Thanksgiving and a Much Needed Break

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Thanksgiving is almost here!

 

Most importantly, my break is almost here! It’s a little sad how excited I am. I finally get a real break from school and an extended visit of my family back in St. Louis, MO.

 

We’ve been worked pretty hard here at MCAD and I think everyone is ready for a break. Everyone needs to stop doing school and work 24/7 and needs to take a break and be pampered by family. And I’m not an exception to that generalization. Even though we still have school work, it will be, for the most part, a relaxing week of not having to bus everywhere and worry about groceries all the time.

 

That being said, I’m definitely excited to see my entire family again. Not only my parents, but my grandparents and cousins as well. Our family has also reconnected with my dad’s estranged sister, which has been interesting. She has a younger daughter, who is apparently fascinated with me and incredibly nice. And despite what I’ve heard about my aunt, she seems like a nice person as well and treats me as if there was never a misstep (but then again…maybe that’s weird?)

 

Most importantly, I’m excited to see my boyfriend. He’s decided, after long debate (and why shouldn’t he think hard about it, he’s lived in St. Louis his whole life) to move to Minneapolis with me once he finishes college. Even though it won’t be until next spring semester, I’m still really excited already. Over break I think we’re going to start a joint savings and start making a cushion for ourselves so we don’t have to worry as much for the immediate few months/weeks we are in Minneapolis together having to deal with rent.

 

I haven’t run any of this by my parents yet and I don’t really know if I need to until, at the earliest, summer break. I’d like their support and possibly a little help financially until we get ourselves settled, but we’ll see.

 

He’s also said he wants to marry me once we get ourselves comfortable! Eek! Cue girly squeals and jumping up and down!

 

Here’s a question, what is everyone else doing for the holidays?  Any big plans? Large family gatherings? Stuffing your faces as much as you can? Or do you have to work?

 

 

A Much Needed Update

Avoid Alzheimer's Disease 2

Avoid Alzheimer's Disease 2 (Photo credit: AlzheimerHelp)

So I do have an excuse, albeit a pretty pathetic one.

I’ve been swamped this semester with school work and everything else in life. That’s not to say things haven’t been going great, but it’s more to say that they’ve been ever-moving. I was going to just let this blog die, but I don’t think I can do that to myself, or to my readers. Even though I haven’t posted in a month, cough cough.

So a lot has happened. We’re at midterms now and I have a lot of work, but I think it’ll all be okay. I’ll jus have to be constantly busy for the next week. But then things should wind down and then breaktime! I’ll be able to write a lot during that time.

I’ve made a few new friends during my blogging hiatus, which has felt pretty nice. College friends are so different than high school ones, and it’s a fascinating discrepancy. It’s made me more outgoing and more comfortable with myself.

Work wise, I lost my two jobs from last semester (as I might have mentioned, I don’t remember). That meant this semester meant scrambling around looking for jobs, and I actually got a lot of responses and three official offers, which astounded me. I get to build a website and code it for one client, which I’m anxious to start. It’ll be a learning experience and my client is willing to learn with me. I was also offered a job as a personal assistant for a handbag designer whose headquarters are based in LA. This was exciting to me because their products have been featured in international/national magazines and on celebrities. I had accepted the job and was going to start shortly after I had talked with the woman on the phone, but the next day I got another offer at a company that I’d talked to earlier. Apparently people have heard about them, and they’re going to teach me design techniques for web/mobile design, sales, etc. They work with a lot of local venues and DJ’s, artists, etc, so hopefully it’ll move me towards what I want to do after college.

Anyway, enough about me for now. I hope you enjoyed that brief update, I’ll try my hardest to update more frequently. In the meantime, check out my Hubpages Hubs, they’re updated more frequently!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day

Image via Wikipedia

 

Unfortunately a national holiday is really the only thing that’s been going on in my life. I wasn’t able to spend the day with my boyfriend because we’re in different states, but it wasn’t quite as hard I thought it would be. I was able to keep my mind off of it and we talked a little. My roommate and one of her friends invited me to hang out for a bit before they went to a show, which was nice.

I’ve been a little lax with my homework and have been cutting it close too much, which is causing unneeded stress and lack of sleep. Part of me wants to blame the amount of work and my weird sleeping habit that I haven’t been able to shake, but most of me knows that this is stupid and it’s really all my own fault. We all have moments of time-management mistakes though, and I’ll get in control of mine.

My Hubpages is oing pretty well also. I’m amazed at the responses. As I’ve said, usually when I make blogs as an attempt to get recognized, it doesn’t add up to much. However this blog, and my HubPages one, have gotten more attention than I ever would have hoped for or expected. Not only that, but a lot of it feels like genuine interest, and the compliments I’ve gotten on my viewpoints, writing, and writing personality. The encouragement I’ve gotten has been really helpful in keeping me going and I’m having fun.

So onwards and upwards!

Hubpages Update

Blogging Heroes

They have those?

Not a lot has been going on in my life worth blogging about, so I’ll talk about my other blogging site, haha.

So Hubpages is really great. The articles are mostly informative, which is something new for me, and it’s really strictly filtered to ensure high quality writing. I’m not entirely sure how the money thing works but I think it’s just through ads.

Nevertheless it’s a great way to push and stretch my skills as a writer and my ability to coherently instruct and inform, which might help with my career. It might also get me a good reputation as a writer and a good resume addition so that I can apply for some lower end article writing jobs which will give me more options for money as well.

So my first two Hubs have gotten positive reviews thus far, and I’m up to three followers. I haven’t gotten many comments, but the ones I got are stunningly praising, and it feels like the people are truly respectful and intelligent, like they wouldn’t lie about it just to be nice or something. The comments consisted of “You’ve made a hard act to follow. And Anna, that’s a good thing” and “you should do good on this site if you continue to write like this” (although I think it should be do well…?).

Anyway, it’s definitely encouraged me to continue writing there.

Support me!

A Very Guilty Pleasure: Criminal Minds, A Review

English: The Seal of the United States Federal...

Image via Wikipedia

A Spoiler-Alerted Summary:

Criminal Minds is a series based on an elite squad of FBI agents whose purpose it is to profile victims and criminals in serial killings/crimes. Called the Behavior Analysis Unit, it consists of a few select members like any other TV FBI squad. The setup is pretty typical: the headstrong woman, the nerd, the hipster-nerd, the macho men, and the experienced veteran. The stories follow major crimes that the BAU are asked to assist with. Crimes are shown usually at the beginning of the show, where the victims are killed by an anonymous perpetrator or “unsub” as they call it. The files then get sent to BAU for assistance, and they start right away by profiling the victim through information gathered from sources ranging from closest friends and family to nosey neighbors. By profiling the victim, they are able to identify what the unsub is looking for in their potential next targets. As the agents rush to fall into step with their suspect, personal tangents are integrated into the storyline, making each character a little more human. This often offers humorous situations, but it has also (so far) led to the demise of some characters to an understandable circumstance.

This being said, around halfway through the show the agents are getting closer to their perpetrator or at least have a lead to follow. By this time, viewers watch the unsub plan his next attack and usually, their face is revealed. The FBI plays around with various leads ranging from their childhood and psychological state to injuries and jobs and potential places of favor. With the assistance of victimology (sometimes this is expanded by the unfortunate production of more victims), the FBI can start to follow tracks, and they tend to get closer and closer the more information they have obtained.

The end of the show usually begins when someone within the agency has a revelation or discovers something by luck or through a series of complex networks and searches. This lightbulb moment rushes everyone out the door for “wheels up”, where usually they call in for local police support and potentially SWAT. By splitting time between the perpetrator and the agents, the series allows the viewer to watch as the assailant begins his attack on his next victim. Usually the camera goes rapidly between the two, and many of the rescues are last minute.

The Crime Show Part of It

As a crime show, Criminal Minds is strong. Along the lines of shows such as Law and Order: Special Victim‘s Unit, Criminal Minds focuses on a very disturbing and intense subject matter. I would even go so far as to say it’s more intense and psychologically thrilling. As an enthusiast of historical serial killings (don’t read that the wrong way!), I’ve always wanted to watch this show. Psychological mutations and deficiencies have always been an interest of study for me, and the title of the show itself represents what it is.

As stated before, this show is about the BAU’s attempts to find and arrest (and sometimes kill) serial offenders. Most of the time this means killers, but sometimes rape is the only crime. For the serial killings, nothing is sugarcoated. The first episode alone forces the viewer to dive directly into the somber and gritty world of the mentally disturbed, and there’s no beating around the bush. Graphic images make it hard to eat when watching this show, but they’re like a trainwrek: you just can’t look away.

Through the profiling of the perpetrator, audiences are allowed into their minds. The show does an amazing job of slowly showing more and more without making the viewer frustrated and confused. In terms of its ability to hold attention, it does an amazing job of leading the viewer through the scenario and allowing them to make their own conclusions throughout the whole episode. The endings are often surprising, and no one is left unscathed by the tragedies of the show’s incidences. While normally crime shows (even SVU) avoid child murder because of its intensity, Criminal Minds seems to have no problems showing its audience what the real world has to offer. Realistic accounts of victimization and murderous scenarios add to the shocking reality of this show. With clips of profiler knowledge stated outright in meetings and pre-ops, one learns a lot about the governmental agencies as well (which adds a nice bonus). Unsub, for example, means unknown subject.

One of the things I really enjoy about this show is its ability to be entertaining but not terribly inaccurate. I have no doubt that the characters and departments are over-dramatized, but on the same hand the accuracy of the hard facts given and the consistency of profile types makes the show that much more solid. This came through especially in an episode which featured a Jack the Ripper copy-cat. The story briefly summarized his case by having their resident genius realize the connections to the two criminals and their way of murdering. After hearing so much about Jack the Ripper, I got curious and found a document with a summary of the killings, the profile the killer would exhibit, etc etc. in the FBI Public Archives. This was exciting to me because the information given by the show was not only accurate, but the vocabulary used was also dead-on. An impressive show of research on the writers’ part.

The cases themselves are so beyond fascinating. Ranging from serial killers who shoot their victims like animals with bows and arrows to serial arsonists who burn down houses of families and watch them burn, each case is individually disturbing. The psychological reasons behind these attacked, and the “stressor”, all connect by the end of the show and accumulate into what would be a very interesting story on the news. To watch the political footwork of the BAU and the intelligence they try to accumulate is not only fascinating, but it really makes you wonder. Not necessarily in a bad way, but not necessarily in a good way, either. Nevertheless, the choice of criminal scenario is appropriately gruesome and disturbing without being unnecessarily so. Nothing is so over the top that it would be impossible to believe its legitimacy, but all of them keep your eyes clued to the screen.

As A TV Show

I love this show, and because I’m so interested in the psychology of criminology, this will forever be on my favorites list right up there with shows like Bones and Numbers and even Monk.

To look at it objectively, however, the structure of the show lacks originality. It consists of your standard high-tech FBI space where team members work and interrogate. The character list is predictable, as well. The “boss” of the department is a young, strong looking and attractive man who can’t take a joke but is brilliant at his job. The most experienced on the team is the older profiling expert, who teaches and has done work for the CSI in psychological analysis of employees. Then there’s the boy genius, who is a young, skinny and awkward individual that spews out random facts and entered high school at the age of 12. The tech whiz of the show who is able to search, find and identify with a few clicks and clacks on the keyboard is a spunky, video-game playing, unique computer genius. She shares an oddly flirtatious relationship with the other strong male team member, who’s a black kid from the Chicago underbelly that rose above and put himself through school and then the FBI academy. There’s only one other female on the team, whose position has already switched twice in two seasons. The first withdrew from the team after losing her morale on the job. The second left for similar reasons, but more so because she felt isolated and rejected from the team. The third and current is the daughter of an Ambassador who is at first not well-received, but is blending in well with the team by showing her strength as a member.

The plot structure of each show is also pretty predictable after watching a few episodes. But like I said before, the fascinating cases make up for this. The summary pretty much details the outline of each show, so I won’t go over it again. But it’s pretty easy to determine what’ll be next. The mystery of actually solving the case and the usually unexpected endings keep it interesting.

The Verdict:

8-9/10: This show is really fascinating to me. My interest in this subject might help this, though. Despite some of the cliched or routine elements of the show being vaguely annoying, the compelling elements far outweigh them. There isn’t a constant stream of action, twists, turns and drama – instead, there’s an even pacing the allows the viewer to feel stressed at the right times, while giving them time to digest the severity of the information received.

I highly recommend this show for anyone who likes shows like Bones, Numbers, Law and Order: SVU, and Monk. Similar character development and solve-as-you-go principles are applied to all of these shows’ content. I would warn however that this show displays graphic representations of post-crime scenes and deceased bodies that do not censor the blood and ripped skin. I would also advise against watching this show if you’re squeamish – for the aforementioned reason, and because many of the episodes display graphic and gritty scenes in which a victim is being attacked. Zoom-ins on injury detail and disturbing behavior are also things to keep in mind, as well as how paranoid you are. A lot of the featured situations happen to generally insignificant people and are “this could happen to anybody” scenarios. If you’re scared to go to bed after watching shows like that, then at least don’t watch this at night.

 

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I’m A HubPages Writer!

Image representing HubPages as depicted in Cru...

Maybe a few dollars in my pocket?~

Which isn’t really anything since it’s not like I got hired, but I figured that if any of my articles get attention, I can make some money off of it. That being said, I don’t expect much, but I’m desperate. Above my header is a link for a live feed of my Hubs, and I would really appreciate your support! I plan on also posting my Hub articles on here as well, with a link to the Hub page so that if you really like what I wrote, you can support it on HubPages! It’s so easy to support me – there are shiny buttons at the end of the articles! Share via FB, Twitter, or “bump it up”.

I hope you all enjoy, please support me~

Criminal Minds

So I just received my Valentine’s Day care package from my parents (yes, I’m that kind of daughter) and it came with lots of goodies! Food, of course, is a major plus that I’m looking forward to eating. I miss soda though. I kind of want some right now but I don’t have any :<

I also got a LOT of movies, and I’m excited about that. They were all on sale. Here’s the list:

Stick It
Dinner for Schmucks 
The Social Network 
Garden State
The Hangover
Pirates of the Caribbean 
Black Swan
 

Random, I know. But I enjoy all of these movies and I’m excited to have even more to add to my collection!

On another note, I’m watching Criminal Minds right now. It’s so amazing and disturbing and fascinating. I really like the characters and I really like the story lines. Compelling and interesting. Serious, though. Hard to watch at night.

Anyway. I’m very grateful for my parents and what they’re able to give me and what they’ve sent me. They’re coming to visit next week and I’m excited to see them! A nice dinner, groceries, a car, haha.

This was just a quick little update for all of you guys. Do you like any of those movies?

So guys, last night I couldn’t go to sleep because I was just bursting with ideas. This has never happened to me before in the way that it did at 3 in the morning. Eventually, I did something about it. Now keep in mind what time it was. My main goal was to get my ideas out, so I ended up just chugging the images out one by one. It was great, and fun. And at least my idea is out there, so I can refine it while awake.

So here’s the assignment: make 8 pieces that use text/image with photo. You’ll know what I mean when you look down the page. My first critique was essentially that I had weak concepts, so now I’m trying to strengthen it through a theme. My revelation last night was to base my series off of old nursery rhymes. It started with what my teacher said was my strongest piece for Black Sheep. So here are the 7 I did last night. Of course I still have to revise because most of them are pretty shitty, ahah. But the idea is out there, and that’s what the goal was!

See if you can’t figure out what goes with what (hint, it should be reaaaally easy!):

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Three Blind Mice
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush 
Sing a Song of Sixpence 
This is the House That Jack Built

 

Let’s Talk About Bodies.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Did you know: many clothing store manequins' clothes are safetypinned in the back because the clothes are too big, despite the fact that the manequins are already unrealistically proportioned.

Ahahah, I lured you in didn’t I. Didn’t I?! In all seriousness, though. One of my friends posts on Tumblr about being thin vs being heavier and the under or overrated issues that plague them both. So here’s my two cents.

As cliched as it’s going to sound, I don’t care about if you think you’re heavy or thin. Victimizing yourself from either side is a little peevish at times, because of the fact that you’re implying the other side has it easier or at least it’s their fault whereas you’re unable to control the situation.

On both extremes of the spectrum, there are physical and biological reasons why a person can or can’t control their body weight. This can bea metabolism alteration or a psychological state that induces a certain kind of behavior.

And that means it’s not their fault, guys. It’s bad enough to say that a person is fat because they do nothing and laze around all day without the incentive to exercise…it’s equally as horrible bitching about someone who’s thin and claiming they’re anorexic or they shouldn’t complain because they get to be thin.

Both sides have disadvantages. Anyone outside the average to a substantive amount has issues. Let’s take clothes as an example. A friend complains about not being able to find pants in their size (let’s make it a her just because I’m a her and I know how sizes work for hers >>) because they’re overweight. Either the pants are never flattering in the appropriate size, or the person is also tall and thus doesn’t find anything that would adjust both to their waist and their ankles appealingly. So jeans are out of the question, as the fit can be awkward when it’s not perfect. Now let’s pan over to her friend, who’s on the other side of the scale and weighing in as almost “questionably” thin to the onlooker. They complain that they can’t find anything that fits either, but for the opposite reason. Or even similar ones, maybe. Consider this: in general, the thinner pants get, the shorter they become. So this friend is really thin, but also tall. So they can’t buy in petites, and size 0’s are relatively short for any girl over the average height. And then let’s take into account that annoying size variation per company’s standards. So she can fit in a 0 at one store, but at another store even a 0 is too big. And she loves the pants but they just look loose and oversized.

So the friends have been bitching now about these obstacles, when all of the sudden the thin girl says “wait a minute, at least there’s always something IN your size! (let’s assume the “heavier” girl is oh, a size 10-12?)”. The heavier girl is infuriated by this insensitive comment and retaliates with a “Oh yeah, well at least you can say you wear a size 0 and you look good in everything”. But both girls are in the wrong.

Let’s use my experience as an example (and I want to emphasize that I am NOT using this as a forum for bitching and victimizing myself. These are just feelings that I have, and I in no way want to imply or DO imply that anyone else’s issues concerning this subject are any less important or legitimate): I feel little guilt in saying that I am a naturally small person. Part of it might be my heritage, and all of it is biochemical and biological in nature. I am 100 pounds and 5’5″, wearing on average a size 0-2, sometimes a 00 if the store’s size fits. I’ve always been thin. I’ve always been able to stay at around 100 without gaining or losing much weight. Now let’s PRETEND I’m the thinner friend who was just told that at least I get to say I wear a size 0. But now let’s take into account the connotations that come with being a size 0. While on the outside it might seem like the idel body shape (and I suppose in many instances it is), there’s a lot of subtle glaring going on in the back for jealousy or whatever other reason. So I don’t want to flaunt, perse, that I wear a size zero or that I weigh what I do. This is because the responses I get are of complete and utter shock and awe, to the point that it makes me feel uncomfortable. I imagine this is equally as unpleasant for anyone who feels they are on the other side of the spectrum, and neither side is deserving on this treatment.

Okay so now let’s pretend I want to exercise (I promise I did want to at one point…><). I mention to friends who consider themselves average or even a little overweight or whatever their perception of themselves is that I want to start working out when I go to college to stay in shape. I get sneers. I get a lot of “don’t even talk to me” snarls headed my direction. And my heavier friend is over talking to some other people now about how she could really go for a slice of pizza right now and a bag of chips. Now everyone talking to her gives her looks as if to say “really? Do you really need that?” and all of the sudden she’s wishing she had said she had a craving for a salad, just to save face.

And one of my friends mentioned the other day how there’s so much more than just controlling food intake and pants sizes that determine if a person is fat or thin, in shape or out of shape. The term “big boned”, while slightly humorous, is in part true. You can only be as thin as your body lets you, and sometimes that appears to be more or less than others. And let’s not forget muscles as a factor, because they add a significant amount of weight on the scale. I have no muscle and I’m completely out of shape. But I’m told to shut up about exercise because I don’t need it and to the naked eye I seem to be in prime shape. But that’s not the case at all, and I can tell you this from experience, haha.

Now let’s pan to yet another friend, who maybe is only a 5-6 in pants size (from my experience, anything above a 4 seems to be something to complain about…?). She looks a little heavier, a little meatier, than me. And when she mentions pizza she gets judgmental looks and people WISH she’d go exercise. Little do they know, she’s exercising almost to an unhealthy point. 10 miles on the treadmill a day and more on weekends, plus additional core exercise.

So let’s be honest here. This person exercises more than I think I have in my lifetime, but she’s still considered heavier because of her appearance. But when talking to her, you learn that she’s “bigger boned” and her family might naturally be “larger”. And then you learn that she’s lost as much weight as safely possible and that most of the “bulk” is, in fact, muscle. Let’s then push her farther and make her anorexic. She now follows this strict regiment and eats only an apple a day, if that. By the time she’s borderline hospitalized, her skin is hanging off of her bones and you can see the definition in every single muscle in her body. Her lowest weight is now 110. Now let’s take me, just roaming around aimlessly being lazy and clueless, eating pizza and drinking soda and not exercising daily, weighing at maximum 105.

This isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s not my fault, it’s not their fault. It’s just the way we were built. A size 4 isn’t bad, guys. A size 6 isn’t bad, as far as I’m concerned. Really, no size is bad. What bothers me (on both sides) is when the person can do something, consciously, and chooses not to. Or most importantly, doesn’t even want to consider the effort. It’s one thing to try really hard to exercise and eat healthy and not progress as quickly as possible. It’s another thing to just complain about it and scoff at the idea of taking initiative. It’s equally as annoying when someone who’s thin complains about not being able to gain weight, while watching them eating nothing more than a salad each day.

So this has been a long post, and I’m sure there are plenty of reasons for you to jump down my throat about what I’ve said, but I really do feel like it’s become a huge them vs them that shouldn’t exist.

I don’t think either is worse than the other. I don’t think I’m any more a victim of my 100 pound body I can’t necessarily control than a 300-pound body with equal difficulties. Both sides have to deal with obstacles and disapproval, and both reserve an equal right to bitch about their situation.

So. Now I’m tired and I’m going to collapse and not exercise, even though I should because I could do with some muscle mass. But grocery day is fast approaching, so that’ll probably be my time to heave-ho and collapse in my pile of food xD

1,000 Views!

Oh my, I have over 1,000 views! I’ve been waiting for this day…is that sad? It’s exciting to me though – that’s a lot of views! Especially for a blog that I didn’t expect to become much. Other blogs/online journals I’ve had in the past got lucky if they got 20 views total. So it’s nice to know that this one is getting more recognition – makes me want to write more worthy stuff!

On that note, as a “reward” to my wonderful readers I’ve posted a link to my Pinterest account, which I use on a daily basis. So not only can you read about my thoughts etc, but you can see the types of images I really like!

Again, thank you readers~