Thursday, September 29, 2011

Important Questions in Life

There are so many things I don't understand.

Why do some people have two different colored eyes?

Why would anyone want a tarantula as a pet?

Why are some people serial killers?

What makes people become insane?

Why are all desks so uncomfortable?

Are there aliens?

Why do people say it's nice to have a "good cry?" I hate crying; it makes me feel horrible.

Why do some people think it's even remotely okay to murder a baby before it is born?

Why would anyone want to drink something that will skew your thought process and make you more likely to do stupid/dangerous things?

Why do people go tanning when there are numerous proofs that it causes skin cancer?

Why would anyone leave a baby in a hot car, even for a second?

Since when is it a good idea to try to survive in a barrel going over Niagara Falls?

Why would anyone worship Satan?

Why don't some people wash their hands after going to the bathroom?

Why would you ever leave your house/car unlocked? Call me paranoid, but it's just not worth it.

Why would anyone buy cigarettes/drugs/alcohol for minors?

Why do mothers purposefully put their children in the same vicinity as other children who have Chicken Pox so that they'll get it, too?

Why do parents let their children whine and complain and give them everything they want?

Why would anyone adopt a pet and then starve or abuse it?

Why in the world would anyone put used gum under a desk? Disgusting.

How in the world do some cultures think it's okay for men to beat their wives?

Why do some people think swearing is cool?

Why do some people dislike ice cream?

Why would anyone make a list of questions on a blog?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rant of a Grammar Nerd, Part 2

So you still think grammar isn't important? "I can write however I want" you say "I can write and write and write and go on forever and my meaning will still be perfectly clear I will write run-on sentences to my little heart's content there's not a thing you can do about it so there ha I told you so."

Horrendous. My fingers are bleeding just from typing that hideously incorrect "sentence." Grammar isn't just an archaic conglomeration of smudge marks that snotty, learned people call commas, semi-colons, and hyphens. Grammar is an essential part of writing. No matter what occupation you get yourself into, you're going to have to write. Trust me.

If you still don't believe grammar is important, check this out. I did not write this, but I think it's pretty cool.

Version one of letter:

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

John was not happy with the first letter. But then he remembered that dear Jane had always had trouble with grammar. So he thought and thought and thought, and he finally moved the punctuation around so that the letter said this instead:

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy—will you let me be yours?

Sure, the letter is a bit awkward, but it gets the point across. Learn yo grammar!

And, what you've been waiting for...

3 More Grammar Rules

1. To, Too, and Two

"To" is a preposition.
Correct usage: My mom gave a gift to me.
They went to the mall.

"Too" means also.
Correct usage: I'm going to study for the test, too.
Gerald, too, wants to attend the dinner party.
(Notice that "too" has commas around it.)

"Two" is a number.
I want two pieces of cake.

2. Good vs. Well

"Good" is an adjective, which means it describes a noun.
Correct usage: You did a good job in the game.
This milkshake is really good!

"Well" is an adverb, which means it describes an adjective, a verb, or another adverb.
I'm doing quite well, thank you.
You did really well on your test.

3. NEVER EVER EVER EVER put a period or a comma outside quotation marks. EVER.
I could go on forever about different rules regarding this principle. However, this one makes me the most frustrated, so I chose it.

DON'T do this:  "Mom," I said, "I'm leaving for school".


Write this: "Mom," I said, "I'm leaving for school."

Sigh. Okay. I'm going to be okay. I'll get over my OCD someday. Until then, I'll still get gray hairs and lose a few years of my life every time I spot a run-on sentence or grievous punctuation error in a printed publication.

Grammar = <3

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rant of a Grammar Nerd, Part 1

People sometimes call me a grammar nerd. In fact, my journalism adviser at my university actually calls me a "Grammar Nazi." However, I prefer to be called a grammar enthusiast. Not everyone shares my passion for grammar, and I understand that. For example, my knowledge of history and math is severely lacking. I enjoy doing a lot of things, but I'm not necessarily good at all of them. On that same note, I'm not going to pretend that I'm a grammar expert or that I never make mistakes. Grammar is a strong interest of mine, and it's pretty sad how long I can talk about it, explain it, or read about it without getting bored.

And because I know it's what you've been dying to read all day, I've compiled a short list of words that people ALWAYS mix up. Wait—words? Isn't that about spelling? NO! It's all grammar. When you write the wrong word, it skews the meaning. Grammar is all about making writing clearer. You can be creative until the cows come home, but it's not going to do much good if no one can understand what you mean.


1. Your vs. You're

Your =   Your hair is on fire.
You're =   You're really stupid.

Your is an adjective.
You're means "you are."

2. There, Their, and They're

There =   I left my book over there.
Their =   My mom wanted to borrow their recipe.
They're =   I think they're coming later.

There means location.
Their means ownership or possession.
They're means "they are."

3. Effect vs. Affect

Effect =   The weather has a negative effect on my condition.
Affect =   The weather affected me negatively.

Effect is a noun 99% of the time.
Affect is always a verb.

Now, if you even read that, it's likely that you'll forget it. I'm feeling a little pessimistic today. Sigh. Oh, well, I guess I have nothing to say since I remember next to nothing from pre-calculus class my junior year of high school. "How is that applicable?" you ask. IT'S APPLICABLE! Because I love grammar, I remember it well. As for math, all I remember is that 5 + 5 = 11.

But hey. We can't be good at everything, can we?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"A date that will live in infamy..."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke those grave and powerful words with regard to Japan's attack on the United States on December 7th, 1941. People have not forgotten that attack. It was over 65 years ago, and my have we not forgotten. Most of us were not alive on that day; many of our parents were not yet born, but we remember.

Oddly, when I got up this morning, I thought of Pearl Harbor. I think it's because today is Sunday, and the Pearl Harbor attack was on a Sunday as well. However, today is Sunday, September 11th, 2011, and it's exactly ten years after New York City was brutally and unexpectedly bombed.

Tragedy has a weird way of bringing people together. Suddenly, social status doesn't matter. Suddenly, race, business rivalries, family disputes, debts, grudges, and politics don't matter anymore. Suddenly, we're all just Americans. Did Japan awaken the sleeping giant? You bet they did.

Have you ever watched someone die? If you have, I'd think it would be something you could never forget. Well, most of America has watched thousands of people die. Live. Most of them saw it on TV, but it doesn't make it any less awful. At ten years old on September 11th, 2011, I sat in my living room, unable to tear my eyes away from the TV, and I watched thousands of people get crushed or blown up or burned alive. And that's something I'll never forget.

Whose fault is it that it happened? Did someone know about it and not report it? There are all kinds of theories. Maybe one of them is true. Who knows. But what I think some people miss is that the fault lies in the hands of those who actually did it, and they're the ones who will have to answer to the Almighty God for what they have done.

We don't always agree with what our leaders are doing about the situations across the sea and the countries that we have issues with. On a similar note, we don't always agree with what our government is doing about the economy, unemployment, illegal aliens, and many other issues. I think it's about time we started praying for our leaders, and if we already are, then to start praying for them more. I also think it's about time for some of our leaders to start taking responsibility for their own failures instead of blaming it on their predecessors, but that's an entirely different topic altogether.

Psalm 33:12 says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance...." And verse 16: "No kind is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength..." Verses 18-19: "But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine."

Our nation was founded in the beginning on the principles of the Bible. God will always be the final authority on anything that goes on in the world, but do the people of the United States really still regard the Lord as the God of our nation? People sit around talking about taking "under God" out of our pledge, making prayer illegal at times to avoid offending people, murdering unborn children, and looking to today's trends instead of to God for direction, and we expect His blessing?

My pastor spoke this morning about Pharaoh and the Israelites. One thing he said was that God wants to deliver us even more than we want to be delivered. Even after the Israelites were rescued from bondage, they sometimes complained about their lives and said they would rather be back in Egypt where they could live comfortably under total oppression. How many times do we resist God's direction, His power, His rescue? How many Americans reject Him? The natural question that arises in light of this is why would God continue to allow this to happen? Why doesn't He just come back and take His own and destroy who oppose Him?

God is a God of mercy. He is a just God, but He's also a God of mercy. 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."

This song pretty much sums up what I'm talking about here. Chris Rice is awesome. Unfortunately I couldn't find this song on youtube, but the lyrics are what I'm really getting at.

So here's September 11th, here once again to throw cold water in our faces. Wake up, America. Wake up, sleeping giant. Come back to God. Pray for your leaders, for God is the only one who should be leading us.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Ghost College

Sidewalks once used for travel now stretch lonely into the distance,
Waiting for many stepping feet,
But I am the only one.

The air seems to live,
Pressing harshly on anyone who dares brave its unbearable heat,
It's got to be 100 degrees.

The ghost-whispers of students reach my listening ears,
And I know they are gone.
Gone... far, far from here and away.

The grass is dull, and the trees seem to call out for water,
This place is a desert.

I continue slowly, eyes searching the horizon for some sign of life,
But only a bird flies by,
Perhaps searching for water.

I keep waiting for the world around me to yield to the heat and burst into flames,
But everything remains still.

If I see any living creatures, I expect them to be driven mad with thirst,
So I walk circumspectly.

This place has really turned to a desert! But what makes a desert?
And how could I prove this?

Where are the cacti and carcasses and floating tumbleweeds?
Why not hills full of sand,
Rolling as far as the eye can see?

And hark... I see something I hoped to be a mirage.
Surely, then I would know this was a desert.

But alas it is not! What I see is real.
It's a great fortress called Kinlaw, a place of refuge for wayfaring travelers
Like me.

I enter it in silence with respect for its timely appearance.
It's air conditioned.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Stupidest Things Happen to Me

I have the weirdest stories. No, my life hasn't turned upside down... like, I haven't moved to India or shaved my head or accidentally eaten fried squirrel. But just in the every day race of life, the most random stuff happens to me.

For example.

Let me just preface this by saying that the scariest movie I've ever seen is Psycho. It's positively terrifying. Don't watch it. Seriously, don't do it. I saw it when I was like 12, or maybe even before that, and I've never forgotten about it.

Back to the present. Four or five days ago, I was having a deep conversation with my roommate. We both stay up late frequently, and this time we were talking until about 4 in the morning. About 4:15, she told me she was tired and needed to sleep. So she went to sleep, and I grabbed my towel and soap and such and started walking down the hall.

"What?" you're thinking to yourself right now. It's four in the morning! You're seriously going to take a shower? Just go to bed! Well, I can't sleep without taking one. Pretty much ever. 

Fast forward to ten minutes from that point, and I was about halfway through my shower. Of course there's not going to be anyone else awake at this ungodly hour, so imagine my surprise when suddenly ALL of the lights just SHUT OFF in the bathroom.

Everything was just BLACK. PITCH BLACK. My heart pounded, and I gripped the handle of the shower door in trepidation. When whoever—or whatever—it was that had shut those lights off tried to find me, I knew I had to try to hold the door shut.

Find me? Silly me! That wouldn't be too hard with the sound of the shower running...

For whatever reason, I had brought my phone with me, so I called my roommate, woke her up, and told her that "ALL THE LIGHTS ARE OFF AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!" 

Now, generally I have a good memory. But not in this case. She just sighed. "Melissa, remember the scheduled power outage? There's been signs everywhere for three days. Just don't forget to set your phone alarm since other one won't work."

She was so nice about it. I just said "okay" and hung up. Scheduled power outage? Really? Here I was, thinking that someone wanted to cause my demise, and it was just a stupid scheduled power outage?!

I was not a happy camper. For one thing, it was really difficult to find the soap or anything since it was still PITCH BLACK in the bathroom.

To make matters worse, I heard the bathroom door open, and someone came in to use the bathroom. I couldn't help think of Psycho, even though I knew the whole lights-off thing was just a scheduled power  outage. But the other problem was that whoever that was was probably more scared than I was. They were probably thinking, "Who takes a shower at 5 in the morning!" 

Well, I do. Or, I did that time, anyway. Something like that would only happen to me. Because no one else would be awake at that time, let alone taking a shower. Ridiculous.