the new mr. darcy?

I have a shameful confession to make. After a good few months worth of disgusted tsk-ing, merciless taunting, and endless jokes about the Twilight series, I finally sat down and read the first book.

That's nothing to be ashamed of, as far as I'm concerned; I'm pretty much willing to give any book a fair go, first of all, and second of all, I did not ask for or in any other way try to get my hands on the book independently. It was a Christmas gift. Along with an Edward Cullen poster. Should it frighten me that the instant my relations see a picture of a glowering, darkly-beautiful, pale vampire boy they think, "Oh, Ali will love this!" and buy it for me, knowing (and not caring) that I have no idea who the hell he is? Or should it make me proud?

Anyway. So I had the poster, and the fresh, yet-to-be-cracked Twilight book. Out of sheer boredom and a little bit of curiosity, I figured I might as well have the reading experience to go along with my other Twilight merchandise. This was at 10:30 at night.

When I finally read the last page at approximately 2:58 AM, I plopped my aching head down on my pillow and soon came to three rather startling conclusions:
1)I see what all the fuss was about. I understand why so many teenage girls are all a-flutter over this story.
2)That book was extremely well-written...no, really.
2) I am in love with a fictional character...once again.

This is the part I'm a little bit ashamed of.

Hello Mr. Darcy syndrome, part II.



Here's where I will spend the next four, six, eight, or maybe even ten years of my life. Thanks to the kind admissions Gods that Be, I got into the University of Rochester. Immediately after finding out, I was stunned. I couldn't pinpoint my emotions; was I happy? Hell yes, ecstatic even! But it still hasn't really sunk in, this new fact of life. I'm extremely excited and relieved, of course, but strangely enough I feel like I still don't have the capacity to fully understand what this means for me. I'm having trouble realizing that I now have what I want.

Not that I would have it any other way; don't get the impression that I'm regretting my choice to bind myself to admission. I applied early decision because it's exactly what I want, and I knew it when I sealed the big white envelope; I still know it. Because although I certainly would've been happy at Colgate or Geneseo, U of R is my place.

So, I'm curious to see how long this will take my sloth-like brain to comprehend. Maybe it'll take a few days, a week, a month...or maybe I won't fully grasp this wonderful truth until I step onto that campus and experience that feeling of fitting perfectly into my little nerdy niche at the best medical, research, and liberal arts university ever.

Well, in my opinion, at least.


wilco. now.

This was the best live show so far of my life.
If you ever have the chance to see them live,
do your homework;
listen to the music (I'm pretty sure you'll like it).
Then, GO.
You will not regret it.


is this it

This evening, a huge question has been making itself at home in the forefront of my mind. Why do we all try as hard as we possibly can to lose ourselves?

Most of what this question has to do with involves the popular concept of "losing yourself" in something. We humans can perform this disappearing act using just about anything as a medium; drinking, doing drugs, playing or listening to music, eating, watching TV, playing a sport, dancing all by yourself. As you can see, some of these are much more positive (and much less stupid) outlets than the others. So how we manage to lose ourselves in things that have absolutely nothing to do with ourselves doesn't bug me; it's the fact that we want to. It's our main goal, and it appears repeatedly during day-to-day life. I just read an Avon advertisement for a perfume that invited me to "lose myself in an exotic scent". You hear people say things like, "I just want to forget about everything for a while." More importantly, you see people immerse themselves in these "losing" activities without even realizing it.

My personal way of losing myself (I don't like the whole losing thing, but I'm certainly not any less guilty of it) is running. In cross-country, or track, or on the side my road, or even just on one of those sweet Elliptical machines, I completely forget myself. My mind goes white. I think of absolutely nothing, and it's the most peaceful and happy part of my day. Granted, this isn't exactly destructive behavior, but bottom line, I'm still trying to get away from myself for a few hours, and I'm not sure why I want that so desperately.

So why do people want to lose themselves so badly? What makes us feel so overwhelmed with the mere fact of ourselves that we need to get away from it? As humans, just one species on this planet, with no concrete plans, no reliable maps, and a ton of problems that we bring upon ourselves, I'd say it's safe to bet that we are already pretty damn lost. There's really no need to try any harder to escape ourselves when we had no clue where we were in the first place, is there?

Here's the nub and grit of all this. I think we should start trying to find ourselves in the things we normally do to lose ourselves. So, next time I go for a run, I'm going to resist that lovely temptation to sink into oblivion. I'm going to think about something, about why I acted the way I did on the way home from practice, or about why that test upset me so much. When you listen to your favorite band and start to drift, try it. Try to think about how you relate to that music, what it really means to you besides escape. Even if all that results is you learning why it lets you escape, that's more than enough.

Please don't get me wrong; I am well aware of the benefits of "forgetting the world" for awhile. It definitely can be healthy - in moderate doses. But it bothers me immensely to see some people, people who are exhausted, stressed, and worried, engaging in dangerous ways of losing themselves even further.

"If you realize what the real problem is - losing yourself - you realize that this itself is the ultimate trial."

Joseph Campbell


rudolph the red-nosed reindeer...and racism

I happened to put off doing my calculus homework long enough last night to catch most of the classic Christmastime TV movie: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In my mind, I remembered the story to be somewhat sappy, insubstantial, but inexplicably happy (like any other classic holiday movie...really, if you think about it, they all share these lovely characteristics, which I think are supposed to inspire Christmas-like, warm emotions). But I was in for a huge surprise.

Right at the beginning of the movie, when baby buck Rudolph is still lying with his mother in their modest cave abode, his father freaks out about his nose. I mean, this newborn Rudolph has already said somewhere around five coherent words mere seconds after his birth, and all his dad can say is "That nose!!" It doesn't matter that Rudy is smart (a super baby-genius, you might even say, if you're in AP English); all that is important is the fact that he doesn't fit in physically. To make matters worse for poor Rudolph, Santa comes blustering in, blathering about how he could never hope to make the sleigh team with that nose.

I'll admit, at first I thought I had just watched one too many deep movies in AP with Mr. Crowe; I decided to keep watching the childish movie I knew Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer really was, beyond my crazy first assumptions...right?

Dead, dead wrong. Rudolph continued to be ostracized by his peers, his elders (including the Coach of the flying team, who provided the young reindeer with this helpful suggestion: "And we're not going to let Rudolph play in any reindeer games, right??"), even his own father. Santa told his father that "he should be ashamed" for creating such a misfit son. No consideration was given to the plain fact that Rudy was pretty much the best flier ever, or that he was really smart, or that the only thing that was supposedly "wrong" with him was his funky nose. To make the hidden meanings in this children's movie even more jaw-droppingly obvious, Rudolph's merits were only taken into consideration on that fateful foggy night; Santa and everyone else immediately accepted and liked him...as soon as he became valuable to them.

Then there's Hermey, the outcast of Santa's elves that doesn't want to settle for a dead-end job making toys like everyone else; his ambition is to be a dentist. Here, the Crabs-In-a-Bucket Syndrome is striking (in any small community of people, when one tries to "escape" or move on, the rest hold on for dear life and try their best to drag them back in). Hermey's boss chastises him for holding onto such fanciful dreams, claiming that all the other elves like their jobs, and he should too. It's obvious that Hermey is a radical of sorts, trying to escape the cloying conformity of the "bucket" to basically do whatever he wants instead.

I won't even go into the misunderstood Bumble (that huge yeti-thing) and the dreary Island of Misfit Toys.

There was such an undercurrent of racism, sexism, bigotry, and all the other senseless views along these lines in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that it left me astounded that I hadn't noticed it until now. I have to think I'm not the only one who's interpreted the story like that, but adults never clue you in.

I guess it would be a bit tricky to explain to your preschooler why Rudolph isn't really going to go down in history after all.