At the risk of alienating my oh-so-devoted readers

(you know who you are) (hint: you’re reading this), I have a few confessions that I need to make.  I have been blogging here for over half a year, and I feel our relationship is ready for some hard truths.  So here goes:

1) I don’t like cheescake.  I just don’t.  I realize that cheesecake is, as my brother says, “cake for people who don’t like cake,” but I just don’t like it.  I’ve gotten many blank stares from upset/confused people over the years.  And yes, people have tried to fix me.  Nothing works. 

In my defense, I didn’t like chocolate as a child.  I overcame that issue (which was by far the more heinous crime), and I think conquering one popular food avoidance is enough for a lifetime.

2) I have never bonded with a dog.  Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs.  They’re awesome and cute and fun and I like hanging out with them because they enhance my life.  Kind of like a pair of awesome purple socks that I own.  But, like the socks, I can live without them.  And I’ve never, ever felt that connection that people talk about.  I wouldn’t push a button that would kill a random person on another continent in order to save my dog’s life.  (Yes, there are people who would do that.)  I’ve never felt like a dog was empathizing with me, or understood me when no human could. 

Honestly though, I’ve never had a dog as a personal pet (we’ve had them as family pets), and I’ve never watched one grow from a puppy.  So I think I could change my attitude if I tried.  The thing is, I don’t care enough to try.  Why?  Because I love cats.  Love.  Adore a la ancient Egyptians.  I don’t want to stoop to a cats vs. dogs post here, so I’m not going to expand on my affections.  Let’s just say that when I was eight I wrote a farewell ode to my runaway cat.  I’ve never even thought about writing poetry to a canine. 

3) I love (love love) the Beatles, but have never understood the lyrics to their hit song “All you need is love.”  They don’t make sense. 

They basically consist of a list of things you can’t do if they can’t be done:

There’s nothing you can say that can’t be said

Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung,

etc. 

which leads to the chorus: “All you need is love.” 

The effect of the setup and resolution (nothing you can do that can’t be done, therefore all you need is love) is jarring.  I finally looked it up, and my favorite interpretation is: It doesn’t matter that there’s a bunch of stuff that you can’t do or doesn’t make sense because all you need is…

Some inquantifiable Beatles questions: How many people would be able to hum the first few lines of the French national anthem if it weren’t for this song?  How many people will be forever confused as to the correct spelling of the bug “beetle” because of the Beatles?

**

This makes me laugh:

 

I always thought it would be cool to go into advertising

because its an industry that encourages creativity, humor and originality.  For example, a Nike commercial that took real footage of an enthusiastic streaker at a football (soccer) game and turned it into a shoe commercial.  I like this streaker because he is enjoying himself so fully.  And he’s so persistent…and is wearing a great scarf.  “That’s an image that will be burned onto my retina.”

Awesome.  Watch it.

I recently watched a video with a bunch of lame pick up lines which were interspersed by a few gems, including the following:

“Kiss me if I’m wrong, but isn’t your name Miley?”

and the slightly different, bolder:

“Have babies with me if I’m wrong, but isn’t your name Miley?”

**

I’m also doing wonderfully productive things with my time.  But, like in a film or novel where they don’t show the characters sleeping or using the restroom, I don’t think those life details will have great appeal.

I did get to explain the difference between fun and funny to a Swedish man recently.  Swedes have difficulty with these words because they have one word, rolig, which means both fun and funny in Swedish.  The problem is, fun and funny are related enough to almost make sense when interchanged, which I’m assuming is why most English teachers don’t nip this in the bud.

For example:  “Carl, how was the party on Saturday?”

“Oh, I had a great time.  It was so funny!”

Yes.  It could have been hilarious.  But from context (and body/facial cues), he probably meant enjoyable.  Swedes got the bad end of the deal on this one – I’d much rather learn a language with less words and hope that the word I used has at least one applicable meaning.

Back to my mini “fun/funny” lesson (which was, naturally, both fun and funny): I had a difficult time explaining the difference, for the same reason that they have a difficult time discerning one – many funny situations are also fun.  Also, I laugh too much.

Therefore my explanation went something like this:

“Funny is like haha.  Funny.”

“OK.  And what’s fun?”

“Fun is…when you’re enjoying yourself.  Like haha, this is fun!”

“???  So if I say you are a fun person…”

“I am a fun person!”

“Do I mean you make me laugh?”

“No.  Well you might.  I’m funny!”

“???”

Yes.  His confusion (as well as looking at this conversation in retrospect) makes me question my choice of temporary career.  Teaching English is possibly not the best route for someone as dimensionally challenged as I am.  I don’t think that’s a term.  But basically, I’m usually on a different plane than people I’m interacting with.  Not ahead or behind – just removed.

I also probably shouldn’t be an English teacher because I resort to coining my own phrases instead of using one of hundreds of thousands of words available.

The GRE has been looming over my head for

oh about 2 and a half years now.  The fall after I graduated from university, I ordered Barron’s study guide and determined that I take it within the year after plenty of studying.  I wanted to take it while I was sharp from college and still had some semblance of math sense.

Fast forward two years to September 2011.  I still hadn’t taken the exam, and my study attempts had been abandoned after a couple weeks (aside from memorizing the occasional vocabulary word, which is a sometimes-secret hobby of mine).  It was during this month that I realized my long term study plans weren’t going to merge with my procrastinating personality anytime soon.  So I signed up for a test in October and ordered the latest study books (the format of the test changed in August).  I was determined to fully utilize the month I had.  Fast forward three weeks: the GRE was a week away, and I had yet to properly crack my new books.  My exam was on Friday.  So I cleared my Thursday. I took practice tests all day, and then looked up tips for taking the test.  My favorite tip: DO NOT STUDY FOR THE GRE THE DAY BEFORE.  NOW IS THE TIME TO LET YOUR BRAIN RELAX.  I did some quick mental math (recently acquired from my day of staring at quantitative questions) and decided that when applied to my study timeline, this advice was actually relevant for the couple hours before my test in the morning.  I therefore did not take my book on the metro with me.  (Yes, I took my SAT book to the SATs).

**

I was determined not to pull an Annie (name changed).  Annie is my 20-something cousin who decided that a spike in caffeine levels would spike her LSAT score. (Caffeine sends your brain into overdrive mode?).  To achieve said spike, she went off coffee for months prior to the exam (after being an extreme addict), and then overindulged on the morning of the test.  Like, had several cups.  Unfortunately, the buzz was killed by an irresistible desire to urinate in the middle of one of the sections.  It turned out that the bathroom was in ANOTHER building.  Yup.  Anyways, Annie happens to be quite a bright thing, and she still received high enough marks to get a full ride to a top 10 law school.  Blah di blah.  (But really, wasn’t her horror story more interesting than her happy ending?)

So, my list of goals for the GRE:

-be hydrated, but not too much so: I drank some water.  And whizzed about 5 times before the 10 a.m. exam

-consume brain food:  I brought a banana.   I did not eat this banana during my 10 minute break, because the reality is that I don’t actually like bananas.  (Don’t judge me.)  (It was for emergencies.  They can ward off foot cramps.)

-force a lot of people to pray for me, particularly those who are pure of heart: I managed to ask a few people, but didn’t get a chance to send the request at my group of girls.  However, seeing as God knows the future, I might have people send a few retroactive prayers my way.

-don’t freak out over one math problem: this, I did not manage to achieve.  Problem number 16, section 2, sucked up my time like Edward Cullen.  Unlike Edward, it did not do this out of my own best interest.  Jerk.  This meant that problem 17, 18, and 19 were all answered in under a minute.  Which meant that I guessed.  Which would have been alright – I would have had a 1/4 of a chance – except that two of them weren’t multiple choice.  So I had a 1/100000000000 chance.  (yes, I’m bright).

Unfortunately, my list of goals did not include “don’t get sore throat two days before test” or “no loose bowel movements on the morning of the test.”  (Hmmm. I hope I used that term correctly).  These were surmountable.  The most unfortunate goal I forgot was “get to location on time without getting lost.”  Though I have a dodgy sense of direction at best (“If God is good, you are the Satan of directions” – my bro), I thought I had compensated by looking up  and printing out Google directions from the T stop.  Unfortunately this didn’t include the exit or the first street (the Google label of “unknown street” should have given me a clue here).  So I asked three different people, one of whom pulled out a smart phone.  None of them could figure it out, and I walked a bit wildly, hoping the street would suddenly appear as if from nowhere.  It did.  Laaaaaaa. During my panicky lost time, I instructed myself not to lose my cool before the test (according to another tip I had read, this was a bad idea.  Thanks internet).

Anyways, I didn’t get kicked out for being 7 minutes later than check in time (thanks for that warning ETS), and the test itself was fairly uneventful, aside from the occasional loud, strident whistling that filled the room.  I am still not sure if this was from a pipe/air vent, or a really nervous test taker (I didn’t look around).  I do know that it penetrated my ear plugs (provided by the center – awesome) and made a few people squirm.

**

Stole this from Katja.