Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Amber!

Growing up Amber and I were inseparable. We had sleep overs every weekend. We spent nearly every after school together. Her family was my family, my family was her family. I used to spend a month of my summers in Topeka while she was visiting her mom. Here we are in front of her mom's home on her birthday, July 2, 1997. Man we are just so cute. At this point we're both 14 and have grown out of our chubby phases and are legit teenagers.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Ward is Awesome

My ward is small, in numbers and in the size of our building. We meet in the Institute building on KU's campus. Sacrament meeting is held in the large classroom, and what I love about it is the pictures on the walls. A beautiful painting of Christ hangs in the front, and during the sacrament, or when I'm singing, I look at it and think about all he Has done for me. Lots of times sacrament meeting feels very intimate, or like a small gathering of friends having church discussions.

Today was one of those Sundays where everything was perfect. I truly feel like everyone is welcoming and truly cares about the people in our ward. We support one other, we laugh at their jokes, we share in their triumphs and setbacks. One of our speakers today started his talk with his own singing of "Keep the Commandments." It was awesome, and everyone in our ward loved it. I would never have the guts to do that! He doesn't have a singing voice, but we all knew that he was sharing a piece of himself and his testimony.

Sometimes life can be hard. Work can be stressful, and we can worry about a lot of things. There's sadness and illness in this world for many people that I love. But when I go to church I always feel better and with the desire to hold onto the faith that I do have. It's powerful.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad

My dad grew up in Sanpete County, Utah in a little town called Moroni. He had six brothers and sisters, falling at number five. In high school he played football. He went on a mission to Central America, then attended BYU. Because of this we attended a lot of BYU football games while I was growing up. We were pretty hardcore.

My dad worked really hard to support us. Many times he had two jobs and traveled a lot. It's only been as I've gotten older that I realize the sacrifice this was and how much I appreciate it. I've learned to work hard from dad and to keep going no matter what.

When I was a kid I remember my dad having a mustache for a little while. I didn't like it because when I'd kiss him goodnight it would scratch my face. I also remember my dad being an imposing figure when I was little. I knew he loved me, but we didn't really say it. After my parents divorced it was just my dad and me living together. I learned a lot about my dad during that time and I'm so glad we had it.

No matter what I've done my dad has supported me. He never fails to tell me how proud of me he is and that he loves me. These aren't words we've always said to each other, but somewhere in my late teens it became something we do.

My dad has always been great at fulfilling his church callings. Many of the young men in our ward growing up can remember being taken to BYU football games or working the books during the summer with my dad. He cares for other people.  He's been a good son and brother. And, if he has given you a nickname it means he likes you. That's one of my favorite things about him.

My dad is a pretty cool person, and I can't imagine not having him. Hope he sticks around for many, many more years.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Project in June

Hey! So I'm doing this in June. It's off to a great start--the first one had to reschedule due to work changing. But hey, there's still 27 days in the month.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Watch The Grapes of Wrath

I like checking out the film version of books I've read. They make for interesting comparisons and discussion on what the director (or studio or screenwriter) decided to keep, if some things are considered "unfilmable" and how that's tackled.

Since I just finished The Grapes of Wrath I checked out the film version from the library. The film is directed by John Ford, a classic and well-loved director from the 40s who directed many westerns starring John Wayne. He's an integral piece of the film. Also integral is the cinematographer, Gregg Toland. He's most well-known in the film community as the guy who shot "Citizen Kane" a masterpiece in filmmaking that was groundbreaking in its  deep focus shots and use of light. Those are both on display in "The Grapes of Wrath," which was filmed a year before "Citizen Kane."

I won't quibble with the difference from the book and the film. A film, while obviously tied to its source material, should be evaluated on its own merits and taken as its own entity. So while the movie hits all the plot points it needs to and shares the same message, it is a visual medium and that's what I want to evaluate it on.

The movie is breathtaking. It opens with a very wide angle shot, setting the scene of Tom Joad returning to his home after four years in prison. It's beautiful. Then there's a classic John Ford scene shot through a door frame--it's marvelous.

The scenes that are lit with only a candle are amazing. The scenes are allowed to be dark. The candle is legitimately the only source of light in the scene, which is highly unusual for any film. It takes guts and a knowledge of the camera and light and the material. Toland nails this.

 Ford has some pretty great actors to work with. Henry Fonda as Tom Joad is just as he needs to be: a man doing his best in the worst of all possible scenarios, quiet but talkative when he needs to be. There's a reason the character is iconic. I was blown away by John Carradine's performance of Casy, the once-preacher who's lost the spirit. He wasn't at all what I pictured, but he captured the character perfectly.

As always, I reference you to read Roger Ebert's essay on the film, as he more eloquently states what I love about the film. Read it here. And for something really great, check out the New York Times' original review of it in 1940.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dueling Movie Reviews

I like to read movie reviews because it's an art to be able to describe why a movie is or isn't good. While at Snow College in my very first film class, my teacher required us to write reviews of the movies we watched. We couldn't just say we liked the film, we had to describe why. Which meant we had to look deeper into our thoughts and put those thoughts to words.

I never really excelled at this. I can read a review and think "Yes! That's exactly what I was thinking. This reviewer has captured my exact thoughts."  I have a hard time making my thoughts and feelings be coherent sentences. Maybe they've used too much CGI, or the characters seemed one-dimensional, or the story was rudimentary, or the director cobbled scenes together oddly. I'm not good at making that sound like a review.

But others are. I wasn't planning on seeing Maleficent because it just didn't appeal to me, so I felt ok reading a review for it at The Atlantic. The reviewer did not care for the movie; they said the directing was bad, there was too many special-effects  and the actors in their roles were awful. I like this review because it expressed thoughts I imagine I would have about the film. (I don't hate CGI, but I definitely think they should be used less, and this reviewer captured my sentiments perfectly). Read the review here.

Then I mosied over to NPR and read their review of the film. All the things that the other reviewed disliked about the film this review loved. She gushed about the director, Angelina Jolie, the story, the CGI-battles and the actors. Read that review here.

I love these opposing reviews and the different perspectives they have on the exact same piece of work.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Church History Tour

If I had posted on Friday, this would  have been my Old Foto Friday:

Friday after work I headed to Liberty, Missouri with friends for a conference. Maybe I should specify that it was a Young Single Adult conference. Nevermind that I'm  not technically a "Young" Single Adult anymore since I turned 31 in April. Never mind that I have never been the type to attend youth conferences, even when I was a youth. Never mind that past experiences let me know that everyone who attends these things are way too young for me. I really was going to see the church history sites and have a weekend with my friends. And maybe also to dance.

I will post these pictures and let you think that I had the most amazing time of my life.


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