Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Fork Thing Didn't Go Over Well

I've come to realize that I cannot possibly be the only unfortunate 25 year old woman who once...

1. Tried to comb her hair with a fork.

2. Wanted a horse. It could live in the shed out back.

3. Made a Trapper Keeper into a cubicle "cover sheet" for spelling tests.

4. Gifted Barbie with permanent makeup and/or a permanent haircut.

5. Tried the whole "bedsheets out the window" thing. My anchor of choice was the flimsy plastic part of the toilet paper holder.

6. Confused some adult about there being a "cat" in the sky during a crescent moon.

7. Ate Kool-aid powder, because friends said it was "good."

8. Ate a habenero pepper. Because "hey, eat this."

9. Watched Crossroads. Twice.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh My Word, Here I Go...


When I was fifteen, I started writing a book.

It was bad.

Here is an excerpt, with commentary included. It serves as a warning to younger me, since twentysomething me is currently DeLorean-less.


Years ago, on a farm just outside of a town called Coleville, in West Virginia [not a real place. I stole the name from combining a movie with the wrong way my last name is spelled all the time and I had not at the time ever been to WV.] there lived a girl named Susan Miltons [I'm really bad at surnames]. The Miltons family was a relatively small family, with one boy, Johnny, and two girls, Susan and Linda [I swear I stole the names from an American Girl book.]. their father was a very hardworking man who was absolutely delighted to provide well for his family. And the family surely was well provided for. [What is this crap, young me? Really?]

Susan was a young girl with an adventurous spirit. She felt that she must have one, because Linda and Johnny were more content to do homework and see their friends. [Susan was apparently a loser with no friends. Or a serial killer. Criminal Minds would probably be all over that.] Susan loved to explore the thick, beautiful woods on the Miltonses [???] property. The trip was sometimes [only sometimes?] inconvenient, because Susan had to go around the field [corn, if you were wondering], but once she was finished with that obstacle [apparently Susan was fat, too], Susan explored to her content. [I guess young me wasn't into pronouns.]

To Susan, there was always some new place to find. Sometimes it had been an unfamiliar clearing. [How exciting.] Other times i had been a new path that wound through the woods, leading to some mysterious end that Susan never quite found. [Maybe that's where the bodies were hidden?] One unfortunate time, Susan had found the trail to the railroad tracks, and the train was just speeding through. [Dag.] But there was one consistent thing about Susan's explorations. She always took her loyal dog, Teddy, with her. And one day, Susan found another new clearing. But this clearing was very extraordinary, and more astonishing than anything Susan had ever seen.

It was a beautiful day one October, when Susan was twelve. [I think I legitimately thought people would get confused if I used "she" once, instead of the name.] The air was cold, the sky was the deepest blue, and it was Saturday, which allowed the whole day for fun. [No duhrr.] So she [freaking finally] went exploring, and Teddy followed loyally, as he did every time, his tongue hanging out, his fur blowing in the breeze. The leaves were changing, and falling, and not a cloud was in the sky. So the young girl and her dog strolled to the woods.

This day, Susan chose a new, smaller path than the others she had seen before. [My grammar sucked too, if you haven't noticed.] The path was clear, nearly perfect, not covered by thorns like most of the trails in these woods. Up ahead was a bend in the path, and when Susan and Teddy went around it, they found, instead of another path, a clearing. But this clearing was  different than others. [Those sentences are just gross.] Everything in it was a different shade of brilliant blue. The rocks were blue, as was the piney cover on the blue tinted soil. [Sorry, I forgot about the acid trip part of the story.]

"Oh," breathed Susan. "Teddy, it's so amazing." [Poor Teddy...I'm so sorry for what you had to put up with.] Teddy looked happy; no, ecstatic, as if he had found some hidden happiness in that clearing. [SUBTLE FORESHADOWING DUNDUNDUN.] A small fruit hung from one of the trees, and Susan looked at it, but decided against eating it. But she made a decision about the clearing itself. This was her special place. I'll come back every day, she thought. Or at least I'll try. So, after playing there for a long while with Teddy, Susan headed home.

 [It gets better.]

Susan did indeed try to go back every day. Even when she explored other places, she found time to go to her special clearing. [Was anyone concerned at all about this child spending hours in the woods unsupervised?] It was a place of peace, somewhere to play and to dream. No other place was like it. But even so, special as it was to her, there was something even better about it that Susan herself would never discover [SUBTLETY.] So these happy years crawled by lazily, and Susan and Teddy became closer in a strange way as they visited the clearing. [I'm sorry, but just no.]

The day came when Susan turned sixteen. [This is apparently known to happen occasionally.] As this birthday had approached, she had stopped going as often. Other things, like friends, [finally], school [also finally] and cinema [Cinema? Really?] replaced the clearing as important to her. And then, Susan stopped going at all, and forgot all about this beautiful clearing. [Morality tale: avoid puberty at all costs, because you may be in danger of getting a life.] Teddy never did, though, and he went back every day, because, not only was he used to the routine, the dog [because I know you totally just forgot what species Teddy was] knew that something was more special about this blue place. [did no one care that the dog wandered off too?] But the clearing, as Susan stopped going, turned from a bright blue to a dull, dead, faded gray. [Being a teenager will also kill the local flora. Apparently.]

Susan graduated from high school two years later, went to college, and got married to a man named Charlie McKail. They moved far away from Coleville, to a larger town named Wilson, hours away from Coleville. [In North Carolina.] Susan and Charlie had a daughter, whom they named Anya Leona McKail. The family lived a nice life in Wilson. [Good to know.] Anya went to a good school [also good to know, because schools in NC err on the side of suckage] and Susan and Charlie had very good jobs. And all this time, the clearing grew grayer still. [I imagine it eventually just turned clear.] And Teddy, the loyal dog, died, as no one in our world lives forever. [Crap, that's depressing.] The years passed, with the clearing lying, forgotten, in the thick woods around Coleville.

[Here's a tiny excerpt from a bit down the page. Anya's parents are discussing moving to Coleville because Susan's parents decide to give her a house or some junk like that.]

"Mama, we can't move," Anya objected. "I have friends here. Do you know how long it took me to make friends? [In Susan's footsteps, I suppose.] What in the world's wrong with Wilson?"


A lot Anya. There's a lot wrong with Wilson.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Revolution

I have always been a mouthy individual. My first stark memory of it is when I was about eight years old, when, in reply to my mom going "shut your mouth" (most likely because I was talking back) I proceeded to hang my jaw open and say, "Aaaah, it's open."

I still do tend towards a disposition of difficulty and sarcasm. Yes, age and experience have given me tact. I think before I say stuff now.

But I never thought that anonymously expressing a legitimate concern on this blog would bring me under an eye of scrutiny so intrusive, it's almost scary.

If anyone would like to see the original, very frustrated, blog post, please let me know privately. I've taken it down because I apparently can't trust my own city to stay out of my business.

In the post, among other things, I criticized a certain service in my city. The posting went unnoticed, except by a few readers, for a good two weeks. It mentioned the name of the service, the type of business where I was employed, and possibly the name of my town. It never included my name, first or last. After the post, I forgot about it, except for when I'd see the name of it in the blog's stat rankings.

A week later, I put the link to it on my Facebook account, which is private. Only my Facebook friends can see it. All of those people are individuals that I know personally. Old college friends. Old roommates (who are close friends.) People I went to high school with. Most of them don't live in the area.

The next day, I made the admittedly unwise decision to use my cell phone to tweet at my city's Twitter account, using some rather harsh words concerning the very service I criticized two weeks earlier. They maintained that this service was reliable and all that. I deleted my tweets and forgot about it for the rest of the day.

And then the next afternoon, while I was hanging some posters, my boss came up to me and said that someone from the city had called and complained about, well, my complaint. Somehow they had used my name on my Twitter account, read my blog and gone back at least to the post where announced the release of Horror Vacui, which has my name on the cover, and possibly even further. Whatever happened, my blog got a whole lot of page views that day, consistently to the same two-week old post. Thankfully the employer just asked that I not criticize this particular service at work. Not too gruesome. The callers were even told they went too far.

Yes, they did go too far. I have since blocked their Twitter account from seeing mine, removed all references to any of my jobs from Facebook, and took a week off from writing this blog. Someone played detective and poked around and called my job, intending, I'm sure, to harass me because I don't love everything my town does.

I remember once when a representative from a union showed up at my house, first saying that he was there to check the windows. Then he came back later, to encourage my mom to "vote the right way" when the day came to decide if the place she worked would have a union or not.

Oh buddy, you don't even know. We don't take well to intimidation in my family.

I don't know who it was who went to such great lengths to deduce who I am and where I worked. But I know you're out there. I don't know if you're reading this. Obviously you had a link to it, somehow. Whoever you are, your mental bicep is flesh, and honey, it's much weaker than the iron in my backbone.

There's nothing worse than an angry Twentysomething that you just won't leave be. As old as you are, as connected as you are, it is my generation that you will one day hand things over to, and all your local, backroom, old boy politics won't matter a bit.

So leave me alone. I'll give you one very, very good reason, by way of a quote from The Dark Knight Rises.

I'm not afraid.

I'm angry.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog Promos (i.e. Lazy Day)

It's Friday where I live, and time to do a little promotions of the blogs I love to read.

The Clumsy Juggler
This one's actually written by a friend of mine from college. She's currently in grad school for Master's in English, and was very recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She writes about it on the site, and it is entertaining, thought-provoking, and educational all at the same time. It's also made me very thankful for my own health.

Children of the Nineties
For a child of the 90s such as myself, this blog just oozes nostalgia. Right now the updates are sporadic, and the last one was in May of this year, but check it out anyway. The archives are amazing.

Fourth Grade Nothing
Much like Children of the Nineties, this blog is a trip back into the childhood of a whole generation, the kids and teens of the 1980s. I'm currently obsessed with that decade, so I really love this blog.

Weirdly Awesome NC
Though I'm quite prone to scaring myself with ghost stories, I do very much enjoy weird tales and local legends, as well as alternate theories for historical events (Ancient Aliens, anyone?) This site has both, focused mainly in North Carolina, but also branches out into the "weirder" corners of the Earth. The author's ideas are pretty interesting as to why certain things occur, so be sure you don't miss the theme running through every post.

The Laconic Inkdrop
Another blog by a friend, this is focused mainly on the issues that us recentish college grads are having with employment, paying back loans, and basically facing a world that will soon belong to us. Her other blog is Ever Just Curious, which has a more literary focus.

Rediscovering His Grace
What can I say, I'm one amongst all my blogger friends. It's hard to keep one's faith these days, but sometimes things that happened in the past made it harder. I find this a refreshing glance at a faith that is too often riddled with trite sayings instead of the blunt truth.

That's it for the promos this week. I hope you find all these sites as enjoyable as I do.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Who Takes Kids Seriously?

I wonder sometimes if it sucks a little to be a young Olympian.

When I was a kid, I thought the Olympics was the coolest thing. It's still pretty cool, but back then, there was nothing quite like the thought that maybe I, too, could be a world-class swimmer. (I still really love swimming. I blame The Little Mermaid.) But as with almost all dreams of children, it was fleeting, and I never revisited it again. (The writer thing first crossed my mind as a 9-year-old, because of the Babysitters Club books.)

But I think we've all seen that one commercial, celebrating moms, where it shows little kids being pulled out of bed, early in the morning, eating breakfast, and going to practice at some sport. Yeah, it's a little romanticized.

But it got me thinking.

People who win medals don't get there on accident. Yes, they work hard. Parents can only provide so much motivation before even that is lost in the shuffle. The athlete is the one that keeps it up, for good or bad, until they win. But they all start young. There are kids basically being amazing at 15, an age where I was just trying not to be too awkward. (It didn't work.) No, I'm not depressed. Actually, I'm a little motivated.

Because who takes a six-year-old seriously?

Obviously someone does.

I hope I take my kids that seriously when they tell me their dreams.