Saturday, October 31, 2009

New Moon. I did it.

"Option three: Edward loved me. The bond forged between us was not one that could be broken by absence, distance, or time. And no matter how much more special or beautiful or brilliant or perfect than me he might be, he was as irreversibly altered as I was. As I would always belong to him, so would he always be mine."
~Bella Swan, New Moon, Chapter 24, p.527

So, I did it.

I read New Moon.

I know, I know.
I'm getting more and more sucked into this whole Twilight business.

AND I read it before the movie.
Now I'll be annoyed with the movie.
Oh well.
It's done.

But I must say Stephenie Meyer's writing got a little better... or maybe I just got used to her style. I'm not sure which. The first half of the book was a little slow, and I found myself peeking every so often at a random page toward the end of the book, just to see if I could quickly see any words (or names) that would give me an idea of what was going to be happening. I know, I'm awful! I don't normally do that, but I guess I was just anxious for the story.

Normally, I'm a really slow reader, but this time there were several times that I found myself having read an entire page in, like, four seconds. Then, realizing that I missed a few lines here and there between dialogue and being the detailed person that I am, I had to go back and re-read. I think her writing was insignificant enough to me that I was just fueled by knowing the story. When I re-read that which I'd skimmed over, I found that I hadn't missed much. Just a gesture or a thought here and there.

New Moon's obvious parallel to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a little hokey to me. We're just waiting for them to play out history's greatest romantic tragedy. Okay, so a lot of the book is hokey. I mean please. This is all about vampires and werewolfs and their "deep" relationships with humans. But that aside, keeping the Romeo and Juliet theme throughout the book helps Stephenie Meyer build some much needed serious tension for the climax because the reader can see the tragedy just waiting to happen.

Despite any and all hokey-ness, I'm still a girl and I still love Edward! I'm definitely TEAM EDWARD. I just am. He's great. He's 110 years old or something, which means he's had a lot of time to develop into the "perfect" boyfriend for Bella. He does say a lot of things "perfectly" and does a lot of "perfect" things. (sigh) A girl can dream, right? Even if he IS a vampire.

Yes, I did stay up until 1am last night reading.

Yes, I AM going to see the movie.

Yes, I will read the next book in the saga,
but I've GOT to read something else first!

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Productive Autumn Day.

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is welded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~George Eliot

I have to say that I am loving the autumn weather. I know it's getting a little chilly, rather quickly. But feeling the crisp air on my cheeks when I walk outside and seeing the leaves blow in the wind is just enough to brighten my day. I'm beginning to feel like I need my gloves, and we've already had our first light dusting of snow, but I must admit, that I still love it much more than the dead heat of summer.

Our first snow was on Tuesday, and rather fortuitously, I had the day off from work. I had an extremely productive day: Skyped with Agne in Lithuania, Skyped with Lindsay in Qatar, cleaned the kitchen, made a large batch of chicken and wild rice soup, then divided it into individual containers for meals for the next week and a half, cleaned my room and bathroom, all the while staying cozy inside with the blustery winds swooshing around outside. That afternoon, I left the house to work out, then later to give blood, grab dinner, and then off to SLCA rehearsal. A very productive, happy Autumn Tuesday.

I love days like that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Answers to the Bay Area Native Quiz

"San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth."
~William Saroyan

1. San Jose
2. From north to south: Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge, Dumbarton Bridge Extra extra credit question answer: walk
3. Daly City
4. c - "Hey, Beach Blanket Babylon!"
5. It means she's a dog (if you still don't get it, ask a native to explain it to you.) -- TV20 used to have a little advertisement between shows, where a dog was sitting on an armchair next to a TV on a TV stand. At the end, the dog would look at the TV screen as the TV20 logo was being flashed across it, and bark.
6. c - "Earthquake? We had an earthquake today? I guess I didn't feel it."
7. Bob Wilkins - Creature Feature
Pat McCormick - Dialing for Dollars
Herb Caen - Baghdad-by-the-Bay
Dr. Donald D. Rose - Sacratomato
8. c - Los Angeles? Why do you want to go to Los Angeles?
9. d - 3Com Park
10. b, c, or d - anything BUT a cute little nickname for the city we also know as "San Francisco."
11. The movie rating system in the pink section of the San Francisco Chronicle
12. b - West Bay -- it's called the Peninsula.
13. d - San Jose doesn't have BART.
14. e - all of the above

12-14 Correct -- You're a true Bay Area Native. Feel free to look down on Los Angeles with pride. (You probably already do.)

8-11 Correct -- You've probably lived in or near the Bay Area for awhile, but you're not a true native. You may occasionally leave the water running, or throw out your aluminum cans. Keep trying; you'll get better eventually.

4-7 Correct -- You know a couple of things about the Bay Area, but you're far from being a native. Probably some of what you did get right were just lucky guesses. Go back to Los Angeles (even if you're not from there).

0-3 Correct -- Forget it. Don't kid yourself. You're not even a Californian, let alone a Bay Area Native.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You Know You're From the Bay Area If...

"No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does. Arrival in San Francisco is an experience in living."
~William Saroyan

"San Francisco is a mad city - inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people whose women are of remarkable beauty."
~Rudyard Kipling

Twelve or thirteen years ago, a friend sent me this "Bay Area Native Quiz." At the time, I was experiencing major culture shock, having moved from San Francisco, where I'd lived my whole life up until that point, to Provo, Utah, conservative capital of the world. I got a kick out of the quiz, and was extremely proud to have gotten them all right.

Have a stab at it. When you're answering, take into consideration that this was written 12 or 13 years ago. Have fun. I'll give you the answers in a couple of days. :)

1. Complete the following phrase: Dublin, Berkeley, San Lorenzo, Cupertino, __________

2. Name the five bridges that cross San Francisco Bay. *Extra credit: put them in order from north to south. **Extra, extra credit: explain how to get across the Golden Gate Bridge during rush hour in less than an hour.

3. Complete the following phrase: 2400 Mission, top of the hill, __________

4. You're at a San Francisco Spiders hockey game at the Cow Palace. (True: a team call "the Spiders" played at a place called "the Cow Palace." Go figure.) A woman comes out to sing the Star Spangled Banner wearing a huge hat with a model of the entire financial district, including the TransAmerica Building, on top of it. Your response is:
a) "Hey, look at that idiot wearing the dorky hat!"
b) "Hey, look at that woman wearing the cool hat!"
c) "Hey, Beach Blanket Babylon!"

5. Explain the following joke: "I don't want to call her ugly, but whenever I say 'TV 20', she turns her head."

6. Which of the following is your typical response to an earthquake?
a) "Earthquake! We're all gonna die!"
b) "Earthquake! Great! Now I don't have to go into work today."
c) "Earthquake? We had an earthquake today? I guess I didn't feel it."

7. Match up the following people with the phrases/shows they're associated with:
a) Bob Wilkins
b) Pat McCormick
c) Herb Caen
d) Dr. Donald D. Rose

2) Creature Feature
3) Sacratomato
4) Dialing for Dollars

8. If someone asked you how to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, what would be your response?
a) Get onto 101 south, and take it all the way.
b) Take 80 east to 580 east to 5 south, then take it all the way.
c) Los Angeles? Why do you want to go to Los Angeles?

9. Which of the following is NOT, repeat NOT, a valid name for a Bay Area sports stadium?
a) Oakland Coliseum
b) San Jose arena
c) Candlestick Park
d) 3Com Park

10. The word "Frisco" is:
a) A cute little nickname for the city we also know as "San Francisco."
b) A really annoying shortening of "San Francisco," no doubt started by Southern Californians who can't say words longer than two syllables.
c) The result of a satanic plot.
d) Beats me. Never heard the word before in my life.

11. The little man is on the edge of the chair, clapping wildly; the little man is sitting in the chair and clapping; the little man is sitting in the chair and leaning forward; the little man is asleep in the chair; and the chair is empty. What did I just describe?

12. In referring to a general region of the Bay Area, which of the following terms is never used? What is that area called instead?
a) Marin
b) West Bay
c) East Bay
d) South Bay

13. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is not in fact rapid transit for the entire Bay Area. For instance, it doesn't run to Milpitas (but can you blame them?). Which of the following is another city that BART doesn't currently serve? (Keep in mind this was 1996 or so.)
a) Richmond
b) Fremont
c) Daly City
d) San Jose

14. Which of the following would you be likely to see people wearing at Bay to Breakers?
a) running shorts
b) an Elvis costume
c) a fancy ball gown
d) a fancy ball gown worn by a male
e) all of the above

Photo taken by Mom. August 2007.
Land's End (affectionately dubbed in my family, "Favorite Place").

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Bella!

"What fun is it being cool, if you can't wear a sombrero?"
~Calvin & Hobbes

I couldn't resist. Isn't she cute?! Hopefully, she won't hate me forever. :)

Happy birthday Marina Bella!

Photo courtesy of Nancy. 1989?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Random Photo: Mamie Pearl.

That's her name. And she came with a birth certificate to prove it.

Photo a la Nancy. Christmas 1985?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Twilight. I got sucked in.

"When you have Twilight in your hands, every long period of time feels like a gift."

So, I know that my sidebar says that A Thousand Splendid Suns is currently on my nightstand, and that IS true, but I actually just finished reading Twilight. I know, I know... the hype just "sucked" me in. I couldn't resist. (Catch the double meaning?) I just wanted to be part of the conversation.

I saw the movie a long time ago, but let me tell you a little something about myself... I have a keen ability to forget the details of a movie, so much so, that sometimes I even forget how it ends or that I've seen the movie at all. I know. It's weird. Sometimes, it's really annoying, but other times it comes in handy. I can see a movie for the second time, like it's the first. But best of all, when I want to read the book after I've already seen the movie, the story doesn't completely leave me, but I tend to forget just enough that it makes reading the book a brand new adventure!

I have to admit that in spite of Stephenie Meyer's sub-par writing, the book Twilight definitely kept me intrigued. At first (in the first 150 pages), although I was into it, I couldn't help being distracted by the terribly sub-standard prose. It just felt like I was reading a rough draft by a high school student who was trying so hard to "show not tell," but totally overdoing it at points. Then there were the times that I had to go back and read something over again because she didn't make any sense, and reading it the second time didn't really help. And the over-use of flowery adjectives to describe the Cullens (the vampire family) and their vampirical features was really starting to bug me.

But soon after I began to seriously wonder if she wrote with a thesaurus by her side, choosing words at random, I began to be entrenched in the drama of her story! I'm a girl, what can you expect? Her impractical, yet dreamy story, akin to Romeo & Juliet in the I-want-you-but-I-can't-have-you-but-I-really-want-you-so-we-will-find-a-way feeling, threaded throughout the book, could easily draw in even the mildly romantic reader. And I admit, I was hooked.

And, Edward is (to adopt a word she used to describe him way too many times -- not enough thesaurus use on this one) glorious. Yes, he's wonderful. But I must remind myself that he had about 90 years to perfect his courting style, though he said he hadn't had a romantic interest since he became a vampire... Still, he had a lot of time to observe and learn. And he learned well. His manner made Bella's heart race, and at times (I must admit), mine as well.

So there you have it. I've been converted. To the story, at least, and that's saying a lot, seeing as I don't really like fantasy stuff at all. Her writing better improve with New Moon, though. I'm not trying to be totally down on her. After all, she has become a millionaire because of that writing. She seems like a very nice person, and even modest, stating on her website that she knows that the beginning of the book isn't the strongest part. I'm happy that her dream became a success. Kudos to her!

And now to see New Moon in a month! Most people like to see the movie version AFTER they've read the book, so that the movie characters don't take away from the pictures they can dream up in their heads. I, however, feel the opposite. I often enjoy reading the book after I see the movie because I almost always like the book better, and I want to end with the most satisfying version.

So what do you think I should do? Read first or wait until the Thanksgiving holiday, AFTER I've seen the movie? :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another reason to love Volkswagen.

"We believe that the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory."

Learn about Volkswagen and "The Fun Theory" here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Here I Come!

"A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking."
~Earl Wilson

God bless frequent flyer miles.

Photo found on a Google search.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Baby Zuri at Hogle Zoo.

"Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant - the only harmless great thing."
~John Donne

On August 10, 2009 a female African elephant was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the first born at Hogle Zoo in over 90 years. What a treat! I haven't yet been to see her, and now I'm afraid it's gotten too cold for her to be out. Last Monday the high was 88 degrees. Last Tuesday? Oh, about 58. Wow.

Tonight, I was reminded of Zuri by a friend, and found the blog her keepers are writing about her adventures. This video was too funny to not post. So here you go. Happy Monday! (or Tuesday, by the time most of you see this.)

Check out baby Zuri's blog here.

Oh, and if you really love elephants, live in Salt Lake City, and happen to have a degree in zoology, they're hiring a full-time Elephant Relief Keeper here.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Falling into October.

"October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book."
~ John Sinor

Today is an overcast, wet, breezy day with an occasional powerful gust of wind. I love it. Fall is a favorite time of year, along with its partner in fine: Spring. :)

LDS General Conference, this weekend, was everything I expected and hoped for.
Feeling loved by God is a feeling hard to explain, but one that is so very real. I hope you too, have felt it. I'm grateful to Jesus Christ for the inspiration to be "good" and for the power to be better.

Here's wishing you a warm and cozy Autumn season,
filled with great books, toasty cups of hot chocolate,
long walks in the crisp Autumn air with the crunching of leaves beneath your feet,
and snuggles under warm blankets on a comfy couch!
May your days open up to allow you some much deserved relaxation and inspiration.

Photo a la moi. Utah. October 2006.