Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Sans Family

This Thanksgiving, for the first time in my life, I had someone else's family's traditional Thanksgiving meal. My family drove to New Mexico to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents, but my best friend was getting married the day after Thanksgiving (and I was making her cake), so there was no way I could go to NM too. Luckily, I was not without turkey because some family friends invited me to join them for their feast. It was great, and I'm thankful that I did not have to spend Thanksgiving crying at the McDonald's all alone (like another friend was worried I'd be doing). I am also thankful for some great friends that were worried about me and offered me their leftovers so I wouldn't go without.

Here's the reason why I stayed home while my family was out of town: It really took the whole week to make, but because I love Mary a ton, I did it. The leaves are made of fondant and all hand painted. The acorns are made from chocolate and peanut butter chips, and the butterflies are the only things that aren't edible. My Thanksgiving was incredibly busy, with cleaning, getting the cake made, and shopping, I wouldn't even really call it a break. In fact... I think I need another one. Good thing Christmas is coming up really soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I Learned in My Driver Safety Course

I had to take a Driver Safety Course a month ago, and I did it online. I passed, and I thought I would share with you what I learned because it was so helpful (at least some).

1. Traveling with children and pets can be "fun and a challenge." (no kidding?)
2. All people with road rage will dramatically throw their arms in the air, have an angry look, and frustratingly look at their watch.
3. You should hold the steering wheel at the bottom, not at 10 and 2, and you should use a "push/pull" type of thing when turning instead of crossing your arms.
4. Driving is a privilege not a right (this was emphasized several times).
5. Any badly animated CGI video will help emphasize any obscure point.
6. I should always fill my tank once it gets half way empty.
7. I read faster than the required amount of time I was supposed to spend on the page.
8. Thank goodness for save buttons so I could go and do something more important than reading driving facts and statistics.
9. I will know when someone is drunk if they look weird and loopy and laugh like Beavis and Butthead.
10. I never want to get a ticket or have to take this class ever again because it was a huge hassle.

Lesson Learned.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where Has Common Courtesy Gone?

Recently, I attended the midnight showing of New Moon on Thursday. Yes, I attended the midnight showing, and I'm not a teenager. I will have you know I went with my little sister who's 12 and my mom. There were plenty of older ladies there, too, so I am not embarrassed.

Anyway, I knew that because it was a midnight showing, there would be some screaming when it started and when the main guys came on the screen. I knew it was coming, but what I wasn't expecting was screaming and squealing every time Edward or Jacob came on the screen. I'm not even exaggerating, EVERY TIME.

It was especially bad when the people behind us kept talking and screaming after the initial yelling. They were upset every time Taylor Lautner came on with his shirt on; they were yelling "NO!" when Bella and Jacob had near kisses, then yelled "Yes!" when the kiss didn't happen.

What was worse, they were talking about things that weren't even related to the movie we were watching. They were talking about Channing Tatum and the new movie Dear John that he was going to be in. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore so I shushed them. Then they shushed me back. Seriously? You are the ones talking for crying out loud! I'm missing half the cheesy, ridiculous dialogue because you are too ADD and rude to concentrate on the movie at hand.

The constant screaming was annoying, but the incessant talking behind me was aggravating. Do these people not have any common courtesy to quietly enjoy the movie so others can enjoy it too? I've been to plenty of other midnight showings, but this one was the worst. There were hoots and hollars at the beginning of those showings, too, but at least these Spiderman, Star Trek/Wars, Batman, and Lord of the Rings nerds had the common decency and respect for other people to shut up during the rest of the movie.

Then when we left the theater, people didn't have any courtesy then either to let people take turns out of the parking lot. Seriously, people? Why must these people be so rude? We were stuck in our parking spot forever just because there was no one nice enough to let us through. It was ridiculous. Where have kindness, courtesy, and manners gone? And, how do we get it back... or can we? I'll have to see New Moon again to be able to hear the dialogue I missed, although... I think I'm ok with waiting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

September and October--Calligraphy and Photography

For those that are wondering, yes, I have been keeping up with my resolution of doing something every month. This post has been a long time coming, but it's finally here. I kind of did both calligraphy and photography in September and October (and even some this month), so I combined them. I will say, both calligraphy and photography are difficult to learn in a month. Here's what I mean:

Calligraphy: I bought a calligraphy kit that included a book and ink and nibs (the tip of the pen that you write with). I read that book, but it was really difficult to figure things out by reading a couple of written instructions and looking at a black and white picture. I tried to follow the directions,but after a while, I just gave up and started to play around: I probably made up my own type of font because I didn't exactly follow one. I combined the ones I liked:I also gave up on using the old school ink/gouache, and I broke down and bought some marker-type calligraphy pens.I could probably get better if I had an actual teacher and practiced some more, but I don't think I like calligraphy enough to invest in that kind of thing. Oh well... as long as it kind of looks nice, people won't be able to tell, right?

Photography: When I first tried to get into photography, I knew I was going to need help. My friend's sister directed me to a rather helpful website, and in my own research I found this site. I also took a little Relief Society Super Saturday class from a professional photographer (I'd have to say, she was probably the most help). Even my brother, Cameron decided to give me some tips!

Even with all this help, again, I think having a teacher (and a nicer camera than my current point and shoot) would help me more. I did the best I could on my own, and it's helped me remember some good tips when I am taking pictures. I would love to get a really nice camera and take a photography class or two (which I might do someday), but at the moment, my time and funds can not help me fulfill this dream. Here's a few "artsy" pictures I tried to do:Yeah, I need help. Well, even though these last two months were not my best this year, I have two more months to go, and I've got high hopes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Few Changes

I was getting tired of that background since I've had it for a while. So, I picked one for Thanksgiving. :) I also got rid of the music, in case you guys were wondering where it went to. I enjoyed the music, but I think sometimes people get really annoyed by it, which I can understand. I might bring it back, but for the moment, it is not here.

Also, I would like to add a few more things to the side bars like a search bar, labels, links etc., but I'm curious to how you guys feel about that. I know alot of you just follow me on Google Reader (or some other kind of RSS feed) so you don't really come to my actual website, and therefore don't really care what I put on the sidebar. But, if you do care and want your opinion heard, please, please tell me. I'm kind of clueless about this sort of thing, so I could get all the help I can.

Speaking of help (no, I do not need mental help, so don't comment on that...), does anyone know how to add an audio clip to my blog? I'm working on a blog post in which you need to hear audio clips to really understand my post, but other than linking to another site that has the audio clip, is there a way to actually make it part of my blog post?

You guys are awesome... more blog posts to follow, don't you worry.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fun Times With Google

(I'm trying to make up for my lack of posts in October; can you tell?)

I'm sure we've all used Google for other things besides research, right? We've googled ourselves (don't lie, you know you have). We've even used it as a fortune teller of sorts. Have you tried the "(Your name) needs" and then seeing what comes up? Such as... "Traci needs a good map to Vegas." Or perhaps, "(Your name) wants"? If you haven't, you should because sometimes it can be really funny. In my case, it's just sad because tons of people name their dogs "Mattie" so most of mine are "Mattie needs a good home." I'm sure there lots of variations of Google as Oracle that you have tried/can try to get some entertainment.

Well, inspired by this Slate article in which they use the Google search guesses (the predictive searches that appear when you start typing) to find hilarity between "less intelligent" and "more intelligent" searches. For example, typing "how 2" brings up significantly different results than "how might one" (for more funny searches, click the link for the article).

While, I'm not going to try my hand at the more/less intelligent searches, I was curious to find out what my fellow googlers are searching for (which is where Google gets its suggestions to your searches). So, here's the funny results I found: I hope Google helped whoever that person is who wanted to know what to do with his life. I also enjoyed Google predicting what the person was going to have for dinner. Yes, because I too want to know how to own a Canadian. And, I just don't understand the reflection in the television one.Ahhh poor kid, why don't girls answer him back on facebook? Google, please tell him.All of the "learn how to" searches seem pretty generic until you get to "learn how to type for free." Ummm... who's charging you to type? Did you just have to pay to type that phrase into Google? (Yes, I do know what it actually means, I just thought that was humorous at first glance.) Really? Who loves getting cursed at? I don't get it. (On this one, it kept bring up lyrics, so I just kept typing until it brought up something funny.) Ok, last one: Ummm pretty sure all of these are hilarious. Obviously these googlers have alot of bodily problems... which probably lead to the one that doesn't have any friends.

Ok, now it's your turn. Try to find hilarious search suggestions, and let me know if you find some awesome ones. When I get bored, I'm definitely turning to Google to entertain me.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Music Box

Last week for FHE, we were supposed to bring something to have a little silent auction and then bring a story to go with that item. Here's what I brought and my story (the funny events will follow):
"When my great, great grandma Emma was younger, she lived in England in a rather poor but loving family. For her 12th birthday, her family had scrounged together 3 pounds for her to buy whatever she wanted. Her family rarely gave gifts, so this was an incredible sacrifice. Emma was so excited because there had been this jewelry box at the store, and it cost exactly 3 pounds! With the money her family had saved for her birthday, she went the very next day to purchase the box. When she took it home, she discovered it was also a music box! Even though the box is not worth much, Emma cherished it. She listened to it every night before she fell asleep, and although she didn't have much jewelry to put in it, she loved the box.
Eventually, once she was married and had a daughter of her own, she moved to America. Emma played the music box for her daughter Blanche when she was a baby as a lullaby. Blanche also came to love her mother's music box as well. When the time came, Emma gave Blanche the music box to illustrate the importance of willing to sacrifice for others and to show her daughter love. Blanche, after Emma died, held on to her mother's music box to remember her mother by. Blanche passed it down to her daughter Verla, and it has continued through the generations.
Although this is a family keepsake, I think Emma would understand if I sacrificed this music box to help someone else, just as her family sacrificed to let her buy the music box.

Now before you start fretting about how I just gave away a family heirloom, this story is entirely false. (I made it up in like 5 minutes before the activity.) I think the only truth to it is that I have a great aunt named Verla. I originally thought that the silent auction was with real money for charity, hence the last part about sacrificing to help someone else. What it was is that we each got 10 poker chips that we could use to "bid" on what other people had brought and to take it home. Items ranged from a used band-aid to a guitar (that's right... someone brought a GUITAR to just GIVE away...). I made sure we could make up the story, and since it was ok, I had fun with it (since the fun part for me was making up the story not auctioning for items). The funny thing was that several thought my story was real and were really worried that I was giving away such a priceless family treasure. I assured them that it was not such a treasured item, nor a sacrifice for me.

The real story is that last Christmas (I think, could have been the one before that), my aunt gave me some jewelry, and she put it in this box. In fact, my sister has the same type of box only her's is green and oval shaped. I'm sure my Aunt got it at some department store or something. I think that the box is very nice (don't ask me what song it plays though cause I can't remember), but it has been sitting in my closet since that Christmas I got it.

There was a guy there who wanted the box desperately; he even wanted to pay me actual money to take it out of the auction because he wanted it that bad (I'm pretty sure he was getting it for his girlfriend). I probably should have taken real money over poker chips, but I figured he'd probably get it in the end so why make him pay real money for something I'm just giving away anyway. This guy was hilarious; he ended up paying real money to someone else to get their poker chips, and you know what he bid? The infinite symbol. Yeah... he won. Hopefully his girlfriend will appreciate it as much as my great, great grandma Emma did... or would have had she been real.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bummer Halloween Weekend

I didn't use to be into Halloween (that is when I was too old to go Trick or Treating to get candy), but I think I started getting back into more when I was in college. My senior year, I even had a Halloween party. Well now that I've graduated and living at home, I have found friends that enjoy Halloween just as much as I do. Even my place of work makes Halloween into a big deal... or at least they used to. Last year, Halloween at work was awesome and we decorated it really cool. Our department even won a prize last year for best decorations!

I was excited this year for a great Halloween, I already knew what I was going to be, and my schedule was already booked up for that weekend of Halloween. Work Halloween was going to kick things off on Thursday, then Friday we were having a Dracula book club, and then Saturday, Halloween, I was going to a party! This year was going to be awesome! Little did I know that other circumstances would foil what would have been another fun-filled Halloween weekend.

For various reasons, be it busy-ness, economy, etc., work Halloween ended up being a real bummer, at least in my building. Over in the other building, there were still plenty of fun and food to be had, but where I am, there weren't too many people that dressed up, and the food comprised of a bowl of dip, a bowl of goldfish, and a bowl of cheetos/chex mix (they were together in the same bowl). Our theme was "Television," and while the front door looked pretty amazing:
(That's right, I made it.), the rest of the decorations were printed up, pixelated pictures of random TV shows taped up on the wall and a "TV schedule" of people that were participating. There was a whole side of the floor that refused to participate and even put up this sign: I mean I realize that they don't like/celebrate Halloween, but that doesn't mean they have to put up a rude sign saying not to come over there. (I don't celebrate Hanukkah, but I don't put up a sign saying "No Jews." Ok, so maybe it's a bit extreme, but I thought the sign was really not necessary.)

Anyway, I was kind of bummed after the work Halloween, since it was pretty sad. Friday was okay. Book club was fun, but I got confused on the times, so I was late. Then we watched Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is disturbing and disgusting (but not in the way you would think), and is totally not like the book. They definitely sexed it up for the movie.

Then, Saturday, I hung out with the family and finished getting my costume ready. I helped my parents pass out some candy and walked down the street to get some donuts and cider they were passing out for the adults. Around 9ish I finished getting ready and set out for the awesome Halloween party in Carrollton. Yeah, an hour and a half later, I had finally found my way back home. I had missed the turn off or something, and ended up driving all around Dallas and Garland and parts of Lewisville and Irving just trying to find my way back. It was an adventure. I was pretty angry at myself cause I could have called someone, but I was being stubborn and thought I could figure it out. So, I didn't make it to the party, unfortunately, and I finally called my mom to get me home (this was around 11).

This Halloween was kind of a bummer. But, at least I know what I'm going to be next year. I got the costume all ready...