29 October 2012


I figure I'll write this while I still have juice in my laptop and a functioning light with which to see it.

Though I admit I'm skeptical about Sandy.

I grew up in earthquake territory, where if disaster is going to strike, it will do so with no warning. No news bits every 20 seconds sensationalizing and politicizing the approaching catastrophe. No lines pouring out the doors and winding around the corners of hardware stores. No hiding your kids. No hiding your wives.

Not to mention the constant weather graphs tracing the path of the storm. Are we really supposed to make sense of those? They look like a kindergartner's fingerpaintings. Perhaps they were created in Paint.


Looks like I just landed myself a job with Good Morning, America. I didn't realize what a natural meteorologist I was until now. 

Oh no! We're being attacked by fake spider web Halloween decorations!

Oh no! We're being attacked by a rogue black light dance party!
No but for real, I'd so much rather not know about impending disaster. I prefer to live my life in blissful ignorance, if you will. That is the West Coast mentality in a nutshell. Roll with it. Oh it snowed a billion feet? Ain't no thing. Forest fires? S'mores for dinner! If my memory doesn't fail me, school was canceled ONCE in my life and that was because it was 40 below and too cold for the buses to start.

Here, all it takes is the POSSIBILITY of a hellish storm to shut down functioning society. I write from the comfort of my bedroom window sill because the entire federal government canceled work today. And without them, my office really serves no purpose.

It's raining outside. That's it. Am I missing something? Rain like this would never shut down businesses in Southern California. And if it did, it would be because people are out swimming in it because it rains maybe twice a year (in the Inland Empire, at least, where my parents live).

Anyway, should Hurricane Sandy worsen drastically and you don't hear from me for a few days, I'll be in the basement, surviving off the industrial-size crate of VitaWater and triple-ply toilet paper. All set!

27 October 2012

The Public Education System: A Vacuum of Creativity

I always said I would never be a teacher. Ever. It was the furthest possible career path from my radar.

And then I went on a mission and ironically my favorite moments were when I was teaching. I was in my element.

But I still had no desire to be a teacher. In a classroom. With students whose minds I could mold. Wearing a vest with felt cut-outs of snowmen in winter and Easter eggs in spring. Assignments to give and assignments to grade and rules to enforce and corny mnemonic devices to invent to help the little brats learn the order of American presidents.

One day, whilst still in Romania, I happened into a conversation with a 16-year-old boy who had no idea who Adolf Hitler was [if you ask me what Adolf Hitler had to do with this conversation, I honestly can't tell you. I was probably using him as some horribly extreme, tasteless metaphor for something]. I could hardly wrap my mind around the fact that this boy knew absolutely nothing of Europe's greatest genocide and the man who perpetrated it. After all, it practically took place in his backyard.

Suddenly I was interested in the public education system of Romania. And after much research and reflection, that interest is not only still burning, but it has expanded to the system in my own country.

Oh and let's not forget that somehow, randomly, I end up teaching Romanian at BYU my last year of undergrad.

There seems to be some sort of invisible force, pushing me towards education. No matter where or how hard I try to venture in other directions, I find myself continually pulled back.

I am not a natural learner. Good grades happened in my life, but they didn't come easily. Unbeknownst to many [including myself], I struggled quite a lot through secondary and post-secondary education, seemingly running triple the paces to keep up with my peers who appeared to produce extraordinary work so much more easily than I could. I wasn't always aware I was working harder--I thought it was equally difficult for everyone. Turns out that wasn't always the case. In no way did this realization cause me to doubt my intelligence--I knew I was bright, smart, creative. But test scores rarely reflected either of those things. Instead of questioning my intelligence, I questioned the system. It works for many, but not all. This system of teaching to examinations and grading students based on the scores they receive is a creativity killer. It is easy and logical, but it marginalizes a massive portion of learners whose learning styles simply just don't match up.

I love the way Sir Ken Robinson sees it. Creativity falls by the wayside in our current, exam-driven, bureaucratic public education system. Before we know it, the brilliant, inventive young minds who enter kindergarten at age 5 are sucked dry of innovation by the time they graduate high school at age 18. This isn't to say that our nation's school are filled with a bunch of brainless walking corpses, but just think how different the atmosphere would be under a system that fostered creativity!

Suddenly I'm interested in education reform.

Funny where life leads you.

My lovely students of Romanian 100, Winter Semester 2012

21 October 2012

Happy Sunday: Eyes to See

If you have yet to be inspired today and/or you complain about having a difficult life and/or you let your inadequacies prevent you from pursuing your passions, watch this:

Uuum, I now feel like I have accomplished zero things in my life.

I take so much for granted. "They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not." (Psalms 115:5) That scripture is basically referring to me.

My mind is blown by this man's incredible attitude. I'm so glad people like him exist on this planet.

Happy Sunday!

20 October 2012

'Tis the Season!

Nothing says Fall like fiery orange and red-leafed trees, pumpkin patches, a freshly picked bushel of Pink Ladies, apple crisp with spice ice cream, and watching BYU predictably lose another football game. 

18 October 2012

Priorities, or A Lesson in Budgeting

My first day of work started with an all-staff meeting where the organization's annual budget was discussed. We talked about where to cut costs. Like not printing everything on fancy shmancy paper with pounds of CMYK. And not throwing laptops around like Nerf balls, so they last a little longer (buzzkill). 


This is me in the office every single day. MAY I MAKE ONE SUGGESTION? How about we turn the A.C. down???  I guarantee it will save trillions of dollars. It's like frickin Siberia in this place.

On the bright side, the bagel budget was not slashed and we still get tasty bagels every Monday and Tuesday and there is about $200 worth of assorted cream cheeses in the kitchen at any given time. So I have that to warm my soul. 

14 October 2012

Happy Sunday: Why I'm a Mormon

I like this man's story. His reasons for becoming a Mormon are simple and pure. Having grown up in the segregated South, he states that he "didn't join  the Church for cultural reasons...obviously."

That rung true with me.

I am not a member of this church because it is trendy...obviously.
Nor because I have loads of free time and have nothing better to do than attend church meetings and other activities, like, thousands of hours each month (only semi exaggerating here)...obviously.
Nor because I feel "at home" when eating funeral potatoes and Jell-O and rehashing family pioneer stories...obviously.

Mormon culture is so far from who I am I often feel like I'm on the outside, looking in. But that doesn't bother me. That doesn't make me question my beliefs or doubt the lifestyle I've chosen to live. Because the only reason I am a Mormon is because of the doctrine--the doctrine that makes up the pure, unadulterated, divinely-restored gospel of Jesus Christ . It is true and I cannot deny it.

Happy Sunday,

08 October 2012

The Fruits of my Labors

Here's another video that we produced in ARCLITE my last semester at BYU. The editing was FINALLY finished this month!  For this piece, I did all the interviewing and wrote the script (cuts and sequences). Looks good, eh?

03 October 2012

The Age-Old Pregnant v. Fat Dilemma

TWICE in the past week, whilst riding the DC Metro, contentedly sitting in one of the few and highly-coveted seats, a woman of questionable circumstances has saddled up right next to me, crammed against a dozen people and gripping the microbe-infested pole to keep from being flung across the train as the psycho driver slams on the brakes at least 5 times before pulling into the station.

Longest run-on sentence ever. My 9th grade English teacher would be ashamed.

Anyway, so there I am. Reading my book. I look up to see a huge belly staring me in the face. My first instinct is to get out of my prime seat and offer it to the belly's owner. She is clearly pregnant. Like, about to pop. Mid-way out of my seat, it hits me: Is that a pregnant belly or just a super fat one? Suddenly I find myself in a terrible bind. The kind of bind that Odysseus faced when he was caught between the 6-headed sea monster and the whirlpool death trap. Yes, people, we're talking a bind of Homeric proportions.

WHAT DO I DO? Risk looking like a complete tool for not giving up my seat for a pregnant woman, or risk looking like a tool for assuming an obese woman is pregnant? It's a lose-lose. Major tool-age either way you look at it.

So I did what any short, blond, educated, God-fearing girl would do and kept my prime seat and continued to read my book. And avoided eye contact at all costs. Both times.