Monday, July 26, 2010


In case I haven't mentioned it sixty thousand times, I'm going on the coolest trip in the entire world in a few days. On Friday, I leave North Carolina to return to Oklahoma where I will stay for two nights (one of which will involve a final exam for the online class which I will be immensely glad to be rid of) in order to catch my plane to Austria, which leaves August 1.

I am receiving 3 hours of college credit for this trip, and the requirements for these hours are quite simple: blog every day, and write an essay at the end. I will be posting here (and probably on a school website or something like that so it can be graded and whatnot) if you're interested in what I will be doing.

There will also be daily podcasts of the festival activities starting on August 4th. Go to and there should be something there that will take you to the appropriate place on the internet in order to view these.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My latest obsession is the TV show Castle. It is about a murder mystery writer (Richard Castle) who is shadowing a NYPD Homicide Detective (Kate Beckett) as research for his latest novel. They solve crimes together while being witty and handsome, and sparking some serious sexual tension between them. However, the book that he's writing in the show has been published. It's called Heat Wave.

So they've published a book to promote a TV show.
You'd think it would be terrible, right?

I couldn't put it down. It was a very good summer read: playful, but with some substance. Also, watchers of the show will see some clever parallels between the show and the story in the book. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I would recommend it to anybody who likes the show, and even to people who hadn't seen it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

American Royalty

I have this fantasy. It will never come to fruition, but it's fun to daydream sometimes.

Let me lay a bit of groundwork: In the UK, the Queen is just a figurehead. The real chief executive is the Prime Minister, who (as I understand it) goes about running the country while the Queen performs representational and ceremonial functions.

In other words (and I know this is a gross oversimplification, but because this is the foundation for a fantasy, I don't need to worry about the details), the Prime Minister drives while the Queen sits shotgun and waves at people.

Well, in America, we have no such institution. The President has to drive AND wave at the same time, and that's just dangerous. This takes place sometime a few years from now, so the ages of certain younger people work a bit better. Let's say... 2 years from now.

Well, in my daydream, Congress decides that the President needs to stop waving at all the people and focus on driving. However, SOMEBODY has to wave at all of those people, so they decide to institute an American Royal Family that will serve in a symbolic, representational capacity: no actual executive, judicial, or legislative power, but they attend various functions and dress nicely and so forth. NBC seizes upon the opportunity to make a bit of profit, and secures the television rights to the audition process for the American Royal Family. The show dominates the ratings, and through an audition process that includes extensive interviews, mock state dinners, mock media scandals, and other tasks and trials, the candidate families (one from each state) are slowly eliminated, week by week, by popular vote from the viewers. My family, of course, makes it through to the final round. The final task is for my family and the other finalist family to attend the British state dinner (no more mock trials for us), and the viewers would observe the way we interacted with world government figures in that setting.

The seating for this particular state dinner is somewhat different than previous dinner-like tasks, in that the families are not seated together, the idea being that the audience could better see how the individual units of the family functioned apart from each other in formal settings. My parents and the parents from the other family are seated at the Queen's table with the Prime Minister and the President. I'm seated at a table with either Prince Harry, of the UK:

Or Pierre Casiraghi, of Monaco:

...depending on what I feel like on the day that I imagine this particular scenario.

The cameras start off by giving equal time to the Queen's table, where my parents are engaged in conversation with the Prime minister and Queen; the children's table, where my adorable niece, Cayden (4) and nephew, Whit (5) finish eating their macaroni and cheese rather quickly and start playing with James, Viscount Severn (UK, 4) and Lady Louise Mountbattern (UK, 8), and the grandchildren of the other finalist family; my older siblings, who are discussing the Olympics with Prince William, Prince Carl Phillip, and the other two Casiraghi siblings, Charlotte and Andrea; and my table. However, as the night progresses, and as my conversation with Prince Harry/Pierre continues, the cameras notice a certain crackle in the air around us, because we have great chemistry, which in turn makes for great TV. We flirt shamelessly throughout the dinner, forgetting about the competition, and the cameras, and when the dancing begins after the dinner is over, we instead walk outside to the courtyard, where we continue talking. At the end of the evening, he kisses me, and then I go back in my limo with my family to our rooms.

The show airs a few days later, and the celebrity gossip blogs start churning out stories about Prince Harry/Pierre's unexpected new romantic interest in the young American princely candidate. At the results show a few days later, broadcast live, performances by pop stars lead up to the final results. I stand there with my family onstage, and as the emcee opens the envelope, I see Harry/Pierre sitting in the front row of the auditorium. I smile at him, and he smiles at me...

...and then I lose him in a sea of confetti, because WE WON the competition! The audience LOVED the romantic twist at the end of the season, and the next few days are a flurry of appearances on television shows, and then finally, the coronation. However, the celebrity blogs are still buzzing over the quickly blossoming relationship between Harry/Pierre and myself.

As a royal family, we set fashion trends and enjoy vast popularity with the American public, and the tabloids try to dig up dirt on us, but it doesn't work.

At this point the fantasy generally kind of fizzles out, because I get distracted by other things.
But yeah. It would be totally awesome to be a prince. And then to date a foreign prince.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Twilight and relationships

I took a momentary break from reading my mind-numbing textbook to read something good: the latest post on my friend L's blog. And as much as I hate to do it... I'm going to talk about Twilight for a second. Please bear with me.

Yes, I have read the Twilight series (with the exception of the latest installment... The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I was shocked to hear that she'd written another one, but my piano teacher was all excited about it when I called her at the end of this past semester. I might read it. But I'm going to wait 'til I have nothing else to do). And I enjoyed them. Do I think they were AMAZING the BEST THING THAT I EVER READ and SO PERFECT and other excessive adjectives? No. I enjoyed reading them. However, I enjoyed reading them in a similar way to the way I enjoy eating a bowl of Crispix and milk in the morning: it tastes good, but not AMAZING. In fact, it's rather bland. And that's okay, because sometimes that's just what I'm looking for. Also, Taylor Lautner's abs are fantastic.

By no means do these books merit the rabid fandom that they have inspired. Comparisons have been made between the Twilight phenomenon and the Harry Potter phenomenon. As someone who has experienced both, I would like to say that they are SO NOT THE SAME. Harry Potter takes place in a richly detailed, complex universe that has many allegorical parallels to our own, a moral lesson throughout the series, not to mention the most RIDICULOUS cliffhangers from book to book. My friends would theorize about what was going to happen in the next one, and would discuss how J. K. Rowling was going to wrap up various loose ends. The characters practically stepped off the page, and the deaths of several characters were deeply moving.

Twilight is a typical teenage angst story about a girl who falls in love with a vampire and a werewolf, and whines about how she can't have her cake and eat it, too... but it's okay, because everything magically turns out okay in the end.

What's that? Me, biased towards Harry Potter? What makes you say that?

Bias or no, I do have a very legitimate problem with the Twilight series. I hear girls talk about how they want to find their 'Edward,' and when I hear them say this, I can't help but wonder... why? Why would you want to find a boyfriend like Edward? Bella is so emotionally dependant on Edward that it physically hurts her to leave his side. He's so 'perfect' (I mean... I can't see it, but whatever) that she suffers from massive self-esteem issues, constantly believing that she's not good enough for him. There's also the minor detail that Edward wants to eat her. And she's TOTALLY okay with that. In other words, she's okay if he hurts her, as long as she gets to stay with him for EVER and EVER and EVER and live happily ever after. For what it's worth, he does a very good job of restraining himself, but her attitude basically says that she's okay with physical abuse. Then there's the whole, "to be with me you have to leave all your friends and family behind" issue... which is super-controlling and also a typical symptom of abusive relationships.

A lot of very impressionable girls read these books, and if their concept of the "ideal" relationships consists of what they read in this series, then that's a problem.

I feel like reviewing things.

My dear friend K, when taking AP US History in high school, said that the textbook that her class used (called The American Pageant, I think) was so well-written, she sometimes almost wanted to read it just for the sake of reading it. She showed me a section that compared the state of Texas to a blushing bride, waiting to be taken by her groom (The United States). I mean, come on... creative, funny imagery in a high school textbook? How totally awesome is that?

However, I am very sad to report that the textbook that I'm currently using for my online anthropology class (Windows on Humanity) is EXCRUCIATINGLY dull. There is no fun, clever imagery to be had. Also, I pretty much already knew most of what I'm learning, and so far the stuff that I didn't know is stuff that I could have easily conjectured from what I did know. This class is mildly irritating. I suppose that's what I get for messing with online classes again... they're evil. Although better than the last online class I took, this one is still pretty obnoxious. I give it a 3.8 out of 10.

On a completely unrelated note, my Dad's newspaper is running a coupon this week for a free smoothie from McDonalds. I took my little brother to get one with me, and they're absolutely delicious. Like, who knew that McDonalds would make such an awesome smoothie? I haven't tasted the strawberry-banana one, but the wild berry one is awesome. I've had two in as many days. I give it an 8.4 out of 10.

It has blackberries in it. You know how often you come across blackberries in smoothies? Like, never. I freaking love blackberries.

Here's a review for them from The Impulsive Buy. And by "them," I am referring to the smoothies, not the blackberries, because blackberries get 15 out of 10 any day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harry Potter and cell phones

This morning, at about 7, I was lying in my bed, under my warm covers, fast asleep. I was slowly jarred from my peaceful slumber by a high-pitched noise... repetitive, loud, and insistent. Did I mention loud? I tried to ignore it in hopes that someone would answer the phone, allowing me to sleep again. However, as it continued to NOT shut up, I realized that it was a ringtone that I'd never heard before.

It was my little brother's phone. He's fairly new to having a cell phone, and so he isn't in the habit of keeping said phone with him... which, admittedly, I am less than responsible about myself at times. HOWEVER, I don't leave it outside of other people's rooms when there's an alarm on it set to go off SUPER-ANNOYINGLY at ungodly hours of the morning.

My friend J hasn't read the Harry Potter books. He asked my friend K how one of them ends today, and I was deeply offended... I had to suffer for at least a year at a time between installments to find out the answers to my questions, and he can just ask a friend... It's despicable.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Parallel Universes

I really shouldn't be allowed to think about what could have happened if I took my life on a different path. It's a dangerous train of thought that leads to discontentment.
I'm really very happy with my life. I think I made the right decision most of the time, and that the place I'm in today is a very good one for me to be in.
But at the same time I can't help but think about those alternate universes where I didn't go to Oklahoma... where I may not have gone into music.
I really am happy with my life. I just think I would have also been happy there.

Update: Okay, semi-emo moment is done with. I'm very happy with the direction my life took, and the only way that alternate universe could have happened is if I didn't go into music, and that would ultimately make me unhappy. So yeah.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Super-awkward date

I totally thought I had told this story already, but evidently I haven't. So... storytime!
This happened last summer.

So, there I was. I'd just graduated from high school, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I was all set to go off to another state for college (which was really exciting and also a little bit nerve-wracking, but hey, I wanted to go on an adventure and I'm really glad I did now), and I was determined to enjoy the summer break to the fullest.

Enter T. T had been in some classes with me, but I didn't know her very well. I did know that my best friend K didn't like her very much, because T was dating J, and K and J were friends, but K liked J as more than a friend, only J didn't know that, and T didn't treat J very well, and that made K dislike T even more than she already did.

Still with me? So I don't know T very well. She'd been nice to me in the past, but we'd never interacted on any grand scale to speak of. I just knew that my best friend totally didn't like her. Well, T went on a foreign exchange program for the second semester of senior year to Spain. I figured that I was never going to see her again because we were barely acquaintances, and I was going away to college and that was that.

Well, about a month before graduation, I get this message on facebook from T, saying something to the effect of: Hey! I totally have this friend here in Spain who's gay and cute. You're gay and cute! You're like practically made for each other! He's coming to visit me and you should totally hang out with him *wink wink nudge nudge* (Which is another post for another time... the fact that two males are gay DOES NOT mean that they have loads in common and are going to be soul mates and want to spend the rest of their lives together, no matter how well-intentioned you may be).

I browse through her photo albums and see what the guy looks like, and he is, indeed, cute. Further, he's Spanish, so he's going to have an accent. And be able to speak spanish.

Sometimes I'm shallow.

Anyway, I message her back (despite the mild annoyance at her assumption that two gay males will automatically want to "hang out") and tell her that I'd love to meet him, and to let me know when he gets in town.

And then I kind of forgot about it.

Fast-forward to summer almost being over with: it's a Friday night, and I'm sitting at home. I'm going into Raleigh (a 2 hour drive) on Saturday for Alumni Day for NCGSE, which I had attended the previous year, and Sunday morning I'm getting on a plane to go out to Oklahoma for Camp Crimson, which is like a combination freshman orientation/get-to-know-someone-before-you-go-off-to-college camp so you won't spend the first few weeks of college being like WHOAH I don't know ANYBODY here, which was totally going to happen to me because I am from North Carolina, and I was going to school in Oklahoma, and those two states aren't exactly next to each other. I'd be coming back Wednesday, and leaving town again for a week on the following Sunday.

So on this Monday, I get a text from T inviting me to come hang out with her and J and the pretty spanish gay boy named F. And because he was attractive, and because there were going to be cookies, I was like "Okay, why not."

It turned out to be slightly awkward, with us eating cookies and watching Angels and Demons on T's TV while her and J made out and while her sister and her boyfriend made out and me and F sat on the couch and didn't make out and didn't really even make eye contact or try to talk because there was a movie going on and people were making out and that's just weird.

I have to leave before the movie is over because my parents totally still had a curfew on me at the time (so not cool, Dad) and so I went home and I thought that was going to be the end of it. However, the next day I get another text from T, telling me that she had to work and that F was just sitting at home by himself and HEY you should totally ask him out on a date! So I was like "that's a great idea!" and I called him and asked him to go get ice cream with me.

So we go get ice cream. And then we walk around the mall. And then we go to the park, only it was dark and there were mosquitoes. And this was my first date, so I wasn't sure how to do this, and I was nervous, so I asked him if I could kiss him, and he said no.
And I was a little disappointed, and he said it was because he was going back to Spain at the end of next week and he didn't want to get involved in anything here because he'd never been kissed before, and I totally understood. But it was still slightly awkward, so I started to drive him home.

At this point, I could have totally gotten him home without incident, except for two things. Lady Gaga, and Padiddle.
So, Love Game comes on the radio... the one about taking a ride on somebody's disco stick? Yeah. That one. Well, he tells me that the disco stick part was his favorite part, and I'm like... okay. Either he doesn't really get the connotations because english isn't his first language... or he's totally sending me mixed messages. Then a car goes by with one of its headlights out, and I hit the top of the roof, saying "Padiddle" and he gets really confused (like I'm sure you are right now... Padiddle is a game that my friend K likes to play with her friends that I'm just kind of acquaintances with. The rules of the game are, whenever you see a car with a headlight out, you hit the roof of the car and say "padiddle," and the last person to do so has to remove an article of clothing. Moving on...). I explain the rules of the game to him, and he gets the next car without a headlight, only I must not have explained the rules that well, because he seemed to think that he could pick the article of clothing that I took off, and I bet you can figure out what he wanted me to take off.

At this point you need to clarify that I do not strip off articles of clothing while I drive. Generally when driving I abstain from this game, and in situations where I cannot, I pull over and pull off my shoes or something.

Well, I'm an 18-year-old American teenager, and there's a cute boy in my car who seems to have decided that he wants me to be less clothed than I am. What do I do?

I pull over on the side of the road.

That was a mistake. It turns out that there was a ditch on the side of the road that was QUITE deep and overgrown with weeds, and because it was dark, I did not see this ditch. I drive a buick (Read: boat). Well, my front right tire got stuck in this ditch. I tried to correct the mistake, but only managed to make things worse... by the time I was done, I had managed to make my vehicle look like it had dived off the road, rather than simply tried to pull over and then get stuck.

Well, I'm sitting there, and I don't quite know what to do. Ordinarily in situations like this, I would call my Dad, but I hadn't exactly told him that I was going on a date, because he's still slightly uncomfortable with the idea of me being gay. Also, I would have then had to explain why I had pulled over on the side of the road, and nobody wants to have that conversation with their parents.

Well, while I'm trying to figure out what to do, F says I should call T, to let her know what has happened. I do so, and while I'm on the phone with her, a truck pulls over on the other side of the road. I go to talk to the man, and he says that he's with the volunteer fire department, and that they would be along shortly to help pull me out of the ditch. I'm thinking, "Great! They'll pull me out, and life will be great."

Two police cars, two fire-pickup-trucks, a fire engine, and an ambulance showed up. It was so much more response than was needed. I was mortified, I kept apologizing to F, who was very gracious, and kept saying that he had wanted to see what American fire trucks looked like (which I doubt, but I pretended it was true because it made me feel better about myself).

At this point, I have several concerns:
  • The police officers who have arrived are asking me questions like, "How much have you had to drink tonight?" (none) "Why were you pulling over?" (Uh...) "Why didn't you see the ditch?" (It was dark?) "What's your name, young man?" (crap. they're going to call my parents...) "Who are you?" (To F) "Let him answer his own questions" (But his english isn't that great and I can understand your accent better than he can...) and it was just super awkward
  • T and J showed up at the scene, and the police officers yelled at them and told them to leave
  • It's like... 1130, and I need to get up early the next morning to drive to Raleigh
  • My car is in a ditch, and I need to drive to Raleigh and back the next morning and I'm terrified that my car has been damaged in some way and that I won't be able to make the trip
  • I have no idea if my car has been damaged or not, and neither do the police officers, because they can't tell 'til the pull it out of the ditch, and this means that I don't know if I'm going to get a ticket or not 'til they get my car out
  • There are cars going by, and of course everybody's looking at me, and I'm terrified that someone will recognize me and call my Dad (which is not an exaggeration. My big brother broke some traffic law on his way home from school, which was a 10-minute drive at most, and Dad knew about it before he got home because someone called him)
An hour after the police start to arrive, the tow truck shows up. They manage to pull my car out of the ditch (although they DROPPED it the first time they try because they were pulling it at a weird angle and it almost flipped over) and I pay the tow truck (in cash, because I had just gotten graduation money, and because I didn't want this to be traced back to me when my parents read the bank statement at the end of the month and saw a weird tow truck charge on my debit card) and drive F to meet T and J, who were watching from down the street after they got chased off by the cops. F goes home with them, and I go home, too. My immediate thought is, "I just got away with this..."

As I'm going to bed that night, I found a tick in my hair (we had been standing in the tall grass, which prevented me from seeing the ditch in the first place), and I freaked out and flushed it down the toilet and couldn't get to sleep for awhile because I kept feeling imaginary bugs crawling all over me. I hate bugs.

Anyway, the next day comes and I go to Raleigh, and I tell this story, and I'm like, "well, this kind of sucks... but it's a funny story to tell."

And then I remember that my dad is the editor of the local newspaper. And the local newspaper prints the emergency response reports every week.

So much for getting away with it.

I told him, and he told me that my name wouldn't have been in the report because there wasn't a ticket (frick).

BUT I didn't get a ticket. So that's a good thing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trains and other stuff

My nephew was crawling around on the beach today. He was playing in one of the tidepools, having a blast, and evidently he crawled on top of a flounder. The flounder didn’t take too kindly to being crawled on, and immediately swam away. That thing scared him half to death!

He’s so funny to watch. He runs around in the shallow water, and sings some song that he’s making up, and it’s so cute. I’ll start to hum something, too, and he shouts “NO!” because it’s his turn to sing, and not mine. He gets his little net to catch fish with, and he pretends it’s a guitar.

Also, he would totally have me chase him for hours if it weren’t for the fact that I got tired faster than he does. And I’m walking. Me walking is as fast as him running, and he still can go longer than I can.

He's freaking obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine.

And the Little Engine that Could. Which you can watch on youtube. This cartoon is so cute. I watched it more times than is healthy when I was a kid... they had it at the local library, which was walking distance from my house (or, strictly speaking, walking distance for my dad, who would pull me in my little red wagon). I would check this video out almost every single time we went to the library... except one time it wasn't there and the world nearly came to an end, because I NEEDED to watch that video.

I would check out books too (often about trains), but the best part was getting the Little Engine that Could movie.


I am the proud owner of several new books (none of which are about trains), by way of our tradition of going to the bookstore while we're at the beach:

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer (the sixth installment in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Evidently he was writing a new one when he died, and his widow commissioned Colfer to complete it.)

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (Martel wrote The Life of Pi which is like my favorite book in the entire world. I found this book completely by accident, and it looks like it has potential.)

Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Castle on ABC is my new favorite TV show. When I found out that the book that Castle is writing is actually going to be published, I was like WHOAH I want it. No idea who actually wrote it, though, since Richard Castle is... well... unfortunately not real.)

I also wanted to get The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, but that one will have to wait 'til another visit to the bookstore.

Which, by the way, is one of my dream jobs. I would love to work at a bookstore.


There are two characters on Castle named Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan. They're partners in the NYPD homicide department, and they have the most ridiculous onscreen chemistry ever. They'd make the cutest couple. If only the writers of the show would take a hint... because it's so obvious from the way that they look at each other that they want to be partners... in the OTHER sense of the word. Just saying.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


My friend D recently gave me some of his recordings of Mahler Symphonies, and I think I might be in love. He gave me numbers 4, 5, and 9, to be specific.

Well, one of my favorite classical music blogs, The Rest is Just Noise just posted a recording of a section of the 8th symphony, and it was so spectacular that I decided to post it here.



I really don't know how anybody can be expected to sleep in this room. its entirely too bright, what with the light shining directly on the blinds and me being able to hear Michael's minisnores and my complete inability to clear my mind.

I had ribs for the first time today, and as delicious as they were, all I could think about was Dr. L talking about the intercostal muscles, and how I needed to run to make them more flexible.

I'm really glad I don't have to take lessons from her anymore.

Really cool idea

I had one. So I'm in the Mu chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and we're having our centennial celebration soon.
Centennial celebrations call for special stuff like concerts and fireworks and keynote speakers and cake and whatnot.
SO I got to thinking about who would be a good keynote speaker and ANDY GRIFFITH would be the coolest keynote speaker ever.
Mostly I just want to meet him.

Anderson Cooper is gorgeous and I would date him in a heartbeat for the following reasons.
  1. He's devilishly handsome
  2. He's a leading journalist
  3. He goes places and speaks for the unfortunate and taken-advantage-of
  4. He was a model when he was a kid. Like I said before, devilishly handsome.
I think he has a boyfriend, though. Oh well.

I came out to my little brother and he cried. You'd think that would hurt a little bit, but I wasn't terribly surprised. I think he's gotten over it now... or simply forgotten about it. We'll see what happens when I bring home a boyfriend or something.


Holy crap. I don't know if you've tried to play a board game with a preteen lately, but if you're planning on doing so anytime soon, let me give you a piece of advice: DON'T.

I'm at the beach with my family, and we only ever play Risk when we're at the beach because a game of risk can take anywhere from five to eleven hours. Like, seriously. We played 'til 3 AM once. We have since learned the wonderful, sanity-conserving strategy of playing in multiple sittings, but still. Who decided to make the game last that long?

Anyway, we're playing Risk. We started with 5 players, all of whom are adults with the exception of my little brother, who is 11. He has made playing this game torture. He's about as indecisive as can be, melodramatic beyond belief, and is prone to tantrums whenever he doesn't get his way.

Example: Elizabeth was fortifying her troops, and Michael suddenly decided that he wants to move some of his troops next to hers, since she seems to be getting ready to attack him. However, it's not Michael's turn. When we point this out to him, he gets angry and leaves the table (for like the 5th time in this game). He complains, and sulks for the rest of the sitting.

Bear in mind: he's winning the game. It irritates me so much that for all of his whining, he's in a GREAT position. If he wins, then it's just going to reinforce his behavior.

I realize that 11-year-olds are ALL annoying. I realize that I was probably just as bad when I was his age. And Michael has many redeeming qualities, and he will (hopefully) grow out of the pre-teen behavior. But that doesn't change the fact that I want to wring his neck sometimes.

My iPod recently took a swim in the washing machine... oy vey.