Pretty Perfect Weekend

If you know anything about me, you will recognize that this weekend was maybe the most quintessential Molly weekend I could have had. Despite my plans for a Harry Potter movie marathon in a blanket fort with pizza aplenty falling through, I still had a pretty excellent weekend. Here’s what went down:

Friday: Y’all know my feelings about my job, so I was pretty excited to get home on Friday and just veg, especially after the mini freak-out on the Metro platform about leaving my Kindle at the office. So when I got home Amanda and I caught up on The Mindy Project before Megan came over and we watched Perks of Being a Wallflower. Full disclosure – I never finished the book. I had been reading it over a break from school, but I had to go back and the library loan was up, and I just never got around to finishing. And you know what? I’m not that broken-hearted over it because while I found the main character in the book to be almost unbearably naive, I thought the movie was really well done. The acting was fantastic, especially Ezra Miller, but Logan Lerman, as well. Not finishing the book meant that I was genuinely surprised about the plot-twist and ending of the movie, which I hadn’t predicted at all. I enjoyed it. After the movie I retreated to my room and hammered out a few more pages on my most recent WIP. Oh, and of note I recently passed the 50,000 word mark for the first time in any WIP. I’m pretty excited about it.

Saturday: I’ve lived in my new place for four months, so I figured it was about time to visit the library. It’s only a ten minute walk, door to door! The path includes cutting through a park! It was all very exciting. The local branch of the library looks kind of sad, both inside and out. Just, severely outdated, a weird floorplan, and a lot of different shades of beige. I did really enjoy the Nerdfighter poster in the YA section (but not so much the admin sign that read “this area is reserved for teens (and their guardians)”. Were they trying to intimate that I’m too old to be reading YA? Because you’re never too old to be reading YA). I ended up getting a lot of titles I hadn’t been able to download from the library’s e-catalog for my Kindle. I ended up walking home with 5 books (4 YA and one adult, just in case the circulation assistant made a fuss). When I got back to the apartment Amanda and Megan had already started the re-re-re-watch of Star Trek: Into Darkness. When that ended, I made a batch of cookies and settled in to watch the Bama / Texas A&M game (Roll Tide!). After that I ended up going on an impromptu, and pretty short, midnight monument tour. By pretty short I mean we basically went to the Lincoln and lounged in the back, where we spent an hour laying down, trying to figure out which of the 5 visible lights in the sky were stars, and which were airplanes. Round-trip was less than two hours.

Sunday: A lazy day. I slept in, made a giant egg sandwich for lunch, continued my Greek marathon before switching over to re-watch season one of The Vampire Diaries. I’ve seen most of Greek already, and all of TVD, so I kept busy by starting a new book (The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Reading was interrupted when a friend that happens to live in my apartment building called me from her sister’s phone and asked me to drive her into the city so that she could pick up her phone which she had left at a bar. Upon my return, I climbed back into my hammock and watched the Season 2 finale of The Newsroom, which resulted in a lot of Tina Belcher noises (see below). Then read until I fell asleep.

That was my weekend: baking, books, football, movies, television marathons, and weird road-trip-y favors for friends. It was a nice, low-key weekend before the craziness of this weekend which will feature out of town guests and FreeFest.

Now enjoy a song that was stuck in my head all weekend:

I Made History… Kind Of?

Last week I admit that I was facing a bit of a conundrum, dear readers. I was all ready to ask  for your input. It was the night before President Obama’s 2nd Inaugural and I just couldn’t decide whether or not I should go. For regular visitors, you’ll know that I am a staunch supporter of Obama. And for that alone I wanted to witness his second inauguration. But there are a few things that made the decision difficult.

1) Obama’s actual second Inauguration took place on Sunday the 20th, in a private ceremony. See, the thing is, since the date of Presidential inaugurations changed from mid-March to the 20th of January, swearing-in ceremonies typically don’t happen on Sundays. Therefore, the official ceremony happened on Sunday in the White House, and the President was simply upholding tradition by having a secondary ceremony on Monday. Did I really want to go see a ‘fake’ ceremony?

2) I’d have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn. I’m a college student, okay? I value my sleep. It is precious to me like little else. Did I really want to be up not at but before 6am on Monday to haul my ass to the National Mall.

2-a) Even if I got myself up and awake before 6am, I still didn’t have an actual ticket to the Inauguration ceremony. The best I could hope for was a prime location in front of a jumbo-tron.

So I guess my dilemma was this: Get up and see the ‘fake’ ceremony just because I could? I mean, I’ll admit that I’m lucky to be living in the nation’s capital. That’s not the question. Rather did I want to bother to get myself up and out of bed to trek the 8 blocks to watch the ceremony on a jumb0-tron or do I watch it from the comfort of my couch? To hike down to the parade route or watch from the window? Go to the Mall for the ceremony AND the parade or do I go for one or another?

I know by now you’re all dying to know so I’ll fess up: I went. I woke up at 6am, layered on an obscene amount of clothing, zipped into my boots and walked. And walked. And walked. And then, just when I was really excited to be done with all the walking, I got to stand around for a few hours. I’m sorry – did I say a few? I meant five hours. In the cold.

And yes, whatever, the ceremony was nice. Yeah, sure, I got to ‘witness history’. And, okay, I admit, I almost cried at three separate points during Obama’s speech. And only 2 people near me needed us to shout for the medic. And I had a good view and our jumbo-tron stopped malfunctioning by the time the ceremony started. But damn did my feet hurt later. Seven hours in boots was not my best idea, I’ll admit. But you know what was a worse idea? The mile walk I made in heels later that night.

Yup, that’s right. Later that night I donned a ball gown and strap myself into high heels and walked a mile to a fancy dinner before cabbing (thankfully) to my university’s Inaugural Ball. The blisters, they were ugly. My feet, they were pained. But dammit I looked pretty and I had a nice time. It was way too crowded, and drinks were way too expensive, and there were too many ballrooms (I kept getting turned around), but it was fun. And I guess now I know what I was missing when I decided not to go to prom.

48 Hours in Dublin

About a month ago, when I was still living in the UK, I got bored with campus and decided to satisfy my wanderlust by taking a weekend trip. After planning for less than 6 hours, and traveling for another 10, I was headed to Ireland. Dublin, to be exact.

Dublin is a lovely city. It wasn’t as large as I had expected, but keeping in mind the fact that Ireland itself isn’t that large, this makes sense. In actuality, the size reminded me of DC. You could walk everywhere you wanted to go, you just wouldn’t necessarily want to. I was only there for a weekend but I got to see everything that I wanted to, so I’m happy. I would’ve been happier if my boots had better arch support and I had packed a scarf and gloves, but I got to go to Dublin so I really can’t complain too much.

Dublin’s one of those cities that doesn’t really have skyscrapers. That makes me happy. Skyscrapers kind of freak me out. I mean, I’m not afraid of them or anything, but I prefer a less obtrusive skyline I guess. Like DC. It’s a fine, stately city and it doesn’t need any of those ostentatiously tall buildings to prove it. The only really tall structure in Dublin was the Spire. It was a nice landmark, in the heart of the city on O’Connell Street, but being in the very center meant I kept getting confused as to which way was which. A lot of the main city-center looks similar.

I did all of the super touristy things you can imagine that Dublin has to offer. I went to Temple Bar and saw a live band perform while I ate a dinner of bangers and mash and had a pint. I went on a Hop-On/Hop-Off bus tour. I went to Phoenix Park and saw the world’s second tallest monolith; I went to the Dublin Zoo and fawned over the red pandas and the arctic fox and the penguins; I took a tour of the Guinness Storehouse and had a pint in the Gravity Bar; I saw Oscar Wilde’s house; I went shopping on Grafton Street; I went on a tour of the Dublin Castle. I walked, and walked, and walked. Here’s some of what I saw:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To conclude, I present my pop culture thoughts on Dublin:

  • On the train to the ferry port in Wales, the conductor announced a stop for Croydon. Naturally I thought of Emanda’s British friend Ashley on Revenge as that’s where she’s from.
  • Our ferry was named Ulysses. I made the James Joyce connection. One of my traveling companions thought of the Odyssey. Perhaps because of the main character’s name in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • The ferry ride was 3 hours. Naturally the Gilligan’s Island theme song was stuck in my head the entire journey.
  • No matter what country you’re in, radio stations use those annoying slogan jingles promoting themselves.

I Really Need to Lock. It. Up.

I don’t know if I love this week or hate it. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s indecision.

The Ups:

There were fireworks. Literally. I walked down to the Mall Saturday night (yes, I’m counting it as part of this week. My week seems to run Saturday-Friday. So what?) with some friends to watch the fireworks that were being set off over the water front to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival. So, not just fireworks, but cherry blossoms, too.

Got my offer pack from the University of Sussex. That’s right, chumps. In 5 short months (4 of those summer break! Eat it, nerds!), I’ll be making my way across the pond to tepid summer days. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Also worth looking forward to: accents, fashion, traveling around the UK, traveling around Europe, visiting that place Elizabeth got proposed to by Darcy (the first time), and THIS.

Meh:

Pre-departure Orientation: This Saturday I’m meeting with the study abroad advisers for GW England and talking with a bunch of other students who’ll also be going abroad in the fall. It’s not that I’m not excited for the meeting, because I am, but rather I don’t really have time for this.

The Downs:

School: Right, yeah, I’m at college by my own choice, yadda yadda yadda. That doesn’t mean that I want to be, like, assessed and stuff. Just let me learn and trust I paid attention (jokes). I’m not even worried about finals – that’s what reading week is for. It’s just the papers that are getting to me. Three papers in three weeks. Is there no mercy? As Uncle Jesse would say, “Have mercy!” (Though that might be a smidge out of context.) I turned in my first today, a biography of Charles Preuss. Next week I’m turning in a paper on the alternative belief systems of the European Enlightenment. Like, you know, Deism, Paganism, etc. The week following I have to turn in a dissection of the British Council and their public diplomacy, specifically in regards to the “special relationship” with America.

The weather keeps f*cking with me. Honestly, Mother Nature, just pick something and go with it! I’m sick of this dithering. First you’re cold and rainy, then cold and windy, then hot and windy, then warm and rainy and now just plain warm. I need you to lock it up. Cold and rainy – that’s fine with me. Warm and rainy – a-okay! Windy – sure, why not?! Just lock. it. up.

Okay. Rant done. I’ll just be over here, taking some calm, deep breaths. It’s fine. Radiohead will make me feel better, it always does.

New Year’s Resolutions: more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.

res-o-lu-tion (noun) 1. A firm decision to do or not to do something

I’ve never really been into the whole “New Years Resolution” construct. Sometimes I try and convince myself that a resolution wouldn’t be so bad, but, more often than not, I forget to set one or don’t manage to think of one in time. Last year I convinced myself that I could just set one for the Chinese New Year. (Anything to make me more like Mulan is fine by me.)

So, instead of falling into the chasm of failed resolutions of yore, I’ve decided to set goals. Guidelines, if you will. Every year dawns with promise. Anything can happen. Of course we tend to bank on the positive rather than the negative, but who wouldn’t? Each New Year’s I think, “Molly, this is it. This is the year for me.” And it’s rarely true. I have good years and bad years, but those are rarely measured in the 365 day span from January 1st through December 31st. More often than not it’s gauged from August 28 to May 10th, or whatever the length of my school year may be.

Confession: New Year’s always makes me a little depressed. It’s not the change so much as the divergence from comfortability. The past is my playground. Good memories made even more fantastic by rose-colored glasses. And, as I grow up, each year gets a little more realistic, a little harder to use my imagination, a little more difficult to keep in contact with everyone that I’ve grown up with.

This year is kind of big for me. It marks the beginning of my 3rd decade of my life. I turn 20 this year, y’all! That being said, my goals for this year are fairly simple:

  • have fun! If everything works out, I’ll be able to spend 4 months abroad, finally getting to travel Europe. Although I still have five months of sophomore year left, which I’m really looking forward to (honestly), I cannot wait to spend fall semester in Brighton. This, of course, also includes making 2011 as much of a Levi’s ad as I can.
  • find more me time. I spend a lot of time by myself, but that’s usually just reading or watching tv. I want to rediscover the wonder of spending hours at a time outside like I did as a kid. This shouldn’t be too hard with the nation’s capitol, the shores of Lake Erie, and the South of England as my personal playground. Spending time out of the house (or dorm) will be good for me. I can go to museums, monuments, walk the beach, listen to the hundreds of podcasts and new albums that keep piling up, unlistened to on my iPod, and just keep working on figuring out who I am.
  • finish a writing project (or two or seven). I keep discovering new things to write about that intrigue me, but I haven’t really finished one yet. Knowing that I have the potential to finish these stories, that so far the characters are floundering around, not completely whole actually makes me a little sad. The only thing that pains me more when I’m writing is the moment I discover that I have to kill one of my creations. (I’m still sorry about that, Sven.)
  • rediscover my love for photography. I’ve been taking pictures for as long as I can remember, but I can’t seem to make the time when I’m at school. And then I get depressed that so many people I know have gotten so much better at photography than I once was. I need to buck up and rise to the personal challenge!

That’s all. Really. Well, for now at least. Music-times!

How to Survive Finals… without really trying

Once again, it’s finals week on the GW campus. For some that means writing scores of pages for papers, cramming for exams, moving into the library, and getting off campus as soon as possible. I take a slightly different approach to my end of term exams. Here’s my handy-dandy list of finals’ week must haves.

  • Food. Not snacks, meals. There’s simply too much going on to take the time to go to the grocery store and prepare all of your meals. Especially since you’ll be going home in a week and you don’t want all of the food to spoil. So, if you’re like me, take-out will become your best friend. Chinese and Italian are always good choices. Chipotle, too, of course.
  • Munchies. Load up on the quick-fixes. My must-haves include Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s, cherry & s’mores flavored pop tarts, and lots and lots of Diet Cherry Pepsi.
  • Distractions. Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. This is when your laptop knows no other screen than Twitter, Facebook, or your favorite blogs. This is also a great opportunity to break out that book you’ve been meaning to read but never found the time. For me, it’s Catcher in the Rye.
  • Socialize. There are no classes, meaning you, and everyone else on campus, has suddenly been gifted with downtime. Organize movie nights. We’re watching one a night for the rest of the week. So far, we’ve watched Pride & Prejudice and Love, Actually. Tonight we’re curling up for Gone With the Wind. If studying really is a priority for you (which, honestly, I can’t fathom), form a study group. I know my university band is holding a private study party in the band room.
  • Stretch your Legs. Being cooped up and studying non-stop will drive you up the walls. I know, I’ve witnessed it. Besides, ’tis the season to be jolly. Take a walk around campus or through the city (a field? Is that how rural campuses work?). Last night after work, some friends and I celebrated the first real snow-fall of the season by taking a stroll down to the Lincoln Memorial.
  • Avoid the Library. If your undergrad library is anything like mine, it is unbearable at the best of times. Make it ten million times more crowded than normal, fluctuate the thermostat, and put in those god-awful florescent lights, and it’s impossible to get any work done. If, for some odd reason, you must go to the library to work, make sure that you pack water, snacks, and some noise-canceling earbuds. Permaybe some sunglasses, too.
  • Holiday Shop. What better time to get your holiday shopping out of the way. Plus, if your school, like mine, waits until the last possible moment before Christmas to send you on your merry way home, this is the only viable time-frame for getting those gifts. Also, what could be easier than slapping down and dishing out your pre-paid university money at the campus bookstore? Who doesn’t love a shirt/coffee mug/stationary set with your school’s logo? Crazy people! That’s who.
  • Have Fun! It’s very rare for an undergraduate course to put all of the weight in grading the class on the final. That kind of shenanigan is generally saved for law school (oh, goody. I can’t wait.). If you’re really freaking out, go ahead and calculate what the worst-possible grade you can get on the final while still doing well in the class. That’s why I’m not studying for Arabic as I type this. That’s being saved for Gone With the Wind-times.

I’m not saying that finals aren’t a stressful time – for most sane students, they are. But balance your nose-to-the-grindstone study habits with some relaxing activities. You deserve it! I just choose to save my major stress-related meltdowns for more important things, like the day that Stargate SG-1 finally stops streaming on Hulu and I have to shell out the big bucks for the actual DVDs. (It’s a legitimate concern, guys! 10 seasons of awesomeness really adds up.) And, remember, as my good friend Amanda said: ‎”It’s ok because remember you only need like a 3.0 to get a job, right?” Is that how that works?

Civil Is Sexy

Best Halloween Weekend yet! Honestly, I’ve never celebrated the holiday like I did this year. And I didn’t even dress up. As much as I want to pontificate about how great the Halloween festivities were, this post is dedicated to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. You’ll get your Halloween post by the end of this week, promise.  Anyway, let’s do it.

For someone as invested in politics as myself (interning, majoring in Political Communication, aspiring to, you know, work in the White House, etc.) I had never before been to a political rally. And, though the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was technically nonpartisan, not having endorsed any specific candidate, party or platform, it was a decidedly political forum because that is what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert focus on four nights a week via their television shows.

It’s easy to classify the event as a political rally, but really it was more of a gathering, albeit large, focused on airing Americans frustration with our political leaders and, most pointedly, the media. I mean, the rally took place on the National Mall, with the Capitol Building as a backdrop.

I have to tell you, I had a pretty awesome spot in the 215,000 person crowd. I better have, since Anne got me up at 7:15 (per my request). By 9:00am we were on the Mall. By the time I arrived home that afternoon, I had been on my feet for over 9 hours and walked at least 3 miles. All compeltely worth it. I danced to the Roots, sang along with Jon & Stephen, laughed with John Oliver and had a great time milling about in the crowd with my friends, watching the event on the telescreen in front of me. This was our view:

And here’s some friends and myself in the overwhelmingly large crowd:

Overall, it was a great experience that I would easily repeat. The event had the perfect blend of moments that were funny, honest, entertaining, and overwhelming. Jon Stewart’s speech at the end of the rally was beautifully poignant and really reflected well the entire point of the rally. Here’s hoping he’ll come back soon.