Friday, September 12, 2014

Some Things on my Mind Lately

   

 A hot topic nowadays (well, actually, it has been for many years), is the way Hollywood presents unattainable ideals to girls and women.  I have decided to put in my bit,as it is a very important subject, because of the despair that girls will fall into when they realize that they can never measure up to the standards set before them in movies.  I am referring most specifically to animated films (princess movies are probably the most at fault in their idealized portrayals), because in live action films, everything comes from at least a semblance of reality, and there will be plenty of flaws that cannot be hidden or fixed.
     Oh, did you think I was talking about people this whole time?  That's ridiculous, everyone knows they're unrealistic, and little girls figure out pretty quickly that they will never be Disney princesses, but it's still fun to pretend!  No, I am referring to a far more grievous departure from reality: skirts.  To demonstrate what I mean by this, I'd like to use an example from a movie I am sure many of you are familiar with (it was kind of a big deal early in the year).  How many of you have seen Frozen?  There's no need for a show of hands, since I can't see it through the internet anyway, but probably the vast majority of you have.  Many of you girls, I am certain, particularly seamstresses, remember Anna's coronation dress, pictured above.  Those pleats, that swishiness, the way it looked while twirling, how could you not fall in love at first sight?  I, for one, saw it, thought of hardly anything else for the rest of the movie, spent the next few weeks watching the parts with "For the First Time in Forever" and "Love is an Open Door" over and over again just so that I could see that skirt in action (the silhouette of it twirling behind the sail?  Oh, it makes my heart go pitter-pat as even Captain America can't.), and the next few months devising formulas, and thinking of the best way to replicate the skirt.
     But alas, soon came the day when I realized that I was in love with something that didn't exist; that couldn't exist.  You know the part in which she trips into the boat, and as she falls backward, you can see that she doesn't have a petticoat or slip or any kind of underskirt under her skirt? Oh, how I wish that were possible.  Someone once described '50s dresses without crinolines as "sad," and it's true!  The skirts just hang limp, depressing and forlorn!  Obviously, the dress which we are discussing is not from the '50s, but the same principle applies.  No under-structure=no happiness, or joy, or peace on earth.
     No, you're probably thinking "okay, this sounds like an easy enough problem to get around.  So animators pretend that support isn't necessary, but that doesn't mean you can't add any when you copy it."  You have a point.  Let's see how the results of that would play out.  There are two basic ways in which skirts can be poofed out: hoop-skirts, and crinoline petticoats.  A hoop-skirt would probably be more accurate for the time period, the event, and that length of skirt, so we'll discuss that possibility first  There are advantages to hoops, admittedly.  They will give the skirt a nice smooth shape when standing still, move nicely while walking, and never get all uncomfortably bunched up between your legs, however, hopefully, anyone wearing the skirt would not just be walking or standing still!  One of the main reasons we love the skirt is for its twirling ability!  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Well, picture it this way.  When you start twirling, and the pleats do their thing, the circumference at the bottom is three times what it is when everything is smoothly in place.  That's a pretty dang full skirt.  Well over the volume of a circle skirt, it may possibly even have as much volume as a double circle skirt.  What this means is that, unlike a normal gathered skirt, when you start spinning, you won't get a bell shaped effect, the skirt will flare straight out.  Because of the length, and therefore weight, of the fabric, it shouldn't go up indecently high, probably not past your knees, but that's not the point.  Remember that hoop-skirt you're wearing?  Well, it isn't made the same way as your skirt!  It has one shape, which will not really change with your movements, which means that as your skirt flares up, and your hoop-skirt stays down, you basically flash your undergarments to the whole world, which is about one of the most mortifying things anyone can do.
     So hoop-skirts are a no go.  well, what about a crinoline?  This is actually a pretty feasible solution, and when I make my (probably shorter, without all the patterns, and possibly in different colors; the pleats are the main attraction) version of the skirt, I will most likely wear it with a crinoline.  You can sit down in it, without all the bother of a hoop-skirt, it moves pretty nicely when you walk, and, most importantly, because of all the gathering, it will flare out with the skirt, and it's also not a big deal if a little bit of petticoat shows.  But there are still some minor inconveniences.  They don't really make crinolines that long, and of course you could always make one, but it's difficult, what with all that fabric to gather, trying to keep parts from interfering with each other and getting in the way.  The problem most relating to our subject, though, is comfort, because why else bother caring that animated skirts don't seem to need support?  Crinolines do tend to get bunched up between your legs, or bunch up all weird in certain sections, making the skirt look fuller in some parts than others, and besides, you just don't get the nice swishy feeling you have when there's nothing between you and the skirt.
     As I said before, a crinoline is a pretty good solution to the problem, but wouldn't it be so nice if we could have that beautiful shape without any need for it?  Anna's skirt is only one demonstration of Disney lying to us in this way.  I can think of so many more examples - well, no, actually, I can only think of that one, but I know there are a lot more examples of animated skirts that had beautiful shapes on the outside, but when they moved, you could tell that there was nothing to support that shape.  Disney is deceiving our girls, telling them to believe in impossible dreams, and trying to ruin their lives.  Help me to fight against this madness!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

BWSC


 A song about the Biblical Worldview Student Conference, to the tune of "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

by Cecilia Rosenbloom

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
With those kids reminiscing,
Water balloon filling,
So glad that they're here!
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the hap - happiest conference of all.
With the speakers all speaking,
Clothespins circulating,
And dance at nightfall,
It's the hap - happiest conference of all!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Ettiquette of Dancing

     Being a female, it is only right that I begin by discussing our obligations.  First, as difficult as it is to admit, trying to force a guy to dance against his will is probably as rude as his refusing to dance even when there is a huge majority of women.  Hinting, meaningfully glaring, threatening, and outright asking a man to dance are not only extremely unladylike, but also very unlikely to change his mind.  Suck it up, ask another girl to dance, and try not to let anyone see that you're on the verge of tears from having to dance the male part in every single dance.  If two girls are dancing together (or actually, in any case, since otherwise the man should always do the asking), the asker should lead.  No matter which part is yours, try to be as grateful to your partner as if you were dancing with your desired partner (i. e. an actual guy).  If you are set to dance with another girl, and a man asks you to dance, no matter how tempted you are to accept (and you will be), politely refuse.  You are already committed, and changing your mind would be extremely rude to your partner.  If you are dancing the lead, act like a gentleman!  Smile, instead of looking like you'd much rather be dancing a woman's part, with a male partner (even though you would), and when the dance is over, thank you partner and escort her off of the dance floor.  Basically, show a good example to all of the guys, who should be doing what you're doing.  If a man does ask you to dance, congratulations!  Behave with poise and grace, and avoid making any jabs about how rare it is.

      Men, if you are in a situation where dancing is going on, and you are not dancing, then unless the number of men and women dancing is right about even (unlikely), rest assured that every girl present wants to wring your neck.  We don't even really care that much if you dance with us specifically.  If you dance with any girl, that's one guy closer to an even ratio.  However, we would still like to dance with an actual male person ourselves at some point, so don't just dance with the girls you know well!  Remember what I said about either dancing or having your neck wrung?  Well, if you dance twice with the same girl you're making every girl that hasn't yet gotten to dance with a guy (especially if they've had to lead every time) want to wring your neck and then throw you into a lake with sharp rocks at the bottom, with a millstone tied around that scrawny little worthless wrung neck of yours.  Look around for girls that aren't dancing much (they'll be the ones sitting or standing and looking wistfully at the dancing from time to time) or are dancing with other girls a lot, especially in the capacity of doing a man's job (they'll be the ones trying to be very gentlemanly and dignified, but all the time feeling just like crying), and ask those girls to dance.  They will be grateful to you forever.  However, while you ought to be looking for ignored girls to dance with, while dancing, the majority of your attention ought to go to your partner.  Eye contact is of vital importance, as is grip, and conversation is nice too, but only if you can both converse and keep up with the dance.  When the dance is over, thank your partner, and escort her off of the dance floor.  Even if you don't, she will be thrilled to have danced with you, but will still be left with the faint impression that you are an impolite slob, and you would probably rather not leave that impression.

     For both men and women, the same principle applies here as in every other situation: conduct yourself with decorum, as a lady or a gentleman, and try to make the experience pleasant for your partner.  I hope this has been helpful for any readers there may be.  Now go dance your feet off!

Added note, as of 6/10/2014:  I was recently introduced to a problem I hadn't thought of before.  Men, if you are in a conversation with two girls, and ask one to dance, and she declines, ask the other girl to dance!  You'd think this would just be common sense/common courtesy, but apparently not.  Rest assured, if you don't do this, the girl you didn't ask (and probably the one you did ask) will notice, and it will not reflect well on your character.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Day I Became Involved in Burglary

    
     A cat burglar is a burglar who is adept at entering and leaving the burglarized place without attracting notice, according to merriam-webster.com.  But you probably already knew that.  Everyone knows that.  The author of my Geometry book knows that.  My Geometry teacher probably knows that.  The one person who doesn't know that, or at least, didn't until Friday, is me.

     Of course, I thought I knew what a cat burglar was.  Who doesn't know what a cat burglar is?  It's someone who steals cats, obviously.  Duh.  And then, one day, a cat burglar came into my life, and I had to actually put my knowledge into practice.

     I'm taking Geometry this year, and while it looks like it may be involving more numbers soon, so far, it has been painfully easy, and the dullness has been impacted by the fact that for the first couple of weeks, as at the beginning of any class, everyone was too shy to talk to each other, make jokes in class, or be sarcastic.  Well, I can't deal with having my sarcasm suppressed like that, so of course, the only thing to do was to make notes whenever the problems were at all ambiguous.  Alack, such an approach would prove to be my downfall.

     Fast forward from the beginning of the school year to last Tuesday, when I was taking the second test of the course.  It was going along well, I could do every single problem without difficulty, and then, I got to the last problem.  I can't tell you what it was, or what the answer was, because of the small possibility of one of my readers using the same curriculum sometime in the future, but suffice it to say that it involved a cat burglar leaving a safe open.  "This is stupid!" I said to myself.  "Why would a cat burglar leave a safe open?  What would a cat burglar even be doing with a safe?  Why do the burgled people keep their cat in the safe?  Who wrote these problems?"  I could not let this pass without investigation.  I did the problem, put a bracket around it, wrote on the side "Important question: why do they keep their cat in the safe?" turned the test in on Wednesday, and didn't question my definitions at all.

     Fast forward to Friday afternoon.  It has been three days since I took the test, two days since I turned in the test, and I am currently standing in line with my sister, waiting to get into a concert and discussing life, the universe and everything, including the stupidity of certain Geometry problems.  I explain the problem to her, ending my explanation with "WHY DO THEY KEEP THEIR CAT IN THE SAFE?"
     "You know what a cat burglar is, right?" speaks Katie Beth.
     "Ummm...someone who steals cats?"
     "You would think that," she ejaculates, and proceeds to tell me what a cat burglar actually is.
     "Oooh, that's why the problem made absolutely no sense."

     So now, I have a Geometry test with a really stupid, embarrassing note in the margin.  I can only hope the teacher thinks I was being sarcastic.  I shall update at some point after tomorrow, when I have class again, and will get my test back.  According to all the people I've asked, the definition of cat burglar seems to be a pretty well known thing, but they're all wrong.  A cat burglar should be someone who steals cats.  If I had a cat I wouldn't have a problem with a cat burglar coming in and doing their thing, but that is neither here nor there, and I don't have a cat, and therefore don't need anyone to burgle it.

Update: I really thought that was on the test, but it turns out it was actually just on one of the problem sets, and he doesn't really check the problem sets, just makes sure we did all the problems.  Of course, there's still a chance he might have seen it, but there wasn't a note, and he didn't mention it or anything.  Phew.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Edited Airs: Episode Two

     Disclaimer: the first episode was an edited version of a song I despise, so had no qualms about mocking shamelessly.  This one is a good candidate, because it has several double negatives and such, however, it is a very good song.  So don't laugh too hard!

Streets of Bakersfield
by Dwight Yoakam

I came here looking for something
That I could not find anywhere else
I am not trying to be anybody
I would just like a chance to be myself

I have hitch hiked over a thousand miles
Yes I have gotten blisters on my heels
Trying to find something better for myself
Here on the streets of Bakersfield

You do not know me but you dislike me
You say you could not care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

I spent some time in San Francisco
I spent a night there in jail
They threw this drunk man in my cell,
And I stole fifteen dollars from the very same

I Left him my watch and my old house key
Don't want folks thinking that I would steal
Then I thanked him as I was leaving,
Heading out for Bakersfield

You do not know me but you dislike me
You say you could not care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

You do not know me but you dislike me
You say you could not care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?
Tell me, how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sage Souffle

Ingredients:

1 egg
1/4 cup milk (heavy cream would probably be even better)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut in strips
2 tablespoons fresh sage, cut in strips
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons salsa

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
Beat egg, and then combine all other ingredients with it.  Pour into an 8oz ramekin, and bake for 30 minutes.  Tada!

Serves 1.

I really wish I could make this recipe more interesting for reading purposes, but that's really as simple as it is, and it turned out quite good!  Please accept my apology, and this imaginary bouquet of snapdragon and fuchsia (speaking of fuchsia, when did it start getting spelled like that?).

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tomato Basil Alfredo

     I recently acquired a basil plant (his name is Wilfred), and have been trying lately to find ways to use fresh basil.  So far, Tomato Basil Alfredo is my favorite use. 

     This is really a very adaptable idea, and I've done it various different ways, but the gist of it is pasta mixed with Alfredo sauce, topped with first basil, and then tomato.  Spaghetti, or fettuccine, or any other stringy pasta is much better than anything else, because it is much easier to mix without dropping noodles all over the place. 

     Definitely put it together differently if you're cooking for just yourself than if you are making it for other people as well.  If you are only making one dish of the Alfredo, it's really not worth the bother of making a whole batch of Alfredo sauce, and it's very easy to improvise using cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, pasta water, and a microwave, in the very dish you're going to be eating out of.  However, if it is a meal for several people, you are really better off making actual Alfredo sauce (this is a very good recipe), and putting together an assembly line so that everyone can put together their own food.

     As for the basil and tomato, they are the same no matter how you do everything else, and very simple.  Take a lot of fresh basil leaves, stack them up on top of each other, roll up the leaves cigar fashion (direction doesn't matter), and slice thinly. 

Slice tomatoes, and chop them into small cubes.  Sprinkle the basil on, and then the tomato, and, if desired, garnish with two smallish basil leaves.  This needs to be done after any microwaving is done, and, of course, after the Alfredo sauce and pasta are already mixed together.

Boxed pasta is perfectly acceptable, but if you choose to make your own pasta, here is a very good recipe.