The Greatest Thing About the 90s

I feel I must pay tribute to one of the greatest decades of all time. Despite attending high school and college in the 00’s (how do we say that, by the way? The double oh’s?) I feel like most of my generations fondest memories come from the pre-2000s. A lot of college was spent reminiscing about the good ol’ days, when Stephanie proclaimed “How rude!”

Ah, yes. Girl Power, a prince born in West Philadelphia, and TGIF was the best lineup on television. We didn’t have playlists, we had mix tapes.

But, if I had to pick the one thing that has stuck with me from the 90s is the Jock Rock/ Jock Jams compliations.

A wonderment of audio fantasy. Sure, not all of the songs were from the 90s, but the idea was.

I recently went to a Rangers/Tigers playoff game. They played the beat from “We Will Rock You” at least five times.

Dare I ask: Where are the stadium anthems of today?

Where is the new Final Countdown? Who hasn’t yelled “Aye, oh, let’s go!” and mumbled through the rest of Blitzkrieg Bop while passing beer and peanuts down to that guy in the middle of the row?

My Tamogatchi died, my Beanie Babies are worthless, and the only time I do the Macarena is at wedding receptions. Lame, lame wedding receptions.

In the world of Jock Jams, the 90s are never over.

And, there’s no better way to get pumped up.

They’re Everywhere (who is ‘they’, again?)

Do you know there are 7 guns for every 1 person in the United States?

I have no idea if that’s true. But, someone told me about it this weekend. I’m pretty sure he was a cult recruiter.

I sat at Starbucks, catching up with a friend. We do this once a month, usually Sunday afternoons, a nice leisurely chat. We talk about everything. Culture, books, politics, movies. She was my AP US History teacher and, damn, if I don’t love history. It’s amazing, speaking with someone who holds 30+ years of knowledge and education in her head.

As time wound down, I caught the eye of a stranger sitting at a nearby table. He adjusted his wireless headphones a few times and sucked on his pen, occasionally clicking a few keys on his keyboard.

Middle-age, hair graying at the temples, and astonishingly alert for someone who should have a head bent over their laptop.

He was listening.

At the time, I’m sure we were waxing philosophic (I’m still paying good money for my education, dammit).

He stood and approached our table, pulling the headphones down around his neck.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But, I couldn’t help but overhear that last part of your conversation.”

My eyebrow cocked of its own accord, as it is wont to do when it hears crazy. You could help it. Turn up the headphones. Stumble across a cat video. Stand closer to the steam wand.

I couldn’t help but overhear means I was eavesdropping because you mentioned buzzwords.

“And?” I asked.

“I’m in charge of an organization…”

My eyebrow lifts higher.

“That is interested in protecting the American Constitution by bringing lawsuits against the government.”

“Mmhm.” By now, skepticism and suspicion oozed out of my voice.

“(gun statistic)”

“That’s interesting.”

The conversation continued, citing statistics of questionable origin. Keep in mind, I was talking to a US History teacher. US History often comes up in our conversations. I’m a writer, she’s a brilliant educator. Creativity loves to hang out with us.

“Have you heard of the Georgia guidestones?”

My eyebrows were back under my control, and I lowered them to a glare. “No.” (They exist, by the way, check them out here)

“They were written by a group you would know as the Illuminati.”

Jackpot. Crackpot jackpot. I love conspiracy theories.

Anyway, by promising to visit his website, I was able to save both myself and my mentor. Keep your eyes open. The Illuminati were more than just a plot point in a Dan Brown novel. If I join, does that make me a Templar…or how does that work, exactly?

Not sure. And that’s not even the craziest thing I’ve heard at Starbucks…

Besides joining a grassroots conspiracy organization, what can I bring to these maybe Templars? Not sure about that one, either, but if I remember anything from Lara Croft, the Illuminati want to control time for NO REASON IN PARTICULAR!!

Maybe next week, I’ll be updating my tumblr from my iPhone on a quest for the Holy Grail. I’m taking a fedora. And a whip.

Books, GoodReads, and Why I’m Still Awake

Aight, peeps, here’s the lowdown, the skinny, the 411, the…you know, whatever.

All of a sudden, I have insomnia all the freakin’ time. I wake up the same time every morning (9am), but it seems like I can’t get to sleep any time before 3am.

What do I do with all this time?

Besides obsessively changing my web page theme in an attempt to find something that doesn’t make me gag; besides listening to hours of New Age music on Pandora; besides applying droplets to my eyes because of all these backlit screens…

I read.

A lot.

Like, 13 books in the last 17 days. That’s non-fiction, adult, YA (no picture books).

What does that mean for you?

I don’t always review books, but, when I do, it’s because I liked them.

I can’t review everything. But, trust me, if I make it through the whole book, that means I liked it.

So, for those of you interested in following my eccentric/eclectic tastes, I’ve decided to be a good little social networker and keep my GoodReads profile updated.

Is this some sort of underhanded, sneaky way of encouraging people to read?

Yes.

But, it’s also some sort of underhanded, sneaky way of encouraging people to talk about books, consider what they like, and find more books that they will like just as much.

Heck, if you see something on my list and trust me for a recommendation, I’ll tell you what I thought.

In private. Because I just might know the author who wrote it :/

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Fake Busy

I’m that sort of busy that’s all kind of fake.

I’ve built up the illusion of busyness, and, it’s so good, I’ve even faked myself out.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  1. I remembered that I have a library card. This is not a good thing. When I go to the library, I usually have a list already made. Then, I start browsing. What ends up happening is I check out 10-12 books I can’t possibly live without right that very moment. Even though I know I’m at the library and they will be there for my next visit.

    I end up starting this pile a week late and have to scramble to read every book before it’s due. I’ve done this thrice in two months.

  2. I got into Pottermore. While I’m not sure what this entails, I’m sure it will be exciting. For at least fifteen whole minutes.
  3. I turned 25. Hurray.
  4. I started watching X-Files on Netflix. I’m not really interested in the alien parts, but I find the paranormal stuff pretty awesome. I’m a big Fringe fan and definitely see the similarities. Just because I have a special place in my heart for multi-verse theory doesn’t mean I can’t like Mulder and Scully. The history of television owes them thanks.
  5. I saw a slew of movies, none of which are worth mentioning.
  6. I broke 50,000 words on my current WIP.
  7. I received 22 rejection letters in 38 days.
  8. I have listened to Evanescence’s new single “What You Want” far too many times.

So, that’s it. Oh, yeah, and I have a job and volunteer and nonsense like that. So, you know, maybe I’ll pick one of those things and start blogging again.

What have you been up to?

    Why I Read YA

    It seems every few weeks, someone says something misguided or general about the Young Adult section at the local library/bookstore. While I usually miss the inciting incident, I enjoy pouring myself a bowl of Rice Krispies and sliding into my front row seat on TweetDeck to watch the publishing industry retaliate.

    Have I ever mentioned I love social media?

    #YAShowdown was the more amusing hashtag, while #YASaves was more of an emotional outpouring, trumpeting the lessons and triumphs, the sights we saw, the scents we smelled, the roads we traveled when traversing some of our favorite stories considered: “Young Adult”.

    I’m not a teen. I’m not a parent. I’m not a high school librarian.

    So, why do I read YA?

    It’s good.

    No, I mean, it’s really good.

    It’s well-written. There’s a story. The characters are compelling. The styles are diverse. It wants to take risks in the good way.

    Life isn’t candy-coated, sugar-sweet, let’s all go to the prom and be happy.

    Life is hard. It sucks. We weren’t born with an instruction manual. People make mistakes. Reality is tough and it doesn’t wait for you to be an adult to start throwing curveballs.

    Why wait in literature?

    My mother read A Wrinkle in Time to my siblings and I at the dinner table when I was a youngling.

    My favorite section in the library was that little corner with the crusty sign above that said “TEEN” with half the “N” scratched off. I go to the library now and see their WHOLE ROOM dedicated to young adult literature, and there’s a prickle in my eyes as I try to imagine what it would have been like to have that many books way back when.

    I love it. I love the voice. I love the stories. I love the characters. 

    I even love the covers.

    So, that’s it. No great insights.

    You either get YA or you don’t. Find something you like, nay, love, and tell everyone about it.

    Because reading is awesome.

    Philosophical Writer-Type seeks blog topic, ends on Big Question

    This little blog-o-mine. Imma let it shine.

    Today, I take presumption to a whole new level and tell you the meaning of life (hint: it’s not 42). Those of you who already know the meaning of life will continue reading and nod knowingly. Those of you who don’t will throw things and scream ‘how dare she, blasphemous Internet troll!”

    It’s “make the world a better place”. It’s actually a really cool deal. You see, once you start trying to do this, everyone around you sort of takes notice. Since this blog is inherently selfish, I’ll give you an anecdote.

    The other day, at Starbucks, my barista handed me my drink. As I reached for a sleeve, I cheerfully flashed a smile and said, “Thank you!” You know, because he was my enabler for the day. But, no, seriously. He just made me a cup of coffee. My Midwestern manners, wait, no, hold that thought, my humanity dictates that I should express gratitude for services rendered.

    As it so happened, I accidentally cut him off mid-‘thank’. We both stopped and did a suspicious staredown. You know the one; eyes narrowed, sizing each other up out of the periphery. Now, on one hand, I understand why he would thank me. I’m a customer and the head honchos dictate that such things are supposed to be said to a customer, probably with a certain level of welcoming charm that encourages them to return. But, I was reacting to his reaction.

    Did he really not have people say thank you with any sincerity? I mean, God! He could have burnt himself on scalding coffee! He was heating milk with a piece of equipment that blasts out a jet of super-heated water! Thank you for putting yourself in mortal danger so that I may enjoy a tasty soy misto! IT’S DELICIOUS!!!

    Granted, I was not in a part of town that has a gracious reputation, but can we please treat other people like human beings?

    I have lots of brains, lots of ideas, and very little money, but I’ve got stuff to work with. There are things that I would like to do, things that I can do, and things that I will never be able to do. I’m not going out of my way to treat another human being like a human being because it’s surprisingly natural. It’s a little thing I’ve taken to calling “not-being-a-sociopath”.

    All right, all right. Yes, you might have had a bad day. Yes, things might not be going great in your life. Jobs suck. Deadlines loom. Cats start throwing up on your carpet. Your dad won’t let you walk out the door without trying to engage you in a game of 20 Questions. But none of those things are a reason to lose sight of what it means to be human.

    The “hello, how are you?”…not enough. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

    I’m not claiming sainthood, here. I usually kvetch to my friends, which is a burden they don’t deserve to bear, but they do, with patient grace, and they sort of signed on to seeing the Monster before the Man.

    So, when you are tempted to collect your decaf soy Carmel Macchiato in eye-contact avoiding silence, or you find yourself snarling at the grocer, maybe give Dr. Jekyll a minute to regain control, hm?

    Be human. We were born that way.