Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blog Love

You may know, since I have written about it before, that I sometimes have a short attention span--or maybe we should call it a short interest span. I get interested in things, and then I lose interest.

So the fact that I've had the same blog layout for something like two years (maybe more) makes me really happy. Every time I go to my blog, I just scroll up and down and look at it. I love the layout. I love the pictures I put in the sidebars. I love--weirdly, to some of you--the Georgia font. And I do not find myself getting tired of any of it. (Okay, I did change the pictures a few weeks ago, but I think that just makes it more interesting.)

And as I have also written before, sometimes I really want to post something on my blog even though I have nothing to say. When this happens, I write a post about how much I love my blog. Yeah, it's silly.

I never said I wasn't a silly person.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today is Tuesday

I came home to find three packages on the doorstep from UPS, and another one in the mail! Jeeves & Wooster, Fawlty Towers, one of the gifts from Utah, and Mike's Amazon gift card purchases came today. We haven't watched FT in at least three years (basically since we moved away from the Orem library) and tonight I'm thinking we'll have to continue our old tradition of watching and eating Amazing Sandwiches with seasoned rice. I'm hungry already!

Driving in silence is really wonderful when it's raining. This afternoon I realized that instead of listening to the radio like I always do, I wanted to listen to the rain, so I turned it off. It was glorious.

Also glorious: Having new windshield wiper blades that work! The wipers on our car have sucked since we got it, and before that, the last set I put on the Corolla were crappy even when I first bought them. Today it was raining and actually unsafe to drive because of how bad our wipers were, so Mike put new ones on and they are beautiful.

In case you missed it on Facebook, the news today is that my lovely sister is a freakin' fabulous photographer, and you should have her take your pictures. Also she's having a contest this week for a free shoot, so I suggest checking out her FB page!

We watched Chicago the other night for the first time, and my feelings about it are mixed. On the one hand, I already knew that the soundtrack was fantastic because I bought the CD when it came out, and the songs are even more fun in the movie. On the other hand, it was a little bit less... epic than I was expecting. The first half was amazing, but then I felt like it kind of petered out in the second half--or at least my excitement about it did. But here's what WAS epic about it: these songs. (Some of you probably want to just listen and not watch the videos, the second one especially.)

Queen Latifah's slight awkwardness aside, I just love that song.

I think this song is absolute genius--the music, the dancing, the scarves, the violence and intensity of it. It's just brilliant.

And speaking of Chicago, we've been a little out of control with the movie-buying lately! It's so hard to resist when we find them for $3 and $5 all over the place (and by that I mean Half Price Books and the Blockbuster in Wylie that's closing). Partial list of the ones we've bought in the last two weeks: 
  • Big Fish
  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
  • Chicago
  • Dan in Real Life
  • Get Smart
  • Hidalgo
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • The Return of the Pink Panther (Peter Sellers, NOT Steve Martin)
  • Stardust
  • V for Vendetta
  • WALL-E
  • Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • and season one of 21 Jump Street
Usually we try to only buy movies that we really like, but clearly we sometimes get carried away. We kind of like being the local library, though--my family knows to come to us first before they rent anything!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazon Birthday

Have I mentioned how excited I am about Mike's birthday this Saturday? Answer: more excited than he is, because I know what all of his presents are and how much he is going to love them. In fact, I keep gloating to him about how I know what he's getting, and he is bewildered because he can't actually think of anything that he wants and is wondering what I told people to get him. Don't worry, friends--when he sees, he will remember how much he wanted it. 

Also, as far as I know, every single present (and so far, that is six) is coming from Amazon this year, including an Amazon gift card--which he received last night and has already spent! We are expecting a lot of packages in the mail this week. (And don't worry, I discreetly made sure that he wasn't ordering anything that was already on the way.)

I am really excited about those packages, because in addition to all the presents, we will be receiving our copies of Fawlty Towers and Jeeves and Wooster (hopefully tomorrow, thanks to free two-day Amazon Prime shipping)! Fawlty Towers: been in love with for a long time, and have been missing it because we don't have the Orem library to check it out from anymore. Jeeves and Wooster: are fairly confident that we will be in love with it soon. Very excited about both. 


Makers, by Cory Doctorow--6/10

This was a good book, but absolutely nothing compared to Little Brother. It has a fascinating story, but gets seriously techy for long stretches, and that made it a little slow for me. (Also the fact that I was listening to it on audio and therefore couldn't skim the boring parts.) To be fair, I am clearly not this book's target audience--aka, people who love technology and business and building things and so on--so I'm sure a lot of people will have more fun with it than I did. And I really did enjoy the book; I just could have done with a bit less of the techy detail. 

The story takes place in the near-future, as many of Doctorow's books do. It's about Lester and Perry, "trash-hackers"/inventors who live in an abandoned strip mall and basically turn trash (for example, old Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls) into something new, fun, and useful (Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars). For some reason it's hard for me to describe the rest of it, though, so if you want to read a summary, go here

If you feel like checking it out, you can get it for free here--Cory Doctorow always has his books available for free download on his website. (Also, if you own an e-reader or are considering getting one, I would read the little rant on that link I just sent you to.) OH and I just remembered--one more reason to read and not listen--there is one seriously intense sex scene, and I am not kidding when I say intense. Skip it. I was traumatized. It has nothing to do with the story, so you won't miss anything; in fact I sort of suspect that its entire purpose was only to distinguish this book from his YA novels. Which are, frankly, much better, so that's kind of a silly thing to do.

Friday, March 25, 2011

These Men are the Same

There's one more, but I don't know his name and can't remember what movie I'm picturing him in. Anyone know?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Debuts

Just realized this should probably have a little more description. These are my favorite debuts--books that were the author's first novel.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone--J.K. Rowling
Fablehaven--Brandon Mull
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging--Louise Rennison
I Capture the Castle--Dodie Smith
Elantris--Brandon Sanderson
The Goose Girl--Shannon Hale
Wuthering Heights--Emily Bronte (first and last, unfortunately)
Twilight--Stephenie Meyer
The Bean Trees--Barbara Kingsolver
The Phantom Tollbooth--Norton Juster
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (this one is only half a debut because Annie Barrows had another book published before--and guess what, the main character of that book is named Miri!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Favorite Fictional Couples

  • Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling)
  • Macy and Wes (The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen)
  • Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen) (and Margaret Hale and John Thornton from North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell, since they're pretty much the same)
  • Katsa and Po (Graceling, Kristin Cashore)
  • Georgia and Dave the Laugh (Georgia Nicolson series, Louise Rennison)
  • Buttercup and Westley (The Princess Bride, William Goldman)
  • Sayuri and the Chairman (Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden)
  • Lord Arthur Goring and Miss Mabel Chiltern (An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde)
And, because I am having the HARDEST time thinking of more couples from books, I will now cheat and finish off the list with two from movies:

  • Tiana and Prince Naveen (The Princess and the Frog)
  • Bret Maverick and Annabelle Bransford (Maverick)
I also really love Beatrix Potter and Norman Warne from Miss Potter, but not only are they from a movie, they are not fictional. And since I've opened up the gates on the movie couples, I think I'm going to go ahead with that list, because there are some really great ones. 

  • Maria and Captain Von Trapp (The Sound of Music)
  • Kat Stratford and Patrick Verona (10 Things I Hate About You)
  • Jamie Bennett and his girlfriend (who apparently doesn't have a name--Love Actually)
  • Penelope and Johnny/Max (Penelope)
  • Beatrice and Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing) (obviously this is originally a play, but it's Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh I really love)
  • Han Solo and Princess Leia (Star Wars)
  • Margaret Tate and Andrew Paxton (The Proposal)
  • WALL-E and EVE (WALL-E)
  • Christian and Satine (Moulin Rouge)
  • George Wade and Lucy Kelson (Two Weeks Notice)

And in case you are interested, couples I specifically do not like:

  • Mary Jane and Spiderman

Yeah, that's all I can think of right now.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

So. Tired.

Friends, we have to figure out how to add some more hours to the day. Who will take up this challenge? 

If I go to sleep past 10:00, I am dead the next day (when I wake up at 6:00). We usually make it to bed around 10:30, which means that we are usually dead the next day. Saturday nights we like to hang out with friends, because that is the only day we can, and that means that we stay up late on Saturdays. Which means that on Sunday mornings, when the missed sleep from throughout the week catches up with us on top of the lateness of Saturday night itself... We are really tired.

Last night we slept at the house we are house-sitting, and we felt like we were awake all night. I thought the dogs were supposed to sleep at some point, but I swear they were just wandering around, growling randomly, jumping on the bed and having to be kicked off, allll night long. 

Besides which, we didn't even actually sleep in and woke up at 8:30. Tonight we'll be in Hurst and wanting to spend as much time there as possible before making the hour-long drive home, which means we won't be getting to sleep any sooner than 10 if we are lucky. So... Tomorrow will be tired.

So, about those extra hours. Let me know when you figure it out, okay? Okay. G'night.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jane Eyre

Guys... Goodreads is my friend. From Goodreads I have won advance reader copies of two books and free tickets to an advance screening of Jane Eyre--and as we were leaving the movie tonight, they gave us two free tickets to a movie that's coming out soon. (I probably don't want to see it--it's about that surfer girl who had her arm bitten off by a shark--but it does have Helen Hunt, so I might be enticed.)

From the trailers I saw, I wasn't expecting to like this version of Jane Eyre, but I really really did. In fact, I might like it better than the book. (If you'll remember, I liked the book, but didn't LOVE it the way most people do.) For me, Jane is much easier to like in the movie, and Mia Wasikowska plays her really well. The whole cast was done wonderfully, for that matter, especially Mr. Rochester, Mrs. Fairfax, and St. John Rivers. I definitely recommend seeing it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Feel Like Doing This Again

I have been looking through some old posts today, and I read this and thought it would be fun to redo it now. I'm going to leave the original answers in, and the current answers will be in italics below them.

originally posted SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2007 

What I was doing ten years ago: I was 12 and feeling incredibly awkward leaving Primary and going to class with all the high school girls.

I was a sophomore in high school, in Winterguard competitions, having a crush on the guy who would eventually be my first date, getting my first contacts, trying out for drum major, and starting my Laurel Personal Progress projects early.

What I was doing five years ago: I was a senior in high school, applying to BYU, taking and retaking the ACT, and not caring about my grades anymore because I'd already had senioritis for a year.

I was living with the Glenwood Dream Team (Sam, Jennie, Mandy, Megan, and Whitley), having hall parties with Lindsey, Simon, Todd, Curt, and co., loving my surrogate roommates in apt 169, working at the day care in Provo, and feeling really crappy about myself.

One Year ago: At this time last year I was trying to decide whether I wanted to date Phil or Tyler and, as a result, doing a BOYS RUIN YOUR LIFE page in my giant journal.

In the spring of last year I was nannying Hannah and Lana, starting my food revolution, having serious family and personal drama, and starting to hang out again with Meredith, Lori, and Bethany from high school (high point of the year for sure)!

Yesterday: Volunteered at the Scarecrow festival with Jennie, Megan, Sam, and Mama Zaelit. It was Mike's and my 11 month anniversary, and we spent it watching Serenity with my roommates and nerdy boys from our ward.

I worked at both jobs (nanny and personal assistant); after work, Mike and I went to IKEA with Meredith and Zach and had dinner, then went blacklight miniature golfing at the mall and to Barnes and Noble afterward.

5 snacks I enjoy: flaming hot Cheetos, baked cheddar and sour cream Ruffles, Symphony chocolate bars with toffee, strawberries in sour cream, avocado on bread with lemon juice

Replace the Symphony bars with Lindor truffles/Ferrero Rocher. Also, I do love strawberries and sour cream, but I almost never eat it, so let's replace that with Snapeas. And nix the lemon juice on the avocado... just salt.

5 Things I would do if I had $100 million: pay off all my student loans, give some to each of my siblings and my parents, put the majority in savings, start a college fund for my kids, and of course do some frivolous spending.

Pay off all our student loan debt; give $1 million to each member of Mike's and my immediate families and probably to all the grandparents, plus smaller amounts to aunts/uncles/cousins, etc.; buy two new cars, new laptops, and a house; put a few millions in savings; and TRAVEL.

5 Places I would love to run away to: home, an island somewhere, Mesa, the East Coast, Europe

Anywhere in Europe, South America, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Alaska (with restrictions), New York or Washington D.C.

Five TV shows I like: The Office, Gilmore Girls, Friends, Seinfeld, What Not to Wear

30 Rock, Friends, Scrubs, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show

Five things I hate doing: waking up early, folding/putting away my laundry after I've washed it, getting any work done on my car, returning things at the store, clearing off my bed before I can sleep in it

Still the same! Except scratch the last one and replace it with... cleaning the kitchen after cooking.

Five biggest joys of the moment: Mike and I had a really good night. He's planning the proposal/working on the ring. I'm starting like my fifth book of the past week. I get to (have to) start planning a wedding. I'm feeling really good tonight. :)

Having Jaylee closer, having great friends to hang out with, our plans to go to Washington D.C. this fall for the National Book Festival, making my lifestyle more healthy, and having the inspection and registration taken care of on our (finally official) new car!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mirror Mirror, by Gregory Maguire--7/10

I'm not in the mood to do a full-fledged review right now, but I just finished Mirror Mirror today and wanted to say that I think Gregory Maguire is pretty darn creative. Like I said when I read Wicked, he's a little bit of a pervy perverson; but (unless I'm remembering wrong) there is actually less perviness in this book, despite the inclusion of Lucrezia Borgia as the evil queen. It's fascinating how he creates a story in which the fairy tales actually seem plausible, and this book has a particularly interesting angle since the Borgias were actual historical figures. Check it out if you don't mind a few swear words--it's a pretty quick read, and I think it's worth it. (And when you're done, tell me if you, too, felt the urge to watch the Disney Snow White afterward.)

Monday, March 14, 2011


Is that really the last thing I posted? It is high time I replaced outrage with ADORABLENESS, and so without further ado, I give you Baby Goose: Her First Pigtails!
You may now explode from the cuteness.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Wisconsin Republicans managed to get the vote through without the Democrats, and do you know how? By taking all the financial parts out of the bill, and making it ONLY about collective bargaining. That kind of undermines their "this isn't about unions it's about fixing the budget" argument, don't you think?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Dairyland - For Richer and Poorer - Teachers and Wall Street
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

I just... I can't even express myself right now, the words are not coming out. I just cannot believe the utter effing hypocrisy of this video. How dare Megyn Kelly say that teachers don't work as much as people on Wall Street?! It's incomprehensible that she could even make that comparison. I am seriously in shock.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Favorite Covers

Kristin Cashore

 The Enchantress of Florence--Salman Rushdie 

 Rebecca--Daphne duMaurier

these Folger editions of Shakespeare's plays

The Oracle of Stamboul--
Michael David Lukas 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan--Lisa See 

this series of Penguin classics  

The Poisonwood Bible--Barbara Kingsolver

The Devil and Miss Prym--Paulo Coelho 
(also the Spanish version)

The Bean Trees--Barbara Kingsolver

Monday, March 7, 2011

Favorite Book Characters

From the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling:
Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore, and Fred and George Weasley

From Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery:
Anne Shirley

From the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, by Louise Rennison:
Georgia Nicolson

From I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith:
Cassandra Mortmain

From The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky:

From Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card:
Ender Wiggin

From Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott:
Jo March

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas--8/10

    The writing in The Oracle of Stamboul is as beautiful as the cover. The story is unique--a young girl, born literally in the midst of violence (as her town is being plundered by an invading army), whose extraordinary intelligence is revealed as she grows up and becomes influential in the palace of the Sultan, the ruler of the dwindling Ottoman Empire. Big things happen in Eleanora's life, and she is thrown into circles that will determine the course of history for a significant part of the world--but in the end, the story is really a simple one about a girl's journey to discover who she is. 

    This is a sort of alternative historical fiction, but the descriptions of the culture are accurate and really engaging. I sometimes get caught up in things I feel like I SHOULD be reading, and then, even though I do like the books, reading them starts to feel like a chore. The Oracle of Stamboul was not one of those books. Every time I had to put it down, I looked forward to getting to pick it up again, and I loved every minute of my reading. 


    I don't like what our culture has done to college. We've made higher education solely about getting a job, and yet it's a well-known fact that you can spend years of your life in school and get tens of thousands of dollars in debt to earn a degree that doesn't guarantee you a job. 

    Employers have gotten so greedy for degrees that sometimes a job that didn't require any degree ten years ago now requires a Masters; not because the job has changed or because the degree actually enables someone to do it better, but just because they want it. 

    On the other side, you have employers who don't want you because you have a degree, and who tell you that you're "overqualified" as they send you your rejection email. I ask you, how can someone be overqualified to do a job? The truth is they can't, and employers just don't want to have to pay you as much as you deserve.

    College shouldn't be about getting a job. College is about learning, about educating yourself and finding out things about the world and our history as a people and different subjects that interest you. Higher education should be about bettering ourselves and discovering who we are and where we fit into the grand scheme of things. When you get a job after college, it should be because you are knowledgeable about something that you care about, and that makes you want to work in that field. We shouldn't go into college specifically for the purpose of getting a degree that will prepare us for lots of jobs that will make us money.

    Friday, March 4, 2011

    Movie Drought

    Mike is the kind of person who's in love with the movies. It doesn't matter what's playing, he just wants to go, and he would go three or four times a week if I would let him. 

    If I weren't married to him, I would probably see something like five movies a year. I love going to the movies too, don't get me wrong. But it seems like every year, fewer and fewer movies come out that look interesting to me. This year, I'm really excited for Harry Potter part 2, and Rango looks good although I'll probably wait until it's in the dollar theater. That's it.

    For the last two months (and including the month coming up) there has been nothing I really want to see. Luckily it's still pretty early in the year, so 2011 still has a chance to shape things up... And I really hope they do. Because I'm going to be seeing movies either way, and I'd prefer that they not suck.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Twitter Misses Me!

    Today I received this email: 


    We've missed you on Twitter, Miri Shorten (@mirikayla)!

    So much happens on Twitter every day, whether it's breaking news, a deal at your favorite shop, a local traffic jam or a funny pick-me-up from a friend. Twitter keeps you informed with what matters most to you today and helps you discover what might matter to you most tomorrow.
    Curious to know what you're missing on Twitter right now? Visit your Twitter home page  »

    I am highly amused. Yes, I signed up for Twitter a while ago, but only so I could follow certain people I love (*cough*Stephen Colbert*cough*). I don't actually use it, nor will I be enticed to do so by friendly emails. I have a blog and I have Facebook--what purpose could Twitter possibly serve in my life? But hey, Twitter, thanks for reaching out. I appreciate the effort.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Books I'd Want on a Desert Island

    If you ever want to see me freak out, tell me I'm being marooned on a desert island and make me pick the only ten books that I'll have to read for the rest of my foreseeable life. This decision is agonizing. However, in the spirit of adventure, I've decided to try it.

    Keep in mind that if I'm spending the indefinite future on a desert island, I'm going to want some light reading to keep me from getting depressed. Also keep in mind that it actually isn't possible for me to make this list without cheating by counting a series as one book. I'm not even going to pretend to apologize, but I will try to keep the cheating to a minimum.

    • The Poisonwood Bible--Barbara Kingsolver
    • Memoirs of a Geisha--Arthur Golden
    • The Phantom Tollbooth--Norton Juster
    • Twilight--Stephenie Meyer
    • The Kitchen God's Wife--Amy Tan
    • Ender's Game--Orson Scott Card
    • the Harry Potter series--J.K. Rowling
    • the Georgia Nicolson series--Louise Rennison
    • my scriptures
    • and probably either Rebecca--Daphne duMaurier, Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights--Emily Bronte, or Tess of the d'Urbervilles--Thomas Hardy
    And before you ask, yes, Twilight. There's a part of me that hurts at putting teen paranormal romance on the list when so much beautiful literature is being left off, but I did tell you I need some light reading, and Twilight has significant sentimental value for me. 

    I also tried to get a pretty good variety of genres, which meant that I often had to choose between two (or a million) favorites within the same genre. (For example, Bridget Jones got kicked off because Georgia Nicolson made it on, and let's be honest, they're the same.) There were several that were difficult, but these are the ones it killed me to leave off:
    But hey, no worries... I've just remembered that I'm also bringing my 160 GB iPod to the desert island! (We'll pretend for now that charging it isn't an issue. I'm pretty sure it won't take me long to find a way to harness the power of the sun...) So I'll just stick some extras on there as audiobooks.
    • Ivanhoe--Sir Walter Scott
    • Crime and Punishment--Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • After Dark--Haruki Murakami
    • I Capture the Castle--Dodie Smith
    • Slaughterhouse-Five--Kurt Vonnegut
    • The Accidental Tourist--Anne Tyler
    • Mere Christianity--C.S. Lewis
    • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn--Betty Smith
    • Twelve Angry Men--Reginald Rose
    • The Truth About Forever--Sarah Dessen
    • Anne of Green Gables--L.M. Montgomery
    • The Lacuna--Barbara Kingsolver
    • Elantris--Brandon Sanderson
    • The Princess Bride--William Goldman
    • Little Women--Louisa May Alcott
    • the complete works of Shakespeare
    • and the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style
    I think that's a list I can live with. What's on yours?