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01 January 2012 @ 10:43 pm
Well, this blog's sort of fallen into disuse so I may as well officially say goodbye to livejournal along with the last year.

2011 in reviewCollapse )

Come February 8th I won't be an active blogger anymore because of my mission to Tokyo, but until then I'm still posting my comic diaries and photos at my bento blog.

Once I'm a missionary, I've set up a blog for my family to post my letters home as well as photos I take and things I draw, so the address for that is sisterlong.blogspot.com (the design still needs work).

Happy new year and happy blogging, friends!
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music: Coldplay - Viva La Vida
15 December 2011 @ 06:22 pm

Oh man, you guys, I am officially done with college and I'm moving out in half an hour. I don't think it's sunk in yet. Meanwhile, have a Tim!conversation.

Brittany: My drive home tonight will be the last time I have to take a road trip in years!
Tim: Really?
Brittany: Well, the last time I have to drive a road trip.
Tim: What about driving in Japan?
Brittany: Nope, not gonna. The letter I got said only people working in the mission office have to get a Japanese license.
Tim: Shouldn't you get yours anyway? Just in case?
Brittany: No, I hate driving! I hate driving period, but I especially hate driving in foreign countries. Actually, I've never done that, but I can imagine---
Tim: "Wah, wah, wah! My name is Brittany and I hate everything that requires responsibility!"
Brittany: Exactly! You get me, Tim.
Tim: I'm glad I get you. That makes me happy.
Brittany: More people should get me. Then happiness would abound.
Tim: It would, though! You are a great person.
Brittany: Awwwwww shucks!
Tim: And pretty---
Brittany: Awwww.
Tim: ---in your purple hipster dress.
Brittany: It's not a hipster dress!
Tim: Yes, but you're wearing it.
Brittany: Is that how it works?
Tim: Yep. Every piece of fabric you touch becomes hipster clothes.
Brittany:...I must use this power for good instead of evil!

Most times I talk to Tim go this way---one tries to be sincere (usually him) and the other (usually me) tries to make a joke of everything. IT'S GREAT.
14 December 2011 @ 01:13 pm
Ben Kling makes the best mixes. Here are some of my favourites to listen to while packing:

click for musicCollapse )
Current Mood: busy
11 December 2011 @ 02:39 pm
Jam of the week:

This is going to be stuck in my head forever. I don't mind.

Recipe of the week: pumpkin pie oatmeal. Every bit as delicious as it sounds.

Self-indulgent purchase of the week:

There were no classes on Friday in honour of Study Day (who studies?) so I went thrift shopping with my friend Ariel. There is this fantastic store here called the Catholic Thrift Shoppe. There are so many hilarious finds because for some reason the people who donate to this particular store all have very bad taste, especially in clothes. I love love love the room full of kitschy ceramic plates with cats on them, and there are old typewriters and porcelain Russian dolls and tacky purses and OH MAN it's just great. I am really entertained by thrift shopping.

All told, I did actually buy some great things: $0.75 blue Christmas lights for my staircase, a 1980's book about space travel (the illustrations are superb), a brown pleated skirt in faux tweed ($2.50), a cozy cowl-neck sweater that Ariel decided is the exact colour of a caramel latte ($2), and an over-sized knitted navy blue cardigan that is so comfortable it feels like it's giving me a hug when I wear it ($2). I'm usually not a sweater person, but for some reason I just gravitated toward all the fuzzy and warm things in the place. It wasn't even cold that day. I must be anticipating spending the next six weeks at my parents' house where Dad keeps the heater at a balmy sixty degrees in the winter.

Bento of the week:

My best-tasting lunch had cinnamon-y acorn squash and beautiful, crunchy pomegranate seeds. Yum! I had some fairly well-designed bentos all week, if I do say so myself. I'm practicing to enter this bento contest ending next week and the competition is stiff. In other bento news, I bought two more boxes on eBay this week that have yet to arrive in the mail. One is a simple single-tier square, and the other one is shaped like a hamburger, so you pull the pieces apart and the top "bun" turns into a bowl, the lettuce is a shallow dish, stuff like that. Adorbs.

Social event of the week:

On Friday night, I got invited to a "progressive dinner" by the same people I went to the Fall Formal with and some of their friends. The idea behind a normal progressive dinner is that you go to a different person's house for each successive course. We're lazy college students, naturally, so our dinner consisted of walking down Burger Alley (freeway exit where all the fast food places are) and buying dollar-menu items from six or seven different restaurants. I'm not big on fast food, but it was pretty fun. Very rarely in the last four years have I hung out with huge groups of friends, and every time I do I think, "This is great. I should do this more often." Later tonight I'm supposed to go over again to participate in "Iron Chef Cedar City" and watch The Muppets Christmas Carol, should be fun. I'm a bit sad that I'm starting to make more friends right when I'm about to move away, but it solves more problems than it creates (re: love triangle I created inadvertently and the reason I keep getting invited to stuff). I thoroughly enjoy solitude, but sometimes being around other people is just nice, especially when people want me to be there. The best friends are the ones that make you feel valued.

Audiobook of the week:

I LOVE getting classics on audiobook. I don't have the attention span to sit and read philosophical and/or verbose prose, but if I plug an audiobook in while I do dishes or walk to class, I can absorb the gist of difficult material with ease. Some of my fellow English majors think this is cheating, and others think it is a fantastic idea. I like getting to claim I've read classics without having to read them myself. Anyway, we studied Thoreau last week in American Literature, so I decided I might as well work my way through the entirety of Walden. I'm only half dozen chapters in, but so far most of the text has been Thoreau preaching about the virtues of independence and how great he was to live by himself. I'm wondering if it gets more narrative later, because sometimes during nineteenth-century philosophical discourses I zone out while listening. Things that have a plotline are much more interesting to me.

Spiritual experience of the week:

Today in church we had our all-music Christmas program and I sang in the choir, so that was cool. Sometimes I can be a grinch about the holiday spirit, but this year I've gotten better about Christmas songs that are meant to be worshipful. Anyway, I had sort of a cool thought while I was sitting there listening to one of the piano solos: how significant it is that one of the most important beings in the universe---Jesus---came to earth in such a humble and unimportant way. The King of kings, the Prince of peace came into the world not in a palace or on a throne but in a stable somewhere in the outskirts of a town, wrapped in simple blankets and kept warm by animals. The same humility marked Jesus' entire life. He had the power to do anything, to bring down lightning and call the world to repentance, but instead He spent His days with fishermen and farmers and poor cripples. He taught that love is more important than anything, and He didn't just teach it---He lived it. To fulfil God's plan for the salvation of mankind, all Jesus had to do was come to earth and die for everyone's sins. He did so, but it was only after years of feeding the hungry, healing the broken of body, and comforting the broken of spirit. What a magnificent example is Jesus! Even if you don't believe His claims of divinity, you can't deny the meekness and quiet love made manifest in His earthly life. Although Christmas is about celebrating Jesus' birth, to me it serves as a reminder of all that followed.

Things I need to do this week: study for two exams (only two!), cut my 15-page Poe paper down to six pages for a presentation, see if I can't find someone else to rent my room (absolutely no luck so far), and pack all my belongings. I have no idea how long that last might take, but I've all day Tuesday and Wednesday free to pack before I move home on Thursday night. Eee! I'm totally going to have an undergraduate degree in a week, how weird is that.
10 December 2011 @ 09:25 am
Watching the new Muppets movie with Tim:

Brittany: If Miss Piggy's such a hotshot editor, why doesn't she just fork over the ten million dollars to buy the studio back?
Tim: She's probably not that rich. She's only the plus-size editor.
Brittany: But she lives in Paris! That takes a lot of money.
Tim: Still, I doubt she has an extra ten million dollars lying around.
Brittany: I bet she has a great credit score. She could get a loan for the money and---
Tim: BRITTANY, stop trying to put logic into a movie where the plot includes TRAVELING BY MAP.

It also bothered me that the fact that a felt muppet and a human man were brothers was never explained. Even a flyaway "he's adopted" would have done it for me, but nope.

Other than that, this movie was so delightful. The songs are catchy, the humour clean and hilarious, and watch for all the terrific celebrity cameos!
Tags: ,
Current Mood: awake
08 December 2011 @ 04:38 pm
My last cartoon for the school paper:

I had absolutely no idea what to draw this week, so I used my fallback based on one I saw in The New Yorker. The idea is that every single cartoon will make somebody mad. I was surprised that even my most benign images got negative flak. Like, my Halloween one about a college kid trick-or-treating so he wouldn't have to buy groceries---someone on tumblr commented that it wasn't funny because there are homeless people who really do that on Halloween. Or last week, someone interpreted my stab at Congress as making fun of fat kids. Oi vey.

Although I'm glad to be done with my job as a cartoonist, I'm grateful I had the opportunity to do it. I made a little money, I got published, and most of all I got to do drawings that challenged me as an artist (not counting this one). It was a positive experience but one I probably wouldn't repeat because staying up-to-date on news so I can make fun of it is really not my thing.

AND YET I have to rant about Perry's latest campaign ad that is making everyone on the internet cranky. I don't remember the wording exactly but it's something like: "I am proud to be a Christian. It is so sad that gays can serve in the military but our kids can't celebrate Christmas or pray in schools. Elect me and I'll end Obama's war on religion." What the crap. There are so many things wrong with so few sentences. First: Obama is not at war with religion. Just because he doesn't publish ads about how much he loves Jesus does not make him a tyrannical Muslim socialist dictator (as most of my Republican relatives have proclaimed they believe he is). Second: prayer in schools had been gone for a LONG time before the current president. Third: you don't have to pray out loud to pray. Your kids can go to school and pray quietly all the day long and no one will care. And you know what? If they sat down in the cafeteria and said a prayer on their lunch, nobody would care. No administrator or police would come arrest them for praying. We have a little thing in this country called freedom of religion that some people like to forget about. Just because public, out-loud prayer is not mandatory in schools anymore doesn't mean it is absent. Third: Really? You're going to proclaim children aren't allowed to openly celebrate Christmas in school? I want to know what school he's talking about, because everyone I've heard of has holiday class parties, Santa Hat Day, Christmas cookies in the cafeteria, Christmas dances, all of that. School endorsed. That's not the "Christian" Christmas sure because schools don't park a nativity set out on the front lawn or anything, but how many self-proclaimed "Christians" are much better than egg nog and presents and Santa hats? Fourth: don't even get me STARTED on spreading homophobia within Republicanism. I hate that in this country Christianity automatically equals gay-hating bigotry.

I saw a post on tumblr about flagging the video as inappropriate on youtube because of sexual discrimination, and when I went to go do it the video had several hundred thousand dislikes and maybe only five thousand likes. That made me feel good inside. If five thousand people want a president who hates gays and whines about no mandatory prayer in schools, it's good to know that they'll be outvoted. I'm so glad I'll be out of the country in the heat of the 2012 election.
Current Mood: annoyed
05 December 2011 @ 04:14 pm
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 weekCollapse )

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"
02 December 2011 @ 06:09 pm
I am working SO HARD on avoiding this fifteen page paper due Monday. I have now done all my homework up until next Wednesday, caught up on comics, read Mercury by Hope Larson (way good), and read quite a bit of Thoreau's Walden. Later I'm going to a dance where I will try to find some friends I know.

Hmm...how else can I waste time.

Listening in to my roommates talking. Apparently the landlady is being crazy and pushy to them as well.

You know who else is crazy? The US Senate. They just voted making it legal for the military to detain American citizens indefinitely without cause and granting them no right to trial or lawyer. What the cuss word. Luckily the President is threatening to veto (and SHOULD, duh), but gee whiz. So much for presuming Americans had constitutional rights. Who knew the government could make me so angry twice in one week?

I really do not want to work on this paper, guys. I have a little less than half done already---comparing Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" with a nine-page graphic adaption---and I have my professor's suggestions for revision so it's really not that big a deal, but my desire to write this thing is a value equivalent to zero. I set aside tomorrow night after work to get it done, but if I'm lucky I'll find something else to do and end up staying awake late Sunday night to finish. THAT'S HOW WE DO IT.

Enjoy this infuriating video:

Current Mood: bored
02 December 2011 @ 02:29 pm
Dear Brittany,
Your roommate just got in the shower? That reminds me: I am suddenly, overwhelmingly, urgently full.
Your Bladder
01 December 2011 @ 10:54 am
It's December first so I'm officially starting the Christmas music, beginning with a little She & Him.

And here's my cartoon for the week:

It's no secret that I care a lot about nutrition, especially when it comes to children who only know what parents and adults tell them is nutritious. So this jerk move by Congress that shot down Obama's healthier school lunch plan really angered me.

The only thing I'd heard about this was that "pizza is a vegetable" meme, so I did a bit of research for my cartoon and this is what happened: the Obama administration proposed legislation that would have restricted potatoes (that is, french fries) to 1 cup per child per week. It also would have made 1/2 cup of tomato paste count as a serving of vegetables (currently 1/8 cup of tomato paste is counted as nutritionally equivalent to 1/2 cup of other vegetables under the assumption that when you add water it makes more vegetable). Some other limitations were placed on sodium content of foods with an emphasis on increasing whole grains. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Not to Congress. The projected $0.14 increase in cost of each lunch was too high a price to pay for more nutrition. Lobbyists from food corporations argued that they didn't want to be forced to make compromise the taste of their lunch items in order to fit new nutrition standards, so pizza and french fries are staying on the menu in the same horrifying quantities as before.

Really, Congress? Fourteen cents per kid is too much to pay for the next generation of Americans? Paying more for better nutrition now will probably help off-set the high and rising price of obesity-related medical costs---currently about ten percent of all medical spending, and projected as twenty percent in five years. That is horrible. Analysts expect Americans to only get fatter with time, and they are probably right. Food marketing is the priority to our government, not food education, and Congress proved that by rejecting nutrition in favor of profits.

Supporters of Congress' decision to reject the overhaul argue that the nutrition of school lunch doesn't matter because children can get all the fruits, vegetables, and whole grains they need eating meals at home. Who are they kidding? Children who eat school lunch are largely from middle and lower class families whose parents either don't have the time to prepare a lunch or can't afford it. These same parents work all day and come home exhausted, putting a cheap and convenient fast food meal on the table that is high in sodium and saturated fat and low in fiber. Or, if the kids are lucky, Mom or Dad pops a frozen food meal in the oven that's just as high in preservatives and vitamin-depleted vegetables as any fast food restaurant. The parents of obese children are generally obese themselves, because they either don't know proper nutrition or don't follow it, and they pass these same patterns on to their children. It breaks my heart to see kids who are fat because they haven't been taught what to eat. Parents expect the school system to teach nutrition, and the government expects parents to take care of it so nothing gets done. I would say lack of education about nutrition is the number one cause of obesity in this country. People are and always will be free to make their own food choices, but how will they know what to choose if all they can rely on is tv commercials and cereal boxes?

School lunch is just one of the many, many contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic in this country (and others). I don't use the word epidemic lightly. Obesity contributes to heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancers---why aren't we doing more to educate our children about this? I would argue that obesity is the #1 preventable ailment we've ever heard of, but little to nothing is being done to save our children from it. I don't often complain that our government cares more about money than it does about people, but it really aggravates me that our president was trying to do something positive for our children and the government that is supposed to represent us shot him down. I would like to shout that last sentence. Why doesn't our government care as much about our children as we do? Actions speak louder than words: Congress, you just told us that money is more important to you than your voters are. (But then, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that.)
Current Mood: grumpy