Friday, October 29, 2010

The Total Perspective Vortex

This morning Trent asked me to edit a paper for him. I was happy about this because, as an English major, editing other people's papers is the only really excellent and useful skill that you gain. I am a pretty zealous proofreader, and it used to be that I would frequently hurt people's feelings in my zeal. Luckily, Trent is a good sport, and his pride can stay intact even in the face of red ink.

The problem mostly arises from differences in approach to papers and editing. When I take my paper to someone for editing I want them to rip it to pieces. I want weaknesses in my argument ferreted out, underdeveloped connections exposed, grammar mistakes eradicated. I want the editor to burn my paper to the ground so that from the ashes will rise a new and more fabulous creature. Basically I want to get an A.

My mistake is in assuming that everyone wants their paper to be besieged by questions, ideas, and comas. Most people who bring me a paper don't want me to do that at all. In fact they see each red mark as a personal affront to their intelligence. Sometimes, after I edited a paper, the writer would look at the red marks and sadly ask "Wasn't there anything good in it at all?" which would send me reeling. (Also, it made me feel like a big jerk.) "Of course!" I would say "All the things that are not red are good!" This was meant to comfort the writer, but it never really did. I even tried writing encouraging comments like "Nice connection!" and "This is a really good thought, I like how it is tied in." but they were not helpful because the writer just looked and saw more more more red ink.

I have come to decide that there are three different kinds of paper writers, and they want three different kinds of paper editors.
There are people like me, who want their paper edited by a teacher type. Their primary objective is to get an A, and they do not care how much red ink they have to go through to get it. These people will be really annoyed if you read through their paper and say, "That was pretty good, I wouldn't really change anything."
Then there are the in-betweeners who want an A, but they don't really want you to criticize their paper too much. They want their paper edited by a Mom type. You can fix the grammar, and make at most one suggestion about the content, but don't push your luck or they will get offended and never ask for help again, and probably start hanging out with the wrong crowd and staying out after curfew.

Lastly are the people who say they want an A, but actually they would rather get a lower grade and not be exposed to any criticism. They want their paper edited by a cheerleader. For this kind of person your best bet it to just make sure they spelled their name right, look over the paper (but not too close because you might accidentally see a stray apostrophe that will send you into fits, and thus blow your cover) then give them a big smile and say "Wow! That was great!"

So just so everyone knows, I am happy to read over your paper for you, really I like to do it! It would be really helpful though, if you could tip me off about which kind of editor you would like me to be. I would like to stay friends!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Alan Keele, I am Looking for a Job and I could For Sure do a Better Job than the Chuckleheads Currently on your Staff

So today I went and got my mail. (I do this only occasionally because I always have junk mail and it depresses me.) Today was no different, more and more junk. Including this little gem from Alan Keele.I read through it on the walk back to my door. It was a long walk because I had to stop and recover from my complete shock upon reading that Democrats are actually NOT godless baby-eaters. I know! You can click on the above image to read it for yourself, but I kind of just spoiled the main point for you.

Anyways, I thought this was a pretty boring flier until I looked at the little caption on the comic:
Woah woah woah, what? So I get that Alan Keele loves Republicans, but I am also getting that he thinks Independents are pretty much dopey minded peasants.

Listen Alan Keele's people, do you have focus groups? Maybe you should put some people of different parties in your focus groups. If you don't think it's offensive imagine the elephant represents White people, the donkey represents Chinese people, and the dog represents Black people. Now it's all kinds of racist isn't it? It wouldn't even have been so bad without the heavy-handed caption there to really bring home the point that you disdain Independents.

So Alan Keele, give me a call. I would do a way better job on your flier wording. I would also not draw a terrified-held-at-gun-point-expression your Happy Republican.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reverse Attraction in Action?

Have you heard of felting wool before? Basically you get a pile of wool and prod and shape in into things with a barbed needle. There are some truly amazing sculptures done by Stephanie Metz, using this technique. After looking at her stuff I wanted to give it a try, but I didn't want to go buy a ton of fancy wool. (I'm still looking for a job remember?) So I decided to try it with lint:

Then I started thinking about yesterday's post, and the Reverse Attraction Rule, I decided to introduce Elephanty to the clothes he is made of:Poor Elephanty, he's the saddest lint elephant:
Felting with lint is fun, but you are not going to be producing any fabulous works of art with it...probably.

Monday, October 25, 2010


So Karen was telling me about this clip from Jerry Seinfeld:

I thought it was funny and true, but then the more I thought about it, the more I decided that really this phenomenon is not so unique. Pretty much anything that was once attached and then becomes unattached becomes completely repulsive. Think about it:

Really, the possibilities are endless. This doesn't just hold true to physical things either. If you were once figuratively attached to something, and then became later unattached, that thing becomes fervently repugnant, often just as repellent as it was once attractive. I dub this, "The Rule of Reverse Attraction".

The inverse of this rule, I think, rarely holds true; (the more revolting something is, the more passionately you love it when it becomes attached to you) but this is the premise for just about every chick-flick type movie ever. This is opening a door where few desire to tread, into my seething disgust for chick-flicks. So we'll just wrap it up here before I make anybody cry.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Things That Will Make Movies Better:
Batman, Jason Bourne, Gandalf, and Scrooge McDuck

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letter for Movie Folk

Dear people who make movies. I would like to ask you to please start making more movies that I like, and less movies that I hate. I will give you a couple of guidelines to help you. For today, please examine your movies-in-progress, and remove any of the following things that may be in them:

There are a few other things that will ruin your movie, but these are the main ones. Tomorrow we will go over things that are good to put in movies. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The other day I found a spider hiding in the corner by the washing machine, and he was giant. Here he is:I used to not kill spiders, I would just turn them loose outside, because I considered them my allies again mosquitoes and flies. But they haven't really been holding up their end of the bargain, so now I just kill them.
I killed this guy extra dead because he kind of looks like a Hobo Spider to me. I am not afraid of spiders.

I am afraid of tarps though. The other day I walked past this:And had a mini-freak-out moment because I thought it was one of these:
I blame Halloween. It's making me jumpy. (Yeah yeah, fine, jumpier than usual.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Horrible Horrible Things from the Deep

Let's just be upfront about this, I hate to clean out the fridge. I would rather clean the potty 14 times than clean out the fridge. Ironically, this abiding hatred of fridge cleaning causes me to put it off, which in turn makes the chore all the more horrid when I finally get around to it. Steel yourselves before you go on, it is ugly:

Icy iceberg lettuce, or alien cerebral cortex? It's really too late to tell, but I am quite sure it is now sentient.
This gelatinous mass is beet-like in color, but the whole thing has congealed together in some kind of unrecognizable mass. I admit this is always how I imagined a liver on the black market would look. Except we never eat liver, so it can't be that...
Who knew Mozzarella would grow such a sprightly springy coral color of mold?
This looked way worse in person. Like some kind of Venusian swamp sludge. Also, I can't remember the last time I bought sprouts.
If I keep waiting will this eventually turn into Bleu Cheese?
Ok, I literally have no ideas about what this was originally. I don't know if it was meat, or vegetables, or dairy. Sauron called me last week saying I had one of the ingredients he needed for the evil he was stirring in Mordor; but this was pushed way back to the farthest reaches of the fridge, so I didn't know what he was talking about. Hopefully his recipe turned out ok anyway.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Some people are young at heart. Other people are called "old souls". Of the two choices I think I most fit into the latter. Although, usually when someone is called an "old soul" it is because they are serene and wise and stuff. I don't think I am that kind of "old soul", I am more of the "Old-you-hooligans-better-get-off-my-lawn-soul".

Seriously, I don't like teenager fashions, or music, or TV shows. I take about 30 years to write a text message, (and I will NEVER write abbreviations or leave out punctuation, and I ALWAYS capitalize the correct letters). I am just learning to tolerate Facebook, but I will never embrace Twitter.

So I do not naturally gravitate toward teenagers. Even when I was a teenager I wasn't especially happy about being around teenagers. Something magical happened though. Latter Day Saints have a "lay ministry" which means normal, not specially trained, people (or laymen) fulfill the church duties. All Mormons get a "calling" for a finite amount of time. I was called to work with teenagers!
This shows me that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies; because I have loved every minute of working with the youth. They are so fun, so smart and funny. They have some sort of spidey-sense ability to know when there is a funny movie on YouTube.
I love teaching and hanging out with them, and hearing about their lives. They are definitely the best!
What's in a Name?

Growing up, I always felt a little miffed about name meanings. My brother's name, Nathan, means: "Gift from God"
My sister Clairice:
Haley means:
Sara means:

But guess what Rachel means?

It didn't really make sense to me. Until I met and married the stunning Mr. McEWEn. Yay!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Love to See the Temple

As most of you know, Handsome Bryce and I are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons. You are probably also at least aware of the temples that our church builds. I won't write in depth here about the ordinances and ceremonies that take place in the temple, but I can tell you about one thing that happened there last night. I passed out!

Yesterday was a really busy day, I was running around so much that I never got around to eating much. I had some yogurt and a granola bar before picking Bryce up and heading to the temple, but that's about all. (I also ate some frosting...) Anyways, that was my fault, I don't do well when I don't have enough food. Right in the middle of the ceremony I started to feel kind of woozy, then I couldn't see that well, (like when you come into the house after being outside in really bright light). I knew I was probably going to pass out then, but I couldn't think of how to say that to someone, things were so foggy. I also couldn't hear very well, it was like I was under water. Speaking of water, my hands and face started to sweat. Bryce alerted a temple worker to my plight. Who pushed the emergency button.

The temple is a beautiful peaceful place, run by volunteers. It is a place to learn and reflect on the nature of our life on Earth, and afterward. It is always clean and always orderly and reverent. I don't know what I thought they would do with a passed out person, maybe quietly escort them to a closed off place? Well, they don't do that, they lay you down right there in the aisle in front of everyone. (They do it quietly and modestly, it is the temple after all!) Then very very nice medical staff people talk to you reassuringly as you come to your senses. Coming to your senses is nice, because it is highly unpleasant to be surrounded by green static. Coming to your senses is not nice, because then you realize you are laying on the floor in the middle of the temple with everyone peering at you. They do give you a drink of water and tissues though, that is nice.

Afterward I told them I felt better and that I could probably finish the session, and I did. Even with the passing out problem, it was lovely to be in the temple with my husband, and with all of my brothers and sisters who were so thoughtful.

For some reason I thought that after the incident people would not be able to remember what I looked like, everyone wears the same clothes in the temple, maybe I could blend in, right? Nope, everyone knew who I was, but everyone was really nice. I am especially grateful to one sister in the dressing room, who told me that they recently changed the cushions on the altars and people have been passing out "like crazy". That made me feel like not such a pansy-pants.

If anyone has any questions about the temple I would be happy to answer them. This is a link to frequently asked questions about the temple too. The video above also answers questions, and shows images of the outside and inside of temples. It came from this page which also has information.

The moral of this story is: Try not to pass out, but if you do, the temple is not such a bad place to do it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zucchini Zucchini Zucchini

We have the most wonderful landlady. Seriously, she has wings and a halo, and a zucchini garden that is producing millions of zucchinis which she shares with us. (By the way, if you say "zucchini" more than 6 times in a row it starts to lose all meaning and sound like a fake word.)

I have been endeavoring to use every zucchini, offered to us, in a new and exciting way. Luckily zucchini is a very versatile squash. It's like the character actor of squash, not a Prima donna pumpkin, or a show stealer like its butternut brothers; zucchini is cool to just sit back and make everything else taste better.First up, I have zucchini pickles. These are very easy and a nice change from regular type cucumber pickles. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly.
This zucchini sandwich is one we eat frequently, not just when we are trying to use up zucchini. It is really delicious. I usually add saffron to the zucchini while I am cooking it.
This zucchini ricotta cheesecake was nice, and really easy to make. (I added sun-dried tomatoes.) Note, just in case you are not good at reading carefully, this is a savory cheesecake, don't make it for dessert.
Do make this for dessert! I love plain old zucchini bread, but why make that when you can make chocolate zucchini cake??? This cake was for our nephew T, who doesn't like to eat his veggies, but who is easily bamboozled into eating them when they are enfolded in cake. (Who isn't?)
Special thanks to Sonya, who gave me this awesome cake pan. It is now famous amongst my nieces and nephews, for bringing creations like "Rachel's Castle Jello" and now "Rachel's Castle Cake".