Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Weirdest Dream I Have Ever Had

Last night, I had a dream. (As I am wont to do while sleeping.) This dream was probably the strangest one I have ever had. It involves exotic foreign lands. It involves a nuclear accident. It involves an incredibly random assemblage of people from my life. It involves the Indianapolis Children's Choir. It shall henceforth be called the Israeli Nuclear Emergency Choir Concert Dream, and here it is in its entirety, for your reading pleasure.

It's a beautiful summer day on the beach in Jerusalem. [Ignore any geographical inconsistencies. It's a dream, people. Suspension of disbelief.] After a long day of seeing the sights, I'm lounging under a beach umbrella with my fellow travelers. My fellow travelers, of course, consist of two boys from my senior class, the girl who is the sister of one and girlfriend of the other [everyone from Logansport now knows who these three people are], an extremely random girl from the graduating class above me, someone's parents, a few other assorted people, and a baby. We're enjoying our time on this very crowded beach when suddenly, city-wide sirens begin to sound. An official-sounding voice comes over a PA system and informs us all that there has been a biological/nuclear emergency and that we must all immediately go inside. In a panic, we pack up our beach gear and join in the crowd of people rushing toward the few buildings that the government officials are ushering people into. As we are walking, the baby of the group, who is just old enough to walk on his own, attempts to make his daring escape. While it would, under some circumstances, be fun or entertaining to watch him try to run away (since, after all, we have no idea whom this baby actually belongs to), our status of being in the midst of a biological emergency incites me to snatch him up into my arms, and we continue along.

We are led up a flight of stairs and in a side door of a building just up the hill from the beach. We walk through the building, past lockers, classrooms, and a general layout that puts me in the mind of a Catholic high school built sometime in - and slowly falling apart since - the 70s. During our remarkably long walk through the building, we cross paths with the Notre Dame women's basketball team. For some reason that I cannot explain, there are at least thirty girls on the team, and, besides Skylar Diggins, who is wearing her customary #4, they are all rocking #23 jerseys. The girls and I exchange waves and hellos, since they all clearly know that I go to Notre Dame, and this kinship bond brings us together in this time of nuclear emergency. At long last, we arrive at our destination within this school-bunker-building. In a move that somehow surprises no one, the room we enter is a near-perfect replica of the basketball arena of the JACC. The seats and ND logos printed around the place are spot-on. In fact, the place looks pretty much exactly how one would expect the JACC to look, were it transplanted into a dirty old high school in Jerusalem and also sliced in half. My travel crew sits down more or less together, because if any occasion didn't call for a group sticking together, it's a nuclear emergency.

 More people file in, and two things become evident. The first is that you are only allowed to hide out in this particular JACC-bunker if you have some connection with Notre Dame or, more generally, the state of Indiana. The second is that there are an abnormally huge number of people vacationing in Israel on this fine summer's day who have a connection with Indiana. Once everyone is seated, a man who apparently is the official emergency control man for this JACC-bunker heads down to the court to give everyone a short pep talk and generally keep us entertained. I look around and notice that the touring group of my parents' own Logansport Children's Choir would appear to be seated to my immediate right. Upon further investigation, I discover that it is actually the Indianapolis Children's Choir; they are just wearing pirated LCC uniforms, from which they have ripped out the "Logansport" embroidery and sewn in "Indianapolis." Apparently, in this strange alternate universe where I vacation in nuclear-war-torn Israel, choir-on-choir uniform violence is a thing. To our left is the entire directorial staff of the ICC, none of whom will acknowledge my presence, despite the fact that they definitely all know me. [Note: this actually happens in real life when I see them, too.] Behind them sits a small group of friends headed up by a young Alan Cumming. As we chat with them, it comes to light that young Alan Cumming is a close personal friend of our high school French teacher - a completely logical fact over which we immediately bond. Our emergency-control leader man continues telling jokes on the microphone. Young Alan Cumming continues telling us stories about our French teacher. The ICC kids, you know, probably sing or something.

While all of this is going on, I look out the wall of windows immediately beyond the court. Outside, the scene looks something like an excerpt from a bad apocalypse type movie. Cops and haz-mat suit guys are running around looking unproductive. I notice that the pools visible outside our building - of which there are around seven, for some inexplicable reason - still each contain ten or so "children." Because this is something I would think of in real life, I immediately realize that these "children" are actually robots planted in the pools to make it look like people are having fun. "Ohhhh," I think to myself, "Of course!"

At some point after all of this happens, an Inception-style transition occurs, and I am briefly in a magically clean, glittery New York City with two very random Folk Choir people. Where this fits into the rest of the story, I do not know, because in the blink of a metaphorical dream-eye, I am back in Israel. This time, the JACC-bunker has been converted to a concert hall. We have found a side entrance to the JACC-bunker and converted it to a mini-museum. A museum for what, you ask? The history of the Logansport (really Logansport this time) Children's Choir, of course! Because, in perhaps the most logical move of the whole ordeal, we have decided to hold the LCC 25th anniversary concert there. In Jerusalem. So I escort my grandmother - who, though she needs assistance to walk through a museum, has made the flight all the way to Israel for an hour-long concert - through the museum exhibit and into the JACC. I take my seat in the auditorium and watch the beginning of the proceedings. The auditorium is completely full, entirely of people from Logansport. While most of the people involved in the concert are wearing their LCC uniforms or are otherwise dressed formally, one of the emcees is dressed in a sexy witch Halloween costume. As far as I know, the nuclear threat is still ongoing and real, we've just chosen to survive it by staying inside and holding a choir concert.

Then, at the end of the dream, I meet a hot, rich Jewish supermodel who falls so deeply in love with me that he agrees to convert to Catholicism, and we live happily ever after.

Just kidding about that last part.

The end.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Carolers in the Nighttime

Yesterday afternoon, I was minding my own business in the car on the way to the Tippecanoe Mall when I received a text message. I guessed at some things this could have been - my RA sending me another picture of Kardashian book she'd bought herself, one of the many friends I haven't talked to in a while informing me I haven't talked to them in a while, or (most likely, since these are the only texts I ever really get) some Cass County Alert text - and opened it to discover that it was pretty much the last thing I could ever have guessed. The sender wasn't a surprise, but the message was: "Caroling tonight. Let me know if you're in."

Have you met me? Of course I'm in.

I agreed to bring carol books and was informed that, as the only person in the group with 19 solid years of caroling experience, I would be providing some serious help in orchestrating the evening. After wrapping up our very-last-second Christmas shopping trip and making a guest appearance as an alto at church choir practice, I headed over to caroling HQ. The (extremely) ragtag crew, assembled in the kitchen, consisted of a pair of bass-singing brothers; one soprano who sings melody like sopranos are supposed to on carols; one soprano (me) whose sole knowledge of Christmas carols is a set of descants that clash horrendously with Swing Choir harmonies; one alto who, as a non-Swing Choir alum, was sort of out of luck when we attempted Swing Choir arrangements; one poor guy who was never in choir at all and basically had to grab whatever notes he could find all night; and four tenors, who came armed with four different levels of recollection of Christmas carol tenor parts. We each took a carol book and one of the battery-operated candles the organizer's mom gave us, and, in our mini-army of Ford Escapes, we set off.

Our first stop being unsuccessful, we decided to give the Boulevard a shot. For my non-Berry readers, the Boulevard is one of Logansport's main streets and serves as the center of the neighborhood in town that is the most likely to agree with us that "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." Having arrived thus, we started on a remarkably convoluted walking path including, for my Logansport readers, both Roselawns, large swaths of North Pennsylvania, and the full intra-Roselawn distance of High Street. We stopped at our old gym teacher's house, my grandmother's house, the head football coach's house, and a handful of other unsuccessful spots (singing through the streets the entire time) before heading over - in our cars this time - to our last residential stop, our alto's grandma's house. After grandmother the second, we decided that, since it was well past 10 at this point, the only logical next stop was a flash mob at Walmart.

We loitered in Grandma's driveway for a while to plan, settled on "Let It Snow" as initiated by the non-me soprano, and headed to Walmart. We walked in, more or less separately, and awkwardly scattered throughout the apparel section. I was rifling through a rack of fantastic Christmas sweaters and noticing that our audience looked like it'd consist of some cashiers and maybe eight shoppers when the song began. We pulled it off way better than I thought we were going to do, scared a few high school dropout types out of the store with our Christmas cheer, and exited, accompanying ourselves with a far less stellar rendition of "Holly Jolly Christmas." Back at the Escape army parked outside, we congratulated ourselves on a job well done and decided we'd try it again over at McDonald's.

After arriving at McDonald's and seeing the clientele inside, we decided McDonald's was a bad idea.

The next stop we thought we'd try was the always-reliable Pizza Hut. The four cop cars parked outside were somewhat nerve-wracking, but we walked in anyway, mid-"First Noel." We sang all three verses and walked back out, to the applause of everyone present (except the cops). We walked next door to Applebee's and sang for the dozen or so people left at the bar, then wisely chose to jaywalk across Market Street to sing "Joy to the World" at KFC. Back in the cars, we headed over to China Lane and found, much to our chagrin, that it was closed. Since it was nearing eleven and we figured we wouldn't find many more caroler-friendly businesses in town still open, we decided to call it a night. We caravan-ed our way back to our organizer's house, where we traded all the most interesting stories of our Berry and post-Berry lives for three hours before going our separate ways. In all, it was the most ridiculous and wonderful night I've had in a long time - and if there's anything we learned from it, it's that these guys' lives could make a fantastic book. Boys, you may consider this my application to ghostwrite for you. I personally think this chapter would fit in just perfectly between, say, the Barlow Beater and Scotty-Kyle Fight One? So, you know, think it over. :) And if you ever want to go caroling again, let it be known that I am SO in.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Parties Stress Me Out

Upon reading this title, you may be thinking to yourself, "Sarah, how could you be stressed out by Christmas parties? You're 19 and you live in a single - you've never had to host a Christmas party in your life!" That is completely correct. Therefore, the stress these parties inflict upon me is even worse than you were thinking it was. I only have to be around them in order to practically start breaking out in hives. Call me a grinch if you want, but it's a simple fact: I rarely want to even touch Christmas parties with a 49 1/2-foot pole.

Let's start with college-style Christmas parties. As frequent readers of my blog and/or my friends know, parties in general are not really my forte. They're fun, don't get me wrong. But think of all the stresses involved! Who should I go with? What time should I get there? Will there be people there I know? What if the cabs at main circle don't have enough room for us all? So many questions. At Christmas, it's even worse. It's cold outside, so the question arises of whether to bust out the cute skirt and risk hypothermia or stay warm but settle for jeans. You have to deal with Christmas sweaters, too, which is complicated. Obviously, you can't repeat a sweater. At some point, you will be forced to borrow a sweater from someone else, meaning you now have to be extra-careful with it, because whoever you borrowed it from  probably has to return it to her grandmother. In other words, college Christmas parties are one giant hot mess of stress to deal with.

Then there are the Christmas parties of the rest of the world. You know the ones - you clean up the house or rent a space somewhere, you invite a bunch of people over, you make a table full of hors d'oeuvres, you throw on the holiday Josh Groban, and you hobnob for several hours. These parties are the worst of them all. As choir directors, my parents have two of these every year: one for the all-adults church choir and one for the high school show choir. This year, these two stress-fests happen to fall within three days of each other. My house is in full party-prep mode, and I am about ready to rip the perfectly-arranged garland off of our mantle and strangle myself. I don't even know if it's humanly possible to strangle oneself, but I'm game to give it a shot.

The church choir party is unquestionably the worse of these two. Now that I go to college "far away" in the "big city" of South Bend, these people only get to see me about three times a year, and this party is their only chance to actually have a conversation with me. And converse they do. They ask me how college is going. I never quite know how to answer that question. My grades are, like, pretty good or something, but I feel like a huge jerk if I actually tell them that. They already know everything about the choir I'm in, so I can't really tell them much about that. I have nothing to say to these people. Generally, the "Yeah, it's great" that I muster up probably leaves them thinking I'm completely miserable at college. Nope. I am only miserable here and now in my living room. This year's party was somewhat resurrected by the grandbaby that someone brought along, who was hobbling around being cute the whole time, but even that stressed me out - the baby's parents were in my high school graduating class. Thank you, cute baby, for the reminder that people my age are adults now or something, while I continue to be pretty much the farthest thing from "adult" that has ever existed. At one point in this party, somebody plugged their camcorder into our television, and I was forced to watch fifteen minutes worth of choir concert home video. At three points, I was so overwhelmed that I snuck away to my room for fifteen-minute Pinterest breaks. Tonight is the show choir party, and honestly, I'm too traumatized thinking about the last party to even think of anything witty to say about this one. The food's a little better for the 15- to 18-year-old set, so that's a plus. I still predict copious amounts of Pinterest-ing.

A few days ago, the children's choir sang - and I tagged along to take pictures - at a Christmas party that looked like a decent idea. It was populated by most of the rich people in town and held at the recently-opened local winery/let's-not-kid-ourselves-this-is-a-BAR. It was cool, I suppose. You wouldn't have to worry, as the host, about making the food or cleaning up the house or anything. However, you would have to worry, at the end of the night, a bunch of drunk forty-somethings somehow getting home and making a decent impression on their teeny-bopper babysitters. Ultimately, I feel like it'd be kind of like a college party, but it's socially unacceptable to show up in a reindeer sweater you picked up at Salvo. All around, then, this one still isn't ideal.

Family Christmas parties are an entirely different brand of "shoot me now," and I'll cross that bridge when I am inevitably forced to come to it. The moral of this story, though, is that I literally cannot deal with Christmas parties. When I grow up, I hope to eventually be rich enough to have people on my personal staff who can do things like plan parties FOR me, because I just don't think I can handle the stress of planning one on my own. So, future friends, remember: I will come to your parties. I will buy you nice presents. I will make you lovely Christmas cards from the DIY instructions I found during all those old Pinterest breaks. Just please, do not ask me to host next year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Le Semestre En Rose

Hello again, dear readers. First, I would like to apologize for the lengthy break between my last post and this one. While I may not use study days for much real work, I do occasionally have to study during finals week itself. But now, my finals are over, and it's time for Law & Order SVU, sitting around doing nothing, and, of course, writing a new blog post. I figured that, as my third semester is now officially done, the only appropriate topic this evening was a semester review. And let me tell you, my semester has been pretty great.

(Also, in honor of the new Facebook layout, I've decided to write this one timeline-style.)

August 17: Move in. Approach death attempting to make with the twenty thousand trips up to the fourth floor carrying all of your earthly possessions. For the next four days, try unsuccessfully to balance Frosh-O staff with Folk Choir. Cry. Wonder why on earth you agreed to live on the fourth floor of this un-air conditioned, God-forsaken dorm.

August 24: Start classes. Realize that this academic semester may actually be less stressful than the last week.

September 2-4: Go to Iowa for your cousin's wedding. Swoon a lot over how cute everything is. Make mental note that you are not allowed to have navy blue bridesmaids' dresses at your wedding, because that has now already been done in your family. Shake fist at sky.

September 9: Walk around campus with Folk Choir sophomores. Sing for random lovers outside the library. Love your life so, so much. Remember this date three months later because you are so organized, you wrote it into your iCal. Shake your head at yourself three months later for being such a nerd.

September 20: Take your first theology exam ever. Realize that you are actually kind of good at theology. Laugh.

September 30: Go to Howard Hoedown. Sing obnoxiously/be exactly what Jenna Marbles discusses in "White Girls in the Club." Next day, go to Purdue for football game. Almost end up in a lynch mob because you brought your Purdue friend into the ND student section. Hit yourself for being an idiot. Lose your voice completely for the next week. Complain a lot about having no voice.

October 7-8: Totter for Water. Sit outside seesawing for 24 hours in inexplicable 85-degree weather. Despite how much fun this sounds like, it will actually slowly eat away at your soul. However, you'll take a lot of really cute pictures, so it will be worth it.

October 11: Take second Logic exam. Somehow get a 102/100. Laugh for a really long time. Remind yourself that this class is not real math.

October 22: Start blog. Your life is now infinitely better, and everyone finally realizes how hilarious you are. SCORE.

October 28: Commence Halloweekend. (Please see blog post.) The Monday after, write two papers in something like 5 hours. Get As on both of them anyway. Love your life.

November 10: Compete in Miss ND. Sing song about stalker-dom...with a lisp. Come in third. Wonder how on earth that just happened. Write a blog post about it anyway.

November 19: On day of BC game (last home game of the semester), start off with a lecture on John Paul II, then leave campus to go watch your sister's high school play. Complain a lot about it, but enjoy it anyway. Sleep in your own bed at home and laugh at everyone back in the dorms.

Somewhere around Thanksgiving: Realize that you might actually be obsessed with your RA...in the least creepy way possible. Talk with friends about "fourth floor magic." Recognize that you live in the best section in any dorm on campus.

December 10: Go to Glee Club concert. Swoon. Watch the quiet, tone-deaf people around you give you weird looks on the audience sing-along numbers.  Swoon some more. Decide on a whim to go to Glee Club House that night...on the Saturday of study days. Kick yourself a million times for doing this. Stop just short of regretting it, because you just watched the director of the Glee Club take a peppermint pattie, and that is the best thing you will ever witness.

December 14: Participate in spontaneous Just Dance party with most of the fourth floor on the night before your last final. Casually dominate. Absolutely demolish any hope of quiet hours, but don't bother caring, because the RA is right in there with you. Love your life SO. MUCH.

December 16: Go home after the best third semester of college probably ever had, two years to the day after receiving your acceptance letter from Notre Dame. Pat yourself on the back for your incredible timing. Write a blog post about it, because somehow over the course of this semester, that has become "what you do". Continue to complain that Time magazine has once again failed to name you Person of the Year. Wait for Christmas. And oh yeah...SLEEP.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Study Days Are a Joke

For the past few days, I've been sitting around, trying to think of something to write a funny blog post about. I had a few options in mind - personality profiles based on choice of study spaces, types of finals schedules and public reactions to them, the procrastinatory powers of Facebook - but it recently occurred to me that they all essentially shared a common theme: study days and what a total joke they are. For my non-Notre Dame readers, study days here consist of (for the totally unjust fall semester) the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before finals, when there are no classes and supposedly no official university events scheduled. The point is to give us students some extra time to study. The reality, however, is that it's three days of total mayhem and foolishness.

Let's start with the university's actual schedule during these three days. Lots of professors like to make their projects due during study days, and a good number of classes somehow even have study-day exams. So let's just throw the idea out the window right now that the only academic activity of this weekend is hours upon hours of reading and notecard making. Then there's the concert schedule. Pretty much every non-Folk Choir music group on campus has a concert at some point this weekend. The people in the concerts, then, are clearly a little busy. The guys in the Undertones have four concerts to sing in, for Christ's sake. This conflict with studying, of course, is not reserved for the performers, either. The Glee Club and the Undertones both have their winter concerts during study days, so God knows there is not a girl on this campus who won't be giving up a couple solid hours of study time to that beautiful, beautiful cause. There's a bunch of other things scheduled, too, but I'm too distracted listening to Under the Mistletones to remember what they are.

Then there's the unofficial events scheduled this weekend. Obviously, if you give a college campus three days without any real responsibilities but handling an impending sense of doom over the looming week of final exams, said campus will respond by scheduling more parties and going on more bar crawls than on any other weekend of the year. There's Thursday night, when classes are over but study days haven't technically begun. This, of course, means that everyone and their brother will decide that it is the perfect time to go out. "But like...there's no class tomorrow!" Then there's Friday and Saturday nights, which, you know, are Friday and Saturday nights. Furthermore, it finally snowed today, so everyone will feel the need to go out and celebrate by Tweeting about it excessively and, of course, getting out-of-their-minds drunk. Lots of people probably said at some point Friday afternoon that they're not going out tonight. Most of these people have probably since changed their minds, and are currently off wrapping up a pregame somewhere. (Note: I am not among that group. I'm sitting in my room, in sweatpants, writing a blog post. Oh, and I'm still not pregnant.)

Finally, there are, I'm sure, people somewhere on this campus who are actually getting substantial amounts of studying done during study days. Said people may think they are proof positive that study days are not a joke. Well, my friends, you would be wrong. The joke is, in fact, on you. There are a lot of people on this campus - far more than there are of you guys - who are going to get a decent amount of studying done this weekend while still spending plenty of time having fun, sleeping, and/or wasting time doing stupid stuff. A good number of the people who do study for these entire 72 hours will, inevitably, still manage to not do that well on their finals, which will suck. Also inevitably, there will be at least a handful of stupid jerks we'll all hate who will spend the majority of these three days totally obliterated and will still manage to get As on their finals. And come next Friday, we will all be done with our finals and going home, and life will move on regardless of whether you spent more time this weekend at Club Hesburgh or Club Fever.

So, this weekend, I intend to do moderate amounts of studying, do a lot of Facebook creeping, go to the Glee Club concert and a few meetings and stuff, and watch Chelsea Lately. (Actually, I'm doing that last one right now. And, for the record, one of the comedians just described a recent night of hers where the guy she was with showed up drunk and then made her pay for the cab, and the whole audience and even the sassiest of sassy people, Chelsea Handler, "awww"-ed and talked about how horrible it was. Please see my post "Dear Boys," and feel free to leave your "aww"s in the comments.) Then during the week, I have every intention of studying on the night before each exam and then leaving each successive one feeling more confident about it than all of you who studied all weekend. BOOM.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


So it came to my attention while I was sitting alone in my dorm room in my pajamas this afternoon that apparently, there's a rumor circulating that my eggo is preggo. Obviously, this is the single most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. To be extremely clear, this rumor is completely, hilariously false. Allow me to tell you why.

Let's begin with a summary of my day today. It was a pretty exciting and atypical Saturday, you see, because I actually left my dorm. After a long night of Mrs. Doubtfire-watching last night, I got into bed, very much alone, and set my alarm for 10 am. At 10, my alarm went off, I laughed, turned it off, and went back to bed. At around noon, I finally rolled out of bed. By around 1:30, I had decided to finally change out of my pajamas...into sweatpants and a T-shirt, also known as essentially more pajamas. I sat in my room all afternoon, writing a sentence here and there of the paper I'm writing on the significance of the Resurrection, Facebook creeping through all the newly-minted Christmas profile pictures people have put up, and listening to the new CD released by the liturgical choir I sing in. Then I heard about this pregnancy rumor thing, laughed for a really long time, and went out to tell my neighbors. They, too, found it hilarious, and then invited me to make a Target and Panera Bread run with them. I agreed, and now we're back in the dorm, sitting in my RA's room as usual, listening to Justin Bieber and shopping for nail polish online.

This is the life that I live, people. Where a pregnancy fits into this equation, I do not know. But in case you still see room for it, let me tell you some more about how I live my life. I've gone to probably ten "real" parties - in my entire college career. Last night, I went out with my friends, dressed, as my dorm-mates claim, like a "sexy reindeer." This is not quite accurate. I wore a skirt for once. And a long-sleeved crewneck T-shirt. And antlers. And eyeliner, for about the third time this semester. Dream big. We went to one party - in a dorm - had a lovely time for about 20 minutes awkwardly standing in a corner and turning down drink offers, then came back to the dorm and, as I alluded to earlier, watched Mrs. Doubtfire. That's a pretty average "going out" night for me. During the week, every spare second I have between classes and homework (in case you've forgotten, I so happen to be an honors student at a top 20 university), choir practice, and meetings of my dorm's Spiritual Life Council is spent either on Facebook, sitting in my RA's room, writing this blog, or sleeping. (Alone.) There is nothing I am doing during my week that could possibly lead to me getting pregnant. TRUST ME.

They say that there's an ounce of truth behind every rumor. In this case, I'm not sure where on earth you're getting it. Maybe you think I look fat in my recent pictures on Facebook. Cool. Your prerogative. It's probably because my neighbor keeps peer pressuring me into eating cookies and cheesy breadsticks all hours of the day (you know who you are!). Maybe you read here on my blog all the brilliant insights I have on the male species and assumed they must all be falling at my feet. Nope. In all probability, whoever you are that made this up, you're kind of a creative genius. I'd be offended by this rumor if I weren't laughing so hard. I commend you on your ability to come up with this tale, because it is so comically far from the truth. You're pretty funny. So way to go. Next time you start a pregnancy rumor about someone, though, maybe go for a girl for whom a pregnancy could be a non-immaculate conception. Oh, and to anyone who heard this rumor and actually believed it? You are an idiot.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Love Indiana

There. I said it. Technically, as those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I have now said it twice today. And I'll say it again. Like Buddy the Elf, "I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!" I have spent most of my life hating my hometown and making fun of all that it and my state have to offer. I have recently realized, though, that while there is certainly plenty to make fun of, Logansport and, more broadly, Indiana, are actually pretty darn great.

It all began a few days ago when, as per usual, I was hanging out in my RA's room. The omnipresent crowd of girls was there, making cards or watching Friendzone or doing something equally girls' dorm-y. To fill a silence that had emerged, I was telling the latest ridiculous story to come out of my hometown. When I finished, my RA said something that surprised me but that immediately earned my agreement: "You love Logansport." I responded that I do indeed, and the conversation carried on. The exchange got me thinking, though. I cannot even begin to count the number of times, primarily (though by no means exclusively) in high school, that I have said, "I hate Logansport." Unquestionably, there is a lot there to arouse feelings of chagrin. Stories of meth addicts and idiot criminals frequently grace the pages of the grammatical-error-ridden Pharos-Tribune, each successive senior class is home to at least a large handful of teen moms, cowboys are shockingly common, and even the classy folk consider The Buckle haute couture and a trip to Myrtle Beach the ultimate in vacation luxury.

At the same time, though, there are many things about LA (consider the middle-school pun on "Logansport Area" resurrected) that, as my RA was apt to point out, I'm pretty obsessed with. For one thing, our mascot is the Berries. The Berries, people. Think about that for a minute. The best part about that - aside from the fact that our actual physical, costumed mascot is, inexplicably, Felix the Cat - is that there's an actual story to it (as there is for Felix, but whatever). It's a pun, see? The Loganberry is a real fruit! Logan Berries is, like, super clever! I cannot get enough of explaining that story to people. I also love the opportunities Logansport affords its residents simply by being a small town. I recall seeing a few  tweets lately from the whiny high schooler crowd complaining about Logansport being a "name game town." While I could understand frustrations with the honest drawbacks to such a system if they existed - which, I regret to inform you, they do not in this case - I LOVE that. I love that, on any day of the year, I can come home to Logansport and bring up the same names I've known since birth, with the same results. I love the fact that certain names will always be associated with basketball prowess at the various county schools and that certain families will almost always produce valedictorians or, alternatively, felons. I love that, according to an incredible genealogy website I recently discovered, my name appeared in the Pharos-Tribune over 100 times before my fifteenth birthday. I love the Shriners riding around on their little shriner-mobiles at every parade for the last 80 years. I love Voorhees photography, and B&K hot dogs, and All Saints Catholic School, and churros from the Panaderia. And yeah, I even love that my upbringing has provided the small-talk fodder of a sub-80% graduation rate, a seemingly plus-80% teen pregnancy rate, and a senior class from which probably half go to college. [Note: these statistics are coming from my own mind, they are not actual data of any kind.] Because how many of my Notre Dame classmates can say they went to a high school like that?

In short, the answer to that question is "not many." Tonight, though, I went to a meeting with a few who can. For another great thing about Logansport is that it's small enough to allow a student like me to earn an incredible scholarship that sent her to the school of her dreams. And for about 40 other ND students, Indiana did the same thing. I met tonight with some of the students here on the same merit scholarship as mine, and I left practically beaming. They reminded me of my love of the state of Indiana. I sat there and listened as we talked about the IU-Purdue rivalry, our respective hometowns whose locations, for once, no one needed to explain, and our high school's FFA Appreciation Weeks and Ride Your Tractor to School Days (note: LHS had neither of those, thank God). Indiana, as non-Indianan writers from Parks and Recreation to 13 the Musical have latched onto actively, is a model "country state." We're not as obnoxiously southern as an Alabama, and not quite as hopelessly rural as a Wyoming. We're just kind of there. At the same time, though, we casually have a top 20 university, the twelfth-largest city in the Union, one of the most universally respected Senators in history (it helps that he has in fact been in the Senate for most of the nation's history), and the right to claim celebrities from Michael Jackson to David Letterman to Cole freaking Porter as our own. (The absence of women from that list is a problem that will be ameliorated once I write my best-seller and/or become the next Chelsea Handler.) I love all the actually cool things about Indiana, and I love that I can say that I've achieved all that I have despite the fact that I've had to endure all the terrible things about it - including 7 or so years of attendance at the Indiana State Fair, which I am quite certain is akin to Chinese water torture. I'm confident that the only three football teams I will ever remotely care about are the Berries, the Fighting Irish, and the "how-did-this-happen" worst team in the league, the Colts. My home will forever be here on the banks of the Wabash, and, frankly, I'm happy about it.

In summation, the state of Indiana and the city-town of Logansport are probably two of my favorite things in the world. Much like yours truly, they're ridiculous and they're wonderful all at the same time. There's a good chance that the career path I plan on pursuing will more likely lead me to New York City than to New Albany. But if anyone ever tries to tell me I'm not as cool or as talented as a Californian or an east coast prep-school grad because I hail from the Hoosier State, I might just punch them in the face. After all, there's more than corn in Indiana. There's Indiana Beach, and there is Sarah M. Cahalan.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Confessions of a Thanksgiving Break Slacker

If you live or have ever lived in the good ol' U.S. of A., you are well aware that the past 4-7 days (depending on how kind your school or workplace administrators are) comprised that glorious holiday, Thanksgiving break. In fact, if you're a high school or college student worth your salt, you are probably at this very moment avoiding all the homework you didn't do over break by reading this post. For your reading pleasure, I thought I would share with you all a few secrets from my days off. Yes, like Usher, these are my confessions - and don't worry, my chick on the side does not, in fact, have one on the way.

Let's start with the obvious one: homework. I brought my backpack home with me for break, stuffed moderately full with the books from which I've missed readings in the past few weeks and the laptop where all the rest of my missed reading assignments lay in wait. I had really great intentions on the homework front, but unsurprising Confession #1 is that I did absolutely none of it. That's not to say I was completely unproductive...well...okay, actually, it is to say exactly that.

The strangest series of events that filled my homework-less break time came about on Wednesday night. My sister had some friends over, and, when the first one went to leave, she pulled out of our driveway and backed directly into the ditch across the road. Most people would probably express some kind of concern at such an occurrence. But Confession #2 - you guessed it - is that I may or may not have responded with laughter. In my defense, no one was hurt, the car wasn't damaged, and after 20 minutes of discussions, flashlight-shining, phone call-making, and manual labor from a 7-person moving team, the car was successfully removed from the ditch without even calling a tow truck. Thus, being one of the worst drivers I've ever met, I feel that I have every right to laugh a bit. And hey, I waited a whole four days to blog about it! She should consider herself lucky for that if nothing else.

Oh. Confession #2B is that, immediately after this, I accidentally let my fewer-than-six-months-licensed sister illegally drive one of her friends around town. Unlike a lot of people in Ltown, though, this is actually the only illegal thing I did all break. I am rule-follower; hear me roar.

Confession #3 pertains to the truly ridiculous level of laziness I succumbed to during this break. I watched three movies...on the first day. (I think the total is somewhere around 7. I lost count somewhere between Bridesmaids and Elf.) I consumed approximately my body weight in turkey alone, not to even mention the millions of side dishes and desserts that kept miraculously appearing on plates in front of me. I woke up at pretty reasonable hours, but considering the latest I went to bed all week was 11:30, I wouldn't exactly call that a victorious battle in the anti-laziness war.

One of the few things I did all week that involved me actually leaving my house and interacting with humans who aren't my relatives was going to a basketball game at my high school on Saturday night. (Go Berries.) And Confession #4, inevitably, is that I watched pretty much no basketball during the entire second half. Instead, I sat back with an older, (slightly) taller iteration of the pilgrim from my last post and talked about everyone from our graduating class and what they've all been up to since we bid adieu to LHS. If you're a classmate of mine fretting over this news, I wouldn't worry much - if you're reading my blog, you're probably one of the chosen few for whom we had good reviews. [Note: that rhyme was purely unintentional. But hey, watch out, Poetry Writing for Majors spring 2012.] I'd be more concerned if you're reading this as a current member of the LHS boys' basketball team - because we do not believe that you are 6'2".

Appropriately, my last confession comes from mass this morning. For my non-Catholic or obliviously Catholic readers, today was the first day of masses using the new translation of the Roman Missal. In other words, all the phrases we mindlessly rattled off during the mass are now completely different and tricking Catholics everywhere. Confession #5, then? I may or may not have spoken every newly-translated line like I was reading from a play script. "The Lord be with you," you say? Aaaand with your spirit, Padre Miguel! Okay, so I didn't say Padre Miguel. Out loud. But I did throw in some fun inflections here and there. My bad. In my defense, I do remember things better if I say them in weird ways; just ask my RA about how I sang my way through her homework last week. But yeah yeah, I know, sanctity of the mass, etc. I promise I won't do it again...soon.

In summation, bless me, readers, for I have sinned. This is part 1 of my confessions. Unlike Usher, though, I have no plans of boring you with parts two and three. You're welcome. Now go eat some leftovers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

In the category of "things you should've seen coming," I present to you a brief list of the things I am thankful for this holiday season.

1. The fact that people actually read this blog. How ridiculous is that, honestly?
1B. My dedicated readers, especially all the Howard Hall staff; the ladies of the fourth floor; my favorite penguino-loving, Asian-named Mexican; my favorite Logan Berry turned Wentworth Leopard turned Purdue Boilermaker; and my favowite wittle pilgwim:

2. Jenna Marbles
3. Spotify, not so much because it allows me to be cheap & legally avoid buying music, but because it provides such interesting insights into the lives of all of my Facebook friends...because I am creepy.
4. School breaks dedicated to holidays revolving solely around food
5. Ryan Gosling
6. The fact that the Kohl's Black Friday ads have Rebecca Black's "Friday" accompanying them...oh wait.
7. Native Americans, because they provide us with great films like Pocahontas and great photographs like this:

7B. Cultural insensitivity
8. Sycamore ice cream stored in the freezer during the off-season
9. Crewneck sweatshirts, because hoodies are for losers
10. The Book of Mormon (whether I mean the musical or the bible is up to you)
11. Everything Joel Stein has ever written, ever
12. The fact that I no longer look like this:

13. Khloe Kardashian, for telling me that headdresses are acceptable to wear in daily life
14. The Eli Lilly corporation and the Cass County Community Foundation - don't wur-E guyz, eye iz doin gr8 @ noter daym
15. Theology professors who cancel three weeks of class and replace tests with 100%s for everyone
16. Whoever decided that the Folk Choir needs to go to a certain city in a certain country for a certain football game next fall
17. Having an RA who enjoys keeping her residents from doing their homework and listening to me talk whenever she has her door open.
18. My recent (read: made-right-now) discovery that there is a character on NCIS Los Angeles who is an actual human representation of Edna Mode from The Incredibles.
19. People who partake in Facebook status gimmicks like "Truth Is," because they make the decision of who to put on that "hide from my News Feed" list so much easier
20. Idina Menzel
21. Mean Girls
22. Wedges, for saving me from a life in which I'm forced to wear miserable heels to be tall
23. The fact that my family does not partake in Black Friday shopping, because I would rather die than get up in the wee hours of the morning to go deal with coupon-loving hillbillies
24. Sperrys, North Face jackets, and Anthropologie sweaters, for allowing me to convince my Notre Dame peers that I'm as rich as them
25. Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Judgment Days

When you live your life as me, pretty much every day could be called Judgment Day. An embarrassingly huge portion of each of my days is spent judging the ridiculous people I'm forced to interact with or being judged by people who get to witness the equally ridiculous things I do all the time. The past few days, however, have been overflowing with opportunities for judgment. So many strange and/or interesting things have happened that I couldn't even pick just one to talk about - so you're about to hear them all.

We'll start with all the things from the past few days for which people have probably been judging me. Take Thursday night, for instance. I went to Folk Choir practice as usual, and afterwards, I went to the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn. Yeah, I said it. Me, my RA, a few (awesome) sophomores, one of our ARs, one brave junior, and a bunch of freshmen headed over to the movie theater at 10 pm, homework in tow, and picked out our seats for the first showing of the new Twilight movie. I know that's a decision that a lot of people will laugh at, so I guess it's too bad I have no shame. I've read the books, I like the series, and Taylor Lautner is a god. Go ahead and judge me, haterz. Then there was yesterday. I skipped the last home game of the season to go home for the night. In my defense (because normally, let's not kid around, I'd judge myself for that one), this was only to see my sister perform the title role in Oliver at our high school. But still. I missed, among other things, Regis Philbin, Jon Bon effing Jovi, Brady Quinn, Chicago (the band), and, oh yeah, the last home football game until September 2012. I have a feeling that more than a few of my friends were thinking I'm pretty nuts for going home last night. Once again, I must repeat: I do not care. It was a great show; I got to hang around backstage (yeah, judge me for that too, people); and I got a delicious homemade breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes. Oh, and on that topic, yes, I eat like a small child. Judge away.

Of course, I've also come across some good judgments in the past few days. A certain intoxicated tenor who shall remain nameless called me bodacious on Friday, so, you know, that works. My high school English teacher asked me how school was going and proceeded to tell me I was an entirely too gifted writer to not pursue it as a career. So I mean, hey - if you're going to judge me with those results, feel free! Or if you're deciding I'm a total freak, really. If I was worried about people judging me, I would disconnect my Spotify account from Facebook before listening to the JBiebs Christmas CD on repeat.

Then there are the great opportunities I've had to judge other people in the past few days. Let's begin with Friday afternoon. Now, Ke$ha may have the famous line, "Tonight we're goin' ha-a-a-a-a-ard," but that did not stop several of my friends from goin' hard this Friday at 4 in the afternoon. This resulted in judgment all over the PLACE. First, there was a certain nameless best friend of mine who was attempting to earn herself a new boyfriend in the form of every person she saw or even thought of - even if said person was a girl, or, say, a 17-year-old ginger she's never met. Mostly, this was just hilarious. Normal people may have been judging her for this, but the only judgment I was really making was, "Good to know I have fantastic taste in BFFs." Then there was the obliterated freshman I escorted to dinner. It's a proven fact that drunk dining hall is the quickest way known to man to get huge crowds of people judging you harder than Simon Cowell judges/judged "singers" on American Idol. And this trip on Friday night was no exception. Typical, sober Sarah was just minding her own business, trying to serve herself some lukewarm DH pizza, and obliterated freshman insisted on calling out everyone in the place he'd ever met in his life and generally making an idiot of himself. I was just there to keep him out of trouble, really, but as he said, "I can feel you judging me right now, Sarah." Yes. Yes, you can.

Then there was the play last night. Fully-grown adults sitting behind me who sat with your legs dangled over the seats in front of you the whole time? Judging you (and feeling very tempted to steal one of your shoes and throw it, just to spite you). Lighting guys who left one poor soloist in the dark for her whole song? Judging you. Mom behind me who refused to tell her kid to shut up and/or to take her out into the lobby? JUDGING YOU SO HARD. Recent LHS grads returned home from college with a few extra pounds or a really weird haircut? Yup, judging you, too. Kid from my first post who broke my thumb last time I came home and spent all of last night complimenting me on my sweater and my eyeliner? Judg-- haha, just kidding; keep pilin' on those compliments, buddy! You know, I've been meaning to tell my dad-your choir director that you deserve a solo....

Okay, back to the post.

The moral of the story is that the past few days have involved more judging of people than your average trip to Indiana Beach on a hot summer's day. I saw and enjoyed the most hated movie in America. I missed the last home game of the season for a trip to Logansport. I was an escort to drunk dining hall and a witness to all of Logantucky's finest. In all, it's been a great few days. And now, if you don't mind, I think I'll watch some Tough Love Miami, eat some chocolate, and mercilessly stalk people on Facebook. Make of that what you will.

Monday, November 14, 2011

True Life: I Want to Study Abroad

As November 15 quickly approaches and the keyboards of sophomores (and a few overachieving freshmen) across campus are set ablaze by the furious typing of last-minute essays, I felt it was only appropriate to write a post about that time-honored tradition: applying to study abroad.

Pretty much everyone at ND applies to go abroad, and most people have great reasons for wanting to do so. On the actual application, though, let's not kid ourselves; we tell more subtle untruths than the coaching staff at Penn State (too soon? probably. Do I care? probably not). If we were totally honest on our applications, they would read quite differently. It is such an honest application that you are about to read.

Let's start with a seemingly easy question: Are there any foods you cannot eat? Well, I mean, I hate most vegetables. I may be the anti-vegetarian in a million ways, but I refuse to touch veal with a ten-foot pole. I mean, baby cows? Ew, so sad! Similarly, pistachios. Oh, and the time my high school French Club made escargots, I snuck my portion onto someone else's plate when they weren't looking.

Describe any concerns you might have about studying abroad: I'm concerned that my study-abroad blog won't be interesting enough for people to read it consistently, and I'm not sure if the three-day weekends built into my schedule every week will give me enough time to cavort around Europe instead of doing homework. But, it'll give me a great chance to improve my time management!

Describe any experiences or interests that could be considered in evaluating your application: One time, I went to Asian house - totally exotic! And the "American Girl in Paris" episodes are my all-time favorites from Sex and the City. I'm also VERY interested in Italian men, British accents, French wine, Swiss chocolate, and Volkswagens. I know I'm worldly; you can be jealous.

Describe how you plan to become involved in the community at the location to which you are applying: I will definitely be in the market for a local boyfriend, and I intend to fully investigate all the community's pubs and/or nightclubs. 

And finally, the Statement of Objectives: Basically, I want to study abroad because it's a great excuse for me to avoid a South Bend winter (blech) and instead spend a few months in a country where the drinking age is 5 and kids sneak into discotheques at 13. I've also heard from all my friends that no one ever goes to class or does any work, which sounds GREAT. I can't wait to go sightseeing and clubbing every day of every week. Oh, and finally, I really want to be able to come home and brag to all my friends who didn't go abroad about how fantastic it was. Please, please accept me! :) 

That, my friends, is what's going on in the minds of every person applying to study abroad. Because the stuff I just described is the only "cultural immersion" we have any interest in. [Note: I use the term "we" very loosely. Everyone reading this who knows me well knows that I am way too much of a loser for 90% of this "I like clubbing and snagging hot boys" stuff to ever apply to me. Hear that, Office of International Studies? If you're looking for a poster child, I volunteer!]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Day I Entered a Pageant

Though it's never formally been said (to my face, anyway), it would be very sensible to state that the day I participated in a pageant would be the day that hell froze over. Well, I'm sure that at some point or other, some USC fan or nineteenth-century Holy Cross priest who unwittingly ended up building a university here has referred to South Bend as hell on earth, so I guess it's fitting that today was the Bend's first snowfall of the season.

Because today, I, Sarah Cahalan, entered a pageant...and I didn't even lose.

As I mentioned in some other post, I was recently nominated to be Miss Howard Hall in the O'Neill-sponsored laugh-fest of a pageant, Miss ND. After laughing for a really long time, I decided I might as well go for it. I got a talent ready, practicing it in my room enough times to probably make my neighbors hate me more than Rick Perry hates looking intelligent; borrowed the duck suit for my "professional wear"; mustered up every ounce of irony and humor in my being; and, early this evening, headed over to Washington Hall ready to channel my inner Miss America. (I might add that I have never looked dumber in my life than on that brief commute: the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen were absolutely pouring down from the sky, covering all my clothes and hair and completely soaking the bottom half of my jeans, and I was carrying an approximately 85 gallon trash bag filled with a duck suit full of my other clothes. Oh, and I was wearing the duck head as a backpack.)

After a lot of awkward backstage time in which my innate competitive nature returned to me as I analyzed my fellow contestants and, to my great surprise, even started to get nervous, the pageant began. I got off to a great start, nearly knocking over a mic stand and a stool in my attempts to reach the stage in a duck suit out of which it's virtually impossible to see. I waved eagerly to my adoring if invisible public and skedaddled off to change for the talent portion of the competition. Before I knew it, I was being ushered once again onto the stage, deeply intimidated by the absolutely hilarious acts that had preceded mine and still not positive I knew all the words to my song. The opening chords of "Taylor the Latte Boy" rang out from the 69-cent karaoke arrangement I'd purchased from iTunes last week, and I got in the freaking zone. I was wearing purple tights, my Chuck Taylors, a huge pink bow on my head, and my glasses askew on the end of my nose (among other things, such as, you know, actual clothes), and out came the first line: "There'th a boy who workth at Thtarbuckth who ith very inthpirational." I had decided within the last hour to go big or go home and rock the lisp - and apparently, it was a popular choice. I kept going, and, when I reached the section where I always mess up the words, I triumphantly....messed up the words. I covered it with a lot of character-worthy awkwardness and repetition of "Taylor maketh me tho nervouth," the audience laughed harder than at any other point in the whole song (yeah guys, that was totally what I meant to do), and I headed back to the green room feeling fairly confident. I watched the rest of the acts, continuing to be intimidated, and eventually headed backstage once again to prepare for the announcement of the top 5. The eleven of us walked out on the stage and listened to the emcee announce the lucky ladies. In the middle of these announcements, I realized that he had called Miss Howard. Wait...WHAT? I stepped forward and waved awkwardly, watched the rest of the non-court contestants slink off the stage, and sat down with the rest of the top five for the most terrifying pageant portion of all: Q&A. I gave some moderately funny/awkward answers, listened to the other girls give some absolutely hilarious ones, and waited for them to announce the winners. The emcee began with the second-runner up - the only position I thought I had any realistic choice of winning - and read off my name! Then he, you know, announced those other two or something.

So, today, more than being 11/11/11-Eve and the day of the official first snowfall of the year, was the day that I entered a pageant and came in third place. As I sit in my room looking at the "go Sarah" posters plastered all over my door, I still have no idea how this day possibly just happened...but, sure enough, it did. (There's a video to prove it.) So watch out, Toddlers and Tiaras - there may be a new 19-year-old who cruelly competes against small children coming soon to a pageant near you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dear Boys

Dear boys of Notre Dame and the world,

After a weekend disproportionately full of baked goods and Howard girl bonding/ranting time, I have decided that it is high time for me to devote some blog space to educating you on how to interact with women. For if this weekend taught me anything, it's that you clearly have no clue where to begin. Literally every girl I chatted with this weekend had some boy to complain about, and each of these boys had at least five or six things he was doing terribly wrong. So, gentlemen, listen up. Take some notes. Trust me, you need to.

Your first lesson is in assertiveness. As long as you don't exercise this right to the point of creepiness or, say, "forcible fondling," assertiveness is great. For example: If you want a girl to hang out with you...tell her! Invite her over or something! Being vague enough to force a girl to ask you if you want her to come over is never good. Similarly, if a girl asks you some harmless question, give a real answer. Don't answer with another question ("what are you up to?" "idk what are you up to?" is not a conversation anyone wants to have), don't avoid the question altogether, don't say something meaningless. Give the answer you're actually thinking. It really isn't that hard. The girl you're talking to - and the collection of friends she's probably sitting around analyzing your behavior with - will appreciate it.

On a similar note, the general male population of earth could use a lesson in text etiquette. There is no surer way to send a girl into a mad frenzy to analyze your every move than by being strange in your texting habits. An important aspect of this lesson is the ever-present question of how long to wait before responding to a text. (Hint: "several days" is not a good option.) In general, as long as the girl you're texting is herself responding promptly, the "30 seconds to 3 minutes" time frame is ideal. There is an important caveat, though. If you're in a relatively fast-paced text conversation with a girl and you suddenly take 10 minutes or more to respond, she WILL assume that you have either A) died, B) been in a horrible accident leaving you unable to reach your phone, C) found some other girl to talk to/make out with, which you're probably doing while she waits for your answer, or D) spontaneously lost all interest in her. If you don't have a very good reason for a pause this lengthy, avoid it. At all costs. If you do, however, have a valid reason, be sure you point that out when you do respond. "Sorry I took 45 minutes to respond to your text - my roommate drunkenly threw my phone out our third floor window and I had to go get it" will suffice quite nicely. Other texting faux pas to avoid include the one-word (or worse yet, one letter) response, the excessive use of "lol" ("lol idk" is not a good answer to "what are you up to?" I'm guessing you do know, and I guarantee you did not just laugh out loud), and the attempt at any sarcasm short of 100% blatant (because sarcasm transfers suuuuper well to written word).

Finally, though it's incredible that you still struggle with this, it's become evident this weekend that many of you gents do, in fact, need a lesson in common courtesy. Step one: cab money. If you take a girl off-campus somewhere - a party, a restaurant, the circus, wherever - do. Not. Make. Her. Pay. For. Your. Cab. This is incredibly tacky. I don't care if you're not romantically interested in this girl; if you're going off-campus one-on-one with her, she at LEAST deserves for you to pay for your own cab fare, if not hers as well. Step two: casual conversation. If a lady appears to be uninterested in a long conversation with you, don't force her into one. I'm sure you would expect this courtesy of us; we expect it of you, too. We've got stuff to do and people to see. Sometimes we don't actually want to sit and listen to you talk for an hour. Step three: the sacredness of girls' night. This one should be self-explanatory. If a girl has chosen to devote her night, either staying in or going out, to her girls, you must not intrude. Honestly, you shouldn't want to - it will not be fun for you. If a girl wants to chill/dance with her friends, she is unlikely to even want to pay any attention to you. As Jenna Marbles once said, "Motha(impolite term), can't you see we havin' a girrrrls' night?" Stay away, for the good of all involved.

Well, boys, this should serve as an excellent primer for how to act with the lovely ladies of your life. If you take these to heart and still mess up or you're too stupid to retain anything I just said, try to make yourself as much as possible like Ryan Gosling. That will always work.


Women everywhere

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Few of My (Least) Favorite Things

Since my Facebook news feed has been positively blowing up of late with people - mostly stereotypical whiny girls from my high school - listing off their pet peeves, I figured I'd add my two cents by writing a post about a few of the many things that annoy me.

Let's start with one that the above paragraph (okay, sentence) should make obvious: excessive narcissism from people who are not me. Originally, I was going to just say "excessive narcissism," but then I remembered that I am one of the most self-interested people I know. That, however, is why I have a blog. For what really irks me in the arena of narcissism is practicing it in inappropriate forums. I have no problem with you wanting to talk about yourself a lot; trust me, I can relate. But do it on your own time. I do not want you clogging my Facebook and Twitter with every mundane detail of your life, every message you wish to send to your haters, and every low-quality mirror pic you've ever taken of yourself in your bathroom. On a similar note, unless you are one of my closest friends and/or you have a major issue you want my help with, I will probably be secretly annoyed if I have an entire conversation with you in which you talk about yourself too much to allow me to do the same.

Secondly, let it be known that there is no end to my disdain for people who take a "too cool" mentality in their choices of music. Those readers who know me well are aware that, when it comes to music, I am essentially the anti-hipster. Let's not kid around; my iTunes library is about 60% show tunes. If that's not your style, I'm okay with that. Similarly, I have nothing against hipsters. But if you make all of your choices in music based solely on their distance from the "mainstream," I would ask you to stop kidding yourself. Music does not end up on top 40 radio because of its deep lyrical or compositional quality. It's there because it's catchy and fun to listen to. I enjoy indie music as much as the next person - but I have no intention of pretending that I haven't also sat around listening to T.Swift and crying like a seventh grade girl. You can relate to her lyrics; admit it. Similarly, if you don't have some modicum of affection for Justin Bieber somewhere in your body, you might not be human. (Side note: if you think you don't love the Biebs at least a bit, go listen to his Christmas album. It will change your life.)

On a similar note to the previous thought, I am endlessly annoyed by people who take themselves too seriously. If you can't laugh at yourself, the odds are good that you are zero fun to be around. Ridiculous things happen sometimes. Maybe you dropped something loudly in the dining hall and everyone heard it.  Maybe you tried to say something intelligent in your Spanish class and accidentally said you like dancing with your pet kangaroo. Maybe you're on staff at some weird, cultish leadership camp where you're forced to lead absolutely imbecilic cheers in front of 150 high school kids. Maybe someone tagged a photo of you sleeping, or looking otherwise like a total idiot. Freaking own that. You drop that tray and you take a bow. You shame your classmates for not dancing with their kangaroos, too. You lead that cheer regardless of how dumb you look doing it. Finally, whatever you do, don't untag that picture. If someone cares enough to creep through your tagged photos and find that ugly one, it probably won't deter them from liking you. If you need help with laughing at yourself, talk to me. For one thing, I guarantee I can find some laughable things about you. For another, I have pretty much never taken myself seriously...ever. I mean, I recently agreed at the urging of RA to be the Howard representative in the Miss ND pageant. You've got to be kidding me. In all seriousness, though (see what I did there?), you need to know when the time is right to have a hearty guffaw at your own expense - and with that top you're wearing, that time is probably right now.

Monday, October 31, 2011

This One Time, At Rugby House...

As an American, a college student, and a lover of Mean Girls, I felt it was my civic duty to write a post on that most glorious and inappropriate-costume-filled of holidays, Halloween. More accurately, since today was Halloween itself and very little excitement occurred today (aside from Kim K's divorce), this post will be on Halloweekend, also known as The Weekend Designed to Kill College Students.

For, you see, someone decided this year that it was a great idea to compound the already insane Halloween weekend with parents' weekend, the big Folk Choir concert of the year, and the looming knowledge of two papers due on Halloween itself, which conveniently fell on the universally-acknowledged worst day of the week, Monday. Oh, and did I mention that I apparently have a terrible ear infection, as well? The fact that I am alive to write this post is really nothing short of miraculous. So, as Julie Andrews taught us, let's start at the very beginning - a very good place to start.

The Thursday before Halloween was, for many of my peers/all the people of Earth, the first big night of the Halloweekend party circuit. Lots of people around campus went out - to Fever, to various houses, to dorm parties. And this year, I, too, went out...to St. Liam's. For much of the day Thursday, I had been feeling a bit under the weather. When I returned to my dorm at around 10, I noticed that the hearing in my left ear was slightly off. By 12:30, I could hear nothing out of my left ear at all, and it hurt badly enough that, any hope of doing work long since abandoned, I visited my RA to make sure my ear hadn't fallen off. After a consultation with our resident EMT-turned-assistant rector and half an hour of me complaining, I found myself in an NDSP squad car with both aforementioned hall staff members being escorted to St. Liam's. After a quick and remarkably un-helpful appointment, the nurse sent me back to Howard with a microwaveable gel pack that I'd been instructed to rest my ear on for the night. Needless to say, Friday morning, I awoke healthy, happy, and refreshed after a long night of sleep and headed off merrily to both my classes of the day.

Oh, wait, that's not what happened at all! I slept a whopping 45 minutes in total and called in sick to both my classes, then went back to St. Liam's for an actually helpful appointment. Considering the extremely rocky start to my Halloweekend, the rest of it turned out quite well. Newly restored to non-deafness, I managed to survive the Folk Choir concert with only one major coughing fit. The parts of my weekend spent actually going out were fairly successful, as well. I reaffirmed my dislike of dorm parties, got in some quality time with some quality people, had a great time judging girls for the harlotry of their costumes, and this one time, at rugby house, I got a free ride home in a limo.

On that note, random Knott freshmen, if you happen, by some weird twist of fate, to be reading this, I offer you my thanks. I hope your Midshipman friend made that 8 AM bus of his. And I'm (almost) sorry about that $9 you'll never get back. May all your Halloweekends be successful, and may all your papers be completed more punctually than mine.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Lockout

If, after my last post, you still find yourself searching for good ways to spend free time or avoid doing work, there is one more option that I failed to previously discuss: relatively major emergencies.

You see, an unusual series of events befell the fourth floor of Howard Hall on this brisk October night. Our lovely and capable RA, who shall remain nameless (but who may or may not also follow this blog), headed down to the green lounge at 9 tonight for a routinely terrifying meeting on ResLife punishments. Upon returning to her humble fourth-floor abode after the meeting, she discovered that her room key was apparently no longer functional. She tried the lock several times and even tracked down the master key for the building, but after attempts from the rector, another RA, and pretty much every girl on the fourth floor, her door remained stubbornly locked. While the crowd that had gathered discussed the possibility of a cockroach blocking the lock or a freshman pulling a particularly cruel prank, our rector made a quick phone call to the locksmithing powers that be and arranged for the campus locksmith to head over forthwith.

Until he arrived, then, our RA was locked out, and she needed somewhere to go and something to do. The remaining lockout spectators - namely, myself, another fourth-floor-single lady, the entirety of the fourth floor sophomore quad, and the RA herself - decided that the only logical course of action was to hold an impromptu par-tay in Club 421, also known as the fourth floor quad. The seven of us piled onto the couches and lounge chairs of the quad's common room, and we commenced with the good times. We collectively read the latest Domerberry post (because what else could we do), laughed about the lockout, further developed our conspiracy theories on the freshman hiding out in the RA's room, exchanged Twitter names, tweeted about the lockout, discussed our reputations in the dorm (my personal favorite, from one of the very heterosexual quad residents: "People probably see me and say, 'Who's that lesbian?'"), watched a live dance performance (put on by ourselves), ate candy corn, and generally procrastinated our lives away. About a half hour later, the promised locksmith arrived. He tried unlocking the door with the same keys we had tried and, to no one's surprise, had no luck. After "jokingly" telling our RA that she must have broken the lock somehow, he informed us he "had to go get the drill." He returned with said power tool and, as we took sneaky muploads and attempted to laugh somewhat quietly, went to town on the door. A few minutes later, he had successfully managed to get the RA's door open - by straight up removing the lock from the door altogether. He said he would bring a new lock back in 15-20 minutes, and twenty minutes later, there we remained in Club 421, still laughing and, in my case, blogging about this completely ridiculous night.

By now, it's been well over half an hour since the locksmith's most recent exit, but if he keeps us waiting for another two hours, I think I speak for the group when I say we won't mind. After all, if the NBA and NFL taught us anything this summer, it's that a lockout is only as good as its obnoxious duration...and its ability to get you out of doing work.

How To: React When Class is Cancelled

In honor of my American Studies lecture being cancelled this morning (the first cancelled class I've had all semester), I thought it fitting to write this brief tutorial on How to React When Class is Cancelled. Read, learn, and enjoy.

Professor: "Hello dear students. We will not be having class today!"

At this point, you must ask yourself the following questions.

1) Were you supposed to have a test today?
        -If yes, rejoice. A lot.
        -If no, rejoice anyway; you don't have class! (Caveat: If you pulled an all-nighter studying for said      test, take a moment to complain about your all-nighter, then shut up and go back to bed - you just earned 50-75 more minutes of sleep.)

2) Did you have homework due for today?
        -If yes, did you do it?
                  -If yes, congratulations, you are an overachiever. Consider cancelled class your reward.
                  -If no, it is your lucky day.
        -If no, your homework-ridden peers probably hate you anyway. Do not brag about cancelled class;  you may be lynched.

3) Do you like this class?
        -If yes, rejoice about cancelled class anyway. Being sad about 50-75 extra minutes of life is for losers.
        -If no...do I even need to explain this one?

By now, you have figured out the appropriate response: joy! You then realize that you have 50-75 minutes in front of you for which the possibilities are literally endless. ("Literally" used loosely in this case. I would not advise, for example, taking a trip to Bali during this newfound free time. That would not go well.) The next order of business, then, is figuring out what to do with this time. You must, once again, ask yourself a series of questions.

1) Do you have Twitter?
        -If yes, tweet about cancelled class. Let all your followers know how much greater your life is than theirs!
        -If no, first of all, you should get one. Secondly, make up for your lack of Twitter by bragging to people in person and/or, for the especially bold, on Facebook.

2) Back to question 2 from above: did you do your homework today?
        -If yes, congrats.
        -If no, you have two options for this free time:
                OPTION 1: Do your homework. (Note: if you choose this option, you are probably a loser.)
                OPTION 2: Your homework is now not due until several days from now. Do anything but your homework. For advice on what to do, keep reading.

3) Did you get enough sleep last night?
        -If yes, see the next line, because you are a college student, and "yes" is a lie.
        -If no, report immediately back to your dorm and sleep until your next class. If you're really bold, keep sleeping right on through your next class - you worked really hard this morning in that class you didn't have.

4) "But Sarah, factoring in commute to and from my dorm and my class buildings, I'd only have 20 minutes of nap time! Not worth it. What do I do now?" Well, grasshopper, allow me to teach you.
        -OPTION 1: Report to the nearest public building (in the case of Notre Dame, try LaFun). Find a couch. Sleep there. This option does wonders for your stamina and your dignity.
        -OPTION 2: Do something productive. Homework for another class, working on a paper or project, answering month-old emails, cleaning your room, exercising, etc.
                  -Note: If you choose option 2, please also do the following:
                             1. Find a dictionary.
                             2. Look up "fun."
                             3. Punch yourself for being the antithesis of the definition you just found.
         -OPTION 3: Do something unproductive. Your options here number in the thousands. Some of your best choices include...
                             1. Facebook stalking someone.
                             2. Facebook stalking yourself.
                             3. Watching funny YouTube videos. (Recommendations: Animal Beatbox, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Potter Puppet Pals, Sassy Gay Friend, anything Jenna Marbles)
                             4. Making funny YouTube videos.
                             5. Painting a picture.
                             6. Baking a cake.
                             7. Looking up baby Halloween costumes.
                             8. Looking up Irish baby names.
                             9. Doing some online shopping.
                            10. Chili face noodle punch (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvHwh9O9Tsg&ob=av3e)                        
                            11. Turtle backback turtle spin (see #10)
                            12. Crying about your life. Just kidding, this is not an option - you had class cancelled today! Your life is not cry-able!

And finally, if you don't like any of these options, there is one more...

                            13. Write a blog post about what to do when class is cancelled, wasting your entire 50 minutes of newfound free time. Afterwards, go to class. After class, come home and do any/all of #1-12.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Consider Yourself At Home

For the students of our lady's university, this week was fall break. The crew I jet-setted with this summer went to Switzerland. My RA and seemingly 90% of the senior class went to Las Vegas. Several more of my friends went on pilgrimage to Montreal. And I went home to Logansport, Indiana.

At first glance, one would probably be tempted to say, "Wow, Sarah, your life sucks." This is (occasionally) true - BUT NOT THIS WEEK. I do not care what my classmates did this fall break; these were the most needed seven days of my life. First of all, I slept, on average, 9 hours a night. In my giant double bed, in my own room, in my own house. The full greatness of that can't even be captured in words. When I wasn't sleeping, this week also gave me a lovely chance to pretend to be in high school again/to stalk the bejeezus out of the Swing Choir. The most valuable lesson I learned this week is that, by walking in with a moderately fancy dSLR camera and saying "I'm here to take pictures," you can justify your presence literally anywhere. What's that, Swing Choir has a community performance? You definitely need someone to take pictures of that. Don't mind me, Tri Kappa board members, I'll just be hovering behind you snapping away and quietly singing to myself throughout the whole show - just pretend I'm not here! And what's this I hear - there's a run-through of the first act of Oliver on Monday night? It's definitely necessary that someone sit there and take low-quality artsy pictures of the cast and their backpacks! And the big fall concert for all the middle and high school choirs is on Tuesday? Not only do you need me to take pictures for both the practice and the concert, you certainly need me to throw all my stuff in the best seat in the house an hour and a half before the show starts - because sorry, choir parents, you're simply not as important as the official choir photographer.

Once you've used this excuse enough times, people will actually start to consider you part of the furniture. At this point, you can start showing up to things you really shouldn't be present for without even bringing the camera along. Bdubs with the choir post-concert? Certainly! Oliver vocal rehearsal? Well, we could use an extra bass. And once you've infiltrated these circles, the opportunity arises to learn fall break lesson #2: listening to 15-year-olds gossip about their lives is remarkably fun. I listened to sophomores complain about ex-boyfriends, seniors and juniors talk about cross country creepers and about each other, and foreign exchange students talk about America, imaginary adjectives we'd invented, and, to my great delight, me. Creepy though it may make me, I enjoyed listening to their stories. It's not like I'm around often enough to tell anyone who would ever care, so between that and the fact that I'm 2-5 years their senior, they consider me an excellent confidante - and I get to listen to juicy gossip that will never cause any problems in my actual life. That, my friends, is what you would call a win-win. On a similar note, it's also entertaining to have teenage boys obsess over you, especially when they keep to a minimum their attempts to break your fingers or feel you up (both of which almost happened this week, because you just can't win 'em all).

The inevitably Oliver-infused moral of the story is that, after some consideration, I can state that this week at home was completely fantastic. I earned myself three new Facebook friends and a new Twitter follower, so it would be a success even if we considered nothing but social media. I ate at the brand-new Logansport Buffalo Wild Wings a whopping four times, which benefits both me and the local economy. I spent a lot of time reliving my Swing Choir/Thespian glory days. I watched Hocus Pocus (the best movie ever made) without feeling guilty about whatever I should've been doing instead. And, in case you missed it the first time, I slept approximately 80 hours. I'm sure that all of you other Domers had a lovely time with your Swiss lakes, your Vegas casinos, and your Canadian cathedrals. But I couldn't have been happier this fall break, simply considering myself at home.