Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Cookie Experiment

So, to make up for my silly “Hunger Games” blog post I am posting this video of Ben that I’ve been meaning to post for two months.  It is a very long video and I had to post it in 2 parts.  I didn’t cut it down because it’s kind of an experience but I definitely won’t be offended if people don’t watch it in its entirety.

Basically, I don’t remember why, but I was thinking about the experiments that sociologists and psychologists have done about delayed reward with kids.  President Uchtdorf, a leader in the LDS church, gave a talk mentioning it, so I looked into it.  Basically, they put small kids (most of the studies had kids between 4 and 5) in a room with some treat (a cookie, marshmallows) and told them not to eat it until they came back.  If the kids did not eat it, they were given twice as much of the treat.  They followed the kids in the study and found that the children who had waited tended to be more successful, better test scores, etc. . . Anyway, it sparked my curiosity.  Does Ben understand delayed reward well enough to resist a treat right in front of him?  I decided to put it to the test.

I put Ben at the kitchen table with a cookie and told him that if he didn’t eat it until I was done putting Penny to bed that he would get two cookies.  My little experiment differed from the studies in a couple of important ways, but I wasn’t looking to prove anything other than Ben’s understanding of a principle so I wasn’t too meticulous about following experimental protocol.  First, Ben was kind of stuck in his seat with the cookie right in front of him.  It is my understanding that the kids in the study could roam the room.  Also, I am his mom and he probably trusts me more than he would trust a stranger.  I was in ear shot of him as well and responded to him a couple of times when he called for me.  I even came back into the kitchen for a bit.  So for those of you scientists out there, I know that my little case study doesn’t prove anything in relationship to the other studies.

Still, it did make for a pretty cute video.  I set up our camera to capture the whole thing.  It’s a hoot watching him try to resist a delicious cookie for 15 whole minutes.

The first 9 minutes of my experiment with Ben
The second half of Ben’s cookie experiment

So there you have it, Ben didn’t eat the cookie and got the two cookies.  Way to go little dude!

Call me Crazy

No, really, it’s OK.  I'm crazy and I’ve come to terms with that.

Disclaimer:  This post has nothing to do with my cute kids and is my very silly musings on Hunger Games related material while I wait for a cute, but long video of Ben to upload.  Also, there will be shirtless pictures of hunky Hollywood guys, so if that offends you, turn back now.

So, I recently re-read/skimmed the first two books in the Hunger Games series.  I know, it’s silly to re-read books when there are so many good books out there that I haven’t ever read.  Even the second time through, the first book is a very fast read.  I knew everything that was going to happen, but it was still a page-turner.   Anyway, I know they are making movies of the series (or at least the first two books as the first one is already in production and they announced a release date for the second).  When they were casting Hunger Games,  I didn’t have that much of an opinion, which is actually surprising.  I don’t know what it is about how Suzanne Collins writes her books, but that world and its characters are the most vivid in my mind of pretty much any book I’ve ever read.  Usually, when I read a book, I don’t put very real faces with the characters, I identify them more by their personalities.  But I had vivid pictures of these characters in my head.  Unlike a lot of people, I don’t really put faces that I already know with them, I just built them in my head. 

In spite of this, I didn’t have any real ideas of actors who would play them when they started casting.  I thought it was much more important for them to get solid actors as they will have to portray some pretty heavy stuff.  I do have to say I was a bit surprised by who they cast as the main trio, but at least Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson have proven they can act and Liam Hemsworth was at least tall and doesn’t have as much to do.  The only person I kind of cast in my head was Cillian Murphy as Cinna, so I was really surprised when they cast Lenny Kravitz.  Crazy.  Anyway, I’m sure I’ll see the movie when it comes out, but I’m not counting down to it like Harry Potter or anything.

Still, when I read the second book, I realized there are a lot of important characters that aren’t introduced until this book that will need to be cast as well.  The one that I was most interested in thinking about is Finnick Odair, who is probably my favorite character in the books.  He is described physically as: “Tall, athletic, with golden skin and bronze-colored hair and those incredible [sea green] eyes”.  He comes off as a shallow, promiscuous hottie, but turns out to be a lot more than that.  It’s difficult casting as even Katniss admits that “I can’t argue that Finnick isn’t one of the most stunning, sensuous people on the planet”.  But this guy also has some depth and plays an important role, so they can’t just find a model.  Also, he is supposed to be 24-25 years old.

I am only mildly ashamed to admit that one of the first people I thought of was Zac Efron.  He’s definitely pretty enough and has the body for it and I think he is a better actor than he gets credit for.  Still he’s only 5’10”.  I’ve realized that 90% of the guys in Hollywood could not be described as tall.  I think that I have a different definition of ‘tall’ than most people since I grew up in a family where all of the men are over 6’3”.  Still, I think it’s safe to say that someone who is given a key physical description of being tall should be at least 6’ tall.  I don’t think Zac Efron should be eliminated outright, but I’d like to see someone taller.  Anyway, after some careful (read, the first people that popped into my head) thought, here are my top four, from least to most favorite:  **Be forewarned, it is important that Finnick has an athletic build, so there will likely be some shirtless pictures**

4.  Armie Hammer – Social Network  (and yes, his real name is Armand Hammer and he is, in fact, the heir to the Arm and Hammer fortune):

I put this guy lowest because while I think he’s attractive, I don’t think he’s super pretty, and I’m not convinced of his acting abilities.  While I’m sure he can evince the cocky guy, I’m not so sure about the more vulnerable moments.  On the other hand, I actually liked him (in double) in “The Social Network”.  Also, at 6’5”, he is by far the tallest of my choices.  Also, even though he will only be 25 this month, for some reason he looks older than that to me.  Nitpicking.

3. Chord Overstreet – Glee.  He gets 2 pictures because this one is too perfect/funny:


Right?  Definitely can pull of bronzed and blonde.  Also, he can be lean instead of hulking muscles, which I didn’t picture on Finnick.  He’s 6’ tall and adorable.  I have to put in another picture to show the cockiness we need since he looks so unsure in the Glee pic:

Chord overstreet shirtless

Chord is definitely hot and built enough, and I think he’s a pretty decent actor.  But, he didn’t get to show much range on Glee (I know, scoff now. Range? On Glee?  Unlikely).  I think he considers himself more of a musician than an actor, but I could see it working.  He’s actually currently a little young for the job at 22, which could be problematic since he’s the same age as Jennifer Lawrence but should be several years older than her.  Not insurmountable though.

2.  Zac Efron

zac efron -shirtless

I’m sorry guys, but this is almost exactly how I pictured Finnick.  Zefron definitely has that dreamy quality.  Also, he is lean enough to pull off a swimmer’s bod without just being huge, and he has already played a sailor (Finnick is from the seafaring district). Again, he’s too short for my fancy, but I would still be pleased if he was cast.  I don’t see it happening because he hasn’t quite eluded his High School Musical rep and people won’t want to see Troy Bolton as Fnnick.  Maybe by the time this movie releases and his next few movies have released, but not likely.

1.  Taylor Kitsch – Friday Night Lights

Once I thought of this, nobody else fit.  He’s a very good actor.  Riggins on “Friday Night Lights” was a fan favorite for his subtle layers that Taylor showed off very well.  He can be very cocky and self-assured while still seeming somehow vulnerable.  The guy just oozes a painful past.  He’s 6’ tall.  He’s actually older than the other people I listed at 30, but that doesn’t seem like a big problem since he was playing a high schooler a couple of years ago.  He would have to dye his hair blonde and possibly wear contacts, but really, how many people have sea green eyes?

There you have it, my pointless musings (as if anyone cares who I think should be cast)on a pointless subject.  I have to feed the kids now, but that video is almost finished loading, so hopefully I can post it while Penny takes her nap.  It’s pretty hilarious.