A MinD in MoTown


I must be 14 years old again.
New Moon

New Moon book cover

That’s right, another Twilight post. Er, New Moon rather. And the only reason I’m writing about it is because, damn it, I can’t get the book out of my head! Trust me, I’d avoid writing about this topic if humanly possible, but I have so many things swirling through my mind and not a single soul I *actually* know (to my knowledge) has read the series. Thus, I turn to my blog – which is typically far more serious than this post will be, so I’m extremely apologetic if this is your first visit – to get my rant on.

If you haven’t read New Moon (or Twilight, for that matter) yet, or you are waiting for the film version and prefer to avoid spoilers, stop reading immediately!

…Any lingerers still here? ‘Cause you’ve been properly notified that I might ruin the story for you.

…Last chance.

Okay. I want Bella with Jacob. That’s right, I said it.

I read Twilight and although I had numerous issues with the book – mostly coming from my English-degree standpoint – I continued the series because I truly enjoyed the tale of Bella and Edward. I had wanted to see their love flourish and grow, plus discover if/when Edward decided to make his love a vampire and how that would unfold.

And then the breakup occurred in New Moon, and like I probably would have reacted if the same event happened to a real-life friend of mine, I grew quite angry with Edward. I saw it coming, of course, thanks to a spoiler I accidentally read, but that one event changed my feelings toward a character who I previously held in high regards, concerning this storyline anyway.

So when Bella started turning to Jacob to fill the “hole in her heart,” or at least ignore its existence, I could feel the same butterflies in my stomach as that friendship blossomed into something a bit more. Jacob put his feelings on the line on multiple occasions, hoping to win over the still broken-hearted Bella, and it was difficult not to cheer him on. Perhaps somewhere in my head, he was the kind of boy that my teenage self would have wanted, saying all the words a girl that age – or hell, even older maybe – would want to hear. To me, Jake was written as the guy every girl would be lucky to call her own.

I was rooting for Jake, through and through. And then with maybe 100 pages left in the book, Edward returns and any hope for a real loving relationship between Bella and Jake becomes little more than a memory. With her Edward-relationship seemingly blissful again, poor Jacob is thrown to the side and become little more than a friend, though more like an enemy.

Once Edward made his reappearance, I was notably less interested in reading. I was perturbed that he could just apologize, offer a few hugs and kisses, and instantly be forgiven. And all the while, this other guy who genuinely cared for Bella was dismissed without another thought.

New Moon made me dislike Edward, and I wonder if that will change as I continue the series. I’ll most certainly be purchasing Eclipse later tonight and reading it as soon as possible. But I’m also remaining on Team Jacob and crossing my fingers that these books don’t turn out as I’m expecting them. For once, I’d seriously like the underdog to win the girl.

P.S. Please don’t tell me what happens. I’m assuming what will go down already, but no confirmations or denials, if you don’t mind.

P.P.S. I need to find more serious, thought-provoking topics to discuss here before my blog becomes overwhelmed and overrun with my thoughts on Twilight. I desperately tried to avoid writing about this series – for a second time – but sometimes, I need to use this blogging outlet as it was intended, for my each and every share-worthy thought, rather than just somewhat intellectual garble.

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Who needs money anyway?

When my company implemented furloughs – required unpaid days off work – it came as no surprise. Most media outlets were already jumping on that bandwagon, forcing full-time workers into 32-hour weeks to save a few million dollars. But I never realized how grateful I’d be for the free time and the lost wages.

Unlike many others who work in this environment, I have a supplementary income from the restaurant I serve at on weekends. So when the furloughs were announced – one per month through September – I figured an extra shift or two each month would even out the monetary loss. And with just as much cash in hand, I took advantage of the work-free days by relaxing at home, conducting massive cleanups of my entire house or heading out of town to enjoy a long weekend*.

September arrived and I scheduled the last of my furloughs – used, along with paid vacation time, for a trip to the Outer Banks of NC. And then, shortly after returning, the news came: More furloughs would be necessary.

At first I was disappointed. Talk of wage raises was swirling prior to this announcement, but that quickly faded as six additional work-free eight-hour days were planned before 2010. 

Less than a day later though, my anger and agitation turned to relief as I remembered how much these furloughs allowed me to do so far this year that was previously beyond my reach when I worked six or seven days each week.

Not only did I visit Scranton on a non-holiday weekend in August, but I traveled to the Outer Banks this month, Virginia Beach in July, Penn State in April, Carowinds in June and so much more. (And thanks to the newly implemented furloughs, I’m heading back to Penn State in two weeks for a four-day weekend.)

These furloughs have strangely provided me with an amazing year of adventures and fun. So perhaps I won’t get a raise – bummer! – and maybe I’ll have to grit my teeth through a few more waitressing shifts, but with so little paid time off, these furloughs have helped me attain a happiness that was slightly missing in 2008 because all I seemed to do was work.

I guess this somewhat defines “turning lemons into lemonade.” I have seriously made the absolute best I could out of a very crappy situation, and what more could I have asked for? My wallet might struggle here and there, but I’m genuinely happy and that’s worth eating Ramen noodles for an entire week on occasion, for sure.

So, have you been in a similar situation where you’ve been able to “turn lemons into lemonade”? I’d love to hear about it. And if you’re in the media business, how have furloughs impacted your lives? I’m curious to find out.

* I suppose it should be noted that I can afford and often schedule one weekend off at the restaurant each month as well.



Specifically.
September 22, 2009, 1:39 pm
Filed under: I am a dork, I clearly have nothing better to say

Strange little post here for you fine folks, but I’m curious about something: Are there words in the English language that you simply cannot pronounce or say?

For me, it’s “specifically” or any variation of the word “specific.”

But what about the rest of you? What is that one word that you try to utter, yet it repeatedly comes out a bit wrong?

Years ago, I had a high school teacher who couldn’t say “aluminum” – Mr. Mazzino for any of you former West Siders – and I always thought it bizarre that he could not pronounce such a simple word. Then I realized that “specific” alluded my lips, being said more similar to “pacific” somehow, and I noticed he was not alone.

And I’m betting many of you out there face the same dilemma with a word or two. So spill the beans and let me know. I’m feeling nosey today!



Perhaps.
September 1, 2009, 4:46 pm
Filed under: Do "yay", I am a dork, Inked

He's finishing up the tattoo, and I love this picture.

He's finishing up the tattoo, and I love this picture.

For several months now, I’ve wanted to tattoo the word “perhaps” on my left wrist. And this past Saturday, following a long and fairly crappy day at the restaurant, I finally caved and drove to the tattoo parlor, spur of the moment, to have the seven letters forever inked.

I’m almost certain it took me longer to decide on a font – “quigley wiggly” if you’re curious – than it did to actually tattoo my wrist, but when you’re having something permanently etched into your skin, there’s no reason to settle for a sub par font.
So, why “perhaps”? Not only has this forever been my favorite word*, but I personally believe it carries some deeper meaning as well.

“Perhaps” is a fancy “maybe,” and isn’t life little more than one “maybe” or another? Maybe you’ll get married, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have kids, maybe you won’t. Maybe your dreams will come true, maybe they won’t. Maybe you’ll die tomorrow, maybe you won’t. And all of those maybes are interchangeable with its fancy synonym – perhaps. So I wanted it tattooed.

Noel as he tattoos my wrist.

Noel as he tattoos my wrist.

The tattoo artist, Noel (a dude), kept telling me I was selfish for wanting my tattoo to face the direction it does. After all, he said, wouldn’t I want others to more easily read it? But I’m the one who has to look at it for the rest of my life, no one else, and I wanted the ability to simply turn my wrist and see that one word right-side up, not upside-down.

I carefully watched as Noel tattooed each line and letter with such preciseness. It was the first time I watched myself get tattooed. The bit of pain and my slight anxiety over getting my first tattoo kept me from watching as the Penn State Nittany Lion paws were carved into my foot. And with the Beatles lyrics, well, it’s more than a bit difficult to watch the back of your neck get inked. But this one? I was able to watch and tweet, omgiamlame, the entire time and snap a few photos with my phone as well.

After 20-30 minutes, and zero pain**, there it was. “Perhaps,” all lowercase, forever on the inside of my left wrist. And although it’s a bit bolder and bigger than I had originally imagined, I absolutely adore it.

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My tattoo. What do you think?

* What? You can have a favorite number, but not a favorite word? Baloney. My life is about words, so I naturally have a favorite. And yes, this makes me a total nerd.
** No lie. This is my third tattoo and only one, my first on my left foot, actually hurt.



Vacation, all I ever wanted.
July 22, 2009, 6:41 pm
Filed under: I am a dork, The world revolves around me

Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach, VA

I’m off to the beach, folks, for a much-needed vacation (especially after the work day I had today!). But check my Twitter for updates, if you’d like, and try not to miss me too much. I know, I know, it’ll be difficult.



Do you wanna get Frosty with me?
May 20, 2009, 11:03 am
Filed under: I am a dork, I watch too much TV, Recommended by yours truly

…You HAVE to watch this. It’s a brand-spanking-new commercial from Wendy’s promoting their Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty, and it’s seriously a riot.

Backstreet Boys, anyone?

The marketing strategy surrounding the “Frosty Posse” is not only hilarious, but absolutely brilliant. And for a company that often seemingly relies on advertising their product quality above all else, it’s definitely straying from the norm. However, I think it just might pay off.

Now, am I going to run out immediately and purchase a Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty? Probably not, but hey, I’m not a coffee drinker – and quite possibly the only journalist who isn’t. But I have spent two days searching through YouTube to find this video before doing so this morning, and I’ve likely watched it ten three times already. Obviously there’s some sort of appeal there.

And to add to the hilarity of the “Frosty Posse,” I found the following video on YouTube to accompany the commercial. Apparently it’s a “behind the scenes” look at the making of their “music video.”

Personally, I think this was a great market ploy for Wendy’s and a nice change from their typical advertising, but what do you guys think? Was it a bit ridiculous? A little laughable? An excellent ad campaign? Or did the folks at Wendy’s fall a little short in their attempts? Let me know! 



My Barbie lunchbox was better than yours.
May 13, 2009, 1:44 pm
Filed under: I am a dork, When I grow up

It’s easy to look back on college and say, “what a friggin’ ride,” nostalgic for the experiences (i.e. Thirsty Thursdays, getting my tongue pierced, regularly walking four-miles home completely intoxicated, etc.). And as a result, it’s fairly normal to wish you could relive those years rather than succumbing to the responsbilities of growing up.

But for many, it’s not so commonplace to recall those memories and also long for the lecture halls, homework, routine class assignments and overall education. Some of us, including myself, seemingly miss more than the “college experience”; we remember the six-pound Shakespeare textbook, the group projects, the two-hour analytical critiques and the studying, and yearn even moreso for those four-years we already left behind.

I attended a Newspaper Academy, hosted by the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Press Association, last Friday in Chapel Hill. It was not something mandated by my publication, nor was it something my editor strongly recommended. It was an opportunity he placed on my desk that I eagerly jumped toward.

It’s been two years since my college graduation – damn, how time flies! – and in the back of my mind, I’ve always known how much I missed my years at Penn State, and not just for the crazy moments. It was more than my friends, my apartment, my free weekends and my far-fewer responsibilities I fondly recalled, but those days spent in the classroom, learning.

Since I was two years old, I’ve been that nerdy girl interested in school. With a lunchbox in hand, I’d prance around the house, asking my mother, “Can I go to school now?” My unfaltering anticipation led my parents toward enrolling me in a pre-preschool so their little girl could finally begin her school years.

Each summer, I’d impatiently wait for August when I could fill my backpack with school supplies and delve back into the books. Once my birthday passed in mid-July, it was nearly impossible for me to enjoy the rest of my summer because I so badly wanted to return to class. (Huge dork, I know.) And even now – as a 23-year-old with a full-time job, part-time job, way too many bills, responsibilities, hardly any free time, etc. – I cannot get the thought of heading back to college out of my brain. Friday’s day-long workshop at UNC simply cemented how much I miss learning and working toward a greater goal. Being in those lectures, taking notes, wandering around campus for a photojournalism course, all of those things truly narrowed my college nostalgia to my education, rather than just the fun I had.

So despite being $50,000 in the hole with the student loans I already have, I’m weighing my options and seriously considering either attaining my masters (something pertaining to social media) or working toward my third B.A. degree (in French). I’ve yet to decide which, and hell, I’ve yet to take my GRE which is a bit necessary if I’d like to be accepted by a university (probably UNC-Charlotte). I’m moving slowly with this newly-discovered desire, but I guess this realization was a long time coming. Thoughts of becoming a student again have danced in my head since I turned my tassel, but either myself or others have repeatedly convinced me that it was the life I led from 2003-2007 that I missed and not the learning experience.

On Friday, at UNC, those notions were swiftly proven wrong.