My Search for Beta Readers Begins

So, good news, everyone. I finished that book I was writing. Here are some obligatory celebration gifs:

cheer hooray happy excited celebration

excited seinfeld happy dance exciting celebrate

FOX International Channels reaction dancing happy simpsons

celebration will ferrell paul rudd steve carell anchorman

Alright. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. What’s the book about, you ask? Well here’s a synopsis I wrote in ninety seconds:


Sixteen-year-old Rose is dead, as far as the rest of the world is concerned. She lives in an underground facility with the rest of the under-age mutants. It’s not so bad. Her family’s on the outside, and they’re perfectly safe. She’s made herself a favorite of Dr. Black, the man in charge, and hopes to take his place when he retires.

This plan falls apart when she finds out her brother’s dying of a terminal illness. Despite being the only known mutant in the world with healing powers, Rose isn’t allowed to save him. She’s not even allowed any contact with the outside world, and any attempt to escape would endanger not only her life, but those of all her friends still left inside.

One day a new kid enters the facility. He’s antisocial, unstable, and he has the power to manipulate gravity with his mind. Despite her better judgement, she escapes with his help, and finds herself on the run in an America with constant government surveillance and a strict national curfew, where the Iraq war never happened and the existence of mutants must never, ever, be revealed.

The Anomalies is an 83,000 word YA Sci-fi novel, filled with government cover-ups, shifting moralities, and super powers. It’s a standalone with series potential.


(I’m really trying to figure out another way to end that summary besides, “The results are world-changing.” I almost went with catastrophic, but that doesn’t quite apply.)

A few other things about the book:

  • The Anomalies,” is the current title.
  • It’s the beginning of a trilogy, and I’m afraid it feels like too much of a “part one.” I know you’re generally supposed to pitch a book like this as “a stand-alone with series potential,” but that sounds like a lie in my case. We’ll see how it goes.
  • I’m never really sure what genre to label it as. It’s Young Adult, sure, but I don’t know if it’s Sci-fi or Fantasy, or Urban Fantasy, or a combination of them both. Or if it would be classified as Dystopian. I don’t know. I’ll figure it out some time soon.
  • Of course, I should probably make sure the book’s actually, y’know, good, before I start worrying about trying to get published.
  • It’s currently clocked in at at 81,000 words, which would be about 324 pages in paperback form. 
  • I’m also concerned that my characters aren’t interesting enough. think they’re interesting, but I’m biased. 
  • There is a lesbian character in this novel who wasn’t quite important enough to be mentioned in that synopsis above, but is nevertheless very important. (And only gets more important in the next two books.) So if there’s any LGBTQ+ beta readers out there who’d like to help make sure I don’t mess anything up, that would be great.
  • Edit: in retrospect, I should warn that the level of violence and profanity is kinda pushing it a bit for the YA genre. It’s never gratuitous, (IMO, at least) but yeah, it is there.

As you may have noticed, I’m a bit nervous to start sending a whole manuscript out to people, even though I shouldn’t be. After all, I sent the first three chapters of this out to Destructive Readers, a subreddit designed to mercilessly critique samples of your writing. These people did not hold back, and not once were my feelings hurt or my dreams crushed. I know I can handle criticism. I’ve just never had to deal with it on this large of a scale.

Anyway, I’m looking for beta readers. I’ll plan on looking at other sites for them too, but I figured I’d start here. And if anyone wants to send me their own manuscript, I’d be willing to swap critiques with them, too. (As long as it’s a reasonable length.) If you’re interested, please either comment below, or message me at mboyle988@gmail.com.

(Also, what’s the deal with Wattpad?)

Things I Kind of Want to Do, but Not Really

I have a lot of goals for my life, and I rarely get to see them accomplished because, well, they’re not very good goals. Recognizing the good ideas and the bad ideas is an important things to do, but sometimes I wonder if that’s just an excuse I use to not follow my dreams. Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that. To start off, I kind of want to …

1) Give up soda.

I feel like a good indicator of how bad my acne is gonna be tomorrow is by the amount of soda I’ve drank (drunk? drunken?) in the past twenty-four hours. If I stay clear and stick to water? Dolphin-smooth skin, motherfuckers. If I cave and end up chugging a two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper? Well rest in peace skin, it was nice knowing you.

Plus, soda messes up your teeth, it leads to diabetes, alzheimer’s, and cancer. I think it’s safe to say that I would be a lot better off if I gave up soda.

So why I am not going to?

Because soda tastes like, really good. Okay? It’s bubbly, it soothes the stomach. It makes you burp, and if you hold in the burp it’ll go out your nose, and you’ll feel the CO2 from the soda travel through your sinuses. Not sure if this is good for you or not, but it feels cool.

Also, I must address this whole “soda is bad for your health” complaint with a follow up question. You know what else is bad for your health?

  • Heroin.
  • Meth
  • Crystal meth.
  • Bungee jumping without a cord.
  • Watching TV.
  • Sitting down for too long.
  • Standing up for too long.
  • Sleeping too much.
  • Sleeping too little.
  • Doing one handed pushups without ever switching to your other hand, because then all the muscle will be in one of your arms, which will cause you to constantly lean towards that arm as you walk, which leads to scoliosis, followed by paralysis and then death.

Compared to all this, soda doesn’t seem too bad. Besides, by the time I get diabetes, which I am, genetically speaking, bound to get anyway, those hardworking scientists will have already found a cure. So I should be fine.

2) Start a political blog.

I don’t know how it happened, but I am now one of those people who always wants to talk about politics. I have a lot of rants going on in the back of my head right now that I want to shout out into the void, and it would be cool to have a place where I could say them unabashedly, and hey, maybe someone will even people me to write this shit. I mean, I’m completely unqualified, but that hasn’t stopped anyone before.

So why won’t I?

Because every time I write something political, I always end up regretting part of it. Like that time I compared the 2016 election to a black guy being falsely charged with rape. Yes, I actually did that. Sure, I called myself out for it ahead of time, but I feel like someone definitely should’ve commented on that post and said, “hey, Matt. Knock it off.”

Oh well. I think I’ll only get political on this blog if it’s really important to me and I feel like no one else is talking about it. Or to unabashedly support Tammy Duckworth for president. (Hey, DNC chairpeople, you reading this? Do you want to get veterans to vote democrat? Because Tammy is your way to do that. She lost both her legs fighting for our country, while Trump weaseled out of Vietnam thanks to a stubbed toe. Think about the campaign ads you can make from that! They write themselves.)

3) Become an editor.

I’m talking about becoming the person who reads manuscripts and approves or disapproves them for a publishing company. (Is that called an editor? I’m gonna look into this more.) The way I see it, I’m literally being paid to read books for a living, which at the moment sounds like my ideal job.

So why won’t I?

To be honest, I may actually try to do this. I just got to look into it a little more, because I assume getting this job is a lot more difficult than I’m making it out to be. Plus, a lot of the manuscripts are going to be terrible. Though I suppose I could just stop reading if that’s the case. But what if there’s too many good ones, and I can’t accept all of them? And what if I end up rejecting the next Harry Potter and have to live with that lost opportunity for the rest of my life?

I suppose that’s a risk I’d have to take.


Now I’m sure if I were to think extra hard, I could come up with a fourth option to put on this post, but hey, good things come in threes. A post with four bullet points would be unbalanced and therefore, irresponsible. I suppose I could add a fifth point but I’m not exactly Einstein over here.

So if you know anything about becoming an editor, let me know. And if you want to pay me money to write about politics, let me know as well. And if you know of an alternative to soda that’s still bubbly and delicious, I would also be interested.

A Day in the Life of a College Freshman

Yeah, so I’ve done a few posts like this in the past, one in my junior year of high school and one in my senior, and I got to say, I think this is the most interesting one I’ve done yet. Mainly because it has foreshadowing in it, and also some seemingly unrelated events that come together in the end. Plus something happens to me that feels like it was taken straight out an episode of Seinfeld, so I hope you all enjoy.

(I also just want to clarify that a couple parts of this post (you’ll know it when you see it) are not things that happen to me regularly. So keep that in mind.)

7:30 AM 

I can’t keep hitting the snooze button these days because it annoys my roommate, so I get out of bed and make my way to the bathroom. I watch my step, just in case my alcoholic suitemate vomited on the floor again. He did not, which is a good omen. (“Today will be a good day!”)

7:45 AM

After brushing my teeth and taking a shower and getting dressed, I make the fifteen minute walk to my first class of the day. I would eat breakfast first, but the dining halls don’t open until eight o’clock, which is the same time my class starts. This seems like a rather large flaw in the dining hall system, but there’s not much I can do. Luckily my mom sent me a care package recently that included snack sized bags of trail mix, so I ate that on the way.

7:55 AM

I notice that my phone is only at around fifty percent battery, which is weird, because I could’ve sworn I’d left it plugged in at night. It’s still enough to get me through the most of the day, though, so I don’t think much of it.

8:00-9:30 AM

Differential Calculus. It’s a tough class, but someone’s gotta do it. It’s taught by a TA, who is always nervous, which is uncalled for because he’s teaching a subject that no one cares about. I try my best not to fall asleep.

9:40 AM

Sociology discussion class. I have to give a presentation today about the evolving workforce into today’s society, or something like that. (I kinda winged it.) The presentation was based around three questions that were supposed to be discussed amongst the class. But because it’s a Friday morning and no one actually seems to read the required text, not much discussion is had. That is, until the final one.

The final question I asked was “Is it okay for a company to breach a customer’s privacy, even if doing so will benefit both parties?” It was referencing the Amazon Echo, a device that may or may not be listening in on your conversations in order to sell you stuff. (It totally is.)

What followed was a surprisingly heated discussion between two/three guys who were complete pro privacy, against one girl who was like, “it’s not a big deal, guys. Relax.” I was mostly on the girl’s side until she started talking about how companies can’t invade your privacy unless you agree to the terms of service, because come on. Nobody reads the terms of service. Nobody. Anyone who claims to is a backstabbing liar.

10:40 AM 

I finally get to eat a proper breakfast. Pancakes, and scrambled eggs, and bacon! Nothing quite like bacon to put you in a good mood. Now, my next class is at 2:20, so I have two choices:

  1. I could go back to my dorm and get some sleep.
  2. I could go to the library and attempt to get shit done.

I choose #2, which would usually be the smart choice, the one my parents would approve of. But in this case it ends up screwing me over in a way that will be revealed soon.

1:30 PM 

I get some homework done, but it’s a Friday and the week’s almost over, so I’m not in much of a rush. I watch YouTube videos in the library, then I head back to the dining hall for some lunch. Now, here’s when something weird happens.

As I’m waiting in line for food, one of the cafeteria workers need to walk past me, and so I back up to get out of the way. In doing so, I accidentally step on the foot of the girl right behind me. “Sorry,” I say to her, and usually that would be the end of it.

But after I apologize and turn back around, I find myself wondering if I said “sorry” too quietly. The place is very crowded after all, and loud too, and I may have come off as more of a jerk than I actually am. After a minute or so, I turn back around, hoping that this is all in my head and that the girl behind me has already forgotten about it.

Yeah, no.

Instead she’s giving me the death stare, with her arms crossed, her nostrils flaring. To borrow a photo from one of my other posts, she looks like this:

I have no idea what to do. In the end I just turn back around, feeling her eyes on the back of my neck. I figure it’s too late to fix anything and the damage has already been done, so I get my food and get out of there fast.

2:20 PM

Chemistry. Generally speaking, this is not a fun class either, but I am sitting next to this girl from my high school, (let’s call her Jess) who’s a lot of fun to hang out with. She asks if I want to go to a frat party with her friends tonight, and I one-up her by asking is she wants to bring her friends to pre-game at my suite before going to said frat party. She says yes.

An explanation:

Pregaming is when you drink alcohol before attending an event or social function, so you’re already loosened up before you get there, and you don’t have to spend too much money on drinks. I’m not sure if this is specifically an American thing, but I feel like we’d be the only country where the teens are stupid to do this.

Two of my suitemates usually set up a game of beer pong around 8:30 on weekends, and I’m free to invite anyone I want to them. The more, the better.

Therefore, in this scenario: beer pong = pregame.

3:30 PM:

Classes are done for the day, and I head over to the marketplace for what is basically a second lunch. (Don’t judge me.) I make extra sure not to step on anyone’s foot this time.

4:00 – 7:30 PM

I’m back in the library, working on my novel. Will it ever get finished? The world could only hope. I do get a lot done today though, so that’s nice.

I also watch an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I’ve only watched four episodes so far and I must say, I really identify with this Larry David guy. It’s like we’re the same person.

8:40 PM

I get back to my suite, and sure enough, the pregame is on tonight. I text Jess to make sure she knows which dorm I’m in, and in fifteen minutes I go downstairs to let her and her friends inside. Once they’re inside I quickly drop into my room to plug in my phone, which is now at only 10% battery.

Now kids, the problem with beer pong is that if you’re playing it by the rules and are actually drinking the alcohol, it’s very hard to keep track of how much you’ve had. And then if you pour hard liquor into the middle cup, as we did, you may find yourself getting drunk much faster than intended. So keep that in mind as you follow me along for the rest of the night.

11:15 PM

We end up going to the frat party, but first I go back into my room to pick up my phone, and what do you know? It hasn’t charged at all. In fact, it’s actually gone down to 8%.

Turns out, the extension cord I plugged my phone into was no longer connected to outlet in my wall, which explains why my phone wasn’t at 100% this morning and why it hasn’t charged at all today.

This is unfortunate, but I’m not going to let it ruin my night, so I put the phone on power saving mode and go out anyway, figuring “hey, I’m with my friends, nothing bad could happen to me.”

11:45 PM

I’m at the party, where I manage to bump into seemingly every single person I’ve ever talked to at the university. I’m bumping into people I haven’t seen in months, people I pass by in the halls, people I only met during orientation. It’s like my life in college is a TV show and tonight’s the finale, so all the minor characters are popping up for their last hurrah.

I took exactly three shots over the next hour or so, and I did the math in my head:

3 shots + ? = ??? drinks in one night.

1:00 AM (ish)

Jess and her friends ask if I want to leave and go to a bar. I let her know I don’t have a fake ID. She says it’s cool, because she knows one that doesn’t check them.

We go to bar #1, which as it turns out, actually does check IDs, so we are not allowed in. So we walk to another one, and wait in a long line. For this bar, I only have to give the bouncer five bucks to get inside. I reach into my pocket, then check my other one, and oh shit I lost my wallet.

Yep, it’s gone. Where did it go? Well it somehow ended up on the floor at the frat house, getting stepped on repeatedly, long into the night. It was returned to me the next day with everything still in it, but as far as I know, it’s gone forever.

But no worries, Jess agree to lend me five bucks, and we’re allowed in.

1:20 AM

Gotta say, bars suck. I thought the frat party was loud and crowded, but in this bar you literally can’t move an inch without bumping into someone. People buy fake IDs and risk getting arrested for this? Makes zero sense. I get separated from the group, and after getting suffocated for at least fifteen minutes, I decide I’ve had enough and I make my way outside.

The journey back outside is a long and arduous one. I don’t know what “arduous” means but it sounds like an appropriate word in this context. I’m moving about five feet per minute because there are just so many people in the way. When I get out I take a deep breath of the cool, crisp air. Thank God I’m out of there.

I take out my phone to text Jess and let her know where I went, only to find out that that eight percent battery has gone down much faster than expected.

So now I have a dead phone, and no wallet, and I’m drunker than the average man. I’m also in the middle of a city I don’t really know, and it’s the middle of the night. Most of the people walking past me are college kids travelling in packs, but I see one girl by herself and I ask her if I could use her phone. I’m quickly explaining my situation to her, but I stop in my tracks once I get a closer look.

She recognizes me just as I recognize her. “Wait a minute,” she says. “Aren’t you the guy who stomped on my foot this morning?”

Gotta say, this is surprising. There’s at least thirteen thousand students at my school so I’d honestly never expected to see this girl again, and certainly not this soon. My gut reaction was to go on the defensive, which may not have the best decision. “Well I didn’t exactly stomp on it. It was an accident.”

Bruised Foot Girl, however, was not having any of this. “Do you have any idea how painful that was? I could barely walk afterwards!”

“Oh, come on.”

“Would you like to see the bruises?” She bends over, threatening to take off her shoe for me. “You basically squashed all the toes on my right foot.”

At this point, we’re both raising our voices at each other and making a scene; I’m getting all angry and flustered. “Look, I didn’t mean to, alright? I did apologize —”

“Oh yeah, thanks for saying sorry, it really helped with the healing.”

“Well what do you what me to do about it? It was a crowded room, you were standing right behind me—”

“Oh, so it was my fault?”

“What? No. It wasn’t—”

“I’m so sorry for standing in line behind you, sir. It won’t happen again.”

“Okay look,” I say, calming myself down. “I’m sorry I stepped on you, I felt bad about it and I didn’t know what to do at the time. I lost my wallet and my phone’s dead, so I could really use some help right now.”

Unfortunately, the girl is not in a charitable mood. As she storms away down the street she yells at me, “Maybe watch your step next time, asshole!”

1:45 AM

Yeah, so that happened. I end up asking someone else for their phone, and they’re a lot nicer about it.

After about ten minutes of sitting outside, Jess and friends get out of the bar, and we take a cab back to campus. I decide not to mention my run-in with the Bruised Foot Girl, because I’m not sure which of us was the jerk in that situation. (Was it me? I feel like it was me.)

2:05 AM

We’re dropped off near one of the dining halls, the one that’s open til 4 AM on the weekends. I don’t have my wallet, of course, so I just get a cup of water, chugging two cups in less than a minute. Turns out, I was a lot more dehydrated than I thought.

2:25 AM

I call it a night. I’ve already lost my wallet and gotten yelled at, and I feel like if I keep going, only worse things will happen.

2:35 AM

I am back in bed. It’s nice and cozy.


If there’s a lesson to this post, it’s that bars aren’t fun and people hold grudges. Also, if you plug your phone into an extension cord, make sure said extension cord is properly plugged into the wall, before you leave it unattended for over an hour.

It’s been a long weekend, guys. Thanks for reading.

College: Spring Semester Thus Far

I’m exactly a week into my second semester at college, and how has it been so far? The short answer is: good! And the long answer will be written in multiple parts, starting with:

Classes

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Chemistry

So far it’s been light and breezy. But then again it felt light and breezy in the beginning of last semester, but then things went downhill faster than Sherlock: Season 4. I also found out that this girl I liked from high school was in my lecture, so I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.

(I won’t, actually. I’m probably going to forget.)

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My eyes hurt.

Differential Calculus

In Binghamton, the Calc. courses are split into two each semester, and I was supposed to take this in the second half of fall, but I dropped it because I hated the professor, and it was really hard, but mostly because I hated the professor. The dude showed up 20 minutes late every day and spent the next 70 minutes complaining about how the syllabus was out of order.

My new professor seems fine, though. A bit on the young side, not particularly exciting, (which is tough considering it’s an 8 o’clock class), but I also have zero desire to punch him in the face, which is really the best you could hope for in this day and age.

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Intro to American Politics

I feel like I should stop taking classes that have to do with politics, because I have no intention of having a career in government and the more I learn about the American political system, the more pissed off I get. Although now that I think about it, I think I’d be a great speech writer. So if Tammy Duckworth ever needs one, she oughta let me know soon. Here’s an excerpt I’ve already written for one of her rallies:

Ducks are loyal. Ducks are strong. And if I am your president, I will be as loyal and as strong as the best of any duck. I will bring upon a duck’s worth of peace and prosperity.

My opponent’s name may be Donald, but Donald is no Duck. He is a rabbit. An ugly little rabbit who feeds upon the carrots of our goodwill and trust. Who do you want to lead this glorious country of ours, a rabbit? *pause for boos* Or a duck?! *pause for cheers*

On second thought I should probably just stick to blogging.

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Couldn’t find a funny photo, so here’s this.

Sociology

I hesitated taking this class, because the syllabus mentioned something about having to do a presentation in front of a bunch of people. And that’s unfair because I already took a public speaking class and was hoping I’d never have to deal with that ever again. Oh well. I suppose I’ll live.

According to Rate My Professors, the professor was supposed to have a super heavy accent, but it turns whoever wrote that review was just pulling stuff out of his ass. I mean sure, the guy does have an Indian accent, but he speaks slowly and clearly, so this isn’t a problem at all.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand that’s all my classes for this semester. I do have to take an Integral Calculus class come late March, which sounds like hell, but at least the weather will be nice by then and I’ll be up for challenge.

In other news, I feel like I’m being a lot more social this year than I was last. This is partly due to my new suitemates, who are a lot of fun, or the fact that a lot of kids from my high school have come in for the spring. I also went to a frat party the other day for the first time, and it wasn’t horrible. I went to a bar for the first time, too, and that was horrible. 

(It was so crowded. I could barely move.)

All in all, though, college has been great so far. I’m hoping it stays that way.

So, how’s life for all of you? For any college students out there, have you gone back to school yet? And if there’s any sociology majors out there, can you explain to me exactly what sociology is? That would be a huge help.

Goals for My 2017 Spring Semester

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My spring semester of college starts today, and while my fall semester was fine, there were a few things I wished I’d done differently. And now that I have a good sense of what college is like, and how much of a workload I could handle, I’m going to start making goals for myself that will straddle the line between Reasonable and Overly Optimistic. Let’s see how it goes.

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1) Get Back to a Normal Sleep Schedule

Last semester I had to wake up early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for an 8:30 Chemistry lecture, and I did not handle it well. Back in August I’d figured that this would be easy, considering how I woke up around 6:00 AM in high school and it wasn’t that hard. But as it turns out, waking up early in college is so much worse.

“That’s it!” I thought as I planned out my spring schedule, “No more early classes. I’m never waking up earlier than nine again.”

But I ended up getting screwed over by technical issues, and now I’m stuck with an 8:00 Calculus classes on Monday Wednesday Friday and an 8:30 Intro to American Politics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So yeah, that’s rough.

And thanks to late shifts at Mcdonalds and nightly poker games, I’ve now gotten used to falling asleep around 4 AM and waking up around noon.

This is not a fun adjustment.

And yet, I’m looking forward to this. Because while I hate getting up early, I do love being up early. It’s nice waking up and having the whole day ahead of you. Plus the air smells nicer in the morning. Not sure why.

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2) Get at least a B+ in Chemistry.

Ah, chemistry. My Achilles’s heel, if you will. I got a C in it last semester, and I was pleasantly surprised to get it. I do hope to improve next semester, and the odds are in my favor this time because:

  1. My lectures this semester are in the afternoon, so I won’t be tempted to skip them so I can sleep in.
  2. I actually started to use all the extra resources available to me near the end, and it helped a lot.
  3. Hopefully, my TA this time won’t have a heavy, indecipherable accent. My last TA was a nice guy and all, (he didn’t even take points off when I handed in a late lab, God bless him), but he grew up in China and still has trouble with English. It’s understandable, considering that I took four years of Spanish classes and still can’t speak a word of it, but it’s frustrating when he has to explain important stuff to the class. I don’t know much about my new TA, but I know his first name is Brendan and his middle name is Patrick, so I’m gonna go on a hunch and say that English is probably his first language, (*fingers crossed*) so learning things should be a bit easier this year.

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3) Join more clubs

This is still going to be difficult for me, because three of the clubs I wanted to join last semester, (a book club, a sign language club, and a literary magazine thingy), were not only all at the exact same time, but also at the same time as my chemistry recitations. Chances are the same thing’s going to happen this semester too.

But I can still join the bowling club (turns out I’m good at it), as well as racquetball. Plus my school has a student-run website that’s basically like The Onion, and I would love to get an article or two posted on that. I think I could pull off satire. The key, as I see it, is to write about a completely ridiculous event as if its normal, such as this, or write about a completely normal event as if it’s extremely significant, like this. Or, of course, you can actually put some effort in.

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4) Be better with money.

Was I the best with money last semester? No. But did I learn from my mistakes and get better as the semester went on? Also no. This time, though, I hope to handle things better, and I won’t allow myself to make the same mistake regarding textbooks as I did last time:

Back in August I decided to save money for my classes by renting all my textbooks on Amazon for a cheaper price than was offered on the school bookstore. Look at me, I thought, saving money like a champ. This worked out fine for my Intro to World Politics course, but it backfired in math and science. Turns out, I had to get a code for an online site where 90% of the online assignments were due, and in order to get that I had to either pay $99 for the access code, or buy another textbook from the bookstore, because those were the only textbooks that came with the access codes. That’s two hundred bucks I’m never getting back. Do I sound salty? It’s my saltiness that’s making me sound that way.

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5) Check my grades as soon as they come out.

Sad fact: because I was so afraid I had failed chemistry, I did not check my grades for fall semester throughout the entire winter break. I just told my parents I had a 2.9 GPA, because that seemed to be on the optimistic side of realistic, and I spent winter break not thinking about anything school related.

Then I was told that if you failed Chem 107, you wouldn’t be able to continue with chem 108. Hmm, I thought, Maybe I should see how I did so I don’t get kicked out of chem 108 two weeks into the semester.

And so I checked my grades, and it was a lot better than I’d expected. C in Chemistry, B+ in Calculus, A in Intro to World Politics, and an A in my public speaking class. Not sure how that last one happened, (not false modesty; am genuinely perplexed), but I’m not going to argue with a good thing.

This semester, though, I’m checking my grades right away. ‘Cause there ain’t no way in hell I’m putting myself through that sort of stress again.


So, uh, yeah. What are your goals for this year? (School-related or otherwise.) And more importantly, does anyone know when Stranger Things is coming back? That show is lit.

Ten Books I Plan to Read in 2017

My last post like this was all the way back in 2015, and it’s funny because I still haven’t read most of those books. But this year will be different, I say, for the fourth year in a row.

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1) The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin.

That’s right, I’m calling it. This book will be published this year. I know I said this last year and the the year before that, but I mean it this time. I mean, he has to finish it eventually, right?

Right?

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What a boring cover

2) Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

I pick this book because it’s short, it’s supposed to be great, as well as an easy read. That’s what I love about YA books: they’re all quick to read, even when they’re bad. Plus, Emma Watson was in the movie adaptation, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen her act in anything since Harry Potter, so I hope to watch it after finishing this. 

Image result for extremely loud and incredibly close3) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathon Safran Foer

I remember seeing the trailer to this movie and thinking, “I don’t know what this is about, but I like it.” I never got to see to see the movie, but I heard the reviews for both it and the book were very divisive. It was either the most beautiful, heartwarming novel you’ve ever read, or a three hundred page piece of trash that belongs in the depths of hell.

I will get to decide which it is.

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4) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Fun fact, I actually read the first fifty pages or so, and found it fascinating. Sure, the main character was kind of a jerk to his friend, but I assume he’ll grow out of that. Plus I really want to learn more about the history of the middle east. The gist of what I know is this: Afghanistan got fucked over real bad in the 1970s, and I’m pretty sure the Russians were responsible, because the Russians are sort of awful like that. Although I’m sure the U.S. was also at fault in one way or another, because at one point in the novel Henry Kissinger was mentioned, and that guy’s famous for being a bit of a war criminal. Either way, I doubt this book has a happy ending.

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5) The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

I also read about 80 pages into this book, and I loved every moment of it. Although I do find it kind of arrogant of the author to just ignore the rules of punctuation. “Pff, I don’t need commas or quotation marks,” I can imagine him thinking. “My story is just that powerful.

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6) Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

I know, I know. It’s been over three years and I still haven’t read this book. However, I recently started getting back into King’s Dark Tower series, after putting it aside for a long time, so I think I’m ready to go back into his work. 

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7) The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith

It’s a romance novel about two lesbians in the fifties, which was recommended to me by Engie from Musings from Neville’s Navel. While I wasn’t a fan of The Maze Runner, I do tend to love most of the books she recommends me. Like A Game of Thrones, or Between the World and Me, or The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Or V for Vendetta.

So intend to get around to reading this book, and the pages will be soaked with my heart-shaped tears.

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8) Life, the Universe, and Everything, by Douglas Adams

This is the third book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and if it’s half as funny as the first two, I will be in for a good time. 

Seriously, though. You know how rare it is for me to laugh out loud when reading a book? Usually I just smile, or exhale out of my nose, but Adams sends me into fits. And then I find myself thinking about scenes from the books months afterwards and I crack up again, and then I have to explain to people why I just started laughing for seemingly no reason.

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9) I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson.

I remember seeing the Will Smith movie adaptation for this, and thinking, “meh, seven out of ten.” But apparently the book is completely different? Also, the book is currently sitting on a shelf in my basement, and no one knows how it got there, which adds quite a bit to its mystique.

10) Maggie Stiefvater’s new book, whatever it is.

Stiefvater’s become one of those authors whose books I would immediately buy the moment they were released. Other authors include John Green, Markus Zusak, George R. R. Martin, and Suzanne Collins. If any of them publish a new book this year, I guarantee I’ll be buying it, no matter what the circumstances.


So what are you planning to read this year? And if you’ve read any of the novels above, feel free to share your (non-spoilery) thoughts. Oh, and Happy New Year!

In Which I Unexpectedly Get Sunburn in the Middle of Winter

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This picture is physically painful to look at. Ow ow ow ow.

So now that I’m back from college, I finally have a room to myself. While my roommate was fine and all, there’s nothing quite as nice as getting home from work and knowing that nobody else will be in your room when you walk in. And knowing that I had a whole private room to myself, I did the only logical thing a person would do. I started sleeping in the nude.

I don’t recall doing this before college, but now that I was back home I tried to take full advantage of this newfound freedom. No roommate, no clothes. That was my new motto.

I did this for several wonderful, dream-filled nights, and I gotta say, it has its benefits. It’s how God intended us to sleep, I’ve been told.

Then the other day, I’ve noticed that my skin felt irritable. I put a shirt on and every part of my back it touched seemed to sting slightly. When I put on my jacket, the fabric touching my arms felt just as bad. What is this? I wondered. Why does my skin hurt?

I went the next few days like this, the conditions only getting worse and worse, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Was I having an allergic reaction to something? Did God actually intend for us to sleep fully clothed, with this being his way of punishing me? I only figured it out when I noticed that my arms were much more red than usual. (Not sure how I didn’t notice that sooner.) I pressed my finger against my skin, and when I let it go it left a white spot that I gradually returned to the surrounding pink. And then the explanation all unfolded in my mind within a matter of seconds. It felt like I had reached the big reveal in a mystery novel, and suddenly everything fell into place.

The light from my window gave me sunburn. 

The way my bedroom’s set up, the sun shines right on me each morning. I usually like that, because it keeps me from sleeping in too late. Except the last few nights I slept in until noon, meaning the sun was roasting its way through my back, arms, shoulders and potentially my nether regions without me even considering the idea that it would be a problem.

Let this be a lesson to y’all. Never sleep naked, or you will be roasted alive. Or at the very least, close the blinds.

On the bright side, you know how I’ve often talked about my failed attempts to get a tan? Well here is my chance to be the tannest white guy at Binghamton when I go back on the nineteenth. I just have to sleep on my back one day and sleep on my stomach the other, switching back and forth. Keep this up for a few weeks, and I’ll be like a human leather glove. 

There’s a bright side to everything, people. Remember that as you go into the new year.

Just Legalize Weed Already, Geez

(Note: the subject of politics comes up in this post. I usually don’t get political on this blog, because the last time I did, I ended up jinxing Bernie Sanders and resetting liberal progress back a generation. Oops. Won’t be making that mistake again. While by the internet’s standards I managed to remain relatively bipartisan here, I still think I should give you a heads up. I also talk about drug use, so if that irks you, remember you were warned.)

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I’m going to let you all in on a secret, but you’re going to have to promise not to tell anyone, okay?

I have smoked marijuana before.

I know, this is tough to hear. I know you all thought of me a constant do-gooder, incapable of moral failure, so in order to ease the disappointment I wrote you all a poem:

I tried to resist, but I’m hardly headstrong
I’ve smoked with a joint, a pipe, and a bong.
I know giving in was the move of a fool
But in my defense, it made me look cool.

This isn’t helping, is it?

Okay, so I have no idea what the culture is surrounding pot for all my individual readers. I get the impression that most of my adult followers won’t care, but I could imagine some head-shaking from some of my younger readers.

I also understand, that as a Famous Blogger™ with an impressionable fanbase, it is my responsibility to encourage young people to make healthy decisions when it comes to drug use. Which, yeah, I’m not going to do that. Weed is cool, guys.

When you’re high:

    • Everything is funnier.
    • Music sounds amazing.
    • Bo Burnham is a god.
    • Falling asleep is so easy.
    • They say it kills brain cells, but they neglect to mention that it only kills the weak brain cells, so only the strong cells survive. These strong cells reproduce and create stronger cells, making you a smarter individual overall.
    • Not sure about that last point, but it sounds true. 

Now, when did I first get into bed with Mary Jane, you ask? Well it started near the end of ninth grade, where during lunch a classmate gave me a pot brownie without actually telling me it was a pot brownie. Then another day after school, a group of kids who always hung out on my street corner asked, “Yo Matty B, wanna do the ol’ smoke-a-roo?” I said “nah man, I’m cool.” And they said, “What’s the matter? You scared?” And I said, “Well I’m convinced, hand it over,” and I’ve been a pothead ever since.

[Disclaimer: none of that is true.]

Instead I just smoke occasionally with my friends, around once a week during breaks, and rarely at all during the school year. It’s usually after a poker game, which we play with real money, which is also technically illegal. In my defense, I’m Irish.

(I think I’m just going to blame my Irish roots from now on, every time I make a questionable decision.)

This has been going on for a while, and because I do it all in MODERATION, I have yet to see any negative effects. My short-term memory is no worse than it’s always been, it hasn’t led to any harder drugs like I’ve been told it would, and according to my latest doctor’s appointment, my lungs are healthier than they’ve ever been, which is just weird. There’s no reason for that.

That being said, I hope it’s legalized at a national level. Because for all the stigma surrounding the drug, it’s fairly harmless. Really, the most dangerous part of smoking weed is getting caught smoking  weed, and that doesn’t seem right to me.

750,000 people are arrested for simple marijuana possession in one year alone, which is something that could fuck up a kid’s life, unless of course that kid is white (like me!) or has rich parents (not like me).

(Kind of want to take a moment here to clarify that being white does not make you immune to the negative legal consequences of smoking pot; the odds are just leaning in your favor.)

The worst part is when you take a look at the people running the country, and their own history with drugs. Barack Obama has been relatively open about his history with pot in the past, and he’s also been in favor of getting rid of mandatory minimums and decriminalizing the drug, so he sort of gets a pass, although he hasn’t done as much as he could have.

And then there’s people like Donald Trump. I don’t have evidence of him smoking pot before, but if the debates were any indication he was definitely sniffing cocaine. And yet here he is, hiring an attorney general who wants to double down on enforcing those laws, and with a straight face says things like: “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Really, the only difference between politicians like Bill Clinton, who sort of admitted to smoking in the past but claimed “he didn’t inhale,” (sure), and the thousands of people put in jail each year, is that the politicians got lucky. They were lucky enough to not get caught. Lucky enough to have connections and money so they didn’t have to deal with the consequences that the rest of Americans have to face, thanks to policies they themselves have enacted.

DAMN YOU, FLAWED POLITICAL SYSTEM!

The bright side for potheads is that weed continues to be legalized for recreational use on an individual state level, and if it’s anything like how gay marriage was, it should be approved at a federal level after 37 states or so. #babysteps

____

So what do you think? Should it be legalized? Should it stay illegal? And if you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for my next one: “Why the Hell Haven’t We Legalized Crack?”

Storytelling Tips Learned from The Leftovers

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I’ve watched a lot of TV shows in my life, and every once in a while one of them comes along and makes everything else look like trash. One such show was season 2 of The Leftovers, which managed to be better than its first season in every conceivable way.

A quick summary: The Leftovers is a show that’s about dealing with ambiguous loss. On October 14th, 2011, 2% of the world’s population — with no correlation whatsoever between them — just vanished into thin air at the same time. No one knows why it happened, who is responsible, or what even happened to the people that vanished. Where did they go? Are they ever coming back? Will this happen again? The writers have no intention of answering these questions and personally I hope they never do.

This may not seem like your type of show, but if you’ve ever dealt with the loss of a family member, a friend, anyone you cared about. If you’ve ever dealt with depression, or if you’ve ever just been sad about something at all at any point in your life, you will connect with this show on some level.

In my case, I connected a little too deeply, and I was pretty much an emotional wreck after every episode. It changed the way I thought about my own writing, and it also redefined my perspective on life itself. 

(To be fair, my perspective on life changes about once every week .)

For this post I’m just gonna be focusing on the writing portion, as I bequeath to you some of tips I took from this show:

TV-Cap: ASH VS EVIL DEAD at Comic-Con, THE LEFTOVERS Season 2 Trailer, & More

Don’t be afraid to shake things up.

The show’s first season took place in a small town in upstate New York. It was a stand-in for the rest of the world. “Anytown, USA,” it might as well have been called. We followed the characters there for eight or nine months, getting to know and understand them as they got into various hijinks and tomfoolery.

And then the first episode of season 2 comes along and the focus of the show moves thousands of miles away to the town of Jarden, Texas. The opening episode focuses on a set of characters we’ve never met before. You don’t see a single familiar face until you’re forty-five minutes in. Jarring as all hell, but it worked.

But it wasn’t just the setting that changed: the tone changed, the lighting changed, even the opening credits changed drastically in a way that I can’t remember seeing before. Here’s the opening to the first season: 

And now here’s the second one:

Changing so much about the show was a pretty ballsy move, I think we can all agree, and yet it paid off better than anyone could’ve expected, with a show currently being praised by critics and viewers alike as one of the best on TV.

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Not everything has to be explained.

In one episode we watch a character have a friendly conversation with her new neighbor, one that ends with no apparent conflict between them. The very next scene we watch as she casually walks up to the neighbor’s house, picks up a rock, and throws it straight through the neighbor’s window.

The show never outright explains why she decided to suddenly vandalize her neighbors’ house, but the audience is left to figure it out for themselves, even though there’s more than one possible conclusion for the audience to draw. The show trusts the viewers to figure shit out on their own and allows them to interpret things in different ways, and so should you.

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Some things probably should be explained.

The guy who wrote The Leftovers is Damon Lindelof, who also wrote the show Lost. As a result, he has a bit of a reputation for setting up mysteries without actually resolving them in a satisfactory way. So when he decided to write another show centering around a mystery that he has admitted from the beginning would never be explained, he got an understandable amount of flak from pissed off Lost fans.

And yet, the second season of the show introduced several mysteries at once, including one really juicy one. A mystery so juicy it might as well have been a porterhouse steak. For weeks and weeks I scrolled through dozens (hundreds?) of different theories regarding it, and not only were a: none of them were right, but b: the mystery was handled in such a jaw-dropping, game-changing way that I couldn’t even sleep afterwards. And I love to sleep.

The lesson here is that you can keep things ambiguous if you want, but you need to have a good grasp on what should be answered and what doesn’t have to be. The Leftovers is a show that’s very premise is an unanswered question, but it remains satisfying because when it comes to big reveals, it never drops the ball. 

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Tell a joke for once.

While I can fanboy about this show for ages, and could probably write a novel-length essay analyzing it scene to scene, I must admit that at one point, I was thinking about quitting the show.

Around halfway through the first season, I was getting wary. The show was so dark. All the characters seemed to be digging themselves deeper and deeper into their own misery. The show at that point was utterly humorless. Humorless and hopeless, it seemed; the two worst things a story could be. 

But luckily the writers seemed to figure this out, because they started to inject some much-needed humor into the characters. And then they gave the characters hope within all the sadness, and it was raw and beautiful and cathartic and no I am not crying right now, I just have something in my eye, so shut up.

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Make every moment count.

You could tell a story’s well-done if you can’t think of a single thing you’d cut. This wasn’t case for the first four or five episodes, (which is why it’s the weakest part of the show), but re-watching the season 2 premiere, it’s amazing to see just how important every single moment turned out to be. Every odd detail, every facial expression. They even managed to turn a stupid knock knock joke into hardcore foreshadowing. (Yes. Hardcore.)

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Not all dystopian stories have to involve an evil government that needs to be overthrown.

I remember seeing a review for The Leftovers describing the series as a dystopia, and I remember thinking, “Hm, I guess it is kind of dystopian.” After all, it was about an alternate version of the world, where mysterious cults are rising up all over the U.S., and the government has no problem with killing them off if need be. 

When I usually think of Dystopian stories, I think of V for Vendetta, or The Hunger Games: where the world is terrible, but at least the readers know who’s to blame. But in The Leftovers, the world can’t be fixed by blowing up buildings, or shooting people with an arrow. The world’s broken because each and every person in it is broken. It’s a dark premise, but I think it’s much more compelling than most of the dystopian books and movies I’m so used to seeing.

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I’m going to be honest, guys. This was less about writing tips, and more about how much I love this show. Watch it. It’s lit.

No, Participation Trophies are Not Turning Kids into Entitled Wimps, so Shut Up About It

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Okay then.

So as a side effect of the 2016 election, I’ve become increasingly involved in politics, and to keep my mind open, I’ve been trying to read from a varied number of sources. From liberal talk-shows, to conservative blogs, to moderate newspapers, to random angry YouTube comments. (Let’s not compare source validity, here.) And no matter what end of the political spectrum I’m reading, there always seem to be one issue that everyone seems to agree on: that participation trophies are the worst things ever.

Seriously, according to the internet, the worst things in the world are:

  1. Genocide
  2. Torture
  3. Participation Trophies
  4. Christmas Music
  5. Disease
  6. Discrimination
  7. Pop-up Ads
  8. Poverty
  9. Climate Change
  10. People Who are Bad at Parking.

In my humble opinion, number three is the one thing on this list that doesn’t quite belong.

“But Matt!” you say. “By giving all the kids trophies just for showing up, you’re teaching them that they don’t have to actually try in life. They’ll think life is just sunshine, roses and rainbows, and they won’t be prepared for the competitiveness of the real world.”

And I understand that reasoning. I believed it for the majority of my (not that long) life, mostly because that view had been drilled into me by so many adults, so many random people on the internet, so many teachers and relatives and fellow students. You know how many times I’ve been told that young people think they deserve to have everything handed to them? That this whole “Everyone gets a trophy” culture is turning kids into narcissistic, entitled wimps with unrealistic expectations and no real work ethic? Admittedly, not that often.

Still, it’s total bullshit. And it makes me wonder if the people arguing this have actually talked to children before, or remember what it’s like to be a kid. Because all the articles I’ve read on this issue seem to neglect one important factor: kids aren’t stupid.

Okay, kids can be pretty stupid sometimes. When I was five I believed that color didn’t exist until the 1950s, because everything filmed before then was in black and white.

But when it comes to certain things, like competition, they are not. You could tell a group of children that they’re all equal, that they’re all special snowflakes in their own way, but this isn’t a lesson that’s going to stick. Because they inherently know that it’s not true.

I got several participation trophies growing up. Quite a few of them, actually, not that it fooled anyone. I played baseball, soccer, and basketball up until I was around seven or eight. The coaches never really kept score, and there was no championship game or anything to see who the best team was.

But trust me, the kids knew. We knew which kid was always hitting those line drives and which kid couldn’t catch a fly ball if it landed in his glove. We knew which team was the the more obnoxious, douchier version of the Yankees and which team was the even sadder version of the Cubs.* And at the end of the season when we got a participation trophy, we didn’t think we were cool; we were thinking about how the obnoxious Yankee team got the real trophies, and how they were probably going out to get ice cream.

The last participation trophy I ever received was during my last year of Little League, and trust me, I was not proud of it. By that point, every kid my age knew exactly what that meant. My mom bragged about it to my brother as if it was an actual accomplishment, and the results were disastrous. My brother laughed at me the moment he found out, and then he told everyone else about it, who reacted the same way. Every day for weeks afterward, somebody from school would bring that trophy up, in that mocking tone that kids are so good at. “Hey Matt,” they’d say, “Congratulations on the participation trophy!” Then they’d laugh and high-five each other for the sick burn. It didn’t take long for me to get the ironic nickname of Athlete. As in, “Hey, Athlete. Heard you suck at baseball.”

In the end, I threw the trophy in the trash. I quit baseball after that, by the way, and I entered middle school with a very dark, cynical view towards life.

My point is that participation trophies aren’t the phony beacons of false hope we’re giving to children to set them up for future failure. Instead, whether intentionally or not, they’ve become our way of politely telling kids how terrible they are. And they know it.

___________

Edit: I know I’m in the minority on this opinion, so if anyone would like to go into a hardcore debate over this (or even just a softcore debate), feel free to do so in the comments below. It’s more than possible, after all, that my experience with participation trophies is not representative of most people’s experience.

*I wrote this post months before the Cubs won the world series. Don’t judge me.

Seven Summer Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. In my defense, when people told me that the summer before college would be nothing but sex and drugs and rock and roll, I assumed they were exaggerating. (First lesson of summer 2016: don’t assume anything.)

Okay, so maybe I myself was exaggerating a bit there, but I have indeed been busy lately. Once school ended I had to attend a string of graduation parties, ceremonies and what-have-yous. Plus now that I’m eighteen and school’s out I’ve been working very long hours. I also started volunteering at a hospital nearby, so that’s cool.

(Lesson #2: Don’t expect much from volunteering at a hospital, at least if you’re still a high school student. My first day they had me cleaning the railings in the hallway and I was told, “feel free to take as long as you want with this, because we have nothing else for you to do.” I still had six hours left on my shift.)

(That being said, I don’t regret volunteering there. The conversations you can listen in on are a writer’s goldmine.)

I also made the mistake of buying Grand Theft Auto V, which is stealing all my time. I know, I know. I should take responsibility instead blaming my problems on a game, but in my defense that game is like heroin. Offensive, lazily misogynist heroin. 

(I am ashamed.)

Then the other day I went to my college orientation, and I’ve been on edge ever since. Part of me can’t wait to pack my bags and start this new experience, and the other part of me is constantly whispering nerve-wracking thoughts into my brain. “What if you flunk out?” “What if you have no friends and everyone hates you?” “What if your roommate is the next Ted Cruz?”, and my only coping mechanism thus far has been to browse through the millions of advice articles for incoming freshman out there. They all say pretty much the same things. Does that stop me from reading them? Nah.

(Lesson #3: The food in my college is really good. Either that, or they keep the quality up during orientation and let it slide during the actual school-year.)

(Lesson #4: Don’t get the pancakes during breakfast at college, because you will be unable to find butter or syrup and will have to eat it plain. I ate a naked pancake, guys. It was awful.)

How else have I been spending this summer? I watched Finding Dory and binge-watched Orange is the New Black, and currently have zero regrets regarding either decision.

(Lesson #5: Just keep swimming.)

Now, you may be wondering just what it was exactly that snapped me out of my laziness enough for me to write this post. Mainly it was an incident with a customer at my job that pissed me off. I was no longer angry about it by the time I got home, but it made me think about all the other stuff I want to blog about. Like my aunt’s crazy, incoherent rants about Obama, or the fact that it’s no longer considered okay to drink out of a hose. Oh, and Matt Walsh. Fuck that guy.

At the end of this long thought process I realized that I’ve neglected my blog for too long, and made a mental note to jump back into things. Y’know, just after I run over some hookers with a stolen police car on GTA V.

(Lesson #6: there’s nothing like a little righteous anger to get you motivated.)

(Lesson #7: playing Grand Theft Auto turns you into a terrible person.)

Weird Things I Do

What a unique person.

I just realized today that there are a couple weirdly specific things that go through my head on a daily basis, and I’ve always just assumed this was just a Matt Quirk.

(Definition of a Matt Quirk: Strange and unusual behavior exhibited by teen bloggers named Matt.) 

But today I heard a classmate mention that whenever she was on a long car ride as a little kid, she’d imagine an imaginary person running alongside the road with her, jumping over anything in the way and never falling behind. This was such a perfect description of what I used to do that it had me wondering: what if I’m not as strange as I thought I was? What if I’m actually normal?

So I decided to tell you some of things I do, just to see if anyone else does the same thing. If not, feel free to judge me as harshly as you want:

I often imagine myself explaining parts of my daily routine to someone my age from the nineteenth or early twentieth century. Like sometimes when I stop to get gas, or use my phone, or watch TV, I think of how I’d explain all this to someone who’d never seen it before. I currently find myself trying to explain the current presidential election to someone from the 1930s, and it is very difficult. 

When I’m bored in math class, I find myself playing this game with my calculator, in which I type the numbers in the rhythm to a song. Then I press the divide button and type the pattern in again without looking, to see if I get the same thing. For example, the recurring verse to Where is My Mind? by the Pixies comes out to the sequence: 757575757474745545 repeated two or three times.

Okay, so this one’s going to be difficult to explain, but I’ll do my best. Have you ever seen floors like this? (the color’s unnecessary)

Now, do you know how to play chess? Because there’s a piece in that game called the knight that could move in any direction as long as it’s in the shape of an L. Two blocks in any direction, one block to a perpendicular side, as shown below.

Well as a kid, and occasionally now when I do walk on such floors, I’d only step in a tile that a knight would be allowed to move to in a game of chess. I’d always be slightly disappointed if the tiles were suddenly cut off, or if a random passerby made me miss a step. Twas a fun game.

I rarely do this anymore though, mostly cause I kept bumping into things. Plus it just looked weird, so . . . *shrugs*

Sometimes I keep the air conditioning on at night when it’s not even hot out, simply because the sound helps me sleep. Sorry about that, Planet Earth.

I’ll occasionally pour water into my water bottle cap and drink from that, instead of the bottle itself. Y’know, just to be fancy.

I quickly swipe at the top of my nose whenever I’m in a stressful position. Especially during class presentations. Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but I’ve been trying very hard not to do this and so far I think I’ve succeeded. Although there’s a chance that I do it now without even thinking, so I should look out for that.

Oh, and I always take the tab thingy off of my cans of soda. Y’know, that thing you pull up to open it? Well, I pull it off completely and put it my pocket, every single time. Partly so I can tell which one is mine if I’m at some sort of social gathering, but mostly because of habit. 

Hmm . . .

That’s all I can think of right now. If you have any weird quirks, feel free to share. (I’ll only judge you if it’s particularly freaky.) And if you are guilty of any of the things I mentioned above, comment below so I know I’m not alone.