Sunday, March 30, 2014

21 Signs You Might Work in a Library

I have been volunteering in a library for the past year now, and man, I love it. There are several perks, quirks, and downsides, and if you work or volunteer in a library, you'll get it. And if you don't... then why not? Honestly, I recommend working in one if you're a bookworm.

How do you know you work in a library?
  1. You have carpal tunnel problems, and it's not from texting or playing video games. The amount of books you hold in a day is just too much for your wrists, and your fingers are starting to give out on you, too.
  2. Even your books at home have to be in a specific order. The bookshelf in your room is perfectly organized by genre and author, and you flip out when you find a book out of place.
  3. You're just slightly offended by librarian stereotypes, even though you know more than anyone else that they have a lot of truth to them.
  4. You plan when you will pick up or return your books based off when your next shift will be. Because really, who wants to make the extra trip up there?
  5. Every librarian knows you by name. In fact, even the security guard chats with you from time to time, even when you aren't there to work.
  6. You would go as far as getting married in a library. What's a better location for a literary wedding?
  7. You finish reading more books when distracted on the job than when you have free time. And your idea of being a rebel? In school, you were once caught reading when you were supposed to be doing your math.
  8. You're terrified of damaging any of your books, because you have seen the library aides check for damage.
  9. You try to keep your fines at a reasonable amount... but let's be honest. They've been above twenty dollars before, and you've even had your account suspended.
  10. You told your friends you were in trouble with the law when your account got suspended the first time. This is your idea of being a criminal.
  11. You constantly live in fear of your favorite books being weeded. If you don't work in a library, let me explain: when a book hasn't been checked out for a long time (as recent as a year), the book is given away or sold. 
  12. You wear glasses. And if you don't, you'll get what's coming to you.
  13. The librarians think you don't listen to their gossip. If only. If only.
  14. You've been asked who your favorite Disney princess is several times. Mine is Jasmine, in case you were wondering.
  15. You actually wouldn't mind having a desk job if it meant being in a library. The calm, the books... what's not to love?
  16. Checking to see if your books are overdue is like checking your grades. Terrifying much?
  17. You see people you know from school, church, etc. all the time. And it's kind of awkward when they notice you.
  18. You are very likely an introvert. You like working in solitude, occasionally talking to your fellow aide or librarian. You like the silence of the library, and you're a little bit of a bookworm.
  19. You've read the classics. From Jekyll & Hyde to Paul Laurence Dunbar poems, you've read it all. Well... at least you've tried to.
  20. You're ahead of society, when it comes to the latest YA novel. However, did you ever hear that new Katy Perry song? Probably not.
  21. You work for the library because the library has done a great service to you. You vote for those levies (when possible), you use all of the resources, and you bring your family and friends to get them to use it for what it's worth. Because the library has brought you joy, you work hard to bring that joy to others.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Preparing for Summer Camp

It may only be March, but we are in the fourth quarter of the school year, AND spring break is about to begin! Ladies and gents, summer is just around the corner!

With summertime comes summer camp. Whether you're a cheerleader, dancer, or just going for the heck of it, summer camp is a pretty big deal. Like, I measure my life in camps. As an aspiring actress, I attend a performance camp every year, and it's really strict. So, this year, I'm going to give it my all!

So, what exactly will you need to ensure you have an amazing time at summer camp this year? Here is a list of things you won't want to forget to do, and things you won't want to forget to pack.

1. Fill out those forms!

This is so, so important. Make sure you have everything done as soon as possible, from signing up for camp to the day it begins. If you're applying for a scholarship and you know financial aid is limited, send in your application as close to the date announced as possible. Remember to turn in medical forms, too. This may all seem like common sense, but really. People forget.

2. Get a backpack.

Even if you're not attending an overnight camp, you're going to need something to hold everything-- your water bottle, hair ties, makeup, dance shoes, gym shoes, spare clothes, deodorant, pads/tampons, baby powder, lotion, sheet music, etc. Believe me. Every performer has a bag. Models have model's bags. Swimmers have bags with extra gear and whatever else they like. So, get a backpack. You'll need it.

3. Be informed on the camp.

This applies specifically to performance camps. If you're going to Les Miserables camp, you should probably know the melody of "On My Own." If you sing it all the time in the shower, that's cool. I do, too. I mean, it's just so... I can't help it... "I love him, but every day I'm learning all my life, I'VE ONLY BEEN PRETENDING!!! Without me, his world will go on turning. A world that's full of happiness that I have never KNOOOOOOOOOOWWWWNNNNNN! I love him. I love him. I love him, but only on... my own..."

4. Brush up on your techniques.

So, you're a gymnast and your coach is having a super intense boot camp, huh? Well, you better work on that tumbling pass you never seem to stick. At my camp, I know we'll have auditions on the first day, and I know my sight-reading is rusty and my double pirouette is stuck in single rotation. I'm not a dancer, so I'm trying to get to an acceptable level. Get to an acceptable level. You don't need to be perfect. Else, why would you be at camp?

5. Bring any braces or bandages you use.

Musical theatre is pretty much a sport. So, if you use a knee brace during gym class, you sure as heck will need it for choreography. Never leave home without it!

6. Bring your iPod (and maybe download a piano app).

Every performer should have an iPod with music from the show downloaded, and it is also important to have a piano app. This is why being able to read music is SO important as a performing artist-- if you can't seem to sing a part right, you can play it out on the piano to find out how it should sound. So, bring your iPod with you. During lunch or downtime, you can figure it out.

7. One word: SPF.

Even if camp is held indoors, you're probably gonna be sitting outside waiting for your parents. Even if you drive yourself, you're still gonna be exposed to the sun eventually. So, if you burn easily, just bring it anyway. Now, I'm black, but I don't want cancer, either, so...

8. Spare clothes.

It's nice that you'll be wearing biker shorts and a sports bra, but... it's gonna get cold. I mean, it's summer, and summer means air conditioning. So bring sweatpants and a jacket.

9. Tampons. Need I say more?

Well, I'll say more anyway. A lot of girls (another awkward post, here I come) with... smaller figures... really don't like using tampons, but... I mean, if you're a dancer, you're in a leotard. If you're in musical theatre, you gotta dance, too. In most sports, you're going to be in situations that are not that great for a woman who is menstruating, if you are, in fact, a woman reading this. If not, you don't need to read this. Now, I know it's easier to just use a pad, but... in this case, bring out the tampons.

10. Your resume.

For all you know, there could be resume activities any day. There may be a resume critique, or for audition day they may want to see it. So, bring it.

11. If it's optional, bring it anyway.

Last year before theatre camp, they said, "Jazz or ballet shoes are optional." I begged my mom to get me jazz shoes, but she was so hung up on the word "optional" that it really killed my audition. So, the word "optional" does not exist in a performer's vocabulary. Optional means DO OR DIE.

12. What to include in your bag overall.

-Small snack (or lunch)
-Body spray (optional... for real)
-Rosin (for violin and dance)
-Dance shoes, depending on what type of dance you do
-Muscle braces
-ACE bandages
-Hair ties/headbands
-Baby powder (especially if you decide to wear basketball-style shorts)
-Dry shampoo (baby powder can be used for this... after sweating, don't sacrifice fabulousness)
-Oil-blotting sheets (I use a Japanese rice powder)
-Sheet music/binder
-Extra forms
-Notebook (to take notes in classes)

If I missed anything, I'll update soon. So, what is on your must-pack list?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Challenge Yourself for No Reason At All

If you are one of the millions of adults who has graduated from high school between... well, ever and now, you know how stressful it is. You know about the college entrance exams (if you live in Asia), the SAT/ACT (I got a 21 on my ACT Plan... not exactly on pointe if I want to get into Northwestern. Plus, four people [yes, I calculated] scored higher than me on the English component in my school. So I gotta outscore four of these chickens), the extra-curriculars, the community service, the academics, and then the increased load that comes when you actually start applying to colleges. So far, I'm looking at:

Northwestern University (Illinois; Big Ten; my dream school)
Howard University (Washington, D.C.; Historically Black College & University; secondary dream)
New York University (New York)
Olivet Nazarene University (Illinois)
Wright State University (Ohio)
Bowling Green State University (Ohio)
Xavier University (Ohio)
Penn State University (Pennsylvania)
And who knows? Maybe one of the Ivy Leagues. But if I apply to one of them, it'll be U Penn.

So, of course, since I am applying to all of these schools... okay. I know you're only supposed to apply to like, three, but because musical theatre is a very competitive major, I need to apply to as many schools as possible. After all, I'm not really that confident in my acting skills, to be honest. But since I am applying to this many schools, I need to have a lot of extra-curriculars. I have done and plan on doing:

4-H (didn't like it too much, but I was the secretary for two years, which I enjoyed)
Junior Council on World Affairs (this year was my first; my team won third place at the Quiz Bowl)
My little cake business (no business yet and I'm kinda sorta locked out of my e-mail, so I hope no orders are coming in...)
Theatre camp (I actually get to see Million Dollar Quartet this year)
Jazz/ballet/acro (haven't started yet)
Community service at my local library
Community theatre (haven't started yet)
School play (this spring)
National Honor Society (hoping I'll get in this fall)
Key Club (maybe)
And much more...

Every single one of these activities are geared towards a goal. The school play is for my acting resume. NHS looks impressive to competitive schools. However, I realized I may be a little too focused on getting to my dream school, to the point where it's becoming tunnel vision and I'm barely doing anything for the fun of it.

So, I came up with a fun challenge. To read 200 books by the end of the year.

I was inspired by Kelli from "Blimey Cow" who did a similar challenge to read 100 books in a year. However, I'm probably going to be there by June. So, for no reason at all, I'm reading 200 books this year. I'm already in the forties. I guess I do have an underlying reason... to outscore the four bumbanuts who scored higher than me on the English component of the ACT Plan. BUT! It's mostly for fun *eye twitches*.

Here's what I've finished reading (this year) so far:

Bleach 1-19 by Tite Kubo
Line by Yua Kotegawa
Alive: The Final Evolution 1-5 by Tadashi Kawashima
Sailor Moon 1-2
Wedding Planning for Dummies
The New Teen Titans: Who is Donna Troy? (DC Comics)
The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (DC Comics)
Attack on Titan 1-6 by Hajime Isayama
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
School Rumble 2-3 (I read the first book last year)
Brave Music of a Distant Drum
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Twisted by Sara Shepard
Seiho Boys' High School 2

I'm also reading the third Gossip Girl novel, Wicked, some musical theatre books, and The Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde. If anyone has book recommendations, let me know.

Also, I made other goals that you can try too.

-Learning a new language. I'm already taking Chinese, but after all my anime-watching and manga reading, I've decided to take up Japanese as well. And Zulu, for some reason.
-Learning new songs on guitar. I'm going to start playing my guitar again and try learning "Ain't That Peculiar," "Shiawase (Happiness)" by PUFFY, and "Alchemy" by Kyler England.

What are some little goals you can set for yourself?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

7 More Japanese Songs That Should Be Available in the West

This is a continuation of my previous post on this topic, including songs from Shingeki no Kyojin, Free!, and Kyoukai no Kanata.

14. "Scramble" by Yui Horie for School Rumble.
I cannot listen to this song without grinning like an idiot and yelling, "Guruguru mawaru! Gurugu mawaru! Guruguru mawaru! Gurugu mawaru!" I don't know the rest of the lyrics, but I know that part. And, isn't Yui Horie just adorable? Like, seriously. Too bad this song isn't on iTunes... I'd buy it. I've had this song on repeat for like, three weeks... oh wait. I've just been watching the entire first season of the show, which is really kind of amazing. All of the characters are so relatable, but I'm probably most like Mikoto (with bits of Tenma's personality). Just... watch the show, okay?

15. "Onno no Ko Otoko no Ko" from School Rumble.
This song was perfect before I knew the lyrics, and it's even more perfect now that I do know the lyrics. It kinda bashes men, though... sorry, guys. I still think it's kinda funny, though. 

16. "Asterisk" by Orange Range for Bleach.
Does this song bring back any memories for people who used to watch this show back in '06? Well, I just got into Bleach... I'm on the nineteenth book and the fifth episode or so. So yeah... I've got a long way to go. The second the first episode started, I knew I would love this song. I especially love the bridge and the key change that comes after.

17. "Funny Group" from Free!
This is another song that makes me feel like a giddy schoolgirl skipping through the halls. I can't really describe it... it's one of those songs that just makes you stuff a pillow into your face and grin like an idiot. Well, at least that's the situation for me.

18. "Great Nostalgia" from Free!
This song lives up to its name. Like, this song is what this anime is about. Really. It's basically just an anime about friendship, and I feel like this song captures it well. I don't know how, but it does.

19. "Woe is Me" from Free!
The best song to listen to when you find out you failed that so-called "easy" geometry test.

20. "Sayonara" by Puffy AmiYumi.
I originally wanted to post about their song "Thank You," but this one is good, too. It's one of those songs you could listen to on a ride home after a long day at work/school, and could still make you smile (just like "Daisy").

OH! By the way, "Guren no Yumiya" (the opening 1 from Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan IS available on iTunes! It is by Linked Horizon, so go check it out.

I'm out, chickadees.

Monday, March 10, 2014

After A Long Winter...

How has this winter been? Let's just say Elsa really meant it when she let it go. BUT! Luckily, spring is coming! The spring solstice will be in eleven days.

Currently, I am taking exams to graduate high school. I just took my reading one today, and let's be honest. I don't think I scored too high. On my ACT Plan, I scored above average, but today I just wasn't feeling it. Tomorrow, I take the maths one. I don't really care how high I score... so long as I pass. I think I'm going to be pretty advanced in writing and history, but everything else... I'm gonna have to wing it.

I prepared my exam week outfits for the whole week yesterday. Because I (there's no other way to put it) suck at math (I'm okay at geometry, but algebra and trig...), I want to make sure I look pretty darn diggity smart. I like to go by the "My Strongest Suit" lyric:

"Conversation? Wit? I am a doubter. Manners? Charm? They're no way to impress. So, forget the inner me; observe the outer. I am what I wear and how I dress."

How I dress directly affects how I feel. If I feel ugly, I'm not going to be confident. If I'm dressed in a church dress, I'm going to feel youthful. If I'm wearing a sweater and jeans with a cute headband, I'll feel in control.

Tomorrow, I want to feel smart so I can be confident and pass. Which basically means I'm going to be dressed like a librarian tomorrow (and believe me, I know how they dress... I volunteer in a library, but I do more than just custodian tasks-- I'm basically an unpaid library aide). Which means it's time to bring out the short skirts again. And my legs... well.

I knew shaving them was going to be a chore (this is so awkward... this post is NOT going on Facebook!), because... I mean, you know why. I've always thought every razor was the same. That the commercials were just trying to take my money and all the moisturizing and close-shave talk wasn't actually going to mean anything. But that all changed yesterday, and I'm starting to sound like a commercial myself.

I found love in a hopeless place.

You think I'm being dramatic, huh? Well, let me tell you-- I've never used a razor quite like this one and I really think that everyone in the world needs to buy this. Normally, after a long winter, it takes a lot of catch-up time with my razor (the brand I used to use wasn't this good at all), meaning several shavings until it got close enough. But no. One swipe and all the hair was gone in that region. This razor turned a week-long shower series into a two-minute routine. So, basically, a close shave is actually possible.

And as for that moisturizing talk? THEY WERE SERIOUS! When I was taking my shower yesterday, I had already used body wash and all and started using this with it and... well, my shower turned into a bubble bath. So, wait until after the body wash has washed off before using this.

The only warning I have is that this razor is not good for new shavers. Press a little too hard and you're risking a really bad cut-- even worse than the usual. This is best for women who have been shaving for at least two years and are okay with a few bruises. I've been shaving for about seven years, and even then, it was still really dangerous. So be careful.

So, go out and buy this thing. I don't know how much it costs, but it's worth it. In fact, the shower is calling my name! 

Hopefully I won't be too tired on the math test tomorrow...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

That Day, Five Years Ago

And on that day, humanity received a grim reminder...

Oh wait. Wrong event.

So, what exactly am I talking about? The day that I made a life-changing (ish) decision. The day this blog began: February 24, 2009!

Can you believe it's been half a decade? You probably haven't been reading this blog that long. But, once again, this date sneaks up on me, and I am forced to think about how far I've come. But before that, let's get one thing out of the way.

Can you believe 2009 was five years ago? I always thought of it as like, two years ago. But no. It's been five years.

(Insert typical growth statement here) When this blog began, I was ten years old and in the fifth grade. I didn't know what I wanted to write about yet (and I still don't). I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up-- I thought I wanted to be an author, but as I age, I realize maybe journalism and creative writing, as a career, aren't for me. Even though I think I want to go into the performing arts, that could change.

As a celebration of the five years that have passed, here are 25 facts about my journey so far.

1. I was born near Salt Lake City.
2. I have lived in my current home for nearly eleven years now.
3. I was never a flower girl as a young child, and have never been a bridesmaid, either.
4. I was homeschooled up until eighth grade.
5. I used to participate in cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, and volleyball.
6. An old dream of mine was to join the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.
7. I have a severe vitamin D deficiency.
8. My favorite Disney movie has been Tarzan for basically my whole life.
9. Unlike most teenagers, I actually don't like to use my phone.
10. I am a schediaphile, meaning I am attracted to animated characters.
11. Idina Menzel and Heather Headley are my role models.
12. The first Broadway musical I saw was Wicked.
13. I have this newfound obsession with anime/manga/Japan in general and it's scaring me.
14. I am putting my best efforts toward a scholarship to attend Northwestern University.
15. Currently, my favorite songs are "Daisy" by Stereo Dive Foundation and "When You Believe" by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
16. I am a very big Teen Titans fan-- I have read some of the New Teen Titans comics and I have watched the entire animated show, and I have a shirt, and I'm married to Dick, and I have a DVD.
17. Between Wicked and Frozen soundtracks, I'm always singing.
18. I love to Disneybound. I plan on Disneybounding Elsa and Merida this year.
19. Outside of showtunes and Asian music, I enjoy rap music. Don't judge.
20. The names I have in mind for my future children are Eren, Levi, Petra, Krista, and Sasha.
21. I am currently reading the novel (you guessed it) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
22. If I watch a show or read a book in which I can relate to pretty much all the characters, you can guarantee I will fall in love. That's probably why I love Free!-- Miss Amakata Miho and I both quote things that don't make sense to other people, Rei and I both can't swim and are perfectionists, Gou and I are both kinda boy crazy, and so on.
23. I'm not really looking for love right now. If someone ever likes me, then so be it. If not, then so be it. Until then, I just need to focus on what matters most to me: my family/friends, academics, and my career.
24. I am launching a business this year. Check it out here. I also won first place in my division at a cake competition.
25. It's easy for me to lose hope, despite my name. However, "when I call on Jesus, all things are possible."

Welp, that's the journey so far. Full of tiny little events. Wonder what else will happen in the years to come!