Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cover Lover: High School Musical Edition

Waterford's alumni dinner was last night. That must be the reason for my recent case of nostalgia. I didn't actually go to the dinner though. Must have been there in spirit, I guess. In honor of 5 years out of high school,  here are some of my favorite songs from that period in my life. BUT THERE IS A TWIST! These are all cover versions. "Clever Gretchen," that's what they call me.

1. The Strokes "Reptilia," as interpreted by Punch Brothers

I've been obsessed with Punch Brothers as of late. OBSESSED. Their cd, Antifogmatic, has been in nonstop rotation. THEYARECOMINGTOUTAHINMARCHANDIAMSOEXCITED!!!! You can get tickets.

2. The Strokes "Last Nite," as interpreted by Adele

Obviously, I am in love with The Strokes. Every single Stroke. But especially Julian Casablancas. He is my favorite Stroke. He collaborates with cool people like Danger Mouse. I don't know much about Adele, but she is cool too. I actually like her interpretation better than the original (!). She won best new artist last year.

3. The Shins "New Slang," as interpreted by Iron Horse

I am also, obviously, on a bluegrass kick. YEEEHAAAAWWW.
Thank you Gilmore Girls. I found out about The Shins through their soundtrack, so I felt pretentiously ahead of the curve when the shins/gradenstate explosion happened. When I went to their concert at the U, I felt underwhelmed. I wish I had been cool enough to hear them play at Kilby Court in 2003. That would have been ideal.

4. Wilco "Jesus Etc.," as interpreted by Norah Jones

This song is always great.

5. Justin Timberlake "Cry Me a River," as interpreted by Glen Hansard of The Swell Season


6. Keane "Everybody's Changing," as interpreted by Lily Allen

I lost "Hopes and Fears," and have yet to replace it. Tragedy. I reallyreally liked that album.

7. Bloc Party "Banquet," as interpreted by Slowbear the Great

Oh my goodness. Do you remember when Bloc Party happened? That was a big deal. I think it is cool that even though this song was released over 5 years ago, it is still totally relevant.

8. Elliott Smith "Between the Bars," as interpreted by Madeleine Peyroux

The video makes me a bit disoriented, so you might want to close your eyes while you listen. This is the song that I found by serendipitous chance when I was 14 as a free download on Amazon. I was hooked on Elliott Smith ever since.

9. Sondre Lerche "Two Way Monologue" as interpreted by... Sondre Lerche

This is cheating, I know. But I felt like Sondre Lerche needed to be included. And in the video he IS kind of covering himself, right? I went on  trip to Europe with my high school, and I kept seeing posters of this guy all over the subways in France? Italy? I don't remember where. And then I came back to the states, and went to Arizona, and my cousin Lucia showed him to me. And then I came home to Salt Lake, and my friend Ingrid reintroduced me to him (she is Norwegian after all).
It was January of 2008, middle of the Sundance film festival. I had just received my mission call two weeks previous, so every minute felt like the-last-time-I-would-get-to-do-anything-ever. In that spirit, Ingrid and I decided to go to Park City to try and see Sondre Lerche who was scheduled to perform at the Music Cafe on main. He had recently been featured in "Dan in Real Life," so that's why he was there.
Never mind the fact we didn't have credentials.
Never mind the fact that I wasn't 21 yet.
It was a miracle every step of the way.
Parking is usually difficult during the festival, but we found a parking spot right away, even though it was far. We cautiously navigated through slushy streets, when a fancy black car pulled up alongside us. The driver offered to give us a ride.
1st moral of the story: ALWAYS accept rides form strangers.
We got in. Our chauffeur was obviously "not from around these parts," and he assumed we were from out of state as well. He was wearing LEATHER pant. Really. And spiky hair, stiffly gelled, bleached at the tips. He was probably older than my dad, weird. He railed against the "****ing cold" and the "****snow," but we appreciated his help regardless.
Finally we made it to the cafe. We had our plan laid out before hand. Ingrid had her Norwegian birth certificate, so she would use that as her I.D. and feign lack of proficiency in English. I would sort of try to get in on her coat tails. I left my drivers licence in the car so that I could truthfully say I "didn't have my i.d." without admitting the fact I was underage anyway. At the door, the bouncer looked at Ingrid's passport.
"So, you're from Norway?"
"Yah," she said. Her expression: blank.
2nd moral of the story: When in doubt, pretend like you don't speak English.

He let her in.
I fumbled; too slow.
I told him I forgot my ID. I told him I didn't have credentials. He wouldn't let me in.
I waited.
Meanwhile, Ingrid was inside. She called me a couple times trying to figure out what we were going to do.
"Oh wait!" she said. "I see Sondre! I'll ask him for help."
She speaks Norwegian, so they had a nice chat. She says he was very friendly. He actually went and talked to his manager to see if there was anything he could do. But Patti Smith was playing after him, so there was already a line of 50 people that actually had credentials that they were not letting in. So he couldn't really help.
Ingrid told me she was going to come out because I couldn't get in. I didn't want her to miss the show, so I told her to wait; I would figure something out.
I left my spot as first in line, and walked down the block, trying to find a way to the back of the club. Success!
I found the back door, surrounded by chilly smokers. We chatted. I told them I was waiting for a friend. Then these guys walked outside:

They are rappers featured in the documentary "Slingshot Hip Hop".

 Apparently they had just finished playing their set. They asked me what I was doing standing in the cold; I told them I was waiting for a friend to help me get in. They smiled and said not to worry about it.
"You can come in with us."
I tried to act nonchalant as we walked in, sure that someone would stop me and send me back out; but my new friends were a good cover.
3rd moral of the story: A Palestinian entourage equals instant credibility.

Ingrid was surprised to see me. So we got to see Sondre play! It was great. Here is a video of part of his performance:

That's that.
Hope you enjoyed my blast from the past.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Our holiday was lovely and relaxed. I got Ed Hardy air-fresheners and Juicy Couture perfume. I am a classy lady indeed. We had Christmas bread and a danish egg dish which I've always pronounced "ek-eh-cow", but apparently its full name is Flaeskeaeggekage. Then we were off to see The King's Speech, which was great. Dinner was at Billie Anns with the Troutners, and then we settled in at home.

Later that night, I realized I was due for a trip to the house on 18th ave (their christmas light are even bigger and better this year if you can imagine that!). So we packed into my car and drove up Virginia street. Soon after we turned onto 11th, when I saw something in the road. It was large, about the size of a beach ball, and black. We couldn't tell what it was, so we turned around to get another look at it. It was a porcupine! It guess looked something like this:

Except bigger and kind more weird/scary looking. For a while, I couldn't tell if it was dead or alive, then I saw it move in a sort of sad, half-hearted way.

I was so worried that it was injured, the poor thing. I tried to shine my lights on it so that people would see it when they drove. I was putting it in more peril with how I was parked, so I turned around again. When we parked, we saw that it was making gradual progress to the other side of the road. A car was pulled pulled over in front of us. A man got out and came over to chat. "We're trying keep people from running it over, " I said. "Yeah," he said. "I saw it while I was driving, and I came back and brought some fruit because I heard that they like it". Isn't that sweet? We were worried that it was injured, but the guy said that he read online that they just move really slowly. "I want to give it some fruit," he said. "But I don't want it to, you know, shoot it's spikes out at me". Yes. It was a precarious situation.

We turned off our lights (which I think were scaring it) and it began to make more progress. When it was safely across, we left. Our new friend said he would keep an eye on it for a bit more.

Yesterday in Relief Society, our lesson was on the Thomas S. Monson's general conference talk about gratitude. Aldous Huxley wrote, "Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted". So in the lingering spirit of Christmas, I want to thank you, dear readers. Often times, I am too independent to accept help; too stubborn to admit weakness.  Like the porcupine, I have a spiky exterior, and wander in the middle of the road, confident that I will be perfectly fine by myself. But you have been kind and patient with me. Although I seemed oblivious to your help, you kept me safe. I'm sorry if I shot spikes at you. I'm sorry if I didn't say anything before. I'm sorry if we haven't talked in forever. Your influence is felt, and has guided me for good. I haven't forgotten you.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Feliz Nochebuena

If you have ever been to the Broadway Centre Theatre (it's artsy, hence the centre and theatre) in downtown Salt Lake, you know Eli Potash. Every time I go to a movie, he is there, playing his cello. This Christmas, he got a gift. I recommend starting the video at 3:25:

Kinda nice.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Subversion and Diversion

Lots of snow : Lots of time inside
Which means I finally got to watch Exit Through the Gift Shop.
"I think the joke is on... I don’t know who the joke is on, really. I don’t even know if there is a joke."
I read La Invencion de Morel for my spanish class about a month ago. It explores some of the same themes as gift shop does. *SPOILER, for like, the rest of this post* In the novel, Morel attempts to preserve moments, just like Thierry Guetta in the movie. Morel does this by creating a machine that projects holographic recordings(?) of a week with his friends. Thierry does this by obsessively video-taping every moment of his family's life. "This way, I can capture them forever," he says. One could argue whether or not Morel or Theirry's "inventions" are successful, or even real.
It is interesting that in the preface to the novel, Jorge Luis Borges says that he considers the novel "perfect". But part of the core of the novel is questioning what perfection is. Morel creates a sort of immortality that is so real, the main character wants to become a part of it. But is the new reality he has become a part of (which actually costs him his life) actually "perfect"? So maybe what Borges is saying is that this novel is as perfect as perfect can be. Maybe his endorsement is more like Banksy's endorsement of Mr. Brainwash: "[he] is a force of nature; he's a phenomenon. And I don't mean that in a good way." No, Borges really liked Adolfo Bioy Casares, I just like thinking that their endorsements have a similar tone.
So this documentary premiered at Sundance last year. Banksy stenciled it up around Salt Lake and Provo, and I got to see a bit of what he did:

I had no idea that I had a poster by Shephard Fairey in my room. He is featured in the movie.
It is this one:

Also, I think that if Banksy were a music artist, he would be Das Racist:

If anyone finds a clean version of their single, "You Oughta Know," I want it.
Also again, I really liked 50 Wonderful Things from 2010 by NPR. Especially this:

All I want for Christmas is Carl Kassel's voice on my answering machine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It looks likes this outside:

There is a lot of Snow.

"hmm. maybe we could jump off this? no? Well what about this?"

This is the way you think when you are surrounded by Snow have your choice of balconies, ledges, porches basketball hoops, and fences from which you can leap.

One of the perks of having Snow everywhere is that it makes you invincible. Crash anywhere, and there is a fluffy cushion to save you from injury.

Unless you are in a car.

Or that unassuming pile of Snow is actually hiding boulders of ice.

As a consequence of this snowy life, I have become snuffly. So I have been humming alot.

My life is dictated by the SNOW SNOW SNOW. Snow decides if I go to class. Snow decides if I go to church. Snow decides what time I wake up. Snow decides what time I go to bed.
All over the place. I spent 8 hours shoveling it Monday, 6 hours today, and many more countless hours of it till the spring. It is omnipresent.

But instead of becoming an enemy, I consider Snow a dear friend.

P.S. It's almost Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December Mix #2: Mellow Songs to Help You Feel Chill

After reviewing this mix, I found that it was more melancholy then mellow. That was unintentional. Here it is!

Mix #2: Mellow Songs to Help You Feel Chill

1. Winter Song - The Head And The Heart
2. Roses - Harlowe and The Great North Woods
3. Buffalo - Mountain Man
4. If I Had A Boat - James McMorrow
5. To Know You Is to Love You - Syreeta
6. I Want The World To Stop - Belle & Sebastian
7. When I Grow Up (Fever Ray cover) - First Aid Kit
8. Enchanting Ghost - Sufjan Stevens
9. Your Song - Ellie Goulding
10. À ton étoile (Yann Tiersen mix) - Noir Désir
11. On The Nature Of Daylight - Max Richter
12. This Is The Song [Good Luck] - Punch Brothers
13. California Sunrise - Dirty Gold 

3. You may know Mountain Man because they opened for Jonsi
5. Stevie Wonder also sings on this song
6. Belle & Sebastian have been around FOR-EV-ER
7. The real version of this, is creepy
10. This is what it says, supposedly:
Right under the light
and silent in the shadow
If you're looking for an unreachable shelter
Know that it isn't far, and that we shine there.

To your star

Little sister of my nights
I've been missing all this
When you saved face
For many others than me
Know that I don't forget anything, but that we erase

To your star

Always at the horizon
of the setting suns
as we don't have the choice, we still have the heart
You can spit, even laugh, and you owe it

To your star

To Marcos, to joy
To the beauty of dreams
To melancholy
To the hope that keeps us together
To the health of the fire and the flame

To your star
I don't know if this is really what it says. Maybe one of you out that could verify that for me? Regardless, it is bewitching, isn't it?

Friday, December 17, 2010

December Mix #1: Party Songs to Give You A Thrill

I found so much cool music while I was studying, I had to make TWO mixes to share them all! You can find links to download mp3's at to almost all of these tracks on Hype Machine, which they just redesigned by the way.

Mix 1: Party Songs to Give You A Thrill

1. "My Body" - Young the Giant
2. "Little Secrets (Plus Move Remix feat. Future Kiddd)" - Passion Pit
3. "Black & Gold" - Ellie Goulding
4. "Lost In The World (Feat. Bon Iver)" - Kanye West
5. "The Walk (Mt Eden Remix)" - Imogen Heap
6. "Second Lives" - Vitalic
7. "Drive Like You Stole It (Trowa Remix)" - The Glitch Mob
8. "Feel Good Inc. (RIOT 87 VIP Dubstep Remix)" - Gorillaz
9. "Wake Up (Arcade Fire Cover)" - John Legend & The Roots
10. "I've got that tune" - Chinese man records
11. "Georgia (Cee-Lo Green cover)" - Band Of Horses
12. "Cha Cha Cha" - Jimmy Luxury & the Tommy Rome Orchestra
13. "Heartlove-FISHING-Backyard-Bonding-Remix" - Alpine
14. "Sun of a Gun" - Oh Land
15. "Ambling Alp" - Yeasayer
16. "You Wouldn't Have To Ask" - Bad Books
17. "The Show Goes On" - Lupe Fiasco

P.S. So it turns out I like dubstep. At least that's what they tell me. Who knew? Kind of scary though. I guess that is the influence of my early years in London.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Walk

Done and done!

I'm relieved.
Can you tell?

All i have left is a New Testament final. I'm sure it will be a piece of celestial cake.

I took a walk up the closed part of the canyon last week. It was nice. And it belongs only to me until the snow melts and they open it up again in May. I guess I'll share these pictures with you though.

"Mount Krumpet"

There's Sundance!

trying not to fall down the hill...

Jana is more lady-like

if you hold still enough, you might blend in


I can't believe Jana is leaving!!!

and Josie!!!

and Janell!!!

haha. I know this isn't my room mate, but I didn't have a picture with her! Plus, for halloween, Janell dressed up as a zebra and did her hair kind of like this, so she kinda looked a little bit like Janelle Monae.

I'm going to miss you girls. I don't know what I'll do without the "J"- team.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Which Will

"You can say the sun is shining if you really want to 

I can see the moon and it seems so clear

You can take the road that takes you 
to the stars now

I can take a road that’ll see me through"

Most of the time, when I tell people that I've switched majors, they give me a look kind of like this:

I find myself insufficiently articulate, and can't really explain the why, or what, or how I know it's all going to come together. I feel pretty good about it, but I guess I'm just not really convincing. Turns out I decided to switch majors at the perfect time, since apparently, anthropology isn't a SCIENCE anymore. So dumb. But it's forced me to think a lot the labels we put on ourselves, who we try to be, and what we really want to be. Many times those classifications are not in agreement.

I also listened to last weeks episode of This American Life. Specifically the third act. This act focueses on the narrator,  Elna Baker, and these guys who saw a UFO in Arizona. This was interesting to me because 1) Elna Baker is Mormon and equates gaining a testimony to seeing an alien 2) I am positive that if an alien were to go anywhere, it would be Arizona because I think it has the most unearthly landscape around and I love it.

Elna Baker wrote this book, which was kind of a big deal last year:

Hopefully I will get sometime to read it over the break. I did finally pick up Never Let Me Go from the library.  I'm a few chapters in, and I love it.

I don't want to give to much away, because I want you to listen to it, But Elna talks about the person she wants to be. Now, I don't know her, but I hope that she is trying to become that person. Her companions on the trip want to experience certain things too (see the aliens again), but aren't really doing anything to get there. Ken Peterson is obsessed with aliens, but this trip is the first time he has been back to the site in over 30 years. If you want to get abducted by aliens, I think you would need to be out and about. They never seem to snatch up people while they are sitting around on the computer. Usually they are out in nature and stuff, right?

Anyway, if you want to be something, or experience something, you've got to do all in your power to get there. You won't get a testimony simply thinking about it.

Now you are left to decide...

The great thing is, you get to choose. My old room mate, Bridget, talked about this in our Sunday School class today. We've fought so hard for this agency we have, we shouldn't let it go to waste by avoiding difficult choices and decisions. We are meant to choose, and make mistakes, and fall down, and get up, and back-track, and leap forward, and test things out, and make rash decisions, and then start it all over again. 

"Which Will"

Isn't it grand?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some Thanks to the Giving

My camera is semi-cooperative these days. Here are some selected shots from Thanksgiving. As usual, I focus on food and decorations instead of family faces. meh.

turkey for you, and turkey for me

Turkey lurkey doo and 
Turkey lurkey dap 
I eat that turkey 
Then I take a nap 

"Dessert Course"

cheese and chili covered mangos: a surprisingly good combination

turkish delight 

Gobble gobble goo and 
Gobble gobble gickel 
I wish turkey 
Only cost a nickel 
Oh I love turkey on Thanksgiving 

Rock Band is always a must

Little Drummer Girl. 
Don't let the Felicity dress fool you; she can jam.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Jane Austen Strategy for the 21st Century Girl

I was working on a paper for my Spanish literature class about the play Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding). While trying to find out how to say "marrying up" in Spanish, I came across this article. Good thing too, since I'll be graduating from BYU in next December. I can use the next year to prepare:

How to Marry Up

Despite your slovenly wardrobe, uncouth demeanor and lack of charm,
you feel that you're upper-class material. OK, fine. But how do you
make the leap from reading the funnies to actually appearing on the
social page? It will take hard work, conniving, patience and a lot of
luck, but you might pull it off.
Difficulty: Moderately challenging


  1. 1. Be charming and fun. This is basic advice for anyone looking for a mate. Without these qualities you're really going to have a hard time of it.
  2. 2. Study the society page in your newspaper. It's essential that you're familiar with prominent families and local big shots. After a few weeks of investigations, you'll have a feel for the major players in the best circles. Focus on available prospects.
  3. 3. Upgrade your appearance. No matter how fabulous you already are (inside and out, of course) there's always room for improvement. Join a gym and lose the spare tire, get a new haircut and overhaul your wardrobe. See 28 Get a Drastic Makeover.
  4. 4. Enroll in finishing school to gain ease and familiarity with the finer points of social etiquette. Learn how to carry on witty and lively conversations, and if you lean toward bluntness, school yourself in the gentle art of diplomacy in all areas of your life.
  5. 5. Volunteer for a high-profile charity that attracts philanthropists. Any city is likely to have a publicly supported hospital, opera or symphony, or school. A fund-raising position will put you into direct contact with the well-heeled. If a conflict of interest arises, deal with it after that ring is on your finger.
  6. 6. Use your volunteer position to stay informed about major fundraisers, opening night at the opera or ballet, polo matches and museum dedications. Your work will give you credibility and help secure invitations to all the hot events. Find dates from among your fund-raising contacts by subtly dropping the hint that it's their duty to accompany you to an upcoming event. Avoid overplaying the guilt card or you'll have an unwilling escort.
  7. 7. Join a prestigious club. You have many choices depending on your interests. A country club is an obvious choice. Many yacht clubs have associate or social memberships for people who don't actually have a boat or lots of cash. See 428 Organize a Sailing Team.
Tips & Warnings
  • Marrying up will be successful in the long run only if you actually love your mate. Marrying just for money is likely to prove a disaster. See 287 Plan an Amicable Divorce.
  • You don't want to pick a mate just by reading the society page but you might as well see who's available. If nothing else, it will make the process interesting.
  • See 32 Plan Your Social Calendar.
  • When in doubt, keep your mouth shut.
Read more: How to Marry Up |


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Old News and Good News

On Wednesday, I underwent a change of identity.

I am now a Spanish major!

Now, I can get away with being an English major (i.e. reading a lot of literature) and also gain proficiency in a skill (i.e. learning one of the languages of love). To be honest, I will always consider myself an anthropology student, since that is what I spent most of my time doing. The only thing that has changed is that I won't be doing a field study anymore, which should free me up to do an internship instead. It makes logical sense.

I also found out I get to volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival. yeah yeah yeah! I'll be in the Sundance Resort Screening Room, just 5 minutes away from where I live. Perfect.

So this is something that I found a few weeks ago that I have been meaning to share with you.
This New York Times article talks about how some schools are bringing babies into classrooms to help children learn empathy. Pretty cool.

The article also provided links to these videos.

You can find more of these videos here.

Helping is so innate. A lot of selfishness is learned. I must have been really emotional when I first saw these videos, I'm pretty sure I teared up. Kids are great.

Especially this one!

Too cute. That's how my mom used to dress my little brothers. Adorable.