Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Get Smarter and Stop Hunger at the Same Time

How do you accomplish both of these things simultaneously? Visit FreeRice.com. I read about it today in Mark Hurst's Good Experience newsletter (I read about a lot of good usability things this way, and I think you should, too. Sign up!).

It works like this: You visit the site and take a vocabulary quiz. For every word you answer correctly, you earn 10 grains of rice that will eventually be given to the world's hungry people. It operates through sponsors who advertise on the site. They pay for the grains you earn -- they get cheap publicity, you strengthen your vocabulary, and someone who suffers from perpetual hunger gets to eat. It's that simple!

Neat, huh? I mean, it really is fascinating. People can do such incredible things when they use their minds for good. Read about how it all got started.

Thing I'm thankful for: temples.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Project Runway

After a year of no show, "Project Runway" is back! The season premiere was Wednesday night. I was so excited to watch it, and even more excited to watch it with Lauren. How I love to watch the designers create a piece of wearable art! How I love to hear Tim Gunn say, "Alright designers -- carry on." And oh, how I love to mimic Heidi Klum's German accent: Lexia, you're in. I'm sorry, but Sara, you're out. Wiedersehen.

And boom! With a simple German goodbye, the contestant is out on the crowded streets of Designer-land, where nearly everyone goes by unnoticed.

Ah, it's TV at its finest!

Or is it? As I sat on Lauren's couch with her dog Franklin sniffing at me, I wasn't as interested in the show as I once was. It was probably a huge mixture of things (not having talked to Lauren in a long time, being one of them), but I just wanted to talk and interact with someone in real time. TV just doesn't interest me the way it used to. Even my favorite contemporary show! I'm sure I'll watch it again next week, but I wonder if I'll still feel the same. I'll let you know . . .

Readers, what are you watching/not watching lately?

Thing I'm thankful for: eerily quiet nights that force you to spend the night in solitude? Yes, actually. It's painful sometimes, but right good for the soul. :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

I Don't Want Sunbursts or Marble Halls. I Just Want You.

Can you guess where the title comes from? No, I never spoke those words; although I would if the situation called for it. The line comes from Anne of Avonlea. Anne Shirley uses them as her declaration of love to her boyhood friend Gilbert Blythe.

Now, one could question whether or not Gilbert was a friend for most of the movie. He did, afterall, tease Anne about her red hair when she first moved to Prince Edward Island. Still, it becomes apparent that they probably would have been friends more quickly had Gilbert just expressed his like for her, and Anne hadn't been so proud. But easy communication was not their story. It takes two whole (4-hour) films for Anne to realize she loves Gilbert. Still, at the end of it all, my sister Lexia wishes she would've married Captain Morgan Harris.

And so I'm at the real meat of this post: Why I think Anne made the best choice in Gilbert Blythe.

I'll start off by saying that I think it's just cute that Anne and Gilbert knew each other when they were younger. They saw each other in all awkward phases of life. There was nothing to hide, really. They saw the worst in each other and the best in each other. They were both brilliant students -- at the top of their class. They both had a love for Prince Edward Island and the familial ties of the land. When they finally started becoming friends, they seemed to have a lot of fun together and a healthy amount of romantic sassiness, as I'll call it. Jobs and life plans caused them to drift apart for a couple of years, but finally, as Gilbert lay dying, Anne realized how she really felt. Gilbert got better, their feelings got in sync, and that was the end of the tale.

I guess it's the Romantic in me, but I feel like their strongest tie was their love of home and as I mentioned before, Prince Edward Island. It's a small island with a small community, and the familiarity of growing up together just kind of bound Anne and Gilbert together. Yes, Captain Morgan Harris was rich and well-traveled, and he loved Anne's vivacity. He loved that she could be a mother to his young daughter, and he loved that she fit in with his family. Those are all very good things. And sure, there are things that I don't like about Gilbert. Like the way he claps and the way he says, "I'm sorry, Anne."

But I guess I like that Anne and Gilbert are close in age and circumstance in life. I like that they're both smart. And again, I like that they are similar. Maybe that's what my argument really comes down to: Anne and Captain Harris are opposites, while Anne and Gilbert are birds of a feather. My romantic leanings have always been that "birds of a feather flock together." And so, when the recovering Gilbert puts his arms around Anne on the bridge at Green Gables, I think to myself how perfect the ending is and how I could watch it again and again. (And sometimes I do!) :)

Now, read why Lexi chooses Captain Morgan Harris.

Thing I'm thankful for: Premium Selects Black Raspberry and Chocolate Chunk ice cream. Yu-uum. :)