Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Self Portrait Tuesday: Me On South Park

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

What I would look like if I starred on South Park!This is what I would look like if I starred on South Park. I never really had a hope to star on South Park, but now that I’ve seen myself, I really WANT to be a character on that show. Is that silly?

If you would like to create your own South Park-styled character, you can do it here:

Via: communicatrix » Blog Archive » Sparky Donatello’s Self-Portrait Marathon, Installation #2


Why I Can’t Move To San Francisco

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My friend moved to San Francisco about a month ago. He went to the Dore Alley Fair and posted the pictures he took while there.

This picture is the reason that I can’t move to San Francisco (Not Safe For Work):

I want to be able to go to the local fairs and street parties without worrying about seeing something that will burn itself into my memory.

Utah might be a little too conservative for me, but I now know that San Francisco is definitely too liberal for me.


Good-Looking Vs. Attractive

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve thought a lot about the idea of beauty. What makes someone beautiful? Is it the physical attributes? Is it the fact that they look good? Sometimes. What about those people who aren’t so pretty? There are attractive people with faces of trolls that I have loved. What made them beautiful?

I’ll never forget the day that my grandma told me that my grandpa was ugly. We were talking about how my grandma and grandpa met. She worked at Dee’s Restaurant as a waitress, twice divorced. Grandpa used to come into the restaurant quite regularly. He was a bachelor and 35 years old, which is very old to be a bachelor in Utah in 1965. I asked why he wasn’t married yet and she said the he was ugly because of the scars.

What scars?

Before that day, I never saw the scars on my grandpa’s face. He had been in a horrible car accident as a child. He was thrown through the windshield. This was before the safety glass that breaks into a million non-pointy shards. It was the old kind of glass that cut your face to ribbons when you went through the windshield. His face has scars all over it, but even now I have to concentrate to notice them. He wasn’t a scarred man. He was my beautiful grandpa.

What made him beautiful?

When you first look at someone, all you see is their body. It has taken me 37 years to learn that I am not my body. I am a complete package. I am witty. I am the girl who will tell you the truth even when your mother would lie. I am smart. I am fun-loving. I have long dark hair and a little junk in the trunk. I am a complete package and I truly believe that when I take the whole package into account, I am beautiful. I am attractive.

There is good-looking, which is what someone sees within the first five seconds. After that, there is attractive. It’s how you look at someone you perceive as your inferior. It’s how you laugh at a joke and what kind of joke you’ll laugh at. It’s what you say when all hope is lost. It’s how you move when you are happy and how you move when you are sad. Attractive encompasses so much more than visual input and it takes more than a few seconds to evaluate. It’s complicated and messy, but it’s a far more accurate judge on compatibility with a friend or lover than appearance.

If you have been judging people based on whether they are good-looking or not, give it a rest. Give yourself some time to get to know whether they are truly beautiful or not. You might just find a loving and beautiful person behind a scarred face.

My Beautiful Grandpa 07-04-05

This essay was brought to you thanks to Colleen Wainwright at Communicatrix. She started it with her posts that hadn’t been published yet. Then Brandon, one of her readers put his touches on the idea.

Communicatrix was able to distinguish one attribute that causes people to be attractive even when they’re not all that good-looking, but she was writing from the point of view of an actor and acting. Brandon highlighted several things in our lives that are either good-looking or attractive, but not both, with no explanation to the why.

So, I thought I’d try my hand at it.


Kevin Smith Reminiscing

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This is the best laugh I’ve had in a long time. Kevin Smith chronicles his life with Jason Mewes (Jay, of Jay and Silent Bob fame), his time with Jason and the work of getting him off heroin.

The navigation on his site is kind of clunky, so I’ve included links to the each part of the story here:

My favorite out loud laughing moment came during Part 2:

For months, I’d impressed upon him the importance of learning all of his lines in advance, as this time around, we were gonna have real actors in the flick.

“What, like Ben?” Mewes asked.
“I said REAL actors,” I corrected. “Like Alan Rickman.”
“Who’s that?”
“The guy from ‘Die Hard’.”
“Bruce Willis?”
“No, man the other guy.”
“The ‘Yippie-kay-ay Motherfucker’ guy?”
“That’s Alan Rickman.”
“What’s so special about him??
“He’s British. And Brits invented acting. So he won’t put up with any of your ‘Snootchie Bootchies’ bullshit. He’ll tear you up if you’re not excellent, because he’s Alan fucking Rickman. So you’ve gotta know all your lines. We can’t be asking people to leave the set because you’re nervous, like we did on ‘Clerks’. This shit’s serious – because Rickman will go ballistic if he smells blood in the water. You’ve gotta come correct.”

So naturally, I was pretty nervous when Jason and I sat down for our first, Pittsburgh-based, one-on-one “Dogma” rehearsal, and the boy was script-less.

“Where’s your fucking script, asshole?” I sighed.
“I don’t need it.”
“You don’t need your script for rehearsals. Right. Take mine and let’s get going.”
“I’m telling you, I don’t need it. Go ahead. Try me.”

So I turned to the first Jay and Silent Bob scene and fed him Bethany’s lines, and without looking at my script, Mewes delivered Jay’s lines in a letter-perfect fashion.

“Alright, so you’ve got the first scene down,” I allowed. “Let’s mix it up and try a scene from later in the flick.”

So I fed him his lead-in lines from the church exterior scene, and Mewes spits out the Jay responses without hesitation.

“You memorized ALL the lines in the script?!?!”
“Even the girl parts.”
“What’re you, fucking ‘Rain Man’?! Why’d you memorize the whole goddamn script?!”
“I don’t wanna piss off that Rickman dude.”

I had this image of Alan Rickman dressed as Professor Snape reprimanding Jay for not knowing his lines. Beautiful!

This story is so sad at some points that I didn’t want to finish reading it, but I kept on and so should you. This is a wonderful read!


Zen Moment at Tres Hombres

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am
Click here to see the video

Mike took me to Tres Hombres because I had a headache. You would think that the sunshine streaming in from the skylight and the loud music would have aggravated my headache. Instead, I was happy to just sit and watch the leaves of the healthy tropical plants sway in the cool breeze from the swamp coolers.


Blue Man Group On Tour Again!

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Blue Man Group: How To Be a Megastar 2.0 Tour!

Rumors from my minions (thanks, Bob!) tells me that Blue Man Group is going on tour again! I’m happy because they are coming to Salt Lake City the day before Halloween! They’re giving me Halloween presents! Yeah!

If you have never seen The Blue Man Group, you need to see this concert. If you HAVE seen The Blue Man Group, you need to see this concert, because I’m sure they have something totally new and unique planned for us!

Plus, they have a new album available exclusively at iTunes:

The Blue Man Group's New Album

I’m going to see them at the Venetian next time we go to Las Vegas, so I’ll see if they are selling the album there or if it’s REALLY is an iTunes exclusive. I’ll keep you updated.


Robert Scoble’s Visit To SLC

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT,Utah Geeks,Video — Laura Moncur @ 8:15 am

If you don’t know who Robert Scoble is, you’re not going to understand how Internet Famous he is and why going to this lunch was like breaking bread with a rock star. M. David Petersen made a podcast of the lunch and recorded all the amazing things that Robert Scoble had to say.

I have about fifty minutes of video from the lunch. While it’s tempting to just post it all here, I’ve edited it down to just under two minutes of the coolest things that were said.

Click here to see the video

This is one of those rare times where I filmed the event, but didn’t live it through the LCD screen. I was able to just hold the camera and still enjoy the moment. Some day, the camera will become so much a part of me that I won’t even realize when I’m filming.

I'm not bored. I swear!David took pictures and he snapped this photo of Mike and me. He happened to capture me looking incredibly bored and sad. I’m not bored. I swear it! Do I always look this sad? It’s not the way I was feeling, I can tell you! I was totally stoked to be there!

I carefully chose my shirt that morning. I wore JETRIS from Threadless. I thought a pixelated Jesus was a completely appropriate shirt for Robert Scoble’s visit to Salt Lake City, Utah.

A special thank you to all who came to the lunch:

Robert ScoblePodTech
Patrick Scoble – I didn’t hear. Who are you working for?
Gilbert Lee and Tad GilesThe LDS Church Website (These guys have 10 hours of content to translate into almost 100 languages every six months. They totally ROCK!)
Ryan Hawley
Jared L Smith
Tim Stay – Know More Media
Michael Hoover
M. David Petersen – Thanks for recording the entire thing!
Me and Michael MoncurStarling Studios

P.S. There are three two people who came to the lunch and didn’t get on this list because I didn’t have a card. If you are one of them, contact me and I’ll put you on the list.


July Geek Dinner

Filed under: Utah Geeks,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I procrastinated working on the Geek Dinner video because I thought that the audio wouldn’t work. I was imagining going through all 60 minutes of audio and thinking, “Man, he said a great thing. I wish my camera could have caught it.” Instead, I had so much good footage that I had a hard time picking and choosing the best. In fact, the interview with Carolyn was so awesome that I am editing that for its own video tomorrow.

It took a lot of ruthless cutting to get this video down to just under six minutes. It’s a long download, but these Utah Geeks (and one nerd) have so much to say about the community here and Utah technology in general. I asked them why the Geek Dinners are so cool and what they thought about the Utah Tech industry.

The best answer: Watch Out!

Click here to see the video

Music Credit: Atmospheric Royalty Free Music – Variation on Egmont

You can also embed this video on your own webpage:

A special thank you to Phil Burns from DevUtah for setting up the monthly Geek Dinners!

Those featured in the video (in order of appearance):

James Carroll
Matthew Reinbold – mutednoise and BloomBurst
Tom Gregory – alt-tag.com
Susie Gregory
Gary Thornock – Gary Thornock’s Weblog
Niki Thornock – Audio Conversions
Robert Merrill – Utah Tech Jobs and SOS Technical
Richard K. Miller – Richard K Miller dot coooooooooom and More Good Foundation
Jordan Gunderson – Jordy Blog
Chris Sandberg – Business and Technology and Answer Wiki

Update 08-08-06 8:05 am: Robert Merrill posted pictures from the Geek Dinner on his weblog: July Geek Dinner Report– Utah Tech Jobs

Update 08-08-06 12:18 pm: The August Geek Dinner will be August 22 at the Los Hermanos Restaurant in Lindon (Google Map) at 6:30 pm. See more here: DevUtah » Blog Archive » August 2006 Geek Dinner


Why Provo Labs Wants To Hire Carolyn Duncan

Filed under: Utah Geeks,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Carolyn Duncan had such an interesting story at the Geek Dinner that I had to do a video just for her.

Click here to see the video

If you are interested in the Utah Geek Dinners, you can find out more information at DevUtah.

Carolyn’s “real” weblog can be found here: The Carolynn Blog

The weblog she talks about in the video is here: Why Provo Labs Is Hiring Carolynn Duncan

Music Credit: Atmospheric Royalty Free Music – Variation on Egmont


I Don’t Swear Anymore

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I was looking over some of my old entries and I realized something different about them. I don’t swear anymore. Sure, I swear when I speak, but in my entries, I don’t swear anymore.

I don’t know when this habit started.

In fact, I find that I don’t swear as much when I speak either. I usually swear for comedic effect, but that punch is ineffective online. You can’t hear people laugh uncomfortably online. Sometimes an uncomfortable laugh is better than a blank stare. Online, everything is a blank stare, no matter how much you swear.

I find it an interesting trend in my writing. I always thought writers were censored until they were washed clean of swearing, but the more I write, the more I realize that swearing is just lazy communication. Shock is easier to ellict than empathy and I used to settle for shock in everything I did, but it’s not enough anymore.


Everything I Know About The Mormons I Learned From Wikipedia

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

It’s not true. I’ve also heard rumors. Growing up in Salt Lake City helps, too. It used to be that whenever I told someone I was from SLC, they would ask if I was Mormon. I don’t get that as much now. I don’t know if they just assume I’m LDS or they no longer have any questions about the religion, but I’ve answered a lot fewer about the predominant religion over the last couple of years.

The most asked questions used to be:

  • Do you have more than one mom? Well, when my Dad divorced my mom, he remarried a lady, but I don’t really consider her my mom. Oh? You mean the polygamy thing. No, I’m not from a polygamist compound. I’m also not LDS. In fact, MOST people in Utah aren’t polygamists. The few who are keep to themselves.

  • What’s with the funny underwear? They’re called garments. You have to go through all these rituals in the temple to earn the right to wear them.

  • What do they do in the temple? I don’t know firsthand. I’ve heard stories from ex-Mormons about washing rituals and such. All of it sounds pretty boring, actually. Most people imagine ritual sacrifices or deviant sexual rites. I can safely tell you that they are NOT practicing either one of those. Sorry, real life is so boring compared to what our imaginations can dream up.

Now, the most asked question is:

  • Do you ski? Nope. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never bothered to learn how to ski. I’m clumsy enough without purposely falling down hills with boards tied to my feet.

There is plenty of information about the LDS church and Mormons online. Wikipedia is actually very accurate. Here are some interesting entries that you might like to read:

The More Good Foundation also has a directory of LDS websites that you can peruse:

Ironically, living in Utah gives you a wealth of both good and bad information about the LDS church and its members. Growing up non-Mormon in Mormon Town was difficult for me, but I’ve come to terms with it. I actually like Salt Lake City despite the strong religious influence. I’m just not that good at fielding questions about it.


Vote for Pete Ashdown

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Just one quick local note. If you live in Utah, you need to vote for Pete Ashdown. He’s running against Orrin Hatch, who has been in office for 36 years. That’s a long time. If you’re even on the fence about this, remember that Orrin Hatch is a space alien. Weekly World News broke the story back in the late Eighties. I can’t believe the guy is still in office after that PR fiasco. Once the Weekly World News is against a candidate, they usually don’t have a chance. It’s only further proof that Orrin Hatch is a space alien.

On a more serious note, we need a senator in office that understands this big Internets thing. Senators that think the Internet is a series of tubes that can get clogged are charming, but they shouldn’t be able to create law. I can’t vote against Senator Stevens in Alaska, but I CAN vote for a candidate that truly understands the Internet.

Pete Ashdown was the founder of Utah’s first local ISP, X-Mission. Not only did X-Mission survive the Dot Bomb, it has flourished here. Pete donates Internet access to the Salt Lake County libraries through X-Mission. For that alone, he gets my vote.

If you are living in Utah, please vote for Pete Ashdown. It doesn’t matter that he’s running against Orrin Hatch. Maybe you’ve voted for Orrin before. That’s okay. I’m sure he was grateful for that vote and thanked you personally. This time, give your vote to someone new who actually understands how the new world works.


CES Press Pass

Filed under: Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last year, I sweated and agonized over whether I was going to get a press pass for CES. This year, I’ve already received my verification, months earlier than last year. Part of me is jumping for joy that it was so easy. The other part is worried that something MUST be horribly wrong and they didn’t really approve me. That side of me is sure that something will go wrong at the last minute.

I guess I won’t believe that I got the Press Pass until I receive it in the mail.

My badge holder and pass from last year’s CES is hanging on my desk at eye level. I hardly ever look at it anymore, but I used to look at it a lot. It made me feel like I was a “real” writer.

Now I feel like a real writer all the time.

I didn’t even realize I had changed my vision of myself until just now.


Recollections of The Salt Lake Costume Company

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The neon sign from the Salt Lake Costume Company

Last November, I wrote about the closing of The Salt Lake Costume Company. The building still sits vacant. Taggers have sullied its windows with graffiti and the sign still says that there is a clearance on costumes.

Last week, I received the following email:

Hi Laura:

I was very touched to see that someone besides me mourns the death of the costume company.

My grandfather, Clifford Allen, owned it from sometime in the 30s or 40s until his death in 1987 at the age of 81. My grandmother passed away two years after him, and my dad, his two brothers, and two sisters didn’t know what to do with it, so they sold it.

I drove by it yesterday (Aug. 6, 06) and was very nostalgic it’s still there, but sad about it’s condition and demise.

The costume company burnt down in the Winter of ’63, approximately, but I was way too young to remember it. My dad and uncles spent almost a year rebuilding it from scratch.

I hope it doesn’t seem too weird to be so sentimental about a building, but that was such an integral part of my life, for so many years.

I played there as a child, worked for my grandfather (who would usually pay my brother and I a dime, or a quarter, for the entire day, which was generous considering we had usually played hide ‘n seek amongst the costumes all day!).

I worked there even when I was a college student, even though I never made more than minimum wage. It was so much fun working there, though, I didn’t want a job that paid more!

G. Allen
Kearns, UT

I emailed him a response and asked if it was alright if I shared his story with the rest of the world and this is the reply he gave:


Yes, please go ahead! I would be flattered.

[My grandfather’s] last living sibling, Thelma, died only a few months ago. Every one of his numerous siblings lived past 95, several past 100. He was diagnosed with cancer several months after shocking his entire extended family by announcing that he was becoming World weary, and wouldn’t at all mind if God called him home soon.

My oldest Brother told me several years ago that the cancer he died from is extremely rare, except for people who work in the dry cleaning industry, for whom it is relatively common. I still remember lighting the boiler in the morning, which was right next to the dry cleaning equipment, and smelling the pungent smell of perchlorethyelne, which usually made me dizzy.

My parents and/or my brother might have some pictures from the costume company’s earlier days, if you’d like to post any more.

G. Allen

I told him I would be happy to post whatever he submitted. I loved the Salt Lake Costume Company. I don’t know how anyone who passes its vacant walls can’t grieve a little.


Self Portrait Tuesday: Driving Home From Vegas

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Self Portrait Tuesday: Driving Home From Vegas

I can see myself in the rear view mirror when I sit in the back of Stacey and Dan’s Hummer. I can’t take a picture of what I see, though. The camera gets in the way…


Zen Moment at Caesar’s Palace

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am
Click here to see the video

I was waiting for my family at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. I had done all the shopping I cared to, so I was sitting by the fountain while they looked in the Sony store again. I was happy just to rest there. Sometimes the best time for vacation is the time when we have nothing to do.

I could see the water moving slowly in the fountain. It had been turned off and I could see each coin in the water. The sun was coming in through the skylight and reflecting off the water into my eyes. Because the fountain had been turned off, the water had strange currents.

I am continually surprised by Las Vegas. Tacky souveniers are right next to famous designers. You can buy a Fendi and a refrigerator magnet within steps of each other. All the while, the most interesting thing is the defunct fountain and a little bit of sunlight.


August CodeAway

Filed under: Utah Geeks,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am
Click here to see the video

This month’s CodeAway was awesome! I wish I had gotten more video of our conversations. Dave Turnbull showed us his Google Map Mashup for the Pete Ashdown for Senate website. He added my house onto the map of Pete supporters.

Matt Reinbold talked about his two awesome weblogs, mutednoise and BloomBurst. We brainstormed ways to enhance the interactivity and to drive more traffic to them. His coverage of the remix culture on muted noise is excellent. If you like cool videos, go there and see what he has gleaned for you.

I was working on new ideas for The Quotations Page and they suggested some great ones like a MySpace widget that allows MySpace users to post The Quotes of the Day on their page. Halfway through the evening, we realized that Mike’s entry on The Gadgets Page (10 Ways to Make Your Digital Photos Last Forever) was only four diggs away from getting on the front page of Digg.com, so we went online and gave it our three digs and Gary Thornock gave us the final fourth to get us on the front page. Thanks, guys!

Next month, we might be meeting in a more public space that doesn’t need to be super secret and undisclosed. If you were wishing for BarCampUtah, you should come to next month’s CodeAway. It’s like a mini BarCamp!

Update 08-21-06: Matt has posted his recap of the August CodeAway here: BloomBurst – August CodeAway Recap

The date has been set for next month’s CodeAway: Pick Me! » September 2006 CodeAway


Happy Anniversary, Baby…

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Sixteen years ago, I looked out the window of my mother’s home in West Valley. I peeked at you in your tuxedo. You were painfully thin back then because you spent your days lifting engines off the truck. The tuxedo fit you beautifully, but I could see your hands shaking from all the way up in my mother’s bedroom.

I thought those shaking hands were some sort of disease that would end badly, but a few years later we learned that it was merely a familial tremor and nothing to worry about. I also thought that I was marrying a strict Mormon boy and my life would be filled with church activities and Relief Society. Wrong on two accounts, we live a happy, atheist life here in the land of Zion.

I’m so grateful to you. We have someone crashing on our couch this weekend, so our anniversary will have to wait until we are alone to celebrate it. That doesn’t mean I forgot you, though.

I love you, dear heart, more than that day sixteen years ago when I stole a glance of you from my mother’s window.


September 2006 CodeAway

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 4:08 pm

Matt Reinbold has set the date, time and location of next month’s CodeAway. So that we don’t have to meet in a super-secret location, we are having the CodeAway at The Sprague Library in Salt Lake City:

The Sprague Library - 2131 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT

September 2006 CodeAway

Saturday, September 23, 2006 1-5pm

Sprague Library – 2131 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT – Google Map

Downstairs Conference Room

Free wi-fi courtesy of X-Mission

You can RSVP via Upcoming.org:

Last month’s CodeAway was so much fun that I’m looking forward to going to this one!


August Geek Dinner Tonight

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 8:25 am

Just a reminder that the August Geek Dinner is tonight. Here are the sordid details:

Tonight at 6:30 pm at the Los Hermanos Restaurant in Lindon (Google Map).

See more here: DevUtah » Blog Archive » August 2006 Geek Dinner

I loved attending last month’s Geek Dinner, so I’ll definitely be there tonight. Mike has been feeling sick, so he may or may not come. We’ll have to see. If you have been reading my blog and want to meet me in person, show up to the Geek Dinner and introduce yourself. I’ll be wearing my “Fractions Speak Louder Than Nerds” t-shirt from Threadless.

Fractions Speak Louder Than Nerds by Threadless

Weird Al – Don’t Download This Song

Filed under: Music,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 11:48 am

Straight Outta LynwoodWeird Al Yankovic is releasing his new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, and the first song is available for free on his website:

Don’t Download This Song is a funny take on the music pirating issue. Since Weird Al makes his money from selling CDs, I would think that he might be happy with what the RIAA is doing to “protect” his rights, but the sarcasm in the song tells another story.

Full Lyrics, with links to the issues after the break:

(Continue Reading…)


My Yearly Gynecological Exam

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 10:01 am

I hate going to the gynecologist. My doctor is a wonderful person and I actually feel guilty that I HATE to go see her. It’s not her, it’s the procedure.

Something happens to my mouth when I’m lying on the table. I end up talking and talking far too much about things that aren’t really important because I’m so uncomfortable. This time, I almost forgot to ask her the one thing that I wanted to ask about:

“Oh, before I forget, I had a question to ask.”


“When you read Cosmo and those other magazines, they make you think that everyone has a Brazilian wax, but…”

“They don’t.”

“Yeah, you would know.” By then I was sitting up. “So, what would you say is the percentage?”

She looked above my head as if she was reading the answer off the wall behind me. Her nose crinkled and she responded, “I’d say about ten percent. Of course, that includes all the variations.”

“Yeah, why should I know about variations? It’s like they’re creating different haircuts or something.”

She laughed, “It just the media. They’re just trying to do something new.”

I nod and she asked me if I’m still taking generic on my birth control prescription. “You’re going to bleed a little this time.” She handed me a pantyliner, but I came prepared with a pad.

“Yeah, I know. I do every time…”

When is birth control going to go over the counter so that I don’t have to do this every year?


Turtle Kissing Video

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Sometimes things show up in my “To Be Published” list and I don’t remember where they came from. This is one of those. I think someone sent me a link to this, but YouTube was down that day, so I put it in my “To Be Published” list.

It was a good choice. Koopa, the turtle, paints paintings and Kira, the human, posts them on eBay. Twenty percent of the proceeds go to turtle and tortoise rescue programs.

Every time I see a turtle at a pet store, they just sit, unmoving, in the aquarium. I always thought of turtles as boring pets, but Koopa makes it obvious that with a little love and training, a turtle can be just as interesting and affectionate at any other pet. My entire view of turtles has changed.


August 2006 Utah Geek Dinner

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 8:24 am

The August Geek Dinner was less of a networking opportunity this week because Phil had Pete Ashdown come speak with us about Net Neutrality. Pete is running for the U.S. Senate against Orrin Hatch and is particularly well versed in Internet issues because he is the founder of X-Mission, Utah’s oldest ISP. Here is an edited video clip explaining his position on Net Neutrality.

Click here to see the video

Music Credit: Atmospheric Royalty Free Music – Variation on Egmont

Pete is running his campaign on a very different platform than other candidates. His website has a collaboration wiki and he is writing a blog (or campaign journal). Any Utah Geek that doesn’t vote for Pete has forgotten how important it is to have a senator in Washington who actually understands what the Internet is.

You can see the complete and unedited video (47 Minutes) here on Google Video:

Thanks, Phil, for bringing Pete to the Geek Dinner. It was a great meeting and I’m looking forward to September’s Geek Dinner.

To find out more about the Utah Geek Dinners: DevUtah


Valley Schwag 4

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

On Thursday, I got my Valley Schwag delivery. It’s the fourth one they’ve sent out, but the first one I’ve received. I’m totally stoked about it and I can’t wait to wear my new t-shirts! Check it out!

Valley Schwag 4

Mike seemed a little jealous, so I’m wondering if I should sign him up as well. I asked him and he said no, but his eyes said yes…


Mike’s New Book: Teach Yourself Javascript In 24 Hours

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Mike's book is top and center!Mike’s book (Teach Yourself Javascript in 24 Hours) has been out on the market for a while. We saw a copy of it in the stores last month, but the other day, it was on an endcap at Barnes and Noble with all the other Teach Yourself Books from Sams.

Sams Teach Yourself JavaScript in 24 Hours (4th Edition) (Sams Teach Yourself in 24 Hours)

There is something very reassuring about seeing his book in such a prominent place in the store with the rest of the series. Sams is really working to get his book in front of people. Mike worked really hard on this re-write and so much had changed in the world of Javascript since the last edition that it was almost a full re-write.

For almost a year, Mike was working on this book, so it is really nice to see it in print and on the end of an aisle like this. I remember feeling this good when Mike released his first book with Sybex. One Dot Bomb later and Sybex is gone, but Sams is still here and so are we. It’s like this book is an announcement, “We survived! We’re back!”


Goodbye, Sugar House

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Mike and I were walking home from Noodles in Sugarhouse. We had both enjoyed a nice walk and a nice dinner when we passed the Salt Lake City Weekly box. It screamed, “Goodbye, Sugarhouse.”

After enjoying a nice meal at the complex that “some still think the end result a disaster,” I was a little angry. The article states that the new complex was the product of compromise and disappointment. It also states that it’s not walking friendly, which is what the residents of Sugarhouse want.

He’s right. The reason I love to live in Sugarhouse is because I can walk to so many places, but The Commons at Sugarhouse is NOT a disaster or a disappointment. What used to be there before? Spoons and Spice and several failed dance halls. Now, we have many stores and even more restaurants.

I know they’re scared that we’re going to lose Sugarhouse Coffee, Orion’s Music, The Blue Boutique and maybe even the oxygen bar. I don’t want to lose any of them either, but honestly, it’s not our decision to make. The guy who owns the land gets to make that decision. If he’s smart, he’ll keep the rent at a level where he can keep customers coming. If he’s not, he’ll learn soon enough.

Calm down, City Weekly. It’s not quite time to say goodbye to Sugarhouse. I actually resent the idea that we are so fragile a community. A new strip mall isn’t powerful enough to kill us.


What Gets You Through The Hard Night?

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The hard night is not the problem for me. I work so hard that by the time my head hits the pillow, I am asleep. No, I am not one of those that is haunted at night by thoughts of terrorism, memories of Katrina and worries about health insurance.

My hauntings visit me during the day.

It happens at the most inconvenient times. Maybe a friend will casually mention that she had to take her kids to the doctor. She doesn’t mention anything about how she was going to pay for it, so it’s obvious she has health insurance. She doesn’t even need to think about it. She just takes the kids to the doctor, pays the overpriced co-pay and maybe even complains about it. She doesn’t live in my world, where health insurance is a luxury and the COBRA plan that I have is soon running out. We’re scared to see the doctor for anything for fear that they’ll reject us for new coverage. It’s probably a hopeless case anyway…

“Are you listening?”

“Oh, babe! I’m sorry. My mind kind of wandered out there. What were you saying?”

She goes on talking and I push the haunting aside. When the world is crashing in, what gets me through the long hard day?


I can’t do anything more for the people who were devastated by Katrina. I can’t stop a group of people who really want to do the country harm. I can’t even control whether I will have health insurance after April, but I can do one thing: I can work. I can do my best to make the world a little better in my own way.

I can add a few more quotations to our collection, so that the important thoughts of our generation will be saved for posterity.

I can pass on a few exercise and diet tips so that others will live longer and stronger.

I can review a couple of gadgets and tell you whether they are worth your money or if you’re better to save your bucks.

I can put some words together about how I survive my day.

That’s all I can do and I’ll keep doing it until I can’t do it anymore. After that, I have no idea how I’ll survive the long hard nights or days.

Via: ministrare » UU Blog Carnival #3


Slo-Mo Home Depot

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This is the most awesome flash mob I’ve ever seen. Over 200 people descended upon a Home Depot. For five minutes, they shopped normally. After that they shopped in slow motion for five minutes. They returned to normal speed for five more minutes before standing completely still for the last five minutes.

This is such a different form of art that only lasts for the twenty minutes in a random store and is only performed for the customers and employees of Home Depot. Have a watch:

There are more videos available here:

Via: Sunspots: The blood sport edition – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)


A Purring Cat On My Chest

Filed under: General,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I will never be able to get a picture or a video of Maggie sitting on my chest. She comes to me when she wants to, not when I have the camera ready. It’s usually at night when the light is impossibly low. She is so close to my face that I can’t get a good shot. It’s impossible for me to get a good picture or video of her when she is sitting on my chest, purring.

I’ll just have to remember it.

September 2006 Geek Dinner Announced

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 9:00 am

The September Utah Geek Dinner has been announced. You can see the official announcement here:

Here are the details:

Date and Time: September 20, 2006 6:30pm
Location: Los Hermanos Restaurant – 395 North State Lindon, UT 84042 Phone: 801.785.1715 Google Map
Dinner Format: Networking – Our tables will be groups where we allow each person to talk for a couple of minutes. The groups will be mixed up a couple of times so that you eventually get to meet everyone.
RSVP: Add your name to the wiki or add yourself to the Upcoming.org page.
Join: To hear about these events in the future, join the mailing list.

Phil is looking for restaurants with private dining rooms that will hold a reservation and allow us to be by ourselves in it. If you know of any, please comment here or on his site.

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