Monday, December 28, 2009

What are you going to do with that?

I hear that question a lot. Mostly because people don't actually understand what anthropology is. If they truly understood what I study, the question wouldn't be so annoying because it would be an informed question from someone who trusts that I have legit career path possibilities, not a followup question in an effort to mask ignorance. Like when people ask me where I'm from and I say Idaho, and then they ask what part and I say Coeur d'Alene, and then they nod like they know and kinda squint and ask if that's near Blackfoot, because they have cousins in Blackfoot. Nope. Idaho knowledge fail.

Let me inform the curious and give you something else to ask me whenever you see me for the next year whether this stays current news or not. I want to work for these guys. They have an internship I want to try for. I don't know anything about radio broadcasting, but I'm a smart kid; I can learn. My ultimate goal is not to love the actual studio production aspect, but to find stories and write shows and interview people.

I first heard about This American Life from a class. I rediscovered this nugget of a public radio show this last semester and spent a lot of time listening to past shows while I worked at the museum on a project that didn't often need brain power. I love a good story, and these shows are all about good stories. Not just good stories, but good stories with a point. There's always a "so what?" to the stories, and the anthropologist inside me glories in the discovery of the "so what?" and "why does that matter?" (Ironically, I discovered what I wanted for Christmas, these three days after Christmas: the Super Limited Edition This American Life DVD Set/Book, or just the first or second season of the TV show. Lucky for me, I have a birthday coming up! hint, hint)

If I did score an internship, it wouldn't happen for a year, as in January 2011. The internships run Jan-June and July-Dec in NYC, and they're paid. I could try for the July one next summer, but I plan to be out of the country most of that month.

In the meantime....I'll find something else to do. Don't ask me what, because I don't know.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This is my brother Scott.

He is the toughest kid I know. He contracted cancer when he was 13. He's gone through more crap in a few years than most people will ever deal with in their whole life. Sometimes it's annoying having a brother who always has the trump card when it comes to sickness (c'mon, I know my tummy ache is nothing like you've had, but it still hurts!) but he can have it.

He regularly took this many pills each day for the last 2+ years

Exactly three years and four months after his diagnoses, today he had his port removed. He is no longer a cancer patient. He will have monthly monitoring blood tests for a year, then tests every other month for a year, then bi-annual tests for the rest of his life. (The most frequently asked question is "Is he in remission?" Remission is the shrinkage or absence of the cancer. That happened after his first month of treatment. Unlike a tumor which can be measured to an extent, leukemia hides out in the bones. He's been in remission for over three years, but he's also been full of chemo which kills it as soon as it enters the blood stream. Is the cancer gone? We don't actually know until the chemo stops and we see if the cancer cells reappear.)

I've never heard/saw him feel sorry for himself. He'd acknowledge if he hurt or felt sick, but never to get pity. He knew complaining never took away any pain. His condition kept him from doing lots of things he was used to, so he developed other hobbies instead.

He has a wonderfully developed sense of humor. Our family is the first to joke about his condition. It's not morbid or anything, it's just part of our lives, just like how we joke about the number of pictures Dad takes, or how hott Danny thinks he is.

(photo credit to Josh Lee)

Thanks to all my friends who were so supportive of my family, who brought food, bought video games, sent hats, or just always remembered to ask. I've never had cancer, but having a brother with cancer was pretty hard in its own way. I really appreciate your concern for me and mine.

I'm most thankful for the inner strength that has come into my life and the lives of those this has affected. We'd never choose to go through this, but since we had to, I know we're better for it. You may be thinking "I could never go through that." You're right. But if you had to, you'd be given the capacity. Heavenly Father promises to make a way "whereby [we] can accomplish all things" that he allows to happen to us. That's a real promise. I lived it. Access to that enabling power through the Atonement is the real significance of the Baby born in Bethlehem. Let's not forget that this Christmas season.

*pictures courtesy of Scott's Facebook account

Friday, December 18, 2009

DING. Time's up.

I'm back! Did you miss me?

I'm home. Finals are over and not having any academic obligations for 16 days is a very happy prospect. I had a pretty low key finals week. I only had two tests and a presentation, and since I'm a champ I rocked all of it. I even managed to work 15 hours, watch some movies, hang out with friends, and start a modeling career.

Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right. Sort of. It's a funny story. Or maybe it's only funny to me. To preface, my Aunt Mary Ann tells me every time she sees me that I should be a model because I have "exotic eyes," to the point that it's a family joke. Then, one day last week I saw a woman from church who randomly stopped me and told me that I should be a model, because I am "interesting" looking, whatever that means. I usually just smile and nod when people create new career paths for me because they don't know what I do anyway.

Well, I fulfilled Aunt Mary Ann's dream for me on Monday. A girl in one of my classes is a photography major and asked me to pose for a photo for one of her final projects. Her friend did the awesome makeup and hairstyling. We had a lot of fun. The point of the project was to kind of personify character traits, and I got to be the dark side. Luckily, I've had a lot of practice with the "stare-down-I-don't-care-get-out-of-my-way" face on my brothers over the years. The photographer and makeup artist were sufficiently impressed with it. Way better than Blue Steel. If she sends me any copies of my photos I'll post them.

Maybe I should look up the next casting call for ANTM. Heck with academia! With the current job market, championing a "reality" show may be a more attainable objective anyway.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Learning Celebration

That's what some professors call tests when they want to be cute.

I promise this is my last post till finals are over. Not that I think you're tired of me (right?? I flatter myself), but I need to stop spending time on here and do other things instead, like pass classes. Also, I no longer need warm-up writing exercises because yesterday


I used the term "final" loosely. The paper definitely needs more work, even today I've found typos and things I want to change, but for the purposes of the class I'm done with long version. And I'm proud of it. It justifies all the training I got from hard assignments and classes throughout my BYU education in a satisfying way. It was actually easy to write for 33+ pages; editing and revising was the hard part (hence, that part is not quite done.)

No, you can't read it yet. I just knew you were going to ask, Mom. (I don't know why anyone wants to, but I have had requests-plural.) To pacify you, here's the title as a teaser: "Who do you belong to?": Understanding a Monument through Local Conceptions of Belonging. Sounds so, um, thrilling. (zzzzz....zzzzz....)

Now I'm on to creating a short 8-page version of my thesis which will be read at an academic conference if I so choose to apply for one, as well as a poster version of the paper, and a power point presentation. All by the end of the semester. Yes, my teacher is ambitious (and a little crazy) to have us do all that by the end of the semester. But I'm a champ; I'll make it happen.

Ok, that's all. Goodbye for now.
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