Thursday, October 28, 2010

BOB Challenge 3: The Universe

Technically the topic is something more like "the universe and its vastness." These words bring up bad memories for me, since I unknowingly signed up, in the Spring of 2010, to put myself through the torture of an astronomy class (knowledge of the signing up was there, not the future torture). Anytime the word astronomy comes up in a discussion, I tell people not to take that class, because there is so much information to learn and not enough time. You pretty much have to know everything about the universe!! It's true. And is there no thing bigger than the universe? I think not! If I wanted an A I would've had to put an hour or two a day into reading the book and memorizing things alone, and that does not include time spent on homework. The early chapters talked about some scientific laws and everything about the planets in our galaxy, but then branched out into all other possibly existing pieces of material in the universe, what the stuff is in between, and then the size of the whole thing itself.

Apparently the universe has no boundaries. Scientists try to talk about the shape of the universe, whether it is open or closed, flat, spherical, etc. It's cool and all in theory, but honestly the percentage of people on this planet that care is probably about .00001%. Because as far as I know, our own galaxy is so huge and full of exploration, how can we attempt to solve and know everything about things beyond that? I don't see how we can benefit from it. Traveling from Earth to the Sun takes 8.3 minutes, traveling at the speed of light, which frankly, is not really something I believe is physically possible for human beings and spacecraft to figure out how to do. Not that we'd want to get to the sun of course, but to give you some sense of how big the Milky Way Galaxy is, if Earth were a peppercorn and the sun was a bowling ball, the two would have to sit 78 feet away. A peppercorn! That's tiny! Plus, that's just one sun out of many in this galaxy.

In the scheme of things, I don't give a crap about how large the universe is. I know that the chances of intelligent life on other planets is calculable (we did it in a lab, there are many steps), and that it's also really small. If you want to bring the big bang theory into this, I would just flat out say that's impossible. God had to have created us, given the chances of us existing normally, and how complicated our existence IS. Just looking at the way our bodies are put together and function so creatively is ... well it's just a work of art resulting from great, detailed planning.

I appreciate the universe and the stars and everything. When I'm walking the dogs on a clear night, I'll cup my hands around my eyes and stare at the stars while still walking. They don't move at all. I can almost trick myself into thinking I'm on a treadmill and not going anywhere. It's because they're just that far away, and to us the night sky looks like a dark blanket spread out with bits of light peaking through. I read the textbook, the one that changes every year because things are being discovered so fast. I attempted to learn everything about the universe (ok, it was definitely a half-ass attempt), and I still don't see how it matters to me, or anybody else on this planet. I know studying things in our own galaxy is important to see how Earth is affected, but beyond that I don't really think it matters. Frankly, a good number of people are probably earning salaries based on useless research. Lucky them?

I maintain my position about astronomy class. Don't take it unless you want to go into that field, because you're probably thinking it's an easy, fun general that lets you chill in the planetarium all the time. Yeah, I did fall asleep a lot in my reclined chair in that secluded, dark bubble, which was nice until I tried catching up on the notes. Unless your teacher tests on the most general of material, in which case you probably won't have to study the book AS hard, you're going to spend a lot of time on this class. And it sucks. The end.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Holiday Update, Exercise Curse, and Life Ambitions

So maybe I might've been a little too harsh on the Universe in my previous post complaining about Halloween because right now it is snowing like Christmas Eve at my house. The weather has been yucky all weekend, but it was just right for a few days when it actually rained like it should have, and brought out the beautiful colors of fall. However, overcompensation is evident in this current flurry of winter weather that is a month early. The skies are so cluttered with STUFF that I can't even see the mountain behind my house, and the sun hasn't shone normally since last week. Good thing I wasn't on Boo-gram duty tonight. Speaking of which, they did actually end up happening, as did most of the things I was missing out on during that mid-October rant. We immediately purchased candy corn, the weather straightened out (temporarily), and I've been seeing lots of Halloween specials on TV. I'd say there has been a definite improvement.

In other news, I went to the gym today with my mom. This is noteworthy simply because it was one of those things I get to cross off my 20s List. I realize that I went against the grain in making it a goal to only go once, because obviously no real change is going to come from 45 minutes on the exercise bike. Most people set their resolutions to go every day or at least a few times a week, but this was mostly just about me trying it out and seeing how I feel. The family is considering buying new exercise equipment, so we wanted to test out machines to see which one/s we will want to use. I had hope for the elliptical, but I could only stand it for 15 minutes. I did do the exercise bike though, which was a lot more enjoyable, until the rest of my day was plagued by this strange pain at the joint of my pelvis and my leg. I don't know what caused it but it seems like every time I try to start being healthier by exercising, I hurt myself. It's like fate does not want me to BE physically fit. "No Shannon, you're destined to an early death from heart disease brought on by poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle." But I say no! I WILL fix myself and exercise without injury, if only just to spite destiny. Not because I want to be healthy or anything.

Reflecting a bit on goals that I've made in my life, I have kind of an interesting track record. In my junior year I used to joke about my life being complete once I starred in a Hot Pocket commercial. But after eating too many over the years, they didn't taste as good anymore and I lost that ambition. It still would be cool, but there are better on-the-go, processed, addictive foods to be poster child for (pop tarts anyone?!) Also, another life-long goal that I already mentioned is to never get a ticket. And now, after a few conversations I had last night on Omegle, I have become determined to persuade a complete stranger into sending me a cheesecake in the mail. Or at least that's the rough draft of the plan. I think I came really close, but I lost connection before we could exchange information. The only obstacle I'm worried about is giving out my address to someone random over the internet. I really want this to happen though, so I need to figure out how to do this. If anybody has a suggestion of a roundabout way of getting a cheesecake in the mail without actually giving away MY address, please help me. Let's pool our genius minds together, me and all 10 ten of my "followers," and if I'm lucky someone random who happens to read this.

That's all I have to say for now. I feel like this post needs to be a little more lengthy. How about a picture of the bulls' eye I hit at a party this weekend? It was such an accomplishment we had to capture evidence. It might be somewhat hard to see, but it's the one that's slanted down all funny. Don't ask me how that happened.

Wow. Yeah that pretty much doubled the size of this post. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nice Cops Do Exist

Is it sad that the first time I get pulled over by a police officer, one of my reactions when getting home is to blog about it?

My goal for the year (and pretty much life) was to keep my driving record clean (see 20s List), specifically meaning no speeding tickets. I think I'm still in the running, but I can't decide if a warning counts against that goal. Technically I bet it does go on record, and the thing I most was dreading was just getting pulled over at all. BUT no speeding ticket. So ... I'm gonna say I can still keep going with that. It would please me so much if I never got a speeding ticket in my life, like some people I know (at least one who's in her 50s). I must be more careful from now on if I'm going to accomplish that!

The story is that I was driving home from a Halloween party that was relatively close to my house, around midnight. The mountain road speed limit is 40 mph; during the day I go 45-ish, but I was cruising along tonight like nobody's business. I was thinking "No cop is going to be out on the streets in the dead of night in THIS tiny town." Haha. At times I got up to 60, but mainly coasted at 55, and that's the speed I was caught at. Thankfully I didn't freak out when I saw the flashing lights behind me. I always wondered how it would go the first time I got pulled over. Surprising myself, I remained calm throughout the whole thing.

I tried to think of all the things I've read about what to do or not to do when you get pulled over. Don't go rummaging through your things. Keep your hands where the cop can see them. He asked what the speed limit was and I honestly told him 40, in a questioning tone that implied I don't travel the road a lot but I've driven it enough to know I was definitely speeding. He said, "I got you at 55," and I guiltily replied "Yeah ... I just wasn't even paying attention." War paint on my face was explained when I said I was just on my way home from a Halloween party, which I then questioned myself for mentioning, as it might've given the wrong impression. I gave him my license and he came back maybe 7, 8 minutes later. Luckily it was a good sign to him that my driving record is pretty much perfect, so he let me off with a warning and I said I greatly appreciated it. I also think it helped that I was honest and didn't try to make up excuses. He asked if I was in a hurry to get home and I was just like nope, not really.

Just to be careful, since I mentioned the party, he asked if I had been drinking, while he shone his flashlight in my face. I was immediately like, "Oh, not at all," because that's exactly what I was thinking. It would've been the most unlikely thing for there to be any booze at that specific party, given the crowd with outstanding morals. He was obviously convinced and politely told me to be careful and wished me a good night. I followed up by further pointing out that I don't make it a habit of speeding on that road anyway, and I won't be doing it again. And thank you again, sir.

The whole experience was the least thing from traumatic. I find it ironic that I wasn't even in a hurry to get anywhere when I was pulled over, and it was maybe 60 seconds after my thoughts about how there couldn't possibly be any cops out at the time. I wasn't even worried about getting pulled over because it just wasn't in my mind as a possibility. Funny, right? And I'm thankful that nice cops DO exist, and that the Lord has blessed me so far with keeping me from getting caught all the other times I have sped. Normally it's not that much over the limit, but there have been a few times on road trips for sure. So that's it. Now I've documented my first time being pulled over, after 3 + years of license-holding. I will tell my children about this moment, or refer to my published blog/personal-yearbook that will include this post, IF that ever happens and I keep it long enough for them to see. Key future kids: I love you. I don't even know you yet but I love you already. Stay in school, say no to drugs, and don't speed. Love, Your Currently 19 Year Old Mother.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dark Horse Tour 2010

After my first experience seeing Nickelback live in 2009, I promised if I would ever get the chance to go again I would not let it pass me by. This year I bought tickets before they even went on sale, at a very large price due to the fees and general expensiveness of the show, and waited for 3 months. I was totally prepared after a year of getting more familiar with their albums and knowing the lyrics to all the choruses (and many full songs). At the last minute something happened that almost caused me to miss the concert, but my darling friend Abby so lovingly stepped in and took the extra ticket. It was very important to me to find somebody who legitimately liked the bands, or else my concert experience wouldn't have been as great if I were rocking out all by myself. As a plus, Abby also took oodles of pictures while I chowed down on my cheese fries and ice cream. 

I'm always wary at concerts when the opening bands are pretty kickass but the crowd hasn't gotten excited yet. Buckcherry would've been a great show if they were the main act in a small and more personal venue. I only knew some of their songs, but I took delight in the lead singer's propensity for shaking his ass. In his black skinny jeans and heavily tattooed bare chest, Josh Todd danced around the stage like no other from a rock band that I'VE seen. He shocked the crowd with his obscene gestures and statements, preparing us for the naughtiness that was to come from the next two bands. 

Three Days Grace took it up a notch and immediately refused to play until everybody was on their feet. I appreciated this very much because I wanted everyone to be enthusiastic, and most people were sitting down lazily in their stadium chairs. I enjoyed their relatively hardcore music as I always have, and a lot more people knew their songs. Adam Gontier started in on the traditional crowd singing wars by dividing the room in half and having us repeat his "Oh oh oooh ooh's" in competition to see which side was loudest. Graciously he declared a tie, though to me it sounded like our side should've lost. At one point when people started sitting down again, he went into the crowd and walked all around the arena (with bodyguards) while singing to get them to stand up. Abby and I wanted to sit down just so he would come over to us and we would get a little celebrity attention. 

When Nickelback finally came on, I instantly knew this night was about to get 10,000 times better. During set up they draped a huge curtain over the stage so we couldn't see what they were doing, which obviously meant bigger and greater things were going to happen while they played. A huge wall of digital screen was put up, creating a sort-of jumbo tron behind the band that showed close-ups of them half the time, and various lighting and photo effects the other half. When Nickelback actually came on, 3 VERY loud bangs went off, as if somebody was being shot, and we all jumped about half a foot in our seats. Turns out they were fireworks signaling "Hey, pay attention. Get ready to have your minds blown." And that we did. 

You know those games where someone stands in a clear box and paper money is blown all around while they try to grab as much of it as they can? Imagine your mind being blown to pieces, and then those pieces flying around crazily like the cash in the box, and then sucked all back into your head forcefully, and fast. That's what I felt like after Nickelback performed. Their music is awesome, sure, but pair that with the pyrotechnics and all the lighting and the orgasmic drum solo lasting about 10 minutes, and you have got yourself one entertaining show. I mean, I saw Daniel Adair do the same thing last year where he and his set were raised on a platform about 15-20 feet in the air and slowly rotated 360 degrees while murdering the drums with all hands and feet simultaneously, but I might as well have not ever seen it in my life because it was THAT AMAZING the second time! 

FYI my awesome iPhone took this sucker!

Nickelback is also known for their, shall we say, "friendly" stage presence. The minute Chad Kroeger says "Bring out the booze," all hell breaks loose. I'm not sure if he actually got drunk this time, but the band does drink during the show, and they throw cups of alcohol into the crowd. Of course none of it ends up in anybody's mouth, but free beer flying through the air just makes everyone that much rowdier. At one point the jumbo-tron zoomed in on two chicks in the front enthusiastically making out, and earlier, to set up for "Something In Your Mouth," girls were vying for attention by devouring bananas and lollipops as menacingly as possible to get on screen. Normally this kind of behavior bothers me a lot but I've grown used to it over the span of my growing relationship with rock music. Men AND women behaving like sluts and whores just becomes part of the experience. I just feel bad for all the 10 and 12 year olds whose moms thought taking them to see Nickelback would be a fun family adventure. Oh yeah, it's an adventure alright. If I had seen and understood some of the things when I was that young that I saw last night, I might have been slightly traumatized as a child. 

But no matter. I'm a big girl now and I don't care what people do as long as everyone is having a fun time. I still have to stress my opinion that despite my likeness for Nickelback's music, their show would only have been mediocre if not for their team of professionals who design what goes on behind the music. Flames and fireworks make so much of a difference in getting people excited. I was just super surprised at how we could even feel the heat from the torch guns when we were hundreds of feet away. Conclusion: They were legit. I specifically taped the ending of the show to keep record of how crazy it gets so I can prove to people that it's not just some pansy pop band. For all of those who only know Nickelback's music from the radio, give their real stuff a listen and you'll find out they're not what they are made out to be by the general public. I could probably write a whole essay in defense of my favorite band, but it almost distresses me too much to fight with my friends about it. 

I feel no shame in the amount of money spent on the night of October 20, 2010. Every penny was worth it, and I will proudly wear my new Dark Horse Tour t-shirt to brag to everyone that I was there. To reiterate my FB status on the matter: 

Shannon Sousa Died and was reborn tonight . . . 
Except with a still scratchy throat, and semi-blown eardrums, 
and half-melted face. It feels good :)

And of course, time for pictures. These are the highlights, and it's already a lot, but there are so many more if you want to look at the facebook album. Thanks Abby for helping me out with these! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

League of BOB Challenge #2: Regrets

"Regrets" is the topic for this week. Aren't you supposed to always say you don't regret anything in life, because each experience allows you to learn and grow as a person? I completely agree with this statement. I can only think of small, menial mistakes I've made that I wish I could undo, because they didn't really mean a whole lot in the scheme of things. Embarrassing things such as texting the wrong person, when that text happens to be about that person, and not in a great way. Lately I've gotten rid of that strange habit I used to have, but it sucked all those times it happened.

In a way, this next experience kind of dances around the line of regretful or not, due to its learning value. A few weeks ago I had a job interview for an office receptionist/data entry position with a high-end firm that dealt with legal papers. I prepared by sending an impressively refined resume (thanks to Professional and Technical Writing), and a professional-sounding email request for an interview, via craigslist post reply. I got an interview and had to rush a shower and getting ready in the morning after we talked on the phone. I managed to wear something nice looking but still casual ... in my opinion, anyway. No business jacket or anything, although I'm not sure how much that would've improved the situation.

I got to the office early. I greeted the man with eye contact and handshake. However, the minute my butt hit the cushions of those very large and intimidating chairs across from his desk, I proceeded to ruin everything with the very silly answers I gave for the questions I had no idea I would have to answer.

"What kind of office work experience do you have?"

Me: (In my head) - If you read my resume that is right in front of you, you would see that I cook burgers for a living! No office jobs on there, you retard. (Out loud) - "Not ... really ... any ... " and then something about being my high school guidance counselor's student aid. Not too horrible of an answer, but they get worse.

. . . "Describe a time when you had to deal with anger"

Me: "Ummmm .... [silence]" (In my head - People piss me off by being idiots, but other than that I'm not really an angry person) "I would have to say relationships cause anger a lot." But instead of expounding on that, I attempted a lousy BS answer about frustration when dealing with school transcript problems, like when your credits don't go through and your prerequisites are all messed up and need to be fixed over the phone. Multiple times. "Patience is key."

. . . but the real kicker: "What is something you've had to learn that was complex?"

Me: since my recently finished Instruction Manual project was done on how to clean the grill at my place of employment, I chose to make the stupid statement that cleaning the grill was complex. I was under the delusion that just because I had to write a detailed report on it with lots of specifics, it meant that it was a complicated thing to do. In reality, you can give any competent person with an IQ of 90 or above the list of steps, and they'll be able to do it easily. True, you learn new tricks about better techniques each time you do it, but essentially it's not that complicated. This response I gave made me sound juvenile and naive, and probably made me look like I was born in the caveman era.

"What exactly was complex about it?"

Me: "Oh, you know, just all the different tips you pick up about how to prevent burning yourself, like from not splashing hot oil up against the side." Durrrrrr ... I has problems with safeness and owies.

Aaaaand, done. Thanks for your time, we'll be contacting you soon if you get the job! I leave the office and immediately want to kick myself in the face for all the childish things that escaped my mouth, even before those hard questions hit me. After thinking about it more, I realized I could've talked about all the accounting procedures I'm learning, which would've sounded a lot more intelligent, mature, and is somewhat related to office work, as opposed to manual labor in a kitchen.

I guess it's true that each bad experience you have prepares you better for the future. At the time, I regretted saying those things, but it showed me how tough a real interview is compared with all the easy ones I've slid by in the past. Next time I'll know that it's OK to take my time in thinking of a smart response, and I'll be sure to prepare more ahead of time by looking at typical interview questions online. The interview did put me in a bad mood for the day, but it woke me up to the reality of life: Job acquiring involves competition and hard work, and I can't just walk the walk without talking the talk. Practice makes better!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

League of BOB Challenge #1: The Halloween Spirit

Today I am here to talk about Halloween, or something related, as are three other of my peers who have blogs, as per our agreed-upon weekly assignment. I suggested the topic because I thought by this time of the month we'd have things to discuss regarding the holiday, like trips to corn mazes, haunted houses, or even watching scary movies. Sadly none of that has happened yet for me, and I'm finding that half the month is already over and it doesn't feel like Halloween is near at all.

Yes, that's right, I'm going to talk about the LACK of Halloween spirit this year. As much as I wish it weren't true, another year will have gone by and I will have spent the night of the 31st in front of the TV flipping between candy specials on the Food Network and Degrassi reruns. Last year I didn't even get to hand out hardly any candy because for some reason there was just an underbundance of trick or treaters. And yes, I just made up my own word. If I were 16 or even 17 I'd be trick-or-treating with a group of friends, but I feel like I'm past my prime at 19 years old and a sophomore in college who still lives at home. But it's not just about Halloween day - I'm fine with not having a extravaganza party with costumes galore, as long as I get to do fun things during the month, too. And quite frankly, that isn't happening. Work, school, and other obligations have taken over my weekends, eliminating any possible time to partake in spirited activities that only happen during October. I know there's still time left, but fitting anything into my schedule (and coordinating with others') will be a challenge.

Nevermind the things I can't DO this year, what about the lack of Halloween spirit in general? My family still hasn't taken the trip to pick out pumpkins for our porch, the annual neighborhood boo-gram apparently isn't happening, and I have not yet seen any fake arms dangling out of the back of people's trunks while driving around town. The only decorations I've seen anywhere around are in our house, and even those become unnoticeable after you've looked at them for a week. Not to mention I keep seeing green leaves, ON TREES, when we should be raking dead ones into crunchy piles for jumping into. I'm still wearing short sleeve shirts most days, and I should be wearing hoodies. I remember when we went trick or treating in 8th grade at my house, it was so cold it snowed and we had to make an emergency run back home for gloves and extra jackets!

The weather is confused, as am I, about where everybody's enthusiasm has gone. I don't even get $5 Halloween t-shirts anymore because I'll be the only dork wearing one anywhere in this state unless it is the day of Halloween, and even then it's a close call. And I haven't even MENTIONED what will happen this year because the holiday happened to fall on a Sunday again. To anyone who's not LDS, the rescheduling of traditional activities due to religious doctrine or whatever is really annoying. But I won't get into that.

Where is all the candy corn???

What I'm trying to say is that holidays aren't just supposed to be celebrated in 24 hours. Halloween to me takes up all of October, but I'm not feeling like anybody else cares anymore. I guess if I went back to watching the Disney channel, I could get a little more out of the Halloweentown movies (Kalabar's Revenge was the best), but there will still be an emptiness in my heart where apple cider aromas and zombies chasing me through parking lots after Thriller should be. Friends: Save me from falling deeper into the pit of despair. Show me there is still Halloween spirit around. And listen to this kickass version of the Nightmare Before Christmas song.

You might need to turn up the volume

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Caution: Treacherous Road Ahead

"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

John the Savage knew what was important in life. Brave New World took me months to read, but I'm glad I finally finished it. In this classic by Aldous Huxley about a utopian society some hundred years in the future, the very few people who hold power in the world devote all their time to keeping the entire population in a perpetual state of mere satisfaction and comfort. They don't know pain, love, addiction, hard work, sacrifices, competition, lust ... They don't know about mistakes, because everything in their lives is laid out for them, and if something goes wrong, they take a half-gramme of soma and embark on a mental trip for the rest of the night to la-la-land to cure any problems in the real world.

These people don't know the joys of being independent, earning rewards, being in a passionate relationship, having a FAMILY, being in love with a sport or hobby, and many other things. All of that is given up, without their knowledge, all for order and stability. I say, Mustapha Mond, be the hero in this world and throw it all away - because what is a civilization without danger, freedom, and sin? If your existence is downgraded to 75 years of emotionlessly performing duties like a robot, all for the survival of the civilization, then what's the point? Your life will not have meant anything, except that it was part of continuing what rulers are striving for the longest-living society in the books. You think that the longer something lasts, the more successful it was, therefore the participants must have been happy, right?. Not true! If my world self destructs from the result of individual thinking and conflicting ideas, I will be proud. At least we are not being raised like clones.

If this makes no sense to you, I encourage you to read Brave New World. I also encourage you to read it even if this does make sense. Just don't take as long as I did, or else you'll gradually lose cohesiveness of the genius ideas in this novel, which is a shame. It's fun to read in the beginning, but you'll have to put effort into finishing after the initial excitement wears off. It's worth it, though, because some of the best material is at the very end. I wish I could write an A+ comprehensive and lengthy review on the book, but I don't have the capacity with my words to do it justice. Perhaps if I were writing a heavily-weighted essay for an English course, I could spend hours and hours of time on it. But alas, this is just my blog, and with only a few readers plus myself, I'm fine with just saying it's a great piece of literature that everyone should read. Oh, and congrats to myself for knocking off another one of my list items. It took you long enough.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Really, Truly, a Bunch of Random Stuff

It's hard to schedule inspiration. Everything else I can put on a checklist for the week: call about those discounted tickets, submit online homework, read the Bible, go to the bank ... DONE! Well, not all of that is done. But one thing I can't plan out is blogging, because I gotsta feel like blogging to blog! I'm always keeping my mind open for things to write about, but many times they are too small and insignificant. Or, I do get a good idea, but I still don't feel like writing. What is up with that, eh?

♥ The Social Network was really good. I could've done a well-thought out review on that when I saw it last week but I didn't feel like it. Regardless, go see it! I'm on Eduardo's side all the awy. And that is only partially because I think the actor who played him was the cutest in the whole movie. (Yes, even cuter than Justin Timberlake)

♥ Last Night I played this typing game for 2 + hours. And that's not while talking to friends on facebook and watching TV and eating ice cream. It was just me and the keyboard, locked in a melody of tap-tapping on my way to a higher and higher score. The addiction was unbearable, worse than nicotine. I should've given my hands a break because they've been sore all day today, as well as certain muscles in my arms, even! If every time I hit a key, I fed a starving child in Africa, I would've made Africa the fattest nation on the planet. Just saying. Oh yeah, the game is
Fast Typer 2. Go get addicted!

♥ Remember when I briefly explained my theory of collecting hours of deprived sleep that add up over time, in the Stupid Morning post? Well I just read an article that basically confirmed that theory. In my head I believed it was true while thinking it had to be false, and I even had friends say that's not how it works. But lookey here, guys:

"In fact, if you feel tired during the day, you may be running a significant "sleep debt" - the total hours of sleep you've lost, one sleep-deprived night after another. If you need 8 hours of sleep and only get 8, after a week you've lost the equivalent of almost one night's sleep. That's your sleep debt. After losing only the equivalent of one night's sleep over the course of a week, your body will respond as if you'd pulled an all-nighter..." - Barbara Loecher & Lauren Gelman

Straight from this article on Yahoo! Health. I'm not going to be all picky about the credibility of the source, but it sounded pretty legit to me.

♥ I've been wanting to mention this observation for a while. I've found in the last few weeks of school that it's a lot easier to pay attention to lectures if the professor looks at the audience when he/she is talking. If they walk back and forth across the front of hte room and talk into space, it's a lot more tempting to close my eyes and nod off, or just open up my pocket game of scrabble on the phone. But when the professor makes eye contact with people, even if it's not you, and faces the students while he/she is lecturing, I have greater difficulty NOT paying attention. This works with all publich speaking. I don't know how I'll benefit from stating this, but you will benefit, readers, if you ever need to give a speech or talk to a group of people, and you keep in mind this bit of information.

♥ Maybe sometime in the future I will do an educational post on one of the many Principles of Accounting. I am fascinated by that class. It is possible that I have found a future in my future. I still hold a special place in my heart for English majors, though, despite my testing out the waters and immediately running in the opposite direction.

♥ Is it just Utah or are JC Penny cashiers slow all over the United States? I almost don't want to return for any amazing sales just because the lines are so long and unnecessary. You know when your little brother is getting ready for school in the morning and you say "Hurry up, we're going to be late!" and he says, "I AM hurrying!" but in fact his speed stays the exact same? It's like JC Penny cashiers must be aware of the fact that the lines are backing up and it's a busy time, but for some reason they just don't kick it into gear and MOVE. Get a grip, ladies. Can I have my free discount now, for reviewing your customer service?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Refiner's Touch

During a talk on suffering last night with Intervarsity, I was inspired by this story that I later found online to share with you. When I heard it told aloud, I nearly gasped at the end. I hope you enjoy the same reaction of awe to the imagery it presents, and remember this story during the toughest times in your life. I know I will. 

The Refiners Touch

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three they came across verse three which says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver overthe fire and let it heat up. He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot - then she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's the easy part -- when I see my image reflected in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees His image in you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Phases of Shannon

Lately I've been noticing things about myself that seem out of the ordinary. I know I'm in college and my whole personality is in the process of changing/molding/birthing, but who wants to know about the deep aspects of my personal growth? Here are some not-at-all-serious phases that I'm going through now which I find noteworthy, while not at all important in the grand scheme of things.

  • the "Leave Everything in My Car Phase" wherein the backseat and trunk of my personal automobile have become the dumping grounds for things I use during the day while I'm out and about and don't feel like taking back inside my house. I decluttered today, and removed a collection of: 2 blankets, one throw pillow, one '09 hoodie, one trendy black sweater, 2 lawn chairs, a package of plastic party cups, multiple orphaned bible passages, 2 different jackets, one set of headphones, a Smith's bag full of trash, multiple orphaned coupons, and about as many water bottles/liquid carriers as there are teenage vampire novels at Barnes and Noble. See photograph below for evidence.

  • the "I Love Barbeque Sauce Phase" wherein ... get this ... I love barbeque sauce! It's almost as if I rediscovered something else that I love a lot. 
  • the "Take Everything Literally Phase" wherein I automatically paint a mental picture in my head of every phrase that isn't supposed to be taken literally. Examples: "You two have been on the grill all night!" translates to a picture of mini Thumbelina-sized versions of me and co-worker Katherine having a party on the grill which we use to cook hamburgers and stuff. Or "If it's more than a handful of people ..." translating to another picture of mini people, this time however many can fit in one regular-sized person's palm. 
  • the "I Intentionally Leave Home Earlier Everyday I Go to Work Phase" wherein I increasingly give myself more and more time to sit in my car and listen to music before it's time to clock in, because I really like listening to music and not having to jump out the door right when I park. 
  • the "I Take Really Good Notes Phase, When I Actually Go To Class" wherein I write in the closest thing possible to complete sentences and jot down things I already know, just in case. It means that when I reread them later, the amount of material I read and then respond to with "Whaaaat does that mean?" is minimalized. 
  • the "IPhone Scrabble Phase" wherein I have about 4 or 5 different scrabble games, with people I know and don't know, constantly going on at the same time. Even if it's just one or two moves per day. One of these times I will finally beat my mom ...  
  • the "I Have No Self Discipline Phase" wherein I eat everything in sight, and sometimes go even further to procure food that is NOT in my sight, to continually fill my belly with. OK, just kidding. This is not a phase, it's my life.

And because I found something cool that wasn't a big enough deal to get its own post, I'm going to mention it here. The following picture is a computer-generated collaboration of the most frequently used words on my blog. I'll admit the word selection is a bit weak (ok it's really weak), but I like how the website lets you customize the design. If you want to create your own "wordle," click on this LINK! That's all for today.