Sunday, September 11, 2016


Every year on September 11th, I tell myself that I'm going to write down my memories of that day in 2001. And every year so far, I've forgotten, or gotten busy, and I've never made that record. I remember teachers telling us that in years to come, this experience will be like members of an older generation remembering where they were when President Kennedy was assassinated. I wanted to get down everything I remembered, so today I am finally doing it.

On September 11, 2001, I was a junior at Logan High School. I remember walking into my first period math class that day and seeing that the television was on. I thought that we were watching a movie, and couldn't figure out why we would do that in math class. Soon enough, someone told me it was real; that an airplane really had hit the World Trade Center, a building I had barely even heard of. We thought it had to be some kind of horrible accident, but what kind of accident would involve more than one plane?

The rest of the day was mostly a blur of staring at television sets. I'm fairly certain I watched the towers collapse live, but I honestly don't remember for sure. Everything was replayed so many times, it all ran together a bit. Televisions were on in all classrooms, with no attempts at lessons. We were all transfixed. We couldn't look away. The belief that I had grown up under that the United States couldn't be touched was crumbling before my eyes. This was unlike anything I had ever witnessed before, or since.

I had two breaks from the television during school that day. The first was when I went to seminary. My seminary teacher insisted that it would do us no good to stare at the news and gave his previously prepared lesson, though I'm sure he adjusted it for the needs of that day. I don't remember anything about the lesson, but I remember being soothed. It was a moment of respite in that terrifying day.

The second break was for the Homecoming assembly. Yes, that week was our Homecoming week. I don't remember if we had the full assembly. I do remember going down to the auditorium. I don't remember much else.

The last thing I remember is going home after school and turning yet another television set on. I was the only one home, and I stood in our living room, eyes glued to the television. I couldn't even sit down. I remember watching as the neighboring tower collapsed after hours of burning. I remember looking around at my house and thinking how strange it was that everything was so normal here, but on the other side of the country, the world was changing.

The following days were a constant stream of media stories and folklore. There was one persisting story that there was a group of [fill in the blank] that had a huge meeting scheduled in the trade center that was cancelled at the last minute. One of the versions of the stories was about a large group of missionaries. My cousin was serving his mission in New York at the time (he was in Queens, but 15 year old me had no idea where that was in conjunction with Manhattan and pictured him walking around right by the towers).  I remember being so scared that he could have been hurt, and was relieved to hear that he was safe.

When the cleanup started, we heard that there were survivors caught in the rubble of the collapse. We heard about the constant rescue effort, about the lists of missing persons and the families that were desperate to find their loved ones. It was haunting.

On a brighter note, I remember the way our whole country came together, first to mourn, and then to show an appreciation for family and God, and a massive increase of patriotism.

I visited New York City in 2005. The cleanup was long completed, but there wasn't much there. Just two massive holes where two grand buildings once stood. We leaned up against the chain link fence and stared as the memories flooded back. It was a solemn place.

Those are my memories. I wish I had done this back in high school so that I could remember more details, but the feelings are all still there, and I guess that's what counts.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Salt Lake Comic Con!

I interrupt this lengthy break in blogging with the tale of a Comic-Con adventure! Nikki and I have been talking about going to Comic-Con since before her mission (back before there even was one in Salt Lake) and this year, we went! Of course, the only reason we made it was because I got free tickets from a guy at work who couldn't go...but that's neither here nor there.

Since we didn't know how early we'd be going or how late we'd be staying, I went down to Nikki's in Provo the night before and planned to stay with her Thursday night as well (this managed to clinch me a 5 day weekend, though I swear I didn't plan it that way).

We decided that we didn't want to deal with the madness that the Mark Hamill panel undoubtedly would cause and skipped ahead to the first panels (in hindsight, maybe we should have dealt with it, but I'm still not that upset about missing him. I know; worst Star Wars fan ever). We decided to go early and hit Temple Square, which was fun. I would like to point out, however, that wearing a TARDIS dress on Temple Square felt a bit odd, like I was terribly under-dressed, though I'm sure no one cared.

After Temple Square (and lunch at the Nauvoo Cafe), we wandered a bit through City Creek, taking in the Tiffany window displays (I always love those) and headed over to the Salt Palace. Of course, I had to stop and take pictures in the TARDIS that was sitting in front (for you non-Whovians, the TARDIS is from Doctor Who. The Doctor uses it to travel through time and space).

We went inside....and stood in line. And stood and stood and stood. Luckily, it wasn't too awfully boring. There was a very nice girl in line in front of us that we had some lively conversation with, and of course it was fun to look at everyone's costumes. Finally, we were released into the vendor hall. The vendor hall was amazing. Booths as far as the eye could see. Literally. We were actually quite confused as to where we were.

We had made it in a few minutes after two, and the first panel we wanted to go to started at 2 (I think we must have missed something because there were one o'clock panels, but there's no way we would have gotten to those; we were still in line at that time). We made it to the panel fifteen minutes late and squeezed into the back row. The panel was on writing humor and was a pretty good time.

After that, we weren't really sure what to do with ourselves. We figured out where we needed to be for our photo op later, and then just wandered around the booths. We decided that there were lots of booths that would be quite handy if you were into creating a well-done cosplay, but other than that it was a lot of merchandise that you could find in stores or online if you so desired. We did find a little something to give to my friend at work as a thank you for the tickets. We also ran into Han Solo, frozen in carbonite. There wasn't anything we could do to save him, so we posed for a picture.

Having little to entertain us with the booths, we went to a second panel on creating characters for your novel. It was really interesting and gave both me and Nikki a lot to consider for current and future stories.

After the panel, it was time for our celebrity photo op! When I found out I was going to be at Comic-Con on Thursday, I started looking through the celebrity photo ops available and decided it would be fun to get a picture with Arthur Darvill, of Doctor Who fame (he is also currently starring in Legends of Tomorrow). We returned to the photo op area and got in a very long line. We waited for a while, but the line moved fairly quickly. Those guys have it down to a science. You get your voucher scanned, put your bag on a table so it doesn't have to be in the picture, check your hair in the kindly provided mirror, and then spend approximately ten seconds with your celebrity of choice. It was totally crazy!

It all went so fast that I mostly have memory fragments. I remember looking up and seeing Arthur smiling between pictures. We walked over to him and he put his arms on our shoulders, so we put our arms around him (I should note at this point that Nikki had never heard of Arthur Darvill, but graciously agreed to be in the picture with me so I didn't feel so awkward). Then we had about one second to smile before the picture was taken. I honestly don't remember looking him in the face when we got to him, which I feel a bit silly about, but I did say "Hi" before and then "Thank you" afterwards, rubbing his back a a thank you.

And that was it! We were directed out of the booth, picked up our bags, and then walked around the corner to where our pictures were being printed out. We received one 8x10 picture, which is mainly why I felt the awkwardness that led me to have Nikki be in the picture with me. What was I going to do with such a large picture of me and, essentially, a stranger? This way, the picture was more of a memory of our time together and not me  being a ridiculous fangirl.

We got the picture, and I tried to decipher the look on Arthur's face. I was trying to decide if maybe he was doing a brooding face when Nikki mentioned that he looked like he was tired and ready to be done with pictures (we were one of the very last groups). I'm hoping this isn't true, because otherwise my exciting celebrity experience only generated proof that the celebrity was in fact just bored. We decided that he really was brooding. Clearly, he was trying to decided which of us was better looking so he would know who to ask out after this was all over ;) But see for yourself and form your own opinions:

After we picked up the picture, we were both so exhausted that we headed out and returned to Provo, where we ate dinner at Zupas. Mmmm....

So there it is: our Comic-Con experience! Overall, it was a bit underwhelming. I've decided that either we did it wrong, or I'm just too old for such things. I'd still be willing to try it again, though. I think once you know what to expect, you can plan a little better...maybe.

Thanks for reading.