Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Potter and French and Flu!

Aaaaah. Hey, guys. Between final exams and NaNoWriMo and packing and driving home for my winter break, I feel like I've been running laps ever since we last spoke. But you, Blog, are exactly what I need to unwind. You are like a big comfy pillow. Made of angels. And you smell like tea and bubble baths. Because I don't have the attention span to form paragraphs right now, I shall now proceed to make random bullet points of things on my mind.*

--I've now seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 two times, and have plans to see it again with my entire family tomorrow. It is BY FAR my favorite of the movies, and I have very few complaints. However, my complaints are valid, and they are as follows: 1) Why would Regulus have his full name on his bedroom door? 2) Why would Hermione pack more than one coat? 3) Since when are elevator doors impermeable to Dementors? 4) Why is Movie!Voldemort always so... green? 5) It's unfair to Harry to make him say idiotic things like "What's the trace?" just to reiterate plot points. 6) How did Ron not get hypothermia after he crawled out of ice water, fully clothed, and then hung out for fifteen minutes?

--My final exam in French didn't go spectacularly. There was a full page devoted to grammatical rules I'd barely ever heard of before, because most people in the class were either better prepared in high school, or have already taken a full year of French at the university level. I studied like it was my job, and I tried hard, so... we'll see. Je suis très, très stupide.

--Until this week, my mother has always operated under the assumption that the flu is a myth, and that to succumb to minor sickness is a sign of weakness. But, thanks to karma, my poor mom was just attacked by her first flu in twenty-five years. She's infected my dad, and is now inevitably infecting me. As of this moment, I feel fine, other than a few nerve-wracking body aches... but I am coming to terms with the fact that I'll probably be spending my Thanksgiving holiday... losing food.

--My new writing venture, Presence, is getting off to a crazy start. I already have more blog-related email than I can respond to, which is both daunting and amazing. I'm still finding my footing and trying to figure out exactly what the site is going to be, but its readers are already blowing me away with their insight and humor and kindness toward each other and geez!

--Nanowrimo is quite the challenge this year, but I'm still going. I had to take a full week off to focus on finishing my academic quarter, but I've spent a large part of today trying to get back on track. I've accepted that I might not finish the race to 50,000, but I'm not going to let myself quit. Who's with me!?

--I just posted a new video on hayleyghoover, and I think it's pretty good. I bitch and satirize and sit on the floor of my dorm room in front of a blanket I taped to my dresser. A must-see!

And that's pretty much it, as far as I can remember. What have you guys been up to? What were your feelings on Deathly Hallows? Any tips on how I can fight this flu before it happens? What's your blood type? Really, anything you have to contribute that will give me a break from writing would be greatly appreciated. I seriously might die in front of my computer, fingers outstretched, gasping for breath. Or maybe I'm a drama queen.

Either way, I hope you're all having a lovely day, and I can't wait to catch up with you again soon!

Chipotle burritos this year: 30
Subscribers: 38,636

*That sounds exactly like the beginning of a second grade essay. "My name is Hayley Hoover, and I am going to tell you about my favorite things. This is a list of my favorite things."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It drives my mother crazy, but I've always found that the best time to start a project is in the middle of chaos. What better occasion to take up scrapbooking than when your bedroom floor is covered with clothes? Who's to say that wrapping Christmas presents is a task better suited to a clean table than to a desk scattered with open paint bottles? And really, can you think of a more convenient time to start an online magazine than halfway through NaNoWriMo and college finals?

Ah yes, so the doughnut's finally out of the bag*. This project was originally slated for takeoff on September 1st, but my classes ended up being much more challenging than I'd anticipated, and I had to push it back until I got things under control. A few of my stealthier blog readers started to catch on months ago (looking at you, Whimsy, Alison, fantasyvfacts, Emily, and Lauren), and it's pained me to ignore their inquiries until I was ready for a big reveal... but today is finally the day. You, blog readers, are the very first ones to hear about my new online-magazine-of-sorts-slash-advice-column, Presence.

I decided to start this little sideline writing project after the overwhelming response to my posts on here regarding gay rights, weight loss and body image. I've received an astounding number of messages asking for blogs about certain topics universal to the teenage experience, for more "issue posts," and for other sorts of big-sisterly advice. A few people even suggested that I write a weekly advice column on this blog, and loads of others have asked for recommendations of books, youtube channels, movies, etc. This all really intrigued me, but I couldn't help but wonder... what qualifies me to be anyone's big sister figure? Most of the Hayleylujah Chorus readers are here because of my youtube videos, or fiveawesomegirls, or some connection to me in real life. This blog and its surrounding community is so much fun, and I absolutely never intend to let it go, but maybe it's time for me to also have a satellite project that's more about the readers and less about me.

So, to answer the inevitable questions, the Hayleylujah Chorus is not changing at all. I'm going to keep coming here and being equally obnoxious on my regular sporadic, unpredictable schedule, talking about the same range of things. I'm just branching out into another area, too, with a little less first person and a little more reader interaction. If you're interested in following my new project (although you are under absolutely no obligation and I'll try not to talk about it too much over here, so as not to alienate those who aren't part of it), you can click here to learn more about it. I hope to see some of you other there, maybe, and if not, I'll see you guys around these parts soon!

Chipotle burritos this year: 30
Subscribers: 37,959 (Thanks, Charlie.)

*"Cat" has never made sense to me.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I am in an unpleasant mood, Blog, and I will tell you why: GROUP PROJECTS ARE THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.

This quarter, I've stupidly found myself enrolled in a class whose entire grade, unbeknownst to me, consists of five ten-page papers, to be completed with the "help" of several other group members. I volunteered to compile and edit four of the five projects, less out of the kindness of my heart than out of my need to be in control of my own grade, and have therefore spent at least two weeks out of every month this quarter stressing myself to the point of near combustion over a class I don't even care about.

I like all the people I'm assigned to work with, but only two of them have consistently put in their share of time and effort, leaving me and one other girl (Brittany; she's adorable) to write several supplementary pages at the last minute, every time. As a group, we've scheduled a few meeting times every week, and me, Brittany, and one other guy have spent the majority of these meetings shaking our heads and laughing about the fact that we are always the only ones to even show up. On top of that, out of the people who have sent me their work on time each week, the vast majority of emails I receive are written on about a third grade level. At the beginning, I chalked this up to the fact that I'm too harsh a critic, and I devoted a few hours to correcting their mistakes without mentioning it. But it came to the point in my editing process this weekend that I actually called my parents to read them excerpts from the drafts I had to work with. My dad couldn't speak through his laughter. My point is, if these guys were just horrible writers, that would be one thing. But they must be taking advantage of the extra editing time I put in, because if they turned in papers like that to teachers, they would be failing out of school. Either that, or I'm setting the standards for myself way too high and should stop working so hard for my grades, since writing like that can pass a class.

Meanwhile, everything I do in my French class comes out to a C, even when I trick myself into thinking I'm improving. My high school French teacher was this little quirky, lovable, crazy ball of hyperactivity, and while she had enough enthusiasm to be heard around the school building, I definitely did not learn enough to prepare myself for the level of course I'm taking now. The problem is, my college has three ten-week trimesters rather than two semesters, so by the time we stopped reviewing and launched into the new material, it was too late for me to drop the class and rework my whole schedule. And even if I could have switched to a lower level, I'd already spent over 200 freaking dollars on textbooks that were shrink-wrapped, so they can't be sold back to the bookstore once they've been opened. I had no other option but to stick with it, so I've been raking in the C's and crossing my fingers for my upcoming exams.

Tomorrow morning, I have to go into a room alone with my professor and hold a five-minute conversation with her, entirely in French, about a random question. She emailed us some examples, and these aren't questions like "Tell me about your family." A few of the options include "Do you believe celebrities deserve to be harassed by the paparazzi because they chose to be famous?" and "Do you believe in predestination?" These are things I'd have a hard time talking about in English for five minutes, and I still stumble when answering some yes-or-no questions in class. A few days ago, I wrote a paragraph in response to each of her examples, and I've spent the weekend going over them and practicing reading them aloud. I don't know how else to study, since I don't have any idea which vocabulary I'll need, and it's the grammar that confuses me. This exam accounts for 10% of my final grade, and I have one more written test next week worth 15%. It really stresses me out knowing that I'm currently resting at a C, and that a whole 25% of my grade is still up in the air. I don't know how I'm supposed to not freak out about this.

Meanwhile, it's November, and my cursed competitive nature would not allow me to make the mature decision to not sign up for this year's NaNoWriMo. It's an added stress to know that my novel's just a click away, itching to be written, but that I have to ignore it. It's more important to pass French than it is to maintain an impressive word count, and Nano will still be going on in two weeks when I'm home from school with nothing to do... but I still don't like this. I started off really strong this year, and I'm worried I'm wasting all my first-week energy by taking such an early break. Gaaah.

Also, to make matters more fun, the stress of school combined with Daylight Savings to throw me off my regular medication schedule, and I missed a headache pill today, which has resulted in one of the worst and longest I've ever had. It's 7:15 now, and I've had strong pain in my neck, face, and the right side of my brain since 3:30 this afternoon. I also had to turn down an offer from my friend Carina to go see Ben Folds tonight-- for free, since they had an extra ticket-- because of my need to study French and my unreliable group for that other class. It doesn't help that Ben Folds has been tweeting pictures all evening of a city right nearby, just to rub in my face that I can't be there. Lame.

Anyway, I appreciate you being here for me to complain to, guys. I needed this little break from squeezing my head between my hands and throwing my French book across the room. I can't predict when you'll be seeing me here again this month, because I don't know when everything's going to calm down, but I promise I haven't forgotten you. I hope you're all having an easier week than I am. :)

Chipotle burritos this year: 30
Subscribers: 36,640
Nail color: I've been bare for a couple weeks, just for lack of time.