American English: not quite as dead as Latin, but at least as dead as a zombie.

Okay, writers-in-arms; we need to talk. I spend most of my time editing other people’s work, and I have come to the conclusion that we (as in Americans) are incredibly irresponsible with the English language. If you are in college or, god forbid, writing professionally, you should understand the basic format of a sentence and, at minimum, the basic tenets of grammar. In case you missed that boat, here's a quick run-down of ubiquitous mistakes that drive me bonkers.

- Just because you’re in your last year of school and are clearly Teh Shiz, being a Senior does not give you the right to capitalize your school year. Most scientific words do not deserve the honor of a capital letter, either, no matter how important you think Xylem and The Water Cycle are.

- "Your" is possessive. If your you're looking for a word to go before “uninformed,” try “you’re.” It’s a highly useful conjunction of “you are.”

- A comma is not a period, if the next clause is a separate thought with its own subject and verb, then using a comma is WRONG.

- Subjects should agree in number with their objects.

- There and their: They’re NOT interchangeable!

- There’s definitely no such word as “deffinately.”

- Punctuation goes INSIDE "quotation marks"!

Don’t tell me “its alright.” We are witnessing the disintegration of the English language, and it's definitely not all right.


Hi everyone, and welcome to the official celebration of my (perhaps overly-prolific) blogging record. In honor of 200 posts, tonight will be devoted to a Q&A-a-thon in which I spill my deepest, darkest secrets about everything from the color green to dating standards. Thanks to all my friends who commented with their questions. To those of you who missed the boat, leave one and I'll be sure to update with new answers! Also, if you all haven't read each other's blogs, you're missing out! Take a minute to stop by and say hi to each other.

K a b l o o e y asked:
Is the green hair support a theoretical thing, or are there photos we can see? Did you have troll green hair with a dairy Queen swirl on top?

It's both! I don't think people should be judged, stereotyped, or categorized because of their hair color any more than they should be for their skin color.... But I DID have turquoise tips at one point!

turquoise hair dye... totally emo

Wicked emo, I know. Lolz

Rook No. 17 asked:
What's your favorite [cereal]? Are you lured by the promise of chocolate milk at the bottom of your bowl with the Count? Charmed by Frankie's preppie pink sweetness? Empowered with a Pac-man like rush of eating the blue ghosts in Booberry?

Tough choice. Although I try to be a health nut on occasion, I must confess I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I know it sounds gross but the cinnamony milk at the end makes me uber-happy. I love Trix, too, but I never know if I'm still allowed to eat them since "Trix are for kids" and I'm not quite one of them anymore. =(

One Sassy Girl asked:
You're about ten years, give or take, younger than me. So tell me, what do women of your age group think about chivalry? Do you prefer for a man to pay? Do you care if he holds a door for you? Do you like for him to lead you through a room, his hand on the small of your back? Or am I an "old" romantic sap?

There's a loaded question! Wow. Off-hand I have to say that the problem isn’t girls thinking chivalry is antiquated; it’s boys thinking chivalry is antiquated. There’s not one girl I know who wouldn’t love to be treated like a princess, but nobody trains the guys to behave like that so we generally have to settle.

If they had a store called Build-a-Boy, mine would do all of those things and more. He'd do all the things they sing about in songs that nobody ever really does, like dancing when there isn't any music and pointing out Our star while we lay on the beach with our fingers entwined....

Oh God. I'll stop there. I can't call you a sap because I'm clearly just as bad, or worse!

Anyway, I can't complain about the boy I've got now =)

Mr. Condescending asked:
Have you stopped using a Walkman yet?

No! Haha. Mine has been dropped so many times that the top pops open sideways and the battery case won't stay shut, but I still use it! Old skool represent~

emily asked:
What is this Excavations of Claymore?

I explain it all in this post. In a nutshell, I do not drink coffee. I do not like it (Sam I am). I can't tell you the difference between a mocha and a latte. I dunno what the hell Irish creme is but it's definitely not a rich alternative to regular creme.

For the sake of all our entertainment, I am going to become a coffee connoisseur this semester. I have made it my personal goal to try every drink advertised in Claymore (the on-campus cafe) and blog about it afterward.

Beth Dunn asked:
What kind of green tea do you like?

There are different kinds?! Haha. I'm not really a brand person, if that's what you mean. I prefer it to other kinds of tea because of the taste and because it has less caffeine (we've already discussed how much I don't need caffeine... see aforementioned Claymore post). I always take it with honey, and sometimes a little milk if it's too hot - but not enough to screw up the flavor!

Thanks everyone! It was fun! And on to another one hundred....


I have quite a few things to share this morning, none of them of any great import except for this: I'm coming up on my 200th post. As in, the next thing I post will be #200. Time has flown, my friends - and yes, I do think of my fellow bloggers as such.

In honor of the big 200, I'd like to do a fun little Q&A session. Can you believe I've never done one before? I figure, after 200 posts, people have got to be bursting with profound questions they wish they could ask me - they're just waiting for the right opportunity to bring them up!

Here's your chance. Leave a comment with a question (or three), and I will answer it as truthfully as I can!

And now, commence the Randomathon!


Derry the punchbuggy got a lung transplant and is at my house recovering until I can go fetch him this weekend. I hope this operation solves the problem, as it was not little Derry's first new lung and those breathing apparatuses cost Poppa Derry an arm and a leg.


I was scrolling through the millions of notes I have saved on my cell phone and I found one I'd typed at 5 one morning (the spelling was atrocious). It was about a dream I'd apparently had that night, in which I was illegally keeping a giant in the basement and placating him with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Gotta love my brain.


This morning I opened my mailbox to find a jury duty summons. Your civic duty. Your privilege.

Duty schmooty. I got a summons last spring; it's not my fault they cancelled on me before I even made it to the court.

Then I noticed the addressee.

It wasn't me. (She graduated last year.)


Would you believe this captcha came from an educational website?

It's ALMOST as good as some Shakespearean insults I used to throw around with my equally-dorky friends in high school. You know the type. "That gleeking, clay-brained dewberry!" and "thou mammering, milk-livered lout!" were common outbursts at our widely-skirted lunch table, and for that matter, in our AP English classroom. Even though we were supposedly doing college-level work, things got pretty boring because our class was full of pribbling, idle-headed barnacles. So we took it upon ourselves to keep things interesting.


Excavations of Claymore: Meg's Apple Cider

In honor of the fall equinox, I would like to share with you The Quintessential Autumn Beverage. Warning: You may mistake the substance in your cup for liquefied apple pie, pureed right of the oven and served to you piping hot. But never fear; Meg's is not a treat for the toothless! At least not exclusively....

This delightfully warm concoction of chai tea and apple cider will warm your heart on those chilly autumn eves after walking across the quad, or during crisp afternoons cheering in the stands while the Fighting Scots play football (the European kind, that is; we don't have an American football team at my school.)

The cinnamon and spice undertones will put you in mind of Thankschristmakwanzachanukah. Good vibes all around, dude.


Don't forget to post your questions!!
Peace, love, and apple pie,
Miss Rex

Another tale of woe for Derry the punchbuggy

When I drove back to school last week, Derry the punchbuggy made it all the way to the off-ramp without giving me any trouble. Then he started doing that thing that he did a few weeks ago that we supposedly got fixed. When I press on the gas, he makes a gut-wrenching sound as if I'd asked him to go from 0 to 100 in no time flat, but just sort of sits there without accelerating at all... or even continuing to drive at the speed I was driving before his little epileptic fit.

We found our way to one of the few spaces available on campus, but upon getting out of the car, I was promptly assaulted by some super-ninja stingered insect. Didn't see the thing. Didn't do anything to provoke it. I just wanted my laptop out of the trunk. I've never had an allergic reaction to a bee sting until now, and wow; it really sucks. Don't try it at home, okay? I walked around with an ice pack for two days and felt like such a little wuss.

Derry made it home okay this weekend, so we didn't take him to the shop. Big mistake. Coming back, I hadn't even made it as far as the city, which is about halfway between home and school, when he had another seizure. Smack dab in the middle of some of the worst towns in our area. Afraid of pulling over and getting shot, I kept driving until I hit town. My parents had to come retrieve me and take me back to school.

Now I am here without a car, which wouldn't be so bad if A) I hadn't just paid $89 to join a gym off campus, B) I didn't need to go to the store to replace my deodorant, which inexplicably disappeared from my drawer over the weekend, and C) I had something to give Mama Swede for her birthday. As it stands I am presentless, deodorantless, and losing money while gaining weight. I'll bet little Derry never realized how important he was. I sure didn't. I'm sorry, old buddy. Get better quick so we can go puttering around town again. Love, Amandasaurus.

Excavations of Claymore: Abby Loves You Long Time

I promise you, that's what the drink is called. Its description is hand-written on a doily glued to a pink heart: strawberry raspberry chai. Well, I said. I love chai. I love berries. And I'm darn cold. So I got it. The barista (is it still a "barista" when it's a boy? Someone check that for me, my wireless isn't too good right now.) handed it to me while biting back a smile. "I've never tried this drink because I always think it smells like a craft store," he blurted out.

I took the drink and smelled it. He was right.

But like I said, I was darn cold, so I drank it.

Don't waste your mealpoints on this sketchy drink. It was like licking A.C. Moore. I swear to God. You go in there and stick your tongue out for a minute - it's free and you won't burn your mouth! With the added bonus of weird stares from those artsy fartsy types!* If the crisp autumn air has infected you with fall fever, I recommend Meg's Apple Cider.... To be reviewed next week on Excavations of Claymore!

* My roommates and I happen to be those artsy fartsy types... and we'd probably just join in if we saw you standing in the craft store licking the air.


Everyone famous is dying, and frankly I don't blame them. I don't want to care, I don't want to fight, I don't want the government taking my money for its delusional purposes. I don't want to have to do anything that doesn't seem right. I want to do what's important to me without being beholden to people, least of all institutions. God I hate institutions.

If everyone famous walked off a cliff, would you follow?


I want to live for something. I want the parameters of my faith to be clear. I want a singular, concrete quest with a singular, concrete goal and I want it to define my actions, my life, myself.

I want the world to be different but I don't know how to change it. There's an ocean of problems and I am paralyzed. Too much is wrong. It's not me and people vs. the world; it's me vs. people vs. the world. I feel like Atlas, breaking under the weight of the universe (or the weight of my own, cancerous little universe growing leaden on my shoulders).

It's nobody's place to solve things - yet it's everybody's place, and so many of us do nothing. Even me. We can put all the band-aids we want on this broken world, but sooner or later someone has to do a heart transplant. We are not surgeons, so we do nothing.

"I am a living, breathing hell; come on and resurrect me."

Excavations of Claymore: the Black Leprechaun

I walked outside a moment ago and it smelled like December.

All week I've been thinking how much it smells like falling leaves, though in fact no leaves have fallen or even changed. It's been getting me excited for all the fun fall traditions, like apple picking, pumpkin carving, corn mazing, and roads diverging in yellow woods. Though I like it warm, fall is a magical time and I've been getting pretty excited for it.


Of course, New England rarely caters to my requests, so winter it shall be. Tonight was the first night it was really cold enough for me to go to Claymore, our on-campus coffee-shop, and get my favorite: the mint chocolate steamer! And I thought, while hunching over my goblet of warmth on my way across the quad, what better time to begin my new series, Excavations of Claymore?

I have been at this school for two years. I have purchased two - count 'em, two - coffee beverages in my time here. I do not drink coffee. I do not need it. I do not like it (Sam I am).

I cannot tell you the difference between a mocha and a latte. I wouldn't know amaretto if I tasted it. I dunno what the hell Irish creme is but it's definitely not a rich alternative to regular creme.

For the sake of all our entertainment, most notably the friends who get to witness me bouncing off the walls on a caffeine high, I am going to become a coffee connoisseur this semester. I have made it my personal goal to try every drink advertised in Claymore, whether it be caffeinated, carbonated, cold or hot, and blog about it afterward.* To make things a little less preposterous, I will also invite coffee-inclined advisors to comment so that my bias will not influence you against drinks that may actually be delicious to coffee-lovers.

But I figure I'll start with a beverage I know and love: The Black Leprechaun (steamed milk with mint and chocolate flavors)

There is a ritual to drinking a Black Leprechaun. I've been perfecting it for two years.

Rule number one: You must hold the drink with both hands. Wrap them around the cup so that the warmth touches as much of your skin as possible.
Rule number two: Do not open the lid. You don't want to see the color mint, chocolate and milk make when you mix them together.
Rule number three: Before you're allowed to take a sip, you must hold the drink under your nose, close your eyes, and breathe in its heavenly scent.
Rule number four: Eyes must be closed for the first sip.
Rule number five: Smile (as if you could help it).

It's a great winter drink. Cozier than cocoa. Richer than chai. Liquid leprechaun gold all the way from your tongue to your tummy! A must try (but ask for extra flavor, especially if you don't like milk!)

* With the possible exception of Granny's Turbo-Charged Butterscotch Latte, which includes 3 shots of espresso. I might die.

Godzillan gratitude!

The votes are in and the judges have (finally) spoken: with 2753 votes, my video placed 3rd out of 300-some-odd entries. For old time's sake, let's take one last look at this thing.

I was really pulling for second, and so was everyone I knew... and their mother... and their grandmother... and their friends on Facebook who I'd never even met. What I'm trying to say is, we put up one heck of a fight. Someone else just put up more of one. But third is nothing to be ashamed of! I had a great time making the video, I still won $250, and best of all, I've seen what a fabulous support system I have in my life. Take a look:


Handle:Core Date:7/22/2009 2:28:35 PM
Parents will never leave their college-bound children home alone again after watching this! Hilarious.

Handle:isaac Date:7/22/2009 3:16:16 PM
I was all prepared to shrug but that was actually really funny!

Handle:bchambo Date:7/23/2009 12:20:40 PM
Great job Mandie! Hope you win!

Handle:alyssagram Date:7/24/2009 10:30:43 AM
This certainly expresses what you have to do to get to college with a witty style. I love it!!

Handle:Jeff Date:7/24/2009 11:37:39 AM
Funny! Good luck!

Handle:Aunt Norma Date:7/24/2009 1:04:31 PM
Your video is delightful! I especially liked when your Mom and Dad came in at the end. I'm going to try to vote each day. Good luck!

Handle:momma Date:7/24/2009 10:07:00 PM
Love the video! What cute parents you have!

Handle:Friend BJ Date:7/27/2009 3:26:47 PM
Great job - Mom and Dad need to do more shopping

Handle:granny betsy Date:7/27/2009 8:08:51 PM
ohhh cant wait to see you at the next family gathering!!
take care deary

Handle:mnoon Date:7/28/2009 12:21:13 AM
Hey Mandie! This is awesome! I'm truly impressed; you absolutely deserve to win. This video made me realize doubly how much I miss you. I hope it won't be too long before I can come visit again! Love, your cuz, Mary

Handle:gardenart Date:7/28/2009 4:20:10 PM
Great video! I had to watch it a few times to catch the little subtleties. Good concept, excellent editing and I love the soundtrack.

Handle:gill Date:7/29/2009 5:06:49 PM

Handle:Megan Date:7/30/2009 12:38:14 PM
Broke 400! woo!

Handle:Dad Date:7/31/2009 10:19:28 PM
500!!!!! you did it

Handle:Mr Condescendin Date:8/11/2009 12:42:55 AM
I do love this!!

Handle:aunt Deb Date:8/11/2009 10:51:48 AM
we're voting!! Great job, Mandy. What attractive parents you have!!!

Handle:Abby Date:8/12/2009 2:52:01 PM
That was great! It made me laugh.

Handle:Judy Goodwin Date:8/12/2009 3:15:16 PM
Clever idea! Well done.

Handle:lam Date:8/13/2009 3:12:40 PM
I love the video, great job! You should win Manddi

Handle:gill Date:8/13/2009 6:18:32 PM

Handle:fan24f Date:8/18/2009 11:49:32 AM
really liked your video you go girl

Handle:Lam Date:8/20/2009 2:27:00 PM
Don't just watch it, remenber to vote for it too :)

Handle:art Date:8/21/2009 10:53:13 PM
I loved the little touches like the part of the bike in the picture after the car was sold instead...

Handle:ZingZing Date:8/22/2009 4:03:46 PM
Great video, so fun...its giving me, dad. LOL!

Handle:gillface Date:8/24/2009 3:11:30 PM
Mandii, every time I go to vote it says I've already voted today!! For two of my e-mail addresses anyways


My parents voted more faithfully than I ever could have asked. My congregation, extended family, professors, friends, faithful blog readers, and even complete and utter strangers supported me beyond anything I could have dreamed. What an amazing gift. Thank you all!

Magical Musical Road Trip Extravaganza pt. 4

My family used to play a cheesy game at the dinner table, where we'd go around the table and everyone got a chance to say the highlight and lowlight of his or her day. In Rex-family fashion, allow me to share with you the high and low lights of Rev Gen 2009. Let's look on the bright side first.

We sat in on Paul Colman's set purely because we wanted to have good seats for Jon Foreman's set, which was next. But Paul turned out to be one of the most entertaining individuals I've had the good fortune to see. We later talked to him and he said he'd love to come play a show at our school. WIN!

Paul Coleman playing guitar and singing under the Nashville tent at the Revelation Generation festival, 2009

Jon Foreman played us a song about being an outlaw, which he literally wrote in his sleep. He also played a number on some wacky variation of a harp, which a friend had given him earlier that day and which he hadn't even had a chance to tune. Somehow the song was still brilliant. Probably because he's Jon.

Switchfoot singer / guitarist Jon Foreman plays some kind of harp in the Nashville tent at the Revelation Generation festival, 2009.

No one moshed for Relient K, which I'm sure was as sad for the band as it was for me. Nonetheless, it was as great a set as always, made all the more amusing by the fact that the lead singer (Matt Thiessen)'s hair gets more wild every time I see them.

Relient K singer Matt Thiessen (who also plays guitar) rocks out on the piano at Revelation Generation, 2009.

Switchfoot closed out the day with a set that would've sent the Richter scale scrambling for cover. Jon alternated between climbing the scaffolding and swinging drummer Chad Butler's cymbals around the stage, and pausing to ask everyone to look up at the stars for a minute while words of wisdomatic gold dripped from his lips. "We don't know why the dry times come," he said, "but those are the times that force us to dig deeper below the surface."

Switchfoot at Revelation Generation festival, 2009.

If you want all the juicy details (and lots of exciting pictures!), go here and here! Remember to click on "Entries" when you get there!

Now for the lowlight. I think this accusatory letter, which I sent to the people at Rev Gen last night, pretty much sums it up:

"...we purchased Switchfoot Interview Passes at $15 apiece and we did not receive what we paid for. The item was called "Interview Pass" on the website. So, naturally, we walked into Tent 7 expecting to see an interview with Switchfoot. Wouldn't you? Imagine our disappointment, then, when only half the band was present and the frontman, the one responsible for writing the songs, was conspicuously absent. All right, there's a little disclaimer at the bottom of the ticket saying interview times are subject to artist availability, so it would hardly be fair to lodge a complain purely on that basis.

But then the interview was cut off after ten minutes of surface-level questions whose answers could have been found on Wikipedia in under two minutes, so that the man hosting the interview can tell us about his daughter who died in a car accident and how her death taught him to seek hope from God. A wonderful message. I truly am sorry for his loss and I truly am glad that he found hope in spite of it. But this was not the time or place to discuss such matters, as the fans under the tent had paid money to watch an interview with Switchfoot. And then he had the gall to try and convert us to Christianity. At a Christian festival.

His sermonette was out of place and condescending. I have never felt so emotionally manipulated in my life. Moreover, it was dishonest and unjust to take kids' money and not deliver what was promised. This is the least Christian thing anyone has done to me in quite some time...."

Total LAMESAUCE, right?! And worse than the injustice to us, it was disrespectful toward the band (or anyway, the half of them that were there.) I know this because I'm a journalist. You don't ask people questions you could've looked up answers to. It's a waste of the interviewee's time and it makes you look unprepared, uninformed and unprofessional. The poor guys were bored silly. Joanna and I agreed that Drew was definitely texting under the table.

But the rest of the day was so wicked awesome that getting ripped off, driving 16 hours, and sleeping just ten across the entire weekend WAS SO FANTABULOUSLY WORTH IT!

Magical Musical Road Trip Extravaganza pt. 1

What a weekend! It's going to take more than one post to chronicle the epicness of our magical musical road trip extravaganza. So I shall begin with the road trip, and after that we'll move on to the magic and the music. Sound good? Good.

While driving through the lovely state of PA, we amused ourselves by trying to pronounce the silly names on the exit signs. Or rather, I amused both of us, as Jo-Yo is a Pennsylvania native and already knew how to say it right. Here are a few that I couldn't resist sharing, absent some of the best because we just weren't quick enough with the camera.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut road signs - McAdoo, Minersville, Trexlertown, Fogelsville, Hometown, Quakertown, Kutzville, Krumsville, Wiconisco, Drinker St., Bethlehem, ?Hellertown, Moosic.

We've got Fogelsville, home of the old fogeys; we've got Kutztown, which is full of puking Germans; we've got Viktorkrumsville, which I'm sure Hermione would be thrilled to visit; we've got Hell and Bethlehem sharing a stoop; we've got the home of the singing cow. Sorry about the lack of photo evidence of such gems as Lackawanna University (I imagine all the students there wake up in the morning, think about going to class, and decide they just don't wanna) and the fruity Mexican town of Avoca(do). Also missing is the utterly unpronounceable "Schuyllkill." Two syllables. Swear to god. But my favorite of all is the creative interpretation of "Wisconsin" in the center of the collage. I thought we were in PA...?

Love, Miss Rex

Detailed accounts of music, magic and madness at A Dustland Fairytale!

Music: "If anyone ever wrote a love song, it was Jon Foreman." Read more
Magic: "I barely had enough time to tell Tim that I think he's one of the greatest bassists mankind has ever seen, not to mention that when you say something in that amount of time it doesn't exactly come across as sincere..." Read more
Madness: Coming soon!

Note: the new Dustland Fairytale is a little quirky. After clicking the link, click on "Entries" and it should go right to the post you want!

Actually I'm not a very good lesbian.

Context: Visitation policy

I find it ironic and amusing (after all, the two are basically synonyms) that while the rest of my floor was in the RD's apartment last night, eating ice cream and celebrating that we knew school rules better than any of the other halls in my building, I was upstairs breaking lord knows how many rules in my room (and we're not even counting the upholstered furniture). Door shut while Boyfriend was there. Changing while Boyfriend was there. Oh the scandal. Except not, which is perhaps the greatest irony (or tragedy?) of all.

No no, I take it back. The greatest irony of all was that, for all the rules in place around here, we still stumbled upon a couple hooking up in the woods not ten yards from the beginning of the path, in plain view of the Go-Po if they had chanced to look. Oh, so that's what Carrie meant by "sketchy, walk-around-the-pond couples." It's funny because when Boyfriend and I "walk around the pond," we actually just walk around the pond.

I knew things had gone too far when it came time for Boyfriend to go home and I walked him out to his car. We bantered a little bit and he kept giving me raspberries, but ultimately we kissed good night. That was when the Go-Po showed up with a flashing-blue-light local police escort.

Excuses were already racing through my mind. Semantics: it wasn't an "excessive public display of affection," as no one else was there and it was dark, thus making said display of affection not public. Nor was it excessive in any way (except for the volume of Boyfriend's raspberries). I thought we had a pretty good case.

But the cars parked a little ways away from us and the officers started talking to someone on the other side of the lot, clearly not interested or even aware of our supposed transgressions in the nearby shadows. There didn't appear to be any sort of problem that would necessitate the flashing lights. I tend to forget that turning on those gaudy beams is probably the pinnacle of excitement for an officer on a regular shift around here. You do your thing, bro.
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