Sunday, July 27, 2008

What do you say to taking chances?


My poems very rarely, if ever, rhyme, so I thought I'd give it a try. Robert Frost says that having no verse to a poem is cheating, which is total bullocks, but I thought I'd at least do something different from my norm.

Moving to California on Thursday. I'm a little terrified. Although I hate good-byes, and I'm very done with saying them, and for that reason alone, I'm also very ready to go.

Seventeen South Fourth West, Number Four

(Or “On Contemplating the Move to Fremont, California and Taking Classes at Ohlone College)

“What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy-
Who buys a minute's mirth to wail a week?
Or sells eternity to get a toy?”
--William Shakespeare, “The Rape of Lucrece”

From April to June I have felt myself lost
A fading self on every wind tossed
A striking contrast to confidence I’ve known
To feel one’s face is not one’s own.

Young men have passed before my eyes
And all I have felt has made me wise
Broken hearts have many women made
Who see the need to let love fade.

Miles away waits a room with blue walls
Where I could spend one of hundreds of Falls
Where a woman has kept house for 50 years
There where wait my greatest fears

But then what changes in me silently wait?
What thoughts and faces blooming late?
What transformations could I know
In exchanging an “I” to get an “O”?

If Faustus must hurt in order to heal,
Then, Lord, let me have this ache to feel!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ledger's acting is no joke...


I am a big admirer of talent. A man becomes 1000 times more attractive to me if he’s very good at what he’s chosen to do. But even that aside, I platonically admire anyone who has notable talent at anything, whether it be painting, singing, dressing well, speaking correctly, or designing furniture. I also believe, quite passionately, in giving compliments.

I FINALLY got to go see “The Dark Knight” on Saturday, after several attempts and lots of hype. I’ve gotten into the habit of reading USA Today on my breaks at work, and I’ve read dozens of reviews and articles related to Heath Ledger and the newest Batman movie.

And I’m beginning to get annoyed.

First, let me say that I LOVED the film. I want to go see it again soon; I feel like there are still parts of it I need to wrap my mind around. My quick review: I thought that the story-boarding was weak at times, particularly during some of the action sequences…at times it was difficult to tell what was going on. It also had a few too many “mini-climaxes,” and it was unclear as to what the main climax was. But the make-up was great, timing excellent, development of characters and ideas fantastic, and it made me think and I learned a few things, and therefore it served its purpose.

Second of all, Heath Ledger really was brilliant. I think one can accurately say that he “stole the show.” He was comedic, disturbing, alarmingly animalistic, and terrifyingly human. One of the articles I read said that he studied thousands of recordings of ventriloquists, and used the voices they give their dummies as his inspiration for the voice of The Joker. Heath Ledger took a somewhat ridiculous character (the guy wears make-up and a purple suit!), and made him into a legitimate and frightening villain. His predecessor in the role was JACK NICKOLSON, for heaven’s sake, and those are some big shoes to fill, although Nickolson's Joker was very different. But Ledger filled his shoes well and in his own unique way.

But all that would have been true whether he had died shortly afterwards or not.

I’m beginning to feel that the masses are seeing the movie and praising Ledger’s performance not because it was excellent, but because it was his last. If I were an actor, I would want people to admire my work on its own merits, not based on the circumstances of my life that surround it.

(Interjection: For all those who stumble upon this blog, I would also like to clarify that Heath Ledger did NOT commit suicide. He died of an accidental drug overdose. He had been taking prescription drugs in an effort to deal with anxiety and insomnia, and had an adverse reaction to the mixing of different prescriptions and dosages. Stupid, yes, but not intentionally suicidal.)

I wonder how many people sat in the theatre and thought “This is this guy’s last movie.” I admit the thought crossed my mind, but it was more along the lines of “How many more incredible things could we have seen from this actor if he had stayed with us for a little longer?” It made me wonder about James Dean, and if the hype and talk and attitude was similar.

I feel like perhaps I’m being heartless. But I will agree that Heath Ledger’s death was and IS tragic. I don’t know if I’d call “The Dark Knight” his “swan song,” but I will agree that it was an incredible performance to end his career with.

I guess I’m just a snob. Being an actor myself, I get annoyed when the masses feel qualified to judge the product of something very few of them have any idea about the process of creating. I can say that I know a good carpentry job when I see one…if its functional and not leaking, I know the carpenter was good. But I wouldn’t dream of being able to critique the building of a home…I wouldn’t know what I was talking about. Uta Hagen says one of the problems with this field is that everyone feels they have a right to be a critic.

Sorry, general public, I’m waxing art elitist in this regard, but I’m going to say that critiquing acting requires qualifications too.

And to all of those who have those qualifications, I hope your thoughts on Heath Ledger’s performance would be mostly the same if he was still with us. Because his portrayal of The Joker deserves it. Admire Ledger’s incredible acting, but on its own merits. Throw out the crutches of his untimely death. Heath’s talents can stand on their own feet.

Heath Ledger small-thumb

Friday, July 18, 2008

“If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid seeing yourself in the mirror, because I bet that's what REALLY throws you into a panic.” --Jack Handy




Saturday, July 12, 2008

A little stroll down "Fall Semester 2004 Lane"


Going through an old yahoo account tonight, I came across an e-mail I sent to family and friends during my first semester here at BYU-Idaho. It made me laugh, so I thought I'd share it here. Some of these things are still quite true, and some of them were only very true then. But it captures the essence of being a 19-year-old girl during her first semester at BYU-Idaho. So here it is:

Well, it is Saturday night, and my dear room-mate Alexis and I, not having
dates and being the only ones home at 10:30 on a Saturday night, have
written the unofficial commandments of attending BYU-I. These come from
private experience and will not be found in any handbooks. For those
interested in attending a church school, you may find these beneficial. Some
may be exclusive only to BYU-Idaho, but we don't know for sure because we
haven't been anywhere else.


1. If you want to be involved in MANY activities, don't get yourself cast in
a play.

2. Avoid Preemies (for those not familiar with BYU-I terminology, that means
a "Pre-Mission boy"). They make great friends, but most of them are
righteous and afraid that girls will jepoardize their missions, and
therefore won't call you back or hang out with you and if they seem to
suspect that you're stalking them, they start to avoid you in the Galley
(BYU-I's cafeteria).

3. Don't always eat in the Galley. They like to tease you by only SOMETIMES
having chocolate milk available.

4. Rexburg is a big town. Walk EVERYWHERE within the first month of fall
semester to become acclimated to the cold. Then, make friends with someone
who has a car.

5. Bring a guitar.

6. Be friends with people named Alexis, Ben, JD, and Kevin.

7. Don't smell bad.

8. If all of your room-mates have dates...EVERY NIGHT...and you and one or
two other room-mates NEVER have dates, do rebellious things, like stealing
construction cones. Then put the construction cones back exactly where you
got them from, just the like the police man is telling you. Then, call your
friend Kevin and tell him that you got in trouble with the law and that it
was his fault. Then, go back outside again to find your other room-mate,
because she is probably enjoying the opportuinity of seeing a really
attractive young man, who's a photographer and a ballroom dancer, and who
has sexy side-burns, and make sure you hurry because otherwise when you get
out there, he will be driving away and you will have to chase after him. But
he will probably ignore you.

9. Hang out with Canadians. Especially those named Jen.

10. Live with at least one unattractive girl. That way you won't feel like a
loser when you're home on a Friday night. And you can together complain
about boys and how stupid they are and girls and how shallow and scary they

11. Read your syllabi. (That's plural of "syllabus"...)

12. Use the words "burgle" "rad" "wicked" and "quintessential."

13. Bring a Macintosh. Because they are very difficult to find. (**Note: This is no longer true.**)

14. Avoid boys whose named start with the letter "J." (Even thought they're
all really attractive and oh so much fun, don't let it fool you...they're
bad news.)

15. When everyone tells you that BYU-I is the land of RM's and that you
should prepare to be swept off your feet by a million clean cut young men,
they're lying. There is an average of 1 guy to every 4 girls, RM or not, and
they don't tend to do a lot of sweeping up young ladies. At least if you're
me, they don't really sweep. They sort of mop, if anything.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 232nd birthday, America!


Well, folks, after getting roughly 4 ½ hours of sleep last night and then working a 6-hour early morning shift, I am here at home, with a terrible case of insomnia. In the AFTERNOON. Normally, my inability to nap wouldn’t be such a problem, but I don’t want to go to bed early or even on time tonight, it being 4th of July and all.

Not that I have any big plans.

It’s silly, and it’s nobody’s fault, but this is the second year in a row that circumstances alone have dictated my having a semi-lame Independence Day. I woke up this morning with an awful case of pink-eye, and spent the day at work constantly washing my hands and feeling self-conscious about being a conjunctivitis…monster. Most of my friends here are up in West Yellowstone together, which I had to forgo because of work. My other plans to go to Idaho Falls with other friends fell through, because Nathan’s in Utah and the others changed their minds. Shaun is in Utah as well, and I don’t know what the Thorsons are doing. So I’ve got a 500-piece puzzle, a load of laundry, a frozen pizza, and most likely a ticket to the movies. I’ll go out on my own and watch the fireworks from the park later tonight.

But I’m not really complaining. Just venting for a moment. I’ve never been one to turn down solitude, so I shall embrace this opportunity to spend the day doing my own thing.

This morning, Mallori sent me a text to reminisce about Independence Days of summers past; the last two years, she and I (along with others) have spent 4th of July morning in West Yellowstone. We began a tradition together of going out to breakfast at Running Bear Pancake House, and taking turns talking about what we love about America, and what about this country we’re grateful for.

I thought of that this morning as I was packaging about 250 million donuts (well, more like 250 dozen, but that’s still like 3,000 donuts). I’ve decided that since I couldn’t go to Running Bear for my yearly patriotic celebration, I would blog my yearly patriotic celebration!

This last February, my family spent a week together in Washington, D.C. Dad was there for training in the Foreign Services, and Beckah, Isha, and I all came out for the Flag Day Ceremony (him getting his first post assignment--Viva Honduras!). Of course, we spent a few days sight-seeing. One of the coolest experiences was visiting the Library of Congress. It was incredible to see the documents and records that formed this country so many years ago. Isha had a funny, albeit slightly disturbing experience that she told me about later. She said she was standing and looking at the very very faded, slightly tattered original copy of The Bill of Rights.


A large group from a middle school or high school was also there, and as she was looking at that incredible document, a couple of young girls elbowed their way through. She overheard one of the girls saying “You can’t even read that! What is this stupid piece of paper, anyway?” Isha thought for a moment, and wanted to say “That ‘stupid piece of paper’ right there is what gave you the right to say that just now.”

I’m so incredibly grateful for my right of freedom of speech. I’ve said this for the last 2 Independence Days, and I’m going to say it again. (Because I CAN.)

As human beings, we use 2 tools to communicate our ideas and feelings to one another. One is the arts; through performing and visual arts, we can convey our thoughts and feelings. But the other tool, the written and spoken word, is our ONLY form of SPECIFIC communication. Without the agency to speak and write freely, I can’t imagine that we (as a society and as individuals) would ever have progressed to the level that we have. This blog entry itself is a testimony to the First Amendment.

It seems that for lots of people, the process of “growing up” includes an enormous disillusionment regarding politics and government. I see a lot of people who have allowed this confusion and disappointment to lead them to apathy. It’s almost as if it hurts too much to care about government…you are constantly being disappointed. But even a genuine interest in politics aside, I simply cannot bring myself to NOT CARE about my government. I think of the thousands upon thousands who have died so that I can express myself freely. I think of the millions more in other countries around the world who have been fighting for generations for the right to vote. I feel like far too many Americans don’t realize what a precious rarity our democracy is. We take for granted the rights we have. Even the right to be apathetic about our country is an unusual and incredible blessing.

I’ve carried my own share of bitterness towards the government. But in spite of all of its flaws, I can’t deny that we’ve got a pretty damn good democracy set up. It’s lasted us a good couple of centuries, and although we’re still learning to iron out the kinks we entangle ourselves in, it’s still serving us well. Them founding fathers sure knew what they were doing. (Or at least they were in tune with someone else who know what He was doing…) The handfuls of paper that were written on the East Coast in the 1700’s have withstood 2 World Wars and a dozen others, several revolutions of various size, type and impact, a handful of assassinations, and a population that has gone from several thousand to several million. I say that’s got to mean something.

I’m so grateful to have been born into this country. In spite of what we tend to think about ourselves, we Americans are very human, and we’ve been screwing up for, well, since there were Americans. But in spite of all our efforts to destroy the Constitution and Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, they manage to remain fairly unshakable. Man, do I owe thanks to the powers that be for my citizenship in the U.S.

A friend and I were talking about this last night, and we were talking about the need to allow our feelings to lead us to ACTION. Whether we be angry at our government, or grateful for it, none of those feelings really matter unless we DO something to demonstrate them. Unless we exercise our sacred right to vote, unless we write our Congressmen about the things that need changing and the things that are working, unless we are informed, active participants in our communities, we are not taking full advantage of the government that has been set up for us. When we American Citizens are sitting at home instead of voting, when we’re griping about our leaders and not electing new ones, when we’re asking “what that stupid piece of paper is” and not sincerely seeking an answer, I’m sure the founding father’s are tearing their hair out in frustration.

So I challenge readers to DO something! When you are given the freedom to act, don’t just sit and be acted upon! We can’t all be politicians, or be on City Council, or know the minutes every time Congress convenes. We can’t all join the Peace Corps or the Army or whatever other organization we feel brings freedom and knowledge to others. We can’t all teach history classes, or watch the news every single day. But this government was designed to be run by the PEOPLE. And that’s YOU!

So pick up the newspaper today. Research the candidates and laws on the ballots this November. Find out who your Congressmen are. Register to vote. You have the power to affect CHANGE. Of all of the billions of people that have lived, currently live, and will live on this earth, very very very very few of them have the power to govern themselves. Do something with that power. Make changes while you’re here, because in the grand scheme of things, most of the time you’re dead. But John Hancock and Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson each only had a couple of decades on earth, out of the thousands of years man has called it home. And look at how much they CHANGED THE WORLD.

You have the same power. Vote. Inform yourself. CHANGE THE WORLD.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hometown: ?

medford park 2


I dreamt of Central Point last night
Of the highway that leads past Costco
and the Evergreen Ballroom
I dreamt of the stretch of road between 2210 Rio Street
and the Medford, Oregon Temple

Home is bookshelves and shoes in the racks
a place for the laundry basket
and a knowledge of shortcuts

In four years, the roads
of Rexburg have blended in my mind
with those in Southern Oregon.
The Rogue Valley’s radio stations
play the same music
on the same frequencies as the towers
in Madison County.

I can make no claim on Medford
A sister in Boise, two more in Honduras
Mother and stepfather in Alameda, Caifornia.

Since the end of August 2004
I have not seen trees like the ones
that line the road to Applegate.