Icebreakers and I have a tempestuous relationship.
Despite being something of a hot seat devotee and a major fan of random and revealing questions, my first memory of icebreakers is on the traumatic side.
It was the first day of 3rd or 4th grade. Our teacher (Probably Ms. Ellis in fourth grade, this seems like just her brand of sadism) told us we would be going on an impromptu camping trip, passed around a roll of toilet paper, and told us to take what we thought we would need for an overnight stay.
I was pretty sure something was up. I may have been eight years old but I was no fool. They needed my parents’ signatures to bus me to the Science Museum for a few hours. But still part of me was completely appalled at the threat of being spirited away for a night. And having to reveal my toilet paper needs? It was the height of humiliation.
You may have played this game before- you have to share a fact about yourself for every sheet that you take. I don’t remember what I did- probably something middle of the road like 5. Someone took one sheet and another boy (I think it was Pedro) took about half the roll.
So while I have no problem with sharing some level of personal information and even less of a problem listening to other people’s stories (when it doesn’t border on the TMI) I hate the enforced ‘getting-to-know-you’ of icebreakers, which are really only good for uniting a group against the irritating and condescending authority demanding how many bones you’ve broken.
Which is a long way of saying I found 25 fun icebreaker questions and I’m going tonsure some of them.
Please do not be inspired to use these for their purported purpose of ‘team building at work’.
- What was your first job?
My first paid job was as a barista at a Barnes & Noble Starbucks.
- Have you ever met anyone famous?
The most starstruck I have ever been was when I met one of the horses who played Shadowfax in Lord of the Rings.
- If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
So many I can’t choose: a language, hunting with falcons, parkour, an instrument…
- Seen any good movies lately you’d recommend?
Good Time wasn’t my kind of movie but it is being criminally overlooked. It came out in 2017.
- Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
The only things coming directly to mind are both today: Clinique’s eyeliner is in fact easy and liquid, and it sounds like Black Panther is super intersectional and has strong female characters.
- Favorite band ten years ago?
I was twelve, which was about the time I got my iPod and started listening to music for the first time. Honestly it was probably Aly and AJ or Avril Lavigne. Embarrassing.
- What’s your earliest memory?
I remember sitting on the rug at preschool and thinking to myself, “I’m three”.
- Been anywhere recently for the first time?
Grasse and Nice!
- What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
The first big ticket item I bought with my own money was one of those felted cardboard cat condos. It was two floors. We still have it. It was $80 and I had saved for forever. I think I was in Elementary school. I was a high roller.
- Any phobias you’d like to break?
Nope, spiders and I are good with where our animosity is, thanks very much.
- What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
I’m such an old person, I like raisin bran. But I remember being young and loving the Cap’n Crunch I had at my cousins’ beach house. When I came home and asked my parents if we could buy it they told me it wasn’t sold in our state. Ah, the lies our parents tell us.
I turned 22.5 yesterday and today I have an exam that threatens to destroy all that I hold most dear. I’ve been studying since I woke up at 5:30 am. (Approximately five hours ago). There are about three hours left. It’s panic time.
Here’s what’s happening online:
- Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn-Dixie, and others) on why children’s books should be a little sad.
- You can smell when someone is sick. Here’s a case where a woman was able to identify Parkinson’s patients by body odor, some even before they were clinically diagnosed.
- NBA = ballet? Check out these beautiful unplanned synchronized moments.
- Hedi Slimane takes over at Celine, replacing Phoebe Philo. Not a fan of this development.
- An ode to the pre-teen bedroom, complete with bead curtain.
- Ann Curry may have a baby crush on Stephen Colbert but I have a baby crush on Ann Curry.
- First there was athleisure. Now there is bath-leisure.
- Screen Junkies casts the It sequel– the prestige, the popcorn, and the provocative versions (the latter featuring Jared Kushner).
- Full cast and vague plot details have been announced for The Incredibles II and I am salivating.
- This webcomic is my current (as of yesterday) obsession and I’m narrowly avoiding bingeing it instead of studying. It’s sold out but if you buy it in book form it comes with a plush. Here’s the author/illustrators tumblr for more info.
- Phantom Thread is the last big Oscar nominee that I haven’t seen. Here are some of the films from which director Paul Thomas Anderson drew inspiration (including Rebecca!) and an amazing short film featuring under-the-radar lead actress Vicky Krieps.
- One thing I really like about this capsule wardrobe article in particular (among the seeming billions out there, which get
a bit very repetitive) is the recognition that, because everyone’s style is different, so will everyone’s capsule wardrobe be.
- What is Scandinavian style and why is it gaining so much traction globally?
- Living for Colbert’s imitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. It starts around 2 minutes in.
- In case you’re wondering what I’m doing here in France, here’s a video featuring some of my classmates.
- And to round out this rather fashion-focused week, Kate Spade succulent sandals.
When you think of a country you haven’t visited or spent much time in, your view is kind of one-dimensional, featuring mostly the big sights, tourist destinations, and maybe the big food exports. Or at least this is what I’ve noticed for myself.
When I thought of France, I thought of Paris. And I thought of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, maybe macaroons. And if I had a spare minute, maybe music and the fragrance industry in Grasse. And Vincent Van Gogh’s mental deterioration in the south of the country.
But when you get beyond that, like when you live somewhere (or even when you make an effort to go off the beaten path on holiday) you get a much deeper idea of a place.
Here are a few fun sightings that always make me smile:
- Kids on scooters, usually going to or from school. Especially if said kids seem to be trying to run you down. (I’m convinced at this point that this is how I’m going to go).
- People carrying baguettes on the street. People carrying baguettes anywhere. One baguette, two baguette, more baguette. Sometimes you’ll see the very disheartening sight of a baguette that has accidentally been dropped and left to languish.
- People carrying straw market bags. So many people carry them, even in the winter. You can even see elderly men carrying around baskets that remind me of nothing so much as Easter Egg hunts. Sometimes they have baguettes in said baskets.
- Huge lines in front of boulangeries and patisseries.
- The general populace pulling market hampers/carriages/trollies. Especially on market Sundays.
- Advertisements for books. Like you know how you see subway ads and street ads for films and perfume? Same here, but you also see them for tea and books.
As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.
I have packed my bags and read my last book.
- The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past. Each color discussed gets a few pages. Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
- Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something). Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen). Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)
Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation. But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.
Happy New Year’s (Eve) depending on where you are!
This is the last selection of links for the year of 2017, and it’s a blessedly short one.
Do you have New Year’s plans? It’s been bitterly cold here in Boston and will continue to be so tonight, so my evening looks like a cuddly warm stay at home affair. If I manage to stay up past 9:30. Jet lag. It’s still real.
Happy Christmas Eve Eve! I arrived home yesterday afternoon and am super jet lagged and being treated to a very New England ice storm.
It’s excellent. We’re going to see The Last Jedi tonight and I think my excitement will be such that I will stay awake. I’ve heard lots of interesting things about it but have so far avoided any spoilers.
I have a healthy (and scented!) collection of links this week!
The year-end photo compendiums are coming in, here are two favorites…
On the fashion front:
And the more miscellaneous:
What do you think about before you sleep? Are you out as soon as your head hits the pillow, or do you stay in some kind of in between state for a few minutes (or an hour or so?)
When I was little I would daydream (night dream?) about what my life would be like if I were a student at Hogwarts. The stories I imagined were linked and episodic, and played out in my mind over the course of about two years of bedtimes.
Apparently this might be maladaptive daydreaming, a symptom of multiple mental disorders.
Whatever, as the Mad Hatter said “We’re all mad here.”
So with that in mind, some nice things to think about as you drift off to dream land:
- Insert yourself as a character into your favorite fictional or fantasy world.
- A flood in a LUSH store
- All the amazing things you could do if you were tiny (like 2 cm tall tiny). Spelunking in a Swiss cheese, anyone?