Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Next Read...

What am I reading now??
Here's a hint:

Guess guess guess!

In the meantime, I'm adding Jude Law to my Hot Guy Hall of Fame...

Listening to:  Some 50's TV show
Learned:  Jude Law is seriously balding.
Things going on tonight:  Probably just watching crap on TV and doing more laundry...

Whale of a Tale

AUGH!  I never geeked out about Moby Dick!!

It is an INCREDIBLE book, overall.  Herman Melville has created an iconic book -- from the first words, "Call Me Ishmael," to the intense and quite forbidding epilogue.  I don't want to give anything away, if you haven't heard the ending already, but I find the whole work to be incredibly allegorical and filled with symbolism.
I also have a word of advice for anyone who reads anything.  READ THE INTRODUCTION before you start and READ THE AFTERWORD when you finish.  It might also be a good idea to read the introduction AGAIN after you've finished, as well.  You just understand the book so much more with an outsider's perspective.  It gives you things that the author doesn't explicitly say, things you wouldn't otherwise catch within the work.  I learned from the introduction not only things about the book, but things about the author.  Did you know that Herman Melville was a sailor himself?  Did you know he got kidnapped and marooned on islands infested with cannibals?  And he survived!  Did you know his works were considered pop fiction back when they were first published?  These little tidbits about Melville help me more appreciate the parts of the book that get a little verbose.  It's obvious that he loves whaling and sailing, and he likes to talk about how cool it is by explaining every little detail you can experience on a whaling voyage.
The way Melville creates his characters is also ingenious.  While most of the perspective comes from the character Ishmael, he uses context and dialogue to create these intense characters.  Ahab?  Intense.  Full of wrath and vengeance that looks contained from the outside, but inside, he's a raging volcano.  Starbuck?  Probably the least noticed character.  Most people don't pay attention to him in the movies.  But he learns quite a bit about morality and duty in the book. Don't forget Starbuck.
There's also so much irony in the book.  Irony and symbolism.  Ahab's coin.  Queequeg's coffin.  The whiteness of Moby Dick.  And then there's this biblical allegory.  Good versus evil.  God versus Man.  Fate verses free choice.  You can approach this book from so many angles, and the ending is EPIC.
The ending can't be epic, however, if you don't read through all of the book.  All of Ishmael's (Melville's?) monologues about whaling lead up to the climax.  You have to learn what being a whaler is like before you can truly empathize with the characters and understand the importance of events that occur.  Plus, it's fun, learning so much about whales and how to hunt them.  You even learn about man's understanding of whales through the centuries, and how they were perceived.  It's quite fascinating, if you allow yourself to get into it.
Also, watch the movie after you're done.  I would suggest the one made back in 1956.  You'll find some famous names were involved in its creation.  Ray Bradbury (the famous author of books like Farenheit 451) was one of the screenplay writers for the film.  The cast includes Gregory Peck (who also played Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird and Joe Bradley in Audrey Hepburn's movie premiere Roman Holiday) and Orson Welles (who plays the foreshadowing Father Mapple and gives a rousing narrative of the story of Jonah in this film).  These actors are pretty amazing.  I mean, word's can't quite describe the eeriness of this face:

Clockwork Orange, anybody?

I was able to watch the entire movie (no commercials or anything!) on Youtube for free.  I would highly suggest it to anyone who appreciates old movies.  Of course the whale isn't too realistic, but it was made in the '50s...

Another version was made for TV in 1998, and another feature film was released in 2010.  I had never heard about the 2010 version before I researched it, so it must not have been very good.  It's set in the 1950's, during the Red Scare.  An American ship has crossed into Soviet waters, and a white whale looms beneath the ocean's surface.  I wonder how they would portray that.

Anyway... If you're up to it, you should read this book.  I was obsessed with it for a few days after I finished it.  It just leaves you with so much to think about. 

Listening to:  A telephone ring.
Things going on today:  Went to Deseret Book and JoAnn fabrics.
Blessings: Hospitals and cellphones.
Learned:  Gregory Peck won an Oscar in To Kill a Mockingbird for his performance as Atticus Finch.  He died in 2003 at age 87, and was an advocate for worker's rights.  His imposing stature often caused him to be type-casted in roles that involved leadership or authority.

May Your Days be Merry and Bright


With Love,

Listening to:  "It's Christmas (And I Like You) by Elephant Finger
Things Going on Today: Sitting around, doing laundry with my mom.
Blessings:  Sunshine, brown Christmases
Learned:  That center slot in the washer?  For fabric softener!  NOT SOAP.  :D  I love my mom.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finals SUCK

At exactly 3:30 this afternoon, this will be me.

Things Going on Today:  Dictation Final, Mom comes to town
Blessings:  Friends who randomly show up at my house.  
Things I learned:  Lady Gaga has been named as the Most Overrated Artist of 2011.  
Listening to:  My dictation practice CD.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Took a sip of something poison poison....

Helena Beat by Foster The People on Grooveshark

Can't.  Stop.  Listening.

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving


For example, my cousin Trevor is on the University of Utah football team and is kicking some major butt.

I don't know much about football, but I know enough to recognize that this is a pretty awesome picture.  
Trevor plays the position of linebacker for the Utes, and he's becoming a hot topic in the world of college football.  (Here's his bio, if you wanna know more.)  He became the first University of Utah player to become a PAC-12 Player of the Week, after the BYU-vs-UofU game last September.  (That was a hard game for me to watch... who to root for??)  

Trevor comes from a huge sports family.  His brothers AJ and Drew also play for major college teams.    I never knew my "California cousins" incredibly well.  They were too far away to visit for most of my childhood, and since I was a lot younger than most of them, a lot of what they talked about went completely over my head.  But I am beginning to appreciate the value of these family members more and more as I learn more about what it is they do.  

My cousin, taking down Jake Heaps from BYU.  I wouldn't have it any other way...
My aunt, Kris, is Trevor's mother.  Yesterday, over Thanksgiving dinner, she let me in on what life was like being a sports mother.   As a supportive mother, she travels from southern California to watch her sons games in Colorado, Utah, and wherever the away-games take her.  She's filled with stories about her sons' adventures in college.  She's always praising them, supporting them any way she can.  But even though her sons are incredibly talented, she still has those moments during a game where she can't watch.  There are some games where the pressure is so high and everyone is watching what her sons are doing, judging their performance. I can't imagine what it would be like to watch my son get a concussion by ramming into a guy  twice as big as he is...  What a strong woman, indeed.  

And the coolest part of it all:  There's so much more to it than just what happens on the field.  My aunt and uncle have done a really good job raising these boys to have strong moral compasses and charity towards their fellow men.  AJ, Trevor, and Drew have all served LDS missions, which may have been a greater sacrifice than we non-sports-players can imagine.  Their younger brother, Beau, is just two weeks away from starting his own mission in Brazil (so excited!).  Trevor and AJ are happily married to two beautiful and strong women.  Trevor's got a daughter, Nelli (who is so cute!), and AJ's expecting a son, Rio, in just a few short weeks.  They are prepared to provide for their loved ones by using the many talents they have besides sports.  They really don't fit that stereotype you always hear about major sports stars.  They don't party every night, they aren't full of themselves, they don't do things they regret later.  They would never do anything to shame the family.   They love the gospel and they love their families.  I am so proud of them.  

Listening to:  Still "Helena Beat."
Blessings:  Pie.
Learned today:  Trevor also set a world record in 2004 for eating an onion in one minute and 35 seconds.  The kid's got talent, that's for sure.... 
Things Going On:  Well, I SHOULD be homeworking.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm Crushin....


Listening to:  "Stereo Hearts"
Things Going on Today:  Roommate reunion, Alicia's Bridal Shower, Muppet Christmas Carol
Learned:  Enrique Iglesias's song, "Do You Know" was on Now 67.
Blessings:  Warm sidewalks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have a huge gigantic major large humungous gargantuan big giant monster crush on one of my teachers.


Listening to:  "Kommt Ein Schlanker Bursch Gegangen"
Things Going On Today:  Teaching Part 1 of my TWS.
Blessings:  Silent Dictation Assignments
Learned:  About integration of music with other artistic disciplines.  A lot about Paul Klee.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

DC Trip Part !#

A bit of Artsyness of my own...

My sweet mother, admiring art.

A hurried picture of the Washington Monument.

The American Indian Museum.  We never went inside, but isn't it a cool building?

Ellen and Nathan, lookin' hot.




Modern architecture.

Neo-Classical Architecture

The outdoor rose garden, featuring roses and a host of other pretty green things. 

Nathan, posing.

Ellen, my darling sister, posing.

Me... in a very flattering outfit... NOT. 

Look... a bee.

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time.  Taken completely by accident. 

Rose garden.  


Most of the roses were dead or dying.  Not this one...


My dear sweet parents.  This is why I love them. 

Awww, Han, quit with the mushy stuff!

Another favorite picture, again taken by accident. 

Gaaa, I just can't get OVER how cute my sister is!

Dad.  :D  I love him.

Look!  A cool exotic flower!

I took this picture more for mom's sake.  She liked the design and wished she could duplicate it somehow in our backyard.  Let me know how that goes, Mom.

Right outside the Smithsonian "Herbarium," which I greatly would have liked to see.  But it was closed, so take a looka t the building.  The plant life surrounding it is meant to represent different classes of plants from around the world.  It's kind of a fun little adventure.

What a great family experience, this DC trip o' mine.

Listening to:  "Helena Beat" by Foster the People.  My new obsession.
Blessings:  Thanksgiving dinners.  Family.  Friends.  A computer.  A piano.  Three-day weekends.  No work.  No snow.  And my best friend is coming back to BYU this winter.  SO THANKFUL.
Things Going On Today:  Try things NOT going on today.  No school.  No work.  No parties.  I'm free to do homework ALL DAY.  
Learned:  What the phrase "Loss of Down" means in football.  

DC Trip Part !@

Sculptures Outside the Hirshhorn:

Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept: Nature (59-60 N29), 1959-1960

I wonder what these sculptures by Lucio Fontana mean.  Perhaps something about rebirth and natural spiritual growth?  It would be nice to have some time to do some research on this...

Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke, 1996

This guy's pretty epic:  Roy Lichtenstein.  You may know him as the guy who paints those blown-up comic strip panels, complete with the benday dot effect.  He also did a lot with imitating brushstrokes.  It's like he's painting a line of paint.  This aluminum sculpture is right in front of the building on your way into the Hirshhorn from the mall.  It's a pretty cool first glance as to what's inside.

Claes Oldenburg, Geometric Mouse: Variation I, Scale A, 1971

This is a famous piece.  Claes Oldenburg's Geometric Mouse.  I find it to be a minimalist take on an iconic Mickey Mouse motif.  I've seen this sculpture in my textbooks.  It's very simple, but unique and original.  

Tony Smith, Throwback, 1976-79

Tony Smith is a very famous minimalist.  He's best known for his work, Die, which was a giant iron block with no other apparent features or artistic qualities aside from it's... well, it's blocky-ness.  Some people have a lot of trouble accepting that as art.  Unfortunately.  
Some of Smith's works, however, are more aesthetically pleasing, like this one.  There's a little bit of a mobius strip in this, in the fact that the figure seems to wind around itself in seemingly unlimited patterns.  I find it fascinating how people can see so many different images and actually make them real.

Kenneth Snelson, Needle Tower, 1968
I was reminded of the Eiffel Tower when I saw this tall sculpture by Kenneth Snelson.  Here's a really cool image I found online of  the perspective you get when liking directly up from inside the tower.  Pretty playful geometry.  Makes me almost appreciate math.

Go Here for the source.
My favorite thing in the sculpture garden was this installation by Yoko Ono.  It was a tree with hundreds of little paper tags all over it.  I think I can just include the plaque to explain what the goal was for her project.

Yoko Ono's an interesting woman.  She was part of this Neo-Dada movement called Fluxus, which prided itself in this free, do-it-yourself, performance-based artistic experience.  She's a huge advocate for peace and unity within the world.  This tree -- one of many planted across the globe -- is, to me, a symbol of how we all as human beings have something in common -- we all wish for something.  We all want to be happy.  I, like many, have the following wish:

...and I, like many, sometimes have trouble visualizing the reality of this wish.  But the reality and tangibility of this dream -- symbolized by its being written down and placed on the tree -- is there!  

Some other wishes I found on the tree that spoke to me:

This one I thought was just funny:

I really love this wish tree idea.  I'm glad I got to experience it in a quiet, serene environment.  The clouds were out, the tourisits were few, and my family was far behind me.  I was pretty much alone with this tree.  It was very nice.

Yoko Ono, Wish Tree, 2007

Alberto Giacometti, Monumental Head, 1960
Giacometti.  I think he's my favorite existentialist artist.  Mainly because he uses some pretty cool motifs and because his human figures actually look like how he wants them to feel.  Some even call him a surrealist.  Anyway, I immediately knew who was responsible for creating this morose-looking bust next to the Wish Tree.  They're quite a contrast from each other.

Henry Moore, King and Queen, 1952-53
The Sculpture Garden has tons of iconic works by famous artists that I immediately recognize from the textbooks I've had to read for my art history classes.  This one, I knew, was done by Moore.  His King and Queen motifs are seen all over the world. You can tell it's Moore by the simplification of the human form.  His works would grow to be even more simple and stylized as time goes on.

Auguste Rodin, Monument to Balzac, 1891-1898
I was really excited about this one.  Auguste Rodin's Monument to Balzac is very, very famous. 
Rodin was one of the first "impressionistic" sculptors; he allowed his technique to show through on his work, leaving a "painterly" quality of thumbprints and indentations from working the material.  Balzac was a pretty high and mighty guy; after being commissioned for this work, Rodin took a lot of... creative liberties with this work.  It looks nothing like the original Balzac and was rejected.  Only now, in modern times, can we appreciate the value of Rodin's deviance from the norm. This is a replication of the original, which is located in the Rodin Museum sculpture garden in Paris, France. 

I thought this was a pretty epic and inspired work, so I took a lot of pictures of it....

Funny... Rodin lived in the 1800s.  There aren't many artists from that age on display at the Hirshorn...

I guess that means Rodin was pretty modern for his time....

Auguste Rodin, The Burghers of Calais, 1884-1889
This is also a replication of a very famous work by Rodin, The Burghers of Calais.  Story: 
So back in the day, England laid siege to a city called Calais, and the city held out for so long, people started starving.  England said that they would spare the city, but only if it would offer the city's six strongest leaders as a sacrifice.  Those six burghers, walking to their doom, are the subject of this work. 

I think Rodin captures human personality very well.  Each of these burghers is showing a different emotion and demeanor.  Pretty cool...

Auguste Rodin, Walking Man, 1900
Another work by Rodin.  This one's a motion experiment called Walking Man.

Willem de Kooning, Clamdigger, 1972
Willem de Kooning was a whackjob if he saw images like this as "beautiful."  I think it looks like a child did it.  But of course, at such a grand scale as this, it would have to have been a pretty tall child with some pretty big hands.  And the title!  Clamdigger.  Fits eerily well, doesn't it? 

Henry Moore, 3-Way Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (Working Model), 1968 
More Moore.  I like this work because it really depicts the bone-like quality that the name suggests.  It's like a piece to a greater organic puzzle.

David Smith, Agricola I, 1951-1952
What a master, that David Smith.  All of his works are so unique and individual, but you know who created them right off the bat.  This one is called Agricola I, named after a Roman General.  Do you see the human-like quality of this piece?  I do.

David Smith, Voltri XV, 1962
Another David Smith work.  This one's probably named after another artist and created out of scrap metal.  Part of me really admires the "one man's trash" quality of David Smith's work.  He made this whole piece out of scrap metal.  It took very little time and the result is so simple and familiar.  

Ellsworth Kelly, Untitled, 1986
Kelly:  A Minimalist with some abstract expressionist flair.  He had a fascination for shapes and dimensions.  I feel like you can't really enjoy this untitled work unless you walk up to it and look at it from under the "fold."  Too bad they tell you not to touch the artwork at the Smithsonian.

Alexander Calder, Sky Hooks, 1962
What can I say, I just FREAKING LOVE CALDER, so I take a lot of pictures of his work.  I like this one because you can approach it from any angle and get something a little bit different.  It's like a journey that continues forever.

Dan Graham, For Gordon Bunshaft, 2006
My siblings and I had fun playing with this more recent work by Dan Graham.  It's titled For Gordon Bunshaft, who was the architect and designer for the Hirshhorn Museum's circular building.  Fitting that the work would be placed under its shadow.

The piece contains two-way mirrors, which lead to countless hours... er, minutes... of camera fun with the family.  

From the Hirshhorn website: "Graham has described these structures of mirror and wood as hybrids: one side derived from traditional Japanese architecture, while the other two sides allude to modern corporate architecture and Bunshaft’s design of the iconic Hirshhorn building."

The only problem:  I can't get a good picture of my sister with Graham's piece without taking a picture of my annoying, camera-toting self as well.  

It was still a great piece.  I think it's purpose is to include the living generation in the artistic movements of both the past and future.  Thus the two-way mirror.

As seen from above. 

David Smith, Cubi XII, 1963
Okay, this piece is one of many iconic pieces that you HAVE to see when you visit DC.  His Cubi are works of mastery.  Why?  Well, first of all, even though the work is made out of steel -- man-made -- it resembles and echoes natural, organic processes of crystallization and mineral growth.  Second of all, it combines a minimalist block-style with the abstract expressionist freedom by its artistic scratches on the metal.  The work changes throughout the day, depending on the light and reflection of the work.  And you, yourself, can be seen in its reflection.  SUCH a cool piece.  

David Smith, Pittsburgh Landscape, 1954
Here's another modernist twist that David Smith has created.  While modernist critics lauded David Smith for creating "ideal" sculptures that emphasize sculptural qualities, this work seems to echo a painting.  It's even called a LANDSCAPE.  There's little dimension to it; it looks almost drawn on a 2D surface made of air.  I find it pretty cool how Smith was able to thwart his critic contemporaries and make something that blends two artistic worlds together. 

A detail of Pittsburgh Landscape

Anthony Caro, Monsoon Drift, 1975
I think the title for this work by Caro is so fitting, but I really can't find the words to describe exactly why.  Perhaps it represents the cloud cover as the monsoon season rises and falls.  Or perhaps it's the waves of an overflowing river.  Or perhaps it's just representative of plate tectonics... I don't know, but it's a piece I love to look at again and again.

Mark de Suvero, Are Years What?(for Marianne Moore), 1967
My final piece I will show you in this long and arduous post is this one, by Mark de Suervo.  He liked to use I-beams in his modernist sculptures.  Unlike some of the works by Smith, this piece is GREATLY sculptural.  It's mobile, for one thing, so the piece moves through multiple stages in the third dimension.  And furthermore, it's made out of hard-and-fast modern material: steel.  The red color adds to an industrial feel.  

This is a Calder-like work.  You can look at it from any angle and see something completely different each time.  

It's also a very big work.  Like a jungle-gym of I-beams.

The title, which means so much, yet never enough to satisfy you.  The title is based off a poem by Marianne Moore, called "What Are Years"

What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
   naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt,—
dumbly calling, deafly listening—that
in misfortune, even death,
      encourages others
      and in its defeat, stirs

   the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
   accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
      in its surrendering
      finds its continuing.

   So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
   grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
      This is mortality,
      this is eternity.

Listening to:  Nothing at the moment.
Things going on Today:  Teach two-year-olds about the clarinet, Women's Chorus concert, Stake Conference, Halloween Party
Blessings:  Weekends, schedules that work.
Learned:  See above.  Plus more.