Monday, December 21, 2009

My favorite advent calendar ever:

I didn't find out about this until today, but there are still a few more days left to appear.
I've never seen a better advent calendar in all my 11,239 days.
I'm really excited for the astronomy portions of Millennial University. They'll be the first courses that I sign up for.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Greatest Irony in the English Language

I think my favorite irony in English is that the word pronunciation is said incorrectly all the time as pronounciation.
I'm thinking of this because I got a great book today from a friend that's all about prescriptive grammar. mmmhmmmmm

Just wanted to share.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jazz and Blues

I do not claim to be any form of expert in Jazz or the Blues, but there are some songs that I love listening to. Sometimes it's hard to figure out where Jazz and Blues music hits you. Some of the chord progressions are so amazing; and then when I listen to what the musicians do with the notes of the chords, I can't help but be in awe. But there's another part of Jazz and the Blues that's so much more visceral and inexplicable and I think that is the root of the power of the two musical styles.

So here are a few very incomplete lists:

My Jazz instrumental list is dominated by just a few artists. But they're by far my favorites. If you would like to help me expand my horizons, please tell me everything I've missed.

My all time favorite Jazz song is
Autumn Leaves by Miles Davis

Along with that we've got in no real order, but Take Five might be my #2
Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman
Nutcracker Suite by Duke Ellington
Take Five by Dave Brubeck Quartet
Blue Rondo a la Turk by Dave Brubeck Quartet
Take the Coltrane by John Coltrane & Duke Ellington
Body and Soul by John Coltrane
Somethin' Else by Miles Davis & Cannonball Adderley
So What by Miles Davis (another)
'Round Midnight by Miles Davis & John Coltrane
Dear Old Stockholm by Miles Davis & John Coltrane
Blue in Green by Miles Davis & John Coltrane
Straight, No Chaser by Thelonious Monk
Well, You Needn't by Thelonious Monk
[Apparently, I only really like Thelonious Monk songs that follow this pattern: WORD COMMA WORD WORD]

Here's my list of vocal Jazz favorites. Some of these songs have been covered so many times, that it's the song that transcends--well, unless you're Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald. Those two transcend the songs.:
Body and Soul by Billie Holiday (pretty much anything)
's Wonderful by Diana Krall
Popsicle Toes by Diana Krall (did you know she's married to Elvis Costello? huh.)
I'll String Along With You by Diana Krall
I've Got you Under my Skin by Ella Fitzgerald (again, pretty much anything by her)
The Nearness of You by Ellis & Louis
Cheek to Cheek by Ella & Louis
Let's Fall in Love (tons have covered this. Even this version. And ick.)
Little Drummer Boy by Nat King Cole (Can't find a version)
Embraceable You by Nat King Cole/Billie Holiday/et al
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole/Plus this (granted there are times that I'm not completely enamored with this song. I go back and forth)
Sarah Vaughan

The Blues is a harder one to categorize. But the first musician listed, Robert Johnson, who sold his soul to the devil, is the most important in Blues, and perhaps the most important predecessor to Rock music. You listen to his songs and you think, okay, impressive. But then you realize that he's the first one to really play the Blues style that we know with incredible skill, flair and nuance. He died at 27, probably poisoned, and left only a few recording sessions. But his music is awesome.
Cross Road Blues, Walking Blues, Sweet Home Chicago, Terraplane Blues by Robert Johnson
You've got to include B.B. King, too. And the best song of them all is The Thrill Is Gone.
Then there's Bessie Smith, maybe the most influential Blues singer. (As a linguistic aside, you can hear the English Creole grammar in the lyrics. Sweet.)
Eric Clapton plays a great Blues guitar. Here's Before You Accuse Me plugged in (& in a terrible pink jacket), and here it is unplugged. mmhmmm
I can't stand John Mayer's popular Rock stuff, but he's an incredible Blues guitarist with great feel. Here's another clip. When he's on Austin City Limits, he tends to do great Blues stuff.
Blues music is sometimes so hard to peg, because it has influenced every subsequent American music style. There's a song that Bonnie Raitt did in the 70s that I can listen to over and over, Angel From Montgomery.
I know that there are more Blues songs that I could post. And what do you do with Jimi Hendrix? Anyway, the roots of the Blues go back to Africa and are the basis of pretty well every song you hear on the radio.

There, I'm presently done with this list. I hold the right to subsequent updates.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Eccentricity Average

According to the poll, my average eccentricity level is 6.9411764705882355.

And I've been thinking that I'm going to start compiling lists of my favorite songs in various genres. It's gonna take a while, but it'll give me something to blog about on and off.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

True Time Feelings

This comic sums up my feelings about time:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Don't give up, don't ever give up

When college basketball is starting up every year, my mind always starts reflecting on this speech by Jimmy Valvano. He won the ESPY award for courage in '93. He passed away from cancer 2 months after the award. The V Foundation was created right before his death.

The speech is awesome. Enjoy:

Monday, November 30, 2009


So, I guess I'm eccentric. According to someone in the know, I'm quirky and eccentric. So I've added a new poll.
If -3 is steady social norm, on a scale of 1-10, how eccentric am I? Poll at the right -------->
Problem is I understand me and my head, so I don't think I'm as quirky as logic tells me I am.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Mom and I tonight were watching Strictly Ballroom for FHE, when I turned to her and asked if today was the 23rd. It's been 8 years since I got back from the mission. Huh. Que velha sou.
The change in temperature that I went thru in a 24 hour period was 85º in Londrina, 0º in Chicago when we arrived at 5am and 20º in SLC when we finally landed. I'd forgotten my sweater in my suitcase. hmmph.

This is from my last proselyting day in the mission:

Me (bottom left) at the bus station with a bunch of the sisters.

Our grupo de saída with the mission president and wife. I bawled like a baby during the meeting.

And this is me in the middle of what only seems to be nowhere in my third area:

I love Brasil.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

License Plate Word Game

I like to find words in license plates. The stupid new Utah ones mix numbers and words, so this has become impossible. But the old ones that have 3 consecutive letters are great. To find words, sometimes I have to resort to other languages, and, at times, antiquated spellings. Sitting at stop lights can be boring.
Anyway, the one I saw today made my nerdy self laugh right out loud. Nu in Portuguese means naked, or naked guy. Nus is just the plural form.
So this explains why I this license plate was especially precious. Click on it please:

Props to anyone who can guess where I was when I took this picture.
**I would again like to reiterate that I was at a stop light.**

Friday, November 6, 2009

What the soccer what?

Holy cow, this NM girl must be angry at the world.

Red card?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dreamy City Street Planning

I have vivid dreams, this has been established.

The downtowns (and sometimes outer areas) of Utah cities are well organized into a grid format, right? Main Street is 0, the next block over is 100, then the next is 200, etc. etc. etc.
Same pattern for Center Street: 0, next block is 100, next block is 200, etc. etc. etc.
I've had people complain to me that Utah cities make no sense because the streets don't have names, only numbers. I admittedly and very honestly have found this complaint asinine, because the pattern makes lots of sense.

Anyway, I guess my subconscious is even more frustrated by this because last night my most vivid dream was about a pattern that could be created to solve this problem: double street names. The streets get a number, as well as a name. The trick with the name is--wait for it--they will be alphabetized. Main Street then 100 + A-name, 200 + B-name, etc. etc. etc.

Following is a basic mock-up, similar to the one that I created in my dream:

Problem solved.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mayan Metropolis

Here's a video of perhaps the largest pyramid ever found in Mezoamerica. It's in an ancient Mayan metropolis now called Mirador in Guatemala. The area is larger than L.A; estimates on the population put it at about 100,000 in its heyday, which was from about 600BC to between 300BC and 100AD. But the construction on it was started before 900BC and was abandoned at about that time with people returning centuries later.
The video also mentions and shows a frieze of Popol Vuh, the Mayan creation myth.
The whole abandon/return thing also had me really intrigued.
Pretty cool stuff:
I just realized that if you're in google reader, the video doesn't show unless you click into my blog. hmmph.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I wore my costume today at work, instead of tomorrow, the real Halloween. You've gotta wear your costume to school, right?
Anyway, here are pictures, some are prep pictures, some are the final dealio. See if you can figure out what I am. Answer at the end.

Did you figure it out? I'm a stereotypical south Utah County chica. As you can see from picture #8, I am wearing a bumpit. What a terrible, terrible idea. But, in the end, it made my costume easier. Picture #3 shows off the blue and green eye shadow that I bought specifically for the day, as well. Oh, and the shirt and denim vest are DI specials.

About 10 minutes into class today, one of my students sorta stopped what he was doing and said, "I'm sorry, it's just so hard to take you seriously when you look like that." Another friend of mine couldn't look at me without laughing.

My sister was sure that I'd get a date out of it.

I think my favorite part of the whole thing was the fact that a lot of people couldn't tell whether or not I was really serious about what I was wearing. I think that's really saying something for Utah County, don't you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NKOTB, justification and libertarians

Back in the summer of '91 or '92, my mom and us kids went to Logan to visit some of the old family friends from their college days. We hadn't seen each other in a while, so we were getting reacquainted. I had just found out that the oldest son (like 1 year older than me, so 13 or 14) had just gone to a New Kids on the Block concert. I retorted with something like, "You like them?" And he fumbled a bit and said, "Well, you know, Perfect Gentlemen were opening..."
His mom interrupted and said, "You don't have to justify yourself." She was pretty mad at how I'd acted. I, however, was pretty sure that my contempt was justified, I mean, I had learned only months earlier that my love of New Kids was completely uncool and that I shouldn't wear that shirt of theirs that I owned. I felt that my enlightenment and forced despite of their music allowed me to feel superior. BTW, Donnie was my fave.
Hah! What a hypocrite I was.

I've thought about that a lot and how whatever his name was didn't have to justify himself at all, and how out of line I was.
And recently I've been thinking about how I often justify my political beliefs to people b/c my temple recommend status is questioned, or my faithfulness to God or the gospel is supposedly in doubt because I'm a registered democrat. Or if someone says that I'm just a democrat because I wanna be different, as if I didn't have a head on my shoulders and were that flippant.
I'm done justifying myself. Giving reasons is one thing. But I'm done justifying myself.

Also, an interesting tidbit that I've been thinking of lately:

A lot of Utah Valley Mormons talk like Libertarians, expect things that a democratic government would offer, yet rail against big government, and vote like Republicans.
I've noticed this over the last couple of years.

So, yes, an experience with NKOTB led me realize that I don't have to politically justify myself to people.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I thought this was cool:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

She'll make point five past lightspeed

One of the saddest things that could ever happen to a person is having to wake up from a dream where you're flying the Millennium Falcon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

I didn't know what to title this posting. I was thinking infuriating hypocrisy.
Here's the record of the vote for the following legislation. I was pleased to find out that my two senators vote Yea.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Franken's Amendment:
Franken Amdt. No. 2588; To prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Second Season

That's what they call the October playoffs in MLBaseball.

I love baseball, and really there aren't a lot of things I'd change about the sport. The designated hitter really bothers me. Taking pitchers out automatically at 100 pitches is annoying.

But, if I had only one thing to change, it would be to outlaw tobacco in any form at the ballpark. No chewing tobacco, no smoking and no cigars. I hate that chewing tobacco is a tradition of my favorite sport.

Ban it now. Blech.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I've needed to buy new jeans for months, like a half a year or so. I hate shopping for jeans. I mean, don't get me wrong, I hate shopping for any item of clothes. But jeans can be particularly annoying.
I went shopping two days ago with Meggsies. I bought sweaters.
But Karma came and smacked me upside the head today. After I'd gotten into work after teaching, I looked down and noticed that my pants were ripped (again, the cuffs are pretty hashed). Yep, the inner thigh area had a nice hole. Really, it wasn't that serious and showed off nothing but a bit of white when the hole was visible.
Thus I was finally forced to go buy jeans. I found a pair that I didn't hate. The people at the store let me use their changing rooms to take off the holy jeans.
Here's a nice picture showing off what Karma got me to do:

Oh, and isn't that argyle sweater nice?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm indignant for my friend

Last week a friend of mine (and a friend of many of you, as well) was riding his bike in Pittsburgh and got a bit roughed up by some policemen. All Chris did was ask the cop not to touch him and another cop came in and pushed him up against a car with his club and then arrested him.
I'm utterly ticked. Talk about your illegal arrest.

I'm very, very, very indignant. Okay, and angry, too.

We need to stand up against things like this and do what we can to stop them from even happening in the first place. Seriously? Ugh.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

guilt vs. godly sorrow

I know that this is sort of semantics, but it's useful to me. A few years back I realized the difference between two forms of shame. Guilt is something that festers that makes you feel unworthy, especially if you dwell on the problem causing the guilt. Godly sorrow is something that's sorta like guilt, but it pushes you to want to improve, let go of and become more like God.

Anyway, the reason why I mention this is because it again popped into my mind over the weekend. I know that I can get on a soap box about it. But if it's not helping us to improve, really we just need to let it go.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A couple of things: books

First, a good friend of mine recently blogged about books and then asked what books others thought she should read. I am now asking the same thing:
What books should I read? What dramas? What humorous books? What short stories? What books did you love growing up. Please comment.

I've needed new jeans for months and months and months. I ended up with some time tonight so I went book shopping. I had decided that I wanted to read The Once and Future King. I went to Barnes & Noble (I prefer the no-blee pronunciation). I found that book and then spent another 85 minutes looking at book after book after book. And I found a journal that I love. I already have a blank one waiting for me, but I might end up going back and buying this particular one.

I tend to buy books that have a lot to do with the human struggle. You know, books that may be a coming-of-age theme, or an adult learning to deal with a situation or deal with something from the past. I think this is why I love Chaim Potok's book so much. He is an amazing author. Lately I think I might just be tired because I'm not sure I want to read something that might be emotionally draining. So what do I get? A novel about epic struggle. Sigh...I can't hide from me.

So, during my 85-minute perusal of B&N shelves, I took cell phone memo pad note of future books to read. Here's the list:
Conversation in the Cathedral by Vargas Llosa
Homeland by B. Kingsolver (read The Bean Trees. The book means so much more to me now years after reading it.)
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
José Saramago (I just don't know if I wanna read them in English, though)
The Known World by Edward P Jones
Dreaming in Cuban by García
Welcome to the Monkey House by Vonnegut
Eudora Welty
Dawn & Day by Elie Wiesel (2nd and 3rd in a series with Night being the first book and a must read. I read Night during my junior year when I was a history major. I read it in one sitting and then sobbed for an hour. But it is important.)
True Compass by Ted Kennedy

Saturday, September 19, 2009

woe, weeping

I'm really, really sad. The elation of two Saturdays ago against Oklahoma has dissipated. But I have faith in my mighty mighty Cougars that they'll rebound. Vegas Bowl ahead.
But I think tonight I just might cry myself to sleep.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some name help

I have very vivid dreams sometimes.
Anyway, this morning I had a dream that I had a baby. He was really cute and in the dream I was only pregnant for a couple of weeks, so that was nice. The problem is that Millie woke me up before he got a name. Oh, and like Anakin Skywalker, there was no father.

So, what good, solid first and middle name should he have gotten?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


FYI: Polls.

I am a gum addict, as I referenced in an earlier post. I got questions about what gum I chew, so I thought I'd answer that with a post.
My preferred mint gum is sweet mint or spearmint by Orbit. Did you know that the spearmint comes in a big pack of 35? That's 5 rows of 7 pieces and I like to remove the sticks so that I get this nice pyramid effect. I thought I had a picture of this. I'll find one at some point and post it.

I've found that if I chew gum, mint gum usually, I play sports better. In fact, if I don't, I have a harder time focusing. I'm not the first person who uses gum to improve play.

Anyway, there are times that I go through Dubble Bubble like crazy. This is due to Sarah's influence.

5 has a place in my life. Stride can also be good. The fruity and other flavors are only okay in my book. There's also this gum called IceCubes that I sometimes have in the car, b/c it's easy to pop into my mouth from the box, but it doesn't last very long and sometimes disintegrates.
I also like to go out on crazy limbs and try odd flavors, like chocolate mint or blueberry pomegranate.
On my mission I chewed Chiclets (shee-Kleh-chee), hortelã (peppermint) flavor.

I hope that's enough gum info. I can divulge more later.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another blunder posted for Larissa

I like gum. I also like to try new flavors of gum. This means that I have a lot of packs of different kinds of gum in my room. Mostly I put them in my Gum Bowl, which is a bowl made to look like a basketball with a goofy face on it.
I was explaining this to my coworker, about how I love gum and I said, "I'm just a dru........." At this point I put my head onto my desk and start to laugh. She doesn't know why I'm laughing, so I tell her I'm a gum addict. To which she responds, "Drug addict, huh?"

Man, I'm batting a thousand.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mental Lapses lead to awkward Freudian Slips

I got used to using bigger spoons in Brazil. A couple of years ago, explaining this to Scottie, I said, "I'm really a big spooner."

Then today I was thinking about how I tend to drink a lot of water at work. I almost said, "I'm a heavy drinker."

But something that I did on purpose? I brought up the Chastity Talk Bingo that I made. I knew this would lead to an awkward moment of people having to think and mumble--while at work--about the dreaded Chastity Talk.
I know, I am a jerk.

Friday, September 4, 2009

CF & Peaches

I watched (or am still watching) parts of 5 college football games tonight.
I also got splattered by peach goo working at the cannery earlier.
Tonight has been a great night.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

TED vid for this week

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

not my poll

This alone shows how much U.S. Americans don't understand sports around the world:
The Super Bowl? The Super Bowl is tied for 1st?
The World Cup is #1. I mean, nearly 2 billion people tune in.
Ask people outside of the US and you'll get the World Cup at 70%, the Olympics at 20%, the World Series at 6% and the Super Bowl at 4%.
Yes, this shows how much Americans don't think outside of their borders in sports (reality?).

Here's the "view map" portion of the poll. Look at Utah, one of the two states that has the World Cup as the biggest sporting event in the world. I'm thinking this is all of the RMs that have actually lived outside of the US and know what's really going down. That's my guess.
See, missions are very important.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Graduation + Pictures

Receiving a master's degree does not mean that you are smart enough to figure out how to put on your regalia. Don't worry, though, I finally figured it out, probably. The sleeves for a master's have this goofy extra bit of fabric that you might as well store stuff in. I should've hidden a bagel or something. However, I was in the front row, so that would've been tacky.

Sometimes the speeches can be fairly boring. But it was as if the speech at my convocation had been tailored for me. One of my favorite professors gave a talk that included many etymologies of words. Talk about awesomeness.

Walking out afterward, I saw my mom who was already tearing up. I hugged her and started to cry, of course, but mostly remained tuff. My dad cried pretty hard when he hugged me, which caught me off guard, thus destroying my composure. I am a bawl baby. Again, I reference this video.

Anyway, pictures:
Notice the nifty temari ball in my hands, that Aunt Suezie (Gretchen and Kathy's mom) made me. I'd received another one from her at the 5K that I'd kept by my computer as I finished the thesis.

Me and my mom:

Dad, me, Mom:

Dad and Mom showing the love:

My friends (Gretchen, Aunt Suezie, Kathy, me, Shannon):

I graduated at the same time as my friend Patrícia. Arwen, on the right, is the graduate secretary. She is a huge reason why a lot of us graduate, I think.

Later, my coworkers stealthily decorated my cubicle. They also gave me dried mangoes and a bag of broccoli. They know me well.

So there you have it. I finally graduated. After 25 years of being a student, I find myself still feeling like I have homework to do at night, flummoxed when I realize that I have nothing due. I think I might take UVU up on their free 3 course credits a semester. I love learning.

City pictures key:

Friday, August 14, 2009

It finally happened/Hair cut/Poll

So I just graduated this morning. I'm at work right now because I've got a lot to do. So instead of doing my job, I'm blogging fast. That's okay.
Here are my announcements, in case you have seen the lovely camera/computer work of Brian and Julie Rae:
First, the real one that we sent out:
Next, this is the goofy pictured one that we decided to make into a prank one to send to my dad. We sent the real one a couple days after. He didn't even say anything. What a party pooper.
Finally, this last one takes a bit of explaining. For my first Halloween my mom and dad dressed me as a ballerina. My mom even made the tutu. My dad had high hopes that he'd have a daughter who'd love ballet and would be all refined-like. Instead he got a baseball-loving, head-strong, ballet-hating tom boy. So this announcement is in honor of my first Halloween. If you look at the little picture in the middle, you'll see that even at 7 1/2 months I was completely hating on the idea.

So, the feminine of Master is Mistress. Do you think it's a bit too crazy if I go by "Mistress Venom?"

**I'll post other pictures from the graduation later on and talk about it laters.**

So I got a hair cut yesterday just in time for graduation. I'll show you front and back. Then you can vote on the poll.

Please vote in the poll at your right.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cousins, Conversational Anecdotes, Jeopardy

My cousin Jill just got back from a Spanish-speaking mission in CA. It's nice to have another Spanish speaker in the fam. This meant that we got to have a homecoming and a party with the extended family. The aunts in my family were great and always organized parties for us when we were younger. Seriously, it was like once a month, I swear. The wonderful effect of this is that my cousins are my friends.

Because of this we have great conversations. My cousins are hysterical. But I noticed something today. This is how convos often work with me:

cousin1: funny anecdote
cousin2: witty comment
(continued laughter)

me: trivia comment worthy (if lucky) of Jeopardy
cousin3: another funny anecdote
cousin2: witty comment again
(continued laughter)
cousin1: awesome story
me: (silent for a while contemplating the syntax of a sentence and, consequently lost in the continuing conversation)

anyway, I'm a professed nerd.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

TED vid of the week

This woman is extremely inspiring.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


This story happened last fall and I often ruminate on it.

So there was this divisive proposition on the California ballot last year, as you recall. Protests for and against it were happening all over the state. On both sides there were groups of people that crossed the line. I think that's why this story that I'm going to summarize seems so singular to me.

I have a friend who's dad was in charge of a religious congregation. There was to be a protest outside the church building where they met. He decided that he was going to have fresh homemade cookies for these protesters, that it was better to show Christian kindness than to allow for a situation that could erupt into anger on both sides. His family and (I think) other members of the congregation were there with milk and cookies. After all, the protesters had a right to be there. This simple act defused what might've ended up being a very tense situation.

This idea was probably in my fuzzy subconscious when I decided to take this leap. I'm not perfect in my interactions with my fellow human beings, especially when political ideas are involved. This story just gave me a higher level of kindness to shoot for.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Polling about Star Trek

I do love my Star Trek, I admit it.

So, polling about captains...
Jean-Luc Picard.
Jonathan Archer.
Benjamin Sisko.
James Kirk. Hah.
Kathryn Janeway.

And The Original Series movies:
1-The Motion Picture.
2-The Wrath of Khan.
3-The Search for Spock.
4-Voyage Home.
5-Final Frontier.
6-Undiscovered Country.

The TNG movies:
2-First Contact.


TOS Characters:
Nurse Chapel

There, I think I have that fully covered.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The _REAL_ Hannah Montana

Sometimes my dreams might as well be movies. A few weeks ago I had an especially intriguing dream. Frankly it was extremely important as the temporal salvation of this Earth goes. I think it might be time to let you all in on it:

I was at a hotel outside of L.A. with a friend (*whose identity many of you know, but I can't reveal for reasons later explained). A bit after we'd checked in, say 3pm-ish, we find out that the Chinese premier is in town and will be giving a big speech the next day. To do this, he's been mostly left alone by member of his cabinet. Well, Friend and I decide that it's time for an intervention. It's been 20 years since Tiananmen, but human rights reformations are still lagging. Also, really, Taiwan should just be allowed to be its own country. Friend and I go in and talk to Mr. Wen Jibao, using impassioned and factual arguments from the hotel's library (my kinda hotel [ok, there were more books than Gideon's Bible]) and the internet on my cell phone. We are making some headway, but the cabinet members are starting to get worried and are coming up the stairs. Friend and I decide to leave.

It's now late and very dark. Friend and I are both hungry so we go find someplace to eat. I plug my cell into the car since the battery is nearly dead. I go in to let the host know that we need a table for 2, while Friend goes on a quick errand. Unbeknownst to me, a couple of people (your regular plot antagonists) recognize me and Friend, who is driving away. They suspect that we will play an important role in the future salvation of the world. They sit at a place in the restaurant where they can spy on me. I realize that there's something drastically wrong and try to discretely exit the place. They follow; I run, unable to alert Friend, b/c I don't have my cell.
I'm almost run over by Antagonists, who are dressed in too-stylish jeans and too-expensive T-shirts. I swerve to avoid their attack, and at that very moment Friend appears. I dive into the back seat of the small SUV she's driving and we're able to get away.

Later we're talking, realizing that things are getting to the point that people, especially the wrong sort, are going to continue to suspect that Friend plays an important role in the Earth's future salvation. We wonder if it's time for her to reveal her true self. She somberly looks at me and responds, "No. No, the Earth is not yet ready for the truth. Soon, perhaps, they will be and it will be time for me to reveal my true self. But now I must still remain in the shadows, performing the deeds that my title and gifts endow me the ability to accomplish. I am fine allowing another to claim the glory for the time being. One day the truth will be known; Earth will be set free."

What, you might ask, is Friend's truth? She's the real Hannah Montana.


So now you see why I couldn't reveal Friend's current name. Although, there might come a point, perhaps soon, when she decides to reveal herself to Earth. I'll keep you in the loop.
And who knew that Hannah Montana was endowed with such great powers?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

according to the people who've voted...

So, it seems like presently there's a unanimous vote on the poll that I should be going to London for my next international excursion. It also seems that only 2 people have seen Harry Potter 6. I have a feeling, though, that this is all due to the fact that I didn't broadcast that I'd put new polls up.

So, here's some picturesque info:

Also, I'm glad that those who voted were unanimous in that Natalie should blog more so that we can see pictures of the cute kids.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The only thing worse than this poll's existence is the fact that people voted "worse." What kind of selfish attitude is that? I mean, I know it's hard. But honestly. Sheesh.

Monday, July 27, 2009

to musical wit:

I think that the majority of the hymnal is grossly underused. Is it bad to say that I'm tired of some hymns and that I think they're oversung? Does anyone else feel that there is a pool of about 25 hymns that we sing?

I wanted to start a facebook group titled, "Mormons for hymn variety," but I held back. What do FB groups accomplish in the end anyway?

But who's with me?
What barely-used hymns should we add to our repertoire?
Personally I think we should add, Father This Hour Has Been One of Joy. My reasons are, however, irreverent in this case.

Seriously, what are some lesser-sung hymns that you want to add to church services?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Loosely connected to the 24th of July

The only real connection that this post has to Pioneer Day is that both things are sorta Mormony. Mostly I'm just getting all mythological. The thing that I'm posting about is Aztecy and a bit more Hopi-y, though. There's a common thread of mythology that goes throughout the Americas. The Hopi story is the one I find most fascinating, but I'm gonna save that one for last.

A lot of people have heard of Quetzalcoatl. Such a fun word to say. Anyway, Quetzalcoatl is a deity from Mesoamerican environs. The myths about him are varied; sometimes he's a man, sometimes it's a serpent. Probably my favorite iteration of the myth is that Quetzalcoatl was a priest in the Aztec religion who was loved by the people and fought for the idea that human sacrifice was wrong. Another priest was jealous of his influence over the people, so he decided to knock out Quetzalcoatl and sacrifice Q's personal helper in an effort to stop a drought. Q came to just in time, made it to the top of the pyramid and jumped in front of the knife to protect his helper. Q died and a pall came over the gathered crowd. At this point Q returns as a ghost or a being of some sort to speak with the people and preach to them about the evils of human sacrifice. Once he's done, he's taken into the heavens and becomes what we call the Pleiades. This was done so that the people would always remember Quetzalcoatl's teachings. So now when I see the Pleiades, I think of Quetzalcoatl.
Of course, there's the LDS interpretation, too.

So, the Hopi. In the Hopi version of this story they reference the Lost White Brother, who they call Pahana. The basics of the story reference an Elder Brother who left toward the east. He is to return and when he comes back the wicked will be destroyed and peace will return to the land. He'll bring with him a portion of the Hopi's sacred stone that is now with the "Fire Clan." Oh, and when he comes back, he'll be wearing red.
It's fascinating stuff, no?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recap and intro of polling

So what's your favorite team sport? I know that I left some off, but seriously, there are like a billion. But if you have major complaints, you can always comment.

And what about your favorite of the bigger rides at Disneyland?

I was very pleased that HP2 didn't get any votes. This makes me think that I'm not alone in my wishy-washiness of this book. But I was surprised that other than that, everything was a wash:I also wasn't surprised the Umbridge totally beat Voldemort at most annoying. My guess is that she bugs b/c we still see her as a human that has a choice to be cruel and the ultimate hoser. Voldemort's just a lost cause.

Purple beat out white in the end for ugliest car. I almost didn't add purple, b/c I have a distinct fondness for one purple car in particular, Melissa Schlegel's old car that we called the Purple Demon Grandma Car. It was awesome.
Food polls:
No surprise on the hamburger vote--it was mine, too. However, lately I'm thinking I don't care as long as it has dry rub on it.
My egg vote just barely eeked out the win. yum yum over easy
Vowels, my weirdest poll:

And I guess I should be polling more often:

I have to admit, I really like polls.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I was leaving a comment on a blog entry that has a word verification requirement. It's my favorite one that I've ever seen:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

caught at kneaders

First, my Protegé (what a silly accent mark) is rated at a combined highway and city at about 24mpg (22 city, 28 highway). When I filled up today, my last tank ran at 35mpg. How sweet is that?

We had a softball game this morning at 8:15, which we lost by 1 run, but I'm okay with that, because maybe we'll end up in a lower tournament bracket. After the game I went to Kneaders to wait for Shannon because you know their french toast is so good for breakfast. While I'm sitting there waiting, three players from the other team walked in and over to the table next to me. The conversation went as follows:
Guy at table, "Hey did you guys win?"
Player in Mickey Mantle T-shirt, "Yeah...but the other team sucked, so..."
Me, after a pause, "Hey, uh...?" Then I looked right at him with my eyebrow raised in a "are you serious" sorta way.
Anyway, he backtracked and said, "Oh, we sucked, too." [awkward]
Then the girls that he was with started talking to me about where we'd all fit into the tournament brackets and how losing can actually be beneficial. Then Shannon walked in and it was a lot better. We sat on the other side of Kneaders.

It has me thinking, I bet I've done that a lot, said stupid stuff like that but never been called on it. Sigh...something to check myself on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In my soul

I go through musical obsession stages, where I get stuck on a genre or a few musicians. I eventually mellow out and my music gets more shuffled again. For months now I've been stuck on soul music and Motown, with Van Morrison thrown in for pure pleasure. I think I've been in the mood to rock my head around with some attitude.
To give you a bit of the flava of what I'm talking about:

Marvin Gaye:
Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
Got to Give it Up.
And we know who's dedicating this song to whom:

Gladys Knight and the Pips: (addendum at bottom)
If I Were Your Woman.
I Don't Want To Do Wrong.
And the best one:


Staple Singers:

Curtis Mayfield:
Move on up.

Temptations/Smokey Robinson:

Al Green:
Love and Happiness.

Van Morrison:

I hope everyone enjoyed that as much as I did. mmmmhmmmmmmm

For Emily:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Every once in a while you see something that leaves you shocked

You know, you're just sitting there, watching the television, then you hear something that you can't believe. Then you sit there for a few minutes in stunned silence:

Other species and ethnics?
Just in case.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

For the Swenson-ish cousins: 4 Gens

L-->R: Grandma Margaret Bell Malcolm, her daughter Mary Malcolm Snell, Mary's daughter Blanche Snell Swenson, Blanche's son Garland Snell Swenson.
The picture was taken in 1923 somewhere in Spanish Fork.
Grandma Malcolm is my great great great grandma. The baby is Grandpa Swenson.

I know the picture's ripped and is missing G G G Grandma Malcolm's left foot, but I'm going to try to restore it some.
G G G Grandma Malcolm was one of the earlier births in Spanish Fork, April 22, 1860. Her husband, David Thomas Bell was one of the first, September 7, 1854.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Safety Dance

I bet you weren't expecting a Scandinavian renaissance Maypole party with a token lute-playing midget for a classic 1980s New Wave video.

Then again, for a 1980s New Wave classic, we probably shouldn't expect anything less.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Desserts, bungee jumping and ironing

There's this show on the Food Network called The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The last episode was about dessert.
Question: What's your best dessert ever?

It got me thinking, what would my best dessert ever be? I'm not a dessertmonger, but I do love a good pie. But thinking about it, I'm fairly certain that my favorite dessert is Gretchen's Gateau Basque. Many of you have had the pleasure of eating this lemon cream and almond filled circular piece of joy. (recipe on the bottom of the blog)

Okay, MO, there's this wonderful picture that you took that has my favorite dessert and three of my favorite people in it. I hope you don't hate me for showing off your photography. I can pay you in feijoada if you want remuneration for my thievery. But I wanna show off the gateau basque:
**If you want me to remove it, MO, I will.

Also, I love ironing, probably more than someone should. Although, I don't know how I feeling about this.

Here's Gretchen's recipe from her cookbook. Man, I've gone all plagiarizy in this blog entry.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Laurel murmured at breakfast this morning

Laurel complained that I hadn't had a poll in a while, so there are a few up now.
My mom's curious about the eggs.

What else do people regularly BBQ that I didn't put on the poll?

When I was a kid, like in kindergarten, I started to have this idea that the vowels a, o and u were girl vowels and e and i were boy vowels. I have no idea where it came from, but it's still like this innate idea that I have, even though the vowels o and u in Portuguese turn a word masculine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Religion not vs. Science

I sit around and ponder. Sometimes it's all I do, so I don't get a lot done at those moments.

One thing that I've been pondering for years is the fear I've seen of scientific discovery, that somehow the Big Bang, for example, is this whole conspiracy on the part of scientists to disprove Divine existence.
I think, rather, that it's pretty cool that Heavenly Father has let us in on a wee bit of how He did it all. I mean, we're here to learn and progress, why wouldn't part of that be about how some things were done?

Henry Eyring, Elder Eyring's dad and renowned chemist, said something I think is spot on:
"Is there any conflict between science and religion? There is no conflict in the mind of God, but often there is conflict in the minds of men."

I admit it, I really don't understand the disdain for science and the truths that we learn from it. We're going to have to learn how to do it all eventually, right? Why not attain to some of the principles of natural law right now?
Sometimes I get hung up a bit on how it all fits together, but I always come back to the idea that some day I will understand how it all played/will play out.

The coolest thing? Sometimes I've learned in this earthly existence the why of something when I was expecting to have to wait until the next stage of my eternal journey.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


After a two-year hiatus because I couldn't find a team to play on, I weaseled my way on to my mom's office team.

Can I tell you how weird it is that the people I'm playing softball with are calling me Vanessa and not Venom?

Because of necessity, I played Riss's position in left-center. The first hit was a pop fly right at me. I was oddly nervous b/c it had been so long since I played. But no worries, it all went okay.

I made a lot of new friends tonight and had way too much fun, but I also got extremely nostalgic for all of my old teammates. You awesome people know who you are.

I told my friend that I want to temple marry Softball. Is that sacrilegious? It probably is. So maybe I just wanna have softball for eternity somehow.

the goings on surrounding the Oquirrh Mt Temple open house

Did you know that South Jordan is the only city in the world to have 2 LDS temples? I mean, it makes sense when you think about it, I guess.

The video that they show in the highly air-conditioned tents prior to entering the open house has a scene where the show the Vegas temple overlooking miles of suburbs. The words the narrator said at that moment? "The temple points as a beacon." Bepa's response? "Amen."

Oh, and when the topic of eternal marriage was discussed in the video, the scripture in 1 Cor 11:11 was brought up, "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." Brian leaned over to me and said, "You are nothing." I started to shake with laughter, Julie Rae glared at him. But it was funny.

The stone tiling in the temple is really beautiful. The limestone came from Morocco and Egypt. Brian said that the lighter sandier color obviously came from Egypt and the wilder design was obviously Moroccan. Logical, I know.

The fabric on the benches in the baptistry totally reminded me of a nice 1970s retro chic design (emphasis on chic).

Some of the chandeliers have a really cool, off-set geometric design. I'm not gonna describe it well, so you're going to have to go to the open house, or take my word for it.

The neighborhood that surrounds the temple has some nice home designs--totally not the nasty cookie-cutter neighborhoods that plague-like in Utah. The designs and the colors totally reminded me and Scottie of San Francisco. Thus, he started to sing the beginning of this.

Once Scottie, Mom and I were in the car, I set the shuffle on my iPod. The first song that popped up was some cheesy Peter, Paul and Mary song that my mom sang all of the lyrics to. Not surprising. The funny thing is that the next song that she song along to was Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by the Eurhythmics. It was really cute. What do you think? Should my mom cut her hair like Annie Lennox?

Scottie and I blabbered on and listened to music the whole way up and back. We tend to do that. The whole while Mom read a book called Jungle Love. No, just kidding, it was Bamboo and Lace, I think. Scottie thinks it should be called Pandas and Doilies.