Dec 18, 2010

Tabernacle Fire

As many of you know by now, the LDS Provo tabernacle burned down yesterday. Even though I live within a mile of the building, I had no idea until I heard people talking about it at work.

I've been in the building on several occasions and it's been enjoyed by many many people since it was constructed in the 1880s. It's sad to see such a historic building destroyed.

Since I live close to the building, I had several people ask if I could smell smoke at my house, but I didn't smell anything in the air. However, when Tiberius came home last night after being outside for most of the day, his fur definitely smelled like smoke. Because he's so fluffy absorbent. And no, that's not a mistyped sentence. The rule, when it comes to Tiberius, is that any adjective used to described him is preceded by the word "fluffy" ("He's being so fluffy nice right now." "Oh no, Tiberius is fluffy hungry." etc.). Don't mock me; everybody's got stupid things when it comes to their pets. Besides, you don't want Tiberius to get fluffy angry with you.

Dec 17, 2010

Open Mic

As many of you know, my darling husband Trevor has been pursuing comedy pretty heavily over the last two months. It's been really fun to be a part of (I'm at a comedy show at least once each week), and opportunities are already coming out of it. So far there have been several open mic nights, two real gigs, and one comedy competition (which he won, of course). He's mostly doing stand up since that's where the most opportunity is, but there are some improv/sketch things going on as well.

To those of you who live in Salt Lake or Utah County: I encourage you to come see him perform live sometime (hit me up and I'll let you know when and where upcoming shows will be).

To those who don't have the opportunity to see him in person: I finally got around to recording a set at an open mic night last night. Perhaps someday I'll get a video with better sound quality and from a bigger show, but for now this will have to satiate you. (Note to those sensitive to this kind of thing: there isn't really anything dirty in the following set, but there is some mild language and brief mental nudity)

Emcee guy at the end is John Moyer, who wrote The Singles Ward, The RM, and Mobsters and Mormons. Yeah, brushing shoulders with all sorts of fame, here. Did I mention Trevor opened for Dave Ackerman of Diaries of a Dirty Tongue last week? Yeah. Big time.

Dec 10, 2010

I Want to Ride it Where I Like

While getting exercise and saving the environment are not very good motivation for me to bike, an adorable bike helmet disguised as a herringbone cap, is a very, very good reason. Summer of next year, I'll likely be living within biking distance of my place of employment. I'll have to keep this in mind.
Also, need to start saving up the $9,500 I'll need for that Fendi bike that everybody makes fun of, but I must admit, I find quite charming (the perfect mix of vintage and modern! and all of that storage space! and a leather holder for your GPS device!).
Hmm, though perhaps then I need some sort of brown version of the bike helmet so everything ties together a little better...

Or, you know, go with the other option: not spending $9,500 for a bicycle. If I sold everything I own (including car) and put all of my savings toward it I'd be like...1/3 of the way there...okay, okay, I guess I get why you were making fun of it...

Dec 6, 2010

Date Night

After dinner, we tried to go to the MikaRose Outlet, but it was

So we went to see "Tangled", which was a thoroughly enjoyable film. Aside from being full of Disney magic (like the Disney films of the good ol' days), it also solves this important problem:

Dec 5, 2010


Someday I want to have six kids. One boy, then four girls, then another boy. So my children will look like this:
What do you mean, family planning shouldn't be centered around name schemes?

(Also, what do you mean "Enne" isn't a real name? I have a mage gnome who would argue otherwise...What do you mean, "if WoW character names count as real names, I might as well name my child 'Lolyousuck'"? I pick good names; I think Enne is cute. Thank you.)

Dec 2, 2010

I didn't intend to write another cat post, but there was a cat event...

Tuesday morning: Fidel comes outside with us as we leave for work, providing his typical morning kitty escorts to the car (he's a protective little guy). As we pull out of the parking lot, we see that Fidel has approached a group of women we don't know and is enjoying being pet by them. Trevor and I comment to each other how friendly and nice Fidel is and how much we love him.

Tuesday evening: We come home from work, expecting to see Fidel waiting for us by the door as it has been snowing and he does not like the cold. He is not. We assume he'll show up soon, but as it gets a little later, we start to worry and Trevor goes out looking for him (accompanied by Tiberius, the snow rescue cat). They come home empty-handed. We hypothesize that Fidel is in somebody else's apartment, as we've had more than one neighbor mention/complain that Fidel will just go into anybody's house he likes.

Wed midday: Fidel finally comes home, and we are glad he is okay. His collar is mysteriously gone. But he has been known to escape collars before (though this most recent one has lasted a long time comparatively).

Wed late night: I let Fidel outside again (he doesn't like to be cooped up for long). Trevor expresses concern that we shouldn't let him out before we get him a new collar. I don't worry much about it.

Thurs morning: Fidel comes home (he also doesn't like to be outside for long) wearing a brand new collar we've never seen before. Complete with jingle bell and rhinestones. Which is not appropriate (Yes, I know Tiberius has a rhinestone collar...but he's a fluffy, sweet cat meant for lying on velvet pillows and Fidel is an athletic, serious cat meant for hunting worg.)

So apparently somebody is trying to steal our cat.  I can see assuming he's a stray. He's perpetually hungry and kind of a mess all the time. And his old collar was really shabby looking (months of trying to scratch that thing off will do that). And, as we've discussed, he's very friendly and doesn't understand that he can't go into other people's houses. But he's our cat. He may be loved elsewhere, but we loved him first.

The plan is to buy him a new collar today and replace the mystery collar. When he goes to whoever is attempting to adopt him (I assume he'll go back again; he can't be stopped from anything), hopefully they'll get the message. It kind of makes me sad for whoever is out there excited about their new nice kitty, because I'm sure she'll (of course it's a she...did I mention the rhinestone collar?) be sad that she can't keep him. But there are plenty of cats out there who need homes. And Fidel belongs to us.

Dec 1, 2010

Orabrush Review

I bought an Orabrush last night (available at select Utah WalMarts), intending to review it for my blog.
 "But Andrea, you don't really do product reviews," you may say.
 "Well, the tongue-scrubbing Orabrush is a product of interest to me and I can do what ever I want," I may respond.
"Why is the Orabrush a product of interest to you? You are not exactly the queen of oral hygiene..." you may ask.
 "What exactly are you getting at here?" I may ask back. After we have a conversation about how I should floss more, I may get around to those reasons:
  1. Orabrush was invented and is headquartered here in good ol' Provo,UT. And who doesn't like supporting a local start-up?
  2. Orabrush is a YouTube success story (, and I'm highly interested in social media marketing stuff.
  3. I'm a fan and acquaintance of local comedian Dave Ackerman who gets paid by Orabrush to make videos of himself in a giant tongue costume (best job ever?).
The original Orabrush video:

Note: I did the spoon test thing and think I'm okay. But I didn't really seem to get anything on the spoon, so maybe I did it wrong? I'm still afraid of having bad breath.

An example of the giant tongue costume:

Note #1: I know the idea for this particular one is somewhat ripped off from Orbit Gum's dirty mouth stuff...but it's amusing nonetheless.
Note #2: One of the construction workers is played by another local comedian acquaintance of ours, Jose Bacio...I'll have to post sometime about my immersion into the Utah comedy scene and my very funny husband's exploits there.

Anyway, time for the actual product review part. And the conclusion is: I suck at Orabrushing. It may or may not be a good product; all I know is I don't think I'm capable of using it how it's supposed to be used. I have a strong gag reflex and have a very difficult time with putting things on my tongue like that. I've tried and failed at brushing my tongue with a toothbrush and tried and failed at tongue scrapers, so I don't know why I thought an Orabrush sounded like a good product for me. This is my official non-review.

Nov 22, 2010


I stress out about my cats all the time. What if they're outside and get hit by a car? or lost? or killed by some sort of cat-hating maniac? What if they're trapped inside the house when we aren't home and the apartment burns to the ground? Fidel has been lying still for a while now, I need to check that he's still breathing.

I don't know how people handle having kids.

Nov 20, 2010

So Long and Thanks for All the Dolphin Slaughter Footage

Just watched The Cove, and have decided I need to stop watching documentaries on Netflix. Or at least the liberal/progressive/environmentalist/socialist sort that serve only to add more things to my list of reasons mankind as a species should feel guilty. Biographies of Catherine the Great are still allowable.

They all end with a call to action: Stop global warming! Stop animal abuse! Stop corporate corruption! Stop government corruption! Fix the prison system! Fix the healthcare system! Fix the immigration system! Fix the food industry! Fix the energy industry! Fix the financial industry! etc, etc, etc, etc. But there's only so much a letter to a congressperson can do. And there are so many issues to "do something" about. Unless you want to pick a pet project and dedicate your life to it, you're really not going to be able to do much, and even then there's certainly no guarantee of change. And most of my time is pretty much already taken up with just managing my household (okay, okay, so hours every week go to Netflix alone...but everybody needs relaxation time, right?).

And so I choose to ignore the guilt part and instead just feel vaguely proud of myself because I'm more educated about the issue de jour than I was pre-documentary-viewing.

Nobody likes vegetarians, anyway.

Oh, and in case anyone accuses me of being a raging liberal instead of the moderate I am (though in Utah: moderate = raging liberal), I'll mention that my list of documentaries watched includes one about the great need we have to reduce the federal deficit. Which is apparently a Republican issue now? Though I still don't get how they're always talking about lower taxes AND a smaller deficit in the same breath. Sorry guys, but it's not possible. But I suppose that's another blog post for another day...

But yeah, self-imposed ban on documentaries that have an agenda. Starting now.

Nov 12, 2010

Yep, that's my husband...

A little recording from last night. We have fun. Trevor by making up ridiculous things in ridiculous accents. Me by drawing plaid onto an apron with a Sharpie. Trevor's fun is more fun to watch.

Nov 7, 2010

Maid of Honor

Someday, if it's ever not completely financially irresponsible, I will have a housekeeper. When I say this to people, the vast majority get a little huffy ("What, you too good for housework?").

Allow me to defend myself.

     1) Having a maid doesn't mean that I can't take care of myself; it means that I would rather free up my time for pursuits that are more fulfilling than dishes/laundry/vacuuming/etc. If I was no longer able to afford a housekeeper, I could go back to doing my own's not like I'll have forgotten how to iron clothes. Perhaps this sounds like the cliche drug-addict response "I can quit when I want to", but I do have years of evidence backing up the claim that I am capable of keeping my own house in shape (maybe not always to perfection, but livable enough). That doesn't mean I enjoy doing it.

     2) Having a maid doesn't mean I'd be forcing some peon to deal with my mess. There's a difference between owning a slave and employing a maid. I'd be GIVING SOMEBODY A JOB. People need jobs. And since this is Hypothetical Land where I can afford a maid in the first place, who's to say I can't afford to pay a decent wage? I've actually found that "I'd love to be financially comfortable enough to employ a housekeeper" is slightly less provocative than "I'd love to be financially comfortable enough to have a housekeeper".

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Nov 1, 2010

    Three Person Halloween Party...Because We're That Cool

    There was supposed to be an epic Halloween party at Trapper's epic new house, which didn't happen as Trapper's epic new house is still mired in the world of paperwork ("I can't move into my house yet" is the lamest excuse ever, by the way). So we didn't have any Halloween plans.

    As I sat at my computer between answering the door for trick-or-treaters (tons this year, ran out of candy...), I knew something had to be done. Trevor and his friend Owen were in the back room playing video games. And we needed a little Halloween, right this very minute.

    I changed into my costume and told Trevor and Owen they had to wear costumes, too. ("You want us to sit here in costumes?" "Yes, it's Halloween." "Well okay, but only because you're intimidating as Catwoman.") We were able to assemble a disco outfit for Trevor (look closely: complete with chest hair!). I obviously was prepared ages ago with my costume (don't look closely: my mask is crooked, but I was tired of sewing at that point and stretch materials are so difficult...). And Owen...well...he got the odds and ends of the costume box and was a Rabbi Convict:

    We trick-or-treated to our friends next door and then did the usual hanging around the house. But everyone wore a costume and that's what Halloween is always about. Especially since those kids took all my candy.

    Oct 29, 2010

    Before It Was Cool

    The mark of cool has always been "I did that before it was in style". One great thing about living in the information age: the geeks among us often the ones ahead of the curve. That doesn't stop us from being jerks sometimes, though.

    Coworker: I'm thinking about starting a blog; do you blog?
    Me: Do I blog? Please, I've been blogging since 2004.

    And after I saw The Social Network, I also had to make a point of saying that I'm pretty sure I was among those first one million people on facebook that they celebrate . Yeah, that's right, the other 499 million of you are followers. (Let's not mention the sheer luck of being of college age when it came out and the sheer luck of having friends in the east where facebook initially took off).

    Also...after a little research today, the blog thing is not true and the facebook thing is questionable.

    Turns out the first post I have on my first blog was dated Jan 27th, 2005. It is really odd to read the old diaryland blog. I haven't looked at it in years. Such a horrible format. Also, I was far too concerned with: a) food, b) trying to sound smart, c) dating. (Readers of this blog know that I've since moved to far more reputable concerns: food, trying to sound smart, and cats.) Though there are little bits of cleverness here and there that make me not entirely hate myself at age 18-19.

    I don't remember when I joined facebook (or thefacebook as it was at the time) and don't have access to my old BYU email anymore so I have to look for clues to figure it out. The earliest indication I can find is also from the diaryland blog. I know that on March 4, 2005, I had 92 facebook friends. So I joined sometime before that. Facebook reached 1 million users in late December 2004. So maybe I was one of those. Hard to say. Also, I don't remember if Emilee or I ended up winning the first person to 100 facebook friends contest back then. I do know I initially joined facebook before she did AND that currently I have 474 friends and she has 420. So we all know who the real winner is.

    When I first joined facebook, there was that "find people in your network button", which some of you may remember. I recall that there were only around 30 people in the BYU network. And I was like "I don't know how useful this site is going to be for me."

    I'm totally cooler than you because of this.

    Oct 27, 2010

    Cat Notes

    You know I needed another cat post:
    • Tiberius likes fruit more than any cat I've ever known. Whenever I have applesauce, for example, he goes crazy trying to get at it like it were catnip. He leaves me pretty well alone if I'm eating like, chicken, though. So weird.
    • Nearly every morning, Fidel gives us kitty escorts to the car. Fidel is not as cuddly as Julius or Tiberius, but he shows he loves us by being our protector. It's really adorable. He even provides kitty escorts to the laundromat (a few buildings over from ours). And even though he does not like it there and meows trying to show me how to get home, he will stick with me. Because he knows I need him to help.
    • Thing I will miss most about the old office: kitten friends in the backyard across the parking lot. I've got an excellent view of them from my desk and they just run and pounce at things all day long. So dang cute.
    • The cats favorite spots in the house are as follows: Julius - the lower right-hand corner of the bed; Fidel - The brown chair in Trevor's computer room; Tiberius - wherever he can be most in the way.
    • I had a dream a couple nights ago that we got a little grey girl kitten that we named Cleopatra. I had a dream about a month ago that we got a little black girl kitten that we named Olivia. Little girl kitten hungry: not a good thing when you've already got three cats. Though I think this will be significantly quelled when Trapper's home loan finally goes through which means he gets the little girl kitten he has always wanted. I have, of course, had a spot reserved as Trapper's kitten shopping buddy since before ground was even broken on the house.
    • Trevor doesn't allow dressing up of cats for Halloween as it's not dignified. Julius and Fidel heartily agree. Probably Tiberius wouldn't mind it too much. If it were to happen, however: Julius would be a Darth Vader, Tiberius would be a John Lennon, Fidel would be George Washington. (Tiberius would actually be a bumblebee, but apparently that's what I said last year, so we can't have him in the same costume).
    • Because Julius is the smartest of our cats and likes to put his claws into people to show them he loves them, he has learned that he won't get pushed away for lovey kneading if the person he is loving has a blanket on their lap. He'll look at me and wait until I've put something on my lap while I'm at my computer and then hop on and claw away at my covered thighs. The other day, Trevor was putting on a sweater and Julius thought the sweater on Trevor's legs meant that he could hop onto his lap. Because he's always looking for the cue. Because he's a good boy.
    • Tiberius has a new sparkle collar. You can't really see it because he's so fluffy, but it's got rhinestones. And it looks very handsome on him.
    • When speaking to Fidel, I often make the mistake of calling Tiberius "your little brother" ("stop picking on your little brother" is a too common phrase in our house...Fidel just has so much energy and Tiberius is such a wuss; Fidel, of course, knows better than to pick on Julius). Tiberius is about three months older than Fidel and is larger in stature, but I think I will always think of him as the baby of the family. He's the least intelligent but the most cuddly...and he's got those big blue eyes. Even though Tiberius is actually quite a large cat at this point, I look at him and still just see the little fluffball with ears too big for his body that we first took home with us.
    • I've decided than when I have a home of my own, I definitely want to volunteer as a foster home for animal shelter overflow. It would be providing a service to the community (at least in this part of the state, there's apparently a big need for it) and hopefully satiate my desire for more and more cats in my house. Maybe dogs, too. If I always have animals rotating through, it would be like always getting new pets.

    Oct 13, 2010


    Thirty-three minutes after I wrote this post, my darling husband wrote this post. And the only prompt he really needed was our awesome cat, Fidel (though keep the votes coming...Trevor has stated intent to consider your input).

    Let this be a warning to any of you on my blogroll who it's been a few months+ since your last post. I wield power. You may be next.

    Oct 12, 2010

    I don't think mimes sing...

    You may recall it. A little blog where we once read tales of great journeys, eternal struggles, and Johnny Cash hitting cripples with fish. A little blog by a brilliant but troubled man (I don't know why we still use the "but" when in much of modern expression brilliant = troubled). A little blog that has lain dormant for some time.

    But that time has come to an end. Or will come to an end, rather. Or else.

    Drunk on the success of my last attempt to change the blogosphere, I thought I would turn up the heat a little.

    The usual response to the heat: "I have nothing to write about!". Well, here's a chance we all have to make a difference.

    Pick your favorite prompt for a Trevor blog post.

    Note: He may or may not actually follow the winning prompt. There's no controlling the man

    Oct 4, 2010


    The family was in town this weekend. It's the first time that all ten siblings, plus the one brother-in-law (so far Trevor is the only spouse brought into the fold, but Jared is engaged so soon it will be two), plus both parents have all been in the same room together. Ever. We've had at least one boy off on a mission since Whitney was born until quite recently, and then we've had four of us living in Utah and the rest in California, so it's taken a bit for the stars to align. Documented evidence of the whole family together:

    Yes, Nate is on Jared's shoulders. Yes, I picked this photo over the formal portraits. Yes, I will play the mad pirate in your upcoming feature film.

    Oh and Kayla is taller than me. Weirdest thing ever.

    And Whitney called my cat Tiberius, "Tiberipuppy". She's adorable.

    Sep 26, 2010

    How Times Have Changed

    I was reading an article about bad fashion throughout the years this morning and came to a startling revelation: Bjork's swan dress, the dress that horrified my sensibilities in 2001 (did she think the Oscars of were a joke?), is kind of adorable.

    I blame Lady Gaga. Straight up. The swan dress doesn't seem over-done costume-y at all anymore. Particularly paired with simple hair/makeup/accessories, what's wrong with a ruffly white animal turned outfit?

    Not that I'm going to go out and buy one. Or that I'll ever think of Bjork again without the image of The Dress popping in my mind. But it'll be with more respect that I recall the once infamous.

    In 2004 I turned up my nose at any pointed-toe shoe; in 2006, I bought a pair. In 2008, I was disgusted by leggings; now they're a staple of my wardrobe. This fall I plan on wearing a lot of boots. Ankle boots, even. I've always hated boots. Granted, I'll still be very particular about what boots I wear (I'm sorry, but the vast majority make your ankles look fat and/or make you look like you're trying too hard to be fashionable and/or make you look like a prostitute and/or don't fit with the vast majority of outfits and/or are too "ironic rural" and/or....), but still.

    Sep 23, 2010

    Couldn't Look You in the Eye

    While I groan everytime I hear "Oh I heard this great string/acoustic/choral cover of such-and-such rock song" because it's the kind of thing that excites oh-so-cool-college-student-sorts, I have to admit that I'm really digging the creepy choral version of Radiohead's "Creep" used on the trailer for The Social Network:

    (for the record, my thoughts on the film itself are "meh", but that may change for better or worse when there's more info out there on it)

    The "Creep" cover is apparently some Belgian girl's choir, Scala & Kolacny Brothers. I've been listening to their stuff for much of the morning; I'm a fan. And while the only thing more cliche than covering Radiohead is covering Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", I have to admit, this is absolutely lovely:

    Sep 16, 2010

    Finally, a Reason to be a Dictator

    I'm not a particularly power-hungry person and while I like attention, I'm uncomfortable with being the center for long, so I never really saw myself as the dictator sort. But today I realized I might want to start planning the coup. One great, often-overlooked aspect of complete power: You can wear whatever you like and nobody can say nothing. And they can't laugh at your double negative problem.

    Thank you FP for this article/slideshow. In a world of constant turmoil, it's good to see that some people are paying attention to what really matters.

    Also, if I were a dictator, I'd totally costume it up, Qaddafi-style.

    Also, is it just me, or is Ahmadinejad kind of hot? I mean Holocaust denial and nuclear ambitions put aside...every man should dress like that.


    Firefox is telling me that "slideshow" and "Ahmadinejad" are misspelled words. Come on now, this is the internet for heaven's sake...not the decennially-published Oxford Official Queen's English Dictionary. Aren't they supposed to be flexible about these things? If, say, a word has 159,000,000 results on Google (in the case of "slideshow"...or even 29,100,000 in the case of "Ahmadinejad"), can't they put it on a "this is probably a word" list somewhere? And have anything on that list automatically never again be called misspelled?

    Yes, yes, I know I can add it to my personal dictionary. But that requires two whole clicks of the mouse. And doesn't stop me from feeling like a bad person for the second or so that that accusatory red squiggly line is there.

    Sep 15, 2010

    Red China Blues Review

    Since pretty much every time I finish a book I feel the need to share it with someone, but rarely do anything about that feeling, I've decided I'm going to start blogging book reviews on recent reads. Or rather, let's call it "my thoughts on some books" because I find the word "review" intimidating.

    I originally started this post with something like "here are my thoughts on the six books I've read in the last six months", but after my thoughts for the first one ended up much longer than expected, I realized I'd never finish writing and readers would never finish reading the post if I did five more. So we'll start with the book I read six months ago and I'll catch us up over time:

    Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now by Jan Wong

    I originally purchased this book for a 20th Century China class that I didn't end up reading it for. And then it sat on my bookshelf for several years, gathering dust and doing little to tempt me. I knew enough about modern Chinese history to get by and didn't see the point of reading this memoir outside of educational value. And I have a problem where I can't really keep characters straight in any book where they don't have European names (a problem that I would like to emphasize is just how my brain works and does not make me racist). Yes, that is a good reason not to read something.

    But "I have nothing to read" set in and...well, it turns out I thoroughly enjoyed this smart, informative, and surprisingly funny memoir of a Chinese Canadian woman's experiences through three decades of Chinese history. One of Time's 10 Best Books of 1996, Jan Wong's memoir is easily accessed by Western readers, as she's a Westerner herself, but gives insight into the culture of China that only someone of Chinese heritage who 100% immersed herself in the day-to-day life of the Chinese could give.

    Wong originally left her native Canada for China as a Maoist college student during the heyday of the Cultural Revolution (1972), where she was one of only two Westerners attending Beijing University. The rare glimpse she gives of a world more radical than I ever realized (what have I been doing sitting around reading everything on the French Revolution when there was an equally crazy time more relevant to now that I don't ever think about out there?) is nothing short of fascinating. I particularly appreciated Wong's honesty in describing her starry-eyed view of communism in the early days; she'll admit that she snitched on her classmates and punished herself for bourgeois thoughts. Looking back, she admits she was a crazy idealist, but she presents herself as she was. Through her eyes, I came to understand the Maoist mindset better than I ever had before.

    She returns to Canada after a few years and comes back to China as a journalist in 1988. As a reporter, she's much more critical, but her perspective as a former Maoist gives everything she says an unique take. She's happy that the end of the Cultural Revolution means more wealth for many Chinese, but she hates that women no longer braid their hair and men no longer wear Mao suits; what happened to Chinese pride? The battle within Wong over how she feels about China is just as interesting as (perhaps part of?) the battle the nation itself has over its identity over the same time period.

    While the whole work is certainly worth reading, in a lot of ways the beginning and end of the memoir are just bookends to Wong's account of the Tianamen Square Massacre. I found her first-hand minute-by-minute reporting of the event completely riveting. The level of detail she puts into the account ("Between 3:15 and 3:23, I counted eighteen pedicabs pass by me carrying the dead and wounded.") makes everything very real. Very intense. Terrifying, really.

    For some reason I expected the memoir to get boring post-Tiananmen Square Massacre, but in some ways, that's when things really get interesting. As China starts slowly embracing aspects of capitalism (drugs! traffic jams! penis-extension surgeries!), we get to see the beginnings of the China-As-Current-Emerging-World-Power that we know and love today, and it's kind of exciting (though I, along with Wong, found myself strangely sad to see the communist ideals that originally brought Wong to China fall apart).

    The writing style is very straight-up informative. Very little poetry and a lot of facts. Wong is a journalist, after all. No dwelling on the way Tiananmen makes one feel like an ant; let's get some numbers: "Tiananmen could simultaneously accommodate the entire twenty-eight teams of the National Football League plus 192 other teams, each playing separate games." I personally found the writing style rather refreshing. I didn't have to analyze much I was reading; it was simple and extremely informative.

    Oh, and I was pleased (though I'm sure some purists hate her for it) to discover that Wong made names as simple for Western readers as she could, liberally using literal name translations (Forest Plum Ma, Scarlet Zhang) and nicknames (Fu the Enforcer, Cook Mu). And she always converts yen into dollars when describing the costs of things. Hooray for helping out my hopelessly Western brain.

    There are a few patches where I feel the story telling is a little slow (yes, yes, we get it, you were really into trying to be treated like native Chinese, we don't need another example), but in general, I found the book hard to put down.

    The end of the memoir feels a little disjointed, as Wong seems to just be throwing together a bunch of interesting stories with little connection to the larger narrative, but as a 21st century reader (aka someone who routinely reads bits and pieces of different things on the internet with no methodology whatsoever), it didn't particularly bother me; I just cared that it was all interesting.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in modern history, whether or not you have prior interest or knowledge of Chinese history (Wong does an excellent job of filling in most of the basics, if you know who Mao is, you're pretty much good to go). Wong's insight into the changing Chinese world is both entertaining and educational. What more can you really ask for?

    Sep 8, 2010

    Hooray for being offensive toward another religion! Oh, wait, we're totally against it!

    Anybody else find German Chancellor Merkel's comments today at an award ceremony for Kurt Westergaard (article here) a little odd?

    In honoring the Danish cartoonist who a few years back created waves with his depictions of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb for a turban, she says, "We are talking here about the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press." Then, at THE SAME AWARD CEREMONY, she calls US pastor Terry Jones to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday "abhorrent", "disrespectful" and "simply wrong".

    I'm no expert on what is and isn't offensive to Muslims (and unfortunately don't have any Muslim acquaintances to ask about it), so perhaps burning the Koran is much worse than drawing Muhammad. But I do know that both depicting Muhammad (with or without bomb turbans) and burning the Koran are considered blasphemy in Islam, so why is one good and the other bad? Considering that Kurt Westergaard sparked protests and death threats, I assume that what he did was fairly "abhorrent" and "disrespectful", at least to the Muslim community.

    And I wonder if (even in secular Europe), it all comes down to Christian thinking. Bible burning is offensive, right? But what is the Christian equivalent of the Muhammad cartoon? Is it perhaps just a cultural divide keeping the Western world from seeing the offense in a Muhammad cartoon?

    Or, other thought: Is it the fact that Mr. Westergaard is part of the press (so why wouldn't journalists love him?) and Mr. Jones is a religious figure (who journalists tend to not like much for several reasons I won't go into here), that makes one a beacon of freedom and another a destroyer of good? Thank you, media, for controlling all opinions.

    For the record, I support both Kurt Westergaard's and Terry Jones' right to do what they like. Though I'm disappointed to see the support that both have received in what I consider [insert word that is like racist but for religion there really not one?] activities. Also, perhaps this is just the cynic in me, but I kind of suspect that both may have some ulterior motives; what better way to make a name for yourself than to do something very publicly offensive?

    Sep 2, 2010


    Because I am both too tired of looking at a giant picture of myself every time my blog comes up AND too lazy to write a new post, here are a few videos on a favorite subject for your viewing pleasure:

    The internet is an excellent place for us cat enthusiasts.

    Aug 20, 2010

    Haircut: Now Available in Black

    (with brown highlights because I got the cheap dye AND am not particularly thorough)(also, I probably could've picked a less greasy time to take the picture, but I can't wait around until the new color is old news, so here we go)

    Aug 18, 2010


    I ask myself, "Are there honestly people out there that believe that terrorism and Islam are the same thing?" and millions of Americans shout back, "Here we are!"

    I've been kind of surprised over what a big deal the mosque planned for near Ground Zero has become. And kind of disappointed by the number of people I generally respect who have been against it. It's one thing if someone was proposing building a museum honoring the accomplishments of Al Qaeda or like...a bomb-making school. But a mosque? Really? Is there anything more symbolic of peace and healing than a place of worship?

    Winner of most hilarious (though perhaps rather misinformed) argument on the matter goes to a coworker of mine who shall not be named: "Wouldn't you want a mosque next to you to make sure you're not the victim of a terrorist attack? We should put a mosque on the top floor of every skyscraper in New York to keep terrorists away; they're not going to blow up a mosque!"

    Aug 15, 2010


    For those wondering how long it would take for me to get around to that previously-discussed haircut, the moment is now. Bored Sunday afternoons standing in the bathroom with a pair of scissors in your hand long enough will do that to you.

    Much better, yes? Though we are using before/after technology so we could also go the other way and say much better:
    But I am pleased with the cut. And Trevor can't stop raving about how much he likes it, and that also pleases me, as well.

    And for those curious about the back/side. Behold:

    Aug 12, 2010


    First person to product wins, not first person to idea.

    I started a blog post like a year ago that made a similar point to this article:

    I like going to people's houses and being able to tell what kind of person they are from the films and albums and books on their shelves. Because, like the kind of nerd snob I am, there is a part of me that believes these things define who someone is (yes, I know it doesn't...technically). Ipods, Kindles, even Netflix ruin this.

    My drafts folder is full of these. Ideas that I put down so that I'll remember to write something more elaborate later. Some are one sentence long (an applicable one, for example: "The internet just helps you realize more fully that all of your brilliant ideas have been thought of before."). Others are longer, but just never reached publishable quality (when did I even write these paragraphs about how I'm bored with the tired themes of African American literature? I don't remember this post attempt at all...).

    But yeah, I was kind of upset/relieved to come across the Slate article because then I didn't feel like I'd have to finish the above draft. It's already been written about, so now I can just link and call my work done. (As if I was the first person to ever think it anyway...)

    Jul 27, 2010

    Running from Nazis

    I dream about World War II way more than any other historical event. I mean, I've been on the Titanic and I've fought in Vietnam and I've seen Caesar assassinated, but more often than not, if there's history involved, I'm running from Nazis.

    As dreams often go, the Nazis are mashed up with other stuff (Sunday night was Harry Potter/X-Files/WWII dream), but even if Bill Clinton is president and werewolves are attacking the White House, Hitler is going to turn up somewhere.

    I blame the over-saturation of our media with Hitler/Nazi references. I also hate that I dream about it so much because it makes me feel like I am one of those Fox News reporters who somehow turns everything into "Well, you know how this kind of thing went down in Germany in 1939." But I suppose it's not my fault. If I could control my dreams, I'd have even more about my cats doing awesome stuff than I do now. Like the dream where Fidel was swimming around and doing tricks in the bathtub. Way better than the Gestapo killing Dumbledore AND Agent Scully. And Neville of all people was a double agent? We were doomed from the beginning.

    Jul 26, 2010

    Yep, that's a mistake I make often.

    Did you mean to attach files? You wrote "I've attached" in your message, but there are no files attached. Send anyway?

    Dear Google,

    Yes, you may know a scary amount of information about me and I suppose I can see the "Google makes us stupid" argument. But it's the little things that will make me always love you.



    Jul 23, 2010

    Change the World. Vote!

    The husband is requesting short hair. And I suppose I could go for a change. Generally short hair seems more stylish. Long hair can be stylish as well, of course, but it requires some work and, let's be honest, I'm pretty much ponytailing it every day. Also, I love how easy it is to blow dry your hair when it's short.

    So time for your input. Which of the following short hairstyles do you like best? (or, of course, give your own suggestions in the comments). (Note for the men in the audience: I know this is hard for you guys, but please try to think about what haircut would look best and not which model is the hottest.)

    Mod. Short tapered bang, shorter in the back. Most retro of the options, which is something I dig. The little curl in front is terrific, and wouldn't be that difficult to style. Not a particularly versatile option (I guess it could be worn wavy?), but it's cute enough that it might be worth the fact that my hair would look much the same everyday.

    Boycut. The shortest of the options. Arguably the most fashion-forward . Will have to make sure to do clothes and makeup in such a way that I'm not mistaken for there a polite word for the very-masculine-lesbian-type? Can I also say, I love what's going on with the color with this one (not that this is a color discussion rather than a cut discussion, but yeah, I love).

    Emo. Straight bangs that could also be swept to the side, significantly shorter in the back. I would do something like this, but a little more choppy (there's something weirdly round about this picture, but I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for). I like that I'd still have a little bit of length, though I'm not really sure why.

    Romantic. A somewhat layered bob. Bangs would have to be trimmed regularly to keep in check, but I do love the way they bring attention to the eyes when they hang just there (also...wouldn' t be required to keep eyebrows in check with this length, haha!) To go for the wispy effect in the picture this one would require a little more styling time, which I wouldn't do everyday, but I think it would probably be fine just letting it dry naturally, too (though I do particularly love the wispy thing).

    Classic. Basic bob with longer, side-swept bangs (as I've decided while looking through pictures that no short hairstyle looks good without at least some sort of bang). The most versatile option, as far as ways it can be worn, which is appealing, but it's also not a particularly exciting cut.

    Jul 19, 2010

    It's better than drinking alone?

    I enjoy the following activities immensely. However, I prefer to do them by myself, thank you:
    • Driving: I always say I like driving, but really I only like driving alone. Driving with other people stresses me out because everybody's a backseat driver and what if they don't like what you're playing on the radio? Making a wrong turn doesn't bother me in the slightest if I'm by myself. Other people make it embarrassing. Also, while I don't have qualms with singing in front of other people, singing along to the radio by yourself with complete abandon is one of the greatest pleasures of life.
    • Clothes Shopping: I'm confident enough in my purchases that I don't need other people getting up in my business with their opinions. I like what I like and don't like what I don't like, thank you. At least as far as clothes go. Also, shopping by yourself means I don't have to spend more or less time in a particular store than I want to because of somebody else's needs. Why girls typically go shopping in packs speaks only to their insecurity (or maybe like you know...a desire for human interaction, but that makes me sound like the horrible unsociable introvert that I am, and we wouldn't want that).
    • Dancing: Now this one may seem odd. But the liberty of dancing with yourself is amazing. Because it feels better to move like you don't care what you look like. Dancing with groups is terrific, too, but also better if I'm there by myself and don't know anybody. Then you don't have to match anybody.
    Hnnn, upon finishing this post, I'm worried it's not that interesting. Also perhaps it will provoke unnecessary worry in people who have driven/shopped/danced with me (I still love you all).

    Oh well, I've already written it and it's been a couple weeks since I've posted anything...posting.

    Jul 5, 2010

    Happy 4th

    The events of this holiday weekend can most accurately be summed up with one video. Thank you Russell and Trapper for doing what you would never allow the children to do:

    Jul 1, 2010


    I'm just worried this franchise will ruin teen girls' perceptions of real vampires and werewolves.
    -Mark Jordan Legans

    I've resolved to read the first Twilight book. Despite warnings like this and this, the "how can you have so much disdain for something you haven't read" argument is a strong one. Because, let's be honest, there's a good chance I end up liking them. Gah, I hate that I even have that possibility. But it's just because I dislike the stereotypical Twilight fan so much. But we'll be open-minded. Or try to be. I mean, I like Harry Potter and that's kind of along the same lines of hugely-popular-liked-by-every-lonely-ugly-middle/high-school-girl-universally-money-machine kind of thing, right?

    I've resolved to not spend money on this venture, however. So if anyone has a copy I can borrow, let me know.

    Hm, and I have a lot of thoughts about the Twilight franchise that I want to throw out here, but I'll save them until I have at least read the book and my opinions have more authority. So you can look forward to that post.

    Side Note: I was in a Burger King yesterday looking at the Twilight paraphernalia crawling all over the place and suddenly realized that at some point between now and when the debate first began, I switched from Team Edward to Team Jacob. Now I make these important decisions based on essentially nothing, as I have never seen any of the films or read any of the books, but based on what I could find in that Burger King, Jacob is better-looking. I think I'm kind of burned out on the whole emo aesthetic (at least for dudes...for girls it's still okay, I suppose, in moderation). I'm still kind of into the pale skin thing, but ugh...I dunno, the hair is too much. You just know you wouldn't want to be with a guy with that hair.

    Jun 26, 2010

    It's that Lara Croft Again

    Tomb Raider fan trailer starring our own Trevor Kelley as well as our friends Steven, Trisha, and Trisha's boobs:

    Jun 23, 2010

    Variety Pack

    • I have yet to work up the courage to swim in my apartment complex pool. It's been open for a couple weeks now and pretty much every day I tell myself I will go for a swim between getting off work and picking up Trevor from work. But then I chicken out. It's so full of Latino children and I just feel out of place. Today when I scouted it out, there were a few people my age there for the first time that I've seen, so maybe today will be the day. Probably not. I should come up with a new exercise routine. Anything other than "think about going to the pool and not go" will do.
    • The mayor of Salt Lake announced that he will be participating in the pie tasting contest at the county fair, among other events. At first I was all excited like "Oh man, I want to watch him stuff his face with pies" but then I realized a pie tasting contest is not synonymous with a pie eating contest. I assume it means he'll be judging pies that people baked, but my second thought then continues into the realm of "I tasted that pie so much better than you!"
    • I've decided to try getting into music again. The line I've been using in general of late is "If it happened post-2006, I don't know it". Which is generally true, though I suppose I'm not to shabby when it comes to 2007. But I've given up on new music because it takes so much time to stay on top of and sift through and then I have to learn new names and lyrics and what's the use if I've got a set of music at home that I like already? Besides, isn't keeping up on music something that you do when you're trying to be cool and I'm so over that game? But there probably is good stuff out there and that I could be appreciating. And I'm afraid of becoming the old person that is always talking about how music was good back in their day. Well, and Trevor and Tylor are talking about getting a band together again and being in touch with what's going on currently in the music world can help me appreciate/understand anything they create that I'm asked an opinion. Because I'm a comparative appreciator of music. If that makes sense.
    • Back when I last registered to vote, I registered with a party even though I consider myself pretty moderate/independent because I figured at least it would mean I could vote in the primaries. Did I vote yesterday? Nope.
    • Default setting in my brain for the last couple months has been "To the Dogs or Whoever" by Josh Ritter. If I find myself zoning out, I catch myself singing "Deep in the belly of a whale I found her..." I've realized that a favorite feature of mine in music is lots of words. I think because I like singing along so much and when there are lots of words (strung quickly together...even better) in a song, it's way fun to sing. As long as the words make sense. But not too much sense.
    • My new car has a sticker in one of the windows with a panda and another window has a sticker for some karate place (with, yes, an American flag with some kid high kicking in front of it). I feel neither of these suit me whatsoever. Someday I kind of want to do one of those family car sticker things. Actually, we will end with an illustration:

    Jun 19, 2010

    Way to go Pixar

    So you've already read it, but Toy Story 3 is terrific. I laughed. I cried. I felt terribly guilty about any toys I may have given or thrown away as I grew older.

    Jun 18, 2010

    Trendy Shmendy

    Pho is a good young people food because old people have never heard of it and we can think ourselves superior when they mispronounce it. I first heard of it only a couple months ago and I swear the stuff is all over the place now (perhaps Utah is behind the times, as usual; or it could be just a regional obsession, I don't know). All of a sudden, the need to consume the stuff is present in various groups of people I associate with. It's like the day in 4th grade when suddenly everyone you knew had a Tamagotchi and you'd never heard of it because you didn't watch as much TV as your peers. Except this time I'm not asking my parents for pho for my birthday. Probably won't try pho until/if there's ever a drive-thru version in town. I'm not leaving my car for food. What do you think this is, a nation where less than half of the citizens are overweight?

    Jun 16, 2010

    Here in My Car

    I have reentered the wheeled population as of Monday. Dark blue 1993 Chevy Lumina purchased from friends. Having a car is very liberating. Also, expensive. The car was pretty dang cheap for a running vehicle, but it's still a larger than average purchase and then there's insurance/registration/gas. And the less inherent factor that it's much easier to eat out or go shopping or take trips with a car that will probably increase our living expenses.

    The freedom that a car produces is like no other. You can go anywhere and so quickly. The extra time! The walk/busride/waitfornextbus/busride/walk commute to work would take me just short of 2 hrs each direction. The work commute is 15-20 minutes one way now. That allows me with a significant amount of extra time in a day that I am so excited about. And grocery shopping will be infinitely easier. I've really missed the proximity to WalMart of our old apartment (and basically nothing else...the new apartment is so much better...almost because it's so much more ghetto).

    The day that I bought a car, Allison posted this. And I thought it was a cool coincidence that she would post about wanting a car the day I got the car so I commented about that. But what I actually meant to say is, "Allison, I've got a car now and if you ever need someone to take you to get your hair cut or go grocery shopping or anything else, please let me know and I'm happy to help you out." And that really goes for anyone who is in need of a ride out there who lives in these parts. I've bummed so many rides off the world that I definitely owe the world a few. So let me know if I can be of service.

    Though I of course would still want to live in one of these places. I do really like walking. (Also, I want to live in NYC because I've been rewatching Gossip Girl with a friend who has never experienced it, but that's a different story...). Alas, my current residence has a walk score of 48.

    Oh, and more NPR in my life. Take me to work, Diane Rehm, and take me back home, Kai Ryssdal.

    Jun 11, 2010

    What are necessary elements (as well as unnecessary but favorable elements) to a successful garden party?

    Hi, Allison.

    As a successful planner of numerous failed garden parties, I consider myself an expert on the subject and am glad you have come here for advice. The following elements should be considered:


    Obviously a garden is kind of a key element. Though garden is a pretty loose term here, as really a lawn is about all that is really required. Weather should be appropriate for prolonged outdoor activity, so try to plan accordingly (though really all you can do is hope that it won't rain and not be a complete moron and plan it for January or something). Generally late afternoon is about right as it will still be light out, but nobody wants to go out in the morning/mid-day. Aside from some form of greenery, shade and seating need to be taken into consideration.


    As with most parties, milling about and general chatter will probably be the primary activity for your guests, but it is highly encouraged to have games on hand to keep people entertained. Lawn games and garden parties go along hand-in-hand, so have at them. A few games to consider: croquet, badminton, bocce, egg rolling, lawn darts. Though essentially any party game could work if brought outdoors (Pictionary on blankets with an easel on the lawn would be fun, for example).


    While I don't recommend going with a strict theme for the party as a whole, I would recommend sticking to something fairly specific for the food. You can go with a Southern theme (watermelon, fried chicken or something barbecue-y, mint juleps, etc.), an English theme (cucumber sandwiches, scones, tea, etc.), a French theme (baguettes or croissants, cheese, creme puffs, etc.), whatever suits your fancy. But maybe that's just me. I mean, I suppose you can't really go wrong with like fruit and vegetable trays and some punch. And though it takes away from a little of the formality aspect, feel free to delegate food responsibilities to some of the closer friends attending; most people our age these days are on a budget.


    Dress for a garden party has already been extensively covered here . As a host/hostess, it is imperative that you make it clear to each invitee that dressing up is highly encouraged (Unless you don't care, I suppose, but who doesn't care? Outfits are the best part of any themed party). Also be prepared to offer advice/encouragement to invitees who may be nervous about their attire for the event. If you want to go all out, you may even want to have some props on hand (parasols, fans, canes, hats, etc.) so that people who aren't as done up for the event can have something to make them fit in better in pictures.


    Decor can be fairly simple, as just the outdoor setting creates the atmosphere you're looking for. If you have lawn furniture, it can add a nice touch and be practical. Paper lanterns are kind of nice and outdoorsy, though not really necessary unless you're wanting to do things in the evening (which I don't recommend as the games would be trickier if it's darker out). I also think mirrors are always fun to have around at dress up parties, because everybody likes to see themselves in costume (right? I'm not the only vain person here, right?). Whether you have some big mirrors to prop up somewhere or maybe some little mirror squares on the table or something, they act as both classy but simple decor and add to the fun. Flowers are also good, if you have some garlands to put around the food or whatever.

    Ask me know, that isn't incriminating.

    Jun 8, 2010

    Maybe she's born with it...

    Every once in a while, I think I should spice up my life with a new mascara and every time I end up disappointed. Yes, I've been doing it for years now, but Maybelline Full 'n' Soft, let's stick together for many future years.

    May 31, 2010

    What is your greatest weakness?

    Worst job interview question ever.

    Since this is not a job interview, however, we'll just go with a personal kyrptonite:

    Dress-up parties.

    We may not be that good of friends, but if it's cocktail dress required, I will see that I'm invited to your party. And of course theme parties with costumes are immediate death. If you want to near-guarantee a visit from me plan, for example, a Mad Men themed party and I'm there in my best Joan Holloway dress (okay, so I'm probably more of a Betty Draper...). The only thing that could keep me away would be if someone else was throwing an Alice in Wonderland tea party the same day (I would go as one of the animals, probably, Alice is too easy. And I'm not blonde). Also, Halloween should be like four times a year.

    (Yes, I did think about answering this seriously as some sort of personal growth exercise, but the weather's so nice out and I'm feeling frivolous.)

    Ask me know, that isn't incriminating.

    Bloggity Blog

    • I know I'm behind on several formspring questions from you all. I was going to do some today, but the site seems to be broken...who knows if I'll still be in the mood when it starts working again, mwhahaha!
    • So this would be old news if I ever checked Analytics on my blog, but since I rarely do, I'll just now point out something interesting I discovered. This is what my visits to my blog look like since I started keeping track: So apparently there was one week where I got a gazillion visitors (or almost 900) that kind of makes all the rest of the weeks of my life look worthless (around 100/week). Turns out that was the week of President Obama's inauguration and the post that most of those people were looking at was from a month earlier when I was speculating about Michelle Obama's inaugural gown. I'm pretty sure a lot of people out there were talking about that, but apparently I didn't do too bad in the Google battle there. Which isn't really that huge of a victory (my goal here is more to keep in touch with people and share things I find interesting than to have a bazillion people read it), but still, kind of makes me proud of myself in a artificial-validation-that-I'm-important kind of way. Bounce rate was only 56% which isn't too bad...
    • Yes, I redid the background. Can't be sticking to the same thing all the time. And it's springtime now and I figured color is good for the soul. Keeping the layout, though, because it works and it's too much bother to change.

    May 26, 2010

    I want to have a reunion this summer with all my children and spouse (I was going to say spouses but that doesn't fit our family yet)? Where and when should we do it?

    Hi, mom.

    If you're wanting all your children, I'm assuming that means after Nate is back from Chile and whenever Jared is available (when does he come back to UT from NC?). So later summer. Time doesn't matter that much as far as I'm concerned. I'm sure Trevor and I could get work off whenever with proper notice.

    As far as place, I've been kind of wanting to go to Ridgecrest again, but I know that's not exciting to you that live there. Trevor is, of course, not a huge fan of travel, so I'm sure he would vote the close the better. And probably he would prefer not camping. I'm not picky myself.

    We're financially more free than we have been in the past, so that'll make travel easier.

    So yeah, I guess just somewhere not too far away and as comfortable as possible (camping is okay, I suppose if it's a clean/sissy enough campground) is probably our only criteria. Let me know what you're concocting and I'll throw in more input as needed.

    Ask me know, that isn't incriminating.

    May 23, 2010

    Wonnacott Wars!

    This was apparently put together for a cub scout pack meeting for my little brother, Kevin. Enjoy:

    The Great American Art of Star Wars Parody at it's finest.

    Award for Worst Actress goes to: Mom. (Love you!)

    May 19, 2010

    Two confessions

    • When I go clothes shopping, I mentally place pieces I see into the following four categories: Serena, Blair, Vanessa, and Jenny.
    • Everything I have eaten today so far falls into two categories: Oreos and Sour Patch Kids.

    May 18, 2010

    How many countries have you traveled to?

    Très (that's "three" in Spanish; look at how cultured I am!): Canada, Mexico, United States.

    And for those people who say I can't count the United States because I'm a native, just let me have it. My list is already fairly pathetic. And technically I have traveled to the United States by traveling to various places in the United States, right?

    I've never spent a night in a foreign county. I've spent an afternoon in Tijuana and an afternoon on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and that's all I've got. And I've never been outside North America (well, I guess Hawaii counts as outside North America...but it's still US). The vast majority of the travel I have done has been to places that can be driven to in a Wonnacott family station wagon or van (farther than you think), because that's how we roll.

    However, I would love to be a world-traveling sort. I have a well-documented appreciation of foreign places. I suppose lack of money and anyone to travel with has limited me. Trevor's not a huge traveler, though given the right destination (Ireland and Scotland, perhaps, love?), I think he could be persuaded. If we can get him over his fear of flying. Though of course money is the bigger problem, but a trip could be saved up for if planned far enough in advance. Basically what I'm saying is...does anybody want to go on a trip to a foreign country with me? I'm down for basically wherever. When would depend on the where (as when depends on cost, weather, and events). Let's plan something.

    Ask me know, that isn't incriminating.

    May 14, 2010

    What's the oldest piece of clothing you still own and wear?

    I'm not sure. I know I have a fair amount of clothing that I had in late high school that I still wear...mostly t-shirts, I suppose. I just recently got rid of a dress that I know I had in 9th grade, but I got rid of it because I hadn't worn it for a year, so I guess that doesn't count. Actually the shirt I'm wearing today I'm pretty sure I originally purchased in 10th or 11th grade (from Wal-Mart and it's still in good condition!), though I didn't wear it much until I was in college.

    Which brings me to something I really think clothing manufacturers should do (yes, this is straying from the original question; no, I don't feel guilty about that because this is far too important of a cause to stay silent on):

    One day, a couple months ago, I was sitting on the toilet and noticed something on the tag of my pants. Along with the brand name (Old Navy), the washing instructions (machine wash warm with like colors, tumble dry low), and country of origin (Indonesia), there was the season and year the pants were produced (Fall 2005). Awesome. Why don't all clothes have that? It would make thrift shopping all the more amazing (How do I know if this is actually from the 80s or if it was created during an 80s revival period? Or if it's actually part of an 80s costume, heaven forbid?). And it would certainly come in handy if you were ever in a situation where you had to answer "What's the oldest piece of clothing you still own and wear?" and needed a 100% correct answer instead of something wishy-washy followed by a semi-related tangent.

    Of course, I love chronology more than the average person, so maybe it doesn't matter that much (I'm the kind of person who Mark Twain's Memory Game was made for...not because I'd be good at it, but because I would love to be good at it). But still.

    The only people I could see being against this are the super snobby high-end fashion people who would be like "Well, of course, that's from Givenchy's Spring '97 collection, what do you think I am, an idiot?" But since that's a very small portion of the clothing market, whatever. Though maybe having the season/year stitched on the tag is actually something common in the high-end clothing market. I really wouldn't know.

    But anyway, that's my cause. Write your congressman (I mean, I technically hate government over-involvement, but...).

    Ask me anything

    May 12, 2010

    Too Late to be a Trendsetter/Too Lazy to Think for Myself

    Way to go, Rachael, you got me jealous. So here goes:

    Basically, the thought is this will help me generate topics for blog posts without me having to, you know, use my brain. Thinking, I believe they call it.

    So ask away, my friends.

    May 10, 2010

    And the new Supreme Court Justice nominee is....

    Paul Blart, Mall Cop.


    Prior to today's nomination, everything I really knew about Elena Kagan came from an article I read a few weeks ago about how it shouldn't matter whether she's a lesbian or not. So naturally the second I find out she's the pick, my reaction is to walk the world wide web for conclusive evidence on her sexual orientation. Way to fail that one, Slate.

    Okay, okay, now you're making me feel guilty. I'll go read about her abortion stance or something...

    May 5, 2010

    Cinqo de Mayo

    I generally use this day as an excuse to show off my vast knowledge of Mexican history to at least one poor person who says "Happy Cinqo de Mayo" to me. It's not really that vast, but I did take a Modern Latin American History class once and the internet is never too far away, so I'm a pretty realistic fake expert. Well, and since most people know essentially nothing other than "The Mexicans are going to take all those good American jobs that...well, yeah, we don't want those crap jobs, but...stupid Mexicans...also, I love enchiladas", I'm pretty safe.

    I was debating writing out a brief rundown of the wars for Mexican independence here (hint: The Battle of Puebla, the reason for Cinqo de Mayo, is not actually that important), but I've decided that's actually kind of silly, since like every news source will also have something written about it today (and every Cinqo de May for years to come) and anybody who cares already knows.

    Nothing like holding onto information that really serves no purpose other than to give me a smug "I know something you don't know" feeling. Of course, thinking I'm smarter than everybody else is a key part of my personality...but let's not talk about that.

    Cinqo de Mayo's greatest contribution to my life: Company provides Mexican food for lunch today. Whoohoo!

    Apr 27, 2010

    William Shatner is a Great Man.

    I'm so glad this happened:

    Also a great man: Whoever put this classic together. The people of the world owe you much.

    Oh man, now I can't stop listening to this song (thanks a lot, Trevie...).

    Priceline Negotiator!

    Apr 24, 2010

    Fidel Saves the Day!

    The rules for cats outside are as follows: 1) Fidel can go outside whenever he wants because he can take care of himself. 2) Julius can go outside when he's not being a wuss (so very rarely). 3) Tiberius is not allowed outside without adult supervision because he is too clumsy and can't see that well and would probably get lost immediately. Does this look like an outdoor cat to you? He's too sweet and fluffy.
    But I am a bad cat mother and broke rule #3 Thursday night. The heater doesn't work in our new apartment which means we had a space heater provided by maintenance which means we had to keep out bedroom door open for warmth which means cats were bugging us which means I kicked Julius and Fidel outside. Tiberius is allowed to sleep with us because he doesn't cause trouble. And he sometimes lies across my neck like a kitten scarf. He's so cute.

    Anyway, Tiberius ran out the front door with the other boys that night and I was half-asleep and I wasn't dressed and I didn't really want to run out after him. So I figured "He'll probably be okay," and went back to bed. And then spent a very distraught next 24 hrs where he was nowhere to be found. (Julius and Fidel were waiting dutifully by the door when I woke up the next morning, of course).

    And it rained most of the morning and I knew my little Tiberius was out there cold and wet and scared (he's scared of everything) and the rain would probably make it harder for him to smell his way back home. I was worried.

    However, last night around 2am, I woke up to scratches on the back door. "Oh, Fidel wants in," I mumbled to myself as I got out of bed. And there Fidel was looking up at me expectantly and he had his brother with him! We know that Fidel found him and brought him back, because I'm positive Tiberius didn't even know about the back door.

    Tiberius was happy to be home, but didn't cuddle until he had cleaned off all the mud and debris from his fur because he's polite like that. And then he slept on my pillow next to my face and we were happy.

    And Fidel gets medals. And a parade. He is such a good boy.

    Apr 17, 2010

    Handsome Man in Handsome Glasses

    After a lifetime of blindness, this husband of mine can see ("Holy cow, I can read everything...look, way down the street: 'Big Five'!"). He picked out the frames himself and I must say I'm impressed ("I could tell these looked good because the girls in the store got all excited when I put them on.")

    For some reason my employer will give us a vision plan but offers no health plan.

    As a side note: the picture is taken facing Tylor's room...I would never approve of the longboard against the wall or the psychedelic poster above the bed.

    Apr 13, 2010

    Don't Stand So Close To Me

    I like walking by myself because then I can sing to myself. I'm sure the people along my bus-stop-to-work route think I'm mad. I don't care. I don't need to attract friends or lovers; I do need to let the music out of my soul....or, you know, keep myself mildly entertained (the old-fashioned way!).

    Standards in my repertoire: "In Love With A View" by Mojave 3, "Five Foot Two" that 20s classic, "Idaho" by Josh Ritter, "Superstar" by the Carpenters (I know it was originally by someone else, but since my voice sounds exactly like Karen Carpenter's...oh wait.), "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston (the one I struggle the most with hitting the notes for, but also the one I sing with the most enthusiasm).

    Apr 7, 2010

    No Cable...Plenty of TV

    When I tell people I don't have cable, I often get the reactions: "Good for you!", "I don't think I have the willpower for that.", etc.

    I let it go and let people think that I'm a saint, but in reality...I watch tons of TV. I don't understand why more people haven't realized this yet but...everything you ever want on TV is available on the internet. Much of it is even legal. And then whatever program you want is available whenever you want...I'm not constrained by the time restraints of some network. It's even better than TiVo because you can watch virtually anything. Want to see the first season of How I Met Your Mother? Yes, it originally aired five years ago, but the internet has the answer.

    Each week that there is a new episode, I will watch: Project Runway, Gossip Girl, America's Next Top Model, 30 Rock, Family Guy, and The Office (,, I watch The Daily Show probably a couple episodes a week. And this is just new programming...let's also mention that over the last three weeks I've watched all three past seasons of Mad Men. Oh, and I watch probably around two documentaries on Netflix a week. This adds up to lots of hours of my life staring at a screen.

    So no, I am not a good person for not having cable. I waste as much or more time as you do in front of worthless programming. I've just sacrificed good picture quality for money. That is all.

    Note: Don't judge me for any of the programming I admit to watching here. I realize many of these shows are past their prime and perhaps one or two never even had a prime; I will continue on. I will also defend the value of Gossip Girl to society until the day I die.

    Apr 6, 2010

    Dear Mother Nature,

    Do we really need more snow? I am not amused.

    Thank you,


    Apr 2, 2010

    First Quarter Report 2010

    One of my goals for 2010 was to keep closer track of how I spend money. As the first business quarter of the year came to a close this week, we now present to the stockholders:

    • Revenue was lower this quarter than perhaps any since the company was founded (Jan 12th, 2008), as Trevor has been unemployed since mid-November. However, several measures to cut basic costs (including canceling cable television, a gym membership, and trading the truck for a bus pass), have allowed us to nearly break even without our quality of life suffering dramatically. Total losses for the quarter amount to $334.08.
    • Sources of revenue:
      1. Paychecks (91.3%)
      2. Sold Items - truck, cell phone, speakers, ect. (7.7%)
      3. Gigs (1%)
    • Biggest expenses:
      1. Rent (40%)
      2. Bills - electric, gas, water, cell phone, internet/cable (24.3%)
      3. Food (12.7%) (eating out - 5.5%; eating in - 7.2%)
      4. Entertainment (includes Star Trek memorabilia) (7.1%)
      5. Bank fees (6.0%)
    • We anticipate our value to increase significantly throughout the rest of 2010. Our revenue from paychecks is expected to nearly double shortly, as Trevor has some very promising job opportunities and we fully expect him to be employed by the end of the month, while I expect to retain my employment. Other revenue will likely remain the same or lower, but clearly paychecks are where we need to put our major efforts.
    • We are moving to a less expensive apartment in a couple weeks, we anticipate rent costs to be reduced by a full 31%. While rent will still likely be our largest expense, the reduction in cost should be a major factor in our anticipated profitability next quarter.
    • Expenses that will increase as the year goes on include taxes (as we apparently owe the IRS $700 this year) and debt payoff (for overpayment of SSI and a couple smaller, older debts), which we have been ignoring during these belt-tightening times.
    • We may find dramatic increases in transportation and/or education expenses (this quarter: 0.4% and 0.7% respectively), as we may decide to buy a car and/or go to school in the next while, though this will depend on our profitability in other sectors.
    • If our revenue increases as anticipated, bank fees should go down dramatically, as the majority of the cost there is related to overdraft fees, which are fairly avoidable when profits are up.
    Jim Cramer says "Buy". Thank you.