Sunday, September 26, 2010


We read this for my Spanish literature class last week. I like it. "But don't take my word for it!" Read it, it's short:

You may be wondering what these creatures are. Well, they are the coolest things ever. I totally understand the narrators motivation to stare at them all day.

And here is a baby one!

I love them, and I want one. Imagine waking up every morning and seeing this:

Can't imagine anything better.

I am an axolotl.

P.S. I just realized that googlebooks cuts out two pages of the story. "To find out more, visit your local library!" Or, if you would like to read the missing parts, feel free to find me and borrow my copy. But it is in espanol. "See you next time!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This semester, I'm so wrapped up in school, it's making me heart sick. I love all my classes, I just wish they weren't so pertinent to real life. In Spanish lit we're questioning reality with Borges (i.e. the main inspiration for the movie Inception). In contemporary anthropological theory, we're reading Focault. Thus everything is an institution and we are all docile bodies; trained and oblivious. In my mind, I pronounce his name like a curse word phrase because that is how I feel about the world after reading his writings. In preparing for my field-study, I have had to delve into some of the immigrant debate; which has so many side-issues and ethics problems it makes your head spin. I do not have the stomach for political talk and angry opinions. It makes me ill. And then onto Medical Anthropology. Basically just makes you question everything ever, and I just love it. You would think New Testament would be a respite, right? No. The gospel, though providing peace and comfort, is not a respite. It lights a fire under us. It inspires us to action. Too many loves, too little time. Thanks goodness for the hour commute each day. I trade off between books on tape and music, which brings me to...

I am saved from nerdacity (nerdness+audacity) by N.E.R.D.

They are stunnas. Now, just you wait a minute. You may be saying to yourself, "Gretchen, why do you think a band that has a song called 'lapdance' are geniuses?" You've got to read between the lines my friends. To be honest, I skip maybe a third of their songs in the two albums that I have; but what is left is golden. I especially love this from Fly or Die:

"Hold it now." ... makes me melt everytime.

also check out "Fly or Die", "Jump", "Breakout" and "Drill Sergeant". I have the album edited, so I'm sure you'll be able to find it as well. Their third album came out during my mission, so I haven't heard it yet.

And now to end things, my other favorite nerds:

P.S. If anyone wants to have a Freaks and Geeks marathon, I will always be down.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I am Zach Galifianakis.

One of my first school assignment when I came back to BYU was to read "Attached to Technology and Paying a Price", featured in the New York Times in June. A recommended read. I ironically, the article is surrounded by flashing advertisements and in-article links to concentration and focus exercises. My professor encouraged us to focus on the tasks at hand, especially as we do his assignments. Literature, especially in another language (this is a Spanish lit class) requires concentration and reflection so you can be allowed to create a meaningful interpretation. So no multi-tasking, no Facebook, no music as we read these texts. Just reading the NYT article was hard enough; I'm accustomed to having several tabs open while I'm online. My professor surely gave this as our fist assignent to challenge us. It reminded me of this movie trailer: (pay attention between 0:53 and 1:05).

Professor: If distracts you, then don't use!
Me: Then don't put my assignments on the computer!

We could all use a little more self-restraint.

In case you were wondering, I cut my hair.
It unintentionally looks like this everyday:

I'll have a butterscotch sundae I guess.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to BYU Mix Cerca January 2010

It is almost 11 months since I got back from Bolivia. 11 months is the time I spent in Peru. 11 x 2 = 22, the number of tracks on this mix. 22 is the age I was when I got back from my mission. It was the year 2009. 2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 11. Thank you to the tv show LOST for giving me a "Beautiful Mind". ANYWAY. I bet that you were wondering how I have been dealing with the awkward post-mission life. When I started up at school again last winter, instead of going to a therapist, I created a mix to deal with my emotions. SUCCESS!

Since it is back to school time again, I thought I would share with you the mix that allowed me to get through it all.

Imagine yourself: You've been back from your LDS mission for 2 months, eager to once again attend the Lord's university (track 1). Enthusiasm changes to confusion once you realize that you are completely different from the person you were the last time you were at BYU (track 2). Confusion turns to fear as you find that you have lost your missionary super powers... We’re just a million little god’s causin rain storms turnin’ every good thing to rust. I guess we’ll just have to adjust(track 3). You resort to living in your fallen state, and hope that nobody is watching (track 4). At times, you try to go back to the way you were, but it is "hard to find" (track 5). After not being at school for 2 years, you feel DUM (track 6). As you plan out your life, you realize that you're not going to graduate from school till December of 2011 (track 7). This song is dating at BYU in a nutshell(track 8). Why did you ache for home while on the mission, then ache for the mission once you were at home? (track 9). A ghost of yourself (track 10). Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel (track 11)? Radiohead teaches the repentance process (track 12). Pondering it in your mind (track 13).

and THEN!

Hey! It's actually not that bad around here (track 14)! Just hold on with a positive attitude (track 15)! You find out you can be yourself AND be a BYU student (track 16)! ROOMMATE DANCE PARTY!!!!!!!(track 17)!!!!!!! ANOTHER ROOMMATE DANCE PARTY!!!!!(track 18)!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!(track 19)!!!!!! You can look at your old mission photos without "lagrimaring" (track 20)! You belong (track 21), and you're going to be ok (track 22).

Wasn't that a nice story?

1. I'm a Mormon - Janeen Brady
2. Not The Same - Ben Folds Five
3. Wake Up - Arcade Fire
4. Don't Look Now - Sondre Lerche
5. The High Road - Broken Bells
6. Measuring Cups - Andrew Bird
7. Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying - Belle & Sebastian
8. Dominos - The Big Pink
9. Revelry - Kings Of Leon
10. Don't Haunt This Place - The Rural Alberta Advantage
11. Lightness (Daytrotter Session) - Peter & The Wolf
12. Let Down - Radiohead
13. Horn - Nick Drake
14. Getting Better - The Beatles
15. Get Happy - Judy Garland
16. Impossible Rebel - Dean Gray
17. All The Pretty Girls - fun.
18. D.A.N.C.E. - Justice
19. Now We Can See - The Thermals
20. Like Castanets - Bishop Allen
21. Pretty Girl From San Diego - The Avett Brothers
22. Clouds Will Pass - Julian Berntzen

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The State of Things at Present

This is where I work:

This is what I get to see everyday:

Sometimes I feel like this when I work:


But most of the time, things are pretty great:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Now tell me pretty baby, do you think you're too sweet to die?

This is a post on death and dying.
Death is in the air. The death of summer. The death of freedom. The death of uncertainty. Pretty dramatic, huh?
As I realized that the warm months were slowly coming to a close, I found that my choices in literature were had a morbid thread running through it. I listened to this book on tape:

This was one of my favorite books. I first began reading it on a plane back from D.C. The book took me a while to read, and for some reason, it struck a chord. But the audio version almost killed it for me. The narrator chose to deliver most of the writing as snide and clever. I didn't like that choice. It bothered me so much, that I traded off between reading and listening so that the book could maintain some of it's charm. I am quite sensitive. But ANYWAY. Spoiler: People die. Actually, you know right from the beginning of the book. Hannah Schneider is dead, Blue Van Meer found her that way. She leads us through the series of unfortunate events with name dropping and detailed references on the way. It is a nice fall read, but not a nice fall listen

I then listened to Chuck Klosterman's "Killing Yourself to Live". A much better choice to listen to.

Dr. Buonforte, one of my anthropology teachers, has taught the importance of seeing photos of the authors you are reading. Otherwise, you may build up a false image of them in your mind. So here is what he looks like.

Pretty much how I thought he would look.
This was a great book on tape, all thanks to the narrator. His name is Patrick Lawlor. I feel like he is a guy who read this book, and said to all his friends, "Dude! this is an awesome book, let me read it to you!" So I'm saying, it doesn't really sound like Chucks voice, but the voice of some guy who really likes him and his writing. I especially liked the way he said "anyway". Kind of like this: ANYWAY - the pitch is high- AN- low-Y-middle-WAY; and very forced. wish I paid more attention in the dramatic linguistics class in high school. Then I could write exactly what it sounds like. Then I could explain to you what this is: ə . Did you know there is a linguistics club at BYU? ANYWAY...
This book made me think about several things. First, if I were so inclined, would I be a "pot/creedence contingent" person or a "coke/interpol" person? I listen to more interpol, but I would like to think I am more good-natured, like the former category. But considering the hardest thing I will allow my body to ingest is Dr. Pepper I would probably make up a whole new category. I also really liked his section comparing Radioheads Kid/A and 9/11. Trippy. The book is not perfect, and his language is a bit loose for my post mission ears, and I really wouldn't want to have Klosterman as a boyfriend; but the audiobook is the bees knees.
I didn't really tell you what is was about. Klosterman goes all around to where rock stars have died. It seems like it is a rock rule that if you die an "interesting" death, you reach legendary status; more so than if you had simply aged gracefully. Hence the title. Rock star's music really comes "alive" after they are dead.
It's just like this poem I found by Emily Dickenson:

A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.

Why is that? I will always remember NOT going when Elliott Smith played Redfest (which I think was his final show ever). I was just an awkward high school kid, and I don't think any of my friends at the time were really into him. Plus, the idea of college students being there was terrifying to me. I think he died a year later, and my stomach plummeted and my heart lodged up in my throat when I heard about it. But still, I wonder if people would still think of him as such a wonder if he were alive today? I think that I would.
Which bring me to another master of death that I have already mentioned, Emily Dickenson.

I've had a book of her poems lying around for literally 10 years that I hadn't gotten around to reading till last month. Interestingly, of the few bits of poetry I've memorized in my life, it is hers that I never forget.

I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it's true—
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate, a Throe—

The Eyes glaze once—and that is Death—
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung.

Quite something. That and "She walks in beauty like the night..." blah blah blah. I memorized that one to the tune of Weezer's "Butterfly". ANYWAY. I've never been much into poetry, so this is a pretty good start.
Well enough of this heavy stuff.
I'm still alive, in my second to last fall semester at BYU. There is so much to do. More updates coming. Thanks for being patient with me.