Saturday, June 5, 2010

red solo cup rebellion


okay. it was pretty glam at first. i felt old and cool and wild and uninhibited. but it's gotten kind of...boring. there's no variation to the routine. i know we're meant for more than this. it's just another red cup party.

so i'm for bed. i've got a trial run through for prom hair and makeup tomorrow and i would hate to sleep through my opportunity to blow like $8o on superficial adornment.

[pictures. top: screenshot of Asher Roth's "I Love College." bottom: courtesy of photobucket.]
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Friday, June 4, 2010

same old, same old

"Unique" by Larson

Theres nothing I can say that hasnt been said before.
So why should I bother to say anything anymore.
And what point would there be for me to talk.
I've tread only roads that others have walked.
I've grown so much and thought so many thoughts.
Though they are profound, there's a website thats not.
I've laughed at my own jokes that I knew were so clever.
Turns out they were in a movie thats been out forever.
I made up my own song once. I thought it was great.
Then I turned on the radio and I guess I was too late.
I cant even be miserable without getting in line.
Everyone's got reasons and they're all better than mine.
In a world filled with people that feel so alone,
why cant I have a thought of my own.
I know what you you're thinking its been done before.
So I'll present you my ass and show you the door.


It's probably wrong to relate to such obvious rhyming and such a...simplistic poem, but I can't afford to be snobby.

Maybe our difference comes in that we're aware of it? A girl can hope.

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this again

[fine print: When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.]

it's 4 AM and i just can't let go of it. shouldn't a zebra be striking? but they all just blend together...
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Sometimes in the hallway at school, I find myself counting sheep to stay awake. 1, 2, 3 girls with identical side ponytails and JanSport backpacks. 3, 5, 7, 10 boys in letter jackets with their last names embroidered over the heart. In case they forget how to spell their names. Or if the homicide investigators need to identify the body. There are the reasonably popular girls with no guy friends—trendy but conservative tops and jean shorts—6, 7, 8 of them. No one really sticks out and grabs my attention. If I knew all the gossip, I’d probably be busy drawing invisible relationship maps and chains and timelines, but as it is, they’re faceless to me.

Maybe that’s just how high school is. Hand everyone the same homework and expect the “right” answer. Expect them to adhere to a down-to-the-minute class schedule with military precision. Until the bell rings you will listen to this lecture and takes notes as though your very life is dependent on the Defenestration of Prague but the second the bell sounds you will get the hell out and forget all about it in favor of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Make them wait in line for food and the pencil sharpener. Have them meet Presidential Fitness standards in PE. After a while, the conformity becomes natural. Like prison. They just become another jumpsuit.

We all move through class and halls and conversations on auto-pilot. It’s terribly clichéd of me, but we’re all sleepwalking through our world. My days are lethargic and full of dazedness and apathetic teachers. In most classes, I play that game where I slowwwly drift asleep and my head slowwwly droops until snap! My neck jerks and I wake up and repeat the process.

So at night I stay up and feel powerful and innovative and full of raw ability if only I could reach and scratch my itch, get out there in the world and do something and ease my yearning. I can’t sleep so I stay up and doze erratically while my mind churns and plugs away. And I can blame my continued captivity on my intellectual restrictions. Once college comes around I’ll need a new excuse, like everyone else.

But for now, I’m full of sleeping potential.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Swans Mate for Life [it's all a lie!!]


Today I walked in during a free and a junior I know by sight was sobbing her poor little eyes out in the bathroom. She was one of those girls that wore so much mascara it looked ridiculous with her blonde hair. I’ve never seen the point in makeup that heavy for a day-to-day basis. What better way to prove you’re insecure than advertise that you cake on make up?

Now, she had raccoon eyes and black streaks down her cheeks. She heard me come in and defiantly wiped her cheeks and met my eyes. I hesitated, thinking about Luna. But I decided to be like Tucker and do what I wanted, despite what she’d say.

“Ashley…you alright? You want me to take you to the nurse?”

She glared at me and wet a paper towel. “Get out, Jane. I don’t need your pity or whatever.”

“It’s Jenny.” Woah. I’m never that assertive. I guess it helped that she was the vulnerable one here. And I knew she knew my name.

“Whatever.” She dabbed under her eyes. It wasn’t helping much.

“Seriously,” I said. “I won’t tell anyone.” I rummaged through my bag and pulled out a little tin of Vaseline lip therapy. “Here. If you rub it in than wipe it off, it’ll remove the makeup.”

She looked at it for a minute then snatched it out of my hand. Guess she cared about appearances, too. She rubbed it in and then wiped with the towel. She inspected her cheek and looked at me, surprised. “Woah,” she said.

“Yeah,” I replied, smiling. “It’s a good trick.”

“I should’ve known this would happen,” she muttered.

“What?” I asked, startled.

“My boyfriend. He…last weekend…ick. He hooked up with one of my friends.”

“James,” I said. “You’re dating James, right?”

“Yeah. Huge mistake.” She smiled bitterly. “Apparently, it’s been going on for a while. That’s what I get for trusting that jerk.”

“Um, if it’s any comfort, you’re prettier than he deserves.”

She blinked. “Wow. I don’t think I’ve heard another girl my age say that and mean it. Thanks.”

I shrugged.

“Why can’t people be like swans?” she asked.

“What?” I said. For once, I wasn’t the one leading with the non-sequiturs.

“Swans,” she said. “They bond for life.”

“Actually, they don’t. They’re unfaithful like every other species ever, basically.”

She looked at the ground again. “How do you know?”

“Some scientists gave paternity tests to the children of a bunch of animals. Something crazy like 50% of fathers were raising kids that weren’t theirs. I’ll message you the Times article.”

“Well, shit. I guess I’ll never find a good guy.” She smiled sadly. She was smiling a lot, even though she was clearly upset. And she was being pretty cool about my nerdy word vomit. I liked her.

“There’s still hope. There’s some kind of worm that like fuses their body together. They never cheat.”

“So…what? I find a guy and become a level 5 clinger? Or put him on a leash?”

“Screw that. Find one that wants you so bad he wouldn’t mind fusing to your hip.”

“Then he’s clingy! I don’t want that.” She giggled. “I have a friend whose bf gave her his Facebook password the first week they were together. They’re disgustingly cute. But it’s not my style.”

I shrugged and smiled again. “Then find one from like the 50% who don’t cheat. Not one like James, a nice one.”

“Like your boy Tucker?” she said, smiling slyly.

I blushed and looked at the ground and couldn’t get the words out to say we were just friends.

She laughed. “Nah, it’s cool. Congrats on prom, though. Luna must be pissed.”

We walked out together.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010



certain things catch and hold the eye. certain things have a glamor all their own.

photos (from top to bottom): The Great Gatsby's Robert Redford and Mia Farrow; Cyd Charisse; Katharine Mcphee.
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Inept or...ept?

After a weekend like that, it's sort of...reassuring to go back to school. There, consistency can be depended on.

And it's nice to feel less helpless. In class, all I need to do is answer questions capably and better than my peers, and I am a god among insects, as they say. On the weekends, dealing with the messy tangles of Luna and Tucker and a thousand other things, I am not so capable, not so proficient. I like feeling strong and skilled and in charge of my own path.

Picture from here.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brown-Eyed Girl v. Blue Steel


Luna has exquisite taste. Truly. Her own way of dressing may be…eccentric, but she has an eye for fit and line and color. She’s very thorough. I tried on dress after dress after dress. Some of them looked like shapeless sacks on the rack, until they clung to my every curve. And hawk-eyed Luna raked over every inch of me, for rumples or pulls in the fabric, for poorly-stitched seams, for hemlines and necklines and frayed edges.

It was fascinating. She was in her element. The shopgirl would suggest something that would “suit my figure” (read, somehow give my short and skinny the illusion of height and curves), and Luna’s take one look and snap “too skimpy” or “she’ll look like she’s playing dress up” or “the color won’t suit.” She’d be right every time.

We settled on a demure but elegant midnight blue short dress. Luna said it’d make me look sweet and yet edgy. I guess she’d know. But it won’t call undue attention to me, since I’m just a lowly Sophomore and must know my place.

I asked Luna about her gown. It’s floor-length and a deep olive green, to set off her skin tone. It has clean flowing lines and folds and she’ll be wearing gold jewelry and eye shadow. Luna, she has this feel about her. Even when she’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt, when she walks by, your eye looks to her. There’s something that draws your eye in; a vitality or a confidence or a fascination. She plays it up.

I think that fascination is the basis of her friendship with Tucker. No doubt he takes pleasure in understanding her more than anyone else; knowing the deeper thoughts and dreams of someone so off-setting. Tucker likes to understand things.

Luna admitted as much. We were in the handicapped dressing room and the hooks and bench were littered with dresses. I met her eyes in the mirror. I tried to mend things with Tucker, tried to explain why he was weary of how she acted in front of other people. I added to it the things she said and the lines she re-used and the little captivating tricks she seemed to recycle.

“Or maybe,” she said, “he understands me now. I was interesting before he got the trick of me. Now that I’m predictable, he doesn’t need to stay near to have access to me. He can dream it up in that big brain of his, or take little doses when he feels like it.”

“Luna, no one has ever found you predictable. Unless they predict that you’ll do something unpredictable. And that wouldn’t explain his friendship with me. I’m very constant.”

“You’re good. You’re kind and…empathetic. You care. You’re a nurturer. It’s something you see less and less. The only way you can stay that way in a small town like this is by isolating yourself from it.”

“I know that’s not how you want to be viewed, though.”

She shrugged. “Public perception is fluid. Easily manipulated.”

I digested that in silence. The way she said it… “Luna, you’re not…jealous of me, are you? You don’t want to…” I paused, licked my lips, and changed my mind. “Tucker’s right. You do it deliberately. You make yourself seem untouchable and cool and wild. But he’s also wrong. You are all that, actually. But sometimes…you’re like me. You want to be kind, even though you’re ruthless in that little social politics game.”

“That’s ridiculous. And you’re naïve. The world’s not that simple and that didn’t even make sense.”

I shook my head in irritation, trying to grasp a concept just out of reach. “Luna, what are your morals? I mean, do you have a sense of honor? Where do you draw the line? How far can you go in ruining someone’s life before you’ve gone too far? If you see a nice girl crying in the bathroom, do you ever just want to…I don’t know. Help her, comfort her, defend her?”

She was silent. I leaned in, searching her blank eyes. They were deep blue--indisputably blue. But there was something...gray, gray as granite about them, like a layer of steel lay behind that mess of blue-pigmented mess of nerves and mush. Iron hard, and impenetrable past that layer. In that second, her eyes refocused. She blinked, turning her expression down, and somehow her eyes and her expression were closed, hard--like a shield. Like that layer of steel. I saw a muscle on her jaw tighten, and knew that her little moment of sharing was over. I had done something wrong, off, again, and I might suffer for it. Luna's social instincts were flawless. I was sure she could tell when to stop trusting someone. I had overstayed my welcome on insights into her character.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

The Day of Rest


For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.
--Genesis 2:2

…But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.
--Exodus 20:10

The Sunday is one of the worst of my week. It starts off simple enough. I roll out of bed late, scrounge up something to eat, maybe watch TV or surf the internet. It’s 3 PM, and I think to myself, “No, I have plenty of time.” 6, 7, 8, still plenty of time. 9’o’clock hits and the panic sets in.

Homework. I have two papers and a slew of textbooks problems for math and a lab write-up for Chemistry. I have to read 20 pages for World History and take notes, because you know there will be a pop quiz tomorrow. Wait, I missed Friday’s notes. God, 47 pages plus all the vocab. And so on.

At 10, I start bargaining with the clock. Just let me finish my PowerPoint before 11 and I’ll be fine. 12 hits, and I start re-scheduling. I can copy the notes off that quiet guy during my free. I’ll scribble down some answers for math during lunch; he’s only going to check to see that we did it. if I get up at 6, I can do everything else. And past 2 AM, I’m not doing good work anyway. It’s more efficient if I sleep now and work tomorrow. So I rationalize my bedtime away, then realize it’s only 1 AM and I have all my work set out. So I log onto my blog site and write about it.

Then I realize tomorrow’s Memorial Day, and all this worry was for nothing. So now the schedule goes:

Immense relief

Stay up ‘til 3 AM puttering around internet

Rinse and repeat tomorrow night.

Post Script: It is with great regret that I must inform you that the average American student thinks of Monday holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President's Day in terms of the time they get off from school. The exception may be MLK Jr. Day, but I expect when people take equal rights for granted a little more (as they do soldiers, workers, and old dead white statesmen), it will follow suit.

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do I Buy the Boutonniere?


Earlier this Week:

“Go to prom with me.”

I laughed. Tucker stared at me. “Tucker, you’re going with Luna. Luna, your best friend? You asked her in March, for crissakes.”

“Luna and I aren’t going together. So much the better.” He waited. I began to get annoyed.

“That’s it? You simply aren’t going? Does she know this? Is she gonna come claw my eyes out or what?”

“Look, it’s not that big a deal. We had a tiff.”

“A tiff?” I screeched. “So you’re giving me two weeks to find a dress, shoes, hair, makeup?!”

“It’s a little more than two weeks. And, well, you are an underclassman.”

I smiled in that snarky way I learned from my mother. “So I should be grateful.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. It’s just…” He growled and ran his hands through his hair, muttering apologies and curses.

I grabbed his hand. “Tucker, talk to me. What is going on?”

He sighed, angrily. “Luna and I had a fight.”


“She got asked to prom by one of her puppy dogs. And she tried to use it to make me jealous. And I got mad at her, since we’re only going as friends. And she said that since I like you so much better, I should take you. And I screamed fine!, and that I spend so much more time with you because she’s too busy playing at ringleader and playacting for her adoring fans.”

“…Tucker…What. Are. You. Talking. About. Adoring fans?”

“Look, you…Ugh. You don’t know her like I do. She puts on these airs. She constantly has to be witty and mysterious and she puts so much effort in to seeming spontaneous that she wears herself thin. A personality can’t be stretched out like that.”

“Tucker, that’s ridiculous. Luna doesn’t put anything on; she just is.”

He shook his head. “No, you don’t see her like I do. There’s something wrong with her. Everything she does is adopted and calculated for effect.”

“I think maybe you’re just disenchanted. I think she just is that way and you’re trying to impose order on chaos, trying to find some reason for her method or madness. But you’re wrong. Luna, like the universe, tends toward entropy.”

“We’ll have to agree to disagree. Come to prom with me, and we’ll debate it further.”

“So you’ll stick it to Luna by proving her right?”

“No. I’m sick of doing things because of how they look to other people. Come with me because I want you to. It’s only junior prom, but at least this way I’ll remember it fondly.”

I know we all say that we don’t care about appearances, that we shouldn’t. But appearances are social glue. Your standing, your job, your college acceptances; it’s all about how people perceive you. And when you can’t hold that together, when you can’t project the illusion of some conformity, you lose ground. People want to know where you stand.

So Jenny, the lowly sophomore, the girl who can’t seem to color in the lines no matter how she tries, will trot through the prom dog-and-pony show. She’ll carefully slip on an over-sized corsage and stilt-wobble out in a new pair of heels and endure the faux-romance of the “just friends” couple at prom. All because Tucker has unraveled so much that he can’t be worried about appearances.

So my weekend was spent with all three of us ignoring the obvious issues. Keeping up appearances, if you will. Luna offered to go dress shopping with me tomorrow. Peace offering or obvious condescension? Or a pointed "I don't care" statement?

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