Tuesday, November 28, 2006


My very first district leader was an elder from Kazakhstan. He was fluent in Italian (because his mom is Italian), but he told me that he was kind of surprised that he wasn't called to serve in Russia. (Living in Kazakhstan, he'd learned Russian.) Any time he met anyone who spoke Russian as their first language, he would teach them about the gospel, in Russian. The people were so happy to have someone to talk to in their own language that they would always have lengthy conversations.

One time I asked him how he could pick out the Russians. (I sure couldn't.) He told me that one of the ways he could tell was the way they walked. Since Russians are accustomed to cold weather, snow and ice don't affect their walking at all. They walk...confidently?

I'm not one of those people who claims California because my parents moved there a couple years ago. I am a bona fide, born-and-raised, genuine Californian. I think that this winter is going to make it obvious that I'm not from here. Instead of walking confidently like the Russians, I walk like someone ice skating for the very first time.

I thought someone had really helped us pedestrians out by clearing all of Provo's sidewalks. [Yes! No more choosing between soaked, cold, normal-length pants and artificial high-waters!] Instead, it was all just a cruel joke. Instead of making my pedest-ing more comfortable, it makes it much more difficult. The sidewalks are glazed with ice. The soles of my shoes are unable to grip the cement. I slide all over the place. It's dangerous, really. In order to safely walk anywhere, I'll need those mountain-climber shoes that have spikes on them. For now, I shuffle instead of walking.

Another problem with snow is, it seems like it's in the way. It's sort of like having tracking in real life. On videos, people really don't like it. It gets in their way and bothers them. They press buttons on remotes, fast-forward and rewind, and try to get rid of it. And eventually, hopefully, it goes away. With snow, it's the same to me. I feel like I need to move it out of the way so that I can see things. Too bad universal remotes aren't really universal.

And snow is cold. Very cold.

A final observation about snow: even when it's dark and grey outside, the snow reflects light and everything seems brighter. I do like that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Update, mostly about work.

As it turns out, I enjoy my new job. I have fun coworkers, and all that.

I've been reading a lot of our books from the "library" that we have in the break room. The Company will give us a free book of our choice if we read five from their list of new books. Us reading them makes it easier for us to sell them because we can recommend books that we've read to customers. The Company likes that.

It's been really funny, though, because I'm reading Church fiction books. Starting to read them has been kind of like starting to drink health shakes; you have to choke them down in the hopes that eventually you'll get used to the strange flavor.

Don't get me wrong; I love, love, love Church reference books. I'm just not used to the fiction ones. My little sister who attends BYUI reads Anita Stansfield (sp?) books. They're supposed to be romance novels. Church romance novels. And that, to me, seems like an oxymoron. It's a well-known fact that romance novels are smutty and plotless. They're full of lust and promiscuity. And those are things that would intentionally be omitted in any church related book. How can a Church romance novel exist? We teased my sister for reading them. She would start telling us how the plot (if you could call it a plot) was progressing, and I would interrupt her: "And they hold hands in the end?"

And now I'm reading the same sort of thing. The books are full of cheesy lines like: "I love you, Adam Price--but I should have known from your name that loving you would exact a big price from me" (p. 15). And the characters talk about their testimonies, and church things. And on the one hand, it's okay, because I talk about church things in real life, too. (So why shouldn't the characters?) And on the other hand, it's a bit like running into your professor at the grocery store or something. It seems really out of place.

There are also fiction series about Nephi and company, or other Book of Mormon characters. I think even if one of those books were placed on the list, I wouldn't read it. It's just too weird. Nephi chats it up with Sariah, and the authors take the liberty of naming characters that are unnamed in the scriptures. Who knew that this stuff existed?!

We also have some interesting customers, just like anywhere else.

A couple days ago I had a real gem. I knew that she was going to be interesting from the first time she opened her mouth. She said, "So I found out that I have a UTI and a bladder infection..." right from the start. Other highlights of our conversation included her looking for a book.

What was it called? She couldn't remember. What was it about? She couldn't remember that either. What type of book was it? She thought for a moment. It was a church book. It was definitely a church book.

I work at a Church bookstore.

She also wanted to find a particular CD. She pointed to one of the CDs that we had out. "It's shaped like this," she told me, to help me know which one she wanted. A CD that came in a CD case. Oh boy.

My break is over, so I'll post more later.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Recent Happenings.

Things that have happened recently:

  • I attended the Joanna Newsom concert, which was amazing.

  • Lavish and I dyed our hair this weekend, for an adventure
  • I started work at a new job. So far, I enjoy it.

Also, the cat is getting bigger. She pounces on things.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Trials of Darryl Hunt

Last night, I went with Brooklyn and Yellow to see a film that was part of the Sundance documentary series.

The Trials of Darryl Hunt was all about this guy who was convicted of a murder that he didn't commit. He spent 20 years in prison while his appeals were denied. Even after DNA testing showed that he wasn't responsible for the rape and murder of the lady wasn't enough to get him a new trial. Finally, they ended up finding the guy who had actually committed the crime, and they let Darryl out of prison.

It was a really interesting story. All along, nobody really had any evidence. People got so fired up because he was a black guy and she was a white woman that it became an emotional issue rather than a logical one.

The thing that really impressed me was that throughout it all, Darryl stayed really positive. When they asked him when he was first being tried if he was angry, he said that he wasn't. He said people make mistakes, and that was one of them. Pretty much all of the video clips of him showed him smiling and calm. He really made the best of his situation. He often talked about God watching out for him.

He's been out of prison for almost two years, now, and he isn't filing charges against anyone. He's moving on. He's serving other people.

In the discussion after the movie, the girl who made the film said that Darryl has started a program to help inmates succeed with the transition to life outside of prison. He has a 90 day? class that teaches people job skills, offers housing, etc, etc, and there have already been 35 or so people to complete it.

When someone asked her what we could do, she said that the best thing we could do would be to participate in prison literacy programs. I'm looking into those now.

I'm really glad that I went to see the movie; I think Darryl offered an amazing example of patience and optimism.