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Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Reading

TimelineTimeline by Michael Crichton

Some very strong language and graphic violence made this book less enjoyable for me, but overall it was a creative, fun adventure. I kind of could tell where it was going the entire time, but then again I have seen the movie. It was a better constructed story than the film, and I really enjoyed it. I love the way Michael Crichton makes impossible things sound scientifically viable.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What cadavers and Jane Fonda have in common

So I'm back at work at BYU Independent study. I've been back in Utah now for about a month. I spent the first week at the Saratoga Springs house hanging out with my parents, trying to watch all the movies I was craving in Britain and catching up on most of the movies that came out while I was gone. I watched a lot of Jane Austen and BBC. A lot. :)

Right now I'm editing cadaver videos for a PDBIO anatomy course...its cool, but at the same time I'm pretty sure I have a bit of a grimace on my face the entire time I'm editing. It's kinda gross. The cadavers are juicy, and the way the TAs throw bits of the bodies around is rather disturbing. I just watched one completely flip the rib cage inside out. Okay, so really it's very very cool, and I've learned a lot just by editing the footage, but I guess I've always just imagined the inside of my body to be like a cartoon or something - happy little smiling blood cells flowing around like they're on a roller coaster, yelling hello to other passing blood cells. I didn't see myself as goopy or slimy or anything like I've seen on the cadavers. Of course, they are dead and are being preserved to make sure they stay goopy long enough to look at them. But, I dunno, I guess I just thought we humans looked or something on the inside.
I espeically did not enjoy that part of the video that I had to edit that featured a dead penis. Yeah...that was awkward. I'm hoping to get to edit the video on the female reproductive system before any of the guys have to. I would like to spare them the awkwardness of that situation.

Two Fridays ago on July 16, 2010, at approximately 8 PM, I received my first speeding ticket. I think it's safe to say that it was the most traumatizing experience I've had in a long time. And the thing that made it worse was that I totally and completely deserved it. I didn't know what the speed limit was in the area - it was in Lehi where the speed limits change so often they might as well be underwear. And it was a road that probably should have had a higher speed limit. But it didn't, and I should have been looking out better. I came around a corner, saw the police car, and immediately knew I would be pulled over. I never speed on purpose. I always go the speed limit when I know it. But I was caught. I wanted to cry when the cop came to my window. I was shaking so badly. I should have cried, just to make him feel bad. I thought about it. I should have. But anyways, I decided to look at this as an adventure - one that I never plan on repeating, but am almost glad I experienced so that I can write about it or something. If nothing else, it's good blog material.

I now am the proud owner of a Netflix account. I never needed one before because our library access was always so great. Now, I'm stuck with just the Provo library (Saratoga Springs doesn't have one and the Lehi library charges for non-Lehi residents) and, let's be honest, it's a pretty disappointing library. And I lost my library card....oops...So, all of those things combined necessitated that I find another way to watch all the movies I would like to. My friend showed me his Netflix queue and I was very impressed, but still hesitant. The thing that totally sold it to me was the presence of all the seasons of DuckTales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, and Mr. Vampire (the best Hong Kong Kung Fu vampire movie you will ever see - perhaps one of the greatest movies ever made). After I saw these, I was hooked. I later learned you can stream the instant watch stuff on your Wii, so I set that up at my parents' house and I'm pretty sure my dad uses the account more than I do! There's so much awesome stuff on Netflix! I love it. I may never go back. $10 per month is totally worth it for the amount of stuff you have access to.

I have come to realize I am going through a major phase right now in my life - I call this phase "I love the 80s." At work I listen to 70s and 80s rock - John Mellencamp, Pat Benatar, Journey, etc. I watch 80s TV shows like Remington Steele (which is still awesome!) and 21 Jump Street (which is terrible, by the way - the only good part is watching Johnny Depp). I work out with Jane Fonda three times a week, where I have 20 new friends in brightly colored, high-cut leotards and sporting poofy hair with large bows. And boy, do they look like they're having fun! My mom and I also saw The Wedding Singer (The Musical) at Hale Centre Theatre, and I absolutely adored it. I already knew the music and the story, but the performers made it rock. I must admit it caused me to develop yet another celebrity crush. I love the 80s. I am so grateful that there is so much pop culture from this era that I can access. What priceless gems!

Things I want to do this summer (or at least start):

learn Spanish
read novels
get tan
write a novel
practice the piano
eat popsicles

School starts in about a month...blargh...not ready....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


June 20-24, 2010

My process of re-Americanization after my European adventures officially began in DC. On Sunday we had cake celebrating both Father's day for Mike and my birthday. Mike and Alexis gave me my very own copy of Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr! They were so great to me. We spent most of my time here seeing the DC sites. Unfortunately Mike had to work - that's what you get for being responsible and stuff :) Poor guy. But I had marvelous company in Ryder and Alexis. Ryder is so big now! He can already swing a baseball bat and dribble a soccer ball! It's insane, but not surprising considering who his parents are. We walked along the Mall on the first day. We saw the WWII, Vietnam, and Lincoln memorials and the reflecting pool of course. There was a random concert going on at the WWII memorial - the LAPD band and some My favorite was definitely the Lincoln Memorial. I kept thinking of that part in Night at the Museum 2 when they're talking to Abe - "blah blah blah - I never lie!"
It reminded me a lot of my brother Josh too, mostly because he can quote that part of the movie perfectly. It was also really neat to read Lincoln's speeches, which are carved into the walls. He was such an amazing leader, definitely one of my favorite inspirational hero people. We also got to walk past the back of the White House. I waved to Obama...I'm not sure if he saw :) It was so cool to be so close to the White House. It's amazing.

We went to a few museums during my stay, including the Air and Space Museum where we saw the Lunar Lander (awesome!) and Amelia Earhart's plane, the Natural History Museum where we saw tons of dinosaurs and a giant shark jaw bone, and the American History Museum where I saw the ruby slippers and Kermit the Frog and Fonzie's jacket and Michealangelo (the ninja turtle)!
It was amazing. I went to one of the art museums by myself and saw some awesome Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Picasso - all my favorites. That was really neat. We hiked to Great Falls one of the days too - It was gorgeous! So fun and green and HOT. I think one of my favorite moments of the week was when I saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I couldn't help but wonder if there just might be a map on the back of one of them, but I was mostly impressed by the importance of these documents - it was so neat to see the actual documents, hand-written, with real signatures of people that I've read about and studied - Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock, etc. I was such a neat experience, and it reminded me of how much I really do love the USA. It made me re-appreciate it. I was feeling a bit more British than I thought, but I am back to almost fully embracing my American-ness. I do love America, but I have a special place in my heart for Britain. I think I always will. However, I think my absolute favorite part about this week was just chilling with Mike, Lex, and Ryder. They're so awesome, and they treated me so well. I love them so much, and I am so glad I decided to stop by and visit them. They are simply the best. And Ryder is so darn cute!!! I loved this week. I am glad to be back in Utah though. It's nice to just sit for a little while and hang with my parents. I move back to Provo soon, and I start work in Provo next week, so complete laziness doesn't last terribly long. But long enough :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Three Countries in One Day - daaaaaaang

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This morning we caught a cab at 5 to take us to the train station for the Chunnel. Our taxi driver couldn’t really speak English, but he was really nice. He made some comment about football, to which we replied “no” – that seems to be the safest thing to say when you don’t understand a question. I once, while working at Best Buy, had a guy ask me if I was married and I didn’t understand what he said so I said yes. Oops. It got him to go away though (he was weird), so I guess that’s good. Anyways, we got on the chunnel and rode back to London and spent the afternoon picking up chocolate on Queensway, the street near the Centre. It was weird being back there and being familiar with the roads and shops. It felt like home. But not as home as the States feels – don’t worry Mom, I’m still coming home J

I was really anxious to get to the airport just in case anything went wrong and it’s a good thing I did because we didn’t know which terminal the flight was leaving from so we had to ride a couple of different trains and then the security was super tight so they searched my bag and got mad at me because I forgot I had a can of hair mousse in my carry-on that was too big and such. Needless to say, it took a long time to get to our terminal. But we did! (the pic is of Tiffany and me waiting to board) And the flight didn’t seem that long to me. They had an awesome selection of movies and TV shows on the Delta entertainment thingy, including an episode of Doctor Who! So, first I watched that (it was “Midnight,” a really good episode) and then I watched Young Victoria (which I LOVED!), then When In Rome (which was not very good but kind of enjoyable), and then Leap Year (which also is very predictable but I enjoyed immensely because of Matthew Goode). I read my new leisure book, Michael Crichton’s Timeline, for a while and before I knew it I was in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport! I bid Tiffany farewell because she was continuing on to SLC and I found my way towards my next terminal. I pulled out my cell phone for the first time in almost 2 months and I called my mommy! Yay! It was awesome. I am proud to say that I didn’t really miss having the phone. I mean, it’s super nice and I need one, but it was also nice to have a bit of a break. I texted some people – woohoo – and then I got on my flight to Washington D.C. My brother Mike picked me up at the airport – yay!!! I’m so excited to be here. And it’s good to be somewhere surrounded by Americans. What better place to begin my re-Americanization than the nation’s capitol? It’s so good to see Mike and Lex and Ryder, their little boy. He is so big! But now I am exhausted. Three countries in one day, totaling to about 17 hours of travel time, is extremely exhausting. But hopefully, since it’s the perfect time to sleep here in DC I will be just fine and avoid as much jet lag as possible. Goodnight friends! It’s good to be back in the states. Just watch out for my word vomit about Europe. Everything reminds me of something in London or Paris – everything. It’s like I’m a returned missionary ready to spew mission stories. But it’s all because I loved it over there, so just deal with the annoyingness please J Thanks in advance.

Brother Young quotes from English class not to be forgotten: “There are six snipers in the corners of this room. If you don’t answer my question now, they’ll blow your heads off……….You’re all dead.”

Natalie asked him to repeat the question. He condescendingly mimicked her in response.

“Well, we could read that poem. In fact, we should, but we’re not going to because….I don’t like it.” (pretty much sums up the entire class)

The Final Day in Paris

Friday, June 18, 2010

We got Whit off safe and sound this morning at 4:30. She’s headed back to the states. We slept for a little while after walking her to the taxi station and then we got up to go back to the Eiffel Tower, this time to ride to the top. Unfortunately, it was a bit foggy in Paris this morning, so the view from the top was not as grand as I had hoped, but it was still awesome. We took many pictures.

And then we descended and headed off to Montmartre, the artist district, to see the Sacre Couer, a church on the top of a hill. This is the area where Picasso lived during his Rose Period. We arrived at the base of the hill and were accosted by men about whom I had fortunately been forewarned. They slip string around your finger and weave you a friendship ring before you can say no, and then they charge you for it. I almost got caught, but I pulled free and kept climbing the hill. It was kinda a scary experience – they were really pushy. But I’m fine. We went up to the Sacre Couer and went inside – it’s absolutely gorgeous. It still baffles me that all of these churches and temples are open to the public to just come in whenever. And most of them are still functioning churches – they have services and everything, right along with the tourists. That’s totally a foreign concept to me, since LDS temples are definitely open to the general public and require an ecclesiastical recommend to get inside. It’s very interesting.

After the Sacre Couer we went back towards Notre Dame to grab a Panini from our Panini friend (he gave us free crepes again – yay!) and meet up with a free walking tour group. We walked all over Paris with them and got bits of history along the way. It was really fun – our tour guide was a riot. She had far too much energy ha ha but that’s a good thing for a tour guide I think (see picture at left). After the tour we hunted for souvenirs and dinner. I bought a French beret – a real French beret! Woo! Unfortunately, by the time we had found a place for dinner and rushed over the the Musee d’Orsay it was closed. This was the museum I was most looking forward to – it’s full of impressionist art, like Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, etc. – all my favorites. Bummer!

But since it was closed we went to the Louvre. It’s kind of amazing when you can just pop on over to the Louvre. Amazing! So we visited Mona Lisa again. She’s doing well. A little bored, but good J We returned to the hotel and I tried to rearrange my clothes and stuff so they were under the weight limit. We’ll see if it worked tomorrow. It probably didn’t.

Paris holds the key to your heart

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today we slept in! Not completely in, but enough to feel rested. We decided to take a train out to Versailles to see the palace – it was absolutely amazing! One of my favorite places I’ve been this summer so far. It was huge and beautiful and ornate. The Hall of Mirrors was probably my favorite part of the actual palace.

But the best part overall was Marie Antoinette’s hamlet, situated in a park a little ways from the palace. Oh my goodness, I could have died from how cute it was! I loved it so much! Thanks to Mama C who recommended we go. It was like a fairytale village, straight out of a story book. And while we were there it began to rain a bit, making it somehow more picturesque. I could hardly believe it. I can totally see why Marie Antoinette would prefer it to the palace.

After our journey home we ventured out to have some dinner. We decided we needed to have at least one legit French meal while we were here, even though the legit food is like 3 times more expensive than the American or store food. So we found a little cafĂ© and we ate there – the most expensive meal I’ve ever had, but boy was the salmon amazing! It was probably the most amazing food I’ve ever had, so I guess that’s what you pay for, right? It was fun to have a real Parisian dinner.

After dinner we hopped on the metro to find the Arc de Triumph, and on our way we encountered some accordion players who actually weren't terribly talented but were actually quite entertaining. One of them put some moves on Whitney (see picture). Apparently that sort of thing happens to her a lot.

Then a whole bunch of supporters of the Algerian football team hopped on the train with us and were celebrating and singing – they had just tied England in the world cup. It was really fun and crazy. There were also some Mexican supporters – Mexico beat France in football that night too. They were all heading to the Arc de Triumph to celebrate. It was crazy fun. We took some pictures and headed home real fast because Whitney is leaving for the airport via taxi at 4:30 tomorrow morning. These past two days have been amazing! I’ll be honest though, I’m burning myself out…I don’t know how much more my body and mind will let me take. It’s so cool to be here in Paris though – it’s really such a beautiful city. I'm now going to Paris!