Friday, December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Whatever

Well, the end of 2010 has come. Time for reflection and what not.

This year has really been a great one. Granted the last few months have not been spectacular, what with the car being wrecked and I've been in kind of a funk all December. Being dumped sucked some serious balls too.

But those were really the only two really bad things that happened. And the good things that happened this year were really fucking fantastic. I went to LONDON! I got the job that I wanted and it is a good job. I did very well in school this semester... which reminds me, I have to post pictures of the books I made in my Book Binding class. Plus, the boyfriend thing was really nice while it lasted. As crappy as it was when it was over, I was really happy while it lasted. I think that happiness was worth the pain that followed.

I'm not going to do too much reflecting about the year. I think what I've already posted pretty well covers it. 2010 was wonderful! I hope 2011 is just as good if not better. It will be hard to beat London though.

2010 was not a good year for blogging though, was it? Only 23 posts this year. Well, I don't expect that trend to change much. Even with the infrequency of my updates, I've posted more than most of my friends who have blogs. I think it's kind of a dying art. With twitter and facebook facilitating really short updates about the minutiae of our days, blogging seems redundant. And reading more than 140 characters is hard with our shortened attention spans. I'm not giving up on this old girl just yet, but I'm not optimistic that I'll post very often. It may turn into more of a tumblr type blog. I'll just post little things and link and pictures and things. I don't know. I guess we all have to just wait and find out.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

High Times Hard Times

There are all sorts of clichés and platitudes along the lines of Sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down, The wheel of fate is always turning blah, blah, blah, etc. Well, clichés exist and persevere for a reason. Sometimes life hands you lemonade and sometimes it hands you a big steamy shit sandwich.

Last time I posted about my life (not about LGBT politics) I was swimming in happy. The thing about happy is that it is a very unreliable thing to swim in. When everything was going so well, I made up my mind to enjoy it as much as it is possible to enjoy something and not sit around waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Funny thing about other shoes: they tend to drop anyway.

After about two months of being together, boyfriend dumped me. The thing is, being dumped happens, two months is not really a long time to be with someone, and I may have been more attached than I reasonably should have been. Of course the term "reasonable" and all it's variations never really can be applied to romance. I was very nearly in love with him and when he dropped me I landed hard. I've gotten used to being single again. I'm good at being single. But it was really, really nice to be with someone wonderful.

I moped for a long time after being dumped. Just a few weeks after I really felt like I had really recovered life kicked me in the ass again. Last Tuesday we had unseasonably wintry weather. I was driving home from a dance thing and hit a bad patch of ice and my car started spinning. Don't worry, it eventually stopped spinning... when it slammed into a concrete barrier. I'm un-hurt, as is my passenger. So I guess that's good. My car, on the other hand, is smashed and probably un-savable. 

More bad news: my car is (was?) really old so I only had liability insurance on it, so none of the damage is covered. 

It is very possible to get around without a car. Utah public transportation pretty much sucks (the ten minute drive from my house to work takes just over 45 minutes by bus), but it's do-able. The thing is, I have always been wildly independent. Even more so of late. I like being able to go where I want when I want and not have to rely on other people. Unfortunately, without a car I have to rely on other people to get places. I know I shouldn't mind it that much, and I have people who can drive me around, but it seriously cramps my style.

I might end up buying a clunker for a few hundred dollars. Something that will last me a year or two. That way I could at least get myself around. We'll see. 

Now, on a happier note: I still have my awesome job. I still have very little school left (although I might have to spread out what is left a little longer because I don't have time to work, go to school full time and take really slow public transportation from one to the other) and it's going very well this semester. I love my classes. Except Spanish. I don't love that but, well, it has to be done. And it's not bad.

Even the crappy stuff is not really that bad. I like the idea of taking the bus more, and walking places. It's better for the environment and for my health (except when the valley is full of smog, which happens fairly often). I would rather not have been dumped, but... well, I don't mind being single and I don't have a lot of extra time to dedicate to a relationship thing.

There's something about dealing with the shit life give us that kind of lets us know we're really alive. I can't believe I just said that! How cheesy can I get? Still it's true. I'll leave you with a fun song about it. By The Eels. They rock.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

LDS, LGBT, HRC (and several other letters as well)

As many of you (at least those of my readers who are in Utah), this past weekend was the LDS Church's General Conference. Conference is generally something that doesn't have much effect on me. I avoid trying to drive or eat at restaurants down-town and that's about the extent of my involvement. Like with all things to do with religion, I say to each his own. Live and let live.

This year the speech made by President Boyd K. Packer raised a lot of hackles. I'm friends with a lot of queers and consider myself part of the LGBT community. Not because I am LGB or T (although I have been declared an honorary gay boy for pride) but because I support their cause and believe that gender and sexual orientation shouldn't matter.

The press statement released by the Human Rights Campaign in response to Packer's speech popped up on my facebook several times this morning. I read it, and a few other articles (mentioned below), and then reposted it.

My friend Jeremy posted a reply with a link to this blog post which is, as he put it, "a good response to many of these allegations." I feel like at this point I should tell you that I greatly respect Jeremy's opinions. We don't agree on many issues (mostly involving politics and religion), but that's ok. He is an intelligent person and does his best to be well informed. As do I.

Anyway, you should read both things I linked to up there. Go on. I'll wait. The rest of this post is my response to them so if you don't read them you could probably stop reading now.

Connor Boyack makes some valid points, but his blog tips a little toward hypocrisy. I don't want to get into that. Hypocrisy is almost impossible to avoid in a heated issue like this. Boyack does make some valid points.

The HRC is certainly not an unbiased source, and a lot of their rhetoric is exaggerative in order to make a point and stir people to action. It's also probably true that most people who support HRC and LGBT causes will probably not read any further into the issue. That is a damned shame. People really should be willing to explore multiple sources for information and to look at both sides before they firmly come down on one side or the other. They don't. And that is how we get ignorant and uninformed people on both sides of an issue.

After reading the link Jeremy posted, I followed the link from that blog and listened to Packer's speech. I also read through "The Family: a Proclamation to the World" which plays a significant role in what Packer said. I've also read the article in the Salt Lake Tribune, the article in the Herald Journal and another blog, written by a member of the LDS church. I feel like I'm well informed enough to make an informed statement.

HRC has two, very important points. Packer's words are dangerous and, at times, inaccurate.

Inaccurate because same-sex attraction is not unnatural and it cannot be cured. People cannot help who they are attracted to.

Dangerous because what he said does effect the way the church members consider LGBT people. It is probably most dangerous to members of the LDS church who are gay. It creates a hostile environment for them in exactly the places they most need support. Being gay is hard enough without your community telling you it is unnatural and impure.

Moreover, there are people who will take Packer's words and will twist them to justify the kind of bullying and homophobic behavior that lead to the recent suicides. Yes, I know Packer didn't condone that sort of behavior in anyway. Yes, it's possible to twist anything to justify anything else if we try hard enough. But Packer is a very influential spiritual leader and his speech was pretty clearly anti-homosexual. A person in his position must be extra careful of what seeds he plants in his community. How hard would it have been for him to plant ideas of tolerance and openness? How hard would it be to spread a message of love and acceptance of all our fellow human beings?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Pop Goes the Weasel!

Remember my Bubble of Tremendous Potential? It's pretty much gone now. Don't worry, it popped in the most pleasant way possible; pretty much all the potential was met.

Now that there's no danger of jinxing things, I can tell you all the good news.

First (and probably most important) I have a new job! It's basically my old job but now I have benefits and I only go to one library. Even better- it's exactly the library at which I was hoping to get a job. It's close and I really like the staff and the patrons. The position is only 20 hours a week so it will work really well with school (which starts in two weeks! More on that later).

Second (and probably most fun) is a much improved romantical situation. There is boyfriend. He is wonderful. We got together around the Fourth of July and things have been going strong since. I'm not telling any more than that because it's none of your business. If you know me outside of the internet, I'll be happy to talk your war off about him in person.

Third (and this is probably still infusion process of popping really) is teh skulze. I'm really close to graduating, you guys. It's crazy. Plus I can totally start slacking off as far as classes go. I have almost all my upper level credits done so I could take all intro classes next semester just to get enough hours to graduate. What little time I have left in school is going to be super fun, I think.

Those are the big things. I planned to write more today but I'm posting from my phone which is kind of a pain in the ass. That is also my excuse for any typos/weirdness.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses for You and For Me

The last two weeks I have been living in a bubble of Tremendous Potential.

I'm not going to go into anything specific. I don't want to jinx it. But things on several fronts are going in a really great direction. If the trend continues wonderful changes will be happening in my life very soon.

I think times like this are the very best in life. When the bubble of Tremendous Potential is lingering. The anticipation is delightfully hard to bear, the excitement is palpable, the possibilities are endless. This moment, just before everything goes right (ummm let's hope they actually do go right. I know I can't count on that happening for certain), is a wonderful place to be.

Isn't the time after everything goes right better? No. No it's not. Yes, there is some relief in having everything settled, but once it is there is no more possibility for it to be so much more than it actually is.The time after everything goes right is like the time after you finish a really good book. It's a relief to see that the crisis is over, the characters are living happily ever after, the mystery (if you're reading a mystery) is solved. But you also no longer have that book to read, you have to leave your characters and their lives. You no longer get to wonder what is going to happen because you already know- you finished the book.

What if there are sequels? Shut up! You're ruining my metaphor! 

The bubble of Tremendous Potential is like the very middle of the book. You don't want to put it down because you are so wrapped up in the characters and their world. You want to read as quickly as possible because you can't wait to find out what happens, but you also want to read as slow as you can stand because you want to relish the moment and stay with the characters.

Ok, so the analogy is a little imperfect. When I leave the bubble, I'll still have the same characters in my life and be living in more or less the same world. But it's more the feeling I'm talking about; the excitement and the hope.

As much as I like this moment, I know it can't last. Potential destroys itself if it continues on unfulfilled. I feel very confident that things will go well, but like I parenthetically stated above, I can never be positive. If you feel like crossing your fingers for me if wouldn't hurt anything.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Listy Things

Top 5 Things I Miss About London (in no particluar order)

3. The Tube - more specificly, public transportation that actually takes you places you want to go, and quickly

2. The plethora of opportunities to participate in the arts - museums, theater, opera, symphony, concerts

5. All the markets

1. European Men - Holy cats! Do those guys know how to dress! They always look fantastic. Guys here in the states are super shlubby by comparison

4. Having the rest of Europe at my fingertips. Granted, I didn't travel all that much, but it was there.

Top 5 Things I'm Really Happy About at Home (in no particular order)

4. My friends and my family. I missed them.

2. My bed! The beds at Regent's, where we stayed, were not very comfortable. Plus they were small and the quilt barely covered the mattress. I'm so happy to have my nice, big (comparitively) double, soft mattress and all my pillows and my lovely soft sheets.

1. My own room. My roommates in London were very nice. I like having my own space though.

3. Bacon!

5. Ice!

There's No Place Like Home

Well, I've been back for about four days now. Life in Salt Lake hasn't really changed much while I was gone. In the next few days (actually it will probably be more like the next week or so) I will hopefully find the time to fill in some of the gaps in my account of my trip. Dublin, for instance. Visiting there was one of my absolute favorite things I did, but I haven't given it more than a short paragraph in this here blog.

For now I suppose I should finish my brief account of the trip. The last two days passed rather quickly.

I went to Saint Paul's Cathedral in the morning. It was really spectacular. I then climbed up 530 steps to the Golden Gallery. There I was with the most spectacular view of the city of London from right smack in the middle of it. I pulled out my camera... and realized that I had left the battery in my room. Sad day. Actually, it wasn't so bad. Big panorama's like that rarely turn out with a little point-and-shoot camera like I have. It was also kind of nice to spend the day without worrying about taking pictures of things - just to enjoy it totally in the moment. Except I kept seeing things and thinking "Oh! I want to take a picture of that!"

Anyway, I finished at St Paul's around 11:30 and then jumped on the tube. I took my lunch at Trafalgar Square and then went in to the National Gallery. After looking at art for a few hours (they had some very impressive pieces, and the building itself was rather pretty as well), I jumped back on the tube and went to Harrods. I would have rather skipped Harrods, actually, but I was commissioned by my mother to buy some tea that only they carry. It's the Harrods brand so....

Thursday night I went out with some other students. It was kind of a one last hurrah since a lot of kids were leaving really really early on Saturday so would not be able to go out Friday night.

I slept in a little and started packing. After lunch I went up to Camden do get some last minute shopping done. I went during a football match* so it was very pleasantly not crowded. Usually (based on the one other time I went there) it's cramped and busy. That's very neat for people watching, but kind of claustrophobic for shopping. Afterwards I watched most of the U.S. vs Slovania game, went out for a nice final dinner, finished packing... and that's about it.

All the pictures from the trip are up on Flickr. There are over 1,000! So if you are planning on looking at them all I hope you have a lot of time.

Saturday I spend all day on a plane. I touched down at 11:59 at night and got home, to my own lovely bed, around 12:30. The next day was, of course, Father's day. I feel like I kind of hit the ground running. I've been mostly taking things easy, but I haven't had a day when I haven't done something. I suppose my life will soon get back to it's normal state of chaos.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Winding Down

I only have two full days left here in London. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I have a long list of things I would still like to do (if I had time and money). On the other hand I miss all my friends and my family. I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and in my own room.

The last few days I've been keeping busy. Sunday I did go to the Marylebone Summer Fayre and Spitalfields Market just as planned. It was a fun, and busy day. Sunday night I watched Blood Diamond with a few classmates in the cinema here on campus (a bar and a cinema? Yes, Regent's College is pretty nifty).

I had class in the morning, as usual. In the afternoon I went to The British Library. It was...transformative, incredible, awe inspiring, breathtaking... and those words don't even come close to describing how _________ it was.

What was it that blew me away? They have an exhibition of "treasures," and treasures they most certainly are. In one room they have (safely in secure display cases) so many incredible things. The first thing I saw was the Shakespeare folio. The First Folio. Plus several other early, early publications of plays, and a manuscript with what is most likely his very own handwriting.

Next I saw Beowulf... the Beowulf, and the original (in Charlotte Bronte's handwriting) Jane Eyre, and Jane Austen's notebook and writing desk, and Virginia Woolf's journal from when she was writing Mrs. Dalloway, a draft of an Oscar Wilde Poem, a first draft of a Pinter play. These are all in the actual handwriting of these great, amazing, brilliant writers. And that bunch alone would have been enough to floor me, but there was still more!

In the next case was music. The first draft of Handel's Messiah. Scores written, by hand, by Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert, Hayden. I was literally in tears by the time I took all that in. I had to sit down and recover for a few minutes. And still there was more!

The next case was much smaller. In it was Beatles lyrics, originals. They had the birthday card on which John Lennon wrote "Hard Day's Night." They had 8 lines of an unknown song by George Harrison that is the only Beatles manuscript in his handwriting. Plus several other songs and an original John Lennon poem. And still there was more!

I turned around and found myself face to face with an Alice in Wonderland case. Within in, Alice's Adventures Underground: the original story, written out by hand and personally illustrated by Charles Dodgson (nom de plume: Lewis Carroll). Plus the original woodblocks for the illustrations of the first published edition.

Around the corner then were three pages from Leonardo Da Vinci's notebook.

This was only about half the exhibition. I left completely overwhelmed and thoroughly impressed. I can't even begin to find the words to describe how I felt to be in the same room as all those impossibly wonderful things. It was like a religious experience.

It seems odd to write anything after that. But the next day I was back out in London enjoying the city. I had class again in the morning. In the afternoon I went to Macbeth at The Globe. It was a really interesting production. I'll tell you all about it in a later post. I'm a little typed out now. I think my first week back will be very full of blogging just so I can fill in all the details of things I've breezed over while here.

Anyway, after Macbeth and then dinner we went on a Jack the Ripper walk. It was a very bloody day.

We had our last class. And in the afternoon we went on a guided walk to Brick Lane. It was kind of neat, but I'm also very walked out. Plus it was the same general area as the Jack the Ripper walk so parts of it felt very redundant.

I am not up to very much this evening. I'm taking it easy and letting my legs recover. I'm going to need them tomorrow. I'm planning on going to Abbey Road, St Paul's, The National Gallery and Harrods. It will be a very busy day. Friday I'm going back to Camden to shop and then I suppose I will have to pack.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I love Dublin.

I just had to get that out of the way first. I don't have a lot of time to write this morning, but I wanted to at least do a quick update. I'll probably go into everything more extensively later... like when I get home (which will be a week, sad face). So, on with it:

Wednesday after my brithday
The day was full of class stuff. In the morning we went on one of our walks lead by David Brady. This time we were (mostly) following in the footsteps of Mrs. Dalloway. That was really kind of fun because we had to read that book for class. And, that reminds me, I have to write a short paper by Tuesday. *sigh*  Anyway, our walk took us through "club land" where all the men's clubs are and where all the men's shops are. That's where you go for suits, ties, cigars, fancy shoes (that don't have heels) etc. Best thing I found: Zombie cufflinks!

The Weekend after my birthday
A group of us headed to Dublin on Thursday. We took the train and then a ferry. I may have mentioned this, but I love Dublin! I think I may have liked it better than London. It deserves it's own post completely but here is a short list of highlights: I rented a bike from the hostel and rode around a bit, saw the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse, drank lots of good beer, saw some live music. Here is a picture:

After spending all day on the train back from Dublin on Sunday, I was all set to spend the day recovering. But then some classmates said "We're going to Kew Gardens" and I said "I want to come!" so I spent the day in Kew. The gardens are really lovely. I took lots of pictures of flowers. It was a nice relaxing way to spend the day.

I did finally take some time to rest. I was kind of exhausted after Dublin and Kew. Plus I had some homeworking to do. So after class I spent most of the afternoon just getting things done. Tuesday evening I went to a play: Joe Turner's Come and Gone. It was brilliant

was full of class stuff. We had regular class in the morning and then the afternoon was another David Brady walk.


I have to confess, I had a hard time on this walk - I only have so much interest in buildings and architecture. It was kind of a rainy day. I like London in the rain. After the walk I took the tube over to Covent Garden with a few other people for dinner, then caught a play at The Dunmar that was really good.

We took the train to Richmond and then took a ferry up the Thames to Hampton Court.


I would have been happy to spend all day just on the river. But Hampton Court was really neat too. There was a real hedge maze. I got lost for a minute. That evening I went to a concert of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Lynsey and I took a bus to Cardiff so we could be nerds.


We did Doctor Who and Torchwood stuff (didn't see any Cybermen or Daleks or even Weevils out around town, sadness). Plus, we saw the church where Roald Dahl was baptized.

Yesterday. I've finally caught up to the present! I had a slow morning, slept in a little, took my time getting ready for the day. Then we took the tube to the south bank and saw Henry IV, part 1 at THE GLOBE THEATER. It was really good. We were groundlings, which means we were standing in front of the stage the whole time. That also means we were really close to the actor and got a (semi) authentic Shakespearean experience. I loved it, though my lower back and my legs were a little unhappy about standing around for 3 hours. Last night was, of course, the USA v England World Cup football match**. I watched it with my fellow classmates in the sports bar on campus... Oh? Have I not mentioned that there is a bar on campus? Well, there is. After the match we wandered over to a nearby pub and just spent some time having fun.

Today I'm planning on going to a couple markets with my roommate. There's a big street fair on Marylebone High Street and we're also maybe going to go to the Spitalfields Market.

* Irish for "Health." It is a common toast and is pronounced slon-cha
** British for "soccer game." Football match sounds so much nicer though, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Cheers, Mate!

Oh I have been remiss! There is so much that I've done in the last week and I really don't want to spend a lot of time blogging today.
Really quick recap:

Tuesday we (as a class) went on a guided Shakespeare walk through London. We started at Middle Temple Hall, where the very first production of Twelfth Night was performed (and the film site of Hogwarts' banquet hall):
Then we proceeded to go past the reconstructed and relocated Globe Theater, the original site of The Rose theater and The Globe, and several other interesting things as well.

Wednesday we went on another walk, this time lead by our very quintessentially British guest lecturer, David Brady.
He's an Arts and Architecture professor at Regent's so his walk was more to do with architecture. Very interesting. Lots of buildings. We went from White Hall to Somerset House through Trafalgar Square and Covent Gardens. After the walk I dallied at Somerset House a while. They had a really interesting sound installation - the artist placed microphones under the Thames. As you walked around this interesting little space, you could hear all the different noises of the river. It was very cool and very difficult to describe. Finally I wandered around The Courtauld Gallery. It's a small art gallery but it has some amazing paintings, including two Van Goughs. One of those two is THE self portrait. The other is just spectacular. All Van Gough painting are, and you have to see them in person. Just the depth and the texture of the paint. I could stare at a Van Gough painting the size of a post card for hours on end and stay completely enthralled.

Thursday we took the train to Stratford-Upon-Avon (!)(... that wasn't nearly enough parenthetical exclamation. This is better: !!!!!!!!!!). It was really nice to get out into the country for a little while. We did all the typical Shakespeare tourist stuff, of course. The highlight for me was Shakespeare's Grave:
I know it doesn't look like much, but as I stood there I had chills. I was just a few feet away from the corporeal remains of the greatest writer of all time! Just let that sink in. The greatness is indescribable. Of course, we also went to all the important places: Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the Birthplace, Hall's Croft (his brother in law's house), and we saw a production of Antony and Cleopatra. The play was actually a little disappointing.

Funny thing: Seven years ago, Make-A-Wish sent me and my family to London for a few days. It was a wonderful, but brief trip. My actual wish was to see a play at the reconstructed Globe Theater and the play we saw was Richard III. It was a spectacular production with an all female cast. Very unusual, very interesting, very good. The actress who portrayed Richard in that production actually played Cleopatra in the play we saw last week. She's brilliant, but I'm not sure it was the best casting choice.

On the way back from S-u-A on Friday a handful of us decided to jump off the train in Warwick and have a look at Warwick Castle:
It was gorgeous. Sadly my camera battery died in the Peacock Garden so I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked. C'est La Vie.

Saturday and Sunday I spent lazing about. My stomach rebelled and wouldn't let me eat anything so I spent most of my time in my room doing not much of any interest.

Yesterday I wrote a paper. In the evening we went to a play at The National Theater: London Assurance. It was fantastic! It's a farce, so of course it was funny. The cast was brilliant and star studded.

Today is my birthday so I am definitely going out tonight and having a fabulous time. I've got my eye on blues bar with a live band. Hopefully some dancing in is my future too. It will be grand! And, as per tradition on this blog, I have some some dancing creatures doing a birthday dance:

I like cats. Here's another one:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

This weekend in London the weather has been beautiful! In fact it has been almost too warm. I think when the sun come out all the Londoners head to the parks and proceed to take off all their clothes. Saturday I wandered around Hyde Park. It was thick with sunbathers and footballers and frisbee throwers. Not that I can blame them for being outside; it was gorgeous weather. It's kind of shocking how many people live here in the city though. I can't imagine any of our parks in Salt Lake getting so crowded. And here EVERY park was full of people. There are a lot of parks in London, and they're big.

Anyway, Saturday morning Mike, Ben, Katherine and I rented paddle boats and went around our little lake in Regent's Park.


We had the option of a paddle boat or a rowboat. Mike and I started with a rowboat and quickly discovered that we both were really bad a rowing. Since we actually wanted to get out into the pond (and not waste the whole hour we had for the boats getting 20 ft away from the rental shack) we quickly exchanged our rowboat for a paddle boat. It was a very pleasant way to spend the morning. Regent's Park is so picturesque, and it was nice to see it all from a different perspective - on the boat.

Saturday afternoon I struck out by myself (I couldn't find anyone from my group after lunch) and headed to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. I'm not really positive where one ends and the other starts. It's all one gigantic green space when you're there. Like I said, it was positively thick with people. I passed several hours wandering around people watching and hunting Peter Pan.


I also took a nap under a very lovely tree and snooped around Kensington Palace. I then headed out of the park and wandered around Kensington/Notting Hill (I walked up Notting Hill Gate, which is kind of the border between the two areas, as far as I can tell anyway). Off the main roads there were a bunch of adorable and colourful apartments. It was a really lovely neighborhood actually.

Anyway, I made my way over to Holland Park. Holland is a smaller park, but I think I like it better than Hyde. It's very shady and dense with trees and plants. It feels much more intimate. And by the time I got there, the weather had gotten really warm, so it was nice to wander around in the shade for a while. There is a theater in Holland Park too where they put on operas. I will have to see if I can catch one.

This is the little Japanese Garden in the center of Holland Park:

Kyoto Garden

You can't see it in this picture, because I am a very clever photographer, but there were a bunch of people lazing about. There were "keep off the grass" signs all over the place, but anywhere that it could be argued that people could be allowed, there were people lazing.

By the time I was done wandering Holland Park I was rather exhausted. I had been walking for about 4 hours straight. So I jumped on a bus and went back to the college.

Saturday night I managed to have another adventure with a group of people. A handful of guys said they were going to a jazz club. They said it was right off a certain tube stop, there would be a live band, and there was no cover. I was still pretty exhausted from walking around all afternoon, but it sounded fun so I allowed myself to get talked into going. Well, it took two trains to get to the stop. Once there we had to walk about 20 minutes before we found the place we were looking for. The club, as it turned out, was not free (there was a 9£ cover), it was fancy dress (people were in full out 1920's costume), and there was no band, just a DJ playing jazz tunes. If we had been more prepared, it might have been fun to go to this club. Most of the people I was with were dressed really casually. Plus none of us really wanted to pay a cover.

At that point we all decided to head back at least to the area near the college. By the time we got back to the tube station (we just made it before the tube stopped running), I was falling asleep on my feet. When we arrived back I fell into bed and slept.

Yesterday was another beautiful day. It was a pretty relaxed day too. I walked up to Primrose Hill, just north of Regent's Park, with Cameron and Matt. There was a little street fair going on in the area. It was kind of fun to walk through that. I bought some fudge at one of the booths (Rum & Raisin fudge, Mom. It's so rich!) and we all three got Churros. They were super fresh, we literally watched them being made, and really good. Then we walked up the hill. From the top of Primrose you can see a view of most of London. It was very impressive. Apparently (if you don't mind getting up really early and hopping the fence because the park is not open yet) that is a really nice place to watch the sunrise. I believe it. It would be really cool to see the sun rise over London.

Today is another not-much-going-on day. I'm planing on going swing dancing tonight so I don't want to spend all day walking around. It's just as well though because this is a heavy class week. I'm using the afternoon to get a little ahead with the reading and to write a short paper we have due on Wednesday. Now that I mention it, I suppose I should get to it. This blog has probably distracted me from working long enough.

And, of course, I have more pictures you can look at if you want.

Friday, May 21, 2010

London is Full of Nutters!

Let's see, the last time I posted was Tuesday afternoon, right? Tuesday evening we went as a class to South Bank for a backstage tour of The National Theater. It was really neat to see, especially since we will be seeing a play there as a class. At The National every evening thy have live music in the lobby for about an hour before the evening shows start. When we finished our tour the band was on so I sat and listened for a bit. When I turned around everyone in my class had vanished so I decided to wander around South Bank for a while by myself.

When the sun started to set, I made my way back home. I didn't really want to be wandering around London by myself at night. I decided to take a bus back rather than the tube. You get to see more that way. It took a while to find the proper bus stop, but when I did, did I ever get a treat. I was entertained until my bus came by the most amusing crazy man I've ever seen.

First thing he did was set down the 3 grocery bags he was carrying and then lay down on his back on the sidewalk. A few minutes later he rolled over on his stomach and yelled at a man standing a ways off "Why are you standing over there?" then, as some people walked around him he half mumbled "I'm about to be trod on there." So far he didn't seem too crazy. Next he walked out into the middle of the road, spread his arms and addressed God, I presume, and said "I'm accepted you gift!" then mumbled as he came back to the sidewalk, "but I don't know why you've given it to me."

He continued to mutter to himself for a while in a very amusing manner until a bus came by. He tried to get on and wasn't allowed for some reason. That set him off! "I don't want to ride your bus! Why would I want to get on your bus. London is full of Nutters! That's why I keep going back there." It was all I could do to keep from laughing at him. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture. I didn't dare; not sure what reaction I would have spurned.

Taking the bus back rather than the tube was really neat. The bus I was on went through Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner. It was really neat to see a big chunk of London, albeit briefly, without walking for ages.


Wednesday after class we all took the tube to Kilburn to see a play at The Tricycle Theater:


The play was Twelfth Night. The theater is quite small and intimate. There was a lot of interplay between the audience and the actors. At one point they actually passed a couple pizzas around to the crowd. It was a spectacular performance!

After the play a handful of us decided to just jump on a bus and see where we ended up. The bus we chose happened to go by Abbey Road, so when I saw the cross walk we all decided to disembark and do the Beatles thing.


Unfortunately it was basically rush hour and we had no plan of action so the picture isn't great. I think we'll try to go back sometime early in the morning and get better pictures.

When we were done with Abbey Road we got back on the bus and headed more into town. We ended up at Trafalgar Square. From there we wandered back to The National Theater to see if we could get tickets to Habit of Art, a play for which we saw the set during our tour. They were sold out, but Cameron and I decided to go see Women Beware Women there instead. We sat around drinking wine and listening to the band until our show started.

Women Beware Women was another really well done play. I didn't love it as much as Twelfth Night, but it was still quite good. We were in the Olivier theater, which is the biggest theater at the National. As such there was not really any way to have the audience interplay like at the Tricycle. Plus Women Beware Women is a really dark tragedy so... it was basically the opposite of the play we saw in the afternoon.


Which was yesterday, I forgot my camera. Much sadness. I went with a few people to The Tate Modern. That was spectacular. They have a really cool looking exhibition starting in June, so I will be going back. I can take all the pictures that I missed yesterday then. Some of the highlights: They had a full size marble statue of Rodin's The Kiss, several Picassos, a few Pollocks. I love modern art.

After the museum, we went across the river to St Paul's, but didn't want to pay to go in. They run tours and we missed the last one. We wanted to take the tour and didn't really want to pay 10£ twice. After that we walked down Fleet Street (I wanted to stop somewhere and get meat pies, but no one I was with got it). Finally we came back to the college around 5, quite exhausted from walking around all day.

Last night I went out with a group of people to a pub (or maybe I should call it a club, or a bar, I don't know. It looked like a pub to me, so I'm calling it a pub). There was a live band that covered a bunch of good rock songs. We danced and drank and had a generally great time. At about 1:30 we stumbled back to the dorms.

Today I'm really not doing anything. This afternoon I'm going to go out into the park and find a nice place to read. I am here for class, after all, so homework stuff must be done.

Even though I didn't have my camera yesterday, I still have a quite a few more pictures you can see. Go here to see them

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greetings from London

Well, here I am! And, of course, I have been here since Saturday. I have been keeping myself so incredibly busy. I haven't had time to write more than a crude list of everything I've done in my journal. I don't know if this post will be any better. I'll just tell you what I've been up to.

I arrived at Heathrow around 8:15 local time. Our plane sat for an hour (after it we were all loaded on) at the gate before we were able to leave JFK so I was stuck on the plane an hour longer than expected. It wasn't so bad though: I was sitting next to a very attractive British man who was also very friendly. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get his name (or any contact information). There were about 12 of my fellow classmates on my same flight so we all made our way to Regent's College from the airport. We got a group rate for the Heathrow Express into town and from there half of us (the smart half, that didn't include me) took a taxi to Regent's. The other half took the tube.

College 7 This is where I'm staying. Regent's College is right in the middle of the park. This is a view from just inside the gate. It's in the middle of London, but also in the park so it's super peaceful. Just outside the gate, in the actual park itself, there are a million birds and flowers and gardens. It's absolutely lovely. This picture was taken right outside the gate:
Bird 2

So... Saturday afternoon we had orientation. Afterwards I went out with my roommate, Andrea, and another classmate, Andrew, to Angel in the Fields. When you think of a typical English Pub, what do you think of? Does it look like this:
  Angel in the Fields

That is an actual photo of Angel in the Fields. It's was a perfect English Pub and it's only about a 10 minute walk from where I'm staying. We had a couple pints and then wandered around to find some dinner.

By the time we finished eating and stumbled back to the college, I had been awake for close to 36 hours, except for the few uncomfortable hours I managed to sleep on the plane. Between that and the beer, plus wine we had with dinner, I easily fell right to sleep almost as soon as I returned to my room.

I woke up very naturally at around 6:30 in the morning. I would have probably liked to sleep a little more (both my roommates and several classmates slept until at least 11:00) but I couldn't really get back to sleep. Plus I am in feeking London! I was excited to explore. I took a shower first then set off by myself to explore my surroundings a little. I went into the Inner Circle of the park and had a look at some of the gardens. They are stunning! After that I wandered up Baker street for a little way then made my way back to the college.

By the time I returned, more of my classmates were awake. I went to the Refectory (English for Cafeteria) with my two roommates to get some lunch to take-away (take-out). We then proceeded to walk through the park to Camden Town. We walked up and down Camden High Street and through Camden Market and Camden Lock Market. All three of those things are mind-blowing awesome. All three of them together are amazing to the point of over-kill. By the time we exited Camden Lock Market and started back down Camden High Street, we were totally burned out. Camden High Street is a busy little shopping mecca. It's also the place where all the punks and goths and "alternative" sort of sub-cultures come together so just people watching is fascinating. The shops are all kind of punky-goth with a smattering of cheap touristy stuff and discount everything. It kind of reminded me of China-Town in NYC. Plus, all the buildings have these great facades:
Camden 3

The markets are even more interesting. Camden Market was mostly clothing. You walk into this... it's like a tent city or something. In about one square block (except it may have been much bigger... every time I thought it was ending there was another row shooting off somewhere) crammed full of booths (for lack of a better word) where people are selling things. Mostly clothes, as I said, but there were also some shoes and a little jewelry and accessories.

Camden Lock Market was a little more spread out and possibly not as big. There they also had lots of food vendors. Everything smelled delicious and as we walked down the row people were handing us samples left and right. We probably should have just walked through there for lunch instead of getting something at the Refectory. Camden Lock Market had more jewelry and accessories than Camden Market. I absolutely intend to go back (probably near the end of my trip so I don't have to worry about saving money for the rest of my trip) later. I'll probably just do Camden Lock though - I found it much more interesting personally.

As I said, we were kind of burned out by the time we finished with Camden. Plus it was starting to rain. We walked back in a downpour. I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and reading for class.

We had our first class in the morning. It looks to be very interesting and somewhat informal. We've started our discussion with Twelfth Night, which we are going to see tomorrow. It looks like the course will be a combination of literature and London history. I think that's pretty fantastic! It's nice to know things about the city as I'm going about.

After lunch quite a large group of us went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, just across the street from the park. Then we all took the tube to Kings Cross to be super Harry Potter Nerds:


We thought maybe if we all pushed hard enough we would get through.

From there half the group stayed to wander around... there was some talk of a Charles Dickens museum. I went back with the other half for lunch then we headed to South Kensington and the Victoria and Albert Museum. That was extremely interesting, but we were only there for about 2 hours before it closed. 2 hours is not enough time to see the V&A. We did see quite a few very neat things though.

When the museum guards kicked us out we jumped back on the tube and took it one stop to Knightsbridge where we ate supper at Pizza on the Park. English Pizza is quite different. Three of the menu items (read: pizzas) had egg listed as a topping. Egg on pizza is not a happy combination. When we finished, the people I was with left for the LDS church for Family Home Evening. I didn't have much desire to join them. I decided to walk back to Regent's through Hyde park (just along the edge, I wouldn't call it seeing the park at all) bast Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch

 and The Marble Arch. It was a lovely stroll, but by the time I got back to my room my legs were about to fall off. I spent the rest of the evening reading and talking to classmates.

Today I haven't really done much at all. We had class this morning. Since then I've been lazing about in my room. Writing this, researching things to do, uploading photos, that sort of thing. I bought my bus ticket to Cardiff. I think I'm now finished with my computery stuff so I might go out into the park and read or write a little.

I'm wondering if I should try to blog every day. Mostly for my own benefit. It's nice to have a record of my day when it's still fresh in my head. Plus I'm doing so much that just a few days is... how long is this post? I haven't even really gone into any detail. That said, I really haven't had a lot of time to blog. I suppose it wouldn't take so long if I wasn't doing days at a time. I don't know. I guess we'll see.

I have a lot more pictures than I posted here. You can look at them Here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Have You Got Anyone Named Alonso?

I'm jumping on a plane in a few hours and I'm about to shut off my computer and put in in my carry-on. So, this is the last time I'll be posting from the states for a while *grin*.

So, in the words of The Doctor:

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Shiny Shiny Blue-ness

Look! My blog is all pretty and new looking. I decided I should blog in blue. I had to keep the background dark because I've been posting forever in exciting and varied colors. I think it's nice to be able to read the archive. There are a lot of inanities I've thrown out into the void that you might find totally fascinating. If you were really bored. And creepy obsessed. I've been blogging since 2005! Isn't that nuts?

Anyway, enjoy the blue!

I'm busy busy busy getting ready to head off to London! I'm so incredibly excited. I promise I will update this blog at least once a week while I'm there. It's how my parents plan to keep track of what I'm up to, so if I don't keep things updated they will probably assume I'm dead. As much as that sounds like a great prank, I actually like my parents and don't really want to put them through that.

Speaking of parents:

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

ROAR (It's Totally a Thing)

It should be no secret to you that I am not the biggest fan of text messaging. I've mentioned it here once or twice and even gave it up for a while in protest. Granted that was a long time ago and I do use text messaging fairly often. I've begrudgingly come around to the technology. I blame Job o' Death. I spent so much time menially talking on the phone then that the very thought of a telephonic conversation made me gag. Not really. Still, I didn't love phones for a long time after getting out of that disaster.

Anyway, I don't really mind text messaging anymore. Notice how I am not saying "texting" that word still makes me cringe. TEXT IS NOT A VERB PEOPLE!!!!! Yes, that did warrant full capitalization. "Texting" and phases like "Do you text?" are such horrendous bastardizations of the English language (which is enough of a bastard already) they make me want to lock the speaker/writer (Gods! it's worse if they write it! Writing, at least, calls for proper usage of language. I can forgive a slip of the tongue, but you can do better if you're writing) in a steel box full of rabid, sharp-toothed, squirrels!

Deep breath.

That rantage aside, I will come to my point. I accept text messaging. I use it. I still don't love it and feel like there are some conversations that should not happen via text. Small talk, as I have mentioned before, should not be done with text messaging. Important "deep conversations" should not be done with text messaging. Emoticons should never ever be in a text message unaccompanied by actual text (rare... rare exceptions may apply). Nor should they come at the end of every message you ever send :). It's really annoying :). Almost as annoying as ending every statement with "lol" :). In fact, "lol" should probably never ever enter your text message/IM/internet commenting vocabulary... lol :).

Silly, joking, insubstantial but still fun banter is ok as text messaging. It can be kind of fun that way, plus you can then have record of the conversation so you can say to friends (when you are hanging out with real people), "Look how clever and witty I am!" Text messages are also ok for: Arranging to meet up (especially if an exchange of address is required), conveying quick info (running late; can't find the cheese; zombies on 4th and main! Run!), getting information to several people at once (NOT spamming, that's different and totally unacceptable).

Sigh of a ninja. I feel better now. That rant has been building up for quite some time. I'm glad I got it off my chest.

In other news, I leave for London in one week and 15 hours!
I think I'm going to give my blog a makeover before I go. Be excited.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

I promised I would post something about my love life and guess what! I'm actually keeping that promise. I'm not going to tell you any juicy details of what is currently going on though. That has potential to be extremely dangerous. I have a great story for you though. Fasten your seat-belts:

Once upon a time I created a profile on a certain dating site. I didn't really expect to meet anyone worth dating, but it seemed like it might be fun. Plus browsing through the profiles provided much entertainment. Then, one day, I received a message from someone... let's pretend his name is Vince*.... I looked at his profile and discovered that we had tons in common. So I wrote back. After e-mailing back and forth for a while, we arranged to meet. It went well, so more meetings were set up.

We ended up dating for a while, not really seriously. I was wary of him being an internet person and we were both a little hesitant to get super involved with a total stranger. I was being really smart about this, people! I SWEAR THERE WERE NO WARNING SIGNS THAT HE WAS BATSHIT INSANE! And he was. This part, where the dating stops, is where the story gets good.

The last time I saw him, we went out to a thing with a couple who lives in Magna. We met up with them at their house and Vince left his car there while we all went off on evening adventures. It was a fun night, things were great, until the end when we said "goodnight" and Vince drove me home. The entire drive (at least a good 40 min, for those of you not familiar with Salt Lake geography) he didn't say more than 3 words to me. The entire drive was either me monologuing or awkward silence.

Of course I asked him several times if something was wrong, why he was being so quiet etc. but never got an answer more than a shrug. I told him flat out that his strange silence was making me nervous. When we finally reached our destination, he walked me to the door, said "it was fun," gave me a quick kiss and walked off. I was baffled.

I decided he was being an idiot. If something was bothering him he had plenty of opportunity to tell me what it was. If he wanted to be pissy and passive-aggressive about something (I couldn't figure out what might have gone wrong) there was nothing I could do about it. However, there's no way I was going to play that game so I decided he could call me when he decided to grow up. I didn't hear from him for 3-4 days so I sent him a couple text messages (he worked at a call center so didn't like phone calls much). They were casual, normal, not-acknowledging-his-immature-antics conversation starters that gave him a way to not be an ass but also
avoid whatever he didn't want to talk about.

He didn't respond. I don't do well with stupid games. I gave him all the attention I could spare for his little tantrum. I figured he could talk to me when he was over it and I would give him a chance to explain himself. He would, of course, need to have a very good explanation.

Three weeks later he contacted me on facebook chat. Yes, facebook. Yes, chat. He was all casual conversation about it too until I called him out on the long silence. He said he hadn't talked to me because he "just didn't have anything to say." In case you're confused, that does not in any way qualify as a good explanation. I ended the conversation soon thereafter because I had better things to do. I may have made a slightly snarky comment about talking to him later if he decided to not disappear again.

I didn't hear from him for about two weeks. Then I got the following message (on facebook again) from him:

I'm sitting here drinking Lev. Thinking about you and absolutely stewing. You make me crazy. I thought it was pills making me paranoid. I liked you, but you were just playing games. I think I'll go vomit now.

That is the exact message. Copied and pasted. I was more than a little shocked. And confused. And angry that he accused me of playing games when he was the one behaving like a 14 year old girl with the social skills of a rutabaga.

I couldn't decide whether it was even worth it to respond - I desperately wanted to defend myself, but he so obviously belonged in a padded cell and Mommy always told me not to talk to crazy people. So the next day I told some friends about it, in order to get a second opinion. They insisted on seeing the actual message and when I showed them we discovered that he had "un-friended" me on facebook.

So I figured the whole ordeal was over. It wasn't worth my time responding to the odd, apparently drug induced (when we were seeing each other there was no mention of drugs, recreational or otherwise) rantings of a strange, strange, person.

Four days latter I got a text message from him. This is, verbatim, the conversation we had:

Vince: hey
Me: I thought I made you vomit
Vince: haha, well ok then. Thanks for removing any doubts i had
Me: Oh, so after your bizzare and, frankly, insulting note and passive aggressive behavior I'm supposed to be ecstatic that you deemed me worthy of a monosyllabic text message greeting?
Vince: Nope you're not suppose to be anything. Stay golden

That's the last I heard from him. The End

*his name is not Vince. Though maybe I should post his real name, and pictures, as a warning to anyone who might read this and happen to be involved with him somehow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This, That and the Other

Gosh it's been a while. I'm not going to make any excuses for why I haven't posted in a long time. You've heard them all before. Besides, it's my blog, I can not write if I want to. At this rate though 2010 will be my slowest blogging year ever. Maybe I need another Job O' Death so I have nothing to do all day at work but write useless stuff for the interwebs.

I'd rather not.

I plan to post a lot when I'm in London, at least once a week. There will probably be pictures. I'm really excited for that trip. I've been doing a little research about possible weekend (or maybe just day) trips to other towns in the UK. I'm definitely going to visit Cardiff (they have a Doctor Who museum thingy - squee!) and Liverpool (Beatles! double squee). If I have time I might hop over to Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone or something. Even if I don't get to spend a lot of time traveling all over the UK, it's going to be a great trip! I'm so excited. I have a meeting (orientation thing) on Tuesday where I will probably find out a lot more about what we're doing officially with the program. I just might update with more details.

Classes are winding down now. I haven't really mentioned my classes for this semester. I don't really want to get into it now, except to say that they have all been really good classes. I've had fun and I've learned stuff. What more can you ask for?

That's really all I feel like saying right now. My love life has recently been kind of interesting, but I think that may be a whole different post. I promise I won't just be a tease about this. The post will happen. Soon.

But for now, I'm off to do something awesome!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tally Ho Etc

A few posts back (if you click on the link, it's the second half of the post) I mentioned the summer London program at school. Well, this is just a quick update on that. I totally got accepted! There's still one potential obstacle, but hopefully it will prove not insurmountable. 5 weeks in London = Much Joy!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happiness is a Warm Gun (Bang Bang Shoot Shoot)

I feel like there's been a lot of chatter among my blogging friends about happiness lately. Maybe I should capitalize that... Happiness. Maybe it's a generation thing, but sometimes I feel like there's a dark vein of discontent running through my peer group. So many of us feel like there is something seriously lacking in our lives and without it we really cannot be happy.

I don't understand that.

Ok, I do understand the discontent. I am often very frustrated with the place my path in life has lead me. I could easily say that I was dealt a difficult hand to play. Circumstances, many of which were beyond my control, many of which were not, built up and have left me in a less than ideal situation. I'm honestly not super happy with where I am right now. But I'm working on it. I'm slowly changing my circumstances. I'm discontent and frustrated with things right now, but I'm not unhappy.

I don't really have a feeling that something is lacking. Occasionally I get all lonely and sad about my serious lack of romantic involvement. Who doesn't want love in their life? But I don't have a life without love. My family is wonderful and supportive, and they love me unconditionally. My friends are wonderful and supportive... I don't know if they love me unconditionally, but I do know they love me and are there for me when I need them. The kind of deep, empathetic, personal support you get from a partner, I can find in my friends. Yes, I would like to meet someone special. But my life is no less complete without him.

I guess that's part of my point. How can anyone expect to be content with life if they aren't content with themselves? If your happiness is dependent on something that you feel is lacking, chances are you will never be happy. Once you get that thing you think is missing, you'll find that it doesn't actually fill the hole you think you have. Something will always be "lacking."

I wish I could teach people to be independently whole. What I mean is, I wish people could understand that they are not actually "lacking" anything. There is nothing "lacking" in their life. Whatever it is they need to find Happiness, they already have. Happiness cannot be rooted in materiality, it cannot be external. There is nothing you need to be happy more than the decision to be happy.

Yes, Happiness can absolutely be as simple as a decision. Except I shouldn't say that it's necessarily simple. To be happy, you have to really truly decide to be happy and that's so much harder to do than it sounds. I think anyone can do it though.

And for the love of Baby Dinosaur Jesus, don't just sit around and complain. If there is something in your life that you can't stand, change it. I'm not saying it will be easy, but if you really want to get rid of the crap that is making you miserable, you can do it. All it takes is a little determination and a little work. Ok... maybe a lot of determination and a lot of work.

But that is just the big picture. The big picture is important, but it is absolutely not everything. There is so much joy to be found in little things; tiny, fleeting moments that are gone before you even notice. But in those moments you can find such incredibly potent joy that.... All you have to do is be open to it. Let the beauty of life find you. Soon these moments build up and compound and grow.

Anyone who can say "I haven't been happy since ______" is doing it wrong. Anyone can be happy, really truly Happy. It just takes the right mind set. Stop dwelling on what's bad. Notice what is beautiful and good. I have never gone a day without finding something to smile about. Even if it's something really stupid and small.

I don't think I've really said everything right. It's 1:30 in the a.m. and I should really be sleeping. I just had all these thoughts going through my head (prompted, no doubt, by my catching up on the blogs I've failed to read for a while) about... well about what I've been blogging about up there. Sorry if it doesn't really make sense. I'm not going back to proof-read or edit or anything. But I am going to leave you with two bits of awesome that are kind of related to what I'm talking about:

Jeremy's post about what it means to be a true optimist.

If you're having a hard time trying to find something to smile about try one of these: 1,000 awesome things.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The World Smiles With You

As I was walking home from the bus stop a few minutes ago, a remarkable thing happened. I smiled at a stranger. That in itself is not remarkable. I try to always smile at strangers when I pass them in the street. Moreover I always try to give them a good and genuine smile. I do this because I have had a few really terrible days made better by a genuine smile from a passing stranger. I like to think I might be able to make someone else's gloomy day better.

This stranger didn't exactly smile back. They don't always. He did nod, and was not unfriendly. But after he passed, I found I could not stop smiling. My face was stuck in a broad, ear to ear, expression of joy.

The really odd thing about it is that today has not been the best of days. I really didn't get enough sleep last night. Class was not particularly exciting. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great. I don't have anything to look forward to tonight except work. In my state of fatigue from not sleeping last night, I'm not really looking forward to work. There is nothing really spectacular in my life that has happened lately.

I was smiling for no reason. When I realized I had no reason to smile, that just made me smile more. It made my teeth cold. I almost laughed. I was experiencing pure joy just to the sake of joy. It was amazing.

As I walked along, I noticed that I felt a bit lighter. My steps were more lively. The sun felt warmer and the air felt fresher. Just the simple contraction of a few facial muscles had such a profound effect on my mood and my day.

I hope when I get old, the most prominent lines on my face are those caused by smiling.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Checkin' In

After a long absence from the bloggosphere, I've decided that today conditions are perfect for a triumphant return. I'm playing hooky from school today because my brain is all clogged up with mucus and I can't breathe. I have a terrible cold. It started Friday in my chest and has expanded up into my head. I've spent the last two days sitting around in misery doing more or less nothing. I was hoping I would feel well enough today to go to class, but I got to the end of the driveway (on my way to the bus stop) and felt like I was going to pass out. So I turned around and went back home.

These conditions are perfect for blogging because a I'm super bored, b my brain functions are under the influence of awful cold virus which makes for some really interesting ramblings, c it's been a long-ass time since I blogged. (he he he long ass-time....this will make sense of it all)

When was the last time I wrote anyway? Damn! January 11th. That means I totally missed ULX, the start of classes, a revelation about my personal relationship to the whole dating thing, London excitement, and various other random bits of fun that I'm sure would have made an awesome blog. Sorry guys. I'll try to be more responsible with my updates.

Funny thing: a lot of the blogs I follow have been just as slack-tastic lately about updating. But in the last week or two they've also brought out their typing fingers and jumped back on the wagon.

I guess I'll start out with catching you up on all the stuff I just mentioned. Starting with ULX. Since I have posted about it in years past I'm not going to go into what it is here. Funny enough, I was just recovering from a cold when it rolled around this year. So I skipped out on the Friday dances and just rested with the hope that I could rally for Saturday and Sunday. My method worked. I wasn't able to do too much fast dancing, but I got in my fair share.

Highlight of the weekend: I totally danced with The Doctor. Ok, so he wasn't the real Doctor, nor was he David Tennant. This kid was dressed exactly like The Doctor though, even had the long coat. I found out later (because I had to talk to him... he's The Doctor) that he had it custom made for him. So, yes, the doctor look was totally intentional. Bonus: he is a great dancer. I was geeking out the entire weekend. He indulged my geekery, as did all my friends. Wasn't that nice of them?

I really wish I could go to more exchanges and lindy events. There are so many great opportunities for great dancing, most of the outside of Utah so you get the added bonus of great opportunities to travel and see new places. *sigh* Maybe some day I'll be able to run around the country dancing with fabulous people. In the mean time, there are a handful of fabulous dancers here, and I can be quite content dancing with them.

Speaking of travel... I might go to London this summer for a study abroad thing. Every year the English Department at the U does a summer trip to London. It's 6 credits for 5 weeks in Freaking London. Every year's trip has a special theme - for example, a few years ago, they did a London underground/ghost story sort of theme. They read Doyle and Poe and such and visited places those authors wrote and the setting for many of the stories. This year the theme is Early Modern Performance and Post-Modern Spectacle. That means pretty much Elizabeathan Theater (read Shakespeare!), and then how the city itself acts as a sort of "performer" and is a spectacle itself. But more important... Shakespeare!

I honestly didn't think there was any way I could possibly go on this trip. It's not exactly cheap, and 5 weeks would (will) be difficult to take off work. I didn't want to ask my parent's to pay for it. They've been hit hard by the shitty economy (who hasn't) and I certainly can't afford to send myself. About 2 weeks before the application was due, I mentioned it to my Mom. I brought it up just as something interesting, not as something I expected her to do anything about. When I finished telling her about it, she pretty much told me I should apply. They will find a way to pay for it. I guess these once in a lifetime opportunities should really be taken advantage of.

So anyway, I applied and am now waiting to hear if I got accepted into the program. Cross your fingers for me! There are a handful of things that could still pop up and stop me from going, but hopefully they can be worked around. I'm kind of afraid to get too excited about it until I know for certain I can actually go. It's hard though because, well, London!

My finger nail just broke. I'm going to go take a break now. I'll be back though, just like Arnold. Maybe even later today. Wouldn't that be fun? Two blog posts in one day! It shouldn't be possible! Oh, but I assure you, it is.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fembot Attack!

Consider the following bit of dialog:

Me: I worked as a waiter for a while.
Someone else: Don't you mean waitress?

No, actually, I do mean waiter. I also mean actor, not actress, when I talk about the merits (or demerits) of Rachel McAdams or Merill Streep. And I'll be damned if I'm going to bother with "he/she" in any kind of paper or essay when "he" suffices quite brilliantly.

There's a small feminist voice in the corner of the room now raving and stamping her feet. She's going on about patriarchal language and how it's keeping the WOman down. By using the masculine form of a word to mean either sex, I'm valuing the masculine over the feminine. I'm not only playing into the oppression inherent in the system, I am making it worse. How can I call myself a forward thinking woman and make such linguistic choices.

I'll tell you.

The way I see it, using the masculine version of a term is actually a kind of linguistic castration. Using "waiter" to mean both men and women who wait tables makes the term a-sexual. Once that is done, there still exists a term for a woman, but no separate term for a man. It basically cuts off man's linguistic phallus and renders him without sex. Eat that Sigmund Freud!

Moreover, because there still exists a feminine term once we de-sexualize the masculine term, we solve the problem of woman being defined by what she doesn't have. Suddenly woman is not that-which-lacks-a-penis, she has her own term and her own section of language that man is not privilege to.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

2009: Year in Review

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men! I had great intentions to bring you a great blog post looking back at the decade. I also meant to get to this post earlier. It's my traditional look back a the year that is best done on New Year's Day or close to. Well, it's almost a week later and I'm just now getting to it.

I guess I just haven't been motivated to blog.

Anyway, 2009 was not my favorite year. Like anything, it wasn't all bad nor all good. I do feel like this year the bad may have outweighed the good. But I may change my mind. Let's look at the good, the bad, the ugly and the pretty of 2009, shall we?

The Bad (I like to start with the negative and then end on a high note):

  • I moved back in with my parents. Yes, I did it for good reasons, and it's not really a bad place to be. Still, it feels like a complete step backwards.
  • Rather than completely getting out of debt and saving money, I ran out of money and then some. That's a big part of why I'm back with my parents. I'd like to blame it on the lack of available hours at work or any number of other things. Don't worry, as a human being, I've very good at deflecting blame away from myself. Ultimately there are a lot of things I could have done differently. I'm working on improving the situation, but I'm so broke right now it's not even funny. And I've been that way for a good chunk of the year.
  • I'm still subbing. I need a merit job at one library. This one is really not my fault.
  • I had to kill my kitty. She was old an sick, and it was the humane thing to do. But she was my baby. That was a very, very sad day.
  • My social life kind of fell apart. I think between being broke (which really limits my ability to go out and do things with people) and being busy with school, I managed to neglect some very important friendships. It's kind of hard to put my finger on it exactly. I just feel somewhat dissatisfied with the way things have gone with some of my friends.

The Ugly:

The Pretty:

The Good:

  • Obama was elected. Sure, this isn't particularly personal, but I think it's a great thing. Granted, he hasn't fixed everything, in fact, he hasn't really fixed much at all. I'm still optimistic about his presidency.
  • I got my head back in the game as far as school goes. Last semester, going full time, I actually did quite well. I feel a new confidence about school. More than that, graduation is in sight! That's a little scary, but also a lot awesome.
  • This March marked the 5 year aniversary of my Wegener's being in full remission. I wanted to have a big celebratory party, but didn't. I don't see why I can't do it any time. Even without a party, 5 years is nothing to sneeze at. Here's hoping I can go another 5!
  • I learned to tango
  • Seattle. MLS Cup Game. Real Salt Lake. 'nough said.

So I guess they're really about even. Maybe 2009 was just disappointing because I expected a lot of it. 2008 was pretty fab, and I wanted the trend to continue. Let's take a look at the goals (not resolutions) I had for the year:

Things to do in 2009:
1. Get a merit position at one of the libraries
2. Get back into hardcore biking shape, and stay there!
3. Improve my lindy. I'd like to get to the point where I feel comfortable seriously entering a contest.
4. Put my monies in order enough that I can afford a place by myself
5. Write regularly and often. Not blog writing or journal writing but Writing writing.
6. Get swing club running and fabulous.

Things to NOT do in 2009:
1. Drink soda
2. Date douchewads (it was a good goal)
3. Go on a mass murdering tour de world (also a good goal, might as well carry it over)
4. Fail at school

Well, the things I meant to do, I didn't really get done. I didn't get a merit position (there haven't been any to get). I totally dropped the ball on biking. The biggest ride I did was 60-some-odd miles. For most people, that wouldn't be too bad, but compared to the epic rides I've done in the past, it's pretty pathetic. I think my lindy has improved, and in August I did enter a Jack and Jill contest. I didn't do very well, but I was way out of my league. I feel pretty good about that one. My monies are far from in order. I haven't written much at all. I did write some for my poetry class, but found it so completely un-inspiring that I hardly did any writing besides assignments. More than that, I didn't blog much or write in my journal. Swing club is... somewhat improved. I have my frustrations about it. There's still a lot that could be done, but I haven't really had the time to do much with it.

I did much better with the things I wanted to Not do. I didn't completely give up soda, but I cut back a lot. I didn't date any douchewads. Of course, I didn't really date anyone at all. I think maybe I should work on that. I didn't murder anyone. I didn't fail at school. So... not bad on that front.

All in all, I guess last year wasn't bad. Nor was it great. It was just a year. Really, what more can you expect? Not every year can be fabulous and at least it wasn't terrible. Maybe it had to be mediocre so that 2010 can be really neat by comparison.

The only thing left for me to do with this post is to set new goals (still not resolutions, because no one ever keeps their resolutions) for this year. Sort of an unofficial goal, I think, will be to actually try to accomplish my goals. I think last year I sort of considered just setting the goals as good enough. I didn't really make a huge effort to keep any of them. This year I want to actually take these seriously and get things done.

Things to DO in 2010:
1. Train for and ride the ULCER
2. Pay off my debt and start saving money
3. Get a merit position at one of the libraries (this year it might actually be possible) OR get another job with benefits
4. Strengthen those friendship that are most important to me.
5. Date someone in a somewhat serious sort of way*

Things to NOT DO in 2010:
1. Fail at school
2. Commit vehicular homocide
3. Build a giant lazer and use it to attempt a global takeover.

*I acknowledge that this may be a difficult goal to acheive. I've been single for a long time. I think I'm ready to try the relationship thing again... emotionally anyway. I grant that living at home with debt up to my eyeballs is not an ideal scenario for starting any romantic endeavor. On the other hand, there's never really a perfect time to start a relationship and if I keep waiting for it I'm going to stay single forever. I don't want to go out with someone just for the sake of dating someone. If I'm going to have a relationship, I want it to be worthwile. I'm not going to force anything, but I also don't want to be completely passive about my love life anymore. Why not go out and try to meet someone? I'm just going to change my tactics a little and see what happens.