Sunday, June 19, 2011

This is why teachers never expect much out of me.

I go to Brigham Young University.  College!  I am the most collegial, college-esque, mature, college-er ever.  I go to school like it's my JOB.  I participate in class and I make comments and provoke thought regularly.  Occasionally (read: usually) I say something that makes my teacher make The Face.  You know.  The one where he/she internally debates whether something should be done about my behavior or whether we all should just collectively move on.  Usually it's followed by a head shake and classroom snickers.  Not the candy kind.  The laughing kind.

Below are a few examples of this.  My advice: do not do these things.  Although sometimes it makes your teacher love you.  But usually, no.  No it does not.

Example 1: The Time I Turned In A Two Page Essay About Velociraptors

In my very first college writing class, we were given an assignment to write as many words as we could about a topic.  Any topic.  The teacher actually told us to write about anything.  The only requirements were that we keep completely on topic and be clear about our topic. In addition, she promised a candy prize to the essay writer with the most words.  THIS IS THE FIRST SIGN OF NAIVETY.  Clearly, Prof. Larsen didn't know that I was in her class.  Most kids wrote about their hobbies or dance class or a historical event that would take up a lot of words easy-peasy.  I, however, felt a competitive fire burn in my veins and said to myself, "Hey, I know what will win and also make Professor Larsen love me.  DINOSAURS."

This is the result:

Megan Prietzel
Prof. Larsen
Writing and Rhetoric 150
Velociraptors and Why They are Really Cool But Should be Avoided at all Costs

            Velociraptors were a type of dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous Period.  Velociraptors lived during the later part of the Cretaceous Period, and they were very, extremely, incredibly awesome.  There were two species of velociraptors that were discovered, but both of them were astonishing, so it doesn’t really matter.  Velociraptors were discovered because they left fossils, probably because when they were dying they were all “We’re really cool and humans need to know about us so we’re going to throw ourselves into mud and wait until it hardens around us so that our majesty can be preserved.”  Velociraptors would do that, because Velociraptors were just good dinosaurs like that.  Velociraptors also were smaller than depicted in Jurassic Park, but that’s okay because they were still super awesome to the infinitieth degree.  They were sometimes as small as a turkey, which probably means they were good at sneaking up on people and killing them, so basically velociraptors were the ninjas of the dinosaur world.  They were the terror of the other dinosaurs, and they would probably have killed the whole world, except they were too noble for that and decided to preserve their dead bones in fossils so that paleontologists could dig them up and stand in awe of their majesty and nobility and magnanimity.  Velociraptors were a species called a dromaeosaurid, and even though spell check says that that is not a word, it totally is, so shut up spell check.  Velociraptors had teeth that were a lot sharper on the back than on the front, and I’ll tell you why.  The reason for this was because Velociraptor teeth were specially designed to catch and hold prey, and the serration on the back of their chompers allowed velociraptors to efficiently kill things.  Velociraptors were killing machines, obviously.  Velociraptors had the serrated teeth because some prey was really fast, and since velociraptors were really fast, they could catch the fast wimpy dinosaurs and then the serration would kill them dead, so no matter how fast they were, they couldn’t escape.  Velociraptors had hands, y’all.  Velociraptors were extremely deadly in part because of their hands which had three insanely killer-ific claws that tore into prey.  Velociraptors used their second claw, which was the largest, to pierce the vital organs of the throats of weakling dinosaurs, including the carotid artery, trachea, and jugular vein, because velociraptors didn’t care if their prey was bleeding all over the place.  The velociraptor would hunt by embedding its claws into the throat of another dinosaur, and then biting the crap out of the rest of the prey’s poor and defenseless body.  Velociraptors also had talons of this sort on their feet, as if they needed any other awesome weapons.  Velociraptors used their feet to deliver fatal blows to lesser dinosaurs, which was every dinosaur besides velociraptors.  Velociraptors also had a long tail that was really good at helping them to balance, allowing velociraptors to run at incredibly fast, neck breaking speeds.  Velociraptors were so freaking awesome, it’s hard to accept.  Velociraptors also had feathers, and some people say that these feathers make velociraptors less awesome.  I would like to point out that velociraptors were actually MORE awesome because of these feathers.  Velociraptors could probably fly, although paleontologists and other science people say that they actually couldn’t and that the feathers were more like a jacket, but I don’t believe them and I’m pretty sure velociraptors could secretly fly AND stay warm at the same time.  Velociraptors could destroy all the scientists in the world if they were still alive, so if I were the scientists, I would go ahead and praise velociraptors as the most awesome ever because the velociraptors will probably figure out a way to time-travel and they will come into our reality and massacre us all in our sleep if we don’t recognize them as supreme overlords, JUST SAYING.  If velociraptors came into the world via time machine, scientists who doubted their abilities would be the first to go.  Velociraptors weren’t very smart, according to paleontologists, but obviously that is not true and the scientists had better shape up, John Travolta style.  Velociraptors will probably be benevolent overlords, but I doubt they will tolerate flagrant disrespect.  Velociraptors were still even more awesome than I have as of yet described, and I will tell you why.  The velociraptor was named for its awesome nature, and the word velociraptor is derived from the latin words “velox” and “raptor” which literally translates to “swift plunderer” or “robber” and that is probably one of the best names ever, even better than Mohawk Joe, which is a very good name.  Velociraptors were so cool that in Mongolia, a fossilized velociraptor was discovered locked in combat with a lone protoceratops, which was another dinosaur that no one has ever heard of because it was not as astonishing as the dreaded velociraptor.  The velociraptor was so incredible, in fact, that Mongolia totally freaked out when the fossilized battle of epic proportions was discovered and the country declared it a national treasure which makes the velociraptor Mongolia’s most precious thing ever. Velociraptors are similar in anatomy to adorable little birds called kiwis, so it’s safe to say that not only were velociraptors wreakers of havoc, but they were adorable wreakers of havoc.  Velociraptors were very cunning, thus supporting my theory that they will soon be here as time traveling mega-predators, so you really ought to learn how to protect yourself, in case they decide to kill you.  If a velociraptor decides to make you dead, you probably don’t stand much of a chance, but if we all band together, there is probably a safe way to defend yourself from velociraptors.  Dying by velociraptor would be extremely painful and agonizing, so it would be a good thing to avoid.  If you don’t want to die by velociraptor, you must master every martial art available.  To avoid getting killed by these agile hunters, one must follow some simple steps.  In order to remember the way to not die, I have created a simple mnemonic in order to make these steps easier to remember.  To not die, remember ROY G BIV, which stands for Run Or Yell Greatly Blue Indigo Violet.  As you can see, not dying is highly dependent on how greatly you can run or yell.  Try really hard not to die, also run and yell as loudly and fast as you possibly can, and then the velociraptors will get bored with your pathetic and feeble attempts at life and will probably return to the Cretaceous period where things are awesome. 

The outcome:  I won the contest.  No one got my Dan Bergstein reference.  I used the word "velociraptor" an obscene amount of times, if that's even possible. My teacher had already awarded the prize to someone else since I was late but I didn't care because my victory was so obvious so she got me another prize.  She appeared confused, but also slightly amused.  Little did she know.  Oh, how little did she know.

Example 2: The Time I Tried To Use Methamphetamine As An Example In A Grammar Lesson.

We were all sitting in Prof. Larsen's class learning about grammar.  That is to say, we were "reviewing" grammar, which meant learning it because we were all really bad at remembering high school.  I'm not quite sure what principle of grammar was being discussed, but the teacher was trying to get us to participate in class by supplying our own sentences to be discussed.

Prof. Larsen: It was a lovely...
Student: Day!
(Grammatical discussion)

Prof Larsen: Unfortunately, it was time...
Student: To go home!
(Grammatical discussion)

Prof. Larsen: She sat quietly...
Student: in church!
(Grammatical discussion)

Prof. Larsen: The air shimmered with...
(Awkward moment of silence)

The outcome: Grammatical discussion didn't ensue.  Rather, the class burst into laughter and poor Professor Larsen shook her head, wondering what was happening to the rising generation. I didn't MEAN to say it.  IT JUST SEEMED SO REASONABLE AT THE TIME.

Example 3: The Time That This Was Our Final Project

We had to make a video.  About food.  HERE IT IS. (Note that Rae played the role of "prestigious medical expert.")

Outcome: Exactly what you'd expect.  We did not get the A that we so CLEARLY deserved.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This is sad. Legitimately. *Updated*

Quick update on this post: I've deleted a few hateful comments already.  I'm not so much concerned about what you say about me, but I won't tolerate anyone who says anything about this girl or her family.  If you're one of those who would like to leave a hateful comment, feel free.  Just know that it will be deleted within seconds.

I'm really disturbed.  Yesterday a fifteen year old girl was hit by a train near my house. Her name was Shariah Casper and she was the cousin of a friend of mine.  This morning I spent an hour or so reading articles about the accident, which I won't recap here.  There are plenty of recaps elsewhere.  I found out that there was a facebook page dedicated to this girl and I "liked" it.

I can't remember the last time I've felt this revolted by human beings.

There are people on this page posting horrible, cruel, heartless things.  Someone has made a fake facebook account of Shariah and keeps posting on the page.  How disgusting.  How sickening.  I feel for this poor family who would undoubtedly do anything to have their little girl back.

"Your friends saw it? Lucky them. I always wondered what would happen, does the body like, explode? Or does it rip into two pieces?"

"The dumb b*tch was dumb enough to cross a train track. Thank god she died."

 "I don't have a problem, it's funny to rip on a dumb dead girl."

"rest in piss"

"That "poor" slut "

"Miss Casper, you and your tits will be missed."

That's really just the beginning of the pile of garbage overflowing out of that page.  That alone makes me angry and sickened, but these trolls (and I know they are trolls) have the standard defenses in place.  They cite "The Rules" and specifically Rule #20.  In case you aren't familiar, Rule #20 of the internet is that "nothing is to be taken seriously." 

As one commenter so aptly and simply put it, there is no rule #20. It only exists because people like this exist.

They say "don't feed the trolls."  They say "if you stop commenting on my post, I'll stop."  They say "this is the internet, get over it."

I love the internet, really I do.  Most of the time I find awesome things and awesome people here.  But this is what I really hate.  This idea that anonymity and a computer screen make it okay to say whatever you want to whoever you want.  It is so false.  These "Rules" and internet memes and phrases that get used to harass this girl's family are nothing more than a flimsy pretense that allows cruelty to go unchecked in this situation.  You can cite the rules all you want, but anyone who tries to use them as a free pass openly displays that they don't have a shred of human decency.  This isn't primarily about what is the norm on the internet. It's about a tragedy, a horrible accident, and the way some people react to it so...heartlessly.  I don't understand.  Just because the internet offers a sense of anonymity, does that really mean that we should all become monsters?  How can you consider yourself a nice person or a good person or any kind of decent person, really, if this is your reaction to such a sad event?

I have always had a problem with using the internet as an excuse for spreading hatred and pain because I know that it can do SO MUCH BETTER

Today I am disgusted, sickened, shocked.  I find it difficult to "not feed the trolls." That phrase implies that the hurtful comments of a troll are not their fault.  No.  Not true.  It's a TROLL'S fault if he or she posts cruel, heartless things.  No one else bears the responsibility for it.  Citing these internet excuses marks these people as cruel.  Cruel, cruel, cruel.  It's a lame defense and a callous defense.

I don't know what other word to use.

Words can't express the disgust I feel today.  The sadness, the shock, the anger that instead of offering support and kindness, the internet community offers hate and cruelty.

It's days like these that I'm ashamed to be a part of it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tavia and I talk drugs. Because that's what we do, yo.

Tavia: DUDE.  I'm working in a house, like fixing it up while I'm here, and I found coke, like the drug, in it today.

Me: Did you SELL IT.  I would have sold it.  And then CALLED THE COPS.

Tavia: I couldn't sell it, it was all over this shelf I was cleaning off.  Oh, and then I found weed in the freezer.

Me: How do you know it was coke?  Maybe the dude liked flour.  Or sugar.  Or crystal meth.

Tavia: It was coke.  We asked the other guy who was working with us.

Me: Did you smell it?  I probably would have smelled it just to make sure. Which is why I'm not allowed around cocaine.

Tavia: ...You have a lot to blog about.

Me: Wait, you found the weed IN THE FREEZER?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This is part two and it would probably be better for all of you if I just didn't post it but I'm not that considerate.

I'm not exactly sure about the chronological order of events after the juggling clown man, but there are some key points that need to be mentioned.  So in the places where I have forgotten the order of things, I will just...mumble.  Or something.  Or blame Tavia.  Or devolve into rambling about that one time that I spilled my Coke in the airport.  Just don't yell at me.  And now that my premature and inexplicable defense has been put forth, let's continue, SHALL WE?

My Airport Adventure: A Tale of Loss, Achieving my Dreams, and Strange Men Dressed as Clowns in Terminal A (Part Two)

You'll recall that when we left off, I was sitting in Terminal A wondering how I ought to have responded to a strange clown man flirting with me while juggling.  And wearing bright red overalls.  It is a situation that still haunts me to this day. 

Tavia and I sat and waited for our plane.  And as we waited, a man sat by us with his 14-ish year old daughter.  Tavia and I both had our laptops out and were discussing something that was no doubt incredibly intelligent and sophisticated and important.  On facebook chat.  While sitting next to each other.  We do this a lot.  The man started talking to us, presumably because we were both wearing BYU jerseys.  He talked about BYU, he talked about Jimmer, and then he talked about his son who had just returned from a mission.  It was pleasant, and Tavia and I returned to our conversation about the particulars of astrophysics.  I soon noticed a quiet power struggle taking place:

Man: Do you think they'll want to see Andrew's picture?
Daughter: OH MY GOSH.  No, Dad. 
Man: I think they will.  They're about the right age. *Reaches for his wallet.*
Daughter: Dad, please.  Please no.  Please, stop.  (She sounded absolutely mortified.)
Man: I'm going to show them.  He's going to go to BYU!  This could be perfect!

Okay, that last part was paraphrased a bit, but I could tell that his daughter was thinking JUST EXACTLY THAT.  I almost leaned over and asked to see the picture, just to put her out of her misery.  Fortunately for us all, the plane boarded at that precise moment.

The flight itself was uneventful and only two things are worth mentioning: first, my inexplicable inability to perform menial tasks with any sort of efficiency kicked in as I attempted to stow my carry-on luggage in the overhead.  Also, we happened to be in the first few rows of seats (I think) so everyone had to wait for me to be an idiot and my brain was all, "I AM GOING TO KILL YOU RIGHT NOW, IS THAT COOL?" And I just responded with, "Yes.  Please.  Now is a good time for that."

Second, there was minor turbulence in the plane.  This terrified me more than I can possibly explain.  I have this thing with planes, this thing where I'm not sure if I'm SO SO EXCITED or so terrified that oh!  Look!  Is that me peeing myself? Planes are awesome and I am so thoroughly intrigued and astonished at the idea of zooming through the sky while sitting in a chair, reading a book and eating pretzels.  Then again, planes seem very fragile to me.  Like gravity could just be like, "Eh, I don't think I'm cool with this many tons of metal being airborne after all."  And then we would all plummet to the ocean and die in a fiery explosion underwater.  Which makes no sense for a few reasons, the main one being that there is no ocean between Utah and Colorado.  BUT I DIGRESS.

As I said, there was minor turbulence on the plane that night because it was raining when we arrived at the airport.  When the plane started to shake, this primitive part of my brain punched the rational, normal part of my brain right in it's brain-face, and then proceeded to take over.  It didn't help that Tavia was seated in the row in front of me, and we both had window seats.  The guy next to me was a mouth-breather with an iPad.  He was watching Salt on his iPad.  The combined stress of watching Angelina Jolie being tortured in her underwear along with a near-constant jostling in my seat caused me to lean forward to Tavia and predict our death.  WE ARE GOING TO DIE, TAVIA, AND DO YOU KNOW WHY?  IT'S BECAUSE ANGELINA JOLIE IS A RUSSIAN SPY AND ALSO THIS PLANE IS SCREWING WITH GRAVITY, AND WHEN YOU SCREW WITH GRAVITY, YOU ALWAYS LOSE.

Needless to say, Tavia just rolled her eyes a lot and took it like a champ.  And told me to shut up a lot.  And laughed because I was sitting next to a large mouth-breather who didn't like it that I kept frantically checking whether or not Angelina was dead yet.

Eventually the plane landed and I kept wondering whether or not I would die horribly up until the moment we were walking out of the plane.  Because you just never know.  Anyway, nothing too terribly exciting happened next.  I had a wonderful time in Colorado, but this story is about the airport, and I still have to tell you all about the epic return trip.  So, in summary, this is what happened in Colorado:

-BYU basketball games that were awesome.
-Stalking the team around downtown Denver.  Also, meeting Brandon Davies.  He loves me.
-Driving home from the airport at 4 in the morning because Tavia and I had to take her family there so they could go to Hawaii without us.  Also, that was when we made up a version of "Friday" that was all about communist Russia.  It was very socially aware and at the time it seemed pretty profound.
-Mean Girls 2.  It's a crappy movie.
-Tavia punched herself in the face while jumping onto a bean bag.  It is the only time I have ever seen Tavia show any sign of weakness.  I didn't know she could bleed until that moment.
-Other stuff that I forgot about.

Okay, well I planned to write about the TSA lady who thought I was a tiny, deadly terrorist, but I can't because this post is already too long.  So there will be a part three.  In which I get to the part where the authorities start taking me way more seriously than they ought to.