Friday, February 29, 2008

Jesus Christ, The Son of God

Ben wrote on his blog about the Church's newest site, Jesus Christ, The Son of God, and I have really enjoyed looking through it. I'll admit I haven't perused it thoroughly yet, but the site design is beautiful and I know the content is bound to be good. Very appropriate timing, with the latest issue of the Ensign/Liahona, which reflects this focus on Christ. I feel the time must be fast-approaching that the world realizes that Latter-day Saints are in fact Christians. He lives!

Monday, February 25, 2008


I finished another book. After The Book Thief, it's hard to read any other piece of WWII lit. Talking with one of my professors before dinner tonight, he suggested that Markus Zusak perhaps wasn't the most exceptional writer (I'd agree; he abandoned the intensity of the whole color device pretty early on in the book, and it just wasn't the highest writing I've ever seen), but he was a superb storyteller. I agree wholeheartedly. I became wonderfully attached to the characters, who on paper are quite unremarkable, and are fascinatingly ambiguous, just as we all are. The Welsh Girl did not grip me like The Book Thief did.

But The Welsh Girl is intriguing in its own right. My favorite aspect of the novel was not the plot or even the characters, but the symbol of the sheep herds so vital to life in Esther's small village. Davies paints a world in which herders are tied to the flocks, and flocks are in turn tied to their land, unable to stay on strange land for long. This idea of attachment to a plot of land is called cynefin. Even more interesting to me is the necessity of the female animals to sustain the flock. After they do their duty to the flock, mature males are sent to town for sale for meat. The females, however, are the lifeblood of the flock. Esther wonders why the German refers to is native country as the "fatherland"; in her experience, the only appropriate term for that feeling of obligation to country is "motherland." Interesting.

Gotta love some matriarchal discussion.

The Dance

In museums, it is obvious to me those patrons who are seasoned veterans and those who are ignorant novices of observing displayed art. For those who are more experienced, a general awareness exists of the dance, upon which enjoying a museum critically hangs. I would like to offer up, by way of illustration, my experience in the City Art Centre in Edinburgh this past weekend.

In the City Art Centre, 150 originals by renowned American photographer Ansel Adams were on display over three floors. The exhibit wasn't very crowded at all, and judging by the adherence to the rules of the dance by the vast majority of all patrons in the museum, I'm confident that my friends and I were among dedicated art buffs.

Here's how the dance works: two patrons stand side by side in front of one piece of art. In a nook, one patron has been moving counterclockwise through the display. The second patron, to avoid hurrying the first, has chosen to start at the opposite end of the display and move clockwise. Inevitably, the two merge at one piece. Both people look at the item for a while; finally, when someone is ready to move on, he or she steps backward, and moves around the second patron. The second patron then shifts the opposite direction, thus making room for the first to take a last goodbye before moving on to the next piece. The transition, if executed well, is seamless and comfortable. Ah, the dance.

Well, this wasn't as great a post as I had in my mind. The exhibit was fantastic. I'm glad Abbie decided to go up, because I wasn't totally thrilled about paying
£2.50 to get in, but it was worth it. Surprisingly, though I am not from California, Adams' few shots of Utah made me so incredibly homesick. I especially liked this shot of the Manti temple.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another favorite thing...

McVitie's Ginger Nuts. So inexpensive. So tasty. I love you Ginger Nuts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What I Love About London

Dedicated to Jake.

Bitter Lemon:

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground:

The bridge on the Serpentine at Hyde Park:

And its views:

The Central Line (incidentally, I hate the Circle Line):

Intriguing exhibits at the V&A:

That's all for now. More to follow?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Candid Camera

My sister and her very good friend.

Much speculation surrounds this pair, but ultimately they are two peas in a pod, cut from the same cloth, "two soles with but one... shoe."

Fifteen is a traumatic, wonderful age.

Here's to you, sis.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Two posts in one day! Lucky you.

So today at lunch I ran out and bought a Yorkie bar, because, well, I hadn't tried one yet here in sunny London (weather has been gorgeous, by the way, clear days have definitely outweighed the rainy) and I wanted something chocolatey.

I got home, busted it open, broke off one of the massive blocks (this ain't no Dove bar) and started nibbling some of the chocolate off. I pondered aloud, in my room shared with 13 other co-eds, "Why isn't it for girls? I don't see anything about this not for girls, honestly."

"It's a weight-gain stimulant!" someone shouted over the closet barricade that breaks our room into two uneven sides (mine being the smaller and much more cramped side, but quieter and darker at night, thank goodness). Weight gain? That was no good, I was already on my third brick of chocolate. "It has whey in it!" another voice shouted over. Um, well it is chocolate, so whey, a derivative of milk, might make its way (whey, haha) into the bar. But I will give them that whey is a common additive to bulk-up stuff. But the Yorkie bar?

Feeling an urban myth lurking about our room, and also to justify my happily devouring my new chocolate bar, I googled "YORKIE: IT'S NOT FOR GIRLS!" which is verbatim what appears on the wrapper:
Nestle UK was kind enough to debunk my silly roommates, confirming that "In 2001 the Yorkie 'It’s Not for Girls' campaign was launched because, in today’s society, there aren’t many things that a man can look at and say that’s for him." Fair enough, I'll consent to the truth of that. And though it will most certainly induce weight-gain, that is not its sole utility. Any guy pounding one of these before hitting the gym will be sorry to know that he is quite defeating the purpose.

And of course, Google is great for finding a wide range of all sorts of entertaining nonsense. I site example one, religious commentary and Yorkie bars:
And the more obvious chauvinism and Yorkie bars:
Favorite candy bars so far in the UK: Double Decker, mint Aero, Crunchy, and Lion. Yum.

A Giant Among Men

Yesterday morning, in my long wait for afternoon church, I hopped online and watched a rebroadcast of President Gordon B. Hinckley's funeral services, which were held on Saturday. I have to confess, the last week, the week following President Hinckley's passing, I really didn't give much thought to any sadness. It seemed almost a relief for him to be reunited with his sweet wife and other friends and family he had loved so much in life. It wasn't until I watched the funeral and other programs aired about his full, productive, and selfless life yesterday that I actually let myself shed a few tears. He was a great man with a great legacy, both to his own family and to the wider family of the church.

I was so inspired by what I saw and heard that I scratched my Primary lesson (I teach 8-12 year-olds Sunday School) and made a powerpoint presentation of all that President Hinckley had done in his nearly 13 years as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and prophet, seer, and revelator and holder of all priesthood keys in this dispensation. Beyond all his traveling, relations with the media, and humaritarian work, he also delivered the revelation The Family: A Proclamation to the World, instituted the Perpetual Education Fund, nearly tripled the number of operating temples, and so much more. My kids really loved it, especially because I typed up everything in Spanish and Portuguese so that everyone could participate, and I brought a map so we could see where in the world, significant to my diverse little group, temples had been built. It was pretty awesome to see temple growth, especially in 1999 and 2000. Overwhelming, actually.

Though I had been in the same room as President Hinckley on different occasions, I never knew him personally. However, I can bear witness to the validity of his calling and of the authority invested in him to act as the head of the Lord's true church on earth. He was duly prepared from a young age, and though an imperfect human as we all are, he provided an inspiring example of one who strove to "stand a little taller" as he advised us all to do. Reviewing his life, I realized what a body of counsel he gave to the members of the Church, especially to youth. That was me. He gave advice for my generation, and I feel renewed in my desire to pursue it.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Gordon B. Hinckley, 1910-2008