Thursday, August 30, 2007

Art in NYC

What is "art"? This is a question that I continually grapple with and my definition is evolving. At times it is as broad as "something that conveys meaning and evokes feelings in a medium different than written word". Obviously, what is considered to be "art" is something that is ever changing and can depend upon the group it is targeting. Such as what is "art" may be very different to a museum curator than to, for instance, a plumber. Case in point. Here is a work of art that is on display at the Tate Modern Museum of London- Marcel Duchamp's "The Fountain".

To a plumber, this is just a urinal. But to many art curators, this is a piece of art- look, he even signed his name so it must be art work :-) Anyways, my point with this is that my definition of what I consider to be "art" is ever-changing and there are times when "i just don't get that statement that is trying to be made". I did enjoy this painting about painting and then this other piece about "you invest in the divinity of the masterpiece"

My lengthy description is to preface some of the amazing pieces that I consider to be art that I saw on my trip to New York City.

Museum of Modern Art

I have been to the older museum, but this was my first time to the new museum and I was delighted it was literally across the street from my sociology conferences. What great planning! The building itself is quite nice, and has some lovely views of the city.

And the art was great too ;-) The nice thing about this museum is that they let you take pictures without flash so I have included a couple of the ones that I really liked but don't worry- I bought the guidebook that has 350 more of them but will spare you those :-)

One of my favorites "The Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh- I saw this piece before at a Van Gogh/Gaugain exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is still so breathtaking to see it again- his brush strokes evoke such feeling and emotion. If you couldn't tell, Van Gogh is my favorite artist.

I also enjoy Claude Monet. Here is his monumental work "Water Lillies", and it truly is a sight to behold

Pablo Picasso "Girl Before a Mirror"

Andy Warhol "Campbell Soup Cans"

And my new discovery- but I can't find where I wrote down who the artist is . . . I'll update when I find it :-)

After examining some of these "great" works of art, later that evening, I went out to Times Square where I watched the process of art being made. Spray Paint Art. I am truly fascinated by this process- how an artist can take everyday items like newspaper, pie tins, paper, and spray paint to come up with these incredible paintings in just a few minutes. I watched him make these three- and could have done more had it not been late at night.

And this is how I am an "appreciator" of art, at least in NYC.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Simpsons

In honor of the Simpsons movie and its release back in July, several 7-Elevens throughout the country completely transformed themselves in to Kwik-e-marts, the store in the series. One of these happened to be in Mountain View, right across the street from William's work. Here is the exterior. They had a policeman outside the store, regulating how many people could be inside at one time. Fortunately, we walked right in but when we left, there was a big line.

Inside the store, they had these large plastic cutouts of the main characters- I have taken photos of Ralph- my favorite character of all time- and then of the "mmm. . sprinklicious" over the donuts. And then, the Squishees

I very happily was able to have my favorite flavor- pina coloda- in a Squishee- m mmmm . . . Squishee.

I noticed that the 7 Elevens in Boston and Salt Lake had Squishees, but were not as fully decked out as the Mountain View location. Sadly, when I drove by the Kwick-E-Mart the other day, it was back to the old 7-Eleven. It made me sad because I thought it was a fun change. As long as they still have my pina coloda kind, they can call it whatever they want!

And just for fun, I have thrown in this advertisement for the movie with my good friend and old roommate Sarah, grabbing the donut. I wish I could have seen the movie with her because we used to watch episodes of the Simpsons together- and give Ralph quotes "My cat's breath smells like cat food", "I want to graduate from Bovine University" and "Go banana go!" . And we also have a long standing tradition of BOTH (not just me) laughing hysterically at movies- the last one was Blades of Glory- quite a funny movie as well. I did enjoy the Simpsons movie and got quite a few laughs from it and it turned out better than I had anticipated.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


So, my darling husband works for Google, as viewed by many to be the #1 company to work for, and here are some reasons why that might be a valid claim.

1. FREE FOOD! Yes, that's right. All of the food is FREE- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks and drinks you might want. Let me expound a bit upon this to let you know just how truly amazing this really is. All of their food is gourmet- and they have 19 different cafes around their campuses for their employees to eat during lunch time. These cafes range from Charlies- which has 5 different stations with things from asian, mexican, salad, burgers, and other ethnic food with such a wide range of different varieties in each to try (eg. at the mexican, you can have carne asada, veggie, chicken, pork, beef in either a burrito, quesedilla, nachos, or enchiladas) to Pacific (different types of Asian) to No Name (has very healthy options). For breakfast, you can go to Charlies and have a waffle or bacon, eggs, etc. but if you just want cereal, toast, yogurt, fruit, chips, m&ms, you can go to your building where they have a kitchen fully loaded and stocked with different kinds of cereal, milk, all kinds of beverages- from Odwalla, Coke, Pepsi, Smart Water, juices- popcorn, coffee, premade sandwiches, and make your own pbj. For dinner, its mostly Charlies thats open (or at least the best one to go to). Needless to say, you will never go hungry at Google. And William can have visitors a few times a month!!! And I am very happy to capitalize on that. This free food has greatly diminished our monthly food bill so I'm a fan and very happy that I don't work there or else I would definitely be morbidly obese.

2. Free bikes- while you are on Google main campus, they have free bikes and helmets you can ride around. The bikes are easily distinguishable by being the old school kind of light blue with a laptop basket on the front as well as a bright orange flag on the back. They also have free motorized scooters, but William and the co-workers in his office still can't figure out how to get them to work. I've also seen the security people riding around on Segways- the epitome of neridness (according to Weird Al's song of "White and Nerdy")

3. The Google Colors- everything is in the Google colors of red, yellow, green and blue. From the signs around the campus to their cubicle name plates (which are contained inside of an empty cd disc case)

4. The terminology and lingo- they call new members to Google "nooglers", in your interview one of the factors they look for is "googleliness"- seeing how well you fit within their mantra, and many other ones that William will need to list for you.

5. Toilet Seats- these are the fanciest toilet seats I have ever seen and used in my entire life! They are HEATED- and have special rinsers for the front and back, as well as a dryer (doesn't work that well). I just think it is hilarious because this is California- there's no way that it gets cold enough to need one! This would be a great feature for the bitter Boston winters though . . .

6. Massage chair and free massages every quarter- they have a massage chair that is open and available (first come, first serve) in every building and then in each office section, they have a room reserved especially for the full on massage table, complete with mood lighting. Each employee gets one a period or something like that- William has one but isn't excited about using it.

7. Free Stuff- such as T shirts, tickets to go see Transformers on opening day, conferences at the Ritz Carton hotel in Half moon bay (I unfortunately couldn't go to this one), frisbees, mugs, bags, getting the picture?

8. The PARTIES! I have to say, Google sure does know how to throw a party! It truly is incredible and unlike anything I've ever seen! Let me describe in grand detail the two that I have been to
Google Picnic: This was held out at Shoreline Amphitheater near Google that is basically a little version of an amusement park. They have multiple stages- one large one- as well as multiple vendor booths for food and drink. You had to have a neon yellow wrist band to get in, but once there, everything was FREE. Free waffle fries, frozen lemonade, rootbeer floats, ice cream sandwiches, candy, cookies, fruit, burgers, hot dogs, satay, cotton candy, popcorn, and the list continues. Additionally, they had people not only putting on temporary tatoos, but airbrush tatoos! And a ferris wheel and photos of you. But, the best part- in my opinion- was the shows. They had performers come from the San Francisco circus who did Cirque du Solei-esque tricks, like twisting in the ribbon, acrobats, strength), and flexibility. It was pretty neat- especially being for free. Then, was Google Idol. Now, this isn't exactly like American Idol- no, it didn't just focus on singing, but on a whole WIDE range of talents, all from Google employees. Here are just a few of the 10 finalists- 2 women doing Indian Hindi dancing, 2 piano players, a guy screaming and headbanging to a rock song, girls dancing to "Googlelicious", and my personal favorites- the parodies of Google- people who made up songs about life at Google. The winning number was the "Googley Blues" (see, yet another lingo aspect :-) indicating some of the downsides to working at the number 1 company (no ones perfect). It definitely was unlike any company picnic I've ever been to before.

Google Dance- This event just happened last night and was a party to bring together all of the different search engines who have been engaging in a "dance" to try to out do Google when it comes to searches. They again had all this bbq food including corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake, cornbread, milkshakes (chocolate mint- yummy, vanilla- gross), and my personal favorite- the Candy Bar. This was a station of all these plastic bulk food bins FULL of different candies corresponding to the google colors. Most were gummies (and many know my passion also for gummies) and so I loaded my bag complete with the Google sticker (not letting you forget) with swedish fish, haribo frogs, green apple gummy bears, hot tamales- and then William got me a bag since he didn't want them. What a good husband :-)
Then, they had all of these different entertainment options- karaoke, the giant arcade video games, and . . . . the best of all . . . a Wii wall. This was where we spent our time because William is FASCINATED by the Wii. Whenever we are at a toy store, or Target, he watches people play- including the demos on the t.v. screens. But, he has never played. But that changed last night.
William was able to use the Wii to have an intense game of tennis against another co-worker. William held his own, extending to 5 sets and even a long game of deuce, but unfortunately lost. But, he was just overjoyed. I couldn't get a good shot of his face (didn't want to distract his game) so here is a side view. These photos aren't the best cuz I didn't want to use flash to disturb the ambiance.

It truly was yet another incredible party and I can't WAIT to see what other nice benefits they have!
But for all this free stuff, they do make you work- this is the 2nd night in a row that William has been at work until midnight- they have created an environment where you can nearly live at work! kind of reminds me of the days when I was livin at the Harold B. Lee library at BYU . . .

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just to . .

beat William. This post is completely just to out blog my husband's maximum blog posts of 3.

Our Ice Cream Maker

As one of our wedding gifts (thank-you Diana and Melissa!) we received the Cuisinart frozen yogurt, ice cream and sorbet maker. If any of you know me, you know that I LOVE ice cream! It is my most favorite food of all time.

Which brings me to recall back to the Scooper Bowl this year- the annual ice cream festival annually held in Boston to raise money for the Jimmy Fund for cancer research. They have over 50 flavors of ice cream from the best in the business- Cold Stone, Ben and Jerry's, Haagen Daas, Brighams, Edy's, Hood, and many others. It is hea-ven! I took my husband and his parents to it and it was just incredible- I was so happy I was able to do it before leaving. I put out quite a great showing- so much so that one little girl looked at me with all of my empty cups in awe and said "Mommy, I want to do that!". I totally beat my husband though- and here's the proof.

Anyways, given just how much I love ice cream, I have become delighted by the interest William has taken in it. So far, we have made 4 batches.
1. Fresh Strawberry- a complete disaster- it didn't freeze, and when we put it into the freezer, the strawberries became rock hard, nearly chipping our teeth
2. Vanilla- this one was important since we used it to feed the missionaries. And it set up- not the best one, but much better than our previous attempt.
- it is at this point that William has taken an active interest in creating new concoctions. Both of these are his- and I go along since I love ice cream (and they seem within reason)
3. Hershey's Syrup Strawberry- much better- had pink color and a hint of strawberry taste. I think that this has had the best consistency so far
4. Fresca- added fresca (yes, the beverage) to the vanilla base and provided barely a hint of citrus and tasted good when freshly made, but when put in freezer, developed little ice chunks.

Thus, as you can see, we have only tried the ice cream- none of the other types. What kind should we try or invent next?

Sunday, August 19, 2007


"And I believe, in yesterday" that it was a such a great and amazing birthday! I got to spend the entire day with my husband which was one of the best gifts he could have given me, in addition to a new tennis racquet :-) I also received BEAUTIFUL flowers that my darling sister Cynthia sent to me- and flowers truly make the whole world better :-)

Unfortunately, and to my great disappointment, I left my camera at home! So there is no other of my documentation that exists, beyond just my recounting. Thus, here we go . . . .
William and I began our day spending some time at the Oakland temple- it was my first time going there and I really enjoyed the beautiful terrace gardens that they have, as well as the magnificent view of the city.

After battling some nasty traffic on the Bay Bridge, we finally made it into the city, just in time to visit the Matisse exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It focused on Matisse's sculptures, which are ok, but in my opinion, not nearly as good as his paintings, but my favorite part was at the end when they had some of his cutouts. I LOVE his cutouts- Matisse said that he was "drawing with scissors" when he made them and they are really just beautiful and have such depth and dimension when viewing them in person. They even had his series entitled "Jazz". And the visit reminded me of our first date that was at a museum in Boston :-)

Next, we drove down to the Wharf where we had dinner at McCormick's and Kulato's, a delicious seafood restaurant. Not only was the food incredible- bay shrimp, crab, and artichoke dip, clam chowder, coconut shrimp (with such great sauce), and scallops- but we truly had THE BEST view in the house! The restaurant is on the 2nd floor and has an incredible view of the bay, Alcatraz, and the rest of the Wharf. It truly was so amazing- also reminiscent of the view from the Top of the Hub the night we became engaged.

Next, we walked around the wharf wearing William's extra white shirt- but in a new fashionable style- and saw a stunning sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge (of course without our camera!) and then back to Ghiradelli's for some incredibly decadent ice cream- with hot fudge and butterscotch. Yummy . . . . the perfect ending to an incredible birthday! I truly do love my life!