Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Review

Sparked by a book-reading update that Ben posted on his blog, I've decided to update you all on the books I'm currently reading, also. I'm reading a lot right now, which is probably why I haven't actually finished a book for awhile.

I'm almost done with Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli. I highly recommend this book to Josie! It's about one of those people who doesn't really fit in in high school. It's cute and well written and annoyingly frustrating. I didn't think I'd get into it, but I actually enjoy it!

I'm really enjoying Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It's one of the most unique views on magicians that I have yet read. It's a throwback to old Victorian literature with a Gothic influence and a splash of psychology. It's very enjoyable. At over 1000 pages, it is rather long though.

Oscar Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is very enjoyable. There is nothing as exquisite as Oscar Wilde's wit, although it is difficult to decipher which character is most like the author. It is in an older language, so those who don't enjoy a slow plot probably won't enjoy this (or many classics at all).

Jane Eyre is probably my favorite of books by the Bronte sisters. It is so well written and you really come to know the characters. I definitely would not mind marrying someone with the intelligence and wit of Jane. (Now I'm even sounding like Ben).

I just picked up the Life of our Lord by Charles Dickens. I got it for free at a BYU Bookstore promotion. It's a classic rewritten account of the life of Christ for children. It is good, although I do believe that I prefer just reading the New Testament.

Standing For Something by Gordon B. Hinckley is really good. I can't believe I've never actually read it all the way through before! I can't tell you how many times I've just picked it up and skimmed some or chosen a few points for a talk.

I started Walden by Henry David Thoreau. It is definitely sound philosophy. He was about my age when he went to live in that log cabin he built himself for two years, so I thought that was intriguing. It really states the importance of food, clothing, shelter, and fuel. Everything else is just luxury.

I'm also slogging through the collection of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and I'm planning on finishing the Book of Mormon again by the end of the year.

So, that's a few books. When I'm done those, I'll finish the Fablehaven series, read the new Ender novel by Orson Scott Card, read the last book in the Mistborn trilogy, and hopefully start Bartemius trilogy. So much to read, so little time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dancing Machine

Saturday, I went to a birthday dance party at Dema's apartment. I realized how much I miss dancing and like to dance. I just haven't done much of it lately....

My first dancing experience was a school talent show in grade 1. My best friends, Charlie, Landry, Johnny, and I, all dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (complete with brown paper bag heads), and danced around and spun on our "shells" through the Ninja Turtles television theme song. We were the most popular grade oners in school!

Another influence was the May Day festivities in elementary school and my mother teaching folk dances in our basement to the neighborhood kids. I don't remember too much of these, but I liked them.

I started going to organized dances in grade 6 when we would have dances just for the grade sixers. They were fun, even though no one actually knew how to dance. Apparently, we were the only age group that was responsible enough for these dances, since they would only be for the two grade six classes and they would be during school hours in the gym. I'm not sure how they advanced our education, but I remember them. :)

Church dances are where I really began to shine. I remember Abra taking me to my first youth dance (thanks Abra). She was 18 and was going to her last dance with her friends. I guess you could say she passed on the torch to her little brother. She and her friends taught me how to dance and I kept that style going until I left. I can honestly say that Mark Thompson, Tim Pederson, and I were the last people to dance like that and it is a style I still miss. Abra also made me promise to never miss a slow song and to dance with all the girls, not just the cute ones. I lived up to this promise and didn't miss a slow song for 3 1/2 years of Calgary dances. Consequently, I think I knew every girl in the region that went to the youth dances, much to the annoyance of my friends. The youth dances were every Saturday, they were regional, and gave me an opportunity to get out of High River (a town I never totally fit in to).

David, Mark, Logan, and I started a breakdance crew when I was 15. We weren't very good, but gave ourselves names. The crew was Breakin' Ground and my name was Flipz. We got better and were some of the top breakers in High River. Not that that is anything to brag about. It's not exactly your dancing haven. (I moved before Grade 12 and the rest of the crew became amazing - I stayed mediocre). We had a lot of fun practicing and learning new moves.

Breakdancing led to swing, and I was always partial to this (probably why I never put as much time into breakdancing as the others). We'd do stunts with the b-girls (like Sheena) and incorporate swing moves. As such, we became the top swingers at the youth dances. Of course, this was a t a time when being a good dancer was swaying in rhythm to the music and occasionally twirling a girl. Anything above and beyond that was fantastic!

Swing dancing led me to Utah to learn more moves at the youth ballroom dance camps. I was very much a beginner, but it was my passion. I suddenly found myself the ballroom guru of High River, even though I knew next to nothing. I did go back every year to improve my skills and ballroom quickly became my favorite contact sport, although hockey remains my favorite collision sport.

Moving to Utah, I quickly enveloped myself in the dancing culture, competing ballroom in grade 12 and throughout my undergrad years. I won a few competitions, was on team at BYU, and still take the odd class after 5:00. I also joined the International Folkdance ensemble at BYU and made the second highest team. Unfortunately, I joined near the end of my schooling and wasn't on the touring team because of it (although, if I had put off graduation for a year....).

The ballroom/folk opportunities, however, did have some concessions. Utah youth church dances were terrible. Sock hops at high school were fun and I went to every date dance, but I think I've been to two non-ballroom dances at BYU, a couple dance parties, and a couple institute dances, over the past seven years. The music and styles have certainly changed over that time. I do go county dancing at time, although the music is definitely not my favorite.

But Saturday night, I slipped a little into my old mold and danced just to have fun. Sure, it was mostly R&B and Latin, but that didn't matter. I just danced. It was great, and I realized how much I miss it. So, if you know of any dances going on, I'm game.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I have quirks? Oh yeah, I guess I do.

So my sisters finally got me to post. That is because Nancy tagged Kelli, who then tagged me. Wow! Apparently, I'm supposed to copy the rules, so here you go...

Rules: A - People who are tagged need to post these rules and 8 random habits, facts, quirks about themselves. B - At the end of the post you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names.

I don't know if I'll fulfill rule B, since I don't know who follows my sporadic postings who hasn't already been named. Hmmmm....

Quirk 1: I would misplace my head if it weren't attached. I don't necessarily lose anything, but I do forget where I leave things in the house. I usually have certain places where I leave things, but occasionally, I will put something - wallet, keys, phone, dinner - someplace out of the ordinary and "lose" it. Most of the time, it is hiding in plain site, often in one of my usual places.

Quirk 2: I almost always text message in full sentences and it bugs me when I get e-mails with text message non-grammar.

Quirk 3: I can't remember much of my life before grade 4. Pretty much nothing, except the odd instance or stories I've been told, but those are memories of being told, not the actual occurrence.

Quirk 4: I have cracked my knuckles since grade 4. I've tried to stop countless times. It's just one of those habits that is hard to break.

Quirk 5: I'm a Broadway junkie. I sing musicals everywhere. I listen to them on my computer. I have about 15 different piano books of Broadway musicals.

Quirk 6: I read while I walk. I know, I'm coordinated! If you see someone walking towards or away from campus with his nose in a book, there's a good chance it might be me.

Quirk 7: Ballroom dance is my favorite contact sport. Hockey is my favorite collision sport.

Quirk 8: I love to play board and card games. I own many of them - Ticket to Ride, Cranium, Munchkin, Missionary Impossible, Mousetrap, Settlers, Cranium, Imaginiff, Yspahan, Killer Bunnies, Battleship, Uno, Phase 10, Fluxx, Boggle, The Wrong Games, Quelf, Monopoly, Unexploded Cow, Life, Othello, Mexican Train Dominoes, Bang!, Chess, Connect Four, etc., etc., etc.
I don't think you actually read all of those (or at least I didn't expect you to), but you get the idea.

Ok, 8 people to select. Um....Josie, Emily, Krystal, Michelle, Jennie, Uncle Bruce, Heather, and Michelle (or Andy). Bwah-hah-hah!