Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"I saw my life branching out before me..." My 9 Lives.

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree... From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked."
- Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar

I woke up this morning. That in and of itself was an accomplishment. It's Wednesday - and Wednesday means getting to work by 6am. You shuddered - I felt it. I actually really like the 6-3 shift. Leaves the whole day stretched before you to exercise, run errands, shop, perhaps catch an (early) flick, and still be in bed by 10:00. Which really, I could stay up later because the next day - my Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively, I work from 10am-7pm. And I really hate that.

It's a "busy time" we've lovingly deemed RUSH here at BYU Independent Study - so really, the only "quiet time" to be had is between the hours of 6am-8am(er...7:40ish more now a days). During this quieter time I do things I might have saved for my "personal home time" with my dear Laptop. Since I don't have my Laptop anymore, well, I must do these personal things on the clock. I must! I'm not ready to talk about the loss of my Laptop yet. No, it did not get stolen nor dropped in a hot bath, I sold it :( No really - I don't want to talk about it yet. It's been a very hard break up. Anyway - these things I do in the quiet moments of the AM include but are not limited to: checking gmail (which really I do all day - but I actually consider answering an email in the AM), check my respective favorite blogs, visit Zions Bank to make sure I still haven't inherited a fortune from some long lost, now dead, relative, and track my Nordstrom order due TODAY! YES! I was doing just that this morning - had logged into my gmail and already gleefully squealed at my "order status" email from Nordstrom, and had decided to peruse a new blog I was presented with yesterday. It's the blog of a recently employed co-worker. Now, I'm sorry I haven't included a link to her blog - it's password protected - something about psycho annoying Provo Hipsters scolding her for her opinions on Veganism being a fad and other such harsh, but real observations about society in general. (And why does Provo care? They're not really Vegans anyway - they live in PROVO!) I was inspired by her post entitled "9 Lives..." I kid you not. While I was perusing her postings I thought "I can't think of anything to blog might be awhile" and then I read that post and felt inspired. She prefaced it by talking about her cat, Moses, who swats at things. Cats, 9 Lives, you're following. She in fact, was inspired by someone elses post - and now I'm inspired by hers. If you had 9 other lives to live - what would they be? This question also reminded me of a particular "quote" (I quote quote because it's an entire paragraph long and I'm not sure, at this wee hour, what to call it. A "part"...sounds so...not English Major...pish posh), from one of my top 5, nay, I'd say top 3 favorite novels of all time, Sylvia Plath's the Bell Jar. But first things first - what I would do with my 9 lives - not counting mine now. Although I am okay with how it is now - I just don't want it to STAY how it is now. You should note most of them are consistent with career choice that would naturally effect the entire course of my life in general...and here we go...(no particular order).

  • 1. Teacher - almost had that one.
  • 2. President of the United States - true. I'm not yet ready to tell you who I've begun to really identify with as per an excellent biography I've been reading. Don't judge.
  • 3. World Renowned Journalist - Where in the World is Andrea Jolene?
  • 4. Novelist - duh
  • 5. Professor of English - I don't know if this counts as "other" because I plan on doing this. Since I've not accomplished it yet, however, I'll have it be one of my 9.
  • 6. Oxford Graduate. Yeah that's it. It seems like enough.
  • 7. Accomplished Pianist, Artist, Designer, something that makes me deep and melancholy.
  • 8. Public Defendant particularly focusing on the rights of children and how the law effects them as well as an advocate for the poverty stricken, down trodden, and battered and abused women.
  • 9. Talk Show Host. NO! Not like Springer! I'm thinking more like Oprah or Ellen.....mostly an Oprah feel with Ellen hilarity...

Alright. If this has inspired you - go ahead and think of your other 9 lives. It really boils down to choices doesn't it? One choice, one moment, can change the course of your life forever: who you meet, what you accomplish, how you effect others. We're all very much connected. I guess that's why decisions can be so scary. It's time for that Plath quote now I think(carried on from above). As a personal note - I really think LDS women can identify with this - because a very big part of our religion and belief system is based on the traditional view of the nurturing mother in the home. It's an inner conflict a lot of women go through - can I do it all?

"One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mr Darcy - there's nothing real about it at all.

I like Shannon Hale. She's a local author and I thoroughly enjoy her technique and style. She's very whimsical, thoughtful, smart, and engaging...with a certain genre. THIS novel - Austenland - is NOT her genre. She's authored such stories as Goose Girl (one of my favorites) and Princess Academy. They are considered young adult/teenager (female teenager really) type novels that explore such timeless themes as coming of age, the search for identity, finding strength in your talents, having confidence, and using our gifts for good. Timeless, classic, humorous, ironic, fantastical - she can write these things. However, she didn't do as well with Austenland - clearly a stab at a more "adult" genre - which basically bled and died from the wound. Sigh, here's what happened. *Spoilers to follow...

The name makes it clear that she's sticking with her respective female audience - playing on the Jane Austen if not love, but respectful recognition, found in most if not all of the female race to have come in contact with her. Need I only say Mr Darcy? (What the? Did you hear that collective sigh?...lets try again...) Mr. Darcy....Siiiiiiiiiiiigh. The male hero of all male hero's in Austen's timeless classic (and all her novels really)- Pride and Prejudice. The heroine in Austenland - set in modern day New York and then "18th Century" mock-England - is a 30 something single struggling to let go of the Mr. Darcy ideal that she feels has become an obsession. Comparing men she meets with the Mr Darcy in her mind as well as a lifetime of "bad boyfriends" (which really just made me hurt inside - why are men so mean sometimes?) - has lead Jane to swear off men forever- she's on the brink of accepting life-long spinsterhood. However, when her rich Aunt dies and leaves her a vacation at Pembrook Park - a "resort" of sorts in pastoral England where the 21st Century is forgotten and Jane Austen's 18th Century sense of propriety, cordiality, mannerisms, irony, corsets and girdles is readily and most strictly embraced, Jane discovers and opportunity to embrace her fantasy one last time before laying it all to rest - forever. Pembrook Park is a place in which one might inundate oneself in the timeless romanticism that is Austen's writing playground. Needless to say, I wasn't convinced. Throughout the entire novel I remembered it was all a charade; when I think Hale intended the reader to forget that those who participated in the charade seemed a little crazy, and that the whole idea was rather ridiculous. It's clearly something it seems that only crazy rich bored people would do anyway. Well, Hale did get that right - most of the other guests in the Austenland hideaway were in fact, bored, rich, often married, women. Rather pathetic. I admit I was impressed at Hale's audacious attempt to recreate Austen-esque conversation and environment. Really, that was rather well done - it just wasn't believe able. Now, on to the plot issues.

The entire point of Jane going to Austenland was to plant her feet in reality. To realize she can still have a high standard in her dating life - without the impossible and unrealistic standard of a "Mr Darcy" - the man she had started to compare all men with. Hale's books "seem" predictable, but she is a genius at her plot twists and turns - usually putting some of your suspicions to rest just in time to suddenly bring them up again. I do like that. Of course - there was the predictable "Darcy" actor Jane was immediately introduced to, a Mr Nobley (most of the characters these vacationers interact with are actors paid to "woo" the women who have paid "damn good money" to be wooed while their rich husbands are out making money and finding "Austenlands" of their own - wink wink, nudge nudge, STD - what?) who was stand-offish, sarcastic, stingingly clever, good-looking, proud, and rather prejudice. Dare I say he was nigh unlikable?Predictably - Jane detested him "at first" (eye roll - of course she did). Oh brother. From the start I knew Jane would end up with this bloke - especially after she had a "fling" with the Gardender (which in an eventful twist ended up being an actor as well! SHOCK...not really) that seemed very "Mr. Whiscombe-esque", and then ended up rejecting Mr. Mr Nobley after he finally "warmed up to her", declared he tried not to like her because of the type of woman he assumed she was, and then declaring that he "loved her most ardently..." Come on Hale! Really? Austen DID that ALREADY! Well, Jane rejected the poor blighter (as any good Elizabeth Bennett initially would), deciding that she had finally overcome her "Darcy" fantasy and knew that he was just playing his part, and felt she had finally left her obsessive unrealistic expectations behind. Furthermore, she also discovered that she would not swear off men - but be more demanding that they treat her kindly, not so quick to be swept away, and more confident in her own abilities. Essentially, she would be herself and not worry about that aspect of life until it decidedly came to her in a slightly flawed, but absolutely lovely package. THIS - was a great theme - so far.

I thought the entire point of the novel was to let go of unrealistic expectations, not to the point of lowering standards or losing hope, but so life could be livable, and you wouldn't constantly be manipulating yourself in relationships. The idea that REALITY shouldn't always be considered negative - but actual attainable happiness can be found within it's stark grips. Then the clincher of the novel - something so completely unrealistic, not plausible, and that has never happened to any real woman, nor performed by any real man, that I've ever heard of. It destroyed "the point" I thought was the one redeeming quality of the book. After being soundly rejected by Jane - Nobley AND the Gardener (who discovers he really does like her - even though the "fling" they had had been set up by the conniving Mrs. Whattlesworth to "please all the customers that come to Pembrook for whatever insecure and longingly pathetic reason") follow her to Heathrow airport - and both declare that the feelings the have are true and sincere. They then commence to physically FIGHT in the airport as each try to convince Jane that they want a "real" chance with her, and they would do whatever it takes to win her. Puh-LEASE! This DOES NOT HAPPEN! What happened to the "have hope in a happy reality" theme? THEN! AFTER Jane soundly rejects them both again - it is Mr. Nobley aka Mr Darcy figure - that buys a ticket, gets on the plane (of which he is OF COURSE deathly afraid of) and says something corny and most importantly unrealistic about how Jane is unique, a real person, a woman he feels he can't live without and hopes that maybe, someday, she will feel like she can't be without him either. Until then, of course, he will fly to America where he is clearly going to relocate for a woman he met during an Austenland charade, and love her the rest of his life. Honestly. Honestly. What happened to this story? This is not realistic!! Now - I love fairy tales and they are the anti-thesis of reality. That's why we love them. That's why I love them! Women love Jane Austen because they are the anti-thesis of what relationships are really like. Come on ladies! Come on Hale! You ruined a good thing! Knights DON'T slay dragons for damsels. Men DON'T chase after women ESPECIALLY if they have been once (in this instance twice) rejected. Women want them too - but in real life Jane would've gotten on the plane alone and flown back to NYC to continue working through her issues. Men don't chase after women. There is no sense of "courtship" or "proving your feelings" or "bravery in love" anymore. I don't think there really ever was - other than in works of fiction. FICTION. It allows us to dream and fantasize - but you've gotta keep one of those feet in reality I'm afraid. Men DON'T chase women onto planes...they CAN live without you because there are a lot of "fish in the sea" and NO ONE has ever REALLY been fought over by two very exceptional, kind, good looking (British I might add) men who both want to sweep you off your feet. No. One.

So which is it then Hale? Is wanting the Mr. Darcy in our lives realistic or isn't it? Jane got her Darcy - which totally blows the entire "be realistic" ideal of letting go of our fantasies and just accepting that there are decent guys out there (er...hopefully?) and we're lucky to find one of them with only a handful of flaws. Everyone has flaws. You have to be realistic and work through things. And, most "ardently", there are no Mr. Darcy's.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Head Explosion

Have you ever had one of those days? The ones where you feel 100% like your being sauteed in the fiery depths of Hell in body, mind, spirit, and heart? I mean we all have them right? Those days where you want to sprint head first into a wall - or lob yourself out of your third story plexi-glass window - or perhaps launch under the bus that passes by 9th East and 3rd South at 5:55AM on the nose (yes I know this because I am on my way to WORK at that time 3 days a week). We all have these.

WELL! Have you ever had an entire month of these days? At least 30 consecutive "these days" placed right in a row? Or perhaps, to be a little more realistic, say 5 days of body hurt, 10 days of mind hurt, 6 days of Spirit hurt, maybe some combinations like - 8 days of heart/mind hurt - then 2 days of body/mind hurt. ..then just a really really bad spirit day hurt (I don't know if that adds up - but ah well). Do you feel me on this? Where as most of these combinations occur on one of those "days" or maybe even, one of those "weeks" - has it ever happened for an entire MONTH? I can usually handle these days in stride - facing tomorrow and letting the bad day just lay itself out. But an ENTIRE MONTH? Then you finally reach THE day of the bad month - the crux - the climax - the white pimple head - where it all combo's into one big horrible head exploding day where you want to cry at work , but can't because well..come on it's WORK (and I gotta be strong for my little employees), lay under your desk and rock because your body just aches, and watch the clock in angst - just praying to go home and let the hurt seep into your Hillary Clinton Biography (really excellent by the way) and your big cushy couch. Then add your mind hurt - just trying to figure out what bills are due when and if you'll have the funds, arguing with your jackarse of a condo manager about replacing your garbage can because some garbage maniac stole it (I think it's the "hill-people" who squat in the vacant fields near my complex) and your garage smells like a twice-dead skunk family, and thinking about my "just sold" laptop and how much I miss it's comforting glow and convenience already. Of course what head explosion day would be complete without the personal and emotional hurts of feeling a little forgotten, ignored, and "nicely" abandoned. The kind you PROMISED yourself you'd never fall into again. Yeah - that kinda.

Sigh- I guess what I'm saying is it has been a pretty shi**y month that has culminated into a pretty shi**y day, and I'd love to go home and have the apt be clean (sigh...there are dishes waiting I know it), the condo be warm (its usually frigid regardless of outside weather), dinner be prepared (I don't care if it's my favorite Wendys meal or something lovingly made by some dear soul I don't think exists anymore), then my soft pj's and cozy kitty blanket (that's right KITTY BLANKET) presented to me when I'm finished eating so I can lie down on their lap (the presenter - not the kitty's - I'm not that lost...yet), they can stroke my weary brow (how dramatic - and just lovely sounding), call me Princess, and read my Hillary Clinton Biography out loud as a interject comments and we have a nice conversation about the political state of the world, the incompetence of inner-city educational programs in the US, and how great Natalie Portman is in all the roles I've seen her in. Is that so much to ask (going back to re-read demands)....maybe just a little - but that's what I want to even come close to assuaging at least this ONE day, out of a month of days, from Hell. However...I may just have to settle for going to sleep early... (scheduling carpet cleaners for tomorrow morning to mop up head explosion debris).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Someone Else Understands my British Desires

What England Means to Me. That's the name of the site. What's on this site? WELL by jove! Go see for yourself! You may find something that looks RATHER FAMILIAR!! I know it's definitely my cup of tea. Har har har...har....ahem....(cricket chirp)....tea....


Sweet Sweet Redemption!

She's gone. Kristy Lee Cook is gone! I'd like to personally thank America for coming to their senses and realizing that first, she's no American Idol (pageant winner yes - American Idol? NO!) and secondly, she never EVER should've made it as far as she did. Between Brooke and Kristy - Simon said Kristy's time was up. To this she responded "Hey, at least I made it to the top 10" which Simon predicted she wouldn't. And honestly - she SHOULDN'T have! I maintain the only reason she did was because she sang "I'm Proud to be an American." That saved her skinny arse for awhile - but you can't keep tricking America - we eventually figure it out. Thank goodness we finally did! PHEW! Goodbye Ms Kristy! Find yo cowgirl self a nice young farmhand to court, get married, have babies, and sing in church services and church services ONLY!

A few more American Idol notes - I think I'm done with sweet sunshine Brooke. I thought she was cute and adorable at first - and of course a shout out to her LDS persuasion - but I'm done with her now. She's a little "much" for me...a little too baby cute toes and rainbows. Makes me a little candy-sick to think about really. She's had a decent run, she's oober talented and likable...for awhile, but the time has come. Think of it this way though Brooke dear, your LDS singing/song writing career is concrete! I don't want you to go Gladys Knight of course - because really, there's only one Gladys Knight - I'm thinking more of a Peter Brienholt future for you. I can totally see that! I expect to see you performing at the new big BYU-Provo EFY event for years to come! Headline: Fireside Speaker John Bytheway (wow, he's on Wikipedia!), featuring singer/songwriter Brooke White. So thanks for the memories - but it's time to really think about your focus audience - and they're all in the greater Wasatch Front area.

Lastly - American Idol Predictions.
  • David A is going ALL the way. How cute is he sitting down in the middle of the stage rather than succumbing to Hollywood's sick trick to try and make him cause a scandal by CHOOSING which grouping of Idols was going home. PSh! Take that Seacrest!
  • Next Weeks Bottom 3: Brooke, Syesha, and Carly. Sigh - and the shame is Carly. I really like her - but in superficial America, there's no way a cool down to earth, tattooed, Irish lass is making it all the way. Does she know what kind of boppers WATCH this show? Oh wait...
  • Out of those 3...hmmm...toughy...but I'm saying it will be down to Syesha and Brooke - and Brooke will go.
  • David Cook's head looks like an egg standing on its point. This isn't a prediction - but a worthwhile observation. He's a funny looking egg-head.
  • Jason Castro seems like he'd have a smell - and I'm over him too. He's got such a cute face, boy's gotta get rid of that hair though. He won't go all the way either. I feel he's a contestant that gets mixed into the shuffle - and will soon be forgotten. I forget about him already.
  • Syesha should try for America's Next Top Model. It would mix things up because she's actually gorgeous. Have you SEEN the chica's on this seasons show? Shudder. Not the cutest puppies in the brood. "Fierce" - but noooooot cute.
Alright America - there you have it - my American Idol theories, thoughts, and most importantly thanks that you've all finally realized that Kristy Lee hung on way to long, and the time had finally come to say Adios! You've redeemed yourself America. Now don't screw up again!

Monday, April 14, 2008

That's just great Barack - now who am I going to vote for? God?

Sigh. I'm sure everyone has heard about Barack Obama's stinging comment about small town Americans and small American towns. Of course, when I first heard about it - I had to look it up and see the exact wording of his "comment" myself. The media has been accused of "going easy" on Barack - that he is the Media's poster boy - and quite honestly that seemed to be true. Now, however, the media seems to be trying to make up for their "political bias" by portraying Obama's comment about small towns becoming "bitter and clinging to guns and religion" as something more demeaning than it really was - or was it? When I read the comment - and being from a very very very ridiculously small town in rural Utah, I have to agree with him that these small communities are dwindling and disappearing. Especially in a mining community like mine - you can only mine for so long and push the earth so far before it stagnates, and eventually, starts to downward spiral. People move on to more economically promising areas - and the small towns eventually die out. HOWEVER, Barack's explanation as to HOW these small towns COPE with such an economic downfall came off, to me, as condescending and elitist. It was a lame comment, and frankly it has effected how I think about Barack. Almost to the point of "Oh great. There seriously isn't anyone to vote for - either a Crazy POW who's already having to combat rumors of infidelity, a cold hearted, calculating politique who sold her soul to the Devil years ago, or an elitist jackass." Is there really a lesser of 3 evils to choose from? I bought a Hillary Clinton biography this weekend. I bought it because I do find her a very intriguing woman and I'm interested in getting to know the "woman behind the politician"...and honestly, after hearing such negative comments about small town Americans and their "clinging to religion out of bitterness and frustration" (as if religion is only acknowledged by poor ignorant folk out of desperation - it's like he's shocked that any sensible successful American would ever really consider religion worth clinging to) that Barack stupidly let slip - (and I'd never thought I'd say THIS) but Clinton is looking better and least comparatively.

Here's the comment. What say YOU?

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." CNN Article

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why is she still on this show?

No really. Really. I've already posted today - but I just watched the tail end of American Idol (the only part worth watching on the elimination show really- they milk that thing for an entire HOUR! Geez! At least cut it down to a 30 minute segment!), as I was waiting for a NEW EPISODE OF THE OFFICE! YES! There are a handful of shows I enjoy watching. The Office being one (so happy it's back!) LOST, and yes, American Idol. I enjoy the performances and it's far far far less drama than most (read ALL other) reality shows. Of course I have my preferences...I like my Utah Boy (rep-re-sent!) David Archuleta, cute doll face Brooke White, and Irish sista Carly Smithson. As far as the others go, I'm mostly indifferent. BUT there is one particular contestant I can not SERIOUSLY understand WHY she is STILL on this show. I can not believe that Kristy Lee Cook has made it this far. I really can't. I mean she's a cute girl, but nothing particularly amazing. Which is fine IF she had some amazing memorable voice. Buuuuuut - she doesn't. No really. She reminds me of the beauty pageants I used attend with my mom in Emery County; somewhat entertaining, a lot of big country hair, big country teeth, tight wrangling jeans, and mediocre talent. Yes. I really feel like Kristy Lee Cook is forgettable. I know that sounds very "Simon-esque." I'm also aware that some of you may be thinking "oh really..well why don't YOU sing something." But I didn't try out for a reality show based on my singing talent for the world to critique. And yes - she sounds nice - buuuuut not making it this far into American Idol nice. No no. She should've been gone WELL before cute rocker Michael Johns. That's for SURE! I feel she cheated when she sang "I'm Proud to be an American." How is anyone going to vote her off after sing a song like THAT at a time like THIS! A liiiiittle sketchy I'd say. She just keeps slipping through! So come ON America - really, we gotta get serious here. Because this is very serious. It's the next AMERICAN IDOL we're talking about! Do we want another Taylor Hicks or Ruben Studdard? No we don't! She's been in the bottom 3 more than any of the other contestants - lets break that pattern and come through on our WORD! Time's up!

All I want to be is British - is that so much to ask?

Anyone who knows me, and some people do know me, knows I really want to be British. Nay, that I, in fact, SHOULD'VE been British but by some fluke or accidental "heaven to earth" tube slide mix up - I ended up in the sticks of Utah (I've always had the image in my head of little babies sliding down "heavenly" tubes to earth - I don't know why). Sigh. It's okay - there are probably a lot of ethereal tubes leading from heaven to every imaginable place in the world, and I'm sure a little mix up happens once in awhile. My mom used to tell my Aunt Chris (her younger sister) she was adopted from an Indian Tribe - and rightly so because she is pretty dark complected, with high cheek bones, likes beer (oh I'm kidding! Stop!), and is a tom-boy (tom woman?) through and through. So maybe they stuck her in the wrong heaven tube as well. Whatever happened, somewhere deep in my heart, I feel that Britishness would suit me just fine!

Why British? You might ask...

  • The British are dryly hilarious. I love British humor and ever since I can recall, my particular form of humor (although dashed with some American sarcasm and slap-stick guffaws) is really very British. Witty, but not obtrusively so. Clever most certainly! It's a smart humor that most Americans can't fully appreciate. And of course - we must make our humor "bigger and better" which is what we do with everything - but really - is bigger (louder, annoying, pushy) better? No Texas. It isn't!
  • The British Don't Touch Each Other. I've never been a touchy or particularly affectionate individual. In High School - when girls all hugged each other and held hands (was that just my High School? Hmmm), I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn't really want anything to do with hugging all over the boys either. As far as true affections go - I'm quite reserved and distant. It's not a "defensive mechanism" or anything of the sort - it's just how I am. And it's just how the British are too. They only show affection dogs and horses. I will add spouses and children in there for my personal preferences - but really, the bubble is Britishly fortified.
  • The British are Proper and Polite. I also feel I'm quite proper when the situation calls for such propriety, as well as rather polite. Sure sure I have my little vices here and there - I think poop is funny - but all in all, I like the proper way of things such as "loading the dishwasher properly" or "politely clapping after a horribly ridiculously performance or play."
What I like About Britishness
  • Spelling. Favourites. Shoppe. Colours. Yes yes. I think it adds a little something - er - other than the obvious
  • Street Names. None of this Jefferson Avenue or Bart Blvd nonsense. Or even worse, 13th East and 4th South. No no. The have names like "Little Winging" or "NewCastle Up-On-Tyne" or Kensington and High Street or Notting Hill. I also enjoy the "Shires" (said long I people. It's not Lord of the Rings) - Lancashire, Devonshire...things of this nature.
  • They Name Their Houses. It's part of the address! This is perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Britishness; their sweet little modest homes with over growing gardens and fences to keep out the rabbits. I could live in "Rose Cottage" or "Meadow Glen" or "Hamstead Heath." How is this not completely perfect?
  • Sweet Shoppes. I think that's enough said.
  • Overall Lexicon: Barbel and Squeak, Sausage and Mash, they just have these labels and names for everything. They abbreviate things like "demi-capu" (half cappacino) and have words like knickers and trousers. I also like saying Vitamins and Aluminium with a British accent...which brings me too
  • The British Accent. Honestly, they could say "there's a hole in my sock" and it would sound smart. It's an entirely amiable way of speaking - easy on the ears, very proper, and only adds to the overall pleasing being of the British. Who doesn't love a British accent? Really. WHO!
  • The History. Honestly, American History is okay - but there's only so much of it. Now, British History - that's something! They've got Roman Baths, they've got Royal Heritage (God Save the Queen), they've been around the political block a number of times. I mean, the House of Lords and the House of Commons sounds much better than "The House of Representatives" and "Congress." It's more...picturesque. They've got cemeteries with gravestones dating back CENTURIES! And I'm not talking 300 years - I'm talking 15th Century England! They've got Westminster and the Tower of London! They've got London Bridge AND the Globe Theater! They've got Big Ben and Parliament! What haven't they got??? I wish I could say McDonalds and Starbucks but dammit - they DO have those. Sigh. That's a post for another time. Stupid American Big Business.
  • The Country. Oh yes. The rolling green hills and luscious woods of the English Countryside. Absolutely ideal
  • Oxford, Cambridge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Bath, the Cliff's of Dover, Brighton, LONDON, Canterbury, Manchester, Wales!
  • Pasties! Mmmm, pasties. No you sicky's - not in the "barely covering nipple" kind either. Psh. Pull youselves together.
  • Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Jane Austin, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein, Charles Dickens, Virginia Wolff, Sylvia Plath, Bronte's, William Shakespeare, Milton, JK Rowling...I better just stop that list. BUt you get the idea.
  • Tea and Crumpets - not that I drink much tea - but I'd like to have the option of "tea breaks."
  • Simon Cowell
  • Coat's of Arms
  • 2 Hour Chunnel Ride to France
  • REAL Chocolate - none of this Hershey's nonsense
  • Nannys - Helloooo Mary Poppins
  • Boarding Schools - and an overall better educational track for their youth in my opinion.
Sigh...really. You can see what I mean don't you? There are so many reason why 1 - I should rightly be British and 2. Why anyone in their right mind can see WHY I have this desire. I went to London for 6 weeks on a Study Abroad through the University of Utah. 6 weeks was not enough - it was a mockery - but I did solidify my desire to join the ranks of Britishdom for a season, or two. When I go back, I'm going back to stay. It's my long term goal to get my PH.d in Britain (considering my desire to study the rise of feminist Literature in 17th-20th Century Britain), and so help me I will do it! God Save the Queen!

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's APRIL for heavens sake!!! Why? WHY!?!?

I took these videos/pics from my office window at BYU this morning. I used the office camera (thus the weak pixel quality) for I did not have mine with me. I mean, how did I know I was going to have an opportunity to take a picture of a bloody blizzard in bloody April with bloody gragantu-flakes coming down en masse, destroying my dreams of spring flowers, flip flops, breezy summer nights, and Popsicles? EH????!?!??! Grrrrrr...

Pay no attention to the springly dressed girl in the window reflection, rather look at the poor sucker walking outside in the blizzard.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bronx Students Discuss Obama, Race, Their Renewed Political Interests and America's Hope

Obama has been called the "students" President - the President for the rising generation. Most of this geneartion can't yet vote - but they have a voice, and they have found a candidate in Barack Obama. I think this says something about him. The youth have been called politically apathetic - with the lowest voting ratio falling between the ages of 18-30. We need to exercise our right to Vote - to speak out for those who can't yet, but who have been made to care about their America. Their future America is in our hands. Yes we can.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Waiting for something Whimsical ; and Why Not?

I just watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. I really liked it. I WOULD like it. I am one of those "whimsical, believe in magic and wonder" kind of people. Sets me apart from normal and clearly in the midst of by fantastical I mean geekdom. ;) As far as a movie recommendation goes, this one has its cheesy child-like themes we've heard over and over "believe in yourself" "believe things are more than they appear" "give into the fantastical sometimes" "live your life to the fullest" but really, how many times do we hear these timeless lessons and actually apply them in our lives? Are they cheesy because they've become so cliche? Or are they cheesy because we live in a world of pessimism, a world where people don't actually have tea parties on the ceiling, or bouncy balls have minds of their own - a world firmly concreted in the reality of life's hardships, Wars, trauma's, depression, stress, worries, loss, disease, political unrest, and social disparity. It's not news that the world is harsh, unforgiving, and is the blaring anti-thesis of a Fairy Tale.

I love stories. Ever since I can remember I've LOVED stories. Stories about anything,but mostly stories about magic. My parents would read to me as a child and I even remember when I couldn't quite read yet - I'd take a large stack of Bernstein Bears books, or beautiful hard bound child's fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast, or elegantly illustrated stories like Heckity Peg, and sit and look over the pictures and the words for hours. I had a bedside lamp before I had Barbie Dolls. I had a mini-chalk board to scribble the words I saw in books before I could actually read them. I remember what joy I felt when I learned to write my name; and would stand in front of my chalk board for hours writing it over and over - waiting for the day when I'd write my own story, or better yet, be part of the stories I loved to listen to, and craved to read on my own. As I grew up I never tired of reading. I read before I went to bed every night, and recall many a late night absolutely having to stay up and finish the stories I had begun. My parents would come down in the morning and find my reading lamp still on, and books tangled up in my bed sheets. Incidentally, I was a terror to try and get up in the morning for school. But those late nights of Boxcar Children, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, Mary Higgins Clark ( I thought I was finally entering the world of "adult literature" with that particular phase) To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, The Scarlet Letter...are something I treasure During elementary school I remember reading time was my favorite time. I would get so wrapped up in my story, I'd look up from my book some astronomical amount of time later and find that we were half-way through our Math lesson and I hadn't even noticed. Needless to say, I'm very bad at Math. Sadly, as we grow we forget these small joys for a little while. I did. Although I was sure I'd be an English Major since I learned what a "major" was - with college comes much less time for leisure reading, not to mention the reality of making it along in this world: bills, studying, school, plans for the future, goals, trying to make a difference in a world where it seems like nothing really ever DOES make a difference, reaching to find the Fairy Tale "right after I graduate", "when I get married", "when I have the money..." I became one of those "realists" - and put away my Fairy Tale dreams. It wasn't in an instant - but rather a slow ebbing away of whimsical dreams, and replacing it with stark realities. Necessary sorrows.

Sometimes I dread bringing children into this world. I know I will get to someday, and I don't know how I can protect them from all the sadness, "stark realities", that shadow our everyday. It's nice to be reminded that there is some good, some charity, something a little more magical than just "what is" out there. I believe stories - stories like Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Peter Pan, The Hobbit, the Goose Girl, Treasure Island, Mary Poppins, Harry Potter - stories that take us out of "our world" and create one where anything is possible, where there is good being done without an agenda, where we can feel safe and hopeful without doubt or pessimism, where we can journey with others for awhile through their dark and weary trials, but know they will always come out on the other side, that are part of the answer to keeping our children from becoming gloomy, melancholy, "realists" - at least becoming those things all the time. Good triumphs over evil. What about a place where there's modern day Repunzzal's, Prince Charming's (sigh - yes I HAVE to believe that), Gandalf's, Tin Man's, Gingerbread Men, Mother Goose's, good Kings and wise Queens? Why shouldn't there be these things? Why - before we "have" to give up our stories - can't we believe that Neverland exists? Or there are dragons in caves and trolls under bridges? Where everyone has a Fairy Godmother or owns a magical Toy Shop? Why not take break from reality and live in these fantastical moments for a little while? Maybe just believe in the Happy Endings?

It's not unrealistic - it's hope. In all these stories it's always darkest before the dawn, there's always something the characters have to overcome - whether it be a raging Dragon, a Wicked Witch, a corrupt Ruler, self-doubt, or even death - but the point is they overcome. Not to mention having a few magical side adventures with Cheshire Cats or woodland nymphs along the way. CS Lewis, in his book"The Magicians Nephew " from the Narnia series, puts it this way "When things go wrong; you'll find they usually go on getting worse for some time; but when things once start going right they often go on getting better and better." They will get better - and why not try and help the "better" by not being so wrapped up in the gloom, and try to not only create "a land far far away" but live in it once in awhile. I see nothing wrong with a little make-believe; "When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives everyday that the sun rises" (Paulo Coelho "The Alchemist).

So this is what happens when I watch Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, alone, on a Friday night. :) I decide that the world is too much gloom and doom and a pirate ship or pixie dust might do it some good. But I've always thought that - I just have to be reminded of it now again with a good story.

"Life is an occasion; rise to it," Mr. Magorium

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why I'm a sucker

I believe everything people say. No, I'm not naive (well...) - but I've noticed that I take people's word at face value.

I'm gullible. And I don't mean that as in I think television is God's word or that I can be swayed by any politician. That I question. Even some opinions on certain matters of religion I question and thus, explore and find answers for myself. I'm definitely one to question the consensus, to not conform for conformity's sake, or believe something JUST because an authority figure or "position" said it was so. No no, I mean if someone should, oh I don't know, claim that my roomie and her fiance broke up because he'd been secretly seeing another girl - I'd believe that 100%. I might not even question the validity. Mostly because I think "Why would someone lie about that?" Yes, this happened to me yesterday - good old April Fool's Day. That exact "roomie break up" scenario. I came home and my other roomie mentioned that our room mate and her fiance had called it quits. I gasped and said "No way!! Really?!?!" And she suckered me in for about another 5 minutes, with me gasping and shaking my head the whole time, before she started laughing, "April Fools!" Dammit!Suckered! Again! I dread April Fool's day because I am SUCH a sucker. It's really those things one tries to trick naive little blond girls into believing that I fall for. Every. Single. Time. Usually these things are completely illogical, and irrational...even somewhat sensational. Things that have some basis in common sense - but when you think about it - really make no sense at all. Much like that sentence...ahem.

The REALLY good thing is - I don't over-analyze, exaggerate, or "read into things." Phew!! Right? I mean - if someone says "Hey, you're cool, I like you." I don't think "OH he must want to get married and have babies." OH heeeeeeellllllll nooooooooo! I just tend to think "Oh he thinks I'm cool and likes me. Sweet" (even then I'm like "really? are you suuuuure? Don't say so if you don't mean it cause I will believe you" a what? SUCKER!) So - lets make THAT PERFECTLY clear. There is a very large difference between my just believing in the face value of words, and thinking that one small gesture means something ridiculously out of proportion. No no my friends - I HAVE prospective, I'm just a sucker is all. A big old sucker. Just need to calm the hell down ;) on being a "pleaser, helper, aider, supporter." I realized that I'm such a people-pleaser that I try way too hard to try and help, aide, support, those I care about. It spells backfire. Big backfire. But very good lessons learned. So there's a win? Ish? :(

Perhaps combining a little more "weariness" believing what folks say, and trying not to smother folks with my "willingness to please and show you how much I really care so you will stick around" I can find a (more) perfect balance and maybe not be so scared of relationships, or more importantly not be so stressed on April Fool's Day! Sigh. Lets not even talk about my fear of marriage...or rather marriage to the wrong person, I'd just like to date for awhile - make CERTAIN we both mean what we say and say what we mean...IN DUE TIME. I need time. Timing is so important. Right person, right place, right TIME. Provo seems to be against "time." ;) Someone will have to be patient with me for sure. Poor sucker. At least we'll have something in common.