Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What ifs...

When it comes to stories, I like "What ifs." You know, like "What if Captain America and Phoenix had a kid together?"

When it comes to my own life, I'm not so fond of them. I like to have things set out in a line, and with too many options, my mind starts to lose track. I usually think in terms of "If this happens, then I'll do that." But I rarely go more than one or two steps down an optional road.

In my life right now, I have three possible outcomes in the next couple of months. I'm getting ready to apply to graduate schools. I only have enough money to apply to three, maybe four, so I'm making a lot of effort to choose the schools I think fit me best and that have the best chance of accepting me. I also anticipate a fairly nice tax return coming up. The three possible outcomes coming up are as follows:
  1. If I get accepted to a grad school, I use the tax return to move to wherever I have to go.
  2. If I don't get accepted, and I get a decent job, I'll stay in Cedar City for a little longer and go to Peru next summer.
  3. If I don't get accepted, and I don't get a decent job, then I'll move to wherever I find a decent job, possibly New Mexico.
I like having options, and I think these are good ones. I really want to go to grad school. That's the big plan. However, there's always the chance that I won't get accepted. Hence the other options.

I think it's a decent plan. I hope so, anyway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can You Read My Mind?

I sometimes think that my computer can read my mind.

No, seriously. Maybe it's a coincidence, but different things have occurred often enough that it has gone past simple coincidence.

For example, many times while playing music on iTunes, I have heard a sequence of songs, about 5 or 6 songs long, that is exactly the sequence I need to be cheered up or work my way through a personal problem. It's uncanny. Other times, my computer will play only songs that I am not in the mood to hear.

I'm a big fan of the Mozilla Firefox Add-On called StumbleUpon. Basically, you tell the program what sort of internet sites you are interested in, then click the stumble button and a random site will pop up based on your interests. You can tell the program whether you like or dislike the current site, and this will help it refine its choices for you. It's kind of fun to click stumble when I'm just looking for something new and interesting.

Stumbleupon helped my find a website last week that I think will be very helpful. The site talked about a study Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychologist, made about what she calls Highly Sensitive People (HSP). Reading her description clicked with me. I've thought I was weird for being so sensitive to other people's emotions. Turns out that 15-20% of the population is highly sensitive. I just thought it was nice to know that there are other people in the same boat I am. As with any study, I take the findings with a grain of salt, but I also take what I think will help me cope and try to incorporate it into my life.

I have an acronym!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Short Story Proposals (Part One)...

To help us get in the habit of generating story ideas, my fiction professor has us submit a short proposal every week. He'll give us a prompt to get us going in the general direction, but after that it's all us. The only special request is that our idea "not suck."

This is my first proposal. We were supposed to generate an idea for a romance story. I don't read romance stories, so this was a tough one.

Myles Wright is 25, living in Draper, UT. He is currently in his senior year at the University of Utah, studying in the Spanish program, and has started sending in applications for Masters programs at schools outside the state. His goal is to teach Spanish at the university level. He is a returned missionary from the Guayaquil, Ecuador mission, where he learned Spanish and developed a love for the Hispanic culture. He gets a LOT of flack from his family because he's 25 and *gasp* not married yet. He dates, but rarely gets past the second date. He just doesn't click with the girls he dates. On top of that, he refuses to date girls just out of high school, wanting someone within two years of his own age. That can be a little difficult, what with the prevailing culture of marrying young. He has been giving some serious thought to giving up on dating until he gets into a grad school, but then he meets Jessica.

Jessica seems to be ideal for Myles. She's easy to talk to, 23 and loves the original Star Trek series. He met her at Barnes & Noble. He was shopping for a new fantasy novel, while she was looking for the new David Sedaris book. They spent some time chatting books and he surprised himself by asking her out. She accepted.

They date for several months. One evening, after a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, Myles starts trying to steer the conversation around to marriage when Jessica tells him, “I'm so excited! I just sent in my mission papers!”

Myles is completely thrown by this announcement, though he recovers enough to congratulate her. They spend the rest of the evening discussing where she might like to serve and when she will enter the MTC. Myles wracks his brain, but can't figure out how to discuss marriage with her. After a couple weeks, he finally gets up the courage (again) to ask her about marriage. He sends her a text, saying he really needs to talk to her. He gets one back saying that she needs to talk, too. He cooks dinner for her that evening. She arrives, super excited, and bursts out, “I got my call!” He blurts out that he wants to marry her. That calms her down.

They discuss the possibility of marriage, and she tells him that she wants to pray about it before making a decision. She decides to accept her mission call.

Jessica goes on her mission to France, and Myles gets accepted into UTEP. Before leaving, Jessica told Myles she didn't expect him to wait for her, though she would appreciate it. They write to each other every week. He focuses on being supportive of her mission work, though he does mention his progress in school. She also stays focused on the work.

About four months into her mission, Myles is starting his second semester. In one of his classes, he meets Billie. She is a returned missionary from the Quito, Ecuador mission. Myles and Billie get along famously. They start dating. Billie knows that he is still writing to Jessica, but he hasn't mentioned anything about dating in his letters to Jessica. His relationship with Billie progresses to the point that he writes a “Dear Jane” letter and seals and addresses the envelope.

Then, Myles finds out from Billie that she would like lots of kids because sex is “only for procreation.” He discusses this with Billie, hoping to convert her to the idea that sex can be for enjoyment as well. She doesn't buy it and they break up.

Jessica returns home and she and Myles pick up where they left off until she finds the “Dear Jane” letter in the back of a book where he left it and forgot it. Huge fight follows. Jessica breaks up with Myles. The story ends with Myles attending Jessica's wedding reception, because they are “still friends.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Latest essay...

No, I'm not going to post it here. I may eventually put up a portion of it, or I may post pieces serially, but, as of this moment, the essay is thirteen double-space pages long. That would be a huge blog post to slog through.

Besides, it isn't finished yet. I still have to go through and revise the thing. I managed to get most of it written in one marathon session, but that means that it is very rough.

I decided to interweave little sections about songs that make me emotional. Who know my blog would inspire my academic career? Unfortunately, I think some of the songs I chose weren't the best songs I could have chosen. That will be part of the revision process.

Now I have to do research on Ferris Wheels for an assignment for my fiction class. Oh, and I also have to write seven haikus for my poetry class.

I think I'm in for a busy week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


...at the end of a TV season really, really make me annoyed.

I actually like cliffhangers, as a general rule. Even in TV. Between episodes that is. I kind of like waiting anxiously for the next episode to come out so that I can see what happened. But only if the wait is a week or two.

Case in Point: Veronica Mars. Lots of single episodes end in cliffhangers. That's fun. The two seasons I've watched so far have ended each season on cliffhangers as well. That's not so much fun. Yes, in this case, I can watch the next episode when I get off work, but that's only because the series ended a couple years ago.

Other guilty parties? Smallville. And I seem to remember Lost having some killer season-ending cliffhangers. Heroes was notorious for this. And then they got canceled after the last cliffhanger episode. Oh, and in the book front, the most recent book in the Harry Dresden series made me scream. Out loud. Because it ended in a horrible, horrible cliffhanger. I won't be able to see what happened to Harry until April. Gah!

Sometimes it seems as though the show's writers are afraid that no one will watch the next season unless they have this huge cliffhanger. Come on people, trust your fan base.

Okay. Rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.