Australia Trip, Day 5: Find Your Own Chair to Sit In

It’s August 16, 2010. It doesn’t feel like a Monday, probably because it still feels like a Sunday night to me where I’m from, the rightside-up part of the world.

We’re going to the City today. Wee!

It’s a gorgeous day. We eat lots of good food. We walk around the city in a leisurely, touristy way. We pass through the Botanic Gardens and along the Harbour. The Opera House is incredible, and a school group is sitting on the steps. I sit with the kiddies while Becky takes a picture.

The water is such a magnificent blue.

Becky and I meet Karl and Analiese at a Lindt café for lunch, and it’s lovely.

Becky and I wander through some fun shops and mosey on over to the ANZAC Memorial where we encounter Utahns. I want to scatter them, this flock of Utahns, and I want to yell at them to get out of my vacation. Not appropriate for honoring war servicemen. I hold back, and the Utahns eventually go away. No harm done, just a little surprising for me is all.

We end the walking tour sitting on the lawn in front of a cathedral with symmetrical spires and buttresses and roseate stained glass. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but I’m using it anyway. We talk about serious things. I cry a little while Becky listens. It’s like old times.

When we get back to the apartment, we head out to pick up dinner from a nonfancy (the best kind, if you ask me) fish and chips place. I get to hold the bundle of butcher paper, our tasty swaddle. Becky teaches me to poke a hole in the package so the steam doesn’t make the chips soggy. That’s a great trick.

Click on the picture of the fish and chips to see the flickr set from today.

Like Who?

Sometimes it’s this:

I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Other times it’s this:

I write like
Cory Doctorow

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!


I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

And also:

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

And, after one last sample, this:

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

So, what a fun little algorithm thingy. I write like Margaret Atwood and a bunch of men. There’s my halloween costume!

Atwood: Canadian, novelist, short storyist, other stuffist. (Very incisive style.)
Doctorow: Canadian, novelist, blogger.
King: American, novelist, other stuffist. (I like his tips on writing. His horror is compelling, and maybe I agree with his comments on Stephenie Meyer. Maybe.)
Wallace: American, novelist, essayist. (“Consider the Lobster” is pretty dang awesome. His commentary on Kafka is great, too.)
Nabokov: Russian, novelist, short storyist. (I’m not very familiar with Nabokov, but I do appreciate Russian literature quite a bit.)

These authors are all rather dark, but I trust the algorithm thingy uses keys words and syntax to determine common styles. This doesn’t mean that I’m trying to deny the melancholy or macabre in my stuff, I just find it all very interesting.


Je vais commencer d’écrire en français au moins une fois chaque semaine, parce que je veux améliorer.

Je viens de parler avec Mme Thompson, et c’était amusant. Elle m’a donné beaucoup d’information et m’a montré des photos. J’ai posé des questions, et elle a répondu. Pourtant, quand je suis entrée dans le bureau, j’ai oublié comment parler en français (parce que j’étais nerveuse), donc nous avons parlé en anglais.

Elle a posé des questions de mes notes. Quand je lui ai dit, elle a dit que je ferais le prochaîne suivant.

Au sujet avons-nous parlé? Vous êtes curieux, n’est-ce pas?

Last Night’s Setlist

So, the concert was a lot of fun. We waited for an hour outside while whoever was in charge was taking their time admitting the crazy long line. Once we got in, it was crowded. The show sold out, and while we stood next to a bunch of beehives and Mia Maids who talked the entire time (I actually think the father-chaperone was the fan and the girls were an excuse for him to go to the concert), Ingrid put on a fantastic show.


(A story about LeAnn Rimes tweeting Ingrid to maybe hang out sometime, and maybe Ingrid was completely starstruck and hasn’t responded yet, so instead at all her concerts she dedicates the next song to her.)
Once Was Love
Die Alone

Mountain and the Sea
You and I

(A story about covering the next song using a looping pedal at an R.E.M. tribute, where Michael Stipes approached at an afterparty at the City Winery and told her how original and inspiring her cover was, but she was too drunkenly, dumbfoundedly starstruck to say something dignified? so he walked away, but then she tried grabbing him by his far shoulder and ended up caressing his chest. Awesome story.)
New song
New song
The Chain
Locked Up
The Way I Am

Encore (after hiding on stage while we cheered as if they left the stage and wanted an encore):
The Way I Am – punk

Then, when we left the concert, this was waiting for us:

I like fun.

This Week

So far, I’ve discussed a paper with a professor, in whose office I almost cried.

Sometime I’ve got to BS the advisement center into letting me take a class in lieu of another class to meet a major requirement. Should be great.

Tonight, I’m going to an Ingrid Michaelson concert, which is number three for me, and I expect nothing but loads of fun.

Tomorrow, I know something’s going on. Oh yeah, French speaking lab in the morning before my run of classes.

Thursday is a big thing for work that I’ve been helping with. It’ll be fun. Brandon Mull, anyone?

Thursday morning, I get to meet with the world-famous Madame Thompson. Really exciting stuff.

I also have to squeeze in a midterm for my British Literature History class. Not nearly as exciting.

And bake pumpkin bread. Dangit. Almost forgot.

Could someone try looking up a quote by either President Hinckley or President Kimball that states that any two people could be happy together (married) if both of them lived the commandments? I tried looking it up last night, because  my bishop used it in a talk on Sunday, but he only paraphrased it, and he was trying to encourage us to accept our stake’s challenge of going on a date once a week.

Yep, that’s right.

Does anyone want to know my opinion on this?

A Few Updates

Remember when I used to treat this blog like a journal? Remember how particular I used to be about calling it an online journal and NOT a blog? Remember how nearly effortless it was for friends to keep up with my life just by visiting this site? Remember how I sometimes practiced writing on here, or at least thinking by laying out a few ideas?

Times change, and in some ways, so do I. I would like to return to practicing writing, because goodness knows this semester suffers from something wrong with it.

So lately I haven’t shared a lot of details about what’s going on here at the BYU. Part of that is deliberate, part of it is my packed schedule, and all I have time for sometimes is a cute, French video or a photo or general whining. Part of it is letting my inner hermit win, and at times for me, that’s okay.

In case I haven’t told you:

I have a job. I really like it, and the folks there like me, too. It’s taken me two months to figure out how to balance my schedule and moderate my stress level whenever midterms come around and papers are due. I still don’t have it down pat.

French class is kicking my trash. I’m getting used to the format and all the time it demands, from homework to writing labs to speaking labs, to cultural activities to going every single day. But, all that is why I understand and appreciate that BYU probably has the best foreign language program in the Milky Way. And probably even the Andromeda.

Speaking of, has anyone seen the inadvertent meteor shower that Halley’s Comet caused?

Today was a fine day for me commenting in one of my classes. The professor asked for other thoughts about a short story we were discussing. I had been sitting on an idea for a few minutes already, and I was feeling bold, because instinct told me this insight was worthwhile, and so I raised my hand.  I made an initial statement, after which the professor said it was very smart and wanted me to expound upon it. When I did, he followed along when I cited a passage from the text, and then he said, “That’s very smart. I have nothing to add to that.” I smiled, but I wanted to laugh, which is an occasional reaction to compliments. But still, I felt … smart.

And yet, I still have to decide on a favorite class. I like all my classes for different reasons.

The leaves are turning quite nicely. Autumn in Utah has delighted me so far.

There’s family stuff. But there’s always family stuff.

Was it this time last year I was dealing with a Craigslist scam paralyzing my bank account for two weeks?

All things considered, I’m in a much better place.

Australia Trip, Day 4: Sleep and Church on Opposite Sides of the Venn Diagram

(It’s been over two months: Documenting the rest of this trip will be a major test of my memory.)

I wake up in a strange bed, in a strange place. I walk out of the bedroom and check a clock: 3:30am. It’s Sunday, August 15, 2010.

I wake up the computer then go to the kitchen where I started opening and closing cupboard doors. The fridge holds new contents from last night’s grocery shopping.

For some reason I remember where the chips are, which is a different cupboard than the biscuits.

Biscuits are cookies.

I blog for a little bit, then it’s back to the kitchen to my new favorite activity of opening and closing every single panel with hinges.

In and out of sleep until 10:00 am or so, when I decide it’s time for pancakes, because they’re delicious.

Becky and Karl are about to head off to a meeting. But we chat for a little bit while pancakes jump into my mouth.

I read for a little bit before  getting ready for church.

Becky and Karl return from their meetings.

It begins to rain, and Karl tries to use that as an excuse to not to go church.

For lunch, we make sandwiches from the chicken from Red Rooster. We watch the rain turn to hail. Honestly, I’m curious about church here, though I’ve spent most of the summer not really caring about church in general.

The weather has cleared.

Church. Is the same. Except for the accents. And the organist who looks like Ronald Reagan.

We get back to the apartment and change, then we head over to Karl’s parents’ house. They’re rich.

We have a lovely dinner of pork roast, potatoes, green beans, and carrots, and homemade cracklings. And lemon fizzy drink.

The family tells stories around the table. I ask a question every now and then.

After everyone helps with clearing the table, we sit on couches and talk.

Karl’s mum makes fun of his very white legs.

And then, Analiese pulls out of the oven an amazing chocolate pudding for dessert.

She cuts a piece way too big and dollops some cream on top of it. I eat the whole thing, then all of a sudden, being alive is uncomfortable. Maybe it’s sort of like a mild version of hell, where you have too much of a good thing, and the overindulgence is its own punishment.

When we return to the apartment, we rush to get into our pajamas. Then we decide it’s a good idea for Tim Tam Slams, because hedonism and hell both begin with h.


Now watch a famous Australian do it:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

tim tam slam, posted with vodpod

Natalie’s using tea. Other people use coffee, but we use Milo, which is like hot chocolate. After a couple of rounds, we leave the biscuits on the coffee table and settle in to the mammoth leather couch to watch some “Banzai!” then I more or less pass out for a little while before Karl and Becky go to bed.

So maybe overeating and jetlag can be like roofies for Mormons.

La révolution des crabes

We’re only slightly more highly evolved than the crabs.  It took me a long time to learn I didn’t always have to cross the street at crosswalks, and I don’t always have to cross perpendicular to the curb, but I can walk at a diagonal, or at a gentle curve to the other side. Even if it was pathological or even congenital, I could change it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Horrible Sonnet for Jenny’s Birthday

For her thoughts I’d give a penny
Or even a nickel or maybe a quarter
To hear from my good friend Jenny
Her brain a sponge, her will of mortar.

Today is her observed birthday
Wish her well: touching or funny
She’s listened for the past three days
To my mistidings, good friend Jenny.

As a librarian, her voice ain’t tinny
But assuring behind the reference desk
Cardigans create my good friend Jenny
A strong silhouette statuesque.

In all the world there aren’t too many
Wonderful friends like my good friend Jenny.