Monday, December 21, 2009

Scholarly Stalking

My scholarly stalking began about two months ago while looking at literary journals in my areas of interest: Renaissance and British Modernism. In one of the Shakespeare journals, I perused reviews of Shakespeare productions for the season - more specifically the RSC’s production of Hamlet starring David Tennant. I wanted to see how my crush, David Tennant, fared at the hands of the literary elite. This marks a new development in stalking resources, at least for me, by utilizing scholarly journals to creep on attractive Scottish actors.
Well my tastes have developed since this original outing – I’ve matured in my creepiness. Now I’m stalking scholars for their ideas and not handsome British actors for superficial reasons (e.g. attractiveness). But sometimes these two worlds collide. For example, while looking at the current projects of English professors at the University of Chicago, I found an extremely handsome professor. Alas, our passions in literature do not collide in a beautifully serendipitous way.
So if you are a creeper, which everyone in this technologically advanced age is, do not overlook the more erudite methods. Check out those scholarly journals and perhaps stalk a few scholars while you’re at it. In other words, if you're going to stalk do it intelligently.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Room of One's Own

Brigham Young University wishes to keep their decision to close the Women's Research Institute quiet, but I intend to make an obnoxious amount of noise. The dean of Family Home and Social Science claims that other institutions on campus provide enough support for women. I strongly disagree. The WRI, instituted in 1978, conducts research that institutions around the world use: data on pornography, drug trafficking, eating disorders and other issues relating to women. Brigham Young University's decision to shut down the WRI places the church in a publicly precarious position as well as leaves many students ignorant about the importance of women’s issues. I'm tired of "feminism" being a four letter word on this campus, and this institution works directly against such bigotry and ignorance. In protest of this decision, I ask you, reader, to reply to newspaper articles published by the Salt Lake Tribune and to sign the petition below.

I would like to share an experience which soberly reminds me of the past oppression of women and subsequently inspires me to fight against such prejudice.My current position in society as a woman seems distant from the narrator’s in A Room of One’s Own. But Roaming around Oxford’s campus the Gothic architecture of Magdalene College’s displayed its archaic origin and subsequently the constant flow of money required to construct the beautiful building. Yet, the brilliant buildings, libraries, technology and blooming grounds were only available to men during Virginia Woolf’s time. I walked further from campus searching for a place where womCheck Spellingen could congregate during the early twentieth century. I set my sights on a lesser known women’s college: Somerville. Unable to direct myself around the large campus I sought help from an Oxford student who located the college on a map. He explained that all women’s colleges required a lengthy trek outside of central campus and honestly recommend skipping the visit to a women’s college. Looking back, I understand why the student attempted to dissuade me from visiting comparatively uninteresting women’s college.
The juxtaposition of Somerville’s atmosphere, architecture and location to Magdalene College personally revealed to me the alienation women felt during the early twentieth century. Somerville resided far from central campus and so I quickly walked down streets distancing myself from the noise of Magdalene College and its prestigious aura. Oxford built Somerville during the late nineteenth century and the only land available was located far from campus. Like the journey of Virginia Woolf’s character to Fernham in A Room of One's Own, I walked along “a road – I forget its name” the unimportance of the road signified the inferiority of the college itself. (Woolf 13) Finally I arrived at Somerville’s cramped and yellowed office. I asked the stunned office workers if I could walk around the college; Somerville did not receive visitors often. Unlike Magdalene, Somerville’s the courtyard sounded unnaturally quiet. The untidy gardens and flowers coupled with the severe and outdated architecture created an atmosphere of neglect. At this moment the day’s events combined and I understood Woolf’s narrative.
I left Somerville and walked back to campus and visit Christ’s Church Cathedral. I listened to Evensong inside of Christ’s Church in the chapel without producing a baptismal certificate; Virginia Woolf’s narrator listened outside.

So reader, please carefully consider what's at stake with the closing of the WRI - let us avoid creating the atmosphere like Oxbridge at Brigham Young University.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east and....Zac Efron?

My freshman year of high school we read Shakespeare's play The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. I remember that the edition we read printed contemporary colloquial translations on the other page, like "yo Juliet". Along with reading the play we also watched the famous Zeffirelli film , which launched Shakespeare back into pop culture as the movie spoke to the rebellious flower children of the late 1960's and early 1970's.
Talking to my friend Katie, she remembered not particularly liking the movie and an unattractive Romeo. But I'm here to tell you that we didn't have any taste in men our freshman year of high school. Today I watched Zeffirelli's adaptation again and my friend pointed out that Romeo looks like Zac Efron. You don't believe me? My evidence is below.
I mean these two must be related - the similarities border on creepy. The only major differences being Leonard Whiting's brown eyes and British accent. Well the British accent is not technically a physical feature, but it adds to their attractiveness.

I'm not proposing that Zac Efron portray Romeo in a new adaptation - that would be painful. I'm simply just stating the obvious physical similarities and both taking part in influential cultural phenomenons - one perhaps more high-brow than the other.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


After several hyper beagles, my parents desperately wanted the "yellow dog" from Funny Farm that does not even move when its tail lights on fire. So on Valentines Day, when I was eight years old, the whole family picked up our first yellow lab puppy. After bringing her home I was afraid she would cry during the night, so I slept beside her in the tiled laundry room floor with pillows and blankets. I still remember how I pushed her away throughout the night - afraid I would roll over her. But she just kept snuggling with me.
Well we named that yellow lab Tinkerbell.
And whenever I would go trick-or-treating or running, everyone would say hello to Tinkerbell. I grew up on a very large hill and I didn’t even know half the people that lived there. How did everyone know my dog’s name? Later our family found out that every morning Tinkerbell paid her morning visits to everyone on the hill and after exchanging pleasantries she would receive treats. So she was a friendly dog and beloved by everyone. Even my good friend Katie, who hates all animals, loved Tinkerbell.
As you can tell by my use of the past tense, Tinkerbell is no longer with us. Today my mom and dad finally put her to sleep. It was time - she could not see or hear well and limped. So in memory of Tinkerbell, I’m going to share some of my favorite stories about her.

Imagine young Andrew in his rubber boots and bare-chested needing to go to the bathroom. So of course the obvious solution is to simply go outside. But as proceeds to relieve himself he begins to laugh hysterically because Tinkerbell, who loves catching waters from fountains, begins to drink his pee.

I loved how she welcomed me home on the front deck with a whimpering smile and her tail wagging at life threatening speeds. I’m not kidding...that tail was a weapon. Her tail would either take you out or take out my mother's flower pots.

Tinkerbell cherished family trips to our cabin so much that she would jump in the back of the car before we put down her blanket. She could sense hours before we started loading the car that we were going there.

Tinkerbell loved rocks. And sometimes when we ran out of sticks to throw for her into the lake, we threw rocks. So Tinkerbell, being a wonderful sport, would go and snap at the water where the rocks hit the water. In fact she loved rocks so much that she chewed on them when no tennis balls were to be had. (It’s not surprising that she had hardly any teeth intact these past few years.) But my favorite story involving rocks is when there were men building a rockery at the cabin. They were throwing large boulders out of the way and they had to keep Tinkerbell from trying to catch the boulders by distracting her with throwing smaller rocks. But it only takes on time...Tinkerbell tried to catch a boulder. It hit her. She was out cold for awhile.

Tinkerbell's been a member of the family for fourteen years. It's going to be difficult to come home this Christmas without her greeting me. I'll miss my dog Tinkerbell. And as my friend Emily said to me today, "our pet's better be with us in heaven, or I'm going to hell."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Losing My Dignity and Modesty

My two roommates are currently in a prank war. I suffered the following because of said "prank war".
Prank One
It’s two in the morning and I’m taking a shower when the lights go off. I blindly reach for my towel and wrap it around me as I yell out into the hallway “Cari, I think the power is off”. My roommate Cari –who just watched a horror film and subsequently seems more unnerved than normal - anxiously told me to go with her downstairs to our fuse box. Despite being my towel, I join my friend as I walk with my hands outstretched into the black. (It was a rather bold request for Cari to make considering that if there was a creepy man waiting in the dark he could easily rape). We finally find a flashlight and make our way down to the fuse box and turn off everything and turn it back on again. Nothing. We stand in the darkness. Eventually we worriedly trudge upstairs and I suggest that we look in corners and closets for a lurking sociopath. Cari’s not amused. Reaching our third floor I ask Cari to hold the flashlight as I dress - just as I’m completely in the nude all of the lights come on to reveal me in my naked glory. Here’s the rub: it’s not naked glory. I mean I’m not embarrassed that Cari saw me naked – I couldn't care less – I’m just embarrassed that she saw me in the bad naked; an unattractive naked. If she is going to see me naked I want her to literally see my best side. It’s like that Seinfeld episode when Jerry’s girlfriend does everything in the nude and he discovers the difference between good and bad naked. Bad naked equals Jerry’s girlfriend opening a pickle jar or Hillary getting dressed in the dark.

Prank Two
I come home Sunday afternoon and I’m going to the bathroom as I realize that something does not smell right. I look to the side of me and I see the shower door closed - it’s never closed. Something’s amiss. Becoming suspicious, I look underneath me and staring up at me is a dead fish the size of a serving platter. I cringe at the black-beady eyes that pierce and shatter all rational thought. I then open the shower door to reveal two dead fish swimming in bloody water. Did I scream? Of course not. Did I yell at my roommates responsible for this prank? Yes.

For someone who did not agree to this prank war, I receive the brunt of these crimes. And most of these crimes seem to target my dignity and modesty.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blogging Anniversary

About a week and a half ago marks my blogging anniversary - I started blogging while on my study abroad in London a year ago. So to celebrate this brilliant year of blogging, I've put together my favorite blog posts. It's the best of the best of my blogging career.
My most humorous blog is one of my first. It's an account of a rather awkward situation in which a choir boy at Christs Church flirtatiously winked at my friend while performing at Evensong.
I'm an extremely silly person - despite the fact that I'm an elitist. In this blog I hint towards this as I talk about the men in my life, who ironically are really not in my life at all. I wish they could be though.
While enrolled in a women's literature course I read the popular novel Reading Lolita in Tehran. And after living in the Middle East for four months, I subsequently had a more sensitive and skeptical reading of the novel. For this reason I wanted to reach as many people as I could augmenting the Nafisi's experience of Islam in Iran with my own wonderful relationships with the Jordanian and Palestinian people.
This blog discusses my brilliant experience of seeing Andrew Bird perform in Salt Lake. I'm in love with this man physically and musically. So I attempted to translate this love into a well written Ode to Andrew Bird.
Opinion Editorial
Forget about parking, abortion, or any other hot topic issues - if I were to submit an editorial to my campus newspaper this would be it. And by "this" I'm referring to the embarrassing toilet paper machines on campus. And for those I work with at the Writing Center, this is just a way to classify this post. This blog post would not meet the requirements of the opinion editorial for English 150 at BYU.
I'm an introverted person by nature, so I rarely talk about my feelings. It's even more rare for me to post my introspective musings on my blog. But in this case I decided to express my feelings about a stressful week of finals looming ahead and trying to cope with the idea of leaving one of my favorite places in the world: London.
Literary Review
I'm an elitist. So I adore satirically reviewing movies and novels that I find ridiculous. My favorite critique so far is the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I think the title itself just begging for my elitist judgement.
Just Because
This blog post marks the best day of my life, so obviously it is one of my best blogs. If you disagree with my logic, which is rather faulty, please ignore it and just read it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

King Andrew Gamblin

Tonight, my little brother was selected to be Enumclaw High School's homecoming king. Five boys and five girls are chosen by the student body and then the school brings in a panel of judges. The Royalty have dinner with these judges and they hold a coronation where they read your biographies while you walk up to the stage. And while I could not fly home for my little brother, I made a contribution by writing his bio. Here it is in all of its splendid glory.

Amongst the frantic and worried doctors and nurses, Andrew Gamblin barely made it into the world on December 9th 1991. The miracle baby joined the Gamblin family as the youngest of five children. And while he proved to be the easiest baby out of his five siblings, he also was the homeliest with his bald head, big ears and wrinkled face. He also had the nasty habit of drooling uncontrollably; even for a child he possessed minimal control over his saliva. An-drool – as his family calls him – still shows signs of his condition today if you get him to laugh hard enough.
Andrew’s sweet disposition as a baby continued as he grew older. His mother refers to him as her most tender hearted child because Andrew shows empathetic kindness towards others around him. Because of his kindness he was doted on by his elder siblings, teachers and friends who thought, and still think, he is the “sweetest boy”.
Family members and friends do not only love Andrew for his sweetness, but for his unique conversation skills. Andrew acquired the nick name “Captain Random” for his off-topic comments and his ability to continue conversations even when no one is listening. One of our family’s favorite stories is how while vacationing in Hawaii, he interrupted the lunch conversation to say “Mom ask me what my favorite part of Ocean’s Eleven is.” The table curiously looked at him and his mother indulged him by asking and he quickly replied “I don’t know. Let me think about it”.
Besides his peculiar conversations, Andrew also possesses a unique athletic talent which he likes to refer to “stupid human tricks”. Andrew’s body is similar to a contortionist: he can wrap his body into awkward positions and has several double jointed body parts. He dubbed his moves names such as the “sling shot”, the “barrel roll” and the “Barbie”. Andrew’s keen sense of business and opportunity led him to perform these tricks at his brothers sporting events and charge viewers a dollar.
Andrew’s body also naturally developed more quickly than his friends. He came home one afternoon in sixth grade and told his mother with pride that he was the “only sixth grader with muscles”. Thus began Andrew’s life long love affair with his body. As a sixth grader he gloried in the fact that he had a six pack. His family still sees him looking in the mirror and flexing with satisfaction.
With such a muscular body, Andrew has found a knack for playing sports. He comes from a genetic gene pool of outstanding athletes and is the third generation of Enumclaw High school sports. In his high school career he has played football, basketball and run track. Some of his greatest friendships have been formed on summer leagues and Wolverine football. His teammates enjoy the talent he brings to his team as well as his leadership skills on and off the pitch and court.
Andrew has always been an example to his peers through his kindness towards everyone, work ethic and high standards. Andrew’s upbringing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taught him to abstain from things that could be harmful to him and those around him. Through his church he has also participated in numerous service projects – culminating into hundreds of hours of service. He is even an Eagle Scout – for his Eagle Scout Project he worked with the City of Enumclaw in furnishing apartments for transitional housing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday Activity: Chasing Cattle

This Sunday, Andrew and I were driving out of our driveway and we spotted a loose cow on our grass. Apparently, one of our three cows escaped. I cannot tell which one it was because their physical characteristics and names are interchangeable: Shadrac, Meshac & Abendago.
So I tiptoed into the field in my heels and dress and lifted my arms in imitation of cowboys I have observed in western movies. I might add that this actually does work; it's not just a Hollywood invention that appears impressive. Andrew became the other caroler as we coerced this frantic beast back to the proper side of the fence. How this devil got out, I’m not quite sure. But it felt brilliant to be late to church because of something so thrilling.
It also fulfilled an Anne of Green Gables moment...the one where Anne and Diana are in their dresses, attempting to chase Dolly out of Rachel Linn’s prize winning cabbages.
So there is hope for fulfilling another Anne of Green Gables moment: meeting Gilbert Blythe on the bridge at sunset and kissing him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

English 292: Sex

Despite the fact that I’m technically a senior, I still have to fulfill a basic course for my English major. Luckily, this semester I found room for this introductory class. However, it’s thrown me for a loop enrolling in a course with younger English majors; it’s a little different then the higher division classes I’ve become accustomed to. To illustrate this, here is a dialogue from this week’s discussion.

Preface: We are discussing the poem “The Eolian Harp,” written by Samuel Coleridge, to his finance. We read the following passage out loud:

“How by the desultory breeze caressed,
Like some coy maid half yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise”

Professor: Now what is this talking about?


Girl: Love

My Inner Thoughts: Hmmm…not quite. But perhaps you have a warped overly sensual definition of love.

Boy: Making love.

My Inner Thoughts: Hmmm…closer. But you are still missing the mark - I don’t think this euphemism can properly be used for such graphic, forceful word choice. Try again.


I’m becoming impatient now.

Me: SEX!

It’s about pure, unadulterated sex!

These people better get used to talking about sex, because the English major is a secret coven of students who discuss race, sex, and violence on a regular basis. So my young English majors, practice saying sex at home so that when the opportunity arises, which will be soon, you can say without hesitation and conviction: sex.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer Reading Awards

Produced The Most Tears
The Crossing
In all honesty the novel that produced the most tears was Harry Potter and Half Blood Prince because tears were shed premortem and postmortem for Dumbledore. Overall, I estimate that I cried steady tears for about 60 pages.
However, the most profound and unexpected tears came during the final pages of The Crossing.

Laugh Out Loud Funny
Someone once expressed their distaste for this particular novel and I accepted this judgement without question. Shame on this person! I would have continued to miss out on this wonderful novel if it had not been for my co-workers at the Writing Center who convinced me to read it. I laughed out loud several times during this novel, but the laughter also comes with an ironic depth as you must come to grips with the the ridiculousness of a war dictated by an out of touch bureaucracy.

Memorable Sentence
As I Lay Dying
"My mother is a fish"

Memorable Word
East of Eden
Timshel תמשל

The Most Pleasurable "Guilty Pleasure"
Here Be Dragons
On my way home from the bookstore my friend inspected this newly purchased book and asked me if I was a fan of Dungeons and Dragons. You may laugh all you want, but I adore historical fiction novels that center around Britain.

Overall Favorites
My Name is Asher Lev and To The Lighthouse.
These novels don't have much in common. My Name is Asher Lev is a künstlerroman focusing on a young Orthodox Jewish boy and To The Lighthouse is just brilliant. It's a novel that I'm excited to grow old with. An odd thing to say, but it's the way I feel.

Monday, August 17, 2009

You're A Failure

At work I fax information to banks and credit unions in order to receive funding for car deals. After faxing, I have to wait a few minutes to see if it goes through. If it does, the printer prints a sheet that says “Successful Fax”. Whenever I receive this notice I take it personally - I truly feel like the copier is complimenting me. I think to myself “you are a success!” However, the opposite also follows when a notice comes through with “Fax Failure”. There is nothing more distressing then being told by a copy machine that you are a failure.

Today I have had four failure notices.

I need a self-esteem boost.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Destination Wedding

Weddings are brilliant events that facilitate a time to visit with family and friends. For example, my brother, Tyson just got married this past week and all of our family was accounted for as my two sisters and their husbands flew in from Irvine and the Broncs to celebrate with us.
Our new family, which now includes Tyson's bride Sophia.

While I love the fact that I have the opportunity to see my family, I cannot deny that I'm weddinged out. Tyson's wedding marks the second sibling wedding this year. Not only that, it is the second wedding that has used the venue of our new home for hosting the reception. While weddings are fun to attend, hosting one or being a part of the wedding party is not as enjoyable...I have witnessed how wedding stress transforms lovely, brilliant people into emotional and scary individuals.

So, for this reason that I have promised myself and my family a destination wedding. I believe a destination wedding will allow everyone to avoid the stress of planning and hosting a large party. So if you love me enough you will find a way to get to the destination where you will enjoy a small, simple, non-stressful affair.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Dangling Conversation

Who is better Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson? It’s no contest...Emily Dickinson. But this is why I’m unnerved every time I listen to Simon and Garfunkel's “The Dangling Conversation” and hear the lines “you read your Emily Dickinson / And I my Robert Frost.”

Seriously, Robert Frost?

Do not get my wrong, I don’t have a secret vendetta against Robert Frost. I mean, every elementary student must salute him for providing them with a perfectly pleasant poem to memorize. Which poem? The poem that is a fixture in our American public school curriculum:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

This song is about the communication barrier between a couple. In my opinion the cause of communication barrier is revealed in this line - it derives from their differing taste and intellect. Someone who prefers Robert Frost to Emily Dickinson obviously has elementary taste in poetry. I know my conversation would be stifled if someone started talking about the merits of Robert Frost and I was reading Emily Dickinson. Talk about a conversation killer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coldpay at The Gorge

Viva la Vida

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People

This was the banner behind Coldplay for the first quarter of the concert. I nearly went insane trying to remember the artist and title of the painting. Although I could not name the title, I did guess Delacroix as the artist - two points for me. But this is a French revolutionary piece and the tour is Viva la Vida which is Spanish. So in my elitist opinion, Francisco Goya or Pablo Picasso would have been more appropriate.

The Gorge

The Gorge is a unique out-door musical venue and geological phenomenon that draws a variety of people. At Saturday's performance by Coldplay, the audience was more of a "tossed salad" -let's be politically correct now - than your average concert. The audience included my brother's high school teachers, grandparents, high school kids, parents and college students. And all of these random people sat with us on the grassy hill in the stifling hot weather. Because of the heat, I saw more nudity at this concert than at my high school prom. Women wore string bikini's, while the men showed off their hairy chests and big bellys while sporting never-nude cutoffs. To complete the white trash look, many had moustaches that would make Nietzsche envious. So I felt a little out of place in my modest sundress. But by the end of the concert I felt included because my clothes were perfumed with a mixture of every one's scents: weed, Heineken, sweat, b.o. and grass.

The Concert

Coldplay understands showmanship. They were able to keep the interest of those of us on the hill - who could barley see - by dramatic lighting and large TV screens to provided artistic camera shots of the action on stage. My favorite effect were these enormous balls - 5x your average exercise ball - on stage that reminded me of Chinese lanterns. They projected images, words and colors on these balls throughout the show. One of there most dramatic and clever spectacle was during their performance of the song "Yellow". They had yellow beach volleyball sized balloons blown out among the audience while the lighting on the stage mirrored the lyrics of the song.

Besides the spectacle, Coldplay delivered a brilliant musical performance that sounded better than their Cd's. Chris Martin managed to sing perfectly while literally running about on stage. His mannerisms and enthusiasm reminds me of a small kid whose thoroughly enjoying himself - he skips about on stage and does some moves that credit his British heritage: a bit river danish . It sounds rather silly, and it would appear to be silly if he did not have his raw unabashed enthusiasm that portrayed how deeply he feels the music while he performs.


During this concert Chris Martin exhibited his brilliant skills as a pianist. From his CD's you know he plays the piano, but you do not realize how talented he is. For example, one of my favorite portions of the concert was at the conclusion of one of the songs he included a piano solo of Gnossiene No. 1 by Erik Satie. It was incredible! However, the highlight of the concert was Coldplay's tribute to Michael Jackson by singing an acoustic, blue-grass inspired rendition of "Billie Jean". Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Le Parapluie

Camille Pissarro
This is one of my favorite paintings at the National Gallery in London. This picture does not do it justice - in person it looks like the whole painting is wet with raindrops.
There is something so refreshing and invigorating about unexpected rain. It seems liberating and natural for me to turn my face upwards to create a larger landing strip for the down-poring drops. Also a cliche pleasure of mine is the smell after unexpected rain - the dampness gives a pungency that enhances all the scents around you. Another reason I'm fond of rain is that I have the opportunity to use an umbrella. There are several reasons for my secret fetish with umbrellas.

The idea itself is romantic: an instrument of delicate fabric that shields you from the torrential rainfall

They are elegant.

My favorite French word is le parapluie.

One of my favorite musicals and songs to sing, while in the rain, is Singing in the Rain.

It's romantic to be huddling under an umbrella with someone. My friend Katie has a motto that "good things happen on bridges." I would argue that good things happen under umbrellas.

They are a tool that is functional but also can be interpreted as art. One example is the beautiful and clever opening credits of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.

They are a distinguished fashion statement that is often overlooked. Forget about leather gloves or jewel necklaces - umbrellas are unpretentious and so innately elegant that they are one of the most impressive accessories in a woman's wardrobe.

I even enjoy that ridiculous pop song "Umbrella" by's quite a catchy tune. Don't judge me for saying that.

"So come on with the rain - I've a smile on my face," because "you can stand under my umbrella...ella, ella, eh, eh, eh."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers: Living the Male Dream

Yesterday night I attended a GM promotional showing of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” I have never walked out of a movie, but yesterday tested my will-power to stay in my seat. To give some credence to my argument I must admit that I enjoyed “Transformers” and hoped that this sequel could accomplish what most sequels cannot: being comparable or better than the original. Despite my disposition to be entertained by this movie, I consider it the worst movie of the summer.

This movie “flopped” because…
a. I’m an “elitist” and demand simple things like a coherent plot
b. I lack the right amount of testosterone - a chemical which induces drooling at the sight of mediocre special effects .

It’s a movie conceived by male fantasy and filmed to amplify all masculine pleasure. But by indulging all of these pleasures - constant battle, suggestive shots of Megan Fox, body humor and stock characters – strips the movie of depth and originality. The following are my critiques of the film.

Soft Porn
The most obvious exploitation of male fantasy is Megan Fox. This porn-like idolizing and objectification is established in the first scene as she straddles a motorcycle in tawdry clothing. Sadly…it gets worse as the movie progresses. I’m almost convinced that they partly filmed the second half of the movie in the desert just so they could justify Megan Fox wearing next to nothing. But it also creates a brilliant irony when she wears a traditional hijab for a few moments in an Egyptian town to hide from evil robots.

The Battle that Never Ends
Sam and Mikalea have to run two miles to their destination towards the climax of the movie - the longest two miles of my life. In my opinion it takes them longer to run two miles in the desert than it does for me to run a marathon – keep in mind that my tennis shoes are fraying from want of use.

Stock Characters
The writers wished to improve this sequel by enhancing the personality of the aliens. What they consider personality I deem as lazily falling back on stock characters. While they’re aliens, the writers seem to want these aliens to conform to the stereo-types of our own world - they had the typical brothers who bicker in colloquial lingo and fight with one another and the “humorous” side-kick robot. The writers even included the typical annoying parents. (But if my mother and father were as ridiculous as the parents in the movie, I would shun them.) Another way they avoid having to create original characters is to overwhelm the audience with too many characters.

Body Humor
Every possible sexual innuendo which context allows or does not allow was made in this movie. In particular the testicular jokes is not only a motif but could arguably considered a theme of this movie. Also, there was too much humping. I know that men find Megan Fox attractive, but I fail to understand why an alien robot would procede to hump her leg. Thus, this just proves my point that this movie was conceived and filmed for men.

As a side-note, I found it amusing that to portray the more “primitive” robot Fallen; the movie followed the Modernist sentiment of primitivism by giving Fallen a face similar to an African mask. Picaso anyone?

So if you are a man and enjoy soft-porn, explosions, no character development and no plot...go see "Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen." It may be your favorite movie of the summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

“It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

The pop culture phenomenon of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies can best be described in the co-author's own terms: a rather violent and disgusting plague sweeping throughout the land. The unsightly evidence of this disease are found among the pallets at Costco - the second best indicator of a successful seller besides Opera’s magical book club sticker – and it’s place among the New York Times Best Seller list.

But what is it about? The novel’s title sums it up nicely in that it’s 85 percent of the original Pride and Prejudice with a few zombies and ninjas here and there…oh and lot’s of blood. When the copyright on this classic came to an end, Seth Grahame-Smith presented his own horror interpretation of the Regency Period. But Jane Austen fans cannot condemn this novel on account of Seth Grahame-Smith. He is a qualified individual who is capable of rewriting Pride and Prejudice - his biography on the back of this novel tells us that he “once took a class in English literature”. Surely that piece of evidence will keep the critics silent.

I sympathize with my fellow Jane Austen fans that are experiencing mixed feelings. Do we allow ourselves to become one of these mindless brain feeding zombie followers? Unfortunately for me, my sister made the decision for me by sending me a copy for my birthday. With such a guilty conscience I had to read it. So having read the novel, I am going to state my qualms with it.

Jane Austen’s satire is reduced to puns
Elizabeth: “‘I should like balls infinitely better,’ she replied, ‘if they were carried on in a different manner.’”
Darcy: “‘You should like balls infinitely better,’ said Darcy, ‘if you knew the first thing about them.’ Elizabeth blushed and suppressed a smile – slightly shocked by his flirtation with impropriety and slightly impressed that he should endeavor to flirt with it all.”

I’m convinced that “balls” is a bit anachronistic - while I would accept a pun with bollocks because it’s originally an Anglo Saxon word and even was used in John Wycliffe’s Bible to refer to testicles – but even overlooking this it is still a weak and childish pun. I’m sure if Darcy had to make an indecent comment he would possess the brains (no pun intended Seth) to come up with something a bit more clever. I mean, Samuel Johnson referred to puns as the lowest form of humor, and it indisputable the influence of Johnson in Austen’s work. And once is bad enough, but Grahame-Smith uses this pun twice. If Graham-Smith wants to become more than an aspiring script writer, he must understand that you’re audience will become bored with repetition. “Badly done Seth, baldy done.”

“she delivered a viscous blow, penetrating his rib cage and withdrew her hand – with the ninja’s still-beating heart in it…Elizabeth took a bite, letting the blood run down her chin and onto her sparring gown. ‘Curious, I have tasted many a hearts, but I dare say I find the Japanese ones a bit tender’” (132).

What is this, Dances with Wolves? Seriously this is just ridiculous. I’m fine with Lizzie becoming a warrior because it aligns with my feminist sentiments. However, I will NOT allow heart tasting or gorging. In no stretch of the imagination would Lizzie Bennet be a cannibal.

Pretending to be legit novel…too legit to quit
After finishing this read, you can expand the depth of the novel even further by referring to the Reader’s Discussion Guide which provides thought provoking questions like “the strange plague has been the scourge of England for fifty-five years, why do the English stay and fight, rather than retreat to the safety of eastern Europe or Africa?” However, I do have to admit that some of these questions closely align with my own: “does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality?”

In essence this new interpretation not only interests scholars, but also appeals to young teenage boys. From the ridiculous sexual innuendos, violence, zombies, ninjas and body humor of Mr. Wickham soiling himself - yes, soiling him because Mr. Darcy beats him to the point that he becomes a paraplegic - this is soon to be a classic among high school boys. In fact I’m almost positive my little brother Andrew will find it quite diverting, well…if he knew what that word meant I'm positive he would agree. And these adjective are how to I would like to sum up this analysis of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: diverting and amusing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Philosophy of Birthdays

Birthdays are exciting at the beginning and end of your life - everything in between is monotonous and easy to forget. When you're young, every year seems like a momentous step, like you are making progress. When you get older everyone celebrates your birthday because it's a feat that you're still around - the parties get better because you managed to evade death for another year.
The middle is just a blur. (Exception: Every decade birthday)
For me, twenty three is when I begin to forget the ages of my siblings and friends. I don't know how many times people have asked me how old my siblings are and I make up an answer. I think my sister Rebekah has been twenty five for the past two or so years.
So yesterday marked my last exciting birthday for the next few decades: twenty one. It's exciting solely for the legal implications for Americans: the age to consume alcohol legally and to gamble. Ironically, all those reasons that make this birthday so brilliant do not apply to me. However, twenty one does mark the fulfillment of a goal of mine: making it to my twenty first birthday without a wedding ring on my finger.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The title for this post is appropriate for several reasons:
1. It is in French.
Currently I am taking a French course. Normally you take this strenuous course over a period of about four months - I'm taking it in about seven weeks. In other words, it's the closest thing to an immersion program that Provo can offer.
2. Roughly translated the phrase means Metro-Eat-Sleep.
This describes my monotonous existence perfectly. I get up early to study French, work, gorge myself with unhealthy food and sleep. If I'm lucky I can get home early enough to watch my newest neflick.
It's sad when the highlight of my day is a neflick.
Perhaps I should add the french word for "lame" at the end of this phrase.
Or perhaps while it literally means Metro-Eat-Sleep, the fact that one's life can be summed up in three unoriginal words translates into a colloquial euphemism for "your life is lame".

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twenty Things To Do In Las Vegas

Believing in the romanticized Hollywood version/perspective of the world leads to disappointment - and this includes the flickering lights of Vegas. While in Vegas I searched for the dapper high rollers and sexy Brad Pitts and George Clooneys who are attempting to rob a casino. This quixotic Vegas does not exist. However, here is a list of twenty things to do while in Vegas to make an adventurous and interesting holiday. I checked off all of these twenty items on my list and I hope that you can do the same.

Twenty Things You Must Do in Vegas

1. While driving from Provo to Las Vegas, listen to music that keeps you awake and singing.
80’s music is highly recommended.

2. Get at least two people to make insulting hand gestures at you for your aggressive driving.
Also count the number of times you would like to return the favor , and conclude that there are a shocking number of imbeciles on the roads today.

3. Leave the gas pump connected to your gas tank and drive off only to realize what happened when you’re merging onto the freeway

4. Go well over the speed limit, but make sure that you also have some serendipitous way of escape getting pulled over: more disobedient drivers or a pressing accident.

5. While in a traffic jam in Vegas, make sure to discover that your gas tank is well below empty . Warning: this step often causes one to sweat anxious bullets by analyzing every uncharacteristic shudder your car makes.

6. To fill up your empty tank, take a random exit and tour the Hispanic ghetto area of Las Vegas. Do not worry about getting lost or being rusty on your Spanish, because the street names translate into Spanish and English simply and productively: letters of the alphabet in alphabetical order.

7. Go off every wrong exit within the Las Vegas area.

8. Go to your friends beautiful wedding reception at the Red Rocks Country Club to dance and eat free food.

9. In a furious rage, throw your car into reverse and knock over a street sign at the sophisticated Red Rocks Country Club.

10. Drive down the strip and observe the ridiculous unattractive pastiche style of Las Vegas.

11. Tour all the famous hotels on the strip and observe how the real Paris, Venice and Forum in Rome are better.

12. Gawk at the pornographic outfits worn by pedestrians.

13. Avoid looking at the ground and creepy people when you walk. And when I say creepy, this often applies to everyone that you will see walking around on the strip at night.

14. Have a brilliantly hilarious time by observing numerous intoxicated women trying to walk in high heels.

15. Walk into a random bar to sing “Sweat Caroline” with a group of women waving their hands in the air.

16. Drive back to your hotel after two in the morning. Even if you don’t drink any alcohol, this list guarantees that you will feel inebriated. To know if you have done each step properly, compare yourself with my friend Cari down below. If you are not quite at this pathetic level, you have are slacking.

17. Get only a few hours of sleep and drive your friend to the airport at 7 in the morning.

18. Come to the realization that you have seen everything you want to see of Vegas and decide to say goodbye to “sin city”.

19. Grab a burger and fries at “In & Out” and eat it outside in the sunshine.

20. Arrive home and take a shower to get the metaphorical grime that sticking to your soul and the literal residue of dirt and sweat on your skin.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Returning Home

The home of my childhood no longer exists - I now live a life of transcendental homelessness.

The sentimental word "home" embodies a paradoxical place and time that can never be returned to. I left my home a few years ago. My childhood home changes without me, so when I return it's different. And home is the antithesis of difference - home is the security of sameness and familiarity.

So am I damned to wander in eternal homelessness?
My Homes
Home is Enumclaw, Washington - an interesting name for an peculiar place. My dad moved to this small town, located at the bottom of Mt Rainier, when he was in high school. It's your typical small American town. For instance, some of the teachers my dad had while going to high school were some of our teachers. And my dad still holds a track record that my brother Tyson failed to beat. We have a Christmas parade and homecoming parade.

This is the view from my kitchen and family room. There is nothing more beautiful than the valley in Enumclaw Washington.


I'm not Jewish - as my family reminds me daily - nor do I have recent ancestral ties to this land. But, I've never felt such a spiritual connection with a place. How can you feel like you're coming home when it's the first time you've been there? I believe that a piece of my identity remained buried in this land waiting patiently for me to return and exhume it.


Jerusalem is my love, but Britain is my soul-mate - we are a match made in heaven. The people are just like me: reserved, introverted, and sarcastic. I love everything about this city and I miss it everyday.

So what’s the problem if I have these homes?

While visiting Wales, I discovered a Welsh poet named David Abse and one of his poems describes my distress of returning home.

“The journey to Cardiff seemed less a return than a raid
On mislaid identities"

"And still I love the place for what I wanted it to be
As much as for what it unashamedly is
Now for me, a city of strangers, alien and bleak."

"No sonner than I'd arrived the other Cardiff had gone,
Smoke in the memory, those but tinned resemblances,
Where the boy I was not and the man I am not
Met, hesitated, left double footprints and walked on."

So I'm afraid that the act of returning home will destroy it.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009


It's sheer beauty.
Cristiano Ronaldo's most recent goal is one of the most brilliant goals I've ever seen. This past week Manchester United played against FC Porto for the quarter finals of the Champions League. Manchester United beat FC Porto with this amazing shot. It's a fantastic outcome for a nearly impossible win, because FC Porto's a wonderful team and the match took place on Portuguese soil.
The goal was taken six minutes into the match and shot from forty yards out! While such a distance and circumstances may seem to classify it as a "Hail Mary Shot," the execution was not hurried or by any means lucky. Ronaldo's control guided the ball into the opposite top corner of the goal, leaving the goalie no chance to stop it. Now go to this Youtube cite and watch the first minute and you will understand why this goal deserves a blog dedicated to it's brilliance.
Becky, this would be an appropriate time to sing the song I taught you: "Glory, glory Man United"

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Remembering Palm Sunday

Exactly a year ago today, I lived in Jerusalem and participated in the reenactment of Christ's triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. I found this entry in my journal describing my experience. I only wish that my journal entry was as poetic and moving as the experience itself.

As we walked up Mt Scopos to the Mt of Olives, our Palestinian neighbors sat outside on their porches to become spectators of this Christian tradition of Palm Sunday. Finally reaching the Mount of Olives, we became part of the growing stream of hundreds of people. Among the congregation were several different languages and national flags waved through the air. Hundreds of Christians mingled on the Mount Olives - diverse people from all over the world became united in this one celebration.
As appropriate, I bought a green frond that I carried throughout the trek. While waiting for the procession to begin, I remained close to a Spanish band playing a catchy tune. I joined in for the chorus because it was repetitive and simple enough that even I could mumble along. Then the crowd began to walk downhill towards Jerusalem: past the Jewish cemetery, Dominus Flevit and the garden of Gethsemane. I looked behind me as I descended and all I could see were thousands of pilgrims waving green fronds and flags - it was a river of people stretching endlessly to a distant vanishing point. It was at this moment that I realized the magnitude of this event. As our journey led us to the Kidron Valley, we now had to walk uphill to reach our final destination. The sun was bright and it was crowded, so I was hot and sweaty when we reached our destination: St. Anne's Cathedral. Palm Sunday in's surreal.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Poetry

Sundays are fantastic days to lounge around and read poetry. Poems often come in beautiful portable booklets - their so small and short, but the thoughts they provoke provide hours of deep contemplation. During my journeys in England I started to collect petite booklets of poetry. In Wales I bought the poems of a random welsh poet and read them sitting on a bench in the countryside. In the Lake District I bought a small booklet of Wordsworth's poems at Dove Cottage. And a Portabello Road I bought a late 1800's edition of Shakespeare's sonnets and soliloquies. I read poetry on days like today, because I'm feeling thoughtful and crave something aesthetically and phonetically beautiful. Other days I'm nostalgic and I crave a certain poet's voice or poem that brings comfort. I still remember when a friend unexpectedly died, and in my shock I went upstairs and selected the work of Emily Dickinson as a companion to sort out my mixed feelings. I would like to share this poem I read today and found inspiring.
"I Am Vertical"
But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.
Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them--
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
he the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.
- Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Book of Mormon Macbeth

Please bear in mind the title of this blog. What can I say? I’m a Shakespeare snob.
I understood that nothing would live up to the Royal Shakespeare Company productions I saw in England; they’re the best in the world. The last Shakespeare play I saw was the RSC production of Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and, my love, David Tennant. It was the highlight of the program and a night I would never forget. When I read Hamlet’s soliloquies I’ll see David Tennant in an empty black stage, not reciting, but being Hamlet. How can BYU compete with this? They cannot. So When I heard of BYU‘s winter production of Macbeth, I resigned to the fact that it would never live up to the RSC.
Mesoamerica aka Book of Mormon
Do not be fooled as I was - the word Mesoamerica is a euphemism at BYU for Book of Mormon. Perhaps they thought they could give credibility to this productions setting by using this archeological term. But what if the audience does not understand it’s a Book of Mormon Macbeth? I know, let’s change the names of Shakespeare’s characters to match those in the Book of Mormon… a subtle hint that this is no ordinary Mesoamerica interpretation.

Never Ending Battle
My cousin Erin and I stole our brother’s lightsavers and constructed the ultimate showdown; while I lunged forward she swiftly leapt back. I would swing my lightsaver low to the ground while she would agilely leap over. It was a phenomenal display of jedi knight prowess. The fight scene in this Macbeth reminds me of my days as a jedi master…the rhythmic clash of sword against sword and agile swoops of the actor. In essence it’s a choreographed dance– too pretty and synchronized to be real. However the actors did outshine Erin and me in one area: stamina. Yes, they managed to continue this labor intensive dance for fifteen minutes.

Decapitation or Scalping?
After this painful battle, Macduff emerges from backstage with a Macbeth’s bloody severed head. I could not contain the laughter at this moment – the only thing that could have produced hardier laughter was perhaps to mount the head on a charger. Apparently in all the research into Book a Mormon culture, they preferred decapitation to scalping.

In All Seriousness
I love the performance of Lady Macbeth and the productions emphasis on the loving and sexual relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. As Steven Greenblatt points out in his novel Will in the World, the Macbeths share one of the few affectionate and balanced marriages in a Shakespeare play. The playwright deconstructs the Macbeths’ companionate marriage as the couple uses their ideal relationship to commit murder; this deconstruction ultimately allows Shakespeare to explore and intensify the disquietude of the play.
However, I did not appreciate turning a minor character, Seyton into a makeshift devil figure. They portrayed him as the leader of the witches – the devil himself. Macbeth’s soldiers do not kill Macduff’s family but the witches lead by Seyton. This interpretation unraveled the brilliancy of Shakespeare who keeps the witches aloof to emphasize the questions of fate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Too Extreme in Saving Trees

Imagine sitting on the toilet….

Let's get the embarrassing preliminaries out of the way...most people - including myself - are pee-shy in public bathrooms. There’s nothing worse than knowing you’re not alone in a bathroom, complete silence, and the knowledge that water closets posses fantastic cathedral like acoustics. Not only have public bathrooms denied me the right to relieve myself in peace, but now I’m denied the right of using as much toilet paper as I desire, because of the pointless and expensive technology installed in public bathrooms.
I love hi-tech things - especially in bathrooms. Those automatic soap dispensers: brilliant! However, there is danger in being too automated in restrooms. A prime example is the automated toilet paper dispensers on BYU campus. In the women’s restrooms in the Wilk, to get your toilet paper you must gently pull down and the machine. Sounds harmless enough, but this machine symbolize the nonsensical level of laziness in America. More importantly, this machine makes a ruckus to let down a measly rationed six inches of toilet paper. Now, I know what your thinking: you could simply pull for more if needed. However, the ear-shattering noise of the toilet paper dispenser loudly announces to your stall neighbors just how much toilet paper you need on this particular trip to the bathroom.
Now if BYU installed these devilish contraptions in order to conserve trees – they did an ingenious job. Because, I think many of us would rather use every cm of that toilet paper rather than pull down for three or four more helpings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for recycling paper. But in all honesty, for me, trees take the back seat when it comes to my toilet paper.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rancid Farts & B Money

An unpleasant odor permeated my apartment for several days, and with each new day it progressively got worse. We rummaged through our refrigerator looking for out of date food and we even checked for dead animals in our cupboards. And walking in one evening with the rest of my roommates, I brilliantly discovered what the smell reminded me of: rancid farts - bitter, sour, potent farts. And this smell continued to saturate everything in our apartment.
That same night of labeling the smell, we heard a knock at our door. I don’t know what any of us expected, but it was not a shaggy homeless man with sacks full of clothes. Like an unwelcome Santa Clause, he opened the door he proceeded to let his overflowing bag fall into our apartment. Matriarch Lauren, despite her fear for her life and her virginity, spoke to the man and Cari and I tried to keep our laughter down. It was not a homeless man - it is the B Money!
Who is B Money? He’s an institution in Provo - he’s the snoop dog of Provo. Everyone knows B Money.
Notorious or not, Lauren spoke to him like she was speaking to a child. She tried to explain that we were not interested in buying B Money shirts, nor did we want to hold his t-shirts for him in our apartment. Leaving our apartment B Money turns around and states bluntly "by the way your apartment reeks!" There it brush with greatness and celebrity in Provo, Utah.
This may be one of those instances where you had to be there, but our stomach muscles hurt from laughing so hard.

Here's B Money's video on Youtube. It's entertaining, in a pathetic sort of way.

By the way, my apartment no longer smells of rancid farts. That same night we solved the problem: it was the trash.

I would also like to draw to your attention that with this post, I no longer have any posts from London on my page. Single tear.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Le Fête de la Musique

Some of my favorite artists released new albums within the past few weeks.

Neko Case’s “Middle Cyclone”

I just purchased this album the other day and after listening to over half this album, I can safely say I love it.

Beirut’s “March of the Zapotec/Holland”
Other EP’s have expored the sounds of Eastern Europe, “The Flying Club Cup” probes into Parisian music, and this new release explores Mexican music. Beruit even intergrates a local Mexican band with their own sound. (My mom thought that The Flying Club Cup sounded Mexican…I wonder what she will make of this new EP). The “Holland” portion pays homage to Zach Condon’s beginnings of experimenting with techno music in his room. Zac Condon's a musical genuis and I love the fact that he has musical ADD - he never stays on task and keeps innovating new sounds.
Andrew Bird’s “The Noble Beast” I already dedicated a whole page to Andrew Bird, and two consecuitive posts would seem stalkerish…so just listen to it people!

A brilliant month for music.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left

A nuance develops from the line “a nervous tic motion of the head to the left” when you watch the Andrew Bird’s emotionally charged head swinging during a performance. I watched Andrew Bird in concert this summer, but a less than ideal venue lessened the impact of the show. But this week I witnessed the full fledged musical prowess of Andrew Bird. Can I just say, I love this man? I love when he finishes playing the guitar and swings it behind his back and picks up his violin and begins to play. I also love it when he whistles…there is something – dare I say sexy – about his charisma.

My Reasons for Worshiping Andrew Bird:

1. He plucks his violin like a guitar to create complicated and brilliant melodies
2. He improvises and experiments with songs during live performances
3. World class whistler - he harmonizes with his whistling
4. He’s plays the violin beautifully
5. Overwhelming charisma on the stage

He the quintessential image of a slightly mad, but ingenious violinist: broken bow strings flailing madly, his fingers moving at incredible speeds, eyes closed and his head tossing to the rhythm. But, what’s amazing is that this classical image contrasts with his innovative and modern application of the violin. He takes an instrument associated with classical music and shreds it like a guitar on stage – he forcibly changes our conformist ideas of the violin.

Favorite Songs of the Evening:

1. Effigy
From his new album, the Noble Beast, this song is hauntingly beautiful.
2. Imitosis
The crowd’s energy rose to a whole new level for this song
3. Fake Palindromes
4. Fitz and Dizzyspells
5. Why?
Encore performance: just Andrew Bird and his instruments. His articulation of his lyrics and physical gestures enhanced the meaning of this songs…it was hilarious at certain points.

Also, my friend Holli will back me up on this…he reminds us of David Tennant. I must have a thing for skinny, quirky, brilliant individuals with somewhat spastic endearing gestures

Monday, February 16, 2009

He Love’s Me, He Love’s Me Not

Valentine's Day Activities for the Single

  • Watch BBC production of Bleak House
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Go to International Cinema with my roommates boyfriend (my roommate is currently in California so he was alone on Valentine’s Day)
  • Butterfinger blizzards
  • Read feminist theory - I was supposed to read some feminist theory for class and I wanted to read it on Valentine’s Day to make it more ironic, but my laziness got the better of me.

Valentine Awards

  • Worst Movie Kiss: 2007 adaptation of Persuasion – I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s the most uncomfortable kiss of my life. It takes about 20 seconds - again no exaggeration - and during those twenty seconds she works a cm at a time towards his lips with her mouth open and lips quivering like a fish on land. It’s disturbing.
  • Most cliché gifts: Stuffed animal, heart shaped box of chocolates and a dozen red roses.
  • Favorite Valentine’s Day Food: Heart shaped sugar cookies
  • Favorite Valentine’s Day Film: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
    This is a French film that I saw at International Cinema and it deals with love...but a psychotic love. It basically deconstructs the techniques of filming to unnerve the audience’s perception of reality and get laughs out of terrible events. If you have not seen it I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Reading Lolita in Tehran

"I do not feel suppressed," pronounced the woman speaker indignantly. Her words contrasted ironically with the lacey black scarf covering her hair. Did she not perceive the irony of her statement? No, we were the blind ones who did not understand. Like many Americans, my view of Islam derived from the media’s concentration on extremist branches of Islam. However, this female speaker displayed a new dimension to the religion for me, as she served on committees for her community, attained a high education, and expressed her opinion freely; she was not suppressed because she chose to cover her head for Allah. Living in the Middle East I came to correct my one-dimensional view of Islam by finding sources outside of the American media. And when I read Reading Lolita in Tehran I appreciated Nafisi’s narrative of extremist Islam. Yet, I’m afraid that American audiences will not realize that this book only represents a small portion of the Islamic faith, and for this reason I will follow Nafisi’s example and share my own memoirs of veils and Islam.
My socks poke out of the black material cloaking my body and create friction scraping the surface of the carpet. I do not feel invisible wearing the black material cloaking my body. Instead, I feel a unique spirit sitting on the carpet in a mosque where Muslims come to pray daily. The ancient melodious words, amplified across the old city, call everyone to prayer five times a day. They drop sleep, work,
everything to pray to Allah. Our driver recites the call to prayer over the microphone to express his deep faith. World renowned for reciting the call to prayer, Atta must work as a bus driver because he would not accept money for singing; he sings for Allah.
Besides Mormon families, I have never found a more family centered religion than Islam. Visiting the humble home of a Palestinian family we were welcomed into their home as we celebrated the birthday of their son. The mother traditionally dressed in a veil gave us too much delicious food and the father sat on a couch teasing his sons and young daughters whose beautiful long hair shown as brightly as their mischievous and playful eyes. That hot day at Karnack I could only see the eyes of the cloaked woman as she handed me her beautiful baby. Drawn to my blond hair, they wanted me to take a picture with their child. "Thank you" they said through their smiles "affon" I replied, sealing our respect for one another.
"I have heard about the death of your prophet" my Muslim friend Iman says to me after the death of President Hinckley. "I am sorry for your loss." I have seen this kindness so many times - like that time in Jordan when our small group was lost in Amman and a father and son stopped to assist us. The father and son took the time to drive us in their car trying to get us to our destination. Soon the destination did not matter as we talked about movies and politics.
Words do not fail me often, but they do as I attempt to convey my feelings about these unique experiences. I do not deny the existence of the horrors in Nafisi’s narrative. I cannot dismiss her experiences, but I cannot dismiss my own experiences. I can only hope that in sharing my encounters with Islam, I can expand people’s view to acknowledge another view of this religion that exists outside of the extremist regime of Iran.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Doctor Who?

I passed my winter break watching “Chuck” and “Doctor Who”. I have continued my “Doctor Who” education at school; when I find a spare forty minutes I indulge in an episode. People wonder what I do during my quick study breaks and when I reply “I have been watching ‘Doctor Who’” everyone nods their heads to acknowledge the statement, but the eyes do not register. They do not know The Doctor! It’s unfortunate that once I begin to love the show I move to a place that everyone is ignorant of the Time Lord.
Now I am sure I’ve confused everyone, so let me enlighten you…“Doctor Who” is a British TV show started in the sixties and continued on until the early eighties. After about twenty years without the Doctor, BBC revived the Time Lord and he has won his way back into British pop culture. The show revolves around an alien who travels through space and time in a spaceship that looks like a telephone booth. It sounds nerdy and it is. The show’s notoriously low budget makes the sci-fi subject matter ridiculous, but you cannot help but love the show.
This unhealthy obsession began during my stay in London. I wished to see Hamlet with David Tennant because he did a fantastic job in Love’s Labour’s Lost. The whole population of Britain wanted to see Hamlet because he is the current Doctor. These crazed fans intrigued me and I gave the Doctor a go. The first few episodes I remained skeptical at the ridiculous alien jargon and cheap filming. After awhile you become accustomed to the unusual flow of the show; then you’re hooked. I always made fun of my father for watching Sci-fi but it’s different with “Doctor Who”.
I understand the direction my nerdiness is going and quite frankly it scares me. Now I make connections and references to “Doctor Who” under my breath, When I try to explain my obsession, the concerned stares convince me that I’m slowly going mad…perhaps I need a doctor…and if David Tennant happened to be my doctor I would gladly become sick.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Culture Shock

Returning to America from the Middle East was a painful and long process of acclimating back to American culture. Compared to Jerusalem, British and American cultures seemed like kissing cousins, so I logically concluded it would be a quick transition. During Christmas break I experienced a few shocking moments in the mall when I spotted wife beaters, gold chains, grungy sweats worn in public and mullets –and we are not talking Euro Mullets but legit down to your butt cuts- and after this I decided I could handle American culture mullets and all. I was wrong; for under the umbrella of American Culture lies a subculture which I did not account for: “the Bubble of BYU”.

Brigham Young University is a unique campus, besides the obvious high levels of chastity and sobriety. The culture shock I experienced sinks a bit deeper, deep into those dark roots of the Utah platinum blond. They may be hard to spy at times due to excessive ratting which provides a shield. The culture shock lies within the orange finger painting foundation and smoky eye shadow. I have became accustomed to the dapper old British men in their argyle, the businessmen in sharp suits and ties, women wearing eclectic and chic ensembles and the casual Brit still sporting cords or nice trousers with a smart jumper. Instead I see one to many ugg boots paired with nondescript sweaters and the more homely unadventurous shirt and jeans which hang limply swallowing up the wearer.

I felt so comfortable in London because both the Brits and I am private and somewhat cold people. So, when fifty or so people I do not know smile at me while I walk on campus it makes me uneasy. My only response is to set my eyes to the pavement and hope I get to class safely. Smiling at complete strangers could be construed as a wonderful uplifting gesture, but to me it’s a bit creepy. It does not stop at awkward lip splitting smiles…it continues into awkward greetings and conversations. While waiting outside of my French classroom with fellow students a passing engineering major –I’m assuming his major because we were in the engineering building and his lack of social skills and nerdy persona could only be an engineering major- asked us what class we were waiting for and we replied French. A minute later he walked back the other direction and attempted to speak every cliché French phrase he could think of, but he did not speak to us, he muttered loudly under his breath while scurrying by.

I adore British dry and sarcastic humor. At BYU humor revolves around the one thing all students share: being Mormon. However, everyone around me seems to find these jokes hilarious. This convinces me that students either do not know what clever wit is or they simply have become desensitized to good humor. While at family home evening we were going around in a circle introducing ourselves and when someone asked a boy in a group if he and his roommate knew each other before, he replies “in the pre-mortal existence”. The shocking part was not the reply but the response: people laughed. I wish I could say they laughed out of pity but these were genuine giggles. While everyone shared this hilarious moment my mouth dropped open in horror.