Sunday, December 30, 2007

Greatest Hits, 2007

Okay, so this is the first time I'm posting in more than a month. Normally, that means that I would post some long e-novel, catching everyone up on what I have been doing, but I don't know if I really feel like doing that right now...I had a good Christmas break, and now I'm just getting ready to start school again. This is a picture of me holding my nephew--me and my brother were the only ones that were able to hold him (it took me the entire week to get him to warm up to me), so I thought that was pretty funny.

As for this next week, it should be pretty good. I'm going to get my haircut tomorrow, and I'm going out to dinner with a group of friends for New Year's. Since I know everyone is just dying to hear more about my life (...can you sense the sarcasm? I even posted on my blog saying it was on hold for awhile, and nobody even noticed...), I think I'll do a Top list from the past year---top movies I've seen, books I've read, and CDs I liked.

Top Movies (in no particular order):
1. The Bourne Ultimatum
2. Rescue Dawn
3. Ratatouille
4. Stardust
5. I Am Legend
6. August Rush
7. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

So I'm realizing that quite a few of these were action movies---I thought these were a cut above the rest (Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard). It's sad to see that the so-called "great" movies of the year were R-rated, so bleh...but I may add to this list once I see The Great Debaters.

Top Books -- okay, this may sound silly, but I don't think I read a new book that actually came out this year. So I'll write down some of the books that I read this past year, regardless of when they were published.

1. Les Miserables -- actually, I'm still reading it (it's now six months and counting---I only read it on Sunday afternoons, and even then it's only a few pages)
2. Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
3. Shipwrecked at the Bottom of the World, by Jennifer Armstrong (true story about Shackleton and his men getting shipwrecked in Antarctica)
4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson
5. Moving Pictures, by Terry Pratchett (absolutely hilarious, and the satire about the filmmaking industry is spot-on)
6. The Landry News, by Andrew Clements
7. The Traveler, by John Twelve Hawks -- okay, trippy science fiction about conspiracy theories and what-not (i.e., an organization that tracks people's political views based on grocery shopping habits), but it manages to blend elements of the The Matrix, 1984, and A Brave New World into a fun story.
8. The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander
9. And of course, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows -- awesome ending to a fun series (and boo on that whole Dumbledore thing)

Top Movies (from classes, DVD rentals, etc.)

1. Offside -- an Iranian satire about women not being allowed into sporting events. Thought-provoking, funny, and unexpectedly touching.
2. Four Days in September -- I don't actually know what this is rated, because it was edited for content here on campus. It's a Brazilian movie about a group of terrorists that kidnap an American ambassador---you are on the edge of your seat the entire time, and it's even more intriguing when you realize it's all true.
3. Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles -- a Chinese movie about a man trying to complete his dying son's last project. Awesome story, great visuals.
4. Il Postino --I put it in italics because it's an Italian movie...get it? Okay, joking aside, this instantly became one of my top five favorite movies ever (Signs, The Truman Show, Life is Beautiful, and It's a Wonderful Life are the other four). It has comedy, and it has romance, but it's not really a romantic comedy. I saw it as an inspiring story that anyone--no matter how simple their lifestyle--can do something great.
5. Cinema Paradiso -- this one was also edited on campus (although there is a PG version available...I'll have to look into that). The ending scene was classic --
6. Pan's Labyrinth -- from CleanFlicks. Amazing cinematography, and an ambiguous ending that can either leave you crying or smiling silently to yourself, depending on how you see it.
7. Children of Men -- also from CleanFlicks. Great cinematography as well, but the characters are also very detailed and realistic.

Top TV Shows
1. Heroes--when Peter caught Nathan after the explosion, I was reminded why this is my favorite TV series.
2. Chuck -- a new series that has quickly become a favorite.
3. The Office -- "Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica."
4. Man vs. Wild -- it's like watching the story "Hatchet" play out in the desert, in the rainforest, in frozen tundras...Bear Grylls is awesome.
5. Planet Earth -- the only nature documentary that has kept me glued to the screen, amazed at how cool the world really is.
6. Lost -- As much as people talk about the whole "We have to go back!" thing, my favorites from this season were Paulo and Nikki with the spiders ("Paralyzed..."), and Charlie's grand finale. The episode where Charlie writes down the "greatest hits" (the highlights of his life) because he knows is going to die is one of the finest moments of television I have seen in a really long time.
7. Pushing Daisies -- it's quirky, it's fun, and I haven't seen an episode that hasn't made me smile.

Okay--i think that should be good for now.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

temporarily offline

sorry guys, I haven't been able to post on my blog because I have been so busy with school and everything. I will have time in a few days to actually write a good entry, but for now, my blog is temporarily MIA....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Story of my life

It was a sad day for intramural sports today. We got killed in our football game by four or five touchdowns (we stopped keeping track--our goal was just to score a touchdown so we wouldn't get shut-out). The girls also lost their first tournament game, but at least their game was close. We even lost our volleyball game. So now my knees are all banged up, The Office is now over because of the writers' strike (Heroes, Chuck, and Pushing Daisies aren't too far behind), and I haven't even started studying for the midterm I have to take tomorrow. But my classes are already done for Thanksgiving break, so I am going to have a nice vacation.

And I'm trying to think of what else I can do with my blog to make it more interesting, and I was thinking about using it as an outlet for stories and writing. As I talk about my day, I'll also write about how events from my day could be turned into stories--short stories, scripts, whatever. So I'm going to be asking for everyone's help in commenting on the stories: which ideas you like, which ones you don't, and any suggestions you have. I'll just try it out for a week or two and see how it goes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

You cannot find us...

I was so busy this past week that I haven't been able to post anything. There were some pretty fun things that happened though. I got to work on a film set for a Monster Energy Drink commercial. It was a concept designed by several ad students, and some of the more advanced film students helped produce and direct it. They asked me to be key grip, meaning I was basically in charge of setting up and moving around equipment. It was actually a lot of fun, because once the equipment got set up, there wasn't that much to do. So I got to help out in different areas on set, like helping out with stunt safety--there was a stunt involving a guy diving through a sheet rock wall, and I made sure he had a safe place to land and that there was a cushion for his head (regardless of where he landed). I'll try and post a link to the video later.

Some girls in the apartment complex tried to prank us earlier this evening. They rang our doorbell and ran onto the balcony that overhangs our door. They left a little gift-wrapped present on the picnic table outside our apartment, and as soon as I stepped outside to get it, the water balloons started coming down...I'm actually surprised that I didn't get hit, considering they only had to drop the balloons on my head. They ran away before I could see who it was, but they didn't realize that the gift-wrapped present (an empty can of frosting) actually had one of their names written on it...It reminded me of this Calvin and Hobbes comic--

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

School spirit--where did that come from?

I was putting together my schedule for next semester, and it's going to be pretty interesting. Two of the classes that I had really been looking forward to taking next semester won't be offered until 2009 (there was a shortage of professors). So I have to find some replacement classes, but the only ones left for me to take are night classes. I'm going to be in class practically every day until nine or ten at night, so we'll see how that goes. One of the classes is a five-hour long upper-division class, and I really have no idea what to expect with that one.

And I have been having a blast going to the football games this year. I don't know what it is--maybe it's because we've actually been doing well these past two years, or maybe it's just because I actually know the people sitting next to me...I remember the first time I went to a football game here, and I just didn't get it. I didn't sing, clap, cheer, or do anything at the football game. Now I spend most of the game on my feet, screaming and whistling and annoying the heck out of whomever happens to be next to me (sorry Jackson). And to think--I didn't even want to go to BYU at first. I blame this new-found school spirit on the BYU/Utah game last year...33-31...Need I say more?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"Why don't we have dates?"

I was bored this afternoon, so I sat down and watched Gattaca (I bought it several months ago from the used bin at FYE for like three bucks, and I just haven't had time to watch it). That was quite a bit different than what I was expecting (of course, it's hard for me to say what I've been expecting with wanting to watch the movie since it first came out ten years ago). Sci-fi movies have almost become action movies in a futuristic setting, so it was good to see something a little more introspective.

The BYU basketball game got boring, just because we were ahead by more than twenty points for the majority of the second half. Part of it too was probably the fact that it was just a group of guys--about ten minutes into the game, we started asking each other, "So why don't we have dates?" Once that topic got brought up, it was hard to really get into the game. So there should be some dating going on next week (at least on my part--I can't speak for the other guys).

Friday, November 2, 2007


I was finally able to just sit outside and read after a crazy couple of weeks. I think I must have sat outside on the swinging deck chair for a good two hours at least. It was just the perfect autumn day to be outside (and "autumn" sounds so much better than "fall"). I was able to see a lot of people in the apartment complex as they went about their day, and it was fun just watching people from time to time--nothing creepy, mind you, but just wondering how so many different people can have so many different priorities, and to them, those priorities may be the most important thing in the world at the time.

Have you ever tried something like that? Just have a seat somewhere where people go by--at the mall, at the park, or even at a busy intersection. You don't have to do anything but watch and listen. Why are some people hurrying while others simply take their time? What kinds of problems do you think each person is facing? Where are they going, and where are they coming from? Your own life seems pretty darn good when you think about somebody else's.

So try it.

Watch. And Listen.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Audio Doc

Okay, I am seeing if this actually works--this is an audio documentary I did in my class a few weeks ago. Hopefully it works--let me know if it doesn't, and I'll either try to fix it or simply remove the link altogether.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween, part 2

So we were finally able to get a copy of Wait Until Dark. All of the girls were on the edge of their seats, so of course, the guys kept trying to scare them. The movie did it better than we could though...Let's just say that all the girls screamed during the last few minutes--I think it was the perfect movie for Halloween.

And Cat was mad that I cut short my description of the flag football game, so I guess I'll write about it here as an "addendum." It will be the edited version, since I can't post all of the trash talking and still keep a clear conscience.

Anyway, yes, the girls won their flag football game in over time (and we won tonight because the other team forfeited, on a side note), but it was still really close. Some of the girls kept getting penalties called on them. Cat kept getting called for illegal blocking because the other girls kept running into her when they rushed the quarterback. She took a couple of hits and knocked some people down, so we were all pretty happy about that.

Our girls were on defense first in overtime, and they made an amazing stop to keep the other team for scoring. So as soon as our girls got the ball, Jackson called a play to draw defenders towards our quarterback so she could have an open receiver in the end zone. The play worked spectacularly--our quarterback started running, and most of the defenders started chasing her. The pass was thrown, the defense tipped it, but Cat managed to grab it and pull it down in the end zone. Everyone went nuts, so being the loyal fan that I am, I'm writing about it on my blog--I was going to post an embarrassing picture of Cat for making me do that, but I don't know if I would be able to take it off...

I don't really know the direction I want to go with this blog. A lot of the other blogs I've seen are so different--some are like daily journal entries and travel logs, while others are more expressive. Some of the blogs I've read are "themed," where each blog is related to a common idea, whether it is teaching, biology, sports, or whatever. I'm thinking that most of my blogs will center around movies and media, but who knows? I'm still getting the hang of it, so I'm sure that in a week or two I'll know for sure what I want to write about. Please add comments so I know what people like reading about--


Holy cow---How hard can it be to find a single DVD? My brother called me up and wanted me to find Wait Until Dark. Our apartment complex is doing a movie night tonight, and everyone is expecting to watch Wait Until why on earth doesn't a single Blockbuster carry it?! I even tried FYE, Best Buy, Wal-mart, and even Barnes & Noble and Borders out of desperation. FYE had thirty copies that sold out this week. And as if to taunt me, Barnes & Noble had one on their computer, but they couldn't find it on the shelves. It's even more agonizing when I realize that I was going to buy it last week at FYE, but changed my mind. Dumb...

For those who don't know, Wait Until Dark is an old suspense movie with Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin (playing a creepy guy in sunglasses). Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who unknowingly comes into possession of a doll filled with heroine. Alan Arkin is one of three con men who is trying to get it back--so the con men basically lock down the lady's house and try to gain her confidence...and then they try to threaten her...and then the knife comes out...and you'll just have to see it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The End of the Pumpkin Wars

The pumpkin contest finally ended tonight. I don't know how on earth my brother managed it, but he managed to get like three other apartments to give us all of their pumpkins--so that boosted our total from eleven to twenty-two...We won the contest, so now we can all go back to being friends. No more breaking into each other's apartments and barricading our doors and windows.

We also lost our volleyball game, but it was a good match. I couldn't get a single serve in, but part of that is the fact that we forgot to bring a volleyball--so we weren't even able to warm up. I haven't really played since the spring, so I was a little off with everything. It'll be interesting to see how good we get once we learn how to work with each other.

I did get to see the girls' flag football game tonight. That was pretty much awesome, to put it simply. Our girls were down 6-0 until the last five minutes of the game. Then they scored a touchdown to tie the game, but they couldn't get the extra point...which left a minute on the clock. We thought it was all over when the other team sent threw a deep pass. Two of our girls jumped up, tipped the ball, and then fell on the ground--the receiver grabbed the ball and turned, but the ball slipped out of her hands. Our girls went on to win in overtime, but it was crazy with how many close calls there were.

And it has been pretty funny with all of my friends starting their own blogs--we all agree that the hardest part has been coming up with a good name for our blogs. It's funny how the name could be something totally random, but it still says something about the blogger. Scary, really.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Wars

So, I just created this blog, and I don't really know what to write about. The title "City Lights" is from one of my favorite movies, and the address "R is for Rocket" is one of my favorite stories by Ray Bradbury. I just got back from the grocery store and 7-11 (late-night slurpees are awesome), and now I have to to stay up for who knows how long writing about all the media I've seen for the past month or so (it's for a class).

I suppose one of the funnest things I can write for now is the ongoing Pumpkin Wars taking place in my apartment complex. We are doing a game--each apartment was given a small pumpkin, and we were supposed to hide it somewhere in the living room or the kitchen. The point of the game is to sneak around to other apartments, stealing their pumpkins and hiding it in your own apartment. All in all, there's about 37 pumpkins.

Then things started getting interesting--we had about ten pumpkins, and then we got raided...they all ended up getting stolen, and in an effort to get them back, a wrestling match broke out in a neighboring apartment. My brother was wrestling two people, trying to get into their hiding spot, while three people were picking me up and throwing me out the door. We figured it was time to stop after the biting started (and after I got my head slammed in the door frame...).

Anyway, we were able to get some of our pumpkins back (and then some), but the apartment we raided didn't found out their pumpkins were missing for two they have no clue it was us, and now everybody thinks we only have one pumpkin (we actually have eleven...but by the time anybody actually reads this, the game will be over, and we'll be safe from any pumpkin raids). Good times...good times...