(definition further explained in this post if you still aren't satisfied)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Title Hunting

So, I've been thinking about the new blog title.  I haven't really come up with anything yet.  No, don't look at me that way!  I know you think that I really should have something by now, since I've had like four or five days to think about it.  The perfectionist in me is still a little bit of a problem, but mostly, I think it's just one long brain fart.

I think I'd like to incorporate the word "voice" in it, because that word doesn't have to be any more definable than the blog itself.  Have you ever tried to explain someone's voice to a person who's never heard them speak before?  The only thing you can really say is "high", "low", "gravelly", or "smooth".  At least, those are the only words I can think of.  The thing is, even though you can't really describe the person's voice, you can imagine it in your head perfectly if you've spent enough time around them.  You know their voice, you just can't define it out loud.  That's how I feel about this blog.  I'm putting so much of myself into it, and there's no one word or phrase to describe me or the things I want to say here.  The closest thing would be to call this my "voice".

But I can't just call this blog "Voice".  There needs to be more words than that to make me happy.

The one phrase that keeps popping into my head every time I think about this is "A Knife in the Dark", which is the title of a chapter in The Fellowship of the Ring (the first Lord of the Rings book).  I obviously can't call it that either, but it has a ring to it...no pun intended.  I'd like to have something that sounds kind of like that, but I still don't know how all of this is going to turn out.  "Voice" is the only word I have so far in the new title, and I might not even keep that if I actually come up with something better.  Right now, I'm having a problem coming up with anything.  Maybe I can find some inspiration lurking around here behind the trash can or something...

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It's way past time for a new title!  I've known it ever since I asked my brother about his honest opinions of my blog and he told me that the three-R title sounded like a homework assignment. 

I chose those words because they describe what I want to happen here.  I use the writing to reflect, I write the occasional review, and I respond to the world around me.  (I had also hoped that "respond" would be a verb that my readers might embrace, and I've been lucky enough to have devoted friends who care enough about me to read all of this and comment.)  These words are appropriate for the blog.  The problem is that they need to reflect the personality of the writer and be appealing to readers.  I know that I enjoy an unusual title when I read a blog, especially one I've never heard of before. 

Besides, I'm a much more playful person than the current title suggests.  Keep reading, and you'll see why you couldn't tell this about me from reading most of my writing up to this point.

I think a title change might reflect the way my writing's changing here.  At least, I hope so.  It's easy for me to go into paper-writing mode when I type up anything these days.  I suppose it's a product of college that causes me to word things in a way that sounds boring and technical to even me when I read back on it.  School has been working its hardest to suck the voice out of my writing, now more than ever since college requires you to write so many papers. 

I've been reading a lot of a new blog lately that I found through Blogs of Note, and this girl puts so much voice in her posts that it's like having a little version of her floating around through cyberspace.  I feel like I know her really well just from reading a lot of the things she's written.  Why can't I be like that?  How can it be so hard for me to type the way I talk?  You'd think the thought-to-words process would be the same for writing as it is for talking, but it's not for me.  I try way too hard.

For example, I always read back on the things I've written multiple times, and this would be okay if it was just to make sure that everything still makes sense.  Thing is, I go back and rearrange things a lot, trying to make sure it all fits together logically.  And I'm not sure if my thought process really works that way.  Sometimes it does, but sometimes, like today, I'm just thinking about a subject and different points are coming to me at random times.  That's why I've resolved not to edit this post too much.  Let it be weird and rambling.  I'm like that sometimes!

Speaking of rambling, I'm pretty sure I've gone totally off-subject now.  The point of this post was going to be that I need a new title.  I'd love to ask my lovely readers for help with this, but I think this is a journey I have to take on my own.  If you do have suggestions, feel free to give them!  If you're like me, and the randomness of my posts is too much for your brain to connect, you don't have to make a suggestion.  The point of this blog is to be a constant writing project for me, to explore and expose readers to new ideas (that I usually get from really good conversations with my friends), and to entertain you guys.  I don't know how any title can possibly describe a mission statement like that, so I might have to go with something pretty off-the-wall.

I promise to give it a lot of thought over the next fews days.  Hold me to that, or I'll get distracted and put it off or forget about it completely.

[random interjection]
I've considered changing the layout of my blog too, even before blogger offered new templates.  The new templates mean that it's so easy to change the look of a blog now that I have absolutely no excuse not to update the blog if I want to.  No excuse, that is, besides the busyness of the end of this school year and my own incompetence.  Not to mention the perfectionist that comes out in me when I work on something like this.  That perfectionist in me...that's the biggest problem.  For me to do the things I want here, I'm going to have to kill her.
[/random interjection]

Now I know what my project for the next few days will be.  Expect bloody hands and the beginnings of a new attitude when I come back!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Young Woman's Thoughts

I need to say something.  I don't think there's anything specific; I just feel that right now, as I'm awake and half the world's asleep, I want to get my voice out there.  There's no reason, but there doesn't have to be. 

I feel happy right now, and there isn't even really a reason.  Ever since I started college, I've just been a happier person in general.  I'm pretty sure there are multiple reasons: some that I know, and probably some that I'm not even aware of. 

One of the things I do know is that I can feel myself maturing.  Sometimes I can't believe that I'm as old as I am, but when I look back on things, or I think about my changing attitude, I realize that I can see it there.  A lot of things in my life make a lot more sense to me now than they did this time last year. 

I've learned to accept that I may never understand my future until I'm living it.  This used to bother me so much that it was in the back of my mind every moment I was awake.  For a long time, I was obsessed with trying to figure out what I was "supposed" to do.  I actually thought that there was only one answer to that, and that I had to find it or I would be wasting all of my time and I'd never be happy. 

At some point, I decided that I had to just tell my mind to shut up when it got back on that train of thought, because I knew that I was only thinking the same things over and over in circles, and it was doing nothing but stressing me out.  At first, this was just avoiding the problem, but somehow, it turned into something else when I wasn't really looking. 

It makes sense to me now that a person just has to live their life and stop questioning it all the time.  Our culture tries to tell us that we have to pick a career and stick with it all of our lives to be happy, but there's no actual reason to limit ourselves like that.  If I wanted, I could end up as a forty-year-old who still changes jobs every couple of years because I've found something that I think I'll enjoy more or be better at than what I'm doing at the time.  There doesn't have to be a problem with that if it doesn't bother me.  In the end, I'm pretty sure that life's just a lot more flexible than I used to think it was.  Anything can happen, really.  And I don't have to know about it beforehand.

There's something else amazing about life that I keep slowly learning.  People sometimes think that they're doing nothing, that they're wasting or biding their time until the next stage in their life.  (They might even feel like they're ready to move on and it's only technicalities like fulfilling college hours that keep them back.)  The amazing thing about this situation is that sometimes, the person thinking these things is making a huge difference and they don't even realize it. 

I often used to feel like the time I spent in school wasn't working toward anything specific (like a career) and the time I spent with friends was only useful in helping each of us to enjoy ourselves for a while and nothing more.  There are two times in particular stand out in my mind: times that a friend told me that I had made the biggest difference in their life.  Both times, they revealed something to me about their inner selves, and how my presence had caused them to rethink something in their life or look at it in a new way.  Both times, the difference I had made came about just from me being myself.  Well, being myself around them. 

I read back on what I just said and it sounds wrong.  The point in this isn't to brag at all.  The point is that a person can make a difference just by being

I feel like this is an important thing for people to know, but at this point words fail me and I can't tell you why.  Just know that you probably mean much more to the people around you than you realize.  I happened to be lucky in the fact that I had someone tell me about the difference I made.  People don't often tell each other what they really mean to each other.

I don't claim to be changing the lives of people around me by achieving anything myself, or by knowing some big secret to being meaningful in everything I do, or anything like that.  I don't take credit for the way I'm growing and changing and becoming myself.  I feel like that's determined more by the amazing people I spend time with, and the amazing God who created me.  His most incredible things are usually done in ways we don't even notice.

Thank you for putting up with the strange journey that I've led you on today.  I have another revelation or two rattling around in my brain that I could share with you, but we'll save those for another early morning. 


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CBR #3: A Boy's Dorm

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to one of the darkest places you can imagine and have lived to tell the tale.  May this review serve as a warning to you all.

If you ever find yourself in one of the boy's dorms on my campus codenamed NH, I urge you to find an alternative for your bathroom needs.  Run out the door screaming, if the need arises.  I was once foolish enough to go use the NH bathroom.  After opening the door, I had to take a step down into the realm of terror.  I literally descended into the nightmare.  Finding this the kind of place that one needs to sterilize before coming into contact with, I used toilet paper as a form of protection in my interactions with the regular bathroom tools.  Stall walls?  Nowhere to be found.  Signs of age?  Everywhere.  The light wasn't literally flickering, but it might as well have been.  I beat a hasty retreat as soon as my hands were throroughly washed.

I can't describe what it is about this dungeon that's so terrifying.  Maybe the sensation of closing oneself into a small, old chamber is just an experience that only the bravest can face.  Maybe it's the fact that the disrepair comes from heavy use by everyone from the most careless lazy bum of a student to the sweatiest, grimiest athlete in the building.  Either way, I think the best service I could do for everyone in the area is to put caution tape in front of the door.

Monday, May 24, 2010


There's a certain magic in nature at night.  When there's fog on the hills, you imagine that anything could happen there.  When you stand still and quiet in the dark, the chirping of frogs and crickets makes you wonder where they are and what their homes are like.  The moonlight seeps a promise of adventure into your bloodstream.

Who wants to go exploring in the dark?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No Matter Your Strength, You Still Have To Choose Your Battles

Life is coming at us all the time, from all directions.  We have to choose which problems we let get to us, which situations we tackle head-on, because otherwise we would probably spontaneously combust.  As fun as that sounds, I think I, for one, would rather keep my body in one piece!

One piece of advice I've been given recently during my job search is to learn not to let everything get to me.  People who deal with the public often have to handle a million conflicts in even a single shift at work, just because any place where people gather, problems will also accumulate.  This means that someone who became a waiter, for example, would have to know going in that they shouldn't take everything their customers say to heart.  A person in this situation has to decide what specific circumstances matter enough to get worked up over and what's insignificant enough to let go.

I've had to face helpless situations before, and it wasn't even in "dealing with the public".  I've had a friend make a habit of coming to me for advice about circumstances where they already knew what to do (and had usually already decided to ignore it).  I've had someone cry on my shoulder and cling to me for comfort, but I couldn't talk to them about the situation when I knew that anything I said to them would be a waste of our time because they weren't able to take the advice of others (and will have to decide someday to change on their own).  I've even had someone come to me with their problems and try to tell me that they were all my problems too; they actually said that I had caused most of them.  In all of these situations, I would have loved to have been able to help, but it was impossible.  I had to consciously decide to take an emotional step back.  I tried obsessing over the issues before I learned better, and all it did was make me miserable, which still didn't help the other person.

Sometimes, a friend may come to you with a problem, but there's simply nothing you can do to solve it or help them make a decision.  In those instances, you have to distance yourself by realizing that it's a waste of time to stress yourself out over something you can't change.  Whether you're dealing with a random customer or your best friend, you can't fix everything.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Comment Cookies and The Concreted Camera

First order of business for today: I would be remiss if I didn't thank everyone who has commented on this blog, on any post, ever.  This includes the Anonymous Commenter (who gets their name capitalized like a superhero).  It's reassuring to see all the reponses, especially lately.  I truly appreciate it.  Cookies to you all! 

Seriously, if you want to claim your cookies, give me a visit.

Now, on to our topic for today!  This time, it's God of War.  For those of you who don't know, that's a Playstation 2 game featuring a manly Spartan who runs around doing the bidding of the gods (as long as it suits him).  It's a combination fighting/puzzle game with a fixed camera and tons of stunning upgrades for both weapons and magical abilities picked up along the way.

Here's the issue: I can't decide how I feel about the fixed-perspective camera.  I'm used to games that allow you to turn the camera any way you want at any time, and that allows me to scan a room the moment I enter it.  Without that ability, I was immediately frustrated with God of War.  I wanted to see everything and get a sense of my surroundings, but I could only see one section of a room at a time.  There's no way to manipulate the game to change the camera angle, either; it's made to stay in a prearranged place until you've gone to a new room or area, where it then goes to its new prearranged place.  That camera mocked me with its stubborn positions.

It wasn't until my God of War mentor pointed it out to me that I realized there was any advantage to a stuck camera at all.  Apparently, if you pay attention, it can give you insight into the minds of the game's creators.  The focus of the camera angle can clue you in to where you can find hidden items that offer health, magic, and upgrades.  You can also use it to figure out what to do in a lot of the game's puzzles, because the perspective literally points you in the right direction.  In the end, the game is made to fit around the fixed camera angle, too.  There usually isn't much in the area of the room you aren't facing, as opposed to a non-fixed camera game, which might have a room entirely lined with items and upgrades.

What's my conclusion?  Well, in the end, the stuck camera can be a strong advantage to the player who pays enough attention and has the logic to combine with it to make them an unstoppable force.  It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, maybe a fixed camera isn't so bad.

Although if someone offered me a hack to make the camera moveable, I'd probably still take it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

They Like to Get Drunk and I Find It Interesting

If you could get rid of all your inhibitions, would you do it?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Let Them Bite Your Daughter!

I'm taking a summer course, and there are five students besides me, three of which are grown women (and all of whom are female.  Thank goodness we have a male professor; otherwise the estrogen levels would become deadly).  Today, when I came back from a short break, I found most of the students in the middle of a conversation with our professor about preschool.  They had just touched upon the fact that most parents don't bother to teach their children things like their letters and numbers before sending them to kindergarten when one of the mothers in the class proudly announced that she has her eight-year-old daughter reading the Twilight series.

I was immediately scared for this child.  The entire point of Twilight is centered around an obsessive relationship that, frankly, would be ridiculously unhealthy in the real world.  When an older person reads the series, they have a chance of understanding that it's fiction before they buy into the lie that romance will solve all their problems, but a child as young as eight barely stands a chance.  At that age, a kid is still learning what to expect from the world.  They take most of the things they learn as fact without question, especially anything that comes from their parents.

When I pointed this out, the mother said that she just thought it was good because Twilight was making her child want to learn to read.  She thinks her daughter is old enough to know better, but I think she's treading on dangerous ground.  I know people my age who have let the media convince them that a romantic relationship is everything, and I'm in college.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cherish Freedom

Free things are hard to come by, and even when you get something free, it's usually bad quality.  This means that those rare moments when you get a free something that's really good, the world seems to be turning just for you.

You would think that knowing what you get is worth something makes it valuable, that giving up the money you earned for it would make it that much more precious to you.  But somehow, free pancakes taste the best.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Your Own Brand of Gasoline

Some people are driven to put everything into whatever job is at hand, while others can't find motivation with a magnet and a metal detector.  Why?  Have the more determined people simply found what motivates them?  Are "lazy" people really just people who don't know how to make their tasks really matter to them?

What motivates you?  Maybe you like to prove to yourself that you can beast any challenge.  Maybe you're more determined to impress other people, even if it's not so much about boasting as it is about having a satisfying sense of personal pride.  Maybe you're just really competitive.  Or maybe you have to bribe yourself with candy just to get housework done.

This writer finds it difficult to be driven to finish schoolwork or housework.  Doing things for friends, however, is a different story.  I find myself willing to help people in almost any situation, despite whatever personal cost there may be to me.  I'll give basically all of myself for other people.  Maybe I have more trouble with schoolwork and housework because those things are supposed to benefit me directly, and I find more satisfaction in seeing my friends happy than I do in seeing a clean floor in my bedroom.  It might be because helping others has the immediate payoff of their happiness, while doing schoolwork isn't really rewarded until grades come out at the end of the semester.  In the end, I care about the people in my life very deeply, while I'm unsure what my own future holds.  I don't have a defined goal to work toward for myself or my career, but I do have a heart full of love.

When you think about what motivates you, what does that say about you as a person?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Clawing My Way Back

Life has hit me pretty insanely hard over the past couple of months!  It's almost all wonderful things, but it keeps me from blogging because of the time I spend at it.  I'm considering blogging every day that I have internet access over the summer, but we'll see what happens and what life allows!