Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tangents: Most certainly NOT the trigonometric kind

In my favorite class on Monday we were talking about the role that strict form (rhyme schemes, syllable count, etc.) plays in poetry. It was fascinating- as always- and additionally quite entertaining! In addition to being his scholarly, brilliant, charming self, my professor is hilarious. He went off on how American football can be likened to form in poetry. Each down is like a stanza, and the rather complex rules reflect strict form, yet underneath the regulation there is an undercurrent of passion and violence bubbling up from beneath. He went on about how the tension between control/rules and competition/violence in football reveals American culture, and how this can be likened to the tension in poetry. He expressed himself much more poetically, and his tangent delighted me far more than any trigonometric functions. Yay poetry!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great Article on Yawning

This is an article I found through Fascinating!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Think I'm Gonna Do It!

I was told by a very wise man who happens to know the young gentleman I'm interested in that sometimes, especially in this case, men need some serious encouragement. So I'm going to give it to him. Nothing aggressive or intimidating of course! Just... a casual smack over the head that I'd like to get to know him better. And if he's not interested or he gets scared and runs away? "Next!"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Pain Caused by Hatred

I have noticed a destructive "my team/their team" mentality that seems to surround every difficult issue. It polarizes people, drawing them to such ends of an extreme that they no longer see those on the other side as even human. They criticize and punish and abuse and hate and destroy each other. Whether it's a political party, religious affiliation, or opinion on any myriad of subjects, we as human beings tend to do this.

Why? On one issue in particular I feel trapped in the middle. I look to the extreme ends of both and see violence and hatred. Why?! Why won't they listen to each other and acknowledge the concerns and struggles and pains and humanity of their fellow human beings? I KNOW that many issues are incredibly difficult, but we're never going to solve ANYTHING if we keep letting the extremes dominate the whole. We get so caught up in our own paradigms that we completely forget (and disregard) the realities of humanity and love and suffering that surrounds everyone else, especially those to whom we have a hard time relating. Stop the finger pointing!

You might wonder what has spurred this sudden outburst, and my answer is that these thoughts have ricocheted around my head for a while, particularly concerning a certain issue, but I think absolutely applicable to many.

This issue is gay marriage, and a recent facebook update reminded me of it. I LOVE my gay friends and I LOVE my church, and both people for gay marriage and against gay marriage are fighting for what they believe to be right, but the accusations and hatred proliferated by some people -though certainly not all or even most- from both sides deeply sadden me. I already went through the anger stage and it's over. Now when I hear someone say something hurtful I just want to sit down and cry because we as humans are destroying each other with our hate and I don't know what I can possibly do to fix it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Report on Irony

On Tuesday in lab around 10:45 I yelped at the sound of yet another Erlenmeyer flask shattering.
"Damn that!" said Eric. Grumbling, "Those idiots studying fluffy subjects like humanities have no idea what it's like to actually work or think." Dumping the crystal weapons into a container marked 'glass only,' he continued, "All they do is write papers about their thoughts and feelings where there's no right answer. What kind of an education is that?"

Today is Wednesday. I wish I could tell you what time this happened, but I don't remember. Couple hours ago maybe. After lecture Hannah swiveled on her chair to face Rachel. "I love intellectually stimulating discussions like this, don't you?"
"Yeah" said Rachel, "because we're finally in higher level classes that have weeded out the narrowminded scientists."

Must I choose?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dear Sushi,

Dear Sushi,

So I don't want to beat around the bush or anything, but I thought before getting to the point I'd apologize for the whole wasabi/guacamole mix-up when I first tried you. It wasn't your fault, but I still cried. It scarred me. Thank you for giving me some space. The other night (as you know) was one of the most beautiful nights of my life. Your taste lit my soul on fire rather than my tastebuds. I just wanted to say... well... I'd like to continue our relationship because... this is tougher than I thought... because... I love you.

Yours, Aly

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh Percy!

Today in lab we got to work with... hold your breath... concentrated hydrochloric acid! And we got to wear GLOVES and work in the FUME HOOD! It was pretty awesome. On another note, I think I have a celebrity crush on Percy Shelley who unfortunately is dead. Okay but seriously, listen to this (which by the way is from the book "Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics" to which I give full credit and highly recommend if you're into poetic theory):

"Poetry is indeed something divine. It is at once the centre and circumference of knowledge; it is that which comprehends all science, and that to which all science must be referred. It is at the same time the root and blossom of all other systems of thought; it is that from which all spring, and that which adorns all... Its footsteps are like those of a wind over the sea, which the coming calm erases, and whose traces remain only, as on the wrinkled sand which paves it... There is an accumulation of the power of communicating and receiving intense and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature... Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Body Poetry

For my poetry class, our prompt this week was to write a poem addressed to (or about) a body part. We're workshopping our poems tomorrow and I haven't come up with anything fantastic yet. I don't think I will. But that being said, I think I'll use the poem I wrote anyway.

Consider the earlobe.
Poor, useless creature
clinging helplessly to substance and life
screaming in silent agony as a piercing needle
burns through its intestines
and soul.

I was thinking about continuing with basically a commentary on how women do these crazy things for beauty like poking holes in our bodies so we can adorn ourselves with sparkly things to feel beautiful or worthwhile, impress other women, and attract men. But I think I like it as it is. Especially considering that I like sparkly things.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lab Blonde

Today I had my lab for quantitative analysis. We titrated... the ENTIRE time. For this one we had lab partners for making the calibration curve (oh yes, next time we get to do the titration with our own personalized unknown!) and we had a great time relative to what we were doing. Plus my lab partner is rather attractive, so that makes things a little more interesting. So anyway, at the end of the lab I was discarding the not-really-scary-chemicals-but-enough-so-that-we-use-the-official-waste-container-thingamajigs an instead of pouring one of the little cups of blue standard (no I don't know what it was except its pH was around 7) into the waste container, I accidentally poured it INTO THE 1 M HCl! It was a scarring experience. My TA said it would be fine since we have to standardize the acid anyway and my 5 ml of stuff really won't affect the concentration or reactivity or anything... and I didn't get smited. Smitten? But my lab partner saw me and gave me a high-five for my blonde moment. Then in lecture, he came and sat by me, and then this other really awesome girl in our lab came and sat by us. The greatest part? I actually stayed awake! The professor said something about the number "e", and my new friend turned to me and whispered (cause we were like in the fourth row so we had to be subtle) the first few digits of e which I found both adorable and annoying, so I kicked him- not hard I hope- and shook my head in exasperation. Anyway, I have two tests tomorrow but am I studying? No, I'm blogging! Hurrah!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Found! And some more...

I received a call tonight from the Marriott Library informing me that my wallet has been FOUND! My faith in humanity has been restored! Oh, AND I've decided that I'm crushing on a guy in my ward... which is good considering my other crush is off-limits on so many levels which reminds me... The other day I saw an old friend that I knew in high school who made me swoon. When I use to see him walk in the room I could feel my face going red, got dizzy, and almost fainted on several occasions. I was the definition of twitterpation! And I haven't felt that since then, but I've decided that I'd rather be able to carry on an intelligible conversation with someone than pass out every time I saw them. Though a little swooning can be nice on occasion. Ahh, memories...

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I have changed my mind about analytical chemistry. I HATE it. My professor opens his mouth and starts speaking in tongues, a language that I recently discovered consists of lots of math terms that make me want to punch x and sigma in their mocking little faces. Oh, and I did SIX titrations and STILL am getting more error than I should be. (We're apparently supposed to be within 1.0 x 10^-3 because our equipment should be calibrated within .1%, but I have an error of 9.0 x 10^-3) Plus, there's no partial credit for this lab. You either get it right or you don't. And if I don't? There's ten hours of labwork down the drain along with lots of distilled water. And it irks me. But good news, my mom and I went to a few garage sales this morning and I got a kitchen torch for caramelizing sugar! (For $2...)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

*Sigh of absolute content*

I wrote this poem the other day and was proud of it, but hesitant to say anything... because sometimes you think that your work is brilliant and then you read it again and it's actually terrible, you know? Anyway, I brought it to workshop in my poetry class. My group loved it, which greatly pleased me; however, that's not why I was bouncing off the walls an hour after class ended. No guts, no glory right? I've got guts. I went up to my professor after class and asked him to look at it. This is a HUGE deal for me. He's 1) The best teacher I've ever had. Ever. EVER. And I kind of idolize him (for one, I'm going to be a teacher too!) 2) Brilliant, and has the most advanced vocabulary I've ever encountered. 3) Perfect. As far as I can tell. He said that he LOVED my poem and that it was EXCELLENT and the only suggestion he had was to remove one word he felt was unnecessary. He's an incredibly nice guy, but that was still really high praise coming from him. The poem? Here you are! Oh, and it's mine and you can't have it... in case you were considering plaigarism...

76.0, 75.2, 68.1, 66.4, 105.5, 83.2, 70.0

If a data point measured falls outside of reasonable

deviation from the mean, exclude said observation from calculations

(The kid off I-80 & 13th clutching
"Anything Hellps" on Budweiser cardboard.)

You made an error.

Added too much acid. Titrated beyond the endpoint.


Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm Being Domesticated!

Or something like that. My mom is an amazing seamstress and she's decided to teach me how to sew and make my own clothes. I picked out the patterns and fabric... so we'll see if they actually turn out! So far so good, though we haven't technically started sewing yet.

OOH! Also, I made lunch today. It consisted of wild rice, onion, garlic, chicken, mushroom, rosemary, and parsley. I went a little too heavy on the rosemary, but it was still delicious!

I wonder if synthesizing terrifying chemicals that remove any stain anywhere would count as 'cleaning'...

Thursday, September 3, 2009


My wallet is officially gone. I must've left it in one of my classes because when I went back to find it, it wasn't there. I figured that I lost about $100 in gift cards plus the fees it'll cost to replace my drivers license, my student i.d., and my bus pass. Luckily my ipod wasn't in there. I've called the university lost and found, but nothing's shown up yet; however, I still hope. So it's really not a HUGE deal because almost everything can be replaced, but it's still a big ol' pain in the butt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Root Canal

Root Canal.
Three hours. Two movies. One seriously sore mouth.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Mile

Today we ran a timed mile in my tri training class. Last semester my time was... rather embarrassingly... a little over 16 minutes. This time I did it in 14 minutes (flat!) and I jogged the whole way! I may still be super duper slow, but I cut my time down by 2 minutes WITHOUT an ipod to distract me. Maybe by the end of the semester I'll be able to cut my time down by 2 MORE minutes. Then the next semester, 2 more! Then by the time I do my triathlon, I can be doing a consistent 10 minute mile... maybe.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Teenage Poetry

I'm taking a poetry class this semester (from my favorite teacher EVER, so the combination is perfect) and rather than just enjoying and analyzing poetry- which I can do- we're actually WRITING poetry. This intimidated me at first, but now after I've written a few poems for the class I'm feeling better about it. I'm not quite secure enough yet to post my poems on my blog, but hopefully tomorrow's class will give me confidence. Anyway, I've dabbled in poetry before and thought it might be entertaining to go back and look at my previous work from middle-high school. I did so, and I can't decide whether I'm more horrified or amused. It's atrocious! I almost died laughing when I re-read my poem titled very reassuringly "Love of the Soul."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Triathlon Training

On Friday (morning at 6:30 a.m. to be precise) my tri class did a few funny running exercises. Basically the point was to run on our toes and lean forward. Later that night I went on a 30 minute jog and now my calves are killing me! MURDER! We're biking on Monday, so I'm hoping the pain goes away by then. The bright side? My already well-defined calves shall soon be perfectly sculpted like a greek goddess!

Excel? No.

I definitely do NOT excel in "Excel." I've known next to nothing about Excel and spreadsheets and stuff and I've achieved 12 years public school + 3 years of college without any problems. Until now. With my quantitative chemical analysis class (it's scary, but not as 'run-like-the-wind-to-escape-the-horror-of-the-bloodthirsty-beast-with-laser-eyes-and-poison-claws-as-big-as-grandfather-clocks-scary as it sounds... ahem) Where was I? Oh. With my chemistry class, we have already received our first homework assignment and guess what program we use for this and throughout the rest of the course? That's right! Excel. Funeral services for my loyal TI-83 TBA. Sigh.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I've never been an athlete, but I'm training to become one. Taking this into account, one can imagine my joy when in my tri training class I realized I'm the best swimmer here. All those body-building marathon runners can choke on my bubbles because I'm like a fish. A FISH! A really adorable fish... that swims... like fish generally do. If my class is out running and a bear decides we look tasty, I'll die, BUT if we're in the water and a shark chases us, I'll freestyle my way to the front and let it chew on somebody else. So HA!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good Quotes from Class Today

Today was a day of excellent quotes in my Poetic Form and Theory class.

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then... I contradict myself;
I am large... I contain multitudes."
-Walt Whitman, excerpt from Song of Myself

"Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom."
- James Wright, excerpt from the poem A Blessing

"He raised up his hook into the terrible starlight
And slashed the wind."
- James Wright, excerpt from the poem Hook

I took a class from this professor last semester and absolutely adored him. He's one of the best teachers I've EVER had, and when I'm a teacher, I want to be like him. He's passionate and poetic, insightful and positive. He's personal, yet professional. He lets his students know enough about him that we feel like we know him, yet leaves much unsaid such that he remains a figure of tantalizing mystery. Every sentence he speaks reflects his brilliance as a teacher, an academic, a reader/analyst, a poet, and a- as my friend put it- "Grade 'A' human being." I have taken to writing down some of the things that he says that strike me as profound, insightful, amusing, and often downright funny. Here's the list from today.

"Breakage has to occur before we become something other."

"Reading itself is a creative act."

"Read poems with a dreamy attentiveness."

"The heart of poetry is contradiction."

"Achilles is The Terminator." (Just plain funny!)

"I think this is a kick-ass poem!" (The fact that he said 'kick-ass' to describe a poem makes me really happy)

"Obviously it's a rhetorical question because you're like 'NO.'" (This was in reference to the question in the poem Hook, 'Did you ever feel a man hold Sixty-five cents In a hook, And place it Gently In your freezing hand?' You have to imagine the facial expression, the tone, and the hand actions on this one to get the full effect.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hurrah for School!

After an immensely enjoyable summer of escapading adventures, I finally return to a different, yet nonetheless exciting semester of school. Two days down. Four(ish) months to go. I've taken on quite a load, but they're all classes that I should love. Some observations thusfar:

-I'm not a poet, but I want to be.
-A man with a voluminous vocabulary could quite easily seduce me. Be still my swooning heart!
-Sometimes teachers try to scare you away from their classes by making them sound like torture. I think I'll stay just to spite them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's been a while!

...since I last posted! I am now in the full swing of summer adventures! First I went to Yellowstone, then I went to the Oregon Coast, then I went to California, then I went to Yellowstone, and next week I'm going to Yellowstone again. WAHOO! I'm trying to ignore my near-brokeness... Ooh and I have a blind date tomorrow! I hope it's either really good or really bad. If it's really good, awesome! If it's really bad, then I have yet another bad date story to add to my bursting collection of them. I'll have to blog about all of my bad dates. They're actually quite hilarious. The best bad date (worst?) I ever had was actually with my ex-boyfriend/the guy I thought I was going to marry but am eternally grateful now that he broke it off and still wonder exactly how I could've been so idiotic... and now that we're not speaking to each other, I can tell it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I'm ornary and emotional. And not enjoying it.

Every once in a while it's nice to have a grumpy day where nothing makes you happy. I'm generally a very happy person, so having these bad days reminds me that I'm human rather than a robot. Sometimes though, I almost wish that I didn't have the capacity for emotions. Almost. This is one of those days, where I just want to turn off and not care any more. What brought on this very un-Aly-like mood? Last night I found out that my ex- boyfriend/fiancee/whatever apparently did care about me, or at least that's what he said. That he joined this frat because he was 'heartbroken' and so he could 'get over (me)' etc. etc. You would think this would make me happy to know that oh, he CAN feel and maybe I WASN'T just a 'CONVIENCE' like he told me. But no, it really upset me. I thought with a good night's sleep I'd be fine. I slept. And I'm not fine. I'm also thoroughly frustrated with myself because I'm over this and have been for a couple months, so to have this pain sneak up again and stab me in the back is just... excruciating, and I don't know how to deal with it. But I know I'll be fine and that eventually I'll snap out of it, hopefully sooner rather than later. It's just hard while I'm in the middle.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ununbium, welcome!

On behalf of myself, I solemnly welcome ununbium into the official and discovered periodic table of the elements. Congratulations for existing, if only with a little persuasion and for a short period of time.

How? The team of scientists fired zinc ions through a 120 meter particle accelerator to hit a lead target. The two nuclei fused and created ununbium (known as 112 for the number of protons found in its nucleus, which is 30 for zinc and 82 for lead). This was done first in 1996, but finally IUPAC confirmed that it was, indeed, created.

For further information, go to:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Princesses- Intro to Children's Lit final paper

A few semesters ago I took an introduction to children's literature class. For our final project, we could choose to do anything, and I chose to write a paper about princesses. It's a personal essay mostly about my reaction to and struggles against the typical princess ideals and expectations that still plague our society. I'm not sure what draft this is, but I can't seem to find the final draft... it should be pretty close to the final though, with some minor changes.

Fairy Tales and Feminity

I enrolled in "Intro to Children's Literature" expecting to learn about the charms and diversity of children's literature, and indeed I have. More importantly however, our discussions have caused me to look at myself and question my perspective. I must shamefully admit that I had never consciously recognized that good children's literature was much more than a means of entertainment. I saw that stories could teach lessons and perhaps serve as a tool to expand the imagination, but it never occurred to me to look any deeper. Needless to say, through the course of this class I have made a literary about-face.
As a child I had a passion for books- princess stories and fairy tales in particular. It has now been revived, but mixed with the pure reminiscent pleasure for the 'good old days' of childhood are new questions about the meaning and implications of what I thought were pure and innocent stories of true love and perseverence. I wish to explore how my interaction with fairy tales combined with our course material allow new insights about princesses and femininity in our modern world.
A brief glimpse of me as a child: I was almost always happy and hardly ever cried, even as a baby. I was a 'typical little girl' in that I adored the color pink, dressed up in sparkly gowns, played dolls and house, and constantly watched classic Disney princess movies. I was mostly a model sibling to my four-years-younger sister Jenny with the typical sibling rivalry and fighting. My mom took a break from her nursing career to raise us, and we spent many hours reading books, playing outside, and imagining wonderful adventures. I continued to do 'girly' things as well as excel in every subject in school.
Well, there's my childhood. Of course it wasn't all wonderful- I got into my fair share of mischief, but I constantly tried to please my parents and be a 'good girl'. Although I recognized I was a girl, it never occurred to me that I couldn't be feminine and strong. As a child I had a relatively untainted view and never felt the pressure to 'act like a girl' because it never dawned on me that excelling in math and science might be perceived as an 'un-girlish' trait. I had confidence in myself and knew that I could do anything with my life.
I am reminded of Cinderella, the old Cinderella who goes out and does everything she can to get where she wants to go. Yolen points out that "Cinderella makes intelligent decisions, for she knows that wishing solves nothing without the concomitant action... To make Cinderella less than she is, an ill-treated but passive princess awaiting her rescue, cheapens our most cherished dreams and makes mockery of the magic inside us all- the ability to change our own lives, the ability to control our own destinies." Rather than get carried away in passionate rant of everything that's wrong with this picture of modern-day Cinderella, right now I'd like to point out that magic which lies within each of us.
Why is this concept- 'the ability to control our own destinies'- a dream for some, while it's a reality for others? I postulate that one of the reasons some people are successful (meaning in this case, live full and enriching lives where they recognize that they have control and use it for good) while some others fail is because of their experiences in childhood. For example, I come from three or four generations of teachers and I was always taught to get the best education available. If I put my mind to it, I could do anything. For me, the reason I'm in college now is because those values were instilled in me from a young age.
What then is to become of children who aren't taught this critical concept? I will venture to say that one of the best ways to reach them is through children's literature. Bettleheim points out that "When children are young, it is literature that carries such information best." It is then crucial that this literature isn't just entertaining, but that it opens up worlds where the reader can struggle to find their own answers. Of course I'm echoing Bettleheim again when he says "The fairy tale is therapeutic because the patient finds his own solutions, through contemplating what the story seems to imply about him and his inner conflicts at this moment in his life." Although he was only talking about a very specific genre of literature- fairy tales- this concept should hold true for any good story. If children are taught to wrestle with a story until they find a personal answer, I would imagine that it would be more likely for them to live more fulfilling lives as adults because of those skills of problem-solving taught at an early age.
But what if the literature they read doesn't allow room for interpretation? What if the characters are flat stereotypes that fail to grow or learn? What if entertainment is the only purpose of a story? Here is where I begin my exploration of 'fairy tale princesses' in the modern world.
In deciding to write about this issue, I've struggled to find a balance. For example, I see that Disney's 'Cinderella' isn't all bad. Ultimately it speaks to the underdog and teaches that your dreams can come true no matter how distant or unreachable they seem. By showing that Cinderella- a meek, mild, loving, virtuous girl- achieves happiness in the form of true love while her stepsisters- cruel, proud, and selfish- get nothing, it teaches that even when life is tough, it's best to keep on being a good person because it will pay off in the end. Now that is a beautiful message and I recognize its importance. At the same time though, I see a gaping hole.
To understand how Cinderella has changed, I need to examine how it began. "In the oldest of the Cinderella variants, the heroine is hardly catatonic." -Yolen. Cinderella was once about a strong woman who solved her own problems through hard work and intellect, but now when someone says 'Cinderella' most of us jump to Disney's prettified version. She is grotesquely warped; diminished to a passive airhead; virtuous perhaps, but stereotypical with no character or personality unique to her. She is 'polarized' (to use Bettleheim's words) and that's how a child's mind functions. One is either pretty or ugly, nice or mean, good or evil. But isn't it this duality within each of us that makes us interesting? Causes the struggle which allows us to choose who we are? "Good and evil are omnipresent in life and the propensities for both are present in every man. It is this duality which poses the moral problem, and requires the struggle to solve it." - Bettleheim. What then, is the point of a fairy tale if it doesn't address these issues? He continues "The fairy tale... confronts the child squarely with the basic human predicaments." From this I conclude that our modern notion of the story of Cinderella is not actually a fairy tale. Yes there may be 'magic'; however, the magic of pumpkins and mice turning into carriages and horses is pathetic in comparison to the magic inside each of us to create our own lives. That magic has been ignored, stifled, smothered.
In the stories we've read in class, the main character has been someone to whom everyone can relate. Like John de Conquer, the protagonist is usually a regular person with curiosity and passion. Although Cinderella is masked as 'ordinary' in her smudged face and dirty servant's clothes, the person behind that mask is no regular Jill from the nursery rhyme. In every version we have read or seen, Cinderella possesses beauty and virtue to no end. In the Grimm's version however, although she does not personally punish her sisters, she does not protect them as the birds peck out their eyes. In "Snow White," Snow stands aside as her wicked stepmother dances in red-hot iron shoes until she is dead. These stories at least begin to acknowledge that even the most virtuous have darkness within them.
For me at least, this duality within someone is one of the most crucial traits of a character that attracts me to them. It allows me to relate to them because I also recognize the good and evil within myself.
Now. Cinderella is so polarized, so stereotypical, that there isn't a shred of darkness within her. She cannot grow or learn because she is all good. Plus, she's a size three with huge breasts and an hourglass figure. What REAL little girl can relate to her? Before now in this paper, I've tried to take an analyst's perspective- cool, calm, observant- but now I'm afraid I can't contain myself any longer without exploding. Cinderella is FAKE. What kind of a role model is she? Millions of women- smart adults- try to be that idealized woman, but only in body because the media tells us that the women are only acceptable when they're thin and pretty. They are sexual objects of lust, and should not think for themselves or question their role. Cinderella goes beyond that. It says that women are acceptable when they are thin and pretty, and when you are thin and pretty, you are good. When you are good, you are submissive. When you are all these things, you get your 'happily ever after.' No problems or struggles; everything just falls into your lap. I have a hard time even referring to Cinderella as a person. I like this quote and it proves my point, so I'm going to switch to talking about Snow White, but in a sense Snow White and Cinderella are the same person. They're the epitome of virtue and beauty, both confined to housework awaiting a daring rescue by their handsome prince charming. HERE is the problem. "(The girls) aspired to become that object of every necrophiliac's lust- the innocent, victimized Sleeping Beauty, beauteous lump of ultimate, sleeping good. Despite ourselves, sometimes unknowing, sometimes knowing, unwilling, or unable to do otherwise, we act out the roles we were taught." -Dworkin. These are the role models that little girls are taught to idolize.
I've never heard a mother scold her daughter and ask "What would Cinderella do?" It would seem absolutely ridiculous. BUT by constantly allowing this negative media to bombard her without discussing the problems, isn't it essentially the same thing?
Thusfar I have taken the liberty of making some rather harsh accusations. Lest the reader fling this paper across the room in a fit of frustration (as I have often done in writing it,) allow me first to present another option.
In my quest to find evidence of a movement for change, I ventured to the UMFA and perused their special Cinderella exhibit. The artwork was interesting, but the books are what caught me. There were published versions of Cinderella of several cultures: Polish, Zuni, Middle Eastern, Irish, Native American, Caribbean, and American South. Cinderella is a cross-coltural phenomenon. Every one of them had a different take on that famous story.
In one book "A Wolf At The Door" (retold fairytales), I noticed the short story "Cinder Elephant" by Jane Yolen (!) and read it. It was basically the same, but there was a huge focus on the skinny stepsisters with their thin smiles, and although it was very funny at times, the overall mood was vitriolic and bitter. Yolen pokes sarcastic fun at classic Cinderella by turning every aspect of the story inside out. When the Prince goes to find her, the stepsisters "put super glue on their insteps and duct tape on their ankles" so they can fit into her size 9 1/2 grass (yes, grass) slippers. On top of that, he recognizes her face when the birds steal the slipper to make a nest out of it. This story clearly reflects what Jane Yolen said herself, that "I hated the Disney Cinderella with a passion." To me though, that's too much of an extreme. Where could I find a reasonable Cinderella?
In another book "Cinder Edna," Cinderella and Cinder Edna live next door. Cinderella is basically the Disney Cinderella while Cinder Edna is pretty average. The contrast between the two is made apparent when Edna takes the bus to the ball rather than sit around crying waiting for a rescue. Edna bumps into the prince and is quickly more attracted to the prince's little brother. As the clock strikes 12, Cinderella must come home before the magic wears off. Edna must come home because in their city, public transportation stops after midnight. In a flurry, they each leave a shoe- one glass slipper, one loafer. When the princes find their loves gone, the following conversation ensues:
"Well, didn't you get her name?" asked Rupert impatiently. "The one I love is named Edna."
"Gee, I forgot to ask," said Randolph, scratching his head.
While Randolph goes around the whole kingdom trying to find the foot that fits the shoe, Rupert looks up all the Ednas in the dictionary and asks them to name 19 different recipes for tuna casserole. In the end, both princes find their love. While Cinderella "went to endless ceremonies and listened to dozens of speeches by his Highness the Grand Archduke of Lethargia," Edna "ended up in a small cottage with solar heating... (and with her husband) laughed and joked, tried new recipes together, and played duets on accordion and concertina." The book ends with a picture of Edna and Rupert roaring with laughter and the words "Guess who lived happily ever after."
While this story appeals to me as an adult, of course the pink Disney Cinderella is much more appealing to a starry-eyed six-year-old. I then read "Ella's Big Chance" about a Cinderella during the jazz age. She is the perfect medium between the two Cinderella extremes. While she is not thin and drop dead gorgeous, she is not an ugly 'elephant' that looks like a hen. She gets discouraged but keeps going! She struggles to solve her own problems, and although the Duke falls madly in love with her, in the end she chooses her best friend, the package-delivery boy.
All of these books provide concrete evidence that there are other people who see the need for change. They seem to cry to me that no, Cinderella doesn't have to be boxed into a corner of stereotypical dullness. There is hope! As in time before stories were written down, Cinderella as a person and a story can and will change. She can grow! We as readers gain insight through fairy tales like this. Bettleheim said "As with all great art, the fairy tale's deepest meaning will be different for each person, and different for the same person at various moments in his life." I think that also coincides with the life of a fairy tale as it changes to fit the values of a certain age.
As our culture changes, the stories follow. "Fairy tales are the primary information of the culture. They delineate the roles, interactions, and values which are available to us. They are our childhood models." -Dworkin. I propose that in order to keep up with current culture, fairy tales are not limited to regurgitated versions of Snow White or Little Red Riding Hood. I can just hear the sigh of my old AP English teacher if she read what I'm about to say, but perhaps you, dear reader, may allow me to indulge myself for a moment? "Harry Potter" comes to mind as our modern-day fairy tale. Although we didn't talk about it in class, I feel that it applies well to my paper and train of thought.
Since book one, "Harry"'s popularity has skyrocketed. Children all around the world know the story. I love it, but I never understood why it became so incredibly huge. J.K. Rowling's writing style delights, but there are other authors whose stories are equally charming, yet haven't a fraction of the popularity of the Potter books.
Now I can't speak for the rest of society, but I can speak for myself. "Harry Potter" keeps me entertained with the idea of a school for learning magic being an alternate sort of reality within our real world. BUT that is not why it enchants me. "Harry Potter" captivates me in its spell because, like a fairy tale of old, Harry is a real person rather than a flat stereotype. By embarking on that grand adventure to finally face Lord Voldemort, Harry discovers who he is. He confronts the evil within himself, struggles, and triumphs in choosing his own destiny. I can relate to him much more than I can to Disney's Cinderella because unlike that pathetic excuse of a 'fairy tale,' "Harry Potter" addresses the magic within each of us to create our own paths. I touched on this point earlier in the paper, and feel it necessary to come back to it because its significance is crucial, whoever acts out that role.
I don't mean to be repetitive, but I do want to emphasize my point. Even though there are no such things as blast-ended skrewts or whomping willows, "Harry" is about real life. It's about his growth, his own coming-of-age tale. Like Maurice Sendak, J.K. Rowling acknowledges the reality of darkness, pain, and suffering. At the same time, she infects the reader with a contagious dose of hope. The theme? Even in our imperfections, our struggles make us who we are. We can choose victory because we can choose our own paths. "A struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existence- but... if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious." -Bettleheim This is hope indeed.
Finally before leaving Harry, I feel it necessary to point out the roles of women in these books. Professor McGonogall is one of the most powerful professors at the school. Hermione beats Harry and Ron in every academic subject. Mrs. Weasley takes out Bellatrix Lestrange, the powerful right-hand murderess of the most evil wizard of all time. These women are portrayed as strong and confident while at the same time attractive and feminine. While the story focuses on Harry, a boy, in a way it's a lot like Cinderella in that he was born into privilege, his parents died, he's forced to live with wretched relatives, then finally he rises to glory. Unlike Cinderella though, he does his own saving.
I have so much more to say than time or room in this paper will allow. I feel as though I could write an entire book on this subject. I methodically planned my paper, pretty much knowing exactly what I wanted to talk about. As I continued writing however, I discovered some things that I hadn't noticed before. Rather than changing my opinion, this class has lead me to questions that may not have answers. The truth is that I don't know the exact interplay of fairytales and femininity in the modern world. I have undergone a shift in perspective, both concerning children's literature and myself. Although I still don't have all the answers, it's my struggle to find them that has lead to the thoughts and insights expressed in this paper. Before, I enjoyed fairy tales and left it at that. During the class and sometimes in this writing, I sought the meaning of fairy tales in relation to the rest of society. I analyzed how these stories may affect children in general. Now I'm in the process of discovering what they mean to me. Rather than searching for answers in and about the outside world, I now turn inward. A fairy tale is as much meant for me to dissect and enjoy as it is for a child being lulled to sleep by their mother's soft voice telling of fantastic adventures in lands far away. By unearthing some of the depth of children's literature that I never before saw, part of me has indeed changed, reawakened if you will. Perhaps I've inhaled pixie dust, but I think that maybe I'm on the verge of creating my own "Once Upon A Time." The best part? I get to choose.

Romeo and Juliet essay

I wrote this essay as an assignment for my English class last semester. The topic was "Sex and Violence in Romeo and Juliet." I received an A/A- for it with my professor's comment "Your essay is a hair short of spectacular, but too fresh and original for a pedestrian A-". I think that now I could revise it and receive a solid A, but I was pleased nonetheless.


Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" arguably centers around the age-old theme of love. It is the great force that transcends differences in blood, nationality, gender, and class. This interpretation, though valid, barely scratches the surface in its naivete'. Sex (and marriage) is often viewed as the ultimate expression of love, while violence (and murder) is likewise seen as the ultimate expression of hatred. As Romeo and Juliet come together in matrimony, sex and violence also melt together into a dizzying portrait whose subject can lift men to the heavens in triumph or bring them to their knees in despair: passion.
This concept of sex and violence intertwining is, not surprisingly, brought up in very first scene. The play starts out on a humorous note with bawdy jokes and clever wordplay between two Capulets. Upon seeing Montagues, Sampson's "tool" is compared to a weapon. (Act 1, scene 1: lines 33-35) This tickles the funny bone of those who catch it, and humor continues with the thumb-biting routine. Their encounter quickly turns sour as an all-out street brawl begins. The play thusfar seems to be more of a comedy than a tragedy, yet a closer analysis detects a more sinister underlying tone. Shakespeare loosely suggests the image of a a sword plunged into an enemy's heart as a comparison to sex, where a man's genitalia (his weapon) penetrate the woman. Could this be social commentary on a patriarchal society, or is it yet another way to make an audience laugh?
Sex and violence seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum of love and hate, but perhaps they differ less than imagined. Perhaps Shakespeare contrasted these two concepts to further heighten and intensify the other, much like a dramatic foil. Romeo and Juliet's love, matrimony, and physical expression of it contrast with the hate, violence, and murder associated with their quarreling families. On another level, as sex and violence link on levels not quite as opposite as they appear, so do love and hate. Romeo vengefully kills Tybalt, his true love's favorite cousin. Juliet labels Romeo as long string of oxymorons "Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical! ...Just opposite of what thou justly seemest!" (Act 2, scene 2: lines 75-78) In this one act of murder, reality finally confronts the two lovers. Their emotions of pure and holy love clash and blend with the realized reality of their feuding families and their roles as members of each household.
The love between Romeo and Juliet unites with the hate between their families to lead them into love as well as death. In a modern-day movie adaptation of the play, "West Side Story," the writers suggest (rather obviously) that only love brought Tony and Maria together while only hate in the form of racism and gang rivalries tore them apart. Is Shakespeare this simple? Would Juliet and Romeo have fallen that desperately in love with each other if they were of the same household? Indeed it would have been far less romantic. There is a mysterious power of allurement in the unattainable and forbidden. Would they have killed themselves if they hadn't been so in love that they could not fathom life without each other? Hate played a role in bringing them together, as love also took part in separating them.
Although Juliet muses on roses and their names (Act 1, scene 2: lines 43-44), humans are not plants. People possess more complexity and layers of petals than a mere rose, whatever its name. They initially ignored their heritage, but eventually come to recognize that ties of blood and family run deeper than merely a name. Though they love each other, they too are forced into conflict. As their lives darken in complexity and emotion, so does their relationship. They marry, Romeo kills Tybalt, and they have sex all in very condensed time frame. These events happening in this sequence provides a particular point of interest. Sex before murder would indeed have been seen purely as an act of love; however, sex happened after murder. By doing this, Shakespeare therefore suggests that love and hate intertwine in their act of sex. It is at the same time both a passionate expression of affection as well as a violent act of conquering and penetration.
The short time frame and lack of perspective perfectly caters to passion as a theme. Acts of passion happen in the heat of the moment, rarely logical or thought through. Shakespeare made his lovers young teenagers for a reason. To a teenage mind, everything is all or nothing. Romeo pines after Rosaline in the beginning, and at first glance switches his affections to fall desperately in love with Juliet. Once the ball starts rolling, they cannot stop it. They cannot wait; only the present moment exists. Neither of them possess any sense of future, and their already hormonally-warped tunnel vision distorts even further as their passions guide them. In the passion of love, they marry. In the passion of fury, Romeo kills Tybalt. In the passion of lust and despair, they have sex. And ultimately in the passion of grief, they each suicide. They could not imagine a future without each other, and lost, they commit their very last act of passion.
"Romeo and Juliet" studies the violent and sensual dance between love and hate. In the form of sex and violence, they unite. Humans deal with complex concoctions of emotions and drives. To this day, Shakespeare captures audiences (and English students) in his fascinating study of human relationships; a reflection of reality where bonds are created and destroyed by the dangerous force of passion.

MAUS essay

I wrote this essay for my final paper in an English class last semester. It is about the graphic novel "MAUS: A Survivor's Tale" by Art Spiegelman.


It seems almost ridiculous to represent one of the most horrific events in history through a comic book; nearly impossible to accurately portray real people as cartoon animals. In doing so, does it not trivialize the reality of human suffering during the Holocaust? I assert quite the opposite. Through a comic book we begin to approach reality. Through animal characterizations we examine human nature. I argue that these masks provide an alternate and arguably better pathway to viewing reality. It is not in spite of masks in MAUS that it is effective; rather, it is because of their use that we grow closer to truth. Spiegelman effectively employs these masks to establish a safe distance, at once both cushioning and distancing us from the devastation of the Holocaust while allowing us to transcend the taboos associated with talking about it.
I argue that this is done in part through the marriage of two unlikely partners: the Holocaust and the comic book. "Perhaps the only way to approach the unrepresentable is to present the impossibility of representing it, turning representation inside out to confront this horrific sublime" assures Michael Sorkin. As a society, we bring certain expectations to comic books. They weave tales of the fantastic and improbable involving superpower-endowed heroes fighting for peace and justice. In the end, the unstained innocent are always spared, the guilty undoubtedly reap what they sow, and good surely triumphs over evil. Spiegelman plays upon these expectations to shelter us from some of the horrors of the Holocaust by employing this medium, in effect representing the unrepresentable. In doing so, he blatantly breaks the unspoken rules, the act of which both shelters us from real horrors and shocks us into seeing a new perspective.
He breaks rules in other ways as well, particularly in representing Jews in the Holocaust. He gives the Holocaust the mask of a comic book and adorns real people with the masks of animals. It is nearly incomprehensible to blame the victims of others' crimes; however, in the example of Jews in the Holocaust, that social expectation has been exaggerated to such an extreme that to acknowledge their humanness borders on blasphemy. By using the guise of animals, Spiegelman addresses this issue and is thus able to involve deeply flawed protagonists who lie, manipulate, and murder. Vladek is no Clark Kent, and certainly not the guileless Anne Frank. Unlike the typical comic book fantasy, the 'good guys' are not angelic figures of virtue, and this story is a reality that does not end with a "happily ever after." Their experience is not something they could just forget if they tried, and in Vladek's case, continues to destroy his life. To a point, he is both unloving and unlovable, enslaving his family in his expectations such as on page 69 where he literally throws away Art's coat because it doesn't suit Vladek's tastes. This outward act- along with several other examples throughout the book- point readers to recognizing yet another facade that Vladek uses (though he is unaware of it) to hide his emotional pain. We can finally approach the reality of human flaws because of our distance. We see new realities through the mask of a comic book.
If seeking truth is the aim in MAUS, we must address the dissimilarities between men and beasts, specifically the rodential kind. How can utilizing animals to tell this story be effective? Does it not propagate the stereotypes we so desperately try to dispel and escape? Spiegelman himself commented that "One doesn't exterminate people, one exterminates rodents, insects, subhumans." Even in the form of a comic book, I argue that the Holocaust drawn with humans as characters would be difficult to stomach. It too closely reflects reality. I believe that Spiegelman chose to portray his and his father's story in this way for this reason. Even though we recognize that MAUS concerns humans- that in essence humans don the masks of cats and mice- on some level we feel safer. It is about animals, so there is not worry about defiling their memory by recognizing their problems... their flaws... their- dare I say it?- humanness. On another level, this metaphor (another kind of mask) not-so-subtly suggests that we as humans often act like animals. In dire circumstances, people resort to the basest of animal instincts: survival.
The effects of using animals in his portrayal is not limited to this. Mice are helpless vermin that we as humans- as predators- hunt to the point of extermination. They are a lesser species after all. Spiegelman prefaces his book with a Hitler quote: "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human." He takes Hitler's words quite literally, employing different animal species to represent different human groups. There is an element of bitter sarcasm in his portrayal of humans as cats and mice. He plays off of their relationship as predator and prey; the hunter and the hunted. This separation and relationship reflects the Nazi mentality and helps us understand their paradigm. It is indeed propagated, but to such an extreme point that these masks quickly disintegrate to reveal the humans underneath the whiskers, illustrating the absurdity of typecasting people based on their religion, nationality, or culture.
Although comic books beg simplicity, in MAUS I argue that this hides (or going with my theme, masks) its depth. Critic Hillel Halkin says "All that happens in the comic strip is that one ends up more bound and chained than ever. The division into small boxes limits all utterances to the shortest and pithiest statements, ruling out nearly all verbal subtlety or complexity, while the need to fill each box with a drawing has a similar effect on the illustrations." In typical cases, I agree; however, MAUS is not ordinary in any sense and thus cannot be treated as such. By using comic book form, I argue that Spiegelman frees himself, his story, and his readers from the chains of expectations. He adds depth to the story through illustration that could not be achieved through written word alone, while at the same time utilizing the written word as part of the illustration. He emphasizes words (and images, as will be later discussed) according to their relative size and placement such as on page 52. Simply by making the words "but look what you do Artie" bigger and bolder in context, Spiegelman visually shows the change of tone in Vladek's voice as he quickly snaps from telling a portion of his history to yelling at his son in present day for spilling cigarette ashes on his clean carpet. It intrigues me first that Vladek expresses more gusto and emotion in scolding his son for a harmless mistake than he does in recalling a Nazi guard withholding necessary nutrition for not completing an impossible task, and second that we are visually pointed to this. Spiegelman gives us insight into this specific example through his literal illustration of the written word.
To a similar effect, he emphasizes imagery and communicates to the reader through setting. One of the most striking images appears on page 125 where Anja and Vladek attempt to escape from their increasingly worse situation. The swastika floods the panel, dwarfing them- indeed everything- in comparison. They appear as small and insignificant as frightened little mice. All roads lead to the same end. Like the dying trees and barren landscape, the swastika poisons and eventually destroys all that it touches, leaving nothing but death and misery in its place. Without verbal explanation, we understand the symbolism of all that the picture represents and vividly feel its significance.
Spiegelman additionally communicates emotion through imagery and even the lack of unnecessary words. Though the lack of detail in script and drawing may seem to detract from the emotion of the story, I argue that this is merely a mask that covers its depth and intensity. A fascinating example is found on the very last page. Will Eisner says that "[The employment of body posture and facial expression] can carry the narrative without resorting to any unnecessary props or scenery." Significantly, Art and Vladek are together outside- for the first time- bathed in the light of sunshine. Vladek remembers (or at least finally chooses to reveal) that he destroyed Anja's diaries. Symbolically, Art finally is in the light in regards to his father. As his father contributed to his mother's physical death, he also obliterated her memory as well as any insight into her own "survivor's tale." Art sulks off, unconstrained by a square panel, uttering one isolated word: "Murderer." Spiegelman emphasizes its significance through this visual space- a single word murmured by a defeated man, shoulders bent, moments before involved in his father's life and history, now walking off of the page, bitter and alone. This image elicited a strong emotional response from me that I'm quite sure could not be replicated through written word alone. I was shocked, angry, and upset at first that Vladek destroyed his wife's memory, and then finally that Art refused to forgive him for it. Their relationship was obviously strained, but this final image of loneliness hurt. During the war, people surrounded each other. Their living areas were cramped and devoid of space, but at least they remained together. Spiegelman drew this and I subconsciously came to expect that visual closeness so that when he broke this pattern it made it all the more painful. In ways that could not be replicated in the written word, I felt his loneliness. I literally winced.
Spiegelman physically portrays his characters' humanness in his drawings. They may have mouse heads and long tails, but their physique screams human down to Vladek's spectacles and Art's opposable thumbs. They walk on two feet, their wear clothes, they eat at the table, and they participate in everything human to such a point that in our eyes they become human. Their visual animal masks mentally disappear and in case we missed the hint, Spiegelman shocks the unsuspecting in switching to a comic with humans within the comic; Art's own "Prisoner on Hell Planet." (pg 100-103) Perhaps this gives us a glimpse of what it might have been like had Spiegelman not portrayed his real characters as mice. The story of one woman's death horrified me as it was arguably supposed to. The frame around the page is black, the words clearer in their torment, the facial expressions intense, and the darkness unending. A bleak glimpse of emotional reality.
In contrast, I find a trait of cleanliness in novels. Every word falls nicely in place, ink evenly coats each letter, and paragraphs and pages obey the invisible boxes that structure them. Spiegelman on the other hand draws his own boxes and even then sometimes leaks onto margins or omits a box entirely. He writes his words by hand. I argue that, though subtle, these choices achieve a certain effect that couldn't be accomplished in any other way. "[MAUS is] at one and the same time a novel, a documentary, a memoir, and a comic book" says Jules Feiffer. Because it does not conform to any one set of rules, it cannot be categorized. It is neither a comic book nor a novel, an autobiography nor a biography, complete fact or fiction. We see these discontinuities in the book, but I find that a mere basis. This non-uniformity reflects the story as a whole. It is not like other Holocaust tales, and it doesn't pretend to be.
Through utilizing these masks, Spiegelman frees us from the dominant social paradigm that suggests we simplify both issues and people of the Holocaust. He forces us to look at it in a different way, and in doing so we free ourselves from placing humans in unbending boxes. Because he distances both readers and participants through facades that eventually crumble, he preserves the integrity of his father's story and examines the truth and reality of humanity.

Will Eisner, (Comics and Sequential Art, 2005, p. 111)
Michael Sorkin (Sorkin, 1993, p. 74)
Art Spiegelman (Hirt-Manheimer, 1987, p. 23)
Hillel Halkin ('Inhuman Comedy', Commentary (February 1992) p. 56)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tetris Distractions

I just finished playing Tetris! And 'finished' isn't quite the right word because I would've probably kept playing (stupid level 34...) except that I do indeed value sleep. I forgot this however, for the past three and a half hours, and continued playing this brilliant and addictive little game. Really I blame it on my sister. I was all ready to watch Naruto and see them battle with the other ninjas for the rights to hunt this crazy elusive bug that only hatches once in a few years so that they could expose it to Sasuke's scent so it would track Sasuke and they could find him and save him from Orochimaru/himself... but it was not to be. Sigh. I shall wait for another day when my sister is feeling better. Oh woe is me.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Today I went and saw the movie "Taken" with my friend Kate. It's about a retired special-ops highly trained government guy whose daughter is kidnapped. The entire show is basically him trying to find her which includes torturing and killing the bad guys for information. *SPOILER!* He finds her. Part of me was saying "Hey man, doing bad stuff to bad guys doesn't make it right, even if it's for someone you love" while another part was saying "Yeah, you get those (swear word) and do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love." Were I ever in a similar situation as the daughter (kidnapped, hooked on drugs, and sold into prostitution/slavery), I think I would kill myself. I would rather die, and I wouldn't want my loved ones to have blood on their hands in case they did go after the bad guys. I talked to my dad about this and he said that my great grandpa once said that "You know you're in the right place with God when you can imagine having complete power over your enemy and instead let him go." The better part of me is agreeing with this, but another part is crying for justice. Perhaps justice is not ours (as mere mortals) to deliver, but then do we just sit around and do nothing? I'll have to think some more about this...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Complaints and Whinings

I went to my home ward with my mom and sister. It was wonderful to be with them and visit with old friends and leaders, but somewhat frustrating at the same time. Allow me to explain. Every time I go to church, I find my patience (both with myself and others) and faith in the church (emphasis on church) poked and prodded and bothered and tested. Even though I don't always let it on, I am an incredibly opinionated person and am quite prone to thinking I'm right. This is a problem. Anyway, here are my issues today-

1. In Sunday School we had a lesson about the three degrees of glory, and the teacher introduced it by explaining (what she thought- and obviously hadn't done enough research on) the beliefs of other major religions concerning an afterlife and how- she didn't say this explicitly but it was obviously how she felt- they were inferior to our beliefs, and then began expressing gratitude for being blessed to have the fulness of the truth and how she was SO glad that she wasn't this religion or that religion because it would be simply awful. This really bothered me.

2. In Sunday School (again) we read a quote from the book "Mormon Doctrine" by Bruce R McConkie. He was an incredible man with some great insights, but this book IS NOT DOCTRINE!!! There's actually a disclaimer in the book, and it bugs me first that he would publish under such a misleading title, and second that some people still use it as 'doctrine.' It has some really beautiful, valuable things in it but I think it can be very dangerous when taken as absolute truth.

3. In Sacrament meeting we sang the hymn "Count Your Many Blessings." It has a really good message, basically that gratitude is important. For kids in primary, it's great. But I think it's misleading, especially to those with mental illnesses such as depression. It suggests that you can solve all of your problems and magically be happy by counting your blessings and being grateful. I agree that gratitude is really really really important, but what about grief? What about loss? Isn't part of life about experiencing pain? Doesn't dealing with pain in part define who we are? Tossing it in a shoebox and taping with 'a warm home' and 'the scriptures' and 'bubbles' doesn't make it go away. We have to face our problems, and gratitude will be a great aid in overcoming our weaknesses or our trials, but it's not the end-all solution. I also really dislike the tune. It's simple, predictable, and annoying.

4. In relief society/priesthood (combined) we had this guy come and talk to us about- of all things- building maintenance! An hour of him explaining why the church is focusing on "member maintenance" rather than hiring people, how the rating system works, what cleaners we use and why, etc. That was definitely NOT what I came to church for, and I found it inappropriate for a Sunday setting.

Yes I'm rather ornary, and it's probably because of stupid Aunt Flo who's come to visit again. Sometimes I wish I accepted everything that's taught to me rather than have to go through this frustration of thinking and finding out for myself, but then I wouldn't be me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Grimm Wanderings

I'm a little bit obsessed with fairy tales. The spark was there, but my children's literature class poured gasoline over that spark and now it's a fiery passion burning within my bosom... or something like that... REAL fairy tales, NOT Disney's grotesque distortion of classics with pretty, submissive objects to be acted upon called 'princesses,' but that's a discussion/rant for another day. Anyway, I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm reading the Grimm brothers' fairy tales. I'm currently on page 220 of the Barnes and Noble Edition of "Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales." Very good, I quite recommend it. Anyway, I find the variety of stories fascinating. There are princess stories, folk-like tales with animals (and even talking sausages- yes, sausages- and rocks), fairies, wizards, elves, poor tailors, and magic galore! Most of them are actually quite tame contrary to the popular belief of Grimm fairy tales being... well... grim! Anyway, if you are looking for a particularly gruesome and bloody fairy tale, here's the link to it. It's called "Fitcher's Bird." Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009


This weekend I went to Yellowstone with my mom and two of my bestest friends! It was sooo so beautiful and amazing. We hit Artist Paint Pots, Norris, Mammoth, Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pots, Biscuit Basin, Black Sand Basin, and Mesa Falls. It was pretty great.

I've been contemplating death recently. I believe strongly in an afterlife and I thought about this weekend. I wonder if we'll all compare death stories. Some old guy with twinkling eyes and a beard might say 'Yep, I went the right way. Died in my sleep five days after my wife.' Another could boast about how their parachute was tinkered with by a jealous ex-lover of their significant other and it ripped as they plummeted to their death.

I think I prefer the first one, but if I had to die soon I'd want it to be in a cool way. Like being sat on by a buffalo. I can see it now. "Oh, I can top that. I was in Yellowstone minding my own business and this huge buffalo charged me so I ducked and then it stopped and so I pet it but then it sat down on me and... well... here I am!" Luckily for me this past weekend a buffalo didn't so much as acknowledge my existence. I did however, seriously consider risking death.

As a scientist, one must exhibit the dangerous trait of curiosity. This is my query: does the surrounding environment of geothermal features absorb the chemicals released by them? In other words, will a rock by a geyser taste like sulfur? I suppose there exists a 'proper way' of observing, testing, and recording this phenomenon, but after all there is no time like the present! I therefore decided that, for the purpose of scientific discovery, I must risk my life by leaping across the thin crust to lick a rock near a volatile geyser.

I ultimately decided that since I don't actually have my chemistry degree at the moment, I'm not a REAL scientist yet, so I'm not bound to the associated code of honor. I am supremely grateful for this loophole that allowed me to escape a hot, gruesome, and certain death.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

45 minutes. 45 MINUTES! I ROCK!

As if yesterday weren't enough, today I went on a jog and timed myself for 45 minutes. I stopped once because a weiner dog tried to attack me, but other than that it was continuous! AND on the more upbeat songs I did 1-2 minutes of faster-than-normal-getting-my-heartbeat-up kind of running and I was booking it! Well, at least for me. :) Tomorrow I'm going to Yellowstone and I'm SO EXCITED! I don't know why because I feel like I've seen everything there... maybe it's just getting away from Utah. Who knows? Anyway, life is SO GREAT! I'm traveling a ton this summer (by the way, I just booked tickets to California!) AND I'm in better shape than I've been in years even though you can't tell yet but that's okay AND my classes in the fall will be fabulous AND I'm FINALLY over my ex (speaking of which, why was I such an idiot? I'm exhibit A for the expression "love is blind", but anyway...) AND I got a 3.97 GPA this spring NOT to mention that I have an amazing family and wonderful friends.

p.s.- yay for endorphins!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yay for Jogging!

Today I went on a jog, and it was very slow. I don't do fast. Anyway, I went on a jog at Liberty Park and went twice around the park for a total distance of 2.94 miles. That is ALMOST three miles which is ALMOST a 5K which is the running distance for a sprint triathlon. I've basically decided that I rock.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fizzle Bath

So yesterday it was finally hot enough for me to give my baby (aka Fizzle the tortoise) a bath. It was quite the endeavor because although he's usually quite 'chill', he hates me constantly picking him up and scrubbing in awkward places. He gets poop stuck to him and I have to scrub it off, sometimes even gently flipping him over so I can get the bottom of his shell. It greatly distracts him from his mission in life, which is pointedly to eat as many dandelions as humanly- err rather tortoisely possible and in the shortest amount of time. Whoever wrote that silly story "The Tortoise and the Hare" obviously never saw a hungry sulcata race toward a dandelion.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interesting article

This article (nay, the book it is about) backs my family's long suspicions that some food additives(especially ASPARTAME) are incredibly harmful to our bodies. I'm hoping to do some research on aspartame- ooh that would be a great chem lab for my future students!- but information is notoriously difficult to get ahold of since it's such a big industry, although sucralose is overtaking it. By the way, aspartame is commonly known as nutrasweet, equal, and canderel. Sucralose is commonly known as splenda.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Summer Happenings

Yesterday I went on a five mile hike (r/t) to Fifth Water hot springs with a couple of friends. It was amazing! We had a blast, especially in attempting to not be seen by sickly old men while changing into our suits. I have decided that this summer shal be a summer of mayhem and merriment! Sometimes I find myself sad when thinking about the event I was so looking forward to this summer and how it shall no longer be, so this summer I am going to live! Therefore, I've compiled a list of summer things that I'm planning on doing and thought hey, what better a place to post than on a BLOG?! Wahoo!

Ongoing goals

Train for a triathlon- Be able to do a sprint distance which is:
1. Swim .47 mile
2. Bike 12.4 miles
3. Run 3.1 miles
............Then be on my way to training for Olympic distance which is:
1. Swim .93 mile
2. Bike 24.8 miles
3. Run 6.2 miles

Hike at least once a week (while in town)

Go on a walk every night with my dad

Build an outdoor enclosure for my tortoise and take him outside every day

Cook delicious food using our fresh vegetables and herbs

Practice voice every day (while in town) and have regular lessons

Sell my jewelry, babysit, and do yardwork... yay for not-real jobs!

Attend FHE

Play and frolic lots and lots

Finish reading Grimm fairy tales!

One Time Gigs

Go to Yellowstone with my mom. 4 days

Go to Denver to visit cousins. 4 days

Go to the Oregon Coast with my family. 2 weeks

Go to California with my friend. 1 week

Go to Yellowstone with my friends. 5 days

Go fourwheeling in Nevada with my friends. 3 days

Go skinny-dipping. Just to say that I did.

Go camping in St George or Moab.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AWESOME science teacher... and AWESOME Mom

That's what I want to be! This website will aid me in doing so:
It's a website that shows you how to make cool science toys out of regular hosuehold items!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Excellent Appetizers!

For our end-of-year banquet in my sorority, I was asked to make appetizers. I went along with the theme of Tex/Mex and created my own. I wish I had pictures, but I don't... this time. I'll be making them again because they were a huge success!

1. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, press into soft tortillas. Bake in oven for a few minutes until hard.
2. Using a ziploc bag with the tip cut, squeeze out a dollop of refried beans onto the star tortillas.
3. " ", squeeze out tiny dogs of sour cream onto each point of the star tortillas.
4. Cut up some green onions. Place three segments on the beans, leaving a space in the middle.
5. Cut cherry or grape tomatoes in half, placing in middle.
6. Sprinkle generous amount of orange cheese over top.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Broken... and Mending

“When the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold, because they believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful” -Barbara Bloom

I think I might be to the point where I'm almost glad that my plans fell through. In regards to marriage, that is. I seriously questioned if I could ever love again, and if so, would it ever be as deep and passionate and wonderful as what I had experienced once? Would anyone ever love me? I felt hurt, abandoned, and betrayed. Broken beyond repair, like there was no one who could fix me or fill that void. I was surrounded by people who loved me, but it wasn't the same.

It's been nearly six months since my ex-future-husband told me I wasn't good enough for him or right for him or something- I still don't understand exactly what it was- and I still look back on it with pain. Yet I am alive, and life is sweet. I have come to realize that yes, I can love again. I can feel it. I will. Perhaps loving someone has less to do with their merits, talents, personality- their general "loveability"- and more to do with the one doing the loving than the one being loved.

Though broken, I am mending. I am returning to who I am and regaining the optimism and enthusiasm that I thought I had lost. I find myself at another crossroads in my life, and I have made my choice. I choose happiness. I choose now to live with passion and love.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm Aliiiiiive!

I'm alive and it rocks. No I haven't had any near-death experiences, or even any near-near-death experiences, but it is awesome to be alive. I know what I want to do with the rest of my life (meaning the next three or so years... then it's up in the air!) and I finally figured out how to do it. Huzzah! I wish I had something terribly clever to say, but perhaps another day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Twilight... Buying Into The Madness

Finally at the dollar theater, I saw the movie "Twilight" based on the famous book by Stephanie Meyer. I had incredibly low expectations and found myself pleasantly surprised. I'm one of those people who tease and make fun of giddy girls swooning over a fictitious perfect man/vampire and I would like to be able to back up my rather harsh claims with evidence. This lead me to purchasing the book and re-reading it.

I started with a thoroughly objective perspective. I wanted to critique and analyze, dissect and criticize the author's writing style and figure out exactly why this book has become so huge. While I maintained this perspective, I placed a corner piece in the puzzle of why this borders on a point of obsession for many, specifically girls. This is my theory: Bella exhibits every teenage awkwardness, self-consciousness, and flaw. She embodies mediocrity, and readers, although often annoyed, nevertheless sympathize with her because they too see imperfections in themselves. Edward on the other hand, is portrayed as the perfect man: smart, charming, thoughtful, romantic, athletic, incredibly attractive. It is this idea that enchants readers: that someone so bloody perfect could see past mediocrity into 'true character' and desire them. Admit it, there was at least one time in your life where you were OBSESSED with someone. Now wouldn't it have been amazing if that person were just as madly in love with you as you were with them? I have several other theories, but this encompasses my main argument pertaining to the allurement of "Twilight."

It's pathetic... yet I must include myself in this crowd of blinded and delighted readers. I want to say that I'm more mature than those ridiculous giggling Twilight-obsessed teenage girls, but I can't. I recognize the lie, but still I buy into it. It gives me hope that there is someone out there who will see my problems and still adore me. Perhaps I should take it for what it's worth to me and leave it at that.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My dreams tell me I'm secretly insane... or not so secretly :)

I hardly ever remember my dreams, so when I do it's noteworthy.

I found myself at Lagoon (a local amusement park) with a steak knife I had just retrieved from a secret hiding place. I remembered that I brought the steak knife there earlier because I was meeting friends and making fajitas and consequently needed a steak knife to cut the meat. I remembered though that in the insane world we live in (or my reflection of it in the dream), a steak knife could be used as a weapon rather than for the innocent use of cutting, hmm, STEAK to make delicious fajitas. So I was trying to hide it and sneak it out without getting caught. I finally gave up and waved to a police officer that happened to be leaning against a fence nearby, waving and pointing to the knife in my hand. He pointed a gun at me but somehow I convinced him that I wasn't a threat, so he came over to me. He took the steak knife and gave me a butter knife in return. I was upset because that was my dad's favorite steak knife and obviously a butter knife wouldn't do the job. Seeing my innocence, he gave the steak knife back to me and escorted me to the nearest ride. I got in and went on the ride, then tried to leave. I sat at what I thought was the edge, then the ride started going and I realized I was still on it. We went and I got safely back. Again I tried to get off, but ended up in another compartment and was stuck on the ride one last time. I realized that I still had my steak knife on me, so I threw it to the side, thinking that I did not want to accidentally injure someone while riding. After my third round, I left and retrieved the steak knife. I met up with my friends Heather and Laura and we proceeded to cross a swampish area to a haunted house walkthrough. I went in, and it was fun but this haunted house had a new twist: we were to search for clues that would lead us to an object we were supposed to find. The haunted house was really crowded and there were a bunch of witches guiding us through, but finally I escaped into an empty room full of books. The clues lead me to believe that I was searching for a book, so I started looking on the shelves when something caught my eye. It was a little statue of two cherubs, and it hit me that it fit all the clues and this must be what everyone was searching for. I quickly lumped it in my robes (because somewhere down the line I had acquired robes) and raced back to the entrance. A witch discovered my concealed treasure and beckoned me to hurry to the finish line. I got to the finish line with a friend and they gave us gorgeous blue dresses with purple-ish metallic-y beads in our sizes. We got dressed in them, and I woke up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interesting Article on the Importance of Darkness

Here's an article (one of many) on the importance of darkness.,1518,608417,00.html

In a 'bright lights, big city' world, it can be very difficult to find absolute darkness. Have you ever been in a place that dark, where you look up at the night sky and can literally see thousands of stars? Where the only light comes from the moon, and the comfort of darkness engulfs you. It is a rare and beautiful experience. It is crucial in our sleep cycle as well as our overall well-being as humans, but it also has an effect on the environment and natural life.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I just finished writing a paper about sex and violence in Romeo and Juliet! It was intriguing... and now it's done! Yay :) I hope my professor likes it... So here are some random thoughts...

1. The game "Bunko" (bunco? not sure how to spell it) is AMAZING! It takes no skill, goes fast, and is fun! I like it.
2. Yay for themed parties! I want to host a twenties party, a card-making party, a candy-making party, a murder mystery party, a sappy chick flick party, and a casino night... ALL TOGETHER! Well no not really together... but that would be pretty intense.
3. I like to plan things like road trips. There are three that I'll be going on with friends in the next five months and I'm already starting to plan the one I'm in charge of. Is that strange?
4. Global warming really sucks. I bite my thumb at it sir, and say "a pox on ye!"
5. I find myself hilarious late at night.
6. Rolos? Excellent name for an exquisite candy- delectable drops of caramel ROLLED in a chocolatey blanket of goodness then adorned with shiny gold foil? First you get to unwrap this delicious present, then you savour its chewy caramely gooey chocolatey yumfulness, and satisfied, you realize that you have consumed an ounce of pure happiness. It makes you bubbly inside, and inspires you to be a better person.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whilst perusing the internet...

I found this incredibly awesome website. It's so simple in its awesomeness, yet unique and hilarious. Well, at least I found it humorous. Perhaps this speaks to my nerd-hood. It's called "Infrared Zoo" and it has pictures of a bunch of different animals shown in infrared. I don't own or have anything to do with it- I just thought it was cool.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Tonight I was at my grandpa's house and he was watching Michael Moore's movie "Sicko" about the healthcare system in the U.S. versus other first-world countries. Now granted, I have to take Moore's work with a grain of salt, but what I saw absolutely disgusted and infuriated me. I love America and the freedoms that we have here, but in some ways it has and continues to disappoint me. It is said that you can measure a nation by the way it treats its worst-off citizens. We are the most affluent country in the world (I think), and yet we can't afford to provide basic healthcare for everyone? We can't afford to give every young adult the opportunity at a college education? We can't afford to establish better public schools? We can't afford to raise the minimum wage to an amount that someone can actually live on? It's a difficult reality to recognize, but perhaps by taking off our rose-colored glasses we can make a change. Or is it too late? Is America so controlled by big businesses and people with power and money that we forget about compassion and loyalty towards the citizens upon whose backs it has been raised? Murderers and rapists get full medical care and an ample supply of food in jail, yet we can't extend that 'luxury' to the homeless who never commited a crime? Our veterans suffering from PTSD and other such war-caused afflictions often lose their jobs due to illness and live on the streets as beggars, and we turn a blind eye. People who are dying are thrown out of hospitals because they cannot provide proof of insurance. What has happened to us? More importantly, how do we change it?

That Horrible Day That Comes Once a Year

Everyone has a least favorite day of the year. It may be the anniversary of a loved one's death or maybe the day taxes are due. Perhaps someone abhors St. Patrick's Day because they forgot to wear green and are therefore ruthlessly pinched. Whatever it may be, I wholeheartedly respect this tradition of loathing a specific day once a year. Mine is Valentines' Day.

Back in the years of elementary school, I looked forward to Valentines' Day every year. It was an opportunity to show off our creativity in shoebox-decorating, as well as consume copious amounts of candy (second only to Halloween). I dressed for the occasion in pinks, purples, frills, and hearts galore.

So why has this changed? One word. It starts with 's' and ends with 'ingle'.

-I frequent the grocery store, and this time rather than being pleasantly greeted by bright boxes of Fruit Loops and cans of hearty vegetable soup, I am blinded by gigantic red heart-shaped balloons with the words "I Love You" screaming at me in a loopy font of sickness.
-I sit in class and spot an advertisement for engagement rings. IN CLASS.
-I go to Barnes & Noble to look for a cookbook and right there in the front of the store I see a whole table of books on romance (actually, sex), looking in pink and red like Cupid vomited all over them.
-I run crying down the street to escape the madness and there are couples everywhere, holding hands, playing footsies, making out, all staring at me and my blatant singleness!

Okay well... that last one was a bit of a stretch, but SERIOUSLY! I feel so singled out (ha... ha... ha...) I want to run up and down neighborhood streets on a rabid goat, throwing green party confetti into everyone's hair while proudly proclaiming that nothing is wrong with me because I don't have a significant other.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vegetable Garden

In my environmental studies class, we had a guest lecturer come. He talked about population increase and how our current style of life (with the insane amount of consumption) is unsustainable and we're heading into a crisis. Did you know that the average piece of food on your plate traveled 15,000 miles to get there? That shocked me. The U.S. has virtually no natural resources because we've depleted them. We are a nation of business, and our business is making money off of other countries' resources and temporary surpluses. The stuff that is grown in the U.S. is pesticide, herbicide, and feces-laden, farmed by big companies who hire immigrant workers at less than minimum wage in atrocious conditions. You can avoid this social injustice by buying 'organic' and 'locally grown' product, and though it may be higher in quality, it's too expensive for anyone save the affluent to reasonably live on.

I'm afraid that for the next few years, I'll be supporting this corrupt system because I'm too poor to do anything different. My dream is eventually to start my own garden. My own BIG garden. I want to move to Oregon, live in a nice cottage-ish house, and have a huge yard where I can grow vegetables and raise my tortoise (and eventually, family), teach chemistry and english, write, and cook to my heart's delight. Large gardens yield lots of food, and perhaps since teachers earn so little, I could earn some extra money on the side by selling surplus vegetables at a farmer's market. Now obviously because of the climate, I won't be able to grow all of these, but here are some ideas:

butternut squash
spaghetti squash
grape tomatoes
brussel sprouts
sweet peas
sugar snap peas
sweet potatoes
garden mushrooms
water chestnuts
bell peppers
chili peppers

dill weed
lemon balm

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shakespeare was indeed a funny man...

I never thought while reading "Romeo and Juliet" that I would burst into laughter. Tragedy? Very much so. Then why was I so thoroughly amused? First off, Shakespeare's puns and incredible wit make me smile. But most importantly? The dirty jokes. It's so CLEAN at first glance (we read it in 9th grade and the 'questionable content' must've all gone over our heads) and then you read it again... and... well... I won't spoil the surprise or delight as a new meaning dawns on you and you blush in embarrassment or laugh hysterically. I personally laugh hysterically. ;) My teacher's speech is very poetic, being an English teacher and poet. He has a beautiful way with words, and hearing him talk about this raunchy, bawdy humour was very entertaining. We looked at the scene right after they had physically expressed and acted on their desire for the first time (i.e. had sex if you'll excuse my crudeness), and he said that they were "in the afterglow of love". When I teach English, I wonder if I'll use Romeo and Juliet...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bubbles in the Gutter

As I waited in the rain for the bus today, I noticed how there were bubbles floating down the gutter stream. I think they came from the rain. There was also a chunk of ice that hindered but did not completely block the flow of the water. I was fascinated by watching the bubbles and seeing how far they got before they'd pop. One of them even went through a little crack in the ice and made it without popping! The ice gradually melted and allowed more bubbles to make it through, which, as strange as it sounds, made me happy inside. Bubbly, if you will. ;)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Life is pain highness, and anyone who tells you otherwise must be selling something." -The Princess Bride

Sometimes I honestly wonder if life would be better approached with apathy. To have no emotion. To simply not care. It definitely would be easier. Is it possible for someone to 'turn off' their feelings? I most certainly can't.

It brings me to the question... if I could, would I really want to? In answering that, I have to be honest with myself. At times, yes. I'm generally a very content, happy person with an optimistic disposition and sincere passion for life.

I tend to forget that the joys of living are balanced with deep hurt, awful pain, and bitter disappointment. So what's the purpose of this life? Some say 'to be happy', and I think that's a part of it, but there must be more. How come there's so much pain? Why is it sometimes so unbearable that you want to crawl in a corner and cease to exist? There must be a purpose to loss.

In dealing with this, I've discovered some ideas, certainly not original, but rather with a new meaning applicable and relate-able to me.

-To gain compassion and understanding for others. Reading a book or hearing about something is not the same as experiencing it first-hand. We are strange beings, both introverted and dependent on each other at the same time. We have focus on the individual as well as on the community. The richest and happiest part of my life comes from the relationships I have with those I love. We need each other.

-To find inner strength and gain confidence in ourselves both as we are and as we have the potential to become.

-To learn to trust the Lord.

-To recognize the goodness in others.

-To learn that we are the authors of our own destiny; agency is key.

-To be able to appreciate life to its fullest extent; the joy of finding love, the sadness of losing it, the triumph of accomplishing something great, the bitterness of rejection and defeat, the peace that comes from loving, the despair that others can't or won't feel it, the hope that compassion and love will conquer misery and hate.

I recognize that perhaps I'm romanticizing this. I'm sure some would scoff at me, and I can understand the skepticism. We all must find our own paths. This is mine.

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Semester

Spring semester 2009 is bringing many changes to my somewhat complicated but quite enjoyable life. Due to various circumstances, I found it in my best interest to take a semester off from chemistry (while still graduating on time) and explore some of my other interests, meanwhile knocking some gened's out of the way! Nothing like killing three birds with one stone, and though the birds are, or rather were, somewhat feeble and sickly, they are now dead nonetheless.

triathlon training
critical introduction to literary forms
environmental studies
multicultural education
genchem lab

WAHOO! I'm ALSO picking up voice again. I let it slide last semester and I'm excited to get back to it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Accomplishments and Events of 2008

2008 is certainly a year to remember- good, bad, and ugly!

-I passed Physics For Scientists and Engineers.
-I finished my last semester as communications officer in my sorority.
-I took Musical Theater Singing and got in touch with my sensual side singing "It's a Dangerous Game" and "Hey Big Spender."
-I hosted my second voice concert... featuring... ME!
-I floated in a tube down a river for 4.5 miles, swam with the fish, and almost died via moose (actually they were quite calm, just munching on underwater plant life... but moose are scary and I imagined my horrible death, so that counts, right?)
-I participated in a street festival.
-I admitted to my old crush/friend how I felt about him and told him to do something about it or stop flirting with me. We dated for six months, were engaged all except the ring, then broke up because of a dream he had, and haven't spoken since.
-As a direct result of this, my faith in my religion and myself grew, I recognized that I'm incredibly blessed with an amazing family and wonderful friends, and in the process, became a stronger, more compassionate person.
-As another result of that experience, I learned how to swear up a storm.
-As yet ANOTHER result, I became close friends with an awesome girl from pchem and am becoming a part of her equally awesome group of friends.
-I NOT ONLY PASSED PCHEM1, I GOT A GOOD GRADE IN IT TOO! (physical chemistry: quantum mechanics and spectroscopy... intimidating, no?)
-I decided on my course of education and future career, and only have 3.5 years to go until I'm done with my bachelors and masters!
-I got hit on multiple times by old men with foreign accents in grocery stores.
-I hosted a fondue party!

Can You Top This?

I attended a huge (emphasis on enormous) party for New Year's. It was great! I saw, talked to, and hung out with a bunch of friends (including some I'd met through someone who shall not be named... no no silly, not Lord Voldemort!) I even danced, and although it resembled a squirrel having a heart attack while marching to Ode to Joy more than actual dancing, it amused me. But the experience to top the night was my encounter with a giant blow-up slide.

I took off my shoes and stood in line with my friend. When it was our turn, we bolted up the kushy blowy bouncy slide! There were even little foam blow up 'stairs' like rungs on ladders AND two ropes on either side in assisting us to get up. So I was like 3/4 of the way up, and I felt my pants start to slide down. I therefore let go of one of the ropes with one hand and resecured their non-mooning position. In that process however, I lost my balance and started slipping. SOCKS! Clinging on with one hand, I attempted to pull myself up. My socks however, had an entirely different plan. Keep in mind, friends at the bottom (and even strangers) were shouting "You can do it! Just use the stairs!" and other such incredibly annoying phrases that were somehow supposed to be inspirational. So I took off one of my socks and tried again. I conveniently forgot that I had been dancing ten minutes earlier, and my feet were sweaty. My bare feet were even MORE slippery than socks. So I started to slide down, then another girl had the same problem. She however had a friend who waited for her and helped her up. After several failed attempts while watching three little kids get to the top with no effort, I gave up and slid down. I don't know if my face was more red from embarrassment or laughing! I went to my friends who were all thoroughly amused and still laughing at my excursion to the top of a blow-up slide. I'VE DONE THOSE BEFORE WITH NO TROUBLE! Seriously.

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