It’s cold outside.

As an Oregonian, I’m used to he rain. I;m used to the cold/ But my fingers aren’t too accustomed to making snowmen out of the icy pellets of white stuff on the track. Especially not ten snowmen (one for each type of track event, examples pictured below). Whih is what I just fnished doing. I thought, to be authentic, I would show off how my fingets weren’t working at the moment ny not editing any of tjese ridiculous mistypes in this opening paeaagraph that are the result of my freezing fingers. So, now that you’ve fotten through this wacky paragrraph, here you have it: a conglomeration of my favorite winter-y/Christmas-y things in a blog post that may or nay not be easily readable.

Anyway, Christmas stuff.

First, I need to start this list by saying how much I love the look of water droplets on windows when it has snowed. Rain leaves big fat droplets that run in streaks down the windows, but snow flurries leave teeny-tiny little dots of water, which I absolutely love.

Next, hot chocolate. There is never a better time for hot chocolate than a white winter day. After some time outside, freezing off my fingers, I am perfectly content to come home to a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Whipped cream and sprinkles are an added  bonus, but not ultimately necessary.

Maybe the best part about winter is Christmas music. For the most part, I don’t even care what kind of Christmas music. Idina Menzel and Michael Buble’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is one of my favorites, though it is admittedly overplayed. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” is classic for a reason, and Scotty McCreery’s “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Mary Did You Know” should both be added to your Christmas playlists. These are a few of my favorites, but I really love any type of Christmas music. Feel free to tell me your favorites in the comments!

I also have a mild obsession with Christmas lights. My favorites are the buildings with simple lighting, strands of light that emphasize the peaks and ridges of the roofline without the clutter of millions of yard decorations. I also love when trees, bushes, and paths outside are lit up, again, simply. The lights can be beautiful without being obnoxious.

Another one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is Christmas poetry. I am always on the lookout for new Christmas poems, but I wanted to share one of my favorites with you. Maybe you can find a little oasis of peace in it in the midst of the craziness of the end of the semester, like I have.

Little Tree by: E.E. Cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”
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Moana: The Girl Who Loves Her Island, The Girl Who Loves The Sea

Alright, here it is…

This week, I had the full intention of using last week’s extra credit holiday write for my blog, but then I read Taylor’s post and just had to respond with my own take on Moana.

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Photo: disneymovies.uk

My family has never been one to go to the movies on Thanksgiving, but my sister and I are all for choosing the movies over shopping on Black Friday. This year, we met our cousin at the local theater and the three of us prepared to be amazed by Disney’s newest creation. We were two high schoolers and a college student waiting impatiently in line for tickets to a kids movie, and were probably more excited than the kids.

Since its release on November 18, the Moana soundtrack has been my go-to study music. I have wasted time watching interviews and behind the scenes clips from the making of the movie. I knew all the words to the songs before I even saw the film, and I set my expectations in the stratosphere.

In the end, while Moana didn’t shatter my absurdly high expectations, it certainly met them. I set that bar really high, half afraid I would be disappointed, but Disney lived up to everything I had hoped.

In their seemingly endless quest to break down the Disney princess stereotype, Moana has two loving parents (“she makes her whole family proud“), an independence streak like no other (“This is my canoe and you will journey to Te Fiti“), no love interest (just a demigod travelling companion and a sidekick chicken named Heihei), and is more than happy to stubbornly stick up for what she believes is right.

The music is easily my favorite part of this movie. The score, composed by Mark Mancina, is beautiful. It captures a Polynesian feel, is easily identifiable as a Disney animated movie score, and tells the stories of personified characters who don’t speak apart from the music (ie. the water, the Kakamora, and the island of Te Fiti). Lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda’s conversational lyrics and internal rhymes are right at home in this movie, too. They may be simple Disney tunes, but that’s exactly what they are intended to be, and are perfectly placed to complement the themes of the film.

You’re Welcome,” the catchy demigod song sung by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and “Shiny,” the awesome, super-catchy villain song, are both hilarious. “Where You Are” sets a precedent for island life and introduces the initial conflict, and Moana’s song “How Far I’ll Go” and its spattering of reprises demonstrate the driving motivation behind Moana’s journey perfectly.

The animation is beautiful, the voice actors and actresses are beyond talented, and the movie can easily be considered another win for Disney. Tangled (2010), Frozen (2013), and now Moana (2016) have all been game-changers in the world of Disney princesses, telling the stories of young, independent girls who display bravery and other-centeredness as they set out to do what is best for themselves and the people they care about.

A number of Disney tropes are present in the movie, for sure. There’s a girl who sets out on an adventure, with an animal sidekick, and spoiler becomes the hero of her own story. That is the tale Disney has begun to tell in their animated movies, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Just the opposite. When I went to watch Moana, that is exactly what I was looking for, and exactly what I got.

It’s okay that the movie is comfortable and safe; that’s the intent. I’m not looking for an animated Disney “princess” movie that breaks every wall and reverses every stereotype, and if you’re watching Moana, that’s probably not what you’re looking for either. I loved this movie, and will likely go see it again a few times before it leaves theaters. It definitely gets my recommendation.

 

The Significance of Lunchboxes

To be fair, I haven’t used a lunchbox since middle school. Nevertheless, I was at a complete loss as to the topic of my blog post this week, so I snapchatted my sister and asked what I should write about. She’s a high schooler and was at lunch, so she answered me with the following snap:

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Okay, well, I said I would write about whatever, so here goes.

I don’t remember what my first lunchbox looked like, but I do remember a few random ones that I used throughout my grade school days. Strangely enough, many of them were fuzzy. That’s weird. I don’t know why I loved fuzzy lunchboxes, but apparently I did.

One of these lunchboxes was cheetah-print, fuzzy from top to bottom. Another was Scooby-Doo, super glossy except for the dog, who kind of felt like polar fleece. I have no idea who would have thought to put soft fabric on a lunchbox, something that holds food for messy young children, but whatever. I think at some point I also had a fuzzy blue peacock lunchbox. No idea why.

Later in life, when I was older (like a middle schooler, woah!) I grew out of my fuzzy lunchbox phase. I replaced those atrocities with something more grown up. More mature. A tri-toned purple conglomeration of colors.

Nothing should really be three shades of the same color. Especially not purple. And especially not whatever color purple becomes when tossed into dusty lockers and slid across tables in middle school cafeterias. That’s just not a good thing.

Eventually, I realized this, and I came to my senses in eighth grade when I replaced my lunchbox with a super-depressing gray and black lunch pouch thing. After a lifetime of brightly colored lunchboxes, however, this one was just too boring. I put up with it until the end of the year, and haven’t bought a lunchbox since.

When my sister first gave me this topic, I was skeptical as to the actual significance of the lunchbox. Is a lunchbox really significant? In some ways, though, I think it is.

From personal experience, I can tell you to never judge a person by his or her lunchbox. I had more than my share of shamefully horrific lunchboxes, and I like to think they were not a reflection of my personality or my interests. At least I sure hope they weren’t. Despite this, I have memories attached to almost all of those lunchboxes.

After replacing the Scooby Doo lunchbox, it went in the infamous “bottom drawer” in my house. The bottom drawer in the dining room cabinet contained all the leftover party supplies- paper plates, plastic utensils, party napkins of all colors and designs, streamers, confetti, leftover party favors, and so much more. In a never-ending quest for organization, we used the Scooby Doo lunchbox to hold the streamers and confetti. Needless to say, it was a popular (and messy) source of entertainment for years. I still smile when I think about that lunchbox.

The purple lunchbox was used as a bowling ball/floor hockey puck on multiple occasions. The cheetah one (stupidly fuzzy) got passed around the table and petted on a regular basis. Many of my lunchboxes bring back memories of random lunchtime adventures and games, and in that way, I guess they are significant.

Thanks for the topic, Kalina.

High Jump?

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My teammate, Annie and I on the high jump mats

High jump
Why must you return so soon?
I know it has been seven months since I last faced you,
But couldn’t it be just a little longer?

I’m a jumper.
I should love high jump.
I grew up laying on the corner of the mats
As high school high jumpers practiced,
Rain or shine

My mom is a high jump coach.
My parents were both high jumpers.
They say it’s in my blood.
They’re clearly wrong.

I have a love-hate relationship with this event.
I always know what I’m doing wrong
But I can never fix it.

I knock off the bar with my ankles
Or I jump straight through it and wake up the next day
With an image of a crossbar bruised onto my back.

“Just jump, Dakota.”
“Stop thinking, Dakota.”
“Tighten your corner.”
“Eyes down the bar.”

Coaching.
High jump makes me so angry.

I know I need to just jump.
I know I need to stop thinking.
To tighten my corner.
To keep my eyes down the bar.

I just can’t do it.
But I want to.

I want to be be better,
To make improvements
For myself
And for my team.

The sun is out today.
It’s beautiful outside,
A rare, rainless fall day in Oregon.

The last home football game was last weekend
Which means we get our track back
(YES! FINALLY!)
And it’s time to get out the high jump mats.

The mats on the high jump apron
Make the track feel like home again.
I love seeing them every day.
I dread practicing on them.

I’ve made great progress since my freshman year.
High jump is the only event that has ever frustrated me to tears,
My wonderful teammates-my mentors-
Spent that year calming me down.

“It’s okay, Dakota.”
“You’re fine, Dakota.”
“You’ll get there.”
“Just give it your best.”

Deep breaths-
I set my shoulders
And lift my head.
I try again.

My sophomore year things were better.
There were few tears
And the ones that came remained at bay until after practice.
I glimpsed success.

I love making progress.
I love improvement.

This year, the event will be even better.
I will be the mentor.
My teammates need me to be strong
Like my teammates were strong for me in the past.

High jump is frustrating
But I don’t need to take it too seriously.
I can run my corner
And launch into the air

Eyes down the bar
Back arched
Snap the ankles
Land on the mats

All good.

Make changes.
Take coaching.
Improve.
But don’t think too hard.

Today, the sun is out.
The day is beautiful.
The high jump mats are out.
It’s time to work.

This year, high jump will be fun.
I will spend time with my teammates
I will laugh along with them
And work hard.

When my coaches tell me to
“Just jump, Dakota.”
“Stop thinking, Dakota.”
“Tighten your corner.”
“Eyes down the bar.”
I’ll try.

I don’t know if I can do it,
But I’ll give it my best attempt.
And I’ll get there.
I’ll keep telling myself:

I love high jump.
I love high jump.
I love high jump.
I love high jump.

A Definitive Ranking of Hamilton Songs According to Me

It has now been a solid month and a half (maybe longer) since I blogged about Hamilton, and I figured that I had let my obsession rest for long enough that I could stir it up again without sounding like a broken record. At least in my blog. My friends and family just tell me to shut up every time I mutter a Hamilton reference under my breath, which is basically all the time.
Nevertheless, in honor of the pre-order release and two song preview of the much-anticipated Hamilton mixtape at midnight last night I have decided to rank all forty-six Hamilton songs. That’s a lot of songs, so bear with me. Or just skip ahead to your favorites.

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Also, spoiler alerts here… but this is history so I’m not sure how much spoiling I can really do. I guess that depends on how well you paid attention in U.S. History.

  1. The Adams Administration

I understand the necessity of this song as it explains the changing political climate and sets up Hamilton’s political fallout, but it’s brief and disconnected from the personal fallout that we all know must be coming.

  1. Stay Alive (Reprise)

This song is just so sad it has to go towards the bottom of the list. Sept huit…

  1. Blow Us All Away

So maybe I just don’t like Phillip, but I feel like I should like him and this song doesn’t let me.

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  1. Schuyler Defeated

This sets up the fact that Burr and Hamilton’s relationship has hit a turning point and is now headed for destruction, but Phillip Schuyler doesn’t really have a role, and I’m not sure why he deserves to have a song named after him.

  1. What Comes Next

It seems weird that King George should be the one to bridge the gap between the end of the war and the founding of the United States, but it somehow works. Nevertheless, this song doesn’t really provide any new material, just a transition.

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Lancasteronline.com

  1. A Winter’s Ball

Despite some great lines like “we’re reliable with the ladies!” and “Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him,” this is another transition song. It does its job well, but it’s nothing special.

  1. The Story of Tonight (Reprise)

This is a super clever take on the first instance of this song, but Laurens, Lafayette, Mulligan, and Hamilton are supposed to be singing this melody to accompany ambition, not marriage. It doesn’t quite fit…

  1. Take a Break

I love that Angelica steps back into the scene here, and we’re introduced to Phillip’s sept huit neuf thing, plus we see Hamilton’s obsession with his work, but (sorry to burst your bubbles) this song isn’t historically accurate in the slightest and I’m not really sure why it’s here. Regardless, it gets about a bazillion bonus points for comma sexting.

"so do you 'dearest' like me or like 'dearest,' like me?":

  1. We Know

Yeah, Jefferson, Madison, and Burr are jerks. They’re just looking to dig up dirt on poor, innocent Hamilton. Oh wait…Hamilton’s a jerk too? And he’s having an affair? And being blackmailed? Okay… well then…

  1. That Would Be Enough

Eliza is perfect, and Hamilton can’t think about anything but fighting. This song is beautiful, but makes me incredibly ticked off at Hamilton. What’s new?

  1. The World Was Wide Enough

WHY MUST I FEEL SO MUCH EMPATHY FOR THE MAN WHO JUST KILLED THE PROTAGONIST? Why am I crying over the founding fathers? Why am I crying for the dude who shot Hamilton??? These emotions make no sense. The song leaves me conflicted. Parts of it are only okay, but then other parts (Hamilton’s soliloquy and Burr’s reflection) are really amazing.

i laughed until i cried:

  1. The Reynolds Pamphlet

Hamilton, you’re an idiot. I hate this. You just ruined your career AND your life. Congratulations. Redeeming factor: the “never gon’ be President now” is fantastic. Also, why in the world would Hamilton think Angelica was here for him?

  1. The Election of 1800

One last political decision by Alexander Hamilton: support the arch nemesis over the guy who could potentially be a friend. Good call. That’ll go over well.

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  1. The Story of Tonight

Raise a glass to raw, unchecked ambition and creating a legacy along with a nation. This song would be considerably higher on the list if John Laurens’s final “Raise a glass to freedom” letter was included on the cast album. Because wow.

  1. I Know Him

King George III has fully descended into madness at this point. “They will tear each other into pieces! Jesus Christ this will be fun!” He has absolutely no reason to still be popping up in this musical, but it’s so perfect we don’t even care.

  1. Your Obedient Servant

This song is so ridiculously passive aggressive.

To quote Lin: BAHAHAHA:

pinterest.com #YayHamlet

  1. Meet Me Inside

My all-time favorite line to scream at the top of my lungs: CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME!

  1. Stay Alive

Three things: One, Hamilton and Washington balance each other perfectly. Two, Lee is an idiot. Three, Hamilton actually shows some restraint until John Laurens shows up to drag him into the mud.

  1. Ten Duel Commandments

This song is beyond clever. Duels had a clear code of conduct, and they were generally accepted despite the fact that they obviously weren’t a good idea. This song explains the process clearly and creatively.

The Definitive Ranking of all the songs from Hamilton as defined by a college student during finals week currently procrastinating on studying.:

BuzzFeed- post by KerrKerrKerr

  1. Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

Hamilton finally gets his chance at battle, and he makes the most of it. Winning the war brings on this surreal feeling of success contrary to expectation, something that is fully realized in the soft tones of disbelief in the line, “The world turned upside down.”

  1. Cabinet Battle #2

“Should we honor our treaty, King Louis’s head?”

“Uh, do whatever you want, I’m super dead.”

Take that Jefferson, you Francophile.

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  1. Best of Wives and Best of Women

Eliza is perfect and Alexander waits until now to figure that out? Well, better late than never… too soon?

  1. Washington on Your Side

The rhymes in this song are SO GOOD! There are internal rhymes as well as end rhymes, and they’re extensive—not just boxed into cute little couplets. The first verse rhymes “reactions” with “factions,” “fractions,” “retractions,” “passion,” “ration,” and “cash in.” Also the speed of the raps increase as the tidal wave of heated opinions grow. It’s genius.

It must be nice / it must be niiiiice / to have Washington on your side…So, this wasn’t what I meant to draw today, but it happened, and I love it.:

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  1. Aaron Burr, Sir

How many times can we really rhyme “Burr” with “sir”? A lot. This song sets up Burr as Hamilton’s foil, friend, and enemy all at the same time.

  1. Farmer Refuted

I thought this song was super boring until I actually learned Hamilton’s part, and now it’s one of my favorites to sing. Hamilton just likes fighting with everybody, and apparently his “dog speaks more eloquently” than Samuel Seabury.

  1. Right Hand Man

Washington has easily the most epic entrance in the entire musical, and it suits him so perfectly. Hamilton’s idealism and ambition come to Washington’s notice, and by the end of the song Hamilton rises up as Washington’s aide-de-camp.

Hey, hey, hey, just remember that despite all that, we still won the war, alright? It's gonna be alright. Just you wait. Probably shouldn't brag, but dag, you amaze and astonish!:

  1. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

Eliza told everyone’s stories, and now Lin-Manuel Miranda is telling hers. Bonus points for Phillipa Soo’s slight inhalation of breath at the end of the song (which is the most satisfying ending ever), but minus points for the cheesy repetition of “the orphanage” in the middle.

  1. Say No to This

I know we pretty much all hate Hamilton for this song, but it’s REALLY good. And the “helpless” echoing Eliza’s declaration of love is heart-breakingly poignant.

  1. Non-Stop

“Hamilton wrote THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE!” I read the Federalist Papers, and that’s pretty much how they go. Enough said.

Why Do You Write Hamilton Quote by hannahrose143:

Redbubble.com

  1. Guns and Ships

One of the proudest moments in any Hamilton fandom experience is finally being able to rap this entire song. The only thing better is this post:

pretty much a les mis/ hamilton crossover. text post:

whoisberu.tumblr.com

  1. What’d I Miss

Jefferson not only missed the entire American Revolution, he also apparently missed the hip-hop revolution, as he is still stuck in the jazz age. You’ve got some catching up to do, Jefferson.

♪ THOMAS JEFFERSON'S COMING HOME ♫:

  1. You’ll Be Back

An early favorite, King George III’s love letter to the colonies is absolutely hilarious. It’s Beatle-esque tune and over-the-top confidence that the colonial uprising will fail make it the peak of comedy, and a much-needed escape from the onslaught of ambition that defines Act 1.

  1. Helpless

Eliza is so cute and shy and perfect. And she can sing. Like really sing. It’s a good thing she loves Alex so stinkin’ much, too, ‘cuz things are gon’ get rough. But for now it’s a fairytale and she scored Prince Charming.

  1. Hurricane

In the midst of flying insults, harsh political changes, and Hamilton’s own downward spiral, this song is literally the eye of the hurricane. It’s a much-needed moment of calm both musically and lyrically as time slows and Hamilton reflects on the events that have brought him to this point in his life.

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Redbubble.com

  1. History Has Its Eyes on You

The magic of this song is that it simultaneously humanizes George Washington, who would otherwise seem inhumanly perfect, and challenges Hamilton to think about the meaning of his actions.

  1. The Schuyler Sisters

The catchy lyrics and beautiful harmonies make this song stand out in all the best ways. When grade schoolers are in love with Hamilton, this is usually their favorite song, and that alone makes it really fun to sing. Plus, Peggy’s just great.

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  1. Cabinet Battle #1

An in-your-face argument in which the winner literally determines the financial future of the nation. That’s a high-stakes rap battle.

  1. One Last Time

Chris Jackson’s strong, smooth voice and an excerpt from Washington’s actual Farewell Address make this song an obvious candidate for the top-ten on this list. Washington believed our nation could live without him, and by the end of the song we have enough confidence in the American promise to know he’s right.

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  1. The Room Where It Happens

Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton get together to compromise over the U.S. financial plan and the location of the nation’s capital. That’s really boring, unless it’s told from the point of view of Aaron Burr—the guy who desperately wanted to be in the room but wasn’t invited. It’s a turning point for Burr as he realizes he needs to take action if he is going to find his way into the inner-circle of the political arena, but it’s also an awesome show-tune. Click boom.

  1. Burn

Eliza’s response to her husband’s public declaration of his infidelity is to erase herself from the narrative. To literally burn her correspondences and fade to the background. She has “married an Icarus. He has flown too close to the sun.” Hamilton had two wonderful, amazing, supportive, loving women on his side and he let them both go. This song is tragedy. Eliza is perfect.

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  1. It’s Quiet Uptown

She forgives him?!? Cue tears. Did I mention that Eliza is perfect?

  1. Alexander Hamilton

I love a good exposition song, and this one does not disappoint. It traces Hamilton’s journey from St. Croix to New York City and sets the stage for his philosophy of living every day like it’s his last. Plus it’s super catchy.

Want to write your first refrain? With this Hamilton Broadway Musical-themed pencil case you could grow up to be a hero and a scholar! Inspired by Hamilton. #Ham4Ham #Broadway #HamiltonMusical:

etsy.com

  1. Dear Theodosia

I’m not even a parent and this song makes me proud of my nonexistent children. And the youth of this nation. And this nation. Even in the midst of a political season when there is so much focus on the failings of our country and our political system, this song reminds me of the people who worked so hard to make the United States a nation that we could be proud of. They made something out of nothing with the knowledge that their children and their children’s children would continue to make it a better place. It’s not perfect, but they built a foundation for us, gave the world to us, and now it’s time for us to blow them all away.

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  1. Satisfied

Magic. With brilliantly constructed couplets, crisp raps, a powerful voice, and an even more powerful subject, Angelica’s logical tale of her love for both Hamilton and her sister is empowering and haunting.

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  1. Wait For It

This song is the reason I love Aaron Burr so stinkin’ much. Yes, his tendency to sit back and watch events play out is extremely contrary to Hamilton’s blind ambition, but it’s the result of his background, and is relatable in a lot of ways. He is willing to patiently wait for his chance at happiness and a legacy, which ends up working out pretty well for him. Plus, Leslie Odom Jr.’s voice just makes me melt inside.

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  1. My Shot

The perfectly penned couplets in this song are filled to bursting with poetic devices: internal assonance, parallel structures, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme, repetition, metrical patterns and variations, allegory, double-entendres, and so much more. Not to mention Lafayette’s navigation of the English language through rap, Burr’s definitive indecisiveness, a widespread frantic struggle to rise up, and Hamilton’s declaration that “I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry.” It took Lin-Manuel Miranda an entire year to write this song because he felt like Hamilton’s ambition was worthy of nothing short of perfection, and he rose to the occasion. Bravo.

I love this picture.:

CBS News

 

They Said It Wouldn’t Be Easy, But I Had No Idea How Right They Would Be.

They said junior year would be hard. I’m not entirely sure who “they” are, maybe my experienced older friends, maybe my professors, or maybe just my own understanding, but it turns out that the infamous “they” were right.

And I only thought I was prepared.

As I look through last year’s planner, I had two weeks that were so unbelievably busy that I had to cover them with sticky notes in order to fit everything on the page. This year, barely more than a quarter of the way through, I have already had three of these weeks. While I have always loved lists, and always made them for way too many things, I have no option this year except to live by them. They are undeniably necessary.

The past two years, hanging out with friends meant movie nights, game nights, road trips, and adventures. This year, it means sitting side by side doing homework in the library, sitting across from one another doing homework in coffee shops, or sitting together in our living rooms doing homework and drinking gallons of tea. Doing homework together is hanging out, too, right? Sure…

I used to laugh at those pictures of “college-ing” that just had to be staged: students sitting in a circle surrounded by books, papers, notebooks, portable speakers, and pizza, but I now know that those aren’t staged. I’ve been in that position. Proof:

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Until this year, I could afford to be distracted by Netflix and YouTube on a regular basis. It may have complicated my schedule a bit, but it really wasn’t an issue. This year, getting distracted by Netflix means working in split-screen mode. I’m currently working with my blog post on the left of my screen and The Voice on the right side. Multitasking for the win.

When I first made my schedule for this year, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I piled up a full schedule of upper-level literature and writing courses on top of my honors program class, then added Aquatics with my friend, just for fun. On top of that, I committed to being a track team captain, a middle school small group leader at my church (an hour drive from school), and working ten hours a week at the ARC. On top of all that, I am currently compiling an extensive proposal for a summer Richter research grant on the history of the Socratic Method in education. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love everything I have committed to, and I wouldn’t change any of it, but it’s crazy.

This year, I am learning the true meaning of college-ing. My freshman self thought she knew what was up, but she had no idea. Now, I am learning what it means to embrace the madness of never-ending piles of homework, to remember that I love the work and can enjoy it even though I am facing deadlines and requirements. Because if I didn’t love the work, I couldn’t survive; I would drown in the color-coded sea of items on my to-do list.

Blog post done… check that off the list for the week… time to read some William Wordsworth… or some Walt Whitman… or some Henry David Thoreau… or the book I’m going to review… or write a proposal for my C.S. Lewis thesis paper… or a proposal for my Pride and Prejudice thesis paper… or an outline for my honors thesis paper… or… or… or…

While I do all of that, I’ll keep up my split-screen magic. After I finish The Voice I can watch the new Hamilton’s America documentary, again, while I work. Because multitasking keeps me sane. Because junior year is crazy. Because they said it wouldn’t be easy, but I had no idea how right they would be.

The Art of Popping Popcorn, pt. 2

In September 2015, I wrote a blog post titled The Art of Popping Popcorn. It was about the tricks and challenges of popping an appropriate amount of popcorn when working the concession stand at a high school football game. (link: https://brighterthanshadow.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/the-art-of-popping-popcorn/)

Image result for popcorn

Photo Source: newhealthadvisor.com/Is-Popcorn-Gluten-Free.html

Because of my absurd love of popcorn, I have decided to return to this dearly beloved topic, but with a different angle. Popping popcorn at a concession stand, the challenge comes with how much to pop in order to not run out. Popping popcorn in my own kitchen, for my own enjoyment, the challenge comes with knowing 1) how much I should actually eat and 2) what to put on it.

For an avid popcorn lover such as myself, the answer to question one is obvious at first, but then becomes significantly more challenging. Initially, I scoop half a cup of unpopped popcorn into my air popper and plug it in. Half a cup of kernels typically produces about sixteen cups, or one full gallon, of popcorn.

The real problem here comes twenty to thirty minutes later when I finish my first gallon of popcorn. Do I pop more? This is dependent on multiple variables. The first is whether or not any of my roommates are stealing handfuls of my popcorn. If they are, then I clearly make another batch to compensate. If not, then I look at my current activity:

If I have less than a half hour of homework left, no more popcorn. If I have more than a half hour of homework left, popcorn.

If I am watching a movie, probably not popcorn. I just shovel it into my mouth when things get intense. It’s not important.

If I am reading a book for fun, POPCORN POPCORN POPCORN!!! I shovel it into my mouth when things get intense. It’s important.

If I’m not doing homework, watching a movie, or reading a book once I’m home for the evening, I’m probably asleep. I’m not eating popcorn if I’m asleep, though I might be dreaming about it.

The second important question to consider when popping popcorn is the issue of toppings. These vary greatly from night to night, so I’ll simply list some of my favorites:

  1. Plain. This is the way I usually eat my popcorn. It’s easy, it’s boring, and it’s relatively healthy. Plain popcorn is my go-to.
  2. Butter and salt. This is my favorite popcorn topping, and tends to be my number two choice.
  3. Butter and Lawry’s Seasoning Salt. A fun alternative to butter and salt. This is my number two choice when I don’t have regular salt. Which is almost always.
  4. Kettle corn/sugar. I love kettle corn, but I’ve never figured out how to make it in my air-popper, so I generally only eat kettle corn when I have microwave popcorn.
  5. Parmesan cheese and garlic salt. This is a GREAT topping combo, and I really should make it more often. Maybe tonight…
  6. Caramel corn. This is good, but it’s a lot of work- more of a Saturday afternoon kind of popcorn. And I actually like caramel-covered Corn Chex better.
  7. Butter and cocoa. For a yummy, chocolate flavored option, drizzle butter and chocolate milk mix over the popcorn.

Basically, I just really love popcorn. If you have any favorite toppings I didn’t mention, I would love to see them in the comments!