#6: Stop Making Brazil Angry

Happy New Year!

And equally importantly, happy birthday to Sunshine! clip_image001

Almost four years ago

Yes, she’s four years old now. Awwww. For her birthday present, we have signed our little genius up for agility training! Yup, the thing where dogs jump through hoops and weave through poles and climb ladders and ALL MANNER of ridiculousness, in exchange for praise and treats (she does like treats!). Ahaha! More about this in a couple of weeks, after her first class, which may not be productive but no doubt will be hi-larious. At the very least, we expect it’ll tire her out, and then perhaps she won’t feel compelled to lick our fingers off while we’re trying to do important things like watch television.

Finding a class like this (and actually registering for it!) was one of my New Year’s resolutions. Woo! CHECK! I should write that down just so I can put a satisfying check next to it. Another resolution is to try and make my resolutions more interesting than “exercise more” (mwa ha ha, wedding’s over, he’s stuck with me now!) and “be more diligent about my blog.” Yawn. Boring-sounding resolutions are naturally much easier to drop; for instance, take a look at this list, which is the first thing that comes up when you google “New Year’s resolutions”:

Your Government Has Some Very Serious Suggestions

MY GOODNESS, that list makes me both sad and tired. Not that I disapprove of doing those things, but looking at this list (and clicking on some of those links) sure doesn’t make me want to do any of them.

So instead, I have disguised all of my “resolutions” as things I really WANT to do. Some might say that makes it more of a “wish list” than a new set of rules, but hey, doesn’t that sound much more appealing? And more likely to happen? Besides, I still have to do something to make these come true, so it’s an actionable wish list, at least.

For instance, hypothetically, instead of “exercise more”, I’d say “take a dance class with Adam,” which sounds like fun rather than work, whoopee! Except that it would probably involve leaving the house, and I’m afraid it’s much too cold for that. Maybe in the summertime, if I’m not the size of a whale by then. 🙂

Also, my other caveat is I’m not saying these have to happen this year, because it would defeat the purpose if I wound up feeling wracked with guilt in December. I don’t believe in guilt! Pressure be gone! Goals are to make you feel better and more motivated, not worse and more apathetic! (How am I doing? Should I add “write self-help book” to my list? Or perhaps “stop using blog as part of insidious plan to transform world into bunch of cheery optimists so I will never again have to deal with grouchy customer service”?)

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Go to India. OK, yes, sure, this would most likely involve leaving the house, too. But for a Wonder of the World, I figure I can make an exception. I want to go not only because Kari has just done it and I am mad jealous, but also because it would be good preparation for The Amazing Race, apparently, as it seems to be the meltdown capital of the show. (Go TK and Rachel! Mellow your way to the top!) Plus, the Taj Mahal is currently the #1 famous thing I want to see in my life that I haven’t seen yet, so why wait? Let’s go! Adam, are you listening?

I would put “see all 7 Wonders” on my list, but that’s more of a life goal, and besides, the way to achieve your goals (so I hear) is to break them down into more manageable smaller goals. Such as “go to India.” See, I listen to the advice people!

2. Get smarter. For instance, by reading books that make you smart even though they’re fun, like Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle (I’m in the middle of the endless yet somehow entertaining Quicksilver as we speak) and Age of Bronze by Eric Shanower, which is actually a graphic novel done with meticulous research all about the Trojan War, covering many fascinating things I didn’t know, such as that Brad Pitt would actually be a terrible Achilles, because just you try disguising him as a girl to hide him.

I’ve started this project by finally learning where all the countries in Africa are, because this is something I could do with an online game (while watching TV!) and it bears a striking resemblance to procrastinating:

Djibouti Is Fun To Say and Hard To Find

(mwa ha ha, you’re welcome, Cyd!)

So now I can tell you exactly where Guinea-Bissau is, although I’m still having trouble with Europe, specifically that whole Croatia area. It is NOT FAIR that they’ve changed everything since I was in fifth grade! I used to know all the European capitals, but now there’s like 4o new countries to figure out. I mean, I’m all for the fall of the Berlin Wall and everything, but my poor 1984 atlas that we’ve had ever since Paraguay is feeling awfully ignorant and obsolete now.

3. Add more sparkly interactiveness to my website. I know, I shouldn’t tell you about this, because if it doesn’t happen soon you might be like, hey, where’s my sparkly interactiveness? (In the case of my mom, I expect to get that call tomorrow.) I’m working on it! I swear! I’m talking about things like the Shakespeare Personality Quiz you can find over in BOOKS, if you’re wondering. And I should probably put up pictures of all of my new books, shouldn’t I? Uh-oh, this is starting to sound like work. That’s why I’m using words like “sparkly”, to trick myself.

Oh, I know it’ll be fun once I actually do it. Assuming my website doesn’t get hijacked by angry Brazilian hackers again –- did you see that a couple of months ago? SO weird! Dude, Brazil, what’d I ever do to you? OH MY GOD, I know what I did! I complained about their big Jesus statue becoming a World Wonder! No wonder they hate me! Sheesh, I’m SORRY, Brazil. If it’s any consolation, my mom thinks I’ve never actually seen it, not even in the distance in the dark, so potentially I am completely wrong about it being so much lamer than Angkor Wat just because it’s thousands and thousands of years younger (<– may be an exaggeration). Will you forgive me if I put “go to the Amazon” on next year’s list? Spare my hapless website! My brilliant and handsome husband only has so many waking hours he can spend fixing it!

4. Watch more TV. HA HA HA! I’m just kidding; how could I do that, when there’s nothing currently to watch? I just think it’s funny that several of the New Year’s resolution lists I found online included “Watch less TV,” so I’m being a rebel. I think “Watch BETTER TV” would be a better resolution, folks; personally, my opinion is that if it’s a good story, it’s worth acquiring no matter what the medium is. (Plus, I have gotten several Jeopardy! answers from watching The Amazing Race, so there’s an argument to be made that watching more Amazing Race would help with resolution #2, so there!)

Good stories like for instance Dexter, which we’re starting to get on Netflix. Yeep! Creepy show! But so well-done! I’m realizing that most of these shows we’re going to be watching on DVD are ones we haven’t seen because they were on, like, HBO, which means there’s a lot more swearing and violence and murrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrder and blood and most especially swearing. Who knows what this is going to do to my brain? I might have to start writing edgy violent grown-up books instead! Well, be forewarned: if there’s a lot more murrrrder in the next Little House book, you’ll know why.

(As if I’m allowed to do that!)

For a real resolution #4, I’ll reiterate my usual writing goal, which is at least a sentence a day. One sentence isn’t work; it’s fun. Plus sitting down to write even just one sentence keeps me thinking about whatever I’m working on, and moreover it usually gets me started so I end up writing, like, three pages instead, which is what my real writing goal is, but don’t tell me that, or my brain will be like TOO HARD must go play Africa map quizzes instead.

5. Vote! WOO! OK, I always do this, but I’m just getting excited about it in advance. I mean, watching the results hasn’t been fun lately, but voting itself makes me feel all part of something, like Thomas Jefferson is standing proudly behind me going, “yes, excellent, nice work…hey, wait! this is a woman trying to vote! disguised in pants! you slattern, get back to the kitchen!” and then I go “ha ha, too bad for you, dead guy” and pull the lever BAM! That’s RIGHT, democracy! I should probably figure out where to go to vote around here, and whether they even have satisfying 1800s-era lever things or if I’ll have to deal with some new-fangled technology like punch cards. Hmmmm.

So, I don’t know how exciting those actually are, but if there’s one thing I love, it’s lists. And if there’s one thing I love even more, it’s checking things off lists. Yippee! We’ll see what happens!

Hooray for 2008! I hope at least some of your resolutions are fun and exciting, too!

And finally, one last holiday present for you all…this is one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen, and I do mean every photo in all of these galleries:

It’s a Tiger! It’s a Cat! It’s… a TOYGER!

(more on this next time!)

Plus, look! There’s a whole gallery on the New Seven Wonders that I’ve been going on and on about! Wow, OK, that Jesus statue really is quite massive. All right, maybe I’m a little impressed. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, Brazilian hackers?

A much more impressive photo than the one I had before.

I learn from the informative info attached to this gallery that one of the original 7 Wonders of the World was also pretty young, comparatively: the Colossus of Rhodes only lasted 56 years before an earthquake “snapped the statue off at the knees.” And it was only 5 feet taller than Brazil’s statue. See? Fascinating. And I feel smarter already. #2: check!

Happy 2008, everybody! Next week: more photos of Thailand! Or possibly Cambodia! Or possibly more of me sharing ways to procrastinate instead. Er, I mean, “get smarter.” clip_image001[4]

Quote of the Day:
Lamanda: “Where you been all my life, sugar stick?”
Henry: “Um…math camp?”
Ugly Betty clip_image001[6]