i love mike alger.

So, Mike recently started a vlog. With great enthusiasm, I added it to my blog list (!), but this one is so good that I have to post it here:

(Mike is a cameraman/editor for the local KJZZ station. The footage is from their morning news show.)


would i date you?

So I followed the link on Wayne's blog and couldn't resist posting the results myself:

Your dating personality profile:

Religious - Faith matters to you. It is the foundation that you build your life upon. You trust that God has a plan for you.
Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Adventurous - Just sitting around the house is not something that appeals to you. You love to be out trying new things and really experiencing life.
Your Top Ten Traits

1. Religious
2. Liberal
3. Adventurous
4. Intellectual
5. Athletic
6. Big-Hearted
7. Practical
8. Traditional
9. Outgoing
10. Stylish
Your date match profile:

Shy - You are put off by people who are open books. You are drawn to someone who is a bit more mysterious. You want to draw him out of his shell and get to know what he is all about.
Religious - You seek someone who is grounded in faith and who possesses religious values. You believe that a religious person can enhance your life.
Practical - You are drawn to people who are sensible and smart. Flashy, materialistic people turn you off. You appreciate the simpler side of living.
Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Shy
2. Religious
3. Practical
4. Intellectual
5. Traditional
6. Adventurous
7. Big-Hearted
8. Athletic
9. Wealthy/Ambitious
10. Stylish

Take the Dating Profile Quiz at Would I Date You
I don't know how much I trust these quizzes. (They certainly can't determine which gender Whitney is,) but my curiosity always seduces me into taking them.



Just in time for halloween. And once again, compliments of Karisa Price. I could've never done this without her help.

It looks better bigger, but I'm certainly no expert.


soft & cheesy.

Does anyone want to drive to LA this weekend and audition for a fashion design reality show (like "Project Runway")? (I'm being totally serious.)

Here is my piece for the Utah Food Bank benefit art show:

It's made of 100% wool, stuffed with 100% cotton, and the little brown ends are made of corduroy. All of the pieces in the show will be displayed in a vending machine and on sale for $1 or $2. All proceeds go to the Food Bank.

Oh yeah, you guys can tell what it is, right?


take the hip hop challenge.

Here is the first track off of the very first Roots album. (the pic is of Questlove, their amazing drummer and producer.) I dare you to rhyme along with this song and not like it. You'll see how satisfying it is to rap along with a really good MC (and a great beat.) Just start the player and learn the first 2 lines:

"I rip the vocal backflip yo the kid is a bad bro
I can drip it hipper than a dip to calyp-so. . ."

Here are the rest of the words if you're feeling pro:

"A-dios, amigo, which means I gots ta g-o
Makes you wonder bout my number
Guess my address or my p.o., here’s a hint:
I’m from phila with a del but not the rio
Well, I’m guessing here is like exactly where the phi go
Now, we got the phila-del-phi
why not top it off with an a?
The philadelphiadic rhythmatic way
I’m straight from philly
Silly but rugged than a hill-billy
Just like I said before I sport my skully when it’s chilly
My cap is from the lay up, my bows from the gilly
The roots, is out to blow up like a clip from out the milli
Or the oo-wop, I do drop, gizantic, the crew wop
From out the darkest field I goes to pick the funk crop
You can’t deny the props so stop before your fronts
Get loosened, introducing, the roots y’all..."

Truly, one of the things I love most about hip hop is that it belongs to me and only me. What I mean is that I don't associate it with anyone. All of the old music from my past that I loved so well belongs to different people in my memory. I have to think of whether or not I really want to go back to that person or place before I pop it in or not.

My relationship with hip hop began in the isolation of repetitive factory work; but it distracted me so well, that I don't associate it with the factory, either. I just enjoy it for how it sounds and how it makes me feel.

To me, hip hop feels fun. I love how the beats can keep me awake when I am falling asleep on the road or when I'm not working quickly enough at the factory. It perks me up if I'm feeling grouchy or overwhelmed. If I turn it on and start rhyming along, I can always make it long enough to reach my immediate destination.


i'm it too.

Okay, so Marie tagged me. I'm supposed to post 7 random things about myself and then tag 7 other people to do the same.
In classic Laura passive-aggressive style, I will post the 7 random things myself, but I refuse to tag anyone else. I accept whatever bad luck that may come as a result.

1. Favorite color

2. Recently fell in love with this scent. If anyone wants to indulge me for my birthday or christmas...

3. Dream jobs:

Stay at home mom who's only necessary job is raising her own children (for reals.)
Graphic novelist.
Couture fashion designer.
Hip hop d.j. (who is ultra-good at scratching.)

4. I eat brown bananas on a regular basis to prove to myself that I can.

5. I am allergic to all metals, with the exception of titanium and platinum. I wear only plastic or wooden earrings as you'll see here (photo by Karisa Price):

I am also allergic to my tears. Nobody believes me, but I get little rashy trails where they fall down my cheeks if I don't wipe them off quickly enough. I prefer to cry in the shower.

6. I am a part of a demographic, but I don't know anyone else in it. I discovered this one day on thegiantpeach.com. They've got my pinned. I would buy everything off this website if I could.

7. I would marry this guy if he were mormon:

here's why:


digo contigo.

On Friday night I went alone to a book signing in Salt Lake. The solitude of the evening felt more like liberation than loneliness. I played my music loudly and reveled in all of the songs that I would've been embarrassed to listen to if I'd brought a friend along.
I heard about the book signing for Exodus on Radiowest's Thursday program. This image on the front cover is what compelled me to drive up and attend:
"It's acres and acres of desert, covered with thrown away panties, braziers, trousers, blouses, day packs, shoes, cosmetics, and empty food cans. And what you see is what you call a dump site; a drop point. (This) picture is taken 40 mi. north of the border. Mexicans have walked several days to get there. They're met by vans that have clothing bought at a Walmart. When they strip naked and get in this new clothing, they get in the van. Then they're taken to a stash house ... then they're shipped around the United States. What you're looking at there, is a Statue of Liberty. What you're looking at is Ellis Island. What you're looking at is where millions of Americans enter the United States."
- Charles Bowden (photo by Julian Cardona)

Afterward I drove to my brother Carl's apartment so he could help me with Spanish. He taught me how to say "I am _____-ing" and " I am going to ______."
I love studying Spanish with Carl. We get all tired and giggly. We laughed ourselves to tears once when I mistakenly used the word for "pig" (cochina) in place of the word for "kitchen" (cocina.) It always feels a little bit like it did when we were best friends as kids.


elephant in the room.

(a painting I did of my dad holding my brother)

A while ago I was speaking with a friend over the phone who said he didn't believe in monogamy.

"I think that when couples stay together for years it's really just for the sake of their relationship. I feel like they must be suppressing their feelings of dissatisfaction. How can someone be be fully satisfied by one other person for the rest of their life? It must be elephant in the room that they avoid..."

Especially because I'm mormon, I've spent a lot of time dreaming of the possible joys of monogamy.

"I just really do think it's possible. I mean, I look at the example of my parents. I was so worried about how they'd do with just the two of them together when all of the kids left, but they're fine. I worry sometimes that me moving back home kind of ruined it for them. They are so happy together. I think the only big elephant in the room of their relationship is that my dad has prostate cancer..."

And it's true. I grew up in a home of free discussion; where penis and vagina weren't dirty words (when used in the proper context) and where punishment for misdeeds in high school included a long lecture on the couch. I've always been proud of the open nature of communication that my family shares.

But on this one issue, my dad's cancer, it's hard to get much information. Of course it makes sense, but the silence surrounding it leaves me with an unpleasant sense of its gravity.

My dad recently received the results of his first blood test following his radiation treatment. I received calls from both of my sisters.
"Laura, do you know what's really going on with this? Mom says that the doctor said his PSA count is what he thought it would be. What does this even mean?"
Of course I didn't know what to tell them, and when I later asked my mom for more details, I left the conversation with little sense of clarity.

All of this has led to a silence of my own. I can't tell my dad how much I love him all in one gushing burst of emotion because it would acknowledge that massive, awkward elephant. I end up congratulating him and thanking him for small things instead.

"Thanks for mowing the lawn, dad."

"Thanks for taking my letters to the post office."

My parents have heated the house with a coal-burning furnace my whole life and I learned to resent it. I've blamed my allergies on it and have hated that my clothes always faintly smell of coal dust.
Last weekend when the weather turned cold, my dad lit it again. When he tinkers in the furnace, you can hear the clinking noises from anywhere in the house as they echo through the pipes. Lately, when I can smell the coal dust on my clothes or hear the clinking of the pipes, I know it's my dad keeping me warm and I feel loved.

"Thanks for lighting the furnace, dad. I can feel heat coming through the kitchen vents."


miniature surprise party.

For drawing class on Wednesday, we took a small field trip the the MOA (Museum of Art) on campus. We were all waiting in a line to check our bags into the coat room since they're not actually allowed in the museum and I started looking through the free brochures at the front desk.
I picked this up:

And then flipped it over:
CUte! Then I hurriedly flipped others over to see if mine really was unique. Of course it was.

Thanks to whoever drew on the back of my MOA mailing sign-up. It made me smile for a long time.


the strangest tip i will ever hear from a teacher at byu.

I attended an art opening at the Central Utah Arts Center on Friday night. (The picture above is from the exhibition.) I wrote up a little report on it for my 2D design class and handed it to my teacher yesterday just as class was ending.

"So, how was the show?"
"It was fine; I had a nice time. . ."
"And who all was there?"
I begin to answer and at this point the conversation somehow drifts to the unusual. He starts telling me about how one of his artist friends who's making it big in galleries all over Europe is actually sleeping with female critics and gallery owners and that's essentially why his work is being shown.
"But," he adds, "if you're female you don't really have to take it that far."
"Oh no, for real, females can just wield their womanly whiles without doing anything technically immoral."
"But I would never do that!"
"Of course you wouldn't, and I'm not telling you to. It's just that art is ruled by money the way all other institutions are. There are things people do to get ahead."
"Good thing I'm just a graphic design major."
"Yeah, you probably won't have to sink that far..."

Really my teacher is a guy who just graduated with an MFA in sculpture at BYU and hates the fact that he is teaching at the school he just graduated from.

(This is a drawing of a pencil sharpener that I had to do in his class.)

But I'll admit that our discussion did get me thinking...not that I'm planning on climbing any kind of social ladder through immoral deeds, but I think there are little things in this vein of social functioning that occur on a fairly regular basis.

For example, I've noticed that one of my scuba instructors may find me attractive enough to give me just a little extra attention. It's not like he's done anything that could be misconstrued as anything inappropriate and I'm not accusing him of that.
But two weeks ago he offered to let me put my scuba gear in the back of his truck when we were done diving so that he could take it back to the shop and put it away for me. Everyone else has to drive there the next day and lug all that heavy equipment in and put it away themselves.
During class time and while we dive he talks to me quite a bit and gives me just a few more high fives than the average pupil regularly receives.

For class this week, I decided to take the equipment back to my car and lug it all myself. I drove to the scuba shop this morning, pulled right up to the doors (because that equipment is waaay to heavy to drag across the parking lot), and started unloading my stuff. Before I could even grab all of it, my scuba teacher emerged from the doors of the shop.
"I thought you were gonna put your stuff in the back of my truck again."
"Uh... yeah, I just forgot I guess..."
He grabs the bag of gear from my hands.
"Well hey, I'll just take it all in for you. Don't worry about it putting away; I've got it."
"Really? Thanks. That's so nice of you."
"Sure, no problem; have a good day."
"Yeah, you too."

Do I feel bad about this? Probably not; as long as it doesn't go much further than that. But, at the core, I confess I do feel just a little uncomfortable; like I wonder if I'm really doing the right thing to allow the slightly special treatment to go on.


The 2 cats in the world that I like.

I was walking with a friend on campus today when he saw a friend of his I didn't know. The stranger was introduced to me as "Jeff" and I waited while they spoke briefly. As we were walking away, my friend said,"It's funny, because I want you to feel the same affinity I have for Jeff, but there's just no possible way I can transfer that to you so automatically."

I can certainly identify with this. There are a lot of people that I want the whole world to discover and appreciate for who they are. And no matter how much I blog about these people, it will probably never work.

I can, however, think of one exception to this rule: Zina and her cats.

I think most everyone knows that I hate cats. I am terribly allergic and I find their skittish personalities annoying.

Zina, on the other hand, loves her cats more than I've seen any other mentally healthy person love their animals. And somehow, during my weekend at the ranch, this seemingly irrational affinity towards her cats magically transferred to me.
It's not like I really got to "know" the cats better or spent "quality time" with the cats; it's that Zina seriously loves her cats so much, that you can't invalidate her affection with any degree of sincerity without feeling traitorous and brutal. To minimize or despise the cats' presence at the ranch might create palpable feelings of tension.

So I even started talking to them and was very careful to wash my hands after petting. They are pretty cool cats in the sense that they are incredibly unique (photos compliments of Karisa Price):

This is Reuben, who I allowed to sit in my lap and drool at least a half cup of saliva on my arm as I pet him.

And here is Hans, who is really the most beautiful house cat I've ever seen. His fur is sooo soft.

Reuben even made it into one of my sketches. This is Morgan, sleeping in front of a parabolic space heater in the lodge. You'll notice Reuben in the bottom-right corner.

And here is a picture of all of us who went on a Sunday "walk" where two of us got lost in the wilderness and missed half of the final conference session. (Per mom's request. Obviously the other girl is Zina.)

It was the best conference weekend of my life.



Another great artifact from foundmagazine.com. Yep boyz, it's being a gentleman that makes all the difference.

Period cramps. Is "cramp" really a good word to describe them? I feel like a cramp is something that your hand does when you've been writing a really long essay. It is not something that prevents you from attending work/school. (which is not what I did, but really wanted to do.) Words like "stab", "destruction", and "rupture" come to my mind. Certainly not "cramp". But maybe there is something/graceful about minimalizing the name for these unpleasantries.


people are animals, but animals are not people.

I complimented a girl in my art class on the jacket she was wearing.
"Oh; yeah, thanks."
It looks like an amazing vintage find.

"Where did you get it?"
"Forever 21. It was pretty inexpensive but has such a great biker look. And I was so happy that it wasn't really leather."
"Huh. Did you know about that civil rights case involving them?"
"No, I guess not."

I went on to explain what I knew about it. Let me save some time filling y'all in by inserting a clip from a 2001 LA Times article:

The lawsuit by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center named 19 workers who allegedly sewed, ironed or packed Forever 21 clothing six days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day, for far less than the minimum wage. The 19 worked for six different contractors who produced clothing for the company, the suit said, suggesting the problems were not isolated.

The suit also claimed contractors altered time cards to reduce hours, and later fired several workers when they complained to state investigators during a sweep.

(keep in mind, this all occurred in LA)

The girl with the jacket went on to explain that concern over sweatshops was just something she didn't know that much about and that she'd selected other issues to express active concern about.

Me: Obviously you're concerned with animal rights issues; but aren't people more important than animals? I feel like people are dying under the weight of america's demand for cheap goods.

Her: But I figure these people wouldn't have jobs otherwise. It gives them some source of income...

I would invite anyone who agrees with that argument to work in a nice sweat shop (aka Beehive Clothing) for just 8 hrs. Then imagine working double that length of time with no air conditioning, toxic chemicals wafting through the air, bad equipment, and insects. I feel like as people we've got to do better than this and cannot buy that as a sufficient excuse.

I wanted to say that maybe if she could see the skins of people who have died in sweatshop labor all tanned and stretched and made into shoes (and jackets), maybe she would feel differently.

Maybe the thing I'm most bothered by is that I think people tend to fight for issues that are trendy with their crowd.
I admittedly wouldn't care so much if I'd never worked in garment manufacturing.

(for the record, Forever 21 was forced to clean up their act.)