Monday, November 30, 2015

Candy Crush: A Dating Metaphor

Happy day-before-December, friends! How did it get to be so late in the year? Stay tuned for my 2015 wrap-up post coming in a few weeks. Christmas is my favorite holiday; I always look forward to seeing the lights at Temple Square. I'm also excited to go visit my family in Virginia for a week and a half. But let's skip the pleasantries and get straight to the point of this post.

I was playing Candy Crush last week and had a realization about life. I know, I know, Candy Crush is sooo early 2013. But hear me out. Level 153 requires that you match two Colour Bombs (#WannabeBritish4Lyfe). In case you are cooler than me and don't play Candy Crush: Colour Bombs are formed by matching five candies of a color, which is difficult. Normal candies can be swapped around and don't disappear until you get three or more of a color in a row. Colour Bombs can be swapped with any candy, however they disappear as soon as they are used, so you can't move them around the columns, if that makes sense.    

So to complete Level 153 you have to combine two Colour Bombs. The first challenge comes in creating two Colour Bombs. The second, more difficult challenge, is to get the Colour Bombs next to each other to combine them. 

Dating is like Candy Crush Level 153. Everyone is looking for another Colour Bomb to match with, because we all see ourselves as Colour Bombs. Or we should. The person we're looking for certainly will see us that way, even if we think we're only a plain green candy. But it seems to be difficult for most of us to accomplish this.

I've never been great at dating, and that doubled for this level. I started to take Level 153 a little personally. I was feeling the metaphor of Colour Bomb = Single Person real strong. How was it such a hassle to get two awesome candies together? Well, several problems kept presenting themselves in my quest to combine these two star-crossed souls. 

Problem #1: I could create Colour Bombs without a hitch, but never next to another Colour Bomb. Exhibit A:

So close and yet so far

So here we have FOUR Colour Bombs. However, I cannot move any of them horizontally to combine them, I can only drop them vertically. It's frustrating. The Colour Bomb is basically the best candy ever. It is multi-talented and valuable and has helped me complete many levels.  But in this level it is, for my purposes, useless while alone. Any two of these Colour Bombs could match, but due  to location never the twain shall meet. 

Don't you feel like that sometimes? Like these awesome people who are going to match on your level are walking around, and you see them, but your lives don't intersect like you want.  Timing, location, whatever it is, something keeps you apart. If I match any of the Colour Bombs with another candy, they'll vanish. I hate to waste them; I don't want to settle. But it also feels like a waste to let them sit there until I run out of moves.

Problem #2: Striped Candies Are Jerks

All right, time to introduce another player to our chessboard. Wait, strike that. I can't start mixing my game metaphors. Let's meet another candy. 

This is a Striped Candy. Some levels require you to acquire a certain number of these, and they do have their uses. This one has vertical stripes, so it will clear out a whole column if matched with two candies of its color. The ones with horizontal stripes eliminate a  row when matched. On one of my numerous attempts to best Level 153 I had finally succeeded at creating two Colour Bombs in adjacent columns. I made the move that would drop Colour Bomb #2 three spaces, which would place it directly next to Colour Bomb #1. I literally shouted out, "I did it!" Only one move separated me from my goal. Nobody could mess this up. Wedding bells will ring. Wedding bells will chime. Wedding bells will celebrate this happy wedding ti-- *record screeches* 

One of the consequences of dropping Colour Bomb #2's column was that it put a vertical striped candy in line with two other matching candies. Striped Candy came in like a wrecking ball and wiped out the column. The column containing precious Colour Bomb #2. In the blink of an eye Colour Bomb #2 was eliminated, and all I could do was my best Darth Vader impression.

I thought I was set! These two Colour Bombs were going to be happy forever! And then Striped Candy had to go and screw it up. Striped Candies are all too real. They are the romantic rival who swoops it right when you had it made. They are the argument that never quite got resolved. They are a job offer, an unfortunate misunderstanding, the hot coworker who distracts one of you for just long enough. A trip out of town at a crucial time, being too timid, being too forward. Sometimes you're aware of them, sometimes they trip you at the finish line. Striped Candies are the worst, is what I'm saying. The absolute worst.

Problem #3: 

This is the screenshot of my final attempt; I finally got to move on. But I couldn't even take satisfaction from my victory. Look at this nonsense. You've got three Colour Bombs chilling with each other, and Colour Bomb #4 is RIGHT THERE, but it's separated by one column. But only two Colour Bombs get to combine. So Colour Bomb #3 has to choose between Colour Bombs #2 and #4, both of which would suit them equally well. Colour Bomb #1 isn't even in the running, even though if they were ONE COLUMN OVER the four could pair off and double date. They could go for ice cream or something. Play doubles in tennis. The possibilities are endless. But, no, in this scenario we get a Forever Alone and a love triangle. Why you gotta be this way, life?

So that's my sugary metaphor. What should single people do? Rely on pure, dumb luck that there's a Colour Bomb in the column next to you that has somehow evaded the sabotages of Striped Candies? I don't know. Advice is not my forte. (Unless you are looking for advice about what books to read or shows to watch [JESSICA JONES]. I gotcha covered there.)

Anyway, this is not a post that offers solutions, only problems. Allow me thirty seconds of venting, if you'd be so kind. Dating is basically the worst. I like to think that I bring some attractive qualities to the table. I'm smart, I'm geeky, I'm funny, I'm musical-- I consider myself a fairly interesting person. I meet cool men. Sometimes the cool men even go on dates with me. But how do you gauge interest, really? I'm simultaneously biased in my favor *and* my own worst enemy. How do you keep a guy interested without scaring him off? What do you do when you can't stop thinking about him, but he has all the texting initiative of an Amish chipmunk? Again, I have no answers.

Maybe the next level will provide the answer.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Wisdom of Jessica Jones

I faced down a near-death experience this week.

Okay, that's blowing it out of proportion. I got my wisdom teeth out on Thursday. Lately I've been inexplicably obsessed with death, and I halfway convinced myself that I was never going to wake up from the anesthesia the surgeon would put me under with. I wrote a will in my journal, and left instructions that Taylor Swift be invited to my funeral. During a team meeting on Wednesday afternoon I leaned over to my coworker and whispered, "Just think, this time tomorrow I'll be dead."

Yeah, sometimes my sense of humor dips into the macabre.

Anyway, I got the wisdom teeth out, and clearly I did wake up. I've had remarkably little pain, and haven't even filled the prescription the surgeon gave me. Lots of yogurt and ice cream, that's the way to go. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to eat at Thanksgiving (I assured everyone that if I wasn't able to, I would, quote, punch a table), but my mouth is healing remarkably well. Also, the main highlight of that meal is the mashed potatoes, and I'd be able to eat those regardless.

For purposes of recuperation I took the day off work today. Guess what else happened today? Netflix released the first season of its original show, Jessica Jones. I didn't plan this. Sometimes the universe is nice. I sat down with the aforementioned yogurt and ice cream to binge watch the heck out of this show. I am all about female powered shows. If I can't have a Black Widow movie I'll watch this in the meantime. #femalesuperheroes2015 


I started it in the morning and finished the series around eleven at night. I know not everyone had all day to watch this, so no spoilers until after the jump. You guys, it's five stars. There are so many things I like about this show: strong women, complex women, women passing the Bechdel test with flying colors, women relying on other women......    Haha, this is a great show for women, is what I'm saying. But there are other things too: the suspense is spot on. I love the use of color thematically, and that's not something I would normally notice. The pace is fast and every character makes mistakes. THIS IS WHAT I'M ABOUT. Main characters who never make mistakes are the WORST. 

But far and away what makes Jessica Jones one of the best new shows I've watched in years is the villain. David Tennant was already one of my favorite actors, but his performance here is breathtakingly good. Perfection. Heath Ledger in Dark Knight level. He stole my attention with his every entrance and demanded I care about what he would do next. This is ACTING. Krysten Ritter is also stellar as the title role. She ain't no maiden in need of defending, she is grown! (Someday I will stop quoting Hamilton, but today is not that day.) However she's also an emotional wreck who verges on being an alcoholic.

Maybe it's just me that instantly compared this show to Daredevil, Netflix's other original Marvel series set in Hell's Kitchen that was released earlier this year, but compare it I did. In my book, Jessica Jones is head and shoulders above Daredevil. I enjoyed Daredevil, but I never *loved* it. As I said, I watched Jessica Jones in one day. I got mad when I could tell it was wrapping up. "No!" I yelled at one point. "I'm not ready to be done with this yet!" Again, no spoilers until after the jump, but there are several reasons I enjoyed Jessica Jones more. This show is just as dark as Daredevil, perhaps darker. Certainly more  violent, or at least more violent when you're not expecting it. I'm the type of person who watched onscreen violence with fingers over her eyes, so if I can tell a dude is about to murdered, I try to look away. That was easier to do in Daredevil. Make no mistake, this is a violent show. (Also the early episodes have a lot of sex scenes, so be aware of that.) But as soon as I finished Jessica Jones, I was half tempted to start it again.

I'm now about to go into a more specific analysis, so don't read if you don't want spoilers. Let me urge all of you to go watch Jessica Jones, which is not your typical superhero show, and in which David Tennant gives the performance of a lifetime. I need more evil David Tennant in my life, stat.

Read about the plot, characters, and other fun stuff after the jump.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Post With a Lot of Pics

I feel like I haven't written in here for a while. What have I been up to, you may ask. Mostly drowning in free time. I had been continuously cast in shows from July 2014 to October of this year, (2015, for those of you who may be confused). The last month has seen me wandering around in a fog of confusion...... "Aren't I supposed to be at rehearsal right now? When is call time? I don't understand. Where's the costumer for real life?" As for the idea of winter (we had our first snow yesterday), this stock photo shows my general reaction:

It's a flaw of mine that with more free time I get less productive. My reading has gone down and my Netflix has gone up. I'm trying to counteract this with getting up early, but what has been happening is I wake up, look around, congratulate myself for getting up so early, and promptly look at memes on my phone until I have to go to work. BUT NO MORE. I've been reading a fascinating biography called A Sense of the World by Jason Roberts. It's about James Holman, who traversed the world in the early nineteenth century, despite being blind. I love it, which is why it's so inexplicable that I haven't been reading it. Damn you, human nature. I WILL finish it this week. 

Halloween was a blast. I got hang out with cool people and watch bizarre YouTube videos. These are my goals for every holiday. I went as an Avid Sports Fan. GO SPORTS. 

I've been finishing up my preparations to go through the temple and receive my endowments in December, when I visit my family in Virginia. It's time. It's happening. My little sister Bethany is leaving for her mission to Texas on November 18th. How did this day get so close. I can't handle it. I'll be picking her up from the airport. My grandma asked if I wanted to drive her to the MTC (Missionary Training Center), but I told her I wouldn't be able to leave the parking lot. It's hard to drive when you're sobbing. Bethany is the bomb; she'll be a great missionary, and I'm proud of her, but it's going to be tough to not talk to her for eighteen months. 

 I keep getting told to watch Arrested Development, so it's next on my queue. Does anyone do awkward as well as Michael Cera? I don't think I even have to watch it to know that the answer is no. I've gotten into Parks & Rec, finally. Ben Wyatt is me. I've finally started sitting down and watching Star Trek in chronological order instead of sporadic recommended episodes. Sulu and Spock are my children. (It occurs to me that some people are probably able to fall deeply in love with fictional characters and not call them their children. Well, I'm not one of those people.)

I got to watch my coworker's cat for a weekend, which filled me with both joy and delight. We partied. (By partied I mean that I sat on my bed doing embroidery [I didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose me] and she persistently tried to mount an expedition into my closet. It must be Kitty Narnia.) <3 cats <3

I have to get my wisdom teeth out. This is the age of wisdom, I guess. I mean, it's been a very eventful year in terms of getting my life back on track and self-discovery and all that good stuff. Thanks to the orthodontist of my teenage years ripping out several teeth that technically didn't have to go (some people say I should let this go; these people are wrong) my wisdom teeth are fully in, but they've been overgrown by gum tissue that makes it difficult to chew crunchy things like Doritos. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE DORITOS. Honestly I probably wouldn't ever do anything about it if it wasn't depriving me of chips, because, you know, whatever, but it is. I went to the oral surgeon and they had me sit alone in a little movie room and watch a movie about  what might happen after or during the surgery: nerve damage, complications, dry socket, and possible death. ALL GOOD THINGS. After that I was much less keen on getting them out. But Doritos.

I finally took Hamilton out of my cd player, after thirty-two straight days of it being in. Do you understand how rare it is I listen to the same show over and over? It's never happened to that extent before. LISTEN TO HAMILTON. I'm now having withdrawals. True story. If I wasn't already married to John Oliver, I would marry Lin-Manuel Miranda. And if I wasn't married to John Oliver or Lin-Manuel Miranda I would marry Richard Ayoade. But, you konw, I *am* married to John Oliver. (I never wore those Mrs Bloom necklaces in junior high, so I get to do this kind of celebrity attachment now.) Speaking of my husband, one of my coworkers messaged me the other day and said, 'Your husband is good in this.' It was a John Oliver video. SUCCESS ACHIEVED.


Learned that there's a cool park near the state capitol, so that's nice. Also, apparently state capitol buildings get a gold dome if there's been a president from that state. And Utah's state fish is the cutthroat trout, which is quickly disappearing, unnoticed. #TheMoreYouKnow #DramaticEmoFish #FindingEmoNemo

Okay, this post has taken a turn into the awkward, rambling and weird. Imma leave you with one more Buzzfeed quiz result, because I place way too much stock in those. Peace out, y'all.