Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Personality Test Results

I was over at the B1's Archipelago today and saw this link to an interesting personality test. Here are my results:

Neuroticism – 69
Extraversion – 16
Openness to Experience – 91
Agreeableness – 71
Conscientiousness - 10

You are introverted, reserved, and quiet with a preference for solitude and solitary activities. Your socializing tends to be restricted to a few close friends. You can be very easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be extremely sensitive and emotional. Novelty, variety, and change spice up your life and make you a curious, imaginative, and creative person. You have a strong interest in others' needs and well-being. You are pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative. You like to live for the moment and do what feels good now. Your work tends to be careless and disorganized.

(Hm. I never thought of myself as that sensitive, but what do I know?)

Neuroticism Overall Score – 69
Anxiety – 68
Anger – 60
Depression – 68
Self-Consciousness – 66
Immoderation – 33
Vulnerability - 80

You feel tense, jittery, and nervous and often feel like something dangerous is about to happen. You may be afraid of specific situations or be just generally fearful. You don't usually get angry too easily but some things can annoy you. You tend to lack energy and have difficult initiating activities. You are not generally self conscious about yourself. You often resist any cravings or urges that you have, but sometimes you give in. You experience panic, confusion, and helplessness when under pressure or stress.

(I hate to admit it, but I think this is true for me, at least in the last four years. Although I must say that I'm very self-conscious.)

Extraversion Overall Score – 16
Friendliness – 59
Gregariousness – 41
Assertiveness – 6
Activity Level – 6
Excitement Seeking – 8
Cheerfulness - 50

You generally make friends easily enough although you mostly don't go out of your way to demonstrate positive feelings toward others. You like crowds but sometimes feel overwhelmed by them. Sometimes you feel like you need some privacy and time for yourself. You tend not to talk much and prefer to let others control the activities of groups. You lead a leisurely and relaxed life. You would prefer to sit back and smell the roses than indulge in high energy activities. You get overwhelmed by too much noise and commotion and do not like thrill-seeking activities. You have a generally cheerful disposition.

Openness to Experience Overall Score – 91
Imagination – 83
Artistic Interests – 80
Emotionality – 91
Adventurousness – 51
Intellect – 67
Liberalism - 92

Often you find the real world is too plain and ordinary for your liking, and you use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world for yourself. You love beauty, both in art and in nature. Sometimes you become easily involved and absorbed in artistic and natural events. You have good access to and awareness of your own feelings. Familiar routines are good, but sometimes you like to spice up your life with a bit of adventure or activity. You enjoy a certain amount of debate or intellectual thought, but sometimes get bored with too much. Often you exhibit a readiness to challenge authority, convention, and traditional values. Sometimes you feel a certain degree of hostility toward rules and perhaps even enjoy ambiguity.

Agreeableness Overall Score – 71
Trust – 58
Morality – 83
Altruism – 66
Cooperation – 34
Modesty – 92
Sympathy - 43

You mostly assume that people are honest and fair, however you are wary and hold back from trusting people completely. You see no need for pretense or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank and sincere. People find it relatively easy to relate to you. You will help others if they are in need. If people ask for too much of your time you feel that they are imposing on you. You do not enjoy confrontation, but you will stand up for yourself or push your point if you feel it is important. You do not like to claim that you are better than other people, and generally shy from talking yourself up. You are mostly a compassionate person, however you prefer to make objective judgments when possible.

Conscientiousness Overall Score – 10
Self-Efficacy – 34
Orderliness – 22
Dutifulness – 9
Achievement Striving – 37
Self-Discipline – 14
Cautiousness - 12

You are moderately confident that you can achieve the goals you set yourself. In general you tend to be disorganized and scattered. You find contracts, rules, and regulations overly confining and are sometimes seen as unreliable or even irresponsible by others. Mostly you work towards achieving your best, although in some areas you are content just to get the job done. You find yourself procrastinating and show poor follow-through on tasks. Often you fail to complete tasks - even tasks that you want very much to complete. You often say or do the first thing that comes to mind without deliberating alternatives and the probable consequences of those alternatives.

(Hm. Perhaps this is mostly true in my personal life. At work, I excel. I am very organized, prepared, reliable and proactive because I have to be. The last sentence is true; I'm forever sticking my foot in my mouth.)

If you decide to do your personality test, please do let me know the results.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Movie Tag

Ms. anne sent me a book tag. I decided to supplement that post with this one since I love movies so much.

Since I was a kid, I've always enjoyed movies. They were usually on TV until 10:00 pm which meant I could stay up late if I could convince Mom to let me watch the movie. I recall chaotic trips to the movies with my many cousins and uncles. We would pile into the van and spill into the theater. God knows how my uncles were able to keep track of us all. We would go to Disney movies, mostly. At home, I watched a lot of musicals (my mother's favorites) and tried to avoid horror movies. On occasion, I would be treated to a Jerry Lewis movie (I loved him when I was a kid) or a Godzilla movie.

The whole Universe opened up to me one night when my uncle took me and my cousins to a drive-in. We were watching some Disney movie, but I became transfixed by movie playing behind me. I completely ignored their comments and eventual teasing ("Why are you watching a movie you can't hear?") and just moved to the back of the car. I recall curling up in the corner and staring out the back window. It didn't matter that I couldn't hear the movie, I never wanted it to end. It was 1973 and the movie was Silent Running. I didn't see the rest of the film with the sound until a couple of years later on TV. Bruce Dern's character was odd, but the drones and his relationship with them moved me to tears.

A few years later, my movie life changed completely. It was 1977 and I went to see Star Wars for the first time (I would end up seeing it something like 35 times while it was still in the theater; I stopped counting after my 25th viewing). The theater was packed. We had to wait in a really long line. The final battle scene had me gasping because I kept holding my breath. I had never seen anything like it before (not even with Silent Running) and had never conceived that a movie could have such crowds. After that, I began to read movie reviews in the paper, to learn about directors and actors. I started the long, wonderful road of learning about film history.

I love movies. I can't say that enough. I love movies. And with that, here goes.

A movie that changed my life:
I do have a top 10 list of my all time favorite movies (which will be the subject of another post). The criteria for my top 10 is impossibly high. One of the criteria is that the movie must have changed my life or the way I view the world in some way. For this one I must list Amadeus, number one on my top 10 list and my favorite movie of all time. Most people are surprised when I tell them this is my favorite. They admit that it was a good movie, but they don't see why it's #1. Because of this movie, I became interested in classical music. Because of this movie, I took Music 101 and learned about Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss and the rest (and Mozart, of course). During that class, I learned a little of art history as well. It inspired me to take my Medieval/Renaissance art class. Because of this movie, I ran frantically through the National Gallery in London last year, marveling as I took in one perfect Renaissance masterpiece after another. Because of this movie, I still go see churches here in San Francisco because I love church architecture. That's a lot to get out of a two hour movie with some unknown actors and a bunch of powdered wigs, but that's what happened.

A movie I have seen more than once:
This one makes me laugh. If I like a movie, I'll watch it multiple times. This explains why I have quite a few DVDs in my collection. People don't understand why I watch movies over and over until I explain that watching a movie I love is like going to a favorite place to hang out for a couple of hours. I've seen many movies more than once, but the one that belongs in this category is Bringing Out the Dead, a Scorsese film starring Nicolas Cage. It's not one of Scorsese's best, I'll admit it, but right after I realized I was getting a divorce I was so distraught that I could barely function. I couldn't eat, sleep or go to work. The only thing I could do was write and watch Bringing Out the Dead. I can't tell you how many times I watched that movie in those first couple of weeks. There were a couple of days where that's all I did. As soon as it was over, I just started it up again for something like 20 hours in a row. I felt like dying and for some reason this movie made me feel like I could hang on just for a little longer.

A movie that made me laugh:
During the summer between my 7th and 8th grades in junior high school, my Dad suggested we go see a movie together. It was a hot summer night and we'd be going to the late show. After looking in the paper, we agreed upon a French film which was getting rave reviews. The film was La Cage aux Folles. First off, going to see a movie that not only featured, but was about gay men who dress in drag was completely unprecedented in my entire extended family. Second of all, it was the 10:00 pm show at a theater in Los Gatos. I was the only kid there and all the adults were staring at me. We got into the movie theater and I felt like I'd joined a secret club. It turned out I had. I never laughed so hard. What amazed me even more was that I got all the jokes. How is that possible? By the time I went back to school, I had a little notoriety attached to me since the news had spread like wildfire that I had actually seen a movie about gay men. Since everyone at school was impossibly homophobic, this made things very interesting indeed.

A movie that made me cry:
I cry easily, but I think I cried hardest during Toy Story 2 when Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl, sings that song about being loved by a child and then being forgotten when the child grows up and doesn't need them anymore. It made me think of my beloved stuffed animals when I packed them all away while I was moving out of my parents house.

The other movie I must mention is The Wizard of Oz. Having grown up watching it year in and year out on TV during Easter, I can safely say I know my way around this movie. As I've gotten older, however, this movie has become unwatchable for me. Even just thinking about it breaks my heart. A great, great movie. I still love those flying monkeys.

A movie that I wish had been made:
A adaptation of The Deathbird, a story by Harlan Ellison. It would never get made as it turns fundamental ideas of Christianity on its head, but it's a great story.

A movie I wish had never been made:
Pokemon: the First Movie. No, I haven't seen it, but the thought of it makes me ill.

A movie I just finished watching:
The Throne of Blood (dir. Akira Kurosawa). Kurosawa's take on Shakespeare's Macbeth is strange, haunting, spare and wonderful. Visually stunning and beautifully acted. Mifune is amazing as always, but Isuzu Yamada's version of Lady Macbeth is chilling. Her face and manner, always still and elegant, is ruin and death incarnate. A great film.

A movie I've been meaning to watch:
Well, there are a lot of them, let me tell you. Here are a few: Babette's Feast, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Once Upon a Time in the West, Crash, Das Boot, Garden State, Almost Famous and Saw 2, etc.

Thanks for reading. I've really enjoyed writing this post.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Book Tag

Ms. anne book tagged me a while ago and I'm just now getting around to writing this post. As I've mentioned before on my last blog, I used to be a voroceous reader when I was a kid. Books were like food to me. In fact, I read so much that my extended family, mother and friends thought there was something wrong with me.

I still read, but not like I used to. Mostly I read while on MUNI during my commute, but even then I sometimes don't read for days at a time. I rarely read at home now, preferring to spend my time doing other things. Lately, I've been thinking it would be nice to do some reading at home, even a half hour here and there. Reading is a grounding, nostalgic experience for me. It really brings me home to myself, much like my mother's abondigas soup does (Mexican meatball soup).

It seems as I have gotten older, I don't read as fast as I used to. I used to tear through books at lightening speed, but now it can take me a couple of months to finish a book.

Since I'm doing more writing and have always wanted to be a writer, it goes without saying I need to read more books. Most authors say extensive reading, especially in the area that you're writing in, is one of the best ways to learn to write better. I must confess, however, that there is a small possibility that I might like movies a smidge better than I like books. It's difficult to say. A photo finish is the only way to be sure, not that it matters.

On to the tag (I'll also be doing a movie version of these questions in the next post).

A book that changed my life:
A Practical Guide for the Amateur Naturalist by Gerald Durrell. I was in my early 20s when I discovered this book. Richly illustrated and the first book I'd ever seen with the DK style photography (objects photographed on a plain background, museum-style), this book opened up whole worlds for me. From techniques on field collecting to how to set up a work room for your collection and experiments to detailed instructions for preserving specimens, this book is chock full of information beautifully presented. Durrell goes into each major habitat (rocky shore, smooth shore, forest, desert) and includes specimens he has collected from each. From this book, I learned how much I love to crash around on the river bank with a pair of tweezers, a plastic tray and my magnifying lens, how much I love to tidepool, how much I love to go birding and, most importantly, the deep satisfaction that comes with keeping a richly illustrated sketchboook with drawings of plants, birds and other animals. I gave this book away years ago and never got it back. It is now out of print. I need to find another one.

A book that made me laugh:
My favorite book of all time The Annotated Alice by Lewis Carroll and Martin Gardner. Gardner takes my two favorite books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There and fills the margins of this book with notes about the history of the characters, of Carroll, of Alice herself, the philosophies, private jokes, politics, mathematics, etc. referred to in the stories. It contains several translations of Jabberwocky, including one by Carroll himself, a "lost" chapter and pencil sketches by Tenniel. Wonderful. Heavenly. Funny as all hell.

A book that made me cry:
The Golden Compass
, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. The three Pullman books from the His Dark Materials trilogy are hands down the best books I've read in the last 15 years. Considered "Young Adult" books they are nevertheless complex, fascinating and extremely ambitious. Their views on religion and the role it plays in society is intense and uncompromising. All the great questions are here: who am I? what is my destiny? what is destiny? who/what is God? what is a soul? what happens after we die? what is the nature of evil? where is my place in this world? Beautiful, glorious, wonderful. I cried at the end of each book. I never wanted these stories to end.

A book I wish had been written:
The Sword and the Angel. An adventure story cutting across parallel universes, ancient and modern times, Heaven and Hell involving a young woman and her magic sword. We are talking about sword fights, car chases, mysteries to solve, tons of history, haunted places, quantum physics, characters from different mythologies, angels, demons, ghosts, etc. The story sort of uses The Divine Comedy as a jumping off point. I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it.

A book I wish had never been written:
I can't think of any book. I worked at a bookstore when I was in high school and came to belief that all books have a place in this world, even the dumb ones or the ones that are offensive to me. I once had a conversation with a customer about my feelings on this issue. He challenged me about a book, can't remember which one, when he declared at the cash register in front of a whole line of people: "Are you trying to ban this book, young lady???!!!!"

My response was "Sir, our job is not to ban books here. Our job is to sell books. As many books as possible." He didn't say anything after that, but the customers behind him had a lot to say. That was an interesting day.

A book I am currently reading:
Winkie by Clifford Chase. This book is about a teddy bear that gets falsely accused of mastermining several terrorist plots. I've only just started it, but it's really fun so far.

Longitudes and Attitudes, Exploring the World After September 11
by Thomas Friedman. This is a book with Friedman's New York Times columns just before and after 9/11. Very interesting. Mr. Friedman is thought provoking, very knowledgable about his subject matter and does not shy away from his own opinions.

A book I have been meaning to read:
I have a whole shelf of these, but here are the ones that stand out for me Night by Elie Wiesel, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Sumerians, Their History, Culture and Character by Samuel Noah Kramer. For this last book, I've always been curious about the Sumerians, especially their mythology and stories. I've always felt that man's first great civilization might have a lot to teach me about our own.

Since my readership is small, I will refrain from picking specific people to tag, but if you want to do one for me, I would be most appreciative. You can send it to my email address or put it in the comments sections.

Friday, September 01, 2006