Wednesday, October 3, 2007

blog moving

As of today, 3 October 2007, I have moved my blog to a new address. It is now hosted by WordPress at

I have imported my entire blog into that one, so all posts and comments are still available there. Please change your bookmarks, etc.

Monday, October 1, 2007

some things that are going on

I made doughnuts the other day, both raised and cake kind. I watched Alton Brown making them on Good Eats the other day (the raised kind) and thought to myself, "That looks like fun -- and tasty to boot!" So I decided to make some. When I mentioned this to my dad, he told me that our former bishop's wife (not our bishop's former wife) makes good doughnuts, so I asked her if she had any pointers. She gave me her cake doughnut recipe, and I made a batch of those too. I had some trouble getting the oil to the right temperature at first, but with a little help from Mom, they turned out just fine. The only trouble was that, by the time they were finished cooking, Dad had started his fast for the next day, and Mom and I were almost late for watching the Relief Society broadcast. So they're now sitting here -- at least two dozen of them, still. In the meantime, Dad and Mom have both become sick, and I'm afraid I'm coming down with it too. :(

The other day I had a fabulous run. It was rather late, so it was already dark, but I had missed my best opportunity earlier in the day, thinking it was going to rain. It didn't at the time, and while I waited for it to, it actually snowed for some time. But that had cleared up and melted away by the time of the RS broadcast, so afterward I went out for my run. I've recently learned that it's a great help to me when I run in places I'm unfamiliar with. So that day I took a path I never have before, and it was simply amazing. On the other day, today's run (which also followed a new path) was awful. I didn't make it for my whole time, but I was so out of breath and so horribly sick to my stomach that I simply couldn't make it any further. I'm hoping that had something to do with my feeling sick.

My brother and sister-in-law are going on vacation this week, taking a cruise to the Bahamas. They've hired me to "nanny" their five kids while they're gone. I'm looking forward to the extra money and the nannying experience. I just hope I don't get them sick! (B isn't worried about it, so I'm still planning to do.)

I got a new assistant for my FHE calling, which is nice. It's a load off my shoulders, and it was especially convenient today, when I was able to call her up and ask her to take over the whole she-bang since I'm not feeling well. (She was already in charge of the lesson anyway, so it wasn't that huge a deal.) I do feel a little bad for her, though, since this is now the third calling she has!

books & reading
Mom and I have been reading James's "The Turn of the Screw," which is great preparation for Halloween season. We both are finding James's syntax rather challengning, though. Today I told Mom that I might have to start pulling sentences from James as examples of poor syntax in my composition classes, and have the students re-arrange the clauses into more understandable sentences. (Though I'm not sure yet whether I would want to tell my students that these examples are from an established author.)

I also picked up a book from the library on the life of Augustine, which I'm excited for. I've decided that I have to do some real, serious reading this week, and I figure that will help me with my planned quick-through of Augustine's major writings that I borrowed from one of the professors at BYU-Idaho. I also got about four Georgette Heyer books, in hopes that these would help Mom and me through our illness.

As he pretended to ignore me, I pretended to ignore him. (21 points)

The last quote was from the Leslie Howard version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, one of my favorite moments in that movie. The quote before that was from an episode of Futurama -- Man 1 was the Professor, Man 2 was Fry, and [name] was Bender. I just think that show's is hilarious!!

musical monday: commercials

One thing about indie music is that it's cheap. That means that lots of companies are willing to pay the cheaper prices to use indie music in their commercials. And -- though I hate to admit it -- I kind of enjoy hearing great new music that way. So today's post is about some of the great music I've gotten to know from commercials in the last year or so.

Ingrid Michaelson: The Way I Am This is being used currently in an Old Navy commercial ("If you are chilly, here, take my sweater"). I love Michaelson's vocals, with the light but commanding tone of her voice. Can't get enough of it.
  • visit Ingrid Michaelson's website, where you can watch a YouTube video of her performing "The Way I Am" on Carson Daly's show and read the lyrics to the song

Feist: 1234 This is the song being featured in the Apple commercial for the new iPod nano with video (and, according to Wikipedia, in many other commercials). Though I don't love this song (I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars), it always reminds me of Feist's most familiar song, "Mushaboom," which I do love (5 of 5). Feist -- who also performs with Broken Social Scene -- has an ethereal, almost dream-like sound, and her lyrics always evoke for me early 20th-century domestic scenes. Maybe that's just me. "Mushaboom" was apparently quite a hit in the indie world, though, and several other artists have covered it (inlcuding the Postal Service).

Shiny Toy Guns: Le Disko I had already downloaded and fallen in love with this song (offered for free on iTunes) when I heard it used in some commercials for the TV show So You Think You Can Dance? and then, later, for Motorola's fancy-shmancy Razr2 V8 cell phone.

Iron & Wine: Such Great Heights I discovered this song when it was used in an M&Ms commercial, about a year ago. It stuck in my head, even though I didn't know it, and I loved the lyrics (the little of them I could hear in the commercial). So I had to Google it and find out what it was. As it turns out, Iron & Wine's version was a cover of a Postal Service song, and I prefer the original these days. Mostly, though, I love the lyrics in this song: "I'm thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned; and I have to speculate that God himself did make us into corresponding shapes like puzzle pieces from the clay." They're great!
  • visit Iron & Wine's website -- which frankly doesn't have anything that great; well, OK, you can launch a music player, but it only has three songs (none of which are "Such Great Heights")

  • visit The Postal Service's website, where you can download "Such Great Heights" (go to Downloads in the menu) and check out the Such Great Heights EP, which inlcudes Iron & Wine's cover (Discography in the menu)

Of Montreal: Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games I haven't actually heard this song in a commercial itself, but when I first listened to it as an IndieFeed podcast, I found that I couldn't give it a fair chance because the tune is used in Outback Steakhouse commercials these days -- and annoys the crap out of me. I also don't much care for the rest of Of Montreal's music and mostly just find them weird.

Friday, September 28, 2007

the percy senility fund

I'm sorry to say that my faithful Dell Inspiron 600m laptop computer (aka Sir Percy, aka Ladislaw) has officially become senile.

I just had a new hard-drive installed last Christmas, which more than doubled my disk space. But ever since then, things have only been getting worse. The power cord has frayed right near where it plugs into the computer. Around May, near the end of the semester, I finally bit the bullet and bought a new cord, out of fear that I would lose all my data and have no way to retrieve it.

The universal power cord worked fine for a while, except for one thing: it couldn't charge my battery (which is, itself, a hand-me-down from my brother-in-law when he bought a new computer). That wasn't too awful, since I have become accustomed to not using my battery much. And I could still pull out the original power cord from Dell and plug it in for a while, just long enough to get the battery charged up. But it was still annoying.

Then the universal power cord started having trouble of its own. I'm not sure, but it seems that part of my laptop where the power cord plugs in has become loose, so that the cord doesn't fit it right. That was a very annoying problem all during the summer (mind, this started only about a month or two after I first bought the cord -- which was pretty pricey, too). Still, things worked all right.

In the meantime, besides all the power cord drama (which is by no means finished yet ... stay tuned), my computer has just plain been running slowly lately. Even when I clean up my files and de-frag the hard-drive, it doesn't help much. I've been thinking for a while now that I would like get more RAM, but that is both expensive and difficult. So I'm making due instead.

Now, to finish the power cord drama: It's recently been getting harder and harder to get either power cord (the original or the universal) to stay in the right position, so that they are actually providing power to the laptop. That means that, unless I either command the luck of the gods or decide to sit with my hand pressing the cord in just the right place, the battery runs down to critical levels. This has happened a number of times in the last few weeks, but today it's been worse than ever. I have sat all day long with my hand pushing the cord, and after leaving it for a mere hour and a half (while I ran Mom for an emergency chiropractic visit -- seriously), it had already run down the battery completley. As in, 0% battery remaining. Clearly the battery is getting old, too.

I'm not sure it's worth it at this point to upgrade everything. Actually, I've been thinking that for quite a while now, but I have been holding off on looking for a new computer because I didn't want to buy another until I could afford a MacBook Pro. And I was far from affording a MacBook Pro. Still am.

So, in hopes of raising awareness about Laptop Senility Dysfunction (LSD) -- and also some money -- I am establishing the Percy Senility Fund. Should you wish to contribute, please send me an email, and I will provide donation details. (If you don't know my email address, I don't know you well enough to trust an email from you, so ... I guess we'll have to figure out some other donation possibility. Maybe a PayPal account.)

Plain? It's as ugly as a parson's widow! (22 points)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

good news

the good news first
The internet is working again! We finally got the phone service switched back, so that we are now able to use both the internet and the phones at the same time. Life is very, very happy again!

ramblin muse
I also recently took the plunge and registered at, so that I'm able to (a) post on the discussion board (assuming I ever want to) and (b) edit my own content. It's really a pretty cool site, and I'm not just saying that because I happen to adore Muse. There is a media player embedded in the bottom right-hand corner, where you can listen to music and watch videos -- and it's the whole song, not just a 30- or 60-second clip like most artists give you. When you register you can also edit your own playlist, so that it plays exactly what music and videos you want, and it allows you to use any and every song from all of their five main albums, as well as every official music video they've done and even a couple of live gigs.

Didn't mean to go on about that so much. I promise I'll find a new interest soon so that I have more to talk about than just Muse. In the meantime, thanks for your patience!

back to the good news
So, to reiterate: the internet at our house is working once again. That means that you are sure to see more regular posts on my blog. Yay! And more points for all! And I don't have to stay up late to use the internet anymore (so that I can disconnect the phones when we don't expect to need them). And I can listen to podcasts regularly. And ... the list of goodness goes on and on!
Man 1: Well, throw him out in the street.

Man 2: Wait, wait! [name] is my best friend. We can't just throw him out like Grandma's ashes!

(38 points, plus 5 for each character you can name in that exchange)

Monday, September 24, 2007

musical monday: the used

I promise that I will post a real update soon and tell you all what's going on in my life. The trouble, you see, is that there's not much going on right now. But as soon as there's something to tell, you can be sure I will do so.

This week's Musical Monday is about The Used. I love their song "The Bird and the Worm," even though I've only heard it a few times. It's one of those rare (for me) songs that grabbed me the first time I ever heard it. The lyrics are fascinating -- I especially love the first line: "He wears his heart safety-pinned to his backpack" -- and the layers and varieties of sounds on the track create a real depth.

Enjoy the YouTube version I've embedded below -- and please don't forget to comment and let me know what you think, whether you hate it, love it, or don't think it's worth either of those extremes.

read the lyrics

some memes ...

... because I'm bored and not yet ready to go to sleep.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Boston

You definitely have a Boston accent, even if you think you don't. Of course, that doesn't mean you are from the Boston area, you may also be from New Hampshire or Maine.

The West
The Midland
North Central
The Northeast
The Inland North
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Here's the trouble: I grew up in the West, but I've also lived overseas a few times and have always been very conscious of how I speak. By the time I was 16, strangers told me I sounded European. So I think this quiz is just plain messed up for me. I'll tell you one thing: I for sure don't have a Boston accent.

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

You have odd obsessions that you cannot seem to control. You may even perform rituals to make you feel better. Counting and continuously obsessing over things happens frequently.

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
Manic Depressive
What mental disorder do you have?

I've known this for a long time ... no big surprises.

How will I die?
Your Result: You will die while saving someone's life.

The most noble of all deaths. Your rewards will be great in the next life. You are most definitely a humanitarian. If not currently, you will be. To give one's life is a precious moment that will be remembered by friends and family for many decades.

You will die in a car accident.
You will die while having sex.
You will die in your sleep.
You will die from a terminal illness.
You will die of boredom.
You will die in a nuclear holocaust.
You will be murdered.
How will I die?
Create a Quiz

Cool! Sounds to me like a great way to go. Thing is, they don't have that classic method-of-death, "old age." I wonder how that would change the results.

Which God or Goddess are you like?
Your Result: Budha

You are Budha. You are a very peaceful person, you love all who love you. You are a cheerful personality, and you have a great sense of humor. Congratulations!! You are Budha!!

The Christian God
Goddess Bast
Goddess Sekhemet
God Zeus
You are your own God or Goddess
Which God or Goddess are you like?
Make Your Own Quiz

Buddha? Have to say, I'm surprised by this one. And a bit disappointed that I'm not Bast. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

musical monday: eve 6

One of the great things about the free exchange of digital music is that I'm constantly re-discovering music I'm familiar with but didn't know especially well. During one recent exchange, I got a song from NM that I've always liked, but until the exchange took place I didn't know what the song was called, or who it was by. I now know that it's "Inside Out" by Eve 6, and since I can now listen to it any time I want, I'm more familiar with the lyrics. I've always loved the line, "Wanna put my tender heart in a blender, watch it spin round to a beautiful oblivion." How utterly expressive! And who would think to rhyme 'tender' with 'blender'?

It turns out there's some debate over a few of the words (e.g., 'rhines' versus 'rinds' in the second line). Regardless of this debate, though, I very much enjoy the rhymes in the song, as well as the subtle plays on words: 'doubt' played against 'faith,' 'spin' against 'rendezvous,' the connection of 'time,' 'stale,' 'tick-tock,' and 'clock,' and the opposition of 'sane and logical' with 'tear it off the wall' -- and that's only the first verse!

Compare lyrics: LyricsFreak ~ Seek Lyrics ~ Lyrics Depot

Check out Eve 6: Official Site ~ Google Music ~ Wikipedia ~ AllMusicGuide

Saturday, September 15, 2007

phd comics

Mega-thanks to Shallow Man for the link to PhD Comics. I find these really funny -- which I should, since I'm a grad student. This is my favorite so far -- it really hits home.

Also, thanks to both Shallow Man and Elliespen for letting me stay with for my Muse concert. :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

muse high

I'm in a weird place today -- I am still partly coming off my high from seeing Muse in concert on Wednesday, which makes me both elated and deeply depressed (something that sublimity always does to me), and in addition my body is dealing with the odd sleeping patterns of the last two nights, which makes me groggy, lethargic, and a tad grumpy.

See, I didn't end up going to bed on Wednesday until 3:00 am, since I decided to wait around in the cold after the show and see if I could catch the band. Happily, I did, and the three-hour wait was actually worth it. If anything, I am only the more besotted by the experience. I was really worried for a while that they weren't going to come out or come talk to us or anything, but they did, and they were extremely gracious about the whole thing. I, personally, act like a complete idiot in these situations -- what exactly do you say to people you've never met before but have such profound respect for because of their work (I fully believe that Matt, Chris, and Dom are musical geniuses, in the most literal sense of the word)? Anyway, I mostly stood there like an idiot, listening to them talk to the other fans. I was really impressed with Matt -- when my "friend," Julie (whom I met that night while waiting for the band) told him she had seen them perform in Tokyo, he asked, "Which venue? We played four there." She told him the venue, and he replied, "Oh yeah, that was a good show -- that's where we played the longest set out there." Honestly, I'm amazed that he would remember details like that, considering how many gigs they play in one year (let alone the 14 that they've been together as Muse). All three of them were wonderfully gracious, as I said, and they even signed my "Absolution" CD -- even though I was a complete dork and had to tell them, "I don't have a pen, but I was hoping I could get an autograph." I had to tell this to all three of them separately, as they moved among us, which only made me feel that much more dorky about it. I've learned my lesson, though: always take a Sharpie with you to a concert, just in case you decide to ask for autographs and the "talents" don't have any.

So, to sum up the whole evening: It was a great concert, my niece and her friend were great fun to hang out with, Juliette and the Licks (supporting band) were just plain goofy but did a great cover of "Hot Stuff", I was greatly upset that Cold War Kids didn't come as support, I just about lost my voice (from singing with Muse) and my hearing (from listening to Muse), I now have an autographed CD from the band -- and I even got to touch Matt Bellamy. (Marriage Plan A is SO still in play!)

P.S. Apologies to LS and K about where I got my autographs -- none for you, guys! :)

MuseWiki's page on the Orem concert -- complete with set list, but not much else at the moment.

Your dark shines, bringing me down -- making my heart feel sore, 'cause it's good. (12 points -- today's quote is fairly easy, but it's the best one for describing how I feel after seeing Muse)

The last quote (in the post runner's high) was from a Muse song, "Bliss." Shocker.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I'm off to Muse! See you on the other side.

Monday, September 10, 2007

musical monday: muse

In anticipation of my first ever Muse concert (have I mentioned how excited I am?), today's Musical Monday is a list of my top ten favorite lines from Muse songs, with occasional comments.

Back in May I created a post about things I love about Muse. That post was mostly about their attitude -- not totally out-of-bounds, but more than willing to toe the line and even take a few steps over it. I want to just add that one of my favorite things about Muse is their lyrics. While I realize that they don't quite rank with the likes of Kit Marlowe, George Herbert, or T. S. Eliot, I do think Matt Bellamy has a real genius for lyrics. They are sometimes surprisingly profound, sometimes goofy, and sometimes just so durned ambiguous -- it makes for great interpretation possibilities.

10. It's happening soon, it's happening soon -- its scent has been blowing in my directioon. ("Fillip" from Showbiz)

This makes the bottom of the list, because I don't care that much about the actual line -- mostly I just love how Matt alters the final vowel in "direction" so that it quasi-rhymes with "soon." Makes me smile every time.
9. You needed it when I was away, and no matter what I say, you'll never forget when I wasn't there -- so why should I care? ("Overdue" from Absolution)
8. I'm not breaking down, I'm breaking out. ("Hysteria" from Absolution)
7. You would do anything and you would say anything to escape your meaningless and your insignificance. ... Why can't you just love her? Why be such a monster? ("Escape" from Showbiz)

I love the use of "meaningless" as a noun in #7.
6. For one moment I wish you'd hold your stage with no feelings at all. ("Citizen Erased" from Origin of Symmetry)

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, but I still think it's great.
5. I don't want you to adore me, don't want you to ignore me when it pleases you. ... I have played in every toilet, but you just want to spoil it to prove I've made a big mistake. ("Muscle Museum" from Showbiz)

I've felt this way so many times, and I always love finding my own feelings expressed in someone else's words -- makes me feel not so alone, I suppose.
4. Paradise comes at a price that I am not prepared to pay. ("Megalomania" from Showbiz)
3. Everything about you resonates happiness, now I won't settle for less. ("Bliss" from Origin of Symmetry)
2. This is the last time I'll abandon you, and this is the last time I'll forget you -- I wish I could. ("Stockholm Syndrome" from Absolution)
1. I've had recurring nightmares that I was loved for who I am and missed the opportunity to be a better man. ("Hoodoo" from Black Holes and Revelations)

I've honestly never cared much for the song "Hoodoo," so I didn't pay much attention to the words until I was getting this list ready. When I found this line, it immediately gained first place in my list of favorite Muse lines.

runner's high

I have recently taken up running. By "recently" I mean, about three weeks ago. I've never liked running before, but I rather suddenly decided I wanted to start it and keep on with it. It helped a lot that I found some great online resources (like The Complete Running Network), which have helped me learn how to choose the right shoes, how to push myself through the hard parts, how to improve my breathing, avoid injuries, and increase my endurance -- among other things. So, for once in my life, I'm actually enjoying running.

Tonight, though, was the best run I've had since I've been back in Idaho. I usually just run in the neighborhood so that I can get going straight out of my parents' door. But tonight I drove down to the greenbelt by the Snake River to run. Mom came with me and sat in the car reading and watching my things, which helped a lot. It was the first time since I've been here that I felt like running further or longer than I was strictly supposed to -- which, in my book, is a good sign.

Everything about you resonates happiness, now I won't settle for less. (12 points)

Friday, September 7, 2007

updated, plus my top twenty favorite lyrics (part two)

I have to explain what's been going first. My parents recently purchased and installed a new VoIP phone system, but once we got the phones working, then the internet wouldn't work. We've been trying for the last week to get the problem fixed so that both the phones and the internet work, which is partially obstructed by the fact that my mom can't seem to decide whether she wants to just cancel the service or not. In the meantime, I've been mostly living offline ... except for really big tasks (such as applying for jobs), for which I go over to my brother's house.

But for the evening, I have the phone line knocked out and the internet hooked up again while Mom and Dad are at the temple, so I'm taking advantage of the time to update my blog and write some emails.

I've decided I want to start doing a weekly music moment, where I can share my favorite lyrics, musicians, and songs. I plan to normally do this on Mondays (musical Mondays -- gotta love the alliteration!), but this week I'm pretty behind-hand, owing to the above-mentioned internet problems.

So, with apologies for its late-ness, here is the second half of my favorite lyrics list:

10. Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once? I am one of those melodramatic fools, neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it. (Green Day, "Basket Case")
9. Delilah, I can promise you that by the time that we get through, the world will never, ever be the same, and you're to blame. (Plain White T's, "Hey There Delilah")
8. Feels like lightning running through my veins, every time I look at you. (David Gray, "Please Forgive Me")
7. Couldn't take the blame, sick with shame; must be exhausting to lose your own game. Selfishly hated, no wonder you're jaded; you can't play the victim this time. (Evanescence, "Call Me When You're Sober")
6. I won't be seeing you for a long while, I hope it's not as long as these country miles. (Camera Obscura, "Country Mile")
5. Don't believe that the weather is perfect the day that you die. (Armor for Sleep, "The Truth About Heaven")
4. I should, I wish I could, maybe if you were I would -- a list of standard-issue regrets. (Ok Go, "A Million Ways")
3. I need your grace to remind me to find my own. (Snow Patrol, "Chasing Cars")
2. The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair. (Relient k, "Be My Escape")
1. I am a writer, writer of fictions. I am the heart that you call home. And I've written pages upon pages trying to rid you from my bones. (The Decemberists, "Engine Driver")

So there you have it -- my favorite lyrics. As mentioned, this list is by no means complete, and you can be certain you'll be getting lots more of this in future weeks. And thanks, NM, for sharing some of yours!

Monday, August 27, 2007

my top twenty favorite lyrics ... part one

Driving through Wyoming and Idaho, believe it or not, does have its plus side: it's a perfect time for listening to all kinds of music. It was during one such drive that I "discovered" Camera Obscura and Arcade Fire (thanks, Erin and NM!).

This time as I drove, I got thinking about how much I love certain lyrics. And I thought to myself, "Self, why not share those lyrics with your handful of faithful readers? Maybe some of them will discover some new music that they love as well."

This list is not entirely complete. For one thing, I'm not putting any Muse lyrics in here -- there are just too many of them that I love too much, so I've decided to make a separate post for them later on. For another, I'm focusing right now on the alternative and indie music I've grown to love during the last year or so (thanks again, Erin and NM ... and Stephenie Meyer), so there are no lyrics from Gershwin or Berlin or ... whoever wrote all those Bing Crosby/Frank Sinatra/Rosemary Clooney lyrics. Another time, perhaps.

For another thing, I have left out several of my very favoritest lyrics, having decided that the lyrics for these whole songs were too good to be able to just pick one or two lines. So, I will post another list sometime (probably quite soon) with these.

The list is also rather flexible -- a lot depends on my particular mood, and I know I'm missing some that I have thought about in the last week as favorite lyrics. I was originally planning, in fact, to make this a top ten list, but I couldn't narrow it down quite that far. But, at the same time, twenty things is a lot to take at once. So I'm giving you the first (or last) ten today, and the rest I will save for another day.

Anyway, with no further ado (since we've had ado a-plenty at this point), here is part one of my top twenty favorite lyrics.

20. Face down in the dirt, she said, "This doesn't hurt." (Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, "Face Down")
19. I am not afraid to keep on living, I am not afraid to walk this world alone. (My Chemical Romance, "Famous Last Words")
18. If I threw my guitar out the window, so far down, would I start to regret it, or would I smile and watch it slowly fall? (Cake, "Guitar")
17. She left me roses by the stairs -- surprises let me know she cares. (blink-182, "All the Small Things")
16. And as for now, I'm gonna hear the saddest songs and sit alone and wonder how you're making out. And as for me, I wish that I was anywhere, with anyone, making out. (Dashboard Confessional, "Screaming Infidelities")
15. With a name I'd never chosen, I can make my first steps as a child of twenty-five. ... Just because I'm sorry doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it at the time. (Snow Patrol, "Chocolate")
14. So never look behind you, spooky people make you cry. The world is ending, there's a party by the bay. (Blue October, "Sound of Pulling Heaven Down")
13. In a car, underwater, with time to kill. Thinking back, I forgot to tell you this: I didn't care that you left and abandoned me; what hurts more is, I would still die for you. (Armor for Sleep, "Car Underwater")
12. My heart is playing like a violin. (The Clientele, "Here Comes the Phantom")
11. But that's how it's gotta be, it's coming down to nothing more than apathy -- I'd rather run the other way than stay and see the smoke and who's still standing when it clears. ... I wish you were a stranger, I could disengage. ... I'm losing you and it's effortless. (The Fray, "Over My Head (Cable Car)")
So, now it's your turn -- tell me about some of your favorite lyrics. Are any of them the same as mine (so far)? Do you love some songs or artists that I don't know yet?

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Just wanted to let everyone know that I am safely back in Idaho Falls now, with Mom and Dad. I'm staying upstairs, which is sad because it means my room is smaller, but good because it means I get better cell phone reception.

Last Saturday we had a family reunion, and it was great to see all of my siblings and nieces and nephews. We played laser tag (my dad even played!) and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, and Dance Dance Revolution (except it wasn't really), and I got a real kick out of watching my sister play Whac-A-Mole. She's got some unreleased agression, she does. :)

This week I have been out job searching. I've applied at two temp agencies (with an interview tomorrow for one of them), hoping to get some clerical work for the month of September, before Lancaster University's school year begins. I've also applied at Barnes and Noble, though it's low on my preferences list, and I'm going to apply for substitute teaching in the local school district.

Most importantly, though, I have a phone interview tomorrow morning with a college in Seattle, who are considering me for an online course in the fall. I'm hoping that will work out. It would be great to have a steady income like that, not to mention the teaching experience, and the online teaching experience, and the "foot in the door" in Seattle. Wish me luck!

Things are looking up -- it's a great little world we live in! (23 points)

The last two quotes, which Erin (naturally) got right, were from Muse's "Falling Away With You," and School of Rock.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I've lately been working a temp job in the credit department of a local flour company. That's right. I process paperwork all day. In case you were unsure, it's as boring as all get-out. Not to mention repetitive. Highly repetitive.

I do quite well with repetitive work, really. I enjoy not having to think too hard and being able to concentrate on other things (like audiobooks, or -- this week -- the glory of Muse). But I do have a tendency, when performing repetitive tasks, to work a little too quickly, overlooking things and letting errors slip in. To combat this weakness of mine, I have been double- and triple-checking my work at the flour mill, trying to slow myself down. I checked things that no one cared about (i.e., Are these invoices all in the same order that they were listed in on the DOS print-out I used when compiling them?), just to make sure I didn't let my desire for speed overtake my desire for quality work.

Even so, the other day, one of my co-workers genially suggested, "You don't have to work so fast." I didn't have a response to that -- anything I could think of to say would probably have sounded like bragging.

Besides all the tedious work, though, there is also the issue of my supervisor. I like her just fine ... except that I'm not sure she always really knows what she's doing. The other day she assured me that the invoice notes -- written in French, for a Canadian-based company -- indicated that samples had been given to the company (therefore, our department would credit their account for the goods they had incorrectly been billed for). I couldn't figure out how she got that from looking at the invoice, so I asked. "I speak French," she responded -- as though this made the whole thing obvious. I looked at her blankly for a moment. "So do I," I finally said. "But I still don't see how you're getting that." "It's written at the top of the page," she told me. I looked again and then held it up for her, pointing to the word frais written in all-caps at the top of the page. "You mean this?" I asked. "Yep. It says 'free.' That means samples." Now, my French is not the best, I will readily admit. But I happen to know that the word frais means 'fresh.' I looked it up today and learned that it can also mean 'fees.' But 'free' it does not mean. That would be gratis. Unless there's some weird French-Canadian thing going on here that I'm unaware of -- which is entirely possible. But my point here is that my supervisor has a tendency to pretend that she knows what's going on, even when doesn't really (which I suspect is most of the time). [NB: Remind me to tell you all someday about the phony math formula she gave us.]

So, between being assured of various "facts" that I happen to know are false, and constantly surprising people with my super-speedy skills, and having recently stayed up all night (literally -- went to bed at 6:30 am) to read Eclipse, I found myself this week sitting at work and wondering, "What would Edward do?"

Clearly, others in cyber-space have beat me to the punch here, but I still found myself amused by my own thought.

You know, I'm not so sure I'd want to be a vampire -- at least not the way that the Cullens do it. Can you imagine the eternal torture of sitting around at high school year after year after year, listening to lectures on things you already know -- because you already have a plethora of undergraduate, graduate, and professional university degrees -- ignoring information that is blatantly incorrect, and pretending not to mind any of it? Or constantly moving at a significantly slower speed than you are naturally inclined to, just so that people won't get suspicious? I actually tried slowing myself down this week -- not just the double-checking stuff, but actually working slowly, making myself take more time than necessary to lift my pen and make a check-mark -- just to see what it was like. Torturous, that's the word.

I hope Bella knows what she's getting herself into.

If I were a creative writer, I would give you a snap-shot of some of things I thought about this week -- imagining Edward or Bella working in my job, and their reactions to the things I find so frustrating. But I'll leave that kind of thing up to the scritcher.

I can't remember when it was good; moments of happiness elude. (68 points)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My future plans

Well, folks, here it is. The decision of the moment. After much debate and summer's worth of attempting to be decisive about my future, it comes down to this: I'm moving home. As in, with my parents.

I hate the thought of it, I really do. I can't stand the idea that I'm 28 and have multiple college degrees, and yet I will be living with my parents. Again. But the fact is that I just can't afford to move anywhere else right now, financially speaking. And, even though I've had many, many kind offers to live with various friends (thanks, guys!), this is actually the decision that feels the most right to me for the time being. I'm worried that I'm going to start acting like a bratty teenager. Oh well -- at least I'll relate better to my nieces and nephews. :)

And, on the bright side, I will still get to see Muse in concert in Orem on September 12th! Can't wait. About once a day, as I'm listening to them, I briefly hyperventilate in anticipation of said event.

So don't waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome, 'cause The Man's just gonna call you a fat, washed-up loser and crush your soul. So just do yourselves a favor, and just give up!! (31 points)

Friday, July 27, 2007

some memes

Your Personality Profile
You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.
For you, comfort and calm are very important.You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.
The World's Shortest Personality Test

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

You Belong in the UK

A little proper, a little saucy.
You're so witty and charming...
No one notices your curry breath


You are a very calm and contemplative person. Others are drawn to your peaceful, nurturing nature.

Find out your color at!

You Are an Emo Rocker!

Expressive and deep, lyrics are really your thing.
That doesn't mean you don't rock out...
You just rock out with meaning.
For you, rock is more about connecting than grandstanding.

some good news

I've been pretty down lately, feeling like I don't have real plans for the fall and that nothing is going to come through. Today, especially, it was a real struggle to keep myself afloat.

I have to admit -- though it will make me sound a tad foolish -- that this is partly due to a mild depression over the end of the Harry Potter series. I always get slightly depressed from reading a really good book -- it's my test for what makes a book "great" -- and this one was a little worse because it's the end of a whole series. No more Harry. Well, not new Harry, anyway.

Also, I've had a hard time sleeping lately. I'm not sure how much of that is from staying up late at night to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, how much is due to the stress of filling out applications, and how much is just plain insomnia. But it doesn't help my mood during the day, I'll just say that.

I really hate all of my viable options for the fall. Every one of them involves living with someone -- sponging off them, basically -- and I really hate that. I've had a good time in Kansas with Margo, but it stresses me, too, to know that I'm mooching off her and her family. But the plain fact is that I'm going to have to live with someone else for a while. I'm in no financial position to be finding my own place right off the bat. So I'm coming to terms with that.

But there are glimmers of light among all this darkness.

First, I got my hair cut today. Margo's cousin has a cosmetology license, and she cut it for a very reasonable price. I'd heard rave reviews about her work -- although admittedly all from her family -- so I was looking forward to having it done well. And so far, I'm very happy with it. Margo tried to convince me to chop it off, but I just got it trimmed, so it's still pretty long.

Second, I finished two of my applications today. Well, mostly at least -- I still have to get letters of reference and transcripts in for one place. But the other application (which only required a cover letter and CV) is completely done. I'm planning to mail it tomorrow. On Monday I'm going to call up to ... the first place ... and ask whether it's OK with them to have references and transcripts sent directly to the department.

So, all is not lost. I will go on, and I will enjoy life, and somehow things will work out. And tomorrow I'm going on a temple trip with the local branch, and I plan to have a good, long talk with Heavenly Father about all my options and frustrations -- and that will make things better, whether in one way or another.

Optimism is always harder than pessimism. (Not a direct quote, but it's a philosophy espoused by ... 25 points)

Monday, July 23, 2007

just finished ...

I have now finished reading the account of Harry Potter's epic life.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2007

my how time flies!

So here we all are ... in JULY!

And not just July, but nearly the end of July. Crazy!

I have to apologize for not updating much this summer. I have no decent excuse. I'm just a bum.

For a few weeks I was working at a temp job in Wichita. I've had the last week and a half off, and I've been busy, busy working on applications for part-time teaching positions for the fall. I'll be sure and let you all know when I get a job and where it is. Meanwhile, I've been set apart as a Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher in the local YSA branch here. That's been fun.

More importantly, however -- the final Harry Potter book comes out this weekend! The closer it gets, the more excited I find myself. There are several businesses and libraries out here counting down the days -- some on their outdoor marquees -- and whenever I go past one and realize how little time is left, it gives me a little thrill. (I know ... it's the small things.) I'm taking quite a chance with this one, not having reserved a copy anywhere. I find I don't appreciate all the hoop-la at places like Barnes & Noble, and when Half-Blood Prince came out in 2005, I learned that virtually no one gets their Harry Potter books at Wal-Mart in the middle of the night, so that's what I've been banking on.

Last night I actually dreamt about getting my copy of Deathly Hallows. Margo and I went to Wal-Mart -- only after welcoming her friend to the area, who's visiting for the weekend -- and as we drove home from her aunt's house, I made her stop at the closest possible Wal-Mart so that I could start reading in the car. When we got into Wal-Mart, I easily picked up my copy (I was careful to get one that hadn't been too badly damaged in the rush to get it out at exactly 12:01 am), but there was a vague sense of foreboding afterward. I woke up right after that, so I'm not sure what kind of foreboding it was, or what it might have betokened. I hope it's nothing too harmful.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

so here's the deal, part 2

I didn't sleep too well at C & B's house the other night. More importantly, when I came back home the next day, I discovered that there is no dead-bolt on the house door. Apparently, it just got stuck a little, and I panicked and assumed that it was still locked. I guess the joke's on me.

I'm at a complete loss for an appropriate quote right now, so we're going to do something different this time: You send me your best quote, and I'll choose my favorite one and award 100 points to the winner. (Also, for my own entertainment, I'll do my best to guess where each one originated.) The last quote was from The Lake House, which I watched on Sunday with C.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

so here's the deal

First off, I just want to apprise everyone that I did, indeed, take the Master's Comps Exam. It was this past Friday (June 8), and I'm now trying not to think about it, or else I'll drive myself crazy trying to figure out how it did.

So, right now I'm staying with Margo near Wichita -- and Margo it staying with her parents -- and her parents are living in their parents' house. But Margo and her family left on a week-long vacation this morning, leaving me here to house-sit. At the same time, though, Margo's grandparents are in town for just the weekend, leaving tomorrow or the day after. They arrived this afternoon while I was at church, and they were out for a family gathering when I returned, and then I was out all night with some friends from the local singles branch.

When I got back to the house tonight, around 11:00 pm, I parked the car quietly out at the curb, noting the unfamiliar car in the driveway -- which, as I rightly assumed, belonged to Grandma and Grandpa. I turned off the ignition, gathered my things together, got out, and walked up to the front door, taking out the house-key that Margo had left with me for my week alone. Moving as quietly as possible, I placed the key in the lock and turned it -- the wrong direction. Other doo-dads on my key-chain hit the lintel as I did so, and I quickly stifled them. Working even more carefully, I turned the key the other direction, pleased to hear the soft click of the bolt sliding back. But when I pushed on the door, it wouldn't open.

They had locked the dead-bolt.

Not knowing what else to do, I re-locked the bolt I had just loosened, and then walked around by the side of the house to see if, by any chance, there might be a way to get into the backyard from there -- like there used to be at my parents' house when I was growing up. I soon realized, though, that even if I could get into the backyard, I still wouldn't be able to get into the house from there. So I stood stock still in the middle of the driveway, trying to decide what to do.

As I saw it, there were two options. I could ring the doorbell and wake up Margo's grandparents, apologize profusely for getting them out of bed, and then feel like a jerk for making a fuss when I'm already staying in their home for free. Or I could return to friends' apartment I had just left and ask to spend the night on their couch.

I decided to first call Margo, to find out if she had any particular advice or wisdom for the situation. She might be able to tell me whether it would be a bad idea to wake up her grandparents. Walking back to the car, I got in, unrolled the windows, and called Margo on my cell phone. No answer.

So I called the only other person whose advice I felt I could trust -- and who I knew would still be awake at eleven o'clock in the evening. Erin's sister answered on the third ring and handed the phone over right away. Erin laughed with me about my quandary, and eventually we decided it was better to spend the night at C & B's place than to wake up grandparents I barely knew.

And thus it came about that I am spending the night away from my new Kansas home, in the apartment of a couple of brand-new friends -- people I hardly knew until about three days ago, and who have very kindly taken me on as a friend during my Kansas stay -- with no toothbrush, no pajamas, and whole lot of gratitude.
Great -- our first fight. You can write a song about it and go sing it in San Francisco. (23 points; the movie we watched tonight, which was just all right -- not great, not terrible, just OK)

Friday, May 25, 2007


There's a lot to talk about today, so I'll try to make it all fairly quick.

props to my bro
My brother Kip is a self-titled "big fish in a small pond" -- which suits him just fine, apparently. He recenlty has starred in some commercials for the local Pocatello bank Potelco. (The name always cracks me up!) The most recent is now on YouTube, so I'm sharing.

going for muse

I managed to get tix for the Muse concert in Orem this fall. The site I bought them from cites September 12 as the date, so that's what I'm currently planning on. They weren't nearly as expensive as I was afraid they'd be, so that was quite a blessing. And I'll plan on at least seeing elliespen while I'm there (if not staying at her newly-acquired house, as she so magnanimously offered), which will be great fun. And, most importantly, I'll get to see Matt! And Dom! And Chris! *sigh!* Can life get any better?
I submit that it cannot! (82 points, especially since I'm not sure myself where this is from; I have an inkling it's Adam Sandler, though
wildlife in wyoming
Well, I'm now in Idaho Falls, at the home of my youth. I arrived on Wednesday after a long and arduous drive through the wilderness of Wyoming. Harold (my faithful companion and car) performed very well. I promised him a good wash as soon as we could unload him -- he's very dirty -- which should be by the beginning of next week at the latest.

While in Wyoming I saw a baby elk frolicking by the highway-side. He made me very nervous, in fact -- I was afraid he would frolic into my path, causing a major highway disaster. Kind of like the (presumably adult) vulture I nearly hit earlier that day. As I came around a bend of the highway, this vulture was feeding on roadkill in the other lane. When he saw me coming, he decided to fly off -- right into my path. Bird-brained bird! He very narrowly escaped Harold's windshield, coming within a few inches of it.

I suppose that's all -- not as much as it seemed when I was getting ready to write. The last quote, correctly identified by elliespen, was from the film IQ.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

farewell and hello

Goodbye, Denton! I have officially left, and I may never return. Or, I may return twice. We'll see.

Right now, I'm in Colorado Springs, where I'm staying overnight on my way to Idaho. I'm excited to drive through Jackson, Wyoming, tomorrow. Jackson is close enough to home that it feels like home -- it's familiar terrain, so to speak. Not to mention, it's gorgeous. There may even be some snow on the Teton Pass, so that's pretty fun, too.

During my last weekend in Denton, NM invited me to come with her and her boyfriend to Hailey's, a local club, to hear some bands play. NM and her man are both very into music, and they go to hear live acts all the time. I've only recently started getting into the modern music scene, especially the indie scene, so I was excited to go see a real band play and hear some new music. NM is a big fan of Beach House, and I enjoyed them. But at the moment, I'm completely in love with The Clientele. They have a very retro 60s-pop kind of sound going on, fairly mild, with with a good beat and some fascinating lyrics. I really enjoy "Since K Got Over Me" (incidentally the only single they've released so far), as well as "Here Comes the Phantom," "I Hope I Know You," and "The Queen of Seville."
(Check them out: The Clienetele Official Website, Wikipedia, Google Music)

And speaking of concerts ... Muse are apparently playing in Orem, Utah, this fall. There's a little confusion over the date -- one site I found said August 22, another said August 12, and the ticket site said September 12. But the point is, it's Orem, and it's Muse, and it's Muse in Orem, and how can I possibly miss that?! I'm working on a way to get tickets, despite my low budget these days, as well as some friends to come with me -- hopefully including Erin and possibly my niece.
When was the last time you said, "Wahoo!"? (25 points)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

things i love about muse

You may well have found yourself thinking, sometime during the past four months or so, "I don't get it -- just what does gryffinkat see in Muse, anyway? What's so great about them?" Well, through the magic of YouTube, I have decided to share a few of the things I love about them.

The BBC does a show called "Live and Kicking," where they have popular musicians on to play live. But when they invited Muse onto the show a few years ago, to play their hit "New Born," they asked the band to lip sync their song, rather than playing it live. So Muse rebelled. Though it's hard to tell, Chris (the bassist) and Dom (the drummer) have switched places, and Matt (the genius ... that is, lead singer/guitarist) is just plain ridiculous throughout the whole performance. (And yet, still sexy as all get-out -- check out those shades, eh?)

And here's another thing I love about them. The BBC does another show called Re:Cover, where they invite bands to cover a song of their (that is, the band's) choice and perform it live (for real this time). So when Muse was on a while back, they performed -- of all things -- "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Although the BBC folks bill this as originally by Andy Williams (his version reached #5 in the UK charts), most Americans know it from the Lettermen's version, when they did it as a medley with "Going Out of My Head" (which reached #7 in our charts). Anyway, few people could take such a classic, relatively mellow song and make it sound this amazing in a rock version.

(As a side note, I hear that The Killers have also recently covered this song -- I'd love to hear it, though I doubt they can reach this kind of nirvana with it.)

In a related item, I also love the reason Matt gives about why the band chose to cover this particular song. It's at the end of this video, so you'll have to sit few a minute or so of inane conversation.

Mostly, though, I love watching Muse play live. (Insert enormous sigh, resulting from my thinking about the fact that I haven't personally seen them perform live, yet. One day ... one day.) But then, that's the glory of YouTube. While I'm really not a fan of music videos, I do love watching the first half or so of Muse's video for "Time Is Running Out" (the half before the Nazi-esque women start removing their clothing for no apparent reason -- one of the things I hate about music videos.) Just look how engrossed they are in their music. It's fabulous -- and, to me, inspiring -- to watch!

(There's no quote this time. I just don't feel up to it tonight. Incidentally, I will be starting the scoreboard over soon, since Erin has effectively trounced everyone -- again. And the last quote was from Middlemarch, as Jane Heiress said.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Margo and NM are both graduating with Master's degrees today. Congratulations!

Margo is getting an M.S. in Speech Language Pathology, and she is looking for work in one of the school districts in Kansas, where she's from. She put more work into that degree than anyone else I know. My favorite part, though: The Speech & Hearing Sciences Department asked their graduates to write their names on the cards -- the ones that they use to announce each graduate's name -- in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

NM will be receiving an M.A. in Applied Anthropology, and she'll be going to San Francisco pretty soon to look for a job. She fought hard for that M.A., too -- she had to fulfill an extra requirement to be a Master of Arts rather than Science -- so we're excited for her.
And, of course, men know best about everything, except what women know better. (122 points)
The last quote was from Seinfeld. Great episode.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

gotta love it

I just took a look at my Netflix queue -- which I recently whittled down from over 400 movies to about 100 -- and then found their new "Watch Now" section. See, Netflix is now offering movie-viewing direct from your PC. There's no extra charge, they have hundreds (even thousands?) of movies available for instant viewing, and you get an hour of online viewing for each dollar you pay per month. Thus, since I pay $10 a month for my plan, I now have 10 hours of instant-movie-viewage a month.

Tonight I'm watching Clue, and soon I'll be watching early episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. (30 points)
The last quote was from Jane Eyre, and the one before was from Spider-Man (the first one, when it was still good). So elliespen and Paul both get points.

Friday, May 4, 2007


Presentiments are strange things! and so are sympathies; and so are signs; and the three combined make one mystery to which humanity has not yet found the key. I never laughed at presentiments in my life, because I have had strange ones of my own. (98 points; you can all still guess on the earlier quote, from my post on Spider-Man 3.)
I must admit, I have laughed at presentiments. Or at least rolled my eyes at them. This morning, though, I had a weird one myself.

After waking up the first time and then dozing back into that state between wakefulness and sleep, I dreamt that I had received an email from the Linguistics Department secretary at Lancaster University in the UK. I had the dream several times, and each time the email said something different. Usually it stressed me out, in one way or another.

Anyway, after having this dream about five times, I decided it was time to actually get up and start the day. So I checked my email, which is frequently the first thing I do in the mornings. Lo and behold: there, in very deed, sat an email from Marj.

For those of you who don't know, I have applied back at Lancaster University, where I previously earned a Master's Degree, in the hopes of finishing a doctoral degree from there. The application took longer than I'd expected to get off in the mail, and then it reached the university on the first day of their four-week break between terms. So then I had to wait another month before I had any hope of hearing back from them. And then I waited another week after their new term started before I dared email Marj with a follow-up. I sent that email on Monday of this week, and since she usually writes back within a day or two, I was surprised that I hadn't heard anything more.

But today, there it was. The Department has approved my application and recommended my admission to the Postgraduate Admissions Office, who have probably already sent an official acceptance letter. Hopefully, it will be here within a few days. Maybe a week, two at the most.


So, here's the plan, then. I will be leaving Denton by the end of this month (huzzah, again!) and spending most of the summer in Idaho and Utah with family. I've been basically planning to live with my sister, and I hope that still works for her. In the very early part of the summer, I will be sending out emails/letters of interest to universities and colleges in the Seattle, Tacoma, Chicago, and Washington, DC, areas, looking for an adjunct faculty position. In the meantime, I will change my degree status at UNT from PhD to MA, take the Master's comprehensive exam in June, and graduate with an MA in English Literature in August. In conjunction with Erin, I will choose one of the above-mentioned places to live in. Around August, we'll move in together and start working. I will start my doctoral program from Lancaster, working by distance. I will have to travel out to England at least a couple of times during the program, to meet with my advisor (Elena Semino) and do some intensive research. The whole degree should take no longer than three years at the very most, and I'm shooting for having it done in two.

As I was driving home from Spider-Man 3 earlier today, singing along with Muse, I suddenly realized that I'm leaving Denton. I don't have to ever come back if I don't want to. What a freeing feeling. (Except that I will be coming back, at least for the Master's comps, and possibly again November for a graduate student conference on medieval studies, at which I hope to present something.)

spider-man 3

I really wanted to go last night to watch Spider-Man 3. You know, at one of the midnight showings. But there was a small snag. See, I'm not really the type to organize that kind of outing -- more the type to follow along when someone else suggests it. So I didn't think about the necessity of buying tickets before-hand because shows were likely to sell out. Oops.

By the time I thought about it, the closest theater I could find who still had tickets available was 40 minutes away, at a theater I'd never been to before in a town I rarely visit. So rather than stay up until 3:00 am or later and risk getting lost, I decided to just go to bed (I was tired anyway) and watch an early showing this morning closer to home.

On the way to the theater this morning, I caught some reviews of the flick on a local radio station. And pretty much everyone said they hated it. Which made me even more curious.

I was pretty excited for the film -- I've really loved the last two, except for Kirsten Dunst. But I've loved the directing, the writing (for the most part), and -- of course -- the special effects.

Most of all, though, I've loved Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. The Spider-man story resonates with me, and it's largely because of Peter. Peter is such a nerd, and I get nerds. And he's so wonderfully good. Just through-and-through, a good person. And who doesn't appreciate Peter Parker's ill luck -- don't we all feel at times like the universe is against us, like nothing goes right for us? It doesn't hurt, either, that Tobey Maguire is so gorgeous.


As for this third installment, though ... well, I have mixed feelings. The special effects were still amazing. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Some computer geeks had a great time with the Sandman." Thomas Haden Church, who I used to watch weekly in "Wings" growing up (yes, I know, my TV choices have alwasy been a bit lame), was pretty darn good as Flint Marko. I couldn't help but think how horribly he's aged: he's not a pretty man, but that worked well for his character. Topher Grace, also, was just perfect as Eddie Brock -- just the right mixture of sleaze and charm. James Franco -- returning from the first two films as Peter's best-friend-turned-worst-enemy Harry Osborn -- always has the look and actions of a comic-book character to me. And I mean that in the best possible way: I think he was an excellent choice for the Spider-man films, even though I can't stand him in pretty much anything else.

But the writing. Well, it was just plain hokey, as one IMDB user put it. All the moral lessons were so stilted, so contrived. We're supposed to be thrilled about Harry's sudden change of heart, despite its suddenness. It also annoyed me that his change of heart was based entirely on his butler's testimony rather than Peter's -- honetstly, who trusts their butler over their best friend? I was disappointed that the "inner battle" Peter faces is really nothing more than black goopy stuff from some meteor. Even if he does have to choose not to let it control him, that choice is so much more poignant when the evil really does come from inside you. Emo-Peter -- black eye-liner, black clothes, and bangs hanging in his face -- was just ludicrous.

And of course, we had to hear yet another villain explain why he's not really a bad guy. Ironically, this film is supposed to be about how our choices make us who we are, and how we can always choose to do what's right -- but when a sand-monster chooses to steal money in order to save his daughter's life, we're supposed to forgive him. Wait a second! If he chose to do something bad ... doesn't that make him bad? I'm confused.

Oddly, the part I most enjoyed about this movie was the love story with M-J and Peter. It was interesting to see Peter get all into himself and then have to face the realization that he's not ready for a real relationship with Mary Jane yet.

I guess it all boils down to the unreality of the film. One of the things I've loved about the other two is that they felt realistic to me -- realistic choices, dialogue (for the most part), actions -- even though the story was clearly fantastic. This one, though, just felt silly and fake far too often.

Even the music -- both during the action and during the end credits -- wasn't as good as the last two films. The Snow Patrol song, "Signal Fire," was all right, but it was certainly no "Vindicated."
Not everyone is meant to make a difference. But for me, the choice to lead an ordinary life is no longer an option. (23 points)

The last quote was from Stan Freberg's "St George and the Dragonet." Congrats, Christina!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

saint george and the dragon

Last week in Medieval Lit, we were supposed to surf the web a little and bring to class our favorite visual represenation of Saint George, of dragon-slaying, maiden-saving fame. There were so many great ones that I decided I had five favorites. I did narrow it down to one for class, but I thought I'd post the rest of them here. Because I'm a geek.

I have especially enjoyed seeing how the maiden, the king’s daughter whom George saves by slaying the dragon, appears so differently in each version. In many, she is a frail, swooning creature standing meekly off to the side, out of George’s way. I favor Uccello’s depiction of the maiden: here, she plays an active—albeit small—part in the dragon’s demise by slinging her girdle around the beast’s neck to lead it into the city and showcase the power of George’s God.

I also find it fascinating that in nearly every case, George’s steed is white—perhaps the predecessor to the good-guy white hats in old Western films?

1. By far my favorite depiction of St. George was this one, Peter Paul Rubens’ “Saint George terrassant le dragon” (1606-07). I love its depiction of George as an older and very powerful man, as opposed to the simpering, lovely young man of so many paintings. Just look at those muscles! I also appreciate the sheep that the maiden is holding, and the dragon’s hand curled tightly around the end of George’s shattered spear, trying to pull it out before George can do more damage.

2. Of course, Paolo Uccello’s 1460 depiction is a classic. I particularly like the maiden holding her girdle, which she has thrown around the dragon’s neck (at George’s request) before leading it into the city. I also enjoy the serenity of this scene—it’s so contradictory to the later versions of the legend (esp. Barclay’s “Life of Saint George”).

3. I don’t know who painted this one, but I enjoy the shattered spear lying on the ground and George’s determined look as he wields his sword to finish off the dragon.

4. “Saint George and the Dragon” (1505-06) by Raphael, of Renaissance fame, has an especially small dragon. I’m always surprised, in fact, by the size of the dragon in portrayals of St. George. I also love George’s cape, flying behind him in the wind, and the maiden standing with clasped hands off to the side.

5. And, finally, I appreciated this depiction for its unusual portrayal of a gentle, refined George. Nearly every depiction of St. George shows him slaying the dragon, but this one has him caring for the maiden afterward. And how can you not love the gold armor? Again, I don’t know who created this image, but I nicked it from Catholic Forum’s online Patron Saints Index.

A: I see you got one of them new 45-caliber swords.

B: That's about the size of it.

(61 points)

The last quote, from before "Parentheses," was from the first chapter of Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse, which is now available, and which Erin read to me over the phone last week. What a great friend. Although Erin wasn't allowed points for guessing on that one, she does get an extra 133 points for calling me as soon as she got her hands on it. Well, almost as soon.

"Parentheses" by The Blow

A new favorite song, which I discovered on the IndieFeed Alternative & Modern Rock podcast.

Some philosophies fuel a belief in the self
Constructed to keep one's goods on one's own shelf
Built well you're a strong letter I
With your feet on the ground and your head to the sky

Now and then you can bend
It's okay to lean over my way
You fear that you can't do it all and you're right
Even day takes relief every day
From its work making light from the night

And when you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses.
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I’ll be safe in these arms

If something in the deli aisle makes you cry
You know I’ll put my arm around you
And I’ll walk you outside
Through the sliding doors
Why would I mind?

You're not a baby if you feel the world
All of the babies can feel the world
That's why they cry

And when you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses.
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I’ll be safe in these arms

If something in the deli aisle makes you cry
You know I’ll put my arm around you
And I’ll walk you outside
Through the sliding doors
Why would I mind?

By the way, you can download this song for free from merylinabarrel's livejournal.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

announcement and secret confession

Actually, there are two. First, I finally did laundry today. I don't dare confess how long it had been. But I'm now pleasantly surprised to find the floor of my room nearly empty these days.

Second, after many months, I have finally converted all of my music files into mp3 format. Which means that I can now edit them, or give them to people (without authorizing their computers for my iTunes account). But I have well over a hundred dollars' worth of music in my iTunes shopping cart. It will likely be many more months before I can buy all of it. *sigh*

OK ... three announcements. I'm leaving tomorrow afternoon for a weekend in Nauvoo with Margo. Yay!! I'll be driving to Kansas to meet her and some friends from the area, then driving on to Kansas City, where we'll spend the night ... before driving to Independence, Missouri, to meet up with the other YSAs and take the bus to Nauvoo. Whew! And then, on Saturday night, we get to do that all again, in reverse. I haven't been to Nauvoo before, though, and I'm excited to see Margo ... I just hope she'll consent to let me also do some homework (which sorely needs to be done!) as well.

secret confession
I recently admitted to myself that I have a favorite cuss word. And it's not a nice one, at all. The kind that I would never say, but every time I hear someone else say it, I get a little kick out of it. I blame Erin.

today's quote
It's not a love story -- it's a hate story. [about Wuthering Heights] (101 points)

Caveat: Erin can't get points for today's quote; she'll recognize it too easily. (That's what you get for corrupting me! HA!)

The last quote, as Elizabeth correctly guessed, was from New Moon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

happy st. george's day!

Yup, today is St. George's feast day. And you may have noticed from the side-bar, we're currently reading a bunch of St. George legends for my Medieval Lit class. Good timing, I'd say.

Here's a little about what's been going on for me lately.

Mormon ... is she, or isn't she?
The other day I mentioned to a girl in my program that I'm Mormon, and she responded, "Don't take this the wrong way, but you seem like a Mormon -- very together, centered." I had to laugh as I told her that, during my first semester here, when I told another girl that I was Mormon, she had exactly the opposite reation: "You don't seem like a Mormon to me." This seemed to mean, that time, that I wasn't pushy about my religion. Exactly opposite reactions, yet I took both of them as a compliment.

BYU baseball
I went to Fort Worth Saturday night to watch BYU baseball against TCU. Unfortunately, BYU didn't score at all that particular night, although we'd won on Thursday and lost, but scored, on Friday. So, the most exciting thing that happened during that particular game was that I got a full paragraph of Wulfstan's Sermo Lupi translated from Old English -- I've been working on it all semester long as part of my final paper for Medieval Lit.

getting up early
Friday night, I slept out on the futon, since both of my roommates were gone, and I just felt like "camping out." Then I slept in really late the next morning. The good news about this is that I woke before my alarm went on Sunday morning -- a sure indication that I'm no longer sleep deprived. So this morning I got up at 6:16 and worked out before coming home to finish homework (and blog). I'm hoping to keep this up until the end of the semester -- I'm much happier and more productive when I get up early and go to bed early.

I'm also much happier when I work out, and even though I haven't been for almost a whole month, I can already see and feel my biceps growing. And I'm really serious about that -- it's not just psychological.

IndieFeed podcast
If you remember, I posted an entry a while ago about the podcasts I subscribe to. At the time, I had only just started subscribing to the IndieFeed Alternative & Modern music station, so I didn't really know whether it was at all good. Well, now I know.

It's great!!

They play all kinds of different music, many of which you can buy on iTunes and many others of which you can only get by visiting the artist website. Naturally, I like some better than others, but it's great to be able to hear what's going on in the music world out there.

One of my favorite songs that I've gotten to know from IndieFeed is "Ikea" by Jonathan Coulter: "Ikea: just some oak and some pine and a handful of Norsemen ... Everyone has a home, and if you don't have a home, you can buy one there." I love it.

If JoCo is not your style, though, they've got lots of other folks on IndieFeed: Mates of State, You Say Party! We Say Die!, Calling All Monsters, Tom Thumb and the Latter Day Saints, Snowden, +/-, The Dead Science ... you name it, they got it. The DJ also usually has some nifty trivia tidbit at the end, which is fun.

quote of the day
In the meantime, I'm still obsessed, although I don't have time to indulge this particular obsession right now.
I bet she's tougher than that -- she runs with vampires. (71 points)

The last quote, which no one guessed, was from a Muse song (shocker!), "Blackout."