Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hannada Reads (Like Canada Reads).

Today in my teenage angst, I've discovered that my favorite thing to write about is books; and pop culture. But mostly books. Its the most prevalent thing in my life and the nature of stories tends to fit with my excitable personality. Furthermore, they foster community built upon shared interest. Which is probably my favorite thing in life.

This year I've titled my end-of-the-year-books-post 'Hannada Reads' because I think I'm hilarious and will never actually be able to blog about Canada reads because I don't read those kinds of books.
Hannada Reads - created on PicMonkey
I read 25 books this year, which seems about right considering the overwhelmption of both my winter and fall semesters. The titles are in bold, linked to their pages on Goodreads. The letters in brackets indicate the type of book - (GN) = Graphic Novel, (AF) = Adult Fiction, (JF) = Juvenile Fiction, (YF) = Youth/Young Adult Fiction, (ANF) = Adult Non-Fiction. I've only given reviews and critiques on the ones that were super groundbreaking and/or I super loved. But as always, I recommend all of them. I know it would be a more well-rounded list if there were books on it that I didn't like, but somehow that doesn't seem to happen to me. So here we go.

Calling Dr. Laura – Nicole Georges (GN)
        While reading this book, I couldn’t leave these characters alone. I continually found myself wishing I could spend time with them. Weeks later, I keep thinking about Franny, her friends, and her world wishing they were a twelve season tv show. This is what I love in a book. Way to go, Lauren. Please do more.
            Never before has there been such a simultaneously compelling and horrifying character. Set in 1930’s railway pioneering America, I kept thinking there was no reason I should enjoy this book so much; but like a piece of cake in front of me, I couldn’t not devour it.
            I hated this book in the very best way. Finalist for The 2008 National Book Award, Tim Tharp tells this story in a very colloquial and subsequently relatable manner. The complexities of Sutter and Aimee’s relationship are maddening, as is Sutter’s inability to grow and change. I felt a little hallow after, but I was better for it.
            Gimme some eat it up world building. I talk a lot about enjoying books like food because my love for each is pretty much equal. Set in a small dystopian world surrounded by an unsolvable Maze, a group of boys work to survive without losing their minds. Put together, these characters are explosive and the nature of the story differentiates it from the onslaught of other dystopian worlds found in YA today. Pure win.
            Mo Jo!!! I love Maureen Johnson. I love her. She’s hilarious, she’s weird, she can dabble into the mystic without batting an eye. For instance, this story’s lead character can see dead people. I, the reader, immediately forgot that wasn’t an actual thing. The thriller aspect of this Mo Jo work was new and entirely welcome. This is part one of the Shades of London Trilogy.
            Part Two of the Shades of London Trilogy. Can I have part three now, please???
Friends With Boys - Faith Erin Hicks (GN)
            I love David Levithan. Everything I see with his name on it gets an automatic stamp; and I like to think that when it comes to YA, my stamp is golden – no, titanium. Levithan tends toward teen romance, but specializes in collaborative authorships like no one else. Not having read anything of Cremer, I had no idea what I was in for. The story starts out centered on the romance, as expected, and then BAM – fantasy. What a perfect surprise. Thank you, David.
            Scott Westerfeld introduces, in this series, another example of perfection in dystopian world building. This governmental power sees our differences in appearance to be at the root of the world’s problems. An equalizing surgery is developed to literally erase the differences between us. Cut to miscreants, cut to insurgents, cut to romance, cut to a superb cliff hanger that left me scrambling for the next book.
            An amazing follow up to Uglies.
            A terrible finish to the trilogy. Whyyyy!?!??!
            I’ve apparently gotten to the age when the people doing amazing things are younger than I am. Veronica Roth was born a year and three months after I was and has accomplished this. I did a pretty cool paint by numbers a few days ago. Divergent is set in post-world-collapse Chicago and centers on a society separated into value-based factions (intelligence, bravery, selflessness, truth-telling, and kindness). There are those, however, who don’t fit into one prescribed faction. Beatrice Prior is one such individual, and like many strong, female characters before her, she ignites a revolution – based on her skill and strength of spirit – and changes the world.   
            Follow up to Divergent. You read it because you have to. And you love it.
            Final book in the trilogy. I was satisfied. I shed some tears – though not as much as some. An eleven year old ruined it for me, so I knew what was coming. If I hadn’t, I’m sure it would have been an ocean of emotion. Yeah I did.
Hokey Pokey – Jerry Spinelli (JF - though should be AF)
           This book was unbelievably beautiful. Prose, at its best. This is not, however, a children's book. The complexity of the language, and the way he nuances every emotion, took all of my adult reading faculties to comprehend. If I was a ten year old reading this, I wouldn't have made it past the first chapter. I love Jerry Spinelli with all my heart and I would consider this book a true success in prosaic literature about children. Perhaps, though, it is not necessarily for children.
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn (AF) My fourth (CHECK IT! FOURTH) adult book this year. I expanding. I am.
           This book was recommended to me by my college roommate; like a year ago. Since then I've watched it circ a hundred and fifty times in and out of the library. Magically it was on the shelf when I was pulling my Christmas reads. I got hooked immediately in the worst way. It was just like when I read The Hunger Games. When I was reading it I wished I wasn't. I kept looking ahead, needing to know what the characters were going to do. When I wasn't reading it, I questioned why. The more I read, the sooner I could finish and know what was going on. It was the perfect book. It was so confusing, but consistently led you to believe you understood. It was suprising, but not in the way that overwhelmed you; rather it drove the story forward. Ultimately, it was so sad and so novel. I was most satisfied with the ending. In line with the rest of the story, it was an unresolved, ethically ambiguous end. Everything about this book was exactly as it should have been. 
Forever – Maggie Stiefvater (YF)
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell (YF)
           I absolutely did not ever anticpate to love a teen love story so much. Don't shoot me, but I think I love Eleanor and Park's relationship even more than I love Gus and Hazel's relationship. The absolute best thing about this book is that it's written in third person. Rainbow!!! How much can I thank you for writing this in third person!?!?!?! The second best thing about this book is that Eleanor and Park develop their relationship organically, over time, and in a unique context. Their histories are complex and well-developed - again, enabled by the third person narrative. I am in love with Rainbow for building such perfect characters and such a perfect story.

So let's read, guys! And let's talk about it. Because reading matters. And books matter. And stories matter. Thats the most important part. Stories matter. The more we understand that stories themselves matter, the more we might come to understand that our stories matter too. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

6 Things You Probably Don't Know About the Library.

Today in my teenage angst, I admit a lot of defeat. My ability to be consistent in writing pieces for this blog is apparently non-existent. This has been a weird and difficult semester. I've been doing this (being school) for a while, but for some reason have never felt quite the academic taxation that this semester has presented. Despite this, I'm doing okay - academically that is. Enough of that, though. I've been planning this post for a while so let's get at it!

6 Things You Probably Don't Know About Public Libraries
In no particular order:
This is my library under construction in 1913 - via
1. The people who work there are not all librarians. 
Do you know what it requires to become a librarian? Do you have any idea the things that librarians are required to know!?!? My friend Jamie is a librarian of the Archivist persuasion and I honestly just cannot fathom the things she knows and how she retains them. My former boss is the assistant head librarian and everytime I think, "I don't know about {insert literally anything}", the thought is followed by, "I should ask Sheila. Sheila will know." A few weeks ago our website disappeared for no particular reason and she built it back and rewrote a lot of the code in two hours. She is so legit. The rest of us, however, know a lot about the library elements of circulation and aquisitions and organization and maybe programming. But we are not librarians. 

2. We do not have a hierarchy of 'Good Literature'. 
In fact! We are more likely to promote literacy, than the literature itself. We have all the classics. Guaranteed. Some of our copies are even really beautiful. But I'm not going to look at you, checking out Fifty Shades, differently than the next person checking out Pride and Prejudice. Reading is reading, yo! That's what matters. 

3. Our collection is built, based on what people read.
In our library, people really like Real Crime, Cookbooks, Self-Help, and Crafts (obviously among others). And that, my friends, is what we buy. My dear friend Walter (blessed 17 year old from Great Britain) raises chickens. My response to learning this fact was, "of course he does." Our collection contains only a handful of books about raisin chickens and Walter complains about this on a weekly basis. Every week, my response is, "who else is going to check them out, Walt? Who else?" No one, that's who. In contrast to this, we own four copies of the autobiography of a local supposed murderer. At least one is always checked out. That's what people read; and that is what we have. 

4. We don't have a silence policy! 
This is good news for your eight month old who has just discovered their vocal cords. But seriously, library spaces today are often much more like library commons. Come! Bring your friends! Sit down! Have a conversation! But don't bring your coffee. We do have a liquids policy. Spoiler alert, I don't follow it. Oops. 

5. We have movies! And magazines! And videogames!
We really do have videogames. For like six different consoles! We do not however buy games above a T rating, so I'm sorry if you're hoping to get to play Black Ops (is that a video game?) for free.
When Block Buster (is that one word? Blockbuster? It's been too long, I can't remember) went out of our town, I wasn't sad at all. The library legitimately has so many movies it's like shopping at a Blockbuster, but free. It's not just movies. We have endless shelves of TV series. Like, I'm not kidding, everything you could want. Ask me a title. I bet we have it. 
And Magazines!!! Who buys these things anyway? Okay, I do. But there's legit no need. We have subscriptions to over one hundred* magazine titles. It is through access to these magazines that I've gotten to know Martha Stewart, gained immeasurable motivation to run through Runner's World, and have been introduced to the world of BUST Magazine. Thank goodness for that. 

6. We don't have everything, but we can get you almost anything. 
Even if it's not in the provincial system, the Library will pay to have it brought in from a library that does have it. I oversaw the lady, who is in charge of this, ordering a book from Missouri. Or Louisana. Somewhere in the deep south. We will legitimately go that far. Other libraries are just like ours, you know? They build their collection on what's popular and what their patrons read. Maybe a library in Nova Scotia has a large readership of chicken raising manuals. Or maybe a library in Quebec has that super early Songs for Jane album (oh man Adam Levine you were so funny when you were little) that you really really need. If we don't have it, but you want it, we will try and get it for you. And let us! That's what we're there for. 

Go to your public library. They are so important. Neil Gaiman wrote a really beautiful and long speech about it. I know that a lot of people just like to buy the books or borrow them from someone who does, but just go anyway. Sit down, read a magazine, and enter into the wondeful and long standing tradition of your local public library. 

* That number is not accurate. I don't know how many we have, but I overheard that number once so that's what I'm going with. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

PLL: Part II (aka The Bests).

Today in my teenage angst, my friend Adriene's tumblr bio states, "I have no guilty pleasures." I find that I really don't either. I act like I do, but really I don't feel guilty or feel any shame for the (seemingly) stupid things I find pleasurable (read, Teen Wolf, Pretty Little Liars, etc). As a result, I unabashedly carry forth my previous post The Five Worst Things of Pretty Little Liars and present to you:

The Five Best Things About Pretty Little Liars
These are in descending order of importance.

Aside from the other favorites described, I can't and won't get over this intro. 
I sing along every episode and maybe (only maybe have actions). Hehehehe.

5. The town of Rosewood is shot on the same set as Gilmore Girls
This maybe should have been put under the worsts because it lures you into a false sense of ease and protection while watching the show. But seriously. That's pretty awesome. Also Rosewood tends to hold that same level of "not on this planet" existential feel that Stars Hollow did (though in an entirely different way, so I approve the set's re-usage. 

4. Troian Bellisario. 
I'd like to complain about the fact that she's 28 and playing a 17 year old, but I can't. Because I think she's amazing. Spencer Hastings - Troian's character, but like that really needs explanation - holds the group's book smarts and academic achievements; as in she's shooting for Penn State. Which is great right? I mean in every group of girls/teens, there's the one with the intellect. But Spencer's character goes beyond this. She's loyal to those she loves (which doesn't always place her family first), but doesn't stand for the lying. AND she's super funny. The more ridiculous the show gets, the funnier Spencer becomes. I like to think that this is because she's getting so tightly wound trying to sort out the interwining issues in her head that she's going crazy - which we've already seen to be at least half true. And like sure, Hanna's funny too, but that's kind of her schtick. Spencer's funny comes without aiming for it; and I think that's a mark of good writing. Below are some of my fave Spencer quotes.
  • [About calling the number from “Vivian”’s pocket]: “Well, it’s probably easier than hiring the fat lady with the tube top at the farmers’ market who’s going to tell you your fortune, but if you’re too scared.
  • “If only we could harness Mona’s sense of entitlement, we could light the eastern seaboard.” 
  • via
3. Toby.
OH man alive, Toby. I just freaking love Toby! First, because who decides that a character's name should be Toby, when you have other character's named Spencer, and Aria, and Holden, and Maya. I guess Sara Sheppard. But whatever. But also because he had the most ridiculous mop of a head of hair in the first season and now he's like...well, he's not losing, in the hair department. And also! because he it is so undetermined if he's bad or good that, as viewers, we can't ever fully love or loathe him. This is akin to Damien Lewis' character, Nicholas Brody on Homeland (Yeah I made the comparison). In that regard, I generally go with however Claire Danes is feeling about the issue. But with Toby, no one ever has any semblence of a clue as to his true motives and the lenghts to which he's willing to go! Someone just tell me! HOW SHOULD I FEEL ABOUT TOBY!?!?! Not to mention the doo-rag episode. At the end of Season 3, we got a glimpse into a conversation that Allison had had with Toby when he was in Juvenile Detention (I am certain that the doo-rag was meant to really bring home the severity of his time in juvie). So what's that history about? Either way, I celebrated in the S4 premiere when he appeared on the screen. Even though that appearance was followed almost immediately by a lie. 
I love how much play this ridiclous doorag got. via
2. Emily's sexuality. 
This is legit one of my favorite things about this show. Emily Fields, played by Shay Mitchell, is gay, which for a teen show is a pretty typical character inclusion. The best part comes in that not only is she gay, but its no big deal. In fact, it was hardly a deal at all. There was the coming out episode, in which, the other girls were like, great! And her Dad was like, I love you! And her mom was like, NO! A few episodes later, everyone had adjusted; and beauty and lies carried on as per the usual - intertwining and damning everyone's lives to destruction and ruin. Easy peasy. Because I feel like we're past the shock value of homosexuality. I'm a firm believer that sexuality is fluid (rather than static). It grows and it changes and maybe you're attracted to an entirely different kind of person than you were yesterday. It's just the way it goes. Thank you, PLL production team, for making this work so well. 
Oh Maya. Playing a teenager forever.
Except, of course for the confusing role you now play on Teen Wolf. Yikes. via
1. The exposition of the nature of emotionally abusive friendships. 
Did anyone read The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood? I remember watching the first season and thinking that Sara Sheppard sure had. The Robber Bride centers on the lives of three women; friends, who despite their vast personal and professional differences are brought together by a shared friendship with an emotionally abusive woman, Zenia. The book outlines each woman's story and explains the nature of her relationship with Zenia and how it has impacted the rest of their lives. After Zenia's (supposed) death, the women seek to understand themselves in the freedom of a life outside of Zenia's influence. 
Translate this story to High Schoolers and I give you, Pretty Little Liars. The thing I love most about this show is that it exposes the way that emotionally abusive relationships form between teenagers - for any number of reasons - and because of their age, lack of life experience, and whatever else, just seem to spin on and on and on. When I talk to the teenagers that I work with every week, I understand that these relationships are everywhere. And that kills me, but I worry that more than that, it's also killing them. The thing I appreciate most about the exposure of these unhealthy relationships is that girls be able to identify the Ali(s), in their own lives and make the necessary changes before its too late. This is a possibly much unidentified and unceasingly helpful aspect for this show's unending teenage viewership. 

Aaannddd there you have it. My relationship with teen oriented media is deep and its real. I'm sorry if you find this tedious and unimportant and would rather I be talking about Game of Thrones, but let's get real guys, I just can't do that. 

Friday, June 7, 2013


Today in my teenage angst, a lot of my life is about justification. I like to do socio-cultural analysis of media; specifically, if you hadn't already guessed, television. This requires a heavy participation in said media. Which is fine, right? Because I'm doing it for the sake of expanding my own awareness, as well as the awareness of those I bore with my media analysis in person and online. While this is my justfication, the reality is that there is no hardship involved. I love it; just so damn much. JUST SO MUCH GUYS! I started watching Teen Wolf a few days ago and I am eating it for breakfast. So please don't assume there is any sort of shame involved in how into this I am, because there can be no shame in this level of social awareness.

SO, in light of the upcoming premiere of Season 4, (WHICH! Is defs on my birthday. Go me.) I give you:

The 5 Best and Worst Things About Pretty Little Liars! 
(in no particular order)(also, we're only covering the worsts today)
This poster is amazing. I only sort of  really want it. via
1. Ian Harding. (I know, as if right?)
Okay, so I hadn't heard of Ian Harding until I started watching this show, but I fell in love with him in the first episode. I'm willing to admit that it's the teeth. Good glory those teeth.  It's also the ties tho. He wears those skinny ties that I love so much, almost every episode. Is it any wonder that every second he's not on screen, I miss him?
Guuhhh, the stroke of the head.... via
The problem with Ian Harding - or rather his character, Ezra Fitz - is that the portrayal of his relationship with sixteen (now seventeen) year old Aria is so endearing that it seems to make its illegality okay. I can't remember a show that has portrayed this kind of relationship in such a positive light and I just kind of wish that it wasn't.

2. They are all so pretty. (This might actually be the #1 worst thing.)
I ship Troian Bellisario's hair. Forget Ezra and Aria, I am living for that hair. The perfection of the appearance of every character (even when Spencer was locked up and out of her mind she looked amazing), creates yet one more unrealistic desire and expectation for its - largely teen and preteen - viewers. While these girls are legit so beautiful, their beauty (obvi) is not because of their amazing hair and wardrobes. Let's all just keep in mind, that at every moment on the set of this show, PROFESSIONALS ARE EVERYWHERE!!!!!
3. The familial interactions.
My sister and I used to talk about who we would choose to live with if our parents died. We attended a lot of funerals as children so I think it was an understandable morbidity. When it became clear that I probably wasn't going to have to go live with anybody, I began to think about which fictional families I would  most like to be a part. The Taylors of Friday Night Lights, are an obvious choice. The Conners of Roseanne, The Cohens of The O.C. and the Huxtables of The Cosby Show are high on my list too. I'm a little bummed to say that I don't want to be a part of any of the families featured on Pretty Little Liars.
This one's a particularly dysfunctional treat. via
Dysfunction Central is what the show sould actually be called. It's not catchy, but it gives a better summation of the portrayed relational values and interactions. No one has a proper sense of communication, or of the difference between helpful and hurtful. Family blow-ups happen in every episode. Estrangements begin and end like lava in a lamp. It's ridiculous.The worst part is that the parents are just as at fault as their children; as if they themselves have no concept of relational health. This leads us into issue #4.

4. All of the lying.
It's built right into the name, so I should probably get over this one. But the intentions involved in every lie are so skewed! The one being lied to always knows it and the one lying is always riddled with guilt and anxiety because of it. Why would you put yourselves through that guys!? While I really do understand this as the driving force of the show, everytime Hanna enters into another Caleb oriented lie, I cringe, knowing the fall out (and eventual make-up) that will come out of it. There's a common purpose right? Discover and defeat   -A. While -A is reaking havoc and very literally threatening their lives, I can't help but think they could take care of this a lot more smoothly if they just sat down, laid it all out on the table - truth wise, and went from there. Lying is not a way to secure psychological health or happiness. Let's all just agree on that.
Lying gets you an orange jumpsuit. via
Expanding on all of the lying, let's just talk about how far down the rabbit hole of secrets these girls have gotten and that I truly believe they're never going to be able to get out. I have an anxiety disorder so the pressure of keeping secrets - especially ones involving death, deception, and destruction, makes me want to go fetal right here at my desk. I don't know how they do it! Or how they expect me to believe that they're doing it that portrayed level of grace.

5. Noel Kahn's teeth.
Let's add in the general mouth area. via
This guy could get a lifetime of roles playing "male who looks sociopathic all the effing time", based on the merit of his teeth alone. That's all. 
So stay tuned for the much more gratifying 5 Best Things About Pretty Little Liars that is to come!  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Silver Linings.

Image via
I have this blog - and for the life of me, I cannot remember its name. It was created for the sake of writing reviews of movies, music, and performances I had seen and thought were worth talking about. I should be posting this there. But no one reads that blog. Because even I can't remember its name. Yikes. ***Update three hours later. It's called An Evaluative Expose. I should delete that.***

Today in my teenage angst, I'm a little slow on the uptake. Well over six months ago, Silver Linings Playbook was released in theatres. I remember, when that movie was first advertised, people were pretty upset because Jennifer Lawrence - just 22 - was playing opposite 38 year old Bradley Cooper. Hollywood is apparently known for this and someone did a graphic comparing Hollywood's longest leading men and the respective ages of the women to whom they starred opposite. It was effective. Because Hollywood has this tendency to glorify the age of men; in that with age men get wiser, classier, more stately, etc. To the opposite, it tends to demonize the age of women in that the older they get, the less attractive they become. And that's where it stops, am I right? But this afternoon, I watched Silver Linings Playbook for the first time, and while I understood the hesitancy then, I'm pretty over it now, because despite the fourteen year age difference, if I didn't know who these people were, I couldn't have guessed otherwise. As it has been said before, J-Law is an old soul, and this is no where more aptly seen, than in her portrayal of Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. 

If you need a summation of the movie, click here. I was going to write one, but then figured I could really just save the time and space and send you elsewhere. 

I went into this movie just so pumped to watch J-Law do what had earned her all those awards and appropriate attention; and I saw it. In that scene when she and Bradley Cooper had the discussion about which meds they were on and had been on before that, I saw it. When she first attacked Bradley Cooper running, I saw it. When she stormed into Robert De Niro's house and all but made that parlay happen (score one for educational entertainment), I saw it. There was never a point at which I thought, this is just a different version of Ree, or Katniss, or Elissa. This was Jennifer Lawrence, as Tiffany - the manic, emotionally unstable widow that just wants to be who she is desperately trying to understand herself to be. 

In the same way, Bradley Cooper did not present himself to be the ass that I've only ever known him as. I am not a fan of Bradley Cooper. He was the worst thing about He's Just Not That Into You and that's saying a lot. I have no interest in The Hangover and I'm probably not going to watch Limitless, or A-Team, or All About Steve (yes I did just scroll down his IMDB Filmography because who pays close enough attention to the movies he's in). This, though, THIS! put him in an entirely new category. 

Full disclosure, I have an anxiety disorder and have been on meds for five and a half years. I have been in that place where you are so crazy that every movement you make might land you in jail - or if you're me, in very serious trouble. I have felt so out of control that I have broken things; and screamed so loud, I've thrown up. The method through which Bradley Cooper presents the experience of psychological and emotional instability, was, at least for me, dead on. Nail on the head. Bullseye. And he wasn't douchey. But rather he was respectful, and kind, and had a deeply complex relationship with his - also psychologically unstable - father. He ordered Rasin Bran to avoid leading Jennifer Lawrence on. He was sick and he was hurting. But he was trying. We're all trying. Am I right?

The way that Bradley Cooper was able to embody the experience of psychological frailty in the midst of relational and economic loss, was unparalelled. He captured the complexity of the psychological experience in that it's not just your experience. It's the experience and influence of those around you; of those who made you. It's every event leading up to the break down, and every event afterward. It's every detail within the moment of your break down and the way that every detail of that moment is going to follow you for seemingly ever. The exposure of this complexity makes this film invaluable; to me, as one with psychological issues, and to director David O. Russell, who, as we now know, made it for his son. 

Jennifer Lawrence noted this importance her acceptance speech at the SAG Awards.

I feel more crazy than this morning before I watched it. But I feel more affirmed in my crazy, because in spite of it, I understand my crazy and I like to think that, by and large, I'm understood, by those who matter. I come away, so emotional, and I want to watch it again, now. I come away with a new and renewed appreciation for Bradley Cooper and J-Law (respectively). And I come away thanking David O. Russell, who understood the need for an examination of this subject and found the perfect avenue through to examine it. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Last night, in my teenage angst, I felt sad about my age for the first time. But that was immediately the thing; I didn't feel sad about my life - as saying you feel sad about your age often implies. I felt sad about how my actions were seen as relative to my age.

I used to teach Sunday School. It was really more of a church service for children. I would come and do ridiculous things to get them to like me and then I would tell them a story and pretend that they were interested in what I had to say. Then their parents would tell me how much their kids liked coming to my class and I would feel like my time wasn't all wasted - just some of it. Our group was integrated, which meant that we had about fifty kids from ages five to ten in one class room. At that point, from bottom to top they're pretty cognitively differentiated. I really liked the little ones. They were so cute and shy and crazy, if they had a comfortable enough group of friends. They were also super interested and generally captivated by everything I did and said.

The older ones, though, I'm willing to say now, three years after the fact, were the reason I was there. Kids ages 10-14 are my candy. They're fun, they're able to carry on conversations, and sometimes they're the worst, but mostly they're the funniest because they don't know what's going on and they think they have to be awesome all the time. I have a pretty easy time developing invested relationships, so during that time, some of those ten and eleven year olds, were some of my closest friends. I felt pretty good about that for a long time. I loved them, they loved me. There was a lot of love. And I could influence them. That part was pretty good too. I could encourage them to think deeply about difficult issues like homelessness and materialism and being a good friend. And we would learn; together, from each other.

The biggest problem with pre-teens is that they become teenagers. This isn't to say that I don't love teenagers. I do. Maybe even more than pre-teens. But if you lose contact with a pre-teen, don't think you'll be able to re-establish that contact after a couple years, because then they'll have left pre-teenhood and be teens; and believe it or not, teens are a lot more discerning in terms of how much longevity you're going to bring to the table. And longevity, at this point, is really what it's all about. Let's just remind ourselves the real reason of why Twilight is so appealing.

As I mentioned, it's been three years since I stopped teaching that class and every pre-teen I had a connection with is now a teen. But we all still live in this pretty small town, so I see them all the time. It's a consistently uncomfortable exchange. I work at the public library and so I most commonly see them there. I can't just ignore them, so I always go up and talk to them about how school is going and what they're reading and then make a comment about the sufficient awkwardness of the conversation. This always makes them laugh because they don't think they were allowed to say it. Then I leave them to their lives. It's pretty awful. But I do it. Because even if they don't still love me, or see me as they used to, I still think of them as eleven year olds, waiting to be befriended and influenced.

Last night, I was at Safeway buying donuts before I went to my friend Janelle's. I saw this girl across the store and noted how pretty her dress was. Then I got in line at the express check-out. I glanced at the girl who's dress I loved and low and behold, it was one of my pre-teens, with another one of my pre-teens. I didn't recognize either of them. They're now taller than me, wear higher heels than me, and wear the same amount of make-up as me which  effectively removes them from any illusion of childhood that I might have had about them. I said hi and told her I liked her dress. She said her feet hurt; I said I believed her. I noticed the other pre-teen, who said hi and giggled just like she used to when she was nine. Thank goodness. They were buying an ice-cream cake for their friend's birthday. They had taken her to Regina for supper (not dinner, ha). She was turning fourteen. I remembered that my plans for my 26th birthday in a few weeks are to watch the Season 4 premiere of Pretty Little Liars and eat pulled pork at home. We all smiled. Someone paid for the cake. I assume with their parents money. Our conversation ended.

On the conveyor belt I had placed a box of crackers, two donuts and two packs of Peanut M&Ms. I watched the first pre-teen stare down at my items the way you do when the 80 year old ahead of you is buying twelve cans of cat food and a box of molasses. I thought about what my items amounted to. It really didn't look like much. And all I could think was, "This is what 25 looks like, girls. This is what's waiting for you." And like, I'm single. I live with my parents. I will never not be saving for tuition. And I feel like that might be disappointing for them to think about. Because 14 is when going out for a birthday supper (not dinner) in Regina is the best you can get. But when you're 25, all you can think about is how much that's going to cost and how you could just sit and eat donuts at home wearing yoga pants. Is that what's waiting for them? Probably. But maybe not. According to Girls, yes. But according to the experience of the rest of my friends, no.

Last night, was the first time, I've ever been disappointed in my age. But not, really. I was disappointed in what people - down to the age of 14 - expect my age to represent, and may or may not be disappointed by how I am living up to that. But really, I'm pretty secure with my yoga pants and donuts. So I'm just going to stick with that.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Today in my teenage angst, I'm discovering that life outside of school is the best. When you're not at work, you're allowed to do - wait for it - whatever. you. want.

After a week, though, watching TV and fake-napping and not going to the gym, have gotten lame. So I decided to pick up a hobby.

I took French this year at school for my two-semester language credit. I had a really amazing French teacher in High School and I had retained a lot of the basics. So going into the first semester I was like, this is so easy, how could anyone not get a hundred percent in this class? I ended the first semester with a 72 and the second with a 69. So I guess me. It's just one of those things that isn't super hard to understand, but is one of those things that is super hard to apply if you don't try and apply it regularly. I didn't want to try. Because, really guys, it's my language credit.

I did learn a lot though, and participating in other languages makes me feel superior. So I have decided to take up translating French Poetry. This is my first translation. If you can't read it because thought I would be fancy and scan my translation notebook, you can find it re-written below the image.

You are silence
             and midnight.
You are science
         and instinct.
 And the scream
And desertion
The pacifier
                          and the forgiveness
The multitude
The desire and belief
Where he supports
               and unravels.
All loneliness.

It's also worth noting that I did this translation in my room while listening to Peter Gabriel's So, on vinyl. It makes me feel like a character from a Sophia Coppola movie. That, I feel, is something worth pursuing. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Today in my teenage angst, I was startlingly self-oriented.

A couple of my friends told me today that they've started dating. My response was pretty typical. I was thrilled. Well first I was surprised, and then I was thrilled, and then I got sad.

Not for the gross and obvious reason that I'm not in a relationship myself and must therefore be sad that I now have even less single friends. No. Though I really have very, very few single friends left, I was sad, because I so didn't see this coming.

I pride myself on having attained a certain level of social perception. I don't know how or when this happened, but I've come to be able to read people, pretty well. I'm hyper aware of their emotions and keep stupid track of their life events, so as to be able to correlate their emotions with those events. This is weird and it might seem a little invasive, but if you know me, you know that it's just the way that I care. And I really do care. A lot.

Part of this, though, has resulted in a tendency to see people's romantic relationships develop before they do. Once, I encouraged this guy to go for a girl I thought he probably liked, before he was even aware that he liked her. They're married now. But because I'm not actively a part of a romantic relationship, I think I've taken to foreseeing these relationships as a way to invest in them and impose myself upon them. If I saw it coming, I probably had a part in making it happen, right? Wrong; but it's where my mind goes.

These friends of mine, are two of my favorite people. I mean, I have a lot of favorites, but these ones really take the cake. I'm happy. I really am. And I don't know what led me to make this exciting proclamation - though it was really more of a whisper because he told me in church - all about me. My selfishness is coming out and it's not pretty. But it brings me back to the reality that being aware of my inherent selfishness  doesn't make it good.

I'm sorry guys. You two really are the best. Let's talk about how this happened, sometime. I promise I won't be jealous that I wasn't there to see it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Today in my teenage angst, I present to you . . .

Five Reasons why Logan Huntzberger is the best of Rory Gilmore’s Boyfriends

#1 – He is really hot.
And like, so is Jess. But Logan is the kind of bad boy hot that you want to chase after, not the kind of bad boy hot that you work hard to avoid but eventually give into. Also Logan went on to do The Good Wife and Friday Night Lights. Where on earth is Jess? Dean was clearly just crying to be set free to go hunt demons with his brother. (Thanks for that Adriene.)
These arguments will get better.
Image via
#2 – He challenges Rory to be better.
Believe it or not, our Rory Gilmore is a little flawed. She’s focused to a fault, a little self-involved (in a super endearing way, of course), and she has a hard time stepping out of her stringent self-monitoring. Logan meets her where she’s at, in taking her on a Life and Death Brigade outing for the purpose of journalism, and teaches her that sometimes the most important thing is that moment in time itself. And while his willingness to throw caution to the wind often gets him in hot water on a number of levels, he’s always willing to step up to the plate when he needs to. Rory benefits from this part of his personality, countless times, in countless ways.
Image via
#3 – He already lives in the world in which Rory most belongs.
As we know, Rory comes from a long line of upper class Americans. Continuing this line, her mind and abilities have always been bigger than Stars Hallow and while this doesn't always jive with Lorelai, she belongs in the world of her grandparents. Logan steps into this world with a comfort that can’t be matched. This is seen during the time that Rory works for the DAR – when she’s away from Yale – and is in the public eye on a very regular basis. As he accompanies her to events and his presence becomes a staple. He interacts well with Richard and Emily, as well as their peers, and encourages her to perform her public duties well.

#4 – He can match her on an intellectual level.
Logan’s family is overwhelmingly successful. This puts a lot of pressure on him to become something big, in order to carry on this success. While this tends to inspire his dare-devil rebellion, but it doesn’t remove his inherent intelligence. Let’s think back to that episode when Rory had to produce the paper in like six hours because Paris had a nervous breakdown. Logan, though he no longer worked for the paper, stepped in and masterfully helped her pull it off. Not only was this hilarious (Paris really stole this episode with her Beautiful Mind-like bunker), but it showed Logan’s innate business saavy and resourcefulness. Also it was super hot. I mean, who doesn’t like a man who can get stuff done. I think we can all agree that Rory needs someone who can meet her a social as well as an intellectual level. Logan is that someone.

#5 – He really, really, really, really, really cares.
Think back. Dean only cared if Rory liked him the most. Jess only cared if Rory was using her mind to its fullest potential. Logan cared first for Rory’s happiness, health, and safety. Furthermore, he cared for the needs of her family. When Richard had his second heart attack, it was Logan who rushed to the hospital to meet Rory and be present not only as a comfort to the family but also to take care of any pressing needs. All of these were put before there was ever a question of whether or not Rory liked him best or was using her mind to the fullest. He was willing to make these worthwhile assumptions. And I think that helped in strengthening their relationship.
Image via
This isn’t to say that Rory and Logan never had problems. We all remember the blow-up after Honor’s wedding when Rory found out Logan had slept with someone when they were on a break. But Logan’s immediate solution is to talk it out. Which I feel is a pretty healthy approach.

All this to say, Logan is the greatest and the greatest he will stay!

Anyone want to build me an argument for the other two? I’m obviously open . . . 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spit: this post really is about that.

Today in my teenage angst, I've never had to work so hard to spit, in my entire life.

The university I attend has an Psychology honors program as well as a several graduate level psych degree programs. This is lucky for me, as a psych undergrad, because with all the research being done, everyone is in dire need of research participants. Which is lucky for them, because for as little as a 1% bonus mark (up to a 3% increase per class), I will participate in their research.

It's called the Participant Pool. A Ph.D. candidate runs this thing and I can't even deal with how complicated it is. You sign in online and look at the list of studies being offered. You select the ones that look interesting to you - which for me, is all of them. Oh but not because I actually think it's interesting, but because I'm in four psych classes, which together allow me to participate in twelve studies. Everything I can sign up for, I have signed up for. One current study is looking at the affects of smoking on anxiety. You need to be a heavy smoker. I may have momentarily considered taking up smoking. I refrained. I really need these bonus marks.

One study I signed up for, had an annoyingly long list of requirements. In order to participate (or so I thought, turned out it didn't really matter), I could not have had alcohol in the last 24 hours, caffeine in the last 2 hours, food or drink in the last hour, no physical exertion in the last two hours and as a female, I had to have been within the first 14 days of my menstrual cycle. A little specific, I thought. But I needed the credit, so I complied.

The study was measuring the affect of hormones on performance in mental rotation tasks. So that's fair, I guess. I didn't know that we did studies with physiological components, but later that day I participated in another study that took my pulse and temperature; twice. At the end of the whole mental rotation task deal, I needed to produce two fluid ounces of spit. Not phlegm; spit.

This was so stupid hard. Earlier in the study they had made me rinse out my mouth, for unknown reasons, and I don't think I salivated from that point on. So going into my attempts to produce a spit sample, it was like I had prepared for this by stuffing my mouth with cotton balls.

The room, in which I was meant to produce my sample, had walls covered with magazine photos of food accompanied by words like tasty, delicious and, savory. I guess these were meant to help me salivate, which gave me a clearer insight into the related pressures for men who have to visit reproductive clinics. I don't think I've ever concentrated so hard on something that is supposedly involuntary.

Eventually I got my two fluid ounces and I was given my extra-credit. I walked down the stairs from the lab and thought about how strange it was that my life had led to a point of requiring a production of saliva.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Things: Part . . . something.

Today in my teenage angst, full disclosure, I spend a lot (a lot) of time floating around the internet. I have lately started drawing, but other than that, I don't do a lot in my spare time. I watch a lot (a lot) of TV, and I float around the Internet. Taking a cue from Nova, I started 'favoriting' the best things that I saw and put them into 'things' posts. The problem is that because I spend so much time floating around the internet, I find all sorts of crazy/amazing things. I am not, however, great at consistency and end up with massive blocks of 'favorites'. Yesterday, I sorted through two months of bookmarked favorites and am presenting here The Best of the Best!

You should feel lucky, because I have obviously great taste, and the best interests, so all of the following links are going to be amazing. Hahaha. Just kidding. I like being fake pompous sometimes. 

Suzy's Jian [Ghomeshi] Chronicles. Oh man. And guys, I was there for the show and he really is just so amazing. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Collage Art by Jesse Treece. If anyone wants to gift me a solid, I really want this print.

These movie posters are Grade A Epic. Maybe that should be Grade E Epic . . . 

Oh Tina. I miss you already. Tina Fey on Jimmy Fallon in April of last year. [video]

Heymonster on Society 6. There's a Buffy poster. So....

Bubble Magic. [video]

The Blazing Meh - I would like a female to be my girlfriend. These kids are the best. And also I sort of know them.

Things That Make Me Scared To Be A Mom But Shouldn't.  This woman's story of unexpected, but welcomed pregnancy is so beautiful. I can't deal. 

Look At This Instagram. [Video] The most hilarious. Also a Nickleback parody, FYI.

Kitten in Slow Motion. [Video]. Can life get better?

SkipRope by Tweenchronic. [Video] Oh my land this video.

Grimmy Chats to Emma Watson. [Video] I just watched Perks of Being a Wallflower a couple of days ago and man was that ever worth it. 

Piglet Uses a Tiny Wheelchair Made of K'Nex. [Video] Get ready to die . . . emotionally.

So there we go. That's a lot. I'm sorry. I'm not going to be linking to Hello Giggles articles anymore, which let's face it, is from where most of this comes. I'll be re-blogging those directly onto Tumblr, because that's how I find them anyway. 

Have the best upcoming weekend! . . . . . . and then I remembered it was only Tuesday. I'm the coolest.