Tuesday, January 31, 2012

and i am so overwhelmed

yesterday was... overwhelming to say the very least. in fact, i'm still feeling overwhelmed and slightly panicked.

see, despite everything i said, i applied for the phd program with absolutely no expectation of getting accepted. as far as i was concerned, after my master's i was done with school. because i am so ready to be done. applying was really just my way to get everyone who was telling me to continue off my back. at least then i could say, "i was going to continue but i didn't get accepted." it was the best way to end all future conversations/arguments/lectures regarding the subject. so when i finished my last class last semester, in my head, i was done forever.

but then things went wrong. mason, going against its word on acceptance requirements, let me in. not only did they let me in, but they let me in late. yesterday i went to get my scholarship upgraded so they'd pay for my next stupid degree. they said they couldn't do anything until i was registered. since my account was still on hold at mason and they said it would be for the next five days, i thought, okay great i won't be able to get this done this semester. but my dad was with me so we went to mason to see. they took the hold off of my account on the spot and i was able to register yesterday morning. (oh, just to throw this out there, the adviser mason originally assigned me to is on leave. thanks for that, mason.) i then went back to the scholarship people and got them to present my file in a special meeting yesterday instead of waiting for the normal one in a few days. i went to my first class yesterday.

now, this would all be great if i actually wanted to continue. if i was ready for it. my dad was ecstatic at the way everything was just falling into place, as was everyone else the story was related to. me? i just felt rushed and panicked. and overwhelmed. really, really really overwhelmed.

after expecting to never step into a classroom again as a student, now i'm starting back up again completely unprepared. i'm behind and lost and so totally not in the mood for this. i know i could have deferred my acceptance for a semester, but i also know that if i did i would be even less prepared later. once i stop, i'm stopping for good. but now i have to look into qualifying exams and people to put on my faculty committee or whatever and all of these other things that i hadn't looked into because i was not supposed to get in. i have absolutely no idea what i'm doing.

i was done. and now i'm suddenly not. overwhelmed does not even begin to cover it.

*Broken Wings - Flyleaf

Sunday, January 29, 2012

where have you gone?

i am on a mission to save adverbs.

it seems like adverbs are all but disappearing from the english language. i, for one, blame the writers, or, more accurately, the people giving the writers advice. do you know how many times i have read "advice" telling me to avoid adverbs while writing? that falling prey to them puts you in the category of writers that tell instead of show? i can't even count the number of people who have given the editing advice of, "take out all the adverbs." but what i want to know is why? why should we take out the adverbs but leave the adjectives? how is describing a noun any better than describing a verb?

you may have noticed the outcome of all this advice. adjectives have gotten too cocky. they are making plans to take over the world... or at least the english language. there is no more time to waste. we must stop them.

how long has it taken us to realize that 'fast', an adjective, killed 'quickly', an adverb, and is now recognized as an adjective and an adverb? exactly when did people first start championing good over well? why are we now okay with eating healthier instead of eating more healthily (besides the fact that the second one now sounds weird)? we no longer shop smartly, we now shop smarter. how many adverbs do we have to lose before we put an end to this? i mean, sure, adjectives are usually shorter, but have we really gotten so lazy that we can't add a few syllables to every sentence?

do the right thing. use adverbs regularly, proudly, and well.

*Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel

Thursday, January 26, 2012

it's gonna be a good day, just wait and see

earlier today, i walked into mason with a purpose. i was convinced that, having not heard from them a week into the semester, i was rejected, and they hadn't bothered to send me anything telling me so. i was ready to tell them that i thought they were unprofessional, disrespectful, and cheap. i go to the office and get some of this out when the dude at the desk asks me for my name and student id. i give them to him, he stares at his computer for a minute, and then he says he'll go print out my letter. i assume he means my rejection letter, so i sit down and wait. he comes back after a few minutes, hands me an envelope, and says, "i'm really sorry..." before i can answer he continues with, "but you're going to have to come back to school for a while longer. pleasant surprise, right?"

i was so convinced that i was rejected, so ready to accept it, that i didn't understand what he was saying for a couple of seconds. and then it hit me: i got accepted into the phd program. i managed to completely fool an entire committee of people into thinking that i knew enough about something to try and get a phd. how in the world did that happen? now let's just hope that i can continue to fool them into giving me the degree.

so anyway, i was at my parents house today while my husband was at class. when my mom dropped me off back home (only having one car brings back serious memories of pre-license days), my husband was already here. i went to get junior from my bedroom and waiting for me on the bed was a card and present (a new purse since i've been dragging my heels getting one but constantly saying that i need a new one). and then we ate a giant snickers bar (or like, a piece of it) that deserves a picture. if only i felt like uploading it.

anyway, long story short: i got into the program, got a new bag, and ate snickers. overall, a pretty awesome day.

*Good Day - Jewel

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

i've been living this lie for way too long

for as long as i can remember, i've been selling myself as "the bridge between the east and west." i am from saudi arabia and america, virtually the polar opposites of the world. i am proof that it is possible to connect them, to bring them together in one place, one idea, one person. at the start of every semester, when we have to introduce ourselves to the class, the interesting fact about me has always been that i am half saudi and half american. (which, incidentally, has always reminded me of that quote from jane eyre: "But I don't mean to flatter you: if you are cast in a different mould to the majority, it is no merit of yours: Nature did it.") anyway, i announce it like it's the coolest thing. like it's something that i myself accomlished. i parade around claiming that i can connect these places that, to an outsider, are so completely unconnectable. because i am the bridge.

in reality, the biggest similarity between the two countries is that i don't really belong to either.

i always find myself a little surprised that no one calls me out on my lie, because i most definitely am not a bridge. i am neither here nor there, not saudi and not american. how can i bridge the two places when i am floating aimlessly somewhere in between them. i'm struggling to make the two halves fit inside of me. how am i supposed to connect them for everyone else?

in every essay about myself that i have written since the tenth grade, whether it be for class or college admissions or whatever, i have been promising people that, if they just give me half a chance, i will connect the world for them. and if i were in charge of reading college admission essays, i'd rather let the girl who writes her essay about her fascination with snooki (i can't decide if it's sad that i had to google her name or if it's sad that i think it's sad that i had to google her name) in, than the girl who insists she's some sort of architectural structure. at least the first is honest.

so this is me, almost a decade late, telling you that there is a west and there is an east, and although they may seem totally different at first, there are more similarities between them than what meets the eye. but i am not a bridge between them and i never will be. just a frequent visitor of both.

on a completely unrelated note, here's a video about "doofy" commercial husbands that i thought funny. actually, the whole "target women" series is worth taking a look at if you have the time.

*Living a Lie - 3 Doors Down

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

i almost screamed when i saw you

i am one of those people that startles really easily and really dramatically. and over the past couple of years it has just gotten worse. yesterday i was in the kitchen and my husband walked in. i turned around, saw him, and did that gasp-half scream thing, threw my hand over my heart which had conveniently stopped pumping regularly, and had to take a moment to get my breathing back to normal. he wasn't even sneaking in or anything.

a few days ago, i was watching a show on my computer in the bedroom. the door was closed so i wouldn't hear the show that my husband was watching in the living room. i heard the doorknob twist, which, to any normal person, would be enough warning that someone was coming in. and, i knew someone was coming in. but then when i saw him standing next to the bed, i had a heart attack as if he had just appeared out of thin air.

and it is not only at home where this happens, which is probably the worst part. a couple of weeks ago i was leaving the bathroom in target just as someone was coming in. as i went to push the door back, someone was pulling it from the other side, and then some lady was standing in front of me. i did my usual melodramatic reaction, screamed "oh my god," jumped back, and then tried to laugh it off. i think i terrified her. it would be really kind of funny if it wasn't also pretty embarrassing.

so yeah, you don't even have to jump out from behind a corner and scream boo to scare me out of my wits. all you have to do is announce your presence and wait for me to see you. i'm really trying to work on this. you know, for the innocent strangers that my drama affects.

*Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts - Brandon Flowers 

Monday, January 23, 2012

what is your excuse? why haven't i heard from you?

so mason starts back up today. my sister just made her usual first day of classes phone call when she worries that she made her schedule wrong and she has way too much free time between classes. by the end of the semester, she'll make another call in which she complains that she made her schedule wrong and she doesn't have enough free time between classes. it's become a tradition.

while she's starting her classes, i'm still waiting around for mason to deign to answer my request to continue studying with them. yup, semester's starting and i still haven't heard anything. when i called harassing them on friday they said all the decisions are made and were mailed out that morning so i should hear something any day now. unfortunately, it's against university policy to say anything on phone/in person/through email. it's mail or nothing with these guys. i mean, i pretty much know that i've been rejected, and to tell you the truth, i don't even care anymore. i just want the conclusive answer. i don't want the thought of, "oh no, i might have to write a thesis in the next few months" hovering over my head. i have enough unwanted thoughts lurking around every corner without that.

but when i get rejected, the question remains of what should i do next? most people are telling me to continue at another school, but mason is the only school anywhere near me that has a phd in computer forensics. and i really like computer forensics. most of the schools in my area don't have any IT-ish phd programs because, let's face it, why would you need/want a phd in something like that? by the time you put the finishing touches on whatever you're doing it will be obsolete anyway.

blech. the good thing is that, accepted or rejected, this will be the last post ever about waiting to hear back from mason (possibly any school ever). that's kind of a relief, right? oh, and a friend had posted this song on facebook this morning. i think it fits this post too perfectly to be just a mere coincidence.

*Why Haven't I Heard From You - Reba McEntire

Saturday, January 21, 2012

you love me but you don't know who i am

i hate when formspring emails me telling me to check out what my friends have been up to, and i go to the site and there's been no new activity since the last time i signed in like a month ago.

another thing that has been bothering me lately, which i must admit i used to do all the time, is thinking that character a should just love character b because character b is good and loves character a. it doesn't matter if these characters are in books, movies, or tv shows, the same principle applies.

one of the top examples in my mind is from the hunger games because someone just mentioned this, but i could find examples from a hundred different things. in the hunger games, though, you often find people getting annoyed with katniss for not immediately falling for peeta when he says that he loves her. throughout the entire first book, they just can't stand her because she's pretending to be in love, and she's confused, and he is just so sweet (the main, more important plot of killing children aside of course). and then when she has to get engaged and married and everything, they're just so annoyed that she's not happy to be spending forever with him. and of course it just boils down to the fact that she doesn't deserve him and he's so much better than her.

but who said that, just because someone loves you, you have to love them back? who decided that what katniss wants (to be alone forever) doesn't matter because what peeta wants is so much more sweet and romantic? character b may very well be a fantastic person who deserves all chances at happiness, but that doesn't mean that character a should give up their own happiness for them. character a should not be expected to be swept off their feet just because character b has a really cool broom.

i find myself watching movies now that i watched years ago, and when before i was thinking, "oh my god just get together already," now i find myself hoping they stay apart because there is no way they should be together. maybe i'm just becoming even more cynical, but it annoys me.

i think that's what's really great about 500 days of summer. the girl goes off and finds her own happiness, despite the fact that the guy really wanted to be with her. and i know a lot of people hate her for that, but these are the same people that don't seem to realize that he was one of those people that fell in love with an image of her and refused to let go of it, even when it no longer fit her.

i'm starting to ramble. and i can't find a song lyric that goes with this.

*Let Me Go - 3 Doors Down

Friday, January 20, 2012

i don't wanna do this anymore

so i'm sitting in my living room having just finished reading about what my favorite disney film says about me (except they didn't have my favorite so i was really reading about what other disney movies say about the people that love them) and wondering what to do. i had already checked my mail, scrolled quickly through my facebook news feed, and finished the show that i had been watching in five minute intervals all week. the only thing i knew that i didn't want to do was write. i didn't want to blog. i didn't want to reply to emails. i didn't want to add anything to any of the stories that are hanging around my computer hard drive waiting for their plots to thicken.

and then i thought: this is wrong. i like(d?) to write, and i have barely written anything lately.

now, i'm not saying that i should constantly be writing or even wanting to write. i just feel like i'm starting to fall into a routine in which writing does not exist. and i want to revive it before i manage to completely kill it. once i get into a routine, it's really, really, really hard to change it. unless it involves becoming more lazy. my body is always ready to change for the worst. i want to not dread writing, though, as i have started to do. and so, when what i want to do least is write, i will write. even if it's pointless, even if it's short, even if it doesn't make sense, i'll write. it's my new philosophy. or something.

*Unfaithful - Rihanna

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

with all this fever in my mind, i could drown in your kerosene eyes

blogging is momentarily really hard. that is all the time i am going to waste talking about my current inability to blog regularly. the following were originally going to be posts by themselves, but i keep starting one and never finishing it. this way's better.

[one] i would like to be annoyed that the movie industry has completely given up on even pretending to put out new movies. remakes are one thing, but it seems like just bringing an old movie back to the big screen is getting more and more popular. the thing is, i completely get it. when times are tough, no one wants to risk spending fifty plus dollars to take their family to a movie which might very well completely suck. bringing back the classics is a way to guarantee an audience. bringing back the classics in 3d is a way to guarantee an audience to shell out an extra five bucks or so per ticket for nothing special. and the thing is, most of the movies i am excited for this year are either ones i've already seen or remakes of ones i've already seen. with movies like the lion king (which held two top spots at the box office when it was out for both the 2d and 3d versions), beauty and the beast, titanic (the preview for which kills me because it says from the director of avatar), finding nemo, and star wars all coming back with virtually no changes to them, you have to wonder if they'll just stop making new movies altogether. and you know, maybe they should. 

[two] last friday i had written, "it is friday the thirteenth, and i have nothing to say." not sure if i was going anywhere with that, but there it is. 

[three] in the days where all the energy i could afford to use was spent turning on my ipod, i was listening to a lot of bob dylan and bruce springsteen, because why the hell not, right? and then a friend posted a video of a song by the tallest man on earth, and i fell in love. you should go check out some of his music. you know when you like a singer and think that you're the only one who knows him and one day you realize that they're really super famous and you're just completely out of the loop? it was one of those kind of feelings with him. you see, i had a song of his on my ipod, but it was a cover and i always thought that he was just one of those random people that put out a good cover and disappeared. you know the type? it was awesome finding he had his own stuff, too. 

[four] i feel like i should mention the sopa and pipa bills, though i'm sure most of you already know about them since the internet is on strike today. (you may have noticed that a bunch of sites are blacked out today.) you know, the bills that want to be laws that will basically destroy the funness of the internet in an attempt to stop piracy? yeah, those. you can go here to sign petitions and send emails to congress and stuff to let them know that you think the bills suck. 

[five] i have friends who work at hospitals and are constantly posting pictures of children that they particularly like who are treated at their hospital. this could just be me, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable. i mean, it's one thing plastering pictures of your own children hooked up to tubes and sitting on hospital beds all over the internet, but another thing entirely to post pictures of other people's children. i mean, doesn't that go against some code of ethics or something? or am i just overreacting here?

[six] i feel like my blog needs a makeover. finding the motivation, time, and energy to give it said makeover is at the top of my to-do list. it's really too bad that i suck at keeping to to-do lists. 

*Where Do My Bluebird Fly - The Tallest Man on Earth

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

man, i'm just tired and bored with myself

it took a heavy dose of the frustration that comes from giving computer help to the computer illiterate to overcome the depression induced blogging dry spell i've been having. i suddenly understand what all my professors were talking about for the past five or so years. i suddenly see that people using optical drives for cup holders and thinking their web browser was google are not just stories made up to add an element of amusement to an otherwise dry class. it's true. it's all true. helping my dad with his computer problems for the past couple of years was just the warm-up for the kind of users that are out there. what i really don't understand is why people insist on making things complicated when they are provided with a simple, easy to follow, step by step guide to do everything they need to do in half an hour or less. i mean, i don't claim to be an expert at everything, but when i come across something i can't do and i have a set of instructions, i follow them. it's the logical thing to do.


at the same time, though, it kinda feels good to be presented with a problem and have to search for a solution. helping someone achieve their goals makes me feel like maybe i'm not a complete waste of a college education. i researched, and tested, and struggled, and was tempted to throw junior out of the window, and then i found something that fit what i wanted. and i played around with it until i was able to make it work. and then i helped "the client" learn how to use it. and it just feels good to work at something and have it turn out right, you know?

*Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen

Thursday, January 5, 2012

and the games you play, you would always win

i have been trying to write something all morning, but it is just not working out. i'm too annoyed by mason's apparent love for recorded messages to try and write anything coherent. i do have a bunch of notes written in several drafts that (hopefully) will make for interesting posts someday, but i just don't think today is the day.

instead, here is a piece that i wrote a few years ago and recently came across again. it's obviously from a time before i got stuck in the images and themes you find in everything i write today. kudos to you if you can recognize the eleven games referenced in it.

Simon says stop.
Simon says love me.
Simon says stay.
Break my heart.

I wish you were better at this game.

I'm going to jail without passing go, and you're climbing up chutes and not paying the five thousand for 
spinning a ten. You're not waiting for a one to start and peeking into envelopes marked confidential. I 
go fish until I'm drowning in cards, and you're declaring eights aren't special and every card can be 
crazy. You call 'uno' but your hands are full and go to Queen Frostine without an invitation.

I'm trying to play your games, but you're breaking all the rules, and I can't keep up when I don't know 
where up is. You're building castles out of the chaos you create and proclaiming yourself the winner.

You toss me to the side without a second thought, because whoever is stuck with the old maid at the 
end loses, and it figures that would be the one rule you follow.

also, here is a list of new year's resolutions for 20 somethings that i meant to post earlier, but never did.

*Set Fire to the Rain - Adele

Monday, January 2, 2012

it goes unnoticed

because vacations always throw my inner schedule off way more than what is traditionally acceptable, i realized pretty late yesterday that we were starting a new year. oh well. needless to say, i started twenty-twelve without much sparkly excitement and wishes for happiness. in fact, new year's eve saw me asleep at ten or eleven after watching the santa clause on tv and driving for a gazillion hours across the country, and new year's day found me stuck on the couch all day trapped in a marathon of the lying game, recuperating from all the business of the past week. (what is it about a marathon that makes it so hard to turn off? this must be scientifically studied.)

had i known it was new year's i probably wouldn't have done anything different, though. for one, this year is double even numbers which is like a slap in the face to me because i like odd. also, i don't know how your family vacations are, but after one of mine you need a day of nothing before you are back to normal. third, i was never one of the big new year celebrators anyway. i remember the first year i was allowed to stay up and watch the ball drop. i was so excited i couldn't speak, and it was the most anticlimactic moment of my life. i think i lost the new year's spirit then. and finally, i'm not a big hoper of a whole year of happiness. why should the whole year have to be happy? i find comfort in sadness, productivity in anger, and creativity in hopelessness. happiness is great for photo shoots and barbecues, but a year of happiness would be a total waste of time for me. and this year, i hope to do something worthwhile. (unless i get accepted to the phd program. then i'll just waste another year "educating" myself.)

the point is, this year started off slowly. today was supposed to be my productive day. there are bags and stuff just lying around from the florida trip that need to be unpacked and organized. there are dishes that need to be washed and clothes that need to be laundered. i have pictures i need to upload and songs i need to download.  but i can't stop yawning, and every second i wait the chores seem to multiply and i just don't feel like doing any of that today.

*Again I Go Unnoticed - Dashboard Confessional

Sunday, January 1, 2012

just realize what i just realized

it always feels so weird to come back from a trip, no matter how short. everything is exactly where and how you left it. everything's the same, except you. it's like you paused time, went off for a while, came back and unpaused it. and no one knows except for you. or, you know, everyone who knew you'd left. whatever.

anyway, instead of trip highlights, i've decided to compile a list of the realizations i made over the past ten or so days. this may get long. ready? here we go.

[one] it doesn't matter where a kid is from, what language s/he speaks, how old s/he is, what religion s/he practices or doesn't practice, or what kind of family s/he grew up in, they are all the same: ungrateful and obnoxious. there was not a single family that passed that didn't have at least one child crying about not getting to buy an ice cream or a souvenir, not getting to ride on a particular ride, being too hot or too cold, being hit by a sibling, being tired of walking, etc.  i mean, you are in disney world for goodness sake. shut up and enjoy yourself! and the parents are all tired from the early mornings, annoyed that they spent a gazillion dollars to listen to their kids whine a million miles away from home, and their feet hurt too. of course, the minute the kids get back to school, they'll immediately go into denial and remember the vacation as being the most amazing ever and start begging to go back. lesson learned: if i ever do have kids (my life so far has pretty much kidded me out) the first time they are going to disney world is with their own children. 

[two] virginia has the most boring licence plate in the entire united states. not only does our default not have any picture, it also doesn't have what county you live in, the state's motto/nickname/accomplishment whatever it is, or anything else. it doesn't even have the state name written in a pretty font or color. virginia was the home of more founding fathers than any other state, that should entitle us to at least a pretty font. i realize that we're really little more than DC's shadow, but we have our slightly pathetic "virginia is for lovers" thing going on, we could at least try to use that.

[three] there are still a few good kids out there. a very small few. i felt i should point them out after completely writing off children in the first point. there was the tiny kid that stopped to say bless you to me when i sneezed.  it sounds stupid, but he was really cute. there was the kid that, instead of just shoving past us in line to get to his family or pushing past with an 'excuse me,' stopped, excused himself, and waited patiently for us to let him pass before moving forward. and then there was the kid that, in the push and shove of amusement park foot traffic, accidentally bumped into us and came back to say that he was sorry. 

[four] turning into a semi-professional couch potato leads to killer foot pains when you suddenly decide to spend all day walking and standing in line. after a couple of days of pain, though, all of it went away and i made an incredible realization: i am invincible. the last day at the parks was exhausting and slightly painful, though, so my invincibility was a bit short-lived. 

[five] there are way too many harry potter fans in the world. way. too. many. harry potter world was super crowded, the stores were all pretty small so people were just squashed into them like sardines in a can, the lines to all the lines were really long, but it was still super amazing to finally get to go to it. and the forbidden journey ride was definitely one of my favorites from the vacation. 

[six] there are a lot of disgustingly bigoted people in the world. it's sometimes hard to remember this when i live in such a diverse community. but wow are people prejudiced. and racist. and stupid. 

[seven] and finally, mickey mouse is taller in person. 

*Realize - Colbie Caillat