Bear Grylls, Barakat Infections, and Summer Days

Whatís up, ink pens?

So much has happened this last month that Iím not entirely sure where to start. Perhaps you should know this blog is being written to Panic! At The Disco in the late evening hours of July 31. Look at me, being fancy and on time, as promised. Currently Iím waiting for my sister to bring me home a pastry from her job at St. Louis Bread Company, despite the fact Iím on a diet. While I wait for that chocolate-filled goodness that she has probably forgotten about by now, letís chat.

The Personal Stuff

The biggest news here is that Iím not going to go to graduate school at this point in time. I put too much faith in waiting for scholarships, and unfortunately I wasnít able to find any, even from outside sources. As a rule of thumb, for you future and current college students, graduate students are low on the priority list for scholarships; the university will assume youíve got a job to pay for the degree you want by that point, and the undergraduates are more important for their statistics, I suppose. Thatís not to say I wasnít offered money from the National Bank of Mom and Dad, but I didnít feel right about taking money to go back to school when I still owe a significant chunk of cash in loan fees. Even more pressing than the money was the class load. I would only be able to go one class at a time, which is of course better than nothing, but the professor that I was scheduled to have is not one that I would call an ideal first professor. Heís wicked smart, and he knows what heís doing, but heís a harsh grader, and having had him for an undergraduate class (and having him be the first teacher in twelve years to give me a final grade under a 90, thus wrecking my GPA), I wasnít ready to take another class with him just yet. Especially not my first and only graduate class when a 3.5 GPA is required to stay out of probation.

Instead, Iíve decided to take my baby cousin on as a part time job (which started today by the way, and she was wonderful!), and look for a second part time job in which I hope to work from home. All of the money will go into my bank account and go towards paying that loan off. Then I will start saving for graduate school. Not to worry. A Master of Arts in English is still in my future somewhere. It just isnít now. And thatís okay. This leaves more time to blog and work on my novel and stories in the evening. Works for me!

By the way, if any of you readers out there know of blogging, editing, proofreading, or freelance writing jobs that I can do from home (the location should be ďremoteĒ), throw me a message. Iíd love to hear about it.

Summer itself has been pretty eventful. I have two stories in particular for you, but Iíll share those below in condensed form. In summary, Iíve gone on a float trip, Iíve seen All Time Low, and Iíll be seeing Green Day in just two weeks (literally dying of excitement, guys). I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a friendís wedding, which is super exciting. Iíll be going out with her this weekend to pick a dress. Crazy, right? I hung out with some friends from school, and then some new friends from my boyfriendís work. I actually got in the pool, you guys. At night. And it was fun. What is happening to me? Iíve also decided to go on a weird little diet, which is more of an intervention because I love food. So far, so good. Iíve lost a pound. Hooray, me!

The Professional Stuff
(note: weíve transitioned to All Time Low now)

The novel is coming along nicely. Iíve managed to add and remove several scenes from both parts one and two, and Iím just about ready to start writing section three. Iíve definitely got a combination of ďFinish It FeverĒ and ďFinish It PhobiaĒ. I canít wait to be done and start prepping the official manuscript, but at the same time, what happens when Iím done? Of course, I know itís on to book two, but as a writer, thatís terrifying. Fellow writers might know what Iím talking about: that sinking, nauseating feeling when youíre coming to the end, and the safety net is disintegrating, and THE END IS NIGH.

I havenít written those short stories yet, but now that school is out of the equation for a little while, I should have more time to get those done. Maybe I can polish them up and get some contest work done too. That might be nice. Letís add that to the goal list too.

My sister is home. Letís see if she brought the pastry while I finish this upÖ

Story Time (Kind Of)!

I have two brief stories. Buckle in, because theyíre both a little over dramatic, but all factual.

**The Barakat Infection**

On July 18, my sister and I went to the All Time Lowís Last Young Renegade concert at The Pageant, a small but pretty awesome venue not far from where we live. The concert didnít start until around six thirty, so naturally, we were there by four thirty. She actually vlogged some of it on her YouTube channel, so I can add the link to that below if youíre interested in seeing that. Anyway, we got past security without issue (this time), and secured ourselves toward the front on the left side of the venue. If youíve ever been there, you know itís incredibly close. Not quite ďspit on the stageĒ close, but definitely full view of sweat and whatnot. Being this close last time made me incredibly ill. I didnít know Sound Sickness was a thing until we saw Bring Me the Horizon, and I spent the rest of the night losing my dinner because the sound was so outrageous it vibrated my organs out of place. So, I was nervous about being so close again. Fear not! I had earplugs. We got through all three openers: The Wrecks, Waterparks, and SWMRS, which were all fantastic. The Wrecks are brand new, and if you like hard rock, I would give them a look. Waterparks is more pop-inclined, but the lead singer was silly (he found the throwing of un-used tampons on stage hilarious, yet confusing, as we all would). SWMRS is Billie Joe Armstrongís oldest sonís band, so naturally I was in love with them. All Time Low comes out at nine, and theyíre going through their set. Towards the beginning, Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat are running around the stage, doing crowd interaction stuff. And I peel you not, Jack Barakat winked at me. Alex waved at my sister, which was a miracle, but I never get noticed, and Jack freaking Barakat winked and did finger guns at me. Dear. God. I about died from the shock of being noticed. Later on, he also gave me a wave, which was the topper on the cake. Now, those of you who know All Time Low know that Jack is kind of piggy when it comes to making jokes (in the best way thoughÖusually). Ever since the finger guns, Iíve been making accidental innuendo jokes every time I turn around. I have legitimately been infected with the Barakat virus. Curse you (with the best of love), Jack. At least here, on the page, I can edit all of them out.

**Bear Grylls Simulation**

The day after the concert, the family went on a huge float trip down the Black River, which I believe stems from the Meramec River. We decided to take a raft because there were six of us: my parents, my sister, my oldest nephew, his mom/my sister by law, and my parents (and me). Never take a raft. You canít control the thing. It goes where it wants even with paddles. The river was too low for a raft too, thank you boiling St. Louis heat. So we ended up dragging it for about a third of the way. But when the water was high enough (at one point it was probably sixteen to twenty feet deep), we were cruising along. Until we hit rapids. Rapids suck the trees to the banks, right? Well, remember that you canít control a raft. We were sucked into the rapids. Two times in particular were pretty scary. At one point, we ended up tangled in a tree, and my mom cut her hand trying to shove the branches away from my sister by law. Donít worry, sheís fine. It wasnít bad. But then we got ripped into another rapid and ended up in some kind of ten foot deep whirl pool. It took us ten minutes and a series of small heart attacks to get free, and then we had about twenty feet before we hit shallows again. Despite the scary almost-dying thing, I actually had fun. The water was the perfect temperature, I found several cool rocks, and I found inspiration out in nature to get some writing done, which is how the editing happened. We did eventually get back to the camp ground, and afterwards we went to a steakhouse for dinner. We earned the right to eat meat. We survived (what Iíve been calling) the Bear Grylls challenge! I hope he would be proud of us if we knew. Man vs. Wild is a real thing, and we beat it! 10/10 would do again, even if itís scary.

Summer has certainly been eventful, hasnít it? What are some of the things youíve done this summer? Drop me a comment below, if you have an account with my provider, or leave me a comment on social media!

I donít mean to cut my exit short, but it seems my sister has forgotten my pastry. Not that I needed it. But alas, it is late, and I am ready for some sweet nap-naps. So, peace out (thatís still cool to say, right?)! See you next month!

Best regards and a tin pencil case,

Kat Jenning // Shade Shadows

Emily's YouTube Vlog The Last Young Renegades Tour // Concert Vlog

**Song of the Month: Good Times -- All Time Low**

**I hope the link coding I used to make the Song of the Month and Emily's channel clickable from here worked! :) **
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