Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Childhood Story, This Time in the Form of a Chat Transcript

I was in RinkChat and ended up telling another story about my childhood, confirming once again that I was an insane little kid. I figured since I recently shared the Queen Game story here on my blog, I should share this one as well.

Me: Now it is time to sleeeeeep.
Me: Wait. I have to tell a stupid story before I sleep.
Me: When I was a kid, one of the other games that I used to play with my siblings was this weird story about a girl who had some deadly disease called "double ornithosis" and the only way she could be cured was to have surgery.
Me: And my brother played the surgeon, who was CRAZY and had this weird sing-songy chant/ritual he would do as he fixed the girl.
Me: One of the lines was, "Here! Have a poison surgery!" (My 5-year-old brain's term for anesthesia.) This was then followed by him proclaiming, "I gave YOU the poison surgery, but I'M going to sleeeeeeeeeeep!" (Except he didn't ever really go to sleep, he just said he was going to.)
Me: And so when I said, "Now it is time to sleeeeeeep," that was all I could hear in my head.
LaZorra: You are awesome.
LaZorra: And bizarre.
LaZorra: And I love you.
Me: I really wanted to follow it up with the next line, which was, "Oh, let me cut you open!"
Me: But I figured I should explain before just exclaiming that I was going to cut people open.
LaZorra: LOL
LaZorra: okay fine but please dont cut me open my boss wont like it if i come into work with no fingers
Me: Just to fully educate you on this story, the ritual ended with, "Sew sew sew sew sew sew sew sew!" because immediately after cutting the girl open, he just sewed her back up.
LaZorra: LOL LOL
LaZorra: At least it's not an *intrusive* surgery.
Me: And the ritual began with him chanting, "Doctor needs a surgery! Doctor needs a surgery!" even though he was the one who was supposed to be doing surgery on the girl.
Me: So now you know the whole thing. Someday I will actually sing it for you so you can hear how it sounds.
LaZorra: I look forward to this performance.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Introverts and Work Breaks

There's a student teaching banquet happening later this week. It's a chance for the student teachers to relax and celebrate the achievements of the semester with their cooperating teachers and schools.

And I really, really don't want to go.

There's a tendency in our extroverted culture to take a break from the stresses of work by planning social activities. What they don't realize is that for introverts, that can be even greater stress. I spend all day with people, and I have come to truly cherish my evenings of being alone. It lets me rejuvenate, get my energy back. It's not an empty time to be filled with more social activity.

Spending time with people during the day is a necessary part of the work I do. (Hard to teach theater to people who aren't there.) And because I love that work, I find the social energy to get through it. The joy in what I do trumps the fact that sometimes I get a little tired of people.

The social gatherings arranged to bring people together after a day of work... those are not a necessary part of the work I do. I don't need to attend those to be good at my job. In fact, the more of those I participate in, the more difficult it is to do my job, as I don't get the alone time I need to recharge, which leads to me being cranky and overwhelmed whenever I'm around people again.

I felt the same way on youth group missions trips. We'd spend the whole week working, but always in groups - either working directly with people (kids' programs, nursing home visits) or doing more solitary work like stocking shelves and sorting laundry in thrift stores, but always with our church groups. Then we'd usually get one day off... and something big would be planned. Trips to the city or the beach or the park. Sometimes I'd make an excuse to just bring a book and sit off by myself and read... but more often I felt obligated to join in. The next day I'd return to work more tired than I had been before my "day off." It wasn't a break from the work. It was a day of extra work, and it was exhausting.

I've become more and more comfortable bowing out of these activities, and now I really don't mind going to one every so often. But this week, I feel like I am definitely obligated to go to this banquet, and it happens in the middle of the week, so I don't even get to take the next day to recover from it.

In an ideal world, all these things would be completely voluntary and, not only that, but those who opted out to watch a movie at home instead would face no... well, "social repercussions" sounds much more serious than I want, but it's kind of what I mean. I have occasionally been told that it was wrong of me to want to sit out the social activities, because it meant that I wasn't committed to building relationships. (Which is not even at all true. I am very committed to building relationships. Fluffy social activities just don't help me do that. But that can be a topic for another time.)

To end on a happier thought, I spent yesterday almost entirely in my room, watching movies, doing some work, writing some blogs. And I loved every minute of it. I love when I have time for things like that. If it was entirely up to me, I would spend nearly every weekend that way. (When it is up to me, I do.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Musical Spotlight: The Book of Mormon

I figured it was about time I did a musical spotlight, especially since I've been wanting to write something about this for a couple weeks now and just hadn't gotten around to it yet.

In the last month or so I've become completely enamored with this cast recording. It's funny, but makes a lot of really good points about religion in general. I'm not a Mormon, but this show is definitely not just about the Mormon belief - a lot of its best songs relate very strongly to growing up in the Protestant Christian church as well.

So let me share six of my favorite songs (you get one more than normal because I couldn't narrow it down any further) and what they say to me about religious belief.

In show order:

1. Turn It Off
Although the song names "turning it off" as a "cool little Mormon trick," this is definitely something I hear talked about in the Christian circles I've been in. This song about simply turning off unwanted feelings is extremely cheerful, because of course it's not that big a deal. It's never really that difficult to suppress these things - and it's never an unhealthy way of dealing with it.

Also, I'm kind of a sucker for hearing tap dancing in music. I don't even have to see it. I just have to hear it. No idea why. It just makes me happy.

2. Making Things Up Again
Warning: This one has some very graphic language, so if you're uncomfortable with that kind of thing, you definitely should not listen.

The idea behind this song is that a Mormon missionary keeps finding that people are running into problems he doesn't know the scriptural answers to... so he improvises. He makes up a few scriptures of his own that directly apply to those people. That's OK, right? Well, his conscience (a chorus which includes hobbits and Yoda) disagrees. He wrestles back and forth with them for awhile.

I like how earnest the guy is about just wanting to help people. He can't find a way to connect the holy writings to what they're doing, but he knows it's wrong. This song just makes me think of people who have such good intentions and then violate all the rules to accomplish what they want to accomplish. Although you know it's wrong, you kinda sympathize with them and hope that they accomplish their goals, and then fix their approach later.

3. Spooky Mormon Hell Dream
Warning: This one also has some crude language, some of which is used in a context in which it might be especially... religiously offensive.

I suspect that most people who grew up in a religion which mentioned hell have had at least one dream about going to hell. I certainly did as a child. While I do find this song very funny because of that, I also think it points to a real problem in the Christian church: using hell as a motivator. In this song, the character is prodded toward righteousness not out of an desire to actually do the right thing, but because he envisions that if he doesn't, he will go to hell (where everybody will proclaim him to be even worse than Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer). Although the song handles this in a funny way (if a somewhat irreverent one), I'm pretty sure I've heard some of these same thoughts come from church sermons, with all the emphasis being on do this or you will go to hell. I'm very, very against using fear as primary motivation, especially for something as important to me as God, and this song points to the results of doing exactly that.

4. I Believe
I have a few Mormon friends, and this is the one that is probably going to be most off-putting to them, because while the other songs poke fun at religion in general, this one is pretty much about Mormon-specific beliefs. But I think it does point to an overall truth about religion as well.

The basic idea of the song is of a Mormon singing about LDS-specific beliefs in very simplistic terms. He ends every verse with, "I am a Mormon, and a Mormon just believes." These beliefs are simplified for comedic effect, and, as I don't hold any of these beliefs myself, I admit I *do* find them funny. However, it's that last line that makes it a more interesting song - the contrast of these seemingly bizarre beliefs connected with the idea of simple faith. First of all, this song reminds me that some of my own beliefs certainly sound bizarre and even silly to people who don't share them. And, secondly, it reminds me that it's important to think through those bizarre beliefs instead of just blindly accepting them. Do I believe most of the traditional church teachings - miracles and such? Yes, I do. But I've thought through them, rather than being someone who "just believes."

The comedy in the song comes from stating all these unusual beliefs and then ending it with the implication that it doesn't matter how strange these beliefs are, they believe them just because they believe them. The beliefs I hold, I hold because I have doubted them, thought through them, resolved my issues with them, and chosen to hold onto them. And that's what this song says to me. Besides just making me laugh, it reminds me that I shouldn't be someone who "just believes," but someone who fights to truly understand what they believe and why.

5. Baptize Me
Sometimes the church has NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what to do with sex and romantic relationships. Heh. Well, of course, people in general sometimes don't know what to do with that either... but adding in religion can complicate it further. I've heard people argue that you shouldn't have close opposite-sex friendships because you might develop feelings for them (which is apparently a bad thing, even if you're both available), and I've heard people argue that it is my duty as a Christian woman to get married ASAP and start cranking out li'l Christian babies. Either way, it tends to be one of the Main Big Things people teach and preach on all the time, so people who grow up in the church sometimes end up with a weird meshing in their minds of religion and sex that leaves them not really sure how to deal with attraction, especially physical attraction, because it's been either pushed or squelched.

That's what I love about this song - on the surface it's all about actual church baptism, but there are all these undercurrents of attraction, unacknowledged, masked behind purity and "religionese." Also, it's kind of hilarious, although full of innuendo.

6. I Am Africa
Just a fun one to close things off, in honor of all the kids who go off on church mission trips and come back claiming some sort of deep intimate knowledge of the culture they spent a week with. Now they speak and think like them and view Christ in the purer, more primitive manner of their brothers and sisters in other countries. (I swore there was a Stuff Christians Like post about this somewhere and it was hilarious, but I can't find it now. Maybe it was only in the book.)

Hands down the best line: "Africans are African, but we are Africa."

Phew. Next time I return to the Musical Spotlight feature, I'm going to pick something a little less controversial. Legally Blonde, perhaps.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Top 5, Bottom 5: 1986

I was born in 1986. And although I've only seen 20 movies from that year, I'm going to go ahead and give my top 5 and bottom 5 because I need a blog post today and I haven't quite finished up my musical spotlight post that I wanted to have for this week.

Top 5:
1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (#32). One of my favorite flicks of all time. It just makes me feel so unbelievably happy when I watch it. In fact, I kind of want to watch it tonight now.
2. Little Shop of Horrors (#50). It ends more happily than its Broadway counterpart, but this is still one of my favorite musicals of all time.
3. Stand By Me (#102). A quality coming-of-age flick featuring Wil Wheaton who, although he is quite good in this, he had not yet grown up to become Super Awesome.
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (#185). Easily my favorite of the original Star Trek movies. This one is just fun.
5. 'Night Mother (#382). Well-done film version of a pretty intense play. What a great script.

Bottom 5:
1. Zombie Nightmare (#1678). I really don't even remember watching this. I just remember that it was terrible.
2. Short Circuit (#1462). I feel like this is a movie you'd have to have grown up with. I saw it as an adult and thought it was quite stupid.
3. SpaceCamp (#1151). Now, this on the other hand, was a movie I grew up with, so I have slightly more fondness for it than I should be allowed to have... But that doesn't keep it from being a ridiculous movie.
4. The Name of the Rose (#1053). I was all prepared to love this movie. But it just never worked for me. I was bored throughout the whole thing.
5. Pretty in Pink (#957). Sometimes I LOVE John Hughes-written flicks, and sometimes they just kind of... blah me. This is one of the ones I never warmed to.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Some Stories From My Childhood

I re-shared this first story with my RinkChat friends this past weekend, then again on Facebook, and now I've decided to re-print it here, along with some of my other favorite stories about weird things I did as a kid. Because... yeah, I was kind of a weird kid.

* * *

We have this big black canning pot that we mostly used when cooking corn on the cob or popcorn for the whole family. When I was nine or so, I decided it would be hilarious to rename it, so I started calling it the "hot patch boiling pot." Somehow this caught on. Not only did my siblings all start calling it this, but my parents did too.

A few years ago, my sister Bethany, who was eighteen or so at the time, found out for the very first time that that wasn't its real name. "Wait, what? What's it actually called?" "A canner."

I kind of wish she'd never found out, because it would have been hilarious to see her try to purchase one as an adult. "Excuse me, can you tell me where the hot patch boiling pots are?"

* * *

I have a tendency to lie to my siblings if they ask me a question I don't feel like answering, because making up an answer is so much more fun than giving them the real one. However, I then usually forget that I did this.

When the Lord of the Rings movies first came out, I was watching them with my siblings. It was at the part where they were trying to figure out which way to go, and one person says, "We can't go (whatever way) because it takes us too close to Isengard!" Bethany (who was probably eleven or so) asked me what Isengard was. I apparently told her it was a theme park and they didn't want to get distracted riding all the rides.

Note that I don't remember telling her this AT ALL.

Five years later, she was rewatching the movies and suddenly yells at me, "Hey! Isengard isn't a theme park!"

"...I know?"

"You told me it was!"

"What? Oh. Um. I'm sorry."

* * *

Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money to buy toys for us kids. We were also homeschooled. As a result, my siblings and I spent a lot of time making up games to amuse ourselves.

I must have been about six when I made up The Queen Game. At the time I only had two siblings, but I made them both play it with me, and then as other kids were born into the family, I taught it to them. And our friends. And our neighbors. I was twelve or so when my mom found us playing it one day and told us we weren't allowed to play it anymore, and my siblings and I were all very upset. Looking back on it now... I get why she was weirded out by it.

It was a 3-person game. Each person got to be either the queen, the prisoner, or the guard. (Guys were allowed to be the queen as well, but they stayed the queen rather than turning into the king or something.) The guard captured the prisoner, usually for picking the queen's flowers, and threw them into prison. The queen then came up with the three most disgusting things they could think of to eat (one creative answer that became a popular recurring option: "dried eggs with buffalo hair on them"). The guard took all these foods to the prisoner, who promptly rejected them because they were pretty disgusting.

Finally, the guard simply serves the prisoner chocolate milk. The prisoner drinks the chocolate milk, but it turns out it was POISONED OH NO and the prisoner dies.

In the final act of this game/story, the queen and the guard "freeze the prisoner into coffee" and drink them. This gruesome ending somehow made sense to me when I was six and then was never questioned once it was put into place. It just became part of the game.

I'm kind of surprised it didn't get shut down before it did. We played this regularly for six years before Mom told us we couldn't play it anymore.

The other game I created as a child that we played a lot was less gory and more silly, but it still had a dark ending. It was called Tanya and the Chocolate Pudding. The basic idea was that we'd jump off the basement stairs onto an air mattress, but there was a storyline involved. The air mattress was a giant vat of chocolate pudding, put there by a witch, and once you fell in the chocolate pudding, you became enchanted and never wanted to leave.

The name "Tanya" came from the fact that we would take turns being different characters from movies we watched all the time, and my favorite was Tanya from An American Tail and Fievel Goes West. Each character would approach the vat of chocolate pudding and accidentally fall or get pushed in, and then they'd be stuck in the pudding forever. So we'd roll around on the air mattress as if we were swimming in a vat of chocolate pudding, and then when we'd all fallen in, we'd get out and do it all again as different characters.

When we ran out of characters or got bored of the game, we'd end it. The witch pulled the plug at the bottom of the vat, and we all went down the drain, landed in her dungeon, and died.

As you can see, my appreciation of morbid storylines started young.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Crazy Love" by Francis Chan

(Originally titled: "My Possibly Oversensitive but Completely Genuine Reaction to the First Few Chapters of 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan." I figured shortening would be a good idea.)

Francis Chan is a Christian writer that I've never read, and last week several of his ebooks were offered for free on Amazon, so I went ahead and purchased the three that were available. I've been making my way through "Crazy Love," his most famous of the three, and although from what I hear I agree with the message overall, he just happens to be accidentally hitting a bunch of my preaching pet peeves on the way there. :-)

In one of the last chapters I read, he told a story about a 14-year-old girl named Brooke. He shared an essay she wrote when she was 12 about being kind, joyful, and living life to the fullest, and then he shared the rest of her story.
During her freshman year in high school, Brooke was in a car accident while driving to the movies. Her life on earth ended when she was just fourteen, but her impact didn't. Nearly fifteen hundred people attended Brooke's memoral service. People from her public high school read poems she had written about her love for God. Everyone spoke of her example and her joy.

I shared the gospel and invited those who wanted to know Jesus to come up and give their lives to Him. There must have been at least two hundred students on their knees at the front of the church praying for salvation. Ushers gave a Bible to each of them. They were Bibles that Brooke had kept in her garage, hoping to give out to all of her unsaved friends. In one day, Brooke led more people to the Lord than most ever will.

In her brief fourteen years on earth, Brooke was faithful to Christ. Her short life was not wasted.
And this is what I jotted down on my Amazon Kindle account in response:
This is a cool story and I'm sure it's meant to be inspiring, but right now it's depressing me. 1500 people? I know I have made a difference in some people's lives, but it's certainly not 1500. This is all very "Go extroverts; introverts, be more extroverted" to me. My quality of life is NOT measured by how many people come to my funeral and get saved, thank you very much. My Christianity is NOT measured by the sheer numbers of people I reach by being exuberant and handing out Bibles to everyone. I am more than that, my faith is more than that, my God is more than that.

Now that I'm aware of the introvert/extrovert bias, I react so strongly against it when I run into it. I'm tired of being told I'm not a good enough Christian because of this crap. If I died tonight, I WOULDN'T have hundreds of people at my funeral who all had a story about how I touched their lives. I just wouldn't. And that's OK. Because the people I have touched matter, and they've been touched through me when they wouldn't have been touched through other people.
Seriously. This is the kind of story people like to tell in sermons, and they have no idea how distressing this is for people like me to hear. Yes, Brooke's testimony was great. Yes, she touched a lot of people's lives. Yes, that's wonderful.

But it's never going to happen like that for me. Not because of a lack of "living for God," but because I am not an extrovert and will not make 1500 friends in my entire life.

I think it's that last line that makes me the angriest - it's the one that hurts the most. "Her short life was not wasted."

So... does this mean mine is? Because my life looks nothing like Brooke's. Although I sure tried. In high school, I wanted so badly to be the person hundreds of people would point to as a great example of Jesus, the one everyone in youth group asked to pray with them, the one people confided in. Not because I was after fame, but because that's what I thought my life needed to look like. To be completely honest, I feel most of those years were wasted precisely because I was trying so hard to make that work. And no matter how hard I tried to be that person, it always fell flat and I ended up being the one on the outside.

Now? I enjoy being the person on the outside most of the time. (I secretly enjoyed it then, too, but it made me feel guilty. I assumed it was because I was just too lazy to live for God the way I was supposed to.) One of my major regrets about my life is that I wasn't able to figure out the truth about introversion earlier. If I hadn't been so busy trying to make myself fit the extrovert mold, I might have been able to reach out to people in a way that I was able to do... or at the very least, I might have been happier.

Francis Chan, I'm sure you didn't really mean most of this. You're just exemplifying the bias in the church. But I am so glad your book didn't exist in high school when I might have read it. That would be just one more story telling me my faith is measured by my exuberance, one more story I'd have to get rid of later when I started getting things straighten out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Blogs I Liked In March

I went BLOG-READIN' CRAZY in March. Or at least people wrote a lot of good stuff. So here are a few of the ones I read and particularly enjoyed.

More Silly

I Want To Have a Beer With This Guy at Failbook. This guy writes the most interesting Facebook statuses ever.

Then I Went To Hell by John Shore over at Despite how the title sounds, this is a silly post making fun of a silly church sign. I love his long list of possible future signs.

Till Undeath Do Us Part, Part 5 from Not Always Romantic. This absolutely sounds like something I would accidentally say.

Ring By Spring or Your Money Back at Stuff Christians Like. As someone who was single at a Christian college for 2 years and is now in a relationship at a Christian college... this is all completely accurate. And occasionally infuriating. :-)

We Don't Need Another HTML Hero by You Suck At Craigslist. I know I instantly want to hire this guy to make me a web site.

More Serious (complete with quotes from my favorite part of the blog)

Santorum Exposes the Real Republican Party by Andrew Sullivan at The Dish. My favorite part is this section of comments down toward the end:
. . . beneath Christianism is a deep fear of the human mind - as if they actually believe that reason is stronger than religion and therefore must be restrained. As if the human mind can will God out of existence. . . . . There is a reason [Santorum] doesn't want many kids to go to college.
A prayer that included an appeal for divine help “to be kind” ceased to have anything to do with either kindness or prayer once it became an established, state-sanctioned symbol of privilege for a particular sect.
You're Not Alone, You're Lonely by Sarah Kidd at Introverted Church
I discovered that in my new language, Hindi, there is no distinction between the words “alone” and “lonely”. I felt like crying.
No Solitude, No Revelation by Susan Cain at The Power of Introverts
(Quoting Rabbi David Wolpe) Those of us who stand on the side at the party, or prefer not to go, do not devalue others. We just find that we can be truest to them when we have stored up quiet moments in the private reservoir that nourishes our souls.
Lord of the Introverts by Adam S. McHugh at Introverted Church
I realized that the two central characters of Tolkien's hobbit tales - Bilbo and Frodo - show some of the most introverted tendencies in the books, which is what makes their stories so compelling. They did not choose their adventures or their missions, they were chosen for them. They were small, short, unlikely, uninteresting creatures who tilled gardens and smoked pipes, but they became central figures in the plot to save the world from evil.
Twilight: Lying Liars Who Lie by Ana Mardoll at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings
[Bella is] cynical and quietly manipulative, and while I was able to give that behavior a pass when it seemed like a survival strategy, it's another thing entirely when she's pumping a young boy for information about an older boy that she intends to chase after just as soon as she gets what she needs from the younger one.

. . . Bella Swan is far, far more guilty of betrayal than anything Edmund Pevensie ever did.
This is a very common meme in the world of male-female relationship advice . . . Women want to be loved, men want to be respected, because to men, love is respect is love. . . .

Okay, I have readers with ladyparts: Are any of you capable of feeling loved while simultaneously feeling disrespected by the same person? How would that even work?
15 Reasons I Left Church by Rachel Held Evans
2. I left the church because when we talked about sin, we mostly talked about sex.

6. I left the church because sometimes I doubt, and church can be the worst place to doubt.

10. I left the church because of my own selfishness and pride.
Fox News Ruins a Life, Right Up to the End by Fred Clark at Slacktivist
I wouldn’t say Fox News is directly responsible for this woman’s death, although her allegiance to their fear-mongering and lies certainly contributed to her not getting the medical attention she needed.

But set aside the role Fox News played in her death and consider the role it played in her life. Watching Fox News made this poor woman miserable. She lived in needless terror, troubled by a constant anxiety that was manufactured and fabricated by political operatives posing as journalists.
Will You Always Believe In Jesus, Mama? by an anonymous guest blogger at Rachel Held Evans' site
My six year old had just confirmed this very sentiment. In the end, he wasn’t opposed to believing in Jesus, he was just sorely disappointed that no one seemed to show up when he really needed it. So he thought that perhaps something else would work better and started looking. I pray that as he searches, that he will find answers that speak to his heart, engage his mind, and soothe his soul. I pray that he will understand that following Jesus doesn’t always feel like we’re glowing, just growing.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blogging Schedule! (I Can Do This!)

So I am going to attempt a semi-regular blogging schedule. It's never a bad thing to try to organize your life a little, right? So I am going to plan to write something, anything, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

(By the way, this totally counts as my Monday post.)

The goal is to write a bunch over the weekends, since the mood rarely really strikes me during the week, and then post-date them so they'll show up on the given days. This also helps since I get so absent-minded - now I can write them whenever and they'll post on the right day, even if I forget until Thursday that yesterday was Wednesday.

(I was about to say, "Oh, hey, yesterday was Wednesday," but then realized that I'm writing this on Thursday but not posting it until Monday, so I would just sound completely insane.)

So there's that info there. I can do it! I can do it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Movies I Watched In March

March was a heckabusy month for me, but I still managed to watch eight movies. (Whoo, boy, a whole eight. Why, I remember when I used to watch eight movies a week! Silly real life deciding to get in the way of my casual movie watching.)

Last month, I watched:

Beetlejuice (1988). Part of my Blind Spot 2012 series. Really enjoyed it overall - I loved the dark, quirky sense of humor throughout. But of course I should have expected that with Tim Burton directing. 4/5.

Contagion (2011). Well-done and effective outbreak thriller with a talented (and impressive) cast, bringing life even to small roles. 4/5.

Drive (2011). I wanted to really love this movie, because it was highly acclaimed and I do love Ryan Gosling. I loved the beginning and I loved the end, but a lot of the bits in the middle never quite gelled with me. Looking back on it now, I liked it as a whole but would probably feel restless rewatching it again. 3.5/5.

50/50 (2011). Pretty solid little dark comedy. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is easy to root for. It's got a great combination of funny comedic moments and moving dramatic moments. 4/5.

The Battle of Algiers (1966). A well-done, important movie that I didn't enjoy watching at all. I never know what to give movies like this, so it ended up getting 3/5.

Stage Door Canteen (1943). Fascinating as sort of a time capsule of the great entertainers of the 1940s, but a lot of the jokes and cameo are lost on me as an audience member almost 70 years later. 2.5/5.

Deliverance (1972). Surprisingly boring for being a thriller about crazy rednecks. I just don't get it. 1/5.

Bowling for Columbine (2002). Good subject for a documentary, and parts were really well-done and very convincing, but it also felt scattered in its approach. I'm not sure if it was a deliberate stylistic choice or just the result of trying to explore every aspect of the topic. 3/5.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recent Search Keywords

I just wanted to take a brief look at some of the search keywords that have brought people to my blog over the past month or so, and examine whether or not my blog was helpful in answering their queries.

top 10 statuses
top 5 facebook statuses

I suspect these people wanted to know the top statuses of all time and although I would love to think mine were the best of all time, at least quality-wise, I have a feeling that the people looking for these were probably disappointed in what they found.

best unpublished comedy movies 2011

Because of the title of my blog, I get a lot of searches for unpublished songs, unpublished movies, etc. I, unfortunately, provide none of that.

does marius sing eponine a lullaby

Now I can answer this one! Kind of. "A Little Fall of Rain" is not really a song meant to put her to sleep, although I suppose she does fall asleep (forever) at the end of the song. She also does most of the singing. If anything, she's singing him a lullaby. But the song does have a bit of a lullaby quality to it, and at the end he gets very sweet and tender as he sings it to her. So although my vote would be "no," it's a debatable point.

ellen page hard candy

She sure was great in that, wasn't she?

favorite unknown movies

I did indeed write an entire blog post about that. I hope it gave them some good ideas!

how movie challenge got started

Now I have no idea about that one. I don't even know which of the many 10/15/30/50-day challenges came first. There were ones about movies and music and photo ones, but they all kind of overwhelmed my Facebook at the same time and, as I do, I am just now latching onto them after they have long worn out their welcome in the rest of the world.

introvert church

Best site to recommend there is Introverted Church, the blog of Adam S. McHugh, who wrote the amazing book "Introverts in the Church." If you are an introvert and you go to church, read it. If you are an extrovert and you go to church, read it.

introvert vs extrovert misconceptions

Oh, now that probably hit on a couple blog posts from way back when. That was always meant to be a continued series, the whole "misconceptions about us" thing, but then I didn't run into many more than I had already discussed.

introverts and lying

Oh, dear. Maybe my introvert lies blog post is going to spread and make it sound like introverts everywhere lie all the time. Which, well, I suppose we do. As do extroverts. As do people.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Not a Good Day For ChaCha

Sometimes asking ChaCha is just plain frustrating. Jacob and I were discussing the Les Mis movie coming out this December and couldn't remember who was playing Marius. So I figured I'd ask ChaCha. This ensued over the course of the next half hour.

Me: Who's playing Marius in the new 2012 movie version of Les Miserables?

ChaCha: In the 1998 film version of "Les Miserable" (note: that is not a typo from me - it's from them) starring Claire Danes, Marius is played by Hans Matheson!

Me: I hate when you people don't even read my question. Let's try again. In the 2012 musical movie version of Les Mis starring Hugh Jackman, who is playing Marius?

ChaCha: We found millions of A's, but not to that Q.

Me: Oh, for pete's sake. Who's playing Marius in the 2012 movie version of Les Miserables?

ChaCha: There is no Gavroche in the 2012 movie "Les Miserables." They must have taken out the character or maybe it is not cast yet. Amanda Seyfried will play Cosette. Anne Hathaway will play Fantine. Sacha Baron Cohen will play Monsieur Thnardier. (Again, not my own typo.)

Me: I did not ask about Gavroche. I asked about Marius. Who is playing MARIUS in the 2012 movie musical of Les Miserables? This is not difficult to find.

ChaCha: We found millions of A's, but not to that Q.

Me: Who's playing Marius in the 2012 movie musical version of Les Miserables? I will keep texting until I get an answer.

ChaCha: We found millions of A's, but not to that Q.

Me: Who's playing Marius in the 2012 movie musical version of Les Miserables? I will keep texting until I get an answer.

ChaCha: Hmm... we sent that Answer to you already!

Me: YOU DID NOT. You sent me a bunch of other random info and never once answered my question. Who is cast as Marius in the new movie of Les Mis?

ChaCha: We found millions of A's, but not to that Q.

Me: Who's playing Marius in the 2012 movie musical version of Les Miserables?

ChaCha: Hmm... we sent that Answer to you already! Txt GETNEW to get a new answer.

Me: Getnew

ChaCha: There is no Gavroche in the 2012 movie "Les Miserables." They must have taken out the character or maybe it is not cast yet. Amanda Seyfried will play Cosette. Anne Hathaway will play Fantine. Sacha Baron Cohen will play Monsieur Thnardier.

Me: Who's playing Marius in the 2012 movie musical version of Les Miserables?

ChaCha: Hmm... we sent that Answer to you already! Txt GETNEW to get a new answer.

Me: Getnew

ChaCha: We found millions of A's, but not to that Q.

(15 minutes later, Jacob and I found a computer and actually looked up the answer. First Google hit for "2012 les miserables" is the IMDb page, which lists the cast member right there.)

Me: Eddie Redmayne is playing Marius in the 2012 Les Mis movie. That took me like 15 seconds to find on Google. You should have been able to find it. Sigh.

ChaCha: Snap! That answer is still a mystery to us.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Top Facebook Statuses of March

I was going to say "top 10," but it's actually a "top 11." There was a tie for 10th place, and then there was one that didn't make it to the top list, but was specifically requested to end up in this blog post, so I figured I'd throw that in as a bonus. So here are my top 10 most-liked, most-commented statuses of March 2012.

A friend's FB status asked, "What is the first word that comes to mind when you hear 'springtime'?" I had to be honest and say "Hitler." Now I have that song stuck in my head *and* I sound like a terrible person.

A van in front of me was leaking reddish brownish liquid out its back door. I'm pretty sure it was a beverage that spilled somewhere, but my mind instantly went to "dead body." Ew.

This morning as I pulled up to a stop sign, I was alarmed to see the gas gauge zooming down toward empty VERY rapidly. Then I realized I was looking at the speedometer, not the gas gauge. That is what my mind is doing these days, and that is how badly I need this spring break.

Have I mentioned lately that I love teaching and I love my students? Because I definitely do. I mean, I'm completely exhausted (saying I had 25 hours of sleep in the past week would be a VERY generous guess) but it's so worth it. Now to take a quick nap before I have to wake up to do senior showcase stuff. (You should all come to that tonight at 7:30. It's going to be a good show.)

Some people might assume these two dollar bills I found in the dryer were the result of me forgetting to check my pants pockets before I did my laundry. I choose to believe my dorm appliances are growing money.

Today I watched monologues in the beginning acting class. One of the students who has never seemed terribly engaged or interested in the class buckled down, worked, and ended up giving one of the best monologues I've seen so far. I love when people surprise you like that. Reason #384 I love teaching.

Senior showcase went great. Thanks to Jay and Melissa for helping us pull it all together in such a short amount of time, and, of course, thanks to my lovely co-stars, Breana, Kate, Meagan, Amber-Dawn, Kendra, and Lucy. I loved getting to do one last performance with you guys. It's our time! Breathe it in! Worlds to change and worlds to win! (Except for Kendra. You get worlds to end.)

Sometimes you think you don't have a spoon to eat yogurt with. Then you remember you have a spoon! That, my friends, is the definition of happiness.

Last night I was eating as I drove home. I saw something bizarre (I don't even remember what) and decided I just HAD to say something snarky out loud to myself. I nearly choked. Moral of the story: Witty remarks can potentially kill you.

I was just told, "If you were meaner, you would be a great internet troll." I'm completely OK with this.

LaZorra: Sam, the Human Gungle Jym.
Sentynel: LOL, Gungle Jym.
LaZorra: Gungle, yes. Gungle Jym.
Sam: Jungle gym?
LaZorra: ...
LaZorra: Holy crap, my brain has fallen out.

Bonus: How much do I hate when people play Frisbee on the sidewalk in front of the HUB? Well, I apparently involuntarily muttered, "I hate you I hate you I hate you" under my breath as I walked by them. I felt a little bad when I realized I was doing it. I don't even *know* these people.