Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cupcakes, Whacks and Ice Cream

In case you haven't caught on, I've been thinking a lot about about time machines lately. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because going back to a different time seems more interesting than going forward with my 21st century life at the moment.

Last weekend I was talking with my cousin and best friend Mikyla about the need to travel through centuries, and she said something that made me think:

"If I had a time machine, I would go whack Aristotle on the head."

While I personally have nothing against Aristotle, the concept of being able to travel through history doling out whacks on the head to people I think are silly was strangely exciting. Over the past week I've been contemplating the issue, and "who in history would you like to whack" has become my favourite hypothetical question to ask people.

Mikyla and I also came up with a system of benevolence to reward the historical figures we admired or felt sorry for. Those we think are awesome, we would give cupcakes. Those we feel pity for, we would take out for ice cream.

So here is my final list of those I would like to give a cupcake, those I would take out for ice cream, and those I would dearly love to whack on the head.

NOTE: Most people who read this blog know that my religious views would suggest that this list be narrowed down to certain people. However, to keep this blog from becoming a religious rant, I've just left my religious heroes out.

I would give cupcakes to . . .
1. Johannes Gutenberg
2. Abbott Suger - developed Gothic architecture
3. Martin Luther
4. Michelangelo
5. Louis Sullivan - I'd also tell him I prefer him to Frank Lloyd Wright
6. Elizabeth Gaskell
7. The peasants in France right before the revolution. After all, Marie Antoinette did say she wanted them to have cake.
8. C. S. Lewis - and hopefully he would invite me for tea.
9. Nellie Bly
10. Jean-Francois Millet

I would like to whack . . .
1. King Henry VIII
2. Eleanor of Acquitaine
3. Peter the Hermit - I'd also whack a lot of his crusader friends while I was there.
4. Emily Bronte
5. Heinrich Himmler
6. Marie Antoinette
7. Johann Tetzel - although I'd like to see if he really was as persuasive a speaker as they say. Maybe I'd listen to his indulgences ad campaign and then whack him.
8. Christopher Columbus
9. James Dean - I've always found him irritating.
10. Adolf Loos - I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks ornament is a portrayal of deceit, degeneracy and immorality needs to be whacked on the head.

I would take out for ice cream . . .
1. Lady Jane Grey
2. Artemesia Gentilesci - artist tortured for claiming her master raped her.
3. Joan of Arc
4. John F. Kennedy
5. Corrie ten Boom - and I mainly picked her because Anne Frank has more screen time, but maybe I'd also consider little girls in this era who did not have their stories become bestsellers.
6. All those architects who had their work credited as Frank lloyd Wright's.
7. Margaret MacDonald - the architect who's husband was credited with most of her work.
8. Hatshepsut - I actually waver on this one. I pity someone who has themselves depicted as a man in sculptures so they can be accepted, but I may also be tempted to whack her and say, "You idiot, why would you marry your own stepson?"
9. Vincent Van Gogh
10. Catherine of Aragon - Henry VIII first wife

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If I Had a Time Machine . . .

I would:

1. Sit in on one of C.S. Lewis's lectures at Oxford
2. Attend the 1851 London Exhibition at the Crystal Palace
3. Attend the Paris Exhibition in 1889 at the Palais des Machines, when the Eiffel Tower was built
4. Sneak into a meeting of the Inklings
5. Find out how Napoleon really died
6. Ditto Jim Thompson
7. Visit Jane Austen before she was a famous author to verify that Tom Lefroy was not actually her lover so I can watch Becoming Jane and laugh
8. Attend the first production of Peter Pan
9. See the Beatles perform, in the early days, when they were still cute
10. Go to the Paris Salon in 1865 and introduce myself to Manet
11. Meet Jean-Francois Millet, Vincent Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, Sandro Boticelli, Louis Sullivan
12. Visit Cluny III (the abbey) while it was still standing
13. Witness the miracle of the loaves and the fishes
14. Watch the original olympics in Ancient Greece
15. Check out the Sphinx back in the days he had a nose
16. Attend a real Victorian tea party where you get to wear the cool hats
17. Go to the first viewing of La Sortie de l'usine Lumiere a Lyon and see the reactions on people's faces
18. Attend a Jane Austen-era ball
19. Visit Thailand when Ayutthaya was the capital, before it was invaded
20. Meet Gilbert and Sullivan, see the premiere of Pirates of Penzance
21. Ask Elizabeth Gaskell how she was planning on ending Wives and Daughters.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Inkling for Hot Beverages

My literary hero is C.S. Lewis. He is without a doubt, my favourite author, my favourite book of all time is his (The Silver Chair), and just as a person I find him fascinating. If I had a time machine, the first thing I would do is attend one of his lectures at Oxford.

For those who do not research Lewis in their spare time, or have not read Here, There Be Dragons, Lewis is a member of "The Inklings," a literary group of writers and editors at Oxford who read to critique each other's work, make fun of work they did not like, and see who could write the worst. They often met in a nearby pub called the The Eagle and Child. If I ever get that time machine, another thing I will do is attend an Inklings meeting, although that could be difficult, being a girl.

Last week was reading week, and my best friend and cousin Mikyla came to visit. We are kindred spirits based not only on the fact that we have been shoved together since birth, but also because we have the common dream of becoming published authors. When we get together, our conversations often revolve around our work and new character exercises we have learned. Because we are both aspiring fantasy writers, we feel a connection to the Inklings, or at least, we want to be like them. So while Kya was in town, we tried our own version of an Inkling meeting.

We didn't go to a pub, we went to a coffee shop and drank tea. For a couple hours we took over the couch and discussed dragons and fairytale adaptations. We even got some decent work done. We have decided that in our budding version of the Inklings, Kya is Tolkein, I am Lewis, and Janine is Charles Williams. These are the original members of the group.

We are still working out a few things, like a cooler place to meet than a chain coffee shop, and our own name that is not copying our heroes, but we were still very pleased with ourselves. After all, I will probably never get that time machine. I may as well just do my best to be like my hero rather than pin my hopes on science to create a way for me to meet him.

The Weekend of E and T

The Sweethearts Dance was just over a week ago. The Sunday before, there was a pitiful number of guys who had actually gotten around to inviting someone, even worse than usual due to hardly any advertising, and some girls were getting antsy.

It was under these circumstances that the girls of the Foothills Ward Choir gathered together before the tenors and basses arrived for rehearsal to comment on how disappointed they were in the lack of boys planning ahead. Of course, they were all careful to say, "Not that I really mind, I don't care if I go to Sweethearts," when everyone knew they really did care whether or not they went.

However, the girls of FWC are, if nothing else, good at preparing for the worst, and decided during this whinefest that instead of going to Sweethearts, they would honour an old girlpower tradition and celebrate passover.

No, they are not converting to Judaism, this passover has nothing in common with the real one other than the name. Our passover is a celebration of all the girls who have been passed over for Sweethearts, and how they don't need dates to feel complete, although that would certainly help. This particular passover party would honour another scorned women tradition by the consumption of large quantities of chocolate in the shape of fondue. So it was with merry hearts (and the provision that they all may cancel based on the behaviour of certain boys) that these girls made plans for Friday night.

Friday night rolled around, and we all went to passover. Good times were had, chocolate and hot cheese were consumed, a raucous game of charades was played, and girl power music was pumped through the house. I also had a great visit with one or two of the girls I am closer with on boys we may or may not be interested in, depending on if they ask us out or not. I left at the end of the evening feeling happy and high on estrogen.

Saturday afternoon, I got a text from my friend Robin, you know the one who always comes to all our parties, no matter how pathetic they are. He was trying to get a group of people together to play lasertag that night, and even offered to pick me up. Before my older sisters can start asking questions, NO. This was NOT a date. I payed for myself, we were not paired off, and it wasn't even really planned in advance. He just gave me a ride.

However, after Robin picked me up, I discovered that "group of people" had a new meaning; me, Robin, and our friend McKay. Plus there were supposed to be more guys, but they cancelled. I was the only girl who had planned to come. As if that wasn't enough testosterone, a bachelor party was also present at laserquest. So the night after my girl power passover party, I found myself out with two guy friends shooting guns with more guys celebrating being male. How interesting.

On the way home the guys talked about guns and quading, and then when they realized that there was, in fact, a female in the car, jokingly started talking about Barbies.

Most people in their twenties like to have a healthy mixture of testosterone and estrogen at their social gatherings, especially if they are in the Mormon YSA scene. I on the other hand, apparently keep them divided by having girls night on Friday, and tagging along to guys night Saturday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's an Addiction

This past Thursday I had a midterm in one of my art history classes. The exam was on modern architecture, and I spent much of the day before and morning of memorizing the dates, architects and locations of various important buildings around the world. Rob, my professor, is a teacher I have written exams with before, and he always follows the same format; a week before the exam, he will post a powerpoint with a variety of slides from lecture. They'll vary in different topics we discuss, and his students are expected to remember everyone. In the exam, he will choose a handful of those slides (this exam used 4 out of 14), ask you to name the details, and then write a small paper on it, which he usually likes to be around two and a bit pages.

It can be daunting, trying to memorize the details of that many slides when you know you will have to use so little, but by lunchtime Thursday, I was actually having a riot with it. My mom quizzed me and I was actually excited when I recited the use of catenaries in Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. I looked through the slides trying to guess which images he would use, but more for which ones I thought would be more fun to write about then to focus my studying.

Exam time rolled around, and when Rob put the first slide up, I started doing a little happy dance in my chair. This had been one of my top preferences for the exam. The following three were equally as pleasing. I was the last person out of the exam, not because I was slow but because I was having so much fun writing that exam, I didn't want it to end.

Before you write me off as a total geek, let me explain. Actually, the explanation will make me sound like more of a dork, so just write me off anyway. I get the strangest buzz from writing art history exams. It's like a sugar rush, or what I imagine caffeine highs would be like. After a bad week I left that exam feeling energized and excited. The whole world seemed more beautiful, and I just wanted to sing out loud and write about the artistry of terra cotta skyscrapers forever.

If only there were actual careers in art history. Then I could be this happy all the time.