Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. And inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." --Groucho Marx


All you bookworms out there! Copy and paste and fill out! It's like those self-indulgent middle school survey things, except with books, which makes it awesome.

Last book I had to temporarily put down halfway through, because the suspense was too much:
The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly)


Best ending:
1984 (George Orwell)
Mostly because of how powerful it is.

Best first chapter:
Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)
This one was really hard to answer.
Runner up: Harry Potter #6, just because I worked in a warehouse at the time and sneakily read the first few pages about a week before it came out.


Last book to make me cry:
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Rebecca Wells)

Weird narrative gimmick that I was all, oh, I don't know, but then totally got on board with:
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer)
The story is told through old notebooks, photographs, flip books, and old type-written documents, in addition to straight up narrative.

Best War Book:
Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)
I don't like war books. In most cases. For the record.

Best Summer book:
Dandelion Wine (Ray Bradbury)
Runner Up: To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

Best Winter book:
Anne of the Island (L.M. Montgomery)

Best Nuclear Winter book:
The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
Also the only one I've read.

Best Character Name:
Bellatrix Lestrange, Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
Runners Up: Syndey Cinnamon, Little Little (M.E. Kerr); Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee); Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

Pulitzer Prize Nominee where I was all, what?:
The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen)

Pulitzer Prize Winner that assured me that the Pulitzer Prize committee was not, in fact, completely asleep on the job:
Beloved (Toni Morrison)

Character I'd most like to be:
Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
Even though he's a man.

Character I'd least like to be:
Bella Swan, Twilight (Stephanie Meyer)

Biggest character crush:
Stan Claxton, The Whistling Toilets (Randy Powell)

The book I could find on my bookshelf in my sleep, the book I can read like braille, the book I'd pack with me in the face of natural disaster:
Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)
Runners Up: Two Moons in August (Martha Brooks), The Whistling Toilets (Randy Powell)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two things:

1. I gussied up the ole blog a bit! A rather pretty little arrangement, I'd say.

2. I thought I'd have a lot to blog about when it came to my new job on campus, doing voice-over tutorials and support for Blackboard, but it turns out I really don't. Except my co-workers are very nerdy and fun.
Exhibit A: (overheard on my first day of work) "Okay okay, Jesus uses a Mac, but HEAVENLY FATHER uses a PC!"
Anyway, for those expecting a blog entry about work, I respectfully deny you such an entry.

Love you all.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Memorandum



Dear blog,
You are getting a make-over.

Dear Dallas,
You were one of my favorite parts of "Tartuffe."

Dear Autumn (the season),
I'd like you better if I could get the thoughts of Snow-cones and beach trips out of my mind.

Dear Jacob,
I adore you.

Dear School,
What the effing crap. Why are you half-way over?

Dear Eddie Vedder,
You're one of the coolest people on the earth right now. That I know of.

Dear DI,
I need you to have a cute grey pencil skirt.

Dear library,
I don't know what to read next.

Dear powers that be,
I'm pretty happy right now. Thanks for that.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"I'm the Hitler of romance!" --Jacob Chapman


One day, a month or so ago, Jacob and I were over at our friends' Carrie and Scott's. As Jacob sat on the floor in his jeans and button-up blue shirt, glasses unable to hide gorgeous hazel eyes, playing the electric guitar and singing to himself, Carrie looked at him and said, "Three months ago, if you could have drawn a picture of Liz's Ideal Man, it would have been that, right there." And it's true. There are moments of pure disbelief at times, when I can't believe we're actually together. So I thought I'd tell him, and all of you, about it, although some of these things may sound cryptic.

Dear Jacob,

I'm so thrilled to be dating you. The last two months have been incandescently wonderful. Here are only a few of the reasons why:

1. Reading "Peter Pan" out loud to one another.
2. Pearl Jam concert.
3. Long talks on the couch on the front porch.
4. The elevator in the library.
5. Trips to Broulims and Walmart together.
6. Beautiful movies.
7. The lounge at Birch Plaza.
8. A mutual obsession with pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
9. Stories about wasps' nests.
10. Sweater vests.
11. Opening the car door for me.
12. One eyebrow raised.
13. "Feverstone" shows.
14. Comic Frenzy rehearsals.
15. Bollywood films.
16. Stargazing in the middle of farm-fields in front of the temple.
17. Trips to Yellowstone, and the Playmill.
18. A shared love of poetry, literature, and theatre.
19. You wearing a "cape."
20. Love of Britain.
21. Sincere, conversational prayers.
22. Your brown sweater.
23. Your gentle, tender hands.
24. Your delicious smell.
25. Your faith and worthiness.

Thank you for making the last two months so wonderful. I raise my glass to you, my love! How I ever got to be this blessed/lucky, I'll never know.

With adoration,
Liz

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Truth


"Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them and the fact that we want them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come." --Joseph F. Smith

Thanks, President Smith. That's just what I needed to be reminded of.

(And thanks, Darcy, for re-designing your blog with this quote on it...it was well-timed.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Rexburg is awesome

Rexburg may be a small town full of Republicans, but how many other places in the world have QUIDDITCH matches in the public park on weekends?!

Slytherin vs. Gryffindor, Porter Park, Fall 2009.

(Thanks to Matt for taking and posting these pics. I couldn't make it to the actual game, but the pics are awesome. Next game, man...I'm there.)




Monday, October 12, 2009

"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." --G.K. Chesterton


Forget digital cut and paste nonsense. After approximately 3 hours on the computer, attempting to patch together a vintage-horror-movie-poster-inspired advert for Comic Frenzy's Halloween shows, I've come to the conclusion that I prefer working with my hands.

On an unrelated note, I'm pretty sure that by the end of the week, my hair will look like this again:

I can never make it past the in-between stage. I keep trying to before remembering that thick hair is a PAIN when it's long.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Want your life to be complete?

Watch these.

It's such a strange feeling...being both terrified and enamored at the same time. This old man is my hero, even though he scares me a little bit sometimes. Thanks to Shaun for introducing me.







This is the kind of person you'd normally only meet while selling Kirby vacuums door-to-door.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A recent discovery...


The last few nights, I've been reading through the contributions to a website called mylifeisaverage.com. They're brilliant. Here are some of my favorites:

Today, I was in the Supermarket. I was pushing my basket around and came across a completely empty isle, so I decided to jump on the back and ride my basket to the other end. Just before I jumped off an old man appeared round the corner, looked at me, winked and without missing a beat jumped on his basket and did the same thing. I hope I'm that cool when I get old.

Today, I woke up without sheets on my bed. My roommate said that in the middle of the night I had woken him up, handed my balled up sheets to him, and told him, "It's the potion of the elves, you know what to do with it." I desperately wish I could remember my dream.

Today, I really didn't want to go to school so I pretended to be sick. I came downstairs to find my mom and my brother home. They were pretending to be sick too. So far we have set up a tent and have been playing rock band for 3 hours.

Today, I just remembered that I had doodled a stickman ninja on the final draft of my essay. When I got it back, I found my teacher had scribbled a pirate stabbing the ninja in the back. I just turned in my next essay. I want to see how she'll beat my robot.

Today, my roommate and I decided to bunk our beds. On the underside of the bed that went on top was duct taped one dollar, a Disney Princess coloring book, a packet of crayons, and a note reading 'So you decided to bunk your beds? Nice choice. Have fun.' I've never been more excited.

Today, I was babysitting some kids and we decided to play hide and seek. I was "it" and when I was looking for them, I found one kid in a room hidden under a blanket with a note that says "this is an invisibility cloak". I pretended I didn't see him.

This morning while brushing my teeth, my electric toothbrush died. I proceeded, while making the noise myself. I don't know if I'm going to replace the batteries.

Today, I was looking up useful phrase in Romanian for a speech about my heritage. It had your basic "Hello" and "My name is..." but the last phrase on the page was how to say "My hovercraft is full of eels." Glad to know that this is considered a useful phrase.

Today, I placed a realistic but fake mouse in our bathroom to scare my roommate. She's not home yet and I've already screamed three times.

Today I was on a double-decker bus in Washington D.C. They were playing a tour guide recording. While leaving one of the memorials the recording said, "Please refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, or practicing experimental surgery on the passenger beside you." I am now wondering how many people have tried this.

Today I entered the grocery store, only stepping on the grey tiles. I turned down the cereal aisle and a small child told his mother, "Look mom, He doesn't step on the hot lava either." I high-fived the kid as I walked by. Sadly, I accidentally stepped in the lava. Not wanting to upset the child, I pretended to melt.

Today, I was reading some old papers from when I was little. A question asked "If a genie gave you three wishes, what would they be? You cannot wish for more wishes." My third wish was for another genie. Way to beat the system, past self.

Today, I took a test. My school forces us to write the "Wildcat Pledge" on everything which states, "I have neither given nor recieved unauthorized help on this assignment." I was so fed up with writing it, I wrote, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." When I got my test back it had an A+ and scribbled underneath it said, "Mischief Managed."

Today, I decided to make a scrapbook online, and started using Shutterfly. My book wasn't working right, so I decided to call the help line. One of the options was to hear the instructions in Pirate. I choose that option.

Today, I was driving home from school and passed a construction zone. When I looked over at it, I saw two construction workers link arms and skip merrily across the street. It made my day.

Today, I was pulled over for speeding. I tried flirting with the officer to get him to lower my ticket. If I was a girl, I think this would have worked much better.

Today I was on a long train ride. To kill some time I decided to chat to the guy next to me. I said, "How now hath thy day been?" He turned around, held my hands and answered, "My Lady, 'tis been nothing but canker-blossomed train rides." That was the best response I've ever gotten for that question.

Today, I realized the word bed actually looks like a bed.

A fortnight ago I finally solved my rubiks cube. I waited two weeks to post this so that I could use the word fortnight.

Today I won a million dollars, but I closed out of the pop-up anyway.

Today I realized that for every story on this website about yelling out a Harry Potter spell and having a complete stranger respond, there's probably a ton where no one responded and it became extremely awkward. I learned that in the elevator today.

Today I was driving by the lake and I saw a Jeep full of guys pass me. They were hanging out the windows and the sunroof, paddling with canoe paddles, and singing "Just Around the Riverbend" from Pocahontas. It easily may have been the coolest thing I've seen, ever.

Today, I was thinking about the expression 'revenge is a dish best served cold'. Then I considered that 'revenge is sweet'. I've come to the conclusion that revenge is ice cream.

Today, my boyfriend asked me what I was thinking. I told him I was considering healthcare plans. In reality, I was wondering what it would be like to be an octopus. It would be awesome.

Today I found my Batman costume from second grade. Without thinking I put on the mask and cape. Then my mom yelled up the stairs for me to get the mail. Forgetting I still had the costume on I went outside for the mail. While outside, I saw my hot neighbor looking out the window at me. Just as I about to walk into my house he came running out with his Robin mask on. I'm in love.

Today, I saw a man carrying a burlap sack over his shoulder with his young son's head sticking out. I was unsure how I felt about it. Then the kid noticed me staring and chirped happily "I'm a potato!"

Today, I got oral surgery. When I got home, I was still woozy from the anesthetic. Somehow, I don't remember writing it, but I wrote a 13-page essay about what life was like as a cabbage. I'm submitting it to an editor.

Today, my boyfriend came dancing into the kitchen singing my name over and over, just as I was preparing to leave for work. He saw me, blushed and said "Oh, you're still here". Made my day.

Today, I realized that I am unemployed, live with my mother, play video games all day in my basement, and I am still a virgin. It's all right, I finish 9th grade next week.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Better than magic



People keep asking me how Pearl Jam was. And I keep not being able to answer. “It was incredible,” I usually say, or something similar. But the truth is that the whole experience defies words. Pearl Jam live defies description. But I’m gonna try to do it justice. With the help of some pictures. It was a great weekend.

I could go into all the wonderful details of the rest of it…seeing Sarah and Cherie (and Angus), meeting Jacob’s artistic and New Age-y grandparents, the road outside of Malad, Idaho, and the fact that we were almost lost for most of the trip (but asked for directions from nice young married people in an accidental New York accent). But for this entry, I’ll just focus on Pearl Jam.



So here’s the awesome thing about Pearl Jam. Wait. First of all, it should be noted that I knew next to nothing about Pearl Jam before Jacob introduced me. And even if Jacob wasn’t awesome, I’d still think Pearl Jam was awesome. Because they are. And here’s why. I feel like they’ve never pretended to be anything that they’re not. They don’t really work that hard to create a certain image for themselves, or even a specific sound. They just…create. And if some of their music sounds totally different, but still good, then they play it. Eddie’s awesome and unusual voice makes their sound their own. But they sort of defy any particular genre if you look at their work as a whole.

Here’s a little video of Jacob and I right before the concert:

video

It's hard to describe the experience of seeing Pearl Jam live. It really is. The best way for you to experience it would be if you have their music, look at the setlist posted below and listen to it in that order. But first, imagine this:


You’re in the E Center, on the floor, in the 36th row, on the inner aisle side of the right section. The guys behind you are swearing about disliking acronyms, but are generally overwhelmed with excitement about Pearl Jam. As a matter of fact, everyone is. You’re in a room with 10,000 people who love Pearl Jam. Everyone is wearing Pearl Jam shirts, and some of these people have grandchildren and some are just starting to shave. There are a lot of open beer cups, and both you and your significant other get a significant amount splashed on you. The ground is slippery beneath your feet, because someone knocked over your water. There are kettle-corn kernels stuck between your teeth, and you're already tired because you spent all of yesterday traveling. But you’re thrilled to see these guys, because you spent today listening to their newest album “Backspacer,” which you went to three different stores to find earlier that morning. Ben Harper and the Relentless Seven have just played a set of awesome songs that you don’t know, but enjoyed nonetheless. The roadies have finished re-adjusting all of the equipment onstage, and all of a sudden, the lights dim, and Eddie, Stone, Jeff, Mike, and Dave walk onstage. And they play these songs:

Of the Girl (Binaural)

Breakerfall (Binaural)

*Jacob freaked out that they opened with those two songs. He loves the Binaural album, and couldn’t believe that they played them to start the show.

Hail Hail (No Code)

Severed Hand (Pearl Jam)

The Fixer (Backspacer)

Low Light (Yield)

*Oh, I forgot to mention. I don’t remember exactly when this happened during the show, but at one point towards the beginning, Ed said “We’re gonna pause for a second, because I’ve got a piece of equipment that’s not working here, and I just wanna be able to hear myself.” A roadie came out, and fiddled with something on Ed’s belt, and while he was kneeling there, Eddie said “Can you imagine how much this gentleman gets paid to work this close to my backside?” What a cool guy.

Even Flow (Ten)

Unthought Known (Backspacer)

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (Vs.)

Got Some (Backspacer)

Given to Fly (Yield)

*Have you ever listened to this song? “Given to Fly”? If you haven’t, go find it and listen to it. Right now.

Immortality (Vitalogy)

*Eddie’s introduction: “This next song has the word ‘Satan’ in it.” Cue red lighting.

Satan's Bed (Vitalogy)

Amongst the Waves (Backspacer)

Do the Evolution (Yield)

*As soon as I heard the beginning chords of “Do the Evolution,” I got SOOOO excited…it’s recently become one of my FAVORITE Pearl Jam songs. It’s funny…looking at this setlist, it sure didn’t seem like they played that much. We still wanted sooo much more. So we stood and clapped and cheered and screamed until they came back on.

Bee Girl (Lost Dogs)

*And at this point in the set, one of the coolest things ever happened. Eddie said “Now I’d like to invite someone up on stage with me.” I turned to Jacob and said “Jacob Chapman. Eddie’s gonna say ‘Jacob Chapman, come sing with me.’” But he didn’t. He told us that he received a fan letter from a guy who had seen Pearl Jam in 1992…a very kind letter and that now he would like to invite him to come onstage. A guy and a girl came onstage and Eddie introduced them…he said that this guy owned a restaurant in town, and then said “Well, do you want to say anything to these people? These are your people.” Then he handed the mic over. And instead of trying to explain the next 5 minutes, how about you watch it yourself. =) How cool is that????!!!! What an amazing proposal story! How would you like to say that Eddie Vedder helped you propose to your girlfriend?! Incredible.

Just Breathe (Backspacer)

Red Mosquito w/ Ben Harper (No Code)

Daughter (Vs.)

Supersonic (Backspacer)

Spin the Black Circle (Vitalogy)

*And they thought they were done. Again. But they weren’t. We kept cheering and yelling and clapping and stomping. So they came out again.

I Believe in Miracles (Ramones cover)

Crazy Mary (Victoria Williams cover)

*Eddie stopped for a moment and pointed out how awesome it was that there were these KIDS in the front row. He pointed out that some of them weren't even BORN the last time Pearl Jam played in Salt Lake. He said they had been real troopers, staying up so late to see the show. He told them to stay in school, but just don't go tomorrow. =) Ed also apologized every time he swore onstage, but it was funny because most of the time it was before the swearing happened. So he'd say "I'm sorry I'm gonna cuss again, but f*****g Stone Gossard on the guitar!" It was awesome.

Alive (Ten)

Yellow Ledbetter (Lost Dogs)

*About half-way through “Alive,” it hit me. I don’t know how to describe “it,” but I’m talking about that moment that something…arrives. When something hits you and you think “Yes. YES. This is it. This is incredible. This is a huge bigger-than-myself something that can only come when a lot of people are all invested in something genuine and creative and wonderful.”

Here’s something to talk about. I’m always wary of “mob mentality.” By “mob mentality,” I don’t necessarily mean a group of people out to harm someone else. I mean any large group of people who get carried away by the “group mind.” There’s a danger in a group mind THAT big…as individuals, we usually have a strong sense of reason and rationality. But as soon as you give in to that group mind, you become ruled by your emotions. And that’s when things get dangerous. So I always try to be aware of the group that I’m a part of and what we’re doing and what we have the potential to do. Around the solo in “Alive,” I felt myself being carried away on this wave of human emotion. And I had to take a moment to evaluate…to make sure that this was something safe to give in to. But all the lights were on, and there was so much...love and harmony in the air, and everyone was…alive, and it was beautiful and big and powerful. So I gave in. And it was wonderful.

Jacob told me a story later about the song “Alive,” and it was awesome, because I sensed all of it before I even knew the story. Eddie Vedder wrote the song about an experience he had when he was young, learning that the man he thought was his father, wasn’t at all. Check out the first verse:

Son, she said, have I got a little story for you
What you thought was your daddy was nothin’ but a...
While you were sittin’ home alone at age thirteen
Your real daddy was dyin,’ sorry you didn’t see him, but I’m glad we talked...
Oh I, oh, I’m still alive

And Eddie said that when he wrote it, the chorus “I’m still alive” was written as a question. The song was this angsty questioning of his existence. It didn't make sense to him that this man he never knew was his father, and that now he was dead, and Eddie was still left alive. He felt that his whole life after that knowledge was burdened by it…that this knowledge that he was still alive and his real father wasn’t was a curse. But the first time they performed it, the audience didn’t interpret the song that way at all. They heard an affirmation of life. And Eddie said that when he saw all those people with their arms in the air, affirming life, singing along, he said that "the curse was lifted.” And because of how fans and listeners interpreted the song, it ceased to be about the pain and the angst and the curse, and became a song about life.

To be a part of that…to have all of the lights in the E Center on all of us, to be a part of 10,000 people who love Pearl Jam, with their arms in the air, singing “I’m still alive” at the top of their lungs, was one of the more powerful and beautiful experiences of my life.

Here’s a video of Jacob and I after the concert:

video

So there you have it. An absolutely fantastic experience. That’s how Pearl Jam live was. Exhausting and utterly incredible. As Ben Harper said in the beginning of the show: "You know, England's got the Beatles, and The Who, and the Rolling Stones, but you guys have got mother-f*****g PEARL JAM."