Monday, February 28, 2011

A Very Happy Monday To You!

I'm late posting today, so let's make a list!

1. I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Breathless Reads Book Tour in Raleigh on Friday night with one of my best friends. Not only did I get some sweet, signed books, but I got to listen to five amazing authors talk about writing! Pinch me, am I dreaming? Sadly, I didn't take any photos. Maybe it WAS a dream, after all.

2. Saturday night I drank milkshakes and watched Disney movies with another best friend.

3. Last night, Oscar night, another best friend had an awesome Oscar party. I went as the white swan and she went as the black swan from "Black Swan". If I can find photos of that, I might post them soon!

4. COLIN FIRTH WON BEST ACTOR. Thank goodness.

5. I thought I was going to be excited about Lady Gaga's new music video for "Born This Way"... but it ended up weirding me out.



How was YOUR weekend?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Resident Expert: The Oscars

It's that time of year again, folks.

THE OSCARS!

I'm REALLY excited about James Franco hosting (and Anne Hathaway)... I just don't know if I'd rather have him or Colin Firth win for Best Actor. Decisions, decisions.

Well, if I ever win an Oscar, I'll be completely prepared because I've been practicing my speech for as long as I can remember.

But, before you get to the speech, you have to pick out the dress (and presumably be nominated after performing above and beyond expectations in a film, blah blah blah) you'll wear. I'm in LOVE with Olivia Wilde's dress from this year's Golden Globes. LOVE.



When you've got the perfect outfit, it's easier to make your speech (in my opinion).

Here's the basic formula:

1. Thank your family.
2. Thank the Academy.
3. If you wish, thank your deity of choice.
4. Thank the cast and crew.
5. If you're classy, compliment the other nominees.
6. If you're character was a real person, thank them (*cough cough*Julia Roberts
5. Share an anecdote.
7. If you haven't been cut off, throw in a few Oscar over-the-head victory shots and laugh/cry.
8. But if your speech is short, make it energetic.


I made McHotVoice promise to thank me when he wins his first Oscar.

Of course, even with the formula, there's always the possibility of blubbering like Jennifer Hudson. I still think she had a great speech, though, and even with my preparations I would probably be a little shaky!

Who do you want to win an award this year? What would you say in your acceptance speech?

Happy Awards season, ya'll!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Do You Watch?

I'm now officially a Broadcast Journalism major, and as such I've been told to watch lots of television. I mean LOTS. It's hard to, sometimes, because I have such a busy schedule, and when I do I get a little TOO addicted!

I've been learning a lot about programming and audiences and such, and it's made me start to wonder... what do YOU watch? Are you like me and don't have that much time to do it? Do you watch your favorite shows live or on tape? Or even online? What channels do you normally watch, and what times do you watch them?

Oh, curiosity :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Literal Trailers

Not much goin' on over here today... but I thought I'd share some of the funniest videos I've seen in a long time, so without further ado...





If I told you how many times I've watched these, it would be embarrassing.

Let's just say I can sing both songs.

EDIT: For some reasons I can't get these videos any smaller... you'll probably have to click through to YouTube to see the whole thing. Sorry!

Monday, February 21, 2011

China, Part Three (In Which I Get Lost and Later Stuck in Snow)

Oh, China. It's takin' me FOREVER to write 'bout you, but I won't quit you now.

Last time, on Mariah's Incredible Journey, we visited Xi'an and Chengdu. Jon Arnston had a great question for me, which I will now answer:

"Just curious, how were you received among the different Chinese people you encountered?"

Whoa, I had to write a paper on this very topic!

The Chinese treat foreigners very well. The only time I felt uncomfortable was when I was shopping in some of the markets, but it wasn't necessarily that I was a target... anyone that something to sell sold it hardcore. Seriously, I don't recommend getting trapped between two ladies trying to sell you shoes. *shudder*

Several times, being a foreigner actually made me a celebrity of sorts. People would see my blond hair, or hear me speak English and immediately ask "Can I take a photo with you?" I would show you some, but I didn't get any on my camera :(

I met one very nice woman... wait, hold on... I'll tell you that bit in a moment.

Okay, so our next stop is Lijiang. Yay Lijiang!

This is farther West, and it's a city in Yunnan Province (here's a map):



It's in a valley between a range of mountains, the tallest being the end of the Himalayan Mountains, so the altitude was a little higher than I was used to. It turned out alright, though, because it made our time there warmer!

Most of the things we got to see were natural (mountains, lakes, etc.), but the town we stayed in, Shuhe old town, was pretty active. It's a real tourist destination because, besides the multitude of shops, it's still relatively traditional compared to bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai.



That isn't my photo, but isn't that the China you'd think China looks like?

The people native to the region, the Naxi, were very kind. I won't talk about them too much, so I can continue on, but their culture is pretty interesting, so you should look them up if you get the chance.

I visited Jade Dragon Snow Mountain...



... and it's glacier park...





... and Black Dragon Pool.



In short, Lijiang was one of my favorite places of the entire trip.

Next we went to Shangri-la, which was as close to Tibet as we would go. We took a bus there (we flew the entire rest of the time) and on the way stopped to see Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge.

It was a long, exhausting hike to the top of the mountain to see the gorge, but the view was definitely worth it!



On the way down, I was with one of my professors instead of the 29 other people on the trip and, long story short, we got lost! There was a little town at the bottom of the mountain and a eight hour (or half hour car ride down really windy roads) hike back to civilization. Luckily, I speak Chinese, and there was a wonderful woman out sweeping the path to her house that could tell us where to go.

And thankfully I found my way back to civilization, or I would've been stuck here:



We finally made it all the way to Shangri-la (where the altitude just about killed all of us) and were able to see Songzanlin Monastery, a huge, beautiful Tibetan Buddhism Monastery.



It started snowing when we were at the monastery and we couldn't leave the following day because it closed down the airport. We missed a day in Kunming, which is where I'll pick up next time I blog about China.

Whew! If you've made it to the end of this post, I congratulate you for surviving my ramblings (the funny thing is that I cut sooooo much out!).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Resident Expert: Alex Pettyfer

Happy Friday!

I've been working on my next China post, but it's kinda long and I thought everyone could use some nice, abtastic photos to carry you into the weekend.

So, Alex Pettyfer. Mother was a model, father was an actor. English. Hasn't been in too many movies yet, but he's now in "I Am Number Four" (released today), based on the book, and in the soon-to-be released (March, I think) "Beastly", also based on a book.

And he's GORGEOUS.





Personally, I usually prefer the tall, dark, and handsome type to the blonde type, but MMMHMMHESFINE. Also, he's what I imagine the main character from my recent National Novel Writing Month book looks like.

That totally gives me permission to stare at him all day, right?



Anyways, here's an "I Am Number Four" trailer. Has anyone read the book? I was under the impression it was an MG with a younger MC. Probably just changed for Hollywood!



I think I shall see this movie.

So what about you? Do you have any characters, male or otherwise, that you think of when you see certain actors/celebrities?

Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Romance?!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I can't think of romantic things at the moment, just that Maggie Stiefvater will be vlogging the first few pages of Forever at 12 EST today on her Facebook page. [insert excited sounds here]

Also, this new Adele song is stuck in my head. Although it's FANTASTIC, it's about a break up.



THAT VOICE. Can I be Adele, for like, five minutes please?

There is ONE thing that I can do for ya'll (Yes, I said ya'll. I'm in the South now and eat way too much fried chicken while I say it.) and that is post an adorable panda video, since everyone has been loving the panda parts of my China trip.

I suggest you watch it without volume because the quality is really bad, but also because I say embarrassing things like "Hey baby!" and "Look at the panda butt!"




Now I'll go polish off my jar of Nutella in a true Valentine's celebration.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Like my new look?

I'll continue China Week next week (and possibly change it to China Fortnight).

Until then, look at the new header I made! Yay! I was getting bored with my old one, so I drew this one up. I totally jump off things with only an umbrella to keep me alive. TOTALLY.

I'll probably be adding a few more changes in the next week, so stay tuned!

Also, Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

China, Part Two (In Which I Go More Places and See More Things)

Welcome back to China week. Yup, it's a thing (I just decided it. No vetoes allowed).

Our next stop is Xi'an, west of Beijing, and China's former capital city for thousands of years spanning the rule of some of the most important dynasties (Qin, Han, Tang, Zhou, to name a few).

Whereas Beijing was focused largely on modernization (although many historical sites remain) Xi'an felt like a city stuck between the two worlds of technology and tradition. The city wall remains intact, one of the only ones left in China from imperial times.

One of the more well-known places I saw while there was the Mausoleum of the first Qin emperor, the location of the Terracotta Warriors.



The Terracotta Warriors were found in 1974 when a farmer was trying to dig a well. He started digging up pieces of terracotta!

They were originally built in 210 BC and each warrior is unique, built to resemble someone in the emperor's army. Each is a little bigger than life size (about six to six and half feet) and were painted as well. The army was destroyed by the emperor's enemies after his death; they were all set on fire and smashed. Archeologists have been putting them back together, but out of over 8,000 estimated warriors most remain buried.

This photo came out a little blurry, but you can still see the different faces of each warrior:



I also visited the Wild Goose Pagoda...



... where I had a great view of the city.



And yes, it was quite smoggy.

Next, I went to Chengdu, home of spicy food and...

... PANDAS!

My afore-posted photo with a year old panda:



And another panda just being adorable, as they tend to do from time to time:



I also saw the world's biggest Buddha while I was in Chengdu... the Leshan Buddha:



It took 90 years to carve, and I didn't even reach to the top of its toes!

And we shall continue tomorrow.

If you have any specific questions to ask me about anything, don't be afraid to ask!

Monday, February 7, 2011

CHINA, PART ONE

Now that I'm somewhat settled back at school again, I shall commence my sharing!

I was in China for 22 days so right now I'm sitting at my computer and brain is saying "Holy BLEEP how will you even BEGIN to blog about this?"

(Later)

Okay, I've got a plan.* Let's go!

First, I should mention the flight from JFK to Beijing is 13 hours. I managed to read two books and get minimal sleep. Yay! (In parentheses news, Matched is a great book).

My first day in Beijing I got to see Tienanmen Square...



... the Temple of Heaven (a Daoist temple)...



... and the Forbidden City...



So, as far as first days in China go, I'd consider this a pretty great one. My mind was completely blown away (a feeling that still lingers even now) by everything from the history, to the architecture, to the people I saw. At the Temple of Heaven, for example, there was a park where people went to practice Tai Chi and play games. It was such a fun place and such a community place, which is what surprised me the most.

The next day I went to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Venues to see the Water Cube (swimming) and the Bird's Nest (track and field).







I really wanted to run around the track like Usain Bolt, but the track was covered with fake snow and transformed in to a children play area. And no, I didn't play in it (even though I wanted to).

The same day I also got to climb the Great Wall!

Here I am, victory-style:



It was a freezing, windy day (hence the multiple jackets) but I wouldn't have traded it for the world (nor the entire trip, for that matter).

I think I'm going to pause this until tomorrow... I promise I'll be back!





*My plan is to write/show photos of the highlights of the trip, probably for the rest of the week. I'm going to try to post more photos on my Flikr account sometime soon as well, so I'll keep ya'll updated on that front, too.