Wednesday, September 14, 2011


To the tune of "Airplanes" by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams

Can we pretend that X-Wings are right outside shooting down Death Stars?
I wish life was like fiction now, fiction now, fiction now!
Can we pretend that two twins live a Suite Life with their singer mom?
I wish life was like fiction now, fiction now, fiction now!

Yeah, I want an X-Wing, Nimbus 3000, or airship
To go to another place, much simpler than this
'Cause after all the fightin', and these nasty disasters
And how pure sin is looked at as glam and fashion
I read some books and watch some sitcoms, then I'm askin':
Why can't real life ever be anything like this?
And, then, I look at that cell phone that I have
And see all my calls are from my mom or my dad
So, I just let the story unfold!
I imagine I'm that great heroine or hero!
And, many worlds I've traveled!
Like this planet, and many more
Without leaving my chair!
So, X-Wing, X-Wing, take me away!
Just to some place I can find a date!
When you find that, it'll all be all right!
I'll probably be married well before midnight!

Can we pretend that Batman is out tonight fighting the Joker?
I wish life was like fiction now, fiction now, fiction now!
Can we pretend that best friends always become items, like Lizzie and Gordo?
I wish life was like fiction now, fiction now, fiction now!

Somebody, take me now to a place
Where I have a great job, that wonderf'ly pays!
Where I don't have to worry 'bout breaking the bank!
Where I can find a cougar wife who knows the Way!
Yeah, man, all the books and movies are showin' it!
But, no, I just have not been getting it!
Maybe, if, tomorrow, in my front yard lands a X-Wing
Then I will never again be lookin' back on the old days!
Maybe then, everything will go just my way!
And, I'll have a woman who is, in every way, great!
And, I won't have a friendship abruptly end every day!
Man, life would be much greater if it were that way!
But, this ain't a story book or a Hollywood flick!
That's why I never will marry Maddie Fitzpatrick!
I know things on this planet aren't all that great,
But I know I'll be in the best place ever one day!

Can we pretend that Hermione is on her broom, flying, with Harry and Ron?
I wish life was like fiction now, fiction now, fiction now!
Can we pretend that I'm on a big stage, right alongside Miss Tori Vega?
I wish life was like fiction now, fiction now, fiction now!

I wish life was like fiction now! (REPEAT)
Like iCarly or Cars!
Like fiction now!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I remember where I was; do you?

NOTE: This is a revised version of my post from last year, which went largely unnoticed due to me being on a sabbatical from Facebook at the time. I thought about waiting until this Sunday to re-post this, but I might be quite busy this weekend. Thanks for reading!
As pretty much everyone around the world knows, this Sunday is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I'd like to talk about where I was when I first heard about not only that tragic event, but also other ones I can somewhat remember that caused nationwide, if not worldwide, panic.
I'll start with 9/11. It was right at the beginning of my eighth grade year. The school day had barely even started when my good friend Jakob got picked up to go home, and he was not sick, nor did he have an appointment. I didn't even know what was going on until I got back home, and I saw only a few minutes of the news before I went to my weekly counseling session at my church. When I got in the building, they had CBS News playing in the fellowship room, and I can still remember my counselor saying a prayer at the end and praying not only for me, but also for the state of our nation.
April 16, 2007 was probably the most traumatic national event for me, because I had (and still do have) some friends at Virginia Tech. It made things even worse that I didn't even know anything of that sort was going on until I just innocently logged into AOL Instant Messenger like I did (and still do) pretty much every day, and saw Away messages like, "Let's hope and pray everyone is okay at Virginia Tech," or something like that (it's been so long, I can't remember.) I was quite glad that all my friends were okay, and that incident taught me a lesson: Even though in countless fictional stories--from classic Disney animated movies to R-rated, graphically violent action flicks--killing someone (or a group of people) brings peace, it rarely does in real life. When you do as that Cho guy did, not only do you end a person's/people's life/lives, but you also bring serious emotional pain to that person/those people's family/families.
February 1, 2003 was, while not as tragic as the events I just mentioned, still terrible. For those who don't remember--and I wouldn't say this if it weren't for at least one person I've talked to who is older than me and doesn't remember this incident--that was the day the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon returning to Earth. I was watching ABC's Saturday morning block (known as ABC Kids) as was usual for Saturdays back then, and I was waiting for Lizzie McGuire to come on. Out of nowhere, the national news comes on. At first, I thought it was just some short educational program, but it stayed on, and that's when I realized something was wrong. I had it on mute, so I turned the volume up, and all they were saying at first was that NASA had lost contact with the astronauts aboard Columbia and they kept going back and forth from the same person to the typical, "In case you're just tuning in..." summary. Eventually, they ended up saying the shuttle was gone, and that all the astronauts inside were dead. My mom was asleep through all this, because she had worked the night before. I told her about it as soon as she woke up, and it shocked her as much as it did me. Even WGN decided not to show Star Wars: A New Hope that afternoon like they were planning to, only because of that event. As bad as it was, I'm glad it didn't happen when I was little; back then, I wanted to be an astronaut, and a tragedy like that would have devastated me.
There are many other tragedies I could talk about. There was the Asian tsunami on December 26, 2004, which was quite horrible. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was as bad if not worse; although forecasters did correctly predict where it was going to hit, and some people did evacuate, the storm was among the deadliest natural disasters of any sort to hit our nation, and seeing all the debris, as well as people mourning their loved ones lost in the storm, just broke my heart. The Columbine shooting in 1999 is an event I remember more because of the aftermath than the actual event. At the time, I was a student at an elementary school where my mom worked, and they talked about a code phrase--no, I'm not going to name it here!--that meant the school was under attack. I also remember my friends' mom not wanting them to play GoldenEye for Nintendo 64 because it was very similar--at least, to her--to Doom which supposedly inspired Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to do as they did. Although I know tons of people, my friends included, had fun with that N64 game, I can still somewhat understand my friends' mom's feelings; seriously, do you want any of your kids to grow up to be mass murderers? Didn't think so. One of those friends told me during summer of 2000, about a year after they'd moved hundreds of miles away, that a guy he knew had gotten in big trouble, including not only suspension from school, but also a summer-long grounding by his parents, only because he told the bus driver that she didn't want to drive the bus on the last day because something bad was going to happen, and, because everyone was up in arms about school security back then, the bus driver took it as a threat and wrote the kid up. That same fear was proven by an incident involving me early that following school year, but we don't need to get into that.
This might sound trite, but here it is anyway: No matter what happens, God is in control. Some people think recent events are signs that the end is near, and that may be true; however, as I've heard at least one preacher say, it could just as easily be a thousand more years until Jesus comes back. I don't believe in that December 21, 2012 stuff; after all, research just shows that it's the end of the Mayan calendar, not the end of the world. People who get all up in arms about that mess sound as ridiculous as a kid saying, "Oh, no! My Wizards of Waverly Place calendar only goes to December 31, 2011! After that, life as we know it is going to come to a complete end! I better warn all my BFFs!" (No, I do not have a Wizards of Waverly Place calendar; I have an iCarly one.)
Any comments?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who Has the Better Life?

In high school, I was a huge fan of Disney Channel's live-action sitcoms such as Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.  Although I have fond memories of all three of those shows and some others, one Mouse House situation comedy has kept a hold on me like none other: That's So Raven! My friends might have a largely negative opinion of that show, but I've always liked it.  Anyway, one episode that I often remember was titled "Dissin' Cousins," where Raven (played by The Cosby Show alumni Raven-SymonĂ©) tells a bunch of tall tales, such as she is head cheerleader and in a romantic relationship with her best friend Eddie (Orlando Brown, Family Matters), in order to impress her cousin Andrea, who is visiting from Europe.  When things go completely awry, the two cousins have this exchange of words:

ANDREA: I think we need to talk.
RAVEN: Why is that? Are you here to brag about something else to make me feel even worse about my life? Oh, no, here, I'll save you the trouble, okay? I lied.  I'm not head of the volleyball squad I'm not head cheerleader, and I can't cook. So, congratulations. You win. Your life is better than mine.
ANDREA: Rae.  Hold on.  You actually think my life is better than yours?
RAVEN: You sure make it seem that way.
ANDREA: Well, it's not.  I live in a different country every year.  I change homes.  I have to make new friends.  Believe me, Rae, you don't know how lucky you are.
RAVEN: But I don't shop in Rome, okay? And I don't live in Paris.
ANDREA: Oh, I'd trade all that for this. Look, you were standing right here when you were two and four and seven and nine.  I don't have that.  I don't have a real home like you do.  Oh, and you'll really love this one.  I don't have a boyfriend, either.  I made him up to impress you because I thought you had the better life.  So, I don't win.  You do.
RAVEN: You mean...we wasted 14 years of trying to impress each other when we could have been friends?
ANDREA: Want to start over again?
RAVEN: Sure.

Some of you may think that's just sitcom stuff, but, actually, the reason I've been pondering that episode lately is because I often wonder if it isn't the same way between me and some friends of mine.  I'm not accusing any friends of mine of making up accomplishments and such to impress me or anyone else; what I am saying is, I wonder if the people who I think have a better life than me actually feel that the opposite is true.
Being immersed in a social network such as Facebook allows me to know what's going on with my friends, as well as people I barely know, pretty much anytime.  Whether they're going to the grocery store, getting married, riding their bikes around the block, getting divorced, watching television, or expecting a baby, I find out about it, even sometimes when I really didn't need (or want) to know.  However, all that information has led to some frustration.  I mentioned in my "To rejoice or to mourn? THAT is the question." post that I'd responded inappropriately to some happy moments my friends have had recently, such as getting engaged or married, but it goes beyond relationships.  Other people, irrespective of their marital status, often have fun outings with their friends--which sometimes, but not always, includes people I also consider my friends--wonderful jobs, and great experiences that I can only imagine.  I wouldn't know about any of it if it weren't for Zuckerberg's website, though.  When I do find out about it, it can, but doesn't always, upset me.  Even if I don't start throwing things in a fury, I still get bothered by it from time to time.  You may think that's wrong, but I ask you this: How would you feel if your friends bombarded you with pictures and messages about what they did together, while you were stuck at home pretty much all day and all night with your parents?
Then again, just like Raven and her cousin Andrea, it may be that others think that I am the one with the better life.  At times, I wonder why many of my friends around my age are already engaged or married, while I'm still single just like I've always been.  However, I then stop and think about all the young married couples I've known over the years whose relationships ended in divorce.  Many people have told me that relationships are not everything they're cracked up to be, and they're probably right.  It's the same thing with the other areas I mentioned.  The online albums may make the outings look fun, but would I really have a good time if I went? (If it involved alcoholic beverages, the answer is definitely no.) Someone else's job might look great, but so can dog food or baby food in the hands of advertisers.  In many cases, those things may not be what they seem from the outside.
In conclusion, let me say this: I'm not asking you to leave me comments or send me messages saying, "Oh, Siobhan, your life is so much better than mine! You have no idea how good you have it!"  Whether you've thought that or not is your own business.  I once told some friends of mine, "You wouldn't last a week in my shoes!" and one of them replied, "Well, guess what? That road goes both ways, buddy! You have no idea what's going on with me when you call me, and you wouldn't last a week in my shoes, either!" A good part of my friends could probably say the same thing; I probably couldn't deal with what they have to on a daily basis.  It's hard to know what someone's situation is like until you've actually been in it.  That was proved back when my oldest sister was alive; many people came up with some (usually well-meaning) suggestions for how my mom could do things better...but all those folks just showed their lack of understanding of her situation, because, almost always, those "solutions" wouldn't have worked.  Maybe people (including me) who think others have a better life don't really understand others' situations.  I just have to learn to "bloom where I'm planted," as they say.  I've learned how to make do with what I've got in more than one area: technology, shopping, etc.  I should do the same with my should everyone else.
Any comments?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Think I'm Going Out of My Head

I don't know if this is normal or not, but I take my mental stability very seriously.  That hasn't always been the case; when I was younger, I used to do quite weird things in public places--my school, my church, at the store, at home when company was there, etc.--that led to some people thinking I was nuts.  True, some of that may have been a product of the various psychological meds I was trying out at such a young age; it's been so long, I honestly couldn't say.  I'm still on an anti-psychotic, but only one, and I'll probably be taking it for the rest of my life.  My mom tried taking me off of it twice, back in 1999 as well as last year, and things didn't go well at all either time.  That's okay, though; I know I'm not the only one who can say he/she will be taking the same medicine until he/she dies.
You may wonder: If I'm on the meds and take them regularly as prescribed, then what's there to worry about? Well, even though I try to refrain from doing anything that would lead to anyone thinking I'm mentally ill, I don't always succeed.  One such case was last summer, when my grandmother was visiting from Florida.  It was her birthday, and we were having a party for her; we invited both some family members and a couple of my dad's friends.  While we were sitting at the table eating, we were having a normal dinner discussion, and one person at the table--not saying who--was talking about things being lost in translation, which is a topic I like to talk about.  Naturally, I started launching into stories about kids in my middle school or high school Spanish class trying to cheat by using online translators, and how the teachers found them out by the literal (and inaccurate) translations of slang phrases, as well as Jim Davis' commentary on his Garfield strips getting translated into countless languages.  A few weeks later, my mom and I were having a day out, and while we were in the car, my mom mentioned to me about how, if I have a story to tell, I should keep it short, and if I tell a long story--like I presumably did at that birthday party--I sound as if I'm mentally ill.  She even used a guy we used to know who was insane (in the literal sense) as a comparison.
Of course, my mom and the other people present at that party know I'm not mentally ill, but I wonder if other people think I am.  I know, I know; I'm not supposed to care what people think about me.  Still, it makes me wonder if that's why I've been losing friends left and right on Facebook.  At least half of those who have unfriended, blocked, and/or denied me on there have been people I'd just met in the past year or so before adding them.  You may say that's just the Internet and not real life, but I seriously think a good part of them did so out of disgust with what I was saying or doing online.
Pretty much everyone has experienced cabin fever; whether you've served in the military on a submarine or battleship, or just been stuck in your house for long periods of time for whatever reason, you know what it's like.  Well, that used to be what I had to face on a very frequent basis.  I've talked on here about my severely disabled older sister, and one thing about her was that someone always had to be with her.  My mom used to work nights, so she'd leave me in charge of her, and, not only was I not allowed to leave the house, there were certain parts of the house I couldn't go in.  I once got grounded for going on the Internet while I was supposed to be taking care of my sister.  I wasn't looking up anything obscene; if I remember right, I was reading reviews of Final Fantasy II for Super NES.  It was wrong for me to be on the computer in the first place, though; it was in a different room, so doing that would have been leaving my sister alone.  I deserved to be punished for that, because I disobeyed my mother and was being a jerk to my sister.  Still, I wonder if being confined to only part of my house so many times didn't drive me insane.
I know most of you friends of mine reading this don't live alone; you have at least one person--spouse, kid(s), parent(s), etc.--who share your abode.  I've never lived alone either, but I have been left essentially alone, if not completely alone, countless times.  I'm reminded of an incident back in the summer of '99 involving an elderly family friend.  This friend had found some recipes in the local newspaper that he/she couldn't see very well because of the tiny print, so he/she'd asked my mom and I to use our computer to make them easier to read.  We didn't have a scanner at the time, so we just went into a word processing document and copied them by hand.  When we gave the finished results to that friend of ours, he/she said, "Well, it doesn't look like it did on the newspaper, but I guess that's okay!" Yes, he/she didn't understand the technology; that didn't surprise anyone who knew him/her.  Still, it scared me because I thought he/she had gone nuts; his/her response reminded me of the nutcase Exidor on Mork & Mindy, my favorite show at the time.
Fast forward to September 2011, and now I am the one acting like Exidor, and not on purpose.  No, I'm not alone 24/7, but my parents often leave me by myself at our house, and it's been happening for years, especially back when my oldest sister was alive.  I'll be the first to say that I do not need a babysitter; my parents know very well that I can take care of things around our house quite well, and I'm not blaming them for my problems.  My mom did the best she could given the situation; I don't doubt that.  Still, I don't like the feeling of being alone at all.  Being essentially by myself all that time has led to me talking to myself, which has caused all kinds of problems, such as the birthday party incident described earlier and plenty more.
In conclusion, let me say this: I know I'm not insane.  I may be taking anti-psychotic meds, but at least I'm capable of having an intelligent conversation with someone.  Many things I've seen people who were mentally ill say and do, such as one lady at my psychiatrist's office a few years ago who told my mom that the very late--I think you know what I mean--former President Ronald Reagan was still living somewhere--"A lot of people don't know that," she said--are not things that I say or do.  Still, I often wonder how I come off to those that don't know me.  I know I'm not supposed to care, but I wonder if others' first impressions of me have led to lost chances for friendship or similar things.  In a previous post, I mentioned that people are going to misinterpret and judge others' actions no matter what they say or do, and that's true.  However, that doesn't give me or anyone else an excuse to act like an idiot in public.  I'm not sure whether I come off as a crazed lunatic to others or not; yet, if I had to wager a guess, I'd say I do.  I hope I'm wrong, though; do any of you know?