Tuesday 30 December 2008

Melophobia: The Arcade Fire

Some people are afraid of clowns, heights, the dark, sharp objects (1). I, however, have a lingering grudge against, or persistent fear of, a Montreal-based baroque pop band. It may have something to do with a dream I had about drowning myself to their creepy-as-hell music. Maybe it's their bizarre-looking album covers that, for some reason, lead me to believe they are truly demons posing as musicians. Their album names bother me - "funeral", how depressing!, and "Neon Bible" - obvious blasphemy! Take a look at the picture above, and tell me that doesn't frighten the small, vulnerable child in you! Not even a spot on the soundtrack of my beloved Irish-American-Crime-Drama, The Black Donnellys (2), could redeem this group in my eyes.

However, most grudges are eventually dissolved. Today, as I was listening to Bright Eyes with my kickass new headphones, feeling all indie-rock and hipsteresque, I decided to give some "Patrick Music" - random indie/experimental/crazy stuff that Pat O'Halloran downloaded onto my computer eons ago - another try. Lately, as I read more into colleges I want to go to, I've come across several mentions of Patrick Bands, like Band of Horses, Sufjan Stevens, Bjork, Broken Social Scene (3), and, ahem, The Arcade Fire. (4) It seems that Patrick Music is actually College Music. Apparently, Patrick is the norm. Go figure.

This is all I'm going to say, as, while typing, I try to control my slightly-creeped out, shaking self. The Arcade Fire is not that bad. There is a chance that they are not, in fact, demonic. They might be human. Their music is, more or less, pleasing to the ear. As I listen to "Old Flame", I only slightly feel the tub water once again rising to cover my nostrils. During "Keep the Car Running", I may have even had a few quick moments of enjoyment. This may or may not be the beginning of a mediocre musical relationship.

1. My other, arguably, more realistic phobia. But that is another blog.
2. The Black Donnellys is probably my favorite show and it only lasted one outrageously violent and gory season. Damn you NBC!
3. For all you "Feist fans" who only know her from the iPod commercial, BSS was the band she was in before she was just Feist. And it's awesome.
4. Other notable Patrick Bands include The Shins (although I found them myself without Patrick's assistance), Wilco, Explosions in the Sky, Yo La Tengo, Chin up chin up, Spoon, and Deerhunter (i finally listened to them!).

Sunday 21 December 2008

This is bad. It really is.

I read Catcher in the Rye for several hours today.
I then sat down to write an essay for an Ithaca scholarship. The question: describe yourself.

This is what happened.
I'm rather frightened.

I've often been asked what I'm interested in. I usually respond with a few random interests: music, history, politics, literature. The truth is, I'm interested in almost everything. I really am. I love to learn. It sounds somewhat cliché, but it's true. You should see me in Latin class, you really should. Magistra Olsen will mention Spartacus, and I can't even focus until she's told the whole goddam story about him, about all the dead slaves hanging from trees on the highway, the whole goddam gruesome deal. Or in calculus, I hate calculus, but I get so into it. I hate it when people try to talk to me when I'm in the middle of a calculus problem. I mean, when I'm sitting there, working on a problem, I really hate when people try to butt in and talk to me. It's awful. I end up going off on them, like they were trying to distract me on purpose, when all they really wanted was a pencil or something. It just makes me feel so goddman awful when I do that. It really does.

Friday 19 December 2008

All Saints Day: They're Back!

It's the truth (veritas): ten years later, Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is currently being filmed.

After pretty much the longest wait ever, the outcry for a sequel to this epic cult-classic is finally going to be answered. The entire original cast, with the exception of Willem Dafoe, is in, including Rocco. I'm not really sure how that's going to play out, seeing as he died in the first one. There will be a lead female role, however, director Troy Duffy has stated that she will not be a love interest.

I have to admit I do have my doubts on how this film will be. Some things are not meant to be carried on. As we have seen in the recent alien-infested Indiana Jones comeback, sometimes it's better to just quit while you're ahead.

Nonetheless, I am so very excited to attend the premiere of this film. The first was only shown in theatres on a limited basis, as the violent film came out in the wake of the Columbine incident. What's really remarkable is the success the DVD has had, as it really only spread by word of mouth. So, not only will the contents of the film itself be interesting, but now that it is being distributed in an entirely different settings, I am anxious to see how the sequel is received by fans and newcomers alike.

Troy Duffy has posted updates as well as footage from the set on YouTube. He has also said that he's written another script, The Good King, which he believes will appeal to Saints fans.

So go buy your Rosaries, sunglasses, and trench coats, you'll need them for the premiere. Don't forget the stupid f'ing rope.

Sunday 14 December 2008

Fairytale of New York

It seems against the rules that a Christmas song should be on any list of favorite songs. This classic, by the Pogues, has become a cult favorite, and I'm glad, because it's awesome. I love that such a beautiful song is contrasted by a certain verse (You're a bum, you're a punk/you're an old slut on junk), as well as contrasted by the man who wrote it and performed it (Shane MacGowan, his songs are much more lovely than he is... thank God). Maybe it doesn't do the same thing for you, but, whenever I hear this song, I get a huge smile on my face and feel like skipping around outside in the snow.

Oh, and random trivia: there is no NYPD choir. at all. that's a lie.

16 Days

Dec. 31st - the deadline for Northeastern to mail me my acceptance/denial letter, as well as my financial aid package info.

Sadly, by the looks of things, I won't be attending NU. During this two week long period, I am extremely likely to die of stress and anticipation. When I actually recieve the letter, I might pass out, hitting my head on some extremely hard or sharp nearby surface, or I might throw up, and, being deprived of oxygen in the process, die. Yes, it's true, college applications will certainly be the death of me.

Just wanted to let you all know, in case I stop posting blogs at any time in the next few weeks, you'll know what happened to me.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Is My Nalgene Bottle Killing Me?

I carry it around with me everywhere I go. I abuse it, throw it on the ground, and it still stays intact and awesome. It's my Nalgene bottle, and I love it. It's different than other Nalgene bottles, because it's a home made Dropkick Murphys bottle. It's transparent black (or maybe grey..), and where it used to say "Nalgene" is a large "Dropkick Murphys Irish Stout" sticker that I so cleverly added.

While it does nourish me with approximately 64 fl. oz daily, I've also been told that it could be a gateway for cancer-causing radicals in my body. I think it is, sadly, time to do some research and find out whether or not my beloved "stout" bottle is going to be the death of me.

I received it from Brant Matthews, who happened to have a bunch of them at his house that he didn't want. This seemed sort of shady to me, considering they had recently been recalled. However, Brant insisted that these were not the killer-bottles, and that they were totally safe. I decided ignorance is bliss and took the bottle. I have since been told that the bottles with the number 7 in a triangle are the ones that are unsafe. There is one on the bottom of mine. However, you can't believe everything you hear. So I ignore it.

Finally, I turn to Google.
One parenting website tells me:

Nalgene themselves tell me:
We are confident that the bottles which contain BPA are safe for their intended use. However, because of consumer requests for alternative materials, we have decided to transition our polycarbonate product line to Eastman Tritancopolyester.
Agencies and researchers worldwide have studied the safety of BPA and polycarbonate for approximately 50 years; including The Environmental Protection Agency and The Food and Drug Administration in the USA, The European Commission Scientific Committee on Food, The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Findings of studies from these agencies indicate that food and beverage containers manufactured from polycarbonate do not pose a health risk to humans. Polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of consumer products including baby bottles, water bottles, dental sealants and the lining of most metal food and beverage containers and has been for over 45 years.
I know that millions of runners have practically been using Nalgene bottles since Phidippides ran the first 26 mile marathon to Athens. I also know that people, especially Americans, love to make gigantic deals out of nothing - especially if there is a potential lawsuit involved. For these reasons, I have decided to trust Nalgene and continue with the use of my kickass indestructible Dropkick Murphys Irish Stout water bottle.

A Pair of Dull Scissors in the Yellow Light

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came fallin' on our heads
But they're just old light, they're just old light

Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed

Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I'd done alright
And kissed me 'til the mornin' light, the mornin' light
And he kissed me 'til the mornin' light

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first

After listening, and singing, this sound countless times during 8th period study hall, I feel I've got a pretty good idea about the meaning behind it. If you don't know, Samson was a Bible character - he was a Nazarene, which meant that God gave him enormous strength, as long as he did not cut his hair. No one knew the secret to his strength, not even his wife Delilah. When the Philistines bribed Delilah to give away the secret of Samson's strength, she tried and eventually got it out of him, and finally cut his hair... thus, earning her legacy as one of the many great "Biblical whores".

I don't think Regina Spektor is singing about this very couple, however - "The Bible didn't mention us". No, this is about an ordinary, everyday couple, or really, any couple who has ever settled down. Samson used to have a great strength, and when he came to this fictional Delilah's bed, she cut it from him - but not intentionally, not to harm him, and not for selfish reason. To be in love, and to commit, is to sacrifice your strength. Our Samson knows this; he knows that his Delilah did not do this for ill reasons, but because it had to be done. He approves, he tells her that she's done "alright". The Wonderbread symbolizes commonality - white bread is an icon of suburbia, of everyday life. It doesn't seem like much, but it's what so many people end up living for - a wife, a few kids, a nice yard. Maybe our Samson and Delilah couldn't do extraordinary things anymore - say, travel the world, or buy fancy things, or "bring the columns down", and maybe they aren't famous, and won't be remembered for their sacrifices and their love - but they knew that would happen, and they did it just the same.

You & Me & All Our Friends

I've just begun an online AP Psychology course and, like James, recently encountered this quote:
"Why should I live? Why should I do anything? Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death that awaits me does not undo and destroy?
-Leo Tolstoy (1904)

Jim argues that our actions do matter, because they live on through our legacy and what we leave behind. It's a good point, but I don't think that's ever been my exact school of thought.
Not to be a downer, or a pessimist, or even emo, but I, too, often find myself wondering if anything I do matters, and if there is a reason to do anything at all. While you can certainly "live on" through a legacy, I don't think it's for everyone. Not everyone can invent a unit of measurement, or a theory, or have a street or bridge named after them. Some live simple lives, maybe out in the country, raising a nice family and doing what good they can. Do their lives mean less, because they aren't remembered for the same time span as others? I don't think so. Everyone is forgotten, eventually... except Jesus, and Caesar it seems. Even if you are remembered that long, you probably aren't remembered for who you really were - your image, your life, is distorted. There's nothing wrong with working hard during your life to leave behind something great.. I just don't think that's all you should want. Legacy, in one sense, is hunger for attention, even after death.
So why should we do anything? Why should I go to college and get a job and make a living? Does it matter? Well, I'm not sure yet. However, I think I have a reason to live. Although it may sound strange, I love people. I love meeting people, and connecting with people, if only for a short time. If you know me well, you know that I get very attached to people very quickly. That's probably because that's what I view as most important in life - the connections you make with those around you. If nothing else in the world is real, our interactions with each other are. If you take a piece of everyone you meet with you, and vice versa, then at the end of your life you will have, if not money or power or fame or glory, a piece of everyone you came into contact with, a little bit of their life. That's beautiful.
Ironically, through the people you meet, you create a legacy of sorts. You give them a piece of you, meaning, you change them, if only in the smallest way. They, in turn, meet others, and share that with them, creating the tangled, infinite web that is humanity. Through the people you meet, know, and love, you will live forever, even if your name does not.

Note to Jimmy: I swear I didn't write this for the sake of arguing with you... I seem to be doing that a lot lately.

Thursday 27 November 2008

I'm Thankful for my Blog.

The dreaded question: What are you thankful for?
The cliche response: My family, my friends, my house, my comfortable lifestyle.
Every Thanksgiving I wish I had something more interesting and less generic to be thankful for. I suppose I'm thankful that I happened to born into a middle-class American family, as opposed to being born into a third world country in the midst of warfare and destruction or poverty or disease. I could be thankful that I'm healthy and coherent. All this thought about how, by chance, I am who I am, reminds me of a Dave Matthews song (1):

Could I have been
A parking lot attendant
Could I have been
A millionaire in bel air
Could I have been
Lost somewhere in paris
Could I have been
Your little brother
Could I have been anyone other than me

It seems kind of ignorant to be thankful that you are yourself, and in the place where you are, when you haven't experienced any other life. Sure, you have a car and a nice house, but maybe those who aren't as well off as you have tighter family bonds, or closer friendships. I really believe that, the more material our lives are, the less meaningful they are. The more worldly things we possess, the less spiritual things we can reach. Objects tie us down. That's just my opinion, and I'm sad to say, it was heavily influenced by the character of Jack Dawson in Titanic.

So I guess while we're in our comfortable chairs, watching football, thinking about how we might puke all the turkey we just ate, yet too tired from the tryptophan to actually get up, maybe we shouldn't just be thankful that we aren't in some war-ridden, disease infested place, but maybe it should make us want to help the people who are a little more, and change things a little more, so that they have something to be thankful for too.

(1) I told you not to freak out- I still love Dave!

Monday 24 November 2008

Breaking Down Stereotypes

I think Queen Rania is awesome, and I would suggest checking out her other videos on YouTube, as well as the video responses they've gotten. On this eve of "change" in the US, let's take it a step further... let's break down more foolish stereotypes. Maybe, if Americans can stop thinking that every foreigner is dangerous, foreigners will stop thinking that every American is an idiot!

Seroiusly, Queen Rania = new hero. What an awesome woman. Totally my new role model. If a Scotch-Irish Catholic/German/French-Canadian American girl sees her as such an example, think about the effect she must be having on Arab and Arab American girls.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Identity Switch

As you most likely have not noticed, I have changed my display name to Molly Kate (my middle name). I have been applying to a number of colleges, and for a number of scholarships, and I have heard horror stories of colleges and universities finding applicant's blogs/facebooks/myspace. However, I've also seen a number of scholarship websites in which you can post your blog URL, so colleges and scholarship programs may have a gander - in belief, of course, that it would help display your talent and creativity. On this subject, I am torn.

Naturally, I would like almost anyone to read this; it is a pretty good display of my beliefs and ideas, as well as my interests and activities. I would hope that this blog would display any talent in writing I might possess. Many of my good attributes can be found in these blogs, many things that I'm sure would help grant me admission to a college.

However, with all I've written, I'm sure there's something in there that I wouldn't want a college or university to see. Although I am not sure quite what that is, this fear of judgement may have gotten the better of me. I expect, on some level, or anyone who read this blog (1) to judge me on some level, but the idea of someone reading it with the question of my future in mind is pretty frightening. I swear occasionally, and although I realize that swearing in writing doesn't mean much in the college world, it certainly cannot help my case. What if the admissions man/woman reads my Obama blog and is a hard-core republican? I know, I know, some of these ideas are ridiculous, but these "what if's" add up into a fear I can't ignore.

I would hate to have to censor my blogs. Suddenly every entry would become a college essay of its own (2), and every description of myself would have to be one that presented me in a studious, organized, practically perfect, manner. I don't think I can handle that.

So I am changing my display name. I removed the URL from my facebook as well as my aim profile. This saddens me, because I would like what I write to be read, but I think it's necessary. If an admissions office is really that good at stalking, and stumbles across Damanta Maith (3), well, that's fine. I'm pretty proud of this baby.

1. Yes, I realize, pretty much no one reads this. It's cool. I can pretend.
2. Actually, nearly every blog I've written is extremely college-essayesque, if you haven't noticed. In the essay section, I should probably just type the URL.
3. I don't think I ever mentioned what a DAMN GOOD blog name I came up with. Gah I want to name my child that.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Only In America

Leave it to our country to create microscopic images of our president-elect.
Yet, we can't figure out global warming...

Tuesday 11 November 2008

So-Long TRL?!

I was just informed that the icon of my youth, the program that dominated my preteen thoughts, is finally calling it quits. After 10 years - I was 7 when it began - TRL will no longer be giving us the top videos of the day. Upon hearing this news, I began to think about how, had I known it was going downhill, I might have actually tuned in once or twice in the last few years. Nonetheless, one word represents my thoughts on this issue - WHY?!

Damn you MTV! Without news breaks on this show, the teenage population will have no idea of what's going on in the world. They will become completely uninformed. In the case of a national crisis, the young adults of American will have no idea what is going on, and as a result the nation will surely slip into havoc.

Rest In Peace, Total Request Live... we will miss your irritatingly short videos and desparate attempts at entertaining the short attention spans of American teens.

1st Amendment Rights Exist in College, Too.

The following is an essay for a scholarship given by FIRE. I encourage you all to visit their website and watch the videos... it's a great organization, and what they are doing is so important.
As I look forward to entering college next year, I like to believe during those four years I will be exposed to a plethora of new ideas, views, and opinions. I hope to be submerged in a sea of varying opinions and diverse beliefs, and that I might develop my own views while learning more about opposing views. After four years of high school, I feel that it is imperative to my future that I learn as much as I can from those around me. Upon graduation, I will be entering a world of diverse people, and thus diverse beliefs and opinions. It is the duty of universities and colleges to not only educate students academically, but to expose them to such beliefs and ideas, that upon graduation, they will be well prepared to actively participate in our ever-changing, ever-diverse society.

Sadly, in so many universities and colleges across our nation, this will not be the case. As seen in these videos, students' opinions are so often "hushed", whether they be directed at a terrorist group or for simple concern for the environment. If students cannot voice opinion of the building of parking garage, what other opinions will be silenced? This truly worries me, and should worry any other student who holds their first amendment rights dear. I hold on to the hope that next year, if there is an issue I feel unjust, I will be able to fearlessly voice my opinion in a non-violent way without being reprimanded or censored.

Universities' ability to play government goes against the fundamental values of our American society. As citizens, our rights are well protected in the U.S. Constitution, especially the rights of accused persons. A fair trial and an attorney are guaranteed to us. If, as students, such rights are overlooked, it is as if we are not living in a free state, and we might well be living in a less fortunate, less democratic country. Students must understand and remember at all times that these rights are present on a college campus; if anything, such rights are more present on a college campus. How is it that colleges, places created for the distribution of ideas and nursing of scholarship, so quickly cut down any dissidence, any message of individual opinion?

It seems that universities censor students out of fear - fear of offending others, fear of uncomfortable situations. So often do we see colleges trying so hard to protect the right of minorities and underrepresented religious groups, that members of the majority suffer. For example, does individual student's celebration of Halloween while in school violate the rights of an individual who does not believe in such a holiday? It may make students uncomfortable, offend them, even anger them, but the Bill of Rights has no mention of the right to be comfortable, or the right to agree with every voiced opinion in the proximity. While students maybe be put in awkward situations by encountering such acts of expression, these situations should be seen as learning opportunities - opportunities to hear about what others belief, to wonder why they believe it, to question such beliefs, and to understand your own beliefs, and why you hold them.

Universities that have a habit of silencing expressive students are doing a great disservice to themselves. It is easily understood that any student who is willing to take a stand and voice their ideas is an active student, engaged in their studies, who have decided to take their education in their own hands. These are not passive students, but enthusiastic young men and women who understand that their education and personal ideas are the most important thing they posses - these items cannot be taken away from them. To discourage such students, or to remove them from the school, is to cleanse the school of enthusiasm and to rid it of perhaps the most active, scholarly students. This message of hostility towards personal development and growth is undoubtedly an interference to the purpose of any center of higher learning.

While it is of severe importance that universities, colleges, and other centers of learning understand students' rights and freedoms, it is of perhaps equal importance that students understand them as well. Students must realize that not only are they free to speak for or against issues they find important, but it is their civic responsibility to voice these concerns and act to correct injustices in their society. They must realize that others around them are free to voice their side of an issue, while the opposition is free to do the same. Most importantly, students must remember that if ever their chosen center of learning attempts to silence their voice, they must defend their views, opinions, and their right to make themselves heard.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Barack On

I did not expect to get so excited about this election at all. Sure, I watched a portion of the debates now and then, and I scanned over Joe Mignano's blogs occasionally, but I didn't seem to have much of an opinion or much enthusiasm until the last week or so. I don't know much about politics, but it's obvious that yesterday and today have really been historical and pivotal times. Perhaps it's mere illusion, but it really feels as if things are changing - what exact things, well, I'm not sure, but the word "change" and the feeling of change seem to be everywhere.

Watching the celebration in cities throughout the nation, I'm not sure whether they are celebrating because Obama is the new president, or because the end of Bush's administration is in sight. Our country will no longer be represented by an old, white, Christian Texan, but a young, intelligent, (hot), black man. The thought that other countries, and individual citizens around the world, may now percieve America in a completely different way is so exciting. Maybe we won't be thought of as "American Idiots" quite as often.

This is obviously a huge step for unity for Americans, too. I have to say I'm proud to live in an America that elected a black president. Racism and discrimination will not vaporize over night, but having a black president is obviously huge. This is so cliche, but imagine if MLK could see what's going on now.

Finally, I am so proud of my generation. 18% percent of electorates were young people (2 out of 3 in favor of Obama)... more than ever before. It's amazing to see young people caring and paying attention; you cannot call the youth of America "lazy" or "apathetic" any longer. This is really becoming quite the youth movement, a new kind of rebellion. Our parents, aunts and uncles all rebelled in their day, but they were going against the system; my generation, on the other hand, is "rebelling" within the system. We are learning how things work, becoming a part of politics, and having quite the impact. If anything, this should assure you that our future is in good hands.

If none of the above make you excited about the outcome of this election, just remember, this means the Obama kids get a puppy! Aw.

Monday 3 November 2008

Green Fields of NY

Today I was faced with a seemingly simple decision: Should I run, or rest? Every year, after Sectionals, Coach advises that we all take a week off, so that we don't burn out our bodies a few weeks into indoor track. There are many, many times when I would glady take a break from running. However, when I got home from school (1), I couldn't stand the thought of staying in the house.
As I started out in my beloved THOAY (2) shirt and spandex, with my sansa playing The Cure's new album (3), I started thinking about how this could be my last week to run in Western New York in the fall ever. I know how stupid that sounds, and how much it contradicts my "C'est La Vie" attitude of this week. There's really nothing I love more than running around these fields and seeing the trees in all their beauty. In the spring and summer I like to pretend that the green fields surrounding me are actually the green fields of Ireland, not LeRoy; but in fall, I feel like Pocahontas, when she's running around with all the little animals (as well as John Smith), with the wind all different colors flying through her hair, and the leaves dancing all around her. (You can laugh, but the first time I thought that I had just gotten done with a race, and I was experiencing quite the runner's high.) The usual group of men were out working in a field, with all their F-350s and Silverados, and they all wave at me because that's what people do out here. Laurel was outside raking leaves, and I was so tempted to just jump in one of the huge piles. I know that there are leaves other places in the world, and that there are farmers and their trucks in other places too, and I know that the fields are probably greener in Ireland. Still, the realization that I might not be here around this time of year for the next few years, maybe never again, made me completley positive that I made the right choice - even if I were to suffer the wrath of L.

1. I love driving the red truck to school. so much.
2. If I tell you that it's Canadian, you could probably figure out what it stands for.
3. Why is The Cure labeled as "goth"? Does "It's Friday, I'm in Love" really sound like a goth song? "Just like heaven"?

Sunday 2 November 2008

Free At Last

Four years and three months ago I started running Cross Country. At this point, I hated running, and did not believe at all that I was cut out for this. My parents didn't believe I could do it either, and that was pretty much the only reason I went through with it - to prove to them, and myself, that I could survive xc.
I really think it took about two years to totally get used to it and get comfortable running. For the first two weeks, I was positive that I would quit before school started. After school started, I did not think I would make it until our first race, but I did. Then, I didn't think I would finish the season. I didn't have it in me to quit, I felt like I didn't really have a good reason to. Besides, Ciera would have killed me.
As seen in my previous blogs, I am clearly passionate in my love for cross country and running in general. The beginning of November, however, is always awaited with the greatest anticipation - Sectionals, the last day of the season. We run our final race, go out to eat, have a sleepover, and wake up the next morning, completely liberated of the sport we love so much, and slightly unsure of what to do now. While there are things we are finally free to do, there's also a bunch of stuff that we now HAVE to do.
Indoor track will be starting in a week and a half for some of us, but this week and a half is the greatest and strangest week of the year. Much like summer, I begin to plan all the things I can fill my free time with - things that will probably not be accomplished. English work has piled up in the last marking period, which is due in two weeks. If I get going soon, I should be fine - I only have 15 notebook responses and two creative essays to write, two and a half plays and three novels to read. My PIG research project is going well, mainly because I often opt to spend all my free time reading about the Provisional Irish Republican Army, rather than doing real work. Scaramouche, my alto sax solo, has been long neglected due to marching band and cross country, so I should get practicing that during my 3-4 study halls a day. I finally have time for Loretta, and now that I have time and a license, it'll be much easier to drive to Meholick's house for lessons with Mrs. M.

During cross country, there's a unwritten code that I, as well as the other runners, live by. It isn't things that L suggests we do or do not do, or anything in the athletic policy - it is formed by experience, by the days we do stupid things before we run and suffer for our actions later. For example, in 9th grade I learned that to eat an apple before running is practically the equivialent of placing a rock in your stomach. To drink coffee before a race is to drain your body of every ounce of hydration. To drink juice the day of a meet is to bathe your muscles in acid. I am free now, until indoor starts, to drink whatever the hell I want and to eat apples any day of the week. However, I am no longer permitted to eat as many carbs as I please throughout the day with the mentality of, "I'll run it off at practice."

Sunday 26 October 2008

We Got Some

Today I stood on the field in the carrier dome, for the last time, waiting to perform my final field show. Tears were finally beginning to dry on my face - tears of sorrow to leave this group, of love for everyone in it, and of pride for all they have accomplished this year. Trying to calm myself down, I watched the band that was currently performing. Colorguard flags whirled, brass wailed, woodwinds sang - and I wondered, what is this activity about?

It seems rather dull and almost ridiculous. How can anyone find meaning in a marching band drill? Creativity has no place in this art - you do what they tell you to, exactly how they tell you to do it. Perfection means being exactly the same as everyone else. You certainly can't put your own ideas and style into a show like this. No, the "spark", the chill you get on the field, the butterflies in your stomach, do not come from your drill packet or your sheet music or basic block with Hillman. That comes from the bus rides, the down time at rehearsal, the lunch breaks at band camp. It comes from the friendships you begin, the bonds you form, and the memories you create at band. I feel like that's the real activity here - you take these memories and this passion, and suddenly the dots on your drill chart mean a little bit more. The once dry, boring (and maybe confusing) sets and formations begin to take on a new meaning. Every set reminds you of a different joke, every song reminds you of a different memory.

When I watch other bands, I feel like I don't get to see everything in their show. I feel like between the well-dressed lines, the carefully tuned chords, there are inside jokes, good times, and close bonds. I don't see a show; I see a group like mine. And today, when I saw Mohonasen, I couldn't help but feel (if only for a second) that they should win. Not because they were any cleaner, louder, or sharper than us, but because I knew they had worked just as hard and they had become just as close to each other as our band had. Their smiles and their energy proved that they deserved to win it. While I probably would have prefered winning 1st by ourselves, I don't mind sharing so much. Our success this year has been incredible. We have achieved so much. For not one, but two bands to do that in a season only doubles my pride. This tie will be something to talk about for a while - it's the third in NYSFBC history. I think it's something to celebrate. We are still state champions (four times for my class!) and we should be proud, even if another band is bragging about the same thing in Long Island.

My marching band career has been incredible. We have been state champions four out of five years, and the only year we lost was our first year in a higher class. I have made a pretty obnoxious number of close friends and an even more obnoxious number of memories. I leave the field today with nothing but love for the band and all it's done for me. My only sorrow is that I won't be around to see Dave McVicker tear it up on his alto sax, Dan Matthews try out for Drum Major, or Scotty Meyers lead the drum line. This year our band was really young, but this only means that in a few years, they are going to make even more incredible things happen. While I won't be there, I know I'll be part of it. I know I had an impact on them, and I nurtured their love of marching band, and that might be even more incredible than all the joys I have personally experienced.

I didn't intend for this, but.... college essay?

Friday 24 October 2008

High School is NOT a Musical

Tonight, as I watched well-rounded cheerleaders, respectful jocks, beautiful nerds and ridiculously talented teenage composers sing, dance, and smile their way though high school (with, I admit, the greatest pleasure), I could not help but think, "This is such a lie."

I feel it is my duty - my responsibility - to warn any preteens who have been infatuated with this movie that high school is NOT a musical. I am a senior now, and I frequently have kids asking me questions about high school. This is what I have learned - at least, the important parts.

There are no Troy Boultons in high school. Or perhaps, there are Troy Boultons, but there is always much more wrong with them than his compulsive love for Gabriella, or his excessive talent, which forces him to choose between a full ride to Julliard or a full ride for basketball at AU. Any real-life Troy Boulton probably drinks heavily, deals drugs, cheats on his homework, or treats his girlfriend poorly.

Please, please, do not expect a male from your school to ask you to prom while standing on a table in the cafeteria, shouting in front of the whole school. This will never, ever happen. It is much more likely to be in a text message, or "Hey, my date backed out, do you have a dress?". Such romantic, outgoing things cannot be expected in high school. Or probably real life, I just haven't gotten to that part yet.

Also, there will be no waltzing at your prom. No one will know how. Your boyfriend or date will not ask you to teach them the week before. If I am mistaken, and this does happen, it will NOT be on the roof of your school, with flowers and trees surrounding you, in the pouring rain.

You will not fall in love with the perfect man (as we have already established, Troy Boulton does not exist) while acting the lead role in the musical. You will not sing a beautiful duet (breakin' free) or have the most romantic stage kiss ever.

If your basketball team does, in fact, win states, the after-party will not be in a rich kid's backyard, equipped with a DJ, and it will definitely not be completely clean. The entire school will not be there wearing only red and white, and your parents will not be mingling. There will most likely be a plethora of substances going around and the police may stop by for an appearance.

You will not end up with a free ride to Berkley (for basketball AND theatre), which happens to be 31.7 miles away from your girlfriend at Stanford (in the honors program, of course) (who also happens to be an extraodinary singer/actress).

Finally - this is the worst.
The student body will never simultaneously break into song and dance in the cafeteria.

Sorry to break the news.

Sunday 12 October 2008

Lots of Fun at Finnegans Wake

I was in the school library one day, searching for a book that would be able to capture my attention. I saw a cute little yellow book called "Dubliners", and thought it would be nice to read a novel that took place in Dublin. Couldn't hurt. Little did I know, this was no simple story - no novel, or chapter-book - this was James Joyce's collection of short stories, literary masterpieces that are college-level reading material. After reading the first one, becoming completely dumbfounded, sparknoting it, and then finally appreciating Joyce's literary genius, I went back to the library. I saw he had another work there: Finnegans Wake (1). It was rather large, but when it comes to literature I tend to be somewhat cocky, thinking I can handle anything.

This book did not even start with a complete sentence. It begins in the middle of the sentence - and ends in the middle of the same sentence. It has no structure, no plot, and really, no conventional English. It's about a dream; or a wake; or death; or who even knows? Did Joyce even know? Was he pulling a John Lennon; "Let's write something with no answer to drive the puzzle solvers insane"?

Thank God, I did not check Finnegan's Wake out. Had I actually attempted to read it at that age, I may have caused myself such serious mental damage that I would not be able to compose these wonderful blogs for you today. However, since I learned about this book, I have had a goal to read it someday. Not only to make it through, as in, to simply scan every word of it, but to read and comprehend it.

Some goals must be achieved early, or else they will never be reached. A few of my life goals I should begin to pursue now; however, this is not one of them. I believe that I should let myself and my reading habits mature before I proceed with this dream. Perhaps while I'm in college I'll give it a go. I hope it is, and it should be, a long, intense journey for me. I've never been good at casual reading - I either neglect reading, or I go all-out.

This seems like the type of goal I would set for myself and then, after torturing myself and stressing over it, I would just throw it away and feel extremely relieved. I hope that, years from now, that is not the case.

(1) Yes, Finnegans, not "Finnegan's". Plural, no ownership. This has always severely bothered me.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

The Bitch Went Nuts

The bitch went nuts, y'all.
But everyone said she might.
Holy fucking shit. Seriously now.
Now they want more.
They're at my door with torches. Scores and scores.
You would have thought I'd scorned them all.
They've got a doll of me, they're burnin'.
-Ben Folds

The actual idea of this song (which was actually recommended by my awesome band teacher) has nothing to do with what I'm going to write about. But lately I feel like I am a bitch... who is going nuts.

If you ask some of my friends, I think they would tell you I've been a bit moody lately and I'm not sure why. Tiny, minuscule events set me off like a she-devil. Someone broke into the kickass Halloween Food Locker that James and I created, and I am doing everything I can to settle this score. "Shut up" seems to be my answer to every question I am asked. Disagreements on political issues are not pretty. Today the subject of abortion really got me going, I couldn't even stop - and it was with my sweet, good-intentioned friend Katie. Don't even bring up Sarah Palin.

What is the reason for this madness? I assure you it is not PMS or anything related. Perhaps it's personal problems, or family issues of some sort? None that I am aware of. Quarrels with friends? Nope. Sadly, I don't think I even know why I am going nuts.

Fall is my favorite season. Life seems like a beautiful, blissful movie. However, it's also ridiculously busy - not only for myself, but my friends as well. I think the combination of my stress with their stress is driving me crazy. Not to say that my friends "dump" their problems on me (if anything, I do that to them), but just having that stress in the atmosphere, that tension, could make anyone snap. To be completely honest, competition has a small role in my madness. Having really intelligent, successful friends can be nice ...and also depressing. Several times a day I feel extremely insufficient.

Of course, the natural thing to do in times of plummeting self-esteem is to... You guessed it! Bully, bitch, make fun of people. It's all in good fun, deep down I really love these people (1). I think they know it too; I don't think my bitchiness makes them question that. As long as I still have friends, I don't really see too much of a problem with this habit.

This is probably a problem. That is - the fact that I do not see a problem in my voltile ways. It may be beneficial to calm down, to control myself a bit more. I feel like with this temper comes slight sociopathic tendencies... this is cannot be good. I should probably work on being a bit less self-centered. I am startlingly okay with all this, though. I am getting by. There is that light at the end of the tunnell that is college next year, and once I get there I'll be good to go. Or at least I'll have a batch of fresh, new problems to occupy myself with.

In the meantime, I would advise you to do one of to things: either stay away from me, or if you're feeling brave, tell me to stop being such a bitch.
I might listen.

(1) Except Kyle, who broke my face, and Greg, who stole my Gatorade. These grudges are worth holding.

Monday 6 October 2008

Don't Freak Out: What I Don't Like About DMB

Disclaimer: I love Dave. DMB is in my top three favorite bands, which rotate. I think they are the best musicians and performers...ever.

Every rose has its thorns. Every high has a low. Every band has something - a song, a chord, a line- that you don't especially like. I love Dave Matthews Band, but I have some issues with them too.

First off, I hate the song "Captain". Whenever I get it stuck in my head, the rest of the day is horrible. I just really, really, do not like it.

"Say Goodbye". This is really an awesome song - a great one to sing along to, and Carter totally kicks ass in it. However, I'm not too big on the actual idea represented here. If you've heard it, you probably know that it's about an affair: But tommorrow go back to your man, I'm back to my world and were back to being friends. Call me old fashioned, but I'm not a huge fan of cheating. In some way, this song is beautiful and romantic... but part of it just bothers me.

When I was younger, the lyrics of Tripping Billies bothered me slightly. Eat, Drink, and be marry, for tomorrow we die. Part of me was frightened by the bluntless of this; at ten years old, I wasn't really yet aware that I would die at some point. Later, the "carpe diem" idea of the song began to bother me slightly - as a catholic school kid, I wasn't taught to "live it up", or to have fun before you die. The idea seemed sinful to me. If you're going to die tomorrow, you shouldn't be partying - you should probably be praying that you don't burn in hell.

Now that I think of it, most DMB songs that bothered me did so because of my catholic background. Now I'm a bit different - perhaps more open-minded, a more independent thinker. However, those old habits die hard, and although I find nothing wrong with songs like Pig or Tripping Billies now, the catholic school girl buried inside my head is still confused and unsure about the ideas in these songs.

I guess the moral of the story is... Dave Matthews and catholic school girls do not mix.

Tuesday 30 September 2008

We Live as We Dream

Alone. Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, said this. After a month of bullshitting my way through this novel, it seems unlikely that I would volunterily discuss this man, or anything having to do with him. This quote, however, has gotten to me a bit.

When I first read it, the naive, hopeful side of me instantly thought against it. Of course we aren't alone, we're all together! I immediately rejected the thought that our lives are lonely paths. As for the dreaming? Well, sure we dream alone. I never really thought much of dreaming... you can barely remember any of it, anyways.

However, Conrad doesn't mean that we live as remote islands. He means that our journey through life is one that we only completely share with ourselves. He means that, in every experience, the main event isn't the only thing that matters - every sight, taste, feeling we have adds to our experience. We are the only ones who will have that exact experience - those exact feelings.

Have you ever had a dream you couldn't describe? It felt so significant to you... but you can't explain it well to anyone. No matter what, no one understands what you experienced, or what you were feeling. You were the only one there, and while you may come close, no one else will ever have that. Last night I had a dream that Ian was killed by a flock of birds. (1) Nine of them stabbed him in the heart. You can understand the jist of the dream, but you can't understand the little, tiny details that surrounded it, and made that dream exactly what it was. I can't explain them to you, both because I don't remember and there's too much to describe.

I dreamt that dream alone, and so it's solely mine. That's how we live life - although others may be there, and go through the same things right next to us... each experience is completely different. You can see a movie with a friend and enjoy it, while they detest it. Same event, different experiences.

So, we live alone. This isn't depressing - obviously we can be surrounded by friends, and be close to them. This is really quite a beautiful thing. It's the only thing that you will ever completely own yourself, something you will never have to, or be able to, share with anyone. That's your unique experience of life; It's the exact feelings you have, the little details in your life that melt into one. Conrad experienced something that most of us never will - he saw, first hand, the colonization of Africa. He saw men go mad, and a continent exploited. Other people were there, but no one else experienced it exactly like he did. An attempt to describe this experience as fully as possible, using language, became Heart of Darkness. (2)

Maybe you're one of those people who keep things to yourself... or maybe you're like me. I try to explain everything that happens to me to anyone who will listen, it seems. This probably annoys others and sometimes even annoys myself. However, I do take comfort in knowing that no matter how much I talk, no matter how much I "vent" (3), there will always be somethings that no one else will really know, and that's my unique experience of life.

1. Ironically, Ian had a dream that SAME night that I died in a car accident! This is the second time we have had dreams about each other dying on the same night!
2. Oh and thank God, because what the hell would I do if I couldn't read HOD?
3. Kudos to Jordan Fleming, who listens to me complain about EVERYTHING almost nightly.

Monday 29 September 2008

Eleven Days

11 since my last post. I could probably come up with something to write a nice piece about, but I'm not really in that mood. I feel obligated to post something, though, so here's what's up.

I've been pretty much completely booked every minute of every day lately. Mondays and Wednesdays are band (except tonight), Tuesdays are xc meets, Fridays are often football games/spaghetti dinners, and Saturdays are XC invites, Marching Band competitions, weddings!, SATs, or a combination of these. Thursdays are usually free after practice, with the exception of Always Sunny in Philadelphia on at 10 pm. Sundays are free, too, but usually end up getting filled with a trip to Batavia, or somewhere with mom, or a NHS walk this weekend.
When I find a spare half hour, I try to make the boys soccer games.

On top of this, I've got quite a bit of work to do - AP Calc, AP English, PIG (which is actually no work), Latin, and soon-to-be AP Psych. I just got done recording a book for Mrs. B for community service. It was Ashes of Roses, and I forgot how much it completely sucks. Latin Club has been getting into full-swing... we're making Roman Bullae! They're pretty authentic... we also have to sew them. Which I have no time for.

I'm also trying to read Catch-22 for outside reading. I'm on page four, and so far it's fantastic!

As my room progressively gets messier, my mother progressively gets more pissed off, and that hasn't been working out too well.

And finally, the things I won't specifically mention in this blog - the many, many interesting problems, crises, and challenges all of my friends seem to be facing at the moment. It adds a lovely little layer of stress and devastation to my already gloomy life.

I hardly have time for Loretta any more, let alone my saxophone solo - Scaramouche! (will you do the fandango?). Oh oh OH, and how could I forget -this lovely stack of papers in front of me, papers that will soon be sent to people who will decide my very fate - got to love college applications. The upside is, I have my social security number totally memorized!

But the good news is - Fall is here. October is a few days away. I get to see everybody multiple times a day. Apples are all over my house, it seems. The leaves are changing, Halloween decorations are up (IN OUR KICKASS BAND LOCKER), and really, this is the best time of year.

Wednesday 17 September 2008

The Benefits of Blogging

As you may have read, I've been extremely busy applying to colleges. This process, of course, includes college essays (wooo hoo!). I tried to write a few on Word, but it felt strange. I tried to write one by hand, but kept getting distracted because it was going so slowly. Seeing as most of my blogs could qualify as college essays (if edited, perhaps), I decided to write possible essays on here, post them, and then decide which ones I actually want to risk my future on.

So in the next few weeks, there will be a number of college essays on here, that I will of course identify. Feedback would be wonderful... Meaning, if you think one of them was horrible, you might want to let me know, so Boston U doesn't think the same.

If you don't feel like leaving comments, you can e-mail me at molly.eadie@gmail.com .

College Essay #1 about leadership, because colleges eat that up.

I had been called "a leader" before, but I never really felt like one. Teachers, coaches, and other adults love to throw that word around. I had been an officer for countless school clubs: Spanish club, Band Council, Chorus Council, Literary Club, and so on, but the term "leadership" never had a clear definition to me.

As drum major of the marching band, I have an endless list of responsibilities. Go find the flutes; make copies of this music; get the band formed in their marching block; start music warm-ups; find a drumstick. Even after conducting the band through warm-ups by myself, I still wasn't sure I felt like a leader. Everyone was watching me for the beat, I was telling them exactly what to do... but to me, that didn't feel like leading.

It was a few months ago, during warm-ups, when I saw some saxophone rookies struggling. Seeing my former section lacking the focus and confidence to succeed sparked something in me - perhaps leadership. Quickly, I ran over to them, and gave them a pep talk. "Stand up straight, chin up. Try not to wobble when you mark time. Play out, even if the notes are wrong. March as if a judge is criticizing your every move."

As I said it, I was worried I had become too much of a "bad cop". This is, I believe, the challenge of being a leader; you have to find a nice middle ground. If I yelled at the band whenever they made a mistake, they would never listen. Alternatively, letting too many mistakes go would not motivate the band, and they would not improve. With this in mind, I flashed them a kind smile, hoping they wouldn't have ill feelings towards me.

Judging by their performance afterwards, they were not at all bothered by my criticism; in fact, it was almost as if they wanted it. I found myself on a bit of a flaw-correcting spree that evening - reminding them to practice discipline, challenging the winds to improve their posture, even scolding a few young, chatty clarinets. To my surprise, no one disliked me for it. A certain focus spread across the band, and the rehearsal that night was fantastic. Surely our success was not completely my doing, but I had realized that I have a real power and influence in the band. I already knew that so many of them looked up to me; I didn't realize that using this power and influence was nothing to be afraid of. When I had finally stopped second-guessing myself, I was able to contribute to the band in a huge way; this, after all, is the reason I became Drum Major. Five years of this activity had given me a sense of pride, work ethic, determination, discipline, and a love of music. As Drum Major, it's my responsibility to make sure every member of the group has this same experience, and can find all of these qualities, in the activity I love so much. Hopefully, I can spead that passion to the young members of the band; Maybe, years from now, those rookies can hand down that passion, that determination, to kids I will never even meet.

Sunday 14 September 2008

There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing in a crooked line...

The following is more a series of frantic, stressed questions, than an actual blog. You will learn practically nothing from this; you will only become confused, and possibly overwhelmed and stressed out as well.

As I register for the October SAT's, I am asked ONE question: Where do you want to send your scores?
Thus, the chain of questions begins:
Obviously, you would want to pick the top schools you are interested in.
So I figure, alright, Binghamton is one.
Wait, no, because Binghamton does not require Subject Tests, so why send them?
..Because they look at them, and it can help you get in.. or money.
But why send them to Binghamton, who does not require them, when Boston University and Boston College, who are more competitive, do require the subject tests?
What about Emerson College, who only has a communications program? Do I really want to go there? What if I change my major and have to transfer? Could I still get into BC or BU (meaning Boston University, not Binghamton University, or University at Buffalo... both of which I am also looking at)?
Should I also send my scores to Hamilton? Would I really want to go to a small-town school like that? They are near Utica (which has a brewery that the Dropkick Murphys have performed at), and I could still do internships and study abroad in a city.
What about Ithaca? It seems perfect for me... but it's not in Boston.
What if I get to Boston and I hate living in a city?
Maybe I should just shoot for Providence, afterall, I loved it there... and there are two bars on campus.
Brown is also in Providence, and now that I no longer want to major in Anthropology, I could look into that...
What if I bomb these subject tests?
What tests am I even going to take?
Do I really know my algebra that well?
Am I analytical enough to succeed on the literature test?
Does the score really matter much, or just the fact that I took them?
Should I retake the SAT I's in December, to up my scores, so I have a better shot at Boston U or BC? Would my scores really improve much? ...They've already gone up 110 points since I first took them.
Damn XC sectionals, I want to take them in November!!!
Why am I going through all this, when I will most likely go to Binghamton?- cheap, solid education, tons of options.
...But it's not in Boston.
Am I being naive thinking Boston is the place for me? Do I only want to go there because of the large Irish-American population? I found a college on the same street as the pub owned by the Dropkick Murphy's lead singer...
What am I going to write my essays on? I'm not too worried about that. As so often demonstrated in this blog, I am a bomb-ass writer.
Why won't this common app download on my computer?
Why can't I be a minority??? or poor?? They are never going to give me money.
Speaking of money, I need to use all of mine to buy a laptop... or a truck, that I won't be able to use in a year at most schools.
Thank God I am taking AP Psych, it makes me look so much more impressive.
So does being drum major, and xc captain, and band council VP... I should just write that all over my application.
"Why do you want to come to Boston U?"
"I'm drum major and xc captain."
"What major do you intend to study?"
"I'm drum major and xc captain."
I should lie in my essay. I should write about how I saved starving orphans from a natural disaster in a thirdworld country... they will never know!
Why won't my parents just do what I tell them - get a legal separation? No one will ever know, they just need to do the paper work, and colleges will be paying me to go!!

I hate this college application process... but I cannot wait to go to college.

In the process of writing this, I did not actually decide where I want to send my SAT Subject Test Scores. I will probably just pick a few out of a hat.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Low Lie the Fields of Athenry

By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young girl calling
Micheal they are taking you away
For you stole Trevelyn's corn
So the young might see the morn.
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay.

Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry.

By a lonely prison wall
I heard a young man calling
Nothing matters Mary when your free,
Against the Famine and the Crown
I rebelled; they cut me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity.

Low lie the Fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly.
Our love was on the wing we had dreams and songs to sing
It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry.

By a lonely harbor wall
She watched the last star falling
As that prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she'll wait and hope and pray
For her love in Botany Bay
It's so lonely 'round the Fields of Athenry.

This is one of the most famous Irish folk songs. If you are Irish, you have probably heard it. These heartbreaking lyrics tell the story of a father who steals food to feed his starving children during the famine. For those of you who don't know, the famine wasn't a distaster soley because Ireland's fields failed to produce any food... it was a horrible crime against the Irish. The English would sell Ireland's produce to other countries, leaving almost only potatoes for the Irish to live on. The Irish were not so lucky then, when their main source of sustinence failed to grow in the "black" year of 1847. The song specificially talks about a man who stole corn imported from America to feed his family... and as a result, was sent to Australia, like the other Irish and Scottish criminals of the time. Sadly, these events were somewhat common for this time in Ireland.

There is nothing happy about this song, really, except for the mention of happier past times. However, it always provides me with hope in tough times. On one hand, no matter what you're going through, it's probably not as bad as your husband getting sent to Australia forever after attempting feed your starving baby... which you now have to raise on your own, in a country that is suffering agricultural, economical, and political troubles. Few stories are that sad, and sometimes it makes your problems seem much easier to deal with.

It's more than that though. The characters in this song deal with some tough breaks... and so does everybody. To me, this song kind of represents an "everybody hurts" idea. Although Mary and Michael deal with some rough things, everyone has some, if not many, tough breaks in their lives. It might not be as dramatic, but I know sometime I have situations in my life that seem unsolvable, and will never really be resolved. All you can do is stand back, look at it, and think, "wow, that sucks". Mary and Micheal couldn't do anything about their problems but cope with them, and sometimes you can't either. As much as we'd like to think that there's a solution to every problem, there isn't. Sometimes you just have to let situations go - sometimes it's just a lost cause. No matter how much Mary cries, Micheal isn't coming back. She could sulk about her tough breaks, or she could keep living. She has a child to raise, and she's going to raise it with dignity, despite what she's been through. This isn't giving up hope, or giving in, or taking the easy way out. This is being mature enough to recognize sometimes there just isn't anything you can do.

It's nice to know this is a timeless tale. This is a universal thing - everyone has these problems that seem to suck beyond imagination. Heartbreak, disappointment, loss... it's all part of being human. I like to think that if I saw Mary, she wouldn't tell me to suck it up, because her problems are worse. She'd nod, because she knows what it's like to have something go horribly wrong. So next time you think things are just going terribly for you, well, I'm not going to tell you "things will get better!" or "things could always get worse!" or "look on the bright side!" because sometimes there is no bright side. Just know, that it's something we're all united in - utter disappointment. It's something everyone has experienced. If nothing else positive comes from that, at least it unites us.

To Give Less than Your Best is to Sacrifice the Gift.

Most XC runners will tell you that they like the simplicity of the sport. It's not decked out with fancy skills you need to possess, or crazy rules and regulations or overtimes. You don't have to worry about being first string or second string or whatever. You just run as fast as you can for 5K, or 3.1 miles. That's pretty much it.

Although others might not see it this way, most XC runners feel it is the sport of all sports. It's the ultimate work out. It's pure effort. The score of any soccer, football, or baseball game does not always reflect your personal effort. Your XC time is a measurement of exactly how hard you pushed that day. The only excuse for a slightly worse time is a slightly tougher course (1). In XC, you have a decision everytime you get on the starting line: to run somewhat hard, or run as hard as you can. If you don't decide ahead of time to give every single ounce of energy you have, to push until it hurts more than it has before, then you don't win.

Winning in XC is not as black and white as with other sports. Personally, to me, the score means almost nothing. I think the unspoken goal of Cross Country is to give so much energy, so much effort, that at the end, you have literally no life left in you. Yes, I believe that in a crazy, twisted sense, the only true way to win an XC race is to actually die as you cross the finish line. (2) If you're still alive, you did not try hard enough. If you can talk a minute after the race, you certainly were not putting enough effort out. If you can comprehend anything anyone is saying for an hour afterward, you need to push more next time.

So every race we try to push a little harder, hurt a little more, and get ourselves a little closer to dying. Ironically, nothing can make you feel more alive. The blood is rushing through your veins faster than it ever has. Your heart is pounding out of control. Your lungs are totally freaking out, and you are soaked with sweat. The result is this crazy, natural, runner's high. Literally, you get high. The endorphins (3) rush to your head and all of a sudden Jack's shoes make you crack up histerically, or Jake's candy bars that he bought become so incredibly interesting that you don't know what to do with yourself. To share this with a group of people you care about is amazing. It's the reason I do cross country; there is nothing like stretching with a bunch of girls I love after pushing our bodies to the limit and getting high in the process. We sit around talking about everything... about Casey's creepy boyfriends (4,5), about Coach L (6), sometimes we plan our weddings (7). I find it hard to believe I will ever be as close to a group of people as I am with my team.

I raced about three hours ago now. Let me tell you, not every XC runner is in it to push themself. There is nothing. NOTHING. that pisses me off more than girls who walk during races. Slow, out of shape girls are one thing... but this girl was in front of me. She clearly was not totally out of shape, she was just lazy. Every uphill she would walk, put her hands over her head, lift her singlet a bit because it was apparently too hot out for her. I'd push hard up the hill, catch up to her, pass her... and then the bitch would sprint the downhill. There is more. We run down a massive hill that an ampitheatre is located on... and she apparently could not wait to pass me at any other point in the race. It had to be then. Because this freak sprinted down the hill, and would you believe it, hurdles the benches on the hill to pass me. Her foot catches on one of the benches but she didn't fall*. She made this crazy grunt as she did it too, and it freaked me out. All of a sudden, on this already crazy down hill, someone is freaking flying at me over a bunch of benches. What the frick. Honestly. Cross country hurdles??? Go play soccer. Crazy freakin' stunts are not part of this sport.(8)

I'm extremely proud to say that I did end up beating her by about a minute - which is a pretty good distance. Let me say, though - had she passed me at the end, I still would have considered it a win. To walk during the race is not running this sport. It's not something you can be proud of, ever. I'm glad to say that, although I did not get that Hornell girl or the Notre Dame girl, I will not lose any sleep tonight. I ran my race, I didn't walk it. Also, L is way proud of me, and that's pretty much my unspoken goal of any race.

1. L is officially Satan, as the course he made for this year suuuuucks.
2. Dying before you cross the finish line also constitutes a win, however, it is much less dramatic.
3. Casey found out that there is a real, chemical reason why you get high in races a few days ago, and won't stop talking about it.
4. Most of which were picked up during XC pre-race runthroughs.
5. These relationships are occasionally used to obtain useful information about other teams we compete with.
6. We love him.
7. Often involving the girls team as bridesmaids, and one of the boys team as a groom.
8. Although I think now that Eddie is doing this, crazy stunts may be an everyday occurance.

To anyone who cares. I got my PR Saturday of 28:20, and today I got 29:07 on a much tougher course, and that is wicked awesome for me. Saturday's time was seven minutes faster than the same course three years ago.

Monday 1 September 2008

(I think) I know what I want to do with my life.

It's September 1st- Labor Day. For some, this marks the end of summer. Others regard it as the day on which you must cease wearing white (1). I think it's a great day, because it's when things finally start to feel like fall - my favorite time of year.

Fall is insanely busy for me. Every Saturday is packed with an XC meet, a marching band competition, or both (2). Monday and Wednesday nights are for marching band. Tuesdays are XC meets. Thursdays I sometimes work, and Fridays are football games, spaghetti dinners, or maybe a bonfire. This crazy schedule makes it my favorite time of year though. Nothing comes close to the feeling of accomplishment I get after I finish a race; I have never felt so close to anyone as I do with my girls team. Marching band is probably the most important activity in my life. We are always going above and beyond previous years - we accomplish more and more each year. The immense amounts of hard labor that go into this season certainly turn into really great experiences. Besides that, fall has the best weather. It's not too hot, so you can wear jeans and hoodies or sweaters, but you don't always need a heavy jacket. When you're at football game, or on the band bus home, it's always a tiny bit chilly, and you always have a reason to cuddle with your best friends or whoever you choose. Fall has some good food - corn, Thanksgiving food, apples, pumpkin seeds. Halloween is probably one of my favorite holidays - everyone running around in costumes at night, how much fun is that?

Tonight I was riding my bike home as it was getting dark. It was getting a little chilly, and out on the country roads... a little creepy. I looked at the sky, orange at one end and navy blue at the other, with a flock of geese flying in a perfect V. Tall corn surrounded me in gigantic fields, the smell of which triggered memories of past autumns. It was such a beautiful moment - the beginning of my last fall in high school. I stopped pedaling and coasted as slowly as I could, because I wanted to stay out there as long as possible. It was one of those many moments in which all I could think of is... I need to save this. I need to document this. This moment isn't going to last long enough for me, and I'm going to want to remember how it was right now. It would be a sin to forget this.

The most peculiar feeling came over me. I wanted to paint a picture of it, but I can't draw for shit. I wanted to write a song about it on piano, or violin.. but I felt I could never capture that in a song; I'm not musically inclined enough. Then I remembered what I do to remember things like that. I write. It's my art of choice; clearly, or I would not be writing this blog. Writing is like a puzzle, or a challenge - describe this one idea as clearly as you possibly can using words. Go.

If I were to write about this, and later someone read it, one of two things would happen. They might feel the same thing I felt, practically experience that late night bike ride, or that spontaneous run through the cornfield with Ciera, or the first time marching band won states. They might read it and feel like they were there, and feel the excitement and wonder and passion I felt at those points in time. Or, they might not. They might not really get this. Although that would mean that I was not an efficient writer... It would almost be alright. Because I would read it, and I would remember, and that moment would live forever.

It would be accurate to say that all I want to do is write. I really don't think I even care what I write about, at all. I just want to write. So I think I'll major in communications, maybe go on to do some Journalism. I'm obviously going to change my mind several times in college (3). I'm just really glad that right now I know - or think I know - what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to take an idea, no matter how dull, and express it in the best choice of words possible.

1. Question - can you wear white on Labor Day? How much white constitutes "wearing white"? Who made up this rule, and who cares enough, besides my mother, to follow it?
2. There are three overlapping Saturdays this year. And one wedding.
3. I believe this is my fourth major change, and I have not even yet begun my senior year of high school.

Wednesday 27 August 2008

All You Need is Love

The Greeks have four words for "love". Why would you need this many? Isn't love just that - love?

I think there are as many ways to love someone as there are relationships. For every two people that know each other, and have some type of relationship - be it friendly, family, or romantic - there's a new, separate way to love someone. It's something that can only happen after sharing experiences together, and every two people share completely different experiences than others do. For example, my friend Will. We have been neighbors since I was 7, enemies until I was 13 (1) , schoolmates until I was 16, and close friends until now. We've been in marching band together, indoor track together, and a gang together (2). No two other people on earth have shared exactly what we've shared. This friend-love is different than anyone else's. It's completely unique and no one else has the same friendship that we have. No one else loves anyone else the way I love Will.

So often do we, especially young people, tell our friends that we love them. I tell my girls team all the time, "I love you guys!" or I'll tell Ciera's family, "Love you Connie/Kev/Sutt/Rye!"(3). "Love" comes out of our mouths countless times a day. So here comes the dilemma I am seeing in our society, especially with young people. How do you, verbally, make the transition from friendship-love to romantic love? Maybe I'm the only one who is bothered by this... But if you're good friends with someone, and it starts to turn into something more, it gets a bit awkward. Here's someone that you've always been able to say "I love you!" to, without thinking twice, and now those words mean a bit more. Of course you still love them as a friend, you never stopped loving them in that way, but maybe you're not sure if you're "in love". However, you continue to say it, because randomly stopping would be strange. Maybe one day, when you finally feel you are actually "in love", you can say, "Hey! I actually love you now. Before I was just saying that as a friend. and now I love you! Even though I already did." That is just wierd.

Had the creators of our language realized that there are more ways to love someone than one, maybe they would have added a few others to make this easier on us. Or, maybe we should just better utilize the words we have. Maybe you should tell your friends, "I care for you greatly!" or "I love you, as a sister/brother!"(4). Or maybe not. Maybe once you get into that awkward post-friendship-pre-love period, you should just say, "I like you intensely" or "I fancy you" or "I think you are pretty bomb-ass". Or you could make a pact to not say "I love you" until you feel you actually do.

Honestly, I don't really see a solution to this problem in the near future, because everyone is going to keep saying it, and no new words are going to be invented to solve this dilemma. We are pretty much screwed... unless we start speaking Greek.

1. He used to literally force me into playing kickball or football or something with him. It was horrible.
2. Fat Cobras!
3. Actually, I am totally in love with Sutton.
4. Some of you may recall using "lylas/lylab" to express this in grade school. It was all the rage.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

To Every Season, There is a Playlist

Today I was watching this YouTube video (1) and it made me wish two things: that I was in Ireland, and that it was Christmastime. I realized my desire for Christmastime was not just because of the beautiful white snow, or the cookies or hot chocolate, or family or presents, but because I missed listening to "winter music" - which among other things, features that very Pogues song.

Throughout the year, my music tastes tend to change according to the season. This should make some sort of sense to most people - you listen to Christmas music at Christmas time, maybe Jimmy Buffet during the summer, and perhaps drinking songs on St. Paddy's day (2). For me, there are certain bands that sound better at certain times of the year - I think the Goo Goo Dolls sound best when the earth is covered in snow, and Oasis is best when that snow begins to melt. O.A.R. is best on those exceptionally hot days of spring, and Pearl Jam is great when the leaves begin to change. These particular tastes may not be as understandable to everyone. I think it may have to do with what season it was when I was first introduced to these bands, or maybe a great moment I had listening to them at a certain point in the year.

This would be a very long blog if I told you the exact times of the year to listen to each band I enjoy. Here's a brief music calendar.

Summer, as you may expect, is all about taking it easy. Dave Matthews Band is the boss of summer music. O.A.R., Bob Marley, Allman Brothers Band, Phish, the Grateful Dead, and various country music are all good options for summer.

Fall mellows down a bit, at least for me. I have so much going on, that I need to just get lost in something. Pearl Jam is a fall favorite, as well as Explosions in the Sky, James, Travis, Wilco, Oasis, and Band of Horses. As well as whatever random songs my girls XC team decides to relentlessly chant allllllllll season long.

Winter is tricky. You've got Christmas music (3), and you've got the music you listen to when you get sick of Christmas music. I think the Goo Goo Dolls are always enhanced by snow. I'm not sure why, but sometime this winter, on a bright, snowy morning, play Black Balloon and see what you think. I think winter is the time when I start listening to new stuff the most. I listen to a lot of celtic music around now, but I tend to listen to girly music often too - Ingrid Michaelson, Michelle Branch, Dido, Fiona Apple, Feist, Sarah McLachlan. Winter track often requires something to entertain me during long, 8-hour meets (4); Dropkick Murphys and Green Day are usually a good choice.

Spring is my time to run by myself, on my own schedule, and I usually opt for long, slow runs. These are usually fueled by The Who, The Shins, Oasis, Spoon, Beck, Carbon Leaf, and Zeppelin. There's something about Oasis when it's starting to warm up outside - I think it's Oasis's mix of energetic, dance-worthy pop and their fuzzy, lazy, wintery sound. They're laid-back and chill, but they're kind of excited too.

Of course this varies year to year, as new music comes out and I discover new tastes. If you're wondering, no, there is not an ideal time to listen to Celtic music - that takes place all year long. If you made me put it on a calendar though, I'd obviously put it in March - St. Paddy's Month, as I like to think of it.

So, soon I'll be putting my Allman Bros away and bustin' out the Pearl Jam. I'll have to load my Sansa up with Explosions in the Sky for those long XC and Marching Band bus rides. I'll have to put "New Slang" (5) and "Hey There Delilah" (6) on a playlist for the girl's team to belt along to. Then I'll be waiting three or so more months until I can righteously listen to "Fairytale of New York" every single day.

1. This is "Fairytale of New York" by 80's celt-rock band the Pogues. You may have seen it in the best movie ever made, P.S. I Love You.
2. An everyday occurance in my household.
3. I like Christmas music too much - I love listening to the 646843871126458 different covers of War is Over.
4. During which the RENT soundtrack is often sung in its entirety.
5. Usually sung to Alexandra when her SHINS are causing her pain.
6. Usually sung to L. "Two more years and I'll be done with school, and you'll be teaching history like you do!"

Monday 25 August 2008

It Turned Cold, That's Where It Ends...

Summer 08 sure knows how to go out with a bang.

First of all, my favorite band lost a gifted musician - LeRoi Moore passed away. If a member of DMB dying does not put an immediate damper on everything, I don't know what would.

The Allman Brothers Band was at CMAC friday night. My dad and I have been going to see them every summer for the past four years - usually at the end of August. Paired up with them was Bob Wier and Ratdog for the second year in a row. You may know Bob Weir as the former rhythm guitarist for the Grateful Dead, and his band Ratdog pretty much just covers Dead songs. Basically, this is the ultimate summer show. You've got college kids, aged hippies, Dead Heads of all sorts, and even high-class older folks with their grandkids. It's quite the event. I kind of think of it as a goodbye party for summer every year. It's like the climax, the "hm, what have I learned this summer?" moment.

Among other things, the pool closed, XC started, and Chelsea leaves for Italy on Wednesday.

Lastly, a certain relationship came to an abrupt end last week, and it wasn't pretty. I sort of lost a best friend. Everything I knew this summer has now changed. I don't even want to be an archaeologist anymore. (1)

With everything ending, it can't be overlooked that all sorts of new things are starting. Obviously school, xc, marching band are starting, but other things are in the works too. Now I'm going to be seeing my friends everyday - some of whom I have not seen all summer. Friendships are forming and evolving. Ciera is leaving, but she's starting a whole new college life, that hopefully I will find some sort of niche in. Let's not get too bummed out about summer ending; fall is my favorite season.

So here we go, about to enter my senior year, a bit more grown up and a bit more corrupted. I'm not really worried about school this year - I'm going to have 2-4 study halls a day. (2) Hopefully I'll pass my road test (3) and be able to drive to Fisher/Naz often. I don't really want to make a huge, cheesy, emotional deal out of this year. Yes, it's the last of everything in high school for me. Sure, I'm going to miss it. Can we please just get this over with, and not cry at every "last rehearsal" or "last show" or "last meet"? That would be spectacular.

1. Now, I want to major in communications. Maybe do PR, like Samantha Jones
2. Which will probably be spent playing my fiddle in the band room.
3. My mother has finally found out about this.