Friday, January 28, 2011

Chapter 6.9: Serenade Me Romeo

So, instead of working on the small pile of homework I have to do this weekend (which would be the smart thing to do) or go out and do something (but I'm already in my comfy PJs!) I decided to start researching if there was a scientific reason why women are attracted to musicians. I know it works on my sister and I must admit, a guy who plays music well or sings is kind of a weakness for me.

Doesn't hurt to be Harry Freakin' Potter.

Well, unfortunately there is not really a scientific reason to be blamed (although I found an article on a men's magazine site that talks about why women are attracted to vampires. And it tells men how they can compete with the vampire's allure). But I found a WikiHow article on How to Date a Musician. No, seriously.

I did look around on some forums with a thread concerning this topic, but some of the posts seemed a little bitter. They made a little sense, but still it sounded bitter. "Women love musicians because they think they can get them backstage." Some women, maybe, but not all of us. "Most women are easy and they enjoy being able to say 'I slept with the drummer in that one band'" Yeah, that doesn't sound bitter.

One kind of plausible reason is that we want a song written about us. This is not necessarily true about all women (for example, that's not the sole reason I would date a guy), but I can see the draw of that. It's like when a guy writes a poem for you; it's just a nice way to be show that he cares.

Another reason is that the ability to play an instrument is unique. Not everyone has that ability, just like not everyone can create art or compute complicated sums in their heads. It's a gift. And I can see where this is part of the allure. Creative abilities are precious and only those with creative capabilities (even if they just have a small about of ability) can really understand each other.

You also have a little bit of the bad boy element. Not every musician is a bad boy, but there is an element of danger to them, whether it be because they aren't financially stable or because they're on a fast track. And it doesn't happen with all musicians (certainly not the ones I tend to fall for) but there's often the risk of drugs or intense amounts of alcohol. Maybe some women have a savior complex.

And let's face it, confidence is sexy. And it takes a hell of a lot of confidence to get up in front of a large number of people and show your talents. I know that I still have trouble doing this and I love my writing and believe myself to be a half decent singer. So anyone who can stand on stage without wanting to pass out has my applause.

And, yeah, it's partly because I want someone to serenade me. Plus, personally I am a music lover, mostly because I am a lyric nut and I have a belief in the power of certain music. And I love a good cheesy pop ballad with a good beat every now and then. Pop Goes My Heart Anyone?

These guys are kind of awesome

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chapter 6.8: College Time (And A Special Guest Appearance)

A peculiar thing happens when you enter college. Maybe this is even just part of being on your own for the first time as an adult, but since I've noticed it here at Western, that's my frame of reference. Maybe it's even more noticeable simply because on a college campus there's such a glut of newly free adults. And I didn't notice this phenomenon at first, so sly is it at creeping into your consciousness. But I've come to realize that college has it's own clock and sense of time.

I first noticed this last year on the weekends. I feel incredibly lazy if I sleep past 10 and tried to be up and moving by nine or so. What I noticed though, is that a college campus is incredibly dead before about noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Seriously, it's almost eerie to stroll to the library or even just through the halls of the dorms. It's like Armageddon has happened. Or the zombie apocalypse came in the night and scoured the campus of late night party-goers. On the plus side, this makes it the ideal time to do laundry in a room that you usually need two week advance reservations to get into (well, maybe I'm exaggerating. Maybe you only need to book one week in advance ;)).

But, this quarter, I have noticed an even more pronounced version of College Time and have been affected by it myself. I like to refer to this as Time Slide. Because the basic accepted ideas of early and late in reference to time have slid. For me, 10 is still kind of late in the morning to wake up. But 11 at night is still early in the evening. 1 has become the new midnight. And of course there's the odd block of time from about 2-4 where I just want to curl up and take a nap (this is not so much an example of the time slide theory as it is of just college time being wacky).

Perhaps I've slid into College Time because I don't have class until 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays which means that I basically get to live on a modified version of Weekend Time two days a week. Whatever the reasons for it, college time means it make sense to not eat lunch until two or dinner until close to seven. And that even at midnight you can still hear people talking in the courtyard or laughing loudly on the street.

On a completely different note, I now have this guy hanging on my wall:

Look at your calendar, now back to mine, now back to yours, now back to mine. Sadly, your calendar isn't mine, but if you loved Old Spice Guy as much as I do your friend might make you one like mine. Look down, back up, where are you? You're in front of the calendar your calendar wishes it could be. Anything is possible when you have good friends. I'm on your wall. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chapter 6.7: Book Blog: All Is Not As It Seems

Another week has passed and another book blog has come. This week's books are Time out of Joint by Philip K. Dick, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and Kiss of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Hopefully I will get some more of the written posting read (I've heard a lot of people enjoyed the Barbie post). Enjoy the video.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chapter 6.6: Barbara Millicent Roberts

Pretty much everyone is familiar with Barbie. You simply say the name and suddenly there are arguments about unhealthy body image and fond memories of childhood. My sister and I had a huge collection of dolls. Enough that we each started with about six adults, three kids and a baby each. And that wasn't even all of them (yes, we were a bit spoiled).

Although usually my family got bigger (as it should) as children got older, got married, had children of their own. My sister made her people evil and her families shrank as we had to kill off the psychos until I had probably twenty people and Meg had three. Then we'd start over. Mom was a little worried that we always seemed to be having funerals for our dolls, but I think we turned out okay.

And what more natural place for a discussion of children's dolls to come up than in a class about classic Science Fiction? In my Philip K Dick class today, we had a story (The Days of Perky Pat) that springboarded into a short discussion of Barbie. If you think about it, she was really one of the first self-sufficient woman role models.

She was a young woman who lived on her own, but she had no man or parents to support or take care of her. And she didn't need one, although she did later get a boyfriend. She was a doctor and a lawyer before she got a vacuum (and she had careers other than housewife). She took good care of her younger sisters. If she wasn't freakishly proportioned, parents now would have no issue with her.

Because of this talk, I decided to look up Barbie and see what else there is out there about her. Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts and it was mentioned in some books written starring her that her parents are George and Margaret. She had a shocking number of siblings, some of whom I'd never heard of. There was the teen, Skipper, preteen Stacie (who apparently had a twin brother named Todd), the little Kelly, and baby Krissy.

Ken was her on again off again boyfriend. She may have had a fling with an Australian surfer named Blaine. She also had a cousin who was introduced later named Francie(yes, that's right, her name is Francie. Did Stephenie Meyer have a hand in the naming?). And she had a friend named Midge when was creepily sold pregnant at some point with a baby actually inside her stomach (anyone else find this intensely creepy?). Soon after Midge married and had children, she and Barbie stopped being friends (apparently).

And after reading all this I feel like I've been reading a soap opera. Barbie is kind of messed up, but she was a fun doll. And I feel sad that Barbies as I knew them are becoming a thing of the far past, being taken over by Bratz dolls and the like. Mattel has started a kind of reboot with Barbies who are more proportional, but it's not the same.

But what does any of this have to do with a science fiction writer from the late fifties and sixties? Well in his story, he's talking about a game played with a doll named Perky Pat who is about 17 and lives in a house that is constantly being updated. She has a boy friend who lives down the street. Then the Perky Pat people hear about a Connie Companion doll in another colony and go to face Pat against Connie in a sudden-death, winner-takes-both-dolls match. Oh yeah, they're intense about their dolls.

Connie though, is "much" more mature than Pat. She's twenty five and is married and has a career. And she's pregnant. So clearly, we just naturally think of Barbie when talking about these dolls and that's what led into this conversation. So what?

Well here's where it gets freaky. It turns out that Barbie used to have a best friend named Midge. In the early 2000s, Midge married a doll named Alan. And then a pregnant Midge doll was produced (as mentioned above). But all of this happened long after Dick wrote this story! It just seems a little eerie to me how the dolls connect to what actually happened. My class also decided that somewhere out there is probably a Jaded Jennifer who's a forty year old chain smoker that life has beat down and a Geriatric Jean who's probably in her sixties.

Anyway, do you have memories of playing with Barbie? Do you still have your dolls? Oh, and just a helpful note, never cut the doll's hair. It will not grow back, and it will 9 times out of 10 look much worse.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chapter 6.5: Book Blog: Beasts Both Mechanical and Natural

It's that time of week again. Book time! I enjoy making these videos, but I can't tell if anyone else is enjoying them. I don't usually beg for comments, but is anyone actually interested in the mad weekly ramblings of a book geek? In any case, here is a review of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick and Beastly by Alex Flinn. Enjoy :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chapter 6.4: I Know A Little About Everything

In pretty much every writing class I've attended in college, we are asked to identify things we are an expert in. And that can be pretty much anything from knowing every genus that exists to making a truly excellent batch of break and bake cookies. I think they partially do this so that everyone feels special and realizes that there is something out there that they rock at (we English folk are a touchy-feely lot).

And since I am nearing the end of my time here, I've had to think about this question a lot. Especially since I happen to have two writing courses right now. So what am I actually an expert in? Where do my powers lie? Here's what I've been able to come up with.

I make a killer pan of boxed brownies. I can whip up a truly excellent batch of brownies from a box, even using the temperamental oven that resides in my kitchen at home. I make them come out in gooey, chocolate-y perfection. I cannot, however, make cake. It always comes out too dry. I also learned that adding chocolate chips, coconut, and chocolate frosting creates the life form known as the Death Brownie. Run while you still can.

I've forgotten more about Harry Potter than you will ever know. I am a Harry Potter nerd with a great memory and a penchant for trivia. I'm not saying I know everything about the books (indeed there's probably much that has fled my memory to make room for things like dance choreography) but I've probably forgotten more than a lot of people ever knew. I rock at Jeopardy night in Harry Potter club. (Oh, and I used to freak kids out by picking up the Ukrainian version in out school library and reading the first page (which I had memorized) aloud.)

I know the wily beagle. Beagle owners are a special breed of dog lovers. You have to be fast and constantly vigilant. The beagle is smart enough to learn the commands you give it, but it is stubborn enough to know exactly what you are saying and choose to ignore you. It takes cunning and patience to block the beagle's dastardly plans. If they had thumbs, they'd totally be ruling the world right now.

Appearing wiser than I am. I'll let you in on a secret, you can appear at least 36.7% smarter than you really are by looking like you know exactly what is being said and staying quiet. It's harder than it sounds, since you have to appear that you understand and knew all about this beforehand, without drawing attention to yourself so much that you have to speak when you have no clue what to say. This also can work when you haven't read the book for class but need to participate in discussion (which I of course have never done. I'm just saying hypothetically that this can work ;)). You just need to wait for a moment when you can contribute to the conversation without having to know what it's about. Like say, you're talking about Huck Finn and someone brings up running away. Well now you can talk about the mentality of children running away and add to discussion without having to know what it's about. You're welcome.

Wearing the guise of the techno-savvy. This goes with Appearing smarter than I am. Somehow, through a basic awareness of how technology should work and the use of Google, I have managed to convince people that I am knowledgeable about computers and technology. I can fake it a little, but I cannot help you fix your computer. Heck, I can't help fix my computer. I can however make YouTube videos into MP3s. Awesome.

Looking like I'm running but not. I suck at PE and have absolutely no endurance. Which means that the warm-up two minute jog in middle school and high school was torture. So I developed a kind of bouncy walk that looks like I'm jogging, but I'm totally not. It must be at least a little effective since I managed to pass PE.

Staying in people's good graces. I don't get in trouble. Teachers think well of me, my parents and I get along, and I don't usually have problems with other people (yay for drama-free existence). This is for a combination of reasons. One, I am quiet. Which as a kid meant that I didn't get in trouble when my sister did because she was yelling (although in my defense, she usually was at fault anyway). Two, somehow, I manage to charm my way out of trouble. I get this from my dad. It's not so much that I ooze charisma, I just know the right way to phrase my words and tone to use that will piss someone off the least. It probably doesn't hurt that I look tiny and fragile and helpless.

These are all the things I can think of for now. What are your hidden areas of expertise? And remember, sometimes it's more helpful to know a little bit about everything than a lot about one thing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chapter 6.3: Witch Bunny

As children, we all have fears, often a multitude of them. And some are legitimate fears, like losing a pet or your house catching on fire. These are fears that stick with us long after we've left childhood.

But sometimes, the fears we have as children are completely bizarre and absurd. For example my sister and I were terrified of dinosaurs. Like, we believed that a tyrannosaurs rex was going to trample our neighborhood and eat us. We also had a fear of volcanoes, although that is not a completely unsubstantiated fear considering we live near the Ring of Fire*

One of the worst fears I had (for probably close to a year or so) was of this thing called the Witch Bunny. In the house where we had an empty lot overgrown with grasses as our backyard, there lived a wild bunny. We saw it a couple of times and was a harmless enough looking animal.

However, my sister and my vivid, twisted imagination took this harmless rabbit and turned it into Witch Bunny. In my head, the bunny grew bucked, jagged, crooked teeth. It wore a cape and pointed wizard's hat that was purple with yellow stars. It burrowed up through the carpet and then the carpet seamlessly knit itself back together. Ignoring my sister, the easier prey on the bottom bunk, it climbed the ladder (rather than just magic itself up, which it could clearly do based on the carpet trick) with its tiny bunny paws.

I never saw what happened when it found be because I was just so terrified that I screamed my head off, calling for Mom. And every night my sister would chant "Wiiiiiiiitch Bunny. Wiiiiiiiiitch Bunny." And every night that bunny would come for me. It scared me for so long.

And the older I get, the more hilariously ridiculous the whole fear seems. I can't remember how it ended, but I eventually moved past that point. Thank goodness, otherwise it may have been that petting zoos and pet stores would terrify me now. And bunnies really are just adorable

So who else had absurd fears as a kid? Am I the only one with a Witch Bunny-esque situation?

*Which is the ring around the edge of the Pacific Plate (tectonic plate) that contains 75% of the worlds volcanoes

Chapter 6.2: Book Blog: Mysteries, Myth, and Mystical Romance

Look! I have this actually posted on time for once! It's amazing! I promise that I will have an actual blog post up soon. Maybe tomorrow night after we get back from HARRY POTTER: THE EXHIBITION!!!! Or maybe tonight with some stuff that I've been thinking about because of class. Maybe both. You just never know. ;) Anyway, here is the post for the week. The books are Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansion, Cupid by Julius Lester, and Haunted By Your Touch by Jeaniene Frost, Shayla Black, and Sharie Kohler. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chapter 6.1: Book Blog: Thrillin' Heroics (Plus the Best and Worst of 2010!)

Yes, my final book post of 2010 is a little late. I had planned to film and post this last Friday, but as it was New Year's Eve and my last weekend home, I didn't get a chance. But, belated though it may be, I have the last book I read in 2010 reviewed. And I have the worst book I read (for the first time) in 2010 and the best in six different categories (at least according to me). Let the games begin!

(I do not actually have a signed first edition. Or any edition for that matter)