Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Days Go By

Years are short. When summer came, I wasn't through with enjoying spring, and now today we've had the first comfortable day since the heat took over back in May or June and I wasn't aware summer was quite over. I do welcome the fall. With it comes cool weather and holidays and my birthday...I'll be 20 on October 26. I don't feel as though I've lived twenty years. To consider it two decades, I feel younger; to consider it twenty anni, I do feel I've lived more. As I said, years are short. Haven't I had more Christmases than this? More Halloweens, more Easters? More than twenty short years of breathing and living? I suppose each of my youngest years felt far longer; perhaps this makes up for it. But every subsequent year will surely seem shorter still, as a smaller percentage of my lifetime thus far. When I am thirty, I suppose I will wonder where the years went. If I make it to eighty I suppose I shall still feel I am forty! Except, I imagine, for my eyesight.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Best Wedding Ever

I wrote this back in February 2008, but I feel it deserves to be on the Internet somewhere, and I haven't had much time for new blogs lately. Ergo, my little satirical essay, "Best Wedding Ever," makes it to "This Is An Art":

A friend of mine was wondering what the average wedding, or the average penny-pinching wedding would cost, and I told him that it can be as cheap as he likes, depending on what he and his bride-to-be would be willing to cut from the experience. We discussed it further and came up with a list of ways to have the ultimate thrifty wedding.

This list assumes, of course, that you actually want the ceremony. A truly cheap wedding would be to simply get the marriage certificate and begin your happy life.

First of all, a cathedral or a fancy backyard wedding is completely out of the question, though you do have options. You could have a friend register to be a minister online and perform it in your living room, or perhaps at a local fast food restaurant, which takes care of the after-party (known in more expensive circles as the "reception"). You could coerce the nice but nervous pastor of your small neighborhood church to do it for free, pleading that you're poor but in love, and if all else fails, telling him that you'll fornicate if he doesn't do it. If you live on the west side of the country, walking or hitchhiking to a Vegas wedding chapel is also a reasonable possibility, and doing that cuts out the costs of all other wedding accessories.

Two huge expenses of a traditional wedding are the tux and the dress. There are so many more choices that cost so much less. The obvious choice is just t-shirts and jeans. Be comfortable. Wear what you'll wear to your honeymoon in your parents' basement...which brings me to another alternative if your friends are fairly alternative; just go naked, or in your underwear. If you do that, however, the groom should spring for the bow tie--you want to be cheap, not tacky. If you want your union to be particularly inspired, have a theme wedding--make bedsheet togas, serve spaghetti, and call it Mediterranean.

Once you have your venue and clothing figured out, if it's to be held in something like the kitchen of your neighbor's house and you want the other not-included trappings, you've got to get creative. You or someone you know probably has streamers and maybe a banner left from parties of the past. It doesn't matter that it says "You're Over The Hill!" Just come up with a cute metaphorical explanation in case anyone asks and you'll be fine.

You won't be able to afford a live band or even a good organ player, but if you have a radio that functions at all, a friend with loud speakers in his car, or a neighbor with a kid in the marching band, your music is taken care of. Failing that, simply plan your nuptials around the American Idol schedule, or utilize the music of a nearby strip club.

You can get free flowers, for both decoration and for the bride's bouquet, by dumpster diving at your local florist. Try using folded bath towels, preferably clean and dry, as seats for your guests. If they ask why they're on the floor, tell them it's a Japanese wedding and make them eat their wedding cupcakes with chopsticks.

Of course, to have guests, you have to invite them. With today's technology there is no need for expensive parchment and fancy script, and you can eliminate the cost of stamps. Just send text messages to all your friends. If you don't have a phone, go to the local library to borrow their internet and send out e-vites, or just post a MySpace bulletin.

The reception is often unnecessarily expensive as well, but more dumpster-diving, this time at a supermarket, will find you food discarded because it was on its sell-by date. Remember to do it within a week of the wedding though, rather than stashing it in your fridge for the length of your engagement. Of course, an after-party isn't an after-party without booze, but the average celebratory wines are entirely too high-class for you. Instead, pick up a couple cases of Miller High Life, the cheap alleged "champagne of beers," and make a toast to economical espousals everywhere.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

Very rarely do I regret not buying something. However, a few months ago I saw the most fantastic coat in Target, navy blue with white trim, sailor-esque and just utterly fabulous. It reminded me of a coat I'd had as a kid for the longest time, until I reluctantly outgrew it in middle school. But, I decided the price wasn't worth it for something I didn't really need.

Now, every time I think of buying clothes at Target, I think of the Coat I Didn't Get. I tried the Target website--was it Mossimo or Merona? Or neither?--and found nothing. They probably don't even stock it anymore.

There is no use in lamenting over that which is lost, but oh, how I wish I had that coat.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Small Life Improvements For The Sensible College Student

I am a college student. We don't eat well, we don't dress well, and we have crappy furniture. However, I am beginning to realize that some small pleasures can make everything seem amazing. And so, something for every major sense:

Sense of taste: I am slowly learning to cook. A whole new world of food possibilities has opened up to me. I am learning that j'adore butter, and things that are saut├ęd--which I just did to a bunch of shrimp to yield magnifique results. It takes so little time to cook up a chicken breast or frozen pierogis or stove steak, and my life is infinitely improved nutritionally over last year's diet of EasyMac, Chick-fil-A, Rice Krispies, and chocolate (all of which I still eat, of course, but generally less).

Sense of hearing: I bought a pair of green Skullcandy headphones last year to use for a class, and I listen to music with them now. They are far superior to basic earbuds in quality, and they look super cool. I get to hear more overtones and less outside noise, and they don't fall off so easily when I dance around (v. important).

Sense of touch/feeling: Warm socks make everything better, especially when you have a roommate who likes the dorm to be at 70 degrees at all times. Fuzzy socks are ideal, but anything thick and fantastic and good for sliding on tile will do as well. If you have a fleece blanket (or a Snuggie), that helps.

Sense of sight: If you don't have awesome posters on your walls, you are missing out. I also have photos that I have taken just taped to my wall, and a Hello Kitty mirror. Walls should be happy.

Sense of smell: Take out the trash and clean the kitchen before it gets disgusting. WAY before. Life will be better, I promise; Fantastik is one of my best friends.

Sense of humor: Go forth and laugh at MLIA. It's good for you!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Professional Writer

Good writers often hate all that they write; a professional writer is one who hates all he writes and publishes it anyway.

On Getting Dressed

I know what it is to find no joy in getting dressed. I dressed rather uniquely in middle school and high school, but my first two years of college, especially last year, were essentially free from much thought about appearance. I sometimes, particularly during finals, wore pajama pants to class. I often wore a uniform of t-shirt, Vans, and jeans.

I have since rekindled my love of the colorful and the unique; however, my look is rather more refined, if as experimental.

Clothes and accessories ought to be beautiful and comfortable, they ought to make the wearer look and feel good, and they ought to be something that the wearer really likes. I have heard and read these things before. I find, though, that another ingredient makes an outfit delicious for wearing, and this is simply: story. I may best explain this by telling the little tales woven throughout the outfit I selected for today.

I started today's dressing with an Ann Taylor skirt that I got at Goodwill when I needed something for a hippie costume. I went searching with my mother, and we found similar but different skirts. This one went a little better with the shirt that we'd picked out, and I am rather easily seduced by on-sale brand-names, so it's the one we bought. I was pretty sure I'd never wear anything from the outfit again. And yet, here I am. I love its hippie-cum-gypsy flair, and as I know nothing about its original owner, it will always hold some air of mystery.

With it, I paired a black Newport News ribbed tank that I've worn frequently since back when I thought I wanted to be Avril Lavigne. It doesn't have much in the way of story, per se, but its simplicity means it has always been a comfortable standby.

My shoes were black flip flops from Old Navy, the ones they sell for like $2.50 a pair. I generally buy a bunch and I wear them out over time. They do take a while to wear through, even though I wear them several times a week when it's warm out (in Florida, nearly all year). But, they're comfortable. That makes them great for wearing when I have blisters from other shoes, which is why I chose them today.

Accessories-wise, I wore two rings: a Native American-style ring with a bear paw (claw?) on it, which was once my mother's, and my Silver Ring Thing ring, which I wear pretty much every day. I added a pair of huge hoop earrings that my mother bought me this summer, the first large hoops I've had in years, though I did wear them a lot back in middle/high school.

I finished it off with a green bracelet that I haven't worn in a while. It's pretty but simple, aesthetically pleasing but not particularly amazing. However, I bought it on a bit of a whim from the "marketplace" at a Latin competition (the allegedly dead language, not the dancing), and my time spent learning Latin was some of the greatest time of my life. The State and National competitions were especially fantastic, and the bracelet reminds me of that.

So, I find that if all my clothes can hold some memories and some beauty, getting dressed will always be a simple pleasure.

University-Sanctioned E-mail

My university has recently required its students to get a school e-mail address on its new e-mail system, and may now use it and it alone for class-related correspondence. I noticed the creeping change when we were first asked to make one, and then when the school's system would no longer allow me to make my main e-mail address something more sensible, like my Gmail account. Various professors this semester have indicated that they are now in fact only permitted to accept e-mail from students if it comes from this particular e-mail provider, a thing indicative of either a need to keep tabs on its students' e-mail correspondence (to at least the degree that it is legal), or a need to do something with the resources they have. One would think, with all the programs that universities are dropping, it cannot be the latter, but this is a public university and nothing funded by the government ever uses its funds very wisely.

Or perhaps it is, as one of my professors said, "because UCF has nothing better to do."