Saturday, October 25, 2008

planning ahead...

I was talking to one of our patients at work this week and she suddenly stopped, looked at me, and with a look of dawning realization said 'you always know exactly what is going on 4 weeks from now, you always plan 4 weeks ahead.' It's true. That is what I do. I'm constantly setting appointments 4 weeks in advance. Keeping this in mind, Friday will be Halloween. 4 weeks from Thursday will be Thanksgiving. That will officially kick off the beginning of the Christmas season. Also that means my birthday is coming. There are so many great things that people do for Christmas and the Christmas season and more than anything I'd like to do them all, but I know my means and I know myself and therefore know that I can't do it all. Because my birthday is so close to Christmas, I try to choose one thing and treat myself to one thing for my birthday,the so-called gift to self. This is this year's list of things I could do for my birthday.
1) Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert
2) A Christmas Carol
3) Plaid Tidings
4) The Nutcracker
5) Muppet Christmas Carol/Homemade Eggnog Party
6) Bodyworlds 3 (not exactly Christmas-y, but fascinates me)
7) Buy myself WICKED tickets (they go on sale on my birthday)
8) Eat curry.
9) Start a "12 Days of Christmas" service project or movie festival
10) Peppermint Icecream (innumerable possibilities)
11) NOT see the TWILIGHT movie (pretty sure there was divine intervention there...)
Really, the possibilities are endless and THAT make me quite happy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm a purist.

1000 words
Round 2
Topic: The Sandlot
When I told my roommate that I was writing about THE SANDLOT she told me she’d never seen it. She then made two statements that made me think: 1) “When I say that I’ve never seen it, I really mean that I think I’ve seen it once, but don’t remember anything about it. It’s about kids and baseball . . . and a dog, right?...and the dog steals balls, right?” Yup. That’s the condensed version. You’re right. How does that work? Did you not just tell me that HADN’T seen the movie? Oh boy. Good to know that we now speak in contradictions…2) I heard that if you watch THE SANDLOT with a boy, you will get action. COMO!?! (Sorry. I just don’t know how to respond that one in English.) I guess that one will have to be left to research…
I’m not going to lie-I think THE SANDLOT is a great movie. “You’re killing me Smalls!” is a well-known and semi-frequented phrase in my vocabulary. I’ll never forget my freshman composition class (Matt Babcock’s English 101-winter 2001) in which we analyzed the “s’mores” scene during the explanatory writing unit. Ham does a great job of step by step instructions of the classic and simple childhood snack and is as patient as he can be with the blissfully na├»ve Smalls. But honestly…other than that, it’s kind of been a while since I’ve seen the show. When I was given the topic I decided firstly, that I should probably watch it again before I write about it, and secondly, I could probably own it and consider it a classic for future generations. Keeping those two thoughts in mind, I did what any money-conscious young adult would do and I hit Amazon and Ebay. After finding the dvd, I made a saddening discovery and went on somewhat of a rampage. (Thanks for listening Jeff!) Somewhere, in the middle of my 18-month hiatus from life and American culture, they made a SANDLOT 2!?! As if that weren’t enough, they went on to a SANDLOT 3! I think my actual, direct quote was “why? why would you do that!?!” Why would anyone want to take such a beautiful and simple classic example of childhood nostalgia and try to recreate it? I immediately swore that I would never watch the sequels. For why? Why would I do that to myself? I’m not a masochist. I find pointless viewings of useless sequels a waste of time and energy. My life is currently a little busy for that, so I dismissed them from my mind.
Like I said, life’s been a bit crazy the past week or so, but being the responsible car-driving adult that I am, I took the time to get my oil changed. Because of past experience (yes. I learn from past experience.), I went prepared to wait and took my trusty book (THE POISONWOOD BIBLE) with me to keep myself amused. As I entered the waiting room and settled in for some quality reading time, I observed my surroundings: one flat-screen TV showing the blank screen of an ended show, one teenage girl-texting to pass the time, one large coffee table with an assortment of picked-over magazines. Once again, I was grateful for the foresight to bring a book. Stealing the child-sized chair for a footrest—undoubtedly for the poor mother who suffers though the oil change praying that her children don’t eat the crayons that have been sitting on the matching table for who knows how long—I settled in for the wait. A few paragraphs into the malaria-stricken family, the blank TV flashed to life and before my eyes I was surprised by clips of THE SANDLOT. With the dawning realization came a giant belly laugh. I was highly amused. The irony was a little much for me to handle. The teenager across the waiting room chuckled politely and went back to the newly acquired READER’S DIGEST. Apparently, the crazy woman across the waiting room was a bit intense. Quickly, my amusement shifted to dismay as I realized that this version of THE SANDLOT was nothing but a counterfeit. I supposed the big sign that said SANDLOT 2 should have been a warning sign flashing “disappointment ahead!”, but for some reason I couldn’t tear myself away from it. It was like the accident on the side of the road, even though we know it’s going to be bad, we can’t pull ourselves away from it. Dang curiosity. Apprehensively, even skeptically, I continued watching for the next 30 minutes while they finished my car, and surprisingly, I walked away from it unscathed and perhaps even a better person. I realized a few things about the original SANDLOT that I hadn’t really thought about during previous viewings. The biggest thing in my mind was the obvious lack of the female presence. There are no girls. Okay, that’s not totally true. There are two: Wendy Peffercorn and Mom. Wendy-the idolized goddess of the swimming pool-is the door through which Squints takes a risk and tries to step into manhood. Yay for women as the classic sex symbol and the definition of masculinity as seen through them! Mom is the classic supportive mother and housewife of the 1960’s, predecessor to the Stepford wives of the 1970’s and of the Martha Stewart of the new millennium. The feminists of the world should have thrown a HUGE fit about these stereotypes of women. Maybe they did and I was just too young to notice, or maybe I was just too involved with the coming of age of the boys, but the SANDLOT 2 responds to these stereotypes. Hayley Goodfairer is the beautiful girl at school that manages to attract the attention of all the boys and still beats them at their own game. Her mother (Mrs. Goodfairer) is the politically correct feminist who strives to change the world around her. I was impressed by the writers’ attempt to correct the previous wrongs. Good for them! Really though, after mulling it over I decided that it really wasn’t that important. Equal rights were not the purpose of the original SANDLOT. At the end of it all I still get warm fuzzies watching Benny put on his PF Flyers to retrieve the coveted ball. I guess that makes me a purist.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

i don't know how i feel about this....

typically i laugh at these articles, and i did chuckle at this one, but immediately afterward, i said oh. that's no good. i guess that means i'm starting to catch on...
NYC National Debt Clock runs out of digits-see

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

why i will never be as great as charles dickens...

Charles Dickens was paid by the word. This is why we ended up with great works such as A TALE OF TWO CITIES and DAVID COPPERFIELD. Once upon a time, I was a decent writer. It’s been a while. After reading this, I’ve decided that I would have died had I lived the life of Dickens…this is random project I took on after making the same challenge to a friend of mine.
1000 words
Topic: Popsicles.
In all reality, I have million other things that I could or should be doing (like planning my life and deciding where exactly I want to go back to school, doing laundry, and visiting the parents and nephew), but really, I’d rather write about popsicles. I think it’s because in a weird way, they symbolize the reality of what I’m trying to do…consider this. Popsicles, while being a sweet and tasty refreshment, are meant to cool, sooth, and bring pleasure. Isn’t that our goal in life? To find pleasure and achieve a soothing balance of all the different aspects of the lives that we live? One of the guys I work with told me today that I need to change my attitude. I’m too negative. In light of my current negativity, think of it this way. When we eat popsicles, we are, in essence-chewing on a stick. The popsicle is the pleasurable part of quest to find the stick. It’s the procrastinator’s method to find the stick. I find it quite ironic that of all days, I would choose this one to write about popsicles. It snowed today. I broke out the winter wardrobe and dressed in long sleeves and pants. I did not care, I was warm. But back to popsicles, really we enjoy the sweet and tasty part, but subconsciously we always have the knowledge that there is always a stick in the middle, forcing us back to the reality of the end. I can put off the things that I really need to do, but they will always be there, like the stick in the middle of the popsicle. If I’m prepared for the stick, I can pull it out and use it for something useful (the classic bird house project at summer camp) or I’ll find myself with a sliver in my tongue…but really, that is not the topic. The topic is popsicles. I’ll start with a little history. (Gotta love Wikipedia…)
1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left out on his porch a mixture of powdered soda and water that contained a stir stick. That night, temperatures in San Francisco reached record low temperature. When he woke the next morning, he discovered that it had frozen to the stir stick, creating a fruit flavored 'icicle' ... a treat that he named his 'epsicle'. He then waited 18 years before releasing it to the public.
I love the fact that most genius ideas (popsicles included) are flat out accidents. It’s true. Mistakes are strokes of brilliance in disguise. The other thing I love about accidental inspiration is that for some reason, the inventors are under 20 years of age [Koolaid is in the same category]. Apparently it is okay for kids to make mistakes, face up to them, even embrace them, and make millions of dollars off of them. Adults have a pride issue and can’t admit to being wrong and end up hiding their mistakes rather than own up to them…fascinating. If they’d just admit to it, they’d have the opportunity to excel…just like the kids.
Really, the thing that infuriates me about this whole discovery is that he waited 18 years to release it to the public. What does this mean? Did it take him eighteen years to realize that he had made genius find in leaving his drink on the porch? Does it mean that the adults talked him out of sharing his idea? Does it mean that it took the adults 18 years to convince him that it was a good idea? Oh heavens, I’m deconstructing my own argument. Why would I do that? Ignore that question. Really, the point is, if you’ve got a good thing, why not share it? Seriously now. This man, or 11-year-old, had a life changing idea and decided to wait to benefit the world? Why would you do that? Since the day that the world was finally introduced to this genius concept, a snowball effect has spun nearly out of control to the point that one can purchase nearly anything frozen on a stick: dreamsicles, fudgesicles, ice cream bars, frozen fruit bars, etc (and that’s only the sweet stuff…). For some reason, the popsicle never really ages. Or maybe it would be more appropriately put as, the popsicle ages with you. As kids, my brother and I fought over the root beer and banana double pops. These days it is easy to find the childhood popsicles with the classic flavors of orange, purple, blue, yellow, red, and brown, but the industry had also adapted to the more sophisticated tastes as well. My personal favorite-frozen fruit bars. My current flavor of choice is strawberry-the whole fruit bar. AMAZING!!! It makes me feel like I’m actually doing myself a favor and eating fruit. More than making me healthy, it also makes me happy. What more could I want? It’s the adult version of my careless childhood days…
Not only has the popsicle has evolved nutritionally, but for convenience. As kids, I think we all loved to sit and eat our popsicles on the porch on a hot day. Half of the experience was trying to eat it without it dripping all over. In the fast-paced adult world that we live in, that is completely unacceptable. We don’t have time to sit on the porch and be dripped on. This has been solved in a few different ways, two of which being: 1) the thicker popsicle. The base of these tasty treats tends to be more than just water. They contain great substances such as whole fruit or cream (fudgsicles, jello pudding pops [which do NOT contain pudding?!? That’s another story for another day], creamies, etc); or 2) eliminating the stick. Yay for the stick-less popsicle. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a box of otter pops in my pantry. I’ll also admit that I coveted my best friend Siobhan’s three foot otter pop at age 9. (Okay, so maybe it wasn’t three feet, but had to have been at least two.) The me of 2008 does realize that they are nothing but frozen sugar water, but honestly, who can turn away names like SIR ISAAC LIME and PONCHO PUNCH. I’m sure that at some point I will realize that it’s okay for me to grow out of eating foods because I like their names, but in the mean time, I think I’m going to go put some otter pops in my freezer.
Now. Looking at my so called “brain vomit”-I do realized that my transitions are lacking, my ending is virtually nonexistent, and my voice changes from paragraph to paragraph, but you know what? I just wrote 1000 words. I haven’t done that in approximately 4 years. That makes me a little rusty, but also gives me all sorts of ganas (desires) to do it again. I’m open for ideas. Suggestions?