Friday, May 31, 2013

Mad Friday, defined

Mad Friday, noun. An condition that occurs when a person (usually an adult) wakes up extra groggy on Friday morning and goes throughout the day in a spectacularly bad mood and a non-caring attitude about all responsibilities. Mad Fridays are usually caused by an inordinately long week, prolonged bitterness after a long weekend or vacation ends, or intense boredom. Mad Fridays can be dangerous, as they often cause the victim to be uncharacteristically violent or mean. The only known cure to a Mad Friday is a nap.

Examples of Mad Friday
  • She suffers from Mad Fridays almost weekly.
  • Many poor, unsuspecting individuals have been blasted by her lethal glare that only appears on Mad Fridays.
  • Her mom always said, "If you let Mad Friday get to you, eventually your face will freeze like that."
Origin of Mad Friday

The origin of Mad Friday is unclear, but it is generally agreed upon that the term arose in the early 21st century after an American millennial (name unknown) was rudely awakened by an obnoxious beeping noise.

Related to Mad Friday

Synonyms: talk to the hand, cantankerous, uber ornery
Antonyms: Happy Friday, optimistic, awake

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday holidays

I'm usually a big fan of Monday holidays, primarily because they make Sundays so much more enjoyable. They also demonstrate that the world can be merciful at times because, 2-4 times a year (depending on whether you get MLK Day and Presidents' Day off), we get to skip Tuesday. Yes, technically we play on Monday and resume our normal lives on Tuesday, but if it's the first day of the work week my brain is forced into Monday Mode.

What is Monday Mode, you ask? It means that I slept very little the night before, that I'm not fully awake until 11:30 a.m., that I have extra work to do, and that the only thing I want to do after work is put my pajamas on and read/watch TV.

Then I realize that tomorrow is Wednesday, the middle of the week, and the future suddenly looks so much brighter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I really like going on walks. Now that it's finally warm outside, I've abandoned my halfhearted inside workout routines for daily 40-minute walks.

That is, until Monday. It was raining, and I wasn't in a good enough mood to walk outside in the rain. So I holed up inside, did my homework like a good girl, and then did a 25-minute full-body workout. No sweat, literally.

The next day, I played softball and used muscles I haven’t used for a year. And despite my statement that I can play any position but catcher, I ended up playing catcher, which means I did more work than anyone else on the field.

The result? All of my leg muscles above the knee feel like they're being smashed by a piano whenever I get out of my chair. My throwing arm gets stiffer every hour. And pretty soon there will be no guarantee that I'll be able to breathe again after I twist or laugh.

They say walking provides the widest breadth of physical benefits. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Harry Potter-based personality analysis

You know you miss my Harry Potter-themed blog posts.

Yesterday, while walking around a deserted tennis court after a rainstorm, I was listening to MuggleNet's Alohomora podcast (which I totally recommend, by the way). In addition to the discussions on the sentient-like life of portraits and Muggle vs. Wizard punishments, there was a fascinating discussion on wands. So fascinating, in fact, that I'm seriously considering wandlore as my Wizard profession. Or maybe I'll just shadow Ollivander for a couple decades and then write a book about it.

Anyway, the moderators all talked about their Pottermore wands and how the wands complement their personalities. Pottermore is much better at guessing personality types than horoscopes and name dictionaries and other stuff like that (it's magic, duh), and since I'm a Harry Potter wizard wannabe, I consider pretty much everything Pottermore says about me solid fact.

So I finished my walk and dashed back inside to research my own wand and perform a personality analysis on myself. I was positively quivering with excitement.

Wands have four components: length, wood, core, and flexibility. I'll go over each of these in greater detail, stealing liberally from Pottermore as I go.

Length: 14 1/2 in

Here's what Mr. Garrick Ollivander has to say about wand lengths:
Many wandmakers simply match the wand length to the size of the witch or wizard who will use it, but this is a crude measure, and fails to take into account many other, important considerations. In my experience, longer wands might suit taller wizards, but they tend to be drawn to bigger personalities, and those of a more spacious and dramatic style of magic. Neater wands favour more elegant and refined spell-casting. However, no single aspect of wand composition should be considered in isolation of all the others, and the type of wood, the core and the flexibility may either counterbalance or enhance the attributes of the wand's length.
Most wands will be in the range of between nine and fourteen inches. While I have sold extremely short wands (eight inches and under) and very long wands (over fifteen inches), these are exceptionally rare. In the latter case, a physical peculiarity demanded the excessive wand length. However, abnormally short wands usually select those in whose character something is lacking--
Ha! Umbridge lacks character. I am shocked.
--rather than because they are physically undersized (many small witches and wizards are chosen by longer wands).
I can't help but feel a little smug that my wand is slightly longer than average, as if it means I'm slightly more awesome than average. It's interesting that wand length has a lot to do with "big personalities." I wouldn't classify myself in the big personality group, but I like to think I'm mysterious enough to keep people wondering who I really am. I also talk with my hands a lot (and I'm not talking about sign language here), so I'm pretty sure I would need more space to perform complex wand movements.

Wood: Cypress
Cypress wands are associated with nobility. The great medieval wandmaker, Geraint Ollivander, wrote that he was always honoured to match a cypress wand, for her knew he was meeting a witch or wizard who would die a heroic death. Fortunately, in these less blood-thirsty times, the possessors of cypress wands are rarely called upon to lay down their lives, though doubtless many of them would do so if required. Wands of cypress find their soul mates among the brave, the bold and the self-sacrificing: those who are unafraid to confront the shadows in their own and others' natures.
I am drawn to honest people who know who they are and are okay with it rather than those who try to be like everyone else. I find boldness more attractive than sensitivity. Cypress is a very appropriate wood for me.

And I'm going to die a heroic death! How cool is that?

Core: Unicorn
Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard.
Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously manhandled, meaning that the hair may 'die' and need replacing.
I cheered a bit when I read that unicorn cores are the most difficult to turn to the Dark Side. I am pure, people! (And very humble.) I love that unicorn cores make the most faithful wands. I am not one to switch allegiances easily, and I was told by an employer once that my loyalty to the company was second to none. I have no worries that my wand would die of melancholyness because I tend to get very attached to my things. I'm glad that my wand feels the same way.

Flexibility: Hard
Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair--although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor the owner's life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.
As long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I'm perfectly flexible. And change can, I don't know, go jump off a cliff or something.

Final Thoughts

All these elements combined create a wand that is an extension of me. It takes into account my stubbornness, my moral compass, and my scorn for fake people. It's a fairly powerful wand (but not as powerful as, say, Harry's wand) and particularly conducive for doing good things (like fighting evil) over and over again. I'm sure my wand wouldn't work right for anyone else, unless it was someone I'd be willing to lay down my life for. I doubt I would ever move on to a second wand like some adult wizards do because this wand suits me so well--and if something suits me well, nothing else could ever be good enough, no matter how many tricks it's hiding up its sleeve.

Pretty fun, eh? I'm really hoping Pottermore will tell me what my Patronus is so I can do another analysis. Maybe some day I'll get to take a career match questionnaire, too.

I'd love to hear others' thoughts on why their House and wand suits them. (That is, assuming I have some friends who are as nerdy as I am).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A May day

I felt rather odd when I woke up the morning of May 1. My calendars told me that it was the month of flowers, of graduations, of pool openings, of longer days.

Internally, I was still in March mode. The month of wind, rain, snow, and sunshine. The thick, fluffy snowflakes my cheap blinds failed to shield from me reinforced my resigned acceptance of Utah's bipolar spring weather.

But something felt a little off. The sun rose before I rolled out of bed in the mornings and would cast an annoying reflection on my TV until at least 8:30 p.m. People were talking about summer plans, not spring break plans. I went to work a few times without a jacket. 

These types of things don't usually happen in March, but still I could not shake the feeling that we'd be stuck in the cold grip of the vicious winter of '12 forever.

But today, I believe. The twittering birds aren't an illusion, the tulips outside my apartment building aren't fake, and the sun doesn't have to break through as many ice barriers to get to me. It doesn't matter that I had to wear my glasses today because one of my eyes felt like there was a nail jammed into the back of it, that it was Tuesday, or that I had to spend the day inside. Today, I truly believe, not just hope, that summer will appear on the 2013 calendar.

It's a lovely May day, ya'll.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Dream diary

Something strange happened to me over Conference Weekend. I had not been sleeping like, at all, for about two months, and then I slept over at my parents' house for two days. I slept in an ancient half of a bunk bed and to my surprise, my sleeping problem was miraculously cured (minus the horrible night I spent in the motel on the rock-hard bed in Monticello). I have been sleeping fabulously ever since (minus the usual 1–2 hours it takes to fall asleep), which means I start every day with a fresh load of new dreams.

I thought I would share a few of them so you guys can try to figure out what's wrong with me.

The recurring high school dream. My high school dreams are getting so repetitive. In every one I've had recently, I can never find my choir music, I'm freaking out because I forgot to read Asher Lev and I know Mrs. Earl will fail me if she finds out (which is weird, because we read The Chosen in her class, not Asher Lev), and I can never remember where my math book—or my math classroom—is. I wish I could resolve whatever issues I have with high school so I could move on and start dreaming about college.

Camping in the cave. Me, some co-workers, and some movie stars are part of this big expedition to explore this cave. Conveniently, the cave is stocked with beds, restaurants, bathrooms, and is only accessible by car. One day the "officials" tell us we're going to do an earthquake drill, which means getting in a bus and driving off a cliff. I was the only one to survive the drill.

The concert. Because I am an awesome older sister, I invited Shannan to come to a concert with me. In order to get in, we had to have Harry Potter wands. I bought one for each of us. Mine was Snape's and it was really crooked. I spent like five minutes trying to figure out how I would aim with a crooked wand—which angle of the stick would I point at the person I was trying to curse? Shannan's wand belonged to the "Darker Snape," which was really ominous. There was scary music in the background when we read the name. Shannan started out like 9 years old, and by the end she was a baby.

Singles ward job interview. I was checking out this singles ward in Provo and found many old friends in the ward. Sunday School turned into this mass job interview thing, and I had to do my interview while Jaxson was squirming around on my lap, because for some reason I couldn't get to the interview without Tiffany, and she of course had to bring the boys with her.

Talking nephews. I've had several dreams where Jaxson and Bronx are talking to me. I think I miss those guys.

The vague one that happened at Grandpa Jackson's house. It involved detectives, a wedding on the lawn, and a really difficult escape plan down Grandpa Jackson's long driveway.

The Great San Francisco Balloon Drop and Earthquake. I'm on the Golden Gate Bridge with an old roommate (Danielle). Only the bridge is a bus-shaped hot air balloon that is kept afloat by flying trapeze artists. Then some mean guy cut all the trapeze guys down and the balloon went crashing to the water. It was really hard to get out of the tiny bus windows (have you ever tried to do that?) so not everyone survived. I'm pretty sure my roommate didn't, because she wasn't in the rest of the dream. Those of us who made it ashore were freezing so we were all fighting over the non-shady spots, which was difficult because the shore was overshadowed by the world's largest roller coaster. Then an earthquake hit and the ground kept cracking and swallowing people up. The only way to avoid being swallowed up was to hold on to a helium balloon, which were powerful enough to keep you afloat. I ended up in this room that looked like the cave thing in Aladdin because it had so many cool artifacts, and me, an old friend (Ryne Steinacker), and Professor Lockhart were fighting over all the balloons and leading a bunch of random strangers out of danger.

Any psychological analyses would be appreciated.