Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Where have you been hiding out lately, honey? You can't dress trashy 'till you spend a lot of money." --Billy Joel

Went to the mall today, in search of a pair of new jeans, for less than $30. Ideally.

After a while, malls scare the hell out of me.

More specifically, name brand clothing stores scare the hell out of me.

Who the crap pays $69.95 for jeans that are already ripped and worn?!

It can't be a generational gap that causes my disgust. Because people have paying too much money for worn jeans for at least 20 years.

Scars from middle school? (And high school, for that matter...) Do I automatically endow teeny bopper/young college kid brand clothing with the cruelty I suffered at the hands of Yuppie Teen America in my secondary school years? Possibly.

Or is it because I know I could get the same pair of jeans for under $10 (ideally) from the local thrift store, if I want it complete with worn knees and holes? To each his own, I guess. I know I got a lot more mileage out of my jeans, having bought them new first (for under $30, really), wearing them until they were worn, then keeping them in my wardrobe for those days when I want that ripped and worn jeans look. I don't have a problem with the ripped jeans look inherently...I have a problem with paying up the wazoo for them. Because of a tag.

Maybe its the fact that $69.95 can do a hell of a lot more than give you an old pair of jeans look. Like immunize about 86 children against the measles. Or immunize about 140 children against polio. Or provide over 1,300 disposable syringes to third world immunization campaigns. Or provide roughly 1,165 children with rehydration salts (severe dehydration is the leading cause of death among children in many third world countries). Or give 66 children a paper pad, a pen, and a pencil. Or purchase high energy protein biscuits to keep 12 children alive for one more month.

I'm not saying that all brand-name clothing is the devil. I'm not saying you should be bargain-shopping in order to send every penny to Unicef (which is the source of those statistics up there). If we're talking spending money on THINGS when there are people out there who need NECESSITIES, I'm just as guilty, and maybe even more so because I'm conscious of what I'm doing. And I suppose this entry is just a vague attempt at therapy for my very long and difficult day...my frustrated thoughts as I wandered from store to terrifying store in search of jeans. So I'm not saying it's time for socialism, or that everyone needs to join the Peace Corps or that we need to start boycotting clothing chains. I'm saying that this is a problem. I'm saying that people don't have clean water. I'm saying that teachers are trying to teach without chalkboards or paper or pens. I'm saying that children are dying of dehydration and malaria. I'm saying that just closing your eyes to a problem doesn't make it go away.

Then again, neither does just talking about it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"No, Virginia, when the scientific method is applied, there is no Santa Claus."

One of my best friends Annie read this to me a while back, and I thought it was hysterical, so I'm sharing it with all of you in honor of Christmas! A more reverent Christmas post will probably follow, but here's something to make you laugh in the mean time.

I wish I could give more credit where it's due...but I don't know the source here. Just something from off the internet. Anyway, enjoy.

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) --here is the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species
of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT
since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to the Population Reference Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 91.8
millions stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's
dead now. Merry X-mas.


Monday, December 22, 2008

"'Pan, who and what art thou?' Hook cried huskily."

'I'm youth, I'm joy,' Peter answered at a venture, 'I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.'

Wrote this for a friend a while back and thought I'd share it here. This is for anyone who's ever felt any sense of an identity crisis, whether it be a twinge of doubt or a longing to completely redefine oneself.

Because You Inspire Poetry

All children (but one)
grow up.
“Curiouser and curiouser”
we think
as we tumble down rabbit holes
and eat the things that make us smaller.
We wander in a world
where kings are talking backwards.
Far from the cornstalks and twisters
of Kansas.
We move from room to room
until we outgrow the house,
wondering which side of the mirror
we are on.

In our metaphysical pockets
we carry a handful of absolutes, of constants.
The speed of light,
the book of Nephi,
bad knees,
his eyes,
and Cocoa Puffs never being on sale.

Because we are bundles of
self s
Resume and cover letter self
Painter and poet self
Wife and lover self
Mother and nurturer self
and chain-smoker
it girl self.
We are defined and categorized
drawn and quartered
while some nebulous other
defies definition.
We look in mirrors for her.
Forgetting that a cake
is not separately flour, sugar, eggs, etc.
We are defined by the
painful whipped up combination
and the heat of a burning oven.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

One part angsty/two parts chic novel/one part therapy (ain't that what art's about?)

14 Lies

(Or “ Wishful Thinking”)

If I’ve lived in Idaho
for the last four years
this shouldn’t feel cold to me.

I am a natural redhead.

Men with commitment issues
are an urban myth.

Milk chocolate
is good for you.

Janis Joplin never did
any drugs.

Comic Frenzy will be
I will be a part of it.

I’ll never have acne
during this mortal
life again.

I’ll make a habit
of going to the gym

There was nothing
I could have done for him.

We’ll both be accepted
to study
at The Actor’s Studio.
And then interviewed
by James Lipton.

He never slept with her.

One day I’ll see
the Beatles.

Chef Boyardee is the same as
real spaghetti
and home-made sauce.

When I get back, it will be my turn.
This is the semester that
something will
finally happen.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recent Discoveries


One of the great joys of life is knowing that there will ALWAYS be more music I've never heard before, and books I've never read before. Here are some recent discoveries. Some of these artists I'd heard of before, but never fully appreciated, and some of these books I have yet to read, but it warms the cockles of my heart to know that they exist.


"She & Him"
Zooey Deschanel, who is gorgeous and talented, formed a little Indie group with one other guy. The result is chill Indie awesomeness.

"Roisin Murphy"
I'd heard two songs of hers before, but um, there are a lot more incredible ones. Totally funky, and occasionally really weird. I dig it.

This Indian-born pop lady singer has a sound like nothing I've ever heard of before. It's rap/pop with an occasional Indian edge, and the result is a hard beat and great rhymes.

More slightly weird electronica. They did the theme song for Grey's Anatomy. Chill but funky.

"Vampire Weekend"
Cheerful Indie, reminiscent of Sondre Lerche with a dash of the Shins. Although I hate to limit artists to the other people they sound like, so I'll also mention the fact that they've got a sound all their own.


"House and Philosophy: Everybody Lies" by Henry Jacoby and William Irwin
A few fellows with loads of intellect and excellent taste in television dramas have applied the ideals of the major philosophers throughout history to Gregory House's brilliant and ego-driven mind. The book goes through and identifies the ways in which House follows the ideals of Socrates, Marx, etc. etc. I'm such a nerd, but I was so thrilled to find this book while working late last night.

"Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2009 (19th Ed.): Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over!" by Jeff Herman
Most of this book is literally an enormous, totally comprehensive contact list for publishers/editors/agents. For each one, it specifies the best way to contact them and what to send. Perfect resource for anyone who has ever written anything that should be published (cough cough Jeff Otero).

"The Power of the Actor" by Ivana Chubbuck
Ivana Chubbuck is one of the most sought-after acting coaches in the business, and she's got these visualization techniques (similar concept to Alba Emoting) to allow an actor to organically create the feelings of being drunk or high, of having romantic chemistry with someone, of being pregnant, etc. without actually having to go out and experience those things. Instead of method, it's visualization. Apparently her techniques are so powerful that some people have been able to kick drug habits, because they're able to manufacture the resulting feelings without actually getting high. I was reading through some of the book at work, and it's now on hold for me to buy with my next paycheck.

"The Big-Ass Book of Crafts" by Mark Montano
I actually bought this one last week. A few of the ideas/projects in it:
• Light fixtures out of 2-liter soda bottles or drinking straws
• Boxes made of dominoes
• Re-upholstering a chair with colored duct tape.
• Window treatments out of paper dolls, or garbage bag ties.
Totally funky and creative. I love it.

I highly recommend check-outage of all of the above.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rants and Raves


Today was one of those days when the world seems against you. When everything is frustrating and going wrong.

But there is a pair of rose-tinted glasses for every half-empty glass, I suppose. Here are a few of mine from today.

When you leave for the day, Oma and Opa, please leave me the keys to open the truck canopy and get the bike out. Or leave me a note telling me where the keys are.
RAVE: I found them eventually. Every man over 30 keeps his keys and spare change on top of the bureau, and thankfully you do too.

RANT: Lloyd's donuts should not be sold out at 1pm.
RAVE: Lucky's chocolate milk does pack more chocolatey goodness for your dollar.

RANT: If the public library catalogue says that "Dead Until Dark" is on the shelf, it should be more specific about which one. And furthermore, the book should be on the shelf. In general paperbacks, or fiction, or mystery, or even teens. Any of the shelves the system said it was on.
RAVE: Good thing I have a job where I can take out my frustration at bad book cataloguing systems by organizing and shelving books to my neat-freak, data-systems mind's delight. Getting paid for my own organizing therapy.

RANT: Christmas.
RAVE: Christmas.

RANT: When you're driving in a car, you should be aware of someone nearby, even if they're on a bicycle and not in another car.
RAVE: I can bike on sidewalks or streets, thus saving time and energy. And I don't have to pay for gas.

RANT: The post office outlet in the Hallmark store near my house should send packages to APO addresses. It really should.
RAVE: There's something somehow fun and special to owning the unusual challenges of your family living in a third-world country.

RANT: Christmas presents. And birthday presents.
RAVE: Christmas presents. And birthday presents.

RANT: I filled out how many forms at the FedEx office? Four? Five? How many times did they mess up on which forms to fill out and what lines to sign? And how long was I there? Forty-five minutes?
RAVE: Did you know that if you label a package "Gift Shipment" and name it's value at under $10, it gets through customs faster?

RANT: You're going to charge me HOW MUCH to send this to Honduras????!!!???!! One-forty-nine-seventeen?! As in ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE DOLLARS!???!!! Yeah, NOT happening. I just wasted 45 minutes of my life in your office, FedEx. Screw you, FedEx.
RAVE: Oma will drop the package off for me at the US Post Office tomorrow. Where they'll charge $16. At the most.

RANT: What the hell just happened? Did I just accidentally...inadvertantly...ask my co-worker out? Or, like...invite myself out with him? Like...a date? It was not my intention to, but then why did my other listening co-workers make those faces and laugh so hard...? That was so awkward.
RAVE: I guess I'll be able to cross "Pulp Fiction" off the AFI list sometime soon.

RANT: While I enjoy the novelty of working in a "haunted" bookstore, the whole knocking books off the shelf thing is really annoying. Especially when it's the end of the night, and the whole point of what I'm doing is to put books neatly back ON the shelves. And make sure they're tidy. And not falling/being thrown onto the ground.
RAVE: Although I gotta admit, choosing the book "Ghosts Among Us" to knock over repeatedly was a nice touch. Our resident ghost seems to at least have a sense of humor.

RANT: It's nearly 1am. And I'm hungry. Oma and Opa are light sleepers, so whatever I eat had better just be something munchy that I can quietly take to my room.
RAVE: Oma finally replenished the house's chocolate-covered raisin supply.

RANT: Retail Christmas music.
RAVE: The Lindsay family daily facebook Christmas song.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"It's Friday, I'm in Love"


Feel free to do this yourself.

1. Put your iPod, iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the “next” button to get your answer.

“Love You I Do” from Dreamgirls

“Hanginaround” by Counting Crows

“Only In Dreams” by Weezer

“Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis

“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Bette Midler

“Radar Love” by Golden Earring

“You’re Looking At Me” by Diana Krall

“Magic Dance” from Labyrinth

“Oogie Boogie’s Song” from Nightmare Before Christmas

10. WHAT IS 2 + 2?
“Opening of Act Two” from The Spitfire Grill

“The Island” by The Millenium

“Childhood” by Michael Jackson

“Anoranza” by Chuscales

“She Blinded Me With Science” by The Coats

“Hot and Cold Runnin’ Tears” by Sarah Vaughan

“Singing In the Rain” by Jamie Cullum

“Roadtrippin’” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Purpose” from Avenue Q

“At the Beginning” from Anastasia

“Matthew Scripture” by Matt

“All Because of You” by U2

“It’s Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"I am ashamed." --(What's Up, Doc?)


I don't know what I'm more ashamed of...the fact that I SAW "Twilight" (the very DAY it came out!)...

...or the fact that I think I might have liked it.

Give me time. I might change my mind and realize it's not as good as I thought it was in the moment. You know, like the book. Or "Rent." Or dating an 18-year-old.

I'm sorry, Beckah. Don't judge me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures." --Jessamyn West


This is one of those short stories that come about because you just start writing. I started it while waiting in an airport about six months ago, without a thought in my head as to what it would be about, and then just kept writing until something solidified. I'd been reading Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy a lot when I started this little fiction free-write, and it kinda shows...my writing always mirrors what I'm reading at the time, whether I want it to or not. Skill or weakness? Probably both.

There's an image in it that is reminiscent of Plath's "The Bell Jar," which I read recently, but interestingly enough I read the Bell Jar after I wrote the scene in "Gravity." Channeling Plath...blessing or curse? Again, probably both.

I decided to be vague in this as well. Deliberately Hemingway. Hills like white elephants, anyone? (AKA I'm not sure what I want to have happen at the very end. So you get to decide. I've my own theories, but they're just mine.)

Anyway, enjoy. It probably needs a lot more work...at this point its just sort of a few scenes and facts thrown together over two or three pages. But it was fun to write. I haven't tried any straight-up fiction in literally years. So I welcome your comments and critiques! This is my way of work-shopping this draft.


Elaine McFarther had become Elaine Jeorges, wife of the rough and silent Harold Jeorges, exactly two weeks before her twentieth birthday. He was more than 25 years her senior. The reception was held in her father’s office building, in one of the three reception rooms. She had wanted it on the roof, but there were too many guests for whom stairs was a challenge. Her colors had been lavender and yellow, and she had carried lilies. On the day of her wedding, Elaine had climbed to the roof of the McFarther Enterprises building. The McFarther Enterprises building was forty-seven stories high. There were six elevators, four staircases, and two maintenance stairwells that led to the roof. Not caring whether anyone missed her at her own wedding reception, she had gathered her petticoat and dress up in her arms, and legs bare up to her thighs, walked the four flights of stairs to the maintenance door. She had crushed part of her bouquet of lilies in her efforts to open it.

Elaine had stood at the edge of the roof, shivering in her strapless gown. Her lilies lay in a heap at her feet, and beside them a steadily growing pile of half-smoked cigarette butts. She never finished cigarettes. She could smoke a pack in four hours, but always put them out before they were finished.
It was her way of working up to quitting. Deep down, she had no intention of quitting, but not finishing a cigarette made smoking one seem less harmful. She leaned against the railing, smoking, counting the cars down below and wondering where the people in them were going. Looking up, she could count on one hand the number of stars that were visible. She peered up at the moon, and pursing her lips, tried to blow a smoke ring to surround it. The smoke blew away in the wind.

Pursing her lips again, Elaine wondered about Harold. She glanced down at the lilies at her feet. She dropped her half-finished cigarette and ground it beneath the heel of her wedding shoes. She picked up the lilies and gathered them to her face. Her lips brushed against their soft, fragrant petals as she breathed them in. She pulled one flower from the bunch and held it over the edge of the building, feeling gravity’s gentle pull. Opening her fingers slowly, she let gravity win. The looked at her empty hand hovering over forty-seven stories. Then she took the rest of the lilies and, one by one, dropped them off of the roof of the McFarther Enterprises Building, watching them flutter like crumpled paper, landing among the cars below.

* * * * *

There was something in the way he moved. Like an octopus, or a spider. His movements were precise and calculated. Unhurried. When he picked up a pencil, it was as if the different parts of his arm were isolated beings—lift arm, bend at elbow, fingers grip. He never smiled. He held the baby gently. Her tiny head was resting gently in the crook of his elbow, her small arms flailing contentedly. His rough fingers brushed the downy softness of her hair, and anyone flying above them would have smiled to see so rough a man hold so small and soft a little girl. Harold had only been a father for a week and a half. Her mother had named the baby Lily.

There wasn’t anything particularly exciting on the roof. No helicopter landing pad, no pigeon cages. The ground was scattered with a few unfinished cigarette butts. Probably left over from maintenance men over the years, Harold thought. The door leading to the roof was rusty, and Harold had had to slam his shoulder against it to get it to move. He had set Lily down on the top step, wrapping her extra tightly in her blanket so that she wouldn’t flail and roll down. Picking her up again, he had thought of how light she was…if he had dropped her, it seemed to him that she would have floated down to the floor like a sheet of paper, drifting from side to side before settling down unharmed and smiling on the floor.

Harold stood at the edge of the building. Looking down below, he wondered where the people in the cars were going. He thought of the stranger that was his wife, and the crushed remnants of her wedding bouquet they had stepped over when they left their reception a year ago. Lily didn’t seem to share his thoughts, and with one of her tiny hands gripped a handful of his shirt. He looked down at her. He wondered how such a small thing could be a person. How this bundle in his arms could have come from him, could now belong to him. At nearly 50, Harold found himself suddenly a widower, and suddenly a father. His spider-like fingers slowly and deliberately untangled his shirt from the baby’s grip. He let his one hand fall slowly to his side, like the tentacle of some sea creature moving with languid slowness. Lily looked up at him from where she was bundled in the crook of his other arm. He regarded her silently. He didn’t know what to do with a baby. Leaning over the edge of the McFarther building, feeling gravity pull on his senses, he looked at Lily again, and then down at the cars, forty-seven stories below.

“Yes,” he thought. “I don’t know what to do with a baby.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I still believe in the American Dream.

I helped make history yesterday.

Also, Prop 8 passed.

Whew, it's all over! And this experience has proven the reality of the American Dream. I'm so proud of our country today.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Not mein kampf im afraid my friend, not mine. h.f. loves all of his children, even the homo-sexuals and lezbos and in bet weeners." -Jacqueline

Okay, so I've been thinking about/writing this blog entry for about a month now. And I figured that since election is in about oh, a week, I'd better post it.

So Prop 8. So civil rights. The pursuit of happiness vs. freedom of religion. Freedom of speech vs. freedom of religion. So the separation of church and state.

So the Church asking us to give of our time and our means to make sure Prop 8 passes.

So Liz's very close gay friends/family and THEIR rights and feelings.

It's been quite a journey to reconcile my initial feelings towards Prop 8 with what the Church and the prophet has been asking us to do. I know a lot of LDS friends have been blogging (part of what they've asked us to do anyway...use the internet and our knowledge of technology to advocate Prop 8), but this here entry will also include some thoughts of my personal journey of reconciliation, and obedience. Because when we were first asked to support Prop 8, boy, was I up in arms. I still think the wording of Prop 8 in the law itself is good and clear, but think that the way it's written in the ballot is pretty biased. But that's beside the point.

***Important note: For any of you who are gay, bi, lesbian, transsexual, straight, unsure...please don't be offended at my words. If something that I say here is hurtful to you, I am sorry. Nothing here was written in hate. I believe that everyone on earth is a child of God, loved dearly by their Creator, and it is my responsibility to love and respect them as such as well. I urge you to keep reading, throughout this entry. It's a little long, and may be a little...straight-forward. But before you make any judgments, I ask that you at least give some thought to what I'm saying, because I promise these conclusions were made after many many many hours of study and prayer. They were not easy conclusions to come by, and I am not writing them lightly, so I ask that you please not treat them lightly. I would welcome your thoughts and comments.***

First, a little background:

Proposition 8 is a proposal on the ballot to amend the California state constitution to read "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the state of California."

Brief legislative history---
1977 - First legislation regarding marriage is put into California law, defining marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman."
1999 - "Domestic partnerships" (also known as civil unions) are given many of the same eligibility and civil rights as marriage, including those regarding hospital and jail visitation, insurance, wills, sharing of property, tax benefits. Domestic partnerships can be applied for by same-sex couples, or by straight couples in which one partner is over the age of 62.
2000 - Proposition 22 is passed by 61% of California voters. It was the exact same wording as Proposition 8 currently, but it applied to the California "Family Code."
2004 - San Francisco county clerk begins issuing same-sex marriage certificates. This action is immediately challenged by supporters of traditional marriage, and the conflict begins its journey to the California Supreme Court
May 15, 2008 - Four Supreme Court judges rule that Prop 22 is discriminatory and overturn it.
(1) Gay men and Lesbians are commonly subject to biased treatment that has no basis upon their ability to be a contributing member of society. Therefore, sexual orientation, like race, religion, or gender, is a suspect class for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution. This suspect classification requires that the highest level of scrutiny be applied to laws potentially infringing upon the rights of these persons.
(2) Under the above standard the statutory denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
Majority ruling by: Ronald M. George (Chief Justice), Joyce L. Kennard, Kathryn M. Werdegar, Carlos R. Moreno
Dissent: Marvin R. Baxter, Ming W. Chin, Carol A Corrigan
June 2008 - The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent out a letter to all Church leaders in California to be read in congregations throughout the state, asking members to give of their time and means to pass Proposition 8.

Well, I was UP IN ARMS right away. My rebellious soul kicked violently against such political sentiments being read out in sacrament meeting. My initial thoughts/reactions were somewhere along the lines of "Hell, no!" But more specifically, they were something like this:
• Hey hey hey hey! What happened to the Church's stance on not telling us how to vote!? What happened to the Constitutional separation of Church and state? Isn't it supposed to go both ways?
• What about anti-discrimination laws? What about equal rights? As Christians, shouldn't we be advocating equality and fair treatment?
• What does the Church care about what the rest of the world does regarding marriage, anyway? We've got our own beliefs...we get married in the temple, we get married for eternity. How does what the fallen world do regarding marriage affect or endanger our beliefs?
• I keep hearing the argument that legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to people trying to legalize polygamy or marriage between man and animal. I don't see the logic in that. How will legalizing one lead to legalizing another?
• But my most predominant thought was this: I have several very very close friends who are gay or lesbian. Many of whom were raised in the Church, some of whom are still active, faithful members. What about their feelings? Can I do what the prophet says and sign this ballot, making same-sex marriage illegal, and look them in the eyes? What will I say to them?

As you can see, I was feeling pretty strongly. But not willing to risk my eternal salvation on this issue, and knowing that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, I decided to take Hugh B. Brown's advice to "exercise your God-given right to think through on every proposition that is submitted to you and be unafraid to express your opinions, with proper respect for those to whom you talk, and proper acknowledgment of your shortcomings." So, I set out to do me some learning. It should be noted for the purpose of this story that I searched with intent to find out, not intent to prove. I have a testimony of the prophet, and of God's plan for his children. I just couldn't figure out how this Prop 8 thing fit in with both that and what we are taught (and what I've learned personally) about Christ-like love and tolerance.

Throughout many hours of study and prayer, here are some of the things that I found out/realized:
• After further research, I found out that the Church's stance is more specifically not to advocate any particular political party or candidate. There have been several times in this dispensation when the Church has organized its members to be active in political causes involving moral issues of great importance, and makes sure that it does so by following all protocol involved in maintaining separation of Church and state. While I'm still a little uncomfortable with the idea of political items being matters of business in sacrament meeting, I understand the level of importance this particular issue is for the brethren, and also trust their judgment regarding our worship meetings.
• Anti-discrimination laws are about tolerance. But I've done a lot of thinking about what Elder Bednar has called the "tyranny of tolerance." If Prop 8 doesn't pass, religious leaders lose a lot of rights. Adoption agencies and Churches (and possibly even our temple?) could be sued for denying same-sex couples children or weddings. And that's not fair either! It should also be noted that through domestic partnerships, same-sex couples can enjoy the same rights they would have through a legal marriage. This "tyranny of tolerance" idea has been brought up in other contexts as well, and I really like the idea. To avoid the "tyranny of tolerance," you've got to take on the thought process that says this: You will be safe from my judgments regarding your choices and lifestyle. But that also means that I ask to be safe from your judgment regarding MY choices and lifestyle. I may reject your choices, thoughts, or actions, but I do so without hate or malice, and if you should choose to reject my choices, thoughts, or actions, please do so without hate or malice as well.
• So funny it should take me so long to realize this, but you know that one document from the brethren on the family? You know, the one entitled "A Proclamation to the World"? It has just recently occurred to me that said document is not a proclamation to the world about what we believe...it's a proclamation to the world about what is true. "Marriage is ordained of God" no matter who's performing the ceremony. And since right here and now, homosexuality doesn't fit into God's plan for His children while on earth, making same-sex marriage legal throws a big wrench into...well, God's plan for His children. Examples: Suppose a couple of missionaries find a same-sex couple who want to learn the Gospel. The conversion process in this case is going to be pretty intense, anyway, but think how much more complicated and painful it would be if divorce proceedings had to be a part of that process? Granted, there are probably very few same-sex couples who would be terribly interested in the Gospel, anyway. But even if there were two souls out there who would be, wouldn't it be worth it to bring them to Christ? The Proclamation on the family also states that "children are entitled...to be reared by a mother and a father." I am 100% sure that there are millions of gay guys and lesbian women who would be incredible parents. But even just from a medical/psychological/social point of view, there are so many more advantages to raising a child in an atmosphere where they are exposed to a man and a woman. Men and women are inherently different, have different influences. These differences, and the balance between them, are essential to becoming a well-rounded, emotionally balanced individual, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It's not the only factor, but it sure is important.
• I guess people are right about same-sex marriage leading to the blurring of other laws regarding marriage. I guess, since I've never met any polygamists or people in love with their pets, I couldn't imagine them being in the same category as my gay and lesbian friends. In my mind, polygamists etc. were "the freaks." Yeah, just paint a big "H" on my forehead and call me hypocritical. Because I'd deserve it. For those closed-minded sentiments, I am sorry. That's the same closed-minded judgments a lot of others with varying sexual orientations get all the time. Whether or not I'm an advocate for alternate sexuality has very little to do with my advocation for anti-hate. I still don't understand it, but I have attempted since to retract my judgmental stance. From a legal standpoint, the possibility does carry a lot of weight.
• I have realized through this experience that so many times, I try to "obey God without offending the devil." Yeah, that's a little straight-forward. My statement implies some insult, which I don't like, but I can't think of a more diplomatic way of putting it. Well, let's put it this way: I really hate "choosing sides." Perhaps when it comes to moral issues, I'm diplomatic to a fault. I don't like making blanket statements regarding any issue. There's a part of me that believes there are exceptions to every rule, possible justifications for every crime, a square peg for every round hole. I feel like this ability/weakness makes me both wishy-washy and very strong. Woot for the yin vs. yang. This world-view of mine can be pretty valuable, and I don't know that it would be wise to try to pick one side or the other on any issue. But I'm learning that in some things, I don't have any choice. On Prop 8, I've got to take a stand--a strong stand--either for or against. And when it comes down to it, after its all over, when my children ask me what I did for Prop 8, when November 5th has come, when I stand before the Lord and he asks me which side I chose, I want to know and be able to say that I fought a good fight. And I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I know that the Lord's wisdom and political knowledged and foresight far exceeds my own. I know that obedience brings blessings, that faith brings knowledge. So when it all comes down to it, I want to be able to say that I was a part of the ranks fighting on the Lord's side. Even if at first I resisted. Even if its hard. Even if I'm still confused about some things. I've learned that obedience can happen at the same time as learning why you're obeying. (Check out Alma 32:27-43 and John 7:17 for more on this last concept.)

So when it comes to Proposition 8, I've discovered that there can be no middle ground...not any that I would feel comfortable standing on, at least. And so it follows that I've got two choices:
• Fight for a yes on Prop 8, and have trouble looking my gay/lesbian friends/family in the eyes.
• Fight for a no on Prop 8, and have trouble looking my LDS friends, my bishop and my Lord in the eyes.
Ultimately, I'm choosing the former. To all of my dear family and friends whose eyes I may struggle to look into, please know that my love for you is not in any way diminished. I do not believe that "God hates homosexuals" and I hate phrases like "the gay agenda" and I find bumper stickers like "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" closed-minded and offensive. I'm just trying to be obedient, and the above reasons are why. Even though I don't understand every detail of the issue, I've come to feel strongly that this is something I need to do.

In the last several weeks, the Presidency and General Authorities of the Church have asked the young single adults and the young married couples in California to play a particularly strong role in this political battle. It has been made clear that helping Prop 8 pass in California is the especial stewardship of the young single adults and young married couples. Another reason to make my decision.

There are still a lot of things surrounding this issue that I don't fully understand. From a political/religious point of view, I've come to believe that passing Proposition 8 does the most good for the greatest amount of people. From an emotional point of view, I still sympathize with the "equality for all" thing. I don't understand the role (or more specifically the lack thereof) of homosexuality in the plan of salvation. I'll be completely 100% honest here...I've never had any problem with the idea of homosexuality. I have problems with promiscuity, with pedophilia, with pornography, and with rape and other sexual crimes/addictions. But in my heart of hearts I still have yet to believe that homosexuality is wrong. You can hit me over the head with the plan of salvation until kingdom come, and it won't change how I feel. I've yet to encounter any logical or even spiritual argument that can convince me that a healthy, loving relationship between two women or two men is wrong. Believe me, I've been trying to figure it out for YEARS, and will probably spend the rest of my life and possibly longer learning how to reconcile my testimony in the Gospel with my feelings towards homosexuality. I've just accepted the fact that for now, the Lord is simply asking me to be obedient when it comes to Prop 8, and to simply go on faith until one day He does see fit to bless me with knowledge/experience that can help me understand the limits in His plan for His children while they are in this mortal state. I'm always learning, and always open to learning, but I think it will take a lot more explanation from the Lord to me personally, and a lot more time for me to come to any definitive conclusions.

Well, you made it. You finished this extensive, detailed, hard-core blog entry! I commend you. I've become excited to be a part of this cause, although I'm still occasionally wary of the attitude some take with it. But I've gained a testimony of my part in it. And so, as I've been saying, "We are all enlisted 'till the conflict is o'er!"

Also, regardless of your stand on this issue, if you are registered, GO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4TH. I feel very strongly about this! Check out my 4th o' July entry from this last year to find out why.

And feel free to comment! And get out there and educate yourself! Check out all these resources, and whatever else you can find! Remember Hugh B. Brown's advice, but how are you going to make a decision if you don't know what your consequences might be?

And for the record, I'm still a Mormon Democrat and you can't make me believe I'm going to hell for it. And I think a lot more Mormons would be Democrats if they just took a political test or got more involved. But I ain't hatin.'

Peace and love in oh-nine, everyone.

Some additional interesting resources:
LDS NEWSROOM: The Divine Institution of Marriage
LDS NEWSROOM: Same-Gender Attraction
Coalition to Protect Marriage Website
INTERESTING NPR ARTICLE: Gay Rights Vs. Religious Liberties

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Any sufficiently advanced bureaucracy is indistinguishable from molasses." -Unknown


My license has been suspended. Long story, but for the point of this blog, let it simply stand at "my license has been suspended."

In order to lift said suspension, I've got to send an SR-22 form to the DMV in Oregon, stating that I have current insurance.

My insurance has been canceled because my license is suspended, and won't re-instate until the suspension has been lifted.

But I can't lift the suspension unless I have current insurance.

But I can't get current insurance until my license is no longer suspended.

Damn bureaucracy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Confessions of an Oregonian who misses Idaho from California


I've got to take a moment to un-burden here. I seem to have mis-placed my rose-colored glasses, only temporarily.

I received the news, late last night via internet, that I have several thousand dollars available to me for this coming winter semester of school. A generous several thousand. Like, several thousand to cover ALL expenses for school and then several thousand left over.

God bless America. I humbly thank all the tax-payers whose money pays for my education.

Naturally, I'm ECSTATIC. It means that my financial goals will definitely be met (especially with my working two jobs here in California for a few more months), and that I will definitely be returning to BYU-Idaho in January to continue my degree. It means having roomates and theatre and roomates and classes and roomates and Comic Frenzy and roomates again! In only 12 weeks or so!

But herein lies the paradox. Does this news motivate me, give me a light at the end of the tunnel, help me to get through the hardship of this fall semester away? Not really. On the contrary, it seems to simply be making me more aware of how much I DON'T have RIGHT NOW.

The thing is, I was ALREADY looking forward to all the things that came with my return to BYU-Idaho. This little financial aid award just cleared away any remaining obstructions...took care of all the little "how" details of my plan to return. It solidified my return without a doubt. I'm really happy about that. But if I've got all that money waiting for me up there, and its more than enough, what is there to keep me here in California, sleeping on a mattress in my grandparents' back office floor? For another 2 and a half months?

Things I would miss about being here in California:
• warm weather
• the Lindsay family
• I can keep my second ear piercing in while here
• job at Barnes & Noble
• small singles ward

And my own family, too, of course. But at this stage of my life, and for me personally, it is extremely difficult to LIVE WITH family. If we were in the same area, could visit occasionally, etc., I would be thrilled. But living with them is a little difficult. I've been on my own for nigh unto five or six years, and to suddenly return to...well, to RULES of living under someone else's roof, that's a challenge. I'm a free spirit. I'm glad to sweep the patio, as long as you don't wake me up, open the window, leave my door open, and ask me favors early in the morning on days when I don't have to be anywhere in particular.

My friend Carrie and I have a theory. We have come to believe that it is against nature for two grown women in different life stages to attempt to live together.

At age 23, I'm much happier living with a handful of other people close to my own age. The rules are just so different. It's not that I'm against RULES themselves; on the contrary, I think they're a necessary element for a happy home. But at age 23, and sharing a place with people my same age, there's not one person IN CHARGE. There's no hierarchy of law...there's no one or two people who decide how everything is done. Running the home is a far more communal process. Everyone discusses and comes up with systems, solutions, agreements, etc. If anyone does adapt the role of "mother," it's never one woman putting herself in charge of everyone else's schedules, rules, bed-times, and chores. (And if it was, she would probably be miserable because her roomates would probably hate her.) A roomate "mother" is perhaps the one who sits everyone down to discuss dishes rotation, or who calls apartment prayer, etc.

I suppose this is probably an idealized roomate situation. I've had my share of not-so-idyllic apartments, but you're not considered rebellious or disrespectful if you just do your own thing.

I miss just doing my own thing. But my family has been very generous in allowing me to stay with them, and I owe them the respect and politeness they deserve for their generosity, and for being my family.

That's where the canker g-naws.

I'm really really really looking forward to moving in with friends again.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just a bit of silliness, really...

Mom and me + alien eyeball antennae + iSight = 18 minutes of antics

18 minutes of antics + iMovie = The following.

Enjoy the family fun. It's clear where I got my sense of humor from. My mom is my hero for so many reasons. And this is just a few of them.

**Note: The first part of this video was inspired by a somewhat more brilliant and rehearsed youtube video.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yet more poetry

This poem was born of several parents. One, of James Best's most recent poem posted on his blog. Two, of my own current poetry kick (itself born of a lot of recent emotional upheaval, I'm sure). Three, of this nutty bird that's been living in my grandparents' backyard, who has no sense of day or night. Enjoy!

Poems About Birds
“So when I am ready to read it, that bird will startle itself
right into my mouth. Down my throat.
And sing for me, make for me a second heart.
Trill away what I need trilled away."
--James Best, “The Bird”

There is a bird outside
that has no idea what time it is
one in the morning and
I’m brushing my teeth to an ornithological serenade.

I wonder if birds develop
mental illnesses.
Bipolar barn owls.
Manic-depressive mockingbirds.
Autistic African Silverbills.
I’m brushing my teeth at one in the morning
and there’s this bird
in the farthest corner of the backyard
singing itself into a frenzy.

Not a lullaby.
Not some haunting nightingale
a loon calling lonely on a moonlit lake.
I’m talking Mickey Mouse club
Bozo the clown sing-along
1950’s cornflakes commercial.
One in the morning,
I’m brushing my teeth with tears in my eyes
and there’s a bird out there
who doesn’t give a damn
just singing hallelujah to the good Lord
who made him.

Lissa said
there are things
that hurt so much that
it feels
like you don’t even have a heart.
An empty cage in your chest,
a vacuum in your ribs.
Anything that sang flown away.

One in the morning
and some bird doesn’t give a damn
that the sun set six hours ago.
Darkness already swallowed up everything
started in the corners at 7:00 p.m.
and slowly ate its way to the open empty spaces.
At one in the morning
everything is desert places
Silence that sludges through your veins
like mud
Making empty places emptier.

And somewhere
invisible in a corner
there’s this bird
who doesn’t give a damn.
To hell with empty cages
and the darkness that will remain
for another five hours at least.
This insomniatic out-of-touch damn crazy bird
is just singing hallelujah
to the good Lord who made him.

First video blog: Experiments in Femininity

Note: They DID end up coming off that very day, after I spent about 15 minutes trying to remove one of my contacts with fake nails on, and failed. It's completely impossible.

Channeling cummings...

The e.e., not the Alan. Here's a poem. It's kind of an experiment, but I had fun writing it. Like I was telling a friend, the resulting poem here seems to be one part e.e. cummings, the other part sullen teenager. The ending's a little weak, as per usual, but its the line the poem was born of, so I couldn't bring myself to change it.

Also, I completed my first video blog yesterday, and have learned that its fun and that I detest the latest version of iMovie and that my startup disk is almost full. Youtube is currently processing my uploaded video blog, so expect to see that up here soon!

NOTE: In its original format, this poem is all over the page, and the placement of the words is important to the meaning. However, blogger isn't caring to recognize that, so until I figure out a way to make it do things MY way, you'll have to settle for just the words and my assurance that the poem is much more interesting in its original cummings form.

One Smart Cookie

If she baked you bread
if you took a bite
just a taste of her
would it turn into butterflies?

I sense you wanting
she writes in tongues

Thow wing lang widge
like EllaQueenOfAllThings Jazz
throws syllables

Comic Frenzy’s
been doing it for years
and that God of Language
He’s all Mine.

(all Kleenex all snottearschocolate)
“asaWomanI can tell”
“I know you”
my green green green eyes all MoralsHonestyFriendshipLoyalty

stay on my backburner
simmer simmer slowly
Let me let all the bitter
simmer simmer out

begin to see the light at last
For I shall disapprove of anyone you date
so long as she is not

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Next year in the Holy Land...!


I recently went ahead and invested in something I've wanted for YEARS...a digital voice recorder. I've brought it to work a few times, and the other day, I recorded a long conversation we had on our way out to the field. I now share it with you, since its typical of Shadi and so many of the conversations we have in the van. Almost every single day, this subject of America's inferiority to Shadi's home country of Israel is brought up.

Please excuse the vulgarities...Fremont Kirby business is certainly no Rexburg, Idaho. I've edited as best I could, while attempting to still remain true to the meter and tone of the conversation. The speakers: myself, Shadi (Israel), JP (Token Latin Man - Nicaragua/Peru), CJ (Token Black Man). Also note the use of the word "hella" in this conversation. It's a swearword specific to the San Francisco Bay Area, and is used to mean "lots" or "many" or "very." (The coolest thing is that Mormons say "hecka.")

SHADI: (yelling in Arabic) It cost one, two, three, four dollars. Robbery! This America! Robbery!

LIZ: Opportunity, Shadi.

SHADI: What the f**k is this? Opportunity? They take my money away! I do good, and they take it away. Robbery. America. Welcome to America. They give you in one hand, they take in both.

CJ: Means you gotta work harder.


CJ: Means you gotta work harder.


CJ: Right? Right?

JP: Right.

SHADI: I been here for ten years. Wasting my time.

LIZ: Getting married, having kids? Waste of time. [Shadi's wife, Stacey, who works in the Kirby office in Fremont, is 13 weeks pregnant with Shadi's first child.]

JP: In America? Lot of money.

SHADI: Don’t make s**t. They take it away.

JP: Land of opportunity. Lot of money.

SHADI: THEY TAKE IT AWAY! F*****g fifteen-hundred dollar rent! What the f**k is that?!

JP: Everyone pays rent, fool.

SHADI: How much people they get paid? From regular job? Fifteen-hundred! How much the rent? Fifteen-hundred! So?

JP: That’s why we drug deal over here.

SHADI: How they f*****g live?

JP: We sell crack cocaine.

SHADI: You all are lucky you are in Kirby business. All—whatever I did in America, I make a lot of money. Whatever.

LIZ: See? Opportunity!

SHADI: BUT THEY TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU! I’m talking about f*****g… (mumbling in Arabic)

JP: You could live in my apartment, the rent’s cheaper. But you don’t want to, that’s not my problem, that’s your problem.

SHADI: I don’t live in garbage areas. In this garbage district. How much you pay? How much you pay?

JP: Eleven-fifty.

SHADI: Ghetto houses! F*****g eleven-fifty!

CJ: You’re always hella mad about everything.

SHADI: You go to my country, eleven-fifty? Eleven-fifty, you buy a mansion.

CJ: No one cares.

SHADI: You live in a mansion. Goddammit. (points to helicopter) Look. See, they recording whatever I’m saying. To send me back home. That what they think, but they do me favor. Yeah yeah yeah, get closer to me! Yeah, get closer! Yeah! Come on!

SHADI: F*****g I used to — Oh my god. I was back home making tons of money. What the f**k I came here for?

JP: For the women.

SHADI: For the women?

JP: Women! We have all kinds! All kinds of women!

SHADI: Back home we have more women than here.

JP: No, not really. NOT. N-O-T really.

SHADI: Goddam you all.

JP: There, there’s just them Persian kind of women. Here, you get to choose, you know what I mean?


JP: You know what I’m talking about, Liz!?

LIZ: Boys! Boys…

JP: Nah, what do you think, we’re doing it to ourselves? Think we’re messing with other boys? No? Exactly.

SHADI: You see? You see? I used to go out with Russian girl. She used to be a model.

LIZ: Russians are stupid.

JP: And she probably had no body.

SHADI: Excuse me!?

JP: Men like you don’t know what shape is—

SHADI: You don’t know f*****g sh*t!

JP: You’ve never been with a real woman, with real shape.

SHADI: You don’t know sh*t!

JP: Real shape.

SHADI: You don’t know sh*t!

JP: Real shape. With a big beautiful ass.

SHADI: You don’t know sh*t! You don’t know sh*t.

JP: That’s shape. Ain’t no f*****g teeny little b**ch. (to Liz) Excuse our language. I feel bad, you’re like a Mom. I feel weird.

SHADI: Russian model. What her name…Maria. Marina.

JP: See, she wasn’t even that good, you forgot her name.

CJ: What we ain’t got that you got? We ain’t got no f*****g soccer in America.

SHADI: Because you SUCK in soccer! That’s why! Home, the whole f*****g country is soccer soccer soccer!

JP: You get beat. Spain, Brazil…

LIZ: All the South American countries. Germany.

JP: Germany sh*t all over you.

SHADI: Yes, yes! It’s okay, but Americans…

CJ: See?

JP: We have to let you win some things.

CJ: You guys are soft. That’s why we got football and you guys don’t.

JP: Yeah, we’re tough, man.

CJ: It’s ‘cause you guys are soft. You guys don’t got football. Shadi, you got football? Over there?

SHADI: We don’t have football. We don’t have that.

JP: You don’t have the athletes.

CJ: You got every other f*****g sport. You got baseball? The great American sport?

SHADI: We have this there.

JP: Not really.

SHADI: We have baseball. F**k you.

JP: You have softball.

SHADI: We have baseball, softball—

JP: Softball for men.

SHADI: We have baseball. And they beat America.

CJ: There be no way in hell.

JP: Never in your life.

CJ: It’s a white man’s sport.

SHADI: You have Dead Sea? In America?

JP: Yeah, in the mall, fool.

CJ: The what?


JP: Yeah, that sea spa sh*t. That’s in the mall. That sh*t works, man.

SHADI: You have the Dead Sea, in America?

CJ: What is the Dead Sea, man?

SHADI: THE F**K! HE DON’T EVEN KNOW F*****G WHAT THE DEAD SEA! [Shadi's English grammar gets worse, the more worked up he gets...]

JP: F**k, they sell it over here. In the mall. That sh*t works, man. Rub it in your hands, it makes your hands hella smooth…

SHADI: I have it at home.

LIZ: The Dead Sea?

SHADI: The Dead Sea, man, you go—like a beach, okay? But its all salty.

JP: Hella salty.

SHADI: You can’t put your face inside.

JP: Hell no.

SHADI: It’s like a beach, right? Big. Huge.

JP: Nothing lives there.

SHADI: No fish. They can’t live there. You go, and just lay down on the beach, no? Lay down, take uh…newspaper or book and just read and you never go.

CJ: Who the f**k wants to do that?!

JP: Exactly. Why you go to the beach, to lay down? Go to a park. Why the hell you gonna go to the beach and lay down?

SHADI: It’s f*****g beach!

JP: You can’t go in the f*****g water! Who cares? It’s like going to the beach here in San Francisco, you can’t go in the water, it’s too damn cold. Same sh*t, same principle. That’s why your country sucks.

SHADI: You have, uh...

JP: I love my country.

SHADI: You have sharks?

LIZ: Yes.

SHADI: We don’t. HA HA HA HA HA! See?!

CJ: Listen to this mother-f****r going on about a f*****g shark. How many f*****g deaths a year due to sharks? More people die from like falling and sh*t.

LIZ: You’re more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark.

JP: Really?

LIZ: That’s true, that’s a true statistic.

CJ: By a cow or by like a falling…anvil.

SHADI: You have….what you want? You have black and white TV’s?

CJ: Who the f**k wants a black and white TV?

SHADI: You don’t, right?

CJ: No.

SHADI: We do.

CJ: Who the f**k's gonna be buying black and white TV’s?

JP: Like 25 years ago…

SHADI: Twenty dollar.

SHADI: I wish the immigration come to take me away, and deport me. I WISH.

CJ: Shadi, they can’t deport you.

SHADI: I wish the el migras—la migras come and take me away.

LIZ: Why don’t you just go yourself?

SHADI: No, I can’t.

LIZ: Why do you have to wait to be kicked out?

CJ: No, he wanna go for free.

SHADI: Exactly. Two-thousand f*****g dollar ticket.

CJ: What about Stacey? They not gonna take her, so what she gonna do?

SHADI: That’s why I want them to f*****g deport me!

CJ: You don’t want your wife to go with you?

SHADI: It’s not my fault! Not my fault. Stacey, not my fault. But the f*****g problem—they can’t f*****g take me. They can’t. I am legal here. Goddammit. I go to Bush…you take me? You send me home? What, what should I do to get them to send me home?

JP: Nothing. You’re an American citizen.

LIZ: Yeah, you’re an American citizen, you can’t do anything.

JP: You can go to jail.

CJ: They just take your ass to jail. You could just kill yourself. You don’t got to worry about being in America no more. Or alive, for that matter.

SHADI: Here, waiting for f*****g…

CJ: Why you always gotta be cussing? And yelling?

SHADI: This is American f*****g way!

CJ: Liz from America, you see her doing that? And this is not how Americans drive. You made this sh*t hella difficult.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bloggy divulgences

Hello blogosphere. I haven't written in a while, but I have read a lot of your blogs, so I'm going to steal the idea for this entry from fellow blogger James, and take a moment to reveal a few deep, dark, embarrassing things about myself and my past.


1. I used to be hopelessly infatuated with Ryan Gosling. When I was 13 and he was 18, he was the star of “Young Hercules,” and when I found out he was LDS, I was certain that we were going to be married. While I’ve grown out of my infatuation (and while he's grown out of being LDS), I still claim that the man’s talent far exceeds his recognition. (And that he’s still gorgeous.)
young herc

2. At one point in my childhood, I owned over 100 “Baby-sitter’s Club” books. I still remember all of the names and personalities of each of the characters. Dawn and Claudia were my favorites. I was and still am slightly intimidated by Kristi.
baby-sitters club

3. During my short stint of non-activity in the Church, I was Wiccan. As in I practiced the art of witchcraft. A friend from school introduced me and we used to do spells at her house after school, while her parents were gone. Mostly white wicca, but when I started getting into dark, I had some scary experiences and decided to go back to church.

4. I played dress-up/pretend games in complete seriousness until my early teens. At age 14, I still put on layers of skirts, folded a lacy place-mat over my head as a bonnet, and pushed a wheelbarrow around the backyard, pretending I was a pioneer. Now, I have absolutely NO enthusiasm for pioneer stories or celebrations. I guess I met my quota of pioneer enthusiasm early.
pioneer day

5. From the time I was about 11 to the time I was about 16, I had a large collection of incense, and loved to have a stick burning in my room. I liked the smell, but most of the attraction was watching the smoke curl into the air in interesting patterns.

6. I dyed my hair blue for a day in high school, without my parents EVER finding out.
temp hair dye

7. I really like studying people’s hands, and their feet. Most often, people’s hands and feet “match,” so I like to look at people’s hands and try and guess what their feet look like. I really like when my guesses turn out to be accurate.
hands and feet

8. Most of my childhood life was spent in eager anticipation of being a “teenager.” I couldn’t wait to get a perm, drive a car, kiss a boyfriend, and have a different teacher for each subject. The day I got my locker (in 8th grade) was one of the happiest days of my life up to that point.

9. I have a love affair with banjo music.

10. I can state, in honesty, from experience, that kissing a smoker is absolutely nothing like licking an ashtray. Actually, I guess I can't honestly say that, having never licked an ashtray, so I suppose I can’t really compare the two. But I have kissed a smoker before, and it was nothing like what I imagine licking an ashtray would be like.
ashtray kissing

11. I stole a small lock and key from a Target when I was about 7. I’m not sure what the appeal was, but my Mom ended up finding it the next day. She took me back to the store, made me return the lock and key, and apologize in person to the manager. The experience was strong enough to have scared me away from any desire or impulse to steal ever again.
theft sign

12. There are certain musical artists whom I love, but always feel reluctant to let others know of my love for them. Singers that I adore, sort of “in spite of myself.” So I divulge, here and now, that my musical indulgences are Fergie, Bobby Darin, and Gwen Stefani.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Russian birthday song! Party party party party! You have to frown but you still can dance!" --Nathan Russell

It's my birthday tomorrow! In celebration, check out this awesome song, from a kid's cartoon in Russia.

This alligator is cheerfully singing about his birthday, despite the rain. More specifically, he sings this:

Let the pedestrians run clumsily along the puddles,
and the water runs along the street like a river.
And it's not clear to the passers by
on this bad weather-ish day,
why I am so happy.
I play on the accordian in front of the passersby in sight.
Unfortunately, birthday is only once a year.
A wizard will fly in suddenly
in a light blue helicopter and for free, will show movies.
He will congratulate with the day of birth
and probably will give me, as a present,
five hundred eskimo pies.

Happy birthday, me.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The status of a Kirby Salesgirl



I got a job this week. I sell Kirby vacuum cleaners. Door to door. I go to work at around 9:30 in the morning and come home around 11:30 at night. Every day except Sunday. But I'm having fun, and making good money! Since I was such a facebook junkie in my pre-employment days, I thought I'd utilize one of them fancy facebook features to tell you about my first three days on the job.


Liz made $700 this week.

Liz just finished a thirteen-hour workday.

Liz handled teasing by divine assistance.

Liz can tie a tie.

Liz is the only Caucasion.

Liz would like to clarify that abandoning two people at a table at a McDonalds does NOT constitute a "date."

Liz hates custom doorbells.

Liz DARES you to tell a clean joke.

Liz's calves are sore.

Liz met a dancing, elderly Spanish man.

Liz is "The Mormon Connection."

Liz fell asleep in the arms of a Russian.

Liz saw a blonde wig on a garden bench.

Liz has concluded that the donuts in the office every morning fall short of Broulims donuts.

Liz can swear in Arabic.

Liz is intimidated and thrilled by questions about the Church.

Liz is in your neighborhood today, doing a free carpet cleaning for one room in your house, and for every demonstration she does, she gets points towards a free cruise to the Caribbean...

Liz apologizes for spilling an Oreo shake in the van, but isn't sure if buying Vaz lunch is equal compensation for the small amount he got on his shoe.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"I am theatah! Where's my cape?"

While I have a great many other varied interests, this entry will be a brief ode to the world of theatre geekdom. I hate to align myself with a group that has such a reputation for being out of touch, because of all people in the world, they need to be the MOST in touch. Although sadly, there are those few who are out of touch, but they're out of touch even among other theatre people. (I'm just going to assume that that makes sense in print in the same way it does in my head, and leave it as it is...)


"Oh fame! Fame! Thou glittering bauble!" --Captain Hook, "Peter Pan"

"The theatre is nine tenths hard work...work done the hard way, by sweat, application, and craftsmanship...to be a good actor or actress or anything else in the theatre means wanting to be that more than anything else in the world. It means the concentration of desire, ambition, and sacrifice such as no other profession demands. The man or woman who accepts those terms can't be ordinary." --Bill Simpson, "All About Eve"


"Life with theatre people is like a movie. Sometimes there's music in the background, and some words go across your vision at the end." --Anonymous

"We're actors--we're the opposite of people." --Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"


"In every actor there lives a tiger, a pig, an ass, and a nightingale. You never know which one's going to show up." --Corey Taft, "For Your Consideration"

"Why, if there's nothing else, there's applause. I've listened backstage to people applaud. It's like...it's like waves of love coming over the footlights and wrapping you up. Imagine...to know that every night, different hundreds of people love you. They smile, they're eyes shine, you've pleased them. They want you. You belong. Just that alone is worth anything." --Eve Harrington, "All About Eve"


"Don't be boring, darlings!" --Stella Adler

"I would just like to mention Robert Houdin who in the eighteenth century invented the vanishing birdcage trick and the theater matinee - may he rot and perish. Good afternoon." --Orson Welles


"There's no people like show people
They smile when they are low
Yesterday they told you you would not go far
That night you opened and there you are
Next day on your dressing room they've hung a star
Let's go on with the show!" --"There's No Business Like Show Business," "Annie Get Your Gun"

"The play is done." --Omar Hansen, "Dr. Faustus"


"We all have abnormality in common. We're a breed apart from the rest of humanity, we theatre folk. We're the original displaced personalities." --Addison DeWitt, "All About Eve"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another poem, of course...

Oak airport dad n son

A Father and Son Asleep in the Oakland Airport

A little before midnight.
Even airports sleep.
A few seats behind me,
a man and his son lie sleeping
sprawled out on the floor like it was their own living room.

This father might be younger than me.
His raised sleeve reveals a tattoo on one arm.
His son can’t be more than 5.
They’ve made a make-shift bed
airport floor mattress, suitcase pillow.

He’s got his hat over his eyes
like someone out of a Steinbeck novel
an average Joe sleeping off the Great Depression.
The boy’s safely curled up by his side,
his head is resting on his dad’s shoulder.

Perhaps dad fell asleep first,
and with 5-year-old stealth,
the kid quietly and oh so carefully crept closer and closer
until he could lay down and fall asleep almost in his father’s embrace.

Or perhaps after work and school each day,
they fall asleep in front of the television next to each other.
Maybe there’s a woman somewhere with pictures
of the two of them
safely asleep like this.

I may be a stranger to them both
but now I have my own picture
of these two
safely sleeping in an airport.

Not one of my best, but I enjoyed the image. It was difficult as hell to get that picture without looking suspicious, for the record.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

***Warning: Spoilers and Ranting***


Been trying to knock a few AFI Top 100 Films off the list while house/cat-sitting this weekend. Watched "Taxi Driver" tonight. And excuse my language, but "What the hell?!"

Scorsese, you're a decent film-maker, a little self-indulgent at times (okay, a LOT of the times), but overall, your films are far from "bad cinema." All the same, though...what were you thinking when you took on this project?!

A lonely, screwed up guy gets sick of the way things are, so he goes on a SHOOTING SPREE, after, by the way, almost assassinating a senator for...revenge? attention? Between popping pills and downing alcohol, he's visiting porno theatres, arming himself with 4 firearms and a knife from some seedy traveling salesman, and practicing intimidation in his mirror at home.

Not that he isn't a sympathetic character...I feel bad for him. I totally understand why he does what he does. What I have a problem with is when he gets treated like a HERO for it.

Seriously? Travis Bickle is shooting people's hands off! And I don't think its out of a sincere well-thought-out desire to rescue an underage prostitute. He's miming shooting HIMSELF in the head, since none of the actual guns worked, surrounded (and covered in) blood, when the police find him. Does this really sound like the kind of guy to model inner city reform after?

And after all of this, he's in the papers as a HERO! He's got letters of thanks coming in! He even almost kinda GETS THE GIRL! Its not realized, but you know that if he had asked to come up, she would have let him! How is this at all okay? Taking the whole "anti-hero" concept a little too far here, I think.

I think the movie would have been brilliant if it had ended right after Travis went on his little shooting spree, and sat on that couch, miming suicide. Filled with self-loathing. This is not a man who did a "brave thing." This is a man so confused and torn up about what he sees going on around him, that he's filled with despair to the point of desperation. At least I think the film would have been way more powerful if that had been the case.

No wonder John Hinckley watched this movie obsessively. And attempted to assassinate Reagan.

I guess I kinda brought a different perspective to this film, having known the background relating to John Hinckley. But do you see the problems I have with this? The flaws I see?

Just to provoke further thought, and perhaps make further connections, take Sondheim's words, here. This is from the opening number of "Assassins." This is sung by both the assassins and a "Proprietor," selling guns to each of them.

Hey, pal- feelin' blue?
Don't know what to do?
Hey, pal-
I mean you-
yeah. C'mere and kill a president.

No job? Cupboard bare?
one room, no one there?
Hey, pal, don't despair-
You wanna shoot a president?
c'mon and shoot a president...

Some guys
Think they can be winners.
First prize often goes to rank beginners.

Hey, kid, failed your test?
Dream girl unimpressed?
Show her you're the best
If you can shoot a president-

You can get the prize
With the big blue eyes,
Skinny little thighs
And those big blue eyes...

Got the right
To be happy.
Don't stay mad,
Life's not as bad
As it seems.

If you keep your
Goal in sight,
You can climb to
Any height.
Got the right
To their dreams...

Hey, fella,
Feel like you're a failure?
Bailiff on your tail? Your
Wife run off for good?
Hey, fella, fell misunderstood?
C'mere and kill a president...

What's-a wrong, boy?
Boss-a treat you crummy?
Trouble with your tummy?
This-a bring you some relief.
Here, give
some hail-a to da chief-

Got the right
To be different
Even though
At times they go
To extremes.
Aim for what you
want a lot-
Gets a shot.
Got a right
To their dreams-

Got the right
To be happy.
Say, "Enough!"
It's not as tough
As it seems.

Don't be scared
You won't prevail,
Free to fail,
No one can be put in jail
For their dreams.

Free country-!
-Means your dreams can come true:
Be a scholar-
Make a dollar-
Free country-!
-Means they'll listen to you:
Scream and holler-
Grab 'em by the collar!
Free country-!
-Means you dont have to sit-
That's it!
-And put up with the shit.

Got the right
To some sun shine-
Not the sun
But maybe one
Of its beams.
One of its beams.

Rich man, poor man
Black or white,
pick your apple,
Take a bite,
Just hold tight
To your dreams.
Got the right
To their dreams...

Is this really the attitude that's going to change society for good? Are John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald, Samuel Byck, Charles Guiteau and John Wilkes Booth so different from Travis Bickle? Simply men who didn't like the way things were, so they took matter into their own hands.

What if EVERYONE acted as "heroes" in the same way Travis Bickle does? He did what he had to do, and he made a positive change. But too haphazardly, I fear. I certainly don't want society "taking things into their own hands" in this way. That wouldn't make a better world at ALL.

Everybody's got a right to be happy. I think Travis Bickle wanted to be happy. He wanted Iris to be happy. But what about Matthew? What about the hotel proprietor? What about the kid who tried to rob the convenience store? The guy in the hotel room? Senator Palantine? What about their right to be happy? If they forfeited that right through their poor treatment of others, shouldn't Travis Bickle forfeit that right as well?

I would submit that happiness that comes with bloodied hands is no kind of worthwhile happiness.

(Ya hear that, Scorsese?!)

Note: Rebuttals, corrections, alternate opinions, and counter-arguments welcomed in the comments box.

**ADDENDUM: My good friend and fellow film enthusiast Jeff pointed out that its supposed to be IRONIC. Well, I recognize that, but to me, the irony simply wasn't strong enough. I need more than a twitch in the rear-view mirror to show me that Travis Bickle is still screwed up. This is one case where I don't believe less is more...it was simply too subtle. I think stronger opposites would have been more effective in this case.**