December 12, 2011

Farewell, until we meet again

Dear NCC,

Well, we've officially broken off our relationship with each other.  I wish I could say that it was an easy break-up, but honestly it hurt to leave you.  It was your fault you know, but I don't blame you for being more expensive than I can handle right now.

I just wanted to know that the time I spent you seriously rocked.  Really, last year was awesome.  I had a great time living in Peter and Paul and getting to know some of the most amazing people in Naperville.  We had some fun times... movie nights with a bunch of people crowded in the small rooms, holding raids on rooms (like the time a group of us dragged most of Maddy and Monique's things out into the hallway), dance parties in the laundry room/lounge in the basement, having a big movie night in Ali's room the night of the blizzard before heading out to go to the park in the middle of a white out, creating random dance videos... and many more great times.

The stuff I did outside of dorm life was pretty awesome as well.  Getting to help out with "The Phantom of the Opera" in the fall and "Elephant's Graveyard" in the spring, working in admissions for winter term with my super cool admissions buddies, working for events like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Vienna Boys Choir, getting to be part of the College Scholars program and meeting all the wonderful people involved with it (especially Professor Hamalis) and going to events like the retreat, free dinners at the nice restaurants in town and the winter chocolate party.

We even had a bit of a summer romance... I saw you a couple of times a week while I worked in admissions, gave tours and tried to persuade people to come to school here as we died in the heat.  And the summer mailing... I think it was 19,000 envelopes that we labeled and stuffed.  It was insane, but so much fun.

This year you weren't as kind to me with the scheduling, I was more stressed out than last year, but we still had a good time.  Living on Seybert 3rd at North End *North End!* with the awesome people from Peter and Paul and other places that we'd dragged in to live with us.  Going to see Breaking Dawn at midnight, running up and down the halls and getting yelled at by 2nd floor, attending the Sesquicentennial Homecoming festivities... I have some very good memories of those times.

But for every thing there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.  We just weren't meant to be together any longer, and so our paths have parted.  I don't hold it against you, and I hope we can still be friends.  I do plan on visiting you very often.  As for what lies in my future now... I'm not really that sure, but looking back over my brief past with you, I can say with certainty that you played a large part in shaping who I am today and I will always remember you with great fondness.  Who knows, maybe we'll get back together again some day. Even if we don't, you'll always be the school I love.

Sincerely yours,

November 14, 2011

Once Upon a Time there was a Grimm...

Now matter how old you are, you're never too old for fairy tales.  Re-writes of fairy tales as novels, modern twists on classic favorites, live action movies... fairy tales never lose their wonder or appeal.  And this fall, fairy tale lovers, you are in luck, because on TV there is not just one but two fairy tale inspired shows for you to enjoy.

Crime shows are probably one of the most popular genera of tv shows out there.  Grimm feeds into that genre, but Nick Burkhardt isn't your ordinary cop and, as the show's tagline reads, these villains aren't your ordinary suspects.

NBC's new television drama Grimm taps into both the crime and the fairy tale worlds.  Nick, the main character, discovers when his elderly aunt comes to visit, that he is the last of the Grimms. The Grimms are, it turns out, hunters.  Hunters of supernatural creatures who threaten the world.  The fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm aren't just innocent tales to entertain listeners, they are veiled warnings about the monsters that are out there.

Each episode parallels a different tale - such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".  Living up to their name and the threatening premise, these modern adaptions are anything but innocent fairy tales.  It is part crime show, and with that does come some very intense scenes and a bit of violence and blood.

The main cast is done very well, and you get the feel of Nick's struggle as he tries to deal with and uphold his family legacy, while keeping it from his best friend and partner Hank and his girlfriend Juliette.  Nick isn't totally alone in his adventures, when things with supernatural creatures get a little tense, Nick calls up his reluctant sidekick Eddie - a reformed "big bad wolf" - who not only adds insight into the supernatural, but some pretty hilarious moments to lighten the mood as well.

Overall, while younger viewers may use caution when deciding whether or not to watch, older fans of fairy tales and cop stories will enjoy the suspense and action that is Grimm.

I'm new to the world of television shows, and while I've discovered many entertaining and very enjoyable shows this fall, the crown jewel of them all is Once Upon a Time.

ABC's Once Upon a Time (OUaT)  has closer ties to fairy tales then does Grimm.  You see, the character's lives don't just parallel fairy tale characters, they are fairy tale characters.  The main cast? Snow White, Prince Charming, an Evil Queen, Rumpelstiltskin, a Huntsman, a young boy named Henry who is the son of Emma... the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.  The premise?  On Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding, the Evil Queen cast a curse upon the couple and everyone in attendance.  They would lose everything they held dear and would be doomed to a world where the only happy ending was the Queen's.  Seeking the aid of Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White and Prince Charming discover that their unborn daughter is the only way they can be saved from the curse.  The evening their daughter is born, the Queen casts her curse and sends everyone to the world with no happy endings: our world.

There is nothing to dislike about this show.  The characters are amazingly well developed and each has an intriguing back story that is told through flashbacks throughout the episodes.  Each person, even the most minor of characters, is well developed and completely believable.  The costumes are gorgeous and very well designed (with the possible exception of the Queen's guard...).  The plot lines of each episode are engrossing and leave your jaw hanging at the end, each time, without fail.  The soundtrack is fantastic as well, and really adds to the drama.

Having a 10 year old boy as a main character and the very close connections to the fairy-tales keeps this show clean and one that can be appreciated by younger viewers as well.  So if you love fairy tales and you love good stories and characters, do yourself a favor and begin with Once Upon a Time.

November 11, 2011

A Sesquicentennial Celebration

Try saying that phrase five times fast....

One hundred and fifty years ago today, in 1861, classes began for the first time at North Central College, then known as Plainfield College.  The initial student population was a grand total of 40.

In 1864, the college's name was changed to North-Western and remained so until it was changed again to North Central College. (Allegedly, this was because even way back in the day, our football team was awesome, the other North Western had a lousy team, and the Chicago papers kept attributing our victories to them.  We weren't too happy with that and changed our name.)

Now, it's 11-11-2011, we're still North Central College and celebrating 150 years of awesomeness.  This afternoon, we'll have a convocation honoring our heritage as a liberal arts college, this evening, sixty-five years after the ban on dancing was lifted by a group of students who became the student organization now known a CUAB (who played a large role in planning this weeks activities, and of which I am a proud member), we'll celebrate with a Gala attended by faculty, alumni and students.  Tomorrow, we'll celebrate the fact that we still have a super awesome football team with our annual homecoming game.

Happy Birthday North Central!

November 9, 2011

The Biggest Night in Country Music

Live blogs are a lot of fun, and since I haven't done one yet on this blog, what better reason to than for the 45th Country Music Awards?  It'll probably be a random jumble of thoughts... anyhow, hope you enjoy!

First off... Single of the Year goes to The Band Perry and "If I Die Young".  This was tough choice for me... some of the other options were Colder Weather, Don't You Wanna Stay and Honey Bee... I love IFDY though, so I'm happy for them! And wow, Miranda Lambert is giving a cool performance!  Loving the flames (fake or real?) shooying up in the background.  Very cool.

And now SONG OF THE YEAR!  Hmm... gosh, I don't really know who I want to win this either... Band Perry already one one... Taylor Swift and Mean was a good one... and Colder Weather is up again too... and  it's If I Die Young!  That is really exciting for them... I mean, being a new music group and winning the first two awards of the CMA.  That is pretty cool stuff. Also, I love how they are sibling group, it's so cute.

Oh my GOSH!  It's Rascal Flatts and Natasha Beddingfield or whatever her last name is... singing Easy! I just LOVE this song... I don't know what it is about it... the musicality of it is awesome, and their voices work so well together.  Honestly, I think it's Rascal Flatts' best song to date.  It's got so much emotion and power behind it.

EEPS!!! Snow White and Prince Charming from "Once Upon a Time" are presenting Vocal Duo of the year... and it's going to Sugarland!  Haha, yes... I love those two.  Both Snow and Prince, and Sugarland. They are all fantastically awesome.  This is a really cool show. And now Thompson Squared is singing "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not".  SUCH a cute song, and they're married.  How much better does it get?

Ooh, and it sounds like Taylor Swift is singing a new song, I'm guessing it's called "This Love is Ours", just based on the refrain.  Another love song from her of course, but it's a cute song... basically life is hard, and people are judgmental and it doesn't matter what other people think about a relationship, because "this love is ours".  She has on a cute pink sweater... sorry, that was a bit ADD, haha.  And Miss Piggy just showed up and slapped Brad Paisley.  That was honestly pretty awesome.

Now going on to Album of the Year... Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, BRAD PAISLEY! (Voted for him!), Zac Brown Band... And it's Jason Aldean.  Well, congrats to you buddy!  (Wish it had been Brad though...) ha... okay... and there's an old guy dressed up as Justin Bieber (apparently he's aged a lot recently) and Carrie and Brad are teasing him about the whole "baby" thing.
Brad: What's the name of your new song again?
"Justin": It's called "It's not my baby, Baby."

Oh wow... okay, this has nothing to do with the CMA, preview for the next Alvin and the Chipmunks movie... chipmunks singing Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance".  Sorry... but I think the Chipmunks totally beat out Gaga as far as coolness goes.

This is pretty awesome... some Nashville students are singing a little bit of "If I Die Young" and playing with Brad Paisley, and he's promoting "Keep the Music Playing", the music education program in schools that the CMA donates a lot of money too.  I love that they are dedicated to music education, and realize how important it is that schools have programs.

One thing that's cool about the awards is getting to see everyone's sets and costumes.  Carrie has had some cool, yet interesting, dresses tonight... the white piece she had when the night started out was pretty cool, and the lead singer from The Band Perry has this gorgeous red, sequined, long formal dress.  The set for the song is cool too.. it's like an old west/covered wagon set up.  Miranda's set with the fire that I mentioned earlier was pretty neat as well, as was Taylor's casual living room set up for her song.

And now we have Vocal Group of the year!  Lady Antebellum... Little Big Town... Rascal Flatts... The Band Perry... Zac Brown Band... My vote is Lady A... and the winner is... Lady Antebellum! Woot!  Now for a song from Sugarland, I haven't heard this one before.  Jennifer has a pretty sweet jacket going on there....

This song will totally make my night.  "Remind Me", by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.  Two of my all time favorite country stars... an awesome song... and they're singing it together.  And can I just say I love Carrie's dress for this... it's so long and full, and flowy and a really cool fabric and - well, other than the slit in the side all the way up her leg - it's a really lovely dress.

Now, time for the New Artist of the Year... Luke Bryant, Band Perry, Thompson Squared and Chris Young. I vote Band Perry.... and it's.... The Band Perry! Those folks are doing really great tonight. =) Now it's Scotty McCreery!  That kid seriously has an amazing voice for someone his age.  And he sounds so much like Josh Turner... it's great.

Male Vocalist of the Year... Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban... HOW TO CHOOSE??? Um... Blake! And he won!  I've really come to like Blake, his song "God Gave Me You" is just beautiful, "Honey Bee" is super sweet and wonderful too.  I'm also super happy that he and Miranda Lambert got married, they are such a cute couple, and I hope they last. I've gotten to see him in concert too, so that's another point to his awesomeness.

Tonight also welcomes back Faith Hill!  She hasn't performed on the CMA's in 5 years, and now she's singing her first single release in quite a while.  It's a really sweet song called "Come Home".  Congrats to Faith on her new song, it's beautiful.

Female Vocalist of the Year - Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood.  I vote Carrie! And it's Miranda Lambert! Awww.... that is so sweet though, her husband got Male Vocalist and she got Female Vocalist. I do like Miranda, she has some lovely songs and she's just adorable.

And then... after the commercial break... it'll be time for Entertainer of the Year award!  It's Jason Aldean vs Brad Paisley vs Taylor Swift vs Blake Shelton vs Keith Urban.  This is a tough choice... hmm well... I think it's competition between Brad, Blake and Keith, I'm voting for Brad Paisley.  He has great songs and gives amazing concerts.  We'll have to see once the commercials end....

They are back! And... what the heck is Carrie wearing?  Wow... green greek goddess like dress with... basically no front.  Reba has a super cute dark green formal on though - and now she's about to announce who won... Taylor Swift!  Haha, you go girl!  Aww, she looks so happy and surprised, and I love her dress.  This is so cute... she's thanking all the people who have sang with her at various concerts and she wrote the list on her arm so she wouldn't forget.  I'm glad she one, she's such a sweet girl and super famous but very down to earth about it.

Well... that's it for this year!  I had fun and if you got a chance to watch the awards, I hope you did too! Until the next time.

October 25, 2011

The things one does late at night...

It's not often I'm still creatively functioning by 11pm at night, but on the occasions when I am, interesting things can happen.

Tonight, for example... or rather, last night since it's now this morning.... I was chatting with the boyfriend and I look out the window to see a firetruck and an ambulance parked in the street by my dorm.  Being curious, I of course stood by my window to see what was going on and ran down the hallway to look out the window at the end and get a better view.  Nothing was happening though, so I lost interest and went back to chatting, reassuring Paul - who was concerned that my curiosity might get me into trouble - that I had stayed inside, and I only would've gone outside to see what was going on if there had been police cars and people running around.

He mentioned a murder for some reason, and before long we'd come up with a plan where - if I went outside to see what the excitement was about, bumped into the murderer and was taken hostage - he would come find and rescue me, propose and win the lottery all in the same night.  With the money from the lottery and the reward money from catching the murderer, we could then drop out of college and elope. 

He dozed off around then, and I ended up figuring out whether or not a murderer would be more likely to take me hostage or just kill me... and then, if I got hostaged (yes, as of tonight, that's a word) by drug dealers if I would stay alive longer if Paul was taking too long to rescue me.  I think I decided that I'd stay alive longer with the murderer who would only have a knife and/or a gun, and the knife could get dropped and the gun run out of bullets from shooting at the cops.  The drug gang, on the other hand, would probably have knives, guns and plenty of drugs they could give me an overdose of to kill me with.

The above comment prompted a status update on Facebook, which then led to a 119 comment conversation between two friends of mine and me - the outcome of which was that a) if Paul and I ever eloped, Paul would not stay alive for very long and b) we're going to have awesome bachelorette and bachelor parties - my party will be Doctor Who/Fairy Tale themed and his will involve paintball and swords.  Oh, and my wedding colors are now Tardis and Our Lady blue...

And then I left that conversation to go hang out *cough* quietly *cough* with some floormates, practice my angry ghetto face and hide in the bathroom.  Now it's 1:40 and I'm still not tired... I think I'll go do some French homework...

October 11, 2011

Little Update and Photoshop

I actually have a minute to breathe this morning, so I thought I should do a brief post since I've been neglecting this blog recently.

Yeah, it's week 5 already - half way through the term!  I have absolutely no idea where those first five week went to... it seems like I just moved back in yesterday.  I had my first midterm yesterday and it did go better than I thought it would.  It was in science though, so I'm not holding out too much hope for an A.  If I get a B, I'll be very happy with that.

Something non-school related... oh, I've watched the first three episodes of X-Men Evolution.  I think I'm hooked.  I just met Rouge this morning and I'm very excited to see more of her in the upcoming episodes.  And the episodes are only 20 minutes long... which works out great for in between scheduled stuff or as a brief homework break.

Busy day today... work, a work related seminar, meeting for more work and then my photoshop class.  Assignment 3 is actually due today, or at least I can assume so since we talked about it last week in  class.  (Let's just say our professor doesn't always communicate the best on assignments...)  This weeks assignment was a photo essay, and it had to tell - well originally just some sort of story, but now apparently is has to be deep, compelling and have some sort of profound meaning to it.  Which probably just means, she has to be able to understand and connect with it.  Forget about what kind of meaning it has to us.  So we'll see how that goes.  I decided to go dark and depressing and hope that she thinks its meaningful enough...

September 17, 2011

Week One - Over!

It is past midnight now, which means it is Saturday, the school week is over and I am done with week one of sophomore year!  It has gone pretty well and I'm not swamped with assignments and homework (yet) so that is good.  I suppose the easiest thing to do is to give you a little bit of an overview of my classes now, since I'm sure I'll be referring to them further on in the future (which you can skip ahead to now, if you can figure out how to work the Tardis).

French 101 - this one is fairly self explanatory.  It's a class on how to learn French and it's the beginners class. Mon professeur est magnifique! She is a lovely lady, very friendly and encouraging and today in class she asked for a volunteer to do the tango with her while we sang "etres", or "to be" verbs.  Not what I had planned on doing when I went to class this morning, but fun nonetheless! 

History of Ideas: Medieval Thought - I suppose the simplest way to describe this is that it's... well... the history of ideas.  The HOI series is a five course series, each of which covers a different period in history.  So we start out with Greek and Hebrew, then Roman and Christian, then Medieval, then I think Early Modern and then 19th/20th Century Thought.  In each class there is a book list of on average 10-12 books selected from various authors of the time period and will usually be a variety of different sources - religious, philosophy, poems.  You read more pages then you thought was possible and end up resorting to spark notes because you ran out of time, and then discuss the readings in class.  I personally have really enjoyed the classes I've taken (G&H - Med.)... it's an honors class, so the students who are in the class want to be in the class and they enjoy learning, which makes such a wonderful difference in the tone of the classroom.  It's not a lecture by the professor on the readings for an hour, it's an active discussion where the goal is that the professor talks as little as possible.  Sometimes I wish they would talk the whole time... the professor's I've had have been so incredibly brilliant that I love listening to their thoughts on the readings.  In this class, Medieval, there are only seven of us registered for this section, which has provided a very different atmosphere so far, which I've really enjoyed.  We started off with reading The Rule of Saint Benedict, an absolutely fascinating read that I highly recommend.  The rest of the schedule involves Beowulf, readings from Martin Luther, Erasmus and Thomas Aquinas.

Landmarks Discoveries in Science - What did I get myself into?  It says right in the syllabus that if you have not taken Math 121 or higher, then expect to encounter difficulty with the course.  I took the math for dummies class that they have here.  We were reading Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of the Scientific Revolution for Wednesday... didn't understand a word of it.  It's so... science-y.  At least The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of western Thought has been easier to understand.  I absolutely love the professor though.  He knows what he is talking about, and he must know how boring of a topic this could be because he is so funny that you end up wanting to read 70 pages of Kuhn (almost).  Today he was talking about paradigms and alternative theories and offered an alternative theory to gravity, explaining why pens fall to the ground. "Now an alternative theory as to why this pen falls to the ground is that over the years people have dropped pens and the little bits of ink that accumulate on the floor are the ancestors of the ink in this pen here. So the pen falls to the floor because it wants to rejoin its ancestors".   So if the idea of gravity just doesn't appeal to you, there is alternative theory for you.

Image Processing - This is my light class of the term, only 1.5 credits and one day a week.  The idea of this class is to learn Photoshop, which I am very excited for... I've done a little bit and am loving it already... as well as creating aesthetically pleasing, original artwork.

Voice Lessons - I am very excited to be taking voice lessons!  I recently discovered that I can, in fact, sing in tune and sound good enough to perform without embarrassing myself, so I decided that if that was the case then I wanted to take voice.  I've had piano lessons before, but never vocal, so this is brand new and exciting!  I had my first lesson this week, half an hour, and my instructor is a very sweet, very friendly lady.  I mentioned I was learning french, so two of the first songs I'll be learning are in french (!), and the third one is "I Could've Danced All Night" - my absolute favorite song from My Fair Lady.

And that is my class line-up for Fall Term 2011!  In addition, I'm also acting as assistant news and assistant photo editor on "The Chronicle", our campus newspaper, member of CUAB, the student activities board, publicist for the Pro-Life Club and working as an office aide in our Office of Admissions and on the Production Staff*.  Speaking of which... I should go to bed now, as it is 1AM and I have a long work day tomorrow for a show the Callaway sisters, Liz and Anne are doing at our concert hall.  And yes, that Liz Callaway - singing voice of Anastasia and Odette.  Be jealous.

*Production Staff: noun The student workers who get payed to do homework and watch the cool shows they work,work sound and lights and - depending on the show - do actual work like hanging lights, lifting heavy speakers and other show paraphernalia.  Related terms: Babysitting jobs and work.

Babysitting job: noun When the student workers sit in the theater, turn lights and mics on and off once or twice, do homework and wait until the people leave so they can lock the doors.

Work: noun When the student workers earn every last cent they get payed and make up big time for the babysitting jobs.  Involves lifting equipment almost as tall as you are, running between four different theaters to find the right equipment and doing other strenuous labor.

September 10, 2011

Summer's End

Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone
All her fair lovely companions
Are faded and gone
~ Thomas Moore

Finally, my summer is over.  To all of you who are in school and still wishing for a few more weeks of vacation that sigh of relief may seem a bit crazy.  From my point of view though... everyone else on a semester schedule is gone and back in school and I'm like the rose in the poem I quoted up at the top of this post.   Oh trimesters, why must you start so late and keep me waiting around with nothing to do but go to work?  Which isn't a bad thing, of course, money is great and a bit necessary... but I am ready to be back in school with all my friends, see all my favorite professors and faculty again yes - I am saying this - I am ready to be doing homework and stressing over deadlines again.  In a week or two I may be taking this paragraph back, but for now, I am ready for summer to be over and my college life to start up again.

There is a little corner of me that doesn't quite want this summer to end though, or not yet anyhow.  Because honestly, this has been the best summer of my life so far.  When it started out, I though it was going to be a normal, relaxing, relatively quiet summer and not the beautiful, miraculous summer that it was.

Because you see, dear reader, this summer the boy I've liked on and off and in varying degrees for the past three years somehow managed to fall in love with me and ask me to be his girlfriend. I've been discovering first hand the challenges of a long distance relationship, but every moment we've skyped or chatted has been wonderful, and the five days that turned into an unexpected eight days due to a hurricane and canceled flights were a dream come true.  I've never been happier.  Perhaps another reason I'm glad summer is over is because then I'm that much closer to Christmas and being able to see him again.

At any rate, next summer is going to have a lot to live up to.  

September 7, 2011

A Time to Blog

So here I am, back again in the blogging world.  It's been a while, well, eight months.  Which is a while.  Usually the first thing I do when I start a blog is write a little bit about me, but now Blogger has the nifty thing where you  can create pages so I can create an "About Me" page rather than writing a post.  So I guess I'll ramble a little bit about blogging and why I started this one.

This isn't my first blog, I've created a few of my own in the past and co-written a few others.  My very first one was this little place called "A Rose in Bloom" which I kept going for nearly three years.  It faded away about Christmas-time in college, both because of time and mainly because that blog was created with a different Google account than my e-mail, which meant I had to sign out of Gmail if I wanted to blog which meant I couldn't chat with friends... so the blog was left by the wayside.  Recently though, as I've been following the blog of my dear friend Elenatintil and reading about her new college adventures the blogging bug bit me again and I decided it was something I wanted to get back into.  I really do love to write and I've missed writing about... well, whatever I felt like writing about.  College papers only provide so much joy and satisfaction.  Rather than revamp Rose in Bloom, I decided to create this brand new blog with a brand new name and a brand new look and a brand new Blogger that will allow me to be signed into Gmail AND Blogger at the same time so I can chat with my friends and write all sorts of random posts about my life, movies I watch, music I listen to and adventures I don't have, all at the same time.

Seriously, how much better does it get?

March 20, 2011

I am...

Nineteen years old today!  Wow...

Yup, that is as much of a post as you are getting out of me right now.  ;) 

Nineteen sounds a lot older than eighteen.. and just think, next year I'll be TWENTY.  *faints*

February 7, 2011

Rest in Peace Brian Jacques

Sad, sad news.  I found out today that Brian Jacques, author of one my favorite series Redwall and my third favorite trilogy The Castaways of the Flying Dutchmen passed away this past weekend from a heart attack. 
May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.