Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Alison and I returned last Sunday from our canoe adventure in Yellowstone with the family. It turned out to be a bit of a whirlwind tour because our planned camp site on Yellowstone Lake was threatened by a forest fire. The kind forest rangers offered to find us a new site on Yellowstone Lake, but it was so smoky there that we opted for a site on Shoshone Lake. You could really see the smoke coming up from our camp there:

The trip to Shoshone Lake was a little intense and involved a motorized canoe ride across Lewis Lake, a couple miles of walking up the Lewis River (below) and a few miles of paddling to our site on Shoshone. It was a great trip, but we only spent one night on Shoshone Lake instead of three because heavy rain was making things unenjoyable.

Because we left Shoshone Lake earlier than planned, our schedule was open for a quick tour of the park. We saw the falls on the Yellowstone river:

We went to Mammoth Hot Springs also. I'm glad there weren't very many young boys there because the hot springs don't seem to take too kindly to them:

We also were able to see lots of wildlife. We saw buffalo, deer, elk, bald eagles, and a coyote. We watched two buffalo get into a little brawl which was highly entertaining.

And of course, the scenery was breathtaking:

We ended the day with a stop at Old Faithful (below) and a nine hour drive back to Denver.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I love the Internet because it helps me watch TV

Brandon and I don't have cable and that's fine. We are both grad students so that = no money. Plus, is watching TV how we want to spend out newly wedded time? It is a question to ponder. Usually I don't miss this lack of cable. Several months ago we joined one of the Buttbuster (aka Blockbuster) plans where you get all the movies you want for $10.00 a month. It totally beats Redbox because you actually get to watch good movies instead of whatever crap is there. Without our wonderful Buttbuster plan, Brandon would have never gotten hooked on Lost seasons I&II, and I would have never seen classics such as The Burbs and all the Rocky's. I actually haven't yet seen Rocky IV, which I guess is supposed to be the best. Anyways, we also used this plan to watch and be thoroughly entertained by the first season of 24 (SO SO SO Good. Jack Bauer is a true American hero).

BUT within the last couple weeks I have secretly secretly wished we had MTV so I could watch The Hills.

The Hills is trash TV at its finest. You get to watch thin, rich, early 20 year olds make bad choices, wear killer clothes, and say 'like' about a billion times each per episode. It is so gratifying. Brandon watches sports, I like trash. It works out well.

Anyways, I was lamenting the fact that I couldn't watch it to a friend and she said these brilliant words, " Do not fret my friend... in this technological age we live in there is no need for cable... you can watch the full episodes online at MTV.com!" Pure Genius, that girl is. So, yesterday afternoon, that is exactly what I did. I watched 3 full episodes of The Hills for free with no commercials on MTV.com. I got to see Heidi and Lauren get in a big fight at a club, see the incredibly tacky mural that Spencer surprised Heidi with, and determine that Audrina always looks strung out. Then I went to work. It was a great day. I don't feel the need to get cable at all anymore. Now I just hope another Real World/Road Rules challenge starts so I can watch that on MTV.com. Hooray for wasting time on the Internet!!

PS, If anyone knows how to get Lost season 3 on the Internet for free or for super cheap, let us know. I am starting to go into Lost withdrawal and I don't think I can make it until December, when the DVD is released.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Celebrity Look-Alike FAQ

Note: This post is in direct relation to the previous two posts. Brandon and I spent last night playing around on www.myheritage.com where we could upload photos of ourselves and then have our images compared to celebrities. We ended up each submiting several pictures of ourselves to the Celebrity Look-Alike thing but only posted the ones that seemed most accurate.

1.) Brandon: How does it feel knowing that you look a lot like some of the most famous actors of our time--Russel Crowe, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas?

It's nothing surprising, you know? I mean, I am a model.

2.) Alison and Brandon, as you two were completing the Celelbrity Look-Alike process, was there a celebrity that both of you looked like?

Funny that you should ask because MyHeritage.com said we both looked like--Jodi Sweetin--aka Stephanie Tanner from Full House. However, Alison looked like the younger Jodi Sweetin:

While Brandon looked like the older Jodi:

We consider it an honor, really, to both carry a resemblance to the former child star and meth addict.

3.) Brandon, was there anyone that Celebrity Look-Alike repeatedly said you looked like?

That is a good question. My face was twice compared to that of James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek.

4.) Alison, what about you? Anyone you were repeatedly compared to?

As a matter of fact, yes. Jodi Sweetin. Twice!

5.) Fascinating. Ok, folks. Just a couple more questions. I noticed that there were a couple people on your Celebrity Look-Alike collages that are unrecognizable. Will you take a moment and tell us about these people?

Sure. On Brandon's collage, most people will not recognize Erwin Rommell, a German field Marshall from WWII. He is known for allegedly being involved in a failed plot to kill Hitler.

People are also wondering who Barry Pepper and John Dolmayan are. Barry has had many small roles in movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Flags of our Fathers. John is the drummer from System of a Down. This is what that band looks like:

I personally think they are scary looking. But luckily I don't think my husband is scary looking. At all.

On Alison's collage, people will wonder who Chuck Palahniuk is. He is the writer of best-selling but often twisted and subversive books. His most noted work was Fight Club, which just happened to be one of Alison's favorite movies for many years. These days, she finds that it has too many f-bombs to fully enjoy.

People will also wonder who Zamfir is--and just so there isn't any confusion--he's only the greatest pan flute player the world has ever known.

6.) Oh actually, there is one more question. Alison--how do you feel about resembling so many men?

That's a sensitive subject for me. MyHeritage often said I resembeled men; in fact, one collage said I looked like four men! This is especially curious because the picture we submitted to MyHeritage was one taken at our wedding...a day when I felt extremely feminine. I don't necessarily like this aspect of my Celebrity Look-Alike, but it is what it is, I suppose. At least I look like Jodi Sweetin. That'll keep my estrogen roaring.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pride and Shame for Queen Me

For three of my undergraduate years at the University of Utah, my roommates and I hung a Queen poster in a prominent place in our home. It was always where it would be seen when someone would walk in. It looked like this:

Since I consistently lived with three other dudes, it was only natural that we would each choose one member of the band who we would re-personify (because they are/were already people). My roommate Neil originally owned the poster and he bore some resemblance to him, so he got to be Freddy Mercury (in yellow). Clark was the only blonde and at the time his hair was fairly feathered, so he was the dude in the black track suit. I had a flowing mane at the time so I was the dude on the far left. He is also wearing some sort of lab coat which makes the choice seem more appropriate now, because the pharmacist is often associated with a lab coat in our society. Paul rounded this out by being the dude on the far right. He didn't really look like the guy and he didn't look like he was wearing diapers either, but that dude was all that was left.

As roommates moved out for varied reasons (i.e. marriage), they were replaced and the new roommate would take over as the recently de-re-personified band member. Due to my extraordinary ability to not get married, I was the only roommate to last the entire era. (When I moved out, the 4 roommate structure was dissolved and the poster band broke up.) My endurance as the only original re-personification brought me a certain amount of pride and some shame.

The poster was moderately amusing to my roommates and me because of its allusion to homosexuality. Sometimes people would come over and say, "Nice poster," while making a raised-eyebrow expression suggesting that we didn't get what Queen symbolizes. We would then act like we didn't know what they were insinuating and everything was perfectly normal about it and we just liked Queen or we thought it was a cool picture. It was something of a mind game that worked to expose people who wouldn't get what we were about and to make a good joke for people who did. Incidentally, we also hung an Aaron Carter poster in our bathroom that looked like this:

This further supported the ambiguous sexuality that was part of the joke. (I'm laughing out loud at this right now.)

I was proud of being the dude on the far left, who I found out today to be named Brian May. He was the lead guitarist. I was also somewhat ashamed because he looks like such a geek and he was also part of Queen. I tend to identify with types that are more macho and handsome who don't have both hands in the front pockets of their labcoat and a goofy expression on their faces (unless its a joke, in which case I'll identify with them for years.)

The point of it all is that I read on the internet today that Mr. May recently submitted his doctoral thesis in astronomy. I actually experienced a small bit of personal satisfaction in this. Maybe there now exists a connection between our minds like Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. I do have a scar on my forehead.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mornings and My Pathetic Green Thumb

Lately my favorite morning routine has been coming back from a run and sitting on my balcony with a cold glass of water. I'm doing that right now. I still have my ipod on (I've heard Interpol, Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, and Christina Aguilera--in that order--since I've been out here. I love it) and I just sit, look around, let my heart rate calm, and feel my sweat dry. I seldom don't feel as relaxed or as peaceful as I do now.

Of the many things I enjoy about my balcony time, I most enjoy monitoring my outdoor balcony plants. I only have four of them--a dahlia, a Christmas cactus, a tomato plant, and another succulents. They are my babies and I like to chart their progress.

I know NOTHING about growing things and harbor some bit of stress about this...am I watering them enough? What do droopy leaves mean? Did I re-pot it correctly? Is it getting enough light? How ofter do I fertilize? Is Miracle Gro cheating? Etc. I am a By-the-Book type of girl and when I don't have something telling me exactly what to do and when, I teeter.

Let me tell you the story of my dahlia. My friend gave it to me right before I got married. It was tall and beautiful and had giant dinner plate yellow flowers blooming. They were spectacular and I had never had anything like it. About six weeks ago, I realized that blossoms weren't ever blooming and leaves were browning. I began watering it more but that didn't work. I then closely examined the plant and saw teeny tiny brown bugs all over it, spinning webs and everything. Agh!

An internet investigation taught me they were spider mites. Bastards. I hate them. Did I invite them over? No. So I went to the local nursery and got this pesticide spray and sprayed the hec out of those spider mites for weeks and it still didn't help.

How do I know? Because this is what it looked like:

Look how sad it is!! So pathetic. But I noticed that the stalks were still green and that there were new little leaves at the base. So I decided to cut off all the leaves. And now, it looks like this:

Waaaa! I'm so sorry dahlia! I felt like a bad mommy when I did that. The extreme pruning was actually a couple weeks ago. Several leaves have grown back and it looks promising. But who knows. I still spray the spider mite stuff on it and notice that some leaves are brown and wilty. Grr. I am not convinced that it will ever be the beautiful plant it was. I am trying so hard to keep that sucker alive! Hopefully by the time we get a house with a yard I'll have learned a few tricks to keep my plants thriving.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


A couple of nights ago, I was at work and Brandon was home alone, entertaining himself with the internet.

He some how stumbled upon a website that 'Simpsonizes' people. I guess you upload a picture of yourself and it magically transforms you into someone right out of Matt Groening's world. The website is a shameless promotion for both the movie and Burger King...remember those Snakes on a Plane phone messages??? They were the best.

Anyways, we couldn't figure out how to save the images, but here is the link to the actual webpage:

And here's a link to the Simpsonized Brandon: http://simpsonizeme.com/ecard.php?lang=en_us&code=czgrauqxwoecvpiflovsyjbutbthqxuz

And to the Simponized me:
Check it out!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Losing Scrabble

So the other night Brandon and I were trying to figure out what to do. I was tired of watching movies and we weren't yet ready for bed so I suggested we play a game. Brandon was 'game' for the idea and we settled on Scrabble.

About 1/2 way through the game, it was VERY evident that I was loosing...BADLY. Like by 70 points badly. I'm competitive enough that I started to get frustrated by my inability to catch up and became increasingly pouty and grumpy. It was pure torture having high-point letters like J and Z and being unable to use the available "Tripple Word Score" squares.

I kept moaning about how sucky the game was and how it was no fair that he can play these amazing words like "Gritty" and "Panic" and "Quake" and get oodles of points. Brandon finally says something like, "Well, you're the one who wanted to play Scrabble."

"What does that mean??" I say.

"Well, I think you knew it was going to be like this."

And ugh, he was totally right. My husband is a genius at word games. It is practically uncanny. Is that the right word to use there, dear? You'll call me on it if I'm wrong. And that's one of the things I love about you.

So anyway, I suddenly felt unjustified in my complaints and admitted to myself that yes, I knew I was going to loose before we even started. I then stammered, "Ok, yeah, you're right....but I didn't think I was going to loose THIS badly...as in nearly-a-100-points-behind badly!"

"That's OK, dear" he said. "Tables can quickly turn in Scrabble."

I gave him the eye roll signifying, "Yeah right, not in this game." We laughed about it and I took a deep breath, reminded myself that it was just a game, and we played on.

He then let me use words like "dow" (you know, as in the dow-jones?) and "gloved" ('she gloved her hands before stepping outside'--that's totally a word, huh?) to get more points. Although I knew I was playing questionable words, getting more points did made me feel better.

There will be other Scrabble matches in the future, no doubt. And I'll probably continue to loose. But there is always that chance that I'll rise to the challenge and kick his little butt. ;)