Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Angst Du Jour and Wrath of O'Donbridge

Before I smother you lovely people with another heaping dollop of Angst Du Jour, I need to take a paragraph to thank everyone who commented on my last post. Your encouragement and cleverness and loyalty are so overwhelming... I am wholeheartedly grateful for each and every one of you. Gigantic e-hugs go out to: an anonymous commenter, Jack, another anonymous commenter, Ida, Jess, Cate, seurat2, Sarah, Katie, Robyn, Kate, Anila, Alice, Hope, taraupshall, Dinah, Katie, beangirl1389, Melody, to_thine_own_self, Ginny, Emily, Nicole, VTBurninator, Katie, Ravenclaw2313, Arletta, Sarah, Brianna, Sarah, Emily, Olivia, another anonymous commenter, BenCracknell, Caroline C, Susie, another anonymous commenter, dare2bxabigail, the apple that astonished paris, European Girl, Morgan Leman (email me at hayleyghoover@gmail to discuss meeting up!), ginger jones, RhianonLives, two more anonymous commenters, and Catherine.

There. Now that my all-consuming appreciation and love for you is out of the way, I can continue to bitch and moan. It's the second day of my third quarter of college, and I already have a nagging stress headache. My class schedule is a chaotic mess, and I'm not totally sure which courses I'm dropping, which I'm picking up, or what the heck I'm doing.

I left my first meeting of Geography in a good mood, because the professor is an adorable Appalachian man with a thick Forrest Gumpian accent, and he seems easy enough to enjoy. My only worry is that our entire grades are made up of three tests, each of equal worth. I'm terrible at taking tests. I could write a beautiful ten-page paper, no sweat, but when I'm asked to answer fifty multiple choice questions, I'm guaranteed to freak out and gnaw on my pen until ink explodes in my mouth and I drown in a puddle of failure. But there's no required textbook for the class, and the teacher told us a story about some girl losing a toe in a treadmill accident, so maybe it won't be so bad.

However, not even the cheeriest blood-and-toelessness story could have put my mind at ease enough to endure the wretched History course I mistakenly signed up for. It took place in the evening, which was my first mistake: I'm kind of like the elderly, in that I can barely stay awake after 5PM most days. I found myself having to bounce up and down and tap my fingernails just to keep my eyes open, and probably would have fallen face-first onto the desk and started snoring, had the professor not been suffering some form of Tourette's. While he ranted about Portugal and... ugh, whatever else it is he talked about (I couldn't really tell you), he seemed to be searching for any opportunity to scream the world "POWER!" mid-sentence. Yes. Imagine being me, exhausted from traveling and already past her nap time, slowly drifting off to white noise....

"Blah, blah blah blah; Portugal, blah-blah, blaaah..."

...and then hearing, "in pursuit of POWER!!!" and jolting upright and to full attention. This happened at least twelve times in two hours. Needless to say, I'm in the process of finding another class of equal difficulty but more coherence, which meets at a more reasonable time.

But if you think Pyscho Power Man was the worst of it-- like I did-- then you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Because nothing will ever compare to my first encounter with my Health teacher, O'Donbridge. I am calling her that because she is a hybrid of Dolores Umbridge and Rosie Donnell. Oh, how I wish I were kidding.

I was one of the first people to enter her lecture hall this morning. Without making eye contact, she shouted through the silence, "Sign in and take a seat! In the front! And yes, I always talk like this! I talk loud! GET USED TO IT!" Taken aback, I prepared to "get used to it" and opened my bag to retrieve a pen. I'd switched purses about an hour before. I, uh, didn't have a pen. Greeeat.

"Excuse me," I said, figuring I might as well try talking to her before writing her off completely. "I'm sorry, but do you have a pen I could borrow to sign in?"

O'Donbridge did her best impression of the Charles Manson mugshot smile, like she'd been waiting all morning for her first victim. "Okay," she said, handing one to me, and eyeing it as if she expected me to run away with it and sell it on the black market or something. I smiled as sweetly as possible, and tried to save face by saying, "You'd think I could remember a pen for a class! I guess I had an airhead moment--"

Then, in a tone of voice that usually accompanies kindergarten flashcards of one-digit numbers, she cut me off with, "Yes, you need pens for classes. Take a seat. I'll assign your place next week*."

I sat down in a suck-uppy chair in the front row, in hopes that I wouldn't be cast off as both irresponsible and easily intimidated, and tried to maintain a neutral-yet-interested facial expression while O'Donbridge went on for an hour about course requirements. To make a long story short, we practically have quizzes and papers due every single day. I have a heavier workload for HEALTH than I would in the History Class of Doom. Oh, and in between assigning us a first day test and announcing that we are required to purchase an EIGHTY-DOLLAR TEXTBOOK THE SIZE OF A COUPLE TISSUES TIED TOGETHER, WHICH CANNOT BE BOUGHT USED OR SOLD BACK AFTER THE QUARTER, O'Donbridge preached about how organization and responsibility are the most important skills in the entire world. And, of course, she said this while looking me square in the eye.

So. Yaaaay. I'm now almost as worked up from talking about O'Donbridge as I was in her presence, and that's saying something, because her blouse was see-through and I had to see her frumpy middle-aged bra the entire time. I... yeah. I'm going to go eat a bagel.

Chipotle burritos this year: 13
Subscribers: 26,228
Nail color: "Plum's the Word," Sally Hansen Salon Manicure**

*For those of you still in middle or high school, thinking, "Do teachers really still assign seats in college?" the answer is no. They do not. Unless they are mentally ill.
**Also not a picture of my hand, Jess.

P.S. Today is Mike's birthday. It'd be lovely if any of you would like to say something nice to him on twitter. He's pretty freaking awesome.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Politics of the Presence of Politics

Since moving into Ohio University last September, my day-to-day life has been happier than my BEST days prior to college*. I get good grades, I engage in a variety of playful shenanigans on a weekendly basis, and I feel good about myself. The upside to this happiness is that I constantly find myself dancing from place to place and humming Keith Urban songs. However, there is a downside to life after downtrodden melancholy: I blog my best when I've got stuff on my chest**.

That's why, after another much-too-long break, this post is about to be a whiny one.

As many of my whiny blogs do, today's story begins with a conversation with Justin Timberlake. Now, don't freak out-- the two of us don't talk much anymore, because we've come to terms with the fact that we only cause each other frustration and fury, even now that our old feelings for each other are completely extinguished. But burnt effigies and bad emo poetry aside, we do have quite the history as friends, so we tend to check in with each other every now and then. This particular check-in, which occurred two days ago, went something like this:

JT: "I still have 'I Kissed A Squirrel' on my ipod."
HGH: "Grosss. I like to pretend my old videos never happened."
JT: "And yet they continue to exist."
HGH: "Money and attention!"
(If you know anything about me, you KNOW that was sarcasm. I continue to make videos and write blogs both for the creative outlet and because I adore the artistic community of youtube. You guys are incredible, and if I were in it for money or fame, I'd be in the wrong profession.)
JT: "Yeah, I've noticed that your blog is pretty 'Hey, look at ME!' lately."
(I was negatively struck by this statement instantly, but I tried not to allow him to hurt my feelings so easily, so I played nonchalant and sarcastic, as usual.)
HGH: "Well, that's what a blog is...."
JT: "Unless your blog is about AIDS in Africa."

Sigh. Now, what I should have said was, "You're right; I'm self-centered and frivolous. Why don't you go complain about it in a World of Warcraft forum?" But instead, I said something like, "That'd be a dramatic change!" and let him win. The conversation ended there, but I walked around for a bit afterward, secretly harping on those words. Do I keep up this blog because I'm obsessed with myself? Am I so insecure that I'm asking strangers to validate me? Am I the poster child for American greed and ignorance, pretending like my rich girl feelings matter in this world of suffering and pain?

And that got me thinking. While my obsession with children's literature and tales of recreational binge eating certainly aren't going to save any lives, there is nothing inherently pointless or evil about what I do.

Even though I appear to put my entire self out there to the internet (and trust me, I DO make a lot of my more noteworthy thoughts public knowledge), there are aspects of my personality that I keep more private. For example, I check news headlines every day, and I do a satisfactory job of keeping up with current events, but I don't often write or vlog or tweet about them. It's rare that I'll delve into politics or religion online (or at all, with people other than Jess and my dad, for that matter), but these are things I think about daily. I'm not... vapid. I respect, admire, and am interested in those vloggers like John Green and Dan Brown who choose to risk their popularity in order to make a point, but I use this social medium in a very different way. I'm not here to expose corruption or fight disease or talk about that vile school district who prevented an innocent girl from going to prom because of her sexuality. I'm just trying to relate to a group of my fellow nerds who share my same unconventional interests. Anecdotes about nail polish are not a fair representative of what's on my heart, but I believe there can be a time and a place for silly musings, and I don't see the harm in sharing them.

Anyway, the reason I'm even bothering to address this issue today (because it certainly is NOT to give more attention to the backhanded insults of my ex-boyfriend), is because-- even when you put effort into ridding your quirky public life of politics-- sometimes politics come looking for you. And although I don't frequently gripe about such subjects in this blog, today is one occasion when I just need to rant.

My dad is a local politician back home, and we discovered this morning that some nasty little git of a reporter from our city's newspaper had made another of many unjustified jabs at my father's work. While I continue to positively revere him, I'm now old enough to be objective, and to see my father as a person, rather than as a god figure in my life... and I'm telling you that, from an adult standpoint, this male Rita Skeeter is in the wrong for publishing his opinions as fact. I read the article at hand and was just teeming with anger.

Anger doesn't bode well here. I'm currently on a partial-family vacation, staying in Florida with my parents, grandmother and two sisters in the very small house we've owned since before I was born. My family is extremely close emotionally-- like, 7th Heaven close-- but it's rare that we're this close in physical proximity. Where my bed ends, my sister's bed begins. Where my careless messiness begins, my dad's patience ends. We're practically living on top of each other at the moment, and our already heightened awareness of the goings-on in each other's lives has somehow been multiplied by ten. So it's only natural that all our angst is intermingling. I picked up my phone to complain to The Situation about my dad's woes, when I saw a text from The Situation himself, stating that he was in a very similar, uh... situation.

The Situation... er, screw it. My boyfriend, Mike Lombardo, is a professional musician, and he's currently participating in a songwriting competition. After winning the first two rounds and being a very close runner-up in the third, he's now in a final battle with the second-highest scorer. The winner is determined by votes; anyone on the internet can easily listen to the two songs and choose which challenger they prefer. Both Mike and his opposition have been receiving steadily equal votes, which just makes it fun. The prize at the end is simply recognition and high-fives, and the challengers all have friendly relationships with each other, so it's not really something causing people to get worked up. In fact, since Mike happens to already have a wider following on youtube and twitter than the others, he asked the permission of the other challengers before he promoted the competition at all, to make sure they knew he wasn't using his established audience for an unfair advantage. In all Mike's videos and tweets about voting, he has specifically asked that people not blindly click his name, and that they listen to all the songs and choose which they like best. Yeah, winning is cool, because it reassures someone that their music is worthwhile and appreciated, but at the end of the day, the whole contest is more about exposure to new artists and fans. So when it stops being fun and starts being a race, that's where the problems come in.

He has a friend who writes a blog about nerdy happenings across the internet, and she wrote a long and detailed post the other day, surprisingly attempting to sway the votes away from Mike. In her defense, she did a fair job at not blatantly insulting anyone particularly. Her point was, basically, Don't vote for the more popular party just because he's more popular; vote for the less popular party because I think they're better. Justifiably, this blogger was attempting to root for her preferred song. However, it's borderline communistic to say that the artist with more fans deserves fewer votes. Mike's competitors are good. They are! BUT. It's impossible to know this for sure, but I have a very strong feeling that, even if I were not in love with Mike Lombardo, I would like his song better. It's funny, it's very friendly to the other challengers, and he sounds awesome. Mike has fans because he's loyal, sweet, and puts out a great product. Everyone involved is aware that Mike has a larger following, but he conducted himself so gracefully and with such positivity towards the others that it's simply wrong to accuse him of taking advantage. This competition should be FUN. People should enjoy BOTH songs and pick a favorite without worrying about politics or feelings or numbers.

Ugh. All week my body has been lazing about the riverside, going for runs on the beach, and eating strawberries, but my mind has been a jumble of all these little antagonists. I apologize for dumping them all on you, readers, and I will not be at all offended if you can't bring yourself to get through such a lofty post. If you have made it this far, however, (and you're interested!) go ahead and click this link to listen to all the songs from all four rounds. If you feel like it, vote for the final song YOU like, regardless of anyone's blogs or tweets or urges.

*HEAVY EXHALE.* Aaaand I'm out.

Chipotle burritos this year: 12
Subscribers: 26,080
Nail color: "One Perfect Coral," Revlon

*This excludes, of course, the fun times with my friends outside of school. But I'm talking about Big Picture Happiness here.
**Regardless of its cheesiness factor, I'll admit that that was an intentional rhyme. I think my songwriter boyfriend is wearing off on me in a bad way.

P.S. For commenter Ben: 1 cup boiled water. 1 tea bag. 1 squirt honey. Stir.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Blog About Me (unlike all the others) (that's sarcastic)

I've recently come to the conclusion that my main talent in life is talking about myself.

Now, by that I do not mean "I'm not good at anything that matters!" or "I'm so in love with myself that I hate myself for it!" I just appear to feel the very most in my element when I'm either blogging, making videos, working on reflective essays, or writing in first person. While I'm far from skilled at expressing my feelings verbally (I tend to throw around "I don't know!" a lot when confronted with personal questions, because the part of my brain that processes emotion appears to be quite distant from the part that formulates my speech), I will say that I fancy myself somewhat introspective and at least beyond proficient at expressing transcendental concepts through writing. Of course, correct me if I'm wrong; you're the objective ones here. But that's how I see it.

So that sparks in my mind a rather pressing question*. How does one make a career out of talking about herself? Also, how does she manage to find things to say about herself once she's out of school and living that inevitable apartment-for-one life of Spaghettios and utter boredom and loneliness? Why is she receiving a multi-thousand-dollar education when she will forever be numerically illiterate and is likely to work at Barnes and Noble or something until she dies at her computer screen, in front of an unspectacular, unfinished, unread novel?

But really, with all melodrama and nonsensical stream of consciousness cast aside, what about this talent of mine is a talent? How is it at all marketable, or even worthy of having? For years, I've prided myself on being relatable to my fellow teenagers, and that knowledge has been enough to make me feel like these self-reflective internet hobbies are worthwhile. But... in six months, I will be twenty years old. Perhaps I'll always be an adult who better remembers the pain and fun and torture and awesomeness of adolescence, but I'm about to be an adult, and I can't expect to hold on to this intangible Relatability forever. And that's scary.

I don't know. (Ha, see what I did there?) There's no conclusion to this, no point to be made. It's just late at night-- 1AM, at that time when thoughts tend to roll at a faster pace than one can comprehend them-- and I thought I'd open a blank blog document and see what spewed out of my fingertips. If you have any input to provide at all, I'd be very grateful. If not... I feel you.

Chipotle burritos this year: 11
Subscribers: 25,733
Nail Color: "One Perfect Coral," Revlon


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down...

When will it end, readers? When will I stop making promises I have no intention of keeping? Every time that I get caught up in life and don't have the spare energy to blog, I pop my head in, yell, "I'M STILL HERE! I'LL BE BACK SOON!" and then continue hiding. It's silly. I LOVE blogging. It makes me feel like myself! Sometimes I just don't make any sense.

Speaking of nonsensicality, lately I've been feeling a little bit... I don't know, codependent? Maybe it's the college atmosphere of living with my friends, or the fact that my best friends are always on my mind due to the three hours between us, or the fact that I spend all my free time on Skype. But it seems like I wake up every morning, talk to The Situation, go to class, talk to my mom, go to class, eat with my friends, do my homework, talk to The Situation, sleep. Perhaps I'm the most selfish person alive (it's been suggested!), but even though I spend most of my time alone, I still feel like I have no time to myself.

Ugh. I'm sorry. "My life is carefree and I have wonderful people who love me! It's sooo haaard." You may now proceed to gag on spoons.

In other news, some really good things have happened since my last baby blog post. Roomie, Erin and I went out to "80s Dance Night" at the "artsy bar" this weekend, to which I channeled a young Madonna (circa "Like a Virgin") and wore a purple velvet prom dress from the cute vintage store. We spazzed out to the Breakfast Club soundtrack for a few hours, watched my adorable roommate be non-consensually grinded upon by some guy who barely spoke English, and made friends with a middle-aged stoner trying to relive her high school glory days. The whole experience was very collegiate. I hope you're proud of me.

As far as school is concerned... my grades aren't going to be as perfect as last quarter, but they won't be half bad. I'm going to go ahead and blame my lethargy and lack of attention span on Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm serious-- the second the sun came out last week, it was as if the studious portion of my brain stretched and yawned, popped out of hibernation, and got me the top test score in my Linguistics class. Let's just hope this newfound excitement for studying sticks* around, and isn't replaced with my inevitable enthusiasm for lying outside on blankets, reading for pleasure.

Oh! Oh! Speaking of pleasure reading, I've been excitedly making my way through John Green and David Levithan's brand new novel, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It comes out in April, but being a personal friend of a famous author has some serious perks! I'm about a fourth of the way into the book, and I'm already astonished by how simultaneously beautiful and hilarious it is. My adoration for both authors is far from secret, but I can't seem to express just how unique and impressive WGWG is proving to be. As soon as you get the chance, I highly suggest that you read it.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty much all I've got. My boyfriend is staying with me this week at school, and I'm heading home this weekend to see my high school's production of Guys and Dolls, so I'm not sure when I'll be back online. If you miss me, though, it inspires me to hear so. This post is dedicated to @goingforthegold on twitter, for @replying and asking me to write. :)

Chipotle burritos this year: 10
Subscribers: 25,674
Current nail color: If you'll believe it... NONE. For the first time in about a year. It's freaking me out just as much as it is you.

*Sorry, but in rereading that sentence, I just kept thinking "studying sticks." As in, like, observing a twig with great fascination. I don't even know.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Uh uh uh uh OW!

[Quick note: Kindly ignore the title of this blog post, unless you're a particularly hardcore Rent fan and can tell me what it's from. That song's been in my head all day, and it cannot be helped.]

Hello, lovelies. It's been a while. And what a while it's been! Since my last post, I:

--Wore way too much makeup and went to a dance celebrating the attendants' homosexuality, despite the fact that I'm in a monogamous heterosexual relationship.
--Performed the choreographed "Bad Romance" dance with a crowd of fellow Gaga fans.
--Went to a weekly event put together by the theatre department, in which the Playwriting majors create short sketches about a particular prompt and have something like five days to produce them. And last week's theme was sexuality. So. Oh-ho.
--Celebrated PJ's birthday by ceremoniously tearing up the cake I made him, as well as Leah and Kayley's birthdays, which were commemorated with videos.
--Met a new friend who, coincidentally, recognized me from my makeup tutorial parody.
--Declared National Angst Day with my roommate by requiring all our friends to complete their homework in our room, whilst complaining about said homework and eating chocolate.
--Made a short and stupid video, mostly to remind my subscribers of my existence.
--Didn't stop the party, despite the tik tok on the clock.*
--Realized there are only three weeks left in the quarter, and that I've been neglecting my schoolwork for two months to provide time for giggling about/doting on my boyfriend.

Sigh. And that brings us to now. I'm in my Child Development class right now, but between paying moderate attention to my professor and writing this blog, I'm also studying for a Linguistics test. Channeling my ultra-organized oldest sister's neuroses, I've changed the desktop wallpaper on my computer to a list of assignments I need to get done. Luckily, I guess I'm even more paranoid about my grades than I am procrastinatory. It just goes to show: You can take the girl out of the social reclusion, but you can't take the Hermione Granger out of the girl. However, tonight I'm going to see the new Alice in Wonderland at midnight with PJ, Heather and Roomie, BECAUSE THAT IS CERTAINLY CONDUCIVE TO MY PASSING AN EXAM TOMORROW MORNING.

In other news, I'm sorry I've been away for so long. Every time I've had a second to write, I've been pulled away with the promise of food or low-intensity adventure. I'll be making a fiveawesomegirls video tonight, of course, but I promise I'll be back to talk to you fine people as soon as some of life's chaos calms down. Thanks for putting up with me so loyally. :)

Chipotle burritos this year: 8
Subscribers: 25,414
Current nail color: "Pamplona Purple," OPI
Last week's nails: "Roses are Red," Victoria's Secret**

*Really lame and poorly executed reference to this song, which I love, despite its tangible trashiness. Probably because Ke$ha is like a cracked out caricature of Jess.
**That picture is not of my hand. I'm not the rhinestone type.