Monday, September 25, 2006

Provo: The Real U.C.

disclaimer: the following is a semi-autobiographical narrative that was meant to sound super-dramatic purely for comedic element. i like to write this way, it's fun and i don't care if it ends up being a little bit exaggerated. it makes it that much funnier. i only mean about 75 percent of what is written below. if anyone gets offended, i have given fair warning and i will make fun of your insecurity for the rest of your life. read on if you dare.

i have lived in provo for over a year now, and let me tell you something, it has been . . . um . . . an experience. i have lived many places in utah - i feel like i have a pretty broad overview of what the people are like here. i am a born and raised utahn - and i am proud of that, i don't care what the kids from california say. my experiences growing up would make a sociology major drool - i am a walking case study/thesis. i was born on the wrong side of the tracks, but ended up being raised in the upper crust of utah society surrounded by class, money and friends from all over the world. i went to a regular public high school where everyone actually got along (it was not uncommon to see the burn-outs high five the cowboys in the parking lot or see a jock walking down the hall with an art freak). i spent 6 glorious years after high school at a university in a small town and was lucky enough to experience the best college life available in the state (not biased, or anything). after college i traveled a bit - england, wales, scotland, california, washington, and i lived in hawaii for a short time. but nothing, and i mean nothing, could have prepared me for living in Provo: The Real U.C.

post-college, i went back to live in my old hometown so i could save money and find a job during the difficult economy of late 2000. i lived there about as long as i could take it (the single's ward was barely tolerable, but i managed to find some really cool friends there) and then made plans to get the heck out of dodge. when my daily freeway commute went from a managable 20 minutes each way to over an hour in 2005, i decided to move closer to work - right to the epicenter of byu all stardom. i had never heard the term "byu all star" until i moved to the U.C., but apparently they are a group of young working professionals, also referred to as YWP's, who graduated from college a number of years ago, yet still live in a student saturated environment, such as the U.C.

i knew that i would be on the older end of the kids still living around here, but what i wasn't prepared for was to live the high school DRAMA that comes with the territory. ah, but if i had only known. since i have moved here, i have gone from not knowing anyone and having no friends, to having a few really great ones, to gaining a few more through roomates, to gaining a few undesirable friends by default, to having said default friends try to destroy close group of friends a-la-mean girls, to being cut off from group of friends through strategic mean girls plotting, to having no friends again. the sad bit is that it didn't even take a year - this all happened in about five months time. i didn't realize that the sweet valley high books were based on fact.

if i have learned anything from living in the U.C., it is:

*never EVER tell anyone who you have a crush on
*always write your name on your jar of raspberry jam
*never give an open invitation to a get together - you never know who will show up and ruin your life
*keep your door closed when you go on a weekend trip - a stranger might end up crashing on your bed unbeknownst to you
*keep your laptop under close surveillance - supposedly leaving personal possessions out in the open automatically tags them as "community"
*hide your new bag of peanut butter M&Ms
*never give the location of your "safe house"
*lie about your weekend plans if you don't want someone to strategically invite themselves and end up ruining your life
*always have a backup plan on friday nights in case one of the sweet valley high twins invites all your friends to go do something and purposely leaves you off guest list
*have all dates pick you up around the corner so as not to alert any gossiping observers and ever-present paparazzi
*begin damage control early on by saying all dates are really just "friends"
*that the real friends don't watch mean girls for tips on how to survive high school and don't care what the default friends-of-friends say
and one more - i just learned this one the hard way:
*always properly cite any witty facts or sayings posted on your blog. those unfamiliar with chuck norris may assume you are the clever originator of such things (i'm flattered, really).

consider this a survival guide on living in the U.C. - use it well. (sidenote: interestingly enough, 3/4 of all U.C. inhabitants are actually from other states - the majority from one very large west coast state that starts with a c).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

junior fiction addiction

i love to read. i practically inhale books. i can exist on words alone. when i get started reading, there is no stopping me. work becomes a nuisance, something that gets in the way, food is inconsequential; all i want to do is finish the book. i haven't read a really great book in quite a while. in fact, i don't remember the last book i read that i literally could not put down - maybe the last harry potter book. then last week i got sick and stayed home from work for three days. a delia's catalog came in the mail and as i was flipping through it, i saw an advertisement for a book called new moon, the second book in a trilogy. the first book came out last fall and is titled twilight. the tagline was brilliant, it had me at "love bites." i was hooked after reading the teaser.
what a lot of people don't know about me - and those who do, make fun of me - is that i love teen lit and junior fiction. i'm not talking about the sweet valley high type books, although i read them in junior high school, of course. i kind of have a thing for fantasy fiction - not the cheesy space/dragon/sci-fi type books, but a very particular kind. i'm not even sure what the classification would be - but i know them when i see them. i love all the newbery medal novels, and i sometimes stumble across other junior fiction books that are just as compelling; the lemony snicket books, harry potter series, the goose girl and princess academy by shannon hale, and anything by terry pratchett.
for some reason watching tv when i'm sick makes me feel dizzy, so i went to barnes & noble to look for the first book, twilight. i read the inside cover and knew instantly that i would love it (i wish i would have thought to buy the sequel, new moon, which just came out this month, at the same time. i had to wait until saturday to get to the book store and buy it). as soon as i got home and started reading, i didn't stop for like 10 hours straight. i literally did not want to put it down. i took it to the bathroom with me, i read while i was brushing my teeth, and was annoyed that i couldn't read it in the shower or while i was sleeping at night.
as soon as i got up the next morning, i read the last four chapters and couldn't wait to buy the sequel. i went that day and bought the next one. now these books aren't short - i think they are around 550 pages each. which turns out to be not enough. i could have read thousands of pages of this story. i'm a sucker for teen romances - probably because i never really experienced anything like a dramatic teen romance. i'm vicariously reliving my teen years and i'm 30. ugh. but mostly i think i loved this book because it's a remake of a classic story. some of my favorite movies are stories that have been remade - bridget jones (pride & prejudice), clueless (emma), oh brother, where art thou? (homer's odyssey - even though the coen brothers deny it) to name a few. and of course i love baz luhrmann's romeo + juliet. twilight is a modern adaptation of romeo and juliet - it's a very interesting version, with a twist. besides loving the book (the story is good, but it's really the author's writing that i love - so descriptive and compelling - she writes in interesting patterns).
i also discovered something while i was reading. i made a playlist in my itunes a while back for reading books - mellow songs from the fray, death cab, joshua radin and iron & wine. i mixed that old playlist with some songs from the new soundtrack to the last kiss that i had just bought. it suddenly occured to me during one chapter that the playlist was like a soundtrack to the book - some of the songs were perfect for the mood of the storyline. i jumped up and started scrolling through my library and adding songs and i came up with the perfect soundtrack to the book. listening to that playlist brings all the feelings of reading the book back - and i can't stop listening to it. i have always noticed that the music in a movie can completely make or break a scene - it's what creates a profound and powerful experience (movies like garden state, in good company, ever after, and last of the mohicans come to mind).
i thought i'd share the playlist and the reasons why these songs made the list. i'm definitely going to have to do this again with the next book i read - it made the experience that much more fun.
i wanted to pick songs that are filled with emotion, and slightly haunting. and this is what i came up with (to hear a sample of the song, click the link and scroll down until you see the song title):

twilight soundtrack
1. here with me - dido. this song is haunting. the whole book is kind of haunting in a way so i thought it fit the mood perfectly. the book takes place in a town that is always overcast. that really struck a chord with me since the weather completely sets my mood (i don't know if i could live in the rainiest place in the states, but if i did, this is the soundtrack for a place like that). besides, the main character, juliet basically, could have penned the lyrics herself. "i won't go/i won't sleep/i can't breathe/until you're resting here with me" - i get the chills every time i hear it.
2. warning sign - coldplay. i love coldplay, and this song is one of the best. plus the lyrics, once again, perfectly fit the situation with the two main characters.
3. that dress looks nice on you - sufjan stevens. sufjan has an interesting and very unique sound. this song is moody - i love the ethereal quality of the guitar. and i thought the lyrics "i can see a lot of life in you/i can see a lot of bright in you" fit the story.
4. trust me - the fray. i love the lyrics of this song. "looking for something i've never seen/alone and i'm in between/the place that i'm from and the place that i'm in/a city i never been/i found a friend or should i say a foe/said there's a few things you should know." it's uncanny how that fits the beginning of the book.
5. she cries your name - beth orton. this is purely nostalgic for me, and a little bitter-sweet. every time i hear this song, i see a memory so clearly in my mind it's like being there again. i was driving to vancouver, washington with my ex-boyfriend sam and this song came on at 6am as we were driving through the columbia river gorge. this song was perfect, and we replayed it over and over again (he loved beth orton). twilight takes place on the olympic penninsula in washington state. to me, the pacific northwest has a certain eerie vibe, and this song fits the atmosphere perfectly.
6. run - snow patrol. possibly one of the most mood invoking songs ever recorded. it's always been one of my favorites, and it fits the mood and storyline with almost creepy exactness - like snow patrol wrote it for the book. this song puts a lump in my throat every time i listen to it.
7. ride - cary brothers. this song is what did it for me. i was reading chapter 13 of twilight and suddenly i was very aware of this song playing in the background. this song is one of the most haunting songs i have ever listened to. it's amazing, and it also seems like it was written specifically for the book. when i hear this song, i am completely transported somewhere else - it's amazing that a song can have that kind of effect on you. i'm momentarily stunned every time i hear it because it always the same effect.
8. look after you - the fray. this song is great. the whole album is great - i love it. imagine my surprise when, in the back of the book, the author actually listed a bunch of bands that helped inspire her when she was fighting writers block, and the fray was one of them.
9. to be alone with you - sufjan stevens. this song is just plain amazing. when i listen to it i get the uncontrollable urge to cuddle.
10. faded from the winter - iron & wine. i first heard iron & wine in the movie in good company. and of course lori already knew about them and introduced me to the rest of their stuff. lori is all things great new music.
11. fair - remy zero. this was on the garden state soundtrack. the lyrics are heavy - weighted and deep. "what if you catch me/where would we land/somebody's life for taking his hands . . . /tonight the sun shall see it's light."
12. let go - frou frou. this song has that same haunting, ethereal quality that just sends shivers down my spine. again, this song is from the garden state soundtrack; which is probably one of the best soundtracks ever made.
13 missing you - jem. this song actually is more fitting for the sequel, new moon. but it's such a great song, that i decided to add it as a bonus track. it's full of foreboding and has a kind of ominous tone.

(in case you were wondering, there was a painful process of elimination and these songs almost made the list:
angel - massive attack
today's the day - aimee mann
such great heights - iron & wine
title and registration - death cab for cutie
we looked like giants - death cab for cutie
here you me - jimmy eat world
in the devil's territory - sufjan stevens
all the trees of the field will clap their hands - sufjan stevens
hallelujah - rufus wainwright
it ends tonight - all-american rejects
for wicked girl - band of horses
compliments - bloc party (which very nearly matches the music in the background on the novel's website).

Friday, September 15, 2006

that describes my life to a tee

so, what’s with the craze of all the tee shirt slogans lately? did i say lately? i almost forgot what a fleeting trend they should have been. i am so sick of reading lame tee shirt sayings such as “princess” and “heartbreaker” and “I’m too good for you” and “your boyfriend says hi” and the like. i want slogan tee shirts that are funny! if you are going to wear a shirt with words or a catch phrase on your person, make it count! it’s very rare to actually see one worth reading. in an effort to bring the witty back, here are some tee shirt sayings that i have seen that think we can all find funny. and if you don't, may lindsey lohan have mercy on your soul.

love is for losers
this is prolly my favorite shirt
ogden is awesome
yeah! toast!
team awesome
talk nerdy to me
i “heart” pirates (with a skull and crossbones where the heart would be)
holy frijoles
cornbread. ain't nothin' wrong with that.
donde estan mis pantalones? acapulco, mex.
goonies never say die.
pirates arrr cool
are you nacho enough?
you looked better on MySpace
i “heart” nerds
statistics means never having to say you’re certain
iust say no to irregardless
wyoming: rocky mountain oysters; it’s what’s for dinner.
idaho? no, udaho.
new jersey: only the strong survive
nobody puts baby in the corner
ha-ha! made ya read!
i'm what willis was talkin' about
is it sexy in here or is it just me?
will you please tell your boobs to stop staring at my eyes?

* * * * * * * * * * give me your best tee shirt sayings * * * * * * * * * *

Thursday, September 7, 2006

slanglish, round II

abbamatically - the tendency for an unbearably annoying song to repeat over and over in your head all day after hearing it on the radio.
example: the pussycat dolls have more abbamatic songs than anyone else on the radio. if i hear that don't cha one more time . . .

aberzombie - one who wears only abercrombie & fitch clothing.
example: provo is the aberzombie capital of the world.

adorkable - being adorable in a dorky sort of way.
example: eric on that 70s show is so adorkable.

backblog - overflow of incidents you intend to write about on your blog.
example: i've been meaning to update my blog for five weeks but the backblogging is killing me.

chude - a chick that looks like a dude.
example: my friend ben is always pointing and yelling, "look at that chude!" wherever we go.

florange - a word that doesn't rhyme with anything else - except orange.
example: as orange as florange.

larb - to butter one's toast excessively.
example: my roomate loves butter so much that she flarbs her toast until it's soggy.

preject - to reject something before a formal offer is made.
example: i have mastered the preject around weird guys with a propensity for asking every female within range on a date.