Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Grain Berry Pasta Ad

I like to critique advertisements. This one came with the weekly coupons in the mail (click to enlarge):

The text I read first was the part right next to the picture that says, "We Blindfolded Her To Taste New Grain Berry vs. Regular Pasta!"

After my brain deciphered what that sentence said (confused by the capitalization and the new term "grain berry"--and wondering what "regular" pasta is), I expected to read some sort of conclusion to the blindfold test. But there was nothing there. Nothing. The rest of the ad focused on the health benefits of the product, leaving me with nothing more about the flavor.

But wait. Let's go back to the picture. The little caption above the "We Blindfolded Her" sentence might be the reviewer's response to the blindfold test. This caption says, "It tastes like regular, but goes well beyond whole wheat pasta!"

This might be the response, but it's not, because a) who talks like that? b) this girl looks young, maybe 11 or 12, and what young person talks like that? and c) this statement seems to imply that the taster knew which pasta was which when tasting them, which would defeat the purpose of the blindfold.

In conclusion: a blindfold test, even a fake one that is only staged for an advertisement, needs to have an outcome in order to even enter into the realm of possibly being relevant to my shopping decisions. Otherwise, you just give me more fodder ads to post on my blog.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Ah, Target. What would I do without this store? Back in August, I was wandering the toy section when I came across this display:

This answered the question I'd had a few months previously. When the Series 10 minifigs came out in May, I'd checked in at my Target a couple times a week (I'd purchased series 5-9 there), but they didn't ever seem to have the minifigs. Turns out that was because they were merchandised in a new location a few aisles from the Lego sets, and I didn't see it. Alas.

This packaging made me roll my eyes:

Of course the shield really flies--it's a frisbee with handles on the back.

There are 2 interesting things about the toys in this next picture:

1. This picture was taken mid-August, and the 2013 holiday Barbie was already on the shelf. UGH.

2. I'm all for mixing boys' and girls' toys, but they must be mixed completely, not selectively: what boy is ever going to find this Batman doll while it's stuck here in a Barbie-filled, shockingly-pink aisle?

And, speaking of pink:

Earplugs. This packaging made me laugh because, logically speaking, it implies that a woman who does not use pink earplugs is not pretty. I contemplated this for a moment, and the scene played out in my mind:

Charles approached the bed, where his beloved was reposed in a graceful slumber. He leaned down and kissed her softly on the cheek, his fingers caressing her neck with a gentle touch. He moved to brush a lock of hair from her face, but as his hand neared her ear, he recoiled in horror:

There, in her ear cavity, was a beige-colored earplug.

"How hideous!" thought Charles.

He was glad she was asleep so she couldn't see his reaction. He was also glad he now knew what kind of a woman she truly was. He stood frozen, unsure what to do. He supposed beige earplugs weren't as bad as, say, if he'd found her in--gasp!--blue earplugs, but still...

The next morning when Elizabeth awoke, it was to an empty closet and a note:

My Dearest Elizabeth,

I never knew you wore beige earplugs. I just don't find them pretty. In fact, I think they're pretty repulsive. Call me when you switch to pink.

Yours everlastingly (as long as you're sleeping pretty in pink earplugs),

Monday, July 1, 2013

Inferior Solutions

Sometimes I drive past a business called Interior Solutions. Unfortunately, their sign uses a font that skews the T so that it looks like an F at a quick glance:


Logo I found online:

Luckily, they've updated their logo on their website and Facebook page:

...but the sign still amuses me every time I see it.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ralph Fiennes: From Quiz Show to Harry Potter

Queen Tuffett loaned me the movie Quiz Show recently, and as I watched it, I found myself totally mesmerized by Ralph Fiennes. Ralph Fiennes is the actor who plays Voldemort in the Harry Potter movies, but in Quiz Show, he's the handsome young protagonist.

My favorite screenshot:

Look at that smile! Look at those eyes! Isn't he just charming?

What are some other words for charming? I don't really like any of the options is giving me.

Click the image to make it bigger (it's totally worth it).

Ok, check this out. Here he is, looking handsome:

Aaaaaaaand, cue the charm:


Here are two of his more serious faces (look at those eyes!):

Ha, what a great expression.

Ok, moving on to Voldie.

When I think of Voldemort, I think of this:

I've always loved how Ralph Fiennes holds the wand in the movies. It's so refined, so elegant. Voldemort's classy. I mean, at least as far as evil dark wizards go.

Incidentally, you can still see Ralph Fiennes' great eyes in Voldemort, but only in a few scenes. You can, for example, see them here:

And here:

Now comes my favorite part: let's put them together! Side-by-side comparisons of Charles Van Doren (who was not nearly as handsome as Ralph Fiennes in real life) and Voldemort:

Aside from the completely different use of lighting and makeup, I love how different his smile is. As Charlie, he gives a real smile that goes all the way to his eyes. As Voldemort, the corners of his mouth tip down, not up, and his eyes remain wide open and menacing.

There's something in his nose too, or what would be his nose if Voldemort had a nose... Voldemort's sneering, not smiling.

This is the closest we get to a true smile from Voldemort, but it's still more of a grimace.

I'm just delighted at how well Ralph Fiennes portrays these two characters, who are at polar opposite ends of the spectrum of morality and affability. He does a great job. Also, Tom Riddle was allegedly bright and charming when he was younger, so Ralph Fiennes was a good pick for the role, in that he was indeed bright and charming in this earlier role. Oh, and he sings, too (see Prince of Egypt--he was Rameses).

I appreciate good talent.

The end.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph: Inside the Helmet

Towards the beginning of the movie (Wreck-It Ralph), Ralph puts on some sophisticated armor, and the audience gets a glimpse of the inside of his helmet, as if seeing the world through Ralph's eyes. The helmet shield is a jumble of information:

That's a bad picture, but watch it on the Blu-Ray and it's pretty clear.

There are plenty of dials and gauges in this view, and that's to be expected. You'll notice, too, that on the bottom right corner is part of a hidden Mickey (just his ears are poking up). This is a not-very-hidden hidden Mickey, as the Wreck-It Ralph website and Blu-Ray disc both divulged this information.

In the upper-right corner is a tic-tac-toe game that continues to be played throughout the shot.

On the right-hand side is a list of different systems and their statuses:


Each of these systems has the status of "Checking," which then changes to "Online". The GasSys goes Online almost immediately, then the others follow. ArmPlt could stand for Armor Plating, but it also looks like ArmPit, which is funnier than Armor Plating.

On the left-hand side of the screen is some scrolling text. These are apparently instant messages from members of the Hero's Duty game, namely Calhoun and Marco. Here's what I was able to make out:

Calhoun: Report in, Squad! Any of you ladybugs seen Markowski?
Marco: Golly, I haven't seen him since 03:00 hours, Sarge.
Calhoun: What is he doing? Practicing the ballet?
Marco: He was freaking out, Sarge. Kept going on about the bugs...
Marco: I don't know if he's Corps material, Ma'am.
Calhoun: Corps material or not, if he doesn't get his bright, shiny boots back to start pose by quarter drop, I'll have him transferred to Undead Apocalypse slathered in meat tenderizer.

The visor also lists 190,499 unread messages, though other sites are listing it as 790,499, so maybe I misread that.

I've only found one other hidden Mickey so far (aside from the ones they pointed out on the Blu-Ray), but I will save that for another day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Shot by a woman"

I volunteer at the Utah State Archives, and lately I've been working with old death registers. I read the various causes of death as I go along in my work, and I've found some entries worth sharing. Here, from the Record of Dead book, are some of the more interesting causes of death:
  • "Shot by a woman"
    This is funny because there are other instances of death by shooting, but they mostly just say "gun wound" or "accidentally shot" or something like that. But being shot by a woman, now that's something worth noting! ;o)
  • "Information of bowels"
    Of course they meant "inflammation of bowels," but "information of bowels" makes me chuckle.
  • "Sufferation"
    It's not in today's dictionary, but this word is pretty descriptive, don't you think?
  • "Drank lye"
    This one is sad. It was a 19-month-old baby.
  • "Fell from high chair"
    Another sad one. The kid was 14 months old. It seems such a dumb way to die, from such a small thing as falling off your (high)chair.
  • "Shot by Jack Cole"
    I don't know who Jack Cole was, but apparently he was worth mentioning. He wasn't even a woman, either. Or maybe he was; it didn't state specifically...
  • "Shot in Indian War"
    For real!
  • "Shot by RR officer"
    RR means railroad. I saw a handful of these actually, people who were shot by railroad officers. I want to know what the heck the railroad officer was doing shooting people, and what these people did to provoke the officers.
  • "Improper food"
    This was a 4-year-old. I wonder what he ate, if it was food poisoning or something.
  • "Basil skull fracture"
    I had no idea cooking could be so dangerous...
And my all-time favorite:
  • "Femal [sic] weakness"
    The woman was aged 49, so was it menopause? Was it related to "woman troubles"? Or was the recorder indicating that the woman could have survived, had she been a man? Makes me curious.
There were also a couple of factually questionable entries, such as the person whose recorded date of death was 31 June 1889, or the record for the person who was born in September 1887, but died 26 August 1887*.

Most of the entries were more ordinary: dysentery, stillborn, natural causes, diphtheria, bronchitis, accidental death, lingering illness, pneumonia, childbirth, etc. Thank heavens most of these things are treatable now, and not an automatic bill of death.

*Actually, I can see how this would be possible if the baby died in the womb and the doctor discovered the death using a stethoscope... so I guess that's not as odd as I thought. But the cause of death was pneumonia (with "sick from birth" crossed off), so it's more likely there was just an error somewhere in the record-keeping.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My Nephew Is A Lego Genius: Hogwarts Express

Some weeks ago, I visited Tuffett Manor, and I brought along a small Lego set (unbuilt) of the Hogwarts Express. It's a fun little locomotive, and Prince Tuffett constructed it entirely on his own (with instructions, since I brought them). Prince Tuffett played with the train, then I brought it home with me when I left.

The next day, Queen Tuffett sent me pictures of a locomotive that Prince Tuffett had made using his own Lego pieces. In case you don't remember, Prince Tuffett is 6 years old.


Prince Tuffett version:


Prince Tuffett:

Note the antenna sticking out the front, as well as the round disc behind it. These are ideas lifted (most likely) from set 4841, which Prince Tuffett owns, of the Hogwarts Express:


Prince Tuffett:

Keep in mind that Prince Tuffett did this completely from memory. I love how he left a little space for the conductor, and didn't just make the back of the locomotive one solid block.


Prince Tuffett:

Queen Tuffett also pointed out her favorite parts, which included the blue stripe and the clear plate which serves as a window:

The blue stripe is a nod (I think) to the blue Weasley car, the Ford Anglia, which is included in set 4841.

Look at that shape! Look at those wheels! He even used some of the same pieces. Once again, Prince Tuffett did an exceptional job capturing the essence of the original build, and I am as proud as I can be of my adorable and clever nephew. Isn't he fantastic?

I think my awe of Prince Tuffett's skill is also influenced by my own childhood experience. When I was a kid, like age 10 or so, all I could ever think to build was a building made of 4 walls, with no doors and no windows. Then again, we only had one size of building bricks, and they weren't Lego brand, either. Maybe with the proper tools, I could've been a Lego whiz too...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

ElliptiGO Ad

Well, at least they're honest in stating their opinion, including the fact that they think that all other cross-trainers (are they talking about elliptical machines? human trainers? shoes?) suck.

I visited the ElliptiGO website to see if maybe there was more to this ad, like maybe they're talking about cross-trainers that suck money or electricity or something else, but no, this is it.

How interesting that they're not trying to market their product as fantastic or amazing, simply that it doesn't suck. Granted, it looks super fun, and I would love to try one, but all the same, it's a curious advertising approach.

Ad found on page 110 of the May 2013 issue of Runner's World.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Nephew Is A Lego Genius: The Organ

Prince Tuffett (the Lego genius) is 6. He has played with the Lego building system his entire life. I suppose it should not be any wonder, then, that he is so clever at building creations without any instructions.

My sister, Queen Tuffett, said that during one session of General Conference, Prince Tuffett built Aunt Betty playing the organ. These are the sorts of images Prince Tuffett would've seen on the screen:

From those images, Prince Tuffett created this:

This amazes me.

Prince Tuffett did such a great job of capturing the numerous stops and multiple keyboards of an organ. He also created me (or rather, the minifig representing me) very cleverly: when we were playing outside the other day, Prince Tuffett was pretending to be Harry Potter, and I was Luna Lovegood; hence, I am composed of Luna Lovegood's face, torso, and legs. The hair selection was also clever, because I have a Lego minifig that I built to represent myself wearing the Ravenclaw house crest. That minifig has this exact same type of hair. I had shown that minifig to Prince Tuffett the day before he built this organ.

Smart kid, no?

I also constructed a Lego organ recently, but that's only because it came with the haunted castle set (which is pretty much why I bought the set...):

Compared to Prince Tuffett's organ, mine looks rather piddling and weak. It's more like a piano with pipes coming out of it. Prince Tuffett's build captures the essence of an organ, whereas mine just exploits the familiarity of the pipes and keys.

Conclusion: my nephew is brilliant.

Stay tuned for Prince Tuffett's Hogwarts Express re-creation!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Peanut Butter M&Ms Ad

I found this ad in the May 2013 issue of the Real Simple magazine*, and it made me smile. I love a good ad.

Simple, yet effective.

*I don't actually read/buy this magazine, I just browse through all of our magazines, this one included, before putting them on the shelves at work. Not that there would be anything wrong with reading this magazine, if I did read it. Anyway.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Back in January, I went to a concert by Tommy Emmanuel, one of the world's greatest guitarists. He was astounding. What he did amazed me; I had no idea you could make a guitar do that sort of stuff. As I was sitting there, however, I had an epiphany: I am not a natural musician.

To explain: I have always loved music--always loved classical music, even. I have always had good aural retention: I like to say I have a phonographic memory (har har har). I've always been pretty good at sightreading, too, especially on the horn. But could those talents have sprung from the mathematical side of my brain, rather than, as I assumed, the musical?

I cannot just sit at a piano and play something beautiful off the top of my head. I have never been able to do this. I can bang around and make noise on a piano, or I can play some chords, but I can't just hear something and then make it happen, or hear the next chord I want to play and then play it. I can't improvise. I could learn, I'm sure. There are ways of learning these things, rules to follow and so forth, but if I were a guitar player, I would not be able to pick up my guitar, like Tommy Emmanuel does, and just play.

I've often found this is the case with musicians: some people are really good at sightreading, but can't play without music; others are really bad at reading music, but can play incredibly without it. Which is better? Is one better?

I accompanied the stake choir today for stake conference. We did 2 organ pieces and 1 piano piece. Every day for the past 2 weeks (which is when I got the music), I practiced for at least an hour, usually 2. Yesterday I practiced for 2 hours, had a 1 hour rehearsal, then practiced for another 2 hours later in the day. This week alone I practiced for 12 hours. That doesn't sound like a lot, but for someone who only runs through the hymns once or twice before Sacrament meeting starts, that's a lot. Heck, I never even practiced that much in college, and that was my major.

In addition to those 12 hours of practicing, I rewrote the piano accompaniment for the piano piece. It was way too hard as written, so on Wednesday night I sat down at the piano and went over it, measure by measure, crossing off note after note, figuring out which notes to play to keep the same chords and the essence of the piece, but in a playable (for me) form. On Thursday I spent many hours putting that music into MuseScore so I could have a clean copy to play from. Then, of course, I had to practice the new piece, which was easier than the old one, for sure, but still required practicing.

As to the organ pieces, on one of them I decided to use the bass coupler (mostly), and that worked fine. On the other, I decided to drop the left hand when things got hairy, a tactic which worked moderately well when the choir was singing, but not so well during the interludes, which required the left hand accompaniment.

There were 7 measures of that latter organ piece--it was "I Believe in Christ"--that were especially tricky. They involved an intricate fanfare on the manuals, plus pedals, going at a decent tempo, about 100 bpm. I spent a very long time on those 7 measures. Then I spent even longer on them. I played just the manuals until they were perfect, then added the pedals, then did the manuals again so my fingers would remember what they were supposed to be doing, then added the pedals again, and so on. I worked those 7 measures. It sounded great.

Then I went to rehearsal. Rehearsal yesterday was abysmal. For some reason, when it comes to the real deal, I can't perform. My hands shake like mad, my feet forget they ever knew there was such a thing as a pedalboard, and my brain gets confused at everything. It sounded like I had hardly practiced at all.

Well, today came. I played the pieces. There were mistakes, of course. I didn't play as well as I wanted to. I messed up those 7 measures pretty bad the first time around. I did better on the repeat, but I flubbed the pedals that time, so I still didn't do as well as I would have liked. I made it through the meeting though, so that's good, I suppose. I even did a not-too-bad job of covering up for the choir, who didn't come in when they were supposed to.

I got lots of compliments afterwards. Mostly people told me good job. One person complimented me on "I Believe in Christ" and said, "That sounded like a really hard piece!" I understand he was giving me a compliment, and I really appreciate it, but part of me also realizes that it's not supposed to sound hard. If it sounds like the music is hard, it probably means I'm making it sound hard, i.e. not playing it well enough: it should sound effortless.

Ironically, the best compliment I got was from a friend who said she thought I did well today, but she liked my last performance in our own ward way better. That was a double compliment because I worked really hard on both creating that music (I transcribed the song from a recording, then heavily re-arranged all the parts, especially the organ part) and performing it.

The point: I have many gifts and talents, including many musical-related ones. However, it seems that when I practice a piece, I can only get it to be so good, and then no better. I cannot take it to that level of perfection where the audience melts and I know I rocked the performance. Maybe that's why I never practiced much in high school or college, because it didn't actually show like I thought it should. But how odd to think that maybe what I thought I was is not what I am at all, and maybe it's something else that makes me strong in some areas, an overflow from others of my true inner strengths. What talents really exist anyway?

When I was a freshman in college, I wondered what it is that makes one a hornist. Is it that you do it for a living? Is it that you actively play in an ensemble? Is it studying it in college? I asked one of my colleagues something along the lines of, "What makes someone a true hornist?"

"You play the horn, don't you?" she asked.

"Yes," I said.

"Then you're a hornist."

Maybe it's best not to wonder which talents one does or doesn't have, but to simply take one's passion and make the most of it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stake Choir Organist

I was asked to accompany the stake choir for stake conference, and I said yes. Perhaps that was my first mistake. Honestly though, while I love playing the piano/organ, I am not an accompanist. I feel like I'm masquerading at the keyboard, like I should be telling people, "Hey, I'm just the ward organist."

It is really stinking hard to be a choir accompanist. We are singing 3 pieces, two of which have organ accompaniment. Organ pieces take me about 3 times longer to learn than piano pieces, because I can't just fudge my way through them; I have to actually get the pedals right and make the hands work at the same time and make it all sound good. Then there are stop changes if you want to get adventurous. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I am not a spectacular pianist or organist. In fact, I wouldn't even say I'm very good. I am adequate. I can do it if I have enough time. I can play something that sounds sort of like what it's supposed to sound like.

I was given the music last Thursday. We are singing the music next Sunday. That is a total of 16 days in which to practice. Sixteen.

One of the pieces we sang last year, but here's the thing: last year I didn't use the pedals. I played on the manuals only, and used the bass coupler. It sounded adequate, but now I'm feeling more confident with my foot technique, and I can mostly hit the notes without looking at them, so this year I'm playing this piece using the pedals. Interestingly, one part that was very hard before (because I was jumping from a sustained bass note to a moving line, then back to the bass note) is now incredibly easy; another part that was super easy before is now the hardest part (because it uses high pedals and I don't usually use pedals that high).

A choir accompanist has to play all the choir parts perfectly during rehearsal. Our choir accompanist in high school did this. She was amazing. I was super impressed with how well she could play. Whatever our choir director asked for, she did:
  • Let's hear just the women.
  • Let's hear just the men.
  • Let's hear the bass, tenor, and alto, no soprano.
  • Tenor and alto only.
  • Play all the parts together.
  • Just second tenor and second alto, please.
  • Baritone and soprano.
  • Oh, and all these parts are on separate lines, and the tenor part is written in tenor clef, which you read like treble clef, but down an octave.
  • Play accompaniment at the beginning, then when the parts split, play the parts.
  • Play accompaniment in the left hand and the women's parts in the right hand.
  • Can you play the soprano line upside-down and backwards? It's supposed to sound like a Pink Floyd song.
Ok, just kidding about that last one. But seriously, any and all vocal combinations must be ready to go at a moment's notice. (Gratefully, all 3 of our choir pieces have the vocal parts written in one staff, like piano music--it's a little blessing.)

In my case, it gets more complicated because of the organ. We rehearse on the piano, since it's easier to play and easier to hear the notes. Then when we just run through the piece during rehearsal, with me playing parts (and accompaniment when the choir is resting), I remain at the piano, but when I come to the accompaniment, I am stuck. Do I try to play all the notes written, and thus teach my left hand incorrect notes that will probably encourage it to mess up when I'm playing for real on the organ? Or do I just play the piano as if I'm on the organ, but with no pedal, and therefore no bass note to solidify the choir? It's a lose-lose-lose situation.

I've been practicing a lot this week--a couple hours every day (yes, that's a lot for me). Thank heavens for my access to an organ. Even so, I'm nowhere near where I need to be by next week. These pieces go at 90 bpm, 105 bpm, 80 bpm... These are fast tempos for what I'm doing. I spent 30 minutes one day on 4 measures of music. I started at 50 bpm and worked my way up to 110 bpm, playing the 4 measures multiple times at each increment of 5 (55, 60, 65, etc.). Yes, I finally got it. But when I played those 4 measures today, they were just as difficult as ever, like I hadn't spent a half hour going over them again and again and again. And that's only 4 measures, in one piece. I don't have time for this.

So what am I going to do? Fudge it, as usual. Whip out the pencil (or, if I'm feeling fancy, the white-out and the pen--but I don't think I'll have time for that this time around) and write my own part, then hope I can at least learn that well enough to sound decent.

There's no fudging on choir parts--I have to play the exact right notes and rhythms because if I mess up, they mess up--but at least on the accompaniment I have one week to test and practice and figure out what I can do to make it through these pieces.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in the chapel.

* * *

P.S. I have to play congregational hymns too. Hopefully those aren't too difficult (I haven't bothered looking at them, but one of them is "How Firm a Foundation," so thank heavens for that).
P.P.S. I just bought organ shoes after reading some forum comments online about how great they are (more to this story, but that's a separate post). The post office shipped the shoes from Greenfield, Massachusetts, to Nashua, New Hampshire. In case you need to pull out a map, that is roughly a north-east direction. Utah is southwest of both those states. At this rate, I may receive my shoes by Christmas.
P.P.S. If anyone knows any good organists for hire in Salt Lake, please let me know.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph

When I first heard there was a movie called Wreck-It Ralph, I thought it would be something like Bob the Builder, and I had no interest in it whatsover. Then, through a convoluted twist of events that led to Elegyrl and me driving all around Woodland Hills, Westlake, and finally back to Simi in search of a movie to watch, I ended up seeing Wreck-It Ralph. Elegyrl told me it was about video game characters, so that didn't sound too bad.

I was delighted by Wreck-It Ralph. I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised at everything: the graphics, the plot, the sound effects, the characters, the voice acting, the way the characters moved, everything! Since Wreck-It Ralph has become available on DVD, I have purchased it and watched/listened to* it more times than I'm willing to admit. It cracks me up every time. It makes me sniffle every time, too. I just love it.

***Note: possible spoilers ahead.***

Here are some of the good messages you can draw from Wreck-It Ralph, in no particular order:
  • You cannot do things just because you wish it. You have to learn and practice and work to get better. Even people who have inherent talents and gifts have to start somewhere.
  • Sometimes what you think you want is not really what you want. Like when Ralph gets the medal, it doesn't do for him what he thought it would do.
  • CONSTANT VIGILANCE! (That's not spoken, exactly, but it's implied--see General Calhoun's story.)
  • If you have a weakness/problem, it doesn't have to ruin you; you can turn it into a strength by figuring it out and getting it under control.
  • Don't be mean to people, because the person you're mean to may turn out to be someone unexpected, someone you'd be ashamed to criticize.
  • Do what's right. I love that Ralph does what he feels is right, even when he knows how much it'll hurt his friend. And when he discovers he was wrong, he does what he needs to fix it.
  • Put others first. By the climax of the movie, Ralph has told Felix that he'll never try to be good again. It's clear that Ralph's really a Good Guy though, when he shows he's willing to give his life for the benefit of others.
  • Be appreciative of all the people in your life, even your enemies. The Nicelanders didn't appreciate Ralph, but they soon realized how much they needed him once he was gone.
  • If you have the means, give to those less fortunate than you, whether that means giving food, money, or the opportunity to work (such as Ralph and Felix give to Q*bert).
  • Everyone has certain duties in life, and they're not always glamorous, but they're important. Everyone who plays a part in our lives, everyone we meet, is important. What we do matters.
  • Mentos and Diet Coke (just in case you didn't know).
  • Even when it seems like things have gone horribly wrong, like when Ralph and Vanellope were in the go-kart bakery, something good can still come of it.
  • Don't believe everything you're told. Find answers.
 Some other things I like about the movie:
  •  The princess is an anti-princess. She wears green, not pink, and she's smart enough to know that her value lies in being her true self, not in putting on an artificial label and a pink poofy dress.
  • The music and sound effects are great. I love the doyng (doing? doiing?) of the coins hitting the bouncer before they go into the trophy cup, and the donk of the medal hitting the game cabinet screen when Ralph throws it. I also like the sound of the lollipops stuck to Ralph's feet when he's covered in green goo, and all of the video game sounds, like when Felix bounces or uses his hammer.
  • Of course, I enjoy the fun hidden messages, things you can only see by pausing the Blu-Ray every five seconds or so. The inside of Ralph's helmet is especially amusing.
  • The entire plotline was engaging to me. I never felt like the movie was dragging.
  • The whole movie is just a visual feast. There's so much to look at.
  • Sour Bill. That guy cracks me up.
  • If you're looking for some good swear word substitutes, there are plenty to choose from in Wreck-It Ralph.
  • There's a good ratio of male/female characters and roles.
  • The credits are fun.
  • The names of the Sugar Rush racers are amusing. Rancis Fluggerbutter? Someone had fun naming these kids.
  • The graphics artists did such a great job of making each of the games look and sound true to the time period in which they were created.
  • The Sugar Rush song is in Japanese. For real!
  • The Wreck-It Ralph website is super fun. It's like a game in itself, and you get points by clicking on different links. Aside from learning about the characters and video game worlds, you can also play online versions of Fix-It Felix Jr, Sugar Rush, and Hero's Duty. I wasn't very good at Hero's Duty, and I didn't much care for Fit-It Felix Jr, but if I had a lot of time to kill (and a good internet connection) I'd have spent longer playing Sugar Rush.
So, those are some of the things I like about Wreck-It Ralph. Maybe I loved it so much the first time because my expectations were so low, then it ended up being so amazing. Kind of like the opposite of what happened with Les Misèrables.

Anyway, if you're looking for a fun movie to watch, try Wreck-It Ralph. Even though I've watched it many times now, I still notice something new each time I see it.

The end.

*I put audio tracks of movies on my iPod so I can listen to them (and "watch" them in my head) as I drive. It's actually very interesting to listen to a movie, because I always hear things that I never noticed while watching.

All images copyright Disney. Downloaded from

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Which is most painful?
  • to lose your best friend, not to death or great distance, but to evil dictators who capture her and hold her captive
  • to be the best friend now lost, held in solitary confinement, with no one on your side
  • to be the friend of the one who lost her best friend, wanting desperately to help, wanting to ease the pain, wanting your friendship to be a balm, but in the end, not being able to help at all because you are simply not the right person

Sunday, March 10, 2013

F/HE and the Program

Earlier this year, I volunteered to start printing the Sacrament Meeting program for church, because the person who had previously done so was no longer in the ward. The bishop, who had just been called to his position, seemed relieved at my offer, and gave me the ok.

I've secretly always wanted to do the church program. I like creating documents and forms and formatting things to look nice, so I looked forward to the challenge. I also decided to use a computer program I'd never used before, Adobe InDesign, because for some reason I feel this is a program I should know how to use.

It's been a steep learning curve getting used to InDesign, but I'm getting there. It took me about 4 weeks to even figure out how to print the programs. Before that point, I was hoping no one at church was familiar with InDesign, because it would be painfully obvious how inexperienced I was. No one said anything, at least, so that's good.

One interesting thing about making the program is that I'm also the person who picks the hymns, so I never have to call and bug myself to give me the hymns (I just have to bug myself ;o). I do have to call other people, however, for the activities and lessons information I include, and that can be frustrating.


Last week on Thursday I texted Val, the person in charge of Family Home Evening*, for information, as I try to print the programs by Friday. She texted back within a half hour:

"...indexing party with karaoke and secret service planning on the side... at the church at 7."

Simple enough.

I put in the program, "Indexing party and beyond," along with the time and address. All was well. I printed the programs on Saturday.

This morning, at 8:28, I got a text from someone who is not in my phone, who turned out to be a guy named Riff (he's not really named that, but he reminds me of Riff in West Side Story, so that's what I call him in my head). Keep in mind that our church starts at 9, and I have to get there early to play prelude. Today, in fact, I had to be there by 8:30 to rehearse the musical number, though of course Riff would have no way of knowing that. Anyway, he sent me this text:

"Have you printed the programs yet? Fhe tomorrow will be going to the family history library."

I didn't even see his message until Sunday School.

Seriously? I thought. I really need to figure out which people I'm supposed to be contacting about activities information...

It seems like someone different gives me activities information each week. Different people are in charge of different activities, I understand that, but shouldn't at least one person know all the activities going on, for sure?

During Relief Society, Bigbang announced the F/HE activity. Riff had been incorrect, after all: it would indeed be an indexing party, but it would be held at the Institute building.

Curses, I thought. The information on the program is wrong. I hate when the information I print on the program is wrong, especially when it's through no fault of my own.

After we sang the opening hymn, Riff himself came in to announce FHE again, but this time he mentioned that because it's spring break at the U, the Institute building will be closed, so we'll just be having the indexing party at the church at 7.

Yes! I thought. The program is right!

Apparently, I'm not the only one who doesn't know what's going on--it's no surprise that I'm given shifty information when the people planning the activities don't even know what's going on themselves!

*I type F/HE on the program for Family Home Evening, because, as my friend pointed out, we're not technically a family, so it's more of a Home Evening (though we don't technically meet at anyone's home, either).

Saturday, March 9, 2013


There are some questions that can never be asked of others, even one's closest friends, no matter how much one wants to ask them.

Sometimes it's difficult to not ask questions... but sometimes it's nice to not know, because the answers might hurt.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Best Thing In The World

Back in February, I went to the Utah Symphony and heard a piece I'd never heard before. It was stunningly beautiful, and I was pleasantly surprised. I sat in my seat, drinking in the sound, thinking, "This is the best thing in the world."

Later, I got to thinking, what other things make me feel like that? What other things make me think "This is the best thing in the world"?

Here are a few:
  • the smell of waffle cones floating out to me from Cold Stone Creamery.
  • the smell of ink and glue and paper as I flip through a book or journal.
  • the freedom of weightless movement when I go swimming.
  • the enveloping warmth of my puffy down comforter when I slip into bed at night.
  • the magical liquid sunshine of a mug of Hatch's hot chocolate. (Seriously, if you've never tried it, go buy some right now. Go. Now. And get me some too.)
  • the refreshing simplicity of a glass of water after strenuous exercise.
  • the vibrant pure pinks and oranges and yellows in a perfectly cloud-strewn sunset.
  • the silence and stillness and brightness of a snowy night with a full moon.
What makes you say "This is the best thing in the world"?

Friday, January 11, 2013

In the Snow

Fun thing to do in the snow: shake a small tree branch and get sprinkled on.

Not fun thing to do in the snow: shake a big tree branch and get dumped on.

Fun thing to do in the snow: let yourself fall into the knee-deep snow, make a snow angel, then have your friend help you out.

Not fun thing to do in the snow: let yourself fall into the knee-deep snow, make a snow angel, then try to get out by yourself.

Not fun thing to do in the snow: shovel the snow and the ice underneath it, which was compacted from the remnants of the previous snowfall.

Fun thing to do after snow: change into your favorite flannel pants and sweatshirt, put on a movie, and play with Legos.

To see some great snow pictures, visit Here's my favorite photo of the bunch, submitted by J. J. Schmidt:

The caption reads, "15 inches of snow, and they didn't cancel school."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dating Milestones

Today I received an email from Boyfriend, asking whether I cared a whole lot that technically it was our one month anniversary*. Of course, Boyfriend must have meant it was one month since we decided to date each other exclusively, since our first date together was back in October, which is longer ago than one month. I mentioned to Boyfriend that I would measure our length of dating by that first date, and he replied with this:

We could have some fun with this when people ask how long we've been dating. We could say: technically our date of exclusivity is the 7th of December, but we've decided that the reference point of the beginning of our relationship should be the date of our initial function, which was the 20th of October.

Is it any wonder I am so enjoying dating this man?

*My answer was that I didn't, really. I mean, I do, obviously I do care, but I'm not the type of woman who feels it necessary to celebrate a single month with roses and bon-bons and whatnot. Right now I'm just more interested in enjoying our time together.