Sunday, June 27, 2010

Camping for Cancer

Yesterday, at 6:30 in the morning, I woke up, eagerly gathered my bags, and headed out for the camping trip of a lifetime. It was filled with grizzly bears, raging rivers, and the entire time we were in the middle of a giant forest. There were also flying penguins, apocalyptic meteors, and Abraham Lincoln cursing in Spanish. In reality, it was on the track of my old middle school, two minutes away from my home, and shared with countless other "campers" participating in Relay for Life. I haven't mentioned it on this blog, but for the past two months I have been fundraising on my own and as a part of my Key Club in preparation for this event. For those who don't know, Relay for Life is an event in which "teams" play games, share information about cancer, and constantly walk the track for 24 hours, symbolizing how cancer never sleeps.

I arrived slightly before 7 am, and helped set up and decorate our campsite. More of our team began filtering in, and we cheered on the cancer survivors as they took the first lap. After a quick debriefing I began walking the track, adding a bead onto my necklace for every lap I completed. For the rest of the day, I helped run games of bingo and tanned as I walked lap after sweltering lap. After hours of repetitive cover bands, we gathered to watch a couple of our classmates take the stage and perform for us. As the sun began to go down, we lit luminarias, small paper bags filled with sand and a candle and inscribed with messages of love and support. They lined the inside perimeter of the track, and were arranged on the bleachers to make a heart and spell out "hope". As it got darker, the luminarias illuminated the track, glowing and beautiful.

It grew cool quickly, but I kept warm with a light jacket and continuous walking. Every few laps I would stop to rest, and we would talk and play games and relax as the night wore on. My feet began to ache constantly, but I plodded on, intent on walking twenty miles before the night was out. Later, while walking in a group, a man ran past us, and only after a few moments did it dawn on us that he was naked. Fortunately, one of our amazing chaperones was a police officer, and our streaker was quickly apprehended. However, we all remained somewhat nervous, and the situation only grew more eerie as we saw a man on a motorbike, a suspicious man lurking by the entrance, and heard one of our teammates scream (it turned out she was only attempting to wake someone up). Finally, the campsite quieted down, and we walked on. Two extremely sore legs later, I reached my goal, and walked a few more laps for good measure. Exhausted, I retired to bed at about 4 am.

An hour and a half later, I woke up, damp and freezing, put on my glasses, and shuffled out of my tent, still in my sleeping bag. I sat down with my teammates, shivering violently, and was apparently very pale. Since my only other option was to "just stop shivering (and die)", I curled into a ball at the bottom of my sleeping bag and waited for body heat to kick in. Eventually, my teeth stopped chattering and my toes began to thaw, so I arose and helped with cleanup. We walked as a team in the final lap, signed thank-you cards for the chaperones, and settled down to wait to be picked up. My dad finally came, and I said my goodbyes, loaded up the car, went home, and promptly passed out for a good seven hours.

In the end, I personally raised over $200 for cancer research, and as a group we raised over $2700. I walked 89 laps (22.25 miles), the furthest I have ever walked at once, and despite the soreness and pain, I am honored to have walked it because every step I took was a step a victim cancer will never get to. I walked for them. We celebrated, we remembered, and we fought back. Cancer won't sleep, but neither will we, and I am proud.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blue is the Color of Awesome

So, I walk into a bar, and the bartender says, "You look a little young to be here," and I say, "Well, good sir, if you can believe it, I'm not a day under thirty," and he said, "Well, cheers then!", and we drank firewhisky until the floor fell out from under us.

In other news, I think that has been my worst introduction ever.

I was privileged enough to get to see the Blue Man Group while I was here in Las Vegas. Now, never having bothered to look into what they do, I really had no idea of what their show would be like. As far as I knew, they were creepy guys with wide eyes and blue painted skin. However, right from the beginning I knew I was in for a treat. The announcements warned me to turn off, among other things, my cell phone, skyliner wand, and portable fax machine, and that videotaping of the performance would result in the activation of the eject mechanism in my seat. The music was an amazing display of percussion, with loud, urgent rhythms and a deep bass that shook me in my seat, and a tasteful amount of supplementary electric guitar.

The display itself was amazing, with lights of every size and color, brightly colored paint and instruments. However, the most entertaining was the commentary scattered throughout, broaching subjects ranging from how to be a rock star to how our brains work. The three performers walked down the aisles, jumped over the seats, and ate Cap'n Crunch on stage. They brought a woman up on stage to eat a Twinkie, then painted a man blue, hung him upside down, and swung him into a canvas. Toilet paper fell in buckets from the ceiling, covering the crowd, and at one point, the entire crowd got up and danced. Despite all of this, there was still bits of sophisticated humor thrown in, such as crowd-pleasing acronyms such as ROFLUIPSM, which stands for "Rolling On the Floor Laughing Until I Puke and Soil Myself", and MTEM, which is an abbreviation of "My Tofurkey Exploded in the Microwave". It was an incredible show, and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a good time in Vegas.

And now it is too late and I am too tired to write a conclusion for this blog, so you can just pretend that there is a very conclusive conclusion while I sleep. Good night.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Nights

There's something exhilarating about running at night as my bare feet pad one after the other on the rough cement of the sidewalk. Faint whooshes of wind pierce the night from the main road as cars rush by, their lights briefly illuminating the street corners before disappearing into the dark. My hair flies out behind me as I come one step closer to taking off into the stars. I am weightless. I am faster than the cars, than the planes, than the wind itself, and the shadows cannot catch me.

My feet leap over the curb and picking up speed as they hurry across the road, swerving between a parked car and a petite rose bush as they fly onto the opposite sidewalk, through the cool grass and ascend rapidly up the low, wide brick stairs to the front door. I descend to earth, the lock clicks open, and I bid the night goodbye. I suddenly weigh a thousand pounds, the air that was so trivial moments ago rushing into my lungs, my face reddening, my flight over.

The cool night air is replaced by a smothering house, and I perch by the window, greedily drinking in the last of the refreshing breeze, before finally shutting the window and letting another summer night slip away.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Standing in the light of blazing lamps on the wide stage of the auditorium, I gazed up at the walls painted with more than thirty years of messages and names and artwork and absorbed the theatrical aura that radiated throughout the room. At first, it was impossible to summarize it in a single word; it was energy and intensity and drama and laughter and a hundred little inside jokes that only the thespians could understand. It was the orchestra and the balcony and the control room and backstage, and it was curtains and costumes and a starry night sky right through an open door. Even devoid of its trademark actors and actresses meandering across the well-roamed black stage, it felt of family.

It was not my family. I have my immediate family and my extended family, subdivided into my dad families and my mom family. I have my family of friends, and I have my Key Club family, my GSA family, and my babysitting family. To me, a family is made of people you wouldn't give up for the world, no matter if they were not always nice, and a family is people you love. Shielding my eyes against the bright lights in that slightly intimidating auditorium, I felt the generations of the drama family forming a collective conviction: this is the unbeatable, untamable drama family. I am not a part of this family, and though I may join Drama Club, or take the drama class to fulfill my fine arts requirement, I have the unshakable feeling that I will never be a part of this family.

I'm OK with that. I love the stage and all that is associated with it, but I'm never going to be an actress. I can only envy the one family that will never be mine, but I am fortunate enough to have many others that will guide me, and I will have to be content with that for now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Forever a Freshman

I don't think it's hit me yet that the year is over. With a busy weekend ahead, it feels exactly like it will be any other weekend, chaotic and rushed, and I'll return to school on Monday with an enormous backpack and prepare for another week of school. It hasn't sunk in yet that the seniors are no longer seniors, but college freshmen, and that they will not be returning, not on Monday, not in August, not ever. But, despite how much I'm going to miss seeing our seniors, I think the biggest mindfuck is that I'm going to be a sophomore.

Freshman year has been the closest to a religious experience I've ever gotten. The volatile mixture of hormones, pressure and enthusiasm has pushed every experience to the extreme end of the spectrum. The bonds of friendship morph from rope to steel, the fire of lust turns from a sweat-inducing red glow to a burning blue flame, and the naive demeanor of the preteen years bows to the sheer awkwardness of teenagerdom. I have realized what it means to truly have "best friends", and I have found role models in the upperclassmen. I have been humiliated and honored, rejected and sought after, and not only have I fought depression, but I've kicked its sorry ass into a pit full of rabid Dobermans. I have finally felt like I truly belonged somewhere, and that I was part of something bigger than a single freshmen class.

In the years to come, I will become an upperclassman, and watch as my friends gradually filter out to various colleges and jobs, until the day comes that it will be me in that green cap and gown, walking across that stage and beginning the journey that will take me through the rest of my life. However, part of me will always be the naive, overly enthusiastic, awkward little freshman girl, and I can only hope that the memories will remain as well. Class of 2010, I will miss you. May you find success in your endeavors that matter, and may you find happiness in whatever way suits your whims. I love each and every one of you, and I want you to know that this is not the end.

In fact, it's only the beginning.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Splatter on the ground
Hurl yourself out the window
And live life backwards

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I will be completely and 100% blunt. After much haranguing, debating and pursuing... I got into Journalism!

I got called into the guidance office at the end of fifth period, after the fairly easy second section of my Spanish final, and was told that I could be put into the class. My heart soared, little fireworks went off, and every other cliche about happiness came true. Of course, it didn't come without a price; I had to give up drama in lieu of being on the paper, which may mess with my schedule slightly over the next few years, but I know that it will be worth it in the end. I never really held out much hope for becoming an actress anyway, but there is just the slightest tinge of sadness that comes with cutting ties with another possible career, with leaving an untouched path untouched, unexplored, and forever mysterious.

But, I do know that sophomore year will be the year of discovery. This will be the year of deciding whether or not I wish to pursue writing as a career. It has never been something I have challenged before, my love of writing, but I need to experience it firsthand before I can determine if it is what I want to do for the rest of my life. However, I hold no doubt as to the fact that this is going to be an awesome year, and despite the temporary insanity that has gripped me as of late, I now can look forward to the year ahead knowing that it is going to be nothing short of amazing.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Can I Get Another Amen?

Clasp your hands together and revel in your glory
Your steepled temple, clean and warm, remains forever holy
Send up prayers to angels whom are imprisoned as pained ghosts
With blessed wine and bread stride forward and make a faithless toast
Listen to your leader pure, for it is your cross to bear
Or else surrender virtue and follow devils to despair
Speak with the men in robes whom they say are heaven-sent
And justify your faith which you have never believed in.