Saturday, August 30, 2008

long time, no see

Sorry I've been gone for so long. Benji pulled the shift keys off the keyboard on the laptop, so it's become incredibly difficult to blog. I had no idea I used the shift keys so much!

With the end of Toxic Audio, Melody Yellowvan has been on the prowl again, and we're starting to feel like gypsies once more. Tim has now done 2 auditions for Disney, had one cancelled because of a threatening hurricane (which ended up being a tropical storm instead), done a cruise (without me!--he was singing, not vacationing), and taken the family to LA (since he had an audition and had to get a passport in a hurry--2 days, and he had it!).

In LA, we went to the beach. That's pretty much it. The beach and Universal Citywalk to watch the indoor airdivers "fly". The kids loved the beach. Tim hadn't really ever played on the beach either, and he had fun body surfing and playing with the kids. Benji and Dan were terrified of the water at first because I warned everyone not to go too deep, and they were pretty sure the waves were going to wash them away. Eventually everyone played in the water, and now Caleb says the beach is his favorite place on earth. It's one of my favorite places to play, too, so that was cool. No sunburns, no crowds, and it wasn't hot. So much for the stereotypes of LA in August!

We also fled the heat (and the $500 electrical bills to keep the house merely 80 degrees instead of 110) and went home to visit family. We ended up very busy, despite not planning much--2 wedding receptions, both of which were outdoors in places where there was water, so I didn't get to visit my cousins as much as I'd like to have, a farewell party for friends who have since moved to Poland, visiting relatives at their houses, a stake party where the kids got to ride ponies, make rockets, slide on all those big blow-up slides, and watch a hot air balloon go up and down and up and down and up and down for a long time (Anda got to ride it, too!). They loved all of this, but especial favorites were playing with cousins on Grandma Wilson's farm and in her fantastically kid-designed yard, and picking and eating Grandma Jones's tomatoes in her garden. Naturally, travelling, we managed to be exposed to sicknesses. This time is was adenovirus and strep. We caught the adenovirus but so far have shown no sign of the strep, which is good because, with no insurance, it's hard to get antibiotics for things like strep, and adenovirus you only treat symptoms with over-the-counter meds.

It was an incredibly busy month, at once frustrating and fun.

The thing that amazed me most is the response we got to Tim's show closing. Almost everyone we knew advised him to quit performing and "get a real job," which, in all practicality, would mean abandoning 10 years of work in his field and going to work flipping burgers or stocking shelves. Honestly, I can't see how that is a wise choice, although I can understand that being everyone's response. Music is one of those mystery careers that nobody knows much about, and part of the image of success is a mystique that can't exist with someone you know--therefore, the only people who can succeed at music are someone else, not someone you know.

But you know, nobody would say to a computer programmer, "Gee, IBM cut your division and you have no job now. That must be a sign from God that you should quit programming and go work at McDonald's." But we heard that a lot. And this with auditions for jobs practically coming out our ears--tons of things to apply for as a musician!

The last week, since we've been home, Tim has been feverishly putting together an audition tape for Cirque du Soleil. It's close to being done, I think.

Meanwhile, I rebelled against the "central air" mentality that predominates here and got on craigslist and bought a swamp cooler for $50. I had to clean it thoroughly--all the troughs were plugged with mineral deposits, which is why it didn't work for the previous owner--the pads weren't getting wet. I had to buy supplies, including new pads, and hook up the water, and build a stand for it, and now we have a functioning swamp cooler. That keeps the house the same temp that $500/month of a/c did--80 degrees--or less. For the cost of running a fan and a little water. What a relief to dare to be comfortable and not have to pay our entire food budget for it!

Friday, August 08, 2008

If you throw out the best idea, what you're left with is....

This showed up in my google news health section today:

"Gift cards key to new AIDS prevention strategy
The Associated Press - 37 minutes ago
ATLANTA (AP) - Could the AIDS virus be stopped with gift cards? Desperate for a way to stop the escalating spread of HIV among young gay men, public health officials are looking to novel strategies, such as enlisting local gay opinion leaders to urge their peers to practice safe sex....The idea is to give gift coupons to popular, influential men in the gay community and encourage them to talk up condom use, regular HIV testing and other responsible actions.

It may sound frivolous, but little else has proven effective for the men most affected by the epidemic.

Last week, new figures showed still-rising HIV infections in gay and bisexual men, with about 53 percent of new cases in that group. Meanwhile, HIV rates among injection-drug users and heterosexuals is declining."

Frivolous? The idea is frivolous?

I, actually, am deeply saddened by the HIV epidemic. Thousands of people are suffering , and thousands of children are being left parentless. I am not trying to negate that this is a major problem, and also an immense tragedy.

But it seems to me that the best solution is not gift cards. It's the one they defined out of the equation in the first place: monogamy. Abstinence. Self-control.

More condoms and a few gift cards just won't cut it....

I think the greatest tragedy of all is that we, by our choices, are enabling the crisis to continue because, darn it, we don't want to take the risk of offending anyone.

It reminds me of the section in Nephi where he scolds his rebellious brothers, and they get mad at him for saying "hard things" against them--for offending them. I agree with Nephi--the truth sometimes is hard, especially when it requires you to change not just your behaviour, but the paradigms that make it okay.

Nephi says, "the wicked take the truth to be hard." I hate to say, "the wicked" and "repent" because not all the victims of this plague are in need of repentance or were wicked themselves--the wives whose faithless husbands brought it home, the children, the victims of rape, and, unfortunately, all the people who are caught in the cultural morays that have changed and encourage risky sexual behavior--the ones who ought to know better but have been taught from a young age to experiment and follow their body's natural inclinations (the ones who were taught that bad is good from such a young age--like children whose fathers take them to prostitutes or introduce them to porn when they should be hearing fairytales--that it honestly never occurs to them that it might be wrong).

But repentance is the right concept--not just for people who are wantonly sharing their bodies with others, but also for the entire culture that decided that not offending someone was more important than truth.

What a sad state for our world to be in.

I am reminded of when I said to my mother, "I would do anything to lose this extra weight." And she replied, "Not 'anything'. You know what you could do--you just won't do it, so it must not matter THAT much to you."

Stung, I realized she was right.

The same principle applies here. If they were really 'desperate' for a way to stop the spread of HIV among young gay men, they might consider teaching true principles,like abstinence and monogamy, instead of offering gift cards. It might just work.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I liked this article

Turns out Grandma Brown's doc was right--living in a spotless environment isn't good for kids' immune systems. If these researchers are right, it actually causes them to develop improperly, causing trouble for the rest of their lives! Also, kids with more siblings have fewer immune problems. Go figure. Obeying the prophets actually causes us to physically develop better bodies!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

fun clothes catalog

This site exists to sell modest clothing. Cute and stylish modest clothing. Check out their "2-piece" swimwear that is more modest than most 1-piece suits--and cute!