Monthly Archives: April, 2009

Want to really wear your iPod?

[Note: The original post had a picture here.]

I just have to say that the Skullcandy MacGyver mp3 watch is simultaneously the coolest and most ridiculous piece of technology I have ever seen. I swore that someday you’d be able to wear your iPod as earrings. The day is coming.

Friday Fives

March 27: High School

  1. Would you return to high school life for a week? Why or why not? (If you’re currently in high school, would you redo your experiences so far?) Probably not. College, even at its worst, was so much better than high school. I don’t keep in touch with most of my high school friends, and I went to three different schools, so my experiences weren’t as essential to who I am today.
  2. Who were/are you in high school? A nerd. Or, as I used to say, “a nerd with personality.” I still love learning, and I always got good grades, but I wasn’t any more socially awkward than the next girl (that would be a dork) or obsessed with just one thing (a geek).
  3. What was/is your favorite high school hangout? What did/do you do there? I didn’t really hang out in high school. I went out with my friends to movies sometimes, but that was about it. I was boring. I’m not exhilarating now, but I’ve definitely changed.
  4. What were/are your favorite three songs in high school? I remember loving “Rainy Days,” by Mary J. Blige and Ja Rule. It’s still one of my favorite R&B songs. And everything *NSync. Always *NSync.
  5. What was the craziest thing you did in high school?No comment.

April 10: That’s Entertainment!

  1. If you could give out Best Picture, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Director Oscars to any movies (not necessarily all from the same year) to people/films that haven’t won, what would they be? As I was researching for my kids’ first/last/only novel this year, I found out that To Kill a Mockingbird didn’t win Best Picture because movies were just so amazing that year (1962). That makes me want to see it, possibly even more (and definitely for a different reason) than my kids do.
  2. What is your favorite genre of writing (short stories, novels, nonfiction…)? I like to write short stories. I like to read novels, but the Catholic nonfiction I’ve been reading lately has grown on me.
  3. Are there any CDs to which you know every word? Movies? I love learning all the words to all my CDs. Movies, not so much. Despite the Satanic Mechanics’ scarring Jim back at UMD, they did encourage me to learn lines from The Princess Bride so I could shout along. I still do it whenever I watch that movie; I did it here a few months ago.
  4. If you could write and cast your own movie, what would it be about and who would you cast? I have no idea.
  5. What’s the best song to wake you up? Put you to sleep? I would say the “spring breeze” nature sound on my Timex alarm clock wakes me best, but I’ve had some irksome encounters with the snooze button lately, so clearly that’s not working. I like to fall asleep to as little noise and light as possible, though I can sleep with the lights on if necessary.

April 17: Food Groups

What is your favorite food from each food group?

  1. Bread (Grain) Group: Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster are delicious. I also love Club crackers, bagels, and Honey Nut Cheerios. I just love bread.
  2. Meat (Protein) Group: My Carpool Buddy (though we haven’t driven together in about two weeks) makes an amazing meatloaf. I like it better than my own mother’s. I cook with ground pork sausage a lot, especially in Pasta Lindsay.
  3. Vegetable Group: Broccoli is so good! Carrots are yummy, and I actually like onions.
  4. Fruit Group: Apples are my favorite, but blueberries and grapes are fabulous, too.
  5. Sugars, Fats and Oils: Oh, boy. Marble cake with chocolate icing, monster cookies (my special recipe), and creamy vanilla ice cream. Who doesn’t love dessert? Olive oil is also really good when you cook things in it (including eggs).

That last set was lame, but as I alluded to with my comments on Lebanese food, only a little over a year ago, two of those categories would have been blank. It’s like I’m a grown-up or something.

The Lost Art of the Letter

On Friday night, my female housemates and I went to the food festival at our local Maronite Catholic church. Not long ago, I never would have imagined that I’d willingly go out for food I’d never even heard of before, but there I sat, eating a baked kibbee sandwich and a Lebanese salad. We came home and graded while watching Twilight. I’m still not convinced that there’s any literary quality to the books, but the movie was pretty good. Very intense, very goth. It lacks the epic nature of Harry Potter, though, so try as the media might to call it the next HP, it is absolutely not.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, then, after falling asleep over my last few post-Twilight papers, I was in a mildly melancholy mood. I decided to write a letter. Part of my motive is that I want to use up enough of the 42-cent stamps I have before the rate goes up so that I don’t have to buy more 2-cent stamps and can justify buying more forever stamps. The rest of my motivation was totally authentic, though.

People don’t write letters anymore. Like many people, I love getting real mail, with a stamp and an address. It takes so much time, and in our fast-food world, writing a letter is a commitment. I write emails and read countless blog posts and articles, but online writing and reading is very different. There’s an investment to crafting a long, personal email, but it’s not the same as handwriting. As I wrote, I found myself choosing each word very carefully, and even thinking more slowly, because my hand can only keep up so well with my rapid thoughts. Typing is instantaneous: you think, you tap your fingers against the keyboard, and the words are there. Writing takes effort. It takes practice and skill (a fact I remember as I struggle with my students’ papers).

Over all, the emotions behind a letter are far more profound than any email can be. I will admit to writing a few love letters in my past, but they never seemed quite the same as the stacks in a grandmother’s closet. Even when I printed them to tuck into my paper journal, they seemed less, somehow. So, even though my letter doesn’t say much, and probably contains fewer words than this blog post, I am proud of it. I hope it brings my feelings to its recipient, and I hope that the art of writing letters is never truly lost.


I found out about Tweenbots through an education blog I read, What It’s Like on the Inside. (I found What It’s Like while I was googling “teacher mental health days,” but that’s a different story.) It’s such an intriguing idea. Check out the site and watch the video. Would you stop to help a slow, simple robot make its way through a busy public park? As much as I love taking surveys and participating in research, I’m not sure I would have helped. There’s definitely fodder here for some commentary about the kindness of people, especially New Yorkers, but it’s too late for that right now, I think.

Catholic Carnival 212

Despite the distressing announcement that Jay is putting the Catholic Carnival on hold until he can find new hosts, I’m still determined to catch up on all the carnivals I missed. (I wish I could volunteer even for one week, but my life is filled to overflowing already.)

RAnn’s post “Bless Me Father, for I Have Sinned” from Carnival 212 stuck out to me. I went to confession on Saturday to prepare for Easter this weekend (yay!), and I spent some time reflecting afterward in my church’s columbarium. It was an unusual visit to the confessional, even for me. I hadn’t been in a while (though “a while” for most Catholics is a lot longer than it is for me), and I stayed behind the screen for the first time in years. I even took a list. I wanted to symbolically burn it when I got home, but after Earth Hour, we couldn’t find any matches. I settled for ripping it to shreds. The main point I drew from the original post was that, from our perspectives, confession is different every time. Thankfully, from the perspective of heaven, the grace conferred is always the same.

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