Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Speechless...............

Radiohead :: "Tell Me Why" (neil young cover) from gorilla vs. bear on Vimeo.

Standing on the Threshold of Nerd-dom

Entry #1
Harry Vs. Frodo
(If you haven't read The Gauntlet yet, read it first so this will make more sense.)

I checked out the Hobbit yesterday and before "diving into it" (hee hee B), I thought it would be a good idea to record my feelings about the JRR Tolkin books, so we have a record of them, clean and pure before they are muddled with me actually reading them.
First off, I have never been a big fan of Science Fiction, a little more so as a kid, but steadily declined as I grew older until I don't want anything to do with any of it. I have never seen any of the new Star Wars, I have never sat through an episode of Star Trek, you get the idea. Fantasy has NEVER appealed to me that I can remember. At least not since I was a little girl and thought unicorns were cool. I would look at the covers of the books that my friends were reading and it was all about some quest and a magic sword and I would be like, yeah, where's my Nancy Drew?
I have however always had a love for juvenile literature. I loved it as a juvenile and continue to love it as an adult. There is something about reading a children's book and being brought back to that era through the characters and also through being the reader again and how exciting it all was. That is what got me to read the Harry Potter books while I was in New York. My friends Ami and Alex gave me the first book to read and I remember one of Alex's friends saying, "I am so jealous of you, being able to read all these books for the first time!" (this was a Cornell graduate student, mind you) he had read them all a few times I guess. So needless to say, from that point on, I was hooked and I decided that I supposed a little fantasy is ok and fun.
With that being said, the Tolkin books are not a little fantasy. They are a lot! Rowling did create a new little world for her characters to live, but it is my impression that Tolkin created a huge giant world one where I am afraid to be. Like languages and everything and it all makes me sigh and think, I don't think I am up for this. I make fun of the people that speak hobbit or cling-on (wow, that is sure not how you spell that, but happily, I have no idea).
I am sure the books are great to people that like that stuff I am sure they are well written, it's just not my bag baby (yeah). I went to the first Lord of the Rings movie in the theater. I saw the previews and thought the imagrey was stunning and I swear! I was all set to love it and maybe then read the books and enjoy them. Well, this didn't happen. I was absolutely bored to tears. I was kind of surprised, I really did think I would like it. I kept waiting for the credits and waiting and when they FINALLY popped up I actually clapped. I gave up after that and have just had a good time making fun of them. Now, here I am, about to start the books. I will promise to try to have an open mind. Sue, I expect the same from you!
I am going to give Sue a brief testimonial of the Harry Potter books now.
Thanks Ami and Alex for introducing me! I read the first one and thought, well that was a very cute children's book, imaginative and interesting. The second, kind of the same, good kids book, I could see why this series had gotten a lot of kids reading that don't normally. Cute enough to go on and find out what happens next. The third book was a turning point. Upon finishing I was sucked into the whole Harry world by now and just had to know what was going to happen next. The fourth was so good and you could tell Rowling was becoming a better writer and the books got more interesting and darker. Yes, darker is a good thing in my eyes! So, anyway, it was a lot of fun and excrutiating at times waiting for the next one to come out.
All and all, they are a great collection of childrens stories, a fun fantasy world to get lost in. Harry is very likable, Snape is my favorite person to hate (I love Snape, LOVE that Alan Rickman portrays him in the films, not a better actor on the planet for this role), Haggrid is funny (and very different from Coltrane's persona in the films).
Sue, try not to compare them to The Lord of the Rings, just read them with these things in mind, and I gotta say, I'm jealous that you get to read these all for the first time!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Gauntlet

This post is aimed at you Sue.

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and all this talk of books has pushed it to the fore-front. What would you say to a little challenge?
We all know by now that I am a fan of Harry Potter and Sue is a fan of The Lord of the Rings, and we have both expressed disinterest/distaste for the other series.
My challenge to you or the gauntlet I am throwing down is that I will read the Lord of the Rings and you, dear sis, will read Harry Potter.
After we have done this, one of two things will be able to happen. Either we will gain an appreciation or (gasp) end up liking the others preference, OR we will be able to knock the others series with more knowledge and vigor then ever before.


Harry Vs. Frodo was going to be the title for this blog, but heaven help me, I just couldn't handle being that nerdy.

I propose that we would each deem how much the other needs to read of the series for the challenge. We each know our series and for example, I think you need to read AT LEAST through book 3, (book 4 ideally), because that is where the series really starts to take off, the first 2 are just children's books.
I am also wondering if anyone else wants in (are a fan of one and not the other) we could extend the challenge into 2 camps. These camps would not be large, as my fan base (or people that read my blog) is not a big one (fan base! I like that, it's a nice way to refer to the few members of my family and one or two friends that actually read this!).
If Sue excepts this challenge, I will be tracking my progress of the books on this blog, and how I am doing with them, and I encourage Sue to do the same. I will warn you though, it may take a while as I am in the middle of two books right now and I am sure Sue has books too. But, I can always start a 3rd.....................................

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Like Books

Apparently, the National Endowment For the Arts has decided that Americans have read an average of 6 books on this list of a hundred and people are posting it on their blogs to show that they are not part of that statistic. I was kind of hoping I had read over 50%, but I fell short at 42 (I think). I need to take up Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy to raise my percentage. I probably should anyway.... Anywho, here is my list, the yellow ones are read by me and I did one in pink because I am in the middle of it right now. Feel free to copy the list and put on your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell**
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma- Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm
- Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility- Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (en francais)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

The most haunting part of the statistic is that many of the people I know have read many of these books, far more then 6, I am sure. That just means that many people have read none of them.
Ok, THE MOST haunting thing is that my own dear husband has read only one of these books.
It's the Color Purple, if you were all burning with curiosity. I bet he has read the Bible cover to cover too. I know who would have predicted I would marry a man that didn't enjoy reading? Strange things happen all the time.

Alright, here is what I really want you all to do. Tell me the books that I haven't read that you all think I would really like, or that you all think is really lame that I haven't and I will read them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bye Bye Car Lady.........Forever

As stated in my post some time back, Rob worked on a lady's house for months and months in trade for my new car. What we didn't tell you was that what began as an easy fair trade, soon turned into a nightmare. He didn't know going in that car lady (all of Rob's clients have nicknames that helps me know who he is referring to. Man, is she luckey this was hers) would be the most unreasonable perfectionist, add many, many more things for him to do and turn him into what Rob called, "her monkey boy". In fact here is a little taste of what Rob faced:
After Rob would leave for the day, she would go around with his blue painter's tape and mark any imperfection she could find on the walls, for Rob to fix the next day. They ranged from legitimate paint drips to problems in the drywall Rob was not authorized to fix, to paint problems from whomever the chump was that painted her house last, to the way a shadow hit the wall. Above is one day's worth he peeled off the walls of her house after the job was FINISHED and already gone over by her (and approved) weeks before. We saved the tape as a reminder of a car well earned. His last job for her was to epoxy the floor of her shed/garage. After he did it, she decided she didn't like that and made him sand it ALL OFF and redo it with something else. Monkey boy indeed. Poor Rob, I was close to marching over to her house and giving her a piece of my mind, but I would have possibly said some unkind things about why she wasn't married and lived with her sister and about sticks in places they shouldn't, so car lady was saved my rath.
Well anyway, she let Rob take the car back in April was it? but she still held the title. Recently, Rob finally finished his debt and was out of her clutches along with the title. Let me tell you, it was a glorious day. Yes, we got the title in our name, but I didn't care much about that. I celebrated and made the car my own in my own way.

The Jell-O Salad

So, our little cousin lily got blessed this Sunday and there was a family get together afterwards. I got a food assignment and guess what it was? Yep, Jell-O salad.
Let me explain something right here.

I don't like Jell-O salad.
I don't eat Jell-O salad.
I certainly have never made Jell-O salad.
Jell-O salad scares me.

I realize that yes I am Mormon and yes, I live in Utah. Two factors that should guarantee a person who is all about the Jell-O salad. Well, there are exceptions to every rule, and Rob and I are definitely that.
Rob called me and told me the bad news and then started researching on the internet how to make it and what is in it. He came to no conclusions, but bookmarked a few for me. He told me there was one from Martha Stewart that looked good. I went to that page and it was a recipe for Jell-O shooters. I should have known.
I toyed with the possibility of making the grossest, Mormon-y concoction I could think of, just for fun (think shredded carrots, coconut, lime flavored Jell-O
, red hots.) Some of those ideas came from the Jell-O we were presented with at our last ward Christmas party. It, and I swear I am not making this up, was a square of lime Jell-O mixed with something creamy, resting on a bed of lettuce (yes, it was served as our salad course!) and as a festive coup de grace, topped with red hots. We took a picture of it and it is saved on my phone, if anyone wants a copy, let me know, I will send it to you. It is one of my treasured cell phone pics. (I don't know how to upload pics from my phone or I would) It was reminiscent of Jell-O served at our Aunt's house every Christmas Eve, if any of you have some good memories of Aunt Bev's creativity, please post them in the comments.
Anyway, I decided to go with traditional. Therefore it was to include: canned fruit, cool whip, and mini marshmallows. I made it orange in flavor and included tapioca and mandarin oranges. Mary (Rob's Aunt) kind of hinted that it would be for a lot of people, so i decided to double the recipe, since it stated that it served 8. While mixing, Rob was watching with amusement and i told him that I doubled it and why and he looked at my giant bowl of stuff and said with incredulity, "for 8 what???" We don't know the answer to that question, but whatever they are, they are large and they like their Jell-O salad.
At the get together, we noticed that my dish had rivals. Two to be exact. One was red and the other was green. I was sorry to see that my orange was not disappearing as fast as the other two. Who knew that orange was not the most popular of the Jell-O salads?
I told Mary that she was in trouble for giving me Jell-O salad. Before she asked why, she told me that I am in trouble that trumps anything else, as I allowed Rob to have a red U of U painted along with our house numbers on the curb. Mary is the Aunt that owns the house we are leasing and eventually buying (if we like it, and we do so far). Mary is also a big BYU fan. Rob's reason for doing that were two-fold. He wanted o
ur new Utah Valley neighbors to know how we stand around here right away, and also to ensure that Mary never wants her house back.
She told me that I may just have Jell-O salad as my assignment for the rest of my life for that.


Scout liked it, at any rate


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