Sunday, December 28, 2008

Resolutions

People innately want to be better; there seems to be something within everyone that urges them to strive for bigger and better things, an upward drive. Some people kill this drive by laziness; some people squelch it because they don’t think they can achieve certain things or be a certain type of person. These people are scared of their potential and the possibility that they might achieve it. Some people are afraid to try because they are afraid of failing. I fall in the second group – for some reason, my potential is frightening to me. Maybe it means I will have to do more, be more should I realize my potential. I think I’ve grown complacent with my life. I’ve stopped striving for bigger and better. That needs to stop. Now.

Marianne Williamson, a noted author and lecturer, wrote in her book Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, a very profound thought:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Every year at the end of December, people make resolutions. By the end of January, I’d be surprised if most people can remember them. That being the case, those people didn’t ever have any resolutions; they had wishes or maybe some hopes. A resolution, by very definition, is more serious than idle wishing. It involves determination and consistent effort. Resolution and resolve aren’t just words that look similar; inherent in a resolution is resolve, or determination. If you are truly resolved to accomplish certain things, there is no power on earth or in heaven that can stop you from achieving what you set out to accomplish.

That being said, I’ve made some resolutions for this coming year. I’ve kept them realistic and in line with what I know I can and will do. I’ve made resolutions for a few different areas of my life. Some of the resolutions I will share on here, others are very personal and I’m going to keep them to myself. When I accomplish those, it will be a personal and private victory. When I accomplish the others that I’m advertising, I’ll celebrate publicly. I’m excited for this coming year. There are a number of things that I feel I need to change about myself and my life. I’m excited to see myself after some of these things happen.

These are some of the things I will do in 2009:

Physical
Eat healthy
- Less take-out/drive thru
- More fruits and vegetables
- Learn how to cook a few meals well
Regular exercise
- Complete P90X at least twice

Mental
Complete a non-school related book once a month
Continue schooling

Spiritual
Read the Book of Mormon at least twice
Monthly temple attendance
Regular Sunday attendance

There are others, but like I mentioned previously, some are intensely personal to me and I don’t feel comfortable sharing those in a semi-public setting such as this.

If you look at your own resolutions and think, “I have to do all these things for a year (or however long)”, you’ll never get it done. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it all. However, if you look at your list and say, “I can do these things today” and just worry about it today, you’ll find that a year has passed and you’ve been doing all these things the whole time and have accomplished your goals. That’s my plan. I’m not worried about doing them all for an entire year. I’m worried about doing them today, tomorrow can take care of itself, but today these are the things I’m going to do. Seems to me there’s a scripture that says almost that exact thing.

Good luck on your own resolutions.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wowza!

Alrighty folks - in the spirit of long posts, this one's a doozy. But, before you click away know this: you won't have to do much reading. What? Not having to read a blog? But it's supposed to be a long one, what gives? I've decided to share with you some of my favorite YouTube videos.

So to get right to the meat of it all, I present to you, YouTube!


Kid gets a soccer ball to the face.



Capoeira is a graceful Brazilian martial art. Not so graceful this time, though.



We're going to be over there a while by the looks of this.



Third time's the charm?



Maybe he should get some sleep next time?



C'mon...who hasn't done this?



This is the one that started it all...but don't try it now. You'll see why below.



Told ya.



More people getting scared. Some of them are really funny. Some of them are dumb.



A compilation of classic clips.



Dude gets lucky - you can see the ricochet coming.


That'll do for now. Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

Bear with me folks – this is a long one. It took me some time to put it together, so if you’re going to read it I’d be appreciative if you read it all the way through.

It’s difficult for me to accurately express my feelings about Christmas. There are some things about Christmas that I absolutely love and there are things about Christmas that I really don’t like much. It’s always an interesting time for me as I try to manage the sometimes conflicting feelings I have about the season. If you’ll indulge me for a while I’ll try to explore my thoughts and feelings about the season and maybe it’ll end up making some sort of sense.

Let’s start with the reasons why I don’t like Christmas, so we can end on a positive note.

I don’t like how Christmas has become a very commercial holiday, it seems the only reason Christmas exists to the corporate world is to make a buck. I was in a Wal-Mart store the day after Halloween and there were Christmas trees, angels, colored balls, tinsel, lights, Santa Clauses (or is it Santa Clausi?), and decorations of every sort and size. I expressed my surprise to the person I was with. I have never seen Christmas marketed so early before. Ever. Perhaps I’m just a na├»ve shopper, but I was really taken aback by this.

Kids make a list of the things they want for Christmas, listing such things as iPods, Nintendos, cell phones, DVD’s, toys, etc. They sit on Santa’s lap and recite the list to him hoping and expecting to receive the things they request. Do I blame the children for this? Absolutely not. I don’t know who to blame, nor do I think it’s important that someone receive blame for this. It’s just something I don’t like. On a day we commemorate the greatest gift we, as children of God, have received the only thing people think about are bicycles, Barbies, movies, and what “I’m going to get for Christmas”. It’s disheartening to see.

Santa Claus plays a big role in all of this. The jolly old elf who slides down chimneys, rides in a sleigh pulled by tiny reindeer, maintains a list of every child in the world and checks it twice before he goes on his worldwide whirlwind journey has become a symbol of everything I dislike about Christmas, which is unfortunate really, given the history of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas. According to Wikipedia, St. Nick was the “primary inspiration for the Christian figure of Santa Claus.” Apparently, he was well known for giving gifts to the poor – definitely a noteworthy and laudable practice. You can read more of the Wikipedia article on the history of Santa Claus by clicking on the link above.

I don’t dislike Santa Claus for the history behind the legend, for his tradition of distributing gifts or even for the fabricated story of his existence. The problem I have with Santa Claus is that he has become the figure of Christmas. If you were to poll people who celebrate Christmas on who they associate with Christmas I would imagine you would overwhelmingly hear people mention Santa Claus, children especially.

Despite some people’s belief that Christmas evolved with Pagan influence, Christmas is not the celebration of a fat man in a red suit. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ. Even with the benevolent background of St. Nicholas, there really is no comparison between the two. Santa Claus’ supplanting of Christ as the central figure of Christmas is really what is at the root of my distaste for what the holiday has become.

A poem, by an author unknown to me, brings tears to my eyes each time I read it.

At Christmas time there was a man
who looked so out of place
as people rushed about him
at a hurried sort of pace.

He stared at all the Christmas lights,
the tinsel everywhere,
the shopping center Santa Claus
with children gathered near.

The mall was packed with shoppers
who were going to and fro,
some with smiles, some with frowns,
and some too tired to go.

They rested on benches
or they hurried on their way
to fight the crowds for purchases
to carry home that day.

The music from the stereo
was playing loud and clear
of Santa Claus and snowmen
and funny nosed reindeer.

He heard the people talk about
the good times on the way,
of parties, fun and food galore,
and gift exchange that day.

"I'd like to know what's going on,"
the man was heard to say.
"There seems to be some sort
of celebration on the way.

And would you tell me who this is
all dressed in red and white
and why are children asking him
about a special night."

The answer came in disbelief,
"I can't believe my ear.
I can't believe you do not know,
that Christmas time is here.

The time when Santa comes around
with gifts for girls and boys
when they are asleep on Christmas Eve,
he leaves them books and toys.

The man you see in red and white
is Santa Claus so sly.
The children love his joyful laugh,
and twinkle in his eye.

His gift packed sleigh is pulled along
by very small reindeer
as he flies quickly through the air,
while darting here and there.

The children learn of Santa Claus
while they are still quite small.
When Christmas comes he is the most
important one of all."

The stranger hung His head in shame,
He closed a nail pierced hand.
His body shook in disbelief.
He did not understand.

A shadow crossed His stricken face,
His voice was low but clear.
"After all these years they still don't know."
And Jesus shed a tear.

Friends – this is why I love Christmas. It is the time we celebrate the birth of the Only Begotten of the Father, the One who came to save us from our sins. He became like us so we could become like Him. As has been said by His duly ordained Prophet and Apostles, “God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.”

Herein lays the true reason for the season. Amid all the sparkling lights and hubbub that accompanies the holiday let us celebrate Christ and His birth. Let us teach our children that Christ is the center of Christmas and all the other traditions or celebrations are secondary to Christ.

I love how people become more compassionate and caring at Christmas time. I don’t have any statistical backup for this, just anecdotal evidence based on hearing about service being rendered at homeless shelters and other community type organizations. The love people feel for their fellow beings at this season is admirable. I only wish it would continue all year, but the outpouring at this time of year is impressive. It’s difficult to feel less concerned for others during Christmas time.

During the year I’m very appreciative of the sacrifices of the soldiers protecting us while away from their families, but that feeling grows exponentially at this time of year.

I received the following poem in an email recently and it expresses pretty poignantly the feelings I have regarding our service men and women. It’s written by a gentlemen named Michael Marks.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight;
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood; his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night”

“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue… an American flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,

I can carry the weight of killing another
Or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone;
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

God bless and keep our soldiers and their families.

There is good in people – despite my job and experiences I have had, the one thing I have not lost is my faith in people. That goodness seems to be demonstrated to a large degree around Christmas time. When asked, people explain simply, “I got the Christmas spirit.” What is the “Christmas Spirit” and why does it inspire people to do good to their fellow man? I think the Christmas Spirit is nothing less than the love of Christ. It’s a wonderful thing to see it spread around.

This time of year, please consider the things that truly matter and it’s not Santa Claus or presents under a tree. The things that matter are family, friends, goodwill, love and kindness. These are the things that mattered to Christ when He walked the earth and I’d be willing to bet those are the very same things that matter to Him now and are the same things He would have matter to us as well. Please share that love with the people around you.

Remember what Dr. Seuss said, in his famous story about the Grinch who stole Christmas, after the Grinch had stolen the presents, packages, food and all the trappings of Christmas,

"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

Merry Christmas and God bless you my friends – may you be happy and loved this season and throughout the year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lazy Days

I love Saturdays. A lot. It's usually a day when I can be my normal, likeable, lazy self. Today was no exception. It's sometime after noon today and I've been up for about five hours. Sleeping in with no alarm to wake me up is one of my absolute favorite things to do. And, I get to do it again tomorrow.

I haven't just been laying around doing nothing today, though. No siree. I've been productive. Somewhat. I've done the following:

- Watched a Division II football National Championship game between two teams I've never heard of before and couldn't care less if I didn't hear of them again.

- Watched an episode of Gangland recorded previously on my DVR.

- Checked my email probably 10 times.

- Checked my Facebook probably five times.

- Picked my nose twice.

- Ate half a pizza left over from last night.

- Drank approximately half a gallon of Kool-Aid.

- Took a shower.

- Brushed my teeth.

- Two loads of laundry.

- Watched the snow fall.

- Read Calvin and Hobbes for a while.

- Watched part of the Utah v Oklahoma basketball game. Also, two teams I couldn't care less about but will likely hear about in the future.

- Checked out my friends' blogs.

- Checked out cougarboard way too many times.

All this on the last Saturday before I take finals. I could have been studying, actually doing a take-home final, or other productive things. I'm not worried about it though. I've been very busy the last couple of weeks - probably the busiest I've been in my life, so I think I deserve a day to just be lazy. I can be (and will be) busy again this coming week.

I'm taking my CCW class tonight. I'm excited to get it done, but not excited for a four-hour class discussing who knows what. I can only hope that it's interesting. Sixty days after today I should have my permit in one hot little hand and my 9 in the other. Hooray for the 2nd Amendment!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Me likey...

I was sitting in church last week and there was a musical number to be performed during the meeting. Usually I look forward to musical numbers because I get really bored when I listen to the speakers sometimes - on a related note, I think we need to integrate more congregation participation during our meetings. Some more AMEN's or HALLELUJAH's when you agree with what the speaker said, or maybe if you are falling asleep, or even if you just want to feel righteous.

Anyhow, as the musical number started, I realized it was going to be a special one. I listened with rapt attention as the singer performed. It was easily the worst musical number I have ever heard and believe me, I've heard a lot - I've been Mormon for a very long time. It reminded me of American Idol tryouts when the people just plain suck but think they're the next big thing. I could not stop paying attention. I was engrossed by the sheer awfulness of it all.

I'm not the world's best singer by anyone's definition. I'm not the worst either, but I think I'm much closer to the worst than I am to the best. I have no business singing in Sacrament meeting (or any other meeting for that matter), but it actually happened once. As a missionary, I once lost a bet and had to sing a solo in a Sacrament meeting. Fortunately for me, and the branch, it was a Deaf congregation and 95% of the people there could not hear me at all. There were a handful of hearing people there though and I hope by now they've been able to recover from what surely was a traumatic experience.

Maybe the guy singing on Sunday lost a bet, but I doubt it. The point of this blog isn't singing in church, however. The singing last week got me thinking, though, of how much I appreciated that experience. It got me thinking of other things I appreciate and why I appreciate them. Here's a brief run-down of some of those things.

- American Idol/So You Think You Can Dance/America's Got Talent/Etc.
I love these kind of shows. I don't usually watch when the real competition starts, but I love tuning in at the beginning, for the reason mentioned previously. I love watching people make complete fools of themselves on national TV. Do some of these people actually think they have talent? Hasn't someone, sometime told them that they aren't that good? What kind of friend allows their friend to make him or herself look like an idiot in front of the nation? Maybe they didn't want to hurt their friend's feelings but believe me, the producers of these talent shows are very good at making you look stupid. And the rest of us enjoy it when they do.

-MXC/Wipeout
These are probably the best shows, ever. People doing fool things, getting beat up by machinery or obstacles. There's something about watching someone bounce around like a pinball that gets me rolling everytime. If you have to sign an injury waiver before you can be on the show, it might be a good idea to watch safely, from home...like me.

- DVR
Wow! I've recently been turned on to this little piece of equipment and it's simply amazing. I can record shows that I miss for whatever reason and waste even more time doing nothing productive. There's nothing on TV? That's okay, I'll just check my list of recorded shows and numb my brain for an hour or so. Perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you DVR!

- Idiot Drivers
I love you guys. Especially when you get behind me. I love few things more than slowing down for tailgaters. The closer you get, the slower I go. Sometimes I'll drive the same speed as a car in the next lane so you can't get over. Then a little tappy-tap on the brakes to test your reaction time. My car is paid for and I would love nothing more than someone to wreck it so I can buy a truck. If there was a list of places I could think of where somebody might give me that chance, Utah would be near the top of the list. C'mon idiots, don't fail me now!

- Free Wireless Internet
I'm not talking about at internet cafes or Starbucks or anything, rather I'm talking about my neighbors who don't know how to secure their wireless networks. For two weeks, before I could get internet set up at my new place, I stole their bandwidth. Thank you for not taking the time to figure out how to encrypt your connection and for providing me with the access I needed for a short time. In their defense, I had to call two separate tech support places to get mine all secured. It was a pain.

- Cell Phones
I love this little leash. I can be contacted anywhere, anytime by anyone. I can send and receive text messages, it's a handy tool to keep me in touch with people. The jury's also out on whether or not it can cause cancer. Wonderful. When the phone is not next to my ear, it's in my pocket next to my...aw crap.

There's a lot of things I have a healthy appreciation for and this list is just a small representation of those things. Oh! I forgot Cheddarwursts. That'll have to wait though. There's so much about Cheddarwursts that I appreciate that it'll have to have it's own post. Another day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moving on

It's about time I get back on the blog-wagon. I've been very busy lately with moving and school work. I probably should be doing school work right now, but honestly I need a bit of a break.

I moved recently from Bountiful to Salt Lake City in a move that I hope is a good thing (a little too late to change it now, though). Even though I'm very used to moving, it's starting to get real old. If I didn't hear nearly every step my upstairs neighbors make, I would probably think about staying where I am for a very long time...as it is I'll fulfill my lease and then probably seek greener pastures.

This move was an interesting one for me. I employed a new technique that I call the "commute move". I work in Farmington, which is north of Bountiful and so on my way home to SLC (south of Bountiful), I would stop in and move a little each day as I commuted home. I had about three weeks between when I was able to get into my new place and when I had to be out of my old one.

You'd think that if I did a little each day it would make things pretty easy, right? Wrong. If you thought that, you don't know me very well. True, I'd stop by the old place everyday but most of the time I'd walk in and look around and think, "yeah I can do this later." And then walk out. This led to a pretty busy couple of days at the end of the month.

While I was packing and cleaning my room, I found a variety of things. Lucky you, I'm going to tell you some of the things I found.

- Approximately $5.57 in loose change.
How do all those coins get all over the place? It's especially weird seeing as I rarely use cash (I've been through two debit cards in the last 6-8 months...they just wear out). Stranger still is that there were a lot of quarters, easily the most valuable of commonly used coins. I'm not complaining about finding this loot, I just think it's strange that there was that much of it.

- Mission letters
Not just letters I sent while on my mission, but also letters and cards I received. I initially threw them all away (I was just trying to get rid of stuff that I was tired of carrying around). But, after getting them all into the garbage bag I felt bad, so I pulled them all out and decided to keep them. I'm glad I did. I read some of them and felt uplifted by some of the things I read from my family. It was a much needed pick-me-up. I hope to put them all together in some kind of scrapbook. Maybe I can get the Relief Society to do an Enrichment activity and invite me. That would accomplish more than one purpose.

- A letter I wrote as a secret admirer
I used to have the biggest crush on a girl who lived a couple doors down from me. Apparently I used to be a Casanova in my younger days. I wrote this girl a letter, complete with a poem using phrases like "makes my heart flutter" and other equally cheesey lines. Obviously the letter never got delivered. I guess I was a chicken Casanova.

- Pictures
Lots and lots of pictures. Some of me, some of family and some of things that I have no idea what they are or why they were significant to photgraph. I kept the ones that had people in it and tossed the ones that I had no idea what they were of. I figured I didn't know what they were (or even that they existed) and why I had them, so I got rid of them.

- Dryer sheets
Seriously, where do these things come from?! I thought I was pretty good about throwing them away after doing laundry, but I guess I wasn't as good as I thought I was. I threw them away for good. Maybe next time I move I can find another 30-40 of them.

- Pinewood Derby Cars
I found every Pinewood Derby Car my dad and I made - there were three of them (we used one twice) and they were all the same design but with different paint jobs. When you've got a good thing going, you stick with it. I had some success with these cars when I was a Cub Scout. My first year, I (read: my dad) placed third in a tri-city Pinewood Derby meet. Not too bad. This was also about the same time I won the school spelling bee for my grade. Good times. I think I peaked around this time as well.

- Missing socks
You know when you do laundry and end up with incomplete pairs of socks. It happens to everyone. When you move, you'll find them. All of them. But you won't be able to do anything with them because you've already thrown the mates away. Perfect. I don't like mixing old socks with new socks. The new socks are softer and I have to have the same softness on each foot or I get moody. You don't want to see me moody.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just a bit longer...

Thanks to all you who continue to check my blog even though I've not written anything for a while. The counter thing on this page isn't counting very fast, but it's counting which tells me there are some people checking in.

I have some stuff coming (not that it's super important) but I'm all written out right now from school. I was going to get a blurb in earlier as a release for me, but I got burned out before I could start.

Just a little bit longer. Sorry folks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I haven't forgotten...

I haven't forgotten about my blog, honest. I've just been real busy with school and moving that I haven't found the time to put together a thoughtful blog post. There's one coming, I assure you.

Please be patient with me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's over...it's all over

The election is finally over. All the mudslinging and negative campaigning can finally come to an end. Thank goodness! I think voting is the responsibility of every American adult. Now that the voting is over, we all have a new responsibility.

We need to support our President. I don't know that I agree with the President-elect on every issue. I think he has some ideas that may be detrimental to our country and way of life, but guess what...there's nothing that can be done about it now. Except whine.

I expect that there will be a fair amount of blowhards (Hannity, Rush, et al) who will have their panties in a wad and won't be shy about telling people. I don't know that any of the talking heads have ever accomplished anything beneficial. It seems to me that they just serve to work people into a frenzy and don't offer any viable solutions to perceived "problems".

For the record, I didn't vote for Obama (I didn't vote for McCain either...bet you can't guess who I did vote for). I'm not necessarily a fan of some of the things he presented during his campaign. But, I've had my say about what I thought and my thoughts were overruled. That's the way it works. Now, it's up to me to decide if I want to be bitter and resentful, looking for flaws or shortcomings in our government. Or, I can decide to give it an honest try and do my best to make things work.

I think there are some things that are inherently flawed in some positions that have been advocated, but there's nothing I can do about that. I am choosing to look at the good that I hope our President-elect will bring about for our country. I look forward to change and hope it's for the better.

And if we're wrong, we'll have a chance to vote him out of office in a few years. A lot of the changes that some people are afraid of will take a good deal of time to bring about. I'm not saying that they won't come about, but all these things that people are afraid of won't be happening overnight.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the sky is not falling, the world is not ending, the sun will rise tomorrow, life is still good, and I'm still proud to be an American.

Hopefully this will be my last/only political post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shtuff. Part One.

I'm not quite sure what to title this entry or what I really want to say either. Maybe I shouldn't be posting anything if I don't know where I want to go with it. Or, maybe I should and we'll all just take a ride and see where we end up.

I've been thinking lately about this blog and how my entries may make it seem like I'm down in the dumps (I'm not) or maybe that's just what it seems like to me. In any case, I wanted to post about things in my life that I've enjoyed and am currently missing (this may not help out the anti-melancholy thing). I don't want to focus so much on what I miss but on things in my past that I've enjoyed.

So here, without further ado...in pictures, are things from my past that I've enjoyed.


My family and I at my graduation. That stupid tassel kept getting in the way, so I switched hats to my preferred cap. I tucked this hat into the back of my pants under my gown as I walked. I was tempted to trade it out before crossing the stage, but decided propriety was more important than my personal fashion sense. This hat is still my favorite and it hangs on my wall as a memorial to the relationship between a man and his hat.



This is the mortarboard hat that I had to modify a little so my family could pick me out of the sea of black gowns and black hats. I thought it only appropriate that it had a 'Y' on it. Go Cougs!



My first post-mission car, a 1993 Nissan Maxima GXE. I got a killer deal on it when I got home from my mission. I drove it for years until it had to be retired when I moved to Arizona. When I got there, I picked up a pick-up (more on this below).



My 1998 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Edition. VERY fun to drive in the summer without doors or top. I loved to hop in and out and to hang a leg while on the road. Possibly one of the more fun (even if less-than-comfortable) cars I've owned.




My current car - 2000 Honda Civic XE. Not super cool, but it gets me from Point A to Point B economically and reliably. When the heck did I start caring about that crap?! I must be getting old. Dangit. I need a truck.




Dodge Charger R/T. Gets me hot and bothered without fail. Every time. In a big way. Add some lights and a push bar and I'm over the edge. This is one car that makes my already persistent yearning to be a cop almost unbearable. One of the hottest cars ever. Ever.




My dream truck. 1999 Toyota Tacoma SR5 TRD. I actually owned this very truck in the picture. Yes, that hot truck was once mine. I sold it during a pretty harsh down time in my life. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to not sell this truck. It was literally my dream truck. At least I had it for a while. Looking at the pictures of it makes me want one. In fact, after seeing the picture before I posted this blog, I went to the classifieds just to look for another Tacoma. I had no intention of buying one, but I was definitely looking. I call it Tacoma torture.




There are few things I'm passionate about in life, but BYU football is one of them. I haven't always been a Cougar fan; it all started when I started attending BYU for my undergrad degree in 2003. Since that time, I've only missed one home football game and been to several away games.





Mullet hunting isn't a recognized sport, but I'll participate sometimes. I'm not the best hunter but I've seen a few good ones. This one is from a demolition derby (possibly the best place to find them...they're everywhere) in Ogden. The best part...it's a she-mullet.



This is a recognized sport, however. It may seem uncivilized at times, but can be one of the more, dare I say, graceful sports. This is from a Colorado Avalanche vs Vancouver Canucks game from January 2006. My brother bought me two tickets to this game for Christmas, so I decided to take him with me. It was my first (and so far only) NHL game. It was a great experience.



This is from I worked at a children's shelter in Salt Lake. You can see my Jeep in the background. See how dark my head was? That's because I drove my Jeep without a top (the way it's supposed to be) all summer without sunscreen. I eventually bought a hat. The respirator was employed when I had to clean up an ungodly mess consisting of various bodily fluids produced by a kid in the shelter. Thank goodness I had my respirator (overkill? maybe) or I might have added to the problem.



I just noticed that a lot of the pictures are of cars I've had. I wonder why that is. That's interesting to me. I didn't include a couple pictures of an older car that I had in high school because the picture album is MIA right now. When I find it I'll post some more pictures from my past, for now you'll just have to wait in eager anticipation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Walking on

This is a longer post, but I hope it will be worth your while.

People change all the time. It’s the only thing I can think of that is constant in life. It’s certainly not something that’s new in my life. My life has been a constant stream of changes. I’ve moved more times than I care to count, changed jobs more in my short post-college career than some people do in their whole life, and flip-flopped between potential future plans like a fish out of water.

I’m getting ready to make yet another change in my life. I’m moving down to Salt Lake City in a few weeks. Going to the big city, the S-L-C. I’m actually very excited about this move. It presents new opportunities for social interaction, a new environment and area to explore and just new experiences in general. That’s always exciting for me.

I seem to thrive on change, even though I don’t want to. Sometimes I feel like I have something inside me that is compelling me to move on to a new place. I heard a song by Modest Mouse that really resonates with me. Sometimes I think that if my life were ever made into a movie, this is a song that could be a theme song for the movie. I wanted to just include the lyrics that I felt were particularly applicable but after reviewing the song, I’m just going to post the whole thing and I’ll just bold the parts I feel describe me.

"Ice-age heat wave, can't complain.
If the world's at large, why should I remain?
Walked away to another plan.
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand.
I move on to another day,
to a whole new town with a whole new way.
Went to the porch to have a thought.
Got to the door and again, I couldn't stop.
You don't know where and you don't know when.
But you still got your words and you got your friends.
Walk along to another day.
Work a little harder, work another way.


Well uh-uh baby I ain't got no plan.
We'll float on maybe would you understand?
Gonna float on maybe would you understand?
Well float on maybe would you understand?

The days get shorter and the nights get cold.
I like the autumn but this place is getting old.
I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast.
It might not be a lot but I feel like I'm making the most.

The days get longer and the nights smell green.
I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave.

I like songs about drifters - books about the same.
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane.
Walked on off to another spot.
I still haven't gotten anywhere that I want.

Did I want love? Did I need to know?
Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?

The moths beat themselves to death against the lights.
Adding their breeze to the summer nights.
Outside, water like air was great.
I didn't know what I had that day.
Walk a little farther to another plan.
You said that you did, but you didn't understand.

I know that starting over is not what life's about.
But my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth.

My thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth.
My thoughts were so loud..."



I really like that song – it speaks to me. I always feel like I’m chasing something, but I’m never quite sure what it is. That makes it hard to ever catch it. If I did catch it, would I know what it was?

What set me off on this line of thinking? My move to Salt Lake did. Greener pastures…or so I think. I always see greener grass somewhere else and I head off in the direction of the green. Is it ever really greener? I don’t know. But I don’t see any reason to not check it out…you know, just to make sure.

I have thoughts of this type of thing (greener pastures) more than I admit to most people. I don't know how many times I've been watching Cops or World's Wildest Police Videos and thought, "yeah I want to do that, in fact that's what I'm going to do when I grow up."

I've finally found a job I enjoy and have been at it for over a year now. That is a personal record for me and the surprising thing is that I don't see myself wanting to leave anytime soon. After I finish my Master's degree then I will reevaluate my position and potential. But until that time, for the first time in my life, I am content with my job. I don't foresee any changes in this area for a while and amazingly enough, I'm perfectly okay with that.

And that makes me happy.

One final thought before I wrap up this blog. For as much change as I’ve gone through, I think I’m basically the same person I’ve always been. Moving to a new place, starting a new job, selling my car and getting a new (to me) car, making new friends…all these things are extraneous changes. They’ve had little effect on me, on who I am. If I'm staying the same, I wonder why I am constantly looking for change. What is it that makes me want something different? Am I unhappy or dissatisfied with an aspect of my life? Am I unhappy with myself? I don’t think that’s the case because if it is, I’m going about it the wrong way.

True change doesn’t originate on the outside, it starts on the inside. None of these changes I’ve been describing have come from inside. If I really wanted something to be different about myself I would have to make the change on the inside and that can happen anywhere, in any job, regardless of the kind of car I drive or who I have for friends.

Years ago, Harry Chapin sang a song called W*O*L*D about a disc jockey who left his wife, drifted around for years and finally tried to return to his wife and family. In the song he describes the jockey getting older and noticing the world changing around him. The jockey makes this profound observation on life:

“Sometimes I get this crazy dream
That I just take off in my car
But you can travel on ten thousand miles and still stay where you are…”

I’ve been around a bit and traveled on a good deal, but in some ways I feel as if I’ve never left.

Monday, October 13, 2008

In over my head

I feel like I'm drowning. I have so much stuff on my plate right now and I don't know exactly how to manage it. I know what's wrong too. I got into school and I wasn't ready for it. Dangit. I haven't made school a priority and have procrastinated doing my reading and studying and as a result, am behind. Great. Typical.

I feel like I have so much stuff to do and not enough time or energy to do it all. I need to get my life organized. I have a vision of myself and my life the way I want it to be...the problem is, I'm not there. I think I have an idea of what I need to do to get there though, and that's good...but now I need to get it done.

Do I have the capability to get what I want? Yes, I believe I do. If I didn't there would not be any good reason to be talking about it until I had the capability to accomplish it. Do I know what it'll take to get there? Yes, I believe I do. Do I want it bad enough to do what it takes to get it? Oooh, now there's the right question.

I've identified a problem/obstacle to accomplishing what I want. I'm lazy. Big time lazy. Is there a cure for laziness? Sure, it's called hard work. There's no other cure that I know of.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they spend their leisure time. You can tell what kind of person they are; are they ambitious, goal-oriented, driven? Or are they merely content to float through life and "catch as catch can"? I like to think of myself as belonging to the former category, but my actions show I really belong in the latter.

I need to make some changes. I need to do it now. I don't need to worry about maintaining these changes for the duration of my life. I just need to worry about sustaining them today. Tomorrow will take care of itself, but today I need to sustain these changes. I've mentioned my mirror sticker in a former post, but it says, "Who will you be today?"

That's my question for myself...who will I be today?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh deer...

As a disclaimer to my readers, I have recently learned something that may challenge the most fundamental of your beliefs. Read on at your own caution.

You couldn’t stop could you? You had to keep reading to see what exactly it was going to be. I would do the same thing.

It all started out very ordinary; I was taking some garbage out to the garbage can in my driveway when I saw it. A deer was standing in my side yard munching on what little grass we have growing. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared it at with its satellite-like ears perked all the way up. I knew almost instantly that I was looking at a baby deer, but couldn’t locate the mother deer. This was concerning to me, so I backed away slowly and retreated to my house. I grabbed my camera and ran to my upstairs porch, hoping to get a better look at the deer from a position of safety.

I found the mother deer grazing a few feet away from the baby. I decided to take some pictures of what I saw, but they didn’t turn out very well, mostly just their eyes show up. My cousin and sister joined me on the porch with a flashlight. We tried to move our outdoor lights to shine directly on them, but were hindered by their lack of mobility.

So, with my cousin and sister armed with a flashlight and me armed with a camera, I set out to stalk my prey like a tiger. I crashed through the front deer and cautiously approached the deer. They probably had an ESP-like sense that told them I was coming and they started to back away towards the hill. I snuck up as quietly as possible to try and get a picture. It was about this time that a viral video I viewed (nice alliteration) that showed a man getting absolutely pummeled by a deer ran through my mind. If I recall correctly, and I think I do, that man had doused himself in deer urine in an attempt to attract deer to him. I tried to remember if I had doused myself or had any other contact with deer urine. I couldn’t remember any, so with that knowledge and the confidence that accompanied it, I proceeded towards the deer.

Here’s when I learned what has forever shaken my previous beliefs. A bright flashlight shone directly in the eyes of a deer does NOT freeze that deer in place. So much for the “deer in the headlights” myth. We had that light trained spot on the eyes and it’s not a dim flashlight. This is an LED Mag light with 3 D-cell batteries. Yeah, it’s bright. The deer looked at the light for a few seconds, probably wondering what the heck we were doing shining a light in its eyes then sauntered off down the hill.

I approached the crest of the hill without much trepidation and watched as mama and baby headed down the hill towards our stream. The baby deer started jump running. That’s what I call it when they run and jump at the same time. The mama deer just stood behind a bush and waited for me to follow it down the hill. Feeling included in my new deer family, I carefully tumbled down the hill. I think my clumsiness may have been a source of concern on the deer’s part of my ability to keep up with the family and they proceeded to leave me high and dry at the bottom of the hill. I listened as they crossed the stream and disappeared from view.

It was at approximately this time that I remembered something else I had seen while on the porch. I had seen another set of eyes reflect in the darkness. This other set did not belong to either deer. At the bottom of the hill and at the mercy of whatever predator was lurking in the shadows, I cautiously looked around. I could not see any other eyes looking at me. I decided this was as good a time as any to head back to my house. I did not want to go hunting through the brush for an unknown (and probably carnivorous) animal. We have had a porcupine lurking around in our yards recently and I did not think highly of a chance encounter with this creature.

Fortunately, I made it back inside safely. However, my belief of a deer frozen in headlights has been destroyed forever.

Growing up hurts sometimes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Give me a head with hair...or not

It's no big secret, I've shaved my head. In an act of defiance I decided I would be held hostage no more. No more "bed head" or "hat hair", no thank you. I was going to be my own man dangit. And so I am.

I took a pair of clippers to my hair over a month ago and really liked it. I couldn't get it short enough. I eventually got out a razor and eliminated all the hair from my head. I've since let it grow out a little, but it's not getting past a number 1 on the clippers, in fact when I trim it I don't use a guard on the clippers. I like it. I'm going to keep it.

I've also learned something new from this experience. I've long believed that I've possessed a mythical power called "mojo" but have been hard pressed to prove it. I've finally discovered where the mojo lays. It's in my head. All this time it's been trying to get out. That's why my hair was thinning, the mojo can't get through the hair, so it starts to thin the hair to allow itself to get out. By shaving my head, I was helping the mojo get out.

Now that my mojo has full access to the outside world, I've noticed some things have been happening. I've been approached by attractive females much more often than I was in the past (who am I kidding? I was rarely approached before.); it seems there is something that draws them to me now and the only thing I can think of is that my mojo has been allowed to flow out unrestrained.

Fortunately for me (and innocent bystanders), it doesn't come gushing out. I'd hate to see what would happen if it did...it would probably closely resemble an Axe Bodywash commercial. There'd be craziness all over the place, someone might get hurt and I wouldn't want that.

I've long thought my mojo was just broken, but all along I've been keeping it caged up and it's been practically begging to come out and play. I'm going to let it flow - proud and free...except when it gets cold, then I'm going to wear a hat. The mojo can stay inside until it warms up a bit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ode to tan lines

I've been meaning to post something new for a while now, but I've struggled to find the time. I was laying on my bed the other day talking to my cousin and I looked down at my feet and saw...tan lines! Seriously? Tan lines?

At the end of July, I went to Chicago to visit my family out there and I spent a couple hours one afternoon sitting on a folding camp chair watching some lacrosse games. I didn't think I needed sunscreen because I would only be out a couple hours and I wanted my legs to get a little sun. They've been neglected this summer and last also because I haven't been out on the lake (I think I did a little blurb about this in a former post).

Anyway, I decided that it would be a good thing to get a little color on my legs. I was wearing shorts, ankle socks (also believe I've posted about these) and shoes. I didn't think I'd get as much sun as I did. Later that evening, I was really feeling it and my legs were a nice bright shade of pink. So, aloe became a good friend of mine for the next few days.

I had a nice ankle sock tan line on each foot. Very distinct. On the north side of the line, it was pink...very pink. On the south side, it was white...very, very white. No big deal, right? I mean, the burn would turn to a tan and then eventually fade away and my legs would again be a consistent shade of pasty. Well, it's now coming on two months later and there is still a very distinct line on each foot. And my legs aren't tan. What the heck is wrong with me?!

I've had sunburns before and I've had tans before. I've been dark enough to be a victim of racial discrimination. But they always go away. Except this time. For some reason there is a tan line on each foot. When I take my socks off and I parade in sandals, it looks like I'm still wearing socks. This is a problem. I don't want people to think I'm some kind of sock 'n sandal wearing dweeb. If people are going to think I'm a dweeb, I'd rather it be for one of the other multitudinous reasons I so readily provide.

On the other hand, tan lines are pretty cool. They tell people, "I'm cool enough that I have fun things to do outside where I'll be exposed to the sun and will experience a melanin level change in my skin." Maybe they don't say that much, but when was the last time you've seen a couch potato with a killer tan? Fluorescent lights just don't have the same punch as the sun. I'm not even talking about a tanning booth either, but I will be now.

Tanning booths are lame. If you can't get enough cancer causing UV rays being outside, why would you think it's a good idea to go lay down on a bed of lights? It doesn't make you look tan, it makes you look orange. And fake. And eventually leathery. People use tanning beds to avoid tan lines. Why? People, tan lines are cool. They're like a before-and-after on your skin. You have proof that you did something cool and fun.

Tan people look more toned, more defined, more healthy. Before you read too much into it, there is a limit for that too...too much tan is not a good thing. A good dark tan takes time. Time that can't be spent all in one shot. A really good tan is the result of multiple days in quick succession of spending a healthy amount of time in the sun (not on a bed). To achieve a good tan, you must add to it little by little. You can't rush the process, it takes patience.

Don't forget that every tan, real or artificial, will eventually fade and your true color will shine through once again. However, if you are lucky like me, you will still have the tan lines even when the tan is long gone.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Say what you mean

There’s a lot of things I really want to get out, so this post may be longer than most. It could probably be made into multiple posts spread out over multiple days, but I really want to get it out so I’m going to do it in one fell swoop.

I’ve had some fairly interesting experiences the last couple days and they’ve really made me think about some things. I’m not quite sure where to start.

I had a BBQ with some friends over the weekend at Sugarhouse Park. I really like that park and I especially like the area we BBQ in. When I got there, under a tree not too far from where we were setting up was a man sleeping. I hoped that he would remain there after we started cooking because I thought that maybe he would like a plate of food. When I looked back at the tree a short time later, he was gone.

We had our BBQ, cooked some good food, played some frisbee, sat around and talked. It was a good time. It started to get dark and my sister needed to use the facilities, so I told her I would walk with her over there. I am a trusting individual, but I’m not dumb. I don’t want my sister walking by herself through a dark park. While I was waiting outside for her, a man approached me and it was obvious that he was going to ask me for some money. He proceeded to give me his story and then asked if I could spare some money. I lied to him and told him that I didn’t have any. I told him that we were cooking and had a lot of food and that he was welcome to it. I half expected him to decline, but he accepted. At just this time, my sister came out so we all walked together over to where we were hanging out. He walked a lot slower than I did and I thought he was doing it so he could just disappear, but he kept on coming. When we got back, we made him a plate of food and he and I talked for a short time. He thanked me for filling his belly and made his way across the park. He was Native American and taught me how to say "thank you" in his native tongue. I thought that was pretty cool.

Then, just yesterday as I was out walking I saw an elderly lady trying to get up some stairs at a house. I thought about helping her but didn’t want to put her in a situation where she might be embarrassed by my asking to help her. I also wasn’t sure how she would react to me with my buzzed hair and beard. I think I look pretty tough (even though my friends say I’m still a softie). I called out and asked if she needed any help She accepted my offer for help and I jogged across the street. I offered her my arm and helped her up the stairs and waited while she knocked on the door. Nobody answered so I helped her down the stairs, down the driveway and across the street to her car. She thanked me and we parted ways.

These two events got me thinking. I could easily have told the man in the park that I had no money and left it at that. I could easily have continued walking past the old lady and not offered any help. Would I have been better off for it? I doubt it, although I don't know that I am better off for helping but that's not the point. Certainly they wouldn’t be. All it took was opening my mouth. That’s it. I’ve decided I’m going to open my mouth more often and try to find ways to help people that may need it.
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"To everything there is a season"

I’ve been thinking about seasons a lot lately. Particularly about what season of life I’m in and what the next season will bring. I’ve also been thinking of things I enjoy that I have been able to do and some things that I haven’t been able to. A couple of things that I enjoy doing that I haven’t been able to are waterskiing and hockey. I’ve missed out on waterskiing for two summers and am not sure if a third one is waiting in the wings or not. I can’t remember the last time I’ve played hockey...I think it’s been a year. I also don’t know when the next time I’ll be able to strap on the pads and hit the ice will be.

I’m getting ready to start a new season of life...that of being a grad student. I’m worried that it will consume my time and crowd out the things I enjoy doing. It will definitely take up my entire night on Thursdays. Combine that with my Tuesday night tracking night and I’m down two nights right off the bat. How much time will this program take? Will it eat up my other nights? I don’t know.

I think my hockey and waterskiing seasons are over.

There was a time when I would drop everything to hit the lake for a day. I’ve turned down jobs before because it would infringe on my skiing time. The season for that is definitely over. The changing of spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter and back to spring is something I enjoy. I like the feeling and anticipation of the coming season. There is always a lingering sadness for what is passed, but the anticipation of the future always overcomes the sadness. This is a little different. I’m really sad about it and I’m not looking forward with my usual eager anticipation.

I don’t dread my return to school, I am excited to get through it and have a Master’s degree. I am not excited about the sacrifices it will entail. I don’t know what this season will bring me and I am not sure I’m ready to let go of this last season just yet.

I don’t have much of a choice.

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Lastly, and this is probably the hardest for me to put into words...but I’ll try. I feel like I’ve been on a journey the last couple of years trying to find myself, to define who I am. It’s been an adventure in existentialism. I don’t know if I’m done yet or if one ever is truly "done". All I know is that I’ve done it alone. That’s not to say I haven’t had friends or other associates along the way because I surely have. What I’m trying to say is I’ve done it single, unmarried. I can’t figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Part of me wants to think it’s a good thing because there’s less pressure to conform to someone else’s ideals and I am thus able to be me for the sake of being me. The other part of me recognizes (hopes) that this will not always be the case and that at some point "I" will not be defined solely by me, but by a spouse, a "we" and that is who I will ultimately become. The part that recognizes this also thinks that the longer "I" go on defining me the less "we" will be able to do and that may cause problems in that I may be more resistant to change. Although, on second thought...maybe the fact that I recognize this will allow me to make the changes I need to. I don't know, I guess only time will tell. (If you haven't figured out, this blog isn't about answers so much as it is about questions, thoughts, impressions, etc.)

At the same time, I’m getting really tired of "the game". I stopped playing it long ago. You know, the whole "I have to wait two or three days before I call her or she’ll know that I like her and I can’t have that" BS. The playing "hard to get" not returning calls, etc. I don’t play it. I hate it when people play it with me. If a girl wants me to be not interested, all she needs to do is play a little and I walk away. It’s not worth it to me. Maybe that’s a bad attitude, but seriously people - we’re adults, not junior high kids writing notes back and forth and telling your friend to tell your crush that you like them because you’re too shy/insecure to do it yourself. If you want a mature, adult relationship then be a mature adult. It’s not difficult to figure out.

I can count the number of times on one hand (two fingers in fact) how many times a girl has been "real" with me. Two.

When I return from a date and am talking with my friends about it and they ask me if we’re going out again my standard response is "I don’t know." Do I know if I want to take the girl out again? Most of the time. Do I know if she wants to go out again? Rarely. Why don’t I know? Because I invariably get the same response, "sure - sounds fun". That’s when the game begins. I will call the next time and usually get the voice mail. When I don’t I am often surprised and taken aback. If I get the voice mail I will leave a message and then the waiting begins. If she calls back, then I know she was being honest and is at least interested in seeing what another date will bring. If she doesn’t call back, do I give her the benefit of the doubt and call again or assume that she would have called if she was interested? I will generally give the girl the benefit of the doubt and call her again in a couple days. That’s when I get the voice mail and know that I’ve been had. I’ll leave a short message letting her know that I’d like to take her out again and will await her response. I don’t think I’ve ever heard back from someone at this point.

The two times I’ve had a girl give me the "you’re a nice guy, but..." routine I’ve been grateful. That’s right, grateful. Why was I grateful I got shut down? Because at least I knew where I stood and there was no guessing game, no runaround. I’ve thanked them for their honesty and bade farewell. Did it sting? Oh sure, I’m not going to pretend it didn’t. Did it hurt? Oh yeah, again I'm not going to pretend it didn't. It definitely stung less than the long drawn out runaround though. Face it, there’s going to be a sting regardless of when you do it. There always is and always will be. The question is whether or not the sting is quick like a good band-aid pull or slow and painful like a sadistic nurse slowly tugging off a bandage. I for one prefer the quick yank. Just pull it off and be done.

I'm tired of playing.

Cat Stevens did a song years ago called "Can’t Keep It In" and I’ve come to absolutely love this song. I’ll play it over and over again on my iPod. It goes a little something like this (the emphasis being mine):

Oh I can't keep it in
I can't keep it in, I've gotta let it out.
I've got to show the world, world's got to see
See all the love, love that's in me.

I said, why walk alone?
Why worry when it's warm over here?
You've got so much to say, say what you mean
Mean what you think and think anything.

Oh why, why must you waste youre life away?
You've got to live for today, then let it go, oh
Lover, I want to spend this time with you
There's nothing I wouldn't do, if you let me know.

And I can't keep it in
I can't hide it and I can't lock it away.
I'm up for your love, love heats my blood
Blood spins my head, and my head falls in love, oh.

No, I can't keep it in
I can't keep it in, I've gotta let it out.
I've gotta show the world, world's got to know
Know of the love, love that lies low

So why can't you say?
If you know, then why can't you say?
You've got too much deceit, deceit kills the light
Light needs to shine, I said shine light, shine light, shine.

Love, that's no way to live your life
You allow too much to go by, and that won't do. No.
Lover I want to have you here by my side
Now don't you run, don't you hide
While I'm with you.

An' I can't keep it in
I can't keep it in, I've gotta let it out.
I've got to show the world, world's got to see
See all the love, love that's in me.

I said, why walk alone?
Why worry when its warm over here?
You've got so much to say, say what you mean
Mean what you're thinking, and think anything.

Why not?
Now why why why not?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Get in my belly!

I think I have a tapeworm.

What? That's not enough information for you? You really want to know more? Alright, you asked for it.

It all started yesterday morning. I'm not usually a breakfast eater. I have a fairly sensitive stomach, always have, and it doesn't like to get into gear soon after waking up. I usually will wait at least a couple hours after I'm up and moving before I will think about eating. Usually I just skip breakfast entirely and go straight to lunch. Although, since I've been working out this habit has been changing and I've been eating more often in the morning.

Well, I went to bed on Monday night shortly after eating a Beto's burrito. If you don't know what those are...they are monstrous burritos and will usually leave a person feeling pretty full. I've actually eaten two of them in a sitting. I wanted to die afterward though. That is entirely too much burrito for one person to consume on a given night. Anyhow, I ate one Monday night before I went to bed.

I woke up Tuesday morning absolutely starving. Eating preoccupied my mind. I could scarcely think of anything else. I was running late so I decided to wait until I got to work because I knew we had leftover food from a training the previous day. When I got to work I was right, there was food. I grabbed a couple donuts and hightailed it to my office to satisfy my hunger. I felt pretty good after eating them and thought I was on the right track. Well, it wasn't long before I was hungry again. I would have to wait until lunch this time though. When lunch finally rolled around I went to Burger King and got a big value meal.

I ate that and literally within two hours was famished again. I grabbed another donut. About thirty minutes later, after a meeting I was again feeling hungry. This isn't the normal hunger that I'm talking about. I was in serious pain and felt like I hadn't eaten in days. I don't get this hungry when I fast. I grabbed a pastry and scarfed it down.

Last night was my tracking night and I knew I was going to need to eat during it or I would never make it all the way through. So, my partner and I stopped at a grocery store and picked up some food. I was able to make it.

When I got home, I ate and ate and ate. Then later last night, I went to Beto's again with some friends. I thought that maybe it was just a yesterday thing. Nope. This morning I was at it again. I've had a couple Oatmeal Creme Pies and a humongous muffin this morning. I'm feeling good right now, but that's because I finished the muffin about 15 minutes ago. I have a box of rapidly depleting Oatmeal Creme Pies stashed in my desk and I'm concerned they may not survive the day.

Where is this food going and why do I need to eat so dang much? It'd be one thing if I would get a little hungry, but I get crazy hungry. Insanely hungry.

I did a quick Google search on tapeworms and have decided that it is extremely unlikely that I have a tapeworm. So, what are my other options? Am I pregnant? Also highly unlikely. Maybe I was abducted by an alien and have a little alien feeding inside me like that one movie. I have fallen deeply asleep after work a couple times recently...I think this is the most feasible option.

All I know is that it sure feels like I'm eating for two right now. What's for lunch?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pink? Really?

I've noticed a disturbing trend growing in our society. Something that strikes at the root of all that is good and holy. I've decided I will no longer sit idly by and allow this pernicious practice to be propagated in our populous.

What I'm talking about is the practice of wearing pink by guys that you would other assume are masculine. What is that all about? Pink is not a color that guys should wear. Period. Throw out all the crap about being secure enough in your sexuality to be able to wear pink. That's crap...pure and simple. Crap. Why does one have to advertise their sexual security? Could it be that they are actually masking an insecurity by acting secure? Hmm...may be on to something here.

Is it an archaic belief and out-dated tradition that males don't wear pink? That's an easy question. No, it's not. Guys don't wear pink. Or salmon, mauve, magenta, lavender, rose, fuchsia, or any variation of any of the above.

There's no good reason for a guy to wear pink. It's not progressive thinking, new age liberality, or being open-minded. I don't care if you think you are one of the few who "look good in pink" or if so many girls have told you that. It's just plain wrong. Remember metrosexuality? I do. I haven't seen too many of them around anymore. Maybe it's just because I haven't spent a lot of time in Provo recently, but maybe that fad has gone the way of mullets. You'll spot someone sporting the look every now and again, but for the most part they've gone by the wayside. One can only hope.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit one thing. I have had a pedicure. Once. I was trying to impress a girl at the time and she went with me. I believe that's excusable. A one time effort to impress a female certainly doesn't call into question my status as a guy. However, wearing a pink shirt to church...yeah it's ringing, answer the call.

Brad Paisley sings a song about this very thing. He says, "These days there's dudes gettin' facials, manicured, waxed and botoxed, With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands, You can't grip a tackle box, Yeah with all of these men lining up to be neutered, It's hip now to be feminized, But I don't highlight my hair, I've still got a pair, Yeah honey, I'm still a guy."

Sums it up nicely.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Narcissism vs. Confidence

In Greek mythology, Naricissus was a vain young man, who went hunting one day and became thirsty, so he stopped at a stream for a drink. While bending down to drink, he saw his reflection in the water and fell in love with it. He didn't dare drink the water for fear that he would break the reflection. He ended up dying of thirst where he sat staring at his reflection in the water.

From this story, the term narcissistic came to be. It means one who is exceptionally vain, or according to dictionary.com, has an "inordinate fascination with one's self".

Confidence on the other hand is a belief in yourself, or self-assurance.

It can be argued that too much confidence can lead to narcissism, but I don't want to make that argument. Being self-assured and aware of your self, both strength and weaknesses, does not lead to one being preoccupied with one's self or being fascinated with yourself.

In today's society it seems that when one has a high opinion of himself, that person is "cocky" or "arrogant" or another equally derogatory term. Having a high opinion of one's self seems to be distasteful to society. When complimented, it's socially acceptable to downplay or entirely dismiss the compliment. When told, "You look nice" it's not acceptable to say, "I know." Why not? If you know, then why can't you say?

Why is this? Why is it so wrong to have an accurate assessment of your assets? Everyone has good qualities, strengths, things they like about themselves. What is so wrong about stating unequivocally the things that are good about one's self? Why do we feel uncomfortable saying, "I like this about myself" or "I'm good at this"? Why do people feel uncomfortable talking good about themselves, but have no problem pointing out their flaws, weaknesses or shortcomings?

Many of you know about the doozie of a week I had last week. I had plenty of opportunities to think poorly of myself and pay particular attention to negative things about myself and my life - things that I didn't have, things that I wasn't, things I wished were different, things that made me feel bad and so on. I took advantage of those opportunities and made an already difficult week worse for myself.

I woke up this morning and had had enough. On my mirror, I have a vinyl sticker that says simply, "Who will you be today?" I looked at it this morning and thought about it. Who would I be today? I decided I would be happy today. I started thinking of the things that I like about myself. I came up with a couple right off the bat, but as I continued thinking about it, I realized I needed to make a list. I got a little pad of paper and a pen and starting writing. I was a little uncomfortable doing it at first, it's not something that I generally do. But, I decided I would press through the awkwardness and finish my list.

I kept the pad with me throughout church services today and as I would think of something, I would add it to the list. As I was doing this, I thought of the song "Count Your Many Blessings" and realized that I was doing just what the song suggested. I was naming blessings one by one.

I have a high opinion of myself and I believe I have good reason to have such. I believe you do too and I would encourage you to make your own list. Whether or not you share it is up to you, but I found it to be rather therapeutic today. Being honest about my strengths and things I like about myself was an eye-opening experience.

I'm not narcissistic, I have a healthy and positive view of myself.

And there's not a thing wrong with that.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

On my mind

I've had a lot of stuff on my mind lately...a whole lot of stuff. Where to start?

Not the least of the things on my mind was my heart. I had an echocardiogram today and it showed that my heart was very strong and healthy. Good news. I started having some chest pains while in Chicago on a vacation and when I returned, they did too. I saw a doctor on Monday and did an EKG and an x-ray, with mixed results. The EKG was ordered just to put the doc's mind at ease. After the EKG, he saw "several abnormalities" and it was sent to a cardiologist for review, while I saw anxiously in the doctor's office knowing something was up and not knowing what. The pat on my knee from the doctor and the promise to take care of me didn't set me at ease at all. If anything, it made me more nervous, what was wrong with me? Well, the cardiologist came back and said that everything was fine, but the doctor wanted an ECG to make sure. So, I did that today. I'm all good. Except, I still hurt sometimes. Dang heart.

To add to that, I found out that I'll be paying $400 to know that my heart is good. Wonderful. I also had to get my car safety/emissions tested and had to buy a new tire ($100) as a result. Then it cost me $150 to renew the registration. Yikes. When it rains, it pours. That's $650 out the door, just like that. Fortunately I can make payments on the ECG deal, although they did try to get me to pay it all today. I'm really glad I've learned over the last few years how to assert myself. A headlock and noogie are effective communication techniques to get medical collectors off your back. Just so you know...for future reference.

(Sigh) - it's just been one of those weeks. I'm reminded of one of my absolute favorite songs of all time, "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel. The reason this is one of my favorite songs is because of one line.

"In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminders of every blow that laid him down or cut him til he cried out in his anger and his shame, 'I am leaving, I am leaving'...but the fighter still remains."

Sometimes I feel, like that boxer, ready to say "I am leaving, I am leaving" and walk away.

I'm still here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Changes and ankle socks

I was cleaning my room yesterday and I came across a piece of paper I hadn't seen in a long time. It was an Injury Report form dated 07/23/2007 detailing an injury I incurred while working at a children's shelter in Salt Lake City. I had been playing soccer with one of the children when a (well placed) kick sent the ball flying directly at a sensitive area lower than my stomach.

This type of injury doesn't normally require a form to be filled out. The pain will usually subside within a few agonizing minutes. This time, it didn't. I had my supervisor fill out the form to ensure I could receive workman's compensation should I require medical attention for my injury. Fortunately, by the next day the pain was gone and the only thing I had to remind me of the injury was this form.

What got me thinking was the date on the form. July 23, 2007. Nearly a year ago. Pretty darn close. I started thinking about where I was, what I was doing and who I was a year ago and then comparing it to where I am today, what I am doing and who I am now.

Life's a little different when you start growing up. In elementary school you are measured by what grade you are in. One year you're in the 5th grade and the next you're in the 6th grade. That is a quantifiable difference. You can measure progress and development fairly simply that way.

In grade school, students have the goal of finishing school. That goal is easily tracked by grades. When you are in 6th grade, you have six years of schooling completed and need to make it to 12 to finish high school. You know exactly how far you've come and how much further you have to go. Progress is tracked and is measured.

As an adult, things are different. It's not as easy to measure progress towards goals.

Does development and growth slow down when you get older? Does learning slow down? What have I done in the last year to grow and develop as a person?

I haven't done a lot of changing since last year. I'm essentially the same person this year as I was last. I like the same things, wear the same clothes, listen to the same music, eat the same foods, have the same habits, play the same games, enjoy the same sports...I'm no different now than I was at this time last year. That's a problem.

Don't get me wrong, I like myself...a lot. I think I'm a great guy and I think most people that know me think the same. Maybe it's my inflated ego that leads me to think this, but so be it. Having said that, there are still some things about myself that I would like to change. There is growth and development I would like to experience. But the question is, what have I done to experience that growth and development?

I guess not all things are the same. Within the last two weeks I've discovered the joy that are ankle socks. In the past, I've looked down on ankle socks and thought they weren't "cool". After a fair amount of persuasion and the realization that I can't wear calf socks with non-athletic shorts without looking pretty stupid, I decided to give the ankle socks a try. I bought a six pack of socks, figuring that'd be enough to give me the full ankle sock experience.

Wow. Just wow. I am a convert. Ankle socks have all the comfort and then some of the calf length socks I'm accustomed to. I've worn them just about every day since I bought them. I no longer have only one pack, I now have several packs of them. They're easier to wash, fold and store because they have less material than the longer socks. They're fashionable for summer time wear, but you can wear them in cooler weather also. They work well for playing sports and exercising. In short, they are the ultimate sock and I wish I'd found them sooner.

I may not have made huge changes this last year, but I have discovered ankle socks, and that's a start.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Peace of Mind

I've been thinking. I have been blogging my P90X experience and have kind of enjoyed it. I decided that there's more I'd like to say, but it doesn't really fit in with my P90X stuff and I don't want to just throw it all in together. So, I decided to start a new blog. I'll call it Musings. It may or may not be updated as often as the P90X one, but it will contain things of a more personal nature. Don't think that it will be a voyeuristic experience for you...I am not going to reveal anything that I wouldn't normally, this is just a unique way to reach more people and more effective than calling someone to say, "hey guess what I was thinking". I'm kinda excited for this. It will be a new experience for me.

So, with that explanation...here it comes.

I like music. No, I love music. I wish I could play it; I'm trying to learn how. I love songs that tell stories or have morals. I don't like this new-fangled corporate rock. It all seems so canned, so lifeless. It didn't use to be this way. Singers used to be songwriters and they would write about things that mattered to them. They would write about the things in their heart. Sometimes the messages were political and sometimes they were tributes to people or experiences. Sometimes they were stories...I like those ones.

Some of these people are Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Eric Clapton...just to name a few.

I'm not saying there is no good music today, it's just very different than the music of yesteryear. One of my all time favorite songs is "Peace of Mind" by Boston. That song speaks to me, something that is lost on much of today's music.

"Now if you're feelin' kinda low 'bout the dues you've been paying
Future's coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin'
Can't decide on which way to go

I understand about indecision
But I don't care if I get behind
People livin' in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.

Now you're climbin' to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesn't take too long
Can't you see there'll come a day when it won't matter
Come a day when you'll be gone"

I was driving today and I saw a big truck in front of me waiting to turn right at a red light. All of a sudden, he punched the gas, squeeled his tires and took off in front of oncoming traffic. This is something I've sure we've all seen (and maybe even done). It's one of my biggest pet peeves with driving. When I saw this cat pull out, the first thing I thought of was this song. I wondered why he was in such a hurry and why it seems everyone is in a hurry. Is where he's going so important that he can't wait 30 seconds to show some consideration to the people around him? Is everywhere everyone is going so important that we can't show some regard for the people around us?

Why does it seem that everyone is in competition with each other? Hurrying around, can't let the other guy in because it would delay us. Are we so narcissistic to think that we're so much more important than everyone else? What ever happened to common courtesy? If this was the biggest problem, it wouldn't be a big deal, but I think it's indicative of a much larger social problem. When we start thinking that we're better than others or more important and can inconvenience someone because it suits us or because it serves our interest, we are on dangerous ground. Where will it stop?

Just something I thought about when I saw a white truck pull out in front of traffic.

If you think this is all about driving, you've missed the point.