Thursday, January 31, 2013

The nose never lies

Today on my drive home, the sun was in my eyes. I actually had to squint because the sun was so bright. And that's not all: between the puffs of clouds there were definite patches of blue sky.

But the most encouraging sign is that my nose has been itching for almost 24 hours. It's that, more than anything, that has convinced me that we're finally heading into a warm-ish stretch. Hallelujah.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Breaking free of "the image"

People tend to be amused when they see that Mugglenet is my home page. Especially now, after all the Potter stuff is over. However, it's kind of fun to keep up with what's going on in the Muggle world post-Harry Potter. A few weeks ago, they released a Harry Potter calendar that had special dates like the anniversary of when Harry Potter figured out the egg's clue in the Prefects' bathroom. I am only a little bit ashamed that I seriously considered buying it.

Mostly, though, the site is a stalking machine and reports on anything newsworthy the Potter stars are up to, from Emma Watson being mistaken for a child at the airport to Daniel Radcliffe's success in his latest movie or play.

Over the past few years, there's been a growing frustration--among the trio especially--about breaking free of their iconic Potter roles. They've moved on, but to millions around the world, Dan, Rupert, and Emma are branded into people's minds as Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

Mugglenet has taken it upon itself to ensure the trio gets plenty of non-HP exposure. Today's headline, "Rupert Grint departs from Ron Weasley image with new thriller film," gushes over the "purposeful departures" Dan, Rupert, and Emma have embarked upon in recent years. It glowingly praised Dan's success in roles that required nudity and was very congratulatory toward Rupert about his new role as a drug addict porn star. As for Emma, well, let me put it in their words: "We also reported on Emma Watson's projects, which are usually wholesome, but soon she will be seen in a role that is as far away from the real Emma as possible when she portrays a real-life criminal in The Bling Ring."

Potter stars aren't the only ones who want to shed their wholesome images. Disney stars like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez have gone through great lengths to convince the world that they're more than just parent-approved role models.

It's tempting to blame the "degradation" of these lost souls on the poison of fame, but fame isn't really the issue here. I think we all want to overcome our own image at some point in our lives, whether that image is "good" or "bad."

When I was growing up, I was the poster child Molly Mormon to a lot of people. In elementary school, I thrived at being the obedient goodie-goodie (at least at school--I'm positive no one will vouch for my angelic nature at home). By middle school, though, I resented the stereotype society had placed me in. It really bugged me when people said things like "Oh, but Angela would never do anything like that," as if I were a plastic cut-out incapable of doing anything more unexpected than tipping over. Inwardly, I would tell these people, "Oh yeah? Well sometimes I sneak out my window at nights without my parents knowing!" just to prove that there was more to me than meets the eye, but of course I never said anything.

My crowning moment of glory came in 6th grade when I was in Mr. Lewis' math class. There was a ban on gum and pens throughout the school, because everyone knows that 12-year-olds can't be trusted with them. No longer Miss Obedient, I chewed gum whenever I pleased, though I was discrete about it. One day, however, I was so engrossed in my math problem that I forgot to monitor my chewing. Mr. Lewis approached my desk solemnly and said, "I never thought I would say this to you, but will you please spit out your gum?"

The entire class broke out into soft titters of shock. As I got up from my seat in the front row, the noise built up around me as my classmates discussed in horror my descent from perfection. I, however, was far from horrified. In fact, I was jubilant that I had knocked myself off the pedestal of Molly Mormonism, and it took all the willpower I had to not break out into a huge grin of triumph. I had finally shown them what I was capable of.

And I haven't changed much. Not really. I still have a difficult time hiding my pleasure when people find out that I have sworn at my car a few times, that I can hold my own in a punching war against my little sister, and that I pretend all the stop signs in Elk Ridge are yield signs.

But what, exactly, is so bad about people thinking you're good? Is is the expectations? Implied lack of character? Frustrations with being lumped into a stereotype?

It's an perplexing issue, one that isn't limited to any one stereotype.

Monday, January 21, 2013

This darn cold

I don't know about anyone else, but I am tired of this constant, frigid cold. I don't ever remember it being this cold for this long.

  • The tips of my fingers and toes are extra dry and tender, so I have to put lotion on twice as much as usual to keep them from cracking. Stubbing my toes is also particularly painful. Ow.
  • I might as well keep my butter dish in the fridge, because the butter never thaws out enough to spread easily when I have my morning toast.
  • I've been getting a lot of practice walking in my high-heel boots the past three Sundays because I now value warmth more than my own life.
  • I sleep with my socks on now, plus 3-4 blankets (except for last night--I slept with a whopping 5 blankets).
  • I like to save my firelogs for the really cold days, which means I'm burning a log a day, even with heat blasting through my vents.
  • I think my heater really sucks, actually.
  • And then I get my heat bill and the whole situation is more sucky.
  • With the yucky air and my filthy car windows, it was getting difficult to drive through town safely, so I finally coughed up five bucks for a car wash. However, I was too cheap to pay an extra dollar for the power dry, so when I got home there were frozen streaks of water stuck to my car.
  • My toes are sore from all the times I've kicked fenderbergs off my car.
  • I'm actually glad it takes my computer forever to boot up in the mornings; it gives me extra time to unthaw my fingers (sitting on my hands is the most effective method).
  • I hate walking by my front door and the windows of my apartment because that's where the evil cold air is.
  • Sometimes I think I'll get frostbite from walking on the cold tiles in my house.
  • When I was a kid, taking the garbage out was my favorite chore because it took the least amount of time. Now I abhor any chore that requires an extra trip outside. It takes special planning now to rid my apartment of garbage, such as donning Eskimo apparel and timing my dashes outside to coincide with the sun.
  • Why, oh why can't I just have a 15-minute, steaming-hot shower?
  • Walking from my car to my office building is an interesting experience for someone who had a perpetually runny nose.
  • One of my co-workers is in Hawaii this week. I'm mad that I didn't get an invite for an all-expenses-paid vacation from single-digit temperatures. I mean, that's not too much to ask, is it?
  • I actually did laundry a little earlier than I had planned last week because I was out of long-sleeved shirts and baseball socks.
  • I can't wait for Sunday because according to, the high is 43 degrees. Toasty warmth at last. . . .
Okay, rant over. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Passion: The destroyer of meaninglessness

I just finished reading a book about a guy who goes through life thinking that nothing matters. He doesn't care about anything because he figures we're all gonna die anyway, so what's the point?

I really hate this view on life. I feel deep pity for anyone who truly believes that there is nothing in life worth living for.

However. . . .

There are times when I get caught up in the daily slog of things and I forget that each day is a new, irretrievable treasure. Especially in January/February when life is more sloggish than usual. It's hard to be excited about life when the sun is in partial-hibernation mode and it's so cold outside it hurts; but it's easy to retreat into uncaring mode, even if you're a pretty content and optimistic human being like me.

Eventually, though, I always remember that I have so many things that matter, things that matter so much that they overshadow any moods I get myself into. Sometimes I even realize this before March releases me from the dark prison of winter.

This year, the trigger for me was the release of a book I've been waiting to read for 10 years. The anticipation for the book and the delight I experienced reading it was enough to yank me out of my uncaring mode and back into a fast-paced life of delight. Work was satisfying again. School was fun again. Snow was magical again. It was like (to use a Wheel of Time analogy) I had embraced saidar again after not touching the Source for a few weeks.

Of course, there is a downside to living a life of passions. Such as one restless night because you finish the book you've been preparing to read for 10 years and then you are morally obligated to lie in bed for hours afterward thinking about it, and another restless night the next day because you keep replaying the last five seconds of the BYU-St. Mary's game in your head.

But, if I have to sacrifice a little sleep to live a life of passions, I'll take it. That is, as long as I don't miss out on too much sleep, because it just so happens that I'm passionate about sleep too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nerd alert

Today I received two very important packages.

Number 1:

I haven't waited as long as most die-hard WoT fans for this book, but I've still been waiting for 10 years. In fact, the only thing that kept me from giving up on the series was the thought of just how awesome this book would be. A few goosebumps appeared on my arms when I held this book in my hands for the first time; that hasn't happened since Harry Potter. Speaking of Harry Potter. . . .

Number 2:

Yes, those are authentic wands from the greatest trio of all fiction: Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Best Christmas bonus I ever got. Neville's and Luna's wands should be there as well, but the owl that delivered them got all lost and confused and delivered them to my parents' house instead. My plan is to Summon them to my apartment, but I need a little more practice first.

It was very hard getting any work done today, knowing that these wonderfully nerdy gifts were sitting at home. Think 8-year-old kid on Christmas Eve.

In fact, what am I talking to you for? I've got some serious reading to do.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The beauty of new years resolutions

I had only planned to make one new years resolution this year. The new years resolutions naysayers had finally gotten through to me and I felt silly thinking about resolutions when everyone says they are useless anyway. So I just picked a "theme" for the year and planned to center all my self-improvement efforts on my theme.

Then came January 2. The bustle, warmth, fun, boredom, and Kodak moments of the holidays come to a brutal end and, despite thinking I was ready for a healthy dose of reality, all I can see in front of me is months of bitter cold and sunless days, more of same from last year, and almost six months until my next vacation day.

That's not exactly the bright future I envisioned for 2013 from the other side of January 2.

So I made some resolutions, knowing full well that I will have forgotten about some of them by the end of February. But right now, that doesn't matter so much. The goals I make at the beginning of every year do more than help me improve various aspects of my life. They light up the dank months of January and February by reminding me of all the wonderful things I will accomplish that year, and give me hope that this year could be the best year of my life.

On January 2, I didn't have any grand plans for 2013. Now, however, I suspect that 2013 will be my year.