29 October, 2009

Top Three pick-up lines which have been directed at me

These were so crazy they went all the way from weird to funny and then back to weird again.

1. "If you get roofied tonight, give me a call."
2. "You remind me of my ex-wife, except more smart, and more sexy."
3. "I have a porcelain doll at home that looks just like you."

27 October, 2009

Blessings. Most are people, one is not.

I don't know why, but lately I have been unable to summarize any of the goings-on in my life without resorting to lists. Scroll down if you need any evidence of that. Even some of the posts that aren't actually lists are, in fact, lists of convoluted and unrelated thoughts. How sad for me. Or my writing abilities, rather.

In the discourse style of one Dallin H. Oaks, I will announce my topic at the beginning to avoid confusion. I have something to say about my ward. Ward number 218 of who knows how many, the ward to which I belong.

I moved into the 218th ward fresh off my mission, unsure of what I was returning to and 30 pounds heavier than I was when I left. The only things I had going for me re: my back-to-Provo lifestyle was cheap rent at my new house and a seriously unhealthy relationship with a boy who lived a solid hour away. I moved into a house with five girls I had never met--three were 18 and the other two were also recently returned missionaries. Plus: our house had chickens and a great landlord. Minus: I had no idea what I getting into whatsoever. I don't mean that in a positive way or a negative way, necessarily. It was just a total crapshoot. And we know how many of those work out, roommate-wise.

Fact:this crapshoot paid big. I pretty much loved this ward a lot as soon as I met the people in it. Chandler and Wills were there, friends from my freshman ward whom I hadn't seen in years. My roommates were fun and easygoing, and handled my dramatic break-up and subsequent months of depression with grace and compassion. From February to June, I worked full-time, had no friends, and came home every day only to sit on the floor in my garments and cry. A dark time. But like I said, I lived in the best ward ever, which got me out of my funk a lot faster than I would have otherwise.

This ward saw me through much more than just man woes, mind you. When my parents got divorced, God sent me a Chandler to listen to me vent and remain unperturbed by my swearing. And a Melanee to go with me to the temple grounds and walk around the grass with me, even though I didn't feel like talking. He also sent me a Robbie who read me his poems and never made fun of me for crying in front of him. Although now he occasionally teases me for only calling my hometeachers when I have big problems. Touche.

Anyway, I should not neglect to mention that about ten of us in the ward (I may be overestimating, but it FELT like about ten) were vegetarian, and the good man in charge of Break the Fast (the only church activity I attend with any regularity--I'm sort of a Weekend Mormon in that way) was conscientious of us and always made sure that there was vegetarian food available. Thanks again, Greg. All of my close friends with whom I spent any significant amount of time were in that ward, at least once Ashley and Brooke moved in. It was like Heaven for a while.

I should point out that all was not perfect in Zion, however. There were two very distinct social groups in the old ward: one of the fairly standard, khaki-wearing Mormon kids (who were nevertheless older than average and thus tolerable) and the gay/herbivore/weirdo kids. Only one of us that I can think of moved between the two groups with any great success*. However, laws of civility and mutual tolerance prevailed as long as no one brought up politics in Sunday School. Specifically evolution. And God help you if you did. Seriously, though, this was a really amazing ward. I loved it.

Then came August, a time of great sorrow not only due to the imminent loss of Gordon, but a change in command at the Bishopric level. I loved Bishop Andrus, who was an introverted, outdoorsy, non-meddlesome kind of guy. Kind of like Mister Rogers meets Jeff Corwin. This is not to say that our new bishop is the opposite of that, I'm just saying that I really, really liked our old one.

Anyway, our new bishop, bless his heart, looks exactly likes Daddy Warbucks and reminds me a bit of him, personality-wise. I find him very intimidating, and he tends to put a lot of pressure on his ward-ees (?), which Bishop Andrus never did. This new bishopric puts a LOT of emphasis on dating, and getting married, and fulfilling "appropriate" gender roles (which I could write another entire tome about, luckily I'm tired so I'll spare you).

As if that change weren't enough to deal with, the Stake Presidency (also new) changed all the ward boundaries, and moved all my friends into the next ward over, leaving me all alone. I went to Bishop Warbucks and asked if I could move to that ward, too, especially since the bishop of that ward used to be in our bishopric and I already know and like him. But he fed some some lines about rules being rules and making new friends, and that was the end of that. Fascists.

Just kidding! I don't want to sound like I have a bad attitude. I'm doing the best I can, and frankly, I'm a little grateful that my current ward situation is such that I won't be terribly sad to leave it in a few months. I know that sounds awful, but I think God is just trying to make moving a little easier for me. You can't be blissfully happy forever. God always notices.

So now I'm in a ward where I am the only weirdo (well, one of two ... and there's one other, but he works on Sundays). I spend a lot of time during the flirting lessons (no joke) in Relief Society rolling my eyes or reading the Bible Dictionary. I may take up knitting again.

All this background information and whining is meant to make the following statement all the more amazing and miraculous:

Last Sunday, I sat through Ward Conference and Relief Society and I didn't cringe once.

Either the ward is getting better or I am getting more tolerant to Mormon cultural quirks.

Pretty sure it's the former.

*It was Wills.

26 October, 2009

I have read the BYU Honor Code many, many times, and it really isn't much of a problem for me. In a "spirit of the law" sort of way.

Things I have NEVER resorted to out of boredom:

1. Committing a crime against the Government.
2. Fornicating.
3. Experimenting with alcohol or drugs.
4. Rebelling against my parents.
5. Rebelling against the Church.
6. Encouraging others to fornicate.
7. Downloading porn.
8. Building bombs.

Things I HAVE resorted to out of boredom:

1. Baking cornbread.
2. Creating a Facebook page for my dog.
3. Riding my bike down the street while singing "I think I see the light" by Cat Stevens at the top of my lungs.

I may not always obey that silly Honor Code to the letter.

But clearly, I am a danger to no one.

25 October, 2009

1. What I should have said 2. What I said

1. Of course I remember you, Mike.
2. Of course I remember you, Chris.

1. Oh, yes I've been there! The glass museum is to die for. And the people are humble and ready for the gospel. How lucky you are to be called there as a missionary.
2. Yeah. Gross. Tacoma STINKS. No seriously, like to high Heaven.

1. Congratulations! What a cutie.
2. How is that possible? You've only been married a month.

1. How lucky you both are to have found each other.
2. After THREE MONTHS? Are you insane?

1. A ballroom dance major? No kidding. I've never met a male ballroom dance major before.
2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No, seriously, what's your major?

1. Thank you, I'm flattered but I'm not interested.
2. I would, but I have a ... uh ... intramural water polo game? Wait, you WHAT?

1. Yes, thank you, I have always wanted to attend a Pearl Jam concert.
2. Sorry, I have to study.

1. Please do not address my friend in such a rude manner. Thank you.
2. Shut up, toolshed.

1. My mother is a teacher and I admire them very much.
2. Have you noticed that elementary school teachers tend to be the bottom of the intellectual barrel?

1. Shoot, I'm so sorry. I completely forgot about the Relief Society activity last night that was supposed to be held at my house. Were you able to find an alternative location?
2. Huh? Shit.

1. Of course I will.
2. No, no, I don't deserve you.

1. You're right.
2. (Sullen silence)

16 October, 2009

This one's for Alli

Things I've done that I will Never Do Again:

1. Eat at the grotesquely-named Chuck-a-Rama.
2. Floated in the Great Salt Lake.
3. Watched the abominations of film Along Came Polly and Meet the Parents.
4. Saw Modest Mouse in concert in 1997.
5. Stayed at a hostel in the bad part of Amsterdam.
6. Registered for a CHUM class.
7. Eaten biscuits and gravy.
8. Bought clothes at Urban Outfitters.
9. Studied classical Latin.
10. Donated money to PAWS.
11. Complimented someone for donating their hair to Locks of Love.
12. Lost my cell phone in the Provo River.
13. Shaved my eyebrows.
14. Studied for the LSAT.
15. Used a dvorak keyboard.
16. Ate an entire pizza.
17. Banked with Wells Fargo.
18. Bought fake meat "ribs."
19. Sold all the books I owned.
20. Cut my own hair.

Oh please don't go! We'll eat you up, we love you so!

Note: This my super biased, slightly smug review of the new film Where the Wild Things Are. If you don't like reviews that give away the plot, do not read this, because I give away pretty much everything. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I don't like Spike Jonze. To be fair, I don't hate him either: I have seen one of his skate movies, as a matter of fact (Thank you, skater brothers) and I like the work he's done with the Beastie Boys. However, this is mostly because in my view, the Beastie Boys can do no wrong. But that's neither here nor there. Especially since I've changed my tune in the past twenty four hours.

Anyway, when I heard that Spike Jonze was slated to direct a film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, a brilliant book with a strikingly relevant yet minimalist plot, I along with the rest of humanity knew that this film could go one of two ways: beauty and heart wrenching, or unadulterated suckiness.

Sleep well, dear children. It's an awesome movie.

The movie starts out with some tidy backstory, and this may well be the first time mere exposition in a film has made me cry. Max (Played by the seriously-is-that-a-pseudonym-or-what Max Records) is an imaginative, rowdy kid who chases the family dog around in the first scene, and is then shown building a snow fort in a generic New England-ish cul-de-sac. Most of the film is shot at Max's eye level, using hand-held cameras, which helps you see Max's universe the way he sees it: the entrance to the snow fort isn't just a hole in a pile of snow, it's a sanctuary. The fence is a row of disobedient soldiers. The actor who plays Max was apparently only nine years old at the time, and he is so beautiful I actually did want to eat him up, a little bit. He has dark, intuitive eyes, and in general broke my heart.

The part that made me cry initially was when Max tries to get his older sister to play in the snow fort with him, and she completely ignores him. Max is meant to be sort of an everykid, and the film manages to evoke the way everyone has felt at one time or another: wanting someone to imagine with. Claire, who has maybe seven minutes of screen time, if that, isn't a villainous older sister, as portrayed in many movies about sibling relationships. She doesn't sneer at or abuse Max, she just ignores him, and it evoked in my mind every single time I ignored my brothers, and when I saw the look at Max's face of longing and disappointment when she rejects him, that's when I lost it. In the end, this movie isn't about a kid who travels to a monster island and wreaks havoc with animatronic robots from the Creature Shop to the strains of indie music. It's about the universally felt need to be appreciated.

15 October, 2009

A Good Day

This morning I had a midterm for which I was not well-prepared. Luckily, my friend Betsy offered to meet me on campus at 8:30, one hour before class, and help me get caught up on some of the stuff I've missed from the lectures. I keep missing this class for some reason.

Not that it's a mystery. I know the reason.

Anyway, I woke up at 8 and went into the bathroom to get ready, when I discovered that someone was asleep on our bathroom floor. This person's head was right by the toilet and he/she was snoring loudly. I came in and realized I simply would not be comfortable peeing with another human's head so close by.

Nor could I, obviously, shower.

I went into the kitchen and brushed my teeth, but when I emptied out my retainer case my retainer went down the disposal. I got it out and washed the eggshells off. That was a low point.

And yet, I'm going to see Where the Wild Things Are. Tonight.

It's a good day.

14 October, 2009

Demi Moore is turning over in her grave

I used to really hate old people, but now I think they are OK.

Tonight when I was working at the temple, I did initiatories with an 80 year-old woman named Neomi. When our shift was almost over, she turned to me and said, in all her adorable old-lady-ness, "It was a pleasure working with you tonight."

I smiled back and said, "Ditto."

However, it occurs to me now it is quite possible that Neomi does not know what the word "ditto" means and was completely confused by my response. Perhaps she wondered if she had misheard what I said? Maybe that happens a lot, because she is old.

I am only 75% sure that conversation went as planned.

13 October, 2009

Scattered thoughts in two parts each

1a. I have started training for a half-marathon in the sometime future and it makes me feel like a whole person. I love running so hard that my lips tingle. I love feeling sweat on my neck. And I love how I feel for hours after. Post-running euphoria got nothing on drugs.

1b. That being said, it was very disheartening today when, while I was running on the indoor BYU track, I was passed on the left by a midget.

2a. I missed General Conference last weekend because I was in Arizona for the wedding. However, it's kind of nice to catch up on General Conference talks on my iPod while running and have every talk be absolutely new.

2b. I can't help but notice which GAs have Utah accents and which don't. Thanks a lot, Dr. Baker.

3a. I hate baseball.

3b. But I love baseball movies.

06 October, 2009

From Smoke Signals, one of my favorite movies

How do we forgive our fathers?
Maybe in a dream.
Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little?
Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all?
Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers?
Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers?
And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning?
For shutting doors or speaking through walls?
For never speaking, or never being silent?
Do we forgive our fathers in our age, or in theirs?
Or in their deaths, saying it to them or not saying it.

If we forgive our fathers, what is left?

----Sherman Alexie