Thursday, December 27, 2012

Domerberry Movie Review: Les Miserables

To most of the world, this week was, like, Christmas and stuff. To anyone who's anyone, though, this week's biggest event was, of course, the opening of the movie version of Les Miserables. The whole Christmas celebration thing kept me from going on opening day (would that I celebrated Hanukkah), and a stupid blizzard kept me from seeing it yesterday. Today, then, two carloads of Cahalans headed to Kokomo to, at long last, see Les Mis. And now, it is time for the blog post that anyone who has ever met me should have seen coming for weeks: the official Domerberry Les Mis review. 

Before I begin, I'll make one important note: until today, I had never actually seen Les Mis. Not live; not online; not on DVD; not at all. This is shocking, I know, but what can I say? I am nothing if not fascinatingly full of surprises. I've heard (and heard, and heard, and heard) the music, and I have enough super-Les-Mis-fangirl friends to know the story pretty well. Essentially, though, I am a Les Mis newbie - and these are my thoughts. 

Let's start with the hands-down best part of this movie: Gavroche. The. Best. Part. That adorable little revolutionary urchin may just be the cutest and most perfect thing upon which I have ever laid eyes. When he crawled up on that first carriage and started spouting out his sassy little song (a song whose words and tune I cannot remember, so which I am imagining as "Officer Krupke" sung to Javert), I immediately realized he was the best part of the film, and I have not changed my mind. Sorry, Anne Hathaway. Sorry, all the other 85 people who will win Oscars for this film. Team Gavroche 4eva. 

Now that I've mentioned them, though, we might as well talk about the important people in the film. Hugh Jackman. You're perfect. Whatever. Go home, continue to be perfect, continue trying to cleanse yourself of the replicated human feces you had to crawl/swim through in the sewer scene. Ew. Anne Hathaway, I and everyone else in the world really wish you were in this movie more. Alas, though, bald woman, these are the occupational hazards of signing on for a movie with twenty-five different main characters and seven different plotlines. Russell Crowe, it would be great if you could just not sing again, maybe ever. You can go and live a wonderful life on some non-singing famous actor island where I trust Pierce Brosnan has been living ever since he tried to star in Mamma Mia. And while you're at it, stop walking on the edge of stuff so much! There has never in history been a grown man as interested in teetering on the edges of high-up structures as Javert is in this movie. You don't see perfect Gavroche walking on dangerous stuff like that, and he is a child. Take some notes. 

I could obviously write an entire blog (not blog post, blog, as in dozens of posts) about the Thenardiers. I want to be Helena Bonham Carter. Sacha Baron Cohen is also flawless in this movie. Young Cosette did not appreciate how good she had it living with these two perfect humans. "Castle on a Cloud" - one of the worst songs ever - was cut mercifully short in this movie, but anyone living with Helena Bonham Carter has no right to sing any verses of that song at all. In the castle on a Domerberry cloud, Helena Bonham Carter is the lady "ohl in whyit." I sympathize with the plight of young Cosette, but like...come on. 

Old Cosette, however, is another story. Dumb. I did not mind Amanda Seyfried in this, though my years of Mamma Mia watching did leave me concerned the whole time that she would spontaneously break out in a rousing chorus of "Honey, Honey." As a character, though, I cannot bring myself to like old Cosette. She's rich. She falls in love with a guy after seeing him for a total of maybe 7 seconds, which somehow no one has ever told her is a horribly misguided idea. And worst of all, she completely ruins everything for poor, friend-zoned, tiny-waisted Eponine. In the immortal words of Amanda Seyfried's most important character, "That's not right, is it?" No, Karen. That is so not right. 

Old Eponine, on the other hand, I felt a bit more sorry for. By the end, I think (in a manner completely uninfluenced, I'm sure, by my extreme disinterest in "A Little Fall of Rain") she's gone a bit too far on the route to Crazytown. Homeboy is not interested in you, and there comes a time to move past that fact, my inhumanly skinny friend. But for most of the movie, I feel terribly bad for her. I want to be her friend - partially because she obviously needs one, but also mostly because she seems sort of interestingly ethnic and kind of sings with a sassy little somethin' going on. I know she's played by the impossibly-dimensioned Samantha Barks, but I like to pretend she's played by JoJo. Oh, and have I mentioned she's really freaking skinny? 


And finally, there are the revolutionaries. I'm not really sure where to start with them. So many feelings.  So many thoughts. I've been pondering this pretty extensively since the revolutionaries first walked on screen today, and I've decided that, in my ideal vision of this film, Aaron Tveit actually just plays both Enjolras and Marius. They give him two separate haircuts, put him in two separate costumes, and give him two separate halves of a picture of Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, just to complete the Parent Trap effect. Mostly, this is because I find it completely improbable that anyone would ever fall for weird-looking Eddie Redmayne when Aaron Tveit is even in the same zip code. Don't get me wrong; this Eddie Redmayne guy did a great job. I just wish that poor, beautiful Aaron Tveit got a love story.

So let's put it another way: in a really, really perfect version of Les Mis, it is actually Enjolras and Eponine who, out of mutual realization that they will never be Marius' #1, fall madly and conveniently in love and who end up living happily ever after. And then they adopt Gavroche. And the four of us all go to dinner together a lot. Cool. 

Anyway, all in all, this movie was awfully close to perfect. I did not cry, but I did walk out of the theater with a slight limp from the absolute beatdown the movie gave me with all twenty thousand of its heart-wrenching tragic plot twists. Have I seen better performances of "Stars" from high school students than I did today from Russell Crowe? I mean, maybe. And do I really, really think Samantha Barks needs to go eat a sandwich? Yes. But that was pretty darn awesome. If, at any point during the rest of Christmas break, you need to find me, I will probably be at the movie theater watching Les Mis again. 

Oh, and just because why not: 

Grumpy Cat Fo Eva

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Unabridged and Uncensored Thoughts on Dentistry

Well, friends, I've been finished with finals and home from school for just about 48 whole hours, so naturally, it was time this morning for me to be subjected to various medieval tortures disguised as a teeth cleaning.

My mother despises dental medicine more adamantly than any human I have ever met - with the possible exception of her own mother, who, rumor has it, has kicked dentists from the chair on multiple occasions - so I have been taught well to hate dental work in all its forms. If that upbringing weren't enough, I also endured a mouthful of braces for almost 6 years, and I have a pain threshold that has not widened since I was about five years old.

Dentistry, then, is not my friend. So this morning, as I sat/laid in the chair, holding on to the armrests for dear life and trying futilely to shield myself from the 3 types of fluorescent lights shining directly into my eyes, I decided to really think about all the reasons why dentistry is actually the worst.

Let's start with the setup of this whole endeavor. Unlike my second-to-least favorite brand of face-related medicine, optometry, practitioners of dental work feel the need to come at your mouth from above. Just from a gravitational and/or anatomical perspective, this is a weird choice. Things will necessarily get complicated to accomodate this ridiculous need. First, the patient must be placed in an entirely inconvenient adjustable chair. Today, the particular chair I was placed in "kinda moves back and forth pretty fast - sorry about that!" After being thrown around in this chair at 30 mph for a few minutes, though, I finally achieved the proper level of reclining - the point at which the room's overhead light shines down directly into your poor, defenseless eyes. From there, the dentist or hygienist is free to attack your mouth from above and to move that stupid gooseneck light around in a million different ways until it is just angled enough to completely blind you for the next half hour. Once all this is in place, the dumbest part of dentistry begins: small talk. Inevitably, right when the person working on your teeth has both of his/her hands and three or four different instruments of torture in your mouth, he or she will ask you a question. In other cases, perhaps, you'll be offered hygiene tips that sound like clips from a personal health PSA for first-graders. No matter what the person says, though, you will, as a rule, be unable to respond with human words. The range of meaning you can convey through differently-pitched grunts is really tested when you're sitting in the dentist's chair. For me this morning, this unfairly one-sided conversation went something like this:

"So, you're going abroad next semester?"
"That'll be really cool. My daughter did that in college!"
"Your teeth are lookin' pretty good. Still pretty straight after the braces, could be better, but pretty good."
"N-hnh." [Accompanied by the closest I could muster to a -_____- face with four dental implements hanging out of my mouth]
"So remember, you know, brush twice a day and everything."
"Looks good! Have a nice Christmas!"

I must admit, I impressed everyone involved today by actually initiating a conversation through these meaningless "nnn"s at one point. Upon hearing my mother's voice from the hallway - odd, since I am 20 years old, came by myself, and generally like to blindly hold on to the belief that I am somewhat capable of taking care of myself - I said to my hygienist, "....Hnnn?" Apparently, if there's one thing a career in dental hygiene gets you besides the occasional bite mark on your hands, it's an ability to decipher complete nonsense words. After taking no time at all to translate my "Hnnn," she responded, "Oh, yeah, hearing your mom in the hallway?" "N-hnnnh, hh hh." "Sounds like she's talking about your sister, you're good!"

This exchange was the one instance during my time in the chair that I was more impressed by the people working on my mouth than I was repulsed by them. The rest of what they do is pure evil. I swear that dentistry is the only branch of medicine in which you can legally get away with straight-up ignoring dozens of indicators of pain. On some level, this makes sense. When almost every single part of your job inflicts pain on the person you're hovering over, I guess you can't drop everything any time that blood flow to your patient's knuckles completely ceases as a function of their vicegrip on the chair or their eyebrows contort in ways previously confined to silent film actresses tied to the tracks and in the path of an oncoming train.  While I can sort of, almost understand this willful ignorance of human pain, however, there is a simple solution to one of these pain problems - and I don't understand why, in my experience, dental offices never take advantage of it. Chapstick! Sure, there was a tube of chapstick in the goody bag they gave me on my way out the door (goody bags, by the way, being one of the few saving graces of the field; don't think they hand out free earrings at the ENT), but it would do everyone a lot more good if they handed out chapstick before forcing your mouth open and exposing your poor lips to the recycled office air with no chance for moisture for an hour. Just saying, dentists. Think about it.

My final complaint with dentistry is its unwavering ability to completely disorient me in every way. Nothing unusual went on at my appointment today - no numbing substances, no anesthesia of any kind. And yet, somehow, there was almost no point at which I was confident in my assessment of what was going on in my mouth. The twenty different kinds of weird angles involved in a dental checkup just throw me for a loop. When the hygienist was dealing with my front teeth, I could barely tell if she was on the top or bottom of my mouth, let alone whether she was working on the front or back of my teeth. As to where she was in relation to the permanent-retainer wire that spans the back of my bottom front teeth? Forget about it. I kept trying to figure out what she was doing, and I simply could not. I'm choosing to blame it on the lights.

Overall, though, whether disorienting, painful, illogical, or some combination of the three, dentistry is terrible. As it turns out, I have to go back to the dentist at 7:20 tomorrow morning to have some "almost-cavities" filled - so my hatred is going to stay fresh for at least the next couple of days. Fortunately for my dentist, I have just enough of an obsession with the mouth-centered activities of talking and eating to ensure that I will keep coming back and not just become a scary toothless person like the dentist-hater inside of me wants me to do. But I'm not gonna like it.

And to any dentists reading this (since I'm sure there are, like, sooo many)? If you want to avoid creating dentist-haters like me, it's pretty simple - don't keep braces on a kid for six years. Unless you want to ruin their childhoods and give them endless fodder for future memoirs.

Oh, and stop giving college kids appointments at 7 AM. That is the middle of the night.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Calm Down, People

Recently, I have unearthed what is clearly a missing section from Genesis. Based on how today has gone, we all appear to have missed a crucial section in the creation narrative of the Christian world - the part that says, "And on the fourth day (of December), there will be lots and lots of things that girls will obsess over."

In Notre Dame circles, the big topic of the day was the Great National Championship Game Ticket Lottery War. Today, you see, was the day when all of the brewing unrest over the perceived injustices of the ticket lottery came to a sizzling, cat-fight-filled boil in The Observer and all over the internet. For those of you who have not heard about this controversy, first of all, sorry your school's not playing in the national championship, suckas. (Because let's be honest - if you're part of the ND family by any of the many interpretations of that term, you've heard about this controversy.) Secondly, the controversy is essentially this: students at both Notre Dame and our sister school, St. Mary's, are being allowed to enter the lottery for the 2500 student tickets at the national championship, with no special weight or statistical help given to any group. And let me tell you, people are up in arms about this. The student newspaper published an article today that included some probably unfairly decontextualized but nevertheless incendiary quotes on the topic. All day, the "comments" section on the article's online page has been blowing up with cyber-arguments, and, from what I hear from my friends at St. Mary's (yes, I have those!), the Facebook newsfeeds of the students at the school across the road have descended to a level startlingly close to full-tilt jungle madness. To all of this, I have only one thing to say:

Calm the heck down, people.

Let's address the problems of the ticket lottery that it actually makes sense to contest. First of all, as a certain HoCro transfer friend of mine eloquently pointed out in his own Observer piece (proofreading/eloquence-enhancing services provided by yours truly, you're welcome bro), Notre Dame's other sibling institution, Holy Cross College, was left clear out of the lottery. Guys, Rudy went there. Let's re-evaluate this choice.

Secondly, let's just think for a moment about what exactly it is we're arguing about. We are all currently vying for spots in a lottery where the prize you win is the loss of $170 from your wallet. Even if you don't win in the lottery, you still lose $20. Last time I checked, winning a lottery was supposed to reward you. Obviously, the tickets you're paying for are totally worth the ridiculously low price you're forking over for them, but like...could we think of no better term than lottery? "Lottery" to me just sounds like "free money," "hey you are winning stuff for free," "winning this will be awesome and not cost you more than like $2 unless you are one of those weird people whose lottery addiction goes hand in hand with the Marlboros they buy with their tickets." "Winning stuff that you still have to pay $170 for, in addition to all the other costs involved in a random vacation to Miami," does not sound much like my typical idea of a lottery. If I win a lottery, I want you to pay me.

(A quick note to any Notre Dame people of influence and/or overwhelmingly generous concerned alumni reading this: please do not allow the above statements to influence my chances of winning the lottery. I am okay with paying $170 as a prize. Also, feel free to take my lunch money.)

So, in sum, please shut up about the ticket lottery. If Monday comes and you don't win, don't blame a St. Mary's girl; blame your shoddy faith life. After all, if ND can use God as justification for our victories, it's only fair to attribute your loss to your insufficient Grotto time.

Meanwhile, in the world outside of South Bend, today was also the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I didn't watch it. I do not care remotely about it. But once again, I am forced to offer but one piece of pleading advice:

Shut up about it.

If a girl wants to watch the show because it's entertaining - my boy J. Biebs performed, for instance; the ensembles really are pretty cool; the models say really hilariously stupid stuff in their interviews sometimes; etc - let her. Don't go on and on about offensive or anti-feminist it is. It's a piece of television entertainment. Whatever. If you want to watch it as a weird pity party where you sit around eating ice cream and crying about how you'll never look like that, first of all, maybe put down the ice cream. Secondly, go ahead and do that! Just don't broadcast it all over the internet. Channel it into something positive. Watch it and quietly acknowledge that normative cultural ideas of beauty are unrealistic and body pride is super righteous. Watch it as motivation to start on a health kick. Do not watch it so you can sit around tweeting about how fat you are and waiting for your friends to tell you, like, no, you're totes like sooo skinnyyy. That, my friends, is annoying.

Oh, and for the record? As I've said before, you probably actually are skinny. Given the sheer demographics of my friend/acquaintance base, the odds are very, very good that if you're reading this, you're not morbidly obese. So congrats, and shut up about being fat.

Finally, plunked down in the middle of all of today's obsessive emotions, there were some obsessions with which I am entirely okay. The first of these, of course, is Glee Club caroling. To explain to the non-ND students among my readership, each year in the days leading up to finals, the Glee Club goes around to all of the girls' dorms on campus to serenade the ladies with Christmas carols. It is swoon city. With the inclusion of the traveling mistletoe, it's both exhilarating and terrifying, sending girls into the most obscure 24-hour-lounge corners they can find in order to avoid ending up under the mistletoe. (I, for one, am proudly 3 for 3 on mistletoe avoidance.) It is one of the few hall traditions that sends girls of all participation levels in the dorm and of all grade levels flocking to one room, year after year, despite the fact that the format literally never changes. It is an obsession, and I'm not even going to try to tell you to shut up about it. God knows I'm not shutting up about it any time soon.

The other acceptable obsession of this day is, shockingly, also related to the menfolk. This one comes to us through tonight's combined Folk Choir/Coro Primavera rehearsal for this weekend's Guadalupe mass.

I'm just going to be honest here - the trumpet player for the Coro Primavera is extremely good-looking. If you happen to somehow be reading this, Coro trumpet player, sorry I'm not sorry. You're good looking. Our corner of the soprano section calls you Trumpet Hombre. Every girl in the room was snapchatting all the other girls in the room tonight to communicate her awe over your trumpet-playing and singing skills and your tall dark & ethnically ambiguous good looks.

This is just a fact. For the sake of Trumpet Hombre's dignity, we should probably all calm down on this a little bit (and I should probably stop calling him Trumpet Hombre). But as long as you're not sending out self-pitying tweets about how you'll never snag a guy as hot as him or starting a Viewpoint war over the kid, I can't complain.

In all, I vote that we all just try for a general sense of calm over these insignificant matters. After all, finals begin in a few short days, and I bet you probably have enough actual concerns to worry about with that impending reality without freaking out about other things. Have an opinion on the ticket lottery or the VS fashion show, but don't wield it as some weird, aggressive weapon. Obsess over the Glee Club if you want, because that is typically a healthy interest that won't keep you from functioning as a normal, not-completely-insufferable human. Send those shocked snapchats about hot Trumpet Hombres, because gosh darn it, hot Trumpet Hombres are hot.

And if you want something to really freak out about? Start counting down the days until the arrival of the Royal Baby.

Friday, November 23, 2012

And Then I Went Black Friday Shopping

Early yesterday evening, I heard through my post-turkey coma that my sister and cousins were going to Walmart to pick up a game of Catchphrase. Repulsed by the very thought of the den of white-trash iniquity that is the Logansport Walmart, I ignored this news and went back to sleep. A few hours later, though, I was faced with the prospect once more.

As it happens, on their first excursion to Wally World, my relatives were informed that Catchphrase was not being sold at the time and that, in order to purchase it, they would have to return at 8:00 for the first round of Black Friday deals.

(Why Walmart wouldn't just let them buy the thing at full price, thus bringing in extra profit, I do not know. But I digress.)

During dinner, then, the countdown began. "Guys, it's 7:31. Only 27 minutes until we need to leave."

"Leave for what?" the older relatives would ask.

"Walmart Black Friday shopping, of course! Sarah, you should come with us!"

After a few moments expressing my instinctual disgust at everything involved in this offer - Black Friday shopping, Walmart, excessive time spent away from my bed, Logansport natives - I realized the promise that this option held. 

What, after all, could make a better blog post than a firsthand view of Walmart on Black Friday (Eve)? Few things, it seemed. So my sister, four cousins, and I piled into one of their tiny cars, inexplicably turned on some Macklemore, and headed out.

As we approached Walmart, I started to realize the full magnitude of what we were about to face. For you see, the parking lot at the still-new-ish Logansport Super Walmart is big. According to my calculations, were it made of cropland instead of pavement, it would, by itself, be the third-biggest farm in Cass County. And by the time we pulled up, the lot was completely full. Every space occupied. Across the street, too, the parking lot at Buffalo Wild Wings was filled to capacity, as were, it appeared, the parking lots of both nearby banks. We grabbed the last available makeshift spot around the perimeter of the BDubs lot and headed over.

Keep in mind, of course, that I was still dressed for Thanksgiving dinner. Toms, tights, flippy skirt, bow-embellished Madewell top, leather jacket...

I think I could've walked into that place in a ballgown and moon boots and received fewer weird looks than I did last night.

So, Twitter-enabled phone in hand and kicking myself for not carrying a reporter's notebook or voice recorder, I walked in.

Laid out before me was every nightmarish vision of Black Friday shopping that I had ever had. Seemingly every teen mom and baby daddy I graduated with was there, decked out in flannel pajama pants, blinding neon hoodies, and varying degrees of house slippers. Dozens of people had screaming infants strapped into their carts. One woman had clearly missed the "men's department" sign wherever she had bought her T-shirt, a hot pink number emblazoned with "DON'T LAUGH THIS IS YOUR GIRLFRIENDS [sic] SHIRT".

The man who found us Catchphrase mentioned that a woman had come by earlier in tears over her inability to find the telescopes.

In the gun aisle, I am relieved to say there were no markdowns. I was less than relieved to discover that Walmart has a gun aisle.

The line for the deals of "Event 2" in the electronics department - savings that would not take effect until 10 PM - snaked up and down four neighboring aisles and was fenced in by enough caution tape for the scene of a mass homicide.

As we progressed through the store, it became clear that the chances of a riot were, to my chagrin, quite slim. The ability to induce a riot, however, was shockingly easy, since many of the deals were marked only by very moveable balloons with prices printed onto them. How did that "ONLY $10, ONE NIGHT ONLY" balloon end up sitting on top of a stack of microwaves? Huh! Weird! I don't know anything about that!

Come checkout time, we discovered the true idiocy of our fellow shoppers. We bypassed a 100-or-so-person line that seemed to be funneling into checkout lines 15-20 to become the only people in the store to notice that lines 15-19 were, in fact, almost completely deserted. We settled into the 2-person line at aisle 17 as the entire population of the store unwittingly stood in line solely for checkout desk #20.

So, all told, we survived Black Friday at Walmart. I could've done with a bit more outright violence, but I can't say it wasn't still a weirdly hilarious yet appalling view of the disgusting state of Logansport humanity. Maybe next year I'll be so bold as to try Kmart.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Friends, readers, Irish fans everywhere, on this night, the University of Notre Dame has the #1 football team in the country. Not Alabama. Not Kansas State. Not Oregon. (Not Hermione.) Notre Dame. 

(And yes, technically the rankings don't come out until tomorrow night, so it's not official official right at this moment, but whatever.) 

Tonight, Notre Dame is the best team in the country. And tonight, the students of Our Lady's University found out what it means to embody joy. The most joyful parts of the day were, of course, in the last few hours, but let's think back a bit and begin at the start of this beautiful, joyful day. 

At 8:00 this morning, I was tooling down the highway, Rihanna (yes, Rihanna) blasting from my speakers and frost-covered farmland flying by on all sides. After a night spent watching my sister star in her very last musical at my high school, I was headed from my first home back to my Irish one. The play was Oklahoma, and this morning, driving through northern Indiana, oh, what a beautiful morning it was. 

As my distance from South Bend grew smaller and the tailgate-ready traffic grew thicker, I was reminded of a conversation I'd had several times of late with my friends and classmates. We, as Notre Dame students, are afforded an opportunity practically unmatched in the world of higher education. For most of the country, Notre Dame is a vacation spot to rival DisneyWorld. It is magical. It is sacred. It is, on days like today, a surely incontestable holder of the title, "the happiest place on Earth." And we live here. We love here. Yes, we even study here. As students in this magical place, our entire existence is a fast pass. 

This morning, I pulled past blocks-long lines and dozens of security guards to take my place in a lot only yards from my dorm, reserved entirely for students - for fast-pass holders - like me. I walked past toddlers throwing footballs and alumni snapping pictures to enter the library. Here, silent Facebook study breaks and newly-minted Au Bon Pain coffee are the most interesting attractions, yet visitors still flock by the hundreds to take a look around. Even this most mundane aspect of their Notre Dame fantasy world simply must be experienced by visitors of all kinds, and as students, we get to just sit there and be part of the idyllic academic scenery. 

Eventually, after exhausting my library quota for a whole season's worth of gamedays, I switched gears and headed to a tailgate. Standing under a bow-bedecked tent and in the middle of a sunny street, I was filled to the brim with friendship, Wobbling, and yes, even commemorative buttons. 

En route to the game itself, my friends and I crossed paths with the personal golf cart of Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, a man who has advised Presidents and protested alongside Martin Luther King, and with whom each of us has conversed at least a time or two in his Cinderella-castle office on the thirteenth floor of the library that bears his name. 

At the game, we thanked our seniors. We offered our cheers and thanks to every last senior man who's helped lead us to the first 11-0 start that any undergraduate on campus has ever seen, and to the Manti who has inspired not just a campus, but a nation, to be great. We watched a 38-to-zero blowout. We threw many, many marshmallows. In the end, we watched all of the seniors who don't don football jerseys make their own way to the field. They, like all of us, love Notre Dame. They love the school that has given them so much in their four years, and they love each other. And in the looks on their faces as they milled around the field, you could see: they wanted this moment to never, ever end. 

Only then, after all of these incredible moments, did the moment come that truly defined this magical day. In dorm rooms and study lounges, on laptops and widescreen TVs, a campus watched as the biggest teams in the country fell. We watched in awe as an unranked team mowed over the #1 team in the nation, knowing what this meant for #1, #2, and a certain big game in Miami on January 7. With only one team standing between us and the most coveted spot in the country, we watched as the #2 team, too, came crashing down, and we knew: the number-one team in the country now? us. 

Then - at last, then - came the joy. The screams, inside dorms and out on the quad. The parties, springing up in what seemed to be every corner of the world. And the first phone call: "I'm running. Just running. Come with me." 

So, as a student body full of blessed, joyful fast-pass holders, we ran. We ran to Stonehenge. We ran through Stonehenge. We ran to the lakes. We ran anywhere we could. Because in this moment, on this night, we are undefeated. We are #1. And we are Notre Dame. No matter what the coming weeks bring, tonight, this campus knew - no, this campus was - joy. If you need us, we'll be sitting in our dorm rooms, happy-crying ourselves to sleep and booking our tickets to Miami. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

You Are All Horribly Boring

If you are particularly stalker-ish, you may have noticed that I haven't written anything here on the ol' blog in quite some time. Between fall break, the release of Red, and both Halloweekends, the end of last month gave me enough blog fodder to sustain myself for a good while. But in the dearth of slut-enabling holidays and major album releases that has been the beginning of November, I've realized something: you people are incredibly boring.

Since my last blog post, conversation around this campus has dropped to the point where it includes meaningless small talk and pretty much nothing else. Am I wrong? Let's think about it.

Last night at around 9:00, if you were a girl between the ages of 10 and, eh, 40, what were you doing? Based on the contents of my Twitter feed for three solid hours yesterday evening, there is only one answer to this question: watching The Notebook on television. That's what you were doing. That's also the only thing you were tweeting about. And you're right. Ryan Gosling is very attractive. That tweet you just composed containing only Gosling's most recent bit of voiceover and a cryptic hashtag obliquely referencing your ex-boyfriend will get you 25 retweets, because everyone you know is doing the same thing as you right now. And your complaint that you will never have a romance like Noah and Allie? Well, as long as you continue to do nothing more interesting with your life than watch The Notebook on TV and live-tweet it simultaneously with all of your friends, this, too, is spot-on!

Then there are my Notre Dame friends. What did you guys do all day on Saturday? You watched football. A lot of football. This weekend, not only did you watch, either on TV or live in Chestnut Hill, our own game, but you watched the Bama game, too. You did victory dances for Texas A&M. You spent three hours of your life watching Notre Dame be almost as boring as yourselves in a match-up against a team who has only won two games all season. You spent your whole Saturday watching football, and then you spent your whole Sunday talking about football.

"But Sarah," you say, "I didn't just talk about football on Sunday! It was 70 degrees on November 11th in Indiana!" Ah yes, that's right. You talked about two things on Sunday. Sports and the weather.

My friends, have we all been carrying water coolers around with us for the past twelve days? Because lately, we have been absolute pros at office small talk. I say "we," of course, because I, too, watched two football games on Saturday and I, too, spent all day yesterday talking about nat----l ch------ship odds and how yes, it is so crazy that I'm in shorts today and it's supposed to snow tomorrow, Indiana weather, amirite? I did not watch The Notebook yesterday, because I was reading about violence and decolonization in Algeria. At one point last night, I even dragged myself over to a Folk Choir basketball game in hopes that something exciting would happen or Rasta would show up. There were three people there and only one person ever got hit in the face with a basketball.

Disappointing all 'round.

Some of you may point out that not all of November so far has been boring, since there was an election sprinkled in there somewhere. To you I say, was that really that interesting? We kept the incumbent President in office, by a relatively wide margin in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Indiana came to its senses and voted Republican again like it's supposed to do. NBC and CNN projected the winner by 11:15 PM. As presidential elections go, this was incredibly dull.

So people, let's start being interesting again! At this time last year, I had just been forced into competing in a pageant, which I ended up almost winning. Occupy Wall Street was still a thing. Last November was actually entertaining! My challenge to you, then, readers, is this: make November entertaining again. Do exciting things. Once in a while, talk about things other than football.

And, by all means, if you hear of someone doing something funny, tell me about it - because I am running out of things to say about you boring people.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Costumes. Yeah, I'm Going There

In case you have forgotten in light of current events that are of actual national importance, today is Halloween. And as every self-respecting Mean Girls fan knows, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it...right?


Let's be honest here. It's taking my every last ounce of willpower to have the general human decency not to make Hurricane Sandy jokes. Obviously, then, no "rules of girl world" - even if they are laid down by my favorite piece of modern cinema - are going to keep me from making fun of people for their slutty Halloween costumes. And with the ensembles I've seen floating around the interwebs lately, these jokes are pretty much writing themselves.

Merriam-Webster defines "costume" as an outfit worn to create the appearance characteristic of a particular period, person, place, or thing. That's it. An outfit that creates the appearance of something that is not you. Nowhere in the dictionary's definitions of "costume" do you find the phrase "an outfit worn to place women in as little or as suggestively-fashioned clothing as possible while remaining vaguely reminiscent of some sort of day laborer or mythical creature." Somewhere, this concept of costume was embedded into the minds of the costume manufacturers and the young women of America, and I'm here to say, it must stop. 

Recently, in my typical perusing of Facebook, I came across a pair of ladies dressed in bandeau bra tops, tutus the length of modest underwear, leg warmers, and fuzzy hats who were calling themselves "rainbow dinosaurs." I hate to break it to you, but you are not rainbow dinosaurs. You are naked. Similarly, wearing a Spandex dress with a sheriff's badge on it that is cut down to your navel and has a hemline that ends just as your femur begins does not make you a sheriff. It makes you a silly girl who remembered her badge but forgot her pants. How many times have you seen an actual cop do that? I'm betting pretty few times. 

You know who else you typically don't see dressing ultra-suggestively just because it's Halloween? Men. I would hardly consider myself a feminist (read: I took a gender studies class last spring solely because Sex and the City 2 was on the syllabus), but something seems a little fishy about this dichotomy. Granted, you will occasionally see guys whose Halloween costumes leave them shirtless, but that's generally because they're either gay, Halloweening with a heavy dose of irony, or entirely insufferable human beings. Female readers, if you, too, dress inappropriately for Halloween because you are insufferable human beings, by all means, keep on keepin' on. I do not care about you. Similarly, if you are some kind of hipster who's donning a scandalous costume this year ironically because that's what mainstream people do, you, too, have my full permission to continue doing whatever weird thing it is you do all day. 

In the millions of other cases seen in America every October, though, the slutty Halloween costumes have got to go. The peculiar thing about this phenomenon is the way in which it stretches to almost every corner of youngwomanhood. The girls who wear scandalous costumes are not simply the girls whose extra-curricular activities are similarly scandalous - they're also the girls who normally wear jeans and weather-appropriate, comfortable tops to go out on the weekends. Slutty costumes are seen as a Halloween standard to which all girls, slutty or otherwise, must aspire. This, my friends, makes no sense. For most of the continental United States, Halloween is perfectly timed for perennially awful weather. If you would normally dress warmly in the end of October - or, to cater specifically to 2012, if you would normally dress warmly in the pretty much nationwide dregs of a thousand-mile-wide Category 1 hurricane - there is no reason not to do the same on Halloween! If you want to be a hippie, wear bellbottoms and a sweater with a fringe vest. If you want to be a nurse, wear scrubs. It's really not difficult. 

If you're willing to sacrifice a bit of warmth for the sake of above-average effort for this particularly important/hyped night out, you can still do so without being downright inappropriate. Find yourself some ears and a polka-dotted red dress that you would wear and get a million compliments for in real life, and voila - you, scandal-free, cute person, are a perfectly lovely Minnie Mouse! As someone who hardly ever cares enough to go out on the weekends, I certainly understand the concept of putting a bit more pizzazz into your Halloween costume than you would for a normal Friday night. But as you're pulling your costume together, remember - cuter than usual does not have to mean dressing like a street walker. 

Unless your costume is actually intended to be "street walker." There's a lot of potential for both clever social commentary and endless LOLz going on with that idea. If you were planning on dressing as an actual prostitute for Halloween this year, consider your costume Domerberry-approved. 

But seriously, people. As this year's Halloween festivities start/end/let's-just-go-with-"happen"-because-I-have-no-idea-when-Halloweekend-was-or-is-supposed-to-be, let's all try to keep our Halloween costumes slutwear-free. If nothing I've said yet has convinced you, I'll address one final point. Most costume companies call scandalous women's costumes "sassy." The only thing sassy about a polyester/Lycra-blend minidress is the shamelessness with which it pretends to be anything but cheap. If you want a sassy costume, dress up as Mitt Romney's binders full of women. Or, if you want to get really sassy this Halloween? Just dress up as me. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Domerberry Album Review: Red

Well, friends, the time we should all have seen coming is finally here. TSwizzle (that's Taylor Swift, for the idiots among us) has released her fourth album, Red. When it comes to my tastes in entertainment, I am unabashedly a 13-year-old who merely masquerades as a college honors student. Given those facts and my blogospheric duty as an arbiter of all things cultural, I present to you the first-ever Domerberry Album Review. Because honestly, what else could I possibly do?

Since I'm not an actual music critic, I'm going to review based solely on my whims. If I have nothing to say about a song, I'll ignore it! That said, I'm going to begin by skipping straight to the title track, "Red." How to phrase my feelings on this song? Hm...I'm obsessed with it. TSwiz has been driving that new Maserati straight through my mind, without ceasing, for about three days now. As an English major, I can't help but love a song that gives such a great lesson on figurative language. Since pretty much every single line takes the form "doing X is like Y," this song will come in quite handy should I ever need to teach a group of fifth graders what simile means.

The next song on the album that screams for me to address is, of course, "I Knew You Were Trouble." Let's get this on the table right now: it is completely unacceptable, in every way, for Taylor Swift to produce a song that even remotely qualifies as dubstep. Obviously, then, I love this song. It's so entirely wrong, and yet somehow, it manages to be so right. Every time that miniature beat drops after "lying on the co-old hard ground," I'll admit it, I rock out a little bit. In all seriousness, though, Skrillex hurts my ears, so keep on bringin' the dubstep lite, pop stars of America!

Then there's the one-two punch of "22" and "I Almost Do" (thanks for setting up that sweet rhyme, TayTay). 22 is obviously about to become the party anthem to end all party anthems for the next 6-36 months. I am already planning the clever Facebook status I will make out of these lyrics for my twenty-second birthday, and I still have 5 more months until I even turn 21. Hataz gonna hate. "I Almost Do." Hi. Story of my actual life, as well as the lives of every single person who will buy this album, and the lives of 80% of the people of Earth who don't buy this album. "I bet it never ever occurred to you that I can't say hello to you and risk another goodbye"? I'm not even sure I have anyone to whom that applies and it still brings me half to tears. GOSH, TAYLOR, STOP UNDERSTANDING AMERICAN YOUTH SO WELL.

"We Are Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Getting Back Together." Yeah, the inevitable has happened and I have embraced my love of this song. Whatever.

Clearly, Taylor works well when she is repeating words, because the next discussion-worthy song on this album is "Stay Stay Stay." This is the cutest song Barney theme. It almost makes me physically ill. The most laughably meaningless lyric on this entire album is this number's "I just really like hanging out with you all the time." Oh, really? Deep, Taylor. But then she says, "It's been occurring to me that I'd like to hang out with you for my whole life," and my heart melts all over the floor, because, it's like, she gets me, you know?

And finally, there are the last three songs. First, we have "Everything Has Changed," the duet with quirky British ginger Ed Sheeran. While I admit I don't know a ton about him, it seems that Ed Sheeran is exactly the type of gentleman whom I plan on meeting and eventually marrying while in London next semester (assuming my plans to break up Will & Kate fall through), so I'm automatically a fan of this song. Also, while I think it's healthy for her as a human that she's finally started to write things somewhat beyond the emotional level of a high school freshman on this album, I ultimately like TSwiz best when she is cutesy and in love. This song feeds into my desire for cutesy Taylor love songs 100% and, if it weren't so freaking low (seriously, are you a bass, TayTay?), I would literally be singing it at every waking moment of this week.

My only issue with the next track, "Starlight," is its inspiration. Am I the only one who finds it a little creepy that she wrote a song about the love story of her boyfriend's grandma, with whom she is openly obsessed? I don't think I am. If we ignore that uncomfortable reality, though, this song is among my favorites on the album. Also, replace Bobby Kennedy with six awesome Jesus camp counselors and this song magically becomes about Break Week - just in case we ever need an anthem that isn't "Some Nights."

TSwiz finishes strong on Red with "Begin Again." It is everything you want in a Taylor Swift song all rolled into one. It's catchy (just try to tell me that "little kii-iid" line isn't stuck in your head; if you do, you are lying). It has sass about an ex-boyfriend. It has lovey-dovey talk about a new boyfriend. It is, essentially, perfect.

Overall, like every other person on this campus, I am entirely bewitched by Red. Though it's a little heavy on the "I miss this person I dated recently" themes to fit my life quite as specifically as I like my TSwiz to do, I can sympathize. After all, if Jake Gyllenhaal was my boyfriend and that stopped happening, I think I'd write an album (or twelve) of sad songs about it, too. TayTay In Love and Having Fun appears plenty on this album, as well, and the songs are just awesome enough to make me forget the creepy fact that she's writing them about a high school senior. Red passes the Domerberry standards test with flying colors. Loving this album is red. Burning red.

(P.S. This is my 69th post. LOL. See above, "I am secretly 13 years old" and I have no shame about it.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Exciting Fall Break Life

Ahh, fall break. The options for how I could spend my time are limitless. I could do service in Appalachia! I could learn about life issues in DC! I could pray in Montreal! I could travel to some exciting foreign land starting with an I, like Ireland or Italy or Israel (yes, I have friends in all of those I places right now)! I could go to Logansport!

Spoiler alert: I did that last one!

The way I see it, I'm going abroad next semester, so I can make up for my completely uninteresting breaks thus far in my college career during those four months. For now, though, it's Logansport or bust, and let me tell you - things are thrilling. To keep you all entertained, I thought I'd break down my fascinating life on a day by day basis.

On Monday, I didn't leave my house. Heck, I never even put on shoes! Did I brush my hair? I don't know. I don't care! I read an entire novel about angry, scary freedom fighters. I read a terribly depressing article about military funerals. After briefly stumbling out of my bed at 6:30 for the chocolate chip pancakes my mother had made, I went back to sleep and didn't wake up until noon -  because my strenuous fall break life requires a lot of rest, you know?

Tuesday was a red-letter day. I left my house!! Now, don't get me wrong; I still slept until well past the time when I would normally be in class. But big steps were made. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch, thus experiencing 50% of Logansport's dining culture in under one hour. In the afternoon, I stopped by my old high school and took pictures at dress rehearsal for the evening's choir concert. I even helped the remarkably dim-witted youth of my community realize their full potential as practitioners of (almost) foolproof step-touch dance moves. Later that evening, I returned to the high school for October's big event: the Fall Choral Preview. I stole the auditorium's best seats for my own use as semi-official photographer of the LHS Choirs (guys I have a DSLR, I'm clearly a professional, it's fine) and settled in. I saw 12-year-olds dressed like they were going to the club, listened in on all the juiciest Ltown gossip, and watched my heart melt all over the floor when the middle school choir danced. Eventually, we came to my favorite part of the program - the show choir. [Note @ Brian, Augie, Tim, Paul, etc:...costumes?!] For this show, the Swing Choir did four numbers. Two of them were originally performed - and perfected, if I may say so myself - by the 2008 LHS Swing Choir. So when "Another Op'nin'" and "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine" came up, I perched on the edge of my seat, snapping pictures and quietly doing the choreography to myself. This was clearly the highest point of both my fall break and the Tuesday nights of all the confused parents of middle school kids whose games of Angry Birds I had interrupted with my enthusiasm. Following the concert, I came home, sidled up to a packet of Sour Punch Straws (thanks, speech team candy sales) and tuned in to the presidential debate.

I briefly considered dedicating a whole post to that three-ring circus, but I then remembered that the goal of my blog is not actually to bore people to death. That said, I will make the following statements: if you live-tweet the presidential debate, your sole purpose should be to entertain. (See @poniewozik. Hilarious.) Point out stupid-looking people in the audience. Tweet your general musings on debate structures. Please, please stop with your political rants. I assure you that no one cares. Oh, and if you were ranting in favor of the candidate I do not support and I am still following you on Twitter, you should know that I keep you around primarily for my own amusement.

Then came Wednesday - another big day. I finished the full Logansport Dining Tour on Wednesday with lunch at El Arriero, which is, to my knowledge, still pronounced by most of our fine citizenry as "El Uh-RAHR-ee-oh's." I ventured into the brave new world that is Family Video before 9 PM to find the obscure, early-90s John Travolta movie I needed for American Film. To my delight, they had exactly one copy in stock (and it wasn't even on VHS! which I half expected!), proving that Logansport is good for things after all. I watched my terrible Travolta film, read some scholarship on African feminism (have I mentioned that break is exciting?), and hunkered down in my house through the week's thirty-fifth gale-force windstorm. To give you some context on this, an earlier storm blew a branch through the previously blemish-free screen on my bedroom window and blew a bench cushion from our front porch to the middle of our backyard. Then there was Wednesday night, when I watched two episodes of NCIS and fell asleep at 10. I am beginning to think I may be somewhat narcoleptic.

Today was, like, actually exciting, seeing as I did what all Logansport residents do for fun - go to Indianapolis. I had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I am living the high life, people. I bought red pants today! I explored the almost completed renovations at the Fashion Mall and got to experience the ultimate first-world problem: is it possible to choke to death on the sawdust inhaled en route from Anthropologie to Madewell? Oh, and I ended my day with Sycamore ice cream at my grandmother's house, so sarcasm aside, Sycamore, glittery new clothing, red pants (red!!) was a good day.

Oh, and finally, I must throw out one shameless plug. Currently, I'm sitting in my dad's office at the high school eavesdropping on rehearsal for the upcoming LHS production of Oklahoma!. My sister is starring in it alongside her onetime boyfriend. (The kids assure me this is not awkward. I do not understand the youngfolk these days.) The production hits the McHale PAC stage on Friday, November 16, and I will be going. But I simply refuse to go alone. This, my dear readers, is where you come in. My Notre Dame friends have been begging to see into the mysterious world that is Logansport, Indiana, since practically day one of freshman year - and, I mean, I can't blame you. This is your chance! I'll be coming home to Ltown on that Friday night to see the show, heading to town just long enough to see the show and get back to campus with plenty of time for social gatherings. My car can fit up to four people who aren't me, and I would love to fill those seats with you! Come with me! (And you'll be in a world of pure imagination!) It'll be great! Woo hoo!

But seriously, let me know if you want to come. So fun. We can listen to "Some Nights" for the whole hour and a half from ND to my house.

So that's my exciting fall break life. It is...exciting. I don't really have anything clever to wrap this up with, so I will see you all back on campus very soon! Enjoy the rest of your break, everyone!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Day That J Crew Built

This semester, I have been given the lovely blessing of no-class Fridays. While this luxury means different things for different people, today's no-class Friday, in the life of Sarah Cahalan, meant spending the whole day in two places: South Dining Hall and J Crew. 

Now, you may see this and think, "Oh, she must mean she only left her dorm to go to two places all day." You would be wrong in such a thought. When I say I spent my day at J Crew and the dining hall, I mean that I went to the dining hall for lunch, went straight from there to the mall, and came straight back from the mall to the dining hall. This day began at about 12:45, and it ended pretty much just now when I returned from dinner seven hours later. 

How exactly does one spend seven hours in only two places? Well, for starters, you win dining hall. For those non-Notre Dame readers unfamiliar with our campus dining or those Notre Dame readers simply unfamiliar with the most extreme applications of campus dining, winning dining hall means that your group is the last one to leave the dining hall at the end of a meal time. Today, my friends, we won dining hall. Each Friday, a group of my coworkers from this summer eats lunch together at 12:30. I decided on a whim to attend today's Vision lunch, and boy, was this an excellent choice. The earliest among us - just to remind you - showed up at 12:30. The most dedicated diners of our group (including some who had been there from the very beginning) left at 3:00. Three. Two and a half hours in the dining hall. To fill all that time, we, of course, engaged in deep, edifying conversation. 

Note: By "edifying conversation," I mean that, after I made the mistake of bringing up Paul Ryan's workout photos, we talked for the entire lunch about the differences between "hot," "handsome," and "cute," and who among our friends falls into which category. Literally, this is all we did. (Just because we worked at Jesus camp, does not mean we are above "hot or not.") 

Following lunch, the ladies of our group headed over to good ol' University Park Mall for a bit of necessities shopping at J Crew. The concept was simple enough. Our exclusively-J-Crew-wearing friend needed a blazer and heels for her upcoming business boot camp. There was, of course, only one place to go to find them. Once there, however, the cardigans and the trousers and the tweed trapped us. Before we knew it, I had two shirts on hold at the register, and our resident J Crew Princess (known henceforth as JCP) had a dressing room full of clothes and a saleslady turned personal shopper. Our shopping third wheel and I sat on the couch outside the dressing rooms, giving opinions, offering to fetch different sizes, and generally being JCP's collective, female boyfriend. By the personal shopper's third attempt to find the proper size of the Cafe Capri, she knew all of our names, and we all referred to her cordially as Katie. We formed quite the lovely little shopping family. Eventually, as I perused the sparkly jewelry things that keep my simple mind entertained, Katie came up to our boyfriend couch and said, "Would you and Sarah like some waters? We have bottled water!" That's right, folks. We stayed at J Crew for so long that the employees gave us free bottled water. She half-joked that, had we stayed much longer, our next perk would be pretzels. 

After buying our new, offensively preppy clothes, it was basically time for dinner. JCP felt bad for making us sit in J Crew as her boyfriend all afternoon - because, after all, sitting in retail heaven for two hours while kindly salesKaties offer us complimentary refreshments is soooo miserable - so she treated us to froyo, before we headed back to...the dining hall. Again. 

My entire life today was South Dining Hall --> J Crew --> South Dining Hall, and I must say...I'm not ashamed. I spent over three hours in the DH. I got free bottled water as a gift for working so hard at shopping. I earned a compliment from a J Crew employee over my own, not-even-sold-to-me-in-the-store outfit. I got free froyo. I learned all of the differences between smokeshows, pretty girls, and beautiful people. I may have done nothing productive for society all day long, but it was a productive day. J Crew 4eva.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's October Third

Friends. Readers. Cool Asians and burnouts, desperate wannabes and unfriendly black hotties (because so many of those read my blog), sexually active band geeks, Plastics, and yes, even you home-schooled jungle freaks (I'm lookin' at you, Renee), today is October 3rd. And as we all know,

If, for some strange reason, you do not understand this reference, you should first be aware that you and I are not and have never been friends. Secondly and more importantly, you must immediately minimize this post and go watch Mean Girls, because it will change your life forever. 

In honor of today's famous date, I felt it was, like, the rules of feminism to dedicate a post to Mean Girls, also known as The Best Movie of the Twenty-First Century and Also Possibly of All Time

You see, for me and the millions of other American teenage girls - and guys - who grew up under the spell of Cady, Regina, Janis, and Aaron, Mean Girls is more than just a movie. It is the cultural lifeblood that has shaped us, made fun of us, and provided us with a larger quote arsenal than any other cultural product ever has or ever will. (For, after all, when it comes to how many times in a day you can quote Mean Girls, the limit does not exist.) It introduced us to the brilliant mind of Tina Fey, and it gave us that one last burst of Lindsay Lohan greatness before she moved to Indiana... dropped out of school, cut off all her hair, got totally weird, and now I guess is on crack...lost her mind. It didn't teach us how to be mean, because, trust me, we knew that already. It taught us to look critically at our meanness, showed us the consequences of cattiness (namely, that mean girls will get hit by buses, which is true like 90% of the time), and encouraged us to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It taught us a tiny little bit about limits that we all felt was vaguely familiar when we later learned it in calculus class. It taught us that on Wednesdays, we wear pink - which, for the record, you better have all done today. I did. And most importantly, it taught us that if we have sex, we will get pregnant and die. This, too, is true 90% of the time; just ask Notre Dame and/or Mitt Romney. 

That said, I would like to present you all with the best underrated Mean Girls characters. Everyone knows that Karen has ESPN or something. Everyone knows that Damian is almost too gay to function. Everyone knows that one time, Regina George punched me in the face, and it was awesome. But what about the other members of the North Shore family? Characters who aren't Plastics, Cady, Janis, or Damian need love too, and here it is. 

First, Kevin Gnapoor. There is not a word this kid says in the whole movie that's anything short of side-splitting comic genius. There is, of course, his brilliantly vulgar rap, topped off with the wholesomely hilarious "happy holidays!" There's his repeated assertion that he only dates women of color ("You Puerto Rican?" "Lebanese." "I feel that"). There's his classic piece of advice, "Don't let the hataz stop you from doin' yo thang." And finally, lest you forget, he is the speaker of one of the best lines in the entire film, practically thrown away following Mr. Duvall's question as to whether Ms. Norbury ever tried to sell students marijuana or ecstasy tablets: "What are marijuana tablets?" Let's not kid around. If I were to marry a character from this movie, it would, without a doubt, be Kevin G. 

Secondly, the character whom the script merely calls Michigan girl. "We have a new student joining us. She just moved here all the way from Africa." "Welcome!" "I'm from Michigan." 

Next up, Cady's mom. Amy Poehler may be the movie's cool mom (right, Regina?), but Ana Gasteyer is casually the funniest. "That is the fertility vase of the Ndebele tribe! Does that mean anything to you?" It should be noted that, within the first week of my African lit class this semester, the actual Ndebele tribe was mentioned with 100% seriousness. I know this, because I took one and only one note on the Ndebele that day: "That is the fertility vase of the Ndebele tribe!"

Joan the secretary. This woman spends the whole movie sitting back and being awesome. She gets the wonderful line, "The girls...they've gone wild!" and, in two of my favorite moments of the whole film, sheepishly raises her hand to answer both "who here has ever been called a slut" and "who here has felt personally victimized by Regina George." Joan is incredible. 

And finally, Mr. Duvall. Mr. Duvall holds the dubious honor of uttering my favorite line from the entire film, which is, of course, "Aw hell no, I did not leave the South Side for this!" This gem of a principal also introduces the character who would clearly be my favorite if he ever actually appeared in the film: Mr. Duvall's nephew Anfernee. "I know how mad he gets when I call him Anthony. Almost as mad as I get when I think about the fact that my sister named him Anfernee." 

So, folks, enjoy the rest of October 3rd. I hope all your Aaron Samuelses asked you what day it was today, and I hope that, in two weeks, you'll speak again. May you always be important enough for a page in the Burn Book and skinny enough to shop at 1-3-5. If not? 

You could try Sears. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


If you're connected enough to me to be reading my blog, you've probably heard by now that the Fighting Irish won a little football game yesterday against the evil Michigan Wolverines. This game and all that surrounded it - the promise of a 4-0 record, the hours and hours of tailgating leading up to the season's only home night game - pretty much cemented yesterday as the best and craziest day ever. My friends and I discussed all day what a great blog post would come of this day, and, as promised, here it is: the unabridged tale of Sarah's Michigan game day 2012.

My day began at the crack of dawn, before even the Fisher roofsit guys had begun their chorus of "wake up south quad"s, with the set-up shift of the Howard Hall concession stand. This seemingly mundane morning became suddenly quite interesting when I was tasked with collecting ice. Since our assigned patch of grass was in the neighborhood of the bookstore, my quest for ice began with the logically nearby Ryan Hall. The ice machine in Ryan, however, was about as effective for filling up my small-swimming-pool-sized bin as the ice dispenser for fountain drinks at Subway would have been. After 20 minutes and about as many ice cubes, I gave up and pushed the bin, over uneven sidewalks and bunches of extension cords, back to Howard. There, I completely emptied our far more effective ice machine, and, pushing the bin, filled well over halfway with ice and topped off with all the supplies to set up a tent, trekked back to the bookstore.

This was the first of many times yesterday where I looked extremely stupid in front of large crowds.

Following my concession stand shift, my friends and I headed off campus for breakfast and party supplies. Now, when I say party supplies, you probably assume that I mean illicit fermented beverages. Wrong. I mean party supplies. From Party City. Initially, we were searching for leis that we could buy and then give out to people around campus to spread the joy of "Wear a Lei for Manti" Day. Before long, we realized that every party store for about 100 miles was sold out of leis, and we resigned ourselves simply to finding the most ridiculous accessories possible to wear to the game. After trying on dozens of hats and eyewear and digging through aisle after aisle of Halloween costume pieces, we found the jackpot: green velvet cowboy hats and fuzzy mustaches. (You may consider this foreshadowing for "Sarah looking stupid in front of large crowds, part 2.") We went to Nick's Patio - during the day - for breakfast (crazy, I know) and headed back to campus.

It was here that I realized just how ridiculous I looked in this cowboy hat. You see, as anyone knows who was ever in the Logansport High School Swing Choir with me during the days when we wore those sequined top hats, I have an unusually large head. I like to think this is due to my unusually large, brilliant mind, but I digress. The point is, this hat looked rull stupid. Combine it with my rain jacket and lei, and you've got a contender for the most hideous game-day outfit ever created...before we even put on the mustaches.

This is what I'm talking about, people.

Once we had pathetically sung "White Horse" at the Dome after being convinced that Taylor Swift was on campus (she wasn't) and, post-song, donned our mustaches, we headed over to Tailgateland. Let me tell you, there is no better way to re-introduce yourself to your friends' classy, nattily-dressed parents than while wearing a rain jacket, lei, and matching green mustache and cowboy hat. Add to all of this several hours' worth of unrelenting downpour, and you'll see that this day gets better and better by the minute.

Eventually, after plenty of in-the-rain dancing, tailgate nomming, and cornhole playing, it was time for the game. My friends and I were lucky enough to be surrounded by arguably the best cast of characters in the stadium. In front of us was Homegirl. Homegirl earned her moniker by being so tragically schwasty-faced that even her friends eventually joined me in my pleas of "homegirl needs to slow down." A few seats to Homegirl's right was probably my favorite character of the night: Put It On the Pizza. This young lady looked remarkably like the speaker of the best line of the Mary Kate and Ashley body of work: "ehhhh, put it on the pizza."

Why don't you just put that right on that pizza

She was seated next to a solitary and clearly lost Michigan fan. Despite professing her hatred for said Wolverine approximately once every seven seconds, she was very clearly in love with him. At one point, I saw her kiss his head. If ever the hashtag "#OhHon" was appropriate, it was for little miss Put It On the Pizza. Rounding out our corner of the crowd was Selfies McSelfiepants, a pair of ladies who, over the course of the game, snapped somewhere around 95 selfie pictures. Basically, for a number of reasons, everyone around us was out of control. 

All in all, yesterday was an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime game day, and the game's aftermath - refusing to vacate the student section for what seemed like an eternity, walking back to Howard through what can only be described as a campus-wide party, and finally, sleeping more soundly than I had since about 1995 - will stay in my memory for years to come. And now? Friends, we are 4-0. We're ranked in the top 10. We are relevant.  We are ND. Put THAT on the pizza. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Strongly Worded Letter to the Fisher Roofsit

Dear planners of and participants in the annual Fisher Hall Roofsit,

To start things off, I think it's lovely that you devote so much time and effort to charity with this event. Really, it's commendable.

That said, your stupid roofsit is slowly destroying the souls and ruining the lives of every single person on South Quad. This is my third year trying to live, work, and sleep in Howard Hall - you know, that place where I do in fact live, work, and sleep on a fairly regular basis, as it is my home - during the roofsit, and it is my third year of utter failure.

On some level, I must say I sympathize with your unapologetically irritating control of your PA system. I have been put behind the megaphone or microphone at my fair share of events over the years (even one out on our mutual home, South Quad), and I understand. Holding that megaphone is thrilling. A person normally ranking at a 4 on the proverbial 1-10 annoyingness scale jumps immediately to a 12.5 when charged with hours of yelling into a megaphone. Spotting one's friends across the quad whilst brandishing a megaphone requires you to call them out as blatantly as possible. That is, in fact, the golden rule of megaphone use. Yelling at random strangers can also be fun, especially if said strangers are terrified, unsuspecting freshmen you can lure into support of your cause with your ceaseless shouts and repetitions of, "Hey you! You with the face! And the nose! Come over - yes, you, you in the yellow pants, GET OVER HERE - DON'T YOU WALK AWAY I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN." See? So fun.

You people, however, are out of control. I'll begin with the obvious. This afternoon, as I stood on the quad after class observing your ridiculous antics, I heard the all-too-familiar strains of Taylor Swift's latest effort, "We Are Never, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever...Ever Getting Back Together" blasting through your speakers. This is unacceptable. Playing that song is an abuse of your loudspeaker privileges. The next time I hear that drivel, I will walk right over to your "roof," chuck your iPod into the Reckers dumpster, and set your speakers to an endless loop of the Bye Bye Birdie soundtrack until you apologize. (Note: literally any other Taylor Swift song ever released would be perfectly fine. But this one...I refuse to accept the inescapability of its catchiness, and until it goes away, I will be on a dedicated mission to purge it from my life and keep myself from dropping $1.29 on it in a moment of iTunes weakness.)

Next, let's think for a second about the actual nature of this "roofsit." For starters, "roofsit" is, as demonstrated by the little red lines all over the draft of this post, not even a word. Would it have killed you to spell it with a hyphen, thus becoming respectable among spell check programs and less cringe-inducing among childhood spelling bee champions-turned-twentysomething-grammar nazis (a group that includes, most importantly, me)? I think not! But I digress. The most problematic element of your roofsit is that, really, it's not even on a roof. It's on the roof of your doorway. You're closer to the ground than our cheerleaders will be for 90% of this football season. Fishermen, you don't sit on a roof. You sit on a throne of lies. Want to impress me? Do your roofsit from the roof of Flanner.

Then there's the completely ridiculous length of your little roofsit. Of course, as one of the organizers of last year's 24-hour Howard signature event/seesaw marathon, the Totter for Water, I can't really talk when it comes to obnoxiously long events. I sat, stood, tottered, and planked out on the quad, yelling into the megaphone all the while, for many, many hours of my life last year. Currently, a new crop of Howard girls is out there doing the same thing (a scheduling conflict with your roofsit that I won't even bother to address). 24 hours is a long time, so when it comes to perpetrating lengthy events, I am guilty as charged. But the roofsit goes on for - correct me if I'm wrong - 9,327 hours. (Okay, so maybe it's, like, 40. You've said it enough times since kicking things off this afternoon, but, in the interest of eventually sleeping in my room, windows closed in a futile effort to block the noise, in my own dorm, I try to ignore it when you speak. Do forgive me.) And the music and the yelling and the haggling goes on - for 9,327 hours. Living in Howard, you get used to surrounding campus noise. You get used to the Dillon Pep Rally. You get used to the band show wafting in from the steps of neighboring Bond every football Saturday. But the roofsit grates on your ears for a whole weekend, and, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot get used to it. (How anyone is left in Pangborn after living next to the roofsit for all these years is entirely beyond me.)

So, roofsit, I must say, I am not your biggest fan. I tire of your yelling, and I will never, ever, ever find "We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together" acceptable fare for blasting through the whole quad. I think your event would probably be more successful if you sold your own silence in exchange for donations. I would gladly give you $20 if it meant twenty minutes of blissful, megaphone-free roofsit respite. (Well...I would pool my money together with my friends so as to give you $20. I could buy a lot of chocolate with that kind of money.) But the moral of the story, friends, is this: you are horribly annoying. And on Saturday morning, as the fans start pouring in and game day begins, I will beg for the third year in a row that the raucous, partying attitude of the Fisher roofsit never, ever end.


The Domerberry

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That's How I Beat Rasta

[Disclaimer: No one in this blog post actually beats Rasta at anything. I just really liked the Aaron Carter reference.]

It was a Tuesday night in September. The air was clear and the night beautiful, set alight by the first twinkles of autumn. On this night, freed for the evening from the confines of rehearsal, a group of musicians set out on a journey of athleticism, passion, victory, and defeat that they would never forget.

They were met at the North Food Court. Basses, altos, sopranos, tenors of all ages came together to gain sustenance for their impending athletic endeavors. Tensions at the meal were few; flakes of Teflon found in stir fry servings at the meal, well, existed, which was disconcerting. Laughter peppered the air around the friends' table, but they knew of the task that lay ahead of them. The beguiling, lactose-y whiles of the frozen yogurt machine were resisted by all as they turned their attention to the mission at hand: a few "friendly" rounds of sand volleyball.

The rag-tag team began their trek to Stepan Fields - those Elysian lands which, with their perpetual volleyball court lighting and proximity to the ever-revered Stepan Center, are perhaps better known as the Fields of Dreams. Once there, the friends, clad in skinny jeans and long-sleeved shirts, baseball caps and flip-flops, found the courts already occupied by serious, RecSports athletes.

Determined not to let the chance at the magical courts slip away, the team took instead to an interim game, a brand of soccer without goalposts, shoes, or even, really, a field. They centered themselves around a trashcan "goal," placed their volleyball on the grass, and began their game. Before long, though, a new element came into play: Rasta.

Rasta, you see, had been watching their game from across the field. He and his companion, Rasta's Small Cousin, had been kicking a ball around themselves - a real soccer ball, with real cleats and real talent - and were looking for people with whom to play a few rounds.

Being kind, generous children of God, the friends decided to let Rasta and Cousin join in their fun. This was, of course, what anyone would do - but Rasta was intimidating. Within minutes, he divided the group into teams with himself at the helm. He stood at the goal, imposing, brooding, dreadlock-ing, blocking shot after shot with a flick of the ankle as he simultaneously talked on the phone and shouted orders at all members of both teams in a language that only sometimes sounded like English. He preached good spirits (largely), but, truth be told, he was frightening.

Eventually, a spot opened up on the courts - opposite a real-life RecSports team. The friends - known forevermore as Team Choir - took their places on the court and began the duel. There were embarrassments; there were small victories; there were more embarrassments. Ultimately, there was a game hard fought by both teams and with a score far less humiliatingly one-sided than could ever have been predicted.

Then, however, came the return of Rasta. His team, an athletic, intimidating posse fresh off their rousing defeat of another authentic RecSports team, was restless and looking for opponents. Just as the restlessness set in, Rasta noticed Team Choir. He swooped in.

"You should play against us!" he insisted.

"No," said Team Choir, "We're really not on your level."

"No, no," Rasta responded. "You play against us. And you play against us now."

With that, Rasta's team glided onto the far end of the court, forcing Team Choir onto one huddled, terrified side as the Rastas forcibly entered the game like a strangely attractive, athletic, nattily-attired army going into battle. The face-off began, and tensions mounted...for Rasta.

On the side of Team Choir, the cause was clearly hopeless, so laughter and song abounded. On the side of Team Rasta, though, all was business.

"Who is singing?" he would demand. "Stop your singing, 'coach,' pay attention to your team!" "Oh, nice shot, coach!" "What are you guys doing?!"

After what seemed like weeks of oddly mismatched competition, game point approached. The score, to the surprise of everyone on the court, was 24-23, with Team Rasta holding tight to the tiny lead. Gone were the early moments of the game, when members of Team Choir could see a familiar waiter among their opponents and engage in the sorts of things that will probably be discussed at this week's "Notre Dame Really Is Full of Losers" Conference Flirting Workshop. This was the time for action. This was the time for war.

In the end, of course, Team Rasta was victorious...and scary. Team Choir's very own Nashty May-Treanor closed out the game with a relatively creepy wink and a "see you soon" from her Team Rasta waiter friend, and the teams headed home. The night was full of surprises and yes, even occasional terror, but it was more filled with friendship and love. (Except for Rasta. His night was just surprise and terror.) Should the time come again some day, dear reader, when you find yourself free from rehearsal and looking for something to do, make your way to Elysi-Stepan Fields, and work your way to Rasta. It will give you a strange night, but it will guarantee you a great one.

[Note: For all of you who are wondering, no, I did not play any volleyball tonight. Or soccer. I did participate in the whole "eating of dinner" part of the evening. From then on, I sat on the sidelines, trying my best to diplomatically laugh equally at everyone and plotting this blog post in my head, as General Manager Cahalan. This is my life. Go Team Choir; beat Rasta.]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

After This, I'll Shut Up About Ireland

Well, dear readers, I'm home. Given the speed with which I churned out my first two Ireland posts, some of you probably expected this one earlier than now. I, however, was awake for approximately 26 hours straight yesterday and still went to bed with half my homework unfinished (I did it in the morning, Mom), so I figured this could be the one time in my life where I put my priorities in a reasonable human order and put blogging off for a day.

After the Maynooth mass on Thursday and the pep rally on Friday came the Folk Choir's best two days in Ireland - game day and the-day-after-game-day. We started things off bright and early on Saturday morning with a mass at Dublin Castle. This mass was taped to be televised later as the main Sunday mass on a supposedly important Irish network, RTE, which is both really cool and super weird. When I say "weird," of course, I don't mean weird in an "Oh, it's so weird I'm on TV" sort of way. That is simply how the world should be working, anyway. I mean weird in a "there are three video cameras pointing at me while I bite my nails all through the first and second readings" sort of way. This mass also marked the beginning of my strange and super-heightened emotions regarding my imminent reunions with my friends studying in Dublin for the semester. Between the army of green-sweatshirt-clad Dublin kids serving as ushers for the mass and the Gospel reading which had served as the inspiration for one of this summer's Jesus camp musicals, I was, by the time the homily rolled around, crying. If the statistics we've been fed are to be believed, there are now about 4 million people in Ireland wondering why that weird American girl was so upset by the parable of the talents.

Then, as Saturdays for Notre Dame students always go, mass was over and it was time to tailgate. This tailgate, however, was unlike any I have ever or will ever see. The Emerald Isle Classic tailgate was no parking lot full of pickup trucks and Natty Lite. Nay, this tailgate consisted of Notre Dame taking over the entire Temple Bar district, complete with "Official ND Tailgate" signs at every corner, incredibly lenient (read: nonexistent) laws about carrying alcohol outside from pub to pub, and every classmate you have ever had, ever. While standing in the street outside The Auld Dubliner, I ran into: my best friend in the entire world, two members of Howard Hall's 2011-2012 Spiritual Life Council and at least one other member of the Howard class of 2014, a girl from my freshman Honors seminar, a girl from my sophomore Honors anthropology seminar, a girl with whom I took the intro classes for both of my majors, one of my fellow Jesus camp employees, the boyfriend of another of my fellow Jesus camp employees, and the girl who beat me out for first runner-up at the 2011 Miss ND pageant. And those are just the ones I had conversations with.

Following the world's greatest tailgate, we headed over to Aviva Stadium for the game itself. We trekked to our seats and found ourselves directly in front of the band, directly behind the 1964 winner of the Heisman Trophy, and approximately 10 rows from the field. The five Irish men sitting beside the drum major in the row behind me, I think, were - both physically and mentally - very, very lost. Because there was no other viable option, really, we declared ourselves the student section. We stood for the duration of the game, we did each and every football cheer, and, as we have now been told about 80 times each, we got a lot of TV time. We did push-ups for every touchdown with people as interesting as all of Heisman guy's grandkids, one of the Irish guys from the row behind us, and even the drum major. We also planted the seed with the drum major and band directors that the Band of the Fighting Irish simply must learn how to play "The Wobble," so, you know, listen up for that later in the season. And then the Notre Dame students actually on the field won by forty points. This was a good day.

Then came Sunday. We sang for mass at St. Mary's Church on Haddington Road (a meaningless address for pretty much anyone reading this, but given the 12 million St. Mary's Churches in the world, it seemed necessary), then had a free afternoon. I had a lovely day of shopping with a girl who I'm sure is about to brag to her boyfriend about being mentioned in two of my blog posts in a row (see, Olaf, I mentioned you too, obliquely) and bought lots of clothes I can't wait to brag about buying in Ireland, including my dress for the Howard dome dance.

Yes, boys, I am still looking for a date.

We rounded out the evening at Notre Dame's favorite Dublin pub, O'Neill's, and prepared to head home. At 6:00 Monday morning, we gathered in the lobby of the Avalon House hostel and said our goodbyes to the Folk Choir's favorite city and to the Folk Choir's favorite member currently living there. Given that this last one was, for me, a goodbye to my best friend for the next 11 months, this was one of those times that I'm glad there weren't three RTE cameras pointing at me. We headed back to our home under the Dome, sang the Alma Mater as we drove down ND Ave, and returned to our normal lives. The day that began with tears and hugs in Dublin ended with homework and laughter in the kitchen of Lewis Hall, and the weekend that started on a Wednesday ended on a Monday night with six days of memories I will never forget. Thanks for the adventure, Dublin - I'll see you soon.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Back By Popular Demand

Tonight, the Folk Choir, band, and cheerleaders performed with a selection of Irish people ranging from not-really-famous-but-we'll-call-them-that-anyway to pretty-darn-famous at Notre Dame's Welcome Home Pep Rally to a sold-out O2 Centre. It was, put simply, incredible. (My life continues to not be real.) Hopefully, some of you reading this watched it live on YouTube! You could do that, because we are very important and were the featured video on YouTube's home page tonight. [Note: by "we" I clearly mean the Folk Choir. Just us. I'm certainly not referring to the Folk Choir and Joe Biden, because he was not there. The statement that he was going to be there was a vicious rumor or, as I like to call it, lie. Thanks, Anuna.] The show began at 8:30 Dublin time, but the performers, of course, had to be there far earlier for rehearsals and such. Given the length of the show, we were there for a grand total of 12 hours. In these twelve hours, many wonderful things occurred - so many wonderful things, in fact, that you even compile a list of them. A list of, perhaps, nine of them. 

And folks, compile a Top 9 I have. (Mostly because everyone has been telling me all day to write one, and threatening unspeakable violence against me should I not write one. So.) 

9. The following moment during our first rehearsal of "Fionghualla" with Anuna, the famouser-than-us Irish choir we sang with: *Anuna director gives pitch* *Anuna soloist comes in, apparently flat* Anuna director: "Could you sing the note I gave you, please?" *Anuna soloist tries again* Director: "Could you sing the note I gave you, please?" *Anuna soloist tries one more time* Director: "Could you sing the note I gave you, please?" 

8. That time when my friends and I asked the High Kings for directions to the merchandise stand, because someone in our group (cough Lizzy Lou cough) did not realize that they were pretty-darn-famous people and not, in fact, custodial staff. 

7. The following conversation backstage before the show: 
Steven C. Warner (our Folk Choir director): "One family gave $450,000 to bring us and the band and everyone over here." 
My dear friend @NashtyGetNashty: "That's more than my house." 
Me: "That's more than my house twice." 

6. That time that I did my homework during our downtime. Ha ha, just kidding, that never happened. 

5. Each and every band rehearsal, during which we geeked out completely, despite having seen them, eh, a couple of times before. 
5B. Reuniting with my two favorite Vision mentors/ND trumpets. Normally, this would rank at about an 8 on a Top 9, but this time, IT WAS IN IRELAND. 

4. The host's witty banter with actual famous person Martin Short. Why was Martin Short there, you ask? Good question. Well, what did he say, then? Haven't the foggiest. I could, however, see his ten-foot-wide mouth moving on the Jumbotron from backstage, and, judging from crowd reaction, it certainly seemed funny. 

3. That time during one of the band's rehearsals when we were loitering in the back of the arena with some Anuna guys, doing all of the game day cheers, and earned the following comments from our Irish friends: "What are you all saying?" Go Irish, Beat Navy, of course! "Oh..we heard 'Go Pirates, Be Naked.'" Hm. No, Anuna guys, that was not what we were saying...but you can be sure it will be from now on! 

2. The entirety of our "You Raise Me Up" performance with relatively-famous guy Anthony Kearns. Apparently, we couldn't even remotely be heard, but whatever. It was awesome. My favorite part of this was when none of us cried. Oh, wait.

1. Our entire time onstage for the finale with the pretty-darn-famous High Kings and the not-famous-but-famous-enough-for-a-Wikipedia-page-apparently Notre Dame Marching Band. My favorite part of this one was looking out just as the Alma Mater started to see two of my dearest friends from Howard Hall and one of the few other people in the world who is both Domer and Berry - the girl who gave me my first experience staying overnight in a Notre Dame dorm - sitting, swaying, and singing along just a few rows from the stage. And again, here, I didn't cry. Oh, wait.

So tonight was the best ever, and tomorrow is the game. For the sake of avoiding brutal embarrassment for both the Notre Dame family and seemingly everyone in Ireland, we had better win.