I’m Going to Party Like It’s My Birthday…

…because it is!

Today is my golden birthday! (You know–when you turn the age of the date of your birth.) In honor of turning twenty-two on the twenty-second, I am going to list twenty-two of the most random personal facts I could devise. Since blogging is largely narcissistic, and today is my birthday, I consider it an appropriate time to talk about myself.  Old, new, and just plain weird–these facts are representative of my past twenty-two years on planet earth.

  1. My favorite color is blue…
  2. …but black is the color currently dominating my wardrobe.
  3. I once had a horse named Sunday…who was sold before his third birthday.
  4. I went to private school (and was home-schooled) for grades four through half of tenth.
  5. I started public high school as a socially inept tenth grader.
  6. The song playing during my first kiss was Lifehouse’s “Everything.”
  7. My first encounter with British Literature was at age eleven in the sixth grade. (It was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.)
  8. In middle school, my friends and I used pseudonyms while passing notes, so we wouldn’t be discovered if someone intercepted it (ah, the days before text messaging!). In sixth grade, I was known as “Smarty Pants,” and in seventh grade I called myself Angel–Angel Wings. *groan*
  9. I first read (my favorite novel) Jane Eyre when I was thirteen.
  10. My guilty pleasure playlist includes Lady G*g*, Kes*a, and Kat*y Per*y.
  11. I prefer Byronic heroes to boy-next-door types.
  12. In Austen’s Mansfield Park, I really wish the protagonist, Fanny Price, would elope with Henry Crawford.
  13. (Confession of shame) I have been to the midnight premiere of all the Twilight films.
  14. I watch Smallville because I think To*m Well*ng is *sexy*.
  15. I was on a volleyball team in the ninth grade, and a dance team in the tenth grade. I regret both activities deeply.
  16. I didn’t go to my first high school football game until I was a junior in high school. I left at half-time. (It was also, oddly enough, the last game I attended.)
  17. I was secretly in love with a football player for a solid year in high school. He never knew I existed.
  18. During my senior year of high school, I seriously considered majoring in political science and history before I decided on English literature.
  19. I have never seen any of the Star Wars movies, original or re-makes.
  20. The Dark Knight is probably my favorite (non-literary) movie of all time.
  21. While speaking of movies, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Peter Jackson’s King Kong gave me nightmares for days.
  22. And for the most random fact of all–when I get married and decide to have children, I would like to have at least four. If I have a boy, my best friend suggested I name him Dane Austen. I told her I’d think about it.  
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If Spring 2011 is Estella…

…then I’m Pip.

Estella is the one true love of Pip Pirrip, protagonist of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. He focuses his entire life upon her, strives to meet her constant demands, and wills himself to be worthy of her. For much of the novel, this dedication proves futile; Estella prefers to leave Pip dangling, refusing to marry him, but unwilling to let him go. (You’ll have to read the novel yourself to see their ultimate fate.)

I have dreamed for this semester my entire undergraduate career. To have the opportunity to focus solely upon British literature seemed like a dream come true. Or so I thought. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect, and my semester is hardly reaching my great expectations (pun, sadly, intended).

 I recently received feedback on a conference paper that absolutely turned my world upside down; I had polished and polished this paper, and in return, I was told it was hardly worth accepting. One of my British lit classes values only “class participation,” and for an introvert, this is absolutely painful. In another class, in which we focus upon the English discipline within a Christian perspective, I  have developed an uncanny ability to make an absolute ass out of myself every class period. And–I received a significantly lower grade than I expected on an easy assignment in another class.

Of course, this semester is not as bleak as I’m making it out to be. In my other Brit lit class, I join the conversation, without looking like an absolute fool. I recently heard back from a graduate school concerning an interview. And, I have a possible job opportunity for after graduation, beginning in May. My life is hardly destitute of brightness.

And yet–I expected it to be so much more.

I am in good company with Pip. Indeed I am.

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And Now a Message From Mother Nature

Disclaimer: Please take this is in the spirit in which it was written. I actually enjoy Singles’ Awareness Day Valentine’s Day.

Dear Men of the Universe,

I have been very nice to you. You are free from premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy and labor, and menopause. And how do you repay me? By systematically oppressing women. 

So stop it.

You heard me.

Stop it.

You know very well what I’m talking about. The boxes of chocolate, the elaborate flower arrangements, the overstuffed animals/bugs, the poorly written poetry mass-produced by greeting card companies–it needs to end.

I know what you’re thinking. “We’re ruining your planet and the entire animal kingdom and you’re upset about one lousy holiday?” Damn straight I am, Jack. But since I know you only respond to masculine authority, I’ve been speaking with God about an appropriate scheme to convince you to change your ways. He has since referred me to an attorney. You might know him–Luc I. Fer. You’ll be hearing from us presently. 

But Valentine’s Day. This is such a ridiculous piece of nonsense that I am convinced I can handle it myself. I am a feminist, jack-ass. And I’m as pissed as a 6’6 rugby player whose game was ruined by a brown-nosing CPA. (That would be you, genius.)

I don’t condemn love, sex, relationships–they’re all fantastic. When the Lord Almighty decided to pair the human species off into two-by-twos he was onto to something, I grant you.

But when you develop a commercial holiday solely for the purpose of selling useless crap to couples who will be broken up by February 15th that silmuteanously destroys the self-esteem of millions of women, it’s time to say, The ride ends here.

What do I propose you do to stop this ridiculous holiday?

I suggest you cease, desist, and end production– effective immediately. Stop promoting a false holiday in the interests of improving the emotional health of a set of human beings. 

No? You refuse? Money is more important than the emotional health of a few nobodies?

Well. I guess this means I will have to play hardball.

I didn’t want it to come to this. I thought we could all be adults and come to a reasonable conclusion. But since you prefer to cling to your patriarchal oppression, I will retaliate.

I currently have Cupid, the Easter Bunny, the Sand Man, and Santa in custody.  Unless you agree to cancel Valentine’s Day, I will begin shooting these hostages, starting with the fat pervert with the wings in the diaper. If you don’t cooperate, you can explain to your two-year old daughter why her father’s value of monetary success over human beings led to the death of the benevolent Kris Kringle.

You have twenty-four hours.


The Shrew

aka Mother Nature

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Eating Words

“During my last semester at university, I’m really going to take the time to blog.”


It seems I always say this just before a semester gets underway; and then I get slammed with a reading load that would crush a mental weakling flatter than a steam roller could crush an ant. Don’t misunderstand me; it’s been amazing, especially given the fact that I am finally reading what interests me–the great, the noble, the eternal British Literature. But Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones and Charles Dickens’ Bleak House are not exactly known for their slender sizes. But the length and depth of these books are half their charm–I’m honestly not a fan of most modern novels that are, figuratively speaking, the size of the average supermodel.

Granted, I read “chick lit” books occasionally, mostly because after reading the greats, my mind needs a breather. Going from Fielding and Dickens to a chick lit book is sort of like enjoying a candy bar after a huge nutritious meal. The candy bar isn’t substantive, has too many empty calories, and doesn’t edify you–but it “tastes good,” so I read them. The danger of reading sub-standard literature, of course, is that your mind can get fat and lazy with the lack of vigorous reading.

I don’t mean to condemn chick lit or those that read them, of course. Reading is an important activity in our technology-obsessed world, and everyone has their right  to their preference. My only recommendation is to sample every type of book out there, build your taste for a host of different things. Fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction. American, British, multicultural. Feel perfectly free to read the Twilight series, but don’t neglect The Lord of the Rings.

Happy eating! Er….reading, I mean!

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Reading Like the Dickens

One of my resolutions for 2010 was to write down everything I read. Whether it was pleasure reading, school reading, classic literature, or chick lit–it was all to be written down. I am extremely proud to note that I managed to do so, even including the date on which I finished it, and how many books I read a month. My grand total was 73. (My goal for 2011 is to read 80.) Here is the listing for 2010:

  1. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck  (1-7-10)
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1-8-10)
  3. Tracks by Louise Erdrich (1-10-10)
  4. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie (1-15-10)
  5. The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice (1-19-10)
  6. Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets (1-24-10)
  7. The Emperor Jones by Eugene O’Neill (1-28-10)
  8. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum (1-29-10)
  9. The Hairy Ape by Eugene O’Neill (2-2-10)
  10. Anna Christie by Eugene O’Neill (2-6-10)
  11. The Grandissimes by George Washington Cable (2-9-10)
  12. The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill (2-14-10)
  13. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (2-14-10)
  14. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (3-2-10)
  15. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (3-9-10)
  16. Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams (3-9-10)
  17. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner (3-10-10)
  18. The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams (3-11-10)
  19. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (3-14-10)
  20. Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers (3-15-10)
  21. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (3-21-10)
  22. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (3-23-10)
  23. Richard III by William Shakespeare (3-24-10)
  24. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella (3-26-10)
  25. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella (3-28-10)
  26. Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella (3-30-10)
  27. Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella (3-31-10)
  28. The Piano Lesson by August Wilson (3-31-10)
  29. Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella (4-1-10)
  30. Mama Day by Gloria Naylor (4-12-10)
  31. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (4-13-10)
  32. ‘Night, Mother by Marsha Norman (4-15-10)
  33. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (4-17-10)
  34. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (4-24-10)
  35. Leaves of Parchment by Silas House (4-26-10)
  36. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines (5-11-10)
  37. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (5-17-10)
  38. All’s Well That Ends Well by Shakespeare (5-22-10)
  39. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (5-31-10)
  40. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (6-1-10)
  41. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll(6-2-10)
  42. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (6-17-10)
  43. Vanity Fair by W.M. Thackeray (6-22-10)
  44. Queen Victoria: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert (6-29-10)
  45. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (7-5-10)
  46. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (7-6-10)
  47. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (7-22-10)
  48. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (7-27-10)
  49. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (8-2-10)
  50. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (8-12-10)
  51. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles (8-13-10)
  52. The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (8-23-10)
  53. Light in August by William Faulkner (8-29-10)
  54. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (8-31-10)
  55. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (9-7-10)
  56. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (9-11-10)
  57. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (9-20-10)
  58. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare (9-20-10)
  59. The Contrast by Royall Tyler (9-30-10)
  60. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (10-4-10)
  61. White Noise by Don DeLillo (10-6-10)
  62. King Lear by William Shakespeare (10-27-10)
  63. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (11-4-10)
  64. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (11-5-10)
  65. Native Son by Richard Wright (11-14-10)
  66. Generation X by Douglas Coupland (11-15-10)
  67. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (11-22-10)
  68. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (11-23-10)
  69. A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert (12-4-10)
  70. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (12-9-10)
  71. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (12-10-10)
  72. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens (12-24-10)
  73. Black Beauty by Anna Sewall (12-30-10)

A few final stats:

Month in which I read the most: March, 15.

Month in which I read the least: October, 3.

Average number of works per month:6

Number of New Reads (Never read before):55

Number of Books Re-Read: 18

Average number of works per week:  1.4

Here’s to another year of re-reading old favorites, and discovering new treasures.

Edited to Add: I’ve been blogging (off and on) for two years. Happy blogoversary to me!

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Flashback: The Half-Way Point

Although the appropriate type of post to publish at this time period would ideally be a list of New Year’s Revolutions, I have another idea. As I enter my final semester of college, I think it’s better to re-publish a post I wrote last year concerning entering the “real world.” At the time, I was only a junior–now, it really applies. The original post is here.

Time is passing me by; the clock is ticking; the sands are passing through the hour glass.  Whichever way you slant it, the fact remains that I am going to be a college junior this fall. A college junior. I have attended my university for two years, years that have passed me by entirely too quickly, and which I would love to have back again. Some might be surprised and exclaim, “What! Go back and re-live your underclassmen years, with the boring liberal arts classes, and the semi-frightening professors?” And I would be forced to yell in return, “Heck yes!”

Two years into my college career means that I am two years closer to the real world, a frightening, terrifying, horrifying idea. It wouldn’t be so horrifying if I had any assurance that I would actually get a job upon graduation, or even, Heaven help me, I was getting married. I’m probably panicking for nothing; even though I have absolutely no prospects of the latter happening, I will, at least, be able to get a job upon graduating. But I have so many options, and I have no idea how I’ll narrow it down.

I’ve looked into law schools, pursuing my Master’s in English, taking a summer internship in London, and other possibilities. There are so many ways that my life could go after my college graduation; diverse though they are in actual content, they all go in the same direction: up. And quite honestly, I’m looking forward to the ascent.

Despite the fact that excitment is gradually overtaking fear over the next phase of my life, I’m still dreading beginning the search for the perfect job/graduate school. I skipped this feeling entirely when I was in high school, beginning the college application process. Although I applied to a plethora of schools, I never stressed over acceptances, simply because my parents had made it understood that I would be going to my current university, as it was close to home. Finding a job/graduate school is different because it’s a decision that I have to make entirely on my own. My mother cannot make the decision for me; and clearly, finding a job in an economic slump is not going to be as easy as gaining admittance to college (Yes, it was easy for me. I apologize if your college-admittance process was less than ideal).

But I think I’m ready. I think it’s time that I’m challenged, that I step up to the plate, that I actually pursue something in dead earnest. I’ve recently discovered that things that I do not want, I never get; I’ve learned that from a hasty Greek club application and interview last fall, and a half-hearted, half-careless interview for a temporary position this summer. Applying for the Cambridge semester abroad program was entirely different–I worked on the application with everything I had, chasing after professors for recommendations, writing a proposal for the paper I had wanted to write since the first time I read Jane Eyre, and running into the local pharmacy to have a moody, sarcastic passport picture taken. (Seriously, the picture is frightening.) 

While I do have another two years in college before I venture into the big, scary world, I know that when I graduate, I’ll be ready. Whether I attend law school, get my Master’s in English, or take a lowly internship at a publishing company, I know that I’ll belong there. Challenges should bring out the best in an individual, and I am firmly determined that I will rise to the occasion.

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An Open Letter To My “Superiors”

Dear King/Queen of the Universe,

It has become painfully obvious over the course of the semester that you consider yourself superior to everyone around you–especially to me. I realize that my quietness, my introverted nature, and my reluctance to speak in class may have induced you to believe that I am stupid, and incapable of saying “boo” to a goose, but I do assure you, this is not the case. Not only could I say “boo” to a goose (although I cannot say I have ever been in that situation, I feel fairly confident that I could do so), I find myself, on rare frequent occasions wanting to tell you to get the heck off you high horse and join us commoners in the mud of undergraduate discourse.

I understand you are here on full scholarship, and that you feel entitled to flout your intelligence over the entire campus. But may I remind you that you are merely a scholarship student at a small, private university, not a prodigy at Harvard University? You may be a large fish in our pond, but in the real world, you are merely a spoiled, whiny, over-privileged college student who desperately needs a kick in your overly educated derrière to be reminded you are merely mortal, not divine.

I hope you take my advice concerning your humanity to heart. Since it is highly probable that your parents told you that you could do no wrong, and that you are the prince/princess of the world, I would like to correct you. Your parents lied to you. You are not, in fact, perfect, nor are you in any way superior to other human beings. You may be smarter than most, and you certainly exceed the majority of society in your rudeness and inconsideration, but essentially, you are composed of the same $%@&?*! material as the rest of us; you are not, in fact, composed of angels’ breath and fairies’ sighs. You are flesh and blood, fully culpable to murder, disease, and famine.

I understand that the discovery that you are merely human is a shock. I will therefore give you time to fully absorb the contents of this letter before expecting a significant behavioral change. If I observe no change at all, however, I will prove to you, beyond all doubt, that you are fallible to mortal injury. Thank you for your time and attention; I realize, in your eyes, they are commodities more valuable than gold  (Although to me, with all the hot air, it’s similar to escaping to the Caribbean  a hot location located near the center of the earth).

–The Silently Snarky Girl Who Haunts Your Classes

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