Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Restaurant

A few years ago, on Christmas Eve, I went to a restaurant with my parents and my brother. The wait was really long (about an hour) and it was really cold in the waiting area. So cold, in fact, that only my brother and I, and a gentleman and his son were waiting. Everyone else decided that it was better to be warm and standing, then cold and sitting. I was intrigued by the relationships that occur between strangers in those types of situations and because, at that time, I was writing stories all the time, I wrote a story about it that night. It's still one my favorite stories that I've written and I try to read it every Christmas Eve. So, today, I'm going to share it with you. It's fairly short but if you don't read it I won't be offended. Otherwise, have a merry Christmas.

The Restaurant

The two men huddled inside the humid room. People lined the walls as if they were waiting to buy Beatles concert tickets. Some were playing with their fingers and pretending that they were two great warriors about to do battle at the ends of their knees. Others blankly stared into nothing as their brains did hula-hoops in their heads. Still, others tried to strike up conversations that sadly ended after they asked the universal question: “how are you?” and received the universal answer: “fine”.
The two men idly strolled towards the host and met glances of pity, menace and even scorn. Slowly, they asked the forbidden question: “How long is the wait?” Lights flickered. Motion around the room slowed. The two men’s eyes locked onto the host’s lips and in a deep, demonic voice they heard the terrible answer, “Two hours”. Gasps of air shook the room. A pregnant woman fainted. Then, after gaining his composure, Carlos put his name on the list. The host pointed and laughed at the two men in his demonic voice.
Carlos looked for a place to sit down but there were no seats left. Mark found a nice standing spot and Carlos joined him. And what a standing spot! It was a nice smooth wall that you could lean against. It didn’t have anything that poked you in the back and the wall was sturdy so it didn’t feel like it would cave in if you so much as touched it. Carlos and Mark smiled as they realized their great treasure find.
“Don’t touch me!” an ancient old man cried out. “I didn’t buy this house for you to pee in!” The old man then went into a beautiful chorus of Silent Night.
“Don’t worry about him,” a middle-aged woman explained, “That’s Jude. He’s been here the longest they say. I hear he has been here upwards of an hour and 15 minutes. He’s probably just getting delirious. Restaurant Delirium is what they call it in these parts. Either that, or he is just really bored.”
Mark looked around. The people who had already been admitted into the restaurant were eating slowly. Very slowly. Mark finally met eyes with one of them and they smiled as they took the slowest bite of lasagna the world has ever known.
“Those bastards are eating slow on purpose!” Mark announced. The people in the lobby said nothing. “I guess you already knew that…” Mark trailed off. The people actually managed to look more sullen than they already were.
“Okay, gather round young’uns and let your ol’ pappy Jude tell ye a story…” the old man started off. “Once there was a man. And he was a good man! This man liked food. Oh, how he liked that food! Well, one day, the man decides to come to this here restaurant. And you know what happened? He got in. He didn’t have to wait a single minute!” Claps and whistles rung throughout the little lobby as the multitude of people cheered for their hero who defeated the evil system of having to wait to be seated in the restaurant.
“Will I ever live in a world like that pappy Jude?” a small boy asked.
“You sure will, son. You sure will.” Jude replied though it hurt him to lie to the boy. The people in the lobby smiled at the thought of such a world.
An intercom intervened on their thoughts as it announced: “Jude. Party of One. Your table is ready.” Cheers rose up among the ranks as they clapped for their oldest remaining member. Jude danced his way to the host and when he reached him, he turned back and yelled, “Keep the faith my friends, and someday you will join me in there and we will dine as Kings!” He raised his fist and parted from the sight of the group.
While the party reflected on the memories of their departed friend, two people came out of the dining area, obviously stuffed full.
“Oh geez, I couldn’t eat another bite if I tried to,” the man said. “I am just so FULL!” It then became obvious to the group that he was purposely saying this to make the people in the lobby envious and angry.
“Hey, screw you buddy!” an upset, middle-aged man yelled but his wife held him back whispering, “Don’t fight him. He is full of energy and you, in your weakened and starving condition might pass out before you got a good punch in…” The middle-aged man stepped back and hung his head while the other man laughed and fled into the darkness.
A silence fell over the group and there it stayed until finally Carlos and Mark were the only one’s left in the lobby. The last of the group bid them a fond farewell as they parted into the warm, welcoming restaurant. Though they were close friends, Carlos and Mark hardly talked while they waited alone. Sullen grew their day, and dark grew their night. Then, like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, they were called to take their place among the restaurant folk. Jumps of joy and laughter possessed their bodies and they hurriedly followed the host.
They were showed to their table and they picked up their menus and were surprised to see a yellow adhesive note covering the dishes. The note read, “Because of lack of resources, this restaurant is now only serving black licorice. Thank you for your cooperation.”
“When the hell did I say I was going to cooperate?” Carlos asked himself.
The waiter brought them two plates strewn with three long strands of black licorice each. Carlos and Mark sat in silence, not knowing exactly what they should do. Why did they wait two hours for black licorice? They looked at it. It was uninteresting, looking no different than one would expect a piece of black licorice to look. Carlos picked up a piece and took a small bite.
“Hmm…” he started, “It tastes like…” and he never finished the thought.
Mark picked up his and began to eat as well. They finished quickly and paid the absolutely absurd bill to ask for when they were only served six strands of black licorice. Mark and Carlos departed into the cool of the night, each one replaying the events of the night back to themselves in their heads.
On the way to their car, they saw their waiter hanging out at the back of the restaurant. He saw them and called out, “How was it?”
Carlos and Mark looked at each other and tried to think of how to answer the question.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

My wife and I recently watched a documentary titled, "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" and it was very moving. I've always found Buddhism a fascinating religion ever since I learned about it in my World History class when I was in high school. The Dalai Lama is also a fascinating man which makes the documentary we watched all the more fascinating.
Many of you probably know the story of the Dalai Lama's life. But for those who don't, here is a quick synopsis. Since Buddhists believe in reincarnation, they often look for signs that the next Dalai Lama has been born or reincarnated. They often give very small children tests to determine if they are the chosen one, so to speak. The previous Dalai Lama will always leave signs and point to areas where he will be reborn before he passes. It is among these circumstances that the current Dalai Lama was chosen, at the age of two. From the age of four, his head was shaved and he was intensely trained in becoming a Buddhist monk. At the age of fifteen, one month after China invaded his country, he was enthroned as the Dalai Lama. He was deceived by Mao Zedong, China's Communist ruler into thinking that Tibet would be allowed to keep its religious freedoms and cultural practices. He was pointedly told by Mao Zedong that, "Religion is poison." After this and after suspecting that China 's rulers were planning to kill him, he led a failed uprising. The Chinese army quickly dispelled it and left with nothing else to do, he fled to northern India, where he still resides today in a town called Dharmashala. In the wake of his exile, somewhere around 1,200,000 Tibetans were massacred by the Chinese army.
Watching the movie, I saw in him the same qualities I have seen in the greatest religious leader I have seen in my lifetime (Gordon B. Hinckley). The Dalai Lama is very smart. He enjoys learning about science and greatly enjoys the topics of astronomy and neurology. He believes there are sentient lifeforms on planets outside of our solar system. He often tinkers with things, taking apart and studying the inner workings of watches and cars. He is very humble. He is quick to say that he is no one special. He often gets bored when people praise him. And the quality that most reminds me of Gordon B. Hinckley, is that he loves to laugh. He is often making jokes about himself or the idiosyncracies that he observes in other people. He refuses to fly first class on airplanes saying that if people still wanted to see him , it wouldn't make any difference which part of the aircraft he sat in. When he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, which comes with a $1 million prize, he gave all the money away to charity.
The movie can easily make you angry at China (if you already aren't mad at them). The Dalai Lama, knowing that he is near the end of his life, in 1995, selected the next Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama is one of the key people who select the reincarnated Dalai Lama. A few days after the Dalai Lama selected this new Panchen Lama, the boy and his family disappeared. To this day, they have never been seen again in public. This boy is regarded as the "youngest political prisoner in the world". A few days after this boy's disappearance, the People's Republic of China announced their own Panchen Lama, who would select the new Dalai Lama. It seems as though China is adamant in squashing out the culture of the Tibetan people.
Though through all of this, the Dalai Lama remains calm. He wishes no ill-will toward China and even verbally chastises anybody who uses violence to promote the cause of Tibet. He says in the film that the only hope for his people and his culture to survive is for China to become democratic. I, too, hope that this will soon happen.
Many prophets have stated that Siddhartha Guatama or Buddha, Confucius, and even the prophet Mohammed were all inspired men who were directed by God to teach their people. I enjoy learning about this man and his people and echo the prophets of the Mormon church in saying that all religions offer insight into our own religion. This is not to say that we should forsake our own religion, nor to practice anything from another. But studying and understanding another's beliefs instills in us the viewpoint that all religion at one time came from the same source and that God uses different methods to reach different people and that anything that is done to make a person choose to live a better life and to better the world around him is good. The Dalai Lama is an inspirational man and the fact that he is not of your religion should not be reason to think differently.
I hope China one day sees what they have done. I hope one day the Dalai Lama can return to his homeland in his lifetime. It would be a very terrible thing if we were all witnesses to a cultural genocide but were powerless to stop it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Insight!

I, like my mother, totally spaced that it was my sister's birthday yesterday. I had a really busy day with work and my desire to finish all of my Christmas shopping. Anyway, I had meant to write a blog about her so here it is:

Growing up, Insight was should we say it? An ingenious con-artist. She often had me run get her things upstairs for her with the promise of a quarter, or sometimes a surprise. The surprises were never really that interesting. I always did it just to be nice. When I was really young, she would often come to my brother and I with a proposition: If we helped her clean her room, then she would play Stage with us. Stage was a game we liked to play with her radio because a microphone could plug into it and you could sing songs. In our house, the entryway was elevated over the living room so with a stretch of the imagination, you felt like you were on stage. I never liked actually singing but I REALLY liked listening to all the songs and dancing around. I also liked just doing something with my brother and sister because it was rare that they wanted to do something with me.

Since Insight was 7 years older than me, and 3 years older than my brother, she was often put in charge of us while our parents were gone. She ruled the house with an iron fist...or should I say wooden spoon? You have no idea how many times she chased me around the house with a wooden spoon. I probably deserved it. I think I developed my problem with authority during those times. One time, I got tired of running and let her hit me with the spoon and then I hit her back. When my parents came home, she told them I had hit her. I yelled at them, "But she hit me with a wooden spoon!" My mother said, "But you don't hit girls!" I asked why. She said, "You just don't." And to this day, I never have again.

Insight and I often made fun of my brother when he wasn't around. I didn't like him because he picked on me, and Insight didn't like him for some other reason. Sometimes we would go together to mess with him, like opening the bathroom door while he was using it and leaving it open for anyone to see him on the toilet if they walked by.

Insight made me watch so many movies and TV shows when I was a kid that I would otherwise not have watched. I am so glad she did because I was so "ahead of the game" when I grew up and people had asked if I had seen any of those things. Labrynth, Adventures in Babysitting, and a some others are just a few examples. My mind is foggy right now but I know all of them when I see them and whenever I do, I tell whoever I'm with, "Yeah, I used to watch that with my sister all the time." And Labrynth is still a favorite of mine.

Insight has the best laugh. It cracks me up. Whenever she laughs, I laugh. She and I used to watch the Simpsons together, and that was my favorite show. She, to this day, still tells me that she loved doing that because she loved to hear me laugh which is ironic because I loved doing it because I loved to hear her laugh.

When I was in middle school, I used to dress like a gangster. I don't know why I did. Most of the other kids dressed like that and because I didn't know who I was or who I wanted to be, I dressed like that too. One day, when I came home from school, I told my Mom that I wanted to go shopping because I really wanted these new pair of baggy pants. My mother didn't want to and we began to argue. My sister came in and overheard the conversation and asked me, "Why do you want to dress like that? Why don't you just wear whatever you want to wear?" She said it in a non-confrontational way, softly, with true sincere. I don't know why, but something changed in me from that moment on. When she said that, I knew that I was a poser and was being someone I didn't want to be. From then on, I dressed how I wanted and didn't give a crap what anyone thought. That's why, even in college, I would wear shirts that I had worn in the 8th grade and sometimes dress like a homeless man, except not on purpose (sorry Stace-Ghost). I also had one of the best years of my life (8th grade) because I just didn't care about the little things anymore. I also met my two best friends who are still, to this day, some of the closest friends I have. I would not have met them had I not had that realization because I would have still been trying to act cool when I was really unhappy. Looking back, its amazing how such a sincere, sisterly, and caring moment changed my life so much. I love you Insight, and I hope for only the best things to happen to you in your life. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crank It

I've been pretty stressed out lately for a number of reasons. None of them have to do with Christmas. And frankly, I don't really want to go into it. Not because its a secret but because I'm tired of complaining through my blog. So I'll leave it at that.
But ever since I was about 15 and started playing guitar, I've always found that the best thing to do when you're stressed out is to plug in your guitar, crank up the volume, and play like there's no tomorrow. There is something exorcising about it-like you play your anger and stress out over the guitar and through the amplifier, and somewhere through all that fuzz and distortion you start to feel better. Some people go to the gym to relieve stress. I go to my drummer's house and jam.
That is the reason music makes such a good companion.
I don't play as much as I used to. I don't know why. I think I'm just going through a phase of being uninterested in it. I think its because of everything that happened with my band Bullet for Babs, my other band Shambala, and after finishing my last album-it all just left a bad taste in my mouth. Things happened that really pissed me off (and they still do) so I think I just don't feel like playing much. But anyway, my point is, that even though I feel like that now, there are still days when I'm at work and I just know and just feel that when I get home I need to pick up the guitar and play for a little while. Its always there. Sometimes I don't feel like playing any of the songs I know so I will write a new one. Sometimes I'll learn a new one. And other times I'm perfectly fine with playing a song that I've already played a million times.
The gift of music is in its gift to heal. There are some songs that touch the soul and they were always meant to. I usually jam with my drummer every Monday but since this Monday, we celebrated my sister's b-day, I had to cancel. But we re-scheduled for this Saturday and I've been looking forward to it everyday. Its getting me through the week, just looking forward to it, and on Saturday when I crank up the volume, it'll get me through next week as well.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy B-Day, Stace-Ghost!

Today is my wife's birthday. Here are some things I'd like to tell you about her.

1. Stace-Ghost absolutely loves to dance. She dances all the time. She once told me that she had been unhappy for a little while (a few weeks) and she really thought that it was because she hadn't danced enough. When we DJed the dances when we were in the singles branch together, she always put a song in our playlist where she could go dance.

2. Sometimes she thinks that I don't see her when she's dancing, but I always do. There's nothing that makes me happier than watching her dance.

3. Stace-Ghost gets really grossed out by things that are close together. I know this sounds weird but bear with me. Fish eggs or the inside of a flower, where you can see a lot of things...well, close together gross her out. Its weird. But cute.

4. Though Stace-Ghost is 26 years old now, she is still afraid of bugs and the dark. If she sees a bug, she will walk all the way across the house to get me to come kill the bug for her. One time, she even text me and told me that I needed to come quickly to get a bug.

5. I call Stace-Ghost my "little ball of heat" because everytime I lie by her, she always heats me up and I have to roll away because I get too hot. The funny thing is that she is almost always cold.

6. Stace-Ghost is hands down, the funniest person I've ever met. She only gets funnier with the more time we spend with each other because she usually says the things that I'm thinking but in much funnier ways. The first time I met her, I thought the same thing. We were at a party and we were sitting on the back porch, making fun of all the other people that were at the party. We weren't alone, but she still made everyone laugh.

7. I love the way she says "coat" or "boat". She always pronounces the "t" really well. Whenever she says one of these words, I repeat it to her to 1) tease her and 2) remind her of how cute I think it is.

8. Before we were married, much to my parents dismay, I often fell asleep at her house, only to wake up at any hour of the day to rush home to bed. One time, I didn't wake up till 7 in the morning (and it was the summer so I didn't have school), and I rushed home and actually pulled in to the drive-way of our home as my Dad was pulling out to go to work. I always told my parents that I didn't mean to fall asleep at Stace-Ghost's house. This was only partially true. I never meant to fall asleep there, but sometimes I knew that I probably would, but I still didn't do anything about it. Stace-Ghost often told me I could go home earlier but I never wanted to. I loved being with her and never wanted to leave.

9. Stace-Ghost has an absolutely beautiful singing voice. She can even sing what my friends and I call her "opera voice" which is where she acts like she is singing opera, but it sounds really good! I know that it probably wouldn't pass if she was to actually sing opera, but for us she sounds so good. My friends and I used to play songs and have her sing to them in her opera voice. Most of the time we could barely get through them because we were laughing so hard at our opera renditions of popular songs. But even non-opera voice, she still has a beautiful voice. One of the highlights of her summers when she managed the swimming pool was to serenade the patrons. She would get on the intercom with her friends and sing songs, sometimes the Star-Spangled Banner to the patrons. She thought it was so funny. On the last solo album I did (I've done three), I wrote a duet for us. Her voice sounded so good and the song ended up being my favorite on the cd. But if I wasn't telling you this, you would never know because she doesn't like people knowing that she has a good voice.

10. She has blessed my life more than anyone else in my life save for my parents. She has changed me in a million ways all for the better. Recently, I was talking to my friend and he told me that he was jealous of me because he had seen how much Stace-Ghost had changed me and that he wanted that for himself. He was right. I love you, Stace-Ghost with all my heart. Not a day goes by that I don't wish that I was better for you in so many ways. Happy birthday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why I Hate The Book Of Revelation (Yeah, I Said It)

I have a confession to make. I hate the book of Revelation. My hatred for it has nothing to do with the fact that it is hard to understand.
I hate it because of what it does to us as a people. We read the various revelations with an extreme thirst. I think we as a people have always felt like something big is coming, something that will totally change everything, like another 9/11 event, and while I can't deny that it very well might happen, I hate that we all agree and are waiting for it to happen. This is why I hate the book of Revelation. It confirms to us that something IS going to happen, which makes us all greedily look for it to happen.
Ask yourself this, do you think you will be alive for the Second Coming? If you do, you're not alone. Almost everyone does. But you know who else thought they would be alive for the Second Coming? The pioneers. That was over 150 years ago. And while the point of this blog is not to make fun of the pioneers or to deny that the Second Coming will happen, it is to show us that we are all too greedy to look for doomsday.
I don't know why we all feel this way. Maybe we watch too many movies and we wish we were part of something, even if its bad, so we can say that we lived through it. But I think that if you start to believe something will happen, then it will. And while I am like you, and would like to see it happen as well, I'd rather see it all happen from heaven.
There is a lot of good left in this world. Its hard to see sometimes. Theres an old saying that "Babies are a message to the world that it should keep going." There's more babies now than there have ever been. We shouldn't be looking for the world to come to an end. We should hope for the future. We should hope for things to get better. I am often reminded of several times in the scriptures when the Lord withheld his hand from destroying his people because his faithful servants simply asked him to. Who knows? Maybe we can delay this coming destruction for thousands of years. Then again, maybe not. But it doesn't matter. The point is that we should keep hoping for the best and do everything in our power to keep the world moving on.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The wait is over...

Here are the answers to the riddles...Inside Stories gets bonus points for getting 4 of the 6 right....

1. He was in a hot air balloon with three other people. They realized they were too heavy and were going to crash so they took off all their clothes to try to lose the weight. Even that wasn't enough, and they drew matches for who would jump out. He drew the shortened match and plummeted to his death. (I could see that Inside Stories was on the right track for this one even though she didn't have the answer).

2. He was an astronaut on a spacewalk when he realized that there was a tear in his suit.

3. He stabbed himself with an icicle.

4. When the man draws the paper, he declines to read the paper and instead has his captors read the paper that is still in the hat. The paper, obviously, says "Death" which makes them believe that he drew the paper that says, "Life".

5. A stick. (hehe)

6. Because seven ate (eight) nine.

Thanks to everyone for participating! Some of them are kinda silly but whatever can get you through the day helps.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Morbid Death Riddles (For Fun!)

At my work, for entertainment, my co-workers have been giving each other riddles to figure out over the course of the day (or some days for the hard ones). I thought that I would share some with you and see if you can figure them out. In three days, I'll post the answers. The first four have to do with death, because they are more fun (its like we're detectives or something!). You have to figure out how they died (except the fourth one). The last three are more kiddish but still kinda fun. If you look hard enough, you can find the answers on the Internet but please don't spoil it for everyone else if you do decide to cheat. Good luck...

1. A man is lying dead in the desert with a match next to his hand. He is nude.

2. A man is working at his occupation when he realizes there is a tear in his shirt. 15 minutes later, he is dead.

3. A man is lying dead in a pool of blood and water. He has wounds but there is no weapon.

4. A man must draw a piece of paper out of a hat. There are two possibilites. One piece of paper says "Life" and one piece of paper says "Death". If he draws "Life", he will live. If he draws "Death", he will be shot. An enemy, seeing this opportunity, switches out the "Life" paper with a "Death" paper so that both papers say "Death". The man, though knowing this, cannot tell his captors that he knows that it is rigged. How does he survive?

5. What is brown and sticky?

6. Why is six afraid of seven?

Go ahead and post your answers if you know it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Can't Get Lost Even When I Try

On Saturday night, my wife and I met up with two other couples and went to the maize maze. For those of you in Albuquerque, the maze is just past Montano Bridge. We brought three flashlights for the six of us and were prepared to tackle the maze and come out victorious. Before entering the maze, we passed a group of three people who told us, "You're going to get so lost." Off in the distance, we heard screams coming from the maze. This looked promising. I was in a walking mood and was perfectly fine with being lost for a good two or three hours. Also, it wasn't very cold outside and the moon was bright. We could have probably done the maze even without flash lights. We were ready.
There was two different paths you could take. One path was short (about a mile) and the other one was long (2.3 miles). We weren't scared so we decided to take the long one. However, there was a problem. The weather had been really nasty all day, windy and rainy, and we realized this as soon as we stepped inside the maze. The ground was extremely muddy because the corn stalks are so tall that it blocked the sunlight from getting in and drying up the moisture. This was something that none of us were prepared for and we almost immediately resigned ourselves to the fact that our shoes would be really muddy and we couldn't do anything about it.
After about five minutes of walking through the maze, we came to a sign that told us that we had reached the end of the maze. How was that possible? We had only come to about 2 different forks in the road. The sign also posed a question and based on the correct answer, it pointed us on the correct path that led us out of the maze or for the wrong path, it would lead us astray. The question was "Did You Have Fun?" and "Yes" pointed one way and "No" pointed the other. It should also be noted that the correct path was the way we had just come, which all of us decided was a bit strange. Since we had only been there about 5 minutes and having paid the high price of $8 a person for admission, we decided to try to get lost again. We took the wrong path and set out again. We joked that it would be funny if the correct answer to the question was "No" and were actually on the right path instead of the wrong one. A few times, we would see people hiding in the corn waiting to jump out and scare us but we always saw them and pointed our flashlights at them before they could do so.
After about another 5 minutes, we came to the same sign again. Since we had only been there about 10 minutes at this point, we again took the wrong path hoping to get lost again. It was around this time that we contemplated stealing some corn. We decided that it would be really gross to eat and really stupid to keep as a souvenir so none of us did. After about 10 minutes this time, we arrived at a path that led out of the maze. We were frustrated. No matter how many times we tried, we just couldn't get lost in the maze. We went back the way we came and tried for the fourth time to get lost.
After about another 10 minutes, we arrived on the same path that took us out of the maze. We finally decided to give up. We had been there for about 30 minutes and managed to defeat the maze 4 times. We had a map that was given to us at admission, but nobody looked at it except Adam who was determined to find out where we were all the time. I told him that a map was useless if you didn't know where you were. He said he did know where we were, even though he didn't.
I still don't know what happened. My opinion is that the workers of the maze told us to enter where the exit was since we came to that first sign and it pointed us back the way we came. We really never even put much thought into which path we should take. Most of the time, someone would just say, "I feel like going left" or "This way looks promising" or "We went right last time so lets go left now" as if that was a perfectly logical response in that situation. But, all in all, we still had fun and were glad we got to enjoy each others company. I still wish we had had a more frustrating (and therefore more memorable) adventure though. I find that the memories that are best in life are the ones that you laugh at because whatever situation you were in at the time was so horrible. Maybe next time I can have a more negative (so its more positive) experience.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Question

I've been thinking about sharing some of the music I've done over the years with all of you. Does anyone know how I would do that? Could I even do that? I have it both on CD and in my Itunes (I think the format is MPEG or MP4 or something like that) and I know I could convert it to an MP3 if I needed to. If anyone knows how to do that, please let me know. Thanks.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One Year And Counting...

Today is my wife and I's one year wedding anniversary. It really doesn't seem like a year. I've noticed ever since we got married that it seems like life has been moving in a damn hurry. It seems like everything is happening so quickly and is not moving as slowly as it used to. But enough of that. I want to share some memories I have from our relationship.

We were friends long before we started dating. We both had a mutual friend (Cory) and because of him, we met and often hungout together. We both agree that we don't really know how we first kissed. What happened was that we were supposed to hangout together with a few other friends and then, for one reason or another, they all bailed on us and her and I hungout alone together. I was attracted to her but (not that she was ugly) I was mostly attracted to her personality, her sense of humor and her optimism on life. We were hanging out and watching tv on the couch and talking until it got quiet. It was in that quiet moment, where it just felt right, that we first kissed. My wife still thinks it was one of our best kisses.

We started dating and it was not even one week into our relationship when she thought about breaking up with me. She went to Provo to visit our friend Shay at BYU, and it was while she was there that she told Shay that she was going to break up with me. It mostly had nothing to do with me, and more to do with things she was going through at the time. When she came back and hinted to me that she was thinking of calling it off, I convinced her that I could help her, that I would do what was needed to help her in any way that I could. She consented. I'm glad she did or else we probably wouldn't be together today.

About 3 months into our relationship, it was my Senior Prom. Stace-Ghost did not want to go and I didn't either so I decided we would spend a special night together. I had spent the past night staying up all night with my friends as we were basically camping out for Red Hot Chili Pepper tickets which would go on sale at 10 in the morning and so I had spent the entire night figuring out what I would do. I actually didn't have a clue till about 3 am. So after I got home from getting the tickets, I took a four-hour nap (since I hadn't got any sleep) and then woke up and made my preparations. I went and picked her up in my newly washed car, opened her car door and had the song set so that when she got in the car, her then favorite song (Shiver by Coldplay) would immediately begin playing. I took her to pick up the food, (I ordered Zio's) and went to my house to eat it. When we got home, much to Stace-Ghost's surprise, (and also much to mine) the table was very romantically set, with two candles, and a deep red tablecloth and nice silverware and dishes. I did not do this. To this day, I don't think Stace-Ghost knows that. What had happened, is I had told my mother that I wanted to set the table really nicely and I asked what ideas she had. She told me and then went about her business. I set the table as best as I could (which was not very good), and my lovely mother, came and re-set it, much much better than I had, while I was gone. I'm still very grateful that she did that for me that night. We ate our dinner, and then I tried my best to play guitar and sing her a few songs. After this, I told her I had an adventure planned for her. I drove her to the Wal-Green's and parked and told her that a few weeks before, I had driven to that Wal-Green's to get her medicine, and it was then that I knew that my feelings for her were as big as an Elephant. When I said the last word, I produced a CD for her that she wanted, which was "Elephant" by the White Stripes. We drove on and next I drove her to the movie theater and parked. I told her that a few weeks before we had seen a movie called "The Hours" and it was then that I knew I wanted to spend my hours with her. I then gave her a book she wanted, which that movie was based on, which was called "Mrs. Dalloway". Lastly, I drove her to the top of the mesa where we could see the entire city. It was then that I told her, for the first time, that I loved her. I told her I'd rather have her then the entire city in front of us. I knew what I was doing was really cheesy but my feelings were true and they needed to be said.

I don't think I've done anything THAT romantic since then, but I promise publicly to my wife that I will, and I'm glad that I have so much more time to do so. I'm glad I have the chance to spend my life with my best friend and my conscience, that we can grow old together and laugh everyday together. Here's to one year down and an eternity left to count.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our Costumes

Everyone wanted to know so much about mine and Stacy's costume ideas, that I decided to write a blog about. But first I warn you, Stacy and I are nerds. Our characters are from a video game called Bioshock. Stacy and I both agree that it is one of the best video games we've ever played (and thats saying a lot). The story of the game is that a mad scientist, frustrated with the morality of the world, and wanting to further his scientific work without the bounds of the law, decides to build a city under the ocean. He invites all scientists to join him, to continue their work and reach the ends of their imagination. They do and they make some amazing scientific discoveries....until everyone begins to go insane. Without going too far into it, what is valuable in this under-the-ocean world, is a substance called Adam which grants the user some amazing abilities. This Adam can only be harvested by little girls, and because of the danger from the insane people in the city, these little girls (or Little Sisters as they are called) are protected by what are called Big Daddies, which are men who are in huge armored diving suits, and carry big guns. So, that is what Stacy and I are going to dress up as, if we can figure out how to do my suit. Here's some pictures. Any ideas as how to make it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Things I've Heard From People

I have compiled a list of various rumors and facts I have heard from various people and sources. They have no order and no relevance to each other.

1. Even if the government pays the enormous bailout of $700 billion, the country will eventually go into recession anyway. (From an economics student who almost has his degree)
2. The Beck concert was awesome (I can confirm this)
3. Ticketmaster's tyranny must be stopped. A $9 service charge? Are you kidding me?
4. Sarah Palin believes that dinosaurs became extinct 6000 years ago which fits neatly along with her belief in the creationism theory. (I heard this from a very credible conservative source)
5. Albums that have come out this year have been very mediocre.
6. The season premiere of Heroes wasn't that good.
7. The two-party system needs an overhaul.
8. The electoral college needs an overhaul.
9. I need a job. (This is from my wife, family, friends, and myself)
10. Two movies are going to soon hit theaters disparaging two different Republican presidents. One about George W. Bush directed by Oliver Stone. Another about Richard Nixon. There is not a coincidence that these are being released so close to an election.
11. We should be grateful that pretty dresses survived the Great Flood. (from my niece)
12. Splenda is not good for you. (from my wife and mother)
13. V8 is good for you but tastes disgusting.
14. The Cowboys shouldn't have a problem against the Redskins on Sunday.
15. The new layout of Facebook sucks. (from everyone)
16. Nothing will ever change, no matter who we elect. (Sadly, I've heard this from a great deal of people)
17. Gas is going to skyrocket soon.
18. Our bank accounts are going to plummet because of the skyrocketing of gas.
19. Joe Biden thinks paying higher taxes is patriotic.
20. Gamestop takes the word of their managers without even a slight inquiry, even though those managers are treating their employees like crap.
21. People will vote independent this year just because they do not want to support either of the other two candidates.
22. Obama supports partial-birth abortion, which is horrible.
23. McCain supports no abortion, even in the case of rape or incest, which is also horrible.
24. The topic of abortion is irrelevant because it will neither be banned nor be totally freed with the election of the next president.
25. All congressman, senators and representatives alike, should not ever be allowed to be re-elected, so that they might always do whats best for the states they are serving rather than doing what is best to be re-elected.
26. It is scary that our nation is staring at a recession.
27. It is good that we will soon hear a Prophet speak.
28. The recording of my friend and I's CD is going well.
29. Tacos al pastor is a delicious dish from Pastorero's, but only if you squeeze lime juice onto the tacos.
30. My wife and I's costumes for Halloween are going to be awesome provided that 1)We can pull them off and
2) We actually have something to wear them to and
3) At least some people understand who we are trying to be.

There it is. Take it as you will. And remember, these are not my thoughts but things that people have told me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Night With Nerds (I can't help myself)

Last night, despite what I have said in previous posts of days gone by, I attended another midnight release of a video game. But not just any video game. It was a Star Wars video game. Many of you might not know this but the Star Wars nerd is a different kind of breed from other nerds like D&D nerds, World of Warcraft nerds, or Trekkies. There are certain things which distinguish them from others which I will soon explain.
I arrived at my local Gamestop at about 11:15. There was a good amount of people there but it was not as bad as other midnight releases such as Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, or Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This is a good thing. It made the wait much easier to bear. As I walked up to the store, I saw that there were various Stormtroopers spread throughout the parking lot, a Jedi with a purple lightsaber, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader patrolling the streets. I expected myself to be disgusted by this, but frankly, it was just too cool. Their suits were amazing. They were of movie quality, and when the stormtroopers talked they even had that raspy radio voice that they do in the movies. Vader never spoke but he did have the breathing spot on, and his suit had various lights on it that would light up. All of them were really nice, even posing for pictures with people, with them in poses torturing men or even children. It was really funny. What I later found out is that the store booked them to come to this event. Apparently, they do a lot of Star Wars events.
The store was offering free pizza for the event, and there were people walking around the crowd offering it to us. One of them offered some pizza to Vader. He looked at it with a finger to the chin of his mask, and after a moment's hesitation, pointed to his mask, shrugged his shoulders, and moved on.
I went and stood in line and because I was by myself, I got to thinking. Star Wars nerds aren't that bad. Because the Star Wars canon is always expanding, most Star Wars nerds have to read the books constantly to keep up. This is one reason its puts them at a stock above the rest. They read! And they want to! Most of the ones you will meet in your life are thoughtful and calm, (though annoyingly, if you say anything that is out of step with Star Wars canon, they will greedily jump into correct you). And they don't smell too bad. I base this not off of any scientific data I have collected but merely what I smelled when I was standing in line.
At midnight, I collected my game and went home. Honestly, it was one of the best midnight releases I've ever been to. The crowd was not unnerving like it was for Grand Theft Auto IV, where you wondered if the people gathered there were actually trying to live a life similar to the criminals in the Grand Theft Auto series. It was not filled with kids like it was at Super Smash Bros. Brawl, running around screaming, all talking about how good they were. This one was fine. Everyone was in good spirits and nobody was trying to be mean to each other just to be funny, most notably, myself.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Goodbye Matheson

My job at the airport, working for Matheson Flight Extenders, is finally over. There is a certain dignity that a person gains when they leave a job on their own terms. This was the fourth job I've had and I have left all of them on my own terms. I have never been fired and I intend to always keep it that way. I've seen a lot of people get fired over the years, how nasty it is, how people get angry and argue and yell nasty things as they leave. But when I quit a job, it is always all smiles. I left today no different than any other job I have ever left. At the end of the shift, I shook hands with everyone and told them that I wished them well. I also told them (which is a sort of tradition I've started with myself that I say when I leave every job) that all of them were better than the job that they had, that they could do better, that they should leave this place and go do something more fulfilling with their lives. Though I say it at every job, I always believe every word of what I'm saying.
One of my co-workers was especially sad to see me go. He is an old Mexican man, probably somewhere in his mid to late forties, who speaks very little english and works two full-time jobs. He always liked me cuz he could see that besides him, I was the only other one who worked really hard. On my first day on the job, he even joked that he had never seen a white guy work so hard. He always would joke around with me (as much as he could), and even if it wasn't funny, I would try to be accomodating and laugh because I could see that he was really looking for acceptance. When he said goodbye to me, I could see that he didn't really know what to say. I told him to take care of himself and to go home and sleep, since I always joked with him that I had no idea when he ever slept. It made me feel good to leave that horrible job in a way that was strikingly dignified. Everyone was sad to see me go but happy for me that I was moving on.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

About Time (I Guess)

Well, I have finally broken down and went to a temp agency for some work. I accepted a job with Accounting Principals and they are supposed to find me some work within the next two weeks. The lady I met with was very nice and I was glad that she talked to me straight and didn't beat around the bush. She told me that even though I have a bachelor's degree, I need what she likes to call "resume builders" which are just some things, more on the experience side of a resume (seeing that my only experience up to this point has been horrible forms of manual labor), that makes my resume look better. She said just some general office work would do the trick and that I should expect to be doing it for the next 6 to 12 months and then she is sure she can find me something better. I will be starting at somewhere around $11 or $12 an hour. Initially, I was a bit upset over this. That is because at my current job at the airport (the horrible manual labor I mentioned earlier), I'm making $12.79 an hour. But what it came down to is that I can't waste time at the airport any longer. I need more experience somewhere and the airport can't provide me with that. Not to mention that my job at the airport is only part time and I desperately need to work full time. So, I'll grin and bear it at $11 or $12 an hour and I feel really great about it. But I want to take this time to personally thank all of you who were praying for me to find a better line of work. I truly appreciate it. I am still a bit clueless as what to do with myself in the long-term careerwise but I honestly felt like I needed to do this before I could more heavily think about the long-term. So thanks again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

-Langston Hughes

I've been thinking about dreams a lot lately but more specifically about how most of us never live to see our dreams fulfilled. I think this comes from me trying to give up on some of them. Its a lot more difficult than just hitting a switch. In a way, giving up on some of my dreams feels like I'm not only betraying myself, but betraying everyone I ever told about my dreams. I guess a part of me feels like all those people shared in my dream also because they really wanted me to get it. Which has led me to think of the first line of this poem over and over: "What happens to a dream deferred?"
I think many of us deal with this situation in different ways. One way is to totally convince yourself that that really wasn't your dream and that your real dream was what you have already accomplished or are in the process of accomplishing. Another way is to simply let go of the dream and move on. But I also think there are some people who can never move on. I'll even go as far to say that some people begin to turn really bitter towards life when they realize their dreams will never come to them. I'm not sure which category I currently fall into. To be honest, I think I feel a bit of all three. But my question is why do we even have dreams if we know that most of our dreams will turn to poison? Is it so we can learn disappointment? Or patience? Or is it something deeper, like how we could have fulfilled our dreams if we had just tried harder? I don't know. I don't have any answers. But I do know that a man is either with hope or with despair, but never both and never neither. With that in mind, I think I'd rather dream; dream dreams as big as the sky. Why not?

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men."
-from the book "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by
Zora Neale Hurston

Saturday, August 23, 2008

You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

This coming week is going to be a little strange. A lot of things are gonna happen. Let me break it down.

On Sunday, Stacy and I will teach our last lesson to our Sunday school class (12-14) as we will be released. I don't love teaching but I don't hate it either. Its a pretty easy calling (for me anyway; for Stacy, who has only been an active member for around 3 or 4 years of her life, its a struggle) and I really enjoy the kids' spirits. Often times, I don't even start class till half past the hour because I enjoy talking to them more than I do teaching them. This is the third Sunday school teaching position I've had and its good to be moving on.

The following Saturday, Stacy and I will be moving back into my parent's home. Luckily, the move will probably only take Stacy and I two hours tops to move, since we have so little of stuff. It'll be good to be back home. Most people don't get a chance to move back home after they move out so I'm grateful that I do. It'll be especially nice to be in my queen bed (we've been sleeping in Stacy's bed which is a double; being that I'm nearly 6'3" and she is almost 5'8", it makes things really uncomfortable) but more than that, it will be good to see my Mom and Dad a lot more before they leave. I feel really blessed in that respect, because I think all of my siblings wish they could have that chance as well.

And now for the sad part. On Wednesday, Stacy and I will say goodbye to one of our best friends, Cory. He will be moving to Virginia where he will internship for the next 10 months. The 10 months isn't so bad but both Stacy and I have a feeling that with so many opportunities on the east coast for him (he is in set design; he wants to create and build sets for theater, TV, movies, really anything where he can get his foot in the door) there is a big possibility he might not move back. Its sad for me but especially sad for Stacy, who considers Cory to be her best friend. He's one of the best guys I've ever known just because of his positive attitude towards life. He will be missed.

However, Cory is only the first. In October, my father will move to Ireland, followed by my mom in November. Also, sometime around November or December, my other best friend Mike will be going to Oklahoma to train to be an air-traffic controller. Luckily, he will only be there three months before he comes back. But still, to lose 4 of my favorite people in the span of 3 or 4 months is hard.

Stacy and I have fun with each other, alone, but we often enjoy the company of our friends. With them gone, it will be hard. I suppose, eventually, you live long enough to see all your loved ones go away. I suppose I'm a selfish friend and son, that I'd deny my loved ones from doing what they want to do just so I could keep them around me, so I could talk to them, and hug them, and offer them advice when they need it. We are all selfish in our love, I think. But it is who we love, not who loves us, that makes us who we are. I'm beginning to understand that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Gilbert-Girl!

Today is my sister's birthday. As has become standard on these blogs, I have included some favorite memories I have of her.

When I was a kid (I don't quite remember how old but it had to be less than 9), it was my birthday and after the festivities, my sister called me aside away from everyone else. She told me she had to go but she wanted to give me my present. It was a toy car of a blue porsche. She said she loved me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and left with her friends. I remember feeling really special. The car was cool, but the fact that she called me away from everyone else made me feel like we were in on a secret together. She made me really happy.

Gilbert-Girl always stood up for me and always took my side in arguments. I thought sometimes she did it just to irritate my brother and sister but I think it was because she was trying to look out for me, just like my mother would. There were even times when she would take my side in arguments where I knew I was the one being stupid, and it would make me feel bad for getting her involved in a ridiculous argument that I started.

I always kind of had the feeling that she would make all of her boyfriends talk to me and like me because they always made a HUGE effort even when I didn't really want them to (like times when I would be playing video games and they would try to play with me when I just wanted to be left alone). It was almost as if I didn't approve of them, then they weren't the right guy for her. But maybe thats just me being ridiculous.

If she wanted to play the Legend of Zelda, she always made me turn it on for her because "I was the only one who could get it working" even though Survival Knife was just as capable. I didn't mind it though because I was just excited that she was playing my favorite game too.

She always told me when I was a kid that I was her favorite sibling. I never really understood why (although I could see why she didn't like my brother cuz I didn't think too highly of him either) but I sure appreciated it.

Recently, I admitted to her that I used to take spare change from her desk so I could play arcade games at the convenience store. When I said this, she replied, "Well, if you had asked, I would have given it to you." I'll always remember that. It made me feel so bad for taking it (as I told my wife later) but also made me feel the deep connection her that her and I have always had. It wasn't that the connection was gone, it was that I had just forgotten about it.

There's a photo I have of me as a child, and Gilbert-Girl who still looks like a child as well, and we are standing in the backyard of our home in Garland. The sunlight is shining through the trees and Gilbert-Girl is making me look at the camera. She has a bright warm smile and she looks as if there was no one in the world she would rather be around. I think its one of my favorite photos of all-time.

Memories are the bright lights in an incresingly dark world. Though she has her own family now, and I have been significantly bumped down her favorite peoples list (as I should be), I'll always remember how, for some reason, she decided to become my protector and 2nd mother, lovingly doing things for me even though she did not have to. I have nothing but the happiest birthday wishes for her. I love you, big sister.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I've been thinking about this for awhile but haven't posted about it because I was kind of scared of the response I would get. But it's built up in me to the point where I have to share. Lately, I've been trying to be...well, a man. That sounds like its a god given right but it really is something that a young man has to learn how to be. I think part of the reason I've had the urge is I'm just burnt out with being a kid. I'm tired of wasting money. I'm tired of being unsure and afraid of a variety of things. I'm getting old. I know I'm far from grandchildren, wheelchairs and pointless surgeries but 23 is old enough where a person has to start growing up. Part of me feels like I can't really be a man till I find a REAL job and start making some real money (which is part of the reason I've been looking so hard for a job). But its other things too. I want to do the right things for my family and my friends. I want to be an example to them. I want people to respect me for who I am. I want to be the guy that people come to for help or advice. I want to be like my brother, or brother-in-law, but most of all, like my father. To my recollection, there is no better example of how a man should live his life. This doesn't mean I'm going to become some lame shut-in who only worries about money and never has fun. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop playing music or video games. But I want to be better. I'm trying to be better. I know I'm a ways off...but I'm trying.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ten Things I Want To Do Before I Die

(Not in Any Order)

10. See Ireland and Japan.
9. Write and record at least 100 songs.
8. Earn a ph.d in anything (but preferably in English or Marketing). If time permits, earn a second ph.d.
7. See a Beatle perform. (preferably Paul)
6. See a World Cup match.
5. Meet one of my grandchildren.
4. Finish writing a book. (it doesn't matter if its ever published or not)
3. Take my wife on a honeymoon. (it still hasn't happened yet)
2. Work in either the music or video game industries. (preferably video games-there's not a bright future for the music industry)
1. Live to see the Cowboys win another Super Bowl. (next season?)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

10 Things I Thought To Myself While I Was Really Sick In Bed

10. I have to pee...or poop...oh well...I'll just go to the toilet and see what happens.
9. I'm dying...I'm really dying...this is the end....My wife will be a widow at 25...I wonder who will go to my funeral...I wonder what food will be at my funeral...I'm hungry...
8. I'm gonna puke...I don't think I can make it to the trash can quick enough...maybe if I don't move, nothing will happen...maybe if I don't think, nothing will happen...don't think...don't think...I'm still thinking...I'm thinking about not thinking...
7. Are you kidding me? It has to have been at least 20 minutes since I last looked at the clock...
6. I wonder if I'm gonna get bedsores...I saw someone get bedsores in a movie once...that was gross...
5. You would think people would make ceilings more interesting to look at...I wonder if you could mount a TV on that?
4. Locke really can't be dead...I mean, come on!
3. I better not still be sick when the new Batman comes out...if I still am, maybe I could just get out of bed and paint my face white and say I'm the Joker...
2. Man, I keep getting these hot flashes...can men even get that? I thought that was a woman thing...
1. I think I single-handedly keep Kleenex in business...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell

There is a song that lately, for reasons I don't quite understand, I haven't been able to stop listening to. It's a song called "Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell" and it's by the Flaming Lips, from their album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The album is one of my all-time favorites. It starts off as a concept album, about a girl named Yoshimi who must fight giant pink robots to save humanity but then, halfway through, it turns into an album about the bittersweet truths in life. The song (don't be daunted by the name-I really don't see any relevance it has to the song) "Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell" has these lyrics that I can't get out of my head: "I was waiting on a moment/ But the moment never came/All the billion other moments/ Were just slipping all away". The lyrics sing about loss but the music is quite upbeat and happy (which being a musician myself, I can tell you that that was a conscious decision). This dichotomy of loss over a happy backbeat of acoustic guitars, violins and keyboards is (I think) the main reason I can't get it out of my head. If the singer is sad, why is the rest of the song happy? Is it because the band feels that when one loses something, they also gain something else as well? Or is it that they wanted to convey that a person can be sad while everything else around them is going well? And its led me to think a lot about other things as well. Am I just waiting on a moment that will never come? And if I am, what other moments am I missing? Sometimes, I believe we get too caught up in waiting for how things are going to be in the future that we let other opportunities slip by us because we are set on staying on our linear path to the future or whatever thing it is that we really want (I know, I know, I'm swimming in a sea of cliche right now). But sometimes I really think God tries to send us messages subtely (sp?) and he tells us in things we know, like how this has been one of my favorite songs (to me favorite songs is a big category-I probably have over 200 favorite songs) for years but only now am I really starting to contemplate its message both to what the band meant it to say to the rest of the world, and what it means to me. Hopefully I figure out what God is trying to tell me before more moments slip away.
(Below I have posted a video with the song on it...the video is apparently from the movie "Metropolis" but it has no relation to the song and the only reason I posted it was so you could hear the song-but the video is pretty cool too though)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Even More Reasons Why I Hate My Job

About a month ago, some serious stuff went down at my work. To those who do not remember, I work for Matheson Flight Extenders which is a company that is sub-contracted by FedEx to help sort mail. My company handles 40% of all the mail in Albuquerque. Since there's about a half a million people in Albuquerque, thats a lot of mail. Well, what happened was two guys who work the night shift (12am-4am-not the shift I work) got caught stealing mail. Apparently, the Feds had been watching them since last October because they knew someone was stealing but they didn't know who it was. Obviously, they were arrested (and fired, seeing that they're gonna do jail time) and it threw the corporate people into an uproar. Two weeks ago, one of the corporate people came to talk to us and told us that they had considered firing everyone just to make sure that they had gotten rid of all the thieves. Naturally, this made me very angry and they should consider themselves lucky they did not fire me and everyone else because I would have raised some serious hell if they had. I was so angry because I've worked at this job for over a year and half and I don't steal, I'm one of the hardest workers, and I've only called in 4 times the whole time I've been employed by them. I'm also the only one in our area that has a college degree. Apparently, all of those qualities don't mean crap to them. We've also been losing people left and right. In the past month and a half, 3 people have quit and 3 people have been fired (including the 2 that were caught stealing). This has left us extremely short-handed, requiring a few of us to do the work of many, all while being outside in 90 degree heat. It's ridiculous. I'm sorry to complain but I just had to vent about it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Death of Bullet for Babs

My band "Bullet for Babs" is done. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. We only wrote 10 songs and I only liked about 6 of them. Everyone is still friends with each other, its just that our schedules are too different to get together to jam. "Shambala" my other band is still on hiatus. I don't expect it to be out of hiatus anytime soon either. I think I'll always be in "Shambala" but we will only jam every now and then and I'm fine with that. So, my drummer and I have started to work on some music of our own and its going well so far. We have four songs written and I think we're going to write 8 more. I also have some songs that I'm doing on my own so I'm keeping busy with my music still. Well, thats all I really got to say.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Hatred of Dentists (Real Original, Huh?)

I have a dentist appointment today. I'm pretty worried about it. I'm always worried about it before I go. Its a pretty painful experience for me. There are a few reasons for this. I have a really small mouth (thanks to my mother). The hygenist is constantly having to ask me to open my mouth wider to which I reply, "Its open as wide as it goes. If I open any wider, I'm going to dislocate my jaw. And because I'm not a snake, it hurts me to do that." The other reason is that I have terrible gums. Yes, I admit I could floss more and maybe it would help (although I did floss once everyday for 3 weeks in a row and they were still bleeding like crazy) but the real problem is that I am a mouth breather. I breathe mostly through my mouth when I sleep. This means that my mouth gets really dry and becomes sore. I can remember one time a few weeks ago when I woke up, and my mouth was completely dry and when I licked my gums it really started to burn. The only good thing is that I usually always have perfect teeth. So, thats one thing I never have to worry about. But until I can get the rest of my mouth the way my teeth are, I'm just going to have to suck it up and endure the pain.

Friday, June 13, 2008

On the Hunt for a Great Sci-Fi Adventure

I am on a quest. The quest is to find great sci-fi movies that I haven't seen before. I don't know how it all started. I think I've always felt that sci-fi was a genre that has a lot of potential if it is done right. Here is a list of the big sci-fi movies I've already seen. If you have any that aren't on the list, recommend it to me and I'll greatly appreciate it (especially since my xbox broke so I can't play video games, and my wife is out of town, so renting movies is almost all I have to do to entertain myself). And my biggest chink in my list is that I've never seen Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind all the way through. But do you know any others? Here is the list of the movies I HAVE seen:

1. Star Wars (all 6)
2. The Matrix (all 3)
3. The Day the Earth Stood Still
4. Forbidden Planet
5. Flash Gordon
6. Dark City
7. Solaris
8. Stalker
9. Pitch Black and the Chronicles of Riddick
10. Serenity
11. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
12. 2001: A Space Odyssey
13. E.T.
14. Minority Report
15. War of the Worlds
16. A Clockwork Orange
17. Alien (first 2)
18. Metropolis
19. Blade Runner
20. Back to the future (all 3)
21. Donnie Darko
22. Children of Men
23. V for Vendetta
24. The Terminator (all 3)
25. Twelve Monkeys
26. The Truman Show
27. Gattaca
28. Virtually any movie involving a Superhero
29. Mad Max (first 2)
30. I Robot
31. The Fifth Element
32. Equilibrium
33. THX 1138
34. City of Lost Children
35. Brazil
36. The Cell
37. Cube
38. Contact

And thats all I can think of at the moment...Thanks for your help...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The 2nd Greatest Band from Britain (Because you already know who the first is)

Like the aforementioned greatest band thats ever come out of Britain, Radiohead started out as a simple pop/grunge band. They wrote good songs but they didn't mean a whole lot (also like the greatest band to ever come out of Britain-oh who am I kidding? I'll just call them the greatest band ever because its easier and its true). This is a run-down of their history and discography and of their transformation into the amazing band they are today.

Pablo Honey: Pablo Honey was Radiohead's first album and for a first album, its pretty good-at least better than most band's first albums. The songs sway back and forth between pop and grunge (being that it was '93, grunge was the only kind of music anyone really listened to at the time) and some combine both at the same time. This combination of pop and grunge is epitomized in the song "Creep", Radiohead's first radio single that catapulted them to superstardom. It starts out slow with simple arpeggio-guitar playing and a soft melody over the top until the song comes to the chorus when out of nowhere, a crunching distorted guitar slices right through the middle of the song. It was the perfect mix of pop and grunge as well as the beginning of Radiohead's experiments with different sounds that would become vital to their later career. However, Pablo Honey will always be remembered as Radiohead's worst album, not because it is bad, but because it is bad compared to everything they did after the album. See the video for "Creep" below.

The Bends: The Bends begins Radiohead's ascent as one of the greatest bands ever. Hailed by critics, the album was on many top ten lists for 1995 (this also begins Radiohead's curious habit of being on every critics top ten lists for every album that comes out from them from this point forth). The album shows that Radiohead has left pop and grunge for a more alternative sound though there are still flashes of their old sound throughout the record. Above all, however, one can see them really starting to experiment with sound whether its the synthesizer in "Fake Plastic Trees" or the empty atmosphere they create in "Bulletproof (I Wish I Was)". But the highlight of the record (the video of which I posted below) was "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" which closes the album. The song shows Thom Yorke's (lead singer) great vocal ability and furthers their experiment of sound as Yorke's layered vocals end the song in a howling cry of desperation.

OK Computer: This album secured Radiohead's spot in rock history and topped most of those top ten lists of critics when it hit shelves in 1997. To this day, many critics claim this to be their best album ever (though not this critic) and still others claim it to be a perfect album. It is this album that Radiohead's early experiments in sound come full force. For many people, Yorke's lyrics of emptiness and desperation defined how many people were feeling at the time when technology was really starting to take off and more and more people were climbing into the corporate world. Yorke's lyrics are not against these things but they always seem to be saddened by them. The highlight of the album is "Paranoid Android" which to date is the most epic song they have ever written. The run time for the song is about 8 and a half minutes and goes through many different phases. However, a song that truly captures the feel of the album is "No Surprises" (which I have posted below). The song captures Yorke's feelings of helplessness and desperation in a world that was becoming too neat and pre-packaged. OK Computer was a huge album especially in the UK and the US. Many thought it was a perfect album.

Kid A: How do you follow a perfect album? You do the only thing you can do. That is to do the exact opposite of what everyone expects you to do. And that is just what Kid A is. Radiohead knew that anything they did after OK Computer wouldn't be as good so by doing the exact opposite of what everyone expected them to do was the only move they could have made. If they did another album that had the same alternative songs of emptiness, everyone would have simply passed it off as an okay album but not as good as the first. By doing the exact opposite, however, it allowed them to be seen as bold artists who were pushing music in new directions. In Kid A, they don't merely dabble in experimentation as they did on previous albums, the album IS experimentation. Right from the get-go, Radiohead establishes that this is not the same Radiohead you have heard before. "Everything in its Right Place" (the album opener) is filled with keyboard, bass and drums with synthesizers in the back and over-the-top whereas Radiohead had always been a band with three guitars, bass and drums. "National Anthem" is filled with a booming bass line and a horn section that blasts bursts of discordant sounds and adds to the creepy feel of the album. The album continues on to "Idioteque" (which is pronounced idiotic and which I have posted below) which plays with an electronic dance beat that would be fitting in a techno song but which Radiohead form into (in my opinion) the best song on the album. A much better music critic than this one, Chuck Klosterman, once wrote that though Kid A was made in 2000, the entire album reflects the entire September 11th attacks. He makes a valid argument. There is something almost eerie about how well the album matches the feeling of people before the attacks, during the attacks and after the attacks. But this aside, Kid A is an amazing album by itself (and is not only this critics favorite album by Radiohead but is also the 2nd best album ever, in my opinion).

Amneisiac: Amneisiac is not a bad album but after Pablo Honey, many people feel that this is Radiohead's 2nd worst album. The reason is because when the band was recording Kid A, they wrote about 23 or 24 songs. Only 10 made it on to Kid A and then Radiohead put the rest on to Amneisiac and released it in 2001. It is for this reason that the album does not flow as easily as Kid A had before it but it still has some great tracks. It also shows a bit of jazz influence like in the drum beat to "Pyramid Song" or the horn section to "Life in a Glass House".

Hail to the Thief: Radiohead continue their experimentation in this album but it is more controlled. The songs aren't as bold in trying to break new ground (not that this is a bad thing) and the band is beginning to lay down their synthesizers and pick up their guitars again. It is this album that they prove that they can still rock like in the opener "2+2=5" or in "Myxomatosis" where they use synthesizers to rock rather than to add to the atmosphere of a song. The highlight here though is "There There" which two of the band members (not including the drummer) play huge bass drums to drive the song until the song picks up in the middle (and they pick up their guitars) and rock out.

In Rainbows: Just when everyone was starting to think that Radiohead was finished, that they had done all they could do to push music in new directions, they release this album last year and throw the whole music industry upside-down. The reason is because of how it was released. The band decided to put their album on their website for anyone to download for whatever they felt like paying. Yes, whatever they felt like paying. If you wanted to pay 100 pounds then you could. You could pay 1000. You could pay 0. It didn't matter to Radiohead. The album was released in October although they promised to release an actual disc in January that people could buy in the store. Most people paid 1 pound (including this critic although I would have paid more but I knew I was going to buy the real copy in January) which is about 3 US dollars. You would think that from this system, Radiohead would not make squat. You'd be wrong. When it was all said and done, Radiohead had taken in roughly 30 million pounds (although I can't at the moment remember where I heard this number so I could be a little off). When the album came out in retail stores, it went to number 1 on the billboard charts in both the UK and the US despite coming out for free on their website four months earlier. But they have started something new and exciting with free digital downloads as loads and loads of artists have already begun to replicate it from bands like Coldplay to bands like Nine Inch Nails.
And all this before I even talk about the music. In Rainbows is an absolutely beautiful album. There is a tenderness to the album that goes throughout every song. No one had ever heard Yorke sing so often about love as almost every song on the album is about love or the absence one feels when they do not have love. It is Radiohead at their most vulnerable. The song that most captures this feeling is "All I Need" which is more about the absence one feels without love than with it (though I must credit this sentence to because I think I just quoted it verbatim). This album was on most critics top ten lists of 2007, topping the lists of some and being in the top 5 for most others (it is also quickly becoming one of this critics favorite albums of all time).

Well, thats about it. That is Radiohead's history to this point. They have released a greatest hits compilation today as well as DVD of all their music videos (which inspired me to write this history). And at this point, they are one of the hottest bands in the world and I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us as they are already planning to return to the recording studio to work on a new album in October which is only a year since they finished their last. Though they may be 2nd greatest to the greatest band ever, I suppose from where they're standing, 2nd place ain't too bad.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hey Lost Fans!!

For all of you who greedily watched the finale for Lost, you might have seen a commercial during the program that was a bit strange. The commercial was advertising an event that was being held from July 24-27 in San Diego and that they were looking for volunteers to be recruited for various positions. The video goes on to say that it is unpaid. The commercial was so strange, I decided to look it up. My suspicions were correct as it says on the website that all of this is on behalf of the Dharma Initiative! For those interested in being recruited, you can submit your e-mail and you will be contacted by a recruitment officer. I submitted mine but I have not received anything yet but I will keep you posted. If you're interested in going to the website, it is at I have also posted the commercial below for anyone who missed it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where do we go from here?

For those of you who are either attending college or who are planning to attend college, do not make the unfortunate mistake of doing what I did which is majoring in something that doesn't move directly into a job. Job hunting sucks. My major was in Communication and Journalism with a focus in Advertising and unfortunately, there are not any advertising positions in Albuquerque that need to be filled. So it has put me in a bit of a strange position because I'm not sure what else I can do. I know I can fill any business-oriented position but where? For whom? Doing what? About a week ago, I told my sister that there was a job posting for people who sell office machines like printers and fax machines to other businesses. When I told her this, she scrunched up her face and said, " don't want to do that!" I replied that I wanted to do anything that was going to make money, but after I thought about it some more, I realized that I really didn't want to do that and that she was right. I have spent many hours on in the past few weeks, just looking at all the jobs, trying to figure out which ones I'm qualified for and which ones I'm not and thinking that the ones I'm not qualified for sound a whole hell of a lot better than the ones that I am. All I know is that I need to get out of my current job. It was about 90 degrees outside today and since I basically work outside (I work in a kind of warehouse with large garage doors open on both sides) I was absolutely miserable. Its time for my college degree to start working for me since I am finished working for it. But I'm not sure what to do. I am glad however, that my wife and I aren't desperate for money because who knows when I'm going to figure it out.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Own Memoir

He tried, and tried, and tried.

Page 161 Quote

I'm currently reading the Invisible Man by H.G. Wells and since it doesn't ever reach page 161 (the book is really short) I decided to quote from page 61.

"The story of the flying money was true. And all about that neighborhood, even from the august London and Country Banking Company, from the tills of shops and inns-doors standing that sunny weather entirely open-money had been quietly and dexterously making off that day in handfuls and rouleaux, floating quietly along by walls and shady places, dodging quickly from the approaching eyes of men. And it had, though no man had traced it, invariably ended its mysterious flight in the pocket of that agitated gentleman in the obsolete silk hat, sitting outside the little inn on the outskirts of Port Stowe."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mag Ads That Will Never Be Published

Yesterday, I finished my advanced graphic design class that I had been taking. I turned in a huge project where we could pick any client and redesign their logo and packaging (for one of their products) and create three magazine ads for them. I picked the rock band Kings of Leon. I was so proud of the project I thought I'd share it with you. The logo wasn't supposed to look how it looks. There is a stupid white box around it and both my professor and I couldn't figure out why. So use your imagination and think of the album at the bottom of the ads, with just the black part of the logo. My idea was to put thought provoking images with lyrics from the bands album. I had not originally planned to do them in black and white, but after doing the first one I thought it looked really good and it made the album stand out more. I'm proud of it because it turned out ten times better than I thought it would. I plan to send the band these and tell them why I did them.
P.S. If you can't see them too well, click on the image and it should bring it up bigger.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

One Down (and it should feel better than it does)

If you've been wondering why I haven't blogged in awhile, its because I've been in Advertising Campaigns hell. Since my degree is in Advertising, Advertising Campaigns is the capstone course for my major. The course was designed so that the students felt like they were in an actual advertising agency. On the first day of class, we were put into the groups that we would be in for the entire semester, we were given an actual client, and we were immediately put to work. Our client was Super Estrella, which is a Spanish/English radio station thats based in L.A. but has a branch in Albuquerque. They play approximately 75% Spanish pop songs, and 25% English pop hits. The client came in and talked to us about their company and about the problems they were having building clientele in the city. We built an entire campaign from top to bottom and we have been working on it all semester. Last week, we had to turn our plansbook in (which was a business plan that discussed every aspect of our campaign-ours was about 30 pages-another groups was 60 pages-but they're overachievers). We had created four different billboards, and promotional items such as t-shirts, tank tops, water bottles, beer koozies, and bumper stickers. Yesterday, we gave our pitch to the client and they loved it. Just like in the real world, the client picked the pitch that they liked the best. They didn't pick us (they picked that overachieving group that I already mentioned) but they did tell us that if our professor didn't give us an A, that we should re-negotiate. Our professor grades us on his own terms (he even said that in past years, there has been groups that won the competition but did not get As in the class). But now that its over, I'm a little sad. I had far from the normal college experience. Usually when people go to college, they make lots of friends and have lots of good times. I've never really had a lot of friends in college, but this semester was different. The group that I was in was the perfect group for me. If I was in any other group, I would have gone crazy either because they worked too much (overachievers) or didn't work enough. And after working for an entire semester with these people (as well as a few really long nights-especially the night before we turned our plansbook in) we have grown really close. Knowing how things are, even if we say that we will stay in touch, I doubt we will. These are the closest friends I've had in my college, and it makes me sad that we didn't get to know each other until the last semester before we graduated. I suppose that this is a part of life but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.
P.S. For those of you in Albuquerque, the radio station is 105.9 FM if you're interested or if you just want to make sure I'm not making it up.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Buckling Down

This semester, I have had the worst case of Senior-itis I have ever had. I am normally a good student, all As and Bs, who likes to learn and likes the challenge that school brings. But I'm worn out. I just want/need a break. I have always been a procrastinator but I've always got the job done when it came down to it. But every homework assignment seems ten times harder this semester because I have to work ten times harder just to motivate myself to do it. Naturally, I've already fallen behind with all the work I need to get done before its over. May 6th is the last day I have to turn anything in. So, I'm buckling down and holding on for dear life. Roughly two weeks more and I can finally see the fruits of five years worth of work. And it couldn't have come any sooner nor at a more suitable time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Epitome of Cool

Tom Waits, at the ripe old age of 58, has more awesomeness in his pinky than most people do in their entire bodies. The old musician/innovator/actor/composer has transcended more musical genres (and more importantly managed to stay relevant) for four decades.
If you don't know who Tom Waits is, don't feel bad. Most people don't despite the fact that he has somewhere around 15 albums, almost all of which have received wonderful reviews from the best critics in the business. Tom Waits has a style all his own. He started out playing rock and blues songs that you would expect to hear at a bar at 3 o'clock in the morning, right about the time the bartender is taking the last call for alcohol. But over the years, he got tired of playing that kind of music of and branched out to a new style of music which brought him the most acclaim. A mix of bluegrass, folk, and vaudevillian compositions, Waits came up with a style of music that sounded like the kind of creepy carnival you would expect to stumble upon in a nightmare. However, he never only plays that naturally dark kind of music. He also has a very gentle side to his music, where he usually sings about the things that most matter to a person when they get older (which if that sounded like an underhanded bash at his lyrics, it wasn't...they are actually more enlightening when they are coming from someone who really has seen it all).
One aspect of Waits' coolness is his voice. It sounds like Waits was born in the backwoods of Arkansas in a junkyard under a carburetor that was badly rusted. You think thats an overstatement? Wait till you hear his voice. I have posted two videos so you can fully grasp the scope of his music.
The first is the darker style of music, and the song is called Chocolate Jesus. My favorite part of the video is where he starts to dance around the stage in the middle of the song with more style, charisma and originality than artists half his age. The megaphone he uses in front of the mic is an example of how much of a musical innovator he is, as the megaphone makes his voice distorted and makes it sound like you're listening to a record on vinyl.
The second song is his gentler side, a song called Take It With Me. Its a song about a man who is spending time with his wife at the end of his life and he is contemplating all the beautiful memories he will take with him into the afterlife. Its a sad song for everyone but the man who is passing on who seems optimistic about his passing. It is beautiful. The video isn't much to look at but it was the only one I could find that had the song. Hope you enjoy.

One of my all-time favorite songs

I have decided to write about music when the mood strikes me. It just so happens I am currently in the mood. When thinking about what to write about, I had no idea where to start. So I decided to start at the top, with my favorite songs.
The song, I am writing about (and which I have posted a video of) is by a band called Sigur ros. They are from Iceland and they (hands down) write some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard in my entire life. A lot of people complain because they can't understand what they are saying, but it doesn't matter. I like to imagine its what I'll hear as I'm entering heaven, and a chorus of angels is singing to me in a language I cannot understand. Sometimes it is better not to know what something means, because then it could mean ANYTHING. Your mind has the freedom to imagine that whatever is being said could apply to whatever you're going through in your life. This particular song is from an album that is titled ( ). Thats right. ( ). Its called "Untitled", as nothing except the bands name was written on the album. The album art was an amalgamation of white shapes, but none of them were clear enough shapes to be anything. It was almost as if Sigur ros was trying to differentiate themselves from the Beatles by saying, "this is not the white album", "this is the untitled album". Sigur ros also went as far as to not titling any of their songs. There are 8 songs on the album and each song is just referred to as "Untitled #1", "Untitled #2" and so on. This song is "Untitled #4", however someone along the way called it, Njosnavelin, or The Nothing Song, so it is now referred to as all three names. The song is so gentle, like it could break like a piece of glass. I put it on a mix of songs I made to help me go to sleep a few years ago as the starting song to the mix. No matter how tired I was, I could never fall asleep during the song. Even though I've probably heard it at least 50 times, it never ceases to entrance me with its elegiac sound. In this video, look for the lead singer to start using the bow on his guitar. It makes an amazing transcendent sound that almost makes you believe that you're being translated into heaven. (The cd that the host holds up is the not the right cd. Somebody must have given him their previous album instead of their current album (at least current at the time) with the song that they play on it).

Monday, April 7, 2008

Soccer is Cool Too....Right?

I have become a big soccer fan. It started like all things do with me; a video game. I think any sport can be fun to watch if you know who the best teams and the best players are which is what makes a video game an informational gold mine.
My two friends and I started playing the 2006 World Cup Soccer video game as a (healthy) alternative to going to priesthood meeting when I was attending the singles branch before I was married. As all things do, when they involve Mormons and competition, the game playing quickly turned nasty as winning became highly important. Since that game is now outdated, we have started playing Fifa '08 which helped me learn all the professional teams in Europe and other places as opposed to World Cup Soccer which only had national teams. This new love of soccer is good because it gives me something to watch in the offseason of football. To help everyone embrace soccer, I have composed several key facts about soccer that will get you on your way to being a fan.

1. Manchester United is the British equivalent of the Yankees...they have the most money, which means they (usually) have the best players, which means they are hated by everyone who doesn't live in Manchester or by people who think they are being cool by liking a team few people in America know about but really are just being uncool because lots of other people already had the same idea.

2. David Beckham is not a striker (the position in soccer whose job it is to foremost, score goals) and therefore is not famous for scoring all the time. Beckham's soccer skills have to do with his kicking ability (free kicks and corner kicks) that seem to always allow him to put the ball in places that seem impossible. (see video below)

3. Ronaldino of Barcelona (and the Brazillian national team) is arguably the best player in the world right now. He's also weird looking. I'm serious.

4. Flopping, the act that many professional players do by pretending to fall down and be hurt in order to draw a penalty against the other team, is highly annoying or really funny depending on how much you care about the game and how poor the player is at acting. Whats even funnier is when you thought the player was faking but then they bring the stretcher out to carry him off the field.

5. The faux-hawk is a popular hair-style among soccer players as well as being a hair style I wish I was cool enough to pull off. (see below)

Well, that should get you started. Don't be afraid to watch a game or two. And if you don't know whats going on, don't worry. The person next to you probably doesn't either.
P.S. My favorite team, Chelsea (from Britain) has an important game today. Keep your fingers crossed for me.