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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
That's a quote from one of my many spirit animals, Jerri Blank.
So, yeah, I'm back in school after a deliciously lazy month off. I love the beginning of a new semester, because it presents an opportunity for a fresh start. Brand new courses, professors, newspaper editors, and chances for growth and change.
Since I'm one of those lucky National Merit Scholarship kids, the beginning of the semester also means I get a big fat check. I'm not so good with money, so I'm trying to use my new riches for good. I put quite a bit into savings, and today I went to Target to buy various organizational items for my apartment (I'm super excited about my brand new magnetic dry-erase calendar, and the dish drying rack my apartment has been sorely lacking since June). I plan to get to work on a budget this week, so hopefully in the future I won't end up broke as a joke and not sure how to pay for a $92 repair for my truck.
I'm only two days in, but the semester looks good so far. Here's a little breakdown of my classes, which I know everyone is sooooo interested in:
Women and the Law
I think I'm going to learn a lot in this class. Also, the professor is one of my favorite WGS faculty as well as a personal inspiration. She's intelligent, witty, opinionated, a mother of two, and manages to maintain the spirit of a college student. Looking forward to drinks at the Library after class.
Writing the Short Story
I think all but three people from my Intro to Professional Writing class are in this one. We all got to know each other far too well last semester, so I'm sure the next 16 weeks will be equally enlightening. I am pumped to write six short stories though.
History of Journalism
BRING A BOOK.
Seriously, this shit's gon' be boooooring. At least I have a friend to roll eyes and creepily grin at when our professor (good ol' Cha-Cha-Chavez) says something weird.
Intro to African-American Studies
Well, I needed an elective this semester and I figured, hey, why not depress myself even more with weekly discussions of oppressed peoples? Seriously though, I don't know why this course isn't required just like history is. My professor seems really cool, and I appreciate that he doesn't say things in a "diplomatic" way, to use his word. I'm PC, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate when people get real. It helps when I agree with those people, which I'm sure I usually will with this guy.
Well ... I needed one more class to finish my Spanish minor. Here I am. I hate hate HATE Spanish Lit. classes, but at least the professor seems animated and interesting. 13 women in the class; no men. Should be fun.
And that's the story of this semester. On top of my classes, writing for the Daily, and 15 hours at the Y every week, I should keep myself out of trouble (unlike Jerri Blank).
Monday, January 17, 2011
But I'm really happy to be back in Oklahoma! I've made a list of reasons why:
- Every time I go outside does not feel like I'm entering a hellish tundra.
- I get to hang out with my kitten again, even though he is kind of a douche.
- I get my private life back (no offense Mom & Dad, but I really prefer NOT living with you).
- It's time to start workin', learnin', and writin' again. Vacations are nice, but I need to be productive. And, last but not least...
- I GET TO SEE MY BOYFRIEND AGAIN AND HE GIVES ME ALL THE KISSES!
Yes, it's good to be back.
Now that I'm here, though, I need to get my life in order. This semester has to be great for me. I want to do well in school, get organized, write a lot for the paper and in this blog, and save money. I hope it's not too much to handle, but I'm going to work on improving my life. That sounds soooo Dr. Phil, but srsly guize.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Props to Pres. Barack Obama for his wonderful speech tonight. His heartfelt words and refusal to politicize the Tucson memorial service were admirable (and will surely boost his approval, methinks). Response to a tragedy is important.
The most poignant part was definitely when he spoke about Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed on Saturday.
"If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today," Obama said. "And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit."
The speech reminded me of way back in 2008, when his rhetoric and messages were so lauded. Back before he was elected and started having to make real, polarizing decisions.
Hearing Obama speak tonight was a breath of fresh air after Sarah Palin's whiny video from earlier today. First, she was all, heyyyyy guys, don't blame me and my party, blame the INDIVIDUAL! Jared Loughner was totes not influenced by anything anybody said, ever. So I guess she's down with the "Ground Zero Mosque"! Good!
And then she was like, BUT BLAME THE MEDIA! They suck. In fact, "journalists and pundits ... manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."
Buhhhhhhhhhh WAIT A MINUTE SARAH. Blood libel? That's super offensive. I can't believe not one person told her not to say that. I have to assume that some of her staffers read the speech ahead of time; why did they let her get away with that? Ridiculous.
Then she went all First Amendment on us. I was just using my right to dissent, she says. "When we 'take up our arms,' we're talking about our vote." Ohh, right.
Arms = vote.
Crosshairs = places to vote.
Reload = vote again.
"2nd Amendment remedies" = ....voting? OH WAIT.
Ugh. She just continues to suck more and more and more. Here are some quotes I liked from this WaPo op-ed:
"Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase [than blood libel]."
- Howard Kurtz, The Daily Beast
"She is an attractive person, she is articulate, but I think intellectually she seems not to understand what is going on here."
- Assistant House Minority Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.)
So, to summarize:
Props to Obama for being classy.
Sarah Palin, once again, you suck.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
What a weekend!
First I want to talk about what happened in Arizona, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords which resulted in 6 deaths (including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl) and I think twice as many injuries.
Giffords was a Democrat who voted for Obama's health care bill. From the little research I've done on her, I can gather that her views are pretty close to mine. After the shooting, all the political blogs I follow on Tumblr were blowin' up, and pretty much everyone was talking about this image:
The picture depicts a map of the United States with crosshairs over different parts of the country. Each target is positioned over a representative who voted in favor of the health care bill. Giffords was one of those representatives. This image was put up by Sarah Palin's PAC. Palin also had tweets in the past that used the word "Reload" in reference to removing Dems from office. Oh, and then there was that anti-Giffords event (not sponsored by Palin) that was centered around firing M16s. Um, what?
Palin isn't directly responsible for the shooting. That's obvious. But violent imagery and rhetoric like in that picture above do perpetuate violence in our society. Anyone who thinks that picture is meaningless needs to think a lot harder about implications of the things we say and do. Words have meanings, guys!
Of course, people took to Palin's Facebook page to complain and tell her what they thought about her stupid fucking map. Comments were repeatedly scrubbed from the site. Palin also removed tweets from her Twitter account that had violent words in them. Because in the face of a tragedy, the best thing to do is go online and make yourself look better.
I just hope this is a wakeup call of sorts. We can't keep using violent rhetoric and then act surprised when someone takes it too far. I know people are going to call Loughner (the shooter) a fringe lunatic, say he's mentally ill, or blame the shooting on Obama (because some people think EVERYTHING can be blamed on Obama), but it's time to step up and accept some responsibility. People are a product of their environments. There are implications to everything,
and it's time to be responsible for those implications! Come on.
But enough about that. Let's talk about me.
I actually had a great weekend. On Thursday night, I went to Sturgeon Bay with Kyle, an old friend of mine. His boyfriend Jeremy lives up there, and Kyle invited me to come up and spend the night. First of all, Jeremy's apartment is GORGEOUS. Two bedrooms, hardwood floors, high ceilings, great built-ins and molding. It was decorated really nicely, and there were plants everywhere because Jeremy is a florist. He had fishtanks and a really adorable cat, too. I was in heaven from the minute I walked in the door
So we sat down and had a few drinks. The conversation actually turned pretty serious, and before I knew it I was privy to a really intense relashe talk. Luckily, we all decided to calm our asses down and watch The Office.
Then Jeremy made us these amazing nachos, which Kyle dubbed HOLY SHIT NACHOS. This picture does not do justice to the glory that were these nachos. They took up an entire cookie sheet, and came up like three inches off the sheet. It was like an enormous loaf of nacho. And the three of us ate the whole thing. Holy shit, indeed.
The next morning, Kyle and I slept late and enjoyed the comfort of the apartment some more while Jeremy was at work. We walked a little around the main drag of Sturgeon Bay, but it was freezing so I bought some saltwater taffy and called it a day. We left in the early afternoon and drove back home to GB.
What a great trip! It was such a lovely escape from all the static of Green Bay and normal life.
I also got to see my best friend Kat this weekend! Twice! My parents and I went over to her parents' house for dinner on Saturday, and the six of us played Apples to Apples for a while. Then, Kat and I went to this intensely awkward party where we played awkward beer pong and basically just waited to leave. It was like a high school reunion with only the people I didn't want to see from high school. Not fun. After we left, we drank Bacardi Raz in her hot tub until I got tired and walked home.
Today, my relatives from my dad's side of the family came up for a little Larson family holiday gathering. It was actually really fun! I haven't seen those people in a while, so it was nice to catch up. My cousin brought her three kids, and it was really fun to have lively children in the house. After the crew left, my parents, brother and I had our Christmas gift exchange. Everyone liked their gifts. Success!
Oh, speaking of success, THE PACKERS TOTALLY WON!
After the glorious victory, Kat and I went to the hookah bar and ran into yet another awkward high school acquaintance. This time, it was this weirdie guy who used to follow us around desperately. When we went to Florida for a band trip junior year, this dude was seriously a ninja. Every time we thought we lost him, there he was again, comin' round the bend. Anyway, he was at the hookah bar, and he was speaking in an Irish accent for some reason, and he'd gained a bunch of weight. What? OH YEAH and he had the audacity to ask us what our names were. I was like, dude, we've gone to school together since 3rd grade, and you were obsessed with my group of friends in high school. Don't act like you don't know my fucking name. It was so weird; we had to leave.
Now I'm back at home watching Monsters of Folk on PBS! It's been a pretty good weekend, all in all. Except for that tricky shooting business. Eeeeugh.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Taking a cue from a couple classmates' blogs, I'm going to make a little playlist of the songs that defined 2010 for me. This isn't a "Best of 2010" list; if you want one of those, I recommend Pitchfork or Rolling Stone.
My favorite local Green Bay Band, and a great group of guys at that. I was home last January and got the chance to see a couple Beach Patrol shows. They know how to rock a live show, whether outside the record store or in a dingy bar. Love Beach Patrol.
Another Wisconsin band. I bought their record while at home, and kept it on constant rotation for months. I really think Wisconsin has the best bands.
VW's album Contra was the first thing I ever reviewed for the OU Daily. I love this album and this song. It seems to me that it's about getting high and having a homosexual experience with a best friend, which gets a thumbs-up from me. Seriously though, this is a great song with a lot of really cool musical and lyrical elements.
Okay, this is kind of cheating, because this is my boyfriend's song. I chose it for February because after a year and a half of dating long-distance, Damien came to join me in Norman on Feb. 6! I'm also featured in this song, playing clarinet in the choruses. Damien is a great musician, and this song really shows what a fantastic songwriter he is.
"Salina" - The Avett Brothers
I saw the Avett Brothers for the 3rd time in March (and the 4th time in September!). Damien and I were afraid we couldn't get a ride, but our friend Aulbry was nice enough to let us use her car so we wouldn't be deprived of these wonderful tunes. "Salina" is one of my favorite Avett songs.
Right around this time was when I discovered The Tallest Man on Earth, a Swedish folkie who sounds like Bob Dylan and plays guitar beautifully. This is the first song of his I ever heard, and I fell in love.
The Beatles! I can't pick a single song. The Beatles have been my favorite band all my life. I was raised listening to them; my parents are fans too. Last spring I was taking a class on the Beatles, so listening to them was for pleasure and for academic reasons. If you don't already listen to the Beatles, you're missing out and should start immediately.
I listened to this an awful lot after The Blueprint 3 came out. The lyrics really define my life for the past few years. "Let's just stay in the moment, smoke some weed, drink some wine, reminisce, talk some shit, forever young is in your mind."
"Whataya Want From Me" - Adam Lambert
No explanation here, I just love this song! Great pop tune. I watched American Idol during the last season, for some ungodly reason, and when this performance happened, Damien and I were all, "OHMYGODDDD THAT WAS SO AWESOME!!"
"You Can Call Me Al" - Paul Simon
At the end of May, Damien and I took a road trip from Green Bay, WI to Norman, OK. We stopped in Indiana on the way to visit his mom, who is a huge Paul Simon fan. We listened to Graceland the whole time we were with her, and when Damien and I stopped at a hotel the next night, I downloaded some Paul Simon and we listened to it from Missouri to OK, and for the rest of the summer. This song never fails to get me happy.
In June, Damien and I were incredibly broke. I finally got a job in the middle of the month, but for the couple weeks preceding that, we were donating plasma and not eating very much at all. It was pretty pathetic. But music is free, and we are lucky enough to have a pretty big record collection!
"Duncan" - Paul Simon
A beautiful song that seems to be a bit lesser-known. I listened to this over and over again. It has this depressing feeling to it, which is probably why I liked it so much this summer, when life kinda sucked. The pan pipes on this song are absolutely gorgeous.
I'm being honest when I say that the rest of the summer was spent in a drunken haze with my friends listening/dancing to Ke$ha and Robyn pretty much exclusively. Feel free to judge; I barely remember it. So I know I had fun.
I started listening to pop hits of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Some of my favorites include:
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" - The Shirelles
"A Change is Gonna Come" - Sam Cooke
"This Magic Moment" - The Drifters
"God Only Knows" - The Beach Boys
Also, I turned 21, so clearly some more Ke$ha was in order.
In the middle of the month, I got the opportunity to interview Langhorne Slim, one of my favorite musicians. He performed at the Opolis, and afterwards, Damien and I got to meet him! He's a really cool, down-to-earth guy, not to mention super talented. "Restless" by Langhorne Slim remains one of my favorite songs, and was definitely a theme of October.
A devastating midterm election left me faithless in American society. Justice For All returned to campus with their enormous bloody-fetus pictures. Thanksgiving was lonely. November was an icky month.
But finding these a cappella Beach Boys tracks on YouTube really brightened the darkness!
Also, new Girl Talk came out with a free download. I love Girl Talk; there's no better party music. I actually wrote a pretty long post on my music blog about the new album and the general concept of Girl Talk.
Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. Do I need to say anything else? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was pretty much unanimously the best album of the year. If you haven't heard it yet, do yourself a big favor and listen IMMEDIATELY. Don't even finish reading this post. Go listen to 'Ye.
If you're still reading this, I'm guessing you've heard the genius that is West's new album. It's artful and gorgeous, but for me, the album is made by Nicki Minaj's verse on "Monster." HOLY SHIT.
And that's my year in music!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Back at my parents' house in Green Bay!
I'm having a good time. My parents' house seems like a palace compared to my tiny studio apartment. They have a dishwasher, so much food, laundry machines, cable & internet, multiple bedrooms ... it's like heaven, seriously!
Yesterday I flew out of Norman in the morning, and got to Milwaukee about four hours later. My sister and brother picked me up and by the time the Packer game started, I was home! It was great to have a home-cooked meal with my parents and watch movies together. Today I slept late, hung out with my little brother, and had dinner. Wonderful.
My brother and I went to Blackstone, the diner that was basically my second home when I was in high school. My friends and I would go there almost every day, and we'd just sit for hours drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and talking about anything and everything. I could walk into Blackstone anytime, and I'd always see a friend. It was really eerie to go back. Since the last time I visited GB, they passed a smoking ban. No longer does Blackstone reek of stale smoke; nor are there ashtrays on every table. Perhaps because of this, there was hardly anyone there! Even the veteran whom I swear was there 24/7 was absent. Super weird. It was one of those nasty old all-night diners, with the regulars and all. So it was really odd to go there and experience a completely different restaurant. Totally didn't match all the great memories I have from there.
As nice as it is to be in my hometown and see my family, I really miss Damien. We've been together pretty much every day since February. It's hard to not see him.