Friday, July 27, 2012

Answer to the apple question

For those of you who were wondering what the debate was with that apple-to-zombie thing, here it is. (The image is at the bottom, in case you missed it before.)

Barbara insists that the humor is entirely from the play on the saying "one bad apple ruins the bunch."

I insisted that very few people would look that deeply into the whole thing, and that the humor came purely from the cuteness and amusingness of an apple turning into a zombie and chasing the other fruits away.

For the record, I was right. Everyone who answered on the debate said these things:

"it's funny because the apple turns into a zombie. and faces on any inanimate object just makes it better and cuter."  - Michelle

"I found the faces on fruit extremely charming and loved the apple zombie. What seemed to bother me more than anything was that apple and clementine happy as clams next to the dead apple... I doubt I could be as cheery next to a corpse."  - Ashlie

(Agreed on that ^, btw. I'd be a little weirded out too, if I was that clementine.)

"That made me smile and laugh out loud. I liked the progression of the zombie apple." -  Julie

"Definitely a zombie apple. It's so sad!" - Elizabeth

"That was funny! Poor little Apple left alone, dies, and becomes a zombie destroying the happiness and lives of other fruit."  -  Allison

"He's a zombie apple, although I had no idea fruit had brains so my only conclusion is that after eating his fellow fruits he got a taste for human brain or decided to enact his revenge for never being eaten by killing humans and eating their brains."  -  Alicia

"It's so funny because fruit is disgusting and gross, and no one would eat it unless they were forced to. So even though he chased them down and killed them for being jerks (and for being gross and disgusting fruit), he still ended up eating artificially-flavored fruity candy at the end."  -  David

The closest Barbara got to a point for her side was this one:

"I know that over ripe fruit put off an enzyme or chemical that causes other fruit to ripen and "die" faster than normal so it might appear that a fruit is dead but its really not, its really a zombie trying to kill all the other fruit."  - Sarah

Which honestly still doesn't count, because even though it's the same idea, it isn't about the play on the words. In fact, if I were going to choose a play on words at all, based on these answers, I'd definitely go for the "misery loves company" option. 

Anyway, the point is that I win. Within the scope of our poll, more people thought it was funny because it was an apple turning into a zombie when it died. And an apple turning into a zombie is funny. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Poll: Help me settle a debate

I need your answers, whether on the comments here, or on facebook. Either one.

Barbara and I have had a disagreement. (Yes, I know you're just shocked.) This time it's about this graphic. Which is cute and amusing. We both think so. But she thinks it's funny for a very specific reason, and I think that her reason is looking into it WAY more than most people would even notice. So here's the pic. Read. Enjoy. And then tell me exactly why you think it's cute and funny (or IF you do at all.)

After I get a few answers, I'll link in a second post, telling the results, and what she was expecting, vs. what I was.

** Update: The answers to the poll HERE.

Finding Your Inner Gryffindor, part 2

Pottermore + a discussion at work led me to the sequel for this post. I talked about getting sorted into Gryffindor, and how it forced me to learn things about myself that I didn't know. (Well, yeah, it does sound cheesy when you say it that way, but read the first post. It'll make more sense.)

Anyway, I got to thinking about why it is that courage is more important to me than so many other things (including the other house traits). A debate at work kind of put things in place for me. At least with one of the reasons. 
Intelligence: Of course I value it this. (I planned to be in Ravenclaw, didn't I?) I don't tolerate stupidity well. But acting stupid is quite different from being stupid. It's the acting stupid I hate. Anyway, there's a limit to intelligence. Only a small percentage of your intelligence potential is even up to you. The rest is in-born, and a result of how you were raised. 

Cleverness: I'd love to be clever. I greatly appreciate cleverness. But when it comes to something you can learn, cleverness also has it's limits.

Physical strength: Again, useful and admirable, but no matter how much you exercise, there will still be big people and little people. 

Getting the idea?

There's a long list of qualities that are great and important. It's harder to admire people who don't have them. But courage is different than the others in one very important way: It's 100%, absolutely, completely your own choice. 

At least half the people reading this won't believe me. 

There's a very good reason for that. It's almost the mantra of our generation. "That's just the way I am". "Love me for who I am". "I shouldn't have to change for anyone." 


Don't think for a moment that I'm condoning cruelty, biases, or prejudice. Quite the opposite. But people aren't using these phrases for love. They're using them as excuses. Reasons to be lazy. No matter how loving and accepting we are, we still have a responsibility to try to become our best selves. To learn and grow and improve. 

Because of that, we've come to believe that being brave or strong is something that we're born with. "I just have no will power." "I'm just not very strong." As if it's a disease that we can catch, or a congenital chromosome disorder. 

It isn't. 

I mean, you all KNOW the cliche. Being brave isn't not being afraid. It's being scared to death and marching on anyway. 

No matter who you are, where you live, what your job is, how many fears you have, or how dire your circumstances, you always have your ability to make choices. And being courageous through it all is a choice. 100% something that you decide to do. 

Or, as Sirius tells Harry (at least in the movie version) "the world isn't split into good people and deatheaters. We've all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are."
Weak people aren't weak because they were born that way, or were raised in a bad situation, or caught a disease of some sort. Weak people are weak because that's the part of themselves that they choose to act on. 

I don't have sympathy for slime like wormtail because his betrayal was a decision.

He was sorted into Gryffindor. He was like Neville: awkward and a bit of a misfit, but with the potential to become the bravest of them all. It was there. But he made a choice. He acted on his dark side in order to save his own skin, even though it meant leaving two people to die. Two people who treated him like a good friend, even when no one else would. Two people who trusted him with their lives. Literally. 

Nobody who would sell their friends to the chopping block just because the bad guy was scary ever deserves my sympathy.

Perfect counter-example: George Mcfly. At the beginning of the movie he followed the wussy path. "I'm afraid that I'm just no good at confrontations." 

But one confrontation

Proved that he wasn't "destined" to be a wussy-pants. He took control.

And changed everything. It was in him all along. But like Sirius said, it's the part we choose to act on that defines who we are.

It's in all of us too. Sometimes life is scary. Everyone has things that they're afraid of. But if we weren't afraid, we wouldn't have to be brave.

Courage isn't a virtue because it saves people from looking a fool, or because it makes some of us into heroes. Courage is a virtue precisely because it's necessary for everyone, it's possible for everyone, and it's hard for EVERYONE.  

That's pretty much it for now. If I discover any other reasons why it's so important to me, I'll write another sequel. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Finding Your Inner Gryffindor

Fiction is detrimental to your child.

Fantasy destroys your kid's ability to accept reality.

Fairy tales are a way of lying to your child.

Bah, Humbug. Most reasonably sane and intelligent people understand that this is far from true.

In fact, it's kind of funny how a fantasy series can help you on your journey of self-discovery. Of course, when I say "journey of self-discovery" what I mean is "you learn things that you didn't know before about yourself and what you find important".

You know, the kind of things that protagonists always discover in the midst of affliction, and they never would have known it about themselves if they hadn't been thrown into life-threatening situations.

-Katniss realizes that she'd give her life up to protect her sister.
-Jake discovers that he's a natural born leader.
-Draco discovers that he isn't a cold-blooded murderer after all.
-Elphaba realizes that she values freedom and decency a lot more than power, fame, and being accepted.

Etc, etc...

The best part of this is that we can learn those kinds of things without having to actually be in dire straights ourselves. The way you react to the hero's dilemmas and choices shows a lot about your own personality.

(And sometimes that includes exercising a great deal of self-control in not subjecting the book to imminent destruction.)

This is the story of one such learning experience.

How I Found My Inner Gryffindor

Ever since my initiation into the HP world (which was a relatively short time ago, compared to most die-hard HP fans) I've been a Ravenclaw supporter.

I have a Ravenclaw poster that I made. And Ravenclaw quidditch robes. And a ravenclaw colors bracelet. And half a scarf. (I never did finish it...)

I didn't want to be Gryffindor, because it was the popular one. All the bandwaggoners picked Gryffindor. And obviously I wasn't a Slytherin, by any means. And no one is quite sure exactly what it is that Hufflepuffs are supposed to be known for...

(I once, very inadvertently, used the word hufflepuff as an expletive while insulting a computer character who beat me at a game.)

I was a Ravenclaw. Naturally. It was the only way. The most obvious. The most logical. Everything fit. (It helps that I liked the Ravenclaw colors better than any others.)

And when I signed up for pottermore, I expected to be sorted into Ravenclaw as a matter of course. (Admittedly, I did have a slight fear of being put in hufflepuff.)

But I wasn't.

(I admit, though, that this one looks by far the most comfy and me-esque of all the common rooms)

Needless to say, I was flabbergasted. If I'd been put in Slytherin, I wouldn't have been very much more surprised. It bordered on disappointment. 

But this is Rowling's official sorting test. Rowling's word is law. You can not dispute it. I had to find a way to be okay with getting sorted into Gryffindor.

The funny thing was, after the surprise wore off it seemed... right. Somehow. I wasn't sure just why, and I needed to figure it out. I don't do well with unsolved mysteries.

So, a fan-site for a fantasy book series forced me to evaluate myself. It made me pay attention to what I valued. I looked at all the book characters I loved. I thought about which of their choices I liked, and which I hated, and why.

You know those times in a mystery novel where you turn the page, the detective reveals all, and suddenly everything makes sense. The signs were there the whole time, and now that you know the answer, you can see them clear as day. But along the way, you had no idea what they meant, or what to do with them.

That is what happened. I gradually became aware of certain values that I prized more than others. And one of them was guts. Determination. Chutzpah. Being daring enough to do something, even though you're deathly afraid of doing it. All things that "set gryffindors apart".

Go figure.

It was there the whole time, and I never even knew.

I still have some difficulties. It's hard for me to see everyone and their dog wear gryffindor colors just because it's the popular one. None of them really belong there.

And it's hard for me to have people think that I'm just a bandwaggoner myself.

(Also, I hate maroon too. You and me, Ron, see eye to eye. Gryffindor colors are SCARLET and gold. Scarlet is not maroon. That is all.)

In general, though, I've come to terms with the gryffindor thing. Enough to wear the colors without shame.

And it's been extremely helpful. Not only in knowing and understanding myself, but in knowing and understanding other people and other book characters.

In summary: fiction makes reality richer.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Post. A Post. A Bloggish Post.

Today I feel like being very melodramatic. If you know me at all, that won't surprise you in the least.

The problem is that this kind of melodramatic just ends up coming off as martyrdom. The kind that makes you roll your eyes and say, "keep it together, man!"

So we're going to skim.

-Step one

Imagine a scene in a movie.

- Step two

Imagine me saying "know how that happens in movies, and people are always like "yeah right"? Well that happens to me.

- Step three

Roll your eyes

- Step four

Say "Keep it together, man!"

- Step five

Laugh hilariously at my wit

- Step six

No, really. Laugh. Or else.

- Step seven

Enjoy this picture:

Chris Pine ala 50's? I think yes.

eye candy chris pine 4 Afternoon eye candy: Chris Pine (19 photos)And this one too. There's just something about a well-tailored suit...

Oh, and for the guys, here's an explosion. You're welcome.