Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nickled and Dimed: Coming up short

*This is an embarrassing story. I should not put myself up as such an easy target for ridicule on the blogosphere, but it is too funny to pass up.*

I love the symphony/orchestra. I also love my friend Kylie. So when she told me that she was playing in University Orchestra, I knew I had to attend.

The day of the performance came and I went to buy a ticket for myself; the ticket was the loose change amount of three dollars. As I’m paying for my ticket the box office attendant tells me “your card has been declined. Do you have any other way of paying for the ticket?” I reluctantly tell her that I only have the card. I walk away empty handed and officially embarrassed.

Like any normal, self-respecting person I only use cards and the occasional check at Costco, so I had to scour my room for any kind of cash. Finally I exhumed two one-dollar bills and a dollar worth of change in nickels and dimes. As I walk towards campus with my money I turned red just thinking about how ridiculously pathetic I will look paying for a three dollar ticket in change.

I reach the Ticket Office and I place the ratty dollar bills and sprinkle the change on the counter to order my ticket. “I don’t know if we accept change” the Box Office attendant says and he quickly turns to the two or three chatting employees and asks “hey, do we accept change?” Fantastic, apparently paying in change is more pathetic than I even anticipated. Not only that, let’s alert everyone in the BYU Ticket Office that I’m paying for a three dollar ticket in change. A fellow employee answers, “we normally don’t, but if she does not mind that we cannot give any change back.” I sigh with relief - crisis averted.

But then he begins to count the money.

“You are short a nickel. Do you have one on you?” Crap. I must have miscounted. How could I miscount? I worked as a bloody cashier! I’m blushing like mad at this point, and I begin to look furiously in my bag.


“Hey does anyone have a nickel?” he asks the employees. Brilliant. Now I’m the Box Office charity case. And of course no one has a nickel.

I’m standing there not knowing what to do. Should I grab the money and run? He looks at me and says, “don’t worry about, we will figure something out.” I walk away almost laughing out loud with embarrassment. It was a kind gesture, but it was also the only gesture that the box office attendant could make - I was so pathetic that I basically cornered him into giving me a nickel.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The love child of John Smith and Pocahontas

The other day I noticed that my brown flats, of three and a half years, were falling apart. So, I recently bought a pair of shoes as a replacement.

While breaking my shoes in, a friend commented on how they were an interesting mix of Native American and European culture.

They are the love child of John Smith and Pocahontas.

We all laughed heartily at the joke, patting ourselves on the back for being so witty and clever.

But then I realized just how much the joke revealed. Historically speaking, John Smith and Pocahontas never had a love child. There was not romance. She married John Rolfe, became a Christian, adopted the name of Rebecca Rolfe, and assimilated into English society.

So why did we all make John Smith and Pocahontas a couple?

I love Disneyland and Disney. However, I do not appreciate their romanticized and false portrayal of early American history. I remained a disillusioned, naive, indoctrinated child for a long time because of institutions like Disney. It was not until high school and college that things were told in there more gritty reality. This incident is similar to the quixotic history of taught at schools about Christopher Columbus discovering America, and the relationship between Native Americans and the English.

I realize that history in of itself is a narrative and cannot be relied on as fact. However, there are some renderings of history that are more accurate than others. Also, I realize that Disney made a Pocahontas II in which they tried to rectify their historical mistake. But it is too late. It is like an unwritten rule that sequels never create as much revenue, are as well written, or as widely viewed by the public as the original (excluding the anomalies of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Batman). In other words, Disney cannot undo the damage that has been done.

On that note, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I don't know about you, but I'm thankful for adorable brown flats, Disneyland, Disney, and the wonderful songs from Pocahontas.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

O.R.C.A Poetry

Warning: The following may contain graphic or violent images that may be upsetting for animal lovers or followers of P.E.T.A. These views do not reflect the views of the author of this blog. These ideas are the rant against writing a academic grant proposal entitled O.R.C.A. Whales were not intended to be hurt in the process of the making of this poem, but unfortunately the name too closely resembled the grant's name - whales became collateral damage in a bitter diatribe against the grueling task of writing a proposal.

O.R.C.A. Blood

Kill the freakin whales

Harpoon them

Use their blubber to fuel industry

Destroy every copy of Free Willy

Put Shamu in a 9x10 tank

And buy hundreds of tickets to see him

fueling the industry that traps these wild animals into captivity

"There she blows!"

See capitalism reap and Marx weep

Tears that may be similar to his twin Fredrick Douglas

See me weep

I swim and jump through hoops

to the whistle of my trainer

to be rewarded with a fish

"My mother was a fish"

Well I'll Northrop FRYE that Stanley FISH

bite the hand that feeds

my academic needs

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cormac McCarthy Diary: Waiting for Chigurh

"The boat is going to Texas. Only now is the child finally divested of all that he has been. His origins are become remote as in his destiny and not again to all the world's turning will there be terrains so wild and barbarian so try whether the stuff of creation may be shaped to man's will or whether his own heart is not another kind of clay" (Blood Meridian 4).

While reading this passage I too was going to Texas. While I was not going to join Judge Holden's gang, I was going to discuss it. Last week I flew into Austin, Texas to attend and present at the Cormac McCarthy Society Conference in San Marcos with two BYU professors and three fellow undergraduates.

Shortly after our arrival into Austin we went to the cheaper option motel rooms that we reserved. However, the frugal decision actually enhanced the trip, because upon arrival to our motel we all looked at each other with the same thought: this is just like No Country For Old Men.

"Chigurh drove slowly along the row of the motel rooms with his window down and the receiver in his lap....He left the office with the key in his shirtpocket and got into the Ramcharger and drove around to the side of the building and parked and got out and walked down to the room carrying the bag with the receiver and the guns in it" (No Country for Old Men 102-3).

As I relayed the scene in my mind, it's no suprise that this is the first thing Ruth and I did when we entered the motel room:

Good night. Let's hope Chigurh does not pay us a visit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out Persephone

This weekend, my roommate Becky brought home dozens of pomegranates from her family tree in Las Vegas. We've been devouring them ever since. I must admit that up until this week I have only eaten a few pomegranates and those were eaten within the past year or so. I think the reason for my belated tasting is that my mother shrewdly saw the lethal combination of unforgiving pomegranate juice and messy children.

Pineapples you have to cut, bananas you peel, kiwis you scoop out, cherries you spit out the seed, and Pomegranates you pick at. Eating a pomegranate is like exploring a M.C. Eshcer lithograph.

Whatever way you eat your pomegranate, it is my new goal in life to recreate this painting:

Perhaps a little less masculine though.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welcome Back Autumn

Hay is a symbol of Autumn: hay rides and hay bales lining pumpkin patches.

While at home this summer, I watched the annual ritual of transforming chest high fields of grass into heavy compact bales of hay, cinnamon rolls and marshmallows.

The cinnamon roll

I find something aesthetically beautiful about these coarse, hay cinnamon rolls.

I had to have pictures of these cinnamon rolls so I drove around in my car snapping pictures with my phone. I didn't dare get out of the car - I was afraid that the farmers might call the cops on a girl tromping through their fields with a camera.

The marshmallow

I remember when my dad woke me and my little brother in the middle of the night to drive to a neighboring field so we could examine these strange looking marshmallows. Our dad told us that these were the props for an upcoming X-Files that they were filming in our home town.

I'm the most gullible person in the world - so of course I believed him. But in my defense I was groggy, young and they were strange enough looking in the moonlight to be featured in an episode of X-Files.

Welcome back Autumn.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Musical Coupling

A few months ago I found out that one of my favorite music artists is dating another favorite comedian/singer/actor:

Joanna Newsom and Andy Samberg

Can you imagine of a more interesting musical duo?

Just think about it: the man that performed the comical Iran So Far, is dating the compositional genius that wrote 81'.

I wonder if two eccentric and talented people may have a functional and normal relationship.

Either way, the thought of this musical coupling makes me bemusedly happy - something is right in the world.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Garden Party

shower, n. An abundance of gifts of a similar kind presented by guests at a party to celebrate esp. a wedding or purpose. 1904 Grand Rapids Even. Press 22 June 4 the 'shower parties' that through mistaken hospitality the wedded couple are forced to attend.

These hydrangeas and sprigs of mint are from our garden.

There are several elements of Bridal showers that I dislike.
When I decided to throw a shower for my dear friend Katie, I vowed to avoid those unpleasant elements of traditional bridal showers. To begin with, on the invitations I referred to this party as a "garden party" instead of a "shower" because I find the term "shower" to be somewhat cheesy.

My other objection to "showers" are the mandatory games. This includes the ever so fun activity of creating a wedding dress out of toilet paper.

At Katie's garden party, we ate delicious food instead of draping toilet paper over people.

Martha Stewart cake recipe: angel food cake sandwich with several layers of sorbets, jam and ice cream. I'm sure Martha would describe it a lot more elegantly than I just did, but who can keep up with Martha?

Then there is that one person who decides to make everything awkward by gifting some lewd, tawdry piece of lingerie.

At Katie's shower she received practical and beautiful gifts to put in her kitchen.

Overall, it was a successful garden party - just look at all the genuinely happy people below.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

If I could live in the world that an artist created, it would be Van Gogh.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mac or PC

For some people the answer to an either/or question may strengthen or break a friendship.
For example: Mac or PC?

I have a dear friend who informed me that all her friends are Mac people and that I should count myself lucky because she was going to overlook the fact that I owned a PC. While she was partly joking, she was also serious. Over the years I've been weary of Mac computers because the majority of Mac supporters I've run into are dogmatic and confrontational about their choice of computer. I've also been weary because of the stereotypical Mac user (i.e. Parker Posey's character in Best in Show): Yuppie from Illinois who frequents Starbucks with her Mac, L.L. Bean and J Crew catalogue.

I'm glad to report that I've overcome all these obstacles - after my Dell computer died from a nasty virus, I saved up my money to purchase a Macbook Pro. So a few days ago I officially become a proud owner of a Mac.I'm sure that all my friends who own Mac will congratulate me for my purchase. While they may congratulate me, they will not recruit me to join in the debates or door to door Mac campaign.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Road Trip to the Northwest

Willamette River in Portland
Starting Point: Provo, Utah
Destination: Portland, Oregon
Final Destination: Enumclaw, Washington

Distance Traveled: 979 miles
Traveling Time: 16 hours
About a week ago, me and three other people piled into my Pontiac Vibe for a road trip to explore the Pacific Northwest. The four of us did not really know one another - some of us were not even friends on facebook - but we shared one thing in common: we all like hippies, rain, green landscape and eco-friendly communities. We didn't have plans before we left, but a unintentional parallelism emerged as we did similar activities in both Seattle and Portland: exploring open air markets, used bookstores and hiking up waterfalls.
Modern Art Outside of Powell's Bookstore

In Portland we went to the Saturday farmers market which included a colorful crowd. We watched break dancers, listened to street musicians, and browsed the work of local artists.

Powell's bookstore is known as one of the largest used bookstores in the United States. All of us went to our own area of interest (philosophy, economics, and pop culture) and perused. I have to say that I was disappointed by the prices at Powells in comparison with the used bookstore I visited a few months ago in New York. However, I had a friend who went to Powells a few days and found the complete works of Shakespeare for thirty dollars, so apparently there are deals to be found.

While the sun was setting, we climbed Multnomah Falls. The water at Multnomah Falls cascades 620 feet, which makes it the second-highest waterfall in the United States. One of the most beautiful parts about visiting the falls was climbing up to the top and looking out over the Columbia River Gorge.

While in Seattle we visited another open air market: Pike's Place Market. While at Pikes Place we bought bouquets of tulips, sampled food, and watched men in orange jumpsuits throw salmon to one another. We also walked through the Seattle Art Museums outdoor sculpture garden and along the pier in the rain. For dinner we had Indian food at Roti, a brilliant Indian restaurant in Queen Anne, and cupcakes at Cupcake Royale in Ballard. With full stomachs, we went to a small lookout point in Queen Anne to see the city at night.

Because we hiked a waterfall in Oregon, we obviously needed to hike one in Washington too. We set our sights on Snoqualmie Falls, which is not as tall as Multnomah, but it was still spectacular.

Sadly our road trips came to an end as my three comrades flew back to Provo.

Overall...huzzah for road trips.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Am The Walrus

I told a friend that was editing my paper how concerned I was about having a "sexy" idea because a professor of mine always stressed having a "sexy" or "hot" element of in your scholarly work. The only theory in this particular piece incorporated ideas from Nietzsche's The Genealogy of Morals. She replied that the paper already had the sexy element because "Nietzsche is sexy."

This reminded me of another conversation I had with a friend. In this conversation he told me about a dream he had about Nietzsche and some other theorist. I interrupted him asking " did Nietzsche have his brilliant mustache in the dream?" He then teased me of fancying Nietzsche and of course I protested but he replied, "no you dream about making out with Nietzsche with 'I am the walrus' playing in the background.' "

He's right. It is my ultimate fantasy to make out with Nietzsche. But don't worry, I would not let things get out of control - I need to protect myself from contracting syphilis.

So imagine making out with this foxy philosopher with "I am the walrus" playing in the background.
If that does not turn you on, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Latte Bowls

Dave from Hot Rod: You know, pools are perfect for holding water...

Musing Elitist: You know, latte bowls are perfect for holding crème brulée...

These are my new bowls that I bought the other day. Please note that even my dishes are as elitist as I am: they are not just bowls - they are latte bowls.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today's blog post is inspired by my visit to the HBLL's Special Collections. At Special Collections, I handled a first edition King James Bible (1611) and a contemporary Geneva Bible. Seeing these books up close, I observed some of the interesting differences in layout and type. The original KJV uses the traditional Gothic type for the scriptural text and the more modern roman type for the summary and insertions. At the beginning of each chapter the first letter is highly decorated - reminiscent of illuminated manuscripts. This mix of the Gothic, roman and illumination style creates a hybrid of the modern and traditional type, which reflects the moderate position of the Anglican religion itself (between Protestant and Catholic). The Geneva on the other hand is half gloss and scriptural text on each page. It reminds me of a Hebrew Bible which includes all the commentary of Rabbis (e.g. Maimonides). This activity today reminded me of the importance of typography in literature - I could grasp a great deal about these different books by simply observing the type and layout of the page.
For a more modern and fun application of typography, my good friend Becky introduced me to the work of Jessica Hirsche. Her website is my new found love and a brilliant distraction from my homework. One of her most fun ideas is that she designs a daily letter. Here are some examples below:

Monday, March 8, 2010

The 2010 Oscars

The Academy Awards are my Superbowl. For as long as I can remember, I've looked forward to the month of March because it is the month of the Oscars. I even found a way to watch the Academy Awards two years ago while living in the Middle East - that was the year that No Country For Old Men won best picture. I can't explain why I adore the Oscars so much, but I'm going to have a go at it:

It's an award show for movies - I love movies almost as much as literature
Comedic hosts

In Memoriam - listening to James Taylor while remembering those that died this year and made so many contributions to film (e.g. Jean Simmons). They also put together a small tribute to John Hughes. John Hughes made the 80's.

Lifetime Achievement Awards


Montages to Film - last night's homage to horror was particularly interesting

Realizing during acceptance speeches that there is a reason some people work behind the camera and not in front of it.

Honoring brilliant performances and artistic talent

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New York: Part Two

I walked into Saks Fifth Avenue store just to peruse and see how the "other half" live. While I love looking at beautiful designer clothes, I feel uncomfortable when a shirt that is 75% off is still a thousand dollars.I felt like an imposter and that everyone there knew I didn't belong. So I made a quick exit before they threw me out for wearing boots that did not cost over a grand.

For lunch, I quenched my two year craving from authentic falafels. We went to Taim Falafel and Smoothie Bar which is located on Waverly Place. My only complaint is that they do not put fries in the falafels, but it's an easy fix - you just stuff their fries -rated in the top twenty for fries in New York - into the falafel in between bites.

Then we used the subway to get to East-Village to explore the famous Strand Bookstore established in 1927. One of my favorite things to do is to explore used/antique bookstores. From the extensive collection of books I bought a used copy of The English Patient, My Antonia and a compilation of essays by one of my favorite theorists: Walter Benjamin.

We drove by Columbia's campus and saw the dinner that Jerry Seinfeld and his friends always eat at. We did not eat there - word on the street is that it is awful food - so we went to Miss Mamie's. This restaurant sits on the cusp between Columbia University and Harlem and it serves famous fried chicken, red velvet cake and macaroni and cheese.

The next day the girls went on a tour through the Tenement Museum. This museum takes tours through a building that was a tenement house from the 1870's to the 1930's. The museum offers several tours in which it focuses on specific families that actually lived there and they display the rooms according to how the family lived. We learned about a German immigrant family that lived in the tenement in the 1870's and were ostracized because of the Nativism that arose during the Great Panic. The guide poignantly observed that one of the ancestors of this German family died in 9/11 - an event that launched another wave of Nativism and prejudice against immigrants.

For lunch we had some amazing Butter Lane cupcakes. They pair their chocolate and white dense cupcakes with flavorful frosting. Their frosting is so amazing they offer "frosting shots". My favorite cupcake was the strawberry - the frosting tasted like a strawberry smoothie.

For our last activity we went to the Museum of Modern Art. I saw a lot of art pieces that I've studied over the years: Henri Matisse Red Room and Dance (I), Georges Braque Man with a Guitar, Pablo Picasso Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and Salvador Dali The Persistence of Memory. Here are the highlights of the museum for me:
Van Gogh
The Starry Night

At the Muse d'Orsay a few years ago this painting was on tour and I was not a happy camper. So, it was brilliant and unexpected to see this painting at the MoMA.

Mark Rothko
No. 3/No. 13

Marc Chagall
I and the Village

Piet Mondrian
Trafalgar Square

I found Mondrain's conceptual work especially intriguing because of a conference paper I'm working on that deals with space and boundaries. Also, in my Creative Writing class we talked about line in poetry and for my assignment I wrote a poem about line. So I had a lot of fun looking and thinking about this piece. Also it's title is Trafalgar Square...which reminds me of London...and I love London.

Constantin Brancusi
The Cock
Blond Negress, II
Bird in Space
Young Bird
Endless Column

Gustav Klimt
Hope, II

Friday, February 12, 2010

New York: Part One

To start of my experience of New York, my sister Rebekah – who lives in the Bronx with her husband – took us to dinner at a Venezuelan restaurant called Caracas. In true Venezuelan fashion it is complete with spanish music and shelves of Mary icons. My favorite dish included fried plantains, a mayo guacamole sauce and topped with shredded white salty cheese.

Today at the Metropolitan Museum my parents experienced the ancient worlds of Egypt and Mesopotamia while I toured the European Art Exhibit. I picked the highlights for me below:

Van Gogh, "Women Picking Olives"

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "The Harvesters"

Vermeer, "Girl with the Water Pitcher"
Dutch Baroque

Nicolaes Maes, "Girl Peeling Apples"
Dutch Baroque

El Greco, "View of Toledo"
Spanish Renaissance

Picasso, "The Blind Man's Meal"
Blue Period

To perform our duty as tourists admirably, we snapped a picture at Rockefeller Center. (I must confess, I expected the skating rink to be much larger.) Then we walked to the neighboring NBC store to buy some amazing t-shirts. My favorite t-shirts included “No Soup for You!” and a picture of Christopher Walkin with the phrase “I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell”. I bought a t-shirt that says “Trust me [picture of David Tennant] I’m the Doctor” and Andrew bought a Laser Cat’s T-shirt.

For dinner we went to West Village to one of Martha Stewart’s favorite restaurants: Market Table. Martha likes this restaurant for a reason – it’s brilliant. I ordered a steak wrapped in bacon and accompanied with mushroom and deep-fried feta balls. Then, we quickly left to a showing of West Side Story. Now I will be singing “Tonight, tonight…” and “Maria” for the next few weeks.