Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So I Married a Genius. A Handsome, Hilarious Genius.

This? Is my husband. Speaking at a TEDx conference. (Sorry, people. He's taken.) But if you click right here, or press play below, you can see his presentation on Trans-Media Storytelling, plus some of the millions of reasons I'm crazy about him. (Starting with the red shoes.) LOVE!

Monday, June 13, 2011

THE LIST. Plus Two More Lists of My Own.

I read this book quite awhile ago...almost the second it came out. Why? Because my friend wrote it. And because I adore her, it had to be good! 

I'll be honest — Initially I had the hardest time getting over the idea that the main character had supposedly been a missionary, and yet she was SO SHALLOW.  In fact, I tried as hard as I could not to like the main character, because she was too pretty, and too knew-she-was-pretty, and then, you know, the shallow thing.  I spent about 2/3 of the book being mad at this person who doesn't even exist! But then I kept not being able to not like her (yeah, I rock double negatives when I have to) because she is also SO FUNNY. Like laugh-out-loud, clever, Gilmore Girls funny. I was totally sucked in. I couldn't put it down.

So what fuels the plot is sort of a bucket list—a list of all the things she solidly MUST DO before she gets married. (And again, some of these items are respectable, and others are completely shallow, like Get A Sports Car.) And the list has this power over her that is other-worldly. I kept thinking, Wait — you wouldn't PRAY about finding the right guy, and try to listen to the spirit? Something that makes more sense in my world? So I also tried not to like The List itself. (Not the book. Just the list.)

And then I realized that, list or not, I had checked off a majority of the exact same items myself before I got married. So I mentally started checking off The List. And then I pulled out some sticky notes and started writing in my own checkmarks, and here's what I came up with:

Items on The List I Somehow Managed to Check Off Myself Before I Got Married:  
(even though I didn't have a List, per se)
1. Climb a mountain: Check - Angel's Landing
2. See a show on Broadway: Check, plus one better: two shows in London
3. Sing Karaoke: Didn't exist back then?
4. Read all the standard works: Check
5. Get a master's Degree: Nope.
6. Study Abroad: Check
7. Serve a mission: Check (although it seems sort of glib and irreverent to check off something as life-changing as a mission.)
8. Learn to make sushi: Almost. I had an offer.
9. Own a pair of Louboutins: Never heard of 'em
10. Complete a triathlon: No.
11. Snowboard on a black diamond trail: No (snowboarding wasn't even born yet)
12. Read a Russian classic: Check
13. Learn to surf: No desire. I saw the gory goose-egg my dad got surfing!
14. Visit Europe: Check
15. Do an (overseas) humanitarian project: Still my lifelong dream...I even have a savings account devoted to it
16. Get a sports car: Check (Toyota Celica—looked like a speeding bullet)
17. Have a summer fling: Check  (During #6, above)
18. Take a cruise: Was supposed to be our honeymoon, but we cashed it in and did the I-15 honeymoon instead...St George, Las Vegas, Los Angeles...
19. Skydive: No desire. (Plus, Im rather fond of being alive.)
20. Learn a foreign language: Check
21. Publish a poem: Check
22. Learn to play guitar: Nope (I wish)
23. Be a movie extra: Check. (Does a student film count?)
24. Try internet dating: Didn't exist...
25. Learn to tango. Check (sort of)

So? I surrendered. In a big, big way. And now I proudly present:

Lounging in Laguna, by Jana Winters Parkin
25 Things I love about The List: (The whole book)
1.  Star Wars Band-Aid 
(plus the first line that cracked me up: "Nice band-aid.")
2.  Naturally curly hair that doesn't always cooperate

3.  Not a blonde bimbo
4.  Gilmore Girls-esque dialogue
5.  Megan's colored pencils
6.  Frayed shorts
7.  Awkward wetsuit dance
8.  Witty comebacks I wish I 
had said
9.  Laguna Beach
10. The fascinating deaf girl (especially knowing where Melanie got the inspiration for her.)
11. "Dude, nice doilies!" (hahaha!)
12. "Insincerity dripped like venom from her invisible fangs."
13. "I surrender the title of Loser Magnet. It's yours."
14. "Chasing after babies in a full body cast seems like an awful lot of trouble."
15.  Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter: "Your cereal's gross." 
16. "You can't have any no matter how nicely you ask."
17. "That's why I'm a dictatorship of one."
18. "Come over to the dark side." (brunette
19.  Hiding chocolate behind wheat germ
20. Hallelujah chorus
21. "It was exhausting to miss him so much."
22. Kenny! 
23. And his band!
24. Kissing and more kissing
25. Redemption

And see? there were so many, I didn't even have to add: My friend wrote it! (I'm so excited for her.)
So...What should top your vacation packing list?
The List. By Melanie Jacobson. Perfect Summer Read. 

(And she doesn't even know I'm posting this!)

p.s. Summer is now in session!