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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Things to Read While I'm Away

I am currently on my way down to Southern Utah to spend my weekend hiking Angel's Landing in Zion and attending the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. I'll be seeing Othello, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Cyrano de Bergerac. I'll also be eating several cream cheese and raspberry tarts.

But fear not, Bunsnip will be back to its regularly scheduled posting next week. In the meantime, I've pulled out some of my favorite posts from the archives to keep you entertained. They are listed chronologically, with the older posts being on top of the list.

Things Best Left Unsaid, Part 1: The African Tree Slug
Two Musical Traditions I Don't Understand
The Meaning of Life is to Strive for Something
Yucky Oatmeal Spurs Thoughts of Revolution
Bunsnip Best Movies of 2007
Prescriptive Grammarians are Out to Lunch
Joshua James: Super Musician Genius
Things Best Left Unsaid, Part 3: It's Oh So Quiet...Shhh!
Atheism, Agnosticism, Theism, and the Faith Factor
Office Memoranda
Things I Don't Understand
Marriage: What's It Good For?
History of My Love Life, Episode 1: Ian
Time for a new scam
Dear Crazy Bicyclist with a Death Wish,

You'll also notice that I've added a star rating system which you may use to indicate how much you like each post, if you are so inclined.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. If you're near Provo tonight by some unlucky chance, go get lucky by hearing the amazing Devil Whale (aka Palomino) at Velour:

Thursday, July 31st
at Velour Live Music Gallery
w/ Leslie and the Badgers (Los Angeles, CA)
and RuRu
$6, 8 pm

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Must-Read Blog #5: Grace Undressed

This is the fifth post in a series featuring blogs on my daily Must-Read list. Some of them are from people I know personally, and others are from random people I found on the internet in one way or another, but all of them are worthwhile reading.

Grace Undressed is written by an exotic dancer living in the state of Texas. At least that's the premise of the blog. As I read I often find myself wondering whether this blog is a narrative of a woman's real life or a work of fiction, because it is simply unlike any other blog I've ever read.

Most people detail their lives on their blogs in a very clinical way... there's a particular word I'm trying to think of that means that the work shows a textual awareness of itself. If anyone knows what I'm talking about, please post a comment.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that most blogs are written with the type of textual/clinical awareness that you find in reading non-fiction. In contrast, Grace Undressed is written very much like a creative work -- much more characteristic of fiction. That is not enough reason to peg the blog as fictitious; it merely makes me wonder. But whether real or not, Grace Undressed is exceptionally worthwhile reading.

Repeatedly I find myself reading Grace in awe with a touch of envy of her craft. In fact, when I read the second paragraph from the first excerpt that follows this introduction, my jaw fell open, and a whispered "wow..." escaped my lips. You probably won't get the same affect reading it out of context, which is why I recommend clicking on the links to get the full posts. But in case you need a little enticing first, I've picked excerpts from four of Grace's most excellent posts. After you've finished with these, you can add Grace Undressed to your feed reader.


Thursday, July 24, 2008


Josh and I have history. We worked together on a different job one summer a long time ago, when I was twenty and he was 26 or so. I'd been there longer, which technically made me his supervisor. The job ended at the end of the summer, but we stayed in touch. The day after Halloween we kissed. By Thanksgiving we were lovers, although I had a boyfriend already, a sweet Catholic kid who cried and swore suicide any time I broached the possibility of breaking up.
History is collective. You have to share it with someone, or it's just a story. And that feeling, when someone knows your history, really knows it, that sense of being so instantly and so deeply recognized, is a lot like love, or maybe it is some kind of love.


Our history was the history of flight, from home and everything that felt like home. The history of love and hate and love that feels like hate, and pain squeezed down inside so tightly and so long that it becomes a diamond, hard and bright.

I could have left that Catholic boy for you. In the end I left him anyway, and in the end he didn't kill himself. It all still would have ended like it did. It never would have ended any other way. But I could reach my hand across the cab tonight, snake down between your thighs and it would be like eight years never happened, and like you never left and like I never found a better man, a man who is not a game I could never win.

I had to leave you to keep you. You know that. [...]

Sunday, July 06, 2008

uncharted seas


A big bag of money means the project can go on. If there is no money, I do not know what I will do. I don't seem to be worried. The project will go on, or maybe it won't. But probably it will. It has momentum, now. A lot of people want to see it happen. I myself will go on, regardless. I always go on.

I find I'm not scared, not at all. This little boat is on the ocean now and the only thing to do is make for the far shore. There is no point in thinking about how deep the water is, or what might be down there. The water is deep and the monsters are down there whether you think about it or not.

I only worry because I am not alone. If it were just me I would have quit dancing a long time ago. I would sleep in someone's garage and live on tortillas like I did when I was twenty, and it would be OK. But C. didn't ask for anything of this, and he trusts me, and I don't want to let him down.

I tell him that we're going to be poor for a while. [...]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

boss man


Later in the night the same manager comes up behind me and raps my tray with his knuckles. "That's one," he says. As in, that's one strike.


"Don't put your tray there."

My tray is sitting on a wide ledge that lines the ramp down to the main floor. It looks pretty safe there to me, especially since I am standing next to it with my hand on it.


"Yes, really. Because someone could come along and just do this."

He puts his hand on my tray and gives it a sharp shove. It flies. Matches and lighters and cigarettes and ballpoint pens scatter while cocktail napkins and credit card receipts drift down slower, like snow.

We look at each other. "Really?" I say, finally. "But, who would do a thing like that?"

He doesn't say anything and he doesn't have to. He folds his arms. I stoop to pick up my stuff, and here I am, on my knees, at his feet. He wins. I lose. I've been out-pissed in this pissing contest.

I sort everything back onto my tray. I go back to the dressing room. The chair is empty. I take one of my rescued cigarettes and roll it lightly in my fingers, put it to my mouth and light it with a kiss. It tastes like, fuck you. And it tastes like, enough.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a beginner's guide to pissing me off


On Saturday, the sun came out and I took them downtown for brunch. On the way, Pat starts asking me questions about stripping. I'd figured he had some idea what I did for a living, but he struck me as a fuddy-duddy, so I thought we just wouldn't be discussing it. But apparently another friend of Pam's was coming into town and wanted to go to a strip club, and there had been some conversation about it. Patrick didn't want to go strip-clubbing and wanted everyone to understand that it was because he doesn't agree with the sex trade and chooses not be involved.

Which is totally fine with me. Most people DO have problems with the sex trade. If they didn't, it wouldn't be a gray market and I couldn't make the money I make. I'm used to holding a minority opinion on this.

But it became obvious pretty quickly that Patrick's line of question was aimed at justifying his personal decision to himself and to Pam and me by proving that stripping is, in fact, just awful. Communications broke down pretty quickly, and my heart started to beat in my throat like the wing of a bird.


So I left the restaurant and walked around in the brisk sunlight for a while until my heart was going something like the normal speed and my forehead felt cool again. Then I went back in and asked Patrick to please find another place to stay for the rest of his visit.

There was a lot else I could have said, but I was too angry, or too taken aback, or too polite. Jeremiads are hard to deliver in person, and I think if I'd gotten going I wouldn't have been happy until one of us was bleeding.

I like my anger to serve a karmic purpose, though, and Paddy is hardly the first person to offend me with this line of questioning -- just the first one to do so while sleeping on my air mattress and eating my minestrone. [...]

Read more at Grace Undressed.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

IP limits yield cheap BC

I went to the pharmacy to pick up my birth control yesterday, and was ecstatic to find out that Yasmin birth control now comes in a generic brand called Ocella.

Cost of Yasmin = $30-35 / month ($360-420 / year)
Cost of Ocella = $5 / month ($60 / year)

So basically I was previously paying at least a dollar a day just so I could have sex on occasion without the risk of waking up in a pregnant condition. Now my pregnancy-free sex tax only amounts to $0.17 per day. HUZZAH!

This is perfect timing because I was recently scouring the internet in an attempt to figure out if there was a way to get cheap foreign Yasmin shipped into the U.S. without it being confiscated and without me being arrested. Now I don't have to worry about it.

This, my friends, is why time limits on intellectual property rights are oh-so important. A pharmaceutical company gets roughly 20 years worth of exclusive rights to its patented formula, during which time it can charge whatever greedy fee it desires, since it controls the market. But once those 20 years are up, the formula enters the public domain and market competition drives prices back down to a reasonable level.

Now if we could only get the time limits on Copyright back to a reasonable level. Currently copyright protection is granted for 75-90 years after the death of the creator. That's a whole freaking lifetime after the life of the creator before the work enters the public domain! So greedy!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The X-Files: The Geekdom is ... an incontrovertible part of my past

Apparently this past Friday was the opening day for The X-Files: I Want to Believe, and yet I stayed home unaware, utterly bored, and completely overheated in my apartment with sub-par air-conditioning.

The fact that I didn't have the opening day written down on my calendar (and the fact that my calendar is not an X-Files themed calendar) is testament to how long it has been since my days of X-Files obsession. You see, I used to be what is called an X-Phile, meaning a seriously geeky and obsessive fan of the X-Files.

How geeky was the obsession? Well, I taped every single episode from seasons 1-6 (and then gave up at season 7, because that's when Mulder left and the show stopped being good). I took care to pause the recording during commercials for optimal playback conditions. And yes, I did rewatch many of the episodes, some of them more times than I can count. (This was obviously in the days before TiVo and TV on DVD.)

Back then if you described an episode to me, I could tell you the name of the episode and what season it came from. For instance, one day while watching Jeopardy, the Final Jeopardy question asked about the name of an X-Files episode that tells a Frankensteinian type of story. Nobody on the panel knew that the answer was Postmodern Prometheus (or, for extra credit, that it came from season 5). But I knew, and I was pissed that I wasn't on the show at that moment, cause I'd have been RICH!

I could tell you the names of not only Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, but also the actors who played the side characters. (Aside from Mitch Pileggi, I can't remember these names anymore, although the name of the Smoking Man is lingering somewhere in the back of my mind, and it might start with W.) I could tell you who Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Clyde Bruckman, and Jose Chung were, and I could tell you the meaning of the numbers Ten-Thirteen, 11:21, and 42.

But most geeky and obsessive of all...

...and I'm very slightly ashamed to admit this, but here goes...

I was a reader of X-Files FanFiction, aka "Fan-Fic", i.e., fiction written by fans about the X-Files characters and storylines. [Insert astonished gasping]

I know, okay? I was a complete and utter nerd, just one step shy of dressing up like Scully and running off to an X-Files convention to celebrate my geekdom (and yes, they did have them, but no, I never went).

But even though I'm slightly ashamed and embarrassed to admit these things, I don't regret being such a hardcore fan. It gave me something to really enjoy doing during the tumultuous teenage years of life when you often don't really know who you are or why life is so worth living. And reading Fan-Fic made me feel a sense of enjoyment about reading. Although written by novices, some of the stories were really well-written and creative. There's a novel length story that I enjoyed so much that I printed it out and read it three more times. I still have it in a three-ring binder on my bookshelf, and you know what? I'd read it again.

Perhaps the most rewarding thing about reading Fan-Fic was the chance to see different levels of writing skill. Most teenagers read only what they must read for school, and what they must read for school usually consists of classic works, all finely crafted. The art of writing seems untouchable when this is all you see. But when you can compare works from fine amateurs with works from lousy writers who should make sure not to quit their day jobs, you can see the humanity behind the craft.

So I don't regret that obsessive geeky time of my life, because I feel like it enriched me as a person. My interest in being an X-Phile waned with the waning of the show's caliber, but I still think fondly of The X-Files.

Now once you are all done laughing at me behind your computer screens, here's a little video of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny interviewing each other as a promo for the new film. It's actually a pretty funny segment.

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The Smiling Dog

We were driving home from our usual Saturday morning routine of a visit to the library followed by a quest for breakfast when the dog ran out into the street.

The black streak came out of nowhere, and if it had been me driving, that poor beast would be asphalt by now. But Ian has sharp eyes, and he slammed on the brakes hard enough to throw out his back before I even knew what was coming.

"Oh my god!" I said as the front passenger side of the car collided with the dog's left shoulder. A tree branch fell from the dog's mouth and the car came to a halt.

The dog's master ran out to the sidewalk, her face somehow both completely expressionless and covered with worry at the same time as the dog hobbled back to her. "Is he alright?" Ian called out, leaping out of the car and leaving me and it idling in the middle of the road. The girl said nothing, but rubbed the dog's leg which it kept lifted from the ground. Dogs always look like they're smiling when their mouths are open, I thought to myself, even when they've just glimpsed the Reaper on the hood of a car.

Concerned bystanders wandered over from neighboring porches while Ian stood awkwardly in the middle of the road, arms akimbo, and my eyes shifted between the scene and the rearview. The road behind us was clear.

The girl continued reticently rubbing the smiling dog's leg, which it eventually lowered to the ground, and I finally exhaled the breath I didn't know I had been holding. Ian came back around to the driver's side and lowered himself into the seat with a grimace, saying his back had been thrown out.

Ian's grimace, the girl's expressionless worry, the neighbors' concern, and my breath of relief, and that dog kept on smiling.

That dog has plenty to smile about, I thought, and we drove away.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

UPDATED: The Lingua-Philes: The Etymology Is Out There

Sra: What do you think heteronormativity means?

Ian: Where'd you hear that?

Sra: It's part of the title of a blog I'm reading. Then there's another big word after that, but I can't get past this word, so I haven't even considered the second word yet.

Ian: What is it again?

Sra: Hetero-nor-ma-ti-vi-ty.

Ian: Let's see, that would be "the opposite... of normal".

Sra: So which part of that is "opposite"? Hetero?

Ian: Yes.

Sra: So heterosexual means --

Ian: Opposite-sexual.

Sra: Oh my god, it's all becoming so clear...

Ian: And homosexual means same-sexual.

Sra: How do you know this?

Ian: How do you NOT know this?

Sra: I don't know... sometimes when you learn the meaning of a compound word, you don't give any thought to the individual parts of the word. I think hetero must be Greek...

Ian: That's nice, dear.


Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

After consulting my good friend Wikipedia, it seems heteronormativity refers more specifically to the general attitude that heterosexuality and heterosexual gender-associated stereotypes are the norm in society. At least that's the main gist I glean from the article, which is not very clear to me as it is written.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hair Pi

I'd like to subject you to share with you a little poem I wrote when I was in the 5th grade:

Hair is very good to have.
It grows from birth to death.
And I really, truly have to add
that your hair can become quite a mess.
But if you did not have your hair
some bugs would come and bite you there
and then your head would swell up fast
and you'd wish you had some hair to last.
(What a precious little 11 year old I was.)

Somehow, this poem has managed to remain in my mental vault of useless memorizations, information, and trivia, much like the following digits of pi:
which I memorized during 8th grade pre-algebra by staring at the pi banner that wrapped around the classroom after finishing my tests early.

Sometimes I wish I could tell my brain which pieces of information to retain and which to throw out, so I could forget about that stupid poem, and pi, and all the times I made a public fool of myself, and all the times my heart shattered. But then again, if Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is any indicator, maybe it's best for us not to have executive decision making rights regarding our memories. Probably so. Besides, what makes an identity if not a mind?

Stephen Hawking has done just fine with not much else than a mind. In fact, sometimes I wonder how much of his brilliance stems from the fact that his mind is trapped inside a cage of a body. His mind may be trapped, but his mental capacity is perhaps freer than yours or mine ever will be. Maybe if we could sink into our thoughts and ignore the physical world more often more of us would be brilliant too.

Anyway, all I really wanted to talk about is hair, and specifically body hair and how much I hate it and wish it would just fall out. Cause I was shaving my legs (which I do every three weeks or so, you'll be happy to know), and I once again managed to nick the sensitive little pit beneath my knee, which is apparently the home of a major artery. And watching the pink water spiral down the drain, that poem came into my head and I thought about how naive I was at 11 years old.

Not all hair is very good to have.

Now that that lesson has been learned, I wonder what bits of naivete about myself I'll be pointing out another 10-15 years down the road.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Batman, The Joker, The Light Bombs, and The Pioneers

So it's Pioneer Day here in Utah tomorrow. It's when we celebrate, like, the pioneers and vomiting seagulls, and covered wagons, and the Days of '47 (1847, I believe that would be), and stuff like that. Actually, I don't know much about Pioneer Day except that it's a lot like Utah's Independence Day, and they have a parade, and most people get the day off.

And so I'm very slightly drunk right now because I get to sleep in tomorrow for as long as I want. And for some reason there are fireworks going off outside my window. WTF? Pioneer Day is tomorrow, can't we save the lame fireworks expositions for then? For the record, I've only had like 5, maybe 6 or 7 Gin & Tonics, and no, I wasn't driving.

Today was my first day of G&T. I had never had them before, because I had an ex-boyfriend (you guys might know him as Like Me) who enjoyed drinking Gin out of a flask, and so I tried it once and it tasted like a fucking Christmas tree. Super.

I guess Gin is made from Juniper berries or something like that, and I remember gnawing on a Juniper berry once whilst out in the Middle of Nowhere somewhere in perhaps Southern Utah looking at old Indian Pueblos. That was pretty fucking rad.

I'm sorry, I swear a little more often when I'm very slightly drunk, but at least I'm aware of it, so I can apologize. But seriously, I think if they can pass The Dark Knight off as a PG-13 film (how the hell did they manage that?), then my F-bombs are the least of your worries. Right?

But seriously, The Dark Knight is one of the best movies I've seen this year, and maybe one of the best movies I've ever seen, and you can sure as hell bet it's going to be on the Bunsnip Best Movies of 2008 list (which of course you have to wait until December-ish for). (P.S. to Sov, sorry about ending that with a preposition, but you know how I feel about that lame borrowed-into-English-from-Latin preposition rule. Seriously, let English be what English is! And that means we sometimes put prepositions at the end of sentences. Live with it.) I only feel sorry that Heath Ledger isn't around to see what an amazing performance he left us with. I mean, I loved Jack Nicholson's portrayal for what it was, but this... you actually can believe in Ledger's Joker, and that is perhaps the most frightening thing of all.

So where was I? It's Pioneer Day tomorrow, and the mother fucking light bombs are still going off outside my window, and here I am talking about Batman and the Joker. I don't even know where I'm going with all this. So I guess I'll say Good Night & Good Luck, and I'm going to go see about another G&T and then pass out on the LoveSac.

Peace, my friends. Happy Pioneer Day.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Totally Looks Like!

I just spent a good 3 minutes trying hard to conceal the laughter which was brought on by TLL takes photos of people or things that look like each other and places them side by side so we can all laugh at the comparison.

Here are a few that made me lose it:

I wonder how David Beckham feels now that the world knows about the uncanny resemblance of his wife to Falcor. What a Luck;) y guy!

I bet Mick Jagger's singing skills also resemble those of a Batfish.

I will never look at a barbecue grill the same way again!

He's Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!

Here's the link to add to your feed reader.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Art in the Middle of Nowhere

There's a lot of Middle of Nowhere in Utah,

and when you've got a lot of Middle of Nowhere, you've got the perfect environment to set up some Earthworks. So Utah is home to some well known and lesser known Earthworks, such as the Tree of Life en route to Wendover:

And the famous Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson:

But there is yet another Earthwork in Utah of which I have only recently become aware: the Sun Tunnels.

So this past weekend, Ian and I loaded up the Park Ave. with our friends K-T and Whit and together we took an excursion to the Sun Tunnels near Lucin, Utah.

Lucin is a small historic ghost town on the western side of the Great Salt Lake about 50 miles from Wendover, NV. But instead of heading out toward Wendover to get there, we took a northerly route around the lake up through Brigham City and on to Snowville, and from there we followed two sets of conflicting and very convoluted directions in our attempt to find the Sun Tunnels out in the Middle of Nowhere.

The Sun Tunnels are so far out in the Middle of Nowhere that the inhabitants of the area use some kind of language that is altogether unfamiliar to me:

After several wrong turns and much gnashing of teeth about our not having an adequate map or a GPS, we eventually stumbled upon the Sun Tunnels. Behold their undying glory:

Despite the uncanny resemblance to a roadway construction site, the Sun Tunnels are actually a set of four giant cement tubes with holes cut in the top such that patterns of constellations shine through during solstice.

We were a month late for the solstice patterns, but even so the Tunnels had plenty of enjoyment to offer. You know, monkey business and the like:

Ian was having an altogether photogenic day

Whereas I was looking a little like a plain jane who seriously needs to do something about her hair color
I'm calling the salon tomorrow.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mylanta for my Captcha Ache

When I was a kid -- maybe 7 or 8 or so -- I used to sneak into my parents' bathroom and steal Maalox or Mylanta from the medicine cabinet. Sometimes I would steal as many as 4 at a time, and I never even had a belly ache. It was just like candy to me, or at least it was an acceptable candy-like alternative when my sweet tooth got really desperate. I actually really enjoyed the delicate texture and light lemony flavor.

These days Tums are the antacid of my household, but I don't do any sneaking around to get these little nasty nuggets into my belly. I must say that they are disgusting compared to my beloved Mylanta. Even Maalox -- a definite step down from Mylanta in flavor and texture -- is way better than Tums. Tums are chalkier than a classroom chalktray at the end of May, and just about as tasty.

I miss Mylanta.

And now, in other news:

P.S. That font is called "Hobo std". Just thought you'd like to know.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This post is in German(ish)

For a German-English translation, go to Babelfish. These bots are still crap at translating with any accuracy, but the results are pretty funny, and you can actually more or less get the gist of this post with their translation.

Einige Freunden haben gefragt, dass ich etwas auf Deutsch schreibe. Wer fragt an Bunsnip, bekommt.

Erstens, muss ich sage, dass es wirklich eine lange Zeit gewesen ist, seit ich ueberhaupt etwas auf Deutsch geschrieben habe. Auch wenn ich mal Deutsch oft schrieb, war mein Deutsch nie perfekt. Ich weiss, dass ich viele, viele schreckliche Fehler mache. Dass ist sehr schwer fuer mich, da ich Uebergrammatiknazi bin. Es tut meine Gefuehle weh, dass ich nicht perfekt auf Deutsch schreiben kann. So bitte, wenn Sie Deutsch lesen koennen, seien Sie bitte nicht boese auf mich und meine furchtbare Fehler. Vielen dank.

Einige Dinge ueber Deutsch, die Sie wissen wollen:

(1) Auf Deutsch benutzt man die Kommas unterschiedlich als auf Englisch. Auf Deutsch bedeutet das Komma nicht dass man eine Pause machen soll, statt nur dass ein neuer Halbsatz beginnt (im Grossen und Ganzen).

(2) Auf Deutsch schreibt man alle Nomen mit Grosser erster Letter. Pronomen sind aber nicht genau wie Nomen, und sind auch unterschiedlich als auf Englisch. Auf Englisch schreibt man die erste Person (die Ich-Form) "I" gross, und alle andere Pronomen klein. Auf Deutsch, im Kontrast, schreibt man die formale Version von der zweiten Person "Sie" gross, und alle andere Pronomen klein. Einige sagen das bedeutet, dass Deutscher respektieren andere Menschen und Englisch-sprecher respektieren sich selber. Das ist nicht aber meine Meinung. Ich meine Sprachen sind alle unterschiedlich, aber die Unterschieden bedeuten nicht, dass eine Sprache besser als eine andere ist. Die sind einfach unterschiedlich.

(3) Die Wortstellung auf Deutsch is etwas anders als auf Englisch. Auf Deutsch kommen Verben manchmal zweitens im Satz, genau wie auf Englisch, so:

Englisch: I love apples. (SVO - Subject Verb Object)

Deutsch: Ich liebe Aepfel. (SVO - Subjekt Verb Objekt)

Aber viel oefter kommen Deutsche Verben am Ende dem Satz oder Halbsatz, weil der Satz viel komplizierter ist, so:

Englisch: [I'm asking you] [if you also love apples]. ([first clause: SVO][second clause: SVO])

Deutsch: [Ich frage dich], [ob du Aepfel auch liebst]. ([first clause: SVO][second clause: SOV])

Ich lehre Ihnen nicht ueber die Details von Deutscher Grammatik, weil ich weiss schon, wie Sie den Blogposten von Englischer Grammatik so so lieben!


Jetzt, schau mal an: ein Nabel:

Wunderschoen, nicht wahr?

For a good German-English online dictionary, go to LEO.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Then and now

20 years ago: I was 5 years old and a Kindergartener at Woodstock Elementary in SLC. In class I sat with my two neighborhood girlfriends at the “Circle Table”, which was actually rectangular, and this was cause for much confusion to me. (I guess the tables were all named after shapes, but I’m very literally minded, so I couldn’t quite handle this abstraction at 5 years of age). My girlfriends copied their classwork off of mine.

10 years ago: I was 15 years old and in 9th grade at Bonneville Jr. High. This was the most Mormon year of my life. I took my first seminary class, read the entire Book of Mormon cover to cover in 2 months, and finished school with a sense of peace and a testimony about the LDS church. This only lasted for about a year, and within 2 years I lost my belief in god and the church. I also started my period during this year. Yay for late blooming in that area! (Apologies to my male readers.)

5 years ago: I was 20 years old and a Junior at the University of Utah. I had just declared my second major in Linguistics, and would have to complete the required Linguistics courses within four semesters, but I planned it all out and knew it would be doable. I was living in the same apartment in which I’m currently living, and working part time at a medical malpractice law firm. I was very poor, but very happy.

3 years ago: I was 22 and had graduated from the U with a double major in German and Linguistics, and I had a plan to flee Utah at the end of summer and move to Boston, though I had no job lined up. It would have probably been a mistake to move to Boston (I can’t stand the humidity on the East coast), and so that’s why it’s a good thing that I decided to stay and pursue a relationship with my post-collegiate fling Like Me, which promptly ended at the end of summer anyway.

1 year ago: I was 24 and my situation then was much like it is now: Living with Ian in our apartment near the U and working at the patent law firm. The only difference is that I had not yet decided to pursue law school.

So far this year: I took the LSAT in June, which is basically the only thing I have been focusing on this year. I did well on it and I hope it gets me into law school next year.

Yesterday: I had a fun little relationship talk with Ian. He and I are not great at communicating with each other, and this is something that I feel needs to be addressed if we are to rekindle a closeness between us. Honestly not sure where this is going to go, but we’re going to try to keep things together. I love him, and he loves me, but the space between us has got to go. Will love prevail? Stay tuned.

Today: I slept through my alarm for the entire hour it went off, and got to work late. Nobody was mad. I love working here because of that. Later Ian and I will be celebrating Zac’s 100th day of rebirth with a round of sushi. Well, it’ll probably be teriyaki chicken for me. Can’t stomach the raw fish and seaweed. Happy hundredth, Broy!

Tomorrow: I am going to the library to pick up the Extras on DVD (thanks to Miss Whit-face for the recommendation.)

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Friday, July 11, 2008

The Purpose of Writing a Blog

Jeff Simmermon, one of the authors of And I Am Not Lying wrote this about blogging the other day:

So much of what passes for quality writing online these days is little more than lurid typing, and I’m not into that. I had hoped the blogosphere would be a great literary groundswell, an electronic distillation of art and beauty for the 21st century. Turns out that generation blog just Google-maps the contours of our own navels, and the greatest oversharers get the biggest prize.
And it got me thinking about what the point of a blog is, and whether a blog can be considered art in its own right. (Of course, when you see some of the things people call art these days, you might wonder if this isn't a rhetorical question. I suppose at the end of the day the art question might just be a matter of opinion.)

Anyway, I've heard some bloggers say that they don't write their blogs for their audience, but for themselves. And I think that's utter baloney (therapeutic benefits of blogging aside). If you were really only writing for yourself, you'd be writing in a journal that you keep locked up in your bedside table never to be read by anyone but yourself and maybe your snoopy "concerned" parent or jealous spouse. But by publishing stuff on the internet for everyone and their grandma to see, you gotta know that at least a little tiny part of you is looking for an audience.

But does that mean we bloggers are trying to make our writing a literary groundswell for our audiences? I think not. I think if we were, most of us would fail at the task, but maybe also a lot more of us would actually make a living doing this stuff. But ultimately I think it's unfair to expect blogs to achieve the same literary status as a collection of Keats.

I like to think of blogs as being akin to an undergraduate term paper. I don't know about you, but I did a whole lot of night-before and morning-of paper writing in college. In fact, I got pretty damn good at churning out a good paper at the last minute. Going back and reading some of those papers, it's clear to me that I could have written most of them better. I could have explored the issues more deeply, and achieved better structural organization and clarity of thought. But I feel like overall I achieved the purpose I was setting out to achieve with my work. I'm not necessarily proud of my good-enough accomplishments, but I'm not ashamed of them either.

Same thing with this blog; I do try to be entertaining and provocative, and I try to write well. But I don't hone my posts draft after draft, and I don't expect them to stand as my best work. Most of the time, I write the posts as they come to me, without thought as to organization or really where I plan to go in the end, then I read them through once or twice and change a few things and then publish away. If I happen to notice any glaring grammatical errors following publication, I go back and fix them, but for the most part, once a post is out there, it's there to be read and commented on for a day and then to be forgotten and never thought of or spoken about again.

It's the nature of blogs to be an ephemeral glimpse at the mundanity of every day life.

But more than that, I think it's also an opportunity to connect with other people who vibe with you intellectually, or who can relate to the same types of issues you have dealt with in your life and written about on your blog. Maybe it's just a chance to get inside someone else's head for a change. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to see the world through someone else's eyes? I used to think about that a lot when I was a kid. Well, I think blogs let us do that a little bit, more so at least than novels, films, or even essays, all of which are strongly edited, and some of which are fictional and therefore not necessarily a true view of the human experience.

I'm not trying to say that blogs are the tits-screw and down with novels and artsy films. I'm just saying that blogs serve a purpose, and maybe that purpose is just for us to Google-map our navels, and then show that Google-mapped navel to someone else and say, "Look what I have!" and for them to say, "Hey, that's neat, I've got something like that too, here let me show you."

In short, blogs are just a place for us to be the lovely individuals that we are, and to share that lovely navel fluffiness with others. So feel free to come around here and show me your navel lint any time. I'd love to see it.

I say these things in the name of Jesus riding a T-Rex,


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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Past comes back to haunt

I dreamed last night that I received a surprise visit from someone I haven't seen in a very long time. This someone was a friend of mine in high school. A nice girl whom I genuinely liked, but really only as a casual friend -- maybe one step up from a school-only acquaintance. We'd hang out together after school once in awhile, and we shared a hotel room during one or two of our annual school band tours in California. And I really did like her; but I never really valued the friendship the same way she did.

The problem was that she really didn't have very many friends. I may have been it, in fact. And this created an imbalance in our relationship because she needed me more than I needed her. (I believe the ultimate cause of all failed relationships is an imbalance or lack of reciprocity.)

I've always been a rather independent and introverted sort of person, and so while I have enjoyed close relationships with various friends at different times in my life, at the end of the day my best friend has always been myself. In general, I don't feel like I need others to be happy, and I don't like feeling that other people need me to be happy. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy the company or companionship of others, and that those relationships can't give me happiness. They can and do. But at the end of the day, I am and always will be the only person I need.

So, feeling somewhat drowned by this friend's increasing neediness, I began to slowly extricate myself from the friendship, until eventually I just dropped out of her life altogether. I was invited to her mission farewell party, gave some thought to going, but for one reason or another decided not to go, and I never saw her or talked to her again after that.

I felt bad about how I handled that whole thing for a long time, and I still do sometimes, even though I'm not sure I would go back and do things differently if I could. But I haven't really thought about her for a long time until I had that dream last night. Why did she suddenly pop up in my head? What does it mean? Maybe nothing. Though I think dreams can have meaning sometimes, I don't think they always do.

I suppose it doesn't really matter either way. Life weaves in and out of different chapters, and just because the chapters end doesn't mean we can't peek back through them sometimes. Sometimes we can even reopen them again, for better or for worse (for an example of "worse", check out my relationship saga with Specialized).

As for this chapter, I think I'm going to put it safely back on the shelf for now.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I think there's something wrong with me.

I say this in my mind as I gaze at my reflection in the restroom mirror at work one afternoon. I'm getting ready to leave for home -- for real this time -- but I can't get the weirdness of the earlier exchange out of my mind:

"See ya, Sra!"

"I don't think she's leaving."



The ellipsis is me, not knowing what to say. I wasn't leaving for the day then, I was just putting some mail in the outbox next to the door. But they mistook me for leaving, and so they said goodbye, and then spoke about me in third person instead of to me in second person, and then I just didn't know what to say. So I didn't say anything and just went back up the stairs to my desk where I had a few things to finish up. This spurred the questioning vocative from my Boss, but still I said nothing.

I didn't know what to say.

What would a normal person have said?

Somehow I think this is the type of thing a normal person wouldn't have even had to think about. They'd have paused in the doorway to the kitchen and cracked some joke about how they're not really leaving. But I can't think of a joke to say in that situation. I can't think of a damn thing to say.

So I'm staring at myself in the mirror, feeling awkward and wondering why social exchanges are so difficult for me. They really always have been, I know that, and I know that I've always felt different from everyone else, even since I was a child. Social things that other people understand naturally are completely foreign to me. For instance, though I do have a sense of humor, it's a special kind of sense of humor that isn't really compatible with most people's. Frequently I can't tell that someone is joking about something, and I end up looking foolish by taking them seriously. Also, I don't understand how to make small talk, I don't enjoy doing it, and I don't even see the point of it. Why should I want to talk to someone about little details of their lives when I don't really know them that well and I don't plan on getting to know them well? These are some of the things that make me different from most people.

There was a brief period in which I was able to overcome my different-ness somewhat. I have alcohol to thank for that. Now that makes me sound like a real lush, so let me just clarify that I didn't drink my problems away. Rather, I was able to see myself through the uninhibited, fearless eyes of a girl who's had a few too many drinks... well, alright, a girl who got completely, stupidly, and sing-on-the-street-corner-in-the-middle-of-the-night-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-edly trashed. And by seeing myself like that, I was able to say, Hey, this being confident and socially fearless stuff isn't as hard as it seems!

So for awhile -- about two years give or take -- I was able to apply the same uninhibited attitude of my drunken self to my sober self. I felt much more normal. I almost even felt like I could see social situations in the same way most people probably see them.

But that period ended shortly after I was hired on at the Law Firm. Luckily, it lasted through my interview, because I'm confident that if they had seen me how I really am -- timid and shy and scared am I -- they never would have offered me the job.

I'm different from other people, I know that. And I want to be ok with that. I want to not care what other people think of me. But I do care. I hate that I care, but I do.

Maybe one day I will learn to embrace the awkwardness that is me, and not be afraid to show myself for who I really am behind the mask that I awkwardly try to wear for others. I hope one day I find the courage and the way.

Until then, there's the person in the mirror staring back at me, trying hard to be brave, and hoping that nobody notices how scared she really is.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Got my LSAT score back over the weekend.

For those of you not familiar with the LSAT scoring scale, here's a reference guide:

Highest possible score: 180
Lowest possible score: 120
Average score: 155
My goal score: 165
(Which in my estimation is good enough to still be a candidate for Berkeley, if not a good candidate.)
Score that qualifies as "making that thing my bitch": 170
My actual retail score (drum roll, please):


It's a good score -- the 95th percentile, and the average LSAT accepted at Berkeley -- so I'm still in it, but I can't help but feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn't do as well as I thought I did. Cause even though I surpassed my goal, I walked out of that testing center feeling like I had made that thing my bitch.

What went wrong? Well, firstly, I missed 5 questions on Reading Comprehension, which is usually one of my strongest sections, and which I usually only miss 1-3 on. Secondly, they didn't drop the arguments section that I thought they were going to drop, and I missed 5 on that one also. (Each LSAT includes 1 "experimental" section that they use to test out new questions for future tests. The experimental section is not scored, but you don't know which section it is.) There was one arguments section that seemed unusually hard to me, and I was sure that it was the experimental section, but it turns out that one counted and the experimental section was the very first arguments section of the test, which I had felt really good about. Dammit!

In spite of these unfortunalities, I should be proud of the fact that I completely conquered the Logic Games section of the test. This is the section that gives most people a serious pain in the backside. (If you want to see what I'm talking about, check out the Analytical Reasoning section in this free PDF of the June 2007 LSAT.) It's a very difficult part of the test, and I knew that it was my weakest area, so for the month prior to the test, I created a book of all the Logic Games that I could get my hands on, and I worked them constantly -- lunch breaks, right before bed, down time at work, etc. And it paid off, because I only missed one question in that entire section of the test! Go me!

So on the whole, there are things to be proud of and things to kick myself about, but I'm still in a good place, and I'm not going to bother taking the test again. I've gotten over the foothills; it's time to climb the mountain.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July Weekend

Thursday: RSL and Fireworks

Our holiday weekend started out with our 3rd annual 4th of July weekend tradition: watching Real Salt Lake getting their asses whooped managing to pull off a tie (0-0) at Rice Eccles Stadium. Actually RSL played a pretty good game against the Houston Dynamo this year.

It was a rather exciting game in which RSL took many good but ultimately fruitless shots on goal, and as a bonus, they uncharacteristically looked like they actually knew how to play as a team on the field. Unfortunately, much of the excitement of the game was caused by the absolutely ridiculous refereeing. The ref made plenty of bad-calls and non-calls, which spurred plenty of you-suck calls and get-your-head-out-of-your-ass calls from the audience.

Zac, Ian, and I had our usual cheap seats in the KFC Colonel's Corner, which only cost $14 a piece. (I can't wait to see how much the "cheap" seats cost next year at the new stadium.) Although it's much more comfortable to sit in the $28 plastic seats, there's really no bad seat at Ricicles, so long as you bring a blanket to cushion your ass on the cold, hard aluminum bleachers. Naturally, we forgot our blankets this year.

Following the game, we were subjected to treated to the same exact fireworks display as the past two years, complete with the same nauseating patriotic soundtrack. This was the first of three instances this weekend in which my grammatical sensitivity was assailed by that retched anthem God Bless the USA. You know, it's the one that goes like this:

And I'm proud to be an American, where our song lyrics completely ignore the fact that relative pronouns are supposed to agree with their antecedents.

Or something along those lines.

Friday: More Fireworks at Sugarhouse Park

On Friday, we enjoyed a slightly more exhilarating fireworks display at Sugarhouse Park. Even though this one was better than RSL's, I find that I tend to get slightly bored in the middle of most fireworks displays, and this one was no exception. It started out well, and the finale was pretty pleasing, but the middle 15 minutes or so contained very few surprises and ooh-ahh moments, and I found myself drifting off into that special place your mind goes to when you're watching Reality TV.

We finished off the night by spending 30-40 minutes trying to leave the parking lot, and 30-40 more minutes crawling along a length of road between the park and my apartment that usually only takes 10 minutes to traverse. Oh the joy of mass gatherings.

Luckily, we had my new Kid Theodore album to listen to. If you missed the show at Kilby on Wednesday, try to check them out at the Urban Lounge August 5th, or the Farmer's Market at Pioneer Park October 4th. You really won't be sorry. Look, they use an upright bass and everything:

How can you go wrong with that?

Saturday: Bees Baseball and Fireworks

On Saturday Ian, Sov, and I attended the AA baseball game of the Salt Lake Bees vs. the Tucson Sidewinders. The Sidewinders had the first at bat, and on the third pitch -- the first swing of the game -- the Sidewinders scored a home run. And it was all downhill for the Bees after that, as we ended up losing 6-0. In short, it was quite possibly the worst Bees baseball game I've ever sat through.

But the disappointment of the game was allayed by our third and final fireworks display of the weekend. Surprisingly, this one was the best of the three, even though the Sugarhouse fireworks are supposed to be the bees knees of fireworks displays. It was short, but thrilling. Larry H. Miller may hate gay cowboys, but he sure puts on a sparkling and shimmering razzle-dazzle pyrotechnic affair.

Kudos, Larry H.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Train of Secrets

The Over-Thinker and Loralee each did a PostSecrets-type post in which they asked their readers to anonymously comment with a secret about themselves. The results have been almost as deliciously and voyeuristically juicy as flipping through a PostSecrets book. The only difference is that there are no pictures to accompany the secrets (and for some of the secrets, that might be a blessing).

So I've decided to go ahead and be a big fat copycat and open up Bunsnip to some anonymous secret-sharing as well. I shared a secret on both Loralee's and O-T's sites, and I found that it's surprisingly refreshing to release a secret into the interwebs.

To participate, click on the comments link at the bottom of this post and in the "Comment as:" drop box, make sure to select "Anonymous" as your identity. Then you are free to spill your guts.

So that you can all rest easy, know that there is no way that I can figure out who posted what comment. My StatCounter hit tracker does provide me some information about my daily visitors, namely what link they followed to connect to Bunsnip and what city and state (or country) their IP address belongs to, and on very rare occasions I can deduce who visited my site based on that information (for instance, how many readers from Turkey do I have? Just one!). But I assure you that even if I do know who visited my site, I can't connect that information to who posted what comment, especially since the tracker doesn't even tell me if a visitor commented at all. And even if I could figure that out, I really wouldn't want to, because that would ruin the whole point of the exercise. So your secrets are safe here.

I'll open this post up to you now, and at some point I'll throw in a secret of my own. You have all weekend to post your secrets, as I'm going to take a break from the blogosphere until Monday. Until then, enjoy your secret-sharing, and if you're in America, have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Smurfette goes to Vegas

Last night I dreamt I got a full face mask tattoo. I chose aquamarine to cover my entire face, and then finished it off with some hooker-purple permanent eye make-up. It would have been pretty awesome if I had been planning to adopt some braided blonde piggy tails and change my name to Smurfette.

In my dream, I loved the face tattoo the first day (and it didn't even hurt to get it -- bonus!), but when I woke up the next day, I saw my face in the mirror, and it was like one of those times when you get really drunk and you're having a great time, but then you wake up and find out that during the night you ran off to Vegas and got married to a fat hairy man in his 40's who still lives in his parents' basement. You know, one of those priceless "What the hell did I do?!?!" moments, except this one can't be corrected with an annulment.

It was that shocking moment gazing into the mirror at my new permanent blue hooker makeup face that I was finally frightened awake in real life, to my utter relief. Thank god! It was only a dream!

It's a good thing, too, because in the same dream, I finally managed to find the perfect gay man friend, but this gay man friend was just a little too perfect, because Ian fell in love with him and the two of them ran off together into the sunset leaving me alone and feeling about as blue as my face.

That'll teach me to look at websites like right before going to bed! The funny thing is that InkedInc is about professional-looking individuals whose bodies are actually covered in tattoos, but you'd never know it by looking at them in their professional garb. Just shows to go you that you can't judge a person by her/his exterior.

It's sites like this one about the most tattooed and body-modified people in the world that really ought to give me nightmares. The guy named Lucky Diamond Rich especially gives me the willies. The cat lady is pretty creepy too. I'll never understand what possesses people to go through such drastic body modifications. How would it be if Halloween were the only day of the year in which you actually looked normal? To each his own, I suppose.

But on the whole I'm actually quite fond of tattoos as an artform and a way of expressing yourself, and I even get a kick out of looking at really bad tattoos, like the ones in this book (which is a nice book to add to your coffee table collection, btw). I'm just glad I don't have Bob Barker with a Barbie-pink background tattooed all over my upper arm.

I enjoyed the experience of getting my scales of justice tattoo between my shoulder blades. It's kind of a spiritual experience, getting inked; the pain is remarkable, but even more remarkable is the way your body responds to the pain by flooding your system with chemicals that make the whole experience bearable and even trance-like. I love my tattoo, but I especially love that I can either show it off or cover it up. It's for that very reason that I'll never understand nor like facial tattoos.

So in other words, you're probably not going to see me all blue faced and running off to Vegas anytime soon. Or ever.

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When I'm the Boss...

I don't really like Wednesdays. They aren't quite close enough to the weekend for me to like them. By Wednesday, we've already put in two days at work, and we still have two more ahead of us before we can relax for a couple days, only to repeat it all again. (Except for this week, where I have Friday off, and some lucky little bastards have Thursday off too. I actually started writing this post last Wednesday but didn't finish it in time to post that day, so I pushed it off to this Wednesday, and wouldn't you know it, it's a holiday weekend. So much for a hump day post.)

One day, years from now when I'm a lawyer with my own practice, I want to make Wednesdays likable (and I want to change the spelling of Wednesday so that it actually reads as it sounds, cause it's not like we're speaking French here -- orthography actually does matter a little bit in English!). In fact, I want to make every day of the week likable, even Mondays, and Tuesdays too, even though Tuesdays don't have a feel.

(Random Aside: my spell-checker says it's "likable" and not "likeable". Why, then, is it "likelihood" and not "liklihood"? Ok so maybe orthography doesn't matter that much in English after all. For the love of god, can we please have a little orthographic consistency around here?)

When I'm the boss, I want my employees to feel well-compensated and well-appreciated for a job well done. And I want them to have more flexibility than the standard American job has. I'm thinking we'll have 4-day work weeks, and maybe the work days will only be 6 hours long. And we'll get at least a month paid vacation time, and it will be required that you stay home when you're sick. Wouldn't that just be divine?

Honestly, I feel like it's not really fair that we have to devote a full third of our day to work. Another third goes to sleeping, so ostensibly that only leaves us one third to ourselves, but then some of that gets eaten up by commuting, getting ready for the day, and taking lunch off the clock. And then, of course, you have to unwind, and eat dinner, and at the end of it all there's just precious little time to actually live life. Especially considering that the average American job provides less than two weeks vacation time (and go ahead and try taking that consecutively), the average American job is a 40-50 year life-suck! It's like we're all hooked up to that torture machine in the Princess Bride, and the six fingered man is looming over us, sadistically declaring, "I've just sucked one year of your life away!" I don't think that's the way things should be.

I have to be fair and say that I don't know how to make this vision a reality. I don't even know if it's feasible. And I don't know how one goes about changing the spelling of a word. But by golly I'm going to try.

So I'd like to ask you what you would want in your perfect job. And how do you think it would be possible to achieve that? Go nuts.

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