Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 7: Psychology Project I've Already Done

     So this term I am taking an Intro to Psych course and we got our next project the other day, and our teacher had us spitball ideas for what we could possibly do with this assignment. One idea a guy came up with since it was Halloween on Monday/the day we got this project, was to go trick-or-treating on Tuesday, the day after Halloween. This probably sounds like a very odd project for everyone who has no clue what this project is about, so before I go into any more detail I will tell you about this assignment.
     This project is based on social psychology or the scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another. For this assignment we are supposed to violate a "social norm" such as dressing up in unusual clothes, acting like an animal, talking to yourself in the elevator, etc. (These are some of the ideas listed on the paper.) On the back of this paper is a list of even better ideas entitled, "30 Fun Things to Do in an Elevator" that I would love to do if I had the courage for, but will need to do no matter what if I want the grade for this. Some of the things listed on this are:
  • Blow your nose and offer to show the contents of your tissue to other passengers
  • Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering, "Shut up, darn it, all of you just shut UP!"
  • Crack open your briefcase or purse and while peering inside ask, "Go enough air in there?"
  • Offer name tags to everyone getting on the elevator. Wear yours upside down, (You can probably tell that this will confuse some people, wondering what to do which is how this relates to social psychology.)
  • Listen to the elevator walls with a stethoscope
  • Announce in a demonic voice, "I must find a more suitable host body."
     And this is only one-fifth of the ideas on this paper we received!

     Now to the reason I started writing this post, which was to tell a story very near and dear to my heart. ;)

     In about 2010 or 2011, my cousins moved to Idaho. I went up with my grandma to visit them and see their new house for the first time--my parents and two younger siblings were going to join us that weekend, but I had three or four days just with my cousins. Something else you should probably know about them: they are all boys (my cousins in this particular family that is).
     It was the Fourth of July and we were bored. And of course, when a group of people (not to be sexist, but specifically guys in this case) get bored, what do they do? They find something stupid to do. And when I am with my cousins, I act like one of them. So as a review: hot summer day, it's the Fourth of July, and we are bored.
     One of their (very, very) few neighbors, Keesha (hope I remembered that right) was over at the house that day as well, so I was not the only girl. My cousins lived in a small town called Dingle which is the one road town you drive through from Montpelier, Idaho to the Bear Lake North Shore. There are not very many people in that town!
     Our most brilliant plan was to go trick-or-treating for the Fourth of July (because who wouldn't think of that?!). So we went to the first house, that of one of the older ladies in their ward, and told her of our idea. She told us good luck and that she (sadly) didn't have any candy to give to us.
     So onward we went, riding bikes and switching every once in awhile since Keesha's bike really sucked. After every house it was a race to see who could get back to the bikes the fastest so they didn't get stuck with the bad bike (which I thankfully only had to ride two or three times--but also when we were making the longest journeys). We went to about three or four houses, knocking and saying, "Trick or Treat!" at the doors and then explaining our plight to whoever opened the door to us. As you can probably guess, not many people were willing to just hand out candy to strange children (even though it was more socially acceptable to go to stranger's houses in Idaho than it is in Utah).
     Now we were faced with a dilemma. With a so far unsuccessful mid-afternoon, we rode our bikes to my cousins' grandparents house and my cousin, Cannon, came up with quite the idea. "We need a song or something--something people will be willing to give us candy for--a 'trick.'" So there we sat, Keesha, Cannon, me, and one of Cannon's three younger brothers, Logan (the other two decided to stay home--boy did they miss out), plotting. We decided to write a (fairly rough) parody to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." How we came to this, I have no idea. Cannon grabbed an orange piece of paper and I think a crayon for writing and the song started out fairly simply; the first line wasn't hard to come up with:

"Will you give us candy please?"
Then we needed something that rhymed with "please." Plus a reason they should be handing us candy. 
"If you don't then we will--" (what rhymes with please?) "--sneeze."
This is quite the original song. I doubt you've ever heard (or read) anything quite like it!
What should we write next? Umm... Well, what do we want?
 "It can be any kind, 
We really, really do not mind"
So what are some things that sound good right now?
"Oreo's and gummy bears--" (what rhymes with bears?)
As sugar deprived as we were, we could not think of anything that rhymed with "bear" and would fit into our song. So someone suggested we forget rhyming and use that as a reason to emphasize the point that we needed candy in some shape or form:
"Just thinking about them makes us lose the ability to rhyme"
We said this part fairly quickly, not really with any tune. Then we just repeated our first reason we should be given candy:
"Will you give us candy please?
If you don't then we will sneeze."

     After we wrote this song, how successful do you think we were? Let me just say--we got candy from every house we visited from that point forward. Until we went back to the first house to show the older lady the song we came up with, even though we knew she didn't have candy still. When we finished, her reply was, "Well, then I guess you're just gonna have to start sneezing!" So we all laughed and then pretended to sneeze as we walked out of her house and back to where my cousins lived.
     The most memorable part of this day, besides being our Halloween on the Fourth and having a special song, and visiting the older lady down the road, would be one specific house we visited. It was an older man that looked like a biker: gray hair, a goatee, bandanna around his head, and gray tank top. After singing our song, he invited us into his house. We walked to the kitchen where he said he had something special for us because he liked our song so much (don't worry--it's nothing bad or scary). We stood around the island in his kitchen and he pulled one of those big, Costco sized Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip bags. My cousin Logan piped up saying, "Well thanks, I'll just take the whole bag!"
     I don't think he was expecting the response he received. The man looked at him and said, "If you're gonna say something like that, then you don't get any!" and proceeded to pour a handful's worth of chocolate chips into the rest of our palms.

     So how does this relate to my project? Besides being one of the most memorable and fun days I have had in my life, we have been told to do something deviant, or something not considered a "social norm" and I think that trick-or-treating for the Fourth of July. Even if there were parts that weren't as enjoyable, it was an amazing day.

What do you think of this story?

I think this is a well-timed post since my cousin mentioned above, Cannon, left for the Mexico City, Mexico MTC yesterday to prepare for a full-time LDS mission in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay. (Good luck!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Day 6: Blogger's Block

     Writer's block is a beautiful thing, no? Insert your response here which is hopefully along the lines of, "You're right, Alyssa, it's not a beautiful thing!" If you did not respond in a way similar to what I just typed, I think you are kind of crazy, but to each their own (although why you would enjoy writer's block, or any "block" is beyond me). So, to "get over my writer's block," guess what I did? I Googled, "blog post ideas." (I'll paste the links I found at the bottom of this post so my fellow bloggers can find some possible inspiration.)
     The prompt I am using for this post is, "The reason I started writing this blog is..." which is a very basic prompt but at the same time, I feel I can write a reasonably short post about this that still has some interesting content.

     I will start by saying that despite my possibly misleading URL, I was not actually upset about this assignment. Yes, creating this blog was an assignment for my AP English class, but one I was (almost) wholeheartedly excited for. Wow, a blog! I thought--again. Maybe this time, since it's an assignment, I will actually keep with it! just like I tell myself every time I decide to create a website or make a blog for myself, thinking this will be a magnificent idea!
     Overall, I feel like I have done fairly well, this being my seventh blog post. But the biggest problem I have been facing is content. What do I want to write about that is interesting enough to gain followers for? All the "famous bloggers" have something consistent they write about--whether it be fitness or daily life (neither of which I am interested in writing about)--so what about me? What am I supposed to do? So far it's been something I've just been "winging;" nothing has been planned, I am just typing as I go, hoping to come up with something witty or interesting. So far I am pretty sure I have failed at both.
     Look at my blog. What is your favorite thing about it (comment below)? If this wasn't an assignment, I probably wouldn't be doing this (and my mom wouldn't be letting me spend so much time on her laptop, typing long, nonsensical, boring posts). What's different about this blog? Why are you reading this right now? And if you are just skimming, what is so boring you find you need to avoid my writing? Because you might as well close the tab if you are just going to skim, it's not going to get any more interesting, believe you me.

     What's different about me?

Content Idea Generator (You need a subject for this to work--like what you want to write about.)
Blog Post Idea Generator (Gives some semi-good ideas for when your brain is truly dead, and then some of the ideas are truly awful. Depends on your point of view.)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day 5: Appetite for Fright?

      What is it about scaring ourselves that we find so addicting? Going to haunted houses to be chased or frightened, or being a thrill-seeker jumping out of an airplane with or without any gear? Why do we, as a society, find this kind of thing to be so much fun?
     I personally think the idea of paying money for someone else to scare you (like in a haunted house or attraction) is stupid. "Here's $30, try to scare me, and at the end of the night I will have nothing to show for my money." That is pointless. Especially considering you probably worked considerably hard to earn that money and you throw it away simply for the opportunity to--what exactly--be scared?

      The other day I was at Lagoon with some friends and my family and a majority of my friends wanted to go through the "Frightmares" haunted houses. The lines were enormous after about 5:00 (PM), which is when "Frightmares" starts; everyone was in line for a scare. I mean, this was a plus for us--the other people in the park were almost all in line for these haunted attractions so the lines for the rides were considerably shorter than they were throughout the rest of the day. So why? Why was everyone drawn to this "thrill"?
      What is it about adrenaline coursing through our veins that people seem to so readily enjoy and embrace? The feeling of our sympathetic nervous system speeding up our heartbeat? I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this question. I scare fairly easily which I normally wouldn't admit to. My biggest fear is being in the dark, at night (or very, very early morning), especially in the mountains. Why? Well to explain the "dark at night" part, when is the last time you took a good look at the world we live in today? There are crazy people running all over the place and I realize there are just as many scary things going on during the day as the night, but at night is when there is the cover of darkness and no one to hear you scream in a sleeping world. That is not a pleasant thought in my opinion. Why did I add the mountains to this fear? Umm, hello? Lions, and tigers, and bears? Specifically any predatory animal that can and will harm and/or eat humans. (Yes I realize that at least in our mountains we don't have lions and tigers.)

      One year at girl's camp, we (my friends J, A, and I)* were heading back to the tent that J and I shared. None of us had a flashlight which was obviously brilliant considering it was about 10 PM. There was a small path off the main "road" that led to our tent--a path that only one person could travel through at a time. My friends J and A volunteered me to go first towards the tent. My visibility at that point was at about zero. I started to take a step between the small trees that lined the opening to the path when I heard something hissing. And then, guess what? I screamed. This led to J screaming, and then A laughing at J and I screaming. We really should have had a flashlight. We never learned what it was, whether the hissing came from a raccoon or a skunk (although if it was a skunk, we probably would've been able to tell), or if there was even anything there.

      I seriously don't understand the allure of that. But you know what? To each their own.

*Just using first initials for privacy's sake.