Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sven, I Think That's Right

I think we've all had a lot of fun this week digging into the stories of two quirky princess and their icy powers and (alleged) lesbian tendencies. But I think the story of Anna and Elsa is pretty straightforward. Ice Queen, frozen heart, true love, blah, blah, blah. We've seen it all before. But there is one part of the movie that chills me (Ha!) me to the core: the pro-Reindeer, anti-people message.

Everyone knows that reindeer are literally the worst. The smell bad, they are rude, and if you've ever had a Christmas morning mess up (iPhone 5c instead of 5s, for example. The worst!!) you know that it is 100% the fault of some sloppy reindeer who can't do his job right.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have reindeer. I just kinda wish they'd stay in the North Pole. Or Asguardia, or whatever the name of that Frozen kingdom is. But there are several points in the Frozen story where there is clearly a strong pro-Reindeer message being directed at the impressionable minds of our children, who I believe are our future.

Of course there's a whole song about how reindeer are better than people. That's pretty obvious. But almost too obvious. Like they put that their so you think "Well, surely they don't really feel that way - this is clearly parody." They know that if they throw their pro-reindeer agenda right in your face you will reject in out of hand. But here are a few more subtle moments.

  1. Sven, the reindeer is always trying to Olaf's carrot nose, but always stops at the last minute. Because "they're friends" you are supposed to believe. But let's be serious, Reindeer will eat your carrot nose! They will eat it every time!! Totally unrealistic. Also, everyone knows that reindeer and snowmen are blood enemies, ever since the Northern Wars of 1917.
  2. Kristoff rides Sven like a horse, where you can see him appearing to gallop like he's some sort of fun loving pony. Reindeer can't gallop. Everyone knows that fly, like bats. And when they are on the ground they waddle, like ducks. But of course DISNEY with the PRO- REINDEER agenda didn't want to show a reindeer waddling really fast. So they made him gallop, so our CHILDREN would love him.
  3. When the rock gnomes sing about the reasons that Kristoff is a fixer-upper they site "that he tinkles in the woods." When I was a kid we used to go fishing with my grandma in a boat. And when we had to go to the bathroom she didn't want us to just pee off the side of the boat, like some sort of boat-side-peeing savage. So we had to pee into a bucket, which she called the "Tinkle Bucket" which we would then dump over the side of the boat. And if we had to go to the bathroom she would scream, "Steven! Get the tinkle bucket!" And I guess people say tinkle because it sounds less gross. So when they say Kristoff goes tinkle in the woods its supposed to seem cute and charming and you know who else tinkles in the woods? REINDEER! But its not cute. You probably missed this part, but I paid really close attention and that is what they are trying to do. 
  4. Remember when they are running from the wolves? Total fraud. Reindeer eat wolves in the wild. Google it.
Don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are reindeer or have pet reindeer, so I am not some crazy reindeer hater. If you want to live in arctic climates, have fuzzy antlers and have specialized noses with nasal turbinate bones, that's fine. Just don't bring your ruminate four-chambered stomach to my neighborhood in the Wasatch Mountains.

Anyway, I've seen Frozen three times (once was a sing-a-long) so I didn't just make this stuff up. I have watched closely and taken notes and think this reindeer threat is something we all need to take more seriously and that we need to protect our children from. I mean, if you want your kids to think that they can be friends with a reindeer AND have a carrot nose, do what you will. But as for me and my house...

yep, frozen's gay

When Ken announced that we would all write responses to the crazy pearl-clutching Frozen lady this week, my heart started to race. I thought I had sort of weathered this storm last week by doing what I do best in times of controversy: staying the crap out of it. But now I felt charged to lampoon conspiracy theories and self-righteous harridans who find secret agendas in everything. And I didn't know what to do. "Ken!" I texted him, "I agree with that lady!"

It's at this point that I should provide the obligatory "I love the gays!" or "I have tons of gay friends" or "I'm not like most Mormons" speech so you don't think I'm some judgy wingnut. But I don't feel like I have to. I work in Theatre. 'Nuff said. If you don't think I'm cool with the gays, you've never met me or anyone of my ilk. It's just not much of an issue with me. guys....that lady's right! She may have written that blog from her perch on the eagle forum, and she may have used insensitive and ridiculous language, but she's right. There's a hidden agenda in Frozen. And it's probably about gay people.

The thing is, I kind of don't care. It was a cute movie, and I liked a lot of the songs. That business about the snowman dreaming of summer was genius. I had a good time.

But I'm not going to pretend like there wasn't a hidden message about characters' shameful secrets, and the desire to "let it go" and be who they really are. The truth is that Disney is a major factor, possibly the major factor, in the entertainment industry and several of the executives, writers, artists, and performers are openly gay. If you controlled Disney, wouldn't you use it to spread your message? If the LDS church owned Disney (and we'll get to that) wouldn't they get as much "follow the prophet" and "I will go, I will do" as they can in there? Yeah, they would. I'm Mormon. I know how we work. I don't think Disney is inherently evil. Greedy, yes. But I also believe they have an agenda, just like every human being on this planet, and they aren't afraid to push it.

I don't mind my kids seeing Elsa (or whichever one) come out as a lesbian. Even metaphorically. I feel sad she felt she couldn't talk about her struggles. I hope that if any of my kids have same-sex attraction that they will know they have a mother and father to talk to. Maybe the movie will help them realize that they need to reach out and talk about this stuff.

What really concerns me, friends, is the Disney-ification of Mormondom. Somehow we've decided that Disney is on par with doctrine, and we fill our houses with so much Disney that there's no room to breathe. How many of us can quote song after song of Disney but only know a handful of church hymns? We may not know many scriptures off hand, but we sure can sing every word of "Poor Unfortunate Souls!" I love me some Disneyland, but I'm not going to worship it. It's fun, it's diverting, it's entertaining, but I'm not going to wear it all over my clothes. It's just cartoons. It's ninety minutes of your life. I'm not going to freak out if they want me to see a lesbian build an ice castle. Can I still have a temple recommend?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Let it Grow!

As Ken stated yesterday we at Part Time Authors are diving deep into the subliminal messaging of one of the Seasons biggest hits:


So, a few days ago this lady went off on her blog about how Frozen had a hidden "Gay Agenda".  For some reason it really got to me. Why was she hunting for the scheme in this movie.  I mean, never mind the themes that the movie was overtly targeting: a sisters love counts as 'True Love', don't use Shame as a parenting technique, Beware the prince who falls is love too fast...all of them new for Disney and great take-a-ways.  BUT, some lady, who I will not link to, went and saw this movie (three times cause her grandkids really super wanted to so who cares what kind of agenda it has), then blogged all over me about it's secret gayness.  She seemed to think that because Elsa finds out at a young age that she has powers that others don't and her parents tell her to hide them and then she finally "Let's Them Go!" it means she's a gay. Even though, at the end of the movie Elsa learns to control her "powers" (ie gayness) and is accepted right back into the kingdom, which is decidedly contrary to the Gay Agenda...I looked it up, they are not about getting themselves under control to fit back into society...even if they did get to be the Queens!  Ba-Dum-Ching!

It's not that she found Gayness where there is none...well, the snowman does have a's the fact that while I was sitting in the movie with my daughter for the second time, I was holding back from enjoying something to find trickery.  Now, I'm sure that it happens and maybe it's even happening in this movie...hang is true that the first time I saw this movie I looked like this:

But Frozen opened in November and now I look like this: 

I know?!  My hair has totally stopped being cut!  I really can't explain it...well, I COULDN'T but now things are perfectly clear.  I just...wait for it...wait for know what's coming...but you still have to wait...I just...op! Not it comes....


When it came time to cut my hair there was Elsa in my mind begging me to not.  So I didn't.

Disney: One.

A well groomed Mormon Man: Zero!

So, there you go.  I guess I was wrong, the Disney Villains done did me in.  Please, don't go see this movie...who knows what you will unleash!  Ken is as Fat as a house and my hair has princes climbing it every time I throw it out the window!  What ya gonna do.

Alls I want is a world where we see a children's movie and we either like it or we don't, or we love it and learn every single word to every single song and blame our vast knowledge of a princess movie on our four year old girls.

Is that too much to ask?

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Frozen Conspiracy

If you’re plugged in to any social media at all then you probably noticed when, last week, a seam split and the world became unglued over the “hidden agenda” of  Disney’s Frozen.

I’m not going to point you in the direction of the impetus to this ice storm (you see what I did there?) because I don’t see how anything good can come from that. (Sidebar: If you’re trying to build a brand, then giving your blog a title that doesn’t always reflect your appearance seems like a misstep. I mean, otherwise we here at Part Time Authors would have named our blog But we didn’t. Because we aren’t always that.)

Aaaaanywhistle, here’s the thing. Is Frozen really pushing an agenda? Is this little cartoon making sweeping social commentary? Are we being brainwashed by the Disney machine?

You bet your sweet bippy.

Look at these lyrics:
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

Youguys. Disney clearly has an Anti-Diet agenda. The message here is simple: When it comes to trying to eat healthy and maintain your weight - just forget it. Let it go! Let yourself go! Let that waistline grow!

This is clearly a cross-promotion for the turkey legs, churros, and monte cristos found inside the Disney parks. Shameless! And it’s like they aren’t even embarrassed or trying to hide it, you guys!

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let my stomach rage on,
Sweats never bothered me anyway

Disney is clearly a proponent of diabetes. I don’t have proof yet, but I’m pretty sure they are getting kickbacks from the FDA. The more people on insulin, the better - for Disney. Have they no shame? Have they NONE?!

Well, tune in to PTA this week and each day you will be privileged to find another Frozen conspiracy theory from another part time author, who has varying degrees of clean shaven-ness.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rise up to meet you

Hey friends. Remember us? We been a little absent for a couple weeks. Sorry. For whatever reason, the universe made all of us extremely busy at the same time. Patrick started a new job. I started a new job. Brett started a new job. Chris was in the final stages of directing his show, which I am dying to see. And Ken has, I believe, 17 children, so frankly I don't know how he even has time to put pants on in the morning.

This is me now (look! You can actually see me in the reflection in the door!) I've taken a job with Alice Lane Home Collection. We are an interior design firm with (soon to be) 2 retail locations. This job is amazing. I am surrounded by intelligent, talented, funny people and unbelievably gorgeous and impeccably designed home furnishings. It's like working in an Elle Decor magazine. It's fantastic. I will probably continue to offer unsolicited fashion advice on this blog, but who knows, I might even start sharing some design advice.

Currently I'm in way over my had and try and keep up while everyone talks about etageres and hair-on-hide and what it takes to add custom welts to your Davenport with a COM. I'll never be as much of a design expert as the people who I get to work with, but I know what I like and I have my own design philosophies.

I believe it was the great 20th century philosopher, Oprah, who said "Your home should rise up to meet you." Maybe it was Nate Berkus. Or maybe it was neither. But I think I heard it from Oprah. And I think that is true. You should live in a place where you are surrounded by things you love. Your house should take your breath away every time you walk in. In my home, my wife and I have, over the years, gathered and curated things that we love and things that make us happy. Some pieces were expensive. Some were flea market finds that hardly cost anything. Some are paintings by local artists that make us happy. And some are pieces that we've had forever that have moved from house to house to house with us over the years.

Sure, there are a few dogs. Our kitchen table is from Ikea and a piece of garbage and is stained and faded. But it seems foolish to replace it until our children are old enough not to destroy whatever we get. (I've mentioned our sectional which our kids are slowly destroying like they have some sort of grudge against it.) I don't think everything needs to be new and shiny and expensive to have a well designed home. Sometimes you make due with what you have. But don't buy things for your home unless you love them and they make you happy. It's better to have an empty hole somewhere than to spend money on something that is just OK. After all, why would you want to sit on this:

whey you could be sitting on this:

The store opens in early March (date is still not offically announced) in Salt Lake's amazing, historic Trolley Sqaure location. So come and say Hi and I'll sell you a Sleepy Hollow chair. But if you want an Etageres, I still don't know what those are yet, so I will have to refer you to one of my designers. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

waitin' for the light to shine

So, yeah, this is how I am. I take a two week hiatus from PTA, and then I return with nothing more to say than to shill my own show. I apologize. You deserve better, dear readers.

In fact, do you know what you deserve? A night out at the theatre! Say, isn't there an awesome new version of Big River happening at the Hale Center Theatre in Orem? And isn't that the director's favorite musical? Why - why - why yes, it is!

And what's this I hear? Live instruments? On that little stage? Well, I never! I HAVE to see it now! And how are they going to float down a river on that little stage? I guess we better go see!

I guess you better. We open this Friday night, and the show plays until April 12. Even if you don't live in Utah you still have plenty of time to arrange a road trip. Or start walking now. This show is worth it. Plus, ladies act like dogs.

What: "Big River"
Where: Hale Center Theater Orem, 225 W. 400 North, Orem
When: Feb. 20-April 12 at 7:30 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 3 p.m.
How much: $16-$21 for adults and $12-$16 for children
Tickets: 801-226-8600 or

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Dinner With Michelle...Obama.

So Ken started out this Valentines week writing about breakups and I got super excited to join the fray! Is there anything better then remembering when you were totally right and justified and able to conjure the exact magnificent phrase at the exact magnificent moment?! Well, there's nothing better, but that's because it doesn't happen and when it does, it's because it's fake.

For example:

Once when I was breaking up with this girl, her name was...let's say Michelle Obama, she was all, "You never take me places anymore!"  and I was all, "Really?!"  I mean, we were sitting in the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day when she hit me up.

"What more can I do?!  Here we are having a lovely night and you are complaining?"

"I didn't ask you to bring me here!  Am I some cliché ingenue in some Tom Hanks movie?!  I'm MICHELLE OBAMA, take me somewhere interesting."

She had me there.  It's true, I was on autopilot.  I had been ever since Christmas when she took me to meet her grandmother.  It was fine, she was nice, but I knew it was over. But it was the Holidays and I'm not one to make a fuss.  The truth is, I had forgotten it was Valentine's Day, and all the nice places were booked...or so I assumed, I didn't really have time to check, I just called New York and when there was a table available, I had to take it.  So what if it was sorta hokey? I was trying, which is more then I can say for Michelle.

"Is this why you wore sweats?" I asked.


"Is this why you wore sweats...on our Valentine's date?  Are you just done with this?"

"These aren't sweats. I got them from Anthropologie."

This is what she was wearing:

"Those-are-sweats." I stated slowly and with punctuated pauses between each word. "You wear whatever shoes you want, you showed up tonight ready for a light sprint out of here, and now I know why...I don't take you places."

"I don't want to do this here."

"Are you kidding?!  I don't want to do this here?  I don't want to do this until after St. Patrick's Day."

"Of course you don't.  It's all about keeping the peace with you isn't it.  Well, I can see right through you...I saw how you were with my Grandmother!"

"What are you talking about?!!!"

"You were all weird and distant."

"Pull yourself together, Michelle, I was causal and aloof. I didn't want to seem like some nutcase who's all up in your Grandma's business."

"Are you joking right now?  Is that what you're telling me, that you didn't want my 90 year old Grandmother to think you were into her?!"

"I didn't!"

"I'm leaving. Would you hand me my coat."

"No!  You don't get to drop your bombs and walk out!  Oh, No, you get to sit there coatless while I tell you a thing or two!"

"Keep the coat."  Then she shoves her chair out and it sorta bangs into the man sitting behind her. "Oh, excuse me."  She says, but to him and not me.

"Oh yeah," I jump in, "Please don't let her chair tap interrupt your lovely dinner of listening to us scream at each other at the top of our lungs!"

I could tell the guy was embarrassed to be dragged in, but what did I care?

"You are a real jerk sometimes, Patrick, you know that...a real jerk."  Her face was flush with her own embarrassment.

"You know what, Michelle Obama...I don't think this is working out."

"Are you kidding me?"  Her forehead tilled to one side.

"No, I mean it.  I'm not going to drag this on any longer.  We're done."

"You got that right, buddy."  She came straight at me and I lifted my arms up to protect my face, but she only grabbed her coat and walked out.  She didn't look back, and she didn't pay the bill.  When you are dating Michelle Obama, then you get used to a certain lifestyle and there she was, walking out the door.  

The guy whose chair she hit started this slow clap and soon the whole restaurant was clapping. All I could do was fumble through my pockets pretending to search for a wallet I knew was on my dresser.

In the end I walked out moments after she did, only to meet her waiting for the elevator.  It was the longest 102 floors of my life.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

We're coming up on Valentine's Day this week, kids. Love abounds! Except when it doesn't. And you know who you are. And believe me - though I am crazy-insane in love with my wife for decades now, there was a time when I treaded the ground of "Having to Figure Love Out." And that inevitably included break-ups. And man, I hated those.

I used to work with a girl named Tobie.* Tobie had lived in Las Vegas for a number of years, but originally heralds from Planet Drama, where she is considered royalty. (*Names have been changed. Kind of. She spells it without the “e.”) Each morning when I walked into the office, I couldn't wait to see what the Crisis De Jour would be. The dramatic episodes ranged from “Last night I talked to my mom for the first time in three years!” to “I lost 1.5 pounds!” And most memorably, when she broke up with her boyfriend of eight months. Or more accurately, he broke up with her. And what, I ask you, could be more dramatic than that?! (Well, if you’re Tobie, then just about anything.)

So I’m listening to her heartbreaking story, line upon line and precept by precept, when I suddenly begin having flashbacks to my own breakups. I start getting knots in my stomach, I get a little moist under the arms, and I find myself looking for the opportunity to assure Tobie that her and I can still be friends, even though we aren’t the ones breaking up. It’s just instinct.

For me, breakups were the absolute worst. I avoided them like they were cancer. Oh, how they pained me to the core of my dating soul. It’s still hard to talk about some of them…

Tess Dresher. Fourth Grade. I can still recall the day she walked up to me during recess and asked me to “go with her.” “Sure,” I answered. And those were the last words every exchanged between Tess and myself. We occasionally sat by each other, and I gave her a very special Peanuts Valentine’s Day card, but we never did speak, or even make eye contact. So I guess technically we are still “going together.” Boy is she going to be mad when she finds out I got married and had eight children. She’ll want to break up for sure. I’m not looking forward to that conversation.

Julia Zimmerman. High School. It was the summer of 1987, and I was sixteen years old – with a license to drive and to date! I knew Julia really liked me when her mom had grounded her and she promptly ignored said house arrest to go to the movies with me. Yes, we were young and crazy in love! I was pretty sure that after the summer of 1987 I could die happy. By fall of 1987 I was so miserable I was praying for death. We went to different high schools and Julia was first to acknowledge that our long distance relationship wasn’t really going to make it. I nodded my head in agreement, but inside I felt like somebody was cramming my heart through a paper shredder.

College break-ups were the toughest, obviously. You've all been there. Sometimes it's almost cliche. But there was genuine pain, due to genuine feelings and possibilities. It might be too soon. I don't think I can talk about it. Her name was Danielle. It was Halloween night. We had gone to a party and we were sitting in my car in the parking lot of her apartment complex. I was dressed as Aladdin, she was Jasmine. Things had been in the pooper for quite some time, and it felt like a stranger walking by could glance in our direction and know exactly what was happening. It was silent for a few minutes, and then I spoke up. Tell me if you've had this exact conversation before:

“I think we should see other people.”

"Define our relationship,” she said.


“Define our relationship!”

“Uhm…we should…see other people…but we can still be -”

“Are you giving me the Friend Speech? Don’t you DARE give me the Friend Speech!”

“Uh…NO…never, never. I think it’s just me.”

“OH, NO – the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ bit?”

“Noooo! That’s not what I mean at all...”

An eternal silence. Like…three days have passed while we’ve sat in the car. And finally she speaks.

“Well, what do you want me to do?”

“I…don’t understand the question.”

“I can’t do this!” she yelled, and bailed out of the car.

Joy to the world.

It was truly painful. Of course, not as painful as Tobie’s overly dramatic reaction to the hair she found in her salad at lunch one day. “I almost ate this and diiiiiiieeeeedddddd!”

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I love you, soft serve.

I'm kinda sorta in love with soft serve ice cream. And I know the middle of icy, frigid February seems an odd time to write this epistle. But right now I'm sitting on a white, sandy beach on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. And I just finished a banana strawberry twist. 

Somehow, soft serve seems less guilty and less decadent than regular ice cream. As if, somehow, being soft means it's also low-cal. "Surely," we all think, "something extruded from a machine must be more akin to yogurt or porridge that actual frozen cream."  And this, my friends, is the primrose path to soft-serve induced fat hell. 

You get to Castaway Cay in the Bahamas aboard a Disney Cruise ship, which is where we are vacationing right now. We feel really lucky to be here, and if you ever get a chance to go, do it. It's as amazing as you think it would be. Great food, great amenities and the diet coke flows from the tap like water. And there is self-serve soft-serve at every turn. Which inspired me to try and eat my own weight in soft serve every day. 

Which is, of course, paradoxical and impossible. You see as you ingest soft serve you immediately get slightly fatter. And so you can't ever eat your actual weight because each bite increases your weight. It's like you're Sisyphus pushing a stone up a sweet, sweet mountain of chocolate and vanilla swirl. 

My wife's uncle owns a soft serve ice cream machine (and now that I've made you realize that was a possibility you want one too, right?). He breaks it out occasionally at family parties and BBQs. And when it is there in front of you, you literally want to put soft serve on everything. Put some on a brownie? Sure! In your Diet Coke to make a soft serve float? Absolutely. On your morning waffle? I'll take mine with strawberries.  Turkey sandwich? Why not?!?

Yes, hard ice cream is also amazing. It's like soft serves older, cooler brother who's traveled the world and contracted a fudge ripple in Vietnam. But it still feels great to be a kid and swirl that soft twisty goodness onto a cone until it's so high it starts to lean over under the weight of its own deliciousness. And just keep telling yourself it's basically the same thing as yogurt. Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt with flax seeds and kale. And just keep telling yourself that lie as you climb that mountain, Sisyphus. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Budget Crisis

So, my wife and I are's fully the worst! I mean, I think a person should be able to buy whatever he wants whenever he wants regardless of his ability to pay for it right that second...or in the near future.  Luckily, I married a woman who completely agrees with me.  And now we have to budget.

The hardest part is seeing something you want, and then knowing that last month you would have just got it because you were irresponsible and rash, but this month you are know you were stealing from your children's collage funds (they better be smart!) and planning to finally buy that island before mortgage insurance gets any worse. So you put down the thing and walk away.  boo.

One night, I had just finished climbing all the way to the top of my high horse and I told my wife that she didn't need to just buy the same premium brands that she was used to buying.  "We are in Budget Mode! You need to be buying whatever is cheapest! It's all the same! Walmart just care more about us, so they mark their brands down to help us in our budgeting."

Yesterday, I was feeling like I had a bit of a stomach bug, and so I was eating gently...Chicken Noodle Soup and Saltines.  I opened the cupboard and there they were, 'Great Value Saltine Crackers' I was so proud, we were doing our part, Walmart loved us, and I got the food I wanted.

Well, after using both hands and feet to open the plastic sleeve, I noticed that the first cracker was a bit darker then I was used to, but I popped it in my mouth and dug in for a second.  Burnt. Third. Burnt. Forth. Burnt...Every single cracker was down right brown!  They looked burnt and they tasted burnt especially when you ate one after the other after the other.  It was like they went over the Nabisco's house and went through the garbage and packaged its castoffs at a 'Great Value'.

"That IS what they do!" My wife (clamoring up the side of her high horse) "That's exactly what they do! You think Nabisco can crank out one perfect cracker after the other, are you crazy?! They are not wizards! They sell the trash to someone else who sells them for cheaper then the good stuff!"

So there you have it.  I had stomach problems last night and got to eat both, burnt crackers and crow. I'm sure it was worth it...I mean, we saved 38 cents Daisy can go to collage. But what I was really hoping in writing this is you would just send me a check for a Fafillion dollars, so I can have whatever I want.  I mean, you did read this blog, that should be a fair exchange.  And while I wait for your check...who writes checks anymore, just send a white tiger in a gold helicopter with a money order...and while you do, I'll be eating Feerios for breakfast.    

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Many Faces of Google

You may have heard that Google Fiber recently arrived in Provo, Utah. If you want to know what  exactly that means, read this short article by my friend and yours, Christian Faulconer (the David Letterman of Provo), who actually toured the Google Fiber facility.

My home was officially Google Fibered last week, so I'm a fan. But I'm probably also inclined because our family got to be a part of the ad campaign! And now, since you didn’t ask, I’d like to give you some “Behind the Scenes” of the Google ad. Some “The Making Of” goodies. Some DVD bonus features.

It all started when Google decided they needed a gi-normous family, in order to back up their slogan for Provo: Bigger Broadband for Bigger Families. Yup. That’s us. We are officially a family of 10. But at the time of filming, back in December 2013, we were still getting used to our size, as Hillary had been born only 3 weeks earlier. And it was mid-December with Christmas fast approaching. So, not to brag, but, you know...we were kind of out of our minds and barely keeping it together.

For example, I remember one Sunday morning my 8 year old came into my room to tell me he was ready for church. Judging by his pants, he was either anticipating a flood, or had grown 5 inches overnight. His white shirt - his white short-sleeve shirt in 22 degree weather - looked like it had been wadded up in a tennis-ball container since summer. His hair looked like it was in a fight with itself. We locked eyes, and without blinking, I said, “Lookin’ good, bud; go get in the car.”

So, back to our story, the ad folks from Google came out from San Francisco and showed up at our house the day before filming, so they could do that thing where directors make their fingers into squares so they have a “camera view” as they scan the area for what they plan to film. They were super nice and friendly and encouraging - which is how they tricked us into going through the hassle of taking down our Christmas decorations for the commercial.

The day of the shoot, two different crews were there from 9:30 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. The morning was for the film crew who rearranged the house, set up lighting, wardrobe, make-up, etc. Meanwhile, I went to work for a couple of hours and came home around 11:00 a.m. When I pulled up to the house, it was a complete and awesome spectacle. I had to park down the street, as my house was surrounded by trucks, cars, and equipment. The garage was full of racks of clothing and craft services. I so badly wanted to know what the neighbors thought was going on.

I walked in the front door, and in addition to my family, the house was buzzing with another 25 people. The furniture was different, lights were everywhere, a woman I didn’t recognize walked by holding Lucy, my two-year old, and they were deep in conversation. Then I saw somebody I knew - my five-year old, Becca. She was already in new wardrobe and make-up, and my goodness - she was gorgeous. She looked like a movie star. She hugged my legs, careful not to wipe her lip gloss on my pants.

Our master bedroom had been converted into “the changing room,” and our daughters’ room had become “hair and make up,” with several salon chairs. Some poor man almost lost his mind trying to figure out if all the kids had been through both rooms and were ready. The house sounded like a dinner party and smelled like coffee. I met the creative director and account executive from the ad agency and part of the team from Google. Lots of handshakes, lots of “thank yous” ... they were really warm and lovely people. Full of genuine compliments about how great my children were. (And if you ever want to win somebody over, tell a dad that his kids are amazing.)

First we shot our portion of the commercial. That’s Katie and Garren at the kitchen table on a tablet - they are supposed to be doing homework, but they’re watching Thor 2 trailers. Then there’s Abbie on the laptop, emailing friends. And that’s Tanner, running from the kitchen to the couch, to join the rest of us who were watching The Avengers on a TV that isn't ours, but the kids desperately hoped was one of the perks of the job. So most of us just had to sit there, acting natural. (Hillary nailed it.) Except Tanner. He and the director had a special relationship. It went like this: The director would say, “Just one more time, Tanner.” And Tanner would whisper to me under his breath, “I just want to watch the movie.” This happened 23 times. He was a trooper.

Then we all broke for lunch. The film crew packed out their gear, and the stills crew packed in theirs. The producers materialized the most delicious craft services, but they also ordered a bunch of pizzas for my kids. My kids loved them for this.

Everybody was so kind. They interacted with my kids, we all told stories, they asked about my career and our family. It was clear that minds were blown and pants were pooped by the fact that we had 8 children and yet we were magically void of any meltdowns, spills, injuries, or wardrobe malfunctions. The gods of advertising smiled on us that day.

Then they took a family photo of us.

Then we did a photo shoot in our kitchen. Katie was in the front, holding a frame where the gifted designers would later superimpose our new family photo. Behind Katie were all our children - a mix of baking, cleaning, and playing with electronics. And that is the billboard currently making the scene all over Provo.

As the day was wrapping up the delightful wardrobe lady came over and told me that she was going to leave us the wardrobe used for the shoot. Awesome! Then they told us they were leaving the rest of the craft services with us because nobody wanted to haul the food away. Dinner is served! And the photographer said they would make sure we got the family photo.  Christmas in December!

Then, my favorite part. The gentleman from Google came over to me and said, “I’ve been watching your kids all day. My wife and I have an 18-month old...and we plan to have more. I watch your kids and I get excited - thinking of my children being as good of friends as yours are.”  And as fun and exhausting as the entire day was - that was the moment when my day was made. Yes, we are a big family. Yes, that often means things aren’t on time or wrinkle-free or at a low volume. But sometimes, against all odds, it means maybe you get to be a force for good in the world.

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