Harry Potter 7 Countdown

I lied. I’m sorry. I’m afraid this exciting and long-awaited day won’t occur until November 19, 2010. But it’s okay. That’s not too far away. And the good news about this movie is the DUMBLEDORE’S NOT IN IT! Michael Gambon grates my soul. Actually, I don’t know how they’re gonna do that Kings Cross scene and all that other stuff. I think I’ll do some more speculating later on. But for now, let us all keep the true Dumbledore, the one that really is dead, (that would be the actor of the first 2 movies) in our minds.

Girl Moved To Tears by "Of Mice and Men" Cliffs Notes: A Delightful Satire

I absolutely love satire, and this satire of Cliffs Notes is particularly funny to me since it’s highly applicable to school at this time. 🙂 I found this on the Onion, a satire website of which I am a big fan. So anyway… I get a huge kick out of this.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—In what she described as “the most emotional moment” of her academic life, University of Virginia sophomore communications major Grace Weaver sobbed openly upon concluding Steinbeck’s seminal work of American fiction Of Mice And Men’s Cliffs Notes early last week.

“This book has changed me in a way that only great literature summaries can,” said Weaver, who was so shaken by the experience that she requested an extension on her English 229 essay. “The humanity displayed in the Character Flowchart really stirred something in me. And Lennie’s childlike innocence was beautifully captured through the simple, ranch-hand slang words like ‘mentally handicapped’ and ‘retarded.'”

Added Weaver: “I never wanted the synopsis to end.”

Weaver, who formed an “instant connection” with Lennie’s character-description paragraph, said she began to suspect the novel might end tragically after reading the fourth sentence which suggested the gentle giant’s strength and fascination with soft things would “lead to his untimely demise.”

“I was amazed at how attached to him I had become just from the critical commentary,” said Weaver, still clutching the yellow-and-black-striped study guide. “When I got to the last sentence—’George shoots Lennie in the head,’—it seemed so abrupt. But I found out later that the ‘ephemeral nature of life’ is a major theme of the novel.”

Weaver was assigned Of Mice And Men—a novel scholars have called “a masterpiece of austere prose” and “the most skillful example of American naturalism under 110 pages”—as part of her early twentieth-century fiction course, and purchased the Cliffs Notes from a cardboard rack at her local Barnes & Noble. John Whittier-Ferguson, her professor for the class, told reporters this was not the first time one of his students has expressed interest in the novel’s plot summary.

“It’s one of those universal American stories,” said Ferguson after being informed of Weaver’s choice to read the Cliffs Notes instead of the pocket-sized novel. “I look forward to skimming her essay on the importance of following your dreams and randomly assigning it a grade. *That’s my favorite part.*

Though she completed the two-page brief synopsis in one sitting, Weaver said she felt strangely drawn into the plot overview and continued on, exploring the more fleshed-out chapter summaries.

“There’s something to be said for putting in that extra time with a good story,” Weaver said. “You just get more out of it. I’m also going to try to find that book about rabbits that George was always reading to Lennie, so that I can really understand that important allusion.”

Within an hour of completing the cliffs notes, Weaver was already telling friends and classmates that Steinbeck was her favorite author, as well as reciting select quotations from the “Important Quotations” section for their benefit.

“When I read those quotes, found out which characters they were attributed to, and inferred their context from the chapter outlines to piece together their significance, I was just blown away,” said a teary-eyed Weaver. “And the way Steinbeck wove the theme of hands all the way through the section entitled ‘Hands’—he definitely deserved to win that Nobel Prize.”

Weaver’s roommate, Giulia Crenshaw, has already borrowed the dog-eared, highlighted summary of the classic Depression-era saga, and is expecting to enjoy reading what Weaver described as “a really sad story about two brothers who love to farm.”

“I loved this book so much, I’m going to read all of Steinbeck’s Cliffs Notes,” said Weaver. “But first I’m going to go to the library to check out the original version Of Mice And Men starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.”

Stressballs Wanted

This past week has been the most stressful week of my life. Let’s recap. It was the last week of the term (meaning grades due, 50 pounds of homework, and term finals), it was State cross country, we had the fall choir concert, and I had the ACT. Quite honestly, I don’t know what else I could’ve had to make the week more stressful! But the point is, I was expecting a huge weight to be lifted off my shoulders after it was all over, and it really wasn’t, and I don’t know why.

I fear I’ve become to accustomed to feeling stressed that I don’t know how to feel any other way. Well, probably not that drastic, but I think it’s a lot more of a mindset that an actual feeling. So I deem stress completely unnecessary and not something I wish to experience. The remedy is:

1. Make a list of everything that has to happen
2. Mentally prepare very far in advance; meditate if possible
3. Go running frequently
4. Eat good food
5. Sleep as much as possible

So this week will be stress-free, and I plan on all other weeks being the same. No need to activate your endocrine system when the parasympathetic nervous system could be employed instead. And I think I might take up yoga while I’m at it.

"Don’t worry, be happy!"

When I find myself in times of trouble, a voice in my head comes to me speaking words of wisdom: “Let it be!”. This year I’ve had a goal to always be positive, and I actually think I’ve done quite a fine job so far. But occasionally, and especially of late, I’ve found myself often dwelling on negativity– encounters I’m embarrassed of, things I wish I’d said, things I wish I’d done, things that have gone wrong, etc. And the only solitary things I get out of it is a sinking feeling in my stomach and miserable thoughts. Who wants to feel like that? Definitely not me.

So if I have a say in the matter, which I happen to, then I’m just not gonna allow those feelings to enter my soul and mess up my Positive Thought Conveyor Belt. One of my friends told me about a documentary his mom really likes called “The Secret”. I haven’t seen it, but apparently it talks about how you can achieve whatever you want, as long as you keep your thoughts focused on it. (Like I said, I haven’t seen this.) He wanted to feel good about himself and be more outgoing, so he just kept thinking positive thoughts about himself. He told me that when something didn’t happen like he’d wanted it to, or he was embarrassed of something, he pushed those thoughts out of his mind and replaced them with positive things instead. I think that’s a really important skill– you can always find something positive about any situation, any hard time, and any (****) phone conversation. So what’s the point in remembering the bad parts when there are good parts to remember instead?
I think I’m pretty good at being positive about others, and usually about my situations. But it’s just hard for me to give myself a break and stop being worried about things I’d said or done that weren’t exactly perfect. So I’m going to take the skill that I’m working on mastering in being positive about others, and channeling it to myself as well. After all, “it does not do well to dwell on unpleasant things”. (Is that really a quote?) I’m gonna spread my happiness to others, and not only think positive thoughts to myself, but share them. Because when everyone’s happy… no one isn’t. (Harken back to the Incredibles if you didn’t catch that sort-of quote.)
So if I chance to meet a frown, I will not let it stay. I’ll quickly turn it upside down, and smile that frown away! No one likes a frowny face, change it for a smile. Make the world a better place by smiling all the while!

Penelope and Presh

One of my favorite movies is Penelope. In fact, I do believe Aileen and I have watched it like 7 times in the last week or two. I think the thing that draws us to it the most is the total preshness (yes, that is a word, and if it’s not, we use it frequently enough for it to be) of the story. Throughout the entire movie, we sigh and anticipate and audibly portray our complete and total enthrallment of this “totally presh” story.

So having presented this view, let us further investigate. What makes a story “totally presh”? These are some of the preshest elements of Penelope:
*Max already really likes Penelope when he finally sees her, because he got to know her first. So where other boys jumped out of the window upon seeing her, he was hardly phased. He loved her for her personality, not her face.

For the Love of Meat

I just got back from Girls Camp, where we had some very delicious food. (i.e. Chicken Croissant sandwiches, cafe rio burritos, beef stew, etc.) I had the excellent opportunity to be in charge of half (the better half) of the 12- and 13-year old girls, and I loved them all. One of the coolest girls was Steve,  who happened to be a vegetarian. I asked her what inspired her to give up all substantial sustenance in exchange for tofu, and we had quite a lovely discussion. (I must congratulate myself on my increasing skills in friendly debates.)

I’ve always liked the idea of being vegetarian; it seems more environmentally decent, not to mention healthier. I even at one point pondered the prospect of veganism. (I say prospect because I would absolutely never ever be able to handle the vegan diet.) The Williamses (not Lucy) have even waded in and out of the waters of veganism, and we were once treated to a lovely meal at their house, consisting of tofu everything, about 15 kinds of spinach, green drink (shoot me now) and of course water with hydrogen drops or something added. I guess I’m a little vague on the details– it was a while ago. But the point is, when I got home, I felt great and decided I wanted to always eat like that. (yeah right.) 
So the truth is, eating in this exteme, healthy way is not unlike waking up super early to go running. It’s definitely not great when you start, or even during. But it feels so good after! In as far and inasmuch as I love bacon, I suppose the only really good thing about it is the 15 seconds that it’s in my mouth. Oh yeah, and the smell of it cooking. So… Vegan? No way. Absolutely not possible. Vegetarian? Maybe.
 In further argument, we should “only eat meat in the winter, in famine, and times of need”. But  aren’t the animals here for our support? And I’m of the opinion that it’s more natural to obtain the necessary vitamins and nutrients through food, rather than through tablets. And according to The China Study, if Americans cut down 10% of the meat they ate, we could put a loaf of bread on every doorstep in third world countries. I admit that’s very intreguing, and that alone could motivate me to give up meat. But could just a small group of people make that difference? I’m afraid not. But that didn’t stop Joseph Smith or Florence Nightengale. But what about social problems? People could get offended if you didn’t eat what they had toiled long and hard to create. And Thanksgiving? I would never ever eat tofu chicken. This is quite the predicament.
I’ve never been one to diet. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever been on a diet. But although I like the ideas the vegetarian diet presents, I don’t think I could embrace it fully. Meat is there for us, and I think we should eat it– in moderation. As eloquently stated in In Defense Of Food, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I feel that that is the Word of Wisdom in a nutshell, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Technology Strike

Okay. So my friend Anna and I were talking about the problems of texting, facebook, and just technology in general. So we decided to go on a “technology strike”, or more of a technology fast. We said no texting, no facebook, no calling people, only talking for 60 seconds if someone called us, no TV, only movies if both of us were there, and no email. The first one that failed received a punishment. I was all motivated to not use technology, and then my friend Shane called. I failed 4 hours into this stupid strike, and now I will be punished. 🙁 But the thought was still there. Maybe we’ll try again another time.