Sunday, December 23, 2012

The People You Meet in Your Mid-20s: Part One

Hey. Remember when I used to blog a lot? Yeah, I don't either. But I enjoy it, and it seems as if at least some of you do too, so I'm going to try to revamp here.

During my two years of graduate school (RIP to the little piece of my soul I lost during that time), my fellow grad student friends and I invented various ways of breaking up the monotony of our classes  so as to maintain some sanity. One such way I did this was to write super judgmental blogs about the people I hated going to class with, sharing the school library with, or really just sharing the planet with in any way. Thus, The People You Meet in Grad School was born.

I've been out of grad school almost two years now, so I suppose I can't really keep that string of posts going anymore. However, lucky me! I've discovered that it doesn't really matter what life-stage you're in, new factions of highly annoying types of people sprout up like weeds in the otherwise pleasant garden of your 20-something life.

From what I can gather so far, your 20s are a pretty transient time for most people.  Especially as you creep into your mid-to-later 20 years, a lot of shit starts happening. Even if you're not literally transient, moving around from place to place just because you can, many 20-somethings are life-stage transient. They are graduating from college and Master's and law programs, taking new jobs, getting engaged, having babies, and all sorts of other things we can classify under "major" in the milestone category.

During your 20s, most people are living on their own, working full time, and paying all of their bills for the first time. For a lot of 20-somethings, these things produced an "ohdeargod" sinking feeling in our guts, caused us to put our Moms back on speed-dial, and made us wonder whether we'd still be able to continue sending our best friends pointless Emoji texts on our uber-expensive iPhones.

For some 20-somethings, however, these life changes seem to have created and fostered a monster of sorts. This monster rears its ugly head in a special form of know-it-all jackassery, usually flaunted in the form of every-five-minute, often politically-charged Facebook status updates. This, my friends, brings me to the first installment of "The People You Meet in Your Mid-20s."

1. The Self-Righteous Preacher 

Did you know that a very select group of people has ALL of life's mysteries and quandaries figured out by the time they reach 25? It's true. This phenomenon is reserved for only the most deserving of individuals, and you're probably not one of them. Just ask one of them.

How do you spot one of these prodigies of the human race, you ask? Don't worry! These people do us all the favor of broadcasting every. single. one. of their life-changing epiphanies about how we all should live our lives right there on their Facebook page. Can you believe their generosity? We don't even have to look for them! 

I like to call these beacons of "wisdom" and "advice" the Self-Righteous Preachers. Facebook is their pulpit! The dictionary definition of "preach" is to "publicly proclaim or teach," and that is exactly what these people do. Chances are, if you have a Self-Righteous Preacher somewhere in your Newsfeed, you already "hid" them long ago, probably right after they attempted to point you in the right direction (read: their direction) religiously, politically, or socially.

Do you identify with a particular political affiliation? Have no fear. The Self-Righteous Preacher will pay a friendly visit to your page and "teach" you why you are the bane of the world's existence and also a total, brainless idiot because of it. 

Example status posted by you (a normal, sane person on your own Facebook page): 
"Voted Republican today. Looking forward to tracking election results on TV tonight."

Example response by the Self-Righteous Preacher:
"You DO realize that Republicans eat puppies and kittens for breakfast and worship the Devil and caused World War II and made the stock market crash and don't believe in Santa Clause and hate America and are in secret cahoots with the oil industries to eliminate apple pie from the world and also hate America, RIGHT? You should probably do a little more research before you post your views on Facebook. Or do you just hate America and apple pie? Apple pie is delicious. Just saying."  

And just like that, you have magically changed your fundamental beliefs and taken down your status altogether! Thank God you had the Self-Righteous Preacher come along and "teach" you all the reasons you were wrong in a super insulting way.

Do you have an affinity for a particular sports team/college, enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart, or occasionally eat red meat?

Don't fret, good sir! The Self-Righteous Preacher will be right there to let you know how badly you suck for all of those things.

That sports or college team you like? They lost a game once in 1958 to a team that was using their BACKUP quarterback. Didn't you know that? The Self-Righteous Preacher did, because these individuals apparently spend every free moment they have combing through Wikipedia for inane facts they can procure in order to thrust their superior intelligence upon you, lest you dare enjoy watching this miserable sports team that lost a game. Once. You moron.

That steak or hamburger you enjoy eating from time to time? Do you know how that animal died? The Self-Righteous Preacher does. One minute, you're busy picking a sweet Instagram filter for the savory meal you just ordered and posting it on your Facebook, like any cool person would. The next minute, you're pouring through a barrage of "meat is murder!" and  gory this-is-how-the-meat-industry-kills-shit comments under your picture until you literally feel like such a worthless sack of garbage that you *actually* second-guess taking another bite of your chicken nugget. Then, of course, you eat your chicken nugget because you are NOT a self-righteous asshat and everybody knows that chicken nuggets are delicious.

Sadly, if you are even semi-active on Facebook, there is no reprieve from the Self-Righteous Preacher. These 20-something geniuses are ever-present on all of our favorite social networking sites, evidently never have any obligations to be away from Facebook, such as....I don't know... a job? or school?, and they waste NO opportunity to tell people why they are wrong about ANY given topic.

I'm not sure what kind of Koolaid these people drank in order to have the world so damn "figured out" at such an early age, but I don't think I want to drink any of it. At 25 years old, I sure as hell don't have it all together, and I'm fine with that.

So, the next time you're itching for someone to categorically cut down something you believe in or support, you don't have to look far. Just log into Facebook, click on the first Self-Righteous Preacher you find (they'll be the ones who just posted a status about why your religion or career choice makes you stupid), and simply wait for the condescending, preachy comments to roll in.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fruit Flies are Really Disgusting.

I've spent the better part of the last 2 hours researching fruit flies on the internet. Why would a well-known insect phobe like myself do this?

There are two reasons.

Reason 1: For someone living in constant irrational fear of the insect world, bugs are the enemy. It's always wise to know as much as you can about your enemies.

Reason 2: I had no choice but to investigate the little beasts after the fruit fly Armageddon that erupted out of my trash can yesterday morning.

In case you're in the lucky (probably very small) faction of people who have never experienced them, I maintain that nothing makes you feel like a filthier, dirtier slob than having fruit flies in your house. Having fruit flies is different than having other bugs in your house.

Spiders? Crafty little jerks who can fit through very small crevices and generally do not indicate unsanitary conditions. Not really your fault.

Bees? You accidentally left a window or door open too long. Not really your fault.

Ants? Yes, ants are attracted to trash, food, and sugar, but they are not actually SPAWNING in it. You've seduced them, but you did not create them.

Cockroaches? Even the cockroach, the bane and constant nuisance of everyone residing in a humid climate, does not really WANT to be inside your house. They live outside in the trees and inevitably end up in our homes from time to time because there are SO FREAKING MANY of them. When one of these gets inside your house, people take pity on you and offer suggestions for eradication, but don't generally blame anything except the part of the country in which you live. 

And then you have fruit flies.

Fruit flies are a direct result of your own filth and neglect. If you have fruit flies, it's totally your fault. In my case, it was some unknown refuse left in the bottom of a trash can for too many days. One of the perils of living by yourself, I suppose, is that it takes a while to fill up a trash can when it's just you making the trash.

When I went to throw away a mostly-empty bag of stale Baked Lay's yesterday morning, I did that thing where you push down the other garbage in the can with the thing you're throwing away so you can make more room. As a result of that, coupled with whatever rotting mess had become a fruit fly breeding ground over the last few days, my usually tranquil kitchen erupted into fruit fly MAYHEM.

As I was telling someone this story, they asked me, "Well didn't you get rid of most of them just by tying the bag shut and throwing it out?"

Well, yes, a normal person probably would've gotten rid of a bunch of the flies in that way. Not me though. No, instead of shutting the bag as quickly as possible and fleeing to the trash chute, I dropped the entire bag of festering trash on the kitchen floor and ran screaming into the hallway.

By the time I calmed myself down and walked back in my apartment, fruit flies had escaped everywhere. I finally got the nerve to go back to the trash bag. Flailing my arms wildly in front of me to combat the cloud of fruit flies hovering ambiguously in the kitchen air, I managed to get the trash bag shut and sprinted. Holding the bag as far away from my person as possible, I SPRINTED down my building's hallway to the trash chute and hurled the bag into it.

Now, it's been 24 hours of full-on fruit fly war up in the 503. Just as I've sat writing this post, I've had 3 (I counted) different flailing episodes due to fruit flies having absolutely ZERO regard for personal boundaries. Fruit flies are the worst invaders of your personal space. Jerks. They have red eyes and they fly slowly and hover and they literally incubate their young in rotting garbage. I know that cockroaches will always hold the #1 spot on my list of hated insects, but fruit flies are now running them a close second.

There's also no easy way to rid your home of fruit flies once you've created them with your own mire. I had a different fruit fly encounter last year due to a filthy roommate situation, and tried a whole host of different remedies. I picked the best remedy from that experience and plan on putting it to use getting rid of the rest of the little red-eyed scamps this time around.

Here it is, in case you ever need to try it yourself.

Easy and relatively inexpensive! All you do is pour a small amount of wine in the wine glass, set it in a high traffic fly zone for the fruit flies, and walk away for a couple hours. When you come back, the glass should be teeming with the disgusting winged beasts. Then, you simply take the Raid can, super stealthily creep up on the glass with your hand on the trigger, and go APE SHIT with the Raid can all up on that wine glass. The flies that haven't already drowned in the pool of wine will be taken out in one fell swoop (or spray).

And so my ongoing battle with the insect world rages on.

In other, less disgusting news: the cat statues have moved. It took me a few days to notice, and I have no earthly idea when Anna sneaked into my apartment and made it happen, but all of a sudden I went to open my pantry this morning and...........

 BAM! Cat statue in the pantry!

Then, I went to use a paper towel and.......
 BAM! Cat statue on the paper towel holder!

I went to shut my closet door, and....
 BAM! This one literally fell off the door onto me and had to be placed back in position for the photographic evidence.

Finally, the last thing you want to see when you are half-asleep, fumbling for your Neutrogena during your 6 am shower, is THIS.

Thank you Anna, for continuing to make Hermitage life entertaining! The bad news? I only re-discovered 4 cat statues, meaning there are two more hidden away waiting to be found. You'd be surprised how much anxiety two missing cat figurines can cause in a girl. Well, that....and fruit flies.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

That Awkward Moment When...

Recently, I've run into several awkward situations.

I think I'm a pretty awkward human being. Maybe not awkward looking or awkward in the way I carry myself, but certainly in my interactions with other people.

I know, I know. Everyone describes his or herself as being "so awkward" and it's tired and cliche and overused at this point. I'd argue that everybody is right, though. We're all really freaking awkward. I think human beings are inherently awkward and we've all gotten a whole hell of a lot worse at being socially acceptable people, what with our debilitating iPhone addictions and all. MTV created an entire television program devoted to the condition and Zooey Deschanel and her bangs are riding that awkward train all the way to her multimillion dollar bank account.

Recently, however, I ran into some doozies, and this is coming from someone who very regularly feels uncomfortable in social settings and makes Star Wars or Lord of the Rings references to assuage a prolonged silence in conversation.

Here we go.

Awkward Scenario 1:
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks played, and dominated, the University of Georgia Bulldogs 35-7 this Saturday.

Oh wait. This isn't awkward. This is just really freaking awesome and I had to figure out a way to incorporate the fantastic revelry that occurred into this post. People went completely nuts down at the stadium yesterday, and the camaraderie that's created in a city like Columbia when your football team wins at home is an unparalleled one.

So, while the game itself wasn't awkward, tailgaters were subjected to signs like these all day long:

And my personal favorite...........

On a sidenote, Steve Spurrier is one of my top "old man" crushes. I have many old man crushes ranging from George Strait to Tommy Lee Jones to Mitt Romney, but the ol' ball coach is up there. Yum.

Awkward Scenario 2:
I discovered another cat statue.

In case you're keeping count, that would bring the number of cat statues strategically placed/hidden around my apartment to 6 cat statues.

Anna and I were posting back and forth to each other on Facebook circa about 7:45 A.M yesterday,  so naturally she was at my apartment door a couple minutes later. She made the odd request that we go stand on my balcony because it was "pretty out" or something.

Standing on my Herm balcony at 8 am on a Saturday morning, both of us clad in nothing but mismatched pajamas, I found the 6th statue. Perched ominously on the edge of the air conditioner unit was the sixth, and arguably the creepiest, cat.

Yeah. Awkward.

Awkward Scenario 3:
Your students call you out on your apparently very poor taste in music selection for figurative language review activities and writing prompts in class.

 "This was a weird subject that I haven't thought about much."     God forbid I ask you to think outside the box, kid.

 Deep thoughts on Ke$ha and Coolio: 

"Kesha's songs are like Lady GaGa's clothes. WEIRD"
 "I don't like this song very much, but Coolio can practically sweat waterfalls. Also, I like Weird Al's version better."

Well alright then.

 This child apparently thinks Lupe Fiasco is overplayed, and that "Katy Perry's songs aren't as numerous and similar as Tyler Perry's movies."

I'm honestly still trying to interpret what that even means. 

 You've got to love a kid with a sense of humor on an assignment. "Love is not a drug.....or maybe it is, who knows what they're doing these days...."

Remember that song "Wavin' Flag" from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa? Yeah, none of my kids did either. Instead of eliciting emotions of pride for his favorite soccer team, this student simply mulled over the fact that this "felt like the start of The Lion King.

As for the Jay Sean comparison to "Obama's little brother, if he had one?" I don't know, you tell me.

He may actually have a point.

Excuse the hell out of me for not picking songs with better guitar riffs, as Lean On Me is "probably the easiest song riff to play since 'Smoke on the Water.' Good song, though." 

 The Chris Brown song was Forever, and evidently "the instruments sound like if someone started playing DJ Hero on the SNES. I like those old video game 'bloop' sounds."

I think that's the best analogy/analysis of a Chris Brown song I've ever seen. And what 14-year-old these days knows about the Super Nintendo? A thousand gold coins for this kid.

It's probably safe to wager that this student does not much care for Taylor Swift, and especially not T-Swift's "Love Story." At least he got the "ill-fated love" part right.

And then I guess he ran out of jokes.


Awkward Scenario 4:


Living about 2 minutes down the street from the high school where you work has its pros and cons.

Pros include: a short commute, less frequent gas tank fill-ups, ability to run home on a break for something you forgot, knowing the community your kids are living in.

One of the biggest cons, however, is the potential to see kids outside of school every single time you leave your house. This means having to do annoying things like put a bra and/or pants on, not wear inappropriate clothes, be prepared to have uncomfortable small-talk convos with both the kid and their parents in your yoga pants, etc.

Usually, I don't mind this at all. It's why I purposely choose to live in the same neighborhood in which I work.


As with most things in life, there are exceptions to my enjoying this. I discovered one such exception on Saturday when I went to my neighborhood CVS.

I needed two things at CVS on Saturday. Just two things.

I was planning on being in and out as quick as a minute, but as we all know well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. (shameless literary reference from the English teacher)

I parked my truck and hopped over to the automatic door. I walked in and did a quick scan of the part of the store in my view from the door. No students in sight. Whew.

I zoomed over to my first aisle of necessity and grabbed the product from the shelf. I still hadn't seen anyone I knew. Happy fun times in the CVS so far. I kept moving, and trucked it over to the refrigerated section to scoop up item #2. Still hadn't seen anyone I knew, much less a student.

Sweet! I had one more stop on my trajectory and I was outta there. I just had to make it from the refrigerators to the registers.

I turned around, 1 of each of my 2 objects tucked under each arm. As soon as I turned around to head to the registers, I all but collided guessed of my 9th graders.

Oh, and the two objects nestled securely under each of my arms?

Beer and tampons.

That's it. Just beer and tampons. Beer, tampons, and me. I was just a vessel for my beer and tampons and shame and embarrassment. Naturally, it had to be a male student.

Picture this. You're standing face to face with a 14-year-old male in a CVS in literally the most awkward, uncomfortable silence you've ever had the misfortune of being a part of. You look at your student. They look back at you. They look down at your beer. They look down at your tampons. They look back up at you. You look at the ceiling or off into space and would prefer the option of a slow, painful death when faced with the choice of standing in that spot even 20 seconds longer or dying that slow death.

Things I would prefer doing over standing in a CVS with one of my students where the only things between us are tension and a box of Tampax Pearls:

-Watch a sex scene in a movie with my parents
-Trip on the bricks in the middle of a jam-packed college campus
-Accidentally mistake a fat woman for being pregnant
-Accidentally mistake a woman for being a man
- Fart in front a significant other
-Jump off a cliff
-Be in the vicinity of a cockroach

I can only thank the Teacher Gods above that the one thing that could have occurred to make the situation worse---did not occur. The kid was not with his parents.

I think I blacked out a little during the entire encounter, but after what seemed like eons of silence, the conversation went something like this:

Me:   Oh, Hi.
Kid:  Hi Ms. Townes.
Me:   Having a good weekend...? (poker face. do not glance down at your beer or tampons. do not glance down at your beer or tampons.
Kid: Yeah! We're going to the game today. (looks at beer again)  I'm guessing you are too?
Me: Yep. Well have fun. I'm gonna go die now.

It didn't end up being THAT big of a deal. I plowed past the kid as soon as I choked out my 3 lines of "conversation" and didn't look back.

Needless to say, I think I'll be buying my tampons and beer at a more distant CVS or in a grocery store where I can bottom-of-the-basket camouflage them with more socially acceptable grocery items like bread and Lunchables.

Here's hoping you had a slightly less awkward week than I did.

And Go Gamecocks.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cat Ladies of the Herm

I've become a cat lady before my time.

Do I own a cat? No, I don't.

Okay, so I live by myself, I'm single, and I go to the grocery store check out line with nothing but Lean Cuisines and Cabernet.

Still, do those things qualify you as a cat lady at the tender age of 25?

Maybe, if you buy into the super-Southern super-traditional mentality that females essentially only attend college for their M-R-S degrees and should be popping out Sperry-clad spawn by age 25. 

For the time being, I am choosing not to adopt that very dated mindset. Sure, I'm 25, but I have a Bachelor's and Master's degree under my belt, a job I like going to in a field I adore, and the ways and means to live by myself and pay my own way.

AND YET............last night I became a cat lady. 

I was in the Juniors section (what? 25 year olds still shop in Juniors...) at my local Dillard's when I started receiving texts from my fabulous freak of a best friend/neighbor, Anna.

Anna and I used to be roommates, and now we live across the hall from each other in a condo building very affectionately referred to as The Herm.

When Anna and I get bored and are too lazy to walk across the hall to see if the other is home, our text message conversations start looking something like this:

 We are lazy weirdos.

So I'm at Dillard's, impulse buying a pair of fantastic new cowboy boots, when I feel a series of 3 vibrations from the phone nestled in my pocket.

When I get done paying and pull out my phone, I find these text messages from Anna:

I understand that this is probably creepy to a normal person, but I found it endearing. Plus, Anna and I swapped apartment keys when I moved in back in June.

I told Anna it would probably be 30 minutes until I was home, as my "local" Dillard's is a little hike from downtown. I suppose it was during this time period that Anna concocted and carried out her plan...

Fast forwards 30 minutes:  I walked into my apartment, and there she was, taking a snooze on my couch. We exchanged salutations, and I bee-lined it to my closet, because obviously I can't stand to have on real clothes or a bra even 60 seconds after I walk in the door from work. 

As I was hastily shedding my constricting work clothes and changing into my go-to yoga pants and men's size happened.

I turned my back to my bedroom door, facing my 5th floor bedroom window, and went to glance out of said window. I noticed Anna had followed me into the room to continue a conversation when I'd gone in, but had mysteriously vanished into the common area of the apartment when I turned my back.

I looked out the window....

I then let out a scream usually only reserved for encounters with roaches or when I feel a hair or fuzz tickling the back of my neck and think it's a serial killer.

When I looked out the window, I saw this:

That's right. The creepiest face on the creepiest cat statue figurine I've ever seen. There's something oddly sinister about that cat figurine's face.

Where did it come from? How did it get there? Where do you go about purchasing something awful like this? My guess is the same place you buy decorative wall-plates and needlepoint kits and those dolls with the blinking eyes that make "crying" noises when you hold them upside down.

Anna was delighted that I had discovered one of the treasures she'd hidden during her alone-time in my apartment while she was still there to witness it. I think she was especially pleased that it scared me to the point of eliciting a full blown I-just-saw-a-roach scream.

It got better/worse from there though. One look at Anna's face and I could tell that that was not the only cat statue I'd find in my apartment that night.

 A few minutes later, when I had to go pee..........


Later still, when it got a little warm in the apartment, I went to adjust the thermostat.........

Cue the stabbing music from low-budget horror flicks, because around every turn was a new evil cat statue staring back at me.

 I started to get scared to open my pantry or fridge. I returned to the bathroom to inspect behind the shower curtain. I tentatively opened every closet door in my little Herm apartment.

There came a point where I could avoid the fridge no longer though, because I had to have my glass of Cab as I watched DVR-ed re-runs of Jeopardy.

 As I reached for the refrigerator door handle to open it.........

 There was THIS GUY. Sitting up there like he is BFFs with my ceramic ducks!!

At this point in the night, I had found 4 cat figurines and really didn't want to encounter any more, so I stopped looking. 

 Anna and I continued our night of DVR-ed episodes of Jeopardy and Criminal Minds, and eventually both went to bed.

I went to work today, corralled my 9th grade minions around all day, and came home from work soon after school got out to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

After I came home, I needed to get an envelope out of the bookshelf where I store my envelopes.

Lurking among the smiling, happy faces of my framed friends and family was this ominous creature:

 There are a lot of questions still unanswered.

Where did Anna acquire SO MANY CAT STATUES?

Why did she decide to torment me with a cat statue easter egg hunt in my apartment?

How many more cat statues are lurking, undiscovered around the Herm 503?

I suppose I'll find out in due time....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oh...I have a blog?

Holy neglected blog-site, Batman!

As per my usual last-day-of-the-weekend routine, I was stumbling around the internet in my typical no-bra and "workout"** shorts Sunday attire when Stumbleupon brought me to some rando's Blogger site. I thought to myself, "Oh, I have a blog!"

(**workout listed in quotation marks because let's be real honest here about how often I'm actually working out in these clothes.........never.)

I decided I wanted to write a blog post, because I used to keep up with this thing pretty regularly and I very much enjoy doing this type of writing. I came to my site, and was shocked because I haven't posted anything since April 8th. Do you know how much has happened since April 8th? So, in my usual fashion when I haven't posted anything in 10 years, I guess I'll just do a synopsis-type post of cool (or not so cool) shit that's gone down since then.

Since April 8th:

  • I turned 25. Barf.
  • I broke and replaced an iPhone, and no, I still don't have Siri. Although, from what I hear, Siri's kind of an unreliable bitch, so I won't feel too badly about this one. 
  • I moved from my 1-year stint out in the suburbs back to downtown Columbia. A wise preventative measure for me not becoming a complete social recluse. 
  • My little baby Tacoma got 4 brand new tires. Fun fact! Replacing car tires is REALLY expensive. 
  • My parents got a lakehouse on Lake Hartwell, a residence I have frequented since then. The lake house introduced us to all sorts of new things of which Stella is terrified. 
  • My brother Brian and his girlfriend Jess got engaged. Congrats yall! Sister-in-law #3, welcome to the Townes clan. 
  • I flew up to NYC for a week to bop around with Stephanie in the Big Apple for July 4th. 
  • And some other stuff probably happened too. 
But now---for the absolute most important events to address since my last post....

1. Bachelor Pad, Season 3 aired in its entirety, culminating in the epic season finale a couple weeks ago:

If y'all don't watch this show, you need to start. Bachelor Pad is a show in which 20 of the most alcoholic whack jobs from previous Bachelor and Bachelorette seasons all go to the Bachelor mansion to live together, compete against one another in challenges, and vote each other out of the house. Oh, and also hook up and drink massive amounts of booze. Sounds like a formula for debauchery, bad decisions, and excellent TV if I ever heard one.

These are some of the most unintelligent, attention hungry skanks on the planet. I'm talking people in their 20s and 30s who work at Hooter's for a "living" and can't spell the words "jewelry" or "elimination." (I'm not kidding. They actually spelled these words wrong in a spelling-bee competition).

The only competitions at which these contestants ever excel are the ones where all they have to do is stand there and look hot, or the ones that quiz them on Bachelor/Bachelorette trivia, because they obviously devote their entire lives to this reality program and trying to get on it not just once, but over and over again. If there was a competition called "Blink and Stare Vapidly and use Incorrect Grammar," they would all be winners.

Anywho, the finale of the show happens a couple of weeks ago, and in previous seasons, the $250,000 that's up for grabs gets split 50/50 down the middle because neither of the final 2 contestants has been ballsy enough to elect to "Keep" it instead of "Share," thereby getting all the money for his/herself.


Nick, the Matthew McConaughey sort-of-look-alike surprise finalist who's from Texas or somewhere where they only wear boots and Levis, who picks "Keep" the money, totally "screwing" Rachel over and immediately becoming vilified by pro-Rachel castmates. 

Umm, hold up...

Is the point of this game not to win $250,000?
Was Rachel not a huge whiny bitch to Nick and everyone else once her "love" Michael left?
Did anybody, Rachel included, give Nick the time of day the entire time he was in the house?

No, yes, and no.

Nick pulls the ultimate badass move, gives the entire cast a huge, metaphorical "F-you," and literally leaves the studio with his $250,000 check. Well played, sir, well played.

Do yourselves a favor and tune in to this juicy little program next summer when season 4 rolls around.

And finally,

2. I am no longer an 8th grade teacher. I am now a 9th grade teacher. 

The setting and students have changed, but the absurdity that accompanies the teaching profession has not.

As I sat at my parents' house watching their dogs and grading 328 student papers this weekend, I decided to resurrect those posts of blogging-past where I highlight, through pictures, the ridiculous things kids write down on their papers and turn in.

My only disclaimer is that several of these deal with Lord of the Rings. I make a habit of professing my love for all things Tolkien and Star Wars many times throughout that first week of school. The result is usually either students annoyed by my constant allusions during class, or students taking every opportunity to suck up and appeal to my love of LotR. Many of my students this year have taken the latter route, and some of the following sample pics are the result:

 Clearly, the pocket watch is the most significant item in the To Kill a Mockingbird knothole, because in "Ye Olden Days," 10 dollars was a lot of "mula*."  Please note this child's asterisk elaboration of his usage of "mula." I love it. 

"Golem skulked a lot in Lord of the Rings."  Yes. Yes he did. 5 points for Gyffindor! 

 "Galhom skulked around Froto and Sam." Again, the ass-kissing works so beautifully that I can even excuse the atrocious spelling.

This is not so much ridiculous as it is just glorious student creativity I was pumped about. These 2 guys created a print ad for To Kill a Mockingbird "TreeGum."  Radley-Curse Free!

Their task was to write 4 sentences correctly using their To Kill a Mockingbird vocabulary. This little badass chick wrote about Harry Potter, Freddy Mercury, AND Led Zeppelin in those 4 short sentences. 

The word was "gingerly."  Her sentence reads "The ginger gingerly lifted the ginger and placed it in the trash can, as she was allergic to it."  I have no words for how awesome I think this sentence is.

This little honeychild wrote every single sentence using another student in the class as his subject. "Theo did this.." "Theo did that...." Check out the last sentence though, in which "The thief skulked away as if he didn't just snatch Theo's man satchel."  Wtf? 

This one made me a little sad. "The nerds thought football was frivolous." Hey, nerds like football too! 

For some reason, when I ask them to make up sentences, other teachers constantly make cameos. They particularly love writing about Mr. O. "Mr. O makes a lot of frivolous jokes." Eureka! It took this child until 9th grade to deduce that all teachers are essentially big nerds who make corny jokes.

Here are some more To Kill a Mockingbird print ads. These are for the Scout and Jem "Second Self" soapdolls. And just in case you are uber-creeped out by Jem's demon succubus eyes, they provided this caveat.......
 "* Ann got carried away with the red eyes. They have NO connection with the story, other than the fact that the Radley's are 'cursed'"

Finally, this wasn't actually turned in. I found it on a piece of scrap paper on the floor of my classroom and it probably belongs to that same kid who wrote about Led Zeppelin above.

I only include it to illustrate the point that, you know what? I teach pretty kickass kids. :)

I'm gonna continue easing myself back into blogging. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Why Do You Hate Bugs So Much?"

I have about a billion answers to the inquiry of why I soo loathe the insect world.

They are gross. They are scary. They invade my personal home spaces. They are sneaky. They bite and sting. Some of them spread diseases. They are dirty. They're everywhere. Because cockroaches exist. Because bees exist. Because I hate them. Pick one!

As I sat at brunch this morning sipping Easter mimosas with two friends of mine, our conversation somehow digressed into vivid re-tellings of our respective harrowing experiences with bugs. Lord knows I have had many such encounters, and I've devoted entire posts to some of them.

The three of us recounted various tales of run-ins with insects and our insanely irrational reactions to them. Two of us tend to devolve into full on panic attacks when staring in the face of roach danger, while the other experiences total body paralysis under the same duress. Whatever your highly irrational response may be, it can be a refreshing conversation when you discover a comrade in your neurotic bug-phobe affliction.

The brunch conversation ended with me uttering this phrase: "Watch, now that we've talked about this I'm going to go home and find a roach in my apartment tonight."

Bad move, self, bad move.

No, I did not come home to a roach inside my apartment. Yet. The night is still young, so that may still be on the docket with my luck. But, no. Given what happened to me on the way home, I think I may prefer the roach.

There I am, driving home. I've got the windows down, because, you know, it's a very nice day out and I'd like to feel the breeze. I was tooling down Lake Drive, I had a chilly Diet Dr. Pepper in the cupholder, and that sweet ass Luke Bryan song was playing on the radio.

And then.......and then.....

A rogue bee flew into my open driver side window and TOTALLY EFFED UP MY WORLD.

I was going 45 miles per hour. All I could hear was the sound of trapped wings buzzing furiously. The bee was IN MY HAIR. It was in my hair. And It could not escape. I went to the Chili Peppers concert last night and this was my morning-after hair. IT WAS A HOT MESS AND THE BEE COULD NOT ESCAPE IT.

I was going 45 miles per hour. This was actually happening. I took one hand off the wheel, very unsuccessfully tried to control my breathing, and also unsuccessfully tried to feel around the rat's nest on my head for the entangled invertebrate. I kept thinking to myself how appropriate this end would be for me. Female, age 24, expires of panic attack induced by trapped bee in messy hairdo. Write it in the obituary. Anyone who knew me would not be surprised.

Finally, I found the spot in my hair where the bee was trapped. I flailed furiously. Okay. The bee was no longer in that spot in my hair. (Please keep in mind I am still trying to maintain control of my vehicle throughout this whole debacle).

Tears were streaming hard. Although the bee was no longer in my hair, I had momentarily lost it--and I always adamantly argue that a lost bug is far worse than seeing a bug in your vicinity in the first place, AND I was still trying to keep my car straight on the road through my panic and tears. The bee was now in a mystery location somewhere very close to, or as I soon found out, ON my person.

The bee had migrated to my shoulder. My shoulder. In other words--bare skin. And do you know what he did?

That godforsaken bastard stung me.

Just so we're clear, these are all the ways the bee violated me today:

1. The bee entered my personal should-be-insect-free-and-safe vehicle, which is a freak miracle in and of itself as the car was traveling at 45 mph.

2. The bee burrowed into the abyss of my morning after hair and got himself all sorts of twisted up in there, causing a panic attack and a near-collision.

3. The bee stung me. I don't know if you've been stung by a bee anytime in recent history, but it really freaking hurts. If that makes me a pansy, then you just pick up that watering can and watch me grow, because bee stings REALLY HURT.

4. The bee took away the sense of comfort and security I previously had while driving my vehicle down a nice road at 45 mph. No longer will I be able to do that without the ever-lurking fear that this may happen again. This is the same fear I harbor basically every time I go into a small bathroom. The culprit in that situation? A roach.

That's what I hate bugs. That's why I'm so scared of them. Because shit like this happens. Well--that-- coupled with a deeply ingrained, inherent fear of them that I've had since birth, I'm pretty sure.

I think the chick over at the "what should we call me" tumblr got it wrong, though. She proposed that this is what happens when people feel a bug on them:

When I Feel A Bug On Me

While this graphic is certainly true in some cases, I think the following post from her site is much more accurate for how I react when there is a bug anywhere near me:

This is What I Actually Do When There is a Bug Somewhere Near Me

I become an insane gazelle, leaping over and/or bulldozing anything or anyone in my path to escape the eminent danger posed by the bug.

I hate bugs.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Couple of Things Happened....

A couple of things happened in the last few weeks that are all more or less related, and serve the respective purposes of either making me feel a whole lot better or a whole lot worse about where my life currently stands. I am, after all, inching up on my 25th birthday, and events like those I am about to discuss provide different perspectives these days than they maybe used to.

*Sidenote: I turn 25 in two weeks, on Friday the 13th, and will be spending the day with 14-year-old gremlins. God help me.*

Here are the events that recently transpired:

1. About 58 more people got engaged, and said engagements were slathered all over Newsfeed:

This is not particular to this week. This happens every week---Every day! It's a logical progression, I suppose. You hit your mid-twenties---everyone you know gets engaged and hitched. I have realized, however, that when this phenomenon starts occurring, two factions start branching off among the twenty-something crowd.

You are either part of "The Married/Engaged Crowd," or the "I'm Going to Die Alone Crowd." I am (obviously) part of the latter, so I can't speak for what kind of conversations go down among the Engaged people. I can say, however, that a certain type of camaraderie forms among those social pariahs relegated to the bowels of single-dom.

I find myself texting or messaging the few people I know who are still single when yet another mutual friend becomes betrothed. One of my single friends recently posted the following message on my wall:

"Thought you would enjoy this. . .earlier this school year, I went on a date with a guy. Just went on Facebook this morning and he is engaged. Bahhhh."

As depressing as all of this is, it's still uber-comforting to know I have these fellow hold-outs to commiserate with when we lose another friend to the institution known as marriage. Whether our lack-of-nuptial-prospects is by choice or not? Well, let's just not even venture there.

So why do I mention all of this? Like I said, turning 25 is morphing my perspective. I actually thought this thought the other day....

"Man, I hope she doesn't find someone and get married all of a sudden!"

What the HELL is wrong with me? Who thinks things like that? Who actually sits there and hopes that someone else does NOT get married for the SOLE reason that you will be left with one less person to bitch to when everyone else continues to get engaged?

This girl, apparently. This will be something I work on heading into that quarter-century. You know, NOT being such a misery-loves-company Debbie Downer! Baby steps.

2. Burger King got rid of chicken fries:

That's right. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. The BK Lounge NO LONGER SELLS chicken fries.

Are you kidding me, Burger King? You discontinue your absolute most delicious menu item because you "revamped" your look and your menu in an effort to make yourself look more fancy which will never successfully happen because you are BURGER KING?! You are, by definition, NOT CLASSY. Or fancy. You are the Burger King. You give away paper crowns with your kid meals. You are represented in TV commercials by a super creepy looking "king" with a plastic face and body. You (USED TO) sell chicken nuggets in the shape of "crowns."

I rolled up to this drive-thru (it's "thru", not "through." You're at Burger King, after all). I rolled up to this drive-thru and took a little look-see at the menu. I didn't recognize it. I hadn't been to Burger King in quite some time. One thing was for sure: the menu looked odd. My eyes scanned through the typical sandwich value meals. I never ordered those anyway. They kept moving, past the #6 chicken sang-wich, and finally rested on #9. Chicken Fries! Right?..............

"#9: Homestyle Chicken Strips Meal"

Um, what? What voodoo magic is this? The BK Lounge chick finally came through on the order-box and asked me what I wanted. This is how the convo went down....

I said....."I would like chicken fries."

BK Lounge: "What?"

Me: "Chicken Fries."

BK Lounge: "What?"

Me: "Um-- do y'all not have chicken fries anymore?"

BK Lounge: "No, we don't."

Me: ".........................................."

And then I drove off.

I was pretty upset about the chicken fries. So, yet again, perspective. I'm almost 25 years old. I should not be getting so upset about a place like the BK Lounge discontinuing something like chicken fries. But I did. And kind of still am. They were fucking delicious. This is good news, though, as it gives me yet another facet of my skewed outlook on life to work on heading into Year 25!

But in all seriousness, if you never had the pleasure of partaking in Burger King's chicken fries, I feel bad for you. I am also simultaneously super jealous of you because you don't know what you're missing..........and I do.

Which brings me to....

3. And then this happened:

Let me explain this picture. The evil overlords over at Facebook finally forced all 5 billion of its users to use Timeline. Fine, Facebook, I will use Timeline. I hit "publish" on my new "timeline" today, and was subsequently forced to re-update and re-answer all sorts of questions and preferences I had already previously gone to painstaking lengths to perfect.

One of these "updates" was to my relationship status. I "updated" my relationship status to Single, which apparently created an entire Newsfeed story about my "updated" status that read:

"Shannon Townes has updated her relationship status to 'Single.'"

That Newsfeed story then apparently appeared on evvverrry one of my friends' Newsfeeds.

I did not realize this would happen, or I most likely would never have re-submitted my 'Single' status for all of Facebook to know and judge. I don't, however, judge any of these people for commenting on and liking my ignorance of how Facebook Timeline would exploit my relationship status for its own sadistic site traffic increase.

As I grow nearer and nearer to 25, there are some things I probably need to re-evaluate in my life. Perhaps the fact that I blog about BK Chicken Fries and being single have something to do with the fact that I am....still single. Until that re-evaluation occurs, however, I think I'll just go pour another glass of Pinot Grigio and text my single friends......



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Notes from the Margins: Teacher Edition

I think anyone who goes to any job in the world every single morning, day in and day out, knows that if you don't find little ways to entertain yourself or make it more exciting, you may very well go insane. Anyone who teaches middle school for a living is probably certifiably insane anyway, but my job is no exception to this little mantra.

I will stop what I'm doing and have conversations out loud with myself when my students are not paying attention. I will slam a book shut and make them all stand up and walk around the room when they look like they are falling asleep. I will creep over to a corner of my classroom and make odd noises, timing how long it takes them to realize I am not even at the front of the room anymore when they are "off-task."

However---hands down---my favorite form of entertainment is writing comments on their turned-in papers and assignments as I grade them. Recently, as I sifted through a ridiculously massive pile of graded work that I needed to input in my gradebook, I glanced down at some of the comments I'd written to these kids. Some of these papers were so old that I didn't even remember when I graded them or that I had written the comment, but I found myself laughing.

I don't know if these kids actually read the comments I diligently write on everything they turn in, but if they do, I hope they are getting a little laugh as well. Now that I'm conscious of some of the absurd things I am writing in response to their work, I'm making efforts each time I grade for my "constructive criticism" to also be at least a little bit entertaining for them. I figure they could use a little humor in the midst of my not-always-super-positive-or-friendly feedback.

And, as you might have guessed, I made sure to document all of my most off-the-wall handiwork, which I will share with you now......

I give you: Notes from the Margins: Teacher Edition

This student is reading one of the Percy Jackson novels, and inquired as to what a "manticore" was. I couldn't remember, so I responded with this.

Later on in that same assignment, I found out the kid had gone and Googled it, which I had also done. On a related note....Manticores are very creepy looking:

This girl "realized the punctuation was not correct" in the book she was reading. I...was...EXCITED.

Of course I have to question this kid's legitimacy and street cred if he is questioning whether or not zombies are real!! He later came up to me and asked if he had lost any points due to this comment...

My students are obsessed with incorporating my name or personal life into their written responses, example sentences, quiz answers...anything. "Ms. Townes is very gregarious on her good days." I suppose she could've written much, much worse.

And again. "Ms. Townes likes to mediate when there is horseplaying going on." What?! Horseplaying in a middle school classroom? Never.

After informing me he would only be responding to the name "Big Dog Savage" from this assignment on, I decided to indulge the kid's ridiculous request at least once. "Big Dog Savage, Good work. You made a 100. --Ms. Townes"

Okay...I get a lot of weird gibberish turned in to me, but I could not come up with a translation for this one. "Yelp, I saw an extraordinary and omit of disappointment, from the movie the Paranormal Activity 2. I sure know now why they called it choronic because it was deffinitely a waste of my time." Zero.

I graded and wrote this on 67 quizzes before I realized I might want to come up with a better acronym for deducting points for incorrect "part of speech," or "P.O.S." 1/2 off, piece of.....

The student's thoughts? "It's official Count Olaf is a creeper. He looks and sounds like one. This is a weird book." My comment? Creepers need love too!

What exactly does it mean to "have a stretched butt?" I am at a loss.

Sometimes, I respond to their work as if I have a British accent. At least 2 sentences please, good sir!

This student's Double Entry Journal reads "I hate when that happens because then I always wish I had the Force to bring it over to me. When I do that, my mom or dad walks and then they call me weird." These kids are either epically awesome in their continued Star Wars allusions, or they know how to suck up with the best of 'em. Either way, I am digging it.

The assignment was to write a parody of a well-known children's story, and this student chose Little Red Riding Hood. We are adamantly working on grammar and spelling, however, so that Grandma never gets "raped up with some rope" ever, ever again.

Originally, my comment to this simply read "I lol-ed here. You kill me!" I then went back and added the (metaphorically, with laughter) so as to avoid sticky interpretations of what I had written.

Student: "How did he prove Hitler wrong. Was Hitler a raceist man?"
Teacher: "YES. The Holocaust???.........(head explodes).

Sometimes, I might be a little bit too snarky. "How can a human just magically fly. You can't fly around anything." My response? "In a plane." Of course, this is the same student who asked if Hitler was racist, so.....................................yeah.

And finally, some other random little notes or tidbits picked up here and there on any given schoolday.

"Ms. Townes, life in the world is like a box. That's why I drew you as a mermaid so you can be free."

"Ms. Townes a ass-hole because she talk to much." Self-explanatory?

My affinity for Diet Coke even made it on to the Algebra test!

That's all (for now) folks! I'll leave y'all with an image from the heygirlteacher tumblr (if you haven't been there yet....Go!) that is super appropriate given the content of this blog post:

Why thank you, Ryan Gosling. :)

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