Sunday, December 28, 2008
This was a nativity scene inside our house. It was inside of a glass case, so you can see the reflection behind it. The glowing lights on the left are the reflections from the Christmas tree bouncing off of the glass case.
This was just outside on my parent's street. For all you photography people, I had the ISO set at 1600, f/1.8, shutter speed was at 1/500.
These are the same snowflakes in the image above. ISO 1600, f/1.8, shutter 1/640. I thought this one was kind of neat because the lights were twinkling when I took the picture--that's why some of the lights are white, but other lights were red, blue or green, depending on the stage of the twinkle.
Also outside on my parent's street. ISO 1600, f/1.8, shutter speed 1/640. I liked the color and contrast on this one. I would have played around with the setting a little more so you could see the snow on the ground, but it was really cold and I didn't have any gloves.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I did have a fun date this past week. We went and got some hot chocolate from Border's Books, and then we just drove around looking at Christmas lights for an hour or so. I found a website that listed several neighborhoods in the Provo/Orem area that were known to have nice displays (here's the link, if you're interested--the house on 450 E 1320 N in Orem is just crazy...). It was fun because we were able to talk the whole time and just wind down from finals. Of course, I was also trying not to get my car stuck in the snow...and trying not to get lost with a lot of dead end streets/cul-de-sacs.
I also read "A Christmas Carol" for the first time--that was really nice. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is still my favorite, but "A Christmas Carol" is definitely in my top ten (maybe five).
I don't know how much I'll really be able to write on my blog this week, because I still have to grade a ton of final papers and final exams (the pile is almost seven inches high--and I just realized that I overuse parenthetical statements way too much). Anyway, I just thought I'd post SOMEthing before the Christmas break completely passed by.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The ward christmas party was last night, and that was a lot of fun. It included an ugly sweater contest, a white elephant gift exchange, karaoke, cookie decorating, and a variety of other games (air hockey, pool, etc.). I almost split my knuckle playing air hockey, but it was totally worth it. The elephant gift I brought was all of the Utah stuff left over from last year, when my mom and dad raided my apartment...so somebody ended up with a giant University of Utah flag that was conveniently disguised in a High School Musical bag. Even though there were dozens of people there last night, I instantly knew who ended up with the Utah stuff from the cries of exclamation. And yes, I hate the U of U and am a die-hard Cougar fan--I just needed a way to get rid of that stuff.
And on a totally different note, have you ever noticed how impatient people are? People weave in and out of traffic, cutting people off and trying to get in front of everyone, and they never actually make any progress. You know, it's the same car sitting next to you at the next red light. But have you ever noticed how impatience is crossing over into virtually every other area of society? Everything is getting faster, but people are getting meaner. iPods, laptops, cell phones, or any other kind of new technology...it's about having more available without having to wait. Why wait until you get home to listen to your favorite music? Just plug in your headphones and tune the world out. Of course, you also need to be able to get a hold of everyone at any given time, so now you need the cell phone that is really more than a cell phone: along with the ability to call people, you can also store your music and even surf the web. It's even scarier when people use said phone while driving--talking , texting, surfing, listening, and driving all rolled into an infernal death trap waiting for the next six inches to open up so they can cut you off for no apparent reason. The cars ahead are stopped at a red light, and they only end up changing lanes about a hundred yards after the light anyway. But they fought for those six inches, and by golly they're going to take them.
I've been told that I'm terrible at multi-tasking. From what I understand, the human brain can only focus on one thing at a time, despite your most adamant demands that you really can focus on the TV and your computer and/or cell phone at the same time. Case in point: have you ever actually talked to someone on the cell phone when they're watching TV? They seem to hear less than half of what you're saying. It reminded me of this picture I saw in "Wired" magazine a few months ago. One section of the magazine is called "Artifacts from the Future," which is basically some Photoshopped idea of what the future might look like.
Click on the picture to see a hi-res version of it...This is an artist's rendition of the car of the future, and what the dashboard might look like. Try and spot all of the things that are going on in the image. It's pretty crazy. It is an information overload. People think they can stay up to date with everything, and that if they don't check their voice mail immediately their life will be ruined. Oh, wait a second--I just got a text message. Hang on. I'll be back in a second. I promise--
Monday, December 1, 2008
Well, the waitress looked Latina to me (no joke, she could be one of my aunts), so when it was our turn, I mentioned that I was half-Mexican, and saw the commercial as a subjugation of Mexicans by making them the working class who has to take orders from the white male. Anyway, it caught my professor off-guard, and she just said, "Wow..." A couple of people clapped, but a lot of people were laughing. As I was leaving class, my professor was smiling and shaking her head. She said, "As intelligent as you are, I can't believe you pulled the race card." That got a few more laughs from everyone. Hey, we were applying the theory correctly, so what can you do?
Monday, November 24, 2008
So seven random facts about me...
1. I've been knocked out quite a few times. It's hard to keep track of them all, but here's a short list of how some of them happened: a baseball (3x), a D-Cell battery, a rope swing, a hardwood floor, a pile of bricks, and my second time snowboarding. Each of those incidents is a spectacular story in its own right, but that is another story for another day.
2. I'm a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I was an assistant instructor before my mission, and I worked with all age groups, 4-6 years, 6-11 years, and twelve on up. One of the highlights from that time: my boss's twelve-year-old son was being a brat, so my boss asked me to spar with him. I was 17 at the time. Yeah, so I knocked out a twelve-year-old kid with a kick to the face.
3. For me, "Catch the light" means turning a light on or off. It seems like a perfectly natural phrase (a Southern-ism, I suppose), but my roommates make fun of me for it.
4. I love skeet shooting, even though I haven't done it in six years. My best shot--three clays were launched in different directions, and I got them all with a pump shotgun.
5. The first song I learned to play on the guitar was "Hey Hey," by Eric Clapton--I didn't actually learn the full song, just the opening part. The first complete song I learned was "D'yer Mak'r" by Led Zeppelin.
6. I have nunchaku skills.
7. I have bo staff skills too, but that's still #6. The 7th random thing about me: the first CD I ever owned was the 1997 Grammy Nominees. I was only twelve at the time, but I think I listened to "1979" every day for a year.
I'm tagging Rebecca, Camille, Andrea, and Dave. Everyone else I know has already been tagged.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
It was a close game until the fourth quarter (24-27 at the end of the third quarter, in case you were wondering). BYU's defense actually made some stops in the second half, but then Hall had the worst showing of his career, with five total interceptions and a fumble. Hopefully that can all get sorted out before the bowl game (Vegas again?), and that next year will be even better. Three straight 10-2 regular season records looks pretty good, but 12-0 would be so much better.
Even though they're Utes, my dad sent me this picture that I thought was pretty funny...Especially since my friend Chris went as a Utah devil for Halloween, the trident being a large red "U" (is that Louie Sakoda holding the pitchfork, or the guy next to him?).Other than that, I'm just glad it is Thanksgiving break. I have several papers due next week, so I can't relax TOO much, but it will be nice not having to go to class.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I would have posted the video, but most of the ones I found were too grainy. You need to see it in full-screen glory to truly appreciate it. I found it on Youtube, but I know what's going on just because I've seen it several dozen times. I could post endless streams of U of U jokes (How do you get a [insert name of hated college here] graduate off your porch? Pay him for the pizza), but I think the picture says it all.
The rest of the posts for this week will simply be awesome moments from BYU, in anticipation of the big game this week...It is going to be one crazy Saturday--
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
1. Seeing a kid with severe ADHD actually get something right in karate--this kid had seen his dad shoot himself, and in the aftermath of this event the kid had been molested by a babysitter. And all of this occurred before his ninth birthday. He either ran around screaming uncontrollably, or he just sat there drooling, staring at nothing. But one day he came out of his shell, he followed instructions, he participated, and his mother couldn't believe it--there was hope for this kid after all. Read more about it here (I wrote a memoir about it for a writing class).
2. Seeing a power line break about fifty feet in front of me, falling in a cascade of sparks and landing in a gigantic puddle. It had been raining all day there in Brazil, and that side of the street was ankle deep in muddy water. It's amazing how something as simple as being on the opposite side of the street could potentially save your life.
3. Seeing a war veteran walk by himself with a computerized leg after having struggled with a cane for twenty years.
4. The time I decided it would be fun to run and slide on the icy sidewalk, failing to realize that the sidewalk sloped down about three feet after I started sliding. It was a spectacular wipeout, but it failed to impress that girl...
5. The random time my brother and I started doing synchronized swimming in the living room while making up our own theme music. "Like a dolphin! Like a dolphin!"
6. The time my brother stabbed me in the eyes (yes, both eyes) with his fingers, knocking me over the couch. Apparently I'd never seen the Three Stooges and didn't know how to play along.
7. The time I learned how to ride a bike because my dad tricked me into thinking he was running right behind me. Read the story here.
8. When I was in the airplane leaving Brazil, wondering if I would ever see the people there again, wondering if I would ever go back.
9. on Saturday, when I realized that I was at the last football game I would see in college.
10. Seeing a guy break up with a girl. She was in tears, unsure of what to do, and he had a smirk on his as face as he said, "Don't do this--don't cry." He promptly walked away, shaking his head and rolling his eyes, while she just stood there in the cold and cried.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Well, sorry about not having posted anything in the past two months--things have been pretty crazy. I'm getting ready to take the GRE tomorrow, and I'll be extremely glad once that is all finished. In the middle of getting ready for that, I've been working on grad school applications to USC, UCLA, Tisch (NYU), and UT at Austin. I'll also be applying to Chapman, but that isn't until February--a lot of the materials overlap though, so that shouldn't be too bad. I also took a mid-term this morning, I have 50 papers to grade this week, a final paper due on Tuesday, and I'm trying to get a date for this weekend. Lovely...
Saturday, August 23, 2008
And apparently my grandpa was friends with the guy who invented nachos. You can read my cousin's blog about it here.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
And this is a picture of my cousins at the Breaking Dawn midnight sale. Some of them were asking about it, so here it is.
Monday, August 11, 2008
And yes, our intramural softball team won the championship. It was kind of anti-climactic though, because the other team forfeited the championship game. Apparently they had a co-ed game at the same time, and they had a better chance of winning that game (the co-ed team was still undefeated in double elimination, but the men's team had already lost once to us). But it's okay--we got t-shirts and bragging rights for the next year, so hey, I'm happy.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Well, quite a bit has happened in the past little while. Just to sum up a little: I turned 24, I read "The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place," I went to the midnight sale of Breaking Dawn (even though I haven't read any of the Twilight series), I saw The Dark Knight (twice), my grandfather passed away, and our intramural softball team is in the semifinals with a good chance of winning the championship (it's double elimination, and we haven't lost a tournament game yet.
My birthday was a lot of fun. I went and played sand volleyball in the morning, watched a couple episodes of Psych, and then we got a big group to go get some frozen custard. As for the midnight sale of Breaking Dawn, I was there to help my mom with the new bookstore. It was their first midnight sale, and they (meaning my mom mostly) were pretty nervous. So I was there to help move boxes, take pictures, and all that. My dad made some stickers that said, "Oh Edward, you can bite my neck," for all of the girls that came to the sale. He had wanted to make a big banner that said "Edward is gay!" but my mom wouldn't let him.
Anyway, I ended up taking over a hundred pictures of the event. This activity had all the girls making a wedding dress out of toilet paper.
Something else that I thought was pretty interesting--there was a band playing two stores down (another bookstore was also doing a midnight sale), and I happened to get a couple pictures of them playing. Afterward, the lead member wanted to pay me for the pictures...he ended up giving me a CD. His name is Sam Payne, so you can check out his website if you want. I haven't had a chance to listen to his CD yet, but he was on Glenn Beck's show a little while ago.
This picture isn't actually Sam, but a violin player that was doing backup work. I just thought it was a cool picture (I really like the new lens I got for my birthday...even in low light, I can still take good pictures without using the flash). I didn't want to use the flash, since I was only about three feet away. The band didn't even realize I was there though, because I was behind them and all of their sound equipment.
And just now, I got back from watching Iron Man at the dollar theater. It was still a fun movie, even the second time around. Someone even pointed out a little "easter egg" where you can see Captain America's shield in the background in Tony Stark's lab. Totally nerdy, but hey, it was fun.
I'll try and post some more tomorrow, after we play our softball game--
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Ten years ago I was doing high school through BYU Independent Study. I was a red belt in Tae Kwon Do getting ready to test for my black belt. Wow...I just realized that ten years ago, I decided that I wanted to study filmmaking. I had just seen The Truman Show, and I loved how an engaging story was told without having to resort to all the typical junk. Initially, I wanted to write and direct movies, and then it transitioned to wanting compose music for movies. Then it transitioned back to writing and directing, and now I want to go into teaching at the college level. I'm pretty sure that ten years ago, I was just starting to get into photography as well, which fused with my aspirations to study film.
Five things to do today:
1. Read some more in America: The Last Best Hope
2. Play sand volleyball
3. Watch the Olympic trials (it was pretty sweet watching my brother's friend--Josh McAdams--qualify for the men's steeplechase...)
4. Write out the story idea that's been stewing in my mind for the past day or so.
5. Update my blog
If I were a millionaire, I honestly wouldn't have a clue what I'd do...I've never really thought about what I'd do with that much money. Maybe start a movie production company which people can trust to deliver a quality, family-friendly product (ie., a live-action version of Pixar).
I've lived in Florida, Georgia, Utah, and Rio de Janeiro.
I'm tagging Jaimee, Jackson, Meg, Britt, and Rachel.
Rules of Tagged - Each player answers the questions themselves. At the end of the post the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know that they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Well, aside from updating my movie blog, I haven't been up to too much recently. Today has been a really good 4th of July though. I watched the parade for a little while, then I felt like reading something patriotic. After skimming my bookshelf, I realized I didn't have anything too patriotic. I ran up to Borders books, and finally settled on two books: 1776, by David McCullough (yeah, I can't believe I still haven't read it yet), and America: The Last Best Hope, by William Bennett. I'm just taking a break from the second book right now--I didn't even realize that I had been reading for two hours. It just pulled me in and made history interesting. If the name sounds familiar, William Bennett also wrote The Book of Virtues awhile back.
Anyway, I wanted to read something more historical because I was sitting around thinking about what it means to be a patriot. Yeah, I consider myself a patriot--I love my country and the principles it was founded upon. I admire and respect the Armed Forces, I stand for the national anthem (even if I'm in a rush, I always stop and put my hand over my heart), and I've tried to be involved with making my opinions known (although I haven't had a chance to vote yet...I missed the application deadline after I turned 18, and I was out of the country when the 2004 election came around). But patriotism involves more than that. The introduction for the new book I'm reading actually gives some very good advice. This comes from Ronald Reagan's Farewell Address: "If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual."
In the introduction to America: The Last Great Hope, Bennett describes his reasons for writing the book. He says, "I write this story to kindle romance, to encourage Americans to fall in love with this country, again or for the first time. Not unreflectively, not blindly, but with eyes wide open." Hopefully, this will lead us to become informed patriots, people who are not only proud of the freedoms and opportunities we presently enjoy, but aware and appreciative of the events and sacrifices that led to the founding of our country.
When free men shall stand
Between their loved homes
And the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace,
May the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made
And preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just,
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner
In triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave!
by Francis Scott Key
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
My work has been pretty interesting lately. I mentioned in a previous post that I help update a blog for BYU First Look, and that has been interesting. I will also be helping coordinate a project for the Children's Media Initiative. CMI is a program that takes classic children's stories and poems and turns them into short films. The programs will eventually air on BYU-TV, and this summer I will help produce the introduction to the series. I'm excited because I will actually be getting paid to work on a film set--
And right now, Chelsea and Manchester United are about to play for the UEFA Championship. It is the first time it has been an all-English final in the championship, and it is going to be an amazing game. The DVR is set to record in case the game doesn't finish before my class at 3:30...
Friday, May 16, 2008
Check it out here.
Let's see, as for what I've been up to...I read about four books last week. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague (by Brandon Mull), as was Night Watch (by Terry Pratchett---British humor). I also "The Bridge of San Luis Rey," by Thornton Wilder. That was pretty interesting. I didn't realize it was a moral fable until near the end of the book, and it's a quick read too. I also started "The View from Saturday," by E.L. Konigsburg--if you're wondering why that name sounds familiar, she wrote "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." "The View from Saturday" is also a children's book, but it doesn't read like a linear narrative. The book starts at an academic bowl, but as a contestant answers a question, the answer becomes background information to the overall plot. So you're trying to figure out the real order of events, how they are all connected, and how it all leads up to the academic bowl.
Finally, I started re-reading "To Kill a Mockingbird." It is still my favorite book--it's probably about my fourth time reading it. It is partly my favorite because of the vivid descriptions of the South--the humidity and heat are fond memories for me, and not the sign of a miserable climate. The book is also my favorite because of Atticus Finch. Sometimes you have to do the right thing even if the whole world is watching and telling you that it's wrong. One of my favorite quotes: "Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
And I might start a different blog. This one will still be used to keep everyone up to date on what I'm up to, but I was thinking of starting a type of weekly recommendation. Quite a few people have been asking me to recommend various books and movies to them. I figured I could start a blog dealing with all of that--hopefully I can keep it up to date.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
And here's the blog: http://byufirstlook.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I did well on my mid-terms. I got a 148 out of 150 on one, and then a 96 out of 100 on the other. I lucked out on the 96. The one movie I hadn't been able to see shows up on the mid-term, and the question was worth 20 points. I honestly stated that I hadn't seen the movie, but I could answer the question with references to two other films. My professor gave me 16 points, and he made the comment, "As long as you know the kinds of films that contributed to this movement, why shouldn't I give you partial credit?" Whew...
And the science fiction story I've been writing is almost finished. I've been writing it for a class, and it just worked out that the story is about the right length for a semester long project. It's a short novella, but still a little longer than your normal short story (it's about 20,000 words). Once I finish it and get it revised, I'll try and post it so you all can add any comments, good or bad.
For one of my other classes, I'm involved with a project called Hands on a Camera. That has been really interesting. We got to various high schools, teaching the students about visual storytelling and documentaries. Then we loan the students video cameras, and they then have the opportunity to make documentaries about their community. We emphasize that "community" can include themselves, their friends, their family, or any group with a common interest or goal. It should be pretty interesting to see what kinds of stories they will tell.
Just to give an example: last week, we were discussing viewpoints, and how one person's background can change the interpretation of any image. I showed a series of photographs, and the students were supposed to write down one word to describe how they feel. One of the pictures was of a crowd of people raising Chinese paper lanterns. Everyone in the class wrote down words like "happy," "festive," or "party." But one girl wrote down something different. She wrote "sad" on the dry erase board. When I asked her why she chose that, she said it makes her sad because it reminds her of home: Hong Kong. Several of the students reacted differently, looking at the picture again to see how someone else's viewpoint could change the interpretation of the image. We're getting geared up for the day when we'll have a special screening of all the documentaries here on campus, and it should be a lot of fun.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I was just supposed to take a picture for continuity, in case anything got moved, but I really like the lighting here.
The director and the cinematographer planning out the next shot.
The sound tech.
The script supervisor.
We got to set a few minutes early, and the camera crew wanted a picture that looked like an album cover.
One of the sound techs was in training.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
And tomorrow will be pretty cool. My brother got me tickets to go see Lifehouse, so that should be fun. Anyway, we are going to play Rook right now, so I'll try and post more later.