Friday, March 30, 2012

your horoscope: april showers


You know the old adage: April showers bring May flowers! Well, spring is here. But what kind of shower are you in for? A nice, pulsating soft water flow? A steady, sturdy spray of force? Or the rusted, disappointing tinkle kind like I get at the UVU gym? Find out below!

ARIES: Wow. Can you believe what everyone has been saying about you? I'm always the last one to hear things. But I finally heard about this whole thing with you and that thing that you did. And how everyone feels about it. Do you need someone to talk to? You know what I'm talking about, right? That thing that everyone's so upset about? That you did?

TAURUS: Quit being so bull-headed and let someone help you out every once in a while! You can't do everything yourself, you know! Technically, you can. If you had to. Amelia Earhart lived alone on that island for years by herself before she was eaten by cannibals. And then two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank played her in a movie! What's wrong with you? Take charge of your life! You aren't even on Hilary Swank's radar.

GEMINI: Your spouse loves you. He/she thinks you are amazing and beautiful/handsome and is amazed at all you have accomplished in the last three months. He/she doesn't need any special back rub or toe massage this month. This month is all yours, sweetheart.

CANCER: Remember when we went on that motorcycle ride and I rode on the back and pretended like I wasn't scared? Surprise! I was totally scared. Because my face is my fortune and I can't afford any kind of scratch-ups. Also I remember how my mom called them "murdercycles" and it's hard to shake that. But I'm up for doing it again! If I can drive this time. And no helmets, because that's for babies!

LEO: Dude, cut yourself some slack. We all put on weight. You carry yours well! It suits you. It in no way decreases your attractiveness and desirability. Anyway, ladies like personality. Boy, we lucked out on that one!

VIRGO: This month would be a great time for you to reclaim your relationship with your sister. She's been lost for years, and this would be a great time to find her. Particularly if she's stuck in the lair of the Goblin King, and you have to find her before midnight! Good luck with that! You're on your own here and you won't find any friends along the way to help you. But remember - it's your own fault! You summoned those goblins from that book you like to act out.

LIBRA: I noticed that you have been standing a lot straighter lately. Great job! Did you take a class? Posture is so important. It tells the world "I'm confident!" This month, work on your slumpy neck.

SCORPIO: You think you're fooling me by working at an old folks home? You think I don't know it's just about stealing free food and movie night Mondays? Maybe the elderly don't suspect a thing, but I'm not so easily fooled. That being said, I admire your creativity. It's way smarter than working fast food. No hair nets!

SAGITTARIUS: Remember last week when you tried to buy two tickets to The Hunger Games on Fandango but you accidentally bought tickets for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island? Man, you blew it! But seriously, how was that movie? I don't know anybody who saw it. Did you like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson? He's usually good in everything.

CAPRICORN: If life hands you lemons, make lemonade! But what if you hate lemonade, as some people do? The acidity is a lot for some people's stomachs. Have you tried pink lemonade? It tastes just like lemonade, but it's a different color. If life handed me pink lemons I would make pink lemonade, but I sure wouldn't drink it! Pink lemons? That sounds suspect. That's some crazy terrorist crap right there.

AQUARIUS: I'm sorry everyone thinks you look like Rick Santorum. It's probably all those sweater vests. And that hangdog look you always have. Buck up, we're almost done with him! And then everyone can go back to calling you "Randy Quaid."

PISCES: Think you know everything? Think again. I bet you don't know anything about Walter Sickert, the 19th century painter and eccentric who was very likely Jack the Ripper. He loved to paint grisly crime scenes and dismembered bodies. And he is currently hiding in your closet!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fallen from Grace

Never let it be said that we at PTA are afraid of a bit of controversy. Yesterday, Chris stirred up a tracker jacker nest by not only declaring that he didn't like the Hunger Games movie, but also proudly proclaiming that he snuck into said movie AND that he is annoyed by tween girls sobbing. (OK, that last one isn't that controversial. We all agree on that, right?) Ken proudly proclaimed his disdain for vinyl wall "art." (Amy and I just put up "Return with Tacos" above our front door.) And let us never forget the anger and vitriol that rocked the blogosphere (any my book club that week) when Patrick declared his preference for short hair.

And because we have created a space where controversy and varying opinions are welcome I now proudly declare that Easter is the holiday with the best candy. Valentines day is too heavy on chocolate, which in and of itself doesn't do much for me. (Though I do like candy hearts.) Christmas is more of a baked good holiday. And Halloween is basically just regular candy packaged in Halloween wrappers. What's the fun in that?

Easter, however, is full of delicious treats that you can ONLY buy at Easter. And have you realized that Easter is only about a week away? And that many of these candies will be gone soon? Have you stocked up? Are you getting your fix? To help you in your shopping needs, I present the list of the greatest Easter candies:

1. Peeps

I know peeps are a love 'em or hate 'em kind of thing. But I LOVE them. And they are the definitive Easter candy. I distinctly remember being a small child and eating peeps (with little bits of that green plastic grass stuck to the raw-marshmallow side) from my Easter basket. I know that now they have St. Patrick's day peeps and Arbor Day peeps and chocolate covered peeps and wasabi dipped peeps. And while I would certainly eat any of those, the original peeps and bunnies that come in the bright spring colors are where its at.

2. Reese's Peanut Butter Egg
mmm...36 pack
I love a peanut butter cup as much as anyone. But there is something about the Egg that is better. Maybe it is the lack of that annoying oily paper. Maybe it is because the ratio of salty peanut butter to waxy chocolate seems higher. Maybe it is because they are available for a limited time and I'm a sucker for that. But whatever it is, yummy.

3. Cadbury Mini Eggs
mmmm...Big Bag....3 pack
Every year when I buy these, I think that I have elevated them in my mind and that they won't live up. They can't possibly be as good as I remember them. And guess what? They are BETTER. I think it is because I am an anglophile and Cadbury is the queen's chocolate so surely it is better than something from Pennsylvania, right?

There are many other delights, but these are by far the top three and the three I want to eat morning and night for the months of March and April. But there is one Easter candy that I really want to like. One that used to hold a place of high esteem in my heart and has now fallen from grace.

48 pack. Mmm. No thanks.
Remember when you were a kid and getting a whole creme egg to yourself was like the greatest thing ever?? And am I the only one that remembers that back then the creme filling was runny, like a real egg? And now it is sort of a thick white paste? Did I make that up? I imagine that they changed it because as a parent I can't think of anything worse than giving my children a candy full of 1/4 cup of runny, sticky filling. But it was sweet and unctuous and gooey and delicious. And now it is like eating Chocolate filled with Spongebob Squarepants Toothpaste. Oh, creme egg. We thought we knew thee.

So weigh in. What are your favorite Easter candies? Did I get it right? Tell us in the comments.You know how we like to stir up controversy.




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

hungry for more


I saw the new Hunger Games movie the old fashioned way: I snuck in. A buddy and I went to see a different movie, and as it let out we saw hundreds of spotty teens hooting and awkwardly shuffling into every other screen in the theater. So we just followed them all in. Our seats were decent. A little too close to the screen, a little far to the left, and too near a young lady who cried at every part. Every part! Even dumb parts! Of which I felt there were many.

I know I'm in the minority here, but I was completely underwhelmed by The Hunger Games. Maybe underwhelmed is too much; maybe I was just whelmed. And I also get that I'm not the target audience here, and never was. Maybe I needed an ironic t-shirt and a stronger knowledge of Katy Perry to really grasp the "emotion" of this movie. But overall I felt it was pretty cold. Icy. As frigid as Satan's teet. I felt literally nothing, except shaky cam disease.

I fully admit that I'm a movie snob. There! I beat you to it! Don't comment and tell me how you go to movies for "entertainment" or to "forget your problems" or just for "fun!" I do none of these things. I go to movies to pull them apart and ask questions and make-out with my wife. If I can't digest a movie, if I can't get into a little bit of a fight about it, I feel cheated. This is why I flew the proud banner of The Tree of Life last year, a movie that most of my friends uniformly hated. That movie grabbed me by the hoo-ha's and never let up. Yes, it was slow. Yes, it was visual. No, not everything made sense. But dammit, someone was saying something! Someone was taking a risk.

Gary Ross, director of The Hunger Games, decided to make the safest, most workmanlike interpretation possible, and congrats to him! This movie will make him one bajillion dollars. What it doesn't make, unfortunately, is a significant contribution to the world of book adaptations. I felt like he had a copy of the novel on hand to make sure that he never deviated from the primary source - his choices were so slavish and unimaginative. People fought! Then they died! Then the camera bounced around! Then Katniss got mad and cried in slow motion! I didn't mind the lack of Vox back stories, or the origin of the Mockingjay pin, any possible explanation of who Effie Trinket was, or the fact that Cinna, the most interesting character in the book, consisted of gold eyeliner and six lines of dialogue.

What I missed was the danger! Remember the book? Children were literally killing each other! It was bloody and visceral and disturbing. And none of that was in the movie. I get it; we needed the PG-13 rating. So Ross put every violent act into a chaotic series of camera jerks, and in the end we don't know who lives or who dies. In fact we don't care, since the movie never takes the time to introduce us to anybody. There's a major character who dies halfway through the story, which is incredibly poignant and unexpected in the novel. When it happens in the movie, you sort of wonder who this person is. You never really saw her before. Oh, you think. That's a bummer. She seemed cool. But then again, I'm likely dead inside. The teen next to me was a veritable bathtub of sobs. Why didn't I feel anything? Why did I want to sneak over and see 21 Jump Street? Why didn't I?

It's not a bad movie. I can see why people like it. It is incredibly faithful to the novel. I think Jennifer Lawrence did a nice job with an arc-less character. She mostly needed to run around in snazzy leather jackets and wear lip gloss and act all grouchy. Whenever she or any of the actors needed to cry there was always someone on set with a squeeze bottle of glycerin tears. But I just wanted more style. I wanted more visual risks. I wanted to feel danger and fear and paranoia. And wasp stings that make you black out for days. And loss and exhilaration and love. I remember finishing the first Hunger Games book in Paris last summer and visualizing a dystopian world of cotton candy decadence and eye popping gluttony. I understand why Ross wanted to drain District 12 of all of its color, but I couldn't shake the feeling that, despite the wigs and the costumes and the makeup, he drained the Capitol of its color as well. Someone needs to take some lessons in color from Tim Burton or Jean-Pierre Jeunet (yep! That's two condescending French references in one paragraph.)

So, there it is. My two cents. I realize nobody cares. Lisa insists that I was probably just tired when I saw it. Maybe I was, but I don't remember that. Maybe I was annoyed at seeing the movie with all those plump little sobbing teens. Maybe the projector was having problems? I can always blame the projector. Or maybe this was an instance where a director played it safe, and one little audience member in one little western state was hoping he'd play it a little more hungry, and a lot more dangerous.

And now she's part of you.

So, I wanted to post a little something about high school and remembering the first time you went driving alone. My parents had a forest green Pontiac Bonneville, much like this one:



And it was so nice. My dad had had "Business Cars" while I was growing up and they were nice but the green Bonneville was the first new car my parents bought just for us, no give-backs, just for us. I don't even know if it was new new or just new to us, but it had fog lights that might as well been Hover gear; they were so fancy I used to pray for fog. And somewhere in the back rooms of my mind I have this clear moment of driving down a hill in Orem, the one that Jarom Roland lived on, and I was in the car by myself and my fingers and toes vibrated with independence. It was night time and I had no where to go but I had the car and I was 16 and I was going to drive.

My dad tells the story of driving over the Point of the Mountain and he was listening to classical music, something I quietly mocked at the time he was telling this story but now I replicate, and he was getting so into the music he started leading the music with his right arm...then his left...then, so he could see his orchestra, he closed his eyes but just for a bit. When he opened them he saw a hitchhiker on the side of the road (of which my Father was still on, luckily for the hitchhiker). My dad was at a crucial moment in the movement but, to hear him tell it, even though he was doing 55 in a tan Ford Tempo, he met eyes with the hitchhiker and the hitchhiker with him. And, of the two, it was the hitchhiker who put his arms down. He would brave the elements and walk rather than get in the car with the man who's just messed his hair up so his first chair oboist would take him seriously.

Once, in a perfect "Wonder Years" moment, three friends and I were driving in Adam's Dad's burgundy Mercedes with tan leather interior and a CD player, the first one I'd ever seen in a car. As we drove up some canyon road he put in a CD and then my life was different. Her name was Holly Cole (and still is) and she was my grown up music. Anyone will tell you I have horrible taste in music. Lindsay was so cool (and still is) when I met her and she would take me to concerts and clubs with live bands and it was baffling. "How did all these people know to come here? How did they know the name of this band? and How are they all singing along?" It's been a long time since she's gone to see a live band that she heard of while pirating music off Napster. But, in exchange, I have given her Holly Cole and now I give her to you. She's smokey and cool and has the ability to make a 17-year-old look out at a night sky through a passenger window and feel like he's real and different and has something to give back to the world, even if it was only ever her.


Ladies and Gentlemen...
Holly Cole




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Monday, March 26, 2012

I Smell a Hit, People!


Last week Josh posted a clip from the new show, Missing, starring Ashley Judd. His perspective on the show: nobody needs this program and the developers of the show have failed.

It got me thinking. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall in some of those development meetings? Ideas are flying around the room, creativity is flowing, Yes Men are agreeing with whatever their boss seems to think, egos are ballooning…I think I would watch a TV show about people developing TV shows! And if they were clearly misguided ideas? Why, I think that would be even more entertaining.

For example, I would love to have watched that auspicious network meeting over 30 years ago when they were brainstorming for a new, brilliant small-screen phenomenon…

VP of CBS Development (Played in my mind by Charlton Heston): Gentlemen, we need a show for the 8 o’clock time slot. Something that will appeal to men who spend gobs of money and happen to currently be stuck in arrested development. Bruce, whatta ya got?

Bruce: Yeah, how about a private investigator?

VP: Nice. All men wish they could be dangerous. What else? Hal?

Hal: Well, we could film it in Hawaii?

VP: Perfect. Every man wishes he lived in Hawaii. Nick?

Nick: How is a private investigator going to afford living in Hawaii?

Hal: We could have him live for free on an estate. That way he has no real adult responsibilities. Not even a mortgage.

VP: I likey. Nick, you’re fired, unless you get with the program.

Nick: We could have the owner of the estate give him a Ferrari to use at his leisure?

VP: Nick, you’re a beautiful man. That’s genius. Now I want a Ferrari.

Hal: Also, he should have a mini-fridge that is endlessly full of cold beer.

Bruce: Also, this guy is going to be able to get any woman he wants. A new one every week, since he won’t ever really be involved in any kind of relationship that requires maturity, sacrifice, compromise, or formal wear.

VP: Of course he is. He’s got an estate, a Ferrari, the coolest job…and what else?

Nick: A mustache?

VP: Bingo. I smell a hit, gentlemen. Nick, go pick me out a Ferrari.

Magnum, P.I.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Part Time Authors of the World!

And here we are again. Another incredibly enlightening week. This week we all commiserated around Ken's super deep love of vinyl lettering. We stalked the streets of London for someone Chris might or might not want to befriend or fear. Patrick expunded on his inability to spell but also plugged the selling of Miracles and Ikea dish brushes. And Josh wrote a turbulent hard hitting exposé about the failure of American advertizing to give us the slightest amount of credit. Also got me signed up for $1 Razor Blades! (Thanks Josh!)


But there is more to learn still! Did you know that Part Time Authors is viewed all over the world? Well, it super is! And what's more surprising is where people are viewing from. SO in honor of our friends abroad I've plagiarized fun facts from the internet (I felt like a kid in high school...not me in high school, I had to plagiarize the encyclopedia, which is a system of books with facts and pictures in alphabetical order.) about the top three (besides the good 'ol US of A) countries that visit our blog.

Here they are in order of frequent hits:



Chile
  • In Calama, a town in the Atacama Desert of Chile, it has never rained.
  • Cheerios (cereal) sold in South Africa are manufactured in Chile
  • Chile borders three different countries; Argentina to the east, Bolivia to the northeast and Peru to the north
  • Chile's coastline stretches 2,700 miles long, running from the Atacama, the world's most arid desert in the north, through forests, valleys, mountains, lakes, glacier fields, the Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Circle in the south. Chile is never more than 110 miles wide east to west.
  • Chile is the second-largest producer of salmon in the world.
  • I also love Chilli! Lindsay makes a real good vegetarian kind with roasted corn in it. Delightful!



Brunei
  • The Guinness Book of Records and Fortune Magazine have both credited the present sultan as the richest man in the world, with assets estimated to be as high as US$37 billion. The Sultan himself disputes such claims, asserting that he doesn't have unlimited access to state funds. Nevertheless, he has managed to acquire hotels in Singapore, London and Beverly Hills; a magnificent residence, the US$350-million Istana Nurul Iman; a collection of 300 cars and a private fleet of aircraft; and over 200 fine polo horses, kept at his personal country club.
  • The population of 322,000 is made up of 69% Malays, 18% Chinese, 7% indigenous tribes. The main languages spoken are Malay, English and Chinese.
  • Brunei doesn't have marked wet and dry seasons. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, but is heaviest between September and January. Temperatures are consistently between 24°C (75°F) and 31°C (88°F). Average humidity is 79%, making it a pretty warm and sticky place.
  • This tiny oil-rich Islamic sultanate lying on the northwest coast of Borneo is known chiefly for the astounding wealth of its Sultan, its tax-free, subsidised society, and the fact that its 280,000 people enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes on earth. Despite the ostentatious modern public buildings in the capital, most of the country remains undeveloped, unexploited and untouched by the outside world.
    Brunei is a little slice of Islamic heaven. Alcohol is virtually unobtainable, there's no nightlife, and the political culture encourages quiet acquiescenc
    e to the edicts of the sultan. The folk of Brunei are amply rewarded for their conformist ways with free healthcare, free education, free sporting centres, cheap loans and high, tax-free wages.
  • My favorite thing about Brunei was that some how someone in this land I'd never heard of is reading my preference for short haired women!



Canada

  • Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia. The country is divided into 14 provinces. The state of Nunavut in Northern Canada was just build for the Inuit population.
  • Canada is also home to the world's smallest jail, located in Ontario. It is only 270 square feet.
  • The country shares the world's longest common border with the United States of America, which is also the only unprotected border in the world.
  • Canadians consume more Mac and Cheese then any other nation on Earth.
  • About four-fifths of Canada's population lives within 150 kilometres (93 mi) of the United States border.
  • I love Canada because I went there once and it was alot like America in the way I could still see Niagara Falls. It was like I was going into Old Man Demaski's back yard but I could still see my bedroom through the window.


WELL! What an amazing world we live in and how amazing that the world is all here, day after day being informed about the importance of the terrors of Sharks and the wonders of Ryan Gossling's love of regular woman. We truly are a melding pot.





Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sell it to me, baby!!

When you watch this, what do you think?

Do you think, "Why, that commercial is right!! Let's not get into why I voluntarily purchased an animal who lives in my home and poops in a box in the corner...let's focus on the fact that kitty litter IS heavy and that funny cat gave that woman a massage and I AM going to go and buy that kitty litter! Well done, advertisers!!" Of course you don't. You more likely think, "What the?! That's creepy?! Why is that cat rubbing her? I am going to go take a shower and talk with my bishop about just how wrong that commercial made me feel!! I will never buy a cat OR kitty litter again!!" Advertisers, you failed.

Let's try another one. What do you think when you see this:
Did you think, "Well, that is INDEED what my life is missing (no pun intended, self.) I need more Ashley Judd running around with an angry face yelling a lot!" I don't think you do. I think you think "Oy vey. That looks AWFUL." Advertisers, you failed again. (Or maybe TV developers are the ones who failed on this one.)

I am not an advertiser. But you know these things are seen by dozens of copy editors, managers, executives, creative types and janitors before they ever make it to TV. And why doesn't ONE of those people say "Wait a minute. This is terrible! No one wants to see this on TV! Our brand is doomed!!" Why must everyone just nod and say, "That's it! That massaging cat is our ticket to success!!"

Now try this one on for size:
Wow. Polio? Toddlers with razors? Leaf blowers? Dee-lighful. And, don't you think paying $1 a month for razors is the greatest idea ever? I signed up (click here if you want to sign up too.) I mean, they are $1! And the people who make them are funny! Even if they send me slightly sharpened grapefruit spoons to shave with, for $1 I'll give it a go. 

So, advertising executives who read this blog, take note. Hire people who will tell you "No. That is a terrible idea. People don't want to see cats giving back rubs." We're not dumb. You can't convince us that Ashley Judd is going to be anything but verry, verry boring, no matter how many "I just smelled a fart" faces she makes (seriously, watch that video again - I count 13.) If you are an advertising executive, hire funny and creative people. And if you are not funny and/or creative, then don't go into advertising. And if that cat made you smile, please go talk to your bishop. There is help out there for you. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

do you know this guy?


So I have a special screen saver feature on my computer where, if I'm absent too long, I get a rotating slideshow of some of my pictures. I know, it's crazy! You probably don't have this feature. It's pretty rare. I have a Mac. Anyway. Sometimes if I'm bored I just watch these pictures flash by and remember good times. And some sad times. And pictures of myself 25 pounds heavier. Woo - was I ever a fatty!

Even though there are like 2 billion pictures on my computer, my computer still likes to replay the same six or seven. It totally plays favorites. So it will show 25 random pictures, then one of the six or seven, then 10 randoms, than another favorite. And the favorites are completely arbitrary. There's nothing magical or aesthetic that would signify why my computer likes them. It's a choice determined completely by zeros and ones and I get that. But it's also a little haunting, like my computer is trying to send me a message.

Take for example, this photo above. This one is clearly one of computer's favorites. Don't ask me why. It's a picture of me talking to Kelsey Howell and Anna Mortimer Greene on the Millenium Bridge in London. That's St. Paul's in the background (tuppence a bag.) It's a nice picture. I like the Millenium Bridge, even though they blew it all up in one of the Harry Potter movies. But I've been on this bridge dozens of times, so it's not really a commemorative photo. What is my computer trying to tell me? I think I may have an idea.

Every time this picture pops up I can only see the jogger in the background. I think he's funny. He's making eye contact with the camera and seems annoyed that we have stopped in his path. He totally photo bombed us, this guy with the dark socks and the fanny pack (sorry, Brits! "Tummy" pack?) Whenever this picture pops up I laugh. I don't know why it's so funny. He just looks really tired and he's running way too fast. Who is this person? Why is he haunting my computer? (Click on the picture, and you can see it better.)

I know this is really far-fetched, but miracles happen all the time on the interwebs. I'm just throwing this out there: does anybody know this guy? He's probably English. Is he your co-worker? He's got a great head of hair, that's for sure. (Tell him I said that!) Ask around. Ask some people. Maybe they know this guy. I want to buy him a beer at a pub and thank him for all the laughs. I won't be drinking beer, so relax. I think we could be good friends. I think we could hang out. I'm into jogging! (mostly on a treadmill but I'm open to trying bridges.) Does he know that the guy in the brown corduroy pants is watching him? Creepy. Does he struggle with a few extra pounds around the middle? I totally get that. It's the married man curse!

I feel like my computer wants us to be friends.

Unless my computer is warning me. Maybe this jogger wants to murder me. I guess I never thought of that.

Oh well, anyway you guys, ask around! Just see if you can get me a couple of leads.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This is what I came up with.

I'm sitting here trying to figure out what to blog about and nothing is coming...

Coming.

Once, when I worked at Blockbuster (I was around 17), I had the job of putting the letters on the marquee for the coming attractions, and I had finished it early in the afternoon. That night (or possibly two nights later), a woman came in and asked who was responsible for writing the marquee. Well, it was kind of a hard job 'cause the letters would fall off at the slightest wind or jiggle on my behalf, so for some reason I actually thought this woman was going to tell me what a great job I did (incidentally, people rarely comment on things that are right). Anyway, I had spelled 'Coming' as 'Comming,' and had to head out with my long rod with a suction cup on the end and face the wind.

I have always been bad at spelling. I got a 'D' in spelling in the 5th grade. I remember it clearly. I actually thought, 'Huh, I guess I can't spell.' It was like I was just in school to find out what my strengths were, and to then focus on them and shun the rest of it. (Eventually it all became 'the rest of it.') But I don't think you should get a 'D' in 5th grade. Even if you earn it. Come on, you're gonna hold back some kid 'cause he thinks 'very' has two R's? (I did...until Jr. High... I knew you could spell it with one 'R', but you also had the option of two if you needed it. I can't think of when that might help you. Or of another word that has options in its spelling... oh, wait: Theater.) I once had a girl friend who told me she loved the way I spelled 'While.' She didn't tell me I was spelling it wrong, but saw it as endearing. This still makes me nervous any time I write the word.

I have always liked to write but hated to spell. It's just like Peanuts and Peanut Butter. I would say that Peanuts are my favorite nut, while, as a child, I hated Peanut Butter. But in my old age, I have learned that I really REALLY like CHUNKY Peanut Butter and could take or leave the creamy.

I have found that as I have gotten older, I love things that I once hated, or was supposed to hate. I had Brussels Sprouts for the first time in my life this past winter and they were show-stopping! I loved them. As a matter of fact, we got those Zip Lock Steamer Bags just so I could steam up some Brussels Sprouts and eat them, all by themselves.

I love those Zip Lock Steamer Bags. They are Great! It says right on the bag how long you put in a half a bag of Broccoli, or a whole bag of Peas. You do what it says, and Presto Stanley! You have yourself bright, green, crisp veggies in a matter of seconds.

Another incredible invention (and this is something I have actually wanted to Blog about for a while now) is this scrub brush from IKEA. This thing is 99 cents! And has fully changed the way we do our dishes. A few months ago you might have found me digging through dirty dishes, hunting for our filthy scrub brush, only to find out that my better half had put it under the sink (next to the Drain-O and Rat Poison) in order to keep it clean. Well, not any more, my friends. See that little circle on the tip? That is a suction cup (only now does it occur to me that this is a much smaller version of the tool I once used to misspell words on the Blockbuster marquee). This suction cup can support this guy so he stands on his own, next to the cold water knob on top of the sink. I can ALWAYS find it, and it is no longer damp and filled with smutch. When I need it, I just reach out and there it is, dry and ready for work. And for 99 cents! I told Lindsay that the next time we are at IKEA we are picking up six...or ten of these dish washing MIRACLES.

Once, when I worked at the Barnes and Noble Cafe, I invented a drink called a 'Miracle.' It was mostly just iced Chocolate Milk with a dash of Hazelnut syrup, but I loved them. I loved them because I loved the idea of people walking up and asking me for a Miracle. Which they never did, of course. I never wrote it on the chalkboard menu. I didn't think I could spell 'Miracle.' And besides, what what would you charge for one?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Home: Where My Wall Is Your Canvas


I'm not always the trendsetter in the crowd, so I'm not super clear on when vinyl lettering became The Thing that Everybody Should Be Doing.

You know the ones; you see them on the walls of living rooms everywhere. "All Because Two People Had to Get Married" or "TiVo: The Center of Our Home."

I'm going to admit right here and now that we don't have any up in our house. So, we're obviously in the market. But HOW does one decide which maxim or adage to go with?


Doctrinally speaking, I'm actually not sure either of these measurements will be brought up on The Final Exam... Angels reviewing your Book of Life. "Looks like your breath was only taken away twice. TWICE! This doesn't bode well for you. I'm just telling you that now so you're not surprised or disappointed later."

Too bossy.

Too much pressure.

False advertising. (P.S. I remember when we first decided to put our bike in our laundry room.)

And written in fancy calligraphy. 

I think this one is from the new For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. 

So I'm open to suggestions. My living room wall is your canvas!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Part-Time Rock Star



Secretly, I have always wanted to be a rock star. I think I would be rather good at it, because, frankly, I think feeling adored and validated by thousands of screaming fans would come rather naturally to me. (It’s a gift.) I also have plenty of jeans and ratty shirts. (Another gift. It’s called "hoarding.") There is really only one, bona fide snag in my plan, and that is my complete and total lack of any musical ability. 

Except when I’m sick. Anytime my health suffers, I am bequeathed with a low, sassy, baritone voice. I love it. The singing I usually reserve for the shower, the car, and one special friend, to whom I sing to whenever I leave a voice mail on her cell, suddenly becomes public. I belt it out. I let it fly. I’m loud and proud, sister!

I’ve always fantasized that, if I were to take advantage of this voice and become a part-time rock star, my producer/tour manager would always make the most of my “sick time.” As soon as he got word of my ill health, he would be on the phone, either setting up recording time for a new album, or booking some venues for a short tour. 

“No! We can’t wait!” Bernie would yell. “We’ve got to get this man into the studio immediately! We’ve only got a limited time before these gold pipes fade, baby!” (Also my producer/tour manager is Bernie.)

Ticket prices for the tour would be astronomical, of course, because it is such a limited engagement. Honestly, even if my loose, party lifestyle prolonged my “sick voice” (and by “party lifestyle” I mean “eating ice cream after midnight”), the most I would get is a week and half. Really. It’s not much.

Perhaps to avoid having to schedule a recording studio, I could just have my friend take my voice mail singings and record them on to a CD. Now THERE’S an idea. Voice Mail Tunes, Volume 1: The Ken Craig Collection.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A lil' bit of heaven

This is a pavlova. Pavlova? Yes, pavlova. I'd always been intrigued by this dessert made with egg whites baked into a crunchy-on-the-outside-gooey-on-the-inside mound topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit but I had never had one. So when I made creme brulee for my book club the other day and had a bunch of egg whites left over I thought "Hey! I like obesity! Why just make one incredibly rich dessert when I can make two!" I almost hit a stumbling block when I realized that I didn't have raspberries or peaches or any of the other traditional pavlova toppings. But then I thought "What could I substitute for fresh fruit? Of course! Toffee crumbles!!" and this magical pavlova was born. I guess you could use fruit if you want, but the toffee was so delicious, why would you want to?

Chocolate Pavlova with Toffee Bits


  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 cups of superfine sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar just pulse your regular sugar in the food processor. Or just use the regular sugar. It won't matter too much.)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • powdered sugar, to taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 or 3 chopped up chocolate and toffee candy bars
Preheat the oven to 350°. Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and draw a 9 inch circle (just trace around a 9 inch cake pan). Flip the parchment over so you can still see the line but you don't have to worry about getting pencil lead on the pavlova.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and keep beating. The mixture will get stiff and glossy. Sift in the cocoa and sprinkle in the vinegar. Fold to combine. 

Plop the meringue onto the parchment paper and spread until you fill the 9 inch circle. Smooth the top and sides. Place in oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300°. Bake for about 1 hour. The pavlova should look dry and crackly on the top but still seem slightly gooey on the inside. Turn the over off, prop the door open slightly and leave to cool. This is best done when your toddlers are already in bed and won't try to climb in the oven. You can do this a few hours or even a day before. Just put the completely cooled pavlova in an airtight container. 

Whip the cream until stiff. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to taste - remember, the pavlova is really sweet and you are topping it with toffee chips, so don't over sweeten the cream. 

When you are ready to serve, put the pavlova on a big flat plate, mound generously with the whipped cream and sprinkle the toffee bits over the top. Slice into wedges and serve. Eat, enjoy, luxuriate. (PS. The left overs are also great eaten with one hand like a big cookie after the book club has gone home. I may speak from experience.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!!

Would you have been more excited if you had won a chicken dinner? Well you didn't. You won our book! The lucky winners, as selected by random.org are:

Janine 

&


NicholeStull

Congrats!!! Click on the "contact us" link on the side of the homepage and email me your addresses. I'll get your books out as soon as I have my copies from the publisher (I'll get as many of the PTAs to sign it as I can, so let me know if you have a request for your dedication.)

Angry that you didn't win? First off, don't hate me. Hate random.org. And, we are giving away 10 copies of the book through Goodreads! Enter to win through them. And, be my Goodreads Friend while you are at it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

my picks


A friend graciously included me in a March Madness bracket tourney pick'em competition, forgetting that, although I love football, I have no interest in basketball. Particularly college basketball, because I used to teach at BYU and coaches were always giving me heat to pass these basketball players who never came to class. Or turned anything in. Or knew my name. I dislike playing basketball because it seems like you always have to rub up on people's business and my bald head gets lodged in other dudes' armpits and I just don't like all that running. Even the sound of sneakers squeaking on a gym floor gives me the hives. But I like competition, and I like predicting things, and I'm not going to sit out March Madness! So, here are my pics. PAY ATTENTION:

SOUTH

First off, Kentucky will beat West Kentucky, because West Kentucky is probably really backwoods, right? Connecticut will beat Iowa State, because Connecticut is fancier. Wichita will beat VCU because I don't know what VCU stands for. Indiana will beat New Mexico because New Mexico is too hot to practice outside so the team mostly hangs around the DQ sucking down Dilly Bars. UNLV will beat Colorado because people from Colorado think they are so much better than people from Utah, even though they are basically the same state. Baylor will beat South Dakota because all South Dakota has going for it is Mount Rushmore. Xavier will beat Notre Dame to punish the wicked antics of Frollo and avenge hunchbacks everywhere. Duke will beat Lehigh, because Lehigh is actually spelled Lehi, you bozo philistines. In the second round, Connecticut will beat Kentucky because Connecticut is way fancier. Wichita will beat Indiana because I said so. UNLV will beat Baylor because I was in Las Vegas last weekend and I love the Palms hotel. Duke will beat Xavier because my father-in-law went to Duke. In the third round, Connecticut will beat Wichita because Connecticut is one thousand times fancier. Duke will beat UNLV because, again, my father-in-law will have it so. That puts Duke in the regional finals, where they will beat Connecticut, finally putting an end to every snobby Aryan from Darien on that team.

EAST

Syracuse will triumph over N.C. Asheville, because N.C. Asheville is the all-time worst name for a school. Sadly, Kansas State will lose to Southern Miss, because no handsome fella stands a chance against the wiles of a Southern Miss. Vanderbilt will beat Harvard, clearly, because it's not hard to beat a bunch of nerds. Montana will beat Wisconsin because I was born in Montana. Texas will beat Cincinnati because the Cincinnati team is literally made up of actors from the television show "WKRP in Cincinnati" and homeboys are lookin' old out there! Florida State will beat St. Bonaventure because the Florida State team is literally made up of alligators. Gonzaga will beat West Virginia, because the night before the game the WV team will get all liquored up on moonshine and then buckdance 'till three. Ohio will lose to Loyola MD because MD means that the doctor is in da house! In the second round, Syracuse will fall to the inevitable charms of that coy Southern Miss. Laws, laws! Montana will beat Vanderbilt because, you'll recall, I was born there. Texas will beat Florida State at a hearty row in the basement of the Alamo. Gonzaga will beat Loyola because Gonzaga is both the name of a school as well as a nickname for ladies' bosoms. In the regional semis, Montana will finally defeat those sweet talkin' thangs from Southern Miss, because it is, after all, the state that hatched me. Gonzaga will beat Texas because it's also a kind of pasta. That puts Montana in the regional finals against Gonzaga, and it's gotta go to my home state, despite Gonzaga being something you could say after someone sneezes.

MIDWEST

North Carolina will beat Lamar/Vermont, because is there a school called Lamar/Vermont? Or is that just a new name for Lavar Burton? Creighton beats Alabama because Creighton has such a well-reputed dental program. Temple loses to Cal/USF because the temple team is all friendly old guys from your ward who tell you which locker is yours. Michigan will beat Ohio in a respectful nod to Mitt Romney. San Diego State will beat N.C. State because of Legoland. Belmont beats Georgetown because there's a town called Belmont in The Merchant of Venice and I will always go with my boy Billy Shakes. Purdue will beat St. Mary's because of my friend Steve Purdy, who has a similar name (you've earned this one, P-Dirty!) Kansas beats Detroit to avenge all those poor NFL players who got stomped on by Ndamukong Suh this past season. In the second round, North Carolina beats Creighton despite of their award winning dental program. Cal/USF beats Michigan because I left my heart in San Francisco. San Diego beats Belmont because of Sea World. Kansas beats Purdue with the sheer force of one plucky resident: Dorothy Gale. In the third round, Cal/USF beats North Carolina because acronyms are in this year. San Diego State beats Kansas because have you SEEN THEIR ZOO? It's enormous! And that puts San Diego in the regional semis against Cal/USF, and San Diego will win because of Balboa Park and this diner I went to where they put peanut butter on hamburgers (thanks, Matt and Amy!)

WEST

In the western conference, Michigan State beats LIU Brooklyn, even with the sexy fighting powers of Lucy Liu. Saint Louis beats Memphis because my mom and dad live there and I miss them. Long Beach beats New Mexico because wasn't New Mexico in the Southern bracket already? It's too hot down there! Go get a Brazier Burger and pick a region already! Louisville beats Davidson because I have honestly never heard of Davidson (and I work in academia!) Colorado State beats Murray State because Murray State is handicapped by their point guard, Fred McMurray. BYU beats Marquette because I am religiously obligated to say so. Virginia beats Florida at the Battle of Antietam, thousands are wounded. Missouri beats Norfolk State, because my parents live in Missouri and I miss them. In the second round, St. Louis beats Michigan State because they held the best world's fair there (clang, clang, clang, went the trolley!) Long Beach beats Louisville, because everyone likes the beach. BYU beats Colorado State to prove that we literally share the same mountain range, so quit acting all awesome Colorado! Missouri beats Virginia because I prefer wheat to tobacco. In the third round, Saint Louis beats Long Beach because my mom will pray it so, and BYU will beat Missouri because the entire state of Utah (Park City excluded) will pray it so. That puts BYU against St. Louis in the regional finals, and I obviously have to pick BYU because I'm still technically a student there and I will do anything to get rid of my library fees. This cougar cuts corners!

In the National Semi-finals, Duke will beat BYU because by that time I will have hopefully graduated. San Diego will beat Montana, even though I was born in Montana, because have you seen the San Diego temple??? Or that live interactive Jurassic Park zoo they have just outside of town? It's like a safari thing where you touch animals and get chased by predators. It's amazing.

And that puts San Diego against Duke in the finals, and I'll let you call that one. Just remember, my father-in-law went to Duke. But San Diego also has Coronado Island.


5 Rules for Shopping with Your Husband.


I have worked in retail for more than 10 years now, and over these years I have come to be very judgmental of people who shop...everyone. But I am the most über critical of one shopping situation: The Husband and Wife Duo. So, as our readership is growing, and most of our readers are lovely and married women, and I feel it is my responsibility to use this blog to correct the most offensive of social faux pas, I have put together this list of...




5 Rules to Shopping with Your Husband.
{Listed in order of importance}





#1: Do Not Shop Like He is One of Your Girlfriends.



Here's the scenario: Man and wife are shopping. Man is trudging behind while wife is streaming a trail of sentences about Kim Vanderbelt telling Deborah Ashworth that her cankles were spilling over the edges of her espadrilles while she was putting a ramekin out to cool on a trivet. He is either glossy-eyed in agreement or feverishly trying to use the smaller words in the sentence to give him a clue as to the meaning of the larger ones. She goes on laughing, like he's just contributed, even though he had only just coughed, and he continues to follow in her wake. Here's the thing, I get it. You hardly ever get to go out and shop and finding a night these days when the ladies can all ditch their husbands and head out is tough. But this, my friend, it not the same thing. Even in a woman's clothing store your husband wants to be treated like your husband--maybe especially in a woman's clothing store. And even though he is now the reason that your girl's-nights-out are few and far between, well, that was the choice you made when you got married. And while it sounds like I am asking you not to include him, it is actually quite the opposite. He should feel included. After all, this is his night out too. And believe it or not, he has opinions.


# 2: Give It a Try.

True story: Man and wife shopping. She's looking for a dress. My store has lots of great dresses. I am taking the dresses she's chosen out of her hands so I can start a fitting room (we are a real classy store) and the Husband shows up with



This:


{Not exactly this dress, but it was electric blue, full length, and had much bigger, puffier sleeves than this one has}



The wife and I were a bit shocked. But then she remembered, she was not out with her ladies tonight, but her husband.

I can't tell you how many times I have seen an unwitting husband take that huge leap into the unknown and suggest something for his wife to wear only to have her shriek with disgust mingled with laughter, "Are you kidding?!" "What IS that?!" "My hips would look ridiculous in those pants!" "What is that a pumpkin?!" "Those stripes would make me look HUGE!" "I just puked in my mouth and some of the puke went up my nose at the thought... of me... in those... shoes." "Eww, you know that yellow washes me out, go sit on that chair over there." Well, believe me he LOVES that chair. He WANTS to be in that chair over there. He is only out there picking out things because he wants to contribute or, at the very least, he knows you want him to contribute. Your girlfriends love to hate things, they see it as all part of shopping, hating things. Your husband doesn't know this rule. He thinks you hate him.

Back to the blue dress: We all three stood there for a moment, taking in the dress. If I was at work I would tell you that it was a very fashion-forward dress that needed some super high and violent heels and a towering swath of a messy bun to pull it off, but this was not that customer. This was a husband. To my surprise, the wife asked the golden question: "Okay, what is it that you like about it?"

Then he said, "I don't know, it's blue." And he was right about that.

"It is blue." She said.

Then he said, "I just like when you wear blue stuff. It makes your eyes look all bluer."

There. Right there in front of me and without any fan fare or buildup, he told his wife he loved her blue eyes. Did she try on the dress? You bet! Did she buy it? Good Heavens, no. But she came out of the fitting room and showed him what his creation looked like on, with out one complaint of all the things that were wrong (for her) with that dress.

Post Script: I also saw a mother shopping with her 10 year old boy and they had a deal she could try on whatever she wanted and she would also try on whatever he wanted her to. They had a blast!

#3: You Brought It, YOU Hold It.

I can never figure this out: at what moment do women decide to just hand their purses off to their husbands? I don't get it! What if he wasn't there? Would you just hurl your belongings off into street? "That was it! I just couldn't carry it any longer." A purse was designed for you to hold it. You paid money for something you can take anywhere you need to go. That's the very point! He, on the other hand, has managed to get out of that house with everything he needs in his back left pocket. And, sure, he's glad you have some gum when he asks, and sometimes a pen. But if you don't want to hold it, don't bring it. And yet, there they sit. Everyday. The saddest picture of American capitalism. Some guy sitting with his owner's purse in his lap. And just so you know, he is being judged. And no, we are not thinking, "What a great husband, to sit there and hold his wife's purse for her. She's sure lucky to have him!" Oh, no. We are thinking "What the heck would that woman do if he wasn't here, throw her stuff out into the street?! You poor, poor man. You fell for it again." What? Oh, please, you judge him too.



Take this guy:






At least your husband isn't holding your purse on the internet for any creep to pluck out of a line-up of "men holding purses" and post on his blog...unless this is your husband.

I secretly think that woman do it to stake a claim on their men. "You see that ring on his finger? No? Well how 'bout my hot pink Coach knock off...yeah?! That's right, that one, yeah, I got it at a purse party! Yup, and he paid for it so KEEP WALKING, HONEY!" So, unless your purse is made out of an iPad, you go ahead and hang on to it.

#4: This Does Not Count as "Time Spent Together."

Going to dinner is "time spent together." The Movie? Bowling? Driving? Sure, all of these can qualify as "time spent together." Watching you pick out a skirt for your cousins wedding? Well, that's just for you. Picking out shoes at Foot Locker? That's just for him. So, when it's your turn, be gracious. Be a good host. Make sure you are aware that you and your husband are not on the same trip. You could get lost in my store, spend an hour just looking at the new stuff coming out or the old stuff that's now on sale or the new cuts of denim or the whole color story we are pushing for spring. To him, it's all clothes. And girl clothes at that. It's fine. If you two have decided to get this shopping done together, that's just fine, but don't let that fool you into thinking he's having as much fun as you are. He's there cause he loves you, and you're taking advantage of it.

#5: There's Only One Reason He's In This Store.

And that's you. And, probably, it's cause he loves you and loves to see you happy. So he's willing to walk in to a place where he knows he knows nothing, but you're there, and so, if you ask, he will hold your purse... just don't ask him to.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Great White Hype


Some of us adults at church are currently preparing to take a group of Boy Scouts scuba diving off the coast of California. Catalina Island. The young men are getting certified over the next couple of weeks, and I’m attending the classes with them in the hopes of brushing up on my skills. See, I was certified in scuba diving back in 1999, but haven’t been diving since then.

“Why haven’t you been scuba diving for the past 12+ years?” you are undoubtedly asking. “Is it cost prohibitive?” Yes. But that’s not why. “Do you not live near some beautiful diving areas?” I sure don’t. But that’s not why, either. “Do you hate cramming your body into a wet suit, only to realize seconds later that you have to tinkle?” Oh, I hate that with a passion. But that’s not why either. I’ll tell you exactly why.

Sharks.


I am vehemently opposed to sharks. Hate them. I loooooathe sharks. I don’t have one good thing to say about them. If I were stood before a shark, handed a baseball bat, and told by a judge that if I beat that shark’s face in then I would be sentenced to death, I would say, “For my final meal, your honor, I want to eat this very shark.” And then I would begin whacking that sucker until it was dead ten times over.

If the above paragraph offends you, you may not want to read any further. You should probably also remove my contact information from your e-database, my family’s name from your Christmas card list, and my birthday reminder (March 17th) from your Facebook Birthday Calendar Reminder thingee. You’ll have no need for these things anymore since you are dead to me, you communist, Nazi, shark-sympathizer.

I suppose my hatred for these evil predators all started when, as a child, I realized my precious, innocent life would one day end in a violent shark attack. Some people want to blame this on several viewings of Jaws before I was nine years old; but I implore you, look at the facts. I was neither afraid of dying by the hands of Lex Luther nor toxic beer, though I watched both Superman and Strange Brew on multiple occasions.

My morbid fascination with these horrid beasts has pushed me to the limits of watching Discovery Channel’s Shark Week from under the covers and between my fingers. I am especially appalled by these video segments that try to paint sharks as the victims of the world. PUH-lease. “A shark’s worst enemy is actually mankind.” Bullsugar! A shark’s worse enemy is…a larger shark! I’m not even a marine biologist, and that answer is obvious to me.


Have you seen the segments where they have these local tour guides in South Africa actually lean out of the boat and pet the stomachs of Great Whites that come up to the boat? Pet their stomachs! What kind of propaganda is THAT?! I mean, to actually encourage people to pet a Great White! “The most misunderstood animal,” indeed. People, wake up! That shark is no dummy. It is mugging for the camera, knowing the thousands of Midwesterners watching will think, “Jeepers, I had them all wrong. Honey, pack a lunch. We’re heading to the coast to pet a Great White.” Stay away from sharks, folks; and for that matter, stay away from South Africans that pet them. I think they may be getting kickbacks or something.

If you want to know how sharks really behave, rent the documentaries Deep Blue Sea (starring Samuel L. Jackson and LL Cool J – also not fans of South Africa), and Jaws IV: This Time It’s Personal. These are true stories, documenting that sharks have personal vendettas against humans. And they will hunt us down, if we do not act first. That’s why I’m finally going back in the water! That’s why I won’t back down! A Scout is always prepared! We will not surrender to the sharks! We will not let the terrorists win! (And by “terrorists,” I mean “sharks.”)


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Giveaway!!!

It our inaugural giveaway!!! We will be giving away to two lucky recipients copies of our soon to be released book Tell Me Who I Am. I know you usually like to enter giveaways on Design Mom and The Pioneer Woman for cameras and $500 gift cards. We are working our way up to those, we promise. But let's be honest: you'll never win any of those giveaways. They have THOUSANDS of people enter. So your chance is...well one in thousands.

But we are just spreading our fledgling wings to fly through the sun-dappled skies of this Internet (too much imagery? OK, I'll tone it down.) and we will have 2 winners so you have a really good chance of winning!

If you haven't heard, Tell Me Who I Am is a collection of essays by LDS authors and bloggers. It is moving, funny, emotional, funny inspiring and also funny. It all about family, Mormonism, parenthood, friendship and more. You'll love it.

Here is how the giveaway works:

  1. Enter below by leaving a comment. Any comment. 
  2. You have until Monday 3/12 at 12am MST (or whenever I go to bed) to enter.
  3. Two lucky entries will receive copies of our hot-off-the-press book. I will even sign it for you (and see if I can get any of the other guys to sign too.) if you want. This baby is gonna be worth money some day!
  4. BONUS ENTRY: Share your favorite post on Facebook and leave us another comment telling us which entry you Facebook Shared (don't worry - it isn't a popularity contest. We are not at ALL trying to see who has the most shared post.) There is even a little "share" button at the bottom of each post. It's that easy.
  5. Winners will be randomly selected and announced Tuesday.
So enter now! What are you waiting for?! Don't you want a free book!!

My Real Friends

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all your favorite TV stars lived in a big house together and sang loving songs to each other. Well, WONDER NO MORE:
This video raises more than a few questions. Like, what the heavens is this? Was it a stage show? A TV special? Why don't networks do this anymore (Can you imagine Jeff Probst singing a song with the cast of The Good Wife?) What is Marla wearing? Does it kind of seem like Bea and Nell are singing about their lesbian relationship?

But most importantly, it raises the question: what does it mean when my favorite sitcom stars of yesteryear tell me that they will "be there for me?"Can I really call on Nell Carter or Charlotte Rae in a time of need?

My wife teases me a lot because I tend to have imaginary relationships with people I don't really know in real life, some of whom are fictional. Like I feel like Peter and Christina from Parenthood would really get me and we could hang out together and commiserate about the woes of job-loss and raising kids with special needs. And I imagine that Tami Taylor would give me the pep-talk I need when I am getting down on myself (I don't want a pep talk from Coach - he scares me a little bit.) And I laugh and talk about funny things that my friends on The Chew said today. (I think Carla and I would get along best.)

And it isn't just imagined relationships with TV characters. I listen to a lot of podcast on my morning commute and frequently mention things I heard as though they were things I discussed with friends over lunch. I'll say to my wife "You know, my friend Lian was talking about this parenting idea where you..." and my wife will remind me that Lian isn't really my friend. She's Lian Dolan of The Chaos Chronicles podcast. A woman who I have never met and who couldn't spot me out of a line up. Or I will mention that I am going to try something in my workout that Jillian told me to do. Well, Jillian didn't really tell me to do it. She is Jillian Michaels (of the Biggest Loser) who has her own podcast. And I feel like Steve, Julia, Dana, John, David and Emily of the Slate Podcasts are my smarter, more informed, east coast pals.

What does it say about me that many of my friends are fictional or people I have never met? Maybe I don't want to go down that psychological rabbit hole. Maybe I just want to live in a safe, pastel colored world where Bea Arthur wears over sized sweaters and Charlotte Rae bakes me cookies. Seems like a pretty great place.

And at least when times get tough, I know just who I will call: Punky Brewster.

Laser Ponies

Before I post my regular post (and you're not going to want to miss it!! Two words: Bea Arthur) I wanted to do a bit of log rolling for a fellow contributor.

Topher, in addition to be a hilarious writer and Tumblr-er, is also a talented actor and director. Sometimes his plays are avant garde explorations of the relationships between cinema and theatre. Other times they are brave new imaginings of Shakespearean classics. And sometimes they are this:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Xanadu at Hale Center Theatre Orem. This play has it all: Lasers, short shorts, yoga swings, roller disco, Australian-accents, Centaurs, stilt-walkers, glitter and Two-man Pony Expressing (That's that thing where two guys dress up as a winged pony and carry a girl in roller skates on their back.) It is not a serious drama or an examination of the human spirit. It is a campy, hilarious re-visit to 1980 with the killer tunes to prove it.

Your grandma might not get this play (as evidenced by the 3 really grouchy looking old ladies sitting just across from us.) But you will love it. I was laughing and clapping and cheering and wondering just how much convincing it took to get those guys to wear shorts that short.

It runs through April 7th, so there is still plenty of time. So get your friends, kids, book club, whoever and make an evening of it. By the end you'll want to strap on your roller skates and join in the fun. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Like Girls with Short Hair.

Who knew this was going to end up some sort of fashion blog? (Josh and I did, that's who.)

But it's true. I like girls with short hair. I mean, come on don't we all think this:




is so much better than this:



Or that this:




Is nowhere near as beautiful as this:




Or better yet, this:




And Pluh-ezze, everyone was way more into this:




Then we ever EVER were into this:



And no one ever tapped this:





I pretty much thought everyone felt the same way I did. I mean, girls with short hair seem more stylish and sophisticated, smarter and thoughtful, and above all, they can't just roll out of bed and slap a scrunchy 'round a ponytail. Come on, you know it's true, you've been to Wal-Mart on Saturday morning. Even if the girl with short hair walks in with super ratty bed head it looks more put together than the pony tail. Sorry, don't get me started with pony tails. I mean, even the name, Pony - Tail! Why not Horse Butt. "What's that, darling? We have dinner plans I forgot about with your work friends? No problem I'll just whip my hair back into a Horse Butt and be right down!" Oh, man.

Well, to make sure everyone was as well thought out and correct as I am on this subject, I did a little research, and by research, I mean I called my brothers.

Here's the deal with my brothers: I have four of them... so there's five of us. The four of them are true-blue, football-playing when they were young, coaching cause they're old guys guys. Not that I am not, necessarily, but let's just say that none of them have a blog...and if they did they would not be blogging about hair lengths... and if they did it would be about the hair lengths of a Jimmer or somthing. So I called them one at a time (two of them were together so it made things 'nice and easy' for me) to ask them a few hair related questions. And despite being on three different phone calls they all came out looking awfully similar. This is how it shook out.


An Interview on Hair Length with The Livingston Brothers, March 2012


Me: Do you prefer woman to have long hair or short?

All Four, all without much hesitation: Long.

Me: Can you think of a celebrity whom you find attractive with short hair?

Mike, Chris, Casey (Spence could not think of any): Halle Berry.

If ever there was a case for the short hair bombshell it's Sister Berry.


When asked if they thought she would be better looking with long hair, after some hemming and hawing and some quiet moments of imagining none of them thought she would.


And they were right.

Mike, my oldest brother, whose wife's hair skims her shoulders, was definitely the most in touch with the current debate. He knew that "the girl playing Marilyn Monroe" had short hair (see above) which made him the most current of the brothers but then he followed her up with Janine Turner from Northern Exposure, which also made him the most dated:


Although she is a great example...from the early 90's


Way better short, right?

I mean something about the long hair on the celebrity who has become famous with her short hair makes her look...what? Common. Boring. (See all pictured above.)

The Interviews continues:

Chris, whose wife has the longest hair of all my sister in laws, well down her back, did point out that no Victoria Secret models have short hair. And after a quick Google search I found that he was completely correct. The best I could find was some Heidi Klum shots with shoulder length hair looking like some soccer mom who just locked her keys in the mini van.



(Que trumpet: Buwamp wamp wamp wahh. Que Spring: Boing!)

Casey, whose wife has a short shaggy bob, was the most open to the idea of short hair being attractive, but he also pointed out that long hair wasn't a free gateway to beauty. "There are some ugly girls with long hair. And there are pretty girls with short hair. It's not the only thing that matters." This was a unanimous thought amongst the brothers. They were all really concerned that any ugly girls reading this blog would stop cutting their hair and then start hitting on them using the "but you said you liked long hair" approach and leaving my brothers with no choice but to reciprocate. They wanted to give themselves an out.

Spence, whose wife's hair lays just past the chin, thoughtfully brought up that there is a severe double standard in his marriage when it comes to his hair vs her hair. "I have to keep my hair the way she likes it and she can do whatever she wants with her hair." When pressed on what it was he wanted to do to his hair that she wouldn't approve of he said, "I would just shave it all off. Man, that would be so convenient for me, but she would hate it." She would. And so would I.

And so it comes to you, whom I assume are mostly ladies out there, don't you think that this:

Is so much lovelier than this:



Even if you're super old, This:



Is far more attractive then this:




Even if you're French, This:



Is way more stylish than this:



But somehow not when you're French Canadian.
This:


Is not better than this:


Any guy can tell you that.

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