Irregular Roundup #3

Verizon can’t do basic math: do you acknowledge the difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents? (Listen to the link at the bottom for fun times.)

Inspired by PostSecret: Pass A Prayer and igotanenvelope. I kinda wanna do the second one; I don’t quite understand the first one. *shrug*

Does Writing “Repetition” Mean It’s Time to Quit?: I don’t think so; nothing is ever really *new* after all, anyway. If it’s interesting, I don’t think it should matter.

Meltdown!: It’s official; the world is going to end after December 2012. Yay for all of us. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. If it happens, it happens. If not, then I’ll have worried for nothing.

Boys Fix Things; Girls Need Things Fixed: I thought this was a sexist joke when I first saw it, but it looks like someone created that little cartoon in all seriousness… or, at least, many people assumed so at the time. I guess, in a way, it’s not what you mean, really, it’s how it’s perceived.

New Treehouses of the World‘: I wanna live in a treehouse. That’d be awesome, like that kid who lived in his treehouse in the old PBS kids show that was narrated by James Earl Jones. (EDIT: The show is Long Ago and Far Away and the one I’m thinking of is episode 6, “The Boy in the Oak Tree”.)

Auto-tuning the news: My favorite is roughly 1:21-1:51 (the Katie Couric “thin ice” part). In case you don’t know, auto-tuning is used “to correct pitch in vocal and instrumental performances… to disguise inaccuracies and mistakes, and has allowed many artists to produce more precisely tuned recordings.” If Katie Couric can do it, it’s more (unnecessary) proof that it takes no effort whatsoever to produce hip-hop.

Only San Francisco would have a masturbate-a-thon. Seriously.

Yeah, it’s always about the mother, isn’t it? This does not make me want kids… >_>

Angela Reyna

The Angie I knew was a liar. She was one of my closest friends during the time I knew her, but she was a liar. I say this not to tarnish her memory, but to explain the way I’m feeling right now.

Alison, my best friend at the time, and I met Angie at the beginning of sixth grade at Palm Crest Elementary School in La Canada, California. Her mother worked for the district office, I guess, so she was “allowed” to attend school there even though she didn’t live in the district. The three of us moved from Palm Crest to La Canada Junior High School the following year, and two years after that, we moved up to La Canada High School together. The last move wasn’t really a big deal because the junior high and high schools were on the same campus and many of the elective classes shared teachers between them. After tenth grade, Angie moved away… or, at least, stopped attending LCHS for another school closer to her home. By the time she moved away, Alison and I had grown tired of her lies and Sara B., a mutual friend of ours, had become Angie’s main contact with friends at LCHS.

The last time I had any contact with her, Alison and I made the trip down the 210 freeway toward Magic Mountain in September 2002. Alison had called earlier that Saturday morning to make sure it was okay for us to visit, and it was, but when we arrived, she was nowhere to be found. We found out later that Angie had gotten into a huge fight with her parents, she’d run away, and her boyfriend at the time had been hiding her. But that day, we thought she’d just ditched us, and, since she didn’t have a cell phone (only Alison did, at that time), we called and filled up the message machine of her home phone with stupid stuff like singing “Old McDonald” and counting to 100 over and over. We didn’t think about the effect that would have on her mother, but we were 17; what did we care about an adult? Alison and I had our own relationship problems and it was good for us to have a scapegoat, though it only delayed the inevitable. We waited around for a long time waiting for Angie to call Alison back; we sat in the Denny’s nearby her apartment complex and had some kind of mint chocolate flavored dessert that had the word “grasshopper” in the name. Angie never called back.

It was better before we had a falling out. I was a vegetarian the entire time Angie knew me (since I’d become one in fifth grade, a year before I knew her, and only stopped being one hardcore after I graduated from college in 2007). I remember one sleep over during sixth or seventh grade, her mother took us out to the Outback Steakhouse and the waiter squatted down to be at eye level with us. It was weird; I’ve never before or since had a waiter squat to look me in the eye to take my order, but I liked it. I felt important for him paying attention that way. I had a baked potato with all the trappings, but with the bacon bits on the side. I think Angie ate the bacon bits for me. After dinner, we went to Blockbuster for movies and popcorn. We went back to her place and her mother went upstairs and we stayed downstairs with the TV. Angie and I watched Sybil and then something else—I don’t remember what because I was falling asleep by that time. I remember being fascinated with the VHS tape rewinder; the idea that a whole piece of equipment was used *just* for rewinding tapes was genius.

During our freshmen year in high school, Angie played clarinet in band. I have a picture of Felicia, Alison, and I (all of us in Colorguard) and Angie sitting posed in our uniforms in Oak Grove Park. That was my favorite year. I loved the music, the dancing, and I had my friends around me. It was shortly after that picture was taken that Angie told Alison and me about c-camp. C-camp was a summer camp for kids with terminal illnesses: “cancer camp”, Angie said it was. She told us about how she’d gone there and was probably dying. That the doctor had found another lump and everyone hoped it was benign. That she wasn’t feeling well and she had to eat special types of food so as not to mess up her medications. This went on for a *year* or more.

We tried to support her and give her all the help we could, but her words and her actions contradicted one another. It didn’t *seem* like she had cancer, we said to ourselves, but we didn’t want to make a big deal out of it; who would lie about having cancer, anyway? She seemed so vibrant, full of life. She was the one who always cheered us up when George, our Colorguard coach, gave us a particularly difficult time during practice. We went to band competitions and she performed as well as the rest of us. Except for the cancer thing, which only Alison and I seemed to know about, Angie was a good friend.

I remember Alison and I had long discussions about what to do with Angie’s cancer. What *could* we do? We were teenagers. Finally, we got so worried that we called her mother, who informed us that, no, Angie did *not* have cancer and, no, she wasn’t dying and, yes, thank you for telling her. After that, things between Angie and I became pretty distant—I think she resented the fact that we’d basically ratted her out to her mother—and she and Sara were closer. I think that was also the year I forgot Alison’s birthday. All my friendships at the time pretty much went up in flame—or were *starting* to burn, anyway.

I think that Angie just wanted attention, and she was willing to lie and make herself pathetic to get it. I feel like I’m allowed to say that because I’ve done exactly the same thing, though I used a different story and with different results. I understand, now, why she may have resented Alison and me; I didn’t want anyone to tell my parents about my lies, either. Only difference was, none of my friends ever did.

The Angie I knew was a liar. And I wish to God that she was just lying now, too. I want this to be another one of her ploys for attention. I want her to ring me up and say, “Actually, Vi, I was just kidding. Come over and we’ll watch Sybil again.”

I have no words for Angie’s parents, other than to tell you: I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Losing a child is horrible, and losing one in the prime of her life must be even worse. I can’t say I know how you feel; I don’t think anyone can.

Rest in peace, Angela Reyna. 5 April 1985 – 11 April 2009.

Gakuen Heaven

I just finished watching Gakuen Heaven. It was… a tease. Let’s just say that. Classic harem story (think Ah! Megamisama!) set at an elite school (think Shoujo Kakumei Utena but without the sword fighting or Ouran Koukou Host Club without the club) involving hot guys (pretty much any shonen anime ever) and you’ve basically got Gakuen Heaven in a nutshell. It’s not really trying to do anything new, and it doesn’t. But it is a tease. T_T

It’s like Sensitive Pornograph (that is, yaoi *grin*), but longer and without the sex. *sigh*

There are two characters nicknamed ‘King’ (in the red jacket) and ‘Queen’ (in the white uniform). They’re major characters, but not main characters (if that makes sense) and they hate each other. King (Ousama) is president of the school’s student council, Queen (Joousama) is a part of the school’s Treasury, and they hate each other. (Did I mention they hate each other?) I found it hilarious when, in episode 9, the image before cutting to commercial (if, indeed, there had been a commercial) was the one above and the one after “returning” from commercial was the one below. Hahahaha. King got beat down. ^_^ That cracked me up.

Also, as a side note, the Gakuen Heaven soundtrack is amazing.

Writers Retreat photo highlights, part 2

I took 164 pictures over three days (17-19 April 2009, this past weekend) before my camera’s battery died, narrowed it down to about 75 pictures in a “highlights” album, and have now uploaded a few of those here for your viewing pleasure. If you want them all (Donna? Rocks?), or if you want the highlights, let me know and I can email them to you as a zip file. Click on the photo for a bigger version. Enjoy! [Click here for Part 1]

Part 2: 19 April 2009

Morning, just before leaving Caledonia State Park. Justice, Mimma (the cat), Sarah, and Donna sit in the dining room on Sunday morning. We were sad to leave, but check out time was 10 AM. (Boooo to state park regulations!)

Morning, Gettysburg battlefield. Cory (pointing) explains to Justice (and the rest of us) what happened on the morning of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, 1 July 1863. He’s an excellent guide. ^_^ Thanks, Cory!

Morning, peace monument on the battlefield. I was standing at the monument looking down at the parking area, where Donna (black shirt), Justice (posing), and Ken were still getting out of their cars. Justice didn’t realize I was snapping the photo at that moment. Candid = priceless.

Morning, peace monument on the battlefield. Cory told us about the Confederate canons (in the background) that could shoot up to five miles. Awesome for long range attacks, obviously, but not so much when the Union troops are 300 yards down the hill attacking you. [Left to right: Sarah, Justice, Ken, Donna (sitting), Cory.]

Morning, peace monument on the battlefield. Left to right: me, Justice Donna, Cory, Sarah. Ken took the photo. I got to tell them about The Civil War Report. They thought my junior high school was nuts, and I have to agree.

Lunch, The Pub & Restaurant. Left to right: Justice, me, Donna, Sarah, Cory. (Ken took this photo as well.) One of Donna’s friends from work recommended this place but couldn’t remember its name and kept calling it “the pub”… We arrived to find out that “The Pub” is its name. Who’da thought? ^_^

Shortly after lunch, my camera’s battery died, so this is all you get. We walked around Gettysburg and then Donna and I drove to Wilkes-Barre, where I caught a bus back to New York. I arrived home around 11 PM on Sunday.

Writers Retreat photo highlights, part 1

I took 164 pictures over three days (17-19 April 2009, this past weekend) before my camera’s battery died, narrowed it down to about 75 pictures in a “highlights” album, and have now uploaded a few of those here for your viewing pleasure. If you want them all (Donna? Rocks?), or if you want the highlights, let me know and I can email them to you as a zip file. Click on the photo for a bigger version. Enjoy! [Click here for Part 2]

Part 1: 18 April 2009

Morning, girls’ bedroom. Angie trying to get Mimma’s attention. Rocks and Diana brought their kitty and she added an extra touch!

Morning, back porch. Cory eats his famous “eggs in a nest” (best breakfast ever, btw) in the foreground while Sarah (sitting), Ken (holding football), Justice (black shirt), and Angie (red shirt) hang out in the beautiful weather. Diana and Suppa were also on the porch at that time, but I didn’t manage to catch them in this photo.

Writers’ ‘Christmas’ morning. Rocks, after just having received his gift from Angie: a shirt reading “Screenwriting ROCKS!” (He’s a screenwriter, in case that wasn’t clear.)

Writers’ ‘Christmas’ morning. Justice, right before opening her gift from Cory: a book by Stephen A. Sears, Gettysburg. (Justice is writing a historical screenplay that involves Gettysburg, and Cory’s totally the Gettysburg Authority in our group. He’s obsessed.)

Writers’ ‘Christmas’ morning. Donna, with her retreat shirt. We all got a shirt as a surprise gift from Justice. The front says, “Writer’s Retreat 4; April 17-19, 2009” and the back has all of our names.

18 April 2009, evening, around the campfire. We toasted marshmellows and had ‘smores! Sooo good. I should do that more often. ‘Smores are win. The robe is borrowed from Suppa. (He brings a bunch of them to every retreat and we each have one that is “mine”.)

18 April 2009, evening, around the campfire. Suppa brought us all a gift left over from Christmas: a huge “greeting card” made out of dark chocolate… which we ended up burning because the guys are pyros.

Evening, around the campfire. Angie, Cory, and Carol stand around the fire to get warm. It wasn’t super cold, but the fire helped a lot! Rocks started the fire, and Cory and Suppa did most of the maintenance… Like I said, the guys are pyros.

Night, playing Loaded Questions: Adult Version. We played “Loaded Questions”, Donna’s ‘Christmas’ present. The second picture is my list of answers. I don’t remember all the questions, but here are some notables:

      1. If you wanted to ruin the mood, what would you do?
      5. What celebrity would you never want to see naked?
      6. What should someone expect from an intimate partner?
      9. Describe your high school sexual activity in one word.
      14. Name a fictional sex position that you wouldn’t mind trying.
      17. Name a television show you would watch if it included full frontal nudity.
      27. If you were a pill, what would one of your side-effects be?


I am so, so, so unimpressed with today. The weekend rocked. Today did not. I say “did not” because I’m calling in my “get out of day free” card and requesting to just move on to April 21. Seriously.

1. Hitler‘s birthday.
2. Anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
3. Pot makes people stupid. (Just… don’t ask.)
4. Stephen Hawking has been hospitalized.
5. I found out that a friend from elementary/junior high/high school was killed on April 11.

I have pictures from the weekend, but I’ve run out of real-life action points, so everything is just going to have to wait.