Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dream


Oh my life is changing everyday
Every possible way
Though my dreams, it's never quite as it seems
Never quite as it seems

I know I felt like this before
But now I'm feeling it even more
Because it came from you

Then I open up and see
The person fumbling here is me
A different way to be

I want more, impossible to ignore
Impossible to ignore
They'll come true, impossible not to do
Impossible not to do

Now I tell you openly
You have my heart so don't hurt me
For what I couldn't find

Talk to me amazing mind
So understanding and so kind
You're everything to me

Oh my life is changing everyday
Every possible way
Though my dreams, it's never quite as it seems
'cause you're a dream to me
Dream to me
-"Dreams" Cranberries

I heard this song on the radio a few times in the past couple days. I love the Cranberries. They're part of my childhood and I think they're lyrics are clever (though these are a little more generic).
Tomorrow after work Adrien, Eric, Ian, and I leave for Flaming Gorge! Should be fun, I'll take lots of pictures.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ten Tens

Yay! This is my 100th post on the blog. I spent like a week trying to decide what to write about for the 100th post and couldn't think of anything particularly amazing or anything really having to do with 100, so I decided that I would make a list of ten things I'd give a ten (stars, thumbs up, happy faces, elephants, whatever) because ten times ten is one hundred. That much I know. So! The list (in no particular order...just the order I thought of them):

1. Keane
As pretty much the world knows by now, Keane is my favorite band. But it's more than just the fact that I like their music, because I listen to other bands more often (for instance, I can listen to Coldplay for a few hours at a time but I have to limit my Keane time; and Fleetwood Mac has the most plays on my computer), but more for these reasons:
1. They're breaking new ground. Sort of. You might remember my post about the 3D broadcast made from Abbey Road. Keane was the first band to do that. They were also the first band to put out a single on a USB stick. But more importantly...
2. They're a success story. Particularly the lead singer Tom Chaplin. For Chaplin particularly there was a lot of struggle in dealing with the stressors of fame and producing good music, etc. After the first album, the band went directly into producing the second. Chaplin developed a drug and drinking problem somewhere during that time and started missing interviews, etc. He finally quit the Tour in Japan and checked himself into a clinic. Several months later, Chaplin was back on his feet with not only a cleaner, healthier body but also a cleaner look. The band took him back because he was their friend and he had talent (not to mention they're helping him stay clean-- the tour bus is a designated sober area). After a hiatus, the band took on a bit of a new sound but didn't change the Keane-ness of it too much. In fact, all three albums have a bit of a different sound. This can be attributed to the incredible talent of the songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley (and of course the other band members), who's also responsible for the great lyrics-- some of which are based on literature, which I think is outstanding.
Overall I'm just very pleased with the fact that the band could stick together through their difficult times and still produce great music that doesn't repeat what they've done already.

2. Harry Potter
There are so many reasons to love Harry Potter. First of all, the fact that it has gotten children reading again is wonderful. The world is becoming iliterate and when an incredible story comes along that anyone can get into and causes nine-year-olds to read 700 page books is just amazing. Way to go Ms Rowling! Anyway, another reason I love Harry Potter is because of the incredible and complex story of good triumphing over evil. I love to read about all the intricacies of the magic and the conquering of Voldemort and just how everything fits together and nothing is by accident.
I love the movies too for many reasons. I think that cinema is a great art form and that when a good story is taken to film and made different (hopefully better...the only time it hasn't been was with the first two films) and make something that one could only imagine into a reality-- that is what I love. And the fact that so many different kinds of people will line up 5 hours in advance for the midnight showing of a Harry Potter film-- it brings people together.

3. The Earth
Look around outside. Look up/over/down. That's the world! Maybe if you live in the city it's a little more difficult to realize the earth is there, but it is. Drive a few minutes out of the bustle and you'll discover that. When I lived in Long Beach it was sometimes difficult to realize this because no matter where you went there was city, but the drives home to Fallbrook and back again or the trips to the beach were something I always looked forward to. The ocean was always a different color, the trees were always towering. My favorite part was just after the 5 freeway (going south) opens up into San Juan Capistrano and you can see the ocean and the sun setting over it, reflecting onto the cliffs. Even better was the stretch through Camp Pendleton, especially after fire season when the rains come and the flowers bloom like an explosion in the hills. I'm so grateful to have grown up in Fallbrook, where it was beautiful pretty much every day. I can't remember ever thinking Fallbrook was ugly (though it had other drawbacks I won't mention). I'm also grateful to have been raised literally in the middle of a jungle. And living here in Provo now-- I used to think it was ugly, but the mountains constantly towering overhead don't make me feel caged in so much anymore. Now they appear to me as ladders to beautiful, quiet places. Climb them and you can escape the hectic world below. Venture a bit into the forest or the hills and you'll see things you never knew could be natural-- like the crater in Midway or pretty much anything in Yellowstone. The world is beautiful and I love it for that.

4. Photographs of things maybe not considered art
This is a little weirder of a topic. So you all know I love photography. But something that really interests me is photographs that "change the world" as they have sometimes been dubbed. They usually depict things that people might be uncomfortable seeing (such as the Buddhist monk that lit himself on fire in protest or the face of the murdered Emmet Till) or moments in time that no one might have thought to capture otherwise (like the deaf boy who heard for the first time...his face is priceless). Anyway, so this kind of photography is, to me, very important because it opens the eyes of those less aware to things that happen in the world around them.
Here's a sample.

5. Universities
Places of learning where you can learn about pretty much anything without too much restriction-- what's not to love? And the fact that higher education is available to literally everyone with a bit of persistance and financial aid makes me very happy-- although I'm in awe so few Americans take advantage of this. I just wish I could graduate from one already, although I'm very grateful that they make me want to strive to be a better, more rounded person and open my eyes to other people of all kinds/histories/etc/whatever.

6. Ancient Cultures
A couple of weeks ago Ian asked me what the reason for studying ancient cultures might be. He had a sort of "they died out so why do they matter" type of additude, but it got me thinking-- why do they matter? The reason goes far beyond the fact that without learning about the past we "are doomed to repeat it" or however the saying goes. Learning about other cultures, especially ancient ones, opens your eyes to your own culture. Also, it's just sad when something exists and then is merely gone. Bring it back up and you learn so much about your past and someone else's past. I can't quite explain precisely what I mean to say, but all I know is that I feel that learning about the ancient past is both very interesting and very important.

7. My Family
Since my family is the only one who ever reads this blog, I won't gloat too much, but I'd like to say that they have been a very important support to me in difficult times, as well as where I've learned most of what I've learned (in all areas) or where I've gained inspiration to learn about something I couldn't learn from my family. They are my best friends and my favorite people to be around. My life centers around (extended and immediate) family gatherings and I try to never miss a one because I know I might be out of the loop on the inside jokes by the next one.

8. The 5 Senses

If I had to pick one of the five senses to get rid of, I'd have a very difficult time deciding. To me, each and every one is an important way to experience everything good (and bad...to avoid it next time around) about the world. Without hearing I couldn't listen to music or hear peoples' voices. Without sight I couldn't see all the natural beauty or watch movies or anything. Touch...what a stimulus, what a way to associate things with feelings or whatever it may be. Smell-- well...smell perhaps I could do without because so many things smell bad nowadays, but I've discovered that most of my memories are associated with smell (and vice versa). When I smell something it makes me think of a memory. There was a tree in high school that I passed in the Ag Department that smelled bad but made me think of cut fuyu persimmons and an old wet washcloth in the kitchen. Both these associations made me think of dinner in the evenings-- wiping off the table and then having fuyus at dinner. And taste-- well you couldn't taste anything without taste, obviously. Food is important to me not because I want to eat (because I've never felt that way) but because of the taste and how when it tastes good it makes you feel amazing. Does all this make sense?

9. George Lucas & Star Wars
I'm not talking so much about why Star Wars itself is a fantastic story, but more about the impact George Lucas and the first Star Wars had on the film industry. George Lucas not only created one of the best examples of the story of a heroes journey (as I mentioned, it's a great story) but he also paved the way for modern cinema. He invented new ways of doing sound (THX), special effects (Industrial Light and Magic), animation (Pixar), and digital editing. His programs and companies are still used today by several filmmakers today (there is a short on this in the special features of the ep.4-6 DVD set thing). And the fact that he came up with all this stuff in the 70s still amazes me. He was a visionary in the film industry and cared about making films real while everyone else was stuck in a rut. I'd also like to throw out there that American Graffiti is a good, fun film.

10. Sleep
I love to sleep when I can get it. Sleep is so relaxing. I also love my dreams. They're sometimes totally random and sometimes help me sort out feelings/problems/whatever. Did you know that without sleep your body would fall apart and without dreams you would go crazy? It's true. I'm keeping a dream journal right now. Sometimes I don't remember writing down a dream and then go back and read it and it's really hilarious. Here's one from the other night, word for word as I wrote it: "I was back home at Mom & Dad's and Brandon was upstairs in the computer room upstairs and I gave my phone to Sylvester and he sat at the kitchen table and sent Brandon like 15 text messages and Brandon yelled down and said it was getting annoying and that if I had something to say I should just tell him and I told him it was the cat then he thought it was cool." I think that's hilarious.

Well, there's my Ten things I give a Ten. I'll probably think of other ones I should have mentioned later on but I'll spare you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

War Is...

I found this picture my Junior year of High School when I wrote an article for my AP history about the war in Vietnam. I re-found it a little bit ago and thought I'd share it with you.
So, why? I just really like it. It's a well-composed photograph first of all. And the message is a strong one too (why is he smiling?). I've thankfully never experienced war first-hand, but from everything I've learned about it, it just seems like there should be a lot better way to deal with conflict in the world. But as long as the world is the world, I guess it's inevitable. You won't find me driving around with a "Make Love Not War" bumper sticker because I'm too embarrassed, but that's generally how I feel. I know most of you that read this are a little more conservative than I am, but I hope if you ever hear someone saying something narrow-minded about another country we might currently or previously have been in conflict with that you will not blindly agree.
Ok, here's a song to make this post a little more random:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Zion

From Thursday until just a couple of hours ago I was on a really fun ward trip to Zion National Park in southern Utah. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet some new friends.
Friday morning we woke up shortly before 6am to get started on an 8-mile hike up to Observation Point in Zion Park. It was over 100 degrees and incredibly steep and hot and grueling. The hike down was obviously easier, but still very steep and difficult. We passed through a slot canyon though, which was beautiful and interesting compared to the boring dusty/rocky/sunny/steeper parts of the trail. After the hike we played in a really awesome secluded swimming hole in the park with a natural waterslide and a little waterfall. After I stopped thinking about the face-eating bacteria in lakes Dad keeps telling me about (which took only a few minutes after I told myself that if I got face-eating bacteria, so would the rest of the ward), then I had a good time swimming around. That night we had dinner at a park nearby the houses we were staying at (the daughter of our bishop and their friends) and watched the Sandlot projected onto a trailer in a neighbor's backyard. This morning we had a delish (and late! thank goodness) breakfast (okay wow, did I really just write "delish"? Because I totally thought I'd written "delicious"...) and then some went to the temple in St George and some of us went to St George to watch "Up" and eat at In n Out. Which is obviously what I did. We didn't get the memo early enough.

There are many more pictures in my "Summer" album on Facebook. And enjoy this video of Observation Point:
video

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yum

I love cupcakes. Especially lately-- don't know why! Anyway, I've been seeing so many delicious-looking cupcake recipes around and about that I don't even know what to do with myself. How about...a cupcake exchange? By the by, the samoa cupcakes look totally delicious (...p.s. I found that through Lindsay's blog).
Here are some ideas for "different" kinds of cupcakes (aside from the samoa cupcake):
Ice Cream Cupcakes
Devil's Food Chocolate Cupcakes with Flour Frosting
Fleur de Sel Cupcakes
Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze
Black Bottom Cupcakes
Pink Lady Cake (make into cupcakes)
So yeah, if anybody's interested in having a cupcake exchange/party, let me know because I'm totally in!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chthonic Deities

Today in my mythology class we were talking about Hades' snatching of Persephone (that's what the word "rape" literally means, especially in this case) and all that, then started talking a bit about Apollo and his origins and how he killed the giant snakey dragon at Delphi (aka Pythos...because Pythos means "to rot," which is what the dragon snake did after Apollo killed her-- and I think where we get the word Python? A corruption of the origin?). Anyway, a few of the gods/goddesses in the Greek pantheon were older, pre-Hellenic gods worshiped by the people that lived in Greece before the Dorians and whoever else came down from the slavic areas and brought their sky gods. These pre-Hellenic gods were earth gods/goddesses, or chthonic deities, like Hades being the god of the underworld and stuff. The word chthonic has to do with coming from the earth and going back into it (life, death, rebirth, etc). Things associated with chthonic worship were the color black (because it's dark under ground-- the sacrifices to chthonic deities were a little different in that they sacrificed black sheep/goats/whatever and that they didn't burn them to let the smoke rise to the sky, but let the blood dribble down into the ground) and snakes. Why snakes? There are two reasons. First of all, it's because they slide along the ground and thus have a very close relationship with it. Secondly, it's because they symbolize the life cycle with birth, death, and rebirth whenever they shed their skin. Anyway, so if you see a snake in mythological art, it's representing fertility or life and probably not something sinister. Unless it's the snakey dragon thing I mentioned earlier.
See the snake wrapped around the chest of Hades' dog? A chthonic symbol.

Remember this lady? She's a fertility goddess. And look what she's holding! Snakes. There's also a cat on her head, but I don't think anybody knows why that's there.

This is actually a statue of Asklepios, Apollo's son, who is the god of medicine, and where we get our modern symbol of the snake on the staff...actually you could also see that as the Moses/Israel story...but it's also called a caduceus, which is what the winged staff Hermes carried around was called (but had no snake), so I guess some people got really confused somewhere and combined like 3 different stories. Anyway, the point of the pictures is to show you a snake in Greek art. The end.

But the point of me telling you all this is that my teacher, because this class is at a church school, compared (as he usually does-- and let me tell you it's a little weird to hear "Brother Hephaistos" and "Sister Aphrodite") what we were talking about to Christianity. Do you all remember the story in the Old Testament of the Israelites in the wilderness being attacked by the poisonous snakes?
Look and live-- a chthonic symbol?

And Moses but a brass serpent up on a staff and all the bitten Israelites had to do was look at it and they would be cured? And how that snake represented Christ? And you were always told that the reason it represented Christ was because if you look to Christ in no matter the situation you can be saved? Well, that's all true, but could it also be that Christ is also a chthonic deity? A chthonic deity portrayed as a snake. Because Christ was born, died, and was "reborn" (resurrected), he fits the motif. And remember how Satan came to Eve as a snake in the Garden of Eden? Well it's because he was posing as Christ. It's not because snakes are evil. Or something.
Anyway, obviously none of this is doctrine, and I hope I haven't muddled what I was trying to say or rocked anyone's religious boat, but it is all very interesting, don't you think?
In other news, I'm planning on making this recipe this weekend and I'm pretty excited for it.
Also, this song is pretty, so you should listen to it:

Claustrophobe - Katie Todd

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stewart Falls!

For Enrichment last night, ten of us went on a hike to Stewart Falls up Provo Canyon. It's on the backside of Timpanogos. It took probably an hour to hike to the falls, 20-30 minutes to mess around, and a little less than an hour to hike back. It was a pretty easy hike too, mostly flat with steeper parts at the beginning and end. But the views were beautiful and I loved being in nature. Here are some pictures.
This was our group (minus the one taking the picture) serious outdoorspeople, all of them:
Me at the cliff at the end of the trail (interestingly I got 3 bars of service up there and was able to call Ian and tell him I'd be late to dinner):
View from the Falls:
On the trail:
Still on the trail:
Here's a video of the Falls and the view:

video
Oh, do you remember this picture of Adrien from (I think) February?
Well, here's that same signpost yesterday (with my backpack for scale):