Archive for February, 2011

No Sex in Graveyards

Call me a tween wannabe if you like, but I’ve been reading Wicked Woods by Kailin Gow.

It’s about a girl who moves to a new town, goes to a new school, and gets chased by vampires and werewolves. Sound familiar? You can call it a Twilight wannabe. And what book wouldn’t wannabe Twilight, which spawned both sequels and movies, made Kristen Stewart a movie star, and made hundreds of millions of dollars?

On the subject of Twilight, I’ve never quite understood the attraction of Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen in the movies. But then, I prefer nerdy guys.

At the moment, I’m also sick, which is why I’m neither studying nor out flirting with nerdy guys.

Oh, yes, I know where to find them. Any senior-level science class, except at my school because it’s a women’s college. Comic stores. Sci-fi conventions. Any personal appearance by a cast member from Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Transformers, or The Big Bang Theory, which I’ve seen a couple times and actually kind of like because I identify with Amy.

But as for Wicked Woods. There are certain things you should never agree to do, especially if you’re in a story.

If someone says, “Tonight at midnight, let’s go have sex on a grave in that abandoned cemetery,” almost everyone knows not to do it. That never ends well.

If you’re in a spooky old house being stalked by a slasher / monster / whatever, and someone says “We’d better separate,” that’s not a good idea. The unstated end of that sentence is always “… so he can kill us one by one.

There’s one more thing I’d like to nominate as something you should never do: If someone says, “Let’s move to a town called Wicked,” just say no. Don’t do that. Especially if people are routinely torn to pieces by werewolves in parking lots but nobody seems to notice. You know immediately that the town does not have a good Neighborhood Watch.

Of course, living in Wicked has its benefits.

You get to stay with your Aunt Sophie. She runs the Edge Inn, a bed and breakfast at the edge of the “Wicked Woods” where your parents and your brother disappeared. Aunt Sophie’s part-time job is killing vampires and werewolves. She wants you to take her place when she retires.

There’s Fallon, the guy who’s going to ask you to the homecoming dance at school:

Briony could see that the young man was perhaps a little older than she was, with short blond hair and features that almost spilled over from simply handsome into beautiful.

Guess what Fallon turns out to be.

There’s Kevin, who saved you from a werewolf in the parking lot behind the diner where you work after school:

The simple breadth of the young man’s shoulders made it clear that he didn’t have much to be modest about …

Kevin’s probably going to take his shirt off a lot, except when he sprouts fangs and fur.

There’s also Pepper Freeman, the school’s head cheerleader and chief Mean Girl. She hates you because you’re prettier than she is. But Pepper will probably get eaten by the end of the book. So between that and the two gorgeous guys who like you, the story will have a happy ending.

But the story’s main character, Briony, asks a question that her Aunt Sophie never answers:

“Why does anyone stay in a place like this?”

The book doesn’t say. But I’d guess it’s because everyone loves the old Wicked Graveyard just outside of town.

Hey, you know what would be fun? Let’s go there at midnight, and …

Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.


Gossip Girl Letdown

Someone asked why I haven’t written anything about “Gossip Girl” lately.

I hate to say it because I love the show, but the last two episodes were awful.

The acting is perfect. The fashions are better than most of what I’ve seen from Fashion Week this year. But the writing is — well, I don’t want to say bad things. I’ve just been very disappointed by the last two episodes. They’ve been too absurd and unbelievable for anyone over 10 years old.

Valentine’s Day Afterparty

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, and today is the Valentine’s Day Afterparty.

Okay, I lied about the second part. Today, I’ve been making up study time that I spent partying in the first part.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Last year, I had a Valentine’s Day secret admirer whose identity I discovered at brunch on Sunday. The surprise was pleasant.

This year, the admirer was no secret and the admiration was mutual, but we skipped Sunday brunch. The surprise came on Monday.

I thought nothing was going to happen, but the surprise was a Valentine’s Day dinner in Holyoke. Live music. Passion fruit sorbet. Margherita chicken. Shrimp. Chocolate fondue. Champagne. Then afterwards, some quiet time together, talking and celebrating in less verbal ways.

So instead of studying, I spent the evening at dinner and in various Sixth-Commandment violations, starting with immodest dress. 🙂

I’m catching up tonight, but it was worth it.

I hope that you, too, had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.

Confessing Sins to My iPod

Sin. Everybody’s against it. But everybody does it, so we must like it.

Growing up Catholic, as I have, you learn a lot about sin.

I won’t tell you my personal favorites, but there are lots of sins to choose from: Lust. Jealousy. Lust. Anger. Lust. Drunkenness. Lust. Disrespect to parents. Lust. And I left out all the really juicy ones.

Okay, I probably shouldn’t joke about it. Sin is a serious matter. That’s true even if some people think that perfectly okay things are sinful. They won’t dance or listen to music because they’re afraid of going to hell. Others won’t let a drop of alcohol pass their lips. And others are big into chastity.

Avoiding sin isn’t really about being obsessed with our guilt or being afraid of punishment. It’s about being the best people we can be. Some of us take it to extremes, but the idea is still valid.

The Catholic solution is to recognize that we’re inevitably going to sin, so we need a way to make up for it. We make up for it by confessing our sins to a priest, who prescribes a penance and grants absolution.

Confession on Your iPod

It had been a while since I went to confession, so I got a new app for my iPod Touch: “Confession: A Roman Catholic App.” It was developed with advice from two priests and has the official App-roval of a Bishop in Indiana.

First, you enter your name, sex, birthdate, and some other information so it can personalize the questions and advice it gives you. Under Vocation, I was going to put “student,” but I found out it means religious vocation or marital status. So I put single. For the date of my last confession, let’s just say that I’ve committed a few sins since then.

After you login, it creates a “custom examination of conscience” asking about how well you’ve followed the 10 Commandments. Each Commandment gets its own screen. On each screen, there’s a checklist of things you should do or not do according to that Commandment. As you work through the checklists, the app compiles the sins you should confess.

I was okay on the first commandment, but I had a little trouble with the second. Yes, I probably have used God’s name lightly or carelessly. Yes, I have wished evil on another person, but it didn’t last long and I try not to do anything evil to other people.

Third commandment, I didn’t do very well on that, because I’ve missed Mass and done work on Sunday. Fourth, I’m fine on that.

The fifth commandment, I knew that screen would have a question about abortion. I haven’t had one. But I have probably abused alcohol a time or two.

Sixth commandment about adultery. Well, I haven’t been involved with anyone who’s married. It also asks about any sexual activity outside of marriage, impure thoughts, dressing modestly, and a couple other things. If you don’t mind, I’ll keep my answers private on those.

I’m sure that the questions about abortion and “dressing modestly” were there because I’m a 21-year-old woman. So the app really does customize the questions for who’s using it. That’s why it wants your sex and age.

Seventh, pretty much okay. Eighth, yes I’ve gossiped and I sometimes have uncharitable thoughts. Ninth is all about impure thoughts, and I have those: in some situations quite a few. Tenth, yes I do sometimes envy what other people have.

Based on your sins and how long it has been since your last confession, the app displays a customized introduction for you. Then it gives you a list of sins to confess to the priest, based on the answers you gave earlier. As you confess a sin, you touch the iPod screen to check it off your list. When you’ve finished the list, the app gives you a prayer of contrition and tells you how to respond to what the priest says.

A Good App for Everyone

Even though the app is designed for Catholics, a lot of the questions it asks apply to people of any religion or even no religion.

It’s easy to make fun of something like this. But “Confession” is a good tool for anyone to examine if they’re being the kind of people they want to be.

Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.

Don’t Put a Ring on It

One of the featured WordPress blogs today is titled “Get a Ring on It: How to Get Your Significant Other to Propose.”

Apparently, the way to get a guy (or woman, if you’re in a progressive state) to propose marriage isn’t any of the things you’d normally expect.

It’s not good food. It’s not interesting conversation. It’s not affection and support. And no, it’s not that, either, although I’m sure that can’t hurt.

So what’s the way to get your significant other to propose? Take him or her to Europe.

From my viewpoint, there are three things wrong with that advice.

First, I do want to get married someday, but not right now. If I could snag the marriage proposal now and keep it in a safe deposit box for a few years, that would be ideal.

Second, I’ve already been to Europe so much that I’d like to go someplace else. Would that work as well, marriage proposal-wise? I was thinking maybe of a nice Caribbean beach with swimming in the day and dancing at night. Or go see ancient temples in India or Thailand or China. I’ve never been to those places. If we really wanted to live dangerously, we could drive up the road to Smith, but I couldn’t guarantee our safety. You know those wild Smithies. 🙂

Third, I don’t have a serious “significant other” right now. I’ve got friends, but nobody I see as a partner for life. (Penn Badgley, if you ever read this, I’m easy to find.)

The days are over when we have to hurry up and get married as soon as possible. If somebody else wants to do it, then I’ll be happy to serve as a bridesmaid and drink champagne at the wedding. But for me, for now, it’s school and studies.

Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.

I’m Not Fat, I’m Curvy

If Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively is considered too fat, what hope is there for the rest of us? Photo:

If you’re a woman, you just can’t win when it comes to your weight.

Either you’re too fat, or you’re too thin. For a few blessed moments, you might be in the sweet spot where you’re “just right,” but then people start watching to see when you’re going to gain a pound or two.

According to the gossip site

Blake Lively allegedly refuses to wear anything but a size zero, causing the Gossip Girl costume department to cut the tags from larger-sized samples.

Blake Lively?!!! Even she is insecure about how she looks?

Seriously, I would — well, I wouldn’t really kill anyone, but I would speak very harshly to someone if it meant I could look as good as Blake does.

If Jessica and Shenae are healthy, who says they’re too thin? Photo:

At the other end of the unfairness spectrum are 90210’s Jessica Stroup and Shenae Grimes, who are supposedly too thin. reports:

“I’ve never seen Jessica or Shenae eat,” another show source tells Us. So shocking is the situation that their 90210 male costars are contemplating an intervention.

Now, Jessica and Shenae are quite thin: they really are a size zero. If they’re doing it because they feel good, and they’re healthy, then people should stop bothering them about it.

But if they’re doing it because they feel pressured to be too thin, then they are victims of the insane, male-defined standards of beauty that dominate our society.

So what do we do about it?

I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone of falling for stereotypes of what I’m supposed to look like. I read Vogue and Teen Vogue and Glamour and all the others that promote obsessive thinness. And I’m probably not going to stop reading them. But I try to keep those images in perspective.

We should stop letting others define who and what we are. They mostly define what we are, not who, because they’re treating us as things instead of as people. Nice, pretty things that brighten up a room, on which fashions drape perfectly, and which make good trophy girlfriends.

We should be true to ourselves and our own version of happiness. If we are thin and we like it, then we’ll be that. If we’re curvy and we like it, then we’ll be that.

Everyone else should go find their own version of happiness. We’ll be happy with ours.

Copyright 2011 by Rinth de Shadley.

Meet the Other Rinth

This isn’t about me having an evil twin. There’s another Rinth online. She’s a student born in 1989 just like me, and I met her today!

Her blog address is She is a Swedish Muslim and goes to law school in Lulea, a city on the northern coast of Sweden. I had never heard of Lulea, so I looked it up. It’s almost a thousand years old and Wikipedia has some beautiful pictures of it.

As you would expect from someone who is already in law school at age 21, the other Rinth is very accomplished. She speaks Swedish, English, and Bengali. Her blog is in English. And she says that she writes for some of the same reasons I do: to work through ideas or feelings, to understand life, and to make a contribution to society.

She has a lot of thoughtful reflections about life and dealing with people. Check out her blog.

And to the other Rinth, this is my shout out to you! I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend. 🙂

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