Oscar Wisdom Frothing


    * = have seen
    † = glad I haven't seen
    ‡ = don't quite care either way
    § = wanna see
    ** = really wanna see
    †† = gotta see

Apparently, this year I just don't care:
    ‡Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
    § Australia
    ‡ The Baader Meinhof Complex
    ‡ The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
    * Bolt
    ‡ Changeling
    ‡ The Class
    ‡ The Conscience of Nhem En
    ** The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    * The Dark Knght
    ‡ Defiance
    ‡ Departures
    § Doubt
    ‡ The Duchess
    ‡ Encounters at the End of the World
    ‡ The Final Inch
    § Frost/Nixon
    § Frozen River
    ‡ The Garden
    § Happy-Go-Lucky
    * Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    § In Bruges
    * Iron Man
    ** Kung Fu Panda
    ** Lavatory - Lovestory
    ‡ La Maison en Petits Cube
    ‡ Man on Wire
    ‡ Manon on the Asphalt
    ‡ Milk
    ‡ New Boy
    ** Oktapodi
    § The Pig
    * Presto
    ‡ Rachel Getting Married
    § The Reader
    ‡ Revanche
    § Revolutionary Road
    § Slumdog Millionaire
    § Smile Pinki
    ‡ Spielseugland (Toyland)
    * This Way Up
    § Tropic Thunder
    ‡ Trouble the Water
    § Vicky Christina Barcelona
    ‡ The Visitor
    * WALL*E
    ‡ Waltz with Bashir
    § Wanted
    ‡ The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306
    ‡ The Wrestler




SALT (the National Association of Clever Limericists) has announced a new agenda which it will be bringing before members of Congress in the coming weeks:

    It's time that we SALT write more verse
    (We'll all someday ride in the hearse!)
      So while the sun shines
      Fund our doggerel so fine
    Knowing you schmucks write verse much more worse

Coding horror


I found a new glitch in the bringing-over of my old posts: when I used alternate font colors (whether to hide words or to colorcode things), those colors are now gone. And all is on display in plain old grayongray.

Anyone know what's wrong with my code to cause Blogger to ignore the font-color changes?

RRR: I Am Vimpire


Is not so bad, you know, being vimpire. Low profile, few enemy, much good times. Not like zose vampires wiss zare bloodsoocking and dead maidens and pasty faces. No, vimpire much better.

Big problem? Big problem is zis: Dem vampires. Dem vampires sink zey so great wiss zare big teess and flying and stuff. Zey are big problem for us vimpire. We causing no problems, very friendly, good people. Vimpire always good people! Ask anybody! But vampires telling ze awful tales of woe and not trues always.

5/27/08 12:03 PM


The inexorable march of time


I was reading the BYU alumni magazine over breakfast this morning and read that ten years ago this month they changed the school colors. Why, I remember that, I thought.

And thus I realized: Ten years ago this month I began my studies as BYU, newly transferred from BC, shacking up with my cousin and her husband, looking for an apartment, conducting phone surveys for food money, in megacrush with a girl named Sarah Jane, writing the first draft of "Marital Matters" that would later serve as the opening to Byuck, making social goals I would mostly fall down on.....

Holy crap.

It's been ten years.



first five of 2009 (books)

First Five of 2009

005) The Road by Cormac McCarthy, finished January 24
    Great, great book. I wish I had been taking notes so I would be ready to teach it at a moment's notice. And (surprise!), not a total downer.

    (Incidentally, a handy book to read for those who are frequently interrupted; it's broken up into small bitesize pieces. Get your today!)

    almost three weeks

004) Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham, finished January 19
    It's becoming quite a tradition for me to enter Pegasus and read an entire book while I'm standing next to the comics (cf. Robot Dreams, The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8). This book's look is like a cross between Jason and Tony Millionaire (and I don't just say Tony Millionaire because of the nautical theme). It's breezy and surprising and simple. Nothing I'm anxious to pay money for but a pleasant book that was nice to touch and quite sad with what I can only assume is an alternate ending.

    The moral of this story: Do what your wife says. Which makes it a great anniversary present, I suppose.

    Also: my Fobcomics review.

    mere minutes

003) The Waitress was New by Dominique Fabre and translated by Jordan Stump, finished January 19
    My local library always has a good selection of short, foreign novels in the NEW section and I browse them everytime I'm there. Usually they look intolerable (the last one I checked out was intolerable --- I couldn't get five pages into it and me not finishing a book no matter how bleh is strange indeed), but this novella was quite nice. It's very short, very plain and about a very "normal" person, but it's 117 pages in the life of a Parisian barkeep and a pleasant way to spend a couple afternoons.

    about a week

002) Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, finished January 12?
    Great comic that mixes cultural history and historical fiction. Read more at Fobcomics.

    about a week

001) The Arrival by Shaun Tan, finished January 8
    Greatest proof that fiction is decidedly better at some things than non, and the best immigrant story I have ever come across in any medium. For more on what I mean by this, see my Fobcomics post. Or just buy yourself a copy.

    half hour


A svithe for all seasons


Spring: Love your benemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven....

Summer: Love your benemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven....

Autumn: Love your benemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven....

Winter: Love your benemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven....

last week's svithe


RRR: Thbibliophilic Gift-Giving Guide,
Eckmiss Owayt



(courtesy of edgy)

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark

What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills

Dorian by Nephi Anderson

Madman Gargantua by Mike Allred with Laura Allred

The Blot by Tom Neely,

Survival Rates by Mary Clyde

Replay by Ken Grimwood

Halo and Sprocket Volume 1: Welcome to Humanity by Kerry Cullen

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Long After Dark by Todd Robert Petersen

11/18/08 1:55 PM


(readable) Preseason Oscar Game Results


Now available!

Preseason Oscar Game Results

Oscar's Tush.

The results are in! and in a thrilling, nailbiting finish, Kadusey ties me for the win in an unprecedented but long-desired break in my (previously) seemingly endless winning streak! We tied at eleven, but had she paid attention to the rules better, she might have won outright. She did submit a disqualified second guess that put her up by two points.

I didn't see a big leader in the nominations, but now that there plainly is, I'm more irritated than ever at myself for not seeing Benjamin Button yet.

In other news, by not including Dark Knight in the best-picture noms, the Oscars have taken one more step to irrelevancy and bad tv ratings. Good job, Academy!

Click on the minichart below to see the full results.

Preseason Oscar Game Results Jan 2009

(Curses. Shrunk. I'll come up with something else later.....)


Your input requested


As a result of this redesign, many old posts have gone all to ehell. Examples:What should I do about this? In the future I can adapt to the new constraints (as I have at the mere 400px-wide Fobcomics), but my history's been uglified. I can, perhaps, get rid of the right margin (or smaller it), but are the advantages to the past worth it?

One big problem with a narrower content space is what to do with larger images (I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow with the Preseason results, which were intended to be quite wide indeed).

Particularly those of you with narrow-content blogs yourself, what do you do?

ps: should I keep the front/rss tabs uptop?


RRR: this year's cookoff


A Pair of Pickles
by Theric

Pickle One: Thcucumbers with Thpeppercorns

Everybody loves a cucumber. These were taken fresh from the garden, sliced thin and soaked in an organic apple cider vinegar. (Because nonorganic apples will kill you if fermented. It’s true. Ask anyone.)

To counteract the environmentally friendly foods of homegrown veggies and organic acids, peppercorns were added, which, as I’m sure you know, are transported from faraway lands on carbon-spewing barges that are eager to destroy all life on Mother Earth.

The combination of forward looking and the remnants of the oppressive spice trade turn this potentially simple dish into a potent questioning against modern Western culture and the future of this very planet. Will we survive? Or will we all perish? Thcucumbers with Thpeppercorns doesn’t pretend to answer that question, but it asks it in a forceful and through an entirely new vocabulary.

A Pair of Pickles
by Theric

Pickle Two: Kick-You-in-the-Teeth Carrots

Baby carrots. Sneer. What a misnomer. They’re just fullgrown carrots that have been unfairly cut down in size and, you may be sure: they don’t like it. And they ain’t having it no more.

Kick-You-in-the-Teeth Carrots give the benighted and humiliated carrot a chance to regain some of its lost dignity through a juxtaposition of their naturally cheery color and the chance to strike back at oppressive humanity with a quick kick to the teeth.

(Eat at your own risk.)

9/20/08 10:11 PM


EGAD!!!!! (construction)


Please forgive me as I figure out all the problems with this long-overdue redesign.

(Feel free to comment on it, by the way.)

Svithing simplicity


Surprisingly, I didn't do this when I recently had a svithe that referenced Thoreau; it was actually about quite another thing entirely. It's no secret that I don't have much respect for Thoreau, but his call for simplicity is still as compelling as it ever was.

The speakers in sacrament meeting this week were given the topic of simplicity, framed by a quotation from this popular old Shaker dance number:
    'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
    'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,

    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
    'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

    When true simplicity is gain'd,
    To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,

    To turn, turn will be our delight,
    Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Humility, of course, is a hard thing for me (see also: my theme song), so a call such as this can be nothing if not good for my soul.

May we all turn and face the Lord our God.

last week's svithe


Younger than myself

Mehmet and Oz.

According to RealAge, although my birth certificate calls me 32.4 years old, I am actually only 28.5. What does this mean, besides potentially hanging around the house and hassling Lady Steed a couple extra years? Not sure. The website doesn't say what I can do with that extra life. But! if I want even more extra life, it recommends the following:
    Get your cholesterol tested. (Why? I thought I told you my cholesterol numbers were awwwwesome.)

    Spend 120 seconds at the sink. (I said I brushed too; what gives?)

    Watch your BP. (Sigh..... You're just saying this because I never bother memorizing the numbers. I can tell.)

    Ease your headaches. (I think we miscommunicated. I haven't had a migraine in almost twenty years and the little headaches are rare.)

    Stop the burn. (Again, this isn't a problem I really have any more. You need to listen better.)

    Watch the lead foot. (I know, I know. You're not the first to tell me that.)

    Get air bags. (Check. Soon enough I'll be in airbags all the time, I'm sure.)

    Bring home a furry friend. ("Get a dog if possible." Are you joking?)

    Boost your omega-3 intake. (You're probably right, here.)

    Get a daily dose of C. (It's sitting right there. I just need to remember.)

    Boost your E. (Right. Also, right there. Just need to remember.)

    Pump up the potassium. (Good news! I've trained myself to like bananas! But I tend to leave them for the baby.)

    Boost your folate intake. (I'm sure it's in the multi. That's, you know, right there.)

    Up your calcium and D intake. (Undoubtedly. Thank goodness the pills right there waiting for me to take it.)

    Take a closer look at your diet. (You just want me to take your other survey, don't you?)

    Eat more grains. (With butter?)

    Vary your veggies. (I don't remember us talking about this, but I see you know me better than you let one. A broccoli-based diet is insufficient?)

    Have some fruit. (I have to admit I was ashamed how low I had to mark this. Next time I'm at Costco, I swear.)

    Kick up your intensity. (I don't understand. I told you I don't exercise at all. How does one "kick up" nothing?)

    Tighten and tone. ("Devote at least 90 minutes each week to exercises that build muscle strength and endurance. But slowly work up to this amount." You crack me up.)

    Do more cardio. (More than nothing? "Gradually work up to 210 minutes of cardio a week." Holy crap, are you serious??? Who has time for this?)

    Know your numbers. (I'm not sure, honestly, what good knowing my heart rate will do. And telling my BMI is 21.1 means nothing to me. Is that good?)

    Stretch. (You seriously expect me to do "two or three 30-minute sessions per week of balance and flexibility exercises"? What good are these things? And why did you never have a question that incorporated my walking to work? That must count for something.)
So if I'm ever going to have the life-expectancy of a teenager again, apparently I still need to work on some things.

But seriously: what would I do with all those extra years? Someday I'll finish watching the Thin Man movies and then I think I'll be set. You?


Hey! Soap! Yay!


So we moved into our NEW! buildings two Mondays ago and today, at long last, we have soap in the bathrooms. I am overjoyed.

Of course, the soap is that really
runny kind that spatters out and
drips between your fingers and
makes puddles on the floor ---
that and it smells like a dusty
old house, but otherwise, yay!

Regarding next Tuesday


NPR's copyandpasted a pretty darn good inaugural speech for Obama's consideration, and it's got me to thinking what I would like him to say.

It's his inaugural, so I don't need thoughts on, say, why his "brilliant" choice for Treasury Sec can't figure out his own taxes (why is no one else distressed by this? either a. he is sloppy [bad], b. he doesn't pay close attention to things [bad], or c. he was purposefully dishonest and is now trying to clean it up before the GOP noticed [bad]; anyway, no matter how brilliant he is, I would be more comfortable with someone who has his own house in order); instead I would rather here some lofty sentiments grounded in reality. I don't need promises (he's already made plenty of those) and I don't need empty rhetoric (rhetoric itself is fine so long as it's not empty).

Really, I'm not sure what I want. We reread Lincoln's Inaugurals for great reasons: after all, he is one of our nations greatest writers of any stripe, and he new enough to keep it short and sweet. (Longest inaugural: William Henry Harrison, 1841, 8,445 words --- it killed him. Let that be a lesson to all presidents.)

We reread Washington's because they are some of the best and most succinct definitions of America we have.

I don't feel America needs to be redefined or even redirected much. But America does need a renewed sense of self (who doesn't) and to project A*M*E*R*I*C*A to the world. These are things Obama seems adept at.

But I don't know why I'm talking. I may not even watch it. Next Tuesday is going to be craaaaazeee for me. I may just have to wait for it to be anthologized.....

Barack Obama in South Carolina


RRR: One Story

One Story.

I think about it all the time, but I have yet to post about my favorite literary magazine in the world, One Story.

The magazine is just what it sounds like: one story per issue. I have a shelf filled with their colorful stapled spines.

One Story is perfect for a pocket, for a walk, for paper companionship. It's bitesize --- eighteen delicious bites a year.

And One Story *is* delicious. The reason it's my favorite is because it is the most consistently excellent venue for short fiction I know. There have been a couple duds, but even in those cases, the stories weren't lousy.

I like One Story so much that I don't mind them rejecting me. I hate hate hate being rejected by magazines that publish work of a lower quality than my own, but One Story maintains consistent excellence and so I cannot complain.

And: One Story has a dapper website than includes an interview with each author. I like that.

I can't recommend a literary rag more highly; if you've been looking for one to subscribe to, send your $21 here (only $18 to renew!). You won't regret it.

12/17/08 11:17 PM


RRR: Too many spins on the merry-go-round

wo oh oh oh oh oh

10/9/08 9:02 AM


RRR: Quirk



The quirks we are aware of are our conscious quirks, our deliberate quirks, our least interesting quirks.

Left-leg only toilet usage.

We're all born a little OCD and we either learn to cope or get worse and worse.

12/16/08 1:19 PM


A svithe for the lonely


(from psalm thirty-one)

Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.

Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

I am forgotten . . . as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."

Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.

How great is your goodness . . . .

Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.

In my alarm I said, "I am cut off from your sight!" Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

last week's svithe


RRR: Finally! Radioactive water in your own kitchen!


radiïze thy water
radioactive water in your own home

Thanks to Ardis E. Parshall.

9/26/08 4:00 PM


RRR: Thimprov


From my reading and my hearing and my imagining, it seems that most bloggers tend to look for things to blog about and then, having found them, blog them. I do some of this myself. This post, for instance.

But other times I simply think to myself, it is time to blog and I sit down and think of a title and then write something to match. This is what I call MCU, and I am very good at it. If "good" means I can always think of something no matter how crappy.

11/27/06 11:54 AM


RRR: Oh crap. Oh crap. OH CRAP.


Myke just sent me a link.

The only think I can think to say is: OH CRAP.


8/11/07 1:11 PM


Coming up next: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


I'm getting close to my thousandth post and so, in order to know exactly when it hits, I'm going to post all the old drafts to clear up my clutter. This means we will see old stuff --- dating clear back to August of ohsix. Some I will finish as part of this project, some I'll post in unfinished state, all will be marked with the preface RRR. Unless one turns out so beautifully I don't want to take a chance of stigmatizing it. But we'll see.

So be excited! You think I publish weird crap now, wait till you see what didn't make the cut!


Getting into the swing of the (Mormon) awards thing


The Oscar noms are still a ways in our future, so I thought I would instead take a stab at the two major novel awards in LDS lit.

Last year, Coke Newell's novel Shocked The World by winning the best-novel award from both AML and the Whitneys (in its first year). I don't think we'll see that feat repeated, but if if does happen, the book to do it will be Angela Hallstrom's Bound on Earth (which I still need a copy of, folks). But, as I said, I don't think it'll sweep. I predict it will take the AML, but the Whitney will go to Abinadi by Heather Moore

Just like when I handicap movie races though, once again, I haven't read the frontrunners. Indeed, I can't even be sure these are the frontrunners, since there isn't exactly an In Conention for the AMLs and Whitneys.

That said, I won't get to vote for either award. But if either Ms Hallstrom or Ms Moore would like to prove that my faith in them is justified, they may send me a copy of their book. This is perfectly legal. My email address in in the left column of my blog. I can also be contacted here.



Two brief svithey thoughts



    Angels are decidedly different from God in the modern imagination. God is, to most believing Americans, fully ethereal. And even to Mormons, God isn't apt to show up during breakfast, you know? He stays in his heaven; all's right with the world.

    Angels though --- angels break those God-on-this-side,-us-on-the-other rules. Accepting angels ---especially as per Mormon theology --- prevents us from keeping God in his box. And that can make me uncomfortable. I don't want an angel showing up in my classroom. That would really cramp my style.

    The takeaway here is this: Angels change the game and shrink the modern/God division. And I think that's all for the better.


In memoriam, JBW
    I didn't memorialize Elder Wirthlin when he died because I didn't know what to say. But this weekend, my parents gave to me the packet of letters-to-the-president that my mission president returned to me when I came home from Korea.

    In one, I talked about Elder Wirthlin who had recently visited Korea. I called him a man of perfect sincerity.

    This is true. He is a man I always felt I could trust. Imagining Elder Wirthlin in even an intentional exaggeration is difficult.

    He was a good man and we will miss him, though we cannot begrudge him his passing.

last week's svithe