Sunday, June 13, 2010

#5: Organize All Computer Files

Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I've done it. I've officially completed one of my 101 goals.

#5: Organize All Computer Files

And man, did it take forever. I had to combine and clean three different versions of my hard drive that I had backed up on my external hard drive, and then I had to clean and defrag my laptop's hard drive when it came back from the computer doctor. But I am happy to say that all duplicate files have been purged, my beloved laptop Spock is running faster than ever, and I am happily organized.

Now I just have to remember to back up my hard drive periodically...

But on another note in a similar vein, I don't know why I put off my list for so long. I've been tackling a lot of the larger projects, but as of yet I've resisted actually finishing one. I'm not sure why that is...

five plays: Doubt

Last night I went to see my university's production of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt: A Parable. We usually don't include summer shows, but the department put on the production as part of the Christian Scholar's Convention. The show was directed by the head of the department and the cast was made up of Nashville actors (the crew was mostly university students).

The play is absolutely phenomenal on its own right, I can tell you that. It takes place in the 1960s in a Catholic school, where the principal, Sister Aloysius, begins to have doubts about a particular priest and his relationship with a particular male student- the first black student that has ever attended the school. It is an unsettlingly ambiguous play, but very powerful.

This particular performance was astounding. I've read the play, and a couple of fellow students used a scene from the show for class performance, but this was truly amazing. The acting was so believable, so motivated. There was never a second where I was distracted from their performance. And at the end I turned to my friend Erin and said "I know it's a good show when I'm tired at the end."

What makes it even more exciting is that the playwright himself, John Patrick Shanley, came to see the show and did a talkback session. He was very impressed with the production, and I have to say that I feel quite proud to be an alumna right now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

a thousand books: A Girl of the Limberlost

A Girl of the Limberlost A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I discovered my grandmother's copy of A Girl of the Limberlost when I was ten years old. I think I read it four or five times that year, and still come back to it on occasion, as well as the other two books in the trilogy (the prequels Laddie and Freckles).

The girl of the title, Elnora Comstock, is a lovely girl with a thirst for knowledge. However, her mother Kate, bitter over the loss of her husband sixteen years previously (for which she blames Elnora), has denied her any form of familial love. The book progresses from a coming-of-age story to a love story with a satisfying ending.

Is it melodramatic? No shiz. The book was published in 1909, when melodrama was at its peak. Is it worth a read? Most definitely. Unlike thousands of other sappy Perils of Pauline-esque novels of the time period, this one is still in print and still pulls in audiences. The novel ostensibly focuses on the sweet, wholesome heroine Elnora, but the charm of the story is found in the acerbic Kate, the dedicated Phillip, and the tempestuous Edith Carr.

The ecological themes are also still relevant. Many other reviews lambast Porter's hounding on taking down the timber and drilling for oil. I wish they would read a little further. The novel includes a character called the Bird Woman- that is Gene Stratton Porter herself. A devoted naturalist, Porter spent much of her life researching and documenting the moths that Elnora loves, amongst many other forms of wildlife. She also grew up in the Limberlost swamps herself. It wasn't until years later, when Porter returned out of homesickness to her beloved swamp, that she realized the timber and oil, while profitable, had destroyed what she loved. The 13,000 acre Limberlost Swamp in Indiana, while once a real place, is now desecrated.

At the end of the day, I realize this book is not for everyone, but the old-fashioned sweetness of the story with the relevant and poignant references to nature make it an interesting, enjoyable, and time-tested read.

Six books down, 994 to go.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In #1

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here we are. The horrible, ugly, awful truth about my weight.

I've blogged about my weight before, but it's time for me to really get started on losing it.

Basically I'm just going to eat in moderation, exercise more, and log everything. Simple, really. I know better than to crash diet or starve or run marathons until they kill me. It's just a matter of sticking to it.

My biggest help is actually a video game. No, not the Wii Fit that everyone is so enamored with, but a Nintendo DS game called My Weight Loss Coach. It combines a food tracker, and exercise tracker, daily challenges, and a plug-in pedometer to help me lose weight. I've used it before and found it rather helpful, so I'm hoping it'll do it again.

I'll track my efforts here weekly (on Wednesdays, hence the title), and hopefully the numbers will start going down. And without further ado, here are the shameful numbers.

Heaviest Weight: 161 lbs
BMI: 31.4
Bust: 39.5"
Waist: 34"
Hips: 40.5"
Upper Arm: 11.5"
Thigh: 21"

Starting Weight: 148.5 lbs
BMI: 28.9
Bust: 38"
Waist: 32"
Hips: 40"
Upper Arm: 11"
Thigh: 20"

good news, bad news, awesome news

Good news: I've participated in Summer Blackout 2010 so far! I've created two whole outfits without any black in them at all.

Bad news: I haven't taken any pictures of them. Sad day. I'll have to do dramatic reenactments.

Awesome news: I've finally gotten off my lazy butt and have nearly finished a new dress! I'm sewing Simplicity 2883 in a green and white floral print. It's super simple, but very pretty. I don't know if I'll have it done in time to wear to work (since I have to leave in 45 minutes and I haven't even taken a shower yet) but at least I'll have it done soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

sleepy lazy days

I haven't written much. Things have just been sort of meh.

I'm gearing up for a grueling week at work. Usually I work about thirty hours a week, which is tiring enough (and this is coming from the girl who used to work nearly fifty hours in the hot Orlando sun!). But the alterations manager is on vacation, so we're all working extra. I'm working five days in a row, which might possibly kill me. So I've spent most of the day in my pajamas, nibbling on my leftover corned beef sliders from the pub.

I might have to revamp my goals a little bit. I picked so many arduous, long-term sorts of things that while I've made progress, I haven't completed anything. And that makes me feel a little dumb.

Oh, well. Onwards and upwards, I suppose!

a thousand books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was in middle school when the first Harry Potter book was published. My paranoid and overly conservative parents ordered that I shouldn't read them. I started the first one in sixth grade, but put it aside. I picked it up again as an eighth grader, read it in a day, and I've been hooked ever since.

There's really not a point in writing a summary of the plot. Everyone is familiar with the concept- the eleven-year-old hero finds out he's a wizard, goes off to magical boarding school, and finds himself embroiled in a war that he didn't know he was involved in. It's such a simple concept, and yet it has exploded in a fiery burst of awesomeness.

Rowling has created a whole new world- and most importantly, a believable world. Nearly everyone who has read her books has wished at some point or another that they could go to Hogwarts. Her characters seem so vividly real, and her pacing is incredible. I dare anyone to read this book and not get hooked.

(Case in point- my husband picked up Sorcerer's Stone for the first time on a whim just a week ago. By the end of the week he was already on Chamber of Secrets. He's hooked, and I'm excited.)

Five books down, 995 to go.

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a thousand books: Emma

Emma (Bantam Classics) Emma by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My mother got me a copy of Emma when I was probably around eight or nine- a desperate attempt to pull me away from the lure of the Babysitters Club, most likely. I tried reading it several times, but didn't actually complete reading it until high school. I also studied it for my English Novel class in my final year of college.

The titular heroine is a bright yet selfish young lady of privilege who doesn't feel the need to marry, so she busies herself with arranging marriages for others, particularly for her impoverished friend Harriet Smith. Very few of Emma's grand schemes come together, but in the end all is well and everyone is happy.

I have to confess something. I hate Jane Austen's books. They bore me to tears. Even the Keira Knightley version that everyone waxed poetic over couldn't hold my attention. (Second confession: I watch Jane Austen movies for the dresses). Out of all of her books, the only one that I have genuinely enjoyed is Emma, mostly because I see a great deal of myself in her personality. It's well-written and is undoubtedly a classic...but Emma is still hard for me to slog through.

Four books down, 996 to go.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday's 10: Life in Pictures

I haven't done a Thursday's Ten in months- and never on this blog- so I'm going to start back up again.

(I bet Lora will be surprised to see that I'm back...and from a different blog! Um...surprise?)

In any case, without any further ado, here's ten recent pictures.

#1: Me and one of my best friends, Erin, in the dressing room while we got ready for a performance of Beau Jest (I played the mama, she played the daughter). Please note the jet black hair, dyed specifically for this play. (September 2009)

#2: When one is bowling, one must definitely match their outfit to their bowling shoes. (February 2010)

#3: My onstage meet 'n' greet with the Beauty and the Beast cast. (August 2009)

#4: In my Guys and Dolls glory. I played General Cartwright (November 2009)

#5: Tasting cheap sake for the first time. Verdict: it tastes like warm bread dough. Yick. (March of 2009)

#6: Don't be fooled by my bridal getup. I am going to eat your soul. (March 2010)

#7: Bachelorette parties can be embarrassing, but the tiara makes up for it. (February 2010)

#8: Sleepovers are fun. Sleepovers where you drive to Walmart at 2am for coloring books are even more fun. (January 2010)

#9: Christmas caroling requires fierceness. (December 2009)

#10: Dragon Park in downtown Nashville is awesome. (February 2010)

I hope you've enjoyed this Thursday's Ten! I certainly did. I also learned that I wear my red and white polka dot dress way to often.

(Case in point: I'm wearing it right now. Coincidence? Yes. Entirely.)

Summer Blackout 2010

I've been reading Already Pretty for probably about a year now- one of my first tenuous forays into the world of fashion blogging, and when Sally posted the idea for the Summer Blackout, I was intrigued.

Basically the Summer Blackout is a whole week without wearing black pieces- black dress, black pants, black shirts. Black shoes and accessories are allowed, as well as prints with black in them, but it's a challenge to go as far as possible within one's wardrobe without settling for the comfort and safety of black.

I want to take the challenge because I want to push myself. I have a couple of nice black dresses to wear to work, and some black tees that I wear on my days off, and since I work at a bridal shop where wearing black is common, I can already feel myself slipping into that comfortable realm. I'd like to stop that in its tracks.

I also want to wear brighter colors. My usual palette is navy, red, and white, sometimes with yellow. Occasionally I wear pink. But I want to wear some outrageous color, and I feel like this is a good week for that.

So I'm taking the Summer Blackout 2010 Challenge. Are you?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

fifty movies: Gangs of New York

I was in high school when this movie came out...I remember wanting to see it, but too scared because of the R-rating. Well, it was on AMC today, and I realized I needed to watch fifty new movies, so I kept it on while I sorted computer files.

My first impressions? Leo DiCaprio: awesome. Daniel Day-Lewis: awesome. Liam Neeson, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly: awesome. Cameron Diaz: what?

Seriously. I don't understand how Cameron Diaz got this part, or managed to keep it. She's just terrible. She's a rom-com, cheesy action flick, television show remake kind of actress in an A-list actors' film. Her accent is awful and she never seems to connect properly with anyone else around her.

On the other hand, the film is beautifully colored, historically authentic, and tells a compelling story. It's almost like Newsies for grown-ups, just without the song and dance numbers and with a lot more violence.

I might watch it again, maybe if it pops up on TV another day. I really enjoyed, but I'm glad I didn't watch it as a fifteen-year-old. That would have been too much.

a thousand books: The Jedera Adventure

The Jedera AdventureThe Jedera Adventure by Lloyd Alexander

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this around the same time that I read the Illyrian Adventure, the first Vesper Holly book. So...somewhere around age ten or eleven.

Vesper Holly, the lively and clever heroine, embarks on a mission to return a fifteen-years' overdue library book in the dangerous country of Jedera (which is quite reminiscent of Aladdin's Agrabah). Along the way she and her stick-in-the-mud guardian Brinnie encounter blue men, a flying machine, and lots of recalcitrant camels.

It's not my favorite of the Vesper Holly books, but Alexander is a great writer and The Jedera Adventure is fun to read.

Read June 2, 2010, in under an hour

Three books down, 997 to go.