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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Social Conventions

I'm taking Women and Gender Studies right now. I call it angry women class and I talk about how excessively liberal it is, but I actually like it for some of the points it brings up. One thing we talk about a lot in there is how we believe there are some things that are normal and natural when really, they aren't natural at all. They are simply ideas constructed by society that are so ingrained in our minds that we think anything that deviates is unnatural or wrong.

Just because something is different, does that make it wrong? It's funny how programmed people are to see things one way and no other. For example, people need labels to justify actions. In order for it to be acceptable to act a certain way, you need to identify yourself accordingly. You are a girl; therefore, it is okay that you cry and like to look at pictures of puppies. You are religious, so it's okay that you've never kissed anyone. You're just outgoing, so it's okay if you say anything that comes to your mind.

People also need you to define your relationships. If you don't, they'll define them for you. If you're too close to a same-sex friend, they'll label you as gay. If you're too close to an opposite-sex friend, they think you're secretly involved. People will label you if you don't label yourself and beat them to it.

This leads to another thing we talk about in class, how life is performance art. Every day, we decide how we want to be seen by others. We put on a show. The way we act and dress is a performance meant to express something about ourselves to other people. People often reconcile their inner and outer selves, but it's also easy to put on an act that hides who you really are. They live with a poker face, and people believe that's who they are because no one realizes that life is an act. They think people really fit into these black and white categories and that their actions and feelings can be generalized.

I think people's lives, experiences, and their nature make them all different from each other because no one will ever really understand what it's like to be them, but at the same time I think that no one is really an individual because they mold and shape themselves to fit an existing category in order to make sense of their complicated minds.

Not that I'm saying social conventions are bad. You perform what you want people to think of you, so if you don't want to be rejected, you have to put on a good performance. Not shaving or matching clothes for example tells people you just don't care about anything, which isn't the kind of message you want to be sending about yourself.

Just something I've been thinking about.

Love,
Juliana


Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh dear God.

So now parents are supposed to fully explain sex to their kids by the time they are 8 years old at the very latest. They suggest you explain it the first time the kid ever asks where babies come from. Now they're saying you're supposed to teach 9-year-olds how to use condoms.

Seriously? Are we for real here? As always, I'm taking issue with advice from supposed psychology experts. Maybe I'm naive, but I also know that adults really don't understand kids very well, and most adults really suck at parenting.

First of all, their argument is that kids are hitting puberty earlier than ever. Sure, this is true, but does that automatically mean kids are going to be having sex at that age? People think once hormones kick in, kids will give in to them, so we better give condoms to 3rd graders. Perfect solution. No. We talk about this in my gender studies class. People ignore their biology and do whatever is considered socially normal. Teens have sex as high school freshmen because they hear so much about it and are even encouraged to have sex with someone they've been dating for a certain period of time. This is socially normal. When you are 9, it is not normal at all. Unless the kids are really messed up (usually as the result of horrible parenting), they aren't going to do this because sex is not yet a part of their life.

If we start making it a part of their life, society is going to change along with biology and we're going to have a bigger mess to clean up. Take that any way you like.

I think the bottom line here is that so few people deserve to be parents. I think only 25% of parents in this country are actually capable of being responsible for another life. Out of the remaining, I'm sure half of them are barely capable of handing their own lives.

Love,
Juliana

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thoughts

  • Sometimes I really like being away from home. It means I'm far away from my past. When I talk about my friends from home, my friends at school comment on how much drama my high school group had/has. We really do have a lot of drama for a group of people that say they hate drama. I miss by best friends, but sometimes it's great to know that if I don't want to talk to someone, I don't have to.
  • Everyone talks about everyone, it's just a fact. When people leave the room, everyone else talks about them. I know people talk about me, not because I think I'm so special but because I'm not special enough to be the exception. I'd rather not know what they say, more because I can already guess.
  • I hate that some people really just don't understand social cues. I'm socially anxious, but I do understand when I need to stop talking or go away. It scares me when people don't know. It's like this disconnect that makes you feel like communication with them is impossible.
  • I'm not even 19 yet and I'm starting to worry that I'll never find a guy I want to marry. I worry that I'll never even want to get married. I only care because I really, really want a baby and a family.
  • I hadn't until recently seen college as a blank slate. Senior year of high school was just terrible, and this year is so amazingly wonderful. I can't believe how much I used to cry. I can't believe I used to actually hurt myself. I was looking the other day for the scars and I couldn't even find them. They're only slightly visible in good lighting at a certain angle. My friend brought up suicide here one night, and we all pulled out painful memories from our depression days. Everyone was quiet for a minute and then moved on to something happier. This is everything I could ever want, and I'm so grateful to have gotten over that stupid phase, and I really hope I've grown enough as a person to stop it from returning.
  • I really want to believe in God again so I can thank Him for all this and ask him to please take care of my friends in all the ways I can't. A few years ago, I would have said that in a prayer every night. I really wish I could get that back. Sometimes talking to my roommate makes me more skeptical of religion, but going to her house and celebrating one of her holidays, listening to their prayers of thanks, really made me wish I had that kind of faith. I'm going to teach my kids religion just so they have something to believe in.
Love,
Juliana

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Excerpt from Angry Women

My Women and Gender Studies class (affectionately referred to as "angry women") was actually thought provoking today. Unfortunately, I couldn't even decide what I think about all this on the spot so I didn't contribute anything to these discussions, so I'll discuss them here after I had the 20 minute walk from class to think about her questions.

What is the difference between romance and romantic love? I don't even know what romance is. I don't like it, so it's hard for me to define it. I think it's a set of actions someone takes that are part of society's...courtship ritual? Sounds terrible, but that's really what it is. Everyone agrees that these are the rules of dating. Romantic love I guess is just love for someone you want to be with "romantically?" See that's hard too. What if you don't want romance, but you love them that way? Is it possible to love someone romantically and not want any romance?

This led to another question. Can you love someone romantically if you're not physically attracted to them? I want to say yes, but if you aren't attracted to them, what's the difference between romantic love and platonic love? Platonic love by definition is love for someone you aren't sexually attracted to. If you don't need attraction for romantic love, then what distinguishes it from platonic love?

Can you love someone who doesn't love you back? I thought this was obviously yes, but some people said no. This led to the question of whether you can love someone who has never loved you or will never love you back. Does it have to be reciprocated at some point to love that way? What if the person loves you but not in the same way you love them? Does that count? I think you can love if it isn't reciprocated, but a lot of people in my class disagreed.

There are more but this post is already too long. It's interesting to think about.

Love,
Juliana

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Take this quiz!

I'll explain at the end. It's a spectrum, so you pick the number that corresponds to the place between the two personality traits you think you are.

1. Not independent 0 1 2 3 4 Very Independent

2. Not emotional 0 1 2 3 4 Very emotional

3. Very rough 0 1 2 3 4 Very gentle

4. Not competitive 0 1 2 3 4 Very competitive

5. Not helpful to others 0 1 2 3 4 Very helpful to others

6. Not kind 0 1 2 3 4 Very kind

7. Not self-confident 0 1 2 3 4 Very self-confident

8. Give up easily 0 1 2 3 4 Does not give up

9. Not understanding of others 0 1 2 3 4 Very understanding of others

10. Goes to pieces under pressure 0 1 2 3 4 Handles pressure well

Now add up the numbers you got for 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9. That's your score for feminine qualities.

Add up the remaining ones (1, 4, 7, 8, 10). That's the score for your masculine qualities.

We did this in my Women and Gender Studies class to talk about personality traits that are assigned to certain genders. I got 18/20 for feminine qualities and 3/20 for masculine. Unbalanced much?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beautiful

Lately, things I never thought about before have seemed beautiful to me. On my way to class, I notice all the spiders on webs strung across trees, and I think it's beautiful that so many people walk by every day and see those spiders. They do their thing and we do ours. We all notice the spider and continue with our day while the spider continues with its life. I see some little kids running around and think that childhood innocence and inhibition is really beautiful. Hearing about my friend's first kiss. Exchanging smiles with a stranger. The lake in the middle of campus early in the morning. The way my family hugs me when I see them after time away. The sincere eyes of someone who is happy to see you. Engagements. The way my cousin plays with her two-year-old soon-to-be stepson. When someone who loves you plays with your hair. Deep conversations with friends late at night. When someone verbalizes exactly what you're feeling and in that moment, you realize that you aren't alone. Beautiful.

Love,
Juliana

Monday, September 19, 2011

Each is an island.

I was watching melodramatic 90s teen show called My So-Called Life, and in the pilot the main character says:

"It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you? And, I mean, this whole thing with yearbook -- it's like, everybody's in this big hurry to make this book, to supposedly remember what happened. Because if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting book."

This show is too dramatic for me to get into, and the teen angst is sometimes overbearing, but it often hits these existential notes that make me think. How much of who we are is determined by others' expectations of us, or our expectations of ourselves? I think people are really too complicated to express the confusion in their own minds, so they make choices every day about how they want to express themselves to the world. From the clothes they wear to the things they say, their Facebook statuses, their friends, the things they keep secret and the things they broadcast, and the lies they tell to mold their public selves into something they're not.

I guess I've talked about this before, about the concept of normality and this human desire to fit in a stereotype while at the same time rejecting the idea of labels. This made me think about something different. Are we really independent and unique, or do we simply mold our interests, likes and dislikes, behaviors, and preferences just to make it easier, just so everything makes sense? Quoting The Breakfast Club, "in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions?"

Everyone has these thoughts, whether they be happy, sad, irrational, strange, embarrassing, whatever. They don't share them with others because they don't fit this image they choose to project, or people won't react well to them. Maybe they can't quite explain why they feel that way, and they could never make anyone understand.

Maybe someone has irrational thoughts that they know they can't justify, and logically they know they shouldn't feel that way, but those thoughts stick like a leech and drain them of happiness. Maybe they have dreams of traveling and exploring a far away place, and this makes them happy, but other people just don't understand why they want to do it. Maybe they have feelings for someone that they can't explain, and they know there isn't an English word to correctly pinpoint the emotion, so they pick one that is misleading but simple.

All these things make someone who they are, but no one else can really understand. Instead, they create this outward persona because it makes it easier for everyone else. They make their feelings fit into a category, assign inadequate words to complex feelings and give people a false image of themselves.

Here's an example. I don't want a boyfriend. I know I don't, but people ask me why I like to be so close to guys. I really don't know. They think that getting cuddly with a friend means I actually like them and won't admit it. That's not true. There's something about it that I really like, even though I don't know what it is. Instead, I label myself as a touchy person who just isn't ready to be in a relationship. It's true, but not completely, and know one knows the half of it. The whole situation is so complicated in my mind that there is no way I can make anyone understand, so I just don't try. No one knows how I feel because I can't make them understand.

There's a quote from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad that I really like, and I just realized it describes this perfectly.

"It is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence—that which makes its truth, its meaning—its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream—alone."

No one knows what it's like to be you, but what I think is interesting is that everyone has more in common than they know. Our experiences are different, but we feel the same. We're all alone in that no one can ever totally understand us, but humans naturally have the same fears, desires, feelings of pain, and the same intrinsic feeling of loneliness that inevitably washes over them when they realize they can't let someone into their mind the way they wish they could.

Love,
Juliana

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Purple-Colored Glasses

I know I went from not posting anything for a long time to posting twice in one day, but I had lots of thinking time as I wandered around looking for my Spanish professor's office.

I look at the world through rose-colored glasses, or in my case, purple ones. I'm not sure if there's a name for this in psychology, but I have a tendency to view my own life as better than it is and ignore the imperfections while viewing the problems of my friends as worse than they actually are. I worry a lot about outcomes, but I think in general, I'm optimistic. I think my life is great, and I've always thought so even in my worst moments. I have never once thought "my life sucks."

Since many of my major stressors are behind me now, I was thinking the other day about laying off my anxiety medicine. I don't like the idea that I'm dependent on drugs to maintain my mental health. I started thinking about the reasons I needed the drugs in the first place, and I came to the conclusion that senior year of high school was in fact the worst year of my life.

I hit my lowest point, and I remembered the days I spent crying uncontrollably, the ways I would hurt myself or think about hurting myself, how "punishing" myself actually made me feel better. It brought back memories of times when I was catatonic and would stare at a wall or lay in the grass for 30 minutes, motionless, and not realize how much time had passed until I was interrupted. There would be days when I literally couldn't eat, and I never wanted to. I know now that I hurt a friend who means a lot to me, and sometimes a trigger will set off that emotional pain and give me just a glimpse of what I lived with for months last year.

The funny thing about all this is that I never thought I was unhappy. Even when my neurologist asked me, I told him I think I'm a happy person. The rational part of me weighed everything in my life and decided that it was all good, that I had no reason for any of my behavior. I told him I was just always worried, which was true, but this constant anxiety caused me serious unhappiness that, even though I didn't recognize, instilled guilt in me that ate away at my already damaged psyche.

I love my life and everything about it. I wouldn't change a thing. I don't always love myself, in fact there are times when I hate myself. Last year, I hated myself every day. In a new light, I realized that my optimism about my own life and heightened concern for everyone else's was exactly my problem. I can't see things for what they are. I'm not realistic, I'm idealistic, but I'm not sure this is a bad problem to have. I would rather never realize my own unhappiness than live with both the nagging depression and the acute awareness of it's presence.

I didn't remember what it's like to want to get up in the morning. Now I feel like every day has the possibility to be an adventure or a new experience, and I think that's exciting. I really love life, and what I find very sad is that my friends from home have made me cry more since I've been here than anything at college has.

Love,
Juliana

Perfect Day

I think there's this thing about bad days. If you start the day off with something bad, then every little thing that happens later seems so much worse because you're already starting that much further down. Bad things just compound and their effects are exponential. Is the same true for good things? I don't know. I think people are less likely to notice the good things. Once you're already up, you're in such a good mood where nothing bothers you. Everyone has days when you start low and feel like the world is imploding with you at the center. Then there are days when your euphoria is like a force field around you, blocking anything that tries to ruin your good mood. That makes me think of this song from Legally Blonde.



I didn't have a great day today, but I reminded myself that people make too big a deal out of bad days. Even if everything is going wrong, but it's only one day. Maybe tomorrow, everything will be perfect.

Love,
Juliana

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't you forget about me

I'm so much more sensitive now to the reactions of my friends. I don't see them every day now, so it's much easier to lose them. I feel like they're forget about me if I don't remind them once in a while. If we go a few days without talking, it feels like a year and that things have changed since. Our world used to be the same world. Now, we all have separate lives on separate paths that only cross when we make the effort to see each other. I never thought I was a clingy person, but I can't accept the idea that in a few years we really won't know each other very well anymore. I'm really afraid of how easy it is to break the bonds. I'm holding on, but just one wrong thing could just be enough to make them slip out of reach.

Love,
Juliana

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What is my life now?

I don't even know yet.

It's amazing just how much has changed. I'm in college now. I've made new friends. I'm happy and I already feel like this new life is normal, even though it's only been a week. I've had a lot of firsts in the last month, done things I couldn't even conceive of doing in high school. I have secrets now that I don't even feel like I could tell my friends. I'm living away from home, responsible for my own decisions. I'm saying things like "this girl I knew in high school" as if the place that defined my identity for four years is gone and irretrievable. My TOK teacher said that once you leave a plane of identity, you can never return to it. I tried not to think too much about this until I was happy in college, but I guess we can't do anything but move forward.

Love,
Juliana

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Judgment

I'm not sure if I believe in God, Heaven, or Hell, but sometimes my mind drifts back to Catholic school when the nuns told me that I would need to explain my sins to God one day. I remember a time when I was little, when I was afraid God could hear my bad thoughts and would be mad at me. We were taught to fear God, and that was our conscience. I still have a conscience, but it's now based on my need to be a good person who makes other people's lives better instead of worse. I'm not afraid of 'dirty' thoughts or wishing harm on someone who deserves it. I'm okay with doing things the Bible doesn't like and all that, and I'm not afraid of hell. I am afraid of thinking, saying, or doing something bad to someone who doesn't really deserve it. I always have good intentions and it's not like I'm a saint or Snow White who sings to animals. I'm can't always be perfectly nice, but it kills me that I can't be as good of a person as I'd like to be. If I do have to explain myself to God one day, I'll would not be disappointed in myself for not following the Bible, for being lazy sometimes, for eating all those cookies at once, for daydreaming about Zac Efron...none of that. I would however apologize for every time I was selfish. If I'm kept out of heaven for being selfish, I would feel that I deserved it.

Love,
Juliana

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What's normal, anyway?

Sometimes I worry about the things I consider normal. I'll talk to someone and realize we shouldn't be talking about that, or I'll do something I don't think I should be doing. Someone asked me why I hang on to this concept of "should" or "shouldn't." Who says what we should or shouldn't do? If it doesn't seem weird to us or the people involved and it's not hurting anyone, who cares what outsiders think? What if you do something you shouldn't have and are too ashamed to tell anyone because of what they might think? Judgment.

I don't know. How much do other people's opinions of us define who we are? I think it's annoying how everyone complains about being stereotyped but then they go ahead and label themselves at every opportunity. They try to make everything they do fit into a category. "I'm such a hipster. I'm so random. I'm a bisexual. I'm a girly girl. I'm a tomboy." Then they go ahead and complain about being stereotyped. Labels come with stereotypes. Once you're labeled, you no longer define you. The label defines you, and other people tell you who you are and who you are supposed to be. People want to fit in and stand out at the same time, so they have to adopt a label to be original that will tell them what is "normal." It's like picking a personality off a list to make sure it's acceptable.

"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all." - The Breakfast Club

Love,
Juliana

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Obsession

The first symptom on Mayo Clinic's list for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Constant worrying or obsession about small or large concerns

How do you stop it?

That's what's wrong with me. I obsess. Everyday. Over every little issue, big or small. That's why I go crazy knowing my friends are hiding things from me. It leads to total paranoia. When my friends say vague things and refuse to explain, I obsess about what they could be talking about. When I know someone's hiding something from me, it hijacks my mind. People wonder why I remember details about everyone, even if I don't know them well. I need to know enough about people to have an accurate picture of them in my mind. It kills me when my friends do it and it makes me want to lie to them, lead them on, and make vague statements without explaining. My childish reaction is "two can play that game" when I know that keeping things from me doesn't mean they love me any less and that I should trust them. My brain knows that, but that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach and the tightness in my chest make me ignore my brain.

Even writing this is pissing me off. Thank you GAD for the uncontrollable anxiety that makes me freak out over absolutely everything, which is also part of the reason people don't tell me things. I can't handle it. I need to know, but it's too much once I do. I understand why people with GAD usually have depression. You can't live like this and still be happy. Obsession has driven me to nightmares, self-destructive behavior, health problems, eating problems, medication...and I'm sure I'm going to die much younger than I should. What sucks is I know it's stupid, crazy, unnecessary...I know it's a disorder. I just can't figure out how to turn it off.

Love,
Juliana

Edit: I had a horrible dream last night after writing this post. It reminded me very clearly what I used to be like before I started taking medicine. It helps me so much.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I want your ugly. I want your disease.

I've seen this quote on Facebook a million times. "If you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." I thought this sounded extremely bitchy, and it does, bit it's also a twisted way of saying something very true.

Real relationships are all or nothing. You take the good, the bad, and the ugly. You accept their flaws because you know you have them too, and you would want them to do the same for you. It's so important for people to have relationships because they can share the good and the bad. When you share good, it spreads and multiplies. When you share the bad, the weight is divided, and it's not as hard to deal with. Everyone has a dark side, but the people who really love them will work through the darkness.

I would never expect anyone to want me at my worst. I get moody, I have anxiety attacks over small things, sometimes I cry at random, I'm stubborn, I always have to be right, I worry about everything, and the tiniest of triggers can change my mood in an instant. I'm sorry for all that. I wish I could change and I try, but I would never go so far to say that someone who can't deal with it doesn't deserve me. I'm more than grateful for the people who stick around when I'm bitchy, and if we're throwing around the word "deserve," I definitely don't deserve them.

It's what Lady Gaga's Bad Romance is about, isn't it? Or what Baby says to her father at the end of Dirty Dancing? If you love someone, you love all of them. You love them for who they are, even if it's not always pretty, because you know they would do the same for you.

Love,
Juliana

Friday, June 10, 2011

People ask me why I don't usually let anyone read what I write. To me, my stories are the most intimate things I can possibly share with you. Letting someone read anything I write makes me feel exposed because they are based on my real experiences and real imagination. In short, the purest expression of me. I express emotions in stories, good, bad, weird, whatever. Whenever I don't have words to describe how I feel, I write it into a story and make my characters feel the way I do. I let their actions speak for me. What makes me feel like I'm doing it well is when I let someone read a sad story I wrote and they tell me it made them cry. It made me cry to write it, so it makes me feel like they understand. I just don't like to show people because I'm afraid they'll judge me once they know what really goes on in my mind. I'm afraid they won't understand.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Regret

I don't regret the last four years. On my 12th birthday, I made all these plans in my mind for my 18th. I thought I would be more confident. I thought about my future boyfriend and what he might be like. I wondered if I would still be a virgin by then. I though my future self was pretty cool, and I admired her.

I'm not cool, and I do wish I wasn't so afraid of everything, but I don't resent who I am. I may not have done all the things I thought I would, but I remind myself that when it came down to it, I didn't want to do those things anyway. I went through high school doing what felt right, not what that naive little sixth grader would have wanted me to do. I definitely don't regret that.



Love,
Juliana

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chase Crawford
+

Rob Lowe
=

Ian Somerhalder
Yes? I think so.

Love,
Juliana

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm too happy to be a writer

I'm not a good fiction writer, even though I would like to be. I write stories for fun and I tried to write a book, but I'm just not a good fiction writer. I'm afraid to add conflict to my stories or make any characters experience anything terrible. I used to think it was for lack of imagination, but that isn't the whole truth. Fiction writing is art and like really good art, really good writing needs raw human emotion. It needs blood and tears. Turning painful emotions into art is often the best there is, but once you're happy again, you have to summon painful feelings over and over to continue your work. It's like you're painting with blood and you have to cut your hand open again every time it heals. I'm not willing to conjure painful emotions for the sake of art, so I will never succeed as a writer.

Love,
Juliana

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brooke Shields: Pretty Baby, Oversexualized Child

Brooke Shields is one of those names people just know, even if they don't know why they know it. I bought a People Magazine's 1000 Greatest Moments in Pop Culture, and she shows up in it at least four times in a 10 year period. She's more an element of pop culture than an actress.

She had her own TV show, Suddenly Susan, she guest starred on That 70's Show and Friends, and she played Hannah Montana's mom, but no one remembers much about her adult career. What people remember is a series of controversial appearances before she was even 16, Pretty Baby, Blue Lagoon, and the Calvin Klein ads. She was 12 when she starred in Pretty Baby, a movie about a child prostitute in 1917 New Orleans. For obvious reasons, this movie was wildly controversial, especially since the prepubescent actress had more than one nude scene. The movie has been edited on DVD versions to censor some of the nudity, especially direct shots of anything, which were not censored at all on the VHS.


I haven't seen it, and I want to but don't want to at the same time. I watched the clips on YouTube, but I think that's all I could handle of this. Even the clip I watched had me staring with my mouth open. It disturbed me and took me a little while to get over.


Looking at it as art instead of child porn, I think this movie is amazing. It does exactly what it was meant to do: it shocks people. Child prostitution was a problem in 1917 New Orleans, and people should be shocked. I think it was daring and intriguing, but that doesn't make it any less disturbing. I've seen interviews and pictures with her when she was 12, and she actually looks much older. You would think she was 15 at least, but in the movie, between the makeup and hair, they make her look even younger than 12 for the effect.

Why did the parents allow this? I shouldn't judge people I don't know, but it's pretty obvious what the mother was doing by allowing this: A controversial movie like this would skyrocket her daughter to fame and rake in the cash. Her mom was also her manager and was not only okay with it but had also had Brooke take part in nude photo shoots two years earlier when she was only 10 years old. These pictures have been exhibited in art museums in the US and England, which were recently taken down because, ahem, child porn.

Two years later, she starred in Blue Lagoon where she again was filmed naked and had sex scenes. I almost watched this movie. I recorded it, but I couldn't get myself to watch it.

14 years old, dude.

I posted her "No one comes between me and my Calvins" commercial yesterday. She was in many just like that. 15 years old. Shouldn't we have laws against oversexualizing children and creeping out the public? I guess not, since Toddlers and Tiaras is still kickin.

I'm going to end with this, just to keep up the theme of oversexed children.

Oh God, ew.

With an appropriate amount of love,
Juliana

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Best of 80s Commercials

I don't know why I haven't posted this before. I would like to thank all the awesome people who posted these commercials so people like me, who weren't alive for a single day of the 1980s, can watch and enjoy them as if they actually know anything about the decade. These are my favorites, and believe me, I've watched a lot.

10. Pudding Roll Ups


Why I love it: First of all, it's a roll of pudding. It actually looks like pudding. If you hardened pudding into a sheet, that's what it would look like. Disgusting but intriguing. Also, the kids in trench coats with their catchy song make the rest of the commercial.

9. This is Your Brain on Drugs PSA


Why I love it: I think it's hearing the satisfying sound of an egg hitting a hot frying pan while pretending it's a brain. Sizzle sizzle.

8. Don't Drown Your Food


Why I love it: He's towel-drying a potato. Come on, you have to admit it's cute. I think this is such an adorable healthy-eating PSA. Now all we get is Michelle Obama talking about portion sizes on Disney Channel. She doesn't towel-dry cute potatoes.

7. Oreo Big Stuf


Why I love it: The clothes, dude. The clothes. The use of the Mr. Big Stuff song but with Oreos. And the most obvious reason of all, they're advertising a giant Oreo. Omigosh. Gorgeous.

6. Pac Man Cereal


Why I love it: I love when the Pac Man ghosts light up neon, and I love the kids' outfits, not to mention the fact that it's a cereal based on Pac Man.

5. Wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins?


Why I love it: It's a pop culture icon. Brooke Shields was 15 in this commercial so it was pretty controversial. TV shows and movies allude to this all the time.

4. McDLT with Jason Alexander


Why I love it: The clothes. Soo dorky. Jason Alexander (George from Seinfeld before he was George) singing about juicy burgers. I love the song. I will walk around singing this song. Hearing people in dorky 80s clothes singing about burgers makes me happy.

3. Delicious Dilemma

Why I love it: Without fail, it makes me laugh every time. It might be her overall dorky 80s appearance, might be the face she makes as she bites the Dorito at the end, or it might even be the comment left under the video: "She won't have that kind of dilemma when she weighs over 200 lbs from eating so many Doritos..." It's all hilarious.

2. Michael J. Fox - Pepsi


Why I love it: This one's just cool. He turns a piece of paper into a Pepsi, and I love when he crushes it and tosses it in to the trash at the end. Also, showing the book "the Power of Suggestion" was a nice touch. I love Michael J. Fox.

1. Where's the Beef?


Why I love it: Iconic and hilarious at the same time. This one also makes me laugh every time. Every line those old ladies say makes me smile.

Love,
Juliana

Monday, May 9, 2011

What makes a mother a mom?

Those stupid girls on Sixteen and Pregnant make me angry. I want to be a mother more than I want anything else in life, but I know how much of a commitment a child really is. The commitment to be a parent is the biggest one you will ever make. It upsets me when I hear these bratty sluts complain about taking care of their babies when they would rather be out with friends. They don't deserve their children, and their children don't deserve them.

Some people should not be parents. With Mother's Day being yesterday, I was thinking about how selfish women who deserve no celebration share the holiday with the true heroines, mothers who devote their lives to the happiness of their children. Some women earn recognition on this holiday for having unprotected sex, spending a day in the maternity ward, and resentfully changing some diapers. Others earn this holiday by singing their child to sleep, hanging their crayon scribbles on the refrigerator and telling them they are the most beautiful pictures they have ever seen, and listening to them tell the same stories about their imaginary friends over and over. Both receive the exact same Mother's Day cards from Hallmark, and both consider this holiday theirs.

People who really know me know how much I think about being a mom. My goals in life are to become a wise, mature, patient, unselfish person, marry a man I can be with for the rest of my life, and give my children the best life I can possibly give them. In short, my goal is to be just like my own mom, even though I don't think I will ever be able to match her.

I'm not a selfish person, but I recognize that I'm too selfish to have a child. I wouldn't want to give up my quiet time or sacrifice going out with friends to stay home with a sick baby. I'm 18 - I shouldn't have to. I will one day get to a point in my life, after I've had time to be young and selfish, when I'm ready to devote time to a baby. When I get to that point, I will put them first, and I'm looking forward to it. I want to be as great a mother to my children as my mother was to me.

The whiny sixteen-year-old with pink hair straddling her boyfriend named Stabby Joe in front of the trailer park has no idea what she's talking about when she says she'll be a good mother. I was listening to a radio talk show on the way to school, and they were talking about kids. One lady called in complaining about how all her time is spent potty training one and listening to the other talk about T-ball. She called into a radio station to talk about the same problems that every mother with young children faces as if hers are any different. The minute she decided to start a family, she agreed to the terms of parenting.

The meaning of mother can be as profound or empty as the meaning of marriage, happiness, or even life if you want to go that deep. Mother's Day celebrates all moms, no matter how selfish or undeserving, but I think the real mothers who deserve the holiday are the ones who have the best intentions, even if they aren't always perfect. They do the best they can to raise their children right, and even if they screw up, their love for their kids is never in question.

I think there's a big difference between a mother and a mom.

Love,
Juliana

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Perpetually Miserable

Some people's glasses will always be half empty. Pessimism is just inherent in their personality. No judgment - it works for some people. What is a problem, however, is the way a negative attitude creates perpetual misery that stinks like a transvestite's cheap perfume, following that person wherever they go.

A girl on my Facebook posts statuses every day complaining about her Chemistry homework and how she'll spend her whole weekend working on it. Get over it, hun. Study outside. Play some music. We all have homework. God knows I've spent many weekends working on Biology labs. Don't spread your misery to the rest of us happy people. I've heard her complain far more often than I've heard her be positive, and because of this I have no interest in talking to her. No one wants to hear about it, and if you continue to do it, no one will want to hear you.

Negative people are often the most boring. People who can only talk about school or work just aren't fun to talk to. Yeah, okay, life sucks, but you don't need to constantly remind people of it. There's this domino effect of happiness. When one person is happy, they spread it to other people who have no choice but to react accordingly. Whens one person is always dragging a rain cloud over their head, they ruin everyone else's happiness and spread the misery.

I know I'm not always upbeat. I know some people have mental disorders that stop them from seeing the positives. They're depressed, and little things like getting out of bed are difficult. I've been through that, and I know from psychological research and experience that those who really are depressed don't constantly complain about Chemistry homework on Facebook. They feel empty, and they're left with the feeling that they're physically incapable of doing simple things like homework, far past simple complaining. There's a difference between those who internalize their misery and those who project it outward onto others. The former don't want to go to parties. The latter just aren't invited, because no one wants them there.

It annoys me when people at my school complain about having a late graduation date because I know they would be complaining if we graduated early and had to return to take IB exams. People blame the principal, the administration, parents, teachers, Obama, God, or Chinese manufacturing for every problem, quick to demand change of others when they can't change themselves. They find any little detail to complain about, and ironically refuse to cut people breaks, even though their friends are always doing it for them.

Love,
Juliana

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm about to nerd it up: the confirmation bias

We see the world through a filter, and you can't get rid of that filter no matter what you do or how much you want to avoid it. It's called the confirmation bias, which scares me and interests my inner psych nerd at the same time.

The confirmation bias means that everyone subconsciously pays more attention to information that confirms what they already believe. The example I read was this: Let's say you're at a party and someone mentions that long dead Nickelodeon show Catdog. You haven't even thought about Catdog since the 90s and you never hear anything about it. Suddenly, you start seeing Catdog everywhere. You wonder why everyone is suddenly so interested in Catdog, but it's really just that the conversation at the party brought it to your conscious and made you more aware of things related to it.

Everything you have ever seen or heard enters your brain. Whether or not you remember it depends on whether or not you process it, and in order to process it, you have to have a reason to pay attention to it. When something is on your mind, like a recent Catdog conversation, you start paying attention to things related to what's on your mind. Because of this, we see only what we want to see, only things that confirm what we already know. We ignore everything else, not because we're close-minded, but because that's how our brains work.

This whole concept of information processing applies to our beliefs. If we think something is true, we subconsciously search for information consistent with that belief, and interpret the information we see to confirm. This is like paradigm theory. We have a paradigm, or a general idea that's considered true, and we use it to guide all research in that area. When the paradigm changes, they reevaluate everything they thought they knew to fit the new paradigm (like flat Earth vs. round Earth).

I think this is so interesting because it makes me think that our world exists within our minds. We see the world through a filter, and really isn't a way to see the world as it truly is. Because no one can see the world without a filter or a bias, true reality does not exist. A combination of genetic predisposition, conditioning, cognitive schemas, cultural influence, and experience lead people to construct their world from the inside out.

Like paint samples in a design studio, people choose from the world's innumerable stimuli and paint their world in their own colors. This fascinates me and scares me at the same time. I wonder what colors I chose and just how much I'm missing.

Love,
Juliana

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something I have to say

In 18 years, there is only one person I have ever truly hated. I can't even express how deeply upset she makes me. It's something I probably couldn't even talk about with a therapist without crying uncontrollably. She is my biggest fear, the cause of the most emotional pain I have ever experienced, and the star of at least one of my nightmares each week. I get a sickening feeling like no other when I think about her and if I think about her for too long, without exaggeration, I will throw up. My heart starts to race whenever the phone rings because I'm always afraid it could be her. I feel powerless knowing she's still allowed to continue living without medication and hurting as many people as she does. If I gathered the pain, both emotional and physical, that she has caused others and sent it back to her, I think she would die from the overload.

Nothing makes me sadder, angrier, and feel more defeated than knowing she still gets what she wants. Everyone tries to keep her happy when she is the one making everyone miserable. They don't understand. I hate that I can't make them understand. She needs to be arrested, committed, whatever it takes to get her on medication. It's a responsibility, and a duty to society. But I can't make anyone understand anything or do anything. I hate her for everything she's done, but I hate myself for not being able to stop her. The only thing I can think to do is channel my hate toward her back to myself. If I was worth anything, I would not let her hurt the people that mean the most to me. I would stop this. But I can't.

I hate her passionately, but I also hate myself for being powerless against her.

Love,
Juliana

Friday, March 25, 2011

Life is Art

Miss Congeniality, She's All That, The Devil Wears Prada, My Fair Lady, The Princess Diaries, Sixteen Candles...average, undesirable girl gets a makeover, snags the cutest guy in the movie, and lives happily ever after. I have a drawer of DVDs that could provide a list of examples. Add pajamas and a package of Oreos and you have what an average, undesirable girl like me calls a Friday night.

Average girls like to watch movies about average girls because they can relate, but those of us who really are average can't relate to perfectly crafted characters who trip and fall into fabulous lives. What about those of us who don't have a happy ending? For every one Rachel Leigh Cook in She's All That, there are 99 girls who did not dance with their Freddie Prinze Jr. on prom night. For every Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club, there's a weird girl who does not kiss the school wrestling star at the end of a life-changing Saturday detention. I'm not the awkward girl who stumbles blindly into the arms of a hot football player. I'm just the awkward girl.

It's hard to remember that movies aren't real. Beautiful actors are sculpted into these deliberately designed characters. Their lines are dictated to them, the poetic words carefully chosen by skilled writers and perfected over multiple drafts. It's beautiful, but it isn't real. Reality is improvised. It isn't perfect, glamorous, scripted, or planned. Real life is about as prosaic as a grocery list, but I think that's what makes life art in itself. One thing reality has that movies don't is raw emotion. Real life is real, uncensored, unscripted. The beauty of human emotion, our failures as well as our successes, and unhappy endings as well as the happy ones are what make life art. Life is art because it's real.

Love,
Juliana


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

This movie came out in theaters in 2003 marking the end to the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire. It's not a great movie and like anything Disney Channel produces, a mix of movie cliches with a sappy theme and a happy ending. However, for me, this movie is warm fuzzy childhood memories. I was a huge Lizzie fan in elementary school and 10 when this movie came out. I owned the soundtrack and played it until it broke. It's probably just the nostalgia talking, but I still think this movie is cute.

As a conclusion to Lizzie's middle school adventures, she and her best friend Gordo graduate from junior high and go on a school trip to Rome. Lizzie meets a cute Italian pop singer named Paolo who mistakes her for his singing partner Isabella, who, aside from a difference in hair color and accent, looks identical to Lizzie. She spends her time in Rome sneaking away from her abrasive chaperone and posing as Isabella to sing at an award show.

For anyone who knows Pretty in Pink, there's a Andie-Ducky-Blane situation between Lizzie, Gordo, and Paolo, but unlike Pretty in Pink, there's a happy ending for the loyal best friend. Gordo encourages Lizzie to spend time with Paolo, and he covers for her to the point of getting himself sent home. As the series progressed, Gordo's crush on Lizzie went from slightly implied to extremely obvious to everyone except Lizzie.

The movie brought this to culmination, and Lizzie and Gordo kissed in the last scene of the movie. She kisses him, he says "Uh...thanks" and she responds nervously with "You're welcome." It's cute and not so in-your-face, so I think it works for the end of this movie and the series as a whole.

Here's the scene in the movie where Lizzie sings on stage. I'm ruining the ending, but I doubt anyone cares: Paolo's plan was to use Lizzie to make Isabella look like a bad singer, embarrassing both of them in the process. In reality, Paolo can't sing, so Isabella exposes Paolo and makes Lizzie a superstar.



I would like to know why they're Italian but their songs are in English, and I need a better reason than because it's an English movie.

♥ ♪Hey now, hey now, this is what dreams are made of ♪ ♥

Love,
Juliana

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This weekend my little cousins stayed over our house, and this morning I was sitting on the couch with my 18 month old baby cousin watching Barney. I sat her on my lap to keep her from climbing over the back of the couch (she would try), and a short while later, she held my hand and cuddled into me all sweet and calm. Every once in a while, she would look back up at me, smile, and look back at the TV. I would sing along to the Barney songs, and she would look at me and giggle.

Still, every once in a while, she would check to make sure my mom was still around. If she couldn't see my mom, she would yell at me to put her down, run down the hall, and call my mom's name. When my mom came back in sight, she would jump back up on my lap and be content to watch the show.

After spending the weekend with her, I know how hard it is to balance your attention between a toddler and everything else you have to do. I also know that one day I want to hear tiny little feet running down the hall, a squeaky little voice calling for mommy, and the call to be for me.

Love,
Juliana

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Juliana Tests Positive for Unstable Loner

I "stumbled upon" this personality test. Here were my results.

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (13%) very low which suggests you are extremely worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Orderliness (73%) high which suggests you are overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense too often of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.
Extraversion (36%) moderately low which suggests you are reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com


I'm boring, unstable, and I have a stick up my butt. Cool. Then here was the "trait snapshot" they gave me.

"Introverted, neat, needs things to be extremely clean, observer, perfectionist, not self revealing, does not make friends easily, suspicious, irritable, hates large parties, follows the rules, worrying, does not like to stand out, fragile, phobic, submissive, dislikes leadership, cautious, takes precautions, focuses on hidden motives, good at saving money, solitary, hard working, emotionally sensitive, prudent, altruistic, heart over mind, unadventurous."

It's sad because it's true. I think I'm a little more fun than it thinks I am, but maybe not. Please help the cause by checking this box.



Yes! Send love to Juliana!






Love,
Juliana

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions is a 1999 remake of Dangerous Liasons, except with teenagers in Upper East Side Manhattan. An evil, soulless team of stepbrother and sister, Sebastian and Kathryn (Ryan Phillipe and Sarah Michelle Gellar), plan to destroy the innocence of two girls new to their school (Selma Blair and Reese Witherspoon). Witherspoon's character wrote to Seventeen proclaiming her decision to remain chaste, and Sebastian believes her to be the perfect challenge. Sebastian and Kathryn make a bet. He has to have sex with the self-proclaimed proud virgin. If he loses, Kathryn gets his car. If he succeeds, he gets to sleep with Kathryn.

Manipulation, vindication, pseudo-incest...in short, Gossip Girl: The Movie. They directly based the plot of an episode off this movie. Blair and Chuck in season two were Kathryn and Sebastian, just not related.

Let's meet our main characters.

Such a close family

Now we meet Cecile, a new student played by Selma Blair. I would tell you how innocent she's supposed to be, but her koala shirt speaks for itself.

Another thing that speaks for itself in this picture is Cristine Baranski's face

The plan comes out after this meeting, and we get a little introduction to Annette Hargrove.

And she's from Kansas.

And then a formal introduction.

The outfit screams "I'm a virgin and proud of it."

After a dose of Annette's chastity khakis, it's about time for some girl to girl tongue action.

This won for the "Best Kiss" category at the MTV Movie Awards in 2000.

Kathryn tells Cecile that girls learn how to kiss by practicing on each other. Cecile believes her. Later, Kathryn tells her that girls learn how to be good in bed by sleeping with everyone they can. Cecile believes her.

Kathryn keeps cocaine in her cross necklace. I wouldn't listen to anything she says.

A little more inappropriate relations.

Complete with dirty talk. Too bad you didn't get to hear that.

A negative review on rottentomatoes.com says: "Despite its highly descriptive dialogue, Cruel Intentions features no nudity ... I doubt teenage boys will be satisfied just to hear Buffy talk dirty."

I'm going to stop here and leave the fates of these characters a mystery, although the entire tone of the movie shifts at the end. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. I didn't quite expect it, I've heard critics call it a cop-out, but I think it was definitely effective.

Now I think is a good time to mention just how gorgeous Ryan Phillipe is.

Dude.

Even lame episodes of Gossip Girl can be sugar-coated with hot guys and sex scenes. Same goes for this movie. It was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Sexiest Love Scene.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe got married the year this movie came out. If you don't envy Reese Witherspoon for being pretty, talented, and successful, envy her for this.

On Rotten Tomatoes, it received a 47% from critics and a 79% from viewers. Other sites have it rated much higher, but most of the negative reviews criticize it for being an excuse to look at pretty people doing bad things. Sarah Michelle Gellar won an MTV Movie Award in 2000 for Best Female Performance and was nominated for Best Villian. It also won the Teen Choice Award for Best Drama. Critic Charles Taylor on salon.com calls it "The Dirtiest-minded American movie in recent memory - and an honestly corrupt entertaining picture is never anything to sneeze at." I agree with that. Fluffy but definitely entertaining.

Love,
Juliana

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Breastfeeding an 8 year old...

This mother from England still breast-feeds her almost 8-year-old daughter. Allow me to illustrate my sequence of reactions when I watched this video.

?_?
:o
@_@
O.o
=/
=|

Now allow me to share it with you, and let me tell you it gets progressively weirder as it goes on.



Every comment I can think to make just seems to completely inadequate. This speaks for itself.

This is probably a weird thing to say, but if these girls are so fascinated with breasts now, I wonder what they're going to do when they get their own...I mean 8 and 9? They're only a few years away.

I never even thought about anyone doing this. I always thought the general cut-off was whenever the baby started getting teeth, sometime before a year, not when they were getting their second set of teeth. Turns out pediatricians recommend doing it for at least a year in order to build up the kid's immune system and prevent diseases later in life.

I watched a few other related videos after this one (American women whose children are five or six), and supposedly the international average age to stop breast-feeding a child is four. I also read that this is an insignificant statistic because it doesn't account for cultural factors. It did say though that in societies where the children self-wean, most stop around three or four, which is supposedly the natural age.



They all made an interesting point that the United States and I guess Western culture in general made breasts a sex symbol, and that whole belief is a learned social construct that makes people uncomfortable with breastfeeding. Nevertheless, society dictates what is appropriate and inappropriate, so it might be difficult for these children to adapt to what is considered normal if they were raised that way. I would be beyond mortified if I was one of those children.

I spent seven hours at school today and the most useful thing I learned was from watching Cracked TV on YouTube.

Love,
Juliana

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hot in Cleveland and Golden Girls

I was sick today, and sick days always lead to a discovery of some new show that I will watch half the day. Last night I discovered "Hot in Cleveland," a sitcom on TV Land, and I've watched six episodes since last night.

The show is about three single middle aged women who moved to Cleveland from LA and still try to act like they're 30. (Sex and the City anyone?) The three of them are funny, but it's the 80 something-year-old quick-witted caretaker of the house played by Betty White. She was cast in the pilot of the show as a guest star and was not meant to be a regular, but her appearance received such enthusiastic reception that she was written in as a main character.

Betty White is adorable. She is 89 years old and still kicking. In the last couple years she's been on Saturday Night Live, the movie The Proposal, You Again ("I'm also on Facebook. And the Twitter!"), an episode of 30 Rock, and several other things including a major role on the show "Hot in Cleveland." She won a SAG Award last night for her role on the show.



She has been acting since 1945 and used to host the show Password in the 60s, but I know her from the show that kept her name alive in the last part of the 20th century, "The Golden Girls."

This show is about three old women who live together in Miami, and one's mother who hangs around their house and gets in the best sarcastic one-liners. Estelle Getty was to Golden Girls what Betty White is to Hot in Cleveland. They're all basically a family and have problems you would expect among a group of young women, made funny by the fact that they're in their 60s.

Betty is the last living Golden Girl, as of June last year. She played Rose, the dim-witted, clueless one of the group who would tell crazy stories like Kenneth from 30 Rock about living on a farm. Golden Girls is one of those shows that can put you in a better mood instantly. I love the theme song.



Love to these shows, Betty White, and you,
Juliana

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Parent Trap

There's a kind of magic to these movies. If you don't know what they're about, two estranged twin sisters meet for the first time at a summer camp and realize they were separated at birth by their parents who divorced and each took one child. The one who lives with her father in Napa, CA is more of a tomboy and the one who lives with her mother, a famous wedding dress designer, in England is more refined and feminine. Each girl wants to meet their missing parent, so they decide to switch places and get their parents back together so they can finally be the family they were meant to be.

Like any little kid, I went through phases of being totally obsessed with certain movies. In Kindergarten, these were my favorite. I remember watching both versions so many times at my grandma's house that to this day she still can't stand them. Sometimes I used to watch the Lindsay Lohan version twice in one day.

The original version came out in 1961 and starred Hayley Mills, my favorite actress when I was little. I loved old Hayley Mills movies like That Darn Cat, Pollyanna, and The Parent Trap. The mother here is played by Maureen O'Hara, the mother in Miracle of 34th street, which I'm sure means nothing to anyone but me.



I used to walk around singing this song. They nod to it in the 1998 remake where they have Lindsay Lohan sing it while waiting for an elevator.


This was Lindsay Lohan's break into acting, and it makes me sad to think of the drastic downward spiral her life has taken since then. Between the soundtrack and the charm of the awesome cast Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, and young Lindsay Lohan, this movie is an adorable remake of an adorable classic.



Love,
Juliana

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Desperately Seeking Susan

I saw this movie for the first time tonight, and when I pressed play I actually squealed. My sister said "What was that?" I said "I'm so excited!" She called me a nerd, and I deserve it, but it's Madonna in a movie!

The tagline for this movie is "Roberta is desperate to be Susan. Susan is wanted by the mob. The mob finds Roberta instead."

This movie is about a bored woman named Roberta, married to a nerdy hot tub salesman, who lives vicariously through some woman named Susan she has never met. She knows of Susan through the personal ads where her boyfriend leaves messages for her titled "Desperately Seeking Susan."

Susan is a drifter, so when her boyfriend can't find her, he leaves her a message in the personal ads detailing a time and place for them to meet. Roberta wants to know more about the elusive Susan with the kind of exciting life she will never have, so she stalks their meeting. When Susan sells her signature jacket, Roberta buys it to emulate her idol. She ends up hitting her head and gets amnesia, and everyone including herself believes that she really is Susan. Unknown to Susan, the mob is after her for her earrings, stolen artifacts, and they come after Roberta instead.

This movie is everything I love about the 80s. If I could be made into any character from any movie ever, I would want to be Madonna's character in this movie. This review calls it "a must see for anybody interested in 80's culture."



Love,
Juliana

Friday, January 21, 2011

Todo Pasa

The best advice I ever received was from a story in my Spanish 3 reading workbook called Todo Pasa, or Everything Passes. Basically, the story is about a King whose servant offers him a piece of paper with a message on it and says to keep it in his ring and only read it when all else has failed. Later in the story, the kingdom is invaded and the king remembers the ring and reads the note that says "Esto también pasara" or "This too will pass." Everything gets better and his kingdom is like the best ever. The servant tells him to look at the message again to remind him that his success won't last either.

It means that time passes and things that seem really important or really horrible right now won't last forever. Things will get better, but it's the same with really good things. Those won't last either.

"Ninguna cosa y ninguna emoción son permanentes. Todo viene y va como el día y la noche. Habrá momentos de alegría y momentos de tristeza. Acéptalos como parte de la dualidad de la vida; es la naturaleza misma de la existencia."

Nothing and no emotion is permanent. Everything comes and goes like day and night. There will be moments of happiness and moments of sadness. Accept them as part of the duality of life; it is the nature of existence.

Love,
Juliana

Monday, January 17, 2011

5 Things I'm sick of hearing about Twilight

Twilight is one of those topics on which everyone has an opinion. It is also one of those things you don't discuss in mixed company, like politics or religion. What I find more amusing and annoying than any obsessive Twilight fan is the ardent and vocal backlash from the Twilight haters. When you find someone who hates Twilight, chances are they *really* hate Twilight. Many times I can laugh at the awkward teenage boys who whine about Twilight while secretly resenting this fictional vampire for attracting girls in a way they never could, or the "intellectuals" who condemn shallow teen literature for insulting their intelligence while using the very intellectual work "Twitard." However, it does bother me that I hear more Twilight talk from the haters than anyone who likes it. Here are 5 things I'm sick of hearing about Twilight.

1. "Harry Potter is sooo much better!"

You can't compare apples to oranges. First of all, I would put Harry Potter in the category of literature and Twilight in entertainment. That's like saying Newsweek is so much better than Cosmo. They're not trying to compete. They cater to different audiences with different interests. They serve different purposes. Also, I could whine about Harry Potter fans just as these Harry Potter fans whine about Twilight. Twilight is overhyped, but I got sick of hearing about Harry Potter in 6th grade. Anything that's talked about too much becomes annoying. Everyone should just shut up, stop making it into a competition and leave the two alone.

2. "These kids think they like vampires but they don't know anything about vampires!"

It's kind of ridiculous to complain about the factually inaccurate portrayal of a fictional monster. If you feel like fighting for social justice, leave the sparkly vampires and take up gay rights or something. If you really care that much about Twilight tarnishing the good name of vampires, maybe it's time to reevaluate your life.

3. "Twilight is so stupid blah blah blah Twitards blah blah blah blah blah blah blah vampires suck blah blah blah..."

People who talk endlessly about how much they hate Twilight and roll their eyes at any mention of it. Shut up. The difference between pro-Twilight babble and anti-Twilight babble is that one is positive and one is negative. People would always rather hear positive babble than negative, so shut up and don't drag your personal rain cloud over the rest of us.

4. "They copied other books! There are other books like this! It's not original!" *points fingers*

So? There's a reason this one became popular and those didn't. You want to sell a book? Make the people like it. There's definitely something about Twilight that makes people like it. When they sue Stephanie Meyer for copyright infringement, you can picket outside the courthouse.

5. "Stephanie Meyer is a bad writer who doesn't deserve to be famous!"

She repeats the same adjectives and verbs endlessly, her ideas weren't original, and the whole thing is teenage fluff. But the combination of elements she threw together hit a serious chord with girls. I think she definitely deserves her fame. If you can throw together a book that is so frivolous and simple but pushes just the right buttons to make girls obsess, more power to you. You deserve fame. She pulled strings, pushed buttons, and hit chords with the simplest things. It won't win her any Pulitzers for literature, but it is the entire goal of the entertainment industry to bring people something that interests them to the level of obsession.

Basically, people would rather hear about how much you love something than how much you hate it. Compulsive negativity is annoying, more annoying than any teen obsession. I'm sure soon everyone will stop talking about Twilight and move onto their next target. Watch out Justin Bieber with your baby face and childlike smile. If you keep spreading sunshine to children, the world's former Twilight haters will beat you with copies of the newest Harry Potter.

Love,
Juliana

Looks matter, but not in the way that you think

People (self-righteous holier-than-thou free love anarchists) like to say looks don't matter to them. It's just an inevitable fact of nature that they do. Things that are more aesthetically pleasing are more attractive, and this applies to art, nature, architecture, people, everything. Looks shouldn't dictate our judgments about people -- they're part of a genetic lottery not everyone can win, but that's not the whole story. There are aspects of appearance that people can control very easily, and it is by this more than anything that people are judged.

I used to argue about this with my dad endlessly when I was little. He would yell at me to take off my chipped nail polish and cut my gross nails, and I would yell back with "I don't care! No one ever looks at my nails!" He would say "If you look like you just don't care, why should anyone care about you?" When I was eight, I thought this was ridiculous. Now that I'm 18, I wish I could time warp 10 years and tell myself to listen to Dad.

Your genetics are out of your hands, but the way you present yourself is your choice. It's shallow and unfair to judge guys on a scale from 1 to Chace Crawford, but they just ask to be judged when they voluntarily choose to look like a hobo. If they have the means to cut their hair, shave, and wear clothes that match, and they don't do those things, that screams to the world "I don't care what you think, so don't bother to think about me."

It's a matter of respect for normal social customs, and those who defy them only ask for judgment. People like to criticize those who judge by looks and label them as shallow, but looks can tell you a lot about a person. Everyone makes a conscious decision about their appearance when they get dressed in the morning, and this choice can immediately tell you how lazy or apathetic they are. It doesn't mean spending an hour doing your hair or wearing pounds of makeup, but looking clean is just a little thing anyone can do to respect themselves and everyone who has to look at them.

Don't judge a book by it's cover? The cover is not the whole story, but we shouldn't ignore the choice that went into it. Someone chose that cover to represent the book.

Love,
Juliana

Friday, January 7, 2011

Middle School Party Games

Middle school probably produces the most embarrassing and hilarious pictures of yourself that you will ever see. I had horrible teeth then braces, I dressed like a boy, and weighed 25 pounds more than I do now even though I was shorter. I'm still in an awkward stage, but middle school was the climax of it, and everyone looks back on middle school pictures and laughs. The party games we played reflected just how unfabulous it all was. Drugs, cigarettes, violence, and pre-teen pregnancy are pretty common in middle schools from what I hear, but my middle school years were more like a 90s sitcom. Doing makeup, talking about boys, and playing one of these games was our idea of a party.

1. Truth or Dare

I could make a whole post on this game, guaranteed at any party from 3rd grade on. It was actually more popular in elementary school and started to die around 7th grade. Players are asked to choose truth or dare. If they pick truth, they are asked a question which they have to answer. If they pick dare, they're dared to do something weird. Obvious popular truths were "who's your crush," "have you ever kissed a boy," "have you ever seen a guy naked," "have you ever slept in the same bed as a boy," etc. For whatever reason, daring people to hump things was always popular, even in 4th grade. I was dared to make out with a life-sized Barbie doll in 5th grade (forshadowing?). I've probably played this game 40 times.

Of course, it was more fun to play with guys. As sexual as 12-year-olds dared to make it, the co-ed version of this game involved taking off clothes, touching, kissing, whatever, but it was all generally innocent. Girls for some reason all thought they had to kiss someone before high school, and this game was their ticket in. Daring the guy to kiss the girl put the spotlight on him and made it less awkward for her because she was the "victim" of the dare. Victim, yeah right.

We never played spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven, and I've never heard of anyone playing them in real life, although I'm sure they do. Kids have texting now. They skip the little games and sext each other instead. Wow did I just say sext?

2. Park Bench

In this game, one person pretends they are sitting on a park bench. The person whose turn it is pretends they are a stranger encroaching in the space of the park bencher. Their job is to say the most awkward things possible to make the park bencher surrender and get off the bench.

They can move into their space as much as they want, whisper in their ear, whatever, but it's generally no contact. There's a contact version where you touch the person until they're so uncomfortable that they surrender, but that one is more fun with boys. We used to play this game in P.E. instead of actually, you know, exercising like we were supposed to.

3. The Interview Game

My friends used to love to cause drama, and someone was always fighting with someone. At lunch, to keep a catfight at bay, we would play this game. One person is the interviewee, and everyone else is an interviewer.

The interviewers all discuss a job they want to assign the interviewee, but they never tell the person. Let's say lion tamer. The interviewers all agree on lion tamer, and they ask the interviewee questions about their job as a lion tamer, dropping subtle clues as to what that job is.

The interviewee has to answer the questions, pretending they know their job, and eventually, using the clues, guess what that job is. "You really seem to take a bite out of life. Is it hard to tame your passion for your line of work?"

4. Kiss, Cliff, Marry

I first played this in 7th grade and actually played the older version Kill, F*ck, or Marry in the past year. In this game, you're given a choice of three guys you know, and you have to decide which of the three you would kiss, throw off a cliff, and marry. It's an ice breaker in a group situation and less personal than truth or dare, which at times had a hangover effect when you did/said something you regret later.

5. Magic 8 Ball

Pass it around. Ask it questions. Who will kiss whom, who will marry whom, everyone laughs. Simple party fun that could last a long time, surprisingly. One of those truth or dare kissing schemes was hatched as a result of Magic 8 Ball results.


6. Ouija Board

This is an oracle game that contains just a board full of letters and a compass with a magnifier in it. What you're supposed to do is sit in a dark-ish room and have everyone put their hand on the compass. Then you ask the "spirits" a question, and they are supposed to guide the compass over the answer.

Like the Magic 8 Ball, it was supposed to be a fortune telling game, but it always turned into a séance. We would make the room as creepy as possible, and every little sound or movement we would look at as a sign of a ghost. Whenever the compass moved, someone was always moving it and swearing they weren't.



I played truth or dare at my sister's friend's party recently. They asked me if I liked my sister's 13-year-old guy friend. I very dramatically said yes, but I didn't want him to find out this way. I still pull out the interview game in boring situations and it always breaks the ice, and Magic 8 Balls are fun no matter how old you are.

I was thinking of posting on the hand clapping games we played in elementary school, but I don't remember enough of any of them to explain. I'm working on it.. ^_^

Love,
Juliana