Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Jane Austen's Fight Club"

I hope this gives you as good (or better) of a chuckle as it gave me. Apparently, it was made by a group of people from a singles ward in California:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dental Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Bones

Begun, this Bone War has.

I'm sure you've all just been dying for an update on my missing front tooth and have been anxiously awaiting to hear about my next visit to the oral surgeon. Well, fret no more. That follow-up visit took place earlier today.

I was supposed to finally have my long-awaited implant placed. Instead, after poking and prodding me with several sharp instruments and having taken a good look at my gums, the oral surgeon concluded that I did not have enough bone at the base to hold a new tooth and said that he'd have to put in more.

If I might paraphrase Christopher Walken on "Saturday Night Live," I was in need of "more cow bone." In other words, we had to start the same process all over again.

I would have screamed for joy, only I was already too busy screaming for other reasons not related to joy.

This all means that I have to wait another eight-to-twelve weeks - into sometime in October - for the newly placed bone to take place and such, and then we'll try to put in the implant. Again.

Currently, I have stitches all over my gum line, and I'm at home with an ice bag on my mouth. Good times!

Of course, it's not all bad. A very nice person stopped by and delivered some Jell-O for me to snack on while I try to regain some sense of feeling in my mouth.

I'll take that any day. And that's the tooth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kartin' It with Jenna and Luke

Over the weekend, I was invited over to Dave and Jessica's house for family dinner. With my parents in California for the holiday and Ben in Texas promoting Full Circle's CD, it was nice to get together with what little family members we could put in the same room.

Whenever the members of our family get together for almost any occasion, I usually end up playing video games with the kids.

No, I'm not complaining.

I'm not too well versed in operating a Nintendo Wii (I own an Xbox 360), which is the gaming system at Dave and Jessica's. But seven-year-old Jenna and four-year-old Luke seem to know their way around it blindfolded.

A large chunk of my stay was spent playing Mario Kart, possibly the greatest video game ever created, with these two. And I didn't always win, either.

I suppose there's two ways of looking at it: (1) either my Kart skills aren't that great, or (2) Jenna and Luke are much better video gamers than they're given credit for.

I prefer to think that the latter is true.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pyromaniacs on the Loose

It's time for Pyromaniacs,
And we're zany to the max.
So just sit back, don't relax;
Your eardrums will collapse.
We're pyromaniacs!

That little takeoff on the "Animaniacs" theme song, or some words akin to them, have been running through my head over the course of the weekend as I've been hearing a myriad of very lound sounds and explosions coming through my window, all caused by neighborhood kids trying very hard to blow up a large chunk of the city in honor of Pioneer Day.

These very loud fireworks - many of which definitely came from Evanston or some other place with more-liberal fireworks guidelines than Utah has (that's, of course not hard to do - being more liberal than Utah, I mean) - have been getting on my nerves. They may have come from Beirut, for all I know.

It's not just me, though. I know for a fact that many of my neighbors have been getting annoyed by these flagrant displays of pyromania. Last night, I overheard my neighbor Jerry confront some of these kids and essentially threaten them with juvenile hall. Since I only heard this conversation, I would like to believe that he picked at least one of them up by the shirt collar and relayed the information with an extremely red face.

Then again, my getting annoyed at these 'splosions leads me to wonder aloud: Is this some kind of a troubling sign that I'm getting old?

As a kid, I used to love to blow things up - using legal fireworks - on July 4 and again on the 24th. The magic and appeal of this, however, began to fade by about age 14 or 15. Now, watching fireworks go off is appealing in that I love to watch my nieces and nephews' reactions to it. And that's about it.

Will the ghost of an old friend, Jacob Marley style, visit me tonight to try to get me back on the bandwagon of fireworks? That thought has crossed my mind, as well.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Christmas in July, Part II

The theme of tonight’s FHE was "Christmas in July," and I must say that it's never too early (or too late?) to do anything Christmas related, as far as I'm concerned. This also made for my second Christmas-themed happening in the past month, counting my present (video game) that arrived six months after the fact.

For tonight's event, we took part in a white elephant gift exchange as a ward. I am always fascinated by these exchanges, both by the creative and unusual gifts that people give out and by the kinds of things people set their hearts on exchanging for. We also listened to favorite Christmas carols, and Christmas lights lined the walls.

As for me, I happily walked away with a Yoshi (as in the one from all of the Mario video games) toy doll. It now sits in a prominent place in my room.

Another popular gift, which was passed around a few times, was a snowglobe featuring Brian Ryerse - which Brian swears he had nothing to do with constructing.

Methinks a little imp named Steve Keiser was involved in that.

After FHE concluded, I joined with a small group of friends in watching Joe Versus the Volcano on VHS in our foyer, which had been the white elephant gift that MaryAnne ended up with.

Good times were had by all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taking It to the Streets

Summertime is definitely the time of year to be enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities, or so I have been told.

I do not consider making my own gravy - in other words, sweating a lot - among those fun things to do. However, I have discovered one new fun thing to do this summer, and that has been the outdoor movie.

Thanks to my good friends, Adria and Julia Jensen, along with technical expertise and equipment provided by Steve Keiser, a group of friends and I have been gathering at least every other week since the beginning of June to watch favorite movies on a white screen in the Jensens' backyard.

So far, that Hollywood hit list has included Jurassic Park, The Emperor's New Groove, and the 2009 mystery/thriller Sherlock Holmes.

The latest featured outdoor movie at the Jensens' was the classic '80s sci-fi flick Back to the Future, which we watched this past Tuesday night. Unbelievably (at least to me), a few of the people who attended were watching it for the first time.

Here's looking forward to as many more flicks as we can stand, to carry us through the rest of the summer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Trix Hunger"

My cousin Eden continues to make entertaining, award-winning short films. Here is the newest, just uploaded today to YouTube:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"New Spice: Study like a Scholar"

This TV commercial parody - set at the Harold B. Lee Library on the BYU campus - gave me a good chuckle, and I now share it here:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mister Plowman Regrets?

Over the weekend, I watched the semi-recent BBC movie Miss Austen Regrets.

Gotta keep tabs on that Jane Austen, I always say. If I'm ever going to understand women, then Jane Austen is going to be one of the ones to help me do it.

Miss Austen Regrets tells the story of the last few years of Jane's life. As she nears her 40th birthday, she, unlike most of the heroines of her books, is still happily unmarried. But then her niece Fanny asks her help and advice in finding a husband, and it causes Jane to look back at her own life and choices and the could-have-beens among her many suitors. She wonders if she could have saved her family from a life of poverty if she had accepted the marriage proposal of a wealthy man - a man she did not love.

That's the plot in a nutshell, but there is more to the film than that. Specifically, I thought that it contained many interesting quotes and bits of wisdom, some of which I wrote down and now share here:

Jane: Soon as we become aware of a man's attachment, we become indifferent. (I always knew this to be true; I just never heard a woman say it until now.)

Jane: Rich is just another word for safe.

Jane (after having been told that a suitor would have made her "quite happy"): Quite happy is not enough.

Madame Bigeon: But the fuss we make about who to choose. And love still dies and money still vanishes. And, spinster, lover, wife, every woman has regrets. So we read about your heroines and feel young again. And in love. And full of hope. As if we can make that choice again.
Jane: And do it right this time.
Madame Bigeon: This is the gift which God has given you.

Since I watched this movie, it's been the issue of regrets that I have been pondering on. While Jane had regrets about her life, few (if any) were missed opportunities in her love life.

As another wise person once said:

There are two types of pain in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. You’ve got to choose discipline versus regret, because discipline weighs ounces, while regret weighs tons.

Regrets? I've had a few.

But then again, too few to mention.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, America

I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but America is now 234 years old.

Our family celebration of the holiday was mainly relegated to yesterday, seeing as how July 4 falls on a Sunday (today) this year. That being said, we continued a sort of new family tradition by going out to see a Pixar movie, Toy Story 3, at the Gateway (last year, it was Up). It was my second time seeing Toy Story 3, and I found myself laughing and enjoying it a lot - again.

Afterward, many of us went up to Mike and Jana's place for a BBQ and to shoot off fireworks with the kids. Dallin once again made it his priority to go around throwing snaps and smoke bombs at people’s feet, while the girls multi-tasked and threw fireworks while riding their bikes. Jackson, meanwhile, was preoccupied singing "Joy to the World" (yes, really).

Today actually being July 4, we had a patriotic-themed meeting of sorts at church, singing "America the Beautiful" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" to open and close the meeting, respectively.

Happy birthday, America.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Christmas in July

I received my last Christmas present today - more than six months late.

Each year, my family does the pull-the-name-out-of-the-hat thing to see who will buy a special gift for whom. Steve was the one lucky enough to end up with my name, and for his gift, he pre-ordered Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4) on the Xbox 360 for me.

That game was released this past Tuesday, and I received it in today's mail from Amazon.

As you know by now, I'm a big nerd when it comes to these kinds of games. I have played and thoroughly enjoyed the other Lego-themed video games to be released thus far, and, so far, Lego Harry Potter has not been a disappointment.

If girls my age can get as giggly as seventh graders about Twilight, then I suppose you can cut me some slack on this issue.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Brian Spins Right 'Round, like a Record

Wednesday night/early Thursday morning, a group of friends and I attended the premiere of the new M. Night Shyamalan film, The Last Airbender, at the Megaplex 12 at the Gateway. The movie itself was so-so at best.

The evening's most entertaining moment, in fact, came on our way back to the parking garage. In an attempt to imitate a popular YouTube video, Brian climbed on the escalator and began to spin, with mixed results.

Here's how the stunt looks on YouTube:

What happened, in reality, was this:

You can't blame the guy for trying. It was a very entertaining thing to witness first hand.