Tuesday, August 29, 2006

all the news

There's been a lot going on lately, and I don't have much time, but I did want to try and let everyone know about the important things.

New York

I had a blast in NYC with Katie. We did all the touristy things, my feet hurt really bad, I got some blood blisters, and I still have grime on my heels from the subway. The last night we were there, we went to see Sweeney Todd on Broadway, which was fabulous! I'd forgotten how much I love that show. The director won the Tony this year, and he surely deserved it. All of the actors were also the orchestra, so they had chairs and instruments placed to the side of the stage, where they would sit and play when they weren't directly involved in the scene. There were no scene changes, and no exits/entrances, so with the whole thing was intricately choreographed; every step taken was purposeful and exact. It was like watching a gigantic, three-hour dance.

Lava Hot Springs

In Idaho, the family got together to go to Lava Hot Springs for our annual "family reunion" (just the immediate family, which is why I did the extra quotes), where we had a great time floating down the river/creek on tubes. Our oldest sister didn't show up for any of it, and it wasn't until we arrived back at my parents' house in Idaho Falls that we found she -- along with her boyfriend and daughter -- had been in a terrible car accident, just a few miles from where we were in Lava. The boyfriend was driving, when a semi-truck lost control of the steering and got the trailer across both lanes of the highway and even onto the shoulder. There was no place for them to go, so they just ran into the trailer. The boyfriend is pretty scraped up and, if I understand correctly, has broken some bones. And he's the best off out of all of them. My sister was life-flighted to Idaho Falls, where she is in the ICU being treated and monitored for head trauma; it turns out that IF has one of the best head trauma units in the world, and they are trying to prevent swelling, clotting, or stroke. She's being kept under heavy sedation. Meanwhile, her daughter was life-flighted a day later to Salt Lake. She is more stable than her mom, and more conscious, but her spinal cord was severed and she is now paralyzed from the waist down. We are all praying hard for them and anxiously keeping each other updated about their condition. I will be sure to let everyone know about further developments as they arise.

new school year

The new term started yesterday, and I am feeling rather overwhelmed. For one thing, I had planned my trip to come back on Sunday night, so I didn't really have time to get myself prepared. I'm also having some trouble financially, and I don't have any of my books yet, which is starting to worry me. I also am taking 12 credits of grad courses this semester, instead of the more usual 9, and I'm beginning to worry about my ability to keep up with everything. On top of all that, I will soon be sustained for a new church calling, but more about that later.

On the other hand, though, I'm excited about all of my classes. Two of them are electives -- Historical Linguistics and Old English -- and the other two are required for the doctorate degree -- Scholarly Writing and Research Methods in Linguistics. I'm way pumped about my two electives (the second of which I will attend for the first time in about 1-1/2 hours), since I'm a geek and I love language. (I'm currently sitting on the floor of my living room, having just finished the first assignment for Old English, in which I read more or less slowly Old English sentences to understand the pronunciation. Those diphthongs can be troublesome!) The other two I'm actually also excited about. I expect them to be very helpful and informative. I just worry about the work load from all of it. I'm considering dropping Scholarly Writing and taking it next semester instead, but I can't decide just yet.


The last quote was from The Third Man, which I was watching at the time. Can't say that I'm surprised no one got it.

If God be for us, who can be against us?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Gacked from susygwen on LJ

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your LJ along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag five people.

"And when Mother and Father had announced to them that they were leaving the city to move to North Carolina, of all places, Valentine knew that they never expected to see Ender again. They were leaving the only place where he knew to find them. How would Ender find them here, among these trees, under this changeable and heavy sky? He had lived deep in corridors all his life, and if he was still in the Battle School, there was less of nature there."

That's right -- Ender's Game was the closest book for me tonight.

So You Think You Can Dance

Just one more quick note -- if you take a look at the sidebar, you will see that I'm currently watching the finale of "So You Think You Can Dance". I would like to comment about this a little. When I first watched a few episodes of "Dance" earlier this summer, I thought it looked pretty stupid. I didn't see how it could possibly become as popular as "American Idol" -- I just didn't see America clamoring for dancers. Frankly, I still think that could be a problem; I really don't think there's a very strong ... well, market for professional dance in America these days. But, I have to admit, watching the finale and the last episode before that, I have been very impressed. I think what has made both these shows -- "Dance" and "Idol" -- so successful is that they have focused on one particular talent and, bringing in experts who have worked extensively in that industry, they have trained their performers as they go, preparing them for an actual career with that talent. That makes the performers, in the end, much more performance-ready than shows like "Star Search" ever did. And, I'm really glad that Benji won; he's an excellent dancer, and he has a great stage presence too. I would be happy to watch him dance pretty much any time.

Ah ... "The opportunity to lecture [has] restored my good humour," as Amelia would say. :) Now I can go. I'm trying to decide between going to bed early and reading more of Ender's Game or watching The Third Man on TCM (it's Joseph Cotten day), going to bed later, and reading less of Ender. I'll probably do the former, but I sure do love The Third Man.


The last one was from "Here It Goes Again" by Ok Go, as Erin said. Sometime very soon I'll write all about how much I love this band, who I've only just discovered, thanks to my wonderful friends Kimberly and Erin. (Thanks, guys!) But not today.

Man: We do a little show each week. Last week we did Hamlet, and the week before that we had something ...

Sergeant: Striptease, sir.

Man: Yes, Hindu dancers, thank you, Sergeant.

(122 points)

Monday, August 14, 2006

important sightings

I saw The Albino Squirrel again today on campus. He was in the same place as where I've seen him before, between the Union and the Student Services Center. But this time, some guy was kneeling next to him, feeding him nuts out of his hand.

More importantly, I saw our good friend Thurbs yesterday at church. He came in late to our first meeting and sat down the row from me and passed me a note a few minutes later, saying he was sorry he hadn't called us earlier (broken cell phone, he claimed ... sure!). He also asked if we were busy that night. So I had to explain that my roommates were out of town for the week, I was all alone, but I wasn't doing anything. He didn't say anything else about the evening after that ... The fact is, he really just wanted to hang out with Erin, and since she wasn't around, he figured I wasn't worth his time. And really, I can't blame him -- if I were a 19-year-old guy, I would much rather hang out with Erin than with me any day.

Last quote was from "Seinfeld."

It might be ten, but then again, I can't remember half an hour since a quarter to four. (86 points)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

high and dry

All right, so my two roommates both left this morning to go home for a little while. For that matter, so did two of my good friends, and others have already left ... Clearly, it's the beginning of the between-summer-and-fall break. I've been left high and dry. And I have mixed feelings about it.

I will be working full-time all next week, since the girl who was working the afternoon shift at work quit this past week. Beginning Tuesday, I'll also be training the three newly-hired front desk workers. That should be fun.

I'll be all alone in the apartment this week, which will be nice in some ways. I can use a little alone time and the quiet atmosphere for some much-needed pondering. On the other hand, though, it makes life very ... well, quiet.

Did you know that John Hancock, before becoming a member of the Continental Congress, was a highly skilled smuggler? Yup. He took great pride in evading the British customs officers and helped to foster the all-important American spirit of insurrection. (I'm watching The History Channel right now, which is running a show called "Rumrunners, Moonshiners, and Bootleggers".)

Last night we went to the local YSA dance, which was really a lot of fun. We ended up getting there right at the beginning, before anybody else had really arrived. We spent about 30 minutes playing "volleyball" with beach balls (the dance had a luau/beach theme going on ...), and that was a blast! It reminded me a lot of the good days in Cinnamon Tree at BYU, when basically the whole ward would get together a big game of volleyball in the courtyard. I enjoyed that. I met several new people, including a girl who has just barely moved into our ward, and a couple of girls from one of the Dallas wards who were in the MTC together. And, most important of all -- I got to watch Erin shake her booty. Along with Michelle, which was really quite entertaining; those two look like twins when they're dancing. Oh yes, and I also found people to teach my classes during the two weeks when I'll be gone.

I just found out yesterday that the tentative Spring 2007 UNT class schedules are available online, so I've been trying to figure out what I am planning to take. I was excited to see that they are offering a class on Medieval English literature, which I will probably take. I expect I'll also take a class on American Lit. And maybe I can get started on getting permission for extra Special Problems courses and get going on metaphor, LDS literature, computer-based corpus linguistics, et cetera. For that matter, maybe I could take one or two of the computer classes and/or foreign language classes I've been looking into.

The last quote was from "Hello, Dolly!" Mr. Horace Vandergelder is really hilarious, and I've always liked Walter Matthau in that role. No points for you!!

Do you really wanna have fun, or are you just saying you wanna have fun?! (10 points)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006


So Margo and I helped take care of the dinner before the fireside on Sunday. We had a good time. Our friend Nikki is in charge of those dinners, and sometimes she's a bit shorthanded, so we offered to help out. We had spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and chocolate chip cookies as dessert.

After that, we all trooped into the chapel to watch BYU-TV for a while. The part we watched was a talk about personal revelation. It was really very good, and he brought up a lot of important principles concerning revelation. Things that the people in our ward need to know and practice.

Also on Sunday, Erin had a really bad migraine and ended up staying home from church. Since the light hurt her eyes, she tacked up a blanket over the window in the living room. Sometime before we came home from church, she decided to move it and herself into the bedroom, since she didn't think it would have been nice to make us sit around in the dark in our own living room, talking quietly so that her head wouldn't hurt too much. When Margo and I got home, we found her sitting in there, in near-complete darkness, huddled over her computer and trying to finish the homework she had due that day. The three of us chatted (quietly) for a while, and then Erin said that she thought we should keep the blanket up indefinitely. I wasn't entirely keen on that, since the darkness it creates is almost depressing to me, but I agreed that we could try it for a week or so and see how it worked out. Well, this morning, when I got out of bed, I was really very cold. Well ... chilled. It's hard to be actually cold in Texas. But I started thinking that the blanket over the window might not be such a bad thing after all. It's probably helping us save money, for one thing.

Oh yeah, yesterday I talked to the office at my apartment complex to see if they have any efficiencies or one-bedrooms that I could move into in December. They don't know yet what's available in December, and won't until early November. But they informed me that I could sign up for a transfer, which are offered on a first-come first-served basis, and I have to pay a thirty-dollar application fee. And, on top of that, there's a two-hundred-dollar fee for transferring once the apartment is assigned to me. So I think I'll be checking out a few other complexes in the vicinity to see if I can find something cheaper -- which I'm pretty sure I can.

I only have one and a half weeks left at work. Good thing, too -- today somebody made me so angry with her presumptuous impretinence that I nearly blew my top. I won't go into detail ... but I will say that it is someone I rarely work with there, and I've never yet been so angry at work. Generally, I quite like my job there. Most of the people I work with are very nice, very cooperative. And they generally like me, because I'm also nice, conscientious, and I actually do the work I'm assigned. But it will be nice to get back to teaching.

We're watching a Bones re-run on TV tonight, and I'm really enjoying it. I haven't seen it for some time, and I'd forgotten how much I love this show. Booth is wonderful! In this particular episode, he's being very protective of Brennan, since someone shot at her earlier, and it makes me really jealous. And also very anxious for the inevitable moment when he finally just takes the plunge and kisses her. *pause* I really need to start watching my real TV-boyfriend, Josh, again. I haven't seen him for some time, and it's clearly having an adverse effect on me.

For dinner tonight we had some Italian chicken from the crock-pot. Luckily, Erin was in communication with Kimberly, since it turned out that we didn't have one of the ingredients. Kimberly graciously consented to provide it from her own stores, and in return we allowed her to eat with us. And Margo made no-bake cookies for dinner, at my insistence. Yumm!!

I've been having a super time with the 2007 IKEA catalog the last few days, dreaming about what I would get to furnish my own apartment. As their website says, it puts all kinds of ideas in your head.

The last quote was from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. And in case I neglected to mention it (which I'm pretty sure I did), the Shakespearean Festival was fabulous. Especially Brian Vaughn in Hamlet. Stupendous, even. Vaughn is, without a doubt, one of my favorite actors on the legitimate stage.

Ninety percent of the people in this world are fools, and the rest of us are in great danger of contamination. (13 points)

Friday, August 4, 2006

super geekin' out!

Gosh, I can't even explain how obsessed I've been this past week.

But I'll try.

I've been reading more and more of the Amelia Peabody books that Kimberly has lent us. She did give me due warning that they get pretty intense. This past week I found myself entangled in the midst of a four-book "story arc," as Kimberly calls them (I don't know where she gets that term, but it works; I always wonder whether it's something she picked up during her English degree, which would make sense, since I have not spent much time in the world of English academics). One night, I had been reading later than I should have, and as the clock neared and passed midnight, I decided I'd better stop soon -- I would finish this section I was on and then go to bed. But then something immensely important happened. So of course I had to keep reading. And then in the next section something even more important happened. And so on, for the next several sections. I'm not just talking mild importance, either -- I'm talking major revelations and conflicts and resolutions that turn into even bigger conflicts. So then it was close to 3 AM before I finally made myself put the book away and lie down to sleep.

But that's only the beginning. The truly alarming thing is that it was another two hours or so before I was actually able to sleep. I was so thoroughly concerned about what was going on, and so completely at a loss as to how it would all resolve itself in the end, that I couldn't manage to get my mind to stop whirling. Even when I managed to force it away from thinking about Amelia and her family, it then immediately turned to some similar problems, of an equally vexing and equally fictitious nature. The last time I looked at the clock, it was past 4 AM, and it took me quite a while after that to finally sleep. I had to force myself to stay in bed -- to not camp out on the couch that night and read myself to sleep. Finally, I drowsed off, but even then I dreamt about Amelia. The odd thing about it was that I didn't dream about it in movie style, where you see the things going on; rather, I dreamt about myself reading about the situation and its resolution.

The last time I remember being so distraught about a book was during my senior year of high school. (There have been plenty of other obsessions since then, notably a semester at Ricks College when I devoured the Anne of Green Gables books, but none of them had quite the same emotional impact on me.) At the time, I was reading George Eliot's Middlemarch, and my mom and I had gone to Utah for some reason or other (quite possibly My Brother The Chiropractor's graduation from BYU) and were staying with my aunt. I was sleeping on the couch, and as I was determined to finish that book if it killed me, I read for several hours before going to sleep. As I went, I kept getting more and more involved in one particular plot (the main one, concerning Dorothea Brooke Casaubon, her crusty and pedantic husband, and his nephew, Will Ladislaw). [Mild spoiler ahead, inviso-texted between the asterisks.] *** I started to think to myself, "If only that nasty Mr. Casaubon would die!! That would take care of everything!" And then, at the end of that very chapter, he did die!!! I felt like I had personally killed him. It was terrifying. And no, it didn't solve everything (as one might have expected), so of course I had to continue on for another chapter or two. *** The chapters I read that night are among my favorites in the book, largely because my emotions were so highly involved in the development of the plot.

I've also become more and more interested in the ancient culture of the Middle East. I've long been interested in the languages (and thereby also the cultures) of the ancient civilizations of that region, and with the Amelia books being set in Egypt book after book after book, it's hard to curb my desire to learn Middle Egyptian, anything written in cuneiform (Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian ...), and even Arabic (though it is, of course, a much more modern language than the others).

In the midst of all this, I'm becoming increasinly annoyed with my program here. I feel very much as though I am ready to just strike out on my own and do my own research. I'm having a hard time deciding what I ought to do next in all of this -- transfer somewhere else (like the U of Chicago) where I'd be doing less English and more Linguistics, get going on a dissertation by distance from Lancaster, or just stick it out here. Some of the projects I'm interested in will take much more time than I can give them in a semester, or even in a few semesters with coursework going on, and I'm not very interested in most of the classes I have to take. (Except, of course, for Old English and Historical Linguistics this fall!) If anyone has some helpful advice, or even not-so-helpful advice, I'd love to hear what you think.

In the meantime, here's one of my favorite quotes from this week -- On Sunday, the Bishop mentioned that he'd like to talk with me for a few minutes, but said he didn't have time that day. Then he asked, "Will you be in town this week?" "Yep, all week," I told him. To which he promptly replied, "I'm not." Hmmm. That might present a slight problem, then. :)

Words are grown so false, I am loath to prove reason with them. (20 points)