A Better Love Story than Twilight

Ethan and I went to the library the other day, looking for B-rated movies.* We found a few promising ones, but most of the old-timey movies looked like they actually had some quality actors involved. So we ditched the old-timey stuff and went with Twilight instead. We’ve heard it’s hokey, so we gave it a shot.

*For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the B rating stands for Boring. But not just boring – boring in a campy, hilarious way. The kind of film that makes you want to have a whole conversation with the characters onscreen, while mocking the cinematography. Think of the late 50’s Forbidden Planet or Tarantula!


Now, for all you Twilight fans out there, let me start this off with a caveat: I don’t like Twilight. I’m not planning on waging war anytime soon, I’m just not much of a fan of romance novels, and when you add shiny skin and poor writing, I just have a really hard time taking it seriously. So it’s not like I was expecting this movie to take my breath away.

But wow. I mean, wow. About 20 minutes into the film, we started looking for anything good about the movie. We thought the actor who played the dad, Charlie, was pretty good. He was a believable dad. But at the end of the movie, we decided that Twilight might have been the worst film either of us has ever seen.

Which is a shame, because it could have been good. If they’d replaced all the actors (except Charlie), and hired a new cinematographer, and composed a new soundtrack, and written a new script with believable dialogue, and changed some key plot elements… and based it on a different book. I mean, the concept of a vampire-human romance really isn’t new, and it’s been done well in the past. It was just done really, really poorly here. From start to finish. I can’t even blame the actors – they weren’t great, but it’s really hard to pull off a good role when your character is about as dynamic as a pair of pants.**

**Some language, but this review is quite informative. 

Here are a few things I would change, just in the scripting process, to make this film/book/general plotline more believable:

  1. Every boy at school wants to date Bella.
    Edward hates Bella.
    Bella goes for a boy who’s interested.
  2. Edward glares at Bella all the time.
    Bella walks up to Edward and asks, “Did I pee in your Wheaties or something? What are you staring at me for?”
  3. Bella wakes up to find Edward in her bedroom.
    Bella: How did you get in my bedroom?
    Edward: I came through the window.
    Bella: Have you done this before?
    Edward: Only for a few months. I like to watch you sleep. I find it fascinating.
    Bella: I’m gonna go downstairs now, and tell my dad – the police chief – to fill out a restraining order.
  4. Bella looks up “The Cold Ones” online (not to be confused with a “Refreshingly Cool One“). Instead of looking up a book and then going out of her way to buy it, she looks up the perfectly free, point-and-click information the internet was designed for. Much more efficient, don’t you think?
  5. Edward: You should stay away from me.
    Bella: You started this conversation.
    Edward: I’m dangerous.
    Bella: I’ll leave, then.
    Edward: I don’t think I’m strong enough to stay away from you anymore.
    Bella: That’s fine. I’m strong enough to stay away from you. Bye!

Seriously. Maybe I just have a really practical relationship, devoid of supernatural hobbies like bloodsucking and such, but I just have a really hard time believing that America’s ideal romantic relationship is this level of stupid, stalking, and possible illegality. Add to that the cheapest-made movie of all time, and you’ve got a great comedy on your hands. ♦


My Subconscious Defies Physics

Have you ever had a running gag in your dream? Last night, my dream was pretty boring. I was moving apartments. About a dozen people moving in with me. Building some brick fireplace. Riding a motorized scooter. Whatever. But for some reason, about every twenty minutes, my underwear would fall down – even though my basketball shorts stayed on. Cue the laugh track. Seriously, every twenty minutes. Pause the plot line, skivvies fall, everybody laughs. Then continue the story.

I’m just impressed that my subconscious not only wants some comic relief every couple minutes, but it manages to accomplish something completely impossible in order to provide it. Well done, Self. ♦

Dear Ethan: Happy Unniversary!

We’ve had a hard time these last couple of days. Gave plasma. Argued with former management about a security deposit. And then another security deposit. Still waiting for current management to send word about the new, non-exploding oven. Studied a ton. Said goodbye to a brother (and brother-in-law) going on a mission. Broke a kitchen tile. Found some termites and a mouse. Missed an exam. And, generally, got a little frustrated with the whole thing. (And by “the whole thing,” I mean most of this paragraph.) But we’ve also done some singing about Bolsheviks, cooking of pineapple-upside-down-cake, and game-playing with family. It’s been easier, because we’re together, and we’re happy about that.

So this post is dedicated to making my husband smile. Ethan, here are some things I think you’ll like:


This sandcastle.



This chocolate milk, that you bought me way back when.


My brother, drinking with his forehead.




Me, in wedding dress, et. al.


This baby’s face.


This man’s face.


This dog’s face.


The Kraken.


This man’s pants.


Grandpa Frank, posing like he owns the place. (And Grandma Jan, perfectly fine with it.)


The human bubblegum machine.


The classiest joke ever told.


This baby’s face.


This concept, and its incredible marketability in Provo.


This picture of my dad and his friends.


Teddy Roosevelt.


Last but not least, this baby’s face. Happy Wednesday, sir!

This Just In: Miley Cyrus Showers Naked


Few things have captivated American pop culture so much as the recent 180-degree turn of Miley Cyrus. Millions of viewers watched the young star twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, wondering what happened to the star’s innocent “Hannah Montana” appeal. Shocked parents have been concerned about their little girls’ role model since her radical haircut and tongue piercing, and now the”Wrecking Ball” music video is raising disturbing questions about the star’s influence on a generation of Americans.

But swinging naked on a wrecking ball isn’t the end of it – Collaborator Pharrell Williams says that Cyrus is becoming more and more a “byproduct of America,” quickly becoming the same sexualized celebrity we’ve seen in stars like Britney Spears and Madonna. Snooping paparazzi have reportedly discovered that 20-year-old Cyrus not only swings from wrecking balls, but also showers – and even occasionally bathes – completely nude. In interview, Cyrus stated, “I feel like I was born this way. It’s like I’m embracing my inner child.”

News reporters have been unable to verify with Cyrus’s mother, Tish, whether the star was actually born naked. One thing is certain: Miley Cyrus seems determined to push the limits on fashion – even if that means the total absence of clothing. ♦

Pants Go In, Whales Come Out

My brother Andrew went through a no-pants stage a while ago. At first, he refused to wear them inside the house. Gradually, he started refusing to wear them at all. And when Mom cracked down, he got creative:

All of the pants in the house vanished. At least all of the pants in his size. My parents looked everywhere logical: under the bed, in the closet, in the laundry hamper, behind the hamper – and then started the less logical search: behind the chest freezer, in the fridge, under the garage shelves, in the backyard, inside the piano… no pants. Anywhere.


My mom gave it up as a lost cause. She called me at college to inform me that she was at Wal-Mart with Dad and Andrew, buying an exorbitant amount of pants to replace the wardrobe that had gone missing. The new wardrobe was to be kept in my old room, under lock and key, to make sure that he couldn’t “vanish” more than one pair at a time. Now that his pants were being rented, they became a precious commodity, and he kept better track of them.

Just a few days later, she was on the phone with me when she suddenly said, “Hold on a minute – where did you get those?!” She had turned her back for about 2 minutes. By the time she looked at my brother again, he had removed the new pants, produced one of the old pairs out of thin air, and replaced the new pants with old. The new pants were now missing, never to be seen again.

Now, here’s a switch. Ethan and I were reading through a news post the other day about an ignorant (and malicious) neighbor who had sent a letter to the family of a boy with Autism. I won’t post a link here, because if the letter doesn’t make you mad enough to throw things, you should get your head examined. Anyway, the basic gist was that the neighbor was furious this family would allow their son out in public, because he made the neighbor uncomfortable when he did things that other people don’t. Like making noises without words. The argument was that the kid should be locked up instead of “inflicting” his general appearance on others. (I personally feel like this neighbor should be locked up for being too ugly to “inflict” his or her face on the neighbors – but that’s a different story.)

Anyways. This isn’t about people who hate people. It’s about people with bad English who hate people. Because this particularly ignorant soul made a derisive comment about how this boy was always “whaling” in the front yard. That’s right. Whaling. Like with a harpoon, a boat, and a ship’s captain named Ahab. Whaling. And what Ethan and I want to know is, where did this Autistic boy suddenly come up with a whale – in the front yard – in the middle of landlocked Canada? We were puzzled immensely. “Timmy, where did you get that whale?!” (Timmy wouldn’t say.) Wailing I understand, but if I had a neighbor who managed to go whaling in the front yard, I wouldn’t even be mad. I’d be taking pictures.

“Thar she blows, mateys! In upper Saskatchewan!”

So this morning, we came up with a theory: Autistic kids have a void of some sort that defies time and space. In that void, they can produce or hide whatever they need to. That whale must have come from the same place to whence Andrew’s pants disappeared. It sounds crazy, but it’s the only viable explanation. It explains years of missing pants, car keys, CDs, and uneaten sandwiches (actually, those turned up in the VCR. If you were born after the 80s, go ask your parents. They’ll explain what a VHS tape is.)

Now, we’re on the hunt. We’re just watching and waiting, to see if we can catch him unsuspecting. Because if we can figure out how to use this void, the world is our oyster – or beluga, if we choose to take up front-yard whaling ourselves. Expect to find me in a few years, surrounded by 18 pairs of pants, some men’s briefs that the dog found in the void a few years ago, a collection of great rock music, and most of my life’s savings. Because I’m going after everything that’s disappeared in the past decade or so. And as soon as I find a way in, I’m gonna mine that thing dry. ♦


Lessons Learned: Freshman vs. Senior Year

Lessons learned from my freshman year of college, 2007-8:

  • Thirty dollars is all in how you spend it.
  • You can buy a lot of black beans with thirty dollars.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t let them eat your bread; once you feed them, they’ll never go away.
  • Manbrownies don’t taste as good as regular brownies, but most women still prefer them. Maybe we just like the attention. Or maybe it’s the convenience. In some cases, maybe we just like the men who make them.
  • Men’s soap is cheaper than women’s soap.
  • Men’s razors are cheaper than women’s razors.
  • Men’s pants are cheaper than women’s pants.
  • Men’s pants don’t fit me.
  • Poltergeists bring brownies. Men also bring brownies. By deductive reasoning, then, men are poltergeists.
  • The words “you did what?” usually indicate a flagrant breach in social etiquette.
  • 3-person dates aren’t really much fun.
  • 4- or 6-person dates, however, are a blast.
  • Masked men, though dashing, are seldom to be trusted.
  • Cameras are never present when you need them.
  • If your door rattles during the night, you can wedge your roommate’s shoe against it to keep it still.
  • Hillary can condense an entire truckload of junk into six square feet beneath her bed.
  • Nine blankets in wintertime are not enough.
  • You never realize God is carrying you until He puts you down and you see how far you’ve come.
  • I can go exactly three days without Matchbox Twenty.
  • Ancient Romans had a brilliant language. Don’t ever learn it.
  • Some TAs will give you extra points on an essay for knowing the names of obscure alcohols.
  • Missionaries may write their mothers, but they never tell them anything.
  • Chewing annoys me. Reading over my shoulder annoys me. Both, apparently, incites homicidal tendencies.
  • Constant movie quotes, on the other hand, are perfectly acceptable, as is hysterical laughter.
  • Jenna and I were squirrels in a former life. Phoenix-squirrels. Tshaiga, I call them. If you can pronounce the word “chmig’pa,” you might be one, too.
  • Rochelle’s hiccups are violent.
  • Finishing an essay a week in advance is much more fun than finishing it the night before it’s due.
  • Multiple-choice history tests are amazing.
  • Multiple-choice religion tests are a crime.
  • I’m a freaking pansy.
  • Rhapsody in Blue relieves stress.
  • Some men just don’t know when to shut up.
  • Jackie’s nervous baking + my nervous eating = 5 lbs. gain… and somehow, a smaller pants size.
  • Some people never stop dancing.
  • Irish dancing produces man-calves.
  • Knee-length boots and man-calves don’t work well together.
  • My mother really doesn’t understand Homestar Runner.
  • Sugar burns. Spectacularly.
  • I hate cold weather.
  • If you put the peanut butter on the counter, Jackie will eat it in a day. If you put it in the cupboard, she’ll eat it in a week. If you put it on a high shelf, it might last a month, depending how long it takes for her to find it. But if it’s under your bed, she doesn’t touch it.
  • God is merciful. Were this not the case, I would have been struck down by now.
  • Lightning doesn’t strike indoors.
  • Nothing makes you appreciate your parents like moving in with roommates.
  • Nothing makes you appreciate your roommates like moving in with your parents.
  • The gospel is true; if it weren’t, its teenage members would have destroyed it by now. Instead, somehow they survive, thrive, and grow, as does the church. Miraculous.

Lessons learned from my senior year of college: 2012-13:

  • If you’re a good cook, you can go weeks (or months) without buying groceries. Especially if your roommates aren’t good cooks.
  • The most attractive thing to be is yourself. If your self needs work, work on it. But make sure you’re working on the parts you want to change – not the parts you think a guy would want you to change.
  • If you like someone, tell them.
  • If you want to date someone, tell them. Then ask them on a date.
  • A date is not a marriage proposal.
  • If a guy won’t call it a date, you’re not dating.
  • If you’re not dating, ad you wish you were, stop. Just stop. Go find someone else to wish you were dating. And then date him.
  • If you’re in danger of failing a class, talk to the professor. They don’t want you to fail.
  • Being on a first-name basis with your professor isn’t sucking up. It’s spending enough time to prove you want to learn the material.
  • Finishing an essay a week in advance is much more fun than finishing it the night before it’s due.
  • Multiple-choice history tests are horrifying.
  • If your essays are good enough, sometimes the professor will overlook a failing grade on a multiple-choice test.
  • If you still think your answer is right, go talk to the professor. If you can prove him wrong, he might still give you points.
  • If the food is really good, it will cause dancing.
  • I’m a super wimp in cold weather.
  • When biking, slow down under bridges.
  • Cool river water will do a wonderful job of icing a broken hand. Same goes for frozen vegetables. Smoothies help, too.
  • It’s simply amazing how many things you can do with only one hand.
  • It takes a really long time to put on women’s jeans with only one hand.
  • Tying a ponytail with one hand isn’t worth the time and effort. Chop the hair off.
  • I look good with short hair. Who knew?
  • Chocolate milk makes everything better.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was a boss. So was Fred Shuttlesworth, Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, and Diane Nash.
  • People get mad at you if you turn off your cell phone for a day.
  • Turning off your cell phone for a day and “unplugging” is well worth the trouble.
  • Park City is beautiful,has clean air, and is about 10 degrees cooler than Provo.
  • “Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa” is quite possibly the funniest children’s book ever written.
  • Love isn’t just about romance. It’s about sticking together when things get rough.
  • If you’d rather be in the hospital with him than anywhere else without him, you might be in love.
  • If he inspires you to be better every day, he’s a keeper.
  • God will take care of those who follow Him, and those who wait on His timing.

Teenage Rebellion Becomes Biological Warfare, Onlookers Stunned

Biohazard-Sign-Images (1)

My family is, shall we say, atypical.

On Thursday, we planned a trip to St. George to see a cousin’s temple wedding. I kissed Ethan goodbye (since he had classes to attend) and then got in the truck for a 5 hour drive. As I did so, my father related the following tale:

Dad took my brother Andrew to Wal-Mart in the morning – partly because they needed to do some shopping, but mostly to get him out of Mom’s hair while she packed for the weekend. While Dad was finalizing something just inside the store, Andrew went wandering out the front doors. Dad checked on him every few minutes, just to make sure he was okay. He was. Check on him again? Still fine. By about the third or fourth time, however, things had changed. He didn’t see Andrew right away. Upon further investigation, he found Andrew squatting on the sidewalk, naked from the waist down. He had taken off his shorts and briefs, pooped on the sidewalk, and was in the process of wiping himself with his underwear (so he could put his shorts back on) and threatening to leave the underwear in the back of the truck.

If it makes the visual any more out-of-place, my brother is 20 years old. He has Autism and Down Syndrome, so hopefully the unsuspecting bystanders were politically correct, and our family is not currently topping the charts at “People of Wal-Mart” – but with or without mental challenges, the man is toilet-trained. He knows he needs to wear pants. And, to the best of my knowledge, this is new behavior. It’s not like he frequently takes occasion to defecate at local department stores. He just decided that Thursday morning was a good time to try something new, something shockingly unusual, something liberating and free and socially offensive.

And the rebellion didn’t stop there. On the way to St. George, we stopped at a Wendy’s for lunch. After Dad went to pay for gas, he came back to find Andrew quickly putting the lid back onto Dad’s soda cup. He discovered that in his absence, Andrew had thrown up into the cup and was replacing the lid so as to remain undetected. While Dad was furious, I chose to look on the bright side – at least we caught him before Dad took a sip. Although I might not be quite so forgiving if it had been my drink.

In the past few days, things have quieted down somewhat in the Cope household – but perhaps that’s not really saying a lot.