Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reflections pt.1

Reflections better known as A Rant Full of Things I Should Have Said
Dear You-
    I was sitting in my room today, going over the vestiges of our summer together; at least the part of it that was until you left. I'm still not sure why you did that, or if you care that you broke my heart in the process. You probably never even knew that I would have been your girlfriend, had you only asked. Maybe it's my own fault, I knew that you weren't the commitment type from the start, and I've long suspected that our feelings for each other don't line up; yet as I sift through photos, drift in and out of memories, hold in my hand my paint-stained band teeshirt, and run my fingers over the tiny scar on my elbow -a battle wound from falling on a concrete floor- I can't help but think that, for a few magical weeks of our summer, maybe you were mine. 
    Now our lives have lead us separate ways and I'm quite sure that you'll never love me. Despite my best efforts to hold on you, I find you pulling farther and farther away. I don't know if we are still best friends, like we were for those months at the end of my Senior year. I don't know if we will ever be that close again. All I have left to cling to are a few photos, a paint-spattered teeshirt, and the memories of my best friend.
    So, should you ever need me, or even just want me, I'll be here. I'll be waiting with a best-friend sized hole in my heart and a scar on my elbow.
All my love, Me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exhaustion and Aggravation

     I apologize that is has been so long since I last posted. For those of you who are following my photo-a-day project, I also apologize that the last couple of weeks have been pretty devoid of photos. I got back from Fall Break and got slam-packed with papers, work stuff, club commitments, other class necessities, friend issues, moral dilemmas, and a whole lot more that compiles itself into a heap of crap way beyond my maturity level.
     On the upside, Blackburn's Halloween was excellent. I had a great time at the dance with Ty and Bryan. I dressed up as a Zombie School Girl type dealy, and coerced Bryan into going as a Zombie as well. After the dance, a group of us all trouped to Litchfield to go to Denny's where I got an entire meal for less than $5 due to an amazing waitress who probably saw "broke, starving college student" written all over me. After this, Ty, Myself, and Bryan decided to watch "Get Him to the Greek" which is stupid. Typical Russell Brandt. I do not recommend it. At all. 
     Past that, I've had a comparably good day. I got a pretty good performance review for my on-campus job, and I earned a perfect score on my most recent Literature paper. Also, my latest project for my Basic Drawing class is going in a good direction. I've got some excellent ideas and I'm happy about where I see it going from here. It's funny how in high school, everything was about where you were; whereas college makes you think more in terms of where you're going.
     Well, I think that's all I've got in me for now. Gotta get up early to make up a lab that I slept through because I woke up on Tuesday, thought it was Sunday, and went back to sleep. Goodnight, world. <3 Larra

Monday, October 11, 2010


Another Way that Blackburn College Screws Us Out of Money that We Don't Have

     So, today I opened up my mailbox, hoping for a post card or a package waiting slip or some money, any or all would have been more than acceptable. However, instead of any of these happy surprises, I pulled out a proration notice. For those of you who do not know, Proration is when the school bills the entire floor of your dorm $50 for some discrepancy, presumably caused by one person who refuses to fess up, for example: vomit on the restroom floor, urine/feces in places that urine/feces do not belong, blood on stairs, in hallways/bathroom, etc. The fifty bucks is split evenly among the residents of that floor. In the case of Jones Hall, Second Floor, someone got vomit on the toilet seat and left it there for someone else to deal with. Rude, yes, but that's kind of why we have Campus Services.

Reasons that Proration is total BS:
  • Student Life only prorates the whole floor if the perpetrator doesn't fess up, which would never happen because if they admit to making the mess they have to pay the entire $50, as opposed to just a portion of it if they keep quiet.
  • As mentioned above, that's why we have CS. It is their job to clean the campus, including the dorms.
  • Proration money is given to the CS worker who found, reported, and cleaned up the mess. This leads to warped system because, theoretically, a CS worker could walk into the Jones Bathroom, urinate or vomit on the toilet, report it to the RD, then clean it up and we, the residents, would get charged for it.
  • The fee is split among the residents of that floor, so floors with more residents have to pay less than floors that have empty rooms (like 2nd floor Jones).
  • Proration is a concept available only in the Campus Services department. I work in Snack Bar, and if some jerk spills his or her smoothie all over the floor or leaves a ridiculous mess on their table (which they frequently do), I just have to clean it up and move on, no complaints and I don't get paid any extra.
    In conclusion, I find proration to be a totally ridiculous concept, operated on a warped system. If they are going to charge someone because of "Excessive Mess," then they need to send a sample off to a lab and find out whose it is and charge that person, instead of squeezing college students for more money that we don't have.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Letter to Jones Hall House Council

To the members of the 2010-2011 Jones Hall House Council:
It has come to my attention as a Jones resident, that some of the ladies in our building seem to believe that the front “patio” area and stairs were installed for use as their own giant ash tray. Not only is this rude, but it makes Jones as a whole look trashy. It would be my proposition to put in place some sort of ash tray or cigarette butt receptacle in order to contain waste and preserve the cleanliness of an area that we all share, and is often a prospective student’s first view of Jones Hall.
This brings me to my second point. Every morning when I leave for my early classes, I get up, get dressed, grab my textbooks and head downstairs. Upon reaching the front door, I take a deep breath, hold my nose, and plunge into a sea of toxic chemicals and airborne particulate matter. That is my long-winded way of saying that I really hate having to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke every time I leave Jones. I respect the smokers’ right to give themselves lung cancer, but I would rather they not take me down with them. Also worthy of note: Illinois state law requires smokers to stay at least 30 feet away from the doors of public buildings, a practice which if often ignored by smokers who sit directly around the corner from the door. I would propose a designated smoking area, far enough from the door that those of us who choose not to smoke do not have to be subjected to the hundreds or poisonous chemicals contained in secondhand smoke.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely:
Larra K Brogdon, Jones Hall 202

Give me your thoughts and/or feelings. Does this sound mature and reasonable? Is it well written? Anything else you can think of. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The College Adventures: Day 44

     Ah, fall. Yes, it's that time of year again, when the first hints of gold and orange begin to touch the trees and the air has a crisp, chilly quality that makes me feel energized and happy. I walked a different route to my dorm today just to enjoy it. My southern room mate thinks the weather is far too cold; but being the doll that she is, obligingly sleeps with approximately 64 blankets when I suggest sleeping with the window open.
    I had my first official critique in my Basic Drawing class today, and I got so much great feedback from my class mates and instructor. I was over all pleased with how the piece turned out, and my instructor was impressed that I had taken the time to mat it.

    I really love how the darker eye came out. For larger photos, see my Facebook Photo album entitled, "Art - College Edition."
    Well, I think that about wraps up my thoughts for today. I wish you all well. Go enjoy this fabulous fall!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Only 23 days until the Pro-Life Day

     There are only 23 days until the Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity on October 19th. This event is a world-wide day of silent protest for those people who will never have their own voice or be able to speak for themselves. I participated in this event in high school, and I am proud to be doing so again this year. So, if you believe that unborn babies are children not choices, then I encourage you to visit http://www.silentday.org and register to participate this year on Tuesday, October 19th. There is no way to know what life might be changed or saved just because we take one day out of our year for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I need your help!

    Please vote for my entry on Brickfish so I can win scholarship money!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

National Suicide Prevention Week

     Just Pause
     Pause with me for a minute, close your eyes and count to forty. In the time it took you to do that, somebody -someone's mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, son, daughter, or best friend- committed suicide. 
     In honor of national suicide prevention week and the amazing people at To Write Love On Her Arms, I would like to take a pause from my usual rants and share with you a little from my heart.
     Did you know that every year, nearly a million people take their own lives? That's like every single person you ever hung out with, spoke to, hung out with, or sat next to in class all dying in one year. Makes for a pretty rough 365 days, huh? Imagine how the friends and families of those million people must feel.
     Many people, myself included, will struggle with feelings of hopelessness and depression at some point during their lives. I have been blessed with so many caring and supporting people in my life, and a lot of amazing resources that helped me to arrest and manage my depression, deal with the frustrations that cause it, and not go back. I, however, am one of the lucky ones. Many people never receive the help they need and ultimately turn to suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This is made even sadder by the fact that, especially here in America, we have ample resources -many free- to help combat and cope with depression.
     This is why I choose to support organizations such as To Write Love On Her Arms, which is currently working towards launching their online crisis center: IMAlive, similar to an online version of the suicide hotline. The work that TWLOHA is doing is vital to the growth of our generation. So, check them out along with several other cool and/or helpful links that I've included at the end of this post.
    To wrap it all up, I'll say this: Next time you see someone who seems to be having an off day, or have the chance to speak with a friend or family member who is feeling down and you think in that second about going about your day, be it a friend or a stranger......just pause.

TWLOHA on Twitter!

Check out one of my favorite charities - To Write Love On Her Arms - on Twitter to hear more about what this amazing organization is doing to fight depression and suicide!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The College Adventures: Day 16

The Wonders of Mass Transit
     What can you really do when you're sitting in a bus full of strangers on a seat that looks like a cross between a Picasso and the carpet at Chuck-E-Cheese (see above photo of bus seat material)?  In my case it amounted to finishing off the Reader's Digest that I stole from my mom, and text messaging a lot. I also did some people-watching, though my fellow bus riders were disappointingly uninteresting. I did, however, decide that the middle of the bus, more towards the back is the best place to ride on the bus. For one, there are usually seats left there when you get on the bus since most people either sit in the front or scurry to the back; and two, when the bus is going up or down hills, it feels almost disconcertingly like a roller coaster. 
     FREE TIP: When riding a bus and you don't feel like having a potentially strange seat mate, first drop a purse, backpack, or laptop case into the seat next to you, then DO NOT look anyone in the eye: this is anthropologically recognized as a gesture of welcoming, which you don't want to extend. If you don't have a purse, and no energy to avoid eye contact, sit in the aisle seat and pretend to be asleep. Most people are polite enough that they won't want to wake you by climbing over you or asking if they can sit with you. That's another thing about bus/train etiquette that I just don't understand! When somebody walks up to you and says, "Can I sit with you?" or "Do you mind if I sit here?" I mean, you kind of have to say yes unless someone is legitimately sitting with you. If you say nothing, they sit there anyway. If you just straight up say no (because they look creepy, smell bad, or you're feeling antisocial) they either expect some sort of explanation (ie: Someone's sitting there already) or they just assume you're a total jerk. 
     Anyway, my train was late departing, arriving, and dumping me at the Carlinville Amtrack "station," which is really more like a glorified bus stop. It's an enclosed, lit building, about 15 x 20 feet, possibly a little bit larger, but I didn't feel like laying down on the floor to use myself to measure it...not to say I didn't consider it. I was a little bit unnerved to be waiting for my ride in this strange neighborhood, with nothing but my luggage, a dying cell phone and someone's abandoned Newports to keep me company. Especially since I don't even smoke. Eventually my ride got there and I arrived safely in my sub-arctic dorm room around 12:30 this morning. I have never been so grateful for the frozen safety of my awkwardly small bed before in my college career. 
     In other news, I put teal and blonde streaks in my hair. Just a few and they're very subtle. The blonde was actually a happy accident, since Ashley missed the bleached streak when she was putting in the teal, rendering it a nice honey blonde color. I'll include a photo at the end of this post. 
     I got out of my morning lab early today, to the tune of about 30 minutes, which was a nice start to the day. I also don't have to work until tomorrow, allowing me to slowly re-immerse myself into college. Today is looking pretty relaxed. I have two more classes: Drawing and Choir, and then nothing for the rest of the day. I may actually have time to eat lunch today: it's a Christmas miracle! 
     Well, I actually have a few things to accomplish today, so until next time, TTFN - Ta Ta For Now!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The College Adventures: Day 8

     Today has been, by far, my most challenging day yet. I didn't get enough sleep thanks to 204's odd obsession with blaring Disney movies at all hours of the night. I had trouble keeping my eyes open in math, literally. However, after math things started going better. I'm finding that I like my boss, Ericka. She's a good manager and she's great for positive reenforcement. In my Intro to Lit class my instructor loved my paper. She gave me so many positive comments. It feels like a great start to my semester! We had a good choir rehearsal today. Singing Soprano is really stretching me to reach new highs in my vocal range. We have one song in which we have to hit an A above the staff, and I can almost hit it after only a week of Soprano! Anyway, as you can tell, I've thrown myself into everything I have been confronted with and college life is going well!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The College Adventures: Day 6

     Only one week in and I'm already feeling smothered. Don't get me wrong, I love Blackburn. The people are great and the campus is beautiful, but sometimes it feels too small. Like everyone knows everyone else, and it's hard to make friends with very many people. You would think the size would make it easier, but it's like when I got here everyone already had friends. I'm struggling with missing my friends from back home and the normality that I had managed to achieve, the routine monotony of Hoopeston, and knowing what to expect every day.
     Again, I like Blackburn, but I'm still having trouble adjusting. The novelty of college is starting to wear off, and the reality of "This is what I picked for my life, and this is where I'm stuck for the next 9 months." Plus, my current lack of mobility makes me feel claustrophobic. I mean, anyone who knows me knows how much I hate being stuck in one place. My world used to be so big: Hoopeston, Paxton, Rankin, Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, Arcola, Tolono, Gibson City, Roberts, Danville. I never really realized how big my world was until it was suddenly restricted to a campus that I can walk across in 7 minutes or less.
     Anyway, I'm trying to keep as busy as I can: I'm joining clubs and going to all my classes and going to work and just doing the best that I can not to let this escalate into depression. Maybe I had this unrealistic, idyllic vision of what college would be like. Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough or being friendly enough, and maybe I just need to be patient and realize that I've only been here for 6 days. Either way, I'm just trying to take a deep breath and figure it out as I go along.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The College Adventures: Day 2

Things that are new and different about college:

  • Shared showers. Not that Jones has a huge congestion problem, I mean 8 girls to 2 showers per wing isn't bad at all, but it's sort of nerve-wracking that the only thing separating me, showering, and the whole rest of my wing is a shower curtain.
  • Structured meal times. No more eating whatever I want whenever I want. This is probably a positive change, but it's another thing to adjust to.
  • Choosing my own church. It's a neat choice to be able too make! I am so blessed to attend a college with such a wide faith base and so many options!
  • My jankety air conditioner! Blarg! It decided when it deigns the time appropriate to work or not.
  • Being spoken to like an adult by faculty and staff. That's pretty nice.
  • Sharing a room. Okay, so it's not technically new, but I haven't done so since I was 10.
  • Not having wireless internet. Oh, wireless router, how I do miss thee.
  • Not. Washing. Dishes. Buahaha.... (Not entirely true. I washed my bowl and Morgan's fork after eating ramen noodles for lunch today. I am aware that I am now a college stereotype.)
To be continued....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The College Adventures: Day 0

     So, I'm in my dorm with my roommate, Morgan, who is pretty awesome. I'm kind of nervous about college and stuff, but I'm excited at the same time. It's like this whole new world of possibilities and choices. I miss my friends and family, but I'm psyched to make new friends in my classes, dorm, and job. Tomorrow we have tons of activities and crap to do like a job fair, book groups, house meetings, comedians, etc etc etc.
     Anyway, Morgan is so asleep right now and I just went upstairs to see Kallie and Ruthie so that was fun. I might sleep at some point tonight, after attempting to finagle some more of my tee shirts into my closet and/or dresser. Tomorrow I need to wash some laundry and remember to eat lots of protein (see, Mom and Dawn, I AM remembering). I'm looking forward to classes starting on Wednesday, call me a nerd, but I am. My room is still looking a little bare, but photos and posters will help with that soon. I certainly hope that sleeping habits aren't an issue for Morgan and I. She sleeps with an iPod though, and I can keep my nocturnal behavior quiet, so we should be okay.
     Well, I've got to go call my family and then get to bed eventually. Gotta look bright-eyed and lookin' spiffy for the job fair. Nighty night lovelies!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Pain Involved in Moving On

     Tonight I said goodbye to Juanny, the last of my "group" who will be leaving before I do. Katana and Noah are already gone, Be and Brad are staying put, Aubrey isn't leaving for a while, and I don't leave until Sunday. However, saying bye to Juan was what really made it all hit. I've seen him at least once a week since I started at HAHS, and I had the sudden realization that next Wednesday I will not be getting in the van, cranking up the radio, and going to pick up my favorite Mexican from Hoopeston.
     That was the moment in which it hit me that now is when everything changes. This time next week I will be ending my first day of classes. I won't be at home, in my bed, blogging about my insecurities; and suddenly, I'm really scared. I haven't been nervous yet, I'm a generally confident person. But now, that its hitting me, it's actually scary to think that in less than 100 hours, I will be living with a person I have never met, in a place that I haven't even spent the night, in a room that I've only even set foot in once. I have nobody there, nobody who knows me inside and out and can calm me down when I start to have a panic attack. I'm trying to think about this like summer camp, but in the back of my mind, I know that this is so much bigger than Lyndie and I sharing bunk beds at 4-H camp.
     There is a part of me, the logical part, that knows that this fear is natural, but so is this transition, and that I will be totally fine; I will find my niche, get into a rhythm, make friends, and be okay. In spite of all of that, I'm scared, and praying constantly that God would give me the strength and courage to take on what is ahead of me, while also giving me the resolve and ability to hold on to the important things behind me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Six Things Your Waitress Won't Say to Your Face.

    Trust me, as a waitress, I have a hundred plus situations during every shift where I'm biting my tongue while cleaning up the fourth soda your 6 year old has spilled, wishing, oh how I'm wishing, that I wasn't getting paid to deal with this. So, in the spirit of improving customer-wait staff relationships everywhere, I offer up these tips, because a happy waitress equals a better dining experience for everyone.

  1. Please, for the love of God, control your "little angel face." Nothing will tick me off faster than having your children using my place of employment as a jungle gym. In short: If we don't have a playplace, your kids should stay at the table or at least within arms reach of you.
  2. Tell it to the tip jar. We, as waitresses, are some of the most over-worked people on the planet, and we usually only make minimum wage. So how about, while you are raving to my superiors about the great service, you leave a few bucks on the table or in the tip jar.
  3. If you are new to the restaurant and aren't sure what you want, ask me for a recommendation. I work here, so chances are that I've had some of what we offer, or know people who have, and I can offer dishes that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy. However, if you don't ask my advice and you don't like what you end up with, please don't complain. 
  4. Of course I am listening to you argue with your spouse about what to order, you are standing two feet away from me. Frankly, waitresses listen to pretty much everything within earshot. It's how we provide good service: we listen for customer's needs and respond accordingly. I once ran a block and a half to return a guest's forgotten birthday card because I recalled him thanking a friend for the cash it contained.
  5. If you are in a hurry, please tell me! If we aren't absolutely swamped, it's probable that I can bump your order ahead a few minutes in order to send you on your way faster! This is always better than snarky comments when your food isn't getting to you "fast enough" and I had no clue that Johnny and Lizzie have orthodontist appointments in twenty minutes.
  6. Referring back to my introduction: If your toddler has not yet mastered the fine art of the straw and/or lidless cup, either ask if we have spill-proof cups or bring your own. While I do get paid to clean up your mess, it leaves me happier and you less embarrassed when your child's drink stays safely in their cup.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why does corporate America hate college students?

    Let's be realistic here, people: college students make up one of the largest demographics in our nation. America, as a whole, had a larger college-bound graduating class in 2010 than ever before. So, if I am Big Retail Chain XYZ, wouldn't I want to make my product more accessible to this undeniably huge people group? College students are, generally, broke. At least those of us who lack a trust fund and a Lamborghini are broke, which speaks for at least 80% of America's college population. Thus, we don't really have a ton of spare cash just laying around, waiting to be spent on a $150 bed-in-a-bag. Of course I realize the cost of inflation, and the fact that labor outsourcing is destroying our economy, but can't our largest retailers use the drive and ingenuity that our nation was founded upon in order to create a comparable-to-better product, at a legitimately accessible price?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The asinine things "grown-ups" do when they aren't getting their way Pt.1

     So, once again, our village board is out for blood, and they are headed straight for the jugular of our chief of police. They have been making thinly veiled attempts to dismember our police department for some time now (and the use of "dismember" as opposed to "disband" was intentional.). Mostly, they have been engaging in more illegal on-goings than I can count on all of my fingers and toes, and several of my sister's. Activities which were only made public when our local civic organization went on a purely investigative mission in order to serve as a sort of bridge between the local government and the community it supposedly serves. Now, I don't know about you, but the fact that we have police officers who serve our communities and seek to uphold the law makes me feel a whole lot safer in my home. Add the fact that I do not live in anything close the the idyllic American small town. We have, for our size, an over-abundance of sexual offenders, teenage pregnancies, drunks, drug addicts and/or dealers, and parents who don't parent their children. All of this adds up to a need for at least basic police coverage. But, of course, the old people who run this town are so busy holing up in their houses, bridge clubs, book clubs, the Lions Club, church meetings, etc etc, that they don't even see the copious problems that plague our town; and the problems they do see, they refuse to do anything about them. Instead, they prefer to sit around yapping about the "good old days," living in the past instead of making an effort to improve the future.

Friday, August 6, 2010

About the Blogger

Hey, I'm Larra. I go to Blackburn College where I'm majoring in Art. I love to do anything artsy and I'm always singing. I'm a video game failure. Ash and Dillon are slowly getting me into anime and manga. I usually have a camera and I'm always taking pictures. I aspire to be a band photographer, and/or/possibly a photojournalist. 

I talk too much, laugh too loud, and love too deeply. I am a Christian, but I don't believe it is my place to judge. I have black friends, white friends, gay friends, straight friends, bi friends, Christian friends, and Atheist friend; I love every single one of them.

I stand up for what I believe in. I am not a fantastic driver. I love to get involved. The City Museum in St. Louis, MO is one of my favorite places in the world. I want to be Julia Nunes when I grow up.

I love local music, good food, interesting quotes, offbeat art, and learning new things. Lyndie and I argue film versus digital all the time, and I'm sure she will never understand my passionate love affair with Photoshop. 

I'm excited about college, yet terrified to leave all of my friends from childhood up through high school.

I am a fountain of useless information. I hope to change the world through art and love. I bake a mean apple pie. I have a texting addiction. I drink too much caffeine. I have seen the" Lord of the Rings" trilogy about a thousand times. "V for Vendetta" and "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" are movies the whole world should see. I know of about a thousand amusing websites.

I may not know you, I may never meet you, see your face, speak your name, or share a meal with you, but I love you.

A few favorite quotations:
"Seventeen is an inconvenient time to have fallen in love." -Gayle Forman
"When I grow up, I want to be nothing at all." -My Chemical Romance
"True love is your soul's recognition of it's counterpoint in another person." -Wedding Crashers
"A government should be afraid of its people." -V

"Jello is delicious!" -em "me too!" -me
"sex is good until marraige.....wait!" -cj smithey

"aww...i love it...its hideous." -Arielle (or REL)
"ive had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasnt it." -groucho marx
"you see, twitchy, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade....and then that lemonade goes bitter and ferments and turns into pig swill." -the wolf on hoodwinked

Check out my online portfolio at: