The Situation

Whin’s general blog on whinwhinsituation.com

What if Cats could Tweet?

Posted by Whin on March 29, 2009

http://communities.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/blogs/ollie/archive/2009/03/27/if-only-our-dogs-could-twitter.aspx

Rex7 tweeted this link this morning, and I read it and cracked up. What if animals could Tweet? I’m following Sockington on Twitter and enjoy his witty cat Tweets. However, I’m not enough of a Twit to make accounts for my cats (3) or horses (5). So, pulling out my best, here’s what it would be like if Sibyl the cat had her own Twitter account.

Sibyl in the Sink

Hmm, I’m awake. Now what should I do? I’m leaning towards “Use Whitney’s face as a springboard to get up to the bookshelf.”
4:23 AM Mar 29 from web

Well that was fun. Humans make such strange noises when you shove your feet up their noses. Now that I’m up here I’llzzzzz….
4:25 AM Mar 29 from web

WHAT IS THAT FOOD IN A BOWL I HEAR? HERE I COME AT FULL SPEED!
8:31 AM Mar 29 from web

There appears to be an invisible force field between me and that bird. Grr.
10:32 AM Mar 29 from web

Stupid Indigo and her stupid self came and woke me up. I kicked her furry butt, I did.
11:42 AM Mar 29 from web

Zzzzzzzz….
2:34 PM Mar 29 from web

Zzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz *snonk* zzzzzzz….
3:28 PM Mar 29 from web

Outside time! Whee! I’m going to chase a OH GOD IS THAT ANOTHER CAT *HISS SPIT RUN BACK INSIDE*
5:52 PM Mar 29 from web

Am sitting in the corner staring up at the ceiling. It makes Whitney so paranoid when I do this, haha!
7:24 PM Mar 29 from web

What? Whitney is reading? Must go sit on the book. Reading is NOT allowed in this house.
8:31 PM Mar 29 from web

Zzzzzzzzzzz….
10:43 PM Mar 29 from web

RUNNING AROUND LIKE A MANIAC AHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHHAHHA!
12:56 AM Mar 30 from web

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Spring Break Update

Posted by Whin on March 15, 2009

Thanks to school, I haven’t had the time nor energy to write anything. I guess it comes with the territory, but it sure does make me a bad diarist. Right now, however, I’m on my very last spring break, and I plan to make the most of it! Here’s what my break has been like so far:

Pool and HeidiThis is my “Aunt”, Heidi. She’s a 7 year old Daschund belonging to my grandparents. She had a spinal issue about a month ago, so she’s moving pretty slow. We spend a lot of time just sitting around. This is okay with me.

Anyhow, I decided to go to Orlando to visit my grandparents for spring break. It works out pretty well. I get to go to Florida, sit by the pool, eat good food, sleep in a comfortable bed, and borrow the car. No crowds, no loud parties, and plenty of time to sit around and do what I wish. Everybody wins.

I’m going to try to do some serious blogging on this break. So far I feel like the only thing I’ve done are fluff pieces, with the exception of my late-night fat rant. Hmmm.

Music Picks

This break, I’ve purchased some new music! For a while, I’ve been wanting to get Trentemøller’s CD, The Last Resort. I finally bought it thanks to Amazon. Trentemøller is a low-impact, highly groovy DJ. My favorite song from this album is “Miss You.”

51xtt24cjgl_sl500_aa280_ Trentemøller’s The Last Resort

MP3 download, 2 CD’s

Amazon.com: $17.98

Buy from Amazon.com by clicking here.

Another big purchase I made was Oren Lavie’s The Opposite Side of the Sea. Many of you probably  know Oren Lavie from the hit stop-motion video “Her Morning Elegance” on Youtube. Don’t know it? Here it is:

Sweet, huh? Well, the album was released on March 10, 2009. Lavie is from Tel Aviv, and I love his voice. He’s very smooth, rolling, and this album is great driving music! I’ve downloaded the video for use on my iPod. 😀

41zhjkqdzkl_sl500_aa280_ Oren Lavie’s The Opposite Side of the SeaMP3 download, 1 CD

Amazon.com: $7.99

Buy from Amazon.com by clicking here.

I’m going to go eat lunch now, but when I come back, I’ll blog about the best way to download Youtube videos to your iPod! Happy listening.

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Introvert Management

Posted by Whin on December 21, 2008

If you’ve never read Jonathan Rauch’s article “Caring For Your Introvert,” I suggest you do it now. Here it is!

Now that we’ve that formality out of the way,  I’d like to take a moment to consider the amount of planning and management that goes into being an introvert. As Rauch has outlined to us, a proper introvert does not savor human contact, although we may enjoy it from a few select sources. We’d much rather be alone, quiet, and out of the spotlight. Rauch also tells us that extroverts own the social, political, and work spheres, by the very virtue of an extrovert’s nature. Now, assuming Rauch is correct in that there is nothing basically wrong with us, the introverts, I’d like to put forth that there is a way to manage introversion so that we can be equally as driven and forthcoming in all the spheres of life as the extroverts.

As much as we’d like to hide in the background and say nothing, sometimes it is a very necessary part of life. I find that while I am still no good in social situations, my ability to deal with and yes, even enjoy being around other humans has to do with the way I structure my life. First of all, human contact does not include the cashier at the grocery store or the guy next to you on the treadmill at the club.  Being thrust into a social situation, to an introvert, sounds very much like being held underwater for a long period of time. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Even the most introverted person enjoys some human contact, just as even the most extroverted enjoys a little quiet now and then. The trick is to plan these spurts of outgoing-ness and silence so that one feels as if one has had plenty of both.

Personally, I offset all of my social relations by living alone. Because I live by myself, I have plenty, even sometimes too much, quiet time. It’s very pleasant. I am not forced to be around people all day every day, a situation which very nearly drove me nuts when I lived with two friends a few years ago. I was fortunate enough to have an understanding and similarly quiet roommate when I lived on the college campus, but my two rather extroverted roommates when I moved to a house were almost too much for me. So I moved out, and now live by myself in a very quiet apartment complex in the middle of nowhere. Just me and the cats.

With the knowledge that I am on the fast-track to crazy-old-cat-ladydom, I should point out that I have plenty of time during my day to have plenty of those social situations. Since I am still in school, class gives me plenty of time to be out among people. I can’t, at the risk of my grade, sit silently during class, either, and I appreciate my introversion in that it allows me to know how much to say without sounding like a soapbox operator. When I get a “real” job, I will happily thrust myself into the miniature ecosystem that an office creates. But this is only possible because I balance that time out with my silent time at home.

I also try to vary the kinds of people that I am around. My extremely close friends, of which there are approximately three, all know my introverted tendencies very well, and while they themselves may not be introverts, they can respect my introversion and not put me into situations that I can’t stand. Otherwise, I try to balance my time among friends who are naturally very quiet, friends who are flaming beacons of extroversion, and friends who are somewhere in the middle. I can’t choose the people I am around in school and work, but I can choose my friend groups. By balancing those relationships, I can also balance my personal tolerance for other people and social situations.

So, being an active member of society is, for an introvert, a delicate balancing act. I won’t lie– If I spend too little time on my own, I get somewhat irritable when forced to deal with others. However, when I keep myself well balanced, I stay pretty happy in whatever situation I’m in.

Any other introverts out there? How do you  manage your introversion and the ability to be a productive social creature? While we can’t overthrow the extroverts, I feel that we can manage to deal with it gracefully and happily as long as our personal need for autonomy is met.

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Feel the Burn!

Posted by Whin on December 20, 2008

Yesterday I went to the Olympia Athletic Club (www.olympiaathleticclub.com) and signed up for a membership. This is one of the steps in my drive to become healthier and get back into shape. For a pretty good rate (hooray student status!) I got a 12-month membership and now plan to be at the club three or four times a week. It’s a nice, clean place with a maze of stairs and 70’s era wood paneling, but it’s comfortable and has all the amenities of a place like National Fitness Center. I am most pleased.

I also met with a personal trainer, Beth. Beth is the 5’1″ Tennessee record holder for the bench press, and she’s going to kick my butt back into shape. I was very excited after talking to her, and I have a lot of high hopes to start this coming year off right. It’ll be slow going at first– I’m really out of shape. However, I feel that I’ll get into it easily enough, especially since my personal training sessions will not consist of endless cardio. No, she’ll be having me do weights and crunches, and it’s going to half kill me and I’ll love every minute of it. I really need to come back and read this post whenever I get so tired of it I want to quit. I know it will happen because it’s only natural, but by god I’m going to lose this weight and get back into shape. I am driven.

So I’ll have another Christmas cookie and dream about being well-muscled and sleek. 😀 Even Beth said that she planned to eat whatever she darn well pleased over the holiday season. It can’t be helped– mothers are just the best cooks.

My personal training starts immediately after the New Year. Til then I’ll be going on my own to walk, jog, and do basic weights. Maybe I can get back in enough shape to begin with so that when we start in January I won’t be totally dead. Wish me luck!

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The Idle Times

Posted by Whin on December 18, 2008

School is finished for the semester. I’m out and home for three weeks, which at first seems like a blessing, but it’s really a curse. What at first seems like a pleasant break, with plenty of time to sleep and read, quickly becomes a silent, boring space filled with endless days of too many  naps and email checks. Faced with a lack of extra money, I find ways to entertain myself without spending cash.

One thing I find myself doing a lot of since the let-out of school has been apartment upkeep. I have been studiously less than good about keeping the place clean, but now in my distinct area of boredom, the whole place sparkles. I guess that would be a plus to the break.

I am also getting some much-needed reading for pleasure done. I just finished Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, a Grecian-American romp through genetics and family ties. It was enjoyable. Now, somewhat regrettably, I am beginning a series at the behest of my boyfriend. It’s a fantasy series, Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings, and he supposedly found it very enjoyable. My opinion on fantasy series generally tends to be that Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling have written all there is to write, and that all other “fantasy” series are distinct copycats of these already published works. I am waiting to be pleasantly surprised, but it hasn’t happened yet.

One thing that I have planned to do more of is this– blog writing. Although I’m positive that very few, if any, people read this blog, I find it to be a very self-satisfying thing to have a number of chapters in my blog book. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment, as nerdy as it is. We’ll see how many posts I rack up between now and the beginning of the January term.

Next month I am budgeting in a membership to a health club. While my opinion, as seen previously, is that I am what size I am for various reasons, I would like to be in better shape. My stair-climbing ability is woeful. Also, a good runner’s high should help to keep away the delicious varieties of melancholy that come with the rainy, dreary Tennessee winters.

With the GPA-and-spirit uplifting discovery that I made all A’s last semester, I am sort of looking forward to the spring semester. I’ll have a gauntlet of difficult classes to go through for my last semester as an undergrad, but I have faith that I’ll pull through. I always seem to, no matter how awful it gets. It’s a nice sentiment to keep in mind.

So, here begins two more weeks of blog writing and dish doing and cat petting and hopefully, working out.

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NaNoWriMo: Why I Do It

Posted by Whin on November 11, 2008

These days, my Twitter feed, AIM message, and Facebook status all reflect the fact that I’m knee deep in National Novel Writing Month. At just over 17 thousand words as of this morning, I’m trucking right along, maybe a little behind, but loads better than I did last year.

When my friends ask me what it’s for, I say, “Me!” They don’t understand. If I just got done with an 80-page Senior Thesis, why in the world would I ever want to write anything else?

I just like to write. And this time, I get to control what I write about. It’s so much fun for me to plan out my characters and then set them free in a number of different situations. My problem with last year was that I grew tired of my story– it was a better poem than it was a novel. “Sunny” was a fabulous poem. “Sunny” was not a good novel. Thus far, “Three Gorges” is a fun as hell novel. I’m loving it! I am determined to make it this year.

NaNoWriMo is a way for me to unwind from thesis. I’m not bound to any specific writing style, any format, or any voice. It’s something that I can do to use as a carrot for myself to get things done– if I do such and such homework, I can work on “Three Gorges.” It doesn’t always work, because I get stuck in the novel, but eventually I reach a stopping point and have to go on.

I do it so I can have fun writing, and not just write for school. I think that’s a mudpit we all get stuck in – when everything we write is for work or school. This is written for me. I don’t have to let anyone read it or be graded on it (of course, if you want to read it you’re welcome to it).

And besides, isn’t it just fun to say “I’m working on a novel.”

Why do you NaNo?

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It is finished!

Posted by Whin on November 9, 2008

On Friday, I finished writing the longest and most complex paper of my life. Senior thesis was a pain, but now that it’s done I’m so glad I did it. It marks a huge accomplishment in my academic life.

You can find it in its entirety at www.downingwebcred.com.

And now, will I take a break from writing? Heck no. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I’m full speed ahead! I’m a bit behind due to my thesis due date, but I’m determined to catch up. I have passed last year’s mark, and this year I’m going to make it all the way. It’s still early in the month! Join me!

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knoxnews.com

Posted by Whin on November 4, 2008

I can’t help it. Thesis and school have consumed my meaningless little life. Ha ha ha.

Anyhow, I will also be  using this blog as a bit of a portfolio. I’m currently interning for the Knoxville News Sentinel‘s online producers, updating stories, moderating comments, cleaning stories, and editing video!

http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/whitney-downing/

Here’s my list of edited videos. I did all of the cutwork, editing, and posting, with help and guidance from Jigsha Desai.

Talking with Kristy Lee Cook
Video editor | October 29, 2008

Logan Little: Grace Christian Academy
Video editor | October 20, 2008

Sights and sounds of ETTAC Toy Tech training
Video editor | October 18, 2008

Baling switchgrass
Video editor | October 7, 2008

Preparing radioactive materials for transportation
Video editor | September 24, 2008

Transuranic waste leaves Oak Ridge
Video editor | September 24, 2008

Topiary Joe
Video editor | September 12, 2008

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News Flash: I am fat.

Posted by Whin on September 2, 2008

Hey, got your attention, didn’t it?

The bigger question is, which camp do you belong to? The “Oh god no, you’re beautiful and you don’t need to lose a pound!” group, or the “MAN THE HARPOONS! The BBW board is thataway.” cult?

It seems to me that there are two different approaches to the weight issue in America. Oh yes, we’re battling a weight problem. The biggest problem that I see is our vast issues with DEFINING the problem. Is the issue with eating disorders, making people wish to be as skinny as possible? Or is the issue the newest “big is beautiful” trend? I’ve got arguments for both, and an argument for myself (which I am not totally sure about).

Having never had a chronic eating disorder, I can’t say that I fully understand it. However, I have lived through an eating disorder with a good friend of mine. The desire to be as skinny and small as possible is truly consuming, and only through a lot of support and an incredible will to live did my friend do a complete turnaround. She was always beautiful. She just had to convince herself of it. This bout of eating disorders has been blamed on many things, such as cultural idols and the fashion industry.

Some information on eating disorders, found on the Statistics Page of the National Eating Disorders organization web site.

  • Significant increase in incidence of anorexia from 1935 to 1989 especially among young women 15-24.
  • A rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930.
  • The incidence of bulimia in 10-39 year old women TRIPLED between 1988 and 1993.
  • The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.
  • Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women (Smolak, 1996).
  • 1-800-931-2237 and website: www.NationalEatingDisorders.org

    Okay, so some of the statistics are Iggy-Pop old. You can’t deny that eating disorders are all over the public board, however. There is this huge rush of empowering “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AS YOU ARE!” statements, large amounts of backpedaling from the national and international fashion scene, and loads of new support groups for eating disorders. Frankly, the only way to be as skinny as this 2-5% of the naturally teeny population is to HAVE an eating disorder. So, hooray for the focus on improved body image?

    There’s this fantastic double-standard though, see, because America also struggles with obesity. Diets are everywhere, fat people are ridiculed in other nations, our eating habits and lack of exercise pointed out as the culprits for our spreading girth. Supersize Me, anyone? “”Fat is TERRIBLE, and no one should be it! Wanna be fit, with a tiny waist and a toned bum? Go diet and lose weight, because being fat is the worst thing for your image EVAR.” But how fat is too fat? How much weight should I lose to be okay? The overarching answer seems to be “We’re not sure, but by golly, do the diet thing! IT’LL BE AWESOMMMEEEE.”

    Harharhar, Americans are so fat.

    Harharhar, Americans are so fat. And the whole world wears their pants too low.

    Anyhow, you see my problem. Oh horrors, don’t be anorexic! Gain weight! Be happy as a mid-sized person! Oh wow, lose some weight, because everyone needs to! Here’s this fadtastic new diet! Go be a mid-sized person?

    WHERE ARE THE SUPPORT GROUPS FOR THE MID-SIZED PEOPLE? WHAT THE HECK IS MID-SIZED? Even the BMI standard is being kicked around as an insufficient way to tell “how fat?” The support groups scream “Be happy as you are! BE HEALTHY!” What the heck is a healthy weight? Sure, it depends on many factors. I think it depends on how your body image is. I think there’s too thin a line between “too skinny,” “too fat,” and “just right.” Go too far either way and I’m not sure what to think!

    Anyhoo, I’ve gained forty pounds in the last five months or so. Wait, before you start screaming “NO WAI, YOU DON’T LOOK IT!” let me step on the scale and show you guys. Believe me, I’ve gained it. I now weigh 180 lbs. Last winter I weighed about 140. Mmmkay, so am I unhealthy?

    Sure, it’s a pain in the butt because I don’t fit into a lot of the clothes I did before. But I can still run a mile without dying. I just spent three weeks hiking around China with no problems keeping up with my “skinnier” counterparts. I will still run after a horse in the field unwilling to be caught. I don’t necessarily “feel” the health effects of my forty extra pounds of chub/muscle (I’m pretty sure it’s not muscle.)

    Clothes, however, are durn expensive. And I’m a broke college student.

    The main culprit of this sudden weight gain would be my recently diagnosed hypothyroidism. See here for information on it, courtesy of the Endocrine Web. Among other exciting things, it means that my metabolism can be outrun by a one-legged sloth. I’ve also become a couch potato of sorts, thanks to the “Dear god I just want to sleep all day” effects of said hypothyroidism. I’m now on levothyroxine, which has helped my levels, but I still need to make some life changes thanks to this diagnosis.

    So, I gotta lose some weight! “NOOOO YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL!” “YES, HERE’S THIS AWESOME DIET!” Go away! I’m gorgeous. I don’t need your stupid diet. I do need to modify mine, however, to adjust to my new metabolic issues. I also need to pick back up exercise. NOOO HORRORS, DIET! NOOO HORRORS, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL! No horrors get off my case. I wanna at least fit into my clothes. I have never been below a size 10. Nor will I be! I just need to drop a couple pounds to regain my clothing. It doesn’t mean I’m going to acquire an eating disorder to do it, nor am I going to be perfectly happy with wherever my ever-slowing metabolism takes me!

    I am forever going to be annoyed by this “body image” issue. It seems that whenever I say I want to lose weight, I’ve got the body image police screaming at me. Does anyone else feel like the body image police want you to have ONE version of yourself that you’re happy with? If I feel I’m mildly overweight, I’m told that my negative body image will turn me into a walking eating disorder. However, if I feel like having an extra cookie, I’m told to curb my negative eating habits because HORRORS I SHALL BE A FAT AND UGLY AMERICAN AND NO ONE WILL LOVE ME. Say what? I love my natural chub. It’s just the stuff that pads my organs and makes my hips not want to fit into my fantastic new size 14 pants that bothers me.

    Anyone have thoughts on this? Did this make any sense? Reading through it, it seems totally incoherent. But maybe that’s because it’s three in the morning. I don’t need “YOU GO GIRL BE YOURSELF!” cheerleaders either. I really want a discussion! What in the world is this yo-yo double standard doing? I shall get myself another cup of coffee and await the answers that will undoubtedly come pouring in (because this blog is so popular and all.)

    Harharhar, oh, internets.

    Harharhar, oh, internets.

    Indy-cat knows I appreciate her considerable chub.

    Indy-cat knows I appreciate her considerable chub.

    Posted in Life in General | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Back in the U.S., and all is well.

    Posted by Whin on August 23, 2008

    It has been weird readjusting to the American way of life. I did some apartment cleaning, but there is still a large pile of dishes staring at me from the sink. I do hate dishes so much. I need to vacuum as well.

    I’ve been playing around with my web site. I’ve decided some things about it and made some changes. I really need to get on my Senior Thesis site. I’d like to have most of it up there before I have to write the other half. Blah.

    My neighbor Fuller moved out, unfortunately. His job is moving him to Huntsville, AL. Fortunately, my friend Katie may be moving into his apartment. If she does, I’ll know I have a sane neighbor who doesn’t play music at 200000 decibels and freaks out at everything. I was lucky to have Fuller as a neighbor, and now I’m spoiled because of it.

    I’m gearing up for school again (NOT excited). I only have one year left… and I wish it were over! I’m rather tired of being broke. I can’t start looking for a job until I know what my schedule will be with my practicum and classes. I’ve decided to take Mandarin Chinese for my language requirement, which means I need to make some class changes.

    Elliott is back in town! Hooray! He picked up Blue Sheba (his car) the other day. I hope to get to spend some time with him soon.

    Speaking of cars, my clunky old Volvo station wagon has been retired! Wahoo! I now have a 1997 Saab 900s hatchback. 🙂 It’s a stick shift, which has required some getting used to, but she gets between 29 and 30 miles to the gallon! GLEE! She doesn’t have a name yet, but that’ll be fixed.

    I’m trying to stay motivated. It’s difficult, when I’m still out of whack sleep-wise and would rather nap then, say, do my dishes. Blah.

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