Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Senior Year of College: Complete.

I'm completely done with classes. Assignments, finals, papers. No more!
My undergrad career is over. I climbed the mountain.

How do I feel?

A bit like this:

Like, what's next?

--Emily

Sunday, April 27, 2014

a letter to the fox squirrel that lives outside my window.

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Hello, my friend. I shall call you Rhory, because it means "Red King." I'm particularly fond of your redness, because the squirrels back home are not fox squirrels; they are eastern grey squirrels. So for me, your redness is particularly striking.

I've been watching you on and off for a year now as you play outside my window. You've gotten fatter since I've last saw you, but that's nothing to be ashamed of.

I saw one of your relatives killed on the side of the road when I came into campus about a week ago. It made me quite sad, but I'm glad to know that it was not you. If you were fond of this squirrel, I am very sorry for your loss. But I'm very glad to see that you have come out of mourning and are eating well and enjoying your Sunday afternoons.

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Well Mr. Rhory, I must say I found you quite entertaining today. When I came back to my room after lunch, I opened my window and there you were, in the branches of the tree outside my window. I was already impressed when I saw you venture out into the thin limbs to grab you some of the green stuff that's growing there. It wasn't far from the ground, but the wind was blowing and it was a bold move.

I turned my back for a moment to make my bed. When I turned back, you had vanished.

But you weren't gone. I looked up and saw you climbing to nearly the very top of the tree.
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Ordinarily, you would never climb this high. Especially on such a windy afternoon.
But the leaves on the trees are just beginning to sprout, and they are mostly at the top where the sunlight hits them. So you had to work extra hard to get your lunch.
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I watched you cling to the branches with your back feet and use your front legs to grab and eat. I suppose your long tail helped you keep your balance, but it still seemed like something of a feat.

Eventually, you ventured down a ways to the safer branches.
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After you had your fill, you came back down to a branch does a few feet from the ground. You were exhausted and laid flat on your plump belly while you rested.
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Not for long, though. You were soon on your feet again, hopping to the next tree and going every which way.
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You soon went out of sight. But by that time, you had attracted the attention of another squirrel friend.
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After that, the two of you rushed down the tree trunks to find a new adventure.

I'm sure glad to have gotten the chance to photograph you, Mr. Rhory. I hope the next resident who lives in my room will appreciate your lunchtime as much as I do.

--Emily
currently listening to: Nitesky by Robot Koch, feat. John LaMonica

an ungraceful rant because it's the weekend before finals.


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It's that time of year when people keep asking the same questions that you quickly grow tired of hearing. That's not to say they're bad people. They're not. And a lot of them are not bad questions. Some are.

This probably isn't a problem for most people. But for me, it's horrifying.
There's a few things you have to get if you have any hope of truly understanding me. They're not new developments, not something I've gradually grown into. They're part of my nature. They're not optional.
  1. I am an introvert.
  2. I hate change.
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With the first in mind, it's easy to see why I'm stressed out with people consistently coming up to me and asking me questions. Being social stresses me out. I'm incredibly awkward and I never know what to say and even if we're friends, my pulse will always start racing whenever any kind of attention is drawn to me.

Now that we've got that down, let's take a look at the common questions:

A) Are you excited for graduation?
--No, I hate graduations. Because I hate change. I cannot stand transitions. They scare me to death and make me nostalgic and overall are not a pleasant experience for me. Yes, I'm excited to get away from Hannibal and into the arms of my sweet fiance. Up until this point, this school has seemed like a prison. I haven't had much contact with other people and I've rarely left campus. In fact, I've rarely left my room. But this past year, and especially this last semester, has been different. I've finally become comfortable here. I've made several friends. I'm starting to feel like this is my school and loving everything around me. I've grown to enjoy it here, like it's a piece of home.
     But I'm a transfer student, meaning my short time on this campus is complete. In a few months, I'm moving to a all-new town to attend an all-new school. And so the cycle repeats.
     (Luckily I'll be there a bit longer and with my darling husband-to-be, so it won't be so bad.)

B) Do you have most of your wedding planning done?
--I realize that people do not intend to be malicious when they ask me this. Generally, people ask about events that they know are happening in your life, and since I'm not much of an open person, that means they really only know about me graduating and me getting married. And thus, the endless questions about the wedding come.
     Some days, this question is fine. Because my wedding excites me and there's a lot I can rant about. But most of the time, this question is the most stressful and awful thing you could ever say to me. Not only am I a graduating senior struggling to get all my coursework done, fees and paperwork finalized, grades approved, classes signed up, etc., but I'm also trying to plan a wedding with a fiance also in school 3-hours a way and both of our families in a completely different town.
     Of course I don't have my wedding planning done. Thanks for the reminder.

C) Where are you going to get your Master's?
--I totally understand this one, I do. You'll probably never see me again so at least you're asking where I'm continuing my life. And since I've already signed up for classes and everything, there's no risk of the question causing me any stress. 
     The problem is a lot of people ask me this. And this one question inevitably leads to me having to tell them about my major, Deacon's major, where the town is, what my career goals are, where we'll be living, etc. That's a whole lot of talking for me, especially since I have to repeat it so often. And really, most people truly aren't interested in the answers. They've probably never heard of the town or school, so their eyes noticeably dim after the first answer. The rest are just formalities.
     Is it fair for me to say that? Probably not. Because a lot of people really do care. Maybe I'm just making a big fuss out of nothing. Maybe I'm judging way too harshly.

I probably am judging too harshly. The truth is that I really do love and appreciate everyone who asks me these questions. It's just that answering them makes me uncomfortable. Speaking in general makes me uncomfortable.

~~~

And now, since I'm on a rant, I might as well finish it off with a list of more things to rant about:
  • I found out today that wedding insurance exists. I've never been more appalled with humanity.
    • That's a bit of an exaggeration. But still, who needs wedding insurance? 
    • "Oh, it's raining--guess we can't get married today."
  • I think American society pays too much attention to weddings and not enough to marriage.
    • I don't care what my flowers look like. I care about marrying the love of my life and being the best wife I can be for him.
    • A perfect wedding does not equal a perfect marriage.
    • If you have the money to spend lavishly on a dream wedding, fine. But we don't, and we're fine with that, so you should also be fine with that. There's too much pressure on throwing the most extravagant wedding ever. It makes me sick. The expectations are unreasonably high. 
    • Why can't we all just go, get married, have some cake, and be on our merry way? Like a birthday party, except with vows and commitment and stuff.
    • I never want to have another wedding again.
  • My computer just crashed. And I have a headache.
  • Fun fact: I almost never get headaches. The one I have now is more like dizziness from the caffeine I've just ingested. Generally, I only get real headaches when I'm overexposed to loud, talkative people.
  • I often forget that I have awkward, grotesque double-jointed arms that naturally curve in weird directions. This often ruins photographs, like the one above.
  • I spent the day reading the first 200 pages of The Hunger Games.
    • I only set out to read the first few chapters to refresh myself for my book review, but I couldn't put it down. I haven't been able to read an enjoyable book in a very, very long time. 
    • You might think: But Emily, you're an English major. You must read all the time!
    • Answer: Exactly. I read all the time. Required reading. 
    • I tend to not like classic literature. But with 6 upper-level English electives, I don't have time to read anything for leisure.
    • So I took a little time today to kick back and dive into the arena with Katniss. Because it's the Saturday before finals and I do what I want.
  • Also, I'm an uncommonly slow reader. It's an ongoing problem with me and my major. I had hoped I would overcome it with more experience with reading, but nope. I still read at the pace of a 5th-grader.
  • I love this font, but I hate how it looks italicized. And I tend to want to put everything in italics. So when that happens, I have to take it to Word and change the font to Constantia, which is similar, but looks exponentially better italicized.
  • Sonnets are hard to write. And I have to have 6 of them done by Tuesday. Along with those book reviews.
  • This is going to sound selfish, I realize. And I probably won't be able to say it right, which will only make it worse. But here's the deal: members of my family have been complaining about my graduation. Because it's at 10:00 in the morning. Now, I realize that this is an inconvenient time when you live 3 hours away and can't get off the night before. I realize this means you will be waking up at 6 AM on a Saturday. My condolences. 
    • But it's kind of a slap to the face. 
    • I'm sorry to inconvenience you with my college graduation?
I know this post has been harsh and largely unfair. I'm sorry for that. Mostly, I just needed to get some things out.

--Emily
currently listening to: The Greatest Change by Jeremy Zuckerman
(The Legend of Korra Book One Soundtrack)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What if this storm ends? And leaves us nothing except a memory. A Distant Echo.


I haven't spoken to you in years.

I really don't feel like I have the right to write anything because of that. There are so many people who knew you and loved you, so many who knew you more than I did.

But at one time, we were friends.
I remember you coming over to my house to watch The Butterfly Effect, going to see all those bands at 6 Flags with Dylan, loaning you Snow Patrol's A Hundred Million Suns CD.
The memories are dim and far back, but they're there.

Things faded after high school. I occasionally saw you when I worked at Little Caesars, but that was about it. I knew how you liked your pizza and that you preferred your drink with no ice.

It's sad that that's the conclusion of our friendship.

I'm not sure if you are the same person now.
I like to think you are. But the truth is I don't know.
I doubt I'll ever know now.


I'll miss you, either way.

--Emily

A Thought on Disney's Frozen

Spoiler Alert!
Kristoff is JIM HALPERT. Just sayin. @Amanda Hladik
Plot Twist:
     Kristoff only ends up with Anna so he can exploit her sister's power in order to get ahead in his ice business.


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--This was clearly his idea all along, beginning from when he was a child. He noticed Elsa's power when they were children and began thinking about the possibilities.

--Of course, later on he realizes that nobody was getting anywhere with Elsa, so he switches his attention to Anna in order to indirectly have influence over Elsa.

--This motive is hinted at when he reasons that if he does not continue helping Anna, he will never get a new sled. And sure enough, he gets the latest model at the end of the movie.

--The audience knows that this is really the main point of the movie because the film begins not with Anna, Elsa, or Hans, but with Kristoff.

--And what does the song say during this scene?
     this icy force both foul and fair haa frozen heart worth mining.

--But look at his face, Emily. Surely you can't deny that he loved Anna.
His face.
    Well of course he looked disappointed. He knew that Anna was his last chance to get to Elsa's magical ice powers and he wouldn't be able to thaw her heart because he did not truly love her.

--He had the same look when he saw Elsa's ice palace. He was even close to tears then.


--Sure, he goes back for her at the end. But only because Sven convinced him to. And he's not the one to thaw the heart, so there's no proof that he loved her enough to do so. He probably just went back to make sure he got his new sled.

--Emily

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Break 2014



A list of events that happened during my Easter Break:
(in no particular order)
  • Deacon turned 20. We went out to eat with his parents and he bought some interesting pants.
  • I went on an early morning walk with Romeo. He got tired on the way back so I had to carry him up the hill.
  • Our cat had four kittens.
  • (If anyone wants one of the kittens after they're weaned, let us know. We won't be able to keep them.)
  • Deacon and I decided to spend our Saturday taking a 6 mile hike.
  • I learned that I am not fit enough to take random 6 mile hikes.
  • My family and I played Scrabble.
  • I won.
  • Karlee and I dyed Easter eggs a day late.
  • I beat the Elite Four again on Pokemon Yellow and evolved my Wartortle into a Blastoise, my Rhyhorn into Rhydon, and my Pidgeotto into a Pidgeot. 
  • Currently trying to get my Growlithe to level 50 so it can learn Flamethrower before I have it evolve into Arcanine.
  • I realize I'm the only one who cares about that.
  • Basically, I had a really great weekend with both of my families at home.
  • I love my home. It's sometimes loud and crazy, but it's lovely and safe.

I hope everyone had a happy Easter!
--Emily

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The New Look


 Over the past week, I've worked hard redesigning things here on the blog. I've spent hours staring at a computer screen. I've gone back through nearly all my posts and relabled things.

So what's new, exactly?

Glad you asked.
My goal was to have a simpler, cleaner look. So I took away the list of labels in the right sidebar, along with the list of followers, and my beloved header. (I'm still not sold on the header yet--I might add something there at some point.)

The important labels have been transferred into three new pages: Photography, Writing, and Books. Within each of those pages, you'll find links for specific labeled posts. In the Photography section, all you have to do is click on one of the labeled photos.

In addition to that, I've updated the "about" section, which also has its own links to certain labeled posts.
I've also changed the font and taken away the colored headings.

So take a look around and let me know what you think of the new look.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Unknown Fragment of a Story

“And can you tell me what year it is?”

She was hovering over the foot of the bed, tightly clutching the clipboard in her hands. Her coat was sterile-white and pressed. It blended in with the vacant walls behind her so well that if I let my eyes unfocus, she looked like nothing more than a floating head. Another balloon to accompany the growing colony in the corner.

“2007,” I mumbled, still looking at her head. Her features were loud against the blank space around her—her lips were kept tight and her red lipstick (too red—like she had just sucked a patient’s blood) was perfectly coated, as though it lived there.

Her face was cemented in place, untouched and unresponsive from the years of seeing patients come and go—sometimes in wheelchairs, sometimes in black bags. As she heard my answer, though, I saw a twitch. Her eyes flashed up over the clipboard at me like a librarian giving the warning glare.

I bit my tongue, suddenly very uncomfortable. She looked like she was going to say something for a moment, but then returned to her clipboard.

                “What’s the last thing you can remember, Virginia?”              

                --January 23, 2014         

~~~

Found this in my Moleskine the other day. It's ironic because I can't remember exactly what the story was about. When I try to remember, I picture Virginia as being mute, but that is obviously not the case. So I don't know what my original intention with this was, but I'm curious.

--Emily

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photography // My Story

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My Story:
I've been in love with photography ever since I got my first "camera" in middle school, but I would have gotten nowhere without Branson, my past youth leader and dear family friend. She took me under her wing and let me practice with her own camera. We had "Tuesdays With Branson" and would go to various locations every week to see what kind of photos we could get. I didn't know then just how much of an impact it would have on me.

In high school, I became editor of the yearbook and took many of the photos. I learned different techniques for capturing a photo. Later, I began teaching myself how to edit them, using free programs like Picasa and Picnik. Gradually, I started developing a style that I was comfortable with.

I now capture my photos with my Canon EOS T1i and use Adobe Lightroom 4 editing software. I am not professionally trained and have never taken any classes, but I have still learned so much since I began. And I continue to learn more with each photo that I take.

I've tried creating my own photography brand in the past, but I never felt comfortable with it. I'm not interested in creating my own business. However, with the constant grow of people seeking my service and asking for what kind of prices I offer, I've decided to create a photography page.

--Emily

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Striving for Success

You are emotionally void. You wonder if you can still do all that you’ve wanted, achieve what everyone always told you to strive for, and be successful on the track you’re on. This isn’t exactly what you pictured, or how you pictured it, and you wonder whether you actually feel uneasy or if the fact that you feel different than imagined is making you uneasy. You wonder if success is something that can actually be obtained, or if it is always one step further than where you stand. Can one ever truly reach satisfaction, especially in an imperfect world driven by our imperfect bodies? What would it feel like—empty, knowing that you cannot or should not reach any further…?
                Is that the American Dream, then?—striving towards happiness but only steadily becoming closer to emptiness, after which death consumes you and more often than not you will not be remembered in 100 years, not even by your own descendants.
                You just fade away into the noise.

~~~

I've been thinking a lot about success and happiness this year, about what really makes one happy and whether or not success is something to strive for. 

A lot of things around me are changing. And they're good changes.
But change, even if it's for the better, has always made me nervous.

We found an apartment yesterday, praise the Lord.
I graduate in less than a month.
There are 99 days until I marry the love of my life.

It's all coming so rapidly. I'm excited. I'm nervous. 
It's my fairy-tale ending, except I'm realizing that it's not an end. It's a beginning. 
They never prepare you for that in Disney movies. They never tell you what's next.
               
--Emily

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lilo & Stitch's True Villain


Let me start off by saying that Lilo & Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies. And that's saying a whole lot because I'm a Disney fanatic. So if you haven't watched it, I would advise going to do that right now. It's on Netflix. Also this post will contain spoilers, so this is your warning.

So you guys may have seen some things on the internet centering on how Nani is actually the greatest Disney heroine, such as the following post (excuse the language):
Nani was the best Disney relative of all time
This is soooo true and so cool to think about. Love Lilo and Stitch! Nani is definitely a warrior!
One of my favorite parts of Lilo and Stitch is the fact that Nani actually looks and behaves like a real woman. Shes not stick-thin and she makes some messy mistakes, but ultimately shes the glue holding the family together.

You may have also seen posts about how David is actually the greatest Disney prince:
I've always thought this about David. Every time. NANI, HE JUST WANTS TO LOVE YOU
“I think David from Lilo & Stitch is a better man then any of the Princes. He’s stay’s by Nani and Lilo through thick and thin, wanting nothing more than to see them both be happy.”

But I'm taking a different turn today.
I'm going to talk about the overlooked villain of the movie.


5 Reasons Why the Animal Shelter Lady is the True Villain of Lilo & Stitch


--first, let's just watch the scene:

1. There's a noticeable lack of villain in Lilo & Stitch.

--First things first: who exactly is the main antagonist here? We have a few options, but all of them have some problems:

Is it supposed to be Stitch, who wreaks havoc throughout the movie until Lilo finally teaches him the meaning of family? Maybe. But stitch is one of the title characters, he’s totally adorable (I mean, they sell plush animals that look like him), and it’s clear that he really does have goodness in him. Plus, Lilo loves him, and so do we.

 
Jumba and Pleakley are the ones that are after Stitch through most of the movie, so that may lead us to believe that they’re the bad guys. But even as Disney villains go, they’re pretty tame. Jumba is a bit more aggressive than Pleakley, but ultimately their characters serve to provide comic relief rather than opposition. And, just like Stitch, they turn into good guys at the end.

Some might point to the Grand Councilwoman as the main villain because she’s the one who holds all the power and she’s the one who sends the order for Stitch’s capture. Plus she looks a little creepy. But we can’t forget that she only calls for Stitch’s capture after he demonstrates that he has no good within him. She’s not wicked—she’s just trying to maintain order. That’s why when she realizes that Stitch has found a good home that loves him, she allows him to stay.

Captain Gantu is the main choice for most who have to point to a villain. And I’ll admit, he’s a bit aggressive. And scary. And it’s true that he does become a villain-like character towards the end of the movie, and if I’m not mistaken, holds that title in all the sequels and TV show. But he’s only present in this movie at the very beginning and the end. During that time, he is just operating under orders. So for this first movie, I don’t think the title of villain is adequate for him.


2.  "It's a dog...I think. But it was dead this morning!"

--What kind of animal shelter keeps dead animals in their cages? And then allows 6-year-olds to go meander through alone without any kind of warning?

 
Seriously though. Is she trying to scar children for life?

3.  Dictating children’s choices.

--Seriously, who is this woman and what makes her think she has the right to tell a child that the name she picked out for her dog is lame and stupid?

 
Thank goodness Nani was there to set Crazy Lady straight.
I for one think that Stitch is a fine name. Plus it adds to the metaphor of him “stitching” their family back together.

4.  Know-it-all.

--“Dogs can’t talk, dear.”
Way to crush a child’s imagination. Do you also go around telling children that Santa isn’t real?

5.  Wait, haven’t we seen that red hair before?

--Is that…no…surely not…

You’ve got to admit, the red hair…the round glasses…the awkward nose…Animal Shelter Lady does share an uncanny resemblance to Lilo’s arch nemesis, Myrtle. Is this woman breeding an army of children that seek to crush the hopes and dreams of everyone around them? Quite possibly.

 ~~~

Also, why does she make Lilo & Nani pay for a dog that she had already thought was dead? Surely she’s glad that they took it off her hands. But no. She doesn’t even help the struggling sisters out. She just takes what she can get.

--Emily

Monday, April 7, 2014

Deacon & Emily // Engagement Photos!

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So before we get started, I did this really cheesy thing and made a playlist of love songs to listen to as you go through the pictures:

Okay, here we go. I know I've been leading up to this moment for a long time and I hope no one is disappointed.

Originally, I wanted to get our engagement photos professionally done. But there were a few problems with that.

  • First, all the photographers I looked at charged a whole whopping lot for a single session. 
  • Second, I'm picky. As someone who does quite a good deal of photography in her free time, I've developed tastes for what I do and don't like. I knew I didn't want just anyone taking and editing our photos.
  • Third, Deacon and I go to two different schools in different parts of the state and our hometown is a good drive from both places. And I know that photographers, too, have busy schedules. So there was a very small likelihood at being able to find a time that suited everybody.
  • Fourth, Deacon and I have never had anyone else take our photos. Usually I set up my tripod and put my camera on a timer and hop back and forth. (I have a remote now! except it's going through some technical difficulties.) We aren't the easiest couple to work with in photos. As I said in the previous post, our awkwardness is overwhelming. 
The only person who has taken our photos before is Jenna, who snapped a few of us at our senior prom in 2011.

So when Jenna offered to take our engagement photos, I was incredibly happy. She was able to take time out of her schedule and meet us in our hometown on a Saturday last month. She shot them on my camera and I was able to edit all of them myself. It was pretty spectacular.

It had been a long while since she had taken photos, and I know Deacon and I did not make it easy for her, but I think she did an exceptional job. And she also drove us all over the place to get different locations. And it was freezing cold outside.

Also, shout out to my friend Amanda for doing my hair the night before. =) I most definitely think that I was always meant to be a redhead.

I'm sorry it took me so long to edit these. Like I said before, I'm picky. Many of them went through several edits. I would spend forever on one, think I had it perfect, and then see it the next day and absolutely hate it. In fact, I'm sure a lot of these will go through more edits. I'll probably look at this post tomorrow and hate how everything looks.

Anyway, here we go. Let me know what you think. =)

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--Emily