Follow by Email

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Public Blogging

Hey kids.

I realize that I do this thing a lot where I say I'm going to blog and then I don't, and then I kind of feel bad about it. You see, this blog is kind of like the neglected middle child, and if I don't at least give it a little love sometimes, it'll move to Colorado and pursue a life as a freelance musician and most likely acquire dreadlocks and never shower.

Speaking of not showering, I should address the 'public' part of this title. See, I'm sitting in a coffee shop with my best friend who is reading my favorite book, and I would also be reading said book, only I am at a point in said book in which I would probably start sobbing. I don't feel like subjecting myself to public humiliation today. I am also surrounded by hipsters.

Now, these are not your 'cool' hipsters that listen to really awesome music and probably hang out with my estranged blog in their free time. No, these are wannabe hipsters, who wear stupid beanies and grow ironic beards and sit in front of me whining about their lack of a love life. I am sorry that you are perpetually lonely and can't find a Christian enough woman and are always friendzoned, wannabe hipster dude, but I honestly can't bring myself to care about your predicament. In fact, I find you rather amusing.

I have never seen more beanies and oversized sweaters with oversized scarves in my life. I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite, wearing an oversized cardigan myself, but honestly. When does the look cease to become cool, especially if it's what 90% of the other patrons are currently sporting? I can't even figure out why it's supposed to look good. Like, if I wear an oversized sweater and pile all of my hair up onto my head or alternatively cover it with a beanie, I look like I just stepped out of a meth lab. (I took that joke from the internet, by the way).

(Also I have just been informed by Aaron Haworth that if I don't mention his name explicitly in this post that bad things will happen or something. So there.)

Wow, double parenthetical statements there. Back to the hipsters. Actually, I don't have a lot else to say about the hipsters, only that they're annoying. And they're EVERYWHERE. Except for Haworth and the older lady sharing the overly large table with us. I like her. That's always been one of those things that I thought only happened in movies and bad romance novels, though usually the person that asks to share the table is a hot guy who's working on a novel or something.

Alright, sidetracking here. Haworth has just opened one of those Boxed Water things, and he started drinking it like a dork, so I laughed at him, and he explained his actions in the following manner: "It wasn't coming in my mouth." I about died.

Anyways, I only have 50% battery left, and I have entered an engaging conversation. So perhaps I'll update soon in hopes that my blog doesn't run off to Colorado.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Becoming Mick (RE: The Fat A$$ Chronicles)

My dad is a copycat. You can find his blog here, where he plans to chronicle his weight loss in the New Year. And you all thought I got my writing talent from my mother. (Okay, so it's probably her too. But I digress.)

My opinion on New Year's resolutions: they're stupid. 

There. It's out in the open now.

I don't like New Year's resolutions because I believe that if you really want to change something about yourself, you'd change it now and not wait until January. However, I understand that in a lot of cases, it's a mental thing and there's this whole New Year New You mindset thanks to modern American culture. It's completely fine to have a New Year's resolution as long as you stick to it and don't just keep it up for a couple of weeks and then slowly revert back to your old ways and then think "Maybe it's just not my year". 

No. You're just afraid to make the change because staying the same is the easy thing to do. Your year is what you make it. There's no 2013 aura that determines how well your year is going to go; that's all on you. 

That being said, I arrive now at the purpose of this post. 

My dad wants to make a change for the better, and I know that he can do it, but not alone. So my New Year's Resolution is to make him stick to it. Cue the Rocky music, folks. 

While I'm not grizzled and hardened with age and I don't wear a black beanie and Mr. T hasn't pushed me down any stairs recently, I'm pretty confident in my ability to be inspiring and motivational. There will be running! And nutrition! And you're going to like it!

Since I haven't blogged in a long time, I suppose I'll use this experience as an excuse to log our progress. I need to work on some fitness, too, after all. That eight-and-a-half minute mile isn't going to happen by itself. 

So let's do this, man. See you in the New Year. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bakin'

Hello! I hope you all have had a lovely holiday and haven't missed me too terribly much. I haven't had any good ideas for a post in a while, hence my absence. That and I haven't had any time whatsoever. Anyway, today, we have a first in the Happenings history, in which I am going to make an attempt at a recipe.

Cream Cheese and Raspberry Tarts

1. Begin with the following recipe:
-2 8 ounce packages cream cheese
-1 cup of sugar
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2. Realize you only have 4 ounces of cream cheese.

3. Adapt accordingly.
-4 ounces of cream cheese
-1/4 cup of sugar
-1/8 tsp of vanilla extract
- ...1 egg?

4. Take your leftover Pillsbury pie dough out of the fridge. (By the way: you need leftover Pillsbury pie dough.)

5. Set the dough aside for now. You'll deal with that later.

6. Put your cream cheese in a bowl and beat it with a fork until it's smooth.

7. Non-commitally begin to add the sugar, just in case you got your measurements wrong.

8. Add all of the sugar, results be damned.

9. Stir the sugar in with the cheese and add the vanilla extract.

10. Become confident when it doesn't look like a disgusting mess.

11. Pause. Shouldn't you only need half an egg, technically? How the hell do you add HALF an egg?

12. Add a whole egg to the mixture, results be damned.

13. Combine it all until it's nice and smooth and slightly runny. Decide to begin photographic steps. It should look like this:














14. Stop neglecting your pie dough. Remove it from the package and put it in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften it slightly.

15. Unroll the dough onto a cutting board or directly onto your counter, because you disinfected before this whole process, right?

16. Dig a rolling pin out of whichever drawer you keep your rolling pins in and use it to roll out the dough so it's a tad larger than it is right now.

17. Retrieve a cupcake tin and grease it.

18. Using a glass or a cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles of crust.

19. Realize that your circles are too small to fully cover your cupcake tin holes.

20. Adapt accordingly. Retrieve some cupcake papers.

21. Line the tin with the papers and place a dough circle within each one. It should look like this:















22. Stop neglecting your cream cheese mixture. Put a spoonful of it into each cup. Hopefully it will resemble this:














23. You pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees, right? Good.

24. Put the tin in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Your timer should look like this after 2 seconds.














25. Once in the oven, your tarts should look like this through the oven window:














26. Realize that you have to go to the movies with Liz in approximately 20 minutes.

27. Clean up the awful mess you've no doubt created.












28. Go get dressed because you haven't done that yet today.

29. Wait a few minutes. When the timer goes off, remove your tarts from the oven. They should be pretty puffy and look something like this:














30. Go to the movies with Liz.

31. Come home. Now that your tarts have been sitting for 2 hours, they should look more like this:














32. Now it's time for the fun part!

33. Grab the smallest pot you own.














34. Doubt the size of your pot, but use it anyway, results be damned.

35. Fill your pot about halfway with water and boil it.

36. Think about doing your APUSH homework while the water is boiling, but don't actually do your APUSH homework. Ain't nobody got time for that.

37. When the water is boiling, worry about the next step because you don't want to break anything or screw anything up.

38. Google the next step and become more confident in your findings.

39. Place a glass bowl over your pot of boiling water.














40. Place a few good spoonfuls of raspberry jam in the bowl.














41. Stir.

42. Add a pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of water.

43. Continue stirring.

44. THERE. The jam should be smooth and runny.














45. Remove--WAIT. It's hot. Get a towel or an oven mitt or something. Don't be burning yourself. NOW remove the bowl from the pot.

46. Turn off the stove so you don't set anything on fire.

47. Take your tarts out of the papers and arrange them on a plate.

48. Plan to decoratively drizzle the sauce on top of the tarts, but because you're just not that good, make a puddle instead.














49. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.














50. Feed one to your mother. Accept lavish compliments.

See, that wasn't so hard! Only 50 steps! And they're damn tasty, too.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The New Normal

So, I went back to the One Million Moms website, just to see if they're still as crazy as they were the last time I posted about them.

They are.

I'm pissed off. You all know that censorship and sheltering are two of my biggest pet peeves, because if you cut your kids off to everything that might "desensitize" (OMM's term, not mine) them, they grow up to be socially challenged and overly dependent on their parents. Some of the "issues" OMM discuss are commercials with mildly suggestive language, and it kind of cracks me up, because the kids aren't going to get it anyway unless you explain it. Yesterday I watched a couple of Disney movies, and I realized how many of the jokes went right over my head when I was a kid just because I didn't understand the language used. So it's basically useless to bash companies who use jokes like that in their advertising because the ads aren't geared toward kids in the first place.

And as if that isn't ridiculous enough, OMM continues to attack anything that supports or depicts gay rights. IT'S 2012 FOR GOD'S SAKE. I'm not going to repeat everything I've already said on this subject, but I am going to throw a review in here. OMM is really pissed off at this new show called The New Normal, which is about a gay couple who are looking for a surrogate so they can have a baby. It's free on iTunes, so I downloaded it and watched and I LOVE IT. It's one of the most clever, adorable, and hilarious shows I've seen. It has this beautiful message that everyone deserves love and the right to have a family. It's produced and directed by Ryan Murphy, who is the director of Glee, and OMM don't like him because he's openly gay. Personally, I think Ryan Murphy is a genius who isn't afraid to confront stuff like this head on. Heck, Glee has addressed pretty much every political issue there is in three seasons, including gay rights. I think it's important that there are shows like this that present the issues rather than hide from them. It's refreshing.

So, One Million Moms, you can do whatever you want with your children, but know that I look forward to the day when I can tell my own kids that they are allowed to love whoever they want, because love is not defined by gender.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

High School Writing 101

I'm sorry if you think that my handing out writing tips means that I am bragging about my personal prowess as a writer. This is not the case. At least, I don't want you to think it's the case. Also, I am very well aware that the writing demonstrated here (on my blog, that is) isn't my best writing. I often overlook grammatical/spelling errors and hardly ever proofread because this is for fun. If it were to be graded, I would want it graded on content, not on proficiency.

All that being said, I'd like to think that I'm good at this for a junior in high school, and I just feel like giving a few helpful hints that have gotten me through some of the more difficult essays in my time. Although, I'm sure the majority of you don't actually need these, because most of you are over forty. (Hello, parents.) But I digress. You get my tips anyway, whether you want them or not, so there!

1. Your voice is always important. Whether you're writing fiction, a memoir, an assigned essay, or a research paper, your voice needs to come through. Voice is important because it makes your essay different than everyone else's. You may have the exact same thesis and support as someone else, but your voice is what makes the paper interesting. It can show why the subject matters to you or establish familiarity. Effective voice should be like somebody reading your diary; don't be afraid to air your feelings.

2. BE CAREFUL with your support/research/facts. I had to do an enormous research paper for AP Lit last year, and I didn't get as high a grade as I had hoped because of citation issues. Make sure that you know EXACTLY what your teacher expects for citations BEFORE you turn in your paper. You don't want to accidentally plagiarize because you forgot to cite something that you thought was just common knowledge. If a bibliography/works cited page is required, take your time to do it carefully and don't just rush through it. After the research paper debacle, I took to finishing my bibliographies first to make sure my brain wasn't fried from writing so much and I missed things. In addition to watching citations, make sure that the information you gather is legit. That means no Wikipedia. Your best bet is to go to the library and try to find a book in addition to online research. Also watch out for bias and make sure you address it if it's obvious. Other people's opinions can get tricky when you're trying to convert them into your own work.

3. If you're writing something persuasive, DO NOT USE PERSONAL PRONOUNS. This is hard, because the paper is supposed to reflect your opinion, right? Right. But using personal pronouns isn't formal and it distracts too much from the content of the paper. Your audience becomes caught up in what YOU think rather than what you want THEM to think. It also makes your argument sound shaky and weak if you continually use phrases like "I think" or "I believe". Just eliminate those altogether. So if your argument is "I think turkey bacon is a much healthier and tastier alternative to regular bacon", change it to "Turkey bacon is a much healthier and tastier alternative to regular bacon". Remember that the audience is reading YOUR paper, so it's obvious that these are your opinions already.

4. Character development is key in writing fiction. I am not so great at writing fiction, but I can tell when it's done well. (Rhyming!) If you're writing from a first-person point of view, the reader should feel like the main character is his or her best friend. If you're writing a love story, the reader should understand perfectly why the main character loves whoever it is he or she loves. The antagonist should be just as developed. It should be apparent WHY he or she is against the hero/heroin. Take Voldemort. JK Rowling has 7 extremely thick books that develop characters beautifully. Voldemort is no exception. Her readers know exactly why he is so evil, because she takes the time to build his character and give him more dimensions than pure evil. I'm not saying you have to have 7 books to your name in order to establish effective character development or anything, just that it takes some time and some serious thinking.

5. Conclusions should "stick it". While I was watching the Olympic trials, it occurred to me that the gymnasts never looked happy with their performances unless they stuck the landing. No matter how flawless the routine had been, the landing is the most important part. The conclusion is often what the reader remembers the best. It can't just summarize everything you've already told them, because that's boring. A conclusion truly needs to hit home with your audience. It should explain the so-what of your thesis. Why is this important? What's the point? Conclusions are HARD. They take time to master. I suck at writing conclusions, because after writing an entire essay, I just want to wrap it up as quickly as possible so I can turn it in. Try to figure out the so-what before you write your paper. If you have multiple drafts to turn in, do your best the first time around and ask your teacher for help in making it more effective.

I hope that this was at least mildly helpful to someone out there. If you're over forty, hopefully you already know these things, but I appreciate you bearing with me anyway, as usual.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Importance of Endings

Today, I am fueled by the three cups of very strong coffee I consumed with my breakfast and the literary insight that can only come from trying to do my AP Lang homework. (Two days in a row! Is this real life?)

Key word: trying(!) to do my AP Lang homework. Perhaps it's the three cups of coffee, but I'm finding myself very easily distracted by basically everything, including my portable lap desk. It has a very pleasant surface, you see, so I often find myself doodling in the corners of it when I get bored with my real work. Today, it started with scribbling down a song lyric that was stuck in my head, and led to the writing of my favorite quotes from novels. And it occurred to me that practically all of these quotes were the last lines of my favorite novels. So, I'll warn you now that if you think you can figure out the ending of a book from the last line, you should stop reading.

However. That warning is just dumb, because the last lines of a novel (when they're written really, really well) almost never give away the plot of the book. And maybe I only think this because I've read all of these books. But honestly, unless I told you, would you be able to guess where "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" comes from?

It's from The Great Gatsby. Now, if you've read this already, you understand how freaking awesome this last line is. But if you've never read it before, it just looks like a highly literary metaphorical-type statement. Which it is. But there's no way you can guess the plot of the book from it. Make sense? I don't know if I'm making sense. Blame the caffeine.

Basically, the point I'm trying to make is that the novel as a whole makes the last words important. If you read the last line first, it doesn't really mean anything until you read the whole book. So I'm not really giving out spoilers here, I'm just reflecting on the literary brilliance of last lines. Which you won't even really understand without reading the whole book anyways.

Anyway. Some of my favorite last lines come from the work of John Green (I mean, duh). He has this way of wrapping up the conflict of the main character in one sentence. Like at the end of An Abundance of Katherines, it reads: "And he was feeling not-unique in the very best possible way". HERE IS WHERE THERE ARE GOING TO BE SPOILERS. If you've read Katherines, you know that the main character struggles throughout with this desire to be special. He feels as if he's peaked and has nothing to offer other than his extensive knowledge of things that have already happened. He reflects upon the fact that most child prodigies, such as himself, never grow up to be geniuses. This last line summarizes how he has come to accept this. Go read the book, okay? It's a lot more awesome when you read the book.

I assume the majority of you have read The Book Thief, and if you have not you need to stop whatever it is you are doing immediately and go read it. I'm serious, stop it. Right now. Go. I'll wait.
For those of you that have read it, you know that it is narrated by Death. This makes the last line SO COOL. "I am haunted by humans." ISN'T THAT BRILLIANT? Sorry, is my nerd showing? Blame my enthusiasm on caffeine. But WHY is it brilliant? Because it's deliciously ironic, that's why! Is this a paradox? I'm pretty sure it's a paradox. I don't know, my vocabulary is a little rusty this time of the year. DEATH is haunted by HUMANS. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? It's genius even if you haven't read the book. But, of course, it's even more so when you have.

So what point am I trying to make here? I don't really think I am, actually. I just started geeking out about endings and thought I'd share it with you, Internet. I just love endings. All kinds of endings. Happy, ambiguous, melancholy. ALL THE ENDINGS. Also, endings are really difficult to write. Even when you're just writing an essay for English class, the hardest part is always the conclusion. How do you sum up everything you've already said without repeating what you've already said? It's hard! Endings just reveal the brilliance of the writer. Heck, I consider myself pretty good at this, and I still wrestle with endings for frakkin' blog posts. Like anybody actually cares that much. So let's just say that there is much to be appreciated in an ending, like there is much to be appreciated in the book as a whole.

...

The end.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

HI I'M ALIVE

So it's like almost 4 o' clock in the afternoon and I've only been up for like 4 hours and I've done zero productive things today. Heck, I'm still in my pajamas. Hence the post.

HELLO! I am not dead or in a coma or anything tragic like that, I'm just a lazy ass who watches too much Sherlock and Glee reruns and spends too much time on tumblr and twitter and youtube. This is why there has been no posting for a while. Summer! I have also not been home for three weeks total this summer, though not all in a row or anything ridiculous like that. I went to New York with my youth group in June and I went to camp in mid-July, but I realize neither of those hiatuses (hiati? That's not right.) are good excuses for not posting. I also realize that all the Tom Daley tags on tumblr in the world should be keeping me from blogging, but like I said, I'm lazy.

So I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I spend my days doing during the summer, and I can't actually think of anything interesting. It's basically an endless cycle of internet/TV/other brain rotting media that is no doubt awful for me. Occasionally I do fun things like actually leave my house to go watch movies, but that costs money. OH YEAH! I have a job. That's what I do. But that's only like two days a week. But it's kind of productive. As a matter of fact I'm going to work in like an hour. So I should probably get dressed or something.

Um. I've also been running. Cross country every morning now, woot! (?) I'm team captain this year! Well, team co-captain, but we don't have to go there.

I've been trying to get at least some AP homework done, but I have an internet connection so it isn't working out too well. I know a lot of people like hang out with their friends in the summer and stuff, but not a lot of my friends drive yet and sometimes I feel like summer is a nice break from friends, where you have an excuse to be like "Yeah I love you and all but I don't really feel like talking to you or hanging out with you now that I'm not required to see you every day". Obviously that sounds a lot more harsh than I mean it to be. Bottom line: if we're friends, we're friends, and as much as I love spending time with you, I also love not having to get dressed all day.

Anyways. I'm going to go take a shower and all that jazz so I can go to work without being completely disgusting, and I'll try to post again later this week if I happen to do/read/see something interesting.