Sunday, August 31, 2008

I think I'm going to give up now. On being the queen of smooth, poise, etc. It's not that I ever was; perhaps I harbored the idea that going to college would enact an immediate change in my personality.

Hah (or as one of my suitemates likes to write, ‘hahahahahaha’). I have stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I care to think about in the last few days. And believe me, with Houston weather, my shoes are nasty.

The story: Until this past week, only one, maybe two people who know me have read this blog. I'm still mostly anonymous to most of my readers (although I might get to meet Raewyn soon...). One of my suitemates started reading last week. She laughs a lot when reading. (Let this serve as a hint I'm glad I'm worth at least a good laugh.

You know that last entry about the unexpected teammate? Well, while we were talking a few days ago, I foolishly mentioned I had a blog, and even more foolishly forgot the URL was on my facebook page.

An except of 'Aaron's' comment: "Charafictiphobia- The fear of becoming the inspiration for a fictional character created by a writer."

Yeah. The flavor of the day is Brooks GTS Adrenaline, model 7, color blue, size 8.5. The dirt from this morning's run is particularly crunchy. And I detect more vegetable nutrients in the grass shards from the soccer fields than I usually eat in a week. So those fire alarms you heard this morning? That was the heat rising from my ever-reddening face. (Such a character marker! Except I don't remember having quite this reaction before. Maybe being a secluded homeschooler wasn’t so bad after all. JK.)

The last two days had been good, maybe not what I'd call 'average' days, but nothing particularly bizarre/irritating/embarrassing (*clears throat, addressing ‘Aaron’* And meeting you again falls into the category of straight unbelievable). I thought the bulk of the weirdness/jaw-drop factors had passed. And therein lies my fatal mistake: I let myself get lulled into boredom. Now I shake my head at my naivety. I should have known.

A friend gave me this piece of advice before I started school: Don't get cocky.

I don't think I ever was cocky, but I am now definitely humbled. There is no possibility of me pulling any high-hat look-down-the-nose stunts now (I certainly hope and don't think I would have done that a couple weeks ago, but still). All I can do is laugh at myself now. I am past hope of being idolized as the flawless queen of cool.


I sigh, shaking my head dolefully at the computer screen. I hoped it would not come to this. But it is time. I crack my knuckles (not really) and pull up Internet Explorer. Soon enough I am slipping through the dark corners of the Web, searching for the software I need most urgently. I pass over several items as inferior. It is time for a new level of subterfuge, deeper cover of my identity. "Ah, yes," I murmur. I find my prey, a cute little program disguised as a package of Twinkies on eBay.

I know what lurks behind the innocent picture of cake tubes stuffed with white goop. Anyone who gave it a few moments thought would know as well. Twinkies have undergone the most rigorous scientific testing (i.e. being baked for hours, being dropped off a building, being submerged in water for 24 hours, etc) without suffering severe structural damage. They're nearly indestructible (not to mention indigestible). No one in their right mind would buy these from a grocery store (goes to show we have some serious problems in America), much less from eBay for twice the going rate.

I place my order, rubbing my hands together (yeah, so you all know I'm not doing that either. Just play along?). Once I hack into 'Aaron Nessick's' facebook account (shh!) and get his IP address, I will program it into this software. The instant he tries accessing my blog, the software will send the electronic equivalent of a Twinkie to his computer.

A sappy Hallmark e-card embedded with a virus.

Think about it! It looks okay from the outside, rather common, but sweet. Once it's opened - destruction! (Alright, I admit, you won't die from biting into a Twinkie. I think).

So, Aaron, you've been warned. Beware Hallmark cards.


The rest of the day has been painfully placid. Before I would yawn. Now I am wary, checking my surroundings, waiting for the next embarrassing incident surely lurking in the shadows.

I wonder what Crocs taste like.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Am I going to be able to breathe today?

Well. As much as people have been flipping out about my age, I find it ironic I forgot today was my birthday until one of my suitemates said something about it. That may have to do with the mental exhaustion of reading an entire Presocratics book in a day, along with two acts of Julius Caesar, and two chapters of Bible commentaries. I'm not complaining, mind you. I just haven't been reading at a level of this intensity or sheer volume in a long time. I'll live. And thrive, hopefully.

I don't feel any older, really. I usually don't on birthdays, so no disappointment there. Until about three today, I have no classes, so I'll stretch, study, stretch more, organize, etc. At about two or three o'clock, I'll pack - my first cross-country race is this evening. Here's where the busy part starts: I'm following the school vans in my car. And then I'm racing. And within thirty minutes of finishing, I'll be driving down the road to my little sister's race. And I'll cheer for her, and then spend the night at my parents'.

Hopefully, I’ll remember to breathe – very well. I can’t decide whether I’m anxious or anticipatory about the race. Maybe both. The last couple years of cross-country, to put it in an ineloquent but precise way, sucked for me. I think this year might be different. I’m praying it is. That’s about all that’s gotten me the past couple years of running. Although having a rough time was good for me, in some ways. I think that’s when I discovered I had a passion for writing, and I threw myself into that (too much at times) instead of running. Maybe it’s coming full-circle, and I’m working on a balance now. I don’t know. Just my thoughts for the day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Well. I have to say, I've had more excitement the last four days than almost the last four months. Besides the entire XC team knowing I'm the young punk. And realizing Spanish will no longer be a fluff class, thanks to my former teacher who did not make us speak Spanish (what the heck?) I told one of the Spanish teachers here that.

Her first words: "Ay, Dios!" I thought that was kind of funny. She looked horrified.

And then a couple days ago I had dinner at my cross-country coach's house, and yes, something totally weird, cool, and out-of-the-blue happened. I'm starting to think anything is possible at this point. But instead of tell you, I'll just write about it. It' s just more fun that way.

(Most names altered for privacy J)


I perch on the edge of the wooden seat, which I think was made for someone much larger than me. Granted, I’m a runner, so I have a relatively slim build. Nothing like Elise, who sits quietly at the opposite end of the table. She has such a sweet smile, but she’s sooo quiet. I’m not the chattiest person in the world, but I do talk in paragraphs when I get rolling.

A couple more people come in the door, a girl who looks vaguely familiar and a lanky guy. I guess they’re sophomores or juniors. Some of the older crew sitting on the couch exchange greetings. I check the open spaces around the table. There’s room for one-and-a-half people to my left, and if Briana scoots over, there’ll be room for both of them.

They eventually make their way over with plates loaded with barbecue. I scan both of them, which is automatic habit. (A girl I sat with at dinner a couple days ago told me that she noticed I was really observant, that my gaze kept flitting around. Obviously, this tells me something about her observation skills J)

The girl (this is one of my writing difficulties: I don’t like saying ‘girl’, because sometimes it sounds too young, but ‘lady’ or ‘woman’ is too old, so I’m sticking with girl) is wearing a plum camisole, which oddly is the same color as the square-neck shirt Zelda is wearing (she’s absurdly pretty). She smiles at me. “Hey, I’m Melanie. I think you’re the one I met at the running store I work at in The Woodlands.”

Cha-ching! I smile and nod. “Yeah, that was me.”

She slides onto the bench next to Briana, and the new guy sits directly to my left. Melanie waves to get the table’s attention. “Hey, you guys, this is...” The name is lost as a couple guys wince and groan at something on the TV.

We all introduce ourselves. Somehow the topic of ages comes up, possibly in relation to R-rated movies. Someone was kind enough to forget how old I was. That might have been fine, but John decided to remind everyone. He meant nothing by it, but I’ve been the young one for so long I’d like to shed the image at college. At least everyone (and I mean everyone) says I don’t look sixteen. That always makes me feel better.

The new guy looks at me. Sadly, his name is a distant memory, driven out by the occasional snatches of the Closing Ceremonies I see on Coach’s big TV. He also looks vaguely familiar, but most distance runners by nature of their sport share a lean build. There are a lot of tall, thin runner guys out there. And it’s possible I’ve seen him at a meet before. “So, wait, you’re only sixteen?”

Grin. Bear it. I don’t even sound like I’m talking through gritted teeth. “Yeah, but only until next Friday.” Conveniently the first cross-country meet.

“Cool,” he says. “So, did you graduate early, or were you homeschooled?”

We talk about that for a while. I find out he has a little sister, and he’s a sophomore transfer from Arkansas. The real surprise comes when I find out where he went to high school. “Seriously! My sister and I both ran summer track with Coach G. I thought it was hilarious how he could totally chew out the high school guys, turn around to the track kids and say ‘I’m sorry you had to hear that’.” I glance at one of the other girls, whose eyebrows are lifted. “I mean, he was totally sincere. It was just kind of scary. He’s the greatest guy. Just bipolar.”

Half the table cracks up at that.

He smiles, ruefully. He probably got the nice Coach G track-kid side and then upon turning fifteen, the much scarier high school coach side. “Yeah, that’s about right.”

Coach’s husband comes up with a couple DVDs and hands them to the new guy. (What was his name, dadgummit?) “These are copies of the Congress Mile. If you want to copy them, feel free. I have no idea how to.”

I sit straighter. I know how to work computers. Unless they know I’m coming and block me out, in which case I just post voy a pegarle un tiro a mi computadora on Facebook. “I can copy those on my computer.”

We work out the details, which takes thirty seconds, and I take the DVDs. I’m really curious now. I know one runner from New Kid’s school who ran the Congress Mile a couple times. This school is notorious (in the best way) for having super-fast runners, so this guy is probably one of them I didn’t know.

So we talk on and off for the next hour or so. It’s dark outside, and I’ve lost track of time. All I know is that I get to sleep in tomorrow, something that thrills me. I’m whooped.

The group migrates into the kitchen, just a circle of thin runner-people chatting about who knows what. I refill my cup with water and stand on the fringe of the group next to the new guy.

“So,” I say. “If you went to TWH High School, you’d know Aaron Nessick, right?” I ran summer track and some middle-school club cross-country with Aaron, obviously years ago. I doubt he remembers me, but I’m just looking for connection points with my new teammate.

He half turns, giving me this weird look like I just chanted a transfiguration spell.

In Sanskrit.

I feel as though I should say something, but I don’t know what to say. I don’t even think I muster an awkward smile.

Eyebrows half-lifted, he lifts one hand and points to himself.

This would make a great movie scene. I display all the stereotypical facial reactions. Like, my mouth falls open. That’s never actually happened before. It’s just something I write about. “You’re-”

He nods.

I’m too stunned to kick myself for not remembering his name. I clap both hands over my mouth (again, only book characters do this, right? It’s just an evening of firsts.) “Oh my gosh. I am such an idiot.” I mean this, too. All the puzzle pieces I didn’t realize were puzzle pieces snap into place. Sophomore transfer from Arkansas. Younger sister (who also ran). Ran the Congress Mile twice. It played out like a perfect scene from a mystery book. All the clues were there. I just didn’t realize it until it all fell together.

Realizing how stupid I must look, I drop my hands. I never expected to actually speak with Aaron again, much less be on the same freaking team. “No way. Wow.” Memories flood my mind. “Do you remember that time you and my little sister raced a two-mile time trial and you puked on the track?”

His eyebrows fold, and he shakes his head. “Not really. Was that in the fall?”

I seriously just asked if he remembered puking on the track? Yeah, baby. I am smooth. The queen of subtlety, the master of…I don’t know. I can’t think. I can’t believe I just said that. My brain synapses are spazzing on me.

Thankfully, I think he forgets I said that like a couple minutes later. Of course, with my luck, in a few years he’ll bring it up.


And once again, this is 100% truth (I was too dumbfounded to remember exact dialogue, FYI).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Head is Spinning

Wow. Welcome Days ended a few minutes ago. I have some time before I eat lunch with my parents, so I figured I'd update my wonderful readers.

I am in a whole new world. The going-to-camp feeling hasn't quite faded yet, but when I'm looking at my wreck of a kitchen (okay, it's not quite that bad) tomorrow, it may. Or when I get the syllabus for my Shakespeare class (junior-level, as I found out, yay). Part of it drained with alarming rapidity as I waited at the bookstore desk for my Honors College books. The guy went into the back and reemerged with two white boxes. For two classes. There are four books in the first box, which is doable.

There are eleven in the second box. Lucretius. Plato. Pre-Socratic. Aristophanes. More Plato. I'm excited about getting into this stuff, but my word, that's a lot of heavy reading. *sighs*

I think I've decided how I'm going to blog for a while. Interesting things keep happening to me, so I think I'll post something in nonfiction, and then sort-of fictionalize the second half of the post. You know, a series of College Vignettes (I like capitalizing things, becuase it makes them seem More Important. Weird, I know :-)

Wow. I just typed in labels for this post and began to tap out 'losing my mind', and blogger supplied the rest of it. This may not be indicative of good mental health...


We sit in the little auditorium, the cross-country team coming together the first time for the semester. I stare at the paper in front of me, and not reading it, write my signature for the 19th time. The letters start to blur, and my autograph is distinctly more of a scrawl on this sheet than the one before it. Yes, I am an amateur. No, no recruiter has ever given me or my family/friends free tickets to more than three athletic events. I have not taken HGH - hold on. I'm a skinny white girl. Seriously. Do I look like I've taken HGH?

The woman handling NCAA compliance issues begins to hand out another packet of information, and I groan under my breath. She followed the NCAA rules and read the first miniaturized version of the handbook to us. It's sixteen pages long. Double-sided. I skim the first page. Ah, the fun stuff. Yes, I give the NCAA permission to ban me for a full calendar year (i.e. 365 days) from NCAA Athletic Competition if my drug tests return positive or if I miss a scheduled drug test. That's harsh. If your alarm decides to fail you, or you're deathly ill of pneumonia, or someone T-bones your car, you will miss a scheduled drug test.

This counts, automatically, as a positive test, and you're banned for a year. Nice, huh?

The compliance woman looks at all of us. It's a small group - the team started just last year. "Before you start on this next form, are any of you under eighteen?"

I slouch and throw up a hand, with a half-smile like yeah, I'm the young one. It wouldn't surprise me if someone else was just under eighteen.

It does surprise me that no one else is. First thought: Aw, crap.

The woman adjusts her glasses and looks at me. "Alright, put a big X at the top of your form."

What if I put two Xs side-by-side with a nose and frowning mouth below?

I dutifully etch an X into the top of my form.

She glances at my form. "That's great. When will you turn eighteen?"

Next thought: Aw, Crap. (Remember what I said about capitalization?) I shrink into my chair. Can I just say August? I keep my voice low, like I'm passing off a classified secret. "Next August."

I hear a few 'Ohhhs', see a couple knowing looks.

"Cool, seventeen," one guy says.

I think for a long time about blowing my last ace, just to see the reaction. I am a sad sucker for reactions, have I mentioned that? "Actually, I don't turn seventeen until next Friday."

The 'Oohs' this time are a decibel louder, and now everyone is looking at me. I wouldn't call myself desperate for attention (by a far stretch), but I might as well go down with style.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I've known for months what day I was leaving home. I kept track of the weeks, knowing (in my mind) when I would leave.

I knew I wouldn't realize in my heart that I was leaving for much, much later. That date has struck. At 11 today, I'll move into a dorm. God has blessed me with great potential suitemates (who oddly enough have the same last name but are not related). I think I'm ready (as I can be - there's only so much I can learn without experiencing it). The realization is sinking in.

I'm too mind-paralyzed to think. I'm not scared. Maybe just stunned. In shock. I've looked forward to going to college since I was a little kid - I mean, seven, eight years old. It's always been a date in the future. It's here now, and I can't believe it.

I'm sending out the cry for help - prayers for wisdom, discernment, courage, that it would quit raining so I can transfer my torn-apart computer system into the car without shorting it out...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I stare at the woman behind the desk at the DPS. "I can't renew my license until my birthday?"

She nods sagely, already glancing at the person behind me in line. "That's right hon. When you renew your license next time before you turn eighteen, you can renew up to thirty days ahead of time. This time you have to renew it on your birthday. And make sure you have a VOE form."

I blink, mind tearing at the acronym. Verification of Enrollment. "Yes, ma'am, but I'm starting college in a week." And I need a freakin' license to drive myself there!

"Okay, then make sure you have your diploma or last report card."

The scream builds low in my gut, rising into my chest. I cram it into a tiny box. "I was home schooled." Don't get me wrong, I'm sooo glad I was home schooled, but as I've discovered with the SAT, SAT subject tests, driver's ed, two college applications, NCAA, and Department of Public Safety, it really screws up the system. My atypicalness earns me lots of extra paperwork.

I think fast, before I am dismissed and the guy slouching behind me renews his motorcycle license. "Can I bring my bill and school schedule from --- University?"

She nods. "That should work fine, hon."

Well, something ought to go my way today.


I realize the absurdity of the situation. If I drive myself to the DPS on my birthday, I'll be driving on an expired license, giving them reason to slap me with a fine. The woman must be confused. Three days later, I head up again. The line is long. Lo and behold, the same woman sits at the desk. I bottle the scream that's been occupying my chest.

And five minutes later, the woman switches posts with a state trooper. I shoot a glance at my dad, smiling like an idiot.

An hour and a half later, I dish up ten bucks, smile for the camera, and get a piece of paper with a Texas stamp as a temporary license. Life is good.


I growl at the computer monitor. "What do you mean I'm not cleared? I had those transcripts sent two weeks ago?" I call the NCAA Eligibility Center. And I eat breakfast, pack some clothes, endure the never-ending torture of Muzak over my phone's speaker before a representative picks up. Turns out one community college never sent them a transcript.

I peel out of the driveway, tires squealing -

Ahem. No, Mom's with me. I drive legally and safely to the college, fill out a form, hand it in, and wait. I'm gonna send the stupid thing overnight myself. I plop into a chair against the back of the wall, and wait.

Five minutes later, a woman emerges from her office with a transcript, calling my name.

I stand up, gaze trapped by the white envelope she holds. Oh, my precious. Come to Gollum.

"I need to see an ID, please."

"Sure." I open my wallet and have a heart attack. My license? Where's my license? My beautiful face does not smile at me from the top of the wallet, as it always does. A blur of pictures flash in my eyes, and I remember. Right. Temporary license. I pull out the folded paper and hand it to her. "Here you go."

She frowns at it. "I'm sorry, but I have to have a photo ID for privacy reasons."

The scream makes it halfway up my throat before I slap it back. I mutter "You've gotta be kidding me." Force a smile. "I just got my license renewed a few days ago."

"Do you have a school ID? That would work."

"I was home schooled. "

She says finally, after checking with someone, that she can just see my mom's ID instead.

I take the transcript and hurry to the post office before she can change her mind and send campus police after me. Thirty-three dollars later (overnight = wincing wallet), I have a little peace of mind.

Until I come home and trip over one of three suitcases on my bedroom floor.

(This is one-hundred percent truth, by the way.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I have five days until I leave for college. I can find less than a square foot of carpet space in my closet, due to bags and boxes. Two monster traveling-to-China-for-a-month-size suitcases are hogging my floor space. My bed is a mess. At least I don't have to help pack the rest of the house, like I have on many of our moves (this will be my seventh move - I like the number 7, so it could be worse :-)

On a happier note: I finished the rough draft of my third novel yesterday. It was late, and I was pounding it out just to have it done, so when I'm through here I'll go back and tidy up the jagged edges I left. Yay! It's in first-person present tense, which came easier than I thought it would. I started it in past tense, but that lacked a certain vibe. My sister (also a writer) agreed, so I switched it to present. It forced me to use more action verbs, because I can get away with more slow-moving description in past tense. Present is cleaner-cut, I think, faster-moving. Don't get me wrong, I still love first-person past. This was a great change, though.

Toodles, must go!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yet Another Update

I'm working on the short story thing. I promise. I just packed a huge suitcase with two pairs of running shoes, a pair of boots, a pair of heels, a tool kit, and some other stuff. And then I went through my clothes and donated some stuff to my sister. Why I am posting a laundry list (no pun intended)? I don't know. Maybe because my brain is whirling? I'm not panicking (at the moment), so it's a good day. It's cloudy out - looks like rain!! I love rain. And thunderstorms, especially. It's weird. I've found that a lot of bloggers love thunderstorms. It must be imagination...

Hmm... it was a dark and story night. No, my bad. A dark and stormy noon. The clouds, thick like mashed potatoes - no! Awful. What was I thinking?

Okay, round two. Ahem:

It was a dark and stormy noon. The rain collected in the clouds, intent on pummeling the earth, longing for that signal, the breaking of the clouds, so they could complete their mission.

Raindrop #296 looked at his partner, 297. "Mission?"

297 rearranged his atoms to smile; he resembled a grinning blimp. "A rose bush. Award-winner. Joseph's Coat."

His friend 299, the new kid, winced. "Ouch. Watch for the thorns."

297 nodded sagely. He was a veteran, having been reincarnated three hundred and fifty-nine times through the water cycle. He was at Gettysburg. He was at the battle of Arbonne. A rose bush was cake for him. "I'll hit the flower, slid down the curve of the top petal, past the leaves, and down the stem. Unless an enemy derails me, I'll make it to the base of the plant and the soil. After that..."

The three fell silent, silently honoring their fates. It went unsaid, but they thought of the same thing: how some of their number would fall into the street and roll in a teeming mass of other drops into the sewer. From there it was a long underground ride, through processors, to the ocean. It could be a month before Evaporation, that heavenly being, lifted them from the sea into the sky.

And those were the lucky ones. Those like 297, who fulfilled their mission, would seep into the soil. The roots of the rose would eventually slurp him into its system, deconstructing him and using his different molecules for its life processes. He would be torn apart. It would be months at the least, even years before he took that celestial journey into the clouds again.

Look, a short! How did that happen? :-)

Saturday, August 9, 2008


There is no other way to put it - I'm very, very confused.

This may be due to the date. In twelve days (crud, only twelve??) I move out of my house and into a dorm.

I'm excited.

And I'm flipping out.

Is it any wonder I'm confused? I don't know what to think. I have a million things to get done, one of which includes renewing my driver's license, which I do not care for because it involves paperwork (I hate paperwork like Voldemort) and the creepiest DPS office known to mankind. Ack. But then there are a lot of things I can't do until the last minute - grocery shopping, figuring out how to configure furniture (new dorm - I've never seen a finished room in it, but that's another story) and packing. Okay, so I can pack some stuff now, but the things I'll be using every day (iPod speaker, toothbrush, running clothes, retainers) - that's all last-minute stuff. I plan, a couple days before, to throw a bunch of stuff in an oversized suitcase and pray it's all there.

I'm not that disorganized with everything else. There is a plan, kind of. I'll get everything there, because there are certain items I will not (or can not) live without. My iPod. My computer. (Noo! I'm going to have to deconstruct my whole stinking desktop!) The bare necessities of life, as it were.

So. I am sending up flares. This is my cry for prayers. I'm praying a lot. My family's praying a lot (I'm the first kid off to school). I appreciate any prayers you might give.

Now, for my randomness. What would this blog be without that? I've been pondering the subjunctive mood lately. Here's the Wikipedia definition: In grammar, the subjunctive mood (sometimes referred to as the conjunctive mood) is a verb mood that exists in many languages. It is typically used in dependent clauses to express wishes, commands, emotion, possibility, judgment, necessity, or statements that are contrary to fact at present.

I struggled to understand this - until I took Spanish 2. And it clicked. In the Spanish language (Q can back me up on this), there are certain occasions when you change the verbs. So if I wanted to say 'I hope you sleep well', I'd say espero que duermas bien. If I just said 'You sleep well', it would be Duermes bien. The verb form changes under these circumstances.

That's when I realized that subjunctive in English is dying. People used to say 'I wish it were raining'. Most of the time, people say 'I wish it was raining' or 'I wish she was here' instead of 'I wish she were here'. Things like that.

Anyway, enough rambling. Espero que tengan un buen dia, y que me escriban rapidamente! (For those Spanish speakers, lo siento que las palabras no tienen accentos.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rhapsody in Brown

So, I'm part of a writing group, and one of the members posted this challenge: Using the basic description of the character below, write a short paragraph or two describing the character and giving him more of an interesting personality (the character definitely needs one). Have fun.

"Gabe is of average height and weight. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and likes the color brown. He wears brown shoes (no surprise there)and a brown shirt."

So here's my take: it's longer than a couple paragraphs (because I got carried away).

As I fiddled with my locker, I eavesdropped on the female voices squealing across the hall.

"So cute."


"You think Gabe's really still in high school?"

At my name, I turned, like any normal person would. Maybe not the best description, given my monocolor appearance. Brown loafers, cinnamon-colored shirt, chocolate pants, same color eyes behind owl-eye glasses and pale brown hair in short waves. Even my backpack was an unidentifiable dark tan. At first and second takes people gave me those looks saying 'nice but weird', and there weren't more takes, because I was a drab fixture in their eyes. Kind of like a dead lamp slouching in the corner.

The girl twined a curl around her finger and smiled. "That's what I read in Seventeen. They wouldn't lie about that, would they?"

I restrained a snort. Seventeen lied about a lot. I'd know.

Her friend in the pink shirt sighed, going dizzy-eyed. "He's sooo hot." The edges of her lips curved up. "I wonder what school he goes to. That article did say he's single."

I shook my head, half-smirking as I rescued Hamlet from the confines of my backpack and shoved him into the locker. Gabe Johansson, teenage star of Life Interrupted, the hit show. Yeah, he was in high school, supposedly, but even the paparazzi couldn't find him. And I knew he wouldn't date either of those girls. He knew them too well.

The girls kept prattling. I strode out of the building, backpack over shoulder. Silly females. So aware of guys and yet so blind. I opened the cell phone and dialed my agent. "Yeah, it's Gabe. Just got out of school."

He snorted. "Public school. A bunch of morons forced to spend twelve years of their lives together. Will you please buy into the tutor idea?"

"Yeah, yeah. Tell me for the three-thousandth time and I'll think about it." I strode toward the parking lot. "So anyway, you mentioned another deal?"

"Yeah, I did. Interested in being the next Tobey Maguire? Spider-Man 4 is having auditions."

My nerves buzzed under my skin. "Heck yeah I'm interested. I'll be right over." I unlocked my BMW and stepped in. "Oh yeah - do me a favor and keep this out of the news until it's a done deal."

He laughed, New York accent rasping across the line. "You got it, Johansson."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ahhh! And Other Random Things

So. I went up to a tiny town north of Amarillo on Monday morning and got back on Wednesday. Now it appears I will turn around and go back (but driving this time) tomorrow or Sunday to help paint my grandmother's house. This is an 8 or 9 hour drive. My crazy life. At least it'll keep me from being deadly bored.

As promised, the scoop on the story below: This is (sadly) based heavily on real life. The dialogue is not exact, and some of the names have been changed. Last week I went to a Christian worldview camp. Part of it entailed reading Plato's Phaedrus and discussing it in small groups. I enjoyed it most of the time - all logical thinking and discussing with other smart people. However, we did this for at least two hours a day, most days three, but with a couple breaks. The last day we discussed issues for three hours straight. This was after a 2 am bedtime the night (morning, I guess) before. That's the fourth or fifth time I've stayed up past midnight. And I did it playing HORSE on a pool table. (SO much fun, and we really did rename the game PLATO).

The main difference: we were exhausted. Both mentors left the room for a couple minutes. Bethany (real name) suggested the minute they step in, we begin discussing Hungry Hippos, just as an example of our exhaustion and how silly it is to overanalyze things, as some people did.

The sneaking out to buy a frappuccino is also, sadly, true. Don't tell on me! I have to get an appalling amount of sleep to be fully functional - eight hours minimum. The most I got on a given night was seven, and that was the best night. But seeing WALLE for the second time was worth it. Is it not Pixar's crowning gem? I believe it is the best ever, and the song in the credits ('Down to Earth') is great.

Speaking of movies...I haven't heard a lot of buzz about The Dark Knight in the blogger community. I think this may be due to the fact that it's not a 'girl' movie, stereotypically, and percentage-wise, a lot of bloggers are girls. If you are a writer, see it. Christopher Nolan (director) does a fabulous job of keeping the suspense high. The twists and character developments are the best I've seen in an action/adventure movie. Bruce Wayne drives this awesome thing called a Batmobile, but I have to prefer the Lamborghini (the sound makes me dreamy).

And the Joker. Oh my. Heath Ledger WILL get an Oscar nomination at the least. He deserves the award. There are times when I read a sentence in a book, or hear someone sing, or see someone act, and know instinctively, he's good. I mean incredible. Ledger = The Joker. It wasn't that he acted the part; he was the Joker. That moment of clarity came several times in the movie, one being when The Joker, wearing a nurse's outfit, red wig, and full ghastly makeup, limps out of a deserted hospital which is gushing smoke. He's grinning (no, really, not just from scars), wearing a skirt, and looks completely natural doing it.

I'd call that good. From an artistic standpoint alone, it is a tragedy he's dead so young.

My personal theory is that Heath Ledger was already having some personal issues, and playing that role sent him over the edge. Don't get me wrong, he is (to borrow Ron Weasley's favorite phrase), bloody brilliant. All I've heard is that he threw himself into becoming the Joker. I think if you pretend to be something long enough and hard enough, you can wind up being it. Just my thoughts.

Warning: It is dark. Like midnight out-in-the-country-cloud-night-dark. Human-heart dark. But so, so good. There aren't any supernaturally freaky parts as in Batman Begins (not how I want to describe it, but you know what I mean? Nothing demonic?) There is some blood and violence (although much much less than there might have been, kudos to the Nolans). The darkness is all psychological. The movie does an amazing job at showing how people will respond when pushed to their barest nature: some have anchoring in their lives and make the right choices. Others (if you've seen the movie you know who I'm referring to) go off the deep end. It also makes you think about how you'd respond, and what right and wrong really mean.

Anyway. I'll work up another short at some point. I've been turning over The Dark Knight in my mind since opening day and had to get those thoughts out.