Friday, February 26, 2010

Scout camp vs. Girls'

I was thinking about camping yesterday, most likely brought about by a highly enjoyable YouTube video found here:, which you may want to watch before continuing.
After listening to the stories my brothers bring home from scout camp every year, I would say the video is pretty accurate, barring, of course, the game of patty cake in the tent. Also, I am pretty sure the process of becoming an Eagle Scout involves more than just catching a trout. But I may be wrong.
I've heard some great stories through the years about scout camp, including our bishop arriving at the campsite just in time to see a young man come streaking in. And by streaking I am not referring to how fast he was going. There was also the incident in which a certain older scout tied a certain deacon to the rafters by his feet, wrapped him in toilet paper, and left him hanging there for a scout leader to find. Names have been removed to protect the innocent (also, close relatives).
Of course, I went camping every year too, with the other young women at church. Here, however, I use "camping" in a much looser sense of the word. I attended three different girls camps in my years as a young woman, with varying degrees of primitivity (cabin, teepee, tarp over wood), but I would still say each was markedly different from the scout camp experience.
For one, girls do not believe their sleeping bags should ever touch the ground, even if the ground is a wooden floor. There must be an air matress or cot in between the sleeper and said ground. This negates the definition of camping that my family uses. When you have six people, three of them gigantic teenage boys, still using a five person tent, there is not a lot of room for air matresses. Or breathing.
Secondly, girls bring suitcases to camp. Some suitcases are small, others would garner all sorts of fees at the airport, but even the smallest suitcases contain much more clothing than any scouter would bring. After years of observing brothers and their friends leave for scout camp I have come to the conclusion that there are two different types of scouts. Half of them bring a backpack with the bare essentials, namely beef jerky and candy. The other half have mothers who forced them to cram everything they own into a pack the size of a well fed deacon. When they return home a week later everything not edible is in the exact same place as their mother packed it originally.
Girls, on the other hand, use everything they bring. The fact that 90% of girls still wear makeup at girls camp, when the only guys around are the occasional married camp dad, proves the point that girls dress up to impress other girls, not guys.
Girls also shower. It doesn't matter if the water makes the dust stick better and the passion fruit body wash attracts more insects, they will still make a daily trek to "freshen up." My brothers, on the other hand, didn't realize until the end of the week one yearthat their showers were broken. I doubt some scouts even realized there were showers.
There is also the food. Boy scouts can subsist on a steady diet of burnt hot dogs, but most girls have taste buds. Most girls also know how to cook. I say most here, because I have to exclude my teepee-mates from my third year, who mistook lemon pudding powder for flour and rolled the chicken in it. Let me tell you now: Lemon pudding does not belong in chicken casserole. Ever.
There are also pranks. Both camps have them, although the male versions often seem a bit harsh for young women. You will never come across a Beehive tied to the ceiling by her feet. One year, however, a group of girls took another girl's bag of makeup and hair products and ran it up the flag pole. The victim had a fit, the pranksters stepped forward to be condemned by the rest of the group as having gone "too far," and there were tearful apologies all around.
Some day I will tackle the differences between Elders Quorums and the Relief Society...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lessons from apartment living

20 things I have learned from living in an apartment:

1) Noodles are flammable.
2) Never run the dishwasher without first running the garbage disposal.
3) Make sure everything near the bedroom windows is waterproof.
4) Don't hang things on the shower rod.
5) Top Ramen does mold. So does juice.
6) Milk tastes bad after it has expired.
7) You can drink out of bowls when there are no clean cups.
8) Utensils are overrated.
9) There is no such thing as a magic crumb-removal fairy. There may, however, be a plain old crumb fairy.
10) Grey is the new white when it comes to saving money on laundry loads.
11) You can iron on the floor. Just don't leave the iron on the carpet afterward.
12) Ice cream lasts longer when you don't eat it straight from the carton.
13) Frozen eggs are hard to bake with.
14) There is usually more hair in our shower drains than on our heads.
15) It is best to wipe out the oven cleaner before attempting to bake anything.
16) Not putting a bag in the garbage can makes it really hard to take out the trash.
17) Co-ed laundry rooms can get awkward.
18) Do not eat anything off the kitchen floor more than a day after cleaning checks.
19) People do strange things in their sleep.
20) Some people use a lot of toilet paper.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Press Releases that look like THIS!!!!

Being an editor means dealing with a lot of press releases. For those of you who don't speak newspaper-ese, a press release is what people send the newsroom when they want us to write a story about them, or more often, the company they do public relations for. Most PR people are perpetually perky little things, so sometimes it gets a little tiresome wading through all the honey. I always want to send a back a fitting reply that looks something like this:
"OMIGOSH!!! That is SO EXCITING!!! :) I am SO GLAD that you put so many awesome, tremendous, exciting adjectives in CAPITAL LETTERS with EXCLAMATION POINTS so I could appreciate your news!!! :) :) :)"
What they don't realize is that everyone else puts their email subject lines in all caps too, starting with the word IMPORTANT!!! I would probably be more likely to notice it if it was in tiny letters that said "Please don't read this." Actually, I guarantee the journalist in me would be tripping over myself to scour the entire thing.
They also try to throw in buzz words they think will pique my interest. The story could be about a new hamburger joint in town and still be peppered with phrases like "environmentally friendly," "political impact," "human interest," and "international charity." I'm a reporter, for crying out loud. Don't they know I get much more excited about phrases like "major disaster," and "political career crashing and burning?"
Often I wonder how these people think their news constitutes an article. Do they really think I get their email and think "Oh wow, I do have these stories about the Haiti earthquake and State of the Union address and terrorist attacks in Jordan, but I will definitely save some space in the paper for the announcement that the Malte Shoppe has a new flavor of milkshake. I just don't know what we would have put on the front page otherwise."
Recent press releases I have gotten include:
1) The announcement that the "immensely popular restaurant chain Smashburger" is opening a new restuarant in the neighboring town
2) The restaurant Magelby's is now open two hours later.
3) Someone not connected to the university in any way discovered a new species of fossilized rodent.
4) The Utah Farm Bureau has declared this week "State Food Checkout Week." (whatever that means)
5) A Senate candidate posted a new Youtube video.
And many, many more.
I think some people are trying to cleverly avoid paying for advertising. Like they think I'll look at an article that says "Come to your local Toyota dealers and check out the following deals:" and accept it as legitimate journalism.
I'm on to you, people. Oh sorry, I mean I am SO FABULOUSLY onto you!!! Charity!!! Woohoo!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

On having all brothers

I have all brothers. Three, to be exact, and they're all younger than me. Some people think this is cool. Others equate it to being raised by wolves. Whatever the case, it has definitely given me a different perspective on life than some of my female counterparts. Some "I was raised with brothers" moments from this year:

1) At a ward activity two sisters with the last name of Gay mentioned that they were spending Thanksgiving with "the Gay side of the family." Only two people snickered: me and the only guy at the table.
2) During a religion class we were talking about the sacrament when the professor ran over to the board and started drawing a chart with six numbers and arrows everywhere. While all the girls around me asked what the heck it was, I immediately recognized it as a map of the positions for passing the sacrament.
3) During an analysis of Superbowl commercials in a media class a girl asked why a cell phone commercial was effective when it didn't even talk about what the phone did. While all the other girls nodded in agreement I said rolled my eyes and said "Because it featured Megan Fox in a bathtub." The guys' response: "Darn straight."
4) I had to go to the lost and found and ask for the jacket I had left in class. I was describing the color and style when the girl rolled her eyes impatiently. "What brand is it?" she asked. Me: "Um...Kmart?"
5) During a round of catch phrase I guessed all the Star Wars/Trek related clues and none of the chick flick quotes.

Internet Privacy- yeah, right

My original intent was to post on here every day, but obviously that's going about as well as my goal to write in my journal every day. I was reading a blog by a Newsweek staffer today about Facebook and Google Buzz invading our privacy. "Internet privacy" kind of seems like an oxymoron to me. It amazes me that people get surprised or even upset when their personal information becomes common knowledge after they post it on a blog or Facebook. I don't care how good your privacy settings are, you shouldn't post anything ON THE INTERNET that you wouldn't be okay with everyone knowing. It's like people who tell reporters things during an interview and then get their knickers in a twist when they're quoted on the front page. Hello? That's kind of the point. Sure, I've got my Facebook privacy settings on "friends only" and I'm careful about who I friend, but that doesn't mean I'm so naive I would post pictures of me doing something illegal/unprofessional/stupid and not think a current/potential boss may see them. Who knows, I might be friends with his nephew. So yes, I am highly suspicious of the privacy factors of Google Buzz, but I have a solution: don't post anything on there I don't want everyone in my contact list to see. Genius, right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Graduation Requirements

BYU is amazing. Its people are amazing. In fact, they are so amazing that sometimes I wonder if the graduation requirements at BYU are really hard enough for anyone here but me. Consequently, the following list is a new set of graduation requirements which I feel more accurately reflects what my fellow students are up to these days:

Seniors must now achieve all of the following before receiving a diploma:
1) Triple major in three unrelated subjects (a double minor doesn't hurt either)
2) Start a major international charitable organization
3) Get accepted into both medical and law school
4) Become a national champion of something
5) Take a minimum of twelve dance classes
6) Run a marathon
7) Become the president of something
8) Achieve at least a 3.9 GPA, but declare that grades don’t actually matter to you
9) Have a scholarship named after you
10) Complete three internships at prestigious organizations
11) Get a perfect score in the Testing Center
12) Get married (must be in the temple)
13) Become an Elder’s Quorum or Relief Society president
14) Change someone’s life
15) Complete 300 credits
16) Win an olympic medal
17) Publish a book
18) Gather a 7-year supply of food storage
19) Shake the hand of every member of the Quorum of the Twelve
20) Pass American Heritage

Good luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Male and Female Bathrooms

Okay, now for a real post. I was talking with a friend the other day about the difference between bathrooms in girls' and guys' apartments. I grew up in a house full of brothers, and this is the first year I've lived in an apartment instead of dorms with communal bathrooms. It's taken some getting used to. There are some similarities: I always thought I deserved some sort of award for sharing a bathroom with three brothers, but it turns out girls leave shreds of toilet paper on the floor and toothpaste splatters on the mirror too.
The differences kind of make me want to go back to sharing with my brothers. When you're sharing a bathroom with five other girls there are SO MANY BOTTLES!!! Our counter is covered with beauty products. I counted, and between our two showers we have 23 bottles of shampoo/conditioner/who-knows-what, plus a plethora of razors and poofy things. There's hardly room to turn around in there. This is in sharp contrast to when I got in the shower back home over the summer and realized my only options were a bottle of Axe shampoo and a sliver of soap that looked like it had been there since I had left for school the year before.
At least the floor around the toilet is less questionable.

Hello World

So, I decided to start a blog. Obviously. There are several reasons for this:
1) It seemed like a journalist-ish thing to do.
2) It will fulfill all of my narcissitic needs that aren't being met by Facebook.
3) I (the girl who grew up in a western town of 12,000 people) am going to New York City for an internship this summer. This should provide some interesting material. Until that point, anyone who happens to come across this will have to put up with everyday observations.
We'll see what happens here.