Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Blues

Not to put a downer on anyones mood, but this is the first time I've spent Thanksgiving away from my immediate family. I'm here, in Provo, UT awaiting my relatives to pick me up for their festivities and I'm listening to Carpenters Christmas music since that's a tradition in my home: listening to Carpenters while decorating the Christmas tree or eating Thanksgiving food, or really anytime during the holidays. I can hardly wait until I'm home for the Holidays, but I have a mountain of things to get over first (and I have to fly over some mountains as well...). I have an essay, research paper, test, dance review, film project, extra credit, and archaeology homework to accomplish before finals week. And then it's finals...oh boy. I hope I survive the next three weeks, because if I do, then I'll be home in Missouri with my family and friends and the familiarity that I sometimes miss so much I dream about the house and my former high school and about the pets I left.
But to lighten the mood, here is what I'm thankful for: being accepted to BYU, the friendships I have back in Missouri and the ones I'm making here in Utah, extended family, the gospel of Jesus Christ and my testimony, having a temple really close by, cheap food, the dollar theatre, my professors, the job I have at BYU concessions, my bike, my laptop, the phone calls I get from family and the letters and care-packages as well(THEY MEAN SO MUCH!), Netflix, my Harry Potter books, other mail and letters from friends, hulu (for TV shows, of course), my iTunes music, sleep, my memories of past holidays that make me laugh and smile, friends with cars, chocolate, family traditions, my roommates and Missouri friends out here, my quilt that I can curl up with, my tea kettle, toast, and, of course, the world.
So, as you can see, I am very thankful for many things. And especially since I'm as close to being broke than I've ever been (I literally have $24 in my account as we speak. That's it.) I appreciate things more than ever and the things that don't cost money like friendship and laughter and love. Or free samples (yum!). I love you all, I love being here (even though I'm moping about it), and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

P.S. Next post will have pictures of some adventures I've had. And it will be more entertaining than this piece of depressing literature.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Now I know WHY I majored in what I majored

To those of you who do not know, I am trying to become a Media Arts Major at Brigham Young University. Media Arts entails movies, media, television, all that jazz. But I'm in the pre-studies major stage, as in I have to fill out an application that takes months to compile. Those in my major that are preparing to apply have been preparing since late September and they have to create a mini film or documentary to present to the board of directors on top of writing tons of papers and this long grueling process that 3 out of the 4 TA's for the class had to apply twice for. Yikes! I'm doing this next semester! But this week, since I didn't have any tests or anything really hard at all, I took advantage of my free Netflix month and instant play. So let me summarize what I've watched:

1. Unmistaken Child

This documentary was absolutely breath-taking. It was just released this year and tells the tale of the process of finding a reincarnated being in a Buddhist society. It follows a devoted disciple of a deceased lama as he tries to find the reincarnated being of his most revered and beloved leader, father figure, and friend. It describes the long process as well as the emotions that run through someone who is presented with such a daunting task. Surprisingly, it's less about the child and more about this devoted monk who spends day and night wandering the valleys of Tibet in search of this child. You laugh, cry, and learn to understand the finer points of a religion often overlooked. I loved every minute of it and was definitely changed after watching it. I think I also enjoyed it so much because I'm in a World Religions class and my professor constantly tells us that God works in all religions, it all depends on the hearts of the people. So out of 5 starts, I definitely give it 10!

2. Deliver Us From Evil

This documentary is definitely more serious and disturbing than "Unmistaken Child" and isn't about uplifting, but about informing the world. It follows the priest Oliver O'Grady as he goes from parish to parish molesting children and the bishop in his area turns a blind eye to it until he's faced with it in court and yet still denies he ever knew O'Grady was a pervert. O'Grady admits to his acts with an unnerving bluntness and all the while looking remorseful but not nearly enough that he should be feeling. And the testimonies of the children, now adults, is so haunting as tears well up in their eyes when they recount the events. And the parents are just as heart-breaking, since one family trusted O'Grady so much that they had him sleep over sometimes, at which points he'd sneak into their little girl's room and do what he does best, apparently. Anyways, it's not for the faint-hearted or easily upset since there are lots of testimonies in court that has O'Grady describing his acts with details, though they're never really too graphic, thank goodness. But it was really interesting commentary on the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

3. Strictly Ballroom

I haven't seen this movie is FOREVER, and being the Baz Luhrmann fanatic that I am, I felt that I should watch this movie again for the sake of being a proper fanatic. Also I love everything that has to do with dance as I've decided to minor in World Dance along with the automatic religion minor. This movie was absolutely charming and so cute as well as colorful and full of its weird nuances since that's just Baz's style. The chemistry between the two main characters is so tangible, you can't stop from falling in love with them as they fall in love with each other. If you're not usually a Baz Luhrmann fan, I suggest this movie since it's not in his usual style, which is weird seeing as it's the first in his "Red Curtain Series", which includes "Romeo+Juliet", and "Moulin Rouge!" But watch it! And love it!

So those are the movies, minus a few others like "Newsies" and "Moulin Rouge!", that I've seen recently, thanks to the time waster known as Netflix. I have "Capricorn One" coming today and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" coming saturday and then "Romeo+Juliet" sometime next week since I have to watch all of the "Red Curtain Series" to be able to really appreciate Baz. And in between those, I'll be watching intant play documentaries. Any recommendations? :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Tale of the Orange Blob

No, it's not some lame "made for TV" sci-fi horror flick involving orange goo that attacks unsuspecting people or animals. It's actually mine and Justyna's first failed attempt at making Orange Rice Crispy Treats. Orange, because it was Halloween. Justyna called both her mom and her sister to get pointers on what would work the best as far as making them. Her sister, who has more experience in the matter, told us that microwaving the butter and marshmallows would work the best. So we put the marshmallows and butter in the bowl and microwaved it. More like nuked it. Our microwave is especially powerful and the time that the recipe called for was much to long for our super-microwave. Also, we used table margarine, which is softer than the real stuff and doesn't do what's necessary in baking. So, we put the dye into the liquid and stirred and hoped for it to thicken, like it said in the recipe. It never did. So we accepted defeat, went to the Creamery again and bought real margarine and more marshmallows and tried again, not using the microwave. It worked, but we forgot to dispose of the orange liquid.

That night, after all our partying and doing Halloween activities, I go to the kitchen to clean up the mess we made earlier. I get a spoon and take the bowl of orange stuff to the trashcan to scrape it into the trashcan. But it didn't move. It was stuck on the spoon. After pulling for a few minutes, it all came out in one piece and stuck to the spoon like putty or Flubber. I laugh, go to my room to show Justyna and we just snicker, poke it, taste it (tasted like marshmallow, go figure), and took pictures with it. It was such an amazing creation that we put it in a Ziploc bag and it's there sitting on our counter, being gooey and totally awesome!

So our catastrophe turned into one amazing little science experiment! So it goes to show that our mistakes can sometimes turn into something amazing if you wait long enough (yes, I had to make it into an allegory of some sort).