Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fare thee well

Welp.

This is it.

IT IS TIME.

Tomorrow morning I embark on my 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  While out there, I won't be able to post on this blog, but I will be writing weekly updates home, and those letters can be read at my family's mission blog, http://enrightmissionaries.blogspot.com/.  I'll still be hilarious, if a little more pious, so feel free to check it out.

See you all in 18 months.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Party of 12

In an alarmingly short number of days, I'm taking off for my 18-month mission to the great deep south of good ol' 'Merica.  One week after that, Fred and George will follow suit, except they're peacing out for 2 years to South America - as in the whole different continent.  And then, not too long after the three of us have all said our farewells, Sis will be moving out of state.  Our family has officially reached breaking point - in the sense that, probably never again, will all 12 of us be all living under one roof, just the 12 of us, as siblings and parents, without any spouses or grandchildren attached.  It's a weird point in a family's life, and it's weird for me to think of my family never really again taking over a playground or terrifying a restaurant staff in our being a family of 10 kids.  Sure, we're totally going to be taking over future playgrounds and terrifying future restaurant staffs with us ten kids plus grandkids plus in-laws and whatnot at family reunions, but it won't be *just us* anymore, if you catch my meaning.  And as I've been thinking about all this, I've been looking back at growing up in a family of 10 kids, and at how different that made my childhood from the childhoods of so many others.

For example, growing up, I thought it was perfectly normal that - when arriving at a hotel - the van got parked at one of the various back doors and carefully and quietly we'd go up to the room in shifts, never all at once, and then should we go to the pool or to breakfast or wherever, we'd similarly always go in small groups, ten or so minutes apart.  My logic, and the reason given to me by my parents?  That we didn't want to overwhelm anyone - the breakfast staff especially.  They needed time to restock the Danishes.  It wasn't until we'd done this hotel routine for quite a few years that I learned that our whole fitting-all-twelve-of-us-into-one-hotel-room thing was actually against hotel policy, and that in order to successfully pull off our life of crime, Dad had always been careful to keep the sheer size of our family a secret from hotel staff, by always having us use back exits and always travelling and sitting separately from each other within the hotel.  Actually, I don't think we ever had to fit all twelve of us into a single room, because by the time there were twelve of us we'd moved up in life to where we were getting like 2 rooms, which is still technically over capacity, but let me tell you - after years of battling it out for even 1/3 of a hotel bed rather than a sleeping bag on the floor, sharing a room with just 5 others was luxurious.

Another funny thing was what people assumed life as a family of 12 was like.  For instance, the thing I was told most often in regards to my being in such a big family was "you guys have enough for your own baseball team!" usually followed by a "you can play all sorts of sports with just your own family!" which I guess technically is true, even though I can count the number of times my family gathered together to play baseball together on one hand (unless of course you're counting those games which sort of *resembled* baseball, except with its own set of Calvinball-esque rules).  Sure, I guess, if we had wanted to, my siblings and I could've played all sorts of baseball games and football games and whatnot.  Except we never did.  Not to say that having a large family didn't positively affect my many years of playing games outside.  It's just that, rather than there being enough of us to form our own baseball team, there were enough of us to represent all members of the Fellowship of the Ring (plus some non-Fellowship characters) in our LOTR version of "Sharks and Minnows," in which - depending on which character you were - you had special powers to help you get from one side of the yard to the other before the Eye of Sauron caught you.  There were also enough of us to have decent superhero arena showdowns, a la X-Men's Danger Room, the glaring difference being that we couldn't actually summon tornadoes or shoot lasers from our eyes, so much of our time was spent arguing about whether or not we'd actually hit each other with our invisible (and also imaginary) powers.  Then of course our numbers also came in handy when it came to crewing our many ships (pirate and space) assembled in our backyard from various yard equipment, deck furniture, and whatever sporting equipment had been given to us over the years by friends and family concerned for our athletic wellbeing and involvement.  Tee-ball stands especially made great cannons, while hockey sticks proved to be our favorite hand weapons for melee combat - whether as staffs or scythes.

Grocery shopping was a strategic strike mission in which we procured 12 dozen eggs and 8 gallons of milk to last us the week.  I got used to cashiers always commenting on how we must be hosting some sort of party whenever we went through the register, though they must've thought our parties were quite odd, since apparently we were feeding the attendees nothing but oatmeal and pasta.

On those rare occasions where we'd go out to be a movie, we got there an hour before the showtime to be sure to get 12 seats together, which is why - so many years later, as an independent and mostly fully-functioning adult - I get stressed out if I'm not at the theater at least 30 minutes before the movie starts, even though it turns out that seats for 2 and 3 can be found even after the movie has started.

After my dad's involvement in the online school community led to our acquisition of a fair number of computers, our dining room was transformed into a computer lab where we would have LAN parties and stay up late playing Warcraft.

Our family bike rides and family walks looked like mob operations, some sort of Mafia day camp.

And at Disneyworld, on a number of rides, we got an entire car or boat just to ourselves.

The party of 12.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Some Things I've Learned...

It's been a while since I last wrote.  And some things have happened.

For example, I graduated college.

No big deal.

Except it kind of is.  Even though it doesn't really feel like a big deal right now - just like the end of any ol' semester - I have officially finished the academic journey I've been on my whole life.  That's kind of weird.  My whole life has been building towards being a college graduate, and...here I am.  Still spending whole days in my pajamas watching cartoons, still singing Sesame Street songs when I count to 12, and still confused by irrational numbers.  College graduate, ladies and gentlemen.

But my time away at college taught me a lot.  On campus and off.  Sure I learned all about structuralist literary theory and Russian imperialism and read enough Renaissance drama that I found myself using phrases such as "peace, ye fat guts" and "exit, pursued by bear" (quite possibly my favorite stage direction of all time) in everyday conversation, but that's not all I took away from my time at college.  I learned other things as well.

For example:

1) Get to know people - don't rely on first impressions.  I'm not saying be an outgoing friend-making-machine extrovert.  Goodness no.  That would make me a hypocrite, like level 10.  I'm saying stick it out with the people around you.  Some people who you think are cool will prove you otherwise.  Others who you hardly notice at first will prove to be hidden gems of awesomeness.  People deserve chances.  Some of my best friends now I knew and didn't speak to for months before realizing we quoted the same movies and made the same Harry Potter jokes and became best friends.  With others, they started with intense arguments and even went through awkward enemy stages.  Trust me.  Get to know people.  It's worth it.

2) It's entirely possible to live off nothing but Ramen noodles and the kindness of others.  Trust me.  Make a few connections with people and places where free food may be found in abundance, and you'll never have to go grocery shopping again.

3) The internet is, was, and will always be your best friend.  Sometimes your connection will try and get between you, being slow or dying completely.  Don't let it win.  Always have backup places.  Coffee shops. Libraries.  Wherever.  Just hold onto that internet.  It'll never give you up.  Never let you down.  Never run around and desert you.  But it totally will make you cry - indirectly, perhaps, but still.  Curse you BBC.  Curse you.

4) It's okay to be spontaneous - in moderation, of course.  Some of my favorite college memories are things that were completely unplanned.  A breakfast outing.  A midnight hike up a mountain.  A surprise sleepover. I'm really bad at being okay with spontaneity, but if I'd refused to ever do anything that came up in the spur of a moment, or that would have kept me out long after my mentally prescribed bedtime, I would've missed out on a lot.

5) Know your Kryptonite foods.  We all have them - those foods which we can eat and eat and eat and will never feel full.  Know what they are.  For instance, I can be eating a s'more that is either my second or my twelfth and not know the difference. Be aware of these weaknesses when at social gatherings.  You don't want to be remembered as that 30-S'more Girl, or Guy.  Especially if you already have a reputation as the 23-Ice-Cream-Sandwich Girl. Or Guy.

6) Everyone has different priorities.  But the best kinds of friends will respect yours.  They may roll their eyes behind your back as you sob over that A-, but others will laugh at your face and tell you it doesn't matter, while your friends give you a hug and offer you cupcakes.  That's when you know you're in good company.

7) Life isn't fair.  Some people don't have to pay tuition.  Some people don't have to work for grades.  Some people everybody just loves no matter what.  Just accept that, and get over it, and you'll save yourself a lot of nights of Nutella therapy.

Speaking of which.

8) Nutella therapy is highly effective.  And versatile - be it grief induced or celebratory, Nutella therapy is the way to go. Always.

9) No matter how many times you try and delete it, your Pandora Christmas station will never disappear.  In fact, Pandora will even always start on it, no matter if it be December or July.  Just accept it, and stop explaining yourself whenever "White Christmas" comes on as soon as you open your computer.

10) Know what you like to do and what you want to learn, and go for it.  Not "go for it" as a hobby - but go for it in college.  Whether this concerns where you go to school, what major your declare, or just what topic to go with for a paper - it's important.  School is hard enough as it is.  And it's a lot harder if you're just there doing something you hate.

11) Change is good.  Even necessary at times.  Yes, it's true, 14-year old Bayley would be mortified that 20-year old Bayley paints her nails.  But...that's okay.  And nobody liked 14-year old Bayley anyways *shudder*.  Except her mom, of course.

Which reminds me.

12) Moms are awesome.  Seriously.  Living on my own taught me such respect for all my mom had done for me in the past, be it chores or cooking or being willing to comfort a young girl horribly depressed by the death of a fictional character.  And then when I grew up and left home, she still answered that girl's whiny texts and told her she enjoyed her columns, even when they both knew that last one was atrocious.  Moms, guys.  Moms are awesome.

13) Keep in touch.  After college, people go everywhere.  They get married, they get big-people jobs, they travel the world.  You may never see some of them again.  So keep in touch.  Facebook. Texting. Emails. Whatever.  But don't forget about people.  Nobody likes to be left behind. Or forgotten.  (Disney, people.  Teaching important life lessons since forever).

14) Don't end things with 13.  Just...don't.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Just My Future...NBD

So it's come to my attention that I've neglected mentioning something that's kind of a big deal.  Like only-the-next-chapter-in-my-life kind of a big deal.

*clears throat*

On June 26, I'll leave my then graduated-and-chilling-at-home lifestyle and embark on a service mission for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Texas and Louisiana - where I'll live for the next 18 months giving service and eating gumbo and teaching about my beliefs and wrestling gators and sharing my love for Christ with the great people of the South.  Okay so the wrestling gators things may not happen...or maybe it will.

So yeah, like I said, kinda a big deal.  Just my future, ya know.

Also, today might just happen to be the 100-days-till-I-report day.  Also kinda a big deal.

Do you remember how in elementary school they made such a big deal out of the 100th day of school?  I can remember, on that particular day, doing all sorts of weird 100-themed activities, including making macaroni necklaces using exactly 100 pieces of pasta.  And also cutting out 100 little pieces of paper and using them to make the number 100 on a piece of a paper to hang around the room.  Looking back, I can't believe that I actually went to school for a whole day just to count out 100 pieces of macaroni (seriously education?  Seriously?) but I'll confess, I kinda feel like celebrating with 100-themed crafts today.  Not because it's the 100th day of school (for some reason that stopped being a celebratory thing after, like, second grade) but because I embark on my mission in 100 days.  100 ladies and gents.  100.

Except sadly macaroni necklaces stopped being cool after...well no, actually they were never cool.  So instead, in honor of today, I'm telling y'all about this great thing called my mission.

I got my mission call more than a month ago now (whoa WHAT, are you serious time - what are you doing to me, going by so fast?) on February 15.  "Getting your mission call" means you receive a little packet in the mail that tells you exactly where you're going and when you're going.  Prior to receiving my call, I'd submitted an application to the leaders of my church saying "yo, I wanna serve a mission" except actually not really that at all, but pretty much that.

And then.
Calls are special things.  You could get sent anywhere.  You could be called to learn a different language.  This picture is of me and my best friend Tony-whose-name-isn't-actually-Tony.  You may remember her from such episodes of my life as that of the adventures of The Shining.  She's already out there serving, called to Denmark.
These are my bros Fred and George, called to serve in Chile and Argentina, respectively.  You may remember them as being my bros, Fred and George.

I know people going everywhere on their missions.  From Japan to Germany to Oregon to Pennsylvania to Australia to Texas to Arizona to Nevada to Ukraine to everywhere else.

Five things to know about all us missionaries and missionaries-to-be.
1) We're all little babies.  Like mostly 18-21 year-olds.  We're giving up being in college or dating or working at some big deal job (or a small deal job) to serve.
2) We're going on missions because we want to.  Not because we're being forced into it, but because we want to.  We submitted our own applications.  We said "yo send me anywhere - I just wanna serve."  And we meant it.
3) We're serving - which means we ain't getting paid.  In fact, we're actually paying for it ourselves.  Well, us and our families.  All that travelling and living and eating and existing for 18 months (for us sisters) or 2 years (for them brothers) costs money - and we're the ones that pay it.  Because we wanna serve.
4) We're all going where we're supposed to go.  With me going to Texas, which isn't necessarily the most exotic and foreign of places, and with my bros both going to a whole different continent, I've had a few people comment almost apologetically - as if in going to Texas I got the short end of the mission stick.  Heck. NO. I can't wait to go to Texas and Louisiana, just as my bros can't wait to go to Chile and Argentina.  And I ain't jealous of them in the least - because Texas is where I'm meant to be.  And P.S. - missions are MISSIONS.  Not vacations.  It's about the people - and the people in Texas and Louisiana are my peeps now, just like George's Argentinians are his.
5) We are going on missions because we love you all.  Because we love serving, and because we love Christ, and our church, and our gospel, and because we love it so much - we want to share it with everyone else we love.  Which is all of you.  It's like if you read a book or watched a movie that you absolutely LOVED, and you just wanted to tell all your friends about it so they can love it too.  That's a mission in a nutshell.

So there you have it, my future.  At least for the next 18 months.

And I couldn't be more excited.

Now excuse me, but I need to find me some macaroni for a 100-noodles macaroni necklace.

Some habits die hard.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Pinterest-Inspired Rant (that has nothing to do with Pinterest)

So, I saw something recently that made me whip out my feminist tool belt.

That's right, I have a feminist tool belt.  You know, in addition to my literary theory tool belt and my punctuation tool belt and also my social skills tool belt.  That last one is a bit smaller than the rest.

Here's what got me riled up.
This image has been spreading across the Internet and is getting many likes and shares and favorites and whatever you may call it - especially from women.  There aren't a lot of guys out there coming up with oh-so-funny little pictures that comment on how Bella is a terrible role model for women and how she's a terrible heroine and how she does nothing and how pretty much nobody likes her.  Yup, it's us ladies out there who are putting up things like this, and you know what?  It's really working against us.  All of us.  This picture is sending out the wrong message.

Hmm?

What is that Bayley? You are making no sense.

P.S. Bayley calm down, it's just a funny picture on the internet.

Also, you can't put P.S.'s in the middle, duh.

Don't worry, I'll explain.  And also, yeah it's just a picture on the internet, but we all know the internet is going to rule the world in approximately 1.37 years, if it isn't already doing so.  And also, I can use P.S.'s whenever I want to, because this is my blog.

And seriously, the number of voices you've got going on here, Bayley.  Calm down.  You may make schizophrenic jokes on here somethings, but this is a bit excessive

Anyways, back to the picture.

The gist of it is this: this picture is inviting criticism of Bella as a weak female because she gets married.

Wait Bayley - is this going to be one of those obnoxious opinionated posts of yours?  One of those rants?

Yes it is, (and I totally warned you it would be in the title).  But you should still totally read it.

Because my opinions are always right, duh.

Actually no, I'm sometimes wrong.

Rarely though.

Anyways, so this picture is saying that Bella is weak and terrible because she gets married, which is problematic because it is implying that marriage is weak - something weak women do.  Giving into a male-dominated society, if you will.

Problem: all three of the other women on this little poster - Hermione, Princess Leia, and Katniss, get married.  Yes, Hermione fights a Dark Lord (THE Dark Lord, actually)...and then later marries Ron Weasley and they become one of THE GREATEST couples of all time.  Yes, Princess Leia leads an army, but then she marries Han Solo and they too become one of the THE GREATEST couples of all time.  Yes, Katniss starts a rebellion (unintentionally, I might add.  Sorry, but Katniss actually isn't my favorite.  I feel like people need to take a step back from the Jennifer Lawrence looking-cool-with-her-bow-Katniss and realize that, while her sacrificing herself for her sister was nice and all that, in terms of her role in the rebellion, she didn't do too much.  Compared to Leia, she's hardly the rebel leader) but then later at the end of the third book, she and Peeta get married.  And they don't even make it onto the top ten Greatest Couples list.  Sorry guys.  But still, the point is, THEY ALL GOT MARRIED.

Soooo this picture doesn't really work because Bella's "what I did" doesn't even fit with the others - it's like "one of these things is not like the others," and that thing is Bella.  Her caption says she gets married, which they all do.  Now, I'm not defending Bella at all.  After all, if we updated this picture to make Bella's little caption more consistent, it would say something she did *before* her marriage, something she did as we were getting to know her as an individual character *prior* to marrying.  Something like "I tried to kill myself when my boyfriend left me" (that does happen, right?  I haven't actually read any of the books.  I just do my research for my blog posts.  Just kidding I didn't even double check that claim with the internet).  And actually, if her caption was changed to that, I think it would be a much more effective and funny anti-Bella picture.

Because seriously, trying to kill yourself when your boyfriend leaves you is just not okay.

But the crux of the whole thing, the thing that bothers me so much, is the anti-marriage message of it all.  That women of my generation criticize Bella as being weak NOT because of her total dependence on Edward, but because she GETS MARRIED.  It's like all those people who will argue with me over Disney Princesses, claiming they're terrible role models and not good strong women because "yeah, they all get married."

And what in the world is wrong with that?!

What is wrong with getting married?!

As a matter of fact, I would go as far to say that all women out there who share this picture, criticizing Bella for getting married, and all those who make those ridiculous claims about Disney Princesses being problematic in that they get married, are just working against women everywhere.  Actually, working against humanity.  Because you know what, marriage is a good thing.  Marriage enables families, and families are a good thing.  Having your daughters and sisters and whoever want to get married is a good thing.

So please, if you're going to use Bella as an example of a bad female role model, don't say it's because she gets married.  It's what she does for herself and on her own, and how she develops as a person and an individual herself that is the issue - like, you know, trying to kill herself when her boyfriend leaves her.  Not really a sure sign of self-confidence.

Okay, that's all.

Sometimes we just have to put on our passionate-ranting-feminist tool belts, you know?  Show the world what's up and who's right.

Hint, it's me.

Just kidding.

Mostly.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Newsie-dom

So I have a new job.  A nice little part time job to help earn money and pay for...toast bread.  Because that's really the only meal I make for myself.  Everything else I leech off other people.  But really toast is a very versatile meal - eggs on toast, peanut butter toast, jam on toast, cheese on toast.  As far as meals go, it's a pretty good one to be able to make for myself.

Anyways, back to my new job.

I am a distribution team member for the college newspaper.

Which means I hand out the newspaper to students on campus.

Which means I'm a newsie.

Yeah, I know, it's pretty glamorous.

Several mornings a week, I'm on campus starting at 7:30 with bundles of newspapers, wearing approximately forty layers with a smile plastered on my face as I hand out newspaper after newspaper to all the kids who need a Su Doku or a crossword puzzle to distract them during class.

Interesting fact, the two most common excuses I hear for *not* taking a newspaper are 1) "it's cold - I don't want to take my hands out of my pockets" (which, as the person standing out in the cold handing out the papers, I really have no sympathy for) or 2) "no I really have to study."  Seriously, those are your excuses?  I want someone to just start coming up with crazy excuses for why they don't take a paper.  "I'm sorry, my religion doesn't allow me to read newspapers."  "I'm sorry, I'm allergic to student media."  "I'm sorry, I ate paper for years, but I realized it was damaging my relationship with my pet hamster and so now I'm trying to quit."  Or, you know, something more clever than any of those.

One day I handed out 500 papers exactly.  No big deal.  I'm just pretty much really good at my job.  Which means I'm really good at being obnoxious and getting in people's faces. Politely.  Like a boss.

Also, you think I'm kidding about the wearing forty layers thing, but if this job has taught me anything, it's that I am highly lacking in adequate winter gear.  That's what happens when you spend your winters inside with Doctor Who and hot chocolate instead of going out and hitting the slopes.  And also that's what happens when you're a tightwad who, upon seeing how much decent boots cost, you decide that five layer of socks will be just as good.  Which isn't true.  Your toes still go numb.  And suddenly your shoes are two sizes too small.

Also, the whole not-being-a-slope-hitting-person and the whole being-a-tightwad-person are totally related. Do you realize how much slope-hitting costs?!

Also, I've already been told twice this week that I'm excessively fond of the word "also."  No regrets.

Anyways, so this morning, in preparation for standing outside in snow and ice and coldness for several hours, I pulled on leggings. Then sweats. Then jeans.  Two shirts.  A hoodie.  Then my coat.  A hat.  A scarf.  Two pairs of gloves.  Three pairs of socks.  Including a blue-and-teal polka dot fuzzy pair.  I may be cold, but I'm cold in style.

I looked like a marshmallow walking to campus.  At least, what a marshmallow wearing a black wool coat would look like.  If I'd slipped and fallen on the ice (which is always a likely occurrence whenever I'm walking - with or without any ice) I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have felt a thing.

But my toes were still cold.  As were my fingers.  And also my legs.  But not my neck - between high collar shirts, a hoodie, and a good warm scarf, my neck was totally good.  And then my best friend surprised me and brought me hot chocolate, which was not only an opportunity for her to gain best friend points, but was also a chance for me to prove my hot-chocolate guzzling skills.  That hot chocolate didn't stand a chance.

Anyways.

Sometimes I get good stories from work.

Like that one time I gave the paper to the guy on a longboard, who then dropped it, tried to catch it, and totally biffed it.  As in longboard-went-flying-and-it's-lucky-it-didn't-hit-someone-else-in-the-head-and-give-them-a-concussion biffed it.  I chose to pretend I didn't see it and that it didn't really happen (even though it was directly next to me) operating under the premise that his pride had been hurt more than anything else, and that thus he would prefer to think nobody saw it.

Or that one day where there was an icy patch and I saw not one, two, or three, but four people slip on the ice.  One getting off a bike.  One still on a bike.  Two walking.  And when slip #3 occurred, I couldn't help but laugh.  And it also happened to be at that moment that my boss and my supervisor came up behind me.  Clearly, I really try my best to keep up my image as a heartless terrible person who finds everyone else's pain funny.  Actually, it's not that hard.

I also once offered a paper to one of the construction workers who works at the construction site literally night next to where I stand every morning and hand out papers, separated only by a chain link fence.  And he just laughed at me.  And then I had to stand there for like 2 more hours directly next to him and his construction worker buddies, who sometimes have blowtorches and other power tools in addition to their heavy-duty equipment.  The giant excavator they use to demolish the building they're working on is very distracting.

One time I told a guy "you too" when he told me thanks for the paper.

...okay so that more have happened more than just once.

Another time someone took a paper and then handed it back. You're welcome.

And one time when I politely offered the day's paper, this guy just stuck his tongue out at me.  And then didn't even take a paper.

What is the world coming to?

But today someone told me they liked my hat, which may have made up for the sticking-his-tongue-out guy. Or at least it did, until I realized that my hat was on funny and sticking up all weird, and that that compliment may have just been mocking me.

And then he didn't even take a paper.

Jerk.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chronicles of the Shining

So, this semester I'm taking a class called "Gothic in the Literature and Film."  Because, ya know, I'm an English major, and we get to study cool things like that.  Well, as part of this class - the "film" part of it - we are required to watch a number of movies.  First on the list, the Shining.

Slight problem.  The Shining is rated R.  Being the good Mormon girl that I am, I don't watch rated R movies.

Luckily, it didn't take long at all to come to an arrangement with my teacher: I would watch the movie outside of class, on my own, edited for my comfort.

In order to do so, I needed two things: a Clearplay player - which is a DVD player which edits out the less desirable parts of movies - and a DVD copy of the Shining to watch in said Clearplay player.  Of course, I had neither.  Enter parents, who shipped me their spare Clearplay player in a box which also contained the clothes I'd left at home (accidentally) after Christmas Break and also chocolate.  Which lasted a very short amount of time.

I have the best parents.

So I plug the Clearplay player in, rent myself a copy of the Shining from the little video store across the way, invite my friend Tony (whose name isn't really Tony) to come over and watch with me and we are all set to go.  I'm being a good student, writing down notes and trying to ignore the music which is probably the scariest part of the whole film.

We're about 45-50 minutes in when we hear the F word several times.  And we freak out.

It's important, at this point, to understand how a Clearplay player works.  You have a little thumb drive/USB stick/flash drive whatever you want to call it called the "FilterStik" which you put in your computer and download movie filters from the Clearplay website.  Then you put the FilterStik in the DVD player, put the DVD in the DVD player, adjust the settings of the filtering (how much "Dishonoring the Flag" do you want filtered?  Least filtering?  Medium filtering?  Most filtering?) and you are good to go.

Well, according to the filtering settings I had set for the film, we certainly should not have heard those F words, and if *those* weren't edited out, what else wasn't going to be edited out?

I did the first thing I always do in case of technology problems.  I called my mom.  Actually that's true for what I do in case of any problems.  Cooking, social, emotional, technology - anything.  Mom and Dad help me navigate the Clearplay remote (why in the world are there so many buttons on a remote?  It hurts my brain) and I learn that my filter for the Shining hasn't downloaded.  I try again, and again, and again but it won't work.  Dad suggests some sort of complex technology thing involving different codes on different versions of the DVD which is probably highly accurate and which I don't understand, but the gist of it all is that there is no way I'll be watching the Shining tonight if I want to watch it edited, for which I'll have to wait till Monday when Clearplay customer service opens again.

The assignment on the Shining is due Tuesday.  And being the student that I am, the thought of not being able to get the work done till the day before it was due was certainly stressing me out.  But there was nothing I could do.  So I freaked out to my mom some more and probably ate something.  It was probably chocolate.

Fast forward to Monday morning.

Clearplay customer service opens at 10.  I am on the phone with them at 9:59.  They tell me that the thing my dad suggested about the multiple codes and DVDs and fancy technology stuff is correct, and that they have to make a filter for my specific version of the Shining and will email it to me to download, the problem being that their computers are down so they can promise to get it to me at some point before 8pm that night but that's it.

I was not happy, Bob.  Not. Happy.

But it was all they could do, so I thanked them and hung up and then Tony and I had the brilliant idea to go to the little video store across the way and rent a different copy of the Shining and maybe it would have a different code and would work with the filter already in the FilterStik.  It sounded like a good idea in our heads.  So we hurried over there to learn it didn't open till 11, so we came back to my apartment, and went over again when it opened.

Except this time I locked myself out of my apartment.  Something I have taken pride in not doing once since I've lived on my own.

So I call up my roommate and tell her that oops I locked my keys inside and she said she'd be there soon and Tony and I head back to the video store, taking with us the copy of the Shining I'd rented before (which also had been due the day before since I'd only gotten it for one night) so we could check to see if the other DVD we found was a different version, or whatever.  Again, it sounded like a good idea in our heads.

So we walk in and ask the guy if he has copies of the Shining and he says yeah back in the horror section (which is scarier than the Shining itself) and we head over there and find no copies of the Shining.  At all.  As we are combing through the shelves, something occurs to me.

"Tony," I said (except I didn't really since her name isn't Tony) "how are we going to get our copy of the Shining back out of the store without him thinking we're stealing it?"
...
...
...

"Put it under your jacket."

At the time, this seemed liked the most logical solution.  But maybe not.

So we head towards the exit, Tony with a DVD I'd already paid for hidden under her jacket, walking awfully briskly, when the video store guy stops us.  "You guys couldn't find it?" he asks, since we had come in and asked for the Shining and are now leaving without any.  Or so he thinks.  "Oh, no, there's none back there," I respond casually, since Tony is too scared to be capable of speech.  "Here," he says, getting up from behind his desk, "let me check."  He gestures for us to follow him back to the horror section.  Tony's eyes are as wide as a house elf's, but what else can we do - make a run for it?  So we follow him back and he can't find any either so he goes to check his records on the computer.  "Hmm, well I have five copies," he says, "but I guess there all out.  One was due back yesterday..."

Tony and I exchange a meaningful look.

Oh really?  Due back yesterday?  That's certainly not the one we have right now.

Hidden under Tony's jacket.

No, not at all.

What kind of jerk would keep a movie past it's due date?

He volunteers to check some more, but we say we have somewhere to be and will come back later and make a hasty retreat.

That was enough of a taste with criminal life for me.

Meanwhile, my Mom has texted me that the filter for the copy of the Shining that we have has been created and emailed to her and she's forwarded it to me (it went to her because it's her Clearplay account, not mine) so we can FINALLY watch the Shining, edited to our Mormon liking.

Except there's the slight problem of being locked outside of my apartment.  All we have is my phone, our wallets, and a stolen-but-not-really copy of the Shining.

So, of course we go buy cheeseburgers and fries as we wait for my roommate to arrive to let us in.

When in crisis, eat.

Also eat when in doubt, or when in sadness, or really whenever.  Eating is always the solution.  Except to getting fat.

And the filter worked.  We watched the movie.  I took notes.  We complained about how stupid the leading characters were and discussed what precautionary measures we would take to ensure never being in the same situation as Wendy Torrance (1: we wouldn't marry an abusive alcoholic 2: we wouldn't marry Jack Nicholson, or any other crazy man 3: we would marry someone weaker than us so that if they did end up losing their minds, we would still be able to beat them in a fight) and finally I was able to finish my assignment and write the short paper and prepare myself entirely for class the next day.

Monday, 8pm, email from Gothic Lit teacher:
"Per doctor's orders, I have to have one week of bed rest due to a back injury.  Tomorrow's class is cancelled."

Of course it is.