Sunday, August 8, 2010

New adventures: "Witty Title Here" has moved! Visit

It is a journey equal-parts exciting and nauseating, but I have taken the plunge: I bought a domain! My URL is no longer inconsistent with the title of my blog. I hope you, dear followers, will toodle on along to my new location and find it even more visually pleasing than this Blogger location, which, I must say, has done me quite well. But it felt like it was time to move on, and I'm glad I can call my own.

If you're a fan of the new site, I hope you'll share it with your readers if you're a fellow blogger, and friends if you're not.

So what are ya waiting for?! Visit and say hello!

Wittily yours,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Going pro

A week at the beach to most means relaxing, spending time with friends or family, getting a tan, frolicking in the ocean, throwing back a few Coronas (with lime, of course), and listening to Jimmy Buffett or Bob Marley. I'm currently in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and I've been doing all of these things for the past couple of days. Except, what I didn't expect to get involved in this week was to buy a domain for my own soon-to-be-revealed (hopefully) dot-com blog. I just HAD to get all ambitious on what was supposed to be a week off from any kind of involved thinking or fretting.

This ambition came on very recently when I joined Twenty-Something Bloggers and started networking enough to gain followers and make contacts through other bloggers. I know, it's just about all I've written about recently. But I realized I had the ability to take my writing to the next level by truly making it into an obligation-- nothing like paying forty dollars a year for a domain to movitate you to write more.

Funny how I'm paying to write instead of getting paid to write. The goal is for that to change one day. I'll let you know how that goes.

But the main reason I even got into this complicated mess is because I brought my godforsaken computer to the beach, of all places. I will say this: I did not want to bring my computer here. I am not so obsessed that I can't go a week without Internet access. Really and truly. Not that I ever do it, but I have-- particularly during past vacations. There's something so freeing about a vacation in this sense (and obviously many others), because a vacation really inspires you to do things you don't typically do at home-- like doing a puzzle. Seriously, who ever does a 1000-piece puzzle at home? Right. Nobody. It's strange vacation homes even have them lying around. But somehow, that 15-year-old puzzle of a lighthouse with approximately 46 pieces missing gets brought out the very first night and brings the whole family together to work on it bit by bit every day until, on the last night, it's miraculously completed with a great sense of accomplishment before the youngest member of the family decides he/she is feeling particularly destructive and mutilates the family's creation by wiping the whole thing off the table and onto the floor, back into its original 954 pieces.

But I digress. If I didn't have to bring my computer here because of ONE EMAIL I am desperately expecting, I wouldn't currently be knee-deep in web hosting services, importing old blog posts, and HTML. AS IF I KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ANY OF THESE THINGS.

I think I was a little hasty with that debit card of mine.

Still, I am enjoying this week just fine so far. I've gotten to do all of the things I've mentioned, in addition to maintaining my ever-fluctuating work-out routine and watching movies like Sideways. (I recommend.) Plus, I need something to do after my entire family goes to bed around 10 p.m. or so. I must keep my night-owl self busy.

But if anyone reading this happens to have a domain with a beautiful layout, please give me your guidance. Because I can't go pro until I look like a pro.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bloggerstock: Potential Postcards

Remember the post I recently wrote about Bloggerstock? Well, the time has come for Bloggerstock members (become a member today!) to reveal our guest bloggers' blogs, so I'd like to introduce you to Elyse, blogger of The Ginge. Elyse is a self-described average Canadian teen who finds it perfectly acceptable for you to e-stalk her, so please feel free to do so. She's got a great thing going with pictures, words-of-the-day, and everyday ramblings, among other things. She's also really nice-- I just noticed on her blog that she has linked to Witty Title Here. (Thanks, Elyse!)

This month's Bloggerstock theme was posed as a question:

 If you could write ONE postcard to any person (living or dead), who would you write to, what would you say, and where would the postcard be from?

You can check my post for this month at Tall Brunette's blog. This chick is "just some girl in the Pacific Northwest with a passion for rain, trees, and plaid." Great stuff over on her page, as well-- I love the theme of the Pacific Northwest. Make sure you read her blog, too. For now, here's Elyse's post. Enjoy!

Who would I write a postcard to? I’ve put quite a bit of thought into this and if I were to write a postcard to anyone, living or dead I would most certainly write one to my great grandmother, who I wish I wrote one to before she passed away. She means a lot to my Mom and that has really affected me, when I was younger my Mother would make me talk to her I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t realize how quickly someone can leave you, I didn’t really think about reality.

With that said, I’d tell her how much my Mom misses her and how dreadfully sorry I am that I never got a chance to meet her, she seemed like a really interesting person as my Mom tells me she was. I would send the postcard from Canterbury, England because that’s the last place that she and my Mother saw each other, it’s also where she (my great grandmother) was born.


Dear Rowena,

Mom really misses you; I wish we could have seen you before you left. You know, you really meant a lot to her… I used to take it for granted that I would be able to see you, and it never actually did happen. Mom wears that snake bracelet that you gave her every day! She loves it so much, I think it's the thought of having a part of you with her. She passed down the one she had before and gave it to me. Except like the clumsy person I am, I broke it. Don’t tell her though… She doesn’t know, yet. I don’t have much more to tell you, as I'm sure you're watching over us from where ever you're located now, so I’m going to explore and take some pictures, Canterbury is beautiful! It’s too bad you weren’t here with me.

Thinking of you,


Monday, July 26, 2010

You and me-- let's go.

I am not a violent person. I might scream expletives at drivers who cut me off (everybody does), and I might occasionally get the urge to throw stupid people under a not-so-figurative bus (survival of the fittest!), but I am not a violent person. Consequently, I feel as if I've missed out on a key experience in life. A rite of passage, if you will.

That would be the fact that I've never been in a fight. Never ever never. Not even kind of. Well... maybe that one ti-- Nope. Never.

Not to say that everybody has, but I must say I feel deprived and as if I am in the minority. Looking back over the years, I've certainly had opportunities to initiate fights, including those many times when middle school skankities made fun of my heinous outfit or when that one boy at the freakin' McDonald's playground of all places pulled my hair. Rather than combining fist with face, I sat and cried instead.

Let it be said that I am overly-sensitive and have chicken arms.

Pictured (center) here, I don't particularly look badass, though I'm clearly trying. The stance, the polka dots, the... mismatched socks? No, I don't think I was ever a real threat to anybody. I did get in a few verbal fights with my cousin (left) growing up, and the dissatisfied girl on the right once pushed my head against the school bus window because I managed to get the window seat (reserved seating), but we're Facebook friends now and quite pleasant with one another.

In reality, there have been very few times in my life when I truly felt inspired to even ponder the actual possibility of throwing a punch at some deserving being. But I think I made the right call when I DIDN'T punch the 50-year-old, 250 pound Italian poop monger who once yelled at me for NOT SITTING DOWN at a Bon Jovi concert. He and his wife called me an asshole (I was 16 years old, by the way) when I politely said I didn't want to sit down (when really I wanted to say, "This is not a Tom Jones concert, so no, I won't sit down") and then proceeded to kick my chair for awhile. Mind you, these were perfectly able-bodied individuals, despite their unfortunate looks. Instead of getting physical, I unloaded a few expletives (much to the shock of me), and they got the point and left early before my dad could give the guy the pounding he deserved.

I think that's the closest to a fist fight I ever got.

It's things like that which anger me the most-- extreme unfairness, complete absurdity, and really mean people. Put me face-to-face with one of these scenarios and take note of my blood pressure, because something special and rare comes over me that brings out whatever violent tendencies I do have. This is still a somewhat recent development thanks to years of my being way too introverted and nonconfrontational. I've got a ways to go, but at least I've developed a backbone.

Really, though, I've got a reputation to maintain and a face to preserve. I don't need to get in a fight to fulfill my life's goals. Maybe when I'm old I'll cross off what's left on my yet-to-be-written bucket list, start a fight and blame it on senility. Being old must have some perks.

Until then, I'll practice my angry eyes in the mirror.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An attempt to document life

I recently decided I just need to start taking more photos and documenting the occasionally cool (and the sometimes seemingly mundane) things I do. This past weekend was a good opportunity to do so because it was full of all sorts of adventures. On Friday, I caught up with a few girlfriends at McKenzie and her boyfriend Jamie's cabin for some swimming and a lot of eating.

McKenzie lives out near a beautiful Maryland reservoir (where swimming is not technically allowed, and by technically, I mean not at all), so we took a fifteen minute hike through the thick brush and woods until we reached the perfect spot on the water, rope swing and all.

Keeping my feet poison ivy-free.

This place was magical. I'm usually hesitant to get into any kind of water, but I just eased right in, the temperature was that perfect. I guess multiple consecutive weeks of 90-something to 100+ degree weather has its benefits.

We spent close to two hours swimming, swinging and generally wearing ourselves out. McKenzie even brought this delicious bowl of pasta with all kinds of locally-grown vegetables in it. At first, it seemed like an unnecessary amount, but we devoured it all. We even brought it in the water with us. Wait 30 minutes to swim after eating? HA! Eat, swim and get cramps simultaneously, I say.

The rope swing was obviously the highlight of our secret spot. I was a little apprehensive about it at first and even accidentally let myself go too soon, falling into a fairly shallow spot. Luckily, I landed feet first and immediately pushed myself off the muddy, rocky bottom. I've never felt cuter than when I slowly rose to and above the surface as water poured out of my eyes, nose and mouth.
Thankfully, my second attempt was a wondrous success:

The perfect balance of grace and awkwardness.

After we officially wore ourselves out, we headed back to McKenzie's cabin and proceeded to make the four boxes of macaroni and cheese that I brought in addition to a large cake and a couple dozen cookies Rachel brought. Eventually, it turned into an impromptu party, and we had a great time with new friends.

Saturday, I went to Artscape-- America's largest free arts festival-- with my dad downtown in Baltimore. We got to hear (but not exactly see) big name bands such as Gov't Mule and Cold War Kids perform while drinking beer in the streets and checking out the wacky art and vendors.

For just a dollar, you can STAPLE your dollar to this guy!

Tree people enjoying Gov't Mule

Afterwards, we spent the night listening to now-ancient demos and vocal tracks of the Beach Boys. (Carl Wilson was only 19 when he sang the vocals on "God Only Knows." How's that for making you feel unaccomplished?) It was a fun (and these days, rare) father-daughter bonding evening.

Ah, well that was fun. But now I know why I don't always post a ton of pictures on here. Blogger makes my face want to explode while I attempt (this is the key word) to format them. That was exhausting.

Mmmm, now I'm craving some mac 'n' cheese.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting serious

I am really excited. I'm in a serious, committed relationship. With my blog. I've always taken my blog writing seriously (well, sometimes), but since my last post inspired me to use my networking skills, I've managed to take my blogging to the next level.

Last week, I discovered Twenty-Something Bloggers, which is a social networking site specifically for, well, twenty-something bloggers. It's a great community of intelligent and interesting young writers looking for blogs to read and people to read their blogs. Just in my first few days, I received tons of messages from people welcoming me to the site, linking me to their blogs, and some even complimenting mine. I especially like the people who obviously took the time to read some of my blog before plugging their own-- they've got a follower in me. There are discussion boards and tons of other places where you can find like-minded people and ways to keep your blog interesting.

Through 20sb, I found Bloggerstock, a growing group of bloggers who, once a month, guest blog for another random person while also hosting a fellow Bloggerstock member. That way, everyone gets to play host, and everyone gets to play guest, too. It's a neat concept with post topics changing every month. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out at the end of this month. Luckily for you, you'll be the first to know.

Besides that, I actually linked to my blog on Facebook. Go figure. No, I'm not dense, but up until now, I was slightly apprehensive about sharing this with every Facebook friend I have. Now, who knows what people from my past are reading this anonymously! But then I realized a) that's the point of blogging-- people reading it, and b) I'm not worth e-stalking. So, there you go.

Links to 20sb and Bloggerstock are now on the right-hand side of the page in case you want to get serious, too. I kind of feel like a dork for getting so excited about this, but then again, you never know where these kinds of things can lead you. I appreciate the new followers I've acquired over the past few days and hope I can keep you entertained!

Here's to settling down...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blogs of note

I've been browsing tons of blogs this morning while Lucy and Georgia (my two-day-a-week children) take much-needed rests. Unfortunately, doesn't exactly make it easy to search for blogs by topic or title. Luckily, many of the bloggers I've come across are generous enough to link to others' sites so the reading doesn't have to stop. (Now if only I could get some of these strangers to link to mine!) Here are a few sites I enjoy. I've been an avid reader of a few of them for awhile, but some I've stumbled across just today.

Bmore Musically Informed is a great site for finding out about deep down underground music in the Baltimore area. I've never heard of 95% of the bands they write about, but I often come across gems thanks to their frequent posting of songs playable directly on the blog. Of course, the one time I leave a comment there, I'm accused of spam, but whatever. You're welcome, Bmore.

The Sweetie Pie Press is one I found today thanks to McKenzie's blog (which you should already know about, so read it), and, well, it's really cute. Great photos of city life and creation mixed in with stories of adventure.

Placebo Journal Blog describes itself as medical humor with a purpose. Equal parts sarcasm and information, this blog actually makes science interesting for those who, otherwise, don't particularly give a damn.

Sleep Talkin' Man is a hilarious (and completely true) blog of an English man's nighttime outbursts of sleepspeak. His wife makes it her job to jot down or record everything Adam says in his sleep-- the words that come out of his mouth are ridiculous. There are a few videos for the non-believers, and the couple has even been featured on several television shows thanks to the popularity of the blog. Buy a Sleep Talkin' Man shirt or apron now!

Boehmcke's Human Condition is another blog to make you laugh. Don't be put off by his surname-- he's pretty much given up on getting people to pronounce it correctly. Richard Boehmcke is one of those rare bloggers that writes about himself and other seemingly mundane topics while managing to make it truly entertaining. You don't have to know his life story to enjoy it.

If you want to stay up to date on the homocides of Baltimore, look no further than Baltimore Crime, an up-to-date source for-- you guessed it-- Baltimore crime. Morbid, yes, but interesting? Admittedly, yes.

This list of blogs unintentionally became somewhat Baltimore themed, but I can't not link you to City Paper's The News Hole, especially since I was just offered a fall internship with City Paper. (Go, me!) The News Hole covers everything in the land deemed newsworthy, and many of CP's staff members contribute. Did you know Baltimore's new slogan is "Find Your Happy Place"? Yeah. "Get In On It" was bad enough, but this is too much. They should have stuck with "Believe." It was simple and non-sucky, but what do I know? Just one of the many things I learned by reading this blog.

I plan to continue my search for blogs to distract me from things such as classwork and unpacking in my new pad. Eventually, I'll link to all of the blogs I subscribe to which will hopefully guilt everyone into doing the same for me.

Let me know if there are any blogs I simply must check out!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moving on up

It's 1 a.m., and I have to be up at 7 a.m., but here I am writing from the comfort of my bed because my desk is no longer in my room. Currently, it's sitting in the garage of my soon-to-be home thanks to the help of a good, strong man and my arms, too. This soon-to-be home I speak of sits right above the garage where my desk dwells (after hauling the desk down a couple flights of stairs, we couldn't muster the energy it would take to get it up another flight in 100+ degree weather). So, in short, I will be one of those people who gets to live above their parents' garage. That doesn't just exist in movies-- I get to do it, too! Bear with me, this impending move is the reason for my late night ramblings.

I'm not exactly sad to leave this apartment behind, but I am exhausted. I just got here! I moved a lot of furniture and clothes and books and CDs when I first arrived one year ago. The desk came about a month after the move, thanks to the craftsmanship of my grandpa. (He build the whole thing-- it's beautiful. Heavy, too.) Even on move-in day last year I knew my time here would fly by quickly, just as every year before it has, but if I had known just how quick it would be, I'd probably call myself crazy for going through all that trouble.

The thing is, I've done my fair share of moving over the course of my life. My mom and I lived in two different apartments and a townhouse before settling into the house my step-dad bought many years prior. We called that home for ten years while my sisters grew up before selling the house and moving to our current home last October. But just in the past three years, I've done more moving than ever: freshman year initial move in, winter break partial move out, return move back in, end of year move out. Sophomore year, repeat. Add on the in-and-out of the apartment, and I believe that puts me at 15 moves so far in my life. And yes, winter breaks in the dorms definitely count-- that was some stressful stuff right there.

Yet my dad's house has always been there. He's had our house for about 23 years now, a length of time that does not seem to be very common these days. Throughout all of these moves I've made, I've still had my dad's house as a "home base," however imperfect it may be.

This current transition has been tough for sure. There's nothing like a relocation to make you realize just how much stuff you have. I don't consider myself to be overly sentimental when it comes to every last figurine or bookmark I've owned in my life, and I'm certainly capable of getting rid of things I haven't used or thought about in years. But things collect easily, and that really becomes obvious when you're going through old boxes filled with your childhood art consisting of stick figures with no torsos and six fingers on one hand.

The idea of living a "simple life" is really appealing to me in some ways. The fewer meaningless possessions you own and drag around everywhere you go, the more you can appreciate what you do have. Also, the easier you can pick up and move. The thought of saving every last stocking stuffer or t-shirt makes no sense to me, and the older I get (and the more things I collect), the better I feel about letting little things go. Maybe it's because hoarding and/or collecting runs in a certain side of my family.

Of course, there have been times when I've been a little too ambitious with my purging and hastily threw away old diaries I had written in when I was as young as five. I think I tossed them because I had so many of them, and only a few pages of each were actually written on. Luckily, my dad saved them (he nosed through everything I threatened to get rid of during a particular purge back in high school), and I later enjoyed reading them. It actually makes sense that I never filled the diaries, because I still do the same thing now with my journals. I have about five journals sitting in a bag of books waiting to be carried to my new living space, each of them left with pages and pages of emptiness. A couple of them were just too big and overwhelming to fill, and the others started filling up with more "To-Do" lists than creative writing. I'm trying to make it my goal to fill the one I'm currently writing in.

It's good to have reminders that it's okay to get rid of some things and keep what's important. Going through some of my old boxes the other day, there were a few things that, admittedly, will probably be rid of sometime in the future. But for now, I don't want to deal with those. I don't need to totally rid myself of my past-- it's a good past, and these things are still sweet reminders of that. I might never hold a certain stuffed bunny again with quite the same affection as I did when I was a child, but that doesn't mean I have to ship it or my first pair of shoes off quite yet.

What I do know is that I'll always be sentimental about my desk, the one Pop Pop built for me with his hands and his tools in his workshop. And wherever I live next, that's one thing I'll be taking with me for sure. Let's just hope it won't have to conquer as many stairs next time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Save yourselves!

I'm posting this video of George Carlin (below) because it ties in so well with things. My recent post on empathy touched on reasons for Gen Y's self-indulgence, which C.E. Martin posted a comment in response to with some great videos of George Carlin ranting about that very thing.

Then, the other day, McKenzie and I were chatting a little bit about something else I discussed in that post about how people who believe humans are capable of really damaging the earth are somewhat narcissistic to think so.

THEN, last night, John and I were watching one of his DVDs of George Carlin neither of us had seen, and Carlin went on this particular rant that articulates the latter point way better (and funnier) than I could:

The best argument to me is simply the fact that the earth has been in existence billions of years longer than human beings, and we've only been very industrious for the past 200 years. To think a few aluminum cans or plastic bottles could ruin the earth is kind of funny when he puts it that way.

Of course, while I think Carlin's points are right on target (he's got some of the greatest insight and can go on and on about any subject... the funny never stops!), I can't help but think recycling is a good thing. At the very least, we puny humans can try to put off our inevitable extinction.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lost in translation

Charles Simic


Every morning I forget how it is.

I watch the smoke mount

In great strides above the city.

I belong to no one.

Then, I remember my shoes, how I have to put them on,

How bending over to tie them up

I will look into the earth.


cada mañana olvido cómo es.

miro el humo montar

en grandes pasos grandes sobre la ciudad.

pertenezco a nadie.

entonces, recuerdo mis zapatos, cómo tengo que ponerlos,

cómo dobla encima para atarlos para arriba

miraré en la tierra.


chaque demain manque de mémoire comment il est.

je surveille la fumée monter

dans de grands grands pas sur la ville.

j'appartiens à à personne.

alors, je rappelle mes chaussures, comment je dois les mettre,

comment il plie en haut pour les attacher pour en haut

je surveillerai dans la terre.


each tomorrow lacks memory how it is.

I supervise smoke to go up

in great great steps on the city.

j' belong to anybody.

then, I point out my shoes, how I must put them,

how it folds in top to attach them for in top

I will supervise in the ground.

Translated at Babel Fish from English to Spanish to French to English.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Empathy for the people

McKenzie and I must be on the same wavelength, because empathy has been on both our minds, except she blogged about it first. She posted a really neat video here that explains why human beings even have empathy in the first place and how, like everything does, it has evolved over time. Whereas once upon a time people only empathized with those who shared their blood, people eventually came to empathize with others of the same religious backgrounds and nationalities. The video asks, Can we extend our empathy to the entire human race? And obviously, humankind has showed many signs of doing so in times of disaster and tragedy. Not all times, of course. It's easy to recall a few years ago when the genocide in Darfur was what many said everyone SHOULD have been paying attention to, yet our own country contributed very little to the aiding of the victims there. The recent Haitian earthquake, however, proved against American heartlessness, as some people even still have not forgotten about the victims there and continue to donate money and efforts to help rebuild the nation despite the fact that it is no longer existent in the media.

The reason this very subject has been on my mind for the past few days is because of a somewhat troubling article I came across. (Read it, and don't depend on me to summarize it all!) But basically what it says is that Generation Y is less empathetic than previous generations. In fact, Generation Y-ers "are 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago." Isn't that kind of creepy? The article refers to us (me and probably you, too) as the "Me Generation." Because, though the video mentioned above says that we're not primarily soft-wired to be self-indulgent, but rather to want to belong, there is clearly a high level of self-indulgence and narcissism common of people born somewhere between the late '70s and early '00s. (Some discrepancy exists over when Gen Y birth dates actually begin and end, but it's around this time.) The article outlines how this is different from the general disposition of Baby Boomers.

I've come across plenty of articles in regard to recent college graduates going into the world with the belief that they actually deserve great jobs and great praise, despite having accomplished very little in the professional world. We as a whole expect others to accommodate our needs and are generally very high maintenance. And I agree-- I see a lot of this attitude from my fellow students who expect easy As and want to glide through school as easily as possible. And the danger of it for me is that I believe I'm above all of that kind of attitude, but then doesn't that belief alone make me susceptible to fitting that description of "us" pretty well, too? Would I then be more likely to go into the "real world" thinking I'm the "real deal" as opposed to my peers and therefore just expect to be handed some awesome job? I mean, kinda. I've got a lot to learn, and I know that there's a lot I don't know (at least I know that!), but when I listen to the occasionally idiotic conversations going on around me in class, it makes me cringe.

I'm starting to sound awful. I'm also starting to ramble.

Back to the point, though.

Clearly, this has a direct correlation with technology and ever-decreasing face-to-face communication. We are also known as Millennials, after all-- the word implies so much. When one has over a thousand Facebook friends, how can one really tell the difference between an acquaintance and an almost complete stranger? This is just one example of technology potentially inhibiting our abilities to maintain genuine personal relationships, but people become greatly desensitized when they're scanning through a news feed full of people they don't really care about.

On the other hand, without technology, as, again, the video mentions, we wouldn't have even known about the Haitian earthquake. Within one hour of the earthquake, the news was tweeted on Twitter. Through this and other media, word spread fast, and we were able to send help almost immediately.

But when a report shows that college students today are less likely to empathize with those less fortunate than they are, what does that say? It can't all be chalked up to the fact that we're young and haven't experienced hardships and tragedies that become inevitable the older we get, because these studies are comparing college students now to college students of the '70s.

Maybe if our parents hadn't all given us trophies in soccer despite the fact that some of us never scored a goal all season (ahem, that would be me in second grade), we'd be a little less full of ourselves. Really, though-- how often do you see Facebook statuses just begging you to pity that person or describing utterly mundane details of one's life?

Ultimately, as long as we're here, the world needs empathy. Without it, the people of the earth would have self-destructed by now. If we didn't care about people affected by earthquakes and tsunamis, terrorism and oil spills, the world would have undoubtedly shaken off its irritating human inhabitants by now. So I take what I said back: the world doesn't need empathy, we do. Any human being is crazy (and narcissistic) to believe that we puny humans could really destroy the earth. Yes, we should make our best efforts to take care of it, but the world won't end because of us. Only we can end because of us. To keep that from happening for as long as possible, it's important that, on a grander scale than everyday annoyances, we not think of ourselves as better than others, but as connected and relatable to others. Like the video says, we can forget about empathy in heaven, because there, there is no mortality or suffering, and therefore no need for empathy. Just ponies and trees.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Penthouse Dreams

Thanks to McKenzie Ditter, I came across this article from McKenzie posted it on her blog because she can be seen in a photo a little more than halfway down the page as she meditates at Evolver's Dream Spore, a weekend event including yoga, round table discussions, and camping in Freeland. Judging from the photos alone, it looks like it was a pretty neat event!

I share it with you now because something that caught my eye on this website were photos from the Penthouse suite at Silo Point in Baltimore-- a place that, in 1923, was the fastest railroad grain elevator in the world and today is a luxury condominium building located near Locust Point. I knew it was Silo Point without even looking at the text because of this photo:

How could a 20-year-old college student possibly be familiar with the bathroom of a $4 million+ penthouse? Because John and I attended a party there last summer hosted by his friend's wife while the place still had prospective buyers. (Maybe it still does, I don't know. I haven't been keeping up with the market lately. Cough.)

Also, I um... "used" their bathroom.

The toilet that can be seen off to the side of the first photo was the most impressive part of the very large bathroom. Yes, the toilet. Shut the door, sit down, and look at all of Baltimore from over 300 feet up as you relieve yourself. I highly recommend this experience if you get the opportunity. I had at least three "opportunities."

Check out the rest of the photos and you'll see what amazing architecture was used in the renovation of the site, not to mention the breathtaking views of the city.

Don't ask me how the party was allowed to happen-- I never did know what my boyfriend's friend's wife's connection to the place was. (Obviously, my own connection was pretty loose.) The penthouse's main living area didn't even have real floors yet, unlike it does during the party shows. The local jam/techno band Segway played a couple of longs sets of entrancing music that had even the most timid dancing along as some pretty professional looking lights bounced around the large empty space and even up onto the ceiling above.

It was definitely one of the most surreal experiences I've had. I tried to imagine what it would be like to actually live in a place like that and not just party in it: The floor-to-ceiling windows all throughout the house letting in light, the strange quietness of living technically in the city, but also above it. Meanwhile, here I was in dream land, picturing it all as rain drops from the seemingly within-reach clouds fell on my head while standing on the dizzying balcony. Cool indeed.

This latest party at the Locust Point hot spot sure looks fancy-- the suits, the dresses, the art, the professional photographer. But I think our "secret" party was quite a rare and special (and chaotic) event.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bored to soul-eaten death

There is something wrong with me. Something seriously and disturbingly wrong with me. I am done with the semester (and have earned a pretty nice looking GPA if I do say so myself), and yet, I am not excited, I have not responded to this accomplishment with utter joy and happiness, and I am already bored to tears. I have no idea how to entertain myself! When did this happen?

For the first ten years of my life, I was an only child and therefore learned pretty quickly how to enjoy spending time on my own. I usually did this by pretending I was a lion or a deer or something, and I would literally live in that imaginary world for hours. And I never got bored! What creativity! I have always considered myself to be a pretty creative person. So why am I suddenly wasting the day away waiting for inspiration to hit?

I have been looking forward to the summer for quite some time now. True, I'll be very busy soon enough: I'm taking two summer courses throughout June and July and will be continuing my nannying gig for most of the summer. Still, I'll have plenty of down time, and the main reason I've so been looking forward to these summer months is because I've been planning on USING that down time to work on my writing and actually get some fiction written, for Pete's sake! I'm sick of talking about it without actually having anything to show for it.

But what happens when I sit down at the computer, the story I started WEEKS ago sitting in front of me, with tons of time to spare? Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Yes, I've heard of writer's block, thank you, but I refuse to use those dirty little words. Because saying you have writer's block certainly doesn't fix the problem. Of course, you could say the same thing about any complaint. I know I can be good at complaining sometimes, but I know that whining "I'm tiiiiired" repeatedly really won't help me be un-tired. Sigh. Sigh, indeed.

It doesn't help that today has been a pretty blah day weather-wise, and all I've really done is go to the doctor, call Comcast, and eat some soup. Picking up the guitar was just a vain and disappointing attempt at creating something.

Probably one of the main reasons I'm in such a despondent mood (glad you're reading this, aren't you?) is because Justine, my roommate and friend of three years, left this morning to go live on silly Long Island with her friends and family for the rest of the summer. And because I'm moving back to my mom's when the lease runs out, this was our last day of living together.

This is Justine:

Oh wait, no. THIS is Justine:

You are jealous that I got to live with that for so long. To quote Monica from Friends: "It's the end of an ERA!"

So, yeah. Back to living in this huge apartment all by myself.

Which is precisely the reason why I can't let myself waste my time any longer. Because if I do, I'll start to become paranoid and imagine that a soul-eating demon thing is trying to break into my apartment at night when I'm eating Fritos in my Snuggie while watching reruns of Frasier. Or something. This is how my imagination will compensate for the lack of written word.

Nothing like fear as motivation!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Single Babies"

What is your first reaction when you watch this video? My reaction involved some major jaw-dropping action. The fact that CNN is paying attention to it indicates just how strongly people have reacted to the undoubtedly talented but also overly-sexualized six and 7-year-olds.

I mean, I can't dance like that. These girls must have been training since birth. But the fact that they're younger than my youngest sister (who is 8 1/2, and whom I can't imagine ever dancing like this-- shudder), is disturbing. Their talent clearly is the result of some inherent dancing gene, but likely also pushy stage parents. Do they not realize this is every pedo's dream? And, like the anchorwoman says, that the girls are wearing less clothing than Beyonce herself in the original music video? They look like 19th century western child prostitutes. Or 18-year-old college girls on Halloween. Whatever.

In my humble opinion, I think their true talents could have been showcased way differently while still eliciting jaw-dropping action from viewers. But, you know, in a good way. My advice? Less shock value. Also, fewer pelvic thrusts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Dolly's Boots

Reading about Retta Lee Jones’ journey to Nashville was a lot like reading my own diary, except she had prettier boots. It’s a wonderful story about dreams and determination that reminds us all to squeeze the most out of every single day.

--Dolly Parton
Who is Retta Lee Jones? And why is Dolly Parton talking about Retta Lee Jones? And why should you care that Dolly Parton is talking about someone named Retta Lee Jones? Um, because my mom wrote the novel Somebody Everybody Listens To, and it's about Retta Lee Jones.
Yeah. Dolly Parton read my mom's book.
I consider this to be a big deal. I mean, it's not every day that Dolly Parton goes around reading young adult fiction novels and giving blurbs for them. So, needless to say, I'm proud of my momma.
Her book comes out tomorrow, May 13th.  So I suggest you pick up a copy for you and your loved ones and help pay for my college tuition by doing so.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Things to make you laugh

Okay, so I've been less into writing here and more into sharing dumb stuff I happen across on the Internet, but these things are sometimes too good not to share. Also, I'm lazy and currently have nothing of interest to write about.

This is not new to me, but it does bring a tear to my eye just about every time I listen:

I didn't laugh at this initially. But I couldn't help myself when it reached 0:32 seconds:

Tenor Kitteh:

And, as always, a little 90-second educational value for your busy day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Owl Girl

Look out, Night
Owl Girl's gonna show you how it's done
Gonna stay awake
Till I see the sun

Not done yet!
Owl Girl's got somewhere to be
So look out on the roads
Steer clear of me

Now that it's 4 a.m., I might as well stay up. I have to be up at 6:40 for ten long hours of babysitting.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This just made my day

I am officially passing my clarinet down to my youngest sister who wants to "learn how to play allll the instruments in the world. Except for the cello." In all my nostalgia for the instrument, I happened across this video, and it made me really really happy.

Linsey Pollak drills out a carrot and turns it into a clarinet and plays it, live looping with a Boss RC20 to record 3 layers....from his solo show "Making Jam"

Bye, Buddy

Tonight, my sisters had an argument over whether or not unicorns can fly. It really is amazing just how naturally (and often) they can bring unicorns into a conversation.

Because of this, I got to thinking about narwhals again (like I often do), and then I got to thinking about this wonderful little clip:

And just so there's educational value in this post:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sleepytime Tea

This is what I'm drinking right now. Tea cleverly branded in such a way to make me believe it will help me fall asleep. Sleepytime tea. I'm totally willing to buy into it, even if it does have a picture of a bear with a cat sitting on its lap. That cat would be DEAD in real life. Then again, that bear wouldn't be wearing a nightgown and cap in real life, either, so maybe I shouldn't take it too seriously.

See? THIS is the reason why I can't fall asleep at night. I literally think about this kind of crap. Bears and the cats sitting in their laps haunt me at night.

I think this is a nice ritual, though. Tea doesn't usually do anything for me in the morning in terms of waking up, but caffeine-free tea just might do the trick to get me to sleep at night.

Justine and I watched the movie "Once" tonight, and I really enjoyed it. I've been wanting to see it for the past couple of years since I heard the song "Falling Slowly" that became popular as a result of the movie.

The entire soundtrack was done by Glen Hansard's band The Frames, who've been around since 1990, a fact I wasn't aware of. Hansard and then 19-year-old Marketa Irglova co-wrote the above Grammy-winning song and went on to form their own group, The Swell Season. Now THIS I did not know until I did a little research just now! I thought, "Hmm, The Swell Season. Sounds familiar, but I'm not sure if I know them."

Actually, they have a pretty successful song that I've heard many a time on trusty WTMD!

All of these things have made me very happy for the Internet, evil thing that it is. I've got to remember to buy The Swell Season's album.

Now, I'm all finished with my Sleepytime tea, but I don't want to go to sleep. I've made good progress over the past five days, all of which I've had off from class and babysitting. I've been figuring out my next (and final) steps toward reaching my goal of early graduation, and it looks like the pieces are falling into place. The more I think about December and how I'll be done with it all ridiculously soon, the more I fantasize about what to do next. Still not sure about that one.

Uh oh, looks like it's going to be another sleepless night. Might as well stay up and be useful somehow. Think I'll read a book that has nothing to do with school.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I've been a bad, bad blogger...

But I've had other things to worry about since my last post over a month ago. Like my trip to California, $1,500 car repairs, and my general inability to sleep. I refuse to complain once again about my insomnia to anyone but a doctor, so I'll just say it's been interesting. Each night, as I toss and turn until 4 a.m. or so, I do a lot of thinking. I have plenty of time to collect tidbits of inspiration for my novel, so that's nice. Tons of writers have been known to be crazy, so maybe that's the path I'm headed down. Good! I'll be legitimately awesome in no time, then.

As for the car, after two straight weeks of not driving it, and after a total of $1,500 being spent on new brakes, alignment issues, and tires, I got a speeding ticket and two points on my license. Yessss. Don't depend on your cuteness to get out of 'em, ladies. Doesn't always work. Will hope for better in the courtroom. (A male or lesbian judge would be preferable.)

Of course, this is coming from someone who "flatters" herself. According to a classmate of mine, anyway. As I'm walking toward the parking garage coming from class this evening, eager to get home and have a dinner of leftovers at 9:30, I'm approached by a classmate who has quickened his pace to catch up with me. He starts up a conversation, innocently enough, and I'm happy to talk. But I'm already starting to think how I'm going to insert the "I have a boyfriend" thing into the conversation. Because I think most people agree that when a dude comes up to a chick to ask, "So do you like that class?" (or, "Do you come to this bar often?" or "Do you want to come back to my place?") that he is interested in more than just a one-time small talk incident. Maybe I'm close-minded, but I think of this as generally agreed upon.

So as we're about to part ways, he thanks me for talking with him and says he's wanted to do so for some time. My opportunity! Well that's nice of you, I say. But I do have a boyfriend. You know, if that's what you were... yeah. He says it jokingly, but still he says, Way to flatter yourself! And this is where girls can't win. Because if we let guys continue to flirt with us and are just polite in return, not wanting to say outright that we have boyfriends because it would seem rude (or something), we've led them on and are, therefore, a tease. But if we tell a guy right off the bat (right after he's just confessed he's wanted to talk to us for a long time) that we're not available, we're conceited.

Next time a guy asks me if I like a class, I'll say, Yeah! But my ex-husband thinks I should drop out of school since I'm pregnant with his baby and all.

Anyway. I'm good at ranting about the annoying stuff. Maybe I should shut up and post pictures from California. I won't post all 150+ photos, but I'll pick the best of the bunch. The whole collection in sequence could be made into a book about a man named John who roams around California because I lingered behind him so much, taking pictures all the while.