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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Almost Victory

Today is a good day.

Today I handed back all of my students' graded work, and I have only had one student complain about their grade. I will talk with him on Thursday.

Today I was also notified that I have been chosen to be a TA again for next semester! They had to cut three of us, and I was sure - absolutely positive - one of those three would be me. But it wasn't! I am still a CO101 TA. I'm so grateful that I get to be a TA again because I learned so much this semester that would be a shame to not be able to improve upon next semester. The only bad thing about being a TA next semester means that three of my friends don't get to be TAs. I feel awful about that. I wish it didn't have to be that way.

Today I decided what to write my Superhero "Thought Piece" on. Our professor is a bit helter skelter. He's been changing the course requirements all semester. At first there were three papers due, and then maybe only one short paper and one long, and now it's two short papers and one thought piece (really short paper). All I have left is the thought piece, and I'm writing a bit of a stylistic comparison between The Dark Knight and The Avengers, trying to determine which style will take over as the codified, classical superhero genre style. Sound fun? Well, what is even more fun is that if I'm not happy with the paper, I can tell my professor not to grade it. And he won't. And I'll get an A- (most likely). Or he can grade it, and I guess my grade could go lower, but I don't think it will unless my paper is REALLY awful. I hope it isn't...

Today I made it to the halfway point in my big TV Theory paper! The only problem with this is that I have kind of run out of ideas...but my professor let me borrow a couple of books, so that should help. I only have 10 pages left to write. Just 10. I can do that by Thursday night, right? Only if I stop blogging and watching YouTube videos and get back to work...I need to be done by Thursday night because that's when I have to pick up my Nintendo 3DS XL from Best Buy. That's been my motivation to make it through finals. I'm a five year old on the inside. Maybe a 10 year old sometimes.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I want school to be over...

Maybe it's because I'm sick (I spent all Sunday night/Monday morning vomiting and writhing in agony - worst night of my life so far, I'm not kidding). Or maybe it's because Thanksgiving is next week. Or maybe it's because the rest of the semester looks a little bit daunting. Regardless of why, I want to come home.

I have a history of homesickness. I hated sleepovers at friends' houses. I never liked summer camps. I was even homesick during my study abroad in London. Well, not super homesick. It only lasted a day and was then wiped away by the sheer awesomeness that is London. I generally prefer my own bed, my own room, and my own comfy circle with people who know me and have for years. I miss that. I miss having history with people.

I am so excited to spend Thanksgiving with Mike, Alexis, Ryder, and Liv in NYC. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to next week. That sort of makes everything else a little bit harder to deal with, though. I will have an evil school cloud hanging over my head the entire time I am there. I hate evil school clouds. I miss having a full time job that had paid holidays and no homework.

I have to put things in perspective.

I have really enjoyed Boston. The more involved I get in the ward the more I love being here. I have friends now! I may have bought them by providing them with transportation, but I have them! I'm not above a little bribery for friendship. I am so glad I brought my car.

And that ugly school cloud? Be gone! The things I have left to do this semester are not that important. It's just school. Yes, school is important, but there are more important things, like my sanity and my happiness. For those of you who know me, this acknowledgement is a big step for me. School has been my everything. I will work hard - of course I will, I'm obsessive compulsive Jenny - but I need to remember that this too shall pass. In 20 years I'm not (I hope) going to look back and wish I had spent more time on my TV Theory paper or watching movies, even if my professors think I should have. It's the classic "what will you really regret?" scenario. I have always loved school, so I never thought I would come to the point where I realized it wasn't the end-all. But here I am, realizing it! And I like that it's not the end-all, because guess what?! Real life is more fun than school! Way more fun. I know my mom is probably reading this and crying tears of joy at my revelation. In fact, so am I. Before the vomiting part of this weekend I had a marvelous time - I hung out with my daddy on Friday night and with ward friends on Saturday night. I went to a party and I danced and socialized. Next came Sunday, which is ALWAYS the best day of the week (unless it ends in vomiting...). I talked to people and actually knew their names and stuff! I'm not a floating anonymous person anymore. Well, not entirely...People are more fun than books, turns out. Who knew? :)

I will not get straight As this semester - if I do, I will be supremely surprised. I have, in the past, held myself to that standard. However, since I received my first non-A in my last semester at BYU I have gained some perspective. And now I can celebrate not being freakishly perfectionistic. I'm only moderately perfectionistic. Maybe still a bit more than moderate, but I'm on my way to a healthier place, methinks. As long as I do well enough to keep my scholarship I am okay with that.

Isn't it silly that while I'm worrying about keeping my scholarship there are people out there who don't have a place to sleep tonight? There's some perspective for ya.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Daddy Is In Town!


Look who I found wandering around Boston! MY DADDY! He signed up for work training just so he could come and visit me. Man, I love this guy! It's so nice to have someone around who has known me forever. And he's so nice to just listen to me talk and talk and talk.

Dad arrived on Wednesday night and did not bring a GPS with him (he doesn't know how to use the one in his Blackberry - silly man). He tried to find my school but ended up in Wellesley, which is half an hour outside of Boston...oops...so he turned around and this time headed for my apartment. With the help of my handy dandy iPhone I found him directions and helped him get there. That reunion was THE BEST. I showed him my apartment and introduced him to my roommates, and then we went out in search of some grub. I was feeling like a hamburger and fries would hit the spot (I haven't had one since I have been here). We found this awesome diner and I had the yummiest burger I have possibly ever had. I think it helped that I had wonderful company. 

On Friday night I took Dad out for dinner to Sunset Cantina (one of my TA friends told me there was a 50% off Groupon happening there, so we took advantage of that). Sunset is famous for its nachos and margaritas. We only partook of the nachos, of course. They were HUGE! Seriously, with both me and my dad eating them, we only made it through half of the nachos. I guess I know what I'll be eating for the next three days. Dad is the best listener - he just let me talk his ear off. 

Dad and I met up again Saturday morning for a trip down the Freedom Trail - I finally get to walk to whole thing! I think the Cheers bar should be added to the trail, but that's just me. Seeing historical Boston is wonderful - I love living in a place with this much history. I think it's safe to say Dad's favorite part was the USS Constitution. This man loves ships, and he was so happy to see this one. We also climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill monument, and for some reason we thought it would be good to climb it as fast as possible....ouch...I definitely felt the burn there. When we got back down to the ground my legs were shaking uncontrollably - that's what I get for not working out for the past couple of weeks. I get all weak and stuff. We then had Italian for dinner in the North End and stopped by famous Mike's Pastry for cannoli. YUM. And then we headed home.



That night I went to a dance party and strained a tendon in my foot from all the walking and dancing I did that day...oops... But totally worth it!

On Sunday, Dad came to church with me! After Sacrament Meeting they always ask new or visiting people to introduce themselves, and I asked Dad if he wanted me to introduce him. He said, "Please no." Man after my own heart. I hate doing stuff like that, and I guess I know why - my Dad doesn't like to do it either. We're happy to sit in the back and quietly participate. I told my Mom and she laughed and said, "You two!" We are peas in a pod, me and my dad. 


The following Friday night, Dad was still in town and I was free, so we met up again! Yay! This time we met in Quincy because he was coming from Plymouth and I was coming from school. We got dinner - I finally got to have real Boston Clam Chowder! Woo! Check that off my list. Then we saw Wreck-It Ralph, which was totally made for video game nerds like me. It was cute, not fantastic, but definitely fun and worth a watch. Then Dad and I bid farewell. Seriously, he is so awesome. I LOVE MY DADDY!

I thought seeing him would make me feel homesick, but it actually gave me the boost I need to make it to Thanksgiving when I'll see Mike and his family. My family rocks. They get more awesome as I get older. I don't know if it's because I appreciate them more, or if we are all on this exponential awesomeness growth pattern. I think it's both.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mormon Girl Problems

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the best thing EVER, but sometimes it comes with less-than-common problems that I have lately been thinking about. These are kind of similar to first world problems that aren't really problems when all things are taken into perspective, but in the moment seem rather inconvenient.

Problem #1 - the "no coffee" thing. As I sit here, trying to read my rather dry TV Theory articles, I find that I am very sleepy. I look around the room and notice that many of the other students look alert and productive - what is their secret? They have a shiny thermos or happy Starbucks cup filled with some caffeinated beverage on their tables or in their hands. I don't drink coffee, therefore I must struggle through the day without that added boost the other students receive.

Problem #2 - I don't do homework on Sunday. This is a personal choice - some Mormons do homework on Sunday. It's all about how you feel best about observing the Sabbath. Some people don't watch TV or movies on Sunday, but I do (within reason). Anyway, though the day of rest from work is nice, other students get that extra day to work on their homework, which alternatively also means more playtime too because the work can be spread out and paced more efficiently (in theory).

Problem #3 - the "no drinking" thing. I have discovered since moving to Boston that you miss out on a great deal of social life if you don't drink. Sure, I could go hang out in bars with people and watch them drink, but does that really sound like fun? No. Why does everything out here have to happen in a bar?

Like I said, none of these things really are problems. I'm glad I don't drink or do homework on Sunday, and I don't think I'd even like coffee if I could drink it. I feel like its actually a privilege to not have to worry about these "problems." I save a lot of money and health problems too. These practical benefits pale in comparison to the spiritual benefits, which are worth any so-called sacrifice. I may not get to get by on less sleep with the aid of coffee, but at least I know where I'm going and what I'm doing in an eternal sense.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Surprises

I've been struggling with deciding if I want to continue in my graduate degree. Days like yesterday, when I was super happy about the paper I wrote, glad to have it turned in, and feeling like I accomplished something useful, are great. And then there are other days (which seem more numerous as of late) where I feel like I hate what I'm studying, I don't want to be a professor, and the idea of spending the rest of my life doing research and writing papers makes me want to vomit. I haven't like the idea of changing my mind about grad school because it feels like giving up. My mom keeps telling me that it's not giving up, but being in charge of my life, and maybe someday I will be able to help someone else who is going through the same dilemma.

Well, today was someday. 

I had a student come to my office hours to talk about her exam score, and we ended up talking about how she wants to transfer schools instead. She doesn't like the east coast (she's from California and desperately wants to go back there). Her dream school is USC, but if she doesn't get in there she is not sure if she should stay at BU, which has an awesome Communications department and reputation, or if she should transfer to a public school in California with not as good of a reputation for Communications. She was asking me whether experience was more important than the degree or vice versa. She's studying PR, which, admittedly, I know nothing about, but I told her what I could about my experience. We talked about the pros and cons of her situation. I shared my experiences with her and answered her questions. Mostly I just helped her think through things. I told her to just apply to a bunch of different places and opportunities and see what she gets. Talk to professors, talk to everyone you can to get advice - that's something I wish I had done a little more of. When you try everything you possibly can - apply for every job, every program, every study abroad - one of the things you try for will be right. Plus, you'll have tons of options to choose from, and if none of them is right you still have BU. It's like I was telling her exactly what I needed to hear myself - coincidence? I think not.

I got to help a student! Really, legitimately help them. Not just help them understand Aristotle's artistic proofs. That was a fun surprise for my day. And my mom was right - my experience now, as I try to figure out my life, will help others too. I really wanted to tell her to pray about it, ha ha. I am more thankful every day that I have the Gospel to give me direction. Decisions are hard enough with that influence - I can't imagine deciding things without it. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The First Paper

I'm on my way to my Global New Wave Cinema class where I will turn in my first paper of my grad school career. I feel pretty good about how it turned out. It is an analysis of 'Cleo from 5 to 7,' a French New Wave film that I have actually come to love through analyzing it.

It turns out that this is why I am doing this film studies program. I like writing about films. I maybe don't love discussing films with people (unless it is a criticism-free geek fest), but I do love looking deeper into them and finding something more valuable to me. Like I have written before, you can go too deep and forget the value of the thing you're looking at. That's no fun. But with this paper I think I was able to find a balance and do a good job. We will see if my professor agrees when he grades it.

I'm fully expecting to have a day sometime in the next couple of weeks where I get all of my papers back with red marks covering them and comments shredding them, but until that sad day, I will remember how today I am happy. I feel like I am finally learning and being productive, and that is what I like about school. It's weird, but homework really does make me happy.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Adventurous Homebody

I am a paradox. Or, rather, an oxymoron. I love being at home. I love just sitting and doing nothing. It's not a lazy kind of sit-and-do-nothing, but rather an introverted kind. I like to think and write and watch the world as it passes by, learning things as I watch.

But then I think that world that's passing looks really fun, so I do things like travel to London with people I've never met, try out to be the school mascot, run for class office, and move to Boston (not always in that order). And then I suffer for it. Sure, it looks like it's fun while it's passing, but it turns out that once you're in it, it's not all fun and games. Sometimes, the crazy (by my standards) things I've done have been the hardest things I have ever done. Right now, with the whole living in Boston thing, I am so far outside my comfort zone that I can't even remember what it's like to be in it anymore. That's an exaggeration. I do remember what it's like, and when I remember it I miss home and start crying. I guess I try not to remember what it's like. 

It's not as though anyone is forcing me to do anything - my parents never demanded that I get involved in my high school or study abroad. No one told me to get straight As. They definitely didn't tell me to go to Boston. All these things were my idea. Why do I do this to myself? 

I guess I know why. It's because the things that are hardest usually turn out to be the most rewarding. Usually. But sometimes I wonder if the price of uncomfortableness outweighs the reward. Everyone will always tell me that it does, but that doesn't stop me from wondering. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

And so it begins...

Since I began grad school, I've felt like I've had too much free time, like I should be busier. Well, little did I know a storm was coming. An ugly, black, wet, exhausting storm.

In the next 2-3 weeks I have 22 papers to grade, two lessons to plan, four eight-page papers to write (that significantly determine my grade in the classes they're for), and all of my regular course work to complete. Plus it's Halloween season.

Yikes. The real bummer of it all is that I'm not even sure I want to study this stuff anymore. Serious lack of motivation.

Pray for me :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jaded

I haven't been a very good blogger since I've been in Boston. I've been keeping a journal, but I haven't put any of it online. I think it's because it's not what anyone who reads this blog or knows me wants to hear. You see, everyone wants me to love being here in Boston and love my program and be having the time of my life. But I'm not.

Clarification: I do love Boston, and I love being here. I love the people I've met and my ward and my roommates. Boston is an awesome city, and I love the opportunities it presents. I've learned so much about myself and my faith in my time here. I feel like I did, in fact, need to come here.

However.... I don't love my program. I thought I would, or rather hoped I would.

You see, in my undergrad I took a few critical studies classes, but they were always mixed with production or screenwriting classes so I never got the full blast of strictly theory all day, every day. I am getting that blast now, and I'm afraid to say I don't enjoy it. Parts of it I like - I like looking deeper into films. I've always enjoyed that. I even like writing papers sometimes.  I never got to take a class on TV theory in my undergrad, and now I get to and I find it fascinating.

I don't enjoy the teaching style here (it may be the same at all film studies Masters programs, I don't know). In my undergrad, my professors would give us a framework to study - tools to use when analyzing films. Things to look for. Jumping off points. Here, it feels so open-ended and without direction that I don't know where to go. Also, I have never had much to say in any of my classes. I learn by listening and observing, and I am not a quick thinker. My papers are good because I have time to consider concepts and ideas and then put them down in my own way. In class, I am expected to contribute meaningfully, and no matter how much I prepare it seems as though I have nothing intelligent to say. If I do, someone says it before I get the chance. Then I try to make up for it and I say some gobbledegook that has no relevance. My professors just look at me, trying to understand what I am saying, their brows furrowed. They usually just nod after I speak and move on to a different topic.

I have felt like such an idiot in the past month. I know I'm not an idiot generally, but compared to some of these people here, I am an idiot. The other day, another critical studies student came up to me and told me how his mind was blown by some theory that our professor mentioned in Superheroes class and that's all he could think of while we watched The Dark Knight. I had no idea what he was talking about! I didn't even remember hearing our professor mention that theory, and I had no idea what the theory even was! I still can't remember what it was even called. The same student told me what movies were showing at some theaters nearby (we're supposed to get out and watch films at certain venues each month). He mentioned the directors like I should know who they were, and perhaps I should, but I didn't. I, once again, felt ignorant. TV theory is filled with kids who spend, I kid you not, ALL of their time watching TV. They must, with all the shows they keep up with and have kept up with in the past. I know nothing compared to them.

That's when I realized that I don't love film like these people do. They crave tearing it apart with different theories and watching obscure films and I, frankly, just like watching movies. I like knowing the history - the cultural context, how they came to be, etc. But in the end, they're just movies. They're meant to entertain, to inform, to educate, to create meaning, perhaps even to change lives (my life has been changed by certain movies) - but not to be over-thought and torn apart and chewed up until nothing is left but a mass of gooey celluloid that no longer means anything to anyone. I feel like all the joy is sucked out of movies in these classes. I don't find joy the same way these people do.

I don't know, maybe I'm just exhausted by more theory than I've even had to handle before. I guess I was just hoping for other movie goers like me to be here. It may be that there aren't any other movie goers like me anywhere.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Recurring Nightmare

For the past year or so I have been having this semi-nightmare. It's never the same exact dream - I will be in new places with different people each time - but the same thing always happens. My knee cap slides out of place and I can never get it back in just right. I doesn't necessarily hurt. It's more uncomfortable and frightening than anything.

Last night (or rather, this morning) I had another knee cap dream. This time, my knee cap actually CAME OUT! I was holding it. I accidentally dropped it in dirt at one point. I just brushed it of and went back to trying to get it into my knee again. It was one of those dreams where I knew it was a dream, so I decided the easiest way to get my knee cap back to where it should be was to wake up. Problem solved. But I still feel like my knee cap has been wiggling around too much - it's not a physical feeling, but more psychological. When my knee caps dislocated before my knee surgeries in high school I felt like that - loose and vulnerable, like one day my knee cap would just fall off.

What I really want to know is, why now? Why am I have these nightmares now, when I haven't had a knee cap dislocation for about 10 years? I do not like it. Just thinking about it is gives my the shivers. Yeesh...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Minnesota and Wisconsin and Illinois!

Our couple of hours driving across Minnesota was spent, in part, singing old songs: You Are My Sunshine, Down By The Old Mill Stream, Oh, Evaline and others - love it! My mom was teaching me the words to songs I've heard but never sung, and then we would sing in harmony. They're a lot of songs that she sung to me at bedtime growing up.

It's getting greener and greener the farther we go! Our time in Wisconsin was brief, and we're looking for a place to stay the night in Illinois. We're a couple hours away from Chicago, so we made our goal! It's been really foggy out tonight now that we've gotten closer to some lakes. I LOVE THE FOG.


Not the best picture, but it captures the fogginess.

Things in South Dakota

In Mitchell, South Dakota there is a Corn Palace. Yes. A palace made of corn. Well, actually it's mostly just decorated with corn on the outside. And we visited it! At the corn palace, or rather just outside it, they were hosting the South Dakota Youth Talent Show finals. We heard the returning champ singing Adele and Sara Bareilles songs - she was quite good. The girl who followed her was also quite talented, but sounded rather nervous. She also sang Adele. And they had a fried cookie dough stall - why have I never thought of such a wonderful thing?!? We didn't get any, but just the thought made me happy. Someday I will get a fried cookie dough stick.

After the Corn Palace somewhere along the highway we saw a sign for Laura Ingalls Wilder's house - the Little House on the Prairie! We didn't stop - we have to make tracks - but it was neat just knowing that it's REAL!



And then we saw this:



I'm not totally sure what it is.... But there it is.

81° Sunny
I-90 E, Montrose, South Dakota, United States

Road Trip Day 2

Good morning from the Badlands! Were on Day 2 of our road trip. It's true, after Mt. Rushmore South Dakota is pretty barren...but we're still having fun! Listening to conference talks and the Mormon Channel since it's Sunday. I usually don't like travelling on Sunday, but since we're working around my mom's work schedule and trying to get to Boston with enough time to set me up and do a little sight-seeing (maybe even hopping over to NYC to see Mike and his family for a day or so) Sunday travel seemed inevitable. Our goal is to make it close to Chicago by tonight.

66° Sunny
I-90 E, Kadoka, South Dakota, United States



First night on the road

Not quite as cheap as we had hoped to find (for money-saving purposes), but not bad. Turns out Wall, South Dakota is a hoppin place - it was the only room available on a street packed with hotels/motels. We're pretty cautious (paranoid) and we moved all my important possessions into the room for the night. It's funny how you can be tired when all you did was sit all day long. Mom drove all day - I offered to take a turn, but since she gets car sick it helps her to drive. So I entertain her with my variety of awesome medias. I'm going to download an audiobook tonight (free wifi!) that we can add to the mix of movies on my iPad, my awesome music, and our lovely conversation.

61° Clear
200–298 South Blvd, Wall, South Dakota, United States



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mt. Rushmore!

Mount Rushmore! So cool! We saw it in the light and then saw the lighting ceremony. I got the chills when I first saw it from the road outside the monument. It's quite spectacular. I'm definitely glad we decided to drive this way to come see it.

64° Clear
13024 SD-244, Keystone, South Dakota, United States



South Dakota!

I just fell in love with Custer, South Dakota! Such a cute little western tourist town, complete with Flintstones theme park. So CUTE! And we're almost to Mt. Rushmore!

70° Sunny
419–443 N 5th St, Custer, South Dakota, United States



Wyoming!

Rawlins, Wyoming - home of the Wyoming Frontier Prison :)

79° Sunny
301–399 W Spruce St, Rawlins, Wyoming, United States



The road trip begins!

We're off! The day I have anticipated with both excitement and dread is here! Off to Boston we go!

61° Partly Cloudy
Beef Hollow, Bluffdale, Utah, United States



(Note: I will be documenting the entire road trip via a journaling app called Day One, which includes GPS and weather info with each entry. So you'll know exactly where I am and what the weather's like when I write each post!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life in Technicolor

I finally assembled all of the video clips I've collected since January into a video. They are, of course, set to Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor." I tried so many different songs, but nothing but Coldplay would do. So here it is. It's not fancy, nor is it the best video I've ever made, but it is fun and it makes me smile, and that's all I was going for. Hopefully it will bring all of you (whoever reads this) some smiles too.

Enjoy!

Life in Technicolor

P.S. I will be filming the road trip to Boston, so look for that one next :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Ready

I leave for Boston on Saturday - that's three days from now...AHHH! I've spent so much time with it being far away, and now that's it's actually here I don't know what to think or feel.

People keep asking me if I'm excited or nervous or scared and I always respond with yes, all of the above. I'm excited to be somewhere new, to make new friends, go to a new ward, to take new classes at a new school. I'm nervous and scared about those same things - what if I stink at grad school? What if I'm in the wrong classes? What if I have a hard time making friends? What if my roommates don't like me? What if my car breaks down on the way there? What if I get lost in the middle of Boston and my phone dies? What if I forgot how to do the whole school thing? So many worries running through my head.

I just keep reminding myself that I prayed about it a lot and it always felt right. It will be good for me. I will grow up a little (on the outside - don't worry, the five year old boy inside me isn't going anywhere) and I will be a better person. I hope. Yes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Official

It's official - I told everyone at work that I'm leaving. It's safe to say its one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I love my job, I really do. Sometimes the work is tedious or a bit mind-numbing for me, but that's literally the only downside. I love the people I work with. I knew I had to tell them, and I spent all of Tuesday night bawling. Why did they have to be so wonderful?!? It certainly would make leaving a lot easier if they were jerks...

I told my fellow editors first, of course. Michelle was sad right away and asked me not to go, Seth was sad but encouraging, and Greg was pretty unreadable at first (he has since proven to be quite sad and daily bemoans my leaving). They are all so supportive though - each of them have said that if they were my age and single and such they would definitely do what I'm doing. It's crazy how much I love these guys. It was hard to tell them, but it was harder to tell John, my boss. Michelle basically dragged me to his cubicle and made me tell him, knowing that I was a bit of a chicken. After I told John I had to tell everyone, and everyone (including me) was sad. But excited! It's such a strange mix of emotions. Jeannie thinks I'm gonna get married, and most other people think I'm going to become a famous director (people outside of film don't understand the difference between studies and production). I told them I may come back to work here, and most of them looked at me ad said, "Why?" They think I should move on to bigger and better things.

Immediate talk began of a send off party with tons of food, and the editors have planned to go out to dinner one night before I leave. It's getting harder and harder to be motivated to work. I don't have any urgent projects to work on, and I can't start anything new. But soon enough - too soon - I will be in my little car driving across the country to my new home, a little girl in a big new city with no idea what she's doing. Sounds fun, right? Grand adventure.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Matter of Taste

So, I finished "Lie to Me" a couple of days ago and am now well into my next Korean tv show (Boys Over Flowers). Considering that most of these shows I've watched are pretty poorly written and over dramatic, I've had to ask myself if it's worth spending my time watching them. I mean, there are so many amazing things to watch, and some would argue more worth my time. I've especially felt this pressure in preparing for grad school. I feel like I'm supposed to watch all of these acclaimed movies and tv shows and be snobbish towards all "lesser" forms of entertainment because I'm a scholar of film.

I came across a blog about "Lie to Me," and they ended their commentary on the series with this:

"Always stay true to yourself, and your tastes in entertainment. Good or bad, acknowledge what works and what doesn’t, but ultimately find validation and meaning in things that make you happy. Lie to Me made me crazily happy for pretty much 8 straight weeks, and for that, I bid a fond farewell to the big drama that everyone expected so much of, which turned out to be just a little drama that brought joy and love to a slice of viewers the world over." (http://koalasplayground.com/2011/06/28/lie-to-me-episode-16-recap/)

And that about sums it up. Find validation and meaning in the things that make you happy, and don't worry what other people think about what you like. If it means something to you, then that's enough.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A New Career

I've decided what I want to be when I grow up - a professional fanatic! People could pay me to be a fan of their show, and I could tell everyone I know about it and host viewing parties and make everyone else fall in love with it. I figure that I already naturally do this, so why not make money at it? Right? Of course, I would pick my clients. I would be happy to sign up with Captain America and Shahrukh Khan and South Korean tv. They would totally benefit from it too, especially the two latter. I have already shared the joy of Shahrukh Khan pretty effectively. I just think I should maybe be paid for my work. Maybe I should just be an entertainment journalist instead - they're kind of professional fans.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's happening...

...I can feel it in my bones...its coming...

A NEW MOVIE PHASE!!!

Every summer I seem to find a new obsession of the movie variety, and though this one is later into the summer than most that does not lessen the powerful, overwhelming appetite I have for this particular cinematic experience. Two summers ago it was 80s movies, last summer it was Bollywood, and this summer?

SOUTH KOREAN TELEVISION!!!

I love it. I just love it. I can't get enough. I stumbled onto it via Netflix (bless you, Netflix overlords!) and I'm adding tv shows to my queue like a fat kid adds candy to his mom's shopping cart. And I'm devouring them as quickly too. I mean, as quickly as a girl who works full time and wants some semblance of a social life can. In the past couple of days I've watched 10 episodes of a show called "Lie to Me" (not at all related to the American show of the same name) from 2011. It's 16 episodes of pure, unadulterated, cliched, joyous romantic farce with a heavy dose of actual grounding in reality. Farce and reality combined? How is such a paradox resolved? It seems like a beautiful trait of all Asian cinema. The characters are real enough that you connect with them, though almost everything that happens to them happens in every romcom/action movie/movie in general EVER and is classically over dramatic (not quite Bollywood dramatic, but close). But, as we learn from Hollywood, it doesn't matter how many times we've heard the story - the execution is where it's at, and this show delivers! The first few episodes were, quite frankly, awful. But I think it's finally settled into a rhythm that feels more natural and real - or my standards have dropped, one or the other.

I have been sucked in to South Korea, not to return until I have exhausted every available resource on Netflix and the interwebs available to me. Feel free to come along - its a wonderful ride!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Confusion Over Butt Cracks

I'm not confused by butt cracks themselves, but rather how a person can go for an extended and very public period of time not knowing their butt crack is showing. I've seen more cracks in the last couple of days than I care to count. How can you not know your crack is showing? Does that sudden breeze on a part of your body that is normally covered not alert you to the fact that it is out there for everyone to see? Do you want people to see it? I think that's the only excuse. You must want people to see it. And that's weird. So stop. Wear an extra shirt, hike up your shorts - spare the rest of us from becoming more familiar with you than we care to. Please and thank you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Most Wonderful Birthday

I didn't make very many plans for my birthday this year. I figured I would just go with the flow, fly by the seat of my pants, that sort of thing. And then it turned out to be one of my favorite birthdays yet.

I was on a spiritual high from going through the temple two days earlier, and the night before I got my hair cut and styled by my cousin Melanie - I love getting my hair cut by her, even when it takes six hours because my hair doesn't like to take color like it should. We watch movies and just laugh and laugh. And she and my cousin Heidi gave me my first official birthday present: a supere cute shirt and necklace. Those cousin girls of mine always have the best taste. My hair turned out really nicely, and I felt all new and special.

Then I went to work. Everyone at my work is SO NICE! They all wished me a happy birthday and sang to me and everything. Plus, I got called into the office of the head of my department, and...I got a promotion! What a birthday gift, right? (Leave aside the fact that now it makes my decision about grad school even harder to make) Really I'll be doing the same thing I was doing before, so no new responsibilities or anything, but I do get more money. That's awful nice. I am now a full-blown video editor - no more assistant!

My mummy, aunt Jorji, and cute cousins took me out to lunch at The Hungry Bear (inside the Quilted Bear store). They gave me cakes and gifts and wonderful things. And when I returned to work, on my desk were gifts from my coworkers: a bouquet of beautiful flowers, a box of cheddar bunnies, and - get this - a Captain America Lego set!!! Best coworkers ever, right?!? They know me too well. I built Captain America and his motorcycle and drove it around the office for the rest of the afternoon.

After work I drove to Provo to have dinner with Josh, then we headed back to the Springs for a small party with friends. I brought up all our old Legos and gave everyone half an hour to build anything they wanted. Then my dad judged the creations and we had three winners who got Lego mini figures as prizes. I have very creative friends. I know, it sounds like a 7 year old boy's party, but it was so fun! At least, I had fun. Hopefully everyone else did too.

All in all, a pretty awesome birthday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I went to the temple!

I feel like I was intellectually prepared for the temple. I knew enough about the covenants and the proceedings (thanks, in large part, to my mummy) to not feel anxious about those parts. I knew I was ready and worthy to go through the temple. What I was not prepared for was the personal doubt I would feel about the timing of my temple visit. Why now? That's what I kept asking myself. The idea that I couldn't go back once I had gone through made me anxious. What if I mess up later? With greater knowledge of the gospel and how I should be living, my mistakes and actions contrary to the gospel would be more serious. The higher on the ladder you climb, the farther there is to fall. I felt this unsettling fear about making promises in the temple that I doubted I could keep - doubting not based on past experience but based on future uncertainty.

I expressed my concerns to my mom, and she asked me this: "what do you do now when you make a mistake?"

"Repent," I answered simply. And therein lay the answer to my fears. I will be making big promises, yes, but haven't I already done that? With baptism and partaking of the sacrament each week? It's a greater commitment, but not one that is impossible to achieve or scary. I will be the same person after I go through the temple - and that person is a good person who is already living the way she should! Mostly. I mean, there's always stuff I can do better. Tons of stuff. But I am trying, and that's the important part. And the temple can help me get there. The pessimistic perfectionist in me was, as ever, telling me I couldn't do it. And she was right. Turns out that's why we have the Atonement. How grateful I am to know that!

Being in the temple with many of my family members was just wonderful. My mom was so happy to see us all there. I loved it, and I look forward to being able to return to visit the temple with my siblings who couldn't be there, as well as - God willing and stubbornness granting - my future husband. Because family, my friends, is what it is all about.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The past month

It's been about a month since I really posted, and here's why - the last four weeks were four weeks from hell.

I had ten videos due on Friday, May 18. These were hefty, hour-long videos of Utah classroom lessons. I honestly have a lot more respect for TV and movie editors now, especially TV editors. Turning out that much material that quickly? Crazy.

The weekend before they were due I took a wonderful trip to LA to see my brother Danny graduate from dental school - yay, Danny! Though the trip was tons of fun, it put me back a couple of days on my work. Then, as luck would have it, I caught the stomach flu and spent all Wednesday morning vomiting. Fun stuff. But I had to finish the videos, so I went in to work in the afternoon. Stupid, I know, but remember I'm the girl who has only ever gotten one B in my life. With the help of Jack, one of the other editors, and a really long Wednesday and Thursday at work, I had all of the videos ready by Friday morning - a miracle in itself. However, I had neglected to account for how long each would take to export (hey, I'm still a relatively inexperienced editor). Each program was going to take about 6 hours to export. So I was looking at 60+ hours of export time, and they needed to be done by 4:00 PM. It was completely my fault that I has underestimated the time it would take. I seriously almost passed out, i was so stressed and still reeling from my flu. I went out into my car and cried. I just felt so awful that we were going to miss the deadline. My wonderful co-workers calmed me down and some lent me their computers for the day - I had commandeered five by mid-morning and was exporting like a possessed fiend. But even with all the computers going, the videos wouldn't been done until Saturday morning. I sheepishly told my producer, and she talked to the client who then said he would be willing to pick them up Saturday - miracle of miracles! So Saturday morning I drove on down to work and delivered the videos. Then I went home and collapsed. Due to my diet of strictly oatmeal, the vomiting, and the stress, I lost 5 pounds that week.

Those videos were only the beginning. I had 12 - yes, 12 - more hour-long videos due the following Friday. Just five work days away. And I had not started on any of them. Insert panicked scream here. It felt like the worst finals week I have ever had. The worst part that it wasn't just me I was affecting - it was the entire company. Yikes. So I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday pulling 12 hour days and exporting overnight. No more last minute exports this time. All I did was sleep and edit, and there wasn't much sleeping. I gained back all five ponds lost the previous week.

Thursday came and I felt pretty confident that, with Jack's help and a long day on Thursday, I would have them all done Friday. I mentioned this to my producer and she informed me that I needed them by Thursday...of the next week. Wow. I had a whole week left to finish the videos! I was actually even ahead! I wanted to laugh and cry, I was so happy. And actually I was frustrated too because I had spent all those long hours the days before. But mostly I was happy. Friday was a much more relaxed day, and I actually had a weekend. It was lovely.

I turned in the 12 videos on Thursday and asked for the day off on Friday because of all the extra hours I'd accumulated the week before. It was a good thing I stayed home on Friday too because I contracted a rather miserable cold. I would've preferred to spend my day off doing something more fun than lying in bed all day watching Alias (my new TV show I'm catching up on), but you take what you get. And I lost five ponds again with this latest illness. I've never been so sick so frequently in my life.

During these four weeks I was also trying to figure out loan stuff for school, register for classes (which I still haven't done and it's making me anxious), get back in shape, and prepare to go through the temple for my endowment. It's been a rough month. So I rewarded myself with an iPad, from which I am writing this post. Pretty great reward, I think. And yes, these weeks have been difficult. But seriously, my life is a cake walk compared to so many other people's lives. If all I have to worry about is meeting work deadlines and which classes to take, then I'm in pretty good shape. Sometimes it's hard to see that when you're in the midst of what feels like hell.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

One of the best/worst feelings in the world...

...is when you slave away on a project, working 12 hours a day and sacrificing all free time and fun things thinking it is due on Friday. And then you find out it is actually due Thursday...of next week. I'm not sure if I want to laugh out of relief or cry from frustration. I think I'll laugh.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Common Misconception

There is a rather common misconception that I have recently taken note of as I've tried to explain to people what I'll be studying for my Masters. I tell them I'll be doing film studies, and they usually reply with "Oh, wow! Well, remember us when you're famous!" or "Cool! So we will look for your name in the credits of the next big movie" and other variations upon that theme. The thing is, I won't actually be making movies in my degree. I'll be studying them, rather like someone getting an art history degree would study art, not actually make art. That's not to say that I'm giving up on making movies. I've been told by some people that I have talent at making movies (directing mostly). Oddly enough, none of these encouraging people were my professors at BYU. In fact, most of them steered me away from production and towards film studies. When people find out ill just be watching films, not making them, I can tell they're thinking "ugh, how booooring! You want to spend the rest of your life writing papers?" That's when I think, "They're right! You started down this path to MAKE movies! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?" That's when I have to remind myself of a few things. I do love film studies, don't get me wrong - sometimes I think there's nothing I'd rather be than the worlds foremost expert on film musicals. But I have to remember that didn't love being on set, at least in the capacities I found myself. I was never in any artistic positions - mostly managerial. Of course, student productions work differently than "real" productions, and I do love directing and writing. I just had friends who craved being on set, craved getting back out there to make more movies, while I never have had that drive. I like making something here and there, but not full time and not enough to sacrifice normal life.

The real point to make - to myself and those around me - is that making movies doesn't have to stop because I'm studying movies. I can still write and such in my spare time. The trick is actually doing it.

Anyway, just thought I'd clear that up. I will probably never be famous, but I will always be in love with movies.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Flavors of the Month

I have recently found myself in three simultaneous celebrity crush phases: April was dominated by Peter O'Toole, beginning with How to Steal a Million - great movie, and now it's on Netflix! Towards the end of April, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was released on DVD and I felt a resurgence of my Jeremy Renner crush, amplified by the fact that The Avengers (in which he stars as Hawkeye) comes out tonight/tomorrow. Yes, please.

However, these two crushes have been rather eclipsed by Martin Freeman. Yes, I already loved the show Sherlock, and I thought he was marvelous in it. But I just watched, via interesting Internet sites, the second season of Sherlock. And I am now in love. I love his performance in that show - I love both him and Cumberbatch. They are the best Sherlock and Watson, definitely better than Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law (though I love them too). Martin Freeman is also Bilbo in The Hobbit being released later this year. He is also Arthur Dent in Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy (2005). And guess what? I had a crush on him in 2005 when I first saw that movie. I think he's marvelously talented, comedically and dramatically, and I remember thinking, "I wish he was in more movies that I could watch!" Well, it looks like dreams can come true. It takes quite a guy to play three of the most iconic British roles out there. I am a fan.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Best Monday EVER.

Normally Mondays are uneventful, slow - boring, even, Not today, my friends!

Today I arrived at my desk to find the following: ninja body parts strewn across my computer speaker with a QR code. I scanned the code with my iPhone and was led to the following slideshow:

Lego vs. Ninja

Well, we couldn't just let that slide, could we? So we retaliated with this:

Ninja Vengeance

I must say, the people I work with are some of the most creative people. I just love working with them. How awesome are we?!?

And now we are in peace talks for the exchange of prisoners of war. Great Monday.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This week at work

Some really awesome things have happened at work this week - none of them work related. Mostly I just work with the best people in the world.

Monday was Monday.

But Tuesday was the statewide earthquake drill! Greg made up an audio track with rumbling and screaming and then had me and Seth play it loud over our computer speakers when the drill started. I was running to get under the big sturdy table in our little common area as Devon (also known as my non-romantic life partner because we have a zillion things in common) yelled my name and "I'll never let you go!"a la Titanic. Four of us huddled under that table. Michelle F. grabbed the Treat Tuesday donuts box and clutched it to her chest as if she were shielding a small child. It was hilarious. I felt like I was in elementary school again.

Then on Thursday three awesome things happened. Davy, my next-cubicle neighbor. has been throwing bits of packing foam over the wall at me and other such things, but sometime during the morning I found something rather disturbing - Davy's lego Darth Vader had lightsabered my ninja army! But of course my ninjas were just faking it (hello, they're ninjas). They tied up Darth, attached him to a string along with a note that read "We're keeping the lightsaber," and lowered him pulley-style over the cubicle wall. While the ninjas guarded the lightsaber, Davy prepared a peace offering. I soon received a note that read "Offering made. Pull wisely." I pulled the string back over the wall to find it quite cleverly attached to a measuring cup filled with Cadbury mini eggs. Offering accepted! So I placed the lightsaber in the cup and returned it to Davy.

Also, the Production department has had an ongoing battle with Marketing trying to determine who's the coolest. It started earlier in the week with a drawing on the Marketing whiteboard: Production > Marketing, which Marketing determined meant that Production was fatter than Marketing, which then turned into a drawing of a see-saw with Production being to heavy to play. By the end of Thursday, Marketing had dinosaur allies that could breathe fire and Production had a giant Marketeer-eating robot and laser beams - it just goes on and on. I love it.

To top Thursday off, we went to lunch at Zupas, and on the way back somehow started singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" from Mary Poppins, only we sang it like a rousing drinking song, slurred words and all. Try it sometime - it makes the song that much better.

Man I love the people I work with.




Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pottermore!

It's finally open! After months and months of delays and disappointments, Pottermore is finally open to the public! Yippee!

If you don't know what Pottermore is, you should - well, if you like Harry Potter you should. Pottermore is an online interactive reading experience for all of the Potter books. You look at and read background info for different scenes and chapters from the books. J.K. Rowling has written a bunch of new material for the site - character backstories, location histories, more in-depth object descriptions, and more. Basically it's a website to remedy the withdrawals all of us HP fans have been having since the last movie came out.

But the coolest part is that you get to be officially sorted into a Hogwarts house, which you then proceed to earn points for with other online participants. The house is decided based on your answers to various questions. It's like every other Facebook, MySpace, or general other social network quiz you took to find out which house you're in except for one thing - THIS ONE IS REAL. It's official. And you can't totally predict the outcome.

I've waited my whole life to be officially sorted. I've known deep down, since I began reading the Potter books, that I belonged in Gryffindor. How do I know? Because I pretty much AM Hermione. From the extreme obsession with school work and knowledge down to the rather large front teeth and male best friends, I am her. I know lots of girls feel this way. I have a friend who claimed she was Hermione, but hated school - how does that work? I really am her, with perhaps a bit of Tonks mixed in. A true Gryffindor. Nevertheless, I was concerned as I approached the sorting - it felt like I was actually a Hogwarts first year, praying to not be put in Hufflepuff (not that Hufflepuff is bad, per say, but I simply belong somewhere else). I could've been put in Ravenclaw, just like Hermione. But I wanted Gryffindor - and I got it! Woo! I'm official! Though I didn't really need a website to tell me so.

I haven't spent much time on the site - only enough to be sorted. But I am intrigued by the new material sprinkled throughout the site, and I am eager to learn more. I hadn't realized how much I really miss the boy wizard.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Big Decision

Okay. I've made a decision. Drum roll, please......................

BOSTON UNIVERSITY!

It feels really weird to finally be saying where I'm going. I don't feel like its real. I haven't really told anyone yet either. And I don't really want to.

I think it's because I'm scared. I think I'm more scared than I've ever been. I'm trying to remember if I felt this way before going to London. I remember being nervous and trying to be brave, but this feels like its bigger. Because it is. I'm moving across the country to a city I've never even visited where no one knows my name.

In some ways that's liberating. I can re-create myself. I can be whoever and whatever I want to be. Of course, I won't change who I am really, but I can be more of what I'm trying to be - outgoing, selfless, caring, poised, alluring, etc. Super Jenny.

But mostly it frightens me. I'm trying not to be scared, especially since I feel my decision was directed by the Spirit. I fasted and prayed and studied and pondered. On Fast Sunday this last month I sat in Relief Society, praying to know where I should go to school. As I prayed, I felt a distinct thought come to my mind - Boston. It repeated throughout the hour. I thought to myself, well I guess I'll go to Boston if you want me to...but I really want to go to London. All of a sudden I felt a strong desire to go to London - it had never been stronger. But I knew that I was probably supposed to go to Boston. I think that's what made my desire for London so strong. I knew then that I wouldn't have it. Not now. And that was hard, giving up one dream for a better opportunity - another, newer dream. I was still kind of wishy washy about it when I heard that I got the assistantship at Boston, though that made me less washy. Then it was General Conference, and I went in with one question: should I go to Boston? And I came out with the same answer. Yes.

I shouldn't have questioned it. When I received my answer about not going to New York last summer to teach at the technology camp, I acted without delay. But this whole Boston thing seemed much bigger and expensive and I just felt confused about all of it.

I have begun telling people that I'm going to Boston. The words feel funny coming out of my mouth, like they're not mine. And maybe they're not. But I have to have faith that they're the words of someone who knows what is best for me.

People ask if I'm excited and really I'm too scared to be excited. It's been hard coming to this decision and I think it's been so stressful that I haven't let myself feel excited about it. But I'm beginning to get there. Thinking of things like spending Thanksgiving weekend with my brother Mike in New York and seeing broadway plays and making new friends and yes, potentially meeting the brilliant man of my dreams all come to mind and make me more excited. Bit by bit it's becoming more of a reality. The trick is figuring out how to tell everyone at work. I mean, there still is a chance I won't go - September is a long ways away. But I need to tell my coworkers and my boss what my possible future looks like. I think telling them will make me feel better about it too because I've been tortured by the idea that I'm somehow lying to them. I love them all and I love my job - its the best job I've ever had. But I need to go to Boston. The more I think about it the more I know it's something I'm supposed to do.

But I'll be acting on faith the entire way, praying that I can do the right things wherever I am. Sheesh, life decisions bite.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Collecting

So...I'm a bit of a collector. I follow trends, I catch 'em all, and I love every second of it.

It started with beanie babies way back in elementary school - I have 89. Yes, 89. Not all of them are Ty brand. Actually most aren't. I was basically an adoption center for lost beanies. They all had names, personalities, and stories.

Then there were digital pets. I have two Tamagotchis, a Nano Monkey, a Giga Pound, and 4 girls that grew up from baby to teen. I LOVED those things. I still feel the urge to pull them out and play with them sometimes.

Then came the Pokemon cards. I have hundreds upon hundreds. These were fun because they were a game too, though I was the only one of my friends who actually played the game. I had to convince my brother Josh to go up against me. He didn't enjoy it as much as I did - I think I almost always won.

Then the Furbies hit. I have three - a rare black and white one that was my first and favorite, an Easter egg colored baby Furby, and the wild black and brown zebra striped one Josh was given that I later adopted. Waiting for my birthday was never so hard as it was that year.

Around the time of Furbies I started into The Sims, the best computer games series ever (not just according to me either). I have The Sims, The Sims 2, and The Sims 3, and all of the expansions for each one (except the newest Sims 3 one).

My more expensive collections include American Girl dolls. I have three - Samantha, Kit, and a look-a-like one that I named Kate. They had the BEST adventures. I even had a little cast and crutches, a dog and dog sled, a bunk bed, a wardrobe, and a table and chairs. My mom let me build them a room in my closet that I could always keep. They had their own lamp and even posters on their walls.

In high school I took a liking to the Lil Homies collection that you'd find in coin machines in random stores or at the mall. That's one of my more regrettable collections. I just thought they were so funny.

I've also collected more intellectual things like rocks, books, and sea shells.

Its been a few years since I've had one of these collections, but when I discovered the tiny ninjas in the coin machines at the Arctic Circle across the street from where I work, I just couldn't resist. I now have 27 of them (a lot, I know, but I plan on giving away most of them). A few months ago I became a bit bored with them - no matter how many I buy, I never get the black ninja.

Then a couple of days ago a guy at work introduced me to what i think will be my newest collecting phase: Lego Minifigures! These things are SO cool. I've always been a Lego fan because not only are the people who design them super creative, but they give you the option of creativity too. These Minifigures are like tiny works of art. Today I bought my first four - a minotaur, a sexy Latin lady, and the cave woman twins that I've named Oogey and Boogey. And I already want more.

Now, it probably sounds like I was either spoiled or wasteful with my money. I assure that it's not the case. My parents made me earn every penny for all of the things I bought, and the more expensive ones were saved for my birthdays and Christmas. Sure, some of my purchases haven't been lasting in value (like the homies) but I can promise I got my money's worth out of each toy or card or figurine. And I still go back and play with some of them every now and then, if only to relive elementary school days. Plus, my kids will be given every single toy that I loved to play with, and it will be so fun to see the toys have another life in their hands and imaginations.

Maybe this is why Toy Story 3 means so much to me. It really hits home.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Doozy of a Day

Today has been a whole lot of awkward, and it's only 10:00am! First, I went to fill up my cup with hot water for some apple cider (my stay-awake and anti-snack staple). There's a hot water tap in the water filter in the break room at work. I filled up my cup and as I picked it up I didn't have enough grip on it and I spilled the scalding hot water all over the floor and did a little dance to avoid getting it on my feet. Fortunately three of my co-workers were in the room watching me spill and dance around like an idiot.

Then, I go back to my desk where my co-worker discreetly informs me that my fly is down. Since I went to the bathroom over an hour ago, it's been down quite a while. I wonder how many people saw?

And then (here's the best one) I go to the bathroom, sit down, do my business, and reach for the toilet paper. Here's a disclaimer - normally the TP is in one I those dispensers, but when it runs out we just use a free roll that is kept on top of the dispenser. There was one such free roll this morning, which explains how I managed to drop it and watch it till into the next stall. Luckily, someone was in the stall. They kindly gave the roll back to me and I hurried out of the bathroom (don't worry, I still washed my hands).

Embarrassing! Today has been just wonderful - just one of those stupid, awkward, klutzy days. Oh well. Makes for good stories, huh?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It is one of those blah days...

This week it has been really hard for me to wake up, but today was the worst. I'm at work now, but I wish I was anywhere but here. I'm at a dead point in my work (we have to get feedback on our project and there's nothing to do but wait) and I have fallen into a bad habit of after-work naps that make it so that rather than sleeping for 8 hours each night I'm sleeping for 2-3 hours after work and 4ish hours at night. In between sleeps there's a couple of hours of very unproductive time where I think about working out, playing the guitar or piano, watching a new Bollywood movie, going to the temple, or some other such thing that doesn't happen because I'm stuck with a major nap hangover. So I do nothing. And then I start to cry because I'm so lazy and I wasted an entire evening, and now I have to go back to work where I have nothing substantial to do. It's a viscious cycle. And I'm getting fatter and more tired every day, despite the fact that I don't eat candy or desserts or anything and I'm getting tons of sleep. Ugh. I just have a bad case of the blahs. What can I do to get out of the blahs?

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Final Results

I submitted a total of 6 graduate school applications, and I have now heard back from all of them. Here are the results:

University of Texas - Austin, American Studies : not accepted
Boston University, Film and Television Studies : accepted!
University College London, Film Studies : accepted!
New York University, Film Studies : accepted!
New York University, American Studies : not accepted
University of Southern California, Critical Studies (Film) : waitlisted

So there you have it! Possible options for me are BU, UCL, NYU, and USC. I have already dismissed NYU and USC, the first because there's no way I can pay for it and the second because they waitlisted me AND there's no way I can pay for it. So we're down to BU and UCL. Which is where I was at the beginning anyway since they were my top two choices.

So really this post was essentially pointless...but hey, now you know! :)

Conference Weekend

As a kid I didn't care much for General Conference. I enjoyed not having to get dressed up for church, and I appreciated being able to play while conference was on. I was expected to watch, and I tried. But I never watched on Saturdays and I often fell asleep on and off through Sunday. I figured I could always read the talks later.

However, since I started college I've put more effort into Conference. It became a bit of a holiday for me. I would drive home for the weekend and hang out with my family - just relax. Then I took a Living Prophets religion class at BYU and really caught the vision of the importance of conference. And this past weekend I had some really big questions that needed answering - where should I go to school? What should I change about myself? etc. And guess what! I believe I received some answers! My feelings about schools have become more clear and I know exactly what I need to work on to be more of the kind of person I should be.

So....watch conference with questions! It works! And don't take notes on what the speakers are saying, necessarily. Take notes on what you FEEL. That's actually the key to all church things I think - scripture reading, talks in church, Sunday school lessons, all of it. I have a renewed love and appreciation of the Holy Ghost and am extremely grateful that I have it with me. As for which school I'm going to choose....stay tuned!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things that should not mean anything...but do.

In the last few days I have learned that all four members of Coldplay (my favorite band) and Christopher Nolan (one of my favorite directors) all attended University College London. This makes me want to go there.

On the other hand, Emily Deschanel (aka Bones, one of my favorite TV shows) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) both attended Boston University (though Spock didn't graduate).

I think UCL has cooler alumni. It shouldn't matter, but it does a little bit :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Grad School Musings

So...I still don't know where I'm going to go to school this fall. I flip-flop back and forth every day. Boston or London. London or Boston. Oh, and I was just accepted at NYU for Film Studies. Yay! But there's no way I can pay for it. Boo! Actually that's kind of nice because I already know I can't go there. Kinda...It's still there in the mix of things.

Decisions are hard. I want to go to Boston University because I can be a TA and get good teaching experience. I can take screenwriting courses. I can live in a cool city but still be close to family. I want to go to University College London because it's a very prestigious university. I could study culture with film, which I love. I could live in London for a year, which means I could see so many amazing things and meet a lot of different people and really make a difference in the ward I'm in. But, as far as I know, I can't be any sort of TA. There are opportunities to teach but they are less than at Boston. It's not as expensive as Boston. When I think I'm going to choose Boston, I kick myself for not taking such a great opportunity as London. And each time I choose London, I'm not sure that's the best thing either.

The thing I keep coming back to is where I can be the greatest influence for good. That's what I want to be. And there is no clear answer.

The easiest thing to do would be to not go. But I can't do that. I need to move forward in my life. But I love my job and the friends I have made there and the money I earn.

I guess the hardest thing is that all the options I have are good. It's just, which is best? Good. Better. Best. I know that if I have faith God will help me find the right way. I just need to have that faith. That's harder than it sounds when you say it like that. Just have faith. Like that Michael Jackson song :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

I know a movie is good when I leave it feeling this warmth in my heart, this longing - I know that may sound cheesy, but I'm serious. I feel this longing to be back in the world of the movie, to be a part of it. It's how I feel after a good book or song too - like I left part of me in the story.

That's how I felt after seeing The Hunger Games.

The more I think about that movie, the more I loved it. It was a wonderful adaptation of the book - in fact, I think it outdid the book in many instances. The cast was perfect, the cinematography was exquisite. I normally hate it when the camera moves so much (when there's so much handheld camera work) - I'm a fan of traditional, theatrical style filming where you sit back and watch a movie rather like a play. However, I think this was the first time I've actually enjoyed and felt the importance of the camera being handheld. I loved feeling so much in the world the director was creating. Every shift in focus, every element of the camera work felt needed and purposeful, shaping and crafting the experience of the characters and viewers simultaneously.

The actors all did a wonderful job, and I would like to state now that I have been a Josh Hutcherson fan since Little Manhattan way back in 2005. He was a perfect Peeta. And I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I think she embodied all of Katniss' anger, compassion, and grit in a wonderful, very real way. Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and Woody Harrelson were my favorite supporting characters - they performed wonderfully. The tender relationship between Katniss and Cinna was lovely.

That being said, it wasn't a perfect movie. I think because I read the book I filled in some of the missing bits. Lisa Schwarzbaum, one of EW's critics, said this about The Hunger Games: "The movie shows how, but the book shows why." I think that describes the movie perfectly. You miss much of the psychological elements of the book, the motivations of the characters. Katniss' inner dilemma about trusting/creating a romance with Peeta was almost entirely absent. I think the movie shows what happens perfectly, but misses some of these psychological elements. Also, the only other qualm I had with the movie was Peeta - in the book you're not totally sure what side he's on for a while. Does he want to beat Katniss in the Games? Or does he want to help her? Is he really in love with her, or is that just a line to get sponsors? In the movie you're pretty sure he's the nice guy all along. But these are small complaints, rather nit picky I think. The worst part of the movie was the stupid Breaking Dawn pt. 2 trailer before it started. Everything after that was bliss.

Like I said, I can't wait until I can get back into that world.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Princeton

I just got back from a lovely production trip to Princeton, New Jersey - my very first, growed-up business trip! Pretty darn exciting, let me tell you. Almost all day Monday was spent traveling. The group included Steve Burton (Producer), Steve O'Leary (Sound Master Man), Michelle Ballamis (fellow editor and camera woman), and Curtis (executive man, though he actually didn't really travel with us). We arrived in Princeton in the evening and searched for some food. I asked Siri for directions to a nearby pizza place, and we awkwardly ended up at some sort of food court where the pizza had been sitting out all day and looked extremely unappetizing. So we went elsewhere, Ruby Tuesday's to be precise. I ate spaghetti squash, which I've never done before but rather enjoyed. That's not saying much, though, because I'm not super picky when it comes to food, especially when I'm not paying for it. After dinner we retired to our separate hotel suites - yes, I had my OWN suite. Here's a video:


Pretty sweet, huh? I had fun, anyways...

So, Tuesday we spent all day at the ETS hotel and conference center. The letters ETS should be familiar for most college and grad students because they're the ones who do the ACT and GRE. And you know all that money you pay to take those exams? Pretty sure it all goes right to their hotel and conference center. They provide free amazing fancy buffet lunches to all the people using/staying at their hotel, as well as snack bars with chips and cookies and bagels and such all throughout the building. And an entire fridge filled with free soft drinks. And waiters that bring you glasses of water. The teachers we were filming said that ETS really stands for Eat Til Sick.

We filmed a conference/meeting of about 12 teachers and administrators compiling performance standards for teachers. I was invited to come on the trip because I will be editing the footage for a project called LiveBook. We spent many hours filming the meeting and then many other hours filming interviews. I think that it'll all look pretty nice in the end. Call time was 7:00 AM and we didn't finishing filming until 6:45 PM so it was a rather long day.

We ate dinner at this cool little Italian place right off of Princeton Campus. Princeton looks so much like England! I felt so much at home. We then went back to our hotel rooms and slept. I read a bit of Georgette Heyer, this time it was called "The Nonesuch."

Call time on Wednesday morning was 6:45 AM. We packed up everything - suitcases, equipment, and all - and went to the conference center to film more of the meetings and the last of the interviews. I'm sure the content of the interviews and meetings will be interesting to some people, but I must admit I found myself dozing off a couple of times.

We headed for the airport at 2:30 PM with authentic cannoli that Curtis brought us (he felt bad that he never actually spent much time with us). At 5:30 PM we took off, and we were home by 8:30 PM local time. A quick, but enjoyable trip.


We stopped off by the SINET office to drop off the equipment and I discovered that Seth and Greg had kidnapped my ninjas (the tiny figurines I collect). So we kidnapped their computer keyboards and Greg's lightsabers. In the morning I hurried into work to see their reactions. Not only had they recovered their keyboards and lightsabers, but they had kidnapped my and Michelle's computer monitors! They sent me off to look for my ninjas, telling me they were "out cold." I searched in vain, and returned to my desk to discover my ninjas had been returned - they were most definitely out cold. Man I love those guys! They definitely missed us. They helped me find my monitors and I got back to work. We used my ninjas to ice some Appletini Crystal Light and overall had a marvelous day.

I feel rather refreshed, having been out of the office for a couple of days. It was like being on a paid vacation! Where I didn't actually get to do any sightseeing or relaxing....but it was still refreshing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

American Sensibility

In some ways, I think as an American my sensibilities have been dulled when it comes to romance in the movies. Explanation:

On Tuesday night I watched My Man Godfrey (1936). This movie is absolutely brilliant. It is wonderfully written, acted, directed - it's everything. It's full of powerful social commentary while at the same time being a ridiculous screwball comedy. It's such a strange brew of wonderful. I loved it. However, whilst watching said wonderful film, I learned something about what Hollywood has done to me.

The film ends in a brilliant way, yet I was left feeling momentarily dissatisfied - why? Because there was no ending kiss! There was no final clinch, no sweeping embrace, no nothin! And I felt dissatisfied because of it. My sensibilities have been doped by Hollywood to be beyond feeling. I need that final moment of blissful love shown to me on screen or I assume it never happens. I need to be spoon fed the "happily ever after."

This reminds me of when the new Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley came out. While the British version of the film ended with the scene just after Lizzie is given permission to marry Darcy and runs out of the house to find him, they tacked on a romantic final kiss for the American version. I mean, honestly, this makes us a bit of a laughing stock. And I will admit that, had P&P ended without that final kiss (as awkward as all of the "Mrs. Darcy"s were) I would have left dissatisfied.

Of course, this fault in my feelings was only momentary - I would like to think that as a film watcher I have learned to move beyond such shortcomings rather quickly. The romance in My Man Godfrey was subtle, yet plainly obvious, and that paradox is what makes it so everlastingly delightful. They never have to come out and say they love each other - they show it, they look it. And the romance is NOT the main point of the story! It's a seamless part of an overall tale that weaves together wonderfully. People will always look back on this movie and say it was great. People will look back on the Twilight movies and say, "what was wrong with this generation?" Hopefully they won't look back on the Twilight movies at all and they'll just watch My Man Godfrey instead.

Friday, March 9, 2012

OH. MY. GOODNESS. Part 2

I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON!!! IN LONDON!!!!

AH!

My top two universities have accepted me! Crazy. I don't know what I'm going to do. Here's a brief comparison of the two universities:

UCL
Cost: $50,000 total including travel, living, and tuition expenses. But I don't have any scholarships here as of yet...
Duration: Only one year. Awesome.
Location: LONDON, my favorite place in the whole world.
Program: Film Studies located within the Centre for Intercultural Studies (meaning I would get to study film as a result of culture, which I love)
Pros: Awesome location, British people, West End, big adventure. And I could meet my wealthy British husband here.
Cons: Really far away, not sure I can afford it.

Boston
Cost: $60,000 each year (ouch!) including travel, living, and tuition. But, I already know I have received a scholarship and possibly an assistantship that would pay for almost everything! (pray I get the assistantship!)
Duration: 2 years. Pretty typical for American universities.
Location: BOSTON! Home of Cheers and the Red Sox and more American history than you can handle. Awesome. Plus, I've never been to Boston, so that's a plus. And it's a 3.5 hour train ride to NYC, which is both awesome and where my brother Mike and his family will be living.
Program: Film Studies location within the Department of Communications. Fun course offerings and study options, plus I would be able to take Screenwriting electives.
Pros: Closer to home but far enough away for an adventure and an epic road trip getting there, close to Mike and family, Broadway nearby, lots of LDS students in Boston (or so I'm told - good single scene). And I could meet my Harvard grad super smart husband here.
Cons: 2 years (Normally this wouldn't bother me, but with the option of one year in London it kinda does), I've been told it's FREEZING in the winter, and Cheers isn't actually a real bar.

Lots to think about....YIKES! Big decisions ahead. Do I go? Do I stay and work for a year? Do I go to London? Or do I go to Boston? Or do I run away to France? Tune in next time!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Today while at work I casually checked my email to find a message from the Boston University Communications Program - one of the 6 grad programs I applied to - with the subject line "Acceptance Decision." My heart immediately began beating faster. I opened the message and read the following:

Dear Jennifer,

Congratulations!

That's all I needed to see. Woohoo! Boston University wants ME! My number one school in the states wants me!

I read further into the email and discovered that not only was I accepted but I was awarded a $16,000 scholarship for both years!!! Ahhhh! And, from a later email I discovered that I've also been nominated for a teaching assistantship where I could get 10 credits of tuition reimbursed AND a $6000 stipend. Can you believe it?!? Because I can't! I'm in shock. I was not expecting this, especially after that rejection from UT-Austin. I have to have an interview for the assistantship and it's supposedly really competitive so I don't know if I'll get it, but if I do that's half of my grad school payed for at Boston University! BOSTON!

That is, if I decide to go to grad school this year at all. I really do love my job and all that I'm learning there and the people I've come to know. I have many decisions to be made in the near future. I am just so thankful that I have been so fortunate in school and work and life in general. I can hardly believe my blessings. Someone much be watching out for me. I thank God every day for my blessed, blessed life.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Work is KILLING me!

Read this article:
http://mashable.com/2012/03/02/work-death-infographic/

My co-worker Michelle shared it with me. I think it's both hilarious and alarming. I never really thought about how much I sit everyday until I read that. My biggest trouble is the after-work sitting. I kind of have to sit all day, considering my work is all done on a computer, but when I get home I could be infinitely more active. I do work out most days (my "No More Fat!" jar is quite full! I've earned something like $68! I spent $20 of it on my own copy of the 25th anniversary performance of Phantom of the Opera and I will probably give in and buy another Sims expansion soon - play while you're young, right?) But after I work out I sit some more. And then I sleep. I think I'm going to start walking for 10 minutes on the treadmill at work for part of my lunch. That way I'll be rejuvenated and skinnier (eventually). It's no wonder so many of us nowadays are fighting to lose pounds when 80% of us sit for more than 8 hours a day! And soon we will all DIE because of it.

(Forgive me my dark humor :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The First of Many

Well, I have received my first letter of rejection from a grad school. I will not be attending the University of Texas at Austin. Of course, I may not be going to grad school this year at all - I love my job and I could stay here. I want to go to grad school for sure eventually.

Even though I wasn't super excited about Texas, rejection letters are still lame and ego-wounding. I'm sure there will be many more to come. It's just so much more fun to say "I don't want to go to your school" rather than "you don't want me to go to your school."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar Love

Okay, I love the Oscars. I love them. I watch them like I'm watching a sporting event, rooting for my favorite team (in this case, The Artist) to win. Last night every time The Artist won something I got up and did a victory dance - seriously, this is my favorite sporting event.

I was so happy with the way things turned out - The Artist took away three of the biggest awards including surprise Best Actor to Jean Dujardin (I thought George Clooney had this one in the bag, though I wanted Jean to win), the Muppets won best song (well, Bret from Flight of the Conchords won, but same thing), Kermit and Miss Piggy presented, Billy Crystal was a great host, and the entire evening made me want to move to LA and try to make it in showbiz. Again. Why I don't move to LA is another story - this post is about Oscar.

I was sad that Viola Davis didn't win for The Help. I thought she deserved it more than Meryl Streep. But Meryl is fabulous in every movie she's in, so I don't doubt she deserved it too. I'm not really great at predicting who will win - I tend to pick who I want to win. Not always the same thing.

Jennifer Lopez's dress was AWFUL. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis were hilarious. The assistant girl who brings the Oscars out to people was awkward. And Best Speech of the night goes to Octavia Spencer (with a second place award going to Jean Dujardin, simply because I'm in celebrity-love with him).

Overall, when the Oscars ended I felt a rekindling of love for the movies, not that I really needed one, but I always appreciate it when something makes me love movies even more. The wonderful event combined with making Swedish Toska Cookies with my mom and cousin Melanie made the evening quite hard to top. And I couldn't help but imagine myself up on that stage, accepting my own Oscar. Holy cow, I want one.


Friday, February 24, 2012

My Thoughts on Marriage

I think I heard of three or four engagements in the last week, one of a boy that I used to date (and honestly expected to date again in the future when the timing was right), and several engagements that are imminent. Spring fever come early much? I've gone through a wide variety of emotions and learned some things about how I look at marriage.

First, I learned that I want to get married some day. Hearing of all these engagements plus reading Georgette Heyer romance novels has instilled in me the desire to fall deeply in love with a handsome man and tie myself to him forever. I am, undoubtably, a hopeful (notice I didn't say hopeless) romantic. And I want children - lots of 'em.

Secondly, I learned that I am not ready to be married. Obviously I'm not dating anyone (which makes marriage harder), but even if I was I don't feel like I'm ready to settle down. I have places to go, things to see. When I found out the guy I used to date is now engaged, I couldn't help but think back to about 8 months ago when he wanted to date me. If I had dated him, and things had gone well, I imagine that it would be me with the ring on my finger now. Thinking about that freaked me out a bit. I know that if the right guy came along I would probably feel more ready to be married than I do now, but the right guy has not come along, and if he has I'm obviously not ready to recognize him because I have no idea who he is

Thirdly, I learned that I am not going to marry super young. This point necessitates a definition of the word "young." Young, to me, is anything under the age of 30 (If you're over that age, don't worry - you're not old. You're what I would call "in your prime." Old comes MUCH later). Super young is anything under the age of 24. I believe you aren't fully your own person (and therefore should not get married) until you've A: lived on your own for an extended period of time, B: been alive for at least 23 years, and C: gone to a movie by yourself. I have yet to do B and C, so marriage is definitely out of the question. I turn 23 in June, so at that point I may start looking at boys. But probably not, because -

Fourthly, marriage is not something you look for or force. I am of the belief that, as a character in Dan in Real Life says: "If you're open to it, love will find you." As long as I am doing the things I love, I will find someone. Sure, it's easier to find someone in certain places. I've been told Australia is a good place to go. The guys I am most interested in are the ones going places, doing things, so if I want to find those guys I have to do the same.

Fifthly, and finally, I have learned that I am very emotionally independent. If a guy ever falls in love with me and wants me to marry him I feel sorry for him because he is going to have to sweep me clean off my feet and carry me to the altar. It's not that I don't want to get married (that was my first point, remember). It's that I don't need to get married. I will be perfectly fine if I never get married. I can support myself, I can find useful ways to spend my time. I would rather be married and have kids, but I will also do some neat things if I remain single. So, good luck Future Husband! You have your work cut out for you! But I promise you, I'm totally worth it.

There you are. These are my thoughts on marriage. I know a lot of exceptions to these rules. Some people are excessively mature and ready for marriage at 18, some don't need to leave home before they get married, and some actively seek love and relationships and find it. But those people aren't me. Perhaps I need to change the way I do things. Feel free to tell me where I need to change and I will consider it. I can be pretty stupid sometimes. But I probably won't change, because I generally like me.