Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Win Some, Lose Some

K, so yesterday was awesome. Luke had the day off. He's through with training, so now he's got a really sporadic schedule with random, rotating days off. Plus side - variety. Down side - lots of Sunday working. But we're both more than used to that after Disney, and he can at least go to sacrament, unlike in Florida. Anyway, like I said, great day. We rolled out of bed around nine-thirty-ish (I am going to be so screwed when I finally find a job and have to get up early!), ate breakfast, and all that good stuff. Then we had a whole day to do whatever we wanted . . . on days like this, I'm kind of a huge fan of this whole grown-up thing, you know? Anyway, we watched a couple of episodes of Stargate SG-1. Luke's known I'm a junkie for a while, and he'd seen a few episodes, so we've been intending to rent it sooner or later, but about a month ago we checked out hulu on a whim to see if they had it. That's all we've watched, but I have a new favorite website!! How could I not, when I have access to a DanielJackson fix 24/7 at my fingertips? Yay!! (and for anyone curious, they sow the Sci-Fi version of the pilot, not the Cinemax version) And even better - when we started watching they only had seasons 1-4 available, but sometime in the last week or so season five appeared . . . woot! I figure if you go slowly enough they'll get all ten seasons up by the time we're ready for them. So we watched "Thor's Hammer" and "The Torment of Tantalus" (for those in the know, haha), and then, in the name of continuing to break Luke in to Utah life, we watched The Home Teachers. I have to admit, I'd seen this one before, and I really don't care for it. Blatant recycling of The RM and Single's Ward without enough new material - LAME!! Those two were pretty good . . . not hysterical or anything, but I did actually laugh out loud the first time I saw them. Not so with THT. But at least now Luke knows what sort of companion he might find himself stuck with around here. Because seriously . . . yeah, people are not like that outside of Utah. For the most part, anyway. At least, everyone in our single's ward in Florida was comparatively normal.

Anyway, after the movie Luke was a little restless . . . so we played Mario Kart for a while. Instead of, you know, going for an actual drive or walk or something. :-) But it was fun, dangit!! But after a while we decided we wanted to cuddle on the couch again (side note: the too-fluffy, over-stuffed cushions are slowly but surely getting beaten into submission. It's almost comfortable to sit on the couch!!) so we popped in Single's 2nd Ward. And believe it or not - it was actually pretty good! How crazy is that?!? Even though we both like the first one, neither of us were really expecting much . . . but it was clever, and actually had some new jokes. Definitely not Oscar material, but I'd give it a pretty solid three stars. Or one thumb up. Something like that. By this time it was starting to get a little late, but Luke felt like watching more Stargate, so we watched "Bloodlines." By the time it was over it was almost midnight, so we decided to crash. (Obviously I've skipped over the boring parts, like reading together and picking movies and making snow cones and popcorn before starting the movie . . . ) By far, one of the best days we've spent in a while. Completely responsibility and obligation free . . . good times.

And then today. Grrrrrr. Actually, not that bad, but I was annoyed. So we're getting low on clothes, so I decided to do laundry today. Ignoring the fact that I thought my hoarding-quarters days ended years ago (and seriously, what is up with NONE of the apartments in Logan having washer and dryer in the units? LAME!!!!!!!!!), if I didn't know better I would think we were the only people in the complex who did laundry. Granted, I'm usually in there in the middle of the day, but I've done laundry just about every day of the week, and I've been in there early in the morning and late afternoon and I've NEVER seen anyone else in the laundry room. So I go downstairs intending to knock out three loads at once (I will admit, that is a plus side to having to leave the apartment to wash clothes), and what happens? Two of the washers are already being used!! So what was going to be about a two-hour chore turns into four hours . . . grrrrr!! Granted, I realize this isn't really a big deal . . . but seriously? What are the odds? Those things are NEVER in use, and suddenly I'm lucky to get one? Lame! The next place we live in WILL have a washer and dryer in it . . . or at least hook-ups. Absolute deal-breaker.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been trying to pick a picture at the top of my blog with the title. Now, with the blogs where I've seen it done it goes all the way across and looks really cute. But when I tried it only took up half the space and looked . . . well, ridiculously dumb. And I can't figure out how to make the picture stretch across the entire header. So my question for those of you who have pictures (Julie and Sarah) . . . how did you do it?

P. ost S. cript
I found this one a couple of months ago, and it's just too cute not to share. (warning - put down the sugary snack. This one's about a 14 on the cutesy-o-meter)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

You know that facebook group "I Judge You When you Use Poor Grammar?"

If I joined facebook groups, which I don't as a rule (there are about four I've joined), I would totally join that one. There are very few things that bother me more than bad grammar and just ignorance in general.

Today in Sunday School the lesson was on Zion's Camp, as I would assume most of you probably already knew. As far as I know our ward is pretty much on track. Anyway, at one point in the lesson the teacher was trying to draw parallels between that time period and ours - familiar concept, no? He started with the historical setting, which I thought a little odd, but okay, let's roll with that. The only information he could got from the class in answer to his questions was "wasn't Missouri, like, almost completely lawless or something?" Ummmmmm . . . WHAT?!?!?!?!?! This is a student ward. Meaning I am in a room with 50+ college students, most of whom are lifelong members and have probably had this lesson a million times or more, and that's ALL they can come up with? Are you freaking kidding me?!? Since we're still one of the newest couples in the ward (and because I'm too shy to volunteer information . . . pretty much ever . . . ) I didn't say anything - also, I didn't want to look like a know-it-all - but this is what was going through my head: "Missouri had just been admitted to the Union under the Missouri Compromise, which allowed it to be a slave state even though most of the state lies north of the Mason-Dixon Line because Maine was also admitted to the Union, but as a free state, and that way they kept the balance of power even in Washington. And while it was the edge of the country at the time, it wasn't lawless. But Jackson County, where the Saints lived, is on the western edge of the state, and that area did attract a pretty good number of people on the run from the law because the could live in civilization but if someone came looking for them, they could easily slip away into Indian Territory for as long as they needed to."

Surely I'm not the only person in our class that knows all this . . . right?

So a moment later the teacher is having us list the trials faced by the men of Zion's Camp. And he calls on Luke. And Luke says "poor and scanty rations." The teacher gives him a blank look for a second, like he doesn't understand what Luke said, than he nods and writes "poor rassons" on the board. To his credit, he realized he'd spelled rations wrong and fixed it, then checked with Luke to make sure he'd got it the second time because, as he said, "you're the English major." Yeah, apparently we're the only ones in the whole ward. Seriously? Seriously? It's probably obvious, but I was a little distracted for the rest of the lesson.

I know it's prideful and horrible of me and everything you're thinking right now, but I really can't help but pass a little bit of judgement on people when I find out that they don't have a knowledge of things like basic history and vocabulary. I try not to, I really do. But . . . come on! The first time I learned about the Missouri Compromise was in fifth grade US history. Then we studied it in a little more detail in 11th grade US history. And then again in the US history class I took in college to fulfill my generals. (I wish I could have squeezed in more history classes. I'm kind of a history buff.) So what were the rest of the people in our ward doing on Missouri Compromise Day in history class . . . sleeping? No, don't answer that. They probably were. It's not like anyone cares what grade you get in history class, unless that's your major. Whatever happened to "those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it"? Nobody cares about the past anymore. Nobody remembers it. And that, in my less-humble-than-it-should-be opinion is the reason for a lot of conditions in the world today. (Interpret as you will. That's all you'll ever hear me say about that.)

And okay, I'll admit, the whole intimate knowledge of US history in the 1800s? Yeah, it helps to have read The Work and the Glory 10+ times. Part of the reason I enjoy those books so much is because of the detailed history lectures interspersed with the story. Like I said, I'm a history buff. I love that sort of thing. But come on - life. Long. Members. That means at least one Zion's Camp lesson every four years since forever. And I remember Zion's Camp lessons when I was younger . . . like, 13 or 14. So you can't say it's just the limited amount of time people in a student ward have spent in the "grown up" Sunday School. Am I really the only person who knows/remembers these sorts of things? The only person who cares to study them? It seems to me that that can't be possible. I remember feeling fascinated in my D&C Institute class about five years ago when our teacher "translated" a passage frome section 88 into "modern" speak.

". . . all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God that are expedient for you to understand; of things both in heaven (astronomy) and in the earth (geography), and under the earth (geology); things which have been (HISTORY!!), things which are (current events), things which must shortly come to pass (prophecy), things which are at home, things which are abroad, the wars and the perplexities of the nations (politics, anyone?) . . . " (88:78-80, if anyone cares)

I remember the feeling of comprehension dawning as I finally got what that passage was saying . . . followed quickly by a feeling of relief since it doesn't mention math or any of the math related sciences. Seriously - thank freaking heaven for that! But anyway, after classes like today I find myself wondering - am I the only person who knows that we're supposed to study pretty much everything? Sometimes it feels like it.

Okay, moving on to the vocabulary lesson. I honestly think Luke got a brief blank look because our teacher had never heard the word "scanty" used for anything other than to describe someone as "scantily clad." It drives me nuts how so many people in Utah (not everybody, again thank heaven!) seem to have no concept of words having multiple definitions. I remember a while ago when I was exploring another group on facebook someone had invited me to join - one of those generically Christian "yay for morals!" type groups. Some guy had started a thread talking about how much he admired modest girls. Almost immediately the Mormons (and I'm using that term in its TAMNest sense) hijacked it talking about how they hated seeing girls in crop tops and short shorts and spaghetti straps and . . . yeah. You get the picture. The original author tried to redirect the discussion back to what he meant - all around modest girls. You know, girls who are humble, not vain, decent in everything, not just clothes, and do things in moderation (hmmm . . . modesty, moderation . . . related words perhaps? Nah . . . ). I had to applaud his doomed efforts. I can imagine the blank looks people gave their screens before typing "wait . . . but I thought we were only talking about modest girls, not (insert synonym for modesty here)." Because in Utah modest means nothing more than dressing appropriately. Talk about ignorance! (And while we are talking about it, don't even get me started on the Utah definition of ignorant!!) No wonder some people have such small vocabularies.

And that just makes me sad as an English major. I'll admit, "cool" and "crappy" are useful words, and I certainly use them myself - quite extensively even. But there are so many other ways to describe things that are even better! I miss being in college and hanging out with my English major friends and using big words because we knew we all understood them so we wouldn't have to pause the conversation to explain what we'd just said. Aahh, the joys of not having to be a human dictionary!

Okay, rant finished. Coming down off the soapbox . . . again. Hopefully I won't be getting back up for a while. But I had to get this one out, or I think I would have literally gone insane by the end of the week. (And I do mean literally. Another pet peeve: people who say literally when they're speaking figuratively. Unless you're being ironic, you sound like an idiot.)

Please don't get me wrong though. I really like our ward. Everyone is really nice, which is why this is such a soapbox moment for me - I know they're not small-town hicks who coasted through high school not caring. I'm even making friends. Slowly, but that's how I always make friends. I'm way too shy to randomly talk to people, so unless someone talks to me first I don't say much. But I really do like our ward. I just hate having my delusional bubbles burst . . . and I like to think everyone is as intelligent . . . no, make that knowledgeable . . . as I am. Because seriously? It's not like I'm a rocket scientist or anything . . .

P. ost S. cript
K, so I decided to try and keep up the Sunday-ish-ness (it was a spiritual soapbox rant . . . right?). My first thought was Latter-Day Night Live, but what little I've seen of it . . . wasn't very funny. But I did a quick youtube search anyway and this is what popped up at the top. Not hysterical, but about the funniest LDNL bit I've ever seen. Also, another two-for-one because the related videos had an excerpt of "Sweet Spirit" and I absolutely ADORE Sons of Provo. Not to mention it's really the only movie where I can stand Kirby Heybourne. I mean, seriously, does he have to be in EVERY LDS movie? Give me a break . . . he's not that good an actor. In fact, he's not very good at all. Well, actually, I really wouldn't know since he's played the same exact character in everything I've seen him in. For crying out loud, do something else!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

I have to admit, on one level, it's been kinda nice not having a job. The whole "do whatever, whenever" thing . . . very nice. I haven't had such a (relatively) responsibility free summer since the summer before my senior year of high school. It's sort of cool to have one again. That said, I'd certainly rather have a job and the money that goes with it. The last couple of weeks have been really nice though, because Luke is only working at Convergys now, instead of there and KMart. It was the strangest thing - as soon as he changed his availability at KMart in order to add Convergys, the number of hours KMart was scheduling him for jumped. I'm not sure, but they might have even doubled. That was an interesting failed experiment. Anyway, he's still in training, and works from 3-10, which means we get practically the whole day together - yay for less boredom!! But still, those seven hours can get pretty long. And even though I can read for hours on end, sometimes you just have to come up for air, you know? Lucky for me, I've discovered a few ways to fill the time.

For one thing, Saturday we decided to splurge a little, and bought a used Nintendo 64 and MarioKart. Kind of phenominal, I gotta say, because that is the only video game I've ever been able to pretend to be good at. (On the other hand, I can kick your trash at the original Oregon Trail, or pretty much any other computer game from that era . . . so I guess I wasn't too deprived, lol.) We only have two controllers right now, and our TV is so small it would probably be a bad idea for more than two people to try to play at a time, but if anyone is itching for some mindless time wasting . . . we have MarioKart!! :-)

And secondly (probably my favorite) I absolutely loved this article on slate when I found it at the beginning of the month. I followed a bunch of the links in it, and followed a few on those sites, and so on until now I have a nice little bookmark folder full of highly entertaining websites I can kill time on while I wait for my Sorority Life energy to replenish. Anyway, I thought I'd post a few of the best - here's hoping you get a laugh out of at least one or two.

1) Cake Wrecks - K, so I mentioned this one before, but holy crap it's awesome. Some of these cakes are just so . . . frightening . . . and hysterical . . .

2) Facebook Stupidity Mockeries - Three-for-One!! I'll admit, I've probably had some dumb status updates and such, but the things people will say when they're "anonymous" will never cease to amaze me. Also, I like to think that even if I had never found these, I still wouldn't ever take a picture of my kid's poop and put it on facebook. Just . . . eewwww. Also, be warned: as I mentioned before on facebook, if you post something that makes me laugh and/or think of one of these sites, I will submit you. I only ask that you do the same for me. We'll all keep each other facebook appropriate! (Warning for those who care: obviously all of these sites have a bit of non-Utah language peppered in, but these three are a bit more excesive at times.)

3) Awkward Family Photos - So funny . . . so awkward . . . so perfect. I'm tempted to get some of my family's old pics and submit them. I just might have to head over to Tremonton this weekend while Mom and Dad are in Silver to go through a few. (don't tell, Grandma!)

4) Stuff White People Like - Ok, I'd heard of this one before slate, but I had no idea what a gem it is. And so pathetically true! I was totally wanting to start a "stuff Mormons like" blog . . . yeah, somebody beat me to it. Grrr. There really is no such thing as original thought left in the world. That said, I'm thinking I might have to do a "stuff the Garlocks like" series (a la Because I Have No Shame) every now and again about stuff we like off of either blog. See, we can be cliche too! Take that, idea-havers-first!! Besides, no one should take themselves seriously all the time.

5) Engrish - Okay, Luke actually introduced me to this one, back when we were still in Orlando. And he had to explain it to me. So you know how it's "cool" to get a tatto or wall art or something in Asian characters, and most of the time people with said tattoo/wall art don't actually know what it means, or think it says something other than what it says? Turns out the same thing is true in Asia with English. Some of these are t-shirts with weird phrases on them like that, some are just mis-translations. All are pretty dang funny. (warning for those who care again - a lot of them are accidental innuendos.)

6) Overheard in the Office (and it's counterparts) - I actually stumbled across the New York site a couple of years ago and forgot about it, and in the meantime four other companion sites sprang up . . . score!! Again, the things people say will never cease to amuse me. Some aren't that funny, and some a really . . . inappropriate, for lack of a better word, but some are real gems! (Warning again - heavy language with these ones, and deliberate innendo.)

7) Grammar Nazis - Two blogs after my own heart!! BEcause seriously, these are two of my biggest pet peeves . . . I mean, come one people! Is it really that hard to write intelligently?! I actually know of two places here in Logan with signs up that I need to get pictures of for the apostrophe site.

8) Fail - I'm assuming you're already familiar with the meme . . . I think this is the start of it. Whether it is or not - hys. Ter. Ical. And some of the pictures . . . I really want to know how things like that happen in the first place!!

9) Listverse - This one is just cool. And talk about a genius idea, capitalizing on people's love of lists! I'm still working on going through this one to read all the lists that catch my eye. There are some really cool useless factoids waiting here. Who's up for some Trivial Pursuit?

10) This is Why You're Fat - Okay, I mentioned this one in my last blog, so this is more just to round of the list to an even ten. I've got a few more, but they're really not as great. All a similar concept though - absurd pictures relating to a particular topic like passive-aggresive notes or really bad pics used in realty listings and such. Let me know if you want the links and I'll post more!

So . . . yeah. I'm keeping myself occupied these days. Now if I could just figure out how to make money by reading blogs . . .

P. ost S. cript
I don't remember how we found this one, but I love it. They make t-shirts of it. Oh, how I want one!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Soap Box Moment

So yesterday was mine and Luke's three-month anniversary - yay!! Anyway, we decided to celebrate that and Luke's first Convergys paycheck (it doubled the number in our bank account!) so we ate at Cral's Jr. Classy, eh? Anyway, I got the Santa Fe chicken sandwich (yummy) combo, medium because I was fairly thirsty and I figured it would be a pretty good-sized drink to fix that. The guy hands me a cup that was - I kid you not - a good eight inches tall. What?!? What the CRAP?!?!? That's monster sized!!! Now, I realize there is only one person (to my knowledge) younger than me who reads my blog, so I'll probably cause a few eye rolls here, but . . . I remember when drinks that size were considered extra large!!! Luke got a small. Again, HUGE cup considering it was supposed to be "small," but it was more the size drink I'd had in mind. Seriously? How did this happen? I've seen all the news reports and articles and stuff talking about how portion sizes are, like, three times as big as they were twenty years ago. I don't get it. Why did places start serving more food? Wasn't it cheaper to keep things small? Let's just keep with the drinks. Cups were smaller. That meant less liquid in the cup. Less consumed . . . and you have to replenish the supply less often. And since the cups were smaller, it would take a smaller box to ship them to the individual restaurants. Or you could use the same size box and ship more. Either way is still more efficient than making the cups bigger. Or plates, bread supply, meat patties, whatever. How does making things bigger make sense financially? And people wonder why they're fat?! Yeah, that's kind of an awesome photo blog I've discovered. I'll admit some of the stuff on there looks like it would make a yummy occasional treat. But some of it . . . I can't imagine people eating it! Forget "this is why you're fat" . . . this is why there are people who weigh 500+ pounds and haven't left their bed in years! What is wrong with society that people are eating like this?!

Okay, soap box moment number two. We also went to the mall yesterday, and I was browsing through the cards at Hallmark because I love doing that. (Side note: Hallmark is hiring - cross your fingers for me!!) So I scan through all the birthday cards picking up the ones that catch my eye, slowly making my way down the aisle. And the birthday cards slowly morph their way into engagement and bridal shower cards, and there, right between the shower cards and the wedding cards is a tiny little section. So small, in fact, that there are three to five different types of cards in a single slot. Intriguing . . . what are these cards that Hallmark needs to keep such a small stock of them on the shelves? Only the dumbest cards in existence.

1) A "new car" card. No, not a "yay, you're 16, stay off the sidewalks, Morgan has the keys" card. A "you bought a new mini-van because your old one died, yay!" card. What? Seriously? LAME!

2) A "going off to college" card. (these are the headings Hallmark has them under . . . not making this up!) What? I opened that one . . . it said something to the effect of "as you start this new phase in life . . . blah blah blah . . . ambition . . . blah . . . dreams . . . blah . . . goals . . . blah blah" Again, what? The last time I checked, that was called a graduation card, and you got it at the end of the school year. So when did people start getting a second card three months later that said essentially the same thing? Talk about a Hallmark created "holiday" Valentine's and Mother's Day have nothing on this one! And why the heck hadn't they created this fake occasion back when I graduated high school? I could have scored twice the graduation money, DANGIT!!!! (please note: last sentence should be read dripping with sarcasm. kind of like some of those nasty food pictures are dripping with sauces.)

3) A "child's dance recital" card. I confess that by this point I was somewhat disgusted, so I didn't pick it up, but I think I can guess at its contents. "Congratulations on having the money to put your kid in dance so you have to go sit through a boring dance recital. Guess what? I don't! Woot." Seriously, what's next? A "congratulations, you've potty trained you're kid" card? Actually, there might have been one of those. I didn't spend a lot of time looking at these ones. I was too blown away by what I saw to keep looking. I think I'm scarred for life now.

Okay, getting off the soap box now. I just spent so much time wondering at the state of society that I had to spew it out a little. Good times.

P. ost S. cript
And continuing to peruse from the file of ridiculousness, this one comes straight out of the so-bad-it's-gota-be-good pile. Luke and I found this trailer for the straight-to-DVD gem a while back and we pull it up every now and again when we feel like mocking something. We've decided we HAVE to get this movie . . . and of course by "HAVE to" we mean we'll "definitely be grabbing it if we happen to notice it at the top of Walmart's $5 bin when we walk by." But the trailer is always good for a laugh or three.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Bucket List: Sights and Events Edition

A little more specific than my other list. This is some of the things I want to do when I visit the countries I mentioned before. And, just like the last list, this one is in no way, shape, or form definitive or anywhere near final. In fact, if you're that curious, I would suggest checking it every so often - I just might update it . . . both of them. Probably a good idea, that way I won't forget anything that really catches my fancy.

Note: even though there may be quite a few religious items on the list, don't think I'm considering changing mine. I firmly believe that holy sites are holy for a reason, and who's to say that the original (and quite possibly lost) reason is not somewhat closer to what I (and at least some of you) believe? And with that in mind, who knows what one could learn when visiting these places in the right frame of mind? And even if I'm completely wrong, they're still fascinating. Now without any further ado, my list (no particular order):

1. see the snows of Kilimanjaro (from what I've read in the last few years, it sound like I'd better check this one of pretty soon . . . or never . . . )

2. visit all seven continents and the North Pole

3. visit Lyme Park (the estate used as Pemberly in the BBC version of P&P . . . best version ever!!) and after googling the name of that estate, I just might have to add Chatsworth to that trip too!

4. see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and something off-Broadway the next night. And Phantom, if possible - although that one will probably be tough . . . and definitely not on Broadway . . .

5. go to Mass in St. Peter's

6. get a picture of me standing in front of the Statue of Liberty . . . and the miniature version in Paris (which will also check off Les Jardins du Luxembourg on my extensive Sites to See in Paris list . . . I'll have to post that one sometime . . . )

7. visit (not necessarily go in, but at least see) every temple in the world. This one's gonna be tough. And un-finish-able. But fun to try!! :-) Currently: 22 down, 124 to go.

8. volunteer with an archealogical dig

9. go on a safari

10. the pyramids, of course . . . and the Valley of the Kings

11. ride a camel

12. eat camel

13. see Victoria Falls

14. Angel Falls

15. Yosemite Falls

16. Havasu Falls

17. can you tell I have a thing for waterfalls? Just insert a few more here

18. haggle with shopkeepers in African and Asian marketplaces

19. see the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan

20. spend a day on Loch Ness watching for Nessie

21. spend Christmas in Bethlehem

22. spend Easter Week in Jerusalem

23. okay, this one's going to sound a little crazy/impossible. My junior (sophomore?) year of college I took a European Lit class, and when we read Kafka's "Metamorphosis", my professor passed around a photo he'd taken of a statue in - I think - Prague. It's of a man just barely hanging onto a ledge and hanging a good ten feet-ish in the air, and the look on his face is one of indifferent acceptance of his situation, which, as my professor pointed out, is very Gregor Samsa-esque (the main character who wakes up one morning to find he's turned into a giant cockroach . . . I highly recommend the story if you haven't read it.) I want to find that statue and take my own picture of it.

24. teach English in a foreign country. Or two. Or three.

25. tour the Forbidden City

26. see the terra cotta warriors

27. volunteer in a third world or war-torn country. I have a friend from high school who just got back from participating in the protests in Honduras . . . I don't think I could go that far, but I do want to do something worthwhile.

28. adopt a child from a foreign country. (this one's a maybe. and I'd totally put it on the list pre-Angelina. in case you were wondering.)

29. a picture of me and Luke at the Taj Mahal . . . so cliche, but this is one time I'm willing to be completely and utterly cliche

30. go to Mass at Notre Dame de Paris

31. visit the Hagia Sophia

32. participate in the Holi . . . in India, not Provo (although I'll take Provo next year . . . but just for now . . . )

33. meditate in a Bhuddist temple (just have to stay away from the monks . . . and believe it or not, I learned that by working for Disney!)

34. visit a Hindu temple . . . and do whatever it is they do there

35. find what the non-popular-tourist-destination equivilant for Bali is and go there

36. see Uluru, naturally

37. drive across Australia. I read One Year Off shortly before the wedding . . . I'd never thought of this one before then, but now it's a definite maybe.

38. swim in the Great Barrier Reef . . . another cliche, but I hear it's worth it

39. spend Christmas on Christmas Island . . . because you can't get any more Christmas-y than that! :-)

40. go submarine diving in the Bermuda Triangle looking for lost shipwrecks . . . I can be a little daredevil-y sometimes!

41. work for at least a day in a place like Williamsburg . . . or volunteer, or whatever it is you have to do to get to where the period clothes and walk around pretending you really lived then. A mission to Nauvoo in about 40 years would take care of this one . . . now how do I pull that off . . . ;-) (Aunt Tawya - I'm in the middle of Austenland right now - can you tell? lol)

42. Petra. If for no other reason than to see the set for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Yep, I am that much of a geek. (and the Raider's March is playing on my itunes right now)

43. visit every national park in the US

44. stop at all the little state parks and monuments on the way the Silver City that we were always going to stop at "next time" - Couthouse Rocks, Newspaper Rocks, etc. And on that note . . .

45. actually go inside Hole in the Wall, instead of just driving by.

46. do family history research when we visit countries where either of us have ancestors

47. see Big Ben (I still have the postcard you sent me Aunt Sharon . . . I'm blaming you for the wanderlust! ;-P )

48. spend a day at Versailles

49. visit a Shinto shrine

50. learn about one new thing/place/event to add to the list every place I go

Okay, I've been at this for over an hour . . . stopping for now, and I'll add things whenever I think of them. And I'm definitely open to suggestions!!


51. hunt for witches in Salem

52. visit the Studio Ghibli Musuem

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Again, going with an international flavor . . .

Ever heard of the ABC show "I Survived a Japanese Gameshow"? Luke and I caught a few episodes last summer. Hil. Ar. Ious! There was also a short-lived Japanese-imported show on Fox last summer called "Hole in the Wall." Also pretty freaking awesome. And the real Japanese gameshows? Even better!! Luke and I have wasted away hours giggling at videos like this one - in fact you'll probably be seeing more than just this one as time goes on . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Sad Commentary on Our Times

So all last week we were having problems with our internet connection. Really weird problems too. It was kind of slower than normal, and every evening at around seven it would just disappear. Nothing. Wireless completely gone, and the wired was hit and miss. But then, just like clockwork, between nine and ten it would come back. And work just fine until the next day at seven. Weirdest Internet problem ever. Sunday it went out at 7:30, and never came back. No Internet all day yesterday. I spent a good chunk of my afternoon trying to get it back up . . . one of the "perks" of being the maintenance people for the summer - one call to the manager and I got the customer service number for Qwest and the account number for the complex. Sadly the guy I ended up talking was no help. Grr. On the plus side, when Luke got home from Convergys training he went down to take a look at it, and apparently the problem was exactly what he'd learned about at work. How convenient is that?! So he fiddled around for a bit and pushed buttons and played with cords and wires and . . . yeah. I have no idea what he did. And when he tried to explain the problem it went completely over my head. As if the phrase "it's all Greek to me" was coined solely and expressly for our conversation last night. However, obviously, it worked, and we are back online. Woot. The wireless is still acting really funking and tempramental, but the wired is fine . . . and as long as one of them's working, I'm perfectly content.

Which brings me to my point. I thought I was going to go nuts yesterday. Well, yesterday afternoon anyway. I spent most of the morning doing errands. Since the a/c in my car doesn't work I try to be home for the day by about one. Anyway, all afternoon - when I was't on the phone with Qwest - I had to fight the urge to try "just one more time" to get connected. Granted, I have plenty of books to keep me occupied, and I probably read about 600 more pages than I would have otherwise, and I do appreciate the fact that while I'm not getting paid and sometimes get bored, having such extensive uninterrupted time for reading is a treat that can't last forever. But yesterday I wanted my internet. Undoubtedly mostly because it wasn't there, like most other people would be feeling I imagine. I wanted to read the comics I get emailed to me every day (how could I survive without my Pearls Before Swine?! Oh the humanity!!). I wanted to waste time mindlessly combing through cake wrecks, and some of the other blogs I've found this summer. And holy crap, I was dying to start some fights on Sorority Life. That game has really sucked me in!! (What? You have your Mafia Wars or Vampire Wars or whatever. So I chose the pink one. Don't judge me!)

Is this what it's come to? I do nothing of significant importance online, and yet, when I don't have access to it, I go crazy. I remember being sent outside during the summer when we lived in IF and told not to come back in until dinnertime. I usually took a book out with me - and sometimes it got tough trying to sneak back in to switch books - and there was other stuff to do . . . mostly the trampoline and occasionally we'd have water fights. I'll admit I was bored a lot back then - one can only throw a bucket of water at Ashli so many times before it gets old. A lot of times, don't get me wrong. But that too, eventually gets old. One can only jump on the tramp for so long - no matter what kind of shape you're in - before one is too out of breath to keep going. And as I've mentioned before, things like dishes and vacuuming and such only take so long. I've actually started doing dishes every other day just so that it takes longer when I do wash them. But have I really become such a boring/uncreative person that one day without the interet leaves me climbing up the walls? That's . . . kinda pathetic, not gonna lie. And the cray thing is, now that the internet is back, I've spent more of my time reading than online. Please, tell me I'm not the only person out there who's this contrary!

On another note, I was at familysearch Sunday when the internet went down, just exploring a little because we'd talked a little about family history at church. And I was remembering how much I enjoyed it my senior year of college when I took that family history class and was starting to learn how to do everything. I want to try and start that up again - especially considering how much free time I have for it right now. The only problem is, I have no idea what to do or where to start or how to find anything. Especially considering on line I was following backward (just to see how far I coud go) went all the way back to the 1300s! How am I supposed to pick that up and go forward with it? Or any of the others even? Any tips/help would be great, at least to get me started . . .

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Another cutesy one. Team Jayla showed us this one about a month ago, and I got a kick out of it. Shay and I can both do the voice . . . although it is a bit of a strain on the vocal chords . . .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Altogether Too Many Legs!

I hate bugs. With a passion. And our apartment . . . no, our entire complex is crawling with box elder bugs. We had a problem with them when we were upstairs too. Man, those things are nasty!! It gets really bad in here during the late afternoon - the hottest part of the day right before the sun goes down and it cools off. I'm thinking they must be attracted to or stimulated by the heat or something, because I've noticed that the last two days haven't been quite as hot and there also haven't been quite as many b.e. bugs crawling around in here. But even when Luke moved in back in February there were always around. Don't these things freeze?!?

The (almost) funny thing is, they remind me a lot of the love bugs in Florida. The coloring is about the same on both of them, and neither really does/hurts anything. They're both just annoying. So much so that I've spent the last couple of weeks internally debating which one I find more annoying. (What can I say, when you paint by yourself you have a lot of time for mind wandering. I actually came up with a lot of ideas for blog posts, so you'll be seeing more random stuff like this for a while.) Here's what I came up with.

Box Elder Bugs:
~are, apparently, a year-round annoyance. +1 obnoxiousness point
~can't be shooed away very well - unlike a fly, you have to actually flick or brush it off whatever it's crawling all over. +1
~never go away (see: February, above) +1
~I woke up last night multiple times because a cursed bug was crawling on my leg . . . I hate that feeling!!! +3
~don't really congregate en masse. -1
total = 5

Love Bugs:
~eat the paint when you it them with your car unless you get them off soon after (my car is evidence of this one . . . poor girl . . . ) +1
~are attracted to car fumes . . . especially diesel . . . which means there was no escaping them for me when I was at work during love bug season. +1
~ever seen a cloud of gnats or other teeny-tiny bugs? now imagine that was a cloud of paired off love bugs. and you have to walk through it. or push the elevator button underneath it. or sit on the seat it's covering. the wikipedia link has a pretty good picture of a small covering of the things. (much smaller than average!) +4
~are seasonal. you only see them for about a month around May/June and then again September-ish. -1
~there is absolutely no avoiding them during love bug season. you will be covered. your car will be covered. your front door will be covered. etc., etc., etc. . . . +1
total = 6

So apparently love bugs win for annoyance . . . well fought, box elder bugs, well fought. In a few more days I'll find more annoying things about you and the tide will totally turn in your favor.

What is the purpose for bugs anyway? Surely there could have been some other natural way to accomplish whatever good they do for nature back during the creation. Self-polinating flowers or something, you know? I'm pretty sure I probably lobbied for something like that back during the Creation. Bugs are just . . . eeww. And creepy. And altogether too many legs! What do they need that many legs for? If we can get around on two legs, I don't think they need dozens . . . no more than four . . . like kitties. Kitties are cute and fluffy. And don't even get me started on spiders!! I'm mildly arachnaphobic . . . to put it mildy.

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So I hadn't planned on blogging today, even though I've been mentally composing this post for a little while now. But last night a friend from Florida (one of the elders who taught Luke, actually) posted this on facebook. And I HAD to share it. Holy. Freaking. Hysterical!! No description other than that . . . but anyone who does not crack up seriously needs their sense of humor examined.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Ok, I have a confession. I've been reading your blog. Yes, yours. Yeah, yours too. In fact, if you're reading this and you have a blog, odds are I've read the entire thing - from your very first post - or I'm in the process of it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I need a job. I'll admit, the library books do go a long way in combating endless ennui, but sometimes you just wanna spend some time mindlessy wandering the web. And one can only take facebook personality quizzes for so long. Especially when you've already taken them on quizilla and blogthings to put on your myspace profile (which you haven't checked in over a year). And even before that you were procrastinating writing not only college papers, but HIGH SCHOOL papers taking the SAME quizzes on emode, which became tickle, and now apparently doesn't even exist anymore. Dang. And believe me, some things really do never change. Like my results on some of those quizzes. Ironically, my results on the ones like "what day will you get married?" were never once the same, even when I put in the same answers. None of the results were right either, but that's probably a moot point now, isn't it?

Anyway . . . yeah. I've read everything. Seen it all. (And I've gotta say, Aunt Tawnya - great pics, you looked a lot like Grandma when you were little, and dare I venture a guess that I know which sister had to know how you wanted her kids to dress for your wedding before she could let us . . . I mean them . . . pick the pattern/fabric for the new outfits she'd be making?) It's made for some pretty good stuff. (Another aside - Aunt Sharon, the very first thing I thought of with your band name post was this. Assuming you're unfamiliar, you'll get it after about a minute.) Among other things, I've discovered that if I had ever had reason to think I was adopted . . . yeah . . . nope. Unless one of YOU is my real Mommy . . . ;-) Now I know where I get

~ my inclination to decorate . . . and my ineptitude at it
~ my extreme love of jewelry (personally, I go for necklaces and, to a small extent, earrings)
~ my obsession with everything Christmas (ok, that could arguably have been Mom . . . but she doesn't get near as into it . . . btw, how do you like this no names thing? Have fun guessing who I'm talking about!)
~ my tendancy to be paranoid about whether people actually like me or not (not entirely unfounded . . . but that's a subject for another blog . . . )
~ my lack of willpower around sweets (I can have a package of Oreos sit in my cupboard for a month unopened . . . the day I open it, one can only hope it lasts the rest of the day . . . )
~ my bizarre desire to have all light switches pointed down when the lights are off (not quite so extreme as to call it a need . . . and I'm soooooooooooo glad I don't have any triple switches!!!!)
~ I'm not the only one who's been on both sides of the "to have kids or not to have kids" question (I love kids . . . I also love giving them back when I'm done . . . )

And at least one of you can pass this little gem of a story along: the last time I was asked to give a talk in sacrament, I got so nervous the night before that I was literally up almost all night sick. Seriously - puking, or hurrying to the bathroom thinking I was going to until about 4 in the morning, when I finally fell asleep. I woke up at 10:45. Church was at 10. Sacrament first. Luke can vouch for me. So can my parents since, ironically, that happened to be the weekend they came out to Orlando to meet Luke. Yeah. Good stuff. Normally I just do the whole not-quite-a-panic-attack-on-the-stand-then-tears-of-terror-so-intense-you-can't-tell-if-I'm-talking-or-not thing too. Not this time. Oh, the horror. I can only hope my younger cousin(s) will be encouraged . . . or at least amused, and thereby less nervous because of sharing that story.

And to those of you not related to me - Sarah ~ I'm sad you couldn't make it to our reception as much because I didn't get to meet Trevor as because I didn't get to see you. Holly ~ switch Trevor for Katie. Adorable, both of them!!!

Also, so I won't forget in a future post, if any of you ever happen to be involved in planning a baby shower for me, I want a cake like this. Actually, no, I want that cake. And under no condition is there to be a cake like any of these. Eeww. Those last two are censored, but unless you want to answer awkward questions you might want to make sure the little kiddies aren't around before you open them. Again - eeww. (And Aunt Sandra - Holy. Awesome. Stargate. Cake!!! Can I have one for my birthday?!)

In case you can't tell, I've found ways to entertain myself while Luke is off being all breadwinner-y. Believe me, you'll be seeing more of those results. The good news is, these were the just-plain-wrongest.

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This one's in the same vein as the roomba kitties and last post's hamster. Luke and I both love kitties . . . Luke more than me. He has this cute little baby talk voice he uses to talk to cats . . . a voice that makes me laugh, although I can't see him using it on an actual human baby. We will have a kitty someday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay!

I have a library card again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven't had a (usable) library card since we left Idaho Falls. That's more than ten years. . . . sad. I'm wondering how I survived that long without one. A couple of new books for my birthday and Christmas are just not enough . . . but thank heaven the two are spaced out almost perfectly evenly!! Oh, how I've missed this.

I got my first library card in first grade on a field trip to the library. I still have it. I found it when I was going through all the stuff I'd left in the closet of my old room . . . yeah, keeping that one forever. If I was the scrapbooking type I would scrap it. If I hadn't gotten into the college program I was thinking about moving to IF and working there for a while until I decided what to do next (suffice it to say I was considering moving to a lot of different places after graduation). Every time I thought about that plan I wondered if I would still be able to use my old card with my six-year-old handwriting. I loved that library. They had a summer reading program . . . the top prize was for reading 30 books in the summer. I usually read over 100. It was absolutely tortureous though, waiting to go. Mom wouldn't take us until either the books were due or everyone had finished all their books. I'd check out about 15-20 at a time . . . and three days later I was ready to go back for more, but of course, no one else was. So I read the books Ashli checked out . . . and then the ones Shayla checked out . . . and more often than not I'd end up reading even Rian's books waiting to get more. (btw, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I like to read. It's not that obvious, is it? *eye roll*)

And then we moved to Tremonton. And since we didn't actually live within the city limits, we would have had to pay, like, $20 a year for a card . . . and that library? Sooooooooooooooooo not worth it. I went in there a couple of times . . . you couldn't pay me to go back. So teeny tiny, very little variety, unless you want to check out every single Ensign ever published. Or every single copy of The Leader (the baby-sized Tremonton paper). And since I didn't have a car in Cedar I never really had a chance to get a card there until my senior year . . . and then I didn't see the point, plus that was my busy year. Two jobs, full schedule . . . 20 page papers, very top-level French classes . . . yeah, not too condusive to pleasure reading. And I don't even know where to find the Orlando library, even if I had been able to carve out a little time for reading.

But then, there was Logan. Luke got a card practically as soon as he moved in . . . quite literally one of the very first things he did as a citizen of Logan. So I've been checking out books on his card since then, first because I didn't actually live here . . . technically . . . I practically did, I was pretty much only sleeping in Tremonton . . . and second because I'd been waiting to get my new driver's license and SSN card since you need to forms of ID to get a card. (On a side note, times sure have changed . . . the form I filled out said kids need a parent with ID to get a card . . . all I needed back in the day was a signed permission slip type form!) And I've had those for about a month now, but the couple of times I've gone in that time Luke was there and I usually forgot to grab my SSN card, so I've still been checking books out on his card. But the books I had out were due today, and Luke is working all day, so I took them ack and FINALLY got my card. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It feels sooooooooooooo good to have a library card again!!

On a slightly sad-ish note, I looked for all the authors y'all suggested a couple weeks ago. And I've discovered that the Logan library . . . kinda sucks. No Shannon Hale, David G Wooley, or Josi Kilpatrick. The only N C Allen they have is Faith of Our Fathers . . . read it! Only two Stephanie Black's . . . and I have one of them already (the good news is I like it . . . so hopefullly I like the other one . . . when it comes in) So out of seven author recommendations, they only have three of them. And of course, since no one else in this town reads anything else, most of their stuff was out. Grrrrrrrrrrrr. AND all the Philippa Gregory's are STILL out except a couple that I've already read, and one that's a third in a series, but I haven't read the second yet. Blargh.

The trip wasn't a total bust though. I did manage to snag a couple of Sariah Wilson's that sound potentially interesting, after multiple glowing reviews I'm giving Eyes of a Stranger (Rachel Ann Nunes) a chance, a couple of LM Montgomery's because I absolutely adore the Anne books and I've always wanted to read her other stuff, and, like a junkie in desperate need of a fix, two Star Wars novels. Good times. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do. YAY!!!!!!

PS - ten points to anyone who can name the reference for today's title!! If I was crafty and/or had money I would offer a prize or something, but this time around it's just gonna be bragging rights . . . maybe next time . . .

P. ost S. cript
This one's only for people who can handle cuteness meter readings of about eight (out of ten) or higher, but it cracks Luke and me up every time. I actually recorded a little bit of the song for a ringtone. Good times.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

NO MORE WHITE WALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I'm kinda sick of white walls. Can you tell? So boring . . . sterile . . . impersonal. And painting ended up being a much bigger project than I thought, but it's all good. I enjoyed it, I took rent waaaaaaaaay down (more on that later), and I don't have white walls anymore!!!!! So anyway, here's the story.

Last Thursday I went and got myself all stocked up on supplies and paint . . . because you kinda need that . . . yeah. Anyway, the plan was to paint the walls blue and the trim green, except for in the hall, where it was going to be reversed, walls green and trim blue. So I get all the stuff, come home, and go right to work, and since by the time I got everything and stuff I had only the afternoon to paint, I just painted the trim in the living room and guest bedroom/storage room. The green paint turned out to look a LOT brighter than we'd been envisioning, especially next to the white walls. The paint chip called it "green guild." We were calling it "neon pistachio" and "pepto bismal green." Luke hated it. I mean REALLY hated it. So much so that he was trying to talk me into either painting the trim back to white or a darker green. I didn't think it was that bad, although I can't deny it was a bit blinding at first glance. So in the name of compromise we agreed to do all the walls blue instead of switching things up in the hall in the hope that the blue would tone down the brightness of the green. Of course, this meant that I now had waaaaaaaaay to much green paint and not enough blue . . . good times. Good thing the landlord was paying for the paint!!

So Friday I finished painting the trim. Now, about that - I swear painting the trim was the hardest part of the whole project! I borrowed Aunt Sharon's paint edger . . . trimmer . . . knife thing . . . whatever . . . so I would't. have to tape down the carpet. Yeah, famous last words. I guess I'm just not as talanted, because I was having to stop after almost every strip Thursday to mop up little splotches on the carpet . . . good times . . . NOT! So I ended up taping down the carpet and tried it that way, but even though I wasn't getting paint on the carpet, I couldn't really get all the way down the trim very easily. So I split the difference, I guess you could say, and taped everything down but still used the edger to lay the carpet flat while I was painting, and then the tape kept the carpet clean while I moved on. Yay! Of course, it wsan't completely that easy . . . oh no. You see, our heaters are these long things placed right on the floor, practically on top of the trim. I figured, again on Aunt Sharon's expert advice, that I could paint the trim under them with minimal difficulty. Yeah . . . I did one. It was the biggest pain in the butt, and caused quite a few potential green carpet catastrophes. After that I decided that it's not like anybody looks under the heaters anyway . . . and heck, the one I did (in the kitchen) is the the only one you can even get far enough away from to notice the trim underneath without lying flat on your stomach and looking. So from then on I painted under the heaters just enough to make it look like the paint went all the way. Score one for the next people living here being college students who would never notice/care anyway.

So Saturday Team Jayla (Jason and Shayla, Shay picked that name from the choices I gave her) came down to help us out. Actually, they came down Friday for (yet another) recpetion for a high school friend of Shay's. (I kid you not, this is about the third since we got married . . . and there's at least two more this summer . . . her RM guy friends work fast!!) I was talking to her the week before and she was complaining how she was bored from lack of job-ness (must be a Barnes thing . . . at least right now . . . ) and I told her she should come help me. And since she was so immensly jealous that we got to paint, they did. Yay! I had grand dreams of getting the whole apartment done in one day . . . I'm sure those of you who have painted before are already laughing at that one. First off we got a later start than I'd planned for a few reasons, among them because I had to run to Walmart because we were out of tape to cover the trim and I'd forgotten to get drop cloths on Thursday. So Luke and I got started around ten or so, and Jayla (so much shorter and easier!) got there around 11:30, and that made things go a lot faster. Especially since Jason's so tall, he could paint right up to the ceiling without needing a chair . . . it sure was handy having him around!! However, it was right around this point, when we moved from our bedroom to the living room (we did those two first to make sure they, at least, got done and could be put back together) we al kind of realized something wasn't quite right. You see, in my internet and at-Walmart research I read all about the different kind of paint finishes. and everything said that flat paint was good for bedrooms, dining rooms, and dens. So I figured since that encompassed everything we would be painting except the living room, and since it was the cheapest, that that would be the paint finish to go with. Long story short . . . mistake. Thankfully, Jason is a bit of a paint expert . . . at least compared to the rest of us . . . so he and Luke went to Walmart to get some semi-gloss paint and a few other things we'd discovered we needed while Shay and I continued with the living room. We decided to do the first coat with the flat, and then the second coat with the semi-gloss, which was really nice, because that made it pretty easy to see where you had missed spots on the second coat. They came back with plenty of paint and a stack of pizzas, so we had ourselves a good long break and got back to work. We finished the living room pretty quickly, and can I just say that second coats go soooooooooooo much faster than first coats!!!! Every day I was surprised at how much faster the second coats went. With the second coat the blue turned out a litle darker than I was expecting (I compared the chip to the train on my dress after I picked it out of curiosty - perfect match! I guess I like that shade more than I thought!) but it did really tone down the neon-ness of the green . . . SUCCESS!!!!

So Monday I painted the other bedroom and hallway, Tuesday I painted the kitchen, and Wednesday morning I did touch-ups. Nothing much interesting to say there. Well, a couple of things. Monday, conveniently enough, was the day that the first installment of new furniture was delivered to the complex. All the couches and love seats are kind of old and gross, so they're being replaced a few at a time, and the people who paint their apartment get the new stuff first. And since the living room was done, we got ours - yay! It was especially convenient considering the only major paint mishap was a splotch on the arm of the love seat. The new stuff is really nice - matches the chocolate brown carpet perfectly, and (I think) kinda ties the walls and floor together as far as that goes. Downside? They're really well stuffed. I hesitate to say over-stuffed . . . maybe a little bit. But you can't slouch/lounge/relax in them, they kinda force you to sit up straight . . . not cool. So we're working on beating them into submission to the point that we can sprawl on them like the old ones. That said, they are MUCH more comfortable than the old stuff!! And remember our upstairs neighbor the singer? Good news: her playlist is growing. Better news: I still know and (mostly) like everything she plays. Even better news: her repeat button seems to be broken, or at least malfunctioning. Bad news: she's taking up opera. When I was painting the kitchen Tuesday I had our sliding back door open, of course (the smell of paint was really getting old by then!). And as I was starting on the second coat, she started singing. At least it was Phantom of the Opera. Sadly, it was the movie soundtrack . . . LAME!!! Emmy Rossum has a great voice, but she's no Sarah Brightman. And Gerald Butler vs. Michael Crawford. Puh. Lease. Playing the movie soundtrack is so poser-ish. Kind of like only playing the most well-known song from Wicked . . . oh, wait. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, should I? Anyway, she played Think of Me five times in a row. The good news is I could only hear her singing along with the aria at the end, and even then only faintly. Thank heaven . . . she can barely handle pop music, she should NOT be singing opera. And even though I love that song, if she had played it again I swear I would have gone upstairs and stabbed her with Aunt Sharon's edger. (I would have cleaned the blood off before I returned it! . . . )

So now the painting's done - yay!! And for the best part - I believe I mentioned that not only did management pay for the paint, they actually paid $8 and hour for the labor, to be taken off rent. Woot. So Wednesday after hauling all the paint crap to the storage shed we quickly made up a couple of hour charts. Here's where it gets really good . . . the other married couple that lives here are normally the on-site maintenance people, but they're in California for the summer. So we - well, Luke really - got the job for the summer, and hen we'll probably share when they get back. Anyway, that means Luke does things like posting notices on all the doors when parking lot maintenance is happening, and helping the furniture dudes with the new couches Monday and stuff like that - for $10 an hour off rent. Anyway, rent was due Wednesday, so we made up the hour charts and scanned copies of our painting receipts and headed down to pay . . . and between the money we spent on paint crap, the hours I spent painting, and the time Luke put in doig maintenance stuff, not only did we not have to pay ANY rent this month, we've already taken down next month's rent by $73!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man, that'a a good feeling!! So we decided to celebrate a little by going to this place Luke had heard about at work. And I'm telling you, if you're local and you haven't been there, you're missing out! We went to Wok on Wheels, right next to the Little Ceaser's across the street from the mall. It's sooooooo cheap!!!! Lunch is $4.79, and dinner is only about a dollar more - and the portions are HUGE!!!! The first few bites I took I knocked more rice off my plate onto the table than I was eating because they piled on so much. It was good too. Not stellar, but easily the quality you would expect from Panda Express or some Asian place in a mall, which is about how much it costs, and they give you more food. We both loved it . . . we'll definitely be going back there from time to time!! We also went and saw Up! yesterday, because we haven't been to a movie in forever. It was cute, and we both loved the Carl and Ellie story line, but the rest of it got a little too silly for us in places, and the plot was sometimes a bit of a stretch. But overall - pretty darn good.

Luke asked me what my next project is going to be. I told him a baby.

. . .

I hope he realized I was kidding . . .

hallway . . . obviously . . .

living room . . . notice the bags of newly purchased paint supplies . . . I almost forgot to take "before" pictures!!!

dining room . . . that we almost never eat in . . .

the other half of the living room . . . I have no idea how these got flipped . . . they were in order a second ago . . .

the kitchen. you may notice that I may have exagerated slightly about its size . . . I'm adjusting . . .

extra bedroom . . . huge props to Luke for helping me "finish" it. I had reached a point where all the boxes were gone but there were still the plastic tubs in the middle of the room, and I just couldn't figure out what to do with them to make them look "furniture-y."

the rest of that bedroom

our room . . . very plain . . . we're working on getting things for the walls, although now that they have some color it doesn't look quite so barren.

there's very little walking space in here between the bed (which is actually to twins pushed together) and the dressers.

And here's the after pictures!!!

our room again - so much better!!

I really like how it turned out.

Jason said it looks like a beach house. :-)

living room - note the fancy new furniture!!

Yeah, I totally stopped halfway down behind the fridge/stove. But you can't tell unless you're looking for it!! Luke didn't even know until he saw this picture. :-)

that pass-along card is pretty much the only religious art we have, except for the temple picture Ashli gave us for Christmas. And probably all there will ever be, except for the wedding pictures when we get them up . . .

Mom sent this to me for Christmas in '07. It was bubble-wrapped out the wazoo, but still didn't make it. It's in much better shape than the other one though - that one literally disintegrated . . . crumbled in my hands when I unwrapped the bubble wrap. Since this one was insuch good shape (comparstively) we decided to go all funky-art with it, so now it's hanging in our extra bedroom across the room from the bed. And I'm thinking I might have to comission a painting myself sometime in the future when we have money . . . family gets a discount, right?

P. ost S. cript
In a salute to all nations, but mostly America (a la Sam Eagle) I envisioned posting a glorious three hour fireworks video . . . but Kermit said I had a minute and half. (Man, I miss Muppet Vision 3D!) Anyway, here's a clip of the fireworks I watched last year. Actually, this guy's not too far from where I was . . . happy fourth of July everybody!!