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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Great Twitter Debacle

As you may know if you read my About page, I started this blog because of a publishing industry class in which we are constantly lectured on the importance of creating an internet presence. But you don’t know this because you haven’t read my About page. No worries. In fact, don’t even bother. It’s not that interesting. Probably because I’m not that interesting. And because this blog isn’t exactly about anything. Which creates problems in trying to write an About page.

So in addition to my dive into blogging, I created a Twitter account. And thus far… I hate it. I don’t get it. My mind doesn’t think in hash tags and @ symbols. People have tried explaining it to me. I’m learning. Slowly. Very slowly. These days I feel like I’m in a fight with Twitter. And Twitter is beating me. A lot.

And perhaps what bothers me most about it is the fact that people like Snooki and Kim Kardashian manage to use it, and I’m pretty sure I’m smarter than both of them. Combined. I mean, judging from Snooki’s most recent tweet, she does not know the difference between you’re and your. Also I don’t know why either of those two are famous. I can work Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, and QuarkExpress reasonably well. Pintrest gave me some trouble at first, but I think I’ve worked that one out too. Twitter should totally be in my league…

So, Twitter, you have won this round. But I will be back. I am from a tech savvy generation. And I WILL figure you out. And when I do I’ll join the massive throngs of people squawking. I think that’s the more accurate bird noise to describe what your site is about.

As a side note, I think Twitter may end up changing the meaning of the phrase “a little bird told me.” Your thoughts?

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Furbys: the devil’s plaything

WARNING: To my dear followers who are used to blog posts on fun, frivolous posts about topics such as spatulas and Disney princesses, this post is not like those I have previously posted. It is much darker and delves into the inner-mind to discuss a truly terrifying matter. Be warned. Things could get freaky.

One day in Spanish class we had a writing prompt that asked us to discuss something de la moda (in fashion) from our childhood. I think, perhaps, that our teacher was looking for a discussion on clothing styles that were popular. But as a child I had no interest in clothes (a fact which my mother can attest to). Having limited time to respond to the prompt I instead chose to talk about something I could remember from my childhood— what toys were in fashion. I’ll take a second to point out that, while not exactly the topic our teacher probably wanted, the essay wasn’t about Batman as so many of my other Spanish class essays were.

In my essay I talked about Digipets (the wikipedia article on them points out that, unlike real pets, they rarely die and or reproduce) and Beanie Babies (a product which has apparently suffered from a number of counterfeit cases). The bulk of my essay, how ever was devoted to discussing Furbies. You remember Furbies, don’t you. How could anyone forget them.

I think now would be a good time to mention that Furbys scare the living daylights out of me. I mean, they’re always watching you. Watching, watching, watching. And someday, long after you’ve shoved it into the back of your closet in an attempt to eradicate it from your memory, you’ll hear it. It’ll say something to you in that demonic Furbish tongue it has.You’ll wonder how this could be, because all logic informs you that the creature’s batteries died long, long ago. My theory? This happens because Frubys do not run on batteries alone, but on a power source much more powerful and sinister. Yes, Furby’s are in fact powered by the cosmic force of evil.

Don’t laugh. This is serious. For those of you who’ve never had the terrifying experience of listening to a Furby talk to you from beyond the grave and don’t see why they’re so creepy, I will elaborate. I’ve heard a horror story or two.

For starters, if Furbies were living creatures (I say living in like a non-paranormal sort of way. You know, not in the sense that Frankenstein is ALIVE!), they would look something like this:

Would you want one of those things sitting on your shelf staring at you with those beady eyes? No way! The thing just looks like it’s up to no good.

Furthermore, Furbys as I hinted at earlier, are not easy to kill. I’m sure, like stakes for vampires and wooden bullets for werewolves, Furbys have an Achilles heel. We have yet to discover what exactly it is that will save us from their terror, though. Dissecting them doesn’t work. It only takes away the sheep’s clothing that made them seem ok to place them the hands of children in the first place.

I met a guy once who shot a Furby. AND IT STILL DIDN”T DIE! I tell you these things really creep me out. That last story may not even be true. But I wouldn’t put it beyond the realm of possibility. Basically what I’m getting at is don’t ever buy a Furby, and if you ever come across one, get away! These “toys” are not to be trifled with.

Mulan would kick your trash, and you know it

Once upon a time (we’re talking about Disney princesses, I had to use the stock phrase) I was listening to a guy talk about how Mulan was his favorite Disney woman. And I have to say, I agree that she is pretty dang awesome. I mean, she pretty much single handedly took down an invading army of Huns. And blew up Shan Yu in one of the more visually stimulating Disney villain deaths. Mulan is smart, strong, brave, and pretty. Talk about a girl worth fighting for. You know, despite the fact that she could totally take down the entire Hun army without your help.

That, however, is about where I had to stop agreeing with the guy talking. This was a mental disagreement, since he wouldn’t stop talking long enough to let me say what I thought. Not that I’m still bitter about it…

Anyway, he proceeded on to tell me that all of the other Disney princesses were inferior, and in fact that most of them were pansies. Since he didn’t let me give my opinion I will choose now to point out that this is absolutely preposterous. Many, if not all of the Disney ladies are awesome. Yes, some of them are a little more on the girlie side. But my personal opinion is that being girlie isn’t the same thing as being weak. In fact, sometimes it’s just what does the trick.

Take Rapunzel for example. Wears pink, freaks out about a rabbit in a bush, and is a confessed lover of ducks. Pretty girlie right? But she still manages to be pretty hard core. I mean for one thing, she manages to subdue a pub full of thugs. And that was actually accomplished because she was girlie, not because she beat them all up.

I’d just like to go through and show a few of my favorite moments for the women of Disney. Witty comebacks earn extra bonus points.

Esmerelda: So despite my personal opinion that maybe the whole plot of the Hunchback was too dark for children, I enjoy the romance between Phoebus and Esmerelda. I especially like this scene in which he attempts to strike at her with her sword and she begins sparring with him using a candlestick as a weapon (for those of you who didn’t catch it, that was a dangling modifier, which as you know from my previous post are fun. For the record Esmerelda is using the candlestick, not Phoebus. I guess the picture would have cleared that up…). He’s impressed with her mad skills and tells her she fights almost as well as a man. She quickly comes back with, “Funny, I was going to say the same thing about you.”

Jasmine: Another smart, independent woman. Jasmine refuses to let her marriage be decided for her, sneaks out of the palace to experience life as a commoner, and first impresses Aladdin with her skills as a “quick learner.” She also uses her feminine wiles to trick Jafar at the end.

"And your beard is so... twisted."

Tiana: The most notable character trait for Tiana is her determination. She’s a hard way and doesn’t let anything. Now sometimes this actually becomes her biggest flaw, but in the end she finds balance and with it a happily ever after.

Pocahontas: Confession, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen this one and the details are blurry. But I do remember that Pocahontas is brave, that she saved John Smith’s life, and in the sequel saves her entire tribe from war with the British.

Other Disney women who are pretty much awesome. And if you don’t think so, I am respectfully here to tell you that you’re totally wrong:

Megara from Hercules

Jane from Tarzan

This is Eilonwy from The Black Cauldron. Pretty obscure, but cool nonetheless. She helps Taran escape from the dungeons of the Horned King. And though the movie is nothing like the book, I do really like her in the Prydian Chronicles as well.

Chicha from The Emperor's New Groove

And last but not least, my favorite of all the Disney women. Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Unlike Mulan and Esmerelda, she isn’t a good fighter. Unlike Jasmine and Meg, she doesn’t use trickery to deceive bad guys. She’s just a great person. Her affinity to books makes her a favorite of mine for obvious reasons. But she exhibits a remarkable ability to see past the Beast’s exterior and fall in love with the Prince on the inside.

So, as awesome as Mulan is, she isn’t alone. Disney has a number of strong, independent, lovely, and intelligent women. Imagine all the gals (I’ve been made fun of so much for using that word since I’ve left Montana) in this blog teaming up. I wouldn’t want to get on their bad side. Nobody in their right mind would. Don’t try to get in the way of their happily ever after. Unless, that is one of the following fates sounds good to you:

  • Exploding with a whole mess of fireworks
  • Disintegrating while falling from a tower
  • Falling from a cathedral into something molten
  • Being imprisoned in a itty bitty living space for a few millennia
  • Being taken by your not-so-friendly friends from the other side because you didn’t repay your debt
  • I can’t remember what happened to Ratcliffe, but it was probably bad.
  • Having a bunch of slimy souls from the River Styx crawling all over you and extinguishing your hair
  • Being hanged by some vines after an altercation with some apes
  • Anything involving a cauldron with black magic oozing from it
  • Turning into a cat with a squeaky voice.

To avoid these sorts of things from happening to you, I recommend not being an antagonist. Just sayin.

Dangling Modifiers Made Fun

I decided to throw the word fun in the title because the instant I put a grammar term up there I decreased the odds that people would actually read this by approximately 89.7% (which is a very statistical statistic). Some of you may have clicked this just because such a juxtaposition of the word fun with grammar concepts seems like an oxymoron. I’ll be the first to say that I find grammar somewhat interesting. I’ll also be the first to say that I’m incredibly biased on the matter because my chosen field of study is the English language.

But dangling modifiers are fun. Basically the idea behind them is that based on the placement of a descriptive phrase, you might not be able to tell which object the phrase is talking about. For example: She handed the rattle to the baby that was made of plastic. Is the rattle made of plastic? Or is the baby?

Or: Having been mutilated by the printer, the clerk threw the mangled cards away. Did the printer mutilate the cards or did it mutilate the clerk?

You get the idea. I’m not going to go into great detail on what exactly they are or how to fix them lest I become boring. If you’re DYING to read all about it I suggest this link. What I will do is illustrate some sentences with dangling modifiers for you. Prepare to be blown away by my mad art skills. That’s right. I have the Crayola 120 pack, and I’m not afraid to use it!

"The police arrested a six-foot-tall man with a mustache weighing 300 pounds." That is one heavy mustache! Probably made it hard to flee the crime scene.

You can see herds of elephants flying over Africa.

"An old cigarette advertisement showed a man on a horse smoking a cigarette." Poor horse is going to end up with lung cancer.

"Having rotted in the damp cellar, my brother was unable to sell any of the potatoes." Rotting in a cellar is a bad way to go. And it does seriously impede your potato selling ability.

"My sister left with her date wearing a pink dress and matching heels." I... do not even have a snarky comment for this one.

"She wore a colorful scarf over her shoulders, which she bought in Mexico." For those of you who can't understand the speech bubble either because it's too small or you can't read Spanish, the guy is saying, "Do you want to buy shoulders? They come with a free scarf!"

See, I told you it would be fun! You probably didn’t believe me. Anyway that’s pretty much all I have for this post. So from now on be careful not to dangle your modifiers!

Kyra’s Blog- you’ve probably never heard of it.

Hipsters. That’s right today we are discussing the ever hated on group from the social fringe. A little over a week ago, I had people submit ideas of what they wanted me to write about in my blog. Whichever got the most likes I would write about. Only one suggestion even got liked and this is it.

“Make it a photo blog/social experiment. Go and take pictures of all the hipsters that pass one spot on campus in an hour. Then comment on the fact that they all look the same, even though that destroys the very nature of the movement.”

The others were mostly scientific conundrums which I would be totally unqualified to write on. Not that being unqualified has ever stopped me from writing about something before. The bigger problem is that such topics are very hard to make very entertaining.

So here is the photographic journey of my social experiment. I include here a number of things I learned, many of which have nothing to do with hipsters.

  • I’m only slightly more qualified to talk about hipsters than I am to talk about holes in the space time continuum. As in I’m not very qualified.
  • There are not all to many hipsters running around BYU campus. At least not where I was sitting. Maybe the student center is too mainstream? Maybe I would have found more if I had turned around and faced the fine arts building.
  • I am not very good at stealth camera work. Because I was trying to look like I was taking pictures of nearby buildings and not the people walking by, I got a number of not very good shots. Like these:

I usually just got their side or back.

It's too bad I didn't get the front of this guy. His tie was so skinny it would have made a toothpick feel fat.

  • Nobody seems to care that if you look like you’re randomly snapping pictures of really uninteresting objects.
  • Apart from being bad in general stealth photography, I’m still getting used to my new camera. And I’m not really sure how to use it yet.
  • Sometimes people actually read my blog, and it always kind of surprises me. I don’t think I’m that interesting.
  • Speaking of which my blog has gotten like 20 views as I’ve been writing this. Why? I haven’t even posted anything new for a few days.
  • Reflecting on the pictures that I got that were good, most of them weren’t actually all that hipstery. Like this:

  • I may need to broaden my definition of hipster. For one thing you can’t be hipster (in my mind at least) without the glasses.
  • Confession: I kind of like the glasses. I actually kinda like a lot of the hipster style.
  • The wikipedia article on hipsters is kind of interesting. And we all know how I feel about wikipedia.
  • The origins of the word hipster are actually from a 1940’s subculture.
  • Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m not bad at stealth photography and that hipsters are just ninjas. Therefore they are able to walk out of the frame before I snap the picture and I get something that looks really dumb.

It worked out though. The guy I was trying to get a picture of walked by again. He's the guy in the picture of the hipster couple above.

  • Also sometimes I need to be better at focusing on my mission. By and far the best hipster I saw, I didn’t get a picture of because my FHE dad came up and started distracting me.

This is Chris, the guy who distracted me. I rejoined him in the Cougareat when my social experimentings were done. While we were there I noticed several of the people I snapped pictures of were sitting nearby.

  • I’m not actually very good at using wordpress. It took me forever to figure out how to make these pictures align like I wanted them too. And now that I know, it turns out it’s not actually that hard.
  • I tried to take a video, for a bit. My memory card is stupid though and wouldn’t hold more than 30 seconds.
  • My voice sounds weird to me when I hear a recording of it. But I think that happens to most people.
  • Hipsters can be nice. One of my favorite photos to snap was this guy. Not only did I manage to actually get a good picture of him, he was so convinced that I was trying to take a picture of the library (or whatever was behind him) that he apologized for accidentally walking in front of the camera and messing up the picture.

Anyway, as for hipsters themselves, I don’t actually have a problem with them. I just consider it another social group. Sure there is the irony that they pride themselves on being different when they all seem more or less alike. Still I don’t think that means they don’t identify with each other any less than members of other stereotyped cliques do. Besides, it was nice outside and I enjoyed just sitting out there, people watching, and listening to my mainstream music. Yes, most of my music is very mainstream, or at least was in the 80’s. Hipsters will be hipsters. In a a few months the general public will find something else to complain about.

And just because I like memes (and for what it’s worth, I did like those before they were cool):

Spatula City!

The video that prompted all the madness. My inspiration for 100 Things to Do with Spatulas.

Here it is.

Interception: a bad play within a bad play.

I recently decided to try allowing people to make recommendations on possible blog topics on my facebook page. I said that I would write about the one that got the most likes. This is not it. Due to tests, I have not had time to perform the social experiment that got the most (1 like) positive response. I did want to post this week, though. So I’m taking another suggestion that will be quicker to write about. Uncle Sam* suggested the following topic:

The eternal question that philosophers have pettifogged for years: Is nothing better than an interception?

The question first sprang to light in my early days of watching football. Football is a beloved sport in our family. My mom has been telling me from a young age that it is important to love and understand the game 1) because it’s awesome and 2) because boys would be impressed by my interest in the sport. The jury is still out on the latter, however the former is absolutely true. I digress though.

I was watching a game with my dad and uncle. This game in particular was not going well for our team. In fact, our team had just thrown an interception that had us all groaning in disgust. In frustration I yelled out, “Nothing is better than an interception!” At this my fellow game watchers turned to me in concern. They assumed that either I didn’t understand football (something terrible) or that I was cheering for the wrong team (even worse).

They hurriedly sought to correct me from my erroneous ways. After several minutes the issue was finally cleared up. We realized there were two possible interpretations of the phrase. 1) an interception is the best thing that could have happened in that scenario, which is the one they heard and 2) not gaining any yards (nothing) would have been better than giving yards away, which is what I meant.

To this day the matter still looms in the air whenever there is an interception thrown by either team. Unintentional wordplay can create confusion and even conflict. The English language is dangerous. Proceed with caution.

Indeed philosiraptor, indeed.

*Once again, not the Uncle Sam. My uncle. Sam Nelson.