Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love You Sky Big

I knew I wanted to blog today, I just wasn't sure how I wanted to do it. I want to keep it short and simple (plus I have tequila waiting for me so I can't linger by blogging). I still don't really know what to say so this is me winging it.

It's a weird thing, grief. It fades but then it comes back in full force. I don't get sad as much as I used to, but the times I do definitely pack a punch. And it never comes when you expect it. I do think that sometimes I anticipate the sadness (aka me yesterday), but more often than not it happens randomly. You'd think I would be really down today, but I'm feeling much better than I expected. I attribute some of that to last night, which was everything I could have asked for. I'd say about 40 of us invaded Red Robin, cleaned out their tequila (literally), and screamed all the words to Don't Stop Believin' (thanks to Jacob Grob and the iHome he purchased for the occasion). I was surrounded by some of the people I love most in this world. It was exactly what I needed.

I can't believe it's been two years. December 19, 2008. So much has changed since their death. When I think about it, it's like EVERYTHING has changed. Call it moving on, or the sadness fading due to time...I call it living. Which is the biggest thing I took from all of that happening hands down. Before they died I took living for granted. I pretended to be a person of action and instead I spent my time waiting for life to happen to me. But after they died I couldn't keep living my life that way and I think that's why so much feels different to me. Because I'm different. I live differently. I don't waste opportunities and I really to at least try to live every day like it could be my last.

I mean, it's what Jim would have wanted, isn't it?

It still hurts to live in this world without them. I miss them every day. There's so much I wish I could share with them. But I'm not going to spend tonight being sad. I'm going to spend tonight remembering two of the best people I ever knew and celebrating the fact that I was lucky enough to consider them family. So tonight, wherever you are, raise a glass to Jim and Mrs. Smith and know that I'm doing the same.

And I say this with complete sincerity...if you're reading this, I love you sky big.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


And it begins.

The feeling like I could burst into tears at any moment. I don't remember if I felt this way a year ago or not. Actually realistically a year ago on this day I was PANICKED and trying to figure out a solution to the massive snow storm that was barreling its way towards Woodbridge and threatening to end the concert I spent 6 months planning...

And we all know how that worked out. But I think I can assume I wasn't weepy. Twelve hours later though...weepy is an understatement.

It's hard to mentally prepare for this time. I think it will always be hard in some way or another. This year is different than last year in that the pain isn't still fresh, and life HAS gone on...which is just a reminder that life has gone on anyway. And that's hard. Now it's hard to imagine what it would be like with them here, because so much has changed BECAUSE they're not.

I'm excited for tonight but I'm also really nervous and I'm not sure why. I'm just so anxious. I think I need cookies. And maybe I should get out of bed. I've been curled up in fetal position with my computer for the past two hours, even though my room looks like a bomb exploded and I have errands to run and Christmas presents to make. And the ABC store to go to. Sighhhhhh.

Until then, it's a Sara Bareilles kind of day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tis the Season to be full of hatred

Yeah I'm blogging twice in one day. Consider yourselves lucky.

I look forward to Christmas music every year. In general, I'm happy with everything 97.1 plays (although after a while it does get pretty repetitive). I'm filled with joy everytime I hear Sleigh Ride (the best one is the all orchestral one with the trombone "neigh" at the end), Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, The Carpenters, Last Christmas, or anything Mariah Christmas CD.

But there are serious downsides to 97.1 Christmas. First and foremost, since I usually drive home around 10 pm from rehearsal, it means I have to listen to Delilah's voice and stupid stories EVERY DAY. I hate her so much. I don't care about your kids, I don't care about your family's restaurant, please shut up and get your voice OUT OF MY CAR.

The second is the AWFUL Christmas music that you would never hear in any other circumstance, which is the point I've been trying to get to. I was inspired to write this post about two weeks ago when I blogged about why I hate Dave Matthews Band. And since it's now appropriate to the season, I bring you:


5. Ring Christmas Bells
This is new to the list. Somehow I had never heard it before until this year. This is not to be confused with Carol of the Bells, a very famous Christmas Song with the same exact tune. To be quite honest I can only stand Carol of the Bells to a point anyway, because I think I've sung the song approximately 1000 times thanks to "Troubadour Caroling" when I was in high school. But this song is heinous. The singers sound TERRIBLE. They changed the words as well as some of the harmony and it's all just very stupid. Hands down the worst part is the massive augmented chord that starts to build at 1:50 and culminates at 2:02 in almost 10 full seconds of horror. Congrats Ray Conniff, your life sucks.

4. Same Old Lang Syne
This song isn't necessary musically offensive to's just the most boring song EVER. The same melodic line repeats three times a verse...and there are like 20 verses. WHAT. Once you've heard the first 30 seconds you're pretty much good to go. "The beer was empty and our tongues were tired" Really? THEN STOP SINGING.

3. Please Come Home for Christmas
It takes all my willpower not to drive off the road when I hear that four note introduction of DOOM (admittedly, that video is kind of awesome).

2. Christmas Shoes
I know I am ruffling feathers with this one. So many people I know are obsessed with this song to the point of it being their favorite one to hear. And I have gotten grief about it before. "How can you hate Christmas Shoes, it's so sweet and sad! I cry everytime I listen to it!" Sorry not sorry, this is one of the worst songs ever. I wonder if this guy thought "Hmm...what's a good way to sell Christmas music...make people feel sentimental and cry a lot...I've got it...I'll write a song about a poor under-privileged boy whose mom is dying at Christmas!" You can't deny it was marketing genius. Slap on a sappy backtrack complete with the "always essential" children's choir and you've got yourself a hit. And apparently it's WRONG if you don't like this song because it must mean you have NO SOUL. Well you know what? THEN SO BE IT! I hate this song and if it weren't for Elton John's grave mistake, this song would be NUMBER ONE on this list. SUCK ON THAT! (Also, the video I chose for this song does an excellent job of exemplifying everything I hate about this song...also its hilarious)

And number one, hands down, belongs to:
1. Step Into Christmas
I can't believe the all caps haven't crept in yet. This is actually my least favorite song...ever. Not just for Christmas. Ever. EVER EVER EVER I HATE IT SO MUCH (there we go). I LOVE Elton John...WHAT WAS HE THINKING. The first two seconds alone can make my skin crawl. I don't really know where this hatred began. It's probably because it's so catchy, which usually I enjoy but in this case it means it never leaves your head EVER. Christmas DJs happen to have a knack for knowing when I've been having a bad day because that's usually when I hear this song. I'm running late, there's traffic, blah blah blah, next thing you know: BAM IT'S STEP INTO CHRISTMAS. I literally think this must be the song they play in hell. On repeat. I wish I had more reasons to back up how I feel about this song but I recognize it's not rational. It's just hatred.

**Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree almost made this list but I know that deep down I actually like the song. It's not the song's fault I have heard it EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAVE GOTTEN IN THE CAR this holiday season.


No but seriously it's awesome.


I've actually known about this opportunity since October but I haven't mentioned it in this blog because I didn't want to jinx myself. I found out on Thursday! I'm the Operations Manager for the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and if you want to know what that means, read this, because it's too much to explain.

We haven't figured out a start date yet but I think we're going to either today or sometime this week. Literally ecstatic. I can stop applying for jobs. I don't have to think about a cover letter for YEARS. DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY THIS MAKES A PERSON WHO HAS APPLIED FOR ALMOST 100 DIFFERENT JOBS?! But I digress.

Also I'm going to New York this weekend. I should be in much better spirits than the last time I was there, aka the day I moved out hahaha. Because this time I have a job, money, and I don't have to go to Brooklyn AT ALL! YESSSSSSSS! I'm going to visit Sar and literally these are our plans: See The Scottsboro Boys on Friday night (because it closes on Sunday, woof), and do as many Christmas things as possible on Saturday, including but not limited to the Rock (duh), Macy's, Christmas Festival in Union Square, and Little Italy. It's touristy and I don't care because it's CHRISTMAS! Also I want dim sum. Ugh I'm so excited.

Speaking of Christmas, if you're in need of some holiday gift ideas, please read my friend Rob's blog. His blog might actually be my favorite thing on the internet.

This month is so jam packed. I can't believe Christmas is a little over two weeks away. Starting tomorrow, I have something every single day, whether it be rehearsal or the vast array of social gatherings this month contains, until December 26. That's almost 20 straight days of plans. Geeeeez. At least I have tonight to go home right after work. I'm EXHAUSTED today. This, I know, is because I stayed up till 3 reading Meg Cabot. I don't know what is the matter with me, her books are not actually that good, she's a decent writer but not an amazing one...BUT I CANNOT GET ENOUGH. I love everything she publishes.

I blame John Nettles, because I skyped with him for two hours and those are two hours I could have spent reading. Just kidding it was so worth it our conversation was absolutely absurd and I loved it.

Anyway. When I go home tonight I'm going to eat pizza, read more, and pass out. Four more hours. BLAHHHHH

As a random side note, my boss, Eric Schaeffer (yeah he's definitely a big deal) refers to the Harris Teeter across the street from the theatre as "The Teet." So everyday he'll be like "I'll be back, I'm just gonna go run and pick something up from the teet." I find this simultaneously hilarious and disturbing.

I leave you with is the way to my heart:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Creepy Makeout Boy

I was at dinner over the holiday with Sar, Ash, and TJ, and the subject of Creepy Makeout Boy came up. I hadn't thought about him in AGES, and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought to blog about him yet.

So I give you...the story of creepy make out boy.

A little over four years ago, my best friend Joe decided to come visit me at JMU (he was a HS Senior at the time), and he brought our friend Vanessa who was a freshman at GWU. I was stoked because no one had come to visit me at school yet and I was excited for them to meet my new JMU friends and see what my life was like, blah blah blah. As a JMU student, I knew it was imperative that I show them what JMU nightlife was like (looking back I feel like I did an excellent job the first night, and a TERRIBLE job the second night). Friday was easy because it was Project's Fall Show, aka we just went to Project House, but Saturday was more complicated.

One of my music major friends had told me to go to The Mill for some band party (MISTAKE), and since I knew of nothing else happening, that's exactly what we decided to do. Now since I was a freshman, these were the days of riding the Drunk Bus every weekend. (NOTE: You do not have to be drunk or have had any alcohol to ride the drunk bus, that's literally just what the late night weekend bus is called at JMU.) Other than walking, it was pretty much my means of transportation as I had no car, didn't have money for cabs, and didn't know enough upperclassmen yet to get rides. So the three of us ventured out of my dorm around 11:30pm to go wait for the bus. When we got there, we were the only ones at the first.

A few minutes later, two guys showed up. In a fit of horror, I recognized one of them. He was a freshman vocalist, and was in a bunch of my classes. This kid was already INFAMOUS in School of Music for being slightly strange. In fact no one knew his real name because he had two first names that he interchanged, Wesley Jared and Jared Wesley (last name is censored, sorry friends). He would introduce himself as either one of these names, so we never knew which it really was. Much to my dismay, they immediately came up to us and Wesley Jared said "Hey, you're in my diction class!" to which I replied "Yep."

He then proceeded to introduce us to his suitemate, the other guy with him, who certainly seemed more normal but still with a hint of awkward. I then had to introduce Joe and Vanessa so not to be insanely rude, but this ended up being a HUGE mistake as Jared Wesley took this as a sign of our inevitable marriage. He would not leave me alone. He asked us where we were going and I simply said "To some party." I should have known that no matter what I said he was going to follow us. Which is exactly what he did. At this point I had given up being polite because I wanted him to get the hint that I had no interest in him whatsoever, and so this meant that I completely ignored any attempt at communication and when he followed us off the bus we walked in two VERY distinct "groups."

I spent the entire party hiding from WJ. Everytime I tried to go dance he would try to dance with me so I had to force Joe to act as my barrier. It was the worst.

Finally it was time to leave. We were fairly certain WJ didn't see us getting ready to go so Joe and I tried to leave quickly and stealthily...but Vanessa pretty much ruined all hope. For some inexplicable reason, she "befriended" WJ's friend during the party and they were TOGETHER...meaning WJ FOUND US. DFUIHDUIHFUIDHF

Also when we got to the party the weather was fine, but when we left it had started to drizzle. So our "crew of 5" (UGH) walked from The Mill to the bus stop because we didn't feel like standing in the rain in November. If you've never been there, the bus stop is right on the side of the road without one of those covered bench things, but luckily there's a 7-11 close by. By the time we got to the bus stop it was pouring, and we had no idea when the next bus was coming. Joe and I immediately decided to go wait under the cover of the 7-11, which we announced to the group and walked away. We assumed everyone would follow us, but when we got there, only WesleyJared-JaredWesley was with us (theme of the night). We looked over at the bus stop, and there was Vanessa and suitemate, HARDCORE making out. It was not okay.

WesJared looks at me and goes "They're making YOU wanna make out?"


In my head, I'm pretty sure I was screaming "IS THIS REAL LIFE WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME WHO EVEN SAYS THAT?!" What I actually said was "WAH NO!" (not really any more tactful than the sentence in my head)

His response was a very simple "Awww maaaaaaan!" (I still can't remember this without laughing out loud)

And thus Creepy Makeout Boy was born. CMB then decided to go into the 7-11 to get some snacks (??) but the bus came while he was in there. Joe ran in to tell him we had to go, but he never made it onto the bus. Three stops later, in a completely different part of Harrisonburg...CREEPY MAKEOUT BOY GETS ON THE BUS. We were all stunned if not terrified at how he had managed to accomplish this (I still never found out). He sat down with us (of course) grumpily, and said "Way to leave me behind guys." I don't think I could even utter words because I was still so stunned at his random appearance. I did manage to get my senses back in time to take this proof of the insanity (CMB is obviously the one on the left):

And then I took this picture to capture the mood of the night:

(side note, on FB, the caption for this picture is LGH! ...remember when we used to say that?)

To this DAY I get texts from people telling me when they see CMB. People UNIVERSALLY began to refer to him as Creepy Makeout Boy, just because of this story. As the year went on he got even more bizarre. One time he showed up for our Diction Final 45 minutes a tuxedo. Here's to you Creepy Makeout's to you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I hate Dave Matthews Band

And I pretty much have for my entire adult life.

I'm sort of surprised no one has ripped my diploma from me yet, because apparently it's impossible to be a college student without liking Dave Matthews (and somehow I made it four years).

But I really do hate DMB. Sorry not sorry.

Unfortunately for Dave, it doesn't have much to do with his music.

It started on June 25, 2006. The reason I know the exact date is because I distinctly remember this happening the DAY before my birthday which made it twice as infuriating. So let's set the scene...

The summer after my senior year of high school I was an usher for Nissan Pavilion (an outdoor concert arena, for my readers from afar). I was actually a VIP usher, and the VIP ushers were in charge of the high paying guests and subscribers. They have special "boxes" in the pavilion, and there's also a special club (which is more like an exclusive patio) that the ushers have to "stand guard" at to make sure only VIP customers enter. I HATED working there. It was the ultimate test in customer service because not only is everyone obnoxious, everyone is DRUNK. And you still have to be nice to them. The following things are the only things I enjoyed about working at Nissan:
1. I met the drummer from the Foo Fighters, who is seriously SO hot and maybe the most charming person I've ever met
2. One time a drunk guy at the Jimmy Buffett concert tipped me $50 to pour his beer. We weren't supposed to accept any tips at all but this was at the end of the summer and I had stopped caring.
3. I got to work in the house for the Kelly Clarkson Concert (this was the Breakaway Tour, aka at the height of Kelly gloriousness), and at the end of the show she walked through the aisles during Since You Been Gone...aka a foot from me. It was awesome.

BUT THAT'S IT. THREE THINGS. Other highlights included car trips with Sarah and Joe (who both worked there for a hot sec) when we sang RENT in opera voices...but I don't think that had anything to do with Nissan so I'm not counting it.

Anyway. Back to the story at hand.

On this particular evening Sarah and I both got assigned to work together at the front of the club. This meant we stood at the bottom of a wooden ramp and let people in the club and made sure the non-VIP guests (the 3rd class passengers, if you will) didn't get in. Two things about this particular evening: Everyone was high (it's Dave Matthews, after all), and it was POURING. I kid you not, it was like someone took a bucket of never ending water and poured it on the pavilion for an hour. Luckily for all the guests, the concert pavilion is covered. The staff who stand outside? NOT SO FORTUNATE. They gave us "rain ponchos" to keep us dry, but that pretty much only worked for our Nissan-logo bearing shirts. The rest of our bodies (including our mandatory socks and close toed shoes) were drenched. If I remember correctly, I looked sort of like this:

So there we were, FREEZING and soaked, unable to hear any music, on the eve of my 18th birthday...did I mention that my friend Eek was also having a party we were missing? A party with LUMPIA AND FILIPINO FOOD? Yeah I was not happy.

But all of this was Christmas morning compared with what was to happen next. The rain finally died down, so guests started to wander to the food stands and club. One particular guest, a man who was at least 35 years old and completely wasted, wandered over to Sarah and I to "chat". We humored him, denied his request to let him into the club, and we fully expected him to eventually leave us alone.

Buuuuut first he had a favor to ask of us.

Crazy: Ok ladies, before I leave, can I have a kiss?
Me and Sar: I'm sorry sir, but no.
Crazy: Oh come onnnn I'm not leaving until I get one!

He then offered his cheek to Sarah, who hesitated, but kissed it so he would leave us alone.

I was not as giving. He offered his cheek for approximately ten seconds, which I stared at coldly. He then shrugged and said "Ok, that was your only chance!" and began to walk away...



IT WAS NOT OKAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He sprinted away before I could punch him in the testicles, but the damage was done and I am probably emotionally scarred for life.

When I tell people this story, they don't understand why I don't just hate crazy creeper, it has nothing to do with Dave Matthews. But to them I say, if it weren't for Dave Matthews, I never would have even been at that concert, and even if I had been working another event that very same night, chances are wasted guy would not have been there, since the DAVE MATTHEWS culture is partially what contributed to my trauma. So he gets 100% of the blame.

And that's why I hate Dave Matthews.

This story does have a happy ending though. After the concert Eek's party was still raging, so I went home to put on dry clothes and when I walked into my room it was FILLED WITH BALLOONS! Joe and Harry had come over while I was at work and filled my whole room with balloons and birthday signs since I was turning 18 at midnight. It rocked twice as much as usual a)because I LOVE surprises and b)Because my day had so epically sucked. Then I went to Eek's and ate a crap ton of food and it was magical.

P.S. This blog post has inspired me to blog about other things that I hate vehemently, of which there are more than you'd think. So stay tuned for some fun ones.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas Music Returns!

Except not for this biddie.

I used to be that girl who started playing Christmas music in October. I seriously LOVE Christmas. But I realized that by the middle of December I couldn't take listening to only Christmas Music anymore and I'd switch back to regular music...right at the height of the season (BLASPHEMY)! Because you see once it's Christmas Season...I listen to 97.1 and ONLY 97.1 (and maybe Christmas CDs). I forget that Top 40 exists. I forget that Musical Theatre exists. Christmas all day every day. Which, after 9 weeks, gets a little old. There are only so many Christmas songs.

So the past few years I have decided to be a purest, live up Thanksgiving, and start Christmas music that night (usually on the car ride for BLACK FRIDAY).

This year that's easier said than done. I've been paying attention this month anytime I've listened to 97.1 to make note of the date they were going to start playing Christmas Music...November 19. Which I forgot today was. So today, when I got in my car to go to work, my radio happened to be set to 97.1...and of course, just my luck, not only is it already playing Christmas (aka I can't listen until next week), it's MARIAH CAREY CHRISTMAS (my ultimate favorite). Delilah probably put them up to it because she knows how much I hate her. I listened for about five seconds, mostly in horror because I knew I had to change it even though all my natural instincts were telling me to listen to it forever. I then actually yelled "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and changed the station.

Since I forgot today was November 19 (where the heck did November go?), I thought maybe it was a mistake or a commercial or something, so about 3 minutes later, I tentatively checked to see what was playing. The 1.3 seconds I listened to were enough for me to know it was Wham's "Last Christmas". This prompted the following sound as my response: "WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHWHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" The Christmas Universe is clearly punishing me for not listening by playing all my favorite songs. I now have to spend the next 6 days avoiding 97.1 every time I change the station. I spent the entire car ride to work suffering because I knew I was missing gloriousness and I was forced to listen to NICKELBACK. UGH. If there's anything I hate more than not listening to Christmas Music, it's Nickelback.

In other news, saw HP7PT1 last night...

We saw it at the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly a)Because I figured it would be coolest there because museums have bigger screens and b)It was already sold out in IMAX at Potomac Mills and Tyson's by the time I tried to get tickets. And I knew I was seeing this movie in IMAX. I had never actually been to the Air and Space Museum IMAX theatre until last night so I had no idea if the screen was even that much bigger than the AMC ones...

It was probably FOUR times bigger. SO EPIC. This was the way to see Harry Potter, hands down. Also they didn't have any previews! And it costs the same!!! There wasn't the mass hysteria of the crowds like I'm used to, since there was only one theatre, but that was actually fine. I think for Part 2 I'm going to get everyone I know to go in the same place and then have a big after party. Gotta do it up right. Also I'm going to do everything I can to get to that premiere. I will spend $500 on a ticket. Maybe more. Judge me if you want but this is the last movie and therefore my last chance to achieve my Harry Potter dream.

Anyway go see HP7PT1. It's easily the best one so far. I usually am a little let down after every movie but they did this one right. I can't wait for PT2. CAN'T WAITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Also I'm stoked for tonight because some of my favorite people are coming back to Northern Virginia and I get to see them and also I'm wearing gold tights and nothing can go wrong when you're wearing gold tights.

P.S. Silver Bells is stuck in my head. The next week is going to be strugs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


If you've been watching my facebook posts at all today you know that today is a very special occasion....


Monday, November 15, 2010

Shoes of death

So I have about a half hour to kill before I have to leave for rehearsal, and I have decided that the best way to spend this time is to blog about my day.

I figured that since it's Monday and we never have shows on Monday, today was a good day to give the new heels a trial run to determine how painful they are. Usually I have to walk to the bank every morning to go change money, but Mondays I don't have to since no one is using the cash boxes in the evening. Mondays usually involve desk work; obviously this would be the best day to trick myself into thinking these shoes didn't murder my feet. Because they really are magnificent, but like most other magnificent shoes, they make your feet want to die.

I actually have another pair of shoes that could be considered shoes of death, except I call them Satan's Shoes. They are FANTASTIC but a)HURT SO MUCH OMG and b)are INCREDIBLY slippery. I discovered this during the dress rehearsal for my Senior Recital. During this song, after my "big reveal" (3:50, in case you're curious and don't feel like watching the entire video), I walk out in the shoes. However, in my dress rehearsal, I didn't leave the stage for my quick change soon enough, which meant that even with Ash and Joe throwing Satan's Shoes on my feet, I was still rushed. I was late getting on stage, so I tried to run...AND EPICALLY FAILED. You know in cartoons when characters step on a banana and wipe out with their feet going right in the air, causing them to land right on their butt? Yeah imagine that in real life. Happening to me. In the middle of a song. I actually was fine but I don't think anyone in my recital will ever fully recover. People were actually crying with tears of laughter. I don't even blame them, it was HILARIOUS.


Anyway. So I got to work and had some emails to send, calls to make, etc. All good tasks for the shoes. My next tasks included:
-Finding every headshot for the people coming to audition tomorrow in our files (this means standing)
-Copying all the sides and music for auditions tomorrow and then creating packets for each character (this means more standing)
-Rearranging the lobby for a CD release party tonight (standing AND moving things)

BAD day to test the shoes. Bad, BAD day.

But they really got their fill of torture this afternoon when I went with my boss to Harris Teeter to get food for the party tonight. It was actually maybe the most entertaining thing I've had to do at work thus far (well, excluding the time we spent two days making this), mostly because we had to buy enough "classy" finger food to feed FORTY people and my boss doesn't buy a lot of finger foods (that's a nice way of saying he had zero idea of what to buy).

Luckily for him, his intern happens to be a food GODDESS who hosts parties roughly once every two weeks, so I was ON IT. Veggies, grapes, cookies, crackers, and CHEESE. NAILED IT. I even told my boss how much my best friend would enjoy what I was doing (shout out to you Sarah Smith). This is because we bought Brie and Smoked Gouda (and cheddar, but I don't think cheddar ranks for her like the other two do), and Sar likes these cheeses arguably more than she likes most of the people she knows.

We probably spent 45 minutes shopping, and the next hour creating masterful ways to present the food. Needless to say, a very very entertaining way to spend two hours.

But imagine doing all of these:


Luckily I brought moccasins too so they can recover during rehearsal. Because if you think I'm never wearing these shoes again simply because they're painful, try again. See you on Friday night, shoes of death!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Growing up Kingett

I don't think that when my parents got married they ever expected their house to turn into the absurd place it is. I say absurd of course with the utmost affection; I love my house and my family. They entertain me more than anyone else on this planet. But I still very much doubt they knew the potential for crazy their children would have.

Maybe my favorite thing in the world is Kingett Family Dinners. We're all so busy plus for the past four years I've been in school, and now Josh is at school, so they don't happen that often anymore. A Kingett Family Dinner is defined as a meal that includes the entire family (so me, my parents, and my four brothers, Josh, Jacob, Joe, and Chris), and it can take place either at home or out (the best ones have always been out, because there's the element of being in public that makes everything feel as ridiculous as it actually is). It can either be just our family, or it can include other featured guests (who honestly should consider themselves lucky to witness a KFD). You wouldn't even believe the range of conversation these dinners have. For instance, one time a conversation led to my dad leaving the table to go research choads. We're having a KFD tonight because Josh is back for Christian's confirmation tomorrow and I cannot wait, and that is partially what has inspired this post.

Anyway, I've compiled a collection of some of my favorite Kingett stories. These have proven to be good crowd pleasers at parties, and I know I'll be telling these stories to people probably for the rest of my life, that's how good they are.

1. The time Christian got stuck in a tree

We've had two different houses in Virginia. Our first house we didn't own, and it's about 10 minutes away from the house we live in now. This house was situated on a MASSIVE hill, so when you walked in the front door you were on the main floor, but the back door led to a porch, with the actual ground more than a story below. One day after school in 2001, which meant I was 13, Josh was 10, and Christian was 4, I was making a snack in the kitchen. The kitchen window was at the back of the house and overlooked our massive hill. As I was putting something in the sink, something caught my eye. A person. At eye level. It was Christian, in a HUGE tree, three stories above the ground. I couldn't hear him, but he looked fairly panicked and I could see him mouthing the words "HELP ME!"

I was fairly nonplussed because Christian was absolutely the most insane out of all of us as a child and consistently did things of epic proportions. So I casually said "Hey...Mom...I think Christian is stuck in a tree."
"What? Where?"
"Come look out this window."
She walked into the kitchen, saw Christian, and was a little more concerned than I had been.

How a four year old climbed 30 feet into the air on a tree I'll never know.

2. The time Christian ran over the mailbox

Like I said, Christian makes up the majority of these stories because he was NUTS. One day I came home from school to find our mailbox removed. I walked inside and asked my mom where it was. This was one of those fancy mailboxes, kind of like this:

You'd notice if it was suddenly uprooted out of the ground. Her answer was "Your brother ran over it."

Christian was three at the time and the only kid not in school so I knew it had to mean him...but the sentence literally made no sense. Apparently he had snuck out of the house, climbed in the car (which was in the garage, meaning he had to also open the garage door), managed to release the parking break (this car was a stick so it had the tendancy to roll...), and rolled down our driveway into the mailbox. My mom heard something crash, so she ran outside to see Chris in the driver's seat, looking shocked but a little pleased with himself.

3. Cake explosions and toilet pillows

This actually happened last night, and was so ridiculous that it inspired this entire post. My parents were in Tampa, FL until today, so I've been in charge all week. Last night I was absolutely exhausted, so I went to bed at 9, and before I did, I told the boys to lock up and not make a mess.

They did lock up. They did not follow my other request. I woke up around 3 and decided to get a glass of water before going back to bed. I also had to pee, so I decided to use the bathroom on the main floor (rather than my bathroom in the basement) before getting my water. I opened the bathroom door, turned on the light, and found a pillow, just standing straight up, in the toilet. Christian's $100 memory foam pillow. Assuming that this was probably a dream since things this strange don't occur in real life, I closed the door and pretended it wasn't there. I decided to get my water and then let myself actually process what I had just seen. I should have taken a picture because now in the light of day I can't remember this image without laughing out loud.

However, I walked into the kitchen into an actual CAKE EXPLOSION. There was cake EVERYWHERE. Apparently Joe had decided to BAKE A CAKE at 9 o'clock at night. This was because two days prior I came home from rehearsal to Joe making BUTTERCREAMS. Except Joe, who has the common sense of a paperclip, thought the recipe he was using (from the Julia Child cookbook) was for buttercream candy...when it was in fact for buttercream FROSTING. He did not realize this until I tried one of the "buttercreams," thought something tasted VERY wrong, and realized I had just eaten a giant glob of frosting. He saved it and decided to make a cake later to use the frosting on. I guess he decided a good time to do this would be at 9 on a school night after the only other "cook" in the house had gone to bed.

There was cake in the sink, on the counter, on the floor, on the table, and a big hunk that I guess he considered "the cake" on a cake plate. Because he wasn't going to just bake a cake in a rectangular pan and frost the top, oh no. This cake was going to be circular and have LAYERS. He had also cleaned NONE of the pans and bowls he used to create and then bake the cake. He also obviously tried to frost the cake without letting it cool at all, so there were little patches of melted frosting all over the hunk. It was cake disaster.

I was livid, because I didn't feel like cleaning anything at 3 in the morning, and I knew it needed to get cleaned up before this afternoon or my mom would lose her mind. So I went to Joe's room, woke him up, and informed him that he would be waking up a half hour early for school to clean the cake explosion. Then remembering the pillow, I asked "Also, why is there a PILLOW in the toilet?"
"Oh, it's Christian's."
"That does not answer my question at all. Why is it there?"
"Well he put mine in the toilet first, so I put his in and he just left it there."
"You are both idiots."

I then woke up Christian and made him take the pillow out of the toilet. When I asked him why he left it there, he said he didn't care because he had plenty of other pillows.

I used to think he was smart.

4. When Josh wasn't wanted
This is an old story, but a classic. When I was a child I was incredibly spoiled. I was my parents' first child, I was also a GIRL, and so I pretty much got everything I wanted. So when my parents told me I was going to be a sister I was fairly pleased. I don't think my three year old brain had quite figured out that this meant I was no longer going to be the center of attention, I just saw it as an opportunity to have a little sister who I could dress up like a doll and turn into my private slave.

Yes, I said sister. Because I was not interested in having a brother whatsoever. I wasn't a child who was lonely and was looking for another sibling to have as a companion. I couldn't have cared less about being someone's sister. I pretty much wanted a toy that was alive...aka...a little sister.

As you know this dream was never realized. I think God thought a cool way to teach young Shannon about reality was to send her four brothers and zero sisters. Now I know that this was actually the best case scenario, because I never had to deal with anyone stealing my thunder, I pretty much never had to share anything, and I can STILL sweet talk my mom into shopping all the time because she only has to buy things for one child, and she loves to buy things almost as much as I do.

But I was NOT pleased at the time.

This fateful event took place on February 4, 1992. I was at my grandparents' house, blissfully playing with every toy ever created and probably being spoon-fed sugar made from gold...when the phone call that changed everything came through. It was my dad, calling to tell us the baby had been born. He talked to my grandma first, and then asked to talk to me. This is how that conversation went, I kid you not.
Dad: Hi Shan!
Me: Hi Dad! (I never called him Daddy, I might be the only child in the world who didn't do that)
Dad: Guess're a big sister! You have a new baby brother!
Dad: What? I said you're a sister! Mom just had the baby, it's a little boy! You have a brother!!

I guess my parents didn't keep the receipt or something because the hospital had a no returns policy. I was SO MAD. This is evident in home videos around the time of Josh's birth. In ALL of them you can see me trying to manipulate my parents into disliking their own newborn son. The day he was brought home from the hospital there's video of all of my extended family gathering to see Josh for the first time, and I spent the whole party crawling around and yelling "goo goo gaa gaa LOOK AT ME I'M A CUTE LITTLE BABY!" Two months later, on Easter, my dad decided to video tape me opening my easter basket, and he set the camera on a tripod so he could help me and not have to hold the camera at the same time. When he went in the kitchen to grab something, you can see me venture over to Josh's little bassinet, put my face really close to his, and wait for his curiosity to get the best of him as he tried to grab my face. When one of his hands grazed my cheek under my eye I screamed "DAD JOSH JUST PUNCHED ME IN THE EYE!!!!!!!! HE NEEDS TO BE PUNISHED!!!!!!"

5. When Jacob burned down the house

Many of you know this, but for those of you who don't, the title does not lie. Jacob actually burned our house down. Five days after Christian was born, Josh and Jacob (who were just-turned-5 and 3, respectively) were in the basement playing with toys while my mom and grandma were upstairs with Christian and Joe. I was at school and my dad was at work. Jacob, who had always been a fan of pushing the limits for the sake of fun, had seen my parents use a grill lighter a few weeks earlier, and thought it looked like a cool toy gun that SHOT FLAME.

He must have paid close attention when they put it away and began to plot a way to play with it on his own. The lighter had been placed on the top shelf above our computer desk, which was probably 7 feet high. Not an easy feat for a three year old. But Jacob, never to be stopped, climbed on top of our old school Macintosh and just managed to get the lighter. These kinds of lighters didn't have safeties back then so it was easy for a three year old to get to work. Either by accident or as an experiment, they tested the "lighter gun" out on the guest bed we kept in the basement...the guest bed with a polyester comforter. When the bed caught on fire, they tried to blow it out like a candle...but it didn't quite work. The flames kept growing, and the two of them thought it better not to tell anyone, in case they got in trouble. Finally my grandma smelled smoke, and she came downstairs to see an entire bed aflame. She tried to dump water on the bed but it was too late. She grabbed my brothers and my mom and they ran out into the Massachusetts February weather (with a newborn) to wait for the Fire Department to come. By the time they came the entire bottom half of the house was scourched and the smoke and heat damage ruined almost everything we owned on the upper floor.

Now this would be a really depressing addition to this blog full of family anecdotes if it weren't for my family's good humor about terrible life situations. A year later on February 13, the one year anniversary of the house burning down, we threw a massive party and invited everyone we knew to commemorate the anniversary. Everything at the party was fire themed.

Last summer when I went to NH, we stopped at my old houses in MA and I got to take a picture of the house (obviously renovated post-fire). This is what I'd like to imagine my house looked like as it was burning (I wouldn't know I was at school):

6. The neighbor's bathtub
We were one of the first families to move into our current neighborhood. Our house had just been built and many of the other houses in the neighborhood weren't even completed yet. One of these houses was across the street from our house. The house was almost done, and my brothers thought it would be cool to explore the inside while the workers weren't there and the house was unlocked. They ventured into the master bathroom, and saw there was a giant tub that had a little water in it. So, for their own enjoyment, they dared Christian to pee in it. Chris, who had no limits at this time and did almost anything deemed "ridiculous" for his own enjoyment, thought this was a great idea, but only under the condition that they weren't allowed to tell on him.

I don't know why he trusted them. The first thing they did was tell everyone they knew. Christian got grounded for the entire summer. He was only six years old.

7. Christian's cage
As is a theme in this blog, young Christian was insane. You probably wouldn't think it if you only know him now, he's a pretty chill teenager. But he used to be completely out of control. When he was one, he learned how to get out of his crib. He was WAY too young to be sleeping in one of those little toddler beds (the next step after a child outgrows a crib), plus he always escaped the crib to try and wreak as havoc as possible; a bed would only make that easier for him to do.

My mom's first approach to the situation was to try and reason with Christian and just TELL him he needed to stay in his bed. This obviously did not work whatsoever. Her second approach was to threaten him with punishments (yes, as a one year old. Chris was too smart for his own good and was fully capable of time out). This also did nothing, because Christian wasn't concerned by things like consequences. The crime was ALWAYS worth the time. So finally, my mom got desperate, and bought one of these to go on top of the crib:

This made Christian VERY angry. It was the first time he had actually been hindered. He would sit in his cage and screeeeeam, but my mom had no mercy for baby Satan. So he tried a different tactic: focusing his efforts on escaping the cage. Now this cage was NOT easy to escape from. It had a special little pouch you tucked the zipper in so that the baby couldn't unzip it themselves. But somehow, Chris managed to figure out how to free the zipper and let himself out.

So my mom began safety pinning the zipper to the cage, so that even if he could get the zipper out of the pouch, he couldn't unzip it.

Until he learned how to undo a safety pin. As a one year old.

Finally in desperation to make Christian continue taking naps, my mom fashioned a "lock" out of a wall hook and a shoe lace so that she essentially could LOCK Christian in his room and he couldn't get out. He never found a way to get out of this one.

But he did find a way to finally make my mom give up her fight. When his crying and screaming did not merit his release, he went to the only weapon he had...his own poop. One day, after my mom had decided "nap time" was over, she unlocked the door, and found Christian sitting in the middle of the floor, covered in poop. And he wasn't the only one. There was poop on the crib, on the walls, on the floor, on EVERYTHING in the room. She recalls standing there agast as Christian sat happily in the middle of his own deification, 100% aware of what he had done and quite pleased with it.

8. The car vomit
Anyone who knew Joe as a child knew of his "affinity" for vomit. The kid threw up at LEAST once a day, usually at every meal. We think this is because he a)didn't have an "I'm full" mechanism and ate so fast that by the time his body knew what had happened it made him throw up because he had consumed FAR too much food, and b)he also had the most intense gag reflex of any human ever. ANYTHING could make the kid throw up. If he saw a PICTURE of something disgusting, he would throw up. Joe has never gone to the restaurant Lone Star and NOT thrown up (we don't go anymore for this very reason).

This particular vomit story is maybe the most epic. It was summer time, so we were all home, and it was cleaning day, which happened once a week. We had to be out of the way, so every week we'd go to some breakfast restaurant and then do random things. I think this week was going to be shopping, or the movies. Either way, we went to Silver Diner for breakfast, and afterward, we all hopped in the van to drive the maybe 200 yards max to the mall.

I guess right before we got in the van we started talking about this coat one of my brother's friends had left at our house (note, this coat was NOT in the van, it was still at our house). Josh and Jacob were talking about how bad this coat smelled, and I was turned around in the front seat to listen to them. The next thing I knew, Joe was throwing up alllllll over himself. He was throwing up just REMEMBERING the smell of the coat. As I have now graduated from college, my vomit tolerance is excellent, but my 14 year old self was not so accomplished. I immediately felt my stomach come into my mouth, rolled down the van window, and threw up onto the side of the van.

Christian, witnessing both of these things, ALSO proceeded to vomit all over himself. It was like a chain reaction of horrible. I think my mom was just stunned that it all had happened so quickly (but then she got reeeeeeeeally mad).


When we visit my mom's dad and stepmom in New Jersey, we always go to church at the Catholic Church that is literally right next to their house. It's this tiny church that maybe seats 300-500 people max. Let it be known that at church, my dad is always the loudest person in the congregation. The loudest singer, the loudest participant in spoken prayer, you name it. When he says the Nicene Creed, he sounds like Mufasa.

This particular Sunday the opening hymn was "Praise to the Lord the Almighty," which if you don't know it, sounds like this (skip the beginning part, start at :40). Padre was no different. He was singing louder than any individual in the room. As the first verse drew to a close, the organist slowed down to signal that the song was over and we would only be singing one verse. A message very clearly received by everyone.

Everyone, that is, except my father. Honestly, who hasn't been there. You think a song is going to keep going so you keep singing. Maybe it's a little embarrassing but most likely no one hears you, or you can play it off.

That was not the case in this situation. I'm pretty sure people down the street could hear my father begin the second verse. And it wasn't just the note either. My dad was really into the song and decided to really draw the first note out and scoop into it with a nice "Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraise!" The church was SILENT except for his resonating voice. The priest paused for a second to recover, and then began mass. My dad, as usual, was relatively unphased and probably oblivious to any embarrassment a normal person would feel. The rest of my family, however, were beside themselves. I was crying with silent laughter. Even my MOM was unable to keep it together. I don't think Jacob and I stopped laughing until well into the first reading, and even then, any time one of us stopped, the other would verrrrry quietly sing "Prrrraise!" and we'd lose it again.

10. The epic pee story
I had to save this for last because it's absolutely my best story. I was a freshman in high school, and Sarah Smith and Kelly Sproesser had come over to hang out with me and see the new house (we had just moved in). We were hanging out in my room (playing my Harry Potter trivia game, in fact), and my brothers (Joe and Chris) were taking a bath (they were both little and could still take baths together without it being weird). My dad was "giving them a bath", which actually meant he was in his room watching TV while my brothers sat in the bathtub. The bathroom is on the same wall as my (old) room, so we were able to hear everything 100% clearly. The first thing that happened was Joe started SCREAMING. It was so loud that we stopped playing our game so we could listen to what was happening. Next was Christian's maniacal laughter (he was 5, Joe was 6).

My dad ran in the bathroom and this is what we heard:
Dad: What's going on?! Joe why are you screaming what's going on?!
Joe: Chris PEED on me!
(we immediately start laughing in my room)

I thought I would never stop laughing but it got even better. Joe, still in vomit phase, immediately began to throw up. My dad, so tired of vomit phase, did not punish Chris, but instead yelled: "JOE! STOP THROWING UP. STOP THROWING UP JOE! STOP THROWING UP!" Chris just laughed the entire time (as did we).

It maybe is the funniest thing I have ever witnessed.

Years later, when we were telling this story at one of our parties, I asked Chris how he even peed in Joe's mouth in the first place. He indignantly said "Well I was only trying to pee on his BACK, but then HE turned around!"

This was a picture we had taken professionally as an anniversary gift to my parents. It basically sums the Kingett children up.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Harry Potter

As November 19th approaches and we enter into the final chapter of the Harry Potter films, I have decided that it's time for me to come clean about something.

I'm obsessed with Harry Potter.

Ok so maybe this doesn't come as a surprise to most. I mean first of all lots of people are obsessed with Harry Potter. When I say this to most people this comes as no surprise to them and they're not weirded out.

But I don't think you understand...I'm OBSESSED with Harry Potter. I'll admit that the obsession has calmed down as I've gotten older, but it's always there, waiting to rear its magical head. I'm sure if you're reading this and are one of my close friends or family members, you think you probably grasp the extent of my obsession. You already knew this about me. This blog post isn't news to you whatsoever.

If only you knew how deep the magical waters run.

As a disclaimer, I'd just like to say that I am FULLY aware that I am not even close to the level of obsession of some HP fans. That's what I'd like to call borderline nuts (although after this blog I'm pretty sure most of you are going to feel that way about me). But I'm pretty sure I'm fairly high up.

The reason people don't fully know my obsession is because I'm selective in what I tell people. I tell a certain anecdote to this person, a different one to another. It makes me feel like I'm being honest about my Potter Past if I spread the knowledge to a vast number of people. I think people in my younger days were quite aware of it, but at some point in high school I learned that this particular obsession was best kept under wraps and played down a little bit. But I've decided it's high time that I proudly share with the world...Shannon's Potter Passion.

1. This first one is going to be lengthy, mostly because it was the transition into my obsession. You see the obsession didn't begin immediately. I read the first book when I was in the sixth grade, and immediately I was hooked. But hooked on a book for me is not the same as obsessed. I get hooked on TONS of different book series. So immediately making my mom take me to the bookstore to buy me the next book in a series as soon as I finish the one prior actually was fairly common occurrence in my life. But the real obsession started with Book 4. The first two books were already out when I started reading, and luckily for me I finished the second book the DAY the third book was released. At this point HP was really popular but didn't have an insane following like it does now, so getting Book 3 on release day was fairly easy. Buuuut then I had to wait.

Sixth grade was the one miracle year that JK Rowling released two books within a year of each other. Book 4 was released July 8, 2000. I had preordered my copy from Amazon, but I wasn't counting down the days or anything. In fact, I had completely forgotten the book was even coming, or I wouldn't have made such a huge error in judgement.

I was moving from Massachusetts to Virginia later that month so one of my best friends and I had a sleepover at my house to hang out. We had hung out all day, and that night, while we were watching a movie, my dad says to me "Oh by the way Shan, this came in the mail for you today."

It was Book 4. How could I have possibly forgotten? What was I supposed to do now? I had a friend to entertain for at least 18 more hours! I pretended to be nonchalant about wanting to immediately read it, but inside I was experiencing PURE AGONY. So as the movie progressed, I casually started reading. I mean it was a movie I had already seen. No big deal. But the real problem came after the movie ended. I couldn't just ignore my friend, so I was forced to pause my reading.

Until that night. When I was sure my friend was asleep, I grabbed my book and ran to the bathroom...where I sat and read for at least an hour. It would have been longer, except my friend was NOT actually asleep and eventually knocked on the door to make sure I wasn't dead.

At this point you would think I would have surrendered and decided to wait until the next day to keep reading. NOPE. When I actually was sure she was asleep, I went back and read until almost 4 am (which is sort of intense for a 12 year old).

Unfortunately for me, my friend's parents happened to be good friends with my family, and they invited me to spend the next TWO nights at their house for our "final hurrah." I should have been so stoked, this had never happened before.

But inside I was PANICKED. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO READ HP 4 WHILE AT SOMEONE ELSE'S HOUSE?! But then I found my consellation friend and her sister had camp in the mornings, and her mom marketed it as "while you get to sleep in they'll be at camp, and then by the time they come home you'll be up!"


And that's how I read all of HP 4 in four days and three nights...while at a never ending sleepover.

2. Things took a turn for the crazy after the fourth book came out. (SPOILER ALERT) I mean Voldemort was BACK. WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!? And unfortunately for the world, Book 5 wasn't released until June 21, 2003 (here's another reason you know I'm obsessed, I am recalling these dates from memory)...THREE YEARS after the biggest cliffhanger of all time. So what's a girl to do? Turn to the world of fanfiction. SHAMEFUL I know. Yes I read it all the time. ....yes, I wrote my own. YES, it IS on the internet, in a SECRET LOCATION. Only some of my friends know about this. In fact I think the only people who have read these fanfictions are the people I was friends with my freshman year of high school, and Dan. And that's ONLY because my stupid friend Nina had to OPEN HER MOUTH and tell him about it one night last year. And my answer is no, absolutely NOT, I will never post a link to it on this blog (and no one who knows it better do it either), I value my pride thank you very much.

3. One of my fans from Quebec liked one of my fanfictions so much that she translated the entire story (probably about 6,000 words astounds me to now realize that in total I have probably written over 100 pages of HP fanfiction) into French. That's also online.

4. In the 7th grade I had a series of HP websites I created (this is the only reason I now know basic HTML and can write that on my resume) with a friend I MET ON THE INTERNET. I think her name was Jenny. She wrote stories too.

5. I attended a special early screening of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (the movie) because I won a contest I found online. Everyone there (inluding me) was dressed up.

6. I have two copies of the 5th book because I ordered one copy from Amazon, but it took forever to get delivered, so my mom ended my agony by going and buying another copy for me. Why wasn't I at the midnight release party? Because I was SUPER grounded. I can say without question it was my worst punishment ever. When she came back with it, I did not leave my room until I had finished it. She even delivered my dinner on a tray (this had nothing to do with the grounding).

7. became my ultimate HP source VERY early in the website's history. It was my internet homepage for about 5 years. So when they posted an entry calling for writers to submit writing samples to become part of a special HP writing team for the website to help them create a new project (what I think was ultimately going to become some sort of RPG, but it never ended up happening), I obviously did it. And I got selected.

8. I STILL own a HP trivia game. It only has questions about the first four books because that's when it was released. I subsequently bought/asked for ZERO HP related board games, because they were too easy for me and I always beat everyone, which only I found fun.

9. In my life time I have displayed 8 different Harry Potter posters on my wall.

10. I have a golden snitch keychain.

11. My sophomore year of high school, long before any whispers of a Harry Potter theme park started circling, my friend and I had designed an entire theme park devoted to HP. She was the engineer, I was the concept designer. There are actual documents in existence that contain all of this information.

12. I have written and mailed a fan letter to JK Rowling. It was written on Harry Potter stationary.

13. I have also written and mailed a fan letter to Tom Felton, the actor who plays Draco Malfoy. He responded.

14. My Junior Year of High School I started collecting the books. I now own all 7 American Editions in Hardback, all 7 British Editions in Hardback, the 5th and 7th British editions in paperback, the 6th British Adult Edition in paperback, and the 3rd French Edition in paperback. I own TWO copies of the supplemental "textbooks" JK Rowling wrote for charity. I own TWO copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I own TWO copies of JK Rowling's biography (why I own two of these I have no wait I do it's because people give them to me as gifts because they think there's no way I could already own them). I also own a book called Unlocking the Secrets of Harry Potter, a highly intellectual book (not even kidding, it was a semi-challenging read) that was released before the 7th book came out, which shows how Harry Potter relates to alchemy, patterns JK Rowling uses, and ways to predict what will happen in the 7th book.

15. I am not at ALL done collecting books. I fully expect to add complete editions from other countries once I have money/a shelf to put them on.

16. Harry Potter related pictures have been the wallpaper for my computer FAR more than anything else has...inlcuding pictures of my friends and family.

17. I was at Governor's School for the release of the 6th book, and I was nervous about getting the book shipped to me because I didn't fully understand how the mail worked. We weren't allowed to leave the U of R campus EVER, so I didn't know how I was going to get my copy of the book. This was easily solved though, because the release of the book was the day before Parent's Day, which was when your parents could come and take you off campus for the day. I had the book shipped to my house, made them bring it when they came, and for the day my family decided to go to the Water Park in King's Dominion. My family spent the day riding water rides. I spent the day reading on a pool chair.

18. The day they announced the release date for the 7th book (my freshman year of college), I made a countdown that I hung next to my bed and faithfully crossed off every single night. Yes, every single night. Even the nights of insane parties.

19. That was not the first time I created a countdown. I also had one for Book 5 and Book 6. That's why it felt natural to continue in college.

20. The amount of HP "stuff" I have is actually absurd. I'm going to try and list it from memory but I am POSITIVE I will forget things: A Harry action figure, a Voldemort action figure, a wizard's hat, all the books I previously listed, all the movies, four different HP "journals" (most have HP stories written in them), two packages of HP bumper stickers, a set of HP stationary which I eventually ran out of so I had to buy MORE HP stationary, one of those "friend books" that used to be really popular where a friend chooses a sticker and goes through the book and writes all their favorite stuff based on the page's category...HP style, a HP snow globe, HP book ends, a HP Christmas Wreath Sarah Smith made me for Christmas, 4 HP glasses representing the different Hogwarts houses, a butterbeer mug and a beer goblet from HP world, a HP Quidditch t-shirt, soundtracks for the first 3 movies, a photoshopped picture Tjaden gave me as a Christmas gift of me and Ron Weasley, and more but I seriously cannot remember it all.

21. I discovered Harry and the Potters when I was 15. I thought they were hilarious. Two years later I drove an hour away to see Harry and the Potters perform live (they're horrible).

22. I was Hermione for Halloween...more than one time.

23. My AIM screen name is Lionsforthecup...that is a Harry Potter reference.

24. The seventh book came out the first year I was a Summer Friendship Director. When we were planning our trips, we had to find a good weekend for the Middle School lock-in. This was an event that lasted from Friday night until Saturday morning. I pretty much knew nothing about Summer Friendship my first year, never having participated, so I trusted the returning director when she said we should do it July 20. But even in this meeting, I stipulated that should we plan it for that weekend because it wasn't going to work ANY OTHER WEEKEND (looking back I would have immediately vetoed that because we could have done it other weekends, but I was young and foolish) that I was going to LEAVE in the middle of the lockout to go get my book at midnight. I don't think any of the directors believed me (maybe if they had read this blog post they would have). But come July 20 at 11:30 pm, I PEACED OUT and did not return until after 1 am (that's how long waiting in line took). They were all SO MAD. But I couldn't have cared less, because I told everyone upfront that I would leave if we planned the lock-in for that weekend.

I didn't start reading book 7 until 4 am, when our planned activities ended and the kids watched movies. I read for about a half an hour, but then when I realized that no one had cleaned anything up, and I was going to potentially be stuck at work for HOURS after the lock-in ended just to clean up. So I decided why not take this time where we don't have to entertain the kids to clean up so we could leave as soon as the lock-in ended. I proposed this idea to the other directors, who said no. I was LIVID. So I cleaned EVERYTHING myself. When the lock-in was over, and they went to clean, I politely stood there and told them I had already done everything and that I was ready to leave. I think they were shocked. I think they had planned on cleaning and then maybe hanging out or getting breakfast (because they specifically said so). I said absolutely not, left, went home, and read the entire book. I subsequently made Joe Scott hang out with me as soon as I finished it because I needed to talk about it and no one was done yet. Since he sucks and doesn't read he let me explain the entire book to him. It was extremely therapeutic.

Here's a picture from that lock-in. Yes, I wore this the entire night (this was my prof pic for two months):

25. I was OBSESSED with Tom Felton for a good two years. Computer wallpaper, stalked his website, you name it. When I was 15 I even had a crush on a guy from my church who I didn't even KNOW because he looked so much like Tom Felton. We called him TF LAL (Tom Felton Look-a-like). All of my friends knew what this name meant and who it referred to. And through clever sleuthing on all of our parts, we found out where he went to school, what his name was, and what INSTRUMENT he played in band (don't worry it wasn't that stalkery. I just asked him what his name was one time at Youth Group and my friends happened to know him from middle school). Sometimes I still FB his name to see if he still looks like Tom Felton (he doesn't).

26. One time I bought a regular person shirt just because I knew it would match my wizard's hat.

27. I discovered in college that I could name every single chapter of the first book in order from memory. This wasn't something I tried to memorize, that's just how many times I had read the book. I realized this one day in Music Theory when someone asked me what the first chapter of Book 1 was called (The Boy Who Lived). I told them, and when they couldn't believe I just KNEW it, I decided to figure out if I knew all of the chapters in that book from memory. I did. I know a lot of the chapter names from other books, but I don't have all of them and the order committed to memory (and really that's only because I've never tried).

28. When Chorale was in England in July 2009 we stayed at a hotel in London about a mile away from King's Cross. I realized this our first day there as we DROVE by the station (I obviously screamed). I immediately made plans to visit as soon as possible. Our only free time was the next morning, although free time is a loose term, because we had to be ready to get on the bus by 10:30am. So I decided that even though I was jetlagged, I was going to leave the hotel at 8 to walk to King's Cross and go see Platform 9 3/4. Four other people came with me. It was AWESOME (and was ALSO my FB profile picture for about two months).

29. In summer 2008 the Kingetts' favorite game was secret kill. The way you played this was you would say to a sibling "Hey Jacob, come here I have to tell you something." Then he'd come up, expecting to hear a great story, and you'd whisper in his ear "AVADA KEDEVRA!" Annnnd then he was dead. This game was seriously SO FUNNY.

30. I attended the opening day of the HP theme park in Orlando, FL, as you can read about in this blog.

31. At the Overtones 2010 Spring concert, the theme was "In the Hot Seat", and throughout the show they'd pull questions out of a hat that the audience had written. One of them was for my friend David. I DIDN'T WRITE IT. The question read "David Rea...who REALLY killed Dumbledore?" His first response? "Who wrote this? Shannon Kingett was this from you?"

32. In conducting fall of Junior year we had to bring batons to class. We were partnered for some kind of activity and we were supposed to watch our partner conduct. For some CRAZED reason Ash and I were allowed to be partners. You can obviously assumed what occured. Neither of us conducted. We just had a wizard's duel.

This list is obviously to be continued, considering I still have a full life left to live full of HP glory. If you remember more stories or stuff I have, please, comment, or email me, or text me, because I want to remember them and currently don't.

The one thing I can't convey is how much I knew/know about this series. I have a pretty crazy memory and an affinity for learning about anything and everything, especially things I find the wealth of HP knowledge I acquired and then stored in my brain is probably terrifying for some people. I hope this blog made you laugh and not convince you that I need serious therapy. And maybe I'm not the only one who has this insane obsession!! So if you too have a secret HP past I encourage you to share it with the WORLD!

Sarah Davis is cool.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A story of old

The time has come at the Disco for me to share a real life story. I haven't written too much about some of the ridiculous things that happened to me pre-blog, but this story is too good not to tell...I give you... a little over 24 hours. Complete with pictures!

Before I begin, there's a little bit of back story to this adventure. In the summer of 2008, my roommate Evie worked at a regional theatre for her summer job with a whole bunch of people who were already working professionally. One of these people was Andrew. After the summer, his next gig was playing Joseph in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Nashville, TN. Nashville is about 8 hours from Harrisonburg, and so when Ev came back to school in September she told all of us that she really wanted to go see him in this show and that a lot of her cast was planning on it, because they missed him and it would be great to see him perform. Because in college we were crazy music majors involved in thousands of clubs, there was only one available weekend she could go, but none of her cast from the summer ended up being able come down, so she decided not to go (since she didn't want to go all the way to Nashville alone).

Which is where our story begins.

The madness began on October 11, 2008, around 11:00am. It was your typical Saturday in 499. We had no real plans, maybe baking something or watching a movie mid-afternoon. It was actually a really chill weekend and none of us had much planned, but we did have tickets to see Chess in Theatre II that night. When I woke up I decided that since we had the whole day in front of us I was going to make cinnamon rolls for my roommates and me. After I popped those bad boys in the oven, I went upstairs to see if Ev was awake to make her hang out with me (looking back, I have NO idea where Laura was, although I'm sure I knew at the time. Maybe she went home that weekend??). Luckily for me, she was awake...but when I walked in her room and sat on her bed, I witnessed maybe one of the most pathetic sights in history...Ev, in her PJs, sitting at her desk, just staring at Facebook pictures, clicking next and not even actually paying attention to the pictures. After silently watching this for about a minute, I decided to attempt conversation. It wasn't too productive. I told Ev I made cinnamon rolls, to which I'm fairly sure she replied with "Oh...ok..."

Girlfriend was depressed.

We talked about how she was really bummed she couldn't go to Nashville and that that's where she'd be at the time if people had been able to go. We talked for a little while longer, and then I went back down to take out the cinnamon buns and check my email. While doing the latter, I sent Ev an IM that said:

Lionsforthecup (11:34:31 AM): if you can get our chess tickets changed to tomorrow
Lionsforthecup (11:34:45 AM): i will go with you to nashville
sweetdreams1680 (11:35:09 AM): lol you're amazing. but i'd have to leave in 30 minutes since it takes 8 hours and the show is at 8...
Lionsforthecup (11:35:25 AM): tell me what you want to do and we'll do it
sweetdreams1680 (11:35:35 AM): you're an amazing best friend. :-)

I was simultaneously IMing Ash as well:
Lionsforthecup (11:38:10 AM): we have to go to nashville
TinyDncer12 (11:38:23 AM): ....what?!
Lionsforthecup (11:38:23 AM): she's miserable
TinyDncer12 (11:38:31 AM): awwww....
TinyDncer12 (11:38:40 AM): i would, but don't we have chess tickets
TinyDncer12 (11:38:45 AM): for tonight
Lionsforthecup (11:38:49 AM): she's best friends with becky
Lionsforthecup (11:38:54 AM): i bet we could switch them for tomorrow
TinyDncer12 (11:39:01 AM): i'm down

(back to Ev)
Lionsforthecup (11:40:37 AM): ash is down too
Lionsforthecup (11:40:48 AM): evie it starts at 7:30
Lionsforthecup (11:40:53 AM): if we leave by noon
Lionsforthecup (11:40:55 AM): we can make it
Lionsforthecup (11:41:03 AM): esp. if you let me drive for part of it
sweetdreams1680 (11:44:09 AM): 730??? we can't make it
Lionsforthecup (11:44:14 AM): we're going
sweetdreams1680 (11:44:16 AM): it takes 8 hours
Lionsforthecup (11:44:20 AM): i'm printing directions
sweetdreams1680 (11:44:24 AM): haha
Lionsforthecup (11:44:25 AM): evie. it's the highway
sweetdreams1680 (11:44:27 AM): you guys we can't
Lionsforthecup (11:44:37 AM): ash and i are both changing
Lionsforthecup (11:44:39 AM): we CAN
Lionsforthecup (11:44:42 AM): and ARE
Lionsforthecup (11:44:44 AM): get dressed
sweetdreams1680 (11:45:21 AM): worst that could happen we stop at richmond and shop
sweetdreams1680 (11:45:26 AM): omg i love you girls
Lionsforthecup (11:45:35 AM): that's not a stop on the way hahaha but get dressed
sweetdreams1680 (11:45:35 AM): okay lets do it :-X

And Nashville trip was born.

We all got off our computers at 11:45...Ev and I were in her car leaving to get Ash at noon. This meant that none of us showered, we all threw on "evening" clothes since we were seeing a show at night and needed to be a little dressy, and no one ate. I threw a sheet of aluminum foil over the cinnamon buns and put them in the car...they were our only sustenance. We didn't even bring water. I also printed directions and decided to hide a very obvious fact from Ev...

We picked up Ash, and by 12:15, we were on the road.

Here's the thing about spontaneous road trips. They start out AWESOME! "Wow, I can't believe we're doing this, how crazy are we?! OMGZ LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!"

But all road trips inevitably lead to the same thing...being SUPER BORED, stuck in a car for the entire day. After we each ate one of the delish cinnamon buns (Ev only ate half), we settled in for a car trip that didn't really have a determined time length. Ev drove and listened to obscure Broadway musicals with the occasional Legally Blonde song thrown in, I took pictures of the nearby scenery:

...and Ashley passed out IMMEDIATELY. In fact, over the entire trip, which ended up being roughly 16 hours in the car, Ashley was asleep for 13 of those hours. We had these extravagant plans to make our first draft of the parody TV show we planned on producing, Hearn's Anatomy (starring our friends as all the characters...Evie was the dog) during the long hours in the car. This never came in to fruition. I blame the cinnamon buns.

The next five hours followed a fairly predictable pattern. There were 6 jumbo cinnamon buns. We consumed 2.5 of them at the beginning of the trip. After Ashley's first hour long nap, she arose, and decided that she was STARVING, and she ate another cinnamon bun. She would then experience an INSANE sugar high, flip out for fifteen minutes, and immediately crash. An hour later, same thing. In total, she ate FOUR AND A HALF CINNAMON BUNS. This day is easily number one of the "Ashley Bacon is more hyper than an ADD four year old who's just eaten an entire box of red dye popsicles" moments...and there are more of those than you might think.

We honestly had no idea what time we'd end up getting to Nashville. You see, this is before any of us had phones with internet or was olden times when you had to print directions from the internet. And since none of us had driven to Nashville, better yet, not even farther than Virginia Tech on I-81...we had NO idea how long this was going to take, what traffic could be like, etc. I let Evie drive the first three and a half hours....but after we stopped for gas...I knew what I had to do.

I took the wheel.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I drove 90 MPH for three straight hours. I was determined to best google maps. But there was still no way we were going to make it by 7:30. I thought maybe there was a chance we could make it by 8, but even then, it was only a chance. Plus at this point we were out of cinnamon buns, and to put it kindly, Ashley was quite verbal when it came to expressing her displeasure us refusing to stop for food beforehand (I recall it sounding something like "WHYYYYYYYYYYYY HUNGERRRRRR")...things were tense.

But then a miracle occured.

Ashley, rousing briefly from her everlasting sleep, checked her phone to see what time it was. At this point I was driving with a slightly crazed look in my eye, and the car had been dead silent for over an hour with nervous tension. I do not exaggerate. So Evie and I both jumped when Ashley asked:
"Hey guys, what time is it?"
Me: "It's 6:20"
Ash: "Really? My phone says it's 5:20"

I was slightly confused. My first thought was "What the heck is wrong with Ashley's phone?" So I checked mine. It also said 5:20. Now I was REALLY confused. Until it dawned on all of us pretty much at the exact same time...
(this was yelled simultaneously in various sentence forms): "IS THERE A TIME CHANGE BETWEEN HARRISONBURG AND NASHVILLE?!?!?!?!"

Of course this was pre-Droid days, as I said, so we had no way to look this up. So we turned to our trusty friend Sarah Davis for some help. This is how that conversation went:
Ash: "Hey Sar!"
Sarah: "Hey what's up?"
Ash: "Hey what time is it?"
Sarah: ".......what?"
Ash: "What time is it?!"
Sarah: "Ashley you are ON A PHONE. WITH A CLOCK. How have you not figured this out by yourself yet?!"
Sarah: "It's 6:25! What is WRONG with you?!"
Ash: "IT'S 6:25!!! IT'S 6:25!!!!!!!"

Annnnnd the three of us screamed for five minutes and then finally explained to Sarah why we needed to ask questions that third graders can figure out the answers to.

We were elated. Ev was happy we were going to make it not only on time but EARLY. Ash was happy that we would be able to get her McNuggets. And I was happy that I no longer had to stalk the highway for cops to make sure I didn't get pulled over for driving 90 MPH.

You'd think this story could end here and still be excellent, but you'd be missing the best part, which is soon to come.

We FINALLY got into Nashville, sent Ev to run and buy our tickets, and got our McDonald's. Soon it was time to park and walk into the theatre. The show was actually Lipscomb University's fall musical, so it took place on campus. None of us had ever heard about this school before, so we just (wrongly) assumed it was a normal school. It was a university after all. But as we walked through campus to the theatre, it became very clear that we did not blend in at all. Everyone on campus was a)not attractive, b)wearing long pants, muted colors, and generally nothing that could ever be considered fashion forward, and, c)STARING at us. We were all wearing above the knee (at least) dresses, I had bright red heels, and best of all Ashley was wearing this:

I shouldn't have been surprised, based on our IM from earlier in the day:

TinyDncer12 (11:50:43 AM): hey are we dressing up for the show
TinyDncer12 (11:50:48 AM): WHAT
TinyDncer12 (11:50:49 AM): JOSEPH
TinyDncer12 (11:50:55 AM): THIS SUCKS
TinyDncer12 (11:50:58 AM): I LOVE EVIE A LOT
Lionsforthecup (11:51:06 AM): i'm dressing up
TinyDncer12 (11:51:41 AM): how muc?
Lionsforthecup (11:52:03 AM): heels
TinyDncer12 (11:52:49 AM): gotcha
TinyDncer12 (11:53:10 AM): can i just look really slutty?
Lionsforthecup (11:53:23 AM): duh

We knew we didn't fit in, but we weren't sure why. We knew that JMU wasn't the only school where people knew generally how to look cute. What was off about this school? It wasn't until the following Monday when I did some research that everything made sense...

Established in 1891, Lipscomb University is a private, co-educational institution of higher learning whose primary mission is to integrate Christian faith and practice with academic excellence. This mission grows from principles articulated by the founders: “The supreme purpose of the school shall be to teach the Bible as the revealed will of God to man … and to train those who attend in a pure Bible Christianity. … Such other branches of learning may be added as will aid in the understanding and teaching of the Scriptures and as will promote usefulness and good citizenship among men.”

This became even more painfully clear when we walked into the theatre, a room full of old people and families with small children. Who ALL STARED AT US. I think it was at this point that Ashley and I decided to throw all social grace out the window and have the most epic time ever.

The show was NOT good. My personal favorite part was the Pharoah's costume. When he made his first entrance Ash and I cried with laughter for probably five minutes...see if you can figure out why (guy on the left)...

What an unfortunate place to put a "P" ....for pharaoh....

After the show Ash and I met Andrew for the first time. I think it's fair to say that he disliked us immediately. We were so exhausted (although I don't know how Ashley could have been), still hungry, judged by everyone around us, and reeling from the performance we had just seen. You would think that meant we were grumpy...quite the opposite. We were INSANE.

Luckily for us, Andrew, who was impressed by how far we had come to see the show, told us we were welcome to stay at his house and sleep for a few hours before we had to turn right around to get back (we needed to be back in Harrisonburg by 2 pm the next day). So we grabbed food with one of Evie's friends who lives in Nashville, and took Andrew up on his offer to stay at his "home"...

I say "home" because it wasn't actually his home. Since he was an artist they brought in just for the show, the school put him up in one of their houses that they use for visiting artists/clinicians/etc. We followed Andrew down a sketchy, pitch black, serial killer-esque dirt road to what I could only assume was our impending death. Instead, we found ourselves at a log cabin I know I will NEVER forget. In fact, it might not be fair to call it a log cabin. We were spending the night in a taxidermy museum. I actually have been to a taxidermy museum before, thanks to what my Aunt considered a "fun family outing" during a vacation she took me on (that's a blog post for another time...have you ever seen a stuffed elephant? Because I have...), and I can attest that this house came REALLY close.

Ashley walked in first, with me behind her. She looked left, I looked right. My first view was a balcony with a bear skin rug draped over it. Pretty tame (comparatively). Ashley saw something a little different...something that merited an audible gasp. When I turned and looked at what made her react like that, I was NOT prepared for what I was about to see:

We could not BELIEVE this house. It was straight out of Little House on the Prairie...and not in a good way. Instead of being polite and thanking Andrew for letting us sleep here for three hours, we ran around screaming and taking pictures of the insanity:

And the best thing to come out of this trip hands down:

Finally we decided to try sleeping in this house of horrors. Ev and Andrew stayed up talking, and Ash and I slept for three hours and then woke up at 3 am (4 am in Harrisonburg) to drive back. This trip lasted a little over 24 hours. We went to Nashville and back in that time. I still cannot believe this weekend. I cannot believe these pictures are real. I was more tired after this weekend than maybe I ever have been in my life. But the weekend was ABSOLUTELY glorious and hands down one of the most ridiculous times I ever had in college. Ashley summarized it best in her away message the Sunday we got back

TinyDncer12 (8:18:43 AM): psyched not to be sleeping next to half a goat