Monday, November 30, 2009

Surely we've stopped ourselves in a grocery or department store aisle countless times in late autumn, recognizing the familiar sounds of Christmas music broadcast over the speaker system. Sometimes we don't even notice because we're too wrapped up in our busy lives, shushing the bickering children or scanning the aisle for a great bargain. However, it's been my experience that when it's quiet, you can't help but notice. As a college student, I consider myself in a bubble. Not that that's a good thing, because really, I should know more about what's going on in the world. Which is why I hadn't been privy to Christmas music this season until I came home for Thanksgiving break last Friday.

I work at an outlet center selling baby clothes, and when I stopped in to check with them about my schedule, I heard the music. And they informed me, to my disbelief, that the CD they're required to play (as decided by the company's corporate office) has been subliminally sneaking in a Christmas song every other song or so since early October. Wasn't there an unspoken rule just a few years back that Christmas music comes on the radio on Black Friday? Or did I miss the memo that anytime after September is fair game? Don't get me wrong--I'm fully engulfed in the Christmas spirit now and just made a Pandora station that's all Christmas music, all the time. Yet are we forgetting that fall is enjoyable for other reasons, other holidays? There's lots to love about Halloween and Thanksgiving, both of which revolve around one of America's favorite commodities: food.

On one final note, I will admit to putting Christmas fleece pajamas out for sale in August at work before I left for school. It should have occurred to me then that this whole Christmas shopping thing has been stretched out just as far as it possibly can be.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I confess, I feel like all I've done the last few days is read and watch movies/TV. Don't worry, no more tests or papers are due until two weeks from today, at the earliest. Which is good for anyone who wants to know what books to read or movies to watch, because I've got a couple more for you.

First of all, I finished Mother of Pearl and loved it. Definitely depressing, but oh so real and just heart-wrenching. Now all the boys are gagging, but most of the characters are guys in it, so don't throw out the name just yet. It's really brilliant and I'm not sure if the author has other books, but I'm intrigued enough to look. It looks like she has two other books - Chalktown and Willem's Field. Here's the cover for her first book:

I just started reading The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger yesterday afternoon and I'm already over 200 pages in, which says something. Honestly, I'm one of those people who has the good intention to read the book before I see the movie, but just never follows through. So, our on-campus movie theater is showing it Dec 2nd-5th and I want to finish the book before then so I can watch it when I get back. As I read it, though, I'm already picturing Rachel McAdams as Clare, in part because how could I not? I'm a huge fan. And in part because she plays Claire in Wedding Crashers, one of my all-time favorite movies. And I've been in the mood to watch another Rachel Mc movie lately - The Family Stone. I know, I'm dropping names of movies like nothing, but this is me rekindling that interest I forgot about. It's a manifestation of my withdrawal.

Last thing I'll leave you with: Erin Brockovich. Just watched that again yesterday and while it's over two hours long, it never bores me. I think I spent maybe 5 or 10 bucks for my copy with some promo on Columbia House. It made me want to find something I really love to do and use it to change the world, one step at a time. It made me wanna be a part of something big. Now no more typing. I'm off to change the world. Or...just pack for thanksgiving break.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When it comes to sitting down and writing, I've been in a rut lately. Which is no excuse, since all my screenwriting professor has said for the past several months is the key to writing is sitting down and committing to it every day. I'm so stressed over the perfect words, the perfect order, with all the bases covered that I forgot what it's like to just...write. I've had this idea in my head for a couple days about a scene for another novel that's going slower than ever, and I can't commit myself to sit down and put it on paper or type it up. Why? Because, I argue, I don't know what comes next. So why not come that much closer to writing what comes next by writing this and potentially sparking an idea in the process? Who knows. I don't even understand myself most of the time. Maybe tonight I'll commit myself for a block of time and just type whatever I can, messy or clean. Otherwise I'll never get anywhere and I'll be an almost one-hit wonder (assuming that my book gets published). Motivation is hard to come by this time of year, when all I do is write papers for classes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lately I've been trying to catch up on movies, and this weekend I watched 2 movies. Both of them, I admit, are romantic comedies, but that's the kind of mood I've been in lately. Both of them were also super cute, and I recommend them to anyone who wants a feel-good movie. Friday night I watched Ghosts of Girlfriends Past starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. It's losely based on the premise of A Christmas Carol, but centers around Matthew's brother's marriage and his own tendency to be cynical and sleep around. Jennifer Garner's kind of his first girlfriend who was his best friend as a kid. That's all I'll say. Saturday afternoon Casey and I watched The Proposal starring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. When Sandra's about to be deported back to Canada, she tells her boss she's getting married to Ryan and can't be shipped off. Problem? She's his nasty boss and he loathes her very existence. He plans on going to Alaska to his grandma's birthday for the weekend and she's drug along to tell the family they're engaged.

I think what I just love about romantic comedies is knowing however much the two hate each other or whatever they need to overcome, whether it be another relationship or some sort of parental unacceptance or otherwise, they always end up together in the end. I almost watched The Break Up last night on Lifetime (I know, I know, two movies in a day?) but stopped myself because they don't end up together and I couldn't get into it. How sad is that?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I realize I'm only updating a few times a week, but I've been drowning in school work and meetings and activities and just everything. It's that time of the semester, you know? Fortunately I've had some time for myself (surprise, surprise) and I started reading again. So here goes another book pitch for you. This one's called Mother of Pearl by Belinda Haynes. It's kinda got that two parallel stories not intertwined thing going on, and I can't figure it out, but I'm on page 100something and still intrigued, so she must have done something right. As far as I can tell, it's definitely not modern, but post-Civil War. The one main character's a black man in his 20s and the other's a white girl who is 14. All of the characters really come alive and each interaction is fresh and exciting, which is probably what's got me hooked. So if you need a read and you're up for something with a little history, check it out.

My psych professor mentioned Orwell's 1984 today, and I had to admit to never having read it. Any thoughts on that one? Good, bad, okay?

Monday, November 9, 2009

So I had another writer/reader moment today. I took this intro to step aerobics class tonight, and I will admit to being really skeptical going into it. I just felt like one of those thirty-something year-old women who gear up with their spandex and leg warmers. However, I quickly realized I lack coordination pretty much entirely, and the class was really difficult. The instructor yelled all these names of things and my mind didn't process it fast enough to do it before we moved onto something else. So about midway through, when I did really get the moves down and caught myself smiling, I had my moment. For those of you who know me well, you know I'm an avid Sarah Dessen reader, and one of her books, Keeping The Moon, revolves around a 15-year-old girl named Colie whose mother is this renowned workout video instructor, her story of shedding hundreds of pounds being the inspiration for others to follow. And she's totally one of those instructors who would lead this type of class. So I felt like Kiki Sparks as I trudged on, head held high, the art of step aerobics mastered. At the end, I felt really good. Sweating like crazy, but good. So there's my recommendation for a good read and a good workout all in one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posts, guys. This week has been exhausting. Let me see if I can recap. Tuesday I scheduled classes for spring semester, and I'm in loveee with my schedule. I don't have Friday classes and I'm done at 10:45am on Thursdays. Talk about amazing. Yesterday I had lunch on campus at this place that's kind of a mock Panera Bread. Sadly, I've only eaten Panera once and it was last August on move-in day somewhere in Maryland when we stopped to go to the bathroom. However, I'm told it's quite amazing. This place, though, has panini sandwiches, so I got the Tuscan Vegetable one, which apparently had tofu on it. Yuck! So I took out the tofu, and the rest was great. Definitely not getting that again. And tonight I went to a cycle fit class over at UREC, which is a wonderful invention as all the group fitness classes are free and you don't have to go to the same ones every week. Such a great perk about JMU! The class killeeeed my legs, but I felt good surviving the hour, since I'm no cyclist. I think the kind of people they hire for those things are meant to distract you and motivate you. This girl was like someone from one of those workout infomercials you see on TV. The kind that make you want to get off the couch and put down the chips.

Tomorrow I'm taking another class, this time more of a resistance training course, and I think it'll be a nice change of pace. I'm really struggling to find some sort of work out activity I can enjoy. Anyone have ideas? Running in the cold just isn't appealing to me, especially when I don't run fast enough to keep up with a teammate to talk with and keep me pushing myself. And I feel like I'm too short to play most sports. Maybe that's a misconception.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Couple of things:
1. Deb Caletti's newest novel, The Secret Life of Prince Charming, was really well done. Not at all what I expected, since I read the title and immediately thought chick lit love story. I won't tell you who is being referenced as prince charming, or why, or anything other than that I did really enjoy it, and wish I could have read it faster. I've been super busy and I forget how relaxing reading is.

2. Last night I had a major craving for something peanut butter related. I eat peanut butter all the time, so really, who knows why I would crave it, but I need help! So please, if anyone has a killer peanut butter cookies recipe or something along those lines, enlighten me. I have a recipe from my roommate's cook book, but I want something tried and true, you know?

3. While I did not partake in the Halloween festivities, mostly because it's just never been my holiday of choice, I saw a great new movie last night. Brooke and I pathetically sat on the couch for hours and watched The Wedding Planner, followed by Swing Kids. For those of you who don't know, but are history buffs, check that last one out. It's about Nazi Germany and the Swing Dance revolution that swept up a bunch of teenagers during the time. The Nazis were anti-Swing, as they were anti-everything (if you ask me). The whole time I was on edge, and it's a great drama. Anyone who watches House will appreciate an old movie with a young Robert Sean Leonard.