Saturday, April 28, 2012

Say Yes to the Dress, and Say No to Unity Candles

This afternoon, the Folk Choir sang for the first of three weddings on our schedule between now and the end of the school year. Normally, I spend the entirety of these basilica weddings staring over the choir loft banister and gushing with my friends about how cute everything is. While I certainly did that a few times today, I also did a lot of peculiar-face making and "Wait, what?" exclaiming. It got me thinking quite a lot about weddings in general, and I figured it was only appropriate to write a brief diatribe on all the horrendous things you will never, under any circumstances, find at my wedding.

The first and most important thing that will be absolutely absent from my nuptials is small children. For those of you unaware of my nuanced relationship with the littl'uns, I like cute kids as much as the next person. More, even! My tolerance for small children who are loud, annoying, tantrum-prone, or otherwise distracting, on the other hand, is shockingly low. I fully intend to put a note on my wedding invitations instructing my guests to leave the kids at home. With the exception of flower girls and ring bearers, there's no explicit need for kids at a wedding. They won't remember it, they probably won't enjoy it (given that it forces them to sit relatively still and be quiet for too long for most adults to handle), and they'll make sure their parents don't enjoy it, either. You can't appreciate a wedding if you spend the whole thing wrangling a herd of ankle-biters and escorting crying babies to a foyer where yes, everyone can still hear the screaming. This "no-kids" rule gets tricky when it comes to close family members and, as mentioned, those necessary and adorable miniature members of the wedding party. As usual, though, I have a perfect solution in mind! For ring bearers and flower girls, I plan to hold auditions (kids four and under need not apply) and/or kidnap Suri Cruise. For family members too close to leave the kids with a babysitter and still be socially acceptable, my answer is thus: hire out a slightly older cousin - 15 years old would be perfect - to sit in a sacristy or parish hall somewhere and babysit. It's a win-win. Moody teenager doesn't feel like sitting through some mushy wedding, I don't feel like dealing with small children, it's perfect. I'll leave it to you, readers, to decide how much of what I just said was a joke. Hint: it wasn't much.

Without any kids for my guests to worry about, then, they will be left to worry extensively about the appearance of me and my wedding party - and I do not intend to disappoint them. If there's anything more distracting at a wedding than small children, it's wedding-party wardrobe foolishness. In preparing for my wedding, there will be no silly rule giving my bridesmaids free rein in choosing their dresses. They can offer opinions, certainly. As to whether I'll honor them, well...we'll see. I do know that they will all wear the same color. They will all wear, at the very least, similar shoes of essentially the same color. Their flowers will all be the same. Probably, they will all wear identical dresses. If I end up with a slew of bridesmaids that are fairly diverse in their body types, I may change my mind on that. At the moment, though, all of my friends more or less resemble each other (thin, at least decent-looking...I hate you people), so I see matching dresses in your future. As far as color scheme is concerned, my vision is basically "anything that isn't stupid." Based on the weddings I've been to, it seems that this goal is harder to achieve than one might guess. In my wedding, there will be no hot pink. There will obviously be no camo, in any form, in a fifty-mile radius of my wedding. My bridesmaids will not wear print (see my last post). It will be classy and lovely and you will all hate me for coming up with that color scheme before you could use it without looking like a copycat. And my dress? I intend for it to be, eh..perfect. If I invite you someday to go wedding dress shopping, you should take it very seriously, because it is your job to make sure I don't look like an idiot/cow. It is your responsibility to correct me if, by some strange chance, I try on something hideous and think I look like the second coming of one-year-ago-tomorrow Kate Middleton. If there's one thing that is certain about my wedding, it is that I will be the most fabulous person there. Anyone who even verges on looking better than me will be quietly disposed of (I'm looking at you, model girl at wedding today wearing obnoxious shimmery maxi dress).

Last but not least, my wedding will be 100% free of the general category of things I like to call "dumb crap." This includes but is not limited to: unity objects/ceremonies, contemporary Christian rock music, mid-ceremony love songs, and subpar photography. You'd think that the unity candle trend would have gone away after, I don't know, the 1970s. Based on my experience, though, it's still alive and well. There are of course, the other iterations - unity sand art, unity wine, unity flower arrangements, unity finger-painting, the list goes on. None of these options, though, are acceptable. I like to think that the undying love of the couple should be indicated by the fact that you're at their wedding, not by their inability to split a flame in half. Dumb crap. The music at my wedding will be thoroughly free of both Celine Dion (I'll save her for the reception, because, I mean, I'm not gonna not) and music by any band who derives their name from a biblical reference. And as far as my wedding photographer is concerned, I've got some rules in mind. If your editing and filtering choices are too hipstery and generally on trend, I probably will not hire you. I'd like for my wedding photos to not look outdated in five months, thanks.  You're also unlikely to get hired if you plan to take any of the following photos: my bridesmaids and I in poses even vaguely reminiscent of the Powerpuff Girls, my husband's groomsmen playing sports, any circle of shoes, or our wedding rings arranged "artistically" on a random, insignificant object.

In summation, then, I basically want my wedding to not be stupid. That's all I ask. It won't be annoying, or corny, or poorly designed, or idiotic in any way. It will be the party of the year. [Note: at my current rate of boyfriend-getting, it will probably be the party of the year 2060.] You better start bargaining now for your spot on the invite list, because you will not want to miss it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

DARTing, Darties, and Prom - Oh My!

Based on the average demographics of my readership, pretty much anyone reading this post has, in the past few days, been affected by the Big Three of late-April young adulthood: DARTing, dartying, and prom. (Oh my!) Here at ND this weekend, a bit of my time has been occupied by all three. After observing the three great institutions that are class registration, daytime partying, and high school proms, I could easily write a whole blog post or short book about each. To save everyone time and eye strain (yes, I changed my font color again), though, I decided to kill all three of these peculiar birds with one bloggy stone, and what follows is the result.

For college students, the most stressful staple of late-April life is registering for classes. At Notre Dame, this self-harm-inducing process is referred to as DARTing. Popular myth will have you believe that this name is a relic of an older version of registration called (something along the lines of) Direct Action Registration by Telephone. I, however, prefer to believe that DARTing is so called because, on the fun scale, it ranks right up there with being stabbed repeatedly by poisoned darts. When it comes to DARTing, almost no one escapes completely unscathed. Since DARTing began early last week, I've heard of seniors with Friday classes - a direct violation of the lesser-known eleventh commandment, "College seniors shalt not be forced to deal with Friday classes" - juniors with four days of class starting before 9 AM, and, of course, sophomores who can't get into any classes because our registration system makes no sense. In my case, DARTing went more smoothly than for most people, since I managed to avoid both Friday classes and class before 11 AM (8:20 first day DART time for the win). In general, though, DARTing is like the Hunger Games of academia. Dozens of innocent youths go in, but only one can emerge victorious with no Friday classes and a spot in McKenna's tap dancing class.

Conveniently, once registration is just about over, the colleges and universities of America - or maybe just Indiana; let's not pretend I know people who go to schools out of state - have devised a brilliant system of recovery: a weekend of epic dartying. For those of you who don't know and are unable to figure out the obvious, "dartying" is partying during the day. Darties are one of the stranger, drunker, more dangerous customs of America's college students, and no weekend has more of them than the weekend that just passed. At Notre Dame, this is the weekend of Pigtostal. With rumors of 4000 tickets sold, a $15,000 profit margin for the hosts, and something like 850 million kegs purchased, this darty is, as South Bend goes, the biggest of them all. My intention for this year was to go, observe, and then write a hilarious blog post about what a hot mess it was. But then, for reasons I cannot fathom, the Indiana state excise police decided to leave Bloomington, come to South Bend, and force them to cancel. Of course, this did not stop the students of our fair university from rising at the crack of dawn to congregate in dorm rooms, crappy off-campus apartments, and parking lots and drink themselves into oblivion. PiggyT may have been shut down, but near, far, wherever Domers are, the darties went on. At IU, this was the week of Little 5. Essentially, the Little 500 is an ordinary intramural bike race around which revolves the greatest darty/party week in the history of college. Take the ridiculousness of Pigtostal, blow it up about 700 times, and you've got around half the magnitude of Little 5. It is preposterous. Oh, and then Purdue has Grand Prix, but no one cares about that because it is literally nothing but the underachieving, sickly younger cousin of Little 5.

"But Sarah," you say, "I'm in high school! I don't have to worry about registering for classes, and darties sound to me basically like a really good way to kill yourself!" Well, grasshopper, first of all, we hate you for your simple class-schedule arrangement system, and secondly, you are wholly correct about darties. I've never seen so many people absent from 10 AM Sunday choir rehearsal in my life as I did yesterday. Luckily, though, for the kids of Logansport High School, this weekend provided its own biggest-of-the-big event: prom. You might think that, since I am not a high school student and did not, therefore, go to this year's LHS prom, I wouldn't have much to say about it. You, my friend, would be sorely mistaken. For one thing, my sister was prom chair, so I knew way too much about this prom from the get-go. And then yesterday came along, and I spent my entire day looking through prom pictures on Facebook. Upon exploring these photographs, I have so many thoughts. Firstly, it would appear that the dominant trend from my prom-going years has held up, and LHS prom continues to be a sober event. I am very proud of this fact. Way to go, Berries - this is the one time when you're actually classier than most of America! Cherish it!

But then there were the outfits. Oh, God. Over Christmas break, I spent several hours prom dress shopping with my sister, so I saw some hints of what would be popular this year. Even I, though, could not have predicted some of this foolishness. The first puzzling trend is the "high-low" dress. These monstrosities, which would be perfectly normal were it not for the giant chunk of fabric missing from the front of the dress, puzzle me to no end. It is my humble opinion that formalwear should never draw inspiration from the mullet, and these dresses are 100% business in the front, party in the back. Or maybe the opposite. Hm. Whatever. Either way, I'm not a fan. If you have awesome legs and want to show them off - which, by the way, was not the case with most of the high-low wearers I came across - just wear a short dress. If you want to show off your cool shoes, just pull your skirt up a little and show them off! It's're keeping the idea of the long skirt but completely eliminating the possibility of going to prom without shaving your legs. What a waste! Another trend I'm hoping is on its way out is the printed dress. Before the ten thousand people who've worn these in the past three years start a riot, it should be mentioned that the print dress can be done well. There were several print dresses, combined, since 2009, that I've liked. However, it's so easy to go over the top with the print dress. You start out wanting a simple floral and suddenly you're wearing what looks like the pelt of a cheetah whose fur was neon green and also made of tulle. A little bit of print goes a long way, folks. Finally, I've said it before but I'll say it again, you people have GOT to stop with the tanning. As the palest person to walk the earth, I understand the desire for a little color. Really, I do. But there comes a point at which you go from "healthy glow" to "I use Cheeto dust as bronzer." There is no surer way to make yourself look like an idiot than to go to prom, as a regular Caucasian female, with your skin nearly as dark as your date's black tux. (Oh, and on the topic of menswear, I am sick and tired of the white tuxedo. SICK OF IT! It screams, "I've lettered in multiple high school sports and am very important and douchey and I plan to major in sports science and I will one day be a high school gym teacher." Stop wearing it. If you simply can't bring yourself to wear black, go with something interesting. Gray is totally unexpected and wonderful. As for the red tux jacket that every LHS student and young alum has undoubtedly spotted on Facebook by now...I approve.)

So folks, there you have it, a brief discussion of the three biggest end-of-April institutions in the lives of America's youth. May your DARTing be successful, your darties slammin', and your proms free of white tuxedos.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Am So Weird

So I've been giving it a lot of thought lately, and you know something? I am a really strange person. Many of you reading this are probably my friends and/or family members, so this news should not come as a surprise. Most of the rest of you have probably read my blog before, so you probably could have figured this out by now. However, for the few among you readers who still clutched on to the idea that I am a normal or perhaps even cool human being, it is time that your misguided little bubble be burst. I am really, incredibly strange.

In the past few days, a few ideas have popped into my head for possible blog posts. I thought about writing about a little excursion I went on over the weekend. I considered talking about my new hobby. While these would seem to be normal ideas in the abstract, I realized that, in my case, blog posts about either of these ideas would simply make me look like a giant freak. Let's start with my weekend excursion, shall we?

On something like Friday of last week, a couple of my friends and I decided to go to Let's Spoon for the thousandth time this semester. I had already eaten three full meals that day and I had a half-finished theology paper due at midnight, but when 8:30 rolled around, it was froyo time. Even this reality, while gluttonous and perhaps indicative of mislaid priorities, wouldn't have been that weird. But I haven't yet mentioned our soundtrack for the night. You see, in my car, I keep an assortment of jams (as in music, not  preserves/jellies) in a No Boundaries CD case that I purchased at Walmart circa 1999. Most of the CDs in said case also hail from this era, since I bought a lot more of those in the late 90s/early 2000s than I do now that there's iTunes and stuff. Often, when people flip through my CD case, they say something along the lines of, "Wow Sarah, your music collection is so ironically vintage and fun!" In reality, this is not true. My music collection basically just consists of the same things I listened to when I was ten. For our froyo excursion, then, we flipped between two CDs: "Teen Spirit" by (wait for it) the A*Teens and "Metamorphosis" by Hilary Duff. I still knew about 80% of the words to these albums. We opened the sunroof (it was dark outside, to remind you all) and we rocked out - often in three-part harmony. This is not normal. Upon musing over this event later, I thought, "I really did that. ...Wow." Three days later, when I returned to my car to find that the aforementioned sunroof had been left open that whole time - including through a hurricane-strength rainstorm - my mild disappointment in my own strangeness switched more to a burning self-hatred. This self-hatred lasted just long enough for me to realize that the only damage seemed to be a cupholder full of leaf-infused water and a driver's seat that left my jeans uncomfortably damp when I got out of the car, thus throwing me back into a cycle of weirdness by forcing me to walk around for the next hour or so awkwardly patting down my butt.

And then there's this new hobby of mine. I had requests (okay, one request) to write a whole blog post on this, but I decided against it for two reasons. First, I've reviewed a lot of things on the blog lately, and I don't want people to think that's all I do. Secondly, I cannot just write a blog post about this and let it sit like it's normal behavior. My new hobby, you see, is Pottermore. For those of you who do not know, for starters, we are no longer friends. Pottermore is the officially-licensed online world of Harry Potter. On Pottermore, you can take an "interactive" journey through, for now, the first book in the Harry Potter series. You enter into animated "moments" from the chapters and search for small gifts and new content from JK Rowling to unlock. Along the way, you buy school supplies, get a wand created just for you, and are sorted into your Hogwarts house by a weirdly intuitive Sorting Hat quiz. Though it was released last July, this weekend marked Pottermore's opening to the general public. I was finally able to join on Sunday night, and it is pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me. For anyone who's curious, my wand is made of chestnut with a phoenix-feather core, and I am a proud Ravenclaw. For anyone who was still unclear, THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT WHEN I SAY THAT I AM A GIANT WEIRDO. I actually just talked about my magic wand and my Hogwarts house to potentially the entire internet. In case this wasn't bad enough, I wrote a poem about Pottermore on Sunday night to submit for a grade for my poetry class. Most of my Sunday brunch was spent discussing Pottermore with my similarly weird friends.

People of earth, my "normal human being" card should really be revoked! I am an unacceptably strange person, and based on the existence of this blog post, I apparently do not care who knows it. I listen to Hilary Duff while driving around town in 2012. I am a practicing member of Pottermore. I know how to speak Ubbi-Dubbi, that weird gibberish language that you vaguely remember them speaking on that TV show Zoom back when you were in elementary school. I may actually be the weirdest person I have ever met, but at the same time, I somehow manage to still be cooler than, like, sooo many 12-year-olds. This is a pretty good existence. In closing, then, I will leave you with this: my Pottermore username is FlightMist24736, and you should add me as a friend.

SEE?? I'm insufferable.

In other news, if you're wondering, no, it is not too early to ask me to the Dome Dance that Howard will be having at some indeterminate point in the 2012-2013 school year. Hint, hint.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Eh, It's April

As the school year approaches its end, I've noticed that one phrase has become the go-to comment for everything from schoolwork to alcoholism: "Eh, it's April." Don't feel like doing homework? Eh, it's April. Want to wear yoga pants and a hoodie to class every day? Eh, it's April. Sick of acting like a responsible adult when you could be getting schwasted every night? Eh, it's April. With these three - okay, two and a half - simple words, you can simultaneously express and justify your indifference toward just about anything. In the post that follows, I will explain some of the most practical uses of this wonderful phrase.

The most obvious application of this modern-day Hakuna Matata is with end-of-the-semester academic slackerdom. Many people would refer to this phenomenon as "senioritis," but since it affects nearly every student I know, senior or otherwise, "end-of-the-semester academic slackerdom" it is. We all know this feeling. It's April 12, people. One month from now, finals will be over and summertime joy will once again rule the earth. Schoolwork at this point just seems unnecessary, does it not? All the professors' tricks have been revealed to us by now. Very few tests and papers remain short of finals themselves. And as far as the remaining assignments are concerned, let's face it: the one pre-finals paper left is probably not going to change your grade that much one way or the other. If you've been failing all semester, you're probably going to continue to fail. So, then, you're obviously not going to do your homework...but that seems sort of wrong, doesn't it? Eh, it's April.

If academic slackerdom isn't your jam - or, for the very bold, if it's simply not enough - this time of year is also great for the second-best kind of laziness: end-of-the-semester wardrobe slackerdom. Once we're this far into the semester, it seems pointless to continue exerting effort on one's appearance. By this point, all your classmates more or less know what you look like and what you're like as a person. Were you hoping, earlier in the year, to impress one of them with your stunning fashion choices, your mission should, by now, be complete. If the hot guy in your bio lab hasn't fallen in love with you by April, he's not going to fall in love with you. Given this unfortunate reality, why keep trying? I've certainly adopted this mentality. I've worn t-shirts of various sleeve lengths every day this week. If I'm not mistaken, today was the first day since Easter that I've actually bothered to put in my contacts. Yesterday, when I discovered a giant zit on the exact spot on my nose where my glasses would uncomfortably rest, I even (briefly) considered just going to class blind. My mentality? Eh, it's April. [Note: for the record, I didn't go to class blind. I wore my glasses and valiantly fought through the pain.] [Other note: When I say "valiantly," I mean that I took care to speak and cough all day like a middle-aged emphysema sufferer with a deviated septum, so as to ensure no teacher would force me to talk.]

One area where "Eh, it's April" doesn't quite cut it is dorm room upkeep. Normally, I'm all for leaving one's room a complete mess at all times. Ask anyone who has ever seen my room any day all year, including today. However, it occurs to me that, as excuses for messy rooms go, "Eh, it's April" is not the best. By mid-April, the days are numbered before we all must move out of our rooms. If one's room is still a disaster zone by the end of (eh it's) April, you're in a bit of trouble. Adopting the "Eh, it's April" mentality can also, as I learned today, lead to grave danger for you and all your dorm mates. A few days ago, after waking from a nap and stretching out my arms just as gracefully as you see in the movies, I accidentally knocked one of the plastic lampshades on my bedside lamp out of place. It popped back into place fairly easily, so when it fell out of place again later that night, I thought little of it - and, it being April, after all, I was far too lazy to fix it again. By the time I needed that lamp again as an actual light source, I had forgotten about the fallen lampshade. This afternoon, I noticed that the shade was still hanging precariously off the edge of the lightbulb. I slid it back into place and noticed there seemed to be a strange mark on the upper edge of the shade. Upon taking the shade off to examine it more closely, I discovered the true problem: the ill-placed lampshade had melted from contact with the active lightbulb, leaving a twisted mass of purple plastic and a centimeter-wide hole in the shade. [Note: a picture of this can be found on my Facebook/Instagram. Check it out. Follow me on Instagram. Like the picture. Validate my existence.] This discovery raised more questions than it answered: how did I not smell this plastic burning to a crisp? Isn't this flammable? How did I manage to dodge the "oops, I burned down my dorm" bullet with this? The good news, of course, is that the lamp did not, in fact, catch on fire, so I should probably just be happy and move on. Given the likelihood that this would escalate into the Great Notre Dame Fire of 2012 were it to happen again, though, let this serve as a warning to you all. When it comes to cleaning or fixing things in your room that are broken and potentially flammable, "Eh, it's April" is not a good mentality to have!

So, kids, next time you ask yourself if it's worth it to do your homework, force yourself into real pants, or generally fulfill your responsibilities, remember - "Eh, it's April!" Armed with this phrase, you really will have no worries for the rest of your days. Unless you burn down your dorm accidentally.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Domerberry Movie Review: Titanic (3D!)

Are you sitting down, dear reader? If you're not, I would encourage you to take a seat, because what I am about to say will shock you. Before last night, I, Sarah Cahalan, had never seen Titanic. I know what you're all thinking. Where have I been the past fifteen years? How can I even call myself an American? It is appalling, but true. Due largely to the fact that I was five years old when it came out (and because I've never felt like devoting the necessary nine hours to it when I've come across the film on TV), as of this time yesterday, I had never seen Titanic. 

It being Easter break, then, and my few remaining on-campus friends and I being bored out of our minds, we decided last night that we would go and see a movie. We narrowed our options down to 21 Jump Street and the recently re-released Titanic 3D. After several minutes of "No, you pick"s and "I'm cool with whatever!"s, we whipped out the ol' Rock, Paper, Scissors to choose our film for us. By a stroke of divine providence, I - the Titanic representative - won, and it was off to the theater.

What followed were the most glorious four hours of my life. Unsurprisingly, I loved it - for so many wonderful Titanic-y reasons.

First, there's young Leonardo DiCaprio. At one point during the film, I turned to my friend and basically screamed at her, "YOUNG LEO DICAPRIO, WHY AREN'T YOU MARRIED TO ME?" This pretty much sums up my feelings on him. I mean, were he to offer by some strange miracle, I would not hesitate to marry current Leo. But for 1997-era Leo, I would turn down pretty much anything in the entire world. (Note: if I had to choose between being adopted by Stanley Tucci and marrying young Leonardo DiCaprio, I would probably just kill myself from the grief of making such a decision. Anyone else opposing young Leo would receive from me a hearty laugh and an immediate no.) He is perfect. In every way. This is especially true if you ignore the somewhat-creepy reality that he looks literally incapable of growing facial hair in this film, what with his precious baby face. As I said about six times over the course of the film, I hate you, Kate Winslet. I hate you so much. Is it weird that I want to be you? Unlike Kate Winslet, I would actually never let go of your hand, young Leo. Never ever. Trust me.

Secondly, there is a reason why this was the biggest movie in the history of movies until stupid Pocahontas in Space (or, as it is more commonly known, Avatar) came along and ruined the world. Everything about it is just ridiculously awesome. Costumes? Awesome. Casting? Awesome. (Victor Garber!) Sets? Awesome. Story? Awesome. Super high-quality night sky projection that appears over and over again? Okay, not so awesome. But you get the point. I was pretty much in tears for the whole last hour of the movie - tears which, by the way, 3-D glasses do next to nothing to hide. Luckily, I was at the movies seeing Titanic in 3-D with two other college girls on Good Friday, so uncontrollable sobbing was to be expected.

To those of you who know me, this last reason should be the least surprising: the soundtrack. For most of the film, it's of typical above-average loveliness. Then the boat sinks, the credits start rolling, and the best non-movie part of the movie begins. "My Heart Will Go On." The best song...ever. Some of my earliest memories are of me perfecting my Celine Dion impression along with the radio in the backseat of my parents' minivan, so this song holds a special place in my heart. As soon as the credits started, I informed my friends that we weren't leaving until the song was over, and, since I was the one with the car, they didn't argue. Because we have no shame, we took this opportunity to turn the theater into our own personal karaoke bar. We sang along with every last word. We got very into it following The Key Change and got some strange looks on the high notes. We left the theater and listened to it again on the way back to campus. It fulfilled - nay, epitomized - every 20-year-old-girl stereotype that has ever existed, and I loved every second of it.

In all, now that I have been converted, I am converted for life. Titanic is the best. If any readers are sitting around wondering how to spend their Easter's Eve evening, I think it should be clear that going to see Titanic 3D is the only acceptable option. Sorry, Easter Vigil mass. So have a lovely holiday, dear readers, and remember: never let go.

Monday, April 2, 2012

An Idiot's Guide to Twitter

In recent days, it has become apparent to me that few people seem to have any clue how to properly use Twitter. Having read thousands of tweets in the fourteen months that I have used the service, I've seen it all. There have been tweets that make me laugh, tweets that inform me on things I care somewhat about, tweets that make me cry (okay, that only happened once, when I realized how tragic "@oldmansearch" is if it actually is true and sat alone in my room crying about it...yeah, whatever, it'd been a rough day), and mostly, tweets that make me roll my eyes and want to slap their writers across the face for being such idiots. Since this last category takes up such a huge portion of my news feed at any given time and since I always feel like a bad person when I unfollow people, I decided that the best way to teach these silly tweeters a lesson was to write this blog post. So here it is, folks: a Twitter guide for all the world's twittiots, tworons, and twimbeciles.

My favorite kind of tweets are those that make me laugh. If you have any funny bone in your body (not counting your humerus, LOL), this should be your constant goal with Twitter. I pretty rarely follow celebrities, but when I do, it's because they're hilarious, because they share a name with me, or because they're hilarious AND share a name with me. Some cases in point include Sarah Silverman, Sara Bareilles, and Sarah Palin - though I doubt that last one finds herself as funny as I do. I don't care to know about the mundane details of your life; I want to see something funny! You don't have to be exclusively a "joke twitter" to do this. For one thing, Twitter accounts devoted entirely to a specific brand of humor often stop being funny when they pass a certain point. A prime example of this is the Condescending Wonka twitter, which got old about six weeks ago and which you should really all stop retweeting twenty times a day. But Twitter accounts of regular people who say ordinary things in a humorous way last forever! Don't be discouraged if you think you aren't as funny as your friends. If you're friends with me, it's probably true - you aren't as funny. Even if your attempts at humor are occasionally futile, though, trust me; they're better than nothing.

That being said, if you simply can't be funny, you can at least get away with being informative and conversational. Statistically, most of your followers are probably your friends. Most of your friends are probably at least somewhat curious about your life. Therefore, telling them about your life - within reason - is a perfectly logical use of Twitter. This can, of course, be taken too far. A string of tweets that reads, "Eating breakfast. #eggs," "Done with breakfast! #stuffed," "Going 2 skewl #boring," "In class! #academic!," and "Lunchtime! #sandwich" is too much. No one cares that much about your life, I promise you. However, tweeting interesting tidbits from your day can be just lovely! For example: "Saw a giraffe walking down Main Street while I was on my way to school today! #strange". Twitter can also be great for sending simple messages to your friends, such as "Hey @friend, heard you got out of prison today! #congrats". If humor is not your forte, this is the best way to use your Twitter.

Beyond these two categories, a tweeter can start to wade into some dangerous waters. One of the least offensive errors in this category comes from the use of these "<, >" symbols. It's perfectly acceptable to occasionally craft tweets using these mathematically impossible superlatives. A seasonally relevant example would be, "Reese's eggs >>>." [For anyone reading this who is unfamiliar with this <,> phenomenon, that example would translate to "Reese's eggs are better than everything in the world," which, of course, they are.] However, when you exploit this trend to the point where you're tweeting things like "Justin Bieber's new single <," you've taken it too far. Just say that you don't like it, and that his weird whisper-rap at the beginning of the song makes you uncomfortable! Such a statement would be true, but not as exaggerated as saying that the song is worse than everything in the entire world. I think there are worse things than an 18-year-old Canadian using the word "swaggy" in reference to himself. Okay, maybe there aren't that many. But I mean, genocide would be worse! "Justin Bieber's new single > genocide" would be a rational tweet.

While we're on the topic of music, another type of questionable tweet is the old standard, the song lyrics tweet. I have, on a few rare occasions, tweeted song lyrics. However, I've always felt weird about it afterwards, and the latest time, I even made fun of myself for tweeting song lyrics within the tweet. If you don't mind being judged by people who think song lyric tweets are beneath them, the occasional use of this trend is fine. Excessive or poorly-thought-out use of it, however, spells trouble for all involved. Consider the following example: You're sitting around, jammin' out to the catchy pop tune that is "Pumped Up Kicks." On a whim, you decide to tweet a line from the chorus that you never really thought much about: "Allll the other kids with the pumped up kicks better run, better run, outrun my gun!" Suddenly, you have made the entire Twitterverse think that you're planning to massacre a group of well-shod youth. It is in moments like these - which, by the way, I witness embarrassingly often - that song lyric tweets become an extremely bad idea.

This last type of Twitter error is the worst of all: the constant complainer. Complaining on Twitter can be done well/humorously, most easily by throwing a "#firstworldproblems" at the end of your complaint. "Ughhh my new Manolos are on backorder," for instance, is pretentious and annoying. "Ughhh my new Manolos are on backorder #firstworldproblems," on the other hand, is self-deprecating and (almost) clever. When it comes to the people I follow, however, 99 out of every 100 complaining tweets are insufferable and make me want to punch whoever wrote them. The worst of the worst are tweets complaining about other people - people who, most of the time, follow you on Twitter. There was a time when the catty things you had to say about the [expletive]s you hate were reserved for sneaky conversations behind said expletive's back. For morally sound people, these catty things never even left the confines of their minds. Thanks to Twitter, though, America's youth have now resorted to complaining incessantly and brutally about anything and everything they hate about each other by blasting it all over the Internet. I hate to break it to you, kids, but this is not actually an acceptable way for decent human beings to behave! While I admire the boldness of someone willing to trash-talk their peers in the form of messages that will be sent straight to said peers' cell phones, it's horribly annoying to everyone else to see these tweets. Trash-talking one's elders - another trope among the 14-18-year-old set - is also stupid, particularly for those whose tweets are public. In case you've forgotten, "public" means "can be seen by the entire world." If you're lucky, your elder-bashing tweet will only by noticed by people who will shake their heads disappointedly at you for your stupidity. If you're less lucky, it will be noticed by people like, oh, I don't know, the tattle-taley children of the elders you're complaining about. (This is something I can only hypothetically imagine; I have never, of course, seen some idiot high schooler tear their teacher/my dad to shreds on Twitter and told him about it so he'll get them in trouble. NEVER.) And if you're really, really unlucky, it will be noticed by the elder him- or herself. Your tweet about how your trigonometry teacher is weird-looking and mean isn't so funny when your trigonometry teacher reads it and sees you in class the next day.

So, kids, if you remember none of what I just said, try to use my standard rule of thumb. When you type out a tweet, look at it. Read it over a few times. Maybe say it aloud in a British accent. (Record that part so I can watch it later and laugh at you.) Once you've done that, think to yourself, "Does the world really need to hear this? Like really really?" If your answer is no, don't tweet it! If you simply have to get those 140 characters' worth of wisdom out of your system, write it in a journal somewhere, or sneakily tell it to someone behind your friends' backs. And remember, kids, if you don't have anything nice to say, at least make your mean stuff funny.