Friday, January 28, 2011

Skins and Prom

I don't think anyone actually understood what I was talking about in my previous post, Thinking in British, where I complained about thinking in a British accent. Well, today I saw an ad for MTV's Skins and was thinking wasn't there a British Skins not too long ago? I Youtubed an episode and as always, I proceeded to read the comments whereupon I came across this:

After watching skins all day, I have a english accent stuck in my head. All my thoughts sound english.
It made my day :D

Confession: I kind of just ignored all the notifications from the help EBHS win Proms Across America contest! group on Facebook until yesterday. It's not that I don't care to help EBHS, I just never bothered to click on any of the notifications, open any messages, or even check out the group in general. But, I did yesterday and I guess better late than never? I'm sure many of you have checked out the group unlike me, but for those of you that haven't, I'd just like to take a moment to explain it and urge you to participate.

It's really very simple. There's a contest in which EBHS has been entered in which the grand prize is a free prom. All we have to do is vote once a day on their website. Students all across the nation are rallying votes, so we really have to get it together to win. It won't be easy, but it's not impossible either. We are currently 1st in the state, and 17th in the nation. So those of you that have been voting, keep voting, and those of you that haven't voted, start voting. And keep up with it!

Just a little update of my experience with 
Skins and Prom

Anna: the great Undeclared.

During  lunch on Wednesday, I randomly threw out this little thought that's been buzzing around my head: What if I take a gap year? It was literally just a thought, but the more my lunch table and I discussed it, the more the idea grew on me - especially going to Africa. Afterwards, I shared this desire with my Unit, and they really laid out all the cons and I left IPLE thinking more along the lines of, I guess it wouldn't really make sense for me to take a year off. Here's some thoughts on the matter:

1. money
2. parents
3. finding a good service opportunity
4. will it change anything?

I know that these are huge huge obstacles and are most likely going to make taking a gap year impossible, but I also have some valid reasons for wanting to do this.

1. I don't like where I see myself going. As Armaan so aptly phrased it, I don't like that I can see where I am going. It's like I said in In search of happiness, my life is very formulaic, and I don't see the final destination of that formula as somewhere I want to go. I don't like the thought of living according to a plan whose goal isn't even something I think will make me happy. I want to spend some time simply living in the moment, especially while I'm still young. 

2. Why Africa? Most obviously, helping people would be a good use of my time. But, I also have a more selfish reason. I'd like to go to Africa to satisfy my curiosity. You hear about the poor conditions in Africa all the time, and when you think poor starving children, you think Africa. I want to go there myself someday and see the state of affairs with my own eyes. Is it really that bad or is it a plot by organizations using the plight of others to make a lucrative profit? I've grown somewhat callous to campaigns to help Africa, and if it really is that bad over there, I hope that the experience would reignite that sense of humanity in me.

3. This is perhaps my biggest reason, and until a conversation with Jared today, I didn't really know how to put it into words. The thing is, I don't know who I am. It's not really so much that I don't know myself well enough, but rather that there really isn't anyone to know. Fundamentally, I lack a definitive personality; I'm a very blah person. I like to think of myself as an easy person to get along with. A great part of that, is that I am a very neutral person. I don't have a favorite...well, anything really. No favorite color, no favorite food, no favorite song, movie, or book. Not even a favorite candy bar. I don't have a field of study that really interests me or a career that I'd love to pursue. I have no real political views; in IPLE, I always take that standpoint that no one else wants because I don't really have my own stance on anything. I've never been in love with a guy. I'm not partial to any academic subject (though I am most definitely impartial to some). 

I'm very average. In the beginning of the year, when we'd go to the lab in Macro, Steph and I would fill out our CommonApps. Looking at my grades and standardized test scores, she noted how even though I'm not particularly outstanding in anything, at least I'm consistently mediocre. That pretty much sums me up: good at many many things, but not outstanding at anything.

I don't like that about myself. And before plunging into a future of continued monotonous mediocrity, I'd like the time to take a journey of not only self-discovery, but also self-development. I want to take the time to grow so that I am no longer just
Anna: the great Undeclared.
Food for thought:
Have you considered taking a gap year? For what reasons? (vote in the sidebar)
If you did take a gap year, what would you do? Where would you go?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Good times with Blog It!

I slept. You heard me right; I slept.

I just napped the best nap ever. I don't care that I just wasted an entire afternoon; I feel fantastic! In terms of dark circles, I can't make any promises that they're gone (I'm afraid those are permanent at this point), but I'm in a much better state of mind than earlier in school.

For those of you that saw me today, the recurring theme was, "Whoa, Anna, you look really tired today..." Well, good job! I was really tired and sleep deprived, and to top it all off, in that awful pre-sick funk where you know you're getting sick but can't do anything to stop it from happening.

Since I've already set the tone for today to unproductive, I decided that I might as well delay my work a little further and blog.

Confession: Rich's comment on Blog It! really tempted me. Seeing his post, just made me ache to write a little on my blog. Think I can blame him when I fail my midterms?

Speaking of Blog It!, thank you all so much for putting up with the spamming of notifications you've received from the group, but as you may have noticed, my little Facebook blog group has undergone a bit of change. My original intent in creating "astoldbyannabanana" had been to foster a blog community, an open forum of discussion. However, it ended up just being a page of "Anna's blog updates" which wasn't at all what I'd envisioned. I thought about why there wasn't more involvement, and concluded that its name was a setback and somewhat confusing. To remedy (clarify) the matter, I've renamed the group to the more appropriate title, "Blog It!" and have also added a few permanent bloggers: Rich, Indraneel, Jon, and Natesh. I'm sure you will enjoy reading their thoughts. Hopefully, this will only be the beginning, and in time, we'll have many many more bloggers, making our range of thoughts even more diverse.

Note: All other bloggers and readers alike are free to share posts or ideas there, or perhaps even join on as a permanent blogger if they so choose :]

I hope you all enjoy the recent development, and that we'll have
Good times with Blog It!
Food for thought:
Know any bloggers you'd recommend we add on?
Would you be interested in starting a blog?
Are there any improvements you can suggest for Blog It!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why wouldn't we just keep a diary?

To add to my last post, there was this really funny comment on one of videos which I found necessary to share:

it's not really intentional but every time I pause one of Alex's videos he's always making a weird face

I've found that she/he's absolutely right. Feel free to try it for yourselves. Let it load (perhaps by watching it?) and then pause it, and click at random moments. It's nearly guaranteed that he'll be making some strange face or another. It probably just means that he's very expressive and animated while speaking, but nonetheless, it's amusing:

Notice how I read the comments. I love comments. I enjoy reading them more than watching the actual videos themselves most times. Ergo, I HATE how Youtube got rid of the comments tab under their videos. It makes it so annoying to watch videos on a person's channel because I'm always having to click back to the individual video links just to go read the comments, which I always do. I just really like seeing how others perceive what I watch.

Actually, this extends beyond just Youtube and other videos. Many people have called me really weird for this, but I actually read summaries of Kdramas more often than I watch them. Don't get me wrong, I still watch a lot of series, but some shows, like Secret Garden, I watched entirely in summaries on Dramabeans. I just find it so much more entertaining because let's be honest television shows get repetitive after a while. The plots are predictable, and there's only certain parts of it that interest you anyhow; especially when it comes to Kdramas. It takes a lot of time (that I don't have) to watch entire episodes and I have to really sit there an watch because don't actually understand the Korean language. Comments and summaries on the other hand, offer a unique perspective and real life takes on the material.

I would actually love to get involved in drama subbing and perhaps hosting a blog like dramabeans, but that would require a few prerequisites:

1. The dramas would have to be in Chinese (that includes Taiwanese ones)
2. The drama would have to be good -> obstacle #1
3. I have time to do it -> obstacle #2. I honestly don't understand how Dramabeans does what it does. Do the people not sleep? Don't they have lives to lead and maintain? Or are they paid to do what they do? I'm not sure. If I ever to go through with this endeavor, I'll be sure to attempt to contact them for advice.
4. That people are actually interested in Chinese dramas -> obstacle #3
5. My Chinese needs to be better -> obstacle #4. I can work on that though, and hopefully one result of this endeavor would be an improvement of my Chinese skills, so I won't let this obstacle infringe on my undertaking of this project.

Conclusion: it's not happening.

Back to the matter at hand: comments. I love love love comments, and here comes the dreaded blogger request: please comment more. I'm sure any blogger would tell you the same thing.

Could've Been Rich McCool:
"I know a lot of you visit, but don't leave comments, so hopefully this will give you guys something to comment on! Comments are really satisfying, I like thinking that my posts are doing more than just being read, that they're also provoking thought!"
Indraneel the Senior
By the way guys, the best way to keep me updating is to 1) bother me about it 2) promote my blog, like Rich did just now and 3) leave a comment! 
The concept is really quite simple. Comments are the lifeblood of all blogs. When readers comment more, bloggers blog more. When readers don't comment, blogs slowly begin to die, just like all three of ours and I'm sure others have. But, never fear! because all blogs can be revived. Leave a response; make this a two-way conversation :D Don't leave us hanging. Blogs are essentially written for the writer themselves, but reader participation is what keeps the writer motivated to keep writing. Otherwise,
Why wouldn't we just keep a diary?

Thinking in British

I have successfully managed to waste a day. I had this brilliant, though completely pointless, conversation with Jared about it:

Jared: What are you procrastinating?
Me: I don't even know.
Jared: Then it's not procrastinating
Me: I'm procrastinating finding out.
Jared: Finding out...
Me: What I'm procrastinating.
Jared: In that case, you're a tad of a wreck.
Me: Ahh. I suppose I am. Though as I haven't yet discovered how poorly off I am yet, I am content to continue my procrastination.

Funny side note: I've begun to think in a British accent. I just noticed that and it's actually really funny listening to myself think. Perhaps I should elaborate. Well, Sonam successfully got me crushing on Alex Day <3 which subsequently led me to discovering, and developing crush #2 on Charlie McDonnell <3. Therein would be the source of my procrastination for the day, along with The Next Great Baker. After an entire day of watching Alex and Charlie's videos (and Tom's, though I only love him in Alex and Charlie's videos and not his own; beats me why), I have found myself incapable of not thinking in a British accent.

Sons of Admirals
This reminds me of a question I was once asked by my friend Sophie. It's been a few years now since she asked me this rather insignificant question, but for some reason it stuck with me. She asked, "What language do you think in? Chinese or English?" I recall saying how I wasn't sure, and proceeded to attempt to catch myself thinking for a few days afterwards. The only point to that story really, was that I am now thinking in a British accent and it is both cool and slightly off putting.

It's strange to think of how malleable our minds are. This one time in China, I was staying with my cousin when I found this old Game Boy (is it just me or does Game Boy look really strange written out?) and the two of us proceeded to play this ancient Pikachu game nonstop for days straight. It was like Super Mario Bros but with Pikachu and black and white. Anyhow, this game had a very distinct "ding" sound that would sound whenever a coin box was hit, much like in most Mario games. However, a week later, I remember trying to sleep, and all I could hear was the music and "ding" sounds from the game. It really freaked me out and I stopped playing. However, for days afterwards, both while awake and asleep, all I'd hear were those sounds. I don't really know how to convey just how terrified and weirded out I was. I was honestly frightened that I'd never be able to stop hearing those sounds.

Again, I don't know why I shared that story, but I did, so there. What's different from this case with the British accent, I'm just imposing it upon my thoughts. It's not like I'm hearing their voices and what they're saying; just my voice and my thoughts in a British accent although I don't know if I could stop it. I suppose the only solution would be to watch copious quantities of Next Great Baker to offset it. And if that doesn't work, there's always Kdramas :P I think it'd be hard to impose my thoughts into a foreign language, but then again, I suppose anything's possible. Anywho, it's all good for the time being. Unlike the Pikachu situation, these sounds aren't freaking me out, and I'm kind of enjoying the
Thinking in British

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We'll see if this works.

Hey now, everyone is entitled to a sabbatical. I wish. A small conversation in IPLE pretty much summed up my life:

Mr. Brodman: I hope you all enjoyed this little break from IPLE you had.
Jason: It wasn't really much of a break.
Rich: I can't remember the last time we had a break. What was that like 3 months ago?

I wish I could say that I haven't been blogging because I was too busy being awesome or even if just because I've been a neglectful, lazy bum (may still be some truth to that), but it's honestly just because I haven't had the time. If I get more than 6 hours of sleep on any given day, then yes, I've been neglectful, but when I'm only getting 3, 4 hours of sleep a day...I'm sure none of you would have had the time to read my entries in any case, so no hard feelings right? :]

What does it say about me that I'm actually jealous of this girl?
1. She has the luxury of sitting down to breakfast
2. That slice of bread looks mad comfy
3. She's sleeping!

As it's still January, I think I'll just pick up where I left off and try to finish off my 2010 Blog Brainstorm List. However, I think I'll just have to concede to the fact that I have way too many items on the list. I'm going to add a poll (or two) in the sidebar and I'll put up my ideas five (or ten) at a time, exactly the way that they appear on my list and in the same order, and hopefully you guys will vote, and then I'll write posts on the most popular entries.
We'll see if this works. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why trailers, why?

I am highly prone to what my elementary teacher (forget which one) used to refer to as teflon brain aka forgetfulness. To prevent that from interfering with my blogging experience, I have a sticky note on my laptop dedicated specifically to random potential post subjects. Only thing is, I usually write my entries while inspired by some idea or other, so the ideas on my sticky note just get put by the wayside.

Now that it's a new year, I feel as though it's high time to get rid of all my old blog brainstorm ideas, so for the next few days, I'll try to just run through them, topic by topic. Sound good? No? Well, you've got no say in this :P so here goes:

I hate hate hate how trailers give everything away nowadays! It's like why bother watching the movie when you basically just saw the entire film in 30 sec? This mostly applies to romance and comedy movies and of course their child - the romantic comedy, but each in their own respective ways.

In terms of romantic films, the trailer usually has to show some kind of "action" in order to attract an audience, and by action, I mean the kissing or sex kind. However, that inherently gives away so much of the plot; especially if they decide to include the grand climatic "run into each other's arms" moment.

Here's one example that I remember turned me off from watching the movie initially. I'm not certain that I would consider Letters to Juliet of a true romance film caliber, but as it's hardly humorous, I suppose it counts. For guys who wouldn't watch a chick flick, just watch the trailer and you'll pretty much know the entire story.

Now comedy movies, tend to feel inclined to stuff the trailers with every funny scene in the movie. It's almost like they don't think people will go to watch if they're unconvinced of the funniness of the movie, but honestly, it shouldn't take that much effort if the movie is truly funny. The evident chemistry between the actors alone should be able to sell the film. For example, I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Due Date during the previews for some film, I nearly died laughing just watching Zach Galifianakis laughing during the first 30 seconds of the trailer; that alone was enough to entice me to watch the film. Imagine my disappointment when those who watched the movie told me afterwards that every good moment was already revealed in the trailer. Well, that was that; I never did end up watching the movie. But seriously, why reveal your catch phrase in the trailer?!?! Rather than having the audience walk out the theater quoting your movie, they'll be strolling out their living rooms quoting the trailer.

As for romantic comedies, the producers are obviously just trying to tempt viewers with the clich├ęd "happy ending" without which it wouldn't truly by a romantic comedy. But, seeing as romantic comedies are by nature very predictable, why give away the entire plot in a trailer? We know that girl will meet boy, and girl will fall in love with boy, and boy will fall in love with girl, throw in some conflict, stir up some angst, convenient solution, and *poof* happy ending. Still, I need the trailer to give me some hope that this one will be different, not just the same characters with different costumes on and a different beautiful backdrop. In general, romantic comedies really have to work on the predictability factor, but that's a whole other discussion. (See trailer of No Strings Attached).

On a more interesting note, how funny is it that Natalie Portman's new movie is almost identical to her best friend and recent Black Swan costar Mila Kunis' new film Friends with Benefits. Which do you think will be better? I have to say, Mila's has the better trailer by far. The funny scenes are funnier, the sexy scenes seem sexier, and their chemistry just seems more laid back than acted. Or maybe it's just because of how hot Justin Timberlake looks in it, and I don't even usually think that of him. In The Social Network...he just looked mehhh...In this trailer, it's like he discovered the Fountain of Youth, or made a deal with alien lifeforms to grant him 10 years back.

So, this blog seems to have run overtime. Hopefully in the next few days, I'll be more concise as I move down the list. All I know is that I refuse to let this list build up neglected any longer. For now,
Why trailers, why?