Thursday, December 29, 2011

Allison's Christmas Gift Classification

So another Christmas has come and gone and as such it is time for the first ever Gift Classification Guide to help you interpret what all of those gifts from neighbors, friends, and family mean. Gift giving is hard, and it is definitely an art that I have yet to master, but I am pretty much an expert analyzer, so here goes:

1. The George Costanza AKA the Charity Case: This gift usually comes in the form of small card saying that so and so has donated to a charity in your name. Although charities are great, receiving this so called gift is overwhelmingly disappointing...especially if you've put a lot of time, effort or money into a gift for that individual's gift. But hopefully the charity you've been forced to support is for a good cause and actually exists.

2. The Creed Bratton: Is your gift wrapped in a plastic bag? Is it four sizes too small? Is is smelly or old? This is the type of last minute gift where someone has forgotten all about getting you a present and digs something out of their closet. Receiving nothing would be a better gift...

3. The Martha Stewart: This is a gift not of love, but of labor. The Martha Stewart gift giver is known to distribute projects that require some kind of do-it-yourself component. Often this type of gift giver is overestimating your abilities or in my case my time management skills needed to set apart enough time to make that batch of cookies in a jar...

4.The Overachiever: The overachiever gives gift of guilt: these homemade presents make you feel guilty that you didn't put enough thought into your store bought present.

5. The asked for gift: the gift that you asked for from Santa and finally got. Can sometimes be a bit of a let-down, especially if you've been asking for it for a while. Why is it that anticipation is almost always more fun than actually receiving? Or perhaps anticipation isn't all that great, but we just don't know what to do with something once we actually get it.

6. The Twins aka Doppleganger: Receiving the exact same present as someone else: not a great feeling.

8. The D.I. (thrift store) gift: ever got a present and you immediately knew you hated it but couldn't return it and decided to send it straight to a thrift store?Then you've received a D.I. gift. These are often white elephant presents, but can turn up in deceptively appealing places as well (such as under your tree Christmas morning).

9 Cash: This gift is more ambiguous than it may appear. While cash is a pretty universally appreciated gift, I have some sort of mutated responsibility gene that makes it almost impossible to use Christmas cash for something fun and spontaneous. Rather I feel like I need to use that cash to help build up my stock portfolio or pay off my student loans. Oddly enough, returning a gift and receiving cash in return doesn't seem to inspire this kind of shoulder-Angel bickering as simply receiving cash.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Future Nobel Prize Winner

So, I don't share this with just anyone (mostly because its fairly obvious), but I'm pretty much a genius.

Now this genius is as much a burden as it is a blessing. I had to constantly look over my shoulder in high school because I wrecked the curve on every single test in my psychology class, acing every exam. It got to the point where I was afraid my fellow students were going to be in a "grab your torches and pitchforks" mentality. Lets just say there was a lot more negative attention than positive attention over my achievements.

Fortunately the emotional scars from this high school experience are pretty much healed, which is why I feel it is now safe to air my genius to the public once more. And my ideas are so wonderful that I'm pretty much a shoo-in for a Nobel Prize.

Here are some theories and definitions and ideas that the idea wheels in my head have been turning out:

1. Freshman theory: in singles wards in the LDS culture, guys, no matter their age will go after the freshman girls. It's pretty sickening to see a 28 year old go after an 18 year old, but I've seen it happen quite often.

Now I haven't researched this one out enough, so I'm not sure if this occurs simply because the freshman girls are fresh meat or if there's a protect the little naive girl mentality, or what. Also, this theory is inherently flawed seeing as how I was once a freshman and no guys flocked to me, and also girls of all ages do end up getting guys...but still this theory definitely has some merit.

2. Height Barometer: Some people's arthritis can feel storms blowing in, my height is a social barometer measuring awkwardness. I am 6'1" and usually stand about a head taller than everyone around me. I've discovered that I am not always conscious of this vast height difference though. But I have noticed that when I am aware of my height in social situations, that I am feeling awkward and uneasy. Whereas when I am not aware of my height, I feel comfortable and easy-going.

3. Marital Amnesia: A phenomenon occurring more often in woman than men, but in which a person, after getting married, forgets what its like to be single, and starts saying stupid and insensitive things to their still-single friends.

Also, there's an offshoot of this affliction that I would term as "I don't need to do anything social or to have any friends or because I have a husband" and which is pretty self-explanatory.

4. I've decided to hire a writer to follow me around and come up with snappy comebacks for me.

This is an excellent idea for two reasons. First, I can rarely say what I want to say when I want to say it. About two days later is when a brilliant retort comes to mind. With my writer sidekick I would have access to brilliantly crafted replies at my fingertips.

Secondly, on those rare occasions when I have been able to say what I wanted to say at the exact moment I wanted to say it, I felt about 2 seconds of triumph, which was
subsequently crushed by a disabling sense of guilt. Having a writer, would hopefully dull that sense of guilt--because they are not technically my own words. I have a huge guilt complex so this would be very helpful.

My guilt complex is kicking in right now, so I think that I should point out that I would only use this writer's responses for good. I don't wish to go around cutting people down, but there are definitely times in my life that I wish I had a writer around to help me come up with witty responses.

5.I've invented a new day to celebrate: December 23 is now Kazoo day!!! I will be playing my kazoo all day, announcing my entrances into various rooms in my house, serenading family, and just being just might be the best day ever.

It also might be the day I die, because my family might kill me...but it's a chance I'm willing to take. The world needs more kazoo music, and I will not be silenced!

Friday, December 16, 2011

15 Random Things about Me

1. I hate strawberries.

2. When I speak to people with accents, I unconsciously absorb their accent. This spring when I was in California, I was asking for directions from the receptionist of a museum, who just happened to have a British accent. I unwittingly responded to something she said with a British accent as well. She asked me where I was from, I replied (in my normal accent), "Utah." She stared at me for a minute, and then said that she thought I was from England.

That was probably one of the proudest moments of my life, because I love England and would love to have a British accent (or more accurately fall in love with a man with a British accent, but either one would be awesome).

This is not the first time that I've parroted back people's accents: I've also unconsciously had an Australian and a Indian accent. Unfortunately these are short lived, and I also feel like a jerk, because it looks like I'm making fun of them. I'm not doing it intentionally, it just happens.

3. I absolutely loathe ferris wheels. My parents would take my sisters and me to a local amusement park about once a year. On the giant ferris wheel there, my father would not only spin the cart we were sitting in, but would rock it as well. I would like to attribute my fear to these instances, but honestly I think that I've just become more of a scaredy-cat with every passing day.

4. I love quotes. I am constantly writing down quotes. I'm not very organized though, and haven't discovered a very good system for storing and utilizing my quotes, but I have several displayed on my walls and in journals.

5. M&M's are not all created equally. From best to worst flavors: Peanut Butter, Coconut, Pirate Pearls (a special edition white chocolate version that came out of the Pirates movies came out) Peanut, Mini's, Crispy (which they sadly no longer make) Mega-size, almond, and original.
Although I have (obviously) overanalyzed M&M's, they are not my favorite candy. No candy really holds that high distinction, rather it's just whatever suits my fancy. Although I will admit that although I loved all sorts of candy growing up, now that I'm older anything without chocolate is pretty much just a waste of my time.

6. I'm a snob when it comes to movie adaptations of books. I haven't seen all of the Harry Potter movies for instance. I understand that its a different medium than books, and that movies can't include all of the detail that the books can, but I love the Harry Potter books because they have it all: action, humor, romance...The movies seem to completely bypass the humor that helps round out the characters and provides a nice balance to all of the Voldemort action going on.

I still have friends who haven't read the Harry Potter series, but they have seen the movies. This is just sick and wrong on so many levels to me...

7. I love high heels. I don't wear them hardly ever though because A) I am the complete opposite of graceful and can barely walk without tripping when I'm NOT wearing heels and B) I am 6'1'' and already tower awkwardly over everyone. I really don't need the extra inches.

8. I love all things pineapple. Fresh pineapple is pretty much the best thing on the planet! Also, I really love the show Psych (where there's a pineapple in each episode) and subsequently my cousin and my sister and I got into the habit of giving each other random pineapple-related's pretty much awesome.

9. Chuck Bartowski is pretty much my perfect man. He's a fictional character in the television show Chuck. But he's tall, handsome, smart, sweet, funny, he has his priorities straight (friends and family above everything else...)he can sing (he hasn't sung on the show, but the actor who portrays Chuck, Zachary Levi is an amazing singer), and he is nerdy. Sigh...

10. I love history...actually I love learning. Period. If I had a million dollars I would travel the world...and I would become an eternal student. Of course I realize that there is value in real-world education, but I love going to classes and learning from more experienced people.

11. I love to laugh. I especially love comic strips. I think that its an under-appreciated art form.

12. I am definitely a jeans and t-shirt girl, but I think its fun to get dressed up. Although my coworkers love Casual Friday, I like wearing my dressy professional clothes.

I would love to go to a really fancy black-tie type of affair. Its fun to get dressed up and get fancy once in a while, especially in a society where sloppiness and too-casual dress is rapidly becoming the norm.

13. I loathe Nicholas Cage. He is the worst actor ever. I don't know how he keeps getting roles. In my film class that I took my last semester of college I found out that he had won an Oscar for Best Actor. I really can't comprehend this. This new piece of knowledge that I learned really made me lose a lot of my faith in humanity (or at least the dunderheads who make up 'The Academy').

14. I'm a magnet for weirdos. I don't know why this is, but its been a recurring theme throughout my entire life.

15. Growing up my mom used to say that I was cold-blooded. This is because I am practically always cold. Year round I have a minimum of 5 blankets on my bed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Think My Roommate is Trying to Kill Me

My roommate H is ...hmmm. how to put this nicely...very concerned about finances. And as a graduate student that is very understandable. But lets just say that she is very Gestapo-like about household finances.

Which is why I don't understand why she always has the thermostat turned up past 80 degrees. I am not joking. And the heater has been on since last August! And its been an unseasonably warm year!

I really think she is just trying to cook me in my room, and faithful blog readers, if I end up a victim of cannabalism after being roasted alive in my room please direct the police to my roommate and get some justice for me.

Turning down the heat and dressing in sweaters and jackets, and piling my bed with lots of blankets is how I grew up, and how I survived at college: saving money AND keeping warm at the same time, who would have guessed! The gas bill is expensive, but there's also a lot of ways to cut costs in the winter. But H doesn't seem to get it.

Growing up I was always cold. Even in the Summmer I would have at least five blankets on my bed. My mom would always joke that I was cold-blooded (which secretly I've kind of resented because I feel like it puts me in the same category as snakes, which I absolutely loathe, but at the same time I also secretly liked it because it was kind of like a special little joke between me and my mom. Yes, I realize I am insane!).

Growing up, it seemed like I was constantly in a near-frost-bitten state because the thermostat would be at the outrageously low temperature of 72 degrees!

I would dream of cranking the thermostat up to 90 degrees and sit comfortably in my house in shorts.

Well, that dream is now my living nightmare. I'm wearing shorts right now, and have turned the heat off, and I'm still sweating. If I open the window it gets too cold, so I just have to wait for the house to slowly cool off (and hope that my roommate doesn't wake in the middle of the night and crank up the thermostat, as she is prone to do).

But seriously guys, I really think my roommate is trying to kill me, because based on encounters with her throughout the last 4 months, there's no way she would willingly crank up the thermostat at all and have all that money just blow through the vents and out of the bathroom window which my two roommates constantly leave open.

Save me...

Deck the Halls: A True Christmas Tale About How I Wanted to Punch People

I went to Wal-mart today after work to pick up some groceries, and was immediately reminded of why I get all of my holiday shopping done before the month of December.

Practically every aisle was an obstacle course filled with pallets of marked down would-be gifts, and with people milling around and stopping right in front of me and then positioning their carts so that they are impossible to move around.

Can anyone say 'fire hazard'?

Granted I'm sure these people don't do it on purpose, but at the same time, its nice to be aware of your fellow shoppers and be courteous to them and let them pass you as you try to decide between two types of Christmas goodies...when you know in your heart that you will get both, and you also know that you should be watching your children instead of debating which item to purchase, so that they don't dart out in front of a fellow shopper's cart when said fellow shopper finally finds a break in the aisle blockage and attempts to make her escape.

So because of all the aisle blockages and human walls, I had to make a lot of detours (and quick stops as I tried to avoid running over the unsupervised children darting in front of my path), and then I got in the slowest moving I went to shorter, more promising line and was reminded of my special talent of getting behind people with food stamps who take approximately, oh, let's see, FOREVER to run 3 different cards and then pay partially with cash. So my quick trip into the store took approximately 10 years...

I still need to figure out a few simple gifts for coworkers and such, but I'm thinking that my sanity is more important than their Christmas gifts. Maybe I should just hold off on the shopping for a bit and they could be the first people ever to receive Presidents day gifts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Used to Be Smart

So I'm pretty sure I've gotten stupider...either that or I have a brain tumor. Neither of these options is very appealing.

My memory is terrible nowadays, but I'm pretty sure I used to be smart. I'm not sure what happened, but apparently stupidity is contagious because lately I've had a hard time coming up with ordinary words like "snow globe" and "validation" and have turned to using primitive hand gestures to try to communicate my point. I feel like I've reverted back to cave man days. Which is a problem as well because its hard to come up with a hand gesture for words like "validation." I guess I should be glad that people are as adept as I am at just smiling and nodding as someone else (in this case me) babbles on making incoherent speech.

Hopefully this trend ends soon because not everyone gets my gestures, and communication is a pretty vital part of society. Also, I liked being smart...emotionally I am not coping well with being this idiotic.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fear of Commitment

So a while back one of my sisters told me about the website Pinterest and how cool it is. So I checked it out, thought it was really cool and subsequently requested an invitation to join their site. I immediately got an email confirming my request, but a month later that was the only communication I had from them. It was a little frustrating, and I figured that Pinterest and I just weren't meant to be.

Last night I finally got an email that allowed me to officially sign up for the site. I started pinning all of the crafts and recipes and design ideas I have on my internet browser's bookmark bar. It was really fun!

Then I checked my email...there was an update from Pinterest telling me that my cousin had found out through Facebook (which you have to use to sign up to Pintererst) that I had joined had started following me. The next time I checked my email that night I had probably five emails from Pinterest telling me that people have repinned my pictures. Every time I open my email, my inbox is now filled with several new notifications from Pinterest.

Guess what Pinterest! I DO NOT care about random strangers repinning the stuff I like! i do not need to be informed of it. I don't like having my inbox filled up with useless stuff like that. I haven't even been a member for 24 hours yet and its already driving me crazy!

I thought it was bad enough that Facebook sends out emails when someone else comments or 'likes' the same thing you've already 'liked' or commented on, but I'm not on Facebook all that often, and have limited my comments and use of the like button because of the huge commitment involved in doing so (i.e. having your inbox filled up with a dozen useless emails

I really like Pinterest, but if I had known the level of commitment involved in it, I probably wouldn't have joined. Also, the whole process of requesting an invite, waiting a month to be able to join, and then having to use Facebook (which I've been seriously considering canceling) are all points against it. So put a pin in that Pinterest!