Thursday, April 28, 2011

Itunes Library: Sorted

Everyone has their own preferential way of organizing things. Whether it be that their room is a mess yet they know exactly where everything is, or everything is physically separated, labeled, categorized, and orderly. When it comes to organizing music, people have their preferences, too. The Itunes library is cool because it lets you basically organize by whatever standards you want - Artist, Album, Genre, and Year are some popular ones. To some, the details of Play Count and Date Added are very important to keep track of. Personally, I might fall apart if I couldn't always list and view my music by Date Added, knowing the relative time sequence of when I purchased a song or album. I can look back chronologically, pick out a group of 20 or so songs clumped together because of their near-each-other acquisition dates, and recall exactly what time of year it was and my thoughts when listening to that music for the first time.

I thought it'd be interesting to see the top songs of my library under different categorizations. For starters, one that I'm now paying attention to slightly is the play count. It's not at all accurate, based on the fact that I doubt my phone and ipod and laptop all coordinate with each other, not to mention I still listen to CD's a lot, and those times don't get recorded. But just for kicks, at this point in time, we begin with my "Most Listened To" songs: (and some of these surprise me)

(Song) - (Artist)
Follow You Home - Nickelback (31 plays)
Shadows - RED                                                    
Start Again - RED                                                
Confession (What's Inside My Head) - RED          
Stay - Safetysuit                                                  
Into the Night - Santana ft. Chad Kroeger          
You're Going Down - Sick Puppies                    
Breath - Breaking Benjamin                                
The Downfall of Us All - A Day to Remember    
Tiny Heart - Flyleaf
Animals - Nickelback
Shakin Hands - Nickelback
Ordinary World - RED
Santa Monica - Theory of a Deadman
Rip Tide - Sick Puppies (21 plays)

Date Added, aka "Most Recently Acquired By Various Methods"

(Song) - (Artist)
Come On, Come On - After Midnight Project
Scream For You - After Midnight Project
"Tron" Soundtrack - Daft Punk
Invaders Must Die - The Prodigy (and more of their songs)
Polyamorous - Breaking Benjamin
The Red - Chevelle
Get Thru This - Art of Dying
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
What Ya Gonna Do - Hinder
Blow - Ke$ha
Born This Way - Lady Gaga
Loser Like Me - Glee Cast
I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow - The Soggy Bottom Boys
Manifesto - The City Harmonic
Symphonies - Dan Black

Largest Time, aka "Longest Songs, by Minutes"

(Song) - (Artist)
Rime of the Ancient Mariner - Iron Maiden (13:38)
10,000 Days (Wings, Part 2) - Tool
Roseta Stoned - Tool
Reflection - Tool
Save Me - Avenged Sevenfold
Concerto No. 1 in E Major "Spring" - Antonio Vivaldi
Part 1 Sunlight - Kevin Kendle
Lullaby - Sia
Soldiers of the Wasteland - Dragonforce
Deadwing - Porcupine Tree
Lateralus - Tool
Parabola - Tool
November Rain - Guns 'N Roses
Farewell/End Title - John Barry
Triad - Tool (8:47)

Alphabetically by Artist, aka "The Top "A" Bands"

(Artist) - (Song/s)
a-ha - Take On Me
A*Teens - Under the Sea
A.F.I. - Beautiful Thieves & Prelude 12/21
A.R. Rahman - Jai Ho
Aaron Copland - Hoe Down
Aaron Lewis - Country Boy
Abel - Saints
AC/DC - two albums + two songs
The Academy Is ... - Attention
Ace Young - Father Figure
Adele - one album +  three songs
Adelitas Way - one album + one song
Aerosmith - Dream On
After Midnight Project - three songs
Ak'sent feat. Beanie Man - Zingy

Alphabetically by Album, aka "The Top "A" Albums"

(Album) - (Artist)
AB III - Alterbridge
Across the Universe Soundtrack - various artists
Adelitas Way - Adelitas Way
Advisory Committee - Mirah
After the Chaos II - Royal Bliss
Aftermath - Hillsong United
Against the Grain - The Veer Union
The Age of Plastic - The Buggles
Aim and Ignite - fun.
Aladdin Soundtrack - various artists
The All-American Rejects - The All-American Rejects
All About the Scrillions - Super Mash Bros.
All-American Nightmare - Hinder
All Day - Girl Talk
All For You - Janet Jackson

Alphabetically by Song Name, aka "The Ones that Come Even Before the "A"s"

(Song) - (Artist)
99 Red Balloons - Goldfinger
90's Baby - Karina
80's Joint - Kelis
8 AM - Summer Obsession
7 Things - Miley Cyrus
5:15 - The Who
4ever - The Veronicas
45 - Shinedown
42 - Coldplay
4 Minutes - Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake
4 AM - Kaskade
369 - Cupid feat. B.O.B.
3 Weeks, She Sleeps - Blue October
3 AM - Matchbox Twenty
3 - Britney Spears

and finally...

Last Played, aka "The Last Songs I've Listened to For Whatever Reason"

(Song) - (Artist)
What Hurts the Most - Rascal Flatts
Concerto in D Minor - Antonio Vivaldi
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Someone Else's Arms - Mae
Manifesto - The City Harmonic
My Never - Blue October
Cannonball - The Breeders
I'm Not Who I Was - Brandon Heath
In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins
Through Glass - Stone Sour
Who Says - Selena Gomez
Undo It - Carrie Underwood
Friends in Low Places - Garth Brooks
Savannah - Relient K
E-Pro - Beck

Well, that was a little eye opening. Personally I feel like I performed a science experiment just now; if I had known those answers would come up I might not have written a post about it. The alphabetical lists were especially boring, eh? My conclusion is that when you have as many as 3754 songs in your library, taking the top 15 of anything will definitely not give a good representation of the variety of your music. Not even taking the top 15 seven different ways will do it! But that was still fun. Go ahead and judge, but know that this is just the tip of the iceburg.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday = Best Seafood in Utah

Yesterday was Easter. It was weird in my house because neither of my parents were home, and I didn't know what to do with my brothers. When mom is absent, I usually feel responsible for keeping the family together and taking care of things, but I wasn't about to go cooking a nice dinner when I know all they wanted to do was make a pizza and play video games like every other day. I went to church in the morning with Captain J, at a place I haven't been before, and it was pretty awesome. I could've pretended this year like I didn't care about the religious aspect of this holiday our culture has turned into an excuse for more candy and presents, but the truth is it matters a lot to me. I'm more aware of the significance than I ever have been, not because I didn't understand it before, but because my heart hadn't been touched by it yet. The IV worship service on Saturday night also got me really pumped up, and generally the weekend has been a good one in my relationship with God.

Another relationship has been budding too, and it brought me to Scott's house for the first time yesterday when his family invited me to dinner somewhat last-minute. I got to meet his mom, and get to know both her and his dad a little more. Thankfully I already know and feel comfortable around his brother, so it wasn't a full-on stranger fest. The whole experience was really fun, and although I was naturally nervous at first about making a good impression, I felt comfortable by the end of the night. They were even so welcoming as to let me watch their hilarious and cheesy home videos with them, which they created last summer and obviously had a blast doing. 

But for those of you reading who don't care about my personal life as much as you care about other things like food, you can start paying attention now. For dinner we went to this amazing place called Market Street Grill, one of the fanciest restaurants I've ever been to. The chain has 4 main locations, boasts numerous statewide awards, and is known all around as the best seafood place in Utah. Scott's brother's girlfriend was serving us, and I can honestly say if the rest of the staff is as skilled and professional as she is, they have a great team on their hands. So, top points for the superb service, and the atmosphere was perfect as well for its theme. I felt like I could've been on the East coast, due to the simple but elegant decor, and the freshness of the food. 

I love seafood but I'm a pasta girl first, so I had to get the Dungeness Crab Ravioli that came in a creamy tomato sauce. There is nothing bad I can say about this dish, it was absolutely perfect. I would have it again and again. And would you believe that I had never tried clam chowder before in my life? The family lamented for me, as I will no longer be able to have clam chowder anywhere else, because it was the best you will find in a 200 mile radius, at least - all other chowders will pale in comparison. And even the sourdough bread was top-notch, described by the ever-eloquent Scott as "sour and doughy." Don't let his misleading words fool you, that just meant it perfectly fulfilled its role as a good bread. 

As for the rest of the food, I had a bite of Scott's super soft stuffed halibut (a specialty item not on the menu!), some of his homemade flavored lemonade, and then we all got different desserts and passed around each one to try. Maybe it's just because I'm not a good food critic, but I wasn't let down with anything I put in my mouth. I will now be looking for all kinds of occasions to use as excuses to go to the Market Street Grill again. Of course it's in a lot higher price range than most of us can afford, but you must try it at least once. If my excellent descriptive powers haven't persuaded you yet, just read this excerpt from the website's press release, which gives a much more fine-tuned summary than I:

"Literally, from soup to nuts, from fresh-baked to fresh-from-the-sea, 
the Market Street Grill restaurants offer not only exceptional value-priced 
dining, but a sumptuous selection of menu choices that will satisfy even the most 
discriminating of clientele. Recipients of numerous dining awards (Best Business 
Lunch, Best Seafood, Best Desserts), the Market Street restaurants are acknowledged as “Salt Lake’s Most Popular restaurants.”  The Zagat Guide to American’s Top Restaurants says “nobody does it better when it comes to fish…dishing menus that consistently excel in all locations – and the legendary clam chowder is second to none."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fast Approaching 20

My birthday is coming up, and that means I have less than 3 weeks to come as close as I can to completing everything on my List of 20 Things to Do Before I Turn 20. Plans are in the works for many things to come in the future - eating oysters, getting my motorcycle license, etc. Basically for the last school year I had so much going on that I didn't even care about the list. And anyway, it fulfilled its purpose - getting me to do fun and exciting things to make my life extra exciting. Plenty of that has been happening that I didn't even intend on, so I'm pleased. 

I won't be able to finish the whole list, but I'll come close, that's for sure. For a recap, here's where I'm at right now: (straight from the List of Lists page)

20 Things to Do Before I Turn 20

Get motorcycle license
Go on a road trip sans-parents   X
Eat oysters
Ride the Catapult at Lagoon   X
Read a piece of educated literature   X
Attempt to donate plasma again   X
Try snowboarding   X
Ride the bus   X
Bake a cake from scratch
Ice skate with a boy I like   X
Attend 8 concerts   X
Watch a documentary   X
Go clubbing
Keep driving record clean
Take a vow of silence for a day
Move out!
Attend adoration
Tie dye something   X
Go to the lady's gym   X
Keep up with my blog (at least once a week)

If you've been keeping track, you'll notice the things I checked off most recently are "Attempt to donate plasma again" and "Ice skate with a boy I like." The first mission failed - they would not let me give plasma because my veins are too small. And many people felt up my arm that day during my appointment, trying to determine if even the most expert of the phlebotomists could handle it. But it was too risky. So I was denied.

And just now a splendid afternoon date ended that involved ice skating, cooking pizza, and watching the cheesy 80s movie "Teen Wolf." The fantasy I always had of ice skating with a boy I like was perfectly fulfilled. It was a lot of sweet and innocent fun, and neither of us fell once, although he almost made me a couple times during our attempted professional figure skating maneuvers. This boy is something else! I didn't expect to have this "goal" accomplished, so I was caught off guard when it actually became plausible. After all, I hadn't thought about it all year, and then here comes this person who was not only willing to help me knock off one of my list points, but whom I love spending time with as well. It wouldn't have been as awesome with just any guy. 

Still ahead I have to tackle a day of vowed silence, baking a cake from scratch, attending adoration, and going clubbing, if possible. I know I won't get to move out yet, but that's totally fine; it will happen when the time is right. Part of me almost doesn't care about finishing the list, because right now I could easily say I'm delightfully happy and it's been a great year. But the go-getter inside of me wants to see how far I can get, so 
look out for more updates to come in the next few weeks!

Proof of the experience

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Most Magical Ice Cream Place

So there's this ice cream place called Sub Zero. It's a small chain with a few locations in and around Utah, relatively new. I'm sure that I and everyone else on this planet are currently fascinated with all the new frozen yogurt shops popping up, but this place is almost cooler, and I'll tell you why. Instead of manually dishing out your own flavors into a bowl and smothering them with numerous toppings that almost never seem to go together (there are so many choices, you have to get some of everything!), Sub Zero gives you the choice of one or two flavors with one mix-in, and get this - they make your ice cream from scratch, right in front of you!

To elaborate on this, it starts out as liquid cream - you pick the kind you want, based on its thickness and fat content (premium being 14%, then custard, low-fat, and even nonfat). Then you choose your flavors, from a looong list with names you probably can't find anywhere else - Huckleberry, Tiger's Blood, Brownie Batter, and so many more. Specify your mix-in (again, a long list, although not as diverse as the toppings at some frogurt places), and watch as they put everything in a metal bowl and then spray LIQUID NITROGEN on it. They shake it up and stir with a spoon while it freezes in a matter of seconds, in a totally safe way that looks like a magic trick. And it almost is! Obviously this new innovation was created by some very smart engineers who creatively put chemistry to good use by making delicious treats with it.

An eerie space-like fog quickly emerges from the machine, spilling out underneath the glass barrier so you can run your hands through it. Then it disappears just as fast, and voila - suddenly that stuff in the bowl has turned into ice cream, and it's ready for you to eat! Just the process alone is reason enough to visit and give this place a try. If you end up with a combination you don't like, it's your own fault, and don't be upset with the establishment. Keep trying and you'll find one you like. The first time I went (a while ago), I think I got mango custard with chocolate pieces mixed in. It was good, but would've been better in a different cream. The next time I went was this past Friday, where I tried Cheesecake Batter (custard) with kit kat pieces mixed in. I actually didn't expect it to turn out well, but I was pleasantly surprised. And then when I raved about it and made my little brother jealous, he convinced our mom into taking us there the very next day, when I tried low-fat Fudge with snickers pieces.

Here's the key - fruity flavors are good with the low-fat creams, but anything chocolate or creamy in nature needs to be made with a thicker cream. The most unexpected delight was the brother's mix of Mountain Dew, Watermelon, and gummy bears, in premium cream. I honestly thought it was going to be disgusting, but boy was I wrong. And I'll admit, that specific mix is probably a love-or-hate scenario, since our mom wanted to spit it out while I thought it was the heavenly taste equivalent of rainbows and unicorns. And I don't even like Mtn. Dew.

Comparing Sub Zero with frogurt franchises, there are definitely pros and cons. You can't test-taste anything before you've committed to your own bowl that you have to pay for, so you might end up with something you don't love. However, there are a lot more flavors to choose from, plus the option of what cream you want, and the process of watching it freeze in front of your face is really cool and different. But hey, the beauty of this country's economy is that people can open businesses whenever and wherever they want, and if you're lucky enough, your geographic region will cover a wide spectrum. You might feel like frozen yogurt on Wednesdays, but Sub Zero ice cream on Saturdays, and you can go back and forth as often as you wish. Between the two styles of making and serving, and all the ways you're allowed to specialize within each, the options are endless.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Phases of Shannon II

Way back in October, I did a post on the phases I was going through at the time. This season I've noticed new interests in myself, so I thought I'd do a sequel! Here is a list of those that have come to mind:
  • the "Self Improvement Books Phase" wherein the only books I've been reading and want to read in the future are things like "The Money Book for the Young, Broke, and Fabulous," and "The Five Love Languages." The one I'm currently reading is called "Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti," which talks about the differences between the male and female brain, and how they make us behave so differently. It's really interesting! The unread fiction novels on my shelf might be there for a while, because right now all I want to do is soak up information that I can actually use in life.
  • the "Extended Use of Planner & Lists Phase" wherein I write down everything, all the time, and enjoy satisfaction in crossing things off just to see how accomplished I am being. Most people use planners in order to remember things, but that purpose takes backseat in my life. I'm all about writing down "trip to the bank" an hour before I know it's going to happen just so I can up the official count of productive activities in my day. 
  • the "Greek Yogurt Phase" wherein I eat ... greek yogurt ... a lot. Costco has these packs of Chobani cups that are a) Fruit on the bottom, b) Low fat, and c) High in protein. I've been the biggest yogurt fan for as long as my existence, but I would only ever eat the Yoplait strawberry ones. Now I'm in love with the peach, strawberry, and black cherry flavors that Chobani has. And that's not even all of them! I haven't gotten to try the rest yet. The texture is weird at first, kind of chalky compared to what you're used to, but it grows on you. I suggest everyone try them.

  • the "Anti-Cafe World Phase" wherein I came back from Chapter Camp a month ago and stopped playing the dumb Farmville-esque game on facebook for good, because it was so addicting and time consuming, and THOUGHT consuming, having to plan out when all your meals will be done and served. It's kind of sad because I was getting really good and kept leveling up, but I'm better without it. But since I roped a couple of my friends into playing, I still respond to their requests for help and stuff, because I'm nice like that.
  • the "Make My Bed Everyday Phase" wherein I'm trying, for the second time in roughly a year, to get into the habit of making my bed everyday. It's really hard. The last time I tried, it lasted for a good few weeks and then all of the sudden I gave up for some reason. But if I can just keep my room moderately clean on a daily basis then hopefully I won't ever have to take extensive amounts of time to clean it, and I won't feel like a slob whenever I walk in. 
  • the "Simple Living Phase" wherein I want to get rid of all the things I don't need - except for clothes. Because I have a lot of clothes that I don't need, but I like to have options, you know? But this trait started manifesting itself during the week of my room and closet purge, and further spread to the rest of the house. Whenever I'd go downstairs and look at the bookshelves that just hang out and do nothing, I would instantly want to throw everything on them into ANOTHER garage sale box. But alas, those possessions that no one pays attention to aren't mine, so I probably shouldn't do that. 
  • the "Crushing on Someone Phase" wherein there is a person I've been thinking about an awful lot lately, and I wish I could talk about it, but all I'm going to say is that I really hope it goes somewhere. That is all. 

The end.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Mini Parties, Church Hopping, and Stupid Accidents in the Canyon

Good morning, world! I am coming to you live from Accounting 2020 for the first time I've ever blogged during class. With 18 minutes left, I'm bound to save this as a draft and finish later.

In the newsletter for Shannon's life as of Monday, April 11th, here's what's been happening the past week:

* Mini parties at my house and Jake's on Friday and Saturday, respectively. We played many fun games, such as Guess Who (lol), Battle of the Sexes, Just Dance, Guitar Hero, ping pong, What's Yours Like, and that one that I don't know the name of where everyone just argues and calls each other out on stupid things to please the "king." What's Yours Like was totally a hit with so many college kids with dirty minds, but one of my favorite moments of the weekend was during Battle of the Sexes when the girls were asked what are the names of the 3 prongs on an electric plug, in more complicated and ambiguous wording. We threw around silly guesses, YB said, "Positive, negative, and netural?" in a half-serious tone, and I happened to look at the face of one of the guys right as his eyes widened, and instantly I knew that was the answer. I shouted, "Oh my God, that's it, look at Scott's face!!" And to confirm it even further, he began shaking his head back and forth frantically and hid under a blanket in efforts to hide his dead giveaway expression. We officially submitted our answer, got the question right, and learned quickly that for clues in that game, it's a good idea to look at the faces of the other team when they hear your discussion of what to guess.

* Church-hopping - This month and maybe the next, a couple of us are "church hopping," i.e. visiting the home churches of the people we love and commune with on a weekly basis at IV, to get a feel of their background and ... stuff. Personally, I've been getting work off as much as I can because I am currently without a home church, and testing out many different ones with probably help me find one to go to on a regular basis. We're mostly going to modern evangelical Christian type places, which is very new and different to me, since all I've known and been used to is the Catholic church. I haven't decided if I want to stick with those roots or branch out to something new, because there are aspects of each that I really like. This summer will be an exploration for me, as I want to try out more than what the church-hopping group has planned. I'm excited. And these past two services we've gone to were really awesome. I love it!!

* Craziness in the canyon: It probably snowed for 2 days straight last week without sticking, until one of the party nights I drove home around 1:30 and the roads were completely covered, with no sign of any plows. In the middle of the canyon, we suddenly came to a standstill in a long line of semis, and proceeded to stay there for almost an hour and a half without moving. My close friends have already heard how peeved I was about it - partly because I had been running low on sleep already and needed to get some before waking up early again, largely because I had to waste a bunch of gas to keep my car running when it got cold, and also because it became increasingly hard for me to stay awake. I spent a lot of time doing miscellaneous things on my phone and listening to hard rock, but that can only keep you awake for so long (also, I have been known to ironically fall asleep on car rides to such aggressive music when most people wouldn't be able to). I kept a pattern of dozing off for 10 seconds and waking myself up again over and over so I wouldn't miss it if the line started to move. It would be pretty stupid if all the cars behind me got pissed that I was still sitting there in park because I had fallen asleep. I think that actually happened to somebody else. We drove around him.

Another mentionable event was the school's symphony orchestra last night, where our home girl Z played a kickass piano concerto that blew everyone's mind. I loved that so many of us decided to come and support her as her family, because it just shows the love we got going on in our community. And seriously, I am amazed by her skills. This girl should win every prestigious award there is for piano playing.

See, I was right, I couldn't finish this in class. It's no longer the morning, so my previous salutation is now inappropriate. But my newsletter is pretty much done with now. Here's a pic of this stupid badger that showed up at my house with some of my kooky friends on Friday. It used to be real, and alive, but now it's dead and stuffed and very creepy. (Dog shown here is still real and alive, but not mine.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Life Relates to a Business Executive Lecture

First of all, I have to say this weather is ridiculous. Torrential downpour all day doesn't make me feel much like leaving the house, even though I already had to, but when it has actually been SNOWING on my side of the mountains for 3 hours?? Yeah, I'm really not happy. Here's what it looks like outside right now:

Here's what it SHOULD look like:

Mother Nature, did you forget that it's April now?? Did you fail that portion of the test where you match up the month of the year with the correct temperatures and sunshine quantity? Because this is all wrong!

But what I really wanted to talk about was this cool lecture I attended today for a business class. I think most universities have this, where successful business people (CEO's and such) come and talk for an hour about their success once a week or something, and students get to ask questions when they're done. I've seen a lot of videos of these online, mostly from MIT, as a requirement for a previous business class I took, but today was my first that I actually attended. The experience was interesting firstly because it was the only time I've been in a room with so many people in the college setting. I know most class sizes in college are usually huge, but my school is not like that at all. In fact, I think the most I've ever had in one class is 70 people, and that's way higher than the average. So it was cool.

I took lots of notes throughout the lecture, because I have to do a short write-up as an assignment before the end of the semester, but even if I didn't have to, I probably would have done it anyway because I found the talk so interesting. Even though I'm technically an Accounting major, I still thrive on anything Business, and hearing from the CEO of a fortune 500 company was way cool. The main thing that inspired me to write today was the section on strategic planning in order to achieve your company's goals. This is done by categorizing things into the following 3 levels:

L1: Current Projects
L2: Defined Opportunities
L3: Concepts/Vision

There was a cool graph that related each level to its associated time certainty and risk rating. Current projects are things that you are working on now, that usually you have the most resources in. They have a high time certainty (How debatable is it that I'm writing a blog post right this second?) and low risk. Concepts and Vision, the third category, is for long-term desires a company has but won't make a priority yet because many things need to happen before they're possible. In this level, the time certainty is low and the risk is high. The middle level of Defined Opportunities is where those visions and desires become more attainable and are actually considered as something that might happen soon. Risk and time certainty are in the mid-range. Most often, the thing that moves a project from L3 to L2 is the timing - perhaps one goal of a company involves coordination and transaction with another, and when that other company is ready to move forward, it becomes a Defined Opportunity - you're ready to start talking about the details. An event or project can also move backwards, from a Level 2 to a Level 3, because of certain circumstances, but naturally a project cannot move from a Level 1 to a Level 2 if it's already in progress.

This organized idea was all nice and pleasing to the left side of my brain, but it became even more fun when I realized this concept can be applied to everyday life. Current Projects that I'm currently working on include finishing up this semester's classes, planning an end of the year Apprentice party (it is facebook official now), and looking for a job. Defined Opportunities include planning my birthday party and maybe looking for an apartment. That one could also fall into the Concepts/Vision category, where I also keep the far-off dream of taking a trip to Disneyland with friends and getting my motorcycle's license. Essentially, this system of categorizing goals and plans is a way of setting relative priorities to all the things going on in your life. Most people probably do this naturally without even thinking about it, which is why I think it's interesting that we can match a given model for business strategies to the human psyche.

The speaker at this lecture also laid out many other foundational beliefs, such as his company's core elements of success being Geographic Growth and Innovation, which lead to constantly increasing Productivity. That sounds pretty boring, but the explanations provide meaningful significance. Let's zoom in a little on productivity though - one of my favorite words, along with the similar word efficiency, which always get me going inside. Just ask my mentors at IV and they'll confirm that for you, with giggles on the side, since apparently it's so amusing that I'm this excited about the weird things that nobody seems to want to pay attention to in this organization! If the Accounting thing doesn't quite work out, I'm sure I can find another career in business that satisfies this desire of my heart.

I also couldn't resist jotting down some of the last small pieces of advice, no matter how obvious or cliche they seemed: "Pursue the Premier," "It's easy to be mediocre," strive for a "culture of constant improvement," and "A good leader is never satisfied." Whether you aspire to be the leader of a global company traded on the NYSE or not, these are probably good principles to live by in any job or walk of life. Never settle for anything less than premier, or else your heart won't be in it, and you don't want to end up someone who hates their job. Because after all, when you're not going to school anymore, you're pretty much working all the time. I myself am pretty set on not letting that happen, which is why it was so important to me that I figure out what I like to do before picking some ho-hum degree that I didn't love.

So yeah. Those were some of the thoughts circulating around in my noggin today. Part of me is so excited I'm learning all this stuff now, rather than later in life like the majority of the people in that lecture room who already have kids and are going BACK to college. But I shouldn't boast ... I'm definitely thankful for these opportunities. And the application of the learning experiences ? Starts now :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning, aka Getting Rid of All My Crap

It all started when I was utterly bored with my afternoon, wanting to do something useful, and decided to put new sheets on my bed. Upon placing the others in the wash, I immediately had the urge to purge my entire room and closet, getting rid of all the THINGS that I don't need. I don't know how this feeling came about, but all of the sudden it was there. Slowly, between my superficial and materialistic blog posts about shopping and shoes, and the approaching possibility of moving out into a smaller living space with roommates, the realization has been coming to me that I own too many possessions. It's all just crap! I have a huge walk-in closet and every year I'm able to declutter and somehow give away bags of clothes. It feels like I reorganize that thing all the time, and I never seem to clear up any more room.

This time, however, was different. This rare force in me was so strong that I chucked objects I've been holding onto for a long time. Old plush animals from an ex, the myriad of decorative throw pillows I don't need, the random sun umbrella that resided under my bed, a nice laptop case I never use, a pair of shoes I completely forgot I had! Brand new, never worn, still in the box. (Because my mom had pressured me into letting her buy them for me when I didn't actually think they were cute, so they never touched my feet.) Picture frames, travel games (hey, that rhymed!), duffel bags, cd holders, porcelain trinkets, etc. No hesitation stopped me from grabbing almost every useless item in my sight that I've looked at everyday for the past ten years of my life and bidding it farewell, for good.

The act of throwing junk out that I didn't need anymore led to reorganizing my closet once again. I was able to find a new home for many keepsakes of my childhood that I know I won't care to see for another decade. Consolidation is Key! With all the extra stuff out of the way, I finally have empty space on my shelves for the first time since I can remember. It. Is. Glorious. The one area of specialty items that I DID keep hold of, however, was my Disney collection. Anything Disney will stay with me forever, including the Cinderella polly pocket castle, 3D puzzle, Beauty and the Beast teacup set, and Pocahontas doll, among other things.

If that whole time-consuming project wasn't enough, I was ultimately inspired to rearrange my room in the process, at about 8:30 at night. Due to some of the paint scheming on my walls, the furniture layout isn't as flexible as I'd like, but I'm currently sitting in my bed where it usually is, and feeling like I'm in a new place, just from moving a few of the things around me - bookshelf, dresser, mirror, etc. It's so crazy how much one half of my room opened up by tilting a couple things in a different direction. It's still a work in progress, since the household collectively went to bed while I was still hard at work, so I'm going to finish things up tomorrow. Even with this future garage sale pile of stuff in the middle of the floor that will be transported somewhere else later, it still feels like there is more space now. Oh yeah! That would be because my beanbag chair is currently in the hallway. Ok so I'm not completely imagining things.

But anyway, the point is that rearranging furniture is so refreshing! I wish so badly that I could move my bed and switch everything up, not just a few items. But for the spontaneity of this decision, I think the outcome is pretty fantastic. For these many hours of the day, I was visibly overcome with excitement at the invigorating process taking place. I'm so glad I decided to change my sheets instead of watch more TV and mess around on facebook. SO happy I even took pictures!

Friday, April 1, 2011

March 31st Stuff

So, yeah, I'm up late and the date on this post is going to be April 1st, but it's really me reflecting on the day of March 31st. Speaking of which, I still need to go sneak into my little brother's room to change his clock forward an hour so he gets ready for school an hour early. I wish I had more time to prepare for April Fool's pranks, but when I wasn't busy doing something else this week, it simply was not on my mind.

Anyway. Things I liked about today:

* My shoe purchases: The main one being the yellow converse I've wanted for a really long time. They're perfect for summer and they almost didn't have my size but I made myself fit into a 7, and not too uncomfortably either. Then I got a pair of white sneakers that were on sale. Oh, but the cool thing about the yellow sneakers was that I wore them right away because they matched my yellow nail polish. Actually my whole outfit today matched and made me happy.

* The warm, springy weather!! The daytime temperatures were awesome, and continue into the night. While walking from my car to the house in just a blouse and quarter sleeve sweater (and jeans, of course), I was not chilly at all. Praise the Lord!

* Strawberry crepes at Village Inn. Man, those things are just heavenly. I could probably eat them all day.

* Getting to play catch up on my sleep. I had many strange dreams this morning as I continually woke up and went back to sleep, because I had hours to do so. In one of them I attended a free rock concert that was on the edge of what seemed to be the Grand Canyon, and lots of people were there and it was very chillaxed. I remarked to one of my companions that it was like one of the gatherings where Jesus spontaneously spoke on a hill and people flocked to him. Then in another one of my dreams I came to a colony of people who were living on the outskirts of the city, and I discovered that I and everyone else there were mini-sized in comparison to the real humans that we just never saw in the world. We were like Thumbelina, except for the part about being born out of a flower. And we went up on a hill and flew a giant kite (it was giant now that I discovered how tiny we were) by having a bunch of people hang on to it from underneath and just ... flying down the hill I guess. It was interesting. Made a lot more sense in the dream, though.

* The website full of math and science jokes/puns that I found today. An example of one would be what I used as my status on facebook, which a number of my friends liked: "Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond." The majority aren't as easily understood, though, unless you've taken calculus. It makes me miss that subject even more, and the fact that I used to be in the company of so many people who would appreciate those jokes. But that's another story.

* Plans for my conjoined birthday party at Boondocks. Which is going to be 90s themed. Yeah, that's right. Be jealous. For my 20th birthday I will be playing laser tag, racing go-karts, and eating pizza whilst memorializing the jelly sandals and scrunchy ponytails of the 90s fashion in its full glory. And that is all for tonight.