Jun 30, 2007

So I have this problem...

I can't go to bed unless someone else is already in bed. This is horrible on those rare nights when I have the apartment to myself. I stay up far too late.

I also can't get up until someone else has already gotten up. Allison has work at 5am every morning. This is not a problem these days.

Jun 26, 2007


A group that I would love to see in concert:


(And here is where I spend a long time trying to come up with some clever one-line something using song lyrics or some other music reference to end this post with, but everything I could come up with was either a) way too obscure, b) used songs that I hate, or c) just didn't fit well enough. I spent the most time working with, "It's better to burn out than to fade away," but as nice as the "fade away" bit fits into this (I admire that these people aren't just fading off into being old), the burn out is just too negative (though necessary or nobody would catch the Neil Young/Kurt Cobain reference). Such is life, though. I can't be perfectly clever all the time. At least I didn't just give in to "they sure bring sexy back," or something equally easy, unoriginal (Al Gore has used it for crying out loud!*), and useless.)

*it's true: last year he said at the VMA's that he wouldn't have come but then he heard that "Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back, so here I am." On a semi-related note: one of the best moments of my life was that day in early 2004 that I was innocently driving around West Lafayette listening to NPR and the market analyst guy said, "But then there was some news that would shake the industry like a Polaroid picture" or something to that effect. He wasn't even talking about the music industry, and he just said it straight and finished his story and it was the funniest thing ever. Again, I would never use something that easy myself, but from a market analyst on NPR? Hilarious.

Jun 25, 2007

Mostly for Laura...but other Gatsby fans are welcome

Today I was innocently walking with Trevor to Sterling's apartment when it struck me: four days ago was the longest day of the year. I missed it. I gasped audibly with the realization then made an awkward explanation for my noise: "I missed the longest day of the year! I should've planned something...have you read The Great Gatsby?"

One of these days, especially if Laura Merwin and I ever happen to be in the same state on a June 21st, I'm having a 1920s-themed party on the longest day of the year. And it's going to be awesome. (P.S. Laura, I miss you. With our powers combined we have such a grand time...also, would you post something already on your blog? It's been over two months since you last updated...just a friendly reminder.)

A little excerpt from the first chapter of The Great Gatsby for those confused:

"Why candles?” objected Daisy, frowning. She snapped them out with her fingers. “In two weeks it’ll be the longest day in the year.” She looked at us all radiantly. “Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it.”
“We ought to plan something,” yawned Miss Baker, sitting down at the table as if she were getting into bed.
“All right,” said Daisy. “What’ll we plan?” She turned to me helplessly: “What do people plan?”

It's such a good way to introduce Daisy's character. Way to go, F. Scott.

Sorry Hillary, but you just can't be Bill

The latest video from the Clinton campaign:
It's a nice attempt at humour or at least lightness that falls flat on its face, in my opinion. I can't even put my finger on why, but it's painful to watch. (On a rather unrelated note: Can I just say that that one post where I said I've been listening to "Don't Stop Believin'" came five days before the Soprano's finale when we started hearing the song in oh so many spoofs?) (On a different only slightly more related note: Celine Dion? Way to outsource your campaign song to a Canadian.)

Hillary Clinton, as the only major female candidate and as the wife of Bill Clinton who is generally thought of as baby-boomer-sex-fiend-fast-food guy, has made some serious attempts at seriousness. You see her talking tougher than ever these days as she tries to be taken...seriously (okay, so I should probably whip out the thesaurus at this point). But it has hurt her likeability factor. You can debate how important likeability actually is, but in quite a few polls Hillary (while still a front runner when it comes to who people actually want to vote for) falls distinctly behind Edwards and Obama when it comes to actually liking her, and my guess is she's trying to work on that. It's a tricky balancing act that all candidates must face, but is especially hard for Hillary.

The funny Clinton is Bill. When it comes to likeability, he's king. Say what you will about whatever else about him, but nearly everyone can agree that he's the kind of guy you'd like to hang out with. (On a semi-related note: I had a dream about a week ago that I was in a reptile museum in Cuba with Bill Clinton and my brother Nate. It was fun to hang out with Bill and it was an exciting time because in my dream Fidel Castro had just died and the museum had just put out all of the snakes that Castro didn't think met state standards and hadn't displayed...anyway...) I'll always love this video he did for 2000 White House Correspondents Dinner:

Jun 20, 2007

How did I live life before facebook?

Why facebook is bad: I log on and the first thing I see is a picture someone tagged of a guy I had a crush on some time ago hugging some girl I've never seen before. I look into the album and find there are numerous pictures of the two of them together. I haven't even thought about him in months, but jealousy overcomes me.

Why facebook is good: I look at both of their profiles. They are both single. I have time. She wrote something fairly idiotic on his wall. Good thing. On her favorite music list is The All-American Rejects and on her favorite books list are the Work and the Glory books. Okay, she has horrible taste. Excellent. If he wants her, then he doesn't deserve me. I am at peace and feeling superior.

Why facebook is bad: I realize that several minutes of my day have passed and I've done nothing even remotely productive.

Jun 19, 2007

Just because I have to express this every time I see it...

I love You've Got Mail. It's just a really good movie. That is all. I should be studying.

Jun 15, 2007

This Just In...

The blue was getting on my nerves. We all know that I'm afraid of bright color. I was considering a complete redesign, but I just have so much going on lately that I can't dedicate the time to that right now. So I switched up the colors. That's my story. Also, I'm far more of a warm color person than a cool color person.


I'm still getting over the excitement of the day that I realized I could eat my dessert before my meal and nobody would stop me. I remember it distinctly. I was sitting in the cafeteria of Pierce Elementary School eating my sandwich and realized that the lunch duties probably wouldn't catch me if I were to just eat my cookies first. A few months later, I realized that the lunch duties probably wouldn't care even if I was caught. A few years later, I actually tried it. It was satisfying to flout convention and even more satisfying to flout what my mother had told me to do when I first started school. The novelty wore off after a few times and I realized how much more satisfying it is to save the dessert.

Most of life is either unsupervised or supervised by people that don't care what you do as long as you don't hurt anyone else. Especially this time of life. No attachments. No responsibilities to anyone other than self. And this world offers so many options. But when it comes down to it, generally what my mother says ends up being the best way.

Jun 12, 2007

Presidential Debates: Take Me Out To The Ball Game

I watched both presidential debates on CNN last week. About 85% of my rationale behind giving up four hours of my time to do so was the intention to write a really nice analysis on this blog. It's getting too far from the debates for it to be worthwhile, though, and I didn't want it to roll off into the land of draft posts. I've had a post comparing the Spanish-American War to the war in Iraq in my draft folder for over a month now. That's unfortunately the fate of most of my intelligent posts because I care about them, whereas the posts that actually get posted are just dribble about what's going on in my life.

Anyway, just so that I can get off this one subject, I'm just going to do a bullet-point analysis with no real organization:
  • I found it interesting how much effort John Edwards put into tearing down Hillary and comparing himself to Obama. I'm positive that he's looking for an Edwards-Obama ticket.
  • Sen. Biden knows his stuff. He was by far the best informed of the Democratic crowd. I'm sure this is due to the long time he's spent in the political arena. I loved when Hillary said "Because he's been around longer than any of us have in the Congress," then realized how that could be taken and quickly added, "He's a young man. He started young."
  • My favorite of the underdog candidates is Ron Paul. I knew next to nothing about him pre-debate, but was fairly impressed. A good ol' fashioned small-government Republican who disagrees with messing around in other countries' business and is the only true Reaganomics follower of the crowd (all of them, of course, invoked the spirit of Reagan on their side almost as much as they invoked God, but this doesn't mean anything other than confirms that they are Republicans). I've always had a soft-spot for libertarians.
  • I liked that Kucinich wore a pink tie.
  • Tancredo is so conservative it hurts to listen to him. I will never agree with those that are super harsh on immigration. This is something I could go off on, but won't right now.
  • Huckabee was more impressive than I expected. One of the strongest answers in the debate was his response to evolution questions:

    I think he'd be a strong vice-presidential candidate.
  • Romney was mediocre. He's smart. He looks presidential. But he's one of those blah candidates. He said what you expect him to say and it works, but it doesn't inspire by any means. And a little too on the political side for my tastes.
  • Hillary was surprisingly the funniest. The funniest thing that happened was, of course, the Guliani bit that you'll find next bullet down, but I was amazed that Hillary was pulling out humour better than anyone else. She was Charming Hillary and it was refreshing after so much of Programmed Hillary in the past.
  • And this favorite:

    I'm sure there are people out there that believe that really was God sending a message. Brilliant.
  • President Bush seems to be still getting less and less popular. Major Bush bashing on both sides.
  • I hated the bringing up of ridiculous things that aren't high on anybody's priority lists but are emotional things. Gays in the military took up way too much time. And boycotting the Olympics in China? Should not have been an issue at all. The issue was Sudan, remember? There's no way that the Olympics would do much to change that.
  • I'm guessing Hillary's outfit was designed to look like a man's suit from a far distance. I didn't think it was an especially good outfit, but I suppose for a presidential candidate who wants to be taken seriously it was doable. But still, as a woman she ought to be in something that has at least a bit of style to it and isn't so bland.
  • My mind is constantly back and forth on the best way to end the Iraq war. Kucinich's arguments that cutting off funding was the only way to get out of there seem plausible, but I think Biden had a very strong argument against it (I couldn't find a clip of just the Biden bit, so you're going to have to go to 3:40-1:35 left for what I'm talking about):

    I want to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. Everyone does, I suppose, even the Republicans, though some on that side still think the war is winnable, which I disagree with. I just don't know what's best method to get out soon. Either way you're losing American and Iraqi lives.
  • I was disappointed with Obama in general. I expected more of the idealism that we're all used to hearing from him and instead he was...less than stirring. I probably hold the standard higher for him because I know he can move me (unlike, say, Guliani, who may say things I agree with but can never get an ounce of emotion out of me).
  • Elizabeth Edwards was on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me a while back and when they asked her for something juicy on her husband she revealed that he doesn't use any sort of hair product whatsoever, doesn't even shampoo it. I was a little preoccupied watching his hair whenever he spoke trying to see if I could tell that he doesn't use product. I'm not sure if I believe Elizabeth or not.
  • McCain's Iraq stance is his political undoing.
  • I have to call Hillary "Hillary" even though I write about everyone else by last name, because when I say "Clinton" I think of Bill. Don't think I'm sexist.
  • This is going to be such a long campaign. Everyone's going to be tired of everyone by the end. And there's no way to predict what will happen. Remember how even much closer to the primaries in '04 everybody thought Howard Dean was going to be the Democrat's nominee?
I probably forgot something important I was going to say, but I got Kucinich's tie and Edward's hair in, so I'm good enough here.

Melissa and Tinfoil

My sixteen-year-old sister Melissa works at AltaOne Federal Credit Union. She and her associates happened to have some tinfoil and a coworker they enjoy teasing. They covered everyhing in his cubicle down to every last piece of paper and even the straw that he chews on from time to time. Way to go big or go home. I love this picture:

Jun 8, 2007

Best Website Ever

Inspired by the fact that the theme song from Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is stuck in my head for no apparent reason, I thought to check out ilike2learn.com for the first time in several months. They have added several new quizzes on their website since I last visited. I'm pretty sure this means I won't be doing any homework for several weeks. There's something about knowing geography that really does something for me. When someone mentions a place, I want to be able to picture it on a map.

Before I did any of the capital quizzes on ilike2learn, I quizzed myself on the world capitals with my own sheet, and I'm sad to report that I only knew 64.9% of them on a cold run. I don't use the knowledge of many of them often enough to retain the information. I'm sure that just looking over the list once would dramatically improve my score, though, as I've learned them all before, it just takes reminding. Knowing 126 of the world capitals is still better than I could've done before that fateful day a couple years ago that I decided knowledge of the world's capitals was something I needed to have, but it's always hard to not know something that I used to know. Also, the finer points of calculus.

Here is a picture of Carmen Sandiego:


  1. I've always thought it would be fun to be a bartender. I'm considering working the bar for the whole time at the cocktail party. I think it would be fun. I would enjoy having something to keep myself occupied and not have to interact with anybody for a sustained amount of time. I don't trust my roommates to do it.
  2. I know so much more about alcoholic beverages than I ever did before. I love researching for this kind of thing.
  3. I still need to put together the training material for the bouncers. They need to be well-versed in crowd-control and attire-screening. You may ask, "So what burly men did you get to be your bouncers?" The answer is Danny and Trevor. That's right: one's kind of scrawny and the other's in a wheelchair.
  4. This has nothing to do with the cocktail party: Tonight we're doing Sweatin' to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. Man, what a great life I live.

Jun 6, 2007

Appropriate Cocktail Party Attire: A Tutorial

As the host of a cocktail party this coming Saturday, I've had many people ask what exactly the rules are for attire. For those who need to know, those who are curious, those that need to brush up, and those who like looking at pictures of cocktail rings...this is for you.

The Basics

The following is a list of quotes from various experts regarding cocktail attire:

"Cocktail attire means short, elegant dresses for her and dark suits for him." - Cynthia Nellis, about.com fashion writer

"Your boyfriend should wear a suit and tie. You can wear an elegant-looking dress in any color, but no formal gowns. The skirt length can be anything that you are comfortable wearing. Perhaps you are thinking of black because the popular 'little black dress' goes well with any party, except white tie." - Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee, etiquette columnists

"You are allowed to be more seductive and playful in cocktail attire than in general semi-formal wear. Cocktail attire gives room to play, but make sure that you still look like a lady." - Emilee Haines, fashionista/my old roommate

Cocktail Attire for Men

A suit is a must, but it does not have to meet the strict standards of business attire or formal wear for a cocktail party. As with the ladies, the rules are fairly loose for our cocktail party and cross-era-dressing is perfectly acceptable. The following would all be welcome at this event:

The Cocktail Dress

The right cocktail dress is key to the enjoyment of a cocktail party. At this particular cocktail party, we're encouraging dressing from whatever era the attendee desires. Traditionally cocktail dresses are knee-length, but tea-length (to mid-shin) and ballerina-length (to the ankles) are both entirely acceptable. A variety of cocktail dresses that would be appropriate:

The Cocktail Ring

While not a requirement for a cocktail party, the cocktail ring is an ages-old cocktail party tradition. What a cocktail ring is: huge. What a cocktail ring is not: small. It's a pretty simple concept. If you own a cocktail ring, you wear it to a cocktail party because there aren't many occasions that will arise to wear it. If you don't own a cocktail ring, you buy one when you are invited to a cocktail party, because there aren't many occasions that will arise that give you an excuse to buy one. Any of the below rings are appropriate:

What Not To Wear

Hawaiian shirts. You don't want to look like this guy:


Trust your gut, ask a friend, ask an expert, go to http://www.coololdstuff.com/cocktail1.html for a history of cocktail parties, etc. You can do it. I'm here for you. And always remember:

"Style starts with your hair and ends with your shoes. If you get the top right and the bottom right, the rest will figure itself out." - Isaac Mizrahi

I realize I didn't discuss hair or shoes in this tutorial, but frankly, I need to go to bed, as I've already spent far too much time tonight making collages of cocktail dresses, etc. Also, there aren't really specific rules for cocktail hair or shoes. Just go with your typical semi-formal fare. Isaac's statement is still one of the truest statements of our time outside of the teachings of our living prophets, however.

Jun 5, 2007

10 Songs that I've Been Listening to A Lot Lately

It's been a very chill summer music-wise. Chill and fairly lovesick. Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. In alphabetical order by artist:

"The Luckiest" - Ben Folds - A simple beautiful love song. He wrote it for his wife. In my current turbulent emotional state it has made me cry on more than one occasion recently.

"See You Soon" - Coldplay - A song about insecurity. Unfortunately that means it's very fitting. It's off of an EP from before they released their debut album Parachutes, but it's one of Coldplay's best songs in my opinion. They had a lot of potential back in 1999, let me tell you.

"If Work Permits" - The Format - Last summer was all about The Format, but somehow I never recognized the greatness of this song during that period. My interest in The Format has been revitalized after listening to them a ton on the Disneyland trip. Last year's song by them was "Dog Problems". "If Work Permits" is less bitter, which is healthier for me than constantly singing "Open arms are prison cells...".

"Heatbeats" - Jose Gonzales - A last year favorite that is back for another go. For the commercial that I first heard this song on, go here (it's worth the wait to watch it in high definition). I wish it had been my idea: 250,000 bouncy balls on the street of San Fransisco. I wish I had been there. The song is actually a cover of The Knife, but I like Jose's version better because it's so chill.

"Best for the Best" - Josh Ritter - I discovered a Josh Ritter (who I'd never heard of) CD while packing to move to my summer apartment. I'm guessing it was given to me by an old lover because it looks like his handwriting on it, but I really don't remember. But Josh Ritter is brilliant. A folk singer from Idaho, no less.

"Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey - An oldie that I've always liked, but have been listening to seriously for the first time recently. Classic.

"In Love With a View" - Mojave 3 - Oh unrequited love, what have you done to the world? A good song by some random band that I had hoped was from the Mojave desert when I heard their name, but are in fact British, like nearly every other good band.

"Underneath My Tree" - Ozma - Fairly typical Ozma. I don't really have much to say about this song other than that it's a good one and currently the number one played song on my iTunes (granted I haven't had a computer or iTunes in a while so my most played list only started building in the last few weeks).

"Hey There Delilah" - Plain White T's - A good song for long-distance relationships. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned guy-and-his-guitar-with-nothing-else-going-on song.

"Fake Plastic Trees" - Radiohead - One of the best songs ever written. It's one of those "I know exactly what you mean Thom" songs. "It wears me out..." Last year's Radiohead song was "True Love Waits". Every year has a Radiohead song. One of the best bands of all time.

I recommend you check out any of the songs listed above that you are not familiar with. While not all are necessarily "great", all are at least worth a listen.

Jun 3, 2007

Living With Allison

"So I was thinking of good conversation starters and the only thing that came to mind was, 'What attributes would you describe the ideal butler as having?'"

"You're the first roommate I've had since Jan '03. Well, unless you count my 14 mission companions. Oh, or my roommate last semester."

"I have a confession to make: I listened to a whole MoTab CD today, even though it's secular Saturday. I listened to it twice. The second time I remembered that it was secular Saturday and listened to it anyway. Sinning against the greater light and all. I'm sorry. But not that sorry."

On Saturdays Allison is required to not listen to church music, you see. Apartment rule. And believe me, it's necessary. Though the rest of the apartment is not too much better. I can't listen to my music without feeling like a sinner. Or have someone come up to me and say, "Hey, how about we listen to The Little Mermaid soundtrack!?"

Jun 1, 2007


It's the first day of June and I woke up twice last night to put on more clothes because I was freezing. My apartment is the Antarctica of Provo. Since I'm in a basement apartment, I think we get a lot of the cooling efforts from upstairs effecting our temperature.

It's all a good thing, though, because we have a fireplace in our apartment, and it'd be a shame to not get to use it. I love a good fireplace. I love a good evening where I curl up with a book by the fireplace. I've never been able to do that before. We hardly ever lit our fireplaces growing up in my family, and when we did, the main activity was to put weird things into the fire when Mom and Dad weren't looking and see what happened to them.

The only shame is I always dress for cool weather and then walk outside and realize it's hot out.