Bulk up.

Lists

I like to think I’m a generous person, but the honest truth is that I’m a cheapskate. From couponing for my wedding to having a strict resale-only wardrobe, I’m THAT person who is always looking for a way to get something for a lower price – quality be darned. Thus, buying in bulk has become my thing. But recently I have become frustrated by the fact that there are some things in life that just aren’t cheaper when you get them in large quantities. And that’s just plain wrong. To address this grave disservice to the human race, I will revive my ever-entertaining “lists” with this…

Things That Should Be Cheaper in Bulk But Aren’t

1. Stamps – Snail mail may seem something of the past, but my mailman knows better. Aside from spam mail and the obscure magazine subscriptions of my apartment’s former tenant, I enjoy it. It’s nice to get a physical letter at your door instead of a digital file in your inbox. Recently, I’ve wanted to up my letter-writing game to spread the joy around, but MAN. Stamps be expensive. Why is there no discount for bulk stamps?

2. Prescription Medication – No. I’m not a junky. But I grew up with chronic strep throat and year-round allergies, and my poor parents had to buy me loads of pills to make sure I could run around the playground with the other kids. What if they could have bought a load of penicillin for the pantry? That way hayfever season could come for a fraction of the cost of going to the doctor once a year.

3. Gasoline – I’ll make this brief because I know you get it. Let’s just say that if I could get a discount at the pump if I filled up some spare gas cans, I’d do it.

4. Babies – I’m a twin, so I have been made very much aware of how much children cost families. The little bundles of joy can get expensive depending on your preference for diapers and whether or not you want your child to look like a mini J Crew model. While most of the cost just comes with the territory of family expansion, my heart goes out to the families of multiples. But let’s start small…I propose the “have two-or-more-babies-at-once-get-one-hospital-stay-free” rule.

5. Textbooks – Although I’ve been out of school for three years, I’m still feeling the pain of being a student – specifically in my bank account. One of the more frustrating costs of college is the always fluctuating price of textbooks. Semester to semester my classes could cost me anywhere from $400-$800 for textbooks (and I was just a liberal arts major). Why punish students for buying the proper material? Instead, I say the more textbooks you buy for school, the cheaper they should be.

6. Starbucks – Obviously, I saved the most important for last. This one goes out to all the interns and sub-level employees who offer to get their teammates coffee. Let’s say you get one drink free for every six you buy for your coworkers. Oh, and the free one is for you.

What about you? What do you think should be cheaper in bulk?

12 Books A Year

Lists

2013 marked the first year I indulged in New Year’s resolutions. One of my resolutions included the challenge to read (at least) one book a month. Though I’m an avid reader, this proved harder than I thought. But, two days ago, I finished my last book of 2013.

Books Read in 2013

1. The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien

This was my first foray into the written world of Tolkien. I undoubtedly think Tolkien is a literary master and fantastic storyteller; however, I lost interest in the story once I realized that Bilbo lives because he needs to be in the first three movies.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Believe it or not, I had never read this classic. My being homeschooled in junior high seems to have deprived me of this little gem. I read this book in three days. A beautiful story which argues that pain is worth remembering.

3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I received this as a birthday gift and I couldn’t put it down. This book tells the story of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who investigates the death of his neighbor’s dog. Through his journey, we learn of his troubled family and his unique perspective of the world.

4. As Sure As the Dawn (Mark of the Lion #3) by Francine Rivers

This is the final installment of a trilogy my sister got me into. I typically stay far, far away from Christian fiction, but this series caught me. It’s a must read for Christian females who love historical fiction or romance or seeing God work through people.

5. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott-Card

Ender’s Game is probably my second favorite book of all time, behind Orwell’s 1984. Ender’s Shadow is a companion novel and follows the exact time frame as Ender’s Game except through Bean’s perspective. It’s just as good as Ender’s Game, providing an outside view of the boy who could save us all.

6. Crazy Love by Francis Chan

I read this as part of my small group. It’s a pretty popular choice in the Christian world, with some controversy, of course. It speaks to how we should love like Christ loves, which should make us look crazy to the outside world. Some good nuggets, but overdone in my mind.

7. The Chosen by Chaim Potok

I found this book at Half Price Books in the sale section for $1 and it has become one of my favorites I read all year. I was introduced to Potok in high school when I read “My Name Is Asher Lev.” The Chosen chronicles the lives of two American Jewish boys during World War II: a Hasidic Jew who is destined to be a Rabbi, but doesn’t want to, and a Modern Orthodox Jew who is destined to be a mathematician, but wants to become a Rabbi. Just read it.

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I needed a break from the density of The Chosen, so I went with a Young Adult novel. Don’t let the tagline of the soon-to-be-released film based on the book fool you, this is not just a “sick love story.” The book follows Hazel Grace as she battles with not only her cancer, but also questions of life, death, and what it means to love someone. The book could have come across as cheesy if it weren’t for the charming and often darkly hilarious snark that spews from both Hazel Grace and her love interest, and fellow cancer victim, Augustus.

9. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

I found this book abandoned atop a trashcan at my friend’s apartment complex over a year ago. Spurred my recently discovered love of science fiction, I decided to give this one a go. Much more philosophical than I expected, it follows a one-armed mechanic and his super computer “friend” as they try to declare their moon colony’s independence from earth. Filled with questions of government power, free-will, the definition of family, human rights, and what it means to be free, this book took me on a much more cerebral ride than I necessarily wanted. But it was definitely worth it in the end.

10. Matilda by Roald Dahl

I wasn’t allowed to see the movie when I was little, so I never read the book. After reading the book, I have no clue why I wasn’t allowed to see the film, unless it’s because Matilda disobeys her parents (the reason for the banishment of The Little Mermaid from my household). Go figure.

11. A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Upon hearing that I needed a December book, my boss dropped this puppy off at my desk. Needless to say, I felt compelled to read it. It’s not really the kind of book I would have read on my own, but it was nice to shake things up a bit and try something new. The book follows the life of the black sheep of the Gatlin family tree as he tries to find meaning in his own life outside of the pressures of his family dynasty.

12. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

This was both the first book and last book I read in 2013. It took me the entire year to finish, but that means I got to sprinkle bits of Bonhoeffer wisdom throughout my year. A German theologian during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer championed the Christian faith, discipleship, and doctrine when the German church did anything but. This lead him to join the conspiracy to kill Hitler, which he was ultimately executed for. A brilliant, humble, Godly, and inspirational man, and a must-read for any Christian.

Phew. If you read all that, I commend you. But I also challenge you to pick up a few books in 2014. I enjoyed the challenge so much that I’ve decided to do it every year. I wonder which 12 books I’ll read next…

Preparing For The End Of The World

Lists

I’m a catastrophe-thinker. And a control freak. That perfect combination means I can imagine the worse-case scenario for any and every situation I’m in – and I have a plan for surviving it. Here is a look into my plans:

Tornado – (A) Hide in an inner room, preferably without windows and with a lockable door. (B) If a room is not available, seek low ground, preferably in a ditch with some sort of overhead covering. (C) Drive away from tornado. This is my favorite option. It makes me a tornado run-awayer rather than a tornado chaser.

Hurricane – I currently have a slot in my friends’ evacuation car provided that I let their dog, Velcro, sit in my lap. Velcro is a vizsla, so he’s almost my size. But a sore lap is a small price to pay for being whisked away from a Houston disaster zone.

Home Break-in – If I’m in my room when the burglar arrives, there is a can of pepper spray on my nightstand. I’ll grab it, then call 911 while I hide in the closet behind my bedroom door. If I’m in the living area, I will grab a butcher knife from the kitchen, run screaming at the front door and hopefully catch the burglar off guard enough to slip outside (my apartment is very small and I can be very intimidating).

Gasoline Shortage – I have the bus route to my office mapped out. But ideally I’d like to have an extra can of gasoline on hand. I haven’t really thought this one out too much, but I do have a list of people I can carpool with.

Alien Invasion – Drive to local grocery store. Stock up on tents, backpacks, duffel bags, portable food items, fuel, and any sharp/blunt objects that could be used as weapons. Drive to friend’s house where a television is available. Watch TV for coverage of alien invasion. Determine alien weakness. Grab some friends and head for the hills where we will set up camp until I figure out a way to defeat the aliens. Then, defeat the aliens.

Zombie Apocalypse – Drive to local grocery store. Stock up on tents, backpacks, duffel bags, portable food items, fuel, and any sharp/blunt objects that could be used as weapons. Find at least two people I can trust who are not already zombies. Form a kick-ass band of zombie-killers. Live out our days scavenging and killing until the Center for Disease Control figures out what to do.

World War III – Cry. Freak out. Then, gather my wits and head to the grocery store, gather whatever survival gear I can find there, then make my way to the local Department of National Defense located in my office building where I offer my services as a spy in exchange for food, shelter, and protection.

Instant Eradication of Electricity – Run straight to the grocery store and gather all the canned food and fruit and vegetable seeds I can possibly find. Then, eat all the ice cream I can – who knows when I’ll have it again? If I have enough gas in my car, drive to Dallas to find my family. If I don’t, find friends in my neighborhood and create a commune capable of producing its own food. This is my favorite scenario, because communes sound fun.

Atomic Bomb – Duck and cover. Then die, because what else can you do? If I managed to survive, I guess I’d go find my family and live out the rest of my radiation-shortened life playing games, sharing memories, and throwing up a lot of radiation puke.

Death & The Circus

Doodles, Lists

5 Reasons Why “Your Pet Ran Away To The Circus” Is A Stupid Excuse For Death:

1. Have you ever seen a fleet of trapeze-walking hamsters at the circus? How about a group of fire-breathing cats? Clown bunnies? Exactly.

2. Your kids will, at some point in their lives, attend the circus. How do you explain Fluffy’s absence?

3. They will ask questions. Which leads to the need for more creative lies.

circus

Haley Gatewood ©

4. If you wouldn’t use the circus as an excuse for the death of a friend, family member, or loved one, then you shouldn’t use it in the case of a pet either.

5. Kids aren’t stupid. We shouldn’t treat them like they are. Death is real. And our conversations about it should be honest and frank, not shrouded in mumbo-jumbo.

Stupid Things To Do With A Time Machine

Lists

Try To Fix Anything
Any true science fiction fan knows that the Butterfly Effect is some serious stuff. It basically means that even the smallest alteration you make in the past will ultimately affect the future in a very big way. So no fixing of the Liberty Bell. No fixing of past relationships. And no destruction of the first scripts for Star Wars Episodes I through III.

Find Your Parents
Sorry, McFly, but that would be a horrible idea. Not only do you risk potentially ruining any chance of your future existence, but you might see some things you don’t want to see…

Find Yourself
Rule #1 of time-traveling is never to find yourself. Although no one – to our knowledge – has ever traveled back in time and come face-to-face with their past or future self, most theoretical science assumes that you will undoubtedly explode (probably due to crossing frequencies or something.)

Visit Famous Disasters
One of my favorite b-movies is called Thrill Seekers, about a future where “tourists” can go back and visit famous disasters, escaping right before they would die. Cheesy? Yes. Epic? Heck yes. Enjoy the trailer below:


What I’ve gathered from the scores of times I’ve seen this film (no shame, no regrets) is that visiting famous disasters is probably the most stupid and risky thing you could ever do with a time-machine. Not to mention depressing.

Assassinate Anyone Other Than Hitler
Again, don’t change anything. It would be bad news bears for all of us. However,  when it comes to Hitler all bets are off. I know we’ve already discussed the Butterfly Effect and I’m well aware of the ramifications altering anything in the past could have for the future, but I’d be more than happy to take the blame for creating a world where Hitler was prevented from doing any of his heinous crimes.

Save Jesus
Think about it.

Redo Yesterday
There are two types of people in the world, those who like the movie Groundhog Day and those who have better sense. Not only does repeating your Yesterday sound completely repetitive, but it’s also impossible, seeing that you would run into the problem of mixing your past self with your future self. Plus, if you continuously visited Yesterday, you’d start creating multiple versions of yourself and over populate the world with duplicate yous. All readers with contrary opinions should consult my new favorite Wikipedia page on temporal paradox. And re-watch Groundhog Day.

Sneak A Peek At Tomorrow
Come on. Can’t you wait like 24 hours? That’s like wasting a wish on a new pack of gum.

Attend Your Funeral
Not only will you scare those in attendance, but who actually wants to know when, where, and how they die?

Witness The Last Day On Earth
Tempting? I think not. Again, who wants to know the when and where of something of that magnitude? Besides, I already know how the world ends:


Tell People About Your Time Machine
Are you crazy? Everyone would want to use it. What would happen if it got into the wrong hands? Anarchy! World war! Disappearing historical figures! Altered histories!

Conclusion
Don’t use your time machine. It’s too dangerous. You’d better just hide it. Or destroy it.

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All The Time In The World

Advertising, Lists

This is what my schedule looked like today:

Photo Aug 08, 6 12 29 PM

And that doesn’t include the actual work I had to do – plus the fact that I am working late tonight.

So what does one do when there isn’t enough time in the day?

  1. Make A List – Check.
  2. Utilize Your Clone – Although a stereotypical answer, the clone card is still relevant. Sadly, my clone lives in Dallas and has no knowledge of the advertising industry.
  3. Make a Cardboard Cutout of Yourself – The perfect device for being in two places at once.
  4. Ask Siri For Help – It’s worth a shot.
    Photo Aug 08, 6 06 22 PM
  5. Pitch A Tent – A stellar idea. I’m considering keeping a tent in my cube. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for a fort made of paper balls, my emergency hoodie, and some paperclips.
  6. Invent A New Time-Scale – If time is relative, then I should be able to make more time. Right? Right. From now on there are 47 Haley-hours in a day.
  7. Cry. Then Do One Thing At A Time. – A cathartic process, but could get messy. And it’s far too practical.
  8. Do Everything At Once – The inevitable solution. Every time.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to tackle my task list and managed to get most of what I needed done. And I didn’t even have to resort to the cardboard cutout.

What do you do when you’re out of time?

The Little Things

Everyday, Lists

This is for the little things.

Thank you, random lady, who said my skirt was cute.

Thank you, man, in the grocery line for saying I am pretty.

Thank you, little girl, for wanting to hold my hand.

Thank you, friend, for giving me a pat on the back.

Thank you, cat, for greeting me at the door.

Thank you, friend, for telling me that you missed me.

Thank you, ma’am, for saying you like my style.

Thank you, sir, for holding the door open for me.

Thank you, friend, for actually being interested in my stories.

Thank you, kid, for asking me how my day was.

Thank you, guy, for not thinking I am too weird.

Thank you, gal, for saying you look forward to my doodles.

Thank you, miss, for telling me you love my hair.

Thank you, friend, for looking me in the eyes.

Thank you, boy, for always sitting next to me.

Thank you, man, for not charging me for my soda.

Thank you, lady, for giving me a hug.

Thank you, friend, for saying you care. And really meaning it.

Thank you, for reading this.

Pitch, please.

Advertising, Lists

Before we begin, for those who don’t know, the advertising world is all about pitches. Pitches are the way to win new business and new clients. Basically, it’s the official process through which an agency “pitches” ideas to a prospective client. They are usually a two-week process during which you must respond to a prospective client’s prompt (what we call a “creative brief”) and develop several campaigns, with several different pieces in each campaign. At the end of the pre-pitch weeks, the agency will present their creative ideas and business plans to the client. Then, the client will think on it a long time and then choose which agency they liked best. Usually there are three or more agencies competing for the same business, but it depends on the client and the situation. It’s generally a very exciting – and very stressful – process that feels awesome when you win and pretty sucky when you don’t.

Now that we have that out of the way… I’ve been working on a pitch at work and it has been an event to say the least. We were given two weeks to prepare our presentation, but one of those weeks happened to be during Thanksgiving and you can imagine how helpful that was.

The Things I’ve Learned From Pitches

1. A Pitch is kind of like a marathon. Except you can’t train for it. And there aren’t people on the sidelines cheering for you.

2. There’s a lot of food involved. Catered. For Free.

3. Weekends become weekdays. And you spend more time at work than at home, which makes work feel like home, which makes finally going home feel weird.

4. Elevator music never stops playing. Even at night. When all the lights are off.

5. Night janitors wear headphones when vacuuming. That’s not a joke. Just an observation.

6. No one cares about recycling. We just print things. Over and over and over again.

7. You should be allowed to wear sweats to work everyday. And bunny slippers.

8. Illustrators are strange beasts who only communicate through email and never call you back.

9. Waiting for “Pitch Day” is like waiting for Christmas, the last day of school, and getting your lab test results back at the same time.

10. If I had to work nights and weekends, I wouldn’t choose any other team to work with. It’s feels awesome to stand in front of “The Wall” and see all the crazy, amazing, funny, inspiring work that you and your coworkers created. And I’m happy to have shared in the creative process with them.

For us, D-Day is this Wednesday. That’s when the pitch team travels to the mystery location (mystery for you, not for me) and delivers “The Pitch”. Then we’ll have to wait a bit for the client to deliberate and notify the agencies involved of their decision. I’m pretty confident in our work – and all the hard work and creative thinking that went into it all. We’ve produced a crazy amount of awesomeness these past two weeks. I really want to win. But, win or lose, I’ll just be glad when I can go home and enjoy a home-cooked meal. And change the water in my fish bowl.

Me when I had to work all weekend:

Me when I had to work all weekend.

Me the Monday after having to work all weekend:

Me the Monday after having to work all weekend.

Disney(ish) Songs That Don’t Get Enough Credit

Lists

We all have our favorite Disney songs. Heck, most of us know at least one complete song by heart. But, I feel like we often play favorites with our animated musical repertoire. Maybe it’s because they don’t highlight the main characters. Maybe it’s because they aren’t love-songs. Who knows? Regardless, there are many brilliantly written and beautifully scored songs that are often overlooked, under-appreciated, or forgotten completely. This post is dedicated to the songs that I find irresistibly amazing, even if they are on the bottom of the animated musical totem-pole.

1. “The Mob Song” – Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

Lyrical Highlights:

“It’s a beast! He’s got fangs,
Razor sharp ones!
Massive paws, killer claws for the feast,
Hear him roar! See him foam!
But we’re not coming home ’til he’s dead.
Good and dead!
Kill the beast!”

“It’s a beast! One as tall as a mountain,
We won’t rest ’til he’s good and deceased,
Sally forth! Tally ho!
Grab your sword! Grab your bow!
Praise the Lord and here we go!”


Hands down the best song in the entire movie. HANDS DOWN. If you ever are anywhere near me when this song comes on the radio (songs like this come on my radio all the time…), be warned. I will not only be able to quote the entire song by heart, but I’ll simultaneously turn into a crazed villager with hand motions and all. Yes, this song is borderline violent (well, okay, not so borderline), but the heart-pounding rhythm and incredibly clever lyrics make me want to up and join a mob. Or maybe The Occupy Movement.

2. “Be Prepared” – The Lion King (Disney)

Lyrical Highlights:

“I know that your powers of retention,
Are as wet as a warthog’s backside…”

(I don’t know what this means, but I love it.)

Scar ranks as my #1 favorite Disney villain. Oh, stop crying about Mufasa already. Get over it. Scar is clever, manipulative, heartless, and spends his extra time in an elephant graveyard. He even managed to turn a bunch of idiotic hyenas into a fully functional, well-oiled machine–with great shadow dancing skills. But, what makes him the most fabulous villain of all? His impeccable vocabulary:

“I know it sounds sordid,
But you’ll be rewarded,
When at last I am given my dues,
And injustice deliciously squared,
Be prepared!”

3. One Jump Ahead – Aladdin (Disney)

Lyrical Highlights:

“[Random Citizens:] Oh it’s that Aladdin’s hit the bottom.
He’s become a one-man rise in crime.
[Lady:] I’d blame parents except he hasn’t got ’em.”

“[Aladdin:] Let’s not be too hasty.
[Ugly Lady:] Still I think he’s rather tasty!”

Alan Menken is a lyrical genius (and is responsible for most of my favorite Disney lyrics). He even manages to fit in the phrase “nom de plume” in this song – that takes talent! This, too, is another song that will have me reenacting running through the streets of Agrabah. And believe me, when on a road trip, that can be pretty entertaining.

4. “In The Dark of The Night” ­– Anastasia (Non-Disney)

Lyrical Highlights:

“I can feel that my powers are slowly returning!
Tie my sash and a dash of cologne for that smell!
AS the pieces fall into place
I’ll see her crawl into place!
Dasvidanya, Anya, your grace, farewell!”

Non-Lyrical Highlights: The adorable demon-bugs.

I don’t care what you say; this song is awesome. I want my own bug-chorus. A Broadway musical adaptation of this movie is in the works, which I’m very excited about. However, I’m a bit curious how they are going to pull this scene off. Regardless, I’ll be first in line to wear a girly, demon-bug costume.

5. Mine Mine Mine – Pocahontas (Disney)

Lyrical Highlights (there are far too many, but here’s a few of them):

“Oh, with all ya got in ya, boys,
Dig up Virginia, boys”

“Hey nonny nonny,
Hey nonny nonny!”

My dear friend, King Jimmy,
Will probably build me a shrine

(Probably.)

Although Radcliffe is a lame villain and rivals Rasputin for the ugliest, he has several one-liners in this song that get me every time. Side note: apparently, my Mayflower-pilgrim ancestor (whose relation to me may or may not be real) makes an animated appearance in this song. So there’s that. Side side note: Radcliffe is uncommonly nimble for such a top-heavy man. And he rocks the color purple. Side side side note: John Smith is played by Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson sings in this. Another reason why I love him.

6. This Is My Idea – The Swan Princess (Non-Disney)

Lyrical Highlights:

“[Derek:] She tries to talk me into playing dress-up,
She’s always flirting with the castle guards.
[Bromley:] I think you really sorta like her, ‘fess up,
[Derek:] I’d like her better if she’d lose at cards.”

“[Chorus:]At least we’d get a holiday to rest our ploughs and axes…
…And with some luck their marriage may result in lower taxes.”

This movie is one of the older non-Disney animated musicals (in the same group as Thumbelina and The Pebble and The Penguin). Although, I can say with confidence that this movie is not nearly as fun to watch now as it was when I was little, it still holds a special place in my heart. Plus, watching young versions of Princess Odette and Prince Derek go through the perils of puberty is highly entertaining. Add in the ridiculous political ideals of the parents and a frustrated citizenry and you’ve sold me.

These songs may not Academy Award-worthy, but they are all definitely Haley’s iPod-worthy.

What’s your favorite underrated Disney(ish) song?

Things I Find #1

Lists

 

I’ve discovered over the past couple years that, although my brain is almost organized by the Dewey Decimal system, my personal life tends to be less so. Basically, on the outside, I look like a mess. This means that I find things randomly that I lost months ago. These instances are typically pleasant experiences, below is one example. Every since I graduated, I’ve found that my personal day-timer has completely lost it’s purpose. Now I use it to write down important dates and then never look at it again. Case and point: I found this lovely note on the things I learned my senior year:

 

Things I Learned My Senior Year:

1. I drool in my sleep.

2. Turkey hands are more than a craft – they are a form of therapy.

3. “Shhh!” doesn’t mean anything.

4. How to master the ancient art of small talk (I’m still working on this one).

I remember when I wrote this that I had intended on creating a humorous blog post about it once I had graduated. Now, I think it is more quaint being told from a long-forgotten sticky-note (the unofficial symbol of my college years).

I wonder what else I will find…