Monday, December 29, 2008

Moving and a bed question

Okay, so I've thought about moving out for awhile now, although since my parents have told me it's okay that I live at home, I've honestly thought about it less and less frequently. However, one of my old roomies from BYU-I wanted to move closer to her work and has been looking diligently for the past couple of months for a place for both of us to live, unlike lazy me.

About a week ago she wrote on my Facebook wall that she'd found a house with two openings and asked if I wanted to go see it with her. I said sure, and after wandering around 42nd South and 900 East in Holladay, found this amazingly cute little house. I was already kind of in love with it when I saw the outside, but then I went inside and fell in love with it further.

Jessica met me and Jesika in the foyer and welcomed us in. We walked into the kitchen, which was plenty roomy and decorated in red and black, through the rather small dining and living rooms, out to their deck. Yes, you read it right - a deck! It's not that useful/cool right now, but summer's not THAT far away. Okay, so it is, but I still liked the feature.

When we went into the living room, someone was watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 - yes! Not only do I love that show, but it means they have cable, which I'm going to admit I've missed in the past few months. :)

Then she briefly showed us the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom and led us downstairs to see the open room and bathroom, which both were acceptable. The shared room was a bit small, but honestly, when you've lived in Greenbrier where the beds are about a foot apart, you get hit by the door if you're sitting at your desk and you have a two-butt kitchen, it was plenty of room. :) Ah, the things one does for an awesome ward.

We also saw some random closet areas that are available for storage and such, and the downstairs living room and kitchen. Although the kitchen doesn't have anything to cook with, they want to get a microwave, and they have a second fridge down there - wa-hoo. It was also hard fitting 6 girls' food in one fridge, no matter how big it became when we got a new one.

While we were standing in the room, several of the roommates and one of their boyfriends came in to talk to us - which was a ton of fun. Jessica told us the ward was really good - not students, but not singles a ton older than us. Mostly working singles just starting out their careers. Score! All my roomies are active LDS. Also, at $200 for a shared room, it was a steal. The location was also prime for going to Park City (the joy!) being right by the 700 East entrance to I-80. According to Mapquest, it is 33 minutes away from work - but that's going the speed limit...;)

Jesika and I both almost agreed immediately that it was the perfect place for us to live and we needed to get this before it went to someone else- the horrible possibility we didn't want to think about.

I filled out a lease agreement, and now just need to drop off my deposit and first month's rent sometime soon...oh, and move in. I'm thinking I'll do it Jan. 1st or 3rd.

It's unfurnished, which presents a unique situation - I'm taking a twin bed frame and mattress and a dresser from my parents, along with a few other pieces of furniture, but since I've been sleeping on a water bed the past few months, I'm worried about being able to sleep, so I'm seriously considering getting a memory foam or Intelligel topper for the mattress. Anyone know any good deals? Which is better? Or is it just a preference thing? I've tried just looking it up online and I'm totally lost.

Also, anyone have any bedroom furniture they don't want? :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Work Story Time

I was chatting with one of my old Scroll buddies, Kathryn Gaglione, and she was asking if any of my production work was available online. I told her I believed approximately none of it was available in PDF form on the internet.

But I did tell her I'd post a few of my favorites on my blog, so here I am.

Story time!

The coolest part of all the images I had in this layout was the x-ray of a knife not quite hitting anything important in this guy's neck. Apparently, if I got this right, it was the editor (Morgan Schenck) of a movie who got stabbed - he was doing an ongoing documentary project about a former Olympic gold medalist, Rick DeMont, whose medal was wrongfully rebuked because he tested positive for a banned substance in his asthma medication. It was DeMont's story that helped Schenck get past his stabbing experience. Oh, and apparently he was stabbed by a mentally disturbed homeless person without provocation.

I've found that I work really well when I have a bunch of pictures to work with - in this case, a few small ones, too. The Eccles Center (the new performing arts center in Park City) had just released their season and it just screamed spotlight to me - and there were enough vertical and horizontal pictures to keep it balanced.

Apparently Park City did a ghost tour during Halloween - and I couldn't resist going for a creepy, yellow, slightly transparent layout. People in old pictures don't smile much anyway, which helps.

This is another story of having lots of really cool picture - especially the rug pictures. This was a story about the Native American Rug Sale (although at one point it was mistakenly put on the calendar as Drug Sale...oh man. Good times). My boss of the office came and told me personally he liked the layout. Oh - the happiness that filled my soul.

Yay for Halloween! And the photographer, David Ryder, who took pictures of cute kids, up against the same background. It kind of meant I could squish quite a few good pictures altogether and the backgrounds didn't compete. I think this is one of the few times I've played around with these stand-alone picture clusters.

I love when people play with text for visual effect - that's what I tried doing here. Can you read what I'm saying the whole time? I learned some new text speak...

Because the bottom picture's in black and white it makes the dog look like he's floating - which is kind of cool, although they tell you with design to always anchor your pictures.

Yet another instance of fabulous photography by David that I merely placed on page in an appealing way. This story was about an advocate for access for people with disabilities. Apparently Park City stinks in this area.

Ah, the un-hokey family picture- a bunch of them put together, actually. It makes me happy.

As does going home - which is what I'm going to do right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why you should not make a Christmas album

"Why shouldn't I make a Christmas album?" you might ask yourself.

I will tell you why in this easy-to-remember 5-step list:

1. Just because everyone else has one does NOT mean you should.

2. I believe you shouldn't change classic songs (Christmas or not) - even if they've been around for 100 billion years - UNLESS you change it enough to make it your own, but so it's still distinguishable as the song you're trying to connect it to. I know this is a tall order, but some people have been able to do it - see Kurt Bestor.

3. You probably can't meet the requirements from number 2. Just don't do it if you can't.

4. Getting a Christmas album out just because you can and that it could possibly be a hit is lame - especially with no truly original content. You should rethink your career in the music industry.

5. Because if you make one, BFFs or not, I would be extremely tempted to burn it in a trashcan, as this picture I made illustrates.

But, seriously, I was talking with the editor of the section I work with here at the Park Record newspaper, Greg Marshall, about how I hate that everyone has a Christmas album and almost none of them are any good.

He said it was probably because most of the songs weren't copyrighted, and when radio stations are playing Christmas music from Halloween to New Year's, they're desperate for content and draw from anyone.

Also, he said that most music artists who are successful might do it just because if people see their name attached to it they'll buy it.

To that I say, "Stay away from Christmas! Make a Halloween album then! Or a summer album! Summer lasts longer than Christmas anyway."

Yes - with that many exclamation points.

I feel passionately about this.

Maybe I'll write a song called "Stay Away From Christmas"...

P.S. If you DO decide to make a Christmas album anyway, please have enough creativity to call it something besides "__(Insert your name/group here)__ A Christmas Album". *snore

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stream of consciousness thoughts and epiphanies

I realized I've had quite a few epiphanies and other random thoughts about myself and life in general in the past few days and want to share some of them in a random, stream-of-consciousness kind of way.

I could live off of pie and biscuits - but would be happier if it were pumpkin pie and Pilsbury biscuits. I have eaten approximately 800 pounds of pie over Thanksgiving and could go on eating it forevermore. I only had one biscuit, but it's flaky goodness would never get old - or at least not for a long time.

Me and my friend Caryn are like a married couple - except we probably see each other more than some married couples. We hang out after work until like 10, or later usually, every day. Or mostly every day. Does that make me pathetic? Probably.

Hot, flirty types marry other hot, flirty types. Extremely nerdy, weird types marry other extremely nerdy, weird types. Since there are so few of each, they find each other. It reminds me of what a police officer in Rexburg told me one time: "Put two pot smokers on BYU-Idaho campus in the Hart auditorium (which seats about 7,000ish) on opposite sides and they'll eventually find each other." If you're even partially normal or just kind of cute, you're stuck in the middle with all the other 400 million people who are that way. Good luck finding a spouse in that mish mash. Plus, the percentage of guys I can tolerate who aren't extremely weird, hot or married is like .0001 of guys I'm around. Whoopee.

I am a newspaper nerd. Who else do you know gets an idea for what to put in their college newspaper? And then contacts the people at said newspaper to spin the idea? Yeah...other newspaper nerds.

Technology is really annoying sometimes. My phone's doing the white screen of death thing and it's starting to get to me. I ordered a phone from T-Mobile and kind of shopped around but ultimately got a free phone for a two year plan extension. It wasn't a flip phone - which is extremely weird. Guess I'll see how I like the whole slide phone thing. Let you know how that goes.

People who want practical gifts at Christmas weird me out. I mean, I guess everything in one sense or another is practical, in that they serve a purpose (whether it be entertainment or not) but some are jut weird practical - socks? Really? A Walmart gift card for buying groceries? Okay, I guess...I don't have the proper financial mindset, I guess.

I'm still weird in that I like buying personal gifts I think of myself for people. I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. My list I originally wrote with ideas for people is almost all wrong to what I actually got for them. No danger in snooping kids or parents, I guess. :)

I thought Christmas would be more Christmasy now that I was at home with the real Christmas tree (which is actually a fake Christmas tree, but it's the right size and shape and has the lights and ornaments on it and everything) and kids with starry eyes and such...nope. Nothin' so far - not even when I try listening to Christmas music. I think this is because I spent so long fighting it, what with Christmas music and commercials touting Christmas between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when the holiday should NOT be celebrated. Does this make me a Scrooge or just older? Lame either way.

I drink a lot of water out of a plastic water bottle I got when I had my gall bladder surgery - this has elicited two comments at work: 1) I must be a mom 'cause these are the mugs they give mothers when they have their babies and 2) I'm eco-friendly because I refill it instead of using lots of plastic water bottles. Wow. Both were rather off the mark. I guess my water bottle says a lot about me, eh? A lot of false things.

Well, I hope you weren't all bored to death in this little trip into the inner workings of my mind.

Or more like the outer that I think of on the surface.

Monday, November 24, 2008

2 for 1 holiday excitement!

Now that my family is getting older and starting to have children and such (well actually just two of my siblings but it feels like my whole family) it was decided that we're having Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Let me tell you - it was an idea that took some getting used to, but once I did I enjoyed the thought immensely.

I love having my whole immediate family over for dinner, although we haven't really done it since Jack and Scott were born. It's always hilarious - not only are my younger siblings prone to outbursts like "Can you pay me for being so good?" which was a Micah comment after my mom paid someone back the money she borrowed from them, but my older siblings are pretty funny, too. Mostly when they try to bait my mom and dad into saying something like, "You know what I say: if it feels good, do it!" and then endlessly tormenting them because of it. Ah, the joys of family.

We usually end up bringing the mashed potatoes to extended family Thanksgiving celebrations, since we end up bringing the most people, and really anything else we're going to have to whip up at our house is easy compared to peeling 20 pounds of potatoes. Oh, and then transporting said potatoes to Provo. It's going to be weird to not root out every bowl in the house to move mounds of mashed potatoes - but good, too. Also, we have all power to determine when we start eating and we don't have to travel anywhere for the initial dinner. And having my own bed to crash in afterward is going to be heaven, rather than finding a nook somewhere in my grandparent's house to grab some Zs.

What's funny is that dinner at my house every night is like my friend Caryn's Thanksgiving dinners every year. I told her about the change in the amount of people for me, and she said her Thanksgiving was changing, too - she was adding on her sister's fiance for a grand total of seven people all around her table. Wow - I'll tell ya what, wow.

Also, this Christmas season (yes, it has started already, no matter how much I don't want it to be here before Thanksgiving) I've started my Christmas shopping early and it's weird. Being in college the last four years meant the only extra money I got for Christmas shopping came from book buyback the last week of the semester, which was like the second or third week of December. I would then scramble for presents for everyone, getting done the 24th-ish.

This year, I started a few weeks ago. It was weird - I drew up a list and just started shopping, mostly on Amazon. It was because I realized I had extra money from a paycheck to do it, and people on Facebook were starting to talk about it in their statuses.

Also, I take pride in giving people thoughtful gifts that they don't necessarily ask for, and usually I can come up with something pretty quickly for everyone I know. This year has been harder than normal, though. Mostly it's because I feel like a failure when I ask people what they actually want and then get them exactly that.


I'm weird.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A semi-political post *gasp

*Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

This is the captain of the blog speaking. I'd just like to let you know we're making an un-scheduled stop at Political Land for a short time. Thank you for your patience and enjoy the ride.

When I started this blog, I pretty much promised myself I would never venture into political waters. This mostly stems from my desire to avoid conflict at all costs. This was hard when I was editor of the opinion section in college, but I even mostly managed that. I believe we got the least letters to the editor the Scroll ever received in its history.

But here I am doing it anyway. I guess it has to do with my beliefs and an epiphany, too, so now that my rationalization's done, I'm going to get on with my actual story.

Has anyone else noticed that Facebook is starting to become a political forum? Mostly it's the notes people write. It's weird, and usually I stay well away from them, kind of how I like to stay away from political things in this blog. However, when it's something I feel passionate about, I sometimes make a comment or two.

One of my friends posted a video of the countdown show Keith Olbermann does - in this episode, he basically talks about how no one has compassion who votes for Prop 8 and how it's all about love and we should extend love to people who want a same-sex marriage and allow them to marry. Shortly after it's posted, the author of the note and another one of my friends had a discussion about it, and eventually agreed to disagree.

I was going to insert exactly what I said and what the young man who had a debate with me said, too, but the friend who posted the note deleted me from her friends list, so I can't. She didn't even talk to me about it. This is what makes me so mad/sad. Can I not express my opinion and beliefs without getting shunned from the very same people who desire compassion and acceptance? Seriously? Why is having a religious opinion a second-class opinion? Cody sent around excerpts from a talk by Neal A. Maxwell that totally nails this on the head.

"Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, “A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59)."

"This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened..."

"If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be?..."

I got it and was like, "Wow. That's exactly what happened to me!" Now to tell you exactly what happened.

Main feel for my first comment on the video: I said I believed that marriage should be between a man and woman and I held that sacred. To change that would to be to desecrate it, therefore treading upon my rights and what I hold sacred. Also, I said that the Church had commented that they don't mind if same sex couples have the legal rights, and isn't it basically the same thing, therefore?

This guy responded and said it was the ultimate show of love and if it was the same thing then why did people get married ever? He also asked what I would feel like if I couldn't marry the girl or guy I loved. Then he said that marriage is between a man and a woman is a legal definition, not a spiritual one, and therefore I can't believe in it. Also, he asked how it would personally hurt me if he married another man.

I said I was just responding to Olbermann's comment about how it was all about love - and that his belief that marriage was the ultimate sign of love was a BELIEF. Maybe not from God, but it was a belief either way. Nothing concrete to back it up. It kind of dawned on me then that beliefs might not all come from God, but everyone has them, whether they want to call them that or not. Most call them opinions. And if you do get them from God, lots of times people want to discount them. Also, why can't I believe something that's also a law? I believe murder is wrong, and it's also a law.

The problem is, in this argument, religion is where my side is coming from and if people against Prop 8 won't allow religion to come into the conversation, they won't be able to understand why we do what we do. No wonder there's all this animosity and hatred - it seems like we have no opinions, except those icky religious ones. *wipes dripping sarcasm from face.

How the conversation ended with this guy went a little like this: "I started reading your comment and then I saw there was God and religion in it, so I stopped. Keep God out of it!" Except not in such nice language. Wow. Again, this from someone who wants understanding and compassion. I thought I was being rational and reasonable, but apparently religious comments are unreasonable and irrational.

My beliefs don't matter but his does. Because the more I think about it, the more it IS a belief that same sex couples should be able to get married. That's all it is. If you don't agree with it you're shunned and not as politically correct, but I have a right to my beliefs, too.

No matter Who they're from.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mouse update

I mostly want to post about what we think happened to the little mouse I liberated a few posts ago.

He died.

Or we're pretty sure he died. Becca started smelling something rank in her room, like something had died. A small rodent, perhaps? She thought he died under her dresser since her clothes were starting to smell awful, and demanded I move it and remove the body. (Hee hee...if all anyone read in this post was that line, that would be hilarious. :)) I thought that was reasonable and attempted to do so, but, alas, there wasn't anything there to remove.

She tore apart her room and found the same thing. Or didn't find the same thing, I guess. Plugging up any and all holes in her room at floor-level became the solution. We think he crawled in one of them and promptly died.

So my liberating was all pretty much for nothing. Except that he got a few more days of life. That's good, right? At this point, I've decided I can't really do anything about it and beating myself up about it doesn't help any. I'll probably be sucking up to Becca for the rest of my life because of this...and oh well.

Anyone know a good way to buy off an angry sister with an rank-smelling room?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Madame Butterfly - I can't forgive Pinkerton

It's been a crazy couple of days at work, so this post is a little belated, seeing as I saw Madame Butterfly on Wednesday, but it's still a good thing to think about so I'm writing about it anyway.

First off, here's a Reader's Digest synopsis of Madame Butterfly: This US Navy Lieutenant named Pinkerton wants a Japanese wife while working in Nagasaki. He negotiates a house and wife - his wife's name is roughly translated as Butterfly in English. He leaves her, telling her he'll be back in the spring.

Three years later he does come back, after everyone told her he wouldn't ever come back and she was unfailingly loyal, but the only reason he's back is to pick up the son they conceived while he was there three years ago. He says it's to give the son a better life in America with his new American wife. Butterfly is told of this plan and says Pinkerton can have their son if he comes to get him - Pinkerton bolted before she came out of her room. She kills herself just in time for Pinkerton to catch her dead body.

It was AMAZING - hands-down awe-inspiring. The colors, set, lights, costumes, emotion and the singing were all spell-binding. The little boy was especially well-trained and disciplined. He caught the audience's attention and hearts and kept it there when he was on stage - when he was supposed to be asleep, he would lay still even when the orchestra was going crazy, cymbals and all.

Getting to the discussion part of this post: there was an essay in the program about forgiving Pinkerton for his actions because he was young and foolish, sucked in by the contract culture of Japan; he thought his marriage would be a contract he could nullify anytime without undue consequences.

I don't buy it. As me and my mom talked about it, people can have character at any time of their life, and they should. Being young is no excuse for anything - especially marrying someone and then leaving them to wait for your arrival, which he promised would happen in less than a year. He knew what he was getting into. One of the conversations with his friend during the wedding scene is a warning to consider Butterfly's feelings and to not take the marriage lightly. How young would he have to be to have the responsibility of a lieutenant on a ship? Also, if all he wanted were *ahem* intimate relations, why didn't he just pick up a geisha instead of marry one? He said it was because he wanted to capture the Butterfly for good. How incredibly selfish can you get?

Even at the end, he supposedly wants what's best for his son by taking him to America with him, but he doesn't consider Butterfly at all. So, what is she supposed to do - go back to being a geisha? I love that his cowardice won't even allow him to face her until she's dying. Okay, I don't really. He says he's sorry for what he's done, but he can't even tell her that to her face.

I think Puccini probably painted him this way on purpose - as the antagonist of his opera - but even at the end when he's supposed to have his redemption, I wasn't feeling it. Are you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Of mice and women - to kill or not to kill

I know, I know, two bad cliches in one blog title...just bear with me.

With Becca being as crazy busy as she is these days, and with me being moderately crazy busy as I am, there are days when we don't see each other at all in a day.

So, I try to make an effort to see her when I can - usually keeping her up needlessly at night after I get home early from some rendezvous with Caryn.

In one of these awesome times the other night I noticed something moving in her window well.

"AH!" I screamed.

Okay - I didn't really scream. Although, one of my friends had a peeping tom hop in her window well, so I guess I had a valid reason to be scared. But Becca allayed my fears.

"That's just the mouse living in my window well," Becca said.

"Um...kay," I said. "So, what are you going to do with him?"

"Mom told me to leave it in there," Becca replied.


Now - I'm not an animal lover or anything - I don't parade around in picket lines with "Oxen free!" written all over signs I've made - but when it comes to letting an innocent creature die, I don't feel that great about it. Especially in a cold, cold window well.

Therefore, I decided to capture him in the window well and let him free into the wild.

As always, life never turns out as you plan it. He ran away from me and hid in the corner of the window well for a solid five or ten minutes, meaning I had to climb in there to attempt to trap him.

Yup - he came out of the open window and into Becca's room as soon as I climbed in there.

Another ten good minutes was spent chasing him from under her bed, then to under the dresser, then back to under the bed, at which point Becca pointed out that no one needed to know there was a mouse in the house.

I agreed, but it didn't necessarily mean Becca had my back, since she told my mom the next night.

Benedict Arnold. I mean, I heart you Becca! :) And you, Mr. Mouse.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An A to the MR (An Adventure to Mt. Rushmore)

*Length warning- this post is rather long...

Well all, I finally did a pretty huge thing on my bucket list - I went to Mt. Rushmore.

The whole idea started with National Treasure 2 - Caryn, Lisa and I were all watching it and all of a sudden I said, "I've always wanted to go to Mt. Rushmore, but my dad didn't want to and so we never did as a family. He said there wasn't anything else to see around there and he didn't want to drive forever just for Mt. Rushmore."

Caryn turned to me and told me it was the same way for her in her family.

"Me and my roommate were going to go there Spring Break, but it never happened," Caryn said.

"Let's take a trip there sometime soon," I said, rather spur of the moment.

"Done," Caryn said.

Sometimes these kinds of things get talked about but never actually executed - and I thought this might turn out to be one of those things.

I sometimes get bored at work, and subsequently, one day I looked up what kinds of other things there are around Mt. Rushmore. I was a little surprised to find hot springs, a giant maze, paint ball, rock climbing walls, go-karts and horseback riding. We also figured out that Mt. Rushmore was about 9 hours from West Jordan - and actually started planning the trip.

The only problems came the week of: namely, Caryn's car breaking down, my car not getting the tune-up it needed and no one being able to go with us.

It was looking grim until Caryn called her sister, Adriane, who not only would let us borrow her car but wanted to come with us, too.

We left Friday night at 7:30ish and drove our brains out - switching every two hours until we got into Casper, Wyoming at 3 a.m. - which was not to be our last visit there. We got off the freeway about then, and since we hadn't really planned on staying the night there, we didn't know where to go.

Joy. So, there we were at 3:30 a.m., driving around, checking hotels in Casper, Wyoming, feeling cranky and tired. Finally, we caved and stayed in the Holiday Express Inn, which was like $130. Dah! Who knew rooms could be so durn expensive? I now understand why my dad never wanted to stay at a hotel. Yes, yes, I know - I admit it.

We decided to get directions from the hotel at the "business center" and promptly were on our way to Hill City, South Dakota, to our KOA campsite.

Lots and lots more driving later, we were there. Or, at least, we were pretty sure we were there - we drove past it before we realized we had missed the turn-off. After turning around, we saw the men on the mountain - which was my introduction to Mt. Rushmore.

The Park was amazing - we started out in information, where Caryn and Adriane decided they wanted to become Junior Rangers. I decided I did not - mostly because my siblings had to do it at many national parks they visited, and I rebelled where they could not. :)

We started in the hall of flags - every flag of every state in the good ol' US led the way to a great overview of Mt. Rushmore. We took our first pictures with it here.

Then, somehow, hot poses started...

Then it was time to go to the museum, with all sorts of facts about Mt. Rushmore and the presidents and the sculptor who dreamed it up. We watched a 13-minute movie on it - and I correctly guessed that it was Tom Brokaw who was narrating. Boo-yah!

I was pretty much amazed at all that went into carving four presidents on the mountain. I guess I never really thought about what it would take, from the conceptualization to the actually blasting: 17 years. The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, had a vision about making presidents he viewed as the founders and shapers of the nation immortal in rock - he was an incredibly dedicated, well-thought out man. He actually died before he finished it completely.

90% of the rock removal was done by dynamite - which I thought was pretty cool.

This is a to-scale picture of an eye. It was slightly creepy...

From there, it was time to "hike" around the base of the mountain. And take more pictures.

At the end of the trail was the sculptor's cabin - where it had the scale model they used to carve the mountain. It was closed, but you could kinda see in if you blocked the light out. We were sad it wasn't open.

Then it was time for Caryn and Adriane to get sworn in as junior rangers and get souvenirs. My favorite were mugs with "Mt. Rusmore" on them, although the Mt. Rushmore pocketknives were also hilarious. Hee hee...

We then ran to the Black Hills Maze - thinking we'd have a good two hours to get lost in the maze before they closed. Except they looked pretty much closed for good - with a fence and everything.

We were sad.

So, instead we drove farther in Rapid City and found a place to eat called Firehouse Brewing Company. It has amazing food - like awesomely amazing.

And we got plastic fire helmets.

It was time to go back to our campsite, get nice and fire-smelling, almost set the tent on fire, watch part of X-men before my lappy died and turn in for the night.

We awoke to fire-toast, courtesy Adriane and the grill attached to the fire pit, and hilarious neighbors on a month-long cross-country trip. We packed up and headed to church in Casper, Wyoming.

After church we went to On the Border - a pretty good Mexican place that they don't have in Utah, but they do have in Texas, where Adriane lived for awhile. Except the service pretty much stunk - Adriane didn't get her order correct initially and even after an hour, had barely received the correct food. We were all kind of razzled at that point, and therefore didn't blink twice before deciding to go north on I-25.

Yeah- big whoops. About Buffalo, Wyomingish, we realized our folly and turned around. We'd already lost an hour and a half, so three hours round trip later, we were back in the hated Casper, filling up yet again, anticipating another good six hours to get home.

Of course, it's this time some deer decided to cross the highway - three at the same time, right in front of me driving. Ah, slamming on the brakes. Thank the heavens for anti-lock brakes.

After that, Caryn and I talked for the rest of the time, in between listening to music on my iPod and trying not to fall asleep.

I finally got to sleep about 1:30, safe and sound in my own bed. And thus ended the Mt. Rushmore adventure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nothing like some controversy on a Tuesday

So, as part of The Park Record newspaper, I get to lay out the pages for the Scene section of the paper. The lead story was about the Body World exhibit that's being put on in Salt Lake. Basically, the idea is that people donate their bodies to science and the scientists preserve the bodies by injecting them with plastic to preserve them, so they can kind of peel away the different parts of skin or muscle to reveal the bone structure or nerve interconnections or whatnot.

Everything was going along fine and dandy until I printed out pages for the copy editor to look at and she saw that the genitals of the male skier were intact. She then asked us to crop it out of the picture.

This is said offensive picture. (Should I not be posting this?)

Although I'm not one to normally support keeping possibly offensive pictures in the newspaper, I kind of felt somehow that this was a little different. The editor's point was that if they didn't want to see the exhibit and would be offended by the complete realness bodies, we shouldn't force them to do so through the pictures. But, really, I think what she was trying to say was if they didn't want to see that certain part of the exhibit we shouldn't force them - we were already kind of "forcing" them to see the exhibit through putting in any pictures of it at all.

Also, what qualifies as art? I mean, yes, it is a real human, but it's not at the same time. The process to preserve them kind of makes them a statue or model more than anything else. The David is kind of the same idea - I wonder if we would put a picture of that in the paper...

Another controversial point about the exhibit is that it's taking bodies, which we know are sacred, and kind of manipulating them, but it IS educating people about how the body works...

I just don't think these are things that are cut and dried - but do you?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Car #2 - Let's try to keep this one a little longer, eh?

Well, after a long and arduous search, and much pain and whining, I finally have my second car in a little under three months.

My dad was definitely one of the proponents for my finding a car, which I didn't really blame him for since it's harder to juggle cars when I don't have one, but sometimes I just got tired of looking for cars, especially when things happened like I would go to test drive a car and it would be bought while I was out giving it a test drive. It all just felt so fruitless and frustrating, but my dad convinced me to keep on keepin' on.

So I guess it was only appropriate that he was the one to find my car, eh?

He was on, which he had been for basically that whole weekend nonstop, early Saturday morning and woke me with, "I just found a great car. Here's the phone number. Call them and set up a test drive in the next 20 minutes." I sleepily accepted the outstretched phone and did just that.

It was for a black 1994 Camry LXE - which means it was a luxury edition with leather seats, sunroof and CD player. It had 177,000 miles - which was a lot, but since it was a Camry, we decided it would last for at least another 100,000 miles - and for the price of $1,300, which it was listed under, it pretty much couldn't be beat.

We headed to Sandy, got there and met the dad of the owner of the car.

"It's my son's car - he was our youngest son and he just left for college, so he needs the money more than the car."

And with that, he gave us the keys, telling us that the sunroof wasn't completely sealed and the passenger's side door handle was broken. Besides that, he said, it was pretty good for 177,000 miles and 15 years old. We agreed - the exterior especially looked really good for how old it was.

Pulling out of the driveway, we went to the freeway and decided to test it out at high speeds. It smoothly transitioned from gear to gear, and I was quickly falling in love with it.

"Let's have Roger look at it," my dad suggested. Roger is his/our mechanic.

I agreed, but it was like a 20 minute drive from the car owner's house to Roger's house.

"I don't want him to think we stole it," I protested.

"He won't. We left the Prizm, remember?" my dad insisted.

Ah, yes. The Prizm. I then realized how awesome of a scam it would be to drive a piece of crap car to test drive a nicer car, and never come back. Heck, let them have that piece of :) Not that I didn't enjoy having a car to get to work - I did. It was just incredibly frustrating to putt up Parley's every day at 30 mph.

I finally convinced him that we needed to call them and tell them of our plan, and so we did so. It went to the machine and I basically told them we weren't stealing the car, and we actually wanted to buy it. Roger wasn't home, but we decided to go through with it anyway. I drove to the credit union, took out the money and went back to the house.

We chatted, accepted the price, listened while he explained that his price was way below anything you could get decently, patiently agreed, and listened to him ramble a little more about what had been done to the car in the last year or so. We wrote on a bill of sale all the necessary information, and I proceeded three times to count out the money while he was paying attention. He pretty much never paid attention and said he trusted me - so I gave up and my dad gave up telling me to count it while he paid attention.

He said he had a plate that was from another car, with registration that didn't expire until November. Only problem was, it wouldn't match up with the car if someone ran a check, so we took it off.

When I brought it home and told Becca of my happy news, she almost sobbed with joy she was so happy. Actually, a lot of my friends found out from Becca that I got a new car, before I was able to tell them, but that was fine. I understand her excitement. When you have to drive to school and work every day, it sucks to drive the van or get dropped off and picked up.

I asked her to christen and name my new car, since that's what she did for the old one.

"Do we have a bottle of wine around here?" she asked.

And, of course, we didn't. We didn't even have any sparkling cider. Darn.

But she took a gander at it and I told her it was pretty posh - leather seats, sunroof, CD player and all. She wanted to name it Posh, but my mom said it looked sleek and stealthy, too, and could we think of a name that incorporated all three aspects into it? I think then she suggested James, as in James Bond. He's posh, stealthy AND sleek. It stuck.

He's basically my love right now - I'm infatuated, I'll admit it. Pictures to come, to make you all jealous. ;)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nickelcade=fun...and exercise?

One of the more ignored things on our Bucket List this summer was going to Nickelcade - mostly because Lisa wasn't that excited about going, so we waited until she went back up to school to head to this semi-shady hangout for middle schoolers, high schoolers and a few post-graduates of college.

My hazy memories of Nickelcade involve Skeeball, basketball games, tons of luck games, semi-dirty carpet and lots of younger kids, so I was interested to see if it had changed at all. Mostly it hadn't - even from what I remember.

Although there were a lot more "knock the nickel off the edge of the precipice to get tickets" games than I remember from before. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll try to explain: you put your nickel in the slot (usually at the top of the machine) and it usually went through a series of pegs and such, until it dropped at the bottom, where various machines were going back and forth (but not over the entire ledge), pushing nickels off of the surface your nickel just dropped onto. But sometimes yours wouldn't push other nickels off - just get stuck on top of the pile that was right on the edge of where the machines were pushing. Also, you couldn't shake the machine or jostle it in any way, or your tickets were forfeited.

(This is the best picture I could find to represent the game- except instead of giving you your money back, it gave you tickets.)

I was the best at the soccer one - you could knock nickels off or shoot them into a hole for extra tickets - or both. I got the grand prize of 80 tickets for shooting it past the goalie into the barely-nickel-size hole. And I was proud.

Caryn was pretty good at the driving/flying/shooting games, and Becca was amazing at the game where you hit a button right when a moving light was in a certain place - she won the jackpot three times at that game. She was also really good at air hockey - she beat Caryn and me for the title of champion. Also, through her dedication she won a Harley Davidson-shirt-sporting stuffed eagle from a crane game - which she doesn't know what to do with now. But she won it all the same. ;)

Something else Caryn was good at was something I'd never tried: DDR. I was worried that I was so bad that I couldn't have anyone watch me do it for the first time, much less keep up with Caryn and play with her. But I did both - I bit the bullet and attempted to dance to six songs. It was a lot of fun - and a pretty good workout, too. My only sad thing is that they have nothing between novice and easy - and it's quite a leap in skill.

I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do for exercise, and I think I might try DDR...I've found some TV-hookup ones that don't require a PS or XBOX - but are they any good?

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Let's put one of those beefy arms back on for good measure"

If wishes were fishes, I'd have a bionic car.

I have been looking for a car - either a shell that I can put my engine into or just a cheap car, and having varied luck. Right now I'm waiting to hear back from a guy who has a 97 Civic where the engine doesn't work but everything else does. Perfect, right?

But, as I wait, I just can't help but look eagerly down my street every time I come home, hoping that the Car Fairy has visited and left me a gift - either a new car or just my fixed old one.

But I'm disappointed each time I come around the corner of Damascus Way and see my decrepit, sad-looking pile of what once was Phil, my marvelous car.

Since we had a block party on our front lawn, all the neighbors had a front-seat view of my lovely hunk of metal and I had the, "What happened?" question asked more than once. With each tale, they all commented that they were glad I was okay and that it was much easier to fix a car than a person.

I disagree.

I mean, at this point, if I were given a choice between breaking my leg and having my car be completely fine or having a totaled car and not a scratch on me, I would take the broken leg, which would eventually heal. In fact, as much time as it's taking for me to fix my car, my leg would probably have been healed by now!

Which made me want bionic cars to be made into a reality - the type that can regrow parts of itself, if only given time and a splint or two. Cars would last forever! Or, actually, they would probably have the same life of a person, which would probably be like having a dog. Or more like having a spouse, actually. :)

I guess there would be repercussions to the car industry, though - more than there already are- and then unemployment would be huge and we'd be plunged into the Great Depression II, but I still think it's worth a try. Here's one solution for keeping mechanics employed: there could be car hospitals where mechanics could take care of your car while it healed for just as much as they charged before. Or even as much as a hospital charges.

Which makes me want to talk about tow trucks - holy flippin' cow! They charge a ton of money to do something I could do for like maybe $50, and that's with a $20 tip to me! I know towing companies are a necessity when you need to get your car somewhere and so they think they can charge more for a needed service, but I think it's unethical how much they charge.

I think if one towing company brought their prices way down and everyone started using them, the other companies would have to follow suit to stay in business. Maybe I'm naive. Alright - I know I am. But it's just a thought about improving their method. I'd improve their method if I had a bionic car with beefy arms - or arm, actually.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Shirt Social Experiment

So, as usual, I was in a hurry to get dressed and out the door yesterday, and in the process I guess I put my shirt on inside out. I didn't realize I'd done it until I got to work and almost stepped out of the car. I rolled my eyes, and promised myself I'd switch my shirt as soon as I clocked in and got a few things done.

By the time I remembered to fix it, two hours had passed, which brought out the Sociologist in me - after all, it was my minor - and I wondered how long it would take people to realize and/or tell me about my wardrobe malfunction.

It took all day.

I chatted with the production staff a lot and we even went out for ice cream for one of the coworker's birthdays, and I got no response.

Just as I went to clock out, Amanda - the person who's the editor of the alternative publication The Flipside - asked if she was just not up on fashion and that my shirt was inside out. I laughed, told her of my story and almost simultaneously had about three more people tell me my shirt was inside out, even thought they hadn't heard the story.

So, I decided that every day I'm going to walk by Amanda and have her check me out for any possible dressing foibles I might have committed in the morning - and maybe not worry about the production staff caring and/or noticing.

P.S. Apparently inside out IS the fashion statement for some people. Weird.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Erradication of a Life That Had Just Begun

So, I almost decided to not write about my car accident, but it's the most exciting/least boring thing about me right now. Besides fulfilling going to the Planetarium on Saturday with my BFFs and seeing a 3D movie about the ocean, narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.

Yes, it's true, I killed my car - almost less than a month after purchasing it. I haven't even started making payments on it - although those are coming all too soon.

I think I've told my story to almost everyone - I've become quite good at it since I've told it about 7 billion times. So, sorry if you've heard this one. It's weird - when people find out you've pretty much killed your car, they want to know how you did it.

Okay, so I was driving home from work, down Parley's Canyon (so, going east on I-80), in the right lane ('cause I like to kind of coast at about 60 or 65 and not use gas as much as I can) and I noticed a semi in the right lane with its lights flashing, showing that it was going slow.

I thought I could go around it, so although I did slow down a bit, I didn't seriously put on my brakes. I checked over my shoulder at the middle lane, noting its fullness, and by the time I brought my head back around to see what was happening, the semi was right in front of me - it was going a lot slower than I originally thought it was.

I slammed on my brakes and fishtailed out of the road into the ditch by the side of the freeway. My airbags deployed, giving me some nice burns and bruises, but besides that I wasn't hurt in any way.

The ambulance quickly came, checked me to make sure I was okay, and left. Then came the police - a Summit County policeman, then a Utah Highway Patrolman. They checked yet again to make sure I was okay, and I called my dad to let him know what happened. I filled out an accident report and waited for the tow truck.

My dad got there by that time, and he called the insurance agency and talked with the tow truck driver and the police officer - and gave me a big hug. That was helpful when I got ticketed for not staying within one lane. Kind of lame, in my opinion, but I guess I might've been going pretty fast - even though I've NEVER seen a semi going that slowly on I-80 before - even in the canyon.

We followed the tow truck back to an auto body shop my dad had used before, and paid the tow truck driver with cash I snagged from my savings account. We then went home, anticipating what would happen to Phil.

The next day, I got a call from my dad, telling me to call the insurance agency and tell them what my ticket was for. The insurance agent then told me my car was pretty much totaled, according to that auto body shop where we took my car. I was pretty bummed that I would have to buy another car so soon after I bought my first one, but I was happy, thinking my car was covered.

Then I got home from work.

My dad told me my car wasn't covered collision-wise - which seemed smart at the time I bought insurance, since all the books on insurance say to not cover cars 10 years or older with collision, since the premium is really high and if you total it you only get the worth of the car, which isn't much when the car is old.

To sum it up: a car I just bought was totaled and I had to buy another car, while still paying for the first one.

I cried, but my dad suggested we see if the shop could do a quick fix, sans cosmetic things like paint, for less than the worth of the car. I don't remember how much they said that would be, but it was still a lot. Then my dad had my neighbor look at it, and he estimated it would be about $1,900 all around - although he didn't look under the hood and was known for underestimating repair costs lately.

I wanted to just have him fix my car and get on with life, when my dad came up with an idea: my engine was fine - why couldn't we just take my good engine and put it in a better body? Right now, I'm willing to play his game, but when I told my boss my dad's idea, he said it would probably be a crapshoot - getting a car that would fit my engine, with a decent body for a low amount of money would be hard to find. I've been looking on and craigslist, as well as googling everything to do with a Honda Civic and a body, coming up with a few hits for late '80s/early 90s cars, but mostly nothing.

Everything in me wishes I could go back to that moment and do something different than what I did, but what happens happens and you have to deal with what you've done and what happens to you, I guess, which leaves me feeling fine and other people feeling disconcerted that I'm so calm.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: anybody have a crappy 1997 Honda Civic they want to sell me? Or know where I can find one?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Red Lobster - check

One of the things on our "Bucket List" (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read this post) was to try lobster. Now, I'm not a very big seafood fan, so I was a bit wary of this one, but heck - that lobster on all the commercials sure looked tasty, even after we read the pamphlet at the Aquarium about being sure to get fresh seafood so as not to get food poisoning, which is hard to find in Utah.

When Caryn and I went to look at some housing on Saturday, we were right by a Red Lobster. This was one of the only places we could figure had lobster - since they didn't have it at Joe's Crab Shack (yes, I know it says Crab, but we figured they might have other seafood, too, and they do, except not lobster) or any other place we'd gone like Chili's or Applebee's.

As we walked in, the first thing we saw was a GIANT tank of lobster, hanging out at the front of the restaurant. We knew we were in the right place. Caryn decided she wanted a picture in front of the lobster tank, gesturing how big of a lobster she wanted. Or had caught. Or maybe she was acting like a lobster with claws? I never really asked. They were scary-looking buggers, with giant eyes and claws.

Anyway, we finally got beyond the front and got seated. Our hostess came and brought us the fish of the day list and our menus.

"Don't get this kind," she said, pointing to one of those listed. "It's disgusting. Well, it's not disgusting, it just doesn't taste like anything."

We were like, "Thanks for your honesty. Okey dokey - we won't get that type of fish."

She took our orders for waters and left us to decide.

Dang, Gina- lobster's expensive. We looked at all the dishes with lobster, which all topped out at $24 - I might never have had lobster, but I still didn't like seafood that much and wasn't willing to risk not liking something with $24 in the mix.

We finally found the lobster and shrimp pasta, with an alfredo sauce, that wasn't outrageously expensive. Also, since we were feeling adventurous, we tried a seafood platter appetizer with bacon-wrapped mussels, fried clams, and mushrooms stuffed with crab and lobster - to give us a taste of lobster before getting our main course.

We were brought our salads with honey mustard (delicious!) and our appetizer. I was wary, but enjoyed the fried clams and mushrooms - although the mussels weren't too bad, just slimy.

Then the main course came out. I promptly gave all the shrimp to Caryn. My first bite was...interesting. It definitely tasted fishy, but it wasn't too bad. Caryn pointed out that the texture was kind of velvety, which I agree with. It's not too bad - until it gets stuck in your teeth. Ew.

The more I ate it, the more I decided that it was okay, but basically like every other kind of seafood I'd ever had - not very palatable, but edible.

My favorite part of the meal was the chocolate chip cookie filled with chocolate and topped with ice cream. I have a love affair with chocolate. Seafood's more like an acquaintance that's not particularly liked - I can deal with it when I have to, but I'd rather not.

Ah, the things we learn about ourselves.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Iiiii hate technology. But not as much as it hates me.

This is caonduty's photo, originally posted to his flickr account. You can see this picture in context and visit his flickr site here.

I was thinking this weekend and past week about how much technology gives me pain - it's everywhere I go. I pretty much can't escape it, no matter how hard I try, and I'm not trying really.

But sometimes it's frustrating to no end. I've always been of the opinion and mindset that if you tinker with something long enough, you can find what you need. Yet, no amount of tinkering gives me the results I want for some things, even when I enlist Google's help.

The ClearPlay filter my parents own is probably one of the most frustrating pieces of machinery I've ever come up against. It shouldn't be as hard as it is, in my opinion. I always think I have the filter on the CD the first time, and then load it into the DVD player only to find nothing registers. Also, I'd already downloaded a filter for The Fugitive, only to find it not loaded on there when I put the DVD in. I've spent a good hour to two hours of my life downloading and redownloading things onto CD for ClearPlay.

This photo was originally on

Another quite frustrating thing is my little brother's iPod I inherited when he went on a mission. It has the annoying habit of not appearing on any computer's desktop or in anyone's iTunes, meaning I can't manipulate the music at all - to add or delete things. I went online to several forums, but they all had different opinions, many of them with Mac commands attached. The main machine this iPod links to is a PC. So I eventually gave up with that one.

This photo was originally on

Another great headache right now is my own laptop not connecting to the internet. I share bandwidth with my parent's DSL modem, and it works on their computer but not mine. Also, when my sister tried plugging in her laptop, it worked, too. I hear it has something to do with my IP address, but I'm lost after anything beyond that. I tinkered with it for about an hour, thinking I'd fixed it several times, before finally giving up.

I guess I've finally decided that technology wins. I give up. At least, until I get my second wind and tinker some more...

Friday, July 25, 2008

For the love...of dogs and kissing people

So, I know it's unusual for me to blog like twice in one week, but stay with me people. :) I couldn't not write about this absurd ad I had to build for the paper.

Every once in awhile I get classified ads that I have to build, and they're pretty small and nice so I don't mind doing them. It said on the description that it was an announcement, and it was two columns by eight inches. Then I opened the text and pictures.

It was a dog obituary.

Yes - a dog obituary.

Not only was it a dog obituary, but the language was so flowery and glowing, you'd think it was for...I dunno, maybe a person? Some people don't even get obituaries this good.

I'm having trouble uploading the finished obituary, but it was pretty simple- just this text with some pictures of the dog:

"A Loving Farewell to Painter

On Friday, July 11th, 2008 our white, fluffy, adorable Samoyed went to heaven. After nearly 14 years in Park City, Painter had become a canine celebrity – known and loved by many. Officially named “Painter Polarmist Mover-n-Shaker Keiser,” he had the bloodline and show qualities to be a show dog. His life, however, took a much more adventurous turn — and couldn’t have been further from Westminster. From snowmobiling in Guardsman, to jet setting to Long Beach Island each summer, “P-Ball” lived a life many would envy. His publicist estimates he has appeared in this paper dozens of times, was featured on the Today Show during the Olympics as well as a segment on Extra TV.

All bragging aside, he was the most dependable man in this town we may ever know – in part, because he was a great communicator and could ask for what he wanted. He was loving and furry, and adorable with the most perfect bear face – while always looking regal. He knew how to take care of his girls, and loved a great hike, and to chill out with his mother Lauren. Often referred to by his family as “The Prince of Park City” or “The Prince of LBI” – they know he can never be replaced and say he will be missed deeply. His favorite things included string cheese, puppies and steak bones. Thank you to Dr. Barbe for helping him over the years. We know he is in a happy place now with his good doggie friends.

Painter, you will be with us always.
Painter 1994 - 2008"

Gag me with a spoon.

Now, moving to Park City meant adapting to the lifestyle. One of the things to adapt to was people and their pets up here. Spending big money on their pets is second nature to them - they're like their kids. Spending $400 on knee surgery is an obvious choice. Or taking them to be groomed every week at $100 a pop. I mean, there are people in other areas that do that, but it seems in Park City there are more of them. But a pet obituary that calls a DOG "the most dependable man in town"? Or says "You will be with us always"?

I'm not a pet hater, and I semi-understand how people can dote on them when they don't have children, or even when they do. But shouldn't the insanity stop at a burial in the backyard with a funeral?

On to other rants in the personal paragraphs page of the Park Record...we do engagement announcements and this one was of a couple, obviously, and their picture was of them kissing. Now, I'm not too adverse to PDA, and their kiss isn't that bad, as you can see from the attached picture, but when I have to arrange a page and see that picture glaring out from it as I go along every step of the production process, it kinda gets annoying. I will probably not announce my engagement in a paper, but if I do I will not have a kissing picture and I will certainly not have a kissing picture in my wedding announcement.

Who wants kissing people on their fridge? Anyone out there? I barely want them on this post. Any other annoyances with wedding announcements? A few of mine would be awkward poses to show the ring off, a hundred million pictures and no originality - or too much.

Huh - maybe I'm just picky.

Or maybe it's the end of a production day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Aquarium Adventure

Since I have two of my very best friends living close to me (Lisa and Caryn) we've decided to draw up a Bucket List of sorts to make sure we get everything done we want to do this summer. One of those things on the list was to go the Living Aquarium in Sandy, which we just did this past Saturday.

It was awesome. I know I'm 22 and maybe shouldn't be excited at going to a zoo of sorts, but it was really cool. It had exhibits of wildlife from Utah, deep ocean fish and other animals, and a petting zoo. We saw jellyfish and coral and rainbow trout and sting rays, and even a few small sharks.

This picture is from the Deseret News, Ryan Long took it.

We learned that coral are considered animals (although Caryn already knew that) and and in one aquarium in Georgia, 800 million gallons of water are cycled through every day. That was probably the most interesting part - watching the movie on people who take care of that aquarium in Georgia. Most were incredibly attached to the animals and talked about them like children, which I doubt any of them had - although I can't be positive. Favorite quote: "I don't eat my lunch or dinner until I know the animals get their lunch and dinner." Psychotic behavior?

The petting zoo was cool - although we could only touch the bat rays, not the fish. They felt like soft, squishy, semi-slimy foam. We also touched some spiky star fish and sea cucumbers. Yes, we put a bunch of hand sanitizer all over our arms afterward.

We took some awesome pictures in the little nooks and crannies of a kind of kid's playground - the best was a crab that had his claws just open enough to hold cards.

The gift shop was pretty cool as well - I got a smashed penny with the Aquarium logo and a shark on it, and a tiny dolphin I'm going to put in my car near my dashboard - to copy Caryn and her dinosaur and clown fish on her dash. They also had sea monkeys and stuffed animals and rubber animals and puzzles and balls and jewelry.

All in all it was definitely worth $8 and I would encourage everyone to visit it - and to see my slideshow of the photos we took a couple posts above this one.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First page of pride

As I was wracking my brains for something to blog about, my coworker Sarah posted on her blog some of her fronts she's done for a publication called "Flipside" that we publish here at the Park Record every week.

I thought this was a great idea, but honestly, I've been playing catch up since I've been working here - churn out pages, no matter how they look. I haven't really put any creativity into any the process, mostly because I've had very little warning of what elements I'd have to work with. Which is understandable - when you're an editor here at The Park Record, you write most of your stories, along with edit them and decide where to put them on the page and about a million other things most editors delegate out to lesser peons down the food chain.

So, when the Scene editor Greg gave me about a week's heads-up on a layout he wanted to do for the front, I took off in a right-brained kind of way. It was of a Parachuter's Convention of sorts, where the first women parachuters met and talked about their experience. I got some super-cool old-timey photos from one lady and even a news article. Here's what came out:

I didn't get a lot of response here at work, but I think Greg liked it a lot, especially how it turned out in newsprint. The registration was actually a little off, which kind of made it look a little older than it was - perfect for the effect I was going for.

It's not amazing or my best or most creative work, but it's a starting point I hope to work off of to bigger and better things.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My new car

(No, this is not an actual picture of my car, but it's pretty darn close. Isn't he cute?)

I know it's been awhile, but I'm finally posting something! :) It's been crazy at work and I work on a computer all day, so when I get home I don't feel like blogging. Or getting on Facebook. Or my email. Or pretty much just getting on a computer period.

Anyway, Brandon suggested I blog about the process of getting my new car, and that's what I've finally decided what to do. It was an interesting process - kind of my first step into the wide world of adulthood. It started with my dad getting tired of me driving his car up Parley's Canyon to work every day. What good car story doesn't start like that?

I mean, it was understandable - what with the wear and tear of Parley's every day slowly ripping away at his nice car. That was probably something my future car needed to take. :)

So I started looking at for Corollas and Civics, just to see what kind of pool I had to work with and the price range of the cars. It was looking like $4-5,000ish for a decent-looking Honda or Toyota wasn't too bad. So I made up a list of those in my area and started calling. Quite a few of them told me they'd sold their cars already - a tragedy.

Then, my dad asked me to write up a list of those that were left and call them to see if I could test drive any that night. The only one who picked up was the owner of a blue 1997 Honda Civic who lived, surprise surprise, just across the city of West Jordan. We went there and mostly liked what we saw. "Don't give that fact away, though," my dad told me. The engine ran quietly, the body didn't look too bad, it was only at 101,000 miles and it was a bargain at the $3,000 asking price.

However, my dad said, "Don't put your eggs all in one basket. Let's test drive a few more cars."

So, I made a new list of the ones that had been added after a few days, and the only one that caught my eye was a silver 2001 Honda Civic for $4,600 - a pretty good deal, if it worked well enough. So, I worked out a test drive and a check-up by my grandpa in Provo, and headed down. We had to wait like half an hour for the girl who was selling it to get there and give us the keys and then we set out for my grandpa's house. He gave it a clean bill of health, but it felt like a rough ride to me, and not just because it was a stick and I was out of practice. Instead of buying it on the spot, we told her we'd think about it and went home.

On the way back, he asked me if I still had my heart set on the other Civic we'd driven- I told him yes, and he said we should get it checked it out by a mechanic and if all was good, to buy it if I wanted to. So that's what I did - I got it checked out by a mechanic, it looked good, I made a deal with the seller for $2,600 and was on my way. He's a beut - Becca bequeathed the name of Phil on him, and it's been a marvelous relationship ever since. Except when I had to pay sales tax at the DMV. Oh - and the fact that his stereo was stolen when the previous owner had it and I can't just replace it with another stereo - I have to get the plastic strip that was around it. :P

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Me in three

I've Been Tagged by Jen! How To Play This Game of Tag: Post these rules on your blog. List: 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 current obsessions/collections, 3 random surprising facts about yourself. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog!

Well thought-out presents (giving or receiving)
Kids- everything about them
My family

Never getting married.
Someone in my family dying.
Getting robbed in my house when I'm alone after I've just watched Law and Order or some similar show

Buy a car
Move out on my own
Get my master's degree

Page production- everything about graphic art (fonts, colors and logos especially)
Flip flops/shoes

I don't have a gall bladder
I like my family and don't mind living with them too much
I love listening to people and what they want, remembering it, and then giving it to them for their birthday. I also love remembering people's birthdays.

...Becca, Anna, Katie McPhelpin, John Gagnon and Kylee...consider yourselves tagged.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I saw the president. I think.

First day on the job at the Park Record, and what do you think happens? That's right, the President of the United States comes to visit Deer Valley and his entourage passes right through Park City, right along the street where I work. It was crazy-go-nuts.

This is when they blocked off the road in anticipation of his coming. No, really; I mean no one in, no one out. The cop you can kind of see to the right was nervously eying a guy on crutches, like he didn't really need them and would try to huck one at the limousine.

Here's the motorcycle cop escort. There were at least 14 of them.

I think that one rather far-off limousine with the police lights was the actual transport for the President, although the whole entourage was zipping through town at about 60 mph, so while that thought was going through my head, it was gone.

From what I could tell, my coworkers are all Bush haters and mocked him and the procession the entire time it was happening. I don't know if I'm going to fit in here...Not that I love Bush, but he is our President.

In other work news, it's the classic "How is this job going to work out?" phase of work where I don't know what people think of me and I actually kind of care. Can I joke with them? Should I tell them the actual title of the book I'm reading? (The Belgariad) Do they want help with their work or do they want to do it themselves at their own pace? Mostly, I'm just hoping they don't hate me as much as the last guy in my position. They talk about him all the time and it makes me hope I'm not the next one...

Monday, May 19, 2008

I got the job!

Well, all, the waiting is finally over, 'cause I got the job at the Park Record! The hiring guy wrote me an email to ask if I wanted to accept the position and when I could start. I said, "Heck yes!" and "A week from Tuesday." Ah, getting my gall bladder out and not being able to start, say, tomorrow. Oh well. This way I can get some surgery done AND start a job soon after. The Lord, as always, knew what I needed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A conversation of an interview

Well, I've done it; after waiting and fretting over the interview at the Park Record, it finally came and it was great.

I got a little lost right at the exit, but then got on the right track and got there 15 minutes early, although it still took me about an hour to get there. I checked in with the secretary and sat back to wait with a copy of the Record they had laying on a bookshelf. It definitely had good design for such a small paper.

Then the interviewer came in and we were ready to go. We went to the conference room and he basically told me about the job. I felt like it was a conversation rather than an interview, which was marvelous. It was shop talk between two people in the newspaper industry. He told me they were a bi-weekly, what their production cycle was, that they had corporate backing from the company who owned the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, and a lot of other things I don't remember now.

The best thing about this guy is that he was genuine: when he asked me if I had any questions, I didn't feel like it was a test I might fail. I felt he was really asking me if I had questions -- what a revelation! He looked at my portfolio and gave me feedback on it, which was also amazing. He liked my temple layout. I felt I would like working in the environment he set up.

He said he was interviewing another person for sure and possibly another person after that, but he needed to make his decision by the end of the month, and he'd let me know in the next week or two. All in all, I feel good about it and it was the most easy-going interview I've ever been in, which was the best part.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The State Republican Convention

This column could possibly be appearing in the Scroll, this coming issue (Tuesday, May 13).

Reminiscent of the atmosphere of a high school assembly, except a little louder, the Utah Republican Convention convened Sat., May 10 at 10 a.m.

This was not my introduction to the 2008 race, since I’d attended a lunch hosted by Chris Cannon with my dad -- who’s a state delegate and incredibly involved. He knew I’d just graduated with a degree in Communication and my emphasis in journalism. Oh, and that I’m insatiably curious, especially about how government runs.

It was a fascinating experience. The UVSC McKay Events Center was decked out in an advertiser’s dream: signs, booths and even golf carts bore marks of candidates. I wondered if the overwhelming barrage of names truly affected voters; I was of the opinion that it didn’t, but I’ll tell you what did affect them: the speeches of various candidates.

When talking to a neighbor and fellow delegate, we discussed the fact that each candidate for Congress had some sort of flaw that made them unappealing. But how do you decide which flaw is the worst? The neighbor had decided to keep his judgment on hold until the speeches, to see what they had to say, and vote based on the strength of their speaking.

The first couple of speeches by candidates for Congress were interesting; one focused on the fact that the United States was becoming the North American Union, with no borders between Canada or Mexico. Another talked of a Peacemaker Bill that didn’t make any sense. It kind of made me feel good to see that even if you’re a bit of a crazy, you can still run for office and get a forum for your ideas. The Convention is set up to weed those people out, but at least they get a chance to speak at all. My dad told me to run for the Senate you go down to a courthouse, fill out some paperwork and pay $50.

The other couple of speeches were by those who were the serious contenders for Congress: David Leavitt, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Cannon. In my mind, there was a clear winner if an award for the best speech could be given: Jason Chaffetz addressed issues, told people he wouldn‘t overspend, like he did with his campaign, and was overall the best speaker of the three.

I was amazed at the opposition against Chris Cannon -- people started booing when he was announced and continued to boo every chance they got. It reminded me of elementary school and made me wonder how people could be so disrespectful. Even if I didn’t agree with what someone was saying, I would never boo someone.

How old was this assembly anyway? Near the end of the day, when it had been going on seven hours, it became apparent that everyone had the attention span of 4-year-olds and I thought pitchforks and torches were going to come out if they were made to wait any longer.

The race was close against Chaffetz and Cannon; so much so that a third round of voting needed to take place to see if there would be a state Republican primary. My dad stayed to the last round, casting his vote and being one to decide if there would be a primary election between the two, which ended up being the case. If a candidate wins 60 percent of the vote, there isn’t a primary. Chaffetz won 59 percent of the vote, helping Cannon squeak by to a primary.

Through it all, I was wondering how to know what to believe what these people were telling me. Will they do what they say? Should we give someone a chance who has never been to Congress or give someone who has experience another four years in office to possibly use their seniority as a plus? I guess once they find out how to tell if people mean what they’re saying, it will be the millennium -- until that point, it’s up to us to figure it out. So go out and vote!