Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


The Most Awesome Graffiti Ever

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

Projected from a car onto buildings and trees, this “graffiti” shows a tiger running the same speed as the car it is projected from. The animation is based on a sensor in the car wheels that monitors the speed of the car.

More graffiti should be like this. It is beautiful. It accents the city it inhabits and it is non-defacing.

Via: Wooster Collective: Karolina’s Wild Animals


Zen Moment at Noodles

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

I was waiting for them to bring me my food. It was a little windy outside and I was feeling breezy, happy and cool. I only had the camera running for a few seconds before they brought me my food and I was able to eat.


Butterflies DO Land On People

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:22 am

Back in 2004, I wrote an entry about butterflies and how I had never had one land on me.

I talked about Hawthorne’s quotation:

“Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

I had decided it was baloney and challenged my readers to post in the comments if they had ever had a butterfly “alight” on them.

“If you have ever once had a butterfly alight on you, I want you to leave a message. In all of my days of staying still and waiting for them, I have never once had a bloody butterfly land on me. Ladybugs? Yes. Flys? Hell, yes! Butterflies? Not once.”

Every summer since, I have received new comments from people talking about the butterflies that have landed on them. Just today, Leslie commented:

“Last Thursday I had a monarch butterfly land on my hand of its own accord while I was getting ready to leave work. The butterfly first flew past me and then turned around and landed on my hand. It was relatively windy that day, and the butterfly had to hold on tightly (which is did). It stayed on my hand for 20 minutes or more! I even put a picture of it up on flickr and called it My Numinous Experience.

“It was awesome! One of my first thoughts was that it was my Dad’s spirit coming to visit, and that filled me with happiness! Yes, I too will remember this magical time forever!!”

Here is the picture she is talking about:

Leslie's Numinous Experience

Since I wrote that piece, I HAVE had many butterflies alight upon me. It’s not because of some mystical occurence, however. Mike and I went to the butterfly exhibit at San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park last spring. With that many butterflies in such an enclosed space, it’s no wonder I had a couple land on me.

Mike even got a picture:

A Butterfly Alights Upon Me by Michael Moncur 04-23-06

It’s funny how entries that I wrote so long ago have almost found a life of their own. Rereading it was like reading it for the first time. I was so unhappy back then that I didn’t believe that butterflies ever landed on people. With so many lovely comments from people all over the world, my faith in the beauty of the world has been restored.


The Future of Flight

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

This is a video from Braniff Airlines about flying in the future. Here we are in the future and I’m am STILL waiting for my shiny spacesuit.

The scariest thing about this video is this phrase:

“You don’t have to carry a passport because a friendly computer already knows more about you than you do.”

Not only is this NOT true here in the real future because of the increased flight restrictions, it IS true because our computers know far more about us than we would like them to know.

Via: Boing Boing: Future of air travel, as of 1975


Five Years

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

I can’t believe it has been five years since that day. I almost forgot about it, actually.

I was on a newsfast five years ago. I wasn’t watching the news or listening to NPR or anything. I had stayed away from the news for a few months. When I turned on the radio to listen to music, they were talking in guarded voices. The usually jovial DJs were serious. They didn’t want to spread rumors, but they had just heard that there had been a plane crash in New York. The plane had accidentally hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.

It didn’t take long for us to learn that it wasn’t an accident.

Even on my newsfast, I heard about 9-11 before the second plane hit. All those people who worry about not being informed if they don’t watch the news can rest easily. People always LOVE to talk about bad news.

I had been heading to a Coldwell Banker conference and meeting at the Little America hotel. All of us stood around the hotel lobby talking about the news. The hotel had set up a couple of televisions in unused conference rooms. Coldwell Banker made the mistake of going ahead with their silly little conference. The speaker made a reference to the event and how if we allow the terrorists to get in the way of our business, then they’ve won. I don’t remember one other word he said.

I snuck out of the conference. I was self-employed. They didn’t pay me to be there, but I still felt like I had to sneak out of the conference. I went to the unused conference room where there was a television. It was full of hotel employees and real estate agents. By then, both buildings had been hit. We watched the smoke coming from the buildings and listened while Orrin Hatch made accusations about Osma Bin Laden. I wasn’t so sure.

I assumed that these were home-grown terrorists.

My first instinct was to blame that neo-Nazi group in Idaho. Even now, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case and the whole Al Queda thing was just something the Bush administration made up so they could invade the Middle East.

It has been five years and I have gone from an intense sense of patriotism and outrage to an intense sense of self-loathing and outrage. We let the terrorists get in the way of our business, and no matter how many innocent Middle Eastern countries we bomb, the terrorists have won.

Because we have sunk to their level.


Three Year Anniversary

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

Today marks the three year anniversary for Pick Me! Three years ago, I walked into Mike’s office and said, “I want a blog.” He suggested that I turn to companies that specialize in blogging like, say, Blogger, but I insisted that I wanted my OWN blog on our own server, so he set me up with some homebrew software that he had been using on figby.com for years and I was off and running.

Within a year, we were converting the homebrew software to WordPress. Not only did my weblog get a change, but figby.com was also converted. We’ve been working with them ever since. I love the plugins that make my life easier and I’m grateful to Mike for keeping things running smoothly in the background so that all I need to do is let the words flow out of my fingers.

This weblog (and the others I write for) wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my minister, Sean Parker Dennison. He did a sermon in late August called, “What I did over the summer.” What he did was read weblogs. I had never heard of a weblog before then. Suddenly, the world opened up to me.

When I started Pick Me!, I thought it would be a portal to the publishing world. It is, but not in the way that I thought. I thought that I would be able to use my blog to get freelance work with magazines like Seventeen or Self. Instead, I have an audience that reaches further than both of those magazines put together. Every time I get another comment on “When Your Best Friend Ditches You For Her Boyfriend”, I realize that I am reaching more people with my own blog than I ever aspired to by hoping for freelance work.

Most importantly, thank you for reading my weblog every day. I look at the stats and I see you reading. You come by every day to see what I’m serving up and I appreciate it. I see you using RSS aggregators to read my site and I appreciate that too. No matter how you’re getting my words, I’m glad you’re reading them every day. I imagine you out there, just like me when I read other people’s blogs. I know you laugh with me and worry about me. I can feel you on the other end of the line and all I can say is “Thank You” in return.

Thank you…


Your T-shirt, Reinvented as a Swimsuit

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

This was really cool. You can turn your t-shirt into cute undies or a swim suit (for guys).

I am enjoying reading Spreadshirt’s weblog. I had no idea they had one. Thanks, Matt.


Weird Al – White & Nerdy

Filed under: Music — Laura Moncur @ 11:19 am

Straight Outta LynwoodWeird Al Yankovic has released another single off his new album, White and Nerdy. It’s a parody of Ridin’ by Chamillionaire. You can see the video for it here:

I love this song! It’s my new Geek theme song (the old Geek theme song was “It’s All About The Pentiums“)

Also notice the cameos in the video. There’s Seth Green, Donny Osmond and Judy Tenuta. I love all the inside jokes like the fired-up Pacman in the background and the Live Long and Prosper signs he throws with his hands.

You can see all the lyrics here:

(Continue Reading…)


Faith Envy and Milagro Crosses

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 8:14 am

Faith Envy: yeah, I’ve felt that. It’s why I have a little Buddha and St. Jude on my desk.

I keep hoping some of that peace and calm will rub off on me. If only I could believe in that imaginary friend in the sky, maybe I would be able to relax and be safe in the knowledge that everything happens for a reason.

Instead, I collect religious artifacts, hoping they will transfer some of that devotion.

The latest?

I found this milagro cross in San Antonio. It was exactly what I was looking for…

My Milagro Cross

It took a lot of looking to find one that didn’t have a gun on it. I don’t know why people would need blessings for their guns, but I prefer this one. There are cats and stomachs and hearts and people and unborn fetuses. If only I could buy faith, life would be so much easier…


Found At The Grocery Store

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

Bracelets at the grocery store.

Mixed in with the “Purity” and “Class of 2005” bracelets, I saw an “LDS” bracelet. I pulled out my camera to take a picture and the cashier asked me,

“What are we taking pictures of?”

I felt guilty, but I answered,

“That bracelet says LDS.”

“Are you not from here?”

“No, I’m from here, but I bet the rest of the world doesn’t see that every day.”

“No, I guess they don’t.”

I suddenly felt very self conscious, as if I was caught revealing the inner workings of Utah to the world. In a way, I guess I am…

CodeAway Is Tomorrow!

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 12:55 pm

Matt Reinbold‘s CodeAway is tomorrow! It’s at the Sprague Library.

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:

Bring your laptop, your friends and your bragging shirt and come show us your best!



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

The Batometer

When Mike and I went to Austin, we could hear the bats in the bridge making mouse noises contentedly, but we couldn’t hear the ultrasonic noises they made to fly. This homemade device can make those noises audible to you.

Mike and I need to make this before we go to Austin next time so that we can enjoy both facets of the bats.


Something’s Missing

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 12:59 pm

The other day, I woke up right on time. I had been dreaming. In the dream, I was searching through the things that I had left behind. They were all at PEHP. It didn’t look like PEHP and it didn’t have any of the people I remember, but I thought it was PEHP. I found important things of mine along with the stupid things. Clothes that went to the DI long ago mixed in with important photographs. I was frantically searching. Sceverenia was there and someone who adored me was in charge. I was trying to gather the important things that I had lost. To make matters worse, there was a forest fire outside the building. They were evacuating people, but I stayed, looking for my artifacts.

I woke up feeling like I had lost everything. I still feel the panic worrying about all those things. I had found a pair of old pajamas. They smelled like my mom. I knew my mom was alive, but they smelled like something I would never get back: my home in West Valley, and my life before I gave up on Corporate America.

When I was a teenager, I didn’t want anything to do with business. I planned on being a teacher so I could write. When teaching didn’t work out, I went scurrying back to the business world. I had never wanted a part in it, but I wanted their luxuries like health insurance. I am finally living that life that I wanted to live. I am a writer. I write every day. I get paid for my writing. Yet, I lost something in Corporate America. I don’t know what it is, but it’s important.

I had this dream when I was in San Antonio. Saint Anthony was the patron saint of children and lost items. Before I fell asleep the night before that dream, I asked San Antonio to help me find what I have lost. Ever since we moved to Sugarhouse, I have been having dreams that I have lost something very important. It’s something different in every dream. I asked San Antonio to help me find out what I have lost to put those dreams to rest.

Then I had that disturbing dream. I was looking for some pictures of a long ago crush and old friends. I had made a collage of photos that was actually quite beautiful. I couldn’t find them, but I KNEW they were there because I had see them there before. I kept finding important things among the silly and inconsequential. I never did find the photos or collage.

I don’t believe that I am missing a group of photographs. In my dream, I had lost something at PEHP. When I worked there, I still believed that I could make it in the corporate world. I felt like it was beneath me, but I thought I could live there and achieve greatness in my spare time. By the time I quit, I was planning on becoming a full-time writer. I learned very quickly that I wasn’t ready to be a full time writer yet.

Somehow I feel like I’m not ready for anything. The websites are doing well, but I feel like it’s all just part of a bubble. At any time, I could lose it all and have to run to a “real” job to make ends meet. When I worked at PEHP, I truly felt like I was destined to take the world by storm. Now, I feel like I just want to do my best to make the world a little better. I lost all that surety that I would be alright. I want that cockiness back.

Is it really good for me? That feeling of security that we should be something great? I expected fame, but I don’t know if that’s something I should be clinging to right now. I’m not really in need of fame. It seems like it’s not as important as achieving something. Of course, no one will know I’ve achieved anything if I don’t have some modicum of fame. Am I content with future generations appreciating my work unbeknownst to me? Will any of my work survive history? Will any of it be worth reading in the future? A lot of what I write won’t survive. It’s too fluffy. What I think about Mario Kart isn’t going to mean anything when people read it in 100 years. If I could read Andy Warhol’s opinions on the Andy Griffith Show, would I care? Probably not…

Maybe it’s not that at all. Maybe it all has to do with the photos and collage. Maybe I’m just missing my old friends…


A Different Way To Solve Multiplication Problems

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

This looked like an interesting way to solve multiplication tables by hand. I was never taught this in school.

New Multiplication Figuring

I have a calculator that goes with me wherever I go in my Treo. I NEVER do multiplication by hand, but this still interests me. I don’t know why. Must be the math geek in me…


Laura Moncur

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Betsy Devine clicked this picture of me back in March. It was right before I slipped into my latest binge nightmare. Looking at this picture has made me want to get back to that. I felt so strong and healthy and I looked pretty good. Last Sunday, I started back on the plan that I was on when I felt like that. Soon I will look as good at Betsy made me look that day.

It’s funny how a simple picture clicked so quickly can mean so much. Betsy was the only person who got a picture of me right at that time in my life. I’m always on the other side of the camera and I forget that sometimes I need to click a picture of myself in order to keep tabs. I remember seeing that picture in March and thinking that I looked fat. I remember pointing to my upper arms and hoping for better in the future.

Now, I would love to look like that for the rest of my life: upper arm flabbiness and all.


Protect Wildlife: Crush Cup Before Disposal

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

Yoplait Container Says Protect Wildlife: Crush Cup Before DisposalI was eating Mike’s Yoplait yogurt yesterday and I noticed the following phrase on the cup: Protect Wildlife: Crush Cup Before Disposal. I had seen it so many times that it barely registered in my consciousness. Then it occurred to me: Why do they print that phrase on their containers?

I had heard rumors about skunks, raccoons and other small animals getting their heads stuck in the unique container design. Because the cup is wider at the bottom than at the neck, they end up with the cup stuck. I couldn’t find anything more than Wikipedia to back me up on it. All the other people who have mentioned this didn’t have any corroborating evidence (such as pictures of animals). Even PETA had only an admonition without evidence.

So, Yoplait containers are supposed to kill animals. I’m going to believe that, even though I have no evidence because Yoplait has printed “Protect Wildlife: Crush Cup Before Disposal” on their containers. Still, the question remains: Why do they print that phrase on their containers?

It’s not like the shape of the containers is so important that they couldn’t redesign them. Instead of fixing the design flaw, they just slapped a curt phrase in tiny print onto their packaging. Would we buy Yoplait if they came in something that looked like a tuna can? Yeah, we buy Yoplait for the YOGURT, not the packaging. The packaging makes it look pretty, but frankly, those funny shaped little containers aren’t as efficient as the grocery store brand yogurt. I buy Yoplait DESPITE their stupid packaging design.

Isn’t it time for them to just admit that they made a mistake and redesign the package to “Protect Wildlife”?


The Painting Outside My Room At The Menger in San Antonio

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

The Painting Outside My Room At The Menger in San Antonio

This painting was the first thing I saw every time I opened the door to my room in the Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. I wonder if she drank all those bottles of wine herself. Those guys think they’re going to get lucky, but they’ll be sorely disappointed. I can tell. She’s tough.

Ain’t never seen arms like that on a weak woman.

I suddenly love my arms so much more for being bulky and strong.



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

Tomorrow is the first day of October. Next month, I will be posting about nothing but Halloween things. Costume ideas, photographs, memories, videos and anything else about Halloween that tickles my fancy.

That means today is my last personal post for awhile.

What do I have to say about my personal life? Sadly, nothing.

I’ll leave you with this photo I took at one of the missions in San Antonio.

Sacrifices by Laura Moncur 09-17-06

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