Cheerful "BAM"blings

Of What's-Her-Face

Book Challenge: First Quarter Complete

I am officially ¼ of the way through my book challenge, and halfway through the original list! It is time for a blog about what I’ve read so far.

 

A BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2016

  1. Calamity (by Brandon Sanderson)
    This trilogy was really great. It has a fascinating premise based on really good world-building, and the plot moves quite quickly. The main character is super fun and intelligent with endearing quirks, and he’s surrounded by a solid and loveable cast of characters. Kept my interest all the way, took some great twists and turns, and Calamity was a solid ending for the series. Definitely gonna be rereading and then buying these books in the future!

A BOOK YOU CAN READ IN A DAY

  1. I didn’t feel like doing a chapter book, so instead I went and did a series of little picture books that you can read in a few minutes. Spending 2 hours at the library, I got through 38 picture books, which included every book I could find by Mo Willems and the entire “if you give a mouse a cookie” series. Since 38 is a lot, I won’t do an actual review here of them, but I’ll post the full list in the comments if you want to know which ones I read and liked.

A BOOK I’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ

  1. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Mark Twain)
    Well this was definitely much different than the movie! Rather than a sweet and silly love story accompanied by making better dance music and entertaining the neighborhood children, the book is all about Hank trying to secretly create and bring his “modern-day” technology into King Arthur’s world, which eventually leads to him and his factory of followers trying to overthrow the entire knight army.

His commentary throughout the book was entertaining though hard to understand, and I was intrigued by how the mindsets of the entire population was so fixed and different from our own; I didn’t think about how people would be so different in their modes of thinking than what we see as “reasonable”, and it was interesting to think of that being a major difference between us and people from other times and other cultures. Other than that, this book was fine; I know it was making points about technology or politics or something which was deep, but it was slow-moving and not the most interesting story. I will stick to the musical movie.

A BOOK RECOMMENDATION FROM A LIBRARIAN (MARIA)

  1. I Feel Bad About My Neck (And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman) (by Nora Ephron)
    This very dry-humored look at the anti-perks of aging women (and other subjects) was written by the lady who, apparently, wrote the screenplays for 3 of my favorite romantic comedies (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Basically she just writes for Meg Ryan.) There was a whole chapter that I had to read twice because she was talking about how she fell “in and out of love with Bill” and it wasn’t until I finished the chapter that I realized she meant Bill Clinton. There were always very humorous moments that I could relate to (as a woman, not as an aging woman yet, since I’ve been told I’m still “a baby”.) It wasn’t always laugh out loud funny (though it got me in a few parts) but its gentle exaggeration, mellow authenticity and sweetly thoughtful ending made it to be a very pleasant, humorous read.

A BOOK I SHOULD HAVE READ IN SCHOOL

  1. Wuthering Heights (by Emily Bronte)
    Why did people like this book? I mean, if they think of it as a whole Gone With the Wind “this is what happens when horrible people fall in love but clearly can’t stop being utterly selfish” deep, tragic story, then I can see its appeal because that’s what it is. If anybody thinks it’s romantic, I believe you are wrong and I would love to know why you liked it. It was unpleasant to read, with very few redeemable characters in it; the few redeemable characters did have a surprising happy ending, which I was not expecting, so the story ended better than… well, better than every other part of the book went. I’m sure it was written well and all that rot, but by golly, it’s hard to read a book that revolves around so many horrible people!

A BOOK CHOSEN BY A FAMILY MEMBER (HANNAH)

  1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (by Jenny Lawson)
    Ok, my big disclaimer is that there is a ton of swearing and inappropriate commentary in this book, so I would not recommend it to anyone who is bothered by that: but by golly, this book was hilarious! I laughed out loud so many times, and it’s hard to tell whether the crazy things that happen to Jenny OR her quirky mind and ways of dealing with things is funnier. I always like figuratively getting into the minds of other people, and she had some very intriguing chapters that dove into the ways that she thinks. Definitely very high on the entertainment factor, this book!

A BOOK THAT WAS PUBLISHED BEFORE I WAS BORN

  1. Great Expectations (by Charles Dickens)
    This book was a kind of in-between slowness; it went fairly quickly while I was reading it, but it seemed to take forever. I was fairly interested in the story, but never intrigued. I didn’t dislike Pip, but I didn’t particularly care for him all the time, either; though I did care ABOUT him, which is different. And he learned his lesson at the end, so it’s all good. I did enjoy the characters of Herbert and Wemmick and Joe, and it had some fun moments of humor and quirkiness.

The ambiguously-happy ending threw me off when I first read it, but I think I’ve come to terms with how it turned out and believe that it’s plausible. The book I read had an extra except at the end that described Dickens’ “original ending”, and after reading it I don’t know which one I liked better. But as someone who likes happy endings, I’ll stick with the published one. Overall, not something I would reread often, but it was a fairly decent story I guess, albeit lengthy.

Well! It only took me 7 ½ months to get through 7 books! To be fair, I started 3 months into the year, so instead we’ll say it took me 4 ½ months… which leaves me with 21 books to read in the next 4 ½ months. Which means I have to read 3 times as many to get through the challenge twice, as is my plan, coming out to around a book a week. I’m done with the Godspell play, which ate away at my time, so if I devote my recreational activity around the house to reading books in this challenge instead of solely watching TV shows and cruising Facebook, I might make it. Of course I do have BOTH intimidating books to get through, as well as NaNo coming up in November and my continual house hunt. But it’s not over yet, so I haven’t given up! If I can get through 7 more books by the end of September, I think I’ll be in ok shape. So that’s my goal! We’ll see how it goes! 🙂


My 2016 Book Challenge!

A few months ago a friend of mine shared an article about a 12 category book challenge for 2016, and she tagged me in the post. I love to read, and challenges are fun, so I decided I was going to give it a go this year! But to make it more exciting, I’m going to try to go through it twice, and I even ended up tacking two more books onto the end of it. I’ll be reading the books in the order the article put them in.

I will write another blog about this at the end of the year, but here’s my introductory blog to tell you what the categories are, and what ideas I have for most of the categories. (Original article: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2016-reading-challenge/?utm_source=-&utm_medium=-&utm_term&utm_content&utm_campaign&origin)

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A Book That Was Published This Year
1. Calamity by Brandon Sanderson. The reason I’m starting this challenge so late is because the FIRST ONE ON THE LIST (which I said I’m doing in order) was a book that was published this year. So since my family has been trying to get me to read The Reckoners Series for a while, I quickly read the first two books in March and have now finally begun Calamity, which came out this year and officially begins my challenge!

  1. Unknown

A Book You Can Read In A Day
With 2 & 16 I figure I can just go to the library, find a book in the kid’s section and read it there, so I’m not going to plan ahead for this category.

A Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. When I asked a friend for a recommendation, this was one she mentioned, and since I have been meaning to read this, I added it to this category and used one of her other books for a later category.

17. Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. This popped into my head the other day as a book I can put in this category, since I’ve been meaning to read it ever since I knew the movies was based off of a book.

A Book Recommendation From A Librarian
4. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. This was recommended to me by my librarian friend Maria, the lady who originally tagged me in her post. I know nothing about this except where in the library to find it, so whee!

18. Bunnicula by James Howe. I asked my librarian friend Beth what book she could recommend to me, and this Bunny version of Dracula was her first choice, so we’re getting into some more interesting genres than just classics here!

A Book I Should Have Read In School
5 & 19; I couldn’t think of any books that I was supposed to read in school that I didn’t, so I’m assuming they mean a more worldwide “most people read this in school” rather than my specific experience… I might do some Shakespeare, but I still need to come up with some specific answers.

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A Book Recommendation By A Family Member/Friend
6. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I got this recommendation from my sister Hannah, who I know loves to read and said that this book is hilariously funny, so I will be looking forward to finding that out that this year.

20. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. My friend Jami (who recommended Wuthering Heights to me) and I were talking about books when she mentioned that this was one she found fascinating, so I added it to my list.

A Book That Was Published Before I Was Born
7 & 21; again, there are lots of these books that are still on my “to read” list, so I’ll just pick one of the classics I’ve never read when I get to these categories.

A Book That Was Banned Before
8. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I remember seeing this movie long ago and not getting it, and of course I’ve seen the VeggieTales version, so it’s about time I read the original!

22. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank. This seems like one of those that everyone is supposed to read at some point, and I’ve always been interested, so I’ma give it a go.

A Book I Didn’t Finish
9. Wicked by Gregory MaGuire. This category was harder to come up with books for, but then I glanced at my bookshelf and remembered that I had bought Wicked, read the first chapter and never picked it back up again. So that is happening this year!

23. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. My Dad has been reading and really enjoying the Thursday Next books, and when he mentioned to me that I should read them and that The Eyre Affair was the first book, I remembered that I had tried to read it a few years ago and never finished!

A Book That I Own But Never Read
10. The Fiction Class by Susan Breen. I was worried that I wouldn’t find a book that fit this category, either, since I don’t usually buy books I haven’t read. But I bought this last year at a library book sale because it’s about fiction writing, and it was cheap, and why not? Was it a poor choice to buy a book I’ve never read? We’ll find out this year! 

24. Three by Ted Dekker. I’ve only read two books by Ted Dekker, and have heard many mixed reviews about him as an author and this book particularly. But I bought this so I could read it and have my own opinion, and by golly, I will do that now!

 

A Book That’s Intimidating
11. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. How can you watch “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!” and not be intimidated by that huge copy of War and Peace that is half the size of him? But if Charlie Brown can read it, I can too!

25. Moby Dick by Herman Melville. In one of the Ramona books, her mother has trouble getting through Moby Dick for her book club, and as Ramona flips through it she’s disappointed that it’s a picture-less, small-print book with very grown up words. It was intimidating to my young mind.

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A Book I’ve Already Read
12/26a. Animal Farm by George Orwell. I remember finding this fascinating when I read this in school, and that was a very long time ago, so I figure I’ll retry it.

12/26b. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this in high school, didn’t get it at all, and now I’ve seen both movies and understand the plot, so I think on a reread this’ll make much more sense.

12/26c. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I read this years ago and found it fascinating, even though I didn’t always get everything he was saying, and I now own it and clearly need to reread it!

12/26d. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve already this, but 2 friends recommended it, so it’s going on as a possible reread.

Disclaimer: I couldn’t decide between these 4 books which two to reread, so I’m putting them all down and will either just read two or manage to add more to the challenge.

A Book That Was Made Into A Movie
13. Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I loved the Lizzie Bennet Diaries which was created by the Green brothers, and I watched the movie, and I need more modern books in this challenge, so we’re going with this one!

27. Watership Down by Richard Adams. I remember that this movie was terrifying… so to get over it I have to read the book!

A Play
14. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. My older sister loves this play, and I’ve heard lots about it but never read it, so this is a great chance to finally get to know Hannah’s favorite fictional character!

28. The Real Inspector by Tom Stopard. I asked my dad “what’s another play I should read?” and he went upstairs and found this book for me and so this will go on my list as the very last book!

So… if I can finish Calamity in early April, I will have 9 months to read 27 books, which will be an average of 3 books per month. Plus I’m going to try and read The Wheel of Time Series with my friend Kathy, and any other books I get when I go to the library… so we’ll see how well it goes! Stay tuned for the update in 9 months! 🙂


Why I Write Terrible Reviews About People

Last month at work, I had to participate in completing a few written reviews of people (including one review of myself). You know, the kind where they say “do you think this person is skilled at their job?” and “do they have good interpersonal skills?”, or “how do you think you could improve in your job?” and “what’s your greatest strength?”, etc.

And I don’t know WHY this is, but as soon as I start reading the questions in these surveys… something comes over me and I just can’t seem to take it seriously.

I mean, I know that giving feedback is important, and I know that it’s anonymous and the person isn’t going to see it, and I know that nobody’s going to fire me if I say the wrong thing so I should just be honest and professional… but somehow, the idea of reviewing people I don’t feel qualified to judge somehow makes me get a little panicky. And as a result, all I want to do is write sarcastic comments.

And it’s not like I even have anything bad to say about anyone! I have very high opinions about everyone I work with, so any review I give would most likely be positive. So what’s the big deal?

Well, my experience tells me that I don’t know the person enough to give super specific answers, so my first response is to write a rambly review full of disclaimers:

“I don’t really know what kinds of tasks Jane does, so I don’t actually know how knowledgeable she is at her job, but I’m sure she does great and knows exactly what she’s doing because I have no reason to think she doesn’t, and she’s super nice, so why not?”

But that’s hardly helpful at all, is it?
So I try to sound a little less like myself and a little more confident:

“Jane is a knowledgeable team-player who undertakes each task with a mentality of strong reasoning combined with a willingness to learn and a desire to make others feel at home. She displays a mixed skill set for gentle correction, adherence to instruction and the added ability to think for herself and make tough decisions in a given situation when the responsibility is thrust upon her.”

But then I just start laughing at myself because…seriously, isn’t that trying a little bit too hard? Like, am I just making all this stuff up because it supposedly sounds good? Do I actually know what any of that means? Would I ever actually say this in real life? In my defense to the latter, the way I write IS different than the way I speak, but it’s still so over the top…

Then finally, I get so disgusted with myself that I decide to just answer sarcastically with whatever comes into my head.

Is Jane flexible?
Yes, she is the greatest contortionist I’ve ever seen; she’s practically Elastigirl.

How are Jane’s interpersonal skills?
The skills of her interperson are quite astonishing, really, whenever she switches personalities.

How knowledgeable is Jane?
Not. At. All. Jane knows nothing and should be fired immediately.

No, of course, I didn’t choose the sarcastic options, no matter how sorely I was tempted. I generally ended up going with a condensed version of my second example; you know, the Random Big-Words Simulator.

But seriously, at the end of the survey I had to take about myself, the final question was something like, “What are some skills you would like to learn in your job?”, and I was SO tempted to say, “How to answer these questions without sounding pretentious!”

But because I didn’t ACTUALLY say that, I guess I will never learn.

Or maybe I’ll just get better in time.

Or maybe I’ll forever be a Feedback Failure.

I’m ok with any of those, really, as long as I don’t have to give Feedback about my Feedback. That could be a thousand times worse!


I Finally Finished the Twilight Saga!

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Twilight… one of the most controversial book series of my time… where the fans are avidly enthusiastic about it and the haters are very strongly against it.

I finally ended up reading the books and then watching the movies last year. I have a sister who couldn’t get through the first book, and another sister who loves it. Where am I on that scale? Well, as usual, I’m somewhere in the middle. (WARNING: SPOILERS throughout this entire review.)

BOOK REVIEWS

TWILIGHT
My least favorite of the series; we meet the mysterious, moody, and manipulative Edward Cullen, and Bella, a weird character who’s still fairly distinctive and unique. She falls “irrevocably in love” with his god-like good looks and his intensely hate-filled glares, he pulls on her emotions by stalking her and then yelling at her for liking him, yada yada. You could chalk his jerkishness up to his frustration at struggling to control his urge to kill her… whatever, that doesn’t make him a healthy character. But since this series shows that she is drawn to danger and death, I guess it’s her destiny. This beginning book does not make it look like it will be a happy love story. Except, wait! It is, because the final act of proving that he can control his thirst for her blood makes him the best guy to be with! Oh, what sacrifice! This noble character is certainly a keeper!

NEW MOON
With Edward gone for most of this book, we get to spend most of our time with Bella and Jacob, which I enjoy. I really like their interactions together in this book… at least until he becomes a werewolf and becomes moody and full of angst. But they get over that fairly quickly. I think the friendship between Jacob and Bella in this book is one of the best relationships in the series. (Beat out only by Bella and Charlie.) And at least when Edward comes back at the end of this one, he finally stops being a jerk… for the most part.

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ECLIPSE
I think this was the book that drove me over the edge with the constant self-loathing “one-up-each-other” comments between Bella and Edward. For goodness sakes, can’t you just realize that you love each other and will “literally” die without the other and get over it already? There’s trying not to be overconfident, and then there’s being convinced that nobody could possibly love you but that you are OBVIOUSLY devoted to the other person and aren’t they stupid for not realizing it already? Great flirting going on here, in this book.

However, this one did have some of my favorite moments; I love when the werewolves and the Cullens first start working together. I love when Edward and Jacob have their mostly civil yet honest discussion in the tent while Bella is sleeping. And although I don’t know how much I buy the whole “Bella is in love with both of them” thing, this finally starts moving the plot forward and propels the relationship stuff along.

BREAKING DAWN
This final book was probably the best overall. It made me annoyed the least amount, and it had all the happy endings with a good amount of drama that was DIFFERENT drama than the last books. A lot of plot goes on in this book, but I think it’s a really good final wrap-up to the series. I loved how they dealt with Charlie and vampire-Bella. It’s very satisfying seeing Jacob get his happy ending. And I like the way everyone comes together at the end for the Cullens. I actually really enjoyed the way the big showdown at the end did NOT end in a massive fight, but that it actually DID get resolved peacefully. (And the way they worked that out in the movie was a good choice.) And since in the second half Bella and Edward are married and vampires, they can FINALLY get over their insecurities about each other and can just have the good relationship they’ve been striving for all along! Win for everybody!

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CHARACTER REVIEWS

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BELLA
Like I said, Bella is a weird character, but she is distinctive and unique. When a book is in the first person, it’s hard for me to be too judgy because I can see the person’s perspectives and WHY they think that way. I mean, I personally don’t get why Bella has this strong aversion to gifts and events and attention and weddings and people and fun, but at least she stays consistent with herself and remains unique throughout the series. She has the equally annoying habit of being overly self-deprecating in an “I’m totally serious” way, so she and Edward have lots of fun trying to outdo each other until she’s finally a vampire. But other than that, I don’t hate her as a character. She may not be my favorite, but I think she fits the strange world of Twilight.

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EDWARD
He starts out horrible, and slowly gets better. Sometimes I think he’s really sweet, and I guess by the end you can tell that he is self-sacrificing, but he has control issues for so much of the series, and he really likes to show his love for Bella by either over protecting her or mocking her. I don’t know if he matures as the series goes on, or if he just stops being rude once he and Bella are more official and he doesn’t have to manipulate her anymore, but his character does go from creep to decent guy by the end, which I did appreciate.

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JACOB
Jacob, on the other hand, is the epitome of cockiness and confidence. And I don’t know if it’s that he’s so refreshing compared to Bella and Edward’s self-loathing battles, or if it’s that he actually has a sense of humor and the desire to smile, or if it’s that he had such a great beginning to his character, or maybe I just think that Taylor Lautner is much cuter than Robert Pattinson (JK), but I really enjoyed Jacob throughout the whole series. Yeah, he got all angsty and has anger issues and was super pushy with Bella in the worst of the love-triangle plot, but I generally enjoyed his presence the best throughout the story. His happy ending was extremely satisfying to watch play out, and although he might just be a nicer guy compared to the worst of Edward (and it’s possible if he was the main character I wouldn’t like him as much), I do think I liked him best.

So there you have it! I think the books started out as weird, but I did really get drawn into the story and the characters as the series went on, and they definitely ended much stronger than they began. And although I can understand all the mocking of the series, and I definitely don’t think people should draw relationship lessons from this because in reality this would NOT end up as happy as it does, I did like the story as a whole.


My Musicals of January

Well January was musical month! I meant to watch more than four movies, but that didn’t happen; and I also meant to watch all movies that Hannah picked out for me, but I ended up doing 2 that she picked (The Last Five Years and Moulin Rouge) and 2 that I just grabbed from the library (South Pacific and Jesus Christ Superstar). After February I think I’m gonna take a break from my movie challenge, but I’ll get back to it eventually when I have more time to focus on it. In the meantime, read my reviews about these 4 musicals!

The Last Five Years
I knew the music of this, and the plot, before I saw the movie. Which was probably good, because it is a little confusing to follow in parts if you don’t know that one story moves backwards and one forwards. You can tell pretty quickly when it gets started, but the middle got a little muddled for me.

I’ve never liked this story as much as my sister Hannah has; it’s too sad for me, and while the songs may be well-written and the movie was well-acted, seeing the deterioration of their relationship is kind of depressing. My Dad disliked the movie because he disliked the characters and thus felt no sympathy for the pain they put themselves through, but I still couldn’t help feeling sympathy for them. But it’s a “if you would only stop doing this and listen to each other!” sympathy, where I know it’s their fault. Basically, I think it was really well executed, and the music is very pretty, but the beauty of the music doesn’t give me enough happiness/satisfaction to make up for the sadness I feel when it’s done. Good movie, but not one of my personal favorites.

 

South Pacific
This wasn’t recommended to me by Hannah (she’s not a fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein), but it was at my library so I figured I should watch it. It was fine, I guess, but not very interesting. The main girl seemed to have weird, sporatic emotions, and I don’t know if that was due to the story or the acting. And I think the characters’ motives for why they did what they did were less obvious to me because I didn’t pick up on the race thing right away. I also forgot most of the songs, although I think one or two of them were pretty. It was mostly just boring and forgettable.

 

Moulin Rouge
Hannah and Elizabeth both said this was amazing visually, although Elizabeth said she dislikes the first half because it’s very raunchy. They were right about both of those things. Since the female lead is the head prostitute in her business, they were not shy about making lots of sexual jokes throughout the whole first half, which did get very uncomfortable in moments. But the movie was also quite cool visually. There are several songs where they do this weird surreal flying in the air thing and there’s fireworks and stuff… I don’t remember it exactly, but I remember it looked cool. I wasn’t as blown away with this movie as my siblings were, but it had an interesting story, some great musical numbers, and Ewen was very endearing as the enthusiastic idealist who always seemed so in love with love. Glad I finally saw it, and maybe a rewatch someday would draw me in more with the music.

 

Jesus Christ Superstar
I was very cautious about going into this, knowing that it’s portraying the story that is the basis of my faith, and was written by people who don’t believe the most important parts about the story. But I kept that in my head as I watched it, and thus wasn’t taken aback by anything they did that wasn’t Biblically sound. And actually, I think the story was told in a very interesting way that made it kind of ambiguous by the end. Many of the songs were sung by Judas and Mary Magdalene and the Romans, speculating about what Jesus was all about and how to deal with Him. The ending was sudden and open, with all the people leaving right after He died and just looking back at the hill in wonder as if to say, “We don’t get it, Jesus”. And I think it was a very interesting perspective of how a non-believer would interpret the events, or not be able to interpret them! If you don’t believe in the reason why He did it and in His resurrection, than it does seem kind of pointless.

My biggest issues were with the way they made Judas seem like the good guy, and the character of Jesus Himself. He felt rather off, more angry than compassionate, and I’m pretty sure the writers didn’t think that He was God. But it’s also really hard to get Jesus right, even for Christians, so I don’t begrudge them for trying. Taking it as a musical interpretation of the uncertainty and confusion concerning how Jesus’ story looks to the world, I thought it was quite interesting.


My Darling Guilt-Complex

I don’t think I’ve ever had anxiety or depression. My pity-parties seem much more just “flesh”-y than actual medical conditions. My inner insecurities don’t seem debilitating enough to be able to claim that I have anything wrong with my brain that is causing it to happen. I don’t say that to take lightly the mental disorders that I know people around me struggle with, but rather to confess that I KNOW I don’t have a right to claim these disorders as my own.

BUT…. I have become more aware of the amount of guilt that is deeply imbedded into my thoughts, emotions and motives. Every day. All the time. It’s not as serious as when I hear people describe their anxiety attacks or their bouts of irrational, depressive thoughts that slam them in the face; but it’s definitely something that is real and that I feel immersed in. And since writing is a good, therapeutic way to process my life, I’m going to talk about it! Here are several times I know that guilt likes to take over and make my life a little more complicated.


When People Give Me Compliments Or Attention
Last month I got a lot of attention for lots of random little things; starring in a Christmas program, giving a nice gift to a friend at church, a silly story I wrote at work, etc. And whenever I either get a lot of compliments or a lot of positive attention, suddenly my Ego and Guilt-Complex decide to have it out big time.

My Ego wants to take credit for everything and can get pretty self-righteous. I was such a great person, I’m so talented, etc. So I start to work against that mindset, knowing that I don’t ever want to turn genuine, encouraging compliments into a way of glorifying myself. There is a way to take the kind words of others in a healthy, constructive way and be encouraged in who I am.

But then, to combat my self-righteousness, Darling Guilt-Complex takes over and starts making me feel bad for doing anything in the spotlight that puts me in a position to get attention. It starts accusing me of showing off, saying that the words people say are just them being nice, that I have no right to feel proud of what I did, that I responded the wrong way when they complimented me, that I’m not humble enough.

I admit that I struggle with self-righteousness, but I know that there’s a balance between feeling too proud and not being able to ENJOY the encouragement I’m given because I’m too busy feeling bad that I received it. Now if I could just find that balance…


When I Plan or Anticipate Events
Last year, I helped plan 2 different surprise parties, and I scheduled and organized several different traveling outings to towns in my area. My family and I also took road trips out to New England and American Idol together, and I traveled to 2 different weddings.

When it comes to anything that involves anticipation, guilt is sure to sneak up on me and take a part in the final evaluation of how said event went. See, I’ve started noticing that every time I’m really looking forward to a trip, an event, a party… that as soon as it’s over, I say to myself “that was fun!”, but it’s intermingled with all the anxious over-analyzation of everything I said, did, didn’t do, should’ve done.

Darling Guilt-Complex likes to tell me that I shouldn’t have gotten stressed that one time because I ruined it for those around me. I should’ve made sure everyone had more fun. I should’ve talked to that person more. I should not have hyped it up as much as I did because people probably expected more out of it. Remember that one social interaction where I was really awkward? It probably ruined everybody’s day. they probably all hated coming and wished they’d stayed home instead. I could’ve done everything better.

Actually, being aware of the fact that my guilt is so present in my mind during these situations has helped me to prepare for events because I know it’s coming. I had fun planning Elizabeth’s surprise party in December, and I think it was a success… but I had to remind myself, beforehand, that I was not going to feel perfect after it was done and to just ignore the negative emotions. Sure, some things could’ve been smoother, but people had fun and got to hang out… so stupid accusations, you don’t matter!


During Every Social Time… Ever
Ok, maybe this is an introvert thing, or maybe this is an insecurity thing. I don’t really know. All I know is, I just went through an entire year where it honestly felt like EVERY human interaction I had was horrible. Awkward. Incompetent. Lame.

Seriously, do you ever go through those phases where you just feel completely off your social game? It didn’t matter how short or how long the conversation was… if I spoke to someone, I’d done it wrong. At least that’s how it felt.

For minutes, hours, or even days after each interaction, Darling GC would come with the attack: I didn’t respond fast enough to that person’s question. I stuttered a lot, which made me look stupid. It was very rude of me to interrupt like that. I should’ve smiled more because my face probably looked bored. That comment was probably offensive. I shouldn’t have made that joke. My sarcasm was too mean. I should’ve done more to carry my part of the conversation.

I’m pretty sure everybody has struggled with obsessing over past interactions and second-guessing themselves. But sometimes one can be a little bit too aware of what they say and do. At least the intensity of this onslaught has slowed to a gentle trickling of guilt rather than a bursting dam every time I open my mouth.


When I’m Working
I know I’m a good worker and that I’m fairly competent. I try to be responsible, respectful and reliable at work. I try to be aware of my mistakes that I’m likely to make, such as procrastinating on questions I need to ask my supervisors, or going so fast that I lose accuracy.

But sometimes I get really paranoid that everything I’m doing is wrong. I used to work with the mail, and after I was hired, anytime I overheard anybody mention “mail” or “scanning” or “sorting” or anything that had to do with my previous job, I had an instant moment of fear and panic, because I was sure they were talking about how I had messed it up somehow. Now I’m being trained on new tasks, which gives me a chance to learn… and new chances to mess up, says my Guilt.

I didn’t train the girls right. I did things without double-checking and now it’s twice as much work for everybody. I’m not fast enough. I’m going so fast I can’t possibly be getting everything right. I’m not being careful enough. I’m over-thinking. Everyone is fixing my mistakes behind my back.

Sometimes I even know that I’m doing a pretty good job and working straight through without getting distracted, and I still feel like everyone’s going to look at me and think that I’m being lazy. So I just do the best that I can, and if I can’t think of something constructive to tell myself that I should have done better, I do what I can to ignore my Guilt and tell it that it’s just being biased.


When I Do Nice Things For People
“One question haunts and hurts; too much, too much to mention. Was I really seeking good or just seeking attention? Is that all good deeds are when looked at with an ice cold eye?”

Now just to clear it up, “No Good Deed” does not depict my actual philosophy about life and good works. But the question Elphaba asks herself, about her inner motivations and trying to understand the trouble she’s been facing, is a similar one I’ve asked.

I really like doing nice things for people, and seeing them happy, and knowing that I can make a difference. I have a fairly generous heart, and if a creative idea pops into my head of encouraging someone or acknowledging someone or giving a physical gift to someone, I really, really like when it works out and it actually blesses the person.

But I’m constantly second-guessing my motives when it comes to things like that. Darling Guilt-Complex, who likes to make everything all about It, does its best to warp my thoughts about myself even when I feel like I’m at my best. I’m just seeking attention. I’m over-compensating for something I feel guilty about. I don’t care about that person, I’m just trying to look good. I’m trying to win brownie points with God and we all know that that doesn’t work. I just want people to like me. It’s all fake and selfish underneath.

Ultimately, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything we do will have a mix of selfish motivation in it, simply because of the fact that we live in the flesh. But that doesn’t make it any less encouraging to others or pleasing to God. My flesh being gratified doesn’t discount the value of doing something that was good or kind.


So now that you’ve had a little glimpse into my mind, I will assure everyone that I do know that most of what my guilt tells me is false. Sometimes my guilt points to something important or true about myself and I need to take a harder look, but most of the time it simply builds up anxiety and negative thoughts and skewered perceptions. And I am aware of that. Yes, I struggle a lot with self-identity and insecurity, but I also have a head knowledge of truths that contradict what Darling Guilt-Complex tells me. Sometimes it takes a while to believe the truth and not the lies, since the lies REALLY like to yell the same thing over and over again. But hey……….. uh, life is good, and God’s still on the throne! *cheesy grin* (Praise Him!)

(That was the only blog ending I could think of.)


My First 2016 Blog! (And Focuses For the Year)

So around this time of year you get a lot of people who say, “I don’t really do resolutions”. And I don’t know if I do them in the traditional sense; I don’t often make specific goals of exercising per week or certain pounds to lose; I don’t keep track of how many books I read or movies I watch or have fixed skills I’m going to learn or habits I’m going to stop.

But I’ve always liked the idea of looking at the year that’s just passed, and starting January 1st with a vision of things I want to focus on in the coming year. I feel like I’m starting with a clean slate; it’s like going to bed and sleeping in order to recharge for a busy day tomorrow.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 2016 is my blank notebook, full of opportunity and yet beautiful before I even write in it. Who knows what kinds of adventures await me? So, in preparation for this year, here are my focuses for 2016:


 1. RECONNECT WITH GOD

All throughout 2015, I felt emotionally distant from God. I had disconnection in my worship time, got defeated reading Scripture because it felt pointless, and my prayer time seemed like a rant without any resolution. And since the few times I set aside to try and get some spiritual rejuvenation in my life seemed to fall flat, I kind of pushed it to the back burner. Oh, I didn’t mean to, but the busyness of life just crept up on me and before I knew it, I had gone weeks without really talking to God about anything or pursuing Him in everyday life. And the weeks turned to more weeks, and months, and… you get the idea.

I know that my salvation doesn’t depend on my consistency of having a quiet time, and I know that I’m not supposed to be run by emotion. Sometimes I do all the right things and I still don’t “feel” God. But there is goodness and power in continuing to do the right things even when it feels like it’s going no where, because it’s still doing something. I just may not be able to see it.

I don’t really have a structure to “how many Bible verses I’m going to read per day” or “how long I’m going to spend in prayer each week”… but I do know that I want to refocus my heart on Jesus once again. Whether the emotions follow or not, I will do my part to seek God wholeheartedly and draw close to Him this year.

2. FIND CONTENTMENT IN THIS SEASON OF LIFE

Even though I’ve had a job all year that I’m extremely grateful to have, it’s been really hard for me the past 6-months to accept where things are in my life. All I’ve ever really desired has been to get married, have kids and raise a family as a stay-at-home mom. I’ve never wanted a career, or to go to college, or to work all the time. Of course, I knew if I wanted to live on my own (which I’ve always wanted to do) I’d have to support myself. And now I have this great job where I can DO that.

I don’t know if this discontentment stems from laziness at not wanting to work, or if it’s from waiting on a dream that hasn’t happened yet… but this year, I’m determined to fight it.

Years ago, before my first relationship, I told God I wanted to figure out how to be content being single before I got involved with someone. And I was content, and then I dated someone, and now that it’s over I find myself having to go through the same hoops again. I’m not feeling committed to this season of my life… and that’s something I want to change, because why would God bring me into the next season if I can’t find my place in this one?

So one of my focuses this year is to learn to be content where I am: as a single, working, almost-26-year-old who is hopefully going to be moved out by the end of the year. I want to focus on my friends… on my blogging… on my ministry… on working hard and being excellent at my job… in fighting through the boring monotony of every day. I don’t have to worry about anybody else. Just me and God and what He wants me to do. I want to embrace my singledom so that, when the next guy come along, I have the wisdom to know whether it’s right or wrong instead of jumping into it due to desperation.


3. BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

So I want to move out with my sister and be on my own, but that requires money and being semi-stable. So I’ve been working this year on saving up money. And I think I did a pretty good job, but suddenly I’m going to be turning 26 this year and I need to get my own insurance, and it feels like everything in my savings disappears before my next paycheck, and rent and food and utilities… I’m slightly overwhelmed with what living on my own and being responsible is going to entail.

So I want to focus on being more financially responsible this year. This does not mean that I can’t have fun and go on trips and buy things for people and splurge every once in a while… but it does mean that I need to work on my self-control for silly things that I don’t need. I’m going to try to cut out fast food for the first two months and really work on saving, and keeping the money that I’m saving. I need to be able to say no to buying things on impulse that are unnecessary. I need to be able to make a budget for myself and stick to it. Whatever it takes to be a good steward of my money, I want to learn to be that. I know I’m going to fail a lot, but my hope is that I’m also going to learn more restraint and discipline and budgeting and hopefully be better at all this by the end of the year. Because great plans of living on my own… come with great responsibility. Or something like that.


So those are basically my main focuses. Of course I want to blog more and read more and give more and eat more healthily and exercise more and be more grateful and dance in the rain and live laugh love and all that mumbo jumbo… but if I focus on everything, then I’m really focusing on nothing! (Was that deep? That was deep! And now it’s in bold because it’s so deep!) So good luck with all your resolutions and goals and focuses this 2016! Happy New Year!


My Two Characters of Al Pacino

Eh, I was gonna do 5 movies with Al Pacino, but the Godfathers were all SO LONG (3 hours each!) that I decided I would just do 4. So I watched the Godfather Trilogy, and ended with Scent of a Woman. What did I think? Read on to find out!!!!

THE GODFATHER PART I

So Elizabeth said to me about this series, “It’s a good family movie.” Not meaning that it’s good for the family to WATCH, but that it is about family sticking together and that kind of thing. So I kept that review in mind as I watched it.

I didn’t realize that 1) Marlon Brandon was so old, 2) how much Marlon Brando looked like Paul Newman when he’s old, 3) how young Al Pacino was.  I didn’t know what Al looked like, so it wasn’t until about 45 minutes into the movie that I figured out which one was Al. For this one, it was fun seeing all the You’ve Got Mail “Godfather” references in the first movie: “leave the gun, take the cannoli,” “Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday,” “go to the mattresses,” etc. I didn’t expect all the people that died to die. It was really long.

 

THE GODFATHER PART II

People say that this was the best movie of the 3… and I’m not sure why? It was certainly the darkest. Is that a good thing? Do people like it because it’s so cynical and shows you how far you can go if you live through violence and revenge? Because that’s what I got out of it. Michael becomes a jerk: to his family, to his wife… he’s controlling and manipulative, and I don’t understand most of the politics or what he’s trying to do or who he believes, and it was just dark and depressing and I didn’t like him at all. So… yay for darkness that says to not be like a mafia lord? Based on this movie alone, it’s not a family movie in either sense. But maybe I’m just too uncultured to get it. Anyone who likes this one, please feel free to tell me what I’m missing!

 

THE GODFATHER PART III

This one was probably actually my favorite because it deals with the question of redemption; can he make things work after all of the horrible things he’s done? Is it worth it to confess his sins? Can he connect with his children and be the father he needs to be? I thought the ending was abrupt and unresolved… and I didn’t quite get the last shot. But I appreciated the redemptive themes throughout the movie and thought they made his character more interesting and less evil.

 

SCENT OF A WOMAN

I liked this movie! There was a lot of swearing and the dude did not have a good mouth, but I thought it was sweet. I liked watching the growing connections between the two main characters, and the kid was really sweet; I felt I could kind of relate to him and his struggle to help even though he had no idea what to say or do. He DID have integrity, and even if the climactic scene was cheesy and maybe a bit over the top, it was still cheer-worthy and cool. And I was happy that it ended with a clear assumption that their friendship was going to continue. This was kind of the reverse of his Godfather character; in those he seems nice but has meanness in his heart, and in this he seems mean but has niceness in his heart. Anyway, I liked it.

RANKED IN THIS ORDER:
1. Scent of a Woman
2. The First Godfather (thinking it over, the first might’ve been more interesting to watch than the 3rd)
3. The Third Godfather (but these middle two are still interchangeable)
4. The Second Godfather

I’m super late for my movie watching in September so I will postpone my musicals until October. Catch up with you then! 🙂

 


Kensington Posh: A British Detective Short Story

Chapter 1

Kensington Posh was a proper detective. He had a lovely brown pipe, a distinguished taste in tea, and a pair of spectacles that made the most sophisticated teacher look like a primary school dropout. He never forgot a name, could identify a face with his eyes closed, was a whiz in British law, and he ALWAYS found Wally in under 3 seconds.

He lived in a rustic cottage by the sea. He had a maid named Meredith Turnipatch, a butler named Freud Lloyd, and a stable full of prize horses. His bank account held a generous fortune, and his library was filled to bursting.

But although Kensington had

pipe and maid…

butler and tea…

a house by the lake half a mile from the sea…

horses and stable…

and a mind that was able….

…he was missing one thing: Kensington Posh did not have anyone to love.

Chapter 2

Lovey Papaya had the best smile of anyone in town. She could make troubles seem like opportunities and broccoli taste like peach cobbler. Her friends came to her with all their worries, and with a smile, a cup of tea and an inspirational saying, they all left feeling like better human beings.

 Lovey owned her own bookstore called Papaya’s Pages; it was located on the corner of 5th and Potter Point Road, and was painted to look like a sunset on a book binder. She spent her days doling out reading tips and hosting Story-Telling events for the local children. Her nights she spent writing fan letters to famous celebrities and watching over her dog, Bagel the Beagle.

But although she had

books…

and a dog…

and a store…

and a smile that made people’s troubles no more…

…she had one trouble she couldn’t fix: she was a secret alien from Pluto.

Chapter 3

A knocking sound vibrated from the door of the Pish Posh Private Detection Agency. The utterance of “Come in” came from the lips of the owner of the door, and the perpetrator of the knocking sound enclosed their hand around the outside knob and made the proper motion required to open the entryway, stepping into the office in the process.

          “Good afternoon,” said Kensington Posh, tipping his hat and sipping his tea.

          “Good afternoon,” said the visitor, tipping their hat and tripping over the rug.

          “Please have a seat,” said Kensington, tipping his tea and sipping from the saucer.

          “Thank you,” said the visitor, sitting in the chair and fitting in comfortably.

          “How may I help you?” asked Kensington, primping his flower vase and scrimping his balance book.

          “I need you to investigate a person for me,” said the visitor, cringing their eyes and wringing their hands.

          “Is it your spouse?” questioned Kensington, flinging out his arms and ringing his gong accidentally.

          “No, it’s my neighbor,” said the visitor, licking their finger and flicking a speck of dust away.

          “Why do you need me to investigate them?” inquired Kensington, tilting his head and lilting a tune.

          “Because I think there’s something wrong with them,” said the visitor, kicking his foot and picking a favorite ice cream topping.

          “It’s going to cost you,” said Kensington, drinking his beverage and sinking his eyes.

          “Money is no object,” said the visitor, flitting his fingers and hitting a high C.

          “Alright, I’ll start tomorrow,” said Kensington, spitting his tea and quitting his nail-biting habit.

Chapter 4

It is a bright, sunny day. He wished it were raining. Then maybe the sky would reflect his soul.

He’s seen these characters before. He knows them all. Not a decent soul, not a one of them. He plods despondently yet determinedly down the street and up the sidewalk of the house.

This person must be a drug lord, he thinks as he trudges through his job. Or a kleptomaniac. Or an antisocial menace to society. Or maybe they’re an illegal American!

He gives one last, cynical look towards the brightly colored door. No one is that cheerful, he determines, and then knocks on the door.

The moment the door opens, his world changes. He hears a chorus of songbirds singing out his mother’s favorite lullaby. A sunset sets over a beautiful mountain view, and he feels a fresh breeze right off of the ocean. He sighs in satisfaction as he tastes peach cobbler in the air. The aroma of peppermint and bacon permeates his senses, and his legs start tapping as he gets a sudden yet strong urge to dance the Charleston.

The sunset is beautiful. Truly beautiful. As he gazes at it, he can spy a face in the clouds. The songbirds trill in harmony, “How can I help you?”

As he watches the cloud face, he notices that the mountain look more like a door now, and that the cloud face is growing hair. He blinks slowly, calming his tapping legs.

Now he clearly sees a human face; but the sunset and sunshine are still there! They are in the face… in the smile!

“Hello, sir, how can I help you?” the person says again.

Chapter 5

Well this guy has been standing here a while. He’s got some nice moves, though. Maybe he’s deaf.

          “HELLO, SIR, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?”

“Hello, Sunshine Face. What’s cooking?”

“What??”

“Um, I mean, I smell bacon and peppermint. Are you cooking something?”

“Um, no… no, I’m not. Maybe it’s my perfume?”

This guy must be onto me! Maybe my Alien is showing itself through scent! Though Pluto smells more like ice cream rainforest than bacon and peppermint… still, I’ve gotta throw him off the scent!

“AAAAHHH!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry! Sometimes when I try to shake people’s hands I push them down the stairs. There, that’s better. Do you still smell bacon and peppermint?”

“No, not really. But I sure do have a craving for peach cobbler.”

It worked! Go Universe!

“Would you like to come in? I’ll make you some tea and you can tell me about what you came here for.”

“Oh, oh right! What I came here for… you sure don’t seem like an alien.”

“WHAT???”

“I mean, you don’t seem like you’re an illegal American immigrant.”

“Oh! Oh right!”

That was too close! I’m gonna give myself away! If only I could share my burdenous secret with him. He seems like such a nice man…

“Here you go!”

“Wow, this is some of the best tea I’ve ever tasted! And I have a distinguished taste in tea. This is out of this world!”

“Oh no it’s not! I made it right here in this kitchen, I promise! Nothing unearthly here in this house!”

“Haha, I meant it’s delicious.”

“Oh. Thank you, heehee.”

“I like your laugh. And your smile.”

“I like yours, too.”

Chapter 6

Monday’s Log: Went to Target X’s house. Doesn’t look like illegal alien. Might be hiding drugs in tea. Very good tea—suspiciously good.

Tuesday’s Log: Target X might be magician; delightful hallucinations appear whenever X enters room. Maybe hypnotist. Tea is clearly British, however; very distinguished.

Wednesday’s Log: Target X definitely not kleptomaniac; always leave house without missing anything. Tried to leave hat but X ran out and returned it. Had to hide cuff links in bathroom towel to have reason to go back tomorrow.

Thursday’s Log: Cuff links returned, cleaned and sprayed with scent. Smells like pine trees on a beach. Possible location of drugs? Left coat there today.

Friday’s Log: Joined X for story-telling time with children at place of business. Ruling out possibility of X being social menace. Coat smells lovely.

Saturday’s Log: Helped Target X bake cookies. No use of illegal drugs during process. Hypnotism still working theory; songbirds won’t stop singing.

Sunday’s Log: Took day off. Met Target X for casual conversation at diner. If on duty, conclusion would still be negative for any form of public or criminal or social menacing.

Monday’s Log: Target X acting suspicious. Became evasive about my looking for band-aid in medicine cabinet, stopped my search. Investigate further tomorrow. Songbirds sounded sad today; feelings match.

Chapter 7

Lovey: (paces room anxiously, wringing hands) I can’t stand the secrecy! I can’t lie to him anymore. I have to tell him!

(Kensington enters house.)

Kensington: Hello, Miss Papaya.

Lovey: (runs and flings herself at him) Kensington! I can lie to you no longer! I MUST come clean!

Kensington: No, Lovey, it is I who must confess! (holds her hands)

Both: I’m not who you think I am!

(Both fling the other’s hands away in shock)

Kensington: I told you I was an interior decorator! (falls on knee in remorse) But I lied. I’m a private detective and I have been investigating you… for PROFIT!

Lovey: (gasps) No, Kenny! Not for PROFIT!

Kensington: Yes, for PROFIT! (throws himself on floor and wails)

Lovey: Oh, Kenny, I believe I can forgive you… for my secret is far worse than any you could confess! (puts hand on forehead) I told you I was an Englander! But… I’m not! (falls against wall in agony)

Kensington: (sits up, stupefied) You’re not… an American! But… the tea! (grabs teacup and hurls against wall in confusion)

Lovey: No, I’m not an American!

Kensington: Don’t tell me you’re from Australia! South Africa! Asia! Canada! The North Pole?

Lovey: No, never! I’m not a decent human being!

Kensington: (stands and grabs her hands) Oh, Lovey! You’re the most decent human being there ever was!

Lovey: (gazing into his eyes) Oh, Kenny! I guess, when you think about it that way, I’m a pretty decent human being… for somebody who is NOT a human being at all!

Kensington: (drops hands and backs away) Lovey! What are you saying?

Lovey: I’m an ALIEN! (flings out arms dramatically)

Kensington: From where??? I’ve covered every place I can think of!

Lovey: From PLUTO! (flails arms hysterically)

Kensington: (gasps) What??? How could you be???

Lovey: (falls backwards over arm of sofa and hangs forlornly) I was exploring the galaxy 70 years ago, and I crash-landed here. It was so lovely here that I didn’t want to go back! Pluto is so cold and frozen. Here you have seasons and animals and forests and beaches! (sighs heavily, writhing into new position) So I found ingredients to make a potion to make me look human. I picked a name, learned your language, and bought a business. (stands up and runs at wall, hurling herself at it with arms out as if hugging the house) I love it here! But I don’t deserve it! I’m a fraud and a liar, and I deserve to be swoggled like a bambett and fleaflogged like a collybobble!

(Kensington looks stunned and confused.)

Lovey: That’s Pluto speak.

(Kensington looks less stunned and confused.)

Kensington: Lovey, I don’t care that you’re not from planet Earth! (runs to her and grabs her hands) For the first time in my life, I’m hearing the birds and watching the sunsets, all because of you!

Lovey: (clutching his hands) Really?

Kensington: Yes! Lovey, as long as you’re not a druglord or a kleptomaniac or a menace to society or an illegal American, I want nothing more than to marry you!

Lovey: Oh, Kensington! (they dramatically embrace)

Chapter 8

Kensington Posh was a proper detective. He smoked a brown pipe, drank lots of tea and solved many cases. He lived in a rustic cottage half a mile from the sea that was taken care of by his maid and butler.

But Kensington also had a lovely wife. Her name was Lovey Papayaposh, and she had the best smile of anyone in town. She owned a charming bookstore and was friends with everyone she met. She loved writing fan letters to celebrities, and she and Kensington both took care of their dog, Bagel the Beagle.

Kensington promised to never tell anyone that she was an alien, and in return, they made plans to visit Pluto together on their one-year anniversary. She would show him the bambetts and the collybobbles, and then together they would return back to the earth… back to England… back home.


I’m a Punk: My Emo Album

So a while ago I wrote a blog about my Nostalgia Album called “Crazy Happy Nonsense”, the album of nostalgic songs that I would do covers of if I was, you know, a singer and someone asked me to do a personally nostalgic album. Well, I’ve had multiple other “albums” or themed playlists I’ve been working on, but this one was the one I finished next.

When I say this is my “Emo Album”, I think of the overly dramatic and “woe is me” songs, either full of self-pity, doom and gloom or just kind of making fun of sad things in life. Not all of these songs fit the “Emo” category perfectly; some of them are more pretty than funny, and I have a few reverse Emo songs to bring some cheerfulness into the doom and gloom attitude. But this might very well be a playlist that I would enjoy listening to if I wanted to feel sorry for myself while keeping myself from getting too depressed at the same time. This album is titled “I’m a Punk”.

1. Close Every Door (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)
This was clearly one of the obvious choices for my emo album. While Joseph definitely has a good reason to be as sad and discouraged as he is, this has great dramatic lyrics full of angst and woe. This is one of those songs that I can sing both in a sad way and in a “having fun with the drama” way. I figured this was a good one to start the album with; jump right into that emotion!

I do not matter, I’m only one person
Destroy me completely, then throw me away

(I don’t know what the Swiss Army Knife is doing on the screen)

2. I’m a Punk (The Cat in the Hat cartoon)
This is the title song mostly because it’s the personification of the overdramatic emo to me. If ever I’m feeling down on myself and thinking that no one likes me, I  can express my insecurity through song at the same time as I’m reminding myself how silly my fears are. How can you not laugh at yourself when you’re singing lines like “I’m untouchable unless you wear antiseptical gloves”?

I’m a punk; a kratunkulous schnunk
Nobody loves me, not one tiny hunk

3. All Alone in the World (Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol)
Mom used to sing this depressing song to us kids, and then a year or two ago we finally decided to watch the Mr. Magoo cartoon. This song is one of those super sad ones that has a lot of emo lyrics for a kids’ show, hehe, but it always makes me giggle. Clearly it belongs in this album.

A hand for each hand was planned for the world
Why don’t my fingers reach?

 

4. I’m So Blue (Madame Blueberry)
When I remembered that this song existed, this had to go on the list of options. I was actually debating between this and “Pizza Angel”, which has more drama, but I personally like this one more. Sometimes you just gotta whine and boo-hoo-hoo the blues.

I really can’t stand it, I think I might die
Now where is that hanky? I’m going to cry!

5. All for the Best (Godspell)
And here we have a bit of an optimistic song! While it is directed at people who are feeling very emo, it has the positive attitude of “hey, it’s all for the best, so don’t be too distressed”. I wanted to put a few “reverse emo” songs in this album in order to help lighten it up, and to remember that you can still sing about how your temples are graying and teeth are decaying and yet have a positive outlook. 🙂

Your mood and your robe are both a deep blue
You bet that Job had nothing on you

6. Adelaide’s Lament (Guys and Dolls)
I wanted to have something about being single in the list (though this song just means it in the legal sense) because that’s one of the biggest issues of angst in society, right? I was also considering several other sad love songs, but this one has the word “lament” in it and has far more drama than just sadness.

From lack of community property and a feeling she’s getting too old
A person can develop a bad, bad cold

7. Happy Happy Happy
I recently discovered this song on my MP3 player by Groovelily and actually listened to the lyrics, and while the emotion in this song is more anger than sadness, it’s still full of lyrical self-pity. I like the way that the music becomes more angsty as he sings about how unfair life is for him, and then instantly switches to the gentle ukelele when he’s telling his friend how happy he is for him. Groovelily is great at making the words and music do exactly what they want it to, and this is a fun example of that.

But still, I’m simultaneously wishing you were dead and feeling
Happy, happy, happy, happy for you

8. Not in Nottingham
I wanted to make sure I included a sad Disney song, and this is one of my favorite overlooked ones. It’s very short, and this song is less “emo” because their sorrow is not more than what should be felt according to their situation. But it does have a very melancholy tone with some “things’ll never get better in THIS town” kind of lines, so I wanted to include it.

Can’t you see the tears we’re crying?
Can’t there be some happiness for me?

9. Oh, My God (Jars of Clay)
I recently discovered this song, and while I don’t know what it’s talking about entirely, I’m fascinated by it! I think it’s about the depravity of the world and the sovereignty of God. But it’s mostly about the depravity of the world. It has haunting lyrics, and I wanted to include a dark Christian song in this list, and as soon as I thought of this I figured it was the perfect candidate. 🙂

All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense

10. Agony (Into the Woods)
I was needing one more love song for my emo album, but I couldn’t come up with a good one… until I remembered Agony. This fabulously encompasses the drama that is often associated with emo, and while the characters singing it are clearly not insecure about themselves, their competitive misery is a great lament about the tortures of unreachable love.

Agony! Far more painful than yours!

10. Mad World
This is another song that I don’t think I entirely understand, but it’s one of the saddest sounding songs I know, with dramatically-written, melancholy lyrics. It seemed like an obvious choice when it comes to “emo”, and I wanted to include a bit of a modern song. It’s a bit overplayed maybe, but the haunting tone works great for this album.

Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

 

12. How Lucky You Are (Seussical)
And now it’s time to jump into something slightly more cheerful after some majorly heavy songs! It’s time to remind yourself that, even though the world is mad and depraved, and even if your world is literally tilting upside down, you haven’t died yet, so you’re pretty stinkin’ lucky! But yes, your world is literally spinning. But you’re still lucky!

And if worse comes to worse, as we all know it will
Thank your lucky star you’ve gotten this far

13. Still Small Hours (Sleeping Beauty Wakes)
I wanted to throw another category in here to be emo about, and what better topic than insomnia? It’s not a pleasant song to listen to, but its lyrics nicely capture the distress of lying awake throughout the night, and the music gets good and frantic in an anxious way during the bridge of the song. (There’s no video but you can listen to it on their site through the link.)

All the horror, all the dread, just restore me to my bed
At least then I could sleep while I scream

http://groovelily.bandcamp.com/track/still-small-hours

14. Larry Sings the Blues
And finally, I wanted to end the album on a semi-happy note, so I figured this “anti Blues” song was a good way to complete my album. The ever-cheerful Larry just does not sing the Blues very well, despite Lemon Lincoln’s attempts at teaching him the point of it. So, on this note, while it’s fun to occasionally lament dramatically, remember what Larry knows: you can always find joy!

My cookies and ice cream, they both gone away
But that don’t bother me none!