Saturday, November 30, 2013

Getting Ready for Christmas

Since it's after Thanksgiving, we're all making way for the next big thing: Christmas! My family and I made sure to get ready for it yesterday and today, making sure to decorate the house with it.

We keep our Christmas decorations in a shelf above the garage. We have so many of them that they fill the shelves on all four of the walls. Because of that, we have to haul them all down before we do anything else.  That's what my dad and I did yesterday. The boxes took up half of the garage, so we had to put the cars outside and come in through the door.

Today, my sister and mom put up all of the decorations around the house. My mom has a thing for collecting Santa Klaus figures, so all around the house you feel like Santa is staring at you (deciding whether I'm naughty or nice?). There's also some fake holly and snowmen, but for the most part, Santa dominates the house. Regrettably, we don't have a mistletoe to seal the deal but oh well.

Now my house is officially in the Christmas spirit. Christmas is dominating the house now, replacing all of the other decorations that are here. Soon enough, Christmas will be here too, but for now the decorations will keep up appearances.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Calorie Counting

I am sick of calorie counting. With Thanksgiving here, I have decided to temporarily give it up. Maybe I'll give it up permanently, I don't know. I am so sick of this.

I first downloaded the calorie counting app after increasing pressure at home on watching what I eat. It's been a major pain in the butt since.

It's pretty exasperating remembering to update the thing every day and then trying to remember what foods you've eaten. To do each individual food is no fun. And then to try to find what specific brand of food you've eaten and how many servings you've eaten makes it even more annoying (this is especially hard if what you're eating is homemade or from a cafeteria). Given those factors, I doubt its accuracy.

The thing grades you too. Actually gives you a letter grade. So with every thing I put in, I feel the pressure. So when I go over my limit, it yells at me. Of course, I did learn something from that. While I only 1600 to 1800 calories on average, what I eat is total crap from a nutritional standpoint. And so it tells me. It's like the stupid app is judging me or something.

I'm probably taking this too personally. These apps are supposed to help me, not hurt me. It's about health, not weight. This just touches on old wounds. I have a hard time doing things in moderation as well: I'm either all in or all out of something. So I've been fighting becoming obsessive.

At dinner tonight, though, the hell to it. I'm eating whatever I want.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Going to the Movies

Going to the movies is always a festive occasion. Something about it feels totally different than just watching it at home (and it's not just the high prices that we pay for just about everything). When I went to see Catching Fire, it was no different.

First stop is the ticket counter, of course. I brought twenty dollars and they took ten. So that I only had half left off the bat. Then it came to the snacks and I barely had enough money with my other ten. By the time I finished, I felt totally ripped off. Part of me was thinking how it was a total and utter scam. What was the big difference from doing it at home? Home is certainly cheaper and the soda there is reasonably sized.

But then it hit me once I came in: there's a whole unique theater experience. There's the watching the previews for about a half hour (which isn't like commercials because it shows movies in the future and is interesting). Then there's the whole crowd experience and the popcorn experience well.

The theater is also fairly different from home because it's so big. Everything is louder and much more dramatic, intensified. It's so much more exciting and feels entirely different. It's so exciting you guzzle down on the popcorn so quickly that it's gone within the first ten minutes of the show. Then maybe you don't have to feel quite as ripped off.

Yet before you know it, the show is over. The popcorn is empty and the soda is still half full (because it was so huge). You're either mumbling to yourself or to your fellow moviegoer how good it is or mumbling how disappointed you are to have spent all that money on something mediocre or downright awful. Then you're rushing to the bathroom trying to beat out the millions of other people who waited the whole movie to pee out the gigantic soda you've just consumed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Looking for Inspiration

Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes, you have to look a little harder than other times, but it's still possible. Writer's block might zap up the ability to do it, but it's still possible to get it if you try hard enough. 
I've been having a little trouble writing fantasy. I was afraid that my fantasy-writing skills would abandon me forever. I wasn't going to give up that easily, though, and so I didn't.

A lot of people think that writing just comes. But that rarely (if ever) happens. No, you have to work harder than that. Inspiration doesn't just flow; you have to drill for it. And boy, have I been drilling for it today.

Part of writing fantasy is getting yourself into that fantasy mindset. So I had to try to do that first to think of ideas. How to do that I didn't quite know, being how I had lost it to begin with. I tried appealing to the lovely artwork on Deviantart, but that wasn't enough. I thought that if I couldn't do it by myself, there was nothing wrong with getting some help. So I turned to a friend to help me out and she told me to read more fantasy (I had been reading much less than I should) and she gave me this handy dandy website: She also told me look outside at the world and see how I could morph it through a fantasy lens (I've found just looking at the world helps think of ideas in general).

With a combination of the site and Deviantart, I was able to jumpstart some ideas (at least for some short stories). Looking outside also helped me too. It took some work, but I was able to do it. I've also resolved to read some more fantasy books especially some high fantasy books.

So overall, it is possible to find some inspiration.  You just have to tap it and force it out and it will come.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I Can't Write Fantasy Anymore

I've come upon a sad revelation as of late: I can't write fantasy anymore. Or at least not well. Alas, it seems that all of my writing ideas are realistic fiction with the exception of one. I tried to sit down and write fantasy for a contest, but alas, I could think of nothing. Thinking of a science fiction idea was equally as hopeless.
And then it hit me: I can't write fantasy anymore. Before, I was in denial, but at that moment, I truly couldn't deny it.

This is probably due to the fact that the vast majority of what I read is realistic fiction. Due to my difficulty of finding good fantasy, I stopped reading it for the most part. I missed the traditional high fantasy that filled my childhood.Paranormal romance and urban fantasy, while interesting at first, became terribly formulaic and dull. So gradually, I just stopped for the most part. Unfortunately, however, that seems to have dried me of most of my inspiration. Sci-fi faced similar problems with the overwhelming amount of dystopian literature.

In the past, fantasy was pretty much all that I used to write. It loosened my imagination and freed my mind. I saw the world with more open eyes. Now that I don't write it as much, I don't have as much of that. There was such an innocence to it. Of course, my later fantasy became much darker but still, it was the fantasy I was used to. Eventually, I reached out and tried writing different things yet fantasy was still my primary outlet.
Now it's the other way around. Some might say this is just the way it goes and writers evolve. Still, I miss my fantasy. I wouldn't mind writing so much realistic fiction if I could write some more fantasy.

I know I should be grateful that I can still write. A lot of writers face dry spells and can't write anything. Still, I miss my fantasy terribly.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Overprotective Loved Ones

 My family members can be a little overprotective in pretty much everything. Maybe not as overprotective as others, but they're much worse than I would like them to be. It can be cute at times and infuriating at others.

My parents, of course, aren't as bad as my abuelita. When my sister and I were younger, she would drive thirty minutes from her house to watch us get on and off the bus. She claimed that she did this to make sure no one kidnapped us on the way home despite the fact that it was right in front of our development and in broad daylight. She's gotten better, though she still has her moments.

My parents are pretty reasonable most of the time, but they have their moments too. Random moments they hold me back from doing things with no explanation, times when they overreact to things. Driving has made them especially fearful (understandably so, I admit).

Still, when I put things in perspective, they actually aren't that bad. Other parents are far worse: reading their children's books before they read them, stopping them from dating, putting very strict parental controls on their children's computer. There's even a word for it: "helicopter parenting". When I hear the stories of some of my friends, I'm definitely thankful for my own parents.
 I've heard there's not all that much you can do when it comes to overprotective loved ones. Arguing will only make it worse. As much as you want to protest, it might only make you look like those dramatic teenagers in the movies. Instead, all you can do is nod and disregard it or perhaps in bold moments, calmly state your case and see what happens.

It might help to see their point of view. You're their precious baby and the world is a harsh, harsh place. Of course, they would want to protect you.

Overprotective parenting is far from harmless, though. It might seem cute, of course, except it does get old after a while. Many times, this means strict parenting and strict parenting often leads to sneaky kids (as a result of the kids trying to maneuver their ways out of strict procedures). Also, a lot of the times, it stops kids from learning how to do things, delaying the inevitable of having kids deal with things they actually have to deal with.

It's hard to protest with overprotective parents because they mean so well. But sometimes, this can't be helped.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


We all have our secrets. Some of us lock them up and bury them, while others clutch it in our hearts as we wait for somebody to spill them to. The deepest ones kill us from the inside out and they threaten to bury us alive.

We were bored. It was right before exams. Everyone was in a circle talking. And, of course, since we all needed to do something, we tried to think about what to do. I had come in relatively late into the game, so of course I hadn't heard everything.  What do you do when bored? You try to titillate yourself, try to find some sort of excitement. When it comes to teenagers, those sorts of things are sex, secrets and rumors. The one stipulation was that we all had to keep what was said in our circle in our circle. Why I participated in this I have no idea (especially when I should have been studying)

Sex is something that I can handle. Yes, some of the questions/ games pressured some of us to reveal very personal things. I held back as much as I could, but I did learn that I look like a child in comparison to some of my peers. 

But the secrets... No, I couldn't tell any of my secrets. At one point, they said, "Ask anything sexual or personal." Sexual, yes. Personal, no. Because there are some things I have locked up inside of me that I will keep until the day I die. The number of people I reveal them to are slim. if any at all. Luckily, no one asked anything too personal (unless you count the sexual questions). There was a "Never Have I Ever" one that said, "Never have I ever told anyone the worst thing I have ever done", but she didn't ask what the worst thing we had ever done was. 

I recently found out about the secrets of one of my new friends. Not necessarily a secret, per se, but not something she talks about all of the time. I knew that a lot of people keep things hidden, but for some reason, I was astounded yet again by this. And I realized that everyone has my sort of secrets.

And that made me think about the nature of secrets. People can high off of someone else's secret, blab them to the world. Secrets can be exciting and thrilling especially when shared. Maybe that's why so many people blab and why rumors happen. They're not bad necessarily, or even all that big (even has its share of cute and funny secrets). Yet sometimes, secrets can trap us inside of ourselves and make us hide. Sometimes, it is when we release our secrets that we are freer to become selves that we never thought that we could become. Vulnerable in the telling perhaps, but ultimately free. Sometimes, we might think our secrets horrifying or depressing when they aren't that at all. 

I have so many secrets that I wish didn't have to be secrets. Things that I wish I could tell someone. Maybe to feel closer, maybe to feel less alone, maybe to release them. But big secrets are, well, big and can only be trusted with certain people. And I know that for others this is true as well but still, we press on. 

Secrets by Red--Roses

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Discussing Politics

Debating politics is always a tricky subject. It's one of those topics you don't bring up at the dinner table or talk about in polite company.

That taboo quality is what makes it so fun, though. It makes me want to talk about it more. At the same time, politics is incredibly interesting because of how challenging it is. Talking about politics is intellectually stimulating and interesting. So it has a lot of appeal. This is especially the case when the other person has opposite views as it can always help you understand their views as well.

This does have one caveat: the person has to be a somewhat intelligent, reasonable individual. Otherwise, it's a waste of time and a painful endeavor. This means a person who won't call you names or invoke Godwin's law. Those people are incredibly hard to find. Indeed, so many people seem to take politics personally and can't seem to separate their emotions from their logic.

So when you do find someone to really talk to, it's the most amazing feeling ever. And it makes it so much richer to talk about. When you find someone intelligent to talk to, that's when the intellectual stimulation comes in.

It's often pointless to try to "debate" someone. It's doubtful that you'll change the person's mind. Still, while it might be doubtful you can change someone's point of view, but sometimes it can help you understand it. Just because the two of you disagree, it doesn't mean that the other person is wrong or stupid. Sometimes, there are multiple truths and multiple possibilities. You can be two very smart people with different opinions. Of course, this person can also be a smart person with a dumb opinion but usually, that's not the case. Just "agreeing to disagree" is dumb and insipid and avoids the issue; instead, it's better just to talk about what you think in a civil way.

And sometimes, it does help to change your point of view, at least slowly. When you talk to someone about politics, you have to really think about the particulars of how you think and how it does (or doesn't make sense). Sometimes, you realize that maybe what you thought wasn't as great as you thought it was because you lacked perspective or a key point of information. That's why it's important to come into such things with an open mind. Not so open you'll accept anything as fact, but open enough that you'll consider what other people say. If you refuse to do that, you won't learn anything.

It's also important to think critically. Not just regurgitate what your parents and grandparents think or what the news stations say, but to actually think. To do this, you must think about what things mean and what the sources are saying and not saying as well as recognizing the bias in them.

Ultimately, when you agree to talk about politics, there should be a basic criteria you should follow. It's not for everyone because not everyone can do it. Still, it doesn't change the fact that we definitely need people that can.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Take on Words and Political Correctness

The PC police have come to my school, it seems. My school is a very diverse place and very accepting for the most part, but sometimes, they mindlessly ascribe to this way too much. The PC police came during a club meeting when we discussed the use of the words "faggot" and "retarded" in everyday speech. And, of course, logically, everyone wanted it banned. I didn't say anything because I would have been the only one there with a dissenting opinion and I have the feeling that they wouldn't have actually listened to what I had to say (or misconstrue my comments and I would have had a much harder time defending them on the spot). So I bit my tongue. 

I have more than a few objections with this concept and the assumptions attached to it. One, it gives these words unnecessary power. At the end of the day, they're just words. By censoring them you're just adding more fuel to the fire rather than addressing the underlying problem. When I heard them say "the r word', the "f word" and the "n word", I flinched. By saying these words are too awful to say, they're giving them so, so much power. I don't want to give bigots fuel. Concepts are much bigger issues and they're what we should actually tackle. I would much rather hear, "Stop being such a faggot and pass the ball" in my presence rather than, "You know, you have to be careful around homosexuals because, you know..." Maybe the former is far gruffer, but who is the true homophobe there?

Also, the problem with being offended with everything is that it takes away the legitimacy of things you should actually be offended by. When people get this upset over a few silly words, it takes legitimacy away from people who are actually being bullied. At this point, whenever someone tells me they're "offended", I just roll my eyes like, "Should I actually care?" Nine times out of ten, it's over something totally dumb. It's not my job to make you happy, sorry. If I've said something generally hurtful, I'll apologize but if you're being a baby because I cursed or made a sexual comment, grow up. And seriously, this policing of us the teachers talked about has a slippery slope. Quite frankly, if it's not bullying, it's really none of their business what we say. If you're a friend and you don't like what I say, there's something very simple you can do: Walk away. It's not my job to make sure everything I say fits into your moral code. 

I'm a white (technically half Hispanic but for all purposes, white) girl who has grown up in a middle class household. Not to mention, I've grown up hearing various bigoted opinions from various people without even realizing they were bigoted. Am I going to slip up once in a while and say something stupid? Probably. Is someone going to slip up around me? Yes, and people already have. Despite the degree of the transgression, I believe that anyone saying them without ill intent should be gently corrected. Kind of like, "What you said wasn't cool so just make sure not to say it again, okay? We're still cool, though." And anyway, if someone doesn't voice an ignorant thought and have it corrected, then they're going to keep that ignorant thought. And that's far more damaging. If the person does truly have abhorrent views, I actually want them to keep voicing it too, because they're like alarm bells warning, "Keep away! Asshole alert!" 

This PC bubble we've constructed is beyond stupid.  Instead of living in a society where we can freely express ourselves, we are walking on eggshells and self-censor at every turn. That's ridiculous. I mean, is that really preferable to someone getting their feelings hurt every once in a while? Obviously, there are bounds of reason here. Deliberately hurting people is not okay. If someone is malicious, some hostile treatment should be called for. But if we want to loosen up every once in a while and poke fun at a stereotype or try to make light of something through humor or whatever, why can't we? Is it a sin not to want to view every little issue through a super solemn lens?  Instead of making the community a "safer place for everyone", it's doing the opposite as everyone has to be super vigilant of what they say. Anyway, if people can't get used to a little inappropriate language in my super liberal school of all places, they'll really have a hard time with the rest of the world. 

And honestly, as I touched on earlier, it's not their place to force their morality on other people. It's your right to leave a conversation that pisses you off and voice your discomfort. But to insert yourself into a conversation and correct the people around you is beyond rude. People act so self-righteous and condescending when they do this, too. One (white) teacher even had the audacity to say that she corrects the black students at my school for saying the word "nigger" to each other. Um, what? Talk about something that truly isn't any of her business! As a white person, I at least know that that's an issue I have no right to be a part of and who am I to stop someone from reclaiming a word? This behavior is not helping people; it's only alienating them. At this point, she's even getting in the middle of something that she truly doesn't have an understanding of. And who made all these crazed politically correct people the morality police? It's a free country and people have the right to say what they want. If there's anything that gets under my skin, it's people that act like they have all the right answers and the right way to act. 

This isn't the first time I've heard something like this and it probably won't be the last. It's just so annoying

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why I Haven't Been Posting

It's November 11th and I still haven't posted a blog post this week. I haven't been anywhere except for home and still, I haven't posted anything. So I have no excuse.

Truthfully, I haven't really given much thought at all to this blog. I suppose it's been an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing. I literally didn't think of it at all. I had other things to write about, novels and short stories that have been going really well. Because of this, I didn't even think about my blog. Plus, I've been busy lately and time flies when you're busy, I suppose.

Then I looked at the calendar. It was November 11th. And then I thought, "Wow, it must be a while since I've posted a blog post." Surely, I had posted at least one post, though, right? I had thought. Wrong. To my horror, I hadn't posted since October.

So no excuses. I just haven't been posting. Even if no one else cares and no one else is reading this, it breaks my own commitment to myself. Writing on this blog is me testing out my writing muscles and when I fail to do that, I am not exercising those certain muscles.

Guess I better get posting.