29 January, 2009

Phone of love.

Have you seen these embroidered text messages?
I think they are so dang cute. I wish I could embroider, although even if I could I don't know if I would want to make these because they have already been done. But they're so cute!

So I got a new phone. It's pretty cool. I haven't had much of a chance to use it yet, but it's all fancy and expensive in a "my-parents-got-divorced-recently-and-are-still-trying-to-buy-me-back" sort of way. I am a little sad to get rid of my old phone, but mostly because I have so many saved text messages on it that make me so happy. I can't embroider them, so I thought I would list them right here.

I think it will be more interesting if I DON"T say who they are from. Also, punctuation has been modernized. This could very well be EXTREMELY boring to everyone who is not me. Who cares?

My favorite text messages from 2008:

"Yes. You're amazing. I couldn't make it through life without you. I'm gonna call you Sunday, I'm studying for a test. I love you."

"I love how confident you are. And you have great legs."

"I was thinking about your hands today while examining mine and I think they are the prettiest kindest looking hands I ever held. And your lips are hot."

"You are one of the most intelligent people I know. And one of the most naturally maternal women I've ever met. You are going to be such a good mommy! I love you!"

"You are a beautiful wonderful girl with a bold courageous and true heart--the likes of which I don't think I've ever seen."

"Hope life is good for you! Remember to smile. You are loved."

"You, lady, are a princess. Not the spoiled kind, but rather the kind who doesn't know she is until that fateful day."

"Thank you so much E. That was a great message. And you are incredibly hot. Love Sego too. Love you."

"Ha, thanks. On another note Toby is sad bored and really really annoying without Sego, and I miss you so come home soon."

"Happy birthday big sister!" (Gee, who could that be from?)

"Happy birthday my sista! I love you! I'll call you this afternoon so be ready for some fly birthday singing!"

"So today just has this transcendent quality of being special! I'm pretty sure it's because you were born! Woohoo! I for one am so glad about it! Happy birthday!"

"You are so sweet."

"I just got back. I am crying. You are love. Thank you for eveything you are. God appreciates you. So do I."

"I think very highly of you."

"Being who you are is so sweet."

"This is Thelma. I love you!" (OK, that one is a dead giveaway too. But how often does one get a text message from Thailand? Hardly.)

"That nearly put me to tears. You're so great. So great."

"I know you don't lie, that's a fact. You've got the highest integrity of just about anyone I know."

"And that would only add to the list of things that make you amazing."

"Girls. I just walked around the house completely naked and it was so weird yet strangely liberating. Just thought I'd share that awkward truth with y'all." (this one may be my very favorite)

"You are wonderful!"

"You. You girl. Are funny."

"Hey sweetie I just want you to know I love you. I think you're wonderful. You're sweet, kind, smart and beautiful. I hope you have a better rest of the day."

"I love you so much. Enjoy today!"

"Oh my goodness! I love this dress! You are so so so sweet!"

"I'm well enough off, thank you my dear."

"My love for you moves me to tears."

"You are doing so much good in this world. It is a better place with you in it."

"Dude. You're probably the best and truest friend I've ever had."

Awww. I have so many wonderful people in my life. Some of these make me a little sad, but I still want to keep them. If you recognize yourself in these, know that I love you. And if not, maybe you should send me more text messages telling me how much you love me, hmmm?

Whoa. C.S. Lewis really gets it.

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

26 January, 2009

I have another hero..

Tamra, you amaze me. Thanks for sharing this, Evan.

23 January, 2009

"I ate cereal today."

I read a very funny article by a very funny woman today. Her name is Kate Harding and I think she is great. I read her stirring social commentary on body image and culture here, which led me to her blog here. Her witty and charming prose only proves further what we all secretly think, but are loath to admit in a public forum: the funniest people on earth are Jews, American Indians and fat people. If one can be some combination of the three, even better. And if someone is lucky enough to be all three, like me, that is pretty much the jackpot of life. Except instead of getting coins poured into your lap, you get a lifetime of waxing dark hair, pouring yourself into skinny jeans and receiving hundreds of dollars from the government, no strings attached.

Fact: I don't actually receive any money from the government. It's cool. I would probably just spend it on alcohol anyway. I wish I could get paid for writing though, like Kate Harding does. Did you know that some people get paid for blogging? I did, too. But it makes me mad with jealousy every time I think about it.

What an offensive blog entry! I only wanted to write about cereal. Or rather, that Kate Harding's husband refers to most personal blogs as "I-ate-cereal-today" blogs. As soon as I read that, I started to panic. Is that me? Do I only write about the inane trivialities of my life that no one except my friends and my in-laws, if I had any, could ever possibly want to read?

Here is another fact. I was sick last week and most of this week, and missed almost all of my classes. Today in my Shakespeare class, my professor mentioned that last week there had been an entire class period devoted to concision. Irony aside, I really could have used that. I picked a very bad fortnight to be ill.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Is my blog boring. I don't know. I write about things that are interesting to me. My friends are generally people with common interests, which is the way it goes, so they say my blog is interesting, but perhaps they just don't want to hurt my feelings. It is also important to consider that 100 percent of my friends think Seinfeld is funny. Seinfeld has made an immensely lucrative career out of the inane trivialities of life. Also, Jerry Seinfield is Jewish. Also, Jason Alexander could arguably be considered fat, but I do not mean that as an insult at all. I deeply admire his tireless service on behalf of the Scleroderma Foundation. True story.

The only reason why I am insecure about my blog being an "I-ate-cereal" today blog is that no stranger has ever commented on it, with the one exception of this entry right here. Check out the comments. What a lively little discussion! Although I don't understand the crack about Australians. If my writing were more interesting or more controversial, other people would comment. Sigh. I will never be cool.

However, if you choose to be offended by any of the things I said above, please go ahead.

21 January, 2009

Mormons and the Arts

Note: this might make some of my Mormon friends upset. If that is the case, I am sorry. Not that I wrote it, but sorry that you are upset, at least.

I wrote this for a class in response to this article.

If Spencer W. Kimball and I were to ever meet in person and have a conversation, I doubt we would agree on everything. I’ve read a great deal of his personal writings and I do not always agree with the way he looks at the world. However, it is a testament to the role of a prophet that I agree with what Spencer W. Kimball teaches over the pulpit (as opposed to in his living room), and this talk is no exception.

Several things intrigued me about the many artists and philosophers (using philosophers in the broadest sense of “great minds”) of whom President Kimball made mention in his talk. One, most were from several hundred years ago, although some had died in the early twentieth century. This could be further evidence of the trend I have noticed in Mormon culture to stay at least ten years behind the rest of the world when it comes to trends in fashion, art, music, and most intellectual endeavors. Or this could be simply because genius usually takes several decades at a minimum to be recognized. A recent worldly trend has been to attempt to recognize and reward genius while such people are still alive. It seems to be pretty hit and miss, and I doubt the Church will catch up with this trend in my lifetime.

Two, the vast majority of the listed men and women were geniuses not only because they were talented, but because they were innovative. Talent can be had by practice and sufficient imitation. I don’t mean this as a slam against traditionalism in any form of art, but with enough training and practice I am convinced a monkey could become a talented painter or a talented pianist (probably not an opera singer, though). In praising the likes of Bach, Wagner, Goethe, Shakespeare, and Einstein, President Kimball was not merely calling for talent, he was calling for innovation. For members of the Church to be real creators, which ties in so fabulously with the Plan of Salvation that it can’t possibly be a coincidence.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ with all my heart, but there are times when the gap between the truths espoused by Christ and His representatives, and the way these same ideas are carried out, watered down, interpreted and misinterpreted, is so wide as to seem like two different religions altogether. I feel that something about Mormon culture—not the gospel, the culture, let me make that perfectly clear—discourages innovation, even when innovation is needed. Mormons fear change, and this cripples the Church’s relationship with art. Is it because we are told so often that as time goes by, the world gets wickeder until that wretched day of teeth-gnashing? Do we interpret that as all innovation leading to more sin and less virtue? What about penicillin? What about democracy? What about the microchip? We are blessed to live at a time when so many blessings are available to us, at a time of so many interesting changes, but too often our reactionary Mormon culture throws the proverbial artistic baby out with the bathwater.

The Mormon Church is an economic demographic in the same way that any sub-culture or ethnic group is, and it saddens me that we as a culture have made such a lucrative market of kitschy art. Greg Olson is, I am sure, a lovely person and I would be honored to have him as my home teacher. But his artwork is bland and unimaginative. Ditto Liz Lemon Swindle. Anyone with a paint-by-number kit and a lot of patience could create paintings just like hers. And it’s not a matter of talent, because both Olson and Swindle can paint. They just choose to create paintings that look like advertisements, in which Christ’s robe looks like an invitation to see the softer side of Sears, and the woman at the well looks like a reality TV star. I don’t know if they make these choices consciously or unconsciously, or for economic reasons, or maybe because they truly envision the gospel the way they paint it. But I doubt that last one. I’m certain that their paintings are by and large a byproduct of the culture that created the artists who made them. Also, sadly, we live in the kind of culture that fires a good, qualified English professor for writing about controversial political topics. At times, Mormon culture fosters a culture of fear. Fear of crossing the line, of being thought wicked, or even becoming wicked through the things that we artists create. Like an inverse Dorian Gray.

I’m not saying that the world needs more cubist paintings of Jesus Christ. But I am saying that the art world needs more Minerva Teicherts and Brain Kershisniks. Both of these artists create paintings on religious themes that do not look like postcards. Not all Mormons like them, but that actually gives me hope. Good art provokes reactions—not necessarily Chris Burden-esque reactions, mind you, but some sort of visceral or intuitive response. Both Teichert and Kershisnik have been influenced by traditional paint forms, but are not bound by some elusive vision of which Maxim model Jesus Christ looked like. Hopefully as other artists in various media get the chance to experiment with religious themes without being disrespectful, we will see a change in this trend. A paradigm shift is needed, but as anyone who has seen Fiddler on the Roof knows well, culture is hard to change, and the more insulated and orthodox the culture, the harder is it to sell new ideas.

What does this mean for us as writers? One, we need to be gentle on our Mormon target audience. The Mormon equivalent of Waking Life or even Moulin Rouge (sorry, I was trying to think of something both popular and a little different) probably have a long time coming still, unfortunately. But can we do a Mormon Little Miss Sunshine? Minus the cussing, I submit to you that we can.

As I shed a single tear of happiness...

09 January, 2009


So I got into the screenwriting class! Yeah! Very exciting. It looks like this class is shaping up to be one of the coolest opportunities of my life. More as it develops.

However, there is one repercussion that I did not envision. It is thus: the title of my class is TMA 315R. I have had to say that very phrase, "TMA 315" many times in the past few days.

And EVERY TIME I DO, I cannot help but snicker immaturely to myself and mumble, "Heheheheheh. T&A."

Seriously now. Am I going to hell?

01 January, 2009

2008 in review

So last night marked the end of my first full year back from my mission. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: the longer I am back, the more my mission feels like a Christmas Carol-esque dream. Changed my life, yet so far from reality it didn't really happen. Anyway, here are my thoughts on 2008.

Positive things:

1. Moving back to Utah. Best idea ever. I have been so lucky in terms of my houses, my roommates, and my ward. Especially the house and ward I am in right now.
2. I got a dog. Sego. Whom I miss like crazy right now. Even though he is only kinda potty trained. He has enriched my life.
3. I bought a car and paid it off. Meaning its mine even if I lose my job.
4. I finished my tuberculosis medicine! And the fact that I never really got sick with TB because they caught it so early. I'd call that a positive thing.
5. I found a decent job. Via Craig's List? Who knew?
6. The almost-worry-free birth of Donovan Mariano Devard!!
7. Turning 24, which sounds and feels a heck of a lot older than 23. Being OK with that.
8. Attending and helping with the third annual (but my first) Sego festival. I got my dog that weekend if you were wondering how he got his name.
9. The Of Montreal show for Celia's birthday.
10. The opening of the Pennyroyal Cafe.
11. Doing my grandmother's temple work.
12. Joining a gym again. So worth it.
13. Disneyland with Cori and co.
14. Long walks with Ama and the puppies.
15. Getting through my first college science class. Well, one of them. Geology.
16. Getting my money's worth from my phone plan with Ashley.
17. Getting a new computer slash camera. Both of which I really needed.
18. Becoming a temple worker.
19. Making new plans.
20. Ben Folds show in Salt Lake.

Not-so-positive things. Hopefully this will be shorter.
1. The first few months back from my mission, when I would come home from work every day and literally just sit on the floor in my bedroom and cry.
2. Getting dumped twice. By roommates in the same house. Whoops.
3. Carlos not responding to his Hepatitis treatment the way he should have.
4. Several panic attacks.
5. The Divorce.
6. The scare with Donovan and the baby cord, which turned out fine. Still, it was a dark 12 hours.
7. Having my patience tried to the max with my kids and a certain roommate. If you're reading this, it isn't you.
8. My astronomy class.

What I want to see happen this year:
1. I would really, really, really like to graduate in December.
2. I would like to find a job with benefits that I like and that makes the world a better place.
3. I would like to get accepted to present at the Forensic Linguistics conference in Amsterdam this July. My paper is submitted, so we'll see.
4. I would like to write more.
5. I would like to have NO panic attacks this year.
6. I would like to potty-train Sego.
7. I would like a new church calling that would involve actually doing stuff more than twice a year.
8. I would like to take a trip to Brazil with my roommates.
9. I would like to get in better shape.
10. I would like to take up knitting again.

What a fascinating life I lead. Whatever. This is for me.