Friday, February 27, 2009

Personalized fonts! For FREE!

A long time ago, on one of my flights, I found a page inside the SkyMall catalog that would let you order a personalized font. I thought it sounded amazing!

It was a cardstock insert, and on both sides of the page it had little cells in light blue. They had guidelines, so that you knew how tall the letters should be and where the baseline would be, kind of like when you're learning to write, except more technical.

I. Wanted. One.

All you had to do was fill out the paper, and send it in with like, $300, and they would send you a disk with your font on it.

This amazed me.

I tore out the paper, and practiced my writing so that if I somehow stumbled upon lots of money I would be prepared to send my page in and get my font.

But $300 was a lot of money. Even more than the $84 ($82?) that an American Girls Collection doll that I couldn't afford either. Much more.

So I never got my very own, personalized font. Even though my little letters were written out perfectly, and I didn't go outside of any of the lines or ignore the baseline. I sure coveted that font though, the same way I wanted a "Welcome to (my longitude) (my latitude)" doormat that I saw in the SkyMall magazine a few flights ago. Okay, I actually wanted the font even more than that.

Imagine my surprise and excitement when Olympus shared Bismark's link to, which is a site that creates personalized fonts for FREE.


I printed out the pages with the little cells, and even though only the first page is required, I filled out both pages, so that I would have the extra letters with accents and stuff.

And then I carried them around in my notebook for a few weeks because I don't have a scanner. And I use scanners every day at work, but I just really didn't think about it. We've been busy.

But today, I finally took the time to nab a scanner in the computer lab, and I uploaded my pages that I wrote so carefully, and in about a minute I had my very own personalized font.

Holy smokes! It's as good as I had always hoped it would be. For like, years.

My only trouble now is, what do I do with it?

I can't decide.

I suppose I'll probably use it on posters. I could use it to write people letters. But when I send real letters, I kind of like to really write them. Because there's just something nice about real, handwritten letters that are not just typed letters that look handwritten.

I'm really excited with how it came out, though. The letters nestle all together just like real writing, and not with all the extra space around them like when I actually wrote them. Typing actually does look pretty much like my actual writing, aside from the fact that my real writing has variation. For example, sometimes my "e" are round, and sometimes they're sharp (like this font). I'll use both in the same sentence sometimes. I think maybe it has something to do with what letters it's next to...but I digress...

I highly recommend because:
1. It is kind of a novelty.
2. You don't have to be a fancy technical person to use it.
3. It does not cost $300.
4. You don't have to wait until you get your hands on a copy of SkyMall to do it.
5. You can pretend you've written out your homework or essay by hand, and actually type it.
6. You can write letters that have a personal touch, even though they're typed. (Note: If you type because your handwriting is illegible, this will evoke in others a sense of irony, because your writing will still be typed, and also still be illegible.)
7. You can send postcards to clients that seem like they're personalized but are not.
8. You can address your wedding invitations by hand without actually doing anything by hand.
9. If you trick your friend into filling out all of the cells, you can write your friend letters from himself.
10. They even have a fancy schmantzy extra high resolution option in case you just can't get enough of your own handwriting.
11. You can write letters to companies that appear to be personal but are not.
12. Times New Roman, Schmimes New Roman. Who needs it?!
13. Um. Actually. I think those are all of the reasons that I've got for now.


OH! 13. It says on the site that you can use your font to personalize your digital scrapbook pages. This is actually a really good idea. I will probably do this.

I'm going to make more. I'm going to make a handwriting one, and I don't know what other fonts, but this is just too fantastic for me to stop with one!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My New Favorite Movie: Witness for the Prosecution

I've been going through a list of several classic law movies.

Today I watched Witness for the Prosecution, which is from 1957, and was in black and white.

I loved it!

Basically, it's the story of a lawyer (Sir Wilfrid) who had some heart problem and is not supposed to stress himself, but then defends a guy accused of committing murder.  And then there's this huge surprise, which is that his wife testifies against him.  I think that's probably about as much as the cover would say.

There are six parts that I just really loved (enough to take note of), in addition to many other amusing parts.

1.  At the very beginning, Sir Wilfrid is coming home to like, his law building (downstairs) and house (upstairs), and he has this way uptight nurse who is coming home with him.

She's chattering in the car and says, "Shall we roll up the window, Sir Wilfrid?"
And he says, "Just roll up your mouth, you talk too much. If I'd known how much you talk I'd never have come out of my coma."

2.  They've had a stair lift installed while he was in hospital, and he plays with it, riding up and down.  I didn't even know stair lifts existed in the 50's!

3.  The nurse keeps trying to get him to go upstairs and rest, and he's started talking to these men about the case that he is definitely not supposed to take, and at one point, the nurse calls from the top of the stairs, "Sir Wilfrid!  You're dawdling again!"  And then she claps at him!  Love. It.

4.  There's this part where the guy accused of murder is explaining how he knew the lady he was accused of murdering, and he's talking about how they became friends, and about the first time he visited her home.  And the lady had a collection of African masks and stuff, and they're from when the lady and her belated husband had lived in Africa.  And the lady talks about this one mask that was a witch doctor mask.  

Lady:  "Hubert and I collected all these things when we lived in Africa.  Hubert was my husband."
Accused guy:  "Well, now, there's a loveable chap."  (And he points at this wild mask.)
Lady:  "That's the mask of the witch doctor.  He wore it when he pulled our servants' teeth.  So Hubert used to call him a witch dentist.  Hubert was so witty."

A witch dentist!  That kills me. I would have liked Hubert, I think.  Almost as much as Sir Wilfrid.

5.  They've told Sir Wilfrid that he can take this case only if he promises to go somewhere relaxing like the Bahamas or something right after the case, like so that he can't keep doing stressful work.  And at one point they're bothering him about vacation stuff, and Wilfrid snaps at his nurse, "Shut up.  You just want to see me in those nasty shorts."  (Bermuda shorts that they've ordered him.)  This maybe doesn't sound very funny, but it is quite funny coming from an old English guy who wears one of those powdered wigs and a monocle.

6.  Okay, this last part isn't really a movie quote.  It's an announcement that comes on as the credits are starting at the end.  It announces, "The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution."  Gasp!  An official announcement telling every viewer not to spoil the ending for other people?!  Amazing.

So.  I won't tell you how things all end (because I care about your greater entertainment), but this is definitely a movie to see if you haven't seen it yet.

Monday, February 23, 2009

T-Mobile Text Scam! Revealed on the train!

I got a text today, at 6:24pm, from 5000 that read:
"ApplicationCenter / This is an automated message from Transwest Credit Union.Your ATM card has been suspended.To reactivate call urgent at 1-888-400-6825."

I thought it was a little weird that it came from 5000, since usually texts not from phone numbers are from T-Mobile, acknowledging payment or whatever.

Still, I only have 2 ATM cards.  My main bank is Key Bank, and they are fantastic.  But they really have no reason to suspend my account.  And if they were thinking about it, they would call me first.  I got a call from them when I was back east last year, because I was using my debit card far from Utah and they wanted to make sure I knew about it.  So I let them know I was on vacation and they put a note in my account.

My other ATM card is for WaMu (now Chase.)  I opened an account with them because I wanted a savings account with them (they promised an unheard of interest rate for a regular savings account), and they said I needed a free checking account to start a savings account.  But that account has like $5 in it, so it's nothing to worry about.

And anyway, neither of those banks are Trans-whatever, so I didn't worry about it.  I figured it was a scam and forgot all about it.  That was at 6:24pm today.

Just now I got off of TRAX, where we had an amazing conversation.

TRAX was packed.  People had been waiting at the transfer stop for like 30 minutes, and finally a University train came.  "What are you guys all coming from?" I asked one of the guys near me, and he told me they were coming from a Jazz game.  And then he started talking to his friend.  

He said he'd signed up and they gave him a $20 gift card.  He used it to buy a hat.  He still had to pay $15 towards the hat, but that was what he had used it for, anyway.  And then he got this text.  He read off a free number, and his friend tried to call it, on speakerphone.  "ALL CIRCUITS ARE BUSY" the line said, and it disconnected.

"It's probably because I'm not calling from your phone," the friend said.

"Oh.  Yeah," the guy realized.  "Well, when I called earlier, the first thing it asked me for was my credit card number, and I was like oh, no, you are not getting that, and I hung up."

And then he said something about Transwest.

"Hey!  Wait!  I got that too," I told him. 

"You did?  You got the text too?"

"Yeah!" I remembered, and I pulled my phone out to bring up the message.

"It said your ATM card was suspended?" he confirmed.

"Yeah!" I said.

"I got that too," another girl near us announced.

And it became a whole conversation among the eight people seated across from each other and me standing in the aisle near them.

"Did you all sign up at the Transwest booth too??" the guy asked us.

"Huh?  No.  I wasn't even at the game."  The other girl shook her head.

"I am so relieved.  I signed up at the Transwest booth at the game... you know how they'll give you things if you sign up for a credit card...  Well, they gave me a $20 gift card, and I got this hat that I'm wearing."  He lifted the bill a bit, to show us.  "And then all of the sudden I got this text during the game!"

The other girl nodded.  I didn't, because I don't sign up for credit cards to get free stuff.  Ever.

"I never sign up for anything," I said.  (I don't.)

"I always sign up for those.  You know, you get a blanket at the U games.  Or one time!  One time I signed up for a credit card to get a free pizza," he continued.

We all kind of laughed.

"What time did you guys get the message?"  I asked.

"8:30," the guy said.  "I couldn't even pay attention to the game after that.  I was so worried!  My buddy asked me the score, and I was like [he made a blank face, staring off]"

"6:30," the other girl said.

"I got mine at 6:24."

And then we kind of talked about how it came from 5000, which seemed like an official number.  And we talked about how I never put my phone number on anything, and I don't have Transwest, so it's definitely a scam.  

But the fact remained that although three of us had gotten us, several people around us had not.

"Do you guys have T-Mobile?  Is this a T-Mobile thing?" I asked them.

"I have T-Mobile," the girl said.

"I have T-Mobile too," the guy said, holding his phone up.

"I have Verizon and I didn't get it," another girl near us said, "It must be a T-Mobile thing."  

"Mine is Verizon too, and I didn't get it either," another guy said.  And that settled things.

"You guys, I was so worried!  I'm so glad you guys got it too!  I was like, I signed up for a credit card and now I have a time share!"

The guys who were originally talking about it got off at the next stop.  The rest of us kept talking about it for a few more stops.  We talked about how crazy it was that they could hack the customer list, or whatever happened.  We talked about how this couple got a call years after they were married, where someone told them they had won a vacation, and they said there was no catch, but they wanted to know if he was 25.  He wasn't.  So they wanted his parents' phone number.  And he said no.  He was like, "I'm 23, and you want to talk to my parents?  Why?"

It was a pretty funny conversation.

And then we all got off the train a couple stops later.  "Have a good one!" the guy said to me as I was getting off.  

"I dunno," I said seriously.  "I hear my debit card has been suspended..."

And our half of the train chuckled.

[N.B. Photo lovingly stolen from here, because I thought it was fantastic.]

Presidents' Day

The other project that I did at Jessica's house was:

A trial run of Presidents' Day cookies!
I decided that this year I wanted to celebrate either Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Presidents' Day by making cookies shaped like them.  I found a cooking store online that sold cookie cutters shaped like almost everything, and since I developed this interest too soon to bring it to fruition in time for MLKJ day, I ordered cookie cutters of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  

While I was in California for Christmas, I found my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I used to use when I made cookies a lot, back during my first couple years of college.  I was way excited to find the recipe; I hoped that it would turn out right here, but I knew it might not--my recipe for chocolate chip cookies is awful in Utah, despite being amazing in California.  

So at Jessica's, we made the sugar cookies and tried decorating them to see how I would want to go about it all when it was time to actually send them.

The recipe worked fine.  Jessica wanted us to have a bake-off because she has a sugar cookie that tops any sugar cookie recipe, and I agreed.  Buuuut, then it turned out she didn't actually have almond extract, and nobody was going to the store at 11pm.  So my recipe won.  (Victory by default!)
We let the dough chill overnight, and we ran our 4K or 5K or 6K the next morning, and then later in the day we invited Erin over to actually cut and frost the cookies with us.

We had fun.  On our first Lincoln that we painted, someone thought we should paint some neck between his beard and his coat.  That came out pretty awesome.  We referred to that Abe Lincoln cookie as our lumberjack Abe after that; that's what he looked like.

So we made a bunch of cookies.
When I made them to actually send to friends, I did not give Lincoln a neck.  And I made Washington's hair bigger, because I thought it looked better that way.
So.  That was our other fun project.  I love random holidays!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Grocery Confusion

I have groceries delivered with Winder Farms.

It's been a good thing:
I get milk in glass bottles, and it is amazing.
I get fresh orange juice, and it tastes
 someone went into the kitchen and squeezed oranges for me.  It's really good.
I usually get a loaf of Paradise bakery bread.
I sometimes get bagels, fresh fruit, or cheese.
And despite having no car, I carry nothing!

It's more expensive than the grocery store (unless I were buying deluxe brands of everything, which I don't), so I don't usually get eggs with them, or vegetables, or most other things.  But by getting the basic stuff through them, I go to the grocery store far less often, and make fewer impulse purchases.

So it works out great.


I started getting Winder Farms delivered back in November.  And every Sunday night I put my silver cooler on my porch, and every Monday morning I would bring my cooler (full of food) back inside.  And then one fine January morning, my cooler cloned itself.  I went outside, and instead of my cooler sitting by itself, there was another identical cooler right next to it.  I quickly realized that one of my neighbors must have started getting Winder Farms.

I checked the contents of the coolers so that I took mine and left the other person's. I wondered if the cooler belonged to my next door neighbor, or just someone in our house.  (Our house is divided into four apartments, which are not connected.  If you open the front door, you are in an entryway, one door is on the left, and one door is on the right.  The other two apartments have separate entries on the side of the house (still facing the street) and in the back of the house.)  

I skipped deliveries for a couple weeks, I forget why.

And then last week, I put my cooler out on the porch again.  I was up writing a paper, so I heard when they came to deliver it at about 2am.  They opened the box and closed it.  A couple minutes later it shifted.  I was excited because last week I ordered bagels, and I thought a bagel would be nice for a break during my paper-writing.
I went outside about ten minutes later and my cooler was gone.  Huh?  I didn't think they usually took coolers with them.  

Next to the house, there were two keep-things-cold aluminum bags, which they provide if you forget to leave your cooler out.  The bags had a lot more stuff than I had ordered.  When I looked closer, I realized that there was an invoice with them.  Aha.  The Emily who lives next door to me was getting the other deliveries.  And this was her stuff.

I decided that I would check later in the morning, in case they had taken my cooler and were bringing it back.

Later, the other Emily's stuff was still there, and my cooler was still gone.


I called Winder Farms to ask about my missing cooler and groceries.  I told them what had happened, and that I had gone out ten minutes after the delivery and it was gone.  

"We never take your cooler after it has been delivered," she said.  "It must have been stolen."

In ten minutes!  I explained that my neighbor and I both get deliveries, and told her I was a little concerned that there might be some confusion.  She checked and discovered that yes, my neighbor had recently started receiving deliveries.

She told me that they would re-deliver my order at no additional cost to me, and that they would pay half the cost of the replacement cooler and I would be responsible for the other half of that cost.  Sigh.  I didn't want to buy another cooler.  Oh well.  I know it wasn't their fault, so whatever.  It was nice of them to deliver again and not charge for the food, and pay half of the cooler.  I asked if I should write my name on my cooler so that the delivery person knows which cooler belongs to which Emily.  They said that would be a good idea.

They would deliver it that night, instead of making me wait for my delivery the next week
.  Great.  They asked if there was somewhere else they could put the delivery so that it would be less likely to be stolen.  I suggested they come inside the entryway.  This would be good for two reasons:
1. Passing my house, random people would not see groceries on my porch.
2. I can have my cooler in front of my door and the other Emily can have hers in front of her door, so there won't be confusion about what belongs to whom.

They redelivered.  (I put a label on my new cooler, which Paley quickly removed.  Hm.  I don't want to write with Sharpie, though...)

A week later!

I skipped my delivery.  (I don't always use that much milk or orange juice or bread.)

There is a delivery not in a cooler or aluminum bag, in the entryway, just in the middle of the entryway.  (But closer to my door than hers.)  It's got to be the other Emily's, because it's not stuff that I order.

There are two coolers outside.  The bottom cooler has a bunch of plastic milk containers (the Winder Farms kind; you're supposed to rinse them out and return them; I do the same thing with glass ones) and the top cooler has the cooler bags in them.  

I'm 99.99% positive that this is what happened:

My neighbor stole my groceries last week!

She is also up during the night (always coming and going), so she must have seen my delivery and known she was getting one too, and taken my cooler even though she did not put a cooler out last week.  This also explains why she left out the cooler bags, and eventually took them in.

I don't understand though, if she just doesn't realize we're both getting deliveries, or what.

Then this week, she took both coolers out and put them on the porch (hers that belongs to her, and mine).  But she took them out too late.  Her stuff had already been delivered.  But her stuff was delivered inside, because I had asked WF to deliver mine inside.  So she didn't know
 anything about that.  When she took the coolers out, she probably didn't realize that she saw her own delivery in the hallway.  
But I don't understand that.

Because every week you select what you want to have delivered.  So if the six or seven things sitting in your entryway are the precise six or seven things you selected online...either it's yours, or someone else is getting stuff delivered too.  And it's probably yours.  (Just like if you take a cooler when you didn't put yours out, and it has stuff that you did not order, it is probably not yours.)

And if you think those six or seven things are not yours, then that means someone else is having things delivered, in which case, wouldn't you think twice about taking stuff that doesn't look like stuff you ordered??

It's all very confusing.

So I moved her aluminum bags into the bottom cooler (I don't think they'll take them back anyway, but whatever) and took one of "her" coolers back into my house.  Because she never had two delivered to begin with (and I saw her invoice last week so I know).  She stole mine!  And I had to pay for the new one!

Really, we should just talk about this.  Wouldn't that make things so much easier?  But we don't talk.  I moved here in September, and I've only actually seen her once.  I do hear her come and go all the time, though, and she smokes on the porch in front of my apartment.  I knocked on her door one time (when our landlord called me and wanted me to see if I could get her phone number for him), and she didn't answer the door.  She was home.

Should I write her a note?  Maybe.  I wonder what she is going to think when she goes out later today and her groceries are still in our entryway (and I just realized, they're probably her standing order!  She may not even realize she ordered them this week...) and her cooler is still on the porch but one of them is gone, and her stuff is all in one cooler.  I hope she calls WF and says that one of her coolers is gone and they tell her she only had one to begin with.  Ha!

So.  That's my random morning.  

(Also, I'm not expecting that you will, but if anyone decides that they want Winder Farms in the future, tell me.  If you say I referred you, we both get free stuff better than what you would get if you just sign up on your own.  Despite the confusion with my neighbor, they really are a great company and their stuff is amazing.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The story I mentioned recently, about being followed.

I found my e-mail that I sent my family on the day that the guy followed us. 

This story was way better than I remembered!

I'm just going to share the one paragraph from my letter.  It looks like it was from 27 April, 2005.  

"I've made a list this week, and I have some good things to tell you about. There is a man sitting about a foot and a half away from me looking at the screen of the computer and he's been following us around this morning. AUGH. I met him on the bus or something and gave him a pass along card (one of the ones with church info, but not our phone number) because he seemed interested. Yeah, so since then he came to english class, and I think he's tried to come to church a couple times since then (one week we had district conf. and it was at a different place). But we saw him at english class last night, and then he saw us from the bus when we were on our way to do grocery shopping. Got off the bus and met up with us and said hi when we were in line at the grocery store. Well, of course we say hi. And he keeps following us after that. We were going to go home but decided to go to do e-mail directly instead. (sounded safer) And as we're walking he's asking about soccer (we all go play soccer on Saturday mornings), and we told him about that, but he also wants to go with us and play the game that has the little ball and you hit it with the paddles that has the same name in Italian as in English and he would recognize if I typed it, and the other game with all the balls with numbers on them and a green table, and he wanted us to go tonight. And we said no. And so what about tomorrow? No. Maybe we could do something as a district. And he said he didn't care if they came. And he asks if we're hungry and I said no, already ate (true anyway), and thirsty (no), because he was willing to pay. So we get to e-mail, and we figure hopefully he'll go...but he offered to pay for e-mail (no.) and then left for half an hour. And now he's back (augh!). SO I don't know how we'll get home without him seeing where we live. The Anziani invited us to do something with them, so we may do that. With our groceries though? I don't know how it'll work. The interesting problems that sister missionaries have...."

Isn't that a terrific story?  And that's just the first part.  The other part I mentioned before (he ended up following us downtown).

CAKE! In 5 minutes! Really!

Today I joined this thing online called Librivox.  

Basically, people record books that are part of the public domain, and then anyone can listen to them.  For free.

On Friday we had a meeting at work to discuss expectations.  We talked about a bunch of different things--attendance, eating smelly foods, taking too many breaks, and t
alking with coworkers.  The meeting was for everyone, to clarify things, but really attendance and breaks were discussed for one guy (who actually wasn't there, heh heh), smelly foods were discussed for another guy, and talking with coworkers was for everyone, but mostly me.  

When I started working there, I started the pandemic known as "friendship and conversation."  I think before I started working there everyone mostly sat quietly just scanning.  People listen to music on their ipods, music on the computers, etc.  And then, I started working there, and I started chattering.  And I can work just as fast while I'm talking.  But not everyone else does.  So our boss has been telling people not to talk to me.  Sad!  

WELL, I have to cooperate with our new "Don't talk to your coworkers about things other than work" policy, so I decided I'm going to start listening to books while I work.  Ideally, I'll find some of the books which I am supposed to read for classes later in the semester.  This could be a really good thing.  Think of all the books I'll be listening to if I can listen to 4 hours per day!  This can be a great way to get in non-required "reading," too.  I'll become the most anti-social person there!  

Anyhow, I found this site.  And I'm going to start recording chapters of books.  But probably not super often, since I have classes and homework, and work, and LSAT classes, and homeless shelter volunteer stuff, and volunteering at the symphony, and my calling with church, and I'm starting my knitting club, and getting ready for my half marathon in a couple months, and I have a teenage cat that plays with loud toys while I'm trying to record things.
After I registered, I downloaded the software I needed to make recordings, and I went through all of the setup steps, and I did my test recording, and then I had to wait for people to leave me feedback.

So I started looking at other sections of the forum.  And there's an off-topic category, and they actually put "yes, this is where knitting gets discussed" in the title.  Knitting!  What?  So I clicked on it.  And I didn't see anything at the top about knitting.  BUT, I found this:

A 5 minute Chocolate cake recipe
posted 24 November 2008 by libraryanne


4 tablespoons flour 
4 tablespoons sugar (You can decrease this amount slightly.) 
2 tablespoons cocoa 
1 egg 
3 tablespoons milk 3 tablespoons oil 
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) a small splash of vanilla extract 
1 large coffee mug 

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. 
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) 
and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook 
for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if 
desired. EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). 
And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or 

Note:Using a 12 ounce mug is ideal, and won't rise over the top.

Gasp!  Books, knitting, and chocolate cake?!  I fit in perfectly!
I had to make the little cake immediately to see if it actually worked, and IT DID!  And it actually really took like 5 minutes.


It would have tasted better with ice cream.  The texture was a little different than normal cake (I think because it has a whole egg for just a little cake), but it wasn't bad.  

When I flipped mine, I thought maybe it was gooey at the bottom, but it turned out the chocolate chips had melted on the bottom.  I got it out of the little bowl thing, and I smeared the chocolate chips on the top, which made it look like frosting.  

I knew this recipe had changed my life forever, so I wanted to share it with the world!  (Or, all four of you who read my blog, anyhow.)

25 things about me!

Every time I see that another person has done a list of 25 things, I am a little bit confused.  People treat it like something new, but I feel like we already did this.

I checked on my blog for my list of 25 things.  Annnnnd, I couldn't find it.  (But I may have not looked closely enough.)

So just now I checked my old blog, from before Utah, before my mission, etc, and I found it! Except my list was of 50 things, instead of 25.  But it was totally popular in the same way.  

I wrote my list...

in March of 2004.

This isn't new, people.  It's been around for 5 years.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Our 5K, (or 4K, or 6K or something)

This past weekend I stayed at Jessica's house for Friday evening and most of Saturday. There were two main reasons for my visit; Jess had a project she wanted me to participate in, and I had one I wanted her to do with me.

Jessica wanted me to run a 5K with her. It was her first 5K ever! I told her all about how fun 5Ks are, and then the one we did was actually quite a bit different than the other races I've run.

The race that we did was the No Snow (indoor!) 5K at UVU. It had a pretty good turnout considering that it was the first year they've done it. I think they said there were about a hundred people.

Since UVU's buildings are all connected, they had two different routes that people could run/jog/walk—one with stairs and one without, and both went through a bunch of the different buildings.

Jess had kind of the same experience that I did when I ran my first 5K—she had been using the elliptical machine and it wasn't the same as running. So that was a lot of fun. At my first race, though, I got a medal for finishing. Which was awesome. And people waited along the finish line to cheer for everyone as they finished. I told Jess about this; it doesn't matter whether you're one of the people who officially wins—runners are suuuuper supportive of each other.

But not at the UVU race.

What happened was, we all ran, and when we finished the race, Jess and I had run 3 miles in like 15 minutes. Except that we hadn't. Apparently there had been some problem with measuring the distance of the race. So everyone was setting new personal records. And they realized that something wasn't quite right. Nobody knew how far we had actually run.

"Well, this is the end," they told us, "so you can finish now, or some people are running it again."

Jess and I decided to run the race again.

Afterwards, there was a pancake breakfast for everyone who had run. The guy who was announcing apologized for the confusion with the distance, and joked that we should tell our friends that UVU is the place to set a new personal record. He promised that next year the distance would be correct. He thanked us for helping raise a bunch of money for Habitat for Humanity.

They gave away prizes, and I didn't win anything (I never do at races), but Jess won a gift card for the outdoor store on campus. It was kind of funny that she won it because Jessica's idea of camping is staying at a motel instead of a hotel. She's not exactly outdoorsy. But it was fun for her to win.

So overall, the race was good. It was cool to be able to run a race indoors. It would have been more fun if there had been race numbers, and if the finish line was not confusing, so that people would have cheered as everyone finished.

I think there are a few different purposes to running: first, there's the race aspect. People want to know how fast they run, and they want to compete. And that part of the "race" didn't work.

But more than that, there is a sense of community. At races, everyone is out there doing something healthy. They're supporting some cause or another, and supporting each other. People are having a good time doing something that they enjoy doing. I think that part of the race was still there. Plus the shirts were pretty cool.

They gave us fliers for another race at the beginning of March, which is actually right by Jessica's house. It's a Red Cross one, and it's not the first year, so I hope that if we do that one together too, there will be numbers and goodie bags with fliers for other races, (and red shirts,) and people cheering at the end. And then Jess will see that running is so much more fun that she ever thought it would be.

(Because it is.)

And our other project for the weekend was my project. It was fantastic, just like I knew it would be. Buuut it's still a secret. I'll blog about it later this week. And post some excellent pictures.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Going Green on Campus

Last semester in one of my English classes we talked about performative theory. Performative theory is basically the idea that you're not born something, you just perform it. And by performing something well, you sort of become what you're pretending to be. And other people respond to that.

The big thing we discussed was gender. Judith Butler wrote all about this. Girls are not girls; they're just people who perform girl-ness by having curves, and by walking the way girls walk, and by talking and dressing and doing everything else the way girls do those things.

[I think that's kind of ridiculous because I'm religious and I absolutely believe that gender is part of who God intended us to be, and not just something that we arbitrarily perform, but I digress.]

This also works for other things. I've started running more. I perform "runner" by wearing runner clothes, having the runner stuff, going to run in the morning, etc.

My real reason for mentioning this, though, is that I think people and schools are obsessed with performing green-ness. And by doing all of the things that look green, people feel more modern and like they're doing more for the environment than maybe they actually are.

When I visited Harvard during fall break, they had banners that said "GREEN IS THE NEW CRIMSON". Having banners like that does not do anything for the environment, but it gave me the impression that their school is doing more to act green, which may or may not be true. This raised my opinion of the school (but seriously, who has a bad opinion of Harvard?) because they were doing something that our culture values right now.

The University of Utah is also making an effort to go green. I think it's kind of funny, though, because the efforts that I have seen are not things that make a big difference, I don't think, but they're things that make it seem like we are doing more. I can think of four examples, which include two silly (but kind of practical) things, and two examples of budget cuts that were transformed into initiatives to go green.

1. Our campus had bike lanes painted onto some of our walkways down the middle of campus. To someone visiting our campus, we would seem really modern, and like we really care about the environment. The bike lanes signal to people that we have enough people riding bicycles instead of driving that we actually needed bike lanes. To someone visiting, or not paying attention, it would seem like something that would promote order, and something really organized.

This is not actually the case. The bike lanes don't really go very many places, and bikes don't really use the lanes very much. Since they are not used all that much, people walk on them just like they did before the lanes were painted.

2. Our campus cafeteria thing, Chartwells, put out water cups that are made of corn. They look like plastic cups, but they are "corn cups" and they are compostable. Why not just paper? Paper is compostable too. If we take a corn cup, water is free. If we take a paper Coke-style cup, water costs 30 cents. I understand that it's a good idea to replace Styrofoam (in fact Styrofoam is one thing that I actually care about), but corn cups seem like they're more for show than actual concern about the environment. I don't actually know much about this, though, so I did a basic search online. Corn cups are $127 for a case of 1000, with a multiple case quantity discount. Coke cups are $87 for a case of 1200.

3. This semester, most of my classes did not provide syllabuses. They were posted online. A couple teachers told us it was because we're going green. But they still expected us to print them out ourselves. SRSLY? It's not saving paper if we still have to print it. And, not only that, even if we do lose 1/4 of our funding, I am paying enough tuition that I believe I am entitled to syllabuses in all of my classes. For 3 cents a page, just splurge. Please, just splurge. Or charge everyone a $1 copy fee that covers all of the syllabuses.

4. At work (on campus), the school is not supplying Kleenex anymore. Okay. That's fine. I seldom get sick. There was a sign up though, that said it was because of budget cuts and also an effort to go green. Huh? How does that help us go green? The sign also said that the full-time people would be buying it instead, and that part-timers were welcome to contribute if they wanted to. Seems to me that if we're still buying and using Kleenex it isn't actually going to do anything to help us go green. They would have to give us handkerchiefs if we were really going to stop using Kleenex. And is that even greener anyway? Because how much water/energy does it take to wash a handkerchief? I don't know. I laughed when I read the note, because it sounded like a joke. It wasn't.

I partly think I should really embrace this stuff, though, and get all excited about going green, too, and involved in having more bike lanes painted--so that when I'm applying for grad school it looks like I actually care. Schools like to think that people care about this stuff. Because if they admit students who care, and more of the student body cares, then the institution cares more. Right? (Ha. Ironically, this is a logical fallacy.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

LSAT prep classes.

I started my LSAT class this week.

I'm doing the same class that a few of my friends did.  It's not super close to downtown, and it's pretty intense-- 3 hours of lessons on Mondays (or Wednesdays, if I prefer), 3 hours of drills and questions and answers on Thursdays, and practice tests every Saturday morning from 8-12.  Plus homework that is meant to take about an hour a day.  

It's a two month class, but I can take it multiple times if I want.  So I just planned to start now, do the class twice, and take the June test.  Which I hoped they wouldn't mind.  And!  They planned on it. They just assumed that everyone would do two sessions.  (If we want to.)  The lessons are going to be the same, but we're using different examples and doing different problems and taking different Saturday tests.  They said that our group (the people who start in February and test in June) is the group that sees the best results of everyone who takes the prep classes.  Fantastic!

So I really was hoping that I would like it.  Because four months of that would be miserable.

On Thursdays and for tests we'll have a guy named Phil, who got a 180 on his LSAT, and is supposedly great.  But we didn't meet him.  Instead we met Brent (who will teach us on Mondays) and Tasi (who does administrative stuff).

Brent is the best.  He introduced himself, and here are some of the things that I remember about him:

- He doesn't like shoes.  He wears sandals all the time.  During the winter he wears thicker sandals that have thicker soles "so that I get less snow on my feet."  

- He is forgetful.  He said he's one of those people who has driven off with the gas pump still attached to the car.  And we all laughed, and then he finished his sentence: "four times."  But he said he's getting better.  This March it will have been two years since he did that.  ("Unfortunately, it hasn't been that long since I drove off with the bank canister.")  

And then we went around and introduced ourselves, saying our names, where we're from, what we're doing, and something interesting about ourselves.  There are 13? people in my Monday class and here are the interesting things about them (but a few people didn't say an interesting thing):

1. A girl speaks Lithuanian.  (Brent said he speaks Finnish.)
2. The guy next to me is an original ballroom dancer.  Before Dancing with the Stars became cool.
3. One guy is attempting law school with three little kids.
4.  One girl was a BYU music major and became a U of U Behavioral Science major (she explained that she totally changed her mind)
5. Another guy has 3 kids and loves skiing.  
6. Another guy has 2 kids and works for the US Department of Commerce.  [And, if any of us or our friends want a job with the Census, we should let him know.]
7. Someone else lived in St. Thomas for 5 months.  Which is an island.  He had an internship there.
8.  Another girl has "a bad case of spring fever".  (Who doesn't?)
[9.  Mine was about having random hobbies.  Like making cheese, and I said another one but people wanted to talk about the cheese.]

And it was fun.  

We got bags, and lots of books, and during out breaks we can have a soda if we want.  (Complimentary drinks always seem nice, even if technically I'm paying for them.  I feel similarly appreciative when my stylist gets me a drink while my highlights have to wait.)

So.  Turns out, I love it!  I wish I could major in the LSAT.

Another Bus Friend

On Friday I volunteered at the Symphony.

I got all dressed up (but with flat shoes; volunteers will be standing for most of their shift) and caught a train.

I picked a spot near the middle of the train, where I had a normal bench, and then there was a seat facing the middle of the bus right in front of my bench.

A guy got on the train and sat in the seat right by my bench (instead of choosing a seat facing forward). Although I was reading something on my phone, I noticed that he was staring at me. He was a guy from somewhere in the middle east, and he looked about 40.

"Hello," he said.

"Hello," I replied.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Emily," I said. "Yours?"

"David." He held his hand out, and I shook it. Because that's the polite thing to do.

"I liking you verymuch." He told me. He grinned. He grinned a lot while we talked.

"Oh, thanks," I said. [Because what do you say when someone tells you they liking you verymuch?]

I went back to reading on my phone, and he kept watching me.

"I like verymuch."


And then he put his hand on my thigh, like right above my knee, and left it there.

"I like verymuch."

I removed his hand. "Thanks."

Now that he had my attention, he started talking to me: "How old are you?"

"Twenty-five." I told him. "You?"

And while I waited for him to respond, I evaluated. He could be forty. Maybe 35. Maybe 32 and just looks older.

"Twenty-six!" [Of course.]

I didn't really say anything, so he reminded me, "I like verymuch." And he kind of pointed at me.

But I thought maybe he was pointing at my skirt because it was sparkly, so I told him I was volunteering at the symphony.

"Ah," he said, as though he understood.

I started looking outside the train to see where we were, because I needed to get off at the grocery store to get new stockings, since they seem appropriate for the symphony.

My stop was coming up so I gathered my stuff. He noticed that I was gathering my stuff, and he got up. He stood in front of the exit, waiting to get off before me.

"I like verymuch," he said, as we were getting off the train.

"Yeah," I said, not really impressed or surprised. "Like her very much!" I suggested, and I pointed to another girl who was getting on the train as we were getting off.

He smiled. "Ah." It was an affirmative noise, and I knew that he didn't understand but was pretending to, probably to impress me.

"You working?" he asked.

"No." Because I was going to the grocery store, not to work. And then I realized that probably wasn't what he was asking. "I'm a student," I added.

I avoided too much eye contact and focused on my phone, and on going to the grocery store.

I hoped he wouldn't keep following me.

We crossed the street and as we did, I remembered something funny:

[NOTE: I don't really remember the order of this story, or the details; I'll have to see if I can find something about it in one of my journals. This is basically what happened, though.]

When I was on my mission, we had problems with a guy following us. It all started because I thought we should give pass-along cards to everyone, because everyone needed the gospel in their lives. (Right?) So I invited this Albanian (I think?) guy to church. And he showed up at church during the week, and someone just happened to be there, and he said he was looking for the missionaries. And they mentioned our English lessons which were the next day.

I don't remember why we weren't there, but I think we weren't, and the Elders taught English that week. But he came for English class, completely drunk. Great.

And then, the next morning we were grocery shopping and he saw us as we were about to leave the grocery store. He said hi to me, and started talking, and kept talking and kept talking. And all of us had finished buying our groceries, and he started following us as we were walking home.

And he kept following us. And we kept, like, concluding the conversation and like saying goodbye, and he kept following us.

And we didn't want to bring him home with us, but we had a ton of groceries, so we weren't really sure what to do.

We ended up taking a bus from our little suburb to downtown Genova. We carried all of our groceries to the church. AND! He came with us on the bus. One of my companions asked him what he was doing that day, and he had nothing he was doing. Great.

When we got downtown, he stopped following us, and we waited at the church for a couple hours to be sure that he was gone, and then we went home.

After that, my companions would only let me give pass-along cards with the Elders' phone number to questionable people.

But David didn't follow me. When we got across the street, he said "Goodbye!" and I said "Goodbye," and we walked in opposite directions.

The End.