Monday, September 12, 2011

Why, facebook, why?

I haven't shared this blog with any of my friends on facebook yet (or anywhere else, for that matter) because they would get tired of checking day after day (as if I would be so fortunate) to find that I've failed to update. Or maybe knowing that they check would motivate me to post. That might be an idea worth entertaining.

But I'm here today for a break from facebook. Lately I've realized that my facebook newsfeed has become tiresome; this was even before all of the trite, I'm-posting-to-be-part-of-the-community-and-to-prove-I-care Sept 11 updates. The reason is just that: it's all talk. People "raise awareness" with bullshit double-entendre "this is where I keep my purse but it sounds like where I have sex" posts, rant and rave about perceived injustices that they will never actually do anything about, and repeatedly bombard the web with their various beliefs-du-jour (or lack thereof). Don't tell me how I'm only a true friend if I repost your autism awareness blurb. I know autism exists, and I agree that it's unfortunate. Spamming my (equally as informed) friends' walls isn't going to change the situation. Go donate money to a charity or volunteer in a classroom, then talk to me about that. WITH YOUR OWN WORDS. Not someone else's that you took 6.4 seconds to copy and paste.

Proud of/thankful for our troups? Send them something. Even if it's just a note. It's lonely and dangerous over there.

In my own newsfeed, I would rather hear about the (mundane) goings-on of people's lives. I'm not opposed to using facebook as a medium for discussion. In fact, I think it's great for that -- when people are willing to actually discuss things instead of attacking each other from behind the safety of their I-Pad (which still happens, sadly). I'm also all for the posting of news stories you find interesting. Most of my friends/family members are in another state at least 11 hours away from me (honestly though, how many of you do I get to regularly interact with even when we are in the same geographic location?) Yes, post ridiculous pictures of your cat! Talk about the movie you saw and hated. Tell me how running out of Cheerios (or new episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has ruined your life. Heck, I would rather read a "just did one load of laundry and putting another load in now LOL" post than a "copy and paste this to your newsfeed if" post because it's actually about YOU.

Isn't that the point of facebook, after all?

Don't talk about the weather though. Especially if it's doing something "crazy" (rain? snow? whoa!) out there. Because chances are, 56 other people in your neighborhood are signing on to facebook RIGHT NOW to post the same thing, and they're on my newsfeed too. If the only answer to "what's on your mind?" that you can come up with is "wow, a thunderstorm!" then please just BACK AWAY FROM THE TEXTING DEVICE.

I also hate song lyrics as status updates (exception: when the song/video is also posted). But I'll choose my battles wisely.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I apparently failed to mention previously that I'd be spending the summer in Michigan, but that was the plan and I am currently executing it. I've been here for about a week and a half, and I have to say it's nice to be back among my people (haha, that kind of makes it sound like I'm part of a tribe). I do have some friends to miss in Baltimore, but the city lacks a good coffee shop (or I just haven't discovered it yet).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A few updates:

1) We finally got a router for our apartment a few weeks ago, which means I can no longer realistically use this as an excuse for not updating.

2) Vegas was awesome, and exhausting. I took over 400 pictures, some of which are on facebook. My roommate, my mother and I were there for about six days, during which time we wandered up and down the strip, through as many hotels and casinos as we could handle before becoming overstimulated, attended a weekend rockabilly festival, and spent time with my brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews (one of whom I met for the first time -- he's eight months old). Also, ate way more Sbarro's in a week's time than I ever care to repeat, because it was the cheapest meal option.

Jake was supposed to accompany us to Vegas, but then realized that the trip overlapped his exam week. So he came to Baltimore the week after instead. I, unfortunately, spent a large part of his visit working on my final portfolios. I spent the remainder of it feeling too burnt out to be worthwhile company (or so it seemed to me), but he assured me that it was fine and that he'd known I was going to be busy. He's pretty good at entertaining himself, via computer or book. We did get to D.C. for a day (coincidentally, we'd planned the trip for the day Bin Laden was killed, but we didn't partake in any sort of... celebrating). We did some research for my dad at the Smithsonian, had dinner, and visited the Lincoln, FDR, and Jefferson memorials. FDR's was quite lovely -- a landscaped series of stone work and waterfalls. Very peaceful (despite the large group of children wandering through on field trip).

And I turned in the last of two portfolios one week ago today, which means I have absolutely nothing to do (besides part-time work at the library). I'm already feeling aimless. Going to have to come up with some kind of summer project.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The end of the semester is only three weeks away. I spent some time tonight working on final portfolios, and will probably get back to that in a few minutes.

Typically around this time of year I find myself getting restless. This year that hasn't so much been the case. I could speculate as to why: maybe Baltimore still feels new and open for exploration; maybe because I'm going to Vegas in a few days. Which I am most certainly looking forward to. Maybe because I've got other things on my mind. Actually, I feel in a sense that parts of my brain have just kind of shut down for awhile. It's hard to articulate and frankly, I don't think that this is the medium for it.

In other news, I am finding that, now that warmer weather is here, I miss having a car. I listen to a lot less music now that I don't drive anywhere. A couple months in Michigan should help to cure that; I've decided that I'm going back there this summer, pending a job at my former place of employment. I'm also looking forward to spending some time with my people. Exploring a new place is fun, but not always as fun when you're doing it alone.

Don't worry; I will, of course, be back here in the fall for MFA year two.

Well, back to the homework.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Well. We all know about my book-buying problem (if you didn't know: I have one. That problem is that I buy too many of them). Jake and I went to Boston the weekend of March 4th, and I came home with nearly 20 new books, two of which I already had. One of those, Rilke's "Sonnets to Orpheus," I knowingly bought a second copy of because the newer one also included "The Duino Elegies." Regardless, I've resolved to create a sortable database of all the books I have, and then to print some form of it to carry with me.

Let me tell you though, Boston has some amazing bookstores. First and foremost, Raven Used Books, which had two locations... we found both of them. They had things I'd never been able to find in used book stores. Like Kurt Vonnegut. And adequate poetry sections. The Harvard University book store was of course also amazing. It had a basement level of used books and remainders (including more poetry). In Harvard Square there was also a poetry book store whose ad boasted over 16,000 volumes of poetry, but of course it was closed Sundays (the day we were there) and Mondays. All in all, I picked up poetry books by Rilke, Marina Tsvetayeva, e.e. cummings, Franz Wright, Margaret Atwood, Rita Dove, Erica Funkhouser, Jane Hirschfield, and others...

The good news in all this is that I've been reading more as well. Jake came and visited for about 10 days; I spent the last four being sick and not doing much which required energy. I finished one poetry book and read three more plus part of a novel in that time. I've since completed a short story collection I was reading.

Today I went to Ukazoo to trade in a few books (despite what their site says, the payment for the three I sold them was completely laughable - less than a dollar a book). Of course I left with four new (used) books.

But next week is Spring Break! I'll be in Michigan from Tuesday to Tuesday. Which means I'll have four hours one way on a plane to read some more... In my immediate queue is the rest of Valzhyna Mort's "Factory of Tears," Kundera's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," and the rest of the Swallow anthology of new poets from like... 2007. Plus two more books of poetry for class.

Woo hoo!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I was going to give a lengthy update here but I think I'd rather read my book instead.

My computer has been infuriatingly slow lately, which I'm going to say is part of the reason I haven't been on here much. Also, my roomie and I share one modem, as we have yet to get a router. I have to give her a turn with the internet sometimes I guess, especially when she insists she needs it for homework. :P

I've been going through a bit of an existential crisis lately (though "crisis" might be a bit too strong of a word). It's resulted in sort of an isolation period for me (does my horoscope say anything about this?) with strange cravings for companionship appearing sporadically. Among other things, I've been re-evaluating my writing style, as well as why/how/when I write, and I feel kind of like I'm approaching a breakthrough in... something. I'll have to get back to you on that.

I've also been having a very hard time in regards to my long-distance relationship -- this is, I believe, the longest Jake and I have gone without seeing each other since being back together. I left Saginaw on January 19 and he's coming here March 3. Only six days to go and I'd almost gladly sleep away those six days so that he'd be here already. Then of course I feel guilty for wishing my life away. Some of this unrest has been alleviated by the novelty of Skype, which we just tried for the first time on Tuesday. A camera is still a poor substitute for physical presence, but at least it adds another dimension to the phone call.

The whole thing has caused me to re-evaluate my position though. I've come to the point where Baltimore does feel (mostly) like home, and despite the alarming amount of debt I've amassed in two semesters, I don't regret coming at all. Yet I can't help but give some consideration to a hiatus. In all reality, I think the worst is about over for this year -- Jake will be here for about a week and a half, then my own spring break will follow in the second half of March. Then his semester will end in the beginning of May and mine two weeks after that.

But we've still got two more years to go.

Let's not think that far ahead. For now, winter is almost over, which is certainly something to be glad about.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

cross-posted from the wiki of my publishing class

A field trip to Washington D.C.

Moving to Baltimore has resulted in a lot of "firsts" for me -- first time living outside of Michigan, first time living six stories off the ground, first time relying on public transit to get places. The latest new first is my attendance at the AWP conference in Washington D.C. Last year during AWP time (it was held in Denver; I was still in MI) I was interning for a small press in Bay City. I had a few days off while the editor and her assistant flew out to Denver; they came back with various pamphlets and literary journals from presses I'd never heard of. The editor (who's also a poet) talked about having met editors for journals like Prairie Schooner and Exquisite Corpse and had a whole new list of places to submit her work.

Still, I didn't realize the magnitude of the conference until I got there at about noon on Friday. I picked up my registration materials (including a free tote bag and a conference guide that weighs as much as a biology textbook). I had no idea where to start. I wandered toward the exhibition halls and came across a session in which Joyce Carol Oates was reading from her memoir. I stopped in for a few minutes, but I was too anxious to see more. So I checked the guide for a couple tables with people that I knew (including the MI publisher I'd interned for and UB's MFA table), headed for the exhibition hall, and wandered through the madness until I found the familiar faces of Kendra and Steve.

I'm not kidding about the madness part. There were over 400 booths and tables in the exhibition halls at the Marriott (409, to be exact, if I counted correctly). That's 400+ different literary magazines, presses, MFA programs, and organizations. So, I moved to the right of the CityLit table (which was stationed next to UB's table) and started walking. I first came to the table of a literary magazine called Specs, which I'd never heard of. The cover design was beautiful, and it was a lovely nearly-square shape. I bought a copy with the theme “Faux histories” (there was also a “toys” themed issue, and their forthcoming will be “Kaleidoscopic point” themed). It was after I shelled out my $8, of course, that the lady at the table conspiratorially informed me that most of the vendors would mark their wares down dramatically come Saturday afternoon so that they wouldn’t have to pack it up and take it home with them. I thanked her and moved to the next table.

I won’t go into detail of all the tables I visited, mostly to save space but also because I don’t quite remember myself. It would have made the most sense to move up and down the rows systematically, but it was too overwhelming -- I kept seeing tables for journals I was familiar with, or a pretty cover display on a small-press table would catch my eye and lure me in (I did learn my lesson though: the Benu Press table had displayed a lovely book of poetry titled 200 Nights and One Day; Friday they wanted $10 for it, but I held off til Saturday and got it for $5). I acquired several other literary journals, most for free or cheap (there were a few who were still charging as much as $10 an issue; this was still marked down from the cover price). The BOA table had slightly-damaged poetry collections from authors like Li-Young Lee and Lucille Clifton for $5 apiece; I bought one Friday and three more Saturday when they’d marked them down to three for $5. I also got free bags, pins, magnets, pens, pads of paper, candy, and a free tee shirt from the Santa Clara Review.

I also met several of the “faces behind the names” -- one of the editors from, for example, and the editor of Benu Press. A co-editor from the Beloit Poetry Journal (which I’d become familiar with in the past, then forgot about) was at their table; we talked about poetry and she told me how they run the submission process. Upon hearing my intention to submit, she encouraged me to do so and told me to mention our meeting in the cover letter. I purchased a couple back issues (at $3 apiece) and thanked her, assuring her that I’d be sending some poems very soon. What a great opportunity!

And this was just the bookfair part. The conference also scheduled dozens of panels offering press readings and discussions on topics like “Demystifying the Author/Agent Relationship” and “What’s Normal in Nonfiction?” and “Fresh Faces & First Books by Asian-American Poets.” I attended one on Friday called “Shifting Your Perspective on Internet Publishing.” It featured speakers from five different online literary magazines showing us pages from their sites and talking about the benefits of the internet as a new literary medium (they cited things like the multimedia aspect and the accessibility to a non-literary audience among the pros). I don’t know that I’d consider myself a convert, but I was intrigued by the possibilities and was even thinking of my own poetry in that context.

Saturday I attended three more panels, among them a session called “What Editors Love,” which of course packed the room to the gills (people were sitting on the floor around the panelists’ table and at the back of the room). And you can bet we were all taking notes (if anyone wants to see them, I’d be happy to share). Another I attended was called “Exploring the Emerging Genre of Fashion Writing” (because yes, I’m a girl, and yes, I love shopping). It was a talk that got me thinking about the other ways I could potentially make a living as a writer.

At the close of the conference both days I pretty much felt like I’d run a marathon (partly because of the heavy bags of books I’d carried on my shoulders for hours). Nonetheless, Friday night after the conference I attended the Gulf Coast reading with a couple fellow MFA’ers. Valzhyna Mort was among the featured readers, as was Matthew Zapruder and another man who read an excerpt from his novel. The reading was held in the basement of a bar in D.C. called The Big Hunt; the room was packed beyond comfort by the time the reading started and stayed that way until I left at about 8pm (another reading was scheduled in the same place at 8, but I had a MARC train to catch). Despite the number of bodies in the room, everyone was respectful enough to keep it down while the readers were onstage. And I found that I much preferred to listen to the poets over the novelist; the compactness and completeness of the poems held my interest much more so than an excerpt from a novel I’d never read, whose characters I was unfamiliar with (despite the author’s attempt at a brief back story). I understand completely now why we don’t hold “novel slams.” Speaking of slams, I’m told that AWP sponsored a poetry slam Saturday night, but after getting up at 6:20 and spending a full 8.5 hours at the conference, neither I nor the girls I carpooled with had any more room or energy in our already-over-stimulated brains to take it on. So we had dinner at a Thai restaurant around the corner from the Marriott and called it a day.

All in all, I came away with 16 different literary journals and seven new books of poetry, plus a couple magazines and countless business cards/submission guideline slips. What an amazing resource for writers and publishers alike.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A few highlights from my 1.5 weeks back in Baltimore:

I spent my birthday (the 20th) in Washington D.C. with my roommate, trying Ethiopian food then visiting part of the Smithsonian. Also had an amazing carrot cupcake from a place called "Red Velvet."

Went to my first house party here, in honor of a friend from class; had a good time and met a few cool people. Also got to know a couple of my classmates better.

Experienced my first Baltimore blizzard. Made a snowman.

Was told by my boss at the library that I'm not allowed to graduate ever because she likes the work I do and doesn't want me to leave. Also, I'm getting a raise.

Got a writing/art table for my room. It fits into its designated space perfectly. I have used it for its intended purpose.

Hung out with my friend Jon whom I haven't seen in weeks. Had a Manhattan (the drink) for the first time.

Got out my keyboard (the musical variety) to try and learn a song by ear. Discovered that the time I spent last summer learning and practicing scales was actually beneficial. It's a pretty good incentive to keep practicing. Now I kind of wish I had a real piano with a full set of keys.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Notes to self:

Saturday -- dad playing @ White's
Sunday -- family dinner/Nick's hockey game/art mash-up/family skate
Monday -- Anna in Mt P
Tuesday --
Wednesday -- Cash O'Riley @ White's; mom?
Thursday --
Friday -- Kelly

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Holy cow I've fallen off the wagon here. I could use the holidays as my excuse but really, I suspect that Bejeweled Blitz is to blame here. It's a terribly addictive Facebook game that I've started playing the last couple weeks, and it's preventing me from being any kind of productive (I meant to read several books over break, for example, but have only managed to complete one). I've hardly written a word anywhere, despite my goal to keep up and fill up the journal I started in creativity class.

Well, I guess I'll try to get back on track by getting down some highlights from December.

Class ended, I flew to MI, and have been staying with Jake and his roommates. There are a total of six of us in the house, and despite there only being one bathroom, the arrangement works out quite well. Probably mostly because it's rare to have all six of us here at once, but also because everyone gets along pretty well. Aside from Jake, a couple of my best guy friends are here, which makes it even more fun.

The week before Christmas was largely spent accompanying friends on their last-minute Christmas shopping ventures (as well as completing my own). The holiday itself went pretty well; we managed to spend time with Jake's family and both sides of mine without any scheduling conflicts. Plus we got three delicious meals (one of which I acquired all the leftovers from, which was like a bonus gift). I feel like most of the gifts I gave were well-received. Most people seemed fairly conscious of the fact that there's only so much space in my suitcase, too. As it is, I'll still have to ship a box back separately (in part because of my book-buying addiction) but my parents have agreed to do that for me.

After the Christmas celebrations our friend Dan had a party at his apartment, complete with drum circle. I actually ended up playing (and drinking) more than anticipated, and it was quite fun. My wrists had bruises and my hands were sore for a couple days after, but I'd do it again.

I've been to see my favorite rockabilly act, Cash O'Riley, a couple times as well -- the second time he had the band with him (two other guys -- one plays lead guitar or harmonica and the other plays the upright bass, which I am a fan of). Next week he's promised to have CDs available, so hopefully he makes good on that. He's doing a tour within the next couple months which will bring him out to Baltimore with any luck. I gave him a list of potential venues a few weeks ago and he's having his agent contact them. I feel pretty privileged -- he's a cool guy, always takes time to talk to me and thank me for coming to the show, remembers my name and asked me how my first months in Baltimore were -- it'd be great to see him out east.

Jake finished his novel here about a week ago too. And I actually finished reading it on Tuesday. I don't really feel that I've been all that much help to him lately in editing and revision, as he has another, more experienced friend working on that, but he seems appreciative of the fact that I've offered what I could. Whether he'll use any of it I don't know yet.

I spent a day with Anna and Kelly just after Christmas; we had lunch together, did a little shopping, had dinner with Jeff and Cari (who actually both had a night off for once), then had a game night here at the house with Nick, Tif, Scott, and a couple of Nick's friends. Scott and I paired up for a game of Cranium, and it turns out we make a pretty good team -- we won.

The day before NYE I went to spend the day with my mom, grandma, and little sister. We also had lunch together, went to a used book/movie/music store, then to see my mom's new house. We returned to my grandma's for food and tea, then had an Elvis dance party in the basement, which evolved into an Elvis singing party, which evolved into... howling dogs? Probably the most I've laughed in a long time. And the most exercise I've had since being in MI.

NYE wasn't especially eventful, though Jake, Scott and I ended up going to three different parties. The first one had a lot of smoke and a lot of people I didn't know. It was kind of loud and I felt like I didn't have anything to talk about, even with the people who weren't already drunk. Several friends made appearances too, so we rang in the new year there then headed out. The second party -- my friend Peter's -- was pretty small (though there was some delicious spinach dip made by our friend Felicia) and we didn't stay long. The third was fairly late into the night; I'd guess we got there around 130 or 2. Jake and I played a game of euchre against Jason and Erica (two of the roommates) and won -- possibly partly because they'd had a lot more to drink than we had.

This past Monday Jake and I ventured down to John King's Used Books in Detroit. We spent nearly $50 each; I got a few books of poetry (and an abridged copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace by mistake -- I wanted the full text) among others and Jake bought just about ever Paul Theroux book they had. Both of us were in need of an extra bookshelf before this trip. There are worse things to be addicted to, though, haha. Jake was also kind enough to stop at Great Lakes Crossing and let me do a little other shopping, despite his distaste for malls. I tried to be considerate and only went into two or three stores (again partly due to my lack of suitcase space).

That mostly brings me up to date, I think. We'll see if I can start getting down some daily highlights in between Bejeweled binges from here on out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I've done this survey every year for probably seven years. Can't break the tradition now.

1.What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before? Moved across the country from MI to MD and started grad school. Relied on public transportation to get around the city and got an apartment with someone I'd only talked to online beforehand. Used InDesign and a Mac to design newspaper pages.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make more for next year? I'm sure I made some last year, but I can't remember what they are. Probably something about reducing my debt, in which case I failed miserably. I'm giving some consideration to some resolutions for this year.

3. What countries did you visit? I don't want to talk about it. Mainly because the answer is "none."

4. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? A trip out of the country? I really can't think of much.

5. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Well, NYE 2010 was pretty memorable. My trip to Memphis in January also. My first trip to Baltimore, my first days living in Baltimore, and Jeff & Cari's wedding were all pretty memorable too.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting into, then going off to, grad school in Baltimore to get my MFA. And surviving my first semester alone in a new city.

7. What was your biggest failure? Parking in Baltimore City. Two parking tickets and a trip to the impound lot to retrieve my towed car (all of which happened within about a month and a half) were enough to cement my decision to send the Grand Am back to MI.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing a little antibiotic or cold medicine didn't cure.

9. Whose behavior merited celebration? My dad's for moving me from Saginaw to Baltimore -- he loaded everything up and drove it all out there for me, and covered the expenses (including a motel room in Ohio along the way). Also Jake's for sticking with me through all this -- long distance isn't fun but he's stuck by me through it.

10. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I'd rather not talk about it here. Besides, "appalled" and "depressed" might be too strong of choices.

11. Where did most of your money go? Aside from the obvious (bills), my savings account went toward moving expenses and tiding me over 'til I got a job and my financial aid check.

12. What song will always remind you of 2010? Anything from the Black Keys album "Brothers" or Yeasayer's "Odd Blood."

13. Compared to last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier. This time last year I was pulling myself out of a pretty bad funk.
ii. thinner or fatter? Walking everywhere has definitely caused me to lose weight.
iii. richer or poorer? I feel richer, but the records at the Department of Education would definitely tell you otherwise.

14. What do you wish you'd done more of? Budgeting?

15. What do you wish you'd done less of? Worrying what other people thought of me. I got better about it at the end of the year though.

16. How did you spend Christmas? in Michigan, with Jake's family then with my mom's side of my family. There were of course Christmas celebrations with my dad's side on Christmas Eve and with friends at various points. The last was just today.

17. Did you fall in love in 2010? I don't think so, because to say yes would mean that I wasn't in love previously, and I think that I was but that it took me awhile to realize.

18. What was your favorite TV program? I actually have an answer this year! HBO ran a show called "Treme" that I saw every episode of in season one (partly because Patrick [my roommate] paid for OnDemand so I could catch the ones I missed).

19. What was the best book you read? Hm. Zadie Smith's On Beauty was very good. I loved Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut. These are the ones that come to mind first -- I read a lot of books over the summer. A couple of the Han Nolan books I read were pretty good. Oh, also Still Life with Oysters and Lemon by Mark Doty and Ariel by Sylvia Plath.

20. What was your greatest musical discovery of 2010? rockabilly -- specifically Cash O'Riley in MI and BW&TS in MD. I'm loving the fact that the Baltimore/DC area has a rockabilly scene.

21. What did you want and get? An apartment in the middle of a big city and a fresh start somewhere new.

22. What did you want and not get? An assistantship to cover all of my tuition. Also, an MD driver's license. I'm trying again soon on both of those.

23. What was your favorite film of this year? Inglourious Basterds was good, as was Shutter Island. Those are the two that immediately come to mind.

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 24. On the day itself I spent the majority of my time in the car coming home from Nashville. But the highlights included a stop at Jack White's record label/store. Also, the preceding several days were spent in Memphis.

25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If I'd been able to bring some of my MI friends (or at least Jake) to Baltimore with me.

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Evolving again. Baltimore has some pretty fabulous thrift/vintage stores.

27. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? The Black Keys. I don't know if "fancy" is the right word -- I just really loved their album.

28. Who was the best new person you met? Nick K. is my favorite new person by far. We had some pretty great Saginaw adventures over the summer before I moved to MD. But, that said, my new roommate Maureen is my favorite new MD person. She's been very cool to live with and to explore Baltimore with (especially since she knows more about it than I do).

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010: I've better-internalized the notion of being/doing what I want without worrying about what other people think. Also gained the sort of perspective that one gains when she moves 11 hours away from home.

30. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. "Without any love, there's nothing at all."