My ultra-boring life

Monday, October 29, 2007

testing...testing...123

Tomorrow I take the GRE. I'm taking it as part of my attempt to get into the MFA program in Creative Writing at BSU. It's just the standard test, and the only thing the MFA program looks at is the verbal, but I am scared stiff.

Standardized tests used to be easy for me. I have never studied for one in my life, yet I consistently scored in the 98th-99th percentile on both verbal and mathematics throughout my primary and secondary education. It was the one thing in life that I was really good at, and though I've learned since then that it doesn't matter nearly as much as it seemed to when I was in school, I still took a lot of pride in the fact that I could test well. But it's been 15 years since I've gone to any type of schooling, and I've spent the last ten years of my life with the world telling me I'm stupid and me believing it, so now even the practice tests I've taken intimidate me. The verbal portions haven't been too bad, but the computational are AWFUL -- it's so much easier to practice reading and writing on your way than it is to practice geometry and algebra. And I'm wondering if it is really possible for a person's brain to melt.

Even more important though -- I think the world tells EVERYONE that they are stupid, that they can't do things, that they should just give up. I don't know why, it just seems that way. And I wonder, how do people get past that? Are they just particularly strong to be able to rise above it, or particularly stupid to be ignorant of it, or what? And how in the world do you get past that and not get cocky or cruel?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The bestest show ever

Pushing Daisies is the best show on television right now. I have to say it's even better than House. This week they even featured a song by They Might Be Giants quintessential album, "Flood". This means that the makers of Pushing Daisies are TEH AWESOME. So if you haven't caught any episodes go here and catch up. Now! Do it! Doooooo iiiiiiiiit! (Might work better with IE than Firefox though, sorry. :( )

Plot Hole O' the Week

For some reason, sometimes I like to watch dumb shows. You know, the shows that are so incredibly stupid that you can find huge problems in them without even thinking about it, and you can't even say why you watch it, but you watch it anyway? Maybe it's just for a reason to complain, I don't know. But right now the show that falls under this category is 'Moonlight' on Friday nights on CBS. It's dumb. REALLY dumb. But I keep watching it. And just about every week I find some huge gaping plot hole or other dumbness to whine about, but I still watch it. Sigh.

I'm not going to go over past plot holes, but I'll tell you this week's, just for kicks. OK, so they are after this teenage vampire, right? And they find this clue in his apartment of a picture of him with some 19th century prostitutes. Well, in past episodes they reaffirmed the 'vampire fact' of not being able to take traditional pictures of vampires (though they can take 'digital' pictures of them. DUMB! OK sorry that was past weeks...anyway...), so we know that that picture had to be taken of the vampire BEFORE he was turned into a vampire. But later in the show, this vampire reveals that he is 197 years old. Assuming that he was 16 when he was turned, then he was born in about 1826 and the picture was taken about 1842. However, if you research photography, you can see that photography wasn't developed well enough by 1842 for widespread use (and this was a photograph, not a daguerreotype) , and certainly not common enough for taking a picture of a farmhand and a bunch of prostitutes that are obviously dressed in LATE nineteenth-century garb. IOW, big plot oops. Unless one of y'alls has a good explanation and wants to share it with the rest of the class. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Barbershopping

I don't know if I've mentioned this here (and I'm far too lazy to look it up in the archives) but I sing bass in a barbershop group and I LOVE it. It's just four ladies from church with a smidge of musical talent and training and we get together and sing songs put together in the barbershop style (usually we buy them from Sweet Adelines, the female branch of SPEBSQSA). It's hard, because the harmonies are not your typical 'thirds' and you're always singing a cappella and we even try to memorize and add in a little theatrics every now and again. But ding-dang it's FUN!!! Something about the way those harmonies hit, and being able to perform without accompaniment, just thrills me to my core. I would join Sweet Adelines myself if it weren't for the fact that they are so expensive. I know we're not a perfect group, and I don't know all the rules for 'proper' barbershop singing. But there is something to being able to put something together that sounds good to the average ear. I'm utilizing my talents. I'm putting something good in the world. Hooray!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

television

Television is a guilty pleasure for me. As with most of my life, it goes very much in waves. Most of my growing up years were supremely addicted. College quickly was so invigorating that I decided that real life was much better than television, so I abandoned it for a few years. Moving to Idaho, however, was so stressful on me that I found myself turning back to my faithful friend on occasion again -- not as an addiction this time, but as an occasional stress relief it seemed I could barely live without. In the last year or two of being unemployed, I have gone through spurts of addiction and spurts of simple stress relief. TiVo, the blessed bit of genius that it is, has given me far greater control of my television watching than I have ever had before, so it's hard to compare to the earlier years, but I know I'm not as controlled by the television schedule as I once was, long ago.

It's been an interesting year for TV, though. I have my old favorites, House and Heroes. House is not always very uplifting but it is always thought provoking, which is delightful to me. Heroes is sort of a love/hate thing with me. It feels trite and cheap, but it pulls things together well enough that I can't really say that it IS trite and cheap, science be damned. But the intensity of it is stressful to me and I have the most intense, whacked-out dreams about it. Sometimes I can't watch a full episode or I miss for weeks because of a mix of stress and boredom. But I always go back to the darned thing. This year I am most intrigued by Chuck, Life, and Pushing Daisies. Chuck is somewhat lacking in logic to the point that I have a hard time with suspending disbelief (though really, I have some of that same problem with Heroes as well). But the character is very likable and the potential romance is likable so I'll probably keep watching for at least a while. Life's pilot was WONDERFUL, bringing in the Zen, and I definitely think that the unique characters and character situations will drive the show, but I am really afraid of the lingering, never-solvable conspiracy lurking in the background. I don't know if I've mentioned 'Gilligan's Island syndrome' before, but I HATE it. That's where the main goal of the show is something that everyone wants but they can never, ever have because then the main purpose of the show is eliminated. If you can find alternate goals that are equally compelling, that's great. But most don't. So they either drag on forever and get very contrived dancing around 'almost' reaching their goal, or they jump the shark and reach the goal in an anticlimactic manner, or they are canceled and leave the viewers hanging because the goal is never realized. Life may survive because it also has the focus of solving murders, but we shall see how the conspiracy plays out.
My very favorite show of the new season, however, is Pushing Daisies. It's absurd. Interesting. Beautiful, funny, witty, and intriguing. And the lead's grin is so ding-dang engaging! I LOVED the pilot ('pie-latte') and am looking forward to the show. I hope it lasts. If not, at least I have my TiVo'd episodes. What a nice birthday present! You should go look it up. It's on ABC on Wednesday nights.

And speaking of birthday presents -- another present I received was the first 3 seasons of Moonlighting on DVD. A guilty pleasure of my heavily addicted years, I was worried that my infatuation with the show wouldn't have withstood the test of time, but even after twenty years the genius holds strong, and I can still quote the occasional episode. :) It makes me feel old, which I DON'T like, but seeing Bruce Willis in all his young, follicled glory is totally worth it. It's something I will be happy to share with my children.

Happy Birthday to me!

Well OK my birthday was officially yesterday, but it was still a fun day. I went and had Thai food for the first time. 37 years is too long to go without Thai food. While I will admit I wasn't daring, it was TASTY and I'm going to have to go back again soon. The place we went -- Pad Thai restaurant in West Boise -- had great food, good prices and good service but the cooking was a bit slow. I'll chalk it up to a bad night because the food was so great I definitely want to go back there.

Otherwise, it was a great day. Everyone seemed to remember my birthday! From my neighbor/walking friend to both of my college roommates to church members to family members, I had a great day! It's not about the presents -- though admittedly I am a great sucker for gifts -- I just really really love having one day a year that is mine. I share it with other people in the world, sure, but for the most part the day is mine and I can be special. And if I explain it to myself that way to keep myself from adding a candle to the cake every year, so be it. :)

It's brought out a lot of the hobbyist in me again. I'm such a dilettante, it's very frustrating to friends and family who never know what to expect from me or what to get for me. What's my hobby of the week? Well this week it's knitting and music. I have been evil and increased my yarn and needle stash yet AGAIN while I work on at least 3 hats and plot evil things like shawls. It frustrates me as well as anyone, because I would really like to get so many things knitted and really increase my skill. However, I can't seem to banish the lusts of my eyes towards things like music, knitting, cross stitch, writing, great gardens, amazing baked goods, scrapbooks, and, upon rare occasion, ceramics. Many of those projects require so much endurance of time that I inevitably fail; gardens die as my interest wanes, ingredients go stale as my focus is distracted. But I just can't commit myself to a single hobby. I love them all.

Speaking of hobbies, I mentioned that this week has also been music week. I have been voraciously bidding on oboes on e-bay, trying to revive a high school bit of fun that has been nagging at me for the past few years. Well my brother suggested I try Craigslist once again and lo and behold, there was an oboe for a deliciously cheap price! So my other birthday present will most likely be an oboe that I will pick up tomorrow. I am delighted, though it is only a cheap plastic student thing. It's still an oboe! If you hear any delightfully ducky music wafting through the air, it may just be me. :)