Wednesday, October 30, 2013

your halloween horoscope

Well, tomorrow is the big day! Can you believe it? All of your dreams are about to come true. All of them! Or are they? Only your horoscope knows. Or, in this case, your horospook!

ARIES: People seem to think that Halloween is a cute holiday for scarecrows and toll painted owls. It's not. It's about Satan. And death. Specifically, your death. Just think about that tomorrow. Think about it all day. Your clock is ticking.

TAURUS: OK, so you went out on a limb this year and you decided to wear a costume to work. And you settled on the Oppa Gangnam Style guy from Korea. I applaud your bravery, but did you know that Oppa Gangnam was a thing last year? It's not a thing this year. But good on you for doing a costume! That's a huge step! Awesome. Most people will like your costume. Except all the people that wore it last year.

GEMINI: Three words for you: Bobbing for Apples. I think we both get it.

CANCER: I can't wait to see what you dress up like this year, but odds are you'll be wearing that Gandolf the Grey wig I loaned you back in '09. Oops! I think you forgot to return it and you seem to have incorporated it into every costume since then. Even last year, when you were "Oppa Gandolf Style." Well, have fun this year. Let me guess: Minas Cyrus?

LEO: Keep it up with that Roman Soldier costume. You are killing it. Maybe show more leg.

VIRGO: Halloween is a time of memories. And boy do you have some! Remember that awesome time when you and your sister were staying at a big house in the woods and crazy old Mrs. Aylwood thought you were her daughter Karen? And then a bell fell on you during a solar eclipse? Man, I wish we had pictures of that.

LIBRA: You really can't risk eating all of that candy this year. Combine that with donuts and it's just going to be a gas storm with you. You know how you are! Why not try keeping a bag of Ritz Crackers on you - just in case a popcorn ball gets shoved in front in your face? Pop a cracker instead. You'll thank me later when you aren't popping Beanos and sobbing in horror.

SCORPIO: So, I know this is weird, you sleep in a coffin? I heard that. It's probably not true. It's probably something some jerk made up. It's just...I remember that time when I woke up and you were sucking on my neck. And when I gasped aloud I saw you run back and climb into a coffin. I have the craziest dreams, though. So it was all a big dream, right?

SAGITTARIUS: Oh please. You're going as a "sexy witch" again? Remember last year when you were a "sexy nurse" and the year before when you were "Vincent van Ho?" Enough with the sexy costumes! We get it. You are hot. Take your trashy costume down to the UVU Halloween dance where people will appreciate it. Just don't blame me if you wind up with a sketchy new boyfriend who lives at Wolverine Crossing.

CAPRICORN: This isn't meant to be a criticism, but nobody believes your story about the ghost in your computer. You should know that. That wasn't a ghost in your computer sending you a message, it was your mom and that's called facebook chat. Seriously, there's something wrong if your mom understands facebook chat and you don't. You should take a computer class. From your mom!

AQUARIUS: I'm sorry that when you close your eyes you keeping hearing Madame Leota from The Haunted Mansion ride saying "Serpents, and spiders, tail of a in the spirits, wherever they're at!" You and I know that it's incorrect English to end a sentence with a preposition, but Madame Leota doesn't, and my kids don't. So don't go ruining our Haunted Mansion experience with your grammar, Lady Schoolmarm. Get over it. It's a rhyme! She's been saying that since 1969 and her tambourine is still shakin.'

PISCES: Are you still singing "The Monster Mash?" Dude, have you heard "Halloween Spooks" by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross? You're welcome.

Being Brave. Being Dad.

The worst part about being a dad is that you realize that when someone breaks into your house to murder your are the solution.  I mean, I still feel like I'm 17 years old...when does that end, btw?  When do I start to feel like the guy who can club another man in the face with a 9 iron? Incidentally, a golf club should be every mans weapon of choice as it is more fatal to have a focused point of impact then a blunt smash of, say a baseball bat.

Anyway,  we watched Paranormal Activity on TBS last night for a bit and I realized that if some demon is going to attach itself to my wife and then walk through powder and watch us sleep and then kill me, well, what am I gonna do?  But then, cause it was TBS, immediately following Paranormal Activity was Paranormal Activity 2! This time it's a family with a baby and a Nanny Cam. I didn't even watch it but I could tell that there was going to be trouble and everyone was going to be looking at the Dad to save them and you know what?  That guy was probably ten years younger then me, which means he felt the way I did ten years ago which means he felt like he was 8. And no 8 year old dads should be fighting off no demons!

Though, I have gotten better at pretending I can take care of a family.  I lock all the doors at night and check in on my kids...what I would do if they were floating above their beds I have no idea but I check to make sure they still obey the laws of gravity. Also, and this is new, if there is a creepy sound in the middle of the night, then I am the one who goes and investigates.  I creep down the hallway with a golf club ( I only own the one) and turn on lights and stomp. Which I think makes me brave, but again, what would happen if I came face to face with...well, absolutely anything, I assure you, it would not be pretty.

I do fight sometime.  Like, fisticuffs! Well, it really was only the once, but I did learn something about myself and that was if my wife is punched in the face by a drunk, then something inside of me toots very loudly, like a steam whistle and I will throw my body into any amount of certain harm. And maybe that's all I need. To be willing to get beat up or killed or levitated in order to save my family, and be willing to do so in a super crazy man/ferret sort of way.  Cause really that's all I got...well that and a golf club.

In the end, I suppose I do feel like a Dad.  The only thing is, I didn't know this was how Dads really feel.

Remember when you were a kid and just thought your dad had invented everything, so why would you worry about anything, Dad could handle it.  And now you're old and you've crossed the line where you find out, my Dad was a kid once, too. A kid who rolled his car racing it around Liberty Park, cause he was dumb and reckless and you did the same thing when you were 16, except you didn't roll it, you just hit a full garbage can and shattered a head light because you were hiding from older kids who had yelled at you at a four way stop...though, I suppose, it was still his car.  Yeah?  Well, I am starting to see that look in my own kids eyes, where they think I am the Dad so they are fine, but instead it just means I see everything that could possibly happen and it too scary and too terrifying to deal with so I just play dinosaurs (which, incidentally, were ALL KILLED by a meteor that just hit Earth one day, and now a great big huge and tough species is whipped off the face of the planet...see what I mean?! I can see everything that could happen.  But because I had a Dad who knew everything that could happen and he still let me Trick-or-Treat and sleep outside and try Cherry Bombs on the monkey bars, then I turned out be a Dad who knows every terrible thing that could happen...but also, knows every amazing thing that could happen!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scared Stiff

So you've probably noticed that we here at Part Time Authors we have an affinity for the month of October - the weather, the food, and the tradition of telling a haunted tale or two. Well, with Halloween coming up this week, I'm going to tell just one more spooky story. 

(I’ll give you a minute to dim the lights and turn on some creepy music.  And your fog machine.)

If you’ll journey back with me … about four years ago … almost exactly to the day…

The weather is finally pleasant in Las Vegas during the month of October; and as is custom on warm evenings, Katie and I were sleeping above the covers on the night of this spine-tingling event.

It was not an unusual night, by any means. The kids had fought us on going to bed at a reasonable hour, we’d eaten ice cream, and The Office was not as funny as it had once been. By all signs, situation normal.

However, sometime just after 2 a.m., I suddenly woke up, almost in a jolt. But though I was awake, I found it impossible to move. As one would expect at that hour, the house was silent and still. But it was more silent and still than ever. The overwhelming feeling I had was that I was under water. My hearing was deafened, muffled.  I couldn’t breathe. And I could not so much as lift a finger. It was if my body was pinned down, even being pushed into the bed. Being suffocated by nothing more than the pressure of the atmosphere around me.

I made a conscious effort to sit up, as if raising my torso would immediately provide oxygen. With tremendous effort I tried to lift my head.  But still nothing budged.

I could feel Katie lying next to me; her body only inches from me, sleeping peacefully as if absolutely nothing life-threatening was going on next to her.

I became panicked and again exerted all the energy of my being to raise myself to a sitting position. Though incredibly sluggish, I could finally feel some hint of movement. I felt like I was far below the surface in a large body of water, trying in slow-motion to reach the surface for that first breath.  But it felt like I would never make it.

After what seemed like several death-defying minutes, I pulled through the thick air and sat all the way up, taking in a large gulp of air, and then another. My pulse was racing and I was even perspiring. I had no explanation for what’d just happened, but I didn’t feel any sense of impending doom or fear. The room felt clear and where it was once dark, I could see the outline of the room through the light that came in the window.  I rolled over and cuddled up to Katie, putting my chin on her shoulder and my arm around her body. She mumbled something incoherent, but I recognized it as a, “Are you ok?” kind of a mumble. My heart slowed down, and I fell back asleep.

The next morning I told Katie what had happened. Neither of us knew what to make of it. We never discussed it again. Fact is, I’d never discussed it with anyone until recently, when I was visiting with my brother, Dehn.

We were at dinner and Dehn happened to tell me about a companion he’d had on his LDS mission in Japan. He explained a time when his companion had awakened, frozen to his bed. It was essentially the same thing I had experienced four years ago. His companion, who was Japanese, told Dehn that it was something that occurred quite regularly throughout his life. This was also the case with other Japanese missionaries that Dehn talked to.

After I told Dehn the experience I had, he pointed me in a direction where I could read more about it – in fact, a magical place where I could read more about anything! This fairyland place is called Wikipedia. It’s on the Interwebs.

It turns out this kind of event is called sleep paralysis.

According to Ripley’s Believe It or Wikipedia, sleep paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes, and in some rare cases (generally following a post-Thanksgiving dinner food-coma), up to several hours! Doctors, scientists, and drug addicts have also acknowledged that sleep paralysis may be accompanied by terrifying, vivid hallucinations and an acute sense of danger. (Uhm, no doi!)

Evidently some of the causes of sleep paralysis include narcolepsy, increased stress, sudden environmental/lifestyle changes, or excessive consumption of alcohol coupled with lack of adequate sleep. (You can Google "sleep paralysis" and read all about it.)

It was of course comforting to find an explanation of something that had truly felt inexplicable – even if the resolution was less paranormal than I had anticipated, and more of a physiological occurrence. 

The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781) is thought to be one of the classic depictions 
of sleep paralysis perceived as a demonic visitation.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The 5 Scariest GIFs on the Internet

I don't have much to say except a) don't watch these if you get scared easily and b) don't let your kids watch these with you. Happy Halloween!

Scariness below.

I'll start you off simple. This is first one is me and my daughter. We were shooting a little short film for the "It's Only a Movie: Short Horror Film Festival" on Oct. 29th in Spanish Fork and during this scene our dogs kept walking up and down the hall with their clickity-clack claws. It was like 10:30 pm and we had been shooting since 4 pm and I was getting bugged. Then a demon possessed me.

Next we have a little girl playing with a Jack-in-the-Box. What, for the love of all that is unholy, could come springing out of there, I wonder?

Now imagine you're driving down a dark road in a creepy forest. You are extra careful because the tree limbs look like they could reach out and grab you. You come to a stop and think you see something just above you to the left ...

Oh, hey! Your sweet daughter wants to wave at you! She also says she's been talking to a friend.

This one? This one just might be the freakiest one I found because ... Pepsi.

(I found these here.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spooky Books

I hope this week hasn't been too scary for you. That photo of Topher from 150 years ago dressed as a bug haunts my dreams. Apropos of insectile costumes, Topher and I were in a production of Richard III once where all the characters' costumes were based on bugs. Topher was some sort of water beetle, I think, and I was his servant. A butler flea? I don't know. Our scene was him bathing and me washing him (this was at BYU, so don't get any ideas) and him talking about his fear of death. Then I left and some people came in and drowned him. Oh, Shakespeare!!

Anyway, in our continuing effort to get you in the mood for next weeks spooky festivities, I wanted to share some great scary books to keep you up at night. Enjoy! (PS. If you are reading this on a mobile device or through an RSS reader you might have to switch to the desktop site to see this.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the scariest picture of me

A couple of years ago someone, and I feel terrible that I can't remember who, found this picture and sent it to me.  It's a creepy old sepia picture of me, dressed as some kind of fly, standing on a stool. EXCEPT IT'S NOT ME!

Now, none of this will make sense if you don't know me. If you aren't familiar with my face, or my facial expressions (both are crazy awesome, btw.) But this person, this entomological stool stander, has my exact face. With my smirky smile. And my bald head. And my exact body shape! Those tights don't lie.

He's also doing creepy little things with his hands. People who know me claim that I'm always doing creepy things with my hands. Please don't take that the wrong way. I don't.

This photo is dated 1865. Be honest, you guys. Do you think it could be me? I feel something when I look at it. Like it might actually be me. Like I might actually put on a big fly outfit. Look how I'm staring directly into the camera, as if I know that someday, some sunny day in 1972, I'll return!

Sometimes when I swat flies and kill them, I feel bad. More so than other people do. Is this why?

A few days ago I was telling my niece and nephew about this picture. Just mentioned it to them. That night, a huge swath of facebook friends started to comment on this picture after a two year silence. This picture heard me talking about it! It reemerged from my facebook archives and demanded some comments! It's like the devil - the more you talk about him, the more present he is. See if I'm wrong! Talk about this picture with someone and then see how it will randomly pop in and out of your life. You won't know what hit you.

Take a minute and stare at this man in the face. Like, look at it for a long time. See you how feel. It's a horrible, chilling feeling. I'm sorry I made you feel that.

Please don't joke around and act like I'm blowing this all out of proportion. There is no mistaking that this man has my face. And my body. And my propensity to put on costumes and do creepy things with my fingers. And the creepiest part is that stool! What am I doing in this picture!? Why can't I sleep at night!?  Do you guys hear that buzzing? That faint buzzing sound? 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Scariest Books I Never Read

Sometimes on Monday night my wife and I will discuss what I should be blogging about for the next day. Last night, as she cleaned up the mess she made making dinner for the whole family, I encouraged her by reading Ken's Post aloud.  It was a great post and got us in the mood to share a good spooky story. But upon further discussion we learned neither of us have a really great scary story in either of our pockets.  I mean, there was one time when the Devil was flying his helicopter through our front door and luckily Lindsay woke me up to inform me it was happening and shoved me out of bed to hurry and go lock the door...the door that the Devil was flying a helicopter into (hope that dead bolt holds!).  Upon further discussion, turns out it wasn't real, but just a dream.  So it really didn't stand up to Kens ghost picture (which you'll notice he quickly threw away as to teach us the principle of faith that said picture exists...those Craig's are always trying to teach you something).

I wonder why I have not been chosen for a phanstamic tale?  I am as gullible as anyone and I have a wild imagination that gets the best of me almost every day. And yet, I still don't have a creepy, skin crawly story that disperses shutters at its utterance.  


Not the scary way...the sad way.

Luckily there are good scary stories out there and those stories are in books and I've read lots of books and my wife has read, like a Brazilian more than me! (Brazilians are known for their vast knowledge of literature) And she told me about two scary books that I wanted to tell you about, cause you probably didn't know about them, and that's what this blog is all about: Educating idiots.

First book: Jane Eyre

So I guess there's this all proper and appropriate lady, probably Jane, who, like hears something in the attic, but then she's all responsible and doesn't get all wrapped up in whatever is up there. And I guess she loves this guy but he's all married, but that might have been a secret, I don't know, I've never read it and my wife just gave me a small smattering of details, but I've gone a head and filled in the gaps.  So Jane loves this married guy, and it's, like, in olden days so that kind of crap was real edgy.  Jane is all no nonsense and she doesn't see a way to get married so she makes other plans, but then as it turns out the sounds she is hearing in the attic is this guys wife and then (because it's a scary story) she burns down the whole house with her in it!!!  BLAAH HA HA HA!!  Though, this does give Jane the opportunity marry the man whose previous history with women was to shut them up in the attic until they burn themselves up. I'm sure they made it, though.

Second Book:Wuthering Heights

I mean this one has it all, unrequited love, crazy ladies and death...I guess the last story had it all too! So there is the guy, Heathcliff and I guess he's super hot and this lady, Cathy super loves him and I think he loves her but then he marries this other lady and because it's olden times, and he must have been literally the only man on earth, Cathy dies of a broken heart. Anyway, Cliffy is real sad to, but he doesn't die over it and then in the terrifying conclusion, Heathcliff is hanging out upstairs and who pops up at the window but Dead Cat, whose all tapping and crying, 'Heathcliff, it's me your Cathy, I've come home, let me ina your window'  That scene is depicted here: don't keep that link and watch it, it's real hard for me to set up links so when I do I need you to follow them.  Go on! I'll wait.

Alright, so those are your two scary stories from me and my wife...well, mostly me, I mean she didn't even know I was interviewing her for this post...I didn't even know or I would have taken some notes or listened.  But I do want you to know that I promise you that I didn't even pull up a synopsis of either book before I presented them to you as fact. THAT'S the kind of hard hitting journalism you've come to expect from PTA.

I do have a question for you, though: Last night my wife told me that there are two kinds of girls in the world, there are Jane's and there are Cathy's...she later amended that to say there are two kinds of girls who read books in this world. And I wondered if that was true or what that even means, lets talk about it on Facebook because I'll tell you, it was hard to hear her over the roar of the water as she was loudly washing my dishes.

Indecently, she said she was a Cathy. Is that a good thing? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Who Ya Gonna Call?

There are some human beings who are dimly aware of their own deaths, yet have chosen to stay on in what used to be their homes, to be close to surroundings they once held dear. – Hans Holzer

No matter your theological, scientific, or pop culture beliefs regarding ghosts, apparitions, phantoms, or specters – I think we can all agree on one thing: They are spook-a-roo!

It’s the very witching time of October, and with the rest of the country, my thoughts have turned to all things chilling and foreboding. And if you feel there should be more daunting things demanding my attention, then, yes, Mr. Scrooge of Halloween, I guess there should be. But tales of strange sights, haunted spots and twilight superstitions are indeed remarkable around this most peculiar of seasons.

I was 12 years old the first time I saw a ghost.

Or whatever it was.

My brother, Justin, and I had taken a book out from the Thousand Oaks Library that listed “actual” haunted houses throughout the country. Merely seeing that there was a list (an extensive list, I might add) of these locations immediately gave us what scientists have classified as “ an acute case of the heebie jeebies.” When our reading of this book happened to coincide with a family trip to San Diego, Justin and I straight away looked up which haunted houses were located in San Diego.

The Whaley House.

If you are not familiar with the Whaley House, it is a substantial, well-constructed edifice, built in the 1800s. Since its completion it has served not only as the Whaley Family home, but a granary, the County Court House, San Diego’s first commercial theater, a general store, a billiard hall, a school, a polling place, and a Starbucks. (No, not really a Starbucks.)

There were a number of hangings which occurred on the property before the house was ever constructed, and Violet Whaley killed herself in the home in 1885. According to the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted, the house is the number one most haunted house in the United States.

I don’t think I need to tell you that my brother and I begged my dad to take us to the Whaley House. Pleaded with the man. He finally agreed, but had no intention to pay for the entire family to go. He just sent Justin and I on the tour.

The house was dusty, and despite being with a tour group, it was eerily quiet. Nobody was cracking wise about seeing anything, and nobody openly made fun. Nobody levitated either, but there was an ominous feeling to the place. For the most part, it was a short tour and that was it. We followed the tour path easy enough, as it was blatantly marked, and all the rooms were protected behind glass, so you couldn’t get close and touch anything. Each room contained original furniture from the late 1800s as well as some replicas. Very museum like. So we snapped as many photos as we could, so we had proof we had been there and could check it off on our new List of American Haunted Houses We Want to Visit.

We got our pictures developed about a week later and were thumbing through them together as we discussed how brave and awesome we were going on that tour by ourselves. When unexpectedly, we both went silent. We were both fixated.

There…in a photo of one of the bedrooms…was something that hadn’t been there on the tour. It was a phantasm. It was the almost see-through figure of a woman, dressed elegantly from that time period when the house was a bustling, central part of San Diego. She wore a black dress and a black dress-hat with a wide brim. And she was staring right at us. Her expression was one as if we had caught her off guard.

My acute case of the heebie jeebies had now become flat out panic. We threw out the photo, and the next time we went to the library, I checked out SuperfudgeOtherwise Known As Sheila the Great, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. And life was less spooky once again.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The trailers for (and my involvement in) Inspired Guns and The Saratov Approach

This year, I was fortunate enough to be cast in two movies releasing within 4-5 months of each other. The are The Saratov Approach and Inspired Guns. They are two totally different movies and I play two totally different parts but they were/are both experiences I will value for the rest of my life.

If you live in United States and are Mormon, chances are you've already heard about The Saratov Approach, a thrilling true-story drama written and directed by my friend Garrett Batty. We did improv together for years are Comedy Sportz in Provo. If you haven't heard of it, or want to watch the trailer again, may I present the trailer to you here:

It's currently showing in Utah and will open in ID and AZ on Oct. 25.

I'm not in the trailer. My part was shot a few months(?) after principle photography was finished on the movie and I think the trailer had been released before they finished with my footage. (I think.) I auditioned for the producers and director and they gave me the part of Mark Larsen, an "older" former missionary who had also been kidnapped while on his mission in Argentina. We shot the footage in 3 hours at the house of one of the crew/producer's(?) brother's house. (I think.) It was a skeleton crew of the DP, sound guy, director, and producer ... and me. It was a part that required some real honesty and for about the first two hours I had trouble really focusing, being present, thinking too hard, and remembering the long monologue, which they were shooting in long continuous takes. I think the part would have been "fine" had they just used what they got in the first little bit, but I knew I could do better and so did they. Finally, after a few wise words from both the director Garrett and the producer Jake Van Wagoner (another dear friend), they set up and let the camera roll. All of a sudden, I got it. It made sense. I was speaking the words as if I were thinking them myself rather than remembering lines. I could picture the struggle of the missionaries, their parents, and the physical/spiritual struggles I've had in my life were creeping in to shape the tone of the take. For my one scene, I think it's 90% that one last take. What a rewarding experience. I wish I could do this all the time.

And here is the trailer for Inspired Guns, a comedy written and directed by my new friend Adam White. I plan an FBI agent who is new to field duty and it was so much fun to be a part of. I'll tell you more stories about this film as its January release gets closer. For now, all you need to know is that the cast was brilliant, fun to work with, and a delight to spend hours with in an old warehouse playing improv games while we waited for our scenes. I think it looks like it'll be funny. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Why We Are NOT Giving Up TV This Fall

It seems like they come out more frequently in the fall. I suppose it is the start of school year and the feeling that things at home are out of control and you are craving some structure. Perhaps you feel that you can finally get your kids to turn off the video games, put the Pokemon cards away and yes, the evil of all evils, turn off the TV. Your friends FB feeds are littered with likes on articles about "How We Became a TV Free Family" or "Top 10 ways to get your family to turn off the TV." And they kind of make me crazy.

Full disclosure: I am a lover of TV. I watch every day. I discuss TV shows with my friends. I read articles online about TV. And maybe you are not that way. And that is fine. If you just don't find TV interesting or entertaining and would rather do other things, then that is great. But the people who write these articles aren't doing it because they just don't like TV. I don't like sports and you don't see me writing posts saying "10 ways to get your family to stop playing sports." I just don't like them and so their not really on my radar. But if you are going to take the time to write an article about it, it is because you feel like you have done something sanctimonious, or that you're better than all those rubes still watching TV. And you're wrong.

So I present to you, The Top 10 Reasons Why My Family is Not Giving Up TV This Fall

  1. Fall is the best time for TV. It gets dark earlier. Some days are cold and rainy and the kids don't want to go outside. And there is tons of new stuff to check out. Yes, most of it is crap (I'm looking at you Dads) and will be canceled in 3 weeks (Sorry, Lucky 7. You we're decent.) But there is some great fun stuff out there. Have you watched Sleepy Hollow like I told you to? Are you watching Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D with your older kids? (Wow - they need to change that name. It is a pain to type.) You should be. They're great. You think TV is lame now? My friend Daryn said it really well, "Every Fall season is full of failures. When a new season starts, it's easy to to think: Well, this season sucks. TV sucks right now. But every classic TV show was born (or grew) among from the pile of manure made up of every other terrible and/or failed show."
  2. As my friend Lisa always says, "It's not like those people who give up TV are out there curing cancer." And it's true. And maybe cancer curing is too high a bar to set. But we all have things we do to unwind at the end of the day and for me it happens to be watching TV. For you maybe it is playing Candy Crush. Or knitting. Or...ahem...blogging. At the end of the day it is all entertainment, and what is wrong with that?
  3. Your kids love it. I'm not advocating for unlimited access to TV and media for kids. Have some rules. Set some boundaries. Be a parent. But maybe I just want to finish my magazine article or fold laundry or take another go at beating level 153 on Candy Crush and so, yeah, maybe I don't care that my kids want to watch another episode of Dude, What Would Happen
  4. TV is not the anti-reading. But that is the argument one frequently hears. "I am giving up TV, ergo I will read more." But that is silly. The two are totally unrelated. I love TV and I love reading and I do a lot of both. They can co-exist.
  5. "There's just so much garbage on TV,"you say. And that is true. There is. So eliminate the garbage, not the entire medium. Did you catch Broadchurch on BBC America? (Not yet on Netflix, but I am sure it will be soon.) It was one of the most heart wrenching, beautiful, emotional shows I have ever seen. What about Parenthood? I swear it is like they have spies living in my house because it is such a realistic portrayal of, well, parenthood I've ever seen. Parks and Rec makes me laugh out loud every week. There's a lot of good, clean stuff out there.
  6. TV can make you smarter. The West Wing is what first got me interested in politics. Breaking Bad is one of the great morality tales of our generation. It's like a Jacobian tragedy. When people hear I have a son with Asperger's syndrome, many of them know about it because of America's Next Top Model or Parenthood or Grey's Anatomy (just kidding - no one has ever learned about it from Grey's Anatomy because I am literally the only person left on earth watching Grey's Anatomy.) I know more about dance and have been moved by beautiful dance performances because of So You Think You Can Dance.
  7. Why do we vilify TV, but don't do the same with movies or plays? Isn't it all just storytelling? No one would every say "We're really trying to cut back on films as a family" or "I just feel like we are spending way too much time going to the theater! We need to quit, as soon as we see In the Heights at HCTO because I hear it is INCREDIBLE!!" Art is art and yes, TV is art. And certainly there is good and bad art. And isn't part of being parents/artists teaching out kids what is good and what is bad? How will your kids know that Two and A Half Men is ridiculous dribble if they don't get a chance to watch Cheers or Freaks and Geeks
  8. The pop culture of today is the high culture of tomorrow. Shakespeare was low-brow entertainment, made for the masses. Dickens was published as serials in magazines and newspapers. Do you wonder what students from 100 years from now will be studying in their English classes? Breaking Bad? Call the Midwife?
  9. We live in the lovely age of DVRs, Hulu and Netflix. Remember when TV was only on at a certain time and if you missed it, there was no way to ever see it again unless it was randomly re-aired? When Topher and his wife were living in England, I remember recording hours of TV on VHS tapes (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mostly) and carrying them in a suitcase (with a box of Cinnabon) across the ocean to deliver them to Lisa, Topher's wife. There was literally no other way to see those shows. Now you are in control of the schedule. So reward your kids with an episode or two of their favorite show when they finish their homework. Take a break after soccer practice and watch the next episode of Doctor Who in your queue. It can work with your lifestyle. TV: It's not just for sedentary people anymore.
  10. TV is better than it has ever been. New and interesting shows are popping up every day on network TV, cable, Netflix, online, etc. And now it's easier than ever to access an amazing back catalogue of shows that shaped the cultural landscape that we live in. So you don't just have to watch The Rules of Engagement because this is what is on. If you're not sure what to watch, start with some of the shows I've highlighted above (links take you to either Hulu or Netflix.) Or send me an email. I could recommend shows all day.
So don't click on those articles anymore about why you will be a better person for giving up TV. You won't. You'll be a better person if you immerse and surround yourself with interesting, thought provoking, beautiful, difficult, moving, inspiring pieces of art. And those may be books, or newspaper articles, or theatrical productions, or dance performances, or paintings, or lectures or movies. But they also just might be TV shows. And that's OK.

Special thanks to the Superviewers who inspired this post and made it possible. You are the Penny to my Max. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

interview with a bat!

Every year I like to interview special Halloween guests, and this year is no exception. I feel like I got a real catch this year: that's right, a bat! I was able to truly corner a bat and ask him some of the questions I'm sure you would ask. Hopefully you'll get a better insight into Satan's little helpers - and maybe we'll even clear up some misconceptions!

topher: Thank you for meeting with me!

bat: Dude, I am so tired.

topher: Oh, really?

bat: Yeah, I sleep, like, all day.

topher: What? That's crazy! What do you do all night?

bat: I fly into people's open windows and bite them when they are sleeping. I think that is super fun.

topher: Cha, yeah. Sounds fun for you. But isn't that just spreading rabies?

bat: What? Are you joking? According to the University of Florida, less than ½ of 1% of bats carry the rabies virus. Far more people are killed by dog attacks, bee stings, power mowers, or lightning than rabies from bats.

topher: Mmmmm. You have rabies, though, don't you. You are in that 1%.

bat: Yeah.

topher: Let's move on.

bat: Thanks.

topher: So, when you attack people, which bats frequently do, because they are not peaceful or benign at all....

bat: Yes, keep talking...

topher: Do you just fly into their hair and mess it up?

bat: Yeah, we get all tangled up in there and we sink our tiny fangs into people's skulls. And they run around in circles and pat their heads. It's hilarious!

topher: That does sound funny. But don't you echolocate?

bat: You and your big words! You want a quarter for that word? Stick to what you know. Dude, I am so tired.

topher: Just a few more questions.

bat: Oh, jeez.

topher: So, are bats rodents?

bat: Your mom is a rodent.

topher: Why are you so hostile? I'm just trying to help people understand you.

bat: Look. What's so hard to understand? We hang upside down, and when people aren't expecting it we fly into their hair and traumatize them and suck blood from tiny divots in their skull which we make with our razor-fine fangs.

topher: Oh, I'm starting to understand. If you had to attack Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, which one would you choose?

bat: Ah, the twerkin' twins? No chance.

topher: Neither?

bat: Neither. Skinny? Giant teeth? They look like rakes. You'd have to be blind to go for that.

topher: Blind as a bat? (laughs)

bat: (yawns)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Ugliest Person In My Family

So you know those sitcoms where the dad is fat and funny and is inexplicably married to a super hot wife? No? Well here's a list:

  • The Honeymooners – Ralph and Alice Kramden
  • The Simpsons – Homer and Marge Simpson
  • Family Guy – Peter and Lois Griffin
  • King of Queens – Doug and Carrie Heffernan
  • According to Jim – Jim and Cheryl
  • The Sopranos – Tony and Carmela Soprano
  • Still Standing – Bill and Judy Miller
  • Modern Family – Jay and Gloria Pritchett, Cameron Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Philip and Vivian Banks
  • Grounded for Life – Sean and Claudia Finnerty
  • Just the Ten of Us -  Graham and Elizabeth Lubbock
  • Lucky Louie – Louie and Kim
  • Married with Children- Al and Peg Bundy
  • The Flintstones – Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Barney and Betty Rubble
  • Entourage – Turtle and all of his girlfriends
  • Family Matters – Carl and Harriette Winslow
  • The Big C – Paul and Cathy Jamison
  • Game of Thrones – Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister
  • Parks and Recreation – Jerry and Gayle Gergich
  • Roc – Roc and Eleanor Emerson
  • The Drew Carey Show – Drew Carey and...all of his wives
  • That ’70s Show – Bob and Midge Pinciotti

  •  You get the point.

    So I know that I am not Doug Herrernan fat but I definitely married outside of my league, after all she was dating this when I met her:

    But I had come to terms with being the lesser beauty in my family...come to terms? What I mean is I nailed it and I was living the high life...though my wife has been asked more than once if I was super rich or something, but that was her problem and not mine.

    Then came Daisy.  She is, like, incredibly beautiful...shockingly beautiful. We are stopped daily where someone tells us how beautiful my daughter is...multiple times a day.  And it's true, and while I always wanted to raise a super ugly girl who wears a back brace that connects to her head gear and then at 30 sheds her metallic exoskeleton and blossoms into a reasonably handsome woman with a PhD and a Nobel Prize in Chemical Engineering for discovering the most lucrative way to Chemical Engineer who marries a Priest who converted to Mormonism a week before he met my daughter.  But instead, all I can do is hope her supermodel height will keep those adolescent boys at bay long enough for her to graduate high school. We all have battles.

    So then came Milo.  At first we were told we were having a girl, and while that seemed exciting, I was nervous that another girl may not be as physically gifted as her sister and would grow up wishing she looked different...which, I suppose, all girls do, but it was something I worried about.  Then, she wasn't going to be a she but a he and he would never have to live up to his sisters beauty, much like I don't have to live up to my wife's.

    When he was born he looked like this:

    Your average puckered faced prune that parents love and everyone else sees for what it is, a human pickle whose jar had just been opened.  And I loved him.  He would be my buddy.  The two boys who, though they could dress themselves like upper class British professors or elegant shipwreckees, didn't have to worry about social physical demands and neither one of us would be Abercrombie or Fitch.

    It's been 17 months, and now he looks like this:


    So, I guess today I'm announcing my Kickstarter to have my face, well, not my nose, but much of my original face placed on the next olympian who meets an untimely end.  I mean, I wanted to be the ugliest guy at my dinner table...every dad does, but, come on, this is embarrassing.                

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Guest Post: My Son, Garren.

    My 14 year old son, Garren, following in his dad's footsteps, recruited two of his friends, and they started a blog.  They named it G.A.S. It's the first initial of each of their names. I should point out that the two other friends are of the female persuasion. How he convinced them that GAS would be a good name for their blog is beyond me, and I can only fathom that the word means one thing to him (re: bodily function) and something entirely different to them (re: something a car needs).

    He is guest posting for me today.

    Pretty Much My Most Favorite Thing EVER.
    by Garren Craig

    I totally love food!  It's what I live for.  I would die without it! (Literally.)  But don't ask me what my favorite food is.  There's so many choices.  It's too hard.  It's In-N-Out.

    Well, it's at least my favorite fast food.  Well, that and Tommy's.

    See what I mean?  I can't make up my mind!

    But the best food experience I've had, was on my twelfth birthday.  My parents took me and my sister, Abbie, to Del Frisco's.

    Del Frisco's!  Only one of the fanciest restaurants in Las Vegas!  There is a dress code to get in!  This place was pretty darn fancy!  

    Yes.  They really did have these crumb tools.

    Anyway, we start out the meal with bread, and salad.  I'm eating the salad, and the waitress lady, (there were like 12 waiters/waitresses waiting on us), came over, and in a high pitched little girl voice says "Fresh ground pepper?"  I have my mouth full of salad, so I just nod.

    And then these two guys bring out the pepper grinder.

    Is is just about six feet long.

    One guy holds it up to my salad, the other guy cranks the handle.  Ever since that day, every time we have something with pepper, me and Abbie will say to each other, "Fresh ground pepper?" in that annoying three year old girl voice.

    After the salad, they brought out the food.  I had a steak.  It was the best steak I've ever eaten! 

    But all those things are nothing compared to the bathrooms.

    The bathrooms were surprisingly the fanciest part of the restaurant.  I walk in there, and there is a guy cleaning the mirror.  Like, they always have a guy in there, just cleaning the mirror.  But that's not the half of it.  On the counter, there were mints.  Breath mints.  Tic-tacs.  But that's not all.  There was cologne.  There was freakin cologne in a bathroom!  Just sitting there.  For people to use.  So when I'm done using the bathroom, the window guy has walked out.  So I'm like "why not?"  I use the cologne.  I go back out to our table smelling like someone filled a gallon bucket with Axe Body Spray, and then dumped the whole thing on me.  I wasn't very good at putting on cologne.  I put on so much, the waiters stopped coming over to me to offer me pepper.  I smelled so strong I bet the people at the next table were like, "Oh Gertrude! Look at that boy. He's soaking wet with cologne.  Can you smell it?  Take a video with your iPhone5!"

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    27 pieces of really good life advice

    Confession. I haven't watched the LDS General Conference yet. We were traveling and it's on our DVR but, as soon as we got back, Amelia had to go right into prepping a trio of film shoots so ... I can't give you a heartfelt post of learning like Ken and Josh.

    So, I cheated. I compiled a list of things that I think are great pieces of advice but that I just got of the Internet. Cheesy? Yes. Still, I think it's good stuff.

    Read more.
    Do more with less.
    Be reliable.
    Find out who you really are and be that person.
    Execution is everything.
    Scare yourself a little bit every day.
    Yoga pants aren't pants.
    Don’t buy a lot of stuff.
    Be humble and curious.
    Be as useful as you can.
    Make your home a place where you and your family feel safe.
    Remember those who helped you. Give back.
    Help people who have never helped you and can’t.
    Pain is temporary.
    Commit to things that are beyond your ability.
    Meet with friends more.
    Learn to really listen.
    Walk more.
    Apologize more.
    Say no when you need to.
    Do things that are uncool.
    Find your voice.
    Examine your jealousy.
    Address small problems.
    Dress like a cooler version of yourself.
    Find mentors.
    Courage is a learned skill.
    Everyone feels like they’re not good enough. It’s not just you.

    What is the best advice you've gotten? Comment on our FB page.

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    I Can Do It Now

    Also, that's a great tie!
    Is it weird and narcissistic to think that Dieter Uchtdorf was called as a prophet and apostle of the Lord solely to be a spiritual guide for me? Like every talk he has ever written and every speech he has ever given is for me, about me, pertains to me and is exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it? Is it strange that if I had a patronus, I think it would be an elderly, handsome, German, former airline pilot? Maybe other members of Church or people who hear him speak think the same thing (probably not about the patronus - I'm embarrassed that I even typed that. but every year when I hear him speak at conference, I want to stand up and cheer. Which would be odd, if I was at home, and inappropriate, if I was watching Priesthood Session at the Stake Center. 

    Last April, President Uchtdorf spoke about how we should celebrate our difference and stop worrying so much about being the same. I blogged about it here. And this October, he spoke about how we need to quit being such whiny babies and just live life to the best way we can. He, of course, said it a lot more beautifully and elegantly than that. In fact, how he said it was:
    We may think that women are more likely than men to have feelings of inadequacy and disappointment—that these feelings affect them more than us. I’m not sure that this is true. Men experience feelings of guilt, depression, and failure. We might pretend these feelings don’t bother us, but they do. We can feel so burdened by our failures and shortcomings that we begin to think we will never be able to succeed. We might even assume that because we have fallen before, falling is our destiny. As one writer put it, “We beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
    I mean, how true is that?? (And did you catch The Great Gatsby there?) I spend a lot of time in my life worry about the things that I've done wrong, or the parenting mistakes that I've made, or the 7 bowls of cereal that I ate before bed, or the bad review I got at work, or the fact that I haven't been running for two weeks so why even bother trying tomorrow?

    And then a little bit later in the talk he said this, which really struck me:

    One of the adversary’s methods to prevent us from progressing is to confuse us about who we really are and what we really desire. 
    We want to spend time with our children, but we also want to engage in our favorite manly hobbies. We want to lose weight, but we also want to enjoy the foods we crave. We want to become Christlike, but we also want to give the guy who cuts us off in traffic a piece of our mind.
    Don't you ever think, "Why does this person get to have that amazing, fulfilling, fun job and I am stuck at this one? I'm just as qualified as them." or "I wish I was one of those people that just loved exercises. It's too hard for me because I JUST REALLY LIKE COOKIES!" or "Yes, I want to be a famous writer. But I also really need to get past this level on Candy Crush, so I don't have time to write?" Oh, you don't think those things? Just me? And when he says "engage in our favorite manly hobbies" he is clearly talking about watching the most current cycle of America's Next Top Model, right? 

    I think I spend too much time thinking about the life that I sometimes wish I had, instead of thinking about the amazing life that I do have. I am incredibly blessed. I have a great job that pays the bills and keeps a roof over our heads. I have a beautiful home, an amazing and intelligent wife and three really funny and charming and lovely kids. I don't have a dog - I mean, life is great! And really, if I do want to be a great runner and lose 20 pounds it's totally within my power to do that. I just have to decide to do it and do it. And if that goal isn't a priority for me right now, that is OK too. But I shouldn't be anxious and stressed and unhappy about the things that I am not achieving.

    President Uchtdorf then said:
    It is a great source of spiritual power to live lives of integrity and righteousness and to keep our eyes on where we want to be in the eternities. Even if we can see this divine destination only with the eye of faith, it will help us to stay the course.
    We don't need to stress and fret about every shortcoming and every failure. We shouldn't worry about every misstep. We should know who we are and what we want our lives to be and focus on that and on making the decisions and choices that lead us there.  And that's all. When you mess up, move on. When you fall down, rise up. When succeed, pat yourself on the back and then move on to tackling the next goal. When you blog about how you imagine a prominent leader in your church is your patronus, don't sweat it.

    And in closing:

    My dear friends and brethren, no matter how many times you have slipped or fallen, rise up! Your destiny is a glorious one! Stand tall and walk in the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! You are stronger than you realize. You are more capable than you can imagine. You can do it now! 
    Ken loves you. And I believe in you.

    You can do it now.

    You can read/ listen to/ watch the whole talk here. And you should. 

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    winning ticket

    I opened a show this week. It's called In the Heights

    At first glance, it might appear that the streets of Washington Heights are completely different than the streets of Orem, Utah. The accents are different, the dress code is different, and they drink a lot of coffee. I felt that way as I approached the play. How do I connect with this culture? What can a white guy from Provo possibly have to say about "Puerto-Dominica-Ricans" and how can I make this story, and these people, accessible to Utah Valley?

    As it turns out, I didn't need to. While the setting of this story may look, sound, and feel different from life in Utah County, there is absolutely no difference in these way people love each other, respect their community, and pursue their dreams. We are all Washington Heights. We all want the same things, and this musical, with its colorful, beautiful music and exuberant dancing, is the perfect reflection of that. I've absolutely loved working on it.

    Please come see it! There's a great review here, and a great review here.

    Here's the info:
    Where: Hale Center Theater Orem, 225 W. 400 North
    When: 7:30 p.m., 3 p.m. Saturday matinee, runs Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Oct. 3-Nov. 23
    How Much: $16-$20, $4 less for children
    Tickets: or 801-226-8600

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    I love you. Close quote.

    It's the Monday after General Conference, and you know what that means. That's right, it means Deseret Book and Pinterest are overwhelmed with the task of sifting out the best sound bytes from the weekend to see what works appropriately as a cross-stitch or vinyl wall lettering and what could be fleshed out into a cute booklet in time for Christmas.

    I don't envy them this task, because, par for the course, Conference was pretty incredible. I generally come away from Conference weekend feeling inspired, edified, and chastised so lovingly that I manage to still feel good about myself while simultaneously realizing I need to change almost everything about me.

    We come away from these weekends with this abundance of rich, profound counsel; it can be like spiritually drinking from a fire hose. I am still processing this weekend, but when I think on past counsel or advice that has stuck with me, one that stands out is President Monson's directive to "Say 'I love you' more. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."

    The whole statement was actually something (re: exactly) like this:

    Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. 

    Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted...”  

    (Close Quote)

    I have felt a profound appreciation the last 12 months for the people in my life; from my family to my friends to acquaintances to people I don’t know who read this blog! You are all wonderful! There have been moments when family and friends and new neighbors have showed up, often un-summoned, at the precise moment they were needed with words of encouragement, acts of kindness, written sentiments, sanity-saving service, and the words “I love you.”

    Perhaps there are those that feel the phrase “I love you” should be used sparingly. Or only for family or maybe those we love romantically.  Maybe some feel that to hear it used often makes it sound phony. Or that it’s uncomfortable. I don’t know. For me, I love to say it. It stirs up feelings of gratitude and comfort, of appreciation and compassion. It helps me be mindful that my actions, even my life, will provide the evidence to back up what I am saying. And I’m grateful for that.

    I did not grow up watching It’s a Wonderful Life. I was actually in college the first time I saw it. I watch it every year now, and each time, without fail, I have a lump in my throat the entire movie. From the opening scene when George Bailey’s friends and family are fervently praying on his behalf, to the end when loved ones are pouring into the Bailey home, freely pledging their love, friendship, and trust to save the life of their dear friend.

    I love the way George instinctively sacrifices for the benefit of those he loves.
    I love the way he stands by his convictions.
    I love the way he is affectionate with his children and friends.
    I love the way Mary reminds me of Katie; the way she assumes the best about George in spite of his occasional grumpiness, the way she works to make their lives wonderful.
    I love the themes of our lives being sources of good and light, for each other.
    I love the oft-quoted lines, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole,” and “Remember no man is a failure who has friends."

    I never watch this movie without thinking of the individuals in my life who have affected me and influenced me for good. My conviction is that I have been blessed throughout my life with knowing some of the finest people on the planet. Beginning with my parents, the first people to hold me, and certainly including my favorite, the one who of her own free will decided that spending eternity with me would be a good idea. And of course the 7 additional souls living in my home. (8 next month!)

    Siblings, in-laws, neighbors, loved ones, and friends. I am richly blessed, beyond anything I deserve, with friends who invite me in and share their lives with me, and likewise are interested in my own.

    I love everyone! I am so grateful for everybody! I so greatly appreciate President Monson's reminder to let others know how much I love them. So I apologize if it makes you feel awkward to hear it, but the next time I see you, I'm telling you that I love you. Because I do.

    Friday, October 4, 2013

    AFK for today

    My family and I are on vacation. (AFK = away from keyboard.)

    We're here.

    See you next week.

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    i'm not raising your child

     A few days ago I was mowing my lawn when a middle aged woman, a woman I've never seen or met, pulled up in front of my house. The backseat door opened and she shooed a little girl out. The little girl walked to the door, rang the bell, and the woman drove off.

    Phoebe answered the door, and the little girl asked if she could play. This girl is seven years old. Phoebe is ten. That's about two decades in kid years. My other daughter, Margaret, is five. Phoebe didn't want to play with a seven year old, but someone had dropped this girl off like Orphan Annie, so what was she going to do? It turned into a babysitting gig, basically, in which the babysitter wasn't paid.

    Do you get the picture I'm painting for you? Neither of my daughters had invited this little girl over. Her grandmother, who was tired of watching her, or had some errands or something, dropped her off under the assumption that we had a house full of kids and certainly someone would want to play with her. Just like that! Our house is Pinocchio's Island! Awesome times and roller coaster rides all day long! Anyone want a cigar? Lampy?

    Can you see a problem with this little story? And then you compound everything with the fact that this is not an isolated incident. It's just the first one I really saw firsthand. I hate to bring this up, but what if I were a child molester or some kind of sex offender? That lady would have no idea. None. She doesn't know my name! She doesn't know my wife's name! She doesn't know my daughters' names! She only knows we have kids at her house and now she can go get her errand list over with (finally!)

    I understand that it takes a village to raise a child. I know I need to parent the neighborhood kids, too. Especially if they are at my house. But it's so much easier to do that when I know that they have parents at home, too. Parents who are doing their job. Parents who know where their kids are. That's how the village works.

    Sixteen years ago Lisa and I decided that she would stay home and raise our kids. It was, and continues to be, a financial challenge. But we felt it was the right thing for our family, despite the fact that Lisa could earn probably twice what I do (and I hope that day will come $$$$). Her choice to be an at-home mom, however, doesn't mean she signed up to be the neighborhood babysitter. And as the years have gone by I've seen her be more and more firm about drawing boundaries with neighborhood kids and parents. It's exciting to watch. I love it and I'm proud of her for it.

    I need to draw those boundaries, too. The next time that lady, or anyone like her, drops off her kids for free daycare I'm going to walk up, introduce myself, shake her hand, tell her I have an awesome white van, and ask if I can take her child with me to Heber or something. You know, just see how that goes! Lisa doesn't think this is a good idea, but you never know.

    The final analysis:

    1. Parents, your children are not my responsibility

    2. My house is not a daycare for random children

    3. I might take your child to Heber (but just to get a shake at Granny's)
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