcast, the impoverished, and the small.

Take that big, powerful, rich snobs! Baby Jesus was one of us! (But, Minnie, you went shopping today and spent over- SHHH! Ahem.) Go, little people! Christmas is your day! Celebrate the famousest of hobbits- I mean little people: the Baby Jesus! Celebrate the life created specifically to show us how loved we are! Celebrate the 33 years Jesus loved and helped us in ways He didn't before and hasn't since but will again soon!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Perversion at the Airport

You may know that, a month or two ago, the TSA enacted new security measures: the Naked Scanners and the pat-downs. Can you say "wrong" in every language of the world?

Let's start with the Naked Scanners, which basically show you naked to complete strangers and may also poison you.

Shall we?

I don't think nudity is inherently wrong. Those people in Africa who go around naked because it's hot and they're poor and it's their culture and their equally-naked neighbors won't drool over them for it? They're not doing anything wrong. Even American nudists aren't necessarily doing anything wrong. In fact, they have a right to be Nudists if they want. God made us naked, we were born naked, it's our natural state. But in a Western society like the US, nakedness is almost exclusively associated with sex in anyone over the age of 10. It just is. And clothes are associated with decency, dignity, and class. They just are. They have been for thousands of years, and it's not going to change any time soon. It certainly won't change the second a person sets foot in an airport. If that person is wearing clothes, odds are they perceive nudity and clothing in the ways I stated before. Can the government rightly strip that person of what they consider their dignity and expose what they consider their sexuality? No! It's cruel. That person probably views clothes as psychologically comforting and nudity as humiliating. As they scan that person, the CLOTHED TSA worker probably views it the same way: clothes are a security blanket and nudity is erotic. Can the government rightly grant the TSA the authority to look at a person like they're a porn star? No! Even if the TSA worker is grossed out or sympathetic to the stripped person, it's because that person has been exposed, and it's altogether possible the TSA worker is a pervert who will milk the person's exposure for all the titillation it's worth. No hack government worker looks at a naked person objectively like a trained doctor (hopefully) looks at them.

Now, let's move on to the pat-downs. Unlike with nudity, there's no question of culture. It's pretty unanimous. When people touch each other's genitals, it's sexual activity through and through. And it's wrong to force such touching on someone. Namely, complete strangers at the AIRPORT. (I'm not talking about parents changing their babies' diapers, or again, doctors doing what they do.) Can the government rightly force sexual acts on a person? No! That's molestation! And wrong in every possible way.

I saw a story about a man who underwent a pat-down and was left covered in his urine because he has a medical condition or something that directs his urine to a pouch in his stomach with a sort of cork in it. A TSA worker knocked the cork out, didn't apologize, and sent the man on his way. There was a big to-do about that. The TSA chief apologized to the man, who said it was his "worst nightmare" and humiliating. (The man's daughter pleaded with the TSA workers to do their job. "We all want you to do your job." She wants to be safe when she travels with her son, but she wants the TSA workers to do their with some "human compassion." Um, sorry. You can't molest people with human compassion. It's just not possible.) Well, a lot of people consider it just as humiliating to be molested or seen naked. A lot of people consider it their worst nightmare. A lot of people consider it their worst nightmare that it might happen to their KIDS. A lot of people would probably RATHER be soaked in urine than molested. I don't think the TSA workers apologized to those people either, and I'm CERTAIN the TSA chief didn't. Why did the urine-soaked man get an apology for something no more humiliating or traumatizing than what the other people had to go through? Because it wasn't an official part of the security process. That's all.

I can see a future where it IS an official part of process to soak people in urine, and THEN they won't apologize for that either. The government will concoct some bogus reason such as how you could store explosives in your system and let them build up in your urine till you used the restroom. They'll make everyone who wants to fly get a urine-pouch like that man's, and an hour before you get on the plane, you'll be required let your urine flow out onto your clothes. And even the chief won't apologize for it. "What?" you say. "Urine-soaked airplane travelers? Unthinkable!" That's what I would have told YOU about the airport screenings and pat-downs. Before they actually happened.

And why would they do this? This urine-soaking-- I mean, screenings and pat-downs? They want to prevent something like the underwear bomber of last Christmas. First of all, it probably won't work. I've read lots of comments on how it can fail. Secondly, I suppose it's out of the question to train security to watch the passengers for someone lighting himself on fire. As is keeping an eye on someone who buys his ticket with cash, has no passport, spends 20 minutes in the airplane bathroom, and suspiciously covers himself with a blanket when he comes back out. Instead, they sexually harass ordinary people in the airport. Well, they know what they're doing. . . (That was sarcasm.) Thirdly, look how the underwear bomber incident turned out. It was okay! There was no big explosion, another PASSENGER subdued the bomber, and no one but the bomber got hurt. It wasn't even airport security, wasn't even the government that took out the bomber. (Well, flight attendants helped put out the fire, but they don't count, do they?) I'm sure that makes them just livid, knowing we didn't need them to save us. With that in mind, it sounds like revenge against us common folk for them to feel inside people's underwear.

Airplanes were bombed in the previous century too. And other places are bombed, not just airplanes. Yet, somehow, the US still stands. It's BEEN standing for a couple centuries now, without the government molesting people. Nevertheless, they now feel in their kindly hearts that they need to sexually harass the American people for our own good. In years to come, I see them ordering you not to wear clothes when it's warm enough to avoid hypothermia, making the walls of all restrooms see-through so you don't have the privacy to scheme against them, patting you down and dissecting you at the doors of Walmart, and politely ordering you to have your fingers removed before boarding a plane so you can't pull a trigger. All in the name of "security."

Even then, I'm sure a few little people will cry out that the government is their friend, the government is protecting them, the government should do more against the terrorists. Because the terrorists will keep finding ways.

That's true. Terrorists will keep finding ways. No matter what anyone does, people can't protect themselves from everything all the time and terrorists will keep finding cracks in the defense systems. You have the right to try and be safe, but at a certain point, you have to live, trust God, and stop trying so frantically to save yourself that you commit heinous wrongs. The TSA measures are wrong. Touching children is wrong. Humiliating and psychologically breaking people is wrong. Soaking people in urine is wrong. Cutting off their fingers is wrong.

Lots of people are outraged about the TSA measures, but the few that aren't seem to get more press, which really bugs me. (That and National Opt-out day failed.) A few people easily prefer sexual assault to death, likely because sexual immorality (adultery, casual dating, etc.) is such a part of their lives already (and such a famous part of our culture because they're so loud and noticeable). I try not to force my beliefs on such people because I know it will only make me look self-righteous and won't convince them of my points. But when THEY try to force their beliefs on ME, when they force (or encourage forcing) people to submit to molestation rather than die when those people would rather have it the other way around, when they expect me to put my life before my morals and dignity and beliefs and psychological health and feelings and freedom from oppression...When they do that, I start to hate them.

The Gladly Molested are probably perverts who like being touched or cowards who are that afraid of death. Do they expect sexual assault by the TSA will keep them safe from death? It may or may not. Probably won't. But if it does, do they realize they'll be safe from death but prey to sexual assault? Do they realize the government probably won't stop there? Do they realize they'll be safe from death but prey to everything else?

Why are they so afraid to die?

Because they're making such a difference in the world? They're letting, perhaps encouraging, complete strangers to abuse them.

Because they're afraid to, what, go to hell? They're on the fast track to LIVING in hell.

This is not the way our founding fathers wanted it, people! In the immortal words of a great American patriot whose name I can't remember (JK, Patrick Henry), "Give me liberty or give me death!" It's not liberty to be legally molested by government workers. I'd rather be illegally killed by terrorists. Literally.

Believe it or not, some things are more important than your life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ashley Tisdale

I'm sorry I haven't posted in two whole weeks. Blog ideas kept popping up, and I couldn't pick one. Then there was Thanksgiving. I can't comprehend how time zipped from Halloween to Thanksgiving without being seen. Time is an expert in covert operations.

Finally, out of all the emotions I've had and the happenings in my life and the perverted US government meddling in the airports, I've chosen a simple topic.

Ashley Tisdale is an actress-singer most famous for her role as Sharpay in High School Musical. I know people who hate her because she got her start in Disney. I, being perfect, don't judge people in such a fashion. I judge their work by their work. I thought she was an adequate comedic actress in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, even though the show was terrible. (And I watched it anyway! Just like all the other Disney shows, just because I was bored. I was such an unindustrious child. But that's another post.) I also thought she was an adequate singer, albeit annoyingly high-pitched, in HSM, even though the movie was no better than any other Disney Channel movie. (I thought the HSM choreography and songs were delightful, though. I love musicals. Love people breaking into song and dance. Wouldn't it be fun if people could do that in real life?) However, I didn't really like Ashley until her first album came out. After that, I appreciated other aspects of her personality. She's not pretty. Well, she is for a normal person but not for an actress. Nevertheless, she seems perfectly confident. She DOESN'T seem arrogant. In all her interviews, she seems friendly and sweet.

Concering her music, I loved her first album, Headstrong, primarily because it was fast, upbeat, and fun. I despise (most) slow pop songs, and when Ashley's album debuted, I had extreme trouble finding anything BUT slow songs. (I still have that problem but not as extremely.) Ashley's album was a sweet, wintery breath of mountain air. I liked the variety of sounds in Headstrong. When I hear of bands "finding their sound," I wonder why they would choose to make themselves boring by using just one sound. Avoiding such a problem, Headstrong had an Arabic pop sound in one song, a -- I dunno what you'd call it -- bongo sound in another, a robot pop sound in another, etc. I also liked that not all the songs were about love and boys. Not Like That, Positivity, Headstrong, and Suddenly were none of them about love. So Much for You is a love song but somehow seems to be about familial love (it's not of course, but I'm strange). The album contains other love/boys songs, some of them mediocre (Goin' Crazy, Don't Touch, We'll be Together), some of them dance-worthy but annoying lyric-wise (He Said She Said), and some of them quite acceptable. Unlove You pandered to me, despite being a slow balad, because I can't bear to think that true love could disappear. Over It didn't impress me music-wise, but I liked it because it was -- to quote a headline I can't really remember -- an empowering breakup song, unlike the majority of weepy breakup songs. And THAT is part of why I liked Ashley's next album, Guilty Pleasure.

Guilty Pleasure disappointed me with its music because it seemed Ashley had "found her sound" and saturated the album with rock guitars that all sounded the same. I grew to love it, though, and learned to pick out the songs' differences. The album also disappointed me with the content of its songs because it was vastly about love and boys. I found, however, that for such songs, they're pretty enjoyable. Ashley seems to react to situations the way I would, and she sings only one song, Tell Me Lies, that really annoys me. I vaguely enjoy songs like What If, I definitely enjoy How Do You Love Someone because of the haunting melody and meaningful lyrics, and I love her non-love song, Acting Out, because of the violins and rebelliousness. As I said before, I was also hooked because she only sings angry breakup songs. Not "Boohoo I Miss You and Want You Back, Pity Me in My Beautiful Pain" breakup songs. I'm not saying I wouldn't be weepy in a breakup, but I'd also be overwhelmingly angry. It seems a lot of artists overlook that anger and make it all about despair. (Or the artists ARE the cheaters, trying to defend their actions, which is just despicable.) Not Ashley. Ashley's songs are righteously furious with appropriate amounts of sadness but not too much meanness.

What follows is her song, Whatcha Waitin' For. I love her attitude of "If a guy cheated on me, I flatout hate him." In her song, she's obviously hurt, but she doesn't wish for the guy back. This is a nice break from those pathetic songs that express love and wishes for cheaters.

I also love her attitude of "If a guy doesn't want me, I don't want him either. In fact, I stopped wanting him FIRST . . . Or I wish." In If My Life Were a Movie, she wishes that SHE had broken up with HIM, that she was more independent, that she hadn't happened to love someone who would leave her, that she was cool, thick-skinned, and not the victim . . . The song explains it best.

As far as I remember, she remains consistent in singing angry breakup songs. None of those pathetic, weepy ones. So I can enjoy her music in furious peace.

I admit she's tried to make her image edgier or something with videos for It's Alright, It's Ok and Crank it Up. And it's only made her look silly, tasteless, and tacky. I like other aspects of her image, though. I like that she isn't dating everyone in Hollywood. According to the wiki page I read weeks ago, she's been involved with, like, two guys since her rise to stardom, and she's still with the second one. That, plus the empowering songs, would seem to indicate that Ashley's mature and independent and doesn't need attention from a million guys. I also admit, however, that I don't know how many songs she actually partook in writing. Not all of them, I know that.

I have been reminded countless times that many singers don't write their songs, and it still hasn't stuck. Every time I hear a song, I assume the singer wrote it, and I'm always shocked to hear they didn't. At the same time, I'm always shocked to hear people specify that a singer writes her own songs. I'm always shocked to hear them make a big deal of it. It should be a given. That it's not annoys me terribly. I feel like I'm crediting the wrong person. It's not fair. I've been tricked, and the writer's been robbed. What, pray tell, is the POINT of being a singer if you're not spreading your own messages in your own words, especially when 99.9% of all singers have no real talent as SINGERS? When all they do is sing, singers are like keyboards. They only transfer someone else's words from one place to another.

Rant aside, I enjoy Ashley's music, and if I can't rightfully credit her for that, then I like the music for the music and Ashley for her humble friendliness.

(One of these days, I wish to pay tribute to the song known as I Will Survive, a single song that rivals all of Ashley's empowering breakup songs put together.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Time

It's time I tell you a bit about myself I've been scared to tell. I'm an 18-year-old graduated home school student who recently barely passed the driver's test and is going to college next year. I was scared this information would make me more easily locatable to stalkers...I'm paranoid, ok? I was also scared because I'm a bit older than most bloggers I follow, and I didn't want them to think I was weird or too old to relate to. It's possible to relate to people of any age, so it doesn't matter, but I'm a child emotionally and, some would say, physically since they keep mistaking me for a 13-year-old. I'm just short with a very round face, ok? I was also scared because I blog a lot about my shortcomings, and I don't want anyone to use me to form a negative image of homeschoolers. This is silly of me because I've never actually met anyone who treated me differently after knowing I was homeschooled. I've only heard horror stories from other homeschoolers about how badly they get stereotyped. Some people probably do look down on homeschoolers, but I've never believed the world did. A couple days ago, though, I saw some ignorant comments on how shy and unintelligent homeschoolers are. I usually wouldn't think about it, but it's been eating at me and I don't know why. In a few days, I probably won't care, but right now, I want to rant.

Maybe those comments made me fear that the world really does see me negatively. Probably more than that, though, those comments bugged me because they were partly true of me. I'm not dumb. (I got A's in almost all my high school classes, took advanced classes, scored in the top percentiles on my standardized tests, etc.) I am, however, shy.

I wasn't always awkward around strangers. I was very outgoing (and quite the fake) until I suffered a few traumatic events in quick succession near the start of my teenage years. I'm getting better. I talk to waiters, store clerks, and most other people easily and without blushing. I do still feel awkward when someone tries longer conversations with me. I don't want to waste the time making superficial connections. I need to know it's going to be a true friendship where I can divulge my deepest, darkest secrets and expect acceptance. Anyway, being shy is not wrong. Even if it were - and it's not - I'm NOT shy because I'm homeschooled. I know many outgoing homeschoolers. I'm shy because I am who I am, I've suffered a bit, and I've come to realize I'm quiet and mellow at heart, which is hard when people expect you to be upbeat and outgoing to somehow prove you're "normal." Which is another reason I avoid people: they expect behavior from me they have no right to expect. (Besides, people are so stupid sometimes I just can't stand them.) It's not right to hate shy people, to say they're shy because they're homeschooled, or to use a homeschooler's shyness to fuel a stereotype. Those bigots don't even know me.

I suppose I shouldn't feel so bad. Being ANYONE would subject me being stereotyped. I admit, when I was younger, I pictured public schoolers as pregnant and/or potheaded dropouts and private schoolers as haughty, plaid uniform-wearing snobs. And maybe that was wrong, but when I came face to face with public and private schoolers, I never EXPECTED them to be that way. I wasn't picturing a stereotype. I was looking at the people in front of me and learning who they were, word by word. I could separate fact from flanderization without even thinking. I know many different kinds of people. I know more public schoolers than private schoolers, but I've met both. My siblings are and were public-schooled (they wanted to be), and I know most of their friends. I know kids from my time in school, extracurricular activities, various churches and workplaces, etc. I even know a number of pregnant and/or potheaded dropouts, but I haven't come to expect that or make fun of public schoolers for it. I know well-adjusted public schoolers as well. I'm very open-minded. Why can't everyone be as perfect as me, hmm?

To be clear, I went to public school for a couple years in elementary. It wasn't terrible, and it wasn't great. The school only taught information I already knew, and I was friends with the girls in my class but wasn't close to them. After those years, I had no preference one way or the other (I had few preferences back then anyway), and I ended up staying home. I enjoyed many aspects of homeschool. If I was ill, I could study in bed, make myself apple cider, and not even call in sick. I learned a lot more, could go at my own pace, and took subjects usually not taken in my grade. I didn't have to worry about superficial appearances, which would surely have distracted me from school. I didn't have to deal with peer pressure. Everyone has days they want to cry, and I was able to deal with mine at home, out of sight of the public, which made it easier. I was able to develop my own beliefs and morals based on raw information, I was able to stand up for my beliefs because I wasn't constantly cowed, and I was able to live up to my morals and not be asked to smoke, drink, party, flirt, etc. I developed into a real person, not a fake. And this is very important: I didn't have to deal with bullies. This is also silly of me, because through all my time in public school, I never encountered a bully. A couple girls talked crap behind the others' backs, but I didn't even care back then. (I probably would have cared later on, after I became more sensitive and shy.) Still, I remember bullies better than most of the elements in those ridiculous, over-the-top school sitcoms and less-over-the-top real life accounts. I never came across a bully, and maybe I never would have, but for all I know, it's worse in high school than elementary. I'm extremely sensitive. I don't know how I would have handled being pushed around and called names. I can barely handle being ignored.

You see, the past two or three years, I took online classes mostly populated by other homeschoolers. I had quality classes and teachers but not the best experience with the other students. My mind exaggerates negative experiences, so when I think about it rationally, most of the students weren't bad, especially the ones I actually had classes with, and I still get emails every couple of months from three classmates, all boys. Some students were very pleasant, but they rarely stayed in contact with me for long, as I mentioned in an earlier post. Online schools are different because you communicate using email, chats, and other means, but it's sort of the same principal. They dropped correspondence with me. That was hurtful. However, only the hardcore socialites really ignored me. They were outrageously outgoing and friendly to everyone else but never reached out to me. I believed it an innocent overlook for a while, but I reached out to them with no response or only the obligatory polite one and no follow up. I remember only one girl who struck up a conversation with me first. She didn't last long, but I still think she was sweet. I'm not sure why many of them froze me out. Perhaps it was because I held wildly different opinions than they. Nevertheless, I went nuts trying to figure out how to make them notice me. During that time, I realized how much I needed people to like me in order to feel valuable, and I've been working on that ever since. I was hurt back then, though, and it may have contributed to how depressed I was last year, how badly I did in school. (I got A's in all but one class, but I wasn't doing my best, and usually, I'm a perfectionist.) I did badly for another reason: I didn't think I was going to college. I forgot to mention this in my Being Depressed post, but I saw no reason to try at academics when I couldn't make a career out of it as I was Mediocre at Most. I changed my mind and am now going to college, but when I read those anti-homeschooler comments, I felt like I might have to hide the fact that I even considered not attending or I'd lend fuel to the negative homeschooler image. But I refuse to hide it. I am what I am, I'm not a stereotype, and I have to be honest.

The way some bigots talk, it's like one has to be perfect at EVERYTHING or risk the reputation of their entire group. It's like if some guy pointed at me and said, "Girls can't drive." It's true I can't drive well, but it's not because I'm a girl. It's wrong to use me, or any person, to support a negative view of a group of people, because each individual is composed of a million personal experiences, the complete collection of which no other person in their group has had. I usually don't make a big deal out of this homeschooling issue. I usually don't even think about it, but today, I had to get this rant off my chest.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Evers

Behold this short list of animated and illustrated characters.

Worst Dad Ever:
Firelord Ozai, Avatar the Last Airbender

Sexiest Skeleton Ever:

Skulduggery Pleasant, Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Cutest Corpse Ever:

Emily, The Corpse Bride

Most Desirable Duck Ever:

Scrooge McDuck, Ducktales

Hottest Rodent Investigator Ever:

Basil of Baker Street, The Great Mouse Detective

Deadliest Top Hat-Wearer Ever:

Hatter Madigan, The Looking Glass Wars

Hottest Statue Ever:

Goliath, Gargoyles

Most Tragic Villainous Red-headed Statue Ever:

Demona, Gargoyles

Hottest Thousand-year-old Man Ever:

Macbeth, Gargoyles

Man, it took me forever to make this and it's so short! --- Writing in a nutshell.

This is at the bottom because...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Much Ado about Tangled

Just yesterday, I discovered many new featurettes on Disney's Tangled. They did exactly what they should and got me extremely hyper about the movie. Eeek! Before yesterday, I was vaguely excited, but I didn't know enough about the movie to care. The official trailers don't tell us enough about the plot or even the characters, but the featurettes help.

Here are just a few of my favorites. They're all fantastic, and you can see them on Youtube and the official Tangled site.

On Today's Segment of Believe it or Not: A Commercial for Toy Cars Inspired Me

I'm not a good driver. I'm not terrible, but I get tense and scared, reluctant to practice, which is probably what led me to this low level of driving expertise. When I do drive, I have a tendency to speed up on curves, out of nervousness, when I should be slowing down. And I like the sensation, the speed on the curve.

I enjoy neither playing nor watching most sports. I'm sure I wouldn't enjoy watching NASCAR. I can, however, thanks to my strange love of taking curves too fast, understand why someone might want to race in NASCAR.

A few weeks ago, maybe a couple months, I saw a commercial for Hotwheels. At least, I think it was Hotwheels. It had Danica Patrick in it. I had to ask my brother, "THAT'S Danica Patrick?" He answered, "Duh." I'd heard the name, but I hadn't known who she was. Yes, I know. My general knowledge could be considered on the same level as my driving skills. But I was inspired. Here we had a female race car driver, obviously famous enough to promote Hotwheels. She must be GOOD. And the Hotwheels commercial was, as all Hotwheels commercials are, geared toward boys. Such product commercials often feature young boys' heroes. This female driver was apparently even a hero to little BOYS. Unheard of! Well, nearly. It shouldn't be so unheard of. If someone's good at something, it shouldn't matter what gender they are. People of all sorts should be able to look up to them. I've always held this, and here I saw it in reality. Danica Patrick was obviously a good race car driver, and her gender obviously hadn't stopped Hotwheels from featuring her in a commercial for little boys. It's very encouraging to see.

I did a bit of research on Danica, and most if it went in one eye and out the other, or something. This was mostly due to all the foreign titles and awards and terms that meant nothing to me. I did manage to glean that Danica has been praised not only as a female race car driver, but also as an American in Europe and a rookie. Also, her website played Superchick music, which could only serve to endear her to me, even if she didn't pick out the music. (I hope to do a whole post on Superchick sometime.) That's about as much as I remember.

It's unusual for me because I am very women-can-do-anything, but I hadn't thought about girl race car drivers. I did when I saw that commercial, though. To seem profound, I will now proceed to teach you a lesson that can be applied liberally to all areas of life three times a day. If you're a girl with a skill in an area that girls don't generally enter, enter it. Same goes if you're a boy. Or if you're anyone with a skill in an area someone like you doesn't enter. Stay within moral boundaries of course, but be that person in the commercial who jolts people out of their complacency and glazed-eyed-TV-watching to say, "Wow, this is interesting. I didn't think of this." Let them know the Unexpected and Unlikely still invade reality. Make people think. Be unusual. It's inspirational.

I'm not sure this is the commercial I saw. I remember it differently. I'm not sure I like this one, with the implications with the kid's dad and all that, but here it is.

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Ode to Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I should probably care more about Christmas or my birthday, something with special significance, not something as seemingly vapid as Halloween. But Halloween is right up there with the rest of them. No one I know has the patience to hear me rave about it, so - I blog.

I love many aspects of Halloween. The colors of Fall, the fallen leaves, driving over the fallen leaves and listening to them crackle, the colors of Halloween (orange, black, purple - somehow they work wonderfully on Halloween, but any other time, and I'd think they were tacky together.), the scary TV specials, the cute TV specials, the funny TV specials, the dark humor, the sweets, the costumes, the masquerade, the decorations, skeletons, ghosts, monsters, bats, werewolves, zombies, vampires, witches, pumpkins, the grossness, the eccentric fashions, the scariness, and the cute creepiness.

As ridiculous as they can be (and usually are), the Halloween TV specials/movies/whatever seem realest, most likely to happen in real life. It's because they're not pretty. They aren't filled with mermaids, ponies, fairies, sparkles, and bows. Or if they are, they're twisted mermaids, ponies, fairies, sparkles, and bows. They're darker, which is how such escapades probably would be in real life. In real life, such escapades would be ugly and weird and wart-ridden, pertaining more to the occult. And as such, Halloween specials FEEL like the mostly likely to seep into the real world and invade our lives. Okay, I'm exaggerating a tiny bit and of course I don't EXPECT such stuff to happen in real life, but it still feels more real.

In a way, I relate to Halloween. I'm not terribly nice or attractive. I'm eccentric and twisted and weird. Like Halloween. I'm sort of a dark person. Not CRAZY dark, but definitely not light. And something about Halloween speaks to my soul. *Sips coffee elegantly and adjusts beret and ascot and indoor sunglasses* Also, Halloween seems to be the only holiday that (sort of) celebrates cats. We really should have a national Cat Day. Halloween also celebrates saints. Saints are cool.

I should note that I usually don't DO much for Halloween. I don't dress up much, and we get few trick-or-treaters, but I love the FEEL of Halloween.

Also, I admit I don't like Halloween when people take it too far and extol violence as a permissible thrill or make Halloween all about suffering and evil or about pulling pranks and being obscene, etc. Be it Halloween or be it not, I still hate violence and shun the worse scary movies. I've never seen Silence of the Lambs and I plan to shun it till I die.

When people stick with the good sort of scary - the painless, fun, or cute sort of scary - Halloween serves to fill me with a feeling of strangeness, of possibility, and of creativity. AND I don't have to buy anyone presents.

See! Could any other holiday make Creepy this Cute?

Or this?

Or this?



No! Because no other holiday is at all about making creepy cute. And Halloween is. At least partly.

Now, I'm considering watching The Mummy. It's not technically a Halloween movie, but it's scary mostly in the good way (mostly, being a key word), and it's pro-cat. Viva la cat!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review of Harry Potter

I mentioned a while ago that I was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time. Here's my review. (I don't feel much need to warn "Here there be spoilers," because I seem to be the last person on Earth to read this book. Still, I suppose...Here there be spoilers!)
Be also warned. The whole world is going to hate me for this post, but...whatever.

In a word, I’d describe Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as “boring.” Just “boring.” It wasn’t TERRIBLE, and there were moments I enjoyed the boringness and zoned out over the book, but after books like Skulduggery Pleasant, I know exciting novels. This wasn’t one.

The characters were cliché and two-dimensional. Hermione was the brainy bookworm, Harry the chosen one, Ron the…other one. Little detail was given on their unique characteristics, internal contradictions, or reactions. Most often, they hardly reacted to anything, Harry least of all. When he did react strongly, he acted identically to Ron. (Ron and Harry both rose to their feet in anger at Malfoy, and so on.)

I disliked Dumbledore from the start because the author obviously expected me to think he was crazy wise, which he’s not, to have given Harry to the Dursleys instead of bringing him up in Wizard World. He did this because he thought the fame would go to Harry’s head and turn him evil. Well, plenty of people have turned evil, not from fame, but from abuse they endured (Hitler, for one), which is what Harry went through. If he could handle that, he could have handled fame. Fame was the better option, but Dumbledore either disagreed or didn't know how awful the Dursleys were. Either way, he didn't seem very wise.

While not unlikable himself, Neville Longbottom irritated me with a story of how his uncle dropped him out a window. This tale was told light-heartedly, but, um, dangling your kid out a window is child abuse. It's twisted, and you might drop them. Which is exactly what his uncle did. It’s not funny, and I hate when serious subjects are talked about light-heartedly.

The characters made it difficult to get attached to them or grasp who they were inside. I also felt distant from them because the majority of the book was narrative summary, right from the beginning, which was an unnecessary summary of the Dursleys’ life before they received Harry. Narrative summary is broad and detailess (Yes, I made up that word), making the book seem less like a story and more like a, well, summary. It always distances the readers from the story and makes it seem slower, which is good if you need a break from the action. But this book had little action.

The plot was boring, not only because I didn’t care about the characters and therefore didn’t care what happened to them plot-wise, but also because of the plot itself. Or lack thereof. The novel really had no plot until its last quarter. Mostly, the book detailed life at Hogwarts. School, bullies, mean teachers, cool teachers, sports, popularity or lack thereof, friends, illegal pets, and breaking the rules. Bor-ing. If I wanted to know of such stuff, I’d live my own life. I read so I don’t have to live. I don't have to live so I can read. Get up and go read, kids! When a plot did appear, it was very straightforward and consisted of Harry and friends racing to keep Voldemort from taking the Sorcerer’s Stone. They went through a series of obstacles, which broke my suspension of disbelief when they were tailor-made for Harry and Co. The obstacles just HAPPENED to be herbology, chess, logic, and broom-flying. Then Harry defeated Voldemort by touching him. No action, kung fu, sword fighting, wits matching, or anything. It was very simple. TOO simple. Then Dumbledore gave a speech about love, a good speech but the only inspiring part of the novel. Maybe I would have been more intrigued by the plot if I didn't already know it from the movie, but the movie came across drawn out and dull too, and I expected the book to be BETTER.

I don’t see what the general populace saw in this book. I couldn't relate to the characters, but I suppose different people relate to different characters. I couldn't get excited over the plot, but I suppose maybe...I dunno. I've almost never liked what the world at large liked. What kept other readers going for seven whole books? I barely finished the first one, which gave me no incentive to read the second. This book is to a great novel what a stick figure is to the Mona Lisa: sketchy.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Minnie: A Study in Sleepy Fireworks

Today I thought I'd talk about me. Me, in the context of being tired and bored. I've been so lazy for so long. I really don't FEEL like doing anything but sleeping. I'm feeling especially depressed right now because of an issue surrounding kittens.

Our cat had a litter of kittens, and I want to keep them all. I know people who could take them, but I don't trust them to take good care of the kittens. I realize the only way to make sure they're okay is to keep them with me. But my family makes a big deal out of every little inconvenience the kittens impose on us (urine, feces, litter, food, allergens, hair, blah, blah, blaahh). My mom switches between wanting to keep them and not. My dad yelled at me for suggesting we keep them all. While my family seems willing to give them up to any fate, I know I'm responsible for taking care of them if I can. I've grown so attached to them it would seem too weird and heartbreaking to split them up, knowing they're no longer a complete set. And, well...Grahh! It's just heart-sickening.

BESIDES that, however, I suppose a lot of causes contribute to my depressed tiredness. I'd like to explore those today. How do I feel about it and all that?

For one thing, I feel overwhelmed by all the activities I WANT to do. I hate it! I want to draw, write, write, write, (yes, I wrote "write" three times on purpose), animate, change the world, study, do well in school and such, clean house to keep my mom happy and healthy, read fiction, read non-fiction, prepare for college, prepare for the rest of my life, blah, blah, blah. Just thinking about it, I lose the will to do it. I just sit around doing nothing.

This is obviously a post about me being depressed. I never talk about this, and I'm not sure how to do it with grace, so please forgive me if I sound dramatic.

I used to think cynicism was a widespread phenomena, but these days, I seem to face hordes of starry-eyed dreamers who try for anything and seem to think they can achieve it. I, however, appear different from other people, other kids my age, because I don’t believe I can do great deeds, get published, get a job, get into college, or do anything competently. Someone like that is one in a million, leaving me with very slim chances. I don’t believe I deserve anything. I expect to be treated like I don’t exist. I expect rejection and failure. I feel I have no skills and my various works suck.

Actually, I felt this way at a very young age. Before which, I experienced an age where I put myself out there, was outgoing, and tried experiences without fear. I usually failed, embarrassed myself, and felt stupid, and I hate few things more than feeling stupid. I learned not to expect anything great of myself, because I was only deluding myself. I learned, in fact, to automatically assume I did everything badly and looked dumb all the time. I thought this would save me from deluding myself and feeling stupid when I had to face the truth. It did cause me look stupid anyway while passing up many experiences for fear of looking stupid. I think I started getting over this way of life, but a couple years ago, it may have rekindled when I took a composition course. I loved it, worked my tail off, and only got okay grades. The teacher never praised me much, and I felt no matter how hard I tried at anything, I’d be Mediocre at Most. It’s not the teacher's fault. Where I am in life is entirely up to me, but that's another post.

Last year in school, I was terrified of doing homework for one particular class. I just knew I couldn’t do it or could only do it badly. Even attempting it made me literally sick to my stomach. I didn't want to fail, disappoint my parents or the teacher (who was very nice and didn't deserve a procrastinator like me), or make myself look and feel stupid. I wanted to do well, but I was so scared I put it off and did shoddy work and put it off and did shoddy work, and I did end up failing that class. I had never failed a class before.

That’s sort of how it is now too. I know I can’t do anything right, so I don’t try. I look at all the ways I'm below average, unable to do stuff even most petty criminals can do (driving a car, socializing, blah, blah, blah). I don’t really know of anything I CAN do well. I might as well not try at anything.

I came across this definition of boredom from Therapy Ideas recently:

Boredom often occurs because you have stopped yourself from saying something or from doing something. Flattening out your own disagreeable energy out of a fear of displeasing others often will lead to becoming bland. Nice can be oh-so-not interesting and yet it is the choice we make more often than not. Stop interrupting yourself, authenticity can be refreshing.

Boredom is not all bad. Its greater purpose is to inspire people to be more creative about their lives. Our lives often lack imagination and creativity.

(I don't remember how I stumbled across that article, I wasn't Googling "therapy ideas," although I do have an interest in psychology. But I'd like to do a whole post on that article later, because it had insightful...insights, as well as...questionable insights.)

That was an enlightening definition. I AM bored because I don't do what I want to do, not because I don't have anything to do. But I don't know how to kick start myself doing what I want when I lack energy, drive, and courage.

I don't like most of Katy Perry's songs. Some are ok, but I don't really like them. I like this one though. It's upbeat and uplifting, and I'm a sucker for violins in pop music. I'd like to think I'm a firework, a dormant firework, in the sense that I can do great and noble deeds (not in the sense that I'm a bubbly person, like Katy Describes it). "'Cause there's a spark in you. You just gotta ignite the light." Wish I knew how.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Avatar Series: Legend of Airbender Sleuth Semi-Extraordinaire!

I haven't posted in forever. I know, and I'm sorry. I yearn to blog of a dozen topics, but I lack both time and energy. Mostly the energy bit.

Let me see. What can I blog about quickly? Hmm...

Ah! Here's something.

The creators of Avatar the Last Airbender are creating a new series set in the Avatar world. When the first series kicked the bucket, I found a glimmer of hope, like a barn fire, in an aspect of the final episode. It kindled annoyance as well as hope, but Zuko asked his father where his mother was and the question was left open-ended. This would have screamed "really bad wrapping-up-the-story skills on the part of the creators!", IF I believed they'd just let it go at that. But I didn't. No, not for a heartbeat. To me, that omission meant they'd have to continue the series. My suspicion was confirmed by the evidence, stark and unmistakable, spelled out clear as Spellchecker, the words of IMDb, "Nickelodeon has announced that there will be '(t)hree original 60-minute animated Avatar movies . . .'" This could be the break I needed in the case that haunted my brief daydream on July 20th '08. Where was Zuko's mom? There wasn't an Avatar-fanbrain I knew, out of all three of them, that wouldn't give their right calculus answer for a break like that.

But we waited. And waited. No more dirt on the case surfaced through the carpet of IMDb news. Until Friday, that is. Or some such weekday. When I stumbled across and broke a toenail on some news that spun the case in a new direction, like it came under new management, Paris Opera House-style.

This little nugget of a clue had been gathering dust of the dead-skin-cell variety since mid-July. When I hear this, first thought that hits my grey matter is "Thank my lucky stars it was a clue nugget and not a chicken nugget or it would have mutated into something else by now." Second thought is "I really need to put some elbow grease into this looking for clues gig. How did I not know of this for three months? Musta lost interest, guess."

Betcha you're scratching your cranium right about now, scraping your dead skin cells off to gather on clue nuggets, and you're wondering, "Just what is this case-spinning nugget you came across, Minnie?" It's like a shamrock, reader guy. Three in one. ONE, an interview with the creators. TWO, a not interview with the creators. THREE, a random article with random interviews and one near the bottom that pertains to this a little. Yeeah, 'sright. But the thing about this case-spinning nugget? It's case-spinning.

The spin is this new series they're plotting happens 70 YEARS after the finale of Airbender. My feelings on this are as consistent as a commenter who comments on a negative review like so, "I hate your review! Why do you comment on stuff you don't like?" Torn and twisted like nobody's business. My heart leaps at the thought of a new Avatar series, likely complete with character development and trademark Avatar humor. But my heart lands on a twisted ankle and a rattle snake at the thought of the original characters being DEAD.

Will I never solve the case of the Missing Zuko's Mom? Is it true the creators have really bad wrapping-up-the-story skills?

To find out, tune in next time to Airbender Sleuth Semi-Extraordinaire!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Don't Write Like Shakespeare

After the last post, I mustered courage to follow more blogs. Click on my profile to see which. Anyway, Eleanor Roscuro has followed me! I have TWO followers now! Twice as many as before! As many as before plus 1! And minus 0! 1 plus 1 minus 0 plus 1 minus 1! That makes 2! Unlike math, new followers bring me exhilaration. Thank you, Eleanor!

To give this post more of a reason to exist, I present my results from I Write Like. I Write Like has been popular for a while now. It's where you enter a piece of your writing and the site analyzes it and tells you what famous writer you write like. I entered my blog posts, and this is what I got:

Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, David Foster Wallace, H. P. Lovecraft, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, David Foster Wallace, H. P. Lovecraft, Cory Doctorow, Stephen King, Isaac Asimov (for that post on swearing), Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Margaret Mitchell (for the first post on the Palins), H. P. Lovecraft, Dan Brown, Vladimir Nabokov, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Mary Shelley, Douglas Adams – (for the second half of the post on computer vs. pencil animation), Stephen King, William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, James Joyce, Cory Doctorow

If you skimmed or skipped that paragraph, I completely understand. (Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands that day.) Mostly, you should notice that I got "Cory Doctorow." A lot. I'd never heard of him before, but the next day, I noticed a book in B&N with a familiar name on the cover: Cory Doctorow. The book was "Little Brother," and it looked interesting. Maybe I'll check it out, see if I really do write like him.

I also entered text from a story I'm writing ("writing" here meaning "neglecting with half a chance of ever finishing"). This is what I got when I entered short excerpts:

Stephen King, Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, Stephen King, Stephen King

I didn't realize my story was that scary...

This is what I got when I entered 3 entire chapters:

J. K. Rowling

I am gonna be an EPIC bestseller! Right? Right?


It's ok. You don't have to break it to me. I realize even if I entered gibberish into IWL, I could garner comparisons with famous, bestselling writers like Dan Brown,
Stephen King, David Foster Wallace, and James Joyce. I know because I actually entered gibberish into IWL and garnered comparisons with those famous, bestselling authors. (Were they actually bestsellers? I don't know.) Don't expect me to remember the precise wording, but I entered text to the effect of, "ahdk a kdhoeiw aj dja id bhehwa d oaiuek,a dhbeal." And that was just ONE line. Brilliant, I know. My insight probably changed your perception of reality. That line alone could inspire more movie scripts than any two current bestsellers put TOGETHER. Yes, TOGETHER. Right? Right?


Just joking. I also created and entered this text: "That our webs would lead to rain and faraway scallops to the downy bed of rose petals. For in that scarlet lethal box what pyres set by must scrawl away abysmal." By now, I bet you're annoyed of my insight changing your perception of reality.

Kidding. I was just trying to write glittery babble structured like Shakespeare's words, "To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub. For in the sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause." I was hoping my babble would garner a comparison with Shakespeare, proving that Shakespeare is no better than babble. I don't think highly of Shakespeare. Most people assume that means I'm an uneducated baboon (even if THEY have never read Shakespeare - hypocrites). I'm not. I'm way ahead of my time, is all. It's not that I don't understand Shakespeare. I do. Let me read a Shakespeare passage once, maybe twice. I understand it fast. Well, not that fast, since I'm a slow, careful reader to begin with, but I DO get Shakespeare. I just don't get why it's so great.

People say the language is beautiful. It's alright, sure, but truly beautiful writing is clear and understandable, which, hello! Shakespeare's not. Not to most people. Besides, beauty means nothing without substance. Who cares HOW Shakespeare says anything if the content is repulsive? (Well, apparently, the whole world, but forget that.) Shakespeare filled stories with ridiculous, stupid, cruel, manipulative, evil, or wholly insane characters who are often rewarded for their immorality and sympathized with for their stupidity. Just to mention the character element. The proof is in the pudding, and Shakespeare pudding tastes more like Medieval mud (not that I know what that tastes like). Why? WHY is Shakespeare a classic? I just don't get it.

Ok, so I haven't read that much Shakespeare. I haven't read all his plays. I haven't read a single play all the way through.

Oh, dear. My argument sounds less and less convincing, darn it. But I've read enough excerpts from a wide enough variety of Shakespeare to know that I can understand it very well and it isn't that beautiful. I've seen enough movies and TV shows and read enough summaries to know the stories. The stories are what counts. The stories are awful.

Anyway, IWL didn't give me "Shakespeare" for my aforementioned babble. It gave me "James Joyce," and I don't know who that is. I would have tried again for "Shakespeare," but I lost interest.

Moving on, I present a glorious Rapunzel (Tangled) poster. I love the expressions on their faces. They look like intense, swashbuckling adventurers. With lots of hair and gorgeous colors. =D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, a Leaf! Oh, It Might Attack Me! Oh, It's a Scary Blog! I'm Afraid!

When I started this blog, I feared it. Well, not the BLOG, but the consequences of blogging. I was uncomfortable being personal and sensitive on the internet, to strangers, internet weirdos (no offense to anyone who reads my blog). I didn't blog much before, but when I did, I came away worse for wear. People are MEAN on the internet. (And STUPID too. And I mean, STUPID. Did I mention STUPID?) People take advantage of your heartfelt opinions. With those, they know your weak spots. They can be all the crueler if they know what hurts you, annoys you, infuriates you, saddens you, and so on. When I started blogging, I felt it was a definite and likely possibility that someone would try to hurt me. I'd cover topics I cared about, my personal growth, and even just movie and book reviews, which were mainly all I wanted to write before I started this blog. Even reviews revolve around my, sometimes very strong, feelings. People could take those posts, figure out what makes me tick, and tick me off. In a way, I was scared of CARING too much, or at least showing it online. I sometimes get over subjects I cared a lot about before, and then I feel embarrassed for caring so much and letting people hurt me because of it. When I talk about it online, it means other people will know how much I cared and how stupid I looked, how my frustration spilled out online. They could copy and save what I wrote, and even if I deleted this blog, I'd never shake the feeling that my words were still there, haunting me. Unsavory memories linger.

Furthermore, I have pretty conservative beliefs compared to many, and pretty un-conservative beliefs compared to many, and just strange beliefs compared to everyone. Based on my beliefs, I don't fit into any one group. None that I know, anyway. I knew I might attacked by all sides because I'm not on any of them, and I was afraid of that.

I was afraid of being stalked. I was afraid to slip up and give a clue, or several, about where I live, and the scary people, the pervs and murderers, who hate me on the internet might find me in real life. As bad as it would be to be persecuted online, it would be worse to be attacked physically, in real life.

I was afraid my blog would flop, but I was more afraid that people would follow it. See, as long as no one followed, I had the option of deleting this blog any time with no one knowing the difference. No one would be disappointed. If they followed, however, I'd have to keep blogging forever, providing people with more chances to persecute or stalk me. If followers UNfollowed, I'd feel stupid and rejected. That's why I put off following other blogs for so long, even though I knew it might help me gain followers. Well, that's one reason. The other was that I didn't want to have to UNfollow them, as I said a few posts ago. I'm still hesitant to follow blogs. As of now, I'm only following one other blog.

As you can see, I started this blog anyway and maintained it well until a few weeks ago. I WANTED to share my opinions and frustrations and joys, even IF I'd get metaphorically kicked around for it. I guess you could say I'm pretty brave. Yes, friends, I am the picture of shining knighthood. Well, no. Actually I look nothing like a knight, and thank goodness. Those people were awful, what with how they hit people with pointy objects, killed reptiles with extreme prejudice and pointy objects, pillaged the villages, terrorized the serfs, committed adultery with the king's wife and all that. Sheesh. The point is I took a risk, and now, I'm much less afraid of this blog. I don't know why exactly. Maybe I saw nothing bad happened. Maybe I hardened my shell and became less afraid of persecution. Who knows, really? If I don't, only God does.

Did that sound arrogant?

Well, if it did, I can't help it. I'm feeling pretty sick about an upcoming test, so I'm gonna go now, take my mind off stuff.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Missing Opportunities

In my last post, I overlooked an opportunity for a better Fact of the Day for that post. So I used it for this one. The tidbit about the humans and kittens up there.

I seem to be missing a lot of opportunities. For instance, today I saw a cousin I don't often see. She's an adult with her own family. I've always liked her. She's pretty, elegant, calm, nice, friendly, accepting, and sweet, in a really stable way that keeps me from fearing that her darkside will surface and try to kill me. She seems very intelligent and real. In general, people are idiots and fakes, and I hate them for it. I sometimes can't believe any intelligent, real people exist, but then I meet people like my cousin. She doesn't seem to be TRYING or putting on a show of being nice, for the sake of being polite. She seems genuinely kind. She doesn't seem secretly depressed (as so many in my family seem to be) or not-so-secretly depressed or hidden-but-pretty-obviously depressed or any degree of depressed. Or any degree of angry. Or any degree of anxious. I know I'm making her sound all perfect, but she's not any degree of judgmental or snobbish or self-righteous either. Not as far as I've seen, but I admit I haven't seen that much of her.

You see, whenever I "visit" my cousin, I just sit there kind of nervously and try both to avoid looking at her and to look at her enough to be polite. I say nothing unless she speaks to me first. I feel intimidated by her. Not because she's intimidating, but because I'm so used to being surrounded by people I can't stand that I don't know how to react when I'm around someone I like. I'm used to people who ignore me or act like snobs or jerks or morons. I'm also used to people who are friendly even though I don't particularly like or trust them and don't want to commit to being friends with them. I'm somehow both used to that situation and terribly uncomfortable in it because I have to hit the magic mark of nice-enough-not-to-hurt-their-feelings-but-not-enough-to-make-them-want-to-be-friends. With my cousin, it's similar but different. (I think my bad social skills are showing. From this, you'd think I can't get along with ANYONE. . .I can! I can!. . .Convinced yet?. . .I can! I can! Fine, I can't.) (1) I feel weird being around someone I don't despise. And (2) I really don't want her think I don't like her, which is liable to happen with the confused, nervous way I act around her these days. It's uncomfortable. I can't cope around people I like, and I'm squandering opportunities to make non-enemies.

By the way, if someone acts fake to you, they're insulting your intelligence and disrespecting you, since they would have to really respect you to act themself around you. If they pretend to be nice to you, they usually hate you. If they pretend to be mean to you, they usually fear you. If they pretend to want to take care of you, they usually look down on you like an insect both slimy and hairy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Comparing and Contrasting Similar Songs, and Showing a Rapunzel Trailer

First off, a brand new trailer for Rapunzel (a.k.a. Tangled)! This makes it look fun in a so-bad-it's-good kinda way (I hope the actual movie isn't that corny), shows off the pretty colors, reveals that Rapunzel also looks like a rubber suit, and gives us so much more to think about, story-wise, than the last trailers. Also, I hate to risk jinxing the production by saying the movie will be good...but here's a fun article that takes the risk for me (and also divulges that the final movie production nixed the corny scene where Flynn gets attacked by Rapunzel's hair - Yay!).

Now, on to the post's main event: comparing similar songs. Contrasting them. Judging them. Deciding which are better. Which will live, which will die. 'Tis a noble endeavor, to be sure. All songs are equal, but some songs are more equal than others. Just kidding. All songs are NOT equal. People are equal. To people. But songs are not equal to songs. Observe.

Paramore's The Only Exception vs. Taylor Swift's Mine.

The songs encompass the same basic concept, but Paramore does it better. Both songs are about - and Swift even said this - Finding the Exception to the fact that most relationships end. I've said before that I don't like Swift's music, but I'm doing this post anyway because it fascinates me how one song can be so alike to another and yet so much deeper.

When I first heard Only Exception, I didn't like it. I wasn't listening to the words, and the music was boring. It played often on the radio, though, and finally, one line caught my ear (I forget which), and I decided to give the song a thorough listen and not be the kind of dork who hates a song without knowing the words. So I listened, and the song struck a nerve. It conveyed how I feel about love. Like Paramore, I think that love doesn't exist. "Love never lasts." But TRUE love WOULD last! It would! So true love doesn't exist. Whatever this temporary feeling people call "love" is, it is not love. Like Paramore, I've felt this way from a young age, from watching my parents, other families, TV, the media, and true crime shows (in which spouses always kill each other). Well, I don't suppose that, as a young child, I specifically thought, "love doesn't exist." However, I never specifically thought "love exists" either, as far as I remember. I didn't have many opinions back then, but I couldn't imagine love, I didn't know what it was, I never saw it, and I didn't care. Now, I'm not talking about the kind of love God has for Creation or parents have for children. I believed in THOSE loves. I didn't believe in romantic love. When I got older, I began developing opinions and really THINKING about things. That's when I decided love doesn't exist. It wasn't that long ago, actually (and I think there was a period in between where I did believe in love). You only hear the stories about broken relationships, and those stories impacted me because I decided early in life that I would learn from other people's mistakes because I hate making my own. Later in life, I realized even the relationships you don't hear about are broken or dying or dead, or at least not crafted by true love. Even if spouses stay together, they rarely love each other.

I stopped believing in the love of friends too. I learned that all friends leave. Even if they're not trying to hurt you, they go off, make new friends, and it's like you didn't exist. That often happened to me when I tried sharing something intimate about myself, some insecurity I was struggling with. That seemed to make them uncomfortable. I think some of them would have helped if they could have, but they couldn't, so they left. I scared off dozens of friends that way. (Which is why the dinner scene from the Only Exception is so brilliant. One guy would sit down with Hayley, immediately get up, and leave. Another guy would take his place and do the same. That, with bizarre accuracy, is how it felt with my "friends." They'd leave. I'd be confused and hurt, but I'd smile and try to be nice to the new ones, hoping that each new friend would be my True Friend. But they all left.) I know, I know, I sound all pathetic and drama queen-ish, but I'm not trying to be all boo-hoo. It's true. No friend sticks around when you're suffering, or even when you're not. At least, I've never found one. From what I can tell, it's the same with romance. Spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, everybody. They leave. Or they feel obligated to stay but don't love you. They don't find you special enough to help you through your suffering and love you forever. Their love for you dies, your love for them dies, and, usually, you part ways. And that's not true love.

I pride myself on being smart, and it seemed the smart conclusion to make was "love doesn't exist." However, my feelings decided this for me as much as my brain. If love doesn't last, if friendship doesn't last, I don't want it at all. I'd rather believe love and friendship don't exist. This makes me a very reserved person. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, another drama moment from Minnie. Give me a break.) I very consciously understood that friendship doesn't exist, but usually, I more subconsciously understood that romantic love doesn't exist, although it was a deep-rooted belief that went way back.

In their song, Paramore so clearly and poignantly conveyed much of what I wrote in the last few paragraphs: "Maybe I know somewhere deep in my soul that love never lasts, and we've got to find other ways to make it alone and keep a straight face. And I've always lived like this, keeping it comfortable. Distance. And up until now I'd sworn to myself that I'm content with loneliness, because none of it was ever worth the risk." That's a lot of meaning packed into one verse. Multiple insights into Finding the Exception. Then Paramore made the Sad Song uplifting with the mention of "the only exception." The one I wish I could find. The exceptional friend who wouldn't leave, who'd listen, who'd love me forever. I'm not totally convinced such a friend doesn't exist, but I don't think I'll find one. Even if I did, I don't know if I could be a True Friend back. I'm too scared now that I'm convinced everyone leaves.

The song does repeat itself an awful lot, it could be even deeper, and my one major problem with it is this line: "I know you're leaving in the morning when you wake up. Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream." That defeats the whole purpose of the song, if the guy is just going to leave. But then maybe he's only going to work and he'll be back afterwards, hmm? Still, it's a fantastic song, a finer work than the following.

I'm sorry, but somehow Taylor takes the same idea as Paramore and makes it shallow. As the greatest factor in this, frivolous phrases make up about 90% of the song. 90% of the song has nothing to do with anything important, the kind of material Paramore gave. 90% of the song is wasted on meaningless how's-the-weather-type observations, like "You were in college, workin' part-time waitin' tables. Left a small-town, never looked back." Who cares? That tells us nothing about your Finding the Exception issue. Taylor continues, "I say can you believe it, as we're lying on the couch? The moment, I can see it. Yes. Yes. I can see it now." None of that tells about Finding the Exception. What does sitting on the couch have to do with ANYTHING? Furthermore, the entire chorus is made up of frivolous statements that have nothing to do with The Exception: "Do you remember we were sittin' there by the water. You put your arm around me for the first time. You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter. You are the best thing that's ever been mine." Who CARES if she was sitting by the water or he put his arm around her? The "rebel" line could only vaguely pertain to Finding the Exception. And, ok, he's hers. That also tells us nothing about Finding the Exception, since so many others have been hers and she probably though they were "the best" when they were around. And then there's this line: "Flash foward and we're taking on the world together and there's a drawer of my things at your place." This makes me confused, as I thought Taylor was for abstinence (which is great), and having a drawer at his place implies non-abstinence. This line follows, "You learn my secrets, and you figure out why I'm guarded. You say we'll never make my parents' mistakes." This might actually mean something if she told us WHAT her secrets were or what her parents' mistakes. As it is, it's pretty dull. "But we got bills to pay. We got nothing figured out. When it was hard to take, yes, yes, this is what I though about." Bills tell us nothing about the emotional struggle of Finding the Exception. Emotional struggle is usually worse, and a heck of a lot more meaningful, than bills. Bills happen to everyone. They're boring. Why would you mention them in a love song? "And I remember that fight, two thirty AM, as everything was slipping right out of our hands. I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street. Braced myself for the goodbye, 'cause that's all I've ever known. You took me by surprise. You said I'll never leave you alone." Okay, so we know that she found the Exception, but the impact of this is diluted by all the meaningless foam in there. Who cares if it was 2:30 AM, and she ran out crying, and there was a street out there? Why does she redundantly write that he took her by surprise when it's obvious he did since she expected him to leave and he stayed?

I count only three times in this entire song that she actually mentions the struggle of Finding the Exception. "Why we bother with love if it never lasts," and "You learn my secrets..." and "Brace myself for the goodbye." I don't know much about writing songs, and it might be really hard, but Paramore's song is proof that you can pack a lot more meaning, and a lot less drivel, into a song than Swift has done here.

Also, the video...Yeeeaahh, not so good. Frankly, it's laughable to see Swift acting out all these situations she's obviously never been through, like being a mom. Really? She still looks like she's sixteen. It's ridiculous to see her playing mom when she looks like that. I'm sorry, but it just is. Same goes for the leading man. He looks way too young to be playing the disgruntled, suit-wearing husband and dad. Like they're playing dress-up in clothes too big.

Marina and the Diamond's I Am not a Robot vs. Miley Cyrus's Robot

Again, we have two songs based on the same concept: the performers are not robots. They're human beings. Yes, they are, and let me say that I know this of Miley, Marina, Taylor, and Paramore. They're human beings, and I respect THEM, even if their work is not so good. But Marina still does a better job of this song.

Marina mentions many traits that seem to put people at a disadvantage. True, some of these traits are unseemly, but they ultimately mean we're human, not robots. I sometimes wish I could do everything perfectly, be efficient and secure, and never get shaken up. But if I could be that way, I'd be a complete robot. Marina says, "You're vulnerable. You're vulnerable. You are not a robot." And that's true. If you're vulnerable, if you get shaken up, you're human. She continues encouragingly, "You're lovable, so lovable. But you're just troubled." And that's also true. Human beings, when behaving like human beings, are lovable, even when they mess up. They're flesh and blood. They're warm and adorable, like kittens. When they're being human. I wish I could see that in myself when I mess up: how messing up and experiencing emotions makes me lovable. This song points that out, that and so much more.

Miley, on the other, hand dishes out the classic misunderstood-celebrity song. It's not that this song doesn't contain some truth. It's just that it's somewhat shallow and largely cliche. Typical. It's about Disney, or anyone else who tries to create an image for Miley and force her to sustain it, to sell their product. They tell her where to go, what to feel, what to wear, etc., operating her like she's their puppet or robot. Isn't that the classic celebrity dilemma? This song contains no original or unusual truths or imagery, unlike Marina's song, which has many. I admire the vocalizing at the start, but the rest of the music is mediocre. Robot isn't that bad. It just isn't good.