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*To Be Read in River Song’s Voice*

22 Nov

Spoilers.

Long before the word “spoilers” conjured up a mental image of one of my favorite time-traveling companions, it meant what is has always meant – foreknowledge of a subject that, as indicated, spoils it.

I’ve had far too much experience with this particular delight.

A lot of it was my fault, like the time I begged my sister to tell me why she was so depressed at the end of Mockingjay, or when I knowingly watched “Turn Left” from series four of Doctor Who before I even started season three.

Of course, spoiling has also just been due to unfortunate happenstances, such as when my sister and I tripped over some Doctor Who series seven plot points the day of the season premiere, and that one time when I accidentally did anything on the internet before reading The Fault in our Stars.

Seriously.

I still haven’t gotten around to reading that book, but, somehow, I can quote it for days.

All this to say, I don’t usually do enough to stay away from spoilers, what with the internet existing, and my priorities being all out of order. But a problem has arisen that requires me to play a little game I like to call “The Internet is Lava.”

If you had a childhood, you can probably guess how this game is played. Just for reference, it’s just ever so slightly less enticing than its eponymous schoolyard counterpart.

In any case, the problem that made this game necessary is as follows: I’m going to miss the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode. Now it’s not quite as bad as all that, I am still seeing it, as a theater in my town has graciously made it possible for me to see it three days later on Monday night.

I will be dressing up as Eleven and attending with my gorgeous friends Wasp and Invisible Woman, and my lovely [and tenaciously patient] mother. You could say I’m kind of excited.

I’m stupid excited.

But the fact remains that that is three days after every other fanboy and girl with BBC or BBCAmerica has seen it, reviewed it, gif-ed it, story-boarded it, and fanfic-ed it.

And for me, the internet, until that third day, will be a yawning pit of seductively available foreknowledge.

Dangerous thing, foreknowledge.

So between Saturday and Tuesday, I’m going radio silent as far as internet is concerned.

And when I get back, if the past is any indicator, you’ll know me from the all-caps declaration of how many times I died during the episode.

What about you all? Are viewing parties in the works, or is anyone else planning to play the internet is lava with me?

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Socially Involved

15 Aug

Social media is brilliant. It can bring attention to a cause, traffic to a business, or friends to friends. Not to mention, it gives us a way to be “social” without leaving our safe little wifi fortresses.

However, as with many beneficial things, there is a flip side.

According to the mainly speculative and/or imaginary studies conducted by myself, social media’s main endeavor seems to be to make “friends” want to slap each other in the mouth.

Why is this? That’s what the researchers researcher at Mainly Speculative Studies has been trying to figure out.

When I was just a tater tot (thirteen years old), I was eager, to say the least, to get a facebook. My two older sisters had had theirs for quite a while, and every time I saw them updating a status, I gave an inward sigh and longed for the day when I, too, would grace the internet with witty, yet insightful, updates about my life. The day finally arrived when I got one. I set up an account with an eighteen-character password (which is way more trouble than my privacy is worth), and wrote my first post about my elk hunting trip.

(And then about seventeen seconds later, I accepted a friend request from the only vegan I know. Oops.)

Anyway, when we all got facebooks and other various social media accounts, it was a brave new world.

And it wasn’t long before we all became disillusioned.

Grammar errors. That’s just a given. Every English nerd out there is disappointed with the internet. But then there were vague “Don’t even ask about how crummy I’m feeling right now” and the “You know who you are” posts.

There was that one person who puts seven ellipses in every status.

There was that one relative who think he’s building everyone up with his twice-a-day inspirational quotes.

And then, oh yes, hashtags were finally enabled for people who wanted to know how many of their facebook friends had a #sunburn. (No one. No one wants to know that.)

And social media uneasiness: Making sure that post is perfect, looking to see if your pin got as many repins as you think it deserved, finding that someone has tagged you in a photo that is less than adorable – these worries don’t make for impeccable mental health.

I once had a fifteen-minute conversation with an acquaintance about how annoying it was when you were friend-requested by someone you barely knew. I found them on facebook a week later and, due to our conversation, I ended up debating with myself for way too long about whether or not I should send them a friend request. Hurrah anxiety!

(For those of you keeping score at home, this person friend-requested me the next day, and I almost resented their decisiveness.)

I’m not even going to go into the almost irresistible urge to cyber-stalk people. We’ve all been there. And then ran out of there as fast as we could, deleted our internet history, and denied that we’d been there in the first place.

It’s an occupational hazard.

But all these things can affect how you see people, whether their twitter convinces you of their cleverness, or their instagram informs you that a couple of your friends have an unhealthy obsession with photographic documentation of food.

Social media is a necessary tool for businesses of the modern age, and a very advantageous one for everyday, individual use. But I would be lying through my deceptive little teeth if I claimed that it wasn’t to blame for a lot of lost respect.

What do you guys think? Mainly Speculative Studies wants your opinion.

[UPDATE: at least a couple of you are lying about being Loki]

Lest we forget, polls are most definitely one of the ups of social media. I would love to see what other its other users think, as it is a possibility that other people aren’t quite so easily annoyed as I seem to be.

Now get out there and be social.

(And yes, you can go ahead and take that however you want)

Home Teached

17 Apr

Hello there, I’m a homeschooler.

Now, let’s get something out of the way – I am not painfully shy. I am not friendless. I am not forbidden to watch movies above a G rating. And I do not think I am better than you.

Boom! In case you haven’t yet figured it out, I would like to maliciously attack a stereotype today. A stereotype that has gotten in the way of several potentially pleasant conversations: homeschoolers are all the same, sad bunch of backward kids. And they are to be pitied.

Let me just clear up that definition real quick.

Expectation vs. realityYes, on occasion, you will find a homeschooler like that quiet, quivering, unsociable one you are now picturing in your head. They are not unheard of, but assuming that we are all like that is like me assuming that all kids that go to a public school are stuck-up Draco Malfoys. It’s just not true. I guess my point is, generalizations are always bad ideas (and no, the irony of that statement was not lost on me). Lest we forget, social ineptitude is not an exclusively home-schooled trait.

My mum has a friend who used to be a school teacher, and she seems to subscribe to the other popular homeschool stereotype that homeschoolers don’t actually learn anything throughout their schooling experience. She cornered me after church the other day and decided to help me unleash my potential by pelting me with fifty billion questions (or so) about what I was going to do once I graduated.

I had the urge to tell her that I didn’t want to get extra education; instead, I wanted to marry a farmer and move to Montana to raise thirty-seven children (and double that amount of livestock) and never take a shower. And probably wear the same denim skirt for the rest of my life!

… I did not say that. (I celebrate my small victories)

I did, however, decide to dodge her in the future.

To help you all to avoid being this person in a conversation, I have some tips for you:

  • Don’t act like homeschoolers are some mysterious breed of animal.
  • Don’t give them a pitying look and whisper, “Do you… like being homeschooled?” This question in itself is not terrible – just don’t ask it as if you are speaking to something that might die any second.
  • Don’t ask if they have any friends. (Really, guys? Really?)
  • Don’t ask “How do you meet people?” Would you ask a public schooler whether they’d ever met someone outside of their school? No, because it’s weird. I call double standard!

Need additional information? This guy says it way better than I do.

Good talk, everyone!

You are now prepared to meet the wild homeschooler.

Dear Internet (AKA: The Conversation Everyone Has with the World Wide Web at Some Point)

3 Mar

Hello Internet.

I think it’s time we talked.

Please don’t get nervous, I know everyone dreads “the talk.” But I really need to know.

Internet, where is this relationship going?

I mean, hardly a day has gone by in the past year when we haven’t seen each other. It’s not like we don’t talk, but we never really communicate. Every time I think we’re making some progress, you always seem to change the subject. Remember yesterday? I was just trying to talk to you about organization and you were all, “Hey, have you heard about ‘Busty Girl Problems’? They’re freaking hilarious.”

And they were, man. They were.  But that isn’t the issue.

I’ve been trying to focus on school lately, you know that. So why is it you call me late at night just to hang out? It’s sweet, I understand that! Any woman would want someone so devoted. But to be perfectly honest, if we have to hang out in Google Chrome one more late night when I’m trying to do my homework, I’m going to puke.

And your friends! I don’t mean to be rude, but Facebook is ruining my life! Have you ever really spoken to that guy? He won’t. Stop. Gossiping. It’s gotten to the point where everyone he talks about I end up hating. I can’t tell if he just makes them look bad or if they really do suck as much as he makes them seem!

Youtube isn’t so bad, but once you start talking to him, you just can’t stop. He’s all, “Hey, if you like talking about Dr. Horrible, why not talk about Doctor Who or Sherlock or Lizzie Bennet?” And I’m like, “We’re already talking about Dr. Horrible though,” And he says, “It’s okay, I’ll just add it to our list of things to talk about later,” and I say, “You even have one of those? But I have homework!” and he says, “It’s okay, when I stop for breath you can pretend to read.”

I’m not going to complain about Tumblr. We’ve actually been pretty tight since I found out we like a lot of the same stuff. Even if I am pretty sure the lights are not all on upstairs. And I think she may be a stalker. She has a lot of pictures she shouldn’t have.

Pinterest. Don’t get me started. That woman is one crazy maniac. She thinks she knows everything about everything, but she’s always misquoting people and pretending to be something she’s not.

You sure can pick ‘em, Internet.

Maybe we aren’t as good together as I thought we were. I thought we were going to work as a team and achieve things we couldn’t do alone. But you don’t need me, do you? And you’re really not helping me as much as I feel I deserve in this relationship.

Don’t give me that look.

Stop. You know that pictures of kittens don’t work on me anymore. I’ve moved on.

Thank you for accepting that. That’s very mature. See? We’re two adults.

Well, one.

Half of one. Whatever.

What’s that? You have some inspirational quotes for me to help me on my journey?

Thanks.

Maybe we do deserve another try.

Stuff I Have a Problem With

26 Feb

Stuff is giving me problems, and you know what? Stuff can’t be allowed to keep going around and making people miserable! It’s time to stand up to stuff and let stuff know that this isn’t okay.

This is the stuff that drives me mad.

1. The Pit of Ignorance. Sometimes known as “the comments section on youtube.” Now first, I would like to say that some people post witty and well-worded comments on youtube, and good for them! But I think we’re all more acquainted with those comments that make you consider resigning humanity to become a hedgehog. For instance, while browsing comments on a couple of videos, I found these displays of intellectual prowess:

  • “i found it a bit weired”
  • “i the vid with the dribbling and oop to himself better.”
  • “comment ok happy”
  • “IronMan is a boring Superhero”

Can you believe that fourth one? It’s disgusting the people that are allowed on the internet.

Now, I understand that good spelling and grammar do not come easily to everyone who attempts them (or doesn’t attempt them), but for a few years now, we’ve had this magical gadget called spell-check. And it is not only awesome, it is sadly under-utilized.

2. The Impromptu Two-Person Harlem Shake. In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks (and/or not been on the internet), the Harlem Shake is a two-shot, thirty-second video of people dancing like sick giraffes. It’s awesome. But the afore-mentioned “impromptu two-person harlem shake” is not nearly as magical.

Picture this. You are walking down the middle of a hallway when you notice someone walking towards you. To avoid a head-on collision, you veer left. Motivated by the same intentions, they veer right and accidentally block you. Muttering apologies, you go right to let them pass. Simultaneously, they decide to go left. You begin to twitch in sync with your new dance partner. Your temper rises. The situation, no, your LIFE is no longer within your control.I'm only exaggerating a little.

You’re done for. You’ve been trapped in the ghastly loop of  the two-person Harlem Shake.

To be avoided at all costs.

3. The Rules of Acceptable Social Conduct. I suppose in some ways, this is actually a good institution, but some things about it are just silly. Have you  noticed how the rules change as you and people around you grow older? These tiresome rules have prevented me several times from putting people (people I don’t babysit) in time-outs, it’s not always okay to draw with chalk in public places, and apparently, it isn’t normal to fix problems with bubbles anymore after you’ve passed year thirteen.

Problems that can be fixed with bubbles when you’re 3-11 years old:

  • Boredom
  • Pain
  • Bullies
  • World hunger

Problems that can be fixed with bubbles when you’re 12+ years old:

  • Kids 

4. Patience. Okay, so patience is a good thing. It’s a virtue! It’s a fruit of the spirit! But if you tell that to any Sherlockian, Whovian, or Seahorse (and no, I’m not referring to marine animals), they will slap you so hard that you will fall back in time to before it was cool to like things before they were cool. Waiting, however wonderful it may be for your character, is hard

5. Homework. Otherwise known as “That thing I’m avoiding right now.”

… I should go.

If this stuff makes you cringe too, then know you’re not alone.

Stuff makes us all equally miserable.