Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keep on Walkin'

So, this song-writing thing was an adventure. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here.)

The first problem I came up against was what to write about. This is hard because 90% of songs out their are either about love, losing love, avoiding love, not having love, unrequited love, why someone doesn't deserve your love, or partying.

I honestly don't know anything about love. I mean, I know things about it, but writing stuff like that seemed pretty silly when I've never actually been there myself. And I definitely did not want to write about a party. Boring.

The second problem was knowing what I was doing. I may play the guitar more than I play the piano, but my guitar playing is not actually good by any means. Neither is my knowledge of music theory. Therefore, the song I wrote had to have these qualifications:
  • It had to be simple enough for my pitiful guitar skills.
  • It also had to be simple enough for my pitiful singing skills.
  • It had to be about something. Half the songs I listen to nowadays don't even make sense. Which is stupid.
Eventually I made it. And using only 3 different, quite simple chords to boot. Which is awesome. I had to record it as proof that I did. But I'll need to make a few apologies before you watch it.

I'm sorry for the awful singing. But it was the only way to show how it's sort of supposed to sound. I know the song isn't like super awesome, but it's better than my singing gives it credit for anyway.

I'm sorry for messing up a few times. Believe it or not, this was like the 30th take, and was the most complete, least flawed one.

I'm sorry that everything about the movie and the song are pretty ghetto. The only recording equipment I have is a basic video camera and a tripod. And also, most of the video was done in like an hour of time. So I wasn't really working hard on it. I was just sort of going with it.

With that said, I also want to mention that, as I was writing this song, I had a conversation with my friend Audrey. She's been having a rough time with lots of things lately. I decided that I wanted to finish this song for her.

So Audrey, even though this isn't radio material or anything, and even though I'm not very good at this, here's to you. I hope you start having things go a little better for you.


video

Oh, and in case anyone actually cares, yes, everything in this video is original material. As if you couldn't tell that all on your own. :P ;)

Make people like you in 12 easy steps!

Sometimes you just want people to like you. This isn't an odd desire. So here is an easy to follow outline of some steps that you can take to become the newer, more popular you.

These steps are the most effective with complete strangers.

1) People love it when you call them at six in the morning. Not only is everyone awake by this time, regardless of time zones, but up and out of bed as well. Classes rarely start until at least eight and work never begins until nine. Because everyone works nine to five. So the morning is almost always unhurried and unstressed, making six the perfect time for a friendly chat.

2) Another great tip is to only talk about yourself. They know their own life. Why would they need to talk about it? When they try to interrupt with their own stories, it is merely an attempt at politeness. What they really want to do is hear about you and only you, day in and day out. After all, how can they bask in the glory of someone that they don’t know every little thing about? No one is ever interested in their own stories, friends, troubles, celebrations, or drama.They don’t actually want you to listen to them.

3) There might be those “five love languages”. You know, how different people show love in different ways. But whatever they say, everyone likes physical contact from complete strangers. Playing with and tangling hair, boisterous, unexpected hugs, rubbing on them with your face like a cute animal, and shoving them into walls when they've said something funny are things that make all people feel loved. They always enjoy your invasion of their personal space, and it never makes anyone feel awkward.

4) Always use the same tone of voice for your sarcasm as your serious statements. Be sure there is no variation at all. It’s like a mystery puzzle. Did they really say that incredibly rude and offensive comment, or were they joking around? The world may never know. It throws a little bit of adventure into the everyday grind of school, work, and life.

5) One of the best ways to nurture your budding popularity is to take it upon yourself to thoroughly critique someone’s pet project. Don’t wait to be asked to do it, and don’t fluff your statements with the positive. Never show happiness or excitement. Never tell them, “oh, it’s great” and just leave it at that. Do your best to find every single flaw and give them an exhaustive breakdown of each. List as much personal experience as you can, so they know that you are highly qualified to destroy their life’s ambitions in one fell swoop.

6) Spending time is all about quantity. It doesn’t matter what you do with your potential friends or significant others. It only matters how long it took to do it. An eight hour first date will always be better than a three hour one, even if the three hour date included a nice dinner, great conversation, and a lot of laughs. Some classic suggestions for long dates and hang out sessions include:

  • Having your friend watch you create high scores on guitar hero expert level. (Don't let them play with you. It will only make them feel bad about themselves.) They need to know that you have marketable skills.

  • Boys: Another marketable skill is basketball. All girls just love watching boys do layups for hours. Definitely don’t play in any games, don’t invite them to shoot around with you, and don’t do anything but layups. They only want to watch you do the same thing over, and over, and over again. It shows them that you’re dedicated. Nothing will pry you from your time consuming sports obsessions.

  • Playing Warcraft for your potential admirer. Nothing says “you’re important to me” better than watching hours of mind-numbing video game graphics.

  • Girls: All boys harbor secret desires to shop till they drop. Teach them your ways. Show them every clothing store from here to Paris. I guarantee they’ll thank you for it. You’ll always be his hero ever afterward.

  • Boys: When you go to the movies, find the one with the most burps, farts, and lewd jokes. You might not realize it, but girls find these things extremely manly. If their man can’t degrade a woman with the stupidest and bawdiest jokes known to humankind, he’s not a real man. If he is incapable of finding a movie with no discernible plot funny, even with excessive burping, he’s not a real man.

  • Always talk about your ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. We’re not talking once in a while. We’re talking at least twelve times a day. Your roommates crave the nitty-gritty details of your past. When they hang out with you, that’s all they really want. And your dates? Best conversation opener ever. New boy/girlfriends like emotional baggage. It’s a real turn on.


7) All people enjoy indentured servitude. Don’t ever take their trash out, especially when you were the one that filled it. (This is most critical in bathroom settings). Don’t ever do the dishes, even when they’re all yours. And don’t ever put lids on your jars. I’ve never met a person who didn’t like to extract sticky spoons from congealed grape jelly, search the entire kitchen for the lid, and figure out who the jar actually belongs to before they put things away. It makes life so much more eventful. They would be horribly depressed if you took this one simple joy away from them.

8) Girls: Everyone cares about your monthly time. Everyone wants to hear details. All the details you can muster. Your roommate loves it. She would never get creeped out, grossed out, annoyed, disgusted, or bored with you. And your boyfriends are even more keen on the subject.

9) People that always try to feed you when they cook are also very free with their food. So free, in fact, that they want you to eat whatever you can find in their cupboards, even when they’re not around.

Plate of cookies on the counter? Eat half of them. In fact, you should even leave the plastic wrap open to let them know that you were helping them out. Nothing says love like half a plate of stale cookies that your friend no longer has to have the bother of giving to someone special.

Pot of simmering soup on the stove? Help yourself to free dinner. It’s a certain chance that they were only making enough for leftovers and not feeding a crowd of people. They don’t need leftovers anyway. They’ll have plenty of money to spend on more. Being broke doesn’t exist in America.

10) I can’t think of a better way to endear yourself to someone than by contradicting everything they say. But you must remember, this only works if you use a most serious and knowledgeable tone of voice. Pretend you know everything. And never, ever take into account the fact that they might have been joking. Accuracy is crucial in every aspect of life.

Sometimes they may act as though they're annoyed with you. This is a good thing. Feeling like they’re chronically wrong and should consider the idea of becoming a mute is character building. We would never have any positive self esteem if people actually complimented us occasionally. And we would certainly never feel good about ourselves if others stopped finding fault with everything we’ve ever said.

11) There is no such thing as overdoing a joke. Even if all twenty people in the room have teased someone about a silly little mistake, rehashing the joke yet again will always be funny. Do it six more times. Or a dozen. It’s impossible to destroy anyone’s confidence that way. Good clean fun is what we’re all about here.

12) When someone likes different music, movies, or subjects than you, make it known to the world. It will never be okay for someone to like country when you only like rap. And it will never be alright for someone to enjoy a movie that you thought was stupid.

One note, though. Never bash the movie or the music. Always aim strictures on poor judgement at the person in question. They may act like they’re never going to speak to you again, but what they’re really doing is re-assessing their self worth.

These steps should give you a great start on the road to becoming liked and popular as long as you follow them strictly. Half efforts produce half results. If you want to be the life of the party, or the star of the class, nothing works better than our simple program.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Today I learned that I am officially retarded.

This may not come as a surprise to most of you. In fact, you're probably saying, "Wait, I thought we were going to learn something new and interesting." or maybe even "and this is new because?"And there's at least one person who is thinking, "mmmm, donuts." (Statistics are on my side with this one.)

How did I come to this startling realization? Well, I was chatting on facebook with Jackie. We were talking about a Very Merry Muppet Christmas, which always makes me chuckle and you should all see it. I was just in the midst of telling her how it was basically the Muppet version of It's a Wonderful Life, when my computer just shut down completely on me.

This happens occasionally, but usually it's just because I've been holding it weird. Weird meaning so the base is vertical and the screen is flat. This time I was not doing that, and I was confused. The confusion quickly morphed into concern when I pushed the power button and nothing happened.

I pushed the power button again. And again. And again. It may come as a shock to you, but nothing kept happening. This is where concern turned to slight panic. After all, if you're having trouble putting a box in your car, you can try turning it different ways, sticking it through different doors, opening the trunk and sliding it in through the back, or even stealing your friend's pick-up while they're in taking a five hour final exam.

If you can't figure out a microwave, you can keep trying different combinations of buttons till you make it work. The same with these space phones that have WAY too many things on them. Lots of buttons, lots of choices.

You can't really do that with a computer. If it doesn't turn on when you push the power button, you've basically exhausted your ability to do anything about it. So I pushed the power button for different lengths of time. I hit it rapidly. I held it down. I tried ctrl-alt-del, even though it was off.

It didn't work.

I tried taking the battery out and putting it back in.

Nothing.

I made sure the power cord was plugged in and hit the power button a few more times.

Nothing.

I even unscrewed the different panels on the bottom of my computer and dusted off my vent.

Nothing. Though in this case, I didn't actually do anything. I don't think that playing with the circuit board would have helped me in any way whatsoever.

Finally I was picking up the phone to text my friend Kyle, who's the resident computer guru. I hesitated, because it was after 11, and he usually works way early in the AM.

I tried hitting the power button about 20 more times, getting more worried with each one.

The cord was plugged in. The power strip was on. The battery had been removed at least three times.

(Hey, that works on phones.)

I picked up the phone again, thinking of how I would start this conversation.

"Hey, sorry it's late for you, but my computer turned off, and won't turn back on."

Is it succinct? Yes. Does it make me sound like a 90 year old who can't remember what a mouse is? Also a yes.

"Hi. Um, so my computer just randomly shut down on me, and the power button is doing nothing."

No, too much pressure. If he's already asleep, I don't want him to feel like he has to wake up and answer me this instant.

"Sorry it's getting late. You can answer in the morning if you want. But I'm having some computer trouble. Mainly, that the computer won't turn on at all."

Good, except I want him to answer me this instant.

I had almost decided on something like, "So, what happens if the power button breaks on a computer?" or "Is there a way to turn on a computer without the power button?"

Again, I hesitated. I set the phone down, and wondered if it would really be that bad if I just left the computer off until morning, and then I could ask someone, and they could help me, and nothing would be awkward.

Um, yeah, that's not gonna work for me. My movie ends in about ten minutes, and then what?

My hand was reaching out for the phone again, when I looked down at the floor. I saw this:


Curse you separate-able cords! So convenient for traveling. So lame for anything else.






Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dreams

I have weird dreams.That's just a statement of fact.

Many people say, "oh, I have weird dreams too. This one time..." I don't doubt that there are many, many people who have dreams as strange, or stranger than I do. But I haven't yet met any of them. Today, for example, my roommate said "I had a really funny dream. Wanna hear about it?" And she proceeded to explain her "funny" dream.

Apparently this girl she was best friends with when they were little was with her and they were at a dance party. Then the song changed to "choose the right" for some weird reason. And they started to jam out to choose the right.

That's all.

I say this not to disparage. Not to mock or judge. Simply to illustrate. This is not a weird dream. Maybe a little random. Not actually funny. Sort of an insight into what things her brain thinks about when it's unconscious. But not weird. Or at least, not weird in the same sense that I mean.

In these situations weird refers to Lewis Carroll-esque. Especially Lewis Carroll crossed with Tim Burton, which we recently experienced. (And which, frankly, could have been a lot better than it was, but was still pretty cool).

Unfortunately I don't ever remember my dreams unless I tell someone about it or write it down within seconds of waking up. I'm just left with a few scattered images and the distinct impression of "uh... that was just weird."

**Side note: The word weird is weird.It's one of the few exceptions to the I before E rule. I've only found like 3 so far (not counting names) and one of them is only an exception in certain accents, and not in others: Deity. And I can't even remember what the third one was.

Sometimes my dreams are creepy. Sometimes they actually make me wake up freaked out. This usually happens if extra-planar demons are involved. And sometimes they're just odd, and not quite weird. Like the ones where I lose my teeth. (That happens a lot. I think I have a paranoia about losing my permanent teeth.) Sometimes they're happy. Sometimes they're epic adventures.

Most of the time they're just random assortments of stuff that disjointedly happen and eventually form a story with a plot, but one that would only be understood by Lewis Carroll enthusiasts. (Sorry about mentioning him so frequently, but he's really the only example there is of the sort of thing I'm talking about.)

Imagine Han Solo (as a bad guy), a pirate ship house, a frozen ice room prison, my old cross country assistant coach, coke, a murder mystery, an explosion, dancing, and cow pajamas all as main elements in the same dream.

Yes, that actually happened.

But that was actually just the prologue. Sorry, but the point of the post has yet to be mentioned. Oh, and sorry there are no pictures. I can't really think of any that would effectively illustrate this anyway. "This" being a dream that I had, which was epically awesome.

Sadly, it won't seem as awesome as it really was. Language muddles things horribly. Not to mention that Inception was right about a couple of things. A) You never remember the very beginning of a dream. You just sort of end up somewhere. And B) Sometimes there are loads of details and stuff in a dream that make sense then, but when you wake up, are either too weird to understand or too fuzzy to remember.

For these reasons, my narrative will not be so interesting as I wish it could be. And sorry it took so long to get around to starting it.

Jenny and I were ambassadors to this land that I'm sure was heavily influenced by a sort of demo game of Lords of Magic that I played. (Which, by the way, would be really interesting except that it's so old, that my computer scrolls the maps at hyperspeed, and I can't ever see anything, so therefore I can't play.)

Jenny's roommie/our friend from home, Bekah, was in the dream as well. And thus it begins.

In this land were several leaders. Sort of chieftains. Not quite kings. They were powerful mages, and each one ruled a different element. The nicer ones, which were more friendly to our ambassador's mission of uniting the land, were air and earth. The more independent, and much fiercer, ones were fire and ice. Water existed, but somehow never came into play.

We split up to accomplish our missions. The earth, water, and air kingdoms were on the plains, and the fire and ice people lived on the top of this enormous cliff. By enormous I mean like taller than mount everest, and wide enough to fit oceans and house two separate kingdoms.

I met the ice people first, by wandering through their store. It was like a department store crossed with a shopko. There were lots of snow suits there. Obviously, there had to be. It was very cold. The people were like giant vikings. At least ten feet tall, with huge muscles, heavy beards, and all wearing waterproof overalls. (The snow suits).

I don't remember why the things that happened next actually happened. I think it may have been a sort of, "if you pass our test, we'll listen to you" kind of thing. I got grown really super big and looked down on the ocean where all their ships were sailing. They were making some kind of formations with their tiny wooden boats. The rest is all a bit fuzzy, but I remember some kind of disaster, boats crashing, maybe even a tidal wave.

Whatever it was, it ended up catapulting me back to my original size and over to the half of the giant cliff that the fire elemental mage lived on. For some reason the fire guys lived in the cold as well. *shrug* Just like the ice guys' main thing was sailing, and the earth people's (see later paragraphs) was that candy stuff, the fire people's main thing was dragons. And that is much less surprising than a race of fire worshipers living in an icy wasteland.

The dragons didn't take kindly to having me violently thrown into their midst, and they started going crazy, like wild horses stomping a snake. One by one they all took off, and the last one, I somehow knew, I had to tie some ropes on to or I was done for. It looked a little bit like toothless, except for much spikier and fiercer.

Somehow I managed to tie a rope around each shoulder joint of the wings, and I hung on tight. What happened next was a little like sky-diving on steroids mixed with bull riding. The dragon ran for the edge of the cliff and dove off. Not flying. But actually diving, like into a pool, face down and wings closed. All that held me on to it were two separate ropes tied with shoddy knots. If my hands slipped down the rope, I was done for.

Picture an Olympic high diver. Now picture a pool at about sea level. And picture the diving board at well over thirty thousand feet. In case you need to know, that's approximately a six mile drop. And I definitely had not brought my parachute with me.

Only seconds before we were going to hit the ground, the dragon pulled up, flared its wings, and started flying parallel to the ground, like the death dive we had just completed was no big deal. Now it was even harder to hold on to the ropes because the dragon was flying forward under its own power, and I wasn't. We started careening around through a city that looked remarkably like a super busy airport terminal. I'm pretty sure there were even moving sidewalks with hand rails and escalators and everything.

We were going so fast that I could see the different winds, and they all had labels on them. I remember thinking, "oh cool. Now I know what the different winds are called." But they weren't things like "north wind" or "head wind" or any of that. They were things like "king kong wind", which was the bulkiest, and most obviously labelled. But there were others with names like that and they were all different sizes. Tall and thin, short and long, square, and lots of them were sort of cylinder-y. I also kind of guessed that we were flying through the air country.

We had to duck and roll and swerve to not hit any of the winds or they'd be mad at us. After a mad dash to not get attacked by angry winds, I was suddenly back at the earth compound, where I had left Jenny to do some negotiating.

Bekah was the Earth Mage. She controlled things like growing plants and using different (chemical) elements to meet the needs of her people. One of the advances she had made was the creation of magnetic candy. Yes, magnetic candy. They were shaped and colored like sweet tarts. The kind that come in the smartees type wrappers, and not the flat ones or the giant tubes.

These magnetic candies could be used as buttons or buckles, or even for wearing earrings, but they were also edible. It was the pride and joy of the earth kingdom, and Jenny was really excited about them when I showed up. I was impressed and interested, but had a hard time showing it because of my devastatingly death defying ride. So I was avoiding painful splattering, charbroiling, freezing, drowning, and being tornadoed to death, while Jenny was being wined and dined safe and comfy in the Earth Mage compound.

Also, Bekah mage had a sword just like Sting, which she had let me borrow for the trip up the cliff to the fire and ice mages. It didn't really help, but I was sad to give it back. It was cool, and sort of had a green aura. Which made sense, since it belonged to Earth mage.

Then we all looked at some maps and ate food, and that's when I woke up.

So yeah, it was pretty epic. I wish I could show you a picture of it all. It would make things make a lot more sense, and have them be much more intriguing. Sadly, even if I could draw well enough, it's one of those things where a lot of the magic gets lost in translation. It would look cool, but you'd never know the feeling and the aura of all of it.

**UPDATE:

I changed my mind about pictures. I decided that even if you couldn't see the coolness, at least you could know where it was, so I made you some maps for your enlightenment.





** UPDATE 2: Sorry about the smallness. Blog used to let you click on the pictures and make them bigger in another window. It doesn't anymore. But I'm sure you get the idea.







Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dawn Treader post movie thoughts.

Don't worry. I'm not gonna spoil anything.

By that, though, I mean there's nothing really to spoil. If you've read the book, everything in it was there in some form or another. If you haven't, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about anyway, so it won't ruin anything.

But I still promise I won't give anything crucial away.

Thing #1:
Yes, once again there was a LOT different from the book. But I actually kind of liked it, for the most part. Dawn Treader was never my super favorite of all the books. I don't really know which one is, though. I like each one for different things. But we can talk about that later.

Anyway, in Prince Caspian they changed a load of stuff in the timeline around to make it more movie friendly, which I understand. But I really didn't like how much of a deusch they turned Peter into. He was never that stupid or selfish in the story. And they never would have stormed the castle like retards. So it mostly worked, but I didn't really like it as much as I could have.

Dawn Treader is different. They changed a lot around, and re-ordered the timeline again, but I really think it made it more clear. It made a lot of sense to me, especially as a movie, and allowed for lots of cool scenes. Obviously there were things I didn't like as well, but generally I came out of it very pleased.

Thing #2: The green mist.

Um, that was just weird. I don't really know why they had to do that. I understand the search for the 7 Lords becoming a lot more dire because of it, but it was the one thing that they added that just seemed to make it cheesier instead of cooler. The sacrifices and stuff? Random. And not from C. S. Lewis at all. As someone else said, it doesn't always have to be about saving Narnia from certain doom. Sometimes it can be an adventure just for the heck of it.

Thing #3: The kid who played Eustace was way good. Perfectly annoying at the beginning, remorseful in the middle, and amazing at the goodbye. He's very talented. I'm excited for him to be in the Silver Chair. I hope they make it.

Thing #4: I still can't believe how great the family resemblance is between Lucy, Edmund, and Susan. Peter kind of sticks out like a sore thumb, but the others were well casted for their looks. Also, Lucy grew up so fast. I really can't believe how big she got. Not so long ago she was just a little girl. Aww.

Before:

After:

Thing #5: No Ben Barnes accent. This is a good thing.

Thing #6: The sea serpent. No... the entire nightmare mist scene.

It was freaking epic. Perfect example of combining several separate parts from the book into a whole, but making it all the more intense because of it. Three things, in fact. The dragon, the serpent, and the nightmares. Add all those together and it cumulates into a pretty crazy adventure. And nicely done. I really, really loved the sea serpent. So far, my favorite aquatic monster from any movie I've seen.

Thing #7: I really liked Reepicheep and Eustace's becoming friends thing. It happened in the book, but it happened better in the movie.

Thing #8: The swords

Even though I didn't really approve of the evil green mist thing, I did like the end with Eustace and the final sword interspersed with the serpent fight. If they're going to have it be about completing the mission to save Narnia from destruction, it might as well be done thoroughly, which it was.

Thing #9: Music. Again, epic. All the soundtracks have been in the series. Very adventurous. Same themes from the first two, but with a little bit of pirates thrown in.

Thing #10: Lucy and Edmund were always my favorite anyway.

I like how Lucy is just a normal girl with doubts. And how Edmund is still haunted by the things he did in his past. No one's perfect. But kings and queens don't have to be. They just have to try their best. And their best rocks. They're so cool. And Lucy is not afraid to just whip out her sword and dive into battle.

Thing #11: Themes

Everyone knows that Lewis wrote Narnia as both an adventure AND a religious allegory. But this movie is the first one where they let that show in the story so much more obviously. It existed in the other ones, but only if you went into it thinking about that. This one kind of polished it and made it more see-able. Which I appreciate.

Thing #12: The duffers/monopods were pretty funny. I liked how that part turned out.

Thing #13: Overall

Pretty much I really liked everything about the movie except for the mist thing. And the shortness of some of the other island adventures. But they more than made up for the briefness with the cool, sweet, fabulous serpent. I really, really enjoyed the battle. And the end was a tear jerker. With Reepicheep and Eustace, and Aslan and Lucy... quality acting.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I might need to start working more than part time

Well, yeah, partly because more money would be fabulous. I could actually pay my rent, utilities, and student loan bill at the same time. But that's neither here nor there today.

I've realized that I do some seriously random things in my absurdly abundant spare time. And I've also discovered that sometimes, when I tell people about them, I get some really strange looks. Prepare your strange looks.

Actually this one isn't all that weird. In fact, it's kind of cool. Just extremely random. Out of the blue.

I live a strange life. It's basically split between science and art. Which don't tend to go together. Like at all. All of my hobbies revolve around one or the other. I like to draw. I like music. I like calligraphy. I like reading and writing. I like painting. I like sculpting and building things. I like making movies. I love theater. I miss it a lot. I build things from wood. Sometimes I even delve into crafty stuff. (I'm not actually good at most of those things, but I like them.)

I also like rocks. Crystals and gems especially. I like pictures of lava and star charts. I like mixing acids and bases together. I like learning how things work by taking them apart and putting them back together. I like using tools. I like inventing stupid things like ways to turn off my light without getting out of bed. I like looking at stuff through magnifying glasses. I like exploding and burning things. I like knowing all sorts of unimportant information about animals.

*shrug* Don't ask me. I don't get it either.

I can think of very few things that I do that don't fall into one of the two categories. And some of them are just things I have to do. Like cleaning.

I've explored science quite thoroughly. That is not to say that I know everything there is to know. Quite the contrary. But I've tried my hand at just about everything that I have even a remote interest in. Between high school and BYU I've taken classes in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physical Science, Astronomy, Geology, Anthropology, Paleontology, and even Ornithology a little. I've even taken the how to teach science to little kids class.

Anyway, the point is that I feel well rounded enough to continue to Wikipedia myself along at my own pace. I can't think of any science field I am interested in that I haven't explored at least a tiny bit. And I continue to dabble as the opportunities arise.

The art is a different matter. I'd say I'm relatively eclectic there as well, but there are a few of things that I've never tried my hand at. I've written short stories, long stories, and poems. I've been in plays. I've drawn pictures. I've done calligraphy. I've done woodworking. I've sculpted in paper mache, clay, wax, resin, stone, and bronze.

I fail at painting though. And music is where I'm the most deficient. I play the flute, but that's it. I don't sing in groups of less than four. I don't play the piano even though I took lessons for years. I don't write songs. And I most certainly do not dance in view of any sort of audience.

On a whim, I made a goal for myself. A somewhat random one. It is as follows:

In order to improve myself whilst in possession of nearly unlimited free time, I will make a foray into hitherto untried artistic pursuits, as well as creating at least one thing in each art category that I currently have access to.

While that unfortunately excludes my ability to cast bronze or chisel alabaster, I'm at least pleased to say that I have experienced them.

The pursuit that will definitely be the biggest deal, the hardest to accomplish, and is yet the most common in society, is the writing of a song. I tried once when I was like ten. It was then that I realized how much went into a song. Music is seriously complicated. So I got about a measure into it and never tried again.

This time I will try on my guitar instead of a piano, which I think will yield better results. But who knows. It might be cool. And it might be a load of rubbish. We'll never know until it's been attempted.

I also want to make some real drawings. I've done a few for a drawing class that actually turned out way better than I expected. And I doodle all the time. I've got hundreds of doodles. So I want to just pick some kind of drawing project, and actually finish it. With these things I am the master of unfinished projects.

I want to attempt a painting. My most successful painting to date involved splattering a sheet of heavy paper with loads of different water colors, and then attempting to find a picture in the random mess that resulted. It actually turned out pretty awesome. I still have it. I'll post some pics later. I'm usually hopeless with colors, though. So painting usually doesn't end up so great for me.

I want to take a few cool pictures of something. I've been dying for a great sunset to capture, but I've seen exactly one superb one my entire time in Utah, and I was walking home from work, so I didn't have a camera with me. Plus the stupid power lines are always in the way here anyway. I'll find something, though.

I also want to make a new calligraphy project. I haven't really done much with my pens since I finished my class, other than playing around with my pointed nib during conference last year. So I want to un-rusty myself in that regard.

There are a few other things I want to do. But I don't feel like listing them all right now. It's a bit late, and I really should be sleeping.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Things: the sequel

For a long time now I've felt like I have a very specific mission in life. And that mission is to make people realize that life is NOT THAT BAD.

Not help. Definitely make.

Yeah, hard things happen in life. It's not like I've had a scar-less life. *cough* high school *cough* But jeez, man. People are so negative. All the time. It annoys me. There's no reason for it. And that's what makes life more than just hard. It makes it crappy.

There is such a thing as having a happy life and a difficult life at the same time. People have done it for thousands of years.

But anyway, back to my mission in life. I always feel like I need to make people laugh as a solution to basically everything ever. Trouble is, I don't feel like I'm very funny.

Weird and funny aren't the same thing.

There are a few people that think I'm hilarious. I think they're probably starved of company with an odd sense of humor.

But, for some reason, I keep trying anyway. I find a sort of queer glee in being absurdly cheerful around gloomy, angry, and lame people.

If it cheers them up, mission accomplished. If it makes them madder, they deserve it. For sucking the joy out of the air around them.

Once upon a time there was a point to this post. Then I went grocery shopping and watched a movie. I no longer remember what it was. Alas. You'll have to make do with some pictures.




Everyone should own a cloak. It should be a law or something.








A brown paper package, tied with a string.









Flying practice.










Landing practice.










Terrifying children practice.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Colors

Once upon a time I was on a determined mission to figure out why the colors on my blog fonts were just not working. So I decided to make a blog post, exploring the features.

I tried many things. Like choosing the colors before I typed. And like highlighting them and changing them after they were typed.

I tried making the colors have something to do with the paragraphs. And I tried to experiment with the
  • bullet points. Just to
  • See if they actually helped.
But nothing I did seemed to at all to work. It really was the strangest thing.

The only thing That I could determine for sure was that highlighting the words and changing them to another color was a sure way to make them go back to the default.

The last thing I could think of was to highlight the blank space, change its color, and then type in it. If any of these things work at all, it will be a very pretty post. But if they don't, it'll be a sure sign that blogger just hates me, and doesn't want me to have cool looking words in any of my posts.

*In the end, exactly one 'o' was colored. And the blog poster remained even more confused than before.

** And then, as the blog poster added the last note, therewas a breakthrough. It, in no way, explains why some random sections of the last post were colored, and some weren't. And it's an irksome and slow experience. But it was revealed that typing the word, highlighting it, changing the color, and then dragging it to a new spot and back would leave it colored. So very odd.
Does it make sense? Not at all. Does it answer the questions of the last post? Not at all. But does it allow me to use colors again until I can figure the rest out? Yes. Yes it does.

Things I learned this month, but was too busy with Nanowrimo to blog about...

Thing #1:

I don't understand the frenzy over sports. At all. I will never be screaming at the tv in joy or anger over something that some overpaid athlete does. But that is not the new thing. The new thing is that I finally understand the similarities between sports excitement and my own epic adventure excitement.

How did I discover this? By looking at some pictures of a guy in my ward as he watched a sporting event. Some of the faces he made were almost exactly the same
faces that I made while reading Fablehaven 5 and Mockingjay. It was pretty uncanny. I also realized that, if quidditch were a real sport, I would be all over that.

I've always thought to myself how sad it is that people can't get as excited about books as I do. Because it means that their lives are that much less joyful. That much more dull, lifeless, and boring. It means that I have that much more incredible awesomeness in my life.

But I discovered that avid sports fans are trying for the same thing. Albeit in a much more mundane, and "conforming with the man" kind of way. Because everyone likes sports. That's mostly where it loses its appeal to me. In the mass adoration aspect. But then again, I'm always trying to get more people to be excited about awesome books. *shrug*

Things that are the same between sports nuts and me:
  • Excitement
  • Yelling at inanimate objects
  • Inability to tear ourselves away, even when we should do other things
  • More thrills in life
Things that are different:
  • Cost. Assuming you're patient enough to wait for things at the library, reading can be a completely free hobby. It isn't always, but it can be. Sports always require either a ticket purchase and travel, or the electricity with which to view the event.
  • Anger management issues. I've been frustrated, creeped out, in agony, and in horrible suspense over characters. But I've never, ever, been actually yelling-at-the-ref angry over a book. Books do not make me mad. Sports make lots of people unnecessarily furious, which is another part that annoys me so bad about them.
  • Social setting. Yeah, you can talk about books. Discuss them with friends. Go to release parties. And basically get mutually excited about them. But it's not the same as screaming your lungs out in a crowd of thousands of people doing the exact same thing, and wearing the exact same colors. Not my cup of tea, but some people actually like that. I'm much more solitary.

Thing #2:

Achieving a goal is a lot more about just deciding to do it, and a lot less about what the fates decree.

This I learned from Nanowrimo. Not that I ever doubted my ability to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've done it before (though not for nano). But I slacked a lot during the Harry Potter premiere-Thanksgiving time period.

When I just sat down and didn't think about it, the best I usually did in a day was about three or four thousand, and that's with more time put in. My average was about 2k a day. After I slacked, I knew that I was really behind. And it was a choice between not caring, and deciding to do it.

I decided to do it anyway. And I was about 8 thousand words behind where I was supposed to be. Consciously deciding to finish made all the difference. I didn't write any better. I didn't have any different stress level. In fact, everything was exactly the same except for one thing. That I did 6k in one night, and 8k the next day.

I don't understand how it works or anything. But it does. Attitude about a project affects EVERYTHING. When you decide to just do it, it gets done.

Thing #3:

It is a LOT harder to be nice about a correction when someone has a, uh, lower level of understanding. I don't really know a nicer way to phrase that.

There are so many things that are really awkward about having a roommate who is somewhat slower. And one of them is her ability to make me constantly feel like I'm the worst person ever. It sucks. But she doesn't mean to do it, which in turn makes it all worse.

If someone you lived with left certain disgusting items on the bathroom floor, you wouldn't put up with it. You'd tell them to clean their mess. But in this case, if you tell them, as nice as you possibly know how, that people generally don't do things like that, they give you that puppy look. The one that says that they don't understand what you mean. They only understand that you're upset with them. And then you feel like the rudest person that ever lived. It's like you're upset with an adorable little fuzzy animal for acting like that kind of animal is supposed to act.

I'm still working on this.

Thing #4:

Christmas lights are so happy. And they make a great night light, because they're dim enough to sleep with, but they're just SO happy that you can't be scared with them on.

Granted, if you want to keep them as a night light all year, quite a few less than this would work nicely.

Thing #5:

A lot of people think that it's too hard to be a non-judgmental person, because they're just too observant. They notice things.

Lemme tell you what, if anyone notices the random stuff, and not the important stuff, it's me. And I've thought the same thing before on occasion. But I suddenly realized, with clarity, that the two things don't have to have anything to do with each other.

To be an amiable, non-judgmental, generally accepting person is not about not noticing the weird stuff. Not noticing it just makes you dense, and isn't really a lot better than always judging people. It's all about what you do with the information once you process it.

If you can look at a person, see all their faults and weirdnesses, realize that everyone is flawed, and love them anyway, THEN you're truly non-judgmental.

Thing #6:

When Katharine comes to your house to hang out, put away all sharp objects, and anything that can be lobbed at other people such as stress balls and bean bags.

Oh, and also your wallets, han solo playing cards, and beanie sharks. :P

Thing #7:

The thickness of my gravy is inversely proportional to the flavor. The tastier it is, the thinner it gets. I can't explain this.

This year's gravy, though, was the first I've ever made that was thicker and edible. Not the yummiest I've ever managed, but adequate.

Thing #8:

I'm just so dang nerdy. I mean, I knew that. But seriously, I took a good look at the books I had out from the library. 90% of them are non-fiction books, all of which are about animals of some kind. Dragons, vampires, poisonous snakes. Well, except for one. It's a volcano book, and it's completely pictures of erupting volcanoes. And they're really, really cool.

I admit. I check out most books like that for the pictures. A non-fiction book without decent pictures is no good to me. I don't judge books just by their covers. I judge them by the photo-quality of their paper too.

Ha. And the picture also shows the sail boats on my sheets. I think that closes this section quite appropriately.

Thing #9:

My weakness for beautiful men's singing voices is worse than ever. It's really quite a problem, because it means that every time I hear a guy in my ward singing well, I automatically swoon, even if I don't like him that way at all.

But that's just the thing that gets me above all. I suppose I've watched too many musicals.

List of current marvellously voiced favorites:
  • Ewan Mcgregor
  • Neil Patrick Harris
  • Matthew Morrison (holy cow, when Endless Love comes on my ipod, it's the worst ever. I forget what I'm doing for a few seconds.)
  • James Marsden
  • Norbert Leo Butz
  • Zac Efron (so sue me)
  • Mark Salling
  • Alex Goot (his youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/gootmusic )
Exhibit A:

video

Oops. I accidentally deleted the part I wrote after this. Sad. But I'll try to recreate it.

The reason I picked this particular video of Alex's is because it's the coolest looking one he made. I like the song. It is good. It's not my most favorite ever. There are a few covers and originals that I like better. But, like I said, the movie was cool.

Also, Alex is awesome because he plays all his own instruments (except this one absurd guitar solo in his beat it cover). Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums... he does it all. Pretty sweet.

Thing #10:

I decided that ten would be a nice round number for a post like this. Only choosing the number before counting how many things you have to say can sometimes end badly. Like in using the last few sections to talk about random things that aren't really applicable.

Also, I ran out of colors forever ago. This is the third time I've used green. I'm not sure that this will actually matter, though, because blogger hates me. The only post within the last several months where the colors I used in it actually worked was my dracula one. And only half of them worked. Luckily, it was the red one that did. So that was cool.

I took this picture of some jingle bells. Then I played with the color. It looks sort of like a sketch crossed with a water color. I like it.

Also, my hands smell like chicken pot pie. I have no idea why.





We made a fort in the living room. It was fun.










Update: Hmmm. Super weird. A few little random bits had the color work, and I have no idea at all what made them different from the rest of the post. Also, the video seems to be freezing in the last ten or fifteen seconds. Dunno why. But you get the idea. And you can go to his youtube anyway.