Thursday, July 30, 2009


Guest judge this week: Lil' C. Ummm, I find him extremely entertaining, but (or maybe because?) half the time I have no idea what he is talking about. He isn't exactly in wacky Paula territory, but he just gets too metaphorical for his own good sometimes. ;)

Dances of the night:

One of the regular choreographers, Sonya, did a routine for the Top 3 Guys:

Sonya also did a routine for the Top 3 Girls. The theme for the girls dance was Super Heroes: Kayla= Storm, Jeanine= Wonder Woman, Melissa= Buttercup (from Powerpuff Girls, hahaha!) Check out their belts with the first letters of their names on them and their makeup that looks like masks. Sa-weet:

Jeanine & Ade had a Samba routine and then this Hip Hop routine by Tabatha & Napoleon who I love, they are soooo creative (Theme: Friends getting evicted from their apartment):

Melissa & Evan had a Broadway routine and a Quickstep routine- both good, but neither blew me away:

Kayla & Brandon had two great routines, Contemporary (Theme: She knows she needs to leave her lover but she can't) and then Disco:

Next week is the Season 5 Finale and the four I hope will be in the finale are: Jeanine, Ade, Kayla and Brandon. Though I think it should be Ade, I am guessing that Evan will end up in the finale because he has had such a great following this whole season. Don't get me wrong, I do love his charm and his unique style and heaven knows I am a huge fan of Broadway, but for what this show is I think Ade deserves it a little more. I think he has been underrated a lot of the season. I love Melissa as well and it is impressive that she has gotten this far as a the first full on ballerina that the show has ever had, but again, Jeanine and Kayla deserve it more. I would be thrilled for either of those two girls to win. I have loved Jeanine since the beginning and Kayla is always perfect and I think the girls in general have been stronger than the boys this year overall. In the four seasons that the show has been on a girl has only one once- Sabra in Season 3:

So I think it will be Melissa & Ade out this week, though of course it could be another shocker like last week!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm a Mann... wait, I'm a Briggs... Oh, I'm a Doxey... Er, I'm a Mann?

I am very close with the families of a couple of my really good friends. This is always nice, of course, but particularly when my own parents are out of the country. This past weekend I spent in Cedar City with my friends the Briggs: Kirsten (now Smith), Breanne and their mom Julie:

We went to The Secret Garden musical and also Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors at the Shakespeare Festival (both very good, and we spent the whole weekend speaking in bad German accents, for some reason):

We stayed at their Grandma Dee's and spent time with their Aunt Kay and cousins. I have met these people on previous other Briggs family occasions and often feel that I am a Briggs myself. I'm okay with it.

Two weeks before this I went to Lake Powell with my friends the Doxey's. (My first time to Lake Powell ever- I know, I know ...) This is another family that I have spent a lot of time with and been to a lot of events for and met a lot of their extended family and feel right at home with. Sadly not all of my Doxey's could be there, but I had a fabulous time:

(I stole this first pic from Andi's blog ;)

I'm not really sure if I send off a lost puppy vibe or if I'm just too darn likable for my own good or what, but I surely don't mind that people I love feel inclined to adopt me, and I adore having extra families to play with. This weekend I have my big family reunion in McCall, Idaho with my Mann cousins, which I look forward to every year, so I'm sure that is all it will take for my identity crisis will be resolved. I don't really mind being a Briggs or a Doxey every once in a while though. ;)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SYTYCD: Season 5: Top 8- The Follow-Up

Wow! I was way off, but pleased about, well, half of it. I love that you can never tell what is going to happen with this dang show and that one night and one amazing routine, after consistently being in the bottom, can totally turn it around. That beautiful number last night completely saved Melissa and Ade, and I am thrilled about it because I have been prepping myself all day for both of them potentially leaving! They weren't even in the bottom two. Also, holy cow, Janette and Brandon in the bottom for the first time and Janette out! I did not see it coming at all because they are both so good and because neither had been in the bottom ever. They are awesome dancers, but I have never totally warmed up to either of them personality wise, especially Brandon. Janette is such an amazing dancer, but as my TBFF (T for text) Elisabeth and I were just saying, she always seemed somewhat disconnected emotionally. This is the search for "America's favorite dancer," after all, not necessarily the very best. Brandon is so good as well, but I would have rather seen him go that Jason who is so sweet. Brandon just seems so cocky to me. Anyways, it is nice to still have Evan around, but I will be upset if he wins the whole thing. As we learned tonight though, you can't always tell!

Then & Now:

It was the big 100th episode and it was so good to see so many of my favorite dancers from the past seasons in the audience! Also, they had some of the dancers return to re-perform three Emmy award winning numbers from Season 2 and 3:

Jaime & Hok- Season 3

Heidi & Travis- Season 2

Top 10 Group Dance- Season 2

Just six dancers left and two weeks til the finale! Gaaaaah!

SYTYCD: Season 5: Top 8

So You Think You Can Dance (dance, dance...)

I didn't start blogging about this until now because it was just too many good numbers and too many names to keep track of. Now we are at Top 8 week though, and then next week will be Top 6, and then it will be the Finale! At some point I will probably post some of my favorite routines from the past few weeks though. As for now, however, let's talk Top 8. Favorite routines of the night:

Melissa & Ade - Contemporary: A Tyce Diorio # inspired by his friends battle with cancer. Beautiful.

Jeanine & Brandon - Pop-Jazz: She's my favorite girl and he, though not my favorite personality of the guys, is the best male dancer this season.

Kayla & Jason - Hip Hop: A Shane Sparks # "featuring Jason as a murderous monster and Kayla as his endangered zombie mistress." Campy, theatrical, fun.

Vote-Off Predictions:

It is always so tough when it gets to this point because there are only four girls and four guys left and they are all sooooo good. I don't really bother voting personally until it gets to the finale, so I can't be a hypocrite and get TOO mad about people I like getting voted off anyway. This prediction isn't necesarily who I think will get voted off this week, its more who I think probably should.

Evan & Melissa

I love them both. Evan is so adorable and I love his old Hollywood style, but I just don't think he is quite edgy enough to pull off multiple genres quite like they should be pulled off. He has prioven himmself a strong partner, despite his height, but he just isn't funky enough. All of the past winners are people who make every style look easy and flawless, and he doesn't quite pull that off. He does have a huge following and has from the beginning though, so he could very easily be safe. Melissa I thought was kind of an odd personality at first but her eccentricity has really grown on me and she has been consistent in all her routines despite being the first full on ballerina they have ever had on the show. She had that amazing, emotional number with Ade this week, and I can't think of why she should get voted off... until I think of the three other girls that are still in it and how all three of them deserve to stay just a little bit more.

So there's my two cents. Feel free to disagree! We'll find out tonight. It should be a really good show as its the 100th episode and they are bringing back some of the old dancers from previous seasons to dance numbers from the show that have won Emmy's. Its perfect timing because the Emmy noms were just announced last week and three numbers from last year were nominated or choreography:

1- Mia Michaels Contemporary routine with Katee & Twitch:

2- Tabitha & Napoleon Hip Hop routine with Chelsie & Mark:

3- Dimitri (one of the contestants from Season 2) Tango routine with Chelsie & Joshua:

All great numbers. All great dancers. All great choreographers. All on my iPod for my immediate viewing pleasure.

New Music: Beth Rowley

I never listen to the radio so maybe I am way behind with this, so she's new to me! I rented this random British movie the other day, and it totally ended up worth making it to the end credits to discover the marvelous Beth Rowley. She's from Bristol and her first album, Little Dreamer, came out in April a year ago. The song I heard her singing in the credits isn't from her album, it was a 40's style Jazz ballad for the movie, and I just loved her voice and looked her up and, er, we'll go with acquired, all of her songs. Feel free to speculate on my methods. I did pay. (There were a couple of songs that I couldn't find and I had to buy them off of iTunes. My conscience is clear ;)

Beth does cool music videos and check out her funky cool hair! Funky. Cool. There is something so devil-may-care about funky people like Beth that I have to admire. (Not like Lady GaGa daring though- she just weirds me out. Did you see that she murders Muppets?! Not cool, GaGa, not cool at all.)

So Sublime

Sweet Hours

Oh My Life

Careless Talk


You Never Called Me Last Night

Almost Persuaded

I am loving all of this bluesy music coming out of the UK these days. Seriously- Beth Rowley, Duffy, Corinne Bailey Rae, Adele, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse ... how are they producing all of these brilliant, soulful, Blues-singin' Betty's?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Insomnia: . . .

A) Persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite the opportunity
B) Followed by functional impairment while awake
C) Why oh why did it have to get me? Why, oh why, oh why...

Okay, so here's the thing. I am a bad sleeper and always have been. Partly I'm just a really light and restless sleeper and so I wake up several times each night at least to just roll over. Even when I'm completely exhausted though, (which these days is usually around 10:30PM- hey man, I get up early, okay?!) it always takes me, at the very least, half an hour to fall asleep. I just can't seem to relax and shut off my mind no matter what I try. Power naps are out of the question. I won't have fallen asleep by the time I am supposed to be finished, and if I do have long enough to fall asleep I will wake up groggy, not refreshed. So, this is my day to day plight of partial insomnia.

I don't know what is wrong with me this week though. Two nights ago I only slept for an hour and last night I literally did not sleep at all. I wasn't doing anything important either evening, and there is nothing any more stressful than usual going on in my life right now (unless I have a 6th sense I don't know about? Oooh...). Okay, yeah, what you just read in the parenthesis there? Yeah, that is pretty much what my morning has been like. I don't feel like I am about to fall asleep or anything, but I definitely have the Stupids. Oh yes. The Stupids. This is what happens to me, and really to a lot of girls, I think. I've seen something similar happens to boys on occasion, but I think it only happens when they are around girls with the Stupids and a bit of it rubs off, so if wouldn't be accurate to say that boys, in fact, get the Stupids. They just get the Dumb By Proxy's from being around Stupid infected women. Though, the thought did just cross my mind that maybe I am in denial and I am actually the only one who gets the Stupids and everyone else just gets the Dumb By Proxy's from me. No, no, no. I can think of occasions (I believe Doxey and Briggs and Brooks women have been involved) where I was definitely not the first offender. The Stupids are nothing if not infectious.

Sigh. You see, this is part of the Stupids. Me rambling even more than I usually do (yes, apparently it is possible). The surest sign of the Stupids, however, is inappropriate and/or uncalled for laughter which can escalate into hysteria. This morning, for instance, I find myself cracking up over the silliest of things. If you are in the good company of other Stupids and you know you will be able to sleep soon, this is actually a very enjoyable state to be in. It's when your mind is just so exhausted that it has to find humor in everything to survive. Ah, such is life. After the Stupids finally subside, when your body and brain are just too weary to laugh anymore, comes Mellow Yellow. Kind of sad and feeling weak and it just gets fuzzy and difficult to think. Hopefully after this you get some sleep or else, for me at least, it will inevitably morph into the yes-my-eyes-are-glazed-over-but-if-you-so-much-as-look-at-me-the-wrong-way-I-WILL-go-Kung Fu-on-you. If I don't get to sleep after this, well, there IS the possibility of a fury enticed second wind coming (though if I have reached this point I am usually on my third or fourth wind.)

I am currently still in the Stupids, but I am feeling like Mellow Yellow may not be far away.

The Stupids Exhibit A:

Karen at work was reassuring me that I would be getting sleepy any time now, because it isn't normal for someone to be up as long as I have and not crash. I told her I didn't feel like I would and the instant she replied, 'yes you will,' or something to that effect, my mind automatically thought, maybe I am turning super human and don't need as much sleep as the rest of you anymore. Certainly it wasn't an actual, serious thought, but still. First thing to pop into my head people.

The Stupids Exhibit B:

I was telling Paige at work not to worry if I zonked out right here on the desk, and the word zonked made me think of 'Zoinks!' like Shaggy would always say in Scooby Doo, and then I had to do a Google search for Memorable Scooby Doo Quotes right away so that I could remember what it was that Velma used to always say (It's 'Jinkies') and I giggled my half-functioning little head off. The quote that fueled the Stupids most effectively was:

Fred- The girls and I will go this way, Shaggy, you and Scooby check out the basement.

Even now I am still lightheadedly chuckling a bit over that one. I'm also sort of wondering if, once I finally get some sleep, please bless soon, I will reread this post and be horrified and retract it, or at least parts of it. My forearms are starting to shake a little bit now while I am typing. Is that bad? Oh, hahahaha! Now I am thinking of the 1st Austin Powers when Dr. Evil keeps trying to kill the Will Ferrell character but he just won't die and they are trying to carry on with their meeting and he keeps yelling up the hole and interrupting him and saying things like:

Someone help me. I'm still alive only I'm very badly burned!

Hello out there. Anyone? Can someone call an ambulance, I'm in quite a lot of pain.

Oh, good, you found me. I'm very badly burned, so if you could just- You shot me! You shot me right in the arm!

And then in the 2nd Powers movie he is back and it all happens again and he's like:

I seem to have fallen down a cliff. I'm still alive and I'm very badly injured.

I think my legs might be broken but I'll try to stand up. Yes. They are broken.

The wound is beginning to smell a little like almonds. Which is not good.

Hahaha. Crap. I'm starting to feel like the Sicilian in The Princess Bride. I will be cackling away as happy as a clam (don't think I have ever used that phrase before) and out of nowhere I will keel over. Oh my ...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Musical Artists I Love - Sara Bareilles

I decided I should mix it up and blog about a contemporary musical artist, so Sara it is. This girl is ridiculously talented. A musician gets automatic respect from me when they write their own music and play their own instruments, and Sara does both exquisitely, writing both clever lyrics and catchy melodies. Her tone is so full and rich- slightly reminiscent of Karen Carpenter's deep tone at times, though of course her style is much bluesier and edgier than The Carpenters ever were. Even with live recordings or whenever I have seen her performing live on TV she always sounds so resonant and perfect. She is so creative and seems so comfortable in what she is doing. I love every single track on her first full album Little Voice (which Sara's certainly is not, by the way) and that is a rare thing thing for me.

Even rarer than liking every track on any given album is the refreshing variety of Sara's songs. There are other artists that would probably be clumped into the same genre/category as Sara who also have albums that I truly enjoy in their entirety like Feist, Colbie Cailatt or Ingrid Michaelson. The difference though is that with those three as examples, even thought I like all their songs I can't really listen to their whole albums in one sitting without getting bored because the songs all kind of start to sound the same and run together. Not so with Sara. Some of her songs are very heartfelt and Indie and some are more pop rock with sassy, soulful attitude and they are all unique and thoughtful. Certainly they aren't all drastically different from each other and I think that part of what keeps it interesting with Sara's songs is that she is all over the place with the vocals so songs never get repetitive and she is just soooo good. Its not just the snappy tunes that keep you enthralled, its her voice. I feel the same way about Adele. I love Adele's music, but I would really listen to anything she sang because her voice and talent and so captivating.

Bottle it Up

Gravity (Incredible A Capella Version)

Love on the Rocks (Live)

She gives her own spin on some pretty sweet covers too:

Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay

Take On Me

I would love to go to a live show of Sara's and am keenly awaiting her next album. I've heard she gives an awesome live show. Plus, she keeps a journal on her website and she is way funny and seems really down to earth. She just seems super cool you guys, okay? ;)

If there is still any question as to the merits of Sara after this, (which there isn't, of course, so this will just be an extra little delight ;), she was also in the musical ensemble in the finale of season 3 of 30 Rock a couple of months ago. Alright, so you barely see her for a couple seconds here or there standing in the back by Norah Jones, but still- Tina thought she was worth inviting, and we already know how I concur with Tina's judgement.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jane Austen: Monster Attack

So after my brother Logan's wedding in June, I drove to Texas with my sister Torry and her kids, which is about fourteen hours. I am a huge fan of Audio Books for long car rides and so I flipped through my Facebook Visual Bookshelf application (which I love and use frequently) to see what books I had been meaning to read, wanting to choose something that would surprise T and also be entertaining for that amount of time. I decided on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. T had never heard of the book, so the explosion of amusement and unbelief that came out of her during the very opening as we heard, in a very serious voice, 'Audible Incorporated presents, Pride and Prejudice ... and Zombies' was worth the choice alone.

It was actually very entertaining. My only real qualm with it is that it was even more long-winded that the actual Pride & Prejudice. It didn't really take anything out of the story or change the timeline of the events or even the style of the writing. It really just adds events like zombie attacks, duels of honor and Undead body burning, and changes some personalities and back stories slightly as they live in a warrior society and all five of the Bennet girls, especially Elizabeth, are masters in the art of the Shaolin discipline of fighting from Japan. It almost took itself too seriously at times and I wished it would hurry up a bit. Maybe it would have been different if I had been reading it instead of listening to it because it would have gone faster. The lady who narrated was very funny though- oh, you have to listen to it for the Charlotte scenes! Ha!

This picture is from what is probably my favorite scene in the book because though they had been discussing it, this is the first scene where they actually come across zombies- they are at the first ball in the story, just after Darcy's insult, when zombies attack. Some guests were standing too close to the windows and they were 'seized and feasted on at once.' Mr. Bennet then yells, 'Girls! Pentagram of Death!' and the Bennet sisters go back to back in the center of the room and pull out their hidden ankle daggers and proceed to branch out into the room and swiftly dispatch the 'unmentionables.' Oh my goodness, how T and I laughed and laughed.

This picture is from a scene where Elizabeth and Darcy are strolling in the morning and have a good chuckle as they come across some silly Undead who have stupidly mistaken cauliflower for stray brains, a trap often used to catch them.

Below is an actual excerpt from the book- click on it to enlarge:

Since Zombies received such a great reception (apparently a movie is even in the works), I have wondered what would come next- A Tale of Two Cities and Zombies? Tom Sawyer and Zombies? The Great Gatsby and Zombies? The Taming of the Shrew and Zombies? I mean, the possibilities of classic stories to desecrate with the insertion of the brain hungry undead are really endless. I just came across an article, however, that answered my question, and they are sticking with Jane Austen. They are not, however, sticking with zombies. The new Quirk Books novel is to be ...

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

(On sale September 15th - te he ;)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Brotha!

Today is my brother Parker's 22nd birthday. I seriously love this kid. He is funny and clever and we have so much fun together. My nickname for Parker is Bug, which never gets old as there are many possible variations to apply such as Bugly, Bugaboo, Buggleupagus... This name came about several years ago, I think because I maybe called him a little bug once while we were bickering about something stupid- I said it half in jest and half in irritation and all as an insult. Not an expletive that I am in the habit of using, and I don't know where in the world out of my head it came from on this occasion. I forget the full context of the story, but it was so out of nowhere and ridiculous that we had a satisfying chortle over it and the name stuck. It isn't only funny for its randomness, but also for its delightful irony as bugs are small and Parker is... not.

Exhibit A- Bug & I in Times Square:

Bug has been attending film school in Bozeman, Montana. He is wonderfully creative and has been sincerely enjoying all the aspects of movie making that he has been learning about, and I have no doubt that he will go far. I mean, if he doesn't, he can always fall back on being a cutter of cheese (not like that, people, geez. I mean literally, a person who slices blocks of cheese. We are a salty/cheese loving family and when he was little he said he wanted to be a 'cheese cutter' when he grew up, like that's a real thing). I'm have confidence in him doing well with the film route though, particularly because if he doesn't, then how am I going to get those cameos and that Assistant credit I have been promised ...

Bug. I hope that one day you will be able to look back at your career with similar sentiments as these, from our beloved Jim Henson:

I cannot say why I am good at what I do, but I can say that I work very hard at it. Nor am I aware of any conscious career decisions. I've always found that one thing leads to another, and that I've moved from project to project in a natural progression. Perhaps one thing that has helped me in achieving my goals is that I sincerely believe in what I do, and get great pleasure from it. I feel very fortunate because I can do what I love to do.

Even more elaborate, though at the risk of sounding morose, I hope that you will one day have a memorial that will look something like Jim's as well. Not including a premature death like him, silly, but with throngs of people wanting to come and pay tribute to you for your innovation and for what your work meant to them:

I especially hope that people will be wearing suits and haircuts like the voice of Wembley Fraggle in this video. PS, I became thoroughly weepy as I was sifting through the memorial and other tributes to Jim on YouTube. Why am I such a sap?

So, my snug as a Bug in a rug, many happy returns of the day to you, and to many wonderful times to come, because you and I, we're kindred goofballs, and I am your one person.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Johnny Lingo, But Instead of 8 Cows... 1 Jeep?

Oh my gosh you guys, this is serious! She was on the news last night and has already had over 300 hits- one from Greece! Hahahahahaha!

Free '92 Jeep Wrangler...

...with proposal and wedding ring.

That's right! Act now on this one-time offer. All you have to do is date and marry me and you can be the proud owner of a 1992 Jeep Wrangler (along with a 1970 woman). Jeep has a lift, safari top for the summer/hard top for the winter, rear locker, 33" tires and (new this year) an 8000 lb winch.

Not only do you get the Jeep, but you get me. And boys, I don't come stock. I am FULLY LOADED! My add-ons include: a great sense of humor, an affection for "garage nights" (that means working on stuff in the garage), an amazing work ethic, temple-worthiness, an appreciation for sports, the ability to live well within my means, logical reasoning skills, a "work hard so you can play hard" mentality, and I'm great with kids, too!

Terms and Conditions:
1. Marriage must last a minimum of 5 years.
2. Jeep cannot feel neglected - trips to Moab required - but it's a package deal. You take the Jeep, you take me!
3. Honda 400EX included in lifetime package.
4. Honeymoon required.

Contact me at -Men only, please. I am ALL woman!

She may be 'all woman,' but she has got balls of steel for posting this! Best of luck to you, Jeep Lady!

-Click on the post title to go to the KLS link-

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shark vs Lion

HATARI! Morbidity Ensues!

When I say, Shark vs Lion, I do NOT mean which one would win in a fight. Let me start from the beginning . . . It's really all my brother-in-law Chris' fault. I am a person who likes to do things like bungee jump and sky dive and I have mentioned to Chris before that I think it would be fun go down in a shark cage and to do the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain sometime, despite (or maybe because of?) how stupid and dangerous they are. This morning I opened up my Gmail and a chat box from Chris popped up (we maybe sometimes Gmail chat when we both should be working) and what was there was an Internet link and the following phrase: 'just in case you get any crazy ideas.' Crazy ideas indeed. Me? The link was to a story and video about a man who was just gored by a bull who strayed from the other bulls in the Pamplona run. I told him that I still wanted to do it, and then we reflected on what a horrible word gored is. Just the word sends shivers down my spine, much like with the word garroted. Chris then said that it was definitely on his list of ways he would NOT want to die, and then proceeded to list off several others from said list- burnt alive, eaten alive, buried alive . . . as we mused over unpleasant and dramatic possible deaths, I posed this query:

Would it be more terrifying to be killed by a shark or a lion?

Shark's have those cold, dead eyes like they are just mindless machines, plus, water is not our natural habitat, so you wouldn't be able to see all that was happening or where the beasty was. Lions have these knowing eyes like they are just playing cat and mouse with you and are going to thoroughly enjoy consuming you, plus you can see everything that is happening. Dead eyes or knowing eyes. For me, with human horror movie villains, its the Hannibal Lecter's who are so intelligent and calculating and aware that are scarier than the Jason's who are faceless, albeit murderous, drones.

Chris' opinion was this: I think I'd rather get taken down by a shark... a really big shark that could just snap me in two and get it over with. I think a lion would gnaw on me for a while before I died which wouldn't be a cool way to go.

True enough. I then joked that maybe I would start a poll on my blog to see what people thought, and he agreed that I should because, 'everyone has thought about it at least once.' Now I don't know how accurate that statement is, but apparently Chris and I both have, so I decided, why not?

It really comes down to Jaws vs The Ghost and the Darkness. Certainly there is no way to really know, as I feel that it is a safe assumption that none of us will ever find ourselves in either situation (well, I might, if I don't get these 'crazy ideas' out of my head), but its still an interesting thought.

The Poll has ended- shark is scarier, 66% to 33%

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I loved the novel The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. If you haven't read it you may have at least heard of it as it was a Best Seller and received quite a bit of acclaim when it was first published in 2003. It's hard to really narrow down the intricate story into a brief synopsis, but here is one I really like from Publisher's Weekly:

Henry De Tamble is a Chicago librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. This leads to some wonderful paradoxes. From his point of view, he first met his wife, Clare, when he was 28 and she was 20. She ran up to him exclaiming that she'd known him all her life. He, however, had never seen her before. But when he reaches his 40s, already married to Clare, he suddenly finds himself time travelling to Clare's childhood and meeting her as a 6-year-old. The book alternates between Henry and Clare's points of view, and so does the narration. In the Clare narration it expresses the longing of the one always left behind, the frustrations of their unusual lifestyle, and above all, her overriding love for Henry. In the Henry perspective it evokes the fear of a man who never knows where or when he'll turn up, and his gratitude at having Clare, whose love is his anchor.

The style of Traveller is very cleverly written un-chronologically and the reader has to piece the story together. On top of that, it is also just beautifully written and the whole story is shadowed by an overwhelming and tender sense of mystery and the idea that love is ... more, than even time can control. It is a classic, What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg situation- how can Henry and Clare's initial meeting be explained when it happened in two different times? Destiny? Certainly there are some sappy moments, as with any story involving romance, but I definitely wouldn't define the book as sappy on the whole. It's bittersweet, timeless and haunting, while at the same time being very real and gritty and complicated. It's not just for the ladies ;)

A movie version of The Time Traveller's Wife is coming out in theaters August 14th and I am very excited about it. I am thrilled by the actors chosen to play the parts of Henry and Clare- Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. the book is rather long so I am anticipating that they will have to cut quite a bit out, and I hope that doesn't effect how thought-provoking and intimate the material is. I am very interested to see if it follows the jumpy, non-chronological storytelling style of the novel and I am eager to see this sweeping, poignant romance brought to life.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

You Look Like the 4th of July! It Makes Me Want a Hotdog Reeeeeeeal Bad!

I went to Idaho for the long weekend to celebrate the 4th of July at my Grandma's with my brother Parker and my cousins. I love my Grandma's. When I was seven and a half and my parents decided to move us from California to Idaho to be closer to family, I assumed that mean to the farm because at that age, the farm is what 'Idaho' was to me. I remember being devastated at first when we moved closer to Boise because the farm was a little kids fantasy- horses, cowboys, four wheelers and fields you could run through forever.

This is my Grandma's house that she built with my Grandpa somewhere around sixty-five years ago, I guess, when they were young and newly married. It's even on 'Mann Lane.' They were high school sweethearts and they must have been the popular couple because I have read their high school year books and all of the comments from people are, 'take care of Mary...' and, 'good luck with Charlie...' My Grandpa passed away several years ago and my Grandma is ninety now and lives in the house by herself, which is pretty impressive. I have aunts and uncles and cousins literally five minutes away, so she is by no means isolated. Anyway, its a good thing she is well enough to be there alone because we would have to drag her out with much wailing and gnashing of teeth if we tried to get her to move somewhere else, because leaving that house would be like leaving Grandpa.

I talked about this giant Birch tree in my Grandma's backyard and posted some pics on Facebook last fall. A swing has been in this tree in the backyard for 30+ years. My brother Logan and I took a little spontaneous trip out to surprise my Grandma last October and the first thing we noticed (much to our horror) was that the swing was missing. Apparently a few months before the rope was finally giving out and someone took it down and no one had replaced it. Not at all willing to let our childhood be so thrown out of whack in this way, Logan and I went to Home Depot and bought a new rope and a chunk of wood that we sanded down and painted and then I climbed the tree while Logan stood on a ladder as we tied it off in the same place as before and replicated (except that the old rope was yellow) the swing of our youth. I can't even explain the relief I felt to see a swing in the tree again! Change is inevitable, but some simple things, sentimental things, are already perfect, like everything about my grandparents and their house, and there is a satisfaction in them staying as they are.

With my parents gone the last couple of years I have mainly just been to Idaho for the holidays and for reunions in McCall in the summers, so it had been a while since I had been to the farm while it was so green and the corn was coming up, and I had forgotten how much I love it then. I love big cities and their bustle and culture and activity, and I never did actually ever live at the farm, but I guess a part of me will always be that wide-open-spaces-loving Idaho girl. We all got together on chairs and blankets on the front lawn of my Grandma's house around sunset and ate yet more food while the little kids played with Snaps and Sparklers and Smoke Bombs until the sun went down and then we pulled out the big guns. If anybody asks, of course they were all legal fireworks. What kind of people do you think we are? Moving on... it was great. I guess the farm will always be a little of what it was to me when I was seven- just sort of comfortable and free.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Musical Artists I Love - Billy Joel

When I think of my family going on road trips when I was young, some of the music that I specifically remember listening to in the car (other that kid music like Raffi and Disney movie soundtracks) are Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, The Beach Boys and Billy Joel. This is all music I still love. If you know me at all you know I am obsessed with musicals (more on that later, no doubt... ;) and every time I go to California or the warm ocean somewhere I HAVE to listen to The Beach Boys, but Billy Joel... I can listen to him all the time. The man can rock you into motion or move you with a ballad with equal finesse. The real brilliance of Billy Joel though, is in his lyrics. The man knows how to woo, and not in a confusing, hokey Sometimes When We Touch sort of way (pretty words man, but do you even know exactly what you are talking about?) His lyrics aren't some clever Shakespearean sonnet, they are honest and intuitive and relatable.

Exhibit A- Innocent Man:

Premise: You have begun a new relationship with someone but they are standoffish because they have been hurt before, but you are willing to be patient:

... Cause I've been there
And if I can survive, I can keep you alive;

I'm not above going through it again.
I've not above being cool for a while,

If you're cruel to me I'll understand.
Some people run from a possible fight,

Some people figure they can never win;
And although this is a fight I can lose,

The accused is an innocent man.

Not cheesy, just honest. Seriously men, if you want a correct perspective from a man's point of view on what women need to hear, listen to Billy Joel's-

Tell Her About It


Just the Way You Are

And how about We Didn't Start the Fire?

He can send a thoughtful message just by listing off events in our nation's history. Also, wow, can he play the piano. I went to a Billy Joel concert that came through town about a year and a half ago, and I tell you what, that man's still got it. You know what I'm talking about Bear, and you too, Chelle, you were there! He was even the voice of Dodger in Disney's Oliver and Company, so, that is automatic positive pointage:

I dare you to listen to that clip or listen to just the first couple of chords of Uptown Girl and stop yourself from smiling:

He recently grew even higher in my esteem because I read that he called the Glee people (the Fox show starting this fall that I am already in love with) and told them that they could use whatever songs of his they want.

And So it Goes, Billy, that when I am needing to know that someone has felt what I'm going through and will tell it to me straight, in your own words, I would choose to be with you, and you can have this heart to break.

And So It Goes