Thursday, February 28, 2013 | By: Brianna

A Letter to French Fries

Dear French Fries,

It's been a long time, but I'm sure you remember me.  My name's Brianna, and I'm the blonde girl with the glasses who gets random cravings for you.

Last night, the question was posed, "Where do you want to eat?"  My first answer was the cheeky answer that I always give because that's the type of person I am, "Preferably somewhere with food.  Delicious food."  And then I realized, "I have the weirdest cravings for French fries, so can we go somewhere that will give me fries?"

You are delicious.  I love when you're crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and golden.  Needless to say, I successfully acquired a plate of French fries along with my bacon cheeseburger because I am the most healthy person in the history of the world.  And naturally, I ate all of the fries first.

Can we talk about one thing that I'm not a fan of?  Why is it that you never taste as delicious when you're leftover?  And cold French fries don't taste particularly good either.  Is it because you've just renounced all your deliciousness once you spend a night in the fridge?  As an act of rebellion, do you perhaps say, "Too bad, fry-eater, we're not going to be as delicious the next day!" and then toss off the coat of tastiness?  I'm not really sure how that would work literally, but I'm sure you can probably find a way what with your wily temptations that get me to eat you in the first place.

Lucky for you, I've discovered that my downfall with second day French fries is warming them up in the microwave because that makes them soggy.  I've learned only now that if you warm up French fries in a toaster oven, they're still crispy.  Unfortunately, I don't own a toaster oven, so that leaves me to consume a quarter of my burger and the entire plate of fries when I go out.  Which is something I'm totally okay with, don't get me wrong.

Then I found this on my was there all along!

I highly doubt that any "healthy alternatives" will turn me off of plain old delicious and fatty potato French fries, but it definitely sounds like an endeavor that will be fun to experiment with, and it'll definitely give me something to do.

I love you, French fries.  Let's see if there are other versions of you that are even more delicious.


"Blood may be thicker than water, but it's certainly not as thick as ketchup.  Nor does it go as well with French fries."
- Jarod Kintz
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | By: Brianna

Make New Friends

Okay.  I have a really dumb question:

How do people make friends outside of school?

I knew this was going to be a problem when I found myself asking myself this very question before I graduated.  All my friends I've made through school and being in classes with them and living in the same building or working with them.  In theory, the same can be true of making friends in "The Real World," right? You make friends with the people you work with, invite them out to dinner or drinks after work and you hang out?  You make friends with the people you do things with.  Theoretically.

And also of note is that you keep the friends that you already had.  The ones from college and high school who you kept in touch with and still have things in common.  The problem with this is that sometimes these people are scattered.  They have different work schedules, they live just that little bit too far away to call spur of the moment to hang out.  So though you could spontaneously hang out while you were all at school and you could crash their room, now you have to plan to see these people and plan on spending whole days or evenings with them to make the most of your time because you don't know when you're going to see them again.

But for real.  How do people make friends on this side of graduation?

I'm having a distinct difficulty with this.  I'm working on going to events within the community in order to make friends.  That's all well and good except that the majority of the people who go to community events at libraries and stuff?  They're all well over 50.  Or 60.  I don't have a problem with older folk as long as they don't pinch my cheeks or condescend to me, but I can't really invite them to hang out late at night when I can't sleep.  [this is where I say/think something horrible about older people but choose not to say it because I can say it verbally to people who ask me in person]  I wanted to go to a book discussion yesterday, but when I got home in the snow, my gloves and my gym shoes were wet through and I was cold, and I just didn't want to move.  So I stayed in and watched Total Recall and The Little Mermaid, while knitting a Hufflepuff scarf.  I'll let you imagine that for a second...

Though I identify as an introvert, I need people.  I don't see people who aren't related to me very often, and when I feels like I'm out of practice with the whole "social interaction" thing.  So I'm awkward.  Which is nothing new, but I notice.

So I'm trying to think of other things I can do.  It's been suggested that I volunteer.  I'm helping out with the Girl Scout troop that I've been a part of for years and helping out one of the leaders that I've known forever, but they only meet twice a month.  So that leaves 28 days out of the month with nothing to do for Brianna.  So I've got plenty of time to volunteer, I just need to find a place and a thing that I'm excited about and that's nearby and that will take all the time that I have to dedicate to it.

I'm also trying to come up with projects to give myself.  To have myself put together something, make something, do something that's constructive.  Pinterest is awesome for this.  These are mostly solo activities, so that leaves me in another lonely rut.  No people.  Unless I do these craft projects in a public place, which could be awkward, but definitely a conversation starter?

I think a large part of this could be solved by mustering the courage to go to things and do things on my own.  It'd be good for me, right?  Like vegetables.  But then I'm afraid that instead of feeling, "Yeah, I did this all on my own!" I'd feel even more lonely than I did before I went to some event all by myself.

Maybe I could take a class.  Unfortunately, spring semester's already started, so that's right out.  But maybe over the summer if I'm still in the area, I could take a class and make friends with my classmates.  That's something I'm good at.  Making friends with classmates.  Easy.

So that's what I've got: community events, volunteering, and an extra class.  Is that it?  Is this where people make friends?  Or is it the case of upperclass residence halls that everyone already has their established group of friends and they're not interested in meeting new people?  So...what then?  How am I to be expected to make friends with people who aren't interested in making any new friends or how do I find the people who want one more friend who's me?

This blog post brought to you by: The Post-Graduate Experience -- you thought it was all over when you left college, but it was really just the beginning.  Find yourself while slogging through complicated emotions, all while living with your parents!  Now for the low price of your student loans!  Don't wait, call now!

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one.'"
- C.S. Lewis
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | By: Brianna

Challenge Day 7

That's right, folks!  It's time to celebrate, because here is the daily writing challenge!  I've finished a whole week's worth of the challenge in...about two months.  But we're not going to talk about that because today is a day of celebration!  Everyone should do a writing challenge and spread out the prompts like the last bits of butter in the container across an entire loaf of's all good!

Here we have Day 7: Create a superhero.  Have he/she save the day.  (We're not going to talk about the grammar mistake happening right before our very eyes, but I am going to shamelessly point it out.)


Electrolexi's superhero name wasn't her idea.  She had wanted a name that was cool.  Like "The Inanimator."  Or something like that.  But her superhero mom thought that it would be clever to use little bits of the young superhero's name.  Alexandra turned into Electrolexi.  No relation to Electrolux.  Or maybe there was.  Superhero family trees were always so complicated, you would never know who was related to whom unless there was a slight similarity in name.  Batman and Batgirl?  Definitely father and daughter.  Wait, that wasn't right...

Anyway, Electrolexi's superpower involved being able to communicate with inanimate objects.  This was not exactly a power that gained you recognition among the superhero community, it was on par with being able to transform into a puddle of water or creating marshmallows with your toes.  Something like that.  Electrolexi's mother could control electricity and her father...well, not even Electrolexi's mother would admit who he was, though Electrolexi suspected he was Superman, but that was partially a case of wishful thinking.

On a February morning, Electrolexi turned on the television in her mother's living room to see a screen announcing, "BREAKING NEWS!"

"We've just heard word from NASA that their latest rocket, Iris VI has been hijacked by an unknown entity.  We can posit that the person climbing into the cockpit and throwing the prep crew out a window is a man from the body type observed on the surveillance cameras, but nothing else can be assumed at this point.  Superman was on the scene to save the prep crew being thrown out of the rocket, but has since disappeared, it has been reported that a Bruce Wayne who was funding the rocket's expedition may be on the scene any minute now to consult.  We will keep you updated."

"Ahem, 'scuse me, but could you 'old me a bit lighter?" coughed the television remote.

"Oh!  Sorry..." mumbled Electrolexi.  She hadn't even realized that she was gripping it white-knuckled.

Without a fully formed plan, Electrolexi grabbed her cape and ran out the door.  About halfway down her block, she got a stitch in her side and had to slow down to a brisk walk as she passed the bus that she would normally be taking to her high school.  Chances are if she failed in whatever she wasn't planning on doing, her mother would kill her for skipping school to save the world anyway.

By the time she got to NASA, Electrolexi had a vague idea of what she should do.

"Hey!  You can't be in here!" a bespectacled man yelled at her as she rushed down the hall to the control room.

"Trust me, I've got this handled!" she bellowed over her shoulder.  Though she probably wasn't the most convincing person the man had heard, considering she was a lanky teenaged girl running full speed down a hallway toward the control room of a gigantic rocket, but what did that matter anyway?

Barreling into the control room, Electrolexi yelled at the top of her lungs, "Let me talk to the rocket!"

A group of rocket scientists turned from their computer screens to take in the teenaged girl standing inside the door and panting to catch her breath.  None of them smiled, none of them found this even remotely funny.  There was an unknown man in the cockpit of the rocket and this silly girl was demanding that she be allowed to "talk to the rocket"?

"Pardon me, little girl, but who do you think you are?" asked a white-haired man closest to the door where Electrolexi was still panting.

"I'm Electrolexi.  Trust me.  I've got this.  Give me a microphone."

The rocket scientists were all so baffled by the presence of a teenager in their control room, they just handed her a microphone without any further questions.  The white-haired man snickered a little bit and shook his head before settling back into his seat.

Closing her eyes and concentrating, Electrolexi tuned into what she figured was the rocket's voice singing a tuneless ditty without words as it prepared to take off.  It didn't really care who was piloting it, it just wanted to fly.

"Hey, Iris?  Iris VI?  This is Electrolexi, can you hear me?"

"Electrolexi?  I don't think I know you.  Are you friends with the president?" the rocket asked, halting her song rather abruptly when she was interrupted.

"Yeah, we'll go with that.  Okay, I need you to stay put, alright?  If you get clearance for take-off, it's not from us."


Electrolexi let out a breath that she hadn't realized she had been holding.  That was easy.  Too easy...

To be continued...?
Monday, February 25, 2013 | By: Brianna

The Teen Section

(BRIANNA enters her local library in search of a book that she's been trying to get her hands on for the past two weeks so she can participate in another library's book discussion.  All bundled up in her green army jacket, Doctor Who inspired scarf, gloves, and a purple knit cap, BRIANNA quickly locates the book she's looking for and tucks it under her arm for safe-keeping while she browses another section of the library.

When this scene begins we find BRIANNA standing in front of a short set of shelves with books in them.  Over the shelves is a banner that reads "TEEN SECTION.")

(BRIANNA is considering the books in front of her, thinking that she's getting one book already and she has another half a dozen at home, so what would be the point in getting more.  She's just replaced a book on the shelf when LIBRARIAN approaches her.)

LIBRARIAN:  Can I help you find something or are you just browsing?

BRIANNA:  (startled by the sudden appearance of LIBRARIAN)  Oh!  No thank you, I'm just browsing.

LIBRARIAN:  Okay, because you do know this is the teen section...

(BRIANNA is confused and opens her mouth to say something just as LIBRARIAN continues speaking.)

LIBRARIAN:  Oh, you must have a teen at home.

BRIANNA:  I--I'm only just recently "not a teen"...

LIBRARIAN:  Oh, you just like--you like reading...well, keep reading!  (she smiles cheerfully and turns away)

(BRIANNA, completely astounded by the interaction leaves the library at a brisk walk.)


Yes.  I am 22 and I still read books that are shelved in the "teen section."  If someone out there in the world can give me a legitimate reason as to why this is a bad thing, then maybe I will consider stopping, but taking into account that the book I was holding I had retrieved from the adult fiction section, and also that I was not planning on getting another teen book this time around, I'm thinking that there should be some more slack cut here.  And it should also be noted that if I did indeed have a "teen at home," I'm pretty sure that they could pick out their own books so "Mommy" could go find books of her own in the middle of the day on a weekday.

Does age level matter when it comes to reading when truly good and meaningful books should be able to translate to multiple levels of readers and ages?  Should librarians monitor the people checking out books that are considered "teen books"?  If so, where does the monitoring stop, will parents be able to check out picture books for their younger children?  Why can't everyone just read what they want to read?!

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
- Jane Austen
Sunday, February 24, 2013 | By: Brianna

Bring in the Evidence

This morning I found an evidence bag in the refrigerator (I'm not even kidding, the first shelf in front of my face: evidence bag).  It had come from a cold case, and considering I had never interacted with an evidence bag before in my life, I had some difficultly getting it open.  It was sealed, and not with tape, but with some complicated sealing process.  So I ended up taking a knife to it.  The odors from the contents of the bag wafted out of the plastic, filling up the house with the smell.  My mom would probably kill me and put me in a body bag for doing this, but I didn't care.  I was seized by a hunger I only ever felt in the mornings, a savage hunger to break my fast from over eight hours of sleeping.  So I slapped the evidence on a plate and shoved it into the microwave, listening to the pop and bubble as the microwave warmed it from the inside out.  Steam lifted from the surface when I pulled it out of the microwave as I cut into it.  Juices ran down my chin, and I stuck out my tongue to lick the juices off my face.  So delicious as I savored the cornucopia of flavors bursting on my taste buds, I realized that I would never be able to eat anything else ever again.


Well, I was going to talk about how I can't possibly talk about the Academy Awards because I haven't seen the majority of the movies that have been nominated, but when I opened the fridge and saw that evidence bag, it was obvious that I needed to write about that.  I mean, which would you rather hear?

"This morning I found an evidence bag in the refrigerator"


"So I've only seen maybe three movies that have been nominated for Oscars.  I mean, that's counting animated film and screenplay and all that...I've only seen one Best Picture nominee."

Exactly what I thought.  Glad I could oblige.

"There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Saturday, February 23, 2013 | By: Brianna Kratz

Dance, dance...

Q:  What is the last song you danced to?

A:  To be quite honest, I'm not sure.

Q:  What, do you dance a lot?  I thought you couldn't dance.

A:  I can't dance.  I do, however, dance in the car.

Q:  While you're driving?

A:  While I'm driving.  It's pretty much the best thing ever.

Q:  This exchange isn't going to make a very compelling blog post...

A:  Yeah, I know, that's why I'm going to tell you about a particular time that I danced that was fun.

Q:  You probably scandalized the masses.

A:  Oh, I did.

Okay, so when I was on my way home from the Disney College Program, my chauffeur and I went to Universal Studios.  Specifically, Islands of Adventure for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Naturally.  By the end of the day, I had a wicked headache because I hadn't worn a hat and I didn't drink enough water.  So it was my own fault.

On our way out, we were walking through the Streets of Universal because that's the only way to get to the parking lots.  Over the loud speakers and drifting over the entire area was Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe."  (Don't lie, you know you have a secret love of this song.)  Right there on the Streets of Universal, I belted out "Call Me Maybe" and dance-walked all the way over to the parking lots.  I'm pretty sure I made a little bit of a scene, but that made it about eight billion times better.  It was a lot of fun trying to get my friend to dance with me, and just...good times.  I remember it like it was only yesterday....

"Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music."
- George Carlin
Friday, February 22, 2013 | By: Brianna

Hats Off!

Q:  Are you a hat person?

A:  Yes.  Absolutely.  My very first hat was a wool maroon beret that I got when I was 10.  I really wanted to learn how to speak French, and Santa Claus stuffed this topper into my Christmas stocking.  I was thrilled, and had no idea how to wear it even though I had asked for it.  So I experimented with jaunty tilts and wore it to elementary school where the baseball cap wearers who were asked to shed their hats asked my teacher why she wasn't asking me to take off my beret.

In 8th grade I played the Cat in the Hat in a play for my drama class.  Hat.

I'm not sure when abouts, but I managed to acquire an Indiana Jones hat from Disney Land somewhere in here around the same time that I got a black pinstriped fedora, adding two hats to my collection.

In my junior year of high school, I got a hat simply because I was playing Kelsie, a hat wearing piano player, in High School Musical.  That's really a great hat, it has an itty bitty pocket that I keep a shiny penny in...because I'm a dork.

I have a hat that I knit that I wear when I haven't showered and my hair looks gross so, surprise! to all the people who think I look cute on those days!

While I was at Disney, I also wore this hat.  I mean, I wore my costume hats too, but this was my fun hat.
And my Stitch wore a Nala as a hat...
The most recent hat that I've worn though has been a mortar board.  It's my personal opinion that these hats look dumb and no one looks good in them.  On my graduation day, mine kept slipping backwards because the hair pins decided they didn't want to do their job.  Needless to say they were fired after the event.  Anyway, mortar boards.  I'm not sure what they're supposed to look like or what the tradition is, but suddenly it feels very important for me to consult Wikipedia to find out.  [this is when Brianna went to consult Wikipedia about the mortar board]  Because everything on the Internet is true.  Well then.  It seems that the mortar board was adapted from hats that the clergy wore.  And there are so many variations on how schools in the U.S. use them, it makes my head spin a little.  Oh, and whatever you do, don't throw'll hurt someone because they're like ninja stars...

Isn't that a lovely thumnail?  Enjoy "Exchanging Hats" by Elizabeth Bishop.

"Some hats can only be worn if you're willing to be jaunty, to set them at an angle and to walk beneath them with a spring in your stride as if you're only a step away from dancing.  They demand a lot of you."
- Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys
Thursday, February 21, 2013 | By: Brianna

Complimentary, My Dear Watson

Here we are again, using a prompt from my mysterious prompt box.

Today's prompt: Write about some compliments people have given you.

I've been told that I have "presence."  I do enjoy the spotlight, so I'm glad that people think that I can command attention.  What's interesting about that is how I identify as an introvert, but I'm pretty okay at pretending that I'm an extrovert.  So when I get compliments about how people think I perform well or that I have a sort of charisma, I'm hugely flattered because that's not something I would naturally attribute to myself.

I have a poem about nerds that I wrote for my Stand Up Poetry class, and I particularly enjoy reading it because I get a lot of compliments on it.  Denise Duhamel said that she liked my title, "Nerds Do It by the Book," and Matt Guenette said that he wanted to steal the line "***SPOILER ALERT!***" from me.  It was the very first poem in my university's literary magazine one semester, and people came up to me on campus and told me that it was hilarious, that it made them want to read more in the magazine, that they read it aloud to their friends and everyone thought it was funny.  The biggest compliment that I got for that poem was a date, which was pretty awesome.

I also have a friend who told me I "fascinate" her and that I'm "pretty damn amazing."  I remember these compliments word for word because I wrote them down in a notebook, not believing that I could possibly be that awesome, especially not in the eyes of someone who I regarded so highly.  I may have kept those quotes written on the mirror in my room for some time because every time I thought about them, I smiled.

For my last compliment I need to tell you that in high school, I did a lot of theatre.  I feel like every time I talk about my theatre days I probably sum it up by saying that I "did a lot," but that's really just the prologue to this semi-story.

My junior year of high school, we did a production of The Laramie Project for our fall play.  For anyone who knows what the play/movie is about, you'll  know that it's a pretty heavy play for a high school to put on, but every other year we did a drama, and that was ours that year.  In summary that does little to no justice to the beauty of the story, it's about the murder of a homosexual student in Wyoming, and how his death brings together the community of Laramie.  It was a very small cast, so that meant everyone was playing about 4-6 different characters throughout the two hour show.  One of my characters was a friend of one of the murderers.  I played her as a drunk/high undereducated foul-mouthed bigot.  It was a good time.  Well at the end of the production during our pizza party, the senior class gives out unofficial awards to everyone in the cast and crew.  I received the award for, "Playing 'drugged out' a little too good."  And that was one of the best compliments I got for that performance.

"It's a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming."
- Oscar Wilde
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 | By: Brianna

Saving Snickers

(based on a picture from my Writing Inspiration board on Pinterest)

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Snickers didn't want to be saved.  Having accomplished the miraculous feat of making a break from the green Victorian on Vine and scampering across the stretch of front lawn, Snickers had scrabbled up a tree on the parkway and now there was this grown man wearing spandex reaching towards him.  Snickers would have none of this.  Unsheathing his claws, Snickers brandished them at the man with all the threat his little bell-collared self could muster.

"Come on, Snickers, just come on over here," the man was saying as he clutched at the trunk of the tree and reached out for the cat.  The old woman who lived in the green Victorian and provided Snickers with cat nip every week on Friday stood at the base of the tree, looking up.  She tilted her head so far back her big round glasses slid up the slope of her nose and rested on her face.  Snickers fostered little pity for the old woman who had her young grandchildren come visit on the weekends and pull his tail.

"Why don't you fly, Superman?" yelled a skateboard-toting boy from the sidewalk.  The man in spandex ignored this jibe because evidently he didn't deem it necessary to rise to this occasion.  In Snickers' opinion, the man in spandex would probably be able to better coax his feline self to come down if he displayed some level of inhuman skill.  Lex Luthor must have had the day off otherwise why would this man who called himself "Superman" be climbing a tree to retrieve a cat?

Snickers did not find this amusing.  He bristled at the hand reaching towards him and promptly slashed it across the knuckles, drawing blood and leaving little carvings of parallel lines across the hero's extremities.  Superman immediately stuffed his bleeding fingers in his mouth to stifle the un-super hero-like curse that threatened to escape.

"Come here, Snickers, Granny's got a nice new ball of yarn for you to play with if you come down," the old woman beckoned, her face still tilted to the sky and her eyes squinting through her glasses at the bristling ball of fuzz that was Snickers who was still unconvinced that his adventure needed to end here and now.

Superman pulled his fingers out of his mouth and slowly returned his grip to the tree branch where Snickers was standing.  His face seemed to soften into a guilty expression and he looked at Snickers, speaking softly,  "Look, Snickers.  Let me level with you.  I'm kinda not having the greatest day.  Lois is moving out to focus on her career, Lex Luthor TP-ed the Fortress of Solitude, and I have a wicked hangover, so if you could just come on down, you'd really be doing me a favor."

The man in spandex let that sink into Snickers' little cat head and little cat thoughts.  He could see that Snickers was relaxing his muscles, toning down the bristles.  The cat's eyes softened and his scowl relaxed into a far more neutral expression.  Which is when Superman reached out and picked up Snickers with a grab as fast as a speeding bullet, realizing only too late that Snickers still had his claws out.

"If cats looked like frogs, we'd realize what nasty, cruel little bastards they are.  Style.  That's what people remember."
- Terry Pratchett
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | By: Brianna

Nothing New, Just Procrastinating

Q:  So what's going on?

A:  I am job searching.  When I say that I'm job searching, I really mean that I'm finding creative ways of using the Internet that doesn't involve searching for jobs on the limited number of job search sites that I've bothered for about a month now.  Procrastination is something that I'm very familiar with, so this is nothing new.

My most recent procrastination is Here's the Story, specifically their podcasts.  I don't usually listen to podcasts, mostly for unknown reasons.  I guess I just feel like I should be doing something else at the same time.  Even though I'm procrastinating, I'm a very efficient procrastinator who does lots of things while she's procrastinating.  So I'm writing this blog post while I'm listening to stories from Here's the Story and I just finished up writing Poem-A-Day things while listening to (guess what) stories from Here's the Story.  It's a really neat show and I'm having a lot of fun listening to the stories.  It's quickly becoming a goal of mine to go see this show in person, and I'm really excited about this prospect.

I've been knitting a Hufflepuff scarf for my friend while simultaneously watching Dollhouse.  I'm getting pretty far in both the television show and on the scarf, so far that I'm almost halfway through the second season and the scarf reaches from the floor to my neck.  I am 5'5''.  Having a lot of fun with the show, especially when I can marvel at the acting talents of those who play the dolls because wow.  Just wow.

Additionally, I'm also starting multiple projects relating to my poetry, which is really neat, but I'm not even sure which one to focus on because I'm excited about them all but I don't have nearly enough hands to do all of them at once.  So really they're all sitting on the chair in my room in a stack of poetic mess, doing about as much as I am with regards to my job search.

A friend of my mother's asked me on Saturday night, "So how's the job search going, Brianna, does it totally suck?"  I had no idea what to say to that.  Well, honestly?  Yeah, a little bit.  I haven't heard from anyone, and the ones that I have heard of have said, "Thanks but no thanks."  That's fair, I can respect that.  The short version is that I don't have a job.  No job for Brianna.  I have no idea what I'm doing, I'm a little dejected, yeah.  So...I'm procrastinating for now.  Really hoping that the procrastination blows over soon...because I need to get some stuff done.

"If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done."
- Rita Mae Brown
Monday, February 18, 2013 | By: Brianna

Challenge Day 6

Here we go with the daily writing challenge!  Day 6: Start your story with: "He glanced at his watch impatiently..."


He glanced at his watch impatiently, having already run out of other ways to check his watch.  He'd already tried out "cheerfully" an hour ago, and his attitude towards his watch and the passage of time had rapidly descended into "curiously," spiraling past "irritably" and straight into "impatiently" where it seemed like it was bound to stay for good.  Vincent Traver had been sitting on the same uncomfortable park bench for what was, in his opinion, far too long.  But that was the the nature of meetings like these, he was at the mercy of whoever deigned to speak with him.

"Is this seat taken?"

Vincent looked up to see an Asian woman standing over the empty half of a bench and pointing at the seat.  She was wearing mirrored sunglasses and a not quite smile, not quite frown, a face somewhere in between that Vincent couldn't decide if it was meant to be friendly or just...that's when Vincent realized he was staring.

"No, please, sit," Vincent said, casting a glance around the park to break his stare and noting several completely empty benches across the way.  Odd.

Vincent slid even further down the bench to allow the woman as much room as she wanted on the other end.    As it turned out, the woman didn't take up much space at all, having the same build as a fairy or something equally delicate yet dangerous.  Yes.  Fairies are dangerous.  Moving on...  She pulled a newspaper out of her black bag and shook it open.  Once her face and mirrored sunglasses were hidden behind the newsprint, she asked, "So I hear you like gardening."

Quirking an eyebrow, Vincent turned slightly towards the woman and her newspaper.  "I beg your pardon?"

"Gardening.  Shovel, dirt, plants.  I hear you like it."

"I actually prefer water skiing," Vincent said with a slight shrug, turning to face front again.

"I see.  It's rather nice in Miami this time of year," the woman commented thoughtfully, the newspaper held firmly in front of her.

"It's always nice in Miami," Vincent chuckled.

As if this was some kind of signal, the woman folded up her newspaper and stuffed it back into her purse.  She stood up, leaving behind a white envelope with a tri-colored fleur-de-lis seal holding it closed.  All of this happened so quickly, Vincent was left on the park bench staring straight ahead with his mouth hanging open. Shaking himself out of his confusion, he grabbed at the envelope and tore it open.

"My name is Chen Fan.  I was sent as a decoy.  You will find the real message under the third cafe table at 6322 N. Cloudgate.  If you do not collect the message within 24 hours we will be forced to terminate your contract.  Good luck."
Sunday, February 17, 2013 | By: Brianna

Potter Noir

This morning, I dipped into my prompt box.  Once upon a very long time ago, I made myself a prompt box.  I think I needed time to forget what I had written on all the little strips of orange paper, because when I first attempted to use it, it didn't go so well because it seemed that I was looking for specific prompts.  I vetoed using "My saddest memory is..." for today though.  Mostly because I'm trying this new thing that involves my trying to be positive.  It's hard though, and I'm not even sure if I'm doing it right.

So today's prompt: Take a passage from a book, a favorite or a least favorite, and rewrite the passage in a different style such as noir, gothic romance, pulp fiction, or horror story.

I was so close to using Pride and Prejudice, but I think I've been watching too much of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and I don't want to be influenced by that.  So Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban it is!  We're going to give this a try with the scene where Snape catches Harry out of bed with the Marauder's Map and the Map commences to insult Snape.


Professor Snape was a cold, hard-boiled man, his dark eyes flicking between shadows.  He knew Potter would turn up sooner or later, so he was just biding his time.  Leaning up against one of the cold stone walls, Snape tossed a silver Sickle into the air, catching the flipping coin as it descended.  He did all of this without looking because he had been practicing this routine in his bedroom since adolescence.

Sure enough, Potter slipped into the middle of the hallway, bold as brass.  With a lip curling sneer, Snape intercepted the teenaged Boy Who Lived.

"Caught red-handed.  Did you really think you would get away with it, Potter?" Snape asked.  His voice was barely a whisper, but since the portraits slumbered in their frames, Potter was certain to hear.

Potter shifted into a defiant posture, his spine loosening and his arms crossing over his chest.  He knew he was caught and there was no getting away from Snape this time.

"Gotta hand it to you, Potter, you really did give me the slip at the last Quidditch game, but the Dementors made sure you didn't get very far."

"What's it to you where I go?  You're not my mother," Potter sneered, clutching at the worn piece of parchment Snape had neglected to notice so far.  Or so it seemed.  But at the mention of Potter's mother, Snape's eyes glazed over momentarily.  Lily.  Snape shook himself out of the incoming flash of memory and grabbed onto Potter's arm.

"And what might that be?" he asked.

"Nothing.  Bit of parchment Ron got me from Hogsmeade," Potter said, nervously shifting in Snape's ironclad grip.

"Oh, and you're just so attached to it you carry it around when you're wandering the halls after hours?  I don't think so."

Snape flipped around and dragged Potter off to the dungeon.  His office.  The hallways were dark, in shades of gray and black, because that's how Snape saw the world.  Everything was in shades of gray.  Forty-nine.  Forty-nine shades of gray.  Once they reached Snape's office, he shoved Potter into a very uncomfortable chair on one side of his desk, tearing the scrap of parchment out of the boy's hands.

"Show yourself," Snape commanded the parchment, poking at it with his weapon.  Snape's weapon of choice was a wooden model, a stick of a wand as dark as his eyes.  The parchment lay on the desktop, doing nothing spectacular.  "That's an order, bub."  Nothing.  "Severus Snape, the law of this joint demands you give up your secrets."

The parchment remained motionless on the desktop, but words began to appear on its surface as if a typewriter were clicking out each letter.

Mr. Moony addresses his compliments to Severus Snape and expresses his complete bafflement that a goon like that could swindle Albus Dumbledore.

Mr. Padfoot concurs with Mr. Moony and would like to add that Snivellus Snape is an insufferable dog.

Mr. Prongs comments that Snape is a lowdown good-for-nothing greasepot that can't get a girlfriend.

Mr. Wormtail bids Mr. Snape good night and advises that he wash his hair, the slimeball.

Snape looked up at Harry Potter with murder in his eyes.

"As though an invisible hand were writing upon it, words appeared on the smooth surface of the map."
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Saturday, February 16, 2013 | By: Brianna

Streetcar Poem

This Monday, I'm going to a local writing group at a library near my house.  They come up with a theme each month and you have to write on the theme.  This month's was "streetcar(s)," and I had no idea what to write.  So I wrote this poem that doesn't have a title yet, and already needs to be rewritten.  I'm kinda excited about the prospect of getting to meet writers in the neighborhood, and I'm sad that these meetings only happen once a month, which naturally means that I need to find more writing groups or start one myself.  I'm thinking every two weeks would be pretty neat.  So yeah.  Poem.

Streetcar Poem

If you hook up a trolley pole
to my heart and weld
roller skates to my feet,
maybe the wires would lead me

Electricity could prompt my pulse
to nudge positivity through my veins,
and my little roller skate wheels
could slide on down the road.

But don’t wires and cables
and those little metal valleys dug into the street
only go so far?

When I’m stuck, it’s you
who is Stella from “Streetcar”
while I’m Marlon Brando
screaming your name from the sidewalk,
tearing my hair in giant follicle fistfuls
because your window’s closed
or you’re just not listening.

Because your preoccupations
settle into your attention, reminding me that I’m passé
like the horse and carriage.

You’d much rather wrestle
with your concept of The Future illuminating
your computer screen,
never mind the chat box winking at you.

So when the pebbles lodge
in my roller skates
or the overhead wires cross and twist,
the only help I can rely on
is my own unwillingness
to stay in one place.

Because it really doesn’t matter
where the wires go
as long as following them means
I can find a Future for me.
Friday, February 15, 2013 | By: Brianna

Poetry Friday: Tooth Brush to the Bicycle Tire

In the spirit of the Valentine's Day season, I thought I would write about a love poem.  And I looked through the other poems that I looked at for Poetry Friday and realized, "Hey, I've done a lot of love poetry.  Is this a coincidence...?"  Probably not.  And then when I typed that sentence out and figured I should double check that I've indeed done "a lot" of love poetry, I realized that it was really just the last two poems that I wrote about that were love poems.  Now I feel dumb for making that wild generalization about myself.  I should be offended, but it would really suck if I got angry at myself at this point.

So here we have a poem by Sarah Kay, "Tooth Brush to the Bicycle Tire."

First off, it must be said that I think Sarah Kay and this poem are adorable.  I love watching videos of her performing because she never uses superfluous hand motions, and when she does use hand motions it looks like she's dancing.  Basically I think she's super graceful and I love her voice.  Not really something I can comment about with regards to the actual poem...but yeah.

Okay, I love this concept.  The idea of having inanimate objects speaking to each other is a beautiful one because we're surrounded by so much stuff, why not use it in our art?  It reminds me of Pablo Neruda's Odes to Common Things which I still haven't read all the way through, but "Ode to My Socks" sticks out.  I feel like we definitely don't appreciate the objects that we use daily, so giving them a voice or thanking them is something that I can appreciate.

"They said that you would tread all over me...that you were full of hot air...that it would be a vicious cycle..." Alright, so there are some puns here.  I love the puns.  So much love for the puns.  This sounds like typical advice that someone would get when it comes to loving someone from a "different world," and I think when this is contrasted with the language the tooth brush actually uses to express its love, it makes the declaration more meaningful.  We've got the "they" telling the toothbrush all these things, things that sound like they would be cliche but because it's about a bicycle tire...they're accidentally punning.  And the tooth brush seems to see the ridiculousness of it, and just nods, smiles, and goes on its merry way loving the bicycle tire.

There's a lot to be said about love poetry, and it can very easily slip into the realm of the cliche because there's just so much of it.  But I think that this poem with the tooth brush seeing "rough edges" and fitting "into any place you'll let me" is both sweet and true of loving someone.  Because everyone knows love is about seeing the whole picture and loving the flaws.

Love this poem, love the performance, love, love, love.

But I was really close to doing today's poem on Taylor Mali's How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog.

1.  Make this concept your own.  Write your own love letter from one inanimate object to another.  How does the Toaster feel about the Lawn Mower?  And what about the Exercise Ball to the Dining Room Chair?  Is there a secret love triangle between the Whisk, the Waffle Iron, and the Lamp Shade?  Hm...
2.  So what's the bicycle tire's take on all this?  Does it return the tooth brush's love or is it stuck in a pair?
3.  Bring on the puns on cliched love advice.  It's gotta be there somewhere.
4.  What "places" do we fit in for the ones we love?
5.  What is it that "they" always say?  Do we take their advice?

"If loving you means getting dirty,
bring on the grime!"
- Sarah Kay, 'Tooth Brush to the Bicycle Tire'
Thursday, February 14, 2013 | By: Brianna

A Letter to/from My Valentine

Even though I technically asked and was accepted as a valentine for my mother, sometimes you just have to write some mushy stuff.  I know it's probably trite and I'm probably contradicting my post from last year, but you goes nothing.


Valentine I Wish I Would Get:

Dearest Brianna,

It feels as though it's been weeks since I heard your voice when in reality it hasn't even been one week.  And now it's Valentine's Day.  And I know how you feel about Valentine's Day, so for I'll count the cliches for you when they come up.

You mean the world to me (1).  No joke.  If it came down to whether I would want you or the world, well, you would be more portable.

I can't imagine myself with anyone else but you (2) although if Angelina Jolie came calling, I might have to go running.  We have to have our principles here and I figure if I tell you in advance, you won't be able to argue with me when it happens.

In short, love, let's go have adventures and make the most out of life (3).

I love you, happy Valentine's day.

Random Imaginary (preferably British) Gentleman


Valentine I Wish I Would Send:

Dear love,

Yesterday I started writing thank you notes for the presents I got for Christmas, and because you know me so well, you're going to keep your mouth shut about thank you notes being most effective when they come right after the holiday they belong to...  Anyway, the point is that because I'm kind of in a more thankful mood than I usually am, this will probably end up being a thank you note rather than a love letter, so I apologize if you were getting your hopes up.

Thank you.

Thank you for understanding me enough to know that you have to let me ride the shopping cart in the parking lot, and if you don't I'll probably pout.  Thank you for letting me drag you down every single aisle in the grocery store because it amuses me.

Thank you for letting me play.  It's taken me a really long time to find someone like you who is willing to let me play.  You once told me that you didn't see the point in becoming an adult if you couldn't be childish sometimes, and I'm pretty sure that that's when I fell for you.  And the best part is, you don't just let me play, you join in.  You pun with me, and I love that about you.  I was always afraid that I would end up with someone who would crush my soul and force me to write stuffy poetry, but you make me want to go on adventures with you and stay up all night eating candy.

Thank you for using British-isms and/or being British yourself.  You know that that's exactly what I love, and you use it to your advantage.  It's perfect.  Seriously.  Don't ever stop.  And thank you for understanding that if David Tennant comes into my life, I will leave you.  And even if you don't really understand, thank you for allowing that this is a reality.

Thank you for kissing me to shut me up when I'm on a rant.  Oh wait.  That's me.  Um.  Well, thank you for letting me kiss you to shut you up?  :^P

Thank you for writing to me.  I've always had a list of things that I would want my perfect man to be and do, and writing to me is up there.  I love the letters and the postcards and the e-mails, I love that we're in contact outside of text messages because I have to admit that I love reading the words that you physically wrote on a piece of paper for me.  It's kinda awesome.  You don't have to write me poetry, but I love that you do, it makes me melt.

Thank you for supporting me, especially when I'm being irrational.  Thank you for holding me and calming my panic especially when you don't understand what the big deal is anyway.  Because I know it's dumb.  And I know that I worry without reason, but sometimes it's just something I need to do.  Thank you for being there.

Thank you for not giving up on me.


To all the lovers, to all the romantics, to all those looking for love, or to those who have lost it, may you have a wonderful day full of sunshine and warmth.  And don't forget about discounted candy tomorrow!


Write your own valentine you wish you would send or receive!

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you till China and Africa meet and the river jumps over the mountain and the salmon sing in the street."
- W.H. Auden
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | By: Brianna

Challenge Day 5

So here we go, daily writing challenge!  This is Day 5: A story revolving around an object in your room.


It was my grandma's desk.  She had always wanted to be a writer, so when I started showing writing tendencies, my dad figured that my room was the best place for the piece of furniture.  I would put it to good use, see.

I spent the majority of my writing time sprawled out across the carpet in my bedroom because Grandma's desk was turned into a place where I threw things.  I'm talking about receipts from evenings out eating pie, programs from shows I went to see, random objects that I found in my pockets after a weekend out of town, things like that.  If there was ever an original piece of writing written on that desk by me, it was a to do list on a Post-It on the corner of the thing.

I wasn't really interested in using the thing for my writing because I wrote more while I was on the go than when I was sitting alone at home, so I grumbled and griped when my mother told me I needed to clean the desk out.

"But Mom, it probably hasn't been cleaned out since Grandma died!" I said.  Needless to say I wasn't looking forward to a Saturday afternoon looking through probably empty drawers and dusting them out.

"Then it shouldn't be a problem, should it?  You know, if the drawers are all empty already?" Mom reasoned, dragging the laundry down into the basement and ignoring any further protests.

I probably shouldn't have complained as much as I did, especially if the thing turned out to be empty.

The first couple drawers were empty except for a couple crumpled up candy wrappers.  The last drawer, like in all good mysteries, was jammed.  I struggled with the handle, jiggling it and trying to wedge it open.  Right about the time when I was going to call it a loss or grab a crowbar, the drawer sprung open and bit my finger on top of everything.  Shoving my finger in my mouth to ease the pain, I peeked into the drawer to find a leather bound book.

"What the..."

The book looked like it had been there since just after the tree that made the desk was turned into a desk-like form.  It was covered in a layer of dust, so much that I didn't feel it necessary to move right away, not without a glove or a paper towel or something.

And all I kept thinking was why had no one noticed it before?

To be continued...?
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 | By: Brianna

On Decisions and Doormats

Q:  So what’s with the title?

A:  Well, I liked the alliteration.  And it felt appropriate for what I’m going to be ranting about today.

Q:  Oh really, is that so?

A:  Yeah!  You know what, Questions, you’re just a figment of my imagination, so I would appreciate if you didn’t back talk me as much as you do…

Q:  But--

A:  Oh hush.

So sometimes I have a need to rant.  And that’s what this is for, right?  That’s a rhetorical question, so don’t worry about responding.

As a recently graduated student and someone who has just finished up an internship, it is generally agreed that I am an adult.  Being over the age of 21, I can legally consume “adult beverages,” purchase cigarettes, drive, and vote.  I have gathered just about every adult legal privilege that’s relevant to my life right now (I’m not entirely sure about when you’re allowed to rent a car or book a hotel room, if that’s a different age or what, so that’s why the qualification of “relevant” there).  So.  I’m an adult.  For all intents and purposes, in The Real World, I’m considered an adult.  Cool.

With the understanding that I’m an adult comes the understanding that I’m responsible for making decisions that affect my life.  I get to make the decision of whether or not I should go to the resume workshop at the library (which doesn’t exist, by the way, so any parents who are commenting that I don’t seem to be doing that this evening…you can settle back into your chairs right now).  I get to decide if I want to pull an all-nighter on what would usually be a school night, because I’m not in school right now.  I get to decide which jobs to apply for, how many times to bother the HR department about where my resume is in the pile of resumes, and whether or not to send a basket of muffins to the front desk to grease some wheels and win favor.

Something happens when you become an adult.  These decisions show up.  It’s your responsibility to make them.  You accept this responsibility, and you make the decisions.  It just happens in some weird natural understanding that this is your life and it’s your job to make these decisions.  Right?


I’m not sure how it happened, but I've somehow surrounded myself with people who seem to think that I am incapable of making my own decisions.  Maybe it’s my own fault, maybe I shot myself in the foot when I sold myself as “indecisive” in my relationships with people, letting my friends decide where we went for dinner or what movie we went to see.  If that is truly the evidence that these people are using upon which to base their opinion that they don’t think I can make my very own decisions, I feel like their assessment is flawed.

Let’s look at this example:
(This is a typical conversation.)

FRIEND:  Let’s go to dinner!

BRIANNA:  Alright, when and where?

FRIEND:  I don’t know.

BRIANNA:  You want me to make a decision…you know I don’t do decisions!

FRIEND:  Well alright, let’s go to Chili’s, you pick when.

BRIANNA:  What part of “I don’t do decisions,” did you miss?

FRIEND:  Haha.

Alright.  Looking at this example, you can see that I’m probably a little more stubborn and irritating than I’m giving myself credit for, but you get the idea.  In my defense, this is a joke.  I’ll make a decision, but in this case, I don’t want to make a decision that would be found disagreeable to the friend I’m meeting up with.  THIS is a trivial decision.  So.  If I’m incapable of making a decision of where to go for dinner, clearly that must mean that I’m also paralyzed in the face of larger decisions of what I want to do with The Future, right?


Those who assume that are those people who I will be tacking up on my dart board and pitching sharp objects at until their pictures fade or spontaneously combust from the heat of their own bullshit.  Frankly, I’m insulted by these people’s assumption that I am incapable of making the adult decisions that I’m supposed to be responsible for right now.


To all those who are “looking out for me,” please stop.  Or talk to me.  Please don’t take actions that strip me of decisions because you think that’s going to make things easier for me.  At this point, I really don’t care what “easy” is, because I’m just trying to figure out how and who to be and I don’t really want to be the person who did what was easy because I had someone holding my hand the entire time.  Please remember that you are a part of my life, but you are not the person who gets to determine what path my life takes.  That is my responsibility, one that I accept and really want to hold on to.  Hell, there are people out there in the world who don’t get to determine the course of their own lives, and I’d like to exploit my privilege to do so with mine.  Do not treat me as a child, do not chide me if I choose to ignore your advice, do not make decisions for me.

To all those who consider me a doormat or indecisive, assess the decisions that you are basing your opinion upon.  Is it a trivial decision?  Is it a life-changing action decision?  Re-assess, re-evaluate, get back to me.

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts.  But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
- C. S. Lewis

Monday, February 11, 2013 | By: Brianna

Challenge Day 4

I am amazed by how wonderfully I'm doing with this daily writing challenge.  But I really should save the sarcasm for some better use.  I'm sure I could find something to do with it.  Somehow.  Maybe.  Today we have Day 4: A poem using the words: blue, mistrust, half, twang.  I can't promise you that it's any good, since it's the poem from my Poem-A-Day Project for today, and it's rough, and I could try saying that I won't apologize, but what I just said already undermined that.  Blah. it is!


February 11, 2013

I pondered over my Cheerios
what it meant to feel blue
and why I never felt purple.
With my bowl half empty, 
I wondered,
the Cheerios soaking up the milk
like little donut shaped sponges.
(yet that's an image I would mistrust)

And when the phone rang
you asked me what I wanted
for dinner--I want your twang.



And just like I do every year, I'm going to resolve to maintain this blog over Lent.  Like I've said in previous years, I'm not a fan of giving things up for Lent because I really believe that this should be a time used to create and maintain a good habit.  So.  Here we go starting on Wednesday...hopefully will come the daily blog posts.  Fingers crossed, folks!

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.”
- Doctor Who
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | By: Brianna


While I was playing dress up tonight, I was thinking.  Just to be clear, yes, at my age of "over 20," I was playing dress up.  Though to clarify, I wasn't playing with Mom's old bridesmaid dresses or Halloween costumes, I was playing with my very own wardrobe.  That's right.  Sweaters and jeans and all those button down shirts that I haven't touched for a very long time.  This is not the important part.

The important part is that I was thinking.  Which is a dangerous pastime, I know.

But I was thinking (after all this suspense, your thoughts better be good, Brianna) that one of the best things I got from my recently dissolved romantic relationship is a mite bit of self-esteem.  I'm not sure when it started, but I'm fairly certain that after spending just over a year being told on a regular basis that I was "pretty," "cute," "gorgeous," and the elusive "beautiful," I either figured it was true or just started believing it myself.

In March of 2012, I had every intention of posting this as part of a blog post, and then thought better of it, keeping it as a draft:

"I'm insecure about the way I look.  I'm not skinny, I'm not fat, I'm just average.  I have this awful, seemingly eternal acne that I'm wondering whether it'll ever go away.  But I will be the last one to admit that I'm pretty on any given day because I generally don't think that I am.  Then again, the majority of the people that I know who know they're pretty are insufferable to talk to, so I try to avoid them as much as possible.  But I don't wear shorts because I'm uncomfortable about my thighs, and don't start on the love handles, they're awful."

As a woman in America, there's probably a lot to be said about the media and our perceptions of ourselves being tainted by all of that, but I don't really want to have that argument.  Because frankly, I don't know much about it.

My biggest realization is that when I look back on that post I feel sad.  Not because of how poorly it's written, but because I seriously felt that way last year.  Even when I was surrounded by so much love and affection from friends, family, and a significant other who never hesitated to compliment me.

Today I pranced around in the strangest combinations of my ordinary clothes, and I felt like a princess.  Sure, there were things that didn't fit, but that's life, isn't it?  We're going to grow out of some dresses and facades, and we're going to grow into new ones.  And I think a lot of the confidence and pride in myself came from the relationship that I had with that significant other.  Maybe I'm giving him (or the relationship) too much credit, but now that it's not a thing anymore, I don't really find myself thinking, "I wonder if someone'll think I'm pretty again," it's more of a "I'm pretty, so I'm going to have fun" type thing.  Don't get me wrong, I miss being told I'm pretty on a regular basis, like for real.  We should really compliment each other more often and mean it, because I'm not too sure we hear that we're awesome often enough.  Sure, I've got my insecurities, and I could use either a gym membership or the determination to get off the couch and do things...but I'm having way too much fun believing I'm pretty to let much of anything get me down.

Oh me?  Yeah, I'm modest too.

And like slam poetry?  Check out Kate Mikkai: Pretty.  I am significantly shallower than this sometimes.  Kinda like now...

"That's always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they're pretty.  It's like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste."
- John Green