Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kayaking 101

Today I went kayaking at Causey Reservoir with three friends of mine for the first time in my life. Boy, did we have an adventure.

The trip started out with renting the equipment at the Weber State Rec Center. Those people are so nice and accommodating! I'm very thankful they knew what they were doing because we sure didn't, and I appreciated their hospitality. The whole process of signing up and loading onto the car took at least an hour, but we made a short snack stop and were quickly on our way.

Driving out to Causey is a fun excursion, but being in the lake itself was beautiful. No motorboats are allowed so the water was perpetually calm and it felt like the whole place belonged to us since we only saw 3 or 4 other groups of people the whole time. I thought our day would be pretty chill, just floating along and chatting most of the time, but noooooo. We made some serious headway out on the branches of the lake. Let's just say we definitely paddled more than we sat around, and I'll be surprised if my arms aren't sore tomorrow.

Kayaking is the best activity for a fun afternoon because it combines three of the greatest things: physical exercise, natural beauty, and friendly companionship. I loved taking breaks and hooking up our four kayaks to pass popcorn back and forth, then foolishly trying to get the outsiders to paddle and propel us forward altogether (which does not work, by the way). I loved hearing Hannah scream and yell "F MY LIFE" multiple times in a row when she unexpectedly capsized after 5 minutes of being in the lake and not even going anywhere. I loved the feeling of competence and independence you get from being able to travel such distance just with your arms and legs and a piece of plastic to sit on. As Hillary said, we were really going back to our roots, since back in the days of Pocahontas that's truly how they got around. To the Indians it was nothing, but to us, it brings forth a sense of accomplishment.

The perfect way to top our day off was to take a dip in the refreshingly cool water, willingly, sans-life jacket. Personally, I prefer to always swim without those things because they just bog you down. I was lucky enough to learn from the others' early mistakes that it's quite easy to accidentally tip your kayak, so all day I had been carefully maintaining my balance, so it was nice to let go and give myself to the lake on MY time. The only drawback is it's kind of hard to get back onto your kayak, unless you have someone hold it on the other side so it doesn't roll.

We definitely had a few bumps along the way of our adventure, which I think just makes every experience better, but overall we had an amazing time. Here are just a few more of the things I learned from my first kayaking trip.

  • When traveling with two kayaks strapped to the top of your car, be VERY careful on tight turns so as to not knock them OFF. This was potentially a serious problem but thankfully the conditions of the situation were on our side so we were able to take care of it (only having to drive a quarter mile with Hillary hanging out the car door while holding onto them till we got to the parking lot).
  • Wearing rings while rowing for hours at a time tends to make blisters develop faster.
  • Do not put your phone or any electronic device in what looks like a waterproof storage section, even if you don't intend to roll your kayak or get it wet. Trust me, it still gets wet. And then it dies. And then you'll be pissed because you don't have a phone for a few days, which is something I could blog about all by itself. 
  • When you actually do let your kayak turn upside down, make sure all loose objects are secured, such as T-SHIRTS, so they don't mysteriously disappear in the water to never return again. Yeah. I lost my shirt today in the lake. Don't ask how it managed to sneak away without me noticing, because I couldn't tell you. 
  • As Derek had to learn the hard way, don't roll your kayak with sunglasses on. Sadly he lost the new ones that Hannah had just bought him for his birthday. :(
  • Flip flops are not ideal for lake activities. I've known this for a while from all our trips to Flaming Gorge, but I never learn. It just sucks trying to walk in them on a rocky beach while carrying a kayak uphill. Also, they easily come off in the water. This is obvious information, but I still feel the need to mention it.
  • Finally, be prepared to spend a lot of time loading and unloading when you actually pick up the kayaks, or you will be kicking yourself later for cutting short your actual fun time. Also, it's much easier to drive with one kayak on top of the car and one inside, if you manage to make it fit.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stati of the Day

Short post. I'm currently in Virginia with my immediate family spending time with the extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) and just driving around doing stuff. Hanging at the pool, going to the mall, etc. I've wanted to post so many statuses on facebook today, but instead of trying to pick one, I'm putting them all here.

Shannon *Last Name* Candy shop, A-Team, yummy Mexican dinner, beginner's poker with the family, 30 Seconds to Mars on the way home, and a full moon. :)

Shannon *Last Name* I just found out what silly bandz are but already I'm deciding they're pretty awesome.

Shannon *Last Name* This Is War.

Shannon *Last Name* just went a whole day, accidentally, without her cell phone. It was rough.

Shannon *Last Name* Black Ice is actually a pretty potent smell. As in, the little car tree hangy-things. 

Shannon *Last Name* wants to go laser-tagging. 

Shannon *Last Name* is learning how to use "word" in gangsta speak. Thanks, Will. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The One Good Thing About Airports

With my family's history of successes and failed attempts at flying standby on various occasions, airports and I are not as close friends as we used to be. I never had a problem with traveling but now I'm becoming one of those people. You know, the ones who complain about all annoying aspects of the industry. The lost luggage, the long waits and security lines, the crappy food, small seats, obnoxious neighbors who want to strike up conversation and don't know when to stop. I could go on. HOWEVER, today while waiting for our luggage to appear on the conveyor belt in the Baltimore airport, I witnessed the cutest thing that left me with a small piece of hope and a feeling that maybe not everything about airports is bad.

The scene is this: A father, gleaming look on his face, walks briskly amidst the crowd and bends down on one knee to meet the rushing child who springs forth into his father's arms at exactly the right time in the perfect moment of reunion after a long absence. You have seen this happen in movies before, and awkwardly on reality TV shows where the mom/dad accidentally knocks heads with their kids or something like that. You think "Oh, that didn't look as perfect as it does when scripted ... " But let me tell you, seeing the joy in the young boy's face and the complete enthusiasm with which he leapt into his dad's arms so tightly was one of the happiest, purest things I have seen in my life. It was made all the better that the timing was perfect and the whole thing flowed smoothly as a river - they even fit the stereotypical American family. Dad wearing khaki pants and a short sleeve button down tucked in neatly (must have just gotten out of the office at work) meeting attractive wife of, impressively, 4 children that she was able to tote all around the airport because they were so well behaved. Who knows if they had been separated for a week, a month, perhaps a good chunk of a year. All I know is that dad must have missed his kids a lot, and the love in that family was flowing all over the luggage claim when his little boy (the rest were girls) ran straight into the biggest hug of a lifetime. Laugh all you want and think I'm a sucker for love stories, but my eyes were watery at the end of this whole exchange.

Needless to say, despite the number of painful goodbye's that have occured in airports, there are an equal number of happy hello's, and this was just one exquisite example to represent them all. My storage tank of warm-and-fuzzies is now replenished to full and will remain that way for a while.

Monday, July 19, 2010

NP Update & End of Project Tan

First of all, a few more notes on the nail polish, which I technically should be putting in the previous post but I don't feel like it - I took it off after 2 days because it ended up looking like a weird brown poopy color that just wasn't cute at all, not to mention it didn't apply evenly so in some places the color wasn't as thick as others and it just wasn't consistent. I am going to take it back and look for a color that is obviously more lustrous, and in a shade that is more gray than brown.

Also, a while ago I wrote a post that started my Project Tan, in which I was going to document my time in the sun, what sunscreen I used, how it affected my skin, and whatnot. At one point I even started to write a second entry, but I've been in the sun a lot this summer and haven't been able to write everything down, which is actually not even necessary because to sum it all up, I just have to say that in order for me to become tan in a healthy way, I would have to resort to false methods like lotions, sprays, etc. I can't get color without burning, and I can't burn without increasing my risk for skin cancer, and with the severity that I keep doing it, my friends and family are worried about my health. I am too. However, don't mistake this as a statement of my future reform. I have very horrible self discipline, not to mention I really just like the way I look better with a tan, therefore I cannot guarantee that I won't keep burning myself, at least for a while. Maybe you should all pray for me that my attitude changes and I can accept the pasty whiteness that is my skin. Or else you, my loved ones that I hope sometimes read this thing, will be sitting with me in the hospital 15 years from now while I slowly make my way to Heaven.

I really don't have anything else to say other than I may not post anything for a while because I'll be visiting family for the next week-ish. Unless something inspiring happens tomorrow before I leave. Peace Out.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

That Funny Mushroom Nail Polish Color

Due to recent inspiration from other blogs, I've decided to review a beauty product. I've been reading in magazines that the grey/brown colors are in this year, and I was like eh ok, but then something happened in me a few days ago and all of the sudden it changed to, "I need to have some!!" So today I just went to some beauty supply store between errands and got a cool looking color from O.P.I. called You Don't Know Jacques. However, I was stupid and didn't realize the implications of trying a polish from their new MATTE line.

First impression: this nail polish is weird. It looks like I put mud on my nails. I was disappointed, even though I loved the color, because personally I just don't see the appeal in polish with absolutely no gloss. The bottle came with a tag that says because of the formula, you shouldn't use a base or top coat, or even lotion on your hands when you use this polish. But it was so chalky-looking I had to try, & sitting here now after I've put on a coat of some clear stuff from my mom's drawer, I think it definitely helps. O.P.I. has the same shade in regular polish so I might have to exchange it, but until then, this will do.

Since I've only had this color on for about an hour, I can't tell you how it holds up long-term, but I sure do love the ambiguous color. Another plus was that it dries incredibly fast. Like, within a minute you can apply another thin coat. It's awesome. If you try this matte + clear coat technique, I would just advise you to do the clear coat quickly and thin so it doesn't take off the real color. That's all I have to say. Here's a few photos for ya, internet.

In this picture you can kind of see how my middle and pointer
fingers have the gloss on top and the other two do not:

And here's the finished product: 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Lovin'

 I would just like to let the world know how much I am enjoying this summer. Things to do and awesome people to do them with are what make me a happy girl, and I hope those two don't go completely away once school starts again.

Fireworks at Weber State last night were awesome, and I'm surprised that I enjoyed them so thoroughly because in the past, I've often been bored with them. Maybe it was our awesome seats on the lawn, or just the fact that they were huge and intricate, producing a better show than your average county fair? I didn't even mind waiting for 2 hours because I was with friends, and the time after that was well spent, too. I cannot even count the number of times I've been to Denny's/Village Inn at midnight by now, but the number is still growing. There really is nowhere else to go, and I know it was Sunday, but more places in Utah need to be open late at night, because where else are we supposed to chill and talk for hours?

Despite my annoyance with breakfast-specializing 24/7 restaurants and their ugly decor and slow service, I still have fun when I'm there because of the company. To all my friends who are making this summer a blast just by being here - I love you, guys! And cheers to WSU or whoever was in charge of the concert and fireworks last night because it was one of the best free things I've done all summer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Surprise That Was the 8th Concert of My Life

I went to the most bangin' concert last night!! It was Modest Mouse at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City, for free-ninety-free as part of their Summer Twilight Concert Series. While I only know 3 of their songs, I had a bunch of friends that wanted to go, so I tagged along as well. We made a day out of going to tea, hanging at the gateway, and then partying it up at the concert.

Little did I know Modest Mouse fans were so crazy!!! I would have to legitimately say this is one of the most insane experiences I have had in my life. I expected it to be a chill night of sitting on the lawn with a cool breeze in my dainty summer sweater while listening to some cool music, but boy, was I wrong. After sitting and waiting in the hot sun for an hour, the concert started and everyone stood up. People crowded in as I knew they would, but things got much worse after the opening band left and Modest Mouse came on. Everyone was either drunk or high, or just freaking hyper and out of their minds! I don't quite know how to explain the progression from regular concert crowd to 7 people touching me at once and getting pushed in every direction. Good thing I held onto my friends' hands as we made our way closer to the front, or else we would've gotten lost from each other and that would not be cool. True, our group did split up, but at no point was any girl left by herself in the midst of all the hoopla.

As my facebook status said,
"Shannon *Last Name* has never been that intimate with so many people in one night. Perspiration definitely occured.
I am seriously surprised at how quickly I became used to bodies all around me and liquid germs creating a second skin. I would not be exaggerating if I estimated that I had 500 people's sweat on me at the end of the night. You know when you go to a concert and you usually stick around the same familiar faces, but just shift a little around them? Well for the last hour every time I looked at the people around me, I saw new faces because people were constantly moving! We passed along about 10 crowd surfers and frighteningly found ourselves on the outskirts of many mosh pits. Don't ask why we continued to get closer, it was just one of those things like "how far can we make it before we die?"

Another thing I was surprised at was how everybody stayed standing, despite how many times people got pushed over. We were literally never NOT touching anybody, so once you got shoved, that meant that you shoved 5 other people behind you. How did we not create a human domino chain reaction? I kept expecting the entire crowd to just fall down in one large wave, but it never happened. 

I think the thing that surprised me most was just the level of intensity at a show for such a non-crazy music genre. I would expect this type of behavior from fans of Disturbed or Metallica (12 people actually died at one of their Russian concerts), but definitely not Modest Mouse. Maybe it's just the combination of free music, beer, and a whole bunch of college kids? I don't know. But it was insane, even more so than Shinedown last year at the Saltair. The awesome part was that since we were moving so much, I didn't feel sore or tired from standing in one place the whole time! I know I'm pretty lucky that I didn't get hurt, and I should be careful and stay in the calmer areas of the crowds since I'm so small, but I quite loved what I experienced last night. I hope it happens again, but next time I'll be sure to not wear my cleanest and whitest shoes. 

I am now officially checking "Attend 8 concerts" off my 20's List. Yay! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Favorite Covered Songs

I've read a few lists online of critics' favorite songs that are covered by other bands, and I thought I'd make my own version. I'm sure some of these choices will be frowned upon by some people but I don't care. I'm not saying they're the best, just that I enjoy them. Some of them are serious, while some are supposed to be silly, like Year 3000 and the metal/screamo version of Baby Got Back. There are even a few that I didn't know for the longest time were even cover songs, like Mad World by Tears for Fears, but more hauntingly done by Gary Jules. Youtube some of them if you're interested, cause this is a good list here.

Song Name Cover Band Original Band
Simple Man Shinedown Lynyrd Skynyrd
Maybe I'm Amazed Jem Paul McCartney
Burning Down the House The Used Talking Heads
Spooky Imogen Heap Classics IV
Such Great Heights Iron and Wine The Postal Service
The Boys of Summer The Ataris Don Henley
The Heart of the Matter India.Arie Don Henley
Year 3000 Jonas Brothers Busted
Love Song 311 The Cure
Life is a HighwayRascal Flatts Tom Cochrane
Mad World Gary Jules Tears for Fears
Careless Whisper Seether Wham!
Time After Time Quietdrive Cyndi Lauper
Free Fallin' John Mayer Tom Petty
Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) Nickelback Elton John
Baby Got Back Throwdown Sir Mix-a-Lot
Take On Me Reel Big Fish a-ha
This is Halloween Marilyn Manson Danny Elfman
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) Marilyn Manson Eurythmics
Holding Out For a Hero Frou Frou Bonnie Tyler
Total Eclipse of the Heart Cast of Glee Bonnie Tyler
Don't Stop Believing Cast of Glee Journey
Across the Universe Jim Sturgess The Beatles
Feeling GoodMichael Buble Nina Simone
The Best is Yet to Come Michael Buble Tony Bennett
It's My Life No Doubt Talk Talk
Higher Ground Red Hot Chili Peppers Stevie Wonder

I would also like to say: No one can ever produce a greater version of most classic rock songs, like My Generation (*cough*Green Day) or Stone Cold Crazy (Metallica? No, they are NOT the original artist of that song). It's best to leave them how they were in the beginning, which is perfect