Now I know my states, you see

I’m sure that most everyone learned the states and the capitals that reside in the United States of America when they were in, like, elementary school. Am I correct? I was not included in that common group. When I was in elementary school, I remember learning about Africa and Europe. Barely was the USA mentioned. This became a problem.

Because I was not familiar with the states or where they were (I couldn’t even name them all), being given a map for something in school was an advantage for some, and a deep disadvantage for me. I looked stupid when I couldn’t tell you that Oregon is below Washington, or that Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont are all squished together above and around New York. All I knew was that Canada was directly above me, Pennsylvania below me, California was on the other coast, along with Washington, and Georgia and Florida were kind of near one another.

I got addicted to Sporcle. I clicked on the US States one and found that I could barely name half of the 50 states in our country. My brother creamed me, my mother wasn’t far behind him (they could both name every single one; in order) and then my boyfriend schooled me up at school on Friday after I had only been able to cough up 30 of the 50 states.

Friday, I got home, pulled out my pink netbook, logged onto the Sporcle website and then spent hours and hours quizzing myself on the United States of America. After a couple hours, I was able to name every single state in order of where they were and considered this a huge accomplishment. Now, when my friend tells me that he’s going to Utah for the summer, I can reply with “hey, maybe you should drive through and make a quick trip to Vegas!” having full knowledge of Nevada right next door.

I still have absolutely no sense of direction, but this is improving my outlook on life. Now I can picture where the first ever National Road was laid down on the Earth from Ohio to Maryland.

Thanks to all of my elementary school teachers that didn’t find the states important enough to drill me on. Thanks to myself for having the ambition to learn them all by myself.

Now, challenge me to the Sporcle game of naming all of the states, and I can whoop your arse.

I wasn’t prepared: a flood story

PART I:

Yesterday my mom and I went to our favorite mall after a night out camping. We set out with high hopes and big smiles. The sun started to shine after a long stormy night, and though I wished I would have brought my bright pink sunglasses, I was content. We met a road with water creeping across it, and we braved our way and made it to the other side victoriously. We came to another low valley and inched our way down to the water, not certain whether or not we should chance going through it. I said “oh for God’s sake mom, just go! This is fun!” So, we did. We started creepin’ our way through the high water and slow and cautiously as we could. As we’re making our way through, some hot piece of shit in a Honda barreled right through the damn water, and because my window was wide open thanks to the heat, the water the Honda barreled through rose up and came right into our car. I was soaked. Gone was my smile and good mood. Present instead was a hot, fresh pool of tears making their way out of my eyeballs and a constant frown. I couldn’t understand why someone would be so stupid and do that.

My mom sped up and tried to get right up next to him, honking her horn the entire way. She flipped him off several times and screamed “ASSHOLE”! and then he turned down a different road. We kept going straight. She kept wanting to turn around and go after him, but I discouraged that thought from the gears whirring in her brain, and we continued on our way to the mall. Using a sweatshirt from the backseat I dried off as best I could, but I was still hurt on the inside. This is a prime example of why I don’t like going out into public. Stupid people ruin my good mood. I’d much rather be in the pleasant company of my family all the time. But, that’s just me.

This was only part I of my story.

PART II:

After a successful day, we pulled into our driveway. Each of us slipped into our bathing suits (I got to try out my brand-new one) and took a quick dip in the freezing cold pool. Then we took a walk and yada yada yada. You don’t need to hear every single detail from my day yesterday.

I was on the computer for awhile, and then we heard the thunder kicking back in after being in retirement all day. A couple of the loud crackly thunderclaps was all it took to send me up to bed with hopes of falling asleep. I stayed in my parents’ room for awhile; it just seemed like the right thing to do. When Adam got home at around 1:30 AM, I got up and returned to my own room.I fell into a fitful sleep.

I woke up and tore all of the covers off of my body and then fell asleep again.

At 6:15 I heard people up and moving around downstairs in my house. I got up, knowing that I would have to get up soon anyway to meet the plans I’d made with a friend. I woke up to find that our little village where I go to school had been flooded completely. Reports were also made about a man who had been out checking around his house after the storm and had gotten sucked into the water and washed away to his death. Not pleasant things to wake up to, I’ll let you know.

AS I WAS WRITING THIS ON MONDAY, AUGUST TENTH, THE POWER WENT OFF AND I WAS LEFT IN THE DARK. WHEN POWER WAS REDEEMED, I TURNED ON MY COMPUTER AND FOUND THAT WE HAD NO INTERNET. WE DIDN’T END UP GETTING IT BACK UNTIL TODAY, FRIDAY THE FOURTEENTH.

LONG STORY SHORT…

I am related (by marriage) to the man that was “washed away.” It’s tragic, that much is certain.

The little village where I attend school is a war zone. The National Guard is there with tanks and trucks – that’s how bad it is. Everywhere I turn there is a fire truck stating the name of some town far away from here. I saw one from Scranton, Pennsylvania for cryin’ out loud. Our new Track & Field/Football facility (just two years old) is ruined. I only got to run on that track for two years…now it won’t be ready until my senior year.

Basements have been demolished. Apparently at least over fifty houses in our tiny village have been condemned. The reservoir has been damaged almost beyond repair. The people in town can’t use water to clean up all of the mud and debris; they need to conserve it as much as possible.

Going down there is like entering another world. It’s perfectly fine up here; we’ve had the nicest weather this week than we have had all summer, and everyone in the valley is spending their vacation time shoveling piles and piles of muck and mud. The dust is unbearable from all of the wet mud that dried up.

From now on I’ll ride my bike through town and see empty lots where houses used to be. I wasn’t prepared for this.

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^None of this is supposed to look like that. ­čśŽ

Meeting him

One of my very good friends and I attended a concert at Town Ballroom in Buffalo about a month ago┬áconsisting of A Skylit Drive, Alesana, Escape the Fate, Silverstein, and Chiodos. His brother drove us, and I would not have been able to go if Escape the Fate had not been going. He knew that ETF is my favorite band, and so I tagged along. (I never got around to writing about it until now – now the shock has worn off.)

After a very interesting trip to the mall (read older post), we were on our way. At the door, the big dude dressed all in black asked: “over or under 21?” I wasn’t thinking clearly and did not know what he was saying, so I replied with a stupid-sounding “huh?!?!?” and then I realized what he was asking right when he was repeating himself. “Oh…under!!!” I said. Christian only laughed at me.

Inside, we stood around for awhile before actually entering the performance room. We waited and waited and waited while A Skylit Drive got all of their equipment set up, and then they performed. I recognized a few songs that they played, but they are not my favorite so I definitely did not know them all. Christian did not know any, and nor did his brother.

After them, Alesana. I had heard a few songs by them in the past, and I did not exactly like them, but their freakish screaming woke me up and got me ready to listen to the best band of all: Escape the Fate.

While ETF was setting up, I was hyperventilating with excitement. I don’t think Christian is human because he did not seem very excited at all. Course, he’d been to concerts before whereas I had not.

They jumped onto the stage. Instantly girly screams of “whoooo!!!” escaped my mouth, but I did not care. My camera was out shooting pictures left and right and all over the place. The first song they performed “The Flood” was absolutely amazing. Craig is the best replacement of Ronnie that they could have ever asked for. Bryan’s guitar was phenomenal, Max was looking fine in bright red sneakers, and his voice sounded great next to Craig’s.

When their performance was over, I looked at my camera and realized that I had taken almost 100 pictures, and over ten videos. Next came Silverstein, and they calmed me down quite a bit. I hung back with Christian and his brother because neither of them knew the songs, even though I did. I recorded their whole performance of “My Heroine” and love watching it now whenever I get the chance.

After Silverstein was done and before Chiodos came on was the highlight of my whole night. We went out into the main room to buy some of the merchandise that was for sale, and I bought another ETF tee to join the one I already have (which Christian bought me, coincidentally). I bought a two dollar bottle of water, and we stood around, just people watching. Derek, Christian’s brother turned to us and said “isn’t that the lead singer of Escape the Fate standing right next to me?!?”

I started hyperventilating all over again. “OH MY GOD IT IS!!!!”

“Why don’t you go talk to him?” He said.

With that, I took off and tapped on Craig’s shoulder. “You guys were amazing! I took so many pictures and videos of you guys!!!” He said, “c’mere” and gave me a hug!┬áJust as he let me go, I remembered my camera. “Christian!!! BRING MY CAMERA OVER HERE! Can I get a picture taken with you?!?!?!”

He replied, “sure!”

Now I have a picture of Craig making a face as if I am famous and he is meeting me for the first time. What a joker he is. Then Christian asked “wait, can I have one too?” and then I took the picture for him (and added the flash, I might say).

I will never EVER forget that for my entire life. I met the lead singer of my favorite band! Sure, he’s no Ronnie, but I think that I love Craig even more.

Visiting the bro

For the past two summers, my eldest brother has been writing for The Chautauquan Daily newspaper that is distributed by little paper boys all across The Chautauqua Institution. Other than the snobby, old rich people, I actually would not mind living there.

Last summer we visited him at his job and went on a walk all around one side of the Institution. The sky started dropping raindrops (of course), but we kept going, letting our two dogs pull us along by their leashes. Despite the horrible weather, I found every aspect of the Institution absolutely gorgeous.

This year we visited again, walking along on the red brick and gazing in awe at some of the beautiful old homes. Again, it started raining while we were there. At first I braved the rain, letting the hood of my hoodie soak up the wetness, but then it became too much for me to handle. My dad gave me the umbrella he had been holding for me, and I put it up, instantly relieved by the dryness. Everywhere we looked, there were pretty houses and beautiful mansions. We passed a few houses that were erected this past winter of ’08; houses that didn’t even exist when we visited last year.

The snobby people that live there ignored us, so we ignored them. We walked and walked and walked, looking left and right at the architecture. We passed the Opera house and visited the Rain Garden outside of the theater building. We visited the Amphitheater again and listened to the Chautauqua Choir for a little while. I still find the Amphitheater amazing.

If I lived in the Institution, I would want to own a small cottage near the lake, overlooking the water. I would walk and ride my bike everywhere, and would go to the Amphitheater daily. Maybe I would try going to the Opera, but I would probably end up covering my ears and running out.

Our visits there have been pleasant – despite the heavy rainfall. Hopefully some Sunday we will go there WITHOUT rain following behind us.