Boy am I ready for this year to be over.
2016 has been lame. Real lame. Everyone I know agrees that this year has been a PDC* year.
*PDC = Pretty Darn Crummy
G’bye, stupid year.
For me, I lost my job which is fine but I also lost my sister, which was not fine.
(Last week I was visiting a friend, and her husband mentioned):
And I was like:
Frankly I don’t know how old people do it. Everybody they know is dying all the time. That has to be the worst. How do you do it, old people???!?!?
I think it’s because old people have had really hard lives. They essentially grew up selling matches in alleyways like this:
And that gives you GRIT.
If you don’t believe me…ask your grandma or grandpa what their Christmas was like. They’ll tell you. Oh, they will tell you, and suddenly you’ll feel like a PBW*.
*Pretty Big Whiner
All I had to do was ask my coworkers about their grandparents’ Christmas. Bryan told me his.
So Bryan’s grandpa grew up in New York, poor. Real poor. They were in fact so poor, they couldn’t afford a Christmas tree one year.
But they did have a green chair.
So they put the chair in a corner and decorated it.
(This kind of puts the Charlie Brown Christmas tree to shame, right? Not even a little love is going to make this less pathetic.)
My other coworker (also named Bryan, we call him “Other Bryan”) had a story about his grandpa, too.
This isn’t even a joke.
Bryan’s great-grandfather worked in East Tennessee, in the coal railyards. In the late ’30s/early ’40s, work was pretty scarce because a lot of the coal miners were on strike, so money was super tight for their family.
But then the war happened and coal was in high demand, and his great-grandfather worked extra shifts and overtime, getting the coal moving.
Now his great-grandfather had been a warm, kind man until his 12-year-old daughter had died of meningitis, and that kind of changed him. He was cranky and mean for the rest of his life. His kids used to climb trees to avoid him.
But that year, 1942, Bryan’s grandpa wouldn’t let his dad’s crabbiness get to him because he knew that his dad had been working extra, and had $50 dollars. A fortune back then! He knew this Christmas was going to be…swell.
…Until he discovered that his father spent the entire $50 dollars on garden fertilizer from a man named B.S. Bradley.
(I’ll let you guess what the B.S. stands for. Heh heh.)
For the rest of his life, Bryan’s grandpa would tell everyone how he only got a giant pile of poo for Christmas.
That’s not exactly the whole story.
After asking other relatives, and even looking up the East Tennessee census, Bryan discovered that B.S. Bradley had been unemployed for a while. He and his five little kids lived in a tiny home with broken windows, which they boarded up every winter to keep the freezing wind out. His great-grandfather was adamant about getting the fertilizer before Christmas.
So I guess his great-grandfather still did have a warm heart.
(Apparently their garden that next year was pretty awesome, too.)
Here’s one from my own family.
My mom grew up PDP*. Her dad had type I diabetes and was often sick. Her mom–who had never graduated high school–raised 9 kids while working any job she could to support a family.
*Pretty Darn Poor
(And my grandma is a HARD WORKER. She does not slow down…I want to be like her one day.)
My mom said it would get so cold in the house, she would sometimes lie in bed and blow out to see her breath.
She also remembered how my grandma would cry, after collectors called. (And they were always calling.)
They had it rough.
But there was a family who lived up Spanish Fork canyon, the Pratt’s, who had it even rougher than my mom’s family.
They had thirteen kids and the dad had been out of work for a while, and they had nothing. There was no way they’d be able to have Christmas that year.
My mom’s family, the Boekweg’s, showed up at their door. Each of their kids had a small wrapped present for every one of the Pratt kids.
Somehow my grandma had manage to scrape together enough money to give a Christmas to the Pratt’s. It probably meant her own family would be without Christmas. But they gave it anyway.
I only know this story because when I lived in Orem, I ended up in the same ward as Sister Pratt! She told me–with tears in her eyes–how much that meant to her, even years later.
I guess that explains why my mom is the most selfless person I know!
We’re pretty spoiled.
I guess I can’t be too down on 2016. I sit in my warm house and look at my tree, think about my cupboards full of food, the clothes I have, my friends and family, and I feel PDG.
(Pretty Darn Grateful)
Congratulations to the Nutcracker winners! (And thank you, everyone, for your kind comments! I know I’m lame at responding, but I read every single one of them and feel honored :)
The winners are: Charissa, Bill Giles, and Janet! WOOOO!! Congratulations, guys! I’ll be sending you your Nutcracker prints right away!
Winter is my favorite season, and December is my favorite month.
I’ve been spending my mornings riding the train to Provo and back, writing the Great American Novel.
Or, at least, the Mediocre American Novel.
It’s a fairy tale/Nutcracker retelling.
I have no idea if it will go anywhere, if any publisher will want it, or even if anyone will want to read it and I guess that means I’m throwing four hours of my life away every day…but I’m loving writing it SO MUCH and sometimes in that cold, drafty train car I look at the sun rising over the rockies, turning all the snow pastel and casting blue shadows over the frozen, scrubby landscape and I think, there isn’t anything better in the world than this.
Sometimes the traincar wall is heated too…and that’s the best.
I’ve been working on this Nutcracker piece for a while (Nutcracker’s been on my brain, obviously) and finally finished it–take a gander!
Would YOU like this lovely 8×10 print? YOU COULD WIN IT!!
All you need to do is comment below with the word WANT. And it could be yours! I’m giving away 3 here. (3 on Facebook, and 3 on Instagram. So you could be a triple winner if you enter on all three!) Entry deadline is end-of-day next Sunday, 12/18/16.
Rock and roll, my friends. Thanks for always coming by :)
Have you guys seen Moana yet? Did you love it??
I did. I watched it and I BAWLED. Wasn’t it so good?
(Admittedly, I’m biased. I was story lead on the Disney Infinity Moana playset!)
Aren’t they so cute? AREN’T THEY???
There were a lot of great experiences I had while working on the playset, but one of them was flying out to Burbank and working with Ron Clements and John Musker, the directors of the movie.
The cool thing about this–for me–was that when I was a kid the movie “Hercules” came out and I loved it so much I became obsessed which some of you jr. high & high school friends reading this might have remembered and is a detail we don’t need to go into
Except to say that my parents gave me an “Art of Hercules” book and in there I learned all about the directors Ron Clements and John Musker and found out what storyboarding was…and I resolved then and there I’d become a storyboard artist when I grew up and one day work with these directors (and I’m not just saying that–I really did.)
So when they walked into our first meeting I was like
I played it “cool” though and I’m sure they didn’t even notice me
Anyway, that was the first of a series of meetings and story development on a great, fun game.
You might be wondering, “I haven’t seen any of the Moana game figures or anything!”
You’d be right. Just when we were about to record the cinematics audio…everyone in the studio was brought together, and told that we were shutting down and to pack up our stuff and move on. Disney Infinity was cancelled.
It wasn’t a great moment but
✧･: *✧･:* That’s the Biz! *:･✧*･:✧
Even though the game was cancelled (and it was an AWESOME game, StudioGobo (the studio we were contracting with) was really making some beautiful stuff)…I’m still really grateful I had a chance to work on it. On to the next big adventure ^_^
Here’s the intro animatic I created for the game, which was a fun challenge–we had to keep it short & low on assets for live render purposes. We had the idea of telling the intro narration on a tapa cloth tapestry, which would then be created in 3D to look flat and textured. Needless to say, it was gnarly fun and I’m glad I can now share it.
My beauty products have been threatening to take over the bathroom
and I NEED every single one of them
so I broke my vow of buying self-assembly furniture and bought self-assembly furniture
It worked ok I guess until I had it all together over my toilet but it was awfully unstable and the instructions said to screw it into the wall and I DID but the screw only went in halfway and then just kept twisting and twisting and went nowhere
And that was a problem because I KNEW it was going to fall on me while I was going to the bathroom and even more embarrassing than someone finding my skeleton half-naked was that they’d also find out what I’d been reading
So I turned to the Savior of the Housewife, the Feminine Version of Duct Tape
HOT GLUE BABY
I use hot glue for pretty much everything
It works great
I slathered that screw in loads of hot glue
And not only does that rhyme BUT the hot glue did the trick so I win double here
Fast forward a few months
when I was bragging to a coworker about my ingenuity
And he just kind of looked at me and said:
Apparently the reason the screw did not screw in all the way was because I needed to screw it into a stud, which is a giant beam behind the wall which you can’t find unless you have something called a “studfinder” which is like $7 on Amazon and who in the world has money for that especially if the cabinet hasn’t fallen on you yet
Which I began explaining to my parents last week
And we were like
My mom is a hot glue MAVEN and if you ever meet her you should ask about her collection of hot glue guns, it’s pretty impressive
Also this blog post is just one giant run-on sentence
Halloween was last Monday. Did you guys have a good time? Did you dress up?? Did you get lots of candy??? Do you want to give me all that candy????
Asking for a friend.
When I was a kid, man. I totally owned that candy thing. We’d grab our pillow cases (this was in the days before trick-or-treat bags were invented) and trudge through 3 feet of snow to get candy.
(Back then, it always snowed three feet the day before Halloween. Also, the houses were farther apart. A lot farther apart. Like, several miles. And they only gave out tiny candies, like tootsie rolls and dum-dums. Kids today, they don’t know how good they have it. (*grumblegrumbleTrunkorTreatgrumblegrumble*))
In this picture, I’m wearing a crayon costume. (My costume in 1st grade.) It was legit. I wish they made that costume for grown-ups.
When we couldn’t walk anymore because our feet had frozen into blocks of ice, we’d drag our corpses home, our pillowcases laden–laden, I say–with our hard-earned candy. The moment we walked in the door, Mom would be there with…the Bowl.
And do you know what she would do??
Do you know what she would do????
She would make us ALL pour our hard-earned candy into that bowl!
It was like having your arm torn off! But with more blood and tears!
And then, she would put that bowl of communal candy faaaaar out of reach, on top of the fridge.
OMGsh, it was the worst. I’m still getting a little teary-eyed, thinking about it.
We did get a couple pieces of candy a day. If we finished with all our homework, did our daily jobs, practiced our music (both instruments), and sewed dresses for our stepsisters’ ball, Mom let us grab a chair, reeeach to the top of the fridge, and fish around in that beautiful, beautiful treasure trove of a bowl.
Weirdly enough, the bowl of candy seemed to get lower and lower every day. A lot lower. We couldn’t figure out where all that candy was going to.
Around the second week of November, the bowl would mysteriously disappear.
ME: YOU WHAT???!?!?!
MOM: Wasn’t it awful, having that junk food around the house all day?
ME: No! It wasn’t awful! It was wonderful!!! I loved having that junk food around the house all day! I’m not even around the house all day! I’m at school! How could you throw it away???!?!?
MOM: If you keep complaining like this, I’m going to make you sing the Happy Song.
ME: But that was MY CANDY!!
MOM: When you start paying the light bill, we’ll talk about what’s yours around here.
And that was that.
You might wonder why I’m so against Communism. It’s because I LIVED IT EVERY YEAR AND IT WAS AWFUL.
Seriously. You kids have no idea.
Fast forward fifty years or so. My mom doesn’t do that anymore, because now we’re too old to go trick-or-treating. But she does have a huge party at the house, where everyone dresses up and eats chili and the nieces and nephews go out trick-or-treating, where the neighbors, of course, hand out donuts and full-sized candy-bars and some even hand out bags of candy (I am not making this up) and toothbrushes but only sometimes on the toothbrushes, because the kids somehow “miss” going to the neighborhood dentist’s house every year. But seriously, my mom’s neighborhood is Candyland.
The best part about this? They come back to the house after. Loaded with candy.
Some aunts like to spoil their nieces and nephews.
And some aunts expect their nieces and nephews to spoil them.
I’ll let you guess which aunt I am.
Hiiiii kiddssssss….whatja get????
Those kids are gettin’ wise.
After the great candy letting, we all sit down to watch a movie. I say “all”, but this year it was just me and my little sister, Emily. It’s a good thing too, because we were watching….this.
Have you seen this? You obviously haven’t, because in the past 50 years, you’ve gone outside. Trust me, this movie’s enough to make you go Headless Chicken the next time you see a bird.
It is absolutely freaky.
…Except for the first hour and a half (it felt like 5 hours) where the characters, dressed in fabulous ’60’s outfits, sit in various trendily-decorated locations, smoking real cool-like and talking for ages about stuff that no one cares about, like their ex-flame’s mother, the exact way to drive across town, and what the stock prices for bird cages in San Francisco are.
No one cares about your stupid boyfriend!
And then suddenly…
CAW CAW CAW CAW CAW CAW CAW CAW CAW!!!!
The audience is treated to horrific scenes of birds EATING PEOPLE!
Scenes that don’t even make sense! Like, they’re inside a schoolhouse, and they notice a whole lot of birds perching on the playground equipment. So you’d think, hm. Maybe we should stay inside for a while, since the birds have been attacking people.
NOPE. They send the kids OUTSIDE to go HOME.
Well of course they get massacred!
(You can watch the actual movie clip here, but I only suggest doing it if you don’t care about all the nightmares you’re gonna get.)
Like I said, it doesn’t make sense. The whole movie doesn’t make sense. It’s just like…horror donuts. There’s no nutritional value except for the parts where the birds eat everyone. It’s awful. And so, so wonderful. Emily was horrified. (She hasn’t seen it before.)
The next morning, we didn’t go running. We couldn’t.
Birds are out there, which is why I haven’t left my house in a week. I’m writing this from inside my couch. Hopefully my work understands why I haven’t shown up. There’s no way I’m going outside ever again.
Do you guys get a bunch of phone books on your porch? Do you ever actually use them??
My little brother, Adam, recently came home from his mission in Iquitos, Peru.
I say “little,” but he outgrew me years ago. Now he has hands the size of garbage can lids and bangs his head on the ceiling for fun.
He’s much smaller width-wise, though. He dropped 50 lbs in 6 weeks…thanks to catching typhoid fever. It seems like a very effective diet, I might try it.
Anyway, he’s very excited to move on with his life, and said so the moment he stepped off the plane.
My dignified, reserved father put his foot down.
So he did.
(Joking. He’s actually working at the UPS store.) (I just WISH he was working at a food place. Anyone who has a sibling knows how fantastic it is when they work at a food place–they always get you delicious food at a discount and even better, they always smell like that food. If it were up to me, all my siblings would be working at Pretzelmaker.)
That hurdle cleared, my little brother has thrown himself into the dating game. Yea, that game in which there be-ith many chutes and ladders, twists, turns, ups, down, circles, and absolutely no winners.
He asked me for relationship advice the other day.
Well, don’t ask me. I don’t understand girls and I am one.
Anyway, little bro not only came home with a super cute Peruvian accent, but also, urban jungle legends. Since it’s the Halloween season, I thought it would be fun to share ’em with you. Here goes.
THE BUFEO LEGEND
The Amazon river has pink dolphins. I’m not making this up–they really do. Here’s a bonafide picture:
They say, though, that these pink dolphins can transform into very handsome gringo boys (“Just like me,” says Adam.) At times, they leave their river and go hunting…
…For girls. They attend the discotecas and do some suave dancing and schmooze all the ladies!
Afterward, the bufeo drags the girl to his river.
And drowns her.
In another version, he doesn’t actually drown her, but brings her to his magical underground city where they live happily ever after.
Personally I think the first ending makes more sense. How would she breathe? It’s not logical.
THE TANRILLA LEGEND
The tanrilla is a bird in South America.
Legend says that if you kill this bird and carve a whistle out of its leg bone, it’s a sort of magic charm.
Not just any magic charm, either. It can make a girl fall in love with you!
First, you have to look through the whistle at the girl.
(She mustn’t see you doing it, though.)
Then, you play a song on the whistle.
Next time you see her…she’ll be all over you.
My brother met someone who had actually wooed his wife this way. I wonder how she felt about that.
(I also told Adam he should take up tanrilla hunting for this very purpose. It’s a shame they don’t live in Utah!)
THE CHULLACHAQUI LEGEND
This one is the creepiest of all. The chullachaqui is a jungle troll.
Not just a troll…it has the power to change into what you’re looking for. So, if you’re poaching jaguars and get lost in the jungle…
You’ll find that jaguar.
If you are wandering in the jungle and dearly missing your grandma…
There she is.
But you can always tell if it’s actually your grandma, because the chullachaqui has a goat leg that doesn’t transform. So if your grandma is limping kind of funny and has a cloven hoof…she’s actually a chullachaqui.
My little brother had a run-in with a chullachaqui! (Sort of.) He was cooking dinner with the the missionaries one night, when a weird light flashed through the apartment window.
THEM: It’s a chullachaqui!
ADAM: No it wasn’t. It was a passing car, pues.
THEM: No way, that was way too real to be a car.
ADAM: It was a passing car, guys. Look, let’s go out and see.
THEM: Ok, but you’re going first!
So he did. The 3 elders (which included a gringo) followed after.
The wind kicked up.
And the door locked behind them.
And then it started to rain.
They had to wait a couple of hours in the rain before their landlord came by and unlocked the door. (It probably was the chullachaqui.)
I had a breakthrough while writing this blog post. It occurred to me that there’s a reason only bigfoot hunters find bigfoot.
It’s because bigfoot doesn’t exist. He’s actually a chullachaqui.
Scientifically, this makes way more sense to me. Next time you see a bigfoot, doublecheck its legs and see if I’m wrong.
As for Adam, he’s still single! I hate to turn this blog into a singles ad, but on the other hand…he’d probably love to date you.
Of course I wouldn’t blame him :D
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and I really, really envy you if you have), you’re probably aware of this year’s US Presidential election.
So far, it’s been like….this.
Or yeah, maybe this.
Dare I say, it might even be as bad as…
Yes. It’s been that bad.
I’d say it’s been worse than a car full of clowns, but I can’t insult clowns like that.
Because it’s been worse. Way, way worse.
Think of the worst thing you can possibly think of…then times it by 20 trillion. It’s not that bad…it’s worse.
The worst of all are the two main candidates. They are both just…so bad.
I mean, they are so bad.
I mean, they are. So. Bad.
On one side of the aisle, you have a dishonest, corrupt, inept & horrible, drowning-in-scandals, terrible, no-good very bad candidate. And on the other side of the aisle…you have a dishonest, corrupt, inept & horrible, drowning-in-scandals, terrible, no-good very bad…candidate.
It’s enough to make you throw an ax through the TV.
This, by the way, kids, is called a television set.
It’s what people used to stare at before smart phones were invented.
That, kids, is called an ax.
It’s what people used to murder each other with before chainsaws were invented.
By the time November 6th rolls around…you’ll be wishing someone could give you forty whacks.
For the next four years.
Guys, guys, guys. Stop this. Seriously, it’s not that bad.
(It’s worse. Much, much worse.)
Let’s be honest here. There’s no use in freaking out over all this. Because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
So why worry?
Take, for example, my parents.
They are great people. They never talk about politics much. They’re pretty much your average American…average middle class, average middle-aged, average happy couple who also happens to be suddenly preparing for the average Apocalypse of No Return.
Me? I’m the average millennial, preparing too.
…By building a tunnel to my parent’s food storage room.
So you see…we’re all prepared for the next four years!
The point of this is, we’re not letting this election–and the subsequent 4 years of impending doom–get us down! It’s gonna be okay! Like, okay, the government is completely corrupt to the core, the media’s gone to Hawaii in a handbasket, we’re 20 trillion dollars in debt, Angelina is breaking up with Brad and the local grocery store is already out of their pumpkin-flavored oreos (and so it begins)
…But that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable.
Let’s beat this Election Depression…together.
7 WAYS TO STOP THIS ELECTION
(FROM GETTING YOU DOWN)
#1: Get a financial plan together.
You might be stressed about our $20 trillion + mounting debt. But trust me, the runaway inflation that’s coming…is a good thing. Did you know $1 bill will burn for 30 seconds?
I tried it. I took out my life savings ($2.41) and timed it. One whole minute of old-fashioned fun. (The 41¢ didn’t burn so well.) The good news is…when hyperinflation explodes, we’ll have more dollar bills to burn! Lots, lots more! The rolling blackouts may encase us in freezing darkness, but we’ll have fires to keep us warm for years, and years, and years.
You also might want to invest in Soylent Green.
I hear their stocks are about to go up. Way, way up.
(Kids: If you don’t know what Soylent Green is, ask your parents. If your parents say, “Oh, Soylent Green? I hear that’s a very people-oriented company!” and then laugh like crazy at your blank expression…congratulations, you’re one of my siblings! Welcome to the family.)
#2: Spend your time learning new things!
Find a productive hobby to keep your mind off the wars, pestilences, famines, and plagues. Learn a new language! Like Chinese. Or Russian.
If these languages are too difficult, try learning just the very important, very useful key phrases like, “Is this where the rations are being distributed?” and “Gosh, the soup gets thinner every day,” and “Take one step closer to my wife and children and I will drill you with my totally unregistered and governmentally-banned firearm.”
#3: Eat healthier.
Everyone knows a diet is a huge part of a healthy, happy lifestyle. Stop eating those delicious Atkins bars, kale chips, rice cakes, salads, tomatoes, boiled eggs and chia seeds. Start eating the really healthy stuff. Things like:
- Dead bees
- Nike shoes
Not only is this diet high in fiber, but it can be found anywhere. In caves, forests, …fallout shelters. You’re set. Even better: since we won’t have electricity, we won’t have the time and trouble of cooking! Bonus! The raw diet is very “in.”
(Bugs are disgusting, so they must be healthy.)
Every “Beat Depression” website recommends exercising every day. This site is no different. I recommend you go running every day…
…until you reach Canada.
#5: Keep a Journal.
I kept a journal every day when I went to college. Every day. One night, however, I read back on my entries. Every single one read like a 3-year old’s Mad Libs: “Hi. Today I did _______. It was fun. Well, I’m real tired, so, good night.” Except the word in that blank? Yeah. It was the same every day.
That’s when I quit my journal writing stuff. My life was just too boring.
I should start up again, though, because I have the feeling life is about to get way more exciting! I mean, can you imagine how interesting the re-education camps are going to be? We’ll have lots of things to post about then!
Plus, I think it’s good to keep a record. So our kids can know what it was like to have, you know, electricity. And food.
#6: Take a nice long bath.
In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a bath. A bucket filled with water will do.
Dunk your head in it three times.
And only bring it out twice.
(I hear this is a great cure for hiccups.)
#7: And last (but not least) get plenty of sleep.
Sleep is a great way to beat Election Depression. Set your alarm clock for a little later.
Like 8:00 AM, 2021 later.
That should do it.
So there you have it. It’s gonna be a rocky few years ahead, eh? But at least now you’re emotionally prepared, thanks to this blog post.
…Or are you, really? Because let’s be honest. It’s not the wars and famines and oncoming plagues that’s depressing. It’s that we, as an American people, have chosen such dishonest, corrupt, inept & horrible, drowning-in-scandals, terrible, no-good very bad candidates…
…which means that we have become dishonest, corrupt, inept & horrible, drowning-in-scandals, terrible, no-good very bad people.
And I think that is the most depressing thing of all.
I know, buddy. Me too.
Hey! I did a cover for the Junior Friend!
We went with a “Zoo Train” theme, which I loved because I got to give it a Mary Blair vibe! Needless to say, it was a great lot of fun.
Here’s the cover with the text. (Snappy!) I’m definitely going to do this style again.