05 December 2011 @ 04:14 pm
semester in review: week fifteen  
I think my favourite part of December is watching my tv shows do Christmas specials, not going to dance around it. I really want my house to empty so I can sing Christmas songs loudly and badly. How weird is that?


Jam of the week: This Christmas album by The Lower Lights that I just need to buy.


Book of the week:



I saw the film of Persepolis a few years ago because a) it was a cartoon b) it was in French. I remember liking it, so of course when I saw the two-volume set of graphic novels at the library I took them home. I have to confess I liked the film better, but the graphic novels were still very cool. I love the autobio comic genre and I especially love the variation in artistic styles. It's great to be reminded that a deeply moving story can be told with simple artwork, because sometimes in our society we equate cartoons with kid material. Persepolis isn't for everyone, given its generally adult subject matter, but it is a terrific example of that elusive quality in comic books: a poignant story artfully told.


Art project of the week:

At a church activity on Monday, we made gingerbread houses! Yum. I was going for a low-sugar option by not putting any candy on my house, but it looked lonely so I added some obligatory Skittles and Smartees.







I won third place in our little contest. The first place winners did a frosting recreation of a typical temple, bunch of show-offs.


Recipe of the week:

Leek soup a la Mireille Guiliano of French Women Don't Get Fat fame. She calls her leek soup "magical" because supposedly it's the secret to losing three pounds over a weekend. I was feeling gross after Thanksgiving (duh) but I didn't want to do the entire three-day purge, so I just made some leek soup Monday and Tuesday for dinner. So easy: slice and boil the white parts of a leek and allow it to simmer for about half an hour. That's it. I also added some chicken broth, black pepper, and lemon juice for taste. I'd forgotten how comforting hot, soft leeks can be. Yum.

Also, French Women Don't Get Fat is a really great book for anyone sick of strict diet plans and brutal gym routines. It's about making tiny changes to improve your overall well-being for life, not just for two weeks to drop a few pounds. The main message is to fully enjoy your pleasures but in smaller amounts, like the French do. I first read this book maybe five or six years ago and I revisit it often because it suits my philosophy about food and health in general: practice balance, make easy compensations, do exercises you actually enjoy, and celebrate chocolate.


Rant of the week:

I don't want to get a facebook. I really don't. Back when I had one, I checked it compulsively and it negatively reflected the way I acted toward my facebook friends (sound familiar?). I find the facebook culture to be intrusive and unhealthy---a person might decide whether they want to get to know you or not based on some photos of you that a friend put up, and facebook is such a monumental time-waster.

And yet, everyone is on facebook. I'm an anamoly for not having one, and people who know me in real life claim they can never get in touch with me without one. The majority of my social interaction with people is face-to-face or via phone calls. I'm worried that when I graduate and move away from all my college friends they'll completely forget about me (like my high school friends did when I deleted my facebook). I don't want that to happen, because I genuinely enjoy the few friends I've managed to make over the last four years. I don't want them to give up keeping in touch with me just because I don't have a facebook. Especially since I'll be leaving on my mission in a few months and will only be able to correspond by snail mail, by the time I get back the only way people would be able to find me would be a social networking site like facebook. But I really don't want to get one.

My plan as of now is to just wait until 2013 when I get back from Japan to see what the latest social site is. Nobody I know uses Google + (maybe it's just not a west coast thing?) although that might change in two years. Or there might be something completely new on the internet that everyone loves, who knows.

Welp, this rant has been pointless. I'm also annoyed that some people I interact with don't even seem interested in keeping touch with me. Sometimes I get the vibe that "Oh, you're going on a mission anyway so I'd better not invest time in you." What is that all about.


Triumph of the week:

I FINALLY finished my 15-page Edgar Allan Poe paper! By "finally," I mean that it has been looming over me for weeks so of course I waited until the weekend before it was due to actually work on it. I cannot even express what a relief it is to be finished, because from now to the end of the semester will be a breeze, just a few exams to study for and I can handle exams. I feel pretty confident in my paper, too. B+ at the very least. I have high A's in all my classes right now, so it'll be nice to graduate on such a high note.


Wishlist of the week:

This tee shirt of a Dalek snowman. Actually, I don't want the shirt as much as I just want to make a snowman shaped like a Dalek. If I were more awesome, I would sneak over to my Doctor Who friends' house and build them one. Oh man, check out all these glorious Dalek snowmen on the internet.


Spiritual experience of the week:

I had a lot of little boosts the last few days mostly in relation to my mission to Japan. Over Thanksgiving, my family was all really excited about me learning the language and experiencing the culture and all that fun stuff, so of course my mind was buzzing with what an adventure it's going to be to live and teach in Tokyo for eighteen months. At my mission prep class on Tuesday, however, we watched a film that reminded me all the foreign culture is secondary to my real reason for being a missionary: the people. I don't know any of them yet, but already I love them so much that I can't wait to share with them what brings me so much joy. I'm really glad I was reminded of that as my leave date looms closer. As much as I know being a missionary will challenge and strengthen me for the better, that's not why I'm doing it---not completely, anyway. I'm giving up my eighteen months to serve others---to help them be happy---and to serve God.

Also, yesterday I had the thought that the times I've spent preparing for a mission have been some of the sweetest of my life. I have never felt so purpose-driven, and I have made so many good choices simply by asking myself whether an activity would help or harm my spiritual and emotional preparation. In my mission prep classes I've learned and developed skills in studying, in teaching, and in sharing my thoughts that will help me the rest of my life, not just in the next two years. This semester has brought me so much personal growth and confidence, and I directly attribute it to the extra strength I've received as a prospective missionary.




Note to self: vacuum your floor. It is disgusting.
Note to self part two: staring at the phone and thinking "Call me call me call me" will probably not work, even if you think it very hard.
 
 
Current Mood: okay
Current Music: In-Flight Safety - "Fairytale of New York"
 
 
 
( 7 comments — comment? )
Sam: atla: kyoshi warriorsveritasera on December 6th, 2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
Trust me, Google+ isn't just "not a west coast thing." Me and my fellow circle of techie, web-involved friends all got into the beta over the summer, spent a lot of time fooling around with it and making posts about what this meant for the future of social networking and the INTERNETS, changed tack to making thoughtful posts about where G+ went wrong, and then had forgotten it within about two months. I maybe logged in three weeks ago. Once. Because I got an email notification about it. It seems like an interesting place to read certain interesting people's thoughts, if you add like some writers from Wired or critics or celebrities to your circles, but it doesn't seem to have much use beyond that. No one from "real life" is on it.

Your trip sounds so exciting! I knew you were going on a mission trip of some kind and were really involved in your church, but somehow I didn't realize you were LDS (if that's correct? I figured because of the temple...). It sounds like you're gonna have an amazing time. But I would say it would help to remember that the foreign culture is the people, in a way. That's the only way I finally clicked with being so lonely and stressed out in China. :)

Edited at 2011-12-06 04:31 pm (UTC)
brytningbrytning on December 6th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
It's sad that Google + isn't a thing, because from what I remember about facebook the interface is way better. (I think I heard something about one of the main Apple guys doing the design...?) Most of the artists I follow (on tumblr) have accounts there and do hangouts all the time, but maybe you're right. Maybe it's just another place for internet friends.

Yes, I'm going on an LDS mission! I'm pretty sure it's going to be the highlight of my life for a long time C: From what I've heard of other missionaries, the worst part is those first few months when you don't understand the language and you're not used to the local food, but after that you settle in and have a hard time going home!
Isabelle Melançonsecondlina on December 7th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
I'm glad your upcoming trip is so motivating for you :D You're going to rock it so much!

Ah, Persepolis is amazing. I remember being upset though, when I noticed that they censored a couple of things in the English version. I read both, so I saw the differences. Censorship in Persepolis is just... disgusting.

Your little house is lovely! :D
brytningbrytning on December 7th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice any censoring...I mean, there was a ton of "objectionable" content in there that wasn't censored, so I can't see why they would take some things out and leave others in. That doesn't make sense.

And thanks! C:
Isabelle Melançonsecondlina on December 7th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
The censorship was mostly visual. At some point, Satrapi explains that the men at the university she attends have pants so tight you can clearly see the boy's genitals. In the original, you get a nice crouch shot to confirm her complaints. In the english, that's gone. So, American censorship = critiques of muslims okay, penises bad.
brytningbrytning on December 7th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
That's so weird. American media has no problem objectifying women's bodies.

Isabelle Melançonsecondlina on December 7th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I never got that either.
( 7 comments — comment? )