Friday, February 28, 2014

An Inspiration, Mind-Blowing Story of Amazing, Awe-Inspiring Acceptance

This half-fictional, half-true story is dedicated to my friends Joey, Toad, and Dr. Jo.  Who also happen to be one person named Joann.

*Note: Health Hazard~Mind May Blow Up After Reading This~

**Note: This story is not meant to be a satire of anything that may be implied and/or a reflection of Joey's or my personal beliefs.  It's a just a couple of whacked-out friends saying whacked-out things in order to--you know.  Whack each other out.


"ACCEPT YOURSELF"

Wind whips around my face as I contemplate the mysteries of life (i.e., why homework exists and why I have so much of it).  

Something taps me on the arm.  My friend Joey stands there.  "Come on.  Let's go.  We have to play tennis.  Remember?"

Her arm windmills into a slick tennis swing, nearly knocking our friend Marie off the bench.  

"Whoa," says Cat, who stops midway in the motion of putting her hair up in a bun.  "Are you okay, Marie?"

"I'm fine."  Marie gives her arm a complimentary rub, then gets up to retrieve her tennis racket.  "I'll go save us a court."  She scampers off.

"Wow, Joey.  Klutzy much?"  I laugh.  

"Maybe you should just accept it," Joey shoots at me as we grab a couple of neon-green fuzzy spheres and start to walk down the path to the courts.  "Maybe this is just WHO I AM, and maybe you should just learn to accept the fact that I'm clumsy."  She has a half-snarky, half this-is-going-to-be-a-hilarious-conversation smile on her face.  I'm pretty sure I'm wearing the same grin.  Because Joey's and my conversations are legendary.

"Maybe you should accept the fact that I'm not going to accept the fact that you're clumsy," I tell her as a bunch of track girls walk by, chattering about spandex nonsense.

"The key to accepting yourself is to accepting others.  Including me."  Joey grabs the doorknob of the tennis courts and attempts to pull it open.  

I stifle the urge to giggle as Marie wrenches it open from the inside.  "Maybe I've already accepted myself, and accepting myself means that I don't accept the fact that you're clumsy," I tell her.

We separate into both sides--Joey and Marie on one side, Cat and me on the other side.  I start to slice the ball at Joey, who whacks it back.

"The TRUE way to accept yourself is to accept those around you," Joey tells me.

"You should have your own syndicated radio show.  Dr. Jo."  I give a weak flick of my wrist, the ball slapping against the net pathetically.  I slap another ball at Joey.  "Dr. Jo, what do you have to say about life today?"

"Well, folks."  Joey holds up the end of her racket, miming speaking into a microphone.  "Today's theme is acceptance."  Her voice takes on a deep undertone.

"OH MY GOODNESS, DR. JO."  I take on a weird, twisted accent that's supposed to mimick the effects of fangirling.  "TELL US MORE!  I'VE BEEN DYING TO ACCEPT MYSELF FOR AGES!  THIS COULD BE THE BREAKTHROUGH OF ALL MY PSYCHOLOGICAL PEACE!"

At this, we dissolve into giggles.

"Well, in order to accept yourself, you have to accept my teachings."  Joey hits the ball at me, and I parry it back.  "And accept others."

"I refuse to accept others," I tell her.  

"Then you refuse to accept yourself."  Joey slaps the ball back at me.

I hit it back.  "Oh my goodness, I'm playing bad today."

"Accept it."  Joey winks.

We move back and start rallying.  At one point, we run out of balls within the vicinity of two steps and have to pause play in order to grab some more.  "Dr. Jo, I've been thinking."  I shake a piece of lint off of my hand before slipping it into my built-in shorts pocket.  "Maybe YOU should accept YOURself by accepting the fact that I'M not going to accept YOU."

"Maybe YOU should accept YOURself by accepting the fact that I'M not going to accept YOU not accepting those AROUND you."  Joey watches my expression with a quirk of her mouth.

After a minute or two of struggling with the sentence, I say, "In that case, I just refuse to accept anything.  Makes it easier."

"YOU WILL HAVE BETTER INNER PEACE IF YOU JUST ACCEPT EVERYTHING," she calls over her shoulder.

"I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT I HAVE TO ACCEPT EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO ACCEPT MYSELF," I holler at her.

"I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO ACCEPT YOURSELF," Joey shouts at me, tossing the ball into the air.

"THEN YOU HAVEN'T ACCEPTED YOURSELF," I yell as the ball sags against the net and rolls downward.

"YES I HAVE."  Thunk goes the ball against the right fence.  "I'VE ACCEPTED THE FACT THAT I REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT EVERYTHING IN ORDER TO ACCEPT YOURSELF."

I'm not really sure what happens after that, but I vaguely remember Joey, Marie, and Cat--the good friends that they are--picking up pieces of my brain.












Wednesday, February 26, 2014

*use your imagination*

I cannot even recount how badly I failed tonight working at the Little League Snack Shack.

It started right off the bat.  

(pun not intended)


I got the keys from the person in charge, then unlocked the Snack Shack.  I went inside, looked at the list, and started to put ice in the two buckets containing Gatorade and water bottles.  I thought that the Gatorade and water bottles were separated.  

I had put ice into one bucket when I realized that the Gatorade and water bottles were NOT separated.

*use your imagination*

The other person working didn't arrive until 3:30, and by then I was trying to help two customers--an older man with whom I'm assuming is his granddaughter.  They wanted peanuts.  And a soda.  It took me a long, awkward period of thirty seconds to figure out that we didn't have any peanuts.  It took me another long, awkward period of thirty seconds to communicate that we didn't have any peanuts.

I also think that he wanted Diet Coke.  Then I had to figure out how to get what they wanted.  First you have to ask what kind of soda they want, then you have to ask what size they want, then I asked if they wanted ice--he said a little--so I put a little bit in and gave it to him.  Then he looked at it and asked me if I could fill it up just a little bit more, so I did.  Then you have to calculate the cost and correlate the bill, and let me just say this: I am horrible at math.

*use your imagination*


I had had no training previously.  I didn't know that you had to spray water on the pretzels to make the salt stick; the pretzel machine did nothing more than make the pretzels look like ballerinas (i.e., twirling).  It was like an EZ-Bake Oven--a stinkin' lightbulb to heat eight frozen-solid kill-another-person pretzels.

We had to use the microwave to heat the pretzels up, and when there's two windows, one microwave, and two people ordering pretzels at the same time, you're bound to have somebody wait.  Awkward...

And while I was still in the weird stages of figuring things out, a man walks up, gives me a twenty, and wants ten pieces of bubble gum (fifty cents).  I give him EIGHTEEN-FIFTY, and he tells me, TWENTY DOLLARS MINUS FIFTY CENTS.

I grabbed a dollar, making his change SEVENTEEN-FIFTY.  (I wasn't thinking).

YOU HAVE TO GIVE ME A DOLLAR, he added, very graciously.

I gave him the two dollars and apologized profusely, but he said it was all right.  Which made me feel even worse, for some reason.

Then another kid walks in along with us two girls who were working there.  I don't know what he's doing here, but he grabs a couple of Snickers bars, makes himself nachos, and says something along the lines of, "I think I'm supposed to be working here."

Then he walks out, supposedly coming back later, only he NEVER DOES.

I make a couple of more mistakes with the change stuff, people correct me, and again I apologize profusely.  They say it's all right, and I feel even worse.

Yay, I've gotten into a groove.

My dad orders a churro, and I give it to him, only to have him give it back to me and say, "You didn't put sugar on this."

I WAS SUPPOSED TO PUT SUGAR ON IT?!?!  I thought it came like that!

So I do.

Thank goodness he was the first one to order a churro.  Or else I would've given people tasteless pieces of frozen dough.

Oh, and I put the nacho cheese into this giant container that looked kind of shady.  I asked the other girl, who'd worked there before, and she said to put the cheese directly in there (she was busy with a customer, though, I think).  Later, when we're cleaning up, they tell me I'm NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT.  I'm supposed to use a LINER.  Which I would've known had I read the DIRECTIONS they left me, only I was DUMB and DIDN'T.

I hope I didn't give those people salmonella or something.  


*use your imagination*

What if I gave those people salmonella, which turned into an epidemic, which pinned me as the culprit because I was the one trying to heat up the cheese?  What if they all died because of me, and I'd have to go to twenty funerals, and then go through a ton of depression and such because of what I did?

*using my imagination here*


And then there was the licorice thing.  For fifty cents, you're supposed to give them "six or seven."

How much is six or seven???  I grab something randomly out of the bowl, but I don't want to, like, count every single one!  But what if I gyp the poor kids?  Or what if I give them too much and the Little League dies from financial ruin because of me?

*using my imagination*

My brother--thank goodness--swooped in, volunteered, and saved the day.  I gave him five dollars of my twenty-five.

I also spill a slushie, make a slushie with the wrong flavor, and keep a poor kid waiting fifteen minutes for his cinnamon-sugar pretzel.

Yeah.

I probably did a lot more wrong.


*use your imagination*


But then, God's grace is abundant.  Thank goodness.  I probably cheated, lied, stole, and a bunch of other stuff today.  Inadvertently, of course.  But still.

*thank you, Jesus*
*John 3:16*


Upside?  By the end, I was cranking out pretzels and hot dogs like a machine.

I adjusted.  And next time I work at the Snack Shack, I'll be a lot better.   So drop by.  Just don't order more than two items, please.  And don't order the Cup O' Noodles (they splatter and take three minutes to cook).  Or the popcorn.  Or the nonexistent peanuts.  Or anything that requires a fork (because we currently don't have any forks).  And if your pretzel is tough, be a man and eat it up.  And if your churro doesn't have any sugary taste on it...

use your imagination.

(Or just tell me to put sugar on it).



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Voldemort Has OCD

Hey there, y'all!  

Just wanted to drop a line (or several) about the happenings in my life right now. (And I'll get to the title in just a minute).

Job Update

So...do you recall me telling you about the Little League Snack Shack job a couple posts back?  Well...I HAVE THE JOB.

I start tomorrow.

From 3:30-6:30 I will (quoting from e-mail attachment, which wouldn't let me copy and paste):

  • Make iced tea
  • Make coffee
  • Turn on the churro and slushie machines
  • Restock candy
  • Wipe down slushie machine
  • Clean dishes
And do about twenty thousand other things.  I will also be helping hungry spectators and players get the satisfaction that they need by making them slushies and nachos, along with heating up hot dogs and pretzels.  That part should be fun.

But here's the part that is more fun:
I get twenty-five dollars!  In cash!

*does happy dance around room*

Woot woot.  So yeah.  I'm an employed person now.  (Better watch out...haha jk)

Entertaining Reads

If you hop over to EntReads, you'll notice Elise and I (finally) posted something after ten days of break.  We released our stories "Bops and Rocks of Haley Gregg" along with "Hello My Name Is...with Skylar O'Keefe" on Valentine's Day (if you haven't already, check those out!).

Elise and I are e-mailing back and forth, brainstorming new ideas for NEW stories!  I have my story idea--typed up on my ColorNote app right before English class--and Elise is still expanding on hers a little bit.  But we are definitely doing another round of stories, so I advise you to stay tuned to our blogs!  It'll be a couple of weeks before we get everything down on paper, but, like we did before, we'll be releasing tidbits of other stories and such before them.  


Okay, fine.  I'll give you one word that should give you an idea as to what my story will be about: tennis.

Oh yeah!

Wheee My Writing

I think there are some writers who get a couple of solid inspirations and write magnificent books with them.  

I think there are others who get hit over the head with inspirations EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  

I think I'm one of those authors.

Just think about it:
I'm balancing 
-Snow in July
-TRAPPED
-a new story idea, which I bid Luck & Talent
-Lily Potter's Journal (really need to work on that some more)
-another new story idea, which I bid Maybe In a Millenium
-another story idea, which I bid Becca Bradley, Bad Guy Buster
-This blog
-My new story, about tennis, for Entertaining Reads
-My Charmed Life (book by Jenny B. Jones) post
-RebelutionBlog posts that currently exist only in my head
-Other story ideas that exist only in my head
-My The Last Present (book by Wendy Mass) post, which currently exists only in my head (yet again)
-Application for school newspaper (for next year)

I'm probably never going to finish everything.

But want to root me on as I attempt to write everything?

I'm going to put up a page with this list on it.  Every time I finish something, I'm going to place a "STATUS: COMPLETED" sign on it.

Snow in July is probably going to take a LOT more time.  TRAPPED will finish soon (I can envision the ending, and I just finished writing Part Fifteen).  My posts will take relatively short.

But follow me on this insanely rollicking writing journey.

Voldemort Has OCD (and Bipolar Disorder, and Antisocial Disorder)

Health class is quite a bit more interesting than my Careers one.

Health is structured and it's actually kind of fun.  

Recently we learned about bipolar disorder, antisocial disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (and a couple of other disorders).  But I'm only highlighting bipolar, antisocial, and OCD for this reason:

VOLDEMORT HAS ALL THREE.

I'm serious.  Go read the Harry Potter books.  He has it.  I'm even going to provide CONCRETE EVIDENCE--the seven-pack box of books is sitting right next to me as I write.  I'm going to take a book out and quote something that supports my case.

I'll start off with Antisocial Disorder.

According to Mr. G and the Health book I use in class, antisocial disorder is defined as "when a person does whatever they need to do to feel happy.  Even if they need to kill somebody to feel happy--in which case they don't feel pity, remorse, regret, guilt, or empathy."

That's where all the great serial killers come from.  Antisocial disorder.  There was a guy who killed people and ate them just because he felt happy whenever he exerted his power over his poor victims.

(I could provide more examples, but I want this blog to be filled with happy thoughts, so I'm not going to.)

Quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling, pages 741-742:

"It's your one last chance," said Harry, "it's all you've got left....I've seen what you'll be otherwise....Be a man...try...Try for some remorse."

"You dare--?" said Voldemort again.

No remorse for killing Lily, James, Bertha, Cedric, Grindelwald--Voldemort has antisocial disorder.

Next up to bat is Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar disorder, quite simply, is having a giant, extreme mood swing within a set period of time.  It can be described as a pendulum--one side is depression, and the pendulum slowly swings over to manic, where the person just goes crazy with--I don't know what to call it.  Happiness?  Insane, freaky, unreal joy? 

Going back to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again, pages 726 and 737.

On page 726, Rowling states quite clearly, 

"You see?" screeched Voldemort over the tumult.  "Harry Potter is dead by my hand, and no man alive can threaten me now!  Watch!  Crucio!"

Voldemort is clearly in his triumphant mood.  He's clearly manic.  Why else would a grown man with a bump for a nose screech like that?  However, on page 737, 

"...and then she toppled, and the watching crowd roared, and Voldemort screamed."


Yeah.  He screams.  Tom Riddle screams.  He's in agony.  Within a space of--what?  Five minutes?  He screams!

Bipolar.

Granted, Molly Weasley had just killed Bellatrix--but any grown man who screams because a person he felt no affection for dies has to be mentally deranged.  And this is the person who has a bump for a nose, red eyes, and a family who lived in a shack.  

Also, genetic mutations can lead to imbalance of chemicals in the brain, which can lead to the bipolar disorder.  Pureblood or not, wizards can still have genetic issues, and I'll bet you anything Marvolo Gaunt had some problems that caused Voldemort to have imbalanced chemicals in his brain, which led to bipolar...you never know.  Wizards are awfully ignorant about such things.  I mean, how do airplanes stay up?  Really, Mr. Weasley?  THEY FLAP THEIR WINGS.

Duh.


(JK)

Lastly, Voldemort has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

OCD is actually quite common--we're all a little OCD in some form, size, or shape--and consists of obsessions (repeated, unwanted thoughts) which lead to compulsions (urgent, irresistible actions).  For example, a person with OCD might always arrange objects on their desk into ninety-degree angles or never leave any stray marks on their worksheets.  Or they might be obsessed with washing their hands seventeen times in order to rid themselves of the filthiness of the earth.  It really depends on the person's personality.

There are several different types of people with OCD, and many people have combinations of both.  Types of OCD include
  • Checkers (people who check everything.  Back when my imagination ran long and free, I used to check my closet to see if there were robbers or kidnappers hiding in it.  Every.  Night.  Until it got too tiring.)
  • Hoarders (people who just keep, keep, keep, keep stuff just in case they might need it.  I also fall under this category).
  • Germaphobes (people who are deathly afraid of germs.  Not me.  I don't really care as long as your hands look clean).
  • Counters (people who count everything.  DEFINITELY not me.  I hate anything to do with math).
  • Tappers (people who tap).
  • Sinners/doubters.  We're all sinners, but in the context of OCD, sinners/doubters are the people who think about doing something bad (like pushing a person into an incoming bus) and go "oh my gargoyles, did I just think that?  Am I going to do that?  BODY, DON'T DO THAT.  Did I just do that?  UGH I'M A TERRIBLE PERSON."  I'm a sinner/doubter too.  Part of that whole imagination thing going on.
Evidently Voldemort is not a sinner/doubter because, I mean, a murderer of his caliber doesn't just fantasize about murdering something--he does it.

But after reviewing my brain of Voldemort facts, I conclude that Voldemort is a checker and a hoarder. Both forms of OCD.

For this part, I'm not going to use quotes because they're just too mainstream (and also, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is downstairs, and if I go downstairs I might run into my mom, who might ask me what I'm doing, and then I'll have to admit that I'm blogging instead of doing Spanish).  

Voldemort is a checker.

Fact:  Voldemort traveled to Albania on a WHIM just to find the Ravenclaw diadem, JUST TO MAKE IT INTO A HORCRUX.  

My word.  I mean, Voldemort can fly, but seriously?  Go all the way to Albania--which is a country, as in, BIG ENOUGH TO HOUSE A TON OF PEOPLE--to find some freaky legendary crown that might not even exist?  And even then it's not enough--he has to murder someone to make the horcrux!  Ugh! (Actually, that shouldn't be too hard...for him...)

 Voldemort confuses me sometimes!  Isn't it just easier to kick back, eat Every Flavor Beans, and think about taking over the world instead of actually doing it?  And saving lives in the process?

Voldemort is a hoarder.

Fact: Voldemort, as a young kid, took a mouth organ from some kid at his orphanage.

Granted, he lived in an English orphanage (and we all know the reputation of English orphanages in books).  But to be honest?  A mouth organ?  Now we know Voldemort definitely wasn't a germaphobe, because most of us would have been freaked out by the fact that our mouth touched a dude's possibly infected saliva.  And think about it--the dude was a Muggle.  Voldemort didn't know enough to detach himself from Muggle society, but he must've known he was different.  He probably didn't even want to play the mouth organ himself.  

What's the point of taking a mouth organ if he didn't play it?

Hoarded.  Exactly.



*****************

Now that I've finished my ridiculous spiel about how Voldemort is OCD, bipolar, and antisocial, let me just tell you that I do not believe he had any of those.  I was just trying to be funny (probably failed at that) and to educate you about those particular three disorders.  I also do not believe that people who are bipolar, OCD, and/or antisocial are exactly like Voldemort (so don't take that last section the wrong way).  People with severe bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and/or antisocial disorder need help, guys, especially if they're contemplating suicide or something because of it.  So I encourage you to take an interest in the people around you.  Who knows?  You could save a life.


Go out and be awesome.
-Rcubed

P.S.  Yes I was rushing the last part, because I really do need to do Spanish.








Sunday, February 23, 2014

TRAPPED Sunday Serial Part Twelve

Part Twelve
“It's perfect,” I tell them, munching on my pepperoni-and-mushroom pizza. “We fight.”
“Um...how?” Kenneth gestures at the Kennedys, then at himself, then at me. “Face it, Emily, you're totally bogus in the fighting area. We have four people who can fight. That's nothing against their two thousand.”
“Their two thousand who have nothing to do,” I point out. “The Kennedys—I forget who—said something about Amber being the brains of the operation. Mrs. Kennedy has Amber—the brains—trapped somewhere. I'll be the brains if I'm not the brawn. But look at me. Do I look trapped to you?”
All four of them size me up. I can feel the weight of their eyes traveling up and down all five feet of my narrow frame.
Kenneth shrugs. “Maybe not anymore.”
I give him a Glare Stare. “What do you mean, not anymore?”
“You were kinda out of it in the beginning.” He plays with a piece of pepperoni. “All defensive and stuff. I had a ton of fun getting a rise out of you. But now...you're actually doing something to help. And we're not arguing as much anymore.”
I open my mouth to say something scathing, then realize he might actually be right. Oh. Um.
“Okay, you're right,” I admit truthfully. “But my plan isn't simple.”
“We're listening,” Mrs. Kennedy says.
I take a deep breath. It feels weird, directing all of them. But I'd better get used to it. It's not like I can do anything else. “We take Amber, we disable all of them. We've disabled all of them so far. But not for long. We have to keep moving Amber. Either that, or get her to talk. And also, we have her.”
Kenneth blinks at me. “So?”
Soooo,” I drag the word out, “we can blackmail them.”
They just stare at me, their jaws dropping.

“Isn't that against the law?” Slick pipes up.
“No. They're the ones doing the bad things. We have to do whatever it takes to stop them. And besides.” I roll my eyes. “We're not going to, like, threaten to kill Amber. We can bargain for something simple but deadly for their freaky plan. An hour of inactivity.”
“An hour of inactivity?” Kenneth shakes his head. “Where did that come from?”
“We get them to promise that they won't budge an inch for an hour. Then we'll let them find Amber, we'll evacuate the place, and escape. Done deal.” It seems so easy.
Mr. Kennedy is crunching on pizza. “Well, that certainly sounds easy,” he begins, “but how many people are in the place?”
I shift from one foot to the other. “I'm not quite sure.”
“We should be able to cram everybody in an hour's time,” Kenneth says. He glances sideways at me. “According to Echo here, PFP isn't a very attractive amusement park.”
“I hate it,” I admit. “My family has been associated with this place since my dad was a baby.”
Mrs. Kennedy raises her eyebrows. “Then you should know it really well.”
“Well.” I think about it. I'm guessing nobody knows about the secret hallway between the girls' restroom and the middle of the catwalk at Phantom FunCoaster. Or the hidden doorway right by the Haunted House. “Yeah, I guess.”
“So we're in good hands,” Mrs. Kennedy presses.
I nod. “You can trust my instincts.” My voice doesn't quaver, despite the fact that my insides feel like jelly.
She claps her hands. “Good. Let's do this.”
Then we begin to flesh out our plan.

By the time I'm crouching in the dark by Mrs. Kennedy, my heart is racing and sweat is starting to dribble down the side of my forehead. What if it doesn't work out? What if we all die? Or go live in a colony?
This is terrible.
I shake the thoughts from my head and crouch by her. My Converse crunch gravel, and a sharp pain jabs up my leg.
I forgot about that. The roller coaster injuring me seems so long ago. Ages ago.

The plan is simple. Mrs. Kennedy and I are going to go guard and interrogate Amber. The boys are going to go scout out what's happening everywhere—how the conspiracy's defenses are set up, what the two thousand conspiracy men are doing.
This time, though, Mrs. Kennedy dug out her CommChips, little computer chips you insert in your ear that allows you to communicate with everyone else. It's a sweet device, and I hear Slick, Kenneth, and Mr. Kennedy conferring in my ear.
“Echo, we'll be running for a while,” she says to me, “so I thought I'd bring a friend along to chaffeur us to the location.” I catch a glimpse of gleaming white teeth.
I gulp. A friend? I've met more people today than I've ever met in my life.
She must have eagle eyes to see the expression on my face in the darkness. “Don't worry. This one can't talk too well.” With a swift motion, she puts her index finger and thumb in her mouth and releases a shrill whistle that just about pierces my eardrums.
I strain my ears, waiting.
Then, in the distance, a thump thump thump thump starts up, and it grows louder and louder until I see--




Friday, February 21, 2014

How Math Inspires My Life

I just thought that I'd remind you guys that today is FRIDAY!

(and please, for the time being, ignore the title of this post)

Friday: (Noun) The schoolday that all students adore.  Indicates goodwill, happiness, rainbows, and no school for forty-eight hours.

Also, The day that teachers decide to torture their students by assigning math, English, and Spanish homework.

I have a Performance Task and a worksheet due for math, a whole packet of Literature terms for English (due March 3rd, no exceptions), and a Writing Activity for Spanish.  I'm groaning most about the math...because A) I hate Performance Tasks and B) I have actual, real life homework.

#LifeofaHonorsStudent

#LifeofaProcrastinator

And while we're on the subject of math, let me explain the title: "How Math Inspires My Life."

While I'm completing math problems that are detrimental to my creativity and supposed right-brained-ness, I somehow manage to break free of the Common Core box by singing.  I usually sing while I do math.  Probably that's how I'm so good (kidding).  But seriously, I sing while doing math.  I sing "Ready or Not" (Bridgit Mendler), "Roar" (Katy Perry), and a bunch of other old songs that suit my mood and my one-octave vocal range (although I can do a mean Plumb rendition of "Don't Deserve You").  Sometimes I sing AJ Michalka's "All I Ever Needed" (from Grace Unplugged) because it's slow, and whenever I feel depressed about math I sing slow songs expressing my depressed-ness.

And other times, I sing songs that haven't been sung yet.  Weird songs.  Sometimes the words flow right out of my mouth, and other times I catch myself trying to rhyme "amazing" with "crazy."  

Well, this one particular time yesterday or so I was singing, and suddenly I realized that I had a really good rhyme thing going on.  I jotted it right down:

There is sorrow with the joy
Every girl for every boy
Every winner for the fight
Every day for every night
There are stars to see us through
When the bad catches up to you
When the war on earth is won
We'll stand up with the rising sun.

Okay, the last rhyme was stretching it, BUT STILL.

Don't ask me where that came from, because I don't know, but I have a sneaking suspicion it came from the sappy, glorious, hope-filled well of my oh-so-vibrant personality.

I don't really have a vibrant personality.  Sure, I buck out my dance moves once in a while, and sure, I sing while I'm playing tennis (doesn't do much for my tennis skills, but just in case a talent scout happens to march by...).  Whenever I hang out with my friends, though, I just sit there.  And eat.  And laugh.  And attempt to be funny, but really I'm only funny when I'm on my own terms.  And whenever I say something audible, it's about school.  Because most of the time, I feel like that's just all I can talk about at school.

It's really rather weird.

Speaking of weird stuff...my Health class has been really fun.  Seriously.  My teacher--we call him Mr. G--has weird facts, interesting injuries, and a great sense of humor.  For example, he has a quote of the "whenever I get around to changing it, so don't bug me about it."

One of my favorites was 
Dear Algebra,
I heard your X left you.
No, I don't know Y.

Geddit?  LOL.  For those of us vets who have bonded over mutual hate of Algebra I (HATE GRAPHING), we can look back on those days and laugh about it.

We talked about phobias the other day.  He said that one time he had a student who was afraid of buoys (like the bobbing things?  that you put in the water?  and are completely inanimate unless you use personification to describe something, which in that case is only figurative) and that he'd put up a picture of a buoy on the Smartboard, and the girl would freak and run out of the classroom.

Yeah.

And did you know that there's a phobia of being tickled by a feather?  Not just plain old tickled, mind you--tickled by a feather.

And there's a fear of vomiting; of bald people; of bathtubs; of writing in public; and of sleeping.  Oh, and the fear of long words is called:

hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia


(I copied and pasted that from Wikipedia.  I love words, but not enough to write that thing out).

Health is fun.

Today we watched a video and I did math homework, because Mr. G did something to a muscle in his shoulder and it hurt bad enough for him to not feel like lecturing.

I came home from tennis, grabbed my Kindle, and read Jenny B. Jones.

I think I'm going to write a full-blown post ranting about the A Charmed Life trilogy, because I seriously need to bust the author out for writing such a magnificent masterpiece.  Jones is no Charles Dickens, but she's, like, a master of literal laugh-out-loud humor.  I'm so glad I spent eight dollars of my precious Amazon gift card on those books.

Just to give you a taste of what it's like, I'm going to put a quote or two here:

"I stop picking the label off my water bottle long enough to notice Ruthie has once again colored her hair.  It looks like Barney held her at gunpoint and took her hair as hostage."

"Ruthie steals another fry off of my untouched plate.  'You could tell her how you feel.  I'm a firm believer in honesty.'  
         Budge does a double take.  'You told me you had a rare mouth disease for the first two weeks we dated so I wouldn't kiss you.'  
         'I wasn't exactly lying.  I was adding to my mystique.'  
         'I had to call my doctor to make sure all my shots were updated.'                            'Awwww....' Ruthie throws her arms around Budge.  'That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me.'"

Ruthie is by far the best thing that ever happened to Bella here.  Honestly.  Bella's hilarious narrative too--she's one of my favorite protagonists that I've read so far--but Ruthie is just divine.  PURRfect comic relief.  She even printed a "How to be a Sidekick" book off the Internet.  If that's not dedicated sidekickness, I don't know what is.

I found Jenny B. Jones' site off of Jill Williamson's site.  Jill Williamson writes on Go Teen Writers, the writing site I keep ranting about, and it just so happened today that I found a newsletter from Go Teen Writers in my inbox.

In it, they're announcing yet another contest: a 1,000 word contest, a reward for hitting 1,000 followers.  (They're at 984 followers, including yours truly).

And guess who the judge of it will be?

A literary agent, Amanda Luedeke, of the same literary agency Jenny B. Jones is represented by!

Ohmygargoyles...

So I went back, and read my stories, and, well, um, I looked at them sadly and thought, Heck.  I'm a terrible writer.  Seriously.  The beginnings of my stories suck.  I really need to spiff them up.

And I kind of got down on myself today.  Because I read my books and it's all like, um, OK.  Cool.  Can I get on with my life now?  Your characters aren't vibrant enough, you need a lot of help, and it's just a big mess of work.

Sucks to be down on yourself, big time.

But I shall PERSEVERE!  

I want a Twitter.  I find myself switching the bio on my Instagram account several times a day, and it just ain't working for me.  I also have a notepad on my phone entitled "Possible Tweets," and they're full of cliche, inspiration, and hilarious sayings.

As for the Goodreads account I'm yearning for...I'd love to connect with other people over books.

I've been listening to Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You."  I like it--light, bouncy, no remarkably bad message to it.  

*sighs*  This is a long post.

I was planning on posting more, but I think I'll quit now.  Your eyes are probably rotting out of the bone right now.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Snack Shack, Pitch Perfect, and 1 Girl Nation's Van

Well, heddo eberyduddy!

After a couple of days of blogger's block, I am proud to say that I have many new advances to report on the Rcubed frontier.

First on the agenda...The Ironic Parallelism of Real Life Choir & Pitch Perfect
Let me just say that I'm a weird person.  And this weird person sings in the most random places, including school.  Including walking to class, sorting out Spanish material while everybody else is yakking away, and completing the *ahem* evolutionary timeline.  Oh...and did I mention I also sing in the stall?

I was singing "Roar" by Katy Perry in the stall when I came out (and envisioning myself totally besting the girl who sang it last night on American Idol).  This girl was standing by the sinks, and all of a sudden she asks, "Were you the one singing?"

I couldn't help but be struck by the incredible parallelism of my experience with Pitch Perfect.  (Beca and I aren't exactly alike, though).

I said, "Yeah."

"You should totally sign up for choir!  We have signup sheets by the choir room at lunch and at break," she said.

My first thought was, Where's the choir room?  
My second thought was, This is SO like Pitch Perfect.
My third thought was, That's what people have been telling me!  Because my singing areas include the tennis courts (where I do a little hop-skip-and-jump routine to my singing), the lunch table (I'm not a big talker when I'm surrounded by brighter personalities, but I DO sing), and other various public places.

While all this was going through my mind, somehow my mouth managed to mangle the words "Oh, yeah, I was thinking about it."  I'm not the person to go for if you want to talk to strangers.

 I'm not quite sure if I can fit it in my schedule next year...because I want to do newspaper and all honors/AP classes.  And then I actually want to have time to write...

We'll see.

Second on the agenda: I HAVE A JOB!!!!!

Kind of.  See, my brother plays Little League, and it's always been a distant dream of mine to work at the Snack Shack there.  And as of today, after my mom--yes, I'm still a baby--e-mailed the person in charge, I HAVE A JOB THERE.  I think I'll be getting paid.  

So it will be a PAYING JOB.  

Oh my gargoyles, I'm kind of freaking out right now.  (Plus side of being a "mature, responsible" teenager).

Oh, did I ever mention that one of the people there couldn't spell doughnut right?  It was in one of my younger days when I thought that everybody actually cared about spelling.  They spelled doughnut dougnut.

We actually called the person out and asked them if they could correct it.  They did, but only after we told them that there was an h in doughnut.

I vow to all my loyal customers that I will spell "doughnut" right.  And not the cheap version where you omit the "gh."  The full, gen-u-ine Krispy-Kreme-eight-letter word.  Doughnut.


Also, 1 GIRL NATION!
I haven't really talked much about them here (wait, have I?).  Their songs sound a little too similar, if you ask me, and right now I'm digging deep into my soul and listening to the likes of Skillet and Plumb--BUT I am still an avid supporter of them and right now I want to promote their Kickstarter Campaign!

If you don't want to watch the video on the link, basically they're saying that they need a van that WON'T BREAK DOWN (unlike walls, hahahahahahahalol..geddit...breaking down the walls...) ANYWAY they're raising $30,000 for their van, and they need it within the next twenty-nine days.  As of this instant, they're only at $235, which, although it's a nice lump sum, is nowhere near $30,000.

SO...I order you...GO AND PLEDGE AT LEAST ONE DOLLAR.  Every bit counts, and I want their ministry to continue through use of the van.  GO.  I don't care if you don't listen to them...pledge ten dollars and then buy the record.  

Oh, and also...if you just happen to have $5,000 lying around...look at the pledge rewards, and consider asking them to come and play at your daughter's birthday party or something!  I also suggest looking at the rewards and dreaming about singing backup on their new album or help write their songs, because if you donate enough money, you can receive the opportunity to do that.

I don't want to blow half of my college fund on something like this, but if you're a superrich guy or something...maybe being a backup singer is your calling.

Who knows?  Maybe the next Justin Bieber will be recognized!

Just saying..leave your options open and help them!!

(Oh, and I think I'm going to do the $10 one.  Where you get the autographed picture.  And when they're famous and I'm wrinkled and gray, I'll tell my grandkids..."Look!  I own a piece of 1 Girl Nation's van!")



........................

During my "blogger's block" (which wasn't any big deal, just...weird), I wandered around doing various things. 

Since I've been listening to Plumb more, I drew her Need You Now album cover.  I'm not the best artist...but it's a passable depiction, I believe.



I meant to make the lettering all cool, but then realized that I kinda failed at that.

I've been steadily gaining on Snow in July (I REALLY NEED A NEW TITLE), TRAPPED, and I completed two Lily Potter posts.  I also managed to write the first several pages of a new possible project, and I'm getting excited.  

I'm also planning on asking my dad for a Twitter. 
I should really do a post on the A Charmed Life trilogy by Jenny B. Jones, because those books are HILARIOUS.  
So, I'm busy.

Cheerio,
Rcubed :D


















Sunday, February 16, 2014

TRAPPED Sunday Serial Part Eleven

Part Eleven
Mrs. Kennedy steps past me. “So that's why nobody came running in when Karl started yelling,” she comments coolly, scanning the area with her eyes.
The bodies of crumpled guards are scattered around the floor. They're knocked out.
“Who would do this?” Kenneth asks, shock and delight inflected in his voice.
“I would.”
The tone is gravelly, masculine. We turn.
Then Slick shouts, “Daddy!” and runs into the arms of a short, squat, beefy man with a brown buzz-cut. The man scoops him up as Mrs. Kennedy strides over to where her husband stands. “Finally, Fred,” she says, “I was beginning to think you'd abandoned us.”
“What, and be a second Amber Talina Sharpina Harttmin?” Mr. Fred Kennedy says, revealing a bunch of gaps in his teeth with the grin. Then he puts Slick down and checks his watch. “Reinforcements are coming. We'd better get them all to a safe zone and debrief them.”
“You know, what's exactly what your wife said,” Kenneth remarks as we start hurrying down the hallway.
“Well, I guess that's why I married her,” Mr. Kennedy answers, shooting Mrs. Kennedy a look. “You know. We share the same mind, same soul. Just not the same body—we take out more bad guys with two.”
“It's husband-wife telepathy,” Kenneth tells me knowingly. “I have it all figured out,”
“Oh, I bet you do,” I reply as the Kennedys begin jogging down a long green-lit passageway. “You have everything figured out, don't you?”
“Most things.” We rush to catch up with the Kennedys. They reach a control panel with a ton of buttons installed on the side of the wall.
Mr. Kennedy makes a tsk-tsk noise with his teeth, leaning close to the panel but not touching it. “Foolish, foolish Karl. Never did have much--”
“--sense, did he?” Mrs. Kennedy finishes. She looks down at Slick. “Stand back, kids.”
“Why?” Kenneth asks as we slide back against the opposite wall.
In one swift, fluid movement, Mr. Kennedy tosses a hacky-sack. It lands on the panel of buttons.
With a big bang, a cloud of smoke, and a ton of heat, the panel disappears, raining down tiny sharp pieces of metal around my hair and onto my head.
Behind the panel lies a long carpeted hallway. Sconces light the way.
Alarms begin to ring, and without a second thought, we all rush into the hallway.
Every time we pass by a sconce, it flickers out and dies, plunging the section of hallway behind us into pitch-black silence. “Almost there,” breathes Mr. Kennedy after several minutes of furious jogging.
I'm huffing and puffing and don't bother to respond.
The ground goes upward until it's so steep I can barely take a step.
Shouts behind us give me the strength to continue.
“Do you want me to carry you on my back?” Kenneth asks courteously.
I give him a Glare Stare. “That trek through the water was enough, thank you,” I tell him, my voice as sharp as the pieces of metal hanging off my hair.
“Sheesh, I was just trying to be nice,” he says as we stop, blinking in the bright sunlight.
I stifle a sigh as I recognize my surroundings. “Oh my gosh. This is a safe zone?”
It's the Haunted House pizzeria kitchen.
“It's safer than--” Mrs. Kennedy starts.
“--other places in the park,” Mr. Kennedy ends, leading us towards the stainless steel appliances. Slick closes the passageway behind us, and it clicks locked with a thud.
“That should keep them out,” he says with childlike delight.
“Refreshments?” Mrs. Kennedy asks, opening the refrigerator and taking out toppings and pieces of dough. “We'll be staying in here a while, so might as well--”
“--have something to eat,” Mr. Kennedy cuts in smoothly, grabbing a hunk of dough with his dirt-encrusted hands.
My mind is whirling, with all sorts of questions and answers and a whole lot of confusion.
“So what's the plan?” Kenneth apparently has the same idea as I do. “What do we do? Are we going to, like, take them down?”
“Not right now.” Mr. Kennedy steals a look at the clock that innocently ticks on the wall. “What's the--”
“--point?” Mrs. Kennedy adds. “We're obviously outnumbered. We have a couple of hours to think what to do.” Then, not believing my ears, I actually hear her laugh. Cackle, actually, but in a good way.
So not the Mrs. Kennedy that I'm used to. What happened to go the go-getter attitude I met after riding down the chute?
Kenneth and I exchange looks. “What's going on?” I ask. “Did something happen? Did, like, an atomic bomb blast their HQ to bits or something? Can I go home?”
A slight pang in the stomach as I voice the word home. Oh. Never before in my life have I wanted to leave Phantom FunPark so badly as now.
Slick pipes up, “Mrs. Kennedy imprisoned Amber!”
“An obvious backfire.” Mr. Kennedy is grinning, as if he's hugely enjoying this moment. “My wife knows her stuff.”
“Imprisoned?” Stunned with the news, I turn to Mrs. Kennedy. “What?”
“I hid Amber in a place they're probably not going to figure out for a couple more hours yet.” Mrs. Kennedy just grins whitely as she pats out a large pizza.
“But won't they just go ahead and do everything they're planning on doing?” Kenneth asks.
“What are they planning on doing, anyway?” I say.
Mr. Kennedy shrugs. “We're not quite sure, but everybody knows that Amber's the brains of the entire shebang.”
Everybody knows? From Kenneth's face, I'm guessing the rather important bit of information is news to him too.
“I didn't!” I inform her indignantly. “And when Mr. Harttmin cornered us...he said they were planning something bigger than just, you know, stealing from people. What are they planning?”
“They're planning on kidnapping the people in the park and bringing them to the colony.” Mr. Kennedy speaks with assurance. “Amber lacks the creativity to think beyond that.”
“Then why bring us in?” Kenneth and I ask at the same time.
“Hey, you're starting to sound like Mommy and Daddy!” Slick pipes up, looking from me to Kenneth to me again.
Awkward silence.
Mrs. Kennedy breaks it. “We don't have arugula, Mr. Bored, but sausage, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni will do, right? With vinegar and olive oil sprinkled on it?”
Kenneth gapes at her. “How did you know my order?” he asks.
“I wasn't able to finagle the details of Amber's plan out of her, but I was able to retain some information about you two.” Mrs. Kennedy winks at him, then turns to me, Mr. Kennedy sliding Kenneth's pizza into the oven at the exact same time. “You're kind of a plain cheese type of person, aren't you, Echo?”
I open my mouth. Yes, I'm a plain-cheese type of person, but I'm feeling extra hungry. It was probably ten o' clock at night. I'd been through a lot.
“I'll go for some pepperoni and mushroom pizza,” I tell her.
She arches an eyebrow as she starts slapping toppings onto my pizza. “Amber said that you didn't seem like a very interesting person.”
A slow cooker of anger starts to boil in my stomach. “She said that?”
How dare she.
“Amber's right.” I turn to glare at Kenneth. “You aren't a very interesting person, Emily,” he remarks, peering at his pizza through the oven screen. “Me, on the other hand...” His hand creeps up and slicks back his hair.
I scowl. “You've got your old movie-star charm coming back, Mr. Bored.”
“I know, right?” He doesn't look at me.
Mrs. Kennedy suddenly becomes very interested in making my pizza. “Anywhoo,” she says cheerfully—can Mrs. Kennedy actually be cheerful? I wonder for a long moment—I'll pop these right in and we'll have a good meal for once.”
“But back to the main issue,” I say. “Why bring harmless outsiders like Mr. Bored and me to start a rebellion against a conspiracy idea that she's thought up? I mean, what's the point in all this?”
Long, long pause as Mrs. Kennedy slides my pizza into the oven. The sound of grating metal shatters the silence.
“We're not sure,” Mr. Kennedy says softly. “But whatever it is, it's nothing good. Amber always was--”
“--no good,” Mrs. Kennedy joins in, his voice and her voice blending into perfect harmony of sadness.
“I can't believe this,” Kenneth mutters. “What do we do now?”
“Answers,” I say into the darkened silence.
Everyone looks at me.
“We find answers,” I repeat, feeling brave and courageous...for once.
“And how would we do that, Emily?” Kenneth looks very, very weary.
I look at each one of them in turn.

“We fight,” I say.