Sunday, February 28, 2010


In high school, one of my teachers described what he considered to be the most perfect form of punishment he could inflict on a student. The student was to be in a room alone and he would begin to play them Alvin and the Chipmunk's rendition of "Frosty the Snowman"; only about a minute and a half after the song began he would loop a 5 second clip and have it play over and over again for 20-30 minutes... or until the student broke down.

Turbo Slim-and just in time!

With a wedding coming up in 12 days, it was important for me to get into great shape. Unfortunately, I was far from it. One weekend, my fiancee watched an infomercial for a program called Turbo Jam. It promised miraculous results through a strict diet and natural exercises that worked all the muscle groups in the body at the same time. The before and after pictures were striking. She simply HAD to have it. Once it arrived, I decided to take a look at it. It promised that if its special jump start "Turbo Slim" program was strictly followed, anyone would lose 10 pounds and 10 inches in 10 days. Well, what did I have to lose? (Pa dum tsh)



BREAKFAST--Waffle with Cottage Cheese, Blueberries, and Turkey Bacon
SNACK--Raspberry Protein Smoothie
LUNCH--Tuna Salad
SNACK--Celery and Peanut Butter
DINNER--Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-Fry on Brown Rice


BREAKFAST--Broccoli Omelet
SNACK--Raspberry Protein Smoothie
LUNCH--Turkey Sandwich
SNACK--Cottage Cheese and Paprika
DINNER--Salmon, Asparagus, and Salad

DAY 3BREAKFAST--Tomato Omelet
SNACK--Raw Almonds and Dried Cranberries
LUNCH--Roast Beef Ruben and Salad
SNACK--Strawberry Yogurt Protein Smoothie
DINNER--Chicken Burrito with Rice and Beans

DAY 4BREAKFAST--Cottage Cheese with Raspberries
SNACK--Pear and Low-Fat Cheese
LUNCH--Turkey Avocado Sandwhich or Wrap
SNACK--RAspberry Protein Smoothie
DINNER--Halibut, Broccoli, and SaladDAY 5BREAKFAST--Scrambled Eggs with Turkey
SNACK--Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie
LUNCH--Chicken Pita
SNACK--Peanut Butter Toast
DINNER--Steak, Brussels Sprout, and SaladDAY 6BREAKFAST--Feta, Black Olive, and Tomato Omelet
SNACK--Fruit and Cheese
LUNCH--Turkey and Hummus Pita
SNACK--Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie
DINNER--Grilled Ahi Tuna SaladThe Grilled Ahi Tuna Salad turned out to be a complex procedure in which I even had to make my own dressing. It was worth it. One of the best dinners of the 10 days.DAY 7BREAKFAST--Breakfast Burrito
SNACK--Strawberry Protein Smoothie
LUNCH--Chicken Salad
SNACK--Cottage Cheese and Tomatoes
DINNER--Pork Chop and AppleDAY 8 BREAKFAST--Cheese and Tomato Omelet
LUNCH--Salmon and Salad
SNACK--Strawberry Protein Smoothie
DINNER--Chicken with Peas and Carrots DAY 9 BREAKFAST--Cottage Cheese and Raspberries
SNACK--Mango Yogurt Protein Smoothie
LUNCH--Chicken Curry
SNACK--Celery and Peanut Butter
DINNER--Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
DAY 10 BREAKFAST--Broccoli and Feta Omelet
SNACK--Celery and Peanut Butter
LUNCH--Turkey Burger
SNACK--Yogurt with Kiwi and Flaxseed
DINNER--Chicken Pita It wasn't all just a good diet, oh no. The Turbo Slim regiment included a work out for all ten days. There was no way to lose 10 pounds that fast with just eating right. So I had to don the "Sculpting Gloves" and kick it Turbo Jam Style.

And here is Shalene, my coach and mentor. She is a true inspiration...


I actually lost 15 pounds, and here I am on my wonderful wedding day.

The Visible Electromagetic Spectrum

As an Introduction and Explanation: I am studying to become a science teacher. The electromagnetic spectrum is a critical part of the curriculum in any physical science. Each day for a week, I spent the day looking for one particular wavelength of light. I chose to turn the essay into a lesson and/or assignment I could use in my classes. My rules were: 1) one color per day, following the order of the visible spectrum; 2) if I saw the color, I had to stop and take a picture.

In the electromagnetic spectrum, there is a small range of light detectable by the human retina. This is called the visible spectrum, more commonly know as the rainbow. Every color seen represents a particular wavelength of light being reflected by an object. If an object appears to be one particular color, red for example, that means that the material absorbs all other wavelengths of light, reflecting only the red wave back to your retina.
Monday. 700 nanometers.
A door. 
An old armchair. 
A reserved parking sign. 

Tuesday. 600 nanometers.
A Moped.
A truck design.
A pickup truck.
Crossing flags.

Wednesday. 580 nanometers.
A fancy sports car. 
Ground wire covering.
A permit parking sign. 
A mud-splattered jeep.

Thursday. 550 nanometers.
A conifer.
Classroom seats.
An Army uniform.
A folder.

Friday. 475 nanometers.
A storage crate on a porch.
A geometric door.
 A Honda.
 An old rusty dumpster.

Saturday. 400 nanometers.
An apartment complex sign.
A restaurant logo.
Someone's bicycle.
A child's abandoned toys.

Putting on your happy face.

For my second idea of a Sophie Calle project, I thought about my work as a camera man. Camera men shoot events from races, games, to presidential debates. I wanted to capture some pictures which would show the change in people's personality from their natural state, to the state which resulted when the camera was pointed at them. These photos are from a BYU basketball game where I wasn't crewed to work as a camera man, so I followed my friend Brian around and saw life through his perspective.

This is Brian. He is a camera man. He is a great, normal guy. He is married, has two children and lives in Lindon. He has no magical powers or persuasive influence above anyone else I've met. (And when I'm in Brian's shoes, I'm pretty much a "Plain Jane" too.) He is good at using television cameras to make magic, also known as production. You can see into the lens of the camera here and see that it holds no magical powers either. It's a glass lens with an opening that light enters into and the image is transmitted.

Here we have to two members of the broadcast crew for CBS Sports who will be featured on camera during the show. Here they are standing around rehearsing the open to their show. At this point, the camera is not on them and they are waiting to start. You can see from their body language that they aren't the best friends in the world, and they don't love every minute of their job.

Once the show starts and the camera is pointed at them, they are the happiest two guys in the world. They stand so close to each other and make it look as though it is completely natural and normal for them. They are smiling and life is good. This is a total reversal from what was going on before the camera was pointed at them.

Next Brian shot a cheerleader, the blonde one in the middle of the picture, from BYU's cheer squad. Here she is during the game before she was on camera. She has a frown on her face and her posture does not convey the message that she cares if BYU wins or loses the game. She is simply where she has to be, doing what she has to do because she signed up to be a cheerleader. The same could be said for the rest of the squad around her.

Now the camera is on her. She is smiling, standing up, jumping, and yelling in support of BYU. She is holding her pompoms and making sure to only let Brian shoot flattering angles of her. What a change! Brian did nothing but turn the camera in her direction during a timeout and she immediately sprang to life.

As the game progressed, she even did an unassisted back flip on the hardwood floor. All for the camera.

Sadly, Brian was never asked to shoot members of the crowd. I thought certainly it would have been possible to find even greater changes in personality of fans in the crowd. It is fascinating to watch the transformation, and often lack of good judgment that accompanies, that takes place in people when a camera is pointed at them.

All in 1 min and 1/2...almost

I am a really shy person, I rarely go out of my way to talk to strangers. I decided this project was the perfect opportunity to put myself in a situation I wouldn't normally be in. My plan was to talk to complete strangers, get to know them, and then take a picture of them in a way I felt portrayed their personality as I perceived it after talking to them. There were a couple complete fails, some people were not friendly at all, others I could have talked to all night! The plan was talk to them for 1 minute and a half and see how much I could get from them, but I found myself too interested to stop them. The best part was, on Sunday I attended two of my friends' missionary homecomings, and at both places I found myself talking to complete strangers without a problem.


Steve: 26 year old, male Caucasian from Orem, UT. Steve is a Senior at UVU majoring in biology, he is a pre-dental student. He will be applying to dental schools in about 4-5 months. Dental school is what he has been working towards for the past 3 1/2 years and what he will be working towards for the next five years. He would like to go to dental school in Texas; but UNLV is a good option, his family wants him to go since he can stay closer to home. Steve has a sleeping disorder of sorts that helps him get a 4.0 almost every semester, since he can study instead of sleep. Ruled out dental schools in East and West coast because he does not like big cities, and he’s “got guns and can’t take what [he’s] got with him…it so happens that some of the guns [he] owns are not legal in certain states.”

He maintains that he is not obsessed with guns, he just enjoys shooting things, “it’s just a hobby, it’s just a hobby,” almost reassuring himself. Interestingly enough he sees guns as a social duty, guns have been allowed at UVU for six years now and nothing bad has ever happened. He stated, “The more decent people who are willing to carry guns around, the safer things are.” All non-decent people will do something stupid, get themselves killed and will be removed from the gene pool, from the perspective of a biology major…

Steve wants to be a dentist because he enjoys the perspective from biology, he finds anatomy and physiology interesting but being a doctor is too stressful. Dentist are half doctors half craftsmen. We then discussed his mission to Georgia, and he explained to me what armadillo’s armor is made of fused hair, which is perfect for storing bacteria. And they also have a special bone that helps them dig.

Steve was tough at first, I thought it would be hard to get things out of him, but as we talked, or rather as I let him talk he just loosened up, and he was a really nice guy who is just too lazy to shave.


Brad: 24 male, website programmer. He was nervous about the tape recorder. He tried explaining “Lost,” it didn’t work. He wasn’t even sure what season he was on. The company he works for has made websites for Donny Osmond, Pepsi, “Puff Daddy” as Bradley called him, the website is, fyi. His job description is “making the website work.” Brad served his mission in the South which included: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, he was there during Hurricane Katrina. His favorite part of his mission was the food. “The South is just rough; I mean it’s just racist, it’s hot, it’s sometimes really, really hot, but the food! Man!” He gained almost 30 pounds on his mission all from fried food. Surprisingly, he never had alligator. He ate rabbit and fried okra, a little prickly plant, and vegetables boiled in bacon…

His parents pressure into getting married, his dad wants to see grandkids before he dies, Brad pointed out he could have kids without getting married; his dad hasn’t brought marriage up since.

There is only one way to describe Bradley: Hilarious.


Lucy: Works for the state prison in Draper, does scrapbooking to unwind. She could not have her picture taken, she works with the sex offenders at the prison and as a protection she cannot have her picture on the blog, especially because, as she said multiple time during our conversation, “I got grandkids.”

She started at the state hospital in forensics and got bored and transferred to the prison 4 years ago. She picked her current job because of public safety and because she hopes she can make some sort of a difference. She has no specific training or schooling in her field she just “got into it.” she actually has bachelors in business. I asked if she ever got scared at her job, she said, “No, nope. I just have faith in God. I’m there for a reason. I’m not sure what it is.”

I did not want to include everything she told me about her job, just to be safe. She was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and so relaxed despite her job. It was an interesting contrast: a scarapbooking store, Michael Bubble in the background, and talk of sex offenders and government budget cuts.


Kelsey: Junior at BYU studying elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood education. Kelsey works at Pebbles in My Pocket, a scrapbooking store in Orem. At first she couldn’t talk because her boss had just gotten there. I said it was ok and thanked her for her willingness to help me. Then I started asking her questions casually, it was a good way to get the conversation going. She is grew up in St. George and she used to work at the Pebbles store down there. Her boyfriend’s mom was a manager there and when she came to BYU she just transferred stores. Kelsey enjoys scrapbooking, she does not do it so much during the school year since she is busy with work and school. Her secret to scarpbooking: “I make a huge mess in living room, put on a movie and just sit there and do it.” We both agreed that THE life is staying home, raising kids, and scarpbooking.

She giggled when I asked about her boyfriend. It’s a long distant relationship.

Kelsey was really nice and friendly, she was a bit shy though, I decided the best way to portray her and for her to be comfortable was to take a picture of her back.


Penny: Owner of Planted Earth Antique and Flower Shop. Her first words to me: “You can’t take pictures of anything in the store.” She has been in the business in 1971; she started with a plant store. She taught herself everything she knows about plants, she would just go to the library and read books on plants. She had a few greenhouses that she later sold. She did not liked that I asked if collecting antiques was just a hobby, she corrected me by explaining that it started that way but she has built it into a business. Then she mentioned she didn’t have a lot of time so I should hurry, and then she told me that everything at her house was an antique, she loves antiques so she made it her job. I only spoke with Penny for a couple of minutes, but I got the feeling that she is very strong willed. She was the first person I approached and I have to admit I walked away somewhat discouraged.

An Outsider Looking In

Name: Kayla Ann Lefler
Age: 21
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 118 lbs.
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Hometown: Cumberland, Maryland
Accent: West Virginia Hick/Southern Belle

Name: Anne Marie Thompson
Age: 21
Height: 5'3"
Weight: 118 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Hometown: Brighton and Hove, Sussex County, England
Accent: British

The best way to discover the truth about American culture is to pretend to be uninfluenced by it. As Anne Thompson, I dropped the American cultural pretexts of my life (as much as I could) by assuming the cultural habits of an another country: England. I chose a name, desired features, a fashion style, a hometown. I studied the accent, the mannerisms, and the slang. I created an alias.

Location: The University Mall

Date and Time: Saturday, February 27th, 8:00 pm

Background Information: Upon approaching people, I asked them for their help. I told them I was an International student at BYU, and that for one of my classes I needed to take pictures of things/people I thought represented American culture well. I did not tell people where I was from or my name in order to see if people took an interest in who I was.

Most people I just picked at random. I tried to choose a variety of people in order to capture all the different manifestations of American culture. I found myself judging people based on how attractive or well-dressed they were as to whether they would be helpful or not. I admit that my own insecurities had an effect on the people I chose to approach. All people I approached allowed me to take their picture.

Subject # 1: Two teenage boys, most likely in high school, that had nothing better to do on a Saturday night than sit at the mall. The boy on the left was a show-off the whole time, and gave me pose after pose for each picture. The boy on the right only looked up from his text messaging to ask me for a hug for a "competition" they were doing with some other guys in the mall. I hugged them both. No personal questions were asked of me.

From Sophie Calle

Subject # 2: A family in the food court. The mother was very willing to help. She called her husband, who was waiting in line for food, to come over and be in the picture too. She said, "Oh come'on hunny, she is a BYU student." He got in the picture, but was not happy about it. After the photo she said, "I hope that works for you," but did not ask any questions.

From Sophie Calle

Subject #3: College students dressed up for an 80s roller rink party. The students were very bubbly, nice, and helpful. They asked me where I was from, the first group to do so. Taking a picture of them was easy.

From Sophie Calle

They were genuinely interested in me, and insisted on a picture together but did not ask for my name.

From Sophie Calle

Subject #4: A father and his two kids. Upon hearing my accent, the father immediately asked if I was from England. I replied yes. He then told me he served his mission in London, I was mortified. I asked him if I could take the picture, he said yes but he wanted to wait for his wife. He asked what stake I lived in, I fumbled. He asked if I married a Brit, I said no. He asked if my parents were okay with that, I said they thought it was strange at first, but they had gotten over it. His wife was taking way too long, and I was running out of answers. I asked if I could take the picture right then, he agreed but said he first had to make a "proper pose" first. I took two pictures, thanked him, and left immediately. He was interested in who I was, and I could sense him making an effort to ask questions with the hope of finding common ground. Unfortunately, I knew their wasn't any so I had to make a quick exit.

From Sophie Calle

Subject # 5: Young lady at the hair accessory kiosk. She was reading a book and I interrupted her. She seemed reluctant about the picture, but got off her stool anyway. She stood with her hands clasped nervously. The colorful stand made her look happy, sweet, and playful.

From Sophie Calle

But when she thought I was done, I took another picture. The cheeriness turned artificial. She did not ask a single question and said "Ok, bye" as soon as I thanked her for helping.

From Sophie Calle

Subject # 6: A young man at the tutu kiosk. He was sitting on his stool texting, he had been for a while. I interrupted him and asked for the picture. He slumped out of the stool and sulked over in front of the stand. I took a few pictures then he turned around and went back to his stool and phone. No words were said.

From Sophie Calle

Subject # 7: Two beautiful women in Forever 21. Both women had flawless make-up. Their hairstyles and clothes were quite fashionable, yet both were insecure. The women on the left asked if she had to be in the picture, but then added that I had a beautiful voice. The girl on the right wanted to view the picture afterward to ensure she looked alright, and then asked to see my wedding ring. No other questions were asked.

From Sophie Calle

Subject # 8: Two boys I passed on the way out of the mall. I asked if I could take their picture and they said cool. These two boys were the most relaxed and casual about their photo, and yet they still managed to be memorable to me. The words "cool" and "see ya" were all I heard from them.

From Sophie Calle

Things I learned about American culture:

1. Text messaging is vitally important.
2. Insecurity is everywhere.
3. People want to be helpful, but don't want to waste time.
4. Talking to strangers is awkward.
5. Not a single person asked my name.