Heavy Metal on Wall Street

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Lately I've been reading three newspapers everyday -- we've been getting the Los Angeles Times since we moved here, but I find it ridiculously superficial. On one of the early days of the economic crisis, the front page headline was about the Emmy's. So I decided to scan those headlines, but really invest myself in that wonderful source of news, the New York Times. So, I read the Times electronically in the morning, and scan the (subordinate) Times over cereal. That was working for a while, until... Dad decided he had also had enough of the LA Times, and subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. Thus, I read 3 newspapers. Needless to say, though I'll say it anyway, I get a lot of news.
One would never expect the two to go together, but last week I stumbled across the unlikely synthesis of Metallica and the Wall Street Journal. On the bottom of the front page was an article entitled something like "Metallica too loud even for heavy metal fans." I enjoy a dose of Metallica here and there, and I saw them in concert in 2004, so I read on. (AWESOME concert, by the way.) The article explained how lately bands have made their recordings "louder" so that they stick out more on the radio and on iPods. I can't say I had noticed. The article goes to on say that producers increase certain layers of the track at the expense of minute musical details and expression to give the illusion of a louder song, and that the new Metallica album "Death Magnetic" falls prey to this folly.
Well, I was curious, so I determined that when I got home from work I would investigate these vicious felonies -- WHOA! Law and Order SVU took over for a second... that I would investigate these claims myself by comparing "The Day That Never Comes" with an older song, say, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from the album "Ride the Lightning." Well, being busy, that never happened.
Luckily, my burning curiosity was assuaged today as I sat in my car and the radio so lovingly played what I needed to hear. Though I am by no means a Metallica connoisseur like, say, Ian Ward, I could definitely hear a lack of musicality in the new song. Metallica, whether you like them or not, is a group of pretty fabulous musicians. It's impossible to deny that. And though the song is extremely well written and really fun to listen to, I did hear a lack of depth in dynamics and the balance seemed off... like the bass and the cymbals were too loud. Great album, guys, but I'm guessing your more loyal listeners aren't going to appreciate the cheap tricks...

The weekend in review

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Saturday was quite a busy day for me! I was all over the place seeing all sorts of people, and it was a blast.
In the morning, I had a session with my client in Agoura Hills. Her house is always fun for me to be in, because there are 8 kids (3 with autism) and the place is tingling with excitement. Her mom is also really cool, so during down time I love to chat with her. All of the kids want to play when the tutors come over... apparently my client cries if her brother and sister have sessions and she doesn't. It's funny to me, because sometimes she wants me to leave her alone once I'm there. But other times, like on a previous Saturday, she BEGGED me to sleep over, "please please please please!"
Anyway, Saturday we were sitting at the breakfast table, and my client's little sister was demanding that her breakfast show up miraculously on her plate NOW. When mom explained that it was still in the oven, she said "When I grow up, I'm not going to buy an oven!!!!" She's 6 and still can't say her 'R's, which made it that much funnier. We laughed pretty hard.
Then we did some fall-inspired Arts & Crafts, and the same sister made this lovely rendition of me. I'm happy, and I have lips! I'd say it's a pretty good likeness.

It's amazing how kids learn to draw, and what they incorporate to make their own style. By age 6, they've picked up on what their images are supposed to look like -- hair, hands with 5 fingers, flowers are pink and leaves are green. But my client's older sister, one of the other autistic children in the family, has a style all her own. She's much more severe than my client -- she's 4 years older, but has to be coaxed to make any intelligible words; otherwise she shrieks like a bird of prey when she's excited or mad. Like many people diagnosed with autism, however, she has an uncanny ability.
It's almost impossible to see in this picture because of the sun shining on the concrete, but this little gal can draw like nobody's business. I had the girls using sidewalk chalk to encourage interactive play, fine motor skills, colors, drawing, etc., and of course big sister was invited. Well, I did not expect what I saw! She just busted out with these amazing drawings around the poolside. They're very modern in style, women with understated facial features and overstated arms and torsos. I was so taken aback -- I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Honestly, done in watercolors in vivid colors, I would buy these in a gallery. Wow.
After work I popped into the Palmer's house in Agoura Hills to visit my Uncle Lance and his 3 little munchkins, who I've blogged about in the past. They all had neon-colored hair from Hudson's soccer game, and they were getting ready for the beach, so I didn't stay long. Nonetheless, I managed to get a little video of Hudson's showing off his newest tat -- a Boston Red Sox strip I brought over that his dad so deftly applied. What a guy.

After an uplifting and non-controversial Relief Society Broadcast, I hopped over to Whitney Low's in Simi for her 23rd Birthday Party! I reminisced in the car about my funniest birthday present in June... $50 in singles in a gift bag from my Grandma Palmer. And the only person who thought it was funnier than me: her. Thanks Marilyn, for being in my life :) Anyway, at Whitney's party -- where Whitney was the belle of the ball in a lovely coral anthropologie dress that made me green with envy -- I met lots of new people who I'll probably never see again, and I saw my old friend Gustavo Soares! I met Goose through Whitney at BYU several years ago, and I quickly learned to associate him with good humor and good times. There have been drag races down 9th east, spur of the moment water polo games, and of course the notorious butt shaving incidents. Goose, however, being a young gentlemen, left us to serve a mission in BOSTON! He's Brazilian, so he was called Portuguese speaking and spent time getting to know lots of my old friends. Well, Goose is back from those 2 years of spreading the good word, and it was so good to see him! Whitney's parents made a killer dinner for the party, and it was an evening well spent. Happy Birthday Whitney!

Photo of the day:

7:05 AM Edit This 1 Comment »
This is my dad.
When my dad is really hyped up about how ridiculous something is, he throws his hands up and exclaims "what's the deal?!"
This is exactly what that looks like.
I wasn't there for this photo, I found it on a link my Uncle Erik sent me of pictures of a little no-kids party that the Aunts and Uncles and Grandma and Grandpa had at Lake Powell. I saw it and I knew exactly what he was saying when the picture was taken... And knowledge is half the battle.

Old McDonald had a pretty pimpin' farm, didn't you E-I-E-I know?

7:36 PM Posted In , Edit This 3 Comments »
So let's talk about work. Some people feel dread when it comes to waking up Monday mornings, trudging into the office slurping down a hurried cup o' Joe, wishing they were still warm under the covers.
Not me.
I love getting up to go to the Infant/Toddler program in the mornings, even if I have to leave my house before 7:30am! And I'm here to share an anecdote as to why my job rocks, and it may just make you question your personal career paths.
Every morning after a few minutes of supervised play, and then at the end of the day before sending the kids home, we have 15 minutes of "Circle Time." Sounds simple enough to anyone who went to preschool, but our circle time is a little different. The kids have to have an adult hovering over them at all times to prevent the kind of shenanigans that autistic toddlers try to run on us. They try to jump out of their chairs to do this that or the other thing, or in the case of this morning, one of them tackled me to kiss my arm. But I digress, so here's the long-awaited, fabulous story.
We have one little guy (who I'll refer to by his cartoon alias Johnny Bravo, as to the company privacy policy) who picks Old McDonald to sing twice a day, every day. Heck, sometimes when we're not even doing circle time the kid will run over to where we keep the picture icons and demand to sing his song. Now, his preferences don't end there. We have these knit finger puppets (that look identical to the ones I found on the internet, here)
and every single time Johnny Bravo chooses the pig. You see, each kid gets to choose an animal from the pile to sing about. So Johnny Bravo pulls the pig, screams "pig!" and then proceeds to oink in sheer glee every day, twice a day.
Today, the lead tech in charge of circle time had a great idea. It confused the kids, but it proved for some pretty intense adult laughter! You see, we have some reject finger puppets that don't really work for Old McDonald, and we usually skip them. But the teacher is on vacation this week, and we decided to do something sneaky. So here are the animal options we gave the kids: Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a... (snowman, snail, toucan, octopus, chupacabara, brontosaurus) E-I-E-I-O. The funniest thing about the Island of Misfit Toys remix of our song wasn't the animal choices, but our attempt to make up the noises that these animals make. It wasn't premeditated, so it was a cacophony of strange sounds... if you're reading this alone, or in the privacy of your own home, try to make their noise out loud. TRY not to laugh.
Verily, a chupacabra is a mythical creature and there's a lot of controversy as to what the thing looks like. We didn't have a chupacabra, we had a lizard. But, lizard is boring. So chupacabra it is. In case you were wondering, this is what google makes of the chupacabra:

Tagged by McKenna Lee Lane

12:21 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
(I think this is how this works... she listed me at the bottom as someone she wanted to tag, so I perpetuate?)
8 Things I am Passionate About:

1. Art - creation and appreciation of all types
2. Family and close friends
3. Universal childhood education
4. Understanding of cultures and identities
5. Special Education! And educating folks about our differently-abled neighbors
6. Faith
7. Peace, both internal and external
8. Health

8 Books I Have Read and Enjoyed:

1. The Awakening
2. The Scarlet Letter
3. Anything by Jhumpa Lahiri
4. Miss Rumphius
5. Tristan et Yseut
6. L'├ętranger
7. L'aventure Ambigue
8. The Poisonwood Bible

8 Words/Phrases I Say Often:

1. That's gangsta
2. ...and a medium diet coke, please.
3. Good try! One more time, then you can have a break.
4. Time to work! ... come here come here COME HERE!
5. Look at Hadley!
6. It's WHAT time?
7. Will you pop me some popcorn?

8 Things I Want to Do Before I Die (In no particular order):

1. Get married and have at least 1 child, preferably a girl named Olivia.
2. Eat something really weird in a foreign country, like tempura tarantula.
3. Visit Japan
4. Live abroad
5. Start an NGO to raise awareness of developmental delays in Africa
6. Dye my hair purple
7. Have a vegetable garden with LOTS of heirloom tomatoes
8. Be the "go-to" girl for something, like cooking advice or a shoulder to cry on

8 Things I Learned in this Past Year:

1. Applying to graduate school sucks.
2. I have the patience of a saint... with children.
3. Guys at church can still be disgusting pigs.
4. I don't like nature sounds keeping me up at night
5. I'm deathly afraid of rattle snakes, even dead and beheaded ones
6. I'm a lot more comfortable talking about bodily functions than my family
7. My mom often compares me to Jack Black
8. Even when I express respect for another person's religious views, they still condescend when talking to me about mine.

People I Want to Tag:
1. Christopher and Megan
2. Kristen
3. Heather B. Armstrong
4. Tina Fey
5. Chrissie Tsaturyan
6. Chica

a long overdue update-roo

7:16 PM Posted In , , Edit This 4 Comments »
So it's funny to me, this blogging thing. I started a blog for the first time when I was in London, mostly because it made me feel cool, and so my mom could read it
(when I reminded her to several times). Then I randomly kept blogging. And yet, it's still novel to me that people read my blog the way I read theirs, that they check back and think "poop" when I haven't updated. So then there's that thing, that if you write all the time you risk sounding mundane with every minute detail of your life. But if you only write once in a blue moon, you're so overwhelmed by the task that you put it off forever. So here's a bulleted list, some updates, and maybe some expansion beyond that.
First, here's the token Hadley picture:

Don't worry, I'll add another by the end of this post ;)

So, I could write about...
*losing 25 pounds, a process that has made me much healthier, and much more constipated.
*the joys and travails of working as a behavior therapist.
*being hired to work in my company's infant/toddler program in addition to my regular clients.
*dying my hair red.
*what attracts me to and keeps me from graduate school.
*Major League baseball... how the Red Sox didn't quite make it, and how I've adjusted to Dodger territory.

So, here's a few pictures of a Dodger's game I went to a few weeks ago! The field shot is when Manny was at bat. I was so thrilled, of course, to support my boy Manny!

The Dodgers played the Diamondbacks, with Derek Lowe pitching an outstanding win of 8-2. Here's a picture of myself and a young chap from my ward, Greg. My face looks oddly distorted, but I'd say it's recognizable.

I also thought I'd post a cute picture of one of the little guys I work with, Tyler P. I'm good friends with his cousin Kristen Rane Lanshe, which is a complete coincidence actually. Anyway, his happy face is a good example of why I do what I do. To reap the rewards of good behavior. Let's just say, I'm his mean task-master, and he smiles when I scare him into obedience.

People always assume he's my son when we're out together. I've also probably been suspected of being his kidnapper, too... once I took him to get a haircut. He has sensory problems that make his neck HYPER sensitive... if you brushed the nape of his neck by accident, he would literally perceive it as pain. So the haircut obviously didn't go over too well... he started screaming expletives and running down the street in a ghetto part of Pasadena, yelling "help me! help me! Oh SH**!!!" I smiled and waved at all of the concerned onlookers with my best Miss America wave while chasing him, hoping to keep him out of oncoming traffic. Well, it all turned out nicely in the end, no harm no foul!

Anyway, here's another picture of Hadley. We told her to dress up, but we didn't realize that she also had gender identity problems. Or maybe it was just rebellion against to bows we make her wear all the time? Either way, we're much more explicit to tell her to put on a dress or a skirt now.