Sunday, October 28, 2012

Five Books

My friend Pam shared on her blog the five books that changed her, and asked for ones that had changed her readers. I shared mine, and now I want to go into detail about them.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin This book was read in my sixth grade class, and I can still hear my teacher Ms. Gillespie reading it aloud to us when we were doing art time. I immediately got caught up in the mystery of who was Mr. Westing and how the tenants of Sunset Towers were connected. The writing was funny and clever, sometimes breaking that fourth wall and talking to the reader. I loved it, and still do--I own this book and try to read it once a year.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte I think I've already professed my love for this book and Mr. Rochester a couple times. The story of plain Jane who sticks to her morals and still gets everything she wants in the end--love, fulfillment, stability, independence--just hit me when I read it. Lots of times people don't get everything they want, but why should we strive for anything less?

John Adams by David McCullough  I got this book from the New York Public Library and couldn't put it down; early American history and the Founding Fathers has always been fascinating to me. I was amazed at the amount of research that went into the book. John Adams was stalwart in what he believed and was truly integral to the building of America in the early years. The author describes events so beautifully that it was like poetry. The letters written between John Adams and his wife, Abigail, are lovely, and makes me wish that we still wrote letters.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee I don't know how anyone can not love this book. I had seen the movie first, in a Film and the Law class as an undergrad, and just loved Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. It was a few years later when I picked up the book and realized that the source material was beautiful. Atticus, Gem, Scout, Boo Radley--wonderful characters. Such an excellent portrait is drawn of the South, families, learning, and understanding others that it should be a must-read for everyone.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck My first brush with Steinbeck was ninth grade honors English when we read The Pearl. My fourteen-year old self didn't really get Steinbeck. Then, while at Snow College (in another film class) I had to read Of Mice and Men and then compare it against both move versions and the play that the theater department was putting on that semester. Even at eighteen, I don't think I quite got Steinbeck. Then, while waiting in Port Authority for a bus to Washington D.C., I read it again. It's a short book and I read it while waiting all morning for the bus, and was so caught up in the tragic tale of Lenny and George. Now, I think I get Steinbeck.

Honorable Mention: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Not because I liked the book, but because it was the book that introduced me to Pam.

All but one of these books was read while I lived in New York. I don't think that's a coincidence. It was a time when I felt like I was discovering who I was, so the books I read while there influenced me a lot.

What are the books that changed you?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Old Foto Friday

Since I didn't post something last Friday, here are two fotos!

Saturday is my best friend Lindsay's birthday. These are from the American Heritage trip we went on in ninth grade. March 1998. The top one is at Mount Vernon, and the bottom at the "Friends" fountain at the Smithsonian in D.C.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Half Birthday

I'm exactly six months into my Thirtieth Year today, and I don't have much to report. I got hit with a serious case of lack of motivation a couple weeks ago. This came about because I felt like the hard work I was doing--jogging, working out, eating better--wasn't making any difference (scale-wise). Also, I had boy blues. It all combined into a general sense of lethargy, and I gave into it. Hardcore.

Sorry Thirtieth Year. I'll try to be better.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Captain Buddy

My friend Pam and her husband went away for the weekend (to the Utah Shakespearean Festival) and were in need of someone to watch their dog, Captain Buddy. I used to  also watch their chocolate lab, Bo, when they were out of town. Captain Buddy, however, is a cute little malti-poo so I was able to bring him to my house for the weekend. I've wanted a dog for a long time, but currently cannot have dogs at my place (my landlord just left for six months to Uruguay to set up an eco-park, in case you're wondering how I was able to have him for the weekend).

Captain Buddy was rescued by a co-worker of Pam's husband, and after getting him cleaned up and neutered they offered him to Pam. After the (very sad) death of Bo, they asked their four-year-old if he wanted a small dog or big dog, and when he said small dog they jumped at the chance to take on Captain Buddy. His name was Buddy, but four-year-old Dutchie wanted to call him Captain so a compromise was struck to name him Captain Buddy (but he responds entirely to Captain now).

I LOVED having Captain with me. He immediately loved me as only dogs can. He is very cuddly and always wanted to be up in my business. We went on walks morning and night. He went to my sister's with me to carve pumpkins (Emily loved him too). I would look forward to coming home because I knew he'd be waiting for me. Honestly, a dog is the best thing for a single gal!

Pam and Dutchie picked him up yesterday, and it was so cute to see Dutchie love Captain and have Captain love him right back. They missed each other, I think. I missed Captain this morning as I got ready, and coming home for school wasn't as exciting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

Saturday afternoon we all carved pumpkins! It was lots of fun watching the kids choose their patterns and then try to replicate it on the pumpkin. Some chose to make their own creations while others went with elaborate patterns. They all turned out great!

SoJo 5k

A few months ago I talked my family into running a 5k. It was meant to be a competition, because some of us are fairly competitive and I thought it would make us all try harder. But on race day, the competition didn't matter. It was just awesome to see my mom and sister out there with me, doing something they'd never done before. They always show up at my races and cheer me on at the end and take pictures; this time I cheered them on as they crossed the finish line, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Old Foto Friday

This is my most favorite picture of Ivy. We are at my Grandma's house in Moroni for the Fourth of July. Ivy was four when the picture was taken, and she's just so happy about those bubbles. I love her.

Friday, October 12, 2012


This was taken from my former home teacher's Wall on Facebook:
              "Rude (rood). Adj. 1. Your political candidate at a debate. See assertive.

               Assertive (ah-SUR-tiv). Adj. 1. My political candidate at a debate. See rude.

              Can we move on now, please?"

It got me thinking about my obsession with perspective, which stems from a verse in Alma from The Book of Mormon that I could not find again until a couple weeks ago.  It is Alma 62: 41 and is this:

       41 But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their aafflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.

We choose to see what we want to see, and react how we choose to react based on that. Perspective is an interesting thing. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Review of Batman

After seeing The Dark Knight a few summers ago, and being much less in love with it than everyone else, I knew I wouldn't be that into its eventual sequel. The previews did nothing to excite me to see it on opening weekend. Of course I would see it eventually....when it came to the dollar theater. Which it finally did. I went in with pretty low expectations and still came out of it disappointed. It turned out it was worse than I had imagined it could be.

Don't get me wrong, it's not bad like Batman and Robin was bad, or bad like Spiderman 3. This was bad in that so many talented people got together, under the direction of Christopher Nolan, and made something that was weak. Worse than that, it wasn't fun or interesting at all.

The movie is long. Really long. Nearly three hours. It's probably a half hour longer than it should be. For a very large chunk of the movie Batman is gone. Completely gone and the film is given over to Bain and the cops trying to fight against him. One could argue that his absence was because Bain was in control of the city and the audience needed to feel, just like the residents of Gotham, that all hope was lost. I do not buy this argument.

Which leads me to my next issue with the film: the villain. The Joker, understandably, is a hard act to follow. But it was not an insurmountable task, especially with a director like Christopher Nolan. In my opinion, Bain was not charismatic or even interesting. He was just brute force. Then the switcheroo to Tate being the real villain felt a lot like lazy writing.

I also took issue with the film trying way too hard to be a relevant movie, with the "rich vs. poor" mentality espoused by Bain. I believe that the actual Occupy Wall Street movement had issues that were important to discuss. I do not think anyone believes we should pillage and demean the rich when the poor have taken over. Not at all. And I found it hard to watch it.

From a filmmaking standpoint, the movie was nothing spectacular. The cinematography was flat as was the direction. The music was loud and distracting. Again, I expect more from a director like Christopher Nolan; he's not Joel Schumacher or Michael Bay. All the actors seemed to be tired and just saying their lines. Batman exists in his own world, but this movie brought us a bomb, nuclear fusion, and the President of the United States. It was all so incongruous that it felt like a bizarre alternate universe where Batman and his cohorts were dropped in on.

This quibble is a small one, but I just couldn't get past it: the football stadium scene. First of all, why wasn't the stadium completely full? It looked like whoever had that task in the CGI department forgot to finish it. The previous films, although filming in either New York or Chicago, always made Gotham its own city. This movie was so obviously shot in New York and wasn't even attempted to make it look different. It bothered me.

And finally, Bruce Wayne/Batman was whiny and just too sad. I get that he loved Rachel, and the films took a chance on giving Batman one real, constant love throughout them. However it was bungled in this third one. As my friend said, it needed some rewrites so it wasn't stumbling across the finish line.

There you go. A very long dis on The Dark Knight Rises. It's much more fun to dissect what you think is bad about a movie than what was good. If you liked it, feel free to let me know!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Riding the Bus

There are a lot of things you get from taking transit that you just don't get with a car. Being a car is so individualizing and cuts you off from other people and the world. It's hard to appreciate your surroundings when you have to focus on the road and the car in front of you and shifting and all that. One of the things I loved about living in New York was that we all rode the subway and it unified us in a way that driving a single occupancy vehicle just can't.

I took the 209 bus today to Sugarhouse to check out (finally) The Dark Knight Rises at the dollar theater (this will more than likely get a lengthy post shortly). I walked four blocks thru my neighborhood to the bus stop. I then read while on the bus. I then walked a couple blocks along the streets of Sugarhouse to the movie theater. It was lovely and perfect. While waiting for the bus to go home, I helped a nice girl figure out where she was going on the bus. Lots of times I can get annoyed with people talking to me, but I feel like at this moment I was meant to help her. I've been stuck a lot on myself lately, worrying about me, me, me, and I'm thankful for this small moment where I felt like I could be of help to someone.

Today I had a meeting with my advisors for my Professional Project, and it was very cool to just talk about transit and providing services for people and feel like I could really be a part of something great happening.

We should all take transit a little more. I'm a transit nerd, and I'm okay with that.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Old Foto Friday

This was our Spring Break '99, when we went to Bryce Canyon. Again, this is classic Em and Julie. Our personalities and clothing styles have been quite different ever since we were teenagers (and probably before then).


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