Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Harry Potter Changed My Life

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your feedback on my previous post. It was a controversial topic, and the vast majority of comments-- even those that disagreed with me--were overwhelmingly intelligent and kind. You guys are one kickass group. Secondly, while I could easily return to reporting on food, TV, and the crazy antics of my college friends, I've been a little nervous to jump back into the swing of frivolity so soon after a heavy topic. Therefore (and because some of my twitter followers have asked), I'm going to copy and paste the final essay I just completed for a class, in which I was required to describe how a piece of literature has changed my life. I'm calling it "How a Children's Book Helped Me Grow Up." I hope you enjoy it; try to take extra pleasure out of my struggle to decide when to italicize Harry Potter, as in the book title, and when to leave it alone, as in the name of the fandom.

Had I been told ten years ago that a piece of literature would so dramatically change the way I think, the way I view the world, and the way I live my life as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I may have believed it… but I would surely have been skeptical.

My mother always tells me that she knew I was going to be an English major from the day I learned to talk: My siblings and cousins liked to run and jump and scream around the neighborhood, and I spent most of my childhood with the natural, irrepressible desire to sit for hours and “read” aloud the picture books I had memorized to a crowd of my stuffed animals. When I’d outgrown Little Critter, I moved on to Beverly Cleary’s infamous Ramona Quimby chapter book series, and my connection to Ramona was so strong that I resisted my mother and teacher’s pleas for me to move on to bigger and better things. I valiantly fought my mom one night when I was ten, because I didn’t want to tarnish my allegiance to Ramona by reading a copy of the first Harry Potter book, which she begged me to try. But, in the end, my desire to gluttonize a novel proved stronger than my desire to win a fight, and I fell asleep in the wee hours of the night, clutching the hard cover of my new best friend to my prepubescent chest.

In some ways, I’ve grown far beyond my ten-year-old self. I now read and enjoy masses of literature each year, and I have learned from example that, occasionally, my parents and teachers actually know what they’re talking about. However, just as my mom suspected my lifelong passion from my early childhood, some latent personality traits never die. The Harry Potter series grew up alongside my generation, and what started as a trilogy of children’s books expanded to include four volumes of rather adult content and complicated prose. This is fortunate for me, because my unfailing devotion to Jo Rowling has only grown as I’ve matured, and I owe much of my personality and many of my life experiences to her works, even in my young adult years.

It’s a strange and difficult concept to explain to an outsider, but my favorite of Jo Rowling’s novels,Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has so dramatically affected my life that, had I not eagerly awaited its arrival, read it in one sitting, and continued to reread it several times thereafter, I would hardly resemble the person I am today. My job, my hobbies, and many of my close friends and contacts have come into my life as a direct result of my obsession with Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts. It may sound like an exaggeration, but so many of my personal experiences have dominoed from those 700 pages.

I was fourteen—going into my freshman year in high school-- when Half-Blood Prince was released, and although my love for the series had not dwindled, I was at that stage in my life when being accepted by my school clique was more important than taking the risk to show my true self, and I had been keeping my obsession nearly secret. I was desperate for the opportunity to discuss theories and moon over my fictional crushes and make predictions about the final two books, but my real friends had only a fleeting interest in the wizard world, and I knew my “popular friends” would make fun of me if they saw my true nerdy colors. In need of an outlet, I did a little bit of googling one afternoon, and came across a website called, which claimed to be “the ultimate Harry Potter fansite.” As I scrolled through pages and pages of forums, fanfiction, drawings and essays, all compiled by thousands of fans, it became suddenly clear to me: I was far from alone.

I immediately subscribed to MuggleNet’s talk show podcast, and for one hour every week, I could take a break from the stress of school, and I could just relax and listen to strangers who seemed to understand me better than my fake friends*. MuggleCast led me to search other avenues on the internet used by fans to express their obsessions, and I discovered a brand new, unknown video-sharing website called YouTube, to which I became one of the first couple thousand members.

Inspired by the two (yes, only two) other YouTube videos about Harry**, I decided to join in, and started creating poorly edited comedy shorts about life as a fan. Shortly thereafter, a slew of other fans discovered the site, and my videos were being seen by hundreds of people who knew exactly where I was coming from. Somewhere between the start of my sophomore year and the unexpected bombardment of user-generated content that the growing popularity of YouTube provided, I was offered a job with Google, and began receiving revenue for the traffic my Potter-related videos attracted to the website. Harry Potter had breached the barrier of my “double life,” and my secret Internet world provided me with the job that currently pays for a portion of my college expenses.

Through this job, I’ve gotten to meet a wide range of other YouTube Partners, as well as some incredibly talented and successful musicians who make up a bona fide genre of music called Wizard Rock, and I now consider many of these people to be some of my best friends. I introduced one of my nerdy high school friends to a Potter fan from across the country-- whom I’d met through a chat room, because she subscribed to my YouTube channel-- and I did a reading in their wedding this past summer. Two of my good friends are married because of my devotion to a book series.

Sure, my involvement in the Internet Potter microcosm hasn’t always been a perfect experience—my distracted choice to isolate myself completely from my high school clique, while a mostly healthy decision, left me feeling lonely and misunderstood during the school day-- but by choosing to suffer social exile, I broke free from the paradigm of the middle class white kids, and exposed myself to people from all different backgrounds, sexual orientations, and ideologies. I learned that two people who appear totally different on the outside can have in common their love for a piece of literature, and that, just as Jo Rowling teaches, love should always win over hate.

The lessons of acceptance and the commonality of the human experience that Harry, Ron and Hermione encounter over the course of the series correlate directly to my life. I started high school as an Abercrombie-clad fake, associating myself only with the people who looked exactly like me and forced themselves into molds, and because of a book, I left my graduation ceremony with a career, friends across the globe who care more deeply about my soul than about my clothes, and the knowledge that a belief in truth can always beat out evil at the end of the day.

Through my experiences with Harry Potter, I will never be able to approach a piece of literature passively. I find it hard to criticize popular authors***, because what is often written off as a children’s fantasy story is directly responsible for my real life growth as a young adult. Books have the potential to radically transform people, and after seeing this firsthand, I can’t help but long to be a part of such a change in someone else’s life. My mother sensed my passion for literature from the picture book days, and I will forever be grateful to Jo Rowling for exposing just how important this passion can be.

* This is, perhaps, an exaggeration. I wasn't the It Girl, they weren't all evil jerks, and I still had my best friends the whole time. But it improves my argument.

** I'd actually searched "MuggleCast," but wanted to make the essay easier to follow. Anyway, one of the two videos was dark and silent, and has since been removed. The other was this, about which I could probably write another paper called "How Bre Bishop Changed My Life."

*** You know. Some of them.

Oh, and for those of you who saw my tweet, the essay figured out to exactly 1337 words, including the headings and such. :)

Sexy: Discovering that my meal plan includes a coffee shop, fancy restaurant, and nice cafeteria, and that I have a good deal of money in my account that can be spent exclusively in these locations.
Unsexy: The fact that I discovered this today, and the money expires by the end of the quarter, which is next week. I have been drinking a lot of iced teas this afternoon.

Chipotle burritos this year: 38
Subscribers: 21,767
Bagel Street visits this school year: 5

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why Christians Can Believe in Gay Rights

[Disclaimer: This blog contains some religious and political controversy. My intention was to shed a bit of new light on an old issue, and not to offend or alienate anyone.]

A few days ago, I received this anonymous email:
"I watch your videos and think you['re] kind of funny, but I was really disappointed to hear that you are Christian because I'm gay."
After sitting, dumbfounded, with my mouth dangling open for a few minutes, I hit "reply," but ended up simply staring at the flashing cursor for a spell before I exited the window. It was too big of a topic to tackle in one email to one stranger. It really, really hurts me that people have reason to assume that, because I believe in Jesus, I also believe that some people are wholly better than others. It needs to be said, once and for all, that I'm a Christian, and I am totally, completely for gay rights.

The biggest case made by some (loud) fundamentalist Christians against homosexuality is that Leviticus 18:22 states, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." That's a scary word, "abomination." In English, it's defined as "a thing that causes disgust or hatred." However, in the scripture's original Hebrew, the word used in its place is toevah, which means something that is forbidden because it's unclean.

See, the Old Testament catalogues a number of other things as "abominations." A list that includes, but is not limited to: eating shrimp and lobster (Leviticus 11:11), sacrificing deformed sheep (Deuteronomy 17:1), eating rabbit (Deuteronomy 14:1-7), and touching dead bugs without washing your clothes (Leviticus 11:23-6). Now, I'm sure we can all agree that there's nothing inherently evil about shrimp cocktails. These laws were set during a comparatively unhygienic time when procreation and the prolonging of humankind was an issue. People needed rules of these kinds in order to keep society free from disease. And, once these laws were no longer needed, we were supposed to stop following them.

Hebrews 8:13 says, "By calling this covenant 'new,' He has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." I'm not a theologian or a biblical scholar, and I will take full responsibility for any ignorance found within this blog, but according to the New Testament, which follows God's New Covenant, we are led to believe that those Old Testament laws which Jesus did not specifically reiterate within his lifetime are outdated, and do not continue to apply. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, "God is not the author of confusion." If Jesus had meant, "Stop following those old 'abominations'-- except the one about gay sex!" he would have said so.

"Christianity" is a broad word that encompasses all kinds of denominations and beliefs that often contradict each other, but my personal religion is more about love than it is about black-and-white rules. In John 15:12, Jesus responds to the question about which of the original ten commandments is the most important by saying, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." Sure, some people are going to continue to feel that homosexuality is an unnatural choice, simply from their gut feelings, and nothing can really be done about that. But please don't misconstrue the idea of a loving God to back up worldly hatred.

To my normal blog readers, I apologize for returning from a week off by preaching on a soapbox. I promise I'll get back to my normal Light Witty Fluff soon.

Chipotle burritos this year: 37
Bagel Street visits this school year: 5
Subscribers: 21,169

Bye, guys. Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Juggling, Answered Questions, Sexy Hands

I'm sitting in Theatre right now, a good ten minutes before class is supposed to start. There are about fifteen other early people scattered around the room, most of them on computers or zoning out. It's pretty normal. Oh yeah-- except for the blaring 90s punk music and the kid standing in the front of the room, juggling. He's clearly performing, but nobody is watching him. Not a soul seems to notice that there is music playing. And that a boy is juggling. Did somebody ask him to do party tricks before I got here? Are they also wondering what the hell is going on, but are just too nice to stare at him? I'm staring at him. I don't see how you could experience this and not be dumbfounded. He is juggling!

Anyway, it's much later now, and I'm writing this in the dark while Love Actually plays in the background for the third time this week. I sat down with the intention of writing at least 2,000 words on my NaNoWriMo novel, and have instead carried on a very long, very funny conversation with one Mr. John Green. He likes my novel's concept and says I'm a good writer. Teeheeheehee. Oh, and Michal just came over, so she's across the room, also writing, in the dark. Other than that, very little has been going on around these parts, so I've decided to use tonight's blog to address some comments from yesterday's entry.

Partyweetow writes: "I don't know how this could be, what with your burrito count always on the rise, but in that picture, it looks like you lost weight."
Well, for one, I am actually losing some weight, but it has nothing to do with my eating habits and everything to do with the fact that NaNoWriMo creates a kind of stress that can only be released through running. Also, it's not like I go out and eat three other square meals a day and THEN add a burrito on top.

Kelly writes: "I said you were one of my favorite authors/someone who inspires me to write in my NaNoWriMo profile. I mean it :)."
I am both incredibly flattered and incredibly worried for you. I've never published a book! You should be inspired by talented, accomplished people!

Tom writes: "Regarding the uncomfortable pinkness [of your new layout], it's the same as how I feel checking out Maureen Johnson books from the library. Or when I attempted to read Sloppy Firsts on an airplane, and my brother kept glancing at it, so I was trying to hide it, and he was like, 'You're really embarrassed of that Gossip Girl book, aren't you?'"
Yours was the most convincing argument I heard against my trial pink blog layout, because even I am embarrassed to be seen reading books with teenybopper chick lit covers. It's a shame when good novels are encased by pictures of teenage girls with their heads chopped off. I would never willingly wish the same fate for my blog.

Tenley Nadine writes: "Are any bloggers really professionals? I guess it depends on your definition of a professional."
If you make money doing something, you're a professional. Many people write formal blogs about their complicated areas of expertise, for which they get paid, so they are professionals. My area of expertise may be my own uninspired sense of humor, but so long as I receive even a slither of revenue from it, I figure I can call myself a professional if it makes my term paper sound more impressive.

Eff writes: "What's up with the shortness and Ihavenothingtowrite-ness in the latest posts? And I'm not digging the layout."
Well, I'm currently competing to write a novel in thirty days, so by the time I finish my homework and thousands of words of creative prose, I don't have a whole lot left in me. And as far as the layout is concerned, I cut down the girliness a smidgen, so hopefully you'll be over your lack of digging by the time you read this post.

Gina writes: "I love yours and Kristina's blogs, so it is very confusing to me that you both have friends named PJ. In my head, this is one person who does a lot of commuting. Just so you know."
Yeah, that's a bit of a problem. Maybe I should start calling mine "PJ the Boy." Also, you share a first name with my NaNoWriMo novel's protagonist. Trippy.

PamB writes: "You should make that wagon wheel in the background into a coffee table like in When Harry Met Sally."
I understood your movie reference way before I could find the wagon wheel in that picture. It was my uncle's house, and he lives far away, so I'm not terribly familiar with its decorations. But the next time I visit, I assure you, I'll ask him to make it into a coffee table and then yell about it.

Seurat2 writes: "I have decided to bet on Kristina winning the Chipotle war. Don't hate me."
I do not hate you, because I've enjoyed your comments in the past, but I can't lie and say Kristina and I didn't have a heated conversation about this comment. While the two of us have some kind of inexplicable need for constant competition, the recorded consumption of my favorite food was never intended to turn into a battle. First of all, my body type is significantly more suited to storing food than hers is, and second of all, I am positive that she doesn't love Chipotle as much as I do, because she doesn't discuss it half as frequently. I had not planned on gaining twenty pounds this month, but if that's what it takes to stake my permanent claim, I am willing to sacrifice myself for the cause.

Sexy: I've probably told you about this weird fascination of mine, but I am extremely attracted to hands. Particularly seeing big, masculine hands do gentle things, like untangle knots. Perhaps it's because men are unaware that girls are checking out their hands, so they can't put on a show about them, or primp them in some annoying, unattractive way. Hands are just natural and unpretentious.
Unsexy: The 10K Crisis, as I like to call it, when you get to the first NaNoWriMo milestone and suddenly want to throw your laptop out a window, pull out your hair, and cry. Michal's already deleted half of her work in frustration and has had to start over. I've been staring at the blinking cursor in the middle of page 34 for hours.

Chipotle burritos this year: 35
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,529

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Pointless Entry That You're Not Even Required to Acknowledge

Good evening, Blogosphere! I just finished writing my big, impressive term paper for TWQP's class, all about blogging, and how content creators can secure sources of income without making their readers want to stab them with flaming pitchforks. After citing such credible sources as "creative, popular professional blogger, Kristina Horner" and "revered author, Alan Lastufka" and using polysyllabic words to describe my life without an obvious bias, I'm about ready to start searching for one of those flaming pitchforks to take to my own face. That's what you get for waiting until the very last second to write an important paper: Irritability! And pitchforks! And FIRE!

Sorry. I'm obviously tired and making less and less sense the longer I type, but I couldn't stand the idea of writing about blogging while neglecting my own readers. However, instead of coming up with witty ways to make you care about my lame life, I'm loudly arguing with PJ (he's on the floor next to me) about whether or not Tumblr is stupid, whether or not Twitter is stupid, and whether or not any of it matters. Roomie just blatantly turned up the volume on the TV to drown us out.

Okay. This is a total and complete waste of time for all of us, so I'm going to stop pretending anything redeeming is going to come out of this entry and just post while I'm ahead. Before we part, take a second to admire my new layout. Taste its beauty. Then go over to PJ's youtube channel and thank him for making the banner. NOW LEAVE.

Sexy: This picture from the family pig roast I wrote about a few weeks ago:

That pig was a gentleman. Very respectful.
Unsexy: Singing my vlog opening to me. Yeah, I know. This is Hayley's Vlog. I get it. Let's move on with our lives, PJ.

Chipotle burritos this year: 35
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,499

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Monday, November 2, 2009

He was a sk8r boi. She said, "See ya later, boy!"

Today, I:

--Got into a really fascinating discussion about William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying in my English class, and realized that I do, after all, love that book. I was skeptical in the beginning, pegging it as one of those "Omg, look how talented I am; I don't even need to use proper punctuation because it adds characterization and makes me look cutting-edge!" types, but now I understand. If you've read it, can you think of many things more beautiful and miserable than the analogy about Jewel's mother being a horse? Can you?
--Watched half a recording of Death of a Salesman in Theatre, and wondered why nobody warned me ahead of time that today would be Awesome Literature Day.
--Filled out an anonymous evaluation in TWQP's class, and answered the question, "How much effort did you put into this course?" with, "As far as work was concerned? Practically none. I did, however, devote many an hour and heaps of effort to staying awake during lectures."
--Talked to the lovely Michael Aranda on Skype.
--Had a plate of tofu fried rice and a bowl of ice cream, covered in whipped cream and other such deliciousness.
--Rented Love Actually, which I plan to use to distract myself from working on NaNoWriMo. I deserve a break, anyway, after the 8,000 words I wrote yesterday. Yeah. Eight. Thousand. Bitches.

Sexy: Love Actually, while we're on the subject. Nice work, Richard Curtis.
Unsexy: Dragging on dead relationships and clinging to comfort instead of moving on to better things. This may or may not be a specific reference to one of my friends, and she may or may not be standing next to me while I narrate what I type. I'm jus' sayin'.

Chipotle burritos this year: 35
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,460

Bye, guys! Hopefully I"ll see you tomorrow. <3

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chipotle > Nanowrimo > Halloween

This is what Court Street in Athens, Ohio looks like on Halloween. For one weekend every year, the population of an already big school more than doubles, and there's barely an inch of personal space in any direction. Once I'd finished my free Chipotle burrito (first and foremost, the most important day of the year, and by far the best part of Halloween), I head out with a group of friends to people-watch and try not to get knocked over by props.

My God-- I'd never seen so many creative outfits in my life. It was like a Lady Gaga clone convention. I had my picture taken with a guy wearing a paper-mache head to look like Hey Arnold, moved out of the way of a gaggle of cheering girls dressed up as a six pack of beer, and talked with a boy who was wearing a cardboard box with a hole through it, labeled BALLOON BOY. While not as recognizable as the boys in helmets with cups glued to the tops (Double Dare contestants) or as tantalizing as the girls in "sexy" versions of the Disney princess dresses, my homemade Bellatrix Lestrange costume held its own.

After perusing the streets for a couple of hours, I got a pretty bad stomach ache, which probably stemmed from the fact that I hadn't eaten before my burrito in hopes that I'd be able to save enough room to relive last year's disgusting triple-Chipotle fest. Bad plan. Instead, I suffered through one burrito and then felt like I was having a baby made of guacamole and black beans. Luckily (well... you know what I mean), Heather was also not feeling well, so, like total losers, we left the biggest, craziest party in the country really early to have Girly Giggle Time in her room. We popped a couple Pepto Bismol, laughed over a marathon of I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, and got hyped up for NaNoWriMo. Heather and I counted eight separate ambulances rush past her room over the course of the night, people screamed and boozed and danced until all hours, and yet I worked on a novel until sunrise. Nerdfighters!

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, as of three in the afternoon on today, Day 1, I have nearly 7,000 words. I don't know if I've ever tirelessly written so much in such a short span of time, and I'm still going strong. My novel is about a thirteen-year-old girl named Gina, and it's one of those youthful insecurity stories that pretty much everyone can relate to, but will still probably be too controversial for a lot of people, because I'm trying to be as honest as possible. While I totally froze up with anxiety when Kristina asked me to send her an excerpt, I really like it so far. It's awesome that I didn't plan AT ALL, and wouldn't even allow my mind to wonder into the territory of plot before last night, and yet I've organically met this really fleshed-out character and I can already see where the story will probably go. I love writing, guys.

And now, finally, I am going to go shower and rid my arm of the Sharpie Dark Mark I drew to complete my costume, as well as cleanse my body and soul from a combination between too much fun and too much slaving away. College is exhilarating.

Sexy: Having handy writing buddies available at all times. I've been talking to Kristina on Skype for much of the morning, and we had a laugh about how, when my word count was up to 6,000, hers looked like this:
Unsexy: The condition of my physical appearance. Remnants of dark eyeshadow, hair in a floppy knot, big t-shirt and a pair of Heather's shorts. SHOWER TIME.

Chipotle burritos this year: 34
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: Site maintenance. Will update next time.

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reclusiveness, Hospitals, Running?

Currently, there are five people on my roommate's twin bed. My bed contains me, my laptop, and my personal space. They each take turns yelling for me to join their clothed orgy, and I politely decline. "Hayley G. Hoover," says PJ, "we have grilled cheese over here." Haha. Sigh. Once again, I have inadvertently become associated with an item of food.

"I don't even love grilled cheese," I tell him, smiling more than is necessary, because one of my roommate's friends is here, and whenever he comes over, I look like an antisocial psycho. Where are all the observers when I'm jumping off with walls with joy? Even when I'm hanging out with friends, I'm still the one on the computer in the corner.

Oh. Oh, alas. Both PJ and Erin are now on top of me. "Do you feel the love?" PJ asks. Erin replies, grunting, swatting his limbs away from her, "I'm feeling something, but it's not love!"

This week has been insane, guys. I spent five hours in a hospital waiting room on Monday because a friend had some kind of virus. She's fine, but it was kind of scary. I hadn't anticipated not having a chance to change clothes after classes, so along with being worried sick for my friend, I was also freezing to death in summery clothes, being judged by the other waiters. Never mind the fact that they were giving their young children sugary pop to drink and swearing in front of them and all kinds of things I can barely tolerate, and... angst, angst, angst.

But, on a more lively note, I've somehow, in the past week, undone nineteen years of fatassery and learned to legitimately enjoy running. What?! Yes, I know. I normally prefer the chubby, sedentary lifestyle popular among nursing home patients, but I've finally found that if I turn up my iPod loud enough to not hear myself breathe or my feet hitting the ground, it feels good. I've also taken to continue being a total weirdo, and I sometimes (okay, frequently) lipsync along to showtunes while I run. It's the same exhilaration that comes from performing, practically, because you're sweaty, but you have to keep singing. *flashes the Nerdfighter hand gesture*

Sexy: People who participate in nanowrimo! After posting this video, I got so many notifications from new "writing buddies" that I literally laughed out loud. I ADORE the internet.
Unsexy: Girls sitting in front of you in class with their thongs hanging out. That was Erin's input to the blog. I actually don't have a big enough problem with T-frames to have thought of it on my own.

Chipotle burritos this year: 33
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,258

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pig Roast, Hypnotism, Paranormal Activity

This morning, my sister and I drove out to West Virginia to meet up with the rest of my family at my uncle's house. There were a lot of hugs exchanged, a lot of loud, obnoxious stories told to catch up with my aunt and one of my cousins, and, of course, a lot of pie. Oh yeah... and a hundred-pound slaughtered hog, sodomized by a metal pole and rotating slowly on a spit.

What can I say? We're a little bit country. As a vegetarian, you'd think this practice would gross me out, but for some reason, I don't have any qualms about watching a carcass leak watery blood onto a grill. I laughed uncontrollably watching my sister scream and flail as my brother threw the pig's tongue at her. My dad, uncle and brother barbarically sawed off chunks of hide, wiped the knives on their bloody aprons, and licked the organ juice off their fingers. And I, frankly, found it amusing. I mean, I'd rather eat insect excretion than gnaw on a slice of fresh jerky peeled from a mammal with eyes and teeth still intact, but I find the practice itself kind of pleasantly homey. We may be slightly trashy, but at least we've got identity. Hael yeahuh, ya'll.

Anyway, last night was really fun, too. I went to this free indoor pre-Halloween fest with Heather, my roommate, Katie and Kelsey from down the hall, Heather's boyfriend, and Heather's boyfriend's roommate. We were first in line to see a hypnotist perform, and spent the next hour and a half listening to a strange little man with a thick Bostonian accent tell us we were getting sleepy-- very sleepy. I volunteered to have my mind controlled, and admittedly, I did start to doze off after ten minutes of calming music and being told to imagine myself lying in the grass on a summer day. And I tried to stick it out, but somewhere around the fifteen-minute mark, I couldn't stop thinking about how uncomfortable it was to close my eyes and let my head hang in front of a crowd of strangers, and my shoulders started to shake from my desperate efforts to suppress my giggles. "Hayley's laughing," I heard Roomie say. "Look-- she's laughing." I lost it, and was nudged to return to the audience. Hahahahaha. Story of my life.

The audience ended up proving itself the place to be, though, because it was extraordinarily entertaining to watch Heather's boyfriend, Johnny, valiantly keep a straight face while he belly danced, pretending to be in a trance. Katie, however, claims to have been legitimately hypnotized, and after my many attempts to catch her in the joke, still denies that she had any control over herself. I'm a skeptic, of course, but at the same time? Katie's quite the giggler, and her lips didn't even perk up while she threw her hands in the air and "rode a roller coaster," and she seemed genuinely like she was sleepwalking while she waltzed with the girl next to her. I guess the mystery of the legitimacy of hypnotism is another case that remains, presently, unsolved.

After the show, the boys left, and the girls-- including Erin this time-- saw Paranormal Activity together. Heather and I drove the other viewers crazy by analyzing the movie's cinematography, pointing out the inconsistencies in the plot, and making fun of the whole mockumentary style in general. "Oh my gosh, we're all gonna die? Oh no! Just let me adjust the lighting and sound on this camera and haul it on my shoulder as we run away!"

While I'm not going to tell you that it was terrible, since most of the other girls were scared at least once, the whole thing just felt like a halfhearted flop onto the lonelygirl15 bandwagon. The film's entire appeal is in the fact that it feels "real," and I think youtube ruined that for me. I may not know a whole lot about professional screen-acting, but I consider myself an expert on how real people act in front of portable video cameras. And sorry, guys, but Paranormal Activity doesn't really get it. Besides, startles and white noise don't creep me out, and every jabbing attempt at a scary plot was short-lived and unresolved. Booo-ring.

So that's all I've really got for you tonight. I hate to be that blogger who constantly apologizes for a lack of updates but makes little effort to solve the problem, but I mean it when I say I'm going to stop taking off more than one day in a row. It may get harder as NaNoWriMo takes off, but I will prevail. Because I'm Hayley G. Hoover. Bitch.

Sexy: Microwaved cookie dough. I don't care if you think it's gross-- it's better than cookies and raw dough combined. My domestic side comes out whenever the population of our dorm room exceeds its usual four people, and so the other day, I entertained a large group with tea mugs full of dough, and we sat around, eating it with spoons. This is college.
Unsexy: The fact that our ceiling light keeps flashing and refuses to stay on. We've tried over and over again, and we've spoken encouraging, soothing words to our ghost, whom Katie named Night Hawk, urging him to stop playing around. "No luck so far," Hayley said, as she blogged by lamplight and wished she could see past her laptop screen.

Chipotle burritos this year: 33
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,195

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dough, Glee, My Dad, Secret Government = Chaos

"I see nothing wrong with this," Heather says as my roommate deposits two stacked Oreos into Erin's open mouth. To what is Heather referring? Oh, the fact that the four of us are balancing hot, droopy microwaved dough between our fingers and shoveling uncooked cinnamon rolls down our throats. It was Roomie's idea, and now we're all a combination between sick and joyously laughing.

It's later now, and besides the fact that tonight's episode of Glee was an obvious product placement for 7-Eleven, that show always puts my group in a collective good mood. Unfortunately, PJ couldn't make it this week, and Michal has a cold (despite her unfailing claims that she has tuberculosis. Never mind that she's vaccinated and just being delirious for comedic effect) and we're therefore discussing the show on Skype.

Oh. Oh my. Not to change the subject so abruptly, but look at this conversation I just had with my mother through text messages:
Mom: Dad's listening to mrs nerimon
Hayley: ...
Mom: What?
Hayley: I said "..." as in, "I can't find words to express my feelings about that."
Mom: I told him he could get it on itunes
Hayley: Oooooh my goodness, Mother.
Mom: He's moved on to the fine kone
Hayley: Tell Dad that he's acting like one of those creepy old men you tell me to avoid on the internet!
Mom: Lol

I... wow. After that, I'm not sure there's much left to say.

Sexy: The Glee cast cover of "Sweet Caroline" from tonight's episode.
Unsexy: TWQP, who spent today's class secretly embarrassing me by talking about YouTube and Adsense, telling us about prescription pill addiction, and claiming that every time you use any sort of household appliance, the "secret underground global government" is recording every bit of information about you.

Chipotle burritos this year: 33
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,126

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Scattered Blogging Reunion & Mindy Kaling

As the saying goes, if you love something, you should ignore it for a full week. If tons of your readers send you messages and comments and @replies begging you to update, it's yours. Well, blog, you are mine.

Heeey, guys. Before you ask, I have no witty excuse for my short hiatus. My week has been eventful but not busy, and plenty of blog-worthy insights have occurred to me in the late, lazy evenings. I'm not avoiding anybody or engaging in any kind of illicit, explicit activity I'd be too ashamed to rehash to you fine people. I guess, from time to time, you just get a little tired of spilling your soul for the world to see. Definitely not too tired to quit, mind you. Just tired enough to temporarily ignore my self-appointed duties in favor of less time-consuming, more inane internet outlets, like twitter and dailybooth. Haha. Ugh.

So what have I been up to? Suddenly and randomly, I decided to go home for the weekend, and spent Saturday seeing the double feature of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D with TOLauren. It occurred to us early on that we were the only audience members-- save the soccer moms hiding behind their dark 3D glasses for a ten-dollar nap-- with birth dates that precede the original releases of the films themselves. By the end of the four hours, the whole rest of the theater was crying, as Michael Buckley once said, "some of them because of the movie, some for personal reasons." Besides managing to see Jess for a fraction of a second, that was the extent of my social escapades. At the time of night I'd be getting ready to go out at school, I sat in bed with my parents and talked and talked about my new life until my dad literally snored and my mom's attention span started to wane. Comfortable, but alone for the first time in a long time, I snuggled into my humungous bed with my ever-loving puppy and the allergenic dog fur my eyes hadn't missed.

Since coming back to Athens, I've done little besides plan eagerly for the Halloween festivities, narrowly avoid a gigantic, hazardous fire that could have been caused by my bedside reading lamp that melted from a lightbulb, have lunch with a seriously cool girl, and develop an obsession with another tele-playwright. Since I don't feel like going into detail about any of those other bits, let me tell you how awesome Mindy Kaling is.

Sexy: Mindy Kaling is, um, really awesome. If you don't recognize her name (which I, admittedly, would not have been able to place earlier this morning), she's the actress who plays Kelly on The Office. Little did I know, however, that she is also responsible for writing several episodes of the show, including the majority of my favorites, like Pam and Jim's wedding. Oh, and her tweets and blogs are beyond hilarious. I... may or may not have stalked her extensively for most of the day, and the process of said stalking may or may not have included my reading virtually everything she has ever put into type. You can call me crazy if you want, but you can't deny that she is both funny and fantastic. She spends part of her time living up to the caricature of a ditzy girl she plays on the show, and the other part putting things so poignantly that I can't help but drool with jealousy and girlcrushness.

Unsexy: The unreasonably unpredictable weather patterns for which Ohio is famous. One minute, cold rain, another minute, sunshiny glory. MAKE UP YOUR MIND! FOR THE LOVE!

Chipotle burritos this year: 33
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,149

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fidelity and Controversy

My two-hour class on gender and sexuality begins with a lecture, conducted by a woman professor I really admire, and then divides off into discussion groups for the second half. My original group was a pretty awesome experience for me, because for the first time in my life, I was a religious minority among my peers. The girl to my right was Buddhist, a couple of girls were Jewish, one was a practicing Catholic, some were atheists, some agnostic, some apathetic. I looked forward to meeting with them because we had in common our tolerance and interest in the subject. Well, we just finished the midterm, so the class was divided into new discussion groups this afternoon. Ugh.

While everyone else in my new group seems interesting and nice, it took about five minutes for me to realize that I'm probably just not going to see eye-to-eye with one of the boys. To begin, we went around the circle and introduced ourselves by our names and majors, and I heard a bit of a giggle-snort come from the boy's corner when I announced that I'm studying Creative Writing. I ignored the laugh, because I know that my major sounds unrealistic and frivolous, and I've gotten used to the fact. But it was hard for me to not shoot a "What the hell?" expression his way when the boy told our group that his major is Studio Art. But I let it go, figuring I'd probably imagined his response.

Once we got past the get-ta-know-ya phase, my group jumped right into a fascinating rapport about our views on marriage, most of us saying that we have at least substantial interest in someday having a nuclear family (or a secure family with committed same-sex parents), and that we strive, ideally, to not need divorces. That's when the boy stated that, while he does believe in marriage and wants to get married someday, he thinks we put too much emphasis on the impossible concept of monogamy, because it's against human nature to never "read the menu." The rest of us agreed that, yes, there's nothing wrong with looking at the "sexiest men alive" in magazines, and that eventually, everybody will have some kind of secret lust within themselves. The boy pushed his point further, though, to say that there's nothing wrong with scattered infidelity. Again, the majority of us said that should such a problem come up in our own marriages, we would probably be able to work through it sensibly according to our situations, and would not necessarily immediately leave, but that we don't believe it's okay. "A moment of weakness that shakes up our married life is an obstacle," said the girl next to me, "but if my husband cheats on me more than once, he can go off and deal with that problem somewhere far away from me." I laughed and agreed. The boy rolled his eyes.

"Everybody falls off the boat sometimes," he said. "Think of how many one-night stands you have. You can't expect people to just turn that off when they get married."

"I don't have one-night stands," I responded, "and I don't plan to marry someone who does. Or, at least, I'm not going to marry someone who hasn't grown out of that stage. I think some people can be happy having sex within relationships or for fun their whole lives, and more power to them, but they shouldn't be promising themselves to one person, forever, if they don't mean it."

That set him off. "Everyone makes mistakes in the heat of the moment. What if your husband goes out and gets drunk and accidentally hooks up with a stranger?"

"Actually," I said, doing a pretty good job at keeping my cool, but starting to get a little heated on the inside, "a lot of time goes into the act of cheating, and he has plenty of chances to stop himself. More importantly, I don't want to marry the kind of man who goes out and gets blackout drunk without me frequently enough that he can allow curiosity to turn into action without considering his wife."

"That's unrealistic," he said.

"Maybe it is for some people in some circumstances," I answered, "and I'm not judging them. I'm just saying that from where I stand, with no attachments to anybody, I want to pick someone who goes beyond society's low expectations!"

He simple rolled his eyes, exhausted, and class was dismissed.

Siiiiiigh. It's awfully fun to get into debates like that, and by "awfully fun," I mean both fun and awful. I had so much bottled-up energy after class that I walked around campus to cool off and relayed the discussion to my mom over the phone. My mom is super conservative, and therefore she gets a kick whenever her "artsy free-spirit" youngest daughter displays any hint of traditionalism. Truth be told, though, I don't subscribe to either mindset. I don't believe in ultimate black-and-white values for all people everywhere, but I also don't think some right-wing ideas are disgusting and wrong just because they're old. Either way, I love how college is an environment designed to help people like me figure life out, and as frustrating as my little debate was, I feel totally exhilarated. Yaaay, college!

Sexy: The fact that I've finagled the prompt for my Mass Media paper enough that I get to write it about blogging and YouTube. The first author listed in my bibliography is one Mr. Alan Lastufka. I know I shouldn't feel devious, as it's a perfectly justified topic and Alan's book is a perfectly credible source, but it still seems like I'm getting away with something!
Unsexy: The fact that I'm homesick for my parents. It became apparent to me during today's discussion that fathers like mine-- ones that play an equal part in raising their kids, and stick around for all time-- are really rare. I'm so lucky.

Chipotle burritos this year: 32
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,027

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Monday, October 12, 2009

Media Freakout and Rob Paravonian

I wanted to blog last night, but I got really caught up in a lofty English assignment, and when I finally relaxed my shoulders and hit "print," a censor went off in the back of my mind, triggering a minor freakout. My fears were confirmed when I dug up the syllabus for Mass Media (The World's Quietest Professor's class), and saw, under October 12th, one dreadful word: TEST. Test!?! I hadn't listened all week! When was the last time I'd listened? What was the test even ON?

I therefore put my insomnia to good use by pulling my very first all-American all-nighter, and read what felt like thousands of pages about CBS and Morse Code and LPs and nickelodeons. I can't tell you how lucky it was that I've already become accustomed to not sleeping, and that the subject matter was actually really interesting. I now have a big crush on Orson Welles, for example. I also have a studying hangover.

Despite my night of reading, I've found that college has taught me to relax a little bit... because had this been high school, I wouldn't have gotten up in the morning with a "what's coming will come, and we'll face it when it does" attitude. I somehow made my way to English without too many worry lines on my forehead, and was cheered up significantly when my professor read aloud an essay I'd written as an example of an A. I especially liked that she didn't name the author, because it got to be my special secret accomplishment, rather than something for which my competitive fellow Writing majors would resent me. It felt good.

I walked this good feeling to lunch, where I studied, then to Theatre, where I listened, and finally to Media, where I crossed my fingers. While sweat formed on my brow, I patiently waited for TWQP's footsteps to stop in front of the lecture hall. "As you know, we're a little behind, so we won't be having the quiz on Wednesday," he said. Wednesday!?!? QUIZ?! He went on to say, "Instead, it will be held next Monday."

Cue the sound of a thousand sighs trickling through my body.

Boy, have I learned my lesson. I forced myself to stay on my game throughout the lecture, and I was able to make TWQP smile by correctly answering his question as to why the music industry compiles a Top 40 list. "It's because juke boxes used to hold forty songs," I said, meekly, because nobody speaks in that class, and I felt a little bit like a traitor to the rest of the slackers. TWQP nodded, and said, "Yes. You've been reading the book!" Pfft. Like hell, I have.

So there you have it! Now I just have to work my butt off to finish the annotated bibliography due in his class on Wednesday (which I would have probably forgotten about, had I not chosen today to be Teacher's Pet), and I now know to avoid procrastination. Ha. Get it?

Michal and I went for another walk up to the haunted insane asylum after our classes, and while less intimidating in the daylight, we discovered all kinds of scary details the night had made us overlook. We frolicked through one of the cemeteries, musing about the fact that some of the death-dates precede World War I. We devised hypothetical plans for breaking into one of the buildings heavily labeled with signs warning against asbestos. I did a good deed and snatched a metal "NO TRESPASSING" sign from the ground, because nobody likes a litterbug! Also, through a basement window to one of the buildings, we saw a wall covered with the words "help me" written over and over again. We fully realize that this was probably graffitied by a student trying to scare others, or else recently planted by someone who works in the building to play up the university tradition and increase tourism, but... still. There's the tiniest possibility that it was written by a mistreated mental patient in the 1800s or an unsatisfied ghost, and that's enough for me.

Afterwards, we went to see Rob Paravonian perform. I was super excited, because I subscribe to him on YouTube, and I'm pretty sure he's about to have a Comedy Central show. I showed Michal this video beforehand, and she was just as pumped as I was, but had to leave before Rob even started so she could tend to a problem her boyfriend was having over the phone. I ended up sitting alone, but I was in the seat directly in front of him, and we made a lot of eye contact that flustered me a little bit. Comedy Central is great and all, but I've never been in the same room as someone with 7,000,000 video views, and my poor little video-blogging heart fluttered with youtubely love. I'd heard a lot of his songs and jokes before online, so I wasn't totally surprised or anything, but jokes that are truly funny remain truly funny the second time around. If you've never heard of Rob Paravonian, look him up.

Sexy: Call me predictable, but I'm going to say it: funny guys. You know that Bo Burnham makes me say OOOH (only Megan McCafferty fans will get that joke; read Sloppy Firsts if you don't!), but humor of all kinds attracts me.
Unsexy: Well. Most kinds of humor attract me. You can insult my political beliefs and pick at my religion or race and I'll love you for it, but make a Harry Potter joke, and it's on. Rob suggested tonight that Potter is a movie franchise, and it took all my mental strength not to snap in z-formation and suck my teeth.

Chipotle burritos this year: 32
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 21,004. Yay!

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Saturday, October 10, 2009

NBC should hire me.

If you know me or follow me online, you've heard about my obsession with rain. It's pretty, it's cleansing, it makes coming inside after a walk a lot more rewarding. And although I feel like I'm taking my favorite weather's name in vain, it needs to be said: ATHENS IN THE RAIN CAN BE DEPRESSING AND BORING. It's seven o'clock on a Saturday, and the streets are vacant but for a few overdressed girls scrabbling for things with which to cover the hair they pointlessly straightened. It feels like everybody in the whole school either went home for the weekend or is in hibernation. Ordinarily, I would graciously embrace the excuse to hide away and write with a cup of tea, but I haven't really gone out in weeks. I've caught up on so much sleep in the past couple of days that now I'm antsy and wired. As Cora Corman would say, I want to dance!

Unfortunately, an hour has passed, and I've done nothing but watch Pam and Jim's wedding for the fourteenth time. While it's mildly insulting to my badassitude to be in love with something everybody constantly talks about (no Miley jokes!), The Office is truly a wonderful show. It's really fulfilling to watch two characters you've been following for years finally end up together and perfect.

I can't think of many jobs I'd rather have than writing for TV. I get the feeling I would love the environment of collaborating with smart, funny writers, and having enough anonymity that I could hide behind the actors but still make people laugh. How do you go about becoming one of those writers? Does NBC hire teenagers in the midwest who write cocky blogs about internet culture and the mundane details of their lives? What if I offered to bake them cookies?

Anyway, last night's celebration of Erin's birthday was rather slow and boring, thanks to the constantly nagging precipitation. We went out to eat, talked for a long while at my favorite coffee shop, and ended up parting after we stood under umbrellas for an hour trying to think of something to do. After watching Flight of the Conchords until all hours of the night, I woke up later this afternoon, took a long shower, and went to the hookah bar with Michal and her new roommate. (She recently moved out of the hot pink mess of a triple she shared with two Playboy bunnybes. Get it? Like "wannabes," but bunnies.) It was pleasant. Nothing spectacular. I came back to my dorm because it was freezing and my flipflops were creating toe-sicles, and Michal went to take a nap. She's had enough now, don't you think? I agree. Time to go find some fun.

Sexy: While we're on the topic of television shows with good writing, I'm going to devote today's Sexy, once again, to Glee. Lea Michele is a little brunette bundle of talent and beauty. "If there are two things America needs right now," her character said in last week's episode, "they are sunshine and optimism. Also angels."
Unsexy: The fact that I'm starting to feel a little bit homesick for the first time since moving in six weeks ago. "I'm Jess-sick," I told my best friend through a text message tonight. "What a coincidence!" she responded. "I'm jurassic." Don't try to make sense of that-- it just shows off her affinity for terrible puns. But seriously, with jokes like that, how could I not miss her?

Chipotle burritos this year: 32
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,955

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thank you, Joe Loong.

Hey-yo. Nearly every time I post a video, I link to my blog in the sidebar. Nearly every time I post a video-- even a crappy one, like tonight's 5AG-- I feel this false sense of accomplishment, and therefore can think of nothing else worthy of telling my blog. I would call it a vicious cycle if I condoned the use of cop-out cliches like "vicious cycle." And, you know, if it had... anything to do with a cycle. Regardless, I have nothing to say, but still possess the pressing urge to produce words of some kind.

I tried googling "What to blog about," and got excited when I found some results that appeared relevant. Like this one, for example. This guy suggests that I either a) write about something I've written about before, or b) write about something I haven't written about before. How avant-garde! Thank you, Joe Loong at Network Solutions. Without you, where would I be?

Where would any of us be?

Sexy: The top floor of the school library. I went up there today, stood on the windowsill, and looked down at the gorgeous yellow trees and people riding bikes. Like in Ferris Bueller. It was so quiet and pretty and private.
Unsexy: This.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,934

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scary Stories

While the Insomnia Count has now been upped to six days in a row, I did get to sleep a little bit this morning, since my only class didn't start until after lunch. I know it's not healthy to cause even more ripples in my disturbed sleep cycle by indulging in morning naps, but I'll take what little shuteye I can get. I wore a bona fide blindfold last night, listened to calming music, and drank decaffeinated tea. But for some unknown reason, my body and the environment seem to have bonded together to ensure that I always feel like a zombie.

At three in the morning, I heard somebody knock on my door. I was too irritated to get up, and figured they'd go away. Twenty seconds later, another knock. While in the process of climbing out of my covers, the knocking sound moved to the wall. Then to the other wall. Then the other. Soon, every wall seemed to be tapping and pounding, and I heard what also sounded like a basketball being bounced against the ceiling. I looked to my roommate, but her comatose body appeared to be unfazed by the commotion. This leads me to conclude any of the following: a) I was half asleep and dreaming about my inability to fall into full sleep, b) the girls down the hall were drunk on a Monday night, c) somebody has a personal vendetta against me, d) it was the ghosts, or e) it was somebody staging ghost activity to freak people out. I'm truly stumped.

I told this story to Michal tonight, while we went on a walk to scope out the abandoned mental hospital. Cars were driving by and some people were still in classes, but it was dark. There was also a little bit of unpredicted misty rain, which was probably unnecessary and I suspect just God trying to add some more ambient creepiness. Not that we needed it, though, because Michal is determined to make every day into a horror movie. "Oh, look at this scary path!" she said, walking in its direction. "Let's walk up this frightening hill!"

It was really fascinating. Most of the buildings are renovated and used as an art museum and classrooms today, but the rundown tuberculosis wing is still left untouched, intimidating and daunting. Michal was too nervous, but I walked up the steps to its front porch to find a pile of old wood with stereotypical random nails sticking out of it. The basement doors are corroded and rusty, and through some of the dark windows you can see tattered curtains. We sat at the top of a hill and looked down at a freaky wooden statue of a horse skeleton, and talked about how it's possible that the university works to maintain the alluring mystery by leaving the TB building around. We also considered the more exciting possibility that the rumors are true, and that every time somebody tries to fix it up, the ghost of Margaret Schilling haunts them until they give up. Either way, that horse statue was borderline terrifying, and plenty to satisfy my need to be creeped out.

Naturally, all I can think about now is Halloween. OU is infamous across the country for its parties of all kinds, but Halloween takes it to a whole new level. Crowds flock to Athens for the 31st, dressed in crazy and ornate (see: slutty) costumes, and proceed to fill the streets with mischief and illegal substances. Pretty much every square inch of dorm floor is covered with guests in sleeping bags... not that anybody sleeps. I'm dressing up as Bellatrix Lestrange, because she fulfills the requirements of Sexy and Scary, while adding a touch of nerdy flavor. There's nothing prettier than the midwest in fall, and there's nothing that thrills me more than wearing costumes!

Sexy: How much fun it will be to make my hair do this.
Unsexy: Finishing a midterm, like I did today, and not being able to find out how you did for at least a week. Also, the fact that Jess could have the swine flu.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,915

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Monday, October 5, 2009


I didn't sleep again last night, as hard as I tried. I flopped my face into my pillows, counted every farm animal I could think of, ran through every calming technique I use on my campers at RFKC, and still spent dusk to dawn groaning and rubbing my eyes. In this time, I accomplished all kinds of important and timely tasks, like planning which high school friends to invite to my fictional future wedding. I also suffered through a series of boring, realistic half-dreams, like eating a bowl of Cheerios and other exhilarating and fantastic events. It was all so relaxing and refreshing that I was in a vibrant mood when I got up for English at 9:30. So vibrant that I sat in on the King Lear discussion with a scowl, still wearing my pajama shirt under a hoodie, sans bra. Lookin' good!

Luckily, I listened to the advice of my twitter followers and used my hour break between classes to take a shower and slurp some vegan barley soup. It's amazing how a little hot water can serve to replace the process of recharging required for survival. My eye bags became less noticeable, but I felt like my newly-washed hair was mocking me by acting all soft and pillowy. Nineteen years of unruly tangles, and it had to choose today to feel like a Serta mattress.

At least there was Fatass Monday to look forward to. Erin, Heather, Roomie and I had a good (albeit normal-sized and not exactly conducive to its title) meal, then decided to grab some blankets and sit in the grass while there's still enough sun. It was pleasant enough, but only lasted for about an hour, before the fall weather got to us. We hung out around my room for a little bit, and when everyone left, Roomie was really sweet and turned the lights off and put in headphones-- without my asking or anything-- so I could take a nap. And I did! I got in a good hour of uninterrupted sleep, and even though I woke up with that pukey post-evening-nap feeling, it's nothing this cup of raspberry tea can't fix. And, of course, blogging.

Sexy: No matter how many times I watch it (and trust me, I'm going on about seventy views), this will forever be sexy.
Unsexy: I've said it before (the other day!) and I WILL SAY IT AGAIN: CHEWING WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN. Everywhere I turn, somebody's smacking their saliva around like a spin cycle.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,895

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Becoming Nocturnal

I didn't sleep last night. My roommate and most of my school friends went home for the weekend, so there weren't a whole lot of nighttime shenanigans available. PJ came over to watch Mean Girls and make references to internet memes, Erin flopped around my room in a stupor for an hour, and then I just sat in my dorm with the lights on until 6AM, when I took a four-hour nap and woke up refreshed. I have no idea what I did in this time, because it would have been a good time to blog or write a paper or something, but my Safari history seems to think I watched Family Guy on Hulu and repeatedly checked the comments on my new video. All news to me. Either I've recently become an insomniac or somebody slipped something fizzy in my tea.

My dad came down and took me and my sister to dinner on Thursday because he had to go to a business conference near Athens. I only got to see him for about two hours, but it was nice. My mom sent me homemade soup and lightbulbs. I probably could have made a video that night, but I couldn't work up the energy between avoiding studying and dancing to the Whomping Willows with Erin. However, I finally found a way to download the old iMovie HD to my laptop, so the production value on the stuff I make at school will go uphill from now on.

Friday, Friday, Friday. My second and last class of the day (the one for which there was a quiz scheduled) was cancelled, so I only had to be at my waste of time freshman seminar thing that morning. After those two hours of torture, I trekked through the rain back to my room, where I hibernated in order to finish recording my TWK song and video before Erin and I went for a midnight walk around campus. It was the perfect autumn temperature, the lights from the restaurants were all blurry and pretty, and the thousands of people my age in cute heels and fall hats were all laughing and screaming and being awesome. Erin and I were totally sober, but I've never felt more drunk. We didn't even do anything all night, but it was an awesome sort of nothingness. We yelled "Party in the USA" and caused scattered strangers to join in our singing and nod their heads like yeah. The cold air deflated my perfectly-sculpted curls until my reflection in the bathroom mirror was all bedraggled and blushed and chapped as I brushed my teeth at three in the morning. As the Black Eyed Peas would have it, Friday was a good, good night.

Which brings us to the present. I tried Big Mama's today, which is a little burrito shop that some claim is "better than Chipotle." It was interestingly fruity, with mango sauce and sweet onions, but the common comparison to my favorite food ruined my Big Mama's experience. First of all, I'm disgusted that people would put false idols before Chipotle, and second of all, it wasn't anything spectacular. I have to tell you, though, that as I swallowed my last bite, I couldn't help but think, I need to tell my blog readers about the guilt I feel having eaten another foil-wrapped burrito. Forgive me, Chipotle, for I have sinned.

Sexy: Call me a freak, but flannel. Flannel is sexy. "I like that plaid is coming back," said PJ yesterday. "It's nice to know that we, as a society, are willing to give it a third chance."
Unsexy: Chewing with your mouth open! I did a double-take at this guy the other night, but the second he took a bite of pizza, I cringed and averted my eyes.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,870

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow.
P.S. I tried changing my blog so the background was black and the words were white today, and it lasted about an hour. I wasn't sure about it, but commenter Karissa said it hurt her eyes, so I took that as advisement to change it back. <3

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chaotic Class Notes

Here's a new concept: I'm blogging from The World's Quietest Professor's class. No matter how hard I listen, it's not like I'm going to hear him! And while the course is about media and technology, I'm not totally convinced he knows what an iPod is. As long as I keep reading the text, and I look over the online notes, I think I'll be okay. Consider this little stint of rebellion an important vacation for my ever-straining collegiate mind. Or something.

Huh. I just caught a bit of the lecture. He's introducing the class to the idea of Star Trek slash fanfiction. Giggles escape from the few students not listening to headphones under their hoods or playing MASH in the corners of their notebooks. It's sort of cute-- they're laughing because they've never imagined such a geeky thing, and I'm laughing because Remus/Sirius is the only acceptable homoerotic ship. (I'm kidding; I do not read fanfic at all, let alone slash.) (And besides, Harry/Draco is hotter.) (You can decide which of those parentheticals was meant sarcastically.)

I'm getting a little bit slap-happy now. It's three in the afternoon, and my blood sugar is dropping along with my attention span. Not much has happened around these parts since I last updated, so I'm at a loss for blog material. That, and there are people close enough in the row behind me that I'm getting self-conscious about my typing, and am having a hard time keeping on track. I just glanced over my shoulder to confirm that all eyes were on me, but was almost disappointed to find nothing but a girl twirling a sucker stick in her mouth, and a boy pulling the strings of his sweatshirt like Emelio Estevez in The Breakfast Club. Your loss, guys. I'm composing some really worthwhile literature over here. Complete with jokes about the imagined bicuriosity of fictional characters.

Ooh, yikes. The World's Quietest Professor is going on about editing movies now, and while I've only heard about an eighth of his sentences, I suspect he's wrong. See, edit webcam video semi-successfully for three years, and you suddenly get this film-savvier-than-thou attitude. I can't help it. I know virtually nothing about movies, but I still feel like some kind of expert. I don't care how many movies this man's seen, because until he's got a youtube channel, I'll have none of it.

Oh, hello. It's eleven thirty at night now. My blogging ended abruptly when one of the few tidbits of lecture I caught contained the statement, "Everybody started buying VCRs, because everybody wanted to watch pornography at home!" I'm not sure what relevance that had to Chapter 8 of the textbook, either, but my ears certainly perked up. Anyway, after the old man continued to mumble about less sexy things, I zoned out again until class was over, and it only just occurred to me now that I'd left you readers hanging. I apologize. I am back.

Roomie, PJ, Heather, Michal and I gathered in my room tonight to watch Glee together, which turned into a singing fest/chaotic party, as per usual. Heather and I discussed the swing scene in Spring Awakening in enough detail to make Roomie and PJ glance at each other in disgust. Michal told us a variety of tales, including the story of her phone breaking and her computer getting stolen, all within the same week. I tried to funnel my attention to the paper I was writing amidst the chatter, but managed to only write half a paragraph, because rap songs from the early 2000's were playing too loudly for my brain to function coherently. My room may not be the Studying Capital of the World, but it sure is the Hub of Dance Parties... and with that kind of a reputation, I can't really complain.

Anyway, I finished the paper just now, and figured I should pop my head into the Hayleylujah Chorus before falling asleep. I hope you're having a good week, and I hope this entry hasn't forever turned you off from my writing.

Sexy: Sam (isnoggedharry) and Molly (mememolly). Somewhere between my dorm being a hangout and a party location, I received a call from the two of them, and the small bits of conversation I could make out over the banter of my friends in the room served to remind me how lovely and entertaining those girls are.
Unsexy: The giant workload I have assigned by my orientation class for English majors. It's only one credit hour, but I have to sit in a stuffy room for two hours a week and turn in far more reports and projects than in any of my real classes.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,795

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Monday, September 28, 2009

(Funny) TV Disaster, YouTube Drama

Erin, Roomie and I are on the phone with a man at Toshiba. "We have a TV here, and it has a DVD stuck inside," Erin says, searching the back for a serial numbers or something. "It won't come out, even when we hit the eject button."

"Oh, I see," says the man. "I'm so sorry about that! Go ahead and unplug the device."

From my bed, I shout, "Guys. You need to tell him that there are two movies in there."

"We live in a dorm?" says Erin, as Roomie and I crack up. "And somebody decided it was a good idea to put in another DVD after the first one got stuck."

"Oh. Right," the poor man says, doing a great job at sounding unaffected by our stupidity. He asks us to read him all the complicated product codes and for Roomie's phone number. After we discover them, the man says, "Can I ask what the two movies are?"

Roomie and I look at each other and stifle laughter. I call out whatever generic porn titles I can think of (MILFs R US! Barely Legal Blondes!") and Roomie blushes. "Um, American Pie," she squeaks. "And Elf."

And that, dear readers, is a glimpse into an average afternoon on my floor. We just ended the call and allowed the Toshiba man to return to dealing with other idiots, but we're still smiling. I can't imagine he really needed to know the names of the DVDs in order to help us get them out of the television. He probably asked to enhance his rehashing of the "Wow, people are so dumb" story of the day at the office. Hey, if I can provide entertainment to bored Indian American men around a water cooler, I consider today a success.

Anyway, I wish I could have blogged last night. I had a ton to tell you about the fun that followed the dorm movie party-- how me, Heather, and these two cool guys, Sean and Ben, hung out literally all night long, etc.-- but I never got the chance. I came back to my dorm from my sister's house later than I should have, considering the paper I had to write for the next morning, and my room was filled to the brink with my roommate's friends. I like them, and I never mind their presence, but I had a ton of work to do, needed a shower desperately, and wasn't at all in the mood to see people in my bed or desk chair. Frazzled, I turned to grab my laptop and find somewhere else to do my homework. Where was my computer?

In one of the boys' laps, that's where. A boy whose name I don't even remember was on my computer, with his own laptop sitting right next to it. I stared at him, trying to conceptualize what would make a stranger think it was okay to use my computer when I wasn't even in the room. "Um..." I said, taking it from him.

"Wait!" he yelled as he grabbed my laptop back from me. "I'm in the middle of a really important conversation on facebook." For reasons unknown, because I am naturally passive and incapable of sticking up for myself, I allowed him about three more minutes with my most expensive and personal belonging in his grubby hands. Meanwhile, he used HIS OWN computer to play loud, headachey music, which of course had to be THE WORST KIND OF MUSIC. I'm talking about freaking covers of Oasis songs. And people yelling into practically peaking microphones. And all the while I'm standing in my own room, stressed about the load of work I've bestowed upon myself, wondering what important websites and/or documents a stranger is accessing.

Wow. I wasn't irritated about that anymore until I brought back those emotions. (Talk about method acting!) What I am irritated about, however, is youtube. I wasted some time this afternoon watching my old favorites from 2007, back before everything was monetized, and when the truth about lonelygirl15 was news, and when Boh3m3 mattered. Sure, there wasn't widescreen or HD, and yeah, thewinekone didn't know how to use lights. But all those old videos seemed so genuine. People could mention a brand name without it being product placement, and the use of copyrighted music wasn't a real threat yet because the audiences were as small and intimate as making a movie for a school project. You could count on your fingers the important "youtube celebrities." If a vlogger made a decent video, he or she would be featured, and the entire community would know them in a month's time. I signed up for this website, and while I'm thrilled it's become what it has, and I adore so many artists I would have never known about had Google not taken over, I really miss the old days.

On top of that, it's sick how much cattiness money has caused. Networking is awesome and all, but now it's become less of a fun game and more of a competition to have higher numbers and more feedback than similar people across the globe. It bothers me the amount of revenue everybody is churning nowadays from something that was once a free environment for artists. Honestly, yeah, I've benefitted financially, and I would never want to trade that ability. But I'm not mad about the incredible possibilities presented to us by the site's owners; I'm mad at the individual content creators knocking down the Garden of Eden and building a smokestack factory. There's nothing wrong with receiving revenue for the hard work you put out, but I'm not sure I support those who market videos and products with the sole intention of raking in profit.

Sigh. And to top that off, I'm angry with a handful of specific "youtube people" for various reasons. Some relate to money, as you can probably assume from that rant, but other grudges I'm carrying are for personal reasons. I hate that people I love have to endure criticism from complete strangers regarding their personal lives. I hate the actions of certain people that create a vehicle for this criticism. I hate that I can't just stomp on that person's face, or say hateful things about them, because 1) I'm a more advanced human being than that, and 2) I'm not physically close enough to cause them harm, even though 3) I could probably beat their scrawny ass in a fight.

I'm done now. Sorry to subject you innocent readers to my venting. Besides constantly worrying about Jess (the dog she's had and adored her whole life is sick and running out of time), I've been doing really well, actually. Contrary to how I may sound from all that above bitching, I'm not in an overall bad mood at all. I fell in love with xkcd today, and, of course, I witnessed that funny conversation with the man at Toshiba. Also, I just received a text from Michal stating that she suspects her mother reads my blog? If this is true, I apologize, ma'am, for sounding like such a stereotypical teenager. Your daughter is lovely, though!

Sexy: Old Goodies, like this video.
Unsexy: The fact that record companies are among the all-time most subscribed lists, and the fact that the old favorites like Brookers and TheHill88 are nowhere to be seen on the front pages.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,757

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tyra, Bonding, Cardboard

Goodness, I use my free time effectively. Through related video surfing, I've found myself watching an episode of Tyra-- yeah, seriously-- about a fifteen-year-old girl who's engaged and taking fertility drugs she ordered offline, hoping to have a baby with her eighteen-year-old boyfriend. He was her camp counselor, and now he lives with her mother, and the couple has unprotected sex twice a day. People are crazy.

"People are crazy," said the girl watching Tyra on her computer.

Hi! That happened yesterday. I had every intention of blogging in the afternoon, even started, as you can see, but my roommate invited me to go out with her, her best friend Heather, and Katie from Theatre. I agreed, despite the fact that I'd always gotten a vibe from them that they didn't like me very much, because all my school friends decided to go home this weekend. I dressed myself halfheartedly, hoping I'd hit it off with Heather, since she'd mentioned liking Harry Potter, and prayed I didn't somehow make my roommate hate me.

Well, alas. Heather and I did hit off-- seriously hit it off-- and in one night, my roommate and I became actual friends. After we waited for Heather's ditzy roommates as they spent a century changing clothes and teasing their hair, we broke away from them and Katie, Roomie, Heather and I had a dinner of Wendy's fries and Skittles-flavored hookah. Over smokey bubbles, I had a heart-to-heart with Heather, she successfully completed my challenge of naming all the Gryffindors in Harry's year, and we all acted like middle schoolers and took a lot of pictures. In a happy state, we made our way down to the party streets.

For the first time-- and you can quote me on this-- I had a ton of fun at a party in a stranger's yard. We made friends with some boy from Cincinnati, I defended my Creative Writing major to a couple of dumb guys who've never heard the word "vernacular" before, and Roomie and I somehow ended up doing the Hoedown Throwdown together. Later on, once all the fighting frat boys had left, we got to know a handful of guys, with whom we proceeded to scream "Don't Stop Believin'" in a circle. It was sort of disappointing when the party died down, but Roomie and I went home together, giggling and talking. Our dynamic has changed so much in the past couple of hours that I'm currently sitting in the corner of my dorm while Roomie's high school guy friends are in a row on my bed. Are you proud of us? Because I am.

As for today, I woke up at eleven, and before I showered or even brushed my teeth, I made the world's biggest post-breakup mistake and watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Few movies are more beautiful, but I got kind of close to tearing up. The only cure for my film-induced heartache was a long shower and some productivity. Yes, I decided to brave the laundry room for the first time.

I had no idea how heavy half my laundry could be until I nearly toppled over and did broke one of my gorgeous, perfectly manicured nails in an attempt to save my underwear from spewing all over the hallway. Once I made it to the laundromat, though, it got better. I sat next to a cute boy for the two hours our clothes took to wash, but we didn't talk, because I took the time to get some writing done. The light murmuring sound of twenty spin cycles in tandem is really soothing and provides a good environment for concentration. Weird as it may sound, I'm kind of looking forward to my next laundry day. Next time, I'll only try carrying a load that weighs less than I do.

To burn off some energy, I had a Remus Lupins solo dance party in my room while I folded clothes, and was interrupted by the sound of Heather, Katie and my roommate, throwing pebbles at my window to be corny. They waved and came upstairs, when Heather said, indicated my laptop, "All the music on my itunes is wizard rock and showtunes." We hugged. I'm not kidding, guys. Things can be this good.

I was going to be a more active participant in the movie party currently happening in my room, but I was accosted by my RA's on my way back from the bathroom a few hours ago, and they put on these really sad puppy dog eyes and asked me to go with them to a charity event. I couldn't think of a reason to say no, and I didn't want them to have to register as a group at the event with no participants, so I saved them by having them register for a group... with one participant. It was okay, though, because it turned out to be kind of fun. It was for Habitat for Humanity, called Cardboard City, and the objective was to donate money for the homeless and build funny houses out of cardboard and duct tape in a parking lot. My group used giant rug tubes as pillars, and hung a flag from the tallest one. Another group constructed this brilliant castle with multiple rooms, and a trio of guys made a tower tall enough for them to stand in without ducking. I don't exactly understand how this benefits homeless people, but it was an interesting idea. And I got a free t-shirt.

As for now? I'm going to head over to my sister's house to bake cookies for her and her friends. It's good to bond with my peers, but they're watching one of the twenty American Pie sequels, and I don't think semen is funny. But maybe that's just me.

Sexy: Going along with the theme from last time, Cory Monteith from Glee. Sing to me and I'm yours!
Unsexy: How badly I need to buy a belt. I'm wearing really cute teal skinny jeans, and they fit really well, but they sit at the exact pre-ass point where not wearing a belt is dangerous business.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,705

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hot Breadsticks

As many hater comments as I endure on a daily basis, I can say this for the internet: it has some medicinal value. My never-ending bad day prevailed from my last blog post all the way up until this afternoon, but somewhere during the process of editing my fiveawesomegirls video, I suddenly perked up. None of that was staged, by the way. I honestly turned on my webcam feelings like vomit, and all it took was some Miley Cyrus and some counting of my blessings for my mood to improve. So, YouTube, I'm willing to put up with being called a "fag" or "dum bich" every now and then if this is how you repay my patience.

Cheerful disposition aside, things aren't too exciting around these parts. I got an A on one of my first big girl college papers. It turns out that the secret is to determine the professor's political bias and religious beliefs, and then pander your heart out. All I had to do was compromise my morals and pretend to be an atheistic ultra-feminist. Eh, I may never be named a martyr, but at least my suck-up skills and knowledge of punctuation will never fail me!

Another thrilling event of note? I had dinner with my sister tonight, and I was ready to exit the line with my happy little crock of spaghetti when I caught accidental eye contact with a really cute guy, who was wearing a stained apron and tending to garlic bread. Like a hound dog, my nose followed the scent of golden-brownness to a back table in the kitchen, where sat a tray of breadsticks. "Are those...?" I started, looking from the breadsticks to Hot Dining Hall Guy and back again.

"Yeah," he said. "You... do you want to wait for them?" I'm going to be honest and add that he responded like he was a little bit flustered, and he was definitely looking at me the same way I was looking at him. "'Cause it'll be a few seconds."

"Obviously," I said. "I mean, breadsticks are awesome!"

Hot Dining Hall Guy laugh-grunted something that suggested that he agreed, and he then wrestled with the tray like delivering my breadstick was the most important task in the world. I was putting on a good show of looking distracted and disinterested, so his determination to feed me was particularly flattering. "Here," he finally said, smiling. And then Hot Dining Hall Guy held out the tray, specifically to me, despite the crowd forming in line. I took the tongs and plucked one from his platter. I felt it, guys. It was a carbohydrate love connection.

To top things off, the breadstick turned out to be a BOSCOE STICK. I don't know how badly your high school cafeterias suck(ed), but for the students of Hell, few things were more exciting than the days we were served these gloriously greasy cheese-filled breadsticks, and I thought I'd never get to savor them again. If it weren't enough that I got hit on by a boy with access to food, I got to chase the experience with fatty goodness.

So despite the fact that a whole lot of aspects of my life currently suck, at least I have a new goal: talk to the cute boy again. And, ya know, eat more cheesy bread.

Sexy: Matthew Morrison! I keep re-watching episodes of Glee on Hulu, and while it's partially to appreciate the hysterical dialogue, it's mostly to drool over the show's leading man. Oh, oh my. He is just too good-looking. It should be illegal.
Unsexy: Having classes on Fridays. My body is itching for the weekend.

Chipotle burritos this year: 31
Bagel Street visits this school year: 4
Subscribers: 20,641

Bye, guys! Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3