Friday, January 27, 2012

Existentially fraught free throws.

My throat is kind of hoarse from screaming at the book signing I went to last night. Before you get all flustered about that not making any sense, let me explain just what kind of book signing this was.

There was a puppet show. There was nerdy, acoustic rock music about particle physics, anglerfish, and Harry Potter. There was mild electrocution. There were a lot of screaming preteens. Okay, that last part was what I found to be weird.

Dear Twelve-year-olds,
Why are you reading these books? Hit puberty, and then we'll revisit the topic of your YA lit privileges.

Oh, but it was grand! John Green is touring the country, promoting his new book The Fault in Our Stars, which is quite lovely. I would say it's on par with Paper Towns. John Green, by the way, is the author of several young adult novels, including Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines. He and his brother, Hank, are the Vlogbrothers. I know I totally sound like an ad right now, but how else does one explain these guys to someone who doesn't already know? As a side note, Hank's the one who writes all the nerdy songs.

Speaking of Hank's musicianship, it would appear that he is really slow at tuning a guitar. One of my favorite parts of the show last night was when he asked someone (who shouted out that one of the strings was flat while Hank was trying to figure out why it sounded funny) to come up on stage and tune it for him. Since Hank's guitar is kind of legendary in certain circles, that was a real treat to see.

I was also rather a fan of the totally unrelated balloons on the ceiling.

This is all out of order. Oh, well.

The Fault in Our Stars is about a 16-year-old girl with terminal cancer. As John explained it last night, we always talk about how the deceased had lived long, full lives. But what if a life doesn't get to be long? He talked about ordinary heroes. He talked about how we get to choose what we think about, every second of every day. He talked about how the time we spend is spent in the literal sense of the word. It's gone. There will be no refunds. (That last bit is my wording.) We have to make a decision. Are we going to squander our time, or are we going to get the best use out of it that we can? Perhaps one of the most poignant points he made was that we were choosing what we were thinking about at that very second, as he was talking.

It's true. All of it. I know I'm frequently guilty of wasting my time, of blowing it on trivialities and mindless pursuits. But I'm supremely happy that, in that moment, I was thinking about something worthwhile.

John actually spoke at the beginning of the presentation, right after Hank's introductory puppet show. The profoundness he shared kind of got swallowed up in all the nerdy silliness that came after, but they brought it back around in the end. People often say that John and Hank look like The Proclaimers (kind of...), so as a finale they performed a slow, acoustic cover of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)." I've really loved that song ever since the first time I saw Benny & Joon at age 9. They didn't slow it down terribly much, but something about the way the brothers Green sang it made it somehow sweeter, more TFiOS. Maybe this is weird, but I've always felt like there was something inherently nerdy about that song, so ending with it just drew the entire night together for me. 

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."

Reading: The Iliad

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Contingency plans.

Today was a lesson in the sometimes inconvenient results of procrastination.

My first class on Tuesdays doesn't start until noon, so I figured I had time to watch an episode of Castle before I did my homework before I left for school.

By the time I got to the parking structure around 10:45, it was already full. A slight thing that almost wanted to be panic began to settle in. It wasn't until my third public parking lot that I finally found a space, so I decided to treat myself to Subway.

Finally at the Institute after much driving in circles and a little walking, I scouted around for a place to eat my Subway in peace. Alas, my favorite little nook was occupied by someone taking a nap, so back I went to the West Chapel, where I was finally rewarded for the morning's meandering by a very Drew-ish Drew and 15 minutes in which to feed my face with some of the mildest buffalo chicken I've ever encountered.

While the events of the morning may have taken me a bit out of my way, I think all of it was actually rather fun. I'm not saying I want to do it again, but I certainly won't say no to the unexpected adventure here and there.

Listening to: "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
Reading: The Iliad

Monday, January 23, 2012

Good, old-fashioned friendliness.

I love College Ave. It's always so bright and wonderful and full of pleasant people. Take today, for instance.

I didn't pack a lunch this morning, so I stopped by Cupz after Latin to see what I could find. What I found was a rather tasty bagel sandwich (though I should've gone with the plain instead of the wheat) and some good-humored teasing about the frayed state of the hems on my jeans.

Then, I met two very friendly women when I went into that little boutique on the corner to buy new Toms. They kindly waded through their new shipment, which was slowly eating the store, to find me the right size and color (7 and a half, chocolate).

On my way back to sit and wait for my German class, two of those scruffy guitar players who like to frequent College asked me if I had any change. Strangers on the street asking for change is always awkward, but I generally try to be as polite as possible, so instead of ignoring them, I told them I didn't have any change (truth) and that I was sorry. Then, the one of the left said, "Don't be sorry. Be silly. Life's much more fun that way." And then the one on the right asked me if I had a cigarette. That may be the first time in my life that someone has asked me that. I, of course, had to apologize again because, as a non-smoker, I didn't have any. "I'm sorry," I said, "I'm useless to you," referring to my utter lack of both spare change and cigarettes. "No, you're not," the one on the right replied. "You bring beauty into the world."

Listening to: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Reading: The Iliad

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spaghetti-less western.

Yesterday, I woke up around 9 to one of the most wonderful things in the world: a text from Kylie the Magnificent. She's very in-demand, so when I get a chance to hang out with her, I take it.

We spent the morning simply enjoying each other's company while she browsed Craigslist and I did German homework. We may or may not have also blasted Breaking Benjamin while she straightened my hair. I can neither confirm nor deny any such allegations.

We had lunch at Tempe Marketplace (cheesesteak for her, Chinese for me), then met Laura and Matt for a matinee of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Ever since it came out, I've been blasted from every side with the raving review that it's so much better than the first one. I can understand that, but there's also a stubborn little part of me that feels oddly protective of its predecessor. My feelings about each film start chasing each other around my head, and the end result is the only satisfying conclusion I can come to is that each would be lacking without the other. Personally, I'm just grateful to the film industry for presenting me with five solid hours of Jude Law.

Also, I'm very impressed by how easy it was for Kylie to just waltz into the theater with a bag of outside-food French fries. No one said a word.

After the movie, we frolicked. Eventually, we ended up at Cold Stone Creamery, where we were joined by Kylie's fiance, Jon.

Then, there was a parting of the ways as Kylie and Jon went off to go do responsible things like meet with student advisers while Laura, Matt, and I made our various ways over to Shantel's for an evening of tortellini, Bang!, and Silverado. The latter was because that was the first western we could find in her family's delightfully disorganized movie collection. I haven't seen so many VHS tapes in one place since Clinton was president.

The tortellini was delicious; the bread was even more so. Shantel and I, yet again, somehow wound up on the same side in Bang!. Good valiantly triumphed over evil at the end of both games we played.

The movie didn't get over until 12:30, and I stayed behind talking with Shantel until 2. I don't seem to be doing my circadian rhythm any favors. Fortunately for me, today is the day my classes don't start until noon, so I got to sleep in for a bit. Shantel, however, had to get up at 7 because her father misunderstood which time zone their insurance agent is in. Ouch.

Listening to: Pan Am
Reading: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ever on and on.

I am so sorry. I was going to write a beautiful post for you about midnight hikes and nieces and the zoo (twice) and school and playgrounds and German and froyo and Jester'z, but I kept having no time to write a post the way all posts deserve to be written, and the longer I went without time for writing, the more there was to write about, so the more time I needed for writing, and pretty soon it all started resembling that Infiniti commercial with the giant snowball that rolls down the mountain, and now my metaphorical car is totaled. Dang it.

Although, other than some slight agitation and the lingering feeling that I've been a rather fail-tacular bloggess the past few weeks, I can't really feel that bad about it all. I didn't have time to blog about my life because I was busy living it. There's a beautiful quandary.

Generally, I don't feel like I really do much living. I'm alive and all, but in a quiet, homebody sort of way. It's genetic. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love cuddling up with my books and doodling and marathoning cult TV shows on Netflix, but every once in a while I start to wonder if maybe I'm doing it wrong. I'll never be a full-time Liver, one of those people always going, going, going, but sometimes it's nice to--Ahaha!

I just noticed my unintentional funny. "Liver." As in the internal organ that deals with toxins and produces bile and stuff. I'm sure there's some deep metaphor there. I'm only pointing it out because it completely derailed my already rickety train of thought.

I suppose the destination I was headed towards was some grandiose thought about being out of the world for a spell and liking to walk it awhile.

I've never had so many high-energy friends; it boggles my mind, but I'm perfectly happy to ride along in their wake.

This living business is wild. Why, I'd say it's almost like an adventure!

Listening to: "Alles Neu" by Peter Fox
Reading: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Friday, January 6, 2012

No time.

Busy having a life. Be back soon.

Listening to: Dollhouse
Reading: Existence by Abbi Glines

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Lately, it seems like my life is an alternation between bouts of nothing and bouts of too much. There has been something or other going on almost constantly since Friday when Yoda guided me through a rather ghetto part of Tucson to a rather nice hotel where I got to see one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I spent the afternoon sitting on the couch in her room watching her and the other girls get ready for a dance. Two hours may seem like too long of a drive to sit around watching girls do their hair, but I loved it. It reminded me of Young Women's activities. I love the smell of hairspray and the conversation and the way girls borrow from each other and tuck in each other's tags. Besides, hanging out with Gabby always feels right, like taking up a book I just put down and picking up where I left off.

On Saturday, Shantel graciously hosted the Knights' New Year's Eve party. After some very salty pumpkin seeds and the light, pleasant socializing that happens while a party is waiting for the rest of its guests to arrive, Matt grilled chicken and hamburgers, and we all played a round of Bang!.

Bang! is an Old West-themed card game made in Italy (so all the cards are in Italian) wherein the sheriff tries to kill the outlaws and the outlaws try to kill the sheriff and nobody knows who anybody is. It's a bit like Mafia in that way. The game that night went very quickly. Several people were more than a little trigger happy. The outlaws won.

After the game, we carpooled over to a YSA event featuring free ice skating. I didn't do any skating, but I didn't really care where I was so long as I was among friends. We meant to head back to Shantel's before midnight, but that didn't happen, so we ended up counting down at the skating rink.

Back at Shantel's, the boys took turns trying to get down the timing of throwing a blooming ground flower into the air so it starts spinning before it hits the ground. Fireworks were followed by hot chocolate was followed by The Bourne Ultimatum and a massage train. I'm running with the assumption that that movie is even better if you've seen the first two.

Sunday was actually pretty quiet. I slept most of the day and spent the evening at family dinner.

Yesterday, I got to spend the day with my brother and his wife and their two adorable little girls. Is it terrible that I love making jokes about my nieces being poster children for Hitler's master race? They're going to be heart breakers when they grow up, them and their giant blue eyes.

They may look like clones, but I love how different they are. The elder is cautious and proper, and the younger is audacious and has attitude. They're expecting a little brother in March. I'm so excited!

Because I'm insane, after a long day of watching the girls fight over who got the bumblebee Pillow Pet and who got stuck with the ladybug, I didn't hesitate in answering an impromptu call at 10 PM to head over to Shantel's for another night with the Knights. There was more Bang! and Marc brought his telescope. After the boys got kicked out for making too much noise while they attacked Shantel, she and I stayed up chatting until five. I love one-on-one time with friends. You get to know people so much better that way.

I also love how the last few hang outs/parties/shindigs I've been to have been mostly guys. That's different for me, but interesting and fun. Boys are very entertaining, and they can be quite charming. Sometimes too charming, the devils.

Listening to: "The Call" by Regina Spektor
Reading: Les MisĂ©rables by Victor Hugo