Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Burma VJ

An old friend from BYU who is always involved with incredibly worthwhile projects on behalf of other people informed me, via Facebook about a new documentary, Burma DJ that documents the repressive regime of Burma by splicing together footage shot by undercover reporters inside of Burma. Their material is then smuggled out of the country so it can be broadcast back into Burma by satellite, as it is given, for free to international news agencies. What these Burmese citizens do on behalf of their country is pretty heroic. I, for one, am very excited to see this film, even though the date of its screening in DC unfortunately coincides with the weekend that I will be in California for a wedding. Makes me sad, but I am sure I will find another day to make it work.

In the meantime, I encourage all readers of this blog (all three of you) to donate to FilmAid International (FilmAid's webpage can be found here), as they are trying to show the film to viewers in Southeast Asia. Said friend who informed me of this film also works for this organization. And I can tell you with a 100% guarantee, that any organization that Blaine Johnson believes is worthy of his efforts is 100% worthy of my or anyone else's monetary support. There are very few people that I would say that about, and that underscores how worthy of a cause that I believe this is.

US Screening Dates:

20-May – New York, NY – Film Forum

29-May – Los Angeles, CA – Laemmle Sunset

05-Jun – Irvine, CA – Regal Westpark

05-Jun – Portland, OR – Regal Fox Tower

19-Jun – Charlotte, NC – Regal Park Terrace

19-Jun – Boston, MA – Coolidge

24-Jun – Portland, ME – SPACE Gallery

26-Jun – Tallahassee, FL – Regal Miracle

26-Jun – Austin, TX – Regal Arbor

19-Jul – Santa Fe, NM – CCA

24-Jul – Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Museum of Art

31-Jul – Washington, DC – Landmark E-Street

07-Aug – Salt Lake City, UT – Tower

28-Aug – Seattle, WA – NW Film Forum

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Good Way to Give

Let me interrupt my selfish ruminations about days spent not working, and instead interject with something positive and important. An organization called Kiva brings another dimension to the idea of microfinance and microlending. It allows you to loan money directly to entrepreneurs around the world as they work towards the path of sustainability and self-sufficiency. It is a great idea for some very worthy folks. And the loan is small - $25.00. That amount can do alot for someone around the world.

I plan to make it a part of my monthly giving. Please check the website out and learn about some of the people that you could be helping. You could be helping someone like Vivian Duamor of Ghana.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Mr. Knightley Did On His Summer Vacation

Mr. Knightley has been slightly cross with me since we have returned home. It seems that he is upset that I have not yet posted the pictures of all of the fun that he had on his trip home (He is a Mississippi native after all). I asked him if he would like to narrate the following series of pictures to describe the fun that he had. He replied absolutely not, as he believes that narration in the third person is much more formalistic, and therefore more proper.

So here are some highlights from his trip.

Mr. Knightley spent an extraordinary length of time in various automobiles. I say various, because in addition to riding in mine, he also rode in both my father's truck and my mother's car. Here he is in Dad's truck, exhibiting the great deal of patience that he maintained throughout his car rides.
On the way down to Mississippi, we stopped at Grammy's in North Carolina which gave Mr. Knightley time to inspect and approve of Grammy's hydrangea bush.

When we finally arrived in Mississippi, Knightley was quickly reacquainted with his old best friend, Ralphe the Great.

They wasted no time at all catching up and picking up their friendship right where they left off after the winter holidays. Some friendships are like that.

Mr. Knightley also quickly resumed his position as a respectable country gentleman canine.

Here he is inspecting the fields and gardens, making sure that all crops meet his rigorous standards.

Mr. Knightley also enjoyed visiting my old hometown, Pensacola, Florida and walking along the bay.

Of course, this trip to Pensacola also proved challenging for a city dog, unfamiliar with muggy days along the Gulf Coast. He cooled himself in sprinklers along the way.

This taste of the joys of water was just the beginning for Mr. Knightley. Here is where his vacation really began. He discovered the joys of swimming (and thus, officially became a Street) at Dog Beach on Bayou Texar.

Hesitant at first, Mr. Knightley ultimately succumbed to the refreshment of head to toe wetness, and realized that when soaked in water, he bore some resemblance to a harbor seal.

The wonderful new adventure in H2O was a life-altering moment for Mr. Knightley. On our return trip to Lake Norman, he was no longer content to simply pace dockside.

Rather, once again, he felt it necessary to wade straight in.

In Mr. Knightley's words, "A very refreshing vacation, indeed."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oh, the Business!

Things have been busy since I last posted. I enjoyed the remainder of my vacation at home and then last week, my sister, Melissa, and her husband, Jordan, came to DC to visit. There is much that can be said about all of these events, but I will say few things in small doses.

Small Dose #1: The DC Temple is lovely.

Small Dose #2: Many Monuments must be visited when first time DC visitors come to town.

Small Dose #3: This may also mean having pictures taken of you in front of large monuments where the way you are standing means that your backside looks entirely too saggy and too large.

Small Dose #4: Mount Vernon is always beautiful, even on rainy days.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Today's Reasons to Live In (Or at Least Visit Regularly) the Country

1. Working in the garden always allows creativity and quick thinking. Like my dad using bamboo poles from his bamboo grove for the tomato vines to creep up and grow.

2. Does your front yard have a garden like this? If not, you probably don't live in the country...
3. Watching the sun fall lower and lower in the westward sky behind beautiful trees and open spaces.

4. Running with dogs (Courtesy of my cousin Danielle's son Noah).

Grow Your Own Food

Michelle Obama told us to do this. Only, my parent's garden is bigger, therefore better, than the White House garden. And my mom can grow a mean jalapeno pepper.
I ate the best fresh cherry tomato of my life yesterday right off the vine. I never knew a tomato could be so good.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I wish this place would have been around when I was at BYU.

Although, I can already hear ringing in my ears the loud cries of the BYU cheapskates --

Their drink menu sounds particularly refreshing. I could go for the kiwi martini right now.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Tomorrow I am leaving for my road trip across the Southeast. Knightley and I will be driving from DC to Lake Norman, NC tomorrow and will spend the night with Grammy. On Sunday we will continue on to Mississippi. While I am there with my parents, we will drive to Pensacola one evening and spend the night there. The following weekend, I will drive back to North Carolina on Saturday and back to DC on Sunday. That is alot of time in a car. I am actually very excited though. In DC, I rarely drive in the car, so when I do, I stick to satellite radio - generally XMU. So I am excited to reaquant myself with my, now outdated, CD collection. Here are a few I am specifically looking forward to:

1. Books on CD by Truman G. Madsen who recently passed away. Brother Madsen was my stake president for awhile when I was at BYU. He was a spiritual giant who was also one of the best teachers that BYU has ever known. I can't wait to listen to his commentary on the teachings of Joseph Smith on my Sunday drive!

2. The Moody Blues - They remind me of my Mom, and from time to time, they are the exact right thing to listen to. I believe that this weekend will be that time again.

3. Jimmy Buffet - No trip to the Gulf Coast this time of year is complete without a little bit of parrothead paradise. In the car I can sing along loudly at the top of my lungs with only Knightley to annoy.

4. Mix CDs so old that I have forgotten what comes next - back in my university days, I could make a mean mix. I would agonoize over what should come next and liked having an element of suprise for listeners. Now, it has been so long since I have listened to my old mixes, I will have that element of suprise, not sure of what comes next. Will it be Radiohead followed by some old school Zairian pop music? Or will it be followed up by some Ella Fitzgerald? I just don't know.

5. Paul Simon, Graceland - Always. Every road trip requires this album. I am singing it in my head already, "For reasons that I cannot explain there's still part of me that wants to see Graceland..."

Here's to the road...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Christmas Card Picture Spoiler Alert

I realize it is only June, but David and I were contemplating this pose with Knightley for our annual Christmas Card Picture. David will wear an ugly tie, I will feather up my bangs and wear an ugly suit from my more lawyerly days, and Knightley will stick his tongue out.

It shall be classic. Or at least fodder for the website awkwardfamilyphotos.com.