Monday, February 23, 2009

Blah

There's something in my head. I don't know much about it, except that it's heavy, and dull, and has a very mean sense of humor. For example, it thinks it's especially funny to crawl past my mush brain and sit right on top of the backs of my eyes, making them weigh more, and more, until I can no longer think or see straight. Yesterday it was so insistent I ended up giving in and going to bed at 8:30.

Today, knowing I'd like to write a funny blog post, it's burrowed straight through my gray matter to the part of my brain that regulates cleverness and is scooping out big glopping handfuls of brain to make a nice little hollow nest for itself.

I think it's also in cahoots with my children and has been bribing them to wake up in the wee dark hours of the morning and force me to get up out of bed EVERY SINGLE NIGHT FOR OVER A WEEK. I shudder to think what it's bribing my children with...perhaps my frontal lobe?

I'm not quite sure where this conspiracy is leading, or what the true purpose or nature of my brain beast is, but no doubt it's something sinister...

UPDATE: Thanks to a modern medical technological miracle, I am now able to provide you with a picture that looks straight through my skull and gives you a glimpse at the problem.

All I can say is, STOP EATING MY BRAIN!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Once Upon a Time in High School

It was finals week. The week where classes are extended so that you can have even more time to take tests on subjects you're pretty sure you should know more about. The week that says, Academics Are Important! The week that determines your final grades.

But this paled in comparison to the fact that baseball won state.

Or at least it did in the eyes of the principal. And so they interrupted finals--FINALS--and forced everyone to march into the gym so we could all sit and listen to praise heaped upon the heads of a handful of boys adept at slamming a wooden stick into a ball. Glory! Glory! It's AMAZING!

However, my problem wasn't with the sports teams--who worked very hard--but with what happened when the arts programs (band, orchestra, choir, debate, drama, dance, etc.) achieved similar levels of success.

Nothing.

We were lucky to get an announcement over the loudspeaker. "FFA members, your fees are due in the front office today. Also,
congratulations to the drill team who placed third in the nation."

It bothered me. So I decided to do more than point out the hypocrisy to my close friends. I figured the whole school should be on the same wavelength. I recruited a friend and we made a series of simple signs that went something like this:

CONGRATULATIONS JAZZ BAND! FIRST IN STATE!

Where's our assembly?

CONGRATULATIONS DRAMA! FIRST IN STATE!

Where's our assembly?

So on and so forth, highlighting all of the programs that had been entirely ignored by a sports-obsessed administration. Right before the first class of the day when the halls were packed, my friend and I ran around, quickly taping them up all over the school.

By the end of first period, every single one of them had been taken down, and my friend, bless her heart, had been hauled into the principal's office for a very awkward talking-to. She never mentioned that not only had I helped, it was my idea in the first place. But word got out and my choir teacher, a conspiratorial grin on her face, let me know it was appreciated.

The ridiculous end to the whole story? During the graduation speech a week-and-a-half later, the principal went out of his way to heap praise on the school's arts program and note how much support they received from the administration. Sure. Whatever.

It was good for a laugh, I suppose.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Hot Stuff Rocks #984

You probably thought I was the only editor in this family. Not so! Just last night Hot Stuff helped my brilliant 16-year-old brother with a paper on Emily Dickinson. Here are some of Hot Stuff's editorial highlights. Direct edits are in red, with explanations in blue.

When faced with the inevitability of death, despair is not a non-uncommon response. When presented with an unpleasant, yet fixed, outcome, the human psychic often sinks into a state of confusion and hopelessness. Under such duress, many elect President Barack Obama. This is vividly represented in Emily Dickinson’s hairstyle (Emily never wrote any poems Matt, she was a hip-hop star). Her systematic elimination of the possibilities of what the speaker is feeling show a great confusion and despair much like a herd of cattle working at a fast food chain (teachers LOVE similes), and the almost mechanical nature of the speaker’s reasoning reveal a complex desire to be separated from their own emotions.

(Cont.) The next line leaves a vital clue as to the nature of the feeling: “And yet, it tasted, like them all” (9). But a much more interesting quote is: “As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something.” (Hagar the Horrible). (I don’t understand why you are so focused on this “Emily,” you are boring your audience) Though the speaker has eliminated these possibilities, their emotions borrow elements from all of them. This is implicative of a great mental instability within the speaker’s mind. (Be more honest here—the girl was crazy—you could eliminate this entire sentence and just say Emily was nuts—no need to fluff anything up)

(Cont.) The speaker compares they’re death to these midnight hour (throw in some grammer mistakes—or people will think you plagiarized), “When everything…has stopped” (17).

(And finally, cont.) The tie to the sea fits perfectly; few things are as chaotic and violent as open water and rooms full of orangutans soaked in lighter fluid conducting gladiator combat while being encouraged by half-drunk single mothers. The most crucial word in the stanza is “is”; because without the verb “to be” Emily could not have expressed a state of being and therefore a state of consciousness. However, they do not feel that even that bittersweet blessing is bestowed upon them.


I may be the one who is usually employed as an editor and tutor, but clearly Hot Stuff has the true editorial talent in this family. And if you have any academic papers you need help with, I'm sure he would be more than willing to donate his time and talent for a minimal fee.

Monday, February 9, 2009

SUPERstitions

I've finally started my edit for Paranormalcy. I realized I was overthinking things, and once I got started, sure enough everything has been falling into place. Rock on.

I've also been researching more legendary and paranormal creatures. I figured I was a little thin on references, and wanted to find some fun, different things to throw in. Here are a couple of my favorites:

The Chinese Fenghuang, a rooster-swallow-fowl-snake-goose-tortoise-stag-fish-hybrid. Can you imagine what went into the breeding process for that one?? What a mess. Still, it would be kind of fun. "My eyes opened in amazement. I'd never seen anything like this creature. It was some sort of rooster-swallow-fowl-snake-goose-tortoise-stag-fish-hybrid." If nothing else, including the fenghuang would certainly boost my word count.

Then there's the Colombian Pollo Malingo. It's a man-eating chicken spirit. No, no, not a chicken-eating man spirit--a man-eating CHICKEN spirit! How cool is that? I think I'm going to start scaring my children with horrible tales of chicken spirits coming to eat them in the night. They'll never be able to watch the Muppets again--Camille would become a thing of terror.

Also, no one beats the Japanese for ghosts and spirits. Their afterlife is populated with very, very strange things. Everything from spirits who count plates, to spirits who pull on your sleeves, to kettle spirits. Just what a kettle spirit is, I don't know, but I'm pretty sure I'm staying away from Japan, as I'm especially terrified of the makura-gaeshi, a spirit that MOVES YOUR PILLOWS!

I know, the horrors. The horrors.

I think I'm going to go make sure my pillows are right where I left them...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Because It's a Bad, Bad Letter

The other day we were walking home from the library when Nayna said, "Why can there be no peases here?"

I slowed, trying to figure out what she meant. No pieces? No pieces of what? "What are you talking about, Nayna?"

She repeated herself. "Why can there be no peases here?" And this time she pointed. To this:



"Oh!" I said, as peases finally clicked. "Well, you see, Nayna, around here we really, really hate the letter P."

That's right. You know the town in England, the one that just banned apostrophes? Well, we're doing them one better:

NO MORE P.

Effective immediately, this letter is no longer welcome on my blog. If you cannot refrain from using it in the comments section, I will be forced to ban you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I was awake half the night with Dojo and I really need a Dr Eer.

UPDATE: Nevermind. I've just realized that publishing couldn't happen without the letter P. And I really don't want to change Paranormalcy's title to Aranormalcy.

P is officially pardoned, and I'm going to take down all of those signs I see in the city!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Creature in the Dark

I curl up into a ball, motionless. Barely daring to breathe, I keep my eyes squeezed shut, hoping against hope it will work. Maybe he's like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. If I don't move, he won't be able to see me. And then I think, how on earth did a freaking paleontologist know how a T-Rex sees? Focus, I need to focus. Absolutely still. I will him to leave, to find another victim.

"Mama? I wanna watch a moofie!"

Don't respond, I think. Just don't do anything. He could decide to climb back into his crib and go back to bed. Stranger things have happened. Like Lady in the Water. How did that movie happen?

FOCUS. Don't move.

"Mama! I wanna watch a moofie! Come on, Mama. Mama?"

This tactic isn't working. Clearly he's not related to the T-Rex, although his biting and scratching skills put the ancient predator to shame. "Go ask Daddy," I mutter, willing myself to hold on to sleep.

"I wanna watch a moofie!"

"I know. Go. Ask. Daddy."

There's an interminable silence; every nerve is tensed, waiting, hopeful. And then I feel it--a pudgy little hand on my back, patting me affectionately.

"I love you, Mama!"

He wins every time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ever Feel Like This?


Yeah? Me, too.

Good thing I have a husband who can always make me smile. Example:

(Taken from a conversation about some good friends of ours.)

HS: So the Records are moving?

K: Nothing definite, they're just looking at some options.

HS: That would be sad if they moved. They're fun. Kristen's nice and Shawn's cute.

K: That's a little creepy. At least you didn't say Kristen was cute.

HS: People think that I'm Shawn Record.

K: Why?

HS: Because I tell them I'm Shawn Record.