Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 16. I Have So Many Other Things I Should Be Doing Right Now

Namely, I ought to be reading/critiquing a particularly heinous dissertation and explaining to the author that phrases like "in spite of" and "however" should be used to express opposition, and saying, "Despite [a thing having nothing but negative outcomes], many people believe [that thing is ineffectual and bad]," just makes her look stupid. Alas... To escape the overwhelming tediousness that has become my job, I have opted to take a break, stretch my mind muscles, so to speak, and hopefully refresh them to be prepared for further reading and tutoring. Wahoo.

Here wo go. Today's assignment should be quick and easy enough. Write as if you were talking to a childhood friend and complete a series of prompts:

1. Do you remember the time we tried taking your dad's Percocet on the school bus, and then I, because I weighed about 100 pounds less than your dad, could barely speak or walk and got totally busted? We were so stupid. Why I thought I was so cool is beyond me. I could barely function - where was the excitement in that? Why would I have thought that slurred speech and a more or less complete loss of motor skills were things to be desired? I seriously could have died. What on Earth were we thinking? Better yet, why on Earth, after finding out what we had done, did my parents continue to let me hang out with you and even do so the very next day? Not that I'm upset that we continued to hang out; you were my bestie, my BFF. It's just that to the best of my recollection, I wasn't even grounded! At the time, I'm sure I thought I was awesome for 1) having the "guts" (read: ignorance) to take the pills in the first place, 2) not dying, and 3) not even getting grounded out of the bargain. Perhaps they were so grateful to have me alive and well, and they knew that I felt bad enough about it, that they figured the "bad trip," so to speak, was punishment enough in itself.

2. Do you remember the time we called Bender on B-94's Friday night dance party and actually got played over the radio? We thought we were awesome. Little did we know that hundreds of random callers are played requesting songs on hundreds of radio stations around the country every single day. In that moment, we were special. We were famous. We were important, even though we were only 14 and stuck at your parents' place with nothing but your dad's kickin' stereo system and $15 to order a pizza (from Rocky's, no less). I can't remember what was said, exactly, but I seem to recall that we offended Bender, perhaps telling him that he was mean or a jerk or something to that effect, and we thought it mattered to him, and we thought we were so clever. Ah, to be 14 and giggly and to think that your opinion is the crux of the world... the epitome of youth.

3. Do you remember the time we asked your mom if she would buy a rental property and allow us to move into it and live on our own senior year for our senior projects? Oy vey. Can you imagine if she had gone along with it? First of all, we would have killed one another. If there is one thing I have learned from the mistakes of those I know, it is that living with your best friend is sure to kill your friendship. Your roommate can become your BFF, but your BFF should never be your roommate. Being forced to share such close quarters, split chores and bills ... I have yet to see it pan out for a single person I know. Not only would we have stopped being besties, but we also would have starved to death and had to call CYS on ourselves. I bet we would have been able to count on one hand the number of times we would have done dishes in a given month, the number of loads of laundry we would have done in two. I shudder at the thought of what a sty that place would have been. I'm so glad your mom talked us out of that and allowed us to enjoy one more year of youth. After living on our own as adults for the last eight years, I'm sure we're both glad for that last year of unemployment, of free room and board, of gas money and date nights, and new shoes whenever we wanted them.

4. Do you remember the time we joined the pool for a summer? We got that family pass for your brother, you, and me, and we went almost every day. Your mom would come home on her lunch break, take us to the pool on her way back to the office, and come back for us at five when she got off work. We'd spend all day tanning, swimming, reading magazines, playing the color game and other dunking games, talking about which boys were the cutest. Remember how cool we felt when we got the coveted gazebo spot? Right there at the head of the pool, able to look down on everyone else and feel like we were the cool kids, whatever that meant. When you're in junior high, there are no cool kids. Everyone is awkward and toothy and acne-ridden and has a terribly unflattering hair cut. Except for junior high kids today. I've worked with some junior high youth groups, and let me tell you, those girls are intimidatingly cool. They dress like models, have professional highlights (remember Sun-In and mixing lemon and tea in spray bottles to try and make our own "natural" blonde streaks?), have cell phones with unlimited texting ... but they still have acne, and they still feel awkward, and they still get tongue-tied around boys. Where we had Hanson, they have the Jonas Brothers. Where we had Now and Then, they have The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same... and no matter what changes, I will always be grateful for that period of time where you were my bestie. LYLAS, Mic.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 15. Clearly, I Kind of Suck at This

Well, so much for B.E.D.F.A.Y. (Blog Every Day For A Year). That's already over and done and out the window. Not saying I quit and will now stop even trying to blog for the remaining days of the year, just saying I have clearly already fallen short of the goal. I could make excuses (I was out of town on business, my kids were sick, I was sick, wild llamas ate my homework, etc.), but that's all they would be: excuses. The fact is that sometimes life gets in the way, and you just have to make do with what you can and try your best and not beat yourself up about the little things (and let's face it: failing to blog for nine days is a little thing in the grand scheme of things. If given the choice between blogging and getting paid to do my real job so that my family can eat or taking my kid to the doctor to avoid serious respiratory infection, call me undedicated, but I know which side of the line I'm coming down on). I can be honest. Things happened that made blogging less than easy. It would have meant some late nights or some early mornings or both. I hit a wall with the characters/story line I was developing but really wanted to work with it instead of doing another exercise, so I just stopped writing altogether. The point is, I'm back now, and the only thing we can do from this point is get back in the saddle and keep writing. (NOTE: Writing from the saddle is less than effective and will most likely lead to illegible chicken scratch.) Head down and power through and whatnot. I have decided to take the advice of Bonnie Neubauer, who wrote the exercise book, and go back to the exercises to help me with the piece I have been developing. However, I am sort of cheating (some might say). I've deliberately skipped around the book a bit until I found an exercise that I think will help me to carry on a new section of the story. I like to think of this less as cheating and more as using the book the way it was designed (there are no rules in it that I have to do each exercise sequentially; in fact, Neubauer recommends jumping around if you feel so inclined, which I do). In the meantime, here are some snapshots of things that have been happening in my personal life lately (since that's also sort of what a blog is for):

Item #1.My hair (and eyebrows) are officially out of control. If Joe Jonas and Jasper Hale had a lovechild, its head would look like mine.

Family and friends are seriously considering an intervention.

Item #2. I am looking forward to Clash of the Titans more than I looked forward to Christmas. Brendan and I watched the 1981 version last night, and it only fueled my frenzy. I love the original because of the bad effects and its MST3K potential. I hope that the remake will have all of the same plot holes and inconsistencies but that it overcompensates with effects that "bottle my mind." I am counting on you, Louis Leterrier. Make up for the hot mess that was Transporter 2. Do not let me down.

Item #3. I love few things more than people who over-confidently misuse colloquialisms in public forums. Case in point: I saw someone tweet a celebrity last week, proclaiming his music to be "mind-bottling." A huge part of me hopes that there is an inside joke there and that the poor girl who wrote the post realized her mistake and made it on purpose. The rest of me has just been having a ball using the incorrect phrase as often as possible (see above paragraph). I've even got Brendan doing it now.

Item #4. This one is more of a question than an order of business. Why, God, why, on American Idol, do they let the good people sing for about two lines but let the truly terrible people sing for a full minute or more? I love the crap auditions as much as the next mocker in the peanut gallery, but sometimes, I am beyond thankful for my DVR and the ability to skip over the 20-second, off-key wails that some of these people belt out.

U like mah hairs? I can haz goldun tickit?

Okay. Time to get back to work. I've got writing and "real work" to do and little time in which to do it. I'll be back tomorrow for more B.E.D.F.A.Y.