Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2010

At the beginning of each year I begin a new list of happiness and generally keep it updated all year as things make me happy. This year I was apparently a little less diligent and had to compile the whole list in one sitting. Not that that's too difficult, there's plenty to be happy about, but I'm afraid a lot of these things have been influenced by my recent excursions with Christmas treats. Regardless, here's this year's list of 100 things that make me happy. Enjoy:

-sleepovers
-brownies
-kisses
-fun socks
-galoshes
-friends
-gut-wrenching laughter
-being on stage
-playing a killer role in a show
-getting outside my comfort zone
-demolition derbies
-the state fair
-people watching
-cardigans
-hilarious children's books
-nephews
-vacations
-projects
-accents
-frozen hot chocolate
-pots de creme
-kids saying hilarious things
-inside jokes
-cinnamon rolls
-coupons
-santa claus
-disneyland
-fireworks
-the success of my friends
-the last day of school
-naps
-mix cds
-thai food
-impromptu musical numbers
-angry birds
-laughing on stage when you're not supposed to be laughing on stage
-broadway
-dim sum
-the magic 8 ball
-road trips
-summer rain
-good book series
-gb bags
-good examples
-frilly socks
-mental health days
-new friends
-fun glasses
-boy's nights
-le vain cookies
-wii dancing
-the lovesac
-packages
-cuddling
-sunday dinners
-chastity
-mingles
-compliments
-technology
-nicknames
-the pool key
-late-night chats
-disney firsts
-field trips
-class parties
-incurable optimism
-pumpkin steamers
-barnes and noble
-massages
-gratitude lists
-google docs
-random speak
-cheeseball
-exploding stuff
-space
-sunflower market
-love
-orange juice
-thrift shops
-museums
-cool photography
-babies
-traditions
-glitter
-campfires
-panguitch lake
-superheroes
-dance parties
-big decisions
-pie
-bubbles
-gps
-creme brule french toast
-pocket people
-gutsy moments
-green traffic lights
-clean sheets

Monday, December 27, 2010

Movin' right along.

You might recall that some time ago I posted a list of life goals and aspirations. Well I'm pulling a John Goddard and jumping in (funnily enough, I just reread that post and had forgotten that I mentioned Mr. Goddard there too. Apparently he's somehow, for me, related to reaching goals...which I find mildly hilarious). No slow-bandaid, test the water with a toe, weak-kneed life for me. I've packed my snuggie and bright red galoshes and am wending my way to live the dream out of a fittingly dilapidated Chinatown apartment in Los Angeles. (It was down to that or a mobile home with a transsexual, but I love me some pot stickers...)

With any luck I'll soon have some fun stories from Hollywood. Keep the good vibes coming. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Crossing Legs Instead of Lines

Another year has come and gone, and it's one more year for some of us to celebrate the fact that we're keeping it together. (i.e. lament the fact that we're really not getting any.)

And we do it with style. Presenting:

The 2nd Annual Chastity Celebration:
Crossing Legs Instead of Lines.*











This year's reflections winners:


In third place, winning a wooden plaque 'virtue': JP with "You make me wanna wait"

In second place, winning a commemorative 'faith, hope, and chastity' wooden craft: AN with the chastity iphone app.

And this year's first place contestant, winning the unbelievable children's book "The Princess and the Kiss": KN with his representation of the crossing of jeans/genes

Thanks again to everyone who came and participated this year. Another successful celebration of our celibacy. Here's hoping you're not elligible for next year's party - for all the right reasons. But even if you do end up receiving an invite, just remember it'll be awesome!

To everyone who "couldn't make it" this year - you are dead to me. You knew six months in advance, so you have no excuse.

Chastity - Doing it by not doing it!

*The inspiration for it all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All good gifts

Thanks to my friend Emily, I discovered zennioptical. Super awesome inexpensive prescription glasses. And just in time for my new prescription. I bought three pairs, will probably be getting an additional 2-3 for Christmas and plan to budget $20 or so every couple of months for a new, fun pair. Why? Because I can! I'm excited about these:



Also, I bought these:


Merry Christmas to me!

Some "X"tra Holiday Cheer

From Dictionary.com:

The “X” in “Xmas” — Learn the sacred, 1,000-year-old meaning of the “X”
December 13, 2010

Here’s a holiday surprise that only the dictionary can provide. Do you find the word “Xmas,” as an abbreviation for Christmas, offensive? Many people do.

You won’t find Xmas in church songbooks or even on many greeting cards. Xmas is popularly associated with a trend towards materialism, and sometimes the target of people who decry the emergence of general “holiday” observance instead of particular cultural and religious ritual.

But the history of the word “Xmas” is actually more respectable — and fascinating — than you might suspect.

First of all, the abbreviation predates by centuries its use in gaudy advertisements. It was first used in the mid 1500s.

X is the Greek letter “chi,” the initial letter in the word Χριστός. And here’s the kicker: Χριστόςmeans “Christ.” X has been an acceptable representation of the word “Christ” for hundreds of years. This device is known as a Christogram.

The “mas” in Xmas is the Old English word for “mass.” The thought-provoking etymology of “mass” can be found here.

In the same vein, the dignified terms “Xpian” and “Xtian” have been used in place of the word “Christian.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Life Lessons

A friend of mine emailed me this list of life lessons and I thought I'd share. It was written by a woman named Regina Brett. If you google it you'll discover she was 90 years old when she wrote the column. If you go to her website you'll discover she wrote it when she was 40. Either way I think she pretty much nailed it. I especially like number 23:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things 7


Things I miss:

The lunch buffet at Pizza Hut
2 brand new dollar bills for Christmas
Trapper Keepers
The back seat of the school bus during road trips
Grandpa
Fresh bread for scripture study
Zoobilee Zoo
Fun slippers
Sitting in building 2 after lunch
Nightly fireworks




Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cordial Correspondence

Dear patrons of the arts:

I realize the Hale Centre Theatre, the Murray Amphitheater, the Desert Star Theater, or any of the local high school auditoriums and community venues isn't the Metropolitan Opera. I get that. And it's for that reason that I'd like to share a few tips for those of you who may not be accustomed to attending artistic presentations, or for those who may think that because you're not at the Met you don't have to be courteous.

The most important thing to know is this: The more you give us as an audience, the more we give you as performers. Fact.

Don't text during the show. Better yet, turn your phone off. In fact, leave your phone in the car. We notice when someone is paying more attention to their phone than to us. ESPECIALLY when the lights are out. Then you become the subject of ridicule for the tech crew for the remainder of the show. We talk about you when we're off stage and say things like, "Can you believe?!...", or "What the?!", If something is important enough to be texting about during a show, you probably shouldn't be at the show in the first place.

Arrive on time. Not only is it rude to come late in general, but it's very inconsiderate of you to make everyone else stand up while a performance is going so you can find your seat. Not to mention how distracting it can be for the performers. Plan ahead. It's not that hard.

Don't fall asleep. If you're that tired, stay home.

Don't be grumpy. No one likes a frowny face. Even in a dramatic play, there's a difference between being involved in the story, and just being grumpy. If it's not a dramatic show, the least you can do is fake a smile.

If you have to text, or sleep, or mope, at least have the decency not to sit on the front row. That way we don't have to see you. We've put a lot of work into what we do and we want happy, engaged people there who might actually be excited about what we're doing. If that's not you, perhaps find something different to do with your time.

Sincerely,

Performers of the arts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Advisor

Apparently Good Morning America is hosting a search for the GMA Advice Guru. Someone to dispense wit and wisdom to the masses. According to the information I've found (thanks goes out to Tara for sending me the info) this is a competition, but it will end with a real-live grown-up job with the folks at GMA. There will be answering of questions on-camera and online. This person will be like a "Dear Abby" for the 21st century.

So I decided to apply.

Here are the questions they asked on the application along with my responses. Enjoy:

What is the best advice you’ve ever given? What was the result?

Don’t compromise your beliefs to be who other people think you should be. Be the person you know you should. That person proceeded to make some less-than-stellar choices. Hey – people don’t always take advice, even if it’s good. Ultimately change and implementation are up to the receiver of the advice, not the giver.

What would you tell this person: “Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?”

First, talk to your husband about it. Without accusing him, explain how you feel and why. Then, be willing to show him that you value your relationship as much as you expect him to. Sometimes we men-folk are a little slow on the uptake, so set the example for him, but don't do it backhandedly. Secondly, unless the issue involved him directly, I’d resolve all issues you have with your MIL directly with her. This will also build your relationship with her and thus diminish this problem in the future.

“While cleaning my son’s room, I accidentally saw on his facebook page threatening remarks from his friends. I fear he’s being bullied, what should I do?”

The balance between privacy and parenting can sometimes be tricky. In this situation I’d talk to him about bullying in a general sense and make sure he knows there are people he can talk to – you, adults at school, neighbors, friends etc. – without necessarily trying to get a confession out of him. Just make sure he knows what to do. I’d also call his teacher(s) and have him/her/them keep an eye out for trouble. It’s true that teachers already have lots to do, but the safety of your student is at the top of their list, so don’t be afraid to enlist their help.

“My boss keeps taking credit for my ideas, what should I do?”

Honestly, find a new job. It’s clear that recognition is important to you. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just something you need. This work environment doesn’t seem to be fulfilling that need, so you should seriously look at other work opportunities that will. If that’s not feasible then you really have two options: 1 - Cowboy up, 2 - talk to your boss. Tell him/her what’s troubling you. Remember to use “I” statements and avoid accusing him or her of anything. Happy employees are productive employees. A good boss will recognize that and do what they can do remedy the problem. If option 2 doesn’t work, I’m afraid you’re stuck with option 1. At that point you can always stop sharing good ideas directly with him or her.

Then you’re supposed to submit a short personal essay about why you should be the next advice guru. Here’s mine:

In my few short years I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve traveled the world, I have degrees in communication and education, I’ve studied music, acting, business and Spanish, and I’ve seen and talked with the richest of the rich and poorest of the poor. Currently I’m a starving actor trying to seek out a living doing what I love. As an actor I’ve had the chance to be a lot of people. And though those situations are always fictional to one degree or another, they all have something in common – they’re based on life. As a result they present real problems and real solutions – some of which work, and some of which don’t. Either way I’ve learned a lot about what makes people tick and the most important thing I’ve learned, I think, is this: Succeeding in life is really just about keeping things in perspective.
My friends and family often come to me for advice and perspective. The advice I give generally falls into one of three categories: Go for it, don't give up, or chill out. One of these is almost always applicable. Life is yours for the taking so whether it’s eating some extra chocolate ice cream, or quitting your job to pursue your dreams - go for it. Things won't always go how you want even when you go for it, maybe he doesn’t like you, maybe you didn’t get the promotion, so what? Something better’s just around the corner. Don't give up. And very few negative things are worth freaking out over (though most positive things absolutely are), so take a breath, have a brownie, and chill out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Scenario

I've discovered something helpful recently. Conversational scenarios. Have you ever had a planned conversation coming up and it keeps playing in your head how you want it to happen, then when it actually happens it's nothing like you planned and you end up becoming depressed, eating too much sugar, and spiraling out of control? I haven't, but I have been slightly less-than-happy with the outcome of a few conversations in my time. So here's what I do to soften the blow of disappointment - have multiple possible outcomes. Ex:

You want to have a conversation with the special someone who's caught your eye and let them know how you feel. So, you come up with three possible outcomes.

1 - Things go well. Not too well, but enough that you're probably sporting a silly grin. He or she says they feel the same way, maybe you hold hands and walk in the park for hours. You end up having a hot - but appropriate - makeout underneath a tree while the birds sing. Make the good scenario good enough to give you hope, but not so good that it's completely unrealistic.

2 - Things go horribly wrong. She gets a look of complete disgust on her face, slaps you, spits in your eye, rips the sleeve off your new shirt, insults your cologne, style, haircut, and heritage. She runs away screaming and starts to spread vicious rumors about ill-gotten gain, or perhaps a rash. Make this one unrealistic. Something that would never actually happen (after all, you like this person, so there's a good chance they're not completely psychotic.)

3 - Things are somewhere in the middle. He or she is flattered, but not wanting to get in a relationship. He or she is interested, but currently busy. He or she is interested and has time this weekend for a date. This one should be something that will most likely happen.

Then, when you have the conversation, guess what happens? Your good probably won't happen, your bad definitely won't happen, and it ends up somewhere in the middle. The vast majority of the time it will actually be on the positive side of middle, so you can still sport a grin!

Amazing isn't it?

I've tried it twice already with extremely positive results. Really it's just about putting things in perspective, but it's kind of fun to image unrealistic possibilities.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Insights

The Hale Centre Theatre facebook page has a little segment called "A Day in the Life" where the people of Hale share thoughts and experiences about their lives. They asked me to do the latest one, and this is what I wrote. It's a small look inside my head:

I've recently come to a realization about performing - I can't get enough of it. It's the one thing I've never gotten tired of doing (well, that and eating brownies). Nowhere has that been more apparent than my participation at the Hale Centre Theatre. In the last 3 years I've been involved in 11 shows which means I've spent more days at the theater than away from the theater in that time. And the thing I love most about performing is making people laugh. It's so incredibly fulfilling. There's nothing on Earth like it, and after playing everything from a high-class British socialite to a crazy ex-pirate castaway, I've certainly had my fair share of chances to do just that. It's a sickness, but as Mr. Turnblad says in "Hairspray," "There ain't no cure, so let this fever rage!"

The thing I look forward to most on a regular basis is heading to the theater for a rehearsal or a performance. Everyone acts excited/relieved/happy when we get a free night, but secretly I'm disappointed. There's literally nowhere I'd rather be than at the theater - even if I'm not doing anything! Not only do I get to spend time in my favorite place doing my favorite thing, but when I'm there I'm surrounded by the most amazing, talented, hilarious, caring, supportive, loving, insane, fantastic people you'll ever find. Olive Garden may have the copyright to the tagline "When you're here your family," but at the theater - you live it.

Currently I'm following in a storied tradition of insane people - being single cast. That's a minimum of 8 shows a week and 0 social life. But two things make it bearable: 1 - I'm playing a dream role - Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone. And 2 - I LOVE performing. Even the thought of not having Friday or Saturday nights free doesn't really bother me because I'll be spending them doing the thing I love most, surrounded by amazingly hilarious, talented people. What more could anyone want?

So when you come to see "The Drowsy Chaperone" (Playing from Oct. 5 - Nov. 27) - and you definitely don't want to miss this one - and you see me up on stage absolutely beaming, just know that at that moment, I'm not acting. And feel free to give me a big grin yourself on the way out of the theater, then I know I've done my job. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And another

I was in a student film this summer. It was fun! Here's the trailer if you're interested:




I was kind of expecting to watch this and hate myself as a film actor - thus derailing plans for my future film career and destroying my dreams in one fell swoop - but I didn't.

Friday, September 3, 2010

*Salivating*

Many of you may not be aware, but there are people out there who sell discounted books to teachers, and heaven bless those people. They set up small displays in faculty rooms around the country and offer books and other related merchandise - some of it amazing, some of it not so much - at a fraction of the original cost. In my time as an educator I took advantage of that on more than one occasion. One book in particular will forever hold a special place on my shelf and in my heart. I give you:



I just looked at the name and knew I had to have it. The first recipe (Heart of Darkness brownies) only served to confirm that feeling. I HIGHLY recommend this purchase as an addition to any kitchen. Last Sunday I tried out another recipe that was nothing short of divine. I liked it so much I've decided to share it here:

Cinnamon Donut Bread Pudding

For the Cinnamon Custard Sauce:

5 large egg yolks
Half cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
half tsp ground cinnamon
2 c heavy cream

Whisk together the yolks, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl until smooth. Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks, quarter-cup at a time, until all the cream has been slowly incorporated into the egg yolks.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard is thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not boil, or the custard will curdle (I discovered that this part takes a little time, so just be prepared for that). Immediately pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and whisk until very smooth, about 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, 2-3 hours or up to overnight.

For the Pudding:

4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
quarter-tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 c heavy cream
half-cup whole milk
half-cup sugar plus some extra for sprinkling
quarter-cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 and a half tsp ground cinnamon plus extra for sprinkling
quarter-tsp ground ginger
1 pound (5-6) day-old, yeast-raised cinnamon-roll donuts cut into 1 in. pieces. (I just used Harmon's bakery cinnamon rolls)
Boiling water as needed
Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, heavy cream, milk, sugars, cinnamon, and ginger until smooth. Place the donut pieces in a large bowl. Pour the custard over the donuts and let stand for 1 hour to allow the donuts to absorb the custard. Divide the mixture evenly and spoon into 6 oven-proof coffee cups that have been brushed with melted butter (I also sprinkled some cinnamon-sugar in the cups before putting the pudding mixture in). Sprinkle each with cinnamon sugar.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place the cups in a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cups and cover with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until pudding is puffed and golden and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of a pudding, 15-20 minutes longer. Let cool 10-15 minutes.

Serve the puddings warm, drizzled with the cold cinnamon custard sauce and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Absolutely heavenly. We did it without the ice cream and loved every bite. I think 9 of us shared the 6 cups and there was more than enough for everyone. They were SO GOOD!!! This is definitely one I'll be making again.

Not sure if I'm breaking any copyright laws by posting this recipe, but I figure it's just one recipe out of an entire book so I should be ok...right? RIGHT?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gotta hand it to you

So, being a newly funemployed single person, I'm looking into all sorts of things as possible sources of income (most of them educationally themed - private tutor, substitute teacher etc.) and though I have not been blessed with overwhelming physical beauty in most areas (which I'm fine with, BTW) I do like my hands. So I asked a photog friend of mine to take some snapshots for a hand modeling portfolio. I think they turned out pretty good. Take a gander:











Friday, August 6, 2010

My way

I just got home from a trip to New York City. I may have a small crush on that city...if it's possible to have a crush on a city...which I assume it is since people can love cities...but I digress.
I'd like to share some tips for those of you considering a trip.

Rules of NYC:

1 - Don't eat anywhere you can eat at home. There is SO MUCH good food in the city (more on that further down) that it's really a waste to eat at places you can find in your hometown. *This applies to shopping as well. If you're going to go to NY and eat at the Olive Garden - I don't care if it is on Times Square - and shop at American Eagle - just stay home. It'll be less expensive.
2 - Wear comfortable footwear. You'll be walking a lot and you're on vacation, so wear something that won't make you miss a day of vacation because you can't walk after the first day. (If you're going out for the evening something more style and less substance is fine, but for the statue of liberty, a pair of walking shoes is best.)
3 - Carry your money in your front pocket. There are lots of nice people in the city - really - but just in case you come across one of those fabled pick-pockets, it's better to have your money somewhere that's harder to get to.

What to see:

I've been to NY a few times, and after the traditionally touristy stuff i.e. the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building etc., there are some other - less-well-known things that one should definitely not miss -

The American Museum of Natural History. Aside from the typical fossil bones (you can see Lucy here), gemstones (they have the Star of India), dioramas, and stuffed elephants this museum is home to the Hayden Sphere. I'm kind of a space geek, so I think this is fascinating. The Hayden Sphere is used to give comparative sizes of things in the universe from the infinitesimal to the infinite. Seriously mind-blowing. The rest of the exhibit on the universe is also cool. You can see a self-sustaining eco-system, and see how much you weigh on each planet in the solar system. I also learned that we can only see about 13-billion light years into space, only because that's about how old the universe is. Anything farther away from that can't be seen because the light it emits won't have had enough time to reach Earth. Also, one of my favorite things at the AMNH is the Spectrum of Life - a wall dedicated to biodiversity. It's a small sampling of all the things that live on the Earth. CRAZY AWESOME! Ok, I'm done geeking out.

The Coney Island Side Show. After you ride the Coney Island Cyclone (built in 1927) - which is more intense than it looks and totally worth the $8, and get your famous Nathan's hot dog, take a walk over to the Coney Island museum and see Donny Vomit and Heather Holliday in America's last permanent side-show. It's hilarious, it's inspiring, and it's a whole heck-of-a-lot-of fun!

High Line Park. I think it's my new favorite place in NY. It's a park built on the old, no-longer-used delivery railroad tracks from the early part of the century (The last train ran the track in 1980.) First buy this book: The Curious Garden, then enjoy the park.

Broadway. As far as I'm concerned any trip to NY without a trip to a Broadway show is pointless. This time I around I went to three shows:
Promises Promises starring Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes. The show was fairly mediocre and I think Ms. C. was not on top of her game the night I went, but Sean H was hilarious and at the top of act two we meet a certain lush that completely steals the show. I wouldn't put it at the top of my list, but it was fun to see KC and SH live.
La Cage aux Folles. Hysterically funny. Kelsey Grammar and Tony Award Winner Dustin Hodges were nothing short of spectacular. It's easy to see why this show won so many awards. It was riotously fun. I recommend it to everyone - unless transvestites aren't really your thing.
Billy Elliot. Holy cow what a show. Some amazing talent and awe-inspiring child actors. So much good stuff going on. If you have the chance to see this show - take it. But be warned, there is some strong language.

What to eat:

I have all kinds of recommendations for this city. There is literally so much good food here you could eat at a different place every meal for weeks and still find good things. And I think that's part of the fun - discovering your own favorite places, but here are three of mine you might not want to miss -

Levain Bakery. Best. Cookie. Ever. Seriously. It was the first time in my life when I haven't been able to finish it. That's a good cookie. *If you want a good cookie you can consume en entero, try Jaques Torres.

S'mac. Recommended to me by more than one person - and with good reason. It's a macaroni and cheese restaurant. What more do you need from life? They have a varietous menu and bright orange chairs. Go with a friend and get the sampler.

Jane. Creme Brulee French Toast. Period.

You might also want to visit PB&Co., Dylan's Candy Bar, Crumbs, The Chelsea Market, Magnolia Bakery, Community Food and Juice, Bomboloni, and the Hummus Kitchen.

All in all, a fantastic trip to NY. Can't wait to go again.

**Helpful tips for the traveler: Download the NYC subway map to your hand-held device. It's a lifesaver.
AMNH also has an app. It can tell where you are in the museum and give you directions to anything from exhibits to gift shops to restrooms. Cool.
If you hate people - avoid midtown. Though if you hate people you probably should be visiting NYC.
If you go in the summer, just know it's going to be hot and humid. Prepare for it. And as my friend's father says - make it your friend.
The numbers in addresses don't make any sense and won't be helpful to you. Just be prepared for that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

fanaticism

I am a fan of:

Giving blood. Love it. I know some people descend into a world of hopeless darkness and fear at the mere mention of needles, but personally it makes me feel good knowing that someone possibly won't die because of me. I gave blood today and found out that my blood is free of some virus that most people apparently have, and is therefore most likely used for children and babies. Happy vibes galore! Plus you get free cookies.

Dessert. I know, right? As my father says, "If it started life as a dough or a batter - I like it." My three favorite sweet treats, in no order of importance, are brownies*, fresh cinnamon rolls**, and cheesecake***. If you ever show up at my house with one of those three things in tow, you'll
probably get me to do whatever you want...within reason...and sometimes without reason. When I become a superhero, my downfall will come about when my arch-
nemesis invents some sort of brownie-sweet roll-cheesecake hybrid. I apologize in advance for letting his nefarious purposes be realized, and the ensuing world dominance and reign of terror, but in that situation I WILL be powerless.

Family. My family is HILARIOUS. Despite the fact that
post-divorce Grandma and Grandpa create some slight awkwardness at family reunions, and the fact that certain members consistently butt heads with certain other members, and the fact that my uncle married a BYU fan (love ya Lis!) there are few people I enjoy spending time with as much - and probably no one I enjoy spending time with more. One of my favorite things to do in the entire world is sit around a campfire with my family and a bag of marshmallows. Ridiculously good times.

Employment. Despite recent evidence to the contrary, I do like being employed. Contributing to society is something I enjoy. And the paycheck doesn't suck. Currently I consider myself an independent contractor. I'm a starving actor looking for his big break. In the meantime I'm looking into set teaching (teaching kids in movies, plays etc.), substitute teaching, educational computer programs companies, and personal travel companion (rates vary, inquire for details). Any leads would be welcome. :)


*I recommend brownies from Great Harvest Bread Co. (you can find the recipe here), or the brownie sundae from either Chili's or TGIFriday's. As for at-home-from-a-box brownies - Ghirardeli is the best.
**Cinnabon has my favorite. Luckily the airport is the only place in Utah where you can get one, so I eat one less than once a year. My heart thanks me daily.
***Cheesecake Factory. Pick your fave, they're all good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

You say, I say

In my efforts to become a better, more well-balanced, educated, self-sufficient, likable, impressive, life-changing, earth-shattering, influential person, I planted some tomatoes.

Being the green person that I seem to be lately, I repurposed a plastic jug like the kind that house those bio-hazard orange cheese balls they sell at Costco.
(Though it wasn't a cheese-ball container. I kind of think if I ever ate one of those I might spontaneously combust, or grow a third arm or something - which
would be useful, but I still don't think it's worth the risk). I went to the Wal-mart to search for one of those little metal support systems that everyone uses with their tomatoes - but surprise surprise Wal-mart didn't have any...so I improvised. Wooden dowels and pipe-cleaner came in mighty handy.

Now I basically have tomato plants growing out of garbage and supported by more garbage. I feel good about it. In 5-7 weeks I should have some delicious tomatoes to eat. Yay for "urban" gardening!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Pockets

There are people who I like enough that I want to have a pocket version of them to carry around with me. Then, when I'm having a downer moment I can pull them out of my little pocket and all will be sunshine and rainbows once again.

So, during class today I drew a pocket version of myself. I'm thinking of making copies and distributing them. Let me know if you want one. :)


Also, this kind of makes me want to take an art class.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Classy Guy

So...I'm in the throes of achieving life goals and pursuing dreams and changing the world and stuff, and sometimes I just need to pause and laugh at things that cross my path on the way to the top. Por ejemplo - I'm in a class right now about classroom management and student motivation. Here are some excerpts from our textbook:

"The letters that parents receive appear personalized because of word-processing technology."
This book was published in 2008. Really? Word-processing technology? Who doesn't know how to draft a form-letter on the computer?

"A hat dislodged from a student's head during a volleyball game"
This was given as an excuse for the hat rule in dress codes.

Then there's the case study involving a child named "Dick" who says "sh**" during class. Which I find slightly humorous in and of itself. (This book is a bit abrasive with language use in case studies. I makes me smile a bit.) Well, after some argument about the use of proper language use, this knowledgeable educator uses the following relevant example: "It's like belching. Most everyone has a good healthy belch now and then. But most people in our society find other people's belching to be disgusting."

What is this book!? Why did I not have more books like this in college?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Things 6

Things that sometimes smell like other things:

popcorn
shampoo
sage
beets
pencils
macrame
grandmas

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Parting Thoughts

Friday was the last day of school. As a time-filler/end-of-year activity I gave each of my kids a page of cardstock and had them write their name at the top. We sat in a circle and passed the papers around writing something on every page. Some of these young "yearbook" entries were priceless:

"Your pretty good"
"I still owe you a sneaker"
"John, you're nice and mean, have a good summer."
"Your nice to me and I like that."
"is kind of wird"

And the ultimate:

"You're my best friend in the whole world - Jesus"

Pronounced "Hey-soos", but it's funnier if you don't read it like that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things 5

Things that are black:

my TV remote
my TV
tires
Asian hair
VHS tapes
asphalt
Secret Service vehicles
cast iron
gaff tape
the bottom of the ocean
Gladys Knight
vinyl albums

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dial Tone

Picture it:

Front seat of the bus. Naugahyde smell, rowdy pre-teens chattering excitedly, morning sun shining brightly over the dew-covered cities of the valley.
Our hapless hero sits happily texting a friend about plans for a future road-trip. Suddenly his phone slips from his fingers. No biggie, right? Normally yes, but today is different. The phone - insert slo-mo sequence - falls to the floor, bounces under the barrier separating the seat from the bus stair-well, clatters down the stairs, and slips through the crack between the stairs and the bus door meeting its doom at 50 mph.
Later, pieces of the phone would be found scattered along the side of the road, where they would be collected and taken to their final resting place - the Verizon Cabinet of Shame.

End-note: Phone warranties do not cover falling out of a bus.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Things 4

Things I eat on a fairly regular basis:

cereal
soy milk
chocolate
orange juice
home made pizza
potatoes
pasta
Warm Delights
apples
blended fruit smoothie drinks
Twix
brownies
cutie oranges

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Things 3

Things I find hilarious and/or depressing:

Doing a session at the temple and being the only single guy in the room
Being old enough to audition for the part of a father
Having a bald spot
Laura Bedore
Hale Center Theater's lack of chutzpah
Watching my students mark wrong answers I know they know the right answer for
Watching the snow come down on Thursday
Congress

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Choose Clean Air

As a slightly hilarious Earth Day follow up, enjoy the following starring yours truly.

Introductions:



Drive Less:




Drive Smarter:

Gleeful

I auditioned for GLEE. Check it out:

http://www.myspace.com/gleeauditions?link=10986709

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mother, I love you.

Though I do love my mom dearly, today I'm channeling my inner hippie to pay tribute to a different mother: Earth.

Yesterday was Earth Day - which is quickly climbing to the top of my list of favorite holidays. We didn't get the day off school, but that doesn't mean we didn't celebrate. We started potato sprouts (with supplies I bought that morning and carried to my car in my reusable shopping bag), learned about the water cycle, watched some amazing footage from Planet Earth, and cleaned up the trash off the playground.

Once home I planted some seeds in a couple of flower pots I own, and one I made from an old milk carton.

*imminent soap box approaching*

100 years ago there were about 2 Billion people on Earth. Today there are nearly 7 Billion. In the next 40 years that will increase to over 9 Billion. That's a lot of people. And we're making a big dent. Last year our field trip was to the Landfill. We learned that landfills are designed to hold 12 year's worth of trash and we're filling them up in 5. Yikes.

This is a pretty fascinating look at some worldwide stastistics. Some of them are kind of scary. To sum up some of the more interesting stats - The world population increases by about 3 people every second, there are more overweight people than undernourished people in the world (about a billion of each), Earth has traveled about 290,000,000 km so far this year, there have been 2.2 billion Google searches today, there are appx. 15,000 days til all the oil on Earth runs out (that's about 40 years), the average temperature on the planet is 14.5 degrees Celsius (58.1 F), and so far today - it's about 5:20 - world governments have spent $6.3 Billion on healthcare - yep that's just today. There really are lots of other neato statistics on there, so take a look.

Anyway, in celebration of our planet, here are some easy things you can do to go green and make a difference:

Energy-efficient light bulbs
Do full loads of laundry, and wash clothes in cold water
Support local farmers
Install a low-flow shower head
Walk or bike to work
Fix a leaky faucet
Let Your Grass Grow*
Turn lights, electronics, and appliances off when you're not using them
Buy reusable shopping bags and water bottles
Reuse or recycle plastic bags, bottles, and cartons
Have an energy audit done on your home

And my personal favorite of the day:



Remember - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Go Earth!


*Spending less time tending to your actually makes it greener -- in every sense of the word. Most grass species fare best when they're kept at least 2 1/2 inches tall. The length creates more surface area to absorb sunlight, which creates thicker turf and deeper roots, which means you won't need to water as often. Save money by letting grass clippings remain on your lawn; it adds nitrogen and discourages weed seeds from germinating. You'll need less fertilizer and herbicide. Plus, leaving clippings on lawns means less in landfills; in 2005 Americans disposed of more than 12 million tons of yard waste.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Things 2

Things I love to do:

Sing in the shower
Eat brownies out of the pan
Nap
Get a massage
Read
Laugh
Play juicy characters on stage
Shop for children's books
Make fun of movies
Walk in good weather
Wear cardigans
People watch

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The wind-up, and....

6 months ago I started on a rather overly-ambitious dating journey. It's gone by quick, and actually been pretty awesome.

I ended up with 14 dates. Some were more applicable to the purpose of dating than others, but overall I'd say an average of one date every two weeks is nothing to sneeze at. I didn't make my goal, but I did meet some amazing people, and got off my duff which, really, was the purpose of the experiment.

Yay dating!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Circle of Life

Duncan died.

Not sure what happened. He's been acting a little lethargic lately, and when I got to school on Monday he was dead. So there it is.

And what else am I supposed to do but have a funeral service with my students?

For safety reasons I'm not including my favorite picture which includes my kids standing around Duncan's coffin putting on their saddest faces. Just know that it was super adorable and entirely hilarious.

So, here's what went down:

After recess we gathered in the front of the school outside our classroom window. I dug a small hole and placed Duncan in it.


Then I had the kids all line up,
take a handful of dirt, say their
goodbye, and throw the dirt in the hole. This was actually kind of tender.


I finished burying Duncan and one of the kids suggested that we sing something. We sang the only song I believed to be appropriate to the situation - The Itsy Bitsy Spider.






I told my kids on Monday that Duncan had gone the way of all the Earth, and on Tuesday morning one of my girls brought me a card. I thought it was an early birthday card, but upon opening it later that evening, I found this:

The inside reads, "Someone so much a part of us is never really gone." With the personal message, "mr.B I am sorry we lost Dunckenwe will miss him Love M."

I almost fell on the floor. SO FUNNY! My kids kill me.

Half-way there!



Date Number:
The girl: B-wo!!!
The connection: So many, really...
The setting: The WV Hales.
The plot
: The Hales has a little-known, unadvertised Sunday fireside that they do on occasion. I have a couple of friends in the show so I took another friend - namely the inimitable B-wo - to the show to support our friends in this most churchy of shows.
B-wo is involved in theater out-of-state for the summer so she was at a meeting out-of-town and met me at the theater.
Sometimes, as an actor, I forget that when watching religiously themed shows I have to take off my actor glasses and put on my spiritual glasses. That's especially hard when I'm seeing it with another actor, and when I have actor friends in the show, so the actor glasses were on. It was quite the show. They only put it on about once a month, so it's not a very fresh show. There were lots of moments where B-wo and I sat there thinking, "Come one guys, line! LINE!!!" It was pretty funny. An excellent bonding moment for sure. I could go on for pages about the unbelievability of the plot, the less-than stellar acting, etc. but we'll just say the show had a good message. :)
Funny moment: When our friend in the show said something entirely hilarious and B-wo and I were the only two people laughing. I love it when that happens.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lucky...or not...


Date Number:


The girl: M
The connection: We both know my brother.
The setting: The WV Hales.
The plot
: We went to Fiddler On the Roof at Hale Theater. I have a few friends in the show, and know a few people at the theater, so that was an interesting experience for a blind date. I realized a ways into the whole Hale experience how arrogant it might seem to take someone unknowingly into a situation like that. Probably not something I'll do again. However, M played it off with panache and understanding - suggesting that we should have worn VIP badges so we could get free soda.
M went to SUU and met my bro in the fraternity/sorority circles and they became fast friends, so my bro decided he should line us up. M is currently student teaching and hopes to either teach 1st or 4th grade next year. That gave us plenty to talk about and we had a great time. She's a great conversationalist, and one hilarious person. She also happens to live in the SE corner of the valley, so I didn't get home from this date until almost 11:30. Woot! Gotta love that.
Favorite moment: M randomly busted out a pop quiz on me. HILARIOUS!!! It was only one question - which I can't recall at the moment - but I vowed then and there to start giving people pop quizzes. So be prepared. :)

Note from a student

"please make us do more math. but a tip not to much cause then my head well die."

Noted.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Um....uh....B! B!

Matching game!

1. Distributive Property of Multiplication

2. Associative Property of Multiplication

3. Commutative Property of Multiplication

4. Identity Property of Multiplication

5. Identity Property of Addition

6. Zero Property of Multiplication


a. 7 X 1 = 7

b. 0 X 4 = 0

c. 8 X 7 X 2 = 2 X 8 X 7

d. 16 + 0 = 16

e. 6(9 + 3) = (6 X 9) + (6 X 3)

f. 5 X 4 = 4 X 5

Yep. Now try teaching that to an 8-yr-old.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Or a moment like this...

Int. Classroom. Mr. B sharpens pencils whilst Mrs. L prepares small group math materials at the back table.

Enter Mrs. D with child (J) in-tow. J was cleaning scuff marks off the floor in the hallway for some minor indiscretion and was caught by his mother - Mrs. D.

"Mr. B, I am sorry for what J has done."

"Oh, I didn't tell him to clean..."

"It's okay. J, come here. Sit on my lap."

Mr. B continues to sharpen pencils.

Mrs. D proceeds to spank J.

Mr. B continues to sharpen pencils, at a loss for what to do as he is taken completely by surprise.

And.....scene!

Possibly the most awkward moment of my short educational career. I don't presume to know much about parenting, but I'm fairly certain that's not the best disciplinary strategy...

Monday, February 1, 2010

A moment like this...

Me: We're going to read "How to Eat Fried Worms" then, if you get more points than me on the scoreboard we'll watch the movie, and I'll bring fried worms for everyone to try.

M: I'm allergic to worms.

Me: *eye roll*

J: I'm allergic to soap.

R: I'm allergic to Journey! *air guitar*

Sunday, January 31, 2010

One Dozen!

Date Number:
Wordle: 12


The girl: B-wo. Dancer, actress, vocalist, student, and all-around hilarious person.
The connection: See date #7
The setting: O-rem
The plot
: B came to my show Saturday and afterward we traveled on down to UVU to join some friends of ours and see a another friend from Dolly in a production of Urinetown. Honestly - top 5 funniest shows I have ever seen. It wasn't just the show itself - which is riotously funny - but the direction, the design, and the performers were all incredible. B and I were both laughing our heads off. It was great. We went to Applebees after. I think I spend too much time at Applebees. Just sayin'.
Funny: The show. Also, the fact that the hostess at AB sat us down, but forgot to inform a waiter that we were there. We had to wave one over.