Archive | February 2013

Too much?

I take pride in my work. I enjoy being a student, and I want to do a good job. I want to learn, and to feel like the federal grants and tithing dollars that go into my education are being put to good use. I try to be thorough in my assignments, and to do well in my classes. I like being busy, it makes me feel accomplished. Besides, the work is fun- especially since I have a Young Adult Literature class.

But… I know it is possible to work to hard, and to sacrifice good thing in the name of ‘work.’

This could be a problem for me. Am I working too much?

For instance, I know I should be out socializing more- given that I am a young single adult and there are plenty of opportunities here at BYU-I. And certainly I have been more social since coming out here to BYU-I. But maybe I should take as much pride in my friendships and relationships as in my schoolwork?

This is not a concept I’m comfortable with. I understand academics a lot better than people. Schoolwork is safe.

You’d think that I’d be a bit more excited with the idea that maybe I should work less. Not quite.

What does one do in a situation such as this? How does one know when they should pull back? And if you do pull back, what do you do then?

Must slow down

I’ve been reading all day!

I have to give an author presentation on Diana Wynne Jones in my Young Adult Lit. class- which is supposed to include three book talks. I wanted to present at least two books of hers I had not read before. But they take so long! And I don’t read as fast as I would like.

I found myself feeling a little irritable in class, but I calmed down because Ben replied to my e-mail. I needed advice from him. It’s irritating at times that I cannot speak face-to-face with him anymore, since I consider him to be my mentor. How’d he get to be so wise, anyway? How does he do it? And he’s encouraging. He thinks that if I develop my talents the way I have been, I could create a series of illustrated short-stories. Have I told you it has been my goal to have a collection of short-stories? Not for publication, but because I like stories and would like to create some. Of course, I think he’s being a bit too optimistic of my chances of obtaining this goal- but its nice to hear his assessment anyway. It can’t hurt to try anyway.

Anyway, I thought I should slow down enough to take that in and to… settle before I have to buckle down for another long session of reading. Oh why couldn’t Diana have seen fit to write shorter stories! I enjoy being busy, but this would be much easier to enjoy if I had time to pace myself.

Thank goodness I’ve finished it.

My crusade and the old lady inside me

Sometimes there are certain things I want to run a crusade against. It’s kinda terrible how incredibly self-righteous I feel sometimes. Right now I want to battle against this tendency my siblings have to watch anime for long-hour stretches.

If I thought my siblings actually read my blog, I probably wouldn’t post this. I know that they think I am sometimes… well, ‘imperialistic’ is the phrase my brother sometimes uses. I am sure in my own opinion, and I imagine I must sound self-righteous and obnoxious, maybe judgmental. But I beg your patience. Think about skyping home so you can talk to your family, and your siblings seem… not very lively or talkative. They don’t say much, but from what you hear they seem to be spending a lot of time watching anime. I imagine it’s the feeling some people get when they realize how many hours a day someone spends on video games.

Frankly, it bothers me. I know my siblings, to a certain degree. I think if they just… looked elsewhere, there is so much they could accomplish. My younger sisters are really creative, they come up with stories. I don’t think they realize how envious I am of this ability. I struggle to create stories and characters, coming up with complete plots is hard enough- then there is a matter of making them good stories. It comes more naturally to them. Why, then, dull your brain on anime? Don’t let that talent go to waste! Don’t idle! There isn’t enough time in the world! As for my brother… he’s a good and smart kid. But he doesn’t talk to us a lot when we call home, and yet he spends a good amount of time skyping with his teammates on some sort of MMO game. And that bothers me.

How do I make them understand? It’s not my place to make them understand. And yet… it’s kind of horrible, it makes me feel a little detatched from them. Like it’s actually easier for me to associate with my collage friends. Is this part of the reason I sometimes have a hard time at home? Is this a syndrome that young adults face? They are at a time where they are learning much, and they are making important decisions, and progressing at a rapid pace, and then they look around at other people and wonder, “What are you doing?”

One feels a bit… separated when one’s at home. I would feel so weird, because I wanted to show my siblings a cool documentary that I found. And… I think that concept was a little foreign to them. Things are just… different these days.

I wonder if I’m experiencing what it is like to be on the other side of a generation gap. There shouldn’t be a generation gap, my youngest sibling is only nine years younger than I. Why does there seem to be such a distance? And why don’t I like it?

Sometimes I think there’s an old lady inside me, just waiting to happen. Is that weird? This old lady is very stubborn, it’s a mental mind set she’s gotten from years of experience. She’s sure her way is best, but she’s a tender-hearted soul, and doesn’t want her ideas to bother anyone else. This old lady can’t keep up with the fast pace at which technology is moving. She’s not disdainful of technology, but she refuses to let it take precedence over certain things in life. She feels she has learned much during her time, but is worried that nobody wants to listen to her, or understands. Yet she is content with the conclusions she has come to.

 

The Hobbit- a beautiful movie

Oh can words express?

The Hobbit was a beautiful movie. Oh I wish my family had seen it, so I can talk with them about it. It was truly lovely.

It’s so hard to gush over things in print, sometimes. It seems unnatural. It is better, of course, to talk with other people about it. So perhaps I will not make this very long, even though I have much to say. First of all…. I LOVE the dwarfish singing! Of course, I knew that from the preview. But they kept the song about breaking Bilbo’s dishes! I was so happy! I had hoped they would keep that in. Ah I love Thorin’s voice, I love the singing! Actually, the music in general was just divine. And it’s so lovely to hear those old themes; the shire, mordor, etc. And the new theme… Love it to death. Also, I love the brown wizard, I forget his name, and his…. mode of transportation. Gladriel was gorgeous. It was so good to see the elves again! I look forward to seeing the other elves in the coming movies. Ah, Rivendelle, so wonderful to be back… and to know that Bilbo will see it again. The locations… all of them…. beautiful. And I liked the trolls- they were funny. They were supposed to be. I love watching the dwarves fight… and eat. They’re so coordinated in both activities.

And I liked Bilbo too. Especially that dubious look he gives Gandalf when he first meets him. It was truly a lovely moment when Bilbo is standing in front of a fallen Thorin.

More than in Lord of the Rings, I like the tone of The Hobbit. It’s… an adventure story. But it’s not saving the world, it’s reclaiming home. And that gives a good, emotional core for the movie.

Basically, I loved it. How can you top this?

What if Peter Jackson directed The Prydain Chronicles?

 

The simple ones

You remember when i mentioned I finally bought my sister her Christmas present? It was a murder mystery visual novel. I sent an e-mail to the creator to say that I enjoyed it, and I got an e-mail back, thanking me.

And it occurs to me once again that there are simple things we can do in life, that have far-reaching positive effects. Now, I’m not saying that me sending an e-mail or their reply is the best example of this- but there’s the idea in it. Saying “thank you” certainly is one of those simple things. It’s not like it takes a lot of effort, but it is good to thank and to be thanked.

There are so many things like this. It’ fun to try to think of them, to use them. All of the simple little things that don’t take much, but mean much.

Body Langauge

We talked about body language briefly in my Sociology class. It was very informative. It would be great to be able to read body language really well, since I’m not the most socially adept of people.

So here’s some of the things I learned:

  • You can instill trust in another by mimicking their body language
  • How do you know if a girl wants to hold your hand? Easy, she’ll make her hands available. If she’s folding her arms, she probably doesn’t want to hold your hand. Same goes if she has her hands in her pockets, I guess, because I actually consciously used that tactic on a date once: I put my hands in my pockets so the guy wouldn’t try to hold them.
  • One of the cues for someone who’s lying is they’ll have a hand kind of over their mouth
  • If you want to send a really subtle signal to someone that you want them to leave, or that you want to leave, put your hands on your knees. They might not even notice that you’re sending them a signal, but their mind links putting hands on the knees to standing up and leaving.

I once read a book on body language. It was interesting, learning about pacifying gestures and suchlike. But I don’t know if I’ve ever really been able to apply what I’ve learned, or get to the point where I actually notice body language. Except during church meetings, when someone is getting up to speak- they use pacifying gestures all the time, and with girl’s it’s especially obvious. They tuck their hair behind their ear, that’s a really telling pacifying gesture.

Clear Blue Sky

I journal…. a lot. Not only journals for day-to-day stuff, but I also have separate journals for rants and journals for taking to church meetings and writing down my thoughts, and then sometimes I try to start journals on specific topics. I have lots of thoughts, stories, rants, spread out through a number of different journals, notebooks, and computer documents.

A couple of years ago, I wanted to compile some of the most important things- stories of significant events of my life, childhood memories, letters I’ve received from friends and family, etc. into a kind of computerized scrapbook called “Out of a Clear Blue Sky”- as a reference to my name. I gave up on it for a while, not sure what to include or how to organize it. But yesterday I tried going back to it.

I’d like to have one collection of all the important things, so when I want to look up significant stories or journal entries, I don’t have to sort through all of my junk. It would be wonderful to have it all in one source.

Of course, now that I’ve discovered I want to do it- there’s a matter of finding time to do it. It may become my weekend activity.

 

The Weekend revised!

Guess what!

It looks like my weekend won’t be nearly as busy as I thought it would. My heavy writing assignment didn’t take as long as I anticipated (I was mostly done, I just had to add a few things and revise), and one of the assignments I thought was due Tuesday wasn’t due until the following week. I finally bought the visual novel Jasmine was supposed to get for Christmas, and the weekend may just be fun after all.

All is well!

Except that I don’t know what to get my little sister for her birthday. But I have some ideas…..

The weekend

I believe I told you at the beginning of the week that this week was going to be busy? Turns out that was true. It also turns out that this weekend is likely to be very busy as well, despite the holiday on Monday. I counted: eight assignments I have to prepare for Tuesday. Now some are small, and one is technically optional- but I’m going to do it because it’s a chance to raise my grade and I’m tired of being at the border line getting a B instead of an A. I also have a writing assignment due on Saturday. Nine assignments this weekend. Plus, I have two last appointments I have to make today. It’s not looking to be a restful holiday for me.

Which I’m okay with, I guess. There’s nothing worse than having a holiday and then having nothing to do on that holiday. I hate spending a day just browsing the internet trying to find new desktop wallpaper.

Nine assignments.

I can do that.

But I’m probably going to indulge myself in that Valentine chocolate I got from my roommate, bless her heart.

 

What is art?

There is no universal consensus of what ‘art’ is. There are several works where its validity as an artwork has been called into question. One of them is Duchamp’s Fountain. And I have just been trying to argue that it is not, in fact, art. Mostly I’m arguing that because I don’t want it to be art. I think the argument I came up with was reasonable, though maybe a little simplistic. I suppose it would have to be, since I only have 2-3 pages double spaced. That was a hard argument to come up with, by the way. I’m dodging fallacies everywhere.

I stake so much on these writing assignments. Well, the grade stakes a lot on these assignments. I get so worried that the basic premise of my essay is faulty. If it is, everything crumbles.

So… that’s why these writing assignments have me a little stressed. A little bit. I can’t decide whether they ought to stress me more, or if I’m already overreacting. I mean, these assignments are important- writing is 80% of the grade. And I should be concerned with my grades and with school. However, I’m already doing the best I can, and I don’t think stressing more will help me do any better.

What I could really do with is more time. We aren’t given a lot of time between the time we go over the reading material that precursors the assignment and the actual assignment. And it’s not like we get to turn in a rough draft, either. But we can submit a rewrite. In the case of this position paper, the rewrite will be a third of the final score for that paper.

This is going to be difficult. Especially since very few people have a good idea of what art is and isn’t anyway. I hope people don’t mistake the Humanities for a soft major, there is a lot of critical thinking involved in something like this.