Saturday, July 26, 2008

Timpa No Go Us

I've never hiked to the top of Timpanogos.

I've always wanted to -- I've lived at her feet my whole life. It's just never happened. But this morning, I awoke at 5:00am so that I could make it happen. Yesterday, in fact, I gathered all the necessary (and superfluous) preparations -- fruits, nuts, food, water and a slightly earlier bed-time. But...

...every once in so often, I'm reminded that I'm human -- that despite my strongest intentions, I may not be able to always do everything I want. This morning was one of those "so oftens." I felt queasy on my way down the stairs to the grassy knoll (our ward's official meeting spot for all activities), but thought it would go away. It didn't. A few blocks out, I made Jason pull over and I... to euphemize the act... made an addendum to the gutter.

Hindsight says I should have just gone back home... but I truly did feel better. Anyway, we made it up to the mountain... and las cosas que viven adentro querrĂ­an escaparles. Escaparon.

And so, we had to come back home. I'm glad everyone was willing to drive me home and sacrifice their hike -- though I feel pretty darn lame about it. They dropped me off and did a different hike.

On the positive side: it's beautiful up there. It felt great to breathe the mountain air. Now I have a greater desire to hike to the top.

So, I've still never hiked to the top of Timpanogos.

Here's us not hiking:

And here's my niece -- just because she's cute:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Two Good Books

Recently, I finished reading two good books: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens two Sundays ago, and the seventh Harry Potter yesterday. (As a side note about the Harry Potter books: I've met a third person who refuses to read the books out of "principle." The principle seems to be simple stubbornness, though some argue literary quality; all seem to eschew bandwagonness.)

I'd like to try a technique I learned from past English classes by comparing and contrasting the two books:

Analyzing the data from this comparison, you will probably reach the same conclusion I have: the days between August 2006 and June 2008 had less hours than the now-typical 24 we've been experiencing for the past couple weeks. That's why it took me so long to finish David Copperfield. In some ways, I feel like I was reading in real-time as David grew up :)

But it seems silly to me to compare the two books. Yes, they're both British, take place in London, involve a crummy-step-parented orphan boy who can make things magically disappear. But beyond that, I see little resemblance. They don't even have the same name!

Comparisons aside, I enjoyed both of them thoroughly. I recommend the Potter books as good, easy entertainment–they're fun. And I recommend Copperfield as good, laborious entertainment. As I've written before, I enjoy boring things–though "boring" is perhaps the wrong term: quiet, unpretentious, slow are probably more apt adjectives. David Copperfield was definitely that, loaded with details of surroundings, situations, people and thoughts, it's the kind of book you can leave to the dust, then pick up and continue a few weeks later.

Dickens is also a lot more thoughtful... less Roman, more Greek. Here are a few of my favorite gems:

From the financially unsound Mr. Micawber: "My advice is, never do to-morrow what you can do to-day. Procrastination is the thief of time; -- collar him."

David reflecting on his own life:
"I have never believed it possible that any natural or improved ability can claim immunity from the companionship of the steady, plain, hard-working qualities, and hope to gain its end. There is no such thing as such fulfillment on this earth. Some happy talent, and some fortunate opportunity, may form the two sides of the ladder on which some men mount, but the rounds of that ladder must be made of stuff to stand wear and tear; and there is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, and sincere earnestness. Never to put one hand to anything, on which I could throw my whole self, and never to affect depreciation of my work, whatever it was, I find, now, to have been my golden rules."

And his descriptions about loving the women he loved at various times are spot-on. This one, in which David has built up the courage to give flowers to Dora, can be likened to asking a girl out on a date: "I had had an intention of saying (and had been studying the best form of words for three miles) that I thought them beautiful before I saw them so near her. But I could n't manage it. She was too bewildering. To see her lay the flowers against her little dimpled chin, was to lose all presence of mind and power of language in feeble ecstasy. I wonder I did n't say, 'Kill me, if you have a heart, Miss Mills. Let me die here!'"

Thank heavens for good books!

I know I don't really read wordy posts, and I don't expect anyone else to, so here's another picture to look at. I took it at the parade yesterday: