Sunday, November 15, 2009

wow, it's been a while

So as August came upon us, I became extraordinarily busy in getting ready for school and other fun stuff. And then there was school, and I don't know if you know this, but junior year is ridiculously difficult! I never knew I could do so much work for just 4 classes. Thankfully, I've learned how to manage my time so I have a few minutes here to slack off, before I begin summarizing an article by Boethius of Dacia. And yes, that will be about as fun as it sounds.

So recently, I started climbing here at school, something my boyfriend has been pestering me about for what seems like decades, and surprisingly, I love it! It turns out I'm actually better than I thought I would be. It turns out that after years of trying softball, gymnastics, field hockey, tennis, and soccer, the girl who sucks at sports may have found an athletic activity she doesn't hate/one that doesn't make people hate her. And climbing has actually inspired me to begin doing a little light weight-lifting so I can actually pull myself up that damn wall. I didn't know how incredibly weak I was until I watched this tiny, thin girl scamper up the same climb I had been trying for about 20 minutes.
So today, with my boyfriend by my side, I entered the weight-lifting room and thanked the gods for their mercy. Because it was a sunny Sunday on campus, the bulky, muscley, red-faced jocks that typically inhabited the weight-room were outside running around without shirts on, listening to Dave Matthews (no, seriously. There was a group of them playing bean bags in the WC commons, music blaring). After Harris showed me the first machine, a silly-looking contraption that helps you do sit-ups, I was feeling somewhat unsure about my decision to get more toned. But I stepped up there, wrapped my hot-pink tipped fingers around the sticky rubber handle, and miraculously, did a pull up. I mean, the thing was helping out a lot but giving me some leverage, but I have to say I was pretty proud. I proceeded to do about 9 more before I collapsed in a heap on the grey berber carpet beneath me.
...Just kidding. I didn't fall down, I actually went on to have a fairly successful workout. I learned how to use most of the machines, and even enjoyed using a few of them. I feel like I could go back on my own without Harris and feel secure in what I was doing, though it is nice to have him there to help me adjust the machines and motivate me to do those last 3 reps when I reallllly don't want to. So there you have it, me going to the gym and actually not hating it as much as I thought I would. I hope i have inspired you all to follow in my foot-steps.

In other news, two poems of mine are going to be published in my school's literary magazine! Yayyyy! Not quite as big of a deal as the one getting picked up by Ampersand, but it still counts as something!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exciting News!

A literary magazine known as the Ampersand Review is going to publish my poem, "Mudfish"!!! I was absolutely astounded to get the e-mail telling me they had accepted that poem, and I pretty much made high-pitched squealing noises for about fifteen minutes. You can visit the website of the literary magazine here: and check out the vibe of the zine and some of the work they have featured before. I don't think I'm getting paid, BUT, it will be something to put on my somewhat sparse resume, and I'm over the moon about it.

Now that's over, I want to recommend a memoir by Julie Powell called Julie and Julia about one woman who decides to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking all in one year. Julie is, in all honesty, a total and complete hot mess, and she details much of her disastrous, and enlightening, "year of cooking dangerously." There is a film featuring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep that will be coming out soon, and so that's exciting.

But what is really the most exciting is that I'm going to be published. WOO!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another Good Book

So during our fantabulous Knobels Family Camping Trip, I was able to finish another book, this one called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. Larsson is from Sweden, and the story takes place there, which makes for some interesting places, names, and situations. Once I had wrapped my head around the pronunciation of words, however, I found myself deeply engrossed in this thrilling novel. The story centers around a missing heir to a Swedish industrialist's fortune who mysteriously disappeared thirty years ago. Now, the missing girl's uncle, who has been haunted by her disappearance for all of these years has hired an experienced journalist who was wrongly convicted of libel, named Mikael Blomkvist, to come and live on the small island he inhabits and work on the case for a year. By the end of the story, the journalist receives help from a past juvenile delinquent orphan named Lisbeth Salander, who has incredible skill in obtaining information about just about anyone, though her means may be questionable. The ending is completely unexpected, and the book is filled with danger, suspense, cleverness, and even some sex, and it is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. If you can't enjoy a good sexual-deviants-getting-what-they-deserve scene, then The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may not be for you.

The only complaint that I would really vocalize is the fact that Larsson does a lot of telling, rather than showing. His descriptions of places and people can get a little listy, and there were paragraphs where I thought to myself, he definitely could have thought of a better way to do this, but the story speaks for itself, and this list0like characteristic of his writing does not detract from the novel as a whole. I probably wouldn't really have noticed it if I hadn't taken a creative writing class this past semester. The novel does start off a little slow, but by after the first 100 pages, you will be hooked. And don't let the length of the book defer you, it goes by just like that *snaps fingers* and when it's over, you'll wish you had hundreds of more pages to read. Thankfully, Larsson's next book in the series will be coming out this month, and I really can't wait.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So my family and I are in the midst of preparing to go to Knoblels, an amusement park with a campground attached to it in the middle of no where, PA. Though I was reluctant to try the place at first, last summer, after one day there, I was in love. The park is extremely family-oriented, but that doesn't mean it's boring. They have two excellent wooden coasters, and a new luge coaster that was just completed in time for this summer, was well as at least twenty or so other fun rides. Everything is done by a ticket system, where you buy tickets in order to ride the attractions. If I remember correctly, The Phoenix, a roller coaster, is $2.25 in tickets which doesn't seem like a bad deal to me. The amusement park also claims to have the "best bumper cars in the country" as voted by someone or another, and they do live up to their reputation. Besides rides that everyone will love, the park boasts some of the best food in the country, as specified by the Food Network. You can't walk fifteen feet without running into some sort of ice cream vendor, and there is one pavilion where you can sample authentic food from seven different parts of the world. The park is nicely decorated and extremely clean, which is a huge selling point for me. While the local Six Flags does have some of the best coasters I've seen, the aesthetic appeal of that park leaves much to be desired, unless you enjoy walking around on hot tar, picking your way around bits of litter. Oh, and did I mention that Knobels also has a water park? There are water slides, both with inner tubes and without, and the largest pool in the state of Pennsylvania. So beat that, Busch Gardens.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Good Book

I recently finished Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants and I couldn't have loved it more. I've recommended it to all of my family and friends, and now I am going to blab about it here so everyone will know the splendor of this book. It follows the story of an elderly man who lives in a nursing home as he recounts the story of one season that he spent in the circus during the Great Depression as a young man. The vibrant and sensual, and sometimes brutal, world of the circus contrasts bitingly with the dull and slow life that the main character, Jacob, lives in the nursing home. The story really takes risks with the plot, leading the reader into a peep tent, and showing them some of the more horrifying effects of prohibition. There are characters that the reader will love, like Marlena, a horse-whispering beauty, and characters that they will loathe, like the mood-switching August and the greedy Uncle Al. At the center of it all is a mute and mischievous heroine named Rosie, who appears in the form of an African Elephant. Gruen brings her characters alive because she is not afraid to put them into painful situations, or to stretch them to their limits; really, she humanizes them at every turn of the page. There will be chapters will you cringe at the unfairness of it all, and where you feel you may burst with hatred or astonishment at the actions of some characters, but this is the main reason the book is so gripping. And in the end, you'll feel good. I promise.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


In my vast experience as a young woman, I've come across a variety of creepers. I would say I've been getting creeped on for at least these past 7 years, and I don't really see an end to it. Just in my past few months working in a book store in the local mall, I have been able to study the creeper up close, by hiding behind bookshelves, talking to them, and examining their purchases. Thus are my observations:
There are three basic kinds of creeper that inhabit book stores (and I believe this to be universally true):

1) The Old Man--This variety of creeper walks in, often carrying yesterday's newspaper, and begins wandering around aimlessly. When asked, ever so politely, "Hi, can I help you find anything today?" their answer will almost always involve the history section or a book of crossword puzzles, large print edition. After you help him to locate this particular tome, he entraps you in conversation, asking you pointless questions about your college and major and other sorts of things. Then he will talk about the book he has just picked up with you for another 10 minutes, incorporating bits of irrelevant facts about his life into the conversation, like he thinks that by telling someone that he used to be a professor at a college earns him hottie points or something. At the end of your interaction with him, he will lean a little closer than you'd like and tell you that you are "a lovely young lady" and that he thinks you will go far in life. This is old person code for "I think you are attractive." Now you know.

2) The Foreign Guy--Much less subtle than the old guy creeper, this variety of the breed is the kind that is unavoidable because of his overbearing need to express to you your attractiveness. If he does, in fact, speak English, he will insist on telling you that you are pretty, and other such compliments. He will compliment every girl that works in the store, so that no one feels left out. When he leaves, often with wife and several children scooting along behind him, he will say something like, "Goodbye beautiful ladies!" and wave. If the man does not speak a lot of English, he will simply smile at you a lot, and appear to be especially grateful for you help. He will say thank you especially genuinely, and add a blinding smile and some lingering eye contact for the extra creeper effect. Now, this may be appropriate where you're from, foreign guy, but in these here 50 United States, we don't go around randomly complimenting women (no matter how much they deserve it). Not that we aren't appreciative of the extra attention, we are, but instead of making us want to run lovingly into your often-mustachioed arms, we mostly just silently file the compliments away in our brains, and heave a sigh of relief after you have left us alone.

3) The Nerd--Now, here's the kind of creeper that is the most difficult to get rid of. These attention-starved, often mediocre-looking guys will not only be surprised that you are addressing them (until they realize that it's your job), they will be astounded that you may know just as much about a subject as they do. Well duh, I work in a book store. Of course I know about books, even if they are mystery/thrillers or science fiction. While it is good to give every customer direction and help, the Nerd is not one that you want to spend a particularly large amount of time assisting. The longer you hang around them, the more likely it is that you will hear something about that that you wish you hadn't, such as, "Oh, I see you have a mosquito bite there, you should have seen my legs when I went camping a couple weeks ago near a swamp, they were just covered in insect* bites." Then he will proceed to pull up his cargo pant leg and display the scars. Like the Old Man, the Nerd will ask you a variety of questions to keep you involved in the conversation, but with less self assurance and more awkward pauses where you are trying to think of a reason why you really must get back to the register right away.
*a nerd will always say "insect" rather than "bug," with the scientific nature of the word appealing more to them than the alliteration.

Well, there you have it. A complete guide to small book store creepers. I feel as though I should do a full-edition version of Creeper Varieties, kind of like that "douche-bag" book, that goes over every type of douche-bag that there is, but my space, and your time, are limited.

A note to the creepers mentioned above, you are all valuable customers and we appreciate your attentions greatly, we just get a little skeeved out by you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


A common threat to any poet or writer, narcissism is something I have attempted to battle throughout my entire writing career...or at least since I realized how incredibly annoying it was to hear cliched poems about (ex)boyfriends and combative mothers, insecurities and unrequited love. I mean, sometimes it's nice to hear these poems, but only if they are well-executed and completely original...and that's a task I really don't think I'm up to. My best work doesn't come from emotional baggage, there's much too much to work through there. I would say it could fill up an aisle in Wal-Mart. I can just see rows of stacked little red monogrammed suitcases, squished between the dozen varieties of Pop-tarts and the Solo cups (yea, I'm a college student, why do you ask?)

Anywho, what was I talking about? Oh...narcissism, yes. Well I basically just wanted to put up a disclaimer that I know I look like a total narcissist just by having a blog, and I understand how it makes it look like I think my opinions are overly important, that I love myself a little too much, that I think I'm better than other people, buttttttt I really just wanted a little summer project and some exposure for my writing. Maybe that's narcissistic, but I really just think it's a good career move.