Snowing in Blogland

December is here!! Cue the Christmas music, white elephant parties, Little Debbie tree cakes, 70-degree weather…the usual. And a small but fantastic December treat is back again this year: wordpress snow. (Cute, right?)

(thanks, internet!)

Ah, the end of the year. The perfect time for free online personality assessments, no? (…just me?) Somebody posted a link to their Myers-Briggs profile on Facebook today, so I zipped on over to look at my own. (Not a surprise: still an ENFP. Nerded out about this in March 2011, if you’re dying to know more about M-B. Which, aren’t you?!)  This led me on a little google goose chase for other tests I haven’t taken before, and I found this test from the VIA Institute on Character.

It’s supposed to be similar to the Clifton Strengths Finder, which you may have seen floating around email signatures, if you have any student affairs professionals in your life. I’ve never taken that one, mainly because it’s not online for free. But I want to, mainly because one of the qualities is called “woo”… which stands for Winning Others Over: “You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you.” I like that. I also just like saying “woo.”

This VIA test is a set of 200 or so questions. If you’re feeling introspective or bored, give it a try! I blasted through it in a few minutes. (One time I sat through a similar test with a much more analytical individual and found his “but what does that really mean?” second-guesses excruciating. So to each his own.) You end up with rankings for 24 Character Strengths. Not as much info to sift through as the Meyers-Briggs, but still interesting. Just for shiggles, here’s how mine shook out:

Top 5: (Yay! These are nice.)

Creativity
Humor
Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
Love
Curiosity

Bottom 5: (Yeesh…these are accurate.)

Self-Regulation
Humility
Perseverance (as in: follow-through, focus)
Spirituality
Prudence

That’s the thing about the personality test business, you have to take the rough with the smooth, and face the reality that your flaws aren’t always as charming as you’d like to imagine…

But isn’t that the core of so many iconic holiday characters — Bad Guys or Good Guys (or, you know, like all of us: Both Guys)?

Scrooge. The Grinch. George Bailey. Dreamy Prime Minister Hugh Grant in Love Actually.

Those guys learn to embrace what’s good in themselves, (with a little help from the occasional angel or ghost), while recognizing what’s not-so-good and taking advantage of opportunities to change for the better. That’s why we’re filled with cheer at the end of the story. Because we want to make things right. Ask forgiveness. Fall in love. Hug ZuZu. Give away scandalously large hams.

It’s a new way to look at the holidays…one that tells me I’m getting old…in which I’m less excited about presents and more excited about the possibility for second chances. Because anything can happen. It’s snowing on my blog.

inside outside upside down

…is the name of one of the first books I ever learned to read. Thanks, Stan & Jan!

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It is also a good descriptor for my mood this time of year, this year in particular. You guys remember when it was all sunny and lovely and perfectly fall and then smack it was gloomy and gray? That was fun.

I love fall — for the colors and boots & tights and the pumpkins and pumpkin-flavored things and the crisp air and crunchy leaves and Halloween — for all of that. But the grayer, cloudier, gloomier weather does not love me back. I just feel off. A little sad. A little upside down. And I feel like it punched my mood in the face a little harder this year.

But Imma fight back. Look out fall, I’m going to make you love me. Shorter days and darker skies, let’s turn that frown upside down. A wise new friend (and fan of the blog. shout out!) recently reminded me to make my own happiness. That’s a fun assignment.

I can make the most of gloomy days. Yesterday was the first scarf-at-work day, and you better believe I scarfed that up.

Exhibit A: scarf day

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(Yes, that is my new office. And yes, I was having a better day than it seems. I feel silly grinning for Photo Booth pics all by myself…)

And I can make the most of gloomy evenings. I went running tonight — the first long-sleeves run of the season — and it felt really good, cloudy sky and all. When I got back home, I plopped down in my front yard and looked at the sky for a while. Felt the breeze and some tiny sprinkles in the air. Breathed a little. And I realized that (even though saying this makes me sound like a full-on hippie) Emerson really did know what’s up: When our spirits need to find their source, the best thing we can do is go outside. Get all up in the out-of-doors. Even for 5 minutes. I swear my pulse slowed and my face relaxed (you know, the tense-and-scowly-when-worried parts) and I felt better. It’s like my brain hit the reset button, and all the gunk and work and drama and thinking and clicking and being just took a time out.

I wish I could say I’m the kind of English major who has all sorts of Emerson quotes in her back pocket for moments like these, but alas I do not. I do have google, and it led me to this, which is perfect:

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.

Hear that, nature? You just go ahead being all gray if you want to, but my scarf and my spirit will stay crayon-box colorful. And I’ll make my own happiness, inside and outside. (but probably not upside down. I was never all that good at head stands.)

Best New Obsession: SHERLOCK

[ Reminder: our new Blog Challenge, now that it’s red carpet season, is to blog about “best-of” experiences. At least 2 / week. Let’s do this. ]

And The Envelope Please…
Best New Obsession

I love letting myself get obsessed. I’m talking about new TV in this case, but let’s face it: I just love loving things. I love loving things harddd. (I love loving absurd things, like new gum flavors or Maroon 5 songs. I love loving important things, like the idea of justice or Tina Fey. I love loving love. Geeky love. I used to doodle boys’ names on my folders in code… I’m that girl.)

But in particular I love, but love, some new TV—especially when it’s shared with friends. (The Office, The Wire, America’s Next Top Model…some of my best TV memories have been shared with TV-friendly friends.)

And now, the winner is:

SHERLOCK

Sherlock is my Holmes-boy...

I’d heard rave reviews from a couple of pro-TV pals, but hadn’t decided to don my thinking-cap and finally watch it until Matt convinced me to give it a go over the long weekend. (Such a good influence!) By Monday, we’d finished Season 1.

<Stefon moment> If you love detective dramadies, England, classic literature, cute boys, or really just anything good, then SHERLOCK is for you! This BBC update has got it all: Clever tete-a-tete. Dudes in suits. Modern London. Mystery. Puzzles. Tim Canterbury from The Office (UK). </ Stefon>

Plus Sherlock. Just, Sherlock, you guys. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch—which, come on, is an “improv British name” if I’ve ever heard one. Give that guy a pair of Ray-Bans & essentially you’ve got my perfect man: tall, trim, brown-haired, well-tailored, lovably snide, bookish, brilliant, British. (…so, basically, what I’m saying is, my boyfriend + an accent? Yay for me!) I do have a type, and it is very close to Sherlock Holmes…the asexual crime-solver…who doesn’t exist… (Somebody please call my therapist.)

This show. (THIS SHOW!) Season 1 is on Netflix. Drop everything, guys. (And plan to drop it for a while…the three episodes are 90 minutes each, so really it’s more like a series of movies in production value and time invested. But so, so worth it.)

After we finished Season 2 Ep 1 last night, I was so pumped. For one thing, I’d figured it out. Yes, that’s a big deal to me. For another thing, it was suuuper sexy, you guys! Sherlockin’ it downnnn. (I mean, geeky sexy. “Brainy is the new sexy,” like Sherlock said. Mmmm.)

I told Matt: Well, let’s call it quits on TV. Mankind needs to find a new medium now. We’re done. Nothing will ever, ever be that good again. Ever.

(It’s that good.)

Throughout Season 1 (aka last weekend) I kept thinking how there should be a Sherlock + Great Mouse Detective meme of some sort, so similar are the character dynamics and quirks, and I love OH HOW I LOVE that some people have gotten there first… If you haven’t watched, just know this is perfect:

^ Moriarty | Ratigan ∨

♫ The world's greatest criminal mind(s) ♫

These villains are startlingly similar. (I mean, can’t you just hear Moriarty saying “I love it when I’m nasty!!” just like Vincent Price as Ratigan?) Confession: I loved me some Ratigan when I was a kid. And I love Moriarty now…the persnickety, ambiguously gay, evil genius… (Please call my therapist, again.)

[ Thanks, Sherlockology, for creating a safe place for geeks like me. And bless wikipedia, too, frankly. Where would my blog be without your fastly found facts?! That SOPA blackout was killer. For me and college students w/papers due everywhere… Really, though, why are you still reading this? Go to Netflix. Don’t keep Sherlock waiting. Waiting is so frightfully dull…and the poor sod’s so easily bored… ]