30 June 2011

A day of firsts

As you might guess from the helpful and informative title of this post, today was a day of firsts for me. Shall I tell you about it in chronological order? I think I shall.

Today was the first day my family has spent in Washington DC since arriving here. The previous days we've been at the estates of now-deceased presidents (see previous posts for clarification), but today my family went into the DC, onto the Mall.

That brings me to the second first of today. Until today, I had never rode on a train before, but we took the Metro Subway into the city rather than driving. The Metro was interesting. In my immediate area, there was a young man with a kind face wearing a shirt with the Joker on it; a heavier-set, middle-aged woman with dyed hair applying makeup while her short hair stayed in gigantic curlers; a male nurse; and two young want-to-be fashionistas.

The next first was traveling on public transit without my parents. My family split up once we got into the city, with Mother of Mine leaving for the National Archives, Father of Mine traveling to an office on business, and Brother of Mine coming with me to the International Spy Museum. It was disorienting to walk through large, loud, underground tunnels full of people and moving trains. But also very fun.

That brings me to - I think the fourth first: First nontraditional museum. In the past, my family has gone to Natural History museums, art museums, history museums, and other similarly traditional museums. But today, Brother of Mine and I went to the Spy Museum, which is exactly what it sounds like. But rather than being a tourist trap with a couple of Cold War relics sitting around in a noisy room, it was full of information. Yes, I did get to crawl through a duct, and yes, they did assign me a spy alias at the beginning of my visit.

The museum left me, especially the later exhibits, with a greater understanding of just what goes into providing for a nation's security. The museum spoke with James Woolsey, the former director of the CIA, and many other extremely qualified sources about spycraft and information-gathering. It was a very sobering tour, and I would completely recommend it to anyone, provided they don't have a problem looking at pocket garrotes, lipstick pistols, ring revolvers, and a lot of sharp and pointy objects designed to wound or kill. A 5/5 in my book. Absolutely fascinating.

The next first was first time attending a music festival. Brother of Mine and I took the metro to the Smithsonian, and stepped out into their Folklife festival. If you're from the Northwest, you're probably thinking that this was a grunge fest full of aspiring musicians and crafty craftsman. Wrong.

The Smithsonian's Folklife Festival was focused on three themes; The country of Columbia; the second was the Peace Corps; and the last was Rhythm and Blues. Brother of Mine and I ended up in the Soulsville Pavilion, where we got an auditory treat.

We got to hear the Stax Music Academy perform, and let me tell you - they were incredible. Most of the problems associated with live performances were there, but even through the feedback and the mic giving out in the middle of a rendition of Superstitious, you could tell that these kids were GOOD!

So that was my day. It feels as if I've just had more experiences than possible in 12 hours, but I have. Hmm. Time is playing with my head again. Yet strangely, I don't mind.


29 June 2011

Carbon-based sustenance

The past few food-focused entries I've done recently have centered on the unusual and exotic meals I've eaten on vacation. But today, I'm going to tell you about a rather ordinary dinner.

After visiting Mount Vernon, my family and I were exhausted. We spent over six hours visiting George Washington's home, and while I had eaten a very large meal before entering the park, by the time we left my blood sugar levels had long since tanked.

Because I'm mildly hypoglycemic, low blood sugar is not a good thing. I get severe headaches, and thinking feels like wading through molasses. I have trouble concentrating on anything for long periods of time, and if I don 't eat soon, I have difficulties expressing myself coherently. It's a drag.

Anyways, we left Mount Vernon and ended up in historic downtown Alexandria, a cute little town outside DC that my dad compared to "the University District [of Seattle] on steriods." I would have to agree. After driving up and down the street waiting for Mom and Thursday to decide where we would eat, Dad used his right as Benevolent Dictator and decided we would eat at Murphy's Pub and Grill.

Murphy's, in case you couldn't guess, is an Irish pub/sports bar. Unlike a lot of pubs in the area I live, it wasn't kitschy and represented the best combination of Irish pub food and American sports bar. There were at least three different baseball games being shown on large screens around the tiny, 2nd floor combined bar-table area. The waitress had an Irish accent, and gave us a coupon advertising food deals if we came late on July 3rd dressed in our most patriotic garb. There was a tiny little stage with a pitcher full of ice ready for the musicians (cleverly called "the Havers") whenever they would show up.

And the food? The food was not gourmet, it was not delicate, and it was not vegetarian.

Now, if you know me in real life, you'll know that I'm a vegetarian in theory. I don't particularly enjoy the taste of meat, and I think that the meat industry today is unsustainable, cruel to animals, and doesn't really sell healthy food to average Americans. However, I try not to be one of those obnoxious vegetarians who won't eat something if there's a chance, however slim, that it touched something that touched meat. For instance, my friend served French Dip sandwiches at his birthday dinner, and didn't make much of vegetable side dishes. I ate the sandwiches because, as I've said, while I prefer vegetarianism, it's just that: a preference.

So when we went in Murphy's tonight, with my tanking blood sugar levels and a menu full of meat, the simplest, most logical, and most tasty option was to order meat. I thus found myself, a few minutes later, staring at a large plate of meat and potatoe pie with homemade fries. The pie is fairly self-explanatory, being the standard ground beef and sausage with peas, onions, and corn inside mashed potatoes with gravy. The fries, however, were unusual.

Take a whole potato. Slice it to form about 3/4 inch thick discs, and sautee them in a skillet. You now have the fries I ate with dinner.

Mmm. Today was good. And my blood sugar's returned to normal, thanks for asking!


Washington DC

I'm here, my lovelies. I entered Maryland last night and am now about twenty minutes from the Capital. Mom got a great deal on a very nice hotel that we will be calling home for the next week.

To give you an idea of the hotel, I'll transcribe the label of something I found in the room: "A warm blend of sparkling bergamot and fresh ginger with clean musk notes of white tea, amid spicy nuances of vetiver and nutmeg."

What do you think this is? At best, some fancy tea - more likely, a bottle of wine. Actually, it's neither. The inscription is from the shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion provided by the hotel. O.o Yeah, tell me about it.

Well, yesterday I visited Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's country home. Frankly, I was disappointed with the Thomas Jefferson Historical Society's heavy-handed and agenda-driven depiction of this founding father. I understand that historians all have their pet theories and cherished idea as to who historical persons are, but the Society's view is ignoring well-documented relationships and influences with Thomas Jefferson to push their own perspective. It's bad history.

At Monticello, the tour guides and museum exhibits presented this view of Jefferson: He was a wealthy landowner who was, at heart, a freethinking atheist and humanist. While he owned slaves, he didn't want to, and in fact went against social conventions of the day to father four children with a slave he owned, Sally Hemming.

I don't contest that these facts are true or doubtless true - DNA evidence apparently links Hemming's children to someone in Jefferson's close family. However, the man they present to the general public is like a badly written character in a book - incredibly one-sided.  Jefferson was all these things, but he was more. He was married to his wife for ten years, and loved her so much that when she died, he couldn't stand to be in the same country as they had lived together in. Which is how he ended up in France.  The Society barely mentioned Mrs. Jefferson, instead focusing their efforts on his "sordid affair" with Sally Hemmings. There are contradictions within his character, but the Society focuses on the Jefferson they want to exist: the man who is the standard bearer for secular humanists around the world.

I didn't  have these problems with Mount Vernon when I visited today. While Monticello is an amazingly beautiful house, it does not have the character that Mount Vernon does. Both are mansions rather than houses; both were designed by their owners. But while Monticello has expensive hardwoods, Mount Vernon has yellow pine painted to look like mahogany. While Monticello has portraits and busts covering the walls; Mount Vernon's decorative borders are painted to look three-dimensional.

In short, Monticello is like a library or an art piece that I admire from a distance, but Mount Vernon is a house I could see myself coming home to. The difference is like night and day.

Not just that, but the protectors of Mount Vernon portray George Washington more faithfully to his nature than the Jefferson Society. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association has drawn from many, many outside sources to describe the services Washington gave to my country. Rather than relying on family rumor and gossip, they reference historians, his contemporaries, and relevant documents to support their claims to his personality.

I came away from Monticello with a slight distaste for Jefferson and the Society, but Mount Vernon left me a very high standard to live up to. Washington's thrift, compassion, and generousity; his cunning, courage, and humility; and his incredible faith were all documented. The Association admits he owned slaves and  provide tours examining the lives these slaves led at Mount Vernon, but they look to his impact on the country.

And I left exhausted. Six-and-a-half hours after entering his estate, I still had not experienced everything George Washington's home preserved.

I will cover my culinary adventures of the day in my next post.

27 June 2011

More Culinary Adventures in Charleston, South Carolina

Well hello there, my lovelies! As the title of this post implies, I was in Charleston at some point yesterday. Hehe. It's like a big game of Where's Waldo? except this Waldo is wearing a striped skirt and is most definitely female.

But anyways. Charleston. My family took a guided tour around the city in one of those obnoxious tour buses full of culturally insensitive tourists. In this case, it was completely, totally, absolutely awesome. Our guide was a native Charlestonian who had served in Vietnam and came back missing a couple fingers and with the addition of some metal in his leg. He was absolutely passionate about the history of his town, and since my family was the only group on the bus, we got a much more personalized tour with lots of questions answered.

After our two-hour tour - which ended up running late because of all our questions - my family went to this local seafood resteraunt called Hyman's. When we got to our table, I noticed some little placards screwed onto the edges. They commemorated the famous, shiny people who had eaten at the table we were sitting at. These included Metallica and Barbra Streisand, among others. While eating, I had to battle with the conflicting urges to 1. burst into a full-throated rendition of "Hello, Dolly!" and 2. start muttering the bridge to "Enter Sandman" under my breath. Quite unusual.

But on to the real reason you're reading this post. You, obviously, want to know what strange new foods I had at the restaurant yesterday. There were a few, let me tell you.

First up were the hot boiled peanuts. I'd seen signs advertising these at gas stations all along the East Coast, and the sounded repulsive. So when the kind staff at Hyman's placed some in front of me, I just had to try them. They taste like peanuts, but their texture is ... grainy. Kind of like a combonation of a really mealy baked potatoe and water chestnuts. It's soft and kind of crunchy and really mealy  all at the same time. They're fine, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat them again.

Dad and I realized that there were fried green tomatoes and fried okra on the menu. Dad is legendary in our family for his extreme distaste for fried green tomatoes, so naturally, I wanted to try them. Now, something to know about Southern food is that when they say "fried" they actually mean "dipped in batter and fried in butter."

Fried green tomatoes are nothing more than big slices of green tomatoes - like the slices on a hamburger - which are then battered and fried. In my case, the fried coating was so buttery that I couldn't really taste the green tomatoes, but the texture was ... less than pleasant. First there was a crunch as you get through the fried exterior. Then comes a squish as the seeds of the slice slurp into your mouth. And then there's a mush as the cooked tomato "meat" enters your mouth. It feels kind of slimy going down. I can understand why Dad doesn't like them.

Fried okra is pretty good, though. Okra is spicy - kind of a mix of black pepper and cayenne. It's a seed pod, like zucchini, but it's hollow inside like a reed. When they fry okra, they slice it horizontally, batter, butter, and fry it. The spiciness of the okra comes through the fry nicely, without being too overpowering or overpowered. It's texture is like sauteed zucchini. I give it a plus, but because of the frying, I"m not sure I'd eat it again.

The next thing I tried were hushpuppies. They're basically like cornbread donuts. They're balls of cornmeal that's been - you guessed it - fried. The outside is lovely and crunchy, and the inside is piping hot and a little sweet. I would eat them again, but not many.

By the time I got through the boiled peanuts, fried green tomatoes and okra, and hushpuppies, I was starting to get a stomach ache from all the rich food. I don't understand why people call this style of food "comfort food", because it just makes me feel uncomfortably greasy and disgusting.

I was glad that I ordered seafood marinara instead of seafood alfredo. While the marinara doesn't disguise the fishiness of the fresh seafood as well as alfredo, it didn't contain butter, cream, and flour. The last food I tried was scallops. Because I had a stomach ache, I'm not sure if my distaste for these were from the texture, or just from orneriness.

Scallops. They're like big, cylinders of white muscles. Which are then cut into kind of thick circles and placed onto a perfectly good dish like they complete the dish. I couldn't taste anything, but it felt like I was biting into a tongue or something from the texture of the meat.  I'll have to try them again today - I've got tons of leftovers - and see if sans stomach pain, they are any better.

I'm no longer in South Carolina, by the way. For all you stalkers out there, Problematic's current location is just outside the Technology Triangle in North Carolina. That is to say, I'm somewhere in the area of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. The sun is shining through a level of clouds high up in the sky. We're doing laundry, and my pigtails are swaying gently in the air-conditioning. Life is good, folks.

Now let's have at that seafood.


25 June 2011

Another Ramble

Now that I have time to finally blog again, it seems I have an overwhelming desire to tell y'all about what I've been doing with this time. Besides sitting in front of a computer in a dark hotel room, I mean.

The past couple days have been pretty interesting. Not as relaxing as my time in Pass-A-Grille, but good, nonetheless. Two days ago, my family drove from Homestead, Florida to Key West and back. On our way, we stopped on Key Largo and went snorkeling. It was really fun, though there was this one barracuda that kept stalking me. Or at least, it felt like that. After snorkeling, we started off toward Key West again, but hunger made us stop at this little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that had been advertising its "World Famous Fish Sandwichs" for several miles. Well, I'd never heard of the sandwich before, but I should have.

It contained generous portions of lightly breaded dolphin fish with cheddar cheese, tartar sauce, and tomatoes on top of toasted whole wheat bread. Mmmm. Delicious.

So anyways, we get to Key West and go to Hemingway's Home. His house is gorgeous, but honestly, the main draw for me was all the cats running around. If you didn't know before, Hemingway owned two cats, of which at least one had a common genetic mutation giving it six toes instead of five. Well, in his will, Hemingway provided for the care of his cats, and generations later, there are lots of his cats descendants running loose on the property. They're quite tame, and generally enjoy being petted. But the greatest thing is that the majority of them also have six toes. It's pretty cool.

Yesterday my family went to the Everglades. We took a boat tour up into the backcountry in the mangrove swamps and along the way saw both the American Crocodile and aligators. That was neat, too. However, our time in the National Park was shortened both by the approaching thunderstorm and the numerous moskitoes determined to get at me despite the generous layer of DEET Mom had coated me with.

I've also fallen in love with the Anhinga , a fish-hunting bird  native to the Everglades. It is absolutely beautiful, and I highly recommend looking up pictures of it online.

Today we visited St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US. It was established in 1595 by the Spanish in northern Florida, who promptly built Castillo de San Marcos. Coincidentally, this castillo is still standing, preserved as a National Monument. One really interesting thing is that the fort has been used by Spanish, English, and United States forces, including, at one time, Confederate soldiers. It has stood in one place since it was first built by the Spanish, and you can see where the shell-stone has worn away on the steps into the moat. The middle of the steps are almost even with the top of the step previous to it. You can almost taste the history in the air.

So tonight, my family is heading in toward Savannah, Georgia as we start our way to Washington DC. Oh, I think I forgot to tell you! I'm going to be spending July 4th in the Capital! Words cannot adequately describe how excited I am.

However, since the car is about to head into a gigantic lighting storm and gullywasher, I think I shall leave my comments on my tourism at that. Except to say that I'm marvellously tan.


24 June 2011

Culinary Adventures update

As of last night, I have also been introduced to the wonders of fried plantain and melon juice. On a related note, while I have never heard of Craig's World Famous Fresh Caught Made-To-Order Fish Sandwich, I feel like I should have. It was very good, and I ate Dolphinfish for the first time ever.

22 June 2011

Culinary Adventures

Aside from being incredibly relaxing, my time in Pass-A-Grille, Florida, has provided many opportunities for culinary adventures.

You see, I subscribe to the theory that if the food is a local speciality or delicacy (and isn't completely disgusting like fried spiders) then there is absolutely no excuse for  not trying it.

We can see this when I was still  in Hingham, Massachusetts last weekend. My chaperones (different from the ones in Manchester by the Sea) and I walked down into the the town to a speciality ice cream shop. I had the option of getting something boring but delicious - cappucino chip - or something entirely surprising like Mister Christian's Bounty or Hingham Harbor Sludge. I ended up going with the Harbor Sludge because Mister Christian's Bounty had too much chocolate on it for my tastes. But this amply demonstrates my philosophy.

Last night, my philosophy was put to the test. My dad's parents and one of his sister (plus her family) live in Tampa Since my family left for the Everglades today, the extended family got together to eat at Crabby Bill's, a local seafood restaurant. My uncle ordered Aligator Bites as an appetizer with a fiendish look in his eyes.

Now, I thought the name "Aligator Bites" was just some cute name for, say, popcorn chicken or another standard plebeian restaurant appetizer. Wrong. When the food got to the table, my uncle revealed that the deep-fried tidbits on the plate in front of me were, in fact, pieces of fried aligator tail.

In hindsight, I can say it's the only food that honestly tastes like chicken. Chewy chicken. Mmmm. 

But that wasn't all. My dad, being a southern gentleman born and bred, was very excited when he saw Crabby Bill's also served frog legs. I did not realize Dad had ordered them until I happened to glance over in the midst of my scrumptious dinner - about which I shall inform you shortly - and saw him holding the battered and fried tail end of a frog. It was, in fact, a frog.

Dad extended the frog to me, but seeing the distaste on my face, instead took a piece off the legs and handed it to me. It was white, but looked kind of like fried chicken that's been peeled from the bone.

All I know is that frog legs taste like frog. They're kind of fresh-watery and fishy and taste slimy even though they're not actually covered in slime. Frog legs taste kind of like really fishy rainbow trout.

But enough about culinary adventures that others started for me. Last night, I chose to eat sugar cane.

I had shrimp skewered on sugar cane for dinner last night. They were covered in key lime honey mustard and red peppers, and served with savory rice.  The sweet and savory and spicy and salty all combined into one beautiful explosion in my mouth. The sugarcane made the shrimp very sweet, which contrasted with the salty and savory rice, and the spicy mustard. I loved it!

I should probably stop talking about my dinner last night because I'm  making myself hungry and the car shows no signs of stopping.

In other news, I got to try another icecream flavor today. It was called Captain's Butterscotch. It had vanilla and butterscotch icecream with Heath bars, caramel cups, peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, caramel swirls, toffee chips, and toffee chunks. Yum. Homemade icecream is the best.

B, who is headed off to the Everglades with her tan and her beach hair.

20 June 2011


It was an odd feeling today on the beach. My dad and I sat on the sand doing absolutely nothing - not even reading a book. Every once in a while, I would stiffen with a jerk, thinking "I should get back to work. There's something I should be doing right now but I've forgotten. Think, Problematic! What are you forgetting?"

And that's when I'd remember. I have nothing to do, nothing to procrastinate, and nothing to feel guilty about. It was odd. The first time that happened, I was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and suddenly thought that I was feeling so good, but had probably get back to work. The thought left me so stiff that when the giant wave I was waiting for finally reached me, I forgot to push off the bottom and got a face full of salt water.

So, as you might have guessed, I spent today at the beach. I didn't wake up until 11:45, when Dad and I went shopping for breakfast foods and a hat for him. After we got home, we walked across the street to the beach and sat. I collected sea shells and Dad sunbathed.

What do I intend to do with the shells? Well, I feel very ingenious. I'm going to figure out how to mail them back to my friends in the Northwest and write on the box: "I know you wish you were here! Haha!" Okay, I might not be that sadistic, but I will be mailing a little bit of this paradise to my friends.

I'm probably going to go to bed now. It's odd not having a plan for the day. I've spent the past year-and-a-half planning ahead and plugging along, and I'm suddenly free. I don't have to plan ahead. I only know of three things I'm doing tomorrow: going shopping with my Oma, swimming at the beach, and eating dinner with my Aunt. No school, nothing. It's CRAZY I'm telling you! I feel like Atlas would if the world were to be lifted from his shoulders. He's held his burden for so long, he wouldn't know what to do with himself. Neither do I.

It's crazy, but oh so beautiful. I'm just sitting here listening to Jason Mraz and blogging about absolutely nothing. I mean, I haven't had the time to blog for real in a really long time. Most of the posts in the past while have been automated, and the ones that haven't been pre-posted were written with time stolen from my schoolwork. If I wanted to, I could take three or four hours to craft a beautiful piece of prose and publish it here. Unfortunately for you, I'm just freewriting at this point. Sorry. The beautiful blog post will have to wait until I have something more meaningful to say.

But honestly, this feels just as good as a big stretch after sitting on a trans-American flight for 6 hours without break. Time. I'd forgotten how luxurious it is to have some to spare. Like today. After basting on the beach for a couple hours, Dad and I rode old schools town bikes down to the Pink Monstrosity - the only commercial hotel chain on the island we stay on. The bike ride was about an hour, and when we got back, I watched an Animal Planet show while Dad showered. We took as long as we wanted to, and now both of us are very pink.

Time. I'd forgotten what it was to have an excess of it.

19 June 2011

72 Truths

1. last beverage: Lemonade
2. last phone call: Dad
3. last text message: Milan
4. last song you listened to : Someday You Will Be Loved by Death Cab for Cutie
5. last time you cried : Round One of my Persuasive at Nationals
6. dated someone twice :Ignatius and I have been going steady for years now.
7. been cheated on: Iggy's far too loyal.
8. kissed someone & regretted it : One of my female relatives has a beard... ;P
9. lost someone special :Yes
10. been depressed: yes


11.Dark Chocolate Brown
12. Dark Slate Grey
13. Deep Burgundy

14. Made a new friend: Yup. Last year at debate camp. ;)
15. Laughed until you cried: Yeah. I wrote a thank you note to the family I stayed with at Nationals, and accidentally wrote "Dear Aunt Paul and Uncle Cindy." Yes, it was late. Yes, I was tired. Yes, it was silly.
16. Met someone who changed you: Indeed. It's up to you to guess who.
17.  Found out who your true friends were: Yeah
18. Found out someone was talking about you: Unfortunately, yes


19.  Do you have any pets :Yeah. She's a black cat we call Buttercup, but everyone knows she's actually just a minature Puma called Bageera.
20. Do you want to change your name: Not really. Only to Sylvia St.James
21. What did you do for your last birthday: Played Calvinball and watched Leap Year
22. What time did you wake up today: Do you want Eastern Standard or Pacific Standard? It felt like it was 5:00, but it was actually 8:00
23. What were you doing at midnight last night : Talking with my hosts at Manchester by the Sea
24. Name something you CANNOT wait for: Florida. Oh wait. I'm here. Nevermind. How about the Decemberists concert in August?
25. Last time you saw your Mother : A week ago yesterday.
26. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life: I want more time and less homework.
27. What are you listening to right now: I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie
28. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom?Yeah. My grandfather
29. Most visited webpage: my email
30. Nickname: Sabam, Beffy,
31. Relationship Status: Single and accounted for
32. Elementary : stuck up and smart
33. Middle School : [text redacted]
34. College : [text redacted]
35. Hair color: Dirty Blond
36. Long or short: Medium or really short.
37. Height : 5'5"
38. Do you have a crush on someone? Ignatius
39. What do you like about yourself? I dunno. I'm kind of ambivalent.
40. Piercing In my ear lobes, and I got it done in a tattoo parlor in Seattle 
41. Tattoo: naah
42. Righty or lefty : Mostly right, but slightly ambidextrous


43. First surgery : No surgery as of yet. Though I might this summer to get my wisdom teeth removed.
44. First piercing : ears
45. First best friend: Alexis
46: First time spent together: In a music shop. The lights in our eyes reflected off the varnish of the violins.
47. First vacation: I can't really remember. The most memorable one, however, was camping in a rain forest and awaking inside a puddle that formed inside the tent. I was completely soaked and was wringing out clothes for a very long time.


48. Eating: nothing
49. Drinking:nothing
50. I'm about to: Go to bed
51. Listening to :Death Cab for Cutie
52. Waiting for: Godot


53. Want kids? Kids are alright.
54. Get Married? Meh.
55.  Career? Recording engineer/tonmeister/acoustician


56. Lips or eyes : Eyes because there is so much complexity in them
57. Hugs or kisses : Hugs, even though they're almost more intimate than kisses. They display such trust.
58. Shorter or talle: Taller, as long as they don't rub it in.
59. Older or Younger: Older
60. Romantic or spontaneous: Both. Spontaneous for romantic things
61. Sensitive or loud: Sensitive. Sorry, obnoxious debater guys.
62. Trouble maker or hesitant: It depends on the degree. Really hesitant is just awkward, but so is very trouble-inclined.


63. Kissed a stranger: No, but I came frighteningly close to tackle-hugging one because she looked so much like my friend.
64. Lost glasses/contacts: lost glasses and broken them
65. Kissed on first date: I haven't gone on a date. So no.
66. Had your heart broken: Wouldn't you just want to know?
67. Been arrested: By the gravity police. My feet weren't firmly planted on the ground. I spent time in the penitentiary of Asphalt.
68. Turned someone down: Yup.
69. Cried when someone died: When I realize that they're dead, yes. But not always. Sometimes I'm just sad.


70. Yourself: Hardly.
71. Miracles: Of course. It's a miracle I'm still alive since I'm so accident-prone
72. Love at first sight: Yes, and his name is Ignatius.

Well-Earned Peace

Wow. I just want to say it's perfect here. I arrived at a little, Old-Florida style hotel about an hour ago (9 pm Eastern), and don't want to leave for a very long time. You get to our room by walking behind the two-story house, past rows of bicycles waiting for the morning, over an uneven deck made of untreated wood, and up some rickety stairs with a view of the courtyard. It's all in black and white, and as I write, the air conditioning goes to work to remove some of the 92 degrees of heat that still linger in the evening air. It smells like suntan lotion, and we have yet to spend time on the beach. 

It's startling to realize that I am officially an alumni of speech and debate. I finished my career by going to two national championships, where it may be noted that I exceeded my own expectations. But now, it's over. Nine whole tournaments of fun, a few more friends, a couple more marbles lost, and my speech and debate career is over. Done. Caput. I've barely been done for a day, and I already feel out of the loop.

My spring is going to be incredibly empty next year. Most of my friends will continue to compete and fill their school years with tournaments, suits, and lots of traveling. But me? I don't know what I'm doing. Probably applying to colleges and doing lots of musical recitals.

I've been asked by a couple people to hang around a bit, maybe help some debaters or coach some speech. I can honestly say I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand, they're my friends and I could help them out, considering that I know the hard way to get to Nationals. On the other hand, I've just used up 5 years of my life doing competitive speech and debate, and I don't need to stick around. There are enough alumni with no life outside of speech and debate, there doesn't need to be one more.

But I'm pushing that off to the side. You see, folks, I'm here in Florida. I haven't had a life, or a real vacation, in years, and I'm determined to exploit my time on the East Coast to the fullest advantage. My mom has promised me a few days of just hanging by the beach, and I intend to hold her to her word. And when we're done in St. Petersburg, we're going first to the Everglades and then to Key West. And after Florida, my family is roadtripping up the East Coast to Washington DC. What this means is that I'm not returning to the Pacific Northwest until July 9th. I'm super excited.

Speaking of which, I'm also super excited to tell my alternative to ballot parties. For those of you not in the know, a ballot party is where all us geeky speech and debaters overwhelm a Denny's or similarly cheap restaurant very late at night and read the pieces of paper over which countless judges have written judgemental, uplifting, or frustrating comments about our speeches and debates. It's pretty masochistic if you stop to think about it. But anyways, I've never really enjoyed ballot parties because I don't like reading ballots unless I really have to. So last night, while I was still in Massachusetts, my chaperones and I drove to the Singing Sands of Manchester by the Sea and frolicked in the waves in full professional attire. It was much more uplifiting and edifying than reading the judgements of strangers.

So anyways, I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to wear my swimsuit instead of my business suit, and I'm excited to rush to the beach instead of to rounds. I'm excited that the only deadline I have is the end of my trip, and while I'm not so excited at leaving my friends behind for a month, I am excited to see them again when I return. I plan on being so tan that I hurt their weak eyes amphibious from all the rain in the Northwest.

So until next time, my dear readers! I'm off to bed where I don't have to set an alarm to get up tomorrow.


08 June 2011

Shutdown Initiated

If anyone ends up reading this, I'll be surprised. Why? Because I haven't posted in almost a month now. Sad, right?

Well, I'm currently in between national tournaments. I went to NITOC last week, and will be attending NCFCA Nationals next week. I leave on Saturday. This is just a quick reminder that I'm still alive and hope to post sometime after Nationals.

Keep Calm.