Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When I reread stories or poems that I have written, I always wonder where did this come from? Perhaps it is because I use writing as an outlet or perhaps it is because my favorite author to date is Joyce Carol Oates. She just released a short-story collection titled "Dear Husband". Of course I haven't been able to buy it yet, but, New York Times did an Q&A with her and I think the most interesting thing she has said thus far is:

If you’re going to spend the next year of your life writing, you would probably rather write “Moby Dick” than a little household mystery with cat detectives. I consider tragedy the highest form of art.

I think if I could choose a role model, an idol if you will, I would choose Joyce Carol Oates. I love everything about her writing; that she has the ability to start a story telling the reader exactly what happens in the end but still write a page turner. The fact that she can make an one word chapter just as meaningful as a 30 word chapter. The fact that "Where are you going, Where have you been?" has so many different interpretations from religion to pop culture to teenagers independence.

I think I am really biased when it comes to Oates because I've gotten to the point that I don't read any other author now. I'll blame my English 102 professor for that.

Read the interview

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MCASE debates the Death Penalty

One of the main reasons Maryland Citizens Against State Executions hopes to repeal the death penalty is the fear that a death row inmate might actually be innocent, said MCASE Executive Director Jane Henderson.

"It's not reversible," said Henderson. "You can let someone out of jail if they're wrongfully convicted and spent 20 years in jail; you can't bring them back to life if you've executed them."

Despite the efforts of Gov. Martin O'Malley and MCASE, a repeal bill died in the General Assembly this year. MCASE, a non-profit organization, believes that the bills failure had nothing to do with public opinion but with leadership in Annapolis.

"We had a narrow margin and a Senate president who was working completely against us," said Henderson. "And frankly didn't like the bill that came out - he wanted the bill to get recommitted back to committee and be dead for the year."

The bill would not have died if it would have had enough legislature support and until they have a larger margin, the leadership's motives will prevail, said Henderson.

"Maybe one of the lessons from this is that when you're working on hard issues in the legislature, you have to either have the leadership or enough of a margin that you can override the leadership," she said.

Among several reasons why she is against the death penalty, Henderson says that capital punishment gives the government an opportunity to abuse power.

"My personal position against the death penalty is that, you give the state a power to kill, it's ultimately going to be abused," explained Henderson.

Though, she notes, the possibility of an inmate's innocence is a prevalent factor in her opposition.

"I think it's important to note that we often don't know until the very last minute in the cases where people have been exonerated," said Henderson.

Although there are only five inmates currently on death row, Henderson said that the death penalty is dealt out unevenly and there is not a certain formula in determining who is sentenced to death and who is sentenced to life without parole.

"Everyone convicted of murder gets sentenced in some way... we pick a handful of cases in which we're going to invest immense resources with the goal of ultimately seeing them executed," said Henderson.

The legal costs of a death penalty case are astronomical, said Henderson. She argues that putting those resources towards services to a victim's family would be more effective.

"I think most victims families in this state aren't thinking about the death penalty," said Henderson. "They're thinking about how to get through the next day."

The poorest families, who are more likely to experience a homicide, cannot afford to seek mental health services – a service that they must desperately need, said Henderson.

MCASE is not waiting until they achieve a repeal to start helping the victim's family and the recently passed bill had language that would extend services to the families, said Henderson.

The death penalty does not accomplish anything or even deter murder, and until a repeal is passed, other problems cannot be solved, said Henderson.

"I don't think that you can fix these problems - I think all you can do is say we're going to take death off of the table, and then you begin to try to fix these problems," said Henderson. "Clearly issues of racial bias and jurisdictional difference aren't limited to the death penalty, but you know, when life and death is on the line, I think the Supreme Court of the United States has made it clear that death is different."

"I gotta focus on what I can do and not what I can't" -- Jesse Billauer comes to AACC

Just pray to the fragility of life and you’ll be on to something, advises Jesse Billauer, a quadriplegic surfer who came to inspire Anne Arundel Community College students on Disability Awareness Day.

Billeaur described the surfing accident that broke his neck in 1996, recalling that he said “Today’s gonna be a great day.”
He told students that he could have let his accident devour him, but instead he kept going.
Despite his disability, he told students “I am living my dream.”

Jesse Billauer delivers inspirational messages to AACC students.
Video/Editing by Melanie.

This part of the story is just the beginning -- there will definitely be more!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nate and Jesse!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Side of The Road.

Have you ever thought about the things you see on the side of the road? Where they come from, how they got there and what moments in their life led them to be a forgotten part of society?

The things you see on the side of the road are devastating.

On a back road I take to get home, there has been a dead deer lying dead for over three weeks. Everyday I drive by it, it is more gruesome. The deer is so decayed that you can now see its decaying flesh revealing rib bones. No one has bothered to move the carnage.

Now, I know this is road kill to a lot of people and maybe I saw Bambi too many times but I can't help but feeling horribly sad for the animal. I can't help but wondering what the person who hit it was thinking after they felt their car hit the deer.

A dead animal killed by cars speeding on a dark-lit back road is one thing, but, what about the people you find on the side of the road? Some of them are wandering aimlessly, some with their thumb in the air, some just walking with their heads down. Have you ever wanted to stop and talk to them? I just want to ask them what happened. I can't keep myself from thinking: What if that was me?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Town mourns the loss of well-known fire chief

A fire chief is dead after a fatal car crash in Sudlersville Wednesday night.

Officials say Charles "Buck" Clough Jr. died Wednesday after crashing into a grove of trees.

He was en route to a small appliance fire on Main Street.

Residents are shocked by the loss and members of the fire department are still too emotional to speak about their loss.

The firemen are being comforted by women bringing food and plants.

Funeral plans are still underway.


78 words.

Virginia Tech Students Honor Victims on Second Anniversary of Shooting

Two Virginia Tech students are honoring the second anniversary of the mass shooting by participating in a 3.2-mile race.

Katelyn Carney and Derek O'Dell are both survivors of the shooting. They were shot by student Seung Hui-Cho while they were in a German class.

The two students are joined by more than four thousand people.
O'Dell says, "We're celebrating their lives, but remembering, too."

Also, two victims' families are suing the state after rejecting an eleven million dollar settlement.

78 words.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't you put me on the backburner.

Thankfully, I set my alarm clock to The Killers this morning. I hadn't used them for a wake up call in a while and I forgot how much I loved them. I woke up in a good mood, didn't throw my phone across the room or press snooze 2390348 times. This, I think, is reason enough to salute The Killers and their melodic, uplifting tunes that someone can enjoy even at 7:15 a.m.

I also really loved Elizabethtown and I think it is underrated. I mean, Paula Deen is in it - that alone makes it great. Even though the movie was basically a Garden State cover, I still think Orlando Bloom did an awesome job. Plus, it has a "Free Bird" scene that lasts for like 10 minutes.

Back to the Killers, I have to say I really only liked Hot Fuss. I'm not sure if it's because I have memories of my old best friend and I blasting it out car windows or because I actually love the music. Maybe it's the former because I haven't liked any of their music since Hot Fuss. Except.. maybe.. GLAMOROUS, INDDIIEE ROCCK AND ROLL FOR MEEEEE.

I have lost touch with a lot of the bands I used to cherish.. like, The Shins, Bright Eyes (I do in fact miss Conor Oberst), Taking Back Sunday, Brand New.. and probably a lot more.

It's a shame.. because lately, I've really hated the music on the radio. The songs all say the same thing and it wasn't good the first time. I feel like I've been lost when it comes to music and I am looking to find good, moving music that shook me the same way the previous bands did.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Remembering Hunter S. Thompson

Honestly, there is no need for me to explain - but, click the link and read Steadman's story.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You made us regret anticipating your new album.

Okay, so this kid from Canada obviously did somewhat of a review on Eminem's new music video, "We Made You."

I obviously disagree with him - despite my love of Eminem. Though, I must argue that my love of his music comes from his first FOUR albums and does not acknowledge "Encore".

I have had a lot of conversations about Eminem's come back and we all agree that if he wants to be a contender with Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, Kanye West and recently T.I., he is going to have to:

1) Explain where he has been and what the hell he has been doing for all of these years. If he had emotional stuff going on, tell us - but don't release two comedic singles in a row and expect your fans to still respect you.

2) Listen to "Infinite," "Slim Shady LP," "Marshall Mathers LP," and "The Eminem Show" and reflect on what made him so legendary in the first place. This guy once had influence - when he started baggin' on Ja Rule, all of a sudden, Ja Rule's career was over. Also, when one of Em's albums dropped, EVERYONE I knew BOUGHT it that day and that is all they talked about for weeks. When is the last time you a) bought a CD and b) talked about it constantly? I haven't since "The Eminem Show."

4) Talk about something that matters. No one cares that you are criticizing celebrities. We want you to talk shit about your Mom and Kim. Honestly, we are just all waiting for you to come out with something real and until you do, your career will be at a stand still. Monumental moments in history have occured since you've been gone and you need to address them. People are waiting.

5) Keep in mind that your real fans - the ones who know you even have an album named Infinite - HATED Encore and disregard the first single you release from a new CD.

That is all I have to say about Eminem. I have defended him in conversations, saying that when he comes back, he will trump every rapper out right now. Like I said, I'm still waiting.

Cakes and Kisses.

I have been listening to "Cake and Kisses" by John Powell for two straight hours. It is an instrumental song that I heard on "P.S. I Love You" when they first got to Ireland.

I'm not sure why, but this song has calmed me down and helped me think.

Which brings me to this: the simple, seemingly minuscule..

(Now the song is skipping.)

...things in my life are kind of what makes me okay.

The stress of being in college is incomparable to anything I've ever experienced. The feeling of constant pressure and sometimes uncertainty is overwhelming. The fear of the future. These are all very intimidating and sometimes crippling feelings. How does a student explain this to their professors? They don't. Though, if anyone could understand the pressure of college, it would be them. Some, if not most, have more than a BA - so they have to know how it feels.

Even when it comes to this blog. I want to write a relevant, journalistic blog. But, I have no idea what to write about other than being a student. That is all my life consists of and when I deviate from school mode, my classwork inevitably suffers.

So, what does a student do when they no longer feel like a student and the only way they remain okay is playing a song on repeat?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My mom actually made me an Easter basket. I am particularly excited about the Natural Glow because I am boycotting tanning beds - ya know, because of the whole cancer thing.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Have you ever have one of those days that everything seems to be going right? Today was like that. Even though it was raining, I was still in a really good mood. So much so that on my way home from Kerri's, I stopped and got my mom flowers.

And then... everything went bad.

I had to clean my bathroom when I got home which is always disgusting.. I don't care who you are. Especially when guys use your bathroom. Is making it in the toilet not a part of potty training boys? If not, someone needs to put it on the syllabus and quick. I'm done with it! From now on, if a boy misses, THEY are cleaning it up.

Moving on, everything was going fine until my little sister's dad called and as usual, we got blamed for whatever he did. Haley and I got in a huge fight, she apparently hates me now and I am out of a really good lip gloss because she took it in anger.

This left me to dye Easter eggs alone.. or, so I thought until my Mom and Donnie joined me. I don't know if they joined me out of pity or because they really enjoy dying eggs.. but, it was fun either way. I for some reason felt like every egg was an empty canvas and I was apparently Van Gough.

I dig the lamb. It adds character.

Anyway, I'm hoping that tomorrow will be fun. We actually have family coming over.

Have a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Like Kathy Lee needed Regis, thats the way they need Jesus.

Heidi Montag of "The Hills" has found Jesus, ladies and gentlemen.

"Lets just say a bible study could go down on the hills since that's all Heidi does anymore besides sing," said Spencer Pratt in a tweet reply to Perez Hilton.

Montag might need some help from the guy upstairs after listening to her new music. Just because you show up on some MTV reality show doesn't mean you are all of a sudden a recording artist. Who do you think you are? Carrie Underwood?

Pratt has apparently found some religion, too.

"Just was in elevator with Mel 'braveheart' Gibson," said Pratt in a later tweet. "I told him that Passion of the Christ helped me find the Lord!"

Is that really his nickname, Pratt? Or is that something you came up with on your own? If so, kudos to you man. Maybe they should have bible study on "The Hills," that way you can find a God that doesn't make obscene comments about the Jewish.

Hopefully these two don't take over the show when Lauren Conrad leaves. Hopefully these two disappear into Colorado instead.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Priest of the General Assembly.

Could someone please brief Andy Harris on the First Amendment? It seems he hasn't heard of it. And, while you're at it, remind him of the state budget deficit and what he should actually be doing with his time. State schools aren't in enough trouble that he has to threaten to pull its budget? "It's not fun and entertainment." Really Harris? Are you actually going to say you've never found some fun and entertainment in porn?