Quote of the Day: Listening

George Watsky is a very talented slam poet/rapper. Jake and I binged on his YouTube videos last night and this line has been stuck in my head ever since.

“If you suppose your speech is ‘normal’, then your impediment is listening.”

-George Watsky, S for Lisp

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Top 5 Things I Learned Over Break

Hey everyone!! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season. Let’s get started!

1. I totally suck at posting when not at school.

I have found that I am very easily distracted without classes to give structure to my day. It may also have something to do with the lack of Jake constantly reminding me to post. Now that I’m back at school hopefully I will get better about it.

2. My name is Emily, and I am a Netflix-oholic.

When I have hours of free time I tend to binge on entire seasons at a time. In the past month I have rewatched Psych, Supernatural, the Gates, Being Human (the UK version, not the US), and a couple dozen romantic comedies and holiday movies. I have a problem. (I may or may not be watching as I type.)

3. I enjoy training people.

I have been able to pick up a few more shifts at work over break, and in some of those shifts I have been tasked with training the new hires. I don’t know why, but I love teaching the new people what to do. It probably has a little to do with the fact that I get to tell them what to and not actually have to do it myself.

4. I’m not a morning person.

Unfortunately I have early classes all week spring semester and I work opening shifts on the weekends. This will be fun.

5. I am fascinated by serial killers.

My school has an interterm class each January, in each we spend two and a half weeks taking only one class every day. This year I am taking the Psychology of Evil. We discuss and study violent acts and the people who commit them. The goal is to take a closer look at why these acts happen, and what makes ordinary people do them.

Top 5 Reasons I Love My Job

I work at an after school program for middle-schoolers, and though I may complain about it I do really love my job. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

#5. Free food

We have this tradition, that whenever one of the clubs makes food, they make enough for the rest of the teachers. This results in anything from cookies, to pies, to pizza, which is great, even if they are sometimes questionably made. 🙂 We also occasionally do dinners for the kids, including a Thanksgiving Dinner which included turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings for us and the kids.

#4. Good discussions

Last week I had a half hour discussion on the literary criticisms and qualifications of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight. I was talking to three 12-year-old girls. I never prouder of them than I was when they were able to give concise, well thought out reasons that Harry Potter is a much better book series than Twilight.

#3. It’s an excuse to be creative 

I usually run a craft club, and it has given me the opportunity to try out all of the projects I have pinned on my pinterest boards. 🙂 The coolest thing though, is how creative the kids are. I can give them the basic structure of a project, and they will take it in a totally different direction than I was thinking, and the finished product is way better than I could ever have imagined.

#2. I paid to act silly

One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to act like a middle-schooler. I get to play card games and foursquare, watch spongebob and Disney movies, and sing silly songs for absolutely no reason. AND I’m getting paid!

#1. Kids are honest 

The thing about working with kids is that they tend not to have a filter. At all. Though this can, and does, get them in trouble, I find it very refreshing. Whether it’s good (“You sing really good.”) or bad (“You were prettier before you dyed your hair. I don’t like it.”) you know what they are telling you the truth.

Quote of the Day: ‘Us’ and ‘Them’

So, I’ve kinda been on a John Green/Nerdfighteria kick lately. (possibly caused by rereading TFIOS and also presenting my final speech for my Public Speaking class on Nerdfighteria) But anyway, this quote from John is just great.

“There is no ‘Them’, there are only facets of ‘Us’.”

-John Green

DFTBA my friends.

Free-Write Friday: Then and Now

Hello, and welcome to another Free-Write Friday! For those of you who don’t know, each week Jake and I pick a Writing Prompt from 642 Things to Write About. We write separately, and have no idea what the other is writing until after we both post. This means any similarities are just proof that I am in fact a psychic. (Just kidding, but how cool would that be?) After I’m done, I will update and put a link to his here.

This week’s prompt! *drum roll please*

Write about a character at two very different ages in his or her life. Describe one day at each age.

Bzzzzz. Bzzzzz. 

I roll over and shut off my alarm clock. 6:00. Ugh. No one should have to get up this early. Not on their birthday. I am about to close my eyes and sleep and few more minutes when I hear a knock at the door. Before I can even sit up, the door opens and my little brother bursts in and jumps on my bed, landing on me. “Ouch, get off Ryan!” I push him off my legs as I sit up and he lands on the floor.

“Happy Birthday Calla!!!!” He gets up, unphased, and brushes himself off. He can be a real pain sometimes, but he’s only eleven, so I put up with him. I look behind him, to where my parents are still standing in the doorway. My mom is holding a plate of pancakes with a  lit candle stuck haphazardly in the middle, wax already dripping down the side.

“Happy Birthday sweetheart,” she says, handing me the plate. “Make a wish.”

I close my eyes, thinking about what could make my sweet sixteen the best ever. I blow out the candle. When I open my eyes, I see that my dad is holding a small silver box with purple ribbon. I try not to get my hopes up too much, but the box is just the right size…

He must have seen my look, because he hands over the package, a poorly concealed look of excitement on his face. I set my pancakes down next to me, then rip into the box. Inside is a small metal teddy bear on a keychain. I pull it out to examine it. “I thought it would be useful so you don’t lose these,” he holds up a set of car keys. “Go look outside.”

I run to the window and see a brand new silver car sitting in the driveway. The bright red bow on top gets rid of any doubt I had that this is mine. “Oh thank you, thank you SO much!” I run back and hug my parents.

“Hey! I did the bow!” Ryan crosses his arms and pouts. I reach over and ruffle his hair.

“Thanks Ryan, it’s beautiful.”

I usher them out so I can get ready, eating my pancakes as I go. A half hour later I am showered, dressed, and in front of the bathroom mirror, trying to tame the rat’s nest I call hair. Everything has to be perfect for my party tonight. I mean, it’s not every day a girl celebrates her 16th birthday. Twenty more minutes, and I am finally ready to walk out the door.

I drop Ryan off on my way to Millroad High School. Everyone in the parking lot admires my new car, as they should; it’s a great car. School is the same as ever: my friends wish me a happy birthday, classes go on, all in all a pretty boring day. I can’t wait ’til I am out of here. As I walk past the office on my way to sixth period, I notice the tv blaring the news. I can’t hear what the reporter is saying, but they keep showing clips from various cities across the world, all with one thing in common: they were burned to the ground.

**Five Years Later**

The sun is just peeking out over the horizon as I scan the area once more. I am on lookout, halfway through a four hour shift. From my perch, I can see for miles around. There are a few trees, like the one I am sitting in, but mostly it’s just rubble as far as I can see. I settle back into my branch.

In an alternate world, I would just be a typical college student, psyched to finally be 21. Here it’s just another day of survival. It’s no good to dwell on what might have been. I’m just lucky to be alive.

I can’t believe that five years have passed since everything began. I don’t remember which country started it; it doesn’t matter now anyway. What matters is that everyone joined in, and no one stopped until it was too late. The entire world was reduced to ruins. Almost everyone is gone. Those who were ‘lucky’ enough to survive now scavenge and fight every day to stay that way.

I pull a tattered metal keychain out of my pocket. It’s a teddy bear, scratched up and missing a few limbs, but still solid in my hand. It’s the last thing I have from my parents. They gave it to me on my 16th birthday, the last time I ever saw them. I put it back in my pocket. My watch is almost over.

There is a door laying on the ground under my tree. To anyone who happens by, it simply looks like part of the wreckage. But behind that door lies the only refuge I have left. A modified storm shelter now serves as ‘home’ to me, my brother, and a few other teenagers. My new family.

The door moves. Someone is coming out.

My brother climbs up to my branch and sits down next to me. “Happy Birthday, Calla,” he says quietly. He holds out his hand, and drops something into my palm. A Hershey’s Kiss.

“Where did you get this?!” I ask. It is rare to find any store-bought food anymore, let alone candy.

“Taylor and I found it when we went scavenging the other day,” he explains. “I told him you were turning 21, and he thought you should have it.”

“Let’s share it,” I respond, pulling out my knife and cutting the chocolate in half. We may never see chocolate again, so Ryan takes his half gratefully.

“Make a wish,” he says plopping the candy in his mouth.

My hand drifts to the key chain resting in my pocket. I don’t bother closing my eyes; there is no way my wish could come true. Not anymore.

A Very Thankful Thursday

Happy Thankful Thursday everyone!!!! And this week I actually mean it! Today marks the end of finals week, and the end of this semester of school. Hopefully this means that I will be back to posting every day. Anyway, here are three of the things that I am thankful for.

#1. Pizza Party

For my last final of the week, my Public Speaking class, the professor decided to surprise us with Pizza Hut pizza. This was already my favorite class of the semester, and it was a perfect way to end the semester.

#2. Supernatural

I have been a Supernatural fan for many years. I have just recently got Jake hooked, and so now I have an excuse to rewatch the entire series yet again. (Not that that’s stopped me before, but still.)

#3. TFIOS

A couple weeks ago I was shopping with my grandpa at a bookstore. I was looking through the John Green books, (sometimes Nerdfighters stick awesome notes in them), when I came across a SIGNED COPY OF THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I am not ashamed to have done a little happy dance in the store. My grandpa bought it for me as an early Christmas gift. It was just about the greatest thing anyone could have gotten me this year. The only thing that could have made it better was if it had been a Hanklerfish copy. (One in which Hank Green also drew an anglerfish next to John’s signature.)