12 October 2010

Dear Neglected Blog

Hello Project Nuts and Bolts. Do you remember me? Do you remember all the times I enthusiastically wrote random blog posts on your polka dotted walls and agonized over posting digital images of myself in a ghetto, Indian-owned internet café in Paris? Do you remember all the irregular blog posts I started and never published, wondering what you would think of my flat and sometimes overly cynical thoughts about the world?

I guess I finally came to the realization a year and a half ago that my life simply wasn’t interesting enough for you. I kept seeing the dynamic relationships between other blog owners and their blogs. They wrote about traveling the world, making fantastic creations in the kitchen from scratch, getting married, having babies, and learning some all-important skill. What on earth could I possibly offer you that would be as exciting as recreating every one of Julia Child’s recipes or starting a worldwide happiness project? In other words, dear blog, it wasn’t you, it was me.

You originally started out as a report on my shenanigans in Paris. But when I got home four years ago, writing for you became much like writing a college essay with no prompt – fuzzy and uncertain. My mind became cluttered with possibilities that I could never seem to make coherent or cohesive. And as the drafts grew, so did my guilt and hesitation to post them. What would you think of me? How do these posts fit in with the theme of the project? What was even the theme?

But today I came to an astounding realization: who cares? So what if I don’t have a theme? Who cares if I can’t come up with clever political satires or don’t have any cute babies to brag about? Sure, blogs are written with the intent of others potentially reading them, so some things may just not be worth taking the time to post. But more importantly, blogs make up a network of thoughts that ultimately help contribute to the human experience. Since I’m a human, am I not a small part of that experience? Is there not something I could contribute, even if it is mostly for my benefit?

So, dear blog, I think it is time you and I became friends again. I’m not making any guarantees that I will always be diligent, or that we will be good friends forever. But I think there are things we can still learn from each other yet. Let's be in touch again soon.



06 April 2009


Today, the front page of The Daily Universe (BYU's student newspaper) proudly displayed a tender photo of the LDS General Conference and entitled it "Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates." Did you catch it? The Twelve Apostates? Needless to say, the paper was recalled earlier this morning.

I have to cut the Daily Universe staff some slack - these people are up at insane hours of the morning trying to meet a deadline to get the paper out in a timely fashion and as my years of college experience will attest, tired eyes aren't exactly the best at catching mistakes like this one. But... sometimes you have to wonder. I mean, how do you miss something like "umitity" instead of "humidity" or "I know don't" instead of "I don't know," especially when it is a book that went through a rigourous process of editing, publishing, forwarded copies, etc.?

I have a friend who receives forwarded copies of books from her mom and proceeds to go through, edit them herself, and then check them against the edited copies when they come out. Want to know how many of her corrections were actually made for Breaking Dawn's edited release? Zero.

For me, this begs a question: what do editors actually do if they don't catch these things? Is our society as a whole is starting to care less about grammatical and spelling errors. Granted, skills rust and most people know what you mean regardless of your grammar, but I worry what will happen to the English language if we continue down the path of carelessness.

But now I'm getting way ahead of myself. In any event, I encourage you to start editing the world and I think you will be surprised at how many mistakes there are, even with an untrained eye.

20 February 2009

February Fairy Tales & The Princess and the Pea

February Fairy Tales - The month in which I compare and contrast various classic fairy tales to their modern counterparts.

This tale is fairly modern and therefore what you see is pretty what you get. But there are some pretty dang funny renditions. Once Upon a Mattress is a play based on the tale, and is entirely satirical in nature. The princess, Winnifred, comes on stage by climbing over a brick wall, spewing water all over the stage, and belting a song about how shy she is. And at the end, we discover there isn't even a pea - the servants went in and stuck a bunch of jousting equipment under the mattresses before Winnifred even went into the room.

My other favorite rendition comes from Gail Carson Levine's Princess Tales. Rather than having a princess come in and fall in love with the prince and pass the 'pea test,' she simply has the prince fall in love with a commoner and then when her housekeeper tries to kill her off, she ends up at the palace and pretends to be a princess. She passes several tests because she is so picky and so sensitive to everything (the reason her housekeeper keeps trying to off her). So in a sense, that version is rather ironic as well.

I must say, however, that my favorite version is from Faerie Tale Theatre. For those of you who have not discovered this excellent mini-series, I highly recommend renting it sometime. The prince (Tom Conti) is totally quirky, the princess (Liza Minelli) is hilarious, and the fact that some tourists end up breaking the glass of the pea display at the end makes the thing ridiculously funny.

And that, in a peashell, is the princess and the pea. :-)

10 February 2009

February Fairy Tales & The Sleeping Beauty

February Fairy Tales - The month in which I compare and contrast various classic fairy tales to their modern counterparts.

The tale of The Sleeping Beauty is an interesting one to track. The dramatic plot changes that take place throughout the course of the years show that the first few disturbing versions are a far cry from the happily ever after of Prince Steffan and Princess Aurora. While reading my short summaries (peanut gallery comments included) on a few of the versions, pay attention to how the morals within the story drastically change as the writer caters to different audiences. (Wow - can you tell I miss my Humanities classes haha.)

The Greco-Roman Sleeping Beauty
In a nutshell, a great lord gives birth to a daughter who the astrologers (that's right, there are no fairies, just an oracle) say is destined to be killed by a splinter. The father refuses wood of any kind be brought in his house, but we all know how this goes - the girl finds some old weird lady with a spindle, pricks her finger and appears to be dead (sounds like it came right out of Oedipus Rex, right?). Thinking she is dead, the father places her in one of his old country houses on a nice bed and leaves. Several years later, a king comes across the mansion, sees the girl, and immediately falls in love with her, thinking she is under some enchantment (which I guess she technically is, as she is in some sort of comma something-something). 9 months later (drum roll please) the sleeping beauty gives birth to twins (she is still asleep during all this, mind you). After some time, one of the little tykes sucks the splinter out of her finger, finally waking her up. Unfortunately, the king's wife finds out what happened (yes, he is married) and is so jealous (one Italian writer used the phrase "with a heart of Medea") she orders the cook to kill them and serve their flesh to the king. The queen avidly watches as the king eats the meal, telling him all the while how he is "eating his own." Eventually, the queen finds out the cook actually did not kill them, but hid them instead. So in a fit of rage, the queen decides to burn the sleeping beauty and her children. The king comes by just in time to see what is going on and decides to burn his wife instead.

Supposed moral of story: "Those whom fortune favors find good luck even in their sleep."

Kim's moral of story: "More proof that Greco-Roman mythology is usually depressing, immoral, violent, everything hangs on the thread of destiny, and it was written by a bunch of male chauvenists."

Perrault - La Belle au Bois dormant
This version is great because it tones everything down a bit, but still ends with a happily ever after. I think the best part of the whole thing is that it caters to French nobility of Louis XIV (it's SOO funny - just wait - you'll see). It starts just like we all know - a girl is born, the fairies come, there is a fairy everyone forgot to invite (they all thought she was dead - pretty good reason not to invite someone), and feels slighted so she comes anyways and bestows a gift on the girl that "she will touch her finger on a spinning wheel and DIE!" Luckily, one of the younger fairies hides herself just in case something like this happens and ends up being the damage control. She says she will not die, but sleep for 100 years until a worthy prince comes to kiss her. Again, we all know how it goes and the princess somehow finds a spindle to prick herself on. They try everything to wake her up (including unlacing her corset), but to no avail. Finally, someone fetches the fairy and she decides to put everyone to sleep. Here comes one of my favorite parts - "She touched everything in the palace - governesses, maids of honor, ladies of the bedchamber, gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, undercooks, kitchen maids, guards with their porters, pages, and footmen, all the horses which were in the stables, the cart horses, the hunters and the saddle horses, the grooms, the great dogs in the outward court, and little Mopsey, too, the Princess's spaniel, which was lying on the bed."

So she sleeps and the prince comes to the castle. All the brambles that grew around the castle part before him as he approaches (some people have all the luck) and he sees the beautiful sleeper. She wakes up and they talk for four hours before really falling in love (yay - they actually talk!). All the while, the prince is thinking "She was entirely and very magnificently dressed; but his royal Highness took care not to tell her that she was dressed like his great-grandmother, and had a high collar." (Ha - I love this detail! Something I have actually always wondered about: what kind of generational gap would there be between the two?) Then they go to the great mirrored hall (do any other castles besides Versailles really have a great mirrored hall?), wed, and have two children.

The problem: the prince's mom is an ogress and therefore orders the cook to kill each of her inlaws in turn to eat them. The cook has mercy on them and therefore hides them in a closet and gives the Queen other meat instead. As usually happens, the mother ogress finds out and decides to throw them in a large tub of snakes. Just like in the other one, the prince comes just in time to ask what the meaning of this is. His mother is so enraged that she throws herself into the tub and dies. "The Prince was of course very sorry, for she was his mother, but he soon comforted himself with his beautiful wife and his pretty children."

Moral of story:
"This Fable seems to let us know
That very often Hymen's blisses sweet,
Altho' some tedious obstacles they meet,
Which make us for them a long while to stay,
Are not less happy for approaching slow;
And that we nothing lose by such delay."

(Translation: don't hurry love and marriage is better when you have obstacles to overcome. I guess I sort of agree with that)

Brothers Grimm and Disney (wow - I'm not sure I'll ever be able to put those in the same sentence again!) - the happily ever afters where the whole jealous wife/angry ogress mother part is cut off entirely. Why? I'm not sure - is it politically incorrect to talk trash about your inlaws? Was it just too long to put in an animated film? Was cannibalism too touchy of a subject? Does our society just concentrate more on love than marriage? Perhaps a combination of the above? What do you think?

06 December 2008

A Few Extras

1. A compilation of creative math answers. If only I had thought to do these when I had no idea what the answer to a question was.


2. How good are you at figuring out accents? I'm terrible...


3. I have always wondered what would happen if people were to burst out into song randomly like they do in musicals. I mean really, who even invented the idea that everyone surrounding the actors in a musical totally start singing and dancing along with them? It's entertaining, but so unrealistic. So... this little improv group decided to test out randomly creating a musical out of nowhere in a food court. Just look at the faces of the patrons- *classic*


And just for an extra laugh, here is a list of sentences in which high school English students attempt to use metaphors... I'm not sure they got it.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

30 August 2008

Centaurs and other such nonsense

When I was 5, I loved My Little Ponies. Glittery pink and purple madness galore. We played with them so much that a huge Tupperware box of ponies will prove that half of them had missing tails and bad homemade haircuts, and the other half were dirtied beyond belief. And of course when there a toy as popular as this one, people try to make them seem so much cooler than they are by making bad movies and ghetto tv shows that only air after the Price is Right at 10:00am on Tuesday mornings. Being 5 and not understanding the stupidity of their marketing tactic, I fell in love with the first show, "Escape from Midnight Castle." I ate the thing up. I laughed when they met the scatterbrained wizard, danced with all the seahorses under the sea, and cringed when the bad guy (a centaur) released the Rainbow of Darkness.

However, with my completely sporadic 5 year old mind, I thought that meant all bad guys must be centaurs. I remember my mom sitting me down one day and explaining what the Gulf War was. She showed me pictures of some people on the Iraqi side (only their heads and torsos, mind you), and what did I do? I didn't wonder about the definition of war, the location of Iraq, or what this has to do with me or America as a nation. I wondered what they looked like, automatically assuming that the bottom half of them was shaped like a horse.

Nonsense, I know. But then it got me wondering what it would be like if I still had the mentality of a 5 year old. Magic was a part of the fabric of my life. I don't think I would have second guessed myself if I saw a fairy in my yard, a centaur walking down the street, or if my favorite Nintendo characters randomly popped out of the tv. Experience is great, don't get me wrong. But where do you draw the line from being a believer in magic to a cynical skeptic? Sometimes I think I put myself in the latter category way too often. I expect the worse in people, assume the most terrible things will happen to me, or that life is one big round of hatred, boredom, and cynicism. Why are movies either ridiculously magical or tragically realistic? What ever happened to thinking that life is still magical, even though it's marked with thistles and thorns? I think there is still an element of magic in life, and the only thing stopping me from discovering a taste of it is my grown-up self.

16 August 2008

Olyolypimics... I mean Olympics

Sometimes I feel sorry for Olympic reporters. I mean seriously - you have to come up with all this intelligent stuff as who knows what is happening with all the athletes and still make it sound interesting/exciting. I, however, love it because all sorts of funny things come out. Here are just a few of the quotes I have caught from my late night Olympic fetish:

1- Talking about mens' gymnastics: "The mens' gymnastic team can't afford a big mistake... which that wasn't."

2- Womens' cycling (in the rain): "It's important to keep hydrated, but on a day like this they probably just want a hot cup of coffee. And Bob knows just the place!" [cut to some random
Starbucks in Beijing]

3- Beach Volleyball: "He's 180 pounds of string-bean meat!" (I'm not sure I'd want to be a string bean...)

4- Trying to sound artistic: "Today the British empire extends into China."

5- Making up all sorts of interesting words: "May and Walsh are outphysicaling the Cubans."

"Everyone doubts when he goes slow in the prelims. Then he goes fast in the finals and all of a sudden... he's Aaron Piersol!" (And he wasn't before...?)

I also found some really great ones on the internet from 2004 in Athens:

1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw
her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."

2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak
from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother
and father."

4. Boxing Analyst: "Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths
in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we
can expect the same thing again."

6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't
like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."

And finally, here are probably my three favorite Olympians this year: