Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Things

  • I always want to listen to Pink Floyd or The Cranberries during the change in seasons. I'm getting "Dark Side of the Moon" out ASAP.
  • I'm afraid to drive in Texas because cops are nearly everywhere, and I get pulled over a lot. :/
  • After dyeing eggs on Easter, I was so excited with anticipation of egg salad sandwiches. Then I realized that hard-boiled eggs that have been sitting out for hours are not safe to eat.
  • I like carpet better than hard wood, even though wood is cleaner and I'm a germaphobe.
  • I love claymation. I'm mesmerized every time I see those Chevron with Techron commercials.

Thing I'm thankful for: getting out of class early

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Favorite Musical

Well, I did it. I finally decided on my favorite musical.

Although I like my fair share of musicals (usually of the Rogers and Hammerstein variety), I wouldn't say I'm a fan of musicals in general. I don't like contemporary broadway shows, for example, and I don't watch "Glee." Instead, I have a handful of Disney favorites, and I cherish a few mid-20th century live action productions.

Tonight I watched (for maybe the 10th time) The King and I with my brother Blake and his wife, Lindsey. During a dessert break, I was telling Lindsey that "The King and I" is my favorite. I almost felt guilty for saying it because I didn't want to turn my back on The Sound of Music or My Fair Lady.

When it comes right down to it, though, I'm proud to call "The King and I" my favorite. It's more complex than most musicals, in which the plots and songs are mainly about love and romance. I consider "The King and I" to be the thinking man's musical; it's full of epistemological issues that people continue to study today. Sure, the backdrop of "The Sound of Music" is Nazi-occupied Austria, but not much of the dialogue directly addresses it. Anna and the king, however, go back and forth about science and knowing and believing.

Additionally, the song "Getting to Know You" precisely summarizes the deepest motivation of my soul -- to get to know people. Is there a pleasanter song out there? I think not.

Finally, who can deny that Yul Brynner's king is the most charming character ever played on screen? He is truly captivating, and I defy anyone who doesn't get a kick out of "Et cetera! Et cetera! Et cetera!"

Thing I'm thankful for: dancing in the living room with my nieces

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I am lucky enough to spend Easter with my parents and one of my brothers' family this year. I am having a fun time being an aunt, and as usual, I am the best aunt ever. I taught my nieces how to dye eggs, and then I gave them a lesson in science and cooking. I showed them what an uncooked egg looks like inside, and then I showed them what a hard-boiled egg looks like. It reminded me of just how fun science is for kids. (I mean, did everyone else love Mr. Wizard, or what???)

After the kiddies went to bed, I continued dyeing eggs because I love it so much, and then my mom and I set out the Easter baskets. One thing I love about my mom is that she splurges on good candy. The only thing she buys that I don't like are malt balls and Jelly Bellies. (There. I said it. I don't like Jelly Bellies.)

So far, it's turning out to be a great holiday. I love Easter.
I hope you have a happy one!

Thing I'm thankful for: Jesus Christ (Start watching the video at 00:43.)

Pete Yorn!

Okay -- so this post is a week overdue. Still, I wanted to document it . . . Also, I have a weird obsession with taking concert photos, and I wanted to share some of my work, if only to give you a sense of the lighting for this show -- it was wonderful! (I feel that lighting is the mark of a well-seasoned band.)

So my friends Carrie, Carrie, Brittini, and Steven went to the show with me. Pete Yorn's heyday was sometime in 2001, so I didn't know if anyone would remember the music and want to go with me, but I was glad these four friends wanted to come along.

The opening band was called The Wellspring . . . Although they were good, I don't have any pictures of the whole band. I do, however, have pictures of the lead singer because I thought she looked like a grown-up version of Marcia Brady. Doesn't she?

The next band was a one-man show, Ben Kweller, who I had heard was excellent. And he was. I imagine he spent most of his teenage years perfecting his talent . . . You know the type -- skinny, nerdy-cool, extremely smart, and seemingly really lazy because all he did was hole up in his parents' basement and play until the early-morning hours.

Pete Yorn was also excellent. He played a lot of old stuff, which was nice because I hadn't heard his knew songs yet.

My Rothko-inspired light art. :)

There was a time when he invited Ben Kweller back onto the stage, and the music went completely jam-band style. The four of them must've been playing for 7-10 minutes straight. I thought about how my brother-in-law would've loved it.

You can't really tell in this picture, but the bassist seemed like a truly happy guy. He had a goofy smile on his face the whole time, and it reminded me of something my bass-playing brother, Brooks, said: "Bassists are always the steady one of the band. They just like to hang in the background and have fun playing."

So it was a good concert. I'm glad I went. Austin really does have some great live music . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: being home

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Abstract Art

Can people tell the difference between professional abstract art and children's fingerpaintings?

You bet they can. And I'm glad, too. I'm not saying I love all abstract art; there are some 20th- and 21st-century artists I find downright disgusting. But I think abstract artists often get a bad rap, and I can't quite figure out why. Maybe it's just uncreative people, in general, who don't appreciate abstract art. :) I dunno -- you be the judge.

Still, I wanted to take a moment to say that it takes more skill to create a meaningful piece of abstract art than a lot of people think.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite examples of artistic abstraction (and I'm not even getting into Islamic or Chinese art or Expressionism):

Rothko, No. 61

Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket

Mondrian, Composition with red, yellow, blue, and black

Thing I'm thankful for: my mommy's artistic flair!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies I've Ever Eaten

Chocolate chip cookies are hard to get right. It's such a simple cookie, really, so you'd think there wouldn't be much to it. But that's precisely why I think good chocolate chip cookies are so hard to come by. Besides chocolate, there aren't many complex flavors going on in that cookie, You can't hide, for example, a bland base flavor by adding the excitement of M&Ms or butterscotch chips or coconut. It's just the base and the chocolate chips.

It may seem odd, but for a long time, the best chocolate chip cookies I had ever had were the Nestle Toll House cookies sold at Subway. They definitely had the best flavor. Still, they were always too flat for my liking.

I've tried chocolate chip cookies from all sorts of places. I even try to make my own, when I can't find the best recipe, but I can never get them quite right, either . . .

I finally found the best, though. At a hole-in-the-wall deli in Austin. Specializing in sandwiches, salads, and soups, Fricano's Deli is an unlikely place to find the best chocolate chip cookie. It's a tiny place just north of The University of Texas' campus, and it's fantastic. To be sure, the sandwiches are delicious, but I was surprised to find that they made desserts from scratch.

When I was there the first time, I saw one of the employees mixing the cookie batter. She said something about how she put her "heart and soul" into the cookies. At first I thought it was sort of a silly thing to say, but a while later, after I had devoured my cookie, I realized that she wasn't kidding!

If you are in Austin, get your chocolate chip cookies from Fricano's only! I don't care what anybody else says about other bakeries in town -- trust me, they're not as good!

Thing I'm thankful for: lazy Saturdays

Monday, April 04, 2011

Proud Owner of a Car!

Remember this pretty silver number?

I own it!

It has been through a lot: an accident in the snow, a fender-bender with my mommy, a kick in the side, and several tickets. (Oops!)

It has seen better days, too! I drove this thing to
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Valdosta, Georgia
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Bloomington, Indiana
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Austin, Texas
It's so fascinating to me that we get attached to things, especially cars. I've loved having mine. Hopefully, it'll last for at least the next two or three years!

Thing I'm thankful for: the warmth of the sun on my back!

Happiness is a Skype Call

That's me on the computer in Georgia. Those are some of my favorite people. We were talking via Skype. It was wonderful.

Thing I'm thankful for: high-speed Internet access, programmers, cell phones, etc. What a world we live in!

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Conference was excellent, as usual. :)
You can listen to all the talks here:
April 2011 General Conference

My favorite session was today's afternoon session, but then again, I typically think the Sunday afternoon sessions are best. They will probably all be live online tomorrow, and if you get the chance, you should listen to the following speakers:

Elder David A. Bednar
Elder Richard G. Scott
Elder Christofferson
Elder Lynn G. Robbins

There were several other speakers I liked listening to, but those were particularly meaningful to me . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: sunny, windy weather

Friday, April 01, 2011

Following the Prophets

It's about to be Conference Weekend! Are you as excited as I am?

If you're not, it might be because you're not a mormon. So I'll tell you about it: General Conference is held twice a year, on the first weekend in April and October. It's a time for Church leaders to give members direction, report on the growth and statistics of the Church, and bear testimony of the gospel. It's a worldwide conference. It's held in Salt Lake City and broadcast all over the world.

It's a lot of church. Here's the schedule:

6:00-8:00 (For the men only. That's okay; women get their own two-hour session earlier in the year.)


But that's not really what this post is about. It's about an article I read today in USA Today: Mormon president can do no wrong to religion's members. From the article:
"We pay lip service to the prophet's fallibility," said Edward Kimball, son of late church President Spencer W. Kimball. "But when you come down to specifics, we can't think of any incidents where a prophet was wrong."
So much authority is ascribed to the Mormon president, though, that quasi-prophet worship by the far-flung members of the 14 million-member faith seems unavoidable.

I think the article's author is right. It's true; I have plenty of friends who worship Church leaders and not God. I have a feeling that if Church leaders faltered in some way, their faith would be gravely shaken and maybe shatter completely. And why wouldn't they? It's not unlike the moment when a child realizes her parents don't know everything (That happened for me in the 6th grade.), or the moment when a citizen disapproves of his political leader's decisions in personal life. (I'm looking at you, Bill Clinton.)

Everyone has someone they look up to -- someone they think could do no wrong. At least, at some point, everyone did. Mormons and non-mormons alike are in danger of losing their faith -- in anything -- if the person they look up to the most falls.

So even though this article is right about a lot of mormons; it's right about almost everyone else in the world, too.

As for my faith in mormon Church leaders . . . All I can say is that I really do believe that every human being is fallible. No person on earth is perfect. No one at all. But I can tell who comes close, and I will follow what that person says until I think he's not close anymore. Besides, I don't believe in Church leaders; I just believe in God.

Thing I'm thankful for: people who are good at writing resumes!