Friday, September 26, 2008

What would life be like without bags?

A friend of mine and I were coming out of a store today. As he looked into his plastic bag to make sure he had all of his purchases, he made an observation so obvious that it was genius. "Dude, bags are wonderful." How right you are, my friend.

What would life be like without bags of any sort? Can you imagine the trainwreck that would result in the back seat of your car from grocery shopping? I cringe to think.

How about getting through a day at school without a bag in which to put all your pens, pencils, sharpeners, post-it notes, calculators, chap stick, books, binders, or any other education based knick-knack? Yikes.

What about your bag lunches in elementary school? I guarantee you that your tuna fish sandwich would not have been as wholesome and delicious as you remember had it not been neatly and lovingly placed in a sandwich sized plastic ziplock bag.

Harry the heart transplant recipient I'm sure would love to throw his two cents-worth in on this subject since the heart that's pumping his blood could not have survived if it were not for the specially designed plastic bags that in which organs are delivered. Yeah, think about that one for a while...

Yep, bags are neat.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Raise your hand, you ignoramus!"

Those that know me(even on the smallest, semi-personal level) know that I get pretty irritated with people when they have bad manners and social skills. Honestly, it drives me crazy.

Case-in-point: how old were we when we were taught that when you want to say something in class, you raise your hand? 5 or 6, right? Ok. Now, we typically start college at the age of 18. That means that by the time we get to college, we should've been raising our hands for 12 or 13 years. You'd think that that would be more than enough time for a person to learn that when you want to say something in a classroom, the social norm(with the occasional, but seldom exception) is to raise your hand when you've got something to say.

There is this kid in one of my classes that, somehow or another, has not learned this. The other day we were discussing something in class and I raised my hand to make a comment. The professor called on me and two or three words into my contribution, homeboy opens his mouth and goes off on some point which we(the class) had already finished discussing. So not only did he blatantly interrupt me, but did it by rehashing some point that none of us cared about anymore.

I saw red.

I like to think I'm pretty self-aware. Meaning I know when to shut my mouth, when to change the subject, when to open my mouth, when to smile, when to move on, etc. Pretty much everyone does. But there are those few individuals that are so self-ignorant that they can't step back and look at their behaviors and see the room for improvement.

Second example - people that don't know how to whisper. I was in the library this morning, reading, getting stuff done and a cell phone went off. So is it not equally common knowledge that you keep your voice down in a library? I mean honestly - am I the one that has been falsely informed all these years about the whole axiom of "library = quiet area" ? No, I'm not and I know that. So when this phone goes off, why does it's owner answer as if he's in a sports bar? Well, I'll tell you why. Because he's an idiot.

I hate confrontation. Which is probably why I end up moaning about things until I reach the point of having to post my thoughts here to see if anyone agrees with me. Let the comments begin.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Something Out Of Place

So a friend of mine recently suggested that I write a few words on the topic of having something on your face. Everyone has had the embarrassing experience of having a prominent booger in our nose or a swash of mayonnaise on our upper lip or something along those lines. Anyone saying they’ve never experienced this is a liar.

But the question is this - are you the kind of person that would tell someone that they have something out of place on their face... or would you let them remain in their ignorant state?

I have a friend and I consider him one of my best. He always tells me when I’ve got something on my face. That’s the sign of a true friend - they’ll tell you about something before it turns into a social shame.

Let us all be more considerate of our fellow man and let them know when they’ve got something on the facial region of their epidermis.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Skateboarding is wonderful. All lame stereotypes, preconceived notions, and prejudices aside, skating is great and this is why.

I love how there aren't any coaches or people there to tell me that I'm skating incorrectly; not like most sports where there are solidified techniques in everything you do.

I love how it's more of a solo thing; how you don't necessarily need anyone there to skate with. I've always been more of a loner anyway, so I guess that has a lot to do with why I love it so much.

I love how all I need is a small piece of asphalt or concrete. No nets, baskets, bases, goals, mitts, sticks or end zones.

I love how everything can look cool. A kickturn. A powerslide. An air off a bank. The best skateboarders have so much control and fluidity that technicality takes a back seat.

I love how there are consequences. I love how that if I don't commit to something, I pay a price in the flesh. That sounds morbid but the feeling you get after doing something that could potentially send you to the hospital is a pretty good feeling. It's like you've looked a lion straight in the eyes and lived to tell about it.

I love that I love skating. I love that my dream is not to pay the bills with skateboarding. I love that skating is my therapeutic answer to stress or a tough situation. Some people go for a run. Some people paint. I skate. If I go too long without it, I honestly feel like something is missing.

I love how people think I'm too old for this kind of thing. My dad recently asked me how I got a cut on my shin. When I told him that it was from skateboarding, he rolled his eyes, cussed, and walked away. I just laughed. I'll be skating for a long time yet.

I love how you can take something that is nothing but thought into something real. You can say to yourself "Hey, look at that. I think I can do that." And you can go do it. You can make a thought reality in a matter of seconds if you want it bad enough.

These are a few reasons why I love skateboarding. Hopefully this helps you understand us a bit better.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Identity Crisis

So I think I've noticed something about how people choose to present themselves. Or maybe I'm just stating the obvious and only think it's an original thought. Either way, I'll put it out and see what you think.

It's interesting when someone you know starts listening to a new genre of music and you notice their image gradually starts to change. Have you ever noticed that? I knew this girl in junior high. She and I ran track together. Smart girl. Somewhat sporty. Whatever. Then she got introduced to skinhead punk rock. Before you know it, she had buzzed her head, was sporting the jean jacket with the anti-racsim propaganda pins, and was kicking around in the 20-eye Dr. Martens boots. I can't think of a better example for the point I'm trying to make than that.

This is also evident here at BYU-I. Skinny jeans, Vans classics, thick rimmed glasses, and a whole host of other fashion statements are being made. But why? I believe the answer is more than the oversimplified response of "Oh, it's just the newest trend." I think music is playing a huge role in the reinvention of so many kids' "identities". And it's time for it to stop.

I like The Misfits. Songs about werewolves and burning witches at the stake is pretty sweet. But just because I like a particular band doesn't mean I have to start playing a 24/7 game of dress-up. Can you imagine if everyone that likes Motley Crue started roaming the streets in the same getups that the band wears on stage? I can. And it's an incredibly ridiculous image. I see more subtle examples of this everyday.

Girls especially. Your boyfriend likes Death Cab. That means you like Death Cab. Because you like Death Cab, you have to dress like a girl that likes Death Cab. Whatever clothes you have right now...yeah, they don't support/indentify your new found musical taste. Your vocabulary and mannerisms have to change, too.


Get real.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Kind Of Party

I just got back from a "party" that some kids were throwing here at BYU-I. In all honesty, it was laughable. The girls that were looking for an excuse to dress up like skanks had it. The dudes that wanted to show off their summer sales car got their big chance. But I think the most ridiculous thing I saw was a bunch of dudes dressed up in cowboy outfits with matching bandannas. That was cute. They didn't really fit in at this particular party, but I'm sure there would be some bars in Seattle or San Francisco that would greet them with open arms.

Every time I hear that there is a party somewhere, I get excited, thinking that this one will actually be cool. Nope. They all suck and I'll tell you why: the people that throw these parties take themselves way too seriously and try to be exactly what this school isn't. There are no frats. There is no beer. There are no drugs. There is no promiscuity. Well, at least you signed something saying that you wouldn't participate in bringing stuff like that here. If you are, you've got bigger things to worry about than being seen at a party.

I thought for a while about what is wrong with every party that I've ever been to and this is what I came up with. I'm sure I'll think of more points to add about five seconds after posting this, but whatever...

The following is what I would consider the perfect party.

  • Either a standard place that everyone is familiar with or a new and cool location. Two summers ago, some friends had a barbecue on an island in the middle of Fall River. That was sweet.
  • Music. This is obvious. But N'Sync(or anything Top 40 for that matter) will never have a place at my parties. I get psyched hearing new stuff or cool older material. Yeah, I guess it's cool to be able to sing along with whatever's playing but I think it's time we get over the idea that a party is only cool if you can sing along. I know I'm over it. Share the wealth Out with the old and in with the new.
  • Cool People. I wish there was a better way to regulate this than my internal cool-o-meter, but alas, there is not. I wouldn't care if a bunch of people showed up to my party that I didn't know. In fact, that's the whole point - to have a lot of people there. I just hate it when people have chips on their shoulders and think the rest of us owe them something for gracing the party with their presence. Or equally lame is when they show up and start yelling or saying something obscenely obnoxious like "THE PARTY'S HERE!" Yeah, hate that.
  • Escorted dismissal of the non-cool. We've all been around them. Dudes and dudettes that are just plain problematic. They hate the world and looking for some kind of a release, thinking they can cause a ruckus at the party and get away with it. These individuals have no place at my parties.
  • Something else to offer aside from either standing around or dancing. Yes, dancing and socializing are important to the vibe of the party. But what if I don't want to dance and I don't want to sit around looking like an incompetent? This is where you do some outside research and find other things to offer the party-goers. Badminton, a butcher paper canvas for people to write on, a raffle... you get the idea.
  • A party that even a non-party-goer could enjoy. I really don't know what to write here. All I know is that I see lots of people show up that could enjoy a party here at BYU-I but the vibe just isn't for them. I know that's how I feel; I've left nearly every party I've been to after about twenty minutes because it's just not my vibe. I challenge you to honestly ask yourself if the party you're attending is something you're really enjoying. The answer will more than likely surprise you.
So yeah, those are my thoughts on parties. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is having a larger vocabulary SO much to ask?

This is something I wrote back at the beginning of the year but I still find very applicable. Enjoy.

My New Years activities weren’t all that exciting. In fact, they were probably what most would call nauseatingly boring; I watched Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve with my sister and her husband at their house. Sweet. I know.
It was while I was watching the show and making jokes at the performer’s expense that I noticed something. Every time a performer would come up on stage after singing or whatever, they would be asked the typical questions. “What do you think about New Years in Times Square?”, “What’s the atmosphere like here in Times Square?”, “What did you think about that last performance?”, etc, the person being asked would reply “It’s amazing!”. Every two seconds someone would say, “It’s amazing!”

After noticing the over usage of this word, I decided to count the number of times they used it in one exchange between performances. In one 1 ½ minute exchange (or 90 seconds) the word amazing was used nine times. That’s once every ten seconds! Do people want to sound like parrots?!

Catch phrases and words change all the time. Take a look at the Billboard Top 40 at any given time and the titles or choruses of the most popular songs will more than likely be the latest catch phrases, spreading like an airborne virus in a subway. Some might remember Will Smith’s 1997 hit “Gettin’ jiggy wit it”. Does anyone have ANY idea what this means? Doubtful. Smith himself was asked what it meant on a VH1 interview and even he didn’t know. But hey, plenty were getting “jiggy wit it” according to how often this phrase would waft into the air among the masses on the street.

Amazing is the latest and greatest in over-abused words to float around in contemporary America. I think it all started when the whole “indie” scene and kids wanted to appear like they had their fingers firmly on the pulse of whatever underground music they claimed to be a part of. Gertrude would ask, “Hey Tommy, have you heard of The Chince Bucket Re-runs?” Tommy would reply with a simple “no” to which Gertude gets totally melodramatic. “Oh my gosh! You absolutely have to listen to them! They’re AMAZING!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either overheard this or actually been the Tommy. The sad part is, I’d listen to whatever it is that they wanted me to listen to and 90% of the time the band or group or singer would totally suck. It was almost like people were just looking for an excuse to use “amazing” in a sentence.

“Death Cab for Cutie is amazing.” Nope. They blow.

“Sufjan Stevens is amazing.” Sorry. Crap.

“The Decemberists are amazing.” Never listened to them but because you used amazing to tell me about them, that’s a big red flag.

I really wouldn’t care if people used “amazing” in a normal conversational syntax. But because the word is flying around like bullets in a bad action movie, every time I hear it I’m tempted to be a huge A-hole and totally grill the person about their word choice. “What exactly about this warrants the use of the word amazing? What is amazing about it?”

So yeah, let’s not be sheep, the broken horses that go wherever the ranchers tell us to go. Language is pretty sweet and to limit ourselves to repeating whatever Hollywood, the record companies, or idiotic celebrities are saying is just plain ignorant. We’re smarter than that. That is all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This is something that I wrote for my New Testament class. My friend told me it was pretty good so I figured I'd throw it up here for more to read. Let me know what you think.

The Bus
When I was in fifth grade, there was a program that my teacher, Ms. Myer, put together for us. It involved putting the whole class on a bus and driving to the ice rink every second Wednesday for ice skating lessons. Now, ever since kindergarten, it had always been the cool thing to sit in the back of the bus because that way the bus driver couldn’t see the shenanigans that you and your friends were up to. So anytime there was a situation of getting on the bus, it was always a mad dash to see who could get to the back of the bus the quickest.

So there we were, getting ready to get on the bus to go to the ice rink. But on this particular day, for whatever reason, Ms. Myer asked me to help her carry some things out to the bus. I knew that this would kill my chances to get on the bus first since the teacher always sits near the front, meaning that she would be close to the end of the line. But, being the mild mannered kid that I was, I agreed to help.

It’s interesting how your point of view changes by merely sitting somewhere else on a bus. Because I was close to the end of the line, I sat at the front of the bus. Those that are seated toward the front of the bus get off the bus first. Those that get off the bus first get their ice skates first. Those that get their ice skates first get more time to skate. From that day forward, I was quick to ask if there was anything I could help Ms. Myer carry out to the bus.

I would like to compare this little vignette from my life to verse twelve of Matthew 23. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Those that wanted to be first on the bus wished to appear as the “cool kids” of the class – exalted in the eyes of their classmates, prideful of where they sat. Those that submitted themselves to the will of the teacher received a greater and more precious reward – more time to skate, indifferent to what was thought of where they were sitting.

“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many called, but few chosen.”(Matthew 20:16)

Where on the bus do you want to sit?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My sister called me today. We talked for a while. We shared our thoughts on how people can't afford not to take advantage of the business opportunities that exist nowadays. Working for someone else for the rest of my life is my epitome of hell. I've never liked taking orders from people. I've even told my friends and family that, if I can help it, I will never work for someone else after college. Honestly, I go to school and get a degree. Wouldn't putting all that information to work be the logical thing to do? I can't think of a better way to that than to start something of my own.

In my Mass Media Research class we briefly went over a study on the average American millionaire. Here's an interesting excerpt from the results of that study
  • About one in five of us is retired. About two-thirds of us who are working are self-employed. Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20% of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. Also, three out of four of us who are self-employed consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. Most of the others are self-employed professionals, such as doctors and accountants.
So I guess the point to all my rambling is this: the way I see it, it's not a lack of information that keeps us from being successful. We live in the Information Age for crying out loud. There hasn't ever been a time in earth's history when we've had more access to more information and answers as quickly as we do now. The only thing holding anyone back is the decision to put that knowledge to work.

K. I'll step down from the pulpit now. Go get 'em, tiger.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fit to be tied

Health issues are lame. Especially when they're rampant in your family's medical history. My brother got prostate cancer when he was 30. My mom had breast cancer. My dad has had high blood pressure all his life. Then there are all the little things that my grandparents and ancestors were gracious enough to pass on to us six kids that we haven't been diagnosed with yet. Great. Thanks a million.

But seriously, earlier this year I came face to face with the fact that I don't have the metabolism of a hummingbird anymore and I have to start taking care of myself. So in come the personal pledges.

I started running. A lot. It's not too bad. A few of my roommates are way into going to the gym, so I put my pride to the side and started going to the gym. I go about three or four times a week. But I hate the gym. Well, let me rephrase that - I hate the gym rats. You know - the dudes that stare you down the minute you enter their domain. I don't care about getting ripped. I never have and the size of my arms will attest to that. But if these dudes that labor long and hard over their washboard abs ad 28 inch biceps could have it their way, I'm sure they would instate some kind of physical fitness segregation. "Your obliques are not up to snuff. You must use the shizzy equipment from the 70's until you pass muster."

But it is entirely possible that I'm just an extremely insecure individual and hate anyone that's stronger than me.

Nah. Couldn't be that.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Musical Time Machine

After looking over my music collection, I've noticed something very interesting about how my taste in music has evolved. But first, let me give you the back story.

The first CD I ever bought was Jimi Hendrix's "Axis: Bold As Love" when I was 11. Life changing. But I remember that the reason that I bought it was because my brother had a Hendrix tape and I absolutely loved it and had been listening to it for a long time before that. I listened to it so much that I wore the tape out. So basically, my early music appreciation lessons came from my brother's tape collection. Pink Floyd. Love and Rockets. The Jam. Blah, blah, blah...the list goes on. The thing is this: I listened to that stuff because it sounded cool. There was no outside influence on my taste in music at all. At that point, the musical universe was the top drawer of my dresser.

But once you get into junior high, it's inevitable that you start to care more about what your peers are listening to more than what you actually like. In 7th grade, I sheepishly bought No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" at a Wal-Mart because I knew this girl I liked had the same CD. I bought a Ten Foot Pole cd that totally sucked because I hung out with the skater kids and one of them had written that band name on his backpack in white-out. So yeah, lots of stupid things were listened to because it was "new and fresh", but 90% of which was total garbage.

Fast forward ten years. Here I am, looking over what I own now and thinking about what I listened to then. Anymore, I have much more fun finding older bands than I do finding new ones. I'm seldom psyched to go to a show because the people that I really want to see are either dead or too old to go on tour. It's true that finding a cool new band is fun, but rarely all that gratifying. After listening to Joy Division I can see definite connections to Interpol. Franz Ferdinand certainly has some similarities to early Bowie. So that's the new name of the game for me - find old bands and then see which contemporaries are claiming that sound as their own. Few and far between are the ones that can create an original style.

I hate longboarders.

So yesterday I was sitting at a four way stop getting ready to make a right hand turn. I consider myself to be a pretty good driver, not prone to crappy driving like so many people on the roads these days. So being the good driver that I am, I look right and then look left and then proceed to inch my way into the right turn that I needed to make. Whoever the kid was, he was damn lucky that I didn't gun it into the turn because he rolled out into the street on a longboard and was skating down the street toward me in the left hand lane. So not only was this kid skating down the middle of a busy street, but in the oncoming lane! I swore. But this is what really fried my egg: he just blew through the stop signs at the four way stop where I was sitting in my car. I'm not gonna go off on what I should have done because it won't change a thing. I just hope that other reckless dipsticks that like to call themselves longboarders read this and get a clue.

"I don't care."

I grew up in an especially liberal portion of Northern California. Now I look back and laugh at the kids I knew in junior high and high school that dressed like social misfits, using the trite phrase "I don't care what people think" as justification for they way they presented themselves. The conclusion that I've come to is that they were the ones that cared more than anyone about the way they dressed. These kids would go totally out of their way in making sure they looked like the cryptigoth, emo, Sum-182 robots that all had to dress a certain way, just so they could tell me else how much they didn't care about what I thought. I didn't care then and I just laugh now. The joke is on you for falling for the music industry's plot.
This is where I come to vent, just like the other 95% of the internet community. If you agree with my thoughts, that's nice; at least I'll know I'm not alone. If you don't agree with my thoughts, that's nice; at least I'll know someone is reading what I have to say.