Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Return of the Bookworm

Summer semester started today. This made me realize that I need to make a trip back to school to sell last semester's books and buy the book for my Electronic Media & Film class. Please, let it not suck. I also got my last grade from spring semester today. Overview: Four As (with a couple of minuses) and one B (plus)! Yeah, I'll take that. Imagine my GPA if I DIDN'T procrastinate. 

Despite this accomplishment, I was feeling pretty unproductive the past couple of days, so I read my first novel in months. I finished Gayle Forman's If I Stay in one night. I picked it up around 11 P.M. and didn't put it down until I finished sometime after 2 A.M. It was such a beautiful book. Based on the inside cover's description of the story, I never would've guessed what it was actually about and how beautifully heartbreaking it is. (I won't ruin it here, either. Just buy it!) It's a best-seller and there is already a movie deal in the works. Just a warning-- tears will ensue.

Since my sense of worthlessness returned once finishing the book, I started Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls this evening. Like the former book, it's pretty dark so far, but also very good. Let's see if I can finish it by 3 A.M.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Glad It's Not Me

I love the Internet. What has this poor child been born into?

More funny and downright sad family portraits and the like at:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the Crown Goes to...

This is all I'll say about the American Idol finale.

Seriously!?!? Kris Allen is a nice, cute and very talented guy, but that does not mean he is deserving of the title. Adam Lambert is an all-around star. A "vocal powerhouse," as the judges like to overuse. Even Kris was shocked. He said it himself: "Adam deserves it!" After Seacrest called Kris' name (and my hands flew to my face), I watched Kris' surprised and uncomfortable reaction. He was so NOT excited about it, and for a moment, I thought the show would play out like a dramatic episode of insert-your-show-here and that Ryan would say, "You don't want the title? Alright then, our REAL American Idol, ladies and gentlemen, is ADAM LAMBERT!" Then Kris would graciously bow his head, wave a humble thank-you to the audience, then slink off as the surprised (and crying) Adam took the tiara and flowers. I don't know why the beauty contest-esque description is coming out here, but I really think it has to do with my subconscious memory of some bad TV show.

Of course, Adam won't have any less success because he wasn't "crowned" our newest American Idol. In fact, I think he'll do better. He'll have more creative pull in his future album-making process, and for that reason, it'll be better. And he won't have to record that godawful single, "No Boundaries." He'll have higher album sales. Kris will be a hit in America. Adam will be a hit internationally.

This is all coming from someone who liked Kris very much. He did some great renditions of songs. When he completely changed up Kanye's "Heartless," I was very impressed. He's definitely got the whole package. But he sounds and looks like a lot of male artists out there right now. There's not a whole lot that's unique about him as a singer. Still, I have to give him credit for winning the popularity contest.

Really, though. Does it matter? Not really. So I'll shut up now, and await Adam's (and even Kris') album.

Adam's version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"

A clip of Kris' "Heartless"

Currently Listening To: "Laughing" by The Guess Who

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home Again

Yesterday, I left the dorms behind for good. I was a very organized, efficient, fast-paced packer and left nothing behind. (Except my Jim Halpert of The Office magnet-- nooooo!) I was ready to get out. Of course, in all my haste, I completely forgot to check out and ended up bringing my dorm key home with me. They charge somewhere between $60 and $80 for missing keys. Whoops. Luckily, I called Housing & Residence Life, and it turns out I can mail it to them to avoid the fee. Let's see if they charge me anyway.

As happy as I am to be done with signing in guests, occasionally having to smuggle alcohol upstairs, and hearing echoey conversations from all the way down the hall, the next month-and-a-half until apartment life isn't looking too thrilling, either. Columbia isn't the most interesting town unless your idea of fun is doing a little shopping at the mall, grabbing dinner at Cheesecake Factory, then catching a $10 movie at AMC. Repeat. Every weekend. Blahhh. That's just my dad's house. My mom's house is technically in Reisterstown, though it's pretty much in the country, just five minutes from Cal Ripken's house. It's pretty, but nothing going on there, either.

This is not to say that I don't enjoy being home with my family. I'm actually quite happy that I can finally spend some extended time with them. Seeing my dad once a month for lunch and my mom twice every weekend for about five minutes while I grab the car and go isn't exactly quality bonding time. But I know when I'm headed out the door at 10 P.M. for whatever reason, I'm going to play 20 Questions about where I'm going and who I'm going with. It's not that they won't let me. It's just that they want to know. Dear Parents: If you're secretly reading this, a) don't tell me, because I will likely discontinue this blog; and b) sorry. But you know it's true.

Luckily, I will have my June online course to keep me occupied. And seeing as my room is a disaster (there are suitcases and boxes covering pretty much every square foot), I'll have a long, continuous cleaning project on my hands, too. Oh, I am missing the summer vacations of elementary school.

Currently Listening To: "Day Tripper" by the Beatles

Monday, May 11, 2009

Onward Bound

Finals week has begun here at school, and instead of panicking, I'm finally able to sit back and relax. Kind of. I still technically have just one week left in this shoebox-shaped room, but otherwise, it's only a couple of tests and then I'm free at last. Justine and I signed the lease for our apartment today, and we'll be renters come July. Despite my readiness for the summer to begin, I know there are aspects of the past couple of on-campus years that I'll really miss.

I'll miss my view, for one thing. Despite the dingy, grey, allergen-ridden curtains that are probably older than I am hanging on the windows, Justine and I have a lovely panoramic view of the union, playing fields, trees and the sky. I typically decide what I'm wearing on any given day by looking out the window and people watching. Even though we're nine floors up, I can often pick out familiar faces during the busier hours of the day. When baseball is in season, I'll occasionally look up from my desk to see a ball flying straight up and down in the air. I also often see helicopters searching for criminals.

I'll also miss being able to yell loud enough for Jessica, next door, to hear (and then sometimes shush) me. At the beginning of the school year, which seems like forever ago now, we were all so excited to be living next to each other and sharing a bathroom. It took awhile for the novelty of walking through the bathroom only to end up in each other's rooms to wear off. Getting that cute shower curtain sure was fun, too. Even now, I'm glad I can belt out my faux American Idol audition (a glass-shattering rendition of Bon Jovi's "Always"... I'm really considering it for next season) and know that I won't have to worry about strangers from next door coming in my room one night and smothering me in my sleep. No, I'll just get a loud "shut the fuck UP" from Jess instead. Yes, I will miss that.

I'll miss Monday lunches at the Glen dining hall because, despite its lack of food with any flavor or appeal, it's the one time during the week when my entire group of friends gets together to eat. We might descend the stairs muttering our complete disdain for the place daily, but we can all agree that the loud, enthusiastic conversations that tend to last forever more than make up for it.

Finally, I'll miss Justine scolding me for not turning on the Christmas lights, interrupting my work-doing (or Facebook browsing) to rattle off everything she's eaten over the course of the day, and making me feel bad by getting all of her school work done days in advance while I procrastinate like it's my job. Of course, she will still do these things when we're in the apartment. The Christmas lights will find their way to our new dwelling and Justine will have to walk five whole feet from her room to mine to recite her To-Do lists.

Likewise, everything else I enjoy now will exist in some form then. We'll have a view of trees and possibly a dumpster, Jessica will be in a nearby building of the same apartment complex so I may bother her when I please, and our group will find a new day to have our weekly meal-- the food will be better, too.

On to the next stage.

Currently Listening To: "Save Tonight" by Eagle-Eye Cherry

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Raining Gays

I've been taking a course in LGBT studies (that's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) this semester, and the professor recently showed us a surprising and-- if it wasn't so filled with bigotry-- almost funny ad from the National Organization of Marriage. Their use of the thunderstorm metaphor really conveys their message wonderfully. In case you haven't already seen it:

I almost thought it was a joke the first time I watched it. The dramatic flashes of lightning, the pathetic homophobe girl with bad posture claiming how she is being left with no choice, and, to top it all off, the "rainbow correlation" that is being formed. Ha! Was that unintentional? Or is that their way of trying to discredit the rainbow that symbolizes the LGBT community and their allies? You know, to keep the rainbow in the heterosexual community where it belongs? Who knows, but those actors must've been really behind on their rent when they did that commercial.

A few celebrities joined together to strike back against the NOM, and created this parody ad for

In your face, homophobes.

Stephen Colbert also did a parody commercial, which you can check out here.

Currently Listening To: "Dear Joan" - Rob Thomas