Thursday, July 31, 2008

*Warning; this is possibly the lamest post ever*

It's been a while since I've written, but I can honestly say that I've had nothing good to write. No musings, no stories, no critiques. I've seen plenty of movies in the past little while; however, none of them warrants a full review. The Dark Knight was all right. I'm not a huge fan of explosions and violence galore. Definitely, Maybe was better than I expected, which doesn't say a whole lot because my expectations were low. Abigail Breslin was absolutely repulsive. I have never seen a less endearing child. Merci Pour Le Chocolat is a French "suspense" movie about this crazy woman who drugs hot chocolate for fun... It was supposed to be Hitchcock-ian. I was not impressed.

I haven't read anything grippingly good either. Death on the Nile (Agatha Christie) doesn't count because I'd already seen the movie and guessed who the killer was. (That, however, is a fantastic movie; maybe I'll go rent it.)

And it doesn't help that I'm all gross and sick from this kidney infection I picked up this past week. Blech. It's time for a shower, and then I'm going to watch Little Women until my brains fall out. I promise that the next post will be more coherent and amusing than this one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Lord commanded "No Ponies"

Another Micah story here; he's just s'dang funny that I had to share it.

He likes to talk to himself a lot, especially in our living room. So just a couple minutes ago I went in there and sat on the couch. Micah was not amused.

"Go away," he said in an irritated voice. "I'm talking to myself."

"Can I talk to yourself, too?"

"No. You can't listen to me." Death glare.

"Well, can I talk to myself while just so happening to be in the same room?"

"No." He flopped back onto the couch opposite me dramatically.

"I'll leave if you give me a pony." (ponies are my answer for everything)

Scowl. "There are no ponies in the land."

"What?"

"Only horses and other animals. God doesn't like ponies."

I grinned at him, which annoyed him even more. "So are you saying God didn't create ponies?"

"Yes. The Lord commanded 'No Ponies!'"

I left him alone then (he's still flopped on the couch) to have a huge long laugh without being scowled at. "The Lord commanded 'No Ponies'..." I had no idea.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Broken heart

Do you remember my last experience of seeing Little Women: The Musical? It was mostly positive, right? (despite my complaints about Jo, but that was mostly jealousy) I thought, despite being a lowly city-run show, it was fantastic on the grounds that it was Little Women. No one can destroy or dismantle the musical completely, right?

Wrong.

Here in the Salt Lake Valley, Hale Center Theatre is a huge thing. The shows are expensive, and rightly so. I've been to several shows there (Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Secret Garden, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Civil War, The Miracle Worker) and have been blown away every time. The effects, the acting, and the singing are all very professional. I have never walked away from a Hale Center show disappointed.

Which is why, when I saw that Hale Center Theatre-Orem was doing Little Women, I called my friend Hilary and told her that we simply must go on an excursion there. The tickets were a reasonable price, so I ordered them and we drove there Saturday night. I prepared myself to cry (I've cried all 4 times I've seen it previously) and laugh and enjoy myself.

I laughed. I enjoyed myself reasonably. But. I. Did. Not. Cry. I know that seems like a small thing for those of you who aren't well acquainted with Little Women, but it's huge. One of the most captivating things about Little Women anything (the movie, the musical, the novel) is that it manages to balance the humor and drama perfectly. We wouldn't love Jo as much if she didn't make us laugh; inversely, it wouldn't touch us so deeply if it didn't make us cry or ache.

The director played the humor card too much and didn't leave the audience any time to really connect with the characters. The last time, my only complaint was against Jo; this performance left me with complaints about almost every character except John Brooke (he's not a very round character anyway). Criticizing time.

Let's start with Jo. She had very good comedic timing, I'll give her that. The playbill said that she played Rita in Lucky Stiff, and I honestly think she would have shone in that role. It took me until halfway through the first act to realize who she reminded me of. Idina Menzel. She had the same kind of nasally style as Idina in Enchanted. Don't get me wrong; I loved Idina in Enchanted. She busted me up every time she took the screen. I love Idina. Just not as Jo. There was a certain lack in energy. I couldn't really differentiate between her vivacity before Beth died and afterwards. She just felt wrong.

Beth. She was very Beth-looking and a sweetheart to boot. Also, I've never seen a Beth in the musical cradle dolls like this Beth did, which I thought was an excellent idea. But she kept cradling this stuffed monkey, and I snorted with laughter every time I saw it. Did they have stuffed monkeys during the Civil War? Also, I know she was dying during "Some Things Are Meant to Be," but she could have sang a little louder and clearer.

Meg. Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh. She had a good voice........ But, erm, you know how Meg is supposed to be the beauty of the family? Well, uh, this Meg...was rather large and...not...pretty... That's all I'm gonna say...

Amy. I think Amy was probably the one I liked the most. She, too, was rather large (almost bigger than Jo), but she was a good enough actress that I forgot about that.

I wasn't really supremely bugged by any other players. Not enough to give them their own paragraph anyway. Mr. Laurence had a fruity voice and expressions, Laurie handled Jo's rejection all wrong, and Professor Bhaer had an inconsistent accent and was boring. Small Umbrella put me to sleep. They didn't even do the umbrella kiss.

And you know the dream sequence in Fiddler on the Roof? How it's a total drug trip? "Weekly Volcano Press" was about five times worse. It's supposed to be slightly surreal, but this was ridiculous. The hag (as played by Marmee, who I felt apathetic towards) was this huge thing with bulging eyes and a protruding mouth. I looked at Hilary, who was stifling giggles, and said, "What on earth IS that?"

Well, I've ranted long enough. Hopefully my next experience with Little Women will bring rave reviews. And as long as I'm hoping, I might as well hope that I can be in the next show. Right, right?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Artists are special

I love drawing. I taught myself how when I was in 7th grade and not learning anything at my crappy public school, and now I doodle on everything: note cards, notebooks, napkins, paper tablecloths, camp manuals, etc.

I especially love drawing people. Sometimes they're random people in my head, and sometimes I use people as models. (Not actual people; generally pictures from magazines or whatever.) But sometimes I get the weirdest urges...

I'll be walking along, minding my own blessed business, when I see someone and BAM. I get this almost uncontrollable urge to draw them. Usually it's people I see more than once, but don't know very well. I can't very well whip out a sketchpad and draw them right then and there; these things take time. And I can't ask for their picture. Can you imagine how weird that would be?

"Excuse me. I barely know you, but could I take your picture? I would love to draw you." Awkward!

Maybe I'm too sensitive. What do you all think? If a random person who you sort of knew came up and asked if they could draw you, would you be okay with it?

The reason I bring it up at all is because when I was at Girls' Camp last week, one of the stake YW directors was very draw-able. Not because she was super-gorgeous or anything; she just had a very aesthetically pleasing face with just the right lines. So I spent all 4 days debating whether or not I would ask if I could take her picture...

It's hard to have the drawing bug and not be able to draw what got it started in the first place. I got out my notebook and sketched sundry characters in my brain, but I was restless. Doodles filled my pages; however, nothing got me excited.

The end of the story is that I never did ask. And now I'm aching to draw! It's like getting an itch when you have a cast; you know that if you really tried, you could scratch it, but you don't know if it would be worth it. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Little Brother-ism

My little brother Micah is four years old and somewhat of a sassypants. He used to worship me, but that got lost somewhere... Now he thinks I'm annoying (imagine that!), despite the great care I take of him.

This past Saturday, he said he was hungry, so I told him I'd make him something. He said, no, he just wanted one of the sandwiches Mum had made a couple days before and stuck in the fridge.

"But Micah," I said, "You won't like it."

"Yes I will!" said Micah, ever contrary.

"It has Miracle Whip. You hate Miracle Whip."

"No, I love Miracle Whip!"

"But it has mustard."

"I like mustard!"

"It has ham."

"I like ham!"

All of these declarations of love from my little brother were false. He hates all those things! So, to show my horror at his falsehoods, I said dramatically,

"Lies! Scandal!"

By this time he'd taken the sandwich out of the fridge and, looking at me innocently, said,

"I like lies and a scandal."

...what a liar...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Corpse Auditions

In order to replace a certain musical-which-shall-not-be-named addiction, I picked up the "Lucky Stiff" soundtrack at the library the other week. It's good, catchy music and has a hilarious plot.

Here's the run-down. There's this guy named Harry Witherspoon whose uncle was killed in Atlantic City. His Uncle Anthony is prepared to leave six million dollars to his nephew, but only if Harry wheels his uncle's body around Monte Carlo for a week and pretends that he's alive.

So, naturally, Harry tries it out. He wheels this dead guy around the stage the whole entire show, and the dead guy is very convincing. Which leads me to the question that nagged at my mind as I was drifting off to sleep last night: What kind of audition do they have for the guy who plays the corpse? He doesn't have to sing. He doesn't have to speak. He doesn't have to move. (Well, not counting his dance number...)

Do they just sit him in a chair and see how corpse-like he can be? Do they poke him? Do they tickle his nose?

This is one of those questions that will haunt me 'til the day I die.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Inbox of no return...

I have a confession to make: sometimes...I don't reply to emails for a very long time. It's not because I hate (or even dislike) the people who write to me or anything. And it's not like I let the emails rot for months (or even weeks) on end. They just sit there for a couple days, and I look at them and say, "Oh, dear. I really should write back to Beth. And that one from Meg has been sitting there far too long. I should write back..."

And of course I don't until a few days later. Is this a normal? Am I lazy? If it's an urgent email, such as one from Korinne saying how much she hates boys and would like to talk to me as soon as time permits, I reply as fast as anything. But the commonplace email usually marinates in my Inbox for a day at the least.

That leads me to the question of the day: does the majority of the technologically-savvy world reply to conversation emails faster or slower than I do?

Input and comments are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Before Green Gables


I'm generally not a fan of the -quels. You know, sequels and prequels and the ever-dreaded threequels. Sometimes they're done by the original creators, and sometimes they aren't. Some are fantastic and leave you drooling for more (ex: Uglies, Harry Potter, etc). Some, such as the Star Wars prequels, explain a lot, but aren't necessarily needed. Some, like National Treasure 2, are good, but pretty much just copies of the original. Some are just stupid and you wonder why on earth you wasted your time and energy watching/reading them.

So I had mixed feelings when I saw Before Green Gables: The Prequel to Anne of Green Gables on the shelf of the teen fiction section of my library. On the one hand, I love Anne almost as much as I love Jo, and was aching to learn more about her. I mean, caring for three sets of twins when she lived with the Hammonds? Heck, I couldn't do that! But on the other, more cynical hand, it wasn't written by LM Montgomery and published long before I was born. It was written by Budge Wilson and published this last February.

As it happened, there wasn't anything else worth reading in the aforementioned teen section (I feel like a body snatcher visiting an old graveyard for the hundredth time whenever I go there; very rarely do I come away with something worth taking back to Dr. Kisset.), so, in spite of my doubts, I checked it out.

The first couple (and by couple I mean twelve) chapters focus on Anne's parents, Walter and Bertha Shirley, in Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia, Canada. This takes up the first fifty pages of the novel. Unfortunately, it's easy to forget that this is about Anne Shirley at this point. It talks about Bertha; it talks about the unhappy state of affairs her neighbor is in; it talks about the cleaning lady, Mrs. Thomas, and how surprised she is that Bertha and Walter actually love each other. It's interesting, but not enthralling. The same goes for the next eight chapters because Anne cannot talk fluently yet, and everyone knows that a good part of Anne's charm is in her quaint word choice.

After those first few obstacles, one can whole-heartedly throw oneself into the story. Anne faces setback after setback after setback and still finds time to smile and to laugh and to dream. There's a touching moment where she's talking to Mr. Thomas (yes, Mrs. Thomas' "intoxicated husband" to whom Anne refers when she accidentally sets Diana drunk) and he asks her why the noise of his four very rowdy boys (and cranky wife) doesn't bother her. She explains her knack for pretending things and urges him to try it. It seems to work on the depressed soul for a while, but ends up in a drinking streak and the family has to move from Bolingbroke to Marysville.

It is in Marysville that Anne acquires her exquisite new vocabulary. Mr. Johnson, the Egg Man and resident tragic victim of romance gone awry, is enchanted by Anne and teaches her five new words each time she comes to fetch the eggs. He gives her such Anne-esque words and phrases as "imagination," "depths of despair," and "exquisite."

Alas, Mr. Thomas dies, and poor, plucky Anne is sent to live with the Hammonds. Until reading this, I'd always envisioned Mrs. Hammond as some old crank with eight children, neatly intersperced. Nope. She's only twenty-four (she married at nineteen) and has children every May "as regularly as clockwork." So when Anne gets there, there are already six children, all under the age of four. The spring after Anne arrives, another set of twins comes and adds to the pandemonium.

Anyway, to make a three-hundred-and-eighty-seven-page story short, Mr. Hammond dies as well, and Anne is shipped off to the orphanage where, of course, Mrs. Spencer comes and picks out an eleven year old girl for the Cuthberts.

I was so engrossed that I jumped right from Before Green Gables to the original Anne of Green Gables. It was a rather awkward leap, just because you've been in Anne's head so long that it's weird to be re-introduced to her through Marilla's eyes. But in all other aspects, it's very nearly perfect. My only complaint is that Mrs. Wilson didn't explain where Anne got "kindred spirits" from, but you can't have everything, I suppose.

However, it gets double deuce action from my thumbs. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Anne as much as I do. Or to anyone who's sick of perusing through "Bad Girls in Love" and "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Whoa...it's like the Twilight Zone over here.

I live in a house of boys. Energetic boys. Noisy boys. Boys who lack certain social graces. Boys who play tackle football in their rooms...complete with field goals. I complain about them kind of sort of a lot. Just ask my friends. Hilary's forever telling me to share one of my brother's irrational outbursts. "I hate you! I hate this family! I'd run away and join the circus, but I hate the circus!"

My family's been on vacation this past week, and I've had the whole house all to myself. It's been weird. I don't have to shank anyone in order to get on the computer. I don't have to wake up at 8 and tell Jonathan to STOP JUMPING ON ONE FOOT RIGHT OVER MY ROOM. I can watch whatever movies I want without someone whining that some football teams are playing on some field somewhere. (The Rose Bowl? What on earth's that?) The house stays cleaner, smells nicer, and sounds better when my little brothers are gone.

But now that they're back, I don't know what I've done for entertainment for the past week. How have I lived without making fun of my tough brother who giggles like a pansy? Without lying to Jonathan about stupid things and seeing his innocent reaction? Without listening to Micah stumble through the words in the scriptures and pronouncing "flocks" like "flock-ez"?

Sure, now all the good food disappears before I can blink; the kitchen is a veritable wreck; I've already lost my temper twice; I've lost my freedom to come and go when I please. But for some reason, it hasn't gotten under my skin like it usually does.

Much as I complain, I kinda like 'em. *puts finger to lips* But shhhh. I let them think that I can't stand them.

Hell hath no fury...

My summer's been a wee bit dull. However, that's not the reason it's taken so long for me to post something. If I could describe myself in a word, it would be "lazy." I've had plenty of time to think of something clever or inspiring; I just haven't done it. Lots of things have happened that I could have written about; I just...didn't.

So it figures that it would take some real riling up to get me motivated. Today's rant, boys and girls, is brought to you by the letter "S," Johnson and Johnson (a family corporation), horny boys everywhere, and the Arthur Vining Davis foundation.

Maybe I'm being too harsh because I haven't been in the mind of a teenage boy. (By the way, I'm not condemning all teenage boys in this rant; just the ones who are morons. ) I suppose I'll never understand "locker room talk" or anything. I'm actually been okay with the way some boys talk about girls as long as it doesn't impact me or one of my friends.

Oh, but now that it has, I am about ready to bust some heads. You know the verse "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? Well, in my book there's one that says, "Hell hath no fury like one whose friend's virtue has been questioned by a moronic hormonal teenage boy." I haven't been this furious in a while.

I'm not going to post the whole story; just know that someone I'm close to has been insulted and hurt in the lowest degree by a smear of scum who has the impertinence to call itself "human." I've been talking to him, and he's been trying to tell me that it's just a big misunderstanding and arguing his case to me. And now I have a little insight into his mind.

I feel sorry for him. Sorry that he's ruined his chances with such a wonderful girl, as well as with anyone who's heard the story. Sorry that he couldn't distinguish between fantasy and reality. Sorry that he's giving the other boys his age a bad name because he couldn't control his hormones.

But most of all I'm sorry because he's going to get lynched by an angry mob of girls if he doesn't watch his back.