Friday, October 29, 2010

I'll never forget...

He was sitting at the bus stop when I got there after school.  I thought he was kinda sketchy, so I leaned against the bus stop sign, staying as far away as I could while still obviously waiting for the bus.  He wouldn't have any of it.

"Hi!" he called out to me cheerfully.  I responded, because I don't usually like being rude.
"How are you?"
"Good."  I didn't want to be too conversational either.  But maybe a little.  "And you?"
"Not good, I'm afraid."

I'm always surprised when people are honest.  Nobody likes to admit they're suffering.  At which point I decided he might just really want to talk, and, being at a busy bus stop on a busy street next in front of the fire station, I figured I was safe to ask what was wrong.

He began to tell me about his life: how he was a dancer, but injured his foot badly enough that he'd never be able to dance again.  But he wasn't going to let himself be too sad.  He could still sing and he could still play the piano and he still had his wife, who he clearly adored.

I was amazed by a man who could be so grateful for the smallest things.  I was amazed by a man who could be so open, so honest about his pain to a complete stranger.  But mostly I was amazed because, when my bus came and I said goodbye, he smiled at me and said he'd see me in heaven... and I still believe him.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Redefining Motion

We all move.  We walk, we run, we wave, we sit, we stand.  Assuming none of my readership is completely paralyzed, the majority of you are almost constantly in motion.  But how much do you think about it?  Do you think about it at all?

After a three year break from serious dancing, I'm taking a modern dance class.  It'll be my fourth year of modern, and is just as amazing as the first three... even with a different teacher.  (I'm only telling you this because its the inspiration for this post.)

A large part of the class is having us create our own dances.  On Wednesday, we had one of these exercises.  She had everyone write down everyday movements and adverbs.  Then we each pulled movements and adverbs out of the baskets.  Once we had a list of motions and adverbs, we had to perform them (after a few minutes to figure out how).

Even if you do think about your movement, I assume you rarely think about how you move.  Or what it would mean to move differently.  I looked at my list of what I'd have to do.  Roll giddily?  Not that bad.  But then I had to jump lazily and hop stealthily.  And, to top it off: tiptoe sluggishly.

But I did it.  I tiptoed sluggishly across the floor.  And then I started thinking about our final project, which is to choreograph a 3 minute dance.

I've never danced more than a 3 minute dance, so I've been a little anxious about this task.  Until Wednesday, when I discovered how incredibly interesting it was to try tiptoeing sluggishly.  That evening, I discussed my task with some (non-dance) friends.  I told them I was thinking about repeating the exercise for my final: ask friends to give me verbs and adverb, and then try to perform them.

"I know what verb I'm going to give you!" one got really excited.  "Swoon!"

Before long, we were trying to figure out an adverb which doesn't go well with swooning.  "Stickily?" I suggested.  "That sounds like you're in molasses" he responded.  So I got up and fell over really, really slowly.

(If you have any good ideas for movements or adverbs, let me know.  I'll throw them in the pot.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Putting the Cap on (bad puns...)

I registered my blog for Blog Action Day (which is today).  Basically, its a day where everyone blogs about the same issue.  This year the theme is water.

"Cool" I thought.  "I can find something to say about water!"  They even give suggestions for topics you might want to talk about, with more information so you're actually somewhat informed.

Then I went to a lecture last night, a part of a series on sustainability.  The lecturer had 3 main points. First, that energy is the only issue we should be concerned about right now.  Second, that if we continue without any action on clean energy, the situation is dire.  Third, there's currently no way to solve the energy problem and power our planet sustainably.

With this in mind, I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about trying to write about water.  But I was still determined.  Hence my topic.

As we left the lecture, I started discussing sustainable products with someone - basically trying to say they existed.  She said the whole thing is up to the corporations.  I said its up to the customers.  She said the customers will want whatever is cheapest.  I said that's not necessarily true.

What I forgot to point out was that, sometimes, the more sustainable option is the cheaper option.  Such is the case with saying no to bottled water: drinking tap water in a reusable cup or bottle produces less waste and requires less materials to make than bottled water.  It's also significantly cheaper.  But... I hope I didn't have to tell you that.

Anyways, I'm glad to see that some cities are cutting bottled water spending.  Its an easy, cheap thing we can do.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart...

Or, the tale to how I'm spending my free time right now...

It all started... well, technically, it all started when I found a how to crochet book as a child and decided I wanted to learn.  I crocheted a blanket, and then couldn't stand the sight of the crochet hook for a while.  But I still loved yarn.  I've always had a bit of an obsession with yarn.

A couple years later, I taught myself to knit.  With my Girl Scout troop, I knitted a bunch of 7"x9" squares, which got sent off to be sewn into blankets.  After this, I continued to do some small knitting projects over the years... a hat, a couple purses, other things that the Klutz Press Knitting book could teach me.  (If you want to learn to knit, I highly recommend this book.  It comes with yarn, knitting needles and a crochet hook, and brilliantly illustrated instructions for the basics and 6 projects.)

Come senior year of high school, I was thinking about my Girl Scout Gold Award project.  For those of you who don't know it, the Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.  I'd been working on the prerequisites a while, and just needed a good project.  I thought about what I enjoyed doing, and one of the things that came up was knitting.  So, with the memory of my earlier Girl Scout project in mind, I asked a lot of people to knit 7"x9" squares and planned to sew them together and then donate them to Union Gospel Mission in Seattle.  Thanks to some unexpected help, my project was wildly successful, and I was suddenly faced with the task of sewing/crocheting a lot of blankets together (having already officially completed the project).

Over the summer, I found myself without much to do.  So I started picking away at crocheting together some blankets.  This process takes a long time, and its very boring.  Besides, I'd been doing so much of it that I was starting to convulse at the thought of sewing one more blanket together.  Eventually, I just shipped the rest of my squares off to Warm Up America, the group I got the idea from.  In the meantime, in the midst of IM small talk, I told a friend I was crocheting.

He got super excited and started looking up patterns for crocheted Pokemon.  (I have nerdy friends, okay?)  My fingers itched for something more than just a basic stitch for long rows, so I told him I'd make him a plushie if he found me a pattern for one he wanted.  It was quite the adventure, but I eventually finished...

After that, I was *ahem* hooked on plushies.  I wanted to do more.  So I found more patterns, I packed some yarn when I left for school, and I started working.  I didn't want to do anything as complicated as the cyndaquil (for now), but I'm soon to have quite the collection of hearts and traffic cones, and maybe some soft crocheted balls (I could make a whole bocce ball set!)

So if you happen to find any cool patterns for crocheting online, let me know.  I just might waste another afternoon trying to figure it out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Keep Cool with Coolidge

This past week has been a hot one in sunny California (uh, because when isn't it hot around here?).  In keeping with the weather, I figured I'd post a few tips for staying cool in the heat.
  1. Keep a damp washcloth around.  Bonus points if it's under the breeze of a fan, because evaporation keeps water cool.
  2. For fun relief from the heat, go swimming.  The human body loses heat faster to water than to air, yet there was hardly anyone at the pool over the past week.  Also, while I haven't experimented, I'm pretty sure sitting on the pool deck in a bikini without ever getting in the water isn't quite as effective.  It is an effective way to dry off after a dip if its hot enough, so don't be afraid to get in and cool off before you sunbathe!
  3. If you want a cooler breeze than your fan is allowing, put a frozen water bottle in front of your fan.  Since ice melting is an endothermic reaction, it takes in heat as it happens, leaving the air around it cold.  You can very easily use your fan to direct this cold air towards you.  You don't even have to use a frozen water bottle, other forms of ice will work as well... except ice-nine.  Note: if you really want to keep your room cool, use someone else's freezer.  Freezers give off more heat when they're trying to freeze more stuff.
  4. On the topic of freezers, you should also keep in mind the saying "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen".  If you want to keep cool, don't cook!  At the very least, only make food that doesn't need to be heated.  If your food needs to be heated, don't bother.  Heat is, in most cases, a good excuse to be lazy.  Just don't use that excuse on your homework.  I doubt teachers will like it any more than they like "snow was in the forecast, so I assumed we wouldn't have school".
  5. Possibly the most way to keep cool: befriend people with air conditioning, and move in.  Temporarily, of course.  Moving in, that is.  Don't be a hot-weather friend.  That's just not nice.
Now that its drizzling with thunder and lightning, I guess this post is kind of a moot point.  On the other hand, its still pretty warm out...

Also, if know where the title came from, here's a song.  If you don't, it's a presidential campaign slogan from 1924.  Now you know, so check out the song.