Thursday, January 28, 2010

Proof.

Not that any of you ever doubted, but here's solid proof that not only were Sarah and I extras in "Whip It" (which came out on DVD on Tuesday), but that was my torso in my previous post. (You can compare the jeans and the boney elbows.) We're stars!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The First of Many Treasure Hunts

Last Saturday promised to be a rather sad day, as I was leaving the fam and the comforts of home to head back to Grand Rapids and school. (Not that G.R. and school are bad, I'd just had a LOT of fun over the break!) I got back to my apartment, unloaded, then decided to go get some groceries before settling in to unpack. When I was leaving the Family Fare, I heard booms in the distance. I had an internal dialogue that went something like this:

"Yikes! I hope no one just got shot. Actually, it sounds like fireworks. Nah, it's January, and not a holiday. Why would there be fireworks? Probably a car backfiring. Or more like a lot of cars backfiring at once. Boy, I hope those bananas ripen up quick. Maybe I'll stop by Taco Bell after all."

When I got in my car and pulled out onto the road, off in the distance I saw them: it was fireworks! I immediately set off to search for the source. I figured that the most logical place for fireworks to go off would be right downtown over the river, so I headed in that direction. I tried to keep the fireworks in sight, and would lose them occasionally behind trees or buildings. I knew I was getting close when I saw people running in the direction of the river.

After a few minutes, I ended up on Pearl Street, stopped in a line of cars on one of the bridges over the Grand River. We were parked very illegally, but no one seemed to care. The fireworks were being set off on a parallel bridge (Michigan Street), so I had a perfect view! I opened up my sun roof, pulled out my camera, and got a few cool videos. It was fun to hear the cheering and see all of the people lined up on the bridge and along the cold river.

I had a silly grin on my face for quite some time after I drove away after the big finale (see video below). I must say, my resolution to find treasure certainly was met in spades! I think my next resolution is going to be to win a million dollars...


video
(A couple of things about the video: It gets cooler about half-way through; I love that the No Parking sign is clearly visible throughout; about 2/3 of the way through, it gets REALLY loud - my car was shaking quite a bit at that point!; I also love to hear the cheering at the end. Enjoy! And Happy January!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Wonders of the Ocean

A few weeks ago I was wandering around the Grand Rapids Public Museum (which I highly recommend - a very interesting museum with really informative and well done displays) and I came across a display about ivory. It was focused on the ways that ivory has been exploited and talked about where ivory comes from. One part showed a narwhal tusk, and I will admit that I was a little baffled that narwhals are actually real! I hate to show my ignorance that I didn't realize the reality of this fantastic creature - I'd seen the one in Elf, but didn't realize it was an actual animal! Once I saw the display at the museum, however, I realized that maybe narwhals weren't just a claymation fantasy.

This discovery led to some serious research (mostly involving the always accurate Wikipedia) about narwhals. They are amazing! (And slightly terrifying - I don't really need yet one more reason to stay out of the ocean...) Apparently male narwhals are the ones with the tusks - the
left of their two front teeth grows out into a spiral and can reach a length of 7-10 feet!! (Their bodies are 13-16 feet long.) The tusk isn't used for fighting or eating, but serves a similar purpose as peacock feathers or a lion's mane (for mating rituals/showing off).

Elizabeth and I were looking at photos of them last night, and I can't get over how insane these guys look! (They are thought to have lead to the legend of the unicorn, too.) I'm amazed at the incredible animals out there as well as how terrible my earth science teacher in high school was. How did I not know about the ocean sunfish or the narwhal? Now I know...and knowing's half the battle. ;)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

There's Treasure Everywhere!

I know you've all been on tenterhooks waiting to find out what my new year's resolution is going to be, so I shan't keep you waiting any (well, much) longer! I've thought about it quite a bit, and mulled a few options over:
- Read more Murder, She Wrote books
- Seriously (like, really seriously, this time) learn how to play the guitar
- Blog every day...or at least every week!
- Solve world hunger
- Join Farmville addicts anonymous

I threw those out (though I'll continue to work towards those goals) and looked at this resolution a different way. My main criterion for this resolution is that it not be mundane - no exercise/diet resolutions or anything like that. When I looked at the definition of a resolution (a firm decision to do or not to do something) vs. goal (the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result), I felt like a resolution was more, well...more resolute. A little more determined than a goal would be. Of course, exercising and eating well are good things to do, but I plan on doing those things (well, should be doing those things) anyway, so why resolve to do them if I already am (will be)?
Last night I was reading a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics called There's Treasure Everywhere. The very first comic (as seen above) shows Calvin digging for treasure and so excited about the things he's found - worms, a rock, a root, etc. To us, those things might seem insignificant or even gross. But for Calvin, it's real treasure! Calvin's attitude has inspired me and influenced my resolution this year.

Last year my resolution, to have more adventures, took me all over the country. This year, I'm going to continue to be adventurous, but I'm going to look for local "treasures" and work to find treasures in small things every day. This resolution encompasses a few things besides treasure hunts and adventures, specifically being more positive and grateful. I think that all of these things are tied together: if I have a more positive attitude, every day can be an adventure, treasures will be found much more easily, and I'll be more aware and more grateful for all that I have and do. (Awareness is really key here: we can have amazing things going around us but be completely self-absorbed and unaware - I am often guilty of this.)

I know that goals are supposed to be measurable and trackable, which might not seem to apply to my resolution this year (I certainly was able to track my adventures last year; not just my travels, but more local adventures, like watching karaoke semifinals in Hell, going to Frankenmuth twice, being a movie star, etc), but I think there are ways. At the very least, there are ways to break down and achieve this goal.

When I was in high school, I put up a sign by my bed that said: "You have a choice today: you can choose to be happy or you can choose to be grouchy." Most people would probably laugh at that, but I can assure you that, while our moods are often affected by things outside our control we still can control how we react to those things. I remember one morning in particular I awoke and was laying in bed feeling particularly grumpy. When I sat up and read that sign I instantly felt the grouchiness wash away and a peaceful contentedness take its place. I had the choice and I chose to be happy. (If you come by my apartment and find similar signs all over, you are now forewarned that this is merely a way for me to achieve my 2010 resolution.)

So this year, I'm seeking treasure. The treasure will be in the form of further (probably local) adventures, happiness, and gratitude, as well as anything else that comes my way. If you have ideas or suggestions, I'd be happy to hear what you have to say! And if you have any good experiences (either now or things that happen to you this year), please share! I'll try my best to use my blog as a way of tracking this, too, so I can share my treasures with you!

Also, you should probably be expecting me to have a treasure hunt-style birthday party this year - it's a big one for me, so I've gotta do it up right!