My sister Miriam wrote this. It is so good, I figured I didn't really have to write my own version. And it expresses my experience with AVATAR quite well:

The whole family went to Avatar today except Marie, Mike and the little children. None of us were excited about the plot synopsis, but it was AVATAR, so we had to go. Laura and I were the ones who waited for everyone with the tickets. This gave us time to eat a baked potato and look around.
Laura: "Ohhhh. They used papyrus font for the Avatar poster. This isn't going to be good."
Me: "Ya?"
Laura: "It just looks bad. They spend millions of dollars on a film and then get graphic designers who use PAPYRUS. No. What were they thinking?"
Me: (Laughing) "It's like public health."
Laura: " Huh?"
Me: "After learning about public health, you question every statistic the media throws at you. I mean like did they stratify for age, socioeconomic status, and activity level? That kind of stuff. You become suspicious of everything when you know something about public health and here you are suspicious of everything because of the typefaces they use."
Laura: (laughing) "I am suspicious of Avatar."

So we went in, a little late by the time all of the tickets were distributed and we waded through upset people to our pre-assigned seats. About a half hour in, I felt something slide off of my lap and looked down. The sleeve of my coat had shifted and it's a heavy lambskin coat so I thought I might be able to feel a sleeve shifting because it is a bulky coat. I briefly considered that my purse may have slipped off of my lap but I just decided to search around after the movie.

It ended. It was long. At one point, I had looked at Laura and said
"I have to pee so bad."
"Me too. We only have 45 minutes left. "
We made it. It had cost the two of us ~$20 to stare at a movie screen for 3 hours and the special effects were worth it. However, Laura's suspicions about the story, characters, and romance were validated. Most importantly, we got to go to the bathroom.
I looked around for my purse. I couldn't find it. I started searching under the seats around me. The girl sitting on my left wanted to get past and I wasn't letting her. I wanted to see if my purse had somehow ended up in her bag. I finally told her I was looking for my purse to see how she responded and she said very sweetly.
"Oh. Well let me get out of your way."

I have no idea what to do when you think someone has stolen your purse, but you are in no way sure. I mean I couldn't just start frisking people or going through their bags. I considered what was in my purse. A credit card, a debit card, a drivers license, temple recommend, Costco membership, various grocery store discount cards and three pieces of peppermint Trident. I had just payed my dad back with my last $20, left my phone, camera and ipod at home and I had even commented earlier that my purse was looking worn out. I let her go past, looked a bit more for my purse, went to the lost and found, and then called and put a hold on my credit card and cancelled my debit card. I panicked later when I realized I didn't know where my keys were, but they were in my backpack after all.

When I get back to Merced, I will get to spend about 3 hours at the DMV, staring at pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger and it will cost me ~ $20 for a new drivers license.


found my place.

My dad is a designer. Not of letters, shapes, or colors, but of electrical currents, circuit boards, switches, and wires. My parents' house is presently equipped to be powered by a windmill. The walls are doubly insulated for better temperature control and the windows were purposefully kept small for the same purpose. It's been heated by a coal-burning furnace for the last 25 years because of the unbeatable cost/heat ratio. If you haven't seen my parents' house before, it looks utilitarian in essence, like a really big white storage shed.

I once told him over some physics homework, "Dad, I think you are more fluent in math than in English." He smiled and seemed to relish this remark. I think I've heard him retell it a few times. I really meant it. I think he interprets the world through numbers. Numerical efficiency comes first. Things are measured in concrete terms and meant for analysis. Factors earning top consideration are only measurable, physical elements: inertia, mass, density, time, speed, etc. He complains when electronic devices were not so carefully designed with these things in mind.

Thinking of my dad in this way makes me feel linked to him, although everything I design considers almost no measurable values. I try to consider tone, readability, and composition first. I see the world through this lens and complain when I come across visual information that was not so carefully designed with these things in mind.


i am not a robot.

Luke posted this on his blog in August and it's never left my brain.

Marina & The Diamonds, "I Am Not A Robot" from Neon Gold Records on Vimeo.


love struck.

I don't even care if I look like an anime nerd for posting this: Howl's Moving Castle is one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen. I could write a ten page essay in support of this argument and carry on lengthy conversations, but I'll spare everyone and simply enjoy this hopeful spark it has left in my heart...


home for holidays.

Isn't this a little scary?I find myself feeling just a little creeped out every time those green eyes twinkle at me as I'm using the bathroom at my parents' home this Christmas season.

Also, this quote gets me so excited that I'm studying graphic design. I'd love to claim someday that I am, in fact, a real typographer:

"In a world rife with unsolicited messages, typography must often draw attention to itself before it will be read. Yet in order to be read, it must relinquish the attention it has drawn. Typography with anything to say therefore aspires to a kind of statuesque transparency. Its other traditional goal is durability: not immunity to change, but a clear superiority to fashion. Typography at its best is a visual form of language linking timelessness and time."

- The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Thanks to Luke for this book recommendation. (I found an older edition in the BYU library.)



A boy in the graphic design program once told me I was a bit cold.
"Cold?! I think people would describe me as anything but that."
I pushed the topic a bit in an attempt to better understand, but he seemed uncomfortable elaborating.

During a particularly painful break-up this year I remember saying something ridiculous along the lines of, "I will recover quickly from this. I always do. This doesn't compare to what I've experienced in the past."

After I divorced, I submerged myself in school. I took 9 credits during spring term and none of them involved art. It was physical science, history, and English. I got a 3.7 and it almost killed me. During that time I never cried about my broken marriage. After a certain point I never even thought about it.

I think the rate of this pattern has only increased. Not only has my school schedule become more difficult each and every subsequent semester, but I have been dating in succession for almost exactly an entire year.

I've never even stopped long enough to feel the painful dissolve of the last relationship or what it meant to me in my life. I've attempted to be logical and rational and never let emotional things affect my work ethic.

I am not necessarily vowing to take a break from dating. (I once told my therapist that I should do this and he combated the remark with: "If you wanted to get better at baseball would you stop practicing?")
But already, this slight downtime from school and relationships has allowed me a better sense of my losses. I'll let it happen. I might even cry for once.



Last week a man who was late bringing sacrament bread to church hit my car head-on. I didn't even watch him cross over into my lane, he was already driving in it. Fortunately we were both moving slowly because the roads were thick with snow, but it's still likely that my car was totaled.
I was upset that it happened right before finals week.

The previous Friday I experienced my semester-end review where you meet with all of the graphic design faculty in one room. I slapped my dog-eared stack of process work down on the table. One professor grabbed it and shuffled through it a bit as another stood over his shoulder.
"Laura, have you had a lot of personal stuff going on this semester?"
I lied without thought. "No, not really."
"Where is all your work? Is this it?"
My stomach tightens like it's just been punched.
"Yeah. This is it. But I feel like I've been working really hard."
"She's here all the time," another professor pipes in.
"Maybe you just have a hard time making decisions."
"Yes, that could be the case," says another.

I stayed at school that night scanning new images and checking type options until a custodian kicked me out of the building. "I will prove them wrong, I will prove them wrong," was the song I kept singing in my head over and over again.

The wreck struck me immediately as more of an inconvenience than a near-death experience or the loss of a possession. But I was instantly grateful to be alive once I stepped outside in the snow and surveyed the damage. It was bad. I couldn't believe it was actually my car once it was hoisted on the back of the tow truck.

I spent half of the following morning negotiating with the insurance company and making arrangements for a rental car.

After that, I remember only the dizzying vortex of finals week. I spent days in front of my laptop screen until Thursday afternoon when I had a therapy appointment on campus. We got on to the topic of why I am choosing to work so hard at school and where my real motivation lies. Is it really to support my future children if my husband dies? No. Is it really because I want to have a steady career upon graduation? No.

In considering my real motivation I have made some valuable conclusions:

1. I have a tendency to get caught up in things. I love to lose myself in new experiences and possess the capacity to appreciate almost anything if I only lend myself to it. I like to give my full effort to whatever I'm presently engaged in.

I think this is the real reason I married Adam in the first place. I allowed myself to get caught up in his world and he liked it and then trapped me there.
I think this is the reason it's important for me to try to stay well-rounded and pursue any new opportunities that present themselves. It insures that I won't allow myself to get trapped. It also tells me that I must marry someone who lacks any capacity to be controlling.

2. I don't think this is necessarily a bad characteristic (which is good, because it feels like an integral part of my personality.) In considering my tendency to get caught up with things, my mind crossed over the work ethic of my brother, Tom. Tom is someone who's pursued many interests and hobbies with great effort and stamina. He is not a dabbler. Tom is an expert lock picker, car mechanic, scrabble master, father, husband, medical doctor, doctor of public health, outdoorsmen, priesthood holder, clock-maker/repairman, real-estate investor, and a host of other titles in varying categories.

He certainly gets caught up in things, but the trick of the matter is that he typically gets caught up with the right things. When he was young, he fell in love with the same passion that I did, but he married wisely; to someone smart and sweet and responsible. (You're great, Keriann.)

Whenever I go for days without sleep because I'm working on a project, I think of Tom. It's always likely that he's maintaining a similar schedule.

Conclusion: I am grateful to presently pursue graphic design with a great deal of passion and freedom and will continue to do so. I am also excited for the other things I will so zealously pursue in the future.


no time to post anything but movies during finals week, but this one is for sure worth it.

Thanks to annie for showing this to me while I was at school.
p.s. if anyone ever wants to eat tim-tams with warm milk, just call me. I'm always down...after Friday, that is.


go here and watch the video.

It's true that I'm really tired after two all-nighters, but when Adrian (my graphic design professor) showed us this movie (partially in order to demonstrate the power of type) I almost teared up. I think maybe I would've even if I weren't so tired.



Click this:


some birthdays.

I haven't uploaded many photos lately. When I did this morning, there were only photos from Whitney's birthday in November and some that Mike Alger took at my birthday party on Saturday:


shout outs.

Maybe there's something I've forgotten to clarify in my 1.5 years of regular blogging:

I became very isolated and lonely when I was married. As much as I naturally love to talk, most of my thoughts never reached my lips because my life had become something I had to hide from everyone.

The happiest and most glorious moment of my life was when I was driving away from my marriage. I humored so many thoughts of reconnecting with others. I imagined myself being Whitney's roommate. I imagined sitting for hours speaking with my mother. It felt like I was flying.

I called this blog socialexplosion because I'd been pent up and held back for so long that the inertia of my desire to socialize felt like a breaking dam or a bomb.

There are a few people in particular who withstood the power of my social force with love, patience, and strength:

The first is my mother. She received me with open arms and fulfilled all of the dreams I carried of reconnecting with her. I am late to school most mornings but it is not because I am dawdling. I am talking with her. It's a routine I just can't give up. I tell her all about my life as she's preparing my lunch and we always get a bit carried away. There's a lot of love in the mornings at our house.

The second is Whitney. Whitney guided me back into the world of singles with grace and confidence. I needed her and she knew it. I've never had a happier summer than the one I spent with Whitney.

The third is Mike Alger. I met Mike at midnight at an ihop for a Kohler's co-worker gathering that Whitney took me to. He said he was interested in film so I whipped out my foreign film knowledge. Mike doesn't even watch foreign films. But he listened and listened and somehow we exchanged numbers. He's been listening graciously ever since.

The last and certainly not least are my siblings. Although most of them don't live around here, their gestures of forgiveness and love have been some of the most tender. There's been Spanish help at midnight, long letters illustrated with cartoons, nail-painting, long phone calls, and g-chatting from the middle-east in a war zone about my latest dating news. My siblings fortify and lift me.