Monday, November 21, 2011
That's just sad.
So what have I been up to since August, you ask?
I have no idea. The last few months have just flown by, faster than I've ever personally experienced. School - partly mine, mostly The Kid's - has taken over our lives, and I have barely had a moment to breathe much less write anything that wasn't about art or literature, which sounds all lofty until you realize the truth of the matter...
I'm using up all my writing juice on school.
Now I could be completely pretentious and post my A-work writing, but do you really want to read about what I think of Kate Chopin's feminist views, Theodore Roethke and William Blake's mental illnesses and subsequent genius, or whether or not Shakespeare was a fake?
Nor do you necessarily want to hear about my trips to the Denver Art Museum or the Osmosis Gallery, written for my Art Appreciation class. Well, maybe the DAM one, but only because there are pictures.
The reason you don't want to read these is that they were not written for you - they were written as a means to an end, an answer to a question posed by a teacher. That doesn't make them bad writing, but it does make them boring writing, and I don't want to be dull. Better to go months without a post.
But enough about that, how about an update on me? I'll do it for myself, if nobody else is reading - and who could blame you. Nothing like a dead blog.
I've been re-exploring my knitting "skills"... I use that term very loosely as I have none. I can knit a little, but I am far too impatient for really careful work. That's why I like crochet! I also have fat hands, so I can't do the fast-knitting technique I see others employing. It takes me twice as long to do it that way, and I end up knitting WAY too tightly, though I have tried to make myself just to try to train up. Alas, I'll just have to do it my way!
The Kid has been very active in orchestra this year, and is beginning to think about colleges. Fort Lewis, in Durango CO, is a real contender, although it would mean she was stuck during the winter. It is a bit isolated in that it's in the mountains, across a pass that is often closed for weeks during the winter. It's the modern age, of course - she can always hop on Skype to interact with folks off-campus - but still.
Another contender is UNC - the University of Norther Colorado. Located in beautiful downtown Greeley CO, it isn't quite the town she loves but the school, and the location not too far from home. She'd still live on campus, because the commute can be a real bear in winter, besides the obvious fuel cost issue. In that vein I may encourage her to look at CSU - Colorado State University - because of the fact that there's a bus that runs from along the Front Range and she wouldn't have to drive.
She of course still wants to at least look at Oregon, since she loves it so, but that is kind of a remote possibility.
At any rate, no matter where she goes, she is going to continue her sport - orchestra! We have decided this really is a sport. There are evening practices, special clinics, mandatory performances - if that isn't a high school sport I don't know what is. She can even letter in it!
Speaking of high school traditions, we also ordered her class ring this fall. I always thought it was a Senior Year kind of thing, but I guess not!
One more exciting that that happened this fall - my mom finally got to see The Kid in concert! We planned it as a surprise for Kid, and she was totally surprised indeed. We spent a great weekend driving around and enjoying the gorgeous weather, and though it means we'll be spending the holidays apart, it was worth it to get some real, quality, no-holiday-stress time together.
Oh, and I'm re-learning how to rollerskate.
So that's it! That's pretty much the long and short of what I've been up to, besides the usual - being ridiculously smitten with TR, wishing death on creepy-crawlies, trying to keep afloat of all the bills.
I hope your fall has been good, oh 3 remaining readers - I've missed you.
Monday, August 1, 2011
I wrote her back and shared the advice that I gave Mrs. Dandy last September - then realized that Peanut is now almost a year old! Unbelievable! And he is so cute, can I just tell you? You should go check out her blog and see. And if you have a baby of your own, you should also check out her baby food blog. I wish it had been around when The Kid was small!
Speaking of The Kid, I'll update you. It's been summer vacation, so not much has gone on of course, but some stuff has.
Thing one... Derby is now at an end, at least for now. After a particularly nasty, tailbone-jarring fall, we decided it was time to pursue other options. She really loves skating, and Derby culture, but she'll have to be involved some other way - maybe being a ref! Stay tuned, I will *definitely* update you about that sometime within a year of its occurrence.
Thing two... LEARNER'S PERMIT. She has her learner's permit. Holy crap. It's cool, too, and way different than when I was her age! It's a real photo ID, the only difference being that it's sideways for easy spotting of the under-21 crowd. She hasn't been able to practice for a couple of weeks due to my car being in the shop, but yeah. Learner's permit.
Thing three... She's officially dying her hair now. She chose a color called "pomegranate" that actually really suits her. She was always meant to be a redhead I suppose, because even her eyebrows don't give her away. The only tell that she's not a natural redhead is the terrible, terrible streaky coloring that is result of her mother dying her hair for her.
Next time we'll go to a salon. Know thyself.
I mentioned the car was in the shop. That's because I got rear-ended. In true Mimi fashion, however, I didn't just get rear-ended, I got rear-ended TWICE IN THREE SECONDS. *sigh*
Long story short, I stopped for a fire truck, and the people behind me did not, at least not without my assistance.
The car's almost done at last (3 weeks later), and I'm not paying for any of it thankfully, and nobody was hurt which is most important of all, but still. I am seriously skittish, too, although it's getting better all the time. It doesn't help that I'm driving a beast of a rental. It's sort of grown on me (Ford Edge) but still, it's huge, and apparently at night I have shields up which prevent others from seeing me. Awesome.
Let's see, what else...
TR was away for 3 weeks seeing the final Shuttle launch (amazing) and U2 in Nashville. I got to see them in May, which was amazing. I'd never seen them live before...if you have the chance, try to catch them!
Anyway, while he was gone I watched his cats and house for him. It was weird being in the house without him there, more so than it was when I watched the cats at the apartment. Still, on a hot Saturday it was nice to hang in his cool downstairs, and he very sweetly ordered us remote dinner. The cats were happy, we were well fed, and the house felt full.
This whole summer I've been taking that Intro to Film Arts class I mentioned a few posts back. It's been interesting; the in-class experience has had its positives and negatives, but all in all I will be glad to get back to online-only. My time table is just too weird for the rigidity of Every Tuesday At 6.
Week 1: Thomas Edison was a bit of a jerk (poor Georges Melies). DW Griffith was a genius, but bat-shit crazy.
Week 2: King Vidor was ahead of his time, but so was everyone else. How did they come up with this stuff?? Vidor, though, was daring.
Week 3: Musicals are still fantastic, and more influential than I realized. We watched Singin' In The Rain, one of my absolute favorites.
Week 4: Orson Welles. You've heard it before, but now I really see it - Citizen Kane was unbelievable! He did things in that film that I'm not sure people have had the dedication to do much since.
Week 5: Russian film after the revolution was terrifying and brilliant and I wanted to see more. We watched The Cranes Are Flying, and all agreed that while we understood the reasons behind the ending, we were way too Westernized to like it much.
Week 6: Television and post-war America radically changed the game, for the better I think, but that's just my opinion. We watched Good Night and Good Luck, which made me angry in all the best ways.
Week 7: German Expressionism has always been hard for me to watch, it's so nightmarish, but now I know why... that was totally the point! Their goal was to be as far from normal as you could get. Nosferatu was weird enough that I still remember the last scene playing on a TV when I was pretty little. Also, Italian Neorealism was really depressing. We watched Bicycle Thieves, which made me really anxious the whole time. I hate chaos in my own life, I can't stand watching it in others' lives. Italian movies always seemed so strange - ever seen Suspiria? - and the reason is that they overdub everything! Fellini was still doing it in the 70s.
Week 8: French New Wave is so far up its own ass I'm amazed they even got enough lighting to finish anything. I appreciate their significance, but... We watched Hiroshima Mon Amour, and I never ever need to see it again. Gah. I get it and everything, but... No.
Week 9: Japanese film is sad even when it's trying to be happy. I think it's the lighting. We watched The Most Beautiful, filmed right before the end of WWII. Kurosawa really was amazing.
Week 10 is tomorrow, the final one for the course. We'll be discussing digital cinema, and watching what from all accounts is a seriously uncomfortable film by Spike Lee, Bamboozled.
The thing I've appreciated most in the whole class is the slice-of-life that old films gave. I hated that French New Wave crap, but it was cool to see glimpses of 1960's Paris. It was amazing to watch the "phantom rides," which were some of the earliest pieces of film, and see Georgetown, Colorado circa 1903. (It looks almost the same, which is interesting.) Even the depressing Italian and Japanese pieces were entrancing because without film we'd only be reading about those places and times.
Film is like time travel that way.
You can see the Georgetown Loop here: CLICK ME!
So yeah! That's what's going on in my world.
Perhaps a little travel. Could my passport finally get broken in? Maybe!
School continues - Intro to Literature and Intro to Art. I like starting from the beginning with these - as I learned with the English Comp classes, it's not just writing, it's learning how to write for academia in particular. I need to talk to an adviser and make sure I'm taking the right stuff, of course, but it's still early. I waffle now and again on my idea for an English degree, but then I remember all the notes I proof-read in grade school. I was born to edit!
The Kid is starting Sophomore year. Spanish and Art will be new subjects for her this year, and I think she'll really enjoy them!
I'm still on Twitter, by the way... follow me there! Emilio Estevez does, and so should you. No I'm not kidding. Two-Bit is following me, and possibly mocking my pants!
Friday, May 6, 2011
Last year, I wrote this:
I'll save you the trouble...it was a post written on Graduation Day. My office has the unique feature of a window which looks directly out onto the plaza in which everyone gathers before entering the stadium each May. All the kids ("kids" who are 22, God I'm old) are in their Grad finery, all the family and friends are looking proud.
I wrote about how every year I was a crabby, jealous mess as I watched the festivities, full of lament about my lost chances.
I just finished my first 4 classes. I got A's in all of them.
I wrote about how I wondered if I could ever go back, if I could ever get to that day myself.
I proved to myself that although I am going to be up to my ears in student loans when I'm done, that I'm not too old, or too slow, or too comfortable to put in the work.
I know it's going to get harder - it was just some English comp and Algebra after all - but I did it.
Thanks to TR & The Kid, and all of you who have encouraged me, helped me get my act together, and who have been my cheering section. I may not get my day for a good six or seven years, but now I know it's coming.
Now my only problem is figuring out what I want to be when I grow up...
Thursday, May 5, 2011
If anyone's still reading this blog, my apologies for being away so much. It was a very long few months, full of mystery and intrigue and algebra and researching effective ways to teach literature to teenagers in the Facebook age.
Here's a rundown of what I've been doing. I know you'll be riveted.
- I wrote 4 papers, one of which got a perfect grade from a teacher who doesn't give perfect grades.
- I did several thousand math problems.
- I drove back and forth to Arvada and Denver about 500 times (happily, but still).
- I lusted after gardening supplies (going to try just growing some grass first, though).
- As a temporary measure to quell my lust, I helped TR a little bit in his fabulous yard.
- I watched a lot of Top Gear episodes while I wrote papers and imagined myself in a Jaguar while I drove my ailing Nissan.
- I finally got to see Bob Schneider live - an awesome thing. Tarantula!
- I got really sick, sicker than I've been in a long time.
- I turned 37.
- I grew some grey hairs.
- The Kid grew some grey hairs for me.
- I gained some weight (stupid holidays!).
- I lost a little of it (yay stationary bike!).
- I spent too much money.
- I discovered I don't really like yeasty beer.
- I discovered that I really DO like wheaty beer. A lot.
- Tried to go to Moab, was stymied by weather.
- Went to a christening, complete with the first time I've been to mass in years; it made me miss my childhood faith...it was so easy then, ya know?
- Drove with TR through and to some of the most gorgeous country in Colorado.
- Discovered Penzey's Spices and OMG. The paprika!
- I've taken my math final - no more math for a while I think
- I turned in my final paper (well, my rought draft, but the teacher felt it was done so there ya go... woohoo!)
- Been in Derby upheaval as we've tried to decide whether to stick with RMRG or not (long story for another day)
- Signed up for a Summer class to keep the momentum
- Registered for Fall classes
- Been to 3 meetings about the stupid new procurement system my work is foisting upon us
- Researched fencing companies (only one got back to me)
- Crocheted half a dragon (it's going to be SO CUTE)
- Cooked pulled pork for the first and definitely NOT the last time
- Cooked stuffed shells for the first time as well; good but needs modification
So you see, it's not that I haven't *wanted* to blog...
It's just that I had to shoehorn sleep in there somewhere.
So. What else.
I could talk about that Osama thing... I have my own opinions. They aren't shared by everyone. I believe it's a good thing he's dead, and that it was the right decision not to involve Pakistan; their culture is very different than ours. The man was living in a military neighborhood, and nobody even asked a question, just saying. I don't believe it's the end to "terra" but I do believe it's the end of an era (ooooh, poetry!). Bush is dead, long live Obama. Moving on.
Also, Donald Trump is a moron who got his ass served to him on a platter at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. I'm normally a very "let's all get along" sort of person, a "don't mock others" sort of person, but Trump? He can go piss up a rope, to put it succinctly.
Weirdo. RACIST weirdo.
Hoping to get back into the swing of things now. I don't think this will ever be a daily blog again, but I hope to share with you some of the cooler points of the Intro to Film Arts course I'll be taking over the summer. Apparently the teacher is a friend/acquainted of some friends of mine, and by all accounts he's a swell guy. Looking forward to it!
Trivia maybe. TR definitely. All this busy-ness has made it so our time is often really abbreviated. We had a couple of relaxing days around my birthday while The Kid was in Disney, and it was lovely. I need some more of that chilled time with him, and more often.
He calls to share his sunsets with me, I should tell you.
This pleases me.
Until later... here's a thing. It made me smile today.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
So I have joined The Twitter. I have no idea how to work it, so forgive me in advance if I fail miserably.
I miss my blog.
Things of note...
* My latest paper was added to the "Wall of Fame" in my class, so go me!
* I had the plague.
* Now the Kid has the plague, but it's almost done I think.
* Derby is still on deck, though we were taking a break... Child is not competitive, and wasn't sure if she should continue, but we've decided to give it another year. At the very least we have to get something out of the new wheels I got her!
* I don't know how I feel about Algebra.
* TR remains very cute.
So yeah! Come find me on The Twitter if you'd like! I can almost guarantee random bitching, occasional hilarity, and proper use of the apostrophe.
Monday, January 24, 2011
So yesterday I helped TR clean out his now-former apartment the rest of the way. There wasn't much really, just some spackling to be done (I looooove to spackle, it's possibly a matter for psychological study), the fridge to be cleaned, that kind of thing. We had to make a few trips up and down stairs which are more like ladders than stairs - you have to do everything on your toes and it's rough on the legs!
After everything was done - plants and frozen food and cleaning supplies successfully crammed in the back of the van, garbage in the dumpster, fridge sparkling, and unwanted stuff already being picked through by the local dumpster diving team (waste not, want not!) - we went back upstairs so TR could say goodbye to the place. He wasn't terribly upset about leaving the apartment behind, but still it was home for 4 years or so and deserved a goodbye.
The weird thing for me was that despite not actually having lived there, I was kind of verklempt at the idea of never seeing it again. While he swept, I sat in the window well and reflected for a while on all that had happened in that place. I started the best first date of my life there, and had my first kiss with TR standing near the front door. I remember little things here and there about us in that place, things I won't forget. In my mind the apartment will always exist as it was just a little bit.
There's one really distinct memory that sticks out. One night we were curled up on the chaise lounge next to the main room's windows, just at dusk. The chimes that hung next to the terrifying stairs across the alley were making a lovely sound. Suddenly the wind kicked up and pulled all the leaves off the trees at once, swirling them up into the deep blue sky and they twirled away like something illustrated.
Yesterday, sitting at the window next to where the chaise used to sit, looking in toward the now-empty apartment, the chimes - TR's favorites of the ones that hang on that building - kicked up again. While TR was thanking the apartment, they kept giving us a little background music.
As soon as he switched off the lights for the last time, the chimes stopped.
I will certainly miss that little bitty apartment with it's creaky floors and amusingly complex shower.
I won't miss the stairs, though.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Breaking news! Local information stations want attention, and they will make every effort to get it - usually by being as loud and garish as possible. Why all the bold type and startling headlines? Broadcast networks rely on advertising income to stay afloat. The companies running those ads are going to give their money most readily to the networks that get the most viewers to tune in and see their thirty-second spots. With all the local news stations reporting the same information, how can they compete for those sponsor dollars without merely parroting each other? The networks must make their stories more interesting than their rivals' offerings. They must also use emotionally charged imagery and language in order to keep a viewers’ attention firmly on their channel and not the one next door.
The basic business plan of any local news station is to attract the most lucrative commercial sponsors possible since the ads those sponsors buy are the source of a majority of a stations’ revenue. Many local stations are owned by recognized companies like NBC but most are owned by businesses that are merely aligned with those larger networks (Shumway). This means that despite the fact that your local news says it’s the city’s NBC station it may not be benefiting from that super-network’s revenue dollars. Instead a station may be on its own as far as drumming up funds to keep their anchors in hairspray and makeup.
The stations may need the advertisers, but the advertisers aren’t big on spending their money unless they can be certain they’ll see a return on their investment. In recent years the cost of running a prime-time commercial has dropped, but it will still cost a company well over $100,000 to televise an ad during prime-time news (Mandese). The sponsors must assure themselves they’re going with the station that will get their spot aired most affectively. That means choosing a network whose viewer numbers are highest.
So how do the networks get those high ratings and attract large-dollar sponsors? They get viewers to watch their channel and not the one a remote-click away. It’s no easy feat. Chances are that it’s going to be snowing now matter whose weather report is seen. The President’s speech is going to sound the same whether it’s on NBC or Fox. It’s up to the stations to be sure they are successful in keeping viewers interested in how they report on those stories if they want to keep their advertisers as repeat customers. While loyalty no doubt plays a part in viewership, even the most loyal NBC supporter is going to look elsewhere if the argument is strong enough to do so.
Stations can stay frontrunners in viewer numbers by having more compellingly told stories than rival networks. According to media blogger Geoff Meeker, whether the news is of sports, business, politics, or even the “good news” story of the day, inevitably conflict is the heart of the tale. The conflict might be between two people, or people and the world around them, or even people and their own lives. Any story the news reports is a battle presented for viewers to cheer or lament (Meeker). It follows then that keeping good journalists on hand to write compelling stories is a smart option for any station trying to stay ahead, but stations also have a psychological tool for use in keeping viewers glued to the screen.
A study published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media found that “arousal elicited by emotion” actually causes us to remember more effectively than by just telling us what’s happening (Lang, Potter, and Grabe). The use of emotionally evocative language and imagery is a way to catch the eyes and ears of viewers, and keep them tuning in long after the initial headline is presented. Words like “showdown” or “crisis” may not really fit the event in question, however the use of them might make a viewer remember the story and tune in for updates later on. Using bright bold-typed and shocking visual headers to accompany an important story will garner attention, but it will also convince a viewer to seek out information about that graphic image if they haven’t been listening. Phrases like “breaking news,” “stay tuned,” and “coming up” might seem straightforward enough, but in fact they are subtle cues to viewers that they’ll be missing out on important information if they start channel surfing after the weather report. In addition to the broadcast stories themselves, news channels use convincing words like “leader” and “exclusive” in advertisements for their stations in their quest to convince a potential viewer that their station is superior to another.
Despite the increased presence of multiple online news sources most Americans are still watching television to get their daily news (“Internet Gains”). For the foreseeable future, viewers will continue to tune in over breakfast, or after dinner, or just before bed. Though the race for the top of the heap in local news media might seem like a tempest in a teacup it’s a small price to pay to ensure that there are multiple lines of communication staying open. The News At Five can be forgiven for coming up with words like “snowpocalypse” as long as they’re giving similarly loud attention to reports about important news like local and national politics. The competition is important as well because although one news channel could get the information out as effectively as multiple stations, if there was only a single source its accuracy would be in question. That being said, it’s equally important that news stations keep the parable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf in mind. Too much high-emotion reporting may find viewers ignoring important information by equating a real crisis with a slightly overblown one.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Actually I've been thinking a lot about this ol' blog and have more or less decided that of all the bajillion things in my life, if one has to suffer neglect, this is it, and I'm okay with it.
I'm still around, of course, lurking, reading your posts and commenting with as little snark as possible.
But for now it's math. And English papers. And driving the Kid to derby practice. And hanging out with my very cute boyfriend. And trying to cook as often as I can.
Just probably not posting in here more than once a month or so, because otherwise I seem to only say "Um...still alive and here's a video!" and that's just dull.
So you know, don't take me off your blogroll or anything!
Just forgive me if I don't post all my little weird thoughts so often anymore on the meaning of Christmas or why I hate lying politicians with a fiery passion or how awesome TR is or how much my kid rocks my socks off on a regular basis.
Summer may be a different story.
You might even get sick of me.
But for now...
VIDEO! Because I'm lazy. And really busy. But look how cute Maru is! If you don't have 3 minutes, just forward yourself on to 2:15. You'll thank me later.
Did he hypnotize you into thinking this was something akin to a real post?
Good job, Maru!