To fly, or not to fly…

I went skydiving for the first time.

Now, to be fair, it was indoor skydiving. Because as much of an adrenaline rush I would get if I was free-falling from 10,000 feet high, the inherent paranoia of my parachute failing to open (not to mention this being my first time) erred me towards the side of caution. Falling 40 feet seemed daunting enough, much less 10,000. But it was still a wicked, wicked experience.

The place we went to offers 4 minutes of a nonstop adrenaline rush as you’re propelled upwards by giant fans to places Man was never meant to go. Guided all the while, of course, by an experienced instructor, who knows exactly when and where to pluck you out of 120 mph winds lest you go crash-tumbling into windows. Ouch!

(Fortunately, that didn’t happen to me…too much. Haha!)

At any rate, it was completely exhilarating, and I definitely recommend it. Being somewhat introverted and cautious myself, it was a great way to explore something intense without the inherent risks of unconsciousness and, well, death.

It’s also really fun to watch all the other first-timers in your class float (or fall) through the air, and laugh about it afterwards!

I can fly!

Swept away: Rockies vs. Giants

Yesterday, Boyfriend and I (and his family) decided we’d all take advantage of the blistering summer weather and go see a Colorado Rockies game! They also have a Japanese exchange student staying with them, so it was really fun to take her with us to hit up the sun and introduce her to the American tradition of baseball, beer, and hot dogs!

Overall, it was a lot of fun. I had only been to a professional league baseball game once before with my dad, and while it was wonderful to get in some much-needed father-daughter bonding time, it also happened to be one of the most boring spectating experiences I had ever endured in my spoiled little childhood. Apparently watching baseball live, as a wise young soul once told me, is almost identical to watching ESPN in a sports bar. It’s something you do with your friends, that makes for great background noise (or to watch if there’s a major lull in conversation), but it’s only really fun to watch so long as it’s not the primary form of entertainment.

Of course, watching your team get slaughtered by the San Francisco Giants…not so fun.

After a demoralizing 8-3 sweep, I came to the conclusion that the Rockies kind of desperately need another pitcher (with Tulowitzki off the roster and all). Especially after they decided to switch out the pitcher four times. Granted, the first time this happened it was like a breath of fresh air; Unknown Pitcher #1 was admittedly not doing so hot. (Two runs in the first inning? Yikes.) Unknown Pitcher #2, unfortunately, followed suit.  After they tossed some miscellaneous name onto the mound for the third time I started to get the feeling that our team was throwing random newbies (heck, for all I know, maybe front row spectators) onto the mound in a vain, last-ditch attempt to make some spontaneous comeback.

Consequently, this is what happens when we only have one star player to fill one spot. Lesson learned, perhaps?

But hey, the hot dogs were good, the beer was good, and it was great to get outside and enjoy the last days of summer! So as a not-so-hardcore sports fan, I’d say the day was still a yummy success!

First batter

Game on!

On a slightly unrelated note (and for all you Rockies fanatics), it looks like Helton’s out for the season too–how unfortunate! Looks like the Rockies can say good-bye to some of their best players for this season, yikes! (Click here for the full update!)

Return from hiatus.

Well, it’s good to be back.

Not that I have had much of an excuse for leaving in the first place since, admittedly, a seven month hiatus is a bit on the long side. Ironically enough, it was succumbing to the hedonistic antics of senior fever and summer vacation in the first place that left me more restless than refreshed, and aching to return to my writing roots.

So here goes. As far as personal updates go, I guess the big news is that I turned twenty-one the other day. One would think it’s time to celebrate, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately, it seems as though 2012 must have it out for me, for this summer has been marred by a number of tragedies. Statewide wildfires leaving thousands of families homeless and blazing through acres of nature? Check. Midnight homicides culminating in one of the deadliest shootings in American history? Check. Spontaneous trips to the emergency room? Check. It seems as though I’ve woken up to the sound of sirens and a general atmosphere of discontent these past few days, which can be quite the downer.

In the wake of this sudden, rather bleak outlook on life, it’s moments like these that a.) I remember that I’m quite the hopeless optimist, and b.) I’m proud to be one. For starters, I admire our community’s resilience in the face of fortitude, whether it be Mother Nature or misguided men. I hold nothing but the highest respect for those fantastic men and women who voluntarily rose to combat these trials, proving to the rest of us that heroes aren’t born, they’re made. I value the lesson I’ve learned in the wake of my father’s sudden trip to the ICU; namely, that the relationships with your loved ones are dear, and must be cultivated and cherished. I would imagine it to be tragic indeed if relationships were lost with things left unsaid, or love unshared.

Gosh, that was rather mellow.

On a brighter note, Boyfriend and Boyfriend’s Dad somehow prodded me into joining them in this year’s Rocky Mountain State games! (Which will be taking place bright and very, very, regrettably early tomorrow.)  At the very least, these badminton tournaments are actually quite fun to watch, so the on-court adrenaline, social atmosphere, and all around fun will make tonight’s lack of sleep tonight a worthy trade off, I’m sure.  Personally, I’d feel more confident about participating were it not for an injured ankle, messed up hip, and crippling, mysterious pains shooting up my calves that seem to be setting back my gameplay as of late…

Sorry, Effie…I don’t think the odds are very much in my favor this year.

(But wish me luck anyway!)

Elastic Smile

For class, our final project was to write a creative piece and then publish it. Not so much publish in the classical sense, with editors, and book signings, and fame and glory, but instead to reinterpret the meaning, figure out what publishing meant to us as individuals, and expand on those ideas. My partner LaRissa and I took publishing to mean a “relinquishing of control,” for once a work is out and accessible to the public, then it is out there, and can’t be revised, and the short story we created for our final projects this idea. As a two-person collaboration, the writing style of the story differs piece by piece, showing our own lack of control with the direction of the plot line. Basically, the heroine suffers the last moments of her downward-spiraling personal journey, due to the inability to control her own fate.

To top it off, we’re “publishing” our creative story in segments to Tumblr, and it’s exciting–and a little intimidating–to have such a personal piece so exposed to the public! Forewarning: its definitely a darker piece, and not typical of my writing style, but nonetheless it was fun to branch out into a different genre. Here’s a preview of the next segment–to be released tomorrow–of Elastic Smile.

He waits for her, downstairs, listening to the heavy sounds of her feet dragging across cheap carpet. The echoes are comparable to a circus elephant rummaging through a whiskey cabinet and he smiles at her lack of grace, though his eyes remain cold. She remained out all night after he left her, which would have been mildly irritating. But then she brought home that idiot. Again. Absently, he twirls the small knife through his fingers; the long, lanky joints immune to the blade as it passes over and under them, then over again. His fingers are sticky, coated in thick, translucent juice. Like a sociopath, he licks his lips, relishing the taste of his latest victim. Savoring the tangy sweetness, the forgotten knife clatters back to the countertop, atop the massacred orange in the bowl of fruit. It becomes evident what he’s been doing to pass the time.

To read it from the beginning, check it out here!

Things I Would Say to 16-Year-Old Me.

Now, I have to admit, when I was a high school senior, I thought I was on top of the world. Straight A’s, freshmen minions to do my bidding, the best friends anyone could ask for, managing life between schoolwork and school events; high school had dictated my life through four crucial years of adolescence. And I thought I was rocking it. But the funny thing about highschoolers is, they’re strangely disagreeable to the idea that perhaps they don’t know everything about life. And little did I know it then, but even I didn’t know everything there was to know about life. Four years later, I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing. (But at least I can acknowledge that now, ha!) Nonetheless, there’s still some wisdom I’ve obtained, wisdom that could be duly imparted onto my past high school self. Sixteen-year-old-me, if there is any sort of warp in the time space continuum, this is my advice to you…

1. Is it just me, or can the life of practically every 16-year-old girl be described in one hyphenated word? Self-centered. Completely, utterly self-centered. Not that I’m condoning the behavior of every adolescent female (and male, for that matter–pull your pants up, please!); from a psychological perspective, it almost makes sense. Humans, after all, are instinctively social, attention-seeking creatures. It also explains why any other adolescent-populated social event becomes an attention-fueled Battle Royale. (Honestly, is Homecoming Queen something you’ll really be able to put on your résumé?) But I digress.

During this point in our life, sometimes insignificant things can take precedence over relationships, and sometimes relationships get taken for granted. Of course, your family will always be there (out of obligation), but your friends won’t. And you will regret losing wonderful friends because you took them for granted. On that note, don’t take your relationships with family for granted, either. You might think you know everything (you don’t), and that no other opinion matters (they do). Your parents love you, even in this demonic stage of your life. They’ve also got at least 20 years of experience on you, and some things just can’t be learned out of books, or IB courses. Respect that. Love them. You’re going to regret wasting those years of unnecessary conflict when they’re not there anymore. Life is too short.

2. Forget your insecurities. You are a BEAUTIFUL, intelligent, engaging young woman. Who cares about what other people say? They don’t know you, and you’re not living your life to satisfy them. Besides, it’s true when people say we are our own worst critics. That tiny speck on your nose you call a zit is not something most other people are going to notice, and if they do happen to notice, it’s still not something they are going to hold against you. It’s just a zit. Everyone your age has them. So project yourself with confidence, because true beauty lies within. Let her out and let her shine.

3. Start opening up to people! Not everyone will hate you if you “disrupt their personal space” just by talking to them. In fact, they’ll probably warm up to the conversational, extroverted young woman more than the shy, isolated, antisocial one. You’re fun, you’re endearing, you’re quirky and unique. You don’t need to hide that.  There is just as much to be learned from the social sphere as in academia, and trust me, you’ll enjoy life more if you put yourself out there. It’s intimidating, but the next time you’re eyeing that potential-girlfriend-candidate at the next table and wondering if she secretly hates you, remember that you’re probably not the only one mustering up the courage to be social.

4. Stand up for yourself. There will come a time when you’re going to have to choose between pleasing others and pleasing yourself. And as much as you don’t want to hurt anyone, you HAVE to live your life for yourself. These are your golden years, and life’s too short to be a pushover. If you want to be a writer, then by all means, BE a writer. Don’t pursue that biochemistry major, even though you hate math and chemistry, just because everyone else says a B.S. is better for your life than a B.A. First of all, it isn’t true. Secondly, it’ll save you a lot of grief in the near future if you choose to do what YOU want to do, and not what others expect of you.

5.  Love isn’t the only thing that matters. You’re going to meet a wonderful man soon, and you’re going to think he is the pillar of your existence, that everything revolves around him, and that everyone else is irrelevant. The first love is a wonderful feeling, but don’t forsake your other relationships just to cling to that one. More importantly, when love wanes, either learn to communicate through the problems, or let it go. And remember: just because one relationship fails doesn’t mean you’re doomed the eternally single state. Perhaps you weren’t ready, or perhaps you weren’t compatible. Don’t take a breakup to heart. Instead, take advantage of the time for you to grow as an individual. Find out who you are without relying on someone else. Be strong. Be true to yourself. Cherish the memories. But be willing to move on.

You have a beautiful life to live, so take advantage, get out there, and live it! Yes, there will be ups and downs, and at times it will be difficult. But that’s okay. Find the strength to be weak. No one will think less of you if you need to lean on someone else. That’s what friends and family are there for, and they love you. Living life for yourself doesn’t mean cutting everyone else out. Just take it one day at a time, and enjoy every moment.

Remember, happiness comes from the little things in life.

Dear Disney, You’ve Ruined My Life…

So I went and watched Tangled the other day. Great movie. It actually made me cry (and for the record, I’ve never cried at a movie before–not even for Titanic, or The Notebook, or some other emotional, sappy movie) during this one really happy part, when Rapunzel and Flynn are singing a duet on a lake, and there are lanterns everywhere, and it’s really romantic, and they’re about to–

–Oh, right. Spoiler alert? Whoops.

Anyway, after I overcame the post-Disney-Princess-utopia euphoria, it got me thinking. Why do we buy into all of these unreal expectations of love, and ‘happily-ever-after?’ We’ve outgrown the sunshine, rainbows, and Lucky Charms phase of life. We‘re not five anymore. We’ve experienced the horrors of reality, and we’ve coped with all those pesky life problems that Disney didn‘t prepare us for. Yet sometimes we just can’t help but fall into that wishful, romantic pattern of thinking that lands us right back into deep water (and our pre-pubescent years).

Personally, I was heartbroken when I realized that no matter how many times I attempted to sing out a window, adorable fuzzy woodland animals would not come to my aid, be my minions, and bake pies for me. Once, a mosquito flew into my mouth. But then I swallowed it, and that was that. No fluffy bunnies, no cheerful squirrels, no bluebirds to sing a duet with me while we washed and dried the dishes together. No bashful turtles to add comedic effect. Nada.

My childhood innocence was lost that day.

But then I hit puberty, and all of a sudden boys stopped being these gross, snot-covered, appallingly rude, mean little things…and started becoming these rather cute, endearing, funny little…things. Still, us girls had to stick together, and any potential, heart-seeking candidates had to fit our universal, perfect-prince criteria. The ideal “boy-friend” had to be smart, funny, able to spontaneously burst into song and dance numbers, have an enchanted object of sorts (be it a carpet, or a mirror, or a candlestick), and have a castle/love-nest tucked away in the forest that was somehow ignored by the rest of society, not to mention look exquisitely dashing in tights and a slashed doublet. Any man who didn’t meet at least 85% of the requirements was immediately overlooked.

Well, sorry to burst your bubbles, ladies.

We will never find a guy that can sing perfect-pitch AND have effortlessly perfect hair AND be able to smile for hours on end to show off his blinding white teeth AND be an expert equestrian AND fight a dragon without emerging unscathed AND have magical lips that are somehow able to wake you from your enchanted slumber (provided you fall into one) AND be codependent-while-still-maintaining-that-manly-independent-lifestyle AND be a prince in disguise AND still be attractive AND that good of a kisser.

Disney's Enchanted

Does not exist.

We must also come to terms with the fact that no matter how much we diet, apply makeup, and otherwise attempt to look utterly plastic (since when did this become the new beauty ideal, anyway?), we will still never look like Barbies, and have 38-20-35 body measurements. Nor will we ever be able to achieve that naturally soft, voluminous, flouncy mane of hair that seems to defy gravity, even with that extra-hold hairspray. Nor will we have color-changing, overly sparkly eyes that span half our faces, with massive eyelashes to boot, and those perfectly arched eyebrows. Airbrushed skin? Gone. Extremely tiny, doll-like hands to match the aforementioned, equally unrealistic anorexic figures Disney says we ought to have? Probably not, unless you’re creepy. Best friends that are tigers, raccoons, or midget chameleons?

If only.

Sad day for puppy…

So apparently, Boyfriend’s Sister’s black Labrador, Jack, has parvo. Parvo, or Canine parvovirus Type 2, is a nasty little bug most easily transmitted through feces; in terms of contamination, it is pretty much the equivalent of the Ebola virus for humans. Fortunately for us humans, CPV2 only affects dogs, so at the very least mankind doesn’t have to worry about another terrifying, mass pandemic. Unfortunately, this highly contagious virus is still enjoying itself  at the expense of our canine friends, and if left untreated, puppies (like Jack) are doomed to a grisly 91% mortality rate.  According to Wikipedia, there are two types of parvo: intestinal and cardiac, the latter being the more severe of the two.

The common signs of the intestinal form are severe vomiting and dysentary. The cardiac form causes respiratory or cardiovascular failure in young puppies.

(Thanks, Wiki!)

Now, as an avid dog lover, the thought of 9 out of 10 adorable, two-month-old puppies vomitting, bleeding, and otherwise being miserable is not a very happy thought. Oh, and the whole dying thing. That’s bad too.

Fortunately, Boyfriend’s Sister had the general common sense to take poor little Jack to the veterinary emergency room, which allegedly increases the survival rate to 80%, at least according to Wikipedia awesomeness. And of course, being me, I somehow translated that to mean veterinary hospitals were now so high-tech and amazing that merely entering one projects an aura of instant healing upon sick animals, thereby curing them.

If only that were the case, because then Jack would be insta-cured, and I could play with a happy, healthy puppy tomorrow!

But no. Jack is still a sad, sick little puppy. Poor dear, I hope he feels better soon.

 

UPDATE, 12/6: Jack finally came home from the emergency room! And aside from the little cone wrapped around his poor little head, he’s doing much better.  Yay!

End of an Era.

Warner Bros. Harry Potter

Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Being awesome.

Oh, Harry Potter. A name as recognizable, if not more so, than Prince, or Cleopatra, or even Cinderella. However, unlike music sensations, ancient queens, or fabled damsels-in-distress-with-foot-fetishes, Harry Potter trumps it all: he is “The Boy Who Lived.”

[momentary pause for awe]

I still remember the good old days when the first book came out. I was eleven then, just like Harry was, and living the mundane, Muggly (yes, I just turned Muggle into an adjective) life of a normal person. But that wasn’t good enough. My one desire, to become a wizard, became an all-consuming need. I absolutely had to be a wizard. And, like the rest of my HP fanatic peers, I waited day after day for that specially-trained owl to come and deliver my acceptance letter to the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To help my odds, I tried to make myself as little of an inconvenience as possible. I saved the Sorting Hat some trouble and picked out my house (Slytherin), and even chose a suitable wand (birch, ten and three-quarters inches, phoenix feather). The wand may choose the wizard, as they say, but I was getting impatient.

And the letter never came.

By the time Book Two came out, I still hadn’t lost hope. Maybe I was just a wizardly-challenged student; after all, nowhere in the books did it explicitly forbid twelve-year-old first years, to my knowledge. At any rate, Harry Potter was still in. In fact, I remember that our entire middle school dedicated a field trip day to see Chamber of Secrets in theaters. That was pretty epic. Books Three and Four were just as exciting, and for me, their book releases were the equivalent to major holidays. Of course, by this time I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t get to share in the wizarding adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but that didn’t stop the books from being exciting.

Come Book Five, personal growth and a long hiatus between books had caused me to start doubting the Harry Potter universe. I questioned my career choice: perhaps wizarding wasn’t for the wise. Oh, and was it just me, or did the plot inexplicably become darker, too? There was still some boyhood spirit in Goblet of Fire, but come the fifth book, Harry had morphed into the emo, antisocial elitist of the last three books. And since I still consider Harry-of-Books-Five-through-Seven a different character than the Harry of the first four books, let’s call the older one Dark Harry. And it wasn’t just him. Hormones, drama, and mass genocide had taken an unprecedented turn.

Nonetheless, pop culture had ingrained the mere concept of Harry Potter into our generation, so I dutifully read the Dark Harry saga as well. It was still good, when I didn’t associate it with the pre-god complex, more innocent Harry days. But then Dumbledore died, followed by Snape, then Harry, then Voldemort. And yes, in that order. (Personally, I think Harry getting resurrected is stretching the story a bit, not to mention probably fostering his already-overblown ego, but hey, Rowling made it work.)

My point is, the past almost-decade has been near nonstop Potter-mania. The revival of the Catholic schoolgirl outfit, bi-colored, thick-striped knit scarfs, and even capes, are all fashion comebacks thanks to this wizard phenomenon. It’s almost depressing to see the hype finally dwindle down to a close. Even more so after the temporary Potter-mania resurfaced, revitalizing the already-anticipated première of Deathly Hallows: Part II. It’s nostalgic to reminisce about our generation’s fading childhood, but I find it more depressing to think about the neo-adolescent cult classic. Now, future teens worldwide will be mindlessly dictated by the likes of Bella and Edward (or Jacob). We may have lost the icon of our childhood, but at least we didn’t lose our souls (and to a wimpy, blood-sucking egomaniac, at that).

Good bye, Harry. It was a good run.

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