Saturday, December 24, 2011

Realization about prayer

Tonight I was talking with my friend, Terri, (well, if you can call 1am at IHOP "tonight") and
I had the realization about why prayer is so important. I think a lot of times we all think about prayer as a good way to chat with Heavenly Father and to remind Him about blessings that we're wanting. But really, perhaps even more importantly, we're reminded during those moment that we're communing with Divinity that we have divinity in our soul, that we are made with divine material. Perhaps this is why we're told to commune often, so that we don't forget our worth.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

aaaaaaaaaaaaaand sometimes things suck.




Saturday, November 19, 2011

mmmmm Words

One of my FB friends posted this quick quiz thingie.

This is what I did, and I think we should give the score a shout-out to Free Rice, because that's where some of the logographic points came from.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I just saw a thing on Pinterest that said, "How to make skinny jeans from baggy ones."
I thought, that's easy, eat more hamburgers.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Title

As I'm working thru some hard homework stuff, I thought I'd remind myself of why I'm actually doing a PhD. It's so that I can make my future students address me using an awesome honorific. I've tweaked mine again, and I think I'm liking this new version of my future title:
A Gloriosa Doutora Vanessa das Belas Artes e Supernas Letras
Glorious Doctor Vanessa of the Beautiful Arts and Supernal Letters

I'm now feeling better about keepin' on keepin' on.
To megalomania and beyond!!!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


This was my captcha from a few moments back. It means "ice" in Spanish. It's also how my Grandpa Swenson used to answer the phone.

How to end a conversation

This is how it works on the facebooks:

You post something to your status.
A friend comments.
You comment back.
Banter ensues, back and forth, back and forth.
Then, friend merely "likes" your last comment.
Conversation has finished.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Dream

Well, it wasn't really a musical dream, I guess. But I had this dream a couple of nights ago where someone was talking about music. I had to leave once they finished their story. As I was walking out the door I turned to them and said, "I'll be Bach."

I really did that in my dream.
A friend said that my dream self is funnier that my waking-hours self.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


 I was double checking something tonight on Google Translate, which is a fun website, btw, and I got the following translation. I underlined the supposed corresponding words:

Seriously, Elísabeth meant cousin in Latin? And how would Google know it was a girl that I was meaning?
Dubious, dubious.
Good thing I didn't really need to tell a cousin happy birthday in Latin, because I probably would've gotten laughed at. Probably for two reasons now, come to think of it.
That is all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My subconscious must

be trying to tell me something because today I woke up with the song "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon playing in my mind.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last like this for a bit


Here's the thing, people rail about redistribution of wealth and how it's whatever negative adjective they wanna use. The thing that kills me, absolutely slays me, is that tax policies are always going to sway wealth in one direction, this or that. The way the tax policies have been for a while has made it so that the middle class bears a heavier burden and the wealthy get wealthier.

People listen to this or that by an idiot like Rush Limbaugh and they think that the GOP is somehow trying to make it fair. They're not saving us from socialism. But only lucky for them, tons of people in the US have no idea what socialism is, so it works out great.

My mom has a heavier tax burden than most people b/c financially she's getting screwed by the tax codes. And by my mom, I mean your mom, and then your friend's mom, right on down the line. And that's not even talking about food, medical expenses and normal life and the taxes that are associated with that. When you add every tax together that you pay, including on food and clothes and gas, who do you think pays more of a percentage of income, Trump or you? You do. It's not even close.

So if you wanna know real truth, if you wanna know what's really up, if you wanna see what the tax code has really done to people, look here and then look here.

I'm not some crazy lefty liberal here. In this regard I'm very, very centrist. People just need to know the truth. You wonder where the middle class went? Now you know. Occupy Wall Street, don't dress in 18th century attire and spout false histories of our founding fathers.

And I promise now that I'll go back to my regularly scheduled blog posts about sports that no one but me cares about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


One of my favorite things right now are the posts "no religious test" line from the Constitution b/c that jerk doubted Romney's Christianity. But my favoritest part is how a chunk of these people have also posted things doubting Barack Obama's Christianity and calling him a closet Muslim (as though being Muslim were a bad thing).

The "don't-get-itness" is quite a thing to behold.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Coping Mechanisms

Lately my heart's been hurting a whole lot. I don't admit things like this often, but after Chris' mom passed away, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer two weekends ago, and then Brian's brother being killed in a small plane crash on Tues night in West Jordan, I'm just done seeing the people I care so much about hurt so much. Like, I'm really done. No one can hurt anymore.

This next part is going to sound so weird to most of the world. I couldn't sleep last night, like at all. I'd spent about 18 hours trying to figure out how to calm my soul down a bit. I went to what I learned from my father: I put something on to watch that I love (Passing Strange) and I got out the ironing board and ironed tons of clothes. It wasn't Blazing Saddles, like my dad woulda watched, but it was a musical, so it's close enough.

Who knows why I'm posting this. But there it is.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Because I'm in huge need of banality right now, something that will take my mind off of life, I've decided to post some not-letting-the-cat-out-of-the-bag screen caps of Pottermore. I got in as a beta tester, which was very exciting. So I've been in Pottermore for about 10 days.
This is what it is:

Then a wand chose me. I was absolutely most excited about this part. I'm going to try and find one similar when I go to HPLand in June:

 Then I got sorted into a House. I was least surprised about this, since I'm an intellectual snob.

There are other cool thing about Pottermore, like wandwork practice for spells and charms, or the part where you get to brew potions, things like that. The background information that we never knew about regarding different characters is really fun to read. You find that as you journey through the chapters in the story. Book 2 is set to be released in a few months and Pottermore is up for everyone to enter in around the end of Oct, I think. I'm FelicisLumos85, so you should add me if you're nerdy awesome enough to be on the site.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life is kinda funny

The B-52s got stuck in my head today and I had this realization. At the beginning of the song they sing about the Atlanta Highway. I've sung along with that lyric for quite literally 20 years. I now live .5 miles from the Atlanta Highway. Life's kind of a goofy thing how it all plays out.

At :18 in the song:

Monday, October 3, 2011

MoTab's Ron Paul Impersonator's Impersonator

On SNL there's this guy that they have impersonate Ron Paul:

Ronish Paul
 And there's this guy in MoTab that looks like the Ron Paul impersonator:
Ronishish Paul  
And it made me laugh every time I saw him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What I learned at Reduced Shakespeare's History of Sports Show

N: Non-
A: Athletic
S: Sport
C: Created
A: Around
R: Rednecks

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zee Mission Revisited

If you go to lunch with a Mormon and ask the question, "Why are there so many Christian churches?" you're gonna get a good answer. Xiangyu and I had a fun chat.

Also, today in Syntax we were talking about question sentences and how you invert the subject and the verb to ask questions. So, "You will eat today." turned into "Will you eat today?" The teacher really emphasized the will to make her point. And it was all I could do to not chuckle heartily and then ask if the class had any concerns that I could resolve.

Friday, September 16, 2011

When you can be summed up

There was this little back and forth among the women of the family on FB and it ended up with the most succinct description of my essence, that I don't quite know what to think of being perfectly "summed up."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oobleck and my faith confirmed

Today I was watching Nova on Netflix* and I had an ah-hah! moment about Jesus walking on water. I do not mean this bit of whatever by Kanye, El narciso en su opinión. I mean, I think I know how it all went down. Oobleck. I think it was some sorta spiritual Oobleck device. I told Julie Rae this not long after I had the idea and she was like, "That much corn starch in the Sea of Galilee, really?" And I told her that I thought it was more like making the water a shade bit viscous-ier. But whatever. Oobleck.

I'mma think on an Oobleckian parable later in my life. But for now, a couple of minutes into this clip you'll see what I mean. (You can't see the clip in Google Reader. Hmmph. But you can on my blog.)

Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

*I like to say NEH-chee-fleeks, like a Brazilian would.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


So, do I call Child Protective Services on the commenter?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

a gum wrapper and a match (in portuguese)

One day I was walking up a street during my mission and there was a couple with their two sons walking toward us. Perfect street contact. I walked up to them and introduced myself. I asked them their names and the dad said his name was João Batista, his wife was Maria, their sons was José and their other son was Macguyver.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

short shorts

There's a pandemic of short shorts around here--on the guys. Mid-thigh length shorts is creepers. They need another 4 inches on the hem, please. I feel like going up to them and singing:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

17 Years Today

I realized last night that today marks the 17-year point that I decided that I was going to be a full-bore Mormon. I'm pretty happy with that decision. It's been a blasted good 17 years.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vanessa's Power Flirting

A few days ago my car wouldn't start b/c the battery was finally dead after the long drive across the country. Brian sent me to such-and-such shop where they replaced my battery for me. While What's-His-Face was replacing the battery, he asked me if I was from Cleveland. I was quite impressed because he knew what the shirt I was wearing meant. He's the first one to know since I got it from Shannon.
This is very sexy.

So we spent the next 15 or 20 minutes talking about baseball (moronic!), then about football (he likes the New England teams), complained about the basketball lockout and rounded it off with a nice discussion of the Boston Bruins and their recent Stanley Cup, along with a nice chat about Tim Thomas.

This is me power flirting.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A bit ago

I posted something about this about a month ago. But here is a nice quote showing exactly what is going on and what will happen with even more vigor.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Families are too important for ...

Families are important; they are the backbone of any healthy society. (I imagine that the 4 people that read my blog would agree with me there.) I also feel that it's important to bring this to the forefront of many discussions about where we're taking our society.

I just wish that we could do this without moronic bunglings that make people who support strengthening the family a bunch of racist idiots that are filled with ignorant hate.

Here's the thing, broken homes exist across all races, in all countries, in all economic strata and whether or not the parents are married. Strong families exist across all races, in all countries, in all economic strata and whether or not the parents are married.

This is the reason why I'm so frustrated. Bear with me, because this sentence a current pledge that's making it's rounds in the upper echelons of our politcs is nasty:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.

This is what drives me crazy, other than the basic stuff like letting black people know they just long for those slave days, it's not just one race that has broken homes. And what should the white people long for? How about people of Asian descent? Who would be dumb enough to sign it?

So how about this, to all you pledge makers out there, how about you quit making pledges, first of all, and, second, if you absolutely feel the dumb compulsion to, quit being racist prigs and making people who feel strongly about the importance of families look like self-righteous, hateful morons who don't know the real value of strong families, whatever their makeup may be.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oh the awkwardness of FB

Friend on facebook posts about parents coming to visit from out of the country.
One of her friends posts "yummy" as a comment.
ummmm, gross?
Patricide/matricide followed up with a bit of cannibalism?
Yummy? Seriously, there's gotta be a better adjective.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The intrinsic value of an accent

Not pronunciation, but the thingie on vowels in Spanish: á é blah blah blah...

One of my dad's friends who's a FB friend of mine posted this on his wall:

Felicidades a todos los buenos papas que cuidan y aman a sus hijos!

Without that all important á accent in papás, the sentence got turned into Congrats to all the good popes that care for and love their children.

Oh, accented á, why did you desert him at a crucial moment?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The advantages of being behind a semi

Normally being stuck behind a semi or a tow truck or whatever can be undesirable. But I tell you what, it's the most desirable position to be in if you're queuing into one of those double-laned stop-light on-ramp thingies. "Why?" you may query, "for trucks are so slow getting their giddy up going." Yes. It is true. But not only is there a mass exodus of cars into the other lane because they don't want to get stuck behind the truck, but the semi takes the place of at least three, if not four, cars. Today, for example I moved up seven cars because of the mass-exodus + 4-car-length advantage.


Also, here's another tidbit about me:

Friday, June 10, 2011

This made me very happy

I had long supposed that this was the case and was glad that a more complete and narrowed statement was sent out today.

In totally snarky related news, I wonder what all of the LDS people on FB posting things like "I stand with Arizona" are now going to be posting.
Yes, I recognize how snotty that was, but few things have disgusted me more over the last couple of years.

I'm not jumping in with these guys.

I think being a Mormon can sorta heighten one's senses concerning religious freedom. Maybe not, maybe I'm just weird. Perhaps all of the Sunday School classes about the saints in Missouri and Nauvoo are stuck on repeat in my brain.

So thought #1: There's been a subtle switch of phrasing over the last bit that is interesting. What once was Christian men set up a nation has turned into Men set up a Christian nation. One word switching place has had far-reaching repercussions. I tell you what, Christian men (with some very differing views) setting up a nation is what really happened and it's significantly safer to our religious freedom to think of it that way. Any other way is no bueno and dangerous and is false history.

Thought #2: There's an undertow of "not-in-our-nation" that is kinda the flip of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Oklahoma, for example, passed a law banning Islamic or international law as a basis for decisions in courts. (This, thankfully, has a permanent injunction on it by a federal judge.) But what's really going on there is they're setting up an establishment of religion by piecemeal.

If you start defining what the US is or isn't by religion, especially as a means of exclusion, that's a religious test by default.

The reason why I think about this a bunch is because if this continues, Mormons are excluded. We like to think that we've made huge inroads, but if we allow people who are using religion as a weapon in elections to win and don't stand up for what the Constitution plainly says, we're in for a world of hurt. The people that do things like this do not love freedom of religion, they fear it.
Lots of Mormons like to walk hand in hand with socially/religiously conservative people thinking that they're in on the party. They're not, in the end, and they're going to find themselves out in the cold.

Whatever the reason, religious freedom has been on my brain for months and months and I wanted. throw a couple of half-formed ideas out into the blogosphere.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

UVU DS/Mark of the Beast

So I'm walking by UVU's digital sign board (there are 2 in our building, that's why I post on this so much), and I see this professor with the mark of the beast. Or at least something to that effect:

If you look closely, you'll see it:

It was the weirdest thing. So I asked about it, why the professor had the mark of the beast. It comes from this picture:

They did great at editing the white board, but sorta ignored his face. Oops.

Also, if you look closely, you'll see the student playing a bubble bursting game:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture Day Activities

It's almost here! So I think I'm going to list off various things that we could do. Feel free to join in.

We could listen to DMB songs that fit the theme. Or the obligatory...


Look at Photoshopped pictures that will haunt you for the next few hours, five months or billions of years.

Listen to uplifting musicals.


We could hope that we're part of the group that isn't raptured, because then we won't miss out on HP 7.2 this July! But since I'm Mormon, I'm pretty sure that I'll get to see the movie.

There are some silly t-shirts that we could buy.

I was talking with Wendy today, and we decided that since other days/holidays like Rapture Day, get commercialized, we should start the trend. So I think we should get our loved ones Rapture Day gifts.

Wendy and I also realized that Christmas has reindeer and manger animals and Easter has bunnies and baby chicks, Rapture Day needs animals: Fire-breathing Dragons and post-Rapture Day gets stinky skunks à la brimstone.

So many things to be getting a massage, which is what I'll be doing.
What else could we do? Ideas?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not Wise in Someone's Eyes...

I saw this picture on and thought that the scripture behind his head was sort of ironic because they're part of a group that claims to have a secret knowledge based on obscure numerology. I guess that by sharing this supposed great knowledge it takes down the irony by a notch--a small notch.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Remembering a realization

Tonight while we were at my grandma's watching videos, I was reminded of a realization that I had one day near the end of 7.5 month stint in my first mission area.

I was walking up a hill that I had walked up I can't tell you how many times previously when something crossed my mind. I thought back on this man that we'd taught months earlier, Rivaildo, who'd ditched us on discussion #5 and how much we'd hurt because of it. And then I thought of the girls that had just crossed to the other side of the street when they saw me coming. (I was quite the known quantity after 7 months.)
I realized that we'd get totally bummed after losing someone that we'd been teaching for a while, but we'd chuckle over the ones who'd cross the street (what else you gonna do?). Heavenly Father, however, would be sad over the ones who'd crossed the street because they'd lost out on an opportunity.
I also realized in that moment that since obviously not everyone was going to get baptized, it was my job to make sure that every time I talked with someone, they would feel hope for their future and heavenly love.

Anyway, that just popped into my mind tonight, so I thought I'd share the story.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Facebook Rule

Link to Rush Limba/ugh/ and you get blocked for a month.

I'm still ironing out the details, but this plan seems like it's headed in the right direction.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Friend in Alabama

I have an excellent friend who lives in Tuscaloosa. Their house was hit pretty hard in the tornado.

She wrote an FAQ blog post about it. The line that gets me is "I picked up all the pictures I could find because I just can't leave a picture of my baby boy in all that rubble."

The reason why I post this is because at the bottom of her entry she has a couple of links. One is to a fund that friends set up to help them out right now. There's a link to the right of my blog's homepage.

If you want to donate to the Alabama Red Cross in general right now, here's a link. Since the storms hit over a wide swath of the south, here's a link to donate to the Red Cross in general.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Latest in Awkward Signage

Maybe the people who make the UVU signs get what's going on. Or maybe they're all about post-modern shock value? I dunno. But I really don't get how Star Trek relates. Am I missing something?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Truth as an Outlier

Sometimes I think more about the pattern of discourse and communication of something rather than the content. One thing I've noticed is that shows like The Ed Show and Glenn Beck purport to be about the spreading of truth and the exposure of lies, but really they're about ego massaging. The hosts massage their egos and the viewers are sure that they're in on a special secret knowledge that so many blind and ignorant people are too stupid to see. The majority of conversations are built on straw man arguments and vile and misleading diatribes.

Luckily the viewership for a lot of these shows is on the decline. These things are all about ebb and flow and they cycle (see Sen. McCarthy and the Adams-Jefferson presidential race).

I just wish more people would turn the TV off.

Also, I know that I fall sometimes into the group of ego massagers. I also know that I at times fall into the secret knowledge viewership group.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Michael and Who?

So this picture appears on the digital signs and video boards at UVU's campus:

So it's the King of Pop and the Prophet Joseph Smith?
You'd think, wouldn't you

Well, come to find out it's nearly as weird:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bracket Idea at 7:46am

You think my last few posts have been nerdy? How about the idea I had Monday morning right after I woke up: Create a bracket of 32 verbs for my students to fill out à la March Madness.


So I totally made the thing before classes this morning, complete with regions based on how the verbs conjugate in the present tense. I am now in the running for the world's biggest nerd.
And if you want to play along, which I know you all do, here's the link to the spreadsheet and the link to the PDF. 3 points for a win, 2 bonus points if you pick an upset victory, like 8-seed Butler beating 1-seed Pitt. Finally 5 bonus points if you get the champion correct, and 4 bonus if you get the runner-up correct.
You know I'm going to totally post the victories for each round as they happen.

Jimmer≥The Force

May the Jimmer be with you.

**As it was learning a new skill, I'm not going to count the 3 hours that I spent on it tonight as a waste.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Birthday Card

Part 1:
I have a tendency to leave errrrr... goofy pictures of Tom Jones and The Hoff in a coworker's office and office drawers, just for funsies, you know. I even had her convinced that the Germans celebrated something called Hoffmas, which occurs during the fortnight 90 to 75 days before Easter.

Part 2:
Sting just released a great album called Symphonicities. I told my boss about the album, and I also happened to mention that I thought Sting was rather sexy.

Part 3:
I get to work today and, after a while, I open up my drawer and see this, which had me belly laughing, in tears for about 3 minutes before I regained my composure:

Sting as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune
If you don't know what this picture comes from, you are very lucky. Dune is a terrible, terrible movie. Here are some clips to show you just how wonderful it is.

Part 4:
The best part of Dune? Captain Picard with a bald mullet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh NNNOOOO she dih-in't

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jimmer's in Gryffindor



photoshop makes me so happy, as does The Jimmer.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm just saying

Saturday, February 26, 2011

an email that I just sent

Thought I'd share:

Rep Herrod,

I was interested in your statements that you made during the debate about illegal immigration. Regarding your question as posted in The Deseret News: "In House floor debate, Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, said he's tired of hearing that illegal immigrants are good people. 'They contribute somewhat,' he said, but the real question is should they be treated better."

I figured since you asked the question you would like the answer. In an article that can be found here, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who was speaking at the request of the First Presidency of the LDS Church answered this question: "Meet an undocumented person," he said. "Come to know their family." Included in that article you'll find more information that will help you answer the question.
Another answer to your question is found in Matthew 25:40: And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Now that you have your answer about what should be done, I expect an email detailing how you are going to resolve your concerns regarding the worth of these immigrants. I also demand that you explain in your email to me what you are going to do to help our immigrant brothers and sisters according to the principles repeatedly described by the leaders of our Church.

I expect an email within the next two weeks.

Thank you,
Vanessa Swenson, great great great granddaughter of various immigrants

If you feel so inclined, please send him an email ( with any tips you may have for him.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


At the BYU game tonight there was a man on the row right below me and my grandma at the end of it wearing a WWII Vet hat. I sidled over to him after the game and asked him where he'd served. He told me that he was in the army in Europe and then after V-E Day he was transferred to the Pacific Theatre. In New Guinea he said that almost every man in his squad was killed when they landed, but he survived and went to the Philippines and into Japan where he served as military police.
I shook his hand and thanked him for his service and he smiled. I told him I was sorry about his squad and he smiled again and said that he'd see them again.
I really think they are the greatest generation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Favorites of the 20th Century

A few weeks ago I set out to make a list of my 100 favorite songs of the 20th century. It sorta blew up in my face because I couldn't keep it at 100. It's now at 139.
This link should take you to the Google Doc so that you can see all 139. Oh blast. 140. I forgot that Cher song. Long live mesh clothing.

My love for Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Staples Singers, Marvin Gay, Van Morrison, Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin has already been expressed.
I do need to add in Jackson Browne right here.

So can you recognize what Ralph Vaughn Williams' Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus doubles as in Mormondom?

And how about those cameos in Walking on Broken Glass. I think Annie Lennox chose poorly.
You've gotta love Biz Markie.
I can still remember my 5th grade teacher complaining about Bonnie Raitt winning the grammy for this song. He's crazy. Do you know her Angel From Montgomery?

If you're not familiar with the Estonian Arvo Pärt, you need to listen to his music. Wow.

How does one narrow down a list of Beatles songs? Well, one rotates through favorites.

And I've already mentioned Tears For Fears on my blog before. Shout and Sowing the Seeds of Love have no odd ties to my childhood, but the songs rock.

I went a bit Sondheim crazy and sorta broke my own rule of no more than 5, but I'm justifying it because they come from different musicals. Children Will Listen, No One Is Alone, Finishing the Hat, Beautiful, Pretty Lady, Children and Art, Move On and Johanna are works of genius.
Double Blast: 141. Not a Day Goes By.

Kashmir is almost universally loved.

So, yes, I'm admitting that Will Smith's Miami and Deee-Lite's Groove is in the Heart both make the list. This may change if I ever completely mature out of high school. Whitney Houston's It's Not Right But It's OK will likely never leave. I've been a closet Whitney fan for over 20 years. Rupaul's Supermodel and Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy were oh so close, but in the end, there wasn't enough mustard. But I'm sure you're VERY glad that I linked those two fairly awkward videos.

I'll leave it right there for now. I'm sure I'll be coming back to the list on my blog, adding more links to good songs, etc. etc. Did you make it to this sentence? Wow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Self Discipline > Office Health Gimmicks

Subtitle: But it's not like office health gimmicks are a bad thing

UVU is doing this thing called Spring into Shape. (Notice that the webpage is titled Sping into Shape, the letter R being optional, I guess.) It was the topic of discussion on and off today at the office. People were talking about how it was a great motivator, working in groups and stuff to accomplish goals, how the success rate will be higher. (And don't get me started on the UVU goal of drinking eight 8oz. glasses of water. Yeesh.)

My point was that working in groups, in the end, has nothing to do with success, that it's only self discipline. A coworker made the good point that when she was in this group and had to present something once a week, she made sure she did it. It wasn't like it was graded for a class, she just made sure she did it because they met together.

I countered that with, "Exactly, you weren't graded. In the end of things you accomplished what you did because of your self discipline. What if you missed a week of doing your stuff? You didn't. You controlled your time to accomplish what you wanted. It was all self discipline in the end, which is a good thing."

Scottie tonight made the point that it's very empowering to understand this. What we accomplish in life is all based on our ability to work toward something and persevere through difficulties (with Divine Help for eternal good measure).

It's all about self discipline.
And I have great faith in our ability to accomplish our goals. This concept gives me great hope.

Vanessa "Aiming to take the theory of it all and turn it into a daily practice" Swenson

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vemonator's Tumblr

Hello. I'm Tumblr-ing.
Now can post more things online that I can't do on blogspot. I have grand plans for posting something there tomorrow. We'll see if I can pull it off.
Anyway, that's all.

And I think I got the link fixed.

Dystopia and Young Adult Novels

So I tried the Hunger Games series a while back. I persevered thru the first book because I'd heard/read so many people talking about how they were completely drawn into the series. But I've gotta be honest, I really didn't want to finish that first audiobook, I was so angered (disgusted?) by the situation the kids were in.

When I tried the 2nd book about a month after the first, it was seriously dragging me down. I'm all about pushing thru and finishing a book series once you've started it. I mean, I finished The Work and The Glory series, even though I couldn't handle the cheesy writing style (everyone spoke with a "husky" voice and looked up thru their eyebrows in an anatomical feat of contortionist excellence when emotional). And it's not like I'm trying to avoid pain completely, I am a Mets fan. But there was something about the Hunger Games series that I just couldn't deal with.

Wonderful Wendy said that I didn't have to finish. She answered the few questions that I had and I moved on with my life. Rarely do I not finish a book series. But, wow, Hunger Games haunted me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

WIMotW: Edict 2

I will outlaw certain nefarious commercials When I'm Master of the World. the first commercial on the chopping block will be the free/score(dot)com commercial with the men in those nasty nasty nasty full-body navy body suits and the creeper with the hockey mask. Credit scores are a necessary evil, but I didn't think they had to look so skody, too.

But, really, I'm going to ban all credit report commercials for any company.
I feel good about this.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Darmok and Chile at Tanagra

I have written some nerdy posts in my time, but this very well might take the cake.

For a while now I've thought about Chilean Spanish and how it's so hard for me to understand. A big reason for this is all of the sayings they use. I mean, it's like insanely impossible to catch what they're saying sometimes, ¿cachai?

It often reminds me of this episode of Star Trek where the aliens du jour speak to each other in metaphors and sayings making the universal translator practically useless until, of course, Picard deciphers the metaphors.

Yes, this is what Chilean Spanish has reminded me of for years and years.
Me and Chilean Spanish = Shaka, when the walls fell.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I was just thinking about how the first cassette tape I ever owned was Control by Janet Jackson. I loved that tape (and still own it). My parents bought it for me after they saw me singing along with the music at the Grammys or something. I think I was eight.

Do you remember what yours was? Just curious.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Overheard at the BYU

"...he always left the house with his hair done, he was dressed nice, he was friendly to everyone. We all thought he was gay. But really he wasn't; he was just a nice guy."


Thursday, January 13, 2011

So worth it...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Subtitled: The Distressing Problem of Not Knowing Where One Word Stops and Another Begins 

Double Subtitled: Oh, Vanessa...Dear?...Just Keep Your Mouth Closed When You're Not Sure What The Nice Lady Just Said

So Anna-Lisa and I went to Santiago, Chile one weekend while we were on study abroad in Brazil. While we were there we thought it would be great to go to the Santiago Temple. As we were waiting to do sealings, one of the cute temple workers came over to talk to us, I was nearer to her and she approached me first.

At this point, I need to make an aside: I don't always get in Spanish where one word ends and another begins. Usually I'm just fine, no worries. But Chilean Spanish? Talk about a doozy. Oh, and the esses at the ends of words that they sometimes don't say? Lo gato instead of los gatos...
OK, back to the story.
The sister walks up to us and says usted-es-hermana... then pauses. Now I'm stuck in a quandary, do I respond to what may be a question or is she just gathering her thought? What do I do? What to say?

Another aside: She could have been saying ¿Usted es Hermana...? i.e. asking me, "You are Sister...?" asking me my last name for the sealings. Or she could have been saying "Ustedes hermana..." meaning "You sisters..." leaving off that all important final -s on hermanas.
BLERG!! What do I do? Do I respond with my last name? Do I wait for a bit? Oh no, oh no, she's still standing there, I think she wants my last name. Is she just gathering her thoughts? No, she wants my last name!


I blurted out my last name with a wonderfully smack-on Brazilian accent.
No, she was just saying "Ustedes hermanas..." (You sisters...)
How on earth is a Chilean temple worker going to understand that I'd just said my Anglicized Swedish last name with a Brazilian accent when that's not what she wanted at all?

She looked gobsmacked. ("Maybe this American has mental issues? Perhaps the one who looks more stable will understand me? [calling down blessings of the gift of tongues] Please let the other one understand, please, please... Oh! Phew! She's normal and understands me...")

Alright, I'm not sure that's what when on in her mind. But I'd lay a bet on it.

The sweet hermana walks away after saying her piece, Anna-Lisa practically falls over from laughing.
Periodically now my friends will just explode with a


sigh...why, oh why, Chileans don't you say those final esses?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2 Tim 1:7

I've been thinking a lot about 2 Timothy 1:7 lately. And by lately, I guess mean for eleven years.

I thought about titling this post The Ethics of Fear. Fear should never be the reason for a certain action. For a while I thought that if I was afraid of something, I should just do it because not doing something out of fear was irrational. Later I realized that doing something just because I was afraid of it was just as irrational. Fear simply shouldn't play a role in the decision. Fear as a motivator will never lead to lasting success in an endeavor.

Maybe the reason why this scripture seems so particularly salient presently is because of all of the fear-as-a-motivator blather that we've been hearing for the last few years. It's nothing new, but this tactic goes in waves. I'm sick of it. I change the channel. I ignore people when they talk like this. People win in the short run sometimes with these tactics, but the long-term effects are detrimental. Fear, simply, is not of God. Decisions based on fear cannot lead you closer to Him. Choices made based on fear will not give you greater knowledge and you certainly won't be able to tap into pure truth.

Two short videos, one from 1964 and the other from 1987 prove this point.

LBJ's ad that he ran only once before the 1964 presidential election:

The next video is President Reagan speaking at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987.

LBJ won the election, but it fed into fear and it certainly didn't help the feeling of the country at the time. Pres Reagan's speaks of the good that will happen and it gave us hope for a better future.

I wish we all could help to tamp down on the people spewing fear and lies out there. We would be better off as a society if we would push back against the fear, of this I'm sure.

My goal now is, if I feel fear, to take a step back and figure out why I'm afraid, try to put it aside and think about what I need to do. I'm aiming for peace, love and a sound mind.

There, I'm done bloviating again.
Oh, and as a facetious side note, if I were a football player, I would so put 2 Tim 1:7 on my eye black.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Different Trains

Just one more post for today, I promise.

Steve Reich did a project called Different Trains. He collected and interspersed interviews from people about and sounds of the trains from different points in our history. The first piece of the three is titled America -- Before the War (meaning WWII).

The second movement incorporates phrases from Holocaust survivors. Obviously it is the most haunting of the three. Listen to how the notes on the instruments mirror the tones of the voices. The piece is titled Europe -- During the War (wow. what an amazing production of that piece.)   The sounds are imitating the trains that carried the Jews to the death camps. At four minutes you can see and hear how the strings are nearly dead ringers for train horns.

The final of the three, appropriately named After the War, is reminiscent of a world trying to regain normalcy. You can still hear the sorrow from the second movement. The first movement was so effulgent with its upbeat sounds of future possibilities. I think the third movement is trying to bring that hope back, but its tempered with what we know from the horrifying second movement. But there are those hints of budding industrialization at the end, i.e. prosperity.

And if you've stuck with me this long, thru two Steve Reich posts, you just might be as crazy as I am.

Piano Phase

I find Steve Reich to be a fascinating composer. I don't know how to fully describe Piano Phase. It's harmonious and cacophonous, sometimes at the same time. How does he pull that off? It's usually performed by two pianists. I mean, it makes sense that it would be right?

Then you stumble onto crazy talented pianists like Peter Aidu.

I love it.

And, for good marching-band, pit-playing measure, here's Reich's Six Marimbas. Wow.

And for those of you who like The Gipsy Kings, here's some Clapping Music.

Friday, January 7, 2011

WIMotW: Edict 1's Supporting Evidence

Just saw this on The Onion's highly reputable news page:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Things That Just Shouldn't Be

It should not be 21 degrees warmer in Nome, Alaska than it is in Spanish Fork right now.

Also, lima beans. Those shouldn't exist either.