Yay Snow!

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101_9788Once again, my plans have been diverted. The blog post that I began a day and a half ago is still sitting unfinished in a folder titled “Future Blog Posts” while a new and more pressing topic has presented itself to me. It snowed today, and snow changes everything. Granted, it only snowed for a couple hours, and very little snow actually accumulated on the ground. (And I missed most of it because I was in class.) In fact, even that small amount started melting immediately and now, just a few hours later, the snow is mostly gone from the ground. Fortunately, I live on the fifth floor of a building on a steep hill, so the view from my window mainly consists of trees and the tops of buildings, where there still is snow. It’s very, very beautiful. My window is wide open; I don’t care about the cold nearly as much as I care about the sight of the snow.

Snow 3Technically, this snowfall wasn’t nearly major enough to be a big deal. It’s nothing compared to the kind of snow that people who live farther north get at least a few times every single winter, and it’s nothing compared to the snowstorm that my family experienced on Christmas day. But I personally feel that this snow is due cause for excitement and obsession. For one thing, I kind of have a thing about snow. If it snows, it’s a very noteworthy occasion; that’s just the way things work in my world. In particular, it is necessary that I alert the internet to any snow that I see. But I’m not exactly unique in that way. At my college, everyone does that. This is Alabama and Alabama snow is a rarity almost as significant as if the Alabama Crimson Tide loses a football game. (The difference, of course, is that it’s good when it snows and it’s a major disappointment if Alabama loses a game.) Alabama snow happens maybe once or twice a year, and there’s never more than a couple inches. Every snowfall I have seen here in Alabama, even the tiniest of flurries, is worthy of acknowledgement. In fact, I know a number of people who automatically apply the word “blizzard” to any sighting of snow.  This particular snowfall actually is a greater than average one, even though it will be nothing but a distant memory by mid-morning tomorrow.

Snow 1The presence of snow on the ground or in the air entails certain changes in my rules of life. Basically, that means that I rewrite my to-do list if it snows, and that the revised version is more likely to include things like sitting on my bed and watching DVDs on my laptop late into the night. I’ve actually done that a number of times in the past couple of weeks, mainly because it’s been so cold and rainy that I’ve slipped into a mentality similar to that of a snow day, except without the joy and excitement. Now that it’s finally snowed in actuality, I have an excuse to act that way. Besides, I now also have an excuse to follow the dietary traditions which I associate with snowy weather.

101_9790It goes without saying that one should have hot chocolate when it snows, and this especially holds true when one lives at college where one’s mother is not present to place limits on the amount of hot chocolate one may consume or the quantity of chocolate that one should put in one’s hot chocolate. (In case my mother is reading this, or anyone else’s mother for that matter, I would like to point out that it’s called hot chocolate, not hot chocolate-water.) I take some pride in the fact that I don’t use hot chocolate mix to make my hot chocolate. I make it with cocoa powder, sugar, and hot milk. Really, hot chocolate mix is just cocoa powder, artificial sweetener, powdered dairy products, and various substances that offer no contribution to flavor and are present only because of the tacit rules of food packaging companies that all prepackaged foods must contain several ingredients that are named with long and unfamiliar words. You can get more or less the same thing just by heating up some milk, (It’s best if you actually scald it a little) and add the correct proportion of cocoa powder and sugar. (This is done by estimation, not measuring.) Then, if you want to make it extra special, you can just add some marshmallows and/or chocolate chips. This, dear readers, is how hot chocolate is to be made.

101_9793Even besides the hot chocolate rule, dietary practices should change in accordance with the weather. Basically, that’s my way of saying that I eat loads of junk food when it snows. Today, for example, I discovered that the campus store has finally restocked bagel bites, and I naturally bought a box. Those will be my supper, along with an excessive amount of Oreos and a chocolate bar. This, of course, is in addition to the aforementioned hot chocolate.

snow 4Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to post an annoying amount of snow pictures to tumblr.

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The riveting tale of my White Christmas

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Behold, the great Arkansas blizzard of 2012!

Behold, the great Arkansas blizzard of 2012!

Good King Wenceslas , who looked out on the feast of Stephen, which, incidentally, is December 26

Good King Wenceslas , who looked out on the feast of Stephen, which, incidentally, is December 26

When I woke up on the morning of December 26, I noticed two things: There was snow on the ground outside and the power was out. Neither of these things surprised me, for they both had been true the night before. When I had fallen asleep on Christmas night, the snow had still been falling, and it was accompanied by heavy winds and unusually colored lightning. That morning, though, the storm had ended and the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.

When I woke up on the morning of December 27, I noticed three things, and they were all the same: cold, cold, cold. These things did not surprise me, for they were a direct result of the aforementioned things from the previous day. The snow was still laying round about, deep and crisp and even, and the power was still out. Due to the loss of furnace power, the temperature in the house had gradually decreased throughout the previous day and a half. According to the thermometer, it was in the low fifties. According to the sensation in my hands and feet, it was negative a gajillion degrees. According to the pragmatic sectors of my brain, it was cold. And there was no coffee, ‘cause the coffee maker runs on electricity.

In true pioneer spirit, we sat around and lamented our lack of internet access and our inability to charge our various electronic devices. Also, I made these lovely protest signs.]

In true pioneer spirit, we sat around and lamented our lack of internet access and our inability to charge our various electronic devices. Also, I made these lovely protest signs.

A few hours later, we fled the house. That is, the trip had already been planned in advance, and our time of departure was fairly close to what it would have been without the effects of the aforementioned things. Our anticipation to see extended family mingled with anticipation to experience warmth and functional light switches.

Sadly, I will presumably not be in my house when the power comes back on, which ruins my plan to celebrate that occasion with a facebook status saying, “Behold, the people sitting in darkness have seen a great light!”

It’s a Wonderful Life, but not really

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It's a Wonderful Life

Late last night, I told myself that I would celebrate being done with my English senior seminar paper presentation by watching a movie, and I selected It’s a Wonderful Life. While I watched it, I was multi-tasking, and when I say multi-tasking, I mean I was sleeping at the same time. Actually, I did that on purpose, because I seriously needed to be asleep just then. Needless to say, I wasn’t very aware of the movie. (Because I was distracted by my dream in which people kept randomly sticking knives into my car tires, and also, there was a gas station in my little sisters’ bedroom, which would have been very convenient if I could drive, but I couldn’t, because my tires were full of holes, although they were magically fixed a couple times. I have weird dreams.) I’ve seen that movie many times, though, so my inattentiveness to it this time doesn’t prevent me from having things to say about it.

In case anyone reading this isn’t familiar with the movie, I’ll give a quick summary of the plot. On Christmas Eve, presumably in 1946 because that’s when the movie was filmed, a man named George Bailey is considering suicide. An angel named Clarence is assigned to come to help him through his time of trouble. The majority of the movie is the story of George’s life, which Clarence watches before coming to George’s rescue. We see George as a twelve-year-old boy who works in a drugstore, as a young adult who has to give up his plans to travel and to go to college when his father suddenly dies, and as a somewhat less young adult who still works at his father’s Building and Loan and suddenly finds himself in trouble for the loss of money that his Uncle Billy misplaced that morning. He’s just about to jump off of a bridge when Clarence the angel

This one facial expression in particular always really scared me for some reason.

This one facial expression in particular always really scared me for some reason.

interrupts him. While talking to Clarence, George says that he wishes he’d never been born, and Clarence gives him a view of what the world around him would be like if he didn’t exist. What follows is a scene that terrified me when I was little, which shows George running frantically around town and finding out that all of the pleasant people he knows are miserable and bitter, the entire town is owned by the mercenary Mr. Potter, and it isn’t even snowing anymore. (I have never entirely understood why George Bailey’s state of existence affects the weather patterns, but it evidently does.) George changes his mind and decides that he wants to be alive again, and when he returns home, fully existent, he finds that his friends have all chipped in to raise money to help him, and then they all have a lovely Christmas party and everyone is happy.

Rotary Phone

Rotary Phone

One thing I did notice about it this time through is that, in the drugstore near the beginning, Mary and Violet have their hair in 1940s hairstyles, even though that scene took place in 1919. Then I noticed that there was a rotary phone on George Bailey’s father’s desk. For a moment, I felt very proud of myself for catching this anachronism, but then I looked it up, and it turns out that rotary phones came into common usage in 1914. There was in fact no anachronism committed. The moral of this story is that I should stop being a smart-aleck and accept the fact that moviemakers know what they’re doing. The other thing I learned from this was, of course, that rotary phones came into common usage in 1914, a fact which I shall add to the list of random facts that I like to keep in my brain just in case they may someday be relevant to a conversation I’m having.

If this picture has no sentimental connotations to you, then you are in the minority.

On a more serious note, as much as I like It’s a Wonderful Life, I think it’s actually a really depressing movie. The central message is that life is worthwhile because individual people have a positive impact on the world around them, but George Bailey isn’t a good example of that because his life is more influential than most peoples’ lives. I mean, he saved two people’s lives when he was a twelve-year old kid, he single-handedly kept the Building and Loan running and thereby provided affordable housing for a significant portion of the population of his town, and, even though we actually don’t see much of his children in the movie, we see enough of them that we find his family likable and that popular culture associates that specific part of the movie with “The Christmas Spirit”. And he seems to be friends with everyone in town except for Mr. Potter and his daughter’s teacher’s husband. Even though he’s lived in the same place for his entire life, George Bailey has done a lot of important things and had a beneficial impact on a lot of people’s lives. His life really is pretty wonderful, despite the events of that one Christmas Eve. (In fact, that crisis only lasts for a few hours; everything’s fine that morning and everything’s fine again by that night.) Most of us can’t say the same things about our own lives. I bet that if I could see what things would be like if I’d never been born, the world would basically look no different than it does now. I’ve never saved anyone’s life, I don’t run a business that is vital to the prosperity of my town, and I highly doubt that my existence has any impact on the personalities of the people around me, or the weather. (If it did, that would actually be a good reason for me to stop existing, ‘cause I know my sister really wants it to snow this week, and it sure isn’t snowing now.) In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that I have dance rehearsals, dance performances, and two finals between now and Monday, I could probably suddenly disappear without anybody even noticing for a few days, even if my existence wasn’t erased from the past like George Bailey’s was.

If this is all it takes to make your life wonderful again, then you've got things pretty good. Although it sure would help. Just sayin'.

If this is all it takes to make your life wonderful again, then you’ve got things pretty good. Although it sure would help. Just sayin’.

So, yeah. When I watch that movie, instead of thinking how wonderful it is that everyone’s life is special, I think how sad it is that my life isn’t special like George Bailey’s is. And instead of being happy for him that all his problems were solved when his friends gave him all their money, I am sad that in real life, even little problems take more than a fairly obvious plot twist to solve. And I feel no sympathy for someone who wants to commit suicide because of one bad day, when most people in the world have had a lot more than one bad day in their lives.

Oh, what holiday cheer.