Sunday, February 27, 2011

I promise I haven't forgotten about you!

I know it's been a while since my last post, but I have a good reason. Since my car wreck (two and a half weeks ago!) I have done nothing but obsess over cars online. I am finally getting my check from insurance this week, so hopefully this weekend I will have a new (or new-to-me) car! I don't want to post pictures of the one I am looking at because I don't want to jinx it, so here are some funny videos instead...

Keep an eye out, I've got a post on some crazy cover bands coming up, and then eventually my new car!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My long weekend, in pictures

Here are a few random photos from what happened this weekend in Knoxville.

I got creeped out by hundreds of dolls while visiting my step-grandmother Marie for the first time in 18 years, since my Papaw died. My mom has put off visiting for a long time, but we finally went. She was even able to get some pictures from when she was younger and some pictures of my Papaw, neither of which she had many of. 

We went to a some estate sales and the flea market, which is where I saw this Slap Chop impersonator. He even had a microphone headset. 

We got to share some great meals with family. This was from Sunday night when we went to Kanpai. The chef made our rice into Hello Kitty! (this was before he noticed that I was actually wearing a Hello Kitty shirt under my jacket)

Shane went from this... this. 
He'll probably kill me for putting these pictures on here, but I think they're funny. Plus they show you that he is sometimes incapable of taking a picture without making a silly face.

And we rode in the car for a really long time. 

This is by no means everything we did this weekend, but those other times I was too busy enjoying myself to pull out my camera. I am glad that we got to see everybody. Even though it has just been since Christmas when I saw them last, it feels like a lot longer! I can't wait until we get to go back to Tennessee for another visit, hopefully really soon. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

High School memories...on floppy disk!

While going through some things at my parents' house, I found a paper (saved on floppy disk!) from my senior year of high school when I took senior project. For any of you that don't know, senior project is when you basically get to leave school in 4th period to go volunteer somewhere or get a job, and you have to write a paper about what you learned during your project. Here is my paper, about my experiences with Independent Study Italian, my chosen project. Y'all might not find this as funny as I do, but I think it's absolutely hilarious. This paper had to be 5 pages, and you can definitely tell I was trying to B.S. my way through it. Enjoy!

            In the spring of 2005, I went to the guidance office, as all other Powell High School students do, to schedule the next year of classes, my senior year. I knew that I had some important decisions to make, because I didn’t want to load myself down. Not only do I take classes on the AP level, but I also am co-captain of the Powell Pantherettes Dance Team and I am a member of the BETA Club. I knew, however, that the year would be busy regardless of what I signed up for.
            For some unknown reason, when I entered the office of Ms. McCluen, I signed up for AP Calculus. Looking back, I don’t know if I had a moment of insanity or something, but there was no way I could have taken that class! I already had signed up for three other AP classes, French IV and V AP and English IV AP. Needless to say, when I went to pick up my schedule, I instantly picked up a schedule change application. After some hard work by guidance, no doubt, it was fixed. I picked up my schedule, and it read as follows: “English IV AP, Cassell; French IV AP, Taylor; Keyboarding/Keyboarding Applications, Lentz; Senior Project, Cagle.” I about died. I did not want to have to be in Senior Project! I knew it was better that Calculus, but at that moment, I wanted to switch back. It is not like I don’t want to get to leave school early and get a job and earn money and all that fun stuff, it is just the fact that I can’t. As already mentioned, I am on the dance team. We have practice two times a week after school in the lobby. It would be impractical for me to leave, work for probably about an hour, then come right back. I had no clue what to do for my project that would allow me to go to practice, but still earn all my hours. I figured that my project would end up being something lame that I hated. Finally, the perfect solution came to me in a miraculous dream that also showed me my future.
            Just kidding! Madame told me the idea, and I ran with it. Her idea was for me to study Italian independently in her classroom. It was perfect. I could sit in there, while she had French IV AP, the second class, and study on my own. She already had the books for me to use from when she taught a weekly survival Italian course after school for those of us going with her to Italy. I already knew a little Italian from that course. And most of all, it worked out great for me. My dilemma of being at school at was solved, and I would be doing something that I actually wanted to do!
            I soon found out that studying something independently is not as easy as it sounds. Sure, I had no problem teaching myself, it was motivating myself that I had a hard time with. I found myself not wanting to do the work. It wasn’t like I didn’t like learning a third language or anything, just that like anyone else, I guess I had a little case of “senioritis” and I didn’t want to work. But I got through it. I have to work hard at it, and sometimes it is really tough. I just keep pushing myself to do my best and not give up.
            I learned a lot through studying a third language. It was easier to learn it, because I could relate it to French. For instance, it took me a long time to understand the concept of forming verbs in the past tense in French. When I studied it in Italian, I could make sense out of it by saying, “Oh, I get it, passato prossimo is like passé compose!” However, though it does make things easier, it also makes things harder. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it is the truth. I can understand the concept more easily, but it is easy to replace a French word with an Italian one. I was taking a test in French class, and we had to write a composition. All of a sudden, I could not remember the French word for “angry.” All that popped into my head was arribiata, which is the Italian word for ”angry; spicy.” I was forced to add this word into my all-French composé, because the word “angry” was vital to the whole idea of the paragraph. I was a little arribiata at myself for forgetting this word, and that I had to substitute. I have tried harder now not to get the two mixed up, and I have to make sure that I remember that although I can relate the two, they are not interchangeable.
            I loved the chance to learn a third language. I love speaking French, but I wanted to know more. Languages are like the saying on the back of the Lay’s potato chip bag, “Can’t have just one” or whatever it says.  It is very important for people, especially the current generation, to know more than English. It is visible that there is a need for multilingualism not only when one is traveling abroad but also right here at home. In East Tennessee, more and more Spanish-speaking people are coming to work and live. Some can only speak Spanish. Many people are very closed-minded and say, “They’re in our country, why can’t they learn our language?” Also, through two trips to Europe, I have been shocked at what I saw. In Paris, almost every person I encountered spoke at least some English. This shows that Americans have traveled to Europe, and have been so insistent on speaking English that the French were forced to learn English to keep the Americans coming. Americans have such a feeling that they are superior to everyone. Although they say that immigrants should know English before coming to America, they are mad when they travel abroad and find out that “Wait, you mean these French people don’t speak English?” English is not even the most widely spoken language in the world, it is Mandarin Chinese. Americans need to realize that there is a lot more to the world that just America. The world would be a much better place if more people were multilingual. There would not be such a problem between nations if they could sort things out face to face, and not through interpreters.
            Independently studying Italian for my senior project was a great idea. I got to learn some Italian, as well as more of an understanding of the Italian people. I enjoyed the Senior Project class a lot more than I thought I would. Although I found the daily schedule and the journals a little tedious, it was a good system. After being given the chance to study a third language, I would love to continue learning languages in college. I believe that I will continue with my French and also take Spanish. It is important for people to know more than one, even two languages, and for people to understand others a little more. That is what studying Italian has helped me to see.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Adventures in getting lost

I used to think that I was pretty good with directions. Shoot, I navigated the streets and subways of both New York City and Paris like I had lived there my whole life. But for some reason, you put me behind the wheel of a car in Baltimore County and I end up driving in circles for hours. I just can't get a mental map of the area in my head. 

Today I had to go to Westminster for a job interview (which I got the job, by the way!) which is a super cute little town. All the buildings in the downtown area had amazing architecture and colorful paint jobs, like in this picture I snapped at a red light...  

...notice the little red phone booth? That is a sure sign that Westminster is a cool place to be. 

Anyways, on my way back home, I had to stop by a place in Owings Mills where I left my coat yesterday. That is when trouble started. I got confused on how to get back on the interstate, which happened to me yesterday too, and had to turn around. I finally figured it out, but ended up going north instead of south and ended up back in Westminster. This is when it really hit the fan, because my phone died, meaning I couldn't Google Maps it out of there, and I couldn't call Shane for directions. Luckily I followed some signs "To Baltimore" and made it back to the interstate. 

You would think "oh, she made it to the interstate, surely she got home with no trouble from there." And you would be wrong. You see, by this point, I had driven around for nearly an hour, and I was hitting the pre-rush hour traffic. I heard on the radio that there was a bad car accident on the way to my house and that the traffic was backed up really far. Apparently I don't learn from my mistakes, and I got off the interstate early to try to miss the traffic. The main road was really busy, so I tried to go back roads. Not surprisingly, I got lost in this same area of town last week. I didn't know my way around any better this time either. I got so lost, I ended up finding someone with a Pennsylvania license plate and following them, hoping they were headed home. And they were! I finally made it home, turning what should have been a 30 minute trip into a TWO HOUR expedition. 

Unfortunately, Shane got home about 30 minutes before I did. When he tried to call me and I didn't answer, he got a little freaked out. It didn't help that the bad car accident (which was on the interstate right near our condo) was caused by a car exactly like my rental car. I felt so bad that I made him worry so much, but I had no way of contacting him! 

I guess the moral of the story is that from now on, I am *not* leaving the house without a fully charged cell phone, car charger, change for a pay phone, and the GPS!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Definitely jinxed myself

If you read my last post, you will know exactly where I went wrong. Random fact #7 was all about my car and how I've had it for six years, blah blah blah. Today that kind of all changed...

The total damage sustained by the Suburban that I hit (along with my bumper laying on the ground under it)

And my car. 

 If you look at the ground, you can see all the oil that leaked out everywhere. 

If you look carefully on the left side of my bumper and see that silver rectangle...that's the "no holes" license plate frame I just spent $85 on. A lot of good that's gonna do me now. 

Looks like a sad face :(

And there it goes.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the insurance people so I can get a rental car, and hopefully my car can get fixed. I'm kinda going to expect the worst, just so I won't be disappointed. To say that I have an emotional attachment to this car is a big understatement. I can't stand to think about the fact that it might just be too expensive to fix, and I may never get to drive it again. And to think, yesterday my biggest concern was that I was going to have to get my window tint removed to pass Maryland state inspection. 

Lots of changes, and an award!

First off, if you have read my blog before then you will notice that I changed a ton of stuff today! I decided to get rid of the stock Blogger template and make something that was a little more *me.* In the process, I got really frustrated, but eventually learned a little about HTML coding, and I think I have everything set how I want it. Who knows, you could come back tomorrow and the whole thing might be different.

Next, I would like to thank my friend Elizabeth from Lilly Lu's Collection for giving me this award...

I love blogging, and I am glad that others enjoy reading what I have to say! And I am glad to have been nominated by Elizabeth, she is actually one of my old co-workers from Old Navy and about the sweetest person you will ever meet. She also has a really cute line of hair accessories on Etsy, you should definitely check it out here! There are a few rules that come along with getting this award...once awarded, you must write 7 facts about yourself and then award it to fellow bloggers; make sure to let them know! Also, link back to the one who awarded you!

My 7 Random Facts (trust me, they will be random): 

1. I love anything and everything pink. I would have pink hair right this very minute, but can't because I'm looking for a job :(

2. I am absolutely addicted to Dr. Pepper. I quit once, for about 2 years. When I first tasted a Dr. Pepper after that hiatus, I actually said "OMG this tastes terrible, why would anyone drink this?" Now I'm addicted again, I think it's the bubbles. I'm not affected by the caffeine at all. 

3. When I was little, I wanted to be a hair stylist / marine biologist / architect and I also wanted to be in the Air Force. Those last three things are because of my dad, not really sure where the hair stylist thing came from (probably because I cut my own bangs once the day before picture day, talk about a hack job), and also not sure why I wanted to be all those things at once. 

4. Those previous visions for future careers are actually more thought out than my current plan. Despite changing my major three times in college (that's four majors total), I still am not sure what I want to do with my life. 

5. Pink wasn't always my favorite color. In elementary/middle school, it was green. Why? Because it was the color of trees and grass, and I thought it would make me seem cool and eco-friendly or something. This was before Al Gore "invented" global warming and you saw "go green" everywhere. That's me, always a step ahead. 

6. I used to consider myself the queen of random facts (about other things, not myself) but now I have forgotten most of them. My favorite from those glory days: The average raindrop falls at a speed of 9 MPH. 

7. I am the proud owner of a 2004 Satellite Edition New Beetle (one of only 1200 made). I drove it proudly for 4 years without so much as a scratch, and then got two dents in the same week, in my own driveway. I have now had it for nearly 6 years. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me they liked my *stock* wheels, I would be a very rich lady by now. 

There are my facts, I warned you they would be super random! Now, I would like to pass along this award to one of my best friends / sorority sisters, Julie Ann! We had a good 4.5 year run together in college, and decided that starting blogs would be a great way to keep in touch. Check hers out here: 

Monday, February 7, 2011

The day I tried digital illustration

I got bored today and decided to pull out my Wacom tablet and draw some stuff. Turns out it is really hard, and I kind of only know how to draw two things...


and Charlie
I actually spent a while on Charlie, trying to get him to look semi-decent. It is way harder than you would think to draw a white fuzzy dog! 

I need to work on my skills and then maybe I there will be more cute drawings in the future. 

Capitalism at its best...Super Bowl 2011 Commercials

Did you miss the Super Bowl XLV commercials? Or just want to watch them again? We all know that's the best part (although the Black Eyed Peas performance was pretty kick-a**)! I had a hard time choosing which ones were the best, so here are my top 10 favorites from this year...

1. The new VW Passat. Even though they didn't show the cuter, extended version during the Super Bowl, this was still my favorite ad. 

2. The Audi A8. Awesome car, hilarious commercial. 

3. I was determined to hate the new New Beetle out of principle (seriously, why make a "Final Edition" Beetle if it's really not the end?) but this commercial has me thinking differently. 

4. That beaver is just absolutely adorable. 

5. I don't even like Coca Cola (much more of a Dr. Pepper addict) but this one made me smile.

6. Again, I don't even like Bud Light, or beer in general, but this one was too good.

7. She hits a chick in the head with a Pepsi Max can. OMG

8. "I feel like a wrestler in a folding chair factory!"-- new favorite line

9. "Are you trying to steal my engine?"

10. This one teaches an important life lesson...always let others go first, or you could end up with a foot for a head. 

Honorable Mention
11. While watching this commercial, I didn't really know what to think. Doritos commercials always seem to be pretty out there, and this one definitely followed suit. Even though it ended funny, it was kinda iffy there for a minute. 

So now that you know what I thought of the commercials, let me know what you think! What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial this year? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy 125th Groundhog Day!

"Groundhog Day is a lot like a rock concert, but the people are better behaved and there's a groundhog involved" --Tom Chapin, editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper

In case you missed it, this morning Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring! Good news, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Have you ever wondered why Groundhog Day got started in the first place? According to the official Groundhog Day website, the day is a blend of ancient Roman and Christian traditions and was brought to the United States (Pennsylvania if you want to get specific) by German immigrants. In 1887, the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was formed, and the annual ceremony featuring Punxsutawney Phil was started.

Some more fun facts from National Geographic:

-There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. Yep, that's right, he's "immortal" and is kept alive by an annual sip of the "elixir of life" at the Groundhog Summer Picnic. Kind of sounds like the Sorcerer's Stone from Harry Potter if you ask me.

-Phil can speak to the Groundhog Club in Groundhogese to tell them his weather prediction.

-Phil is actually the wrong sort of animal. In the ancient traditions, a hedgehog was the one to predict the weather.

-The annual predictions are only about 40% accurate. Maybe if we had a hedgehog instead...

-PETA actually wants to replace Phil with a robotic groundhog. According to a letter they sent to the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper, "other popular exhibitions have featured robotic penguins and dolphins that swim and communicate just like real animals do." First off, I want to know where these fake penguins and dolphins are? Secondly, the idea that they could make a passable robot groundhog is even crazier than thinking that Phil is actually 125 years old. And how could they possibly think Phil is being oppressed? He is probably the fattest, most well fed groundhog ever, has thousands of fans, and lives in his own personal zoo.

I am definitely thinking a trip to the Groundhog Day celebration is in order for next year. So what if it is 4.5 hours away? Where else can you stand in the freezing cold to see men in tuxedos and top hats translate a groundhog's weather prediction (which honestly is probably more accurate than an actual weather man) along with tens of thousands of people? Sounds like a blast to me!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Went for a movie, got a real show

Shane and I tried to go see The Green Hornet this weekend at Towson Commons. Little did we know, the pub right down the block was on fire. It was pretty crazy actually. They had the whole place shut down, with firetrucks and firefighters everywhere! Luckily, no one was hurt. I hear that the students at Towson University are pretty upset though, it was a popular place for them to hang out.