Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jim and Pam - My Favorite

So can you tell we're bored today? Quite a few posts, but I couldn't resist this movie. I'm a big fan of the office and this is a great little recap from season three.

Six week body makeover

So since I've gotten married I've put on a few (well quite a few) pounds. So for my birthday I decided to get Michael Thurmond's six week body makeover. So I've decided to help motivate me to stay on this "metabolism re-structuring" I would blog about my success. I have a brand new eating regiment which basically consists of potatoes, yams, rice, chicken, turkey, egg whites, vegetables and fruit only twice a day. No dairy, no bread, no sweets or sugar or salt of any kind. It's only for six weeks and as Auntie Mary once told me, "you can do anything for six weeks". I started yesterday and I weighed myself again today and I've already lost 1 1/2 pounds. They claim that if you are really good then you can loose up to 30 pounds in 6 weeks. I am including my "before" picture and I'll add a picture every week.

Dinner in a pumpkin

Sunday night I accomplished something I've never done before. I made dinner in a pumpkin. It was easier than I thought it would be, though I suggest having a helper around. Scott had to home teach so I was trying to cook the hamburger and chop veggies and make rice and carve a pumpkin all at the same time. The recipe can be found here. We added a red pepper and corn to ours.
Here's some pictures of our night. My boss Kathy and her husband Doug came over for dinner and even posed for a picture.

Pa's 50th birthday party

This past weekend we went down to Bountiful to celebrate my pa's 50th birthday. We had such a nice time. We went to dinner at Ruby River (a big favorite of mine) and then my wonderful mom threw my dad a surprise birthday party. Lots of people from the neighborhood and lots of family showed up. Here is a slide show:


The next video is my Auntie Ruth with Kayla, my cousin Sam and Kelli's daughter. Auntie Ruth always makes up songs for new babies so here is Auntie Ruth and Kayla singing Kayla's song. Sorry about the background noise, but you can still hear Kayla singing:

Fields

I recently discovered a new indie rock band named Fields. Their first album, 7 From the Village, is nothing to scream about, but their newest album, Everything Last Winter, it's a masterpiece. I've provided a sample video from the album below. They have a fairly heavy, electronic sound, but also mix it with folk-sounding vocal harmony and acoustic guitar, for a real interesting sound. the following video is one of their more electronic sounding songs.



I've found a good way to find new, interesting music is to browse the reviews on Metacritic.com. They have a pretty good system of weighing and calculating the reviews from different magazines and professional reviewers into a seemingly accurate composite score. Another beauty of their system is that it really seems to take a lot to get a substantially high score, meaning that it's easier to compare the good to the really good. After I find a few bands I want to check out, I'll visit their myspace sites and listen to some songs. If that looks good, I'll sample some more music via URGE. If I really like their sound after that, I consider buying an album, which run pretty cheap on URGE as well ($9.99 an album). It's a good strategy that has found some real gems for me.

Sample Fields' music at http://www.myspace.com/fieldsband I really recommend listening to their songs "School Books" and "The Death."

Barrett Family Basketball

So the Barrett family (Jentry and I) has started playing basketball. Fantasy basketball, that is. What, you think I enjoy running back and forth on a squeaky court? Anyway, we're opening the invitation to all our friends and family who want to join. Our league name is Barrett Family, and the password is afton. You can search for our league here: http://ufc.nba.com/basketball/landingpage.asp? Make a free account, then select to join a league. There's a spot to search for private leagues; that's where you'll enter the league name. The rest is pretty simple. Be sure to name your team so we know who you are!

Don't know what fantasy basketball is, or how it works? It's pretty simple. You create a team, draft players from the real players in the NBA. When the season starts, your players will accumulate stats in the real-games. These stats are combined with the stats from other players on your team to determine how well your team plays and who wins matches in our league. If that sounds complex, don't worry, the game does all the hard work for you. You just have to create a team and draft your players. Virtually everything else is managed by the game and additional management is optional (though recommended to win).

It should be pretty fun. Hope to see some of you there!

Friday, October 19, 2007

What a half hour of work can do.

I "coach" a student string quartet Thursday nights. They are all good solid players and so it is fun to help them become a string quartet. Being in a quartet is harder than it looks. You are all alone on your part and have to be exactly together all of the time and you are in charge of your inntonation. All things that you really can get away with when you are in a school orchestra, which is all the ensemble experience all of these players have had. So I took a video at the begining of the coaching and then a video at the end and they improved so much!! I wanted to blog it so you can all experience how cool it is to be a chamber coach. Focus on how much more they are together and how much more in tune they are in the second one. I was two seconds late on the second movie so you don't get to see how much better and together the first couple of measures are.



The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Why do all the interesting movies have to be rated R? Graphic bloody violence makes Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street worthy of the R rating, which is unfortunate because it looks like perhaps the best movie of the year. Granted, the Bourne Ultimatum was very good, but there is something to be said about Tim Burton's use of ironic humor and stunningly beautiful cinematography. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the most beautifully shot movie of the year, given the amazing things Mr. Burton has done in the past with a camera. And while I have my reservations about Sweeney Todd's rating, previous experience with Burton's Sleep Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, and other films have proved to me more than once that there is a real art to making and attractive looking movie. This is why I have always asserted that film as an art is more akin to the visual arts, like painting, than to the performing arts, like acting. Though granted, the music in Burton's films, almost always composed by Danny Elfman, really adds to the whole effect, and that is a certainly a contribution of the performing arts that cannot be done without. As for Mr. Burton's obsession with Johnny Depp, I'm not sure what that's all about, but there is no questioning that Depp is a talented performer. Certainly this looks to be an extraordinary film. Alas for it's rating!

But can you really make a movie about a barber who slits the throats of his customers to exact his revenge on society, and whose accomplice bakes them into mince-meat pies, without earning an R rating? I think it would be difficult, though I doubt that the Angela Lansbury stage production would have earned such a rating. I think Burton's dark, morbid imagination is largely responsible, as in the case of Sleepy Hollow.

But whether you see the film or not, you have to at least view the trailer and be impressed with the fact that, apparently, Johnny Depp can sing.Check out more at the movie website: http://www.sweeneytoddmovie.com/

Fall Break

Today is Fall Break, which means that we get a Friday off from school. So what are Jentry and I doing? Working. I keep forgetting that when you grow up, there is no such thing as a day off. Jentry has to spend the whole day in the Elementary Education department office, while I am covering in the animal research laboratory. Oh well, it's not that bad. Everyday when I come into the lab, one of the graduate students, Adam P., has changed the desktop background on the lab computer to something humorous. This is what I found today:

In other news, while Jentry continues to work to support us while I finish up this last year, I'm preparing for the GRE. So far it doesn't look too bad, but we'll see. I take that early November. Additionally, I get to wrestle with the most boring and, in my opinion, worthless class: Psychometrics. I don't think words can illustrate my feelings regarding this class, but suffice it to say that it is the bane of my existence.

Oh, and for those who are wondering...the rats are just fine.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blog Action Day

Monday the 15th of October is Blog Action Day and this month it is aimed at the environment. As my family will tell you I have been a bit of a "tree hugger" since I was little. I really like the thought that the little things we can do everyday can help stop the awful things that are happening in our world. Scott emailed me the link to this trailer for Leonardo DiCaprio's new movie "The 11th hour". Though I haven't liked Leo since I was 12 and Titanic was on the big screen, I applaud him for his work. Heck, Al Gore got a Nobel Peace Prize this week for his work with climate change. I think that it is an important issue and that we can all do something about it. USU professor Joseph Tainter is a featured scientist in The 11th Hour. Tainter, head of CNR’s Department of Environment and Society.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Tag, you're it

Cas tagged me, I think it looks fun, so we'll see if I can come up with seven things that are interesting.

1. I am on day 89 of my goal to practice my violin/viola for 100 days in a row. When I am done I haven't decided if I am going to keep trying and go to 200 days, or if I am going to practice when I want to. I have to admit that practicing every day has been both really great and really annoying. It's been great because I am so much better on my instrument and I have great pride in myself that I've been able to keep it up for so long. It's annoying that I don't have more self control after almost 23 years of life. I will sit down and turn on the TV at 9:30 knowing I haven't practiced yet and then when 10:30 rolls around and I need to get to bed I still have to pull out my violin and practice. But for the most part it has been a great thing for me and I think I will continue.

2. I teach violin/viola lessons to 13 students. They range in age from 4 years old to people with grandchildren. I really love teaching, and going to Nebraska this summer to be certified in Suzuki was one of the most amazing experiences for me. I feel so satisfied and fulfilled when it's been a good day of teaching. I have to admit I like the little ones the best, because they are so overly excited about learning, but I love teaching people who can stand in the same spot for more than 3 minutes. I love everything the Suzuki method is founded on. That ability starts at age zero, and that it is through "deliberate practice" that skills grow, also that a "lack of natural talent is irrelevant-talent has little or nothing to do with greatness". I need to post some pictures of my students because they are dang cute.

3. I want a master's degree. When I was sitting at graduation for my bachelor's degree I just kept thinking, this would be so much cooler if I as getting a master's degree. The problem is what do I want to get a master's degree in? I am really interested in special education, and the combination of special education with music education fascinates me. How to turn that into a degree, I don't know. But I'll figure something out.

4. Like the Bon-ster, Scott and I are really into the office. When I was unemployed over the summer I spent many an hour watching people's montages of office clips. This season I am more excited about the Dwight/Angela saga then Jim/Pam. And I am so excited that they are giving Kevin a bigger role this season because he is hilarious.

5. I am a music snob. Everyone says that musicians are snobs and they say that because we are. There are rules when you go to classical concerts and A LOT of people don't know what they are, so me, being a music snob, will let you in on the secret. When you attend a classical concert you will get the program and it will look something like this:
Violin Concerto #5 Mozart
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Minuet
IV. Allegro-Presto
The four different words represent four different parts of the piece called movements. They are like chapters in a book and the piece is not over until the very end of all the movements. At the end of ALL of the movements is when you clap. You do not clap between movements. It disrupts the flow of the piece and the atmosphere is broken when everyone claps between every single movement. It makes long concerts even longer. So this is just for your information. It is one of my pet peeves, and I'm not saying that I don't love when new people come to hear classical music, but there are rules and I'm just doing my part to let everyone in on them. :)

6. I can only come up with 5 cool things about me right now, but I feel I've talked enough for seven. So now I tag Ellen, Kelly, and Brooke/Max

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Car

Well, we needed a new car...so we got one. Here are a few pictures of our baby (real human babies will have to wait). It's a 2008 Nissan Versa 1.8 S Hatchback, for those of you who were wondering.