Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Gatsby was awesome.  So awesome that I didn't really cry about it until I was at home. In my bed.  What can I say, I'm a cry baby.

I didn't really appreciate the way they colored the story.  They were pretty heavy handed in guiding the audience's opinion.  I think  what made the book such a classic is that Nick, the narrator, explains in the beginning that he reserves judgement.  In the movie, Nick gives his judgement at the very beginning.  Kind of hard to be open minded after that.  I felt like I was being spoon-fed. He was also super present in the movie.  The movie was about him and his experiences, rather than that of those around him. Still a wonderful movie, but I don't think it's classic status like the book. Best part: when Gatsby first introduces himself to Nick and he warmly raises his glass in the final moment of a symphonic fireworks show. The man's got style. Or, a "perfect, irresistible imagination!"

I also felt like Daisy wasn't hateful enough.  She seems like a total victim here, but in the book, she displays character flaws from the beginning.  Nick's comment that she and Tom are "careless" is kind of the main point, but Daisy doesn't show much carelessness except for when she kills Myrtle.  The whole film, she is endeared to the audience and her love with Gatsby is made noble.  In the book, she is a very attractive, charismatic, careless, almost heartless girl.  She is not endearing.  She does garner sympathy, but she allows herself to play the victim. Not endearing. Her love affair with Gatsby is not as important to her as it is made out to be in the movie.  Yes, he mattered to her, but she never would have chosen him over Tom, even if she had them both side by side.  It can never be the way Gatsby wishes.  Gatsby is not old, comfortable money.  No amount of cash, cars, and mansions can change that.  He will never measure up, he will never be enough. It's not based on personal merit, it's chance of birth. This is shown by the contrast of when Tom is/isn't there.  When he's not around, Daisy loves Jay and wants to be with him and thinks he's perfect.  When Tom's there, everything about Gatsby seems impossible, trashy, silly and small.

The Great Gastby disproves the American Dream.  It says that you can't really rise up to people who will never accept you.  No matter what you do, what you're born with does affect you. That's depressing.  Is it true? Maybe, maybe not.  But studying public health, I know that what you're born into does matter.  I think stories of rags to riches are so inspiring to us because we subconsciously understand how difficult it really is to overcome everything that "rags" entails. I wish people were more conscious of it.

In the book, Gatsby's relationship with his father breaks my heart.  It's so wistfully tender.  Gatsby doesn't bring his father into his new world.  He can't.  His father doesn't belong in the world into which Gatsby is so desperately trying to fit. But he loves his father.  His boyhood list includes that he wants to be better to his parents.  He gives his father money.  But he can't be in both worlds.  To acknowledge his past is to be excluded from the future he desires. I was really disappointed that they cut this aspect out of the movie. It's very telling of the purity of Gatsby's heart and I felt like the audience should have seen it.  And understood more why Gatsby is good.

The casting was phenomenal. Everyone nailed it. What a story. About human nature, privilege and responsibility. Pure, cuttingly raw, innocent, and passionate emotion, masked and confused by fun and excess.  Yes, it resonates with humanity today.

Anyway, those are my brief thoughts:)

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

You're never fully dressed without a smile:)

52 New Things: Free Movie, $4 Hot Dog (33 to go)

It all started about 3 years ago.

I was working BYU event staff.  I was taking tickets at a football game.  We would get "mystery shopped," and we got a candy bar and a ticket for a free movie if we got high scores.  Well, I guess I'm a pretty awesome ticket taker (raises eyebrows impressively) because I got a free ticket!  

Over the *years* I have gone to plenty of movies.  Sometimes, someone else bought my ticket. Sometimes, we bought our tickets in advance online.  Sometimes we didn't go to Cinemark.  Regardless the end result was that I never used my ticket.  I kept it in my wallet the whoooole time, just in case. 

Last night we went to see The Great Gatsby.  I wasn't sure if my free ticket would even work, but it totally did!  I feel like I've accomplished a 3 year long quest.  Finally.  It's very satisfying.  Also, I was ravenous, so I bought a hot dog.  I've never bought food in a movie theater before.  Aca-believe it.  Does this count for two?

Me being a weirdo.  Just astonished that I didn't have to pay:) I trust you not to judge.

Yummm!  Theater dog!

52 New Things: Imagine Dragon's Concert! (34 to go)

We went to the Imagine Dragons Night Visions concert!!! It was amazing:) It was my first time going to a large arena concert like this.  It was awesome.
Waiting outside before the concert

We were so lucky.  We were on the floor, right by the stage! We got pushed off to the side towards the end though.  That's okay, everyone should have the experience of being right in front!

Incredible stage presence!

Yeah.  Doing mid-flight backflips.  No big deal.

Please believe he played the drum ON THE CEILING. 

Just flying through the air. Like a boss.

We love you too!

The set list. That's how close we were:)

He played the drum.  On the ceiling.

Descending out of the lights like a God of Rock...

We were sooo close!

They released giant balloons full of confetti! The best part is that no one popped them until the end of the song.  Then everyone popped them and there was just masses of confetti twirling everywhere!

Monday, May 20, 2013

One Year Later...

Okay.  It's actually been 13 months.  But I'm slow at posting my thoughts.

April 20th, 2013 I graduated from Brigham Young University with my Bachelor's degree in public health.  It feels like it could have been yesterday.  Time FLEW this past year.  But as I look back, I realize a lot has changed too.  I've made new friends, been new places and had a lot of new experiences.

I think the weirdest part was that there weren't semesters to break up my routine.  Every week is basically the same schedule.  It's nice, and I have plenty of opportunities to do fun and different things, but it makes time fly by so much faster.  There's nothing with which to measure it.

I wonder if this is why time seems to go faster and faster as people get older.  There's less and less deviation from the schedule.  Someone once told me that after you graduate, it's important to make every year special and different.  So you can look back and say, "2013, that's the year I...."
I think it's really good advice.
Looking back on this last year, it's been a whirlwind of events, emotions and people. I wonder what this year will bring???

Thursday, May 16, 2013

52 New Things: Actually Ordered a Salad at Zupa's (35 to go)

Nuts About Berries salad. Yum!

I went to Zupa's for dinner with three of my girlfriends.  We were talking about our food and I realized that this is the very first time I went to Zupa's and ordered a salad! Which is a big deal, I eat at Zupa's pretty darn regularly.  Their soup and sandwiches are just too enticing...

(Plus, I'd already had Zupa's soup and sandwich for lunch at work:)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Channeling: India

Dutch (inside-out French) braid diagonally across the back of my head.

I was having a hard time getting a good picture.:)

My fav color sea foam green cardigan, gold necklace and favorite skinny black trousers from AE.

52 New Things: Double the Luck (36 to go)

Okay, I went to Panda Express and they made my day.  Why? TWO FORTUNE COOKIES!  Not one, but TWO! Count em':
I can't believe it. TWO fortune cookies.

Twice the luck. 
"Your path may be difficult, but will be rewarding."
"There are lessons to be learned by listening to others."

Spa Closed

So, when they put up those "Spa Closed" signs, take them seriously.

NBD. I always wanted a tie-dyed swimsuit.

Party Hearty: Mormon Style

Harry and Ron are disappointed, because they've been told you can't have a fun party as a Mormon.
"My name is Michelle and I like to party." 
No really, though, I do, just minus the drugs and alcohol:)  At BYU some people think you can't have fun without drugs and alcohol.  Why do they attend this school?  I don't know.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says a variation of the following:
"I hate Provo, there's nothing to do."
"I hate Utah, there's nothing to do."
"It won't be fun if we're not drunk."
"My hometown was waaay cooler than anything here because..."

Maybe I have a little Utah pride? Yes. If you're not a boring person, there is plenty to do here. I love having fun and I don't like it when people try to rain on my parade.  Also: call me Molly Mormon, but I personally have more fun when I'm in an environment where I am comfortable and don't have to constantly be on my guard.

Let's be real. People have known balloons were fun since the 1800's.
VIRGIN Jello shots:) Still fun. Don't knock it till you try it.
Who needs drugs and alcohol when you have this face?:)
Silly string is CLASSIC fun.  There's no denying it.
Dancing whilst totally sober. Fun.
ROOTbeer pong. Challenging. Competitive. Fun.

"Red Solo Cup. I fill you up (with a nonalcoholic beverage). It's time to party."

Food and drink.  Always fun.

These people look like they're having fun.

City Creek, Baby

We went to City Creek to do some shopping and enjoy the beautiful weather.  There was an incredible guitarist playing in the food court during lunch. There were kids playing on the splash pad. Essentially, it was just perfectly summer.:)

Summer. Sun. City Creek. <3

Flowers at temple square. Flawless.

Seriously, so beautiful.

How to Wake Up Early (NOT)

I am chronically running late.  Part of this is because I value time and cut things close.  Who wants to waste time waiting around? The other part is because I just can't get the knack of waking up early. But I'm a pro at how to not wake up early, so I thought I'd share my wisdom:

1. Go to bed ridiculously late.
2. Plan to go to bed early.  Still end up going to be ridiculously late.
3. Have the blinds within reach of your bed so you can open the window and be stimulated by the natural sunlight. But stay in bed with your eyes closed anyway.
4. Set an alarm. Have at least 10 "snoozes" set.  Because we all know that we just fall right back asleep after that fifth one goes off.
5. Have an INORDINATELY comfortable bed. Preferably with satin sheets/comforter and extra pillows.
6. Have good intentions about getting up early the next day.

And there you have it!  You will never wake up early again.

Where I like to spend my mornings. I like how my lamp is completely dissolved into what looks like the beginning of a fire insurance lawsuit.
I think it runs in the family.

Neutral Neutral, Like the Swiss

So, when I was getting dressed this morning I just felt like neutrals.  In my fashion strategy class in middle school, one thing that really stuck with me was "accented neutrals." (Actually, I feel like a lot of things stuck with me. The voice of Mrs. Rowe is often in my head critiquing my outfits and strut.:) 
Accented neutrals means you NEVER wear all black or all white (or grey, or navy...). You wear it with a little pop of color.  Like a turquoise necklace, red lipstick or a colored camisole.  I just didn't feel like that today.  I felt like navy and brown and grey and white and gold.  No colors.  And it felt great:) The Swiss have so many things down.  Chocolate, parks, watches...they also rank as the overall healthiest country in the world, and Switzerland is the headquarters for the WHO, for whom it is my dream to work.  So, let's be more like the Swiss. Go neutral!

Trying (and failing) to get a shot of my straight hair.
Just use your imagination.
 I think mixing neutrals kind of voids the necessity of an accent color. I still would never wear all-just-black.

Riding boots.  I live in these when it's cold.

Dairy-Free Fro Yo for the Win


A few of us were shopping at Plato's closet and afterward, we needed sustenance.  We went to Yogurt Land (which I already mentioned is my favorite).  It is soo great to be able to go to a yogurt place with my friends and have something to eat! 

In Provo, getting ice cream is comparable to getting a drink (which we can't do either) in towns that are not 90% Mormon. It is kind of hard to not be able to go on ice cream runs, or grab ice cream (classic) after a date. On the other hand, it's been a great excuse if I'm ready to duck out of a date and he suggests ice cream.  "Oh, I can't I'm allergic to milk." Ladies, next time you are in this's a fool-proof out. Unless he suggests Yogurt Land, Baskin Robbins sorbet, cupcakes, pie...okay, it's not fool proof, but it's worth a polite shot;)

The Bicycle Project: Step Two

Holla.  My bike's done!  I finished a while ago... I'm just finally putting up photos.  Thanks to the help of the Provo Bicycle Collective, I was able to repack the front hub.  It's pretty pitted, we tightened it until it rode on the brakes a tad, and there's still a lot of play.  I will have to get it replaced eventually.  
I replaced some of the cable housing that had rotted to the cable and shortened the cable a little to tighten things up.  

I greased the chain, A LOT, because as Zach says, "bike grease is cheap, bike parts ain't." I replaced the handle bar with one with a little more rise.

I put on slick tires to make it better for road riding.  I replaced the saddle and put on Orly handle bar grips from Mad Dog Cycles in Provo. They don't get sticky as you use them, which is nice.  I used Krylon spray paint in Bright Idea.  Krylon is good for projects like this because they have paint specifically designed for plastics and such.

I removed the rack, (I might put it back on, I can't decide.) And bought a blue matching helmet. Cuz that is public health. Ready to hit the road.

Looks pretty posh, eh?

The Spare Tires

Sooo, bluegrass:)  Some friends and I started playing around a couple of months ago.  We put together a few songs for our ward fireside and jam every Sunday night.

Now we have a couple of gigs lined up.  We're excited!

Yay!  Jamming outside on a Sunday night.

Me and Lee.  Now that Lee's taking off to Philmont, I'll be on mandolin duty.

Ryan playing his spoons from the hammock.  Like a boss.

We had a little audience:)

The Spare Tires. We have fun:)