Summer: A Photo Summary

Alternatively read as, “Hey guys, I’m still alive!”


So… yeah, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. Again. I’m sorry, any of my actual readers. It’s not that I’ve lost my love of writing (you see that new sticker in the sidebar? Yeaaaaaaah), it’s just that shenanigans haven’t been so funny that I’ve absolutely had to blog about them, and, quite frankly, I’ve forgotten how to be a responsible adult. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from returning with updated bios and new pictures in tow! Each of these (or at least, each cluster of these) would probably have constituted a post in its own right if I had written about them right when they happened, but you know how it is—shenanigans are a lot less interesting in retrospect.

That doesn’t mean they’re not interesting, though.

So yeah, here you go!


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Summer got off to a good start when the Hoopers took Eric to Casa Blanca for his birthday. Finn’s response to these shenanigans?

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You get the idea.

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Fritz expresses his opinions very eloquently through Snapchat.

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This was written in response to a group chat message from Fritz that read, “Please note: Rosario Vampire is easier to take in as a manga.”

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Long story short, Eric sympathized with Finn and I about a friend being stupid, and in response we bought him a cupcake. Not to be too nice, however (we are tsundere), we included a special message of our own. (I censored it because of reasons, but you get the idea.)

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I had to go to a doctor’s appointment in Birmingham, and Finn agreed to come with me. On the way back we got stuck in a three-hour traffic jam in my car, which has no air conditioning. By the time we found these stickers, Finn had already given in to madness.

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My eventual retaliation.

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Makeshift Pathfinder campaign (for my little brothers) is makeshift.

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The only right way to watch the anime.

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Finn attempting to do something nice, once again failing with simple tasks, such as using plastic bags.

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Little brother, two days before convention: “I want to cosplay Edward Elric!” My response.

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The finished product, featuring the youngest Hooper boy as Luffy! And finally…

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FINN. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.


There you have it, folks. A whole summer’s worth of antics summarized in poorly taken pictures. Do you feel enlightened now?

(Yeah, I should probably go back and write better captions for them. Oh well. I do what I want.)

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The Vortex Club

So, I retrieved my iPad from my mother for the first time in ages and decided to go through old notes, since I, as someone who likes writing, often used to jot ideas down there and forget about them. While there, I discovered a pitch for a book that our very own Scout came up with one day while we were in high school. It was so good, I thought I’d post it here for everyone’s enjoyment. Without further ado, I present to you “The Vortex Club.”


A group of friends goes to school every day, but when they open their classroom door, they’re sucked into a vortex. The vortex spits them out a few seconds later, but to everyone else it’s the end of the school day. Then, one day, the kids get sucked into the vortex and it doesn’t spit them out AND THEY DIE HAHAHAHA.

The end.

A Japanese Learner’s Dream

There is a certain type of person with which you are probably acquainted. If you know me, you certainly are. If you’re getting your toes wet with a popular show that you may not even realize is an anime (this was Pokémon, in my day), you may be converting soon without even realizing it.

That’s right, I’m talking about the otaku.

“Otaku” is the term used (in Western culture) to refer to those annoying geeks who basically do nothing but watch and read anime and manga. I’m talking about those nerds with all of the buttons and plushies, the ones that randomly insert Japanese words into conversation (Sugooooiii~! Kawaiii!). In Japan, the term apparently carries a much more negative meaning (apparently arising from the honorific form of “house,” implying that people of this type are “reluctant to leave their houses“), but that, of course, doesn’t dissuade the Westerners who adopt it, declare it, literally live it.

Why do I bring this up? Because often otaku become Japanese learners and, less rarely, vice versa. I am one of the few in which this mutation occurred backwardly—I began as a simple student of many languages and, as I honed in on Japanese, mutated into the kind of person who screams “kawaii” at pictures of anime couples.

(You think I’m kidding. 90% of my “abnormal” Japanese vocabulary comes from anime—I can tell you how to say “Hey, hey, Papa, can I have some wine?” [ねえねえPAPA、ワインをちょうだい?] and “Equivalent Exchange” [等価交換], but not something simple, like, for example, “Chemistry is magic.”)

My friends will readily tell you that I easily fall within the category of “otaku.” I have entire playlists dedicated to Japanese music (in fact, I used to go to sleep with the Fullmetal Alchemist soundtrack playing in the background); I’ve planned multiple cosplays and actually staffed a convention, and fangirl simply being in the same room as a person from Japan. Since returning to campus, I have been to multiple events that have brought tears to my little otaku eyes.

The first was a Japanese movie night hosted by our Japanese department. My professor and his wife (also a professor) screened 「ダーリンは外国人」(My Darling Is a Foreigner) in a lecture hall. All sorts of people showed up, with all levels of Japanese skill—several 101 students, some 201 students, and even native speakers gathered round to drink sweet tea, eat matcha ice cream, and watch a romantic comedy together. We laughed at Saori’s long, shrieking cries of “Toniii!!” together. We cringed at Tony’s friends’ complete cultural incompetence together. There was something enchanting about the experience, the experience of all of these aspiring language learners and speakers gathered together to giggle over bad jokes, that reminded me what my goal is in the long run.

The second was a visit to the Japanese table, a group of people that meets every Friday in our cafeteria to casually converse over lunch. A good number of native Japanese speakers show up for this, including exchange students and my professors, as well as a lot of undergraduate (and even some graduate, I believe?) Japanese learners. I visited the table last semester briefly, as a humble 101 student with little but “hello” and “goodbye” under my belt, and was turned away by the feeling of oppressive incompetence. However, I decided to give it another go, and I was not disappointed.

I took my seat by my professor from last year, who smiled warmly at me and greeted me and then promptly began speaking to a 201 student beside her in Japanese. I picked at my food and attempted to interject myself whenever I was able, agreeing to statements such as “Kanji are hard” and “I understand more than I speak.” At one point the man sitting beside me, a fluent speaker, asked me why I decided to learn Japanese, and I responded brokenly (or at least I hope I did) with an overenthusiastic, “Because I love it!”

I sat for a good hour, absorbing, laughing occasionally at jokes that I understood (no, sensei is not a vegetable, teehee), before I gathered my dishes and slipped out the door with a “Sayounara!” tossed at me and a “Ja, mata!” tossed back in return. I felt positively ecstatic, having sat between two native speakers (the other was a girl who had said, “Keep practicing your Japanese! I’m still learning, too” and who had earned a round of laughter from my professors before she corrected it to, “English, I mean!”) and actually understood some conversation. Everyone had been so pleasant, and everyone seemed to be friends, and it didn’t matter how terrible you actually were, because, hey, at least you were trying.

I had gotten so engrossed that, when I ran into Clara (who speaks fluent Mandarin and Japanese) in Starbucks, I responded to her, “Just come back from lunch, June?” with a fervent, “Hai!”

Right, I went through all of this effort, all of this setup and defining, to tell you that I really love getting tastes of my greater goal of fluency. What’s the big deal?

I don’t know, maybe nothing, for most people. Still, for me, a person exceptionally determined to speak Japanese (it will happen, it’s just a matter of when), it was inspiring and encouraging.

Moral of the story? Learn a language. Learn a language you love. Then go out and use it, darn it, no matter how American you sound, because people are great and communication is beautiful and the language barrier is something that can be torn down.

[ahem] Anyway.

I think I’ll go mess with Textfugu now.

A bad idea, considering I have a bio test Thursday?

You’re probably right.

(I guess, right now, I shouldn’t do what I want.)

People-Pleaser

And now,  a word from our easily-distracted and often-absent writer, June Watson.


People say you shouldn’t change to please others. “Adults” of ages nineteen and twenty are the world’s champions of individuality. Permutations and translations of the phrases, “Stick it to the man!” and “I do what I want!” echo throughout young adult culture. Freshmen biology students would rather argue with their professors (all with doctorates or masters) than sit silent as their ideals or opinions are attacked. Sophomores, barely grown, contradict historical statements made by those old enough to have lived through it. Anyone whose opinion coincides with popular opinion is branded a hypocrite.

I’m certainly one of the most guilty when it comes to championing individuality. I sing in Japanese in public, wear my pajamas into fancy restaurants, design languages in my spare time and play Pathfinder (basically Dungeons & Dragons) into the wee hours of the morning on the weekends. Yet, those things say little about my personality; all that can really be deduced from these things is that I don’t really care if people think that I’m a nerd, and I am, in fact, a very nerdy individual.

No, I believe one of the most defining characteristics of my personality is that I can be a bit of a doormat. My friends tease me about not standing up for myself, and, in fact, being pretty stubborn about it—just yesterday, as my roommate and I walked toward chemistry while I was limping with a sharp stitch in my side, she said, “You wouldn’t tell me if you weren’t fine, would you? Nope. Didn’t think so.” I don’t like to put my needs above others, not out of selflessness or benevolence, but because I’m too stubborn to admit when I want or need help.

Perhaps the strongest element of my personality, however, is one that I’m not sure is readily visible to people that don’t know me—I want to please people. I want to entertain people. I want to make people happy.

“People-pleaser,” my classmates call me when I take every word of my professor’s advice. They say that I’m betraying my own morals to make others happy. They say I should stand up for myself.

Yet, they don’t seem to understand something central to who I am—one belief central to my personality is that making others happy is possibly one of the best things a person can do. My friends, the introverts, don’t quite understand, and I don’t blame them. I live in a different world than most other, more realistic, people, an extroverted and idealistic world where every person is worth putting effort into. I realize that there are plenty of terrible people in the world, but, in my experience, it is extremely difficult to separate the good from the bad until you give a person a chance.

I want to change for others. Changing to please others is part of who I am. I want to be the “Hey, I just met you, but—” in a crowd of uninterested students that makes a person feel noticed. I want to be the vague acquaintance who buys a lab partner coffee and ends up helping them work through a problem that’s been weighing on their mind. I want to be the stranger who says something so unexpectedly kind that it’s carried with a person for months or years afterwards. I want to be the friend who says, “You are so entirely, unbearably weird, but I’m cool with it.”

I want to be all of the people who’ve done kind things for me.

There are plenty of things about myself that I refuse to change for other people. My personal beliefs (exceptionally hard beliefs to have in the field of biological sciences, turns out). My interests (Japanese video games, anyone?). My aspirations. But as far as my manner of interacting with other people, I’d gladly change that any day of the week.

Call me a people-pleaser if you must—I usually take it as a compliment.


 

Sorry for the weird rant about making people happy. This week many lovely people have helped me and encouraged me in unexpected ways, and I guess I was thinking about how much I’d like to be like them. Also, I’m baaaaaack!

Old Pictures We Will Never Live Down

I was sifting through the photos on my iPad last night while Sapphire was reading a fantasy book on her phone. What I found once I got past all of the mundane college pictures made me giggle manically. They remind me of old times (and things our kids will be able to hold over us, probably.) I told Finn I was going to post them—I didn’t lie, did I?

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This one is the least horrible—in fact, I think it’s rather cute, honestly. ^^ What boy could resist Scout’s boy-catching face when she was wearing a Burger King crown?

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Finn found the box his church set up to collect stuff for him to take to college with him. When asked why he climbed in it, he responded, “It was my box, dangit!”

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Unhappy Finn is unhappy about Sherly and I making him go on the Tower of Terror three times, and we know why.

(You did this to meeeee!!!)

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This is what happens when Finn is late for a movie we agreed to see. (There are more where this came from, but this one was my favorite.)

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Natalia, my sister, is the most attractive person on the planet, bar none.

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No objections will be accepted.

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A meme my other sister, Katniss, made and saved to my iPad.

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I had never made a duck-face before. I feel I succeeded.

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Actually, this one is relatively recent. This was both amusing and disturbing.

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Finn and Eric’s sister is the queen of boy-catching faces. (I actually really love this picture; it always makes me laugh. If Pinky wants it taken down, though, I can delete it.)

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Another of Scout’s boy-catching faces, and proof that she is unable to actually look legitimately unattractive making faces.

Sorry, guys… Are you ready to kill me yet? I mean, I know most people don’t put embarrassing pictures of themselves on the internet, but I do what I want!

Our People Indeed

Last night, Finn and I went to a chemistry study session organized by a girl in my chem class. After trying in vain to do homework for a few hours in the study room on our floor, we relocated to the library (and Starbucks!). A boy we met in the group, Fox, started talking to Finn and I about comics and such. Finn pulled up our eighty page “Apocalypse, Pls” script on my computer and started describing the fight scene between Ivan and Sozai in vivid detail.

“… Man, so the dude gets freakin’ punched in the face, and he’s supposed to say, ‘mother—’ and then collapse…”

Fox looked a bit dazed at first, but soon turned a curious, disarmed look on me and asked, “Are you dating him?”

Both of us responded with, “No.”

Without changing facial expressions at all, he asked, “Can I?”

Antics: “God bless these fat bears.”

The following story includes amateur ukulele playing, unusual selfies, face-palm moments and (originally) contrived tomfoolery.

Yesterday, Sherly, Finn, Marty and I were slated to film the fight scene from our (eternally unfinished) student film, “Apocalypse, Pls.” These filming sessions are notorious for being unproductive and amusing–so much so that Sherly suggested I bring my iPad to document the misadventures that would, undoubtedly, result from the NFPs’ inability to focus.

(If you’re curious, the fight scene involves an epic showdown between Finn’s character, Ivan Yuri, and Marty’s, Sozai. Ivan has the power to control electricity, while Sozai can stop hearts with his hands.)

Sherly was spot-on, as usual.

The first hour or so was spent with us getting lost on the internet, Finn playing the “Adventure Time” theme song on my ukulele, and someone somehow running across this beauty.

Yes, that is a seductive banana, in case you were wondering.

Marty made a few fashion statements, as well.

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We also took pictures for the cover of an album of Finn and Scout’s band, “God Bless These Fat Bears.” (I will not post said pictures due to Finn antics.)

Finally, Sherly, giving in and accepting the inevitable (that we would not be getting anything done), proposed we go outside and have a misadventure that I could blog about.

After grabbing a soda or two and my ukulele, we wandered into the overgrown field around the church without looking back.

“All right, we need to have a goal,” Sherly insisted.

Marty, Finn and I pointed out that it was amusing that she was planning our misadventure.

“No, we need to have something we’re trying to do so that we can fail to do it.”

Hmm. Not a bad summary of what it means to have a misadventure, actually.

We decided that we wanted to get to the “river” that ran close by. Not a difficult goal; it wasn’t far away.

The problem was, about this time, Finn was struck with a startling revelation.

“We’re locked out of the church!”

Finn, who was the only one present who was a member of the church we’ve been using as a setting for our movie, was supposed to carry a key with him so that we could get inside when no one was there. Unfortunately, he had forgotten it in his haste to get outside and have an adventure.

“I thought to ask you, but I figured you would be offended that I was insinuating you were forgetting something that important,” Sherly remarked as he freaked out. His laughed response was, “No, I would’ve been all, “Oh shoot, I forgot the keys!”

The following hour was spent standing beside the river that was our set destination, playing tunes on the ukulele, writing country music (“Once upon a time I cared what people thought, but now my life is a Japanese pop song.“), hearing stories from Marty that we didn’t want to hear, casting celebrities to play our Apocalypse, Pls characters and listening as Finn tried to call someone to come unlock the church.

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Marty also escaped.

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We were swinging on the playground when a car pulled into the parking lot.

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Finn left Sherly and I to sit and have a conversation, a conversation that was, apparently, so enthralling that we didn’t notice him opening and slamming the door behind us for a solid minute.

Shortly after we were readmitted to the church, Sherly had to leave. We went outside to wait for her mother, who was completely, entirely on time. (This is a bit odd to NFPs such as Finn and I.) The last thing we heard from her was incoherent muttering as she crossed the parking lot.

Finn and I made “Lolwut?” faces at each other, then laughed and hurried back to make sure we hadn’t locked ourselves out again.

Antics summary #2: Always ask the question that shouldn’t need asking, because sometimes we NFPs overlook important things when we’re busy doing what we want!