Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Maximize Your Vote

I have a friend who works at Endeavor Hall, which is a fantastic charter school in West Valley, UT. The reason they are fantastic is that they put a special emphasis on writing. I am a writer, so it will come as no surprise that I find this subject vitally important to a child's education (and to the future of the nation--because, you know, once spelling and grammar and diction go out the window, there's no hope for the world).

Endeavor Hall is currently trying to raise money for a digital storytelling lab, which will give the kids all sorts of hands-on experience, not only with writing, but with software, technology, media, and digital publishing skills which will provide a productive creative outlet as well as a springboard for the students' future careers. As a budding digital librarian, I can attest to the fact that all such computer and information visualization skills will truly benefit each child in any and every field of study into which he or she may venture.

The point: you should vote for Endeavor Hall.

You can vote twice per day (once online, once by texting), through December 19th.
  • Vote online here.
  • Vote by texting 2286pbf to 95248.
And now, to make it even easier to vote: get an app to vote for you!

At least for the texting, there's an app for that. Using an SMS scheduling app, all you have to do is set up the text once and the app will send it every day. You can vote by text daily without doing a thing!
  • For Android users, you can use SMS Scheduler or whatever other app you choose. I use SMS Scheduler all the time, especially to remember people's birthdays, or when it's too late to actually text someone but I think of something I have to tell them. It's a great app, and it's free. Trust me, you want it.
  • For Apple users, you can use TexTpressIt for your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad. This app is not free, but it's only $2.99, and there's no charge for sending texts once you've purchased the app (other Apple apps do charge for sending, even after you buy the app). You will use this app for many things besides voting. You will be glad you bought it. Really. Buy it.
Probably there is some way to write some sort of computer code to do the online voting for you as well, but I'm not that smart yet, so for now just keep voting online manually each day.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dead Watches

I have a thing for watches. I love them a lot. I like hearing them tick. I like watching the hands move. I like discovering new and elegant designs.

My first watch I ever owned was a plastic green Little Mermaid watch. I got it in the sixth grade. It had a cover that you had to flip up to see the time. It was digital, and I can still remember how the buttons on the face felt when I pushed them. Alas, I no longer have that watch. That was a long time ago.

I am especially drawn to pocketwatches. They are so beautiful and round and shiny. My first pocketwatch was one that had a deer on the front:

It wasn't my favorite design, but it was the best of the pocketwatches the store carried, and I was determined to buy a pocket watch right then. I was very young. I didn't know I could look at a different store later. I didn't know they made pocketwatches that were less manly.

My first watch as an adult was a Harry Potter wristwatch I bought from the store I worked at:

I still have this watch, but it functions more like a pocket watch, as it no longer has any straps.

When I went to Prague in 2002, I bought an incredible pocket watch, the kind you wind up. (I like wind-ups because then you don't have to replace the battery.) It's a truly stunning watch. It's silver and has a stylized bird on the front, with ornate Roman numerals on the face. Almost without fail, when people see this pocketwatch and open it up, they have the same response: "Wow." I love this pocketwatch. Oh, and it ticks at 180 bpm, too.




Many years ago, this my favorite pocketwatch stopped working. I have taken it to multiple watch shops, and they have told me different things. One says it needs a new part, but it's not Swiss or Japanese movement, so they can't get the piece. One says it needs to be taken apart cog by cog and cleaned. One says it's dead forever. I like the cleaning answer the best, but that would cost upwards of $250, and I haven't bothered to spring for that so far.

While I lived in California I needed a watch that was more respectable-looking than a black-banded Harry Potter watch, so Mother Edit gave me this beautiful watch for my birthday:

This is my regular watch that I wear most of the time. I like it because it's simple and pretty, and most people don't notice it's Mickey until you point it out. It's a little heavy, so I have to wear it on my left wrist instead of my right, but I've gotten used to that by now.

Since then, I've also purchased this fantastic pocketwatch (photo copyright Tokyoflash)...

...along with this unique wristwatch (photo copyright Tokyoflash):

They're both actually very easy to tell time on, but when you first look at them it seems very complex. Fun times.

Most recently, I purchased this cute little owl pocketwatch necklace for cheap while at an expo:

So basically, I have a lot of watches.

My regular Mickey watch has been losing time over the past few months. I suspect it needs a new battery, since I haven't changed the battery from when I bought it four years ago. I like wearing a watch, however, so today I evaluated my options.

  • First on my list was my Round Trip pocket watch from Tokyoflash. Unfortunately, when I push the button to make the screen light up, it only flashes for a second before going dark again. It's not supposed to do this. I need to figure out how to fix that. At any rate, it was a no-go for carrying with me today.
  • Second on my list was the owl pocketwatch necklace. Then I remembered that the battery had died. Too bad for that option.
  • I didn't really feel like wearing my Hanko LED wristwatch (the funky one), so I dug out my Harry Potter watch, but its battery was dead as well.
  • My old deer pocketwatch was residing with my Harry Potter watch, but of course the battery was dead on that too.
  • The only choice was to wear the Hanko LED watch. So that is what I'm wearing. Well, right now it's sitting by my keyboard, because I don't like wearing a watch while I type, but when I leave my computer it will go back on my wrist.

How many dead watches is that? Six. One dead wind-up pocketwatch, one non-functioning LED pocketwatch, and four dead batteries.

This morning I pried open all four of the dead watches and pulled out the batteries. Soon I will purchase new watch batteries. I'm not sure I'll actually know which battery will go to which watch, since there were three different types of batteries and I forgot to keep track of which went where, but oh well. I'll figure it out.

And until then, I will wear my awesome Hanko watch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How Long Have You Lived In Utah?

Last night when I went outside after FHE, I was amazed that there was still snow on the ground. I don't know why I was amazed--after all, it snowed all weekend--but for some reason, seeing snow, and seeing large amounts of snow (or at least larger than usual) is still a moment of wonder for me.

Another woman who was also leaving at that time was witness to my exclamation of "Hey, the snow's still here!" and she said, "Of course it's still here. Where else would it go?"

"Oh, I don't know," I said. "I'm from California, and it's still just incredible to me whenever I see real snow."

"How long have you been in Utah?" she asked.

"Since '99," I admitted.

"Since when?"

" '99. 1999."


"I got here last Thursday," she said.


I decided I need a better answer for when people ask how long I've lived in Utah. I did start school here in 1999, but I've only lived here off and on since then. There have been periods when I've lived in California, and Pennsylvania, and (briefly) Michigan, and then there were the months I just toured around with a performing ensemble. So it's not like I've lived here for 13 years straight.

This evening I made a list of everywhere I've lived, and for how long. I added up all the time I've lived in Utah, and it comes out to a little over 10 years (and only 4 of those years in Salt Lake). That's still a long time, but it's not as long as 13 years (and it doesn't make me sound quite as dated as saying 1999...).

The next time someone asks me how long I've been in Utah, I will say, "Oh, about ten years or so." And that will be the truth.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kind of Prohibited

This was on the ad screen which runs around the top of the Maverik Center:

Since my hands are shaky and my phone camera is not spectacular, the picture came out fuzzy. But here's what it says:


My brain, however, switched some of the words so that when I looked at it I saw this:


Ha ha. :o)

The odd thing about this message is that there was another message shortly thereafter, which read something along the lines of, "No flash photography because the flash is a danger and distraction to the performers." This implies that non-flash photography is ok, but we know from that first message that all photography is prohibited. Very confusing conflicting messages.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Love My Brain

Some weeks ago I had a song stuck in my head. I couldn't figure out what it was, or where I'd heard it. I sang it for a friend of mine, someone smart and musical who might know such a thing, but she didn't know either. So, I wrote it down in my journal to look up someday in the future...

Today as I was listening to a (relatively) new CD, I found the answer. It was Cirque du Soleil! It was from the show I'd seen back in August with Elegyrl, called Iris. You can hear the song here. It's called "Movie Studio."

Isn't that a fun song?

I had only listened to the CD once before today, and that was on the way home from the show, right after I'd purchased it. And yet, my brain somehow, for some reason, resuscitated that song and kept it rattling around in my head, two months after first hearing it.

I love that my brain does this: it takes songs and melodies that I've heard only once or twice, puts them away for a while, then brings them out again, still formed, at some random future date. I don't necessarily remember what the tunes are from, or what they're called, or the words or lyrics (if any), but my brain is great at remembering the music. Heck, I can even sing you commercial jingles that came out on TV when I was a child.

This is a gift. I cannot take credit for this gift, because I can't control it, nor do I know how it works, I just know my brain does it. And I love that.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quidam Costumes: Then and Now

I love Cirque du Soleil, and Quidam was the first Cirque show I ever saw live. That was way back in 1996, the year the show first opened; I saw it with my high school French club while it was playing in Santa Monica. Last night I had the opportunity to see it again, and it's still just as amazing as it was 16 years ago.

On the other hand, some things have changed. I found the costume changes to be... interesting. Tell me if you notice a trend*:

Diabolos, 1996:

Diabolos, 2012:

Balancing on Canes, 1996:

Balancing on Canes, 2012:

Cloud Swing, 1996:

Cloud Swing, 2012:

On the other hand, some of the costumes looked like they hadn't changed at all.

For example, the aerial silks contortionist still looked like she was wearing nothing:

Aerial Silks, 1996:

Aerial Silks, 2012:

As did the "statue" team:

Statue, 1996:

Statue, 2012:

The German Wheel guy (who is not the same guy--only four of the cast members were the same as the 1996 crew) got a hat:

German Wheel, 1996:

German Wheel, 2012:

Incidentally, we did not see the German wheel. There was a wheel, but it was only a single hoop, like a very large hula hoop. The performer still did amazing things with it, but I was a bit disappointed to not see the double wheel.

And, just for fun, here's a group shot. I think the newer one is some sort of hybrid photograph/graphic:

Banquine, 1996:

Banquine, 2012:

All in all, a spectacular way to enjoy the evening.

To learn more about the show, visit their site at www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/quidam.

*All images were taken from the Quidam souvenir programs, and are copyright Cirque du Soleil.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Slushy Juicey

You may recall that I have a very small refrigerator. One of the interesting things about such a fridge is that it does not chill consistently from front to back. Consequently, when I set the temperature for my milk to be as cold as I like it, the beverages in the back of the fridge tend to freeze.

I have learned to use this freezing to my benefit: I store a juice drink in the back of the fridge, then when I pull it out I shake it vigorously before pouring*. The result: delicious slushy drink!

*Tip: if you try doing this, make sure the lid is on the juice before shaking vigorously. Otherwise, you will have a slushy mess to clean up in your kitchen, rather than a delicious slushy drink.