Friday, June 29, 2012

When Introverts Go Shopping

I recently filled out a customer satisfaction survey for my local grocery store. One of the questions asked was, "Were you greeted by every employee you encountered?" The available options were push 1 for yes and 2 for no. I pushed 2, but I wanted there to find a way to add, "But that's a good thing."

I have been to stores where every employee I encounter has greeted me. And it's completely overwhelming. It's one of many reasons why I do all possible shopping online. Part of this is based on a need for sales - if you interact with the customer, you have a better chance of talking them into more purchases. But part of it is also an attempt to make the store seem friendly, to make it all a positive experience for the shopper.

Totally doesn't work for introverts.

It works against introverts.

If I go into a store just to browse and find myself greeted by more than one worker or asked multiple times, "Can I help you find something?" I am much more likely to leave as soon as I can, without buying anything. On the flip side, if I am allowed to linger uninterrupted, to examine all the options without being shadowed by salespeople, I'm more likely to make a purchase.

Ideally, in a world that catered to both introverts and extroverts, you would be greeted as you walked in the door and asked if there was anything you needed help finding. It's nice to have that offer right off the bat. But then, after that, you're left alone. Employees could still wander the store to be available if somebody did need help finding something (or, better yet, be at some sort of centralized location where I could go and seek out someone for help if I needed it - help desks are fantastic - I'd be OK with either option), but they wouldn't interrupt the browsing process.

There are enough introverts out there that being greeted by every salesperson shouldn't be an automatically positive thing. And yet... somehow it is. It is distressing to me to hear questions like that one on customer satisfaction surveys and know that the employees of that store are being encouraged to disrupt and distract the introverts around them, all in the name of friendliness.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Most In-Depth Analysis of Romeo and Juliet You Will Ever Read

Before I really did anything with this blog, I occasionally posted stuff on Facebook notes. I was thinking the other day about something I had written on there about a year and a half ago, and I thought, "I should find that and post that on my real blog. Because it was fun."

I was taking a Shakespeare class and our very first play we had to read was Romeo and Juliet, a play I've always disliked. This time through I read it and shared my lighthearted summary and thoughts with the Rinkies as I did so. It made it so much more entertaining. Even more importantly, it actually gave me an entirely new perspective on the play that I was able to turn into a (rather excellent if I do say so myself) paper that I used for both this class and a later theater history class.

Let it be known that when I include character quotes, I'm not just writing my own dialogue - I am doing my best to paraphrase what is actually there. You can even find a copy of the play for free online and follow along, if you would like.

So, without further ado (there's probably a Shakespearean Much Ado About Nothing joke in here somewhere), here is that blog post from January 2011.

I finally finished rereading Romeo & Juliet. While doing so, I was in RinkChat, detailing the plot to people, with more than your average amount of snark. This is that transcript. (Entertaining comments from other people are put in brackets.) (2012 Hannah says: Also in italics. It's easier.) I didn't start this until Act 2, but if you've ever wanted to know what happens in Romeo and Juliet from the balcony scene onward, here you go.

Romeo's an idiot. His answer to everything Juliet asks him is, "Love."
"Who are you?" "I love you."
"Is that Romeo?" "Not if you don't want me to be. I love you."
"How'd you climb over the wall to get here?" "Love."
"You know they'll kill you if they find you, right?" "I'd rather die for hate than die without love."
And, my favorite: "How'd you find out where I lived?" "Love. OK, some dude told me. But seriously, I love you." [Sentynel: Modern answer: Love. Also, Facebook. But mostly love.]
That, in a nutshell, is the balcony scene. Which makes Juliet's follow-up line kind of hilarious. "Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say, 'Ay.'" YA THINK? [Sentynel: "Actually, no, I've changed my mind. Bye!" Me: And everyone lives happily ever after.]

Juliet's pretty level-headed, actually. At least at this point. She keeps on having to remind Romeo that his huge comparisons don't really mean anything. "I swear by the moon--" "Well, that's a stupid thing to swear by. It changes all the time." "Then what do I swear by?" "I dunno. Yourself, I guess." "I swear by my love--" "Never mind. Let's wait awhile before we start swearing. I feel it's a little soon for that."

Romeo won't leave until she says she loves him back. Dang. I guess those were the magic words, because her idiot switch definitely just got turned on. She wants to marry him the next day. Juliet just foreshadowingly told him that if he were a little bird, she'd love him too much and kill him.

Next day: La dee da dee da, the friar's picking flowers. When Romeo shows up, the friar notices he hasn't been to bed yet and gets all panicky that he slept with Rosaline (Romeo's obsession of the week before Juliet) and is in sin now. When Romeo tells him he's in love with Juliet now, the friar's response includes something along the lines of, "What? No more Rosaline? Well, that's a lot of tears wasted, then." Romeo complains that the friar scolded him for loving Rosaline, to which the friar wisely responds, "For doting, not for loving." Romeo's response to that is, of course, sane and rational: "YOU JUST DON'T WANT ME TO LOVE ANYONE AT ALL!" Romeo says, "Well, THIS girl loves me back." And the friar says, "Yeah, Rosaline knew you didn't really know what love was." Dang. I kind of love the friar.

Next scene: Benvolio, who's a pretty decent friend, and Mercutio, who's awesomely snarky and sarcastic about Romeo's drama, talk about some stuff. Then Romeo shows up, which makes Benvolio say, "Here comes Romeo! Here comes Romeo!" which is sung, in my mind, to the tune of "This Is Halloween."

Mercutio snarks at Romeo. They yell at each other for awhile and call each other geese a lot. Mercutio: "Now, Romeo, isn't this more fun than pining for love?"

The nurse shows up and Mercutio makes rude jokes to her. The nurse calls him a young whippersnapper and is really mad about it for awhile. She tells Romeo she's delivering a message from Juliet, but helpfully says, "What she bid me say, I will keep to myself." So she's just going to tell him Juliet HAS a message for him, but not tell him what it is? Romeo asks the nurse to speak well of him to Juliet. The nurse says, "I'll tell her that! She'll be so happy!" He rightly says, "Er... what?" He asks her to bring Juliet to the friar's that afternoon to be married. And bring a rope ladder. ...The nurse tells him Juliet's been writing alliterative poetry about Romeo and rosemary. He ignores her and says, "Just tell Juliet what I said."

Back in Juliet's room, she complains that the nurse is TOO SLOW getting back, and she wishes she were telepathic instead. The nurse finally gets back and asks for a minute to catch her breath, but Juliet is in full-fledged demanding teenager mode. She does NOT accept this as an answer, saying, "How art thou out of breath when thou hast breath to say to me that thou art out of breath?" The nurse tells her she has terrible taste in men, even though Romeo IS pretty. Juliet responds: "All this did I know before." Well, at least she knows she's being stupid about this. Finally she tells her the plan, and Juliet says, "YAY! Bye."

Friar Awesome tells Romeo that "violent delights have violent ends." At this point, Romeo probably sticks his fingers in his ears and goes, "LA LA LA LA."

Mercutio and Benvolio argue for awhile about which one of them is more hot-tempered. Tybalt shows up and they all mock each other for awhile.

Then Romeo shows up and Tybalt declares his hate for him. Romeo cryptically responds about having a reason to love him, and tries to take off, but Tybalt says, "Whatever, dude, I wanna fight you." Romeo, true to his character's theme, protests, "But I love you!" Mercutio thinks Romeo's just wimping out and decides to fight Tybalt for him.

Romeo decides to run into the middle of the swordfight, but Tybalt stabs Mercutio anyway. Mercutio says, "It's just a flesh wound." But then a second later he says he's going to die and hopes a dog, a rat, a mouse, and a cat all scratch Tybalt to death. He then blames Romeo for getting him killed, and curses the Montagues and the Capulets both and limps off to "some house."  Romeo whines that Juliet made him weak. I have a suspicion, though, that he was always that way.

Mercutio dies and Tybalt comes back. So Romeo fights him and kills him. Benvolio tells him to run away, and Romeo whines a bit more about his fate and finally leaves.

The Prince shows up and asks what happened, and Benvolio cheerfully announces that Romeo is the murderer. A bit later, he tries to give a slightly fuller account, but Mrs. Capulet is like, "He's a Montague! He's a liar!" and the Prince says, "Hmm. Then, OK, let's banish him."

Romeo and Juliet are both obsessed with their loved ones being stars. Romeo mused earlier about how, if her eyes were plucked out of her head and put in the sky, they'd make it daytime 24/7. And now Juliet wants to "cut him out in little stars" to put in the sky when she dies. Not when he dies. When SHE dies. That is a terrifying dying wish. [Nyperold: Talk about star-crossed.]

The nurse comes in ranting about someone being dead. Like a page later, after a lot of panicking from Juliet, she finally says Tybalt is the one who's dead, not Romeo, and that Romeo is banished for killing him. Juliet is ticked off that a good-looking man could be a murderer, and she does a monologue's worth of ranting about it. The nurse cheerfully agrees that all men are scum. Then Juliet says, "Don't you dare talk about my Romeo that way! I LOVE HIM I LOVE HIM!"

She acknowledges that Tybalt's death is a bit sad, then freaks out for about 25 lines that Romeo is banished. She asks the nurse where Mom and Dad Capulet are, and the nurse says, "Weeping and wailing over Tybalt's corpse." Well, THAT kinda puts things into perspective, doesn't it, Juliet?

Juliet then essentially says, "Well, I'm going to be crying about Romeo being banished LONG after they're done crying about Tybalt." I can no longer wait for this girl to die. Way to sympathize with family members in mourning.

Juliet threatens to kill herself. The nurse says she'll find Romeo. Juliet said, "Okee-dokee then!" and cheerfully trots off to bed. [Goosey: Well, she IS 14. Or was it 12? Me: Almost 14. Goosey: Sounds about age-appropriate, yeah.]

The friar tells Romeo he's banished, and Romeo flips out about as much as Juliet does. The friar tries to reason with him: "O rude unthankfulness! ...The kind prince, taking thy part, hath rushed aside the law, and turned that black word 'death' to banishment." Romeo says, "But I'll never get to see Juliet again!" Yeah, if only you were dead, it would be so much easier to see her then.

Romeo expresses his jealousy of flies that get to sit on Juliet's hand and kiss her. Does Romeo WANT to sit on Juliet's hand? Do flies want to kiss her?

The friar gets all frustrated that Romeo doesn't listen to him, and Romeo plays the "You don't understand me! You don't understand true love!" card.

The nurse shows up and asks where Romeo is. The friar's answer: "He's the one sitting on the floor crying." Romeo expresses his wish to operate on himself and remove his name. So he tries to stab himself. [Goosey: Poor understanding of anatomy.]

The friar says, "You LOOK like a man, but on the other hand you cry like a woman, and you react to bad news like an animal." I love this guy so much. [Goosey: Awesome Friar is Awesome.]

The friar asks him to go see Juliet one last time, then go into hiding until things cool down and then maybe they can get the prince to let Romeo back in. The nurse gives Romeo a ring from Juliet, and he says, "YAY THIS MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER!" [Randy: He's sorta bi-polar]

In the meantime, Dad Capulet tells Paris (who wants to marry Juliet) that tonight might not be a good night to propose. They agree Thursday sounds more like a proposing kind of day.

Cut back to Romeo and Juliet snuggling by the window. Or maybe just standing gazing into each other's eyes, imagining what they would look like as stars. The sun is coming up. Romeo says he has to go, it's daytime. Juliet says, "No, it's not! That's not the sun! It's... um... a meteor!" Romeo says, "OK, fine, it's not daytime. I'll stay here and die happy." Juliet says, "KIDDING! It's totally daytime. Run run run!"

Juliet: "More light and light it grows." Romeo: "More dark and dark our woes." That's where passion truly lies - in being able to rhyme with each other.

As Romeo climbs down, Juliet suddenly has an image of him looking pretty dead. Romeo completely mistakes this for some romantic utterance, and tenderly replies, "And trust me, love, in my eye so do you [look dead]." [Maryam: Man, I never actually paid attention when reading this play. Maybe I should have. Or maybe I just need a ThePhan to read it for me.]

Mom Capulet goes into Juliet's room and says, "Sheesh, you've cried like a whole day for Tybalt. Enough of that." Geez, maybe Juliet was right about her crying longer for Romeo than they do for Tybalt... Juliet gets all crafty and tells her mom she wants Romeo dead for killing Tybalt. Mom announces Juliet's upcoming marriage to Paris. Oh, dang. I misread this, then. Turns out they're getting MARRIED on Thursday. She finds out tonight. Juliet decides she's done being crafty, and says, "Nope! I'm going to marry Romeo!" Her mom says, "Well, we'll see what your father has to say about that."

Dad Capulet is told Juliet doesn't want to marry Paris, but he says she'll marry him or he'll drag her there by force. He then refers to her as "greensickness carrion," "baggage," and "tallow-face." After he's done screaming and ranting at her, both the nurse and his wife tell him they think he's being just a LITTLE harsh. He says, nope, she will either marry Paris or he'll kick her out.

Juliet begs for a postponement of the wedding, "or if you do not, make the bridal bed in that dim monument where Tybalt lies." It's a suicide threat, but at first I thought it was an "I'll have sex on my cousin's grave" threat.

Juliet asks the nurse for help, and the nurse says, "Romeo's gone. He's never coming back. Just marry the count. He's a better man than Romeo anyway." Juliet says OK, surprising the nurse, but as soon as the nurse leaves, Juliet decides to go and get poison from the friar so she can diiiiiiiiiiiie.

Speaking of the friar... he's talking to Paris, and is not so happy about performing a marriage where the bride doesn't want to do it. Paris seems like a really good guy, actually. He says it was her father's plan, not necessarily his. He's deliberately kept his distance from Juliet because he figured in this time of mourning she wouldn't necessarily want to see him.

Juliet shows up and Paris greets her: "Happily met, my lady and my wife!" Juliet says, "Not your wife yet." (Dun dun dun.) Er. But Paris seems to be under the impression that Juliet loves him. So he may be a decent guy, but he's a bit stupid.

Paris leaves and Juliet talks with the friar privately. She demands he offer her a solution, and if he doesn't, she'll just kill herself. Friar Awesome seems to realize she just might mean it this time, and he offers her the fake death stuff instead. (Not a bad move on his part. Better fake dead than really dead. He has no way of knowing how terribly this is going to go.) Juliet lists all the terrible ways she'd rather die than marry Paris.

The friar details the plan: she takes the fake poison, her family all mourns her, they bury her, Romeo steals her body, and then they run away to get married when she wakes up 24 hours later. Juliet's response: "Give me, give me!"

Juliet goes home and ever so sweetly tells her parents she's agreed to be married. Mom and Dad are delighted at their child's sudden reform.

Wedding eve night. Juliet suspects for a moment that it's ACTUAL poison and that the friar just wants to kill her so that nobody will know he already married her to Romeo. She also worries for awhile that she might wake up too early and have a panic attack in the tomb. But then she says, "What the hey," and just drinks it all anyway.

The nurse goes to wake her up and finds she's "dead." Mom Capulet comes to see what's wrong, and the nurse, as usual, just yells exclamations rather than actually giving any explanations. The nurse's reaction: "O lamentable day!" Mom's reaction: "O woeful time!" Dad's reaction: "Death, that hath ta'en her hence to make me well, ties up my tongue and will not let me speak." He seems to be speaking just fine to me...

The stage directions indicate, "All at once cry out and wring their hands." Which is a hilarious image in the middle of all these speeches.

The nurse is ever so eloquent: "O woe! O woeful, woeful, woeful day! Most lamentable day, most woeful day... O day, O day, O day! O hateful day! Never was seen so black a day as this. O woeful day! O woeful day!" A DEAD ONE

Then there's suddenly an entire page of one of the servants arguing with some musicians over what songs they should play.

Romeo, in the meantime, has had a dream that he died and Juliet kissed him back to life. Just then, Romeo's servant shows up to tell him Juliet's dead. Romeo is trying to figure out where to buy poison, when ta-da! An apothecary shows up out of nowhere. The apothecary says it's illegal to sell poison. Romeo says, "You look way too poor to refuse my money." The apothecary reluctantly agrees, and Romeo, with his poison, runs off to Juliet's grave so he can die there.

The friar finds out his letter never reached Romeo because the guy who was supposed to deliver it got quarantined. The friar goes, "Oh crap," and runs to the tomb with a crowbar to let Juliet out.

Paris is mourning Juliet at her tomb when Romeo shows up. Romeo tells his servant that he wants to die in Juliet's tomb mostly because he wants to get a ring back from her (?!?). He also says if his servant tries to watch him kill himself, he'll remove his limbs and throw them all over the cemetery. The servant wisely agrees to leave. But then decides to stay and watch anyway.

Paris sees Romeo tries to break into Juliet's tomb and figures he wants to defile her body or something, so he approaches him. Romeo says, "Please don't make me kill you." Paris arrests him, and Romeo kills him.

Romeo goes into Juliet's tomb and muses on her for awhile. He also apologizes to Tybalt. He theorizes that Death killed Juliet to marry her. Then he drinks the poison and dies. So much for getting the ring he came here for. But maybe he was just lying to his servant about that.

The friar shows up and the servant says Romeo's been here like half an hour, which means either that monologue or that sword fight got stretched WAY out. The friar goes and sees that Paris and Romeo are dead, and he's understandably upset. Then Juliet wakes up and says helpfully, "I do remember well where I should be, and there I am." The friar says Romeo is dead and suggests Juliet joins a convent. Then he leaves, and Juliet kisses Romeo, hoping that there'll be enough poison on his lips that she can die too. But that's taking too long, so she stabs herself instead.

The night watchman shows up and finds Romeo's servant, the friar, and all the dead bodies. Then the Prince and the Capulets show up. Mom Capulet says there are people in the streets crying, "Romeo," "Juliet," or "Paris," and they're all running toward the tomb. Word travels fast.

The friar gives a brief explanation of what happened. [Goosey: If this were CSI, they'd be fingerprinting the friar.] The prince confirms this is what happened, and then scolds Capulet and Montague for their feud: "See where this led?" Montague agrees to make a golden statue of Juliet. The prince sends them away "to have more talk of these sad things."

The End.

I'm pretty sure very little of that was either Capulet or Montague's fault. The deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt probably did arise from the feud. But the rest was entirely the stupid teenagers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

5 Comedic Actors I Wish Did More Serious Work

Just a little list for you guys this Monday.

1. Jim Carrey
I like Jim Carrey mostly anyway, but I REALLY love his serious work. The Truman Show is one of my top 10 movies of all time, and that's mostly due to his serious work. He manages to create incredibly likable protagonists. Lately he's gone back to doing a lot more comedy, which is sad for me. I hope he re-explores dramatic work soon.

2. Zach Galifianakis
I'm not a mega Zach Galifianakis fan. He's pretty funny in The Hangover, and I occasionally like Between Two Ferns, but most of the time he leaves me uninterested. However, based solely on his performance in It's Kind of a Funny Story, I would LOVE to see him do some more serious work. His loser persona translated in that movie into something very moving and very tragic, and, frankly, I wanted to see more of him and less of the main kid. I feel like if he picked the right projects, I could be very drawn to him as a dramatic actor.

3. Neil Patrick Harris
NPH has not only wonderful comic timing, he also has a way of injecting even his more comedic characters with very compelling dramatic sides. I'm thinking specifically of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Barney Stinson, who, although they're mostly comedic characters, both have moments when they reveal that there's more to them than meets the eye, and he plays those moments superbly. There's no character on How I Met Your Mother that I *care* about more than Barney, which is odd, because you'd think he'd be the one I'd care about least. But every time he has a semi serious storyline, Neil Patrick Harris does it perfectly. I'd love to see him do some more work that's mostly dramatic.

4. Steve Carell
He has the same dramatic appeal for me as Zach Galifianakis, in that he has a way of portraying someone who is a loser (and *knows* they're a loser) that can either crack me up or make my heart hurt for him. Or, as in the case of The Office, frequently both. And like Neil Patrick Harris, he managed to make me deeply care about a fairly obnoxious character - Michael Scott is a fairly terrible person, but I rooted for him. I cared about his fate. He's only ventured into dramatic work a few times, but I hope he continues to play with this.

5. Will Ferrell
I've seen two slightly-more-dramatic enterprises from Will Ferrell - one was Winter Passing (which was unbelievably dull and terrible for everyone involved, so I can't judge anyone based on that) and the other was Stranger Than Fiction , which was a comedy/drama, but a very normal character, and I *liked* him in it. Ever since then I've wanted him to do something else dramatic. He has an earnestness in his characters that could translate very well into dramatic work.

What do you guys think? What comic actors do you wish did more dramatic work? (Or, the fun flip side: What dramatic actors do you wish did more comedy? I started that list myself but didn't get very far.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sim Sunday: Roommate Drama

All right, time to play a day in the life of the chosen sims! Let's get this party started.

First thing, before I really even start playing with them, is I need to get their house set up. They have a place to live, but they'll need a few essentials. Right now I'm going to go with the absolute bare essentials and get them beds, a trash can, a fridge, a smoke detector (because nothing is more frustrating than your sims killing everyone in a fire started when they tried to make grilled cheese), a phone, a couple chairs, and a couple lights. Their place already comes equipped with a stove, a toilet, and a shower. As they demand more things, I will get them more things, but this is what they really need before anything even starts.

There are so many people living in such a small house here that I didn't have room to put in six beds, so one of them is going to have to sleep on the couch. Or they'll rotate their sleeping schedules so that the six of them aren't sleeping all at once. As it is, we've got a pretty funky bed pattern going on:

We have two in the smaller room and three more at very odd angles in the larger room. I'm pretty sure I have enough room for everyone to get to all the beds, but if not... sims aren't known for their ability to maneuver around things. If there's a dish sitting on the floor between them and their goal, they will stop, yell at me, and then just give up if I don't move it.

In the living room, I put a couch so there's at least one more place for someone to sleep, and then decided I needed some chairs. I went with the creepy panda face chairs. Just because. And then I decided to surround the couch with creepy panda face chairs so that the pandas are guarding the sleeping person because that's not terrifying at all.

All right. Now that we have the essentials, time to get everyone jobs. Any minute now, people are going to show up to welcome our crew to the neighborhood and help them make some friends (which should be great for Dsean, whose popularity aspiration means he absolutely loves meeting new people and making new friends), and I want at least some of you to get some jobs before you have to devote your time to... ugh... socializing.

(Whoa. While Michael was looking for a job, Dsean tried to hug Barbara, and she got very mad at him.)

The newspaper only offers three career options a day, and today the options are military, business, and political, which I don't think anyone in our group wants, so we're out of luck until tomorrow. (Unless I buy a computer and give them more job options, but I don't think that's going to happen.) So today might be a lazy day.

Whoa again. While I was busy checking on everybody else (Michael and Kali are both cooking and I do not want to start a fire already), Dsean and Barbara were building up some serious bad blood. I went over to check on them and their relationship is at -29. I decided to push this a little further and had Dsean irritate Barbara by "grossing her out."

She's clearly pretty displeased. However, one of Dsean's fears is being enemies with Barbara, so I made him apologize and then set him on a track to try to get onto better terms with her.

However, Lysander and Kali are getting along great... In fact, Kali's pretty attracted to him, and flirts with him a little bit. She caught him at a bad moment, though - he was taking the trash out and when she interrupted him to flirt, he just dumped it all on the ground, so I'm going to have to make him pick it up later. This picture is of him swooning in response to her charming him.

Eventually, some visitors arrived to welcome us to the neighborhood. These visitors actually turned out to be myself, my brother Nathan, and my sister Bethany. I forgot I had made sim versions of us awhile back. So I guess I'll be featured in this game occasionally now too. Everyone interacts with them a bit and then it gets overwhelming having that any people around and I send myself and my siblings back home.

This is sim me.
Lysander continues to flirt with everyone he encounters. (He and Barbara apparently have pretty strong chemistry, so expect something to happen there soon.)

Oh, great. Kali sets the kitchen on fire while making macaroni and cheese.

While the firefighters arrive rapidly, this is all too much for Odelia, who had "fire" listed as one of her fears. She collapses to the floor. A therapist comes down from the sky and reassures her. As soon as she seems to have collected herself a bit, he leaves.

She's apparently not worried at all about fire again, as he goes right back to the kitchen to make herself some food.

The fire has made everyone gross and smelly, so they all go off to take showers. Uh, Odelia continues to have problems, as she cradles and sings to a bag of flour. I don't remember what that's an indicator of in Sims, but it can't be good.

The rest of the evening is pretty low-key. I buy Odelia a bookcase because she's still pretty depressed about the fire, and that helps. Lysander does some reading but apparently decides he'd rather sit on the floor right in front of the TV. Then when he does, he thinks some rather negative thoughts about Michael. What? I'm not sure he and Michael have even interacted yet.

I send everyone to bed at 11 p.m., and it's been a pretty long day, so they all go along with it (except for Kali, who decides she needs a snack first).

Tomorrow/next week, I *really* hope I can get them some jobs. They've got to do something besides just sit around the house all day. And making money would be good.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Search Keyword Helping Time!

Every so often I look at the search keywords people have used to find my site, and I think, "Well, I didn't answer that question in my blog. I'll do that NOW!"

So here are some of the search keywords used lately, and some mini answers to them.

10 mostly unknown movies
Here are 10 movies I've seen but most people have not, according to Flickchart:
1. Company: A Musical Comedy
2. Beautiful Boy
3. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
4. Mozart and the Whale
5. L.A. Without a Map
6. The Boys Next Door
7. Amahl and the Night Visitors
8. The Courtship of Eddie's Father
9. The Bumblebee Flies Anyway
10. Who Am I This Time?

crazy love francis chan chapter 1
Chapter one of "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan is called "Stop Praying," and it is not the one that made me angry and drove me crazy. That one happened later.

derek webb democracy vol 2 mediafire
Hey now. While I highly suggest Derek Webb's Democracy albums, I'm not a fan of pirating them, since he is so fantastically fantastic in letting us get so much of his music free through NoiseTradeWhen someone gives you something for free, you don't go and steal other stuff from them. That absolutely makes you the jerk. Also, NoiseTrade is awesome.

does marius sing eponine to sleep
Totally got this one before! I had no idea this was such a popular question, but I hope my blog can become the main source for answering it. When the Les Mis movie comes out, surely it will be even more popular, and I will become known on the Internet as the only person who knows the answer to this. THE ONLY ONE.

facebook apocalypse setting
This sounded exciting, so I googled it. But turns out all it is is another "OMG, Mark Zuckerberg is shutting down Facebook!" meme. However, it's kind of hilarious, because the fake press report includes this:
"Facebook has gotten out of control," said Zuckerberg in a press conference outside his Palo Alto office, "and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness."
Yup. If you run a company, you can't ever just hand it over to somebody else. This makes it sound like Zuckerberg is singlehandedly running the entire website on his own, and then had a bad day and decided to just give it all up. I'm pretty sure that's not how that's going to work.

relationship advice for men"when she pulls away"
I can't imagine anything they found on my blog was very helpful here. I don't tend to write relationship advice. But, uh, here goes: Men, if she pulls away, give her space. The End.

when introverts don't get alone time cranky
Yes, when introverts don't get alone time cranky.

katharine mcphee
If you were looking for a fan site, you came to the WRONG place.

bottom 2011 movies
bottom 5 2011 films
Mine are (in order from most awful to least awful) Hop, Paranormal Activity 3, Footloose, 30 Minutes or Less, and Unknown. I mostly saw movies I liked in 2011. I didn't see too many of the truly terrible ones.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Introvert Power

This past week I read "Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength" by Laurie Helgoe. It's a great read, especially for people just starting to figure out their introversion, what it means, and how it affects their interactions with people around them. Helgoe offers lots of advice for introverts in dealing with extroverts, carving out their own space, how to get alone time, and how to, in general, use introversion as a strength rather than a weakness. A lot of this is stuff that I've puzzled out on my own over the last several years, but there's also plenty that I read and thought, "Oh! That is such a good idea! I should do that!" Overall, excellent reading for introverts. And extroverts who want to understand introverts.

I wanted to share a few of the (many) quotes I highlighted in my Kindle copy of the book:

An introvert may feel asocial when pressured to go to a party that doesn’t interest her. But for her, the event does not promise meaningful interaction. In fact, she knows that the party will leave her feeling more alone and alienated. Her social preference may be to stay home and reflect on a conversation with a friend, call that friend, and come to an understanding that is meaningful to her. Or she might indulge in the words of a favorite author, feeling a deep connection with a person she has never met. From the perspective of a partygoer, this introvert may appear to be asocial, when, in fact, the introvert is interacting in a much different way.

For an introvert, interacting in a group setting does mean missing out. Where there is too much input, the introvert misses his mind, his subjectivity, his freedom, his very potential. The high-stimulus social environment, the “where it’s at on a Friday night,” this apparent “more,” becomes a prison to the introvert. He can’t wait to be free—to get out and away from the noise, the talk, the interference with his inner process.

Although most introverts seek time alone as an alternative to people and competition, solitude is a power source for the introvert. And for someone wanting to exert control, solitude is indeed threatening. Many sales schemes rely on “today only” impulse purchases because “sleeping on it” will help you realize that you don’t need the product. Cults gain their power by depriving members of any time alone. Clients in my office comment on what a difference it makes to have time to think, and value psychotherapy for its attention to inner processes.

One of the teens I worked with told me about how she loves to take tests, because it is quiet and everyone is occupying their own space.
I loved this because I completely concur. Taking tests is oddly stress-relieving for me. It's such a beautiful thing to sit in a room full of other people and have silence.

In an extroverted society, we rarely see ourselves in the mirror. We get alienating feedback. Alienating feedback comes in the form of repeated encouragement to join or talk, puzzled expressions, well-intended concern, and sometimes, all-out pointing and laughing. Alienating feedback happens when we hear statements like, “What kind of loser would be home on a Saturday night?” Alienating feedback happens where neighborhoods, schools, and offices provide no place to retreat. Alienating feedback happens when our quiet spaces and wilderness sanctuaries are seen as places to colonize.

(About interaction)
I’m not so sure that live is always better. It is part of the extrovert assumption to value interaction over inner action. Most introverts savor live time with a close friend, because they know there will be plenty of inner action for both of them. But much of what we call “social” in America allows for very little inner action. Emailing a friend or posting a blog entry will probably feel much richer, and help us feel much closer, than being up close and impersonal.
This is absolutely, 100% true for me. Written communication, 90% of the time, makes me feel *closer* to the person I'm talking to than if I spoke to them in person. Truth be told, I only prefer in-person communications for people who I already feel very close to. Otherwise, I prefer to converse with them in written form, where 1) I don't have to fight for attention, and 2) I feel more comfortable sharing my thoughts.

We have an assumption here in America that the kind thing to do is to be “friendly,” which means being extroverted, even intrusive. The Japanese assume the opposite: being kind means holding back.
I had a mini-discussion with Sarah the other day about this, because now that I'm living for awhile in the southern US, friendliness is the norm. People I don't know strike up conversations with me for no apparent reason and with alarming regularity. This is no place for an introvert... :-)

Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.

For introverts, the best associations start with ideas. If you don’t feel a part of your neighborhood association or the happy hour regulars after work, don’t force it. The community that surrounds you may not be your community.
There's something very beautiful about that - "the community that surrounds you may not be your community." I am not limited to relationships with those I am near.

In “America the extroverted,” relationships are good, and even if they are very bad, they are better than no relationship. Introverts don’t think this way. Many of us want and have great relationships, but we generally prefer “no relationship” to a bad one. Quality matters. We conserve our relationship resources, because we know they are limited.

Introvert conversations are like jazz, where each player gets to solo for a nice stretch before the other player comes in and does his solo. And like jazz, once we get going, we can play all night. Extrovert conversations are more like tennis matches, where thoughts are batted back and forth, and players need to be ready to respond. Introverts get winded pretty quickly.
I. Love. This.

Extroverts want us to have fun, because they assume we want what they want. And sometimes we do. But “fun” itself is a “bright” word, the kind of word that comes with flashing lights and an exclamation point! One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “fun” is “violent or excited activity or argument.” The very word makes me want to sit in a dimly lit room with lots of pillows—by myself.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that what comes perfectly natural for you is your greatest strength? Your power is in your nature. You may not think it’s a big deal that you can spend hours immersed in something that interests you—alone—but the extrovert next door has no idea how you do it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Musical Context (or: Why Glee Is a Better Musical Drama Than Smash)

Sorry for the weird blog posting last week. On Thursday, when I posted my Band Wagon post, I genuinely thought it was Wednesday, and then the next day I thought it was Thursday but, no, it was Friday, so I didn't blog anything. Not having a job GOOFS UP YOUR SCHEDULE. Let's try to get this back on track.

Generally speaking, there aren't a lot of people who are in-between on musicals. People either love them or hate them. If you a) have ever read my blog before, or b) have ever met me before, you know by now that I love them. Love them love them LOVE THEM.

However, not all musicals are created equal. I talked a little bit about one of these aspects in last week's blog about The Band Wagon, and I wanted to elaborate on this point in a larger blog.

I'm talking about the idea of musical context - why is this song being sung? This is something that the earliest musicals didn't really consider. Musicals in the 1920s and 1930s usually consisted of performances of popular songs, with an awkward plot slapped around them, and songs were preceded by lines like, "Hey, do you remember that song we used to sing together?" "Yes, it went like this!"

Although there were several shows that toyed with it early on, Oklahoma! was one of the musicals that changed all that. Much as I hate the show, it was the first one to really connect all its songs to the characters and the plot. The songs showed who the characters were and how they were feeling, rather than just being there as pure entertainment. And as such, those songs gained meaning. Rodgers and Hammerstein continued to do this throughout their careers. "Climb Every Mountain" from The Sound of Music is just OK as a song by itself, but it's the context in which it is sung that it becomes much more interesting. It becomes moving and inspirational and very beautiful.

There are still shows that provide little to no context for their musical numbers, but those shows are nearly always comedic or spectacle-heavy -- shows like Cats or Mamma Mia!, which are clearly not meant to be an emotionally meaningful show. They're just fun dance numbers. However, it's worth nothing that the one song in Cats that everybody remembers is "Memory" - the song most connected to a plotline. It creates a character, tells a story, provides an emotional context. Without that, it's just a pretty melody.

Now, on to Glee and Smash.

Smash provides little to no emotional context for its musical numbers. There's certainly a practical context for the songs - they're singing because they're putting on a musical show of their own. And the original songs written for Bombshell are very good songs. (How could they be otherwise, with Shaiman and Wittman at the helm?) But they fall very flat. The actors performing them aren't given any emotional context. We don't even get to see the "unreal" emotional context - the reason it's being sung in the musical-within-a-musical. We don't see the full show they're creating, just the scattered musical numbers.

Smash's best musical numbers are the few that connect to the plot emotionally. Michael's rendition of "A Song For You," sung to seduce Julia. Ivy's rendition of "I'm Going Down," reflecting her state of mind and feeling of loss. The Bollywood-esque sequence "A Thousand and One Nights," featuring a musicalized version of Dev and Karen worrying about their relationships. These songs had context. These songs had reasons we should care about them. It made it feel like a musical, rather than a concert.

Glee may have ludicrous plot points, iffy acting, and overproduced musical numbers, but the one thing it EXCELS at is context. Yes, it has its fair share of contrived context, but at least it's giving us something. Even when the context is "Let's have fun and dance around the glee room in spontaneous song," that's still context. They have a purpose: to enjoy themselves. That's a much more entertaining purpose than the very meta purpose of "to sing a song."

Glee's masterful use of context elevates many of its musical numbers far above what they should be. "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars is a cheesy, silly musical number, but when Finn sang it to Kurt at their parents' wedding as a gesture of acceptance into his family, it became a very beautiful moment - something that song could never have produced on its own. I am bored stiff by Coldplay's "Fix You," but the season three performance of that song, sung by Will to his girlfriend who was plagued and tortured by her own phobias and compulsions, moved me to tears.

It is ALL about context.

There has to be a reason for the songs to be there. You can either mildly entertain me, or you can match your songs to your story and create something much more moving and beautiful than either the songs or the story on their own.

So far, Smash is a better drama than Glee, absolutely. But it is a worse musical drama, because it doesn't seem to understand the purpose of music in a show: to tell the story. To communicate. To create. Smash's songs and performances are pleasant, but they are going to waste. There's simply no reason for them to exist in the show. I sincerely hope this gets fixed next season, because I would love to prefer Smash to Glee. They're just going to have to get the whole musical thing right first.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sim Sunday: Introducing Our Characters

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to do a series on my blog about my (silly) adventures playing Sims 2. I put out a call on Facebook for anybody who wanted me to create a sim for them and set them loose in my simworld to report on every week. I had quite a few adding themselves to a waiting list, so if any of my characters in here die (and it is a possibility - Simworld is a dangerous place!), I can eventually replace them with those on the waiting list.

I think I'll play one day per blog entry. That should have enough happening to keep it interesting, but move it along at a good speed.

Today I'm just introducing you to the sims. In alphabetical order, because that's the way they show up in the game.

I forgot that whenever I take a picture in Sims, it's always much further away than I think it is. Heh. So these full body shots are all rather small. But here they are.

This is Barbara, created by movie blogger friend Travis. Her life aspiration is pleasure, which means she wants to get as much pure fun out of life as she can. Pleasure aspiration sims like to party and go new places. However, it's worth noting that she's also on the grouchy and serious side, which may make her a terrible party person. We shall find out. Her lifetime goal is to become the best in the Slacker career path, although her short-term goals are to get a job either in the Criminal or Culinary career paths, so, once again, her lifetime goals conflict a little bit with the rest of her. It's also worth noting that right now one of her biggest fears is using a public toilet. It seems we have a bit of a germaphobe on our hands.

This is Dsean, created by my New Life Drama Company traveling buddy Ebenezer. His life aspiration is popularity, so he wants to have as many friends as possible. His fears right now include being enemies with everyone else in the house, which, right now, are the only people he knows. He ultimately wants to be a chef, although right now he wants to be an athlete, but it seems his favorite thing to talk about is fashion, so I think the culinary arts are at least a closer fit for him. I'm not sure he'll make many friends talking about fashion at sporting events.

This is Kali, created by my Rinkie friend Kalimeris. Her life aspiration is fortune, so right now all her short-term goals are things like, "Buy a sculpture! Earn $100! Buy an expensive stereo!" She wants to be a doctor. However, despite having a fortune aspiration, she DOES NOT WANT to talk about money. At all. So I think she just wants to be a secret money hoarder. She is also afraid of public toilets. Perhaps she and Barbara can bond over their love of the toilet in their own home.

This is Lysander, created by my college friend Paul. His life aspiration is romance. This basically means he's a sleaze who wants to sleep with as many other sims as possible. In fact, his goals right now are to sleep with someone and to buy a double bed so he can sleep with someone. He wants to get on the Slacker career path as well, so maybe he and Barbara can be Slacker workers together. He hates talking about entertainment and fashion and would much rather talk about money.

This is Michael, created by my Rinkie friend Randy. His life aspiration: knowledge. He instantly wants to buy a bookcase and a telescope and get a job as a doctor. (Apparently RinkWorks breeds doctors.) As with a few of the others, his favorite talking points kind of clash with his goals. He hates talking about health. Hates it. Which might make medical work uncomfortable. He'd rather talk about crime and the paranormal. So ghost vandalism is probably his favorite conversation topic ever.

This is Odelia, created by my community college friend Laura. She wants to be a lawyer, which is fun, because we seem to have a couple duplicate job goals in he game so far, so new is nice. Her life aspiration is family, which means she's going to at some point want to settle down, get married, and have a kid. All sims are bisexual, so there could be a budding romance between her and any other sims in the house. Or someone else she randomly meets and then invites to live with all of us in the house. Who knows?

Next time on Sims...
I will try to buy them some furniture (their house is pretty empty, as you can see) and get at least some of them jobs. That's about it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blind Spots 2012: The Band Wagon

I'm in a bit of a writing slump, and if I waited to write a full review of this movie, I'm pretty sure it would never happen. So I offer instead my live-micro-blogging thoughts on it (complete with a couple of screencaps to illustrate specific moments I mention), along with my usual mini-review at the end.

3:49 p.m., when I put the movie on - I really have no idea what this movie's about, so it should be a lot of fun.

3:51 - This auctioneer's self-esteem seems to have shattered fairly quickly.

3:53 - When was Easter Parade? I'm trying to place this among Astaire's other, later films.
(The answer to that turned out to be 1948, so this was 5 years later.)

3:57 - My completely logical and unbiased opinion: Every movie should be a musical.

3:59 - "I can stand anything but pain!"

4:01 - Haha, the Love Appeal machine right next to the funny mirror is fun.

4:02 - I LOVE when musical songs use objects in the scene for musical effect. This shoe shine number is fantastic.

4:06 - This Jeffrey Cordova must be quite a character...

4:09 - "If it moves you, if it stimulates you, if it entertains you, it's theater."

4:11 - His friends are a hoot.

4:13 - I forgot that there weren't so many serious musicals back then.

4:16 - Oh, hey, "That's Entertainment"! I wonder if this is a revue or if the songs were written for it? It's hard to tell with early shows...

4:18 - Heh, that writer guy is clearly not a dancer.

4:20 - At first I thought I'd hate Jeffrey, but he is kind of fantastic.

4:23 - I wish I knew enough about ballet to be able to tell when someone was really good.

4:26 - "Gabrielle Gerard in her stocking feet is, at the most, 3 feet tall."

4:28 - I miss the practiced diction of old movie actors and actresses. It sounds so very classy.

4:34 - Well, *that's* an awful outfit to wear to a dance call. You have to be able to move. Heh.

4:36 - LOL, that 8/8 performance was hilarious.

4:40 - A little part of me just died watching him smash those records.

4:44 - There hasn't been a song in forever. Come on, musical!

4:47 - There's something almost unbearably beautiful about sudden dance sequences.

4:49 - That dance in the park was fantastic. Not overblown, not too big, just perfect.

4:52 - SOMEBODY is going to trip over that cord...

4:53 - This is not the smoothest of tech rehearsals.

4:58 - This movie is refreshingly antagonist-free. There's nobody to dislike in it, really.

4:59 - This audience reaction is hilarious. So much funnier than angry ranting about a bad show. 

5:05 - Dancing in such a confined space is DIFFICULT. This is kind of impressive.

5:08 - Go, Gabby. Do your career the way you want to.

5:10 - Hmm. That set seems less like cheery sunshine and more like Egyptian desert.

5:12 - Catherine O'Hara in Waiting For Guffman!!! THAT'S who the writer chick reminds me of!

5:14 - I am having so much trouble thinking of a musical plot where these 3 numbers would work together... Certainly not the one pitched to us earlier.

5:17 - LOL, seriously, where do any of these songs fit in their fictional show?

5:19 - That triplets song may be one of the creepiest song & dance numbers I've ever seen.

5:23 - Spinning the stage around during the murder mystery number must have been quite a trick...

5:25 - Ya know, I think I preferred the Faust to this bizarre mishmash...

5:28 - Seriously, this whole thing makes zero sense as a stage number. A musical sequence that depends on camera tricks doesn't work on stage.

5:37 - Well, mostly I really enjoyed that. Oddly, it was the abundance of musical numbers at the end that was off for me.

Final Review:
The Band Wagon is, for the most part, a very solid and enjoyable movie musical, but it loses its way 2/3 of the way through and never quite regains it. The song and dance numbers are great fun, but they stop having any bearing on the plot about an hour in - and, worse, barely even interact with the plot. The only songs or dances in the last 30 minutes or so are ones that are part of the musical-within-a-musical. It becomes just a series of performances with no context to them, so the emotional effect, whether sweet or fun or uplifting, is mostly lost. While I don't always object to that, it was especially disappointing since I was so enamored with the first 2/3 of the movie. The impromptu dance sequence in the park was one of the most beautiful dance numbers I have perhaps ever seen in a movie musical. But it mattered because it had context. Strip the movie numbers of their context, even contrived context, and the songs have to be a whole lot more entertaining than this to make it matter.

3.5 stars.

Blind Spot Movies I've Seen So Far, In Order of How Much I Liked Them
Beetlejuice (1988)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Office Space (1999)

Blind Spot Movies I Have Yet To See, In No Order
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Exorcist (1973)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Carrie (1976)
Rushmore (1998)
Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Nosferatu (1929)

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Fake Blog Post

I don't have a real blog post for you all today, and if I did it should have been posted like an hour ago (I schedule all of them to be posted between noon and 1 p.m. EST), and I was going to just post and say, "Kidding, no blog today!" and then I thought, "Well, that's dumb, I can at least post links or something."

So in lieu of a real post, here are three videos that make me laugh.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The ABCs of Hannah

My mother did this on her blog a few weeks ago and I decided I wanted to give it a shot as well. So here are 26 words or phrases, A-Z, that describe me. At least somewhat.

A- Articulate
I think before I speak and almost always communicate better in writing because it's very important to me that I'm saying exactly what I mean. This also means that if I say something unclear in real life, I'm very likely to back up and fix it, even if it's pretty likely no one would misunderstand.

B- Balanced
I don't like extremes. I'm a big believer in moderation in everything. If somebody is arguing one point very strongly, I always want to jump in on the other end to try to bring some balance back into the conversation.

C- Completist
I like finishing things. I can't stop a movie or a book in the middle. If I'm going to watch a TV show, I'm going to watch it from the pilot episode all the way through the show finale. When I set out to make this list, I was determined to find something for the letter X as well.

D- Deep
Not in an "Oooh, she has profound thoughts" kind of way. This connects more to the fact that I don't do well with small talk and would much prefer to talk about bigger issues.

E- Electronics
I'm fairly gadgety. Not as much as some of my friends, but I like my electronics. If I'm in my house, I've got my laptop. If I'm out, I've got my MP3 player. And I always have my phone.

F- Finding patterns
I like patterns. Doesn't need to be a specific pattern - there's a Monk episode where two OCD patients fight over whether the magazines on the rack should have an even number of magazines per shelf or taper down 3, 2, 1. I wouldn't have cared, as long as there was some sort of discernible pattern. I do this with everything.

G- Grammar Nazi
I really, really, really like correct grammar, in my own speaking/writing as well as other people's. The one that drives me absolutely up-the-wall crazy is misuse of the word "literally." If someone uses that word to mean something other than what it actually means, I can no longer take anything they say seriously.

H- Honest
This one was provided for me by my friend Breana when I was stuck and asked for ideas. Heh. And she's correct - I really don't like lying (despite the fact that I've written at least one entire blog on how I tend to lie). But when I can't tell someone the exact truth for whatever reason, I like to come as close as I possibly can.

I- Introvert
I'm sure this one is completely shocking to all of you.

J- Jesus follower
I'm a Christian. Jesus is important to me. I write about that a lot, too.

K- Knowledgeable
Breana suggested this one to me as well. There are a lot of content areas where I am very knowledgeable, so if you get me going on one of the topics I know a lot about, I will have plenty to share.

L- Listener
I like listening to people. This works best when combined with the "Deep" aspect of myself - I really like listening to people talk about things that are deeply important to them. The more I listen to someone, the more I learn about them, and the more I learn how to talk to them.

M- Movie buff
I love me some movies, as you can also tell if you read my blog on a regular basis. I like to consider myself something of a movie buff. I read a lot about movies, watch as many of them as I can, and love discussing them with people.

N- Nerdy
Given the many different definitions of "nerdy," very few people meet all of them - but I certainly connect the most with the nerd community. Most of my closest friends are people who call themselves nerds, and most of my interests are considered nerdy. Oh, and also I like learning and school.

O- Open
There are very few things I will not share about myself with you if you ask. It's very hard to offend me with a personal question.

P- Phlegmatic
This fun word just means I'm mellow and laidback. Which I am.

Q- Quirky
Not Zooey-Deschanel-character quirky (I am quite functional in the real world, thank you) but I definitely have my quirks. As do most of my good friends.

R- Rheumatoid arthritis
I'm writing a blog post about this one of these days. I was diagnosed with RA at the end of my senior year of high school and it's definitely changed me - some good ways, some bad ways.

S- Stories
I love art - but more specifically I love story-based art. Music that tells a story, movies, books, theater... I also love hearing people's real-life stories.

T- Theater geek
And along with that... I love theater. (I go back and forth about whether I should spell it "theater" or "theatre" but spelling it "theatre" just makes me want to pronounce it the French way so let's go with "theater" for this blog entry.) Especially musical theater. If I could spend my whole life just going to see live show after live show every single day forever, I absolutely would.

U- Understanding
By "understanding," I mean that I like to know where other people are coming from. I like to know everyone's side of the story so I can start to try and understand who they are and why they make the decisions they make.

V- Verbal praise
This connects to my love language, which is "words of affirmation" - this means that I feel the most loved when people verbally express that to me. An encouraging compliment from someone can literally make my entire day better.

W- Witty
I hate putting this about myself because it's awkward to be all, "Lookit me and my wit," especially when I'm really not sure that I am that witty... but this is the closest word to describe my sense of humor.

X- Xenophile
This word was suggested by my friend Becky - it means someone who loves foreign cultures, and I do. I'm fascinated by other cultures and languages and foods and customs, and I wish I could just travel all over the world and live in all these different countries for a couple years at a time and learn about them.
(Honorable mention goes to "xeric," suggested by my friend Caitlin. She informed me it meant "requiring little moisture" and asked how much water I drank. Heh. Although I do stay pretty hydrated throughout the day, I almost used it just because it was an awesome word.)

Y- Yankee
Suggested by Caitlin - and it'll work. Although I grew up in the Midwest, which isn't exactly "Yankee" area, I have wanted to live in the northeast for as long as I can remember. One of these days I'll finally make it there! And although I'm delighted to be living with my friends in South Carolina at the moment, I certainly do not belong in the south for long.

Z- Zealous
Though I am a pretty laidback person, there are some things I get really enthusiastic about. I'm very passionate about art, about my faith, about introversion (lately)... and when I do get passionate about something, that sometimes tends to kind of take over my life for awhile as I pour all my energy into it.

Well! Phew! There are 26 facts about me. And now I am thoroughly tired of typing, so this blog is going to end kind of abruptl

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Movies I Saw In May

I saw ten movies in May, and most of those were seen in the very last week and a half, when I had finally finished student teaching, graduating, and traveling to friends' weddings. So here's the brief rundown of those.

Four Lions (2010). A dark satire about incompetent suicide bombers which is far more hilarious than I expected it to be. I wasn't really sure what to think about the ending when I first saw it, but now with some distance between when I first saw it and now, I feel like it works. 4/5.

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008). A horror musical about repossessing internal organs, but also about a lot of other things that just make for a very convoluted, very confusing plot. It starts off strong, with a fantastic musical mood piece, and I wouldn't have minded the nonsensical plot if the whole thing had been that interesting musically, but... it wasn't. Disappointing. 2.5/5.

Gladiator (2000). Oscar-winning story of a former Roman general who is forced into slavery and gladiat...ion? Gladiatordom? Either way, I DON'T GET IT. It's so long and its major protagonist is unbelievably boring. All the points this gets are for Joaquin Phoenix as the crazy evil emperor, because he was awesome. 2/5.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012). I don't want to give away any plot points because the less you know going into it, the better. Let me just say it's one of the best horror movies I personally have ever seen and does an amazing job of using and working with current horror stereotypes. Funny and scary and fascinating. 4.5/5.

Footloose (2011). Remake of the 1984 film about a town where dancing is forbidden. I watched the original right after this and it highlighted just how unnecessary the remake was. The dancing is less interesting, most of the character development is completely gone, and Dennis Quaid is the least forbidding enemy ever. 2/5.

Mr. Baseball (1992). Tom Selleck plays a baseball player who is traded to Japan. I already don't like baseball movies, but this one could've been tolerable if Selleck wasn't such a despicable character the entire time. 1/5.

The Edge of Heaven (2007). Um. OK, my review of this when I first wrote it said something like, "This is solid, but I'm not sure it'll stick out." It has not stuck out so much that I saw it a week ago and cannot for the life of me remember most of the plot. So I'm pretty sure I have to downgrade my original 3-star rating to a 2, because it was apparently extremely forgettable.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Based on the story of real life 1930s bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. More interesting for the characterization of the two characters than for anything else, but that by itself is great. 3.5/5.

Ward 13 (2003). A short claymation horror movie. Fascinating and well-done. I especially like the mix it finds between humor and horror - many moments bounce back and forth between the two. 4/5.

In the Mood For Love (2000). Foreign film about a man and a woman who live next door to each other and each have never-present spouses. I loved the slow build-up of this story, but, without being spoilery, I didn't like the way it ended - it was a very jarring switch from the way it'd been going up until then. 3/5.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't Steal My Introversion!

One of the Google searches that led to my blog this week was "lying about being an introvert." And while I'm sure it led the searcher to my Introvert Lies post, it made me think about the inverse possibility - where someone might say they're an introvert when they're not.

Now, obviously not all introverts are the same - my introversion differs from my father's introversion, which differs from my friend Sarah's introversion, and so on and so forth. There are some people I've been surprised to find out identify as introverts, because they behave like so many of my very extroverted friends. So sometimes people you wouldn't think of as introverts, are.

However... sometimes people say they are introverts when they are clearly not. It's usually not a lie as much as a misunderstanding of what introversion means.

Let me clarify.

You are not necessarily an introvert just because:
-You need alone time. Everybody needs alone time sometimes. Introverts need people time sometimes. Very few people are all-the-way one or the other (and, frankly, if they are, that might be unhealthy). I am one of the most introverted people I know and I still have plenty of times when I want to be around people.

-You get depressed. I actually had someone say this to me once. I almost laughed in their face. Introverts and extroverts are both capable of experiencing depression, whether it's medical depression or a melancholy emotional state.

-You are shy. Shy and outgoing are not the same thing as introverted or extroverted. I know quite a few shy extroverts (they're those quiet people who are always willing to hang out with the group but tend not to really come out of their shell for awhile) and outgoing introverts (they have no fear of interaction with people, they just find it draining).

-You are deep. Occasionally this weird stereotype works in favor of introverts - introverts are apparently deep and mysterious, while extroverts are shallow and silly. This is complete nonsense. There are shallow introverts and deep extroverts.

When I meet an obvious extrovert, who constantly surrounds themselves with people and prefers to do everything in groups, and they try to tell me they're actually introverted, it makes me want to yell, "Don't steal my introversion! That's my personality trait, and you are nothing like it! You have your own! Enjoy it!" :-) Really, though, it's never malicious. It just means they don't have a good sense of what introversion actually is, or possibly that they don't have a good sense of who they are, or maybe they are introverted but they're acting in a way that deliberately contradicts who they are (like when I tried to be heavily sociable because I thought introversion was a flaw).

This is another reason for me to write these introversion blogs. There is nothing wrong with reading these and thinking, "Well, I don't identify with any of that, but I think I know somebody who does." And that's OK! I would love to use these not just to encourage introverts, but to educate extroverts on how we tick, because sometimes it can be hard to tell.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Top Facebook Statuses of May

All right. These were my top 10 most popular Facebook statuses this May, in order of most popular to least popular:

Uh. So, I graduate today. WHAT?

I'm officially done student teaching. I am so going to miss those students. And I'm not just saying that because some of them promised to add me on Facebook...

I just found a pin in my bed. I bet the spiders I found on my car last night are still trying to kill me.

Weird date conversation of the night: The implications of being able to reverse time with your mouth. For example, any food you put in your mouth would get younger and younger until it eventually reverted back into its original form. So you'd have to eat fairly quickly if you didn't want your hamburger to turn into wheat and raw cow. (Other things this could impact in a disturbing way: being sick, eating raisins, and sucking your thumb.) I LOVE that I have a boyfriend who will discuss such ridiculous things with me.

And... graduated. The "oh my gosh, I'm going to miss some of these people SO MUCH" melancholy hasn't hit me yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll come after me on the road this week...

Twice yesterday I said "funeral" when I meant to say "graduation." Is my subconscious trying to tell me something?

The main guy in Gladiator just bravely and inspirationally said, "Nothing happens to anyone that he is not fitted by nature to bear." That statement is truer but less interesting than what I at first heard: "Nothing happens to anyone that he is not given by the wish of a bear."

Ok, so "Creepy Doll" is not the right song to listen to while walking back to your dorm alone at 11:50 at night...

It's only been four days since I left Huntington, but it sure was nice to get to hear Jacob's voice tonight. /mushystatus

I am in South Carolina. I am sitting in my new home with Sarah and Lisa. THIS IS EXCITING!