Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Senseless suspense

Oh, the joys of suspense movies! While I usually scamper out during actual "scary" movies, I find myself glued to the sofa for suspenseful ones. But not necessarily because I enjoy it. Last night we watched "Flatliners." Oh, what mind games were woven through that movie! Although, out of all of us there watching it, my brother claims that me and one of my good friends present were the ones that took it from "suspense" to "scare." The two of us, scared stiff every time you could just FEEL something was going to happen, jumping at little things (and consequently making those around us, already nervous because of the movie, jump even higher. Hehe.), muffling our pathetic shrieks, and staring at the screen with eyes that opened and closed based on how brave we felt at each moment. Ok, my friend wasn't nearly as bad as I was, but her eyes widening in fright/suspense and then shutting closed when it got more nerve-wracking made my stiff huddled form even more stiff. Oh, it was fun though. What can I say? I enjoy deceiving myself, trying to trick myself by saying "I'm not going to watch" while covering all of my face except for the fact that my fingers are wedged open over my eyes to let me peep though, that is one of the best parts of suspense films. Deceiving oneself. I know that most people believe that it is better to actually WATCH the scary parts rather than let your imagination run wild, but I guess I've learned to repress my rampant imagination until the next "non-scary-plot-furthering" part of the movie. 'Tis a gift! And seeing other people jump after I jump kind of snaps the paralyzed feeling I get when I get nervous during a movie. It lightens the mood. Ok, ok, let me rephrase that: it lightens MY mood, while giving everyone else an unnecessary adrenaline rush. Aye, yes. Fun fun :) I would probably be fine if I could chat my way through the movie, but people always keep shutting me up. Oh well, this is my little vengeance. Pathetic little vendetta, I know, but hey, no one ever said they had to be brilliant! Cheerio!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pumpkinification and dissection

Have you ever heard of the word "Pumpkinification"? Well, please do not bother to google it, because the only results you will find are Seneca's Apokolokyntosis divi Claudii. Well, other than this Roman drama, I think that "pumpkinification" should be used in everyday conversations. How? Be creative! :) We could turn it into a verb (I pumpkinify, they had pumpkinified...), a noun (pumpkinification), and adjective (pumpkinified?) ... an adverb (pumpkinifiably? )? The options are unlimited! Just think of all of the possibilities!

Now, how, you may ask, did I stumble upon a word of such potential? A friend of mine (and her family) visited us this past week, and she sort of introduced me to this wonderful word. We decided that first you pumpkinify something, and then perhaps have to degourdify it later... but we're still working out the details :) This good friend of mine is doing the same Biology Lab correspondence course, and, as the name indicates, we have a bunch of labs and experiments to carry out. Unfortunately, this includes dissections as well. Lots of them. The two of us decided to unite under a common banner of disgust for a week and finish them all off together. Just as we predicted, it was less repulsive and grotesque than had we attempted to do it alone. Surprisingly, we actually enjoyed ourselves quite a bit :) And, of course, we took all sorts of silly pictures kissing the frog, playing with the crawfish, doing fishy-faces with the perch, eating the grasshopper, questioning the very point of earthworms, and prying open a very resistant clam. All the while, this cloud of invisible fumes of formaldehyde loomed over our heads, leaving us with a strange feeling in our head by the end of the day. Only time will tell the true brain er... alterations. I am sure that enjoying touching a frog's teeth is one of those side effects.

Of course, we did other experiments, and used our brothers as test specimens. Got to love science! When else can you have your brother LET you poke him thousands of times with a toothpick, I ask you?! (We used the other's brother, so that we would be less er... vengeful when poking. She didn't seem to notice, and my brother had these red marks all throughout his arm... We were testing for "touch," "pressure," and "PAIN." Mwahahaha. Enough said :D) So yes, I still have a bunch of labs to finish off, but we covered a good chunk of them. Thank you my friend! Cheerio everyone~

Patates Braves and Cacaolat?

Those of you who have been to Barcelona will understand what I mean. For those of you who don't, let me explain: fried potato cubes with a really spicy sauce (spicier than anything else I've tried here!) does NOT go with a scalding chocolate milk drink. At all. And no, this time I wasn't the one that ordered this er... rare and unique combination. A group of friends and I headed down to Barcelona last Sunday to visit the new exposition on "Etruscan Princes." There are two very different museums down in Bcn: the CaixaForum, and the CosmoCaixa. One is a science museum, the other is not. We wanted the "other" one. I still have no idea which is which--note to self: that will be bad in the future--but we traveled to both.

Taking the train from our stop in the backwoods to the center of Bcn, we all met up at the Pigeon Plaza (code names, hehe) after stopping by at Dunkin' Donuts. After actually receiving instructions from a lady at the train info desk (BAD IDEA. We forgot. We paid the price) we then took a different type of train down to then end of the only one of seven lines that did not stop where we had originally intended to get off. Strike one. We reached the end of the line, got off, and walked around. We walked UP a hill, and waited at a bus stop for 15 minutes, until a er... friendly gentleman stopped staring at us girls (luckily we had a guy friend with us, so we all kind of moved closer to him, hehe, poor guy) long enough to tell us that we were at the wrong museum. Yes siree! We were at the science museum. On the other side of the city. Now, the "other side of town" doesn't matter much where I live, but in Bcn it makes a BIG difference. So, we scuttled down the hill once again, dove back into the train, went all the way to where we had started out (Pigeon Plaza ;D) and went back out into the light. We then wiggled our way back down underground, to take the Metro (after buying tickets... never a good idea to have a group of er... thrifty girls have to pay for that many extra tickets, hehe) after having received a lead on where we were really supposed to go.
Stopping just long enough to take a rather sqwashed picture of us in a photo booth (they can hardly fir 4 people, we discovered. And of course, a normal frame isn't good enough for us, so, thanks to the impatience of one of us, we ended up with a creepy Ronald McDonald type clown saying "Feliz CumpleaƱos". Go figure.), we caught the metro to wherever it was. We get off, we walk upstairs. Blinding light, but no museum. Lo and behold, there was a tourist info center. The fun thing about going to Bcn is being able to act like an incurably gringo-ish tourist. Gotta love it~ So, I asked for directions in English, watched the person squirm with uneasiness, and asked him random questions. :D He gave us a map and everything! Finally, now we were armed and dangerous, and on a mission. We walk a couple blocks, and find the museum. "What a frabjuous day! Callooh! Callay!" We walk inside, take a picture of all of us in front of the sign, and walk back out. Why? Because we were HUNGRY. We left home around 9 in the morning, we finally arrived at the RIGHT museum around 3pm. Yeah. We waltzed around for a while, and decided on a random bar (aka, cafe). Here is where my friend made her brilliant order of Patates braves and a really hot Cacaolat. We had fun :)

The rest of the day was much less exciting. Ok, I take it back. The Etruscan expo was amazing! (The two of us that love ancient cultures were positively oogling and drooling over some of the stuff :D Ah, its good to have friends that look as ridiculously happy as you do in front of a faded and beaten up chunk of stone...) We got home without further adventures (other than getting lost on the train, and having a hard time figuring out just which train would actually take us home, and some random guy staring at one of my friends shamelessly for the longest time--where are your guy friends when you need them the most? On a different train, of course!). But no, no more adventures :D

Friday, March 14, 2008

Uh, hello?

This morning I was reading a friend's thoughts on change and decided to think some on my own. Well, APUSH kind of cut me short, and reminded me of how little time I have to accomplish so much work! Still hate APUSH... I'm organizing a ban on it, if anyone's interested... It will never amount to much, but it will make me feel better knowing that I've let it know precisely what I think of it. Anyhow! Right after getting knee-deep into Presidents, crises, and who-did-whats, a good friend of mine called on the phone. Now, this is an extremely rare event-- emphasis on "extremely". So, this person called me up on the phone to confirm something or other. My brain kind of frizzled, to be honest. Not only was there 1) someone on the phone... for ME, but b) it was in English. Even more surprising was the realization I came to: I couldn't remember the "how-to"s of phone conversations. My entire world revolves around the Internet, so even my rare phone calls are digitized. And then, I figure, "hey, it's free, so chat away!" But, on an actual PHONE, I had no idea how to interact: what to do, what to say... The seemingly normal, "How are you?" stumped me. Now, if that stumps you, you know you're in for trouble. Then, my practical, let us say, "thrifty" mindset kicked in, and I started mincing words to save money (I doubt that I was paying for it, but I still like to minimize costs, almost subconsciously). Luckily I always leave 5% of my brain for an emergency power supply, so I was able to form coherent sentences at least. I don't think my caller noticed... or did they?

All in all, I realized how accustomed I have become to interacting on the Internet, but that "change" that my blogging friend mentioned was truly change, and in no ways foreseen. What a wonderful world we live in~ I leave you with something I stumbled across on the Internet this afternoon:

*Phone rings--Joe picks it up* Joe: "Hello?"
Caller and Joe: "who is this?"
C: "Who'm I speaking with?"
J: "No... Who am I speaking with?"
*Silence* J: "You know, usually when person 'A' calls person 'B', person 'A' says who he is first."
C: "Since when!?"
J: "Since always..."
*Long pause*
C: I'm the person who's asking who you are!"
J: "AH!! I'm the person who's asking who I am!? Wait... no! Ah!"

Yeah, sounds a little bit like the insane conversation that was playing in my head while talking on the phone today. Only, I don't think I actually said anything outright dumb out loud... I think...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gargling just like any other day

Ok, now I am officially 17. We won't go into that whole discussion again... but, my birthday this year really supported my views that birthdays, while special, are pretty much the same as other days. Getting a cold yesterday proved it :) I woke up with a strange feeling in my throat, which evolved until this morning I couldn't even talk for a while... The headache and feverish feeling from last night is gone, thank goodness. Yesterday I tried the infamous lemon-and-honey-in-warm-water treatment, and, while I don't mind the flavor, the smell is just repugnant. Honey gone bad. I had been told that the soreness in my throat would be relieved instantly. Well, it was instantly, but only in the sense that it was gone for an instant. As soon as it was down my throat, that feeling of "Oh, wow, it doesn't hurt anymore!" vanished and the pain returned. So, what do I do when I get a sore throat? Research it, of course! I was amazed to find the medical difference between types of sore throats: strep throat, laryngitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis... and I actually learned what each thing means and I can now locate in precisely in the human body. What good are these pesky ailments that don't keep us from work, but only annoy us with a dose of pain, if you cannot learn something interesting out of the whole thing?

I tried looking down my throat, or identifying the aforementioned anatomical parts, but with no success (it was almost physically impossible, especially with dim light, a foggy mirror, and an uncooperative tongue that kept getting in the way). But, it was fun :) I have now tried almost all of the home remedies I had heard about (like the lemon-honey mess, salt-water gargle--now THAT was fun... especially when no one was home, so I could giggle and gargle all I wanted--, increasing my fluid intake (no caffeine... sorry my beloved Pepsi...), keeping my throat covered with a scarf all day/night, took Ibuprofen...

Ah, the Spanish ibuprofen! Ok, I knew they were strange, and like odd flavors, but, PLEASE! Whoever would make a package of ibuprofen, meant to be dissolved in water, anise flavor? Oh my! Icky, that is all I can say. First off you have the disgusting taste from the Ibuprofen (no, the anise didn't even mask it...), but then you have this ridiculously strong after-taste of anise. I don not like anise. They obviously do. Anise and eucalyptus. Those are the two best-selling candy flavors, honest to goodness...

Although I have been er... reflecting on the slightly negative aspects of yesterday, it actually was a great day, filled with lots of food and flowers. I baked cherry scones with my mom in the morning, and I have to say that, in all of my now-17 years, those were the most delicious scones ever. :) And, my daddy loves me and got me the most gorgeous purple-and-green striped orchid! Amazing flowers... The center petal is a rich royal purple, and the other ones are wine-purple striped on a pale yellow-green er... background. Lovely :) And we had the Amaryllis that bloomed for Dad's birthday on Sunday as well, so we have a very colorful living room right now :)

Thank you to everyone who congratulated me, and thank you for thinking of me on this special, yet normal, day! Cheerio~

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Looking back

Some of you may have heard rumors about my turning 17 this week. At least, that is what people keep telling me. Who knows? Little birdies soar in on my virtual windowsill and chirp merrily about how I am getting old. Very nice little birdies, but somewhat confused. I am getting older, but I have a long time left before "old." /As a dear friend of mine said, 17 is the best year, because it falls in between the infamous Sweet 16 and the terrifying 18 of "adulthood", so the pressure's off :)
Sounds great to me! But, I doubt adulthood will come on the eve of my 18th, seeing as, year to year, its in between that counts, not the pinpointed "growth" days.

PUH-LEASE! Does that look like an adult-like, mature person? (No, those glasses aren't mine... I was playing with them, trying to look old. It backfired on me...) Have I made my point?

I have often assured my loved ones that I will try not to sprint into the world of adulthood, with voting privileges (that's one of the few privileges I see of turning 18, but I'm still not that interested, "Sadly enough," some comment, and, reaching the legal age to drink and drive here in Spain--OK, technically, it is "drink" comma, "drive", but let's just say that some punctuation gets forgotten in the Spanish joie de vivre), on purpose necessarily, I made a deal with them that they can tell me when they think I've reached that transition. Well, is is a transition, or, one day, you wake up and realize you're an adult (or have been for a while)?

Yet again, "Who knows?" Maybe that's what growing up is all about~ Looking back on this past year (OK, when I start reminiscing like THAT I feel old...), I'd have to say that it sparked a sort of intellectual growth. Maybe it is that bothersome Logic class, or maybe those long talks with GEMKs up at ski camp in front of the fire with that special cup of caramel tea? Maybe it was even that term paper I had to write for my Logic class (10 pages, written in 2 days, reviewed for 1. I'm pretty proud of myself for that, I feel like I've accomplished the impossible. And no, it wasn't because I put it off till the last minute, but rather, it became last-minute because of a rescheduling) on Genetic Engineering. Pretty heavy stuff.

Recently, I also had my first real deep conversation with a non-American (this is both because I had never encountered a Catalan that enjoyed deep discussions, and because I have some extremely intelligent and discussion-eager American friends). I was so proud of myself! Not only am I starting to really understand what I believe, in terms of my faith, but also really why. And I was able to defend it! Usually, I try to avoid confrontation--yes, me, surprising I know-- because I valued the long-term over the short-term. This time, it just kind of flowed out naturally, and I was able to back up everything I believe with Bible verses IN CONTEXT. None of that silly, "take a random group of words from one chapter and interpret it however you want to make it fit into your argument" for me! It was really neat to see how all that reading and learning through the Bible actually came together in an incredible way. And, the said friend hit me with some questions that I would have never even be able to stammer at a year ago.

So, have I grown? Perhaps. After all, "hindsight is 20/20" (I'm also proud of having learned that recently. Growing up overseas does strange things to your "normal sayings" list...). Anyways, if you hear those little birdies telling you that you are old, think of all of the things you've gained this past year: all of the memories you've made, the friends you've laughed and cried with, the knowledge you've accumulated, the lessons you've learned, how your perspective on life has evolved/matured, the things you've had to let go, and, most of all, the conglomerate bustle of life that you've been blessed enough to live. Always appreciate the little things in life, because they are usually the ones that make it worth living day in and day out!