Saturday, October 6, 2012

First Week Down, 4 More to Go

Me as a zombie Thursday night, beautiful aren't I!!
Well, made it through the first week! Actually, almost, just one more shift tonight. I'm not worried about it though because I called Jimmy (my cast director) and asked him to put me as something easy tonight, as I've developed a severe cough, thanks to the over-exertion, little sleep, and the shredding of my throat throughout the week. I slept 8 hours last night and my body had almost forgotten how good that felt! I woke up at 2:22am, about 4 hours after I fell asleep in a panic, then relaxed and was able to fall back asleep. I realized that is what my body is used to receiving, which is why I woke up. I'm looking forward to 8+ hours of sleep every night for the next 3 days though and I know that'll help me recover. The end of this week may be difficult, but I'll manage. (I work at Wayfair through Monday, no weekend break for me there. If I can get enough sleep I'll swing the momentum through next weekend, so I'll survive. Hanging in there, it's fun, I've made a lot of friends, but I've gotten sick and am still recovering from being so exhausted. I'll keep this updated!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Don't Know if I'm Gonna Make It

One thing they didn't tell me when auditioning to work at the haunted house, how sheerly exhausting it is. It's late hours, on top of a second job. I'll get 5-6 hours of sleep a night (unless it's a weekend and then I get 4), luckily I will have time for a nap in the afternoon but still. My days in October will run something like this... up at 6am, out the door by 6:30 to be at work before 7. Get off work at 1, home by 1:30. Time to do whatever I've got to do like shove food at my face and do laundry and run errands and sleep, out the door by 5:20ish (usually 5:23) to pick up my passenger (she keeps me awake on the drive back and also works there). If it's a weeknight, I get in makeup, run around like crazy for 3 hours and then un-makeup myself and get home by 11:30. If it's a week end night, I run around like crazy for 5 hours after makeup and make it home by 1:30. Rinse and repeat.

One thing though, don't think I'd be able to do this if I was in school. Think about it, basically the same hours as what I outlined above, then worry about homework and extra-curricular activities if you're in them. All I have to do is put my body in certain places at certain times (of course, gotta be clean and supposedly dressed too)

So back to the physical exhaustion, it takes me 2-3 days to completely recover from one 5 hour weeknight, at least it did the first weekend. The second weekend I did two days in a row and I bounced back in 2 days so I was okay. This weekend I had two days in a row and I'm still recovering, here it is about 48 hours before I've got to head back. I've tried to nap but every time I fall asleep my heart starts racing and I wake up so I've given up. Gotta leave in an hour so I decided to do something a little less strenuous than sleeping (apparently). Not sure why the panic, but it might be something to do with the sip of energy drink I took this morning. I never drink that stuff, so it woke me up and I can't figure out why I'm still worried about this. I hope I get an easy character tonight, I really want something that I can just stand in a corner until people come along. I've been given the hard characters almost every night, a sewer rat who has to stand in a room filled with water and run around like crazy, a zombie in a huge room who is constantly on display and supposed to be moving, a clown in the clown maze, I just want something that is a pop-out scare.

I'm losing my taste for being scared, for watching horror movies, for things black and I find myself wanting to paint my nails pink for once, Pink, of all colors. It's weird, but I don't think I'm gonna want to even touch a horror movie ever again, it's like they put me in a quarantined house and I have to act a certain way to escape the evil that is there. So nervous. I hope I don't get the sewer rat, the strobe light room, the main zombie, anything with a full face mask. My skin is still recovering from the one night I forgot to completely wash everything off of my face, I am breaking out pretty bad although I think I've gotten it under control, just need to keep it healing. I had a huge zit on my chin that was so sore, finally it went to a whitehead and just burst when I poked it one evening. Disgusting I know, but there ya have it. Anyway, gonna go browse Youtube for a bit, no one reads this so I'm not worried about the zitage and the sleepage news. Have fun and peace out, think twice before you accept a job at a haunted house.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Happenings

A lot of stuff has happened this month. I began a second job at Nightmare on 13th in Salt Lake. I was accepted to the University of Utah. My brother came home from his mission. My brother got engaged. I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years. My old friend and ex from high school got engaged the day after my brother did.

I've done a lot of thinking and pondering this month, trying to cope with all that's happened and to direct my life towards a new and better future. I turn 24 next month, and I want 24 to be the best year ever, a year for me. That means no hiding things because I'm afraid of what someone will say or do, crushing my soul to avoid someone else's possible hurt or dissapointment.  I've been living with my head under a blanket, making my footsteps small, it's time to use these wings I've been given and fly.

This post will be short, but I'm ending it with a quote from one of my favorite songs ever.

"How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes.
I struggle to find any truth in your lies.
And now my heart stumbles on things I don't know
My weakness I feel I must finally show.

Lend me your hand and we'll conquer them all.
Lend me your heart and I'll just let you fall.
Lend me your eyes, I can change what you see.
But your soul you must keep, totally free.

Awake my soul....
                                 -Mumford & Sons

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Just working on a Saturday, GOALS!!!!!

So I'm at work, and I realized I start a lot of sentances with So, but that's beside the point. Anyway, after getting here late because no joke, a boat was literally having the lifejackets sucked out by the wind as it drove down the highway, and they were kind of a road hazard, I proceeded to go into work overload and finished 80 emails in 4 hours. That's really good, that's like 20 emails per hour. Consider that the minimum emails per hour (for bonus qualification) is 7 and you hit the max bonus at 12, I did 32 emails that I will never ever get paid for. fun.
That aside, I realize I get extremely bored with this, so I invent games with the emails to keep busy. There's the 12 per hour game, the 3 per 15 minute, the load 3 and see how quickly they can get answered, the 15 per hour if I'm on ADD speed, and then there's UK speed, which is turtle slow. No one will understand what I just said, but that's about my state of mind most days!
Here's what I want to accomplish in the next year:
Turn 24
Get my Biology degree
Apply for Physician's Assistant School
Start a haunted house
Write a book and submit it to a publisher (or self-publish as a Kindle miniseries on Amazon, which would take less time and might make more money, just get the book written)
Lose 30 lbs (I'll settle for 20 though)
Start a YouTube channel just for kicks (I'll do a Let's Play of Thief: Deadly Shadows. I need a better computer though....)
I think that about lays it out, I'll put more on here as I think of them. Yay!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Starving at Midnight, with a Beautiful Opening Show!

Yes, I am absolutely starving! I have gotten sick of being soft around the edges, ever since I turned 18 I gained about 25 lbs and have maintained between 155-165lbs, so now I'm watching what I eat! More on that later. To the main event, my show Hello, Dolly opened tonight! Yay! I'm so freaking excited, it was awesome despite a few mishaps, my hair was gorgeous and people came that I knew and I absolutely love love love being on stage! I forgot how good it feels to be part of a cast, telling a fantastic story. Storytelling is built into our blood as humans, we tell stories to remember and to learn, also for entertainment. I can't describe the euphoric feeling when I'm on stage having done something really well or in the middle of a performance, it's like flying!

As mentioned in my previous entries, I have 5 costumes, which was expanded to 6 tonight as i had to step in for someone who wasn't there. It was ok, we made do and I got to dance an extra song! I lost one of the props I was supposed to bring on though, a roller chair that is absolutely crucial to a song, and I only have about 5 seconds between taking a table off and bringing the chair on that I can afford to spend. I spent about 2 minutes looking for this stupid chair in the dark backstage though, meanwhile they have started into the courtroom scene and Horace is sitting on the steps without his chair! Finally I found it, some bright soul decided to put the thing onstage BEHIND the huge group of people crowded to stage right. I snuck on, got it, then came out and placed it on stage for Horace to sit on, Phew! Later I was told that in my rush to find the chair, my police outfit didn't get buttoned up and my tie was on crooked so I really looked like a mess. Stuff happens though and it was definitely worth it!

About 2 months ago I streaked my hair bright pink thinking that it would wash out by show time. It mostly has, there are 2 or 3 spots where it is still highly visible in kind of a flamingo pink. I curled my hair in little tight ringlets and when I was done, there were three curls of pink! Nothing I could do about it though, so I was the slightly pink-haired cast member. No one could tell from the audience but my cast members found it highly amusing!

I love being on stage, there is absolutely nothing that compares to it. I think you either love or hate performing in front of people. Now, there's a big difference between speaking in public and performing in front of an audience. Most of that is preparation time, but I have a deathly fear of public speaking. there's a point though, when I've rehearsed enough and suddenly the butterflies are gone, and it's like soaring. I guess the best way to describe it is when a huge bubble rises up and bursts little rays of sunshine in your chest, it's just amazing! I wish I could sing better, there are so many musicals in Utah that if I could sing well enough, I'd have parts coming out my ears. It was awesome though to be in the ensemble and to have people tell me afterwards that I was like a ray of sunshine onstage, the others were smiling but I was beaming and I kept drawing people back to look at me. I love it, and I guess it shows!
Now I'm hungry and still wired. This is a really long blog, but what ev's, love ya'lls and let me know what cha think of being on stage!

Oh, and in hungry news, I just watch what I eat and maintain enough calories per day to lose about 1.2 lbs per week, which is all I can really lose because of my sedentary job and I'm not supposed to eat less than 1200 calories per day. If I don't exercise, about 1350 will let me lose 1 lb per week and somewhere around 1500 is maintaining. If I exercise, I can eat more (although I found I tend to triple the amount of calories that I burned through exercise if I don't watch this, don't know why) My biggest thing is I tend to overdo dinner and then go back for midnight snack. I'm learning to put my food on a plate so I can see how much I'm eating exactly, and to eat a larger breakfast with snacks so I don't get to starving mode and want to scarf everything. Harder than it sounds after a rousing rehearsal, but I ate 3 brownies already and if I eat anything else, I will be over my calorie limit, and I've already eaten so healthy today! Oatmeal and a lettuce sandwich (lettuce instead of bread, still had the meat and tomatoes) and home-made ribs so they're healthier and a potato and asparagus salad. So delicious and healthy! Just gotta watch those evening and late night scarf sessions!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Dark Knight causes things to fall from skyscrapers
in bat-like formation
I saw this movie at the 12:01 am showing on Friday the 20th, dressed in a Batman shirt, a long black cape, and a painted-on face mask that took 10 minutes of scrubbing to get out of my pores. No I'm not a nerd....

I haven't been a long-time comic book or movie fan of the series, but Nolan's movies garnered good enough reviews for me to finally decide to see Heath Ledger's Joker. Once I did that, I was hooked. I could probably now quote for you all the different Robins and their plotlines as well as give you a basic rundown of the number of times Superman and Batman have interacted! That's in the DC comics anyway.

For the movie itself, a big detractor was seeing it from midnight to 3 am. That's the time I'm usually asleep as my job dicates I should be awake at 6 to be on the road for work by 6:30. (I work from 7am to 4pm and it takes half an hour to get there). Some of the hugest moments were detracted from by the simple fact that I thought I might be hallucinating at one point or another due to my tiredness. But down to actual business...
Great Movie, Fantastic Actors, Long Plot: The movie itself was beautifully and artistically done. From the gritty detailing on every set to the beautiful lighting that highlighted moods and the gorgeous music, this is a movie worth seeing on the basis of its artistic reasoning alone. Christopher Nolan doesn't mess around with CGI when he can avoid it and the attention to detail shows. Everything was designed to suck you into this movie and carefully lay out the desolation and despair of Gotham, which it did. I remember being concerned when Anne Hathaway was cast as Catwoman, but between watching her flip backwards out of a window to seeing my first glimpse of her in the catsuit, all doubts vanished and were replaced by something like:
Point made

She sure is flexible, and how could she not be Catwoman, she's perfect!

Yes, I understand the reasonings that Michelle Pfieffer was better, but seriously, Hathaway's Catwoman fit perfectly into the Gotham that Nolan created.
Okay, apart from all that, the movie was really long. I mean, 3 entire hours of death and destruction it took to lead up to a happy ending for most of the characters involved. I really wanted Bane to be the all around bad guy, and no one answered how Bruce Wayne survives the liver splitting knife attack by Talia Al'Ghul. I guess we're just supposed to assume that he magically got to a surgeon and a hospital in time to get that along with his radiation treated. Also, what about that bomb? A bomb that by all accounts had only 20 seconds to be flown far enough out to the ocean so no one got hurt. Not even the Batman could escape at least severe radiation poisoning. That's just the magic of comic books I suppose, makes you forget about all the dead fish and mutated whales out there.

No Time Except the Lunch Hour, and more Bruises

Part of being an adult is that you work up to having no time for hobbies
Perhaps I'm generalizing here, but I used to love to read, run, bicycle, hike, play mild sports, do theatre, and pretty much anything that was new and sounded fun. Now I have time for my job (it's not a career, but a job) and whatever I make time for. Right now, that's a theatre show which is currently crowding out a social life, exercise, writing, sleep, food...yep, that about covers it.

I have a new bruise from rehearsal though, which is kind of cool. I was working on a new dip with my swing-dancing partner because we had one that required me to lean most of my body out over the edge of the stage, let go with one hand and pray I didn't hit the floor before his teenage muscles realized that they were supposed to be holding me up. I decided to do something else which ironically resulted in the injury (trading falling off the stage to falling onto the stage, I guess one is marginally better) It was supposed to be a simple dip down in which I would bend my knees, go almost horizontal with the ground, and all he'd have to do was keep me from hitting the stage. Of course, the first time we practiced he didn't realize that if both of our arms were extended, I would go down with a resounding thunk.
"Okay, you ready?"
"Just keep your arms tight while I go down and then pop me back up."
"Okay" *thunk*
And voila, lovely black and blue shoulder blade! I call the condition my swing dancing partner has, jell-o arms. He puts absolutely no tension into his muscles, preferring instead to let me lead his flapping arms where they are supposed to go, which only creates a problem when that's supposed to keep me from spinal injury. I suppose jell-o could be nice to land on,  but it makes a terrible spotting tool.

Anyway, I digress, two subjects at once. Point being, I will be either living at work or on the stage for the next two weeks, neither of which is necessarily a bad thing. If I wasn't a responsible adult, I'd have my day free instead of working to support this strange theatre habit which my non-existent retirement fund begs me to quit. It's okay though, I'm still young and fairly stupid so I'll either figure out how to mesh the job and hobby to become career...or I won't.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And the Culprit is: Food and Exercise!

I have discovered why I gain weight after working out. It is a combination of working out, drinking more water, being hungrier, and eating more. It sucks but after you work out really hard and are starving the next day, you can't proceed with larger portions and helpings to help get satisfied, otherwise you will undo all the hard work you just put in.
Being sick of watching the scale go up when I worked out, (I weighed myself this morning, 167lbs! That's the highest my weight has EVER been), I decided to do some research and kick this in the teeth before it finished getting started. (It being the fat monster) The general conclusion was that some weight gain could be due to muscle, but as I already have muscle and am not unused to working out. I have been upping workouts but that doesn't cause a lot of muscle gain if it's mostly running, yoga, and intensity strengthening. So, the only thing left is: I'm working out more, so I'm eating more.

Blergh, if I want to be in shape and be actually able to see all my slowly developing muscles, I'm going to have to eat about the same as I was before, maybe even less. I was originally on My Food Diary ( to help keep track of caloric intake and output, but left after 2 weeks when I foolishly decided I could monitor my own intake without the help of a machine. (And that was back in May) Truth is, I can't, my body wants to rest at the comfortable, soft 162-165lb level for some reason, and I know I can get into a better, healthier shape than that.

So here I go again, maintaining the workout but now I'm back to calorie counting. I don't have time or money to go purchase a whole bunch of organic fresh food, so my general terms are:
-Stick with fruits, veggies, and fresh stuff
-Avoid processed foods
-No sugary drinks or soda
-Don't overeat
-Rewards occasionally

And here it goes! This is probably the 20th time I've started a routine/fitness regimine, but it's the first time I've been actually watching what I eat at the SAME TIME I'm measuring how much I exercise. I'll keep ya'll updated.

That's This
To this!
Also I learned to tie a bowtie last night. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bruises Just Mean You Worked Hard

Yesterday was the beginning of what theatre people affectionately call, "Hell Week" for my show. For the uninitiated, Hell Week is the week prior to the first show and is filled with extra long rehearsals including 1st and 2nd dress and Tech. The characterizations of Hell Week are as follows:
     -Extremely long hours
     -Last minute scrambling for costumes
     -At least 4 meltdowns of various actors
     -Countless bruises and other injuries due to unsafe conditions
     -The losing and finding of almost every prop
     -Various other insane situations that cause the director to age 5 years before your eyes

While the cast of Hello, Dolly here at Farmington Woodland park is great, they are also inexperienced and young. This creates a perfect catastrophe when no one knows what they're supposed to do! Regardless, rehearsal was a lot of fun last night and I now have the following list of costume items (in addition to the two dresses and police uniform I already have!) to assemble by tomorrow:
     -Black bow tie
     -white button down dress shirt
     -mauve button down dress shirt
     -mauve full circle skirt
     -white hair ribbon
     -police hat
I play 4 different characters and need at least 5 costumes for this show. Let's see if I can name them all. I'm Mrs. Rose, a Sunday Clothes dancer, a Swing dance performer in the Parade, a Waiter, and a Policeman.

As we were practicing the waiter's gallop last night, we have a toss right in the middle that scares the bejeebers out of most of us. I'm on the catching team, and my left forearm was repeatedly pounded by the poor girl being tossed through the air. I have a nice welt and a bluish bruise today that will undoubtidly continue to swell. I also have a skinned knee from slipping on the cement, torn dance shoes, multiple bug bites and you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Da SunDaY EdiTion: Workout Plannings

Today is Sunday and I'm at work. I really dislike having my day of rest being a day of work, but I needed this coming Saturday off for a tech rehearsal for my show so there you have it. I have tomorrow off ~ just in time for a dentist appointment! Yay me, I love the clean feeling after but actually going to the dentist is awful, and the last time I went there they drilled on my teeth and some of the fillings still hurt or twinge when I drink something hot or cold or too sweet.

I went running last night and viola, it was a lot easier than last time! I went running in my Vibram five-fingers though and every single time, I get enourmous blisters on the balls of my feet. The pain is kind of cathartic, I feel like I did something. I'm going out to run again tonight, this time I'm going to tape my feet to help reduce the friction from not wearing socks. You seriously can't not wear socks and expect not to get blisters. My training method is such, starting Monday I'm going to go on a short run/bike ride first thing in the AM, then a longer one in the evening. When I really got in shape that's what I was doing, and I only have a limited amount of time before my easy 3 miles needs to be an easy 6 miles. I can do 4 without dying, that's what I did yesterday but it's an endurance thing and the difference between 4 and 6 is huge when you have no energy left!

Okay, I'm going to put my weight on here, nobody laugh okay? I'm 165.4 lbs as of Friday June 20th at 6:23 am. I'm hoping to cut that down some, I'm just barely over the normal BMI to the overweight category, so I gotta get on that. I know I'm strong enough, just have to dedicate the time! Everyone, keep me on the right track will ya? (all you invisible non-readers I suppose). I can only bear to weigh myself once a week, otherwise I get depressed and say, "Screw this, I'm going to eat chocolate at midnight." So there's that.

I always gain weight when I start exercising but having been going at this seriously for 3 weeks, I know that now I should actually start losing weight instead of gaining it. I don't know why my body does this to me, but I suppose it's in reaction to thinking:
"Great, Charly's getting chased by zombies for about an hour every day. We better pack on the fat and muscle and everything else because who knows when she'll eat again!"
I don't know that my body says that for sure, I just imagine that's what my body says because it's much more interesting than:
"*synapse pulse*, exercise + healthy food = imminent starvation. *pulse* fat on lockdown".

Anyway, that's it for today. Cheer me on! And if you feel the burning urge to comment, how does your weight loss go when you try? I'm probably the only one that exercises and gains weight. It's pathetic.
Ah loves ya!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thoughts of the day

So today I'm just going to ramble on for awhile. I have a lot of thoughts and it seems that they need to be put down on paper.

It's summer, and I'm working a lot and trying to fit vacation in. I have a lot of things I want to do like get in shape, learn to sing well, act, and write a book. I have come to the conclusion though that only rich people can do everything they want to do, because 90% of my time is at work or asleep, I don't really have a social life except for a few activities if I can manage to squeeze them in and people I talk to on the phone or Skype.

Thinking about dying my hair pink again, I had pink streaks before and I think I want a few more after my show, Hello Dolly gets done. It will be fun to try again anyway!

My show, Hello Dolly as mentioned above (Hello, Dolly! to put in properly) is running July 30, 31st and August 1-4 at Woodland Park in Farmington UT. It's an outside show, so come prepared with a blanket or a lawn chair, I think entrance is $5 and it starts at 7pm or something like that. I don't really know, I just show up for the rehearsals :)

I have decided that my body solidly protests losing weight, and I will always be a mildly overweight slightly pretty girl. I have worked out for 2 weeks and eaten healthy and all I have succeeded in doing is gaining 3 lbs. I can do that when I'm sitting on my butt doing nothing so lets see, to work out or not to work out... Options here seem to be pointing on not working out. Life is unfair in that way, I'm going to keep running and stuff for another two weeks and see if I get any results.

The Aurora, CO theatre shooting just happened, and that's scary. I was at the midnight showing of the same movie in a theatre far away, and it's just surreal to me. I have friends that live in Denver and Aurora, so luckily no one I knew was there at that time.

I say theatre because that's the proper theatre way to say theatre. Don't mess with me on this.

Finally, if you love someone, is that enough? I mean, say you really really really loved someone, but there were certain differences in your belief and wants out of life that were keeping you apart. And say that other person broke promises to you. Is love enough to fix all of that? I don't know, I actually don't think so, it's like love taunts me saying, "Look, you were happy and sad and stressed all at the same time, want to be that way forever?" Not really. If this is about you, I'm rambling, it's nice to say something and have fictional people listen. (nobody reads this blog anyway)

So yeah, that's my thoughts for today. Sorry for anything depressing, comments on working out, how to create more hours in a day, hair, theatre shows, and love are all appreciated. Comments on politics not so much.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mind Explosions and Quantum Physics

Your mind on Physics
You know when you find out something that you never thought you'd see, it practically makes your mind explode? Like when you watch "The Sixth Sense" and you find out (Spoiler Alert) that Bruce Willis is frickin' actually DEAD! That's a mind explosion. Mind explosions can also be things like finding out Santa Claus isn't real, stepping on a crack won't break your mother's back, or finding that another one of your old friends is about to get married and they didn't tell you because you're not important in their life anymore.

Things like that.

A color version of a sea slug neuron, which uses quantum
particles to fire. If sea slugs can do is so can we!
I think there's an explanation for this that can be explained by the highest of sciences, Quantum Physics. Now, according to quantum physics, everything is made up of quantum's, the smallest particles of matter ever. These particles can communicate with each other on several levels, and throughout time, space, and planes. Excuse me all of you physics buffs that know I'm mangling explanations, but let me theorize for a moment. Now, when you are living your life, you are satisfied with the explanation of the way things are, until suddenly you are presented with incontrovertible evidence that you must accept or risk being seen as a lunatic by the rest of the adult world (case in point, Santa Claus isn't an actual person, took me awhile to figure that one out). Now, once you have this evidence, the mind is not in it's present state able to accept the reality, until suddenly BAM, the quantum particles from the higher plane suddenly have a path through the data to your brain, at which point they travel faster than the speed of light to change your neurons and synapses over to a different plane of existence. This is a little difficult though, and as matter cannot be created or destroyed, your brain must technically cease to exist in it's previous state and travel to another. This is rather painful, and is known as a mind explosion!

A picture of quantum particles on their quantum paths
I am in fact feeling a little sorry for myself today. Yet another of my friends seems to be in a committed relationship, which they conveniently forgot to drop even the slightest hint to let me know. So, I was faced with another mind explosion today, which I got through by doing insane amounts of work and then running barefoot up the mountain across from my front yard. It's very invigorating, you should try it sometime. Once my feet were peeling and tingling from the snow, I felt that I had transcended the previous plane of existence and now was on a different, better level. I have to admit it sucks though, since when is the world allowed to change without your knowledge?

Anyway, next time you're faced with a bit of knowledge that seems impossible to accept and then suddenly your mind is aware of it and feels like it is being rung through a washing machine to accept it, that's quantum physics at work. That's all folks. Peace out and enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Customer Service Experience

"Hi, welcome to (Name of store and motto) my name is Charly, how can I help you today?"
"You guys sent me the wrong thing, somebody over there really screwed up and I need you to take care of it."
"Okay, let me see what I can do to help you out on this, do you have your order num-"
"Are you laughing at me?"
"What? No, I was just asking for your-"
"You're laughing at me, I don't want to talk to you, get me your supervisor."
"I'm sorry, let me just put you on hold for a minute while I transfer you over."
"No, don't put me on hold, you'll just tell your supervisor all about me and talk behind my back."
"....I'm sorry ma'am but I have to put you on hold so I can go get the -"

Really and truly, this is how one of my conversations went with a customer. I don't know where they got the idea that I was laughing at them, maybe I had a 'smile' in my voice or whatever, but something obviously broke down in the communication process along the way.

I don't mean to offend anyone reading this blog, and especially the poor, misguided person who was on the other end of the line, but seriously, customer service representatives get treated horribly by the people they are supposed to be helping. Is it any wonder that no one wants these jobs and a lot of companies are outsourcing?

The above conversation was my 3rd one unsupervised with a customer. I'm normally an emailer (a customer service representative that handles emails), but due to low staff and an upsurge in business, I, along with a few other brave volunteers made the plunge over to phones. I remember thinking after the first hour, while I was sitting in the break room with my shaking hands wrapped around a cup of hot cocoa, "No wonder there's not enough people on phones, you probably couldn't pay them enough to take the stress!" My company was wonderful, after all we were volunteers and after 3 weeks of phones when I couldn't take it, the kindly transferred me back to email. But the experience left me with an appreciation for customer service reps that handle stressful phone calls, day in and day out all in the name of good service.

Here's a few tips when making a customer service call.

1: Have your pertinent information ready, it will make the call easier on you and the rep. I can't count the number of times someone calls in or writes in and says something to the effect of, "It's broken, fix it." Well, I want to 'fix it', but we're not mind readers! Have your order number, or at least an idea of what you're calling in about.

2: Be kind and polite. After all, they rep is there to fix things, not make them worse. The majority of dissatisfied customers are those who didn't read the policies or instructions for the item. (See below for an example on this.)

3: Be patient with the representative. Their entire job is to fix things so you are happy, and a little bit of kindness and patience (none of this "I want it done NOW!") will go a long way. Also remember, all the important stuff happens during the work week, and it can take a day or two to figure out (such as updating tracking information, or shipping something out from the warehouse.) We live in such a fast-paced world, it's hard to imagine that not everything is instantaneous, but it's true!

4: Don't try to lie to the representative. Companies keep your order number and all pertinent notes for you in one place, so if you call in, it's likely that the rep can see every time you've called or emailed, what's been said, and what's been done to help you. I've had customers lie to me before, trying to get deals, discounts, refunds, or even free stuff. Don't do it, we can usually tell, and once we know you're lying, we're much less sympathetic to your plight. We won't go against any policy, but we're much less likely to bend over backwards to help you out.

Well, that's all I've got! Be nice to your customer service peeps and we'll be nice to you! Hope that your next call is wonderful and you get all the help you may require. What are your customer service stories? Either from the representative's point of view or the customer's point of view. I bet there's some awesome stories out there!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Training Commences, the Barefoot Experience

As my blisters healed from my first trial with barefoot running, I have been simply walking and doing muscle strengthening, slowly working up to barefoot running again. This new running style has been more difficult than I expected to work into, but I am determined.

I have been walking 40 minutes a day on my lunch hour, and either jogging or walking in the evenings. One of the big things I ran into while starting barefoot training was the sheer amount of information that warns against starting too fast, doing too much too soon, and basically how important it is not to hurt yourself while starting. Barefoot running is difficult to get into, here's my first 3 experiences with it.

#1: I ran 3/4ths of a mile barefoot, got 3 huge blisters, and my calves were very sore for the next two days. I did only walking for 3 days after that, and have been doing toe raises and carefully stretching my achilles

#2: I only ran about 2 blocks. I've been practicing the steps and such, but after two blocks the healing blisters started to burn, rather than aggravate them I stopped running, and simply walked again. It's annoying especially when I really love to run, but gotta listen to what my body says! (2 day break between this and next trial of barefoot)

#3: I did 3/4ths of a mile again. This time I was able to go longer without getting winded, and I ran on a field instead of on smooth pavement. The experience was really enjoyable, and I only stopped because I knew that my calves would protest. Sure enough, today they did, but hey, I'm working into it!

So go slow, and train right. It's a lot of work, but I'm hoping it will be worth it! I've been asked if I'm doing the Tough Mudder barefoot. After training, I kind of doubt that. I came across another blog that detailed barefoot half-marathons and winter training. That blog had some gruesome pictures of toes being split open, frostbite, and other injuries that seemed to be over-the-top. I'm not aiming for that, injuries to say that I'm tough. I just wanted a goal to aim for, and now I have one! I am definitely going to invest in some Vibram Five Fingers, but I've gotta save the money first! Plus, I hear those shoes are tough to break in, and if it's really like running barefoot, then my feet aren't strong enough to handle them anyway.

My next thing is I'm going to read 'Born to Run' by Christopher MacDougall. I'm waiting for eBay to ship my copy out to me, but from the reviews, I hear it's an interesting look at barefoot running and how it started with our ancestors. Plus, there's apparently an awesome race between the indigenous tribe the author is studying and some hard-core marathoner's. I'm hoping to get informed, and maybe even a little inspired along the way! So, that's it for now, see ya'll next time!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Goals for the Tough Mudder

Alright peeps, here's how it is, and how it's going to be.

Goal; Compete in and finish the Tough Mudder in Utah on October 13th (may be the 14th but 13th's what I'll go with until I know differently!)

Here's my checkpoints, I've signed up for a 5.5 mile mud run on June 2nd, and a 5k on August 31st. That way I can get used to running in mud, and have sub-goals to work for! (subgoals are important to overall goalage)

June 2nd: the Dirty Dash, a 5.5 mile mud run in Midway Utah
August 31st: Man vs. Mud, a 3.2 mile mud run in

I have 200 days or so until the BIG ONE, and I've got to be in shape by then!

Right now I have a little weight to lose (I won't share exactly how much, just enough to be in running shape!)

Here's my other goalage
-Run 3 days a week
-Walk 5 days a week
-Do muscle strengthening 3 days a week
If you added that up and came up with 11 days in a weeks, then you're correct, but I am going to combine workouts so yay me!

Big Goals! I look at what I just wrote and think, maybe I should aim a little lower...nah, I really really really really really REALLY want to finish the Tough Mudder, and I have plenty of time to train according to my nutritionist. I have about 32 weeks to the race.... gotta get busy!

Okay, now you all know the innermost workings of an adventure-oriented mind. Who else has a big goal they are working towards? Is it reachable? Unreachable? Weight oriented? How about in your job? School? Life? Family? If you don't dream big, you won't accomplish anything!

My gift to myself is that by my 24th birthday, if I stick with this I will be in the best shape I've been in since high school, and I will be on my way to a healthy life. Plus I may buy some new shoes...maybe those red high heels....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to Curl your Eyelashes

This is some very important information that you will need the rest of your life. This is How to Curl your Eyelashes. Please pay attention, because what you read in the next two minutes will be used daily for years, but if you don't learn this, then you will just have to suffer.

To Curl Your Eyelashes
Get a good curler. Seriously, don't go for the most expensive one, but for heaven's sake your eyelashes sake, don't get the cheapo dollar store version. Get a nice one, like the Maybeline or Covergirl eyelash curler with soft rubber edging.

Before applying mascara: take the curler and carefully maneuver your eyelashes between the crimping ends. Go  about 0.1 inches out from your lid, and close the curler firmly. If you pinch your lid, you're too close to the skin and may be pulling out valuable eyelashes. Hold for 10 seconds, then move a little further out and do it again, and again until you have done the length of your upper lashes. Do the right side too (how did I know you did the left side first? Because I'm psychic, duh). You can curl the bottom lashes if you want, just flip the curler around and do the same. Most of us won't need to do this because A. Our lower lashes already lay down along the lid or B. The lower lashes are so short we probably won't be mascaraing them anyway

DON'T curl your lashes after applying mascara. This is popular to do, but it can break your lashes, and clump them together. Mostly it will break your lashes and get your curler all makeupy, and who wants a sticky black curler?

Now, take your mascara, and swiping from the bottom root of your lash to the top, apply the mascara in long, even strokes. Do the top of the lashes, now do the underside again for good measure. Dip the mascara brush once, without pumping, then do the other side. Touch up the outer corners and the bottom lashes for good measure. DONE! You look Fabulous! You can apply as much or as little mascara as you want for different looks, just be sure to Curl Before Mascara. If you remember that rule, then your life is changed forever, and you will be blessed by the Eyelash Fairy!

Enjoy those super-long beautiful lashes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tough Mudder; the Pinnacle of Mud Races

When you hear the words 'Tough Mudder', what do you think? Tough mothers? Hard mud? A 12 mile race through mud and obstacles? If you thought the 3rd one then ding! You are correct, 5 kudo points to you!

The Tough Mudder, self described as 'Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet', is a 10-12 mile race that includes dozens of obstacles. I haven't counted them all, but there are at least 16. Here's what Tough Mudder has to say about itself:

Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

And what did I do after overhearing that my workplace was putting together a team to compete in this event it 7 months? (think October 2012) I took 15 minutes to think, and then signed up for it!

Now I realize that a half-marathon full of mud and obstacles like the Boa Constrictor (belly crawl down a tub into a muddy puddle up to your chest, then worm your way back up) and the Electroshock Therapy (run through a bunch of electrified wires) isn't most people's idea of a good time. I saw this however, and I got more excited than I have been in a long time. Plus, who wouldn't like the mud? I've been trying forever to get into shape, but without a goal to work towards, I would only stay motivated for a few weeks before slacking off and making excuses about why I didn't need to work out. 

Now I have a goal! In retrospect, maybe I should have chosen an easier goal. On second thought to the retrospect, I used to run cross-country, track, perform in theatre, and do cheerleading, the 4 hardest sports on the planet (self described hardest sports anyway  :) I have revamped my workouts and started doing something I've never done before, working on a nutrition program!

So here's what I'm going to do. I have a goal, finish the Tough Mudder on October 13th (or 14th, we haven't gotten our race time/day yet). I am going to lay out the countdown on this blog, I'll post about my workouts, new methods, and more importantly, my goals that I reach along the way. I'll also post about other random topics that hit my brain, just to shake things up. The posts will keep me honest and on track, I mean, I can't very well post that I've done nothing but go to work, come home and laid on the couch all evening? That's boring, not to mention getting me nowhere close to my goals.

Goal: Compete in and finish the Tough Mudder
Timeline: October 13th or 14th, 200 or 201 days from now (depending on our start time)

Next blog will be about my sub-goals and my checkpoints. Also all the other stuff that goes into accomplishing a task as big as this one. After all, I can run 3-4 miles comfortably now, but I need to add 8-9 miles onto that plus another 3 miles of energy if I want to take into account all the obstacles. Good luck to all that have lofty goals and want to attain them, and see you next time!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Barefoot (or Minimalist) Running

I went for a run today, and when I got home I had to sit down and treat three quarter size blisters on my feet, OUCH! I was working on barefoot running, I though my feet were pretty tough, but apparently 3/4th's of a mile in bare feet on smooth pavement is too much friction for my winter-softened feet to stand. Let me explain what's happening here.

When you're running through mud, you need light shoes, not a lot of padding and lots of drainage. (I've signed up for a few mud runs this summer, I'll explain next blog) Something that dries quickly and won't give you blisters in the process. I started researching shoes and I found the New Balance Minimalists and the Vibram Five Fingers, and I also found a style of running called barefoot running. Barefoot running incorporates a slightly different step that makes you run faster, puts less stress on your knees, and is used by non-shoe wearers all over the globe. If you didn't wear shoes, this is the way you would be running.

To run barefoot, or in a minimalist shoe, you land mid-foot instead of striking heel-first. It's how all the awesomely fast Kenyan runners do it, and anyone who wants to run long term usually eventually switches over for the health benefits. It's also incredibly hard to do for anyone who's spent their life running heel-first and wearing super-padded shoes. They tell you to run 1/4th of a mile to 1 mile in this style every other day for 2 weeks while your feet slowly build up the strength and calluses to do this, and after that, only slowly increase the distance to protect your tendons and muscles. It takes about 2-3 months to really be able to run 5 miles in this new style. Good minimalist or barefoot running shoes cost between $80 to $150. Before I shelled out that much, I wanted to give barefoot running a try. (I couldn't use my regular shoes with the new technique because they are a super-padded pair of sketchers. Wonderfully comfortable, and impossible to move your foot it)

I'll spare you pictures of the blisters.

Here's my take on barefoot running. It's almost impossible to run slow, it feels great, and it's a very natural step, you don't even have to think about it after awhile. It also makes you incredibly tired, due to the fast running and added strength needed from your calf muscles to support yourself, and it can give you blisters.

I jogged down to the running trail so people wouldn't think I was too weird as I passed them in dirty bare feet. Once I got there, I slipped off my shoes and socks, hid them behind a tree, and took off. I'd practiced the steps  so I knew how my feet were supposed to work, land mid-foot and spring off the ground, I just needed a little distance to really give it a try. So, after 1/4th a mile I was beat, I mean, panting for breath, I must have been running faster than I thought. After a few more yards the balls of my feet and my big toes started a slow burn. I felt my Achilles tighten, so I took it slower after that. After just 3/4ths of a mile, arriving back at my shoes, I was panting as if I'd sprinted the 100 meter, and I knew I had a couple good blisters. I brushed my feet off and threw my shoes back on to finish the run. I did pretty good, but on arriving home I found the monster blisters.

To sum up, I grew up with my dad as a podiatrist, so all the propaganda you're going to read about how barefoot running so dangerous and awful is false. Barefoot running is only dangerous if you kick your heelbones into solid asphalt. You can step on something if you're not careful, get too much callusing without proper care, and hurt your tendons if you over-stress your feet. I think I'll invest in a good pair of minimalist running shoes, and continue to practice. After all, blisters only take a few days to heal, and the feeling of running barefoot (before exhaustion and blisters set in) was wonderfully freeing, I think I'll try it again tomorrow...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Good Friend/True Friend

A good friend is someone who listens to you. A true friend listens and understands.

 A good friend compares stories about awful days with you. A true friend shuts up so you can get your bad day off your chest.

 A good friend tries to give advice when you need help. A true friend doesn’t act like a therapist but jumps into the problem with you.

A good friend always has a fun story to share with you. A true friend doesn’t try to one-up your experiences.

A good friend listens to your secrets. A true friend trusts you with some of their own.

A good friend overlooks your flaws. A true friend cares enough to point them out.

A good friend is there when you need them to be. A true friend knows how to give you time alone.
A good friend also leaves you alone when you tell them to. A true friend keeps bugging you anyway.

A good friend helps you. A true friend lets you help them.

-A true friend lets you be a true friend back.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Robert E Capron

          Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother.                  
Robert E Capron, 71 passed away on 2/26/2012 at home in the loving arms of his family. He was born on May 28, 1940 in Chicago Illinois, the third child of Ray and Anna Capron. He was raised in the Chicago area until 1957, when he moved to Salt Lake City. There he met and married Eva Larae Fluckiger in the Salt Lake Temple in 1961. They had 6 children; Danny, Mike, Craig, Jeff, Gary and Roberta.
Robert worked for Xerox Corporation for 31 years, retiring in 1995.
Afterward, Robert and Eva served in the Utah Ogden Mission, the Bountiful Temple, and as Service Missionaries at Jordan River Camp near Fairview Utah and Camp Atoka near Huntsville Utah. Robert also held various Church callings.
Hobbies included woodworking, fishing, fly tying, hunting, camping, genealogy and ham radio.
Survived by his sister Mary Borst & brother, Wallace Capron, wife Eva, 5 children, 15 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. Preceded in death by his parents and his son Danny.
           Funeral services will be held Friday March 2, 2012 at 11 am at the Farmington Memorial Rock Chapel chapel, 272 North Main Street.  A viewing will be held Thursday evening from 6-8 pm at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 1941 North Main Street, Farmington, Utah and also from 9:45-10:45 am at the church prior to services.  Online guest book at  
           Interment will be in Holladay Memorial Cemetery, 4900 So. Memory Lane, Holladay, Utah. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Death by Taxes

     So I just finished filing my taxes for 2011. Let me tell you, filing taxes yourself isn't nearly as much fun as letting your dad file for you! I filed myself and am still scraping bits of my brain off the ceiling from the spontaneous combustion I suffered.  Luckily I’m still making money somewhere in the range that I get a nice little return on my taxes, and my summer job counted more as a ‘gift exchange’ so I didn't have to add that to my forms. Still, filing taxes is no piece of cake.

     Last year I waited until April 13th to turn my taxes in. (That’s cutting pretty close to the wire) I stressed about them and thought about them and worried starting at the end of February, all through March, and finally I took the time out of my busy schedule to hike to the Albany County Library where they do free taxes for University of Wyoming students. It was a pretty good deal, I just picked up a form, filled out the information I could, waited for an hour and a half for my turn to be helped by an accounting student. (See, the University set it up so the accounting students got extra practice in return for extra credit, and we got free taxes filed by semi-professionals!) It was easy and mostly painless, and it only took about 2 hours, considering waiting time and then the actual filing time.
     This year however, as I’m no longer a student they don’t offer free in-person tax services. You either pay to have someone do your taxes, pay for an online company to do your taxes, or bite the bullet and wade through the paperwork and thick instruction booklets to file yourself. Being the independent person that I am, I decided to wade through the verbiage and do taxes myself. After all, with only $5,200 dollars in adjusted gross income for 2011 how hard could it be?

     Well, pretty dang hard was my answer. I decided I’ve been babied the last four years or so, the first three I was making an income but my Dad filed for me as I was a dependant. Last year I filed my own, with the help of an accountant-in-training, no brainpower required. Filing in all the little boxes and cross-checking everything yourself is difficult, so difficult that I’m pretty sure the sound of my brain exploding was heard in Nebraska.

     I made it through the Federal Income Tax alright. Their forms are pretty simple and I’ve filled out a few W-2 forms that made going through this one a piece of cake. I got a little stuck trying to figure out where to e-file the form, there’s E-file and there’s FreeFile, I finally went with FreeFile, entered all my info, got hung up for 10 minutes trying to find my 2010 adjusted gross income so they could verify my information, finally e-signed it and clicked Submit. Success!

     Filing Utah State Income Tax, now that’s another story. I went to the library hoping to find some paperwork and someone to explain how to do stuff, and the nice librarian told me that all of the Utah Income Tax forms are online and I can either pay $1.20 to have them print off the forms and instruction booklet, or I can just do it online. Being broke, I opted to do it online. I had just scooted through the federal taxes so I happily clicked around on the Utah site, working to find out which tax form I needed and where to put it. I discovered it’s not so simple, I apparently need the TC-40 to fill out, I have to electronically submit both W-2’s, I need the TC-40W worksheet to see how much I actually paid, the TC-40A to make sure I was filling out the TC-40 right, and the instruction book (also available only online) to check my progress.

     So, in the midst of filling out the TC-40 and checking it against the W worksheet and adding line 6 through line 8 and subtracting that from line 4, I discovered Utah taxes are MUCH harder than the federal ones. I could barely keep the information straight! Add lines 16 and 17 then put that number in line 18. Now, times that by 5%, subtract that number from $2775, add some flying unicorns and put the entire answer on line 42. Once I’d entered everything from TC-40W on TC-40 lines 56 through 67, I discovered that the temp company that was paying me was actually registered in Texas, and all the taxes I paid to the state of Utah from my Wayfair job are applicable only in Texas. If that information is correct, I owe both Texas and Utah a hefty chunk of dough instead of getting a little bit of money back. Now does that seem right?

      I don’t know why Wyoming doesn’t have income taxes, maybe they do? If they do I don’t know about them, and I’m not going to see if I should have filed last year, the state government can track me down if they want to, all I know between the spinning rainbows and flying paperwork is that taxes make me sweaty, and I was off to take a shower. Goodbye to income taxes in Utah, I’ll try again later, maybe I’ll discover then that I should have added lines 15 and 16 instead of 19 and 20, and the employer ID is different from the resolution number. Whatever the case, Utah can keep their taxes, next year I’m hiring someone. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Internet Freedom Protest on Saturday, February 11th 2012 against ACTA and TPP, SOPA's Reincarnations

     Guess what, we beat SOPA back a little, and PIPA is pretty much crushed. But the big-name companies are not giving up. There are two new trade agreements on international license that those who supported SOPA and PIPA are trying to put into place (please read Jan 28th's blog for info on those bills), and they are ACTA and TPP. I don't know how to make this shorter for all of you with 2-second attention spans, so bear with me, I'll explain.

     ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. This will be a multi-national agreement to establish international standards for intellectual property.

     That basically means that ACTA wants to criminalize users for anything that even remotely resembles stealing of intellectual property (no more shares from YouTube videos on your Facebook page, no sir). They want the internet providers to help keep tabs on people to make sure the trade agreements aren't being violated (spying while you browse) and it basically makes it much easier for media companies to sue sites out of existence and to jail their founders. (Think, Megaupload and Kim Dotcom) Did I forget to mention that amatuer works that receive commercial status could be put behind bars? Seriously, if you receive compensation for stuff you post on YouTube, jail time for you, think of all the artists and Vloggers that started as amatuers on YouTube, but are now big names. does that seem right?

     Wow, so we fought and put down SOPA, and the big companies responded by putting into motion a GLOBAL agreement. This thing has actually been in the works since 2008, why may you ask haven't we heard about it before? Because not until Japan and some smaller countries signed the agreement did they even put any of this out there for the public. All meetings and conventions on the subject have been closed to the public and public interest groups, and they've been keeping their mouths shut about it. The other reason that nobody has heard of it is that it's a global trade agreement, meaning that this doesn't even have to go through Congress, it kind of skirts around it.

     The agreement (ACTA) was signed on 1 October 2011 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. In January 2012, the European and 22 of its member states signed as well, bringing the total number of signatories to 31. After ratification by 6 states, the convention will come into force. We have until March 31st, to let them know that we won't stand for this.

Now for the Most Important Stuff:
     There are a bunch of protests tomorrow, Saturday, February 11th 2012 all across Europe, as they haven't ratified the ACTA yet, and we need to lend our voices, let them know this isn't right. All the protests have gotten leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to back out of the ACTA, now the protest is planned in over 200 cities in Europe and the US, let's support them! If we do, by sending millions of emails to the key decision makers, we can start tipping the scales like we did on SOPA and beat this.

 Go to to find out more information, and to add your voice to the protest, please go to We are American, we know how to fight for freedom, so let's go out there and win it back!

1. For more information on ACTA, read these excellent articles from Techdirt and La Quadrature du Net. For information on TPP, read this Ars Technica piece. For video, watch this.
2. Obama's signing of ACTA may have been unconstitutional. See Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns and Techdirt.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Look, a Crazy Runner Person!

When I was in high school I was a crazy runner person. You know the type, they dress for the weather with their headbands, gloves, and under-armor leggings, and they hit the pavement in the wee hours of the morning, afternoon, and sometimes late at night. You see them everywhere, running along step after step, and while you make fun of them you secretly wish that you could be them. My brother and I coined this term after watching a runner struggle through a snowstorm on one particularly forbidding day.

“Look, it’s a runner.”

“Yeah, a crazy runner.

 “Do you think they need a ride?”

“No, they’re probably like Calvin’s dad (from Calvin and Hobbes) they would say no and keep going even if their face froze off.”

 “Yep, that’s probably right... crazy runner person.”

And thus, ‘crazy runner person’ was born. Every time we saw someone running, it was “Look! A crazy runner person!” Both my brother and I did cross-country in high school, so we felt justified in calling them crazy runner persons, after all, weren’t we crazy runner persons ourselves?
But lately I’ve slacked off, and by lately I mean all throughout college. Sure, there’d be two or three weeks once or twice during the semesters that the urge to run would become strong enough that I’d lace up my shoes, pull out my headband, and take off. This would continue until my schedule would put a kink in the running plans, and somehow I’d just never get back around to it.

Today however, I decided to become a crazy runner person once more, and I took off on a 3 mile run. I’m not that out of shape and I only stopped to walk twice so I am quite proud of myself. But there’s something running does to me. For one, my body responds quite well to it and I get random bursts of energy throughout the day. Another effect I have discovered is that now I am unable to sleep, even though it is 1:33 in the morning. I tried for an hour, then got up and wrote a chapter of the book I’m working on, and decided to transform my experience into a blog. Danger, becoming a crazy runner person gives you insane amounts of energy and may make your day super productive. At 1:34 in the morning, I don’t think that’s a good thing.
Still, I think I’ll continue being a crazy runner person; I kind of enjoy the endorphin high it gives me, as well as being part of an elite group that we all stare out the window at and secretly wish to join. So next time you see a crazy runner person, nod and wave, they’ll be glad to wave back at the crazy driver person who decided to notice them after all. (Or you could try and run them down, giving them an extra boost to their workout! I don't believe that's sanctioned by the police though...)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Movie Review: Big Miracle

In the movie world, few movies make you want to see them time and again. Most are highly forgettable chick flicks or action-packed guy’s movies. They come out, they gross about $50 million for their respective studios, and then are quickly relegated to the $5 bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Big Miracle is a wonderful show that makes you want to watch it time and again, albeit with some blankets! It takes place in Alaska, and the snow and winter chill is so accurately portrayed that you begin to feel as if you need to bundle up just to see the movie!

Okay, for those who haven’t seen the movie, here’s a quick rundown of what I liked without giving anything away! The story takes place in Barlow, Alaska, during the month of October 1988. This fact alone endeared the movie to me, as that’s the month and year I was born! This is also a true story, so for those who were alive during that time you may remember the story of the three whales stuck in the ice in Alaska. (My family didn’t when I asked them, but then they had a lot going on!) “Operation Breakthrough” made national news, and as the authentic news clips show, Peter Jennings of and several other famous anchors all were talking about it! This race to save the whales captured the nation’s attention, and has stayed with me long after I left the theatre.
The cast is fantastic, Drew Barrymore as Rachael Kramer, a Greenpeace fanatic, John Krasinski as Adam Carlson, low-level news reporter who breaks the story, and Kristen Bell as Jill Jerard, a feisty news reporter from the mainland. Some scenes may be a little intense for a younger audience, thus the PG rating, but for those parents who think their kids can handle the race against time to save the whales, this is a perfect family movie that is inspiring without being preachy. The politics help provide a good juxtaposition against the cheesiness we have come to expect from ‘save marine life’ movies, so the older audience doesn’t feel gypped!

Now, SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to know what happens, don’t read any further, okay! The next bit is just for those who have watched it and want to discuss what happened. I’m even going to put in a great picture from the movie right here to give you a chance to scroll up again.
Okay, you’re still reading. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Wow, I have been waiting 6 months for this movie to come out, pretty much ever since I caught a whiff of the advertisements. It caught my attention because of John Krasinski, who is pretty much my current favorite actor (you may know him as Jim Halpert from The Office), and also because of the story, which for once didn’t throw up red cliché flags.

When I watched Big Miracle, I was so excited because for once, a movie lived up to my expectations! Sure it was a little mushy around the edges, but the true-story aspect solved that issue for the most part, and the humor helped keep things light. I was so sad when Bamm-Bamm, the baby whale died. I have to admit, I knew that was coming before I saw the movie (I read past a spoiler alert, just like you are doing now) but I kept hoping that the review was mistaken. The bravery shown by Rachael jumping in the arctic water was beautiful, the humor shown by the characters kept things light, and wthe two remaining whales finally raced into the open ocean the entire audience clapped!
My absolute favorite humor bit happened on the helicopter. What do you do when you’re driving a helicopter in 50 below temperatures with the doors open at 100 mph (so the wind chill is pretty much off the charts) and your eye, the one absolutely essential thing you need freezes shut? Well, you get someone to lick your eye of course! The whole audience laughed uproariously when Adam Carlson leans over to the pilot and proceeds to lick his eye open, probably the most bizarre moment but definitely the funniest!

In the end, it was the Russians to the rescue and two of the gray whales saved, thanks to heroic efforts by all involved. I liked that Adam and Rachael got back together, it somehow seemed right. I also secretly enjoyed the fact that Jill Jerard had a career plateau, and for everyone who was wondering what the fade-out was on the lady at Adam Carlson’s new job, that’s actual footage of Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska. The plot was engaging, the storytelling and real footage made it immediate, and the acting sealed the deal, to make this the best movie this winter, at least until The Lorax comes out!

Well, that’s all I got for now. I am definitely planning on buying this wonderful film when it comes out, if for no other reason then it’s nice to have some documentary from the month I was born. I have to give Big Miracle a Big YES in my book!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I have happily, if by accident discovered the genre of STEAMPUNK. What is this you may ask? Well, it’s a type of fashion and media that describes a setting where steam power is still widely used, usually Victorian Britain or the Wild West  United States, and it incorporates elements of science fiction or fantasy. I think the best term to describe it is ‘retro-futuristic’.
Steampunk is a highly detailed genre that relies on machines and descriptions of a world where gears, leather, and sometimes bulky but always highly detailed inventions are key. Think wooden barrels with gears, goggles, lighter-than-air airships, digitally mechanical devices, modern technology adapted with springs and steam, all attached to a Victorian feel.

I stumbled on this genre by chance, but it's always been lurking around the corners of my vision. Think movies such as Sherlock Holmes (2010 and 2011), Treasure PlanetThe League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and books such as H.G. Well's 'The Time Machine', and Jules Vernes '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea'. I was actually doing research on a book I'm currently trying to write, and I found a name and a thriving sub-culture, complete with pictures and dedicated fans!

 Here’s some of my favorite pictures from the Steampunk genre.
Isn't this just the coolest watch ever!

This girl went to a Dragon Con event dressed as a Steampunk Fairy, you can see the mechanical wings behind her!

 This is a tricyle that my brother would probably get a kick out of, and invent himself if he got the chance!

Of course, a classic Victorian guy costume, streamlined for steampunk fashionistas.

And these shoes, awesome!