Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The ice is thin come on dive in

So. Olympics. I'm a total junkie. Winter or summer, it doesn't matter. I've seen three different torch relays (Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Athens). I watch as many events as I can, though I do have my favorites. As I told Eilonwy, it doesn't matter who is competing for what, I will get tense watching events and competitors I wouldn't care about any other time of the year. I love hearing stories about the athletes, watching them express their joy with their success, and am sad for them when it doesn't quite go their way.

This Olympics, I have discovered two sports I hadn't really watched previously - curling and ice dancing. I even understand curling now, thanks to watching a few matches, reading some articles, and playing bocce ball (the scoring is somewhat similar), which helps me enjoy it even more.

Now, I don't really understand the scoring of ice dancing, but I do enjoy watching it and I've finally figured out what a twizzle is. Except for compulsory dance. That's really boring. Things don't really get interesting until original dance and free dance. There are some really creative moves - the lifts are my favorite (typical). Tonight there was even a lift where the woman lifted the man, which was neat. Here are my other thoughts from tonight, and a few rather "priceless" commentator notes:

When the first Russian pair come on the ice, I thought to myself, because of her costume, "Hmm. I hope they're dancing to 'The Firebird'."

I was right.

From the commentators: "Ice dancing is often about 'here's the top; let's go over it.' "

I was also right that another pair was dancing about immigrants, because of their costumes. Their piece was apparently called "The Immigrants".

Ben Agosto has sparkly chest hair!

And finally, the one and only Bob Costas: "One has a penalty box. One has a kiss and cry area. Both are Olympic sports."

Thanks Bob, for pointing that out.

Finally, I'm always pleased when the Olympians sing and are otherwise properly respectful of their national anthems. The winners of tonight's ice dancing were appropriately enthusiastic. Congratulations!

Friday, February 19, 2010

We are the world

Eilonwy declared today Random Blogging Day, and I am nothing if not random. So here goes:

Things I do not like about the Olympics:

Subway commercials

Plushenko's hair

Staying up too late every night

Things I do like:

VISA commercials. Well, Morgan Freeman

That I'm usually watching them on TiVo, and I can skip the commercials

Shaun White's hair

Figure skating to Yann Tiersen compositions

Glittery argyle

Watching them with Eilonwy (tonight, simultaneously, thanks TiVo)

Commentators - except when they're being unnecessarily snobby, their comments are always fun

Joyful athletes, regardless of their outcomes

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sing from a book you're reading in bed

1. What are at least 2 of your favorite genres?
  • Urban fantasy (or, as I like to call it, alt-reality fiction) I like fantasy in general, but I just love fantasies with realistic settings running simultaneously with our own world
  • Historical fiction
2. What is your least favorite genre?
  • Fanfiction- I just can't get into it. I prefer to leave my characters and stories as the author intended.
3. What is your all-time favorite book?
  • The Giver - I can't give you a number 2 or 3, or even a top 5, other than this book, but this is definitely my all-time fave.
4. What is the first book you remember reading?
5. Do you prefer books or audio books?
  • Definitely paper books, but audiobooks are handy when I'm cataloging.
6. Who are your favorite authors?
  • Neil Gaiman first, but also Lois Lowry, J. R. R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Ray Bradbury. My guilty pleasure authors are Meg Cabot and Nicholas Sparks.
7. How many books do you read in a year?
  • Well, there was the year I read 54 (2008), and my Goodreads says I read 23 (just 1st reads) last year. I'd say that between 1st reads and re-reads, it's probably at least 30 or so a year, even during grad school and book challenges.
8. Do you buy books or borrow them from the library?
  • Yes. Both. If I need a specific book, like for my book challenge, I'll check the library, but I'm not usually hesitant to buy it if it's not there. Otherwise, it just depends. I love owning books (I sold back one textbook ever, and sometimes I still wish I could reference it), but I'm also a librarian.
9. How many books do you own?
  • I count 9 within arm's reach, plus two bookcases nearing full in the hall. Not to mention all the books that I still have in my old closet in my parents' house. Ah heck. I just counted the books on my shelves, and that number is 201, not counting music books and counting compilations as one. This also does not include any books I have loaned out or that are in my car.
10. What is your most prized book?
  • Probably my very well-loved copy of The Giver, the scriptures I've been using since my seminary days, or the Harry Potter books I'm collecting.
11. What are the worst books you have ever read (or tried to read)?
  • There was this awful book about The Rapture and a cult in Utah Valley and this woman who was somehow tied to all of it and was trying to save everyone, and the cars had autopilot, and somehow I still read the whole thing. It was bad.
12. Have you read any modern day sequels you liked?
  • Um, no. I think this falls in the area of fanfiction.
13. What is your favorite quote from a book?
  • Hmm. I really don't know. I have a hard time remembering quotes anyway. I have starting marking them, but I should also write them down.
14. Who is your all-time favorite male character?
  • Jonas, from The Giver
15. Who is your all-time favorite female character?
  • This changes sometimes, but Door from Neverwhere and Novalee Nation from Where The Heart Is are on the list.
16. What highly recommended book have you not liked?
  • I really didn't like Gone With the Wind and The Great Gatsby, the latter because it was over-analyzed in a Junior English class.
17. Name a character you love to hate?
  • I actually hit the book when I was reading about Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind she was driving me so crazy.
18. Do you belong to a book club?
  • A friend wanted to start one. We even picked a book. Haven't met yet.
19. What was the last book you purchased?
  • Looks like I ordered both The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World and Odds Are, You're Going to Be Exalted last month. I've already finished the latter and should finish the former soon.
20. What are you reading now?
  • The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World and The Miracle of Forgiveness and I know I've started a few others that I'll finish eventually.
21. What book made you cry the hardest?
  • Nineteen Minutes made me cry for reasons associated with the content, not the content itself. I don't cry easily over fiction, but that's one I remember.
22. What book made you laugh the most?
  • I giggled over a short story in Smoke and Mirrors. Otherwise, I'm not sure. Much like crying, I don't usually do more than chuckle if I'm reading something to myself.
23. What is your favorite children's book (one you would choose to read to your kids)?
  • There is more than one I will be reading to my kids. I love storytelling, so this is something I look forward to often.
24. If you were to choose a book to give as a gift, what would it be?
  • Like Eilonwy said, it really depends on the person, but books are great gifts.
25. List 5 books you have read more than once?
  • The Giver
  • Where the Heart Is
  • The scriptures
  • Neverwhere
  • Harry Potter books
26. What is your favorite book made into a movie?
  • Probably The Notebook, or any other Nicholas Sparks books/movies, see #27 for reasons
27. Did you like the book or movie better?
  • I almost always like the books better. If it was a good book, the movie just can't completely capture the whole story (e.g. Harry Potter, The Time Traveler's Wife, The Memory Keeper's Daughter). There are details and nuances and plot points that you just can't fit into a movie. Now, if it was a mediocre book, the movie can actually be enough on its own, like the Nicholas Sparks books/movies. This doesn't mean I don't like the movies, just that they aren't the same. I should flesh this out into a whole post someday, but that's basically it. There are, of course, exceptions to these rules.
28. What book would you like to see made into a movie?
  • No idea.
29. Do you prefer hardcover or soft copy?
  • Softcover, but hardcover does look so nice.
30. Do you leave the dustcover on while you are reading a book?
  • Yes. They are handy bookmarks.
31. Where do you usually read?
  • Bed. Couch. On the metro. On the floor. Standing on line. You know, wherever.
32. When do you usually read?
  • At night, before bed, but also whenever.
33. Do you keep a TBR (to-be-read) list?
34. Do you usually have more than one book that you are reading at a time?
  • Always.
35. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
  • I am a Bibliophibian (don't forget hover over the comic for the alt-text), having grown up in a house with many bookshelves, weekly trips to the library, and a mother who loves to read. (My dad enjoys reading, but not nearly as much as Mom and I.) I don't remember not reading or being read to. I hope my children will be Bibliophibians too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mmmm whatcha say?

Several of my friends in the area are updating their blogs this weekend, as I suspect many people in the area are. It's one of the few things you can do with snow like this. But, as I alluded to yesterday, I expected that my posts were relatively boring, since I'm not out adventuring or playing with friends or my children. There's not much you can say about sewing and watching tv. That's totally okay, of course. I just didn't really think I had anything that made for terribly interesting blog fodder.

Fortunately, I was wrong. In the two and a half hours I was digging my car out of two feet of snow, one of my across the street neighbors was doing the same. EVERY time I talk to this man, usually in passing as we're getting in or out of our cars, he has something to complain about. Today was no different. The following is our exchange, best as I can remember it. There was more complaining about the weather and more mumbling, that's for sure.


Joe: Good morning, I'm Joe.

Me: Good morning, I'm Amanda.

Joe: This weather sucks.

Me: Yeah. A lot of snow.

Joe: Yeah. And they don't know how to plow it. You'd think they'd cut the snow wider, around all the cars, instead of just straight through.

Me: Maybe.

Joe: And people drive so fast down it.

Me: The people I've seen haven't been so bad today.

shovel shovel shovel

Joe: Most of the churches are probably closed today.

Me: I know mine is. I'll just have to worship on my own today.

Joe: I already did. mumble My girlfriend in Florida. I'm moving down there as soon as my daughter graduates from high school.

Me: Oh? When's that?

Joe: June.

Me: Cool. Good for her.

shovel shovel shovel

Joe tries to borrow his housemate's shovel, who is actually using it, because it's better.

Housemate: You can have it in a few minutes, I'm almost done.

Joe: I'm supposed to be at work. Jerk. I won't give you a ride the next time you need one. See how you like that. to me He's such a jerk. I won't give him a ride next time. See how he likes it.

shovel shovel shovel

Joe: So much for global warming. We're supposed to get another 16 inches on Tuesday. You can already see the clouds. It's the winds from the Northeast. That's the trouble. This has got to stop. You know who the Prince of the Air is? It's his fault. It's not God's.

Me: Uh-huh.

shovel shovel shovel

Joe: Valentine's Day is next Sunday. I still need to order some flowers to send to my girlfriend.

Me: That's good. I don't have a boyfriend, so I'm not worried about it.

Joe: Oh really? I'm surprised. Pretty girl like you.

Me: Oh thanks. It's alright.

Joe: Y'know. It's the guys around here. They're crazy.

Me: I hear that.

Joe: But y'know, the women are too picky.

Me: Oh that's not my problem. Just haven't had the opportunity.

Joe: Let me tell you about some websites. mumble is supposed to be for Christian Singles, but they aren't nice to the women there. Christian Coffeehouse is good though.

Me: Um, thanks.

shovel shovel shovel Joe hires some teenagers who are out shoveling to help him.

Me: Well, I'm done. Back to hibernating. Good luck!

I did try to make a snow angel today. Unfortunately, my head didn't make much of an impact in the snow and my snow angel looked more like a snow hazmat symbol. Not exactly what I intended, but at least I did some playing!

Otherwise, the hibernation continues. Just because I can physically leave my apartment doesn't mean I will. Work is closed already tomorrow, and I don't really have any need to get out. It's nice, this little staycation. I wouldn't mind, however, a little less snow and a little more beach.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It snowed, it snowed, it snowed last night

So, you thought THIS was the Snowpocalypse? Wrong. That was just a preview. I'm feeling a bit like this exchange from Buffy:

Giles: It's the . . . end of the world.

Willow, Xander, & Buffy: Again!?

This time, it snowed for 30 hours straight, and the last I checked it was over 20" at the top of my driveway, past my knees. I don't care where you're from, that's a lot of snow. We were sent home early from work yesterday, and church has already been canceled for tomorrow. I was supposed to finish up my temp "just for kicks" job at the Kennedy Center today, but it seems my last day was Wednesday. It's too bad really, because all two evenings I worked that job (merch booth for the Alvin Ailey dance company) were actually fun of sorts. The extra cash is nice too.

And just what have I been up to since noon yesterday?

Not a heck of a lot.

I've caught up on all my currently running TV shows and season 2 of Angel and I'm just about finished with season 5 of Buffy. I've also made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (YUM). I did finally break out my new sewing machine and patch up my well-loved panda comforter so I can I stop putting toes and even feet through some of the holes, mostly on the edges, and now I'm even washing my sheets. In my most productive move of the day, I've finally sewn my flag patches on my backpack from my study abroad trip of 2004.

The most productive move of the day yesterday was to brush the snow off another driver's car. We were stopped at a light, and he still had snow on all his windows. I jumped out of my car and brushed enough snow off to notice he was also talking on his cell phone, but at least he could see now. Maybe I prevented an accident? Who knows? It's drivers like him that keep me off the streets in weather like this.

I haven't gone outside and played or shoveled or walked anywhere, because doing that alone just isn't all that exciting and I don't live close enough to anything worth walking in knee high snow for. I am fortunate that I haven't lost power at all.

It really is quite gorgeous outside (take a look), and I'm safe and warm. That's really all that matters.

Monday, February 1, 2010

When I have grown a foot or two

As I realize that many of you know and love my sister (though not as much as I do), I should probably officially announce that she is now a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She's in the Missionary Training Center now, and will leave for the Texas Houston East mission this Wednesday.

I really am excited for her. She is going to make a wonderful missionary, and is already a tremendous example to me in her devotion to the gospel. Though I wasn't able to be there for any of the official send off festivities, I was able to be with her, and the rest of our family, in the temple for her first time, and again at Christmas. It's amazing to be together there.
I do, however, miss her like crazy. I had to take her off my favorites on my phone, so I'm not tempted to call her. The cravings to talk to her have eased. Consequently, I'm getting much better at letter writing again.

And speaking of letters, if you want to follow her missionary adventures, you can check out her missionary blog. I'll be updating it for her at least weekly.

Hooray for sisters! Hooray for missionaries! Hooray missionary sisters!