Shut up. I know I'm a day late.


I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I will entertain you with mini stories from work and potentially ramble (as usual). Enjoy.

Mini Story #1: Jon Voight
This actually occurred Christmas Eve. I worked 7am-3 that day, spending most of it at the cash registers ringing up all sorts of books. By the by, it really is fun seeing what people buy and the way some people act when they feel like they're buying something naughty or whatever. Heh. So it's nearing 3 o'clock and a girl who works there with me named Elizabeth comes up as she goes from getting returned books and back out onto the floor. It's crazy busy, so she doesn't exactly have time to chat (neither do I), so I don't catch much, but it's enough. The exchange went something like this:

"I just talked to Jon Voight."
"What? No you didn't." I totally thought she was just being...I dunno, weird or something, though she's not exactly the kind to be weird in that way, and if anything, of all people to pick, why Jon Voight. This is why I did have an inkling of belief in my head, but still basically in that, "Naaaaahhhh," mode.
She continues, "I did too, he's over there."

But she's got an armful of books and I've got a lady checking out in front of me so she heads off while I'm still thinking "No way" but of course she is Elizabeth, so I'm peering over the book stacks into the milling people in the store to see if I can catch sight of the supposed Jon Voight. Then I see him. Or rather, the back of his head. Really, it could have been any older guy, but he just had that look to him. What he really reminded me of was the coach in Varsity Blues because he had on a blue wind jacket. Then he turned and I caught sight of his profile.

Holy crap. It is Jon Voight. He cruises on over to audiobooks, and while part of me thinks it's cool he's in here, mostly I'm thinking, "Why is he in State College?" Not to say celebrities can't go anywhere but L.A. and New York and other big cities, but what the heck is in State College for them to come to? Has to be family. Once my drawer gets taken care of, I stroll out onto the floor and find Elizabeth.

"So what happened?"
"Well first I saw him and I went up to him and told him I loved him in Catch-22 and he smiled and said 'Well thank you.' Then later he came up to the info desk only then I had an AA book in my hand and he saw it and asked what it was and I told him it was recovery and he winked at me, so now he thinks I'm an alcoholic."

After having a good laugh, I went and clocked out. I figured he was gone because I didn't see him in any of the isles. Even if I had, I wouldn't have done anything. I guess it's kind of like looking at something the way you would in a zoo, but I didn't want to bother the guy while he's just checking out some books. But of course, on my way toward the back, I spotted him in the kids' section. Interesting, and I am rather determined to get a better look at him because out of sheer curiosity I'm wondering what it would be like to be near a big time celebrity since it's never happened and probably won't again (though you never know). I think, hey, I'll go say see ya and Merry Christmas to Flossie since she's kind of like that other-mom type. You know, that older woman who could totally be your mom if you didn't already have an awesome one. I do just that, and as luck would have it, Mr. Voight is standing right in front of the computer terminal where (ha!) Flossie is. So I say my Merry Christmases to her while stealing random glances at him. It was cute actually; he was standing there looking through a picture book and smiling in a "This is a cute book" way. Cool.

The biggest thing I realized is that Jon Voight is a big guy. I mean, he's taller than dad by a few inches definitely and seemed rather broad. You see these people on TV but he looks smaller - and I mean thinner too, though I do remember thinking he was a big dude in Mission Impossible. A random fact I found interesting. After that I left for good, though as I strolled out the door, a guy coming in glanced through the glass and got this "Holy cow" look on his face and breathed a "Whoa." That's because Jonny boy was checking out at the register next to where I'd been not 5 minutes before. I kind of snickered and walked out.

Mini Story #2 (not as good but still "wtf?" interesting) The Weird Guy:
I confided this story to Elizabeth because after it happened it was one of those things you have to tell someone because A.) it's weirding you out a little and mostly B.) it's just really wacked out. This was several weeks ago now, and I had some books to put away until I was down to just one, and it belonged in the psychology section. Occasionally, when you're helping people find things, they give you a slice of their life story for whatever reason. We all do it, what can I say? The need to justify why we're looking for what we're looking for. *shrug* It's not bothersome until people ramble for much longer than they should, or they just tell us things we really didn't need to know in the first place. This falls into the second category.

So I scan for the right spot and this old guy, who had to be at least in his late 70s, is nearby and decides to inform me that the best thing he's ever read was a book some guy wrote about schizophrenia. I put the book away and give him the usual "That's intersting" response ("Oh really? Huh. I might have to look into that." etc.). Then after briefly discussing the wonders of the Id, Ego, and Superego, the conversation takes a turn into something like this:

"I had a girlfriend once who was a bit on the unbalanced side. You ever know anyone like that?"
"Ah, no, I can't say I have."
"Well you probably will in the future. Anyway, she was a little, you know, so I gave her that book about schizophrenia hoping maybe she'd take the hint, you know?"
"Haha, yeah."
"Well, she didn't, so I ended up reading it and it was really interesting. We're not together anymore, because you know."
"Haha, yeah." (standard response for most things people tell me)
Then he stares me straight in the face and says, "She was a great piece of ass though."

All I can really do is just smile politely, though my brain came screeching to a halt with the word "What??" switching on in big neon letters in the comprehension area. I had NO clue how to react to that or what to say, so I just half nod and swing him a thumbs up and immediately relocate to another area, preferably somewhere with people I can relate my tale to.

Mini Story #3 (short, but amusing) The Shirt Guy:
Do any of you remember that red shirt I had? Kind of see-throughish, but not. Little designs woven into it? Sort of scoop neck? Anyway, what do you remember, haha. One day I was wearing it, red beaded tank top underneath because even though it's a shirt I can technically go other-shirtless and even bra-less in, I won't at work, that's for sure. I started getting paranoid back during Japanese classes when I'd bend over to dig something out of my backpack and realized the shirt opened a bit much. This guy was the first to start off my weird stories from work.

I'm at a computer terminal at the info desk and a guy comes up to ask where something is. I'm typing at the computer, slightly leaned forward for some reason I can't exactly remember now, and as I'm pondering the results on the screen, he says (and thank God he wasn't old and creepy), "I like your shirt." I say thanks and as I do so, I have the distinct thought, "You were looking down my shirt." What guy compliments shirts unless it's obviously hot or cute? It's a nice shirt, sure, bold red and pretty, but I don't know if it's truly enough to merit compliments from random guys' mouths. I have no proof, I didn't actually see him, but I still have the distinct impression he was examining more than red fabric.

Those are my three random stories from Barnes and Noble. Book stores aren't boring, and there's more to do there than you'd think. Still, I enjoy myself there. I like the books. That shouldn't surprise any of you. Hehe. You definitely get a better idea of what can be found on the shelves though, that's for sure.

Here's to a Happy New Year!

Currently: WARGH!
Of course, I didn't eat Thanksgiving dinner today - my sis and her man didn't arrive until late today so we're all going to chow tomorrow while all the shopping psychos do their whole 4, 5, 6am thing. Thank God I don't work at Kohl's anymore.

A funny thing. When you haven't used many of the numbers in your cell phone for, ah, quite a while, you can easily figure out who you know that still has that phone number very easily, just by sending out a mass text message. Today it's easy because you can send out the oh-so-innocuous message of "Happy Thanksgiving!" Not that I sent out the message just to see who still existed and who didn't. I was typing away happily thinking that everyone likely had the same phone number (*phone jingles* hey, there's Sandra!), except for a few that I wasn't sure of. Like Ryan. I was told by Anthony (I believe...) that he moved to Florida. I doubt he kept the same area code, haha. Unlike myself. I get 309, move back to Rantoul, then move out to PA where it's 814, but I still use the 309. I don't think I can change it, but these days with cell phones being the prime communication tool of choice, I don't think it matters much.

Anywho, the list was of about 9 people, which got me some amusing responses. Some are still with me - Megan, Derek, Sandra, and Anthony. Kudos guys. Though I guess it really just means you kept your numbers, haha. But hurrah just the same. =D Brett didn't know who I was...and after the whole stint with Christine, who actually turned out not to be Christine (further pushing the point that Natalie probably didn't have the same number because I honestly don't even remember when I put that one in my phone), even though the person I was texting apparently knew a Nikki. However, that's a bit of a giveaway because A.) she would have known who Nicole was ASAP and B.) she never calls me Nikki. At least they spelled it right. ....What was I talking about? Oh, Brett. Right. I was wondering if it really was him or the person on the other end was just "Uh, yeah, sure" but now that I've looked at it again, yeah, it's him. Haha. Katie and Jenni are still MIA. Jenni's probably with her bundle o'joy and Katie's probably partying. Well, no, maybe not. Hard to say with that one. ;D Kurt's message was pretty funny considering it sounded like he thought I might have been a guy, still, someone he knew, and apparently I also know Heather because I appeared to have talked to her. Yes, Kurt babe, I'd love to go out Saturday, but I kinda live across the country now. Nyah hah.

What started off all this texting mess was Shawn. Now, the funny thing about that is that early this morning I was in the shower randomly thinking about stuff (as I often do in the shower - I never get any story ideas in there, contrary to what a book I read said), and I thought that perhaps I should type up a blog with little shout-outs to everyone since I know email may be somewhat unreliable. Especially for some people whose email I just don't have, like Ryan's and Shawn's and whoever else might pop into my head that I'd like to say "Hey, what's happenin?!" to. Then I started thinking about the last time I'd talked to some people and how I'd left messages here and there and was trying to remember when that was. I'd last called Sandra while in a mall, having gotten there way too early and the shops were closed and the old people were walking in circles for exercise. Shawn I'd last called ah...some time ago. Before my wisdom teeth were going to be pulled - I remember rambling on about that being on my agenda. Everyone else, well, phone calls I don't even recall. Email, that's different.

So back to the beginning, I'd gotten out of the shower and several hours later was sitting on the couch, TV off, working on my grad thesis (aka SF novel) when my phone jingles next to me. Here's the weird thing - I didn't have the number in any of my contacts, but somehow it looked familiar. I recognized the area code as Sandra and my sis both have it, and I knew Shawny-boy lived in the area. I'd think it might be him and then go, "Naaaaahhhh," to myself because I didn't see much reason for him to randomly text me, that and who knew where he might actually be at this juncture in time? So of course I'm the putz asking, "Dur, who is this?" And voila! Shawn. Who'da thunk?

So yeah. A random day, with random occurrences. I'm going to go play now. Hope everyone had a good turkey day and didn't OD on food! (I'll be doing that tomorrow) I'll see about getting a decent "What I did on my vacation between the beginning of October - the end of November" blog up sooner or later. Not like I'm doing much, but ya know.

Currently: Yay!
Um, ok.

Yesterday I watched the movie Premonition. It's weird, quite disappointing, and in the end, rather pointless. But now I've seen it so oh well. Anyway, if you don't know the premise of the movie, you can look it up because I'm not giving you a summary - I've got something else to put out there.

Last night I went to bed around 1am. Normal bedtime for me, really. I mention the movie because of what happened later on. When 6am rolled around, I woke up a little in order to turn over and get more comfortable as I tend to often do. The moment I rolled over I heard someone's phone ringing. Everyone has different ringtones on their phone and what confused me was that this song was "Ride of the Valkyries." And it was loud. I laid there baffled for a bit, thinking, "It's not my phone - I don't have that ringtone and it sounds like it's outside my door." I got up, poked my purse to be sure (as my phone is in my purse), and then opened my door and stuck my head out thinking maybe it was coming from Ashley's room across the way - like she was listening to music or something weird.

No. The sound was downstairs, and it was dad's phone because I could tell it was indeed a ringtone and dad's phone is always frickin' loud. It rang once more and then it stopped. The weird thing? Dad doesn't have that ringtone programmed to play on his phone when it rings. He's just got a normal ringing sound. I stood there just trying to understand wtf just happened before deciding it was just a weird...something (it was 6am I wasn't going to think real hard) and then went back to bed. That's when I looked at my clock and saw it was 6am. Then I tried to figure out who would call that early? Grandma had called last night concerning something about Granpa again. I didn't know what, but it didn't sound all that great from dad's end. And who always gets up early to putter around the house? Grandma. She was my only answer because nothing else really made sense. Heck, the ringtone didn't make sense. Finally after several uneasy thoughts I finally managed to go back to sleep.

I was not dreaming. I want to get that to you right now. I had plenty of dreams last night but that wasn't one of them. I don't dream about my dark room in that kind of detail. Not with the towel hanging on the door and my shelf and the purse on it and all that jazz. I was awake. I never dream about waking up and falling asleep. I don't dream about lying in bed with my eyes closed thinking about things. I was awake. So this morning I go downstairs and inform dad about this weird phone thing. Sure enough, he doesn't have that ringtone set on his phone. I know this. He thinks I'm weird. I'm not. I steal his phone and go through his ringtones and guess what I find? Under the word "Soaring" is the ringtone I heard. Ride of the Valkyries. Dad still thinks I'm wacked because he doesn't have that set for anything. I know, but that's what I heard. He also doesn't have any missed calls listed for 6am.

I tell mom about how I had a Premonition-like moment and explain to her. She suggests looking up dream stuff and maybe my window was open and someone walking outside. No - I was awake and A.) my window was closed, B.) I would not have heard it in that same clarity if it were, and C.) it came from downstairs, not the opposite direction where my window is. Clearly dad thinks I dreamed it and mom isn't sure (it wasn't her phone either, I checked and her phone was off and anyway, I know my phone way too much to know it wasn't hers because we have the exact same phone and they're not that loud, nor do they carry that song). This kind of pisses me off because just yesterday when we were watching the previews before the movie and they had one on where this house was haunted and the daughter knew something was wrong but the parents thought she was loopy and I was talking about how if something like that ever happened to me, if my parents didn't believe me I'd be pissed. Plenty of irony this morning.

So I don't know what happened. How that ring played. Who called this morning (I emailed my grandparents and asked). Maybe when dad goes to work out or otherwise isn't around his phone I'll snatch it and call it and not leave a message or answer it just to find out A.) what ringtone plays and B.) whether or not it will say he's got a missed call.

Either way, when I was standing there in the dim light, I considered going down and taking the phone to dad in case it really was grandma with not-so-great news or something. In retrospect, maybe it would have been a good idea as long as he got to it while it was still ringing. Otherwise I'd probably be screwed, what with the wrong ringtone and no missed call listing.

Very weird. Oh, and if you don't believe me either, then bite me.

At least I didn't have to face anyone dying. ...I hope.
I'm sorry. I just had to say it. Why? Because it seems 98% of the time, it's true. I'm sure there are a lot of Pennsylvanians out there who don't drive like total morons, but there sure as hell are a lot that do. In my 13ish years of living in Illinois, I've encountered a decent amount of idiot drivers, some with a few memorable moments, and then have had one accident that was due to some thick fog.

Within my near 4 months of living here, I've almost been hit (both in my car and when riding with someone else) at least 4 or 5 times. I wish Pennsylvania would pass a "Don't drive while talking on your cell phone you fucking douchebag" law because I swear to God, so many people turn into inept losers when they talk on their cell phones and drive. And there are plenty of them out here. And for the record, I don't talk on my cell phone when I drive. Personally I find it too distracting, so if you call me when I'm driving, you won't get an answer. There are some people that are handy enough that they can drive and cell phone at the same time, but so far I haven't encountered any of them here.

When it comes to simple driving, cell phones or not, people tend to back up without looking, make left turns right in front of you because they figure you're far enough away that they can go for it, stop short, change lanes with NO consideration/courtesy whatsoever (and many times without even so much as a signal), and I swear, no one knows how to remotely use speed limit signs. I'm not saying everyone has to go the speed limit, no ifs ands or buts, and I also think one of the problems is Pennsylvania's road sign problem. 35 for this turn, 45 for this straight section, 25 for this curve, all of which are in like a fucking mile of one another - it's ridiculous. Not to mention just road signs in general; buckle up, don't tailgate, center lane for turning only (no shit Sherlock), keep cars at least two dots apart (yeah, there are spots painted on the road, wtf is that?), beware aggressive drivers (what?), this area targeted for enforcement, and the list goes on. I read a study once that the less signs there are, the more people tend to pay attention to their driving and stop driving like psychos. But I digress. The thing that drives me insane is that while driving down a 35 mph street, people will drive 30 or even 25. A stark change when they were driving 45 in a 35 mph zone not 2 minutes earlier around the block. Not to mention cranking it up to 50 when in another 35 mph zone (which was previously 45 not even close to a mile away). While I can handle speeding (as people tend to do that all the time), I cannot stand it when people don't even drive the speed limit.

I mean, I left 30 minutes before the time I had to be at work when I was in Rantoul and on average, I would make it there with 5 or more minutes to spare. Kohl's was about 15 miles away. Now, Barnes and Noble (I'll get to that in a minute as I realize I've not updated you guys) is a mere 5 or so miles away and should take about 10 minutes on a good day. Not so. I understand that stop lights (as there are plenty of them in my way) can take up time. But there have been times when it takes 5 or more minutes to get out of my driveway, and then deal with the idiots who just cram the roads driving at speeds that somehow tend to be lower than the speed limit (at least one a few selected roads for some reason). I often leave 20 to 25 minutes before my allotted work time in order to get there. And still there have been times when I end up late. Sometimes it's 2 minutes, but I've been as much as 10 minutes late and it pisses me off. I shouldn't have to leave half an hour early just to make it on time to a workplace that is 5 goddamn miles away just because no one understands the basic concepts of operating a vehicle. Heck, just the other day I swear someone parked at the side of the road waiting to go out honked at me. I wasn't close to them. It wasn't a situation where you let them get out in front of you. I don't know you. Ytf are you honking at me? Ugh. Freakos.

And have I mentioned Pennsylvania is the cone capital of the world? It is. Everyone, even Pennsylvanians, agree. And the roads aren't even all that awesome some of the time so I don't know wtf all these guys are doing when it comes to road construction. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, yes, Nicole has a job. Again. In retail. Again. I applied to a lot of places. Several were desk jobs, data entry and secretarial stuff and so forth, one was for the PSPCA, and I figured "Why the hell not?" and applied to Barnes and Noble. Some places never replied. I did a 3 hours trial at the PSPCA and never got a call back (even to say "No, you're not hired"). Ironically, B&N called back maybe a week (if that) after I dropped off my app and resume, and then two days after my interview, I was hired. Cool. Hey, it's a job. *shrug* And anyway, it's a lot more relaxed than other retail places. Well, in some ways. I'm not a big fan of dealing with people, as you all know, and the irony of this is that B&N is all about customer service. I was hoping to be in a position of either putting books away and mulling about the shelves all day or even in the back sorting through titles, buuuut as with most retail places now, everyone pretty much knows how to do everything (except work in the cafe, that's separate and I'm not ever doing that). I only get stressed when I'm at the information desk because I'm still working on logging all the book areas away in my brain (as in, where they are). I like being in the Children's area better because it's smaller, makes it easier to find things, and there are less people to deal with. Most of the time parents just bring their kids in to putz around or already know the book they're looking for.

I used to say I'd never cashier. Well that went out the window when I worked at Kohl's and had to learn to get my shit together pretty fast. Once again, I find myself cashiering, however, this is a lot nicer. Even though I can get a bit bored from time to time, it is a lot easier to ring up books than it is clothes and accessories and other wacky shit where you have to hunt for the damn barcode and sometimes it'll be missing, or people will bitch about the price, "It was 60% off! Wah wah wah," but here, all the books have barcodes stamped on them or they're stickered, end of story. Very little hunting. Sure, things aren't perfect, but nothing is ever perfect is it? And the clientele is much better; readers who are more mellowed and more at ease. I think the store's atmosphere helps.

The problem with working there? Same as Kohl's: I want to buy crap. Haha. I do get some not-so-bad discounts, but I did some price comparing and find that notwithstanding shipping charges, Amazon is still cheaper. Haha. I'm thinking of contacting the higher ups (since we can) and saying something. Despite that, I literally have no shelf space available. It is possible for me to rearrange a few things, but not many. Sad. I can't even really put up any shelves because um, I don't really have anywhere to put them. I have little wall space since my room is essentially shaped like this (only bigger - if it was that size it's very likely I would have said "Screw that noise" and looked for an apartment somewhere. Oh, and no skylights either, just a window at the end). I think if I was really motivated I could finagle some shelves but I don't know if I'd want to bother since I won't be here all that long. Plus I don't want to do anything that could potentially add to the value of this house becuase the fucker that owns it doesn't deserve it simply for being a complete fucking dumbass. (Yeah, I have no respect for the man. Have I mentioned small maple trees are growing out of our gutter?)

That's the latest update. Hmm. I sound bitter again. Whatever happened to happy blogs? I think it's because most of the time when I use my blog as a Pensieve, I use it as a way to bitch that way I don't keep rehashing it elsewhere. Ok, well here's a happy thought for you; fall is coming and fall is awesome and today is a gorgeous day and tomorrow I get to go fly fishing. Yep, Nicole fly fishes now. Whee!

Have I also mentioned that there's a prison not too far from here?
I've come to a very definitive conclusion today. I've said this many times before in passing, but at this point I'm pretty sure that it's true. I say pretty sure becuase who knows, there may be some miracle out there that changes my mind (though I doubt it).

The point is that I don't think I'm going to marry an American boy. No offense to any of you, I have nothing against American men, but none of you attract me the way, ah, others do. It goes back to my love of the variations of the English accent. It never fails, they make me melt in ways no guy ever really could. So here it is:

I am more likely to marry an English or Scottish guy. If not one of those two then Irish. If not Irish, Australian, and if not then perhaps Canada, though we'll just leave Canada alone for now. Yes, American guys, sorry, but I don't see myself marrying any one of you any time soon. And no, it does not count if you can do a very good English/Scottish/Irish/Australian accent. I might find it attractive, but if it's not real then it's not as much fun. And no, I do not have to be called a "lass" or whatever you geeks might be thinking. I just want the accent, the real deal, plain and simple. Those of you who have tried to get me to date boozing, insecure, fawning all over me guys are all fired.

This post doesn't have any bearing on, well, anything, I just felt the need to say it. To put it out there. *shrug* That's all. It makes me laugh because it's probably never going to happen and I'm a dork for thinking so, buuuuut I don't much give a shit. Hahahaha.

In any case, my sister once had to fly to California for her microbiology work, and almost out to Antarctica, so Stace, if they ever ask you to fly to England, Scotland, Ireland, or Australia, if you don't ask me to come with you, I will kill you upon your return.

Ok. Guess I should go do something productive now.

I crack myself up.


*evil, maniacal laughter*

Yes, this is one of those times when I am not humble at all.
So what do I do when I'm not reading Harry Potter and making outlandish (or maybe not - who knows? I'm not done reading yet) allegations about what will happen or what's happening:

Harry is a Horcrux!
Godric Gryffindor's sword is the Elder Wand!
Dumbledore has the Elder Wand!
Both Voldemort and Harry are going to die! (or not!)
OMG did they just kill so-and-so?!

Or when I'm not lazing around trying to think of something to do that will amuse me even though I have a whole bunch of other things I should be doing like writing $35 worth of articles or job hunting/resume submitting or writing or reading a required book that is actually sitting right next to me as we speak and due back on 8/6?

I search the Internet for useless crap. You should consider that your warning because the rest of this particular blog entry is going to be full of utterly useless crap. Unless you're a dork like me, in which case never mind.

Now, I don't remember how exactly this whole thing started, even if it did just happen a few days ago, but I was looking for something or had a sudden influx of nostalgia or something, but I ended up at the Internet Movie Database looking up the old Nickelodeon show, Are You Afraid of the Dark? Even now, looking through my internet history, I can't figure it out. Anyway, whatever the reason was, from there I went to YouTube seeing of there were any episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? listed on there. Mostly because I'd visited the IMDB forum about the "scariest episodes" and found two that I hadn't seen before and wanted to check them out if all possible. Joy of joys, there are some. I remembered thinking the leader of the Midnight Society, Gary, was kind of cute and got to thinking, "I wonder what he looks like now?" He's, ah, not bad. Heheh. I scrolled through his credits and found something that got me squealing in delight (and yeah, I do tend to squeal like an excited 15 year old sometimes); he'd popped up in Stargate Atlantis. As I made to find out where, I found out I actually remembered him. I found the episode on YouTube (probably by sheer luck it hadn't been deleted or something) and sure enough, there he was. Sweet.

Today, after watching one (and having watched several the nights before just for kicks), AYAOTD episode, a thought popped back in my head that had occurred to me earlier. Ross Hull (Gary), AYAOTD, and Atlantis all had Canadian ties. Which means the actors could have easily circulated around. One guy surfaced in my brain and the more I thought about it, the more I was certain I was right. There's one AYAOTD episode called "The Tale of the Dark Dragon" that I'd always thought was super cute. Not scary, just "Awwww!" cute. To add to that, the main guy in the story, Keith, was also very "Awwww!" cute. What I'd realized was the guy playing Keith might actually be a character in Atlantis as well, and when I compared their faces in my mind, I was certain of it.

Sure enough, thanks again to IMDB, I was right (WA-POW!). Chuck Campbell was the cutie Keith and is also in Atlantis. A lot. 31 episodes so far, in fact. Funny thing is, he doesn't have a name in that show. Hahaha. ("DO I!? DO I?!") He's just "Technician." Nyahah. Funny how he's made it this far. Anyway, yeah, he's pretty damn cute too. And sweet googly-moogly do I love being right. And I love non-important actors (as in, they're not surrounded by Paparazzi and they're not freaking in your face all the time like 99% those freaks in Hollywood). To Chuck's extra credit, I always thought that episode was one of the better acted episodes of that series. It didn't seen quite as hokey. He and Cara Pifko (girl playing Mariah) were really good. Fun times even though I'm sure you don't care. However, I did also come to an interesting realization:

Hot damn, some of these Canadian boys are cute!

Yay Keith! Hahaha!
Sometimes I FUCKING HATE this internet connection.

There is just no excuse for this thing to be acting this way. There really isn't. I mean, all other webpages pop up nicely just like they're supposed to on a cable hookup, but then other pages just don't and no matter what I do, they refuse to come through until either I kill my connection and start it again or I wait a while and then TA DA! it just magically works.


I mean, Deviant Art is a particular sore spot with me when it comes to this goddamn thing. The site may come in fine - aside from some of the pictures. They don't show. Random thumbs on the front page, the larger versions of images (and yet when I choose smaller view they come through perfectly). Refresh doesn't work. "Go" at the top doesn't work. Clicking it back and forth doesn't work. Sometimes the "Download" option works, but if there isn't one then I'm screwed and sometimes it's just a bitch and doesn't work ANYway so wtf.

Now, back in Rantoul it was cool. Why? Because the internet was slow. Being slow, while not awesome, at least means I know what I'm getting. If a page is hardcore Flash, then no shit, it isn't going to load, isn't going to load well, or isn't going to load until 15-60 minutes later. I knew what to expect with a dial-up internet connection, so while everyone around me was yelling and bitching at the computer, I sat there patiently and let it do its thing because I knew it could only go so fast and freaking out wasn't going to get me anywhere.

I know freaking out isn't going to get me anywhere either, but I swear to God it just pisses me off to no end that an internet connection that is supposed to be super-fucking-awesome just has random seizures and/or clusterfuck moments. There's no pattern either! It doesn't only freak out at DA (like I originally thought it was isolated to), but it's freaked out everywhere from YouTube to Hotmail to the goddamn local library webpage. I shouldn't have to be rebooting my connection every few hours just to get to a single fucking page. It just makes me want to throw things and I have nowhere to properly lash out at because we have long since made the punching bag unavailable (and after the move dad sold it, only to learn that OHYEAH, NIKKI LIKES TO HIT IT FROM TIME TO TIME). Cripes. *grr*

Oh, yeah, NOW the DA pictures work. Fucking reject cable connection. *grumbles*

On a lighter note, you people should have seen me yesterday when the parents went out for coffee at Star-steal-your-bucks and then a bit of grocery shopping. Now, I'm pretty certain that if I had my own place, I would be content because I would eat like I wanted and wouldn't have to worry about restrictions. I'd eat healthy enough, but still have junk food on hand to make me happy. I did it at college, so there's no reason I wouldn't do it again. However, stuck here means I have to deal with everyone else and most notably, dad and his carbs-are-evil diet. T_T Now even that wouldn't be so bad if we were able to have a reasonable amount of snacky food in the house (a bag of chips and some cookies - I honestly don't need that much), but since Ashley is dieting too (because she needs it), that means that sort of thing is out. For dad, if it's here, he "has" to eat it. Like, the man has no self control. He's got this Everest mantra: if it's there, I'm going to eat it. No, no, you do not. You do not have to eat it if it's in the house! And then he gets all pissed if we hide food. Um, we hide it so you don't know it's here and hence, you don't eat it. Doy. And then if we get good food and everyone's eating it, Ashley has to have some too because come on, that's just mean if everyone is chowing down on cookies and we say, "Nope, sorry, you can't have any, you're fat." I mean, she's a big girl, but it's not like she's scary obese or anything.

So me? Here's my problem. If it's not in the house and it's not allowed in the house, I start to go all psycho. I want it more because I can't have it, which makes me freak out because I never know when I'll be able to next have a cookie or chocolate bar without everyone around me wigging out. I start to twitch. People who know me already know I'm a chocoholic and if you give me good quality chocolate, I will freaking love you for life (or at least until you do something to majorly piss me off). So now that I'm in an environment where chocolate is prohibited until someone higher up (mom) starts twitching herself and dad allows her to have some or cracks himself and has a bit since just a little isn't going to kill his diet (though these times are few and far between). If I had my own place, I wouldn't be concerned. I'd have a bag of cookies or a bag of Hershey nuggets or something, eat a few after a meal, and that would be my fix. Awesome, clean cup, move down.

Ok, to the actual story; I probably looked like a flippin' coke dealer. You know how in the movies, say, Goodfellas, at the end when they get caught and Ray Liotta's wife is dumping all the coke down the toilet in that "Ohshitohshit" way and trying to make sure she doesn't spill and all that stuff? Ok, that was me. I have a recipe for No Bake Cookies and we had all the ingredients in the house. I'd been looking for an opportunity to make them, and so far, no dice. When they went out, the second I heard the car leave, I jumped up and started grabbing for ingredients, throwing butter into the pot and letting it melt while pouring milk into a measuring cup for solid ingredients and pretty much throwing everything together and muttering at the stuff in the pot, "Come on, come on, boil already!" Mostly because I didn't know if they were just getting coffee or getting coffee and doing a bit of shopping (mom had fussed about it being too late to shop so they left sort of clucking at each other). So I'm stirring stuff around, cranking up the heat and hoping Ashley doesn't come downstairs because then I'll have to share and I'm not too keen on doing that mostly because I don't want to be the instrument of her diet downfall.

I must have set a speed record for making these cookies, which I didn't even put down in cookie format because dropping them onto wax paper to cool would have taken up way too much time, and I can't hide them that way, so BOOM! into the 9x9 inch pan they go since I can cut them into bars later (I've done this before, heh). And now I've made us nearly empty on sugar, oats (not like anyone used them anyway), butter, and peanut butter (except I don't feel too bad about that because dad eats that crap like candy since he's always craving carbs and that's the best he can come up with since it's mostly protein or whatever). I didn't start thinking about Goodfellas until the cleanup. Now that everything is done, I'm throwing shit back into cupboards and making sure they're in the right spots so as not to look conspicuous, and washing out the pot, measuring cups, spoons, knives, and anything else I used and putting it right back where I got it so it doesn't look like (duh) I cooked something. I'd had the fan on above the stove to suck out the heat and scent of chocolate (just cocoa powder), and made sure to wipe up even the few drops of chocolate mixture where I'd stirred a little too vigorously.

Want an adrenaline rush? Cook like a psycho. Of course, after all that (which might have taken as little as 15-20 minutes for all I know) they didn't get back until way later, but at least by then I had the cookies up in my room cooling off where no one will see them except mom or Ashley. Ashley might ask about them or ask to have one, as I'm sure she knows what they are, but until then, I'm not going to mosey over there and offer one. I know, and I feel bad about it because it pretty much makes me a selfish, sugar-grubbing whore, but I'm tired of sharing when I really shouldn't be anyway when it comes to things like that. I told mom I had them because I'd been talking to her about them anyway, but she hasn't come up for any either (and bought Tastykakes today sooo...yeah I dunno).

Anyway, I was just amused by myself. I think if anyone had seen me they would have been like, "Geez, Nicole, chill out!" Eheheheheh....

Fuck yeah no bake cookies!
Yes, this is what happens when I am not just bored, but exceedingly bored. In truth, I'm procrastinating. I could be working on my book, hell, I could even be writing another article for my random freelance job, but no, I'm here doing what I do best. Ramble about basically nothing.

I could talk about Transformers and how that movie was awesome, I think Shia LaBeouf is cute even though he is two years younger than me...wait, really? Hmm... Anyway, I say if a guy has even a crappy car and it turns into a robot, I'm all yours. Haha. Apart from some stupid moments and parts that could easily be cut to make the movie way better, it was pretty fantastic - and I want the soundtrack. The last time I wanted a soundtrack that bad was when Pirates 2 came out. I do have to say that it was a little anti-climatic. I have two ideas for better endings:

Better Ending 1: After the bit o'catalyst (don't want to spoil it just in case), I think Megatron should have gotten super powerful and then basically self destructed in a really cool explosion or meltdown.

Better Ending 2: Along the lines of exploding in a large manner (and forgetting the whole Shredder on Ooze part), since he's going to blow up mid-city, Optimus Prime should grab a leg and chuck him into the sky, allowing for a fantastic Megatron fireworks display. I mean, come on, with all the crazy stuff that goes on you might as well cap it off with a fanfare-like ending.

I could talk about sex and how I agree - the shoes need to come off first otherwise it just looks stupid. I could talk about some porn I found and how that girl was totally playing for the camera which made it lame but at least that guy was totally hot. Amusing for a moment - which sort of reminds me. I still think it's funny that people raising their hands for threesomes is not gasp-worthy and yet when I say I would be cool with posing nude for art and getting paid to do it, everyone freaks out. And by the way, a few years back I totally considered doing so when I saw an ad requesting models for Parkland...or maybe it was the U of I? I don't remember, but I thought about it.

On a totally separate note (and I do mean totally), I was observing my dog one day and started to think. She was just lying there, panting away since it was once again hot in the house, and I started staring at her white canine teeth and it came upon me - I have an animal with very sharp teeth just lying in the middle of my floor. I know, she's not a threat and she's not wild, but it does seem like a weird concept when you think about it. A far descendent of a wild animal (wolf) is sitting in my room...just hanging out with me. It doesn't seem so weird with snakes and tarantulas as most of the time they're in their cage and they're still pretty wild, but with other animals that you can let them run around even though they carry the potential to mangle you if they so chose. You could take Kahn as a good example. He was our last dog, a big black Doberman who decided to challenge dad for the position of alpha male. Obviously that didn't go over well. Of course we don't often think of these things since our dog is the nice dog (not counting dogs that are bred for fighting or treated/neglected to the point of meanness) but it's just a weird concept when you think about it long enough. ...Sort of how if you think of a certain word long enough it just sounds strange. Like...bleachers. Have fun pondering that.

Omg, porn is funny.
Not like I'm going to go in any order, just fyi. Anyway, now that Megan got her letter (which was surprisingly fast, by the way, quite shocked) and as I sit here listening to the Dune soundtrack (original Dune - and yes, total soundtrack junkie remember), I can inform everyone who cares of some happy fun-time stuff.

First off, and most importantly, my sister is going to get married (huzzah!). Yep, she's got the ring on her finger (and a damn nice ring too, I might add) and the plan is to have it all go down in October of 2009. And let me just say, October now officially kicks more ass than any other month. I mean, it kicked major ass before, but now it's even better. Come on, my birthday, my sister's wedding, Halloween, autumn? You just can't go wrong with October. Freaking love that month.

Anyway, we're already babbling about wedding plans, boxes of chocolates, wedding dress styles, bridesmaid dresses, who I'd walk with down the isle, who Ashley would walk with, the kind of DJing Stacey wants (with which I agree and might have to chitchat with the DJ to make sure he doesn't fuck it up - I take the duty of ensuring much of my sister's happiness seriously), decorations, and so on and so forth. It's gonna be a blast. Speaking of bridesmaid dresses, here's a list I've compiled so far so you girls can have fun in seeing what I'm looking at. At Stacey's behest, there is no need for all bridesmaids (3 of us) to wear the same thing. Especially since what looks fabulous on one person could look like total crap on another. Her only strong requests are no strapless, gown hits the floor, and have a two-toned option if possible (you know, like a dress and a little sash or something). All of these I'm easily cool with. I did strapless once and even though I was all Elizabeth Swann-style in it, I was still paranoid that it was going to slip down and I'd be in a condition to receive Mardi Gras beads. I don't like the idea of a short dress anyway - if I'm going to look extra fancy, the dress is going to be long and it's going to be kickass. And solid colors all the way through can be kind of boring - hence the dresses with the beading and fabric texture that follow. Check it out: (NOT in that color)

My favorite dress is the very first one. Second favorite is the 6th one (orange!). I'm not sure what color I'll go with, and since Stacey's going for an autumn style sort of thing, I'm thinking along the lines of deep red, orange, or the creme of the first dress.

I found out about the engagement when I got a text message during residency from Stacey basically calling me a sneaky whore or something like that. Haha. See, before moving Nick had emailed me, telling me to get her out of the house for about an hour so he could do the old-fashioned style of asking dad for her hand ("Especially since your dad owns a shotgun."). So the day before the actual moving day (they came up to pick up a sofa, if you recall the story), I told Stacey to come and walk the dog with me. Lame, I know, but it was all I had. Couldn't go get ice cream because it was too early, and there wasn't much else to do. At first she said no, which sent me into a panic because there was no Plan B. After prodding by both dad and Nick, she went and we took the camera - which reminds me, I need to send her the rest of the dumb pictures we took, and some of those in the field a few blog posts back are from that point in time - and about an hour later we got back. Nick found me a little later to show me the ring. Oooooh...pretty....single diamond, very nice size, white gold band. It's a sweet ring, let me tell you.

Switching major gears, I forgot to mention how awesome the 4th of July was. I was going to do it a day or two later, but kept forgetting or was too lazy to do it, so I might as well do it now. Rantoul, though I give them credit for what they did have, can't quite scratch the surface of State College fireworks. The main difference is that State College fireworks are bigger and there are more of them. We started out at a baseball game, dealing with rain on and off all day, and then moved on to hang out with some of dad's friends at a Cajun shrimp cookout. If you've ever seen on TV where they cook those big batches of shrimp/crawdads and then dump it out all over the table along with a few ears of corn and potatoes, that was it. I don't believe I've ever ODed on shrimp before, but that did it. When the fireworks came, everyone had their radios on, something I thought a bit strange...until the show started.

As a soundtrack junkie extraordinaire, as well as an extreme lover of good timing, I was very, very pleased. See, State College apparently does it's fireworks to music, timing the fireworks themselves to specific beats in the music. I've never had the software or means to make music videos, but if I had, they would kick ass. Instead the best I can do is choose pieces of music to match the video game I'm playing just to get more fun out of it. That's why I love good timing so much - I just think it's awesome. And these guys were damn good. Damn good. What was even more fun for me is that I was sitting there telling everyone around me which piece of music was playing. Gettysburg to start things off, the Batman theme from the first movie, I believe I heard Superman at one point, and they finished off with Back to the Future, which is a great suite but the amount of fireworks for the finale drowned out the music, sadly. It was a lot of music, and that's what I remember at the moment, but it was one of those times where I felt proud to be such a soundtrack geek. Boo-yah.

Can ya feel the magic? =P
After a brief battle with blogger and the ability to post a title, I realize this is the second reference to Alice in Wonderland I will have used in a post. Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

Let's see now. I could talk about a post a fellow writer made in their blog about acting different during the residency than the time outside of the residency. I suppose I rambled about that sufficiently enough last time, though I guess I could add that my answer is opposite to what theirs was. Anyone who knows me thinks I'm crazy in a good way. I constantly offer cookies as rewards, I demand a pony of my parents every chance I get simply because it's my phrase of the moment, I like to swear because I am able to grasp that words are words even though I will rein myself in order to spare others the so-called horror of those words (but you know, many of them have become quite versatile), I don't mind making stupid sound effects at random times, and there are many other quirks I have that those at residency never saw.

But then, I keep myself quiet until I'm more comfortable around new people before I go off the deep end. You never know who can handle what, so you have to test the waters first. For example, unlike pretty much all my college buddies, many at the residency seemed adverse to swearing, thus upon learning so, I was done with that part of the program. No swearing for Nicole. So sad. Haven't you noticed? My blog is NC-17. Damn right. Anywho, I keep my weirdness away from the world until it's ready for it. Never mind if you think you're weird - who knows? Perhaps your weirdness and mine won't mesh. Maybe you have different thoughts on what is weird. Either way, I was much more reserved at residency than I am here. You'll have to wait before you see my gold blood...

I could also talk about nice guys and nice girls, but that topic has been done to death, since the Ode to the Nice Guy and the retaliation by the Ode to the Nice Girl, which I considered amending to make it fit more for the real Nice Girls (or maybe I should also upgrade the term into Good Girls as Nice Guys have been revamped by many into Good Guys, a mix of bad and good). In the Ode, the Nice Girl is constantly chasing after the Nice Guy who seeks out the whore, bad girl, bitch, etc. in hopes that he will notice her magnificence and correct the error of his ways. Fuck that. I'm not going to chase you if you're too dumb to figure out that woman you're drooling over would sooner step on you than look at you and you're too blind to realize I kick ass. I'll move on to better, greener pastures. We are no longer Nice Girls, but instead Good Girls or some formulation thereof. Perhaps we should go with the term Ladies as it has been transformed from elegant into a term containing a certain amount of sex appeal. We could take back the word and make it our own. We are elegant, but we've got that zesty sex appeal all you boys crave. Also been referred to as the glint (in the eye).

I don't chase anymore. I did for a bit, but I'm done with that. I'll wait until I find what I want. People call me picky. I used to feel insulted - no I wasn't picky! claimed I. And now I think, hell yes I am. What? Did you all want me to lower my standards? Think I should ease up and settle? Haha, screw you bucko. Nicole does not settle. Never mind that I like to dream about Vega or Kaiton or some other fictional character of mine who suddenly appears on my doorstep or shows up at some other obscure location to sweep me away into a different realm. Besides, I'm aware this isn't going to happen, but there's nothing wrong with dreaming. And never mind that men with English/Scottish/Irish/Australian accents turn me to mush, in which case I'm probably screwed in the guy department (or maybe not so if your mind is in the gutter) because I'm in America, land of the All-American boy. Where many of the men these days seem to be either gay, taken, or in the military. Not that I need a pretty boy or a military boy to make my day. No, no, I know what I want. And I have a thought on the whole "bad boy" scenario. At least, I know my thing when it comes to bad boys. Maybe it's not entirely that they're dangerous and exciting, but there's the underlying soft good boy core we'd like to get at. Like, he's bad, but in his heart, he's good and he cares about me like no other.

What I'd like? Oh, I'll take the bad boy in certain situations and with certain circumstances. I don't in real life because I know bad boys are what they are - change in people is difficult, and with many bad things, a change for the good is even more difficult and sometimes just not possible. I'm not going to date some guy from prison in the hopes that he'll turn around and be fabulous. Hahaha, yeah right. In my world though, I'd love to have the guy who had the potential to kill someone, but at the same time treated me as though I were the most precious thing on this earth. I'd love to have the guy willing to die for me - and don't think I'm so selfish. I want the guy I'm willing to die for as well. Ah death - how romantic. Haha. Anyway, the exisitence of such a man is slim to none. That's why you'll find me pining for those that don't exist, because the dream of them is sweeter than the best chocolate. Just tonight I basically melted all over in seeing a particular favorite actor of mine (no, you probably won't guess it so just stop) playing the part of a complete freak and guess what? He threw in an Irish accent with it. *growl* Tasty. Of course, the character wasn't redeemable, but I was busy enjoying his performance as such, since he's usually the goody-goody of the day.

I could go on about my personality twists and what I've simply begun to call my fetish for men with British and British-related accents, but let's move on, shall we? I know, it's NC-17 but that doesn't mean it has to be sex (or lack thereof) and violence. Let's try to get away from my horrible side.

I wrote a story last night. (Wow, abrupt conversation change, no?) Yes, after watching the new Doctor Who episodes (and of course squealing with delight over David Tennant who is insatiably cute...) I started putzing around on the internet to amuse myself and found something on YouTube. I don't even remember what it was now, but I remember the song that looped on the film. It was from the show - and I wanted it. Utilizing my technological resources, I found several pieces of music (and resolved the next day to get the rest - which I now have). It wasn't until 2:30am that I finally flopped down in bed, leaving the music to play (as it was sweet and all of piano and violins and sad flutes and such). But soundtracks tend to have their way with me sometimes, sneaking ideas into my head. I once read somewhere that 90% of writers get their ideas in the shower. I've never once gotten an idea in the shower - but I do have some great ones whilst in bed. Last night was no exception. A man who repairs string instruments...who particularly loves the violin...who makes the strings out of...something...special. Heh. I couldn't let it go - so I hopped out of bed, put the set of songs on loop, and wrote a very brief story. I think I might type it up and plop it somewhere quiet in the internet and leave a link in the WPF (Writing Popular Fiction, remember?) message board for my fellow writers to read if they like. I'm curious to know whether or not it's useable in any fashion (mostly for a short story piece to send in somewhere). Ah, but even if not, it was wonderful to write. I didn't go to bed until 4:30am.

I had two cups of coffee today and even though it's now 2:06am, I'm still going strong.

Finally reviewed some soundtracks and got them off the computer. Good - because I'm running out of space. Need to ease up on the anime I guess. *innocent whistle*

There is one more piece of crucial information...ok, I guess it isn't crucial to anyone at all, but it's still fantastic that I'd like to dish out, but I think that this blog has gotten long enough and also I don't want to ruin something. I sent out a letter to a friend today (that's right, snail mail) that has this piece of info and I'd hate for her to read about it here before she got the letter *coughMegancough*. So I'll hold off for another day. Besides, it will require a lot of gabbing, link posting, and pondering over various ideas. I wonder if I can review another soundtrack before I go to bed...

Personalities are multi-faceted like diamonds. What do you think happens when you unlock mine?

It's hot.

"Oh, in Pennsylvania most of the houses don't have air conditioners because it never gets hot enough to use them."

Um, no. When you live on a busy street where the sun has all day to cook the asphalt and steam the trees and your house is conveniently located in a spot where the wind (if there is any at all) has a hard time getting to the windows, air conditioning will start to sound pretty kick ass.

Especially when your room is upstairs. I'm hot right now and I'm not even on my computer, which is in my room. On carpet, no less. I don't want to turn it on for fear of it overheating at some point. It sucks. I've been saying I'm good to go, that I'm used to being in a hot room, but geez, at least when I was in my box at school I did have the option of a/c and in the winter I could open up a window. Here the options are slim to none.

I can't write here. I realized that today. Aside from the constant distractions (TV too close to the dining room, computer in the office, upstairs desk small with a monitor right in front of my face even if it is off), the heat just sucks the energy right out of you. I scraped together a Prologue today (changing my beginning yet again, though when I looked I realized I'd only technically changed it twice before now.....and apparently I have a pirate outside my house because I just heard a very charismatic "Ha haa!"), but that's the extent of my work for now. 2 pages and I'm just too sweaty and gross to continue. And the weird thing is that even now that it's dark out, it seems hotter. I just don't get it. The poor dog has been panting all day. It's gotta suck to have a fur coat in June with no a/c.

About the writing, I've decided that I'll have to go out other places to get it done. Wegman's. Barnes & Noble. Some other little coffee shop or cafe I find in order to write. I need semi-distraction. I once went to a library and found myself all on my own and kept zoning out. At a more public place you're sort of forced to look productive or look wierd, and you can't exactly get up and wander around either for fear of your stuff going missing (you can always carry it with you but then you look kind of odd again, especially in a small place).

I think tomorrow I'll go on a library escapade and look for the books I need for this term. Maybe I'll hang out there for a while and soak up the a/c I know they'll have...

A short blog entry, I know, and I thought I had more to say, and I might have, if I weren't so hot and freaking sticky in this house...

I'll take one of these...or a pool
The title refers to the spider who was crawling on my wall a while ago and then somehow made the leap from wall to my computer desk. I think he might be the same one I found under my speaker a few weeks ago when I was trying to find where the hell the ant on my desk had gone. It was like a like action version of the I Spy books. Anyway, he's back by his speaker again (if it is indeed the same spider), and I'm pretty sure he was weaving a little invisible web around he's just waiting between the lamp and the speaker like that's the entrance to the Hot Gates and he's got to defend Sparta or something. ...That would be awesome though, wouldn't it? All of a sudden a little spider leg goes up into the air and I hear a tinny, "This is SPARTA!" and the spider tackles a horde of ants that suddenly come his way...except then I'd be thinking "WTF? Where the hell did all these ants come from?" and I'd have to go get Mari's Ant Annihilation Care Package and that might mean killing the spider in the process and I don't really mind his being there, even though he's not going to get any food whatsoever...

Oook, now that I've skimmed through my own blog to find out what I've rambled about and what I haven't, I realized I've sort of missed mentioning my grad school thing. Sort of? Completely, more like.

Out of the 5 places I applied to here in PA, 4 said yes and 1 said no. (1 of those 4 took their sweet time in telling me too, geez). Slippery Rock University only had English, so they were basically my last place if all else fails. Rosemont College looked really nice and I actually intended to go there, but since they were the ones who didn't tell me until it was way too late (try late May) it was a no go. Then there was Wilkes University and Seton Hill University. Wilkes is probably a little more like ISU in its location and all that jazz, while Seton Hill would be more like Edwardsville - quiet, secluded, but still near a little town. It was a hard decision. I took as much time as I could trying to figure out where to go. It was even more difficult because both of them were basically the same - residencies followed by writing periods in which communication was all done online. I didn't even truly realize this until late (like the idiot I am). Basically, you would go to the university for several days and go all writer-hardcore during those days, then go home and work on your thesis project - aka novel.

I finally decided on Seton Hill. Probably a bit of a ballsy move considering the official title of the program is a Masters in Writing Popular Fiction as opposed to Masters in Creative Writing. The less ambiguous label is bound to get me when seeking out possible creative writing jobs teaching at community colleges and whatnot. I acknowledge my stupidity and/or guts. Hey, this is the girl who majored in English and minored in Japanese. Equally semi-useless in a world like this. But hey, I figured if I was going to write fantasy and science fiction novels I might as well immerse myself in the genre and be surrounded by people who are doing the same thing. Wilkes would have supported that, as my contact there informed me, but I've been around non-genre types for too long and I'm tired of feeling awkward.

Not that I didn't feel awkward at Seton Hill. I know, that doesn't make sense, but I'll get to that in just a second. I'm actually back from the residency now - it was June 19th to well, yesterday. I had to drive on many shitty roads chock full of crazy drivers and WAY too many road signs that switch MPH on you within a few miles and warning you of agressive drivers and to keep your eyes open and to understand that cops lurk everywhere and put your seatbelt on and hang up your cell phone and keep your eyes on the road and do not pass and stay in your lane and don't try to change your pants or do your makeup while driving. I wouldn't really be too surprised if I ever came upon signs like those last two in the future. And I agree with whoever said it at the residency - PA is where the US stores all its road cones and such. Plenty of construction - just not anything active. A lot of concrete walls and cones and barrels everywhere with no one doing anything. The lameness abounds.

As for the residency, the teaching modules (as they're called - we learn about various ideas and techniques to use; I now have a sweet little erotic dictionary, hey, I took the "Writing the Love Scene" one, what do you expect?) are awesome, all the teachers having been published and they're all animated and excited when they teach. It's been a while since I've seen teachers this into what they do. It's impressive. Still, even being surrounded by fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, romance, and other various genre writers, I felt a bit weird. I've been around regular (as I guess I might call most of you) people all my life so suddenly being around other people excitedly chatting on about their characters and how they got away from them and went on to do their own thing and who is doing what in the book, etc. etc. was strange. The closest I can say I've been to experiencing something similiar was when I hung out with my Japanese class. Even with them I could only hang out for so long before feeling out of place. Like part of me fit right in, but the rest, not so much. I'm weird like that. Like a key in a house with a lot of doors but I just don't fit in anywhere. I think it goes back to that lone wolf complex I developed a while ago. Too many years of moving have molded me into something altogether different and I quit being a leader in many terms of the word and went off to do my own thing instead of hanging with the group.

It kind of sucks in some ways because other newbies (as we were all called) were excited and seemed to fall right into place. I oftentimes just felt sort of...there. Of course I'd participate and I enjoyed all the classes and chit-chatting with people when I actually had something to say, but other times when we were all just hanging out in the lounge (signed up to live in one of the dorms for the week instead of spending more money on a hotel) I'd feel like a bump on a log. (Then there was the annoying high school drama that did not help, but that's a whole other story you'd have to ask me about, but at least that worked itself out well). Observing everything and cut off from it. Several people from residencies past had already formed a little bond and a had their cute group, and several newbies found each other and formed their new little group, but I didn't feel like I'd found even any one person I could connect to on a stronger level, not like Jane or Katie or Sandra.

Now, that's not to say no one was nice to me or I was a total hermit or I was awkward 24/7. I hid the awkwardness as much as possible and did what I could to fit right on in. Of course, saying that means I was a bit like that one puzzle piece that almost fits, but damn it all if it isn't the right one. And again, some of that was due to me not knowing what to do in the face of the high school drama. But I was invited to go along to places, dinner, whatnot, and it wasn't until Saturday night that I felt at my best and most comfortable. I didn't go to bed until 3:30am, a stark contrast to the 10:30pm bedtime (a record for me, by the way) on the 19th, first day I got there (though much of that was just me being freaking tired).

It was all good, though I do have to admit the lone wolf in me reared its head at the end of the residency yesterday. Graduation was nice, but immediately after that, I pulled my disappearing act (something I know a few of you remember me doing in college...and probably high school too from time to time). I slipped off and went straight to my car, pulled it up to the dorm and hauled my stuff out, planning to leave right after dropping off my key. Of course, that took more time and effort than I wanted - I was practically going to give myself a heart attack with how antsy I was to leave. I mean, I wanted to GO. I was taking stairs two at a time and never bothered with the elevator even when hauling luggage around (I was only on the second floor anyway). I like to leave and arrive without a lot of fanfare - any fanfare at all if possible. I've put have my crap into my dorm room at ISU while trying to be incognito before - all hat and sunglasses and boots (but I think Bill still noticed me so I apparently suck at basic disguises). So naturally I left without saying goodbye. Very rude, I know, but it's what I do. The way I am. I can only run with a pack for so long before leaving to run in the mountains on my own again. Semi ironic in some ways because I remember getting named the most sociable newbie at the start of the residency. Well, I did try. I made a point to attempt to be social - I wasn't just going to sit in my room and do nothing. I wanted to do everything. Kind of reminds me of my freshman year in college - I kept my door wide open so people could mosey on in and say hi. No one did. I was disappointed. It's the moving over the years. Gets tiring making friends when you're going to move in a few years. I still did, but I still retain that sense of "Why bother when the time is so short?" Heh. Makes me sound like a not-so-ideal candidate for the program when everyone kept talking about the friendships and camaraderie.

So some of you may be wondering - where do all these people come from? PA? Haha - no. To my amazement, people were coming from California, Florida, Oregon, New York, Illinois, and everywhere in between. That's something I found crazy and impressive at the same time. Here I was thinking it was a big thing for me to be moving to Pennsylvania and people are hopping on planes and getting 4 hours outside of their time zone to come here and write. Yowza.

Well, today is the day I start writing. I even have it on my list o'stuff to do here. I wrote it up last night and it says "WRITE U BITCH!" on it because I have to yell at myself sometimes to get going.

Ok, this blog is long enough. Time to eat, chill, and maybe take a nice hot bath just to relax. There's a whole list of stuff to do dad wrote up that kind of pisses me off becuase it means no one did anything while I was away. It's like things are incapable of getting done around here when I'm not present. But whatever, I get near-free room and board so I guess that's my penance for staying at home. Ciao!

I'm very jealous of my sister - she got a pony and I've only wanted one since forever... XD

P.S. That spider is still there...
Shutters usually go "click" or something like that. Mom's camera is old. When we got it, it was hot stuff. Now it's kinda gone the way of camera-dinosaur land. That's why some of these pictures look like crap; the flash didn't go off. They've been toyed with by me in an attempt to make them go from "brown finish" to "semi-respectable." Obviously the outdoor pictures went well, as did the pictures where the flash decided to grace us with its presense. (and yes, that purple has been colored on to the cake - it used to be brown from the dumb camera. Just trying to help things out).

Don't mind me... Er, don't mind the dog either...

Mah car! And what mah hair looks like from the back (if you care)

That's how much hair I chopped off. Momma's 3rd cake.

My 3rd cake (roses = hard to do)

The collaborative 2nd cake. Mom's 1st cake.

And of course, my infamous 1st cake. Yes - it says "CAKE" on it. And yes, it was awesome.
In case you didn't already realize, Nicole is back and much farther away at that. Find out what happened on the way here and soon after by reading the two-parter:

The Moving Story

The House

Within a few weeks my residency will commence and the crazy hardcore writing will begin. I know I said I'd have a follow up blog to go with "The Moving Story," but I decided to just make that "The House" instead since I had a lot to say. After all that, there's still been some more to do and we still have to get up some leaves and do some planting to make the place look brighter and more chipper than it does. It's not too bad a house - it just needs a LOT of work. And a whole new kitchen because that thing sucks. The kitchens some of you guys had in your apartments were better than this one.

Anyway, enjoy reading those - I have to go get dressed.

Oh! Holy crap I totally forgot! I never mentioned how I chopped all my hair off finally. Ok.

I'd decided to cut it in April, and the plan was to go mega short, something I haven't done in years, and last time it wasn't done that well. If you remember how short my hair was that one year at Ryan's party at his, Nate's, and Matt's apartment, you already have a general idea of how short I planned to go. It had been in the works for...well, forever. I hadn't done much to my hair except maybe trim it once back in school, so by the time April rolled around, my hair was long. Longer than I think it's ever been, or at least for a while. Fantastic to put up in a bun though, so I started doing that a lot. When down, it was getting to be just above my hips, so I didn't leave it down all that much, mostly because I wasn't too keen on looking like a hippy girl (because I kinda do, much to my annoyance).

What I wanted to do with my short hair was to just say "Fuck it" and be bold and try out what my sister had suggested several years back and I was too iffy and "Oh I don't know" to do it. Cut it short - chin length - give it some layers, and flip it out. Good plan. What's more, one day back when my dad was still actually living with us in Rantoul, we stopped by the barber shop so he could get a trim and one of the ladies there askd if I as geting my hair cut. I said no, but she said when I did, I should donate it to Locks of Love. Ok, I'm game. Got all this hair, might as well do something productive with it.

So when April finally rolled around, about the mid-point of the month on a Saturday, I moseyed on in to a little hair place and explained what I wanted. For some reason, everyone there went all psycho when I cut my hair off. Even two girls that came in later saw it and went into shock or something, and they kept saying, "But why would you do that? Why would you cut off all your hair?" Um, because it's been long for WAY too long and I want it gone ok? They acted like hair doesn't grow back and I was doomed to have short hair for the rest of eternity. It was weird. So the hair dresser is just snipping away and afte a while I start to get a little panicky, like, " much is she gonna take off??" but finally she stopped. Now I specifically said "flipped out" as in, take a curling iron and make it flipped out. Duh. I don't know what she's thinking but when I looked in the mirror I was basically thinking, "So totally not what I want - and I reeeeeelly hope I can get my hair to do what I want or I'm going to be kind of bummed." Even if my hair didn't turn out exactly the way I planned, I wasn't going to be super bent out of shape because, after all, hair does grow back so it's no big deal.

I took my hair and went home (I have a picture of me with my hair, so you get to see how much I cut off - over 12 inches - and what that woman did to my hair), and the next day when I had to go to work, I took a curling iron to my hair and voila! Sheer awesomeness. No, really, I looked awesome. It was one of those days where things just go right. And thus did I skip into work and have everyone immediately telling me how great my hair was. Score. And it was good too because you know if people flatline before telling you it's good, that means it's either not that great or just plain crappy, but instant approval is a positive thing. I have another picture of me with good hair by my car, so when they're all developed, I'll post them, along with the cakes my mom and I decorated (we took a cake decorating class at Michaels if you recall). My first cake is super-fantastic, and you'll soon see why (it's done in typical Nicole style).

So yeah, at least I look good. =P Ok, now I'm going to go get dressed! Toodles!

I have been eating an unhealthy amount of these...
Before today I have never known how bad some women might have it when it comes to that particular less-than-magical time of the month.

Men often snort at things like PMS, saying it’s just an excuse we women use to be angry or, as the more common word is, bitchy. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome is something I’ve never particularly encountered myself. I don’t get cranky or out of sorts before it happens, but I’m not going to say some women don’t have that problem because I’m sure they do. No woman is the same as the other, so to say we make some of this stuff up (granted, I don’t think PMDD is real, or at least, wasn’t until someone decided it should be – more pills to push and $$ to get) will annoy many women. Frankly, I always want to slap any guy in the face who says, “What’s wrong? PMSing?” when I’m cranky one day for the simple fact that I have never in my life used PMS as an excuse to be bitchy or emotional, especially since I’ve never had it.

But today, and as much as I’m sure all of you want to know this, I’ve been struck down with the worst cramps in the history of my life. No joke. I mean, come on, all of us girls have probably had some shitty God-this-sucks cramps, but this was a whole new deal for me. Guys, you wouldn’t understand just how much our uterus can fuck us up, and I won’t go into details, suffice to say that I couldn’t even eat a whole lunch without thinking I might upchuck it back into existence, thinking maybe I was actually sick with something and had a fever due to body temperature changes, and essentially bedridden from the time I showered (maybe 10 or 11) until a little after 2pm. After my so-called lunch I crawled under the covers praying for sleep in order to avoid the very unhappy knotting of muscles and wake up when it was over (which thankfully happened). I’d taken 3 Advil when normally just 1 or 2 will suffice. Normally I go about my day and people are none the wiser, even if the cramps are somewhat ugly (I went car shopping for my current car – so glad Nick had heated seats).

Usually things are good to go after the first mean day. Guys don’t like to talk about it, or hear about it, something I find a bit interesting. Perhaps the idea ruins their image of us in some manner. They like to pretend it doesn’t exist or at least ignore it as much as possible. Not so say that we wouldn’t like to do that either, but we aren’t quite able and it would be for completely different reasons. Guys freak out and say it’s gross. Well I guess it is, but it’s still a natural part of us so you might as well get used to it. Basically just our body’s way of saying, “No baby this time around!” (hah, thank God – no offence to you moms out there). I still like my sister’s saying because it’s quite true. Even if we don’t get all wiggy from PMS, we can still be wiggy during those 5-7 days dealing with this annoying crap:

“If you bled for 7 days straight and didn’t die, you’d go nuts too.”

I know, this has nothing to do with moving, I doubt stress was involved with making things worse because I haven’t really been stressing (quite the opposite as I’ve found some music to assuage me). Yes, The Moving Story is in the middle of being written, though it isn’t all that magical except for the part about one car blowing up (“What?!” you say? Yes, but we’ll get to that soon) as well as the actual house itself. Maybe if we have spare film on dad’s camera I’ll take some pictures of my room and the non-shitty parts of the house so you guys can see what it looks like.

Right now I’m going to go find dad’s stethoscope and see if those really are carpenter ants in Ashley’s wall scrabbling around, or if they’re wood bees. (I have my money on the ants – I think that guy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about).

Oh yeah, and by the way...

House centipedes are fucking creepy.
Aaannnd we're back!

Welcome once again to Nicole's blog where you can find out basically anything you want about her life and brains just by reading through it. Of course you're still missing out on a few essential pieces of her mind (aka the crazy, semi-psychotic part that mulls over ways to kill people while walking through the park), but that's not important!

What is important is that a lot has gone down since the last post, which I don't even remember was about. *looks it up* Ok, so yeah, Kohl's. *shrug* Your basic retail except we recently installed new touchscreen registers so you get to look at one screen while I ring up your crap and poke at the other screen. It looks nice, but it'll take a little getting used to even though it is pretty much like the other registers. I don't mind all that much ringing crap up, it's just that when it's busy and I'm one of two people on the floor in the entire women's section, clothes from the fitting room pile up and clearance racks get all sorts of messed up, so then things get backed up there which lead to everyone staying later than necessary to clean it all up. Whoever in the Kohl's corporation area decided this was the best tactic is a dumbass and apparently has never worked a busy Kohl's floor. That's right pal - you suck at life. By the way, if you are one of those people who leave all of your 50 articles of clothing in the fitting room like you had some kind of clothes fiesta - stop. Just stop. And don't tell me if you are, otherwise I'll show up when you're least expecting it and punch you in the face. I could go on and on with this subject, but I'll leave that for an Epinions rant and suffice to say that people who say, "But Nicole, it's your job" don't take into account busy Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when it becomes a numbers game. 50 people take in 5 pieces of clothing each - and that's a random selection of numbers using 1 fitting room. Most people take in oh, I dunno, 10-20 pieces of clothing? Cartfuls. Anyway, one person can only do so much.

Moving on and away from the job, I make up for my lack of full time (because they schedule me around 34 hours a week because they're too damn cheap to afford full time or just don't want to. Whatever) by the article writing. Of course, Kohl's gets in the way, but I do the other junk too, Epinions and surveys and whatnot. Maybe it doesn't exactly make up for full time, but it's something.

I've eaten way too much candy but I don't care. Mom and I are taking a cake decorating class at Michael's so that means I'm eating way too much frosting (aka Crisco and powdered sugar) and cake, but I don't much care about that either. I have, however, decided never to buy a chocolate fountain because doing so will mean an early death from overeating. There was one at work a few days before Easter and I might as well have injected pure chocolate into my veins. Rice crispy treats in melted milk chocolate are AWESOME by the way.

On to the serious stuff. It's official - Nicole is moving. Far, far away. That's right. The house is sold and we're going to be out of here by May 18th. See? Mah House

But what about graduate school? Ah, that too has been taken care of. Out of the 5 schools I applied to, 1 said no, 3 said yes, and the other one dropped off the face of the planet. Don't know what their deal is, but I've made my decision. I will be going to Seton Hill University, a smaller university but it has a nice program and a nice little town, though where exactly I'm going to be living is still somewhat up for grabs. It will take me 2 years to get my Master degree, and hopefully by then I'll have something ready to knock down the publishing doors or another plan in mind. I'm not working in retail the rest of my life.

And, well, that's the news. Aside from smaller things such as baby rabbits living in my backyard, mom and I trying to get rid of as much junk as we can before moving, me wanting to go shopping SUPER bad, the dog not getting any more canned food because of the recall, my car about to get its first oil change and official washing since buying it, me having to fill out financial aid pronto, and new Stargates airing tonight (those bastards killed off my Scottish man!), I think that's about all there is in life right now. I'll try to get in one more bloggy before we go. Wish me luck!

(By the way, who else saw 300? Eh, eh?? How awesome was that movie??)

WAY too much sugar...
As the world continues. Quite dull, actually. My mood matches nicely with the weather.

I finally have a job at Kohl's. I'm not all that excited because it means more retail, and not just retail this time, but I have to work the register when necessary. *pukes* I had a goal in life to avoid learning how to use a register. Mostly because that's where people get bitchy the most. Hopefully I won't have to deal with that much crap - I'm going to hide out in the clothes as much as possible and just do my thing. Leave me alone - I only have this job so I can pay my school bills. I don't care about the company the way you want me to and I'm not staying here forever, I can guarentee you that.

That's pretty much my only saving grace. That I'm not going to be here forever. 3-4 months at most, after that I'm out of here. End of story. This house needs to get sold or even mom will go insane from being here too long. Besides, I still have a trump card up my sleeve that few people know about, mostly because...well I don't really have a reason for not presenting it, I just don't want to go flaunting around when there's the possibility something better might come along.

But I'm being cryptic again. Sorry. Anyway, I've been training on their little computer and today I have to go in from 5-10:30 and I guess I'll just be playing around in the department all day. Which is fine. We haven't learned to use the registers yet so yay on that. I feel like some stupid kid because I have to go through all this training. *rolls eyes* I know how to put clothes back on racks, I know how to fold shirts and pants and size them and blah blah blah. Been there, done that. *snort* But whatever. I'm getting paid to do all this training crap so whatever. Put it on my bill. Working here does mean I need a few more pairs of pants though, which is kind of annoying. I don't like buying stuff if I don't super-need it (as you are all aware). Which is why I'll try and find pants I can use all the time. Don't usually waltz around in black slacks, but I figure I might as well get a pair since there are times when I think, "Hmm, I could really use a pair of nice black pants..."

*sigh* I'm tired. And tomorrow mom is going to PA to visit dad and she'll be there until the 18th. So I'll be head of the house, taking Ashley to school every morning and then going to work whenever they schedule me at night, going to the grocery for food etc. etc. 2007 has been good so far, but I'm ready for some sunshine. The snow was fun, but it melted pretty fast and now it's just gross out. Piles of frozen over snow and the weather somewhere between ice and rain. Yuck. There are times when I don't mind it here, but others I get bummed. I like the open space and I like my immediate living area (riding my bike to the lake, library, etc.) and the mall is nice (except Vanity is now gone so if I'm that hard up for a pair of jeans I might go to Bloomington to get them...), but I miss my trees. I want the mountains. I want some hills and some quiet space and dammit I want something published.

It was nice to get comments on my last post. Good to know people are still reading this from time to time. Even if I am a loser and I don't email you back. Oi. 2.5 hours until I have to go. Ugh. I can feel my intestines crunching up...I seem to get an over-amount of internal anxiety even if I don't feel particularly anxious. I think it's just in anticipation of doing something I do not want to do. But at least now I can feel more productive and my dad can leave me alone about the job thing now and I won't be sucking life out of my family anymore (which basically just comes down to food - and electricity and water if you want to get really technical - even though I've been paying for everything of mine so far as it is aside from maybe one car insurance payment).

At least I get Friday off this week.