Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Kearns High 15 Year Reunion Photos

Filed under: Kearns High School,Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I found the photographs from the Kearns High 15 Year Reunion for the class of 1987. We had the reunion back in 2002. Dawni, Penny and I organized it and I found a folder full of photos when I looking through my old stuff. I uploaded them to Flicker:

I can’t believe we are heading into the twentieth year this summer. I wonder who is going to organize the 20 Year Reunion. It sure isn’t going to be me…


My Month in Merriton

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:02 pm

Animal Crossing: Wild WorldSince I had so many entries pre-written for October, I spent the time wisely…

I played videogames.

I had stumbled upon Animal Crossing and did a review of it for The Gadgets Page:

I have spent a month playing the game and have learned the following things:

  • If I send a little letter (no more than four lines) to my friends every day, it makes them happier.

  • If I say hi to my friends when I pass them, they like me.

  • If I stop what I’m doing for my friends and treat them as a highest priority, they give me their most prized possession: a picture of themselves.

  • It’s not a good idea to spend too much time in my house. I miss out on all the good stuff.

  • Rainbows are freakin’ impressive, even computer generated ones, mostly because they are so rare.

  • Playing the Stalk Market can pay off big, but it’s just as much work as “real” work.

  • There is joy in gardening, fishing, talking to friends and moving around furniture. If you think they are just mundane work, this isn’t the game (or life) for you.

There was a moment when I realized that these “rules” for Animal Crossing are pretty good rules for life. If I sent a four line email to each of my friends every day, I would have so many “real” friends that I wouldn’t need all of these imaginary friends in my Nintendo DS. Funny thing is, in some respects, I like these imaginary friends a lot. I grieve when they move away. I beg them to stay. I give them little gifts that I think they will like by tucking them into my letters to them.

My month in Merriton has been a happy and productive month both in the “real” world and the videogame. I can’t wait until it starts snowing so I can make a snowman. Maybe it will talk to me!


Mike Is Driving

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:03 pm

We’re going to dinner and buying a printer that’s on sale. Mike is driving and I have my feet up on the dashboard. Sometimes I worry.

If we’re in an accident, will the airbag turn my legs into projectiles and impale me?

I keep my feet off the airbag panel just in case.


Institution Green

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:17 am

We voted early this morning. For anything else, we probably would have procrastinated, but this is so important that we made sure we got it out of the way early.

Suzanne Vega has a song called Institution Green that always comes to my mind when I’m standing in line to vote. This time, we saw three of our neighbors there, so I felt less lonely. It felt like a community instead of an institution. I still hummed the song, though.

Electronic Voting

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:28 am

After all the hanging chad problems with the Florida elections, you would think that I would welcome electronic voting and be glad to be rid of punch cards. Instead, I felt a small wave of panic come over me when I saw the electronic voting machines.

Is there a conspiracy between the companies that run the machines and certain political candidates? I don’t know. I don’t even know if I believe that there couldn’t have been conspiracies with the old punch cards. I know there were several cases of incompetence where entire boxes of ballots were misplaced. Which is better? I don’t know. I guess the important thing is that I stood in line and made my voice heard for the first time in two years. It will be two years until I can speak again.


Still No Halloween Party Update

Filed under: Halloween — Laura Moncur @ 7:47 pm

I haven’t even looked through the Halloween photos from the party. Okay, that’s a lie. The night of the party, we transferred the pictures to the computer and I glanced through the thumbnails, but that’s all I’ve done. I don’t know why I’m so uninspired to get it in order yet…

Oh well. I just thought I’d drop a note to tell you that there is nothing to see here yet.


Rainy Morning Walk

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:51 am

I’m testing a GPS gadget for Starling Fitness, which explains why I’m out here in the rain. GPS gadgets don’t work on treadmills. Sure the thing can access the satellites inside my house, but running on a treadmill looks like running in place, so I’m out in the rain.

The campaign signs still grace the yards and remind me of all the Democrats that Utah didn’t vote for. Most regretably, Pete Ashdown. We had the chance to put a Democrat in the now-Democratically-held Senate. Instead they sent Orrin Hatch back AGAIN. He lied to them and they went rushing back to the polls to check off his Republican name.

I’m stoked about the rest of the country, though. Good job! Once again, I’m so ashamed of my state that I wish I didn’t live here. At least the weather’s good. Oh yeah, it’s not…


Leaf Pickup

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 12:56 pm

My neighbors are so on the ball. All day last Saturday they worked on their yard filling the city-issued orange bags with leaves and grape vines. The city will pick them up at no charge; yet another benefit of living in Salt Lake City instead of the suburbs. Mike and I have never been on the ball enough to get our bags filled in time to let the city take them for us, but the garbage bins are huge enough that it’s not an issue.

Last week Mike picked up the leaves with lawn mower. Our yard looked good until the next morning when more leaves fell. Sometimes I worry about whether our neighbors resent our lack of yard pride.

I remember a time when all of us were together. Our next door neighbor said, “We have to get the leaves raked.” I was about to give her my flippant reply, “Just do what we do. Leave them until the wind blows them onto the neighbor’s yard,” but then I remembered that SHE was the neighbor. She continued, “I wouldn’t care so much, but we don’t even have a tree.” The next day, Mike and I raked our leaves.

When I was a kid, it was important to me to get all the leaves raked up because I didn’t want leaves in my snowman, snow fort or whatever else I was building in snow that year. It has been so long since I’ve built anything in the snow that I almost forgot how important it is to rake up the leaves. Not even admonishment from my neighbor reminded me.


Your Halloween Headquarters

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

Last month we drove past the pharmacy and saw the writing on their window. It said, “Your Halloween Headquarters.” Mike repeated it with a smile in his voice,

“Jolley Pharmacy is YOUR Halloween Headquarters!”

“It is NOT!” I yelled back to him, “My Halloween Headquarters is…”

I couldn’t think for a second, but Mike finished my sentence perfectly,

“Home Depot.”


CodeAway is Saturday!

Filed under: Utah Geeks — Laura Moncur @ 6:00 am
Click here to see the video

Music Credit: Atmospheric Royalty Free Music – Variation on Egmont

Last month’s CodeAway turned out pretty well. We had a great turnout! Sadly, the Salt Lake County libraries aren’t going to work for CodeAway. Their firewall blocked so many sites that few of us could get any work done. I can understand why they might block logging into a server, but sites like Yahoo!, Flickr and del.icio.us were inaccessible. They tried to blame it on Yahoo!’s servers, but I logged into Yahoo! using my cell phone and that worked just fine.

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

November 2006 CodeAway

Saturday, November 18, 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

Be there and be filmed!


Dirk’s Dry Cleaning

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 8:42 am

I run, walk, or drive past this sign every day. I see it so often that sometimes I forget how unique and beautiful it is. Neon signs like this are a dying breed. Something in me wants to collect them. They are huge and boring when they aren’t fully equipped with glowing neon, light bulbs and electricity. There is no feasible way to keep them for myself.

Is there a Museum of Neon somewhere that could rescue the rusting and abandoned beauties? Dirk’s Dry Cleaning is beautifully maintained, but what about the Nu-Crisp Popcorn sign? What about the Salt Lake Costume Company sign? They sit advertising businesses long defunct on abandoned buildings. Sometimes I fantasize about stealing them, but where would I put them? If the world lost them to a thief, isn’t that as bad as losing them to rust?

I guess there ARE a couple of museums for this stuff. I wish they would acquire my Salt Lake City favorites…

We’re going to Vegas over the Thanksgiving weekend. The ONE thing I want to do is go to the Neon Museum.


CodeAway November 2006

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 4:04 pm

We actually had a VERY productive CodeAway this time. The Sprague Library has great wireless and we were able to get some work done!

See more at the CodeAway Blog!

Music was provided by my very cool Microblast and my fantasy of chilling with my friends and a ghetto blaster has been cemented in stone!


Evening Walk

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:39 pm

I procrastinated my exercise for so long that my morning exercise became an evening walk. For as long as I can remember, I had so many words in me that they couldn’t help but spill out. It eventually got so bad that I started this weblog. The words had to find a place to land. Otherwise, they were going cover my friends and family like so much projectile vomit.

Suddenly, I find myself in a different position. I am obsessing over a video game in which I listen to animals tell me their stories and all I can do is choose a response from a pre-set list. I find that I am quite content to listen. I listen, send gifts in short letters that are unread and look for treasure in the water, trees and ground. If I could travel to my imaginary town of Merriton, I would.

What does it mean? Everyone that I know says it means I need some “real” friends. Mommy, sister, girlfriend all agree, but they don’t understand. Real friends can’t be turned off when I’m tired. Real friends take a lot longer than 60 seconds to get over it when they’re angry at me. Real friends stay longer than three minutes when they visit.

Of course, real friends never judge my house and tell me they can’t give me more than four stars until I complete my furniture set. Real friends also don’t give me random quizzes and become agitated when I give the wrong answer. Real friends don’t move away every two weeks. No, I don’t think the problem is that I need more real friends.

Maybe winter is closing in on me and I enjoy the idea of being outside and not feeling the cold. I am texting this entry on my Treo with gloved hands. Just because it’s unseasonably warm, doesn’t mean it’s warm. It just means I can take an evening walk without threat of frostbite. At no other time of the year does California call out to me than the cusp of winter. Soon there will be snow, both in my imaginary town and my real one.

I ache so hard for SXSWi that I can taste it four months away.


Maggie Silhouette

Filed under: Art and Photography,Maggie,Our Pets — Laura Moncur @ 8:59 am

I see Maggie in this window almost every morning. I think I’ve taken a picture of her before, but today I realized that she is over ten years old and there might come a morning when I’ll never see her in the window ever again.

So many people equate pets with children. If so, they are chidren that never grow up and almost always die before you do. If this is parenthood, then I want to know where the kid kennel is.


Pilgrimage to Fry’s

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 1:27 pm

Every time we go to Vegas, we make a pilgrimage to Fry’s Electronics. Since we don’t have one in Salt Lake City, it feels like a treat to see that much geekiness in one store. Strangely, the store attracts all types, not just the geeks.

It’s a mistake to go on Thanksgiving weekend, I know. The crowds are enough to send me screaming away from any normal store, but this one is special. Must… Enjoy… The Geekdom…

Dinner Tonight at Commander’s Palace

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:57 pm

They are supposed to have a bread pudding souffle. What could a bread pudding souffle possibly be like? Chunky and tasting of vanilla? Smooth, fluffy and tasting of rum sauce? I don’t even care about the entree. I probably shouldn’t order one. Is it bad manners to just order dessert?

Update 12-04-06: Verdict? The bread pudding souffle would have been more aptly named vanilla souffle with rum sauce. Nothing like bread pudding and no real bread pudding on the menu…

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