Friday, December 31, 2010

Mushroom tour

In California it is the year of the mushroom, apparently. I have no idea what any of these are so this will be the end of my commentary.













Review of Hotel Dusk (for Nintendo DS)


I beat Hotel Dusk (over Thanksgiving break)! It was a fun interactive novel/adventure game. I recommend it if you liked the Lucasarts Indiana Jones games. It wasn't as wacky as Monkey Island but it did have some sarcastic humor. Most puzzles had logical solutions. What you say in conversation actually affects the game, but not in a sophisticated way (i.e., with the "interrogations," either you win or you lose). I thought the story was really good; the way all the hotel's patrons came together worked out really well. I did get stuck in a few places but I was usually on the right track (and with a little help from the UHS, it was no problem). 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I can do it myself!


I'll admit it, I like feeling independent. I still feel like I am mooching off of Adam sometimes, even though we're married. Sometimes this insecurity manifests itself in odd ways. When I'm sick I am especially deranged about it. "I'll get you some medicine." "NO, don't worry I can get it."Or if I have a stiff neck Adam will recommend hot water and I will roll my eyes and tell him "thanks MOM."

Anyway... that explains the little comic I made. My sister got a tablet for me, and I have some software to make comics with, so it works out pretty well! I still have a long way to go in figuring out how to use all the tools (I am scared to use the eraser). Mostly I wanted to produce something that was legible (yay?).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas Elf Invasion!

Bat-elf
he must have writer's block
reindeer are much faster
please share some hot chocolate
ahh caught in the act
and crying in shame
no, it's not chocolate... disappointing
I made a third elf and he is on his way to another house (Adam says he looks like Santa and I am disappointed)...
three cheers for salt!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Preparing for Christmas!

We have a house and I can have a real Christmas tree!! It's very exciting. I have a few other Christmas decorations, and I am sure they will just kind of accumulate on their own.


For a craft project,  Adam and I made these Tomtens. They are Christmas elves I plan to hide in mischievous places Well, Adam is still working on his. The materials were really cheap! I just hope I can get the wooden bead to stick to the pipe cleaner neck somehow. ;;

Friday, November 26, 2010

Private blog update

I put up a post about our Halloween trip and another with a bunch of random cell phone pictures I took. Come to think of it, I guess I could have put that one here. Ah, oh well. Here's one of the weird yellow mountain problem we had when the grass was dead and partially snow-covered.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Whining about BBC's "great book list"

Aaaahhh. Several people have tagged me in that "great book list" where you can tell everyone about what great literature you've read and feel good or guilty about it, depending. I don't think it's a good list! It doesn't seem to be well-categorized. The chronicles of narnia are on there along with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The books on the facebook note don't even match the original, which was just a list of British people's favorite books in 2003. War and Peace counts as one book as does Harry Potter. This is a terrible way to measure reading passion or general well-read-ness. If that's the goal, make a poem referencing all that stuff and see how many people get it (oh wait, we did that, thank you modernist poets).

I think a more interesting viral note campaign would be to list one underrated book you think other people should read with reasons why. Then you would get to learn about a book you might not have already read and skip the gloating/guilty feeling of knowing what classic books other people have put themselves through. It would look something like this:

Name one under-read book and tell us why we should read it.

Or, if I were going for the whimsical prose style of chain letters, I suppose it would read more like this:

Think of one book that not everyone you know has read. It can be happy or sad or fun, as long as it's a book you like and you think others might like it too. List this book and give 5 reasons why you think more people should read it in the following categories: 
1.  How cool you'll be once you can join the subgroup of people who have read this book.
2. What handsome guys are in it.
3. What books it's similar to, or just mention the last popular book you read, to pique the interest of lesser readers.
4. How quick it is to read (include # of hours it took you to read if under 10, esp. if it was in the same day).
5. How you don't have to know anything about obscure history or cultures to understand the book.


BONUS: Include the word "thrilling."

I will demonstrate with Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata.


Snow Country is a lovely, delicate read by the Japanese master author Kawabata. While Snow Country isn't as bizarre as Murakami's Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, it will make any fan of Japanese literature smile with its small details and wandering pace. The unnamed, mysterious male protagonist enjoys the company of his favorite geisha in the snow-ridden area of the Gunma prefecture in Japan. Even if you don't know a shamisen from a sanshin, you can enjoy the small intimacies of tatami mats and silk worms in just a few hours.

* * *

I really do like Snow Country! I just think book blurbs are hilarious/ridiculous.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Comics!

I got sick and I read a bunch of manga. And I remembered how much I love comics! I am really loving Host Club (I Inter-Library Loaned the next three volumes... will that really work?). I've been thinking of things in comic form and it makes me want to draw comics (I fantasize about drawing a webcomic sometimes... but I think I would just put them in my blog)! So, Host Club is about an over-the-top-rich kid's high school where some pretty boys have a host club (they entertain women for money). The weird thing is that host and hostess clubs actually exist in Japan! People go to them to drink and pay people to flirt with them, or just talk to them. I also started reading Hana-Kimi, which isn't as good. It's so high-school-girl-fantasy... but there are funny parts (we are keeping my sis-in-law's manga while she's in Japan).

I haven't been doing much homework and I'm liking it. I'll have to get back to work at some point, but playing a little Starcraft and watching anime really does help me de-stress (that and sleeping 10 hours!). I'm finally getting to the point in Starcraft where I can focus on things like hotkeying and strategy instead of just getting troops out. I want to get better!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

a little Halloween celebration

Adam made this pumpkin, which says "Halloween" in katakana (so it reads like "haroeen"). He and his mentee both carved pumpkins and I made some popcorn (for some reason my mom always made popcorn when we carved pumpkins). I melted down some butter and sugar in hopes to make caramel popcorn, but I don't think I got it hot enough and it just got kind of hard. It was still good, just not the kind for popcorn balls (which someday, I will make). We also tried roasting pumpkin seeds, but I'm not a huge fan of them and we just put salt on them.

Speaking of Japanese, I have been studying that language. It is very different from any other language I've studied. The parts I expect to be hard are easy and vice versa (i.e., verbs have a lot of forms but don't really conjugate; nouns have no plurals or other forms; but particles and word order and kind of hard!).

Sometimes freshmen are freshmen

Okay. I teach a first-year writing class, right? My students get to be in a computer classroom 2 days a week out of 3. To teach them MLA format, I decided we could have a competition. They'd divide into groups , I'd give them copies of an article or book with the information they needed, and then each team would write their citation in a google doc which I would project on the screen so everyone could see how they were doing. The first group to get everything perfect would get three points and 2nd and 3rd place would get one point (maybe I should have made 2nd place 2 points, oh well).

The problem with my plan is that I gave everyone the link to access the google doc, and they all appeared as anonymous users. At first I threatened to take away points for sabotage, but then we discovered that I couldn't do that... guess what happened. Yes, someone in the class, which is mostly boys, decided to sabotage other groups by decapitalizing letters, making things into italics, or adding random periods. It seems like a more productive way to cheat would be to copy and paste the winner's citation, but I don't think anyone tried that (too obvious?). Anyway, I was disappointed by my class's lack of maturity. My pleas of "you're too old for this" were ignored. As a solution, we had only one person per group allowed on the document, which worked--it was too hard to both type the citation and sabotage other groups. Okay, whining over.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New backpack and shoes

Okay, okay. I know you were worried about how the new backpack thing would go. I settled on the Jester model from the North Face (it was on sale at the REI outlet for like $30, so yeah). It's this weird orange plaid pattern that matches almost nothing I own. I guess I am okay with that. One thing that drives me crazy is that there are only two pockets - one main one and one semi-large front pocket. I just wish I had another pocket sometimes. That said, the limited number of pockets does cut down on the bulk of the backpack. Even when the backpack is chalk full it appears fairly slender. This is accomplished through forcing the user to use more vertical space. I like that the lining is this rubberish probably waterproof stuff that hasn't started flaking off yet. One great design improvement is with the elastic water-bottle holder mesh things on the sides. There's a little pull tab so you can extend the elastic out without getting your fingers caught in it. And the slot is big enough for my wide-mouthed water bottle (wide-mouthed to accommodate convenient cleaning).

Another product I have been excited about is my new Rocket Dog tennis shoes (no I did not pay $45 for them, I got them on sale too). They're a red and black plaid, and I love that the shape is symmetrical but the colors aren't. The sole, toe, and heel are thick rubber, so I'm hoping they'll be somewhat waterproof (I should waterproof the canvas part). They only breathe a little, so they're pretty warm. The only thing I'm worried about is that they have the same problem as my converses where they chafe my heel spurs a little so I have to wear thicker socks (was that tmi?). Their arch support isn't super but they don't hurt.

Okay, while we're talking about shoes, a month back I got a pair of Sanuk sidewalk surfers, mostly because I checked the reviews on them and people were like "these are amazing." The company claims that they sell shoes that are actually sandals, but don't believe them. Their shoes are actually socially acceptable slippers. I'm not sure how people wear these barefoot, but with some ankle socks they are incredibly comfortable. They're a very light shoe and were perfect for that long end of summer we had. They're rubber-soled too, so you can step in a shallow puddle and not get soaked. I don't really like the frayed look, and I still kind of associate the brand with rich beach bums, but I can't deny that the shoes are incredibly comfortable (despite having no support... I'm beginning to suspect that cheap shoes which make my feet hurt simply support in the wrong places). Anyway, SHOES.

Oh, P.S. It looks like mormon.org finally got around to posting my profile. I used some primary-lesson-y language, but oh well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

RIP Bookpacker Plus


Earlier this week, the elderly zipper on my backpack finally gave out. I tried to fix it, hoping that I could still enjoy the companionship of the backpack that had been with me since high school and all through college, but my efforts were in vain. I was very sad to give up on my backpack. It was one of the few things I took with me my first year of college and it accompanied me to all of my classes, my meetings with professors, my inkblot testing, and my flute practicing. In high school it withstood my abuse (textbooks, lunch, and a flute) and came with me on the bus every day, offering its padded back as a pillow when I came home late from pep band. This backpack accompanied me to flute camp and trips to Utah and then my trips back to California. It even came on the honeymoon. As I give up on this backpack, I feel as if I am leaving behind my adolescence and all the wannabe independence it stood for.  

I called up REI in Salt Lake, which has a repair shop. They said they could repair the zipper at a small cost. I considered this, but another zipper is coming undone and I think it is time to just get another backpack and consign this one to 72-hour-kitdom. REI does not really make backpacks for bookpacking anymore. This too was disappointing. I felt like REI had betrayed me. I understand that they are an outdoor store and that they want to focus on that, but there was nothing wrong with this backpack design. Why did they stop making it? Can any other backpack really compare? After much research, I ordered The North Face Jester backpack, but I don't think it will be the same. It won't be green. It won't have the chewed-up strapling where my inexpert vacuuming manifested itself. It won't have the keyring where my space camp keychain lost itself. Maybe I really should just have REI repair it. :-(

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bugs bugs bugs

Our backyard is overrun with weeds and also bugs. I've been weeding in the mornings and just trying to ignore the bugs. They aren't really jumping around at 9am anyway. I know why we have a lot of weeds but I'm not sure why we have a lot of bugs, which I noticed in an afternoon observation session. My theories are 1) that our backyard is relatively undisturbed (we haven't been mowing it regularly and it's not like we have kids who play back there all the time), 2) that we live on the outskirts of town so there is more wildlife, and 3) we have delicious things in our backyard. Regarding 3): there are plenty of slugs and pill bugs in the ground and crane flies in the air. I think this explains all the spiders. There are spiders among the thicker foliage and one that has a huge web next to the fence. I was looking at the ground and saw at least four or five baby spiders (or maybe the full-grown is that small?). Spiders really creep me out but I keep telling myself that they are eating things that are hard to get rid of. Also today I totally saw a PRAYING MANTIS. Maybe it will eat the baby spiders I saw. Excluded in this small food chain are the white butterflies that flutter over occasionally. Oh, and it's not a bug but a special-op sunflower popped up! It was hiding behind the tree.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Profile on Mormon.org

I'm a Mormon.
In case you weren't aware! I decided to take some time today to make a profile on Mormon.org. It requires a lot of writing! If you're already a Mormon you can get to know me a little better by reading the things I wrote. I'm glad I did it because it helped me write about my faith with little prompts and things. I recommend making a profile on mormon.org as an appropriate Sunday activity (if you're Mormon. If you're not you can read about other Mormons)! I think most of my content is still pending approval, but should be up in a day or so.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coke vs. Pepsi

My husband conducted an experiment to see if our friends could tell the difference between non-caffinated Coke and Pepsi. I feel obligated to publish the results before I throw them away. We had 9 participants, 4 male and 5 female, with ages ranging from 19 to 31. Each participant received a chance to taste Coke and Pepsi knowing what it was beforehand so they could familiarize themselves with the drinks. Each participant was given three unlabeled samples of one of six permutations of drink combinations (Coke Pepsi Pepsi, pcc, pcp, cpc, ppc, or ccp), determined by dice roll. Of the nine participants 4 (44%) correctly identified which one "didn't belong;" only two participants correctly identified the odd sample out as what it actually was. From the results it would appear that there is a significant but small difference between the two drinks, even when non-caffinated (do you really want me to do a t-test on 44%? Chance alone would be 33%). Further study would include more participants.

Monday, August 16, 2010

San Diego post on other blog

I posted on the picture blog about San Diego! I also talked about how cool I think the video game The World Ends With You is.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cuttlefish at seaworld

Here are some cuttlefish! You can see them change color.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Boogie Boarding

I wanted to post about our trip to San Diego and have photos of the beach and everything, but I'm too lazy to get the photos off of Adam's camera at the moment. So I will have to describe to you the joy that is boogie boarding.

Boogie boarding, as I understand it, is kind of like surfing, only you can do it closer to shore so you don't have to be an expert swimmer to enjoy it. You use a boogie board and lay on it stomach-down. This decreases the devastation of wipe-outs. I'm not an advanced boogie boarder - I still haven't mastered the going-across-a-wave-sidewise move. But I can catch waves and ride them all the way to shore, and it feels amazing (I did it once before in Hawaii). It's a low-friction environment, so it feels kind of like sliding, only much cooler. Better than ice skating or roller blading. It's a little like sliding down a concrete hill belly-down on a piece of cardboard, but less rough. It's not like driving a car at a fast speed... it's more like hydroplaning in a car without the car. Okay, I'm not making sense anymore. But it is SO AWESOME that I can finally understand why some people have a life-altering obsession with surfing. I went boogie boarding on another day at a different time when the surf was a little rougher, and this experience alone made me more curious about tides and types of waves than hours of wavestaring. It made me want to live next to the beach and buy this book on surfing. I've never thought of myself as someone who likes going to the beach all the time until now. Even after a week of beach I feel like I could enjoy some more time at the beach. I love that feeling in bed where it feels like waves are still washing over me (kind of like when you go on roller coasters all day and then you feel like you're going on a roller coaster before you fall asleep, only less scary).

The main downside to beach living is skin damage, I think. I have to remind myself of this because I got a terrible sunburn on my back (I dried off the sunscreen?). SUCH LOVELY LEISURE COMES AT A PRICE. Also there were tons of these people of indeterminate age with really tan and wrinkly skin (I described it as "tobacco-tan," although I don't think that's original). Well, now you know one of my secret loves in life. Along with cuttlefish.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New blog up

Okay! I have made a new private blog, which is here. Right now it has a bunch of wedding photos up. I've invited some immediate family members whose e-mail addresses I know. I'm not sure, but do you have to have a gmail account to read a private blog? If so, just tell me your gmail address and I can add it to the permissions list. If I know who you are I will grant reading permission. If I don't know who you are I might ask you about that. My current plan is to still post some things to this blog and then link from this blog when I make a new post on the private/family blog. That way you can still subscribe to this RSS feed and get updates of a sort.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

in which I get excited about video games

Have any of you read the manga Fruits Basket? In one of the first few volumes the manga-ka (author) mentions how she gets excited about beating Final Fantasy bosses. Recently I have had my adrenaline pumping when fighting enemies in the game Okami. It is a really cute game, which I will prove by providing a screenshot:
You play this holy dog who is the form of the sun goddess Amaterasu. To use your powers you have to "draw" on screen (we have it for Wii (thanks sis!), so it's like drawing with your wrist). You can use these in battle, and you attack by shaking the Wii remote. So there is some extra-finger exercise involved. In one part there are a bunch of bandits you can fight and you have to cross them off the list with the paintbrush. After a battle it's so hard to draw a straight line on screen! I get so excited about killing bad guys! It's like... I have to win! I especially like how plants and stuff grow after you beat bosses. I wish weeding my yard were this easy!

Adam and I are thinking of making a private blog so we can post pictures of ourselves without feeling exposed to the internet. The only thing I don't like about private blogs is that you have to remember to go and check them since they don't work with RSS feeds yet. Would anyone read a private blog (it would be easy to get permission)? It would PROBABLY have more pictures but it also might be more "and THEN, we went to Japantown." If you have an opinion, now is the time to let me know!

Friday, July 09, 2010

PAJAMAS

My grandma gave me some silky polyester pajamas. They're the adorable kind with separate drawstring pants and a button-up top with lapel-like things. Kind of like these only ten times cuter and for women (and not that expensive). The reason I write about them is that I completely underestimated how much I would enjoy them. Tossing and turning  under the covers is so easy in them; my sheets don't get weirdly caught on my clothes anymore. And I feel so cute! Adam is jealous. :-)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ohs yes!

I love Ohs (Oh!s?). We have a family tradition where for your birthday, you get to have WHATEVER cereal you want. I think I chose Ohs at least one year for my birthday cereal. I was somewhat sad when I came out to college and I couldn't find the cereal at Smith's (I had to make do with Marshmallow Mateys). Then yesterday I was at Fresh Market and saw Ohs! I bought two boxes! I went to bed excited about how I would get to eat Ohs in the morning. I just had two more bowls for lunch. This cereal makes me so happy.

I don't know why it tastes so good. In fact it looks like they've changed the cereal a little since I ate it last. The Ohs themselves are more tube-shaped than oh-shaped like they used to be. One of the nice things about Ohs is that as they sit in your cereal, they only get more pleasant to eat (they are very crunchy and kind of hurt your mouth without a little soaking). But the wait is worth it. Honey and oats, who knew. The only other thing they should change is to put more cereal in each box (these boxes are tiny! It's like 6-8 bowls of cereal in each, which feels very small when you always eat two bowls).

Monday, June 07, 2010

my current favorites

At my bridal shower I realized that some of the things I've said are my favorites are no longer my favorites. For example, Dostoevsky is no longer my favorite author. I don't really think Nabokov is either, but he's still pretty cool. Right now I think Murakami and David Foster Wallace are my favorite authors. And I don't think classical music is my favorite type of music anymore. I still like Shostakovich and Prokofiev, but I get more excited about My Brightest Diamond or Radiohead. Lately I've been getting into soundtracks too, but I don't know if I have ONE favorite soundtrack.

The concept of favorites is kind of weird. It assumes that we like whole things a certain amount. I feel more that I like or don't like different parts of things. Or that I think some music is really perfect for certain functions. For instance, the Chanticleer album I just bought would be good for reading or making breakfast on a Sunday morning. Shostakovich is fun to just sit and listen to, and the Amelie soundtrack is perfect for driving.

Sometimes I think that people are kind of like this too. A roommate is the most convenient (favorite?) person to complain to at night before bed. My parents are good at reassuring me about things weekly. My friends are good for making jokes and playing games with. I guess my fiancĂ© is good for just about anything. :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Coveting the bridal way

Why is registering for items for my wedding so hard? I like finding things I want, but I like to take my time at it. I like to read all the reviews and look at multiple items and then say "YES, this particular teapot is the one I really want." This takes hours and hours to do for more than about 20 things. I can't help it! I'm picky! I don't want really deep soup bowls that will take up all the dishwasher space, but I don't want really shallow ones either. Where are the beautiful stoneware bowls of my youth that are perfectly shaped to fit in the bowl part of the dishwasher?

Oh, we're registered at Bed Bath & Beyond and at Amazon, in case you were wondering (I have my own Amazon wishlist and a separate list of things I want to keep track of, so don't get confused!). I've been trying to register for Amazon items that are under $20. Like, for example, this stress-relieving Edamame bean. Only $4.50! I think the funniest thing is the "other people who bought this also bought" for this item: the postsecret book, Maus II, and Dragon Quest IV. So... people who buy it are internet-savvy comic-reading gamers. I may or may not fit this description ;;. Oh, and have you heard of Mameshiba? The little bean that comes out is a Mameshiba... thing. Bean. Check out the youtube video. My roommate L. said it was "like despair.com only cuter."

I tried to think of items that might not be COMPLETELY boring. For example, a pilates ball! Play video games and strengthen your back! Oh, and I found this cute vintage wall clock that should look good in the kitchen somewhere. And a butter dish! Some day I will have my very own butter dish, and I won't have to either keep it in the fridge or precariously in its wax wrapping on my pantry shelf. I tried looking for some items on etsy, but it's either too hard to find things that I want, or too easy to get sidetracked (check out this locket or this owl clock necklace. Why do I want them so bad?). Anyway, I can't believe I spent the whole afternoon on this.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Authorial insertion in text-based adventures?

Okay cats and kittens, if you can, I would like a little help from you. I'm hoping to write a paper on authorial insertion for my American Autobiography class (i.e., author-as-character thing). To do this, I need some material. In fiction it's fairly common - Nabokov's Bend Sinister and Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions use it. I suspect that many text-based adventure games do this. So far I've only been able to find John's Fire Witch (a review on the xyzzy page comments on it). And I guess that would be enough to work with, but I would like to know if I'm making some glaring omission. "Honorarium" and Jason Rohrer's "Passage" and "Gravitation" feature the author as the main character (or at least an autobiographical character), but they don't have words, which makes it a little more difficult to justify writing about in an English class.

edit: apparently TVtropes has a page for this

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Non-wedding-related goals for this summer:

 I am taking one class and planning my wedding, but I want to do other things too. Specifically:

1. Start learning Japanese. I've checked out some books from the library, including one of those "complete course"s with audio CD. It helps that Adam likes teaching me. I might not be literate for a while, but I can at least say "I'm sorry, I don't speak Japanese." (I'm still working on "Where is the nearest bus stop?" and "Where is my suitcase?")


2. Read fiction that is not for a class. I started on this one by reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I'm almost done with Oblivion, and then I have some books my professor lent me (which are for fun I promise). I'm also trying to read more "serious" graphic novels so I can have something to say when I read manga. These include The Sandman series and random new graphic novels that appear in the BYU library. Currently Epileptic is one of these.

3. Start research for thesis. This should include playing text-based adventure games... but honestly, they're not my favorite type of game. Usually they are so hard! I think I just have to make myself get used to them. I've also ordered some books that have to do with ergodic literature (interactive text), hypertext, narrative in computer games, and other related subjects, which hopefully will be interesting even not in conjunction with my thesis. I'm excited for the book Twisty Little Passages.  I've also decided that The Eleventh Hour is definitely ergodic literature and as such I should probably spend some time studying it. That and the annotated Alice in Wonderland.

4. Play more video games. Related to (3), I do think that playing video games will help inspire my thesis ideas. I'm still not sure what exactly I can say about how text-based adventure games are cool. Do they use fantasy in a way different from literature? How are the puzzles related to the meaning of the game, if there is any connection? So, for example, Chrono Trigger has some puzzles that do not seem very meaningful. In the prehistoric era you have to refrain from fighting the beetles right away so they can dig a hole in the ground for you, and choosing which hole to go down is pretty much random until you get an idea of what the dungeon is like. But the cooler puzzles are the ones that require time-travel. The one with the castle ghost and Frog is especially interesting. So, you can visit the castle in the present and try to fight the ghost there, but you can't beat him. Instead, you have to go back in time and give some tools to this carpenter (okay, that part was lame) and kill all the monsters there in the past. Well... now that I'm writing it that doesn't really make sense either. Can you think of examples of cool puzzles in video games that contributed to the meaning of the game?

5. Keep up on Latin and Russian (and Spanish?)? This is a more secondary goal that I'm always thinking about and feel badly about when I realize how much I've forgotten. I was thinking of buying Wheelock's Latin (I have Freundlich, which has a gorgeous cover design, so maybe I don't need Wheelock), but instead I found this Latin reader called Lingua Latina and I am SO EXCITED for it to come in the mail. It is entirely in Latin (except for an word index in the back) and tries to teach Latin in a more fluid, organic way, (with lots of pictures) rather than the rote memorization and decoding that I learned in high school (yes, we worked on The Aenied, but I never ever thought in Latin; all the time I was translating it into English in my head). I have one of those silly Latin phrasebooks somewhere I bought on sale at the bookstore, which was cool, but I hope this will be EVEN COOLER.

As for Russian... I have plenty of materials. One time I was at DI and found like three Russian books! I have some children's books in Russian along with a collection of stories, but they're really hard to read! I also have a collection of Russian animated cartoons (which have no subtitles and are also hard to understand). I have a "First 1,000 words" book and that nice book of Russian roots (I love word roots, which probably explains my excitement about Latin). I have some Pimsleur mp3s, and while I appreciate their pedagogical soundness, they are incredibly boring to listen to. I also have a dictionary for foreigners. It defines the word in Russian and also has one-word definitions in English, French, Spanish, and... probably German. The downside is that it's not very fun to read. One of my very favorite books to read has been the Russian Graded Readers I-V. It is so cool! It defines each word the first time it appears, and then gradually introduces more words and tenses. The first one is a story from A Hero of Our Time dumbed-down into all present tense. They add in past tenses as you go on along with more vocabulary. All of the selections are from easily read famous Russian authors with the vocabulary simplified so you're not always looking words up (which to me is one of the most boring parts of reading things in a different language). The tragic thing about this reader is that it is out of print. (One of my Russian profs sent us the PDF files of the first two parts, which I would say is totally fair use. I have my own copy of the reader which I miraculously found at DI. I had another copy too, and I sold it to a classmate.) On the subject of "things I am passionate about" I think we can add "language acquisition tools that take advantage of cognitive science."

Anyway, if you're still there, I still want to know your opinions on meaningful video game puzzles and any amazing foreign language materials you've encountered.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Limited possibilites

When I was a child I didn't think too hard about how furniture and fabric come about. I assumed that everything was easily instantly customizable. I don't know why I thought this - I had been to a fabric store myself, and I knew there weren't infinite varieties. Maybe the sheer variety of types of furniture and blankets I'd seen convinced me that a high variation was possible.

Now that I'm actually kind of shopping for things like furniture and bedspreads, it occurs to me how limited I am in my choices. While the internet adds a lot of options, it also adds a lot of shipping and a lot of "maybe the photo just looks good." Maybe custom designs are possible, but prohibitively expensive. It feels weird to invest time and energy into buying things that reflect my personality that others will buy. I guess that's the price of mass production, and maybe that's why some people like quilting (so they really can make their own designs).

Friday, April 02, 2010

in which I whine again

"When's the big day?" is a phrase many conversation partners have decided to use to replace the question "What is your wedding date?" Does it feel so weird to say that I'm getting married? Is it a way to make a perfectly good question more conversational? Maybe it's hard to make appropriate jokes about me getting married, so my interlocutors must resort to colloquialisms to keep a serious subject light-hearted. Anyway, I think it's kind of weird that probably 80% of the people I talk to about myself ask when I'm getting married in those exact words.

Something mostly unrelated that has been bothering me: I still don't really have an occupation. I don't want to teach freshman English for the rest of my life. I wonder if I could become a bibliotherapist ("oh, well, if you have insomnia, you should try reading Proust, it puts forty percent of readers to sleep within ten pages"). Sometimes my classes just feel like book clubs glorified with some background reading and justified with a degree. It's fine for a hobby (for me). I still don't really understand how literary criticism makes the world a better place (Scottish independence notwithstanding). Maybe a more entertaining place. Also - this is possibly bad of me, but it's such a relief to have in the future a husband who will support me in my entertaining indecision.

Friday, March 26, 2010

quite redux

I didn't give you the whole story about "quite." Quite can mean boy "completely" and "somewhat" according to the OED (American Heritage agrees on "completely" and adds "actually" and "rather").  So in both British and American English, the word can mean opposing things (it reminds me of the Latin "altus," which means both high and deep). I'll go into this in altus detail for the sake of my "you should all know the bottom of this" feeling.

The Merriam-Webster Usage Dictionary makes this note:
By all accounts the subtractive sense is the prevalent one in 20th-century English, but in many particular instances it is hard to be certain if the subtractive sense rather than the intensive sense was intended [...] You would think that the coexistence of these two uses would lead to problems of ambiguity and confusion, but in practice this seems not often to be the case. For although the lexicographer must try to determine the exact meaning of each occurrence of a word, the reader is under no such constraint. The distinction between the two senses is not always crucial to a general understanding of the sentence; when it is, the reader has the larger context for help. And the writer can always use a negative with quite when he or she wants to emphasize a falling just short.
 My future mother-in-law pointed this variance of meaning to me, and her personal usage note is as follows:
When I use "quite" with words which could not normally be accompanied by "very", eg. remarkable, dead, awful, finished, pathetic, stunning, all right, amazing,  -  quite would tend to take the first meaning, one of emphasis. But the rule doesn't always work - "quite good" virtually always means somewhat good, unless expressed in a surprised tone of voice, in which case it means "better than expected" (and one's standards did not start off particularly high). "Quite nice" is dismissal; "quite delightful" is praise.
Could it be that "quite" accompanied by a strong term of praise or disapprobation usually gives emphasis, but accompanied by a weaker term, (nice, good, pretty, untidy, plain) it modifies the term to be weaker still?

This one is going to take a quite a little thought. Quite a little means "a lot" Quite a lot means  "A great deal." One thing I am sure of. Used on its own, "Quite" indicates agreement, but not necessarily friendly agreement. It's all in the tone of voice.
Indeed, tone of voice is important for all sorts of communication (sarcasm, flirtation, anger, etc.), which still makes a written "quite" difficult to interpret. It's one of those ambiguities we just have to live with unless the author is alive to question.

Monday, March 22, 2010

quite

This is quite somewhat embarrassing, but whenever I'm around people with English (or South African) accents, I suddenly use words that strike me as more British. Words like "terribly," "washroom," "rubbish," "nice," and "quite." I don't know why I do this, probably because I'm not a prestige speaker; instead of using a consistent set of phrases and syntax, I imitate the language patterns the people I'm with, or at least, my perception of their language patterns. I say "What!" more around Hobbes and "Good Heavens!" around my roommate, simply because they seem to use those exclamations more.

There is a problem with this, since sometimes I get it wrong. "Quite," for instance, in American English, is a formal way of saying "very," but in British English it means "somewhat" or "kind of." So "that's quite nice" can mean "that sounds fantastic" or "that's kinda alright, I guess." It makes me want to go back and read Austen or Shakespeare with this new knowledge to see if people were actually being insulting when I thought they were being nicely polite. It also makes me annoyed that in the situations I'm most likely to use "quite," I'm most likely to use it in a semantically ambiguous way (or the "wrong" way from the point of view of the hearer).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Part 3: Dating

After exchanging snarky comments while watching international cinema, Adam and I went on another date. We made sausage chowder and played Scrabble together. One night after playing raquetball, I still wanted to spend time with him and he took me to his step-grandmother's Christmas party and I met his dad and sister. We held hands on the way back and I remarked on how cute his accent is. At the end of the semester, he was patient with me while I stressed out about all my final papers. He tried to teach me how to program and I let him read my Calvin and Hobbes paper. I wrote things in my journal like "he is fun to talk with," "I think he's cute," and "he is optimistic and pragmatic."

I went home for almost two weeks for Christmas. I got to see all my family and some friends. It was wonderful. I called Adam to talk to him and we had conversations that lasted more than thirty minutes, which is pretty good considering how much I dislike talking on the phone. I think I asked him if he wanted to keep dating, and he thought it was a good idea. At our family New Year's party my mom told a friend of hers "I think this one's a keeper." I felt worried. Now if things didn't work both me and my parents would be disappointed. On the way to the airport my dad asked if I thought I'd marry him. "I've thought that about guys in the past, who I didn't marry," I reminded him.

In January we kept going out (we ate out a lot), but I wasn't sure if Adam wanted to keep dating me, which made me feel sad when I thought about it. Maybe it was then he was deciding if he liked me enough to marry me. I realized that I wanted to do all I could to help us continue. It's hard to pinpoint when, but we fell in love, probably due to a combination of flirting and persistence. It's very personal to me and I was reluctant to write about it, but I think you have the general feel here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Part 4: The Engagement

At the end of January, we found we were "in favor" of marriage. I felt so excited and at the same time a little anxious. Was I sure I was sure about this? But I didn't have any complaints about Acius - it was more like the opposite (I had plenty of compliments for him). He and his family are funny in entirely new ways when compared to me and my family (not to say that I'm dull, just that novelty has certain perks, especially w/r/t humor). Acius is really everything I wanted in a man. After a few more weeks I felt really good about marriage. I told Acius I was sure about it and he just said he'd known for a while that he was sure about it. I wanted to tell everyone! Acius said he was more traditional and wanted to wait until he had a ring for me. This almost made telling my parents about my "secret engagement" more fun. I had the thrill of a little guilt in keeping a secret, relief in finding someone willing to put up with me forever, and excitement about starting a new lifestyle (which will include a real shower and our own kitchen!).

Acius is a fan of Japanese food, language, entertainment, and culture. To be honest I've always thought that Japan is pretty cool (although since it's popular right now it's harder for me to admit that). I had two Japanese pen-pals growing up, I spent a lot of time researching Japanese customs online over long summer internet surfings, I made origami cranes obsessively, I watched what anime I could access, and we hosted a few Japanese students when I was young. Acius and I were watching a Japanese drama with his friends and in the show they celebrated Valentine's Day and later White Day. Basically, in Japan, women give men chocolates (or ties) on Valentine's Day, and then a month later, men return the favor with chocolates or cookies. White day is kind of interesting because it was invented by confectionery companies (like our Valentine's Day). So I feel completely justified in adopting a custom that isn't steeped in religious significance. And I think it's more fun to stretch it out - what else is there in March? St. Patrick's Day?

So, Acius was sick on Valentine's Day, which was on a Sunday. I had made these lovely dark chocolate truffles, and I had a treasure hunt that went with it (my mom always made us treasure hunts for Valentine's day; I'm not sure how that started). Alas, it was not to be quite as I planned. I dropped the treasure hunt and  hitched a ride with Adam's parents who were bringing dinner to the temporarily-invalid. It turns out that even a sick Acius is capable of appreciating good chocolate.

With some various hints, I knew Acius was planning his retaliation on White Day (a month later), but I wasn't sure how. He picked me early to have dinner at his parents' house, still in his shirt and tie, and he gave me a box of chocolates. We went to Kiwanis park and walked around (I left the chocolates in the car). After some stalling, Acius suggested going back to the car. I read a nice letter he gave me and he said he wanted to tell me about the chocolates he bought me. I noticed that it had the outer wrapping of See's candies, but not the side seals. I thought that it might be a custom collection and they wrapped it differently. Anyway, I opened them up and there was a ring in the middle. Acius (it's so weird to use his internet moniker) started to explain the chocolates: "These are chocolate truffles, these are the ginger chocolate ones, these ones on the side are different fruit flavors, and this is the will-you-marry-me one..."
"Of course I will!"
Afterwards we told his family and everyone was smiley and happy for us. It seems like everyone has a little advice for how to plan a wedding, but luckily no one so far has weird demands (well, except Acius's sister, who said we should have veggie sushi, but I think we were kidding). I'm sure Acius could tell a long story about how the ring almost didn't arrive in time, and how he had to wrap the chocolates himself - but I'll leave that to him. ;-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Part 2: Blogs are part of my network

I have been blogging since high school. This is my third blog; the second is quite easy to find if you know me at all, and the first no longer exists online. When I first started blogging, I didn't know anyone else who blogged. My blog entries were mostly a transcription of the day's events. Here's a sample entry from back then:
:P  - 8/9/2001
Had a flute lesson, walked around while Joshua was having his swimming lesson. Read the first chapter of The Elfstones of Shanarra. Prtetty boring day so far... Also earned $$ in Harvest Moon II...
I read strangers' blogs and commented on them, and then they'd feel some sort of social obligation to comment back on mine. This was the entirety of my commenters - internet friends. With my second blog I found that some of my high school friends also had blogs, and we "subscribed" to each other's blogs. I still read blogs of strangers on the internet I had a common interest with, but I became fascinated by, well, internet drama and the insight a little research could give me to the lives of others - others I knew IRL (in real life). Comments became a kind of commodity of how popular my blog was. Now I feel like the dynamic of comments has shifted, at least in my blog-o-sphere. My friends read my blog to keep up on my life, and they only comment if they have something to say, and discussions in comment sections are rare. Discussions are much easier in person or on gchat or even on Facebook (either that or I don't discuss controversial issues).

Strangers do comment occasionally. One significant comment of this sort happened in September. This Acius fellow was somewhat unknown to me, but with our mutual acquaintance and Google's recommendation, he couldn't be terribly weird. I shelved researching this connection until I recovered from my summer fling (recall). When I felt like dating again, I reviewed my possible leads. Acius had a non-annoying, informative blog. With Hobbes's help, I found out that he was single and introduced myself on Facebook (I didn't see how he could find me non-creepily, but women on the internet can get away with more). For our first date (actually I called it "hanging out" but that was just to make it sound less scary) in November we saw a movie at International Cinema and afterwards Acius said "I guess I can give you a ride home." And thus started our knowledge of each other IRL.

Part 1: An Appropriate Background

Many things that later become important to me kind of lurk around in my life. I think I met Hobbes at a Russian 101 review before we were Board writers. He wore a leather jacket and headed up the Soviet Union, a Russian language study group (I kept meaning to go, but never attended). One summer ('07) at a Board party I saw him again. He gave me and Tangerine a ride to the grocery store so we could get buns for the hamburgers. Slightly crazy yet awesome: it's what I expect from other writers.

Hobbes likes to go places and do things to answer his questions. As the Red Team he'd get some writers together on a Saturday and we'd all answer overhours questions together. We went to the courthouse to try to talk to a policeman about some law. We surveyed the grass by the greenhouse and decided which kind was the best to lie on. One day the Red Team was just me and Hobbes and his brother Acius (also back in the summer of 2007). We investigated a huge pile of gravel on 2300 N and Canyon or University. "Yes, it looks like a pile of gravel" was the result of our investigation.  

Tangerine and Hobbes answered a lot of questions together (as team HaT), and I suspect that's how they started dating. Tangerine is a good friend of mine and she told me about how she adored Hobbes's family. She had Sunday dinner with them even when Hobbes was in Russia. She encouraged me to meet his family, but I couldn't think of a non-awkward way to do this ("Hi, my friend thinks we could be friends?"). So that is how I started to meet them.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

in which I write about hating writing

Something I don't understand about myself right now is why I don't want to write anything. I dread writing short papers or stories. I can write well, and I've enjoyed it in the past, so what the heck?

My recent theory is that since I've been reading so much FANTASTIC writing, I realize that mine is vastly inferior and have developed an inferiority complex. I don't think this is quite the case. I'm reading about the same amount or less literature now as I did in the past. However, as a writing teacher and a student of English, I do feel much more self-conscious about my writing. Instead of just writing my ideas down, I'll often worry about how to write it. Instead of letting my natural voice take over, I find myself trying to guess what my professor or what other people will want to read. And I really hate that.

I started working on a personal essay (about last year's job) for the creative writing workshop I so stupidly decided to take. I find that the weightier material is actually more difficult to write about (I know other people have said this, but I didn't believe them). I found myself concentrating on the details of events rather than how I felt. It's hard to talk both about my feelings and explain the situations that led to those feelings. I'm not even sure if it's therapeutic to re-visit those feelings. I don't know what the point of writing about hard things is.

Another thing I don't like about my creative writing workshop is that because of my stupid and sudden dislike of writing I never have anything prepared for everyone to read, and I end up submitting something half-baked and now everyone knows how I can't write. And I'm going to have to hear them tell me all the problems I felt so painfully aware of. Instead of addressing my problem of difficulty of expression, we'll be discussing the problems of the things I wrote and what I unintentionally expressed.

I think part of the difficulty in writing about supervising parents was that I felt frustrated about so many things. I felt frustrated that the majority of the time my notes would not make a difference in court decisions. I felt frustrated that courts ordered stupid things. Like that a teenager had to visit with her dad every Monday night when she rather would have been with her friends. Even I didn't spend that much one-on-one time with my parents as a teenager. I felt frustrated that good parents didn't have much time with their children and that bad parents had oodles of time. I felt frustrated that money had to determine how often some parents could visit their children. I felt frustrated that I couldn't stop parents from continually emotionally abusing their children. I felt frustrated that some parents, despite their best intentions, continued to emotionally abuse their children. I felt frustrated that I had to choose between being polite and liked or being assertive and hated and following the rules. I hated how I became less sensitive to the suffering of children.

But I think focusing on all those things I didn't like isn't the whole picture. I became more appreciative of my own parents, and I learned that I want to marry someone who will be a good father (not just a good husband, if that makes sense). And I think in some ways I'm more sensitive to child cruelty. I've decided that I don't want to be sarcastic about my children until they'll understand it, because I know that that's something I could very easily slip into. I still don't know what I think about parental rights. I find myself varying between too extremes ("screw biology!" and "let parents do whatever they want!"), which probably indicates that some medium value is how I really feel. And now you have all the reflection that I should have included in my personal essay, because I was too worried about how it would come out and how all those MFA students would read it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"experimental" English 150 course?

Among the many exciting things in my life right now, I am excited about my experimental section of English 150. If they let me, I'll teach a class centered around pop culture - its rhetoric, and by extension, our view of it. Instead of doing a weird op-ed on something annoying on campus, students will get to reflect on their experience with a piece of art in their lives (including a Disney movie, if they so wish). Basically I just changed the course content to be stuff in popular culture, but I think this will encourage students to write (or make them hate their favorite TV show, either one). I only wish I had found a textbook of some sort that would guide us... but I know what we want to do, and the current text isn't bad. I'm still hoping to write a text-based adventure game to use in ANY English 150 course, and we'll see if I can get any outside funding for it (even though I know it's a long shot). By a great stroke of luck, Acius seems to have a lot of experience programming text adventures...

Oh, and if you haven't already, check out Braid. My sister bought me a copy and it is awesome.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Making computer games an educative subject

Please nominate for me browser-based games which would be educational to do a rhetorical analysis on in a classroom/computer setting (and/or ideas on how to teach freshman composition in an awesome way). I'm thinking of proposing an experimental section which would use computer games, and while I guess I could require students to buy a game, I'd rather use free ones if I can.

Current candidates:
Level Up!: The "story," characters and game rules mess with traditional game conventions. It "says" things about time and learning. It aims to please multiple audiences.
The Company of Myself: This puzzler gets kind of hard (I'm stuck on the one where they're like "timing is important"), so I'd be reluctant to expect students to get very far, but I like how it also messes with time and repetition. I wonder how similar it is to "Braid" (another game I want to play, which costs actual dollars). I like that it doesn't shy away from being hard; it's not meant to be a mindless game.
Flash Portal: The first few levels introduce the paradigm-shifting portal system. Later on you just have to be fast at making portals, which I find less cool. Their audience is probably, I don't know, fans of Portal or people who wanted to play Portal.
Radical Play: A somewhat annoying racing game. The cool part is you can win by crashing into the other cars or by winning the race. They don't even pretend to use real physics, which is funny, and doing flips to get points or energy (I don't recall) is kind of fun.
Super Energy Apocalypse: Gameplay isn't terribly original, but it has a complex message - we need to defend ourselves but we also need to take care of our waste to prevent zombies from taking over.

Okay, so what would we do with these games in the classroom? It's possible to do a classic rhetorical analysis (RA) - who is the target audience, why are the elements of the game fun (instead of persuasive?) for that particular audience. Are computer games persuasive, and of what? Could writing about computer games prepare students to write in other contexts? Currently we write on a bunch of op-eds for the RA, which seem to me just as irrelevant to most majors as computer games.

Also, I was thinking of just single-player browser based games that a student could beat in one or two sittings, but could a MMORPG be helpful in a classroom context? We could be part of the same guild in KoL, and it would be fairly easy to track student progress... okay this is getting weird, I'm not sure how/if that would work. Have you played Crimson Room? That might be too hard or too easy to get a walkthrough for. Well, now you know what I've been fantasizing about: playing computer games in my classroom.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"It may be cheaper by the dozen but it's potentially wasteful."

I cleaned the kitchen, mostly, and I feel so accomplished.

Acius took me out to Five Guys last night and it was quite delicious. Maybe mushrooms do belong on a hamburger. But it was even funnier to listen to Acius grumpy: "How long do you think it will take before there's a law about food portions?" "It is impossible to eat this much." "In Japan, you can buy a single egg in a box." Haha. ^_^ He's so cute!

This mushy post justified by an upcoming romantic holiday!

Also: I love this photo I took over Christmas vacation. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Road trip insight

I just got back from a road trip to Arizona where I presented a paper. I learned some things about myself:

-I can drive 80+ mph and not freak out. I can drive 4 hours straight, and probably more. I can successfullly navigate freeway junctions. I can be a polite driver and let faster drivers pass me on the left. I don't feel pressured to go faster by fast drivers behind me - if they want to break the law that is their problem, and they can pass me!
-After the guilty pleasure of snack food, I find that it's not as appealing as I thought it would be. The exception to this is any type of cracker and cheese (but it has to be the right combination: Ritz and Cheddar or Gouda and wheat thins. Actually I think any kind of white cheese goes well with wheat thins).
-My education in the American graphic novel is somewhat lacking.
-I don't really see what the big deal about conferences is. Tally another mark on the "don't want to do this the rest of my life" list.
-I still bring up my boyfriend in conversations all the time, apologize for it, and then everyone teases me about it later (when it happens again). At least if they can tease me about it, it's less annoying, right?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the routine parts of my current life


Often in my desire to record events and feelings, I forget the everyday things I do, which I will probably forget at some point. One of the things I do with some frequency is that I make my own dinners. Most of the time I think cooking for one person is terribly depressing, but I also think that sharing all my food all the time would greatly increase the frequency of grocery story visits (an undesirable consequence).

The photo here is a Christmas-colored dinner I had last month. Usually I don't have this much broccoli all at once. I can make myself real food; for my birthday I made myself roast chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy (and it lasted all week and good heavens I was so happy). Last week was scalloped potato week. I'm thinking this week will be spaghetti, or curry. I think I should make soup again soon (I still want to make pea soup from actual dried peas). Cooking interesting things is not a priority for me unless I have someone else to experience it with.

I was hoping that being a graduate student would be different from my previous experience as a student, but it's not. I still procrastinate (yet manage to complete) the work I like the least (gone are the days when I would complete the work I liked the least first). I read things without understanding them. Okay, most of the time I don't have a clue what's going on. Sometimes class is boring, but when it is boring, the stakes are higher. Have I mentioned that the combination of being bored and terrified is probably my least favorite emotion? It describes a few things, of which driving is one.

It rained a little last night and it cleared the air, and I'm so glad (it had been getting unhealthily smoggy). The sun started shining and I opened all the blinds and drank some hot chocolate on our back steps. Then I decided to study my Spanish out in the sun and my slippers. I felt so contented. If only I could feel this way about analyzing Emily Dickinson (whenever I try to say something about a Dickinson poem, I'm paralyzed in "well it could also be..." or "but there's no way to say for sure...").

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Cuttlefish


It has come to my attention that not enough people are amazed and fascinated with cuttlefish (NOVA knows how cool they are). Their coloration is like a high-res plasma screen (and can change just as rapidly, it seems). Sometimes they flash, strobe-like, to catch their prey (does that remind you of any sort of genre of advertisement?). I read somewhere that cuttlefish are smart enough to tell the difference between various humans. And NOVA says that they can remember how to do mazes (although even mice can do that, so, booring). I wonder if I went into behavioral science if I would be able to get a grant to work with cuttlefish. Now THAT is cool enough to tempt me to go back into psychology. Oh, and the photo here is mine. Check out those weird W-shaped pupils. I took it at the Steinhart Aquarium.

You know what else would be cool? A cuttlefish coloring book. Then you could color them all sorts of colors and still be somewhat accurate. (The Marine Biology Coloring Book, while awesome, is not quite what I was looking for. Something more like this, only cooler.)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009

Things I did in 2009 of note:

-Got really into Facebook Scrabble
-Quit that job that I hated
-Had a long-distance relationship and learned to appreciate Idaho
-Started GRAD school (I even got an A in one class, how did that happen?)
-Taught freshman composition - terrifying
-Went to Arches national park
-Developed opinions about teaching and parenting
-Started dating that cute guy I told you about