Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! and a spooky story

This was a red-letter Halloween.

The first time I dressed up since before my mission! Katie and I had big plans to dress up as dead soccer players.
Most girls try to have cute/clever costumes. I usually rely on the un-dead. My favorite costume being a dead unicorn. Classic.
Anyway, we had about everything ready, when Katie saw on Facebook that one of her friends had tickets for the Real Salt Lake Playoff game that night.
Our makeup was topnotch, we used lipstick to make our eyes look bloody, and put botches of eyeshadow all over our face so it looked bruised. Great.
The game was superb, we won 3-0. There were some fabulous costumes. We met a guy dressed as Satan. He tried to take his pants off for our photo with him. I wouldn't be surprised if he's related to this guy:

There were a plethora of costumes on campus today. A sight to behold. We had a ward FHE and I went as Katniss Everdeen. Needless to say, hardly anybody knew who I was. Oh well. Just give them a years time, and everyone will be dressed as Katniss.

If you are still in the Halloween mood, then you should check out this story by Dave Eggers:

It's the first story, and just a few minutes long. 
I listened to it while I was jogging up to the Y. It was the middle of the day, bright and sunny. Gave me chills. A good listen.

Here is the transcript as a last resort. Did you know that you could get transcripts of This American Life? I did not. Awesome.  

Warning: Note: This American Life is produced for the ear and designed to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

When I was a kid in the suburbs of Chicago, adventure meant Quetico Provincial Park, up on the border of Minnesota and Canada. The name implies that the place was small, but Quetico is a million acre nature preserve, so big you could go days and days without seeing another soul.

We would go on camping trips up there, weeks of canoeing and portaging, seeing bears and moose and deer, sleeping under star-soaked skies. The park was isolated and so pristine that you could actually drink the water straight from the lakes. But I won't be going back to Quetico anytime soon. Not after what happened to a girl name Francis Brandywine.

Francis was 17 at the time, black haired and with a reckless nature, determined always to leave the well-trod path, to break new ground and be alone. A few years ago, Francis was up in Quetico with her family. They were in a remote part of the park, camped on the shore of one of the deeper lakes, a lonely body of water carved millions of years ago by a passing glacier. The deep part of this particular lake was rumored to be about 300 feet.

One night, after her family went to bed, Francis took the row boat out, planning to find a quiet spot in the middle of the lake, lay on the bench of the boat, look up at the sky, and maybe write in her journal.

So she left the shore, rowed for about 20 minutes, and when she felt satisfied that she was over the lake's deepest spot, she lay down on the bench and looked up at the night sky. The stars were very bright, and the aurora borealis was shimmering like a neon lasso. She was feeling very peaceful.

Then she heard something strange. It was like a knock. Clop, clop. She sat up, guessing that the boat had drifted to shore and run aground. But she looked around the boat, and she was still a half mile from shore. She leaned over the side to see if she'd hit anything, but she saw nothing-- no log, no rocks. She lay back down.

She told herself it could be any number of things, a fish, a turtle, a stick that had drifted under the boat. She relaxed again and soon fell into a contented reverie. She had just closed her eyes when she heard another knock. This time it was louder, a crisp plop, plop, plop, like the sound of someone knocking hard on a wooden door, except this knocking was coming from the bottom of the boat.

Now she was scared. She leaned over the side again. It had to be an animal. But what kind of animal would knock like that, three quick, loud knocks in rapid succession? Her mouth went dry. She held onto each side of the boat, and now she could only wait to see if it happened again. The silence stretched out. A few minutes passed, and just as she began to think she'd imagined it all, the knocks came again, but this time louder. Bam, bam, bam.

She had to leave. She lunged for the oars. She got them in place and began rowing. The water was very calm, so she should've made quick progress. But after rowing feverishly, she looked around, and she realized that she wasn't moving at all. Something was keeping her exactly where she was.

Again she tried rowing, she rowed and rowed on the verge of tears, but she went nowhere. She stopped. She was exhausted. Her heavy breathing filled the air. She cried. She sobbed. But soon she calmed herself again, and the boat was silent again, for 10 minutes, then 20.

Again, she tricked herself into thinking she'd imagined it all. But just like before, just when she was beginning to get a grip on herself, the knocking came again, this time as loud as a bass drum. Boom, boom, boom. The floorboards of the boat shook with each knock. Now she was so shaken she started making questionable decisions. The first was to lower one of the oars into the black water, trying to feel if there was some land mass, even some creature she could touch. As soon as the oar broke the water's surface, though, she felt a strong, silent tug at the other end, and the oar was pulled under.

She screamed, she jumped back, and now she had no options. All she could do was sit, and hope, and wait-- wait for the morning to come, wait for whatever was going to happen to happen. The knocking went on through the night. She passed the time writing in her notebook, and it's only because of this notebook that we know what happened that night. Frances can't tell us. She was never seen again.

The boat was found on shore the next day, empty but for the journal. On those pages were her frantic jottings, all written in her distinctive handwriting, all but the last page. When the journal was found, that page was still wet, and on it were four words, looking as if they'd been written quickly, with a muddy finger. They said, "I did knock first."

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

All Hallows Eve Mix 2011

Happy Halloween!
Since All Hallows Eve falls on a Monday, I'm sure that most of you will be celebrating this weekend. Here is a mix to get your party started right.

This was just supposed to be a few songs for you guys, but it turned into something much more. I spent WAY too much time on it, so you have to listen to the whole thing. I even made sure to pick 13 tracks so that it is extra spooky.

What are you doing for Halloween?

What am I doing?
Probs homework.

1. Dark - Julie London
2. I Put a Spell on You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins Cover) - The Kills
3. Paranoid Andoird (Radiohead Cover) - Weezer
4. The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj and John Waters) - The Lonely Island
5. Paint It Black - Mo-Dettes
6. Monsters - Hurricane Bells
7. A Song for the Ghost We Saw - Julian Berntzen
8. Shankill Butchers - The Decemberists
9. Little Ghost - The White Stripes
10. Oh The Vampyre - A.A. Bondy
11. Landfill - Daughter
12. New Disaster - Elliott Smith
13. The Other Side - Robot Koch


4. heh heh
John Waters is awesome. He's been rocking that mustache forever.

7. Have you heard of Julian Berntzen? Do you know how difficult it is to find his songs to listen to? Muy difficult. So you just click on that link and appreciate what I found, even if it is in Chinese. hahaha

10. I've been listening to this so a lot a lot a lot in preparation for the new Twilight movie.

12. I listened to this song a lot my 2nd year at Jacob Lake.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seventeen Years Fan Boys

Do you want to hear the song "Seventeen Years" seven times in seven different ways?

Me too!

The Original One:

The Layered Guitar One:

The Acapella One:

The Dance One:

The Piano One:

The Acoustic Kind of Beirut meets The Unicorns One:

The Suburbia Version One:

Ratatat Seventeen Years from Rodrigo Orellana on Vimeo.

Note: What if I wanted to have a Ratatat themed birthday party? How would that work? Let's make it happen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Today I am a winner.

Today I read 40 pages of don Quijote in an hour and a half. This usually takes much much longer.

I am happy of myself!
And I understood everything too!

This Adventure Drums guy is also a winner. My brother Jeremy showed me his videos, and now I am addicted. I fully respect drummers. I think drums are one of the coolest instruments; you can't pretend to be good at them, people will see right through you. They can tell if you are weak.

I mostly know this because I used to play a lot of Rock Band.


Watch him play. It is fun:

You know who else is a winner? Kyle Beckerman. What a dreamboat. I finally went to a RSL game after such a long time.

Winners all around! What a good day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Spotify" Addict

I love it love it love it.
I love it as big as the sky.
Can I invite you guys to join?
Do I have that ability? I do not even know.

Here is a list of some of what I've listened too.

- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of the Flaming Lips
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Weezer
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Kanye West
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of The Beatles
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of the Pixies
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Bjork
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Green Day
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Nine Inch Nails
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of No Doubt
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Nirvana
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of Radiohead
- Rockabye Baby! Lullabye Renditions of The Cure
- Everything by Christopher Riley (he does piano renditions of other people's songs like Elliott Smith, Thom Yorke, Nick Drake... generally troubled people).
- Vitamin String Quartet tribute to Elliott Smith
- Sondre Lerche (His new self-titled album. I haven't had the time to pick it up for myself.)
- Various songs from the Glee albums
- Songs from the Book of Mormon Musical (Don't worry... not the explicit ones :)
- Cool old songs done by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
- ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that Chris Thile touches. I love him.
- Songs from Rent, In the Heights, and Ragtime
- Nicki Minaj
- Rocknocersous
- A.A. Bondy
- Selena Gomez
- Metric

and of course, songs about myself.
- Gretchen - The Diamonds
- Gretchen is a Smokin' Hot Babe - The Smokin' Hot Babes (you can find any name with this song)
Gretchen's New Dish - Dick Kent
* You really need to listen to that last one, I mean... WOW.

This is a good website to find more awesome songs on Spotify. They beat me to the punch.


You can understand why I don't have Spotify totally connected to me Facebook. I don't WANT people to know what I listen to. That would just be too embarrassing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I was born in the wrong generation. These songs have soul:

Monday, October 17, 2011

2 years

I got home from my mission 2 years ago today. That means a whole mission has passed since I finished my mission. Oh man. I still miss it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Mix - covers edition: Dress-up

A couple weeks ago, I was sorta sick. So much so, that I could not sleep. So I stayed up till 4 in the morning, on this website, finding all sorts of cool covers. My loss of sleep is your Something like that. So this mix is called "Dress-up" because these bands are "dressing-up" with other peoples songs, get it? haha.

P.S. I will be putting out ANOTHER mix 'speshly for Halloween! Lucky you!
P.P.S I washed my hair with shampoo for the first time after a week! Lucky me!
It was grand. I had been using baking soda in lieu of shampoo so that I could stop global warming. It gave me excellent volume, but my hair ended up feeling like I had sprayed it all over with that cheap hair coloring stuff they use at football games. Ew.

Listen to these songs, I guess.

1. Mansard Roof (Vampire Weekend cover) - Jeff Pianki
2. Deep Blue (Arcade Fire cover) - Lenka
3. I've Got To Be Clean (Sesame Street cover) - Guster
4. Animal (Miike Snow cover) - Edward Deer
5. Four Winds (Bright Eyes cover) - The Killers
6. The Weight (The Band cover) - Travis
7. Bizarre Love Triangle / Time After Time (New Order / Cyndi Lauper cover) - The New Limb
8. We Used to Wait (Arcade Fire cover) - Ace Reporter
9. Hard To Explain (The Strokes cover) - Owen Pallett
10. Come As you Are (Nirvana cover) - Caetano Veloso
11. The Killing Moon (Echo & the Bunnymen cover) - Greg Laswell
12. Blindsided (Bon Iver cover) - Luke Leighfield & Jose Vanders
13. Someone Like You (Adele Cover) - Hobbie Stuart
14. Please Please Please (The Smiths cover) - Badly Drawn Boy
15. Once Around The Block (Badly Drawn Boy Cover) - Kings Of Convenience
16. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston cover) - A band that is not Fleet Foxes
17. God Only Knows (Beach Boys Cover) - Ben Kweller
18. Father and Son (Cat Stevens cover) - Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple

2. I'm worried that this song will soon be featured in a car commercial or something similarly ridiculous, sometime soon.
5. This cover is not great? But I love Bright Eyes? And hardly anyone covers them anymore? Did you know I worked with a guy who said everything in the form of a question? Once you start, it's sort of addicting? Try it sometime?
6. I wish there was an mp3 of the jam session from "It Might Get Loud" available. I wish I wish I wish.
9. strokes. typical. i love them. duh.
10. Caetano Veloso is THE MAN. no really. I mean it. hottie
11. You know when you were in high school and you were listening to mixed CD (here is a link just in case you forgot what those are) and "New Slang" by The Shins would come on and some girl would inevitably say "ooooohhhhh, this song! I just LOVE Garden State!" and you would kind of want to punch her in the throat because you are pretentious and you loved The Shins WAY before Garden State and you hate that this chick only knows them because of that movie and her enthusiasm is just like, so lame? Well, I am both of the girls. The punchy one and the "lame" one. Every time I hear this song, I think,"ooooohhhhh, this song! I just LOVE Donnie Darko!" And I know Echo and the Bunnymen are great and everything, but I don't know any of their other songs, and this will just be that one Donnie Darko song...that I just LOVE. That's just how it is. 
And this cover is simply awesome.
13. I've been listening to this song more than daily now. You know how I feel about accents.
14. See above.
16. This band is not Fleet Foxes. They just pretend like they are, and it is actually pretty brilliant.
17. One of my favorite songs in the world. And I love this boy.
18. Listen to the song and try not to cry. What? You didn't shed a single tear? You have a heart of stone, sir. Heart of STONE.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

change your hair, change your life

UH. So this was supposed to post like, a week ago. I don't know what happened. So consider this an easier versions time-traveling. This blog will serve as the DeLorean.


I had been feeling pretty good. My classes, though difficult, will be manageable if I stick to a strict schedule. If I work as much as possible, I won't be in too much debt. And other kids in my classes average 5 hours of sleep a night, right? There is a guy in my class who tutors 20 hours a week, is taking 27 credit hours, is in a movie, and still has a great GPA. If he can do it, I can too, right?

But then I had a mini-crisis.

So I survive all of that. I graduate, and move into the real world.
Then what?
Yesterday was the BYU career fair. You know, the one that I guess I was supposed to be preparing for these past few weeks. Competing with all those other students, trying to stand out, talking to gave me anxiety thinking about it.
I finally mustered up the courage to just go in and take a look around. I wouldn't have to talk to anybody.

But even that was too much.

Let's get this straight.

I've never taken a class in the Tanner Building.
I haven't had any internships.
I'm not published.
I've never done research in my field(s).
I've never been awarded any grants or scholarships.

I don't own a suit.

I don't even have an up-to-date resume. Attempting to list my skills and accomplishments is embarrassing. What would my future employers think if they saw the truth? Work experience? I assume working as a nanny/ baker/custodian/grounds crew/waitress/shop girl/census enumerator is not what they would have in mind. Skills? Uh. I speak spanish. That's about all I'm qualified to do with my major. No teaching, no translating.

I felt very out of place.
Very far behind.

I left the wilkinson center in near hyper-ventilation mode. I needed to schedule an appointment with a counselor. I needed to redo my resume. I needed to take an extra certification test so my spanish is considered more "professional". My whole course of direction had to change.

I couldn't just think about making it work till graduation, I needed to think about making it in the real world.

By the time I got to my apartment, I was a nervous wreck.

I immediately started checking classes and schedules and certifications and workshops and resume builders and job postings and internships and grants and GRE test prep courses and and and and...

and then I saw something about "Dressing for success".
and then there was a link about changing your hairstyle.
and then I thought, "Hm. Maybe I should part my hair on the other side of my head?"
and then I went to the mirror and changed my hair.

and then I felt a bit better.

How did I find this video? It is golden.

Anyway. I feel better now.

Our home teacher came over to visit with us. We talked about things we have learned by listening to the prophets, going to General Conference, etc. A lot of the talks I've heard lately have been about being charitable (to others AND yourself), and being patient. We need to be anxiously engaged, but also, not run ourselves ragged. President Uchtdorf's talk at the General Relief Society broadcast definitely struck a chord. Our home teacher told us how he has to do all of this code writing and computer stuff, for hours at a time. It can be tedious and stressful. Sometimes, we just want to be done and know what's next. But then he was walking around campus, and realized that he is in a great place, BYU. He fought so hard to get here; he had to take time to enjoy the small things.

I know I have to do all these things eventually, but it's ok to just change little by little.

I think I'm going to try parting my hair on the opposite side from now on. Even if it does feel REALLY weird.

Black Stone on White Stone

This poem is perfect for today in more ways than one. Look, I even counted the ways for you so that you could be sure that I'm not lying.

1) It is in Spanish, and Spanish is a poetic language.
2) It talks about a Thursday, and today is Thursday.
3) It talks about it being rainy, and today was rainy.
4) It talks about death, and Steve Jobs died yesterday.

So consider this a eulogy of sorts. 

It is by Cesar Vallejo; give it a read:

"Piedra negra sobre una piedra blanca"

Me moriré en París con aguacero, 
un día del cual tengo ya el recuerdo. 
Me moriré en París ?y no me corro? 
tal vez un jueves, como es hoy, de otoño. 

Jueves será, porque hoy, jueves, que proso 
estos versos, los húmeros me he puesto 
a la mala y, jamás como hoy, me he vuelto, 
con todo mi camino, a verme solo. 

César Vallejo ha muerto, le pegaban 
todos sin que él les haga nada; 
le daban duro con un palo y duro 

también con una soga; son testigos 
los días jueves y los huesos húmeros, 
la soledad, la lluvia, los caminos...

OH. You don't speak spanish? That is a shame. Here you go. But this is nothing like the original in Spanish. Like, nothing at all. You should probably just learn Spanish. It is worth it if only to understand this poem. 

OH. My friend Tiana got her mission call today. 
Riverside, California!
Guess what is part of her mission?

You know I love the Salton Sea. I talk about it HERE and HERE. I was thoroughly excited about that it's part of her mission. I couldn't adequately convey how cool it was. I think I sort of weirded Tiana out. Oh well. 

It's almost tomorrow. 
See you when I see you.