Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 YouTube Survey (On Blogspot)

Last year around this time I wrote a post answering the questions to the 2011 YouTube survey, and the next edition of it just came out. And because it lends itself easily to lazy blogging, I figured I might as well do it. So here. Learn yourself some.

1)Why are you called that?
My parents knew my name had to start with an "S" because my sister's name started with "R" like my dad, and my mom, whose name starts with "S" needed a child with an alliterative name as well. I was nearly called "Samantha" but my dad's brother's name is "Sam," and he thought that was too close. I remember being little and hearing that story and feeling disappointed, because Samantha is the name of the turn-of-the-century American Girl. I thought it would have been awesome to share her name.
I don't know a lot about my last name, except it's Welsh, people commonly mistake it for the name of a mythical creature, and the crest for it is the ugliest thing you've ever seen in your life. I just tried to find it online, but the ones that show up in Google are so much nicer than the ones my family had printed on sweatshirts my sister and I wore out in public when we were little.
2)Tell us about your favorite schoolteacher
I had quite a few really good teachers, so picking just one is difficult. I'd probably go with my Sophomore AP US History teacher, who I also student aided for during my Senior year. Considering I took her class six years ago, I don't remember a lot of details from the course, but I do recall really enjoying it, even though the expectations and standards were higher than I had been used to.
What really stood out to me was this teacher's obvious concern for her students' success. I remember one day my Senior year, I was helping her organize checks students had turned in for AP tests (she was also the head of the entire AP program). I was noticing how some of my classmates' families had made out checks for 200 to 300 dollars because they were taking a handful, maybe more, AP tests. I wasn't feeling too great about myself, because my family had been going through some fiscal hard times and couldn't have easily afforded those exams even if I had the mental capacity to get through those classes (spoiler alert: I didn't). She was telling me how flawed the system was, in charging students and families so much for wanting to achieve higher levels of ability. And she said something along the lines of, "And then there's students like you, who maybe can't afford it but absolutely should have the opportunity to take them. I mean, I would pay YOU  to take these tests."
That just meant the world to me.
3)What's the strangest food you've ever eaten?
My dad tried to get me to take a bite of his Buffalo Burger when we were traveling through South Dakota. It was a very weird experience, because we had just seen some bison as we were driving through the area, and had stopped to admire them. It was a case of, "Here's this beautiful, adorable, nearly extinct animal. Isn't it great? HERE, EAT IT NOW." No, thanks. I'll pass.
I tend to not eat strange foods, but my standards for food quality are not as high as other people's. This was especially apparent in London, when I was in charge of buying my own groceries. To save money, I would buy the cheapest products, which usually came in cans. Canned rice pudding and macaroni and cheese were my favorites, and both completely grossed out my friends. But I stand by my decisions. My average weekly grocery bill was 8 pounds, which is like 12-3 dollars. I consider that a win.
4)Tell us about your first gig
I went to my first real concert when I was in high school, when I went with some friends to see Hawk Nelson, a still fairly obscure Christian Rock band in some random auditorium of a small college in Minneapolis. Or Saint Paul. They're both the same, it doesn't even matter. Everyone wore the tour shirt that was included with the price of admission, which is still one of my favorite shirts. For some reason, the picture on the back of it is a monster's face, which really freaked out a few of my friends, so I took vengeful joy in wearing it when I sat in front of them in German class. Nothing quite like those unblinking eyes staring into your soul when you're trying to conjugate verbs. The first opening act of the gig played the Hannah Montana theme song and I shared a *moment* with a guitarist from Run Kid Run (the other opening act) when I waved to him in the lobby afterward and he waved back- with a look of utter confusion on his face. It was awesome.
5)What is your favorite place in the world?
The obvious (and, frankly, vague) answer to this is "London." The city has great sandwiches on every corner, well-dressed guys, fascinating history, accents, and so many flags. That's literally all I want from life.
I mean, I also have friends there. But they're totally secondary to food and flags.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stabbed With Spoons- Softball Stories

A few weeks ago, I played in a 50-inning marathon softball game, and that day reminded me of the years I spent loving the sport. Now that I have finally recovered from every muscle in me hurting and the insane face sunburn I got that day, I thought I should reminisce a little and share my favorite softball stories from my adolescence.

 -The summer when I was thirteen was probably my favorite traveling softball season, not because of the games we played that year (I actually can't recall if we were even that good), but because I loved my teammates. It became a habit for us to get together and have sleepovers after nearly every game that season. Usually, at some point during these nights, the cards would come out and we'd raid the cutlery drawer so we could play Spoons. In case anyone's childhood totally sucked and doesn't know what that game is, it's this: you sit in a circle, with a collection of spoons in the middle and pass cards from person to person until someone gets four of a kind. When they do, they take a spoon from the middle, and everyone else then has to get a spoon as well. There are one few spoon in the middle than players, and the person who doesn't grab a spoon is out. Now, being fairly competitive teenage girls, this game escalated from a friendly game to a contest of strength and willpower. I would later refer to the game as "Full-Contact Spoons," as it became common for the first person to get four of a kind to grab a handful of spoons, and throw them away from the circle. Oftentimes they ended up on the stairs and underneath furniture.
 I think we once even played in the hallway of a hotel we were staying at for a tournament, and people threw spoons all the way down the hall, and we most definitely did not stop playing when other guests had to pass by.

We also played in an airport a few years later, with pens instead of spoons. I don't think anyone got stabbed, though I can't verify that.

-When I was fourteen, my team qualified and played in a national tournament in Colorado. This was very important to me, because my sister had played in many nationals for the past few years, and this was finally my opportunity to do the same. (It would end up being my only chance- the general trend growing up was my sister's teams were more skilled, but my teams had more fun) Throughout the tournament, I pitched a fair amount, but didn't hit. (I wasn't very good at batting- turns out I would peak in two years for about two  months. Fun fact.) However, for one game against a team from... Oregon? Washington? somewhere... due to some weird rule, I needed to hit. I was pretty intimidated and nervous, and my coaches' looks of, "Oh, shit" didn't really help. But somehow I made contact, got on base, and even scored a few minutes later.

Since that was my only at-bat for the entire tournament, technically that means I batted 1000. I'm a pretty big deal.
-Also, right after that game, a few of us went back to our hotel and went swimming in their pool. As we were hanging out, some other families came in and started talking to our moms. They said they were playing in the same tournament we were and they were from... Oregon? Washington? somewhere... and our moms talked about how proud and happy they were we just beat a team from that same state. It quickly came out that these nice people were from the same team we just beat... by quite a margin I believe. I swam away from that uncomfortable situation so fast I left a wake behind me.
-My high school softball coach was also a math teacher, and he dedicated half his classroom to displaying stuff from the softball team. This included 5x7 photos of each varsity player that took up an entire wall. My senior year, I had him for Honors Pre-Calc (and I was similar in math skill as I was in softball- well intentioned, though lacking in certain areas of motivation and ability). That fall, I was a member of the marching band as well, and a friend took a picture of me in my uniform before one of our performances, looking excited because I thought it was our last football half-time show (marching band gets exhausting after awhile and I was ready to leave the unflattering pants and fuzzy hats behind). The Monday after this was taken, I walked into Pre-Calc past my friends from the last class all laughing at me and see my coach, staring at me with a slightly crazed grin. He moves aside so I can see this picture, hanging on the wall and taking the place of my normal softball picture...