Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cheating

Lately, with the half-melted snow lingering in the mountains and movies like True Grit and Ondine on my list of recently-watched, I've been dreaming about getting out of the "city" and into quieter places. I drove out to the lake a couple of days ago and spent a while feeding, petting, and nuzzling the horses down there, and it was quiet and cold and wonderful. It goes along with the post I made over on blog #3 today. In fact, I think I'll repost it here, just 'cos. And because I don't have the wherewithal to write a new post for you. Sorry!

About a month ago I purchased these boots from Walmart for about $20:

I love them. I wear them all the time (literally). The only thing wrong with them is that I had to buy them a size down because they were all out of 7s. Since rubber boots usually run a little big (because they don’t stretch), I thought it’d be okay, but they’ve been pretty tight at times lately, making my poor toes uncomfortable :(

In any case, the reason I bought them is not because they’re practical, nope, that had almost nothing to do with it. My excuse was that I could wear them with my Harry Potter premiere outfit in November (surprise! I love Harry Potter), but that’s not the real reason. For me, these boots embody a world of dream and childlike attitude. That sounds totally ridiculous, but it’s true.

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is of walking alone through the rain and mud on our then-unpaved road to meet my sisters at their piano lessons in my yellow plastic raincoat and black galoshes. I think I was about five years old. I remember stomping in the mud puddles and thoroughly enjoying the rain, since we hardly got any in Southern California.

I also always had a dream of being a veterinarian when I grew up. When I was in junior high, I first read the books by James Herriot.

James in his Wellington boots...and with a lamb

I loved reading about how he would pull on his Wellies and go to work with the animals. I love James Herriot, I even made it a point to make sure we went to Thirsk (aka Darrowby) on our trip to England this year.

Later, in High School, I was in Ag, or FFA, or whatever you want to call it. Though my animal projects never worked out (just fyi, rabbits need air conditioning or they will die– not my fault though), I had friends who raised steer, goats, and pigs, and they all had rubber boots. I spent plenty of time in the barn and stables–but without the boots– though the whole time I was in there cleaning and caring for the animals I sure wished I had a pair.

In any case, galoshes mean more to me than just keeping my feet dry, they contain all the memories I love and dreams I haven’t fulfilled. Call me crazy, but there it is. So now I’m wondering, is there anything you’ve purchased for reasons you might’ve been a little embarrassed by (like me…don’t tell!) or for reasons with “deeper meaning” if you will? I hope I’m making sense… Anyway, share in the comments!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MacFarlane

This morning for some reason I decided to look up my family's tartan/plaid/whatever they call it. I'm only a little bit Scottish, on my mom's dad's side, but it's in there. Anyway, so the Scottish last name I come from is "Sproul" (spelling?), which came from "Spruel," which is a subset or whatever of the MacFarlane Clan. So I looked up the MacFarlanes, and this is what I learned about them:

"The progenitor of the Macfarlanes is generally considered to be Alwyn, one of the Celtic Earls of Lennox. The fortunes of the family became established when his son, Gilchrist, was awarded with the lands at Arrochar towards the end of the 12th century. Gilchrist's grandson, Malduin, is remembered for aiding Robert the Bruce when his power was failing and his enemies were strong. The Macfarlanes remained loyal to Robert the Bruce and fought for him at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. When the last Celtic Earl of Lennox, Duncan, was executed by James I, the succession was left open. Although the Macfarlanes could have claimed the earldom they were prevented from doing so and the earldom was passed to John Stewart, Lord Darnley. This move was not taken kindly to by the Macfarlanes and they chose to oppose the Stewarts. This was, however, not the most strategic of moves as the Macfarlanes quickly realised the force of the Stewarts was too great for them. To rectify the rift between them the 10th chief married the daughter of Lord Darnley to create a new friendship. The Macfarlanes were amongst those who dealt with the loses at Flodden as well as the Battle of Pinkie in 1547 where the 13th chief and his son died. Upon the death of Mary, Queen of Scots' husband, Lord Darnley, the Macfarlanes immediately chose to fight against Mary and were noted for their valour at the Battle of Langside where she finally surrendered. The Macfarlanes stood with the Stewarts until the reign of James VII when they switched their loyalty to Queen Mary and William of Orange. They chose not to come out for the Jacobite risings. In 1767 the direct line failed and the lands were sold to pay debts; consequently the Macfarlanes are not on the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs."

The tartan was a little harder to find, but here it is (there are a few of them, but this one is my favorite):
There's also apparently a clan tattoo, but I feel like it's more of a modern thing, and anyway, it's more of a crest anyway (the one on the right is the "tattoo"):
Anyway, if you're related to me, that might've been interesting to you. If you're not, and you're Scottish too, tell me what your clan is. If you're not Scottish...that's okay too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crazy

School is making me crazy right now, which is why I haven't posted in a while. There's so much to do and so little time, and it's only looking at things like these two that keep me sane throughout it all:




Now it seems like only laugh at animals' expense. Maybe that's true...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mozzareller

I am obsessed with this:

In similar news, the Harry Potter premiere was a-mazing. Adrien and I were in line for 8 hours, and the rest of the group trickled in later. We dressed as wizards trying to be discreet and dressing as muggles, and only one person got it! But it was great fun, and the movie was wonderful. Also, we played catch phrase to pass the time, and it must have known where we were...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drawing the Line

I've talked before a couple of times about censorship in art, and what could be considered art (I'm too lazy to go and find the links for those posts, but they're around somewhere). Today I was looking at the blog of one of my favorite photographers, Jonathan Canlas, and he posted a series of photographs (which you can find here) that he took of a family in the hospital for the birth of their child. Jonathan has posted several shoots of hospital births, etc, but I noticed this one was different, and when I got to the text at the bottom of the post I realized why. The baby was born with a number of severe complications, and is not expected to live much longer. Jonathan wrote that the mother called him in to take some photographs when they realized their baby was ailing, and he did come, and took some beautiful photos. None of them really show the baby, more the people present, and from angles that communicate emotion of the various subjects. But what was shocking to me was first of all that the pictures were so sad, and that a professional photographer had been called in to record the moment.

I know that art is a very delicate subject at times, but I wonder where on the line between "personal" and "public art" this situation falls. I know that photographs (and art in general) is often created to provoke uncomfortable emotion, and that we may not always be comfortable with it. For example, a friend of mine is opening a display of her photography in the HFAC on campus in a couple of weeks, and the topic of her collection is the unrealistic image of women that has been created by our culture, and how it affects women in real life. She told me about an image of a girl draped over a toilet wearing almost nothing, her bones jutting out from her skin; and how she's certain this image will be censored the moment she hangs it in the gallery. People are simply not comfortable viewing things that provoke unhappy feelings in themselves. And yet, they miss the point. If we push these things away, we lose sight of what life is really like.

Maybe that was the point of Jonathan Canlas' posting of the photos I think perhaps should have been kept private. At the end of the post he said "Now all of you, close this browser and go spend some time with your family/loved ones. Life is so delicate." These images-- or other works of art in various forms, such as the poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen-- are meant to cause emotions in us that stimulate a change in our lives, or help us to see the reality of life. They hold a power that other things do not.

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Magdalen

A couple of days ago I was looking at careers in art crime, and I was checking out this website to look at their brief art crime masters program (in Italy!), and I saw this statue:
It's totally freaky. And sculpted in the 15th century. I'm intrigued.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cut You Down

I know I've rather neglected the blog lately when it comes to "real" posts, but I promise I have a couple up my sleeve and coming soon.

This song has been haunting me since I first heard it in the Jeep commercial, and I every time I heard it it made me want to buy a Jeep, which is not a terrible prospect. But after hearing it used in the preview for True Grit, it just makes me want to ride horses in the winter desert of northeast Arizona.

Anyway, it being Johnny Cash just makes it a hundred times better:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good Books for Halloween

I thought it was only fair that I also list my favorite scary books or stories for the Halloween season, so here they are (only five, I promise):

The Curse of the Blue Figurine by John Bellairs. Probably my favorite of the Johnny Dixon books by John Bellairs, though I really love pretty much all of them. Admittedly I haven't read them since I was younger, but they're still awesome. I want to be Johnny Dixon.

The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt by John Bellairs. I remember reading this late at night and being afraid to stick out my arm to turn off the light when I was done because I was so freaked out. So good.

The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey. Not only did Edward Gorey illustrate (like he did the John Bellairs books), but he also wrote some stuff. When I read this in fifth grade, it frightened me to tears. It's not really that scary, but it's eerie, and makes you think.

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie. One of the creepier mystery novels I've ever read, with lines that give me chills just thinking about them, like "Cover her face, mine eyes dazzle, she is dead," and something about monkey hands. My mom says she read it as a teenager when she was babysitting alone and was totally freaked out. I agree, it's pretty suspenseful at times. And of course, there's an old house involved.

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart. I love Mary Stewart, she's an amazing mystery writer. This is probably one of her creepier ones. It's set on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where a murderer is loose and secrets abound.

I'm also inclined to mention The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but I think the movie is a little scarier. I've also heard that Dracula by Bram Stoker is one of the scariest books ever written, but I've never read it, so I can't recommend it. Also, The Yellow Wallpaper is a creepy short story, but mostly it's weird, so that's sort of a half-recommendation. In addition to those, I feel like I should mention Sherlock Holmes, but those stories aren't particularly scary, just mysterious and captivating. But if I were to pick a couple that were close to scary, I'd say "The Speckled Band," "The Hound of the Baskervilles," and maybe "The Five Orange Pips." And I forgot about Edgar Allen Poe. I'd say of his, probably "The Tell-tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado" are good ones.

What are your favorite scary/suspenseful books or stories good for getting freaked out?

Good Movies for Halloween

So obviously Halloween is approaching, and I've decided to give you my pick for the top 5 Halloween-y movies that I think you should watch this Halloween. (PS these are all PG-13 or under, so you know they don't have dumb gore)
In chronological order:

Hocus Pocus, 1993. You've all seen it. It's the perfect Halloween movie, and you know it. It's also the only one on my list that actually takes place on Halloween. That is all.

Practical Magic, 1998. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, who are sisters who also happen to be witches, and who run into a bit of trouble when one of the sisters returns home after being gone for a while. It's partly funny and partly scary, and definitely worth watching.

The Sixth Sense, 1999. Pretty sure you've seen this one too, since it's probably in the top ten most famous scary movies ever. Also it's by M Knight Shyamalan-- who's pretty amazing--before he decided he didn't want to make good movies anymore. I love the story line for this film.

What Lies Beneath, 2000. Starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeifer, who play a married couple living in a house they discover is a little bit haunted. This is probably the scariest movie I've ever seen, and one of the few that continues to scare me no matter how many times I've seen it. I read somewhere that "this movie will do for bathtubs what Psycho did for showers"-- totally true. The music is also really cool.

The Others, 2001. Nicole Kidman lives in a huge house on a foggy island with her two kids. They live shrouded in darkness due to the children's extreme sensitivity to light (a real disease, by the way), and things start to get weird after they take on a set of new servants. Watch it and be sufficiently creeped out, I promise.

Five Honorable Mentions:
White Noise, 2005: Pretty good, but had an ending that left me confused.

The Village, 2004: Really very good, but maybe not "scary" enough to make the list. Or maybe it is. Consider this one #6 on the list.

Signs, 2002: Freaked me out when I saw it in theatres, and it still gives me chills. Awesome story, score, acting-- I just love it. Maybe this should be #7...

The Ring, 2002: A little too scary. Also, seven days after I first saw this movie a little tv I had at the time turned on by itself while I was folding laundry and it seriously freaked me out.

The Skeleton Key, 2005: Also pretty good, although the ending was kind of dumb. And they compared it to Sixth Sense. Bah.

So there's my list. I just realized that three of them (Practical Magic, What Lies Beneath, The Others) have houses that I sort of love, and that all of them (in a way) are from the 90s. I guess that was a good decade. Also, I'm sorry this list of 5 turned into a list of 10. What are your recommendations?

UPDATE: I totally forgot about all the movies pre-1990, so here's a short list of those too! (Wow, this is getting really long, sorry)

Poltergeist, 1982. Such a good scary movie, and definitely a classic. It gets a little weird/tacky at parts, but hey it was the 80s.

The Haunting, 1963. Make sure you actually do get the 1963 version, and not the weird, more modern one. It's a really creepy movie about (you guessed it), a haunted house. There are many lines and scenes from this movie that have stuck with me through my childhood. Eerie.

Midnight Lace, 1960. A classic and really creepy suspense movie, and one of my favorites.

The Uninvited, 1944. One of my favorite ghost movies ever. We used to watch it every Halloween when I was a kid.
The Innocents, 1961. Based on Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw." This movie really creeps me out. About ghosts...or is it?

Now the end.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mt Desolation

First of all, I realize this is going to be the third post with a video in a row. I'm sorry. Secondly, I feel like the "mood" of this post and the last one will make me seem a little emo, or maybe a hipster. I'm not. Onward!

So you all remember Keane, I hope. Don't worry, this post is not about them (again). But it is sort of, because the keyboardist/pianist/lyricist Tim Rice-Oxley has teamed up with Jesse Quinn, the bassist for the Perfect Symmetry tour, and a few other people (from mostly bands I've never heard of, except the Killers and Noah and the Whale) to create a music project called Mt Desolation. I'm kind of excited, because Tim is trusting himself to sing more, and his voice really isn't bad. And I'm glad to see and hear more of Jesse, because he was sort of closeted when he was helping Keane-- you know, he was just that guy on stage who played bass and nobody knew where he came from.
Tim playing guitar on the porch in the Scottish Highlands during a Mt Desolation tour
Anyway, you can read a little about the band and about their style-- which is supposed to be like alternative folk or something random like that-- on their website. Their album doesn't come out until October 18th, but I've heard a few of their songs, and they're pretty good.

Here's my favorite (someone commented on Youtube that Jesse looks like he's making out with the microphone, and I have to agree):

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fleetwood Mac

Tomorrow is Lindsey Buckingham's 61st birthday. He's the guitarist and occasional vocalist for the band Fleetwood Mac, if you didn't know. It was the discovery my senior year of high school (and watching and re-watching) of an old VHS of my mom's with recorded music videos from the 80s that led me to develop a love and appreciation for "old" music. A number of the videos were of Fleetwood Mac songs, and I became intrigued by Stevie Nicks' interesting voice, and Lindsey Buckingham's amazing guitar playing. In fact, it was the guitar solo at the end of "Gypsy" that first captured me. It also may have helped that I thought Lindsey Buckingham was pretty cute (although not during the time he had all that hair).

Anyway, I'm not going to say anything else, so just enjoy these songs and videos instead.

This is Lindsey Buckingham talking about one of the songs on his new(ish?) album, I think from last year maybe. He mentions John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (where the name of the band came from...Mick Fleetwood and John McVie) too, who I guess collaborated on the project with him.

>>SOOOO LAME they won't let me embed this video. But watch it anyway! Clickenzy-here haw.

This is some awesome behind-the-scenes footage of the music video for "Tusk" that they did with the USC marching band (which is a fun video-- and song-- but I couldn't find a good version of it, so this footage will have to do, and anyway it's pretty fun too. It makes me feel nerdy.) Notice the cardboard cutout replacing John McVie, who was in Tahiti while they were filming. And the short man-shorts! I love it.

A cool song I actually never heard before today that showcases pretty well the guitar-playing of Lindsey Buckingham. But if you've never heard "Never Going Back Again" or "Big Love" you need to hunt them down. Seriously. (This from Stevie & Lindsey's first album, right before they joined Fleetwood Mac.)

And last but not least, one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, just in case someone reading this isn't that familiar with the band (but now you are!).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Now What?

I'm conflicted. I just heard that the Star Wars movies will be released in 3D, one per year, starting in 2012. I've always wanted to see the original 3 films in theatres, and now I have the chance!
...Except that I just threw a fit about how much I hate 3D. But this is one of my favorite film series like...ever (eps 4-6 anyway).
What do I do???

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Question

I asked a question on my other blog, and I thought I'd ask it here too, in case there are people who read this blog but not the other one. In short, would anyone be interested in going to the Gluten Free Expo next weekend?

Also, my friend Lindsay posted this on her blog, and I thought it was worth posting myself. I love the song, even if the safari animals are a tad incongruous.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Avatar Ruined My Life

If you know me, you know I hate Avatar. And by saying that, I just lost 1,000,000 fans, I'm sure (or maybe more like 1). This is why:
It's an improvement.
1. I had to write 2 (TWO!) essays on the movie for one of my archaeology classes. One was about their kinship groups (how are we supposed to really determine that from a two-hour movie?) and the other was about their trash and their...other...waste, and what we can learn from it. Yeah. We also spent two class periods talking about how the Na'vi or whatever should have died out long ago based on their methods of food-getting in comparison to their religious beliefs. And it's true, they should have. I wish they had, then there wouldn't be the movie, and then I wouldn't have had to write essays about them. Wait, what? It's not real????????!!!?

2. James Cameron cheated, and does not deserve the prize for Movie That Made The Most Money Ever (yes, there is a prize for that). Not only did he release it in IMAX, which charges twice the normal rate, and not only is he re-releasing it (is anyone really going to see it a second time? wait....), but he also employed the use of one of my least favorite things on this good earth: 3D.

3. Why do I hate 3D so much? I once spent nearly two hours explaining it to a roommate before she finally understood where I was coming from. I'm not going to spend that kind of time on here because I'm not. In a nutshell:
-It looks fake to me. I can't get in to the movie, because the magic is lost.
-I hate wearing those big chunky glasses. They hurt. And...
-They are distracting. I can't focus on the film, and since the magic has been lost anyway, I can't concentrate. So I start fidgeting and looking around next to and behind me, and I see...
-Everyone looks like a bunch of blank robots. Mostly because of the glasses. They hide peoples' faces, so they look emotionless, and that, to me, is sad.
-A lot of the 3D effects are really just cheap tricks. You know, swooping through canyons, having the arrow/spear/whatever come OUT OF THE SCREEN OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW REEEEEAL IT LOOKS!!!
Honestly, I regard movies as works of art (I'm not being pretentious, at least not on purpose), and in my opinion, a good cinematographer will make the film feel real without having to rely on cheap tricks and overpriced technology. Also, the success that Avatar had financially/with 3D/with the masses means that there will never be a highly anticipated film that does not come out in 3D. I don't mind seeing it in IMAX, but I do not want it to be in 3D. That's actually what sparked this post. Harry Potter comes out in a couple of months, and I would absolutely love to see it in IMAX, but I can't without seeing it in 3D, because the two go hand in hand now. And because my darling sisters don't mind 3D, I'm going to lose something in the event (either their company as I watch it in 2D on a humble regular screen, or the reality and magic by seeing it with them in 3D). It's just not fair. Boo.

4. Avatar has become a cult. Seriously. Just think about it, I'm not going to explain it. One example is the people who wanted to kill themselves because Pandora wasn't real. Or because the world wasn't in 3D (???!??!?). Second example: they renamed the mountains in China that look sort of like the floating mountains in the movie to match those mountains, even though they were fashioned after the Chinese mountains to begin with!!!! Does that sentence make grammatical sense? Meh.

5. It's a ripoff of Pocahontas. Or Fern Gully. Or whatever. And Pocahontas is a million times cooler than Avatar. I quote Pocahontas all the time (sort of...), but does anyone ever quote Avatar? That's right.

6. Don't even get me started on the whole "But it makes me want to love the eeeeeearth...." thing. You should've been loving it anyway.

Don't shoot me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Videos from Le Weekend

This weekend I went to the Hogle Zoo with my sister's Biological Anthropology class for their primate observation. Afterwards we looked at the big cats, because we love cats.
I also went to my other sister's house, and we hung out for a while. While I was there, my niece was singing to me, and it was cute.


Also, we had cake. It was very good cake. Is it weird that I promote myself?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sticky Note

How do you like the new theme/layout/whatever? I like it, it's not as dark, and it's less simple or whatever.

Anyway, today I was in a building on campus and I stepped into the bathroom for a minute. While I was washing my hands, I looked up and on the mirror was a sticky note giving me a positive message. I'd read about something like this before, and I think it's kind of a cool idea.

There's a movement/organization/something called Operation Beautiful that puts positive messages like these in random places (public mirrors, stop signs, etc) in order to lift the self-esteem and body image of random people. The website has some good stuff to look at also, so you should check it out, or join the movement, or pass the message on, or whatever.

On a similar note, Glamour Magazine's latest issue had an article that talked about having a positive body image, and cited several stories of people's success stories, from men and women's points of view, about being heavy or overly thin. I found it very uplifting.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Asleep My Love?

I'm sorry the blog has been dormant lately (although a couple of weeks is not nearly as bad as on the other blog). I won't have internet at home until probably Saturday, so this post will not include pictures from my trip home. Next time!

This week the new semester began, and although it has been sort of a crazy week, there are things I'm really looking forward to in the next few months.

I'm getting a new project at work (FINALLY), and it will technically be Collections (as opposed to Archives, which I've been working, and have never really wanted to work...), so my duties as a "Collections Aide" will finally be real. Or the closest thing to real it's going to get without having any actual collections to process...but that's another story. Also, a couple of days a week I will be supervising an intern (hooray for being the only employee with a regular work schedule), which I think will be a good opportunity to practice...supervising...haha. Anyway, I'm sort of excited for it.

Also, there's TONS of work to do in all my classes, which is fine, but for my Museum Culture class the professor is encouraging us to write exhibit reviews for the Museum Anthropology Review. I'm not going to lie, I have visions of me getting published in a peer-review periodical this semester. But if it doesn't happen, oh well, I'm still going to try!

On Sunday I got a new calling at church. I'll be the secretary for the Relief Society for the next little bit. I know the secretary's job is rather easy and perhaps even menial compared to the rest of the presidency, but I'm still excited to do it. I've watched all the past presidencies I've been through in my SA wards, and I've really learned to admire the way they know and love every one of the women at church. Seriously, I'm excited to take attendance, because it means I will know everyone's name and face. And I'm excited to support the other girls in the presidency with me, because they're great, and it's going to be awesome being around them all the time.

Hooray!

Friday, August 20, 2010

End of the Year

First things first: I just typed in the url for this blog but forgot the "blogspot" part, and found this. Funny. Maybe I'll buy some Jig Shoes.

That's a picture for you. It's very nice. I didn't take it, obv.

Anyway, down to business. For some reason I like to count the end of the year as the end of August. It's warmer that way, and the new year then also begins with a more realistic new beginning (Fall Semester). So I was reflecting back on what I've done in the past year, and I came up with a list.

In the Past Year, I have:

-moved 3 times (into one house, back to the old house, down to the basment)

-gone camping 3 times (twice in tents, once without)

-taken 2 roadtrips (to Boise and Fallbrook)

-cut my hair 1 time

-gone on 6 hikes (that's all?)

-done 9 scuba dives (that doesn't seem like that many...)

-made several new friends, reconnected with a few old ones, and lost only one

-got pulled over 2 times, ticketed 1 time, towed for parking 1 time, and got 1 flat tire

-broke up with a boy 1 time, then "ended it" ambiguously like 4 other times with the same guy (lesson learned this time I think)

-dealt with 5 transient animals (2 cats, 2 fish, 1 fawn)

-spent countless hours nannying and babysitting

-spent 10 days total in California (6 more coming soon!)

-been on a plane 5 times (SanDiego>SLC, SLC>Detroit, Det>London, London>Det, Det>SLC...and one more tomorrow SLC>LongBeach)

-been to 2 foreign countries (England & France)

-applied for approx. 50 jobs, had 4 interviews, and got 1 job

It seems like a productive year to me! Here's to another :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just Watch It

Music: "Departure" by Michael Nayman, from Gattaca

And if you get into timelapse like me, check out this and this.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Zion

I got back a few hours ago from the annual 3-day trip to Zion National Park with my ward.
We hiked the nine-mile Observation Point trail (round-trip):
And swam in a water hole:
I had an amazing time. I love being with these people, they are so much fun.
But it's good to be home :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reasons Why

So I guess I can be sort of passive-aggressive sometimes. Or maybe drawing a cartoon about how I'm mad at someone makes me feel better than actually telling the person that I'm mad.
Anyway, my roommates saw this left on the kitchen table yesterday and thought it was funny and that it should be on the internet, so here you go:

I hope the person this is directed at never sees this. And they probably never will, knowing their habits.

REASONS WHY YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Piano

I'm trying to get back into playing the piano. I took lessons for ten years, but when I moved away from home I stopped playing, since the old baby grand in our living room at home was really the only piano I felt comfortable playing on. Today I printed off sheet music for two songs I really like.
One is Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor, as featured in The Pianist, and the other is Satie's Gnossienne #1, as featured in The Painted Veil. You can listen to them here and here if you're interested.
Now I just need to find a piano to play them on...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crush

If there's something I've noticed blogging over the years is that there are two types of posts that no one ever comments on (not that comments make the post, but that's sort of how I gauge their popularity): my political opinions and songs.
Well, anyway, this a post about a song. I used to hate Dave Matthews, or at least think he was merely tolerable. And while I still think some of his music is nothing special, and as a person he's a little weird (but aren't we all?), he's come out with some incredible stuff that has really impressed me recently. This is one of them.

"Crush" Live at Radio City with Tim Reynolds

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meow

This morning, amid the calls of various birds and neighborhood gardening noises, I heard what sounded like the meowing of a small cat in distress. So I went outside to where it sounded like it was coming from, and a black cat was crouching by the bush in this picture.
As I approached, the cat ran off, and it looked healthy and unhurt, so I just figured it was being weird, and I went back inside. A few minutes later, the meowing began again. I went back outside, and the cat was crouching by the same bush again. Again, it ran as I got nearer, but this time I followed it into the backyard and called to it as it watched me and disappeared into the berry brambles. I went back into the house again.

Not a few minutes later, I heard the same meowing from the bush. I looked out my bedroom window, but there was no black cat. Thinking perhaps there was a kitten in the bush (and yes, secretly crossing my fingers for one), I went back outside and looked through the bush, as well as the surrounding area. Nothing.

I thought that perhaps if I lay in wait around the corner of the house, when the meowing started again I could spring out and surprise whatever cat was there, or at least peek around and see what was going on. So in my pajamas, I waited silently, crouching at the corner of the house. I stood for a while staring at the grass. A door slammed across the street, and a man walking away from his truck stared at me with raised eyebrows. I then realized I was tapping a beat out on the side of the house out of boredom. So much for that plan. I went back inside, and went about my morning business.

When I returned from taking a final at school (yes, I passed, thank goodness), I heard the meowing still emanating from the bush on the side of the house. Suddenly I remembered the story of a woman who'd heard desperate meowing coming from her walls one morning and, thinking a kitten was stuck in the space in her walls (à la Tom Kitten), called the fire department. After hours of searching and causing general destruction to her property, it was discovered that there was in fact a meowing frog known as a Cuban Tree Frog sitting pleasantly in her walls. No cat.

Thinking of how foolish I was to have been duped by the tricksy frog, I went back outside and checked the bushes again, this time for a tiny frog. Of course, there was nothing. I called to my roommate through her open window and began to tell her my frustrated tale as she peered down at me from her window. "I'm coming outside," she said, and we searched the bushes together for cats, kittens, or frogs. We found nothing. For all we know there could have been a convocation of kittens and frogs hiding in some secret bush, laughing at our ridiculous attempts to search. I thought perhaps the black cat earlier had also been checking the bushes for the source of the meowing.

As of right now, I have no idea what's going on out there. It turns out Cuban Tree Frogs live in (you guessed it) Cuba, though that one in the lady's house did make it to Florida. The chances that there's one in a bush outside my house in the mountain desert of Utah is very slim, however.

UPDATE! I went out one last time just now and searched once more through the bushes. Then, kneeling on the ground and looking in the thorny depths of the rose bush adjacent to the bush in the picture, I saw two tiny blue eyes staring up at me. It was a kitten after all! It appeared to be lodged under a branch, so I reached toward it with the intention of freeing it. All of a sudden, it took off like a shot, and by the time I looked around, it was running into someone's yard across the street and half a block away. So much for being desperate. It was probably hanging out under the bush in our yard all day just to torment me. And I'm not at all worried it's lost its mother or something, there are plenty of cats in this neighborhood, and I'm sure they'll meet up again. Plus, it wasn't that little of a kitten after all.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NYC Mosque

Something I heard about a few days ago has really been bothering me. Apparently, they're building a mosque about two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City (google it). And people are protesting it. Wow. Okay, it's time for a list:

1. It's two blocks away, not on the actual spot. Calm down.

2. Just because you're Muslim, doesn't mean you're a terrorist. Really.

3. Akin to that, mosques are places of worship, NOT terrorist training centers.

I can't really say more than that, except that I'm ashamed that so many Americans are enraged over this situation. Way to be intolerant, fellow citizens, you're sure not helping people's opinions of us.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music From the Netherlands

Today I got a postcard from the Netherlands (via Postcrossing). The girl that wrote it was very friendly and told me the weather (sunny and 18 degrees celsius). She also gave me two song suggestions from the Netherlands, so I looked them up, and they're actually pretty good. I like the Lucky Fonz III one best I think. What do you guys think?

A Silent Express "I'll Be Around"

Lucky Fonz III "Ik Heb Een Meisje" (It means "I Have a Girl")

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grampa, I'm Tired of Digging Holes!

Even though it's still ten months away, I've been thinking a lot lately about Field School next year. Regardless of where it ends up being, it's going to be really hot, and I imagine a lot like "Holes." Someone remind me why I want to be an archaeologist!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Movies in 2011

According to IMDb, there are 3,546 movies scheduled for release in 2011. I had heard of a few and wondered what else would be coming out that I'd be interested in, and intended to scroll through the whole list, but after only getting through 200 films in about 10 minutes, decided that it would probably take the term of my natural life (kudos if you guess the movie reference) to complete, so I'm just going to outline a few for you.

2011 - Movies I'm Excited For

1. Superhero Stuff (I'm clumping these because there are a million)
I mentioned once that I'm a sucker for movies based on comic books. Next year there a tons of comic-based movies coming out, including Thor (there was a teaser after the credits of Iron Man 2 that got me intrigued), Captain America (also a mild reference in Iron Man 2), Green Lantern (I don't really know much about Green Lantern in general, but it's a comic, so hey), X-Men: First Class (looks at the life of an "early" Xavier), Deadpool (which actually I'm not sure about because I feel like people were only into Deadpool in the last X-Men movie because it was Ryan Reynolds), X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 (again, I'm not sure, especially since he goes to Japan to train with a samurai. What?), etc.
So, three X-Men based movies, two Avenger-related ones (by the way, Avengers comes out 2012 some time) and then Green Lantern. Yep.

2. Bond 23. I love the new James Bond. Daniel Craig is great. I don't know the plot since I haven't read the books, but Rachel Weisz is rumored to be the "Bond Girl" for this one, and if she is, that's awesome, because I love Rachel Weisz.

3. Water For Elephants. Bummer they picked Robert Pattinson for the role of Jacob, especially since it's rather important that Jacob have bright red hair, and R-Patz does not, nor did they dye it for filming. However, I'm pretty excited to see a movie version, since I thought the book was pretty good (though I hope they take out the pointless sex so it's not rated R. It ruined the book in a way, and I hope they have the foresight to take it out of the movie, or else dumb it down/alter it).

4. Super 8. I wasn't sure I wanted to add this to my list, because it looked like a continuation of Cloverfield, which, I'm sorry, was a terrible movie. However, JJ Abrams usually doesn't fail to intrigue me, and it's produced by Stephen Speilberg (which I know doesn't really mean much, but I don't think SS would put his name on something he didn't think was pretty great). Also, there's already a Cloverfield sequel being made (also due for 2011 release), so Super 8 can't be it. Plus the preview I saw kind of gave me chills.

5. The Brazilian Job. I loved The Italian Job, so I'm kind of excited for the sequel (if it really is the sequel, so far that's just a well-based rumor). Plus I love me a good heist film.

6. Untitled Sherlock Holmes Sequel. Sherlock Holmes!!! I'm so excited. I don't even have anything to say about it. If you know me, you know how excited I am about all things Sherlock Holmes. I might even go to the midnight showing, so you'll know where to find me at midnight on December 16th!

7. The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn. What? You don't know who Tintin is? Actually, most of you who read my blog probably do, but if you don't, look at this and/or this really quick. I grew up reading Tintin. Plus, it's directed by Stephen Speilberg, so that's cool. I'm a little bummed that it's being filmed in the same style as Beowulf and Christmas Carol, but I'm open to it, because it's Tintin.

8. (Last but not least) Deathly Hallows part 2. The FINAL chapter in the Harry Potter film story. It's going to be a bittersweet end. I hope they don't include the cheesy last chapter from the book though. That sort of ruined it. But I'm still excited for the movie.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Night Train

This morning my copy of Keane's new EP "Night Train" came in the mail. I was super excited, even though I'd already heard three of the eight tracks. I feel like I need to talk about it, because it wasn't entirely what I was expecting.

1. "House Lights"
Kinda different, but the last bit sampled a bit of "Playing Along" from the Perfect Symmetry album, the album Night Train is an EP for. I liked it, but that was really the only thing on the album connecting it to Perfect Symmetry in any way, which was a bit of a disappointment. It doesn't feel like an EP.

2. "Back in Time"
A little like Keane's style, but still a little different (it definitely has the electronic presence, but there's more guitar and...cow bell?) I like it quite a bit, but the effects added to the vocals kind of make it sound like Tom is singing in the bathroom.

3. "Stop for a Minute"
Really different. Keane collaborated with Somalian/Canadian rapper K'Naan, and it's a nice, catchy tune, but definitely diverges from the "normal" Keane style. I like it though, except when K'Naan rhymes "beautiful" with "cuticles." Also, in the music video, Tom Chaplin has a creepy peach-fuzz mustache that makes me want to go back in time, hunt him down, and force him to shave it.

4. "Clear Skies"
Once again, a little different (acoustic guitar, clapping, etc) but overall it sounds pretty good, and I like the lyrics.

5. "Ishin Denshin (You've Got to Help Yourself)"
Oh gag me. I'm sorry Keane, but you totally lost me here. I don't know if I would venture to say that this song is awful, but it's really...not good. It's repetitive and therefore boring, and the weird sampling of the apparently very popular Japanese song makes me feel like they just wanted it in there because it was popular. It makes me feel like they're letting their fame (yes, they really are famous, even though no one in the US has heard of them) go to their head or something. Sad day.

6. "Your Love"
At first I wondered if Tom Chaplin had had a sore throat when they recorded the song, but then I realized it was Tim Rice-Oxley (the pianist/principal songwriter/organizer of the band) singing! It's very cool to hear Tim singing. He's not as good as Tom, but he thinks he sounds bad when he sings, so the fact that he tried makes me happy. And he really isn't a bad singer at all, just different. The song has an 80s-ish feel to it, and since I love 80s music...

7. "Looking Back"
Also features K'Naan. This song is silly. They sample the Rocky theme, and K'Naan even mentions Rocky at some point in his rapping. I don't like it. It's not as clever as "Stop for a Minute," so it bothers me that Keane has rap in this song. Hm.

8. "My Shadow"
Here it is, the typical Keane style! And I love it. I love that they're branching out and trying new things, but this song reminds me of why I liked Keane in the first place. It has this really great part towards the end that really communicates emotion...haha wow listen to me. Whatever. This one I will post, since I love it so much (the video is the official music video, but was made by a fan. They had a contest and this one won):

Overall, I'd say it was worth the $2 I spent on it (thank you, Amazon). I'm glad I didn't pay full price for it though.
If you've never heard or heard of Keane, give them a try.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer

There are some goals I have for the summer, and I figured I'd better write them down somewhere so I don't forget:

1. Be reading a book consistently (so far so good, I've read like four books since we got back from England)

2. Exercise each day, whether it be walking to work or riding Autumn's bike around the neighborhood or running in the mornings (done this nearly every day so far. It sure feels good to bike, I'm going to need to get my own!)

3. Eat "healthy" (I'm going to need to stop having corn chips and fruit snacks for lunch)

4. Finish all my Independent Study courses by the August deadline, but still keep up with the class/es I'm taking in Summer term.

I think that's it. In other news, for Memorial Day weekend I drove home to Fallbrook. I didn't take a single picture, but I assure you I had a very good time. I loved being home. We went to Magic Mountain, I went to the beach with my brother and got sunburned, I ate lots of *good* Mexican food, we had a grill (not so much a bbq, as it was salmon and vegetables, but we made it on the grill and ate it outside). Oh, and I got pulled over for the very first time on the way down. I also got my very first speeding ticket. I've been licensed for five years, so I suppose my lucky streak had to run out sometime.

Notes to all of you (and to self):

1. Don't speed. According to Officer Frabbiele, people WILL die if you speed.

2. Wear shoes when you drive in Nevada. Apparently it's illegal not to.

3. Make sure your insurance isn't expired. It's the same as no insurance, and that costs $1,132.

4. Be a good driver, so that when you DO speed, you get off with a warning on #s 2 and 3, and a reduced ticket for #1. Phew.

Oh, and wear sunscreen.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today

Despite a rather depressing day yesterday because of circumstances (hopefully) out of my control (vague, I know, but oh well), and stewing a bit today and being rather sad in general, I decided just now that I should just wait until I know how it will turn out and not jump to conclusions. I think that's good advice in general.
I felt a lot better after hearing this song on the radio and my new roommates decided to celebrate Victoria Day with berry trifle and a good movie.

Monday, May 17, 2010

England!

Thursday very late at night, we returned from England (just in time too, since the volcano started spewing over Southern England again just after). It was such a great trip! There were so many things that I loved about it, and only a couple of things I can think of that would've made it better (warmer and less windy weather, living closer to a Tube station, having more time and a bigger living space) and everything else was a wonderful experience. I learned so much about English history, about architecture, and other stuff. And I learned Christopher Wren was like...I don't know...the Frank Lloyd Wright of his day. He seriously built everything. But it's cool. There were so many highlights, I can't pick just one, so maybe you'll have to ask me about it in person when I can go on and on...
Oh, and we went to Paris for a day...