Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shall I Tell You of Our Rockin' Weekend?

Friday: Believe it or not, Roo and I are cool enough to be in a garage band. We had our first official practice in Ryan’s basement…so I guess technically we are a basement
band. So far we are doing covers of popular songs we like—from Weezer to The Cure to Tom Petty. We have an amazing drummer, two awesome guitarists/singers, and a smokin’ hot bass player. Meanwhile, I play a few notes on the keyboard to maintain my place in the band. We hope to get gigs wherever we can. So if you or anyone you know is looking for a totally sweet live band, you know where I blog…

Saturday: On Friday, we were introduced to a small culinary gem—a little diner called the Left Fork Grill. Our lunch schnitzel was so good on Friday, we went back for more lunch schnitzel on Saturday. While enjoying our yummy, fresh, homemade food, we conversed:
Roo: Who do you think would win—Courtney Love or Gollum?
(this is a game we like to play, pitting comparable people against one another to determine who would win in an all out fight, and who is overall superior. It re
quires much deep thought.)
Annie: hmmmm….
Roo: Let’s ask Jordan. (my brother, an expert at this type of analysis)
Jordan (via text): Love definitely has the advantage of intimidating looks. I think if she uses some of her lyrics from Hole Songs, she is almost unstoppable.

After having recognized the awful power of Courtney Love at the Left Fork Grill, we began a search for the most festive Christmas sweaters we could find. Our plan is to take a family portrait of my entire family with us all wearing the most unbearably gaudy Christmas sweaters possible. I found mine at Ross for $14. It is turquoise with embroidered Santas and lots of sparkles and pom-poms. I knew it had to be mine. DI was a gold mine—there we bought six or seven equally awesome, thick-knit, sparkling sweaters for the rest of the family. Roo spotted his special item across the store—he had to pull it off the display. It is a light denim collared shirt with a giant Christmas tree and Santa appliqué across the chest. Santa’s hat even has a bell sewn on it—this was its biggest selling point for us. The more jingly, as far a Christmas apparel goes, the better. Roo plans to wear the shirt tucked in.
The girl at the check out stand tried to ignore my incessant giggling during the transaction.

That night, my whole family came over to watch the BYU game. We surprised them all with the Christmas sweaters and the Christmas spirit was not to be suppressed the rest of the night…until the game started and BYU totally stunk. No amount of crocheted reindeer could stave off the blunt agony of that game.

“Well,” we all said, “at least we have a concert to go to after this!”
Thankfully, we had Coldplay at the Energy Solutions Arena to rock away our troubles. The whole family—mom, dad, three brothers and their three wives, a wife’s brother, Roo, and me all caravanned over to hear our favorite, long awaited concert event of the year.

In 2003 I saw them at Saltair (which is totally haunted, but I was on the second row so the awesomeness of that outweighed the creepiness of the venue). Then I converted the rest of the family and we all saw them in Vegas is 2006. I am grateful for the tradition we started because this time was completely amazing, fantastic, phenomenal!

And with that the weekend came full circle—it started out rockin’ in the basement and it ended rockin’ in the arena…as all weekends were meant to end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

In Conclusion...

We had an interesting final night in Las Vegas. The first half was spent at In N' Out, where we took one of our fellow students (Sam who is from New Zealand) and over hamburgers, answered about an hour's worth of his questions about Mormons (who are not, in fact, the same as the Amish. Sorry to disappoint, Sam.) From there, we traded Sam for Noel who, by 10 pm, had already had plenty to drink...and we all went up the Strip and back in time 30 years to the Riviera hotel, where the cocktail waitresses qualify for senior discounts and most of the late night patrons were there when the Rat Pack was. There we saw "The Fab Four", a Beatles cover band. Though really quite good, the band was playing to an audience of about 30 people, most of whom were over 60. Needless to say, when Paul told everyone to "twist and shout", he put a lot of hips in danger of dislocating. Roo and I cheered loudly to compensate for the small audience, meanwhile, Noel simply stared at the stage while nursing the second drink he'd had within the hour.

It was the quintessential Las Vegas evening. And as we were leaving the "concert", Noel made a comment which I would say sums up our entire week's experience in Las Vegas: he slurred, "That was pretty much badass."
Indeed it was Noel, indeed it was.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spy Training...

Today Alisa went rock climbing and I obtained her ID badge so I could sneak into the exhibition hall to use the free internet. I feel extremely dishonest, but wildly exhilarated. Since I want to become a spy anyway, Roo says that this will be a great point for my spy resume--the time I used a fake badge to sneak into the SEG Convention. 

It was either that or attend lectures with titles like: 
Improvements in reservoir modeling of compressional structures.
Three-dimensional electromagnetic holographic imaging in offshore petroleum exploration.

Can you blame me for my deceit?

I had better stop writing now, I think the Spaniard across from me suspects something...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Casino Fun

Every day after the convention, we have to make the long trek through the endless stream of human debris back to the Excalibur, which is not unlike Frodo's trek to Mordor--a seemingly never-ending journey into darkness and pure evil.  Anyway, while we're making our way there, we like to play this game: the first person to find someone playing a slot machine who actually looks happy wins.

Neither one of us has ever won.

Las Vegas: Days 1-2.5

We have come to Las Vegas for the SEG (Society of E [engineering, eclectic, energetic?] Geophysicists) Conference. I know, you are thinking, "How fun, you lucky ducks!" Well, let me aggravate your jealousy by telling you how we spent day 1:

We spent the morning shuffling our various pets to various pet-sitters and then drove with Alisa (another Master's student from Roo's program. She likes yoga and talks mostly about rock climbing, and when I met her for the first time that day, she was illegally climbing over a high fence at a closed car shop around 1700 South in Salt Lake where we picked her up.)  
We arrived in Las Vegas around 6 pm and checked into the armpit of Las Vegas where we would be staying: The Excalibur. I couldn't have asked for a more authentic campy, kitschy, white-trash haven! The lobby is dank with cheap cigarette smoke, the carpet dates from the Nixon administration, and there are live strippers on the casino floor. After walking past said stripper a few times (due to the fact that our keys did not work once we reached our room) we decided that this had been the least holy Sabbath in a while. After we heard on the news that there were protesters outside all the temples in California, I hunkered down in bed with the blaring lights of the Excalibur sign outside our window and waited for the world to end. 

Day 2: Since the world did not end, we decided to head to the Round Table Buffet for breakfast and afterwards vowed to never eat at the Round Table Buffet again. Since the conference is in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, we had to walk over a mile (seriously) through casinos and winding stairways and halls to get to the convention center. It is an excellent visual representation of social stratification: We begin with the proletariats of The Excalibur--buxom women in too-tight Minnie Mouse shirts and 3 foot tall margarita cups. From there you ascend into the bourgeoisie of the Luxor where the carpet is only a decade old. Then comes the Mandalay Bay--with its crystal chandeliers and marble floors--where the ruling class wears cuff links and makes reservations for dinner.
While Roo wandered around the convention, I wait outside in the plush chairs and work on my computer. I look thoroughly out of place--a 22 year old girl amid thousands of brilliant professors and businessmen from nearly every oil and resource company on earth. I like sticking out.
We took a break from the convention and drove what felt like two hours to get two miles down the Strip to the mall. I bought a lovely blue silk dress and yellow high heels to wear to our party that night. It was a private dinner with the big-wigs who sponsor Roo's professor. Again, I was definitely out of place, but the lasagna was good. 
While the rest of the group went out drinking, Roo and I stayed and heckled The Hills and the local news before watching the Pink Panther on our laptop while eating Swedish Fish. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Six Quirks for Amy...

I have six quirks. They are:

1. Sandwiches make me nervous. When I eat one, I prefer to separate each entity (meat, cheese, lettuce etc.) and eat it separately. Sandwich form is far too unpredictable--stuff starts falling out of the bread right as you are about to bite it, plus you never know what you're going to get in each bite. Some people call that variety...I call it chaos. This principle also applies to wraps and hamburgers. You eat a hamburger--I eat a patty, then some lettuce, then a tomato, and finish off with the bun.
2. I almost always save my favorite outfit for Friday.
3. I cannot do a layup or touch my toes by bending over. I'm grouping those together under the quirk-heading: Athletic Prowess hates me.
4. Every number, letter, and shape has its own color in my mind. For example: the letter A is red, circles are blue, and 47 is lime green whenever I think about them.
5. I don't like eating ice cream in a bowl. It has to be in a cup with milk poured over it.
6. I can't count in my head. Whenever I am adding or subtracting, I have to count out-loud and use my fingers.