Friday, January 28, 2011

This Post is Not About Hallmark

I feel like, for the sake of being funny, I've been over exaggerating my feelings about sports and athletics. It's true that I'm not often passionate about playing or watching sports, but I do enjoy the community feeling that comes from watching a football game or being on a ward basketball team. I actually played on my church basketball team for about 5 years when I was a teenager and I loved it. I got to be pretty good too. I like when people around me are passionate about a team or a game and -- admittedly -- it's kinda contagious.

Also, recently I've been assigned to be the UPM on a TV show that is exclusively about college sports. I'm really excited to learn more about sports and have those long, obnoxious conversations about trading players and making it to the "sweet 16" (I know what that is!!).

Anyway... I guess that's just kind of a disclaimer.

So... I wrote this kinda long post about how I used to work at Hallmark and it was not fun and everyone hated me and I was fired because I skipped work to go to a track meet.

Then I realized that I could tell that whole story in one sentence (see above) and making it longer only made it boring.

Instead, I've decided to tell you a little bit about my experiences as a track and field superstahhh.

My senior year in high school was my little brother's freshman year. We were at the same school and it was fun to see him periodically. He ran cross country for a season, then started prepping for track and field. He told me that I should join the track team because it would make me tan and skinny and super hot for prom. Maybe he didn't say all those words, but that's what I heard mostly.

So I was like, "LOL sure!"

Before the season even started, little brother decided that he didn't want to do track, but I decided that getting fit was still probably a good idea. Even if Zac wasn't going to join me. I was ready. How hard could it be to be sporty? psh.

I showed up to my first track practice wearing Sketchers or something with black socks I had to fold over lots of times to make them look like they were ankle socks. They were not. My t-shirt looked ok (minus the fact that I didn't own a proper sports bra), but my shorts were probably khaki or courderoy or something tardy. I looked like a major dork.

Nonetheless, I jumped in to whatever they were doing and got to work.

After my very first track practice, I was completely exhausted. Beyond exhausted. My body was furious. After 16 years of complete inactivity I was putting it through outdoor track conditioning in Florida. Everything hurt. I was 98% sure I was going to die. Additionally, my muscles must have stolen some strength from my brain to keep them from dying so I was kinda loopy as well. Well... loopy? Understatement... Its the closest I've ever come to being stoned. I stumbled into my house mumbling incoherently. I couldn't walk properly, I couldn't speak properly and I'm pretty sure I was shivering.

Once inside, I wanted pudding like the earth was going to cease to exist if I didn't have it immediately. So I went to the fridge, got a pudding and a spoon and collapsed on the floor. I enjoyed my pudding from the floor as my little brother tried to have a conversation with me. He gave up and decided to make a video of me instead. This video has infamously become known as the "Hold my spoon" video.

Track was hard. We did a lot of running. A LOT of running. Running + Asia = sadface, but I figured I was building character and I eventually came to enjoy it as part of the adventure. We also jumped and squatted and lunged and climbed. I was by far the slowest member of the team. By far. Did I mention that this was my senior year? and I had never done anything athletic prior to this? The cool part was, though, that no one cared about how slow I was. They only cared if I gave up. We were all the same as long as we finished. It was kinda wonderful.

I also discovered it wasn't just because I was out of shape. At one point, the girls were doing stadiums and I was behind them all like a slow fat kid, and my coach pointed out that my breathing was not normal and I probably had exercise-induced asthma (AKA athletic asthma).

Shucks. Athletic asthma. How can I go on? I've been able to cope with this inhibition over the years by running less and using it as an excuse to stop playing basketball when I feel like I'm going to throw up.

One day at track practice, we took a little tour of all the different events. We saw shotput and long jump. We looked at pole vaulting and hurdles. Then we looked at the high jump. Everyone got a chance to try jumping over the pole. Some people made it over. Some people didn't.

I did.

I decided to cherish the moment and monopolize on my one sporty ability. I could jump over the dang pole. I had found my sporty calling in life.

Don't get your hopes up, though. I could clear the pole at track practice, but that didn't mean I could jump very high. In order to even compete in a meet for high jump, you had to be able to jump 4'4". It went up by 2" from there. It got to be VERY high. The highest I ever was able to jump during my time on the Mandarin High track team was 4'6". That meant I lasted 2 rounds generally.

Quite the athlete.

I'll have you know, though, that when prom came around, I did look tan and fit. And running track was one of the best learning experiences of my life. Mostly I learned that I could be on the track team and not die. Barely.

I know I know... my dress isn't properly modest for the Mormon girl I claim to be. You can see my shoulders. But this is about as rebellious as I got in high school so chalk it up to teenage experience.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Judging the Children

I have a friend that teaches 5th grade in Spanish Fork. This morning, they had their 5th grade science fair. She was looking for help with judging their projects/presentations so her husband (my coworker) and I went down to the school to help out.

To judge the children.

We arrived at the school and went to the front office. A woman was there corraling the other judges and giving out clipboards and instructions. We were told that we shouldn't go easy on them just because they're cute 5th graders. On a scale of 1-20, she said, 10 was average and we should feel no remorse giving a child a 10. 20 was for stellar projects and anything under a 10 was below average.

We put on our serious, adult faces and headed into the gym where the children were awaiting their judgment. This would be easy. I would be fair. I can handle children.

I walked up to a little boy in front of a yellow presentation board that said something about a cornstarch monster. That sounded entertaining. I said, "Show me whatcha got." As soon as he opened his mouth I knew this wasn't going to be a walk in the park. I couldn't hear a word he was saying. The gym was loud to begin with, but 5th grade child #1 was ridiculously quiet. And on top of that, his head was turned looking at his presentation the whole time so any hope I had of lip reading was completely lost. I crouched down next to his chair so I would be at eye level, but 5th grade child #1 was determined to not be understood. I decided to just read his presentation board. It looked neat enough. Not so neat that his mom did it, but it looked like he had tried to make it look nice. It said something about a Newtonian Liquid... did 5th grade child #1 know what a Newtonian Liquid was? I sure didn't. And there was no asking him... so I gave him good points on everything except his interview skills and moved on.

A little girl with braces looked as though she was dying to tell me about what happens when you bake cookies without using all of the ingredients. It turns out, she concluded, mayhem ensues.

I learned a lot of stuff from these projects. Some stuff that I already knew (like... that water is good for plants) but a lot of the information was useful and applicable in my life. Did you know that Oxyclean, Resolve and Shout all have the same cleaning power? According to 5th grade child #4's research, there is no difference. Did you know that yellow food dye dissolves faster than blue, green or red food dyes? 5th grade child #11 does. Just don't ask her why that is. She doesn't know.

After I had finished judging my quota of children, I just walked around and asked them if they were having fun. Lots of little girls just nodded shyly. One boy threw his head back and said, "I'm borrrrrrrrrrred!" I was informed by 5th grade child #6 that they were missing math class to be at the science fair. That sounded like a pretty sweet deal to me. When I asked one little girl if she was having fun, she sweetly smiled and asked me, "Are you?" I was beside myself. Heck yes I was having fun!

As I continued to pace through the projects and smile at the kids, one boy called me over to his presentation and asked me, "Do you get scared easily?" I looked at him nervously. Oh crap... what is he going to to? I responded with a hesitant "No...?" He shrugged and went back to chatting with the boy next to him. I smiled and awkwardly backed away.

Before too long, the children were called out to recess. Coworker (David) and I went out to see his wife and play with the kids. A bunch of kids came up and asked if I was their teacher's sister. I lied and said yes. Hopefully that doesn't ruin their trust in adults.

It was fun talking to all these children and trying to figure out what they were going to be when they grow up. One kid straight up told me he wanted to be a mechanical engineer. Best of luck, 5th grade child #3. It made me think back on my time as a 5th grader. I remember being kinda mean and having few friends. Those were strange years and I had no idea what I was going to be doing 10 years later. I guess I turned out ok, though. Little Asia, with her posterboard explaining why Duracel is the best battery, grew up to be a pretty ok 22-year-old.

At least.... so far, so good.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Ears: Pwned

When I was little, my mom really wanted me to pierce my ears. She thought it would just be so pretty and great. I didn't want to. We were the opposite of most mother-daughter dynamics. Some of my friends weren't allowed to get their ears pierced until they were 12. And they would itch for the day they could go into Claire's and pick out their first earrings.

Not me. Mom would beg every time we went to the mall. When I was nine, I eventually broke down and let her take me to Claire's.

Here's the thing about getting your ears pierced... people tell you it doesn't hurt that bad. They tell you, despite the obvious horror of the piercing gun, that it's a walk in the park.

They lie. It hurts like a mofo.

Real real bad. The trouble is, however, that once you've realized how much it hurts to get your first ear pierced, you have nothing to do but face the same thing again on the other side of your head. It's dreadful.

So the ears were pierced (imagine lots of crying). It ended up being a good decision because I really liked wearing pretty earrings.

However, as is the case with many young girls with their ears pierced, my ears got infected occasionally. I had to take the earrings out and tend to my wounds until they were ok to receive earrings again. One time I had my earrings out for too long, though and when I tried to put my earrings back in, only one would go through.

This didn't stop me from wearing pretty earrings, though... Like a young pirate, I wore one earring for about a year until my mom convinced me that it looked kinda dumb. Thanks for looking out, mom :).

So I let the other hole close up and didn't wear earrings anymore.

Flash forward.

When I was in middle school, my brother got me a beautiful pair of clip-on earrings. I wore these occasionally and really liked them.

Flash forward again.

It's time for my junior prom and I'm looking at the beautiful clip-ons from my brother. They had done good things for me. They were with me through grand times. But when I was 16, I looked at those suckers and they told me that I needed to try real earrings again. They inspired me to re-pierce my ears.

I was feeling impatient, though and wanted them pierced right then. So I decided to see if I could force earrings through my old holes. I went through my old earrings and picked some that looked appealing and gave it a try. Partial success! I was able to get an earring through the ear that I had kept open for a year longer than I should have. I had one earring in! How hard could the other one be?

Well this one was closed... completely. After a few painful tries, I quickly discovered that I would have to re-pierce the ear. I had seen The Parent Trap and decided that it couldn't be that hard. I found a safety pin and decided that it could probably do the trick. I think I wiped it off on a paper towel or something. This was my version of sterilization.

I took a deep breath and stuck it through my ear. I took another deep breath and pulled it out. I then grabbed an earring and tried to put it in the hole I had just created.

The hole could not be found... had it healed that quickly? Am I just an idiot? It was painful trying to find a hole that no longer existed so I decided to try piercing it again. With two more deep breaths, I stuck the safety pin back in my ear and pulled it out again.

Again. No luck in fitting an earring through. Had The Parent Trap lied to me?? Lindsay Lohan! Darn you!

The only way I was ever going to get an earring through my ear was to pierce my ear with an earring. This is how they do it at Claire's, after all. Except Claire's has special earrings that are really pointy and sharp so that they go through easily. I had no such thing (I had lost the ones they pierced my ears with, I guess).

So I began the painful process of forcing a dull earring through my (now pretty battered) earlobe. I kept icing it, which helped with the pain, but it was pretty awful.

But I was determined!

When I had made it about half way through my ear, my brother came to get me to go to a party we were invited to. So I continued with my ear-piercing in the car. It was during the commute that I actually got the earring fully through. It felt like I had climbed a mountain. I was so proud.

Do I recommend this? Heck no. But I feel pretty hard core that I did it. They're still pierced and I still get to wear pretty earrings all the time.

Ears: pwned.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Time I Auditioned for American Idol

The new season of American Idol is starting soon. Get excited!

I like American Idol because it feels like the American Bandstand of our generation. Everyone watches it. Even if you don't watch it, it's kind of difficult to not know what's going on in Idol world. It's everywhere.

When I was in high school, my family would watch American Idol all the time. We would even vote for the people we liked. But when I came out to college, I stopped watching it. I was too busy with my scholarly pursuits...

The trouble is this: when I would call my mom to chat about life, she always wanted to chat about American Idol. I never knew what was going on. So I started watching it again. After I was back in the loop of Idol-mania, my conversations with my mom were so much better :).

The other thing is this... I've auditioned for American Idol. I did it a few summers ago after facing peer pressure from two super precious, super Idol-addicted little girls who really wanted me to.

If they told you to audition for American Idol... you would do it too.

They told me I would totally win, so I decided to embrace my super diva stardom and show my talent to the world. After all, I'm ridiculously talented. I bring Mariah Carey to her knees with pure vocal aptitude. Just ask my young friends.

My little brother and I went to the veteran's memorial arena and got wristbands telling us our place in line. I had to sign a contract saying that I didn't work for Coca Cola and I'd never had a record deal. I also had to sign a contract saying that American Idol could make me look like a total shmuck on national television. No joke, the contract mentioned "public defamation" and other really specific, really awful sounding repercussions. The contract said that Fox could make up lies about me to make me more interesting and broadcast whatever they want about me and my personal life. This made me feel less bad for the people who look like morons on American Idol. They signed a paper saying that Fox could do just that.

Zac and I arrived on the day of the audition at 6am. We were in the longest line ever.


We sat outside for 4 hours (in the rain).

Then they let us in the building.

Then we sat there for about 8 more hours.

Zac, bless his dear, supportive heart, left me after about 6 hours.

While sitting and waiting, I read a book and listened to the thousands of people around me practicing their songs. The camera men got shots of the crowd yelling "I'm the next American Idol!" and we even got to see Ryan Seacrest for a little bit. I kinda love Ryan Seacrest.

Then it was time for the actual auditioning. I watched as people were ushered down to the floor in droves and told to sing for a small group of producers. These producers either said yes -- and you were off to meet to famous judges -- or no -- and you were going home.

Eventually I was ushered down to the floor, stood in a line of 5 people and told to sing my heart out for 2 random producers. I stepped forward, sang about 15 seconds of "New Soul" by Yael Naim (why? dunno. odd choice, but whatev) and was told that I wasn't what the network was looking for. Everyone in my little group was told that. Basically everyone at the audition was told that.

So it turns out that I'm NOT a super diva filled to the brim with sparkly talent.

But it also turns out that only about 200 people get through to see the famous judges. And only like 20 of those get to go to Hollywood. But like 15,000 people showed up in Jacksonville alone. That's .013% of people who even get to see Paula and Randy. Only the really good and the really bad people.

Which means! They can't let even close to all the talented people through. There's just not enough room. So basically my vocal self-esteem is still in tact. They wanted to let me through, of course! They just didn't have the numbers to do so.

The saddest part was when I had to call the super precious girls and tell them that I didn't make the cut. They cried.

Dang it.

So I opened Garage Band and recorded a Taylor Swift song for them to listen to. It seemed to tide them over.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


So there are those people. The "literally" people.

"Literally" guy: I literally laughed my head off!
Other person: I'm worried for your well being.

THEN. There are those "You mean figuratively!" people.

"Literally" guy: You are literally blowing my mind!
"You mean figuratively" guy: You mean "figuratively". I'm figuratively blowing your mind.

The thing is... no one means "figuratively". When you say figuratively, it takes all the punch out. Literally is kind of a dumb thing to say, but figuratively just sounds pretentious and completely takes the impact our of your statement.

Person: I am literally in love with this grapefruit.
Other person: Why don't you marry it??
Person: Fine. I am figuratively in love with this grapefruit.
Other person: If your love is only figurative, your grapefruit is underappreciated.
Person: I can't win.
Grapefruit: Neither can I.

Sometimes the correctors are more obnoxious than the correct-ees. And by sometimes, I mean usually.

The other overcorrected thing is this: the pronunciation of the word "mountain". This will be hard to type about because it's an auditory problem, but I'll try my best.

Many people from Utah pronounce "mountain" like this: moun-ehn. With equal emphasis on each syllable and with hardly any effort from their mouth/tongue. It's a lazy pronunciation.

MORE obnoxious, though, are the people who say this. "People from Utah are SO dumb! They say moun-ehn when normal people say mounTain!" They express total belief that is is completely normal to pronounce the T in mountain as if they're from jolly old Britain. No one says "mounTain". You sound like an a-hole.

I stand by this: the most common way to pronounce "mountain" is the subtle "moun-n". With no obvious T, but with some effort put forth by your mouth; as if it's trying to do its job.

 Or "moe-TAYNE". Both are acceptable to me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Burn

Haaaaaappy New Year! I hope you had a safe and fun holiday season. I burned my tongue on some pizza 2 days ago (New Years Day!) and it's still recovering. Dang it.

Remember my precious first kiss story? Awwww warm fuzzies! Well, there's another epic boy story I have up my sleeve. Yaay!

Only this one is not precious. This was was a burn. A big, nasty burn. Less physically damaging than my pizza tongue, but certainly more emotionally hurt-y. Here 'tis.

The (non-pizza related) Burn:

Once upon a time I decided I wanted to major in film at BYU. In order to do that, you have to apply to the program. The application process is a B. It's really long and really hard.

I was working on my application while I was in a prerequisite class for the major. In my class, there was a boy. I will change the name of this particular boy, just for funsies. We'll call him Josh.

While working on becoming a film major, everyone said that it was a good idea to network, meet people, shmooze. While I was exercising my film major muscles, I decided to meet Josh and add him to my professional network.

Josh was super intimidating. He was applying to be a film major too, only his resume included lots of film work and he was practically Steven Spielberg.

I was all, "Moooooveeeees." and he was all, "Cinematography, low-key lighting, post-modernism!"

We decided to get together so he could help me with my application. We met in the library and talked about my resume for about 20 minutes. Then, for about 2 hours we just chatted. About our lives, about majoring in film, about everything. We laughed and laughed. At the end of the night, I went home thinking he was a pretty swell fella. I'd decided that film boys were alright.

The next time we had class, we were sitting together. We started walking home together after class. Then I started hanging out at his apartment after class. We started to become pretty good friends. We could talk for hours and hours. I had never before had a connection that strong with a boy. My perception changed from thinking film boys were great to thinking that Josh was great. Being with him felt so natural. So easy.

I started to fall hard.

There came a point in the class when we were split up into groups. Josh and I were put into the same group. As we would have group meetings and work on the project, we would talk and laugh and talk and laugh. I couldn't believe how effortless it was.

A couple of times I asked him to hang out in an environment that was not related to our project or our class. He was always busy.

But nonetheless, our friendship had blossomed. We were close. We could talk about anything.

In April, the class was coming to an end and with the end of the semester came the summertime. I was going home to Florida and he was going on his mission. It was a big, fatty ending. Josh decided that he wanted to take me to lunch to say a proper good-bye.

We went out to lunch and had a grand time. I gave him a going-away gift. At the end of our lunch date, he said he wanted a hug. I pulled him in for a brief side-hug and called it good. He said he wanted a real hug. I set down the items in my hands and we embraced. It didn't feel like a friend-hug.

Then -- I went home. He went home. I received an email from the film department -- accepted!!! I could hardly stand it. He was accepted too (duh). The universe was a happy place.



I was talking to our mutual friend on the phone one night. We'll call him Paul. Paul was also in our prereq class. He and Josh had been friends a long time. Paul liked to bug me about my feelings for Josh, but it was mostly friendly.

This particular night, though. Paul let something slip. Something I wasn't supposed to know.

In all of the time I had spent with Josh, in all of the hours we had spent chatting and laughing, walking home, working on our project, etc, he had not once mentioned his girlfriend.

His serious girlfriend.

The girl he had begun dating before he even met me.

Anyway.... Paul mentions this to me one night. I felt like a TOTAL retard. I wanted to dig a hole and climb in as far as I could go. The universe was not a happy place. Josh was happily dating a super great girl. A super great girl who was probably laughing at me the whole time I was in love with her boyfriend.

A few weeks later, I get a phone call from Josh. He's about to go on his mission and he won't have contact for a while (two years). He wants to say good-bye and wish me well.

I wish I could say that I held my head high and sassed him like he deserved -- some kind of well-rehearsed speech. Truth be told, though, I stuttered like a maniac. I could barely get the words out. Despite my sudden speech impediment, I did tell Josh that I heard about his girlfriend. I told Josh that he probably should have mentioned her to me. Josh stumbled through an apology. I told Josh to have a nice mission.

Time passed. He was off to serve the Lord. I was now a film major. I was enjoying it like nothing I'd ever enjoyed before. I was learning and growing and getting involved in everything. It was amazing.

Josh was an excellent missionary. We wrote letters periodically, just as friends. He would send me pictures of his various goings-on and I would tell him about the progress I was making as a film major. It was his turn to be impressed with my resume.

Two years later, he came home.

I was working on a movie. He was working on that same movie. We ran into each other on set. It was strange, but fine. Unfortunately, however, talking to him hadn't become more difficult. We could still chat and joke like the ironic friendship we had before his mission. I made a point of telling him that I had a boyfriend, though. haha, I made sure he knew that.

Production ended on the movie we were working on. It was back to work for me and back to classes for him -- he was just getting started, after all.

We talked online occasionally and I made sure to have a few more awkward conversations before I felt settled about the whole thing. I asked him if he was still dating that girl -- yes. I asked him if we could just forget all the messy crap that had happened and just be friends -- yes. I asked him the ever eloquent question of "are we ok?" -- yes. I hope he burned that stupid gift I gave him when he was about to go on his mission.

Anyway... he's married now. To the girl. The girl who waited. The girl he loves. I think I got a wedding announcement. I put it on the fridge. Then I threw it away -- along with all of his letters.

I was upset for a while about this, but I'm not anymore. I'm genuinely glad that he's happy. I've learned a lot from that experience and I'm glad that I had it. To Josh I may just be that dweeby girl that had a major crush; just a minor speedbump on the road to his happy eternal marriage.

To me, Josh is a reminder that I am worth more than that.

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