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.