Friday, August 29, 2008

Black Thursday

Since I have never been one to be rational...

The feelings that went through my shocked system when Stephenie Meyer announced that she was putting her characterization project, Midnight Sun, on hold indefinitely instead of publishing it sometime next year, are not rational.

I'm devastated.

I know, it's retarded. I know that I shouldn't care. It is quite up to Stephenie to decide whether or not Midnight Sun should be published. After all, it was a characterization project, not the actual book. The story of Twilight has already been told by Bella. We basically know what is going to happen. BUT, my love for Edward, my obsession for Twilight, my absolute addiction needs to be fed.

To use Edward's metaphor: It's as if my heroin has been sunk at the bottom of the ocean and there is absolutely no way to recover it. I am an addict, and I am being forced into quitting cold turkey. There is no more. No hope for more. It's gone. All gone.

I can't lie and say I didn't read the twelve leaked chapters of Midnight Sun. I knew that basically it was illegal to be posted anywhere online. I also knew Stephenie Meyer's abhorrence for spoilers. I should have expected her to be upset... and I did. I did not expect that she would CANCEL the rest of the book. I, like many, devoured the twelve chapters. My craving for Twilight is insatiable. I wanted more, and I wanted it NOW. But knowing that more was coming, even without a specific deadline, the fact that it was coming was enough. I'd been reading the first chapter over and over, and now I had twelve chapters to work on and chew and dissolve until the rest of the book came. I was so looking forward to having my little compilation of all five books sitting on my shelf. The only hardback books I've ever found necessary to purchase.

And now there is no hope. Nothing. She has put the project on hold, indefinitely. What promised to be the best book of the series is no more!

I can understand that Stephenie is upset. She has every right to be. Had my rough draft work been posted online for all to see, I would be mortified. But to scrap the entire project? How can we change her mind? How can we get her to see that we need Midnight Sun? There are suggestions to send a care package to her stating how much we love her and her work. There are facebook groups all over the place figuring out what to do. But there is no way we are going to get Stephenie to do something she doesn't want or doesn't feel like she can continue.

Shoot. Now what is there to look forward to?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Throw Your Clothes on the Floor



Ever since the trip to the Scera theater to watch Pride and Prejudice the musical (along with the lesbian lovers and other side shows the musical aided in providing) we have been planning to attend tonight's Boyz II Men concert. We have listened to their II CD over and over... or at least some of their songs over and over and over and over. And we made t-shirts, complete with Rhinestones. So tonight, we were ready... and we enjoyed almost every minute of it. Or would have, had we been able to see the stage!


Recipe for the best night ever:

1. 1 Grassy knoll
2. 1 beautiful, cloudless night with a sky full of stars
3. 6 large Polynesian men
4. the Polynesians' amazon women (some were white...still HUGE)
5. 2 Awesome roommates
6. 1 HOT BYU basketball player -his girlfriend
7. BOYZ II MEN!!!!
8. frozen yogurt

We went to the concert with high expectations. Arriving at 6:55 p.m. when the concert was supposed to start at 8:00 p.m. We walked in and the blanketed area was already full. Content to sit at the top of the hill overlooking the rest of the area and stage, we entertained ourselves by taking pictures.





Our fun was disrupted when some guy came with his little blanket and tried to squeeze into a almost non-existent spot, claiming to be "desperate" for a place to sit (the place was packed and it was still forty-five minutes until start time) in front of the group of Polynesian women (so called because their dates/husbands were Polys, not necessarily because they were...all were Amazon women, though) to which they said they would scoot their blanket forward and he could place his blanket in front of us. While it was just him, we were reluctant but willing to "cut" in front of us... That is, until he started listening to our conversations and making faces at us. He offered to take some of our pictures, to which we declined.

When the show started, we were treated to a talent show of some sort. Most the acts were decent, but nothing too spectacular. Until an 11-year old got up and started singing I Will Always Love You. I've seen so many people butcher this song on American Idol, that I thought, there is no way this girl can pull it off. And yet, I was proven wrong! This girl nailed it. Definitely winner, hands down. She was amazing, and 11.

The cutter's friends showed up... more white Amazons. I can't believe how big these women are. I didn't know big women existed in Provo. They were fat. They were stalky. And tall. HUGE women, and blocking our view to the stage. I always thought that Provo was full of super skinny barbie types, with their bleach blonde, teased hair and perfect nails and...you know the type. But these girls were like nothing I'd ever seen. I was suddenly very pissed at the man and his "desperate" act. How could he have ever expected to squeeze between the Polynesians and the rest of the crowd? His women-folk were just as big!

FINALLY after waiting forever, Boyz II Men came out! Even minus one member of the group, they are amazing. Velvet and silky R&B voices, and so incredibly smooth. From what we could see of them, little glimpses here and there through heads and elbows and giant Polynesians, they were still hot! They sounded great. They were awesome.


Since we couldn't watch our Boyz the whole time, we watched the next best thing... the BYU baksetball played that had to have been 7' tall, and georgeous to boot. I thought Ashley was going to jump his bones, but his girlfriend eventually joined him. Making it uncomfortable to watch him... luckily we had found an opening where we could see more glimpses.

A few more Polynesian guys came in late and instead of trying to maneuver through Desperate boy and his group to meet up with the other Polys, they stood next to us awhile. I was standing on my tippy-toes and jumping trying to see over the mountain of women and the guy turned to me and said, "Hey, you can sit on his shoulders," pointing to his friend. I looked over, tipped my head all the way back and laughed out loud. This guy was 8' tall, HUGE! And cute. And HUGE! He towered over everyone! His friend disappeared and the giant Polynesian stood videotaping the concert, I watched from his camera for a few minutes... I couldn't believe how big he was. It was awesome.

Between the tall Polynesians and the sexy, deep voice of one of the Boyz II Men guys, I was near to swooning every ten minutes!

When they sang the Momma song, they made everyone get out their cell phones and call their mothers to dedicate it to them... it was pretty cute. But my mom was asleep. So we listened to Becca sing to her mom.

After the concert, we went to Hello Yogurt. Only the best Yogurt shop on the planet! It was so delicious. There are like six different flavors (Cheesecake, Chocolate, Strawberry, Peach, Pecan, and tart) and then you pick whatever you want to put on top and then pay by weight. It was SO YUMMY!

Overall, best night ever.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

21st Century Pariah

I've always thought this was the case... in fact, I know I've said so many a time. However, KP brought it to my attention once again. She pointed out that maybe, perhaps, for some reason... I don't belong in the 21st century.

You probably don't think this is the case. I mean, after all, I have adapted QUITE well, considering. I use the internet and computers with skill and finesse. Having such a vast amount of knowledge at my fingertips is...wonderful. Irreplaceable. In fact, I just spent five seconds looking up lyrics to a song that I'm listening to. I love my portable music/cell phone/calculator/alarm clock/watch/text messaging machine. I LOVE the vast amount of music that is avaialable. MUSE, LUDO, Boys II Men...haha. Ask my dad, my computer is FULL of music. And I listen to way more than I own on Pandora. It is SO nice being able to talk to my parents 2,000 miles away in Ohio, or my friends living in Michigan or California or Idaho. I spend more time in front of the television and movie theaters than necessary. I love traveling, and despite how difficult it is with the TSA crap we have to go through every time we fly - it's not like we're sailing over the ocean in a boat filled with plague or bumping around in horse and buggy. Or walking. I love driving, despite the price of gas. I DIE of heat on a daily basis, despite the wonderful air conditioning that cools everything...except my car. *shrug* Oh, and there's the whole medical thing, and drugs and advancements made in feminie hygiene and such.

Okay, maybe living in a different century would be hard. Well, not maybe. It would be. Could I give up all of those advantages? Those are just the luxury luxuries. What about the hot, running water? What about the fact that I can go to the store and have all vitamins and minerals available with foods that aren't even in season, but somehow still available? Or the fact that there are vaccinations against all sorts of deadly diseases? If I were born in the 1700s, I might have died before reaching age 5 of some sort of mumps, measles, typhus, etc. I guess the great thing about being born in another century would be that I wouldn't know any different. I wouldn't think that it was harder, because I wouldn't know it could be easier. Of course, this is all sounding as if I had the option - which I don't.

But it's definitely going to be one of the questions I ask Heavenly Father when I get back to Him. Why? Why 1985 and not 1785 or 1885? Both times seem MUCH more interesting and definitely have more appeal than now. I mean, these were times when new places were being discovered, countries shaped, inventions that changed lifestyles were being invented. Now, it's like we've lost all creativity. Sure we have new versions of things coming out all the time, but it's the same thing. Over and over and over. These people were inventing things that had never been seen before.

Plus, there were a lot more rules and standards, and etiquette. Now, granted, I'm not the most proper person in the world. I think I would have liked to live during all of that only for the sake of breaking all the societal rules. Like showing off my ankle! Yes, I would be quite rebellious. Now, if I want to be rebellious, I have to walk around naked...and even then, some places it's acceptable. *shudder*

Fortunately, after daydreaming about all the romantic adventures I would have had living in 1808, I remember that all the books I read (Gabaldon, Gist, Ibbotson, McClure, etc.) are writing about just that...romantic adventures. Granted, they all write about the disease and malnutrition, famine, natural disasters, dying of a fever, etc. etc. etc. (Especially Gabaldon, she does not soften the blow of the hardships at all.) But still, they are fictional stories that characterize the main characters as still these beautiful people where love conquers all...even disease. I know it's not realistic. I look at pictures of cowboys and such from the 1800s, and they were not the handsome, beautiful, rugged, masculine...*sigh* men that I imagine when I'm reading about Ryder Maddox or Brevan McClean. I KNOW that. I do. I sear.

Doesn't mean I like living in 2008, all of the time.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mad about a salad?

Tyrant: 1 a: an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution b: a usurper of sovereignty2 a: a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally b: one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power

Coming home for me is normally euphoric. There isn't much to do in the little town of Troy, but it doesn't much matter. I am completely content in going to pick up my little brother from football, watch TV with Mackenzie, or go on a five mile walk with my mom. I don't need to be entertained, because I'm home. I don't need to see people, because I am with my family. I love it, and there is very little around that can kill my buzz.

However, there is ONE thing that inevitably buries under my skin and makes me absolutely furious. My home is currently housing a tyrant (see above definition). Mostly this tyrant goes in and out of the house, saying little to anybody, leaving a small disaster behind him but for all intensive purposes - he leaves the rest of the family alone. No one contests what he does. No one speaks to him and he doesn't speak to us. He brings in his little posse in and out of the house, sometimes they stay the night (last night they were up making all sorts of ruckus until the early hours of the morning) without any care of who they are imposing upon. The tyrant lives unrestrained and free to do whatever he pleases.

Run-ins in the past with said tyrant are what have kept me from moving back home in certain points in my life; they are also cause for stress between my relationship with other members of the family, because, unlike them, I am unable to sit and watch the tornado tyrant blow through leaving all sorts of destruction and NOT say anything.

Am I in the wrong? Probably. We all understand that contention is of the devil...that we are supposed to turn the other cheek. That peace comes only through acting with peace. But when is enough, enough? Why do we have to lie down and take it? Why do we? Why can't we stick up for ourselves and take care of the tyrant? Shouldn't we be able to live our lives without fear of the wrath of the tyrant? I think that we should be able to say something without fear of retribution, without fear of retaliation. I believe that we should be able to put a $16 salad in the fridge and know that it will be there the next day. I think that a parent should have control as to whether there house is being used as a half-way house for delinquents running the streets, or not. Why do we sit and take it?

The American Revolution was fought because the colonists were sick of being mistreated by a motherland country that was thousands of miles away, across the ocean. The French Revolution was fought because peasants were abused by the aristocrats within their country. Civil wars and revolutions have been fought for years and in countries all over the world because the people were no longer to just "take it." They finally stood up for themselves and said, "NO MORE!" And I say, we declare our own rebellion against the tyrant of 21 S Monroe. Why should he be able to maintain power?


The Battle Cry of Freedom

George F. Root
Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys, we'll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom,
We will rally from the hillside, we'll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We are springing to the call of our brothers gone before,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we'll fill our vacant ranks with a million free men more,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

We will welcome to our numbers the loyal, true and brave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And although they may be poor, not a man shall be a slave,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

So we're springing to the call from the East and from the West,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!
And we'll hurl the rebel [boy] from the land we love best,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!

CHORUS:
The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah!
Down with the [tyrant], up with the stars;
While we rally round the flag, boys, rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of freedom!


I will fight for justice and peace!

Or, maybe, I'll be more like the pilgrims and immigrate away from the injustice. I'll just go back to Utah and let 21 S Monroe take care of their own tyrant.

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the 'still small voice' within
-GHANDI

Monday, August 04, 2008

Armstrong Family 2008



"So what does everyone think? Same time, same place next year?"

Our Sunday devotional always ends with these questions, presented by the same wonderful, Aunt Bonnie. And just this year, as we ended the 2008 Wesley Woods weekend, we did not break tradition. Part of the tradition is not answering the question. Of course we're going to come same time (the first weekend in August) and the same place (Camp Wesley Woods in Winchester, Kentucky). Where else would we go? Next year we will have been going to Wesley Woods for 20 years, we think. We've been going for all of my remembered life!

We go. Despite the lack of air conditioning, the money (that I didn't realize we forked out every year...it's way more than I ever imagined, even with help from the grandparents - which they may or may not know they are contributing), the BUGS, the discomfort of the beds, the dirty bathrooms, the wasp stings, etc. etc. etc. Did I mention the bugs?

Things I can't complain about, though, are the food. My mom and Aunt Elouise absolutely spoil us. And the company.

Where else could we go for 3 nights and 4 days and sit and enjoy each other's company the way we do at Wesley Woods? There's a pond for fishing and, apparently, paddle boating (I haven't been down there for some years due to the green film and other gross things that I can't handle). The craft shack, that we've used maybe once. (I have some really good uses for said shack, but have yet to put them to use.) A pool... thank goodness for the pool. The humidity is a killer, almost every year, and the pool provides awesome relief. There are basketball courts (if you know my family, you know how important this is) and plenty of room for card games. The playground and swings keep the kids entertained. We've managed to keep injuries to a minimum - a broken finger, one splinted arm, various bumps and bruises, and a wasp sting...but nothing major.

I suppose it doesn't matter where we ended up going if we decided to change tradition. The thing about my family is...we're awesome. And no matter how long it's been since we last saw each other, we fall into the same loving relationships we've always been in. My little sister, Mackenzie, is the fourth out of four girls that were born in 1996. Brooke, Macy, Nicole, and Mackenzie all born in the fall... and bonding immediately. Brooke's attendance at the reunions has been sporadic, but just as every year she is able to make it, the four girls get together and click instantly. It is the same for all of us.

The reunion started as the Armstrong/Hatton reunion. Reuniting my Grandma's kids, and some of her nieces and nephews. My aunts and uncles have been the perfect example of how a family runs. We are dysfunctional...it's true. There are those of us who have made lifestyle choices that the rest of us don't understand. But no matter what we've decided, we still love each other unconditionally. More than unconditional love, my family would do anything for one another. They quite literally would give their shirts off their backs or drive an hour back to pick you up and cram your family into their already full car and push the dead car to the local maintenance place while figuring out how to fit 3 families of 5+ kids. We may be a little nosy, but the truth is, we just want to know what is going on so we can figure out how to help.

The original "4 girls"


Hunter, enjoying the BEST corn Fulton Farms has to offer (they don't make this in Utah...)

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