Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Goal List

At the end of every year I make a list of things I want to accomplish within the next year. I have been doing this since I was about 15, and gives me something to work towards when I feel like my life has lost all meaning. I am going to post my list on here and start a page where I detail how I accomplish each goal once it gets crossed off the list. Some of these things will bring me inner peace, some will just bring me joy. So now I present:

The 2014 To Do List
  • Go To New York
  • See a show on Broadway
  • Star in a musical ;)
  • Go back to school
  • Pay off my student loans
  • Become a freelance writer/get my own column
  • Run five miles without stopping
  • Visit a different country
  • Volunteer
  • Learn to drive
  • Buy a car
  • Get my iPhone screen fixed
  • Create a webseries
  • Participate in a show with a non-local theatre group
  • Make batman and robin outfits for me and Shandara - take pictures - fight crime
  • Go viral
  • Write a book. A good one. 
  • Learn How to do a back handspring
  • Go to a concert
  • Perform at a poetry slam
  • Perfect my liquid eyeliner
  • Paint my nails within the lines
  • Defy Gravity
  • Take aerial classes (so I can do that cool ribbon work stuff at the circus)
  • Be on the front page of the paper
  • Do 21 Random Acts of Kindness on my birthday
  • Live for everyone who can't
  • Defy gravity

Friday, December 27, 2013

Today I Found Out I Was Plus-Sized

Caption reads: "Plus-size supermodel Robyn Lawley..."
Dear Cosmo,

Thank you so much for posting this photo on your Facebook page of your "plus-sized" model, Robyn Lawley. Now normally, I would just appreciate this photo of this flawless human being who isn't stick thin making it in the fashion industry. However, today I learned that anyone who isn't 97 pounds and curve-less is a plus sized model. Today I learned that I am a plus sized human being. Today I learned that average females are plus sized. That the fashion industry thinks that I, a girl who is comfortable with how I look, because my body is pretty similar to that of the model in this photo, is larger than normal.

For too long, I have been shopping in the junior section of the store, and buying petite sized clothing from the women's section. I understand now why I have such a hard time buying clothing. I'm not picky, I've been shopping in the WRONG SECTION. Thank you so much, Cosmopolitan, for enlightening me.

I now know that size five is gigantic and no longer will I be comfortable with myself when I look in the mirror and see my touching thighs and tiny bit of a belly pooch. I have suddenly realized that I am, in fact, fat.

Let's be serious for a second. Robyn Lawley is anything but plus sized. She looks like an average sized female. And also, to clarify, there is nothing wrong with being a plus sized human being or model. Because there are women who make it in the world of modeling who are plus sized and they are gorgeous. I mean, look at the woman to the left. She is stunning. And just as good of a model as any other girl who is more petite. But I digress.

Society is so turned around when it comes to body size that an average woman is now "heavy set". Any girl weighing more than 120 weighs too much, apparently. But as most of you hopefully realize, all sizes are beautiful sizes. We have finally reached a point in time when we are starting to realize that big is beautiful, but at the same time many people have come to the conclusion that skinny girls aren't real women. And that's not true either.

But just because we are starting to realize that big isn't bad doesn't mean media like this isn't harmful. While there is no single cause of eating disorders, many studies have found that a leading contributor to body dissociation and eating disorders is the media and their unrealistic expectations of the way that women should look. This definition of what a "real woman" is is harmful to women in more ways than one. Either we're too fat or too thin and we can't make society happy, and that sucks.

Let's break this down really simple. All people who identify as female are real women. Calling a clearly average sized female a plus sized model is bad. It shames women for being the size they are, even if they are perfectly healthy. Cosmo is perpetuating the idea that average is wrong, and thinning is winning and things like that. But then again, if we all were happy with the way we looked and who we are, how would they make any money?

You've lost a customer, Cosmopolitan Magazine.


Alexis The "Plus Sized" and Proud Girl

In 2014 Dare to Be Young, Wild, and Free

When I was younger I had many career plans. I wanted to be everything from a cashier at Prince's (don't ask) to a famous movie star. After a certain age, however, I, as a young adult, was expected to make a decisions about my future that would directly impact the rest of my life. I was pretty sure I knew what I wouldn't to do, but after a couple of years, I have gone through the same process of being a lot of things at once. 

I want to be a movie star, I want to run away with the circus, I want to be a teacher, a journalist, a Broadway costumer, the creator of a webseries, a cheer coach, a Peace Corps worker, and almost everything else. I try so hard to make up my mind on what to do with my life, but in reality, I don't have to. I am 20 years old. I have my entire life ahead of me, and while a lot of people think that they have to pursue one thing in their life, I have discovered that's not true. If you want to do it all, you can do it all. 

So my goal and my challenge to all of you in 2014 is to take advantage of life. I know that sounds cliché, but I think that sometimes we need to be reminded that it is okay to live by clichés. People try to tell us that acting our age is a bad thing, but being young is anything but wrong. Being young, being crazy because we're young and we can, and living life is normal. I know that sometimes life gets stressful, everything is crazy and tests are coming up, bills are due, everything is piling up, and there isn't any time to be alone or let loose. But it is important to make the time to just go nuts, to take a day off, because sometimes we all need it. Occasionally skipping out on responsibilities is okay. Professors understand if you need a day, too much stress can make one sick. 

Everyone has something they want to do. But there is always an excuse why you aren't doing it, right? Well, stop it. Stop making excuses as to why you can't accomplish things you want to do. Want to go on a trip, do it. I know that dreams take work, goals take work, everything takes work. But do the work to make your dreams happen. Go on that trip, ask the girl/guy out, change your major, audition for that show, take the class, just do the damn thing already. Twenty years from now you don't want to look back at your life and see all the things you wished you had done, you want to look back on a scrapbook of a life, full of all the opportunities you took, the wishes you made come true, and the smiles you had. 

2014 is our year, reader. 2014 is the year in which we get stuff done. We do the things we've always wanted, we become the people we have always wanted to be. Yeah, new year new you type thing. No, change doesn't happen overnight, sometimes change takes longer than a year, sometimes change takes ten years, but it is never too early to start living life for you. 

So in 2014 be a twenty-something, thirty-something, fifty-something, however-old-you-are-something, and do it without regrets. Be young, be wild, be daring, live life, laugh, love, cry, travel, eat a lot of food that's bad for you, work out, do it all, see it all, taste it all, smell it all. 

Honestly, reader, I just want to see you brave. 

Alexis Olmstead may be small, but she's got giant plans. Alexis is a part time waitress, full time diva, and Dorothy in the OVOC production of Wizard of Oz. She is currently working on getting into free lance writing and/or journalism. Someday she will be a teacher. But today she is dog sitting and they are controlling her life. Have you ever had a puppy fall asleep on you? It is like a law that you can't move until they wake up. Disturbing a sleeping puppy is technically a crime against humanity. Ask your local law officers for more information. Happy New Year, readers. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reasons You Should See the OHS Production of "Little Women"

Photo by Nicole Leese
Tonight is the closing night of the Omak High School production of "Little Women" and if you haven't seen it yet, you definitely should. Of course, as Pioneer Player Alum, I'm a little biased, but at the same time I cannot tell a lie, and if the show was no good, I would not be writing this post.

But honestly. I've gone twice, and both times I've been absolutely blown away by the amount of talent these students have, how well they have done whilst undertaking the challenge of such a difficult show, and how absolutely perfect the casting was.

Watching the show you will realize that no one can play sweet, angelic Beth like Hunter Thomas can, no one has the spirit of Jo except Lisa Halfhill, Mackenzie Vance is perfectly suited for precocious and wide eyed Amy, Johanna Matthynssens plays romantic Meg perfectly, I was truly "delighted" whenever she came onstage, and Chelsee Johnson just gets Marmee. I don't think I can explain it beyond that. And I can't forget that Josie Buscko is the most perfect Aunt March I have ever seen....possibly ever. Watch for her fan thing. I've seen the show twice and both times I've actually thanked Josie for her awesome fan skills. And Reve Hill plays the ever dorky, but lovable Laurie perfectly. Probably because if you've met Reve in person you realize that he IS Laurie. Oh, and Darrel Joe is a perfect Professor Bhaer. He even adopted a believable accent (and sings with it!), which takes skill. The show is rounded out by an amazing ensemble who are MORE than just faces in the background, they are all a very real, very important part of the show that makes it even more fun to watch.

I could go on forever talking about how perfect the casting is, but there's more to it than that. These kids sing and act their butts off, and every time I see part of the show it's improved in some way. They get stronger and stronger the more they perform and tonight, as they close the show I can confidently predict this will be their strongest show yet.

Not only have the actors put a lot of hard work into the show, but the crew has pulled their weight, and its very obvious. The costumes (designed by Chelsee Johnson) are on point, perfectly suited for 19th century America, and the two story set (designed by Matthew Pearce) is absolutely beautiful. The scene changes are flawless and oh, did I mention that there is an orchestra for this production? Mr. Don Pearce directs the orchestra and not only does the orchestra (comprised of community members) sound amazing, but they are really attentive to the actors needs. Last night a mic change didn't happen on time (because that is a real problem when sharing mics. Trust me, I know) and instead of playing at full blast like they normally can the music was instantly softer when they realized Professor Bhaer was quieter than normal.

What's even more impressive is that for many of the actors, this is their first musical, and you can't even tell. Most notably, Lisa Halfhill, who heads up the cast as Jo March, and Darell Joe as Bhaer. If I remember correctly, Darell has at least done choir, but doing a musical is completely different. And of course, Gypsy the dog has a role in this production, and she hasn't done a musical either. But she's an amazing stage dog.

So if you're into musicals, if you're into Little Women, if you want to support a group of students that have worked hard to bring you this amazing show, then you should catch Little Women tonight at 6 pm at the Omak Performing Arts Center.

Little Women is an Omak High School Drama Club Production directed by Nicole Leese

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What I Learned from Love

Today I realized that I have spent a large portion of my life being in love. In love with life, in love with ideas, and mainly, in love with other people.

Nothing obvious came from this love, because I am 20 and unwed (thank goodness) but I think that the people I chose to fall in love with for even just a moment helped me learn things about myself both good and bad that have shaped me into the woman I am today. And yes, some of these people I dated. Some of the boys (men?) I (thought I) loved, however, did not reciprocate those feelings, but they were equally important to me and my development in life.

Let's go back to the beginning....a very fine place to start.

My first love was Chandler Lewis. Don't lie. If you know both of us, you knew that was coming. Chandler however, was not my first boyfriend. That was Blaine. He has a place in here too, somewhere. Anyways, Chandler was not only my boyfriend, but my best friend and that was important because that's how relationships should be. Chandler taught me that it was okay to be myself, to let my walls down, and most importantly to let other people in. And then, when we decided that maybe we weren't destined to be together forever, our break up taught me that just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to be romantically involved with them. Obviously there is more than one type of love in this world, but sometimes you can get so caught up trying to find a soul mate that you forget that there are other options for people. If not soul mates, then best friends.

What I never seem to learn, though is that sometimes your heart gets lonely and it will fall for anyone who offers some company. This doesn't necessarily mean that they will be careful with your heart, it just means that they'll steal it, keep it tied up for a while, drag you through the mud, and then give it back after its all broken. I had a few "boyfriends" in high school who did that. But that happens to everyone and we can cry and say our lives are "over" because "(S)HE WAS MY ENTIRE WORLD" but really, unless you end up married, they are just a phase and you'll heal in time. As did I. It is important to note though, that I did learn things from my insignificant high school relationships. I'll make this short and sweet.

  • To my first boyfriend - dating is scary and messy and hurts like hell, but sometimes its okay in the end.
  • To the boy who asked me if I was naughty like my mama after I told you she was a drug addict - Fuck you. That's all I can really say here. Oh, and men are pigs who will say anything if they thinks its sexy.
  • To the boy I dated for 2 short months - we should have never dated. Sometimes dating ruins friendships. 
  • To the boy I dated who called me a slut - I don't know what you were so embarrassed about. After all, I wasn't the one who tried to pressure YOU into having sex. Thanks for teaching me that my self worth isn't determined by your opinion of me.
  • To the boy who cheated on me with five girls and then tried to get back with me - not all people are good people. 
  • To the boy who loved me but I didn't love - "it's not you it's me" isn't such a cop out line after all. 

And then high school ended. I was single, I was headed off to college and I was excited about my future. Not necessarily in the love department, although Whitworth men are notorious for being gorgeous. If you don't know what I mean, go visit their campus and hang out around MacMillan hall for a little bit. You'll understand. With this new chapter in my life though, came a whole new batch of lessons to learn about love and life and myself. Being the flirt that I am, I kind of knew that I was going to have some romantic entanglement while at college, and I did. There were two boys at The Whit who taught me a lot about myself.

The first taught me that sometimes two people just aren't meant to be together even though it seems like a perfect fit. He also taught me that in order to love others you have to love yourself and that it is indeed okay to ask for help. He continues to show me that support systems are necessary and sometimes its awesome just to ring someone up and ask for affirmations that no, you are not a failure, and yes, you are beautiful and that should be okay. Because of him I remember every day that people love me, that I am a gorgeous human being and that I am important.

The second taught me that if your initial instinct upon being asked to date is NO, then you should just not date, because you'll try again and on the surface everything will be fine, but underneath it won't be. That sometimes a relationship just isn't meant to work and you can work at it and work at it but some people will NOT respect your choices and will NOT respect your wishes and WILL make you feel guilty about them. And those people are not with your (or my) time. Also. Communication is very important in a relationship.

I know it sounds like all I've learned from dating is mostly negative. But that's not true. I have discovered that I like boys who hug me for a long time, and ones who don't allow me to hate on myself because they want me to see myself like they see me, and I like boys who disagree with me on stuff because of scholarly reasons or have debates with me with proof and resources to back up their arguments. I've learned that a good relationship makes a good person better, but that a relationship is NOT necessary for survival. But most importantly I've learned that I deserve someone who loves me as much as I love them, and for all the right reasons.

Until I find that man who I want to spend my life with I'll keep dating, and I'll keep learning. And that's all I
can do. No, it's not always going to be easy or particularly fun. But in the end it'll be worth it.

And if I don't find anyone who measures up, I always have my cat.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time waitress and full time diva. She is currently anxiously awaiting the beginning of rehearsals for "Wizard of Oz" and attempting to train her kitten to fetch the paper. For more updates and useless ramblings from Alexis, check back often. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Hope I Get It (On Auditioning and Things)

Photo Cred: Ebony P.
OVOC (Okanogan Valley Orchestra & Chorus) is currently in the works of putting on Wizard of Oz as their annual spring musical. On Saturday they held auditions and those auditions were terrifying. Or at least I thought they were going to be. You see, I haven't auditioned for anything for about two years now, but once I heard about Wizard of Oz I hopped on the "I'm Going To Be Dorothy" train and rode it all the way home.

So going in, I had a lot of expectations for myself, and was completely confident in how I would do. But then I showed up and there were other people there and holy goodness they could sing. And they wanted to be Dorothy as well, and that made me want to pee a little.

But then I went up to talk to the accompanist about my sheet music and she told me I had a "beautiful voice" and my fears were calmed a little. Until other people started singing. My heart was thumping in my chest so hard I thought that other people could probably hear it. Then they called me up.

"#37, Alexis Olmstead".

Awe crap. Here I go. My legs were shaking, my hands were trembling, my stomach was threatening to fall out of my butt. It was not pleasant. But as soon as I got up on stage I felt at peace. I had forgotten. The stage is my home. I live and breathe for theatre, and I LOVE how it feels to be up on that stage, doing my thing. I was still a tad nervous but slightly calmer so I went through my song, and hoped it went well.

They don't even need to make me a costume!
After the vocal auditions we broke for lunch, I breathed a little because the hard part was over, and mentally prepped for cold reads and the dance audition. The dance audition was the easiest part of the day, our routine was only two or three eight counts long. I was very happy with that. I was not as happy with the fact that I had to perform it about seven times. But I just kept on smiling because I was Dorothy and Dorothy smiles a lot and I was like...this will help me in the end.

Then - the most important part of the day. Cold reads. Cold reads are where the director and production staff really see if you have it what it takes to make a character come to life. This is where the 15 - 20 year old girls who can play younger are separated from those who can't, and ultimately, I feel, where the director decides if a particular actor or actress is right for the role.

In cold reads I only read twice, in two scenes where I didn't really talk very much, but needed to react to a lot of things, so I did the best I could, remembering that Dorothy (at the point of the show where the scenes took place) was this mystified and scared little girl. She was running away from home in one scene and had just met the Wicked Witch in the other. Keeping that in mind, I acted my butt off. I hope.

At the end of the day I was confident and anxious. The director only saw me read twice and I felt that I could have done more if given the chance, but didn't speak up when she asked if anyone wanted to read for the part again, which I was really kicking myself in the butt for.

And now, the waiting begins. This is the worst part because you don't know. You have to trust the director and everyone else  that they know what is best for the role. So here's to everyone that auditioned and here's hoping that I get the chance to play little miss Dorothy Gale.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time waitress and full time diva. She is currently awaiting news of her audition and planning her Tony acceptance speech. Her cats have heard it about fifty times and send their pleas for help. For more general updates on Alexis' life, thoughts and opinions, check back sporadically. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

So Much For a Happy Ending

Once upon a time in AP English we were charged with the task of writing Pantoums. A pantoum is a style of poetry where the poem is divided into quatrains and the first and third line of one quatrain become the second and fourth line of the quatrain that follows it. I felt that for some reason I should take this chance to exploit fairy-tale princesses and this poem was born. Enjoy. 

Fairy tale endings aren't always what the seem.
The princesses get lonely while Charming is saving the day.
Far far away, Rapunzel’s tower is beginning to lean.
After all, even the innocent Aurora had a roll in the hay.

The princesses get lonely while Charming is saving the day.
Cinderella instead prefers the boy at the liquor store.
Even the innocent Aurora had a roll in the hay,
And Snow White’s lover count is up to four.

Cinderella instead prefers the boy at the liquor store
And Ariel has learned how to get those land boys to beg
While Snow White’s lover count is up to four.
Cinderella watches and consumes another keg.

And Ariel has learned how to get those land boys to beg.
She ends up seducing all the other Charmings.
Cinderella quietly watches and consumes another keg,
Her raucous behavior has become quite alarming.

Ariel ended up seducing all the other Charmings,
But what of Pocahontas, the Indian Princess?
HER raucous behavior has become quite alarming.
She could be described as a harlot. (At best.)

And what of Pocohantas, the Indian Princess?
Don’t you hear about Tinkerbell anymore?
She could be described as a harlot, at best.
She took lessons from Snow White on how to score.

Don’t you hear about Tinkerbell anymore?
She ended up getting with the seven little men.
She took lessons from Snow White on how to score.
And two years later, they numbered ten.

“She ended up getting with the seven little men?”
“Yup, that’s what they told me,” Jasmine said.
“And two years later, they numbered ten.”
Aladdin is confused, so he scratches his head.

“Yup, that's what they told me,” Jasmine said
As she explained to Peter Pan
How Aladdin got confused, so he scratched his head
When Genie and Aboo told him Jasmine had left for Never Never Land.

As Jasmine was explaining to Peter Pan,
Belle was off wondering how she had fallen in love with a dog.
Genie and Aboo were explaining to Aladdin that Jasmine had left for Never Never Land
And Belle was wandering around in a fog.

Belle wondered how she had fallen in love with a dog
Was it his spots? But how would that make him good in bed?
Belle was lost in a thickening fog.
How did this happen to me? Did I get hit in the head?

Was it his spots? But how would that make him good in bed?
All the princesses have followed Guinevere’s lead.
(Except Belle who is still lost in a thickening fog).
And found all tier Lancelot’s at the bottom of a cup of mead.

All the princesses have followed Guinevere’s lead
And far away Rapunzel’s tower begins to lean
And she too found Lancelot at the bottom of her cup of mead
Fairy tale endings aren't always what they seem.

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Angry Letter about Food Stamps

Dear House Republicans,

I am writing this letter to let you know that I am unhappy with you. We both know this a normal thing, I generally disagree with a lot of things you do, but this time you have gone too far. Your recent decision to cut $40 billion from the food stamp budget shows just how ignorant you are about the needs of anyone who is not in the upper middle class.

When I was growing up my mother would not have been able to afford any food at all if we had not had food stamps. She didn't have a job, and no, she wasn't interested in finding one (a decision which I don't agree with, trust me). The only way she could afford food was to use food stamps. Without food stamps me and my three brothers would have starved, which honestly, since we already got such little money we almost nearly did, wouldn't have taken much. I know from experience how invaluable resources like food stamps are to people who don't have any money to buy food with.

And what irritates me the most is imagining the 16 million children who live in households that are below the poverty line that are going to go hungry if the Senate passes this bill. How are we, the supposed richest nation able to justify allowing that? Furthermore, 210,000 students will lose free lunch, which parents who can't afford school lunch rely on to make sure their students can get three meals a day. For me, lunch was the only guaranteed meal for many years.

And why is this cut happening? "Too many people are abusing the system" says House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. But why not push for a reform? Why not work to create a system that can't be abused versus taking away an invaluable system altogether? And then they rush in and cry "it's the hard working middle class that has to pay for your abuse!" but here's the thing. 2.1 MILLION people, a number which consists mainly of low income seniors will end up not being able to buy food. Seniors who probably contributed to the working class for most of their lives.

And furthermore, cutting money from SNAP (food stamps) doesn't even make freaking sense because the program basically pays for itself, jerk faces. The Center on Budget Priorities has been quoted as saying "Economists consider SNAP one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus....in a weak economy every dollar increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 economic activity." AND!!! Get this. Only 1 out of every 100 dollars is actually trafficked (abused) so the argument that the program needs cuts because of abuse is a giant lie.

House Republicans, why you gotta play a low class like that? And the fact that you think that everyone on food stamps is sitting on their couches expecting a middle class citizen to fund their food expenses is complete crap, considering for every three unemployed adults there is one job opening. Want to help out the economy? Work on creating more jobs, not punishing those who can't find one.

If you don't want SNAP around anymore, why not raise minimum wage? Oh wait. You had the chance to do that back in March, but unanimously voted it down, even suggesting the idea of eliminating minimum wage altogether! This is what happens when there is such a large disconnect in socio-economic classes between the people and those who are chosen to represent them. House Republicans, you need to learn what it is like to live in a low class neighborhood from paycheck to paycheck PRAYING you can afford more than a package of top ramen after bills are paid.

Here's some other facts: The new bill would limit the amount of time one could receive food stamps to three months. So good luck, you can work a minimum wage job for three months and feed your family but then you have to miraculously become qualified enough to work a better job. And again, this bill will hurt children, more than anyone.

Yes our economy is unstable. Yes, we have budget problems, but my 11 year old sister, my 9 year old brother, my 7 year old self, we didn't cause those problems and we don't deserve to be punished for them. And when children are not getting proper nutrition, they aren't able to grow mentally or physically like they should. If the bill is passed, the four million kept above the poverty line because of assistance from food stamps, and the millions kept from falling deeper into poverty would be screwed.

Here's the thing, I don't know how to fix our economy, and I don't know how to balance things out so that we don't have to punish CHILDREN for our country's budget problems. But what I do know is that starving the roughly 14 million people that would be cut from food stamps in order to provide a solution is wrong. And you should all be ashamed of yourselves for even thinking that this would be okay.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

To My Little Sister

Shan -

I know this world is a big scary place and as you get older, it will get bigger, and scarier. I'm not joking. You think Tacoma to Omak is a long drive? Try getting to Michigan. And while the world keeps on growing, and bad things keep on happening, you shouldn't worry about it, because you can't control that. What you can control is your life. And while I may only be 20, and have yet to experience much of life outside of Washington, there are some things that I want you to know and and always remember.

First - you are not a puppet for someone else to control. You are a little girl with a lot of sass and spirit and I hope that stays with you as you get older. You do not have to let anyone control you because you're afraid they won't love you if you don't listen. The people who really love you are the ones who let you do and be whatever you want.

And don't be afraid to be yourself. Because you are wonderful. There is no one like you on this entire planet and that is great! You don't have to be afraid that you won't make friends because you're in the fifth grade and still play with La La Loopsy dolls, or that no one will like you if wear a Monster High dress. The right friends are the ones who don't care whether or not you play with dolls and wear dresses with Monster High on them. The right friends will think that you're cool because you're not afraid to be yourself. And I know that it is going to be hard to remember sometimes, but take it from the girl who held her grandma's hand at the grocery store until she was 14, being different is not bad. It is what makes us who we are. Different is what makes this world beautiful, because a world full of the same kind of person would be crazy boring.

Second - Learn this phrase and repeat it often: "he's just a boy". Because chances are you're going to like a boy, and he is going to not like you back. And that is going to happen, a lot. Especially when you reach middle school. But you just have to move on. Because no matter what you think, you can live without him. And no matter what he says, he probably doesn't love you anyways. Changing your opinion of yourself and changing the way you act, look, or do things because it'll make some silly kid like you more is just dumb. Because if you have to change to be with someone, then you shouldn't be with them. Why date a person who doesn't even like you for who you really are?

And there is one thing you are not, and that is arm candy. You are gorgeous, and I am sorry for what you're father is going to have to deal with later in life when you get into high school and boys come around asking you on dates. But don't you ever let them treat you like you are just an object. You are not an object, you are the girl who makes coffee and oatmeal for herself in the morning before school and eats while watching the news with Grandma Wanda. You are the girl who wants to be a rock star, a model, a doctor, a photographer. You are a girl who is never afraid to say what she thinks, and who loves without reservation. You are one of the biggest hearted people I know, and you are only 11. Do not let anyone treat you like less than what you are. You are a princess, and you deserve a man who treats you like one. You deserve to be poetry to a man, not a slogan, and even though someday you're going to turn 20 and you're going to look around and see how all your friends are getting married, don't settle so you can catch up to them. Never, ever, ever settle. Reach for the stars, find someone who completes you and makes you feel happier than you have ever been. Find someone who loves you with all of their heart, and doesn't make you feel like you "owe" them for anything. And more than that, find someone who allows you to love yourself as well.

Third - Never back down from what you believe. I know this coming from me and I believe a whole lot of things and will fight to the death for them. But sometimes, that is what you have to do. And I never want you to be afraid to take a stand for what is right. But be careful that you don't become so ignorant or blinded to the other side that you forget that people have differences of opinions, and they are not bad to think differently. Remember that without the people who say you're on the wrong side, you would have nothing to stand up for. So even if you're just taking a stand against single ply toilet paper in public restrooms, don't dehumanize the people who disagree with you.

And when speaking, remember that words can hurt. Never set out to exact revenge with your words, because they can do a damage that may never be undone. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words cause emotional trauma that can last forever, and that's just the truth. Never make fun of someone because of the way they look or what they come from. It's not fair. A person's appearance and point of origin is not an accurate indicator of their character. To find out who a person REALLY is, become their friend. Never judge without knowing, and never speak before thinking about what you're going to say.

Fourth - And this part is for when you're way, way older, saying no to sex is okay, even if you have already said yes. Even if you are saying no to someone you have said yes to in the past. You are allowed to decide when and what you do with your sex life and if someone ever pressures you, you are allowed to stop talking to them altogether. You never owe anyone sex ever no matter what they say, especially if it is someone who deems themselves as having been friendzoned by you. Sex is serious and should be something that you do with someone who cares about you. Not someone who is looking for an easy lay.

Fifth - there is more than one route to your destination. If you make a plan for your life, naturally you're going to want to take the easy way. But life isn't going to let you do that. And when the original route to reaching your goal doesn't work, remember that that as long as you keep on trying, you'll get there someday. And yeah, the road less traveled may be filled with weeds and thorns waiting to trip you up, but there is a reason it is still a road.

Sixth - Admit you're wrong. Do it quick, and do it often. I pretend to know a lot, but sometimes I say something and it is just way off base. And in that event, I have to admit that I was wrong. And it sucks. I mean, really. But you know what? People respect me for having the ability to know that I was wrong, and to apologize for my mistakes. Being wrong doesn't make you stupid, or less of a person, it humanizes you. Being wrong lets people know you are not perfect, and apologizing for your mistakes in life allows people to recognize that you don't think you're better than them.

And last but not least, never forget where you come from. Never forget that you have a father who fought with everything he had to be able to take care of you, grandparents on both sides that will never stop loving you or caring for you, a brother and a sister who smile down on you from heaven, and me and Wanda, who are blessed to have you in our lives. Never forget your family. Family is forever, and when you mess up or need help getting back up after you're knocked down, or when you feel like everyone else has walked out on you, remember that we are here, and we are ready to do whatever it takes to get you on your feet again, because we love you.

The world is your oyster, baby cakes.

Love,  "Sissy".

Sunday, September 8, 2013

FYI (If you're Mrs. Hall)

Dear Mrs. Hall,

I have a few things to say to you in reply to your extremely self-righteous and offensive post from a few days ago. First I would like to start off with a loud, resounding, HOW DARE YOU?

How dare you try to make me and other girls feel shameful about the level of comfort we have with our bodies? Is it really a bad thing to feel comfortable enough in my own skin to post a picture of myself online? And who cares if you can see my nipples through my shirt? Maybe its cold in my room? If your boys don't know that girls have nipples then there is a lot more to worry about than my nipples being visible through my pajama top. Like, oh...biology. And why are you enforcing the already negative stigma that surrounds females and their bodies? I mean, Mrs. Hall, if I assume correctly because you go by "Mrs." and not "Mr." you too, are a female. And I'm sure that you dislike being told what to cover up as much as I do. And also, do you not watch any television shows from the 90's in your house, because there be nipples everywhere in those.

Is it not okay for me to post a selfie before bed? And why am I supposed to hold myself to YOUR standards of propriety when I was raised by completely different people and have completely different morals than you? And also, how is it fair that you assume just because a girl likes to pose with an arched back in her photos she's not a woman of character? I can guarantee that there are some photos of you doing something mildly seductive that were taken in your teenage years, Mrs. Hall, because everyone goes through that phase.

I agree with you on the fact that it is never okay to view someone only as a sexual object, because people are people who deserve care and respect, even if/when they post things like (your definition of) sexy pout selfies online. However, it is not within my power to control how your sons view me. I could be wearing a parka and snow pants with everything but my eyes covered and someone, somewhere would still find me sexually attractive. Also...how is it my responsibility to make sure your sons are having honourable thoughts about me? It isn't. At all. It is my job to make sure that I am portraying the me to the world that I want to be known as. If I want to be the girl who makes the cute little pout in her pictures, I will. I get to choose what sexual encounters I do or don't have, I portray myself sexually to the world, and whether or not the world hears about my sexual exploits. Not you, Mrs. Hall. My sexuality, my online presence, and my life is in my control. Not your self-righteous, slut shaming, hands.

And what is all this bullcrap about us being the reason men have such a hard time keeping their thoughts pure? I mean seriously? Did you really say that? Did you really try to make that point? That is the same mentality that brought rape culture into the world. "Well, because he is a boy and can only think with his genitalia, it must be the girls fault for the wildly inappropriate thoughts he has about her, because one time five years ago he saw her nipples through her shirt in a picture on Facebook and now all he sees her as is a sexual object. That's why he raped her". That type of thinking is why women are afraid to seek justice after they are raped, because men and women like you tell them that they, the victim, are somehow to blame because of what they are wearing. As if my basketball shorts and tank top are inviting men to rape me. As if I'm causing men to have impure thoughts and making their lives "an uphill battle to remain pure" because I want to wear a skirt occasionally.

And also - looking at someone's facebook as a family is freaking creepy. Yes, Jimmy, you can have a facebook but every time you check it we're all going to sit around the table and look at all the posts with you, so we can block any girl who isn't up to our standards. We don't want any ratchet whores on your profile, if you're associated with them we might not be viewed as Christian enough for me to write my post about skanky teenagers.

Also, Mrs. Hall, you directed your letter towards teenage girls. These girls are just now learning to express themselves through make-up, hair, internet, and they are fighting a daily battle to become who they want to be, and then you come along and tear them down because some girl's nipples were showing in her picture and instead of being gracious and loving (like a Christian is supposed to) you block her. And then you tell her it's not too late for you to forgive her from you throne made up of crushed egos and self-righteousness as long as she deletes any inappropriate links she may have shared as well as the offending selfies.

Who is this girls parent, Mrs. Hall? Not you. Let her parents worry about her. Let her parents express concern, privately, for whatever girl you are addressing in your post. You do not need to go onto a blog (on the internet) and shame her in front of your peers. Do you feel better after you do that? After you humiliate the girls your sons know do you feel a little bit of a high? Is it lonely at the top of your perfect little tower? And if you think the girl posting the selfie is loving and also smart, you should look for those things in her photos. And I like how you said "we think you are usually smart" like once a girl posts a photo you deem "too sexy" for your teenage boys' eyes she loses on IQ point.

You seem like a wonderful mother who only wants the best for her boys, but we, the targets of your letter, know or are finding out who we are and what is best for us. Let us do that on our own without all of your negativity.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


              It has been two days since I found out. And in those two days I have learned a lot, cried a lot, and slept. A lot. I have felt heartbreak I don't think I have ever felt and never want to feel again. I have broken down over literal spilled milk, missing socks, and bad puns. I have felt a connection with a group of people I hardly know because we feel the same pain, and I have been angry. Very, very angry. I have written in my journal multiple times a day. The first day I asked God, "how DARE you take away someone who had so much left to live? How DARE you take away someone who I wasn't ready to say goodbye to? How could you let someone come into my life and make me feel so happy and be the sister I wanted and the friend I needed and then just take them away? How DARE you?" I've gone through the it should have been me's and the breakdowns in the shower and every time I see someone mention her on facebook or I read about it on a news website or I hear someone talking about her it all begins again. Because I am not ready to let go of Carissa. No one is. She was a bright light in our lives. She was headstrong, argumentative, and sometimes downright annoying but that girl knew how to put a smile on your face, and exactly what to say to make anyone feel better. She had this beautiful smile. She hated her smile, but it was gorgeous. She had dreams. She had plans for the future. She was full of life, and love, and she was such a wonderful human being. And that is how I'll always remember her.
      And that is one of the things that is helping me through all this. Is that I have all these wonderful memories with Carissa. Like, the first night we met. Adam introduced me to her. She came over and we just - started talking. We walked up to Motel Nicholas where she used to live with her mother, and made smoothies, then we went back down to my house and just sat in my room doing random stuff and playing games on her little pink laptop. Carissa loved that little pink laptop. It hardly worked and always had some virus or another but it was her baby. At the end of the night, which was about two or three in the morning she looked up at me and said "dude, you're awesome" and we were friends after that. And we continued to hang out, going running, which was actually us walking very slowly from her house to mine and talking about cute boys, going to the spot and watching the sun rise and set, driving to Spokane and going shopping, doing cheer together, playing wii together, and so much more, for five years. And sure, we fought. Over some pretty stupid stuff, too. But we were always friends at the end of it. And one day Carissa declared us sisters. And I never even tried to think of anything different to define our relationship because it was true. I loved her like a sister and I would have done anything for her.
Mariah T. And Stefanie Z-M got these tattoos. 
        I have been racking my brains trying to think of some way to pay tribute to my sister. And I can't think of  anything. Nothing will ever be as great as the memories I have with her. And I know that all she would ever care about is that I get up off the ground and stop crying. Because when she used to see me cry, she would get this super worried expression on her face. I didn't cry, I was supposed to dry her tears. She hated to see me cry because then it meant that something was very, very wrong. And I feel like she is up in Heaven giving me that same worried expression and tapping me on the shoulder with her manicured nails saying "it's all right, Lex". She was so easy to talk to about everything that was going on. We could go back and forth for hours, just talking about all our troubles in life and never ever feel bored. We could even sit in silence and it was still the best time, because we were just comfortable around each other. Carissa was the girl you weren't afraid to cry in front of or talk to because she probably would tell you something equally as bad or cry with you. She gave amazing hugs.
     Carissa was loved by almost everyone she came in contact with. And the ones that she loved hardest and the most are feeling the loss down to their very soul. I know because I'm one of them. I am just a girl who lost her friend. I cannot imagine what it is like to be Rebecca, or Adam, parents who have not lost one child, but two, or Shandara, who has lost both of her older siblings now, or any of the other members of Carissa's family. But just now that I am hurting for all of you as well. I am sorry that this had to happen to Carissa, I am sorry she was taken away from her family. I am so very sorry that such a beautiful being was taken from this Earth. 

Rest in Peace, Carissa. We all miss you. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Without You

Carissa Lynn Amundson is my sister. And today I found out that she is dead. I refuse to talk about her as if just because she's no longer with me my connection to her is broken, because that's not true. Carissa will always be my sister. She will always be my best friend, and no matter what she will always be in my heart.

You don't just go through things with someone and then stop saying they're your sister or best friend because they leave. You just have to learn that some people can't be with you all the time, you know?

I have so many great memories with Carissa. She was my friend since the day we met. Within hours of meeting, we had our first sleepover and our first summer as friends was nothing short of magical. We spent most of our nights playing fugitive, or out at "the spot" watching the sunset and waking up when it rose. We screamed the lyrics to Cashinova's Spaceship in the car on the way to cheer practice and made up goofy dances while walking around town. The first time I took an overnight trip without my grandmother, it was Carissa. We went school shopping.

Carissa used to make fun of me because I was so smart. She called me a "certified nerd" but was the first one to stick up for me when people insulted my intelligence. We ran in different circles, but that didn't mean we stopped talking. She spent a lot of time at my house, she lived there for a long time, in fact. She always made me feel better when I was down, and I tried to do the same for her.

And she always called me on my birthday. Always.

Carissa came into my life and became my sister. She left this huge imprint on my heart.

I remember when her brother died and the way that she cried. It was the most heart breaking thing I have ever heard or seen. I didn't know how she felt until this morning when I got the call. But this time, I feel that I have no one to cling to.

When you go through as much as Carissa and I did together with someone and then they die, it is like losing a piece of your soul. I feel like my heart has a giant hole in it and I don't know how to fix that. I can only hope that this pain will get better with time.

I hope you can hear me, I remember it clearly
The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it wouldn't be the same.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

10 Tips to a Fantastic Summer

First off, find a few good friends to enjoy your summer with. Being a loner is fine by me, I am an introvert by nature, but to really have the summer of your dreams, you'll need a few partners in crime. Once you have those partners in crime, follow the following steps to really do the summer right.

Step One: Graduate from high school. Congratulations to the class of 2013, you are all done with high school forever and therefore, your summers are now more awesome than those kids who HAVE to go back to school. Also, graduating is a big accomplishment for anybody, especially my sister, Alexa Marie Beckett-Gee who was the last one of our group to graduate. Congrats, Lex you've joined the ranks of your rapidly aging friends. Love you!!

Step Two: Learn a New Skill. This summer we took Shandara (we being my grandma and I) to Panda Express for the first time and taught her to eat with chopsticks. Have you ever seen an 11 year old try to eat with chopsticks? It's a bucket full of cute. Like, really freaking cute. Summer is the perfect time to learn a new skill because you have three months to practice it before you go and show off to your friends back at school what you can now do. What did I learn? How to do a front flip into a pool. Oh, and also how to carry three plates at one time without dropping anything. Waitress life is the best life, yo.

Step Three: Catch a sunset. Take pictures. Taking photos with your friends is fun. Taking photos of the sunset is really awesome. Doing both simultaneously is just plain magical. The photo of the summer for me is to the left. I love you two! See what I mean when I say you need friends to REALLY enjoy the summer? I mean, this photo with just me in it would be cute, but it would also be sad.

Step Four: Catch a show at the local theatre. Last summer I went and saw Rent and Les Miserables. Never will I forget them. This summer I went and watched many people that I know and love take part in OVOC's production of Spamalot. It was so funny! I mean, I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, so there was really no way I wouldn't have liked this, unless they botched it horribly. And they did not. Afterwards, me and my wifey got married again and our child was present! Ah, inside jokes. Going to watch shows at the community theatre not only gives you a chance to discover the wonderful world of theatre but also a chance to support people who work really hard to do something they love for your enjoyment. And I can dig that.

Step Five: Grow a Mustache. One of the great things about going back to school is having the chance to show all of your friends the wonderful mustache you worked three months to achieve. I mean, how could would it be to have a handle bar mustache? I can say from experience, it's pretty freaking cool. People are jealous of your fabulous facial hair and ask for tips on growing it out. The snickers are purely out of jealousy, I'm sure. And in case you're wondering, yes, Shandara and I did indeed go out in public with those bad boys. AND WHY WOULDN'T WE?

Step Six: Pay it forward. If you've ever had anyone help you with anything ever, you should probably help someone with something. For instance, fundraising for Parker's Place, which is a camp for families who have lost a child to a terminal or chronic illness to be with other families and work through their grief and learn to adjust. This year was my second year of being Pocahontas at the Princess (& Pirate!) Party which raises money for Parker's Place. The party is a blast, it's a dream come true for the little girls involved and for the girls playing princesses we've wanted to be all of our lives. If there is a place for you to donate your time, take advantage of that. Giving back and paying it forward feels good. Trust me.

Step Seven: Get stranded somewhere. Once upon a time I went on a shopping trip to Wenatchee with my three best friends. On the way back Nadia's car started acting up and we ended up having to stop in Chelan and have her parents pick us up. In the hour that it took them to get there from Omak we created many a memory. First we were rocking out to dance music on this veranda thing next to the water and gathered a crowd that watched us from afar. Then we took the dance party on the road and started dancing down the street. There was also a chicken suit, a large bug and a spontaneous Hill sighting at Safeway. Getting stranded isn't awful if you're with the right people in the right place. I can only hope my next time getting stranded turns out as good as this last time.

Step Eight: Shamelessly rock out to your summer time guilty pleasure songs. It's okay, your hairbrush and bedroom walls won't tell anyone. Unless your friend takes a picture of it. Then you're dead meat. Just kidding. Who am I to judge if you suddenly fall in love with We Won't Stop by Miley Cyrus? I can't judge you because ever since Best Song Ever (1D) came out I've been dancing all night to the best song ever and I am not ashamed. At all. And you can't make me. Someone has to enjoy the song besides me. And when you all start singing along to Come and Get It in the car with your friends, then maybe you won't be so embarrassed for still liking Selena Gomez.

Step Nine: Catch a summer storm. If you're not insane, you'll hope for a thunderstorm or something. Not a tornado like Omak got yesterday (8/29/13). Summer storms are amazing, I mean, the way that lightening illuminates everything around it for miles, and the sound rain makes hitting the window and the way the Earth smells when its gone...the whole experience is worth taking part in. I have spent five or six evenings this summer on my patio watching the storms, sitting quietly, in awe of Mother Nature. The tornado was a different story. I was actually at work and we were running around frantically trying to make sure we wouldn't get flooded or lose power. However, I survived a scene straight out of The Wizard of Oz, so there is that.

Step Ten: Go back to school, you hooligan!! If you've recently graduated, its off to college or trade school, whatever you've decided to do to make your life your own. The summer is over, you've had your fun, you've weathered many a sunburn and come out with a hopefully even tan and now its time to go back to sitting in class, but this time its classes you choose for something you hopefully love.

Here's to the best summer ever, ladies. I love you!!

Alexis Olmstead is a part time waitress/hostess/Pocahontas. In her spare time she randomly raps the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme and procrastinates cleaning. Alexis really loves summer time, but prefers fall because she has fifteen sweaters that need to be worn.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Everything You Know is Wrong: Romeo and Juliet Edition

Not that Anne Hathaway, idiot.
Let me explain to you a thing about "Romeo and Juliet" (affectionately referred to as RomJule throughout this post), the one play that is universally known as being a Shakespeare creation. Kind of. First off, Romeo and Juliet is indeed a tragedy. That is how Shakespeare classified the work. Shakespeare also wrote it for the Duchess of Cambridge "his true love" because he wasn't able to divorce his wife, Anne Hathaway, to get with her. So, just as a side note to my friends who have read Romeo and Juliet, imagine Shakespeare as Romeo. Blech. Shakespeare's answer to his love for the Duchess was a play in which a 13 year old and a 15 year old fall in love, cause general mayhem, and then, because Romeo is too stupid to check for a damn pulse, die.

Now even though the concept of everyone important ending up dead is a pretty easy one to grasp, people still seem to mess up when referencing the play in accordance to well - everything. But mostly their love life. What I really hate is when girls claim they are "looking for my Romeo" or say "he's the Romeo to my Juliet". Really? Really. Would you get married behind your parents back to a boy you have only known for 24 hours? Let's not forget the whole "let's profess our undying love for each other" scene happened the same night that they met at a party Romeo got ejected from, because like the little ass that he was, he showed up at a Capulet party with all of his Montague buddies. Anyways, after marrying this random guy off the street, would you participate in a fake suicide plan to be with him but then later commit suicide because of his idiocy? Would you kill yourself after three days because you love him so much? If not, you two are DEFINITELY not comparable to RomJule.

And since we're on the topic of the professing love scene - also known as the famous "balcony scene" let's talk about the fact that a disturbingly large amount of people think that the phrase "wherefore art thou
Hello, my name is Zac E-I mean Romeo and I'm your stalker.
Romeo" means "where are you, Romeo". First of all, no. It does not. Juliet is actually asking why he has to be named Romeo, and furthermore, why he has to be a Montague, which makes sense because their families are feuding, and "where are you" doesn't fit in the context of the rest of the line, or the scene. Juliet, not knowing that Romeo is sitting in her garden like the little creeper he is, is lamenting over his last name being Montague, and how many problems that could cause, because as seen in the beginning of the play, these two families hate each other so much that they basically riot against each other and almost get banished from Verona. And why would Juliet be seeking Romeo out? I mean honestly? I sit on my balcony and muse about hot guys all the time, but I don't expect them to magically show up, because that would be weird. Asking where Romeo is would imply that Juliet expected him to show up, and she did not. Romeo is just a creeper, and also not who everyone thinks he is.

WHAT?!? Did I just rock your world a little? Well hold on to your pants, kids, because I'm about to rock it some more. The majority of people like to think that Romeo is a hopeless romantic and harbors this unquenchable thirst for Juliet's love. To that I say no. Also, I say, read a book. In the beginning of the show Romeo is moping around because another Capulet, by the name of Rosaline, won't give him the time of day because hello, he's a Montague and also, she probably doesn't know he exists, considering Romeo has never actually seen Rosaline. In fact, he crashes the Capulet party to see Rosaline, but gets distracted by Juliet. Everyone wants a Romeo because they think he's this wonderfully romantic guy who will do anything for love, when in reality, he's incredibly needy, petulant, and not to mention an asshole.

But will anyone ever remember the asshole part? No. Why? Because of a.) ignorance and the lack of thorough examination when taught and b.) pop culture, such as TSwifty's song "Love Story" which has Romeo not only approaching Sir Capulet but asking for his daughter's hand in marriage (pretty ballsy for a 15 year old) and then asking Juliet to go pick out a white dress. Although, technically they have sex before they are married so maybe an off-white dress instead? Or she could wear a red one that they dye with the blood of the her cousin who Romeo killed in a pointless dispute. And then of course there is DiCaprio's portrayal of Romeo, which, while amazing, does very little justice to the original work and perpetuates the idea that Romeo is a hopeless romantic who loves Juliet and only Juliet when in reality he probably would have gotten over her in a few weeks once being with her proved too difficult, or someone prettier came along.

But of course that couldn't happen in Shakespeare's RomJule because RomJule is super cliche and the cliche doesn't take that direction, now does it? Now if you're shaking your head because you disagree with the fact that RomJule is cliche, then kudos. You're right. However, once upon a time in my AP English class, there was a boy who thought that not only was Shakespeare a piss poor writer, but also that RomJule was too cliche for his taste. Yes. An 18 year old high school senior criticized William Shakespeare. First of all child, Shakespeare was a fabulous writer whose work will live on for many more years to come. He had to have been a great writer because the staging of his shows were actually quite low in quality. Also, RomJule is not cliche, because RomJule basically created the whole "star-crossed lovers" trope. In fact the term "star-crossed lovers" comes from "Romeo and Juliet"!

And that theme of forbidden love is the reason that "Romeo and Juliet" continues to live on in ninth grade classrooms everywhere. Because ninth graders feel they can relate to that, and also, they are so used to it now, from reading series like Twilight that its good to know how that whole theme really got popular. If you've read Romeo and Juliet, kudos! If you understood it, have a gold freaking star and a license to quote it at will. But for the rest of you, for the love of all that is good and holy, please read "Romeo and Juliet" before you run around carelessly quoting it, because if I get another text message that asks "wherefore art thou?" I'm going to have an existential crisis.

Alexis Olmstead is an English Major and self proclaimed literature snob. For some reason unbeknownst to God or man her mother let her read RomJule in the third grade. She has read it six times since then, just to make sure she still understands it. Alexis lives with two cats, both of them hate listening to her ramble. That is why Alexis blogs. Everything You Know is Wrong is going to become a regular occurrence on "Alexis, Unwritten" so for more useless knowledge check back often. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I am 19 years old and have never experienced the death of a celebrity before. That is, until tonight. Tonight I learned that Cory Monteith, best known for his role as Finn on Glee was found dead in his hotel room from an apparent drug overdose, and honestly, I'm a little less than emotionally stable.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you all that he saved my life somehow or even made it better or any other stuff, because I would be lying and that's not fair. But I will tell you that Cory Monteith was only 31 years old and was a joy to see on screen, and apparently a joy to be with off screen as well. I have watched him grow as an actor and singer on Glee since season one, I have followed him on Twitter, and when he went into rehab, rejoiced with his co-stars about his brave decision.

I mean, its just really - surreal because as fans of television shows we immortalize these people, we don't imagine our shows without them and then suddenly bam. Something like this comes along and you realize that yes, death is a real thing and it touches even those we thought untouchable.

And what about his family and friends? I mean, someone just lost a child. I cannot even begin to fathom what the Monteith family must be going through right now, they only heard the news an hour before the Vancouver Police Department announced his death on the air. Someone just lost a best friend, a brother, a beloved coworker, the night sky just lost a star.

Going on the internet doesn't make it better, either. A place where you can normally escape from sadness is now full of it. My Twitter feed is full of his co-stars heartbroken tweets, Mark Salling's being the worst of all, with just the word "no", and other celebrities sending their condolences. Tumblr is full of my fellow Gleeks posting their heartbroken notes about how cruel the world is, and begging others not to tweet or message anyone linked to Cory because they deserve to just be left alone.

This man was so young. Thirty one is so young. His last tweet was literally about Sharknado. He was about to go back to work on Glee next week. He didn't even look thirty one, which is how he managed to hold on to his role as a recent high school graduate. He was going back to college in the show, he had  a while left on Glee, he had so much longer left to live.

Cory Monteith didn't change my life. Cory Monteith didn't save me from anything, he didn't teach me anything, but as Finn on Glee, he made my life better. He was talented, he was hard working, he was hilarious, but he had demons, and unfortunately, not everyone comes out on top every time.

I am sad. I am so very, very sad.

Rest in peace, Cory Monteith.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Love for Modern Family

As always I've arrived as a late member to a bandwagon, but recently I have developed a particular love for the abc series "Modern Family", a mockumentary style television show that presents the lives of members of an extended family in modern times.

While the show features nuclear families, which are becoming not so modern, there is a gay couple, Cameron and Mitchell and their adopted daughter Lily, who just might be my favorite character, and then there is Jay, who is on his second marriage to a younger woman who brings her son, Manny. The other family, Phil and Claire, are the most "normal" family of the bunch, having one man and one woman of the same age, but that's where the normality ends, as is true with most families. Jay is the father of Mitch and Claire, so as I said, they are all one extended family.

Each episode has excellent humour, writing, and the actors are all superb, even with the ridiculous story lines they are given, time after time. I'm not saying ridiculous is bad, either. I mean, how often do you get to see a man dressed in a costume from Cats sitting in a tree, protesting it's removal? But then there is something to learn in it all, whether it is the importance of loving your children even though they get kicked out of college, or the hardships of raising a child being worth it all, the end of every episode is one giant sigh of happiness, as you watch these characters grow. Honestly, at the end of every single episode I have happy tears in my eyes.

There are other things I admire about the show too. As I said before, the show features a gay couple and their adopted child. Because Modern Family is a comedy it would have been easy for the writers to make a mockery of Cameron and Mitchell, have them be overly flamboyant and live up to every homosexual stereotype in the book. However, they did not. Cameron and Mitchell are portrayed very realistically, as two normal people who happen to be attracted to be people of the same gender, and that is great. Because the gay best friend or the flamboyant gay man/couple trope is getting real old, real quick.

And the writing. The writing is great. The show is so...quotable! There are cute, heartfelt lines, but really this show is around to make people laugh, and the writers do an excellent job of ensuring that happens. In the last episode I watched, Haley stated that "Elle Woods won her case in Legally Blonde because she was true to herself and looked cute." to which her father replied, "This is about a serious issue, not an excellent movie". Or when Gloria, angrily says, "I'm not a hothead, I'm a Colombian. I'm excited, our entire country is covered in coffee beans!" The banter is witty, without being malicious, and the script does an excellent job of showing growth in characters across the seasons.

My point here would be to go watch Modern Family, because hopefully you'll love it as much as I do. If you're a fan of Parks & Rec or The Office, Modern Family employs the same single camera shooting style and the same mockumentary format, so it's a safe bet that you'll like this show as well. Till next time!

Alexis Olmstead has recently turned into a part time hostess and a full time cat lady/servant. If you don't believe her on the cat servant part, meet Rifka, the princess of the couch, also known as Alexis' master. For more random reviews, rants, and thoughts, check back every few days or so.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The World is Dumb

At what point will people on this planet stop for a moment and realize that hey, maybe they are doing something that really isn't good at all? Recently I posted a list of things that prove humanity isn't doomed, but today I'm not so sure, because if it isn't doomed, I think I wish it was.

Why? Why have I suddenly become so cynical and/or pessimistic? the 2016 Olympics, and the ignorance of people online. 

Let me explain. 

The 2016 Olympics are set to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In preparation for the XXXI Summer Games, Brazil is building venues for all the events, parking lots, and generally prettying up their city so that when the world tunes in to watch all the events on television and when competitors show up from all over the world, Rio doesn't look like a complete hell hole. Too bad the site of the planned car parks was already an indigenous museum that doubled as home to 20 Aldeia Maracana families who been living in the building for seven years after the building was retired. On March 22 all the families and supporters of the group, who fought to stay in their home and preserve part of their history, were forcibly removed or arrested. Are the Olympics really so important that indigenous people need to have another part of their existence erased from the face of the planet? I mean, honestly, isn't there somewhere else to put a damn car park? Let's think about this. The Olympics literally do nothing to preserve anyone's history. It is neat to watch the best of the best from around the world compete, but it is not necessary to preserve the history of any one group of people. However, this museum, which the people living in wanted to restore and use a tourist attraction during the Olympics to showcase their traditional way of life, did indeed preserve a group's history. It showed where they came from, the struggles they faced and overcame as a people and now, now it is gone so that some 16 year old prodigy can win a gold medal. The trade off isn't worth it, Brazil. Hop in your Deloreans and go back in time to reverse this stupid action. 

Tumblr, if you haven't heard of it, you are so streets behind because its basically the future of social
networking sites if they would ever get a bloody instant messaging system going. Anyways. On tumblr, people will post anything they have heard and think is vaguely true that other people will then read and just accept as true without doing much research. Today I "learned" that in Greece they were rounding up trans* people into concentration camp type facilities, the Church of England was going to ban same-sex marriage, and that Russia was spreading anti-gay propaganda that made it dangerous to be a homosexual in that country.

Let me tell you what is ACTUALLY going on.

Greece is putting all of its illegal immigrants in one location, which could be defined as camps, but they come with food, water, beds, and various forms of entertainment. The purpose of these camps is for illegals to sort out their paperwork and become legal citizens or to get them back to their country of origin. The Church of England dropped its opposition to the passing of the same sex marriage bill after they were extremely outvoted in the House of Lords. So, that's wrong, and it has been wrong for about a month now. Russia recently passed a bill that outlawed anti-gay propaganda so that it would be safer to live as a homosexual in Russia. Dear readers, you can't believe everything you read on the internet, least of all when it comes from tumblr.

You also shouldn't pay any mind to the senate when it comes to women's issues because they are completely incapable of discussing anything when it comes to women's bodies and what should be done with them. Here's what should be done about women's bodies, senate, nothing. Let women do whatever they want with their own bodies, especially when the senate is currently a predominantly male group who will never have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy or birth control or worrying about whether or not they can get the morning after pill because they won't know whether its legal or not. Senate, stop making women stand for 13 hours without being allowed to use the bathroom, eat, lean on anything, sit down or use a back brace in order to strike down a debate directly related to our anatomy. Male readers, if you walked into a room full of women debating whether or not you should be allowed to masturbate into a sock or napkin or anything, really, because technically you're killing potential children, would you be upset? Yes, you would be. And why? Why would you be upset? Because none of those women have penises. My point being, no uterus, no opinion.

And then there is Supreme Court who did a really cool thing by defining DOMA as unconstitutional, but then went and struck down the key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which stated that nine specific states, mostly in the south, had to seek advance federal approval before changing voting laws. Obama has stated that he is very unhappy with his decision, as the first Black President, that means a lot. I honestly believe that the VRA probably helped a lot of the minorities who voted him into office have enough freedom, and confidence and general feelings of safety to vote for someone who wouldn't be so popular down in the southern states. I mean, this decision made such little sense that Justice Ruth Vader did a very rare and unusual thing and stated her disagreement from the bench, saying that Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy and America's commitment to justice had been "disserved by today's decision." And I can do nothing but agree. The VRA allowed for progress in racial equality in America, and until complete equality is achieved I believe that the Voting Rights Act is necessary.

While our planet continues to make leaps in bounds in certain areas, I find that usually these leaps and bounds are made by citizens who have no part or influence in our governing bodies. If the people who supposedly have "our best interests in mind" could maybe catch up to these outstanding individuals, I would be a happier human being with more faith in the future.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time armchair activist who believes very strongly in her opinion and will debate with you as long as you're respectful and intelligent

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Racism Related Rant

I honestly don't get racism. I mean, especially when comes from those of the Caucasian persuasion. My fellow white brethren, I hope you realize that America is quickly becoming a country full of minorities, which would technically make them the majority and us the minority. So...pick on someone your own size and all that good stuff.

As of June 1st the population of America was reported to be 316,037,000. While White Americans (including those who reported as White+Latino) still make up 72% of the population, over 50% of the infants in America are minorities and 69% of the national population growth was from the Hispanic and Latino American groups. There are so many non-white people in the United States right now that immigrants, U.S. born descendants, and minorities are expected to contribute most of the countries population growth in the coming years. Why am I spitting random facts and figures your direction, reader? Because if White racists think that they can justify their beliefs based on the fact that "there are more of us than them" then they are wrong. And I like to prove stupid people wrong. Americans hate the fact that a small group of people decides so much of what goes on in our country, yet they then turn around and try to play the majority rules card when it comes to deciding how people of colour should be treated.

Sidenote: there are 3.2 million more females in America than men. Patriarchy also doesn't make sense on the "majority rules" scale.

White racists may enjoy thinking that this is "their country" and that "they were first" but they are quick to forget who they took this country from. How can someone be so angry that non-English speaking people come into America and refuse to learn or have a hard time learning English when Europeans came to America, absolutely refused to learn any of the 500 different Native languages and then forced the Natives to give up the traditional language of their people and learn English instead? I mean, are they just upset that people are tired of having one of the hundreds of the languages on this Earth forced upon them and are happy speaking Spanish or Russian or Chinese or French?

I mean, honestly, as far as racists go, they have NO room to talk about people of colour needing to "go home". Y'all are the ones who need to go back home, to Europe, where you came from. And take your ethnocentrism with you.

In all seriousness, though, racism towards other groups doesn't make sense at all because we're all equal and human and just because you are white doesn't mean you are entitled to anything except maybe my boot up your butt if you continue behaving in your racist ways, least of all a whole country which you stole from another people, who you then WIPED ALMOST COMPLETELY OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. But also, because when you say people like African-Americans need to go back home, you sound like an idiot. Who brought African-Americans to America? White people who were so lazy that they bought and enslaved an entirely different race so they wouldn't have to cook their own meals. Furthermore, if you don't like another human being solely based upon the colour of their  skin, you need to get your priorities straightened out.

Colour sorting is for laundry, not people. Also, if you're a racist Christian then there a few things we need to talk about. First, as a Christian, you are supposed to extend love to everybody, regardless of colour. Second, there is a widely believed theory that Jesus wasn't white, so if that turns out to be true, your spiritual life just got real awkward, real quick.

Stop colour sorting people in your life, if you're a racist and you happen to be reading this. I'm trying to be all deep and everything, but honestly, if you don't have respect for somebody because their skin colour is different than yours, then I don't have respect for you and neither do a lot of other people. And just for the record there is absolutely no excuse to be a racist, even if you are 100% native to the country in which you live. And if you are doing something racist and someone has the decency to correct you and tell you what you are doing is racist, you should definitely not get angry with them, you should thank them for being the kind, enlightening soul that they are. Because the only thing worse than being a racist is being an ignorant one.

Also, for the record, appropriating someone else's culture is indeed racism. I'm looking at you, headdress wearing hipsters, girls who wear their hair in braids and then say they are "being Pocahontas"and people who
wander around aimlessly in Hawaiian skirts. If White people took the right from people of colour to do/wear the thing you are doing/wearing then you shouldn't be do it.

Racism freaking sucks. A lot. Don't be a racist. Or I won't like you. And if you don't think that carries much weight, just remember I have a blog on the internet that people read and if I tell them not to like you, they won't. I think.

Alexis Olmstead is a part time hostess, failed poet, attempted children's book author, and a full time angry blogger. For more rants, reviews, and general words typed into a big blank box, check back often, such as every few days or so.