Sad, Happy, But NOT Sappy.

HAPPY

* This is a post I wrote awhile back on an old blog and figured I’d share.

            I prefer a heart wrenching and tragic ending to a saccharine fairy tale. If that makes me “emo” as the middle school students that I counsel would say- so be it. My favorite color is black. I love the rain. And I heart sad endings. Ambiguous endings work too.

“Legends of the Fall” is one of my all time favorite movies. For those of you that haven’t seen it- SPOILER ALERT- Three brothers fall in love with the same woman (Susannah, played by Julia Ormond) The first brother is her fiance but dies during World War I, the second (Brad Pitt who’s name is Tristan in the movie) pulverizes her heart, and she kills herself while married to the third brother. Tristan writes her a letter from the sea which says “All we had is dead. As I am dead. Marry another.” When he finally returns, Susannah is married to Tristan’s eldest brother Alfred. She says to him “Forever turned out to be too long.”

*

            One of my favorite poems is “Lady Lazarus” by Sylvia Plath. An excerpt:

“Dying

Is an art, like everything else,

I do it exceptionally well.”

*

            Fortunately my musician husband is a fellow “emo” when it comes to music. We chose to dance to “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice on our wedding day. Patrick made sure to ask the DJ to cut off the last part of the song- “I can’t take my mind off of you…’til I find somebody new.”

*

           The other day I stumbled upon an online survey- “The Three Types of Novel Endings.” Out of the 1,740 participants, 41% preferred happy endings but only 2.2% enjoyed sad endings. I assume that the rest favored cliff hangers.

Yesterday I asked 19 co-workers if they preferred a happy or a sad ending. Nine of them said “happy,” six said “both happy and sad” and four said “sad.” Several also added that they enjoy “cliffhangers.”

Kelly, a friend and co-worker, mentioned that she “likes endings that are a step up (for the character) from where they were.”

Another friend and co-worker, Kevin, explained that he prefers “ambiguous endings and enjoys discovering what happens to the minor characters based on the actions or inactions of the main characters.”

*

            Do you prefer happy, sad or ambiguous?

Social Media Quiz

I Like

How much do you know about social media?

* Tomorrow I’m going into a few classes to talk to my students about social media and I decided to create a quiz for them b/c who doesn’t love a quiz on the last full day of school?!  (I found this information on various internet sites including SlideShare, YouTube, JeffBullus.com, &  HubSpot)

1. What is an internet troll?

A. A mythical creature originally from Scandinavia

B. Someone who sits under a bridge stealing WiFi

C. Someone who posts comments to blogs or internet forums that are calculated to upset, disgust or anger other people. (A.K.A. former actress and wanna-be rapper, Amanda Bynes)

2. What is the most popular social media in the US?

A. Twitter

B. Facebook

C. Instagram

3. What is Foursquare?

A.  A type of pattern on golfer’s socks.

B.  A social network in which users share their locations with friends.

C.  Firm and unwavering conviction; “a foursquare refusal to yield”.

4. Which celebrity has the most Twitter followers?

A. Lada Gaga

B. Justin Bieber

C. Barack Obama

5. How many hours of video footage are uploaded to YouTube every minutes?

A. Seven hours

B. Twelve hours

C. Thirty-Five hours

6. What is the average number of friends that someone has on Facebook?

A. 75

B. 300

C. 130

7. How much time does the average American teenager spend on social media per day?

A. 3.8 hours

B. 2.4 hours

C. 1.5 hours

8. Do men or women spend more time on social media?

A. Men

B. Women

9. What is the most addictive social media site?

A. Twitter

B. Instagram

C. Facebook

10. Which political group of people use Twitter the most?

A. Democrats

B. Independents

C. Republicans

11. What percentage of people ages 18-24 use social media while in the bathroom?

A. 55%

B. 33%

C. 12%

12. How many Tweets are sent per day?

A. 100 million

B. 25 million

C. 450 million

13. How many Facebook users have zero privacy settings?

A. 12%

B. 5%

C. 25%

14. The average Twitter user follows (or is followed by)

A. 51 people

B. 33 people

C. 90 people

15. How many people in the US use the internet?

A. 206. 2 million

B. 305 million

C. 175 million

16. Which athlete was googled the most in 2012?

1. Swimmer Michael Phelps

2. Basketball player Jeremy Lin

3. Football player Peyton Manning

17. Which celebrity or celebrities was googled the most in 2012?

A. Band One Direction

B. Princess Kate Middleton

C. Singer Whitney Houston

18. Which movie was googled the most in 2012?

A. The Avengers

B. Skyfall

C. The Hunger Games

18. Which image was googled the most in 2012?

1. Band One Direction

2. Selena Gomez

3. Justin Bieber

19. Who is the most googled celebrity in the world?

A. Justin Bieber

B. Lady Gaga

C. Rhianna

20. How many people in the US have an internet addiction?

A. 1 in 5

B. 1 in 8

C. 1 in 10

21. Do more male or female teens prefer to shop online?

A. Females

B. Males

22. Which website makes the most money?

A. eBay

B. Google

C. Amazon

23. What is the most popular Facebook game?

A. Candy Crush saga

B. FarmVille

C. Pet Rescue Saga

24. What song lyrics were googled the most in 2012?

A. Boyfriend- Justin Bieber

B. Payphone- Maroon 5

C. Gangnam Style – PSY

25. What song has the most YouTube hits ever?

A. Gangnam Style- PSY

B. Justin Bieber- Baby

C. Jennifer Lopez fet. Pitbull- On the Floor

Answers:

1. C – Someone who posts comments…

2.  B- Facebook- 58% of Americans have a Facebook account ( 15% have Twitter, 12% Instagram)

3. B- A social network or C- which is the definition of FourSquare

4. B- Justin Bieber – 40 million  (Lady Gaga has 37.9, Barack Obama has 32.2)

5. C- 35 hours

6. B- 300 friends (I’m below average with only 288, ha!)

7. A- 3.8 hours

8. B. Women

9. C. Facebook (23% of Facebook users check their account at least 5 times per day)

10. A. Democrats

11. B. 33% (Is using social media in the bathroom weird? Cause I do this, too!)

12. C. 450 million

13. C. 25% (Yikes!)

14. A. 51 people

15. A. 206.2

16. B. Jeremy Lin

17. C. Whitney Houston

18. C. The Hunger Games

19. One Direction

20. B. Lady Gaga

21. B. 1 in 8 (including me, clearly!)

22. B. Males

23. C. Amazon

24. A. Candy Crush Saga (It really is fun!)

25. C. Gangnam Style PSY

26. A. Gangnam Style- PSY

Birthday Pooh

happy-birthday-cory-2012

Hello-Kitty-Winnie-the-Pooh-Bear-MashUp-Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This is something I wrote a few years ago. I thought it was appropriate to post since tomorrow, June 12,  is my 33rd birthday 😉 

Sharon, co-worker and friend, recently turned fifty-years-old and our guidance department (which consists of six people) forgot. In our defense, Sharon is the one who plans all the birthday lunches. We didn’t realize our faux pas until an edible arrangement of chocolate covered strawberries, pineapples, grapes, melons, etc. arrived from Sharon’s husband. Co-worker and friend, Terry, asked what the special occasion was. Sharon held up her right hand and formed an “O” with her left hand. Terry said, “you’ve been married 50 years?!”

After work I spent quite some time reading birthday cards. I chose one with a crazy looking bird on the front. The inside read “There’s no bright side to turning 50. On the other hand, there is a bright light but you want to stay away from that.”

Another co-worker and friend, John, signed the card, “Halfway to 100 and you’re still kicking. Love you baby.” We’re a close department.

There’s something special about birthdays that end in an “O.”

Memories of my 10th birthday are melting quickly like the skinny pink and yellow candles on my Jem and the Holograms cake. I had really wanted a Madonna cake but mom drew the line.

My 20th birthday is also fading fast but the Winnie the Pooh cake won’t be forgotten. My then boyfriend bought me a Pooh bear early in our relationship which started a trend. Suddenly friends and family were buying me Pooh stuffed animals. Butterfly Pooh, talking Pooh, large Pooh, small Pooh…you could say I received a lot of Pooh during my twenties.

Last June I celebrated my 30th birthday. Co-workers and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings which is our happy hour hot spot. Since we work in a school, we talk in code while at work. It’s not “are you going to Happy Hour?” it’s “are you heading to 2 H?” It’s not “wow, could I use a beer,” it’s “I’m thirsty for a Sprite.” I wore a paper crown that said “Wild Thing.”

I’ll turn thirty-one in a few months, or as I like to think of it- the anniversary of my thirtieth birthday. Growing older can be tough but it beats the alternative.

One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that you can’t take yourself too seriously.

Another thing I’ve learned is that you have to get rid of the Pooh in your life.

76 of My Favorite Authors

Image

As much as I love the idea of the Thank A Writer Project, I’m doubtful that I’ll be able to chose five of my favorite authors to thank- how can I choose?!

Here are 75 of my favorite authors (in no particular order):

  1. Gillian Flynn- Gone Girl, Sharp Objects
  2. Suzanne Collins- The Hunger Games series
  3. Stephen King- Misery
  4. James Patterson- the Alex Cross series
  5. Khaled Hosseini- The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Sons
  6. Margaret Atwood- The Handmaid’s Tale
  7. Barbara Kingsolver- The Poisonwood Bible, Pigs in Heaven
  8. Jodi Picoult- My Sister’s Keeper
  9. J.K. Rowling- The Casual Vacancy
  10. Veronica Roth- Divergent
  11. David Sedaris- Me Talk Pretty One Day
  12. Harper Lee- To Kill a Mockingbird
  13. Sylvia Plath- The Bell Jar
  14. Lois Lowery- The Giver series
  15. Lauren Oliver- Before I Fall, Delirium series
  16. EmilyBronte-WutheringHeights
  17. J.D. Salinger- The Catcher in the Rye
  18. Augusten Burroughs- Running with Scissors
  19. John Grisham- The Firm
  20. L.M. Montgomery- Anne of Green Gables series
  21. Amy Tan- The Joy Luck Club
  22. F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Great Gatsby
  23. Edgar Allen Poe- All short stories
  24. Charles Dickens- Great Expectations
  25.  Alice Hoffman- The Ice Queen
  26. Kathryn Stockett- The Help
  27. Audrey Niffenegger- The Time Traveler’s Wife
  28. Anne Rice- Interview with the Vampire
  29. Thomas Hardy- Tess of the d’Ubervilles
  30. Frank McCourt- Angela’s Ashes
  31. Malcom Gladwell- Blink, Outliers
  32. Sara Gruen- Water For Elephants
  33. Alice Sebold- The Lovely Bones
  34. Jay Asher- Thirteen Reasons Why
  35. Helen Fielding- Bridget Jone’s Diary 1 & 2
  36. Frances Hodgson Burnett- The SecretGarden
  37. V.C. Andrews- Heaven series
  38. Philippa Gregory- The Other Boleyn Girl
  39. Nathanial Hawthorne- The Scarlet Letter
  40. Hillary Jordan- When She Woke
  41. William Golding- Lord of the Flies
  42. John Knowles- A Separate Peace
  43. Allie Condie- Matched
  44. Margaret Mitchell- Gone with the Wind
  45. Maeve Binchy- Tara Road
  46. John Corey Whaley- Where Things Come Back
  47. Michelle Young-Stone- The Handbook for Lightening Strike Survivors
  48. R.L. Stine- all the Fear Street books
  49. Christopher Pike- The Midnight Club
  50. Carl Hiaasen- Nature Girl
  51. Janet Fitch- White Oleander
  52. Joanne Greensberg- I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
  53. Susanna Kaysen- Girl, Interrupted
  54. A.G. Howard- Splintered
  55. Elizabeth Gilbert- Eat, Pray, Love
  56. Mary Higgins Clark- No Place Like Home
  57. Ellen Crosby- Wine Country Mysteries
  58. Arthur Golden- Memoirs of a Geisha
  59. RichardRusso-EmpireFalls
  60. Jerry Spinelli- Star Girl
  61. Fyodor Dostoyevsky- Crime and Punishment
  62. William Faulkner- As I Lay Dying
  63. Jon Krakauer- Under the Banner of Heaven
  64. Barbara Ehrenreich- Nickel and Dimed
  65. E.B. White- Charlotte’s Web
  66. Vladimir Nabokov- Lolita
  67. Ned Vizzini- It’s Kind of a Funny Story
  68. Juliana Baggott- Pure
  69. Ruta Sepetys- Between Shades of Gray
  70. Francesca Lea Block- Wasteland
  71. Alex Flinn- Beastly
  72. Ann M. Martin- The Babysitter’s Club series
  73. Colleen McCullough- The Thorn Birds
  74. Jeannette Walls- The GlassCastle
  75. Moira Young- Blood Red Road
  76. Amanda Hocking- Switched series

Who’s your favorite author? Here’s a link to find out what your favorite author says about you: (there are only 11 listed, so you’ll have to choose the closest one if yours isn’t listed. Mine is a tie between Fitzgerald and Poe. I definitely fit more with the Poe description!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/22/favorite-authors_n_906287.html#s313203&title=JD_Salinger

Thank A Writer Project

ImageI just read a post by Nathan Bransford, (former literary agent, author, and one of my favorite bloggers) about the “Thank A Writer Project.” Bransford and his friend Maggie Mason (aka Mighty Girl) are going to hand- write thank you notes to their five favorite authors, then post them on the Mighty Girl site.

If like me, you think their idea is awesome, follow these easy steps:

  1. Make a profile on Go Mighty  http://gomighty.com/
  2. Create a list of authors that you’d like to thank
  3. After you write a thank you, post a photo or the text on Go Mighty with the tag #ThankAWriter

It’s going to be damn difficult to narrow my list to five authors. I almost typed “very difficult” but then I thought of the quote one of my friends recently posted:

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”— Mark Twain

            However, I’m rather fond of the damn in my sentence.

For more info, check out Mason and Bransford’s sites:

http://mightygirl.com/2013/03/20/thank-a-writer-project/

http://blog.nathanbransford.com

This May Be Bizarre

GH

On Tuesday, Brian Klems wrote an interesting post on the Writer’s Digest Blog: 5 Things That Should Be On Every Writer’s Bucket List. My favorite was the first one: Do Something Bizarre Just to Write About It. I’ve never done something just to write about it although throughout my life I have done some things that may be considered bizarre.

For example, on Friday, February 1st, I convinced my husband Patrick to travel with me to Pennsylvania to celebrate Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney. My parents live 76 miles from Punxsutawney and “Groundhog Day” is one of my favorite movies and yet I’ve never been there. (Although the movie was filmed in Illinois, not Pennsylvania). When I realized that February 2 was on a Saturday this year, I was dead set on visiting the little rodent. Friday night Patrick and I drove 180 miles to my parent’s house, took a nap, woke at 3:30 am and were in the car by 4:00 am. It took some time to find a parking spot (*Helpful tip: If you plan on ever visiting on Feb 2, don’t park in the Wal-Mart parking lot, park downtown in the shopping center). Next we purchased tickets for the bus ($5 each). We arrived at Gobbler’s Knob by 6:00 am; therefore we had to wait an hour and twenty-five minutes until Phil’s appearance. It was 1 degree and within minutes my toes were frozen, even with little Hotties body warmers. (It helped when I added an extra warmer to each foot). The firework display was awesome, the live entertainment not so much. I wish we could have been closer to the stage but I can’t imagine arriving any earlier than 6 am. Overall the crowd of people around us were fun (except for the giant men in front of me and the drunk college kids but that’s part of the experience). I had to stand on my tip toes to catch a glimpse of the rodent but I enjoyed chanting “Phil, Phil, Phil,” and the fact that he didn’t see his shadow. Early Spring! But like the weathermen, Phil’s predictions are only right 39% of the time. Then we waited 30 mins for a bus (there were a lot of buses but a ton of people). Downtown I dragged Patrick into souvenir shops (I bought a groundhog hat, earrings, magnet & fudge) and then we ate $4 breakfasts (The price was originally $8 a piece but by the time we were seated, half of the buffet was gone). Would I do it again? Yes. Would Patrick? No. I guess that’s one thing permanently crossed off of his bucket list.

Other things that I’ve done that may be considered bizarre:

  1. Tongue piercing (When I was 18).
  2. Belly Button piercing (When I was 18 and still have it at age 32).
  3. Tattoo (angel wing on my wrist)
  4. Skydiving (That one is permanently crossed off my list – fun but too scary to do again!)
  5. Cliff diving (Probably wouldn’t do that again either)
  6. New Years in Times Square (Loved it!)
  7. Road trips with my mom (One cross country to Washington state, the other to Maine. We’re planning a road trip to Utah next summer. I’ve been to 38 states so far).
  8. Pre- Cana classes which were a pre-requisite before marriage in a Catholic church. (Hands down one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. My husband is a non-practicing Catholic but insisted on getting married in a Catholic church. According to the deacon I’m a “fallen” Catholic because I’ve left the church. The things we do for love!)

I know there’s more but this post is incredibly long already and chances are I may be the only person who ever reads it! 🙂

To read Klem’s post: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/5-things-that-should-be-on-every-writers-bucket-list

Banned/Challenged Books

I Read Banned BooksWhat is your favorite banned/ challenged book?

If I had to choose a favorite from the American Library Association challenged list it would be “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. My second pick is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Runner ups are: “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner, “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins, and “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini.

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged

“The Great Gatsby” was challenged at the BaptistCollege in Charleston, South Carolina in 1987 because of “language and sexual references in the book.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird” has been challenged countless times. For example, in 1981, the WarrenInd.Township schools challenged “Mockingbird” because they said the book does “psychological damage to the positive integration process.”

I’ve always been a voracious reader and if you looked back on what I was reading and when, much of it would be considered controversial. I read plenty of “safe” books too like the “Babysitter Club” series and the “Anne of Green Gables” series. However, in my “formative” years I was obsessed with authors such as V.C. Andrews, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Sylvia Plath, F.Scott Fitzgerald, etc.

I have a wonderful mother and step-father who don’t read books. They read newspapers and magazines but not books. In fact, my younger brother doesn’t either. My husband buys books but rarely opens them. Its bizarre being surrounded by people that don’t read considering it’s such an integral part of my life.

Recently I phoned my parents to ask them if they knew everything that I was reading, (I did tell them about some of them) would they have tried to deter me. My step-father said, “probably not.” My mom agrees with him. And I’m glad for that.

I Want to Write a Haiku for You

i-want-to-draw-a-cat-for-youMy family and I spent a huge chunk of the weekend watching “Shark Tank” episodes. On one episode, a man named Steve Gadlin accepted Mark Cuban’s offer of $25,000/ 33% share of Steve’s company “I Want to Draw a Cat for You.” My family and I thought this was a silly but brilliant idea because it hasn’t been done before and it would make a great gag gift.

Steve’s business is simple:

1. Visit his site: http://iwanttodrawacatforyou.com/

2. Customize your cat drawing (For example- Cat at the beach pointing to the ocean (where a cat is drowning) and yelling for a cat lifeguard. The lifeguard cat is sitting in his chair looking bored and eating Cheetos.) This drawing is for my mom and I know she’ll laugh and instantly get the reference.

3. Enter your shipping/ billing info & buy

In 3-5 weeks my mom will have a custom cat drawing

If only I would have thought of this idea first! But then again, I can’t draw worth beans and “I Want to Write a Haiku for You” just doesn’t have the same appeal. I’m sure my mom will prefer the cat drawing to my sucky cat haiku:

A cat is drowning

I should leap off this beach chair

Cheetos are tasty