Thursday, August 25, 2011

BEDA Day 25: My Reading Life as a Math Problem

The relationship between my reading life and my social life is similar to an inverse function in math; as one variable increases, the other decreases.
When I was in gradeschool, I read all the time, often several books a week. However, when I hit high school, I stopped reading almost entirely. And now I am trying to start reading again. How is this trend related to my social life, you ask? Allow me to explain.
Take for example my reading habits as a young, elementary-school child: I read. A lot. When I was in third grade I discovered the Nancy Drew Mystery novels; it soon became my goal to read one a day (a task which I-- for the most part-- completed). After Nancy Drew, I sought out other novels to satiate my desire for a short, controlled thrill (nothing too crazy, please), and thusly found other mystery series. Though the Hardy Boys didn’t do it for me, I gleefully devoured series such as the hilarious Chet Gecko mysteries, Encyclopedia Brown brain teasers, and the ever-impressive Freddie the Detective chapter books. We are talking 200 to 300 pages of ego-boosting, vocabulary-enhancing mystery.
While I practically ate my way through the books in the school library, bookstores, and gifts from kindly relatives, I didn’t realise that I was compensating for something. An old diary of mine from the sixth grade recently resurfaced, which lent a certain insight to this very topic. In one entry, I remarked on how very unfortunate it was that some people did not know the joys of reading.
“When I am sad,” I enthused, “I can just open a book and read about someone else’s life. Maybe theirs is worse than mine, which makes me feel better. Or maybe it is more exciting, but I get so caught up in the adventure that I have no room to be sad.”
I can only imagine that I fancifully wrote this diary entry (with a quill pen and ink, as I recall), because I was trying to convince myself that my life wasn’t so bad, something of which I was not at all convinced at the time.
In elementary school I busied myself with reading for three reasons. The first was that I had few friends. From kindergarten to about second grade, everyone gets along with everyone. But eventually cliques form, and I found myself eschewed from every group that developed from the vile gunk known as “pre-teen drama.”
The second reason was that I didn’t particularly like my classmates anyway. With a few exceptions, I found most of them repulsive, willfully ignorant, mean-spirited, and dull. Which perhaps explains why I did not fit into any of the cliques. At the time I felt desolate and lonely, though I can see clearly a very few years later that it was a godsend to be outcast in those dark years.
The third and final reason I read all throughout gradeschool was because my schoolwork did not present me with a challenge. In English and Literature classes I always seemed to be twenty steps ahead of everyone else (most probably as a result of being well-read). The science classes at my grade school were a joke, and the Spanish department got new teachers every year, so we did the same coursework year after year. The only classes I really had to try in were my math classes. So while I wasn’t doing my math homework, I read. I am ashamed to admit that if I found my other assignments to be asinine or demeaning, I would blow them off in favor of reading.
So, as an elementary school kid, I was bored with school, didn’t quite fit in with my classmates, nor did I want to, and therefore I read. Reading took me away from the sadness I felt by not fitting in, even when I knew in my head that I didn’t want to be like them. Reading gave me a sense of intellectuality that I couldn’t find in my school work. As my social life was lacking in those years, my reading life was flourishing. 

As the social life decreases, the reading life increases.
Enter high school.
If gradeschool was too easy and too cliquey, high school was everything but. My high school was Heaven disguised as a private, all-girls Catholic high school in Kansas City, Missouri. Subtract the boys and the cliques cancel out; you are left with girls who get along with one another! Add some actual classwork and you get students who care about their academics and have a future. After my first month, I knew it was love. “This, I thought, “is what I have been missing.”
I made friends, I enjoyed my classes. I stopped being so shy, so quiet, so reserved. I finally noticed that I have a really loud laugh that can be annoying, but I don’t care because, gosh darn it, I am laughing and I am happy. I learned to stop caring so much about what other people think of me and to know that if I am open someone will want to be my friend. In the midst of the chaos, I forgot to keep reading.
“When I am sad, I can just open a book and read about someone else’s life.”
I didn’t want someone else’s life then, because I was happy with mine. Books had meant an escape to me, and at the time in my life I didn’t feel pressured, trapped, or in any need of an escape. So I didn’t read. In the past four years, I read a shamefully small number of books.
As the social life increases, the reading life decreases.
This past summer I worked thirty hours a week. It was a tiring job. I got done in the evening, and all I wanted to do when I got home each day was eat, shower, and sleep. I didn’t see my friends very often, and I feared growing apart from them. The job I had was not what I wanted to do, and I was unhappy being out of school. Again, I felt trapped. Only this time, it was slightly different.
Rather than not having them, I knew that I could make friends. I knew I already had friends, and that though we were scattering across the country for school, we will always be friends.  I knew that coming to Iowa State was my next step, and that the academics would be challenging. But at the time, I didn’t have these things. I wasn’t hanging out with my friends from high school. I hadn’t made my new friends yet. I wasn’t taking any classes. I felt like I was in limbo.
So I picked up a book and read it. In two days.
As the social life decreases, the reading life increases.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BEDA Day 23: Taking a break

... from writing a paper so that I can write a blog, and then-- when I am done-- read things that other people wrote. 

Hello my dearest blog readers!

I come to you today at a late, though not unreasonable, hour. I have just spent the past several hours working on homework, which is both TERRIFYING and WONDERFUL. It is terrifying because good gravy it is only my second day of classes! It is wonderful because I have missed being in school.

Today I met my Spanish teacher, who is energetic and crazy. She gesticulates wildly, is theatrical, and is all-around a LOVELY person. I think I will enjoy her class immensely, even more so because it is discussion-based. I have grown tired of grammar after 12 years of it.

The other day I was walking down the hall and I heard a guy say the most adorable thing. Someone asked him how he had been recently, and he responded, "Just peachy keen, jelly bean!" Said with the right amount of enthusiasm and sincerity, this line could make any girl fall for a guy, I am absolutely sure of it.*

As for now, I am going to continue my short break and attempt to catch up on the dozens of blogs I have fallen behind on the past few days, and then do some reading assignments. So much reading there is, yes there is.

With keenness,

*No I am not, but we can pretend I am, shall we? We shall. Read on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BEDA Day 22: Hitting the books

... metaphorically speaking, of course. I would never physically abuse a book, they are such wonderful companions, so knowledgeable!

Well hello there, my dearest blog readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I certainly did. I had so much fun on Saturday that I forgot to blog. Sunday was more tame, but it seems that the internet was a bit hung over still, because it wasn't functioning properly. Ah well! Here is a blog for TODAY,  my first day of classes!

I had four classes today, and they were roughly as follows:

10AM- Calculus
There were, to say the least, a LOT of people in this class. I was one of the first there (being the eager beaver I am, and also desirous of a seat in front, which I got). I met a girl who is also in one of my learning communities, which was awesome. As we chatted the room kept filling up. And filling up... and filling up. Until finally there were 192 students packed into one lecture hall. I counted them myself.*

11AM- Chemistry
There were quite a few more people than a LOT. I would estimate closer to HOLY BAJEEZUS, isn't this a fire hazard??**

1PM- Honors
This isn't so much a typical class as it is a "get to know the 15 students in your Honors Program section, while sometimes doing projects, and-- oh yeah, your library class is built in and made a lot shorter so you don't have to remember to start coming halfway through the semester and take agonizingly easy tests, YOU'RE WELCOME" class. Plus, they gave us starbursts. I mean. Come on.

3PM- English
Pretty self-explanatory, really. We read, we write. The section I'm in is with other Honors Students, so I won't have to deal with TOO MANY blithering idiots. And there are about 25-30 of us in a class. I didn't count.***

Now I am sitting in my room writing assignments in my planner for the next few months. And I should probably get started on my assignments due tomorrow or Wednesday. Yes, we already have assignments! In EVERY class so far!

Well, considering that I just started to write a really long-winded rant about a line in the Wizard of Oz, I think that it is time to call the blog quits (just for today!) and go do some homework. 

With business to attend to,

*If "counting" means "writing down the number that the professor casually dropped."

**Which is roughly 450, if the professor can be trusted. Which I think he can. I mean, at the end of class he exploded several balloons in bursts of flame. What's not to trust?

***I did however count that there were 3 Matthews, 2 Christophers, 2 Katelyns, and 2 other boys whose names I cannot remember. I mean JEEZ I've been here for a week and heard a hundred names, I can't remember everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

BEDA Day 19: Tiger

Hello my dearest blog readers!

Do you know what would be really nice? Having a pet tiger. 

If I ever become a very influential and important ambassador for the United States, I shall have a grand estate on foreign soil-- perhaps in India or the Philippines. And although that grand estate will certainly have a most excellent security system (rigged by myself, of course, with my vast knowledge of engineering), it will need something more... tangible... to intimidate lesser criminals who may not understand the sheer idiocy of trying to break into my estate. Enter the tiger.

The tiger will be my pet, my adoring servant. I shall be a fair and just master, but a master all the same. The tiger, whose name will be Elvira Jamere the Feared, will be like to a guard dog. She will live to protect me and my domain, and she shall prowl the grounds of my estate, hunting down those who seek my downfall. After all, every noteworthy person in the world has those who would wish them harm.

Oh but they did not count on Elvira Jamere. 

With fearsomeness,

PS Sometimes I have to indulge myself in these wild fancies. And because it is BEDA, tonight you were dragged into this, for which I apologize most deeply. Have a wonderful night.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BEDA Day 18: New fran

Hello my dearest blog readers! Today I rode the bus ALL BY MYSELF.* It was quite the adventure. We even missed the bus just as it left! My life is going to get exciting, I can tell!

I was a very productive little college girl today. A list of my ACTIVITIES includes:

1. Rereading The Alchemist (summer assignment) and annotating the whole thing.
2. Finding the printing lab and discovering that my allotted paper balance has not be set yet (engineering students get TONS of free paper).
3. Going to lunch with my roommate and a NEW FRIEND, who popped into our room and asked if we had eaten yet (which we hadn't).
4. Riding the BUS to Target to pick up more food (because of COURSE we need more) and a few other things.
5. Being accosted by a NERDFIGHTER in my small group for the welcome weekend. (She saw my VidCon lanyard and asked, "Did you really go to VidCon??")
6. Watching a martial arts demonstration and getting a flier to join the club (yet ANOTHER potential club to add to my ever-growing list)
7. Walking by a dance flash mob.
8. Learning the school fight song and various other chants while the band performed. SUPERB.
9. Laughing my ass off at the motivational speaker, who had me in stitches for about 45 minutes.
10. Discovering that I have the room to myself until after midnight and consequently eating a lot of frosted animal crackers and goldfish.

Man, I do not like lists. But I also do not like writing blogs under the stress of "YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, GO GO GO, WRITE A GOOD FUNNY BLOG!" But really, who writes in those conditions?

With fatigue,

*With my roommate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BEDA Day 17: Please silence all cellphones, pagers, or other noisy devices

Hello my dearest blog readers!

Today was my first full day on campus as a FRESHMAN. It was quite exciting. My roommate moved in, and I met her family, who is LOVELY. I think we are going to get on quite nicely.

I decided to get out of the way for a bit, so I grabbed my schedule of classes and went off on campus. I had a BARREL OF FUN trying to find the buildings that my classes were in without using a map. I located three of them on the first round, which felt successful, though I was starting to get hot and sweaty, and if you have been with me enough, dear blog readers, you will know that I get a wee bit cranky when I get hot and sweaty.

I had just found the building that my Calculus class will be in, and to my delight I discovered that the library is directly across from it. So, being the lured fish that I am, I allowed myself to be ensnared by the mystique of the books.* So I wandered inside and explored the many rooms and crevices. There are so VERY many places to study quietly, I nearly died on the spot. I mean, look at this room. LOOK AT IT.

And in addition to large silent study rooms such as the one depicted above, there are tiny little secret places to almost literally HIDE yourself. As I wandered around I kept thinking to myself, "Man, this would be a great place to hide from someone. Like your roommate, if she were bugging you. Or an assassin." Why I think these thoughts, I do not know.

And for now, my dear readers, I will leave it at that! What an excellent note to end it on.

With sore feet,

*That was truly horrible imagery, and I apologize. Although I shan't delete it. You cannot make me, no you cannot.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BEDA Day 16: Let's go for a walk

Hello my dearest blog readers! Today I come to you from my shiny new DORM ROOM! It is much bigger than I had thought, which is excellent. More room to make dastardly plans, hmmm, yesss...

After my family got me all moved in and left, I was walking on campus. I felt like a big important college type person, and I fancied that nobody around me would know if I were a freshman or not. But then I remembered that freshmen were the only ones moved in so far, so EVERYONE was a freshman. 

As I walked along, that awkward thing happened. You know, the one where you realise that you are taking the same route as someone else, and then it looks like one of you is just following the other. Well, I happened to be behind this girl, so it looked like I was the one who was creepily following her around campus. 

I was not terribly concerned, however; I pride myself on my unassuming demeanor and non-threatening strut.* However, this girl turned several times to look nervously behind her, glancing my way. A bit confused, I slowed my step so that she could get farther ahead of me.

And then! My dear blog readers, do you know what she did? She pulled out her cell phone and pretended to call someone! As if I were threatening! I will admit, at the time I was affronted. I wanted to say to her, "Dear girl, I am a freshman here, as are you. We are both new, and it is not so very strange that both of us happen to be walking toward the STUDENT UNION. You've heard of it, I am sure, it is that place where STUDENTS go places. And as I have already pointed out, we are both of us students. So kindly stop acting like a prat."

But I did not say that. Instead of thought of writing my blog post today, and how I would mention that. Which I have just done. What an accomplishment. 

Later this evening my house is going to play Apples to Apples, so I had better go prepare myself for that. Good day!

With a threatening demeanor,

*That is an absolute lie. I would love to strike fear into the hearts of those who see me, causing all to bow to my will. But such is not my luck. Continue reading.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BEDA Day 15: An engineer, a soccer player, and a pyromaniac all walk into a bookstore

I am once again in a hotel room. This time I know exactly where I am, and it is not in a state with three sets of double letters.* I am in a town just outside of Des Moines, Iowa, and my family of five is en route to my next great adventure.

I am going to miss my family a lot, but we are having fun these last few hours together. We went to a Barnes and Noble to get a bit of light reading. 

When we got back to the hotel we divvied up the books we'd gotten from its bag. We all had to laugh at how predictable each of our purchases was.

My dad got a Science Fiction book, which is ALL he reads.
My mom got a knitting magazine. Have I shown you the socks, hats, and sweater in my suitcase? She made them for me.
I got a book about math.
Emily got a teen romance.**
Katie got a book titled "Warrior Women: 3000 years of Courage and Heroism."

Completely typical.

Until the 'morrow, my dear blog readers!

With literateness,

*The last ones were Mississippi and Tennessee.

**When we were pointing out each other's choices, I said, "And Emily of course got a teen romance." She told me that it was not, in fact a teen romance. "Oh, well what is it then?" She looked at the book and said after a moment, "Well... it's a teen romance."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BEDA Day 14: All revved up with no place to go

Well THAT title is an obscure reference to a song that most people probably won't know.

I spent almost all of my time and energy today on packing all of my stuff. This consisted of three parts:

Part One: Transferring everything I am taking from my room to my living room. This took roughly 10 trips up and down two flights of stairs, since my room is on the third floor of my house.

Part Two: Organizing all my my things once they were down here; folding my laundry, putting my old math notes in my backpack, and loading up my new pencil bag were just a few examples of this.

Part Three: Moving my newly organized things from my living room floor to the trunk of my car. Kristen came to visit me, since this is my last full day at home, and she helped greatly with this process. As she said, "I am very good at tetris." I am very proud of how well we did.

When Kristen and I had loaded about 90% of my things into my car, my friend Anna came over. We had tea that my mom made for us, and then we ate Indian food.

I do not feel like I am leaving. Even after saying goodbye to three of my friends on Friday, and even now after saying goodbye to Kristen and Anna a few hours ago. In my head, this isn't happening. It's not real. It won't be nearly 4 months before I see some of them again.

What IS real is this movie that I am about to watch. Since I saw Sherlock the television series last week, it is appropriate that I watch Sherlock the movie tonight.

With a trunk full of junk,

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BEDA Day 13: The Lost Blog

I forgot to blog yesterday.

Actually, that is a bit of a misstatement. I remembered at about 9:30 that I hadn't written a blog yet, but I chose not to. I was tired because I'd just gotten home from running errands with my mom, and I just wanted to be on skype and go to bed early. I would apologize, but I probably spared you all from a very half-hearted blog about the inane things I bought that day in preparation for university.

About two months ago, I was at Barnes and Noble, presumably to buy books.* While there, I was browsing the section on math (because that is a thing I do), and I saw a book MOSTE WONDERFUL. I was enticed by its description, and drawn in by the short excerpt I read. But I chose not to buy it that day, because it was an expensive hardback and my funds were limited.

As with most books, I figured that I would eventually forget about it and move on. However, two months later, I found myself thinking wistfully back on that day when I did not purchase the book. And then thinking even MORE wistfully on that day when I did not make note of the title or the author. All I remember about the book is that it was in the math section, it had to do with the way that people think, and I WANT IT VERY MUCH, YES I DO.

This evening, in a foolish attempt to find the book, I went with my sisters back to the Barnes and Noble. They abandoned me for the Young Adult section as I meticulously looked at each title in the math section, to no avail.

My plan thwarted, my heart breaking, I decided that I would feel even worse if I left the store with no book in hand. So I again went through the books, this time not searching for my potential literary soul mate, but for another book that could fill the void in my heart.

I settled on one titled "Iconoclast: a neuroscientist reveals how to think differently." To all appearances it is very appealing and engaging, and I will try my best when reading it not to think of my mystery book. After all, it is devastating to one's ego to know that another person in a relationship is comparing you to someone else. Or, as it were, something else. Ahem.

With literariness,

*I feel this is a good guess as to my purpose being there, wouldn't you say?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BEDA Day 11: Oh Baby!

Hello my dearest blog readers! Today I come to you from my dining room table, rather than my room (because of course you all knew that I always blog from my room, why wouldn't you know this?). This is because I was playing Lord of the Rings: ONLINE with Rachel, and I needed a better surface to play on. I have a sad lack of desk in my room. 

It's a pretty quality game, and if you are into the series and like MMORPGs, I recommend it so far. On a related note, my sister made fun of me for saying "MMORPG." I guess it let some of my nerd show? Psh, please. I can't be tamed.*

Today three of my best friends came over on a whim. It is entirely possible that it was the last time I will see them until Christmas break. Hopefully we can arrange some way to hang out this weekend, though. It is sad to say goodbye to people who made such a profound difference in my life the past four years, but it would be so much worse to go without seeing them at all. I'm going to miss them terribly. 

For now, I leave you with this cute baby.**

With raging nerdiness,

*On a whim I did a google search for "can't be tamed nerd parody," hoping that some awesome video would come up that I could link. I only found this.

**GIF found by googling "happy gif of cuteness"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BEDA Day 10: Have a crocodile

Good day, my dearest blog readers!

Today was one of those "wake up after 11" days and not do too much. I played Magic the Gathering again with Kristen and was trounced quite soundly almost every time. We took a short break to make butterbeer, which was quite successful. The whipped topping was much too strong, however, and I made a note on the recipe to fix that for next time.

After Kristen left, I spent some quality time with tumblr, where Adam was responding to a lot of asks. At one point they started to get out of hand, so he asked for pictures of crocodiles. I sent him one, but he never responded to it. And I grew sad. Here is a sad crocodile:

I think tomorrow I will make cookies. This seems like a good idea. Until the 'morrow, my dear blog readers!

With butteriness,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BEDA Day 9: An Abundance of Geekiness

In exactly a week from now, I will be sitting in my new dorm room. All of my stuff will be moved in and put in place, and my parents and sisters will be back home. My roommate won't be there yet, so I will have one night by myself.

As excited as I am about this huge change which is looming ever closer, I just can't bring myself to talk about it right now. It would feel too self-indulgent. Because I KNOW that once I get to school it's going to be IOWA STATE this and IOWA STATE that. So for now, I will spare you.

Instead, let us talk about alcohol. Specifically, butterbeer. Specifically specifically, a non-alcoholic butterbeer recipe that I am going to try. So I guess we AREN'T talking about alcohol after all...

Regardless, today I went to the grocery store and bought all necessary ingredients for BUTTERBEER. And tomorrow I am going to brew the concoction. And then, I am going to DRINK IT!

I also might make butterbeer cupcakes again. These were the the product of my last try.
This next time around (if I actually end up making them), they will be mini cupcakes. Let us all take a moment to collectively say "Awwww!" Mini cupcakes. Aw yeah.

I believe that is all I have to say. I am going to go browse the Magic the Gathering forums and perhaps play a bit of Lord of the Rings Online with Rachel. Have a wonderfully geeky day.

With geekitude,

Monday, August 8, 2011

BEDA Day 8: Magic the Gathering

For my first full day back home in nearly 2 weeks, I was pretty dang productive. And that is AFTER waking up at nearly 11am.

I ran out with my sister and my friend, Kristen, who is also making a valiant attempt at BEDA. Here is a list of Very Important Things I did today:

1. Activated my new bank account which I got for school. Deposited money on said account.

2. Bought a tripod for myself. It is beautiful and fancy and I cannot WAIT to use it.

3. Also bought boots for myself. This is a thing I have wanted for over a year. Boom done.

4. Made an extensive list of everything that I will take with me to university. With the help of my (other) sister.

5. Began learning to play Magic the Gathering with Kristen.

Oh yes, you read that correctly. I am now the proud owner of my own deck of Magic the Gathering. We should play sometime.*

With productivity,

*I'm not joking. We should really play sometime. I still need help figuring it out.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

BEDA Day 7: Home

At 7 this morning, my alarm went off and my family's last day of travel before arriving home began.

Eight long hours later, after listening to several episodes of NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and A Way With Words, we made a pit stop in a town an hour and a half outside of Kansas City. I stepped out of the car to be accosted by a strong gale of wind and a comparatively nippy temperature. Even though I'd been in a bit of a funk for the past few days-- longing for home and to be off the road after 10 days away-- I could not help but smile. It's like my city knew exactly one thing I needed, a change in weather.

I've said this before and I will say it again: I passionately hate summer. I tend to be at my lowest when temperatures are at their highest. Being away from school leaves me feeling empty and useless, like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind.*

Relating to school, I move in nine days from now, and classes start in 14 days. I started texting my roommate today. We've corresponded over facebook of course,  but last night she sent me her number. I figured that since I was doing nothing but sitting in the car, we may as well have a chat.

My thoughts on her so far: she seems very nice, and I think we will get along. I don't particularly like the way she texts, which is in short form and lots of text lingo, but that is because I am, as say, "so literate that I am illiterate."** However, she is being very organized and on top of things when it comes to our room and its furnishings, which is good, because I like organization. Her classes are earlier in the morning than mine (which makes me envious, because I couldn't fit any early classes in my schedule), and will necessarily be rising early and going to bed early. But she says that she can sleep when other people are working in the room.

Not that that would have been a problem anyway, I am sure. I mean, I stay up really late working on homework or on skype most nights. But I figure that I will be living in the library or our housing "den." The den is a mundane word for the common room. But the POINT is that I don't think my dorm room will be a place that I spend a ton of time.

For now, my dearest blog readers, I will leave you to catch up on the rest of YOUR blogs. Now that I am finally home, I am taking the rest of today off so that tomorrow I might begin my final preparations before school.

With no more homesickliness,

*That is the first time those lyrics have even come CLOSE to making sense to me. And they are still stupid.

**I have never said that before in my life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

BEDA Day 6: On the Road Again

Hello my dearest blog readers! I come to you from another hotel. This one is actually in Tennessee.*

Today while I was sitting in the car, Luke introduced me to a game that he made up. The rules are that you add "Liz" to a word in each text we send. That game resulted in this twitter thread:

We find this to be hilarious. I hope you do, too.

Other things that happened today: Not much. I got my camera back and proceeded to film some stuff on the road. Later, when I am home, I will probably compile that into a video of sorts for your brain.

On Monday I will begin preparations to leave for school. I still have some shopping around to do, and some last minute things to find. I'm racking my brain trying to remember where I put my calculator. All these things must be done before I leave in less than 2 weeks.

I think I will leave today's blog at that.

With many miles to traverse,

*I thought the last hotel we stayed in was in Tennessee. But it was in Mississippi.

Friday, August 5, 2011

BEDA Day 5: #nopants

Yesterday, as I sought a topic to discuss, several of my friends suggested that I talk about our collab channel on YouTube. "But guyysssss," I intoned whine-ily (as much over Skype as I could manage). "Most people who read my blog already KNOW about it. And it's just us who cares about what we make. We make it for each other, blah blah blah." Something to that effect, anyway.

But I think that when I eventually did post my blog, several of them were disappointed to see that it was not, in fact, about our beloved channel. Or, perhaps more accurately, they were disappointed not to see something about themselves on my [infamous] blog. Ahem.

So today's blog will be entirely dedicated to the members of HashtagNoPants, the up-and-coming YouTube channel run by 8 of the bestest internet friends (with occasional appearances from other internet friends who are also bestest and whatnot).

In February (the 23rd, to be exact), one Luke Merren was in YourPants, the nerdy social networking site. As he browsed the forums, he saw newly-made Nerdfighting friends talking about making collaborative YouTube channels (more commonly called "collabs").

As a bearded man (all bearded men have secret wisdom), he thought it would be an excellent idea to start a collab of his own. He already had the friends to work with, it was just a matter of asking who was interested. And where do you go for such inquiries as this? Twitter.

Twitter quickly informed him that the pizza-loving, herp-derping Celerine Dijon (or Celine, for short) was VERY much interested in this project. Soon afterward, Maria-- who has exceptional taste in music-- joined in the collab conga line.

But what are three people when there is so much room for love and friendship under one YouTube domain? No, three would not do. After much wrangling and many an @reply on Twitter, Amelia the Lamb, Paige Barrowman, Angela (who is not always a microphone), and myself had joined in the collaborative ruckus.

The following night we arranged a Skype meeting, in order to set some rules and guidelines for the newly founded "hashtagnopants." And also to fight for who got to upload on what day. If you have been paying attention and are proficient in the mathematical art of addition, then you will notice that there were 7 people in this group. This meant that there would be one video each day of the week, an arrangement with which some people were... hesitant. That is a lot of videos.

I do not know whether it was by chance or design, but Nick Bihm, the doctor and penguin-love-enabler, logged onto skype that night. As Luke was heretofore the only male species in the group, Bihm's shy request to join was eagerly accepted, and he became the 8th and last member of Hashtagnopants.

After much yelling and arguing and figuring and refiguring, it was ultimately decided that we would make videos on a biweekly schedule. This afforded all of us twice as much time to work on videos (which would, in theory, mean that they would be more quality), and it also gave an excuse to use the word "fortnight."

As it stands, the cycle works like this:

The last Friday of a cycle has been reserved as a "Challenge Friday." Challenges are set by each of the members of the channel, who are known as Wardrobe Masters. The first challenge was set by Celine (Alpha Monday). The second was set by Luke (Alpha Tuesday), etc.

On Casual Fridays, anybody can post anything they like. It is a free-form day for us to use in whatever way we please. A certain Nicholas Bihmerson and I had planned and scripted a video to post on a Casual Friday MONTHS ago. It is a very good video, and some day I hope to see it. Nick, this is not the only thing you are allowed to comment on in my comment box. You've been warned.

As far as collabs go, I think hashtagnopants is highly successful. I've heard rumors from the other Wardrobe Masters that our subscriber count has gone over 100 now, but I honestly could not care less. When I make a video to post on this channel, I think of 7 people.

... plus Rachel, Nikki, Liz, Whimsy, Dustin... okay, so I think of more than 7 people. But the point it that I think of my friends. I make my videos for them. This channel is not to jump on the collab bandwagon, it's to make videos for and with each other. Because that is what big old YouTube nerds do.

With love,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

BEDA Day 4: Stability?

Today's blog will be short and perhaps a little bit annoying. I am finding it hard to think of something to talk about. This is partially because the television is on, and I am TERRIBLE at doing anything when something is playing. But it is also because I feel stuck.

As you know, I am in Florida at the moment (here is a video I posted yesterday with some of my beach shenanigans). But really, all I want is to be home. In a mere 12 days, I'll be moving to Iowa for the beginning of the school year. I've never lived anywhere besides the house we currently occupy and call home. And I am going to miss it. I'm going to miss my family, and my cat. I'm going to miss my bed, and my privacy.

What I really want right now is to be home, while it is still my home. At the moment I feel like I am in limbo, and I need some sort of stability right before I make a huge leap into the next huge part of my life. The beach is not stable. There are too many waves, I can't stand up in them. Plus, there was totally a dead bird among the seaweed while I was swimming today, and I just don't want to deal with that level of emotional trauma.

With homesickliness,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BEDA Day 3: A Story

Hello my dearest blog readers! I am blown to pieces and bits of fluff by your kind (and numerous, my gosh!) response to my half-hearted blog post yesterday. To you I respond: Thank you! But I can be so much weirder. Here is a link to an INCREDIBLY WEIRD questionnaire I did on facebook a year ago. Add me if we aren't already friends (but only if you comment! Otherwise I won't recognize your name).

In today's blog post, I am going to tell you a story. As some of you may remember, last year at the beginning of BEDA I was in Minnesota. Many of you may recall that my posts there were centered on the shenanigans my family got up to. Well, the exact same thing is going to happen today. Please prepare yourself for a story.

Two nights ago my family stayed in a hotel in Mississippi (which I thought was Tennessee until the next morning). My parents had one room, and my sisters and myself had another one down the hall. The three of us were walking to my parents room when we saw a hotel staff person exit my parents' room. When he saw us he laughed and said, "We were just talking about you!" My sisters and I nervously giggled and averted our eyes.

When we knocked on our parents' door, my dad opened it, saw us, and laughed. Then he began to tell us this story:

"Earlier I was expecting you girls to show up at the door, so when I heard a knock I walked over and said in a deep demonic voice, 'Who is it?' Your mom said, in shock, 'Honey... I think that is the manager...' So I opened the door, and this poor guy was standing there with a terrified look on his face. I started laughing and explained that I had been expecting my daughters, not him. Apparently he had never felt that threatened before."

I imagine that the manager, after being scared by my dad, was expecting three LITTLE girls. So when three teenaged ones walked up... well, he just learned sooner than most people that my family is weird.

With a video to make,*

*A video for the collab channel I'm in, for those of you in the dark. It's me and 7 of some of my bestest internet friends. We think we are quality, but if you don't, we won't be offended. The videos are for ourselves and our other friends who aren't part of the channel.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BEDA Day 2: Questionnaire

What’s your name? 
I go by a lot of names. It seems that every person who meets me comes up with a new name for me. They include:
Margaret, my given name. It is the name that appears on my birth certificate. It is official and whatnot.
Maggie: my given nickname. It is the only name I went by for many many years of my life. 
Mags: a name that, for many years, I only let my family call me.
Marge: I hated this name passionately, but now I like it.
Magatha: At least 3 of my friends have independently of each other come up with this nickname. 
Margo: A little troll named Luke came up with this name for me. Apparently my own name was not good enough for him, and so he had to replace it with this, and then proceed to get all of my internet friends to call me Margo, as well.

That's enough for now. 

How old are you?
At the moment I am 18, but next month I'll turn 19. I know, I am such a big girl. 

How long have you been blogging? (Or is this your first try?)
I have been blogging since last August, so for a year. Although I was not very consistent during this past year at updating. No excuses, I just wasn't. 

How did you come up with your blog’s name?
It was my youtube username, which I came up with in a moment of woeful lack of creativity. I am not very fond of it. 

What’s your Hogwarts House?
I am a Ravenclaw! But I am also a Hufflepuff. I am about 50/50.

What do you like to read?
Uhhhhhhhh, books? Sometimes. And math problems. Those are delicious. Also, my friends' blogs. And twitter. Just things. I like reading.

What do you like to watch?
Paint drying.

What’s the best song you listened to today?
You are lucky that I even listened to music today. I sometimes go days without listening to music. But today the best song I listened to was probably... Addicted to Love by Florence and the Machine.

Have you done anything really fun recently?
WELL SINCE YOU ASKED! I went to VidCon this past weekend! It was amazing, I loved seeing those of my internet friends that I got to see. They are amazing and I miss them greatly. 

In addition to BEDA, are you doing any other awesome things in August?
Yes! I am moving to Iowa for the next 9 months. On the 16th I move into my dorm room and start a grand adventure of learning and such like. 

Anything else you’d like to add?
Only that I apologize for this shoddy blog. I arrived at Florida late this afternoon and spent some time at the beach. I plan on taking it easy the rest of the evening, which is why there was little effort put into this blog. I PROMISE that the rest of my blog will be QUALITY and INTERESTING and BETTER THAN THIS. 

With questionostiy,

Monday, August 1, 2011

BEDA Day 1: The VidCon Recount

At the moment, I am sitting in my dad’s minivan on some highway in Missouri. Or perhaps it is Arkansas now… I’m not entirely sure.

At 6:30 this morning, my mom called up to my room and woke me up so I could pile into this vehicle with my family and spend 12 hours driving. We are on the 5th hour right now, so there is quite a long time left to go. I figured, though, that talking about VidCon would take a long time, and am thus getting an early start. If you will kindly continue reading, you will discover whether or not I was able to collect my thoughts in a coherent and interesting manner.

VidCon: The week before

Before VidCon, Celine came to stay a week at my house. All weekend we kept it a secret, nearly dying when we wanted to share our hysterical exploits on Twitter, and on Sunday night we posted this video. It was strange to have Celine at my house all week, only in that it wasn’t strange at all. If that makes sense. She was really the first internet friend that I had met in person, and it calmed the nerves I’d had that it would be awkward or bad or that my friends wouldn’t like me as much in real life.

VidCon: En Route

On Thursday afternoon, Celine and I finished packing and then blasted music and danced, because I needed to work off some of my antsy energy. Waiting was agonizing, because I knew that there were just a few mere hours between me and some of my best friends.

At 1 in the afternoon, my dad came home to take us to the airport. We got there and snuck through security without hazard, but our flight had been delayed by 40 minutes. So we sat and listened to Celine’s iPod: Ministry of Magic, Starship soundtrack, etc. When we eventually boarded the plane and ascended however many dizzying feet into the air, Celine pulled out her laptop and we watched Anastasia. For the next couple hours I had one line from Rasputin’s song stuck in my head, and at random times I’d burst out singing, “In the dark of the night, the creatures will find you! Ooh-waa-ooh!”

When we landed at LAX, we walked toward baggage claim, which was where the shuttle we were taking also claimed to be (see what I did there?)* Soon we boarded the shuttle, which already had three other adolescents. I entertained the idea that they were VidCon people, but decided not to ask. Within minutes, however, it was completely obvious that they, too, were VidCon bound. They dropped tumblr and twitter terms like it was nobody’s business. They even talked about Vondell Swain. Definitely nerdfighters.

At one point, the conversation in the general shuttle called for everyone to turn and look at something, and as I turned back, I was shocked to see that not only had these people been talking ABOUT Vondell Swain, they were talking TO him. I turned forward again and smiled to myself. So this is what going to an internet conference is, eh? You ride on a shuttle with people who make t-shirts and postcards for notable names in nerdfighteria, and thusly become notable themselves. But then I kind of made an idiot of myself by trying to crack a joke about a smurf, and he just didn’t think it was funny.**

Upon arrival at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Celine and I beelined for the check-in desk (and by beelined, I mean looked around very confused trying to figure out which desk was the FRONT one).

As soon as we checked in and got on the elevator, Hank Green rushed on behind us. He turned to us and the few other people and uttered a deliciously awkward “Hey guysss…” accompanied by a sheepish smile. A moment later, Dave Days walked on, and Hank said, “Oh! I’d just been looking for you!” We went up a couple of floors, they chatted, exited, and were replaced by Dan Brown. I felt like I was in some sort of weird joke. I texted Luke to tell him, and he thought I WAS joking. But I wasn’t. This was all very real. I was at VidCon. After months and months of anticipation, I was finally, actually, physically, and excitedly there.

VidCon: Thursday night

It was a long time before I saw any of my friends, much too long. They had arrived a lot earlier than me and Celine, and had gone to the Contour show at a library. But we did see Diana, who scared the bejeezus out of me by sneaking up on us and glomping Celine, which nearly barreled her into me as I was focused on sending a text.

For the next few hours, Celine and I hung out by the pool talking while being mad at the others for going to the Contour and getting stuck there without a bus to take back. But we finally met up with them in the lobby. I cannot say how elated I was to finally see them. After months of being friends with someone, a hug is so long overdue.

There is absolutely no way for me to write down everything that happened this past weekend, nor for me to express how great it was to just BE with these people. I wasn’t at VidCon to follow around my favorite youtubers, to get pictures, or ask for autographs. I was there to be with some of the best friends a silly undeserving girl could ask for, and to experience it all with them. Experience ALL the things.

Love you: those at VidCon, those at noCdiV, and everyone in between.
Maggie <3

*I should just learn to let a joke be.

**The seeming irrelevance of this joke is played up to make myself look like more of an idiot, but also to spare you the time of reading the entire explanation. I promise, it wasn’t terribly irrelevant or weird.