Thursday, November 27, 2008

Home For The Holidays

If I were still on my mission, I'd be serving my last transfer right now. How very odd.

Last year I was not home on Thanksgiving (obviously). Ironically, this year my parents are observing Thanksgiving on Saturday in order to accommodate various schedules. This is the first year ever I did not eat turkey on Thanksgiving (though I did eat chicken).

I'll be coming home for Christmas, too. I wasn't planning on it originally, since I don't really have the money, but then I got to thinking and realized I haven't been home for Christmas since 2004. Who knew?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quiz: Piñata Guts

1. Which of the following would you expect to find in a piñata at a birthday party?

A. whipped cream, coffee grounds, and cucumbers
B. cooked spaghetti, tomato sauce, and chow mein noodles
C. french fries and ketchup
D. birthday cake ingredients (cake mix, oil, water, and whole eggs in the shell)
E. twinkies and dollar bills

2. Which of those were actually used as piñata stuffing at a birthday party which Betty attended earlier this year?

A. All of them in one piñata.
B. All of them in their respective piñatas.
C. Only E.
D. None of them.

It doesn't really matter how you answered the first question, but if you chose B for question #2, you win!

Here's a bonus question in case you didn't get the right answer:

3. Who got splorped by the contents of the whipped cream, coffee grounds and cucumber piñata?

A. Betty
B. Olive
C. The Birthday Girl
D. Tree Hugger
E. Someone else

Thursday, November 13, 2008

21st Century Hot Water Bottle*

The older I get (and yes, I realize 27 is not very old), the more I realize I'm turning into my mother (love you, Mom!). In particular, I am always cold. It used to astound me how cold my mom would get, and now I bring a jacket with me wherever I go.

My current residence is fairly warm, but my room tends to be a bit colder, for some reason. My bed, specifically, is quite frigid when I get in it at night.

Most nights I use my computer about half an hour before I go to bed (checking email, reading blogs, etc.), and the other night I had a grand idea. After I turned off my laptop, I placed it and the cord (that big box part of the cord that gets really hot--what's that called?) under my comforter. When I got into bed half an hour later, voila! My bed was warm!

Yet another reason I love my laptop.

*If you do not know what a hot water bottle is, click here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Slanted Helmet

When I was little, maybe ten or so, the law in my neighborhood changed so that every person under the age of 18 had to ride a helmet when riding a bicycle. My parents already made me wear a helmet, so the law didn't make much difference to me.

One day as I was biking around the park, a man with a notebook stopped me. He said he was a reporter and asked me what I thought about the new helmet law. I tried to use the most adult-sounding language I knew, and spoke to what I assumed was the adult point of view: I said it was a good law and it was a lot safer.

When the article came out in the paper a couple days later, I read through it to see if he'd quoted me, but he hadn't. In fact, he hadn't quoted anyone who thought the law was a good idea. The article was written to the people who didn't like the new law.

I kicked myself for a few minutes, wondering why I'd said what I thought he wanted to hear. "I should've just given him my real opinion," I thought. But then when I contemplated it further, I realized I had given him my real opinion: I did think helmets were safer, and it was a good law.

Having asserted my opinion to myself, I thus concluded that everyone quoted in the article was ignorant (yes, I know that's an arrogant conclusion--I was young, what can I say?), then continued on with my life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Got Rhythm... And That's All That Matters

I got to church on Sunday in plenty of time to practice the hymns. I looked them over: 138: Bless Our Fast, We Pray; 190: In Memory of the Crucified; and 254: True to the Faith.

"Ok," I thought. "Those shouldn't be too hard." I was mostly worried about 254, since it's a very bold upbeat song, and sounds really great with some fatty foot pedal action. But when I ran through the hymns (on a piano in a different room), the first one gave me the most trouble. It has a lot of accidentals, and the harmonization is already pretty unusual (as far as hymns go) without me adding my own spontaneous renditions (aka mistakes).

At 15 minutes before the hour, I went up to the chapel to play prelude music, but the organ was locked. I started playing the piano instead. When the chorister came in, I asked her who has the keys to the organ, and she walked over and opened it up. Um... I guess I just didn't pull hard enough? Yes, I felt stupid.

But at least it was open, right? I normally like to diddle with the stops for a while to pick what sounds good, but I didn't have time for that. I diddled with the presets instead, and settled on one that was decent.

Fast-forward to the end of the meeting. I'd messed up a lot on all the hymns, and was especially disappointed with my performance of the closing hymn, since I wore the wrong shoes and couldn't use the pedals at all without pushing more than one at a time (and my shoes were velcro and would have made a lot of noise had I taken them off). Oh well. I did the best I could.

What surprised me was how many compliments I received the rest of the day for my organ playing. And why? Because I'd taken hymn 254 at a clipping good tempo, instead of a slow dirge.

It just goes to show: rhythm is more important than accuracy.