Feb 29, 2008

HAPPY LEAP DAY!!!


It's February 29th: Leap day! We won't have another one for 4 years. Therefore, I challenge everyone to do something memorable today because you won't get a chance to do it for 1,461 more days!

Feb 28, 2008

Holy Poll-y, Batman!

So, another week has passed past, and 2 more polls join the others in retirement. First of all, the grand winner of favoritest Super hero goes to: BATMAN!!! (with someone else tying with him-Superguy or something. But, since he is so super, he gave the honor to Batman). The grand prize winner/loser of who's the lamest super-hero not surprisingly went to: Robin. Honestly, what was Batman thinking? To look cooler, I'll have this former Michael Jackson buddy tag around after me in a speedo & tights, muttering annoying phrases like "Holy Tentacle Tuesday, Batman!" and announcing revelations I wouldn't have any difficulty figuring out, even if I was a mentally-challenged radish.

Maybe that's why Batman didn't win right out.
After Bats & Supes came Wonder Woman for 3rd, and Spider-man, Wolverine, Iron Man, Jean Grey & Green Lantern having a big boring tie of 4th.

For the weenies, like I said, Robin takes the laurels, with Daredevil coming in second. Third place was held by Rogue, Cyclops and Captain America, and last place (meaning heroes actually voted for, not the ones who got no vote. In retrospect a good thing for them) were the Thing, Ghost Rider, and Quasar.

Surprised not more people voted for Quasar. Someone even Robin could beat up. And I mean 11-year old Jason Todd Robin, not 20 something Dick Grayson who later became Nightwing, an ALMOST cool hero.

So, this week's poll will be something different. I don't know what, so stay tuned.

As if you could resist. I crack me up sometimes.

Feb 27, 2008

What makes an "A"?

In my English class, our teacher asked us to write about what defines an "A" paper. I already asked if I could bring in a paper that I wrote and write: This. But he wants a definition, not an example. So, what makes an "A" paper? Structure? Order? No "Be" verbs? Correct spelling? Good syntax and grammar?

This is a bit of an issue for me, because when I got my Art History paper back, the teacher subtracted 4 points because of grammar and capitalization mistakes. Let me say that again. My ART HISTORY teacher deducted points because my ENGLISH GRAMMAR wasn't correct!

I've thought about what makes an "A" Paper, and I've come up with 4 principles I plan to write about. They are (perhaps inappropriately, all "C's"): Clarity, Concision, Concrete images, and Collective thought.

But I thought I'd ask you what you think constitutes an "A" paper. Does it need correct spelling, grammar, or is the topic more important? What gives the teacher the right to assign a paper's worth? Simply because they are a teacher? Because they're learned in the subject? Tell me what you think.

Feb 26, 2008

Doctors are sadists who like to play God and watch lesser people scream.

So Tracie and I saw "Juno" this weekend. I had 2 leftover free movie tickets and we both wanted to see a movie in the theater that WASN'T a huge blockbuster. I can't remember the last time I went to the theater to see an indie film. Probably Napoleon Dynamite. So, we chose this one, as there wasn't even ONE explosion or alien in the whole movie, therefore it qualifies as a not a blockbuster. Don'tcha know.

It was a very good movie. Diablo Cody, blogger turned screenwriter (please please) won the Oscar for best original screenplay. It was her first screenplay. Way to go Diablo.
If you want to see a good movie with a few surprises, great quirky acting and dialogue that snaps crackles and even pops a few times (ok, I lied. I guess there are a few explosions) go see it.

Yes it's a movie about teenage pregnancy and yes, it's an indie movie for all that entails, but I enjoyed it and found it a great time at the movies. Think of it as a mature Napoleon Dynamite with smarter characters and more teen pregnancy. It's still a heck of a lot better than most teen sex comedies, as this one actually has consequences. i.e. she gets pregnant.
Of the performances, Jason Bateman was very good, Jennifer Garner was (surprise surprise) annoying, (when you spend that much time around Ben Affleck, I guess it kinda rubs off on you). J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney were a Hoot times twenty-two as Juno's dad and step mom. (Simmons is best known IMHO as J.Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man cash machine I mean franchise. Allison Janney is the guidance counselor in 10 things I hate about you, as well as other things.) Michael Cera deserved more screen time, and Ellen Page was terrific, she definitely deserved her Oscar nomination. (Did you know the Oscars were on Sunday? Neither did I. Looks like neither did most of America.)

"Zeus had tons of ladies but I'm pretty sure Juno was his main girl. And apparently she was supposed to be super beautiful but really mean, kind of like Diana Ross."

I Wish...

You know it's going to be a fun day when you've been at work for 1 1/2 hours and you're ready to go home.

Feb 25, 2008

Numbers and Blood


Sounds like a good post, huh? Creepy. It is actually a way to connect Three disjointed posts into the semblance of one. Get it? No. Ok, try this then.

4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.

That's right! Tracie and I have FINALLY joined the LOST bandwagon. We "rented" Season 1 From "McNeil Video" (basically borrowed from Tracie's parents collection) and are HOOKED! We've avoided watching it for so long mostly just because we knew we'd be hooked once we started. I can't remember a better show I've ever seen. And throughout watching the episodes, I shout "I love this shoooooooooow!" And "This show is so gooooooooood!" etc. I've never done that with any other show. I promise.

So yes, I now love LOST. However, I've only seen Season 1 so far, and episode 1 of Season 2. Therefore, if you tell me any spoilers or anything, I will disembowel you, and painfully. I love you, but I'll tear you into 23 pieces and scatter your remains around the globe.

The numbers of lost bring me to my next set of numbers. I have Sudoku on my cell phone. Besides Freerice.com and Solitaire, I think Sudoku is the most addictive game there is. Well, today I reached a new level of obsession. My Sudoku game keeps track of how long I've played it continuously. And as of today, I've played it for Twenty-four hours. I don't know why it's such an accomplishment, but I feel I deserve to go home early because of it.

But I'm not going to... Yet I will blog about it.

I'm sure you're now all asking yourselves why I said, "Numbers and Blood." (I'm sure you're also asking yourselves things like "Is he really that proud of playing 24 hours of Sudoku?" Or "Wow, into LOST now? What's next? Gonna tell us 'This band U2 is pretty good. I think they have a shot of going big.'" Or "Is Austin Serious about disemboweling us if we divulge LOST spoilers?" But one question at a time) Why DID I say Numbers and Blood? Let us go back to Texas for a bit. (Oh, yes let us! I miss it so much!...ahem) Every time I go to Texas and come back to Utah, I get nosebleeds. I think it has to do with the fact that my body (nose, especially) is pained at leaving my family, and so causes me to stain my shirts. So far, I've had eight bloody noses since we've returned. That, or the dry climate in Utah causes my nasal cavity to erupt, after getting used to the humidity of Texas.

I bring this up NOW because of the Blood thing, the 8 bloody noses thing, and because I was in the restroom an extra long time today because #8 hit my while I was in there playing Sudoku, and I got the record of which I am proud. So there ya go. All makes sense now, don't it?

P.S. I don't think my posts are funnier than Tracie's, but I do think it's funny that I just saw her LOST post and our writing is so similar and even some of the same words and phrases are used. Two peas in a pod, that's us!

Feb 22, 2008

Frankie


I don't really know why this fascinates me so, but it does. A combination of adorable and freaky.

The world's first blue-eyed koala. Named after Frank Sinatra. I wonder what little Frankie sees that all the other Koalas don't.

They All Said It Couldn't Be Done...

But I done did it! My English Paper I wrote about earlier (See Creative Constipation) has finally returned to me, with a grade I'm proud to announce: 100. I'm proud of my abilities, and grateful for my patient and hardworking (and sexy) editor, Tracie Lee.
I've never been happier to be done with a paper, or been as happy with the result.

Here's what my teacher wrote:
Austin- Again, excellent. You made the correct choice on this one. But specifically: strong control of the language & the content. Good tension. Diction. Concrete! Movement & Tension. Your voice- your soul- shines through this.
Excellent! A 100

Feb 21, 2008

Heroes

No, I'm not talking about the show. I'm talking about REAL Heroes! No, not Doctors, Policemen, Firefighters, Writers, or Military. THE REAL ONES. Comic book heroes!!!! Since Tracie already asked which super power you'd rather have, I'll ask who's your favorite? And, despite the laws of "favorite" means "pick only one," I'm going to bend those laws (MY super power) and let you choose as many as you want! I know, I spoil you.

In case you're wondering, my favorite super hero of all is Batman. Why? Well, he HAS no super-powers, just a brilliant mind and thirst for justice. Plus, he has all those "wonderful toys."

I just thought I should do TWO polls this week. One is for BEST Super hero, one is for WORST, lamest, biggest weenie, etc.

This should be fun. Make sure to add a comment in case I forgot your favorite. Coming next week: Favorite Villains!

And, finally, last poll was "Where Would You Like To Visit?" And the Gold goes to Hawaii, taking 60% of the vote, with Italy and Australia tying for the Silver, the Bronze/ Consolation prize goes to the Golden State of California, who probably cheated, but it's ok. Finally, honorable mentions with 3 each goes to New York, Paris, and Greece. Not good enough for a medal, but good enough for recognition. You all did well, you should be proud.

Feb 19, 2008

Quotes


To live your life by, or that I live my life by:

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
-E.E. Cummings

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
-Mark Twain

If Columbus had turned back, no one would have blamed him.
No one would have remembered him, either.
-Unknown

As I have loved you, love one another.
-Jesus Christ

What are some quotes you live your life by?

Texas Travelogue

Post formerly known as:
My Poor Butt, Helloooo- Monte Cristo: I Love You,
Rothko Ennui, and I Miss Them Already
Well, we're back! After a very nice very long weekend in very warm (especially compared to Utah) Houston I am back in Utah, and I just have to say: MY BUTT HURTS!

Yesterday, to beat traffic, my mom took us to the airport at 3, though our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:20. (It usually takes about an hour to get there) so, in the car, I sat in my seat. We got to the airport, dropped off our luggage, the security guards got friendly with me, (as always) and we sat at our gate. For 3 hours. Then we sat in the plane. for 4 hours. Then we had a layover in Vegas for one hour. Guess what I did. Sat. Flew again, rode home and sat and sat. My poor tushie is now sitting in the uncomfortable chairs at work, cursing at me and threatening to strike. I bet you wanted to hear about that.

Other than the trip back and the pain in the butt I'm experiencing, I had a wonderful trip.

Rather than give a detailed step-by-step account of our stay; I'll mention, first, a general step-by-step account of our stay, (heh), then focus on several topics that stood out for whatever reason.

On Valentine's we traveled, arrived in Houston and rode back teasing Andrew like a big brother ought to (it's not only my right, it's my duty) and visiting with Dad. We got to my parents, went out to eat Chinese food at a Chinese food restaurant (aptly) and went home. We watched some TV and stayed up late visiting with my mom. Friday was deemed "lazy day" Although I knew and anticipated most of the stay would be "lazy days." We watched too much TV, played games such as Shanghai Rummy, Wii Sports and Whoonu, and watched movies like "Stardust" and "The Ultimate Gift" which, as it turns out, was $2 billion dollars.

First digression. You may have noticed that I now show "Stardust" or at least try to show it, to anyone who hasn't seen it. Watch it. It's wonderful. You'll love it. That is all for now.

Saturday I wanted to do something outside of home, so Tracie, Andrew and I went to the Menil Collection in Houston to see artwork ranging from 4000 year old Egyptian to Contemporary crap. (not that all contemporary art is crap. just some of the stuff we saw was. One genius actually put blank canvases on the wall. Hello! That's what people do to make fun of contemporary art! sheesh.) I'll talk more in detail about the museums. (The Menil Collection also comprises the Rothko Chapel, and the Cy Twombly Gallery). We also went to Bennigans, which I was ecstatic to learn they have one in Houston, and I of course ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich. More on this later. (Sadly, not more of this 'til next time). Sunday brought Stake Conference which I attended, a new Stake President of Katy Stake was called, and I saw and visited with several people I knew, and didn't see half as many as I wanted too. Tracie and I also took a walk around the neighborhood and we went to the gazebo on the lake where I had first proposed to her. We also visited and played more games with the family, as dad had to go to Ohio (I think) and then Dubai (I know) that evening. So, Monday we again played games, relaxed, slept in and went to the airport at 3.

Then, the adventures of sitting on my bum, and now I'm typing this at work, while sitting on my bum. Tracie started and finished a book on our travel day, and I finally finished a book I've been trying to read for like a month now. She'll probably talk about hers (Running With Scissors), so I'll talk about mine. Color of Magic, the first Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett. Though critics and fans seem to love them, I'm guessing they're all British, as I had an itching suspicion that I'd understand the book much better (and find it much funnier) if I was British. But I'm not. It was hard to understand, difficult to follow, and, in the best parts, amusing. Glad it's over. Haven't spent so long reading a 200 page book since I don't know when.

Monte Cristo, I love you!


Ok, I know it's wrong to be in love with a sandwich. But, if you tell me it is, then I'll know you've just never tried the Monte Cristo. Wow. Wow. Wow. Gourmet ham, cheese and chicken sandwich. Ok. that's good. It better be some good ham and cheese and chicken, Austin. Oh, it is. But I'm not done. What else is there? It's deep fried. Oh. I love you. You dip it in this scrumptious raspberry jam or ketchup or eat it the way it is and I promise you, you'll be asking it to the prom too.

The Menils: Rich geniuses and crazy people.

the de Menils of Houston, like most rich folk in Texas, were oil millionaires. Fortunately, they were also art collectors. They had very eclectic tastes, and I love and hate (mostly love) their collections. (Tracie mostly hates). There are 3 buildings on Sul Ross St. in Houston that make up the Menil Collection, I'll give a review of each, as we went to all 3.

The Rothko Chapel

The de Menils commissioned Mark Rothko to paint 14 paintings for a non-denominational church about 40 years ago. Those familiar with Rothko's work will know he often used blocks of color on huge canvasses, and that he intends to stir base emotions or even religious experiences within the viewer. I don't know what I was expecting, but the only thing it stirred in me was boredom. It could be that the chapel was polluted with folding chairs and speakers, or that I expected something grander. But I felt a bit cheated, and it was free. (Though I did regrettably donate $2 to the chapel). Other Rothko paintings I've seen have literally "pulled" me in, feeling like I entered this vast world of color, as well as filling me with a sense of tranquility, wonder, and awe. But, we strolled out of the chapel as fast as we went in, and headed to the Cy Twombly gallery.

Cy Twombly- Heir of Abstract Expressionism
Cy Twombly is from Lexington, VA. My old art teacher, (Studio Art and Art History) Barbara Crawford is from Lexington, VA. They are good friends, and, about 8 years ago, she told me to go see the Twombly gallery in Houston when I went home for Christmas. I went. And I hated it. So presumptious, so ludicrous, what a waste of space. But then I entered a room of all these lush green paintings of abstract scenes of water. (Which, for the life of me, I can't find online) Everything changed. It was like looking at some alien language and watching the words metamorphize into English. They were some of the most beautiful paintings I've ever seen, and I fell in love with his work. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to spread my love on to Tracie or Andrew, so we headed for the main building of the Menil Collection, with enough diversity to appease anyone. (By the way, I am not a fan of Abstract Expressionism, I think it's probably the biggest cause for the degeneration and commercialization in art today. That, and Picasso. I also feel that Rothko is lumped with the Abstract Expressionists because he's one philosophically, but not physically or aesthetically. Thank you. That is all. For now)

In addition to being one of the most beautiful art museums I've ever been to (The J. Paul Getty Museum in California and the Uffizi in Florence are the champions) The Menil Collection is an unknown jewel in Houston, on a residential street, like it's hiding, not wanting the general populace to know what a treasure sits unassumingly on Sul Ross Street. The museum includes a lot of Surrealistic works, as well as expressionists, and I learned to have a new appreciation for Max Ernst that I didn't have before, and I love Rene Magritte even more. The museum also has ancient works, medieval tapestries, Grecian urns, (one Grecian urn, two Grecian urns...), ancient sculptures, Inuit and Maori totem poles, weapons, masks and tools, but my favorite display was possessions owned by Surrealists. Talk about weird and wonderful. Things like an anchor adorned with skulls, a Mickey Mouse/Aztec idol, a suit of armor adorned with spikes, a phallic pestle, varieties of instruments from the "enlightenment", all kinds of things that gives you insight into where some of their ideas germinated.

Also, there was an exhibition on How Artists Draw, with drawings from Seurat, Picasso, Cezanne, Duchamp, Rauchenberg, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and countless others. But, the most amazing drawing was one by Van Gogh of Arles. With he being my favorite artist (and, in my opinion, the greatest artist who ever lived) it really showed his skill, his style, and his love for the world he existed in, one I hope to travel to one day.

And finally, I miss them so much it hurts!

I couldn't find a photo of my family online, and I'm doing this at work, so I'll post this one.

I miss my parents and brothers so much. It was such a treat and joy to spend several days visiting, joking, laughing, playing and living with Dad, Mom, Alex and Andrew. I was worried that being there for such a short time after over a yearlong hiatus would only amplify the pain my heart feels at being away from them, it didn't. Any time spent with family is enlightening and enriching, and I wouldn't trade a second for anything! I feel like I filled my canteen with sweet memories with my immediate family (minus the Chilean ones, of course) that will keep me happy and sated until next time we're all together. I can't wait to see them again.

Feb 13, 2008

Chef's Table + Anthology of Love + Tracie = Best Valentine's EVER!

Formerly known as: "Valentine's Day 2008: Or, Celebrating Valentine's on February 14 is for suckers, or people who won't be flying to Texas that day!"

But I didn't want to imply any of you are suckers, plus, the new title makes the post irrelevant, which is the best kind of post to write!

So, as I've said, written, and shouted from rooftops, (not very safe in this weather, but I can't help it) we're going to TEXAS! tomorrow.

Well, this Valantine's Day (I looked it up. That's the correct spelling) my beautiful wife Tracie and I celebrated it early. Last Saturday, to be exact. We first went out to eat at Chef's Table, one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at. Tracie had pork, I had duck. Though dinner was expensive, we had a beggar's purse for dessert (I guess the beggar didn't need it). One of the most expensive meals I've ever had. But also one of the best. If you haven't gone, you must. If you have, go again. SO GOOD!

We then went to the new Covey Center for The Arts to see a performance called "Anthology of Love" which was 6 short plays about different kinds and stages of love.

This being Utah, the plays were pretty tame. The most "forbidden" love was the love between two step-siblings. The other plays dealt with death, proposal (a very well done short scene by Chekhov), and an interesting play about Jacob and Leah's relationship from the Bible. It was fun to go see some plays rather than a movie. And that was our Valentine's Day!

Now, without getting too mushy, (it's for Valantine's, so there's no such thing as too mushy) I'd like to tell Tracie how much I love her. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Much! About there, anyway. A friend of mine teased me earlier today on how much and often I tell Tracie I love her. He said "You're still together! We know you love her!" But I'm not saying it for them. I'm saying it because every time I think of her and talk to her, I realize I love her more and more. Not so much that I keep falling in love, but I keep falling deeper and deeper into the stuff. I never knew someone so fantastic, clever, patient, beautiful, talented, humble, righteous, sexy, smart, funny, cute etc. existed. When I found out, I married her.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S TO ALL!
The magnificent Tracie and the lucky goofball she married.
Happy Valentine's, Princess!

Feb 12, 2008

New Poll Post. Plus Pretty Pictures!







Firstly, I'd like to thank my old poll, "Who Do You Think Will Be America's Next President?" for sticking around almost a week after it closed. Looks like Obama won with 5 votes, McCain and Romney tied in second (but winner sadly takes all) and Hillary got 2 votes.
In the real world (or as real as it gets) Romney dropped out of the race, after America has shown again that they'd rather vote for a bigot than something they don't understand. Way to go, America!

New poll is a bit more light-hearted, and mostly an excuse for me to post some gorgeous pictures of nature I found on flickr. Please click on them, they're gorgeous. I said that already. The names are what I called them, not the actual titles. Except the last one. It's called "Il Bacio Buona Notte" or "The Kiss Good-Night."

Ok, this week's question is: Where do you want to visit? I'll let you vote on more than one thing, because I want to visit all of them.

Feb 11, 2008

If A Man Does Something But Doesn't Blog About It, Does It Really Happen?

Since I'm going to Texas (HOORAY!) on Thursday, I thought I'd make a bit of an entry to catch up on my life before then. As you know, my thoughts can be somewhat scattered (Raspberries!!!) and random (zephyr) I think, for your benefit and for simplicity, I'll categorize my blog entry, so there will be less of a chance for me to be misunderstood. The name is MISTER Understood! Get it right!!!

Ok. I want to talk about school, my car, and our early Valentine's Day. For those of you who are curious, I posted that print of van Gogh's Irises because it reminds me of Texas. I did a copy of it several years ago, and gave it to my parents. As a van Gogh copy, I think of it as one of my most beautiful (though of course not original) paintings. (Another interesting fact, I've seen his version in person, and mine is bigger.) Plus, I'll be writing a bit bout art history. Here it goes...

School Days School Days, I don't remember any more of that song-Days!

I'm nearing the middle of the semester, where I congratulate myself for keeping my head afloat, as well as fear the midterms. Art History is going well, I got my first test back. I got a 95. And yes, I felt a bit like Hermione, as I was somewhat crestfallen to discover I did not get 100. But, when I learned what some of the other students got on their test, I felt a little happier. And relieved. We finished the Renaissance and Baroque, and are moving on to Neo-Classicism (bo-ring!) Fortunately for me, I'll be in Texas, so I won't have to learn more about the most useless art movement in history. (Unfortunately, the review for the midterm is that day as well, so when I come back, I'll have to take another test. But, since I think I know more about Art History than the rest of the class combined (even the teacher, on one or two subjects) I predict I'll do alright.)

As you may recall, for English I had to stretch out one of the papers that I was told at first to shorten. After much hair-pulling, kicking, screaming, whining, and even a little bit of writing, I finally got it done. I'd also like to take this time to thank my tireless editor who never gives up on me even when I do. Thank you, Tracie. I love you. I'd also like to take this time to tell my paper I hate you and I'm sick of you. Glad I don't have to waste any more time on you, and I'm sorry for abusing you so much you don't look like my paper anymore.
We've moved on to grammar, which the teacher seems excited about, I'd rather get my teeth pulled. But, if anyone can excite me about grammar, I'm guessing he can. (And when I said I'd rather get my teeth pulled, I meant with anesthesia, of course.)

Chapter 2: My Car. Also Known as "Ella, Why Did you do this to me?"

Well, after riding the bus, waiting for the bus, making Tracie take me to work and bumming rides, I finally broke down and had my car towed to get it fixed. After paying out lots of money to get a rod fixed on it, and lots and lots of money to get Tracie's heater fixed, I thought I would have to pay lots and lots and lots of money to get my car started again. Turns out all it needed was a new battery! A ray of sunshine blazes through the freezing, cloudy and snowy winter. We are again a 2 car family. And I learned a valuable lesson. A fool and his money don't hang out that often. But thank you to All Tec for letting this fool and his money chill awhile longer.

Valentine's Day 2008: Or, Celebrating Valentine's on February 14 is for suckers, or people who won't be flying to Texas that day!

This Valentines' (Valentine's? Valantine's? Valleghntynez?) we dressed up like a bride and groom and took pictures of our rings. No, that's a picture from our wedding day, silly!
As Tracie already said in her blog, we went to our ward activity on Friday night, and went to Chef's Table and Anthology of Love on Saturday night. So, why am I posting about it? Because I can! And she left some details for me to fill, and, even though I'm no editor (as my terrible grammar and speling and punctkchuwayshun testifies) I do love my details.

Friday night we went to our ward's Valentine Dinner Party. At the door, we filled out our names for a "Raffle" with a "Grand Prize" promised. Although no "Grand Prize" was in sight, Tracie "filled one out" anyway, even though I felt some "trepidation" filling one "out." We got in line and covered our plates with tasty looking tidbits guaranteed to give us cavities and diabetes (cheesecake, brownies, a chocolate fountain, (sooooo 2 years ago. but still sooooo good) homemade ice cream, cookies, etc. (and those never go out of style!) We sat down with people we didn't know (not hard. As Tracie said, we don't know too many people in our ward. One of the curses of Ward Librarians. (Lycanthropy being the lesser known curse.) As I stuffed my face with sugar products I didn't need, the couple in charge of the event announced that the "raffle" was not, in fact, a "raffle." It was to force couples to play the "Newly-wed Game." We chuckled, and the pit of my stomach, the part that had a voice and wasn't as occupied with the sweets I forced down my throat groaned "Of course we'll be called! You never win anything, but a chance to be humiliated and make Tracie angry if you get questions wrong?! You're a shoe in. By the way, stop it with the cheesecake! We're drowning in here! ... I'm just kidding, we love it!" He stopped talking long enough for us to hear "Couple #3: the Beckstroms!"
Tracie and I looked at each other, she beamed, I bade goodbye to the cheesecake. It seems the ward knew us as well as we did, for, even though we were walking towards the front, people were looking around like "Beckstrom? Who are they?" But, it turned out to be a lot of fun. Let me see if I can remember the questions we were asked: No. I remember 5 out of 6. Shall I tell you? I can't hear you! Ok, ok. Fine.

So first all the men went to the Relief Society room while they presumably asked our significant others questions that we'd have to duplicate the answers to. While we waited, we tried cheating, as we were in the Relief Society room there was a volume control, but, the activity was in the gym, not the chapel. We all visited, and realized we all were married around the same time. Between 1 year and 4 months to 1 year and 10 months. (FYI Tracie and I at the time are 1 year and 7 months.) We were called back in, facing our lovely wives and ward members. The first question was: Of my clothes, what would she throw out? Since she had already made me say goodbye to many of my mission ties, I guessed my "The Party Has Arrived" t-shirt, which I wore when we first started dating. I mean, the day we decided to "give it a try." I was right! Ding ding ding! Next question, what story do I tell that annoys her? Just one? Unfortunately, I hadn't been doing my modus operandi of telling the same stories over and over, so I guessed one thing, Tracie said another. (I said when I proposed, I don't remember what she said) So, we were 1 for 2. Final question: What personality would she say I'm most like: Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell, or Napoleon? I think we should have been given an extra point since we both asked: Napoleon Bonaparte or Dynamite? But, the answer was of course Will Ferrell, as he's funny, and a little creepy. Like me. So, then Tracie and the wives left, and I was asked these questions 3:

(*By the way. I realize now that I remember all 6, but I'm not going to go back and change it. Sorry for the confusion. Raspberries.)

Question 1: What one word describes your first kiss. I wanted to say so many things, but all I could say was the truth: Seduced. (I'm pretty sure my face was bright pink when I said it)
Question 2: Who hogs the covers: Of course I again responded truthfully: Tracie.
Question 3: What is my most annoying habit? Again, I couldn't narrow it down to just one, so I said "I'm too affectionate." As I deemed "handsy", "gropy," and "touchy" church-inappropriate.
Tracie, true to form admitted that yes, I said "Seduced" because that's what I did. (In her mind anyway. That part of the Tracie and Austin Story: The way it REALLY Happened has yet to be written...) She also confessed that she does hog the covers. But, sadly, she chose an annoying habit of mine that was less embarrassing, and guessed snoring.
On the plus side, they rewarded us 2 points for "seduced," since we were the only couple to get the same exact word for that question.
We were then tied with 5 out of 6 points for first place.
So, we sat down, waiting for the tie-breaker round. Then, another group of 5 couples came up and played again. Some other couple (we'll call them "cheaters") won 6 points, and won a basket with candles and Martinelli's and bubble bath. Darn. We did a tie breaker round where they asked us a question and we had to answer at the same time. By the way, the prize for second was a fondue pot. Ooh la la. Well, they asked us what color Tracie's toothbrush was, and, so, since it was more than 50% white, I said white. Tracie said blue. No fondue pot. Shucks.

Like I said, it was a lot of fun, we got to be in the center of attention, and make people laugh, which Tracie and I love to do.

I'll write about our Valentine's Day in my next post, but work is over and this one is long enough!

Feb 7, 2008

Top Ten Movies I'm Going to See in 2008

I meant to do this last month, but, since nothing's come out that I've wanted to see, (and NO Paul Walker movies...) I postponed until now.
They're not listed in want to see the most, I'll probably do that at the end. They're listed as to when they're scheduled to be released in theaters.
This is obviously what I want to see most.
But I'll talk more about him later.

Feb. 22 Be Kind, Rewind This is Jack Black and Mos Def. That on its own is enough to see it. And I don't even need Def. Jack Black on his own is more than enough for me to pay the price of admission. (Kung Fu Panda, not on this list, is not enough). What excites me the most is the premise. Jack Black accidentally erases all the videos at a video store, and, to make a little old lady happy, he and Def remake all the movies themselves. Basically an excuse for Jack Black to make us laugh, and I can't wait.

Feb. 29 Penelope This is a Christina Ricci movie with Reese Witherspoon and the weird-looking but apparently well-acting James McAvoy. Ricci plays a European princess in modern times with a fairy-tale time problem. She was cursed with the nose of a pig. To me, it sounds charming, I love fairy-tales and really love fairy-tales with a twist. Plus, Catherine O'Hara plays Penelope's mother. The only thing that makes me wary is the movie was finished in 2006, but only being released now. Maybe they wanted to wait for a leap year.

Mar. 14 Horton Hears a Who Jim Carrey as Horton aside, I don't know if I want to see this in theaters, but it's based on my favorite Dr. Seuss story, so I felt a bit obliged (or obligated, whichever is less grammatically correct) to include it for the sake of my childhood. I predict it will be as delightful as the Dr. Seuss book itself, despite the fact that the smallest Who of all looks a bit too Emo, (and, just so we're clear, any Emo is too Emo) and it will be too long. But, I'll definitely rent it if I don't shell out to watch a computer generated elephant and Who's in Who-ville on the big-screen. (I always wondered, if on that speck are the Who's in Who-ville, where's the Grinch? I thought he lived just North of Who-ville?)

April is a barren month for me, which is a bit sad, as it has my and Tracie's birthdays. When the most promising films are a Harold & Kumar movie or a Rob Schneider movie, I think I'll spend my 26th birthday away from the theaters. May makes up for it, though.

May. 2 Iron Man Super hero movies are always good. (At least, lately they've been. I'm ignoring Hulk and Dare Devil, as you should too. And I won't even mention Ghost Rider. shudder.) But this is one I've waited for. Only one movie do I want to see more. (IJ4) The trailer itself amazes and makes even non-fans of Iron Man excited to see the movie. I'm also more than excited to see Downey Jr. in the role of Tony Stark.

May. 19 Prince Caspian Who is not excited about this movie? The fantasy/allegory of C.S. Lewis with the budget of Walt Disney! Even if I hadn't seen the trailer, I'd still be dying to see it. My feelings of the casting for Caspian are somewhat dubious, mainly because I always pictured him younger. But, young and cute doesn't sell as many tickets as older and smoldering. And, as long as it's not Hayden Christensen, I'm as happy as Mr. Beaver when he finds out Aslan's back.

May. 23 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Bah bah buh buh, ba ba baaaaa, ba ba buh BUH! bah buh buh buh buh! Not since the new Star Wars have I been this excited to see a movie. And, like the new Star Wars, do I not really care how good it's going to be, I already love this movie. (Spielberg's directing it, and Hayden Christensen isn't in it. How bad can it be? Not too bad, unless Indy meets Jar Jar Binks...) But Shia LeBouf and Cate Blanchett are in it, who, similar to Jack Black, I would pay to see their performance in anything. Even if the movie they're in isn't that good, their performance makes up for it. And come on! Who else is going to play Indiana Jones?! Even if he is 98 or whatever. He drank from the Grail. That oughta give him enough juice to kick Nazi (or what I hear, Commie) butt one more time. The only downside is there's no Sean Connery. But, Harrison Ford's old enough.

Jun. 13 Incredible Hulk Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. That's enough to pay for the atrocity of the first Hulk movie, and most of the old TV show as well. Count me in.

Jun. 20 Get Smart Steve Carrell is hilarious. Maxwell Smart is uber-hilarious. I'll be there, even if I have a lump on my head the size of a golf ball.

July 4 Hancock Will Smith stars as a (do I need to finish? Will Smith! Come on! Wild Wild West was forever ago! I forgave him! You should too!) super-hero hated by the public. Jason Bateman is his Public Relations Manager trying to make him famous again. Will Smith without superpowers can save the world. With them, well, just watch.

July 18 Dark Knight So we're clear, Batman is my favorite Superhero. The fact that he has no superpowers make him the coolest. So we're more clear, Christian Bale is my favorite Batman, and Batman Begins is my favorite Batman movie. Even though this is Heath Ledger's last performance, if the movie is half as good as the first, I will be the happiest boy in the world, and will forgive Christian Bale once and for all for Newsies.

Wow, I didn't realize that's 10 movies. I'll call it my Top Ten for '08. The order I want to see them as follows: (10 being least, 1 being most.)

10. Horton Hears a Who
9. Be Kind, Rewind
8. Hancock
7. Get Smart
6. Penelope
5. Prince Caspian
4. Incredible Hulk
3. Iron Man
2. The Dark Knight
1. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The 10 Missing Posts


OK. Here's a question. Last year, I did 23 posts. This year so far I've done 22. 23+22=45. Yet, when I pull up my blog dashboard, it says 55 posts. Does Blogger know something I don't?

*Several people told me what I didn't know. Blogger saves my drafts, and I had 10 of them. "Oh! That's very different... nevermind!" I guess that one I wrote awhile ago as my 50th post WASN'T my 50th post. 4 more to go.

I'd delete this one too, but I like that little guy too much!

Feb 5, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day! ...3 Years ago

Look at us. Three years younger. Three years skinnier. Sigh. Tracie has naturally become three years exponentially more beautiful. (At least) And we both have become three years happier.

I was looking at pictures stored in my email, when I came across these. They were taken, as you surmised, on Valentine's Day, 2005. No, this is not my post for Valentine's Day. We'll be flying to Texas that day, so we're having our Valentine's this Saturday. More on that at a later date. Think of this as a snippet of "The Tracie and Austin Story" as told through Austin.

In this picture, (taken at Uncle Craig's house, where I was living at the time) we had been officially dating for a month and ten days. (We became "official" on January 4). I was developing love, she was developing like. (:)) As those who have read her blog know, it took Tracie a little while longer than I did to know what a beautiful perfect wonderful exciting eternal etc. thing we had going. She knows now.

So, being the smitten-with-an-amazing-new-girlfriend boyfriend I was, I planned a great Valentine's. The plan was to take her on a scavenger hunt, to 12 places already significant to us. (I don't remember the complete list. Places like our first date, our first kiss, our second kiss, where we met, etc.) at each location was a rose with a bit of poetry, talking about the specialness of the place, and a clue to where the next rose was. At the end of the hunt was going to be a NEW memory, somewhere in the canyon where i would build a fire and we would roast hot dogs and cuddle, etc. (I had also received a haircut that day, to enhance my natural cuteness).

But, as we know, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. (Especially the plans of mice. What mouse plans more than "get the cheese, try not to die. Get the cheese try not to--" -*SNAP!*-) First of all, the flowers I brilliantly bought for her (roses, of course) had wilted. I suppose I should back up a bit, and say that I had the clever idea to buy my girlfriend roses a week before the big V-Day, thus ensuring I wouldn't have to pay the price of a decked-out 2005 Cadillac Escalade for 12 murdered flowers. So, I left them in the refrigerator, where they of course were quite content to live among the milk, vegetables, and that tupperware of food I wouldn't dare eat but couldn't throw out. Until, the day before Valentine's, they decided they'd grown quite cold, and decided to freeze and die. I don't remember why I didn't do it, but my terrific cousin Carissa drove me down to Provo where I finally found someone selling roses. Of course they were crappy roses, and I sadly said goodbye to my children's college fund, and bought Tracie a dozen. I decided to use the crummy frozen flowers as the ones at the drop off points, and would have the beautiful, healthy (albeit crappy and expensive) dozen waiting for her at our destination. Well, while depositing the roses at their hiding spots, some at Tracie's parents house, one at Olive Garden, one at Orem High School, it started raining. It didn't stop raining.

So, I improvised. I took Tracie on the scavenger hunt, we stopped at about 8 of the stops, and ended at Uncle Craig's house. I built a fire, and we microwaved the hot dogs, accompanied with some chocolate and Martinelli's.

I knew from her reaction at our less than perfect evening (she was graceful, fun and hilarious) that things would all work out, even if dang old mother nature got in the way. (Also, the fact that she made me breakfast with pink heart pancakes, and a candygram (no one's ever made a candy gram for me!) helped too.)

I've held a long belief, forged by sad experience, that Valentine's Day is of the devil. But, after sharing one with Tracie (and ever since) I think St. Valentine knew his stuff after all.

I love you, Tracie!



All things considered, I still think it went rather well.

Feb 4, 2008

Creative Constipation

I love my English class. I really do. My teacher is smart, funny, innovative, and, as he himself would say: quirky. My only complaint thus far has been that class is over much too soon every day. I find myself watching the clock, hoping it will slow down, rather than speed up. But the darn thing never does. It must be broken or something.

However, our first major writing assignment is due Wednesday, and I'm not done. I'm clearly procrastinating by blogging/complaining about it.

What is the assignment? How nice of you to ask. I think I've said what I've been doing for homework these past few weeks. If not, I'll say it now. If so, it's a good refresher. Every class period we've had to write a narrative 1-2 pages long on a subject or an idea provided by the teacher. I have enjoyed nearly all of the assignments, as they've been things like "write about a time you were wrong." or "write about an epiphany." or "don't be afraid to be crazy." (I wasn't)

As a somewhat verbose writer, it proved somewhat difficult to write just 1 or 2 pages, I wanted to go further. This required some pruning and concision on my part, which, in the end, I feel improved the piece of writing, almost without exception.

My gripe therefore, stems from the fact that we are now expected to expound and expand 2 of our 1 page papers to 4 or 5 pages. WHAT!? I could have done that easily before, but I took out much, which like I said, made the writing stronger. Now I have to make it longer?

Hence my creative constipation.

Feb 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog Day!

That's about all I have to say. Hope your groundhog day is joyful, and that this dang winter will go away soon! Don't drive angry!