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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Holly Jolly State of Emergency

Well, this is indeed another moment where, like the title of this blog, the world is, in fact, very strange.

You may have heard about the recent state of emergency in New Hampshire. The ice storm that hit was fairly traumatic, my mother didn't sleep the night it hit, all she could hear was wind and trees crashing down. It was frightening purely because she was afraid she'd end up pinned beneath a fallen tree and need to go to the bathroom. Never mind the fact that she's most likely be dead (the pine trees around our house are rather impressively large) apparently the need to pee is a fear far greater than death itself.

Anyway, so that hit. That was a fun night. Lots of noise and tossing and turning. Good times. I awoke the next morning at 8:30, sure I'd overslept and my mother hadn't noticed and that any second she was going to burst into my room having seen my car still in the driveway, and demand to know why I wasn't at school, declare I'd better get to school, and give me a series of chastisements the likes of which can only be compared to Maleficent turning into the giant, fire breathing dragon at the end of Sleeping Beauty.

It got up somewhat frantically, reached for the light over on my nightstand and...

Oh. Right.

No power.

The events that followed where a saga of days, far too complex and uninteresting to detail in basic prose, therefore I now give you a TIMELINE OF MY STATE OF EMERGENCY.

Friday: My mother, sister, cats, birds, and me sit around the non-heating woodstove purchased purely to look pretty and read books. At around noon, sister goes to friend's house, mom and I get bored, we head to Newington where they have power and go out to lunch and do some Christmas shopping. I get new pair of earrings, mom gets progressively more exhausted as her lack of sleep the night before starts to hit her. We arrive at home a few hours later, and after a quick trip to get batteries and Oreos, my friend Natasha ends up at my house. We stand eating double stuff Oreos for a moment till my father, in a spectacuarly epic move, pulls up in front of my house in ambulence and declares it's time to pack up and go North, it's only going to get worse, we need to escape while we can. In response, Natasha turns to me and informs me that "This is the most epic thing that's ever happened to me..." I then remember I have a show the next day, and therefore must stay in New Hampshire, I then hang around with Natasha debating whether or not to search out a place to stay or go to the shelter, we opt to go to Amylee's where there's a woodstove, but not before we end up in Epping searching for food.

There are very few ways to describe Epping at this point. It was the only town with power in area, short of Newington, which meant that everyone and their dog was trying to get food, gas, provisions, and batteries. It was similar to one of those movies where the aliens are about to destroy the earth, and everyone's rushing through the streets to try and pick up any last minute things they may need as the world ends. It was chaos, pure utter chaos. Tasha and I end up eating Chex mix for dinner, and eventually end up playing Harry Potter Clue by candlelight at Amylee's.

Saturday: I awake at Amylee's only to discover that my father has come by to inform me that we now have power. The nice thing about living in the downtown area, people get power. Amylee is still without power, and thus begins preparations to shower at her grandparents. I wonder on the status of my show that evening, as Natasha ponders the amount of people that will be living in her house. My father is the only one home, and I soon come to the upsetting conclusion that my mom and sister will not be home in time for my show. It's ok, it's not their fault, I still have Dad. But no! He soon gets called away when a tree comes down somewhere, and the whole mess that started on Friday starts again. I go to my show anyway, forget only one of my lines, and end up on the list of people preforming at the NHTP Holiday Jubilee the next day. I invite my parents, they agree to come, and everything's dandy.

Sunday: We go to church. The service that was once going to be about the dark and cold, and the "Blessings of the Earth and Sky" has been changed to one about the word "wow". Coincidence? I think not. We then go the Holiday Jubilee, something which turns out to involve far more shmoozing and fancy clothing than I originally thought, where I meet Wine Lady. Wine Lady is a very nice older woman who seems to like my friend Eli and me, and who never seems to be without a glass of wine in her hand. She tells me I need to get out of New Hampshire, I grin at my mother, who missed the comment, and has no idea why I'm grinning. I get chinese food, and bizarrely, end up at Casey's playing Clue and Apples to Apples. How that happened, I'm still not sure.

Monday: After discovering there's no school, I decide I desperately want to see The Day The Earth Stood Still and end up dragging Natasha and Sarah. I love it, Sarah likes it, Tasha's just glad she only paid the matinee price for it. I come to the conclusion that our state's current situation is the product of a sort-of-peaceful alien trying to save the earth from humanity, I also decide I want a giant robot named Gort. We end up at Sarah's house - still running on nothing but a generator - and naturally, decide to watch Firefly.

Tuesday: There is, once again, no school. I go out to lunch with Valerie. We discuss the fact through most of this state of emergency, we've had full power and heat, which really puts a damper on the extremity of it all. She got her power back Friday afternoon, far earlier than anyone else I know. Her Dad works in some job he's not allowed to tell anyone about (I'm pretty sure he's a spy...or an assasin.) I'm sure he had some strings he pulled somewhere. After lunch I end bored at home, and partly out of desperation, and partly because I genuinly love it, I rent A Muppet Christmas Carol and watch it twice. I get a call around five from our school system alerting us that there is, in fact school tomorrow, a fact I'm almost happy about until discovering that my evil-radioactive-spider-demon-AP-Lit-teacher has apparently assigned a paper due the next day. As we missed the class she was supposed to tell us about it during, I decide to ignore it, and watch more Muppets.

You would think this would be the end of it, oh no. This is New Hampshire, nothing is as it seems.

Wendsday: I get up at five in the morning to get ready for school. I'm showered, dressed, and in the process of locating my AP Lit book when I get a call from the Automated School Board. "DUE TO CURRENT WEATHER CONDITIONS, SCHOOL WILL CLOSED WENDSDAY DECEMBER 17, 2008."

Yep. After five straight days of no school due a power killing, more annoying than terrifying ice storm, school is cancelled again due a snow storm.

I love New England.

Anyway, that's my state of emergency. No, I'm not trapped in my house freezing with no power, though I know quite a few people still are. At the moment, I'm sitting on my bed, in my pajamas, watching the snow come down through my window. Maybe later, I'll watch the Muppet Christmas Carol again. Or maybe I'll watch Doctor Who. Who knows? The day's open...again.

Gotta love natural disasters.

Happy Ice/Snow/Sleet Days,

*Nelly*

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life and Sexy Vampires

Life is strange.

You can think you're in one place, going about your typical routine, eating the same sandwich for lunch, going to class, coming home, just another day in the life.

And then come the vampires.

I'm still not entirely sure how it happened. I know I was in the hallway, just outside the art room...I think I was looking for my car keys...but suddenly, with no warning, my friend appeared out of nowhere to inform me that she had bought me a ticket to the midnight premiere of Twilight, and that despite the fact that I have never read the books, no virtually nothing about the books, and have no general interest in the books, that I would, in fact, be going to the premiere.

Um...yeah. Good deal.

So here I am, Thursday night, sitting at home long after everyone else has gone to bed waiting to be picked up to see a movie I know next to nothing about with a bunch of people who know pretty much everything there is to know. It should be pretty cool, I guess. Who knows? The one time I had any exposure or experience with the Twilight series was the time I accidentally ended up in Barnes and Nobles two hours before the last book came out. Yeah, that was pretty fun, trying desperately to get from one end of the store to the other in the middle of a bunch of crazed fans, none of which will tell me what's going on, why they're all dressed like vampires, and what the hell is the deal with the specialty Godiva chocolate bar with a "Twilight apple" on it. I remember coming home late that night to my mother:

"Where have you been?"

Me: "I'm sorry mom, Barnes and Nobles was full of vampires."

Mom: "What?"

Me: "Vampires."

Mom: "Vampires? Please call next time, ok?"

Me: "Yeah, mom."

So naturally, after this somewhat traumatic excursion, I'm apparently going to the oppening of the Twilight movie. Why do I always seem to end up at all the big Twilight events when I'VE NEVER EVEN READ THE FREAKING BOOK???

Seriously, here is what I know about Twilight:

1.) A random girl meets a sexy vampire after noticing that he runs fast and has cold skin.

2.) Random girl and sexy vampire fall madly in love.

3.) Sexy vampire leaves random girl and she meets sexy warewolf.

4.) Sexy werewolf and random girl fall in love.

5.) Sexy vampire returns to random girl, who ditches sexy werewolf to marry sexy vampire.

6.) Random girl and sexy vampire have highly ambiguous, non-graphic sex. Remember, it is a teen book.

...and that's about it. Needless to say, I'm in for quite a night.

God help me.

Going to the movies,

*Nelly*

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Huzzah!!


Well, we did it.

What a night that was. Seriously, I was up till at least one in the morning with my mom, switching between the news and the Daily Show, waiting for the results. It was John Stewart that eventually gave us the news, to which we proceeded to scream and frantically change channels like two giddy girls at a sleepover. My sister woke up just as it was announced, continuing her rather remarkable affinity for waking up the second something big and historical happens. She woke up for the Millennium too, which is even more impressive as she was only about a year and a half old that time.

But seriously. Barack Obama is President Elect. OH MY GOD. BARACK OBAMA IS PRESIDENT ELECT!

All is right with the world.

Well, for the most part. Kinda. Ok, not really, but it's looking up. There's hope. Just look at the sign.

Congrats everyone,

*Nelly*

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty

And so, because I fail at life, and had no time to write a proper entry, I filmed myself rambling, and have forced it upon you. Have fun! I warn you, it's rambling, melodramatic, and really achieves nothing. It does address the topic, however, so there you go.

video

Bon Voyage,

*Nelly*

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Once Upon A Time

[Note: This is my one-hundreth entry, and I actually have a much cooler entry planned for it, but as I recently got into Beauty and the Beast (again) as the Enchantress, and my life has been Disney lately, and my writer's block is ever-increasing, I give you this instead. Enjoy]

[Oh, and John Johnson's the actor playing the young prince. Yes, that's really his name.]

So I’m ranting about Beauty and the Beast because my cousin told me to. Hopefully, this will form a plot, or a story, or just something I can put into words that is relatively coherent and not complete gobbly-gook.

If gobbly-gook is even a word.

So, there was this prince, long ago in a galaxy far, far away or something (or was that Luke…?) who was really spoiled, really arrogant, and looked a bit like John Johnson. He was sitting in his castle one night, minding his own business, when this little old beggar woman shows up at the door and asks for a place to stay. She was poor, obviously, by definition old beggar women randomly appearing at people’s doors have to be poor, it’s a rule. Due to this, in return for the shelter she hoped to acquire from him, she would give him a rose. Basically, give the woman a place to stay, some food, and maybe some water, and she’d give you a pretty rose.

Right. The prince? So not having that.

Turned her down flat.

Ever persistent, she tried again. One rose in exchange for shelter from the clearly bitter cold, because just as old fairytale beggar women have to be poor, the weather when they arrive must be as cold and oppressive as possible. Trufax.

Once again, he denied her. He was completely repulsed by her haggard appearance, and sneered at the rose. Much in the same attitude as the prince, the old woman was also so not having that, and warned him not to be judged by appearances, for beauty was found within.

He still didn’t get it.

So in response, she threw off her cape, stepped out from behind the scrim, and revealed herself to, in fact, be a beautiful freaking enchantress.

Damn.

The prince fell to his knees and begged frantically for forgiveness like a small, immature, whiney child similar to my little sister. He prayed, he kicked, he screamed, he listened to Hannah Montana, he pretended to have a crush on the Jonas Brothers, he danced, he ate mass amounts of Chinese take out, and finally, he groveled before the feet of the not-particularly-impressed enchantress.

Despite the fake crush on the Jonas brothers, she could see that there was no love in his heart. How she could see that, exactly, we may never know. It has something to do with waving your arms threateningly at John Johnson in the hallway next to the chorus room. It may also be one of those stupid fairy tale mysteries you’re not really supposed to know the answer to. The world may never know.
As opposed to shrugging her shoulders and deciding this idiot wasn’t worth it, the enchantress, probably bored and a bit PMS-y, cursed the prince by transforming him into a hideous, ugly beast, doomed to remain so until he could learn to love another, and earn her love (or his love, let’s be politically correct here) in return. Deciding she was on a roll tonight, she also cursed the castle, and placed the now-enchanted rose up in the prince’s super-secret club house he liked to call “The West Wing”. The rose would bloom until the prince’s 21st birthday, conveniently dooming him to remain a beast for all eternity just around the time he hit the legal drinking age. At least he can drink.

But of course, what’s a drink when you’re lonely? For who could ever learn to love a beast?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Begining of the End

So...I'm a senior.

Whoa.

It's interesting walking into the building behind a freshman. The SUV their parents drive pulls up to the edge of the walkway and stands silent for a few brief seconds before a scared, short, obviously awkward kid steps out and says goodbye. Though they turn away from the car, they will inevitably end up standing in the exact same position they're currently in till their parent's car is at least halfway up the road from the school. Whether this is an unconscious action or not can be debated, not one freshman waits alike. Many appear visibly scared as they stand, perhaps hoping the car will return to take them back to the safe, un-intimidating middle school they still see as their true educational establishment, while others simply take it all in. There's a long intake of breath as they stare at the school they've heard so much about, the epitome of the teenage experience staring them directly in the face.

There's another breath, a hiking up of pants, a fixing of hair, and the freshman takes a step forward.

Meanwhile, sauntering in forty minutes before first period, armed with nothing but a small, black bag and an iced coffee, is me. The senior. It's the fourth first day of school I've experienced as a student of Exeter High, and at the moment, the realization is only just hitting that it will be the last. There's a fair amount of contemplation going on, similar to that experienced by the freshman, only in reverse. They're scared of the future, the beginning of this new era, whereas I'm worried about the end of it.

This particular freshman, a boy about half my size who probably only recently turned 14, and still doesn't entirely think of himself as a teenager yet, is walking quickly, carefully and slowly. It's odd walking behind him, trying to put myself in his place. Watching the pavement, avoiding eye contact, wondering if anyone else looks like he does. My freshman year was three years ago, and was so marred by failing grades, teenage angst, and out of control weight that it's difficult to remember what exactly I was thinking that first day. It seems like such a long time ago, now that I think about it. I'm only seventeen, three years is a long time.

It's incredibly bizarre when you realize that past from what seems like forever ago is the present of the person in front of you.

I don't know a single person in this year's freshman class, which is the first time this has ever, ever happened to me since I started High School. Even the juniors, of which I know most, seem to know a few of them. Logically, this would make sense. High School is the only place in our school system that lasts four years as opposed to one. I've gone to school with the Juniors and Sophomores for a least a year of every school I've been to, but the freshman, I've never seen. It's jarring that suddenly there's this class of complete strangers wandering around, that there's a good chance I've never once laid an eye on the boy walking in front of me.

It's a bit like Brecht again. The alienation effect. You walk along thinking nothing has changed till you're suddenly, alarmingly reminded that it has. You don't belong anymore, you're nearly done.
How bizarre is that?

It's been interesting, and weird. I have free periods, interesting classes, and am allowed to leave. I'm generally treated with a higher degree of respect from the administration, aside from the guidance department, my teachers speak to me like I'm an adult. It would be so easy to slip back into the previous routine of attending school, but I can't. Not really. It's all too different.

And yet, I still have a major paper due tomorrow, one which I am procrastinating heavily in actually doing. The entire experience is the same, but different. I'm a High School student, but...I don't really feel like one anymore.

In about a year from now, I'll be 18. It's not just my last year of High School, it's my last year of childhood. I've been given this whole "coming of age" stuff my entire life, I turned ten and came of age, I turned 13 and came of age, I turned 16 and was suddenly sweet, and now, I'll turn 18 and will suddenly be an adult. This is year is so big, it's so weighty and epic, a part of me feels like it will eventually crush me. Deep down, I know it won't, but between all that's supposed to happen, all that has to get done, all I have to remember, and uphold, and perform, and eventually do, I wonder, I really wonder, how the hell am I going to do this?

I have a feeling the freshman in front of me is thinking the same thing. High School is a beast of a time, it's constantly talked about, constantly referenced, and has achieved a level of near legendary status among kids and teens of lower grades. It's a time of your life that seems impossible to get to and once you're there, seems almost impossible to end.

And so we walk into school in the morning. The freshman and the senior. One at the beginning, and one at the end. Both are scared, both are tense, both have no idea what on Earth they're truly up against, and both are wondering how the hell they're going to pull this off.

It's a weird, weird time. And I have a feeling, it's only going to get even weirder.

See ya later folks,

*Nelly*

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Half-Hour Entry

Right, so I have a half an hour till I have to leave for work, and since I can't think of anything better to do apart from sit and listen to my sister and her friend talk about Hannah Montana, I decided to write a Blog entry.

Have you ever noticed how half my entries all seem to be written as I'm running out the the door?

Anyway, let's see, what's new with me...I, er, got a new Coldplay CD. Viva La Vida. It's cool, I still haven't listened to it enough to memorize all the words yet, like I did with the Keane CD I got for Christmas. They're sort of similar, actually, Keane and Coldplay, except I think Coldplay uses a bit more guitar than Keane (who doesn't use any) but for the most part, they've got this sort of cool...um, style-that-I-can't-quite-describe-at-eight-in-the-morning going on. (Seriously, this is why I'm not a music critic) There are a few songs with definite Beatles-influences, which is pretty cool, and the actual song "Viva La Vida" which I do, in fact, know all the words to because it's been on the radio all summer, and is a seriously awesome song.

I tried to get tickets to see their concert in Boston in October, but I couldn't. Darn.

Anyway, so that's cool. I went to Barnes and Noble's to get it, and had a fun conversation with the cashier.

Cashier: I'll take you down at the end.

Me: Are you, like, not allowed on any of the other registers, because you're always at the end, and there's like seven empty registers between you and the other cashier.

Cashier: They want me by the door.

Me: Oh.

Cashier: You know you're here like, every other day.

Me: Yeah, it's kind of sad.

Cashier: Not really, I'm here every day.

Me: You work here.

Cashier: True.

Me: At least I'm not like, off...er...

Cashier: Being a delinquent?

Me: Yeah, at least I'm hanging out in a bookstore instead of over by the movie theater smoking pot or something.

Cashier: Good point.

Me: So, see you in two days.

Cashier: I'll be here.

I then proceeded to walk away, get an iced tea, go home, go to work, and come back two days later to buy Amadeus on DVD. It was kind of inevitable, really, I mean I am there a lot, and who am I to back down on a promise like that? I'm not sure why, exactly, I'm in Barnes and Noble's every two days or so, it takes a lot of gas to get there, and half the time I don't actually buy anything. Usually I go looking for a new Doctor Who book or end up haunting the theater section for two hours, or hanging out in the Starbucks trying to figure out if I want a tall iced vanilla late, or a grande iced tea (I usually go with the tea, I'm not much of a coffee drinker) I did finally manage to master the art of ordering at a Starbucks, so if I feel like I haven't accomplished anything this summer, I now know I have.

Wow, I only have 15 minutes left. But that's not a big deal. I wrote a whole entry in 15 minutes once, and it was sweet. Well, no, actually it was kind of weird. But then, most of my entries are a bit weird, you know?

Anyway, school starts next week. Wendsday, actually, I'm ridiculously excited. I know I complain about school an awful lot here, really I complain about pretty much everything here, but I really, really utterly loath summer, so I can't wait for school to start. It's my senior year, this year, so it should be pretty cool as I'm actually taking classes I'm at least semi-interested in as opposed to forced to take. I only technically needed one semester of English to graduate, so I, of course, promptly took five. I also got out of having to take math, which means I finally had enough room to take Comparative Religions. I'm also taking Shakespeare, Science Fiction, Film As Literature, Psychology, Stagecraft, Advanced Spanish, and AP Literature and Composition. The AP class is my greatest fear at the moment, since I've only just started my AP homework, I hope I manage to get through it without dying or anything. That would be bad.

Oh, and I made it into Honor's Choir this year! So, hopefully, there won't be that long, endless stream of months about mid-February where I end up spending chorus in the library trying not to get caught Blogging by the librarians. I'll still probably have that problem, of course, since I was forced into keeping at least one period a semester open and I don't want to waste the gas driving home. Except more "Library Musings" entries as the year stretches onward.

Well, unfortunately, it looks like I should probably start getting ready to go to work. Josh, the other cashier, isn't here today, neither is Logan, our new cashier, so I'm completely on my own today up at the front on register for nine solid hours. Should be a blast. But you know, things are looking up. Tomorrow is my last Sunday, and after that, I'm leaving for Gorham for three days.

That's right, I'M ACTUALLY GOING SOMEPLACE OTHER THAN NEWINGTON!!!

Life is good.

Adios amigos,

*Nelly*

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Memory of Nickelodeon

AKA: The longest Blog entry I've ever written. Be warned. Get popcorn. Make yourself comfortable.

Now, I know what you're thinking (well, I don't, but I can pretend I do); how can you memorialize something that very clearly isn't dead? Well, in most situations, you can't. However, when I say Nickelodeon, what I really mean is classic Nickelodeon, Nickelodeon as it was during the mid-late nineties, back when All That was still all that and Rugrats wasn't all grown up. Back when orange soda could make you laugh, a camp fire could scare you in the dark, and things were still filmed at Nickelodeon Studios.

That's right, apparently, as of April 30, 2005, over three years ago, Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida officially closed it's doors. The last program ever to be shot there was Nick Splat! in August 2004, in May 2005 the iconic slime geyser was removed from the front of the building, and finally in January 2006, the giant orange Nickelodeon splat sign was removed from the top of the building. As of 2006, it stood empty and abandoned, still bright lime green with splats of orange, but lacking any of the iconic items that made it what it once was. It has since been remodeled and now serves as a venue for, of all things, the Blue Man Group.

Now, I realize it's 2008 and I'm a little late with this, but honestly, I had no idea this happened till just this morning when I, out of complete and utter curiosity and boredom, decided to wiki Nickelodeon Studios only to discover that it no longer exists. Seriously, nobody tells me anything.
I'm sure I'm not the only one that remembers watching Nickelodeon in the nineties and constantly hearing "_____ was filmed in front of a live studio audience in Nickelodeon Studios, Florida" after every live action program. Even with Nicktoons, there was always something that said it had been produced there. It was a constant presence in my life, that studio, despite the fact that I had never actually been there, and now, never will. It's closing is sad, and I think, marks the end of an era. Nickelodeon really came into it's own in the 1990's, and though it started in the mid 1980's, it didn't really mature to the familiar channel we all know and love till the 90's.

Despite having been only nine when the nineties ended, I'm still old enough to remember the classics. Nickelodeon was my life when I was little, I would constantly imagine being on a show like The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, or Clarissa Explains It All, I watched Nicktoons almost religiously, and I have vivid memories of doodling Rugrats characters on my papers in second grade. I am not ashamed to say I was addicted to television as a child, mainly because it was good television I was addicted to.

And so, in honor of the now-defunct Nickelodeon Studios, because it's never too late to honor something so important, I now give you a tribute to 90's era Nick. Nelly's Guide to Classic Nickelodeon, my thoughts on the golden age of children's television, show by show. I'm going to include a few Nicktoons in here, even though most of them weren't actually produced in the studio, but the list would just seem incomplete without them.

Here are my highlights:

Clarissa Explains It All - I LOVED this show. Granted, it was probably aimed more at teenagers or pre-teens, but seriously, it was funny enough to appeal to anyone. It stared Melissa Joan Hart as the quirky Clarissa as she battles typical teenage problems like crushes, school, zits, family, and friends. I remember Clarissa liking to break the fourth wall a lot to let the audience in on her inner thoughts, which, living in an era before the vast amounts of interactive children's TV we have now, I thought was the coolest way ever to tell a story. The fun opening theme consisting basically of "na na na na na" was always fun to get stuck in your head during spelling the next day, and her best friend breaking through her bedroom window to the same iconic guitar rift as she greeted him with "Hi Sam" was fun to watch despite it happening every single episode. All and all, the show was fun, light-hearted, and quirky, and just the sort of thing I liked when I was seven.

The Mystery Files Of Shelby Woo - I don't know how many people remember this show, it's entry on Wiki is a tiny, tiny stub, and it only lasted about 40-something episodes, but I completely adored this show. I'm a big fan of mystery shows, detective stories, whodunnit kind of things, and the fact that a a kid, a modern, not-nearly-as-cheesy-as-Nancy-Drew kind of kid could solve mysteries like a real detective was just about the most awesome thing in the world for me. I remember liking to pretend I was Shelby Woo, or rather, a character much like Shelby Woo, and would frequently be seen running around my house on a mystery solving adventure. It's sad how little love this show got, and I really wish it had lasted a bit longer.

All That - In complete contrast to the last show, who doesn't remember All That? Seriously, SNL-like sketch comedy for kids. It was a brilliant idea, executed perfectly in the beginning, and despite it's sort of dodgy last few years, continues to hold a place among the greats. I remember my favorite sketch was always Vital Information with Lori Beth Denberg, and later Danny Tamberelli, where they'd basically sit a desk and give you random little life-lessons like "You say potato. I say potahto. You say tomato. I say look at us, we're two idiots talking about vegetables." The humor used on the show was perfect for kids, it was effective, quick, clever, and delivered perfectly from every actor involved. It had it's golden era during the first few seasons, before it vanished for a year, only to be re-launched with an entirely new cast and different sketches. The re-launch was ok, it wasn't terrible, but really, everyone knew the older stuff was just a bit better. It's not the fault of the new cast, they were all very good, it's more the fault of an audience that had gotten so attached to the old stuff it simply couldn't accept the new. For me, All That will always be the classic stuff, since by the time the new stuff came about, I'd gotten just a bit too old for Nickelodeon, and sort of lost interest. Despite this though, All That was another one of those shows I always used to dream of being on.

Legends of the Hidden Temple - I swear to GOD, no one could ever put together that freaking silver monkey! It was so simple! There were only three parts! They always got stuck in that one room, the freaking Shrine of the Silver Monkey, they always ran out of time there because they could never assemble a three part monkey!! Although, I suppose if you're running on a clock inside a really dark, somewhat eerie temple with really scary temple guards ready to jump out and grab you around every corner, assembling a three-part silver monkey to unlock a secret door to the room with a lost, prize-wining artifact, might be a bit more difficult. Seriously though, I'll still watch re-runs of this show, I'm not a game show person, but this one just owned.

Double Dare - I didn't watch this one much, despite being able to remember it pretty vividly, I was never really into it. I liked it, but I think after a while I got bored of it. It earned a spot on this list because really, you can't deny that it is a classic of children's game shows. Whether you liked it or not, it kept coming back as Super Sloppy Double Dare, Family Double Dare, Celebrity Double Dare, and the rather short-lived Double Dare 2000. So clearly, someone must have watched it more than I did.

Figure It Out - I SO wanted to be a panelist on this show. Like, seriously, I knew I wasn't nearly talented or cool enough to be a contestant, I never invented any awesome labor-saving device, or trained my cat to do math, and honestly, that didn't really bothered me. Being a panelist always seemed like so much more fun, and I honestly preferred solving the puzzle to actually seeing any of the contestants do their thing. I know that sounds cruel, but you know, kids are cruel sometimes.

Kenan and Kel - A spin off of All That that just totally rocked. They were hysterical, their hijinks never got annoying, and despite my passionate hatred of orange soda, made me want to drink it anyway. Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchel had such great chemistry together, the way their very different characters managed to bounce off each other so well, and the way, no matter how much trouble they got into with each other, they still managed to remain the closest best friends on television. I really hope they put this show on DVD sometime, I'd love to watch it again.

Rugrats - The first of the Nicktoons that I shall be mentioning, it's hard to not mention this one. This was the show everyone watched, even if it was only once while channel surfing at your grandparents house, you knew what it was and what it was about. Early Rugrats was brilliant, the simple, clever, creative way of story telling, the cute characters with their own personalities, even the adults were fully realized with witty banter and subtle humor that you have to be just a bit older than the target audience to really understand. The sheer amount of imagination that went into this show was amazing, the things they managed to do with such a simple concept; if babies could talk, what would they say? And who could honestly forget Reptar on Ice? Or just, Reptar in general. This is one of those shows that will continue to hold a place in your heart, and is one I would willingly go back and re-watch. The early years occasionally re-run really early in the morning, go back and just listen to the dialogue from the adults, appreciate the voice acting, really, just go back and give this show a bit of love, because whether you liked it or not, it is, pretty much, the cartoon that defined it's generation.

Doug – The second of the great 90’s Nicktoons, not quite as popular as Rugrats, but in my somewhat bias opinion, just as good. It told the story of Doug, this awkward, imaginative, introspective boy who kept a journal and doodled in class. He was basically a sort of quiet, normal guy thrown in the middle of a crazy family, bizarre friends, and an overall quirky town. I loved Doug for how he just seemed to go with things, how he moves to a town obsessed with beats and just goes “Ok, beats are good.” And that’s the end of it. As with Rugrats, it coined a lot things I still vividly remember and will reference in everyday conversation. The Beats, were one of them, their hit song “I need more allowance” telling the story of basically every kid I’ve ever met that got an allowance. Quailman was another. Seriously, how can you forget Quailman, the “strange visitor from the planet Bob” who wore his underwear outside of his pants? I’ll still have conversations with my mother that will involve one of us going “I am helpless and stupefied.” God, I loved Doug. When it moved to Disney, I cried.

Hey Arnold – Ok, before you start yelling at me, this is a 90’s Nicktoon. It first aired on October 7, 1996, in it’s current form, though it did spend about a year or so beforehand as a claymation cartoon on Sesame street. Hey Arnold is quite possibly my favorite 90’s cartoon ever. It may be the city setting, I have a thing for cities, it may be the opera episode, I don’t know. I just absolutely love this show. I love the way the different characters are set up, the way every character has their own place in the society of the school, everyone plays a specific part, yet the show was not afraid to constantly break that part. There was always a grey area, you never knew who the bad guy was, even the bullies were constantly portrayed as sympathetic characters, which was such a different way of doing it. Most shows about schools always had such division, the popular kids, the bullies, the good kids, the nerds, but on Hey Arnold, they all mixed and matched and were never confined to one label. The plots were new and interesting, they were clever, they were well written, and well performed. Real kids played the kids on the show, which made it a bit more authentic than most kids shows. Watching it now reveals the allusions to pretty much everything, the hysterical yet actually touching Romeo and Juliet episode, the BRILLAINT opera episode (“My names Don Arnold, please have a carmel, do you like my pants? They’re made of satin, the cape’s pure Latin, I had it tailored in the South of France” to tune of Carmen), and of course, the episode that is pretty much an elementary school re-telling of 12 Angry Men. I also loved the whole “Helga-hates-but-loves-Arnold” thing, which has been done so many times in so many different things, but only few have done it as effectively as this. Taking out a locket and launching into a passionate, poetic soliloquy of unrequited love only to have it suddenly ruined by the heavily breathing presence of Brainy behind her, who then gets punched immediately after, it never seemed to get old. Really, I could go on and on about this show, and still not say enough.

As this is currently surpassing four pages on a Word Document, I think it’s probably within everyone’s best interest if I stop here.

We shall forever miss you Nickelodeon Studios, despite the fact I only discovered you were gone this morning, we shall forever remember the glory and splendor that was 90’s children’s television filmed in your studios. It is indeed a grave loss to society, and to the world in general. I hope to God the Blue Man Group appreciates their new venue.

Farewell Nickelodeon Studios, and farewell to the Golden Age of Nick.

Arrivederci,

*Nelly*

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Details

So I've discovered that I have about 45 minutes before I have to go to work and decided that, rather than watching the same episode of The Daily Show that was on yesterday, I should write another blog entry.

So I did.

Anyway, I haven't really been very social this summer, I haven't written, haven't seen many people, haven't really gone anywhere apart from the places my friend Natasha took me too which was a nice, and fully welcomed, plot to get us both out of our houses. Obviously, the few times I have written have been pretty...er, grim, I suppose. A nice second person narrative on my currently rather pointless existence which was almost like a far less brilliantly written soliloquy from Hamlet in it's complete angsty-ness. Then there was this random little "Nelly-lacks inspiration" entry, followed by a lengthy guide to working at Ace Hardware. I haven't written anything particularly amusing or entertaining, I haven't really been in the mood to, which sucks, because it means I've been ignoring things. Important things. Things such as having a foreign exchange student from Taiwan living with me for the last month. Things such as the Forth of July. Things that most people would consider important to document in a Blog that centers around the events of a person's life.

Let me take you back a few months, before summer, before the exchange student you don't know about, before the shock of suddenly being a senior, before The Chocolate War, and even, before Mother Courage. Let's go back to April, the end of April. About a month after I got my job, I went away on vacation. The trip was to Washington DC, though we were staying in a cabin (or lodge, I guess) in Maryland. I wrote three entries while I was there, one before, one on the first day, and one about halfway through the week. Just from looking through my entries, after the famed over-excited "ZOMG TEH YANA MASTER!!!" entry, I seemed to just stop writing. There's nothing about my trip, nothing about my then "new" job, there's just nothing for about a month. All of May is gone, and when I do come back, when I finally re-appear into the world of Blogging, the entry I post has absolutely nothing to do with my life, and is about celebrities. After that, summer hits and I descend into angst, and before you know it, here we are.

Now, the missing month of May, I have an excuse for. I was doing two plays, had about 8 million final projects and papers due, teched my sister's dance recital and was still getting used to my job. No one saw much of me in May, except the casts of The Chocolate War and Mother Courage, I took time off work, missed a bit of school, and kept skipping lunch, and basically saw no one.

As for what happened after the great month-long Blogging hiatus, I really don't have anything to defend myself with. Every single thing I was doing, all the plays, all the projects, all the tech-ing, everything suddenly ended, all at once, within the space of about a week.

I'm not very good with free time. I think I get it from my Dad, I'm not good with not having anything to do. It makes it difficult to suddenly go from having absolutely no time to all the time in the world in the space of a week. I had no idea what to do with myself, I had nothing to work on, or think about apart from a job that seemed to be slowly eating up any moment my friends might be around, and one I slowly realized (as most do with their summer jobs) I completely and utterly loathed. All I could see ahead of me was summer, an endless, very stormy summer, and as I've said before, I hate summer.

I couldn't really do much of anything for a few months there other than whine. I sat around locked in my room with my own self-pity, not caring about anything around me, refusing to listen to anybody, not willing to take any form of action on my own "miserable existence". I wasn't writing simply because I decided early on that I had nothing to write about. I was so caught up in my own teenage angst, I neglected to see what was around me. I neglected to see that anything was happening around me. And it was, oh God, it was.

Li-Han Lin, or Leigh, arrived at my house on July 10. She was a bit scared, a bit timid, but we broke the ice fairly quickly. The two of us spent about two hours that night just talking, I kept her up, I think, comparing notes on school, and family, and life in general. Being 17 in Taiwan is often remarkably similar to being 17 in the United States, we discovered. Though we didn't get to see each other very much, she had school till 5 everyday and I work all weekend and beyond, we did get to do a few things. We went to Portsmouth and contemplated why there's a giant statue of an ant in the center, and got rained on at the Stratham Fair. We went and saw Wall-E, and ran around a supermarket. We spent a pretty good amount of time together for two people with entirely conflicting schedules, and I learned a lot from her.

My issue is, of course, that she was here for an entire month, and I failed to mention it. I didn't tell most of my friends or cousins that she was coming till about a day before or after she got there. There are some people that still don't know. It wasn't because I was unaware, or because I'm hiding something from them, I just wasn't thinking about it because I was too wrapped up in my own stupid issues. She was quite possibly the largest event of my summer, and practically no one really knows.

She's gone now. She left yesterday for Taiwan. Even if I wanted to write a Blog entry about her, or let her meet my friends, I can't. I missed that chance because I was stupid. I decided to be Hamlet and stand around soliloquy-ing, instead of being me.

And now I'm back to where I started. But with hopefully, a little less angst.

See you at Ace,

*Nelly*

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Count the Minutes

So, having decided that it's far more effective to laugh at myself and my job, rather than to wallow in complete misery at the futility of it all, I now present you with a few things I have learned working at the happy, corner Ace Hardware store:

1.) Keep your receipts - I never used to follow this, I'll admit, I was fantastically guilty of throwing out every receipt given to me by any long suffering cashier I happened to come across. However, having since discovered the joy of wading through several weeks worth of transactions to find the one that matches the customer's purchases, I have now seen the error of my ways. Seriously people, don't throw them out. You may end up with a shoe box full of old receipts you can't actually remember ever getting, but trust me, if ever have to return one of those unknown things, the cashier will love you forever (or at least, until your transaction's done)

2.) Bolts and screws are NOT the same thing - Seriously! Bolts are the ones with flat bottoms, whereas screws are the ones with pointy bottoms. DO NOT MESS THESE UP! Creepy old men in flannel shirts will yell at you.

3.) Appearance, gender, and occasionally age determine a person's accent - Red skinned old men in either dirty, stained wife beaters, or old flannel shirts with multiple bruises, cuts, and vile smells attached to them will invariably speak with a very strong Northern New England accent most often heard in Northern Maine and New Hampshire, occasionally called the "New England Hick" accent. To compliment this, their wives, typically women slightly younger than the men, though older than their forties, typically dressed in a large t-shirt from some tourist-y place they went to years ago, and thin cloth shorts that don't really match with much of anything, will almost always speak with a heavy Boston accent. As customers descend in age, their accents will either become more secular, less pronounced, or become even heavier than their older counterparts resulting in an inability to properly understand them when they inform you they are in need of propane.

4.) Keep your own accent - In follow up to the last one, accents in hardware stores are many and varied, far more pronounced than most places, and thus it becomes far easier to catch yourself slipping into another person's speech patterns. I seem to have a particular problem with this, and have caught myself slurring words, pronouncing r's as a's, not pronouncing the 'g' in 'ing', developing slight Southern drawls, dropping consonants, and going from British to Scottish and back again. When this happens, I almost always sound like a complete idiot, and for what is probably the fourth time that day, usually make a complete and utter fool of myself. Be aware of what you say and how you say it, and make sure your voice is your own.

5.) SKU numbers are your friends - The SKU for a bottle of soda is 900118, a water is 900115, and a thing of annuals 900000.

6.) Aisle numbers are also your friends - Need light bulbs? Aisle 10. Batteries? Aisle 9. Pest control? Aisle 4. Hydrolic cement mix? No idea.

7.) Gift cards are NOT your friends - Only two people in the entire store can competently handle gift cards, there are about 5 million steps involved in using them, three different ways to authorize them, and almost none of them work correctly when you have a line of seven people tapping their feet behind your current customer who just wants to use their freaking gift card and get out of there. I absolutely despise them. If a customer hands me one, I now at least know how to use them, how to sell them, and how to complete the transaction fairly quickly. If anything goes wrong, anything at all, I'm hopeless. And as things tend to go wrong fairly frequently with gift cards, I'm usually completely useless.

8.) Don't throw staples at your co-workers - Seriously. It's only funny once. Get over it.

9.) Speak multiple languages - Saying "Do you have an Ace card?" over and over and over again can get pretty freaking annoying after a while. When this occurs, start asking in other languages. For example, when customer #3456 of that day comes up to the register and buys 125 individual sockets, all of which must be scanned 125 times individually, when the time comes to ask them for their Ace card, don't say it in English! Try Spanish! "Hola! Tienes una tarjeta de Ace? Gracias! Yo espero tu tienes una dia bueno!" They may not have a clue what you're saying, but their confused, annoyed, and quite possibly angry expression is bound to be amusing after eight hours standing behind the register!

9.) People will do anything to save money - Even if it's only a few cents, people will try anything and everything to not have to spend any form of extra money. Occasionally, this will mean that not only will they require you to instantly know exactly what their Ace card number is, use all three coupons they've provided, check the price on every single item to make sure it meets their monetary standards, and re-count the change you've given them twice, they will also immediately check the receipt you gave them, in front of you, to make sure you didn't charge them extra for no reason, will just about murder you if you forget, or are not allowed to use a certain discount, and will be perfectly willing and able to argue over the price of a certain item they're sure is 25 cents less than what it rang up as. On the off chance you do forget to give them a certain discount or use a certain coupon, they will almost always insist that they return everything they've just bought so they can re-purchase it with the discount, even if only to save 60 cents on a 25 dollar purchase. I know times are tough, I realize there's a pseudo-recession going on, but even without the economic hardships of the day, it is still the 21st century, things are still more expensive then they were 20 years ago, and 60 cents will neither hurt you, nor get you anywhere.

10.) Spackle is the greatest word in the entire English language - It really is! Just say it a few times, spackle, isn't it fun to say? Spackle! Spackle, spackle, spackle. I don't even really know what it is, entirely, I'm pretty sure it's something you use to seal holes in the wall, but seriously, it is the greatest word ever to say. Spackle, spackle, spackle. SPACKLE!!! Spackle.

And last but not least, since I just realized I was shooting for ten things, but got a little carried away:

11.) Don't count the minutes - There is a distinct art and/or science to waiting for your shift to end. Always count the hours, never the minutes, as for the most part, minutes just makes it seem longer. On short four hour shifts, count down first to the point in which you are halfway done, as in "I have two hours till I'm half way done," then count to when you have only an hour left, "I have an hour till there's an hour left," the last hour then, luckily, goes by very, very quickly. On longer days, count down first to the first lunch break, which is my case, Josh's break "I have two hours till Josh goes to lunch" then count down to yours, then go half way, then till the hour mark, and then you're done. If you break it down, and don't just think "I have nine hours left in here," it makes it go by so much quicker, really, I promise.

There are a few other things I've learned over the months I've worked there, but most of them are so bizarrely small and irrelevant that I'll spare you. For now. (Insert dramatic music here) Just remember, if you ever need a random bolt, or duct tape, or even hydrolic cement mix, come on down to Ace, and I may or may not be able to tell you where it is.

Till next time,

*Nelly*

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

State of the Blogger

I would just like to make an all points bulletin that I am, in fact, alive. I've just been feeling a bit...er, uninspired, I guess, as of late. Which is why I haven't been writing. Just thought I'd let you know.

Thanks,

*Nelly*

Monday, June 30, 2008

If Only, If Only

It's Monday. You realize that with a start as you fall out of bed onto your piles of clothes, papers, and general stuff covering the floor. It's 10:30. The alarm never went off. In all this adjustment to being awake, your eyes get used to the sun, your mind gets used to pure thought, you answer the world with a simple and eloquent message.

What the hell?

After getting up and blindly reaching for a bathrobe, putting your contacts in, and shuffling downstairs, you decide to wait, and take a shower at eleven. By this point, you're on your second batch of nearly botched up, burnt toast. It's here you remember that not only can you not cook, but that you told yourself you were going to have cheerios this morning to make up for the trip to Pizza Hut the night before.

You open the cereal cabinet. There's nothing there. You end up making toast.

So much for having a plan.

You scour the internet for a while, take a shower, do some laundry, listen to the radio, have an intimate and thought provoking discussion with that cabinet you ran lines with last summer, ignore telemarketers. All the time you move about, from room to room, hallway to hallway, with the same underlying knowledge that this is the life you've always dreaded leading. The typical, the mundane, the shuffling of feet from one aspect of a day to the other, the lazy and restful aspect of leisure. You are a typical teenager, the very definition of restless, desperate to see things, go places, utterly terrified of living a carbon copy of your parents' lives for reasons you can't quite place and probably wouldn't understand.

The clock on the wall moves a second forward. You take another step, and sigh.

Work.

This is your forth day in a row at work. To most, this seems like nothing special, but to you, whose dramatics have a habit of working against you, and who can neither tolerate or accept endless, uninteresting repetition, it is a recurring nightmare. You've been working at the Hardware Store down the road for nearly four months now, ringing things up, checking it out, returning, stocking, asking people if they have Ace Cards, cleaning counters and calling for propane. It's a right of passage, you are aware, every functioning adult you've ever met has spoken of the part time jobs of their youth, the similar feelings they had then, and understand now. You'd like to believe them, of course, you'd like to think the endless stream of people who come to your register might actually relate to you in some inexplicable way, but as you are a teenager, very Hamlet-esque angst is rampant. Who could possibly understand you, the sulking cashier with nothing to immediately look forward to apart from the chance to do returns on your next shift? Who could ever really comprehend the immensity of it all, your problems and your fears? Who could ever understand?

Right. Because you're clearly that complex.

You sigh, and absentmindedly fiddle with the pencil next to your register. You're really very simple, very average, and as painful as it is to admit, naive. You're young and restless, constantly being told you have endless possibilities ahead of you, with not the faintest idea what to do with them. You know what you want, you think of it often, but you constantly belittle it. Of course you want to live in a city, you've lived in a town your whole life. You want to travel across Europe and Asia, hike Mount Vesuvius, visit Stratford, stand and gape before a pyramid, obviously, you've never traveled farther than Canada. Your farthest endeavor was Alaska, your most profound, Washington DC, it makes sense you'd be restless, it's typical you'd want more than what you have now.

You are nothing more than stock character, an interpretation of a very simple genre that anyone can, and everyone has endured.

You ask your latest customer if they have an Ace Card, and in your head, you repeat it in three different languages. Someday, you'll escape this. You may be forced to play a mime for two years, or spend half your life as a Starfish in Disney World, but someday, your red, over sized, Ace Hardware polo shirt will be nothing more than a distant, laughable memory. This is the thought that keeps you going, the thought that makes the broken alarms, burnt toast, piles of laundry, and endless stream of returns worthwhile. Though you lack a script to rehearse, lines to learn, and a character to portray, the thought that someday you will, someday you will have more, helps.

And you hold onto it harder than you've ever held anything in your life.

Your Blog has recently turned two. As you re-read your very first entry, one in which you lament about your boredom, your lack of anything to do, your forced role as babysitter to your sister, you realize things haven't really changed. Oh, you're writing's a bit different, you're a bit thinner, a bit calmer, a bit more mature, your hair's a different color and your clothes are a bit more comfortable, but overall, the events remain the same. Summer will always seem endless, always a repeat of the last year with another year of generic classes you don't care about looming in front of you. You will always sit and wonder if your problems are really problems, and will always decide that they're not, even if, sometimes, they really are. There will always be those endless days of nothing followed by those endless days of something.

And then you remember. You're a senior now. Another year older, one year left. How do you feel?

Brilliant and terrified.

Just where you should be.

Cheers for another year, all. Happy Second Anniversary.

*Nelly*

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Exclusives

Ok, so this is just a general "Nelly-needs-to-vent" kind of post. Like, I know I haven't written in a while, and I should be writing about Mother Courage (which went well, by the way) or The Chocolate War (which also went well, if a bit too quickly) or having to deal with rampant dance moms, or the fact that my cousin just graduated today, or even the fact that I'm going to suddenly find myself another year older this weekend, which I only just realized this morning and am only slightly shocked by. I know I should write about these things, these somewhat major events happening around me, but I'm not.

Instead, I'm going to rant about tabloids.

I hate tabloids. Not the kind that tell you we're all going to die in ten days, Bigfoot's living on Mt. Washington, and Oprah's actually an alien god. No, those are funny. Those you can look at while you're waiting in line at the grocery store and laugh hysterically while the guy in front of you gives you a funny look and then tries to hit on you. You can clearly separate those kinds of tabloids from reality. You can go to Mt. Washington, not see Bigfoot, and all will be right with the world.

The ones I'm talking about are ones like this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1024800/As-Doctor-spotted-FOURTH-beauty-everyones-asking-Whos-next.html

David Tennant. Time Lord playboy. He's been on dates with several different people in the last few years, he's clearly the biggest slut that ever had the opportunity to play Hamlet.

There have got to be more pressing matters to put into print.

Not if you're a tabloid, apparently. Googling the world "Tabloid" comes up with a list of a few different tabloids, one of which is called "Star" Their cover story? CELEBRITIES WITHOUT MAKEUP!!!

ZOMG!!! I'M NOT WEARING MAKE-UP EITHER!!!!

And you know what, I look far, far worse than the people they have on the cover. Make-up doesn't work miracles, it just pronounces what you already have. And as I haven't got very much to pronounce in the first place...well, Miley Cyrus tops me any day, really. Even with the half-naked towel shot.

I find it interesting to think, though, that between David Tennant's amorous escapades and a few famous people deciding they didn't feel like having to take a ton of make-up off at the end of the day, that there must be people out there who are really into this. Obviously, as tabloids still exist, there is a demand for them. That's basic economics class. And I'm sure the vast majority of the people that buy them are only casual readers. But there are some, as further Google searching revealed, who are really, really into rampant celebrity gossip and "entertainment news" There are some people who will buy every single tabloid they can find while waiting in line at the grocery store, and who will sometimes buy them as opposed to actual groceries.

Why?

Because they're fun.

Seriously. It's like watching Gilmore Girls, the appeal of that show, apart from the clever, hyper-speed diologue, is following the relationships of the characters. You watch one week, are left with a cliff hanger, and tune in next week to see if Lorelei does, in fact, get together with Luke. It's simple. There's no shame in it, nothing to worry about. They're fictional characters, it's nothing more than a story, and it's perfectly reasonable to want to find out what happens next in the story. You can be riveted by it, follow it's every move, every plot-detail, wait and wait and wait in suspense because, in the end, it's all just a story, and they're all just actors. Waiting to find out who hooks up with who on a TV show is no worse than waiting for the next Harry Potter book, all you want to know is what comes next in the story.

With tabloids, it's the same principle at work, just without the whole "not real"part. Here, we have the stories of real people, unfolding right in front of you. It's ok to follow the relationships of Lorelei Gilmore, why isn't it ok to follow the relationships of David Tennant? Because David's real and Lorelei isn't. Oh, really? YES!

This is what people forget when they follow celebrity gossip.

These people are not just characters from a book. They are not Snow White, they're not the Gilmores, they're real people, with real lives, just trying to get on with it. We treat them as if their lives are nothing more than clever plot development, the more scandalous it gets, the more we want to read about it. It's not a bad thing, it's not the "darker side of human nature" at work, it's just basic entertainment. The more interesting something is, the more interested people are in it. That's why tabloids appeal. We forget these people don't have to live purely for our own enjoyment, we forget their reality.

It's like Brecht. There's an alienation, a distance that has to be created with people in the public eye in order for them to maintain the privacy needed to stay sane. Tabloids lose this. They rip down that privacy, and throw it at our faces, enchanting us with tall tales and stories, and keep us waiting for the next chapter. Because people, for the most part, admire celebrities like they do literary characters, they want to feel like they're a part of their story, when really, they're just outsiders looking in. They're just trespassing. They're breaking the fourth wall.

So what it really comes down to, is this; do we really need to know? Do we really need to know that David Tennant's been on multiple dates in the past few years, in an attempt to find, perhaps, find a life partner? No. Do we need to know that without make-up on, a most likely exhausted Miley Cyrus actually looks, physically tired? No. We don't need to know any of this, we only look at it because we want to be entertained. The same can be done with books or TV shows, soap operas and cheap supermarket romance novels.

So why aren't we just reading those?


*Nelly*

Sunday, April 27, 2008

ZOMG TEH YANA MASTER!!!

I would just like to announce that my life has come one step closer to being complete. Today, while I was at the Fogler Shakespeare Library, as I was waiting for them to cut Shakespeare's birthday cake, who should appear but Sir Derek Jacobi.


ZOMG DEREK JACOBI!!!!!!!

Now, in case you're not aware who, exactly, Derek Jacobi is, I'll explain. Derek Jacobi is one of the single greatest Shakespearean actors EVER, and has also been a whole ton of other things, such as The Secret Garden, Gladiator, and of course, Doctor Who. He played Claudius in the Brannah version of Hamlet, and was absolutely, fantastically brilliant beyond all form of reason as Professor Yana/The Master in Doctor Who.

And I met him.

ZOMG!!! *bounces*

Well, okay...I'll admit. I didn't really meet him. But, I did stand three inches away from him, and I did speak to him. I was standing in with this huge crowd at the museum, when I suddenly looked to the side and noticed that Sir Derek Jacobi, THE MASTER/CLAUDIUS was standing right in front of me.

After a moment of complete and utter flailing around and generally being crazy and in shock, I took my camera out and took a few hundred pictures of him just so I could be sure it was really happening. Then he made his speech (which was priceless, very funny) and then recited some Shakespeare (I can't actually remember what passage it was, I was still in a state of shock...) and then he got escorted down the side of the building through the crowd.

Now, I just so happened to be standing at the very edge of the crowd, right next to the side of the building. So when he came down, I was literally within about three inches of him. Here's a complete script of our conversation as he stood next to me:

Me: .......hi.

Sir Derek FREAKING Jacobi: Hi.

It was epic. After that he got escorted away by a bunch of library employees. But still...

SIR DEREK JACOBI!!!!! ZOMG!!!

Anyway, that's my story for the day.

Cheers,

*Nelly*

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Can Has Microwave?

Greetings from the from down South! Well...ok, not like really down South, as I've just been informed, but more South then where I usually reside which is officially classified as the North. So really, most anything can be counted as "the South" to me, unless you live in Maine, in which case, you are, in fact, North of me.

Hooray for directions!

Anyway. I'm currently sitting on the front porch of a cabin in Maryland. It's much warmer here, though since it's night, it's a bit chilly right now, but for the most part, I like it here. We drove through Baltimore on our way here, which of course meant I had to break into "Good Morning Baltimore" from Hairspray. I mean, honestly, who wouldn't? It had to be done.

We're actually only in Maryland so we can go to Washington D.C. Why we couldn't have just gotten a room in D.C. is beyond me, but we didn't, so here we are. I haven't actually seen D.C. yet on this vacation to Washington D.C. which is only slightly odd. It's not nearly as odd as the fact that our cabin has a microwave in it. I mean, why would you need a microwave? While you're camping, I mean. Isn't the whole point of camping to rough it? Though, if you're getting a cabin as opposed to just staying in a tent, it sort of proves that roughing it isn't really your thing anyway. But still, for some reason, the microwave has me baffled. The air conditioning doesn't bother me, neither does the cable TV with DVD player or the Wi-Fi internet. No, out of all those seemingly bizarre things to be finding in a campground, it's the microwave that bothers me the most.

The cabin's very...er, wooden. Not vertical, sorry, it's actually very horizontal. It's very spacious, I think I really could live here for the rest of my life if I had/wanted to. However, I think I'd miss all my Doctor Who stuff, and both of the plays I'm in, and all of my friends, so I think I'll be leaving this fair state here in about a week or so.

Anyway, I probably should go. It's getting cold, which is wierd, since it's Maryland, but what can you do? Have a good week, everybody.

*Nelly*

Monday, April 14, 2008

Library Musings 3.0

So, I’m sitting in the library with my friend Rachel during chorus (or at least, I’m in chorus, I don’t know what class Rachel’s in, I think she’s got study hall…) and for lack of anything better to do, I figured I’d write a blog entry.

Rachel says hello, and would like to inform us that she is, in fact, in study hall.

She’s looking up home appliances for a business class project; she apparently has to come up with some kind of cost for a business she has to create…or something. Anyway, it looks pretty intense, as she’s glaring at the computer right now with that kind of all-consuming hatred rarely seen outside of murder-mystery-crime-dramas. It’s the kind of look you give someone right before you’re about to stab them in the chest. It’s either that or boredom.

Anyway, what to write about now? Two new episodes of Doctor Who, that’s pretty cool since they were both pretty awesome. I’ll probably write a long, involved, and somewhat sad entry about it midway through the series. In about…three weeks or so, I think. Yeah, it’ll be amazing, trust me.

In other news, I’ve just been cast as the villain in my theater class. We’re doing “The Chocolate War” except there’s only three guys and about seventeen girls, so we’ve reversed the genders of most of the characters and changed the setting to a girl’s prep school. My role was originally the evil “Archie Costello” but has now been changed to the equally evil “Audrey Costello” It’s pretty sweet. I get to do a lot of menacing pacing back and forth across the stage while orbiting this poor kid in the middle. I also get to eat chocolate in practically every seen. If I suddenly gain ten pounds before May, you’ll know why. Not that you’ll care, since you can’t see me, but that’s really not the point.

Let’s see…are there any other interesting things going on in my life right now…no, I think that’s about it. Doctor Who, The Chocolate War, Rachel in study hall…yep, that’s pretty much it. I didn’t have rehearsal for Mother Courage this week, since the Junior Rep Company was doing their show. We were all invited to the open dress rehearsal, but I couldn’t go. Typically, this wouldn’t be a problem, however, I forgot to tell Genevieve I couldn’t go, as did apparently everyone except three or four people, and the poor Junior Rep was left with no audience. They even held the show for us. Needless to say, we all got a very angry e-mail from Genevieve about it, which since I was already feeling guilty about it anyway, succeeded in making me feel a whole lot worse.

Luckily though, I deserve it. It really is rude to not tell someone you can’t come to something you’re expected to be at.

Rachel would like to tell us that life is alright. She also says “good times” but I’m not sure if she’s being sarcastic or not. I asked her if she had anything else she’d like to say, to which she responded, “Shopping for home appliances sucks.”

So true. And with these inspirational words of wisdom, I think I’ll bring this entry to a close. The librarians are looming, the end of the period is closing in, and I have to actually post this.

Talk to you later,

*Nelly*

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

13 Paranoias

Ok, so on LiveJournal there's this community called "Lucky 13" where they basically post a prompt every two weeks or so and you have to make a list of 13 things from that prompt. This week's prompt was "13 Things that Make You Paranoid" Since it's very late at night and I'm having another insomnia week, I thought I'd give it a shot, just for the hell of it. Why not, right? What have I got to lose?

So I present, for your own, enjoyment, amusement, or whatever, 13 things that make me paranoid.

1.) Lightning: I have a horrible fear of lightning. I'm fine with it when I'm inside, but if I have to be outside, even for just a second (like going from the car to the front door) I completely panic. See, back at SYMS, the best and worst two weeks of my summer, my friend Kristjar convinced me to walk back to the dorms with her in this lightning storm. We ended up on the roof of the Memorial Union Building, since it was the only open door, in the middle of the thunder and rain, the lightning perfectly visible in all it's electrical glory. I had a panic attack, one of only two I've ever had, and couldn't move for a good ten minutes or so. Needless to say, I've never been entirely comfortable with it since.

2.) Handwriting: I am absolutely paranoid about my handwriting. If you were to see something I've written in print, it's absolutely perfect. And, I don't really like bragging, though I seem to do it a lot, but really, ask anyone, I have perfect handwriting. I'm not sure where it comes from, but for some reason, I get really paranoid about every letter looking right, being the right height, matching. I'm like that with my cursive too. It's rather sad, actually, thinking about it now. There are so many other things in the world to be paranoid about, and I'm busy flipping out about my handwriting.

3.) Being Watched: Now, you'd think I'd be ok with this, being an actor. I get watched all the time, by audience members, by directors, by costumers, the occasional reviewer, you'd think I'd be used to it. And I am, for the most part, used to it. There are sometimes though, when I'm alone, walking down the street or just sitting around, when I catch myself looking behind me to make sure no one's there. I worry about that a lot when I'm driving too, when I'm alone in the car. I like to sing along to the music I'm playing (come on, you all do it, you know you do) and I always end up frantically checking the backseat to make sure somebody hasn't stowed away or something, and is laughing hysterically at my rather over-dramatic singing. Go figure.

4.) Asking For Things: Ok, so, anyone that knows me, or rather, has known me for a rather long time, is probably grinning slightly at this. I have a terrible time asking people for things. When I was little I used to send people these little notes asking them if I could have a cookie or if I could turn the volume up or something, just so I wouldn't have to ask them personally. I finally grew out of that one, thankfully, though it took me a while. I still try and convince other people to do the asking for me whenever possible, some habits are very hard to crack.

5.) Essays: I got my first C on an English paper today, and I nearly died. Never mind that I failed math last quarter, no, clearly the C on a paper is far, far worse. Apparently I used to too many personal pronouns, gee, I wonder why, considering my usual medium.

6.) Disappointing/Insulting People: I don't know if this has something to do with being an actor, or entertainer or something, but I hate to disappoint people. I aim to please, when I don't, I usually spout off "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" in about seven different ways and then try to crawl into a hole. I'm sure I disappoint people all the time, I can't make everyone happy, and I don't think I'm very good at it anyway, but it's a paranoia I still can't seem to shake. As for insulting people, or hurting their feelings, unfortunately I think I might do that quite a lot too. I'm somewhat obsessive about being "politically correct" not in the "ZOMG DON'T YOU DARE SAY CHRISTMAS OUTLOUD...TABOOOOO!!!" kind of way, but I really, really don't like insulting people's culture, background, self, or whatever they have to be insulted about. It's another place I tend to say sorry WAY too much.

7.) My Bedroom Door Opening: I'm not sure why this bothers me so much. When I was little I used to be absolutely terrified of someone coming into my room at night. We live extremely close to the railroad tracks, as in the railroad bridge is like half a second from my house, so when the train goes by the house shakes. Sometimes, this means the door opens on it's own accord. When we first moved here, I used to barricade the door shut at night. I used dictionaries, fairytale anthologies, and that big purple doll clothes chest I used to have all stacked up onto each other to hold it shut. Even today, I'm still paranoid about this, not so much the person coming into my room, but just having the door open...I'm not sure why it's so creepy, but it is. I have a latch on my door now, which is good since I nearly killed my two fairy tale anthologies when I was little. You should see them now, all beaten and torn up, often wet. It's a sad state of a affairs, really.

8.) Closed off rooms: Ok, so despite the fact that I hate having my bedroom door open, I am terrified of rooms that have nothing open. In my room the door is closed, but the window is open. Even in the winter, the window is open just a crack, which probably explains why it's always so cold in here. Anything involving rooms that are shut, or locked, or with no way of escape. I'm terrified of not having air, of suffocating.

9.) The Second Floor of My Barn: This one is purely my cousin Miriam's fault. We were sitting up there one night, over the summer, and she was reading me a story she'd been writing at the time, a really sketchy story. Actually no, it was beyond sketchy, it was chilling. Anyway, she was getting to this part about the big scary thing of the story (I'm not going to reveal anymore since I'm not sure if she'd like that) coming up behind someone, this big beam of light, and then there was this body. *shivers* It was much scarier than I'm making it sound, it was an AMAZING story...though I still can't go into the upstairs of my barn at night without being paranoid there's some evil monster behind me. Thanks Miriam, thanks.

10.) College: It's not college itself that scares me, it's getting in. Let's face it, I don't have the best grades, in fact, my grades are actually quite bad. I have nightmares about not getting into college. The idea that college is basically the end-all, be-all of human existence is so drilled into the mind of a high school junior, some take it in their stride while others lag along behind, terrified and falling. That's me.

11.) Being Alone: This one's a rather new one. And I don't mean like the Doctor Who-ish "Last of the Time Lords" kind of alone, or the "I'll never find my true love" kind of alone, it's more just having someone to talk to. I've always been somewhat of a awkward person, from awkward middle-schooler, to awkward high-schooler, I suppose a part of me has always wanted to fit in. I mean, I'm not someone who'll go around going "Look at me, I wear clothes from American Eagle, aren't I cool?" I do embrace my misfit-geekyness. Sometimes though, just a few times, it would be nice to have someone to talk to during Spanish or Economics.

12.) The Bottom of the Pool: Ok, I'm not a germophobe, let's get that down first. I'm not typically one to care if something is messy, a bit gross, or whatever. I don't wander around constantly washing my hands (though I do have a bottle of hand sanitizer when I'm at work, but that's just because we're required to use it since we handle money) or anything. But, what things lie at the bottom of the pool, those old plastic cups I found in that pool in the Turks and Caicos, the peeling paint from the bottom of the town pool, the steadily growing algae in my sister's blue inflatable pool, or even something moving underneath the sand at a lake, for some reason I'm horribly, horribly paranoid about all of this. I don't know. Maybe I just like clear water, who knows.

And last, but most certainly not least:

13.) Being Vain: This is my #1 paranoia. I am absolutely, positively terrified that I'm being vain, that I'm bragging too much, that I talk WAY too much about myself (which, yes, I know I do all the time on this Blog, but you're kind of supposed to) I'm constantly catching myself saying something stupid and vain, constantly second guessing everything I say out loud. It's rather annoying, actually, but if it gets me to break this stupid habit I have of bragging too much, than so be it. Absolutely paranoid.

So that's it. That's my list of paranoias. Granted, I have a few more, I'm a very paranoid person at heart, but then, aren't we all? Try this on yourself, if you ever get horrifically bored very late at night and need something to keep you occupied. It's sort of fun. In a way.

Night all,

*Nelly*

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oh You Just Shout

Well, well, well, it's that time of year again folks. Springtime. A time for the melting of snow, the blooming of flowers, the emerging of all those cute little woodland creatures from Bambi. It's a time of warmth, rebirth, and of course, Doctor Who.

Oh, did I say Doctor Who?



Teh, yeah I did! =D

That's right, series four of Doctor Who starts April 5 in the UK, which means that April 6 I will have seen the first episode. Woot!

This is doubly exciting for me since this year, under sheer force of will (and a lack of time) I made the conscious decision to go completely spoiler-free this year. That's right, me, the spoiler-knows-ever-thing-before-it-happens-lives-on-spoiler-forums girl is going cold turkey. I'm breaking the habit, and hence, I know virtually nothing about this series short of what I learned last year before I made the choice.

Last year, I knew everything. Martha? Check. Rinos? Check. The entire plot of the first three episodes with production images? Check. This year, I know three things:

1.) Donna is coming back as the companion. Which is sweet, because I liked Donna. A lot of people said she was too shouty and annoying, but personally, I LOVED the shouty bits. They weren't annoying at all, and I thought that entire episode was brilliant. But then, I'm also a big Catherine Tate fan, so I might be a bit bias. It'll be nice to see her in something other than a wedding dress!

2.) At some point in the series, in some form or another, both Martha and Rose come back. This is pretty much as awesome as it gets since I think both of them are compete and utter win. The only thing that bothers me about this are the ship-wars that are sure to accompany this, but then, since I don't ship, I don't really care. I suppose you could say, if I ship anyone, that I ship "Doctor/Tardis" or something really random like that. Maybe "Sonic screwdriver/psychic paper" or something.

3.) Agatha Cristie, the Ood, and Rome. Ok, so that's like three things in one, but I really needed to make it three. I know that at some point they meet Agatha Cristie, the Ood come back, and they go to Rome. I don't know which episodes those are, or if they're in different episodes at all. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Doctor: Well Donna, we're in Rome, what do you think?

Donna: Oh Doctor, what is that horrible creature?!

Doctor: Oh my God, Donna, It's an Ood!

Donna: A what?

Doctor: An Ood!

Ood: Would you like a refreshment?

Doctor & Donna: AHHHHHHH!!!

Donna: Look, Doctor, is that Agatha Cristie?!

Doctor: Why, look it is! Agatha Cristie, in Rome, with the Ood!

Agatha Cristie: Hello, all.

Donna: Hello!

Ood: Would you like a drink?

Doctor: OOD!!!

Doctor, Donna, & Agatha Cristie: AHHHHHH!!!!!!

[End Episode]

Now that would be something. Like really, Russell T. Davies should so hire me to write episodes, I clearly have something here.

Anyway, that's about all I know about this series, which is really cool, since last series I knew like everything. I would, however, like to know what on Earth is going on here:

Is he possessed again? Did he spontaneously decide to take up smoking? I mean, we get a great view of the Doctor's eyes here (which, I can't complain about =D) but they look fairly sketchy and wide, like he's either scared or going insane. Maybe he's absorbed some kind of evil alien intelligence? Or maybe he's expelling radiation again, like in Smith and Jones but through his mouth instead of his shoe.

We may never know.

Anyway, so that's my exciting news of the moment. That and I got a job. At a Hardware Store. Woot. Just what I've always dreamed.

"So if you ever see a little blue box, flying up there in the sky, oh you just shout for me, Gramps, just shout."

I cannot wait :D

Cheers all,

*Nelly*

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Terror of the Black Box

Fear in an interesting thing. We all have our own fears, whether it's spiders, lightning, heights, that creaky floor board on the inside of the dark barn in your backyard. There's always something, even if we consider ourselves to be the bravest person in existence, something will inevitably scare us.


What's exceptionally interesting about this is that, at the moment, what's scaring me the most is what generally sooths me. Theater.


I'm presenting a monologue in my theater class tomorrow morning. It's the longest one in the history of monologues, at four and a half pages long and a thirteen to fourteen minute performance time, depending on the delivery of the actor. It's an amazing piece, a very simple story of two friends about to be split up, but it's powerful. It's a story that needs to be told, in it's entirety, leading me and the director to the somewhat scary decision of not cutting any of it. Meaning I've just had to memorize four and a half straight pages of dialogue.

It's not...well, I shouldn't say that. The memorization did scare me, I'm not going to lie, it terrified me when it was first given to me. Today I had a near nervous breakdown just trying to learn my lines, because not only do I have to perform it tomorrow, I have to perform it first. Luck of the draw decides who goes when, and luck clearly wasn't with me yesterday when I drew my card. It probably didn't want to be with me, it gets a bit boring watching me learn lines, I'd imagine, all I really do is sit there and repeat the same sentence over and over again. It probably lost interest and left.

What really scares me though, what completely and utterly frightens me is the story. It's not a scary story, it's just such an important story that it needs to be told right. I need to do this story justice, it feels like I'd be letting the character down or something if I don't. What if I got so fixated on trying to learn it, trying to memorize it down to the last word, that I completely forgot the point of it. What if I get nervous? What if I freeze up? What if I do end up suffering that nervous breakdown before tomorrow and it never gets told to begin with.

The story of the monologue stays silent till someone who can actually handle it can tell it.

I'm so scared right now, of walking into that black box tomorrow. I'm terrified of forgetting, terrified of blanking out, terrified of not getting to the end. It's that fear you get right before you go onstage, that little nagging fear in the back of your mind as you're standing in the curtains, but magnified.

I've been rehearsing this for a week now. Every night. I'm about to do it again. I'm just...I'm scared. I'm so scared of this monologue, but I know I have to overcome it. I can't go onstage in a panic. The character's not in a panic. I can't be scared.

But I am.


*Nelly*

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Frankenstein Essay

Frankenstein and His Monster
An Essay by Nelly Nickerson

Victor and the monster are a lot alike. They are alike for a lot of reasons. There are multiple reasons for the fact that Victor and his monster, which to point out to the oblivious, he did in fact create himself, are a lot alike. Their many, many similarities are not particularly apparent when trying to look at them, apparently, and it requires a bit more observation to figure the two of them out. Could it be like the relationship between a father and a son, or is it something more? Is it perhaps the relationship between a God and his worshiper, or God and his Satan? Does God even have a Satan? And if he does, does that mean the monster should have one too? What is the cause of all this injustice? This essay will, maybe, be explaining that.


Because most essays require more than one paragraph, this essay will in fact have two paragraphs. However, the paragraph in question has yet to be written, since the author has just gotten back from a very long, very harrowing rehearsal, preceded by a rather uneventful, though equally harrowing strike, all while becoming increasingly ill, as her sister has given her the cold from hell. Which leads me back to the Frankenstein’s monster/Satan argument that would have been discussed in this paragraph, had this paragraph actually been written. However, because this paragraph was, as previously stated, not in fact written, the argument will not be discussed at this time.


Victor is a man. He’s a scientific man. He’s a scientific man who took things a bit too far when he decided to cut up a few dead bodies and bring them back to life. Ew. He likes to make big, long speeches about how his new creation is going to worship him as a God, then cower in fear when things get in his way. He also likes pina cooladas, and long walks along dark, gothic castles in Switzerland. He’s single, although is technically in a committed relationship with his semi/half/adopted cousin Elizabeth who will, conveniently, be brutally murdered on their wedding night, leaving any lucky single lady the perfect opportunity to snatch him up for themselves. Want him? You can view his profile at www.madscientistsingles.com.


On the 15th of May, in the Alps of Nool, in the cool of the day, in the ice of the pool, he was splashing, enjoying the Alps’ great joys, when Frankenstein’s monster heard a small noise. So, the creature stopped splashing, he looked towards the sound.

“That’s funny,” thought the creature, “There’s no one around,” Then he heard it again, just a very faint breath, as if some angry mob were calling for death.

“I’ll help you,” said the creature, “but who are you, and where?” He looked and he looked, he could see nothing there. But a small angry mob screaming loudly through the air. “I say,” said the creature, “I’ve never heard tell, of a small angry mob that was able to yell. I’ll just have to save them, because after all, a person’s a person, no matter how small.” So gently, and using the greatest of care, the creature thrust his great arm through the air, and he lifted the mob, and carried them over, and placed them down, safe, on a poisonous clover. Oops. Angry mob = dead. Which isn’t good, children, it isn’t good at all.


In conclusion, Victor and the monster are a lot alike. This is because this essay lacks a second paragraph in it’s present state, because Victor lacks a girlfriend in
his present state, and because rehearsing Dr. Seuss for theater class for 5 hours straight is generally not a good thing to do before writing an essay. It proves that Victor is a loser, and desperately needs a hobby, as well as proving that the monster is actually an elephant, and that the author needs to stop looking at the solar eclipse and get some sleep before she falls horribly ill and can’t actually perform her piece for theater. Victor and his monster, they’re real similar, don’t you know.

Keep in mind that this is, of course, a draft. I was trying to memorize the entirety of "Horton Hears a Who" for Theater Class while I was doing this, and I also wrote it the night of the solar eclipse. I'm now off to write the real one.

Wish me luck,

*Nelly*