Friday, March 22, 2013

It's just a break, guys.

Alright, so you won't be seeing any posts for a few days. I'm going out of the country. I KNOW I ALWAYS DO THIS. 

This time I'll only be gone until the 31st, but since I'm doing fun/work stuff, I'll be away from the internet. Try not to miss me too much, ok? 

(That's similar to a speech I got one time. Fun fact.) 

Please prepare yourselves for when I return, though. I have some letters sitting in my inbox, along with--are you ready--FAN MAIL.That's right, I actually got fan mail. And it's fabulous. But you don't get to know about it until I return from Scandinavia. In my absence, feel free to send me more letters, or re-read old ones, or write me a poem and send some fan mail. 

Later, kids! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

I would like to talk about Nutella.

I'm not here to wax poetic about Nutella, although could I ever. I'm just going to assume that (barring any dietary restrictions keeping you from enjoying it) you're all fans of Nutella. It makes me feel better to think that my readers have good taste. 

Have you noticed that cooking with Nutella is A Thing? I mean, look at any recipe blog you want. They're FULL of recipes for Nutella cookies, Nutella meringues, cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frosting, Nutella stuffed french toast, Nutella milkshakes, 5 minute Nutella mug cakes, Nutella hot chocolate--seriously, it's everywhere. I was browsing today on foodgawker, which is the place to avoid if you're even a little bit hungry because FOOD PORN, and there pages and pages of recipes. I stopped when I hit Nutella eggnog because I don't want to live in a world where people cross that line. That's just not necessary, Internet. 

I'm not against these treats. I'm just questioning the need for them. I mean...would I order a molten Nutella lava cake at a restaurant? Absolutely. But am I going to stand in my kitchen, open up a jar of Nutella...and then make Nutella mousse? No. No, I am not. Not even a little bit. There is MAYBE a 1% chance I will cook with it. On the rare occasion I find myself in my kitchen with that pretty little jar in my hands, I open it up and eat it. With a spoon, because those have zero calories. No extra carbs in a spoon, you know. I think we should all stop pretending that we're buying Nutella because the neighbors are having a potluck and we want to impress them with Nutella pumpkin bread. We're not going to so much effort when the raw product is so freaking good to begin with. Step out from behind the lie, Internet. 

I did try the hot chocolate, though, and it was DELICIOUS. 

I bet they're delightful. Do I need the recipe? Not at all. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

In which I gross myself out a little.

I don't always feel very optimistic. I think about the state of our education system, I think about students living in real fear that someone will come to harm them and the most I can hope for is the ability to keep them safe. I look around and I'm just disappointed by humanity. I know, I know, it's called Bitter Amanda, right? This shouldn't be a surprise.

There's one thing that stops me in that train of thought, makes me think we'll be ok. It's such a silly thing, but it's always made me feel a little better about people. It happened last night, at the P!nk concert. (She is amazing, you guys. Her entire stage show was fantastic, and damn is she awesome.) I'm not talking about sitting in traffic trying to get to the parking lot, with my friend yelling out her window that people needed to get acquainted with acceleration. And not the women next to us giving a running commentary of every single thing happening on stage. It definitely wasn't the over-accessorized women in front of us, either. (Seriously, there must have been a sale at Claire's. And also their boobs were hanging out of bedazzled tops. In case you were curious. One of them tried to pole dance on a barrier, and I can't unsee that.)

It was when I could hear the whole arena singing along. Something about a group singing along together gives me a sense of calm the way not much else does. Maybe it's some silly notion about being connected by something. I don't know. I remember one of the first days that I spent at summer camp, in 2007. (You know I do that, right? It's why I disappear for a month every summer. I get to hang out with teenagers and gossip and advise them and sleep too little and drink to much coffee. It's awesome.) These kids had just met two days prior, and we were gathered around one night while someone played the guitar. They started playing Imagine, and it did me in. I stood back in awe while their voices blended and I thought, yes, this is why I'm doing this. This moment right here.

During several songs last night, it was quiet enough that you could hear the whole arena singing too. Something about it, in hearing thousands of strangers sing the same's just like...ok. I have no idea what's going on outside of this building, and I know that everyone carried their own problems in here tonight and everyone will walk out and have to deal with them..but right now, here we are, singing the same words and being in this moment. 

Jesus, who let the emotional woman in here today? Control yourself, ugh. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

There was probably a cat, too.

As much as I love writing, I have never been able to write decent fiction. (Ok, there was a story in 4th grade that was not only written but illustrated by was about a team of magical pink and purple animals who fought crimes like littering. The leader was a unicorn. I think there was also a panda and a bunny. I don't remember who else made an appearance. Oh, if only that was a joke...) 

I find that every time I try fiction, it ends up a bit like fan fiction one has written about oneself. Characters end up as shadows of the brightly colored characters in my own life. Adventures change, circumstances are altered, but the bones of my social circle are there. I'd basically given up the idea and figured I could just live such an awesome life that writing nonfiction would be just as fun. (I've been pretty pleased with the results of that decision, to tell the truth.) 

But now I'm trying my hand at this fiction thing again. Three friends came up with the idea of a collaborative project, so the four of us are all putting together a story. We had our first meeting last week, which ended up a 5 hour session over beer and popcorn. We made our way home at 3am. The goal of our first meeting was to bring characters to the table and see what we had. I figured it was going to be a challenge to work them all together, since we set zero guidelines about the characters. I was fascinated by the whole process. Just as my friends are totally different, so was the writing everyone brought. B laid out scenes like he was directing a movie, revealing his characters' traits in the script. A described the music her characters listen to, the cars they drive, and from there we learned about them. M had ideas jotted down and edited as she spoke, adding more details the whole night. I started off with a general idea and just wrote a story about them, letting the characters tell me who they are. 

It was strange how well they characters we each created fit together. Natural relationships and connections formed. I'm really excited to see where they go. 

You think the rest of the group will object to a sparkly litter-busting unicorn? Just checking.