Friday, April 29, 2011

I wanna wear feathers and lace

Yeah, I bought this. 

Today I managed to catch a bit of the Royal Wedding during my lunch break at work. I went to the Vaults cafe, right next door to the library where Alisha works, just to visit and get a tea. To my surprise, they were projecting the wedding on the wall, so you know, because it was on and all, I watched.

I got there right after they kissed and sat there for the next hour, transfixed, while Will lead Kate down the aisle, into a carriage that I swear will turn to a pumpkin at midnight, drawn by snow white horses. I'm not going to say it was like a fairy tale, because that's disgustingly cliche (but it totally was). This carriage lead the newlyweds all around London where they waved happily to thousands of ballistic people, all waving Union-jacks and screaming. It was all very patriotic. Queenie was wearing a precious yellow outfit and Harry was looking at hot as ever. Oh Harry. I've been in love with him for some time now. Next year you'll be watching another wedding, probably called 'The Weirdly-Colonial Royal Wedding' as Harry and I bring our two great nations together, providing each other with the other half of what is without a doubt world-dominating citizenship, and thus allowing me to have a flat in Oxford, London, New Zealand, Lovettsville (that one will be a sweet little farm house), and probably New York, because that just seems like it would probably come in handy more than once. It may seem that I'm using Harry for his money, but I assure you this is not the case. It's true love, I just know it. 

But anyway, you've got a while before you have to start preparing which 'Harry & Maria' merchandise you plan to buy (I'd recommend the afghan, already picked out the colors. Hint: it's fire-engine red). Today was Will's day, Will and 'I'm-no-longer-a-commoner,' Kate. She really said that, so I'm told. Her dress was lovely, and both she and Will looked genuinely happy, which was nice. I'd be stressin' man, if that were my wedding. I kept hearing, despite the poor internet streaming and acoustics of the cafe, 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' playing, completely forgetting that we stole the tune for that song from the British National Anthem, and as a result being weirded out over and over again. However the thing that impressed me the most was the Royal Marching Band and the way they effortlessly cut 90 degree turns as one seamless entity, while still playing perfectly. This observation says a lot about me, which is in fact not much at all. 

So the wedding happened, I saw some of it, bought Royal Wedding- The Mug, and continued with my work day. I'm supposed to be out drinking all night to celebrate the future of British Royalty, which is where I suspect all my housemates currently are (home alone for once), but I have too much work to do. I'll celebrate the wedding of the year by working on one of my stories, listening to Stevie Nicks' new album on, and drinking tea out of the ugliest mug of all time. Sorry Mom, I'm starting to feel a little guilty about that. I'll get you a better one and keep this for myself. I have a weakness for ugly, dirt cheap things and this mug was both; I couldn't resist.

Watching the wedding at the cafe today made me think of all the other random places I've been while witnessing important world events. I saw the planes hit the Twin Towers on a TV in the Black Box (the drama room) in high school, lurking in the doorway so no one would see me skipping class.  I watched Obama win the presidency alone in my bedroom in Morgantown, half asleep but 100% into what I was watching (it was like a movie). I sort of saw him get inaugurated in the Creative Arts building at WVU, but mostly just heard it because the live streaming was not working.  I watched MJ's memorial service (yes, that counts as a world event) at work at Doener last year and totally cried while standing at the register, forgetting to pour someone a beer. I sat through Y2K with my family on our couch, all clutching our flashlights, totally disappointed that nothing happened. I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of others, but I'm also sure I saw them in equally strange places, adding to their significance. 

Alright, back to work. I have to read the Bible this week, write tons of stuff as usual and go to work and stand around for seven hours. The most exciting part of my working day today was a woman asking if I was an American. 

Her- You sound American.

Me- You got it.

Her- Where are you from?

Me- Virginia. You?

Her- Utah. 

And that was it, because in fact, being from the same country does not necessarily mean you have anything in common besides that. She told me she just met another American just outside on the street, as if this is an amazing occurrence. It's not, we're everywhere, especially Oxford. Tomorrow promises to be somewhat more eventful. It's the day before May Day, which means that people will spend the entire day drinking, then drink through the night (places are open till like 6am), then if they don't pass out they will make their way to Magdalen College, the sober ones to listen to the choir sing from the tower, the drunk ones to jump off the bridge and into shallow water and break their legs. I'll go to work, go home, then wake up early Sunday to see the choir, and then go to work.

I'm having a hard time finding a natural place to stop this blog, so I'm going to stop it abruptly. Bye. 


Monday, April 25, 2011

Tell a stranger that they're beautiful.

I am very unhappy with the world right now. That's right World, I'm talking to you. You are in big trouble.

Yesterday, a friend of mine was beaten up in the UK for being gay. Fractured elbow.

Then today I saw a video online I wish I could un-see. It was taken on a camera phone by the employees of a McDonald's in Baltimore while two teen girls beat a transgendered women so savagely that she had a seizure. All she did was use the ladies bathroom. The only one who tried to help her was an old women. The image of the woman clinging to the leg of the old women while the two girls beat her is going to keep me up tonight.

So, what the hell World? Why? How can this happen, how can this still be happening in the year 2011? I'm disgusted, I'm sad, I'm powerless, I'm shocked. I want to do something, but I don't know what. All I've got is this silly blog and 40some followers.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but just try and imagine the world (imagine yourself World) sans these people: David Bowie, Truman Capote, W.H. Auden, Leonard Bernstein, Ellen DeGeneres, Adam Lambert, Ian McKellen, Elton John, Andy Warhol, Laurence Olivier, David Sedaris, Freddie Mercury, Oscar Wilde, Joan Baez; I could go on all day. And my friends; where would I be without them? Joe, Max, JP, John, Todd, Meg, Aaron, Heath, Drew, Tim, Chris, David, Matt, Kristopher, and anyone else I'm forgetting (sorry if I am). The world would be boring, devoid of all color and music and art. I would have been very bored in high school and college without these people (seeing as a bunch taught me how to spin). Big Bertha in Lovettsville summers, Dorcy's Knob adventure days and creeper faces in all my pictures, glitter, Men in Tights in the car to Pittsburg, Twilight bashing online, Electrobeats at Doener, two birthday twins, writing weeks in Wales, prized Stevie Nicks CD,  unforgettable 24th birthday (and 22nd for that matter).  I would not be me, the world would not be the world, everyone would be missing out.

So, shape up World. STOP THE HATE. I'm FED UP with stories like this. I hope I live to see the day when people can love who they want and be who they want without violence.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

I want to love you madly.

Things keep happening; Literary Festival in Oxford (Phillip Pullman made fun of a woman's stupid question, awesome. Signed my book!), another article on the YA Fantasy Guide, fantastic new friends in Oxford and world wide, London a few times, Spring hit Oxford, the rain stopped. Two of my friends on my course and I were accepted to the Future of Feminism Conference in London for a panel topic we put together about the future of women in humor, the classroom and YA writing. We may not be able to go, things keep getting in the way, but it's still amazing we were selected from the hundred other applicants. I turned 24 and went to Istanbul. I got so many touching, thoughtful gifts and hand made cards from my friends here, making me want to cry and never leave. I have a tan. Well, I'd call it an English tan which would still be considered pale in other parts of the world. Finally had a English kebab, then a real Turkish one a few days later (guess which was better). Yesterday I painted my toe nails Mountaineer blue and saw Emma Watson at a cafe in the city, just hanging out with a friend. I played it cool, don't worry. I finally hit a good stride with my final project book (like yesterday, it's about time). Our house is full of Peeps. I spent an hour in Asia. And I came up with yet another tattoo idea. I want this tattooed on me somewhere:

""  Zembla, Zenda, Xanadu:
All our dream-worlds may come true.
Fairy lands are fearsome too.
As I wander far from view
Read, and bring me home to you."

It's from Salman Rushdie's, Haroun and the Sea of Stories. My awesome new friend Owen bought it for me for my birthday and I read it all on the plane to Istanbul, then re-read parts of it on the plane back from Istanbul. I know it's kind of long for a tattoo, so maybe just the last line. I love it. 

 My birthday was fantastic.
 Jen came for the day. I wore my blue wing all night long.

Then Alisha and I went to Istanbul. 

  More pics HERE.

It was amazing. 

Istanbul was unlike any place in the world I've ever been; cats everywhere, domed mosques dominating the skyline, fruit vendors, stuff vendors, juice vendors, Doener every five feet. I've never seen so many meat cones in my life, including when I used to make them for a living.  Alisha and I were constantly covering our hair (number one travel tip for women; bring a head scarf) and taking off our shoes to go inside mosques. Men were always yelling at us to buy their stuff, everything from jewelry, clothing, spices, sweets, books, purses, Evil Eyes, shoes, tea, and anything else you could possibly imagine. 

"  Hey beautiful, gorgeous, baby. Look here, I am here, you found me. Can I help you? Just a moment, over here. Spice girls, Angelina, beautiful girls. You are sisters? Just for you, I make special price. Just for you. Remember me."   I will. 
We made a lot of empty promises ("Yeah ok, sure we'll remember you next time we are looking to buy a knock off Gucci purse, but we've gotta go.") and found out that American's are apparently not as friendly as Canadians. Not really the best way to start a conversation, but whatever. In our hostel we made friends with people from Turkey, Germany, Iran, Lebanon, and Hungry. Our friend from Iran, upon first learning we were American, said, "so, I guess we are enemies." This made me really sad, but he assured me he was kidding. We visited a palace with him the next day and now I really want to go to Iran. 

Me, Saeed and Alisha at Dolmabache Palace.

Hostel friends are the hardest. I've met interesting people before in hostels, but never really made friends with them like we did in Istanbul. Most of them are on facebook, which makes it a little easier saying goodbye, but others you know you'll most likely never see again. You have to just trust in your memory and enjoy their company, while it lasts. Then it's goodbye, a heartfelt hug that lingers, bushy Turkish hair against your cheek, a shy wave, then your gone. Five day old friends = tiny heartbreak.  

Alisha and I packed a lot into our five days. We visited most of the big places you are supposed to visit, went inside all the mosques that were free, mastered the public transportation and even haggled in the Grand Bazaar for some amazing deals. We took a boat tour around the Golden Horn and into the The Bosporus, stopping for an hour on the Asian side of Istanbul. We saw a four ton chandelier in the Dolmabache Palace, where sultans and princess used to live. No pictures, not allowed. Saeed (like in Lost, but a different spelling), our Iranian friend, kept trying to get me to sneak pictures, but I'm a rule follower, so I didn't. The whole city was fairy-tale-beautiful; my favorite kind of beautiful. (Not to be confused with the look of the new Red Riding Hood movie, which can best be described as fairy-tale-gross. Or, more accurately, why-does-the-world-need-another-Twilight-looking-movie?) 

Alisha and I drank tons of Turkish tea in dainty glass cups with sugar cubes, tried our hardest to eat hummus with every meal and walked until our feet begged us to stop, at which point we ignored them and continued walking. We longed for anther week, month, even just one more day. Just one more tea, see one more cat, hear one more call to prayer, feel one more carpeted mosque beneath our bare feet.

But then it was back to Oxford. Two trams, two planes, a tube ride and a bus later, we were back at home. I want to go back. 

That was a week ago. This week I've spent lying in the sun, reading, writing, hanging out with people in the sun, not going to work. I am bragging a little, sorry. (You can rub it in my face in a few years when I'm living in a box in Nicole's front yard.) Back to the 'grind' in a few weeks, work starts again and we have three more classes. The the course is over. I can't believe it.

I think today Shobha and I are going to cut the grass in our back yard and iron clothes, two things I never do. I can hear my mother gasping in shock all the way over here. 

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's my Birthday

I am 24 years old today, and that is totally weird. But cool, like weird-cool, or something. Not too sure, I've only been 24 for about 9 hours, so I'll let you know how I feel later about it.

Lots has been happening. 

If that video works, which I suspect it may not, you should watch it. Remember that dance society I said I was in? We had shows this week, this is the one dance I was in. I'm the awkward one in the back, can't miss me. I'm sure my parents will be able to pick me out before the vid even starts, having about 8+ years of practice finding me on gigantic football fields, one out of 6 will be a cinch. But you really can't see me in this pic, I'm in the back. -->

SO I got another article up on the YA fantasy guide also, check it out. It's about The line between creative retellings and plagiarism. 

The coolest part about that article is that there is a link to the bottom about other articles I've written. So, I'm like real now. Exciting.

OK, I've got to get going. Thank you to everyone who has already sent birthday wishes my way, including my parents and both grandparents- thank you for all the packages! Another one (from the Gattusos) just arrived five seconds ago, perfect timing! Love you all!