How To Kill Time

The internet can be very interesting, helpful, fun, social and amusing, but it can also be a murderous maniac on a blind rampage seeking to kill time. The internet does this in a very crafty way. It has something for everyone, and therefore, brings in the largest group of people possible. There is social networking like Facebook, Twitter and others. There is music and video sharing on sites such as YouTube. There are forums that cater to nearly every interest, activity and point of view.

Using these kinds of sites can be very helpful and fun. However, I have also found it a monumental waste of time when not used properly. I like so many others have fallen prey to the lure of the internet. This is mainly due to the fact that, unlike text messaging or calling someone on the phone, waiting for an email or a reply on a social networking site or forum can take hours if not days.

While waiting for answers, it can be very tempting to waste time on an online game or an arbitrary task such as sending inane text messages to friends or checking every single site you’ve made a profile on. Unfortunately, internet addiction is a real and dangerous thing.

Blogging I find, is actually very helpful in avoiding wasting time. Of course I wait for answers, but one has to remind oneself that most of the conversations one has online are realistically, inconsequential and the world won’t end if a random stranger doesn’t get back to you. I find blogging helpful, because I write an entry and I leave. I don’t feel obligated to reply to someone else, and I don’t expect many people if any to reply to my posts. Let’s face it, they’re long and rambly. It is also true that a blog is not meant to be a conversation. I personally feel that a blog is a one way road. I do feel that is polite to reply to conversations in a timely manner, however, I feel it is best to do it at one’s own convenience.

Leaders and Followers

I’m kind of an indecisive person. One thing I can never decide on is if I’m more of a leader or a follower. I’d like to think I’m a leader, but I honestly don’t deal with larger groups of people all that much, and I almost never get into situations where I need to take control or be particularly assertive. I know I could if I needed to, but because I don’t, I’ve sort of been put into a “follower” situation. Even when I’m working on group projects at school, I find it easier to let someone else sort of take control of the project. Of course I’ll take control if needs be, but I tend to prefer to be told what to do. On the other hand, when it comes to music, I like to be in control of the set list, the time we play for and the style of music we play when I’m playing with a friend or two.

Another reason I think I’m a follower is because I’m a Christian. I think, by definition, all Christians and anyone who believes in a god, for that matter are followers. However, this leaves me with a paradox. I know some Christians who are involved in world issues and missionary projects would probably consider themselves leaders or would be considered leaders by others. I believe that they are entitled to this view, considering some of the wonderful things that people do, but they do it in the name of God, and doesn’t that mean they are doing it by His call? Doesn’t that mean they are “following orders” in a sense?

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s actually possible to be either a leader or a follower. I think it’s more likely that people switch between the two, depending on the situation. I think people will prefer to either take the lead or follow a leader, but I think everyone is capable of doing both. Of course it also depends on how willing a person is to lead or follow. I prefer to follow if I’m not entirely sure of myself or if I somehow get involved with something I don’t want to be involved with, but when I know what I’m doing, and I’m doing something I enjoy or really need to get done, I’ll definitely take more of a “leader” role.

Another interesting observation is that, once I’ve been told what to do, I’ll be more comfortable and will be able to take more of a leadership role. This never seems to get in the way of anything, and I think it tends to actually be helpful. A problem that can occur because of this, however is that I will eventually take the lead because I understand a part of something, but then the original “leader” will become a follower and when (and if) I come to a part of something I do not understand, I will be stuck. This situation is partly theoretical, but similar situations have happened.

Of course sometimes we are put into situations where we must be “leaders” even when we don’t entirely know what we’re doing. Sometimes I enjoy the challenge of these situations, and sometimes I wish I could follow someone else’s “lead.” Of course some people who prefer to be leaders are put into situations where they must be followers, as well.

I think it would be interesting and helpful to consider the qualities that make someone a leader or a follower. I personally think a “leader” is a person who is willing to take charge, is helpful and is controlling but is nice to the people helping or working for them. I think a follower is someone who is good at doing what they’re told, is also helpful, and is willing to give input to projects or situations. These to me are the ideal “leader” and “follower” qualities. I think circumstance dictates which role people will take, and I think people are meant to take either role at different times and I also believe that if people fail to take the role they are meant to, the outcome can be unfortunate.

90 Degrees and Counting

Well, it’s hot out today. I’m sitting in my room finishing up a cup of coffee with an awkward little blue fan blowing on me. The lights are off and it’s quiet in here except for the buzzing of the fan. An odd habit of mine is to find what tone a particular appliance or machine is making, match it with my voice and then harmonize with it. I’ve found it works with the home vacuum cleaner, the elevator in the Jenks Library at school and evidently, my fan.

Yes, I realize this is strange. However, I found that I’m not the only one to make this discovery. I texted my guitar teacher, Ken about it a while ago in the hope that I would out-weird him, but he just texted back and said “Hahahaha I know…. I’ve done it.”

Somehow I think Ken was meant to be my guitar teacher. He’s done a heck of a lot more than teach me guitar. I can honestly say he’s been a wonderful mentor for life in general and he’s helped me so much in terms of my faith. I’ll never admit it to him, but I had an enormous crush on him for the first couple years of taking lessons.

I’ve been reading the Inheritance Cycle, which is a fantasy series about a boy named Eragon and his dragon, Saphira. In the third book of the series, Eragon’s cousin, Roran made a comment that made a lot of sense to me. There is an elf named Arya, whom Eragon has a crush on. Elves live forever, and since Eragon is a Dragon Rider, he is also immortal. Arya is around one hundred years old and Eragon is around eighteen. On their travels together, Eragon and Roran have a conversation about love. Roran asks Eragon if he will ever marry. Eragon says that he most likely will not, because Arya does not love him, and he thinks it would be somewhat wrong to marry a mortal woman. Roran says “It is safer to love Arya and never marry than to have your heart broken.” Since I’ve never dated, this reminded me of my crush on Ken. It’s probably a stretch… I think I do that a lot… stretch things farther than they’re meant to be stretched.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand how dating works. I’ve learned the hard way that, generally it’s the guy who does the asking out. I’ve asked numerous guys out with basically the same results. He says yes, we exchange numbers, I text him, he never texts me back. It just seems to me that I shouldn’t have to wait around for someone to ask me out. Of course we have a conversation before I ask, and the conversations usually go well enough. I’ve been told that doing the asking may turn guys off, but why would they say yes in the first place? I don’t usually straight up ask them out anyway. I usually ask if they’d like to get a cup of coffee or jam or just chat again.

I’ve had somewhat different results when chatting with people online. I’m on an anonymous discussion forum, and occasionally I’ll strike up a conversation with someone who then just drops off the face of the earth mid-conversation. Some people have told me- and this is what I’ve decided to believe- that I am currently single because I haven’t met the right person yet, and God is preparing me for when I do meet this person. The thing is, I want to be proactive. I want to actively try to meet this person. It’s just annoying when people don’t respond to me. The other thing is, I’ve hardly ever heard of the first relationship being the last. It would be exceedingly awesome if my first relationship was my last- with a positive outcome, obviously- but I wouldn’t count on my luck being that good.

I feel a little like I’m repeating myself here, because I’ve thought about this many a time, and of course everything comes back to cliche.

Cousins

Last night we went to my cousin Stevie’s college graduation dinner and my mom embarrassed the crap out of him by buying a graduation cap from Wal-Mart and had everyone sign it. Then she made him wear it while she took pictures. The best part about it was, I wasn’t the one being shot at. I’m quite camera shy. Well Stevie was sitting next to me, and we spent the entire dinner engaging in mostly-civilized conversation and reminiscing about when we were little kids. Of course Stevie was never really “little” to me. He was nine when I was born. Towards the end of the dinner, my aunt (his mom) and my cousin Noah arrived, at which point I proceeded to annoy Noah, who was sitting on the other side of me. A few minutes before we were going to leave, I started nudging Stevie in the shoulder and repeating “I’m bothering you; I’m bothering you; I’m bothering you….” At this point Stevie pointed out that everything I know about being annoying I’ve learned from him. I said, “Oh, trust me, I know… whenever I’m annoying Nicholas (my cousin who is nine years younger than me and my mom’s other sister’s son) I think, ‘I remember Stevie doing this to me!’”

Nicholas is a sports fanatic, and I think he’ll be in camps a lot this summer, but this week he’s at my family’s house during the day. Noah is on summer vacation now as well, so he is sleeping over until Friday or Saturday. Nicholas is 10, Noah is 12 and my brother Sam is 16. We’ll see how well I survive in a house full of boys! The funny thing is, I get along with these guys very well. My brother and I recently acquired a Play Station 2 to play all the old games that we liked, such as Star Wars Battle Front 2. This was at least 50% my idea. We also recently got a game called Amnesia the Dark Dissent, which is a horror game for the PC. I may over react, but I think it’s really scary! We played it until late last night and of course I had trouble falling asleep. Noah of course fell asleep WHILE WE WERE PLAYING!

The funny thing is we really have two groups of cousins that we hang out with a lot. On my mom’s side it’s me, Sam Noah and Nicholas. On my Dad’s side it’s Amber, me, Gretchen and Sam. Amber and Gretchen are sisters. My dad only has one sister, so they’re my only cousins on his side. Interestingly, I don’t mind hanging out with all the guys, and Sam doesn’t seem to mind hanging out with all the girls. I suppose it’s because the guys are pretty mature for their ages and are kind of nerdy, and the girls aren’t very “girly” at all. In fact, we’re pretty nerdy too.

The best part of the year is when we all go camping for ten days or so on Sebago Lake in Maine. Camping always seems to have a theme. A couple years ago the theme was “How to whine.” Last year the theme was “Smart People Doing Stupid Things.” We never plan on having a theme. It just seems to happen. I suppose a subtitle to camping would be “Singing In the Rain.” I don’t know if “rain days” are the best or the worst of camping. They’re certainly the loudest. I think the boredom and the wetness make everyone a little crazy. Swimming in the rain is always fun, as long as it’s worm enough. Lately it’s been a little chilly at camp. A few years ago we had a terrible summer, except for the week we were in Maine. For that week alone it was in the eighties or nineties and sunny.

Well, I’m hungry, and as my hunger increases, my attention span rapidly decreases, so that’s it for now!

Cliche

I was sitting at my computer, eating a Klondike bar, and of course the question “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” came to mind. I decided I really wouldn’t do much for a Klondike bar. They’re good, but they’re not really worth a whole lot of effort. In fact, doesn’t eating ice cream bring about the general idea of being lazy and enjoying yourself?

However, thinking about that question made me think about cliches. It brought up a few questions for me. Can newer things like smart phone apps be cliche? can religion be cliche? If so, what does that mean? Does it mean anything? I tend to think it doesn’t. As a Christian in a mostly non-Christian group of friends, I’ve noticed that sometimes religion, in particular Christianity can be lame and even annoying to other people at times. I’m not sure why that is, but I’ve noticed that if I don’t let it bother me, it actually seems to become less so to my friends.

I’ve noticed something else as well. When I first became a Christian I found it difficult to mix my religion with other parts of my life. After a while however, it seemed that God had and of course still has a part to play in every aspect of my life, whether directly or not.

Thinking more about cliches in general, I’ve noticed that I’m prone to them. For example, in high school I found that I was in a way, your stereotypical nerd. I wasn’t taking all the hardest classes or anything, but I was taking difficult ones, and often it happened that I would have to abandon my friends on the weekends to finish homework projects. More often than not, I would also be found studying for yet another gargantuan history test at the lunch table while my friends talked about sports or video games. And of course I was single throughout my high school career, which also seemed a part of the nerd persona to me.

The school cafeteria was in itself another cliche. The food was terrible. The only thing worth eating was the pizza, which really wasn’t very good. For two years of my life I ate bad pizza every day for lunch. In my sophomore year of high school, I actually attempted to write a satirical article about the food for my english class. It turned out to be more sarcastic than satirical, but it made me feel good.

I’m wondering if stereotypical and cliche are the same. One definition says that stereotypical means lacking originality or individuality. It also says that cliche is ordinary or obvious. They seem very similar, if not the same. I suppose as an english major, it’s probably stereotypical of me to be pondering the nature of cliche.

Well. that’s it for now. 🙂

Ok, I Lied…

Well guys, let’s face it. It’s summer time. I can sleep in. Sometimes I suffer from insomnia, which ironically, I believe is triggered by staying up too late in the first place.

After I posted my last entry I went on addicting games.com to play a game called Line Bounder. I don’t actually play it the way you’re supposed to though. The point of the game is to get from one side of the board to the other in as few moves as possible. You do so by clicking on the corners of squares, thus drawing lines. The computer also draws lines in the same fashion, and tries to get into your goal area. I on the other hand try to see how many moves I can take before the computer commits suicide by fleeing into a corner where it becomes impossible to move. My record is somewhere close to 400 moves.

While I was playing the game I was thinking about the name of my blog “flyinguineapig” because there is actually an amusing story behind it… I had a guinea pig for five or six years and I loved her to pieces. She was so darn cute. Her name was Panda. Anyway, GUINEA PIG sort of became a part of my persona.

I have a habit of going on random tangents, so one day I went on a tangent to my friend about how it would be awesome if a mad scientist could cross the DNA of a parakeet and a guinea pig, thus creating a FLYING GUINEA PIG! My friend suggested I make FLYING GUINEA PIG into a character and make guitar picks or T-shirts or something to sell to go along with it. You know something? It might not actually be that crazy an idea!

Meet the Artist in Me

Hi Everyone! My name is Katie Curtis! I thought I’d just go on a random tangent about myself since this is my first post…

This isn’t my first blog, but I’m hoping it will be a successful one. I tried once before to keep a blog going, but since I’m easily distracted, that sort of went nowhere. I decided to start a new blog however, because my wonderful guitar teacher, Ken hired me to update the blog for his studio in North Reading. I love writing, so I decided to try again to start my own personal blog.

Well, as you probably guessed from the title, I’m an artist – in a sense. I play guitar, ukulele and an african drum, the name of which I can’t spell. I also sing and I’m a proud alto! I took singing lessons for a little over a year, and my teacher actually told me to stop trying to sing like a guy. I still sometimes think I can sing lower than I actually can or should. I’ve been writing my own music for who knows how long. I’ve been playing for a little over four years, so I’d say I’ve been writing for two and half of those years.

I also love writing in pretty much every genre. I took a class this spring that focused on creative writing. I had to write a short story, a one act play, several poems, a non-fiction article and a short memoir. I really liked how open the assignments were. It was pretty much go-play-have fun.

I’ve kept a journal for a couple years now, but I don’t write nearly as frequently as I used to. It’s full of all my teenage angst and I don’t even want to go back and read it because it would probably disgust me. Part of the reason I’m starting this blog is even though it has been very helpful to put my thoughts and feelings down on paper, my hope is that it will be more helpful to know that I am sharing my thoughts and feelings with other people. I assure you – everyone and anyone who reads this – it won’t be a sob story. I hope I can be interesting and entertaining.

Well, it’s 1: 59 AM now, so I suppose that will be it for tonight.

Goodnight everyone, I will write again soon! 🙂