Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | By: Brianna


Q: Everyone's multi-faceted, right?

A: Right.

Q: Even you, cheerypants?  I find that unlikely.

A: Your skepticism is unnerving.  But I assure you, I'm multi-facted too.

Q: Oh yeah?

A: Yeah.

Anyone who knows me can describe me as "happy."  They can also describe me as "nice," but if you know me at all you'll already know how much I hate the word "nice" in all its mild-mannered unassuming blandness. I'd rather be called "sweet" or "thoughtful" over "nice."  Even just saying the word "nice," it just sounds like it falls short of describing anyone.  The word is inadequate.  It should probably be abolished.

I would like to state for the record that I am not always "happy."  As my Desk Aides know, there are times when I can sober up and get serious.  Which also sounds like a bland word, but I'm letting that one be.  Only because it's true.  I'm not saying that I can go a whole day without smiling (though I've tried that once, and it was really difficult), but I am saying that "happy" isn't it.

Along with the "happy" descriptor, it's likely that I would get described as positive or optimistic.  Which as many people know is also not true.  At least it's not true all the time.  If I've known you for a while, chances are I'm more comfortable with telling you all about my apprehensions about doom and destruction.  Because I see it all the time.  Maybe a lot of it is me being crazy or paranoid, but I can be so spectacularly pessimistic sometimes, you wouldn't believe.

I'm also impatient.  I hate waiting for things.  I hate lines, I hate waiting for a cast list to be posted, I hate waiting for a meeting to happen.  I also hate (hate is such a strong word, I should change that...) people who take way too long to get to their point when they know that I'm in a hurry.  I'm rushing here, and you're taking half an hour to tell me that you need someone else to send out that e-mail!  You can't just tell me off the bat so I can leave you in the dust once the final word has left your lips?  No?  Okay, that's cool, I'll just stand here nodding and smiling until I get permission to leave, all the while throwing flaming darts in my imagination.

That's another thing.  I hate stupid people.  Generally, I enjoy people.  Sometimes they astound me with the brilliance that they're capable of.  But at the same time they can be capable of such stupidity it's shocking.

I may have an inferiority complex, or just a low self esteem thing, because if you give me a compliment that's outside the canon of "You're so nice..." or "You're always so positive!" or "You brighten my day!", chances are I either a) won't believe you or b) question you.  It's just because I'm in disbelief that anyone could think that I'm anything outside of "nice," "positive," or "bright."  As such, I also underestimate my own work.  I was convinced that I'd get a B or maybe a B+ on a paper that I ended up getting an A on.  And part of me didn't think I deserved it.  It must have been some fluke, someone else must have written that paper, because none of my papers ever deserve an A.  Same with my poetry.  You may come up to me and say that you really liked my poem, and I'll remember that for about half an hour until I sink back into believing that all my poetry is silly and not worth reading.  Because sometimes I'm stupid like that.

I work too hard.  And that's why my RA staff put on their expectations list for me that I'll 1) leave the building, because if I don't I will go insane, kill all the residents, and never stop working and 2) say "no."  Because apparently I'm the RCA who can't say no.  Which can be misconstrued in suggestive ways that I'm not going to address right now.  We're going to let that one lie.

I procrastinate.  But you know this.

I'm a control freak with the idea planted in my head that "if you want it done right, do it yourself."  Which is a bummer when I'm trying to help other people learn.

Q: Wow, this post is negative.

A: Yeah, I just realized that.  Not so much "multi-faceted" as pessimistic in general.

Q: So you gonna fix that?

A: Working on it, sheesh!

At the same time, I am positive.  I'm the one who can say "it'll all turn out in the end" and actually mean/believe it.  I'm the one who believes in fairy tale endings, Prince Charming, ghosts, love at first sight, fate, miracles, and magic. I believe that people have the capacity for greatness and that the only life worth living is one that you're happy with.  I don't care about having money except that since I have none, I try to horde my none-ness.

I find wonder in small things.  Like the wind farm from a couple weeks ago.  We just passed a wind farm and I was fascinated.  I still really want to know how all of that works.

I love to perform.  And I'm really good at pretending I'm tired when I don't want to talk to someone.  We're not going to talk too much about this one because I'd like to keep that one unadvertised for the most part.  Apparently my other improv specialty is acting fall down drunk.  Thank you, Captain Jack Sparrow.

I'm enthusiastic (generally) and supportive.  I answer questions with some confidence and I make a kick ass bulletin board.

I would sacrifice my own happiness to see someone else happy.  Maybe because there's something wrong with me, but mostly because everyone else's happiness is a lot more important to me than my own.  I would just feel selfish if I worried too much about my own happiness.  Which is another reason why I've been told I need to "take time for me."

I am fiercely loyal.  If you're my friend, I'll defend you.  And you're also my friend for life.  I get attached really easily even if I don't "let people in" very easily.

I would like to say I'm quirky or eccentric, but I'm not sure it's that dramatic.  When I write I frequently sprawl across the tile floor of my dorm room and write while lying on my stomach.  I actually enjoy editing people's papers.  Or other things.  The last couple of Finals weeks I wore a hat or something on my head as a Thinking Cap while I studied or wrote papers.  I maintain that it actually helped.  I also have a Post-It addiction.  It's pretty bad, but I'm coping.

I'm good at giving compliments even if I'm not good at receiving them because I'm observant.  I try to notice the little things so I can pick up on what's important to someone.  If only so I can ask them about it later.  I promise, I'm not a creeper.

I guess I'm semi-intelligent.  Though I'm still having difficulty wrapping my head around this one because nearly everyone around me is smarter than I am.  So that's...that.

Um.  So I'm thinking this positivity (which Google Chrome says is a fake word) has equaled out the negativity.  This is the all about Brianna post.  Please, I implore you not to judge me too harshly, because these are the things I see.  I'm not even going into what I think others see.  HEY!  This works perfectly with my "create an image of the self" for my Senior Seminar presentation today!  The fact that I didn't do this on purpose is absolutely astounding.  I'm not even joking.  Wow.

"The final mystery is oneself."
- Oscar Wilde
Tuesday, August 30, 2011 | By: Brianna

LOST: Theatre Persona

As most people who know me know, I did theatre in high school.  Well, maybe I didn't just do theatre.  If I'm going to be completely honest, I lived theatre throughout high school.  I even started spelling "theatre" the British way, as you can tell.  All through my high school days, if I wasn't at home doing homework, chances are I was at school rehearsing for some show.  And I was in a lot of shows.  There was a comedy or drama in the fall, and then a musical in the spring.  And I was in six out of eight of those during my high school career.  And then I participated in the One Act Festival and I auditioned for shows that were directed by seniors during the weird times of the year.

So I did a lot of acting.

When I was looking at colleges, I was looking for someplace where I could do theatre, though part of me must have known that I didn't really want to study it as a major because I never committed.  I just went to college "undecided."  I always looked for opportunities to act, like a television show for our campus TV station, or the Fundamentals of Acting class that I took my sophomore year...(that class was SO elementary...).  But I never declared that I wanted to study theatre, so it never really happened.  The last time I officially acted was sophomore year for International Clue Night.  I was a British heiress who was environmentally crazy.  It was awesome.

But the last time I was on stage was Friday.  And that's because my friend beckoned me onstage so she could "sing" to me.  And I came to the conclusion that it was both terrifying and exhilarating.  Because though I couldn't stop shaking (for reasons unknown, though I'm attributing it to stage fright), it was still one of the most exciting things I had done to date, even if I just stood there.

So now, of course, I'm thirsty for more.  I haven't acted in a really long time, and I'm wondering if any time I step on stage from here on out I'll experience stage fright.  Because you know, I've never shaken that much when I was on stage before.  Maybe I'm just out of practice.  Or maybe it was excitement, not stage fright?  Who knows.

Bright side, I will for sure be acting in this year's International Clue Night because I scheduled my life around it this year.  There's nothing standing in my way at this point.  No conferences, no camping trips, no duty nights...I'll be here for six shows in the International House, playing whatever part I end up writing for myself.  Sure, I have my eye on a role, but I'm a little worried that I'm being greedy with wanting that particular role.  Only because someone else was semi-committed to it.  And Brianna whines, "I want it!"

So we'll see how that goes.  Stage fright or excitement?  That is the question.

"The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental.  It's so much like life."
- Arthur Miller
Sunday, August 28, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Magic

Wow, there are really no words to describe how awesome I am at keeping up with my weekly blog post obligations.  And when it comes to the dailies...just wow.


This week StumbleUpon pointed me in the direction of Gabriel Gadfly.  As I explained in my video, it's a spoken word poem, so it's meant to be heard.  I couldn't find (though I admittedly didn't look very hard) an audio or video of the poet reading his own poem, so I took the liberty of reading it aloud, and that's the video you're looking at now.  Don't you just love that freeze frame?

First of all, I love this poem's message/theme/whatever you want to call it.  I may be 21, but I still believe in magic, and this poem speaks to those who believe in magic while also imploring those "non-believers" to believe for a second.  Because there's magic even in the tiny things we take for granted.  There's magic in life. I love that the poem simply tells the reader that the magic is there "if you want it."

There's some really great repetition going on here with the "pretty girl" and the "old man" and the "coffee girl." It's nice because it isn't the brand of repetition that gets bogged down by itself.  In fact, it seems to be lifted off the page because there's just that little bit of variation between the "repeats."  Overall, it's just a really beautiful poem and one of these days I'm going to find the poet reading/performing it!

1.  Where do things come from and how do they benefit us?  Simple enough, but look at the beer and the coffee in "Magic," are there other things that have the same effect or perhaps the opposite effect?
2.  Take the first line of "Magic" and go crazy from there.
3.  What little things can you find magic in?  Or poetry?  Is there poetry in the way a person walks down the hallway?  What about poetry in a fly landing on the page of your book?

"Imagine for a second that the world you live in is magic.
Not your hocus-pocus, wave-your-wand magic..."
- Gabriel Gadfly "Magic"
Thursday, August 25, 2011 | By: Brianna

Oh What a Night

Q:  Whatcha doing tonight?

A:  Homework.

Q:  Really?

A:  No.  Not really.

Tonight I'm going to a meeting for Lyrical Graffiti, the poetry organization on campus.  They organize poetry slams and open mics and they get poets to come and do shows on campus.  All around it's a pretty exciting group.  Though I've never technically gone to a meeting before.

My sophomore year, I went to nearly all of the open mics that Lyrical Graffiti sponsored, and nearly every time, one of the senior members of the group would ask if I would read something.  Shy Brianna said "No, I don't have anything to read," every time.  But at open mics for Lyrical Graffiti, they send around a notebook and everyone contributes a line to the community poem.  One night that same senior called me up to read the community poem.  Which was fabulous.  I don't remember what it was about, I just remember being terrified by the prospect of getting up and standing behind that microphone.  It wasn't until May Term, or maybe it was the very end of spring semester that I finally (willingly) got up to read a poem.  That senior introduced me as the girl who came to every open mic and who FINALLY had something to read.  That was one of the most spectacular experiences ever.

I've read my poetry aloud a bit more often, but I'm still a little shy about a couple of my poems.  And when I mean a couple, I mean one.  It's titled "Nerds Do It By the Book" and it's about (you guessed it) nerd sex.  So when I was writing it for my Stand Up Poetry class last year, I wouldn't read it aloud until the show we were required to do, and even then...I was still absolutely petrified.  And then at the writing conference at the end of the year I read it again.  So it's only been read aloud by me twice.  I've heard rumors that it's been read by other people aloud...but I haven't been there so I can give no credence to those rumors.

In short, I have a history with this organization.  Even though I've never actually been to a meeting.  We'll see how that goes.

AND I also have a brainstorming meeting for International Clue Night.  If you've ever played CLUE the board game, it's kind of like that mixed with CLUE the movie, and all in real life.  In it's simplest form, it's a murder mystery party.  This year I'm helping to write the script for the second year in a row.  I'm really excited because I had so much fun writing last year, and I'm hoping that this year I'll be able to act.  All I really have to do is write a part that's perfect for me, right?

Q:  Thanks for telling me your life's schedule.

A:  You're welcome, you asked for it.

Q:  Isn't this blog supposed to be for creative writing?  That wasn't even creative.

A:  Sure, yes, it is.  I don't have anything to say to that, really.

Q:  So I win.

A:  For now.


So I fail.  I was so excited about Lyrical Graffiti that I didn't read the e-mail correctly.  It's not until next week.

"Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking."
- John Wain
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Letter to the Class Suck-Up

Dear Class Suck-Up,

Hi.  Hello.  I'm Brianna.  You probably don't know me because I'm sitting kitty-corner from you in the circle in that one class we had together.  We had another couple classes together during our college career, but I choose to forget those parts of my life because you were far too prominent in them.

So you like our professor.  I understand.  She's a nice lady.  I like her too.  She's my adviser, so I better like her.
So you've learned active listening.  Me too.  It's a good skill to have.  Especially when you're an RA like me.  I'm glad you possess the skill too.
That does NOT mean that you have to VERBALLY respond to EVERYTHING our professor says!  Non-verbal active listening yes.  Random comments and "oh yeahs" at everything?  Completely useless for the rest of us!  Spare us, please.  I beg of you.

I'm concerned that you enjoy the sound of your own voice.  I'm sure it sounds great to you when you're speaking and offering up commentary on every rhetorical question our professor provides.  Get that?  RHETORICAL!  Please do us all a favor and shut up.  For one class, I would like to write my notes in peace without having to hear you sharing jokes with our professor mid-sentence.  She was in the middle of saying something really important, and you laughed all of a sudden!  Unnecessary!  Please for the love of Shakespeare, close your mouth.  Please.

You know how professors tell us to have our personal conversations elsewhere?  I'm pretty sure that counts when it concerns having personal conversations with the PROFESSOR in the middle of class time!

And the accent?  I understand you just got back from studying abroad.  And I understand that you must have worked really hard to perfect that FAKE accent of yours, but please don't use it in class.  It's fake.  We all know it.  You know it.  Give it up.  If you have a desire to flaunt your pretensions in front of us, you can do it without a fake accent.  Please.  Have mercy on us.  Sure, it's even a good accent, I'm not disputing that, I'm just asking you to leave your study abroad vocabulary at the door.  I'm glad you learned something, I really am, but really?  You're really going to do that.  In the middle of class, you're going to whip out that accent like it's nothing.  No.  Not okay.

PLEASE.  For one whole class, if you can be quiet, I will buy you a pony.  I will personally walk this pony to your house and set it up in its very own heated stable.  It'll be a really happy pony, one that you can have all for your own.  Oh wait.  You already have a pony.

The Girl Who Just Wants to Learn Without Your Commentary

Have a Little Class

Q:  So you just started classes again, what classes are you taking?

A:  I'm taking...

My English Senior Seminar.  It's called "Images of Self," and I'm not really sure what that means in relation to the books we're going to be reading, but it should be exciting.  I'm going to end up writing a 20 page paper for this class so I can earn my English degree.  I still resent that the novel writing class doesn't count as a "writing senior sem."  But that's another thing all together.  We're reading...The Complete Talking Heads, The Death of Artemio Cruz, Waterland, and Lady Oracle.  And I'm doing a presentation on our first book, The Complete Talking Heads, so that means Brianna is going to be doing a LOT of reading very soon.

And then I'm taking 3 business classes:
Accounting 2
Financial Management.

It's funny, in every class the professor has asked what everyone's concentrating on within business and so everyone raises their hands at different points in the conversation except me.  Which is totally fine with me, I'm perfectly content with my happy little English degree that I'm working on.  They can have their business majors for all I care.

Besides, it's really fun to see the reactions I get when I explain I'm not a business major.

(The professor has just finished up explaining that for one "quiz," the class will be required to go to a meeting of a club in their concentration.  Like Accounting Club or the AMA.  BRIANNA raises her hand.)

BRIANNA: What if we're not a business major?

(The professor kind of starts, as if the idea of a major outside business is a completely new concept for him.  He blinks, gathers his wits and opens his mouth to answer.)

PROFESSOR: What is your major?

BRIANNA: English.

(The professor seems stunned for about a second, but recovers.)

PROFESSOR: Well then you would go to a club in your major...I don't know, Shakespeare Club?

Yes.  Shakespeare Club.  If there was one, I would be all over that.  Unfortunately there isn't, but I understand what he was going for.  So it's the thought that counts.

And you know how English majors constantly get the question of "so what are you going to do with that?"  I would like to go up to a business major and as "Business major, huh?  So what are you going to do with that?"  If they answer with "go into business," I'm going to smack them and ask them a series of questions about what type of business, what they can see themselves doing in five years, and whether they'll enjoy working in a cubicle.

Because let's face it, some business majors just need a shot of reality.
Just like the shot of reality everyone in the world wants to give to English majors.

"It's business, not personal."
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 | By: Brianna

Facebook Fast

For the past couple years, my friend has given up Facebook for Lent.  Forty days without Facebook?  I thought she was crazy.  And deep down I knew I couldn't do it.  Mostly because when I log onto my computer, one of the first three websites I check is Facebook.  And even then, I can be innocently surfing the web, and I'll just naturally gravitate back to Facebook to see if one of those little red notifications has popped up.

After a good ten minutes on StumbleUpon, Brianna pressed CTRL + T and opened up a fourth tab in Google Chrome.  Without even thinking about it, she typed "fa" and Chrome finished the word she was about to type.  "Facebook."  The sign-in process is second nature with auto-complete for her e-mail address, and lightspeed typing of her password that she's used for everything since the eighth grade.

A little red notification attaches itself to the little world in the upper left hand corner.

The excitement builds as she mouses over to the notification.  Was it a comment on one of her cleverly worded statuses?  Was it a Wall post?  Or a picture?  Or a video?  Or was it a request from Mafia Wars?


"Someone has liked your status."

So basically I check my Facebook every five minutes for nothing.  I just can't convince myself that nothing's going to change!  As much as I tell myself nothing's going to change in five minutes, I can't resist.

Last year, I decided to go on a Facebook fast for a week to see if I could do it.  Completely cold turkey.  The week went well, but I realized it was impractical, because there were (believe it or not) people trying to get in touch with me via Facebook.  That realization brought me to the conclusion that I could fast during the school week.  Sunday through Thursday.  Because Friday's not technically a school day even if you have class...  Freeing up so much time, it helped me with my homework and my real social life, instead of my social networking life.

Today's the second day of classes, and I've decided that I need to do this again.  I'm going to have to write a paper for Senior Seminar, the longest paper I've ever written, and I'm taking three business classes that I'm worried about.  Not to mention I'm a senior and I deserve a social life.  So no Facebook for me during the week.  Let's do this!

Welcome to Facebook!
Monday, August 22, 2011 | By: Brianna

Goodbye Summer, Hello School!

This morning marked the first day of my last fall semester in college.  I'm a senior today.  Much as I hate to admit it, I'm getting old, and by the end of the spring semester, I'll be graduated and embarking on a terrifying adventure into the new world.  Let's face it today.  I'm a senior.  And I'm still terrified.

As I was walking to my first class this morning (which turned out to be Senior Seminar, if that's not a wake up call, I don't know what is), I saw on the sidewalk the words (or something very similar) "Good luck on your first day!" and "Good-bye summer, hello school!" followed by variations on "<3 Greek Life".  I also wandered around campus a little bit and found that the well wishes from Greek Life had been altered or erased in some places.  Someone had changed "Greek Life" to "Greek Death" in one place and drawn dead fish around it.  And others wrote that "good luck" and "go Greek" are unrelated.

Now.  Let me throw something out there.  I'm not in a Greek organization.  I have no desire to join a Greek organization.  Well, not a social sorority.  I'm in an honors fraternity for English, but I don't think that counts.  Anyway.  No desire.  So a little part of me was annoyed when I saw that all the well-wishes were surrounded by hearts from Greek Life and also suggested that the reader "go Greek!"  I'm a senior, I'm not joining your sorority, I feel like I've earned enough years to be a little annoyed that you're bombarding the campus with what I'd like to call propaganda...but a meeker force tells me I shouldn't.  So I won't.  Even though the thought and sentiment are there.

Anyway.  Despite my slight irritation, I still enjoyed the messages provided by Greek Life.  I'm not stupid enough to hope that I have a horrible day just because Greek Life says that I should have a good day.  Maybe it's me, but even though I don't connect having a good day with going Greek, the thought is still there.  Someone, presumably a stranger, wished me well this morning.  So I appreciate that.  I'm just going to ignore the "go Greek" because 1. I can't and 2. I'd rather not.  Which is a personal decision that I'm perfectly fine keeping to myself.  Other than this blog post which just happens to be advertising one reads this blog anyway, right?  (Melbourne...)  Point being, I'm going to have a good day.  I appreciate the thought, so thank you, Greek Life.

To the person or group who decided to alter/change/erase those positive (though subliminally advertising-y) messages, there is a time and place for your ire.  I understand that you're upset.  I understand that you want to make a statement.  If Greek Life had only put "go Greek!" everywhere, sure, go ahead and change those if you're really upset about it.  But are you really going to be so petty as to alert everyone to the fact that having a good day isn't connected to being in a Greek organization?

People who want to join a sorority or a fraternity are going to join regardless of whether you cross out "life" and replace it with "death" on the sidewalk.  If they're super dedicated to the idea of joining, that might even cause them to defend the Greek system against your wrath.  Partly because it's childish.  And partly because their loyalty has already been won.  So maybe I'm telling you it's a hopeless cause...but really what I'm trying to say is that it's a personal decision.  They have to choose for themselves, and ultimately it doesn't matter how many "go Greek!" flyers or chalk drawings they see, they're going to choose whether or not they join.  (for the most part, I'm not going to go into the Recruitment process because that's not the point)

What I'm saying is: back off.  There is a time and place for your anger, but the first day of school on chalk drawings that say "good luck" is neither the time nor the place.  Please, I beg of you, don't spread negativity on words that were meant to be innocently positive.  I remain optimistic that the people who were responsible for the original chalk messages meant first and foremost to wish everyone on campus a good day.  Their intentions were mostly pure.  Don't alter their messages just because you don't agree with who wrote them.  Would you do the same to Habitat for Humanity if they wrote inspiring messages and then asked you to join them?  No.  Probably because you would have to be really silly to do that...but come on now.  We're all adults here.

Aren't we?

Elle: I promised her, and I can't break the bonds of sisterhood.
Professor Callahan: Screw sisterhood!  This is a murder investigation!  Not some scandal at the sorority house!
- Legally Blonde
Saturday, August 20, 2011 | By: Brianna

Door Decs

So I feel like I should have promised to share my door decs with all of my adoring fans.  Because they're pretty much amazing.

All I did was take foam rectangles and cut out the shield outline.  With the scraps I could make the top bit where the house name goes and with the scrap from the other color, I could make the bit where the RA's name goes.  I used puffy/fabric paint to write the names of the houses and the RAs.  And I got the badger, eagle, lion, and snake heads from wallpapers that I found here:  I basically printed them out, laminated them, and glued them to the foam pieces that I had already duct taped together.

Simple as that!

This is me!  Hufflepuff for the win!

Gryffindor rawr!

Slytherin, hissssss!

Ravenclaw, CAW!

"You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart..."
- The Sorting Hat
Sunday, August 14, 2011 | By: Brianna

On a Break, but More to Do

Today I'm on break from RA Training.  Yesterday being our last day, it was full of warm fuzzies and all sorts of happiness and joy.  I got to give a presentation about our chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), and I personally thought I was awful, but a number of people I talked to said I was decent, so maybe I'm being overdramatic (Google, that has to be one word, be quiet).

We also played a game of Touch Someone Who.  Everyone sits in a gigantic circle facing outward and closes their eyes.  A handful of people gets chosen to go into the center of the circle, and the facilitator reads off these statements like "touch someone who inspires you."  The people in the center then go up to people who are still sitting and touch their shoulders if the statement applies.  Every time a statement was read, I sent out all the energy I could muster so the people I loved knew that I appreciated them for that statement.  Basically I made sure that even if I wasn't in the center, I expressed appreciation.  I may have cried when the statement "touch someone who has dreams and the ability to attain them" came up, and more people than I could count came up and tapped my shoulders.  And I had no idea how difficult it was to cry with my eyes closed until that.  So that was fun.  I also got tapped for a person people thought was patient, forgiving, a good listener, or a leader.  Walking away from that activity I always feel ten times better.

Yesterday was also when the top bananas of ORL and the president of the university walked around our halls and inspected the crafty things that we made.  So I stressed a lot on Friday night so I could finish the things I had started and then do the bulletin boards that I hadn't given a thought to.  Oh that was fun.  I finally crashed at about 2 AM and got up early so I could finish cleaning the desk and cutting paper.  Luckily I got it all done by the time I needed it done, but my bulletin boards are not as pretty as I would have liked them to be.  Which means I'll be tweaking them even now.

And there begins my to do list:

  • clean my hall desk (I'm so close to being done!)
    • create an inventory list and a list of things that can be rented from the desk
    • create the lock out phone tree
    • find a way to organize money in the cash drawer
  • e-mail my desk aides and RAs
  • laundry
  • write my programming calendar to give to my boss
  • read The Interpreter of Maladies (for the first year book discussion)
  • neaten my room
And there it is.  Yay for to do lists!

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
- Winston Churchill
Sunday, August 7, 2011 | By: Brianna

Things I've Learned

So the prompt for Sunday Scribblings today is "pleasure," and I was very, VERY close to stretching it by just saying "I take great pleasure in learning things" and then linking it to this post.  I feel like that would be I'm not going to do that.  So this is what I've learned this week.  Or at least what I've learned in the past four days.

  • Your building may be in the shape of an "A," you may know this, but you will still get lost.
  • Your father will know which way your room is better than you do.  During move-in.
  • The fire in the fireplace is nothing to be alarmed about.
  • A "geek" is a circus performer who bites the heads off of live chickens.
  • The blades of wind farm windmills are approximately the length of a semi and look like airplane wings.
  • There are two Comlara Parks.  On either side of a lake.  And this is not okay.
  • People appreciate my positivity, smile, and calmness.
  • Forever stamps last...forever.
  • Skittles is a dangerous game.  But lots of fun.
  • Empty buildings are creepier when there's a shower dripping in the dark bathroom.
  • You will find an entire cabinet of plastic bags left over from last year because the person responsible for recycling them is a slacker.
  • You may be adamant that the fire alarm will not go off in your building, but by the end of the week the central AC will force your fire alarm to go off.  Now that's what you call ironic...
  • You can make the little beeping smoke alarms stop making noise if you take them off the ceiling...
  • Even boys sing along with the songs they know.
  • Call Secondary.
Posts and updates about my door decs and other RCA pursuits are forthcoming because they have consumed my life so far.  Hooray!
Saturday, August 6, 2011 | By: Brianna


Q:  What are you doing?

A:  I dunno, what are you doing?

Q:  No, really, what are you doing?

A:  I'm writing a blog post instead of putting velcro on my door dec thingys for my RAs.  Because I'm awesome like that.

I'm also waiting until the time when I have to be in the parking lot behind my building so I can go on a retreat with the rest of the RCA staff.  I have no idea what we're going to be doing, but I think it's safe to assume that I'll probably be outside most of the day, and I'll probably be doing something.  As long as I'm not writing a twenty five page paper about John Steinbeck, I'm a happy camper.

And then there's the scramble to get everything I need to have done before the RAs come done.  (That sentence was weird.)  So I'm doing a lot of stuff related to that.  Including (but not limited to) making door decs, making other exciting things, cleaning the desk, and generally staring at the pretty paper in ORL.

But today I get to retreat from all that, so I'm extremely pleased.
Friday, August 5, 2011 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday -- Bright Star

Today I decided that I would bring back Poetry Friday.  That I've been so dedicated to these past couple of weeks.  (And yes, that's sarcasm.)  I do enjoy reflecting on poetry, and I think it's valuable to my own writing if I create prompts based on that poetry, so here we go.

I found this poem using StumbleUpon (because I have a serious addiction and I need intervention very soon).  This time I'm reading "Bright Star" by John Keats.  The last time I really looked at this poem was in my junior year of high school in my British literature class.  And that was a long time ago.  So long ago that I really don't want to think about the number of years that I won't.

This poem is a sonnet, a traditional Elizabethan sonnet (because there's more than one type of sonnet.  Confusing?  Maybe.) with its 14 lines and rhyme scheme, and it must be in iambic pentameter as well, but I'm too lazy right now to count out the beats in the first line.  That's right.  Too.  Lazy.  And it's great.

I find it interesting that Keats emphasizes the steadfastness of the star mostly because the star is probably dead.  Maybe that's saying something about the reliability of the dead for the living to depend upon them, or perhaps it's just saying that this was long before any huge astronomical discoveries were made with regards to the stars.  Keats also spends much of his time clarifying what he means by wishing that he were the star.  He doesn't want to hang in lone splendor in the sky, but he wants to remain steadfast with his love.  And if he doesn't live right there with his love, he would "swoon to death."  Which brings me back to my point that the star the speaker is looking at is probably a dead star.  And perhaps you can compare the swoon to whatever makes a plain-old-ordinary-star into a "shooting star."  Because if Keats were away from his love (ie. a shooting star) he would "swoon to death."

Aw, and then there's that parallel drawn between the swell of the sea and the swell of the speaker's lover's breasts...and then there's all that about priestlike tasks and journeys of ablution, both of which are hugely religious...sheesh, this poem is packed with delicious goodies!

1.  Write a sonnet.  About anything.  But be sure to use your own language, because it's no fun to right in archaic language that'll misdate your poem.  You'd much rather date your poem by using words like "groovy" and "awesome," right?
2.  What (in spite of everything around it) remains unchanged in the world?  Write about that.
3.  Steal the line "No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable" and use it in your own work.  Or take on that style of saying "no" but then basically agreeing anyway.
4.  Write a love poem, but don't let your lover be the subject of the poem.  Write about a wish that you have with regards to how you can more properly love them.  Like Keats says he wishes he was as steadfast as a star.  What characteristic (of a star or not) do you wish you had?

"Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite..."
- John Keats "Bright Star"
Thursday, August 4, 2011 | By: Brianna

I Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts...(or school)

Q:  So whatcha doin'?

A:  Unpacking.

Q:  Oh?

A:  Yeah.  I'm back at school as of yesterday, and so I'm unpacking and figuring out where all my fun decorations are going to go.

Q:  You're back at school?  Isn't it a little early for that?

A:  For normal people, yes.  But for me, not really.  I'm only a couple days early for what's normal for me.  But because I have a big and important job this year, I have to get trained for that and learn how to be important.

Last year and the year before, I had to come early to school to get trained as a Resident Assistant (RA).  So that means that I got here a full week before the first years came.  I was required to go to all these sessions in order to learn the policies and what to do in case of an emergency, how to manage my time, and meet my fellow RAs.

This year is different.  This year I'm a Residential Community Adviser (RCA).  That means that I'll be responsible for managing the hall desk, help with team-building for the RA staff, build community within the building (go figure, right?) and take on campus wide duty (which roughly translates to crisis response).  I'm one of ten, so it's a large RCA staff, and we'll see how that goes with regards to team-building.  I'm a bit nervous about stepping up into a new role in the ORL family, but obviously I got hired to this position for a reason.

Last night was my first night in my new room.  I'm in the largest first year building on campus.  6 floors of first years, and all of them empty except for my room on the 5th floor.  I could hear every creak and shift of the building, and I kept imagining that I heard voices in the hallway.  I swear I got up to make sure my door was locked about eight times before I finally drifted off to sleep.  And then this morning I got to shower in the completely empty bathroom, which meant that I had my pick of any shower I wanted.  Which was nice...until I learned that the most desirable shower (the big shower) had a droopy spout.  Commence droopy jokes now.  Needless to say, I will be finding another shower for tomorrow.

My favorite thing about my room so far is my east facing window.  I love windows that face east because I love having the sunshine in my room in the morning.  It just makes sense in my head.  Plus it makes me feel like I'm at home in my old room from last year.

There's so much to do!  I've got some major laminating to do, and posting of things all over the hall, and figuring out what the desk looks like and what I can do to make it pretty and efficient.  Though I'm overwhelmed, I feel useful at the same time.  Because even though there's a lot to do, it all seems manageable.  Which is a comforting thought.

"I gotta get back to Hogwarts,
I gotta get back to school,
I gotta get myself to Hogwarts,
where everybody thinks I'm cool..."
- A Very Potter Musical
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 | By: Brianna

When Did That Happen?

So when did all my friends grow up into adults, leaving me behind?
When did being Peter Pan become so lonely?
When did it become suddenly apparent that I have no direction or plan for my life?
When did I realize that I'm not grown up?  That I rely on my parents way too much for a person my age?  That I know nothing?
When did the future become so daunting it inspires me to do nothing but stand and stare?
When did it all become utterly hopeless?
When did the major question turn into "so what are you going to do after you graduate?"?
When did planning for the future come into vogue?
When did we start talking about long-term relationships like they would end in marriage?
When did my plan to live in a cardboard box for the rest of my life become impractical?
When did spending my days writing from dawn until dusk become equally impractical?
When did the plans for doing what you love get sacrificed in favor of doing what pays?
When did the question of being left behind come into play?  We were all on the same page for so long.  All terrified of what lay before us, all uncertain, and now?  Now it's the same thing that happened senior year of high school, everyone else is dedicated to what they want to do and where they want to go, and Brianna is scribbling poetry or coloring with crayons.
When did being an adult become an okay thing?  We've spent so long clinging to our childhoods, playing in the rain, going sledding, doing stupid things in the middle of the night, and yet we're supposed to be serious adults?
When did "being an adult" translate into "being serious no fun person"?  Adults have fun without being completely juvenile, but sometimes you need to be a little juvenile to have fun.  If that makes any sense.
When did I start complaining about the squealing teenagers in the mall and how obnoxious they are?
When did the age difference become so glaringly apparent?
When did I renounce the tears over transition in favor of tears over identity?
When did finding a job become the most important objective of anyone's life?  Maybe this is just my optimistic and immature brain thinking, but shouldn't happiness be most important?  Regardless of whether you find a job right away (or at all), as long as you're happy, does it really matter?
When did we start small talking?
When did I start wondering what an adult acts like?
When did it become necessary to explain myself?
When did I have to define my dreams in terms of strategy?
When did "shoot for the moon" and "dance like no one's watching" turn into "shoot for the nearest office building" and "dance only if it'll help you in the interview process"?
When didn't talk of the future make me so apprehensive?
When did living in the present become a bad thing?
When did I start worrying that I wasn't an adult?  That I'm not mature?  That I act my shoe size rather than my age?  When did this become a problem to be solved?

"When did that happen?"
-Brianna (age 21)
Monday, August 1, 2011 | By: Brianna

Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy: Heat and Mini Vampires

The entry in The Hitchkratz's Guide to the Galaxy on "heat" is practically blinding.  This is due to the fact that the entry on "heat" is solar powered and takes in the rays of whatever sun happens to be nearby at the moment and lights up the entry and all of the surrounding text.

The Guide claims that "heat" is the absence of cold, and a temperature which is found to be uncomfortable for most people once it hits about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  Red hot temperatures cause humans to emit a pungent odor due to the liquid being squirted from their many orifices, and sometimes even results in the outer layers of skin burning.  Aliens of different races such as the Gallafinacks change color in the heat, thereby leading to Gallafinacks being kept as pets in many of the galaxies outside of the Milky Way, and sometimes they are worn as mood rings by the giant races of the Tadpole Galaxy.

Heat has been known to make Earthlings angry or upset for no apparent reason owing to the fact that when the outside temperature exceeds their internal temperature, their blood literally boils in their veins.  It is not a pretty sight when an Earthling explodes, and quite a bit of clean-up involved.  (See CIA)

Heat has also been known to encourage the breeding of the endangered species known as "mosquitoes."  These tiny little bugs are actually mini vampires that can fly.  They suck the blood of innocent Earthlings and produce itchy spots all over their skin.  The skin of the Earthling, that is.  Earth is a designated preserve in order to encourage the preservation of the mosquito race.  Updates will be forthcoming.

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
- Harry S. Truman