Friday, July 27, 2012

Another Excursion into Anglophilia (And Alliteration!)

In which we visit once more why Lacey thinks other countries (specifically England) are pretty freaking cool and she needs to use that passport more.  Why?  Because OLYMPICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that's why.  (no time stamps on this one.  it's not the same when it starts at 6:30 in the evening your time.)

~ I love "Danny Boy."

~ Hey, it's "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah" again . . . except not only is it different words than the "MoTab" version, I'm pretty sure they're also different than the ones they sang at the royal wedding.  Color me confused.

~ Hello Kenneth Branagh.  You're my hero . . . even after sitting through a three-days long Hamlet. (it's really good . . . it just doesn't end!)

~ Soooooooooooooo . . . one of the Weird Sisters from Macbeth just called forth the Industrial Revolution.  Or something.

~ Yeah, those dudes in Dickens-y fancy pants garb doing totally modern dance moves was weirdly awesome.

~ Whoa . . . they're, like, dismantling the stage . . . crazy!!!

~ The fancy pants dancers are cracking me up.  Their facial expressions are spot on snooty-like but the moves just scream "word to your mother, yo."  At least in comparison.

~ Votes for women!!  Or, to quote Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins, "though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid."  The Sherman brothers?  Genius.

~ I still maintain that Americans should start wearing poppies in November again.  Who's with me?

~ Les Mis type costumes and STOMP type percussion (kinda).  Oddly . . . it works.

~ Well that's a lot of Beatles.

~ I want a floofy British admiral hat.

 ~ Apparently they're pumping the smell of sulphur into the stadium.  That totally makes me think of burning Rome.

~ Olympic rings on fire?  Do we have a Hunger Games reference going on here?

~ HOLY CRAP THE FIRE RINGS ARE RAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AND IT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ I feel the need to clarify: the fire not raining fire.  Just normal raining.

~ Just had to close the window.  What moron mows the lawn during the Olympics Opening Ceremony? (see also: when it's still a gazillion degrees outside?)

~ Hello James Bond.  I've been looking forward to this part for ages.

~ Corgis are cute.  If we got a dog, it would be a corgi.

~ Hello Your Majesty.

~ This part must have been so fun to film.

~ Goodbye cute corgis.

~ Living Churchill statue . . . little weird, not gonna lie.

~ Cool, the Queen arrives by helicopter.



~ I feel like I should have used a "bloody" in there somewhere.

~ It's so encouraging how I can still catch about half of what they're saying in French.  So glad the French is first.

~ Why, hello Cambridges. :-)

~ Dude, go back to the signing/singing kids stupid camera people!

~ There's more than one verse to "God Save the Queen"?  Who knew?

~ You show the wedding without commercials, but you can't show the opening ceremony without commercials?  File under: you suck, tv executives.

~ Second to the right?  As in star?  I like where this is going . . .

~ Dancing nurses . . . that is not where I thought this was going . . .

~ Team Jayla just texted me that they want glowing bed sheets now.  Gotta say, I'm kinda with them on that.

~ OMG, IT'S JO ROWLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVE YOU JO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ That is one creeeeeeeeeeeepy Captain Hook . . .


~ 100 foot tall Voldemort.  Great.  Merciful.  Crap.

~ That's a lot of Mary Poppins . . . 's.

~So Voldemort just pulled a Wicked Witch of the West.  Way to salute American lit there, lol.

~ And now . . . we all a jig on our glowing beds?  Count me in!

~ Giant kid on giant glowing bed . . . *blink blink* . . . creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy.

~ Commercials comparing football to the Olympics?  The commentators are doing a bunch better job this time around, but I do believe the battle cry this time around shall be: You suck, Tv execs.

~ That is an appropriately wild hairdo for a symphony conductor.  I approve.

~ Is that a Mr. Bean I see? :-)

~ Maybe this will make up for the lack of tree-climbing-and-kitty-saving Luke was hoping for last year.

~ Can't . . . breath . . . laughing . . . at . . . phone . . . thing . . .

~ Man, I miss being in a symphony!

~ Lol, I'd have gotten a car too.

~ Saw that ending coming. :-)

~ Meredith Viera just said, "I'm not sure what kind of musician he is, but he has pretty nice legs, I must say," about Rowan Atkinson.  Not sure how I feel about that . . .

~ Dear Pizza Hut: you sound really good right about now.  Especially your breadsticks, a.k.a. the most nostalgic tasting food known to man.  Or at least to me.

~ I'm a big fan of the internet and all (obviously) but this tribute to the internet thing . . . not as much fun as some of the other stuff.

~ On the other hand, I'm always a fan of anything that glows. (care to guess what decade I was born in, lol?)

~ Did girls really wear splash down capsules as dresses in the 60s?  You people were higher than I thought . . .

~ Random only sort of related thing: we all went in together and got mom and dad Rock Band and Beatles Rock Band for Christmas a couple of years ago.  The only time it's played is when we're all home.  Guess who doesn't play.

~ BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY FOR THE WIN!!!!! (too bad the Muppets are American)

~ Psychedelic glowing neon smiley faces.  Yay 80s!!

~ This would be the part where I register my anger and resentment about the lack of Spice Girls.  But they're performing at the closing ceremony, so it's all good.

~ Okay, those were not all British kisses. (see: Lady and the Tramp and Wall-E)  Cheaters.  Points for Will and Kate though.

~ There are people wearing checkered body suits.  Clearly, they got the short end of the costume stick.

~ Fireworks off the Tower Bridge?  Sweet!  Also - I love the rings they've had hanging from the bridge.  Awesome.

~ Hello David Beckham.  You're hot.

~ Jokes about Bob What's-his-butt jumping off the back of the boat to join them in imitation of Her Majesty Queen Helicopter Jumper?  You made it quite a ways but . . . shut up, commentators.

~ Side note since it's commercials: I used to think Bob What's-his-butt's only job was commentating the Olympics because that was the only time I ever saw him on tv.  It was kind of weird to fins out he actually, like, did stuff in between too.  We?  Are not a sports family.

~ Parade of nations!  Yay!!  And yes, I'm totally sticking around for this.

~ Interviews?  With Ryan Seacrest?  Instead of opening ceremony stuff?!  You suck, tv execs.

~ Yeah, yeah, Michael Phelps is more fish than human and needs to swim faster, blah, blah, blah.  Get back to the good stuff already.  We've heard this all before.

~ Oh, you did not just come back from commercial only for a Phelps interview and then go back to commercial.  You SUCK, tv execs!

~ Now we're talking.  I like to see how many flags I can recognize without help. :-)

~ Yeah, totally only know Afghanistan because they're alphabetically first.

~ Those are some really funky country name signs/headresses they're using.

~ Hello shirtless Samoans. :-)

~ I would totally be one of those athletes carrying my camera and recording the whole thing.  And I would sooooooooooooooooo love to see some of that video on youtube.

~ Just got a close up of the outfits the country-name-headdress-bearers are wearing.  I get the idea behind them . . . but holy crap, those poor unfortunate souls are by far the ones who lost the costume Olympics.  By far.

~ Yay Australia!  Send me a kangaroo steak! (those are seriously tasty)

~ It's really sad that a bunch of them can't march in the parade because they have early events the next day.  They should do something about that . . . make the ceremony a day before events start instead of the night before or something.  I would not want to have to skip that.

~ Really like the Belgian girls' outfits.

~ Belize.  I giggled.  Thanks Katie. ;-)

~ Bhutan!  I am totally falling in love with that country - so pretty and fascinating.  And did you see pictures from the other royal wedding last year (well, one of them)?  GORGEOUS! Bride, and national dress.

~ I certainly recognize Brazil's flag.  And I'm pretty sure I've seen much larger groups of Brazilians.  I'm twitching just thinking about it.

~ Brewn-eye.  So that's how you say it.

~ We're cheering aboot Canada, eh?  Or is it aboat Canada . . . eh? :-)

~ Love their jackets.

~ It's Cape "Verd"?  Not "Vair-day"?

~ Czech Republic team wearing bright blue wellies.  I love it!

~ Kim Jong-Il jokes?  Seriously?  Shut up Bob What's-your-butt.

~ Can I just go on record as saying Djibouti is just plain fun to say?

~ "Staying Alive" for background music?  I love England!  And clearly the Finns do too - but I'm guessing that's just because they get some of the most awesome walk-in music ever.

~ VIVE LA FRANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ I wonder how many people get confused when Georgia marches in . . .

~ Holy nursery colors, Germany!  Is this the day care Olympics?

~ I have a friend who knows the flag bearer from Grenada.  That's, like, two degrees of Kevin Bacon from me to the Olympics.

~ Okay, the visa or whatever commercial where they act like the London games took place, like a year ago or something has been playing for, like, six months.  And driving me nuts from day one.  Seriously, referring to an event that takes place in the future using the past tense?  Epic.  Fail.

~ Are those Panama hats team Hong Kong is wearing?  Shouldn't they be wearing Hong Kong hats?

~ Independent Olympic Athletes?  Is this a new thing? They're totally having the best time though - that is the way to march in this parade!

~ India!  I want a sari . . . so pretty . . . and also the hair of an Indian girl.

~ Am I allowed to say hijabs can also be really pretty?  Because some of these ones totally are.

~ Jamaica + Olympics = Lacey thinks Cool Runnings.

~ Kiribati is pronounced Kiribas?  Never would have gotten that.

~ Did you really have to mention the movies when Madagascar came in?  Seriously?  Shut up, commentators.

~ Fun fact in case you missed it: one of the Malaysian shooters is, like, 34 weeks pregnant or somewhere like that and even if she doesn't win she'll set the record for most pregnant Olympian ever.

~ And Mexico has one of the most epic wins in the team uniform department . . .

~ Nauru?  There's one I haven't heard of . . .

~ What are those flowers team Netherlands is wearing?

~ Kia Ora, New Zealand!  And . . . that's all the Maori I know.  And now I want some kiwi.  Fruit, not bird.  Or people.  But kiwi birds are really cute.

~ Team Oman looks like Christmas carolers.

~ The Philippines flag is getting all twisted around the pole.  Now the color guard girl in me is twitching.

~ In Soviet Russia, camera shows you . . . not the politicians, stupid cameraman.  No one cares, go back to the people we want to see.

~ It's Nee-vis?  Not Neh-vis?  The things you learn when you finally hear things said out loud.

~ Dear Samoa: you should have followed the example of American Samoa and had the guys go shirtless.

~ Dear Senegal: that is a very bright shade of yellow.  I love it.

~ Seriously, African and Caribbean countries have the best national costumes.  LOVE the bright colors!

~ Hello again, Cambridges.You are obviously not from Seychelles . . . but that's okay. :-)

~ One of the Solomon Islands dude is rocking the most fabulous blue and yellow goatee I've ever seen.  Also the only blue and yellow goatee I've ever seen.

~ Spain looks a little like a walking McDonald's commercial . . . but I love the girls' flowered headbands.

~ Sri Lanka makes beige look good . . .

~ It totally won't happen, but I want "Dancing Queen" to play when Sweden marches in a second.

~ At this point it occurs to me that Team USA is probably really glad that U comes at the end of the alphabet so they don't have to stand there the whole times everyone else is marching in.  Poor Greece.

~ Dear Tonga: too many white guys, not enough shirtless guys.  Points for the lava lavas though.

~ Holy crap Turkey's flag bearer is GORGEOUS!

~ Wide shot of all the countries who've already come in.  I wonder if they're as squished together as they look.


~ 529 people . . . compared to one for some countries.  Crazy.

~ Not a fan of those hats . . .

~ Okay, let's move on now.  There have been, like, three more countries coming in.  How self-centered can you get? (oh the things one could answer to that . . . )

~ Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Zambia.  MAde it through the alphabet kids. :-)


~ You know, I didn't notice it before but I think the crowd in the stadium was getting bored.  I noticed because they just woke up, lol.

~ Holy Glitter Girl flashbacks, Ashli!

~ All those flags on the hill?  Awesome.

~ So apparently that was a record short time for the parade of nations.  I wouldn't say it felt shorter, but the music was so upbeat it's only natural that people walked faster.  Take note, Sochi and Rio!

~ Wait, wait, waitGrimm comes back as soon as the Olympics are over, but Once Upon a Time doesn't come back until the end of September?!?!  YOU SUCK TV EXECS!

~ Glow in the dark butterflies . . . I approve.

~ "Dove of peace on a bicycle rising into the air" . . . yeah, I just see ET.

~ And now we're to the speechifying.  Yawn.

~ Hello Your Majesty.  Would you do us the favor of jumping out of a freaking helicopter again?

~ One supposes fireworks will do.

~ Dude, that hill of flags is seriously AMAZING.

~ Hello again David Beckhot.

~ How awkward would it be if one of these torches went out for some reason?

~ I feel guilty for not knowing The Tempest since there's been all these references to it tonight.

~ That's a lot of torches.  I like where they're going with this.  I loved how Vancouver did it.  Too bad about the malfunction.

~ Now that is lovely . . . it's like - holy floating lights!  This is so cool!

~ Yeah, I totally just forgot what I was about to say.

~ City full of fireworks.  That's my kind of thing.

~ I love the audience as LED screen thing.  It's even better than the wave.  And the wave is pretty sweet to begin with.

~ What do want to bet that a buncha people would have quit watching hours ago except they put Paul McCartney at the end?

~ World's biggest sing along.  Is there anyone who doesn't know the words to "Hey Jude"?

~ Also, I'm pretty sure the only song in the world that is more endless is the song that doesn't end.  I mean, you can just keep going with the na-na-nas pretty much as long as you want, you know?  For. Ev. Er.

~ It's over!

Well.  That was awesome.  Beijing was stunning, and I think we all know that it will never be topped.  But this was just plain fun.  And shall always be remembered as the Olympics where the Queen of England jumped out of a helicopter.  So.  Cool.

So . . . yeah.  Basically our TV will not be turning off for the next couple of weeks.  Like, at all.  I shall get my fill and then not watch another sporting event for two years.  As they shall be saying, see you in Sochi. 

P. ost  S. cript
Just a daughter's daughter adoring the awesome.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Suppose It's a Trade-Off

So I happened to watch the parade today and as always, it looked at times like there are more Polynesian people in Utah than white people. (the less slightly exaggerated truth, for those who don't know, is that while Polynesians are not likely to get a lot of stares like black people might, but they're still massively in the minority.)  But since I'm always okay with seeing bunches of hot Polynesian guys in nothing but lava lavas, you shall hear no complaints from me. :-)

Anyway.  Watching the Pioneer Day parade on tv is almost like Conference-light because you get all the Utah-centric commercials instead of the national ones.  And because of that, I learned that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Polynesian Cultural Center.  And naturally seeing that particular commercial has totally left me remembering the LYS tour to Hawaii . . . the one that I'm totally in denial about having taken place ten years ago last month.

Decade-old crushes on cute Samoan boys (from ALL the symphony girls!) aside, the thing I'm actually sort of . . . marveling over, I suppose . . . is just how much has changed since then.  It started with me lamenting how I didn't have my digital camera at the time - I don't remember anyone having one, actually - and how I really want to go back because now I can take tons more pictures and they'd be tons better quality too.

And then I remembered how we had a picture sharing party something like three weeks after we got back.  Because, duh, we all needed time to get all those rolls of film (that kids these days think is a can of soda . . . *sigh*) sent out to be developed and then picked up.  I think I spent something like fifty bucks getting my pictures developed . . . I know I had at least ten rolls!  And don't even get me started on the whole some-of-them-didn't-turn-out-and-you-couldn't-even-know-until-you-got-them-back thing -blargh!

Anyway.  Party.  We all got together to check out each other's pictures because, of course, none of us had even seen our own pictures when we split up in the Salt Lake airport.  And on the one hand that's such a weird thought to me because if the same tour had taken place this year everyone would have been uploading their pictures to facebook and tagging everyone in them as we went along, or maybe doing a massive upload the night before we left. (only slightly related side note: yeah, that tour will never happen.  don't even get me started on how lame LYS got practically right after I left it.  I'm still pretty bitter about certain events.) 

I'm not sure which version I like better.  On the one hand, while I did see everyone's pictures at the party, I haven't seen any of them since, and some of them were really great shots.  On the other hand, even though one could assume I could still look at the pictures at the pictures on facebook now (which was still a couple of years from existing in 2002, and I'm not sure whether myspace was a thing yet or not) but the having the party thing was so much fun, and a great way to get in one last farewell get together before a bunch of us left for college and our director moved cross country.

I really can't decide which way I like better.

P. ost  S. cript

Okay, can someone help me out here?  This commercial has been playing out the wazoo the last few months, naturally, and I know I'm hearing it wrong.  Buzz Lightyear is not going to say "There's an entire land here with FLIPPING cars" but that's what I heard the first time, and so that's what I've heard every time since and because of that I just cannot figure out/hear what he's actually saying.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Those Promised Details

OR: In Which I Am Charged By A Buffalo And Live To Tell The Tale.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

So I'm assuming you all saw all saw my facebook status from Sunday.  And I know I should leave the big story for last or whatever, but I'm leaving it smack in the middle just like when it happened.  Strap in kids, this is going to take a couple of days to write and I'm betting you'll need an hour or more to read.

First, a few observations:

1) Camping is a lot more enjoyable when you have a tent you can stand up in.  And this is not just me remembering being a little kid going camping and standing up.  The big two-room tent we used is tall enough for Dad to stand up in.  So it's plenty tall.  Much easier for doing . . . well, everything.

2) On the other hand, it's a lot more pleasant sleeping on an air mattress than the ground.

3) Never go on a trip and let my dad drive.  He'll take turns way to sharply and tip fully loaded coolers over onto you and nearly give you a concussion with the frying pan that comes flying off the top of said cooler.  And it will be traumatic.  And painful.

4) I have a pretty decent body image for a girl, especially considering everything in the world would have us all believing we're supposed to think horribly of ourselves in order to be appropriately feminine.  That said, I hate the way I look in posed pictures.  I just always look . . . off, somehow.  I have no problem with candid pictures or deliberately silly poses, but the in more "formal" posed pictures I just look weird.

5) I had the worst/weirdest allergies of my life this weekend.  Like nothing I've ever had before.  Now that said, I've only had allergy issues a few times in my life - another one of those lucky genetic health things I'm growing into.  Seriously, between the two sides of my family I won the genetic jackpot . . . if by jackpot you actually mean crap-pot.  Anyway, I have no idea what was getting to me, and it was totally hit or miss if I would have issues at any place that we stopped, but about half the time I would get out of the car and within minutes my eyes would be stinging like I was chopping the world's largest, most potent onion ever and the tears would gush like I was a human version of Old Faithful.  Seriously, within minutes I looked something like a cross between this and this - except without the traumatized face because I was perfectly calm and even enjoying myself . . . except for the fact that instead of sweating off all the water I was drinking in a normal way, I was sweating it out through my eyeballs.

Long story short: 4 + 5 = there are only two words to describe how I look in the pictures from this trip.  Wretched, and ghastly.  I stayed mostly behind the camera.

So the drive up was mostly uneventful, except for the fact that Dad drove the car like he was thirty years younger and on a motorcycle . . . oh, and apparently he was successful in dumping a cooler on my mother back in the day so I guess old habits die hard.  Anyway.  Successes on this trip include introducing Luke to the awesomeness that is Howard Spring -

And the slightly belated rite of passage that is setting up a tent - 

And it was good. :-)

Friday morning our first major stop was a "hike" to Harlequin Lake, which is something we'd never done before.  While it is the most back country-ish sort of excursion I've ever had, it's only about a twenty minute walk (although the uphill part is a little steep) and I'm pretty sure you'd be able to see the lake (which is really more like a pond) from the road except for the trees because it's really close.

And can I just take a moment to say what is up with all the trees?  They totally ruin the view!  And I'm sorry, maybe it's just because I'm a child of the 90s when it comes to Yellowstone, but when I think of the park, the image I see in my head looks like this:

Or maybe this:

But absolutely not this:

Dude - that's my dad.  Those trees are freaking tall!  And in some places where you used to be able to see way off in the distance all you can see now is trees lining the side of the road, noticeably more massive than even just six years ago.  Not cool.

Anyway.  Harlequin Lake.  We decide to do it because my cooler-dumping dad read something on the internet about ranger-led walks to the lake at 10:00 am, so there we were at 9:50 am at the parking lot across the road wondering where the ranger and all the other people were, and at 10:05 we figured no one was showing so we went by ourselves.  But not before watching a buffalo wander his way from a safe distance to a few hundred yards away from the car.


Also - I'd just like to take this moment to say remind you that we were at Harlequin Lake on Friday.  Saturday Luke and I found an information board at our campsite telling everyone about the ranger-led walks to Harlequin Lake at 10:00 am . . . every Monday.  Not sure if it's a reading comprehension fail or a putting accurate information on the internet fail, but there is a big fat fail in there somewhere.

But anyway.  We walked/hiked to the lake, and it was lovely, and you can see all the pictures on facebook because I'll be putting them up right after I finally get this finished and posted.

Anyway.  Both going in and coming back we kind of separated a little bit because Mom and Luke hike slow and Dad and I hike fast (comparatively, at least).  And coming back I decided to take a few pictures of the way-bigger-than-they-should-be trees so I stopped and Dad kept going, so we were all sorts of slightly spread out at the end of the trail coming back to the road.

So I get out of the tree line, which is seriously a pretty much perfectly straight line of trees about ten or fifteen feet off the road.  Right by the road is a sign that marks the trail's head, and I had the genius idea to take pictures of all the signs so I could remember which place was which when we got back (and also be a little lazy when it comes to captioning them on facebook.  I took over 300 pictures, and there would be more except I forgot to bring an extra memory card so I had to delete some to make room for others).  So I'm right by the road taking a picture, and Luke and mom are just coming out of the trees, and dad's already across the road when suddenly he's (quietly) yelling "Hey!" at us and it registers that it's a quiet yell, but it makes no sense because why would he be being quiet unless there's an animal around and then I turn around and look up and HOLY CRAP THAT BUFFALO IS GALLOPING AND COMING RIGHT AT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  THAT BUFFALO IS CHARGING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now.  I know what to do to avoid a bear attack.  And I know what to do on the off chance that a bear does attack.  And I know all the stupid things stupid people do to get themselves charged by a buffalo.  And I do not do them.  And since I do not do them I have never felt the need to know what to do when charged by a buffalo because I am not one of those stupid people who feel the need to try and get a picture of their kid petting a WILD animal that weighs 20,000 times what the two of them do combined.  So in one of those insta-seconds-that-feel-like-it-lasts-three-lifetimes I'm trying to think - obviously running away is out, he runs tons faster than me . . . but could I sprint off in another direction at the last second, like the stupid characters in Prometheus should have instead of trying to outrun a rolling space donut?  (seriously, that part of the movie bugs the crap out of me.  seen it twice and both times I just wanted to scream at them to run ANY other direction!)  Apparently the right answer was back into the trees because he wouldn't have come crashing through them - but while that was a matter of merely backing up a few steps for some people, for me it was a question of can I run fifteen feet between me and the trees faster than he can run the hundred yards or so between me and him?  And while that might be a fascinating question for a philosophy student who just discovered Zeno's Paradox when it's an actual real-life situation . . . not so much.

The good news is that the buffalo must have just gotten some major bug bite or something that he had to take care of, because in less than a tenth of the time it's taken you to read the last couple of paragraphs he stops his directly-at-me-for-no-reason charge (I swear we made eye contact) and drops into a buffalo wallow in the grass between the road and the pull-out and rolls around like he's some sort of freaking puppy or something.  Our hearts all start beating again and we cross the road to hear that Dad saw him come through right between our car and the tree we parked it under.

So.  Just for a little perspective I drew you all a totally-not-anywhere-near-scale diagram of more or less what happened, and where we were.  The red line is (kind of) how the buffalo ran.

It was crazy, y'all.  And that space between the tree and the car?  That part is to scale.

See?  Hard to believe that mirror is still attached to the car, isn't it?

And as with any animal sighting (especially so close to the road) there was an almost immediate traffic jam with people slowing down or pulling in to where we were to take pictures.  Since by this point I could breathe again I took a few too. (and now that I'm safely sitting on my couch I wish I had thought to take a few right after he plopped down in the wallow because they would have been awesome.)

That's no trick of forced perspective there, kids.  Luke's at the car, about a hundred yards away the buffalo is just chilling and no more than fifty yards past that is the road we just crossed and it's full of cars stopping for a moment to take a picture of the buffalo WHO NEARLY KILLED ME.

I think I have every right to be melodramatic.  It may have only actually lasted about three seconds, but they were three traumatizing seconds.

Anyway, here's another close up view.

Totally doesn't even care that he just took, like, five years off my life.  Jerk.

So we all caught our breath and went on with our day and hit a few trails and about died of heat stroke because it was something like a thousand degrees hotter than is normal for up there.  And then we hit Mammoth Hot Springs and that was just depressing because there are only, like four hot springs left and the rest have dried up and it mostly just looks dead.  Because it mostly just is.  Dead, I mean.  If you really want to see something sad I'll post the pictures I took on facebook, but for my blog, behold its former creamsicle-colored glory.

Also: the Mammoth elk herd is still around.  I can't remember a single visit to Yellowstone that there were not elk just chillaxin' in this very spot.

*Not zoomed in.  How awesome is that?

In other news, the rest of trip was rather boring, comparatively speaking.  When you start your vacation with a near-death experience it can really only go downhill from there, but it was a highly enjoyable ride down.  We finally got up to the Teddy Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance, which we'd never done before.

And when we were heading back in to the park from the arch we actually got to see sheep which, like, never happens. (pics on facebook)

And we picked up a fun little book in which Lacey discovered that there's actually kind of a lot of things we never did when we were making our (practically) weekly trips when I was a kid.  The book really needs maps though, because we went searching for this one haunted grave, but the directions were just vague enough that we couldn't find it . . . and then we get home and I googled it yesterday only to find out that we were tantalizingly close when we went off in another direction.  Blargh.

Luke found his own buffalo wallow.  And used it.  :-)

We crossed the Divide a half dozen times or so.

And I looked ghastly and wretched and allergy-ish.

And there were plenty of animals and herds of animals to be seen.  And of course, along with them plenty of stupid people and herds of stupid people to roll your eyes at and briefly consider sticking around to see if this will be the day that the elk with the massive rack decides to use said rack.

And of course, no one is allowed to leave the park on their first visit without stopping at Artist Point.  It is seriously the most amazing spot I've ever seen anywhere.  It is impossible to take a bad picture of this view.

See?  Doesn't it just look like a bunch of movie extras wandering around on set or something?  This spot is BEAUTIFUL.  There's a reason it's the most photographed spot in the park.  There's a reason people spend all day there, sunup to sundown, just planting their camera on a tripod and taking pictures every twenty minutes or so.  And there are just. no. words. None at all, to describe that reason.

Sure, you think it looks good in pictures.  But until you see it in person, I promise -  you don't Get It.  I mean, seriously.  I took that picture.  On my cheap little point-and-shoot that I bought five years ago.  It looks like it was taken by a professional with some fancy pants camera and intended to be a postcard shot, right?  A-MA-ZING.

(also - one thing you're sure to notice whilst going through all the pictures is that I have a major thing for waterfalls.  And for playing with the zoom on my camera.)

Anyway.  We hit up that other Yellowstone staple and only had to wait about 45 minutes for Old Faithful to erupt (video on facebook) but mom had a major migraine so we cut things short a day, which meant no Riverside or Grotto Geysers or Morning Glory Pool - sad!  Because I seriously would have plopped myself down and waited the full six hours for a Riverside eruption.  Honestly, a lot of other geysers have better eruptions than Old Faithful, they're just either not as frequent or impossible to predict and you just have to get lucky and be in the right place at the right time.  And there are plenty of trails around the Old Faithful area to check out while waiting for Riverside's predicted next eruption.  Of course, a trip to Morning Glory would probably have been just as depressing as the hike down Mammoth. (and I shall take this moment to point out the fact that I am not even going to mention Roaring Mountain.  Except, you know, to mention that I'm not mentioning it.)

Onward and downward.  We did hit Midway Basin, which is one of my favorites because of the hot waterfalls into the river, where Luke really liked Grand Prismatic Spring, and there were plenty of waterfalls (although there's never enough for me), and Dunraven Pass left us a little light headed, and we apparently just missed seeing a mama bear and her cubs because we turned around at the petrified tree.  And then we came home through Grand Teton NP, and they were majestic and beautiful, but by that time I had the worst sunburn I've had in ten years and had discovered that mom's allergy pills don't work for me so I was slightly miserable and my camera's memory card was practically full and then the brand new battery went and died, so after leaving Old Faithful and starting for home the trip took a turn for the more "un" than "pleasant," at least for me.  But we got home with a couple of new books (always a good thing!) and a still half full bag of GINORMOUS marshmallows that I shall roast over the stove when I'm craving something sweet.  And Theodore.

Generally speaking I'm the type to pick up a cute stuffed animal and exclaim over how cute it is and put it back down and forget all about it.  But in the gift shop at Mammoth on our first day I saw a four-foot-tall version of little T.R. Bear hear and totally fell in love, so when they had the little version at the Old Faithful gift shop on Sunday . . . well, he was coming home with me, no buts about it.  There's just something about the history combined with the cuteness that's irresistible.  I mean, there's the whole teddy bears were named after Teddy Roosevelt thing . . . and the name tag that says T.R. Bear thing . . . and the "Junior Rough Rider" label on the hat thing (on the part that's tilted up on the right) . . . and the fact that teddy bears are just cute as it is thing . . . and the teddy bear in a ranger suit is freaking adorable thing . . . but honestly I think it's the little Roosevelt spectacles that put me over the top.  Cute bear in a ranger suit?  It's definitely got the "awwwwww!" factor, but I would just tell mom she should get it for the creature I've been referring to as the niece-phew before today and let it go. (side note: the whole niece-phew thing has been weirding me out for a month and there shall be a whole post about that upcoming.)  But those totally spot-on spectacles?  Pushed him over the boundary into must-have territory.  If my mother can keep a stuffed ewok on her bed for twenty years than this little guy is definitely sitting on our shelf for at least that many.

And that was our lovely, long-awaited vacation.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go recover from it.

(seriously, how does it happen that one always needs a vacation to recover from one's vacation?!)

P. ost  S. cript
This one's actually one from the trip.  I'll post it - and a few more - on facebook, but the cool kids who read my blog get a sneak peek! :-)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday Morning Memories: Injury Edition


So we're going to Yellowstone next week.  And I'm pretty freakin' excited.  Luke's never been, and the last time I was there was 2006.  And there is the tiny little thing of this is the first vacation we've had since forever.  Yay!!

Since IF is only, like, 2.2 hours away from Yellowstone we went all the time when I was growing up.  Six or seven times a year, every year.

(full disclosure: it's not that close . . . but pretty close.  And we didn't go that often . . . but pretty often.  More than once a year, generally.)

We did a lot of things in IF that stopped abruptly when we moved to TremonTon.  Camping . . . hiking . . . fishing . . . chopping our own Christmas trees.  Mostly a lot of outdoors-y stuff.  It all kind of disappeared and instead of enjoying nature I spent my high school years being attacked by evil demon-possessed roosters (true story . . . I'll have to tell it sometime . . . ).

But I guess the summer after I graduated from college and before I left for Florida (obviously, lol) I think it suddenly occurred to my parents that, hey, we haven't done any of the cool things we used to do all the time in, like, forever, and this is, like, the last chance to do them, like, ever.

(side note: can't you totally hear my dad saying that?  using exactly those words? HA!!)

Anyway.  So we hit both Yellowstone and Dinosaur parks that summer.  Sans Ashli, who was nanny-ing in . . . one of those middle states that starts with "I" . . . so there were only three of us crammed into the back seat of the pickup and no one complaining about how dirty dirt is.

This is the part of the story where I mention that bugs - especially mosquitoes -  have always found me particularly tasty, no matter how much bug spray I put on.  Was that plot point as painfully obvious as high school emo poetry? Great.  Moving on.

It was a lovely trip, going from something like the 30th of June to the 3rd of July.  I am painfully aware of those (semi)precise dates on multiple levels.  The morning that we left I noticed that I had multiple bug bites on/around my right ankle.  We did a little bit of geyser trail walking, nothing much on our way out and it was a little uncomfortable, but no big deal.  Then we drove home . . . and it's a little bit longer than 2.2 hours when home is TremonTon and not IF.  So when we finally got home and I got out of the car . . . I nearly collapsed.  After limp-hopping into the house and almost crawling to the couch to get my shoe off I discovered that my ankle was as big as my knee . . . and possibly bigger.  I counted at one point, and there were 16 bug bites in my ankular area for sure . . . and at least half a dozen more that I couldn't tell if they were additional bites or just general puffiness in reaction to what was there for sure.  If they had West Nile in Yellowstone, I'm pretty sure I would have died on the drive home.

So out of this little story comes a crazy thing and a tragic thing.  The crazy thing is I actually had very few bites anywhere else, especially compared to what I usually get camping . . . or even just being outside at dusk.  It's like they all zeroed in on that one spot - but the even crazier thing is that it was, like, the most covered spot of all.  I haven't worn shorts since I was 14 so I had your typically heavy denim jeans on, and tall, tolerably thick funky socks on under that.  But did those stupid parasites go for the easy access bare skin on my arms?  Nope - they went for the ankles.  Mostly the right ankle.  Almost every last one of them.  Gah!

And now the tragic thing.  Remember how I said we came home on the 3rd of July?  That was because Shayla and I had a concert.  You see, the Lincoln Youth Symphony goes on hiatus for the summer so the Lake Bonneville Community Symphony does the fourth of July concert in Brigham City.  Of course, the LBCS is mostly made up of LYS alumni who are still around/home for the summer . . . or at least they were half a decade ago (man, it is so wrong to be able to say that!).  So as usual, Shay and I were playing and we had to be home for the fourth.

But then, after propping my foot up for a few hours and drinking a couple of gallons of benedryl I tried to go to bed . . . and I could. Not. Walk.  At all.  My dad had to literally carry me from the family room to my bedroom because I just could not put any weight on my foot.  Not exactly conducive to cello playing.  It's not impossible . . . but it also wouldn't be pleasant.  So I missed my last concert.  And there have few things more disappointing in my life.  For one thing, I'd finally had the genius idea to copy the sheet music onto heavy card stock (it's an outdoor concert) and the only card stock we had in the house was Easter-y pastel colors, which I found kind of awesome.  And it was some pretty sweet music too . . . Star Wars and Pirates and Lord of the Rings - the Fourth concert is all about the crowd pleasers rahter than the "serious" music.  And of course the patriotic stuff - pretty sure I could play Sousa's S&SF from memory to this day.  And then it was tradition to play the most epically awesome arranged-for-full-symphony-and-I-can't-find-a-version-on-youtube-for-the-life-of-me-and-it-makes-me-want-to-cry version of Lord of the Dance known to man.  Seriously, this arrangement was clearly done by a cellist.  It's one of the few times you can get away with playing forti-ssissi-ssissi-ssissi-ssissi-ssissi-ssissi-ssissimo and the conductor can't say anything because you're SUPPOSED to be pretty much drowning everyone else out.  It is awesome to the trillionth power.  And it was my last time performing it, and I knew that . . . and I missed it.  It was tragic.  It still is.

Luke's pretty certain we're all going to be eaten by bears or trampled by buffalo in our sleep.  Me, I'm just worried about the mosquitoes.   I'm pretty sure that means it's the chipmunks who'll actually do us in.  Or maybe the bunnies.

P. ost  S. cript

Stumbled across this . . . and my year has been made.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mostly Americans

I don't remember the last time I spent the fourth of July in a way that the average person would call "celebrating."  I worked it every year I was in Florida, and Luke has worked it every year since, so it's very much just another day for us.  Of course, so are Thanksgiving and Christmas and pretty much every other holiday . . . we're both very used to celebrating whenever we can/want regardless of what the calender says or what other people are doing.  As, I imagine, are a lot of people.  I mean, think about it.  The news is on today - that's a very large group of people who didn't get the day off.  Same for all the people selling you couches and cars at Special Independence Day Prices.  And the people who buttered your popcorn when you went to chill out in the air conditioning watching Abraham Lincoln try to make it in Scotland as a vampire stripper (ten points!).

You know, now that I think about it . . . it seems like more people are probably working today than are off.  Maybe a shorter shift, but that's not the same as a day off.  So for a lot of people my Florida "celebration" is probably pretty close - spend an extra-long day having people yell at you for having the audacity to let people other than their group into the park on a holiday, make a quick stop to watch Sam Eagle mostly salute America, and go home and watch reruns on tv because the crowds make the special fireworks show not worth it - unless you get lucky and get to work crowd control, which means more hours/money . . . and more time talking at people who refuse to acknowledge that it's your country and your holiday too, but you're working.

Even before that the fourth wasn't just a party day.  All through high school and college I had at least one obligation, and sometimes two - and even though they were things I chose to do and truly enjoyed, anyone who tries to say it wasn't work has clearly never marched in a parade before (not ridden - marched).  Or tried to turn sheet music pages in 0.4 seconds - when the pages are clothes-pinned to the music stand because of the wind so you have to unclip, turn the page, and reclip.  Again, in less than half a second.  That takes talent, let me tell you . . . and more than a little coordination with your stand partner.  And a lot of being careful when you play the cello that you don't accidentally knock them together.

Which means the last time my fourth of July was a Norman Rockwell painting of backyard barbecues and picnics and camp outs and watching parades and fireworks . . . was more than half my lifetime ago.  Oy.  Good thing that I don't much care, while I love all of those things they have more of a generic "summer" vibe than a specifically "July 4" one.  Even parades - marching 3 or 4 a summer will do that to you.

Well this has gone in completely the opposite direction than I was imagining.  Now I'm just wondering who these people are who have the Norman Rockwell fourth of July.  Seriously . . . where are they hiding?

Me, I think I'll just go play some more Mario Kart. :-)

P. ost  S. cript

For both sides - something patriotic and serious, and something not meant to be taken remotely seriously . . . but that cracks me up every time.