April 29, 2014

That Time That it Was Earth Day 2014

Last week for Earth Day, the environmental club I'm in organized a celebration.

One of the activities was tie dying which was of course the best part.
Happy belated Earth Day!!

April 28, 2014

Blog Prompt: What Job Did I Want As a Kid?

When I was a kid. Dolphins were my favorite animal. I therefore wanted to be a "dolphin trainer." Once I was told that to do that I had to be a marine biologist (and got older) I lost interest. Biology was my worst scientific subject. If I could have done it by being a marine physicist still wouldn't have I totally would have done it.

April 25, 2014

I Reviewed This Book Once...

I had the opportunity to get and review the book "I Dated This Guy Once..." through 20sb that I for some reason jumped at the chance to do, which meant that... I had to READ a BOOK. Anyone who knows me or has been following my blog for awhile also knows that reading is not something I spend a lot of time doing or get excited about. My thing is TV and movies. The stories get told so much faster in those mediums. And I am impatient and have ADHD. But really I would like to read more and that is why I instantly wanted to sign up to review this book because it would force me to READ A BOOK. Also because it sounded like a book I would enjoy. Anyway...

"I Dated This Guy Once..." Review

"I Dated This Guy Once..." is memoir about author Toni Rae's 8 years of dating experiences and still ongoing journey to find love. I quickly got on-board with reading it because I too have had both fortunate and unfortunate dating experiences that I often reference when giving dating advice to friends (naturally, I'm far better at giving than following my own advice). I was also really glad to discover that it was a memoir and not a novel because I find something hollow in stories that are works of fiction. To spend so much time connecting to characters that are not real leaves me feeling empty once I've finished such a book (classics, sci-fi, and fantasy excluded).

I'm not sure how much it was meant to be significant but Rae chose to split her story into "episodes" rather than chapters. I'm also not sure if it was meant to be an homage to the term "episode" in the TV world. She made several explicit references to How I Met Your Mother and Seinfeld so maybe that was the intention. Either way, I chose to believe it was and it added a little bit of extra enjoyment to my reading.

Toni Rae's story starts with a number of accounts of past boyfriends and describes herself as preferring "drastic spurts of change" and advises that we "make sure [we] are living with passion." All of which I found thoroughly relatable and hence enjoyed. I laughed, I cried, etc., etc. But in all seriousness her anecdotes felt genuine and told of her experiences ranging from most fulfilling to most frustrating and happiest to most heartbreaking.

She then takes a break from the ex-boyfriend stories (and only seldom goes back to them later on) and becomes a little preachy for my liking. She mentions being Christian early on but kept it dialed back for the first third of the book. In trying to be inspiring and motivating she references God far to much for someone not spiritual such as myself. It may have been because I wasn't expecting it or because it felt like it came out of nowhere but I struggled to make it through these episodes. I appreciated her trying to motivate and inspire her readers but I cannot be motivated to pray or find God and then when she cites TV characters as experts it was hard to keep taking her seriously. Coming from me, this is saying a lot since I self-proclaim myself as someone who "speaks in TV references."

When Rae does return to telling stories of past relationships she starts to come off as more and more naive and a little bit braggy and condescending. Her writing style grows more conversational which is meant to add levity and humor to the story, but instead makes her seem more juvenile. Surprising since she was older for these relationships and life experiences. She falls in love at the drop of a hat and describes these relationships as if they were going on for months or years and then we discover that they have broken up after a matter of weeks and oh-these-guys-turned-out-to-be-terrible one page after they were the most wonderful person she ever knew. What.?

She starts giving a advice about dating which I strongly disagreed with and since she really has yet to be successful at dating I will continue to disagree with. Most of the relationships she describes are whirlwinds of emotion that last weeks or a few months, and none have resulted in what she keeps "praying for" which is a husband.

She blames technology for increased instances of cheating and her perceived downfall of humanity. "...Technology effects present day faithfulness." Does it? Or does it help cheaters get caught? I could not be there person I am without technology. I could not have the job that I love. I could not connect to friends the way that technology allows me to. How could I take any amount of advice Rae is trying to give me when she hates things that are so important to me? While I know that there are people would whole-heartedly agree with her, I'm sure so many people feel exactly as I do. She does eventually admit that she has an appreciation for technology, especially how easy it made it for her to actually write her book, but because of the lengths she went to put down technology, it just feels hypocritical.

This may sound nit-picky, but it was really hard for me to stay on board with her as an expert-based-on-experience when I discovered that neither she, nor presumably anyone who edited her book, has taken a physics class. "He weighed about 180 and I weighed about 110, so of course he fell faster than I did." Nope. Not how gravity works, actually. I studied physics for three years before moving on to video production so this was a hard sentence to swallow. It was because she said "of course." Sorry, could no longer find Rae credible after this.

In so much of the book she is trying to lead by example by describing her philosophies and beliefs and quotes people telling her how wonderful she is for them. I agree with some of them but the overall result for me is that I feel like she must feel so superior to people like me. 

I almost lost if when she called me a sinner, "Because we are all sinners, we tell certain people certain things and then make sure those people or worlds never collide." First of all, this quote is from a paragraph about how people tell different lies to different people and blah, blah, blah, and that is not something I do at all. She admits that she used to lie all the time. But I (almost) never do. My worlds can collide all they want and my life will be exactly the same. I would never call myself a sinner, and resent being called one when it is not a thing I believe in. By her standard I am. I break commandments and commit sins... by christian standards. By my standards I am living. I am not hurting people by doing so and therefore do not consider myself to be the evil person she is saying I am.  This level of generalizing and preaching made finishing her story harder and harder to do.

Should you read "Once I Dated This Guy..."? I wouldn't say no. Especially if you are Christian or at least believe in God. If you are/do I would probably recommend it. I have a Christian friend who I would love to have read this book so that I can get her opinion on it. There were many parts I related to, agreed with, and drew inspiration from, "It is humanly impossible to have positive thoughts and be in a bad mood or state of sadness." I loved this thought and I will actually make a effort to take her advice on how to be a more positive person. And I 1 million percent agree about "Wo Code" (Woman Code) and that girls should stop sleeping with other girls significant others!

This book was just not quite what I expected, which was a bit disappointing after reading the first few episodes. I am an insanely literal person which is why so much of what Rae wrote made me want to grab her by the shoulders to shake some sense into her. But overall she is trying to inspire good in the world which I agree is needed. Just not necessarily in all the ways and extremes she thinks it is. She suggests we "Read a real book" to get back into nature. This is another thing that is hard for be to be on board with, in execution even though it is a good idea in theory, since I am very extremely environmentally conscious. Not cutting down trees to print "real" books is what's keeping nature going!

If you do choose to give "I Dated This Guy Once...," a shot, I advise that 1) e-readers are awesome and the "books" are cheaper and "greener" that way, and 2) keep the criticisms I cited in mind and use some suspension of disbelief if you are anything like me. 

About the author: Toni Rae was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. While at Park University, she earned a degree in Social Psychology. Rae taught English in South Korea for a year, which is where she began the writing of I Dated This Guy Once… For more information, visit www.IDatedThisGuyOnce.com.

April 23, 2014

Pantry Raid

I signed up to take part in a cooking "competition" via 20sb. Each round has a different theme and this one is for one called "Pantry Raid."

The Rules:
1: Take a picture of your fridge/pantry situation the day before your usual grocery shop day
2: Create a meal using ingredients you keep stocked in your house
3: You may purchase one additional ingredient, but you'll get bonus points if you don't!

So #1: The photos of my fridge and pantry were made possible by an app called photosynth that takes panoramic photos. My Kitchen is about 2" 8" wide with about 3-4" of floor space depending on the spot so I could not take normal looking photos.

It does appear as if I have a plenitude of things but its mostly spices, condiments, or stuff that belongs to my roommate (only the top two shelves of the fridge side are my stuff)

#2: I had buffalo sauce in my pantry and grilled chicken, cheese, ranch dressing, and one tortilla-that-should-have-gone-bad-ages-ago-but-didn't in my fridge. R

And #3: Didn't need anything from the store. Bonus points!

Results: Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla (link to the recipe on my recipe blog, Scrumptious Saturdays, will work as of this Saturday)
• I sprayed a large pan with cooking spray (to make the tortilla crunchy outside), then put a layer of cheese on it • I set the burner to med-high heat • I combined a Tbsp of ranch and buffalo sauce and drizzled about half of it it on half of the tortilla • Cut the chicken into small pieces and added it to the saucy side • Once the cheese was melted and bubbly I folded the tortilla in half, cut it in to slices with a pizza cutter and used the extra sauce for dipping. YumM!

April 22, 2014

That Time That Walmart Thought I was a Different Person

I just got this in my email. Apparently Walmart thinks I smoke cigarettes, have allergies, have kids, and read books.

I had to ask myself "what the dickens did I buy from Walmart?!" I checked and the only thing I ever bought was 4 photos. Oh... and I guess a set of dry-erase boards meant for kids from Sam's Club that one time... but still.

April 21, 2014

Blogging Prompt: Treat Yo' Self

This week's #20sb blogging prompt is...

I've actually thought about this before because it's a thing from Parks and Recreation. Following their concept of stuff that's expensive and useless... well I never do that. Really can't bring myself to. If I did it would be mostly clothes, purses, shoes, and less stereotypical for my gender, a new computer, video games and a lobster dinner. I don't have lobster money, people! 

So when I do Treat Mah Self (they don't actually say that), on a much smaller scale, I'd say it's baked goods and frappuchinos from Starbucks. Expensive and high calorie. 

April 18, 2014

Here's the Thing About Having Friends as Roommates

Since starting college 11 6 years ago, I have lived in a lot of places with a lot of roommates. I have had 8 homes and 12 roommates.  Some of the roommate situations have gone better than others. The worst ones, I found, were when I lived with people I was already friends with. One of them I lived with twice, the first time when we were not already friends and again after we were. Because of how it went much better with her the first time, I have developed a theory:
Chore and Common Curtsey Relativity

Non-friend Roommates:
At first...
tiptoe around each other
overly polite
only responsible for self 

Over time...
become friends by hanging out 
forgo pleasantries
share responsibilities
continue to be friends

Friend Roommates:
preconceived ideas of what responsibilities are, probably never discussed and conflicting
expect more slack from roommate
feel they can do whatever they want

Over time...
Stop making time to hang out because you "see each other all the time"
conflicting ideas of responsibilities become exponentially irritating
displeasure is magnified
lack of pleasantries becomes rude and is taken as an attack and insult
cease to be friends

Moral of this story: Friends make the worst roommates.

April 17, 2014

That Time I went to the Arboretum

I have a friend who asked me to take some photos of her at the local arboretum. While we were there I took some shots for myself. A little barren looking due to the weather finally warming up but I still got some nice shots.
Look spring!

April 16, 2014

That Time it Was Winter in April...

This was the weather where I live Sunday night:

Sunday afternoon it got up to 90ยบ in the sun.

This morning, three days later:
I'm REALLY glad I didn't commit to putting my winter clothes away yet. 

April 14, 2014

Blog Prompt: Cats or Dogs

Cats. Always cats. I don't hate dogs and I don't actually own a cat but definitely cats.

April 08, 2014

20SB Writing Prompt: Movies that Changed Your Life

This week's 20SB prompt:

I really love movies but this is actually hard for me. I've certainly felt inspired by plenty of movies but I don't think ever so much that my life was forever changed. But here are a few.

There used to be a time that I used to just recycle and go about my life. I'm pretty sure that it was Wall-e that kicked that into high gear resulting in my picking recyclables out of the garbage and reprimanding anyone I see not recycling.

No Impact Man:
This made me even "worse" (meaning more annoying) about recycling and now being environmentally friendly in general. It got me going to farmers markets, carpooling more, turning off lights more adamantly, and motivated me to find an environmental group to join. I know I'm just one person but every bit counts and if I can inspire others to act in more sustainable ways then all the better!

He's Just Not that Into You:
This one probably sounds silly. And technically it was more the book than the movie that impacted me so strongly, but the message is still there in the movie. It's really easy for me to lose myself in guys I'm interested in so really understanding the difference between someone who is stringing me along and not actually interested has made my romantic life easier and made me appreciate more all the good that my life does have. I truly learned that, to quote co-author Greg Behrendt, "you are better than having to deal with assholes."

April 03, 2014

That time the HIMYM Finale was Exactly the Same as the Friends Finale

Don't get me wrong, I love How I Met Your Mother. And the finale was fun. Just not particularly... wait for it... legendary. 

And so the comparison will commence:
1) Everyone suddenly has children.

2) Something tragic happens.
3) Everyone finally moves out of the apartment.
4) A couple of characters don't really have especially exciting going on.
5) A will-they-wont-they couple that keeps getting together and breaking up end up together. Again.

Also, umm, no one seemed to care that the mother dies?  Also while I wouldn't say I "called it" I was not surprised by the ending and could have done without it. They should have ended it with Ted and Tracy under the umbrella. Robin showing up to their wedding was plenty of closure. The blue horn was a nice touch.

April 02, 2014

Drink ALL the Starbucks

This came in my email today...

I like that Starbucks thinks that everyone has at least Starbucks within a reasonable radius. I mean we have two (plus a Barnes & Nobel that serves it but wouldn't count), which is a lot for the size of my town, but that's not going to get me the bonus stars :(

Otherwise I would totally do this.