The Incredible Dirk Pitt

I went into a library the other day looking for a book when a librarian approached me and asked me if she could help me find something. I explained that I was looking for a work of light fiction as I had left the book I am currently reading at home. She asked me a bit about what I read--which doesn't really help narrow things down any since I read just about everything. After a bit of questioning I finally settled on looking for something in the adventure or fantasy area. At this her eyes lit up and she rushed me down a aisle to the Clive Cussler books. Now this isn't an author I am familiar with but her description made him out to be a bit of a Tom Clancy--who I think is occasionally a fun read--so I thought I would give him a go. Later I pulled the book back out and took a look at the cover flap and this is what I read:

"In Shock Wave, Dirk Pitt meets the most intriguing and sinister villain of his adventurous and legendary career--a billionaire Australian diamond king with three beautiful Amazon daughters--in a conflict that is waged above and below the sea for the survival of vast numbers of sea creatures and more than a million human beings"

Got your interest yet? It gets better:

"In 1856, a British clipper ship sinks after a storm while transporting convicts to an Australian penal colony. After horrible carnage on a raft, the pitiful survivors, among them Betsy Fletcher and Jess Dorsett, are washed up on a solitary tropical island, where they discover an immense source of diamonds and found a powerful and wealthy dynasty.

One hundred forty years later, Maeve Fletcher, one of their descendants, is stranded on an island in Antarctica with a party of passengers after their cruise ship seemingly abandons them. Dirk Pitt, on an expedition to find the source of a deadly plague that is killing dolphins and seals in the Weddell Sea, finds Maeve and the passengers and rescues them from death.

When Pitt later uncovers the cause of the plague, he discovers that Maeve's father, Arthur Dorsett, and her two sisters are responsible because of their diamond-mining technology. A deadly race develops to stop Dorsett from continuing his murderous mining operations and to head off a disaster that will kill millions."

It's still not over:

"Pitt's struggle to foil Dorsett's ruthless plan to destroy the market for diamonds and thus gain a monopoly of his own takes him from harrowing adventures off the west coast of Canada to being cast adrift in the Tasman Sea in a small boat with his good friend Al Giordino and the lovely Maeve Dorsett.

Through trial by storms, hunger, and thirst, Pitt's inventive genius and relentless drive to survive eventually bring him to a final, spine-chilling confrontation with Arthur Dorsett himself, at the very heart of his domain, with the clock ticking against devastating tragedy--a confrontation in which Pitt gains triumph, but at the cost of great personal loss, as he discovers a lethal surprise that will shock and astonish the reader."

I've got to say that the flap reading alone as me shocked and astonished. Have you ever heard the amazing Beth Horner tell her story about her encounter with a romance novel? (basically Beth, a former librarian, reads a romance novel which eventually drives her to tearing the (library) book apart page by page for its sheer ridiculousness--very funny check your local library for a recording) Well, I think I have just found the book to match hers. I have started the book and am happy to report that at the very least the actual book is not as bad as the flap--I'm not saying it brilliant or anything as extreme as that just that it is readable, but I am still anticipating lots of fun rolling my eyes and throwing the book down--I'll try not to rip any pages out of it.


Weekly Food Expenditure Across the Globe

As part of a student awareness program being promoted at my place of work the following email was sent out. I found it so interesting that I thought I would re-create it here for you.

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Germany: The Melander family of Barfteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (Sure hope most American families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

The email ended with a comment from the sender about counting our blessings. Mostly, though, I was truly embarrassed. We are supposed to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet we clearly choose to have one of the poorest diets. Now it would be my hope that most of us don't actually eat as poorly as the American family in this case study does, but I'm guessing that if we laid out our food for a week we would be mighty shocked. In fact, that might not be such a bad idea. I'll tell you after seeing that family's food, I'm going to concentrate on buying and eating more fruits and vegetables. The other thing I noticed is the proof of globalization provided by these pictures. Did you notice how many families had bottles of Coke (or Pepsi)?


I'm Getting Old

Over the weekend I attended a volleyball match at BYU. I have been attending BYU volleyball matches for years and years and have enjoyed them for a variety of reasons. Not the least of these reasons is that there tends to be a few very good looking men playing (tall and athletic is a very good start for me). But, sadly, for the first time this year I have reached a point where these young men no longer have the same effect on me. I have become too old and they have become too young for me to feel a personal attraction to any of them. I suppose this is good in the sense that it is proof that I am not a sick pervert. But is it kind of a sad day for me as well. Not that I'm going to stop attending these matches (or other sporting events) because there still are enough other good reasons to go, but this is proof positive that I am getting old or at least older.


President Hinckley

So I've been wondering what to say about the passing of our dear prophet Gordon B. Hinckley. I don't mean to sound too cold hearted or callous, but I don't find myself sad at his passing. Of course his sharpness, tact, wit, and humor with be missed, but I just keep thinking of the reunion that must have taken place last night with his dear wife who passed on a few years ago and can't be sad at the peace and joy that he must now have. Besides, after all the work that he had done for us here, he more than anyone I know deserves a bit of rest.

When I do think on all that he has done for us from building bridges between religions and community groups to urging us to be better, I think one of his great accomplishments is the work he has done in promoting temple building and temple attendance. Therefore, I think that since my poor words here can hardly do justice not only to the man he is but also the feelings I have for him, the best tribute I can give to him will be in taking some time this week to attend the temple.

Not that all this love and peace has made me any less annoyed with all the news outlets and world in general who devote hours and hours to the recent (and yes tragic) passing of an actor and barely note the passing of not only one of the greatest men of our time but the actual spokesman of God. How truly sad.


So two days ago now was my first really good introduction into the country world at large. I've learned a few things like if I'm going to really become a part of this world I need bigger hair, tighter jeans, a cowboy hat, and a boyfriend with a bit of a beer belly and long hair that he can pull back into a pony tail. Ok, so this is a bit stereotypical and I saw some very reasonable looking people enjoying the concert, but the reason stereotypes exist is that there are enough people doing something to make it seem true (or there is enough propaganda to make us believe it is true, but I going with the first one in this particular case). The thing is, none of the singers performing would fit into this category. So why is it that country fans don't try a bit harder to emulate those that they worship?

Sorry, I digress a bit. As you can see the title of this post is Alcohol so lets get on topic. (Actually a plastic cup of beer would be something else I would need to fit into the country world--sorry, I really do have a great respect for the country music world. Apart from all the songs about leaving your girlfriend for fishing, killing your husband for sleeping around, or other songs on adultery in general, I find that country music is very home-town value centered and not at all ashamed about singing about religion and God. Sorry, again I digress a bit) I would just like to leave a few comments directed at those of you sitting around me that got drunk at the concert a couple of days ago. You know who you are (skanky couple who kept making out in front of us).

1. Just because you are drunk doesn't make me your best friend.

2. Alcohol doesn't make you better looking. (Unless, perhaps, I'm the one who is drunk)

3. Alcohol doesn't make you funnier.

4. Alcohol doesn't make you smarter.

5. Alcohol most definitely doesn't make you a better dancer.

6. I don't care who you are, how high you think your alcohol tolerance is, or what you are drinking, one drink does affect you (see above for how or rather how it doesn't). Trust me, as a sober person who has watched people start at sober and end up drunk from here to Ireland, all it takes is one drink for me to see the side effects start and they aren't pretty. Just in case you were wondering, the reason I leave after you order your 3rd drink is that your pathetic behavior is not charming or funny but rather embarrassing to the both of us.

In closing, please, please tell me you didn't drive home.

p.s Check out my pics a couple posts down again. I fooled around with the lighting and they are a bit better.


Should've Done My Homework

I had thought about borrowing a couple of Brad Paisley cds before I went to his concert so that I would be up on some of the songs that would be sung and now, after the fact, I realise I should have done so. You see, all of the artist kept on doing that thing where a singer stops singing and holds their mic out toward the audience to indicate we were supposed to sing the lyrics (an entirely stupid idea since I didn't spend a whole lotta money to come and hear a crowd of drunk strangers singing songs--I paid to see a complete stranger, to me both personally and by his works, who I have been led to understand is very good sing some songs). Well, the first time this happened I near had a heart attack for fear that I was going to be recognized for the fraud that I am and pulled by my hair from my very good seats up to the nosebleed section where in truth I probably deserved to be.

I must give you a little context for my somewhat irrational response to not knowing the lyrics. You see, not so long ago I was a student in Belfast, Northern Ireland studying conflict. As part of my unofficial study I went to as many community events as I possibly could. One particular evening I heard about an "unofficial" IRA memorial taking place not too far from where I was living and thought I would go and check it out. I arrived and staked out a place in the general midst of the 50 or so people who had gathered down an alley way. As it turned out it was a memorial service for 5 young men who had been murdered or killed (depending on your point of view) by the British army in that spot. Well, all was going well and it was very interesting when an older man stepped forward and began to lead the crowd in a Catholic prayer (the sort that everyone knows and says all together). Well, not being Catholic and not having done my homework, I didn't know any of the words and I was suddenly sticking out in the crowd like a throbbing sore thumb as an outsider in exactly the kind of situation that you don't want to be seen as an outsider. Well, leaving right then would not have been a great option as it would have brought even more attention to me, so I was stuck between trying to pretend I was saying something and hope it wasn't too obvious that what I was saying didn't match the words of the prayer or stand very solemnly in silent respect. I went for the later one and hoped that if anyone was suspicious of me they would at least give me the chance to explain who I was (I can't even tell you how many times I had random people come up to me over the course of my study there and not very discreetly try to figure out "who" I was--who meaning was I a threat they should be worried about). Well, eventually it ended and the crowd dispersed (me faster than usual) and nothing happened (by the way, nothing ever did happen to me while I was there). But for a good 20 minutes or so I was rather nervous about the situation.

So anyway, right in the middle of this country music concert I had a sudden flashback to that experience and I briefly felt very nervous about my situation. As it turns out, the screaming girl next to me did take notice and told me that I needed to get into it a bit more, but if I didn't succumb to the peer pressure of a terrorist group I was hardly going to give in to her (although, she may have been the scarier of the two).

Two posts from me in one day. I'm exhausted.

Brad Paisley Concert

Last night was my big night at a country music concert--Brad Paisley's concert to be exact. And even though I am not a huge country music fan, it was a lot of fun and absolutely worth the money I spent. The concert started off with someone by the name of Chuck Wicks (Sorry, had never heard of him) but worth checking out--if for nothing else than for checking him out, though he has a nice voice too. Did I ever tell you how I got these tickets? Back in August I won a 6 month membership to the Brad Paisley fan club. Then right before tickets went on sale for the concert here in SLC I got an email from them offering me a chance to buy tickets before they went on sale. I figured that might be fun, talked to my sister who is a country music fan and a Brad Paisley fan, and we bought a couple of tickets. The one catch to the tickets was that we had to pick them up the night of the concert at will call (not a problem) and it wouldn't be until we picked them up that we would find out where our seats actually were. As it turns out we were on row 10 on the floor and since part of the stage jutted out into the audience, sometimes we were on row 4. Hence the pretty close shots I was able to get of the performers.

So anyway, back to the concert. After Chuck Wicks (who I accidental kept calling Chick--but obviously I knew that was wrong when I would say it) a man by the name of Rodney Atkins took the stage. I recognised one of his songs (the going through hell song--we sometimes spin to that song in spinning which I think is quite appropriate and fun) which was good. I did however mistake his fiddle player for him at the very beginning and was about to be very impressed that a fiddle player was making it big, but then I realised everyone else was looking in a different direction than me--how was I supposed to know? I just looked for the guy in the center. Anyway, Rodney is incredibly talented and the chatting he did between songs was very entertaining--even more so than Brad's commentary later on that night.

And to top it off I came home with my own Rodney Atkins guitar pick given especially to me by him.

Okay, so actually he just threw it into the crowd and it landed on the floor where no one noticed it until the concert was over and the lights come on--maybe I should take up the guitar now that I have some equipment.

So next up was Mr. Brad Paisley himself. This part of the concert seems part country and part special effects rock show. It was a lot of fun--especially being so close to the action--and I even recognized like 3 of the songs. I wished he had talked a little more about the songs, but he packed a lot into his show which went by way too quickly. Like I said, there were a lot of special effects that really added a nice to touch, especially during the "Where I Get Where I'm Going" video tribute to some famous people who have died--even included Heath Ledger (Two people sitting near me only found out that he had died when they flashed his picture up on the screen--where have they been for the last couple of days?). The special effects went on to include video footage of local SLC bars (including one drawn into the background for a shot of The Simpsons) for the song about Alcohol. It was a bit loud (I guess I'm getting old) and I could have done without the screaming girl standing next to me (tune in tomorrow for my commentary on the drunks in the audience), but like I've already said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and who go again in a heartbeat.

Brad looks down a lot when he is playing so it was hard to get a good picture of him.

Then again, my camera isn't that great and really needs to be replaced so maybe my inability to get a really great shot was do more to my camera (or me) than being Brad's fault. If the latest economic stimulus package goes through I am going to by myself a new camera. Any suggestions on which one to buy?

p.s. I'm putting a few of the songs on my jukebox for your listening pleasure for the next few days--sorry no Chuck Wicks was available.


I've Been Tagged

A: The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B: Each player answers the questions about themselves.
C: At the end of the post, the player then tags 3 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

10 Years Ago: I think I was still living the single life in Boston. Good food (Great food); Good Friends; and lots of history. It was great.

5 Things on my to-do list today:
1. Make it through work.
2. Do some homework.
3. Waste some time on the Internet (I had to steal it Cranat)
4. Drink lots of water.
5. See Brad Paisley in concert.

What I would do if I were suddenly made a billionaire: Pay off my student loans, buy a mini cooper, and then travel Europe.

3 of my bad habits:
1. I have no portion control: I see, I eat.
2. I procrastinate.
3. I watch too much worthless television (I'm working on cutting back though).

5 places I have lived:
1. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
2. Mammoth, Wyoming
3. Boston, Massachusetts
4. London, England
5. Belfast, Northern Ireland

5 jobs that I have had:
1. Babysitter/Nanny
2. Student
3. Cashier at Food 4 Less
4. Security Guard at Stadium of Fire (at the VIP entrance no less--not that I would have been able to stop anyone from coming in since I was just a skinny 17 year old kid.
5. Work-study student employee in the Ethics Center at UVSC

5 Things people don't know about me:
1. I'd love to get a nose job, but I'm worried about the dangers and about being too vain.
2. I'm a closet skinny dipper (haven't done it lately, but used to in Boston)
3. I wish I spoke a couple of foreign languages
4. I have a fear of the dark--serious fear of the dark.
5. I love planning vacations and taking people on tours.

Ok, I tag...
1. Denise
2. Jillian
3. Kimberly

Thanks Cranat for giving me something to post today.


Google Searches

So one of my favorite things to do with my blog right now is to click on my site meter (at the bottom of my side bar and then look at my visitor's referral information (i.e. look to see how you got to my site). I particularly like to see what Google searches brought people to my site. It is endlessly fascinating to me to scroll over the Google searches to be able to see what words were actually typed in that brought up my site as a source. It has also been a bit surprisings. For instances, you wouldn't think that crocheted dish rags would be a popular search (and maybe it isn't) but I have had about 5 people visit my site since I wrote about learning to make one in December (sadly I doubt my site was what they were looking for). Another popular search is Rupert Penry-Jones of course.
Searches for nursery or sunbeam lesson ideas has been on of the most popular searches bringing people in--glad to know that I'm not the only one needing some help. One surprising search that brought people to my site is Gillian Anderson--and I must thank all those Gillian Anderson fans who visited my site and didn't leave nasty remarks despite my less-than-flattering remarks about her role as Masterpiece spokesperson.
Of course noticing that people are coming to my site based on Google searches also make me very aware of what types of people may visit my site based on what I write about and what they are searching. For instance writing about one of my favorite chefs Jaime Oliver who is often called the Naked Chef could bring a certain element to my site that was wholly unintentional. Another point of this whole Google searching thing is that writing about Gillian Anderson again could bump my viewers up which of course makes me feel more loved and important. But, it obviously isn't the most ideal way of attracting people to my blog or the most interesting way to keep my regular viewers. It is almost an ethical question--only it is not really. In closing, I find it truly shocking that there are no leek searches bringing people to my site.


Leeks are Lovely

As suggested by my new favorite book French Women Don't Get Fat, I spent part of the weekend eating nothing but Leek soup. (Her idea is that you kick start a new eating plan by quickly losing a couple of pounds--leeks are a diuretic--thereby giving you the hope that by sticking with her suggestions you will continue to lose weight--or something like that) And you know what? Leeks are really good. I don't know why no one has ever bothered to introduce them to me before because they weren't only good, but they were also super easy to cook. I liked them so much, in fact, that I have purchased a total of 6 leeks in the span of two days and and am heading back to the store after work today to get 4 more (apparently I purchased their entire supply of leeks and so I am being forced to wait until later today when they will be able to restock). The four I am picking up today will be going into a veggie soup that I am making tonight (with veggies like turnips--something else I don't think I've ever eaten). I am really excited (if you can't tell) by my new soup recipes as they sound really good, really healthy (cause I get to choose what goes in--no preservatives), and easy.

Another new thing this book has gotten me into is yogurt--plain yogurt with no preservatives and stuff. Now plain yogurt, if you've ever tried it, is just a bit bitter or sour tasting, but I tried it with a teaspoon of honey (book's suggestion) and wow was it good. It may just become one of my new favorite treats--thereby turning me into one of those fake celebrities who tries to tell us that their favorite treat is steamed veggies--yeah right! Only plain yogurt with honey is actually really great--or maybe anything would have been really great after eating nothing but leek soup for 2 days. Umm, hadn't thought of that before. Anyway, am very pleased with new soup and yogurt finds.

Oh, and I lost 2 pounds over the weekend. (But from here on out the book warns that weight loss will be around 3 pounds a month which sounds very reasonable and healthy and not too restrictive)


A Bit of Fashion

I am not any sort of a fashion icon. I don't think I am a fashion victim (most of the time), but I have for a long time been using the excuse of being a poor college student as a reason for not being entirely fashion conscience. I am trying to change this (I'm still poor) little by little so that I look more like the adult that I actually am and less like a 20-something college student that I am not. I was starting to feel pretty good about the direction I was heading when yesterday I was lead to believe that I am still not up to par. I was walking down the hall at work feeling all good about what I was wearing when the fashion teacher walked by me, obviously looked me up and down, and then continued walking. The thing is I know this teacher very well and after checking me out she didn't even say hi or acknowledge me even though we were 2 of 4 people in the hall at the time. So that leaves me to assume that she was so embarrassed by what I was wearing that she was trying to pretend that she didn't know/see me. This is what I was wearing: A thin (not bulky) black sweater turtleneck, dark, straight-leg jeans, black patten heels (the jeans were long enough to cover all but the toe of the shoes), and a silky black with white polka dot scarf thingy as a headband. I still don't think there was a problem with what I was wearing, but maybe you should take my bit of fashion advice for what you will.

I have discovered a new favorite store: Steve and Barry's (at 5546 South Van Winkle Expressway Murray, UT). If you haven't yet heard of this store, its basic premise is that fashion and quality needn't be expensive. What they do is go out and get famous people to come in and help design clothes for their stores that they sell for no more than $20. Sarah Jessica Parker (a bit of a fashion icon) is one of these individuals and has helped design a label called Bitten. And she actually wears this stuff around (I've seen pictures) so for $20 or less you can wear the same shirt, jacket, pants, skirt as Sarah Jessica Parker. That way when someone compliments you on the shirt you are wearing you can casually say, "I saw Sarah Jessica Parker wearing it the other day and just had to have it." That would impress me. Among the other stars helping us out are Amanda Bynes (her line suits teens and young 20s) and Venus Williams (a sporting line). There are men's and children's clothes as well, but I didn't check out that part of the store. So far I've only been once (sadly I don't live close enough to go a lot--maybe that's a good thing) but I came home well satisfied and looking forward to my next trip up. So there it is, a little fashion advice from a struggling fashion victim.


What I'm Reading

I thought I would dedicate a bit of time today to telling you what I am reading. First, for fun I am reading the book Wicked, which is what the wonderful musical by the same name is based on. It is rather dark, so far, but in a pleasantly wicked so of way. I am very much looking forward to seeing how the entire story unfolds. (One further plus: the book I'm reading has green-edged pages)

The second book I am reading is called French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.

It is a book that I have been meaning to pick up for quite some time now and finally got around to borrowing it from my local library and may I say I wish I had picked it up sooner. Guiliano has a really nice way of writing that makes it seem more as if you were sitting down with an old friend for a chat. Plus, who doesn't like a "diet" book that tells you that dessert and chocolate are good parts of a healthy diet. Her basic mantra seems to be eat what you like in moderation while taking care to make sure that what you are eating is made up of fresh (non-processed) food and then walk around some. I like this. I have never really tried to do a typical diet because it has always made sense that moderation was the key to long lasting success. Of course, moderation isn't always easy but I am looking forward to trying some of her tips.

Just this morning, in fact, I put one of her tips into play. She suggests eating sitting down sans book, newspaper, or tv. This is a tough one for me because I almost always have a newspaper in front of me when I am eating. This morning, though, I sat down with just my breakfast. Then she suggests eating slowly and putting you spoon down every couple of bites and doing a mini review (in your head of course) of the food in your mouth. This way you are truly savoring the food which is supposed to make eating more of it less necessary. So that is what I did--with my Special K with Strawberries. I was actually rather surprised. I had thought I like the cereal because of the strawberries (which for dehydrated strawberries aren't bad) but I discovered that the flakes themselves are very nice--sweet tasting. Just think how much better it would be if I had fresh fruit instead of dehydrated! And guess what? It worked. My bowl was much more satisfying than it usually is and I didn't feel like grabbing a piece of bread on my way out the door. Mind over food that I just don't need!!!


My Review: Persuasion Pt. 2

Now for my second main, and most important, complaint of the recent Persuasion adaption: the story itself was cut and thrashed to death so as to make it at times hard to follow and at times laughable.

I don't know why ITV decided to try to do the adaptation in just 90 minutes (especially if Pride and Prejudice proves nothing else it proves that those of us who love Austen will sit through hours and hours to see her stories acted out for us) but having done so why on earth would they choose to waste valuable time following Anne around her house at the beginning and running all over Bath at the end? And if we are going to try to save valuable time, please don't tack on an ending that is so unnecessary. We want Austen stories to end with a kiss. We are happy to end it with a kiss. Why make up some silly ending about renting or buying her childhood home for her--especially since you never bothered to develop the story enough to indicate that the home was important to her. One area I would have liked to see some more time spent would have been Capt. Wentworth and Anne's relationship because I couldn't really figure out why it was the Capt. Wentworth would even want Anne in the end. For the most part I found her to be rather weak (which is not what she is in the book). In the adaptation she merely moves around from place to place at the insistence of others, falls and sprains her foot, quivers in the corner, or refuses to speak to a cousin because her father wouldn't want her to. In reality (book reality) she is a strong character who everyone relies on and really couldn't live without (even when they don't entirely recognize this themselves). After having Wentworth give a speech about his only requirement in a woman being a woman who knows her own mind I would think it would be important to show that now (8 years after their original courtship) Anne knew her own mind. I wasn't convinced. I could go on about the lack of story development, but I think I have made enough of a point to let it stand here. Besides who wants to talk about a lack of a story when we can talk about Rupert Penry-Jones who played Capt. Wentworth and who is the entire reason I will, despite all of its flaws, watch this movie over and over again and be happy about it. I suppose that there is really not much to say, except that I enjoyed very much watching him as Capt. Wentworth (even if he was a little too pretty and pale to be a weather-worn sea captain). So maybe lets just take a moment to look:

Also, I found this pic when I was searching for the one above and thought you might enjoy it:

Aren't the bows on his shoes precious? I wonder if the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City would/could try to get him? Cause I'd go several times for him.

My Review: Persuasion

So I was going to wait until Nemesis let us know if the dvd version of Persuasion was better than the PBS Masterpiece Theatre airing (for those of you who haven't heard, they (the idiots at PBS) cut about 10 minutes from the adaptation) but much of what I would complain about (and praise) is not affected so I thought I would move forward.

First of all, who in their lack of brilliance decided that Gillian Anderson would be the best spokesperson for Masterpiece Theatre? I realize that she has done some work with Masterpiece, but still I don't think that qualifies her to give a mini lecture on Jane Austen or host an entire season of Masterpiece Theatre. Rather, if I hadn't already been an avid Austen fan, Anderson hosting the season would probably have convinced me to steer clear--if it were a science fiction marathon (or X-files) she would make a great and credible introduction. I am mostly refraining from commenting on her affected "British" accent which just further ruined her credibility in my mind (the people in England that I ran into didn't actually talk like that unless, of course, they were Madonna). And finally, cutting 10 minutes out of the movie so we could listen to her does not make me happy or feel confident about the direction that Masterpiece Theatre is heading. Who in their right mind would actually think, "lets cut 10 minutes of a Jane Austen film adaptation so we can talk about what we are shortly going to air"?

Okay, on to the movie itself. I thought Anthony Head as Sir Walter Elliot was brilliant as the "evil" father and I quite enjoyed Amanda Hale's turn as the obnoxious Mary Elliot. In fact, as a whole, I found that the casting was fairly well done (Sally Hawkins' portrayal of Anne Elliot's lip being the exception--the quivering just didn't do anything but annoy me). This actually makes the fact that the movie itself was not as well done all the more frustrating by providing a sense of how good it could have been. I'll discuss Rupert Penry-Jones and his Capt. Wentworth shortly.

So obviously I found the movie frustrating. I did so on two basic points. First, I found the camera work itself distracting. To my very untrained eye, it just felt as if they were trying too hard to be a little different or artistic. But I think if at any point your audience is distracted enough to notice your work you have failed in what should be your main objective: telling a story.

And the second point is going to have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry.


New Year, New Nursery

So I have been looking forward to/dreading yesterday for a couple of weeks because it would be the first time that my nursery class would be meeting at its new time (1:00 pm) with half the kids--the other half have moved on to Sunbeams (We had Stake Conference last week). Well, it went so much better than expected. I was really nervous that we would have some serious breakdowns since we would be trying to hold a lesson right in the middle of the little darlings' normal nap time. It went surprisingly well, though. There were only 7-9 kids (2 of the kids came and went with their parents) which was a real bonus since it is so much easier to try to handle the kiddies when we aren't so entirely outnumbered--all but one of the kiddies were sweet little girls, which helped a lot as well. Throughout the entire day they were really well behaved and even sat in their chairs straight through singing time and coloring time. (No lesson as the assigned teacher didn't manage their snack/coloring time at all) If we had had a lesson I think they would have sat through it. This is really great cause just possibly I may not dread/have great fear of Sundays for the next couple of months.

Unfortunately, over the next couple of months we will continue to add kids to our class bringing us close to the number we had before (and of course all the new kids will be 18 months which means they can't talk(much), color (much), or participate in what we are trying to do as a class). One of our 4 teachers has also been moved up to Sunbeams as a teacher so I hope they are planning on calling someone new by the time we are up to our higher numbers. (They pulled one of our teachers because they decided there were going to be so many Sunbeams that they would need to split them into two classes. Never mind that we had all those Sunbeams plus all the nursery kids we still have for most of last year and they never allowed us to split. This is my main complaint about nursery--they tell us we are not just babysitters but that it is important that we have lessons, etc. But they don't actually enable us to do that. If they want us to teach lessons, etc. then they need to gives us the teachers to be able to manage the class or allow us to split the class otherwise let's just call us what they are enabling us to do: be babysitters--sorry, small tangent.)

I am teaching the lesson in 2 weeks and looked over the lesson last night. It is about Heavenly Father's plan for us--focuses on how we lived with Heavenly Father before we were born and that there are certain things we need to do on earth so that we can return to Him someday. For our craft I thought I would get some crowns for the kiddies to decorate to emphasize the point that we children of God (the crown idea is actually from lesson 1, but since they didn't get lesson 1 and since the craft was just coloring again I thought I would steal it) and that we lived with him. Then we will move on to the lesson. The thing is, though, I am not a crafty person (I often feel sorry for my nursery kids cause most of the time we just color, and that can get kind of old) so I need to get some crowns. I was thinking about going into Burger King and asking for some, but I'm not sure how they will feel about donating materials for a church class. Anyone else have some ideas (easy ideas)?



Don't Forget to watch Persuasion on your local PBS channel this Sunday evening as part of Masterpiece Theatre. I have it on good authority that this adaptation is not to be missed.

Man-Candy Friday: Sexiest Brits

Ok, so I don't really have anything to write about but feel strangely obligated to write. (I suppose I could write a little bit about why it is that I feel obligated to write, but that doesn't sound as much fun as having a Man-Candy Friday) So, anyway, I thought I would bring a little poll being done by Hello! magazine to determine the Most attractive man and woman of 2007 as well as the most elegant woman to your attention. One of the interesting things that I think becomes so immediately obvious is that the British have seriously different ideas of what should qualify as attractive and elegant than Americans do (or at least than this American does). First up most attractive woman: so far leading with 22146 votes votes Britney Spears. Now she is actually quite an attractive woman, but really I don't think she qualifies as most attractive woman of 2007.
There are others on the list that I would like to question, but let's get on to most attractive man: so far leading with 76261 votes is David Tennant of Dr. Who fame followed by Hugh Laurie and Nick Carter. UMMM, no, no, no. (Sorry Nemesis, I know that Hugh is your boyfriend and I respect that, but I just can't vote for him as most attractive). Now let's move on to most elegant woman where Madonna leads with 16119 votes. She is followed, respectively, by Christina Aguilera and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Again, the current results just make me stare in disbelief--Especially when I like to think of the British as being just a bit elevated on the whole elegance scale. So who would my picks be, you ask. After not very much consideration:

Most Attractive Woman 2007:

Diane Kruger (of National Treasure 1 & 2 and Joyeux Noël)

Most Attractive Man (I'm going to put this one out there because I hear after I see P.S. I Love You this is how I will feel about him):

Gerard Butler

Most Elegant Woman (say what you will about her marriage, she just didn't do much wrong fashionwise in 2007):

Katie Holmes

Who are your picks? Do you agree with the Brits?


The Zookeeper's Wife

Here are just a few things that I found beautiful in the book "The Zookeeper's Wife" by Diane Ackerman:

Prose attributed Abraham Joshua Heschel:

  • Man is a messenger who forgot the message

  • Pagans exalt sacred things, the Prophets extol sacred deeds

  • The search of reason ends at the shore of the known

  • The stone is broken but the words are alive

  • To be human is to be a problem, and the problem expresses itself in anguish

  • [Heschel felt] Loyal to the presence of the ultimate in the commonplace

  • in doing the finite [we] may perceive the infinite
Ackerman: "All our senses feed the brain, and if it diets mainly on cruelty and suffering, how can it remain healthy? Change that diet, on purpose, train mentally to refocus the mind, and one nourishes the brain." (The book is a World War II Holocaust story)
Also, here are some great Yiddish curses (in English, though):
"May you piss green worms!"
You should own a thousand houses
with a thousand rooms in each house
and a thousand beds in every room.
And you should sleep each night
in a different bed, in a different room,
in a different house, and get up every morning
and go down a different staircase
and get into a different car,
driven by a different chauffeur,
who should drive you to a different doctor
--and he shouldn’t know what’s wrong with you either!

I've already used the longer one today--hope you can put them to good use as well.
p.s. I've found the writing in the book a little long-winded and awkward, but the story is generally interesting.


Resolution Keeper

So I started with the easiest one first, but I have now finished five mood mixes (so as not to be a drink-sodden DJ-style person with tapes scattered all over floor). They are as follows:

1. A Love Affair (very good love songs--you never know, I might need these this year--stop laughing!!!)

2. A Rainy Day Production (I like rainy days so this isn't a mix of sad song. It is more soulful and mellow--something I can curl up in a blanket, read a book, while sipping hot chocolate to)

3. Rhythmic Joy (Songs for my niece Grace to dance to--have tested the mix and according to 1-year-old Grace I am not a hopelessly uncool aunt, but I can create danceable dance mixes--although some of the songs seem to inspire running in circles)

4. Up from Apathy (Great songs that examine what is wrong with our world and encourage us to do something about it--most of them anyway a couple might just be angst ridden songs or songs with a good head-banging beat.)

5. Feminist Doctrine (Strong female vocals about strong females)


Project Night

So my mother decided that she wanted some quality bonding time with us (her daughters) and called a project night for last night. The premise of a project night is that everyone brings a project to work on and then we sit around and chat while working. Well, my mom is finishing a quilt, my sister Stacy is starting a quilt, and my sister Janel is working on a rag rug that she designed herself--all very talented! That leaves just me. I didn't have a project. I would've had a project if I had practiced my crocheting, but I didn't and I have now forgotten everything I learned about crocheting a month ago. So instead I pulled out my knitting needles and started a new scarf. It has been awhile since I last knitted, but I have recently been re-inspired by this and this blog so I thought that a scarf would make a great project to reintroduce me to knitting. I've decided to do mini versions of this scarf for my nieces:

I will keep you posted on how well this particular project goes (I have 4 nieces--yikes). So anyway, we had fun and chatted a bit about politics, the how-young-can-you-date theory (Apparently you divide your age by 2 and then add 7 and that is the youngest-aged person you can date. This means that I can go as young as 23. It also means that I can go as old as 50 and still be within "his" age-appropriate dating range--which just doesn't seem quite right, but it does put me within Viggo's dating range.), and some other stuff that Janel doesn't want posted on the Internet. Next time, though, I think we need food--even if that does become problematic when we are "working" on projects. I am totally willing to sacrifice a few minutes of project time for food.


May I just take a moment to direct your attention to the following website:

Your Heart Out

I just recently found the site and love it. I can't wait to get out and discover all the wonderful things they know about but I have never even heard of--who knew that Orem/Provo was so hip. If you happen to be in the Orem/Provo area click on that tab under categories on the left. Enjoy!


The Dark Side of Blogging

So I've begun to notice a darker side to blogging. Namely I've found that blogging provides a false sense of being socially in touch with friends. A couple months ago a friend of mine pointed out that we have not actually seen each other face to face for 2 years--2 years!!! Now the reason this number came as quite a shock to me was that I hadn't actually realise that I hadn't seen her lately because I am in daily contact with her through her blog. Being in daily contact with her blog means that I am constantly saying to other people "my friend was telling me the other day..." and I think this is what gives me the feeling that I have "seen" her lately. Of course it isn't strictly true that she was just telling me something the other day. My friend didn't tell me anything. She wrote something out to the entire world and I was fortunate enough to read it. I have found that other face-to-face relationships that I have with friends are starting to slack way too much because of this strange of phenomenon.--feeling I am socially involved in their lives because I check in on their blog every day. This somehow makes me feel like I am checking in on their lives and things are good--only most of the time these people don't know that I am actually checking in on them every day and so things are not good.

Another strange phenomenon with blogging is that I now read blogs that belong to other people. And these funny, intelligent people write some really interesting things that I want to pass on to others. But when I go to tell someone about something they have written I often start of with the same "a friend of mine was telling me"...and then I pause because this person I don't even know (don't even know the first name of) is not actually a friend and perhaps not strictly speaking not even an acquaintance. So how do I go about sharing this information? Do I just say "a friend of mine," do I say "a friend of a friend," (cause so far most people I don't know are friends of a friend) do I say "a complete stranger who I feel very close to because of daily contact was telling me?" What is the proper blog etiquette?