you are not my typewriter
{Monday, January 31, 2005 . I'm totally not cut out for this.}

So I haven't really been *sleeping* per se lately.

I worked much of the day yesterday on this ad campaign dealy to get people to sign up for choir. Our choir program is effing falling apart, so it's quite necessary. I then picked up my very favorite redheaded farm girl and proceeded on to orchestra rehearsal.

Rehearsal was grand. Particularly the after part. The first trombone player in this orchestra - Billy his name is - is super freaking cute. Baby faced. Shaggy hair. Really good bone player. So we had dinner with Billy and some other boys from his school after rehearsal, and it came up that I was a newbie and needed to be initiated or some shit like that. So I'm driving Pappy home, and we pass Billy's friend's car with Billy in the passenger seat. I hear Pappy SHRIEK and I look over. Billy's big freaking white ass is hanging out the passenger side window. For a good ten minutes. In a well-trafficked area. I didn't quite know what to say.

I just found out about an hour ago that I will be performing in verse for regionals. Diana, our star verse reader, graduated early, so she can't perform. Shilpa, who has actually been doing verse for a while, was slated to go, but her aunt-by-marriage's mother died, and her mother is making her go. I found this sort of interesting. Here's how Shilpa explained it:

Shilpa: So there was this death in the family, but it wasn't that big of a deal or anything. I didn't even really know the lady. It was just my aunt's mother, and I hate my aunt, so I don't want to go. But my mom said, (in a humorous Indian accent)"You need to spend more time with the family. You are not going to the Regionals." So, I mean, I WANT to go, but my mom won't let me.

But for whatever reason, when Mrs. Barnes explained it to me, it went something like this:

Donna B: There was a death in Shilpa's family, and you know, in her culture, they have to be in mourning for a certain period of time...

So I don't know if that's what Shilpa told Donna B to make her punishment lighter, or if the Great One earnestly assumed that this had something to do with Shilpa's ethnicity, but I found it humorous. At any rate, I have to pick two poems to read on Saturday, and two of the three I have read so far have sent me into hysterical fits of sobbing. I don't know how I'll fare with this whole Verse thing.

posted at 4:04 PM by Alison


{Sunday, January 30, 2005 . I'm a future music educator.}

I'm such a nerd. I had a blast.

Alex, Becky, and I rode down with Mrs. Pappas on Wednesday night to go to the IMEA (Illinois Music Educators' Association) All-State festival. Becky and Alex are really good and everything, so they were there to play, but I was there for the Future Music Educators' Seminar. It was actually really cool.

It was pretty much just two days of listening to concerts and attending little workshops on how to be a director. The workshops were geared toward people who already were band directors (I was usually the only high school student in my clinics), so it wasn't watered down or anything. And, at least for now, my doubts are gone about whether or not I want to be a band director. I still intend to get an endorsement in English, just to give me some more flexibility, but I've decided that I really want to teach in the inner city.

A) It's the city. Come on. How freaking awesome would it be to live in the city?
B) They really need it. I've come to learn, through this little dealy, that the majority of the public schools in Chicago don't have ANY music programs. AT ALL. That's a good sized problem.
C) My mediocre musicianship probably won't be questioned.

I'm a little racist. I mean, everyone's a little bit racist, sometimes, but I really don't have ANY exposure to black/hispanic people. I've isolated myself in this little ivory tower of fine arts kids - pretty much all of whom are white, and most of whom are a lot more racist than I am. I think THAT'S the source of a lot of the racism. The isolation. Fine arts kids are going to isolate themselves - it's natural, since fine arts kids are pretty much intellectually superior to the rest of the school population - but since most fine arts kids are white, it becomes an issue of voluntary racial segregation, too. I saw a grand total of about five black people at this convention of thousands of people. My group of thirty "Future Music Educators" was ENTIRELY white. Asians aren't really an issue, since there are always tons of Asian kids in fine arts, especially orchestra, but it's not fair that black and hispanic kids aren't given the opportunities that music affords just because of where they live. Black and hispanic kids CAN'T break into this stuffy, elite group of white and Asian music kids. That's not fair at all.

So, my reasons for wanting to do this are a little racist in origin. Inner city kids are dumb and violent, and music can help them be less dumb and violent. I'm a little like some kind of missionary, thinking I can save souls in Africa by shoving Christ down their throats. But then again, God isn't real. So maybe I'm a little more noble than a missionary.

posted at 11:44 AM by Alison


{Tuesday, January 25, 2005 . Lo siento.}

Unfortunately, the new semester has brought with it not only awesome classes, but a whole crap load of stuff to do. So I'm super busy and I don't REALLY have time to post right now, but I figure I owe my readers an explaination.

I shan't be posting this week, for I will be out of town and probably far, far away from any computers until Saturday night. If I locate a computer, rest assured I will keep you posted on all the goings-on in Peoria (IMEA All-State festival - sure to be a hoot). I shall hopefully see you in four-five days.

All my love!

posted at 11:59 PM by Alison


{Sunday, January 23, 2005 . I have the best ideas.}

Blogger, take heed. I have a fabulous suggestion for you.

The Blogspot Foundation Scholarship Program. You pay full tuition to whatever institution the student chooses. The annual award goes to young bloggers in need of cash for college. Namely: me.

Come on, Blogger. I done you good. As far as seventeen-year-olds go, I'm a fairly decent blogger. I think I should get some scholarship money for it.

posted at 3:05 PM by Alison


Sweet! My U of I audition was awesome.

I spent the day in Champaign on Friday. Here's how it all went down:

I went and warmed up a little in the practice room. I was pretty much blind to how I would measure up. I was the only euphonium player auditioning on that day, and, to be honest, I have never had very many euphonium players to compare myself to. I have no clue how good I am. Compared to other musicians my age - on other instruments - I'm only moderately good, but I wasn't competing against them. So I didn't know whether to be nervous or not.

I freaking ACED my music theory test. My proctor was this UNBELIEVABLY HOTT Eastern European guy, and I'm pretty sure he was my inspiration. It was just this little one-page deal: I had to write out a few scales and key signatures, I had to identify intervals, and I had to do a chordal analysis of a four-bar progression. I did it REALLY slowly and DOUBLE-CHECKED everything, but I still managed to finish a fifty-minute test in twenty. I was the first one out the door, which was good because my audition was immediately afterward.

I tote my big ol' euphonium up to Dr. Moore's office. He's this funny, jolly, pudgy little bearded man who sang songs about how much he loved my euphonium. I have the same model horn that he does. At one point, his wife called, so he insisted on calling her back since "it might be important." He talked to her for a good five minutes about how he forgot to get her a ticket for his recital that night. At the end of the audition he said, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but I'm recommending you for admission. I'm also recommending you for the highest scholarship we can give you. I hear a lot of potential in your playing." AWESOME!

He kept me for so long that I was late for my music education interview. It was with a choral music ed professor, but he still somehow knew who my band director was. It was a lot more formal than my audition. My mom got mad at me because I forgot to mention that I was going to be on the Smith Walbridge Drum Major Staff, at the Future Music Educators' Seminar at All-State, and that my father is dead. She's real keen on college people knowing that my father is dead. She thinks it shows that I've had to overcome adversity to achieve what I have. Whatev.

I went straight to bed when I got home. I went to bed at 8 two nights in a row this week.

Conference for Speech was yesterday. We cleaned up, as usual. I got first in Oratory and second in Impromptu. In all honesty, though, it would have been extremely embarassing had I not. No one at Conference is even remotely decent. Not even remotely. I'm super pissed that this is probably the only first place medal I'll get all year. BULLSHIT.

I disobeyed my mother last night and stayed at Sarah's until two in the morning. But, God it was fun.

posted at 10:15 AM by Alison


{Thursday, January 20, 2005 . sigh - sort of}

So finals are done. I did quite well on my Spanish final, and sort of well on my English final. The English one didn't matter quite so much, because I was getting a fairly solid A in that class. Which is really good, because the final was a sample AP (advanced placement - if I pass the actual test in May I get college credit for the English class I just finished) test, and it was mega hard.

I wrote a totally bitching essay on Othello, though. And a totally bitching essay analysing this Seamus Heaney poem. I'm going to name one of my sons Seamus. I've long had this plan that since I'm the last of the Maguires (like the last of the Mohicans) I should probably keep my name when I get married. I should probably also have lots of children and give some of them my last name. That way, in addition to carrying on my family name, I can have a son named Seamus Maguire. Isn't that a totally awesome name?

I just bought two pairs of shoes. This is remarkable for me. I'm like a man (an old one - a not-metro one) when it comes to clothing, especially shoes; I only buy it when I desperately need it, and I only buy the absolute cheapest. Six months ago, I bought a pair of cute red shoes just because I liked them, but that was probably the first time since eighth grade that I bought shoes on an impulse. Almost all of my shoes are functional to the point of Amishdom. But my mom coerced me into going to Target so I could get a new dress shirt for my audition tomorrow, and while I was there, I decided to look at shoes. I found two pairs - one pair is sort of like pink water shoes, the other is a pair of faux-leather ballet slippers. They're miserably made (since I refuse to wear leather, I can't really wear "well-made" shoes) and probably won't last but a month, but they're awfully cute. And they were only $10 each.

Shoes aside, I'm wearing black. Well, black pants. I'm not real happy about the fact that a man who was never legally elected to a first term is being sworn in for his second. BULLSHITBULLSHITBULLSHIT.

Phew. Audition tomorrow. I'm getting all revved up. I've dreamed about the Marching Illini for two nights in a row now (although it's probably because I have an MI cd in my clock radio). I want it so bad I can TASTE it.


posted at 3:19 PM by Alison


{Wednesday, January 19, 2005 . fucking cock ass}

I don't want to take my Spanish final. I wonder: If Senorita Stark is found mysteriously dead tomorrow morning, will her classes still have to take her final? It would be awesome if she were killed. I would write a short story about it. I would call it, "La Punta Desaparece."

Senorita Dumbfuckingbitch informed us last week that the final would consist of questions over two areas: "La Momia Desaparece" and "Destinos." "La Momia Desaparece" is a novella about two fucking Mexican private investigators who have to find a fucking mummy the was stolen from the fucking Museum of Anthropology in Mexico. "Destinos" is this fucking corny-ass soap-opera created by a Spanish professor at U of I. While I appreciate the opportunities these pieces of shit afford me to practice understanding written and spoken Spanish, shouldn't the final be on things that we ... you know ... learned? I'm pretty sure Miss Bitchface intentionally left things like grammar and vocabulary OFF of the final because she realizes no one understands what she teaches.

To complain further, I've got my U of I audition day after tomorrow, and I'm fairly nervous. This is sort of new for me. I don't usually get nervous until just before I perform something, and even then it's only for a second or two. But I'm really concerned. I REALLY want them to give me money. I feel like such a burden on my mom because I'm a big lazy ass and I haven't really applied for very many scholarships. Sorry, mommy.

God, I am really boring.

Guess who's not? Bicyclemark isn't. Go give a listen at his AudioCommunique #3. It's good hearing.

posted at 9:14 PM by Alison


{Tuesday, January 18, 2005 . mailtime}

I came home from show choir tonight to find a package on the kitchen counter for me. It's from my strp-mom. A bunch of my dad's old CDs - a lot of them by friends of his. I'm currently listening to Mike Duffy sing about his pregnant goldfish. Hysterical.

posted at 9:43 PM by Alison


{Monday, January 17, 2005 . Quiz}

Take my Quiz on!

If you don't get number 8 right, you're not really my friend.

posted at 8:07 PM by Alison


It has been GO GO GO all weekend.

Saturday - speech meet. I completely got my ass kicked. I was really upset about it at first, since it was my last 'friendly' meet ever (and since I fucking got FIRST PLACE at the same meet last year), but I got over it quickly enough. Fuck it. The judges were clearly retarded. No, I'm not being sarcastic. Normally, I take criticism into careful consideration. I don't automatically disagree with people who don't like me or what I do. But after careful deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that a good portion of my judges this year have just been dumb fucks. I know I deserve better than this, and that's good enough for me. I am secure in my speaking ability.

Another speecher who has been severely shafted this season is my dear Diana. As yesterday was her final meet (she's graduating early), I'll do a little tribute here.

Diana. Rebel. Artist. Inspiration. She's had a fabulous speech team career, and we're all very sad to see it end. At her very first meet her freshman year, Diana placed sixth in Dramatic Interpretation with a piece about a woman poisoning her evil daughter. It was magic. Anyone could see that Diana would go far. She did fabulously for the rest of the season, although I can't remember any specifics. Her sophomore year, she performed something about a German woman with a retarded daughter. That was good, too. Last year, she had a totally awesome piece about this thirteen-year-old girl who had an affair with one of her junior high teachers and got pregnant. He moved away, but she tracked him down, had a nice, civil conversation with him, and then drowned their baby in his bathtub. Diana did well with pieces about women who kill their children. This year, Diana has been performing a piece about a girl who gets raped at a party, and I've heard she does it beautifully. I haven't actually SEEN it yet, but I can't imagine her not doing it well. Unfortunately, Diana was never given the opportunity to perform at Regionals. There were always older actors who were given the opportunity ahead of her, and as she has just graduated, she can't go this year, either. I am sure, however, that if given the opportunity, she could have taken it all the way to State. You're a talented woman, Diana, and my hat is off to you.

There was this chick in one of my rounds who looked JUST LIKE Barak Obama. It was so cool. Diana has a picture of her on her b-log. She was really good, too. Her speech was about diversity. She got shafted, though. She got sixth. I thought she deserved second.

For some reason, even though I spent a whopping seventeen hours at that flipping speech meet, I thought it might be a good idea to go have a sleep over at Sarah's house. I fell asleep right away, but I kept waking up to Tristan Esparza standing over me in that creepy way he does. I managed to have a good time, while I was awake.

Today was supposed to be the beginning of the annual Show Choir Lock-In, but I only went for two and a half hours. Used to be, we would rehearse for twelve hours a day for two days and sleep at the school. We can't anymore, though, so we just have two six-hour rehearsals where we don't really get much done. It kind of blows. And I missed most of today's, anyway, because I had to go to an orchestra rehearsal. I really enjoy EYSO. Pappy, Emily, and I went out to dinner with some of the other kids in the orchestra after rehearsal, so we didn't get home until about midnight. Christ, am I exhausted.

Nighty Night.

posted at 3:37 AM by Alison


{Saturday, January 15, 2005 . Janus}

Pep band rules. Pep band freaking rules.

And yet ... I miss the olden days. My freshman year, pretty much the whole marching band would show up for basketball games. We would scream and heckle the opposing team viciously. Once, there was a kid from - I believe it was Plainfield - who had a mullet. So any time he got the ball, we would chant "mullet, mullet" over and over again. He eventually wept. Good times, man. Good times.

But things have changed. Now, there's this whole "Character Counts" thing, and the crowd (band included) have to show "respect" and "not cruelly taunt members of the opposing team." That's bullshit. Plus, less and less people are showing up for games, so our sound is getting pretty thin. We used to have to pack into our little section of the bleachers. Now there is a discomfitting amount of leg room.

I manage to have a good time anyway, though. Alex and I have a fabulous time oggling the attractive basketball players and mocking the cheerleaders. And, of course, we play cool music. That's good, too.

Looking ahead: I'm in for a spanking tommorrow. I just pretty much re-wrote my speech tonight, and I'm not ready to give it tommorrow. It's crazy ass long. Like, a good minute too long. But I can't think of anything to cut. It's really tight. There's just so much INFORMATION I feel is necessary to appreciate the meaning of my speech. If I had my way, I would just make it into a day-long seminar.

Last year, I went to State, which is pretty much the pinnacle of any speech kid's career (aside from winning State, which I did not). I had a really good speech. It was about why gay marriage should be legal. I figured that it would be controversial and that I might not do so well, but quite the opposite. I kicked some ass with that speech. Even people who disagreed with me had to respect my stance. But that's the problem with this year's speech: no one respects my stance. No matter how good I am, the second I start talking about animals as beings worthy of respect, the judges solidify their opinion of me as some dumb teenaged girl who likes puppies. It's impossible for people to take it seriously. I recognized this even before I started; I wanted to do animal rights my freshman year, but I was scared that people would make fun of me. This year, I figured that I was a good enough speaker (with a good enough reputation) to get past that, but apparently not. Apparently, I'm just a misguided little girl who thinks that (oh, how silly) animals can feel pain just as sharply as we can, and we shouldn't inflict it upon them if we don't have to. I thought I was okay with the prospect of not going to State - since I already went once - but now that I think about it, I'm really upset about it. Not just for myself, though. What I'm upset about is that this might be the first time in twenty-odd years that we HAVEN'T sent someone to State, and it will be partially my fault. I was supposed to be the hope. I was supposed to be the golden child. I'm sorry, fellow Oswego Speech Team members. I've let you down.

Well, I'd best get to memorizing my changes. See you at Warren tommorrow. Maim, dismember, destroy.

posted at 1:15 AM by Alison


{Thursday, January 13, 2005 . gym = totally dumb}

If you can't do, teach. If you can't teach, teach gym.

I've determined that the vast majority of gym teachers are certifiably retarded. My gym teacher would be one of them.

I'm a busy gal. I'm a mover. I'm a shaker. I have a lot of classes I want to take, and stupid bitch-ass classes like gym get in the way. Incidentally, I think Illinois is about the only place in the WORLD where students are required to take four years of gym before they graduate. That's twice the amount of science we're required to take. So anyway, rather than waste my precious learning time running around in circles, I opted to do "Early Bird Gym," which is before school every morning. So every morning, I get up at 5:30, cry just a little, and trudge disparingly to school where my soul is summarily confiscated. Luckily, I'm allowed to take gym "pass/fail," meaning that as long as I get an A or a B, gym won't count toward my GPA. I mean, I'll get credit for the class, but it won't pull my GPA down if I get a B. Or an A, for that matter, since I take a lot of weighted classes. I just discovered that I'm getting a C. Why, you ask? Because I was absent a few times. There were a couple of days where I just didn't FEEL like dragging my saggy ass through the rain and sleet and snow to listen to emo music and lift weights. I, of course, being the dubtiful child I am, came in after school and made up for what I missed. I discovered today, however, that this is of no account. Mrs. Keely, my deeply-tanned and disturbingly large gym teacher, told me that I CAN'T make up some of the points I am missing. That NO MATTER WHAT I DO, even if the absence was EXCUSED, my grade will still suffer. She opts to tell me this a week before the grading period ends. I could fucking kill her.

Readers, you all know gym teachers are fucking retarded. I invite you to tell your Retarded Gym Teacher stories here in my comment section. Let all that pent up rage come pouring out.

posted at 6:13 PM by Alison


{Wednesday, January 12, 2005 . Bitchfest 2005}

Welcome to Bitchfest 2005! Let's get this party started.

I'm really tired. Like, really tired. I'm still not recovered from the horrible, horrible, monstrous cold I contracted on the trip to SoCal, and I've been busy pretty much every second of every day. I'm not sure how. I intentionally gave myself a break this year, promised myself I would take it easy. But here I am, positively sore from show choir and hacking up a lung.

Good news: The Dominick's near my home now carries soy yogurt which tastes JUST like real yogurt. I'm ecstatic about that.

My creative juices are clotting.

posted at 12:31 AM by Alison


{Monday, January 10, 2005 . Adventures, adventures}

I love love love exploring. Ever since I got my driver's liscence, I've been taking full advantage of the opportunity to explore the Chicago 'burbs (in a limited fashion, of course). So I had my first Elgin Youth Symphony rehearsal last night, and I opted to go on my own. On the way home, I was really hungry, and the only place that was still open was this sushi place called JuRin. I sat at the bar, since I was alone and since I was in sort of a hurry. So I got to talking with the sushi chef. His name was Sudo.

Sudo: Have you ever had a plum roll before?
Me: No, I haven't.
Sudo: It's kind of sour. I don't think you'll like it.
Me: Well, I'm sure it'll be okay. I want to try it.
Sudo: What's your favorite kind of fish?
Me: Well, I don't really eat fish.
Sudo: Okay, what's your favorite kind of vegetable?
Me: Oh, I'm impartial.
Sudo: Do you like asparagus?
Me: Yeah, I like asparagus.
Sudo: Do you like mushrooms?
Me: Yeah, I lik mushrooms.

So he proceeded to make me an asparagus roll with this funny mushroom/tofu concoction on the side, and he didn't charge me any extra. He sort of grilled me about the whole not eating fish thing, and I explained veganism to him. He said that since he grew up in the inland part of Japan, he never really ate much fish either, and that next time I come in, I should ask for him so he could make me something special. I'm now Sudo's number 1 fan.

That, along with the fact that my waiter was the most attractive young man I've ever met EVER, has made JuRin my new favorite restaraunt.

In other news, I'm basically failing Spanish. Goddamn.

posted at 5:58 PM by Alison


{Sunday, January 09, 2005 . How Grand to be a Young Woman at the Dawn of the Millenium}

So I wrote this essay. It's really long. And it's kind of disjoint and confusing. So do with it what you will.

When I was in junior high, I was a complete tomboy. A lot of girls go through a tomboy phase, but mine was unusually prolonged. I cut my hair short with the original intention of spiking it like a pixie cut, but I wound up not putting any products in it and letting it dry flat like a boy's. Every day, I wore jeans with a t-shirt and a button-up shirt over it. I always wore necklaces, and although they weren't particularly feminine, they were the only visible clue on my pre-pubescent body to my true gender. I insisted upon being called "Sonny" and went through variations like "Sunny," "Sonni," and "Sunni" (all of which, contrary to popular belief, are derivative of my real name, by the way.) I wanted to be a boy so badly. I went so far as to "come out" and tell a few of my friends I was bisexual. I've since come to the conclusion that I'm just a boring old hetero. I remember most vividly walking in a line from my Social Studies class to the library behind the great and powerful Cutest Boy In The Class and trying to imitate the way he walked. I thought, "Even the most attractive girls don't have a walk like that. They can't swagger. They can’t move with that kind of power." Now, in retrospect, I see that that's what it was all about. I didn't want to have to grow up to be a woman. I didn't want to have to grow up to be powerless.

Women have, obviously, made a lot of progress since the days of yore. We can own land. We can vote. We have the right NOT to be beaten by our husbands - even if they do use a switch smaller than their thumbs. We're well on our way to breaking that glass ceiling and closing the 25% pay gap. I certainly appreciate these things, and I would never intentionally belittle the sacrifices my foremothers made so that I could go to college and use contraceptives. But, to be honest, I'm a little down about this whole feminism thing. I don't feel equal. I know that I have better grades and am smarter than most males - and that I have a better chance at getting into a good school and getting a good job than most males - but I don't feel equal.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm imagining things. Maybe I'm imagining the fact that even though I am older and more mature and smarter and higher up on the "social ladder" (if you believe in that sort of thing) than a given freshman boy, he's talking down to me. Maybe it's because he's literally talking down to me; I'm very physically small. I don't think it's that, though. I think that, deep down, even with all the progress that we've made, men and women both feel that they are on different levels, and those levels are not equal.

In most major literary works, women are not people in the sense that men are people. Women are mothers - slaves and caretakers. Women are virgins - unattainable, unreachable, and holy. Women are whores - dumb and evil. Women rarely share the existential crises that the male heroes have. We're literary tools. We're the artifices of people.

Maybe it is a physical thing. I had a date a few weeks ago. Yes, I was amazed, too. I don't normally have that much contact with members of the opposite sex, and I usually feel remarkably uncomfortable around boys. Maybe it's because I don't have any brothers - or a father, to speak of - but I just have a lot of difficulty making male friends. I really liked this boy, though. I really liked him. So after a month or so of drooling at him from across the band room, I finally got up to courage to ask him out for dinner. Just a date, you know? Just an opportunity for one intelligent, dynamic person to talk to and be impressed by another. We did go out for dinner. It was great. We talked and talked and talked for nearly four hours, the waitress all the while hovering about and implying that it was time for us to leave. We shared stories from our childhoods. I got a number of embarrassing stories about his twin sister, one of my best friends. We talked about our plans for our futures. We went back to my house and watched a movie. He had to be home by midnight, so I walked him to my door, but something happened. I stood in the doorway between my living room and the little galley kitchen, watching him walk toward the door, and I got scared. I almost never see males in my home. He's not all that big – my guess would be 5' 10" or 11", maybe 180ish pounds – but in the tiny pink kitchen my mother and I, who are both five feet tall, share, he looked monstrous. He filled up the whole room. I was intimidated. He didn't kiss me before he left. He told me a few days later that he "didn't want a relationship right now."

I don't know if there's any correlation between my choking on fear and my unexpected rejection, but there's certainly something to be said about the fact that after talking for hours with a boy whom I respect very much and who, I believe, respects me, I can still suddenly become intimidated with his size. He wasn't threatening me. He was just too big to be in my kitchen. I felt as if my home were being invaded. It's possible that size is the root of the disparity between men and women. A woman - even if she is strong and intelligent, even if she is a Queen, even if she is Superwoman, even if she is whatever else women tell themselves they are to stave off depression - is going to get scared, at least subconsciously, and freeze up when she is around a man. It won't be noticeable. Well, it won't be noticeable in most cases. I'm sure there are women out there who are openly afraid of men, who scream and run to protect their virtue, but those women are the minority. Most women will do their best to remain calm, but there will be a change. Maybe she'll become a little more demure, letting the males in the room do the talking. I have the opposite problem. I become chatty and childlike. I once had a boyfriend who actually asked me not to talk so much when I was around his friends. Incidentally, I didn't even have the self-respect to dump him; he wound up dumping me. That's why I prefer to be around my female friends most of the time. I don't have to get nervous. I don't have to worry about losing my dignity. I act my age when I'm around girls, but I usually can't when I'm around boys. They're so big. I feel like I'm with my grandpa. "No, Grandpa, I don't have a boyfriend. (giggle) I have a band concert next week. Would you come? Please, please, please? Oh, thank you. I love you, Grandpa."

Then again, maybe it's not just size. It could be that women are just genetically inferior to men. As much as I would love to say that all behavior and psychology is just conditioned into us by society, I'm not sure that's true. I have a good friend with some severe psychological problems, and he recently began seeking help in earnest. He spent the first nineteen years of his life in deep emotional anguish, thinking that life was nothing but pain and confusion, thinking that was how life was supposed to be. Lately, though, he has been on a carefully designed regimen of medication, and he is feeling wonderful. Okay, maybe not wonderful, but his brain is working in a completely different way than it used to. He said that it was nice to know that things can be different from how they used to be, but that it's a little scary to think about how easily the mind is influenced. All of our thoughts, all of our emotions, everything we think makes us 'us' is nothing but a series of chemical reactions that can be altered with medicine. So perhaps women never 'learned' to be submissive; perhaps it's part of the chemical makeup of our brains.

Dear reader, what would you do (assuming you are female - if not, pretend) if science were to prove, as irrefutably as science can prove anything, that the social position of women is not just an archaic social convention but is actually determined by our chemistry? What would you do if you learned that no matter how intelligent you are, no matter how hard you work, you can never achieve the same kind of consciousness, the same kind of grace and power and beauty, that a man could? What could you possibly do with yourself?

It would have to be a world-wide effort, the response to this knowledge. If we are to prevent a degeneration into the dark ages where women were nothing but domestic slaves and baby machines, we, as a race, would have to redefine our ideas about the worth of an individual. Generally, worth is dependant upon things like ability, intelligence, wealth, and social status. That really shouldn't be. Women, even if we were 'inferior,' would still deserve the respect and dignity that we currently have (if not more). So we need to rethink who does and doesn't deserve respect. As the daughter of a special education teacher, I've seen different ideas about this. I think the prevailing attitude, even if it's not often voiced, is that retarded people aren't really worth much. I'd have to disagree with that. Life in any form has an inherent worth, and while it's all well and good to be a big pompous intellectual, it doesn't lend any more weight to one's life. I don't quite understand when life became all about being 'better' than others. I don't quite understand exactly what it is that makes humans 'better' than other animals. Yes, we're more advanced, but life isn't just about intelligence, and if it is found that men are more intelligent than women, I would have to deal with this knowledge by reminding myself of that.

Fortunately, it doesn't look like I’ll have to do that. The prevailing trend seems to be toward women surpassing men; men are becoming complacent, and women are aching to prove themselves. And, given this situation, I'm going to continue advocating a progressive attitude toward women. I was watching Dateline: NBC the other day with my mother, and there was a report on the Gadget Show in Las Vegas. There were laptops and MP3 players - things that anyone could use - but for some reason a young, blonde, female reporter came on and said something like, "But in the past, one of the key audiences that hasn't been targeted enough is the female audience. So this year, GE came out with it's new high-tech oven." I was offended. Even though I recognize that there are hormones and deep-seated instincts that cause women to want to nest and feed their young, I was still offended. Even though I intend to have children and cook dinner for them as often as possible, I was still offended. Why? Because even though I have the natural desires and instincts of any woman to be a broody hen, I am still a freaking person. I'm not a baby machine. I could use a laptop and MP3 player just as well as any man could. The attitude reflected in that report is the one that keeps women down. We just can't marry the image of woman as the wife and mother to the image of woman as a dignified and whole person. But, let me tell you, we have to recognize that those two images are one and the same. If the species is to continue its progress and growth, we have to. Women cannot continue to think of themselves as the lesser gender. This is our world, too.

posted at 6:04 PM by Alison


{Saturday, January 08, 2005 . I don't appreciate spankings.}

Oh, my Lord. I was freaking robbed. I went 4-1-3 in prelims. Didn't break.

For those of you not hip to the lingo, that means that I competed thrice, each time against a different group of six speakers. The first time, I got fourth out of six. The second time, I got first out of six. The third time, I got third out of six. Bull-freaking-shit. The chick who gave me a three gave no explanation as to why, and the chick who gave me a four was a completely ignorant slut. A quote from my first round critique sheet: "Isn't the word 'suffering' a bit much? I mean, they're just animals." I wanted to kill her. And that's saying a lot, since I won't kill animals, and they are, after all, 'just animals.' Fuck you.

So I shant be posting my speech. I'm sure you're disappointed. But what else can I write about?

I know. I was watching Dateline NBC or some shit like that with my mother last night (after I blogged), and they were reporting on this gadget show in Las Vegas. There were laptops and digital cameras and iPods and stuff like that - stuff that pretty much anyone would be able to use. So then this fucking young blonde anchor comes on and says something to the effect of, "But in past years, one key group that the gadget show has failed to target is women. That's why GE has come out with this high-tech OVEN." I was speechless. I turned to my militant feminist of a mother and just stared at her for a moment. "Did they honest to God just say that?" I asked.

That's absolutely disgusting. It's like they're saying, "We have these laptops and MP3 players, but what would a woman do with those? All a woman needs is a good oven and a nice sturdy vacuum cleaner and some place to squirt out babies."

FUCK YOU, NBC!!!!!!!!

I'm so angry about this. Sometime when I have more energy, remind me to expound on this point a little. Right now, I have to go brush my teeth.

posted at 10:48 PM by Alison


{Friday, January 07, 2005 . Glenbard Eve}

Spamalot freaking ruled. I was so exhausted when I got home that I just couldn't blog. And that's saying a lot. I honestly laughed so hard that my stomach muscles were sore the next day. But that probably had something to do with the fact that I was sitting next to Sarah. She absolutely cracks me up.

So my aunt died yesterday afternoon. I didn't really know her that well; she lived in Denver. I spent a day with her summer before last, but that was the first time I had seen her since I was eight. She was really cool, though. Her name was Fran. She looked just like my mother. My mom used to be pretty close with her, when she was younger, but she hasn't seemed too upset by it. I feel sort of bad for not feeling bad. You know?

But, hey, I've got my first respectable speech meet tomorrow. I say first "respectable" one because I've been to two this season already, but I didn't have my speech memorized for either. Now, though, I'm (mostly) memorized, and I'm ready to kick some ass and take some names. I get super competitive. But I'm lazy, so all that comes of my competitive spirit is a lot of bruised bottoms.

I posted the first draft of my speech on my Xanga about a month back. I've changed it a lot since then. If I break into finals tomorrow, I'll post my most recent draft. It's be cool. Like a little insight into my non-blogging life.

I forgot a few teachers the other day.

Mr. Anderson: Junior year American History teacher. Fun guy. Really like him. He's short and paunchy with a laurel wreath of whitish-gray hair and a fuzzy little beard, and when he doesn't have anything to say, he sucks his funny little lips in so that his whole face is nothing but whitish-gray fuzzy. Definitely never crushed.

Mr. Hoefler: This year's (senior year) U.S. Government teacher. Looks like Rodney Dangerfield. Sort of oddly attractive, but I never had a crush.

Mr. Freischlag: My freshman year was the first or second year that my high school used block scheduling, so they didn't quite have a feel for it. My sophomore year, they announced that the honors students in my class would have to take an extra math class in order to get all the curriculum in, so there would have to be a year at some point in our respective high school careers where we took two math classes. Almost everyone opted to do it sophomore year and get it over with. I didn't. I did it junior year, and so did six other people. So Mr. Freischlag volunteered to teach the seven of us Honors Algebra II. He didn't do shit. He sat at his desk reading sports articles on the internets and fucking *informed* us of what unit we were on. He was really short and hugely, massively muscular. He told us once what the measurement of his shoulders was, but I can't remember now. Looked a little like Jason Alexander, but more jock-y. Kind of a jackass. Never crushed.

I think I covered everyone.

posted at 6:50 PM by Alison


{Wednesday, January 05, 2005 . Here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot.}

Oooh, forgot to mention that I'm going to see "Spamalot: The Musical" tomorrow evening. I'm super psyched. Not only do I get to pay a visit to my favorite city in the world (eh - that would be Chicago) but I get to see David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, and TIM FREAKING CURRY do MONTY PYTHON. It looks promising. Quite promising.

I'm on a quest to get famous people to read my blog. I already sent Stuard David of Belle & Sebastian fame (alright - maybe he's not all that famous around these parts - but look at the cultural wasteland we live in) my URL, so if you know of any other websites where you can "e-mail the band" (or actor, or whatever) give me a little pluggy-plug. My ultimate goal is to get Conan O'Brian to become a regular reader. Please, don't give the URL out to any lame-assed celebrities, though. I don't want Lidsey Lohan reading about how in love I was with my eighth grade history teacher.

posted at 11:58 PM by Alison


You know you do it. You lust after your teachers. Admit it. Admit it to yourself. The truth will set you free.

In the interest of freeing myself of the bonds of ... um ... I'm going to give a brief profile of every male teacher I've ever had (that I can think of right now) and whether or not I was "crushing." Enjoy.

Mr. Booras: My sixth grade math teacher. His name was quite appropriate. Boring as fuck. Plus he hit kids (lightly) on the head with yardsticks when they mouthed off. Definitely not.

Dan Harazin: My seventh grade gym/world history teacher (both). Although he was widely considered good-looking (and I would have to agree), he was such an unbearable prick that I couldn't ever bring myself to be attracted to him. Plus, he didn't know shit about world history beyond what was in the book. I may have had one or two fantasies, but I believe I was the only (straight) girl in Thompson Jr. High *not* crushing.

Dan Harrison: My band director all through junior high. Although he wasn't particularly unattractive, Mr. Harrison just never *did it* for me. I don't know. He would say sort of meanish sarcastic things, and I could never tell if he was joking or not. And he had a huge chest and arms that hung down to his knees. Well, his chest didn't hang down to his knees. You know what I meant. I never really crushed.

Rufus Brown: Oh, man. I took guitar lessons from Rufus from fifth through eighth grade. I majorly crushed. He was pretty young - late twenties - and he had this long shaggy hair (before it was all that fashionable to have shaggy hair) and he was always fucking *smiling* about something. Plus, he always told me I was his favorite student because I made him laugh. He was married, and his second daughter was born while I was taking lessons from him, but somehow that only made him more attractive. Don't you ever do that? Don't you ever see some young, attractive man with his precious newborn infant and go, "God, why couldn't those two have been in me?" Rufus was dreamy.

Mr. Creepy: I honest to God can't remember my eighth-grade algebra teacher's name. I think I blocked it from my mind. Anyway, he was creepy. He was really mean. One time, when I was super into henna, I came to school with these intricate floral designs all over my hands (courtesy of Kyle ) and he asked me what they were, so after this long explanation of what henna is and it's cultural significance around the world, he goes, "Your mother lets you do that?" Fuck you, Mr. McDowell. That's his name! Mr. McDowell. If you take an old five dollar bill (the kind with the small picture) and a one-dollar bill and fold them both in half lengthwise, then put the top half of Abe Lincoln's face together with the bottom half of George Washington's face, and then draw a giant mole above Abe's left eyebrow, it looks just freaking like Mr. McDowell. I swear to God. Try it. In summary, Mr. McDowell is a douche, and I never crushed.

Frank Tieri: My high school choir director. Okay, I know I'm going to get shit for this, but Mr. Tieri isn't all that unattractive. In fact, I might go so far as to say he's a little attractive. I mean, he's an amazing musician (which is one of the hottest things someone can be) and he's extremely smart and witty. And I'll bet he was okay looking when he was younger (he's about forty, now). I wouldn't say that I ever *crushed*, but Tieri has his moments. They're short. But they're moments.

Patrick Stinson: Hell no. My Lord. Stinson is the most abbraisive man I've ever met in my life. He's was my sophomore oral interpretation teacher, but I've also had him throughout high school as a speech coach and choreographer for show choir. I hate him with all of my soul. He was probably kind of cute when he was younger, but now he's just creepy looking, and he smells like he just finished eating week-old roadkill. I definitely never crushed.

Mr. Kline: My freshman year technical applications teacher. He was an ex-football coach. I think. It doesn't really matter, because he's an assface. For our final project, we had to do a power-point presentation, and I wanted to do mine on the correlation between the AIDS epidemic and the gay rights movement. He suggested I just do AIDS, and not mention the gay thing. So I went completely the opposite direction and did it on the Stonewall Riots . I got an A in the class, but that doesn't mean I was crushing.

Glenn Schneider: Assistant director of bands at Oswego High School. Also percussion instructor. Very good looking, but never really did it for me. Maybe it's because his tall, skinny, blonde, flute-playing wife is named "Ashlee." You have to look at a man's taste in women.

Brad Leeb: Former assistant director of bands at Oswego High School/former director of the OHS Marching Panthers/current director of bands at Oswego East High School. Oh, lawdy, lawdy. Leeb is a fox. He's a little older than Glenn - 31, I believe - but much more attractive. Plus, he's Jewish, which I love for some reason. And he's a vegetarian. And he's indescribably adorable. He has huge eyes. They're enormous. I'm totally crushing.

Jim Appel: I broke the whole chronological order thing to save the best for last. Mr. Appel, or "Jim" as I call him in my girlish fantasies, has to be one of the creepiest crushes I have ever had. He was my eighth grade American history teacher. My mom said he reminded her of Ichabod Crane. Me, too, and if you will recall, Ichabod Crane was quite the lady killer. He was tall and skinny with a big nose and an overbite. He was forty-eight, though, and he had grey hair and kind of shook sometimes (I suspect he may have Parkinson's). That's beside the point. He was dreamy. He had these big, nerdy glasses and this shit-eating grin, and whenever I would make some humorous comment in my awkward, thirteen-year-old girl fashion, he would look at me through those huge glasses and kind of chuckle and I would just melt. MELT! He always said that when he retired, he wanted to go and work in Williamsburg making shoes or something, so I had this bizarre fantasy where every summer he would leave his wife in Illinois to go work in Williamsburg, and I would claim to be doing something or other and go spend the summer with him in his big Virginia farmhouse. We told the people there I was his daughter. Sometimes I would be a character in the village, too. Other times I would be working as a waitress in a vegetarian restaraunt the next town over. But the house was huge and white and the windows were always open so the gauzy white curtains could swish over the hardwood floors, and I would just laze about all summer listening to his fantastic stories and kissing his big, precious, gray head. I won't make you read any gory details, but suffice to say I crushed majorly on that one.

How did it come to be that "awful" and "awesome" have opposite meanings?

posted at 8:53 PM by Alison


{Tuesday, January 04, 2005 . I H8 SKOOL}

I used to be such a studious little thing. I used to read at every opportunity. I used to stay up late to read books I didn't have to read for school. That's all over with. Now, I'm a big fat slacker.

I did do my English homework last night. Well, most of it. I read A Doll's House and enjoyed it very much. But I can't bring myself to do my Spanish homework, even though I love the Spanish language and desperately want to become fluent. I also love music and desperately want to be a good musician, but I can't bring myself to practice my horn. Although, well, I'll probably do that now since I have an audition in two and a half weeks that will likely determine the course of the next four+ years of my life. But the point is: I'm a big fat slacker.

I have this class where I sit in a practice room for an hour and a half and analyze concert band scores/try to figure out how to conduct them/listen to music (often - but not always - the music I'm studying), but I rarely take advantage of it. Usually, I work on my English homework. Or my speeches. But I LOVE music. I even like music theory. I even like what most people consider THE MOST BORING ASPECT OF MUSIC. But I'm a big fat slacker.

So right now I have two hours until I have to be at show choir rehearsal. I haven't learned my music. I can't remember the dance. I have and act of Othello to read, a skit to write for Spanish, a one-act play to write for the freshman/sophomore play, a speech to edit and memorize, and an intensely important audition to prepare for. And what am I doing? That's right baby: I'm blogging. Well, I'll probably practice a little. But I won't do much of anything else. Because I'm a big fat slacker.

But I paid Alex Kaleel $2 to raise his hand in band and tell the whole class that we played Boggle with Mrs. Pappas and "she said 'lube'". That certainly made me happy.

posted at 3:57 PM by Alison


{Monday, January 03, 2005 . I'm Home}

Sorry for the lack of a goodbye posting. On Monday (December 27th) I and 249 of my closest friends departed from O' Hare airport for LAX with the intent of marching in the 2005 Tournament of Roses Parade. We did it. Yesterday. I hope you all watched it.

Things that made the trip freaking awesome:

Spending extra time with Emily, other Emily Jessi, Kyle, Becky, Alex, Matt, Chad, Ethan (Chethan, as they are sometimes known), and all of the other glorious, glorious band nerds who made the week pleasurable.

Spending way too much money. I purchased, among myriad other things, "The World Won't Listen," by The Smiths and "A Ghost Is Born," by Wilco.

Expending so much energy that I feel about ready to die.

Costa Ricans. One of the other Rose Parade bands was from Costa Rica, and they stood outside our bus after the BandFest and gave us an impromptu concert - complete with bass drum flingin'. It was unbelievable. I have pictures, which will soon be up on my new buzznet account which will soon be linked to by my new blogger blog. But all in good time. Jessi gave one of the drummers her phone number. His name was Esteban. He couldn't really speak English, but he did manage to say, "I love you!" very emphatically before getting frustrated and giving up.

The Spanish language. Obviously, I was well aware before we arrived in California that LA is pretty much IN Mexico, but for some reason I was very surprised to see that almost every sign was in English AND Spanish. There were some neighborhoods where everything was strictly Spanish. Me dio un oportunidad para practicar mi Espanol, y yo decidi ir a Espana. Mas sobre ese mas tarde.

Of course, of course, of course, the parade itself. I thought it would suck, especially because I had such a miserable cold/flu thing that I was getting chills and lost my voice, but it actually didn't. Actually, it completely ruled. Twice over the course of the 5 ½ mile, 2 ½ hour march we got to stop. I don’t know if it was because a float broke down or what, but we got to stop. And it rocked. P-Funk, our illustrious band director, had told us that in the event of a stop, we would break rank and “meet and greet” the audience. The people were so nice! I got all sorts of offers of food and water. I had to decline, of course, because the food was invariably of animal origins and because I would have contaminated the water with my plague, but it’s the thought that counts. One of the stops was in front of a gay bar called “Encounters,” and our sole male color guard member was the proud recipient of a feathery crown. He, of course, claimed not to have realized that it was a gay bar. Whatever.

I cried twice. The first time: When we went past the section at the end of the first mile where 200+ Oswegoans were seated. I’d been fairly cynical up to that point about how special the parade was, but when we went past our Midwestern countrymen, I lost it. Man, so many people in our town have given so much money and sacrificed so much time and energy so that we could go on that trip. We owe them so much. The second time was toward the end of the parade. We were going under this overpass, and the sound was unbearable. It was pressing in on me from all sides. We sounded enormous. Of course, it was Battle Hymn. I wouldn’t have cried if it were any other song. Battle Hymn is the traditional parade song of the Oswego marching band. We’ve been playing it for years. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful marching band arrangements ever written. At least to me. So I cried. I’ll miss you, OHS Marching Panthers.

But there was sort of a dark cloud hanging over all of our festivities. Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard all about the horrible tragedy in Southern Asia/Eastern Africa. I can’t quite get it out of my head. I couldn’t really appreciate all the fun I was having with the knowledge of all the suffering that is happening over there. My God. The toll was 70,000 when last I read the paper. I’m sure it’s more, now. Entire islands, entire families and cultures simply wiped out. Gone. It’s impossible to fathom. As I always do when I hear about things like that, I try to imagine myself in that position. Not in the position of those who died, since I’m seventeen and can’t really imagine myself dying, but in the position of the survivors. I always do that when I think about the Holocaust. I think about if I were a young Jewish woman in, say, Poland at the time of the invasion. How would I escape? Where would I go? How would I try to save my family? What if I couldn’t? My answers are always optimistic – or as optimistic as one could be in that situation. I’m clever. I would hide. My family might die, and I would mourn their death, but I would make it. I would be strong. I would tough out the ghettos and the camps until the liberation. And I would move to the U.S or to Canada or to England or to Israel. It would be okay. But for some reason, as I try to imagine myself as a young Sri Lankan woman, I can’t be optimistic. I can’t see myself getting through that. As a European, I would have had options. I imagine. I would have had somewhere to go. But in Sri Lanka, with my whole family dead, my home destroyed, the homes of everyone I know destroyed, all the farmable land destroyed, no education, no job skills, no money, I don’t know what I would do. Where would I go? How would I eat? How on Earth could I rebuild my life after something like that? I don’t think I could. I don’t know how I would survive. And it tears my heart out to think of the people over there who are just waiting to die. I’m so sorry.

But how about that Spain, huh? That’s unbelievable. That tiny little European country – not particularly wealthy, not particularly powerful – giving what was it? Like, four times what we, America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, gave? (I’m just trying to remember what I read in the paper – I don’t quite remember the exact numbers.) Spain, I salute you. You are truly a benevolent people. This was the deciding factor, for me. I’m going to Spain. I’m going to go, one of these years, and spend a summer in Spain. I’ll already have had 5+ years of Spanish classes here in The States, so it shouldn’t take me that long to pick up the language. I could get a job. Or I could just be a street performer/panhandler. I don’t know. I’ll iron out the details later. But I’m going to Spain.

I took roughly 250 pictures over the course of the past week, but I'm still wrangling with buzznet and have yet to put them up. Until then, you cans stare at the one picture that I managed to get up.

Peace, Love, and a Very Happy New Year.

posted at 10:04 PM by Alison



View my complete profile

Daily Reads
Illinois Music Tech
Bicyclemark's Communique
The State I'm In
Starved Artist

Daily Reads
Bicyclemark's Communique
The State I'm In
Give Me A Nickel And I'll Tell You The Story
Raymi The Minx
Stuart Murdoch
Invade the City!
Cellar Door

People I Know In Real Life

Emily W.

Websites You Should Visit
The Animal Rights FAQ
The UN World Food Program
The Guardian
Amnesty International



December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
January 2007
December 2007


Template designed by MDA
Comments by Haloscan
Pictures by Buzznet
Hosted by Blogger