Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Movie Challenge (Day 7)

Day 7: Movie that makes you feel guilty.

Hmm. Now, I know there are movies I really feel awful admitting I like. I'm just having trouble thinking of any of them. I promise it's not because I'm avoiding admitting I like them.

Oh, wait. I absolutely know which one I feel most guilty about liking. Because it is not a very good movie. And the ending makes absolutely no sense. And the acting is awkward. But it did to me exactly what it was trying to do. It scared the crap outta me.

And that movie is The Happening.

I am one of three people I know who didn't hate The Happening. Like I said, it ended up being a very effective movie for me. It did for me what good horror movies manage to do for everyone - it preyed on a specific fear I already had ingrained within me. I am terrified of the idea of losing control of myself. I like being aware and in control of what I'm doing at all times. It creeps me out when I'm extremely tired and stop being able to really rationally control what I'm saying.

Given that, it's not really surprising that this movie left me almost literally paralyzed with fear at some point. Watching these people slowly lose control of themselves was like my worst nightmare. I was so emotionally involved in the movie that seeing the final survivors emerge at the end was an extremely cathartic experience.

It doesn't matter how cheesy the dialogue was, or how awkward the acting of the main characters was... seeing scene after scene of people lose their minds is one of the most horrifying things I can think of. And knowing I myself was safe at the end of that was an amazing sense of release.

It was a very intense, very personal movie-watching experience for me. This movie just happened to tap into something that had terrified and does still terrify me. That's what horror movies try to do on a more universal level. Unfortunately, The Happening seems to really only have been effective for me. But it was so effective for me that I'm thrown off and have trouble articulating to others why I actually really liked this movie.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Challenge (Day 6)

Day 6: Biggest movie character crush.

Oh, boy. There are some pretty amazing movie characters out there, and I have fallen in love with a lot of them. But I'm pretty sure it's always going to have to come back to my very first movie character crush... Han Solo from the original Star Wars trilogy. In fact, I had a crush on Han Solo before I had a crush on anyone I knew in real life, back when I was 11 or so. Not usually a fan of the "supposed mercenary with a heart of gold" type character, but Han's a great character with a nice snarky sense of humor.

Hard to choose my favorite Han Solo moment, too, so here's this one.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Movie Challenge (Day 5)

Day 5: Your favorite movie at this time last year.

My favorite movie hasn't changed much in the past few years. It's been steadily rotating between Casablanca, Love Actually, Annie Hall, and Moulin Rouge! for several years now. Since I've already mentioned Casablanca, let me go ahead and pay tribute to Love Actually with this one.

Love Actually was one of the earlier ensemble rom coms and one of the only good ones. Heck, it's one of the only rom coms ever that I enjoy. Richard Curtis is a funny screenwriter who produces good dialogue and instantly-likable characters. The cheesy mushiness is off the charts on this movie but it's all done with a sort of "yes, we know it's silly but just enjoy it with us!" attitude that I find completely infectious. It's not a deep movie. It's not life-changing in any way. It just always makes me happy whenever I watch it.

It's hard to pick a favorite clip or favorite moment from this movie, so here's a musical moment from it that always makes me smile whenever I watch it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Movie Challenge (Day 4)

Day 4 - The most surprising plot twist.

I'm in the unfortunate position of 1) knowing enough about movies to know most major plot twists before I see them because people spoil things everywhere, and 2) knowing enough about movies to guess at the less popular ones. The few that have taken me by surprise are things that are sort of odd choices - for example, the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. had two minor plot twists, neither of which I saw coming, but it's not exactly what you would call a mind-bender of a movie.

So I'm going to go with the one that gives me one of my favorite movie-related stories from my childhood.

(Note: If you don't know the twist in the middle of The Empire Strikes Back, congratulations for having avoided SO MUCH POP CULTURE. But now you should stop reading, go watch the original Star Wars trilogy immediately, and then come back and finish reading this post.)

I was 11 or 12 when I first watched the original Star Wars trilogy. I knew nothing about it, but was really enjoying it and all the characters. Then, in the middle of the second movie, came the twist that was supposed to blow my mind.

For someone who had no knowledge whatsoever of the Star Wars world and characters, this should have been a great twist.

Except it didn't work on me.

Darth Vader's all about trying to get Luke to give in to his anger, trying to manipulate him emotionally to try to get him on his side. So what better way to do that than to tell him that he is Luke's father? It could make Luke feel betrayed by Obi-Wan, disconnected from his purpose. It sounds like a great way to lure him over to the Dark Side.

Clearly Darth Vader was just lying to him to mess with his head. And being the gullible creature he is, Luke falls for it.

And then, for some reason, this obvious lie wasn't corrected in the rest of this movie. I began to wonder if Luke's misconception would keep manipulating him and lead to his ultimate downfall.

And then, partway through Return of the Jedi, the ghost of Obi-Wan casually confirms that this is true.

And I went, "Wait, WHAAAAAAT?"

After having assumed for quite awhile now that it was all a nefarious lie, the news that this was actually true hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn't focus for the next 20 minutes of the movie or so because I kept going over everything in between the announcement of the twist and when I actually found out it was true, reframing it all in my head to make sense with this new information.

I still do think it's odd that Luke buys into this so quickly (although the "you know it to be true" line could be part of it - he has some hunch that pushes him to believe it?) because if an 11-year-old thought it was an obvious lie, then someone trained by Yoda should certainly have at least considered that possibility.

Movie Challenge (Day 3)

(Day 3... a few days later. Because I had trouble coming up with an answer to this one.)

Day 3 - A movie you could never watch with your parents.

Well, my father and I are both pretty open in our movie-viewing preferences. There's not a lot that actively bothers us. Mom's a lot more conservative in what she enjoys watching, so there are a lot of movies I'd never watch with her. There are fewer I wouldn't watch with Dad.

Admittedly, it would be awkward to watch something like, say, Black Swan with my father, but in that movie's case, I'm convinced enough of the movie's brilliance (I love Black Swan) that getting to share that with someone else would override the awkwardness of some of the scenes in the middle. I'm a big believer in the idea of the movie as a whole as opposed to the individual parts, and I'm pretty sure my father is as well. So I'm pretty sure the only movies I could never watch with my parents are movies that I loathe myself for sitting all the way through in the first place... and a movie instantly jumps to mind. I have never felt a stronger need to cleanse my brain than I did after I watched Mallrats. I have deliberately avoided other Kevin Smith movies because that one made me feel like such a terrible person for even watching any of that. I'm not even sure what it was about it that disgusted me so much. I watched it long enough ago that I don't remember all the particulars, just the resulting emotions from when it was finally over. Yeah, never watching that one with the parents.

I am not linking a clip of this movie. You know, because I hate it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life Advice From Teenage Hannah (Who Turned Out To Be Completely Wrong)

Most of us are very different people than we were as teenagers.

The thing is, we *thought* we knew a lot as teens. There were truths we'd latched onto and were proclaiming as absolute, and others we'd completely rejected... only to find out later that a lot of the ones we held onto weren't right and the ones that we'd rejected were.

I want to explore some of those. Ideally, I'd like to make this a series where I invite some of my close friends to share the high school life lessons that no longer seem so wise to them, but we all know how well I do with ongoing series, so it might just be a one-time-only blog post. (If it does become a series, that title has GOT to change. I wrote this post a month ago and honestly never posted it because I couldn't think of a good title, but then thought, "I want to post this, dang it!" So if anybody has ideas for a good one, go for it.)

A Bit of Background
I was raised in a pretty conservative Christian home. I was homeschooled, grew up in church, and was always the one who knew all the answers in Bible trivia games, even the obscure stuff like Mephibosheth (the crippled son of David's best friend Jonathan) or Ehud (the left-handed guy who stabbed a king who was relieving himself). In high school I could have spouted out churchy answers to any problem you could think of, along with the Bible verses to support them.

I'm still very similar to the person I was in high school, in a lot of ways. I am still a Christian. I still hold to a lot of the ideals and beliefs that I did then. But there are also a lot of things I was taught (or, more often, just picked up from implications) that I no longer believe. My faith is not nearly as black and white as I once thought it was, and there aren't as many clear-cut answers. And that is what is mostly represented here.

So. On to the list.

In High School: Group dating is the way to go.
I was a proponent of this in middle school and the first year or so of high school. For those who aren't familiar with it, the idea is that you and your significant other stay away from alone time together - rather, you hang out and get to know each other in groups of people.

Now: No take on whether group dating ever makes sense, but it really, REALLY doesn't for introverts.
Kind of a minor one to start out with. It kind of cracks me up remembering that I was such a fan of this idea. My stance started wavering around the time I started realizing that, uh, I can't make friends in groups, much less establish and maintain a romantic relationship. One of the things I used to hear (and then repeat) about group dating was that you're more likely to be yourself in a group of friends, so the other person gets to know you as you really are... or something. The only reason I really latched onto this idea was because I didn't realize what it meant to be an introvert yet. I didn't realize that I COULDN'T DO ANY OF THIS. I am much less myself in a group of people than I am with just one other person. If Jacob and I spent all our time together with other people, I would never feel like I really knew who he was, and he certainly wouldn't know who I was. And if I still felt this life lesson to be true today, it would be because I didn't know who I was, either.

In High School: Committed Christians are outgoing, boisterous and enthusiastic.
This connects to the previous one, actually. This one isn't always said out loud, but it's a powerful unspoken implication in American Christianity. It's not entirely the church's fault -the same things are told to introverts in non-spiritual terms in the rest of the world. It's just kind of leaked in. The louder, more extroverted Christians are praised for "truly living their faith," while the quiet, introverted Christians are told they need to "get out of their comfort zone" so they can really live for God.

Now: A person's enthusiasm and outgoing nature has absolutely no correlation to their walk with God. None whatsoever.
Sometimes I wonder if this is one of the reasons I never really made friends in high school, because I was so busy trying to be extroverted that I hid a lot of who I really was. I complained to my online friends how hard it was to do the right thing and push myself to reach out to anyone and everyone around me... not realizing that it was hard because I'M NOT AN EXTROVERT. I was pushing and guilting myself into being someone I'm just not because I thought that was what God wanted me to do. And, ya know what? I sucked at it. I'm a terrible extrovert. So I was even more awkward than I usually am and never really connected with anybody. I really wish sometimes that I could go back and relive those years knowing what I know now about who I am.

In High School: If you don't go to church, you won't have a strong walk with God.
This was always the easiest way to measure whether someone was "backsliding." I assumed the people who only came to church every once in awhile were not doing much with God outside of church either. The most devoted to God were the ones who were in the church all the time, although only going to one service a week was acceptable if you were really busy or lived far away.

Now: Church is good, but your actual relationship with God comes first, and you don't always need church to be close to God.
I'm still figuring this one out. It still feels wrong to say. But I absolutely know the above sentence to be true right now. I know this because I haven't really regularly attended church since I lived in Illinois 3 years ago (and even then it was kind of iffy) and my relationship with God is going GREAT. I'm learning and growing and changing and life is good. In fact, my relationship with God is much stronger than it was when I was a regular churchgoer, and CERTAINLY stronger than it was when I was an *avid* churchgoer. It doesn't just happen on its own or anything - I'm still putting tons of effort into my relationship with God.

My first year here in Huntington I tried to find a church to attend but found that every week it was just causing more and more stress to go and be a part of it. Finally, I decided to give myself a break from church for a couple months, and the weirdest thing happened - my relationship with God got better. I grew closer to him, spent more time connecting with him, felt like I heard from him more often. I tried going back to church and, once again, became very distanced from him. So I stopped again. And that's kind of where I am now. Sure, I would like to someday be able to find a church I can connect to, but right now I'm perfectly okay supplementing it with alone time with God and God-themed discussion with the Christians around me.

In Conclusion
So there are a few of the ways in which my worldview has changed from when I was in high school. I'm sure that 10 years from now, there will be many more changes. Maybe I'll have to do a "life advice from mid-20s Hannah etc. etc." series. Heh. But overall, I think I have figured out a lot of things since then. I feel like I'm more open to other people's thoughts, closer in my relationship with God, and more willing to live without all the answers. Which is good, because I'm not going to have them any time soon. Life's a lot more uncertain, a lot more about trial and error and learning how to fail than I thought it was in high school. And I'm OK with that.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Movie Challenge (Take 2)

Hey, remember when I tried to do the 50 Day Movie Challenge last year? And it failed miserably because I posted one time and then forgot about it? Well, movie blogger Brittany Rivera over at Snap. Crackle. Pop... Culture has started on the Facebook movie challenge as well, and I thought, "Right! That's fun! I should try that again!"

But you know what's happened since that first movie challenge thing started? There are now alternate versions all over the place. So it's no longer 30 or 50 all together... there are at least four different possible lists. Some of them are duplicates, yes, but all four have some unique questions. So I'm going to try this again and work through all four of these lists. I have them all in a list and am going to choose a question at random from it until I'm done with all of them. (Or, well, at least that's the plan.)

So here goes.

The one time I posted, the question was about my favorite movie, and I said Casablanca. So I'm not answering that question again if it comes up.

Day 2 - Favorite book-to-movie adaptation.
Oh, this is an easy one for me. I read High Fidelity by Nick Hornby in high school and loved it, and I was pretty worried to watch the movie adaptation. The book had such vivid, interesting characters, and I was certain that the movie would never be able to measure up to it. Something would be done wrong. Something would be terrible.

But, it turns out, nothing was.

With the sole exception of Ian (and even then not too much), every single character was exactly how I had imagined them to be from the book. I suddenly understood what people meant when they talked about characters they knew coming to life on the screen. It was almost eerie how well it matched. Even when there were changes from the book as far as plot, the characters were so true to the spirit of the book that it didn't really matter.

It's been a little while since I rewatched this one, but even just watching this clip I found on YouTube makes me want to go back and watch it again. I'd do it right now, except I left the copy I got for Christmas at home in Illinois. Whoops.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Top 10 Statuses of February

I was pretty quiet on Facebook in February, and then most of my statuses were informative rather than witty, but here are the top 10 most-liked/most-commented statuses of last month (in order from most popular to less popular... also, this post is several days late).

I was dancing a little to my iPod music as I waited by myself in line at the HUB. Then I realized I was listening to "Dancing With Myself" and it was awesome.

While I was making my peanut butter sandwich, I accidentally dropped the jar of peanut butter, which landed on my plate and flipped my sandwich into the air. The sandwich then landed perfectly back on the plate. That was kind of awesome.

I bought new headphones tonight. I may or may not have taken the twisty tie from the packaging and fashioned it into an impromptu toe ring. In fact, I am probably not wearing it right this very moment as I type.

And the weekend draws to a close. Had a lovely dinner time with Nathaniel Adams, a lovely devo time with Jacob Keefer, and now I will have a lovely sleep time with Hannah Megill before I have to be awake in like 6 hours. (Also, I can tag myself in a Facebook status? Why?)

Well, that was a lovely day with Jacob, Breana and Nathaniel. "I want to be a shapeshifter. So I can take any shape I want." "You mean like... a circle?"

Quote of the day, from a student who had just had the plot of Pygmalion explained to her: "It's like a British Miss Congeniality." Why, yes. The subtext of that play clearly indicated Eliza was... what, an MI6 agent posing as a flower girl posing as a duchess?

Unsubscribing to someone but not unfriending them is pretty much saying, "I want to secretly not be friends with you." It sure does come in handy around election season, though. People get *mean* about politics. Not to mention obsessive.

"Someday My Prince Will Come" just played on iTunes, and I was once again struck by how silly Snow White is. The dwarfs eagerly request details: "Was he strong and handsome? Was he big and tall?" and Snow White dreamily responds, "There's nobody like him anywhere at all." Sure, because THAT answers their questions.

Me: I need to shower RIGHT NOW so I can then go to sleep.

So the warm weather means it's comfortable... But it also means the Frisbee-playing crazies at HU have reemerged to throw Frisbees DIRECTLY AT MY HEAD.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Old List of Bizarre Fake Foods

So I already published a blog today (albeit in a weird font... copying it over from my other blog made it go a li'l crazy and it won't be fixed) but these old Facebook notes came up in an online conversation today and so I figured I'd repost them here so my non-Facebook-using friends can read them as well.

* * *

So when I'm at home and I'm bored, I occasionally do this thing where I pick up a cookbook and combine titles of foods to make new names of foods. I take the first word from the first recipe, the second word from the second, the third from the third, etc., until I run out of words (usually about 3 or 4 in) and then I start a new one.

These were some of the ones I came up with over Thanksgiving break:

Tomato Drop

Three-Step Lettuce
Step one: Plant the lettuce. Step two: Harvest the lettuce. Step three: Eat the lettuce.

Basil Ice Steak

Firecracker Picnic Soup

Old Beef

Watermelon Dog Funnel

Honey-Mustard Green Parfaits
I want no honey mustard in my parfaits. Nor do I want green in them.

Cocoa Beef Frosting

Parmesan Cheddar
So... a bunch of cheese.

Creamy With Squares
This is my personal favorite. What exactly are we eating?
Update from now: Jacob and I had a conversation about this one the other day, and he decided this was Rice Krispie treats dipped in melted marshmallow cream, which sounded absolutely delicious to both of us. We will have to try that sometime.

Bacon-Wrapped Cinnamon

Quick 'n'
'n' what? We'll never know.

Pigs Chicken Mix
I'm not sure if that's a food or an animal.

Snack Oat

Time-Saving Lasagna Bundles

Frozen Cream Cheese
Now that's a cheap snack.

Multigrain Potato

Tangy Bagels Grilled

Moist Vegetable

Chili and Shakes

Heavenly Bean Slices
...How does one slice beans, really?

Countdown Bean Spirals
We're just into making the beans fun new shapes.

Gumdrop Chops

Smothered Wild Supreme
Not sure what it is, but it's smothered, wild, and supreme!

Creamy Muffins Hash

Double Asparagus Casserole

Fried Muffins Mix
I would think that would be just... muffin mix. And then you fry it.

Herb Oat

Beef-Stuffed Ice
This made our family make a lot of "UGGGGGHHH!" noises. The idea of this melting in my drink and leaving little bits of beef floating around in it... not appealing.

Breakfast Cream

Cream-Topped Walnut Brown Sauce Sauce

Crispy Pie Drink

No-Knead Fruit
I think we've been eating our fruit wrong.

Blueberry Seed Pinwheels

Triple Mini Bread
It's little, but there's THREE of it!

Sweetheart Mint Pound

Sausage Sloppy Slaw
Trying saying that three times fast.

Three-Cup Cheese

Curried Tapioca Turnovers
This might have been the least-appetizing of them all.

Eggplant from Stir-Fry

Mushroom Coconut Sandwiches

Sausage in Snack
Like... you just find it in there?

No-Noodle Dog Butter

Cheeseburger Joe Pops
Poor Cheeseburger Joe.

Crazy Butter Roll-Ups

Granola Beef

Special Sauce Kabobs Stick
I'm not sure how sauce kabobs work...

Surprise Caramel
Probably right in there with the sausage in your snack.

Mountainous Tortilla Bundles
That's... a lot of tortillas.

Blind Spots 2012: Beetlejuice

(This is crossposted with a couple edits from my movie review blog. Usually my reviews there are much shorter, but feel free to check that out as well. Some spoilers ahead.)

I've finally gotten around to watching one of the movies on my Blind Spot list for 2012! I added this one to the list for a few reasons: 1) I wanted to have a few popular favorites on the list, not just super-artsy ones, 2) I love Tim Burton, and 3) my boyfriend is a huge fan of this movie and kept telling me I should see it.

He was right. I loved it.

I went into this movie knowing very little about its plot. I knew it had something to do with ghosts, but I had no idea that it was a reverse haunted house movie about a pair of ghosts trying to chase humans out of their house. The moment where Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis find out they're dead took me completely by surprise. I don't get surprised by movies all that often, so that was great fun.

As the story unfolded, I loved the mix of silly and dark humor throughout the whole movie. I was somewhat expecting that - Tim Burton's movies always have this offbeat, morbid sense of humor - but I had forgotten how much I love good dark humor. Sometimes, depending on the movie, it's something that takes me a little while to get into, but not here. I loved that tone throughout.

Sometimes you sit down to watch a movie and just end up thoroughly enjoying yourself the whole way through. It doesn't impact you emotionally or connect you with the characters, but it's just solidly good fun. That's what Beetlejuice was for me. I'm definitely glad I saw it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy watching it again someday.

4 stars.

The 11 movies remaining on my Blind Spot 2012 list:
Office Space (1999)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Carrie (1976)
Rushmore (1998)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Nosferatu (1929)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Blogs I Liked in February (And a Life Update)

I keeping telling myself I'm going to be a consistent blogger someday. I was doing pretty well awhile back... and then student teaching happened. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love what I'm doing. I have an amazing group of students and love working with them (and I promise I'm not just saying that for future employers who may be reading my blog). It's great to be in my senior year of college and still be sure that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

However, this experience is costing me some precious sleep. I counted up all the hours I've slept from the past Sunday night until now, and it's definitely been less than 25 hours total. This wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't commuting an hour each way. I had a couple close calls on the road this week because of not being quite alert enough to drive (meep!) so this weekend, my goal is to plan way ahead and get everything done that I need for the week. Hopefully with that done, I can get to sleep at a decent hour during the week and be awake enough to, you know, be safe and not die.

I suddenly realized this morning that it was March now, which means it's time to do a quick re-linking of a couple of the blog posts I read and loved in February. I'm quite a bit behind on my Google Reader, so the newest of these posts happened the 21st. The rest of the month gets covered in April.

Caucasian Christian Radio, by Stephen Mattson at Burnside Writers Collective. Mattson points out some of the things that are wrong with "contemporary" Christian music, and I think he's got a lot of good points here.

The Introvert Brand, by Adam S. McHugh at The Power of Introverts. Anyone who knows me knows that I love McHugh's work (he wrote Introverts in the Church), as the Power of Introverts blog, usually written by Susan Cain. This little piece muses (somewhat lightheartedly) on what happens when you start openly branding yourself an introvert.

Abandoning Evangelicalism, Part 2, by Zack Hunt at The American Jesus. His whole Abandoning Evangelicalism series is great, but this one in particular stood out to me. I do believe the Bible to be the word of God, but I think he has some very, very important points about how that can go wrong. The section starting with, "So how should the Bible function in the life of the faithful?" is my favorite.

The Münchhausen martyrdom of Rick Warren, Chuck Colson and Fr. Jonathan Morris, by Fred Clark at Slacktivist. I have very little patience with an attitude of Christian martyrdom in the United States. We have such a huge amount of religious freedom, and that freedom is hardly ever really threatened on a societal level. I'm not as harsh toward specific people as Fred Clark is, but I do agree this is the attitude of Christian evangelicalism these days, and it needs to stop.

Introverts and the people they love, by Heather at The Bar -B Brand. This is a personal anecdote by a friend of mine about a recent spontaneous visit we made together. I'm not linking it just because it mentions me or anything... but I really love how it's written. I met Heather on an online community. I have always wanted to write something about it, but it's just never come together. Heather manages to capture the fun of the whole adventure and muses on how close online friends can become. It was especially fun to read and remember a week and a half after the visit. It's a great blog post. Even if she does say "soundtrack" at one point when she means "cast recording." :-P