Thursday, June 30, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Letter to Prince Charming

Dear Prince Charming,

My name is Brianna; I got your P.O. box address from a friend of mine (you might know her, then again you might not, she's the one sitting on the couch behind a book as big as her head) and I would like to take this chance to say a couple things.  For your convenience, I shall number them.

One.  I would like to compliment you on your perfection.  You really are spectacular.  It's alarming how are.  I would love to know who designs your wardrobe, because I'd like to talk to them about a wardrobe for myself.  Anyway.  You're perfect.  Not only are you devilishly attractive, but you're witty, intelligent, alluring, brave, adventurous, self-assured, and of course, highly desirable.  In fact, everyone's looking for you.  That brings me to my second comment.

Two.  Where are you?  I keep hearing about people looking for you, and I have to admit that I picked up a raggedy map that promised it would divulge your location, but I probably would have been better off using a GPS.  You seem to be lost in some unplottable location because I haven't seen on any Facebook statuses that someone's found you.  I would have thought I would hear by now.  If you've been lost for so long, it's only a matter of time that someone'll find you.  Maybe you should hold a press conference and give some clues as to where someone can find you.  Only the cleverest or most devious people need apply, unless you have clones that you can give to the less than worthy.

Three.  Where did you come from?  If you can't tell me where you are, the least you can do is tell me where you're from.  I'm guessing you're not from an alien planet or a different dimension (unless you're The Doctor), but you had to come from somewhere.  Who are your parents?  I get the feeling that you were raised by Optimism and Imagination with Disney as a close godfather who came over for dinner weekly.  Nurtured on the food of dreams, happy thoughts and pixie dust seasoning, you grew up to be your perfect self.  The most desired man in the world, right next to Mr. Right.  Unless of course you're the same person, but that's another question altogether.

Four.  What are you looking for?  Brains?  Brawn?  Beauty?  I know a couple people who would be prime candidates for your consideration, so if you're interested, you should really give me a call: ***/***-****.

Five.  What are you waiting for?  I find it really interesting that girls and women of all ages are looking for you, even though the majority of them wish to be pursued by you.  So are you waiting for them to find you so you can give chase?  But what if you're tired of the chase?  Where does that leave your ardent admirers?  I can tell you right now that if you just come out of hiding for a little while, you're bound to get laid almost immediately.  I say "almost" because it might take a little time for clothes to be torn off, but all the same, you'd be in pretty good shape considering you're in high demand.  If someone were selling you, they should hike up the price because there's only one of you, and everyone wants you.  Just think of the profit that people could make off of you...  (Cynical Brianna pipes up and points out that's how Godfather Disney did it.)

Six.  This may be a radical idea, and you might not agree, or this paragraph might be the reason why you don't write back to me, but can I be my own Prince Charming?  Theoretically, all I have to do is transfer those complements I gave you to me, and then I could be devilishly attractive, witty, intelligent, etc.  I'm not talking narcissism here, I'm talking self-love, which is a milder and healthier form of narcissism.  Would that be cool?  Would you be okay with that?  I'm saying that if I become the type of person I would find desirable, would you come out of hiding and introduce yourself?  Then there's the whole thing that maybe I would be too much like you that we couldn't get along, but we could work it out, right?  But if I become my own Prince Charming, will I still need you?  I also wonder if there will be other people in the world that will be drawn to me and my Charming-ness and maybe then I could settle for the court jester or a traveling minstrel or the jack-of-all-trades I saw working on repairing the waterwheel in town.  At that point would it still be considered "settling" if I had the attributes I find desirable in Prince Charming and then love between myself and a serf?

Don't get me wrong, I'm still a huge fan of yours, you're still on my Christmas AND birthday wish lists since just about forever, but if there's only one of you, and there are how many me's?  I'm just trying to figure things out so everyone can win.

Anyway, if things don't work out with Cinderella/Snow White/Rapunzel/Sleeping Beauty, give me a call.

Yours ever,

P.S.  I found this super cute poem that I thought you might enjoy: Prince Charming.

Prince Charming vs. Dragon
"Someday your Prince Charming will come.  Mine just took a wrong turn, got lost, and is too stubborn to ask for directions."
- Unknown
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | By: Brianna

Analytical or Chaotic?

Q:  Would you consider yourself analytical?  Why or why not?  (Thank you, Melbourne!)

A:  Brianna sat down at her dining room table which was covered by the birthday tablecloth (still, even though the birthday party had already passed) and opened up her computer, waiting for the familiar welcome screen to greet her and demand her password.  Entering her secret word(s), Brianna navigated to Google Chrome and her blog approximately forty minutes before the day would end and her chance to write a Tuesday post would be gone.  While staring at the blank box that beckoned her fingers to begin typing, Brianna opened a sixth tab for Pandora.  Lovely.

Google Chrome's fifth tab held the definition for "analytical" (which Google Chrome insists isn't a word.  Silly Chrome...).  Brianna realized too late that the definition was actually for "analytic," but it was close enough, so she shrugged and copied it into her blog post:


pertaining to or proceeding by analysis ( opposed tosynthetic).
skilled in or habitually using analysis.

It was true that Brianna's brain refused to work that evening, leading to the necessity of formally searching for the definition of the word, but anyone who knew Brianna would understand that she wasn't accustomed to working so late during the summer months.  Brianna's green eyed stare shifted towards the definition, her jaw slackening and hanging open as her eyes drooped and blinked lazily.  Analytical?  The initial response was easy: no.  At least, that was the answer she was inclined towards.

But then again Brianna had a habit of being very logical about the most illogical of situations.  Or the situations that resisted logic.  Though Brianna was inclined to say that she was not analytical in the least, a negative answer would lead towards agreeing that she was exemplary of the antonyms of analytical: chaotic, illogical and disorganized.  Words which weren't all that accurate either.  Brianna's indecisiveness reared its greasy gray head and grinned a ghoulishly teethy smile, sticking its tongue out at Brianna's work ethic.  Brianna's work ethic decided to take the high road and ignore the indecisiveness.  So yes.  And no.  If analytical was on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the most nonsensical illogical person you could think of, and 10 being the most logical and methodical person imaginable...Brianna decided that she would probably be a 5.5.  Or something like that.

And there you have it, Melbourne, Brianna's indecisiveness hopes you have enjoyed this blog post and that you find it satisfactory.
Monday, June 27, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Libraries and Dance Parties

According to The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy, a "library" is a place where strange bound bunches of paper called "books" are kept.  A tradition held on Earth requires silence within a library, and the enforcers of this silence are called "shushers," or more commonly as "librarians."

An example of a librarian from the historically accurate film, Ghostbusters.
Of course in other star systems such as TrifectaVeritas, silence within a library is not only frowned upon, but it is viewed as an insult to the deceased writers that are preserved within the legs of all the reading tables.  Therefore, great shouts of anguish or hysterical bouts of laughter are encouraged and applauded whenever they happen at quarter past the hour every day.  It can only be assumed that Earth tradition's silence requirement is a sign of respect for those who cannot read while others are chattering in their ears or listening to loud music.  To those people, The Guide tips their metaphorical hat and informs them that they should probably start learning how to read in the midst of distraction or die a painfully quiet literary death.

It is interesting to note that those libraries found within the city limits of a certain Midwestern city of the most powerful* country in the world lay empty, silent or depressing while the libraries in the suburbs of that same city host a line** of people prior to the opening of their doors.  And once the swarm of people enter the library, every possible chair/table/desk/swatch of floor space is taken up by someone reading, studying or just generally trying to look studious and possibly failing.

A neighboring entry in The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy outlines the method of starting a spontaneous dance party spontaneously and preserving the spontaneity of such an act.  Though dance parties are commonly accompanied by music and large groups of people moving around in some semblance to the rhythm pumping through people-sized speakers, The Guide insists that a dance party might be organized without music at all and with great distances established between dancers.  Dance parties without music in public places are strongly encouraged by The Guide as it is a sign of great joy or enthusiasm for life ahead.  But if music is found to be a necessity, then anything with loud bass and a lack of coherent lyrics is found preferable***.

* The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy cannot be found liable for wildly inaccurate facts or opinions if they're already widely held opinions that are just being repeated for your benefit.
** The Guide neither condones nor condemns standing in line for library openings, amusement park rides or the release of obscure video games.
*** The music referrals by The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy in no way reflect the opinions of the editors.  In fact, it may be said that the opinion of the editors is that fish may fly on zeppelins during Thursday afternoon tea.

"The loneliness was still there, but it was getting louder and easier to dance to."
- Unknown
Sunday, June 26, 2011 | By: Brianna


Give me definitions,
     give me rhyme.
Give me heart and sole
     and maybe time.
Give me alligator skin
     and crocodile tears.
Give me candlesticks
     and childhood fears.

I'll give you verses
curling around fingertips
if you write me
a future with us
We can live on bookmarks
and dine on commas,
sweet silence dripping
from our lips.

The thought of giving reminds me of two stories.  First of all is The Giving Tree which tells the story of a tree who gives up her everything for the boy she loves.  It's the story of ultimate altruism and absolute true love.  Sure, it doesn't sound like a tree should love a boy, but when someone's been swinging around in your branches since he was little, chances are love would develop.  Second there's The Gift of the Magi.  I haven't read it in years, but I remember the giving in that story also illustrates the great love found between this couple.

Though giving and receiving gifts always makes me feel uncomfortable in some senses because I never know how to adequately thank the person or exactly what gift is right for them, I've found that gift giving is a way for people to demonstrate their love of someone.  The fact that they thought long and hard about what to give you is supposed to mean more than the actual gift itself.  The idea of materialism factors in here somewhere, but I like to think that purchasing a gift for someone is supposed to mean something.  It's more important than the price of the gift or the purchase of material to make happiness.  Maybe that goes without saying, but in a society that focuses way too much on material means as a path towards happiness, sometimes it needs saying.

Thank you, Sunday Scribbling!

"If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart."
- Arab Proverb
Saturday, June 25, 2011 | By: Brianna


Q:  Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school?  (Thank you, 100 Random Questions!)

A:  Yes.  For seventh and eighth grade I went to this "Academic Center" for smart people.  When we tested in, they told us we were gifted.  I still don't believe it, especially based on the caliber of the students that were in some of my classes.  Let's not talk about it.  This Academic Center was part of a larger high school which wasn't the best high school in the area.  In fact, it's safe to say that the high school has a bad reputation.  So the entire school had a uniform, including the Academic Center.  We had to wear white collared shirts (either polos or just plain button downs) and dark bottoms.  We could wear dark dress pants or jeans.  And we could also wear skirts if they came to the knee or lower.  But we couldn't wear capris, which I found weird.

Oppressive uniform to keep us in line.
Thanks, Google!
This high school also had metal detectors at the entrance to the school, including those fancy little conveyor belts that the airport has where you had to put your backpack every morning.  It was a real pain.  We also had to wear our IDs around our necks, and if we got caught without our ID on...well, then we got to go to detention.  I never had to worry about that.

Then I got to high school.  I swore I would never wear a white collared shirt again, but this high school had what was called a "dress code."  Not necessarily a uniform, but a "dress code."  Which I still maintain is the same thing.  We had to wear THE polo from our school which came in a variety of colors.  There was also the difference between the old logo and the new logo, both of which featured a cross of sorts because we were a Catholic school.  Kind of.  We could only wear pants.  Dress pants with no patch pockets.  My freshman year that meant that you could wear all sorts of wild colored pants as long as they didn't have patch pockets.  The rule evolved, and we were only allowed to wear: black, khaki, stone or blue pants.  What's stone?  I would guess gray.

That's me on the right from senior year.  Though my hair's covering the logo on my polo.
You have no idea how difficult it was to get this stinking picture.
So yes.  Uniform for a long time.  Six whole years.  At my high school, you could also wear hoodies and jackets if they had to the school logo on them.  Otherwise, you'd get asked by the Dean to put your sweater away.  Even if it was really cold.  Yeah.  You could also wear t-shirts if they were from school sponsored events, but you had to wear a polo underneath.  Which got a little warm...but you dealt with it if it meant you could wear a better shirt!
Friday, June 24, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Unspoken Sentiments

Today in the last couple minutes of Poetry Friday, I have decided to read a poem from my friend Claire's blog, Musings of a Rhythm Junkie.  I'm reading "Unspoken Sentiments," the latest (spelled that "lastest" just now...) poem on her blog!

This poem has a lot of massively amazing imagery with regards to writing.  I for one am a sucker for poetry/fiction that writes about writing, so the first couple of stanzas in this poem are really fantastic for me.  I really like how Claire makes the act of writing so tangible, affixing words to paper and pinning them down.  The comparison to a hand grenade is particularly vivid because it evokes the idea that words can be dangerous or combative.  But at the same time, the speaker "breathes life" into the lines of poetry.  So not only can poetry give life, but it can also be a weapon used for battle.  I find it interesting that the speaker sees the act of hiding her poetry as an act of protecting herself, but I think that it could also be that by hiding her poetry she's protecting those around her from the power her words hold.  If that makes any sense at all.

The speaker goes on to say that she wishes she was brave enough to voice her unspoken sentiments.  I feel that the act of putting those sentiments down on paper takes an enormous amount of courage and that should also be respected.  The extended image with the butcher knife "slicing and dicing" is graphically beautiful in all of its horror.

1.  Write about an unspoken secret.  Does pinning it to paper help alleviate the pressure of keeping it secret?
2.  Write an extended metaphor/image of violence done out of love.  Or an action that stands in for something positive, though it appears negative.
3.  Write a poem in the spirit of "Unspoken Sentiments."  What unspoken sentiments do you foster?
Thursday, June 23, 2011 | By: Brianna

The Day After

Q:  So how are you this morning?

A:  Just fine.  I may have slept until 10 AM, but it was delicious, I can tell you that right now.

Q:  What are your plans for today?

A:  Today I plan to make a prototype/draft/initial drawing of the Marauders Map that I'm going to be making for my staff.  Of course there's a slight possibility that members of my staff might read this blog, leading to spoiling the surprise and all of my fun, but that possibility is slight.  And even if it was true, I probably wouldn't want to know because I'd like to pretend that it'll be a surprise.  Anyway, this Marauders Map is going to be one of those signs where the RAs can move a little marker to let their residents know where they are at all times.  Oftentimes RAs forget to move the marker, but that's quite alright.  So I'm making this Marauders Map inspired sign thingy and the little markers are going to be footprints with a little banner that says the name of the RA!  I'm SO beyond excited, there aren't enough words to describe it.  I'm geeking out, I kid you not.  There will be pictures.

I'm also hosting rehearsal at my house for The Grimm Players, the fairy tale performing troupe that I'm directing.  It occurs to me that I should probably go out and look for costumes for that, but considering I had little to no luck finding costumes last time and I would have to fill the car up with gas...I'm disinclined to leave the house today.  Which makes me a hermit, and I'm okay with that.  For the most part.  Anyway, it's horribly difficult to find a brown zip up hoodie for dirt cheap (which is the only price I'm willing to pay for a hoodie that I'm going to destroy anyway).  You wouldn't think it'd be that big of a deal, but apparently it is.  Which is frustrating.

I should probably read as well so I can stop complaining about how I haven't been reading.  I finished How to Buy a Love of Reading, and to avoid spoiling the book...let's just say that the ending is a little surprising.  Okay, a lot surprising.  I enjoyed the book overall, especially the writer, Bree McEnroy who I could relate to.  According to her backstory, she believed in happy endings and wrote stories that always ended well.  She was whimsical and enjoyed the little things in life, but then her soul was eaten alive and she started writing really bad metafiction that got published despite the fact that it was horrible.  So basically, I have to avoid the soul eating, and I'll be golden.  That's what I've learned from this book: avoid soul eating situations.

Oh this post is going to be thrilling to read when I look back on it.  I'm just...gonna go...have a good Thursday!

"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
- C.S. Lewis
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 | By: Brianna

Birthdays and Dreams

Q:  I have no questions for you today.

A:  What?  Really?

Q:  Well.  Go ahead and write something.

A:  Fine.  Well.  Last night, I had a really strange dream.  I was walking up and down the hallway of my building at school, the floor that I was in charge of during last school year.  But something was wrong because there were papers strewn about everywhere.  I remember thinking that I needed to check the floor lounge while I was on my round, but there isn't a floor lounge in that building.  Somehow in my dream I knew that there was and I didn't question it.  When I opened the door to the floor lounge, I was smacked in the face by this absolutely horrible smell.  It smelled just like vomit, and I looked around to find a bunch of papers all over, and trash...and when I looked down I found a puddle of vomit that I had just avoided stepping in.  It was just over the threshold.  And then I woke up.  Thank goodness.

Today is my birthday!  I've decided that that's going to be my answer to every question today.
1:  What did you do today, Brianna?
2:  It's my birthday!
1:  So what did you eat for dinner?
2:  It's my birthday!
1:  What do you think about world hunger?
2:  it's my birthday!
I woke up to the traditional door decorations that my mother put up at I have no idea what hour of the night.  There's a poster that says it's Brianna's 21st and "She's a shotglass of sunshine!"  Mom and I made up that saying I'm not even sure when or about what.  We may have been thinking of random band names, and that was the best we came up with.  We liked it so much that we never forgot it.  

My mommy got me this ring:
Thank you, as usual, Google!
It was in a box with a balloon attached to it and when I saw it I smiled.  I still can't stop smiling!

My dad took me to Charles Schwab to do something with money and stocks and retirement.  I didn't really understand it, but the lady at the counter just kept saying "God forbid something happens to you..." or variations of the same phrase.  I've never heard "God forbid" so many times in one twenty minute period.  It was awful.  Then we went to the DMV to see if we could get me a new license, but because of the power outages in the area, they were closed.  Luckily, Dad took me out to lunch where this attractive young man with tattoos and piercings put together a gigantic corned beef sandwich for me as well as one for Dad.  We decided that we probably should have ordered just one sandwich to share, but we hadn't thought of it.  Ah well.

And then I picked up sticks.  Because it's my birthday!

We're having French toast because it's my favorite, and I'm helping to make it because I know how it's supposed to be done.

And I have come to the realization that though I have gotten quite a few birthday wishes via Facebook and other means of communication, my own brother who lives in the same house with me has not wished me a happy birthday.  The real realization is how much I care about it and how much it hurts my feelings.  Who knew that two words repeated practically to meaninglessness could be so important depending on who they come from?  Go figure.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hopelessly Devoted to...

Q:  Name something you would like to devote more time to seeing or doing.  (This prompt comes from the prompt box that I made yesterday.  I kinda cheated because I wasn't in the mood to write fiction this morning.  Next time though...)

A:  Reading.  Simple as that.  There are times when the pull of the computer (of Facebook and StumbleUpon) is just too great and I can't help but sit down in front of it and devote hours of my time to it.  Once I've written a blog post though, that should be my allotted time at the computer, and I should give up trying to check the comments on a Facebook status that I thought was too clever for people to miss.  But then I start to wonder if Jacques (my computer) will get lonely if I don't spend hours watching reruns of television shows on Netflix for hours on end (this month it's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 5).  And I wouldn't want an inanimate object to get lonely, now would I?

But I love to read.  I don't know why I don't start thinking that the novels sitting dusty on my bedroom floor are getting lonely.  They have each other, right, and Jacques is the lone piece of electronic beauty in the room.  No, bookmarks are not the only suitable companions for the literature I crave.  When at school all I want to do is read something fun, I finally get the chance over the summer and I do exactly what I do at school to procrastinate.  Play on the computer.  Isn't this in essence the very conflict that is making people "less likely to read" nowadays?

I want to devote more time to reading because I'm a writer.  If there aren't things out there that will keep my attention, then I need to be writing the things that I would like to keep my attention.  I need to be reading a variety of genres so I can feel comfortable in whatever genre choices I make for my own work.  I need to read poetry, short stories, novels, reference books....anything that I can carry so I can learn from the writers who have come before me.  And learn all the fantastic things that I never would have learned if I hadn't read that one reference book on _____________.  Unfortunately, I have yet to convince myself that non-fiction is worth my time.  I'm far too intimidated by its truth.  But then again, fiction has its own really why am I complaining?

I want to devote more time to reading because it doesn't give me a headache while staring at the computer for too long does (Sorry, Jacques.).  Because my eyes don't dry up after finishing a chapter of some fluff book (my current fluff book being How to Buy a Love of Reading).  Because when I mention that I "read something in a book about...", it sounds infinitely better than: "So I was on StumbleUpon and I found..."  I know this from experience.  Because it's still difficult to find a comfortable "curl up" position with Jacques on my lap, whereas I can curl into my tightest ball and still be able to read properly.  Because I'm an English major, and that's what I should be doing in my spare time in order to be useful to the English community.

It's not like I don't have things to read.  On my Goodreads account, I have well over 200 books on my "to read" list, and that's obviously not taking into account the books that I simply find in the library which tickle my fancy (my fancy is frequently tickled when I'm at the library, that's just the way things go).  And then there are the classics that "everyone should read" just because they're classics.  Though I complain that I don't understand why they're deemed "classic," (really, why is it that EVERYTHING Charles Dickens has ever written has been considered a classic?  Are we judging classic authors or classic books here?) there are still certain books that I've never read and probably should.  For instance, at the time of writing this blog post, I have never read a Charles Dickens book in my life.  So I should probably do that.  Plus how profound and literary would I look if I was just sitting somewhere in a park reading Great Expectations?  Some fellow bookworm might come up to me and ask me out for a drink while we discuss the intricacies of the symbolism found between the pages of our favorite book which just happens to be the same thing.  And then of course we'll discuss our guilty pleasure: Harry Potter.

And then of course there's writing.  Which I should also spend more time doing.  Considering I'm a writer, I spend a lot more time doing un-writerly things rather than writing.  Which might be considered bad.  Because I'll get out of practice, and then where will I be?  Nowhere, that's where.  On the bright side, this blog has definitely encouraged me to write something everyday, even if it's just incoherent ramblings about whatever's going on in my life at present or a snippet of fiction that I'll probably never revisit.  But I do have notebooks upon notebooks sitting untouched in my room.  Perhaps while I'm sitting on that park bench with Great Expectations, I can whip out my notebook and scribble down a description of the bookworm that seems to be approaching me.

In short, reading and writing.  What with it being summer and all, I have WAY too much time on my hands to complain about not having time.  So resolution.  Read.  And write.  Let's do this.

"Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow..."
- Lawrence Clark Powell 
Monday, June 20, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Reading

According to The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy, "reading" is an intellectual pursuit taken up by only the most sophisticated of persons, usually leading to a loss of eyesight or growth in overall knowledge.  The Guide goes on to explain that reading requires to use of a certain tool, what is commonly referred to as a "book," or what is referred to on the distant shores of the ocean planet Jettybega 7, a "rag."  (Though it should be stated that on Jettybega 7, the act of reading requires the reader to stand barefoot on the torn-out pages of an Earth book and stare down at it until the reader falls into a trance and topples over in ecstasy.)

To the average Earthling college student, reading is torture.  Whether it be the reading of a thick biology textbook or the reading of a rather enjoyable piece of avant-garde fiction that needs to be finished by the next day.  The Guide hypothesizes that this student attitude held towards reading stems from the primitive reactionary verbalization of "I don't wanna."  This being said, the "I don't wanna" reaction leads any college student to approach literature or what is called "homework," with particular dread.

When the summer season follows hot on the heels* of spring, Earth students are set free into the open air, far from textbooks and homework that they "just don't wanna" do.  Though some students might take advantage of this season to avoid any written work ever, some will pick up brightly colored, floppy  and shortened books called "magazines" or within some circles as "comic books."  And then still others will choose to read frivolous fictions or perhaps even Earth classics such as Jane Eyre and Webster's Dictionary.

Though the students who choose to pursue the classics should probably be revered by their classmates for their dedication to the written word, instead they are reviled and cast aside while their peers hiss at them.  Such is the cost of Earth intellectualism, or perhaps such within the summer months.  Once fall arrives and classes resume, those with the tenacity to continue reading in the midst of homework and the like are stared at in wonder, and asked if they have the time to do their roommates' homework as well.

* The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy can not be held responsible for any puns, cliches, offensive turns of phrase or innuendo that were actually a result of the reader's own interpretation.  The editors staunchly stand by their explanation that: "It's your own damn fault."

"Real luxury is time and opportunity to read for pleasure."
- Jane Brody
Sunday, June 19, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Post about Dad

Q:  Memories about you dad?

A:  Is that really a question?

Q:  Not really...can you answer it anyway?

A:  Well alright, as long as you admit it.  Sure, I'll answer your non-question.  (Anyone who's creeped out or disturbed by my talking to myself raise your hand now...)

My dad's a heating and air conditioning service man, so I remember going on "service calls" with him.  Dad would drive his fire engine red truck to the house where he needed to repair things or talk to the people who live there, and he would always have cashews or corn nuts in little cans between the two front seats of the work truck.  So of course I would snack on those while we were driving.  I also remember playing with magnets that Dad kept on his glove box.

We would also visit Dad's friend in the suburbs.  I would sit on the floor and try to coax any number of the eighty bajillion cats in the house to come and let me pet them or play with them, but because all cats seem to be afraid of small children, I never had much luck.  I remember Dad's friend having a poster from "CATS" on the wall, and one time when we were over there, they were watching "CATS" on PBS.  It was really a perfectly complete picture.

Usually when we were on our way home from a service call, sometimes just me and Dad or with my brother too, we would stop at 7-11 and Dad would get us Slurpees.  It was tradition.  We knew that if we went on a service call with Dad, we would get a Slurpee.  It was an absolute certainty, and may or may not have been a big part of why we went on service calls.  I remember mixing the Coca-cola flavor with the cherry, and sometimes getting whatever new and strange flavor that was there.

Once when Mom was out in California visiting her bestest best friend, Dad took us to Build-a-Bear.  Now, I'm pretty sure we were a little old for Build-a-Bear, seeing as I might have been 15 at the time, making my brother 12, but we had an absolute blast.  I made a wizard teddy bear and 15-year old Brianna was convinced that it would be a good idea to put one of those "noise boxes" in my teddy bear's leg, so every time I cuddle with my teddy bear and I roll over in just the right (or wrong) bear will make magic noises. Depending on who's in the room, it can be either a wonderful conversation starter or really embarrassing.

Though I don't have a picture of "Magic," this bear's too cute to miss!
Thank you, Google!

And though I'm pretty sure that Dad and I don't have too much in common, I still love the guy because he has my best interests in mind.  My junior year of high school, for Spring Break, Dad took me to Arizona.  Just me.  We hung out, Dad did work at the property that he owned down there, and we went to the zoo and a couple of other fun places.  We also took a tour of Arizona State University, which I dragged my heels through the entire time, because I "wasn't interested in going there."  We got a little lost when we were on our way to see ASU's production of "A Comedy of Errors," but it was a fantastic show, so it made up for it.  Dad and Shakespeare apparently made a truce that night and Dad laughed along with me at all the best parts.  I think that was my favorite outing with my dad.  One can only hope there'll be more!

"It is a wise father that knows his own child."
- William Shakespeare
Friday, June 17, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- The Supreme Moment

Today I read a poem by Charles Simic called "The Supreme Moment."  It creates a superb image of an ant about to be stepped upon by a shiny boot.  And because my brain is pretty much moosh right now due to a really activity-filled day, my analysis of this poem will probably be less than stellar.  Or probably be less substantial than usual.  Right.  Heh.

The poem is titled "The Supreme Moment," but depending on the perspective of the reader, an ant being squished by a boot isn't really too supreme of a moment.  I believe that Simic means for the reader to interpret the title as a supreme moment for the ant.  Because really...isn't imminent death supreme?  Anyway, the first word of the poem is "as," and if you read the first stanza the way I did, you might see that that first stanza could act kind of like this: "the supreme moment as an ant is about be be stepped on and it's doing all this [COMMA]...the boot is doing this."  Does this function to emphasize the boot as more significant than the ant?  I'm not really sure.  Perhaps the ant's reflection in the boot is a way of showing that the ant could also be afraid of it's own distorted image?

And now Brianna's laptop (Jacques') battery is running on empty, so have to wrap this up really quick...

1.  Write about something seemingly insignificant to the larger public, but HUGELY significant to the ants in the situation.
2.  Give personality to an inanimate object.  Perhaps wielded against its will?
3.  What do the small trivial things that we kill without thinking think while we're doing that?  Flies...mice...weeds...write a response to human kind's violence.

Taste the Rainbow

Q:  What order do you eat a bag of Skittles and why?

A:  Today's question comes from Melbourne.

As a little kid, you always eat your favorite candy first when you first get home from trick-or-treating because Halloween night is the only time when candy rules don't apply.  Though I can't say that Skittles are the first candies that I eat, I do enjoy them quite a bit.  In thinking about my answer to this question, I thought that I would talk a little bit about how when I was little I would separate the colors into groups.  But I realized when I started typing that I still do that to some extent.  Maybe not in little groupings on my grandmother's table, but in separate parts of my palm when I break open a package.

These are Skittles.
For the three people who didn't know.
Thank you, Google!
So the order which I eat Skittles: green, yellow, orange, red, purple.  I eat Skittles in reverse order depending on how much I like the flavor.  I'm not really a fan of lime-flavored things, so the green goes first.  Lemon is touch and go, so it's second.  Orange is eh, so maybe it should go before yellow, but I've never thought of changing the order...  Anyway, I enjoy the red ones, but I like the purples best.  Sometimes I eat them in order of how many there are.  So if there are a lot of oranges, then I'll eat the oranges before I eat the purples if there were only three purples.

And that's my story.  That's about it.  There's really nothing more to it.
And I'm going to go now.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | By: Brianna

Practically Perfect in Every Way

Q:  Has anyone ever called you "perfect" before?

A:  Not that I recall.  The most common adjective that I've heard people use when describing me is "nice."  Or "happy."  Both of which illustrate the amazing creativity of the people responsible for the description because "nice" and "happy" are two of the blandest words in the English language.  When those words are used, I usually just growl inside my head and try to think of alternatives.  But then I think that I'm being self-centered or self-absorbed by thinking of positive words to describe myself.

In fact, I loathe "perfect" people.  Those people that are described as "perfect" are usually insufferable.  Maybe I'm petty, but every time I've encountered someone who's "perfect," I've hated them instantly.  Because they can't do wrong.  Everyone loves them: teachers, parents, peers, employers, etc.  And they usually get away with anything because they're "perfect."  No one expects them to do anything horrible, and chances are they won't do anything horrible.  It's safe to say that they'll make things better.  They're the people who dress up as angels for Halloween because it's an accurate portrayal of their inner selves.  Or maybe they dress up as hookers, but then they're described as "cute."  And who can ever honestly say that they've seen a "cute" hooker?  Well, if you're perfect, you probably would be one.

Q:  What are you doing today?

A:  There are a number of things that I'm supposed to do today, so I can only hope that I'll actually do them.  Today I need to write a rehearsal schedule for the fairy tale show that I'm directing so my actors know when they have to come to my house to run lines, learn blocking and do activities.  Hopefully it'll make things a lot easier for them because they actually have things to do with their lives whereas I am unemployed and a bum.

I'm also going to my local library to get some movies and music.  Just for an excuse to leave the house, considering I haven't left the house for a while.  Okay, that's not right, I left the house yesterday to buy a Father's Day present for my dad.  I should also return some of the books that I got that I probably won't read.  Like The Interrogative Mood.  Probably not this time around, but it will definitely stay on my list.

And then there's my room.  That big pile of stuff that I don't want that I need to move from that big pile to a bag or box to get ride of.  Clothes, a couple books (including Reading with Lincoln and Malone Dies), and then the gel pens that I will probably never use again.

Finally, I should get a move on reading Jane Eyre.  I've started, and I'm in a pretty good place, but I need to just commit and read instead of spending my entire day on Stumble Upon like I've been doing for the past couple of days.  Because that's my life.

"Love isn't finding a perfect person.  It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
- Sam Keen
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | By: Brianna


Q:  What is on the walls in the room you're in?

A:  Directly in front of me, there's a window in the wall.  There's also a clock that's ticking incessantly (almost as if it were ticking every second...), photographs from Arizona, pictures of me or my brother with my dad, and there are two cases (the ones with the mirrors behind the shelves) full of Matchbox cars.  I'm in the office in my house because the Internet on my laptop (Jacques) has decided to act up and walk out.  The one picture of me and my dad on the wall in front of me illustrates how ridiculously alike we look.  From my nose to my chin, I'm almost completely my father.  Something about the way we smile.  I'm not sure if that's the case now, but it was definitely the case then while I was holding up all the Girl Scout badges I had earned before that awards night.  That was also the night when I received my Silver Award for helping on a project that collected blankets for Project Linus.  Good times.

Rotating clockwise, there's a desk and a number of cabinets on the wall to my right.  I've only actually seen my dad use that desk once.  Maybe.  He has his work phone on it, and that's where we keep the printer.  But otherwise, the desk seems like a glorified storage space for papers from goodness only knows where.  Granted, I do the same thing with my desk at I really have no right to judge.

Behind me, there are pictures related to this article that was written about a local fire department event in which baby Brianna and baby brother were quoted or pictured, I'm not sure which.  We also have a sheet of dollar bills from the U.S. Mint, I believe, a sheet of Elvis stamps (you can tell they're old because they were only 29 cents), and the State Quarter collection, all framed on the wall.  There's also the door to the office that leads out into the little hallway that leads to the kitchen, and then there's the closet.  The closet houses a plethora of shoes/boots from my dad, his shoe shining kit that he hasn't used since I was little, a TON of jackets from pretty much all of us in the family, and a couple umbrellas.  I think we might have an American flag in there too, but I'd have to investigate more closely to see.

One final rotation brings me to the last wall in the room.  There's a filing cabinet with all sorts of important documents in it, a shelf/drawer thingy that used to be in my room but has been relocated.  We've got school supplies and cold weather gear stowed in the drawers.  Finally, we have a set of shelves that house our family photo albums and a large collection of VHS tapes.

And that's where I'm sitting right now.  Thank you, random question website!
If there's anyone out there reading this right now who might have a question for me to answer to help me write every day, feel free to ask away!  (I reserve the right to refuse to provide an answer though... :^P  Must take precautions!)
Monday, June 13, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Adventures

Adventure, according to the Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy is a popular film genre which usually stars a rough-edged hero played by any number of A-list actors.  The Guide goes on to explain that adventures also feature fairly predictable plotlines segmented by chase scenes, thereby leading to the phrase "cut to the chase."  The second entry in the Guide under "adventure" explains that an adventure is any exciting event, outing or action that increases levels of adrenaline in the adventure-seeker's body.  Common adventures include (but are not limited to): skydiving, bungee jumping, ding-dong-ditching and cow tipping.

In the extended version of the Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy, it cites an example of an adventure written by one of the fieldworkers of the Guide:
Just the other day, I found an event on Facebook called "The MP3 Experiment."  For those who are not familiar with Improv Everywhere, it's coordinated by them.  Though I wasn't placed in New York for my field work for the Guide, I found out that the group had organized an MP3 Experiment for Chicago.  Which was perfect.  This is just some of the craziness that can ensue from an MP3 Experiment:
 So I had no idea what to expect.  After a couple hastily sent text messages, I had three friends to go with me to Millennium Park, all accompanied by our own MP3 players, having donned blue and yellow t-shirts.  At precisely 1:30 PM, we were sitting near the Bean and pressed "play."  For the next half an hour, we were lead by our omnipotent voice "Steve" through a series of activities that included stretching out, waving to other participants, giving the thumbs up to people who were just watching, walking around and freezing for one minute, playing a game of "follow the person who's not participating," hug inanimate objects, animals and other participants, engage in a spontaneous thumb war, power nap for 15 seconds, and journey to the field where concerts are held under the guise of finger mustaches.  Once at the field, we created a gigantic human dart board.  The dart board was gigantic, not the humans.  All the people in red t-shirts created the bulleseye, then they were surrounded by the greens and then the blues.  I was in yellow, so I got to be a dart and try to get as close as I could to the bullseye.  I made it to the border between green and red, and then we played a version of squished up "Twister," using each other as the dots on the board.  Then we were instructed to play Freeze Tag, and yellows were "it" first.  Somehow my MP3 player had gotten ahead of everyone else's, so I had a good five second headstart when I was "it".  After Freeze Tag, we had a 15 second power nap in the middle of the field, and then we had a slow motion celebration, running around, giving high fives and hugs...all in slow motion.  It was pretty much the highlight of my summer so far, which probably isn't saying much, it was definitely a once in a lifetime thing, and I'm glad to say that I did it!  ---- Field Agent 425830
 The Guide goes on to explain the origin of flash mobs and "urban pranks" as well as the wonders of brainwashing.  The Guide hypothesizes that a person could conceivably stage a coup merely by instructing people via an MP3 track to do ridiculous or subversive things.  And then the Guide digresses and disappears into a puff of distraction.
Sunday, June 12, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Meaty Question

Q:  Am I a bad person if I eat meat?

A:  So the question came up in some form or another while I was watching one of the recent videos of the Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green).  So I wonder.  Am I a bad person if I eat meat?

Environmentally speaking, it's plausible that I'm a bad person.  By taking a bite out of that juicy and delicious cheeseburger or slathering barbecue (isn't there a "q" in that?) sauce on a piece of grilled chicken or even nibbling on bacon bits, I'm killing a cow, a chicken, and a little piece of pig that I really don't want to think about.  And it's not the slaughtering of innocent animals that I'm worried about thinking about, it really is the fact that I really don't want to know what part of the pig my bacon is coming from.  Just like I'm perfectly content to live in ignorance about the origins of that hot dog I ate the other day.  I'm not going to pretend to know the statistics, but I know that the main action that gets that dish to my table is either "cooking" or the death of some animal.  I've seen pictures of slaughterhouses, trust me, I've studied the history of Chicago, and I've heard the screams on the soundtrack of a safe video on the slaughterhouses.  I say safe because it's far away from the blood spatter.

Anyway.  Economically speaking, doesn't my eating meat benefit farmers the same way at my eating vegetables does?  Someone has to raise those delicious animals for slaughter, just like they need to raise those scrumptious greens for my salad.  Or veggie platter.  Or guacamole.  (I can't believe I spelled that right on the first try.)  Maybe I'm just uninformed about the economics of it.  Which is probably true.

If we're talking about health, it's technically better for you to eat vegetables.  Well, more vegetables.  Than meat.  Something about vegetables being easier to digest and giving you all the nutrients that meat does without killing anything.  Which is only half right, because that lettuce had to die to get to your plate too.  That's right.

What am I supposed to do if my family all eats meat?  Keeping your chin up in the face of adversity is probably a really good thing.  Character-building, one might say.  But would that mean I have to cook for myself?  Maybe a little.  Especially if tofu is involved.  I still haven't met anyone who openly admits, "You know, I can cook a mean tofu!"  More often I hear about how the tofu was cooked weird.

But back to the question.  Am I a bad person if I eat meat?  I'm inclined to say "no."  Maybe that's my own guilty conscience wishing to ease itself through the assurance that one's a bad person just because of what they eat.  It's not like the t-rex is viewed as a vicious killer in comparison to the peaceful long necks.  Sure, omnivores probably aren't regarded in the same way as the t-rex is, but can you just imagine the next generation's dinosaur movie?  The omnivore with the knife and fork preying on the same peaceful long necks in order to illustrate the evils of meat-eating.  Now, is that really necessary?  Those who choose to eat meat aren't guilting the vegetarians of the world.  Then again, it's unfair to say that all vegetarians are championing their cause and searching for "converts."  I will admit that there are vegetarians who share my "live and let live" (no pun intended) philosophy.  They're just a little greener in the field.

"'Well,' said the animal, 'I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point.  Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly.  And here I am.'"
- Douglas Adams in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"
Saturday, June 11, 2011 | By: Brianna

Ice Cream!

Q:  What's your favorite ice cream?

A:  Today I went grocery shopping with my mother.  To say that that was highlight of my day might sound mildly depressing, and maybe a little pathetic, but it was.  The highlight of my day, that is.  I woke up this morning, early, specially to go grocery shopping with my mother.  We went to our local Jewel.  And then we went to a fresh fruit mart that has no name that I know of.  Okay, well, I just don't pay attention, so it probably has some generic "Fresh Fruit Market" name.

At Jewel, we bought ice cream.

Now, when it comes to buying ice cream, we have to take a couple things into consideration:
- who will eat it?
There are certain flavors of ice cream that only myself and my mother will eat.  My brother isn't too big on chocolate chocolate EXPLOSION, and my dad...well, my dad'll eat anything, so I take that back.
- which brand is on sale?
- is it reduced fat?
We're a family that doesn't shy away from full fat ice cream.  Bring on the calories and all the disgusting deliciousness that make up man-killing fats.

I've gone through a couple different favorite flavors in my day.  When I was little, hands down, strawberry was my absolute favorite.  I still enjoy a good strawberry ice cream, but it's not my "go to" flavor.  Whenever I go out and buy ice cream on the cone, I get chocolate.  When it comes to soft serve, it's always "twist."  Melbourne says it's because I'm indecisive, but that's just silly.  "Twist" is a choice to not choose at all.  Anyway....

After strawberry ice cream, I moved towards mint chocolate chip.  Which I still love.  I don't really have a preference between the green kind or the white kind of mint chocolate chip, just as long as it's ice cream and it's delicious.  Oh, and it should probably be cold too.

There was a while when Dean's ice cream sold "cupcake" ice cream.  It was this vanilla "cupcake" flavored ice cream with chocolate fudge frosting swirl and yellow cupcake bits.  It was absolutely divine, and I loved it.  Suffice it to say that just like all good things that I discover, Dean's found out that I found a new favorite ice cream, and they promptly discontinued the flavor.  Because they're big bullies like that.  Chances are that the second I bought that first container of Dean's ice cream, a psychic message was relayed to the people at Dean's so they could keep tabs on how often I bought whatever amount of the dessert.  And once six months or a year was up, they would cut me off.  Like an addict.  Cruel fiends....

Now I'm stuck with my last favorite flavor (which my fingers just typed out as "flavour"...silly British fingertips...).  Still delicious, but it's no cupcake.

Unless you're this cupcake.
Thank you, Google!
"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate--that's my philosophy."
- Thornton Wilder
Friday, June 10, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Disrespect at the Mall

In the midst of discovering that I had once again forgotten to blog the previous day, I also discovered that I've been feeling lonely because (as I say): "I have no friends."  Well, no friends that are in the direct vicinity, and no friends that are bored and lonely just like me.  Right now my only friend is Jane Eyre.  Which is mildly pathetic, but hey, that's how it turned out.  I treasure the hope that today my brother will cement himself to the couch in front of the television and play video games so I can steal the car and go to the mall to be near people.  I probably won't talk to them, thereby alienating myself further...but I've been playing with the idea of people watching.  I've never actually done it for fun...and I'm not really sure it's something you can plan, but yeah.  It would give me an excuse and a purpose for getting out of the house at least.

Anyway, today is Friday.
Today I have chosen to read "Disrespect at the Mall" by Mark Halliday.  (I never knew Google Books could do that!)  Anyway, I noticed that at the beginning and the end of the poem, the speaker rhymes and even brings it to the reader's attention with "Notice though, girls, how deftly I rhyme".  In the middle of the poem while he's recounting this interaction with a twenty-something in the middle of the mall, he drops the rhyme scheme.  Instead he picks up this rhythm of "and I said...and she said..." for a good four lines.  The repetition definitely gives it consistency, and you start to ignore in the sense that it becomes background.  Then once the speaker gets back to "thinking," he rhymes "deftly" once again.  He blames time, not the young ladies for the torture of being able to appreciate the young women of the world but having them regard him as nothing more than a "horny old gent."  Which I thought was interesting.  If he had blamed the young ladies, the poem might have been ridiculous for its own sake and might have become a rant instead of this sad regretful longing.  Blaming time gives the poem a certain depth and steps away from superficial blame that would have been aimed at his one-time rejector.  Well, presumably one-time.  It's interesting that the idea of an old man hitting on a young woman could latch onto something profound like that, because most of the time we're just inclined to think of that as creepy and brush it off.  Or shudder.

1.  Write a poem or a reflection that involves both a real life interaction with someone and internal monologue.  Signify the internal monologue by using a different rhythm, line length or rhyme.
2.  Take something that should be repulsive or frightening, and cause the reader to sympathize with the speaker.  Like a birthday party clown.  Or a dog humping someone's leg.
3.  Write something that illustrates an age gap.  Is it the difference between using a typewriter or a laptop?  Or is it the difference between wearing a hat to church or torn up jeans?  Create a confrontation between the two.  Bonus points if it takes place in a public space.
4.  Have you ever felt like everyone around you was wearing a sign across their forehead?  Write what it would be like to be the only person who wasn't wearing the same sign as everyone else.

"I became aware that every attractive young woman there
(and there were hundreds) was wearing a sign
in cool dark blue letters across her chest that said
- Mark Halliday, "Disrespect at the Mall"
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | By: Brianna


First off, before I answer any questions, I'd like to make the observation that summer has successfully helped me forget what day of the week it is, the date, and what I have to do on any given day.  Luckily, I don't have anything too pressing to worry about, but all the same.

Q:  Who was your favorite teacher in elementary school?

A:  I had three.  In first grade, I had Mrs. R (names have been changed to protect the innocent and everyone's privacy).  She was the sweetest lady.  I just remember loving her class.  She encouraged me to write, and when I told her that I wanted to write a story, or become an author, she was the first person to say "Hey, you can do it!  Just practice!"

For third and fourth grade, I had Mrs. V, because I was in a "split class" which meant that half the time she would teach one grade something, and the other half she would teach the other half.  If that makes any sense. And then there must have been certain projects and assignments that we all did, because I remember it working fairly well.  Well Mrs. V was also super sweet.  She was this little older lady, and once I hit sixth grade, I'm pretty sure I was taller than her.  I remember those two years being really difficult with my friends  because we were always fighting.  I'm not even sure about what, but people were always fighting, and we always had to go out in the hall with Mrs. V and figure things out.  It was weird that I was out there so much because I always thought I was more quiet than the girls that were really fighting fighting, but I was involved in some way because I remember going out there.  After I left her class, I don't know for how long, but I remember journaling back and forth with her.  I would write her letters in this notebook and leave it in her mailbox in the office, and she would reply and do the same.  She just always made me feel special!

For fifth and sixth grade (split class again), I had Miss F.  Now Miss F had a reputation for being a tough teacher.  Everyone in the school knew who she was because she was tall, and she had this curly red hair that she always pulled back into a low ponytail.  Her class was supposed to do a ton of projects, and rumor had it that she wasn't very good at teaching math.  Those two years I remember vividly, well, kind of vividly because I did all sorts of projects from a presentation on Egyptian food to the Medieval Banquet (for which Miss F was famous because everyone looked forward to doing it) to burning a paper goat as a sacrifice to the Greek gods, to two years worth of the wax museum in the lunch room (one year as Sara Knight and one year as Augustus Caesar).  We did SO much when it came to history and I loved it.  I loved coming up with interesting ways of presenting the material, and I loved showing up everyone when mine was super creative.  Those years were also the first two years of the school play.  In fifth grade, we did Wizard of Oz and in sixth grade we did Annie Jr.  I was told by some gossipy older girls that Miss F (because she was the director) favored the students that she had had in class with regards to the casting, which might have been why I got to play Lily St. Regis in Annie Jr.  Didn't bother me, mostly because I benefited.  Which might be wrong...but hey.

It might be because it was so long ago, but elementary school just seems like a blur to me.  I don't remember much, but those things that I do remember are mostly silly things.  I remember being on the "crossing guard," which meant that I got to wear this orange belt with a badge on it and help stop cars so people could cross the street safely on their way to school.  I had the morning shift, so I didn't have to cross an excessive amount of people.  During the winter, we could go to the gym to get hot chocolate from the gym teacher who was in charge of the crossing guards.  Sometimes we brought our hot chocolate to our classes, and all the other kids in our classes were jealous.  Some of us got to be on the color guard for assemblies, so that was a big deal.  I got to be a guard for one of the flags, but I had to help the girl who carried the American flag because it was super heavy.

I remember playing silly games, mostly playing pretend (creating a band or being a group of witches, or playing Harry Potter characters) or four square or sometimes jumping rope.  Or tag, I loved tag.

On the rainy days we had to stay in the auditorium, and sometimes they would play a movie, but I don't remember anyone actually watching the movie because they never played anything good.  We usually turned around in our seats and talked to each other or passed notes.  Oh passing notes...

I remember in fourth grade I developed my first crush on a guy who was two years older than me.  Which I kept mostly a secret.  Okay, I told my friends, but that was about it.  I remember sending him a candy-gram or whatever the elementary school equivalent was, anonymously in sixth grade because I really had nothing to lose at that point.  And when you're little, you really don't know what to do with your liking of someone.  I remember I got to go to the rehearsal for eighth grade graduation that year, and I'm not sure why.  It might have been because I was on color guard.  But I cried so much because I had a bunch of friends who were graduating that year, and it just felt like the end of the world.  Eleven years old, and I was convinced that the world was ending at that very second.  I remember walking through the empty hallways to get back to my class, and one of the boy crossing guards who was also an eighth grader but not the guy that I liked stopped me and asked me what was wrong.  I explained rather quickly because I had to get back to class, but then he asked if I wanted a hug.  Me being the not very touchy-feely person that I was in sixth grade nodded pathetically even though it was out of character, because I needed a little comfort.  And that is still one of the best hugs I've ever gotten.

Our old librarian retired at some point during the time when I was at school there, and her replacement was evil.  I was sure of it.  But even though I absolutely hated her (because she was evil), I sucked up to her, and through some strange miracle, she liked me.  At least, I think she did.  It was pretty much amazing.

I remember the ladies in the front office knowing who I was, and I remember being in the front office quite a bit, though I was never there to see the principal.  So I'm not exactly sure why I was always there.  I just remember sitting on that bench that was set into the wall and staring over the counter at where these ladies worked.

I remember the younger kids lining up to come into school on the side of the building, and the older kids lined up in the back.  I remember they used metal detecting wands on our backpacks a couple times during sixth grade, but I was never really sure what they were looking for.

I remember saying that I would miss all my friends from elementary school while I went on the middle school at a different school and they stayed there for seventh and eighth grade, but I remember losing touch.  It was just one of those things that we realized that we didn't really have much in common any more.  And now that I think about it, I think about the way our lives have diverged so much that it's weird that we were together for those short years.  That we grew up partially together.  And just look how different we are.

"I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school.  They don't teach you how to love somebody.  They don't teach you how to be famous.  They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor.  They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer.  They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind.  They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying.  They don't teach you anything worth knowing."
- Neil Gaiman
Monday, June 6, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy

Today I'm answering the wish of one of my friends.
Well, two of my friends.

That and there are going to be changes made to "Wish Monday."  Instead of doing a "Wish Monday" segment, because that's full of longing and sometimes whining, I've decided that I'm going to shift focus to answer the wish of my friend, Melbourne, and record my life knowledge.  Because I know so much.  So will begin a segment titled "Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy."  (Thank you, Tom!)

This shift was prompted by a status post on my Facebook that listed a number of things that I learned over the course of the past two days (today and yesterday) while at orientation for my brother in Iowa.  I've been to Iowa before, but I've never been to University of Iowa.  Well, not inside any of the buildings.  For the past two days, the only building I spent any substantial time in was the Iowa Memorial Union, more commonly referred to as "the IMU."  Which I pronounced "I-MOO."  Because that's just the way I am.

Today I learned that when you're in Iowa City at 8-ish AM, nothing is open.  When you're in Iowa City at 9 AM, nothing is open.  In fact, nothing of interest is open until 10 AM.  I learned this because when in the company of my mother, I learned that she would be sitting through all these boring academic sessions.  I decided that I would explore Iowa City (at least a part of it) and browse the shops in the mall.  So after dropping off my mother at the I-MOO, I climbed up the partial hill to get to the mall, which I discovered was open.  To my dismay, all of the shops were locked up with those funky cage-like mechanisms.  All I wanted to see was the Silver Spider because it has a lot of neat little trinkets in it, but I gathered that it wouldn't be open for a while.  So I sat down to read some of Jane Eyre and wait till 9:00.  When 9:00 came and went and none of the stores near me were opening, I could only assume that they would be open at 10:00, leaving me another hour to kill.  I killed this hour by sitting outside for a little bit and doodling, making a list of things I want to put in a "you're going to want this at college" box for my brother, and browsing a TINY grocery store.  I sat in front of the Iowa City Library for a little while before I noticed the sign that said it opened at 10.  Once the clock finally struck 10, I went back to the mall and looked at the shops I wanted to see before returning to the library so I could check my e-mail.  Of course, there was nothing exciting to see, except Facebook thought I was hacking into my own account because someone in Iowa City was logging in as me.  Even though it was me.

I also learned that bridges are meant to go across rivers.  Walking around with my mom, we were talking about where this pretty green bridge behind the I-MOO went.  I asked her, "Hey, where do these stairs go?" And she responded, "They go up." (Ghostbusters)  It was one of those moments.  We watched the icky gelatinous pollution float down the river for a little while, and explored the far side of the bridge very briefly.  Nothing too exciting, just a busy street and some sidewalk.  Typical.

There were some other things I learned, but those are the most essential things to visiting Iowa City for a single day!
"Is this heaven?"  "No, it's Iowa."
- Field of Dreams

Apologies and Explanations

So it seems that Friday has become my unofficial "off day."  And I think that's mostly because I'm a forgetful dork.  Which can be alright in most cases, but when I promise 1) a post every day and 2) a video every Friday...and then I don't deliver, that's just false advertising.

For simplicity's sake, Poetry Friday is going to revert to Brianna reading a poem and responding to it or writing something that springs from that poem, if only because that'll make life easier for everyone involved.  If the video thing ends up happening every now and again, then it'll be a happy little treat, because I know how much people want to listen to my sultry voice reading obscure poetry.
Thursday, June 2, 2011 | By: Brianna

Random Acts

Q:  So what's the title about?

A:  The title of this post is an excuse for me to write about something random.  Today I was "working" by putting up posters for a street fair in a nearby suburb.  I've helped out with this fair before, and this would be the third year that I helped out.  

My first year, I did a lot of traffic directing (which really meant that people drove past me and got annoyed with me when I told them that they were in the wrong place and would have to move), though a lot of people ignored me because I was 18 and I looked it.  I also did a lot of that one job that everyone loathes, the one where you sit in a chair at one of the fair entrances and ask "Would you like to make an optional $1 donation?"  But I really spent a lot of time listening to my partner talk about the sci-fi/fantasy books that he read.  My second year (last year), I did a lot of odd jobs.  I moved tables, I helped pass out t-shirts that vendors had ordered, and I helped direct traffic (this year meant that I really just got in the way of cars causing my partner to worry that I would get hit by someone) until I was put on "lemonade stand duty."  Working at the lemonade stand gave me an excuse to be loud and obnoxious to get people to come buy lemonade from us.  My partner wasn't that extroverted, so it was up to me to entice customers by asking them to "help support me and my 15-year old husband...and our 8 children."  Or "help us win a competition against the other lemonade stand across the fair ground" by helping us sell more lemonade.  That and the tips. We got to keep our tips.  You wouldn't believe the amount of tips I walked away with that night...I was half afraid that someone would notice the swagger in my step as I walked away with pride.

This year...well this year I don't get to help with the actual fair.  Which is a bummer, because I would have liked to spend an entire day at the lemonade stand.  Mostly because I would love to see if I could break the record I set for myself last year.  Anyway, this year I got to help with putting up posters for this fair...two weeks in advance.  I spent 4 hours asking local businesses to put up posters, and I got paid a hefty sum, so I walked away happy.

During the day, I was at a little coffee shop in the neighborhood, and I was waiting to get the attention of the guy at the counter.  I was standing behind this shy-looking girl with glasses (she looked nothing like my obnoxious self in the over-large t-shirt), and she kept doing this little "look up, look down" thing at the guy standing behind the counter.  Definitely looked like she was interested in him, and he wasn't bad looking.  So I asked if I could put up a poster and he pointed me toward the ad board toward the back of the shop.  Then I had to walk back to the front door to get out of the place, so I had to pass Glasses Girl.  I thought about it, and then I decided "what the hell," so I leaned over and told her "He's cute, you should ask him out," smiling as I left the shop.  Probably one of the single-most gutsy things that I've done in my life.  Well.  Maybe not.  But still.  Random.  So maybe that's my attempt at being Jane Austen's Emma for a complete stranger.

That got me thinking, so I scribbled a poem.  Which sounds absolutely ridiculous: "And then I was suddenly inspired and wrote a masterpiece..." but there it is.  Rough, yes.  But it's a start, yeah?


Look up
     look down
     lips together.
Look up
     under lashes
     look down.
     in eyes so tired.
     her own sandals
     and tile floor.

     blue like sky,
     today overcast.

     to be breeze
     whispering clouds
     guessing refusal.