Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"Let it Go" Parody: Spring Finals Shenanigans Part 4

Spring Shenanigans Part 4

I'm still supposed to be studying for my Victorian lit final. But I've been concocting a parody of "Let it Go" from Frozen for a few days, and I just couldn't hold it back anymore. So I let it go and posted it on Facebook for the world to see. I'll let you see it, too!

The stars are bright over campus tonight, not a student to be seen...
The College of Desperation, and it looks like-- I'm the dean.
My soul is crying 'cause my GPA has died.
Couldn't keep it up. Heaven knows I tried...
Don't let them see I failed the test!
I'm that good kid who should have done her best.
If I'd done more, could I have passed?
It's in the past...
Let it go. Let it go!
Can't think of it anymore.
Let it go! Let it go!
Time to open a new door.
Here I stand
At a brand new day.
Let the grades fall down...
We'll all get a summer break anyway.

I must admit, if I spent more time studying and less time parodying, I probably wouldn't have to sing songs about failing finals.

Not that I've failed a final... yet. Guess I'd better get hot on this Victorian lit.

Procrasti-fate-ing: Spring Finals Shenanigans Part 3

Spring Finals Shenanigans Part 3

I didn't have a final today, so I spent the day in a casual manner. I went to meet some friends for an early lunch, and then I went to buy toilet paper. I thought perhaps I could find it at the little shop inside the dining hall nearest my dorm, but I wasn't entirely sure. I ended up going there anyway, in the hopes that I could spare myself a walk to Publix.

They don't sell toilet paper there.

Bummed out, I left and started heading towards Publix. However, before I could get very far, I ran into a friend from my Ireland trip last summer that I never get to see anymore because he graduated and he never hangs out on campus.

Had I gone straight to Publix, I never would have run into him. It was fate.


And you can't ignore fate. So instead of going back to my dorm to study for my Victorian lit final and do laundry and other important stuff, I jumped into my friend's car and we went to a German bakery to eat pastries and talk about life.

I hope fate wants me to pass my final tomorrow.

Power Hour(s): Spring Finals Shenanigans Part 2... or not?

Spring Finals Shenanigans Part 2

I worked on my microanalysis for over ten hours straight in the library yesterday and I did not get up to a single shenanigan.

Unless you count a little Facebooking, a little texting, a little staring at the weather radar and trying to decipher if there actually was going to be a tornado again. (There wasn't.)

Like, seriously, I didn't really do anything goofy or shenanigan-like. For ten hours. And I was even there with my friends.

Ten hours.

I'm not sure whether to be proud or disappointed.

I mean, if I was there for ten hours, then obviously I really needed to get some work done, so I really didn't have time to goof off and whatnot...

You know, it's nice that I could actually sit down and work without throwing a mental temper tantrum for once. I don't know if it was the right time, the right place, the right pressure, or what, but for once, I didn't have that "I DON'T WANNA!!!" voice screaming in my head.

So... no big shenanigans from my part, but I heard there were plenty of shenanigans happening downstairs on the first floor. Since the library has not one but two basements and it was going to be open all night for finals week anyway, people were allowed to go there for shelter from the tornado we were afraid would happen. They were allowed to bring their pets. So everybody trying to study on the first floor apparently had to deal with loud children and barking dogs, and they were not happy about it.

Luckily, no tornado happened last night, so everybody was able to go along their merry way.

Flower Power: Spring Finals Shenanigans Part 1

Well... I've started doing weird/silly/crazy shenanigans again. It must be final exams week.

I drew a flower on my knee with gel pens.

I really can't tell you why. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

My mother always discouraged me from drawing on myself (or at least I feel like she did), so I don't do it that often. Every now and then I get a little crazy.

Hey, for a random knee doodle, it looks pretty cool.

It's probably a good thing I've sent most of my gel pens home already.

As I was drawing the flower on my knee, I considered how weird other people would think I was if they saw it. But I thought- eh! Who's going to see me? I'm in my bedroom and I'm not going anywhere tonight.

While I was typing up this blog post, tornado sirens started going off. I scrambled to my bathroom to scrub the gel pen off so the neighbors wouldn't think I was weird when we all huddled out in the hallway together.

We're okay. A tornado touched down in the city, but it didn't hit campus. And nobody saw me with a gel pen flower on my knee, so there's that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Throwback... Wednesday.

I was just looking over something I wrote when I was in middle school, around eight years ago. So many laughable things. So many cultural references that didn't age well. So much awkward dialogue. All of the nonsensical moments that showed I really had no idea how the world worked.

Here are a few trends I've noticed from things I wrote in seventh grade:

-Really ridiculous names that I made up and for some reason thought were acceptable.
Like Mrs. Dunderead, or Joseph Landtro, who also went by "Jet Lawless" because he was the quarterback and all of the quarterback characters I ever wrote had flashy nicknames like that.

-Names that started with the letter K.
Katrina, Kaylee, Kyle... I just had a thing for the letter K, I guess.

-Characters who were bullied or who otherwise suffered from the wrath of the "popular" kids.
All the time. Even if the character in question was rich, friendly, and ought to have been one of the "popular" kids herself. This was a recurring thing in my writing, and I feel it had everything to do with the way TV shows and movies back in the day portrayed the bumbling teenage hero or heroine and the "popular" kids who were bound to be their antagonists. It baffles me how long it took me to realize that "popular" was not a good term for kids that everybody else hated. These movies and TV shows were all the experience I had about high school, so basically everything I wrote in a high school setting turned out cutesy and awkward.

-People who hiss things a lot
I had a creative writing teacher in middle school who taught a lesson one day about how much better it was to use creative verbs for dialogue instead of just using the tag "said" all the time. I still have very fond memories of this teacher, but basically every other creative writing teacher I've ever had has argued the contrary, and all of the books that are worth anything say the same. Unfortunately, since I picked up that habit so early in my writing career, I've had a hard time shaking it. I admit that my characters still hiss things sometimes, and it always sounds a little bit awkward.

-Many, many, many adverbs
Historically, I've used a lot of adverbs in my writing. And I never even imagined that there was something wrong with that until I had to read Stephen King's On Writing my senior year of high school. In one of the chapters in which King gives you writing tips, he tells you to limit the number of adverbs you use and try to use more descriptive verbs instead (although he admits that he, himself, is guilty of adverb use). When I read this, I was outraged. What on earth had adverbs ever done to Stephen King?! I filed this piece of advice away in my ever-growing "Stephen King Is Full Of It" file and continued to write as I normally did. At some point during that school year and in the months afterward, I began to notice how cutesy my adverbs made my writing feel. I tended to use them to make my dialogue tags sound more interesting (since I knew "hissed" wasn't good, but "said" still sounded too boring), and they made me sound like a really inexperienced writer. I've been getting better about the adverbs in the past few years.

-Sudden rainfall.
Rain that goes from zero to pouring in two seconds. No warning.

-Lots of cliches.
Cliche forehead-slapping, overused punchlines, scenes lifted out of every Disney Channel show ever (even when the shows were good)... A lot of the cliches were laughable.

-Strangely absent parents.
One reason that a lot of child protagonists are orphans is that the absence of attentive guardians makes it possible for them to go on their adventures. My protagonists' parents were not always dead, but they were often not around for dumb and nonsensical reasons, and they also didn't provide suitable caretakers to look after their children in their absence, leaving the child protagonists with much more freedom than any realistic pre-teen ever had (or should have).

-Characters who scream and yell things.
Lots of people screaming and yelling things. Like, come on, already. Inside voices. Stop freaking out. No wonder you're not one of the "popular" kids.

-Characters who gasp all the time.

-Characters who sigh all the time.

A lot of my writing issues in seventh grade boiled down to my lack of worldly experience. They say that you should write what you know, and I knew nothing about high school, but insisted on writing about it. Despite living in the world, I apparently also knew very little about how normal people talked.

But at least I was writing! The best way to improve your writing, as eight years of data suggests, is to keep practicing and to always experience or research something before you write about it.

There are some things in my old stories that are laughable just because they were outdated. For example, characters using Internet Explorer. By choice. Ha! "How the times have changed," Rebecca hissed, rubbing her hands together and cackling evilly at the unused Internet Explorer icon on her desktop.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"A Castaway" Abridged

A less-than-charitable cartoon of Augusta Webster's "A Castaway." It's about the life of a Victorian prostitute. I wish I could be more specific, but the poem kinda goes all over the place. It's a dramatic monologue, and the speaker, Eulalie, is talking to herself about... well, her life.

I definitely learned a lot about Victorian prostitution in my research for this paper. So, like, if you ever need to know about Victorian prostitutes...

(probably the only thing I didn't learn was how to draw them...)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Good morning.

This morning I somehow managed to step on my debit card in such a manner that it snapped in half.

I don't even know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"The Attack on the Mill" Abridged

I guess this is just a thing I do now. I abridge works of literature by drawing (sometimes quite insensitive) cartoons of them.

Anyway, this is a cartoon of the last part of Emile Zola's The Attack on the Mill, also known by its original title, L'Attaque du moulin. I read it in French, and then I wrote a paper about it.

So when I was goofing around and talking about how my life was The Legend of Zola? This is it.

THIS... is The Legend of Zola.

Apparently I've just finished the dungeon in which I write the first draft and give it to a classmate to review. It was pretty hard, I won't lie. I died at the beginning once and had to start almost all the way over-- didn't collect enough concentration and inspiration crystals to survive the Distractoids. But along the way, I found a cool Caffeine Potion which I think really helped me get through.

Uh... spoiler alert? The mill burns at the end?

I realize that this cartoon is probably in bad taste, but I'm afraid that's just the state of mind I'm in right now. I'm sorry if you're offended. You can address your hate mail to the comments box below.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Captain America (Spoiler Free)

This post will probably be nothing more than an extended Facebook post, but there will be no spoilers, so rest easy!

I just got back from seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and I loved it.

Still processing the movie in my brain. But the initial reaction is still excitement.

Better than the first Captain America. Definitely the best movie I've seen all year. The best Marvel movie since The Avengers. Sorry, Thor... you're still my second-favorite Avenger, though.

Lots of action and excitement, but enough slower moments to balance it out without dragging it down. The movie really kept you on your toes the entire time. Lots of surprises.

Obligatory Stan Lee cameo: very amusing.

Marvel trademark after-credits scene: I must admit I only saw the first one. I thought about staying longer, just in case there was another scene, but I was there with a friend and I didn't wanna keep her waiting around for nothing. And so I missed the second scene. And I feel like an idiot.

(but not as idiotic as the people who started leaving right as the credits started rolling. really, people? haven't you learned by now?)

But I'm really excited about the scene that I did see. Very excited for Marvel's future.

Awesome movie. This movie really is every bit as good as people are saying it is. Go see it. Go see it twice. Take me with you! I'd like to see it again.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

You Got The Pen!!!!!!!!!

I've been poking around in the Legend of Zelda franchise lately (because I need just one more distraction in my life), and I found that I actually really like it. I considered buying Skyward Sword, but then I realized you have to buy the Wii Motion Plus thing as well, and when you consider the amount of time in my life that I actually have access to a Wii, it's really not worth it.

So instead I just watched Let's Play videos and daydreamed about what my life would be like if it were a video game like Legend of Zelda.

It would probably be the most boring video game ever. Instead of a sword, I'd probably have a pen. A really super-cool awesome pen. The Master Pen. It sounds pretty neat.

But then I'd just go around correcting typos and writing papers. The people standing around would remind me which controls to use to write a good thesis statement. The boss battles would be giant literature anthologies out of which I'd have to cut pieces of evidence, which I would then synthesize to form a strong argument.

A game like that might actually be kinda fun for English majors. But since the majority of the people in the world are not English majors, The Legend of Rebecca would completely tank.

Wait, if I'm the main character, then I can't have my name in the title. Hmmm...

I've got it!

The Legend of Hemingway.


Maybe it's just me, but that title sounds kind of badass.

I could make a different game for every writer I study.

For instance, right now I'd be playing The Legend of Zola. 

Zola actually kind of sounds like Zelda, so that's EVEN BETTER!!!!

THE LEGEND OF ZOLA: coming soon never to a store near you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Addition to the Online Portfolio

Just a little heads-up that I put a new poem on my online portfolio (which you can access via the tab at the top of this page).

The poem is tentatively titled "Mardi" (if George Lucas can edit his films as much as he does, I'm allowed to change the titles of my poems a few times).

Go ahead and read it real quick, and then I'll say just a little bit about it.

No, go ahead, it's okay. I'll wait for ya.

Didja read it? Cool!

So I gotta admit, I don't usually put a ton of effort into poems, even if I'm turning them in for a class. Poems for me are often just a dump of emotion using pretty words. When I write in free verse, it often ends up being some kind of stream of consciousness.

I actually put a decent bit of effort into this one, though.

The assignment was to find something out in the outside and use it to show an inner truth about ourselves. I'm not sure whether I showed an inner truth about myself or just confused a bunch of the truths about myself, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

It was something that had been brewing in my mind for a while, just waiting for the right opportunity to come out. The poem is based on my experience marching in the Knights of Revelry Mardi Gras parade in Mobile, Alabama. I went with my university's marching band. Mobile is a pretty cool city. It's kind of got a New Orleans feel to it, except it's much more family-friendly. Mobile is actually where Mardi Gras as we know it in the U.S. began. Beads grow on trees there. Well, I mean, sort of. They're really just stuck there from past years. But it looks like they grown on trees.

For the entire duration of the parade (and I do not exaggerate), there was rain and freezing rain. Thankfully, I had a warm layer underneath my uniform and a poncho on top to keep most of the rain off, but it was still just a little bit miserable. I was really surprised that there were still a ton of people there to watch the parade. Despite the weather, I had a fantastic time. As we drove back home, the sentence "The rain can't stop the revelry" just kind of popped into my head, and I absolutely loved the way it sounded, and I knew that some kind of poem had to happen.

I tried writing in free verse at first, but it wasn't really working out. I ended up changing to a fixed meter based on "The rain can't stop the revelry" and picked a rhyme scheme that felt right. I didn't want it to sound too jingly or cutesy, but I think it worked out okay. I actually revised my first draft of the poem a lot. I read it out loud several times and changed things that just didn't sound right in my mind or to my ear. The final product is something I'm extremely happy with, and it got a good reception in class.

The poem is about the rain's failure to kill the Mardi Gras spirit. It's something I found very admirable and impressive in the residents of Mobile. However, during the class period in which I presented the poem, my professor and classmates pointed out that rain can also represent cleansing, which takes on Biblical connotations when it happens right before Lent. So in a way, the poem could also be about the human inability to shake off sin and whatnot while on Earth. Those two readings kind of conflict a little, cause a little confusion. Maybe the point of the poem is that the whole life/death/heaven/earth/sin/cleanliness/revelry/good behavior thing is confusing.

Okay. I'm the poet. I ought to know what the poet's real meaning is.

My intended meaning was the inability of the rain to quench the crowd's spirit. But to be honest, I enjoy the confusion that arises from multiple readings. Probably a little more than I should. I'm open to other interpretations. If you have thoughts of your own, feel free to post them in the comments.

Exciting Announcement

If you've been following the blog, you might have seen a post or two about my quest to find an internship for the summer (which was probably accompanied by some whining and complaining, as is my unfortunate wont).

I am very excited to announce that I have been offered an editorial internship with Virginia Living magazine in Richmond, Virginia. I have accepted the offer and I will begin the internship shortly after Memorial Day.

I feel that this internship will be a really good fit for me, and I'm so very excited to have gotten it.

Like, I ran around my room like a crazy person when I got the email. I would have done cartwheels if I'd only known how.

Some of you might be a bit puzzled that a girl from Alabama is going to work at a magazine devoted to the state of Virginia, but it's not as weird as it sounds. I actually lived in Virginia for three years, and I have fond memories of my time there. I also have an aunt who lives five minutes away from the magazine's office, so I've already got a roommate and a place to stay. In addition, it can be very helpful to have an outsider's perspective on something, and I'm just the girl for the job! It's just perfect.

Well, I don't know how to parallel park, which could be a problem, but my aunt said she'd teach me how, so it'll work out okay.

Speaking of parallel parking, I'm getting a car. A real one. My parents made a deal that they would help me get a car if I got an internship, and it's finally happened, so I'm finally getting one! I'm conducting research right now. Depending on what I find, I might be kicking some of my own money in. You don't know how much I've longed for a car these past three years.

Ah, but I'm so excited! I haven't spent a lot of time in Richmond, but I definitely enjoyed it when I was there. I'm really excited to get some real-world experience and put my Grammar Nazi skills to work in a task other than complaining about people's grammar on my blog. And I won't be laying around on my parents' couch all summer!

I'll be doing editorial jobs at the office, and I might even get a chance to do some writing and walk away with some clips and bylines! Aaaah! That'll look so awesome on my resume! I'll have to start a snazzy portfolio! I'm not as familiar with AP style as I could be, but where there's a guidebook, there's a way, and I've got a guidebook!

Thanks to everyone for hanging in there with me. Doing all those applications was not fun, but it paid off in the end. Woohoo! Richmond, here I come!


I'm getting close to a month without a single blog post. Shame on me.

To break the radio silence, I present you with a piece of scrap paper that I've been using as a running doodle page for the past few weeks. It'll give you some insight as to what's been on my mind lately... well as some insight as to the craziness that happens in my brain on a daily basis. Notes, doodles- hey, there's even a pep talk on that sheet.

I think I'll do a handful of posts tonight, and some more over the next couple of days, hopefully getting back to a daily posting schedule.

I'm not exactly sure why I stopped posting for so long. Perhaps I just didn't have anything to say for a while. I know for certain, though, that I considered blogging my Spring Break adventures and couldn't even figure out where to begin. I'd like to hit a few of the highlights, though, because it was an awesome vacation.


Thank you for coming back and reading this. I apologize for leaving you hanging for so long. I'll do my best to make it up to you!