Sunday, March 28, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I know a lot of people who complained about this book because a) it's pretty freaking huge and b) Harry's super moody through the whole thing. I didn't mind either of these things. I love Harry so much that I would have been happy with a 1,000-page book—in fact, that's what I was secretly hoping for when book seven came out.

As for Harry's moodiness, let's take a little look at what this poor kid has gone through: He witnesses a fellow student's death, which would be traumatizing enough. But on top of that, he witnesses Voldemort, the most evil and most feared wizard in history, return to full power. Umm, scary. Then he is forced to listen to Voldemort monologue about murdering his parents and about how much he wants to kill Harry. Then Voldemort tortures and nearly kills Harry, a situation from which Harry only narrowly escapes. Then he has to go back to the Muggle family that treats him like dirt, and where he gets absolutely no news from anyone, including his very best friends, who seem to be leaving him out of all of the festivities. Then he has to fight dementors, for which he is nearly expelled. Then he learns that no one believes his story and that everyone thinks he's a delusional show-off and that the Ministry of Magic is doing their best to discredit him. Then he goes back to Hogwarts, where he is supposed to feel at home, to find that his fellow students are afraid of him and that the school is coming under the tyrannical reign of Dolores Umbridge, which means that his one safe place in the entire world has been taken away from him.

Whew, that's quite a list. I think I'd be a little moody, too.

Harry's moodiness makes him real—it makes him believable. Rowling is too good of a character writer to allow Harry to be just as carefree and glib as he was before. It wouldn't have made sense. If Harry had seemed to have no lasting effects from everything that he was going through, I would have hated this book. As it was, I loved it, because I love everything about real, deep, complex, true-to-life characters. Character development is my favorite part of pretty much anything I read.

The Good: The whole opening sequence of Harry fighting the dementors and then having to explain everything to the Dursleys—the juxtaposition of the wizarding world colliding with the Dursleys' gleaming kitchen is fabulous; the war against Grimmauld Place; Luna Lovegood; Dumbledore's Army; seeing Lockhart in St. Mungo's; Harry's exclusive interview with Rita Skeeter; the way the students hide The Quibbler from Umbridge; Professor McGonagall standing up for Harry's ambition to be an Auror; the fireworks: "A sparkler floated past the tower, still resolutely spelling out the word POO"; Fred and George's exit: "Give her hell from us, Peeves"; the way the teachers don't do anything to help Umbridge; seeing Umbridge taken away by the centaurs; Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna's willingness to go with Harry to the Department of Mysteries; Dumbledore showing up and saving the day; the members of the D.A. jinxing Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle; Harry's reception party and Moody threatening Uncle Vernon.

The Bad: The incredible frustration of the way Fudge treats Harry at the hearing; Sirius's anger at Harry for not being as reckless as James was; all of Umbridge's lousy Educational Decrees; Harry, Fred, and George getting banned from Quidditch; Harry's fear that he's being possessed by Voldemort; Grawp; Harry's vision of Sirius getting captured by Voldemort; Kreacher lying to Harry; Sirius going through the veil.

The Ugly: Every single little thing about Dolores Umbridge—I don't care if she's a fictional character—I still hate her (and I hate it when she shows her ugly face again in book seven); Molly Weasley's boggart; Harry's vision of Arthur Weasley getting attacked by the snake; Ron catching the brain.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WLW Week 3

This week sucked badly enough that I'm not going to even write about my progress. Because there wasn't any. I don't think I kept a single one of my goals, and the scale went the wrong direction. Again. I'm starting again tomorrow.

But I do have my excuses. As per the post below, I got sick, and now I'm doing my best to conserve all of my energy so I can do what I need to do tomorrow. Then, after tomorrow is (finally) over, I will get back to my WLW goals. I promise I will. I'm just takin' a little break, is all. I'm gonna go back to my lemon tea now.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Body Hates Me

My body chose the absolute worst possible time to get sick. And the worst possible place in my body to get sick.

On Friday morning, I woke up with a sore throat, which sucked for two reasons: a) I had an audition (singing required) in four days, and b) I hate sore throats. The sore throat persisted the entire weekend. Luckily, I had decided to go home for the weekend, so I got babied by my mom while I was sick. That was much better than having to take care of myself in my apartment, that's for sure.

By Monday afternoon, my sore throat was abating, which was looking good for my Tuesday night audition. I even practiced my songs some. But as the night went on, my voice got croakier. I probably should have stopped talking in order to conserve what little voice I had left, but I didn't. And I woke up this morning, the day of my audition, with no voice. Brilliant.

I called the theater, and luckily they had openings for Thursday. So now I'm auditioning on Thursday, and I'm really hoping it doesn't conflict with the Relief Society activity that I'm supposed to be singing at for my friend. I'm probably cutting it pretty close, but I'm determined to make it work.

So today and tomorrow will consist of me sipping herbal tea, sucking on lozenges, and refraining from speech. Hopefully those things combined will help ensure that I have a voice on Thursday, because I'm seriously going to need it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


My dad has officially poisoned me. Not that it's a recent thing, or anything —it's just been a little bit more obvious to me this past week, that's all.

On Thursday, BYU played Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And they won. It was the first time in 17 years that BYU had made it past the first round of the tournament, which was awesome. I went home on my lunch break so I could watch at least part of the game. It was a good game. Unfortunately, I had to drive back to work right when the first overtime ended, so I didn't get to see the awesome second overtime. Oh well.

Anyway . . . the point I'm trying to make is that I love sports. When I go to the gym and use a machine with a TV on it, I usually try to find a basketball game to keep me entertained while I run. If there isn't a Jazz game on, I'll find a different game. I often wonder how many people look at me funny because I'm a girl who's choosing to watch sports rather than American Idol or TLC or something.

I know there a lot of girls out there who like sports. I'm not incredibly unique in that. But I'm still kind of weird. My dad keeps warning me not to let my sports knowledge spill out too quickly around guys—apparently they don't like it much when girls know more about sports than they do. And I know a lot about sports. You don't grow up with a sports fanatic and basketball ref of a father (and two sports fanatic brothers) without learning about the rules and getting into the games. I've been watching sports my whole life, and I enjoy it. Live, on TV—I enjoy it either way. And that's not going to change any time soon.

All I can say now is, "Go Cougs!" I'm looking forward to (hopefully) watching a win tonight against Kansas State. All BYU's got to do is play their game, and they'll have a decent chance to win this thing. Let's go BYU! Sweet Sixteen here we come!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WLW Week 2

How I did this week:
1. Run 3 times/week: 3/3—check
2. Resistance training 3 times/week: 3/3—check
3. Drink 64 oz. of water: 6/7—fail! Again! Seriously, the weekends are rough for me, man.
4. Stop snacking: I will have to say fail on this one. I was really good the beginning of the week, but then I got bad again. Snacking will be the death of me.
5. Smaller portions: fail! I think. To be honest, I haven't paid that much attention. Which leads me to believe that I failed.
6. No eating after 8 p.m.: check. I'm pretty sure I've been pretty good there.

I freaking gained .5 pounds this week! Lame sauce! I was so mad when I weighed in this morning. And since I've been pretty good about working out, I think it has something to do with my eating habits. Therefore, I'm going to make a change this next week! I swear I will. Well, I have to, otherwise my goals are garbage. I'm also going to make a change to the workouts I've been doing between running days. I don't think what I've been doing lately has been particularly effective. Ugh! Today was a frustrating day. But I will press forward anyway.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Going Strong

Last year, I wrote this blog post about my newfound love of instrumental music. I'm here to say that my love is still going strong. I've actually been on kind of an instrumental kick lately—it's about all I want to listen to. Instrumental is now the biggest playlist on my iPod—I never thought that would happen.

Here are some new acquisitions:

I'm especially loving Danny Elfman right now. He's pretty dang awesome. I'm planning on tracking down the soundtrack from The Corpse Bride sometime soon. I also really want to get the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack—it's by Hans Zimmer, who is also awesome.

Just for the heck of it, here are a few old soundtracks that I have recently come to love:

 anyone else seeing a Johnny Depp theme here?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I love Goblet of Fire, probably because it's darker and a bit more mature. I love that the books grow up with Harry, and this one is where that growth really becomes evident. This book is another one with a major twist that Rowling planned beautifully. You never would have guessed it while reading the book, but the revelation doesn't leave you thinking, "Wait, what? How does that add up?" There is so much depth to this novel, and the way it is framed by the Triwizard Tournament is brilliant.

The Good: The Weasleys' arrival at Privet Drive ending with Uncle Vernon throwing china knick-knacks at Arthur; meeting Bill and Charlie; the Quidditch World Cup; "I like a nice breeze 'round my privates, thanks"; learning about the Unforgivable Curses; meeting the students of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang; Harry beating the Hungarian Horntail and Ron talking to him again; Harry's nervousness about asking someone to the Yule Ball; Dumbledore's complete faith in Harry; "You fail to recognize that it is not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!"; "What's comin' will come, an' we'll meet it when it does"; Harry giving Fred and George his Triwizard winnings.

The Bad: Harry's name coming out of the goblet; Ron's silence toward Harry (I always have to read the 92 pages where Ron isn't talking to Harry in one sitting because I hate it so much); Rita Skeeter and all of her ridiculous articles; Harry's incredibly stressful near failure at the second task; Cornelius Fudge's refusal to believe that Voldemort has returned.

The Ugly: Everything that happens after Harry touches the Triwizard Cup: Cedric's death; Voldemort's temporary body; bone of the father, flesh of the servant, blood of the foe; the duel—Voldemort is a grown man who is torturing a fourteen-year-old boy—how sick and twisted is that?; Voldemort in general—I know he's not real, but he's still one of the scariest and most brutal villains I have seen—it's quite brilliant how Rowling manages to make him feel believable even though his complete lack of conscience is so extreme.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I was really brave today. I called the Orem Hale Centre Theatre and made an appointment to audition for "110 in the Shade" on March 23rd. I'm already freaking out about it, and it's still a week and a half away!

But there are some specific reasons I'm auditioning:
  1. I haven't been in a show since high school, and I've wanted to be in one again for a long, long time. Being in a musical is just so much fun. I love it.
  2. I want the opportunity to meet new people and break out of myself a little bit. I've kept mostly to myself the past few months, and I don't spend a lot of time with people other than my roommates. I want to change things up a bit and prove to myself that I'm not a wuss.
  3. This is the biggest reason I'm auditioning for this specific show: Audra McDonald and Will Swenson are playing the lead roles for the first two weeks of the show. In case you don't know who those people are, I will enlighten you. Audra McDonald is a three-time Tony Award-winning Broadway actress, and Will Swenson is a Tony Award-nominated Broadway actor (who also happens to be the same guy who was in "The Singles' Ward" and "The RM"). When else am I going to have an opportunity to perform on stage with actors of that caliber? Never, that's when. If I don't at least try, I'll regret it for the rest of my life. I really will. 

That, my friends, is Audra McDonald. And she's amazing. Hence the three Tony Awards. And hence the coolness of the opportunity to perform with her.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holy Nerd, Batman

I've always known that I'm a nerd. You can't have a favorite punctuation mark without being a nerd. It's just not possible. But today my nerdiness was made more manifest than ever, pretty much.

I have a good friend who likes to give people gifts. Well, this friend (whose name I'm not going to say because I don't think he'd want me to, but he knows who he is) saw this frustrated blog post and decided he would send me something to cheer me up. This is what he got me:

Yes, that is a dictionary. The best American dictionary you can get. Unabridged. And it's AWESOME. It really is. The more I look at, the more excited I am that I now own an unabridged dictionary. Plus it comes with a free year-long subscription to the online version—which I will most definitely use. See what I mean? NERD! Who in their right mind gets excited about dictionaries?

Oh, right. An editor.

But really . . . look at the size of this thing! It's huge!

And I love it. Thank you, dear friend. Your kindness and generosity never cease to amaze me.

The Piano Is Here!

So this post may be a couple of weeks late, but better late than never, right? Right.

My piano is here! And it's fabulous. Really. I love it. I love it a lot a lot. I honestly think I've been a little bit calmer about some things since I got the piano simply because playing the piano is one of my favorite and most effective stress relievers. When I'm upset, I pound away my frustrations for an hour or two, and then I feel better. Just ask my mom, she's seen it in action.

Isn't it purty? I sure think so.

My second piano-related purchase was a pair of headphones so I can play whenever I want without bothering my roommates or the neighbors. And since I was making the purchase anyway, I decided to go for something really cool. No boring headphones for this girl.

I am definitely a fan.

Needless to say, I'm pretty happy about this purchase. It was definitely worth it.

WLW Week 1

How I did this week:
1. Run 3 times/week: 3/3—check!
2. Resistance training 3 times/week: 2/3—fail! But I was sick (in a manner of speaking) on Monday, so I allowed myself an extra day of rest.
3. Drink 64 oz. of water: 6/7—fail! It's so hard to drink enough on Saturdays. And Sundays, for that matter. I think it's because I don't have the endless supply of cold water at home that I have at work.
4. Stop snacking: fail! But I've gotten a bit better over the course of the week. And I went to the grocery store and didn't buy a single item of crap food. Woot!
5. Smaller portions: check-ish. I'm still working on it, but I'm getting there.
6. No eating after 8 p.m.: check for the most part.

I lost 1.5 pounds this week. Not much, I know, but hey, at least it's something! And at least the weight didn't go up. And I've successfully conquered the first week of my running program! I've never been a runner before ever in my life, so the fact that I'm even running a little bit and not passing out is a very good thing. And by the way, inhalers are life savers. Just thought I'd let you know.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fill In the Blanks Friday

So, this is another one of those ideas that I stole from someone else's blog (I'm really good at that). I found it at this cute blog, and I liked it.

1. One thing I MUST do before I die is go on a trip (preferably a long trip) to Europe. The UK, Germany, Italy, France . . . I want to see it all. 

2. I would rather go shoe shopping than go jeans shopping any day.

3. If I could give my younger self one piece of advice it would be to run far, far, FAR away from Mike. Sure he's cute. Sure he's charming. Sure he plays a mean upright bass. But he's also a dirtbag who's going to break your heart over and over and over again. So just save yourself the trouble and get yourself the heck away from him.

4. If I won the lottery tomorrow I'd take that super awesome tour of Europe and then stick the rest in savings so I could accumulate some killer interest while still attempting to live my normal life. Then I could be a stay-at-home mom without worrying about finances and I could go on all of the vacations that I want to go on and I could buy all the books I want for my library.

5. The best surprise ever was when I got the first four Harry Potter books for Christmas. I didn't even know I wanted them, but Mom and Dad somehow did. They were some of the first books I owned myself, and they spawned a love for pretty much everything HP that persists to this very day. (As I look over at book four that's sitting right next to my laptop that I will continue reading once I finish this post.)

6. My biggest fault is that I have no motivation and no courage, which kind of go hand-in-hand. I have no motivation to push myself to do anything because I'm constantly afraid I'll fail or I'll get rejected. If I don't try in the first place, I don't have to worry about it. I'm chicken-liver, it's true.

7. My biggest strength is that I care about things. A lot. That's sometimes a weakness (or at least seen as one), but I think it's a strength. I'm very passionate. If I'm close to someone, I'm very loyal. I like to think I'd do whatever I could to help the people I love. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Woot for another three-post day! I've apparently really gotten addicted to this whole blogging thing. I'm okay with that.

I'm completely stealing this idea from Megan, but I don't think she'll mind. (I'm even stealing some of her goals—they're good ones.) As anyone who has ever read my Pursuit of Skinniness blog knows, I have been trying to eat healthier and get in shape, with the end result being a skinnier me. As anyone who reads that blog also knows, I haven't exactly been good at this goal. So I'm going to try another tactic and post my progress on this blog, with Weight-Loss Wednesdays, because I think more people read it, and I'll feel a bit more accountable to this blog than to my other one. Though I do think I'm going to try to keep up with the other one, too.

My weight goal: lose 30 pounds total.

How to achieve this goal:
1. Run (or some other cardio) 3 times/week
2. Resistance training 3 times/week
3. Drink 64 oz. of water a day
4. Stop snacking!!
5. Smaller portions.
6. No eating after 8 p.m.

Check-in points:
1. Every Wednesday.
2. April 28—I hope to have lost 10 pounds by this date.
3. June 23—I hope to have lost another 10 pounds, for a total of 20.
4. August 18—I hope to have lost another 10 pounds, for a total of 30.

There's no check-in this week because I started today. But I did go to the gym and ran for 30 minutes, and did a couple weights. I wanted to get this up on my blog ASAP so I had something to hold me accountable for the rest of the week. Here's to finally sticking to a weight plan!

(By the way, guess who I saw at Gold's tonight? Ryan and Ashleigh Di Lello, from the last season of So You Think You Can Dance. No, I didn't talk to them, but they were there, and it was kind of cool. Even though they are exactly the kind of people I hate at the gym because they're beautiful and make me feel like a blob.)

Someone To Perform With

"So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin,
you're waiting for someone to perform with.
And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do,
the movement you need is on your shoulder."
     - Hey Jude, the Beatles

Today at work, we were having a music break, which is when everyone in the data team office picks a song and IMs it to Karly so she can play it on her nice speakers. (And no, I didn't choose "Hey Jude" . . . I chose "This Too Shall Pass"—see post below.) Karly chose a cool song, and when we asked her who it was by, she said it was her fiancé, which is so cool.

All that I could think of at that point was how much I want to marry someone who is musically inclined. I'm not saying that if a guy isn't musically talented, I'm going to write him off. But there's really nothing more attractive than a guy who can play an instrument and sing. Chances are that even if I don't think a guy is really attractive to begin with, as soon as he picks up a guitar or sits down at a piano and busts out some good vocals, I'm going to be much more interested. That's just the way it is.

Besides the attraction factor, performing is something that I love to do. I love singing in sacrament meeting or in talent shows or just singing at the top of my lungs in my car. Music is incredibly important to me, and I want to be able to really share that with my future husband. I look at my parents, who perform together all the time, and I want that.

Sure, this may sound picky. But I'm as single as I can get right now, so I'm allowed to fantasize about what I want when I'm finally no longer single, right?

This Too Shall Pass

This is hands down the absolute best music video ever made. Thanks, Ben, for emailing it to me. It's awesome.

(And by the way, you might just have to youtube it yourself . . . blogger isn't conducive to the widescreen, so a lot of it gets cut off—and believe me, you want to see all of it.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dear Cleaning Checks,

I hate you. If I don't pass tomorrow after who knows how many hours of cleaning, I'm going to be very angry.