Monday, September 29, 2008

there's nothing better than the sound of laughter, except maybe...

And three weeks later, she writes... do you see? If I've ever said on here (I know I've said other places) that I'm cyclical, let this be evidence to that. In the next week or two, I'll probably write four or five posts, and then I'll fall off the planet again leaving poor Nicole holding it up without me, although she's done a fantastic job. (She's like Atlas, isn't that cool? No shrugging, though. And I know, I'm lame--but Ayn Rand is a crazy person.)

Actually, speaking of lame, oh man I amaze myself. So I could live off of bad puns. This is why Tim Bass completes my life. Today, I got back from my lunch break during work, and I'd gotten pretty hot driving around in the car (that's important, I'm not just telling you). Well, I came inside, set my stuff down in my office, and then decided I had to use the bathroom. After I came out of the stall, I was walking up to the sink to wash my hands and saw in the mirror how red my face was from the heat and said out loud: "WOW I'm flushed."


Okay, but it gets better than puns.

This weekend I went on a retreat with Intervarsity and on the way there I rode with Alicia, her boyfriend, friend Jamie, and other friend Nathan (not Ned, if anyone remembers his butter post). We stopped at KFC on the way there to eat, and let me tell you, we spent the whole however long we were in there cracking up. And we were loud, oh man. Basically I was dying, couldn't breathe from laughter, Alicia couldn't quit snorting, and Jamie laughing is an event in and of itself.

Now you should know we were laughing at this sort of thing: Nathan unwrapped his snacker, spread it out all girly with pinkies out. And then a few seconds later grabs his belly and says, "Guys, I really shouldn't be eating this." How old are we? Surely twelve. Because that sent me into convulsions, and everyone else sort of followed. And I was convinced everyone in the dining area wanted to yell at us, but we were enjoying ourselves and apparently we weren't the only ones enjoying us.

BECAUSE. About five minutes before we left, this guy came up to our booth in the corner and said,

"I just wanted to let you guys know that the sound of your laughter in here made my night."

Pause. Aw, thank you. You have a wonderful night sir. Those sorts of thoughts, and I think we started to say them. We smiled at least, got at the thank yous. But then he continued,

"There's nothing better than the sound of laughter, except maybe sex and laughter."

Uh. That guy just went there. Seriously? Well I don't know, and none of the rest of us have any idea, but that guy was convinced. Man sex and laughter, that's where it's AT! (That is, man! the exclamation, comma, sex and laughter. Not man sex like man-sex. Just to be clear.) And then he sort of creepily backed away and walked out, only to walk right past us a second later (outside, through the window) blowing kisses at us.

So I guess I'm glad we made his night. And even now I have no idea how to respond to that. Except that I want to pick at the sentence and wonder if he meant the sound of laughter while having sex? Or the sound of laughter and the sound of sex, because then it just gets even worse. I'm seeing this man living in his apartment complex with a glass cup pressed to the wall with his ear pressed to the glass, listening.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

let's talk about freshmen

those 12 year old looking, overstuffed backpack wearing, "where is S&B?" asking, born in 1990, all over everywhere can't escape from freshmen. yeah, you know who i'm talking about...

they don't even have to wear their typical teal t-shirts with the big "ORIENTATION 2008" stamped on their backs to alert us to the fact they are, indeed, first year students. but of course, they do anyway... usually because this early on it's probably the only UNCW-related clothing item they have (unless they're one of the chosen few whose parents bought them a sweatshirt or hat when they came for a tour while they were still in high school or as they were here for orientation in the summer..."here you go, bobby! wear this UNCW shirt and soak up some seahawk pride before you even get accepted!").

you can't NOT notice them even if you wanted to. they walk around shouting "CLASS OF 2012!" while still wearing their "CLASS OF 2008" high school t-shirts. please just go around yelling, "CLASS OF 2012 INFANTS!" it's more accurate and much more amusing for the rest of us. man, 2012... seems light years away. we'll be graduating from grad school by the time these kids make it outta here.
let's hope the mayan end of the world comes before they're set loose into life. they're who'll be running the country with and after us? lord help us all! they'll probably end up with miley cyrus as president. and her alter ego hannah montana as VP. they want the best of both worlds!

it doesn't help matters that UNCW let in an inordinate amount this year, resorting to triple occupancy rooms in certain dorms... that's right... TRIPLE. *flashback to freshman year when you remember being stuffed into that 2x4 over-sized closet with some random person you'd never met before in your life -cringe- now imagining it with a THIRD random person taking up what little closet space you already had, not to mention general breathing room -double cringe-*

there are two kinds of freshmen: the shy, quiet ones who walk to class with their head down and sadly :-( sit alone in wag when not awkwardly going with their roommate, afraid to say something aka anything that would make them come off as the scared and unprepared froshie that they are; and then there is the egotistical, still think they're seniors in high school, know someone who goes to the college already, i'm-in-college-now-and-have-more-freedom-than-i-know-what-to-do-with-so-i-think-i'm-really-cool-and-need-to-let-the-world-know-it-so-they-don't-think-i'm-the-scared-and-unprepared-froshie-that-i-am freshmen.

let's be honest here, kids. both of those just end up screaming "I'M A FRESHMAN! WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF?!" to the point that you might as well walk around with "2012" stamped on your forehead, just to make things a little bit clearer. but like i said, we already know you're a freshman anyway, could smell the unmistakable mix of fear, naivete, and angst on ya from all the way down the other end of chancellor's, so don't freak out and lock yourself in your dorm room, we won't actually make you do that.

i mentioned they were born in 1990, right? 1990! i mean, come on! they can't even pretend to the remember the eighties like us 1987 and 1988er's do because they weren't even ALIVE. while we were running off to kindergarten, they were still learning how to walk and use the potty. the Power Rangers weren't even Mighty Morphin' anymore by the time they got around to watching TV besides barney! i don't know if that statement just made me more feel like i'm pushing granny status or that the freshman are even younger than i thought (tell me, is it pampers or huggies that are the better at protecting against diaper rash these days?).

and it's true. i'll admit it. we were all freshmen at one point. in fact, we're freshmen twice counting high school, which was basically the same scenario, except we were big-headed, 13 year old, just 8th graders aka kings and queens of the middle school, so of course we were even more awkward and terrified then. but let's admit this, too...we were never THAT awkward and small and all over the place. i'm barely 5 feet and i feel like at any moment i could step on one of them and that'd be the end of that!

but i digress. my goal here is not to froshie bash. well...ok...maybe a little (don't deny it, you love and do it, too). my point is this: chin up, kids, because we're all essentially awkward. you all just happen to be a lot more awkward than any of us upperclassman are at the moment, but it's really just because we've learned to hide it better. and hey, in less than a year you'll already be sophomores and YOU'LL be the ones froshie bashing, swearing on your lives that you were never that weird and managed to be both a freshman and cool. uh...yeah, keep telling yourselves that...

(but us upperclassmen as freshmen? yeah, sorry, we actually were that cool.)

good luck, class of 2012!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

not everyone loves the jonas brothers

And I quote from WauwatosaNOW in Wisconsin:

"Pop idol comment leads to boy popping off

Not everyone loves the Jonas brothers.

A 17-year-old Brookfield boy was arrested for disorderly conduct in Mayfair Mall, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, after defending his non-Jonas-like appearance.

According to police:

Mall security watched as the boy, seemingly walking alongside a 17-year-old West Bend boy, turned and hit the other boy with a closed fist about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The West Bend boy fell backward into a store display.

When mall security intervened, the victim said while in GameStop, he told the Brookfield boy that he resembled a Jonas brother, a music group popular with young, teenage girls.

Offended by the comment, the Brookfield boy followed the West Bend boy outside of the store, struck a fighting pose and told him to say it again to his face. When the West Bend boy walked away, he attacked him.

He told police he overreacted to being called a Jonas brother. He suspected his attention deficit disorder was responsible for his poor decision.

absolutely HILARIOUS. i love people. only in America, folks...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

that thing about music i was going on about earlier

[Note: this post is actually taken from a letter I wrote to an old friend about two weeks ago, a small part of which I've already posted. I've edited some out, but I haven't really rewritten any of it, so if there are parts that address or reference a person or a thing and it isn't ever actually explained, that's why. The point of this anyway is music, and that's all you really need to know, because I'm not sure much other than music makes sense.]

I saw Prince Caspian again the other night, and honestly, I'd forgotten how much I love movie music sometimes. And it is absolutely incredible. Now this is important for two reasons. First, there's only one other thing that gets me the way amazing music like this does, and that's equally amazing writing, and even then it's different (I think music is more pure--while with writing, you do get those moments, but there's more sorting through the parts that aren't as emotionally wrought as the rest).

This listening to a clip of "Arrival at Aslan's How" from the soundtrack: Good writing should be like good music. It builds, it lifts, it moves in you, and when it's finished, you go back to it again and again, a reaching hand in the dark for a thing you can't see or hear or fully understand or really even articulate, the kind you can only feel, the kind you only want to feel. And so you fall into it, turn it up, let yourself be moved to somewhere only it can bring you.

That music is incredible, and I want to write words like Harry Gregson-Williams writes music. It's funny I say that too, wanting to write like he composes. The same is true of Hans Zimmer (especially) and John Williams. And you'll know more about this than I do, but the thing the three of them seem to me to have in common is that they all have a knack for writing music full of "heroic grandeur" and "lyrical and heroic themes" (quotes from a description of the Caspian score), and really I just have a soft spot for that kind of thing. I'll go on all day about hope, and I love the beautiful, lyrical things that just build and fill you up and I'm doing a bad job of explaining, but you know the feeling in the music that I mean. I'm missing it with words, I can't quite reach it. But listen to that track, to music like that that's big and beautiful and swells and reaches and does the same thing looking into the sky or even particularly emotional worship does.

What I mean--I think--is this: music like this does something only music like this can do, and it only ever leaves you wanting more of it. In writing, if you're good enough, you can have the reader feeling what you feel, some strong emotion. In music, specifically in the Caspian soundtrack for example--the first time I saw that movie I cried through the whole thing and I'm not making that up (really I'm just a big softy, but don't tell anyone =p). And it wasn't just the fact that the movie was big and noble and amazing and made me wish things were like how they were in the movie, and it wasn't just that this whole living in a world we don't belong in thing is actually real, that every day we're fighting for Christ's kingdom the way Peter and all of the Pevensie children fought for Narnia--all of that's true, but the music embodied it and every time I listen to it it's all I know.

You and I have always been so alike, and I think this is what it is. We both understand and love all of this (in the knowing and feeling way), we're both moved and floored by big things like this, and we're both going to, one day, and with any luck, make music and writing that gets at those things. I'm thinking right now of a quote Tristan's got on his facebook (and so the circle is completed, haha, since it was only ever the three of us in high school nerdy enough to go on about all this) by C. S. Lewis:

"When I attempted, a few minutes ago, to describe our spiritual longings, I was omitting one of their most curious characteristics. We usually notice it just as the moment of vision dies away, as the music ends, or as the landscape loses the celestial light. What we feel then has been well described by Keats as 'the journey homeward to the habitual self.' You know what I mean. For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world. Now we wake to find that it is no such thing. We are mere spectators. Beauty has smiled, but not to welcome us; her face was turned in our direction, but not to see us. We have not been accepted, welcomed, or taken into the dance. We may go when we please, we may stay if we can. 'Nobody marks us.'....The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longings to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret."

This is exactly what I'm talking about, except I'm absolutely crazy sentimental and tenderhearted and probably very foolish, and so I prefer not to think about the fact that the beauty he's talking about is going to turn away, or that we're going to fall away from the feeling we get when we see (or hear) those beautiful things. As always, I'm only ever thinking words like always, like I can keep things I know I can't, that things can stay forever the way, even though I know they shouldn't, I'd like them too. It's like with Colombia--I could never have kept it, the way everything felt while I was there. It felt that way precisely because it was impermanent, the way, to use an awfully cliche example, shooting stars are only beautiful because they burn out so brightly and quickly. The nature of the thing keeps it from being an ''always'' or an ''only ever,'' and I know this, this is rational, but like I said, I prefer to think that maybe we keep things like that forever just because they're so amazing while they last that I'd rather just forget they end and totally immerse myself before, like C. S. Lewis was talking about, we go back to the habitual self.

But there's also something very real in those moments in music. Lasting? Maybe not, I'm not sure, but you can return to it, make your own small beautiful thing. Turn it up till it's all there is.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

the road

Not the book by Cormac McCarthy. But you should read that.

No, I mean the streets of Wilmington and all the craziness they usually cause/result in/otherwise take part in in some way or another. So yesterday, lame lame tropical storm Hanna came through and didn't actually do much of anything, but people were freaking out. Which I don't understand, because this is the coast, and apart from the college students, people here (should) have been through hurricanes before so they (should) know that a tropical storm or a category one hurricane is basically just an excuse to have a party, maybe park your car somewhere else if you live in one of the (many) areas in Wilmington where it floods every time rains. But people hear the words tropical depression and forming off the coast of Africa and suddenly there are two loaves of bread and one gallon of milk left in the whole store. But what I'm getting at is that it ALSO affects people's ability to drive (normally), mine included (I'm loving these parentheses today and I don't know why, it's sort of annoying me as I write).

First, when I went to work yesterday morning, I left about an hour later to go out and grab some breakfast. And on the way to food, I pulled up behind this woman in a Mazda X-something another--anyway, it was a little red convertible with the top down. Mind you, it's misting outside, or whatever you call that thing it does when it's not quite sprinkling, but there's definitely a mist of water falling. And she had in her left hand an American flag. She was holding that thing straight up in the air, and I was behind her for at least a mile and a half, maybe two miles. And to top that, we sat at a light for five minutes. I KNOW her arm was getting tired, she didn't let her arm down or switch arms or rest in any way. And I don't why the heck she was doing it, that's why it was so weird. I mean, maybe she was evacuating and wanted people to follow her? Maybe she couldn't hook it in her window with the top down and, well, couldn't bear to not fly it? Or maybe she just really, really, really loves the states.

And then, then. There is this huge smudge on the inside of my windshield that's only visible at night, particularly in the glare. Well, after prancing around in the wind and rain and lake-puddles last night, we decided to go out and find some energy drinks for all night staying-uppage (I know, I know. You don't have to say it). Once we got the drinks, we were right by campus and one of our friends needed to get something from her apartment so we headed in that direction. At that point, it had started to rain fairly heavily--at least hard enough that, already basically having to stick my head out the window like the Joker just to see anything, I had no idea which way car was even pointing. It was bad. I'm so glad there weren't many cars out there or I'm certain I would have gotten into an accident. BECAUSE, right as we were about to make the left into her apartment area, well--I couldn't really see the left, and it looked like the two lane kind of road that's divided by a grass median, so I tried to go on the other side of the grass. Except it was a regular undivided road, so I turned into where there was a sidewalk and a sign and lots of grass instead of pavement. With someone behind me and another person approaching the intersection, but of them assuredly thinking I was drunk. So while I promise I drive well (if a bit aggressively), I've pretty much proved to everyone that I can't. It was great though, I completely missed the road.

And that was pretty much the most exciting things Hanna brought. It was a little disappointing, to be honest. But I grew up on the coast for all the hurricanes in the '90s, so I admit I'm a little biased, wanting another Fran to hit and all. I woke up for the worst of it around three this morning, and the trees were tossing around a good amount, the security light going on and off. Not much lightning, which is weird, because it wasn't forecast and I remember very distinctly there being almost constant lightning in all the bigger hurricanes I went through as a kid. Maybe we'll get a big one this year? Or next?

But now. Back to the homework I'm not doing. cheers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

thank you, hurricane hanna!

ok, so technically i don't have classes on fridays anyway...but for all those that do, i know there is campus wide rejoicing going on, as the eminent hurricane or tropical storm or w/e hanna has decided to be at the moment has cancelled classes for tomorrow. crazy amounts of rain and wind and maybe even a tornado or two are predicted.

my thoughts? everyone is blowing this whole thing out of proportion and it's gonna be a minor snafu. all i really care about is that the soccer game is cancelled tomorrow, so i don't have to go to work! yess!! i have every intention of not leaving the apartment all weekend, should there be such a storm, and reading and watching DVD seasons of my tv shows. good plan? i thought so.

everyone take care this weekend and stay safe! happy hurricaning! :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

because sometimes i'm rude and tacky

I may not be a very big Obama fan, but I think he handled this pretty impressively:

(quoted from an article on CNN)

"'Let me be as clear as possible,' Obama said. 'I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president.'

Obama said reporters should 'back off these kinds of stories' and noted that he was born to an 18-year-old mother.

'How a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be the topic of our politics, and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that's off-limits.'"

I stand put in my place.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

puns, politics, and mccain is digging his grave

1. I broke my car key off--my titatium key, the one that's probably thirteen years old but is also as heavy as half a roll of quarters--in my car door. I've got a picture, but it's on my new phone, and I still haven't figured out how to get it off yet.

2. At work Sunday, the golf cart we were driving to the soccer game (which we won, by the way, and it was incredible, very movie-like-intense) decided to run out of battery. But mind you, it only ran out of battery in forward. SO I got to drive about a third of way to the soccer field in REVERSE. Basically that's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Things like that only ever happen to us.

3. I'm sure I'm already forgetting some.

4. On a more serious note, I had a conversation in Spanish with a guy from Central America and although I honestly spoke pretty badly, apart from one question, it was completely in Spanish and I swear I got a rush from it.

5. And oh man THE PUNS! Really, you can skip the rest of this post and just read the puns. One by the great and wondrous Tim Bass and the other by me. Both brilliance.

Expanded version below:

1. All right. So this is what happened. Got off work (secretary job, not the concessions job) at one, headed out to my car to leave. Now, my key is pretty big. So sometimes I don't get it all the way in the lock before turning it just because the thing is so long, and it doesn't turn--but it's not anything at all, I just make sure it's in all the way and the car opens, easy enough. Well, that's what happened, it wasn't all the way in before I turned it. Except all of a sudden my wrist kept turning and my arm had pulled away from the door. And I just looked at my key in disbelief. That thing is pretty dang solid. Or was, I don't know.

So after I pulled out the piece of the key that was stuck in the lock (apparently, lucky for me, I was able to save about $200 doing that), I got a ride, got my spare from Alicia, and then went over to the Nissan dealership. First, they charged me $9 for a new copy of my key, which I was a bit upset about, but while waiting for them, two amazing things happened:

Had my conversation in Spanish with another guy waiting who had overheard me rocking out to ManĂ¡ (band from Mexico), and it really just reinforces me wanting to go to a Spanish speaking country(ies) this summer. For at least two months. The other three or four weeks shall be designated to visiting friends who go far away for the summer (very sad face). I'm going to be fluent in Spanish, it's only a matter of how long, and that's it.

Best thing ever though--when I told the guy who worked for Nissan that I'd broken the key and showed it to him, he and his coworker looked from me to the key and back again with looks on their faces that absolutely said: "How in God's name did she do that??" I still have no idea. Complete disbelief. Only word for it.

2. Pretty much self explanatory. We drove the golf cart for at least two minutes in reverse. It was a rush, let me tell you. And oh man, I even backed it through a fence and up next to the concessions stand and dodged a bicylcer coming straight for me. All while weighed down by all our stuff, going downhill in the mud, a thunderstorm looming overhead. It was a feat, wish you'd been there to laugh with us =).

3&4. Turns out I did, and see number one. Actually, we'll use these for the conversation I just had with my roommate's boyfriend, Scott. So we're talking about McCain, and no offense to any McCain supporters (this does not mean I'm an Obama fan either--and I did choose to use the word fan instead of supporter for a reason) but oh man. Okay, so we're talking about how basically things just keep getting worse and worse for him in terms of winning the presidency. First, Sarah Palin. And her pregnant teenage daughter. This is bad because she voted for abstinence only sex education, and I don't know whether or not I agree with her on that or not, but sucks for her image that her daughter's pregnant now. And also, about six months ago she voted to slash funding for homes for pregnant teens.

And then there's the fact that McCain is really the walking dead. Scott was telling me about how everytime he forgets what his stance on a particular political subject is (yes, he forgets--possibly the alzheimer's?) first, to state that he did in fact forget, and then to say that his stance is whatever the president's is. Does he know what Bush's approval rating is?? Are you serious?? How does that help him in anyway whatsoever? So then I said that he's just digging his grave deeper and deeper. Ah-hah, because he's so old, I love it.

5. And now for the (intended) puns:

Tim Bass (greatest professor in the entire world--literally, you will cry from laughter the entire class, every single time. And you'll learn a lot and be slightly intimidated, but mostly just be in awe of the wit) walked into another class of mine before it started a few days ago, and one of the students had brought brownies to class, so another says, "Hey Tim, you want a brownie?"

He waits for a second, gets that mischiefy smile on his face, and responds, "If you were offering me Indian food, I'd accuse you of trying to curry favor!" Teheheheee.

And second one. I was having a conversation about music with a friend of mine, and he started talking about ska. So I said that was cool, did he mean like Five Iron Frenzie, that kind of thing? He did, and then started naming a few bands, so I asked if he'd heard of Enter the Haggis. He hadn't, so I told him that he should definitely listen to them, that they were awesome, that they weren't your typical ska (ie Five Iron Frenzy), but they were still ska-ish. Oh yessss, I said it.

=) it's been a good week.