Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dani the Kleptomaniac, and her Partner-in-Crime, Janalee

Yes, I had an interesting day. I finally have lived up to my good ol' WHS janitor nickname: "the Cat Burglar." I received the nickname back then because I have a little talent of picking locks. I only used it on glass cases to see Old Brent aka "Papa Pete" in the 1962 yearbook, and to get the marching band trophies out to display at the closing social because no one seemed to possess a key. Oh, and once I picked a roommate's lock, but that's only because she locked her keys in her room and couldn't remember where her spare key was hidden.

Well, today I actually stole something. On accident, I assure you. You see, my roommate Janalee and I were invited to a baby shower, so we went in together on the present and bought little baby bunny slippers, one of those cute baby towels with a hood, a baby brush and comb, and some baby bath soap. Then we went on a quest to find a rubber ducky to complete the bathtime ensemble. We couldn't find any at Walmart, so we thought we'd try Dollar Tree. Well, we went there, looked all over, didn't find any, but did remember we didn't have anything to wrap the present in, so we picked up a yellow gift bag and left. Then we headed to Family Dollar, where we completed our quest successfully! So we bought the rubber duckies (a momma duck and two baby duckies), came home and wrapped our present when suddenly I had a realization, so I said, "Jana, did we buy the gift bag?!" NO! WE DIDN'T! I picked it up, forgot I had it, and we walked out with it blatantly swinging from my klepto-mitts! And by the time we realized this we already had the present all wrapped up in the stolen goods! So we grabbed the tag, jumped in the car, and went back and quickly explained the stupidity of the situation and paid without any problem. But then the slightly-scary-and-somewhat-toothless lady at the checkstand suddenly started talking about spaying and neutering cats. Weird. So we left since we were no longer criminals. Then we went to Bullock's and got ice cream sodas. Mmmm.

Then tonight was the season premier of THE OFFICE!!! I can't even tell you how excited I was and JIM AND PAM ARE FINALLY ENGAGED!!! Us four girls started screaming and cheering! Now the second thing on my list has been fulfilled. (Don't worry, my priorities are actually higher than that, but I really was so happy.) The first place on the list will be fulfilled when Kelly finally proposes...officially.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Edward Burtynsky's Inspiration

In class today our discussion stemmed from Edward Burtynsky's photographs of "modern landscapes." Also known as ways people have trashed the earth. The images he has captured are horrifically beautiful. Orange rivers of nickel tailings in a barren black wasteland, piles of tires remniscent of Springfield's own never-ending tire fire, and scars of quarries, dams, and vast factories. (Visit his website or join in the conversation on sustainability here.) For about an hour-and-a-half I felt like I was involved in a Captain Planet meeting, and I was all for it. (I was probably the wind girl, what with all my talk of Gary's amazing wind turbines. Man, I always felt bad for the heart dude.)

Why can't we each just do our little part? Recycle your bottles and cans. Did you know that glass never decomposes? NEVER. You throw out that Orange Cream Soda bottle, and it sits in a landfill forever. How many everlasting-garbage-bottles are on you conscience now, eh?
One thing that I knew about, but when it was brought up in class really made me angry was all those electric cars made by Ford and the oil companies had a cow about them taking away their profits, so they were shut down! This wasn't in Saudi Arabia or the Soviet Union. This occurred in California. AMERICA! We're CAPITALISTS here. They weren't stealing patented ideas or selling stolen car parts; they made a product that competed with oil, but since it was before gas prices were a big deal, nobody cared when it was shut down. We didn't care about oil until it bit us in the bank. It doesn't matter how long we've been sucking down fumes. Do you realize what that says about us? We care more about money than we do about ourselves. "Aw, I'd rather save a couple bucks now than be healthy a few years down the line." We care more about now than the future. What a pathetic state to be in. What about the world we're making for our children and grandchildren? Which brings to mind an excellent quote:

"I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex."

- Jack Handey

Anyway, is alls I'm-a-tryin' t' say is this:
Captain Planet, he's a hero! Gonna take pollution down to zero!

"THE POWER IS YOURS!"


Monday, September 22, 2008

Procrastination

Homework
Is highly overrated,
Don't you think?
My friend Lindsey
Always said everything was
"Highly overrated"
In her sweet way.
I miss Lindsey.
She had to go off and
Get married.
Graduate.
Move away.
But I'm happy for her,
Because I can't wait
To do
These things
Myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All These Things That I've Done

Hey all my faithful readers, who, for all I know, is just Becky.
In my honors class last week we talked about if, hypothetically, we got chopped up into a bazillion little tiny pieces and all of them were alive (morbid and creepy, I know, but that's beside the point) which piece would be me? I mean, if you got cut at the waist, obviously it would be your upper half, but what if just your head got cut off? Would it be the bigger part or the part that thinks and communicates? Well, I was thinking about this and I thought if I was divided into a bunch of live atoms or something, that a little place right in the center of my heart would be me because of my thoughts and feelings come from not only my head, but deep inside me, and I'm religious so I suppose I imagine my spirit in there or something, but then I realized something. Now keep in mind I'm not trying to get into the Nature versus Nurture debate, because I believe it's bits of both. We are born with personalities (at least partially) and how we see and understand things comes somewhat from somewhere automatically built inside, but you have to admit that we really are influenced by our surroundings and upbringings and the people we've met and the things we've done and experienced. I'm who I am today largely because of who I've known and what I've done. So, I thought I'd grace you all with my 3- minute history of me! Ta-da!

video

I was inspired to make this because my older brother made one for his introduction for A Team or SOAR (I don't know which) at Utah State. His was way better, but it was fun to make this nonetheless. I just wish I had a MacBook...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kanarraville Falls!

So today I went on an amazingly beautiful hike with my good friends Becky and Karina! A lot of it involved wading through freezing cold water and I couldn't feel my feet, but it was awesome and fun and I love hiking!!! Southern Utah must be one of the most beautiful places in the whole world!

Me and Karina hiking upstream

Becky! "If she weren't my best friend, I'd probably hate her."

Battle Wounds! I slipped on the Log of Doom by the first waterfall! And my left hand looks like my fingers are nubbins, but I can assure you they are not. Look how dark it is! We were in a slot canyon so deep it felt like a cave!

This is a glimpse of the Log of Doom. Karina's heading up it. I slipped on the return trip back down.

Karina, Becky, and me. And those awesome orange canyons in the background are just the tip of the iceberg, my friends!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Musings

It doesn't feel right to write today and not mention what happened seven years ago. I won't spend too long on this, but I just want to honor those lost, the civilians on the planes and in and near the buildings, and the firemen and police officers who rushed in to help. I just watched a documentary on the History channel, and I was feeling exactly like I did in ninth grade when I watched it all happen on TV. The same feeling I had both times I visited ground zero. One man who filmed that day from his apartment had clips of his video on the documentary. He was saying the exact same words my dad was that day. ...surreal...can't believe...all those people...
I was in New York during the huge blackout in August of 2003. It was unbelievably scary because everyone around us began panicking. Cell phones wouldn't work, and no one knew what was going on. All around us New Yorkers were trying to push down memories from two years before. People poured out of buildings and flooded the streets. And again, we all walked and walked and walked. It was a relief when radios started broadcasting that it was just a power outage. Then people began talking about the last time the power went out back in 1977. The city went berserk then--stealing, break-ins, etc. I think the community formed from 9/11 stopped that from happening in 2003. People were helping others, shop owners pulled their wares out on the street to sell tennis shoes and water, and it was a mass of bodies walking in all directions. It was like no building could possibly have any people left inside, but what a relief that the city was still intact. People slept out on the steps of libraries and in Central Park because the upper stories of apartments buildings were so hot. We were fortunate to be on the first floor, so we still had water and it stayed quite cool there. It was my favorite part of being there. We walked from Madison Square Park to 91st and 1st Avenue. I saw more of the city than I would have if I rode the subway, and it was wonderful to see so many people coming together as a community. I salute you New York.

I suppose the point of this blog is my honors class that I attended today. We watched a ted talk by Larry Lessig, a professor who was speaking out against unfair copyright laws. I agree with him that copyright laws are important. They make sure that people are paid for their work. The problem comes with the new internet fad of remixing. The art of using other people's music or video clips and creating something new with the pieces. Honestly, this is an art form, but a lot of distributors are claiming that their copyright laws should keep people from using this music for their amateur creations. These videos and song remixes are not being sold. They are being made for the love of the art. I believe, as does Larry Lessig, that this type of use should be acceptable under copyright laws. Truly, there are only 12 notes in the whole world, and there really are only a limited number of ways you can mix that up. Composers have been borrowing bits of other people's stuff for centuries! Think Isaac Newton "standing on the shoulders of giants." We all must use the creations and findings of others. An example in class was writing a research paper: it's basically a mashup of a bunch of other people's research. Yes we cite the authors and books, but do we site our parents for teaching us to talk? Do we cite our anyone for the local dialect we speak? Do we cite our conclusions to the morals we were brought up with or our religious leaders? No. In the remixes I've seen, the original artists are cited. Artists and distributors should take it as free advertising. I can't even tell you how many times I've seen videos on YouTube of mashups of songs or whatever, and I ended up buying one of the original artist's songs on iTunes, or went out and bought a whole album. Ok. Those are my basic thoughts on class today.

Well I just thought I'd mention that I'm feeling better about having synesthesia today. I even found out my best friend from high school associates colors to everything too. She told me I am yellow and Kelly is red. Cool, huh!? I knew I was being dumb the other day, but I really did feel kinda different and freaky. I had to keep reminding myself that nothing about me had changed. I've always been this way and I'm intelligent and happy and functional and have great friends and an awesome family and a wonderful man. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what Kelly is classified as right now. My boyfriend? that seems so un-Kelly it's ridiculous. He is neither a boy, nor merely a friend. He's my BEST friend; he's my life; he's me in male form, my other half--my other 7/8ths! And we've been through so much together, we're so much more than just boyfriend and girlfriend. Is he my unofficial-but-pretty-much-set-in-stone-fiance-ish? Well, yes, but that's quite a mouthful...he'll just have to be "my man" until he's back.

You know how people are complaining about how the Twilight books raise girls' expectations for a guy they'll never find because he doesn't exist? Well, Kelly is better than Edward. (And yes, I hate to admit I read the books...it was one of those "oh I'm at home for the summer, my family's all busy, Kelly's 6,000 miles away, the books are right there on the shelf, and I'm bored, so let's see what the heck all this hype is about." So I read them, was somewhat intrigued by the storyline, but I'm not a big fan, either. I confess, Edward's pretty cool, but I liked reading about him just because the sweet things he'd do or say reminded me of Kelly. The perfect gentleman.) But really, I'm not saying that girls need to find someone super-unbelievably-sexy-hot (though Kelly is) or really athletic or strong, or someone who doesn't age, or has 9 doctral degrees! But really, don't settle for someone who doesn't treat you right. Guys ought to open doors, be kind, compliment, and be patient and accepting and willing to sacrifice everything for you if he really loves you. I'm not saying girls should make him sacrifice everything, but the willingness is kinda vital for marriage. Of course girls have to be likable and nice and patient and grateful and willing to sacrifice everything for him too. It's definitely a team effort. You can't expect someone to be perfect to you if you are a big jerk all the time. But I really think it's so tragic when you hear of a girl who marries someone who chains her to an engine block while he's gone. Or men who don't allow their wives access to money or let them have a job. Or even when a girl marries some guy who is always critical and says hateful things like she needs to lose weight when she's 110 lbs, or that she isn't doing a good job with the kids when he never helps out at all and she's doing her best, or whatever. And it's equally sad when a wonderful guy is married to a spiteful girl who always nags and doesn't appreciate all he does for her.

You know what I'm saying, right? I can't cover all the bases, and I'm not just saying that guys can be bad spouses. Girls can be too, of course. But as I am a girl, I tend to associate more with the feminine gender, so don't be mad. My point is don't settle. If music is your life and the guy you're dating is completely tone deaf and claims there is no such thing as a beat, that may cause problems when you have absolutely nothing in common and nothing to talk about. If you are quiet and easily embarrassed, and your guy does ridiculous things at Walmart, is very obnoxious, has no social skills, and doesn't think before he speaks, you're gonna spend the rest of your life apologizing for him! Ok. I'm done ranting. It's just that I found my perfect man and I wish everyone could be as happy as I am. I love Kelly. I love him I love him I love him I love him. Even if he came home and dumped me, all the waiting I've done would still be worth it. He is SO worth it. (And anyway, I have a sneaky little feeling he's not going to dump me.) I love Kelly.
(Admittedly not the best pictures of either of us, but are you feelin' the love here?)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Discovering Myself...

Tragically in class today I found out I'm a freak.
Apparently I have Grapheme-color Synesthesia.
I never knew it was weird that some letters had colors in my mind's eye,
Or that all the days of the week associated with a color.
Sunday-Black
Monday-Sky Blue
Tuesday-Orangy-Yellow
Wednesday-Red
Thursday-Bluish-Gray
Friday-Dark Blue
Saturday-White
Weird. Weird. Weird. Weird. Weird. Weird. Weird.
I do have a crazy memory of my childhood when I asked my mom what color she thought a day of the week was. She looked and me like "what?" and I dropped it and didn't even think twice about it. I assumed I wasn't asking the question quite right. I mean, when it's Thursday the whole day doesn't automatically seem bluish-gray. It's just the thought of the word in my mind.
The discussion in class went all over today, from skydiving to philosophy, but this is the part that stuck. My brain is weird. But I was just researching it, and I found out a lot of famous artists, musicians, authors, and poets were synesthetes. Franz Liszt, Charles Baudelaire, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, Jean Sibelius, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakav. Wow. I am not feeling as freakish anymore. Except I've just been reading the statistics and they think that anywhere between 1 in 23 people have it to 1 in 100,000. But obviously a lot of people don't even know they have it, like me before 1 o'clock this afternoon. I mean, I always knew this was part of me, but I never knew it had a name or is called a condition like it's a sickness or something. Honestly, I think it helps me memorize (and believe me, I am a good memorizer.) I'm good at memorizing quotes and lists and poems and music and well, anything I feel like knowing word-for-word (or being able to play note-for-note). I don't write things down in a planner very often, but somehow I just remember when things are. Maybe it's because the days have colors. And I am an excellent speller. Sometimes words just look wrong. Is it because the colors of the letters I have in my mind aren't matching up? I don't know. Possibly.
It sounds like Synesthesia affects some people more than it affects me. Sometimes I can associate music with color, but that just feels very natural. Some of the composers I was reading about have each key in a different color, or even each and every note with a color of its own. I don't do that. Some people have every single letter with a color that never changes, but for me it's just most of the alphabet. The firmest in my mind is the days of the week, although I think the names of months kind of have colors too. Numbers don't really have colors either, well, maybe some of them, but it's not as strong. Some words as a whole even have a color association for me. Other people "taste" words. Or like that book The Man Who Tasted Shapes. That's a different kind of synesthesia than I have. Some actually see the colors of the letters on the page as they're reading. It's not like that for me. It's more like I grew up and saw a letter in a certain color on Sesame Street or something and it just stuck with me in my brain, so I associate it. I don't actually see it with my eyes; I just picture it that color in my mind's eye.
So, discovery of today: I am a Synesthete. A Grapheme-color Synesthete, to be precise.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gathering Back my Brain Drips

Yesterday we had the most interesting and mind-boggling discussion in class.
While I was walking home, I'm quite sure my brain was dripping out my ears.
So I put my headphones in
Both to listen to my iPod and to plug the holes my brain matter was oozing out of.
On my walk to school this morning I took the same route and scraped up all the gray drips of my own brain from the sidewalk.
I think I got it all.
The discussion went from this ted talk



to the Yin Yang of Taoism and how everything comes in twos, to a very confusing lecture on Quantum Mechanics and String Theory. I caught most of it, up to the double slit experiment. I understood what is possible to understand there. And when he was talking of all the empty space in atoms I remembered that from chemistry and also because of the Flash. You know how he moves so fast he can move through the empty space in atoms so he can walk through walls? (Pretty cool, eh?) After that I was lost until he showed a movie which discussed the interconnections of all matter in the universe and a guy compared it to music. A 'C' and an 'E' are nice notes, right? Put them together and you have a marvelous Major Third, the most popular and basic chord. But just a C is not a major third, and just an E is not a major third. The INTERCONNECTION of the two is! And then the interconnections of time and the notes ultimately make a melody which ultimately leads to music! Music is interconnections. Then I managed to swim to the top again. I even got the allusions to "The music of the spheres" from Kepler to Shakespeare to Pythagoras. Then today as I was reading a text book for a completely different class (ok, so technically nothing can be completely different from that class, since it's interdisciplinary.) Ancient Greece, it was talking about Pythagoras and his cosmic music that supposedly only he could hear! Interconnections!
Another interconnection I had was directly after my honors class. I was discussing the lecture with a fellow classmate and I mentioned Brian Regan sitting on his couch watching a NOVA on String Theory.



"I started watching it at eight PM, and at eight-oh-three, my brain exploded." I was wanting some potato chips and a couch. And I even remembered I had string cheese in my fridge at my apartment. And she was thinking of the same Brian Regan act during class too! Was it because she was sitting right next to me, and our right brains were interconnected because we were just two "energy beings" part of the same environment? Or was it our actual brain atoms moving all over the place, since there really are no boundaries according to Quantum Mechanics? I mean, maybe some of the molecules from her brain landed in my brain and gave me the thought, or vice versa. Or could it perhaps be that we are pretty much best friends and have even watched that particular video of Brian Regan together? Hmmm...the endless array of possibilities...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Random Thoughts Pertaining to HONR 4010 Theme: Library vs. Bookstore Economy

I'm thinking about the mapping project.
This mapping project.
A girl in class wearing a red shirt asked if she could do her map 3D.
Dr. Nickerson said his would be 4D
And everyone laughed, but not me, because I know what the 4th Dimension is.
(So did Dr. Nickerson. Time. He wasn't kidding.)
Where did I learn this?
One time I stumbled onto a video explaining the 10 Dimensions.
Wow was it cool. Wow was it mind boggling.
I love stumbling.
I love Firefox.

(P.S. Look what I found while stumbling!)


Memes.
Can a melody be a meme?
Like Dias Irea, the death motif from clear back in the Middle Ages.
It's in all sorts of things: the movie "The Ring," Berlioz's "Symphony Fantastique," heck, we played it in band today in one of the movements in "The Epic of Gilgamesh."
Media allows memes to travel...little "Swimming memes"
Ha ha. Funny.
These little memes swimming through media waves can sweep through the world in seconds thanks to the internet.
(I love Firefox.)
Do animals have memes?
Once I saw some monkeys on TV.
One was taught to work this little "monkey slot machine" that gave her a treat if she pulled the levers and pushed the buttons in the right order.
Then other monkeys in her little group watched her do it, then they all took a turn and they could do it too. On the first try--just from watching.
It was all the rage.
Then they took the "slot machine" and let the enemy monkeys in the cage across the way try it, and just from watching a those other ones do it, who weren't even the same type (in fact one type of monkey would kill and eat the other type of monkey if they were together.) well, anyway, those monkeys could do it on their first try too, and they were in a zoo. It wasn't like some scientist was holding down said enemy monkeys and making them watch. They had other things they could be doing like climbing on their jungle gym or picking fleas out of one another, or just sitting somewhere out of sight, but some watched and learned and imitated. That's what memes are: "any thought or behavior that can be passed from one person [or perhaps monkey] to another by means of imitation." (thanks Wikipedia, even though you are often unreliable. I won't even get started on that from my intellectual/history major viewpoint.) Memes are often in the form of fashion trends, like in Korea when every girl had one of those velcro monkeys around her neck for about 2 weeks. That meme passed quick.

A library is a giant reservoir of memes say Dr. Nickerson.
Memes go out of style, but we keep a record, and sometimes they come back. Like bell bottoms. Museums are meme reservoirs. One guy in class pointed out that DI is a big meme reservoir. "Don't mind me, I'm just going to that big storehouse of memes next to Central Park" or "I'm going to go study at the meme reservoir where it's quiet." Or, "Hey, I could really use a 25 cent shirt, I'm going to go shop at Dated Meme Industries."

Libraries are today's Oral Tradition. Not that it's oral...it's what has taken that place. Instead of having someone keep our stories in their brains for us, everything is stored in books, newspapers, etc. and that all ends up at the library. Of course before libraries came around written language replaced oral tradition. Did you know The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in the first written language? Not the music I played in band today, but the actual epic. But still weird how things end up linking, isn't it?

My phone's ringing. In class today Dr. Petersen told us the flip phone comes from an idea on Star Trek. I've never watched Star Trek, but that's still pretty cool. So obviously science fiction can influence technology. They were making comic books about going to space before anyone actually did it. But what do you bet those NASA engineers and Sputnik creators read those comic books as a kid and dreamt? Ok, so I'm not sure if that kind of stuff was popular in the Soviet Union, but possibly. When I wrote my senior thesis last semester there was a girl who wrote her thesis at the same time and her's was on how science fiction affected history. (Because we're history majors.) But really, technology is part of history. What American history class have you taken that didn't cover the cotton gin or the Industrial Revolution? Ever heard of Johannes Gutenberg and his movable type? That changed history. "My favorite tall tale is about Eli Whitney and his interchangeable parts." I can't remember who said that, but it's still pretty awesome and somewhat relevant since I was talking about inventions and the cotton gin, which also happened to be invented by Eli Whitney.