Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Celebrity" Update

Regarding this post, I have finally gone ahead and called to sign up. The girls at the Scera office were a little short with me, but perhaps they had had a long day? Anyway, they asked the usual questions, including my phone number, address, T-shirt size, and my song choice. This rather came as a surprise to me, since I thought perhaps there would be a sort of list of songs the band has in their repertoire to choose from. They said a song choice was required upon registration, so on the spot, I decided to go with the classic Bridge Over Troubled Water. I have sung it so many times that I can perform it on a moment's notice, and besides, I always think it's an audience-pleasing number. I suppose if I had to, I could adjust it, but I think that's a good one to go with.

For those who are interested, this event is a public affair, performed in the outdoor Shell theater at the Scera, and anyone and everyone is hereby invited to attend. There are six competition dates to choose from throughout the summer, and the one I picked is 16 July. There's a nominal entry fee ($4 per, I believe), but afterwards, beginning at about dusk, they will show an included outdoor movie. The movie on the night of my is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (secretly, I think that had something to do with the night I chose... or maybe not so secretly anymore I guess...).

Anyway, that's the update! Everyone come! It will be great fun and then we can join Harry and Co. in their fifth cinematic adventure!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To whom it may concern...

At Elise's request, I have uploaded over 100 pictures of the blessed day onto facebook. If you don't have an account, you might still be able to access them. If not... well, eventually she may put them up somewhere accessible. Or just sign up already. Regardless, I put them up there, organized into three albums (At the Temple, At the Luncheon and At the Reception). As a teaser, here are a few choice ones, along with my one-word captions:










Monday, May 26, 2008

I Can Hear the Bells...

Well, yesterday I married off my beloved baby sister. The day she took a new last name was an expected roller coaster of emotions, but I could tell that she was so happy to have found the one she wants to spend eternity with. It's already been an adjustment for all of us, but what I think has been most difficult, and for some inexplicable reason unexpected, is wrapping my head around the fact that I'm just not the most important person to her anymore. That position has been filled, rightly, by her eternal companion, and I must graciously step aside and let her grow up. Maybe that means it's time for me to be a little more mature. I realize that somewhere in between March 2006 and March 2008, the girl blossomed into a woman, and I feel sorry I wasn't able to be more of a present presence for those months, but I suppose that's how it was supposed to happen, for whatever reason. Drili is not what it used to be, nor will it ever be, but that is how it must be now. Anyway, the day was a big hit, I thought, and went off (I thought) pretty much without a hitch. I felt very important as I rushed to pick up the flowers after the ceremony in time for the pictures and luncheon (though it was quite a feat to hold the vase of three-foot lilies to keep it from tipping on the floor of the passenger side), and made an unrehearsed toast at the luncheon, which was catered by my precious Brick Oven. It was good throughout the day to see so many old friends and family at the reception, eat my fill of snacks and cheeses (most notable mention goes to the brownie bites topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream and fresh raspberries), help arrange the lilies, mermaid tears and framed copies of Elise's original artwork on the reception tables, help decorate the getaway car, and watch my beautiful youngest sister and best friend glow on her first day as a married woman. I felt a part of me drive away with her after the reception, but I kept a smile on my face. I want nothing more than for her to be happy.

Oh, and Jeff, my newest little brother, you know I love you too. I feel I should tell you that when you married Elise, in some small way you took the whole package. Anytime either of you need me, I am at your absolute disposal.

P.S. I was going to be the first to post more wedding pictures, but I will leave that honor to Elise, when she gets around to it, as I am most certain she eventually will.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Allow me to present...

The newest American Idol...


So, the weirdest thing in the world, especially for anyone who knows my fairly well. We weren't at home for the BIG (but, apparently, unnecessarily long and painstakingly drawn-out) finale, and strangely... I just didn't care! There was a time in my life that missing a single moment of American Idol--let alone the FINALE--would have been the end of the world for me. Either I'm growing out of it, or I'm disinterested with this season and its excessive drama. Anyway, I eventually just asked my brother to just tell me straight up who won. I have to say I'm glad of the outcome! Completely surprised, yes, but pleasantly (especially considering how the night before the judges were basically spelling it out for us that Archuleta had it in the bag--that is what I call mass manipulation...). I always thought Archuleta would win, though I thought that he shouldn't, and hoped that he wouldn't, mostly because I feel like he's just too young to be thrust into that kind of life. He is quite talented, but he has no idea what he's getting himself into. I feel like he first needs to finish AT LEAST his basic education, and maybe even some college. Besides that, I always just felt like Cook was a little more of a consummate performer. He always looked comfortable on stage and never made me feel nervous when he was about to perform. I know his music isn't exactly my style, and honestly, three seasons ago, I would have been rooting for his removal, but now, maybe because my taste is maturing, I think he's relatively original, and has been trying different things on the show, and honestly, it seems about time the rocker had his day (considering also that he is much better than rockers from past seasons). He's rock, but with a soft spot. I think the right David won, though I kind of also think that he was expecting not to. It's almost as though he would have been completely satisfied with second place, so he would have more free reign over his newly-acquired fame and up-and-coming record deal. Oh well, we'll see. In the long run, it'll be fine, for both of them probably.

Anyway, crazy. I didn't even care that I missed THE American Idol finale. Wow...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I am now among the working!

Yesterday I visited a company called Jandaco (so far the only company who had contacted me back after my day of manically contacting every single art-related company with an art job listing on every single job search website I found), a small but growing business, which started in California but relocated when its creator moved his family to Utah. I was invited to interview, and the VP of Creative Services there showed great enthusiasm for my work, and said they have a couple of illustrators on call, but they want to expand their options in that department to maybe five or six. When I walked into the office, they had my website and my email pulled up on the big wall-mounted Mac screen, and he talked about my blog portfolio and all the reasons he thought my style was something they wanted to add to their resources. We even talked about future possibilities as more than freelance. He let me know that, as freelance work, they weren't sure when and how much work would come my way, but he was pretty confident that in the next few days even a project would come up with which they would hope to see some drawings, and in the future maybe something at least once or twice a week. He also looked at the two most recent sketchbooks which I brought along and really liked what he saw there as well. When he asked me what my hourly rate would be, I admitted I was a little inexperienced about the going rates, but he said to get back to him as soon as I had decided, and basically let me know I was in! I came home, did a little research and emailed him with my price quote, and he wrote back this morning and accepted! There may already even be some work to do later this week! I expect an email by tomorrow if they need something by Thursday.

Am I okay with doing work on notice of one or two days? Of course! At this point, I am just so glad to have some work to do! Someone has recognized my talent and even offered me to pay at my own rate! It's kind of refreshing after being kind of shunted aside for so long. Like I said, it's not full-time, but it's SOMEthing, and I'm grateful for it.

Not only that, but it's a place with Harry Potter and LOST on their resume... It's a Christmas miracle.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I mean... WOW! We just returned from watching the latest of the Chronicles of Narnia, and I just couldn't let another second pass before telling SOMEONE how amazing it was! I mean, really, why don't people make more movies like these?? Action, suspense, drama, romance, epic battles, innocence, goodness, and of course the symbolism /themes /message... It could be because there just aren't writers who are writing this kind of stuff anymore. Oh, C.S., how do we get along without you? In the days when even contemporary children's book series aren't safe from being tainted by the corruption and agendas of the world?? There were so many returning faces (some less welcome than others...) and a lot of new and interesting characters. The kids were great, growing so nicely into their roles, and Caspian himself was fantastic.

I am so glad that these movies are being made when they are. Even ten years ago the production quality would have just been totally substandard. Now they are just what they need to be (allegorical elements gloriously intact). I think C.S. would be very pleased indeed to know his movies are being treated with such elegance and respect. It's great how they manage to stay close to the source material but still branch off just enough to keep the battles and sidestories interesting.

See it. The astonishing series picks up right where it left off, and grips you until the end. And, it leads very much into the forthcoming The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. WOOT!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eclipse, and Series Review

All right, I am ready...

I just read the last 200 pages of the third book in Stephenie Meyer's vampire series. I guess I just wanted to finish it already after neglecting it for a few days, and at the same time, I kind of wish the last novel were released so I could just get the whole messy business behind me. Truthfully, I'm just a little curious as to what's going to happen next. Things are FINALLY starting to happen! At last! So, for good or evil, I am ready to post my thoughts on the series as a whole. I think that would be more beneficial for me than to try to hash out a review for each book (especially since it would be much more harsh for some volumes than others). Supafans, ye be warned. You may not like what you read in this review. Feel free to leave comments, but please remember that this is just how I feel about what I read. I am sorry to all of those who expected me to effuse about the books like they do, but I just can't.

First of all, the series as a whole is somewhat unimpressive. The claims that Meyer is the "new J.K. Rowling" are just absurd to me, and surely Stephenie must feel the same. Twilight can in no way compare to the scope and the breadth and depth that a vibrant, eventful series like Harry Potter has. It may appeal to a similar demographic, but the comparison stops there. I will say, in general, that I liked all the parts without Edward. There's just something unappealing about a perfect, practically flawless character (even if just in appearance and manners). He's such a bland and uninteresting character (albeit sparkly...), clearly designed to appeal to the shallowest of female instincts. Sure, he's gorgeous (comparisons to Michelangelo's David and countless allusions to marble and granite come to mind), but so boring! The most interesting thing he did was abandon poor Bella at the start of New Moon. Perhaps I'm just too much of a male to really appreciate the development of his "character", but every time he and Bella were together, I just had to suppress a constant gagging. As for Bella, I mostly think she's a little inconsistent. I don't think she's very nice, and is pretty passive, except she occasionally is relentless in attempts at getting what she wants. She manages to maintain a group of human friends (inexplicably, considering her behavior toward them), and also somehow is able to not only grab the attention, but also engender the wrath of countless inhuman nasties (including the bigwigs at world vampire headquarters!). Maybe I'm being callous, but I just wonder--like she does, rightly--if she's even worth all the fuss! I never quite understood why Edward was so terribly in love with her in the first place, except for the seemingly all-covering answer of irresistible attraction to her scent. Anyway, I think Bella's kind of unnecessarily uncooperative and sometimes even mean. (I know everyone is sometimes, but when you're creating the heroine, you know...) Now, to the interesting part. And I know I'm not alone in this, but I think the most interesting and developed character (and basically the reason I kept reading after the first book) was Jacob Black. I think I liked the second book best just because of the lack of Bellward (Ella?) and the surplus of Jalla (Bellob?). Their relationship is much more human (obviously), much more tangible, tactile, and warm. Of course the friends-turned-lovers/love-hate relationship is more interesting to read than the unexplained-love-at-first-sight/ little-to-no-fight-for-attention romance. I like the very different characters of Edward and Jacob, but it's annoying how Bella for so long plays both harps, even admitting in the last second her love for both. I know I'm hardly the target audience, but a good book will appeal to someone of any and every demographic. What bugged me most about the first book was that nothing ever really seemed to happen. There was a lot of musing, a lot of brooding, a lot of school classes, a lot of shy and awkward glances, and eventually a lot of gooey, drippy, unrealistically romantic dialogue and unseemly bedroom canoodling. I didn't mind the end of the first novel, when something actually seemed to happen ("Quick, an emergency road trip and near-death experience in Phoenix!"). The second book, like I said, was much more bearable, due to noticeable lack of Edward and a lot of development on Jacob, but even then, a big, randomly-conceived ending ("Quick, an emergency road trip and near-death experience in Volterra!"). The third one was basically a non-stop series of he said/she said teenage angst, the torn girl, the two flawed but stunning options. I will concede that I really enjoyed the ending of the too-long third novel. The battle chapter was thrilling in a way I didn't expect (though it ended surprisingly simply...), and actually had me turning the pages, and before I knew it, 50 pages had flown by. Impressive, considering my history with the story so far, and trying to just get through the thing. I also just found the writing style to be a little confusing. I would read a paragraph or bit of dialogue three times and then just move on, giving up on the implied or explicit meaning. (Incidentally, I don't really even mind that there is the unsatisfactorily explained existence of not only vampires, but werewolves as well--that last part came as a surprise to me--but at the same time, where are the witches and the dragons?)

This doesn't even get into moral and ethical problems I have... Though the books mention the conflict of what happens to a soul after death/transformation into bloodsucking immortality, it seems to gloss over the depth and importance of these questions! Doesn't Bella, introspective and analytical as she is, ever think that there might actually be something after this? Doesn't she consider that there might be something worth living/dying to get to? It just bothers me that she is playing with her soul without seeming to consider the eternal ramifications. Also, I saw Glenn Beck absolutely gushing to Stephenie about how wonderfully moral her books are for teenagers. I suggest Brother Beck read the books before he jumps to THOSE conclusions. They are generally free of excessive profanity and drug/alcohol use, but implied sex is fairly rampant. I know Stephenie has automatically become a sort of representative of the Church (to which we both belong), so I had hoped for a little more of a... shall I say... "Young Women-friendly" novel. The third one gets especially racy. I definitely don't think my tween nieces should be reading such a thing. It's basically teeny-bopper Harlequin romance novels directed at high school girls, which I find disturbing.

Besides, this Bella girl is BARELY 18! I know we all think we know everything there is to know about love at that age, but seriously!!! She doesn't even know who she is yet and she's getting ready to throw it all out the door for a perfectly-sculpted but soulless undeadman who can read minds and run really fast. Then, there's the ever-present love triangle... Au yau.

Let it be known that I consider myself a romantic and sensitive person. I don't think it's fair to presume that I didn't love these books because I have no compassion or romance in my soul. I think it's just so-so writing taking too long to tell a relatively go-nowhere story with mostly irredeemably hopeless main characters. I guess I may have been a little glib in my review, and there may be parts that I liked more than I let on here, but overall, meh. Hardly a replacement for HP (the New York Times bumping is due to the fact that practically everyone had bought they copy of Deathly Hallows on opening weekend, of course it would get bumped eventually). I mean, it's entertaining in its own right, but as I suspected, undeserving of the insane hype and phenomenon status that it has been deemed.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward with ever-so-slightest anticipation to the movie, due this December. It should be fairly easy to translate to the big screen, considering how very little actually happens in the first book, and you never know. Sometimes the movies help to get the feeling of the book across more. The trailer displays some already mediocre acting, but... We shall see...

My, this is an epic review. I've always been a bit long-winded about these things. But I guess it fits right in with Meyer's wordy writing style.

What, the hail?...

I promise I'm not intentionally posting pseudo-profane titles.

I saw it was raining when I was about to go running, but I decided to go anyway. It was colder than I expected, and then came the hail! NO WONDER I'm so confused about what season it's about to me (it keeps feeling like the fall to me), winter is clinging all the way through spring! Not that I mind, really, just a perplexed observation.

And now it seems the blue skies and white clouds have caught up with us. What is this, Wisconsin weather? Tempest one moment and temperate the next?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

One of those nights...

You know when you have those nights when you're a little haunted by the ghost of the past? Yes, I'm having one now. Perhaps it's because I just watched I Am Legend with Elise and Jeff (including the ultra-stupid alternate ending, which made me so glad they went with the theatrical one) and it has me in an eerie mood. Anyway, I relearned that when you're in a weird funk like that, the best thing to do is to eliminate the elements that might cause you to feel like that, and, if possible and necessary, do what it takes to replace them.

I also felt particularly sensitive to the Spirit tonight. Hurrah for the Holy Ghost. What WOULD we do without Him? I'm just tired. A nice Sabbath Day would do me good.

In other news, I volunteered at the MTC today (for the elders learning Hmong to have people to teach in mock appointments). I remember how annoying it was when we went to teach and there weren't enough volunteers. It was such a trip to be back there, on the other side of the mission. This time of year two years ago I was getting ready (and ever so anxious) to head to Wisconsin. Ever ironic as it sounds, the elders never looked younger.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

AI Follow Through

Hurrah, as I hoped, Jason is outta there. Now I don't have to follow through with my threat not to watch anymore if he stuck around. Not like it would be so devastating if I had to follow through. I still think it's against the rules to have two Davids in the top 2, so hopefully one of them won't make it through. Plus, two boys in the top 2 is sort of... Season 2. And we all know how THAT turned out.

Strange, it almost seemed like Jason expected it, and he didn't seem terribly devastated.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Jane Turpin!

Here she is!!! Baby and mommy.

Hurrah, now I shall post officially that Janey is in town. Mom is certainly on the east coast by now (Good Morning, Baltimore!), and probably holding her newest granddaughter in her capable arms. I am so glad to know Cami and Jane are both doing so well after so much stress about labor and delivery. That makes my nephews:nieces ratio 4:5! Janey tipped the scale toward the girls! Hurrah. I can't wait to meet the baby when she comes to visit in a few weeks for the wedding.

Also, I really hope Mom did all right with her very dramatic flight...

What in hell?....

Yes, the title of this post is very literally meant. Check out this link (you can go to a linked page to hear the actual audio if you're interested).

Enough said! Weird, random, creepy, questionable. It just caught my attention, so posted it gets.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and...

The good: My older sister has just moments ago delivered her first daughter! (Two boys prior.) She was only 7 pounds! A smaller child, compared to her other two, and a relatively short delivery! I am so glad the baby came at last, Cami was having such a hard time with waiting for labor and worries about timing and making sure everything happened that needed to. Castor oil seems to have done the trick!

The bad: American Idol is ridiculous. If Jason Castro is not voted out this week, I'm not watching the finale, and I'm actually detached enough this season to follow through. I'm one of the rare few that don't actually gush over Archuleta every week. He's good, of course, but he's way too young, and tries to sing love songs like he actually knows what love is! Ah, who does? Anyway, I'm actually rooting for the rocker this time around. I've never hoped they win before, but maybe he will make up for Bo and Chris (I refuse to refer to him by his last name only) and rock will rule this season. But honestly, I felt like I was watching the clown act at a circus while Jason was singing (and holding, not playing, but holding his guitar, not to mention when he forgot the words).

And the ugly? I guess there isn't any right now. Except that I showed my BYU senior project "Noggin" to Mom and Dad just now, and as ever, I think the Bellyface characters are just hideous. The 2D intro is just beautiful, though!

Zoo Siab Lub Tsib Hli Ntuj tim Tsib!

Yes, just like the title of this post said, Happy Cinco de Mayo! (Slightly belated though it may be.) I hope everyone else had as much fun celebrating a completely non-American holiday as I did! I spent the evening watching the unintentionally semi-related masterpiece West Side Story with Mom, Dad, Jared, and Amber & Co., and then came home for a sadly pinata-less party (I know you tried, Lacie!) and played Family Feud and watched Ocean's Thirteen with kith and kin. It was a glorious celebration, though I know few if any who even know the real point as to why our southern neighbors celebrate the fifth of May. No matter, welcome to America! Next up, Independence Day!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Silent Drive Home...

Hello. We had a lovely weekend in Moab. I spent much of it with an "unsightly growth" in my ear (as Elise would call it), my iPod earbud, providing a subtle soundtrack to my life, especially useful as we walked around and as I spent time by myself, resting or reading. The iPod itself spent most of its time in my pocket, the whole apparatus hardly perceptible by anyone else. We had a great time, watching Todd and Mike golf in the two-day tournament, watching the girls swim in the pool (enough to turn their hair green!), watching good movies, visiting with Grandma and Grandpa, overall relaxing.

The only sorrow is thus: Today, after a nice visit to the Moab 4th Ward for church services and a short walk to see some petroglyphs and some big, red rocks, I went to watch the little girls at the pool. There I was, sitting on the edge of the pool with my feet on the first step, cooling my tootsies, when I stood up to let some newcomer kiddies get in. The one time, of course, that my iPod is in my lap and not in my pocket is the time I stand up over open water... It fell and pulled free of its earbud cord with a sickening splash, falling into water not even a foot deep. The good: I grabbed it immediately, seriously not even two seconds in the water. Some water dripped out of it, and it seems any water that had entered the earbud jack (which seems to have been the only entrance to its innards) exited. It was covered in its leather case (which is actually quite all-covering when closed, and which wasn't even completely wet, when examining the velvety inside lining). The bad: It was 'on' when dropped, and then, when tried, continued to play after being retrieved, but only for about ten more seconds, when the screen went blank and hasn't returned. I also tried to turn it on several times since then, but have decided on the advice of many to wait several days for it to dry completely before trying to turn it on. This seems to be a common problem, and I have much reason to hope (mostly because of this website--luckily mine didn't fall into a toilet). This stupid little thing is too important to me (mostly because of sentimental, but also financial and entertainment reasons), and while there are many variables like and unlike stories I've read online, I'm still hoping that in a few days, my little toy will be as good as new. I've barely had it for seven months.


Anyway, other than that, great trip! Nice weekend, and looking forward to this week.

P.S. One more plus--the thing was also wrapped in a protective plastic covering, so that prevented a lot of water from penetrating certain places. Really, I'm only worried about the earbud jack.

P.P.S. No, I did not drop my iPod again into the water to take the above picture. That photo is courtesy of a google image search for "iPod in water".

UPDATE! The iPod is now sitting propped in front of a desk fan, hopefully having a nice drying. Almost two days since the plunge, we'll see what happens in a few more.