Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Waste

The following is a passage from the novel The Wanderer by Sharon Creech. She writes some of the most profound children's literature on the market, in my opinion. I am sharing this because I see so much of myself in Creech's young character, Sophie.  Dear Sophie, I hope I don't do that either. 
Uncle Mo sat on the aft deck, sketching. I like his drawings. He showed me how the seals that are farther away should appear smaller in the drawing than the ones closer up. I tried to draw them, too, but my drawing wasn't as good as Uncle Mo's.

"Are you an artist?" I asked him.

"Me?" he said. "No."

"But you look like an artist to me," I said. "You draw really good stuff."

"Nah," he said. "This isn't so hot. I'm pretty rusty."

I asked him what his job was, what he did for a living. He frowned. "I'm a number-cruncher. I sit at a computer all day and mess around with numbers."

"But did you want to be an artist?" I asked. "Before you were a number-cruncher?"

"Sure," he said.

"So why didn't you?"

"Why didn't I what?" Mo said. He was putting whiskers on the seals in his drawing.

"Be an artist. Why didn't you become an artist instead of a number-cruncher?"

He used his finger to smudge the water line in his drawing, making it look soft and fuzzy and more like water. I thought maybe he hadn't heard me, but finally he said, "I dunno. Why does anybody become anything?"

"Isn't it because you want to?" I asked. "Don't you become what you want to become?"

He looked at me. His mouth was partly open and it seemed like there were words in there but they couldn't come out. He closed his mouth and tried again. "Not usually, Sophie. That's not the way it usually works."

"But why not? Why wouldn't a person do what he was good at and what he wanted to do?"

Now Uncle Mo was drawing ripples around the seals. "Because sometimes, Sophie, a person just needs a job. And sometimes the job he can get is not the one he most wants."

"Well, I hope that I don't do that," I said. "I hope I don't get a job I don't want. It seems like such a waste."

"Ah," Uncle Mo said, putting away his drawing. "Youth."

--Sharon Creech, The Wanderer, pages 114-116 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


You know what I think is a huge problem with young girls today? Some of them don't understand the importance of boundaries. Often I will hear stories about girls ages 14-20 (and sometimes older, unfortunately) who call and text their boyfriends constantly. And when I say constantly, I mean incessant "lol"s and "haha"s and "so wat you doin"s and "i'm bored" just never stops, and you can't blame the poor guys for feeling smothered. And as if that weren't bad enough, these text message terrorizing girls are also the type who will often beg their boyfriends to see them everyday and then have the audacity to get all huffy when he says "no, I have other plans" or if--God forbid--he steps back and tries to take a breather. I hear all these things and I'm over here like: "Are you freaking kidding me?" If someone did that to me I would end up lashing out at them eventually. Why? Because I need me time, damn it! I love Eric, but if he tried to get me to spend hours with him everyday I would say no, absolutely not. You need time to do your thing and I need time to do mine. Yes, we are in solid, committed relationship (one that I am certain will last the rest of our lives) but being someone's significant other does not mean that you need to spend every moment of your life with them. It doesn't mean that you need to have all the same interests and do all the same activities. Being someone's "other half" does not mean that you should become that person. In fact, I strongly advise that you don't. You need to be you whether you are single or in a relationship. Having the ability to do this, I think, is the unmistakable mark of an emotionally mature woman.   

Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Knowing Yourself

One of the most important things in life, I think, is to know yourself. I say this because over the years people are going to have lots of opinions about you. Some of those opinions you will hear upfront, while others you will hear whispered behind your back, and I hate to break it to you, but not all of those opinions are going to be favorable. Obviously some people will speak well of you, but others are going to say cruel, terrible and sometimes completely false things about you and your character. This is something that we all go through, and the fact is that we cannot control what other people think. We just...can't. I'm sorry, but it’s impossible, and if you try to do so you will only drive yourself mad. Therefore, I feel it is important that we attempt to control not so much what we hear, but how we handle what we hear. Knowing who you are will enable you to have a much clearer idea as to who you ought to take seriously and who you ought to dismiss.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Haters? Oh, They Be Hatin'.

"Haters don't really hate you. They hate themselves because you're a reflection of what they wish they could be."

PAUSE. Can I just take a moment to say that this quote is some bullshit?

I hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but the fact of the matter is that some people just don't like you. They're not jealous of your looks or your style, nor do they see a trait or characteristic in you that they wish they could possess; they simply hate your freaking guts. I'm sorry that that's so hard for you to accept, and even more so, I'm sorry that you had to create a lame inspirational quote about it in order to make yourself feel better.

This isn't directed at anyone in particular, by the way. I just hate that stupid quote. Do yourself a favor and look up universal rejection theory. It's very real and it's something that everyone on this planet over the age of 14 has to deal with at some point or another. My advice? Give people permission to dislike you. Once you do you'll be amazed at how much easier your life becomes.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Doggie Love

The other day I was flipping through a dog book at Barnes and Noble. As I was doing this my boyfriend suddenly came up behind me. "What are you doing?" he said. "You are a dog book!" I had to laugh, because it's so true. I am a walking dog book. In fact, I will confess that I am capable of identifying just about every dog breed that is currently recognized by the AKC (and also some breeds that aren't). I will never forget the look of surprise on that woman's face in Boston when I walked up to her and said: "Excuse me, is that a Miniature Australian Shepherd?" Ha. Priceless.

Like every dog lover, though, I have my favorites.
  • Papillon
  • Siberian Husky
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shih Tzu
  • Austrailian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd
  • Shetland Sheepdog

Okay, now here's the part where I start to get to the point.

Lately I've been dreaming (and writing) about things that I'd like to do in the future--or rather, things that I'd like to accomplish within the next ten years. That might not strike you as necessarily weird, but for me it kind of is. I've always been a "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of person. This means that I don't really think that far ahead. (About anything.) Recently, though, I've been thinking a lot about where I want to end up in the next decade or so, and--more importantly--who I want to be. This will probably sound silly, but one thing I know for certain is that I want to have a Papillon dog. I've wanted to be a Papillon owner ever since I was a little girl, but couldn't because of my mother's allergies. I still continued to beg her for a dog, however, and so eventually she caved and we got a hypoallergenic dog instead--a Shih Tzu! Her name is Bridgette. She's ten now, and she's a great dog, but I still want to fulfill my dream of owning a Papillon someday. So in the next five years I hope to have one of these little guys following me around the house. (Or apartment, or wherever I may be.)

Someday (and this one is more of a long shot) I would also like to own a Siberian Husky.

And this is how I would like my Papillon and Siberian Husky to get along.

Don't worry, I plan to do more with my life than become a dog owner. This was just a fun little thought that I simply couldn't go without sharing, mostly inspired by my discovery of the above video. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What Nancy Drew PC Games Have Taught Me--Part One

Since 1998, Her Interactive has produced a total of 26 Nancy Drew PC games.  Of those 26 games I have played 23. I realize that that is pretty insane—if not a little sad—when you think about it, but I feel absolutely no shame whatsoever, as I still believe that the many hours I put into each one of those games was time well spent. Not only did I enjoy myself immensely, but there were certain educational aspects to each game as well. In Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island, for instance, I learned what a cairn is, and to this day I would still know how to read one if I were to ever find myself in such a situation. (Which, I sincerely hope that I never do.) In fact, I will go as far as to argue that each ND game made me a little bit smarter. No wonder my parents encouraged me to play them! Ha. Not really...they just kept buying them for me because they knew I enjoyed them. My parents were cool like that. Anyway, I have been a fan of ND games since I was twelve, and if you want to know the honest truth, I still buy them. It takes me considerably longer to beat them, of course, what with college, work and all that crap, but even at age 21 I still try to make time for Nancy Drew.
Don’t judge.

But no, in a nutshell I guess what I'm trying to say is that Nancy Drew games are more than just a means of entertainment. Each game is based in fact, and as a result gamers learn while they're having fun. I could pretend like I was some sort of child prodigy who had a genius I.Q. by the age of twelve, but I wasn't, and I will fully admit that over the years Nancy Drew games have provided me with lots of facts and random tidbits of info that may or may not prove to be useful one day. In addition, ND games have taught me a lot about life in general. Below I have a list of some of the ND games I have played, along with a brief description of all the important things that I learned from each one.  
Warning: Heavy sarcasm ahead.

#1 Secrets Can Kill
Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill taught me that it is perfectly okay to break into a college professor’s office and steal from him or her. Not only that, but it also taught me how to skillfully use a glass cutter. Thanks, Nancy! Now all I have to do is practice this a few times in real life, and then I’ll be ready to break into lots of places! I've always sort of wanted to rob a bank, to tell the truth...

#2 Stay Tuned For Danger
Nancy Drew: Stay Tuned for Danger taught me that if you can’t get one of your supervisors to open up to you, then it is perfectly acceptable for you to take matters into your own hands by sneaking into her office and leafing through all her personal property. And don’t just stop there—keep on going through her stuff until you find exactly what you are looking for! Get into her personal life; learn all of her deepest, darkest secrets...go on, do it. Trust me. It'll be fun.

Also, I learned that using a credit card to open a locked door is usually very effective…

#3 Message in a Haunted Mansion
Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion taught me that sneaking into someone’s bedroom is not at all creepy. As a matter of fact, you should probably stalk that person first and determine exactly what time he or she leaves and returns to the bedroom each day. That way you won't get caught in your snoopery! Also, this game taught me that if a criminal is trying to run out the door with something that doesn't belong to him, then you should totally drop a chandelier on his ass—a chandelier made of brass. Because…you know, there’s not a chance at all that that might kill him.

#4 Treasure in the Royal Tower
Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower taught me that air ducts are a great way to access rooms that you are forbidden to enter. (It's generally very easy to maneuver your way through them as well.)  Also, I learned that hanging out in an elevator shaft is actually quite safe. Just make sure the elevator doesn’t drop on you while you're down there, because chances are, the elevator wins.

#5 The Final Scene
Nancy Drew: The Final Scene taught me that if someone leaves their purse/bag laying around unattended, you should totally take that as an invitation to open it up. In fact, once you do, go to town! Go through that person's wallet, pictures, cell phone…everything! Oh, and be sure to confront that person with what you’ve found immediately. Because it's not like they can have you arrested for that. 

Also, I learned how to be a badass, because I stayed inside a building just minutes before it was about to be demolished. (And to think, I always thought Nancy was a goody two shoes!)

#6 Secret of the Scarlet Hand
Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand taught me that if you hate your job then you should totally pass the time by drawing slanderous cartoons of your boss and coworkers all day long. Oh, and be sure to leave those drawings in your desk when you quit the job; someone will probably get a kick out of them later. You’d sure as hell better hope your old boss doesn’t find them though… in fact, to be safe, you’d best never add that boss as a reference to your resume in the future.

In addition, this game taught me a lot about Mayan civilization. (No sarcasm here.) 

#7 Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake taught me that it’s a swell idea for a young woman to venture out into the woods late at night all alone. Also, I learned that when you're in the country you need to be extremely careful before drinking water from a well; your neighbors just might be plotting to poison you, especially if you are about to publicly expose them for all of their wrongdoings and hinder their local reputation.   

#8 The Haunted Carousel
Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel taught me once again that breaking into someone’s personal property is by far the most appropriate way to get some dirt on them. Also, I learned that frequent procrastination is a very good way to lose your job.  (Or get super rich, if you do what master Eliot did.) Uh. Is it bad that I liked his character?

 #9 Danger on Deception Island
Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island taught me that trespassing on someone’s personal property is perfectly okay. (So long as you don’t get caught, of course.) Also, I learned that orcas can be great weapons for taking out a villain. Oh, oh, and I learned what a royal flush is, too! (No sarcasm there.)

Side-note: Awesome game! By far one of the best.

#10 The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Nancy Drew: The Secret of Shadow Ranch taught me that if you put so much as one teaspoon less of an ingredient into a cake than is written on the recipe, then the whole thing is going to taste like absolute shit. So you make sure you follow all cake recipes exactly as they are written, people. No freestylin'. Also, I learned that cowboys named Shorty are NOT to be trusted.

Side-note: This was my favorite ND game of all time. I don’t think Her Interactive will ever be able to do better, unfortunately.

#11 Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor taught me that it’s not at all heartless to take someone’s family heirloom (say…a cricket ball) and cast it into oblivion without a care as to whether or not the family will mind. Also, I learned that 12-year-old little British girls can be creepy as hell. Jane, you will forever be in my worst nightmares. Not really, but this girl could seriously star in a horror film...if she existed.

#12 The Secret of the Old Clock
Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock taught me how to use a HAM radio (Sort of...not really). But most importantly, it taught me that no one was skeptical of a man advertising “psychic lessons” in the 1930s. At all.  Uh...yeah, honestly, Nancy, I think you should have looked into that one. He only seemed to give these "lessons" to women, after all...

Wait, wait. These games are made for people ages 10 and up. Never mind.

You know, sometimes I think that's a real shame. It would be refreshing to hear Nancy say "Holy shit!" when something freaky happens and "Son of a bitch!" whenever something goes wrong. But alas, Her Interactive has chosen to keep the games appropriate for all age groups. 

#13 Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon
Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon taught me that jumping back and forth from car to car on a moving train is a piece of cake. In fact, I’m definitely going to try that at home as soon as I get the opportunity. Also, I learned that some cops are total bullshitters, and did not do even half the heroic things they claim to have done.

As you can see thus far, Nancy Drew games have certainly taught me a lot. There are other things not mentioned here (obviously), but I just wanted to hit the highlights of each game. Next post I will be covering games 14-26. So have a lovely day, and know that despite all my sarcastic remarks, I really do think these games are the shit. 

If you are a girl between the ages of ten and sixteen (or if you are just plain dorky) then you should definitely check one out. I recommend starting with The Secret of Shadow Ranch.