Friday, May 30, 2008

Experience at the Grocery Store

As I was checking out yesterday:

Checker: "Would you like to donate to x---- cancer?" (He either said "prostate" or "breast", I'm not sure which.)

Me: "Not today, thanks." (so I like to know where my money's going and so I don't like being solicited--so sue me.)

(transaction continues)

Me (smiling weakly): "Besides, shouldn't we be donating to the eradication of cancer instead of to the cancer itself?"

Thankfully he pretended I was amusing and agreed.

Somebody slap me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vegetarianism and Me, Part II

Last Thursday while at Trader Joe's, I bought some turkey jerky. I'd always wanted to try it. It wasn't actually as good as beef jerky, but it wasn't entirely bad either. I didn't eat the whole bag--the rest is still sitting in the cupboard.

Last Friday I decided I was going to be a vegetarian for the rest of the month of May. By the time I get back to my turkey jerky in June it will be tough and nasty. Maybe someone else will eat it before then.

Last Saturday Mother Edit made me a sandwich and I ate it without even thinking. Later I realized it had had meat on it. I resolved to make no more such mistakes.

On Sunday we had bacon with breakfast in honor of the nephews and niece who were staying over. Bacon! And me a vegetarian! I was so torn. So incredibly torn. But nevertheless, I persevered, and did not partake of the pig. And afterwards I didn't even feel that bad.

On Monday I went to a barbecue. Luckily I had already eaten so I wasn't hungry at all.

It's actually not been too bad being a vegetarian. I think I could do it if I really wanted to, but I'd have to wait until after the writing conference to convert: I really like the burgers at the CONE, and I have to try Olive's favorite gyro.

Then we shall see. Most likely I'll just stay what I am: an opportunistic vegetarian. I'm a vegetarian when it suits my needs. And I'm okay with that.

--BE OK--

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fleeting Moments

Sometimes I am very very happy.

The end.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Visiting Teaching: May 2008

Week 1: My visiting teaching partner informed me she was no longer my companion. She showed me the slip of paper to prove it.

Week 2: The Relief Society president looked up my new assignment on the computer.

Week 3: I called my new visiting teaching partner, who was not aware her assignment had changed either. She said she'd look into it on Sunday. I also called the sisters I am supposed to visit teach to see if I could visit them.

Week 4: Only time will tell...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vegetarianism and Me

I would someday like to be a vegetarian. I think if I had never tasted meat I would be quite happy as a vegetarian. But then again, you could say the same about any food or life experience: if you have not experienced a thing, you are not likely to miss it, having never experienced it in the first place.

I don't eat a lot of meat, but I enjoy what I eat. When I live by myself I find I don't ever buy meat in the first place because it generally disgusts me to prepare it, but I will occasionally eat it, say, at a restaurant.

Sometimes I think I'm going to be a vegetarian. Sometimes when I think of the way animals are treated in order for me to consume my meat, I am determined to stop being a supporter of such practices. But then we stop at In N Out on the way home and a cheeseburger sounds really good.

Hats off to those of you who are actually vegetarians. Someday I will become a vegetarian too. But not today--I'm making meatballs for dinner.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brookstone: A World of (not so much) Innovation

A look at the use of gender in the models of the Father's Day 2008 catalogue from Brookstone:

In each of the groups of pages mentioned below, I have counted the number of pictures for various products using either male or female models.

For example, looking at the pages from the cover through page five, there were multiple pictures of hammocks, 4 of which showed men lounging on hammocks, 0 of which showed women lounging on hammocks.

Cover to page five
Hammocks: 4 men, 0 women

Pages 6-15
Single-person water sports game: 1 man, 0 women
Double-person water sports game: 1 double (photo of 1 man + 1 woman), 1 of 2 men
Single-person pool lounger: 1 man*, 12 women
Double-person pool lounger: 3 doubles, 1 man, 1 woman
Motorized inflatable pool devices: 1 double, 3 men, 0 women
Pool-side shower: 0 men, 1 woman
Rolling cooler: 0 men, 2 women
Hammocks: 1 double**

*Man shown in small inset photo carrying chair over shoulder.
**Man shown in hammock, woman shown standing by his head with a glass of darkly-colored beverage.

Pages 16-35
Grills and golf: all men (plus one more man in hammock)

Pages 36-41
Devices for use in the home: all women

Pages 42-43
Photo devices: 1 double, children

Pages 44-47
Electronic media equipment: 1 man, 0 women

Pages 48-53
Mattresses and sleep products (no pillows): 1 double, 0 men, 9 women

Pages 54-57
Personal grooming: 4 men, 0 women

Pages 58-59
Massage/relaxation: 2 double, 2 men, 4 women

Pages 60-63
Exercise equipment: 3 men, 10 women

Pages 64-67
Bathrobes: 1 double
Pillows/blankets: 1 double***, 1 man****, 3 women

***Picture shows man snoring and woman with hands over her ears.
****This picture is for a pillow to stop snoring.

I will not make any notes about race, since every single model is white. Also, only 8 of the many pictures of women show brunettes--the rest are blondes.

I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beethoven in Perspective

For the past couple months I've been teaching Elegyrl (that's ele-gyrl, not elegy-rl) to play the piano. I realized the very first lesson that I've never taught anyone to play the piano before, and I pretty much stink at it, but she's a patient student.

Elegyrl and I went to the music store to buy a beginning piano book, and while there I picked up a book of Chopin's Nocturnes. I wonder if they thought it odd for someone to be buying a beginner book and Chopin together, but oh well...

Suddenly, three against four doesn't seem all so bad. How do you do ten against three? Eleven against three? I've never played ten notes in one beat at all, let alone playing them against three in the left hand. We just don't get that crazy on the horn. Well, we do, but it's different.

But Chopin is fun. It sounds mildly terrible, and it goes probably fifty times slower than it's supposed to, but I like Chopin, and I like pretending I'm good enough to play Chopin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Testing: Music History

Music 304: I don't actually get into history that much. I like history if it's, say, historical fiction, or King Tuffett talking about castle ruins as we walk through them, or the Horrible Histories books, or a personal story, or me studying some aspect of history for my own knowledge. But I don't like history classes.

I had high hopes going into Music 304, since I had taken a history class previously from the teacher. He had also been the conductor of the orchestra I was in my freshman year.

But alas, it looked to be a dismal semester: the grading was based 100% on testing. There were four tests total, three of which would include essays, all four of which also included a listening test (to be taken at the library) and a multiple choice test (to be taken at the testing center). No other papers to write. No projects to procrastinate. No attendance to worry about.

I went to the review session with the assistants before the first exam, where they told us what to write in the essays, and what to study to pass the test. I paid mild attention. I took the test. I got a 100% on the listening portion, did pretty well on the multiple choice, and got a D on the essays.

A D.

A D is not acceptable. Especially not on essays.

I paid better attention in class. I took more notes. I did more of the assigned readings. I went to the review session for the second test and recorded exactly what they were looking for in the essays. I studied hard, then took the test.

And got a D- on my essays.

As the third test approached, I was starting to panic. I could not get another D. I am not a person who gets Ds. The day got closer and closer, and I became more and more stressed. But then I realized something: I didn't care.

I hated Music 304. The class was horrible. The teaching was lackluster. And nothing I said or did had any bearing on the class at all. It didn't matter if I learned anything or not, as long as I could mark the right answers on the test. And the essay, the one graded area where I might have been able to use my own thoughts and analyses to draw up my own conclusions, were no more subjective than the multiple choice. It didn't matter how well written they were, or how well-argued: if they weren't what the teacher had outlined, they weren't going to pass. The class allowed for no individual thinking--it was simply regurgitation at its finest.

When I finished the multiple choice section of the third test, I read through the essay questions. I didn't know the answer to any of them, nor did I care. I opened my blue book and wrote the following inside:

I choose to not write these essays.

I then closed the blue book, wrote a big 0 on the front where the score goes, and handed it in. It felt wonderful.

I was a bit disappointed when they handed back the essays a few days later and failed to return mine. I kind of wanted to see it again. But I guess they figured I already knew what my score was.

My final grade for the class was a C+. It is my favorite grade on my transcript.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Testing: Pre-Calculus

Sometimes things just click. That was how it was when we were studying a certain chapter in my pre-calculus class in high school: it just made sense. I understood the math, I enjoyed doing the problems, and I skipped all the easy questions in the homework because I figured if I could do the hard ones, and if it all clicked, why should I bother with the easy ones? I turned in my homework assignments very incomplete, and felt great when I took the test.

The next class period our teacher handed back our homework packets: mine had a big red D written on the top. I'd forgotten that my incompletion of the assignments would also mean a lower grade.

Then Mr. Math Teacher came around again. He stopped by my desk.

"I don't understand," he began, staring down at me suspiciously, "how someone who does so poorly on their homework can do so well on the test."

And he placed my test on the desk, a big red A on the top of the page.

And that was when I realized that sometimes the grade that we get does not necessarily correspond to our understanding of the material, or to what we have learned from the course.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Elegyrl the EMT

Today I went in an ambulance for the first time. I also had four electrodes stuck on me so I could watch my heart rate on a machine, and afterwards I received a printout to show that my heart had been beating.

There are certain perks to having a friend who is an EMT, even aside from knowing that if I'm ever suffocating or choking or bleeding, she will know what to do. Elegyrl showed me all around her work, which I found exciting: I was grateful for the opportunity to see an ambulance without the necessity of doing so.

I'm not a medical person. Seeing my own blood does not particularly bother me, but I don't like to see others in pain, no matter how small. In fact, I don't even like to talk about it. When people get together and start in on those one-upping injury stories, I find it best for me to either change the subject or excuse myself. Perhaps it's because of my over-vivid imagination. At any rate, I have a great respect for people who can perform such duties as those required of an EMT, paramedic, doctor, surgeon, etc., and an even greater respect for those who enjoy it.

Elegyrl saves lives. How awesome is that?

Sunday, May 4, 2008


When my niece, Kay, was about three years old, Mother Edit and I were driving her home after running errands. We'd just bought a container of superworms for Mother Edit's classroom turtle, and as we drove I said, "Mmm, mmm, delicious worms!"

"I love worms!" Kay piped up from the back seat. "They're so yummy!"

"You love to eat gummi worms?" Mother Edit asked.

"No," Kay said. "I love real worms."

"You do?" I asked.


"Well, I have some right here," I said, opening up the container of superworms. They were wriggling around in the sawdust, and two or three of them were visible on top. I held them out for her to see.

"Here you go," I said. "Some yummy worms for you. Go ahead, take one."

"Ew!" she shrieked. "That's disgusting!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"May Day! May Day!"

A lot of people keep little books of inspirational quotes from religious leaders or famous people. I don't. But I do gather various quotes and one-liners from my own life that make me laugh, or which I wish to remember, and write them on the inside covers of my doodle book. Here are the ones I love the best:

Band director at BYU: "Just be accurate, horns."

Oboe instructor at BYU: "Still on the horn? You can get over that, you know."

Creative writing teacher at BYU to another student: "Does this story go forward? I mean, eventually?"

Student at BYU: "Beethoven may not have been a clogger, but he was a violist."

King Tuffett: "This is a fun game now."
Queen Tuffett: "Why, because we're winning?"
King Tuffett: "Because now there's violence in the game."

Jennie: "Oh my gosh, you actually learned from a book?"

Betty: "How do you make an elephant float? With one scoop of ice cream and one scoop of elephant."
Nephew D: "And root beer!"
Betty: "Well, of course, root beer."
Nephew D: "Otherwise it's just an elephant sundae."

Random date: "Turn left at the stop sign. It's where all those cars are stopped."

Ward choir director: "People! Are we crashing a train or singing a song?"

Betty: "The moon is my favorite celestial body."
Sam: "Trevor was mine."

Betty in a dream: "It is far worse to lose your hearing than your earlobes."

Nephew T: "I look like a taco. Wanna eat me?"

Mother Edit: "Wait, I'm garbage disposaling."
Betty: "Using the garbage disposal?"
Father Edit: "What, you don't like the verbing of nouns?"

And quotes regarding myself:

S.H. : "You are a strange, strange person."

A: "Get over it. You're special."

Ops. Manager at store 292: "You're a freak."

Ops. Manager at store 8: "You're a freak."

Olive: "You're interesting. Just so you know."

Nephew T: "You're a hit for an aunt!"

Mother Edit: "But you don't have anything wrong with you but your brain!"