Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shortcut to Bonding: Fame

In one of my recent posts, A Good Way to Bond with People, I referenced an article I read about how to quickly bond with strangers. In short, it involves people asking each other questions and sharing answers. The psychologist behind the study came up with 36 questions that make people feel closer to one another.

Well, I'm going to share the questions and my answers with you one by one. I will write a post for each question. I won't use all the questions -- just the ones that seem interesting to me. So don't worry; it probably won't take all month. I don't want to get too personal on this here blog. :)

Would you like to be famous? In what way?

At first, I thought, "Agh! I would hate to be famous!" But then I thought about how I want to change people's lives by writing an amazing collection of short stories. Or how I want to spread cheer throughout the world with my sugar cookies. Do I want people to pay attention to my clothing choice? No. Do I want to appear on a late-night talk show? No. But do I want people to wonder what I think and to ask me questions about how I became a successful novelist/baker? Yes.

So I guess I do want to be somewhat famous. Not to be noticed, but to have some sort of effect for good on people's lives. And I don't ever want worldwide fame -- just regional fame. Or city fame. Or neighborhood fame. Yeah, neighborhood fame sounds about right.

Thing I'm thankful for: whole grains!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Great Day!

Today was a great day! I loved nearly every minute of it!
Here's what I did:
  • Found cheap parking, a tough feat at UT.
  • Had a sammich from Jimmy John's that was loaded with avocado spread and sprouts. Yum!
  • Went to my usability class and reconnected with a friend from last semester.
  • Bought my first burnt-orange t-shirt. (More on that later . . .)
  • Drove a manual. (Thanks, Noah!) (More on that later, too . . .)
  • Listened to a good home evening lesson, in which my friend Tony talked about Blue's Clues in depth. If ever there was a good "secular" segue into a home evening lesson, that was it.
  • Removed wax from carpet, which is actually so much fun for me. I love to clean!
  • Finally found some whole bran cereal to bake bran muffins with tomorrow!
  • Ditched my healthy eating long enough to eat five dark-chocolate-covered almonds.
All in all, it was a good day. I wish it didn't have to end. Almost.

Thing I'm thankful for: that Kosher Kroger in Atlanta. I miss it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Busy Nothings: Best of 2010

I realize I'm almost nine months late on this post, but I truly do believe that late is better than never. Besides, who would I be if I wasn't late?

Without further ado, here are my most popular blog posts* from 2010, with just a few of my favorites thrown in.

Ranting but Not Raving
My Siblings, or I Can't Believe I Know These People!
You May All Go to Hell, and I Will Go to Texas!
When We're Helping, We're Happy
I am Iron Man
"That's so Sara Snow!"
Enoch's Tears and God's Rainbow
Weekend of Firsts
Good-bye, MommyDaddy and Good-bye, House
Open Letter to Alexandre Dumas
Careful, I May Be Editing Your Writing!
Last Meal
Amen to that!
The Stars at Night Are Big and Bright!
Pet Peeve No. 1
Call Me Google
Never Have I Ever . . .
Going for the Gold
Let's Talk about Figure Skating

*I determined popularity by number of comments. For a post to be popular, it had to garner at least five comments.

Thing I'm thankful for: easy bread recipes

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Can't Wait to See That!

I used to love movies. I still do, I guess, but I'm not loving them as much as I used to. For about every one movie that is good, there are 20 that are downright bad. It's such a shame.

Fortunately, I can regularly check iTunes Movie Trailers and sort out most of the time-wasters. I suppose I miss some good movies that way and even end up watching some ridiculous movies because their trailers are so well-produced. Still, I think it's a decent way to get an idea of what's what.

Anyway, thanks to iTunes Movie Trailers, I've found three movies I can't wait to see in the next year. Mark them on your calendars and watch them with me!

Thing I'm thankful for: good bosses

I Can Never Live Alone

As I was getting ready for work today, I realized all my belts were in storage. (My stuff is in storage while I temporarily live with some girlfriends.) I was wearing tan slacks with a white blouse, and the outfit really needed a belt to look finished. So I did the only thing there was to do: I asked my roommate Carrie if she had a belt I could borrow.

The only thing she had that matched the ensemble, was a bright pink belt. Typically, I wouldn't wear such a bright color. I don't ever like drawing attention to myself, especially my body. But Carrie assured me that it looked good.

It was a hit! Throughout the day, people paid me compliment after compliment. And that's when I realized it: I could never live alone.

After my last apartment lease ended, I considered living alone. I thought about how nice it would be with so much time and space to myself. How much room there'd be in the kitchen for all of my baking supplies.

But no -- after today, I know I need another set of eyes to give me the okay on my clothes and shoes and jewelry. (On Sunday, all of my roommates helped me with my whole outfit.) All I can say is, my husband better be ready to answer questions about clothes and give advice about what looks good. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: clean, fluffy pillows!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Reason I'm Single?

Today I was told that I would make a great wife. That it was unbelievable I'm not married yet. After discussing this a bit, the guy who paid me the compliment said that perhaps the reason I'm not married is not because I'm doing anything wrong, but because I'm doing everything right. "Guys are intimidated by you," he said.

Maybe. Maybe not. But if that is the case, what am I supposed to do with that information? Be . . . lesser than I am?

The person who told me this meant it in a complimentary way, and I was flattered. It was such a nice thing to say, but also, a bit frustrating. I'm left wondering if it's true . . .

What do you think, readers? Do guys get intimidated to the point of not asking a girl out? Is that really a factor at play in dating?

Thing I'm thankful for: fresh, ripe peaches!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Movie Review: The Tree of Life

You've probably heard that The Tree of Life was a cinematographic masterpiece. That the imagery alone was worth seeing. One review I read said something about how every single frame of the film could be turned into a photograph. And it's true. It was beautifully shot. I think part of that is because the bulk of the movie is set in the 1950s, and to me, aesthetics seemed cleaner in the 50s, with minimalist furniture and brightly-colored, layer-less clothing. Consequently, we get to see lovely 50s dresses and buzz-cuts in The Tree of Life -- think glamorous versions of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet or The Donna Reed Show.

As an added bonus for me, the movie was filmed in various Texas towns, including Austin. The filmmakers captured the best parts of the city: the Congress Bridge bats, the Capitol, Barton Springs. If you want to see what central Texas looks like, watch this movie!

Again, the movie was a visual treat; it was not, however, a movie for someone who wants a clear and meaningful story. In the beginning, I thought I knew where the producers were taking me. Although the narrative was nonlinear, I had a fairly strong sense of what was going on. It was the story of a 1950s Texas family and a son who questioned God. The relationships between husband and wife and parents and children was a type of God and Christ and God and His children. In a larger way, it was a story about the opposing themes of justice and mercy. Sure, they were complex topics for one movie, but until the end, they held up pretty well. About two-thirds into it, though, the story fell apart. The writers and producers lost their focus along the way, or perhaps they tried to explore too many religious themes.

I wouldn't have minded the breakdown in the story so much, except that at the point when the story started to collapse, the filmmakers started to get pretentious. Religious themes became more overt than necessary, and the questioning son even had some lines that tried too hard to be "deep." I also wonder if the filmmakers thought, "Hey, this thing is turning out really well . . . We're making an incredible visual movie, and the plot is lofty enough to match. We're gooood." They got cocky and thought the last big scenes would just wrap themselves up, and audiences wouldn't mind flimsy narrative ends.

But we did. Well, I did. And I know for a fact that my friends who watched it with me did. Perhaps I'm trying to impose meaning on something that doesn't have one . . . That might change everything. Still, the bottom line is that I'd watch the first half of this movie again, but I will never finish it, nor will I buy it.

Thing I'm thankful for: seeing faculty bring their babies to campus

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Good Way to Bond with People

I was perusing one of my favorite blogs today, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, and I came across this post:

Is there a shortcut to bonding with a romantic partner on a deeper level?

Here's the short answer: Yes! Ask each other meaningful questions!

What a novel idea, huh? Ask each other meaningful questions and respond with meaningful answers. I mean, who'dathunkit? Having a good conversation with another human creates a strong connection with that person???


Thing I'm thankful for: that my parents taught me to be curious about others

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Best of Disney

"What's your favorite Disney movie?"

That's a familiar question, right? Everyone asks it, and everyone has an answer. For years, I said mine was Sleeping Beauty, but I knew that wasn't exactly right. I really only loved it for three reasons: the main song, the baking/sewing scene, and the art direction. But I love the intro to 101 Dalmatians and the "We are Siamese" song in Lady and the Tramp. I also love the diamond mines in Snow White, the folksy Roger Miller soundtrack to Robin Hood, and the library in Beauty and the Beast.

If I had to say one, I would go with Tangled, but that's only a recent discovery. So I'm going to show some respect to the oldies-but-goodies, and post videos of some of my favorite scenes. I'll list the movie, the scene, and the minute mark in the video where you need to start watching.

Sleeping Beauty -- fairies baking and sewing
101 Dalmatians -- comparing people to their dogs; start at the 3:00 mark
Lady and the Tramp -- We are Siamese
Ratatouille -- Ego eats the ratatouille; 0:00-0:57*
Snow White -- Heigh-Ho, Whistle While You Work, the pie scene
Sword in the Stone -- cleaning the dishes with magic, packing with magic
Cinderella -- sewing the dress; 1:40 (especially 2:43)**
Robin Hood -- Sir Hiss; 0:20-0:45
Aladdin -- Losing to a rug

I know I'm forgetting some scenes, but that means you'll just have to comment and remind me!

*I know it's not really an "oldie" at this point, but it was too good to exclude.
**Incidentally, most of my favorite scenes involve cleaning and organizing and baking. Go figure. Every time I see the end of the nightingale song in Cinderella, I cringe. That floor is a mess! (dirty floor; 1:30)

Thing I'm thankful for: public storage!