What’s up, Wednesday? // 2 \\

I’ve been working on a really fun follow-up post to my Relationship Theory, and hopefully it will be up later this week. But for now, yet another What’s up, Wednesday!

WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY is hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, and to learn more about it, you should really visit their respective pages.

What I’m Reading

I stayed up too late reading last night. First because These Broken Stars was so good. Second because I really wanted to have another book to talk about for this post. With TBS, I found it was really interesting how, for a book set on a deserted planet because of a Titanic-like spaceship crash, the more I read, the more sci-fi it became. Sure, it started off with spaceships and hyperdrive engines, but by the end the science-fiction was so much more. More developed, more important to the story, more interesting. It went from feeling like a ‘stranded on a deserted island’ story to an episode of Stargate SG-1, so of course I was all over it. There were moments that were so interesting, and creepy, and confusing that I looked up from the pages as if to check that I wasn’t stranded on that planet, too.

This morning I began my re-read of Summerland by Michael Chabon. I really wanted to fit it in while it still feels like summer. At this point, I’m not even sure how many times I’ve read it, but I think the first was back in 2005 around the same time my mom was reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (which I also love). Summerland is very important to me – is has everything I could have wanted in a MG/YA book: it’s long (500 pages); it plays heavily with mythology (Norse and Native American and American folklore); the characters, though children, never feel like children. There are miniature adults and the book is written toward miniature adults as well, not children. There is nothing simple about the book. Summerland is about a boy and his dad, it’s about baseball and dirigibles, it’s about werefoxes traveling through dimensions, and friendship, and trying to prevent Ragnarock. It’s amazing.

What I’m Writing

Copying Bailey, who is working on That Ghost Story, I’ve decided to refer to my newest WIP as That Golf Story. I’m still chugging steadily ahead. I’ve roped my friend Kate into reading each chapter as I finish, and her cheering for me (and frequent threats to edit the finished product to hell and back) has been excellent encouragement. I’m so happy to be writing off of a detailed (and complete!) outline. It makes everything feel so much easier. I’ve removed one character and made another one better and I think I wrote one of my favorite sentences ever when I have the MC describe her antagonist-cum-love interest. I managed to write another 1600 words on Friday, finishing Chapter 2. I’m hoping to finish chapter three before I go on vacation this weekend.

What Inspires Me Right Now

During the Emmy’s on Monday night, my best friend texted me to say, “My new dream is for you to become a successful writer and win an award and have to give a speech. Literally make my whole life.” And I guess the fact that he has faith enough that one day, maybe I can have the potential to win an award by writing things is kind of cool. Even if it was evil of him to make me want to give a speech in front of countless people just so I could squirm and flounder and be generally uncomfortable.

Thinking about what inspires me is also a gentle reminder that I have yet to create a writing playlist for That Golf Story. For each story that I write, I create a writing playlist based partly on mood, but mostly on the music that my MC likes. Sometimes it’s not my favorite kind of music, or what I want to listen to at that moment, but I’ve found that it really helps me get inside the head of my characters.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Aside from writing 1600 words on Friday, I also drank 3/4 of a bottle of wine and saw Calvary. The movie was amazing. The cinematography, the acting, the accents, brilliant all. The movie did well at not giving away the ending. I laughed, I gasped, I recommend.

Sunday I took the GRE. I didn’t fail. I could have done much worse than I did. I did better on math than I had anticipated and not quite as well on verbal as expected, but still, a good showing! It’s those damn reading comprehension questions. They got me on the ACT and they got me again on the GRE. But that’s okay. It is! I’m sure of it. Now I just have to reach out to old profs for recommendation letters and begin the application project. I’m on schedule!

Impulse Control

The day of reckoning has finally arrived. This is a sad day, friends. You see, my premonition came true. As of yesterday, Hulu has finally called it quits with Stargate SG-1. Luckily for me, Amanda wanted to go on an impulse drive this weekend. Who was I to turn down a golden opportunity of riding in a car? I’m not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth. Not when it involves road trips with a good friend and great music.

So, off to Virginia we went. And we only had to pull one U-turn. But, all too soon we arrived at our destination – the late-night Wal-Mart. This was our opportunity to go shopping and buy as much as we wanted without having lug it around the Metro.

Now, you can’t go shopping with Amanda without looking at the $5 DVDs. She talked me into getting Music & Lyrics and bought herself Casper. But the best was just around the corner: that’s right, Stargate DVDs. Bundles of 2 seasons for just $20 each. I am now the proud owner of the first four seasons of my favorite show of all time. And I couldn’t be happier.

Now I can finally play that drinking game I made up…

Are You Ten Years Ago

Give or take a fortnight I’ve lived through exactly two decades. With the aughts winding down, I thought I’d take a look at the advancements, publications,  and occurrences of the decade* that were most influential in my life.

Music: iTunes, dub-step, auto-tune

  • Radiohead
  • The Decemberists
  • The Killers
  • Tegan & Sara
  • Kings of Leon

Television: HD, on Demand

  • West Wing
  • Stargate SG-1
  • Veronica Mars
  • LOST
  • The Daily Show

Movies: 3D (for this one I’m doing directors, it’s just easier)

  • Joe Wright
  • Quentin Tarantino
  • David Yates
  • Jason Reitman
  • Lee Unkrich

Books:

  • The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
  • Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
  • Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Summerland by Michael Chabon

Fashion:

  • leggings
  • “vintage” t-shirts
  • skinny jeans, or, conversely, jeans that are too baggy
  • Vera Bradley bags
  • North Face fleece jackets

Technology:

  • GPS
  • iPods
  • Smart Phones
  • Internet (modems => cable => broadband => wifi)
  • social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, blogs)

Current Events:

  • 9/11 terrorist attacks
  • medical scares: SARS, Avian Flu, Swine Flu
  • America invades Iraq & Afghanistan
  • financial crisis
  • hipsters

*This entire list is made up of my opinions, and the things that were the most influential to myself. Given that, I figured it’d be easiest to limit every category to five items. Keep in mind that, to me, the decade started in 2001 and lasted until the last moment of 2010. The next decade will be 2011-2020.

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?

Geek Chic

So much and so little all going on at the same time. I was supposed to go over to the Hill between classes yesterday for a 3 hour seminar on HTML but the Metro was terribly delayed, so I was stuck in Foggy Bottom. That was cool with me because it gave me the opportunity to walk down to the Lincoln Memorial. It was a beautiful day, managing to stay sunny and in the 70s. Fun fact: the back of the Lincoln Memorial is a great place to do homework: little foot traffic and a nice view. But the sun and warmth won’t stick around for long, which will be perfect for when I can convince myself to slap down the big bucks for these:

 

Boots, boots, whatever.

They’re so pretty! And I’ll totally use them in Sussex, right. I mean, it’s England, it rains there all the time. Yeah, that’s how weather works.

As for now I’m going to try and cheer myself up. I’ve come down with a dreadful cold. My throat was so sore today that I imagined it must be how a host feels when they’re first implanted with a tok’ra. Oh, yes, I am that big of a geek. For now I’m going to curl up with a box of kleenex, a bowl of blue jell-o, and my Hulu queue, all while trying to forget what ingredients actually compose jell-o.

I Dreamed a Dream

Aaaah! I did so much today! Not really, but it seems like it!!!

So, I went to Congressman’s office today, like normal, and it was fairly straightforward. Sorted some mail, forwarded some faxes, saw some Air Force officers (in their DRESS BLUES!!! Do you know how much I love Air Force dress blues, ’cause it’s a lot. And, yes, that appreciation can be blamed on Stargate SG-1.) Hmdmdm. Oh, I went to a hearing that Congressman was chairing about mental health and suicide rates in veterans and there were a bunch of neuro-scientists there. Oh, yeah, and Patrick KENNEDY!!! And Walter Jones from North Carolina. But still, I was in the same room as a Kennedy (Unfortunately dubbed the “ugly duckling Kennedy by friend.)!!!

Most importantly, however, is the fact that I drafted a statement today. No matter that it was about arthritis. No matter that a lot of the writing was rewording a previously written response to constituents on the subject. No matter that I only had to weave in information about the bill itself. I WROTE A STATEMENT FOR THE CONGRESSMAN TO READ ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE!!!! This is officially my first foray into political speechwriting. I really wanted to share the news.

On a sadder note, housing confiscated the extension cord that runs from my wall outlet over the door to my power strip. I now have no access to my tv, vcr, or printer. The cable for the tv that was strung between bedrooms, however, seemed to have been perfectly acceptable. So it goes. I’ll get a surge protected extension cord tomorrow. After my Arabic test that involves drawing pictures of crocodiles. Ain’t college grand?

Tuesdays with Maury, Wednesdays with John

A long time ago I came to terms with a simple fact: I am a geek.  Not only do I read like it’s my job (in actuality, I probably read with more diligence for fun than I would if I were at work), but I have for as long as I can remember always plod through summer with sheer excitement for school to restart. I like to learn. I have a reading list this summer that I compiled for myself. It has sixty-nine books on it, all of them either non-fiction or literature. I’ve been out of school for 17 days and I’ve already read ten books – none of them on my list.

And, for as much TV as I watch (which, believe me, is a lot), it actually helped me, come college! Even the non-educational, completely fictional, escapist shows that I watch helped me ace quizzes and classes in college. And parents say TV rots your brain. Honestly, ten seasons of Stargate SG-1 and seven of the West Wing helped me pass Astronomy and PoliSci, respectively.

The first few books on my reading list: Faiths of the Founding Fathers, The Oxford Companion to World Mythologies, and Generation Kill. I was looking forward to reading Anne’s book about quantum physics, but I forgot to borrow it from her before we parted ways for the summer.

But, seriously, even some of my favorite cartoons  are geeky. Regardless, I can’t wait for Futurama to come back to TV this summer. Also, is it just me, or does the theme song for Futurama sound reminiscent of the chime-y intro to 17? Decide for yourself:

But the geeky thing about me that really seems to take the cake: I love over-the-phone political surveys. Always have. I think they’re fun. Sometimes I bond with the pollsters. Like yesterday, for example. I bonded with the guy interviewing me over the fact that we were both too young to vote in the 2008 election. Apparently, we’re the same age, and even have the same birth month! Go figure. See, politics can be fun. (Speaking of, you go John Sides!)