Monday, March 28, 2011

Gon, Octo Gon. 003: License to Kill with Laughter

Scene: A third grade geometry class, immediately after the "Introduction to Polygons" lecture.

Angeline: Teacher, I need help.

Lacey: Okay.

Close up of Angeline's worksheet. Two questions - What is the name of a polygon with six sides? With eight sides?

Lacey: What shape has six sides?

Angeline: I forgot.

Lacey: Remember the trick? What letter does the word six have that helps us remember?

Angeline: X . . . hexagon!

Lacey: Good job! Now, how many arms does an octopus have?

Angeline: Eight.

Lacey: So what would you call a shape with eight sides?

Angeline: *blank look*

Lacey: If an animal with eight arms is an octopus, then a shape with eight sides would be an octo . . .

Phil: (gleefully) PUSSY!!!

Close up of Lacey, emphasizing her inability to speak for several minutes. End scene.

P. ost S. cript
Just fits.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sob Story

You know you're bored when you go through almost two years of blogs adding labels because you're tired of having to hunt through them when you want to look for something specific.


So you may have figured out that I'm kind of into Broadway show tunes. A little bit. If, you know, by a little bit you mean "so massively it's probably a little ridiculous." It all started with Les Miserables.

I'd heard of it before, but I didn't really "discover" Les Mis until ninth grade, in French class. We watched a non-musical movie version (I would assume the most recent one, but I really don't know) in class, and the teacher also played a little bit of the soundtrack once or twice. I don't know what it was, but something just clicked for me and I kind of went into an "OhMyGoshLESMIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" mode for a while - so much so that the second cd I acquired was the Broadway Highlights soundtrack as a birthday present. Or maybe Christmas. Whatever. All I had to play it with was a slightly crappy walkman with either headphones or these tiny little speakers, but I finally had my own room so I spent a lot of time with the door shut and the music blasting. Well . . . as blasting as it got with speakers smaller than my fist.

I've had a bit of an obsession with Les Mis ever since, and my . . . I don't know, sister-obsession I guess . . . with show tunes in general grew out of it. (And out of my participation in the drama department in high school. But that is a story for another day.) It became a dream of mine to see Les Mis on Broadway - those of you who have been reading for a loooooooooooooooong while may - but probably do not - remember that I was absolutely devastated when it closed about six years ago.

My dad didn't get why. For my 17th birthday my parents gave me a copy of the novel - unabridged, of course - and tickets to the touring show in Salt Lake . . . which didn't actually get to Salt Lake until almost a year later, but it was great having something to look forward to for so long. I read the book (1488 pages) in a week. It had been a long time since I'd carried a book around with me and read at every spare moment . . . and some that weren't so spare . . . like during class . . . not just empty moments . . . but while teaching was going on too. Probably didn't help my already dismal honors chem grade, but I really probably shouldn't have taken honors chem in the first place. And I read the WHOLE THING in SEVEN DAYS. I still rank that among my most impressive achievements.

The show, to put it epically simply, was amazing. I was spellbound and breathless from the moment the first notes of the overture sounded. I loved it. I used every ounce of my daddy's-little-girl-powers to wheedle a souvenir keychain out of my dad, because guess what? They sell souvenirs at Broadway shows! Who knew?!? Well, I didn't, at the time. Anyway, it was beautiful, it was fabulous, it was stunning, it was wonderful . . . there just aren't enough adjectives to describe how I felt about the show. Also: I may have tried to wheedle more tickets to go again the next night. Or every remaining performance. Yeah, that kinda didn't happen. And a few years later when the show closed on Broadway and I was upset my dad was all "you've already seen it," which I found exasperating. I don't think he got it when I told him it wasn't the same.

Moving on, I picked up the original London Soundtrack somewhere along the line in college, but I have yet to add the original Broadway Soundtrack to my collection, which is a little sad because they did some rewriting when they brought it across the pond, and I rather prefer the Broadway versions better . . . particularly "On My Own" and "Stars."

So. To finally start to come to the point. Les Mis originally opened in 1985. Making last year the 25th anniversary. And they did a one-night-only concert performance in London. And filmed it. And it's amazing. And they've been playing it on K-notBYU . . . the other one, whatever it's called . . . a ton lately because they just had their pledge drive. (side note: while I generally like the programming on public television, the only time they show stuff I'm truly excited to watch is during the pledge drives. Case in point: they play Anne of Green Gables EVERY time, but that's the only time they show it. Ever!) So I've watched it, like, 4 or 5 times. In the last week.

Let me get something straight right now - I'm not really much of a cryer, generally speaking. Almost never happens. That said, this is music that is just plain moving. I can't imagine anyone listening to it - really listening - and not feeling a little emotional. So it has always (especially after seeing the show) been able to draw out a few tears when I listen to it. I hadn't listened to it in ages, so watching it this week, remembering, brought back all sorts of emotions. All sorts of memories from high school, college, and even Florida. I loved it. I cried all the way through. (And I added the dvd to my amazon wish list.) At the end they brought out the original cast, which was AWESOME and did three encores, and those three songs are currently my three favorites. (I can never pick my favorite anything . . . they all change all the time. Except my favorite color. That's been blue for years. And you were all dying to know.)

Anyway, by the end of the last encore I'm all reduced to this sobbing little puddle who's spent the last four hours (because of the annoying pledge drive interruptions) shuddering with thrills and chills from the beauty of the music and the story. Crying hard enough to give myself a massive headache. So massive, in fact, that even though I went to bed shortly thereafter I could not manage to sleep it off. Which left me having to go to work with a headache, feeling emotional enough that if I didn't know better I'd think I was pregnant, and slightly red eyes . . . in other words, I'm pretty sure I've more or less had a hangover for the last week. Good times.

And for those of you who've seen me and (hopefully) had no idea, all I can say is Disney trains you well in the whole "the show must go on" thing. Seriously, you can be on break and discover that your life has turned into a really bad country song (your dog died, your mom died, your girlfriend left and took the house . . . literally . . . your lunch got stolen, your car got keyed, and to top it all off it's started raining, you work outside, you forgot your rain jacket and your shoes have holes so your feet will be soaked two seconds after you go back out) but you go out and as soon as you're somewhere that people can see you, it's automatic - you slap on a great big smile and act all excited because isn't today just the greatest day EVER?! That kind of mouse-washing sticks with you. But yeah, I've been totally faking it. Migraine city. Although I can't say I'd change anything, if it meant I had to not watch.

I do have one small complaint . . . okay, rant. *ahem*

NICK JONAS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! NICK FREAKING JONAS AS MARIUS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! JUST WHO'S TERRIBLE IDEA FOR CRAPPY STUNT CASTING WAS THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUST . . . NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, don't get me wrong. The guy can sing. He does not have a terrible voice. But he also does not have a Broadway caliber voice. His boy band days have not been sufficient preparation to fill the shoes of the likes of Michael Ball. Not to mention he sticks out like a sore thumb. With everyone else, even if you know who they are the actor gets lost behind the part they play. It's Jean Valjean, played by Alfie Boe, Fantine, sung by Lea Salonga, for example. But no, this is a freaking JoBro attempting to play the part of Marius. Again - NO!

*sigh* Luke's heard that rant before, and he'll hear it again (especially if he insists on continuing to try to defend said poser JoBro). But I feel a bit better now.

The touring show is coming back to Salt Lake in May - another perfect birthday present. I'm literally aching to go. Dying to go. Brought up the idea repeatedly since discovering it was coming back in September when we went to Lion King. Of course, I'm sure tickets are long gone by now. But it's a little bit heartbreaking to know it's here - and for my birthday too! - and we're not going to able to go. Someday we will attend the theatre more often . . . yearly, maybe even more. But although things are much better than they were for us a couple of years ago, we are not to that point yet. So if get the impression that I'm in mourning during pretty much the entire month of May . . . yeah, I kind of am.

But hopefully I won't also be hungover.

P. ost S. cript
One of the encores from the concert - the original Valjean, the two currently playing him in London and New York, and the one who played him in the concert itself. Talk about chills . . . I don't think I breathed at all the first time I heard this! I won't ask for such an extreme reaction, but the person who is not moved by this song and especially this version - that person has no soul.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Being All Trendy

Have you ever thought about the evolution of trends? Especially internet trends. First there were the surveys that you spammed . . . I mean forwarded . . . to everyone you knew. Then it was myspace bulletins. Occasionally tagged facebook notes pop up all popular for about a day. And then there are the blog trends that sweep through every so often. And this one seems to have been done by such a very large chunk of my blogging pals that I just have to jump on the bandwagon before I'm just so pathetically and hopelessly ten-minutes-ago behind the times. Seriously, it just keeps popping up from someone new every few days or so.

Anyway. I'm puttin' iTunes on shuffle and you get to see what the first five to get shuffled are.

Or maybe I'll do ten. I'm kinda bored. Either way, you'll probably all end up knowing me a little bit better after this.

1. Bolero ~ Ravel
Lovely song, but I hate playing it. The cello part is 10% enjoyable, 90% insufferably dull.

2. All I Ask of You from Phantom
I would love this song even if I wasn't a Broadway junkie. Also: while I am a fan of Emmy Rossum, anyone who thinks Michael and Sarah can be topped should be drug out in the street and shot. (twenty points if you got the Garfield and Friends reference!)

3. Live Like You Were Dying ~ Tim McGraw
So growing up I was constantly going from loving country music to hating it because it was the only thing we were allowed to listen to. (Suffice it to say it was an interesting conversation my mother had with her 3 teenage/soon-to-be teenage daughters when she came home from work one day singing Backstreet Boys.) These days I like it, generally. This is one of those songs I fell in love with the first time I heard it. I bought the cd just for this song. (see also: this song. I have to blast it any time it comes on when I'm in the car. Sorry about the lame video, but the ensemble version is SOOOOOO much better IMO!!) Random note: I'm not much of a singer, but on good days I can hold that last note the whole time. It's quite the self esteem boost when it happens. :-)

4. Dancing Through Life from Wicked
I would just like to go on the record here and now and say that I loved Wicked before it was cool to love Wicked. I had this song memorized (and adopted as my theme song because, well, that was me) before almost anyone outside New York had even heard of the show. And now practically everyone and their dogs have seen it and I HAVE YET TO SEE THIS SHOW DANGIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There. I feel better now.

Anyway. Another fabulous song for singing along and blasting in the car. Have you ever gotten in a mood where you just need to hear a song, perhaps repeatedly? I played this one on repeat once driving back to school my senior year . . . from about Fillmore to Cedar. It made the endless drive a little quicker.

5. The Saga Begins ~ Weird Al Yankovic
It probably comes as no surprise that I love this song. It's pretty awesome. That said, this is the one I have as a ring tone.

Yeah, definitely doing ten. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride. (just because it sounds good to say)

6. Wannabe ~ Spice Girls
I think I originally liked this song just because it wasn't allowed at our house. Now it's got some real nostalgia power behind it - I was in SEVENTH GRADE when this song came out!

7. A Step Too Far from Aida
Holy crap, I adore Aida!! It's another one of those thoroughly sing-along-able shows where I know every word. While these guys are good and stuff . . . well, the girls are . . . (and the set is giving me some crazy flashbacks to doing Joseph in high school) allow to me recommend the OBC version which, obnoxiously, is un-embeddable.

8. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah from Song of the South
Well, it was inevitable that Disney would come up . . . even if it is only 9% of my music library. This was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. I was three, maybe four . . . I kinda sorta vaguely remember it. I think. Also: I am determined to hunt down a copy that will play on American DVD players. Eventually. Dude, you can't even find clips of the movie on youtube, but you can get the whole thing in Europe? LAME!! (Side note: remind me to tell you all sometime about the time a duck attacked me while I was on Splash Mountain. I smell a Saturday Morning post!)

9. A New Hope and End Credits ~ John Williams
So the one that popped up happened to be Revenge of the Sith. But yes, I have all the soundtracks. As well as the two volume John Williams Greatest Hits. Because John Williams is the man. Even if he is brass heavy. Because you know what? Those little double (and triple when you're really lucky!) f's on your sheet music make even the lamest drumbeat of a part more fun to play. :-)

10. Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
Oooh, yeah, let's end with a classic. Another song I didn't discover until much later than most people would say I should have, but I'm a definite fan. I kind of prefer this version, but I may be a little biased since I am, you know, the camera person. Ahh, the good old days of being a designated driver at Disney.

Bonus pick from me, not the shuffle: The Cheat is Not Dead ~ Strongbad
Okay, so I know this is actually, like, song 15 or something . . . but it's such a fun song. We actually made it the final song at our reception. It was awesome.

You know, that was actually a relatively balanced shuffle . . . which is odd because my iTunes seriously gets into some very genre specific moods. Which is obnoxious when it's in a different mood than I am but I still want to keep it on all music. But this . . . pretty much sums up who I am. Well . . . not completely . . . but you get what I mean. I hope . . .

Maybe I'll do some genre-split first fives sometime . . .

P. ost S. cript
Are you all video'd out yet? If you're not, here are some adorable baby duckies blown all asunder. They are glass-breaking-squeal cute!

Friday, March 18, 2011


True story: the first time I saw this picture it made me think of my friend Justin's joke about the first mention of a car in the Bible and I laughed for a good five minutes from both the humor and the pleasant memories.

So all this school-story-telling probably does not bode well for when I have kids of my own. I live in fear that somehow I will morph into one of those obnoxious, over-sharing parents that repeatedly find their obnoxiousness showing up here. Please, if that happens, someone slap me back into my senses.

Anyway, the other day I was telling Luke about my day and how I was walking down the hall heading to kindergarten and my second grade class was lining up out in the hall and I guess someone saw me because the next thing I know the whole class is not-very-quietly whispering "Miss Lacey's coming! Miss Lacey's coming!"

For a moment, I felt like I comprised the entirety of the British army . . . circa 1776, of course. :-)

Luke's reaction to this story was: "Sooooo . . . are you, like, the most popular aide in that whole school or what?"

I hesitated (and still do) to say yes, and only partly out of not wanting to appear full of myself. However, I do feel like I'm just being honest when I say I am pretty popular. And since it's pretty much for the first time in my life, I'm kind of enjoying it. The weirdest (for me) part? I seem to be most popular with the boys, and believe me that is absolutely the most foreign thing in the world.

I was thinking the other day - I get easily half a dozen hugs a day at least. And the vast majority are from the little boys. Granted, about half of them are from "Eric" most days but still . . . most days they're all from boys. Crushing a little maybe? Like I said, this would be the first time ever I've been the subject of so many crushes at once (or more than one crush at once, to be perfectly honest) so I'm kind of enjoying the attention. And it's just cute. :-)

I'm always a little nervous when returning hugs. I'm sure there's some sort of policy about it, but I certainly couldn't tell you what it is. Disney has a pretty strict policy about it, which I will admit to violating a time or two - for the same reason I may have here too: when a five-year-old has their arms around your neck and squeezes like there's no tomorrow it just plain feels wrong to respond with one arm loosely draped on their shoulder for a second or two. They're still so sweet and loving of everyone and it seems cruel to do anything that would disillusion them so soon. Besides, it's not like I'm not doing anything wrong, if for no other reason than I'm never alone with these hug-y kids. And isn't it sad that the state of affairs in general is such that hugging policies have to exist at all?

Anyway. Enough of that. Here's some silly stories involving boys who may or may not have a crush on me.

~ So in second grade this week the spelling list is all about open syllable words. (Another concept I'm not certain I learned when I was in school. Basically we're talking two syllable words where the first syllable has a long vowel - a concept I did learn, but had forgotten . . .) I work with my spelling groups before the actual class spelling time, so on Mondays I'm introducing the concept to these kids who are having a harder time with spelling than the rest of the class. Great. I can't help but wonder sometimes if I help or hinder more, but the teacher says I've helped a lot. Anyway, what I do is I tell them what the concept is, then I explain what it means, then I ask them to tell me what I just taught them. More often then not they can't remember the first day without a little prompting, and that was the case this week. So I say "open . . ." and that little clown of a "Jehosaphat" jumps up all excited and full of a 7-year-old's confidence says "SESAME!!!!!"

Now, normally when the kids say something funny I'll have a quick laugh and move on. Not this time. All spelling work stopped for at least five minutes. We're talking tearful laughter here folks. And then the kids started laughing even though they didn't get the joke and three or four times I'd try to get myself back under control they'd keep giggling and I'd be lost for another few seconds. I really hope that group did well on the spelling test today because I'm not very sure I taught them much this week.

~ Second grade again. Today was a half day, and since I'm in second grade last things were a little bit different than usual. Shortly before the end of the day I headed out to make some copies for next week's spelling groups who shall be known as David stopped me to give me a hug, as he sometimes does when I leave. I told him I was just making copies and would be right back. A couple of minutes later when I did come back I think he asked me "How was your coffee?" I'm not entirely certain because I didn't quite catch it and he got all embarrassed and wouldn't repeat himself when I asked what he said. But clearly at least one of us heard the other incorrectly. It made me giggle, after making me a little confused.

~ There is a darling little guy in kindergarten who shall go by Andrew. If I get only one hug in a day, it is his. The teacher might be right in the middle of showing them how to write a letter or something, but he will jump up and run to me. He goes right back to his seat immediately, so we all let him get away with it. Last week he added a little something . . . lately he kisses me on the cheek too. I've seen him give others hugs the second they walk into the room too, but I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who gets a kiss. I keep telling Luke he has competition - because I'm pretty sure Andrew thinks he does. As do a couple of others, I'm thinking. :-)

~ Then there are the third grade boys who come to my group the second the first bell rings even though they're supposed to wait for the second. I feel like it's always crowded back in my little corner because half the time there's twice as many people there as there's supposed to be. I send them back to their desks, theoretically until the bell rings again, but in actuality they're usually back within 15 seconds. I realize that in third grade everything is still exciting, but I kind of doubt it's because they're dying to do a math word search. (side note: Katie, one of them has also asked me a couple of times if Luke has bought me anymore jewelry yet, lol. I want to bring Luke to school just to see what kind if conversation those two would have!)

All in all, good times. I hope I'm not contributing to the creation of future heart-breakers!

btw, the car in the Bible thing? I don't remember the exact reference, but it's the first couple of verses of an early chapter of Acts and it says something like "And it came to pass that they were all in one accord in that place." *rim shot*

P. ost S. cript
I'm not sure what I think of this. On the one hand there's the "holy-crap-how-did-this-happen?!?" sort of feeling that leaves me thinking it's pretty hysterical. On the other hand, for some reason screw-ups are cool or something, and someday there will be people out there who will pay big money for this . . . more than for the "right" ones. So then I'm thinking it's kind of brilliant and I should, like, invest in one or something. Also: if you can't find what's wrong with this picture, we might not be able to be friends anymore. ;-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just Couldn't Wait to Brag

Okay, so I realize this will absolutely vaporize any and all coolness cred I may have amassed thus far in my entire life (and possibly negate any in the future too) but I'm too excited at the moment to care.

Plus you all love me and will tell me I'm awesome even if you're secretly thinking I'm a dork . . . right? Guys? Right?

Anyway. I have completed . . . Dun da da DUN!!!!!!! . . . Phase 1 of my Project for the Rest of My Life!!! Yay!!!!!!! Please note, I bought these babies (err . . . bibs . . . last time I checked you couldn't legally buy babies . . . ) on New Year's Day and finished the last stitch on the last one less than an hour ago. Go ahead, feel free to ooh and ahh. I'm pretty impressed with myself too. And I've watched every last episode of Phineas and Ferb available on Netflix. Oh, how I adore Netflix streaming!! (Does the P&F on the weekends cancel out the Wheel and Jeopardy during the week? Thereby making me the equivalent of . . . ummmmm . . . my actual age?)

Anyway. TA DA!!!!

For a little perspective . . . and don't you just love my hastily created photo shoot background consisting of a fluffy blanket thrown over our ugly hotel decor reject armchair?

Ready for the close ups!

You would not believe how long those tiny little flowers took. And don't even get me started on the butterflies!

This would be the one for which I ran out of floss and had to order more . . . obnoxious! Good thing this company sends more for free!!

Isn't he cute?! These two took about half the time of the first two. I'm thinking it was the lack of butterflies. They look great but the birds were MUCH simpler!

And the grand finale . . . like I said, this little guy hasn't even been finished for an hour. He might be my favorite.

I kind of don't want to give them away, but at the same time I could never keep them because all I can see are the little flaws that always pop up on projects like this. I suppose this gives them some sort of one of a kind charm or something. How much do you think I could get on Etsy?

On the other hand, I'm not sure I could ever feel good about selling things on a site that also sells things like this. (Warning: sometimes NSFW . . . a.k.a., Grandma and Grandpa - don't touch that link.)

Anyway . . . actually, that's pretty much all. Feel free to shower me with validations. Or mock my un-hip-ness. Whichever you feel like today. :-)

P. ost S. cript
This is why I love Weird Al. You know you're a star when a sold out stadium cheers for literally ANYTHING you do.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Memory

Ten points if you get it.

So back in the day Saturday Morning Cartoons were pretty much the coolest thing in the world. Now . . . I don't know if anyone else has checked them out lately but . . . they suck. So I'm replacing them with potentially amusing stories from back when they rocked socks off. Because I'm awesome like that. :-)

So as we all know I've been watching a lot of Friends reruns lately. Among other things, I've discovered the source of various quotes and soundbytes I was already familiar with, as well as getting a lot more references made at book club. A couple weeks ago they played the one where Phoebe sings for kids at a library or something. And all the adults freak out because she's singing about how the barnyard animals are also the meat in our hamburgers. Randomly, that brought back a lot of memories.

I've never understood the concept of trying to shield kids from facts like pigs = pork. We always knew exactly what we were eating, and I don't think it scarred us that much. I think I'll let you make the final judgment though. Here's your evidence:

1 ~ Dad had an uncle who lives in Downey. (not the fabric softener for those not familiar with tiny Idaho towns) One year when I was about six or so Uncle Carl slaughtered some pigs and we got one. I'm not sure if it was a female pig, but my siblings and I promptly christened the dead pig Amanda. And ate it with relish. Every time we ate sausage/bacon/pork chops/whatever we always had to ask if we were eating Amanda or another pig. She was delicious.

2 ~ Dad also hunted a lot when I was a kid, so we were always eating things like venison, elk, antelope . . . lots of "wild" food. It's also pretty delicious. One year Dad got a deer that must have been a bit younger, because we named that one Bambi. And ate it. Bambi was delicious too.

3 ~ When we moved to Tremonton my parents bought an acre of land specifically to have their own little mini-farm. Our first four pigs were named Ham, Bacon, Sausage, and Pork Chop. Please note, we actually raised these pigs instead of getting them when they were already dead. Rian played with them when they were piglets. And they were - wait for it - delicious. As was the steer named Dinner a couple of years ago.

4 ~ This is one of those always-brought-up childhood stories. Dad was going hunting for either pheasant or grouse . . . don't remember which. He took me and Ashli with him because mom wasn't feeling well. (I believe this was when she was pregnant with Rian, making me 5 and Ashli 3.) I have no idea where exactly we went, all I know is he parked the car behind a very tall haystack and told us to stay there. Then he went on his merry hunting way. Came back later with a couple of birds, and left again. He says he wasn't gone for more than an hour or so total. I remember it as being several hours. Either way, we got bored. So when dad got back the second time he found us dragging the birds around by their necks with their feet on the ground and saying "Look, Daddy! He's alive! He's walking!" I don't remember what else we did with them, but I would assume perhaps making them talk to each other or peck the ground like they were eating bugs or something. I do remember touching their eyeballs. And them being squishy. Don't remember why I did that . . . we must have gotten really bored. Like I said, it was hours! We had to do something for entertainment! :-)

I don't remember eating the birds, but I'm sure they were delicious.

Those of you who have come to the conclusion that I am decidedly unfit to be working with children can direct your complaints to Ellis Elementary. :-P

Yeah . . . like any of you thought I was normal even before now . . .

P. ost S. cript
By far the best part of Saturday mornings. These should be required viewing in schools . . . seriously, whenever I count by threes, I do it to the tune of Three is a Magic Number.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In Which I Find Myself Feeling Various Levels of Disturbed with Myself

So a little while back there was some facebook confusion over whether I did or did not actually have an unpleasant and (these days . . . and in this country . . . ) uncommon disease. No, I did not have dysentery. And clearly I did not die from it. Just a random Oregon Trail reference. :-)


Part the First: There is a class that did some sort of project on animals. And they made posters. And hung them up in the hall for everyone to see. They're very interesting to read . . . but I have to admit the first time I saw them it occurred to me that the mythological guardian of the Greek Underworld was a bit of an odd choice. Especially for second graders.

So after walking past this poster half a dozen times a day for a couple of weeks it finally hit me - "ZEBRUS" means "zebras" . . . not "Cerberus."

In my defense, the Z is backwards. So it looks kind of like "SEBRUS." And I just read the last three Percy Jackson books. I'm kind of in a Greek mythology state of mind.

Part the Second: So. Fourth grade. Math groups. There are a couple of questions that cause problems every week. Like this one - the worksheet says "What is the sum or difference?" Then they look at the chart and there are squares divided into hundredths (a word I hadn't heard SINCE fourth grade until this year!). And it'll be something like 1.42 + 1.56 or 1.91 - 1.33 or something. Point being that sometimes it's addition and sometimes it's subtraction. But what happens is this - there are a few kids who read the question . . . as far as "what is the sum" and then add them up. Even if they're supposed to subtract. I tell them the answer is wrong. The add them again. And get the same answer because they did the addition correctly. And it gets repeated a couple of times. They start getting frustrated because they keep getting the same answer and I keep saying it's wrong and I can't figure out why it NEVER occurs to them that maybe their addition isn't the problem. Finally I tell them to reread the question and look closely at the chart and usually that solves things, but sometimes I have to completely spell it out for them. And I find myself using the line "You have to actually read the question. You can't just do what you think it's asking, you have to do what it actually says to do."

I got the weirdest sense of deja vu the first couple of times I said that. Monday I realized why.

Great merciful crap, I'm turning into my parents!!!! AND I DON'T EVEN HAVE KIDS YET!!!!!!!!!!!

P. ost S. cript
Talk about a slow reaction . . . hee.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I *Don't* Want to Believe

I've been doing this a lot lately.

So an old friend of mine posted this on facebook last week:

1/3 of high school grads never read another book for the rest of their lives.

46 percent of college grads never read another book after college.

80 percent of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70 percent of US adults did not visit a bookstore in the last five years.

57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

I'm a little bit horrified. (and for those of you who pay any attention to my own facebook page, yes, I've been horrified by a lot of things recently.) I want, with every fiber of my cliche . . . I mean being . . . to convince myself that it's not true. And there's a part of me that keeps trying because I have no other source for these statistics - just my knowledge that the person who posted it is not the type of person to make these sorts of stats up just to do it. And knowing enough other people who back them up.

Even if I had not somehow found myself working in the education system I would be horrified by this. Honestly, I can barely fathom the idea. I mean, to put this in more concrete terms, it means that more than half of people my age have not read a book in 5 years or more.


Okay, this may come as a bit of a shock, but I'm kind of a big reader. Yeah, I know, I'll give you a moment to recover. I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn't know how to read. One of mom's favorite stories to tell while I was growing up was how, the Christmas I was in kindergarten my parents got a small Dickens anthology, and I wanted to read A Christmas Carol. So I did. In an hour. The original Dickens version, in all its Dickens-ish glory. And she didn't believe I'd really read it, so she quizzed me on it. And I knew the details that got left out of Mickey's version.

Now, something people may not know if they stick to Mickey's and the Muppets' versions is that A Christmas Carol is a novella. Pretty short. Even today I could probably knock it out in an hour or so of uninterrupted time. But still . . . a five year old reading Dickens. Probably explains why the unabridged Les Miserables ranks so high on my favorite books list. And why so many classics are on the list.

To say my life has revolved around reading . . . well, probably kind of understates the case. I seriously have to have something to read all the time, even if I can only get in a few minutes a day - which is really all I had time for in Florida. I've found myself reading the manuals that come with kitchen appliances before just out of the need to read something. Anything!

So I'm tolerably certain that there is no way for me to understand where these non-reading people are coming from. I've known a few before, and it's definitely influenced my relationships with them. I had a roommate in Florida who hated reading. (I think I died a little inside just thinking about putting those two words in the same sentence!) Absolutely refused to do it. She was a real fan of Harry Potter . . . the movies, naturally. Even the HP books couldn't convince her to pick one up. Again - unfathomable!! Anyway, the seventh book came out while we were both still there, and I'm pretty sure she was the only one in the shuttles break room who wasn't a reader. In the last few weeks before the book came out we would constantly be speculating about what was going to happen, and always pulling out references from past books to support our theories. Except for when my friend was there. More often than not we'd end up explaining things to her because she was confused because we'd mentioned something that got cut out of the movies. (like WHO THE FREAKING MARAUDERS WERE AND WHY THEY'RE KIND OF ESSENTIAL TO THE STORY!!!!!! . . . . . . . . . sorry. I'm still very bitter about the epic screw-up that is the third movie . . . . . . . . . )

Anyway. The book came out. I went with a few friends to a midnight release party. Thankfully I had the day off, and by 10:00 the next morning I'd read it. Twice. But not everyone was as much of a junkie (or as insane) or as fast as I, so there were some very strict no-spoiling rules put in place in the break room until everyone who was reading it finished. It struck me as a little silly, since my non-reading friend had spent the last month constantly bemoaning the fact that we'd just spoiled something for her. We - well, I - kept telling her that it didn't count as spoiling anything, since if she really wanted to know she could just read the books that had been out for years already. Not only did she refuse, she never could give a good reason. Nothing beyond the fact that she just didn't want to.

I'm sorry, what? You're as excited as any of the rest of us to find out what happens to Harry and, unlike the rest of us, you've got three years at Hogwarts you could lose yourself in and you "don't want to?!?!" What?

I hate to admit it, but that had a pretty big effect on our relationship, and not for the better. And as far as I know, she still doesn't know how it all ends. Which I find just sad.

The whole thing is really quite disturbing too. I mean, we're talking well over half the population that never reads. This is not right!!! Forget about these people being the future leaders of the country - these people are probably the leaders right now! (actually . . . that kind of explains what I heard today about some genius politician in the state senate that thinks kids should be taught to read by a computer. Seriously, are we raising kids or robots?) They talk about their kids' minds turning to mush as they do nothing but watch TV and play video games - but that's apparently how they spend their free time too! How hypocritical can you get?!?! I feel like I should double my book reading goal for the year just to make up for the rest of humanity. (it's over there >>>>>>>
up . . . up . . . there!) I was thinking 100 sounded ambitious, then I discovered I read exactly 100 books last year, so I made it 150. How many people do you think I'll be making up for if I pull off 300 books in a year?

I'm so shocked, horrified, and quite frankly offended, that I haven't even been able to get into a really good angry rant mode . . . and as we all know, I can do a good rant when I get going. I'm tempted to start making daily visits to a bookstore to make up for all the morons out there who haven't darkened the door of one for years. Seriously - years?!?! I make at least one trip a month, even if I don't buy something every time.

I fear for the future of humanity. I've said it often, usually semi-jokingly.

I mean it a lot more now.

P. ost S. cript
I feel like I should feel guilty for posting a video after getting all up on my soapbox and all, but it's not like I have anything against TV or video games in addition to reading. Also: I haven't stopped laughing at the bit at the three-and-a-half minute mark . . . and I first watched it a few days ago. The rest is mildly entertaining, but those ten seconds are quite funny.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fashion Show!

As all the cool kids know, I am now the prouder-than-I-should-be owner of a 90-inch pearl necklace. The giant box of awesome arrived Thursday and ever since I've felt like a little girl playing dress up. And while the necklace did not come with an instruction manual, there are youtube videos demonstrating gajillions of ways to wear it. I'm in a show off-y mood, so you guys get to see some of them. Woot.

Yep, this baby hangs down past my knees . . . stretched out straight it would be nearly three feet taller than I am!!

Dude . . . I'm short . . .

This one did not turn out nearly as cool as I was hoping. At least you can kind of tell that I'm totally twirling my necklace '20s style.

Yes ladies and gentleman, I can make a QUADRUPLE STRANDER out of just this one baby. How awesome is that?

Trying to remove said quadruple strander. I'm pretty sure this is how I'm going to die.

Okay, so Luke zoomed in a little close on this one, so you don't get the full effect of the three different lengths with the pendant in the middle, but it kind of rocks.

"The Scarf." Introduced at the party as a look "quite appropriate for the more mature lady" . . . hence my silly snooty pose. Mom got offended when we all looked at her after the more mature line. All I have to say is she was the only one there over the age of 30 . . . what did she expect? :-)

Gonna have to work on this one . . . it's "knot" looking quite the way I envisioned. (sorry, I'm a sucker for a bad pun!)

Doubled up, then twisted. I really like this one.

A pearl necklace with a pendant? Say what now?! :-)

Not doubled, just twisted.

Twisted, then doubled. The possibilities for fun are endless!!

Does this not totally remind you of the bolero ties that used to be all the rage back in the day? If I remember correctly, grandpa wore them all the time . . .

Don't you love how my wonderfully sensitive skin is crying "ABUSE!! ABUSE!!" And by wonderfully, I of course mean ridiculously and obnoxiously.

Seriously, those blotches? Just from the pressure of the pearls against my skin. LAME!!!

Luke said to do a cheesy pose. Apparently he wasn't paying much attention to all these other pictures he'd taken . . .

Anyway, so there you have it . . . as they say. Which one's your favorite? Any suggestions for other looks? And grandma, I am SO jealous that you have one that's ten inches longer . . . although if this one had another ten inches I'd have probably killed myself by now. And it probably would have been by tripping over it. Because I? Am Just. That. Talented.

P. ost S. cript
This is one of those times I feel like I should feel bad for laughing . . . but holy crap, it's funny!!!!!