Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year, 2008!

New Year's Eve is by far my favorite holiday. Everyone is happy, there's so much to look forward to, you get to dress up silly, you get to kiss people at midnight, you get to drink, and First Night St. Louis. And you don't have to make an elaborate meal or think up gifts for people. It's a perfect holiday. No one is excluded, except maybe the Chinese and the Mayans - but props to them for sticking to their own calendars in the face of all of the rest of society.

New Year's Eve in Marathon, Florida, is pretty rockin', I must say. My whole family is staying in tonight, to toast with pink champagne (my parents had pink champagne at their wedding - I thought it was rare, apparently it isn't) at midnight. The reason we're not going out is because all of the residents of the Keys (disdainfully called the "Keysters" by my brother Clay and his wife Liz) are drunk ALL THE TIME - and make no sense ever - and will especially be inebriated tonight.

It's funny being around your family - especially around multiple generations at one time. You see every one's past and future all at once. And all idiosyncrasies and characteristics come out, like obsessive reading. Sometimes during the week I have been in kind of a storm, distracted by all the little details of every ones' personalities and interactions with each other and then suddenly a little chink of blue sky comes through and I see for a split second how normal it all is and how lovely. But that is only sometimes.

Things I've discovered this week:
- my brother Clay believes the 9/11 was a total government conspiracy. He's having us watch Loose Change later.

P.S. - Tonight I beat my whole family (being the 7th wheel I was all by myself on my own team while all the rest of the couples were together) twice at Scrabble. For this I want to thank the Facebook application Scrabulous and Claire, whom I play on a regular basis and is really good.

Also - around midnight my brother Cris and I decided it was a good idea to try to break open the $1 coconuts that my neice Natasha found - to no avail. But - my favorite quote from the night came as a result. I was trying to smash the coconut as hard as I could against the sidewalk outside the place we're staying and Cris advised "yeah, try the sidewalk, or you could throw the coconut against the palm tree which would result in huge amounts of irony."

I love New Year's.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Stolen things:

Looking on Cassidy Shearrer's blog, I just found out about the future residence of three of Columbia's best businesses. The RagTag Cinemacafe, Uprise Bakery, and 9th St. Video are all moving to a place on Hitt St.! For ease, and in honor of the typical clientele of these fine establishments, I shall take to calling the complex "indie-ville" or "hipster-town," whichever catches on first. The article (here) says that a lot of Columbia artists are working hard to make the renovated space beautiful and unique. It should be open in time for the True/False Film Festival in February. I'm excited. I've never been to True/False because I've coincidentally been out of town each year and wasn't cool enough freshman year. It's a festival of all indie movies and they're all super-wonderful and interesting and they bring in lots of producers/directors. I'll probably stop going to class that Friday.

My second stolen thing comes from Mondo. I love public art and (as it is called here) subconscious art. Here's a sweet video from Mondo's blog on the accidental beauty that comes from covering up public graffiti.


the subconscious art of graffiti removal (excerpt) from matt mccormick on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 27, 2007



this is where i'll be for the next week with my fam. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007



What stylish dudes!

Baby Jesus


USA Today

My dad always reads the nativity part of Luke for every Christmas. It's a tradition that was started by my Mom's Dad, whom I don't remember because he died when I was 1.5.

While he was reading it this Christmas, it struck me how absolutely awkward the situation was in which Jesus was born. No one seemed ready for it: Mary was awkwardly pregnant without a dude, Joseph seemed to be cuckolded and had to go back home for taxes (which no one likes). And then, they couldn't even find a place to stay in town - probably because they were late. The situation sounds exactly like something that I would get pissed at my friends or high schoolers I work with about - like, why didn't you get reservations at the Inn? Isn't there some way that you can explain to people about why Mary's pregnant? Why the hell is Mary pregnant?

On the flip side - God being in control of the universe - in some way He wanted it to happen like this. He likes it when things happen like this. I don't get it. Somehow it showcases God's glory more when the situation is awkward and painful. This seems completely counterintuitive to me. I always get so worried and freaked out when my friends or kids I work with get in bad situations like that. I lose all hope and want to concentrate on getting them to not make the situation any worse. I don't know what the answer is.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Parties / guys hitting on you / thinking way too much about things / arguments with my mom



I've had an on-going argument with my mom about dressing nicer and more attractively since middle school. Because of the differences in the way we think, the discussion has been frustrating yet informative.

Her argument:
Dressing nicer and more attractively is being a good steward of what God gave you. Not doing so is being ingenuine (is that a word?). But mostly, Marta, you're not going to get a boyfriend if you go out in ratty t-shirts.

My argument:
After being led-on one too many times by guys who make everyone seem like they're the most important thing in the world, I'm a little afraid of being the attractive girl who talks to you but in reality you have a 1% of going out with her. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it does in my head. Really, I would just rather dress normally and not get hit on than risk getting some guy's hopes up.

So mostly my question right now is how can I give God glory in a situation when a guy I'm not interested in is flirting with me? Does it glorify Him to try to be more attractive, attract guys, and then turn them down? I don't get it.

Just as a final point, my position right now about clothing, appearance, etc. is that it should be an outward manifestation of your insides - like art.

This ongoing argument is also linked to my own semi-internal argument about whether I should get dredlocks or not. Is getting dreds some kind of ticket out of getting hit on for appearances sake alone? Or what? No answers yet.

Potter Puppet Pals



Watch these, they're funny. They're puppet shows about Harry Potter from potterpuppetpals.com

The Mysterious Ticking Noise

Wizard Angst

PPP Potions Class

The Greatest Baby Name Ever


See? I have a good relationship with babies. This is Ethan (Hebrew for "constant"), my friend Nancy's (Hebrew for "grace") boy.

Looking up my name in Baby Name Books has always been hard - Marta is usually a sub-name under Mary or Martha. In my sister-in-law's 'The Greatest Baby Name Book Ever' (she and my brother have picked pretty good names for their kids: Natasha, Stella, George) I looked up my name in all of its variations: Mary, Martha, Martina. Here are the meanings:

Mary: Hebrew for "rebellious" or "bitter"
Martha: Aramaic for "lady"
Martina: Latin for "warlike"

Ha ha.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Carrie and getting carried away with ridiculous travel plans



My friend Carrie is delightful and always eggs on the flights of fancy I have when thinking about trips or adventures I want to take. On the Myers-Briggs, we're both ENFPs and are totally more into the idea of things over the practical. Here's a list of trips that I want to take in the next year, along with the varying possibilities of me actually doing them:

- January: Mizzou has a ridiculous 5 weeks off for winter break. Awesome. There's a website my old co-worker showed me called lastminute.com Also, I want to check out cheapoair.com (I heard about it from a girl in one of my classes - I don't know how good it is). I want to go somewhere for a four days really bad. Maybe Montreal will finally work.
- May: My friend Dan is graduating from film school in Los Angeles a week after I graduate from Mizzou. I haven't seen the Grand Canyon since I was 15 months old. Carrie and I will take my car cross-country. Maybe.
June: various family trips and youth group trips (Illinois, Florida, North Carolina)
July: New York City for the first time ever. Sweet.
August: Beijing for the Olympics? If I go to Covenant Seminary, classes start the last Thursday of August, so that'll be cutting it tight. Three weeks in China. Is it enough?

...and after that is prolonging the wonderful student schedule where I get months off for travel. It's a good life.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Screwtape Letters' and fond memories of the past



I started trying to read C.S. Lewis' 'Screwtape Letters' again. It's about my fifth shot at it. I don't know why, but it's always been hard for me to get into. I gave up starting over from the beginning each time. Based on my bookmark from the MU student health center, the last time I picked it up was around Friday March 11 2005. I think the reason it's tough for me to get through is that I've always had a hard time believing in spiritual warfare. It's one of the areas of my faith that has yet to be explored.

I used to get stressed out about those areas - especially at L'Abri, where I felt like I should have some sort of opinion on most spiritual matters. I'm kind of in between on that. It's kind of the same thing with politics. Some issues - like health care or social security - honestly don't affect my life in a real manner and it does not seem energy-effective to put in time finding my point of view on the matters. Is this laziness? Is it patience with myself and where I am in life - to wait until I know more about the matter to make up my mind? This, like most things, might be a balance. I don't know.

Back to 'Screwtape Letters.' One thing that bugs me is when professors at college or high school and middleschoolers' parents freak out about current culture and how everything is worse now. I think that is historically and biblically impossible. Sin has been around forever. God didn't suddenly lose the battle in the 90's. Also - anyone who has ever studied ancient history knows that we have nothing on the Romans. Good grief. So anyways, here's something that Lewis says on the matter (he's talking about nouveau-gluttony):

"The woman is in what may be called the "All-I-want" state of mind. All she wants is a cup of tea properly made, or an egg properly boiled, or a slice of bread properly toasted. But she never finds any servant or any friend who can do these things "properly" - because her "properly" conceals a insatiable demand for the exact, and almost impossible palatal (i love that word) pleasures which she imagines she remembers from the past; a past described by her as "the days when you could get good servants" but known to us as the days when her senses were more easily pleased and when she had pleasures of other kinds which made her less dependent on those of the table."

This totally makes sense. Parents - because of their intense love and preoccupation with thier children - especially have reason to focus more on the trials and travails of their kids and lose sight of the absolute normalcy of their experiences. Professors, I don't know, maybe now that they are past the ages of being constantly freaked about and not knowing what to do with their lives, have more time to complain about the state of the world. I like C.S. Lewis, he's a smart guy.

TV Crush: Zay Harding



I love love love Globe Trekker, a TV show on Travel Channel. They don't have it online and we don't have cable at the house in CoMo, so I have to sit down in my parents' basement and watch hours of it on DVR whenever I am back in STL. There are three main guides: Justine Shapiro, Megan McCormack, and (my favorite ever) Ian Wright. But there's some new (to me) guides and I have a flaming crush on Zay Harding. Just like my nerd crush Jared Cohen, Zay's resume almost makes me gag with the amount of amazingness. My nieces (ages 7 and 5) and I watched Zay travel across the Haute Route of the Alps through Switzerland, France, and Italy yesterday. It was dreamy.

Here's an excerpt from his biography (imagine me swooning):

"Since being snapped up as a host for Globe Trekker, Zay has motorcycled through Vietnam; explored the hidden underground caves of Laos;gone snow-trekking and bungee jumping in Switzerland; kayaked and skied in Austria; tried biking down ski-slopes, sailing, canoeing, rafting, and riding with cowboys in Canada; and retraced the communist Red Trail in Southeast China. He was crowned "Champion of Wrestling" in Buea, Cameroon, where he entered a traditional wrestling match and won - beating the defending champion of ten years!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Books and articles

I got one of my textbooks for Global Perspectives and Realities yesterday, the class that is about how to live abroad. It's awesome. Here's a picture of the cover:



I'm pretty excited about the class.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hulu



I finally got on Hulu, suckers! I'm so excited. It has a lot more shows than Joost or VeohTV and a better picture. Good luck to you all who are waiting for the email.

Wikipedia: Hulu

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Christmas to me

We walked the aisles aimlessly
With our kills painlessly
And we go all the night without love
In the darkened lonely corners
Where we place our drive-thru orders
And we go all the night without love
Without love

'Touch me' the graphic reads
On the magnetic athletic insole
She lets it go all its life without life
And can you imagine going to
“Got milk? dot com'
Do you go all the night without love
Without love

Well I once caused your cells to shimmer
And you once caused my cells to shimmer
Now we go all the night without love
Without love…



I'm seriously considering ordering this for myself for Christmas.

Here, watch the creepy youtube music video to 'All the night without love'

What I'm Cooking, pt. 6: Baby Jesuses

My sister in law, Kara, makes Baby Jesuses for her family. I think that they're amazing. Yes, technically they are mini pigs-in-blankets. But for me and mine they are Jesus in swaddling. It's magical. They're my favorite thing to make and bring to events when I have to make and bring something.

Recipe:
croissants + lil smokies

Wonderful. I recommend them with Ranch. No religious symbolism there.

Self Congratulation, Here I come

This semester honestly wasn't that hard, in the grand scheme of my education up to this point. However, being done, I want to give my self a little pat on the back. Here is a photo of the books that I've had to read and be responsible for (papers/tests) this semester:



Just the middle shelf. It seems a lot bigger in person, I promise.

And here's my to do list for school for the last couple weeks:



Woo. Good job, Marta. Thanks.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Favorite quote last night:

"True love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other." - Ranier Maria Rilke

Honestly how the election will probably be won.



Finally politicians are lowering themselves to actually marketing to the illusive non-voting 18-24 demographic. I don't know whether to be disgusted or to shrug my shoulders at the inevitable. It is kind of funny though. I'm still going with Obama.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wall-to-Wall



Claire finds amazing things on the internet and shares them with me. I think she finds them through stumbleupon - which I've never really gotten the hang of (Claire and Cassie are huge fans through Mr. Drochelman). She posts them on my facebook wall and I enjoy them. Now so can you:

From her: WebUrbanist - kind of like coolhunter, talking about the things I like - like public art (website).

From her: 12-year-old AOLer Translater - very funny (website).

From me: Tanzania in the news - the birthrate is going up (article).

From her: St. Louis Hipster magazine (website). This is kind of sad. St. Louis is trying hard, but they didn't know that hipster is kind of a negative term and no one wants to be called one, much less be caught reading a magazine called it.

From me: Cooties public service announcement (video)

From me: Patrick Dempsey is hot (gallery)

From me: Diablo Cody - blogger and screenwriter for the movie 'Juno' (which I'm really excited about). She's quite sassy and funny and offensive.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007



'Steep' trailer

babies



Jessica Alba's pregnant and J. Lo's having twins. I think this brings the total of Hollywood babies up into the triple digits. What an odd baby boom. What I am most worried about is when these genetically-blessed progeny start turning 16 and 18 and start their own careers. It might be the end of Hollywood as we know it. They will form the brat pack of the millennium.

Food for Thought




A Fine Romance by David Denby (The New Yorker) - about the dolt-dude and perfect female romantic comedies

Journey Into Night by David Sedaris (The New Yorker)

J/K!



When I misread the headline for this article I took such a deep gasp of (I thought) joy that Nina asked if I lost my paper or if something else disastrous happened (actually, ironically, I did lose a paragraph about a half hour later when my laptop decided to restart randomly). But no, it was initially a gasp of joy. I thought the headline read ' JK Rowling reveals Beedle stories: JK Rowling has premiered a collection of fairy tales which she first mentioned in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows at a reading in London.' Well, I guess that is what the headline read, I guess I just wildly misinterpreted it to mean that there will be MORE books from Rowling. I still firmly believe that there will be (why send a cash cow out to pasture?) but I guess not right now.

She did write seven copies of 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard', one of which will be auctioned for charity, and the other six distributed to some lucky folks close to Rowling (sounds a bit like Charlie and the golden ticket, doesn't it? - somehow a copy will get copied onto the internet or fake copies sold on the black market for fantasy books, etc.).

Well, I'm still waiting.

Miami's on the scene, in case you didn't know it



Art Basel Miami

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Straight-On

I think in heaven
There will be no noses
So that the
Freckles in our
Eyes are mirror
Images
And when we
Kiss they’re
Perfectly aligned.

paper, paper, everywhere



If you have any interest in the direction the church is going, check out this article that I had to read for my sociology class. It's fascinating. The Soul of the New Exurb - New York Times Magazine. I'm using it for my large paper that is due today at 5pm on campus ministries at Mizzou and cultural consumerism. It's been super-helpful.

Something to look up later: e-paper by Siemens

What the...

I don't know why on earth I care about what Oprah's favorite things are, but this is one of them. I just wanted to point out that this is the ugliest outfit I've seen all year, and I thought I'd share it with you:

Monday, December 10, 2007

José Gonzáles



SETI, etc.



My brother Cris told me about a program called SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) that comes out of Berkeley. It's a program that goes onto your computer and uses your idle time (when a screensaver normally pops up) on your computer to search for UFOs. Yeah. It works off of a program that you download called BOINC, which has links to multiple other programs like SETI, some are searching for more prime numbers, some are looking for patterns in the spread of Malaria, some are working on predicting the effects of global warming, some are doing something with proteins that I didn't understand, but all need your computer to help.

Well, I downloaded it. I got SETI and 'Predictor at Home' which had something to do with DNA that sounded worthwhile. There are about 15 options to choose from. No one can say that I'm not doing my part.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Harry and the Potters



They rock. They're from Boston. Here's their myspace page. One of their albums is called Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock. Song titles include:
  1. "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock!"
  2. "The Weasle"
  3. "The Missing Arm of Viktor Krum"
  4. "Fred and George"
  5. "Keeping Secrets From Me"
  6. "Cornelius Fudge is an Ass"
  7. "Dumbledore's Army"
  8. "These Dreams Are Dark"
  9. "Stick it to Dolores"
  10. "S.P.E.W."
  11. "The Human Hosepipe"
  12. "Luna Lovegood is OK"
  13. "The Godfather: Part II"
  14. "The Weapon"
and...
"This book is so awesome"
"Save Ginny Weasley" (about when Ginny almost gets eaten by Tom Riddle's diary - what book was that?)
"The Human Hosepipe" (about Harry's date with Cho Chang)

My So-Called Quarterlife Crisis



My parents used to watch the show 'My So-Called Life.' They wouldn't let me watch it because I was too young. My parents have always picked the most random shows as 'their' shows. From what I can remember, they have been: ER (until after George Clooney left, my mom had a crush), Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, and 24. Of course, 'My So-Called Life' being outside the boundaries of what they would let me watch, it has always held an appeal for me.

Well, now they have it on ABC.com (here). The first two episodes, anyways. It is a good show. The writing is fantastic, and Claire Danes rocks my face. They talk about amazing things. I wish I could have been friends with her in high school or be a youth leader and work with her now. She's brilliant.

Looking around Slate.com today, a video started playing that talked about the new online-only mini-drama called 'Quarterlife Crisis'. Apparently it's from the creators of 'My So-Called Life.' The quarterlife crisis is an interesting idea in of itself. People freaking out at age 25 (or younger, I guess, it's right after you stop school, so 22? or 18?) about all the choices ahead and how they are going to get a house that looks like their parents'. My favorite book on choice in today's global society is The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz which talks about how as humans we can't deal with infinite choice. We need boundaries on our possibilities. It's great, skim it.

But don't look up the webisodal 'Quarterlife Crisis.' It looks like it sucks. But do look up this Current video on the crisis, it's interesting: 'The Quarterlife Crisis'

The Next Step



Two of my friends are in very different places. The scary and helpful thing about having friends who are all a year older is that when I look at their lives, I look at the coming attractions in my own.

One just bought relatively nice (versus Walmart's) flatware. In response to my remarks, she said something like 'yeah well, I'm not getting married any time soon so I thought I might as well get stuff that I actually like.'

And my other friend is listening to "I can't help falling in love with you," or whatever it's called, sung by Michael Buble. She's been doing this for the last couple months ever since her boyfriend's been gone on a semester abroad.

I see myself going more and more towards door number one. I'm already looking at Consumer Reports, looking into buying a good vacuum that I don't loathe (vacuuming is my #1 most hated chore), and am excited about getting nice measuring cups/spoons and carving out a life for myself where I'm relatively self-sustaining (materially - as in, I'm not looking to someone to lend me an iron the one time a year I iron something).

A neighbor I grew up up with got engaged this past week. We're the same grade in school and went to middle school and high school together. We're very similar in background and everything else. It's a little strange, but not in an unpleasant way.

I saw my old roommate from freshman year randomly today while she was clearing ice off of her car in the lot behind my apartment. Apparently she's has been dating my neighbor that we share the lot with for the past month or so and I had no idea. She's had about 5 or 6 pretty serious relationships in college so far. The conversation falls flat when she asks about who I've been dating. There's just not much going on. And that's okay.

I feel kind of numb towards it all, like I'm exempt from dating. Of course, this comes and goes. But overall, I don't know if I'd know what to do with a boyfriend if I had one. I guess that's nice for right now. But I'm still looking for a good vacuum.

Color Me Excited


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Marta's Guide to Herself


(from Sasha Frere-Jones)

I have a working word document on my computer called "Marta's Guide to Herself" and in it I have a list of things that I've learned about my emotions, my skin type, what kind of beer I like, etc.

All things were at one time breakthroughs, but by the time a year has passed and the information is useful again, I forget it.

Here are recent additions:

Remember that when the world looks awful and everything seems to have no beauty at all, look at art. Go to a museum. Look at glass sculptures. Read poetry. Look to God.

You like pilsener beer, you do not like porter.

Friday, December 7, 2007



these are the creepiest snowpeople i've ever seen.

Ramen at Walmart



What could get more depressing than having to eat Walmart brand ramen? The real Manchu Wok ramen was sitting next to this, priced 14 cents.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fragmentary Fragments - Fraggle Rock



Oven Baked Sweet Potato & Chicken Risotto recipe
In an effort to use up all my perishable food before 5-week long xmas break.

Freaks and Geeks - I've never seen it, I've heard it's amazing (see the trend of watching things just because there's a lot of pop culture references to it?). Holding a watch party this Wednesday. If you're in town, come on over. Awesome's swiping us all in at the dining hall (hahaha...)

I think I'm going to New York City (for the first time) this July 20-27 with the same group (Mission to the World) that I went to Malaysia with.

I'm really into TV and movies lately. I got a free episode of Aliens in America from iTunes and have been watching Pushing Daisies online at ABC.com. Both of them are delightful and wonderful, especially while I am waiting for the Office to come back on. Next show to check out: Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Still on corn trash bags (BioBags), and am considering them for Christmas gifts - expect a box of them in your stocking.

Nerd Crush: Jared Cohen



In the Talk of the Town in the Nov. 5 New Yorker, there was an article on Jared Cohen. I fell in love. The guy has done more before 26 than I will do in my lifetime.

"Jared Cohen, who was born in 1981, joined the State Department's Policy Planning Staff as its youngest member. Having completed a degree at Stanford, won a Rhodes Scholarship, and earned a master's in international relations at Oxford, Cohen helps advise the State Department on 'counter-radicalization,' youth, and education, with a special emphasis on the Muslim world. Last week, Penguin published Cohen's book - his second - 'Children of Jihad: A Young America's Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East.'"

That's hot.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Boogie Nights

I saw Boogie Nights last night because I had heard a lot about it, and I feel like there's a lot of pop culture references to it, and I heard it was pretty good. Everyone is in this movie. Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heather Graham, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly. Well, what I didn't know was that it is about a kid trying to break into the porn industry. The movie made me cringe and hate myself afterwards like Requiem for a Dream did. It's just a hard, gross picture of the dregs of humanity. It was hard to watch.

Towards the end of the movie (which took forever - it's 2.5 hours long), each of the characters' worlds started imploding. Mark Wahlberg gets involved in a drug deal that goes wrong and then gets the crap kicked out of him by some dudes in a parking lot. Don Cheadle in denied for a loan and is involved in a convenience store robbery. Heather Graham and Burt Reynolds try to mix reality and porn and kick the crap out of a random guy. Julianne Moore was denied custody of her son because of her involvement in the porn industry. Another guy goes to jail for porn.

I couldn't figure out if the ending was commentary on society not accepting pornographers and our own sexuality (some kind of puritanical backlash like what happened in Brokeback Mountain) or if it was a judgment on the pornographers for their sin and disgusting behavior (kind of like how horror movies kill off the "sinners" first).

Who knows, but it all got me thinking about purity. What is it? Why does God desire it for us? I think the answer is pretty clear of why it is desirable just by its contrast with the movie, but I want to think about it more. Should I not watch things that have a lot of pop culture references and that I hear are good because I know they're disgusting? This, of course, varies from person to person. But what exactly does purity mean?

Montreal



the problem with living in cool places is that you have to leave home.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

In the Spirit of Guinness...

Here's the facts behind two arguments I've had in the last week:

Youngest mother (at the Kelly's house over Chicken Pot Pie)? A 5-year-old Peruvian girl. Snopes says it's true, and I believe them. Ew.

Does cold water boil faster (with Cassie in our kitchen)? Nope, but they do take approximately the same time. An article on it (here).