Relief


Operation: Save the Grades is over, and I hope it was a success. I worked my tail off this week, writing a pair of extensive papers, putting together a portfolio of all my articles for the Daily Universe this semester (26 in all!) and doing a few front-page layouts for work mixed in. I hate how everything comes to a head the final week of the semester -- you'd think they'd be able to work things out so it's not so compressed and everything isn't due the same day. I know that's illogical but I still like complaining about it.

Anyway, so I finished all of that, and now all I have to do is take a Doctrine and Covenants final tomorrow, and then wait to take my media law final next Thursday. (It's being given in class, so I can't take it any earlier than then, which is annoying.) So today I'm being epically lazy. I slept in till 11 (except for a brief interruption at 9 this morning when a girl decided to bug me about when the hockey game was tonight) and have done nothing constructive since except put in a load of laundry, and that's only because I can't take a shower until I have some clean underwear to put on. I have no idea what I'm going to do tonight, or tomorrow. And that's beautiful.

I missed last night's ward Christmas party because of work. Not that I was dead-set on going, although it would have been cool -- it was held at a big resort-type cabin up Hobble Creek Canyon in Springville. Apparently my bishop has connections (he IS ridiculously wealthy). There's an indoor sports court, pool, huge movie watching room, the works. So I missed out on that, unfortunately. I missed it last year, too, for work I think. Oh well. I'm sure no one in my ward missed me. I did have a good time last weekend going up to Temple Square with my home teachees. They're some of my best (read: only) friends in the ward. Except for my roommate. He bugs. At least I won't have that problem when I move home.

Because I'm pretty much set on leaving this ward when I do. It's the "right" thing to do, anyway -- you're supposed to go to the ward you belong to geographically, and goodness knows I don't have a lot of reason to stay. I'm looking forward to meeting new people.

The same girl who woke me up this morning just had a long conversation with me about how frustrated she is with the guy she's dating. He's basically taking advantage of her by claiming that he only wants an "open" relationship because he was in a serious relationship not too long ago and doesn't want to jump into another one. That sounds legitimate on the surface, but guys have been using that excuse to avoid commitment since the beginning of time. Anyway, this girl is just an absolute flake. She's pretty, but she damn well knows it, and she has some serious pride issues, not wanting to "settle" for guys she considers beneath her in the looks department. Then she comes crying to me when the guys she goes after treat her badly, not understanding that by not "settling" physically she's setting herself up for whatever she gets emotionally.

Then she had the nerve to complain about Provo guys and how they only want to go on first dates and "there's always some other hot chick." I told her pretty bluntly that she should be the last person to whine about that when all she's interested in is looks, and that she wouldn't have that problem if she weren't so full of herself. She got offended, and maybe rightfully so, but I found it very ironic that she would complain about the very thing that she does to other guys who are interested in her, whom she dismisses out of hand because they're not attractive enough for her.

Wrong as she was, she makes a decent point about the BYU/Provo dating scene. Because there's such a vast quantity of eligible single people in the valley, everyone is convinced that they could "do better." Few people, especially the younger variety, and in my point of view especially girls, want to get right into a relationship for fear that they will shut off other possibilities, some of which might be better than what they've got. I've probably been guilty of that myself at some point. I suppose it's natural to think that way, with so many single people around. But it's frustrating to me, who's had nobody interested in him all semester, and yet has had to live with roommates who perpetuate this attitude.

I think I'm just getting older as the atmosphere around me seems to stay the same. On Sunday I'll be 23. I'm two years older than most of the girls in the ward, and more like four years older in some cases. I don't feel all that different myself, but the older I get, the more I seem to notice a contrast between myself and the world and culture and people around me. So I suppose I am growing up. It just feels like everyone else isn't.

I felt for sure last night
That once we said goodbye
No one else will know these lonely dreams
No one else will know that part of me
I'm still driving away
And I'm sorry every day
I won't always love these selfish things
I won't always live
Not stopping

It was my turn to decide
I knew this was our time
No one else will have me like you do
No one else will have me, only you

You'll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
I'm here I'm now I'm ready
Holding on tight
Don't give away the end
The one thing that stays mine

Amazing still it seems
I'll be 23
I won't always love what I'll never have
I won't always live in my regret

You'll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?
I'm here I'm now I'm ready
Holding on tight
Don't give away the end
The one thing that stays mine

"23," by Jimmy Eat World

Ten reasons for the Jazz's 12-1 start


Felt like doing a column-type thing about the Jazz. My apologies to anyone who reads my blog and doesn't care about sports. Tough cookies.

So why are the Jazz doing so well? Reasons 1-10 are as follows:

1) They're healthy. Despite the recent troubles with AK47's ankle and Giricek's Achilles, everybody else is in perfect shape. Apparently, a healthy Carlos Boozer = twenty points, ten rebounds and three assists per night guaranteed.

2) Deron Williams lost twenty pounds in the off-season and has a much better idea of what it takes to run an NBA team. The added time getting comfortable with Boozer and Okur has helped him set them up for good shots. The three of them have a real chemistry going that wasn't there last year.

3) In all honesty, they've had a pretty easy schedule thus far. We'll learn a lot more about the team when we play the Spurs, Mavs and Cavs. Not saying the Jazz aren't better than those teams, because I think they are. But they need to be tested.

4) Jerry Sloan has realized that in order for rookies to really progress, he has to play them. His old strategy was to let rookies "develop" (i.e. sit on the bench) while learning from Stockton and Malone. He doesn't have that luxury any more -- this is a young team no matter who plays. He learned from the experience with Williams last year (who had flashes of brilliance mixed with periods of suckitude) that, even though there will be inconsistent play, the best way for a rookie to develop (or to show that he's a bust) is to give him minutes.

5) Paul Millsap is a beast, the steal of the draft. Why do people put so much emphasis on draft combines and athletic ability and "potential upside?" If anybody had so much as glanced at Millsap's game tape, they would have seen an extremely hard-nosed player who has an inexplicable knack for being in perfect position for rebounds despite his lack of size. This dude LED THE NATION in rebounding for three straight years. Yes, it was at Louisiana Tech, but I don't care. You can't lead the country in anything for three straight years if you're not doing something right. (The moral of the story: look at performance, not potential, when scouting players.)

6) Sweet powder blue jerseys. (Instantly went on my Christmas list as soon as I saw them.)

7) Derek Fisher. His numbers might not suggest that he's such a huge part of the team's success (certainly he scored more with Golden State). But his veteran presence in that locker room seriously cannot be denied. I interviewed the Jazz players at media day before the season began, and while everyone else was just talking about making the playoffs, Fish had the confidence to say that the ultimate goal was a championship. And it wasn't in an arrogant or wishful way. The guy is a consummate professional. And his attitude has spread throughout the team.

8 ) "The Nuke." (I refuse to call it Ener-whatever-place.)

9) The Jazz have seven players that could legitimately go off for twenty points on any given night (Boozer, Okur, Williams, Fisher, Harpring, Kirilenko, Millsap). Opposing teams will focus on Boozer, yes, but when you have that kind of balanced scoring, it's very difficult to play lockdown defense, because anyone on the floor is a threat. That's why the Jazz have been able to stage these ridiculously awesome comebacks -- late in the game, defenses get tired and have trouble rotating to cover everybody. The player you leave open is the player who's going to kill you. That wasn't true of the Jazz in years past. Because of team depth, it's true now.

10) Karma. We had all those marvelous years where Stockton and Malone never got hurt, ever. We paid the price for all that success in the past four years. Our injuries, crappy draft picks and struggles have appeased the Basketball Gods. As my friend Supermatt said, "WE'RE DUE."

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose


Been wanting to blog for a while; never found the time. Thanksgiving weekend, nothing much to do, just spent ten hours at grandparents' house, so thought I'd give it a shot before the turkey kicks in.

The title of this blog entry comes from the new NBC show "Friday Night Lights." Anyone who knows me knows that the movie by the same name is one of my all-time favorites. The show uses many of the same plot devices (star player gets injured, backup has to step up, coach faces pressure from administration, tries to juggle family and football, etc) but also adds a considerable amount of teen drama, which I'm not a huge fan of. I liked the movie because a lot of that drama was understated -- it sat in the background, definitely acknowledged but never in the spotlight. In the TV show, entire episodes focus on such things, like the head cheerleader cheating on her quarterback boyfriend (now paralyzed) with his best friend (who is also on the team). I don't need whole episodes about that. I need whole episodes about football, with that sort of thing mixed in here and there, but tastefully. So that's a quibble, and honestly, it's getting to be a bigger one as the season progresses. But when the focus IS on football, it's extremely entertaining. The second episode featured the coach motivating the backup quarterback by taking him to the stadium at midnight and giving him a subtle but powerful speech, then having him practice snap counts while blasting crowd noise over the stadium speakers. Cool stuff.

To get back on point, the title of this entry is the war cry of the fictional FNL team (they yell it as they leave the locker room before every game). And no, the team hasn't won all their games (this isn't Remember The Titans, it's a little more real, and I like that), but that isn't the point. Focus on your goal, remember why you do what you do, and everything will work out, despite challenges along the way. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

I've been feeling the same way this semester. I've been really busy trying to juggle my class load and work responsibilities with everything else. My main concern has been money. I don't have any of it. I have to move home as a result, and I'm not happy about it, although I'm a little more comfortable with the idea now than I was two months ago. At the start of the semester I blogged about how I felt like I was making real progress in my life, like I was starting to understand what was expected of me and how to proceed, and what to focus on. Moving home feels like a huge step backwards in that regard. My parents and even my older brother have assured me that it doesn't have to be that way. But I can't help feeling like it anyway. And it's frustrating.

Even more frustrating is the fact that I haven't been on a date in I don't know how long. Because of my work load, which hasn't been terribly heavy but has been time-consuming, I seem to have missed out on some social opportunities. Meanwhile, I live with two of the most popular guys at BYU, apparently, who go on three dates each every weekend (usually with a different girl every time). Never a second date for them, though -- they're having too much fun. Nothing frustrates me more than knowing how well I would treat a girl, given a freakin chance, but not getting that chance, while my roommates seem to want to single-handedly get every girl interested with no intention of ever moving forward with them. Again, going back to my viewpoint at the start of the semester, I told myself I would focus on myself, concentrate on what I needed to improve, and just take what came. Well, I really thought SOMETHING would come. This has been the loneliest semester of my life. I've lost thirty pounds, I have an excellent job in my field of study, I'm fulfilling a lifelong dream by covering sports for a newspaper, I'm closer to my family than I have been at times past, I enjoy my church calling... I have a lot going for me. So why in all nine circles of hell hasn't a girl noticed all this? It baffles me.

(One more thought before I leave the subject of girls -- GROW UP. Honestly, I don't know what girls are looking for, but it isn't what they SAY they're looking for. If it was, they wouldn't be dating jerks and looking for superficial physical qualities. And not every guy just wants action. I can't express how many times I've tried to just talk to a girl to be friendly and she has looked at me like I'm the slime of the earth, assumed I was hitting on her, and stiffed me. Get over yourselves, girls. Looks -- yours and mine -- are not everything. It's time to figure out what you really want. Okay, I'm done.)

So, yes, I'm frustrated. But I still feel like, if I continue to do what I know is right, and what I enjoy, then things will get better. Moving home will give me more money to try and go on a few dates (assuming a female EVER shows interest in me EVER again EVER). An easy semester next year will give me a bit more free time. Being at home with my little brothers and wanting to be an example for them will motivate me to stay vigilant with my spiritual progress. A treadmill in the house will make running a lot more convenient. And surely, with all that to look forward to, things will improve. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

It helps if I keep telling myself that.

Now, on to happier matters. The Utah Jazz. They have won eleven games. They have lost one. On a scale of one to stoked, I'm pretty damn stoked. Not in my most optimistic wishful dreams did I think we would be this good. Deron Williams is playing better than Chris Paul. Carlos Boozer thinks he's Karl Malone. Mehmet Okur isn't doing fantastic but playing solid. Derek Fisher is the consummate professional. Paul Millsap is the steal of the draft. We haven't even MISSED Andrei Kirilenko (5-0 while he's been out with a sore ankle). And more than all that, we're winning close games. We're coming back from huge deficits. We're leading the league in scoring average. Ye gods. Honestly, every time I look out my window during a Jazz game, I fully expect to see pigs floating serenely by.

Do I expect this success to last? We'll see. We haven't played some of the tougher teams in the league yet (San Antonio, Cleveland, the Lakers, Dallas) so we need to see how we stack up against them. But I have a lot of hope, a lot of faith.

BYU's march to the conference championship has been thoroughly enjoyable as well. But honestly, it will mean a whole lot less (I stop short of saying "nothing") if we don't beat Utah on Saturday. Our newspaper and the U's put out a joint section about the rivalry this week. We stuck to football. They attacked our university's players, staff, faculty, standards, academics, and philosophy. Very classy. Guess I can't expect more from the Utes.

My busy schedule has prevented me from logging more time on my PS2 lately, which is a shame because I have a beautiful copy of Final Fantasy XII just sitting there, begging for usage. The jury's still out on the game as a whole -- I'm only twelve hours in, and the story hasn't picked up much yet -- but there's some interesting things. The whole game smacks of FF XI, really -- the battle system is far more MMO than console RPG, and the graphics and city structure is very reminiscent. It's been enjoyable so far, though. Further updates as events warrant.

I think I'm done for now.

One month later


So I've finally decided to post here again. Don't know why I haven't for so long. Just haven't gotten around to it. Seems as if a lot has happened, even though none of it is really that big a deal. This post will probably be very spastic as my mind wanders over the past month, so bear with me. (If anyone even reads this.)

I've decided I'm fat. Overweight. Borderline obese, really. I'm carrying about twenty pounds more than I should. I'm more like thirty or forty pounds over my mission weight (of course, I was thinner than I've ever been back then). Most of it is sheer laziness and massive consumption of fast food. This summer has not been a good one for my pocketbook or my stomach -- I've wasted so much money on food I can't even begin to count it. Most of that is because of work at the bank; when you've only got an hour for lunch and it would take you twenty minutes to drive home and twenty to drive back, to say nothing of the cost of gas, it's just not really efficient. And I'm just not domestic enough to bring a sack lunch or leave food in the refrigerator at work. So, fast food it has been, for most of the summer. And boy, does it show.

To rectify this, I've started running. I think it's been about three weeks, and I haven't missed a single day. I don't really know if it's doing any good (my unreliable bathroom scale fluctuates between five and seven pounds lost in that time), but I feel better, at least. I usually do two miles a night, sometimes more, sometimes a bit less, but I have a usual route that takes me around two miles.

I hate doing it. It's almost insufferably boring -- my iPod is the only thing that makes it tolerable. It's always been a struggle for me to exercise without the purpose that playing a sport provides. I can play soccer or basketball for hours on end, because there's a point to the exertion. When it's just putting one foot in front of the other, even a half hour seems like eternity. But, for whatever reason, when 10 or 11pm rolls around, I lace up my shoes (I even bought running shoes!) and hit the pavement, even when I don't really feel like doing it at all. I suppose that's worth something, even if it never shows on my stomach.

What next... I'm quitting at the bank. It's been almost a year and a half that I've been working there. It's been a perfect student job -- very reliable hours, decent pay, low difficulty, friendly-ish people, and I've learned a bit about handling money -- but it's time to move on. It's not like I can move up any further as a part-time employee there, so I wouldn't be getting another raise or anything. And banking has nothing to do with my career, so it's not really benefitting me.

This has led to my getting a job at the Daily Universe, BYU's daily newspaper. I'm already going to be writing for the paper -- that's what the Comms 321 class is for -- but the job I landed is as a copy editor, which involves editing stories, designing page layouts, and just generally doing the nuts and bolts of getting the paper ready for printing. I initally thought I didn't have enough design experience -- at my interview, the girl who interviewed me seemed very dubious about my lack of knowledge and proper design samples, outside of my high school newspaper work. But I guess they thought I was qualified enough to at least work around that. It doesn't pay as much, and it will only involve about fifteen hours a week instead of the twenty-five I was working at the bank. So I'll definitely be looking at some tight monetary situations. But the experience I gain will be worth it, I think. I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm looking forward to the new school year in general. This summer has been a big disappointment for me in many ways. I thought I would be able to meet more people, maybe start dating someone again. I thought I would have worked out more than I have, although I'm trying to change that. I thought I would have been having more fun, when I've just sort of been prolonging the status quo (go to work, come home, eat, watch ESPN, play PS2 a bit, play guitar, read, watch more ESPN, eat, go to bed, rinse, repeat). Not that I really have anyone to blame but myself, but I suppose I had expectations that I just didn't meet, for whatever reason.

The new year should bring a lot more for me. I'm starting a new job that directly relates to my field of study. (In fact, the thought came to me that from now on, probably every single job I take will be in my chosen career path. Sort of scary.) The ward is getting almost 70% new people, most of them new girls, so that's promising. And I just feel older.

I feel like I've grown up a fair amount lately. Especially in regards to my relationship expectations. I've spent so much time in my life worrying about the impression I was giving to girls, trying to put my best foot forward and get noticed, trying to attract attention. And yet I knew that every single relationship I've had has been fairly natural -- that a mutual attraction was felt and we just both acted on it, with no undue effort required. I KNOW that's how it has happened, and I think more or less that's how it always will happen, and yet I continue to work my butt off and try to impress girls and take them on dates when it never does any good.

So I'm giving up on that. I've come to the conclusion that I simply need to work on myself. I need to make sure that I'm happy with the progress I'm making in my own life, and that the right girl will notice that when the time comes. The fact that I've started running is a part of that. So is getting my new job with the newspaper. I need to continue to work on some spiritual things as well. I think that way, regardless of whether I do a whole ton of social things or not, I'm putting my best foot forward by being the kind of person I want to be. And I'll let the girls decide if my best version of myself is something they want or not. If not, fine. I'll still know that what I'm doing is right. (And yes, I'll probably be depressed as hell along the way, but it's got to be better than taking girl after girl on first date after first date and having a whole lot of nothing to show for it.) Anyway, we'll see how long my new resolve lasts.

Despite the issues I'm having to struggle with lately (especially money), I feel pretty happy and optimistic about my life. I'm hoping that's a step in the right direction.

Now, on to more frivolous things.

This link must be listened to with headphones. It will BLOW YOUR MIND. And I dare you not to look around the room as you listen to it.

http://www.holophonic.ch/archivio/testaudio/Cereni%20-%20Holophonic.mp3

I'm telling you, sheer brilliance in audio form.

I saw Talladega Nights a week or two ago. Funny movie, if you can stomach the sacrilege and a little crudeness (though, as modern comedies go, it's not that crude. Mind that prayer scene, though -- it nearly made me leave the theater.) Full review coming soon on twoshumsup.com.

Shadow of the Colossus has skyrocketed up my list of favorite video games ever. It's more an experience than a game -- you play as a warrior who has come to this forbidden temple to strike a bargain with a sort of godlike spirit: you need a certain dead girl brought back to life, and he needs you to destroy the sixteen colossi wandering the face of the land. So off you ride on your trusty (massive) horse, sword in hand and bow on back, out to find and kill these shaggy rock-like beasts. Really, the game is simple: figure out where to find colossus, figure out how to get there, figure out how to get on top of colossus, climb colossus, figure out where to stab colossus, stab repeatedly. And that's it. That's the whole game. No other enemies to fight, no other items to collect, just you, your horse, and sixteen mammoth monsters.

Sound boring? To a lot of people, I bet it is. But it helps that the game is drop-dead gorgeous, with fantastic over-exposed lighting effects and a sense of scale that can't be duplicated. It's fun simply to ride around the landscape, seeing what you can see, and there's always a new breath-taking vista over every hilltop and through every canyon.

The word I keep coming back to in describing this game is "epic." There's just this sense of grandeur about the whole thing that can't really be summed up without playing it. Add in the crazy plot twist at the end (mind you, there's basically no plot through the whole game) and you have one of my favorite games of all time.

I've picked up a fair amount of new music lately; trading some stuff with a guy at work has helped. Pinback, Explosions In The Sky, Of Sinking Ships, and Sigur Ros are some of the faves.
(Someday I'll find a girl with the same taste in music as me... sigh.) EITS' albums "Those Who Tell The Truth" and "The Earth Is Not A Cold, Dead Place" cry out to be listened to. Oh, and go catch Darci Cash on myspace. "God You Were Sweet" is my new favorite song.

Dear goodness, I've written college papers that were shorter than this. End.

Park City and Pirates


Haven't posted in quite a while. Not all that much has happened to talk about, I guess. I did take a trip to Park City over the weekend for the annual Eliason side of the family get-together. All the regular characteristics were there -- pool table, video games, screaming little kids, good food. The trip has just felt increasingly different as I get older, though. I don't really know how to explain it. I think that it used to be a lot bigger deal to get all the cousins together, especially with aunts and uncles and everyone. Aunt Becky and Uncle Randy aren't around anymore, and that changes things, I guess. Mostly I guess it's just that life is changing around me.

The weirdest thing about the weekend was that it was the last time I will see my brother Dave and his wife Jessica for who-knows-how-long. They left straight from Park City to get on the road to Indiana, where Dave will go to graduate school at Purdue. It was very odd saying goodbye to them. I haven't hung out with them all that much, I guess, even though they were living quite close. Most of the time they enjoyed being a couple by themselves, or with a couple of close friends. I've really grown to love Jess, though -- I hope I can find someone half as cool to marry me. I'm going to miss coming to her with girl troubles, and sharing movie opinions with them, and playing music together, on the rare occasions that our band got together. (Clark, our guitarist/Dave's best friend, is still around and I have the feeling that he'll be hanging out a lot more with me as a sort of surrogate Dave. Suits me; he's cool.)

Our family is just really growing up and getting older, and it's a tough change. Not to mention that Meagan has spent the last month in London (which I'm just really jealous about). Actually, it seems like life is changing for just about everyone but me. I seem to be stuck in something of a rut -- I don't feel that much older right now than right when I got home. I dunno. Maybe the fall will bring change.

I don't think I ever talked about taking a girl in my ward out to dinner and to see the new Pirates movie. First, the date. It was pretty good. We had decent conversation, and she's a fun girl. I just didn't sense ANY sort of motivation from her to ask her out again. Definitely seemed like yet another one-and-done date. I still may ask her out again at some point, but I really don't think she's interested. Whatever.

So, the movie. (By the way, I've started a site where I review everything that I feel like reviewing. I call it "Two Shums Up." You can find it at twoshumsup.com. There's nothing really there yet. I plan to copy and paste this review of Pirates over there. More will be coming.)

Anyway, so I think I'm one of the few people hereabouts who didn't absolutely adore the first Pirates movie. I thought it was an enjoyable popcorn movie. I enjoyed Johnny Depp's character, Geoffrey Rush was brilliant, I thought Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley acquitted themselves well, the action was fun, the production values excellent, the music stirring -- but I felt it was overlong, a bit repetitive, and definitely not overly intelligent. A decent film, worth owning but not worth worshipping. Still, it knew its limitations and stuck to what it was good at.

Trust Hollywood to go too far and sequel a perfectly decent film to death. The sheer wonder and fun of the first movie is gone in the second. If I felt like the first was overlong, this one was almost sleep-inducing (clocking in at over two and a half hours is not permissible unless it's the Lord of the Rings). The characters and acting remain solid, if familiar, the sets and costumes are still incredible (big props to the costumes of the damned crew of the Flying Dutchman, especially) and the action scenes are very enjoyable (with the fight between Will, Jack and Norrington in the rolling wheel thingy the highlight).

I think the thing that really broke the movie for me was the melodramatic and unnecessarily convoluted plot. The revelations about Will's father aboard Davy Jones' ship were boring, the actual terms and cause of Jack's debt incomprehensible, and the attempt at making Elizabeth fall for Jack simply ridiculous. (As if it's not enough that EVERY WOMAN IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE already swoons over Cap'n Jack, now we've got to have Elizabeth go all fluttery over him too? Lame.) And Jack's death at the end of the film was weightless, because everyone knew it was hardly permanent, as the ending set up yet another cash cow... um, I mean, film, in the franchise.

I dunno. I'm probably being too hard on poor Pirates 2. But it really didn't do that much for me. There were funny parts, yes, but they seemed to rehash those from the first film. (The rum's gone again? Tee-hee!) There were action parts, but none seemed as epic or fun as those from the original. And it didn't help that I couldn't understand a dang word that Davy Jones guy was saying. Add in the length, the cliffhanger ending, and the whole thing just didn't satisfy me. I won't see it again in theaters, unless it's at the dollar. One Shum up out of two.

I could write more, but it's really late and I think my internet connection is being dodgy anyway. So I'll leave it here for now.

Gobstoppers


I love them. I used to eat a box of these things every week, sometimes two, back in middle school. It was a co-worker's birthday the other day, so I bought her a big bag of Peanut Butter M&M's (another favorite) and picked up some Gobstoppers for myself while I was at it. Haven't finished the box yet, which is a big deal, considering it's been like three days. It's a big box. But they're one of my favorite candy-type things.

I think I'm needing Sunday more and more every week. I need the Church in my life, I really do. Even if I don't particularly enjoy what's said in sacrament meeting or in lessons or whatever, I really need a place I know I can go to feel the Spirit and feel better about myself. I was talking to a friend today about how rarely she goes to church, mostly because her (idiot) boyfriend doesn't go with her (she says it's due to his work schedule -- I just think he's a wanker). But just attending church isn't everything, I suppose. A bunch of people on a message board I frequent mentioned that, especially around here, church attendance does not necessarily correspond to the moral quality of the person. I can see how that's possible, but it certainly can't hurt.

I was feeling a little blown-off recently by some of my friends. I realize that not everybody can spare time for me all the time, and that not everybody wants to have big serious conversations where I can give them my amateur counselling services. But it would be nice to talk to somebody and have them actually turn and face me while I'm doing so. More and more I'm realizing that there's a lot of people who only want to talk to me when their lives are stressful or complicated or whatever, just because I'm a good listener. But when I turn around and want to talk about similar occurrences in my own life, they aren't nearly so interested in being friendly. Fortunately, I did talk to a couple of people tonight who don't act like that. (Although, would it kill you to call ME once in a while, Les?)

I had a good time on a date last night (yes, I actually went on a date, it's been a while, so back off). I don't know how she felt about things, but I enjoyed myself, I thought we had good conversation, and we got to know a bit more about each other. We saw Pirates 2 (review coming on that in a minute) and had dinner before that -- she was a bit rushed because of a hair appointment right before I picked her up (although it was worth the wait -- her hair looked really good). Don't know what will happen there, but I don't really think I need to know. It was fun, we enjoyed ourselves; I think that's good enough for now.

It did get me to thinking, though, about how difficult it is for a guy when the time comes to decide about a second date or not. To a great extent, the guy holds all the cards on the first date. He chooses who he will ask out (despite the feminist girl-power movement, girls around here flat refuse to ask guys on dates themselves), he chooses what they will do and how intimate or serious (or not) it will be, etc. And the guy can be pretty sure that the girl will agree to go, even if it's just to be polite (or for the free dinner/movie/whatever). On the other hand, many girls have often complained to me that they sit at home on weekends because nobody will ask them out. And they have a point. I personally think most girls hereabouts really don't show a whole lot of interest and force the guys to do all the guesswork themselves, but I see their point of view.

However, the whole dynamic changes when considering the second date. Now the ball is completely in the girl's court. She can do any number of things when the guy asks her out again. There's the "I don't want to hurt your feelings, so I'll make up an excuse" option. There's the "I'm not really interested, but another fun evening for free? Why not?" option. There's the "I don't know how I feel so we'll just try it again" option. And many others. The girl can decide the date, the time, just about anything. And it really makes the guy vulnerable. At least, it makes me feel vulnerable. It's really going out on a limb when you ask a girl out on a second date not knowing how she's feeling. I've been rejected pretty coldly in the past on such occasions. My viewpoint is, if I liked her enough to ask her out once, barring a catastrophe on the first date, I'm probably going to ask her out again. But a lot of girls accept a first date knowing full well that there is no chance for a second. And that's sort of frustrating.

I'm not really blaming anyone. It's just a difficult game to play. I don't like the position it puts me in. Nobody likes feeling as if something's out of their control, I suppose.

Lights will guide you home


Every so often, I get all mushy over music. Playing "Fix You" on the piano just now almost made me cry. Seems like I'm always the one to try to fix other people. I dunno. Music strikes me in strange ways sometimes.

My back is KILLING ME from sleeping on this stupid bed. I really need to flip my mattres but I'm just too lazy to do it, and I don't think it will really help anyway. I seem to recall this happening back before my mission as well, but I don't remember it being so acute. I wake up at 9 in the morning, earlier sometimes, and my lower back just aches and no sleeping position will fix it. Way frustrating. Maybe it's my body's way of telling me to get out of bed and stop being a lazy arse and go running or something. I'm sure there are things I could take care of before 9am -- I just don't know what they are.

Started talking to a couple of new people in the ward. The gay best friend syndrome strikes again -- I'm pretty sure neither of them would ever even consider me as a possible option for dating or whatever, but yet again, something about me inspires people to open up to me and talk about their lives and problems and such. I think maybe it's just because I show such an interest in other people. Everyone likes talking about themselves, right? (I mean, what is a blog if not a way to talk as much as you please without anyone interrupting you? It's the height of me-first communication. Guess that's why I enjoy it -- goodness knows I don't get enough of an outlet for that usually. Except at the soccer game tonight; thanks to a good friend for that.)

Totally in limbo with that one girl who once invited me to Lagoon with her. I asked if she'd like to come to the soccer game tonight, and she turned me down very politely, saying she had too much homework, even pulling the "maybe I'll meet you there later" thing, which of course was total bollocks. I get home and walk outside, and there she is sitting out on the front steps with about ten other people, just sitting and talking. Really studying hard, apparently. I realize now that she's in NO way interested in anything from me, and is only showing me token politeness to have me as a buddy and someone who doesn't think ill of her. Fine by me. Just so long as I know where I stand. I think I do now.

So, if not that option (and let's face it, it never really was much of one), then where do I look? I dunno -- I haven't met many new people, obviously, not being in classes at the moment. It's basically my ward, and that's it. (By the way, completely got snubbed by a girl who used to be in my dinner group tonight. I said hi and she gave an imperious little nod of her head, like it was too much effort to say anything to acknowledge me. I knew I always bugged her somehow, but I never realized she thought she was too good for me. There's several girls in the ward I get that impression from. Ugh. Grow up.) I'm really getting antsy -- I think this past period, just over a month, is the longest I've gone since being home from my mission without going on a date. Bit frustrating, really. I don't want to just pick someone at random just for the sake of going on a date, but I have no prospects at all. I dunno.

Firefly is the best show ever made. The end.

Come Forth On July


So, it's the wee hours of the Fourth, and I'm chillin at my compy. I spent the evening with a buddy from the ward, playing copious amounts of FIFA '06. I suppose I could have been doing other things -- I know a bunch of friends from the ward were pulling an all-nighter out at the parade route, but that anti-interested me. I so rarely get days off, I plan to sleep as much as I possibly can. (Or rather, as much as my lousy mattress and sore back will allow. I find that the longer I sleep in, the more painful my back gets. I don't know if that's a result of sleeping on crappy mattresses for the past three years, including the mission. As soon as I get up and start moving around, everything's fine, but right when I roll out of bed... ouch.) Not to mention that I'd probably promptly get ignored once I got there. Just the way some people are.

Anyway, I don't know if my family has any big plans for tomorrow, but my plan consists of sleeping in as much as possible, basically ignoring the parade, maybe tidying up the apartment a bit (we're starting to get an ant problem), and watching the World Cup game at 12:30. I personally think Germany will win pretty easily. They're the home team and no opponent has really been able to slow down their attack. But if anyone can do it, it's Italy. We'll see. Should be a great match. After that, I assume my family will have some sort of barbecue, and we'll set off some obligatory fireworks, but I've sort of lost my enthusiasm for that too. I think you either need young kids or overly excitable friends to really get into that. And I don't really have a set of friends that I could really get into that with. So, I'll do whatever happens to tickle my fancy tomorrow.

So the whole deal with the girl I was going to go to Lagoon with fell through. There weren't that many people that ended up going, and she decided she'd rather go visit her grandparents in Spanish Fork. I didn't even end up seeing her that night. In fact, I haven't seen her since Friday. Oh well. She's hard to read. One night she'll call me out of the blue to come do something with her, and the next night she won't return my calls or texts. Then she singles me out specifically to come to Lagoon, then she decides she isn't going. Then she makes it a point to talk to me at church, then proceeds to ignore me for the next week. Not sure what she's looking for. I think she just wants to have friends to pal around for the moment. That's cool, I guess. Just not what I want at the moment. Meh.

Not too much else to talk about, really. I had rather a boring weekend. Oh, I did manage to reconnect with a very old semi-acquaintance. A friend introduced me to a message board a couple months ago, and I've now become something of a regular lurker there. It so happens that another denizen of said message board used to go to my middle school, and we had a couple of classes together. Apparently I gave him some grief for wearing a cross around school (he's not a member of the Church, and I'm sure it never occurred to me that such people could exist at age 12). Anyway, we realized who each other was and met up at Best Buy on Saturday. It was cool to talk with him and see how both of us have grown up in different ways. We're still very different people with somewhat different morals, but that didn't stop us from having really fun conversation and just chillin. I think I've become a much more open-minded person as I've grown up. By BYU standards, I'm positively liberal.

So, boring post. With the Fourth tomorrow, and the World Cup, and maybe some more interesting interactions with people, following posts may be better.

You will see my life through your eyes


Several things to talk about tonight. First and foremost, the son of Jor El. I witnessed Superman Returns on Tuesday night at around 10. And I witnessed brilliance.

There's a difference between the Superman mythos and many other comics. Superman was one of the first superheroes ever, and the very first to gain mainstream popularity. This happened at a time (the 1930's) when comics were almost more like printed soap operas. Characters intertwined, storylines took weeks to resolve, and the real flashy action that we have now come to expect from our superhero movies took a backseat to drama and interpersonal relationships.

This was true of the Richard Donner-directed Superman movies of the 70's, starring Christopher Reeve. They placed a premium on drama, and downplayed the action. You watched for the interplay between bumbling Clark Kent and the impossibly handsome Man of Steel, for the way Lois treated one or the other, for the discoveries of his Kryptonian heritage. And when the few moments of action came, they were so heightened because they were so rare. These things gave a very different dynamic to the Superman films, differentiating them from the 80's Batman flicks, and the 2000's Spiderman and X-Men movies.

Director Bryan Singer wisely kept this dynamic in place in his new film. Every moment, every interaction between characters, is deliberate but not forced, emphasized but not emphatic. Brandon Routh does a terrific job portraying an emotionally stolid Man of Steel. It isn't easy to show emotion by being unemotional. It seems like Superman's always got his heart in the right place, his feelings under control. But you sense the turmoil beneath the surface -- the longing, the hope, perhaps even the despair at times. This is as much a testament to Singer's touch behind the lens and the tightness of the script as Routh's acting. Whatever it is, it works.

Kevin Spacey is delightfully amoral as Lex Luthor. I think he had a TON of fun with this role. He was able to ham it up a bit ("Krrrrryp-tonite!!!") without going overboard. And Kate Bosworth does a fairly decent job as Lois Lane, though I could have used a bit more fire from her (and a bit less meltiness when Supes takes her for a night flight). James Marsden steals the show as Lois's fiance, perfectly walking the line between jealousy and quiet support. (It's nice to know he can act without a big Cyclops visor covering his face.)

But it's really the tones, the colors, the sets (Fortress of Solitude), and the whole world of Metropolis (and the views of Earth from Superman's vigil in space) that create a feeling of majesty that no other superhero movie will touch. It's a bit overlong, there really isn't much action (either Supes is stopping bullets with his eyes, or getting the crap beat out of him while Lex slices him up with a Kryptonite dagger -- there's not much in between), and those who are looking for something a bit more accessible may not find it. Come with an open mind and a desire for storytelling, drama, and grandeur, and you won't be disappointed.

Okay, and now for something completely different...

The NBA Draft was held today, and the Jazz were in DIRE need of a shooting guard to complement our stable of big men (Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur) and our point guard of the future (Deron Williams). The draft this year was littered with several promising talents, including J.J. Redick of Duke, the consensus Player of the Year and 3-point shooter extraordinaire. Well, he was snapped up by the Magic with the 11th pick. The big man we had coveted, Mouhamed Saer Sene from Senegal, had vanished with the 10th pick by the Sonics. So we sat at number 14 as trades and rumors of trades spread throughout the land.

When our turn finally came around, we settled on Ronnie Brewer from Arkansas, a 6'7" shooting guard and an athlete to end all athletes. His strengths, according to ESPN draftniks, are his slashing ability to get to the basket, his high energy, his long wingspan, and his defensive prowess. However, what the Jazz really need is someone with a good outside shot, and due to a childhood accident that prevents him from fully extending his arm in a proper shooting motion, Ronnie Brewer does not have that. He makes do, and though his shot is ugly as sin, it goes in the hoop. (Players like Shawn Marion of the Suns make do with similarly unorthodox shooting methods.) So I'm cautiously optimistic. He definitely fills a need.

My worries are twofold:
1) That the organization, including Coach Sloan, will treat him like he doesn't belong in the whitebread Jazz system. This has happened before, most recently with Kirk Snyder and DeShawn Stevenson. Perhaps neither of them had the athletic ability or skill that Brewer has, but it's still cause for concern.
2) The look on Brewer's face when he heard his name called and realized, "Aw crap, I'm going to Utah." The kid just guaranteed himself a three-year multi-million dollar contract, and he looked like his ex-fiance who left him at the altar had just run over his dog. I'm telling you, that was not a happy look on his face. Despair would come much closer.

So, if we can overcome Brewer's misconceptions about this great state, and if he gets the playing time he needs, things could be very good. But we'll see.

The other two draft picks we had in the second round were Dee Brown from Illinois and Paul Millsap from Louisiana Tech. Apparently Millsap's supposed to be the second coming of Karl Malone, since he's from the same school. I'll take whatever we can get from him. I'm excited about seeing what Dee Brown can do when paired with his old backcourt mate from Illinois, Deron Williams. That should be fun.

All in all, a good night. We addressed some needs, got some very solid new talent, still don't have a man over 6'10". Looks like we're in for another lackluster year of tantalizing ups and infuriating downs. We'll see.

Next on the list...

So, I spend several hours tonight watching the draft, listening to analysis about all the picks, reading analysis about all the picks online, listening to the Real game (we gave up two goals in the last ten minutes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory), and had home teaching and played Soul Calibur with Chase in between. (Talk about humiliation. The kid has never played the game before and beat me soundly. I am ashamed.)

The problem was, I had put my phone on silent while my home teachers were here. So, I didn't hear Shae call to tell me about her New York trip, AND (stupid stupid stupid my gosh I'm stupid) I didn't get a call from a girl in my ward who I think is so cute it's like kryptonite and I just REALLY want to do things with but she's always working except tonight she wasn't and she was going to a movie and she invited me to come AND I DIDN'T HEAR MY PHONE RING BECAUSE I LEFT IT ON SILENT. Heaven forgive me for the profanities that escaped my mouth when I listened to her voice mail and berated myself for seven kinds of an idiot. Man. She's so busy all the time, it's so hard to get a hold of her, and she actually called ME to hang out and I'm sitting here blissfully unaware piddling around on the Internet and getting whacked by a pretend guy with pretend nunchucks on a friggin Playstation game!!

Excuse me.

*bangs head on wall repeatedly*

Ow.

All is not lost. She and her friends have plans to go to Lagoon on Saturday and I am invited, although that will be difficult, as I work till one and they plan on leaving around eleven. I'll have to drive straight up there by myself and spend twenty bucks for about six hours, not including gas. Is it worth it? Yes it is. Okay, it's not, but it helps if I tell myself that it is. Hopefully something enjoyable will come of that.

I just realized I have written far too many paragraphs about things that NOBODY but me cares about. I apologize to anyone who has slogged through this entire post in an attempt to find something interesting. I'm sorry. There's nothing here. These aren't the droids you're looking for. You can go on about your business.

Felt good, though.

Back again


... from the George of Saints, where I spent the weekend with my family. It was nice to take a couple days off from work and just chill. Sometimes family vacations become more stressful than everyday life, if they become too packed and full of things to do and a tight schedule has to be kept. Fortunately, this trip wasn't like that. In fact, aside from the abominable heat (I can't sleep at night if it's hot in the room) it was really great. We spent some time swimming, watching movies, playing games, and just generally enjoying one another's company. It was the last time that we'll really take a vacation together, since my sister will be in London by Wednesday and my brother and sister-in-law are headed to Purdue for graduate school.

I think I'm really going to miss them when they go -- not because I spend a lot of time with them (I don't really) but just because they won't be around now in case I do want to hang out. I love them both, and Jessica could not have fit in better with our family. I only wish that I can find such a perfect fit for myself someday. Still looking. I also think that my brother's best friend Clark is about to become better friends with me, as sort of a surrogate Dave while the real Dave is at Purdue. That's fine by me; Clark's a really funny guy and I'd love to hang out with him more, as long as it's for myself and not just as a replacement Dave. Maybe we'll get a more dedicated drummer and become rock stars.

I had a long talk/walk with Les tonight. She's convinced she's crazy. She's most definitely not. I know crazy when I see it, especially in light of recent events, and she is certainly not mentally unbalanced in any way. (I know she reads this -- I hope that reassures her.) We talked about a few different things, but we have very different opinions about certain things. She's very vehement about putting pressure on guys to take all the action in dating, initiate all the contact and do the asking out, because, according to her, there are "lots of girls who are SOOO cute who just sit at home lonely night after night because guys are stupid." To this, I would like to say: where in the hell ARE these girls?! And why are they not interested in me? We disagreed on this point, because I do just about everything I can to put myself out there, make myself available and ask girls out, and it hasn't done me a huge amount of good in the long run. She also said that guys should feel comfortable asking girls out and not be afraid that the girl will expect a relationship right away. From what I've seen, though, it's the guys who are willing to make commitments more than the girls, for the most part. I dunno. It's really good to have someone to argue and discuss these points with (so thanks Les, you're off friend probation, but don't push it -- you better stay in touch).

Don't even mention that atrocious Ghana match to me. That was NOT a penalty. We would have gone in tied at the half and destroyed them in the second half if not for that. Bollocks. Time to look forward to 2010 (the Cup will be held in South Africa! I'm so going). Now I'm focused on the Jazz getting a decent two-guard from the draft on Wednesday.

One roommate is moving back home for the summer tomorrow, so that's a plus. He and I have butted heads a bit -- not physically or anything serious, but we just have very different personalities and don't really mesh very well. He's a great guy, but I'm really looking forward to the different dynamic the apartment will have. The new guy who moved in tonight is called Rory -- I don't know much about him yet except that he's from Colorado, I think, and he's engaged (or will be later this week) and served in Romania on his mission and he's another bloody finance major (I think my apartment building spawns them). Seems like a nice enough guy, though. I just really hope our apartment doesn't become his makeout pad. Dammit, that living room is MY domain. Begone with your near-marital bliss and quasi-acceptable necking. Meh, maybe he's like Jim and hasn't even kissed the girl. I won't make snap judgments. But still...

The other new roommate won't move in until later this week. Apparently he's got a rockin' surround sound system. Maybe that'll make our place the new de facto movie-watching pad. (Nah, Darren's still got the projection screen. Besides, our TV doesn't have any of the proper inputs. I think the new guy might be rather disappointed when he sees what he has to work with. I hope it works out, though.)

I need Death Cab for Cutie tickets for August 8th. I need a date for the show too. I oughta get on that.

It's way late, but I'm not really tired. Which is weird, because I didn't really get copious amounts of sleep over the weekend. Meh. I'll give sleep a shot.

Seven hours away....


...from one of the biggest matches the US has ever played, ever. We HAVE to beat Ghana and Italy HAS to beat the Czech Republic. I joked to my roommate that only two things could get me out of bed at such an early hour if I didn't have to -- girls or the World Cup. (In a perfect world, these would be combined -- watching the World Cup with girls -- but whaddayagonnado.) We have the talent to do it, we really do. And we're catching Ghana at the right time, since they will be missing two of their three best players, Gyan and Muntari. Of course, we're also missing Pope and Mastroeni. But we've got other good players to bring on instead. We have the better team if we play up to our ability. I feel like a little kid on Christmas. I can't wait. And, because it's so early, I'll actually get to watch it! I've already told my boss at work that I'll probably be a little late, and if she doesn't like it, then tough, because goodness knows that place owes me something.

Update on the girls from the Twilight Zone: there isn't one, really. I fully planned to go visit them last night, but they weren't there when I got to the apartment they specified. (No one was there, in fact -- it really would be Twilight Zone-esque to find that that apartment has been empty for months or something.) I'll have to check again when I get back from St. George.

Oh yes, I'm leaving for the weekend tomorrow with my family. Since my sister is going to London starting next week, and my brother and sister-in-law will be gone to Purdue by the time she gets back, this will be the last chance we have to take a family vacation all together. I'm not sure exactly what we'll be doing -- I know that swimming, shopping and golf will be involved, as well as a trip to the St. George temple to do some baptisms. I'll be bringing the lappy, of course, but I don't know that he'll be much use, as I'm not sure that there will be an internet connection where we're staying. We'll see, I guess. I'm excited, though. This will be the first time I've had a proper chance to take a few days off from work since... well, since ever. I'm looking forward to it.

Currently grooving to the sweet sounds of Ryan Adams -- Clark hooked me up with several of his albums, as recompense for borrowing my keyboard the other night. (I told him about the Twilight Zone girls and my lack of Ben Folds-ability -- I think he felt bad.) Ryan is good stuff.

Did that just happen?


So I'm sitting on the couch in my apartment, messing around on iTunes, watching Sportscenter, just chillin, when there's a knock on my door. I yell come in, and in walks a pair of beautiful young women. One sits down on the couch by me, the other plops down in the rolling desk chair. We start talking. They comment on the Christmas tree which still occupies the corner of our living room. They ask my name. They make the requisite "Are you from Layton?" remark (honestly, one day, someone will forget to make this joke, and the world will immediately stop spinning). I ask their names (Veronica and Brittany, no last names given). I ask where they live. They say they live in Sparks, behind Golds Gym. I ask what they're doing in this neck of the woods. They say they were on a bike ride and decided to stop. Veronica sees the Anaheim Angels' Rally Monkey on Sportscenter. She mentions that she's a SoCal native and loves the Rally Monkey. This somehow leads to both girls breaking into, um, an interesting rendition of "I Believe I Can Fly." Brittany jumps off the couch and begins interpretive dancing to the lyrics. I of course do the logical thing. I join in singing. This somehow leads to me singing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin while Brittany dances (and I use that word loosely). This leads to both girls commenting on my voice. Brittany asks if I know any Ben Folds. I nearly go ballistic with chagrin because I let my friend Clark borrow my keyboard so I can't play any Ben Folds for her. I do manage to track down Chase's guitar and bring it out. I play and sing "Island In The Sun" by Weezer. They sing along at parts. They compliment my voice again. Veronica requests "Free Falling" by Tom Petty. I have never tried to play "Free Falling." I don't know the lyrics. Veronica steals my laptop and finds the lyrics online. I play the song perfectly. We sing together. We laugh. They get up to leave. I ask which apartment they live in
at Sparks. They tell me. They say they'll definitely be back. They leave. I sit in stunned, blissful silence.

I'm still not actually sure it happened.

Too many games


Ah, who am I kidding? There's no such thing. Behold the glory:

Starcraft (with Brood Wars expansion)
Freelancer
Unreal 2
Far Cry
Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto Vice City
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

All that for $40. That's some quality crap. Don't expect to see me for a while.

Cheez-Its


They're good. I like them.

Watching the Heat actually play well for once in this series against the Mavericks. No, I take that back -- they did play well at the beginning of Game 1. But they cooled off really fast in that game, and I sort of think they're going to do the same here. I don't see the Mavericks losing this series.

I think there's a storm coming in. That's good. I wish it would just pour. It rained a fair amount the other day, during the huge thunderstorm that knocked out my internet, but I want it to just unleash. Maybe it will cool off the weather a bit too.

I can't tell you how mad I am at the US soccer team. We sucked. Sucked hard. I don't have too much to say about it, because I was at work and unable (mercifully) to watch. Look, I know that the Czech Republic are a better team. The loss doesn't really bother me that badly. The 3-0 destruction that they gave us is what bothers me. It might get really important if there ends up being a tie and it comes down to goal differential. We just better play well against Italy on Saturday. (Of course, I'll miss that game too, because of work. I told my boss today -- even though I've told her before -- that I'm not going to be working at the bank during the fall, especially not on Saturdays so I can go to BYU football games, since I'll probably be writing about them for the newspaper. I thought she was going to have a nervous breakdown. I swear, that place is going to self-destruct without me. Okay, that's really arrogant. I'm a jerk. But it'll be hard on them for a while.)

I played Star Wars on my computer till 3am last night. And Nick and I are about to relieve a local guy of his entire game collection. I'm about to get about seven new computer games. Say goodbye to your social life, Layton. Oh, wait, that's right. I don't have one. Even better.

It's a bit weird not to have my roommate around. For one thing, the dishes get done a lot less (because my other roommate always uses them and never washes them -- that was something he used to do). Now I have to do them, when I didn't use any of them. That's frustrating. And I now can surf online or play games late at night on the lappy and not worry about keeping him awake at night. Not that I'd ever wake him up anyway -- dude slept like a dead man. Except when he would sit bolt-upright and start talking to me in Portuguese. I hope he's doing all right. The whole elder's quorum presidency and my other roommate went over on Sunday night to check up on him. I didn't go -- I didn't think it was really appropriate. I mean, we never hang out with our EQP, so why should they want to come hang out now? I bet it felt awkward, more like an intervention than a visit. Maybe I'm too cynical -- they certainly had the best of intentions. I just don't know that it helped to have five people go over to make sure he isn't going insane. Whatever.

Meanwhile, my other roommate is at his ex-girlfriend's brother's basketball game. With her entire family. Talk about awkward. He let slip today that he thinks she was pretty hurt by their break-up the other day. Seems to refute his claim that it was "mutual." Regardless, it's tough to hang out with your ex so quickly after you've broken up. You just have a lot of memories and things that are hard to bear, on both ends. It's tough. Well, best of luck to him. I'll hear about it later, I'm sure.

Mmmmm.... Cheez-Its......

Impossible Is Nothing


This is the slogan of the current Adidas marketing campaign -- I use it as my post title partially in honor of the start of the World Cup. I cannot tell you how stoked I am to watch (I'm sitting here watching Argentina and Ivory Coast play right now). I'm disappointed that I may not get to see much of the U.S. because most of their games will be in the daytime when I'm at work. And following soccer on the internet is about one step up from watching paint dry on the Entertainment Scale. Still, I'll do what I can to watch. Soccer has such a beauty and flow to it that few sports can match. It also has by far the most exciting moments -- since goals are so rare, the sheer energy that comes when they are scored is like nothing else in sports. I can't help but throw my arms in the air when a goal goes in, even if I'm not a fan of the teams playing.

I also use these words for this title to describe what went on yesterday in my apartment. To quote a line from Saving Private Ryan, "The world has taken a turn for the surreal." I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that my roommate's situation has resolved itself. Not in the way that any of us would have liked. But it is over. I hope. I also hope that there aren't any long-term consequences.

My roommate was (and perhaps still is) convinced that the things he has done and felt in the past few weeks have been due to following promptings and revelations received from God. It's hard for me to know what to say to this, especially since I've always looked up to him for spiritual guidance; he certainly doesn't watch or listen to or read some of the things I do (and no swearing slips out of his mouth). Under any other circumstances, I'd completely take him at his word. But I find four problems with the claim that his actions have been inspired.

1) The Lord will never prompt a person to disobey the law of the land.
2) The Lord will never give revelation or counsel that is contrary to the counsel of priesthood leaders (such as parents or the bishop).
3) The Lord will not give a person a revelation for someone outside of their stewardship.
4) The Lord will not give a person a revelation that will make them unhappy.

I know that over the past few weeks, my roommate has gone against all of these rules. And he sure as crap hasn't been happy. That worries me. I really don't know what will happen in the long run. But, we helped him move out yesterday. He actually just came in to grab some extra stuff that he forgot last night. I'll be praying for him.

I think the worst thing about the whole situation is that neither my roommate nor the other party involved seemed to really think through what would happen to the other person. They've both been so focused on themselves that they haven't given each other a chance to see how the other person was feeling. And that really bothers me -- I guess I'm too compassionate a person myself to want either person to feel this way.

Meanwhile, my other roommate broke up with his girlfriend. He says it was a mutual decision, that they were both about to leave for the summer and neither of them wanted to do the long-term thing and be attached while apart. So I asked if that meant that they would see where they were when they both came back in the fall, and he said probably not. It doesn't exactly surprise me, to be honest. I'm sort of wondering if he's willing to commit to anybody. Meh, I'm being too hard on him. He's just looking for the right girl and he likes to keep his options open. Still, though... ah, never mind.

Okay, I've been trying to post this for three hours and I keep getting interrupted (either by people or by our stupid internet connection dying). So, up it goes.

Knight of the Old Republic


So, I spent three hours tonight playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on my lappy. My friend Nick keeps telling me I need to game more, like I used to back in the days when I first got home from my mission and played games non-stop along with watching movies and listening to music in an orgy of entertainment media, as if to make up for the two years of my mission. It's not my fault that I have a lot of priorities in my life now, including attempting to have a social life, running my own amateur counselling service, and watching the best NBA playoffs in history. Gaming has had to take a backseat to several of these things, and I don't really regret it for the most part. I do regret the way I've promised to do certain things with Nick and haven't ended up doing them. But I'm trying to find a balance in my life, between music, sports, reading, writing and dating. It hasn't been easy.

For example, in the past week I've spent a lot of time with my family, including the date I mentioned last Friday, hauling cinder blocks for several hours on Saturday as part of the process of demolishing the fireplaces in my parents' house, and hanging out with my little brother on Sunday. (Speaking of gaming, I loaned him my PS2 on Sunday night, so he could play Kingdom Hearts 2. He beat it today. That's a 35+ hour game, folks. He must have played it about ten hours a day. Wow.) I've also spent quite a bit of time with people from my ward so far this week, including FHE, playing basketball after FHE, and hanging out with Chelsea and Ashley last night (which was mostly fun, despite the fact that our plan to see a movie totally fell through. Fun girls to hang out with -- don't know that either one really fits my personality, but fun). And I have tentative plans to hang out with other girls from the ward this weekend, too. So that's all going well.

But tonight was just for me. I played Star Wars for quite a while, read quite a bit in my book (The Stand, by Stephen King, if anyone's curious -- really interesting, not a horror book, but still not for the faint of heart or easily offended. I wish I didn't have to skip stuff sometimes, but it's mostly awesome), talked with some guys outside, and just generally had "me" time. Which was nice. I sometimes feel like I give so much of myself to others (and don't mistake me, I wouldn't have it any other way) that I neglect myself. I forget how much simple pleasure I derive from a good book, good music, and a nice session of gaming. I really take things too seriously sometimes, and I think it's good for me to do some frivolous things to put life into perspective.

Speaking of frivolity, if anyone needed a dose of that, it's my roommate. He's still in pieces over certain recent events in his life, and I have no idea how to put him back together. It's frustrating to me, because I have such a complex about wanting to help people emotionally, and there's absolutely nothing I can do for him -- he's got to work out whatever is wrong on his own. I personally just think he needs to chill, to go meet some other people, play some games, focus on school, and not worry so much. I rarely see him around any more, and when I do, he's either praying, reading scriptures, or talking/e-mailing some family member about how to improve himself and his situation. I just worry that he's getting way too depressed, and I don't know how to lift him out of it. Because I can't.

On the plus side, Reggie And The Full Effect are a funny band.

Anti-flu


You ever have those days where you just wake up and don't really know why, but you feel good and upbeat and optimistc about things? That was this morning. I didn't get anywhere near enough sleep (okay, technically it was six hours, which is enough, but not as much as I wanted), and I had to get up earlier than usual and go to work (missing my ward activity in the process -- I swear, can they ever schedule something NOT on Saturday morning?), but I got dressed and got in my car and rolled down the windows and blasted some Blink and sang along at the top of my lungs and I just couldn't keep a big grin off my face or stop myself from yelling out the window for no reason at all. And seriously, there was no reason. I just felt good. Still do, more or less.

I call this the anti-flu. It's the opposite of when things are going well in your life and then you wake up feeling sick one morning. If there are viruses that make you feel worse, why can't there be viruses that make you feel better? Okay, that logic is a little dodgy. No matter.

I actually spent several hours a few nights ago trying to convince a friend that I wasn't really that bummed out. I've become a lot more optimistic about life in general since I've been home from my mission, and even though my current social situation leaves something to be desired, I have no fear that I'm going to meet someone shockingly awesome someday and end up deleriously happy. I honestly believe that. I just get frustrated sometimes when social situations don't turn out the way I'd like. My friend said I get far too dramatic about such things, and he's right. I guess it's good that I woke up feeling so chill and good.

Take last night, for example. One of the funnest dates I've been on in a while (okay, the only date I've been on in a while, but never you mind). My brother serves as a second counselor in a BYU ward bishopric, and his wife has gotten to be friends with a member of the relief society presidency in the ward. They've wanted to set me up with her for a while, so we went to dinner and saw X-Men last night (yes, it was the third time for me, but they hadn't seen it yet, and you know I'm always down for X-Men). And it was just a lot of fun -- she's a great girl and really funny, and the four of us just seemed to have a very good dynamic, making jokes with each other, telling stories, and just hanging out, really low-pressure style. The only downside is that I think she has another guy she's interested in (story of my life -- otherwise, I'd be asking her out again in a heartbeat). So that was a bit of a bummer, but really, the evening was so much fun that it didn't really bother me. And that's a big deal for me -- I overreact to being passed over in favor of other guys.

Anyway, I have no prospects, nothing to look forward to except a hellish week at work (my cool boss will be on vacation, so it'll be me, my lame boss who never helps at all, and three other people who have about a month of experience put together. Ugh), and the Suns probably losing tonight or on Monday. But I just feel good. I feel happy, more or less. It may be as passing as my frustration at my female troubles, but I'll take what I can get. Besides, there's a reason my blog title is what it is.

Lazy Monday


I'm not sure what I'll be doing today. On the one hand, it's really nice to just sit here and not do anything. I so rarely get days off from work (as in, NEVER) that it's very cool to be able to wake up at like 11 and just sit here, just being lazy, playing with my laptop, and listening to music (more on that in a sec). At the same time, though, I sort of miss having other people around, too. AJ and Jim are both in Salt Lake today doing things with family. I may end up doing something with family today, too, but for the moment I'm just sitting here not doing much of anything. And it's nice, but I can only take so much of it.

So, I REALLY love this music I'm listening to. I've gotten on this sort of folk-guitar kick, having purchased an album by a group called Iron & Wine, and now I'm really into a guy called Sufjan Stevens. Sufjan is way cool because of his use of different instruments -- he incorporates things as diverse as banjo, mandolin, trumpet and oboe (trust me, it works). His music is wildly ambitious -- he has published two albums about states in the USA (they're called Michigan and Illinois), and his goal is to make an album about every state in the country (though nobody's sure if he's serious about it, it's a cool goal anyway). Some of the Illinois album is definitely not for all listeners -- it can get a bit bizarre. But Michigan is just great chill folk tunage. Sort of like Jack Johnson minus the Hawaii vibe plus a healthy dose of back-woods bluegrass (and by the way, there's a HUGE difference between this and country, but that's a topic for another time). I definitely love Iron & Wine too. He does an awesome cover of the Postal Service song "Such Great Heights." Makes it sound completely different -- it's good stuff.

It's fully time I started dating again. Think I know who I'd like to ask out for this weekend too. We'll see.

One downside to my lappy -- it only has USB ports (and only two of those). I'm going to need to buy a USB hub with more ports, and also an adapter for my PS/2 mouse so I can use it in a USB port. It's either that or buy a wireless mouse. I'd prefer the little adapter, though -- just seems easier. Besides, I like my current mouse. The stupid thing is that they don't sell that little adapter thingy in any stores -- it's only two bucks online, but I can only buy it online. It's lame. Oh well.

The Suns lost last night. Just weren't shooting well enough, and the Mavs did a very good job of playing them physically and slowing the pace of the game down. I think the Suns really miss Raja Bell, since he's injured. I wish I had been around last year when he was playing for Jazz. More than that, I wish the Jazz had kept him. Well, I hope the Suns can hang in there without him, but I think the Mavs are getting their momentum back. I really don't think anyone can stop them.

I think that's about all for now. Time to stop being lazy and actually find something to do today. I need to go shopping, for one thing. We'll see after that. Kay bye.

This is fun


I'm sitting here, updating my blog and checking e-mail while watching the Suns game, sitting on the couch in my living room. Can you tell that I'm enjoying my new lappy? I've been showing it off to everyone. My brother was pretty jealous. It's funny -- I wasn't entirely sure I should buy it, because it's just so much money, and I even prayed about it a bit just to make sure. Then I got to work one day and looked at my bank account, and realized that I had over a thousand dollars in the bank, free and clear, and I just realized, "Holy crap, I really can afford this!" And now it's just joy. I told AJ earlier today, "One of these days, I'm going to walk into our room, and see my lappy, and not get a big smile on my face. I'm sure that will happen one day. But not for a while." Bliss.

So, X3. I've seen it twice in a 24-hour span, and I can say that I loved it, but not as much as X2. The previous two movies were done by director Bryan Singer, but he left X3 to work on Superman Returns, which he's also directing. Brett Ratner, the director of the Rush Hour movies, took over the reins, and while he gives a great sense of action and lots of fun use of mutant powers, that emotional gravity and artistic subtlety that made the first two movies so special was just missing. This probably has a lot to do with the director and the script -- Wolverine has some lame bits, especially when he's trying to be the leader and make everyone feel better; that's never been his role. (Although there's nothing in the script to rival the stupidity of the "Toad struck by lightning" line from X1.)

Beast was excellent, played by Kelsey Grammer, and as always, the interplay between Magneto and Professor X is a lot of fun (especially in the scene at the very beginning, set twenty years earlier). But there's just a lot of wasted potential. The "cure" plot really isn't developed much, and it seems like there's too many characters trying to do too many things -- we're trying to focus on Cyclops' pain at Jean's death, Wolverine's admitting he loves Jean, Jean's own dual-personality and Prof. X's attempts to help, the love triangle with Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Rogue, the little Angel subplot, Beast and his political responsibilities, etc. I would have liked to see more interaction between Cyclops and Wolverine as well, but Cyclops, for obvious reasons, doesn't have a lot of screen time (apparently he needed to go work on his Superman role with director Singer).

Now, having all the characters isn't all bad, because you get to see all of their powers and the way they interact. I liked the little Pyro/Iceman showdown, for example, or the "fastball special" Colossus/Wolvie team-up.

All in all, I really enjoyed it, and I'm glad I saw it twice, and I may even see it again in a little while. But it just wasn't quite as satisfying as the previous two movies. It was also quite a bit shorter, leaving a feeling of something being left unfulfilled. It does leave the door open for sequels, though, despite the "Last Stand" title.

Other than that, I spent the weekend watching basketball and soccer (Real Salt Lake isn't completely terrible these days!) and loading music/games/patches onto the lappy. Currently, I'm watching the Suns shoot the lights on against the Mavs. Hope that continues.

Oh, I did spend some time at my parents' house last night. My parents have decided to demolish the two fireplaces in the house, ostensibly to free up more floor space (although I don't know why that's necessary, especially because there's only two kids at home now, and they'll be leaving within a year or two). Anyway, last night I could barely talk to my dad because he was busy taking a sledgehammer to the fireplace. I fear he's going to request my hammer-bashing abilities tomorrow, too, despite the celebration of Memorial Day. That's how it's always been with my dad -- holidays are time to repair the house and do yard work. It's how he chills out. Oh well. It's also my sister's birthday this week, so we'll probably do something for that tomorrow too. She's going to be twenty years old. Now that's strange. She's going to graduate from BYU before I do. That's strange too.

And now, back to the Suns.

The Last Stand


Thanks to a fortuitous phone call from an old friend, I saw X-Men 3 at midnight. Full review coming tomorrow or Saturday -- I'm still going to see it again in about twenty hours. For now, just know that it is good. Very good.

I don't think I can sleep.

Happiness is a new computer.


Which is what I most likely will have by Friday night. I've been scouring Craigslist, eBay and all sorts of online coupon/deal sites looking for a good price on a laptop. My desire for one stretches back to before I even got home from my mission. I knew I'd need one eventually, particularly because if I'm ever going to be a successful sportswriter (the fondest hope of my heart), I'll need to be able to take notes on games as they happen, and I loathe writing by hand. Plus, well, they're just cool.

The right deal seems to have fallen into my lap. Another BYU student is selling me his not-very-old Sony Vaio laptop for a very agreeable price, and he's even taking my desktop upon which I write these very words off my hands for me. Everything I've read online, all the customer reviews and everything, say that this is quite a nice laptop -- it probably retailed for $1600-$1800 less than six months ago. Nick's going to come down on Friday and check everything out for me, make sure there's no hiccups or technical snags. If all goes well, I'll have a lot more desk space and a lot more power come Friday night.

Add that to the opening night showing of X3 that I'll be hitting up, and it looks like I'll be having a very productive weekend. Now, if only girls liked me...

Moving on....


....as in, the Suns are moving on to the Western Conference Finals after demolishing the Clippers tonight. Bombing 3-pointers all over the place, playing up-tempo, crazy passes, just thoroughly fun to watch. They'll play against the Mavericks, who needed overtime to beat the Spurs. In all honesty, the Mavs should kill the Suns. Phoenix just doesn't have the depth. But I'll root for them anyway, even though my brain tells me the Mavs are on their way to a title. We'll see.

....also as in, I need to be moving on with my life. I mentioned last time that it's been nice to have a little break with nothing to worry about, no dates to really go on, no girls to stress over, no great responsibilities, just work, basketball, and generally being chill. But it's beginning to get old. I was watching the Suns game tonight with a TON of people, and couldn't help but feel a little left out. Everyone else, guys and girls alike, seemed to be involved in other conversations in addition to watching the game. Maybe I'm just too intense when sports are on (okay, definitely I'm too intense), but still, I just didn't feel very included. And there were several road trips being discussed, and I had no idea they were happening and felt a bit jealous that I wasn't asked to come (while everyone around me was telling everyone else "Hey, you should come, it'll be fun!). Well, I probably wouldn't be able to go anyway, since I have to work every single Saturday. (I haven't missed a single one in over a year. It's like 54 straight.) It's getting really old with ward activities, because they're always, always scheduled for 9am on Saturday, right when I work, and I know I can't get it off. I like my work, it's not difficult and I get to mess around online and I get paid decently, but dammit, I've never asked for ANY time off, I've basically worked six days a week for over a year straight, and I've barely got so much as a thank-you. Bah.

That paragraph ended up a little far afield from where I started it. I guess it boils down to the fact that I don't really feel like I'm making progress in my life unless I'm in a relationship or trying to pursue one. And I'm just really in limbo now and seem to have not made a good enough impression on some of the newer girls in the ward for them to want to hang out with me. I don't understand how some guys just get to be the default people to do stuff with (like, how girls always seem to come over, just to see what's up). Nobody does that with me or my apartment. This is partly because my roommates are lame/spoken for/both. It's just a bit frustrating to have to play the game, where I try to make an effort without seeming pushy. I never get the balance right -- I either end up making myself a nuisance or just not getting noticed at all. It doesn't help that the few talents I have, especially music, don't stand out very much, like when every other guy in my building plays guitar, most of them better than me, and all of them better-looking than me.

I should stop complaining and do something about it. I haven't been on a date in weeks, and I could easily ask out one of the newer girls in the ward. But it's just a bit of a bummer after times like tonight when I just feel so on the outside looking in. I have so much to offer. I wish people would see that.

[/pity party]

On the positive side, I did manage to be a good friend to a couple of people today. I'm glad to have reconciled a bit with one girl -- she was mad at me for sticking my nose where it didn't belong (namely, her status with my roommate). At least, I thought she was mad (especially from the way she yelled at me at the time), but she just needed to blow off steam and I happened to be there to take the brunt of it. I really enjoy being there for people, though, even if it's just as someone to yell at. My mom says it's a real gift I have (she was very flattering on the phone to me today, telling me that most people have to work really hard to get to the level of charity that I seem to have almost immediately. A nice thing to say, but not really true -- it's just a need I have, and it makes me happy, so it's almost like I'm being selfish by being unselfish. That made no sense. Meh.).

I don't know where I'm going with that train of thought, so I think we'll stop right there.

Gigs and Guffman


Last night I played with my brother and his best friend (thus comprising our band) at a party outside of an apartment complex. The party itself was fairly lame -- a DJ had set up a bunch of equipment, a couple other bands played before us and there weren't many people there. Most of the people that were there looked like your typical Provo partygoer -- dirty dancing, not overly dressed, etc. So I suppose that I can't say I'm surprised that our music didn't get much of a reaction out of them. We're just too mellow for such people -- they either want hip hop they can freak to or crappy punk they can mosh to. So when a band is, you know, playing actual MUSIC, they sort of don't know what to do. We had a guy come up and tell our guitarist that we needed to play something faster so the crowd had an excuse to dance. We basically ignored that request and went on with our set. It was sort of funny.

Having said that, I adore playing live in front of people, unappreciative as most of them were. And we sounded pretty good for not having practiced a lot. Dave and Clark wanted to make sure we kept a raw, unrehearsed sound, so we deliberately skimped on the practice time. Which was fine by me -- we're all good enough musicians that if anything goes wrong, we can fudge it fairly easily. Anyway, our set was fun; in addition to several originals, we played covers of a Ryan Adams song, a Neil Young song ("Cortez the Killer," and we brought our old friend Andrew back to solo on it, which rocked), and a Wilco song. All three of those came off surprisingly well. (The last time we tried to play the Wilco song, it fell apart miserably, but we had a lot of fun anyway. This time it held up and sounded pretty good.)

I really wish we could play more often. I know Dave's busy being married and all, and Clark's got stuff of his own to deal with (like his interminable will-they-won't-they relationship with his girlfriend who goes to Utah State), and it's not like I have oodles of time on my hands with nothing to do. But I really enjoy playing together, and I enjoy the music we write, and I wish more people could hear us and we could get some feedback on whether anyone really likes our sound or not. I have this gut feeling that we're just really good and nobody has noticed because the right people haven't been listening, because we don't play often enough.

Went swimming for the first time this year today. It was really nice to get in the water -- felt very good on a fairly hot day. It reminded me that I need to get a new swimsuit, though. Right now I have to make do with wearing garments under board shorts that I am currently waaaay too fat for. Fortunately I don't go swimming often enough for it to really matter. I'm sure it won't be the last time this summer, though, so that will probably be a purchase I'll have to make.

Tonight AJ and I renewed our little tradition of watching slightly obscure highbrow movies. On the menu tonight: Waiting For Guffman. My brother has said it's one of the funniest movies he's ever seen. I liked it a lot -- it's a mockumentary about a community theater production put on by a former New York director with delusions of grandeur. It has a very Napoleon Dynamite-ish humor -- the kind of thing you might not laugh at the first time, but which becomes extremely quotable on repeat viewings. We asked Julie to come over too, and we had root beer floats before watching the movie. (I'm sorry if you didn't like the movie, Julie -- you don't have to try to not hurt my feelings! I know you thought it was weird! Thanks for hanging out with us anyway!)

I spent the rest of the evening attempting to finish Mega Man 2. Everything was fine up until Dr. Wily himself -- I just kept getting rocked, and I was too tired to sit there and tough it out. I'll finish it tomorrow, I suppose. I really enjoyed the part where you beat the eight robot masters in succession, though. There's something so satisfying about beating a boss with the exact weapon that he's weak against. Makes me feel smart.

Because of my gig, I didn't see the basketball games yesterday. I wanted the Cavs and Mavs to close out their respective series, but both lost, forcing two Game 7s for tomorrow, followed by the Suns/Clippers Game 7 on Monday. Good times. I'm stoked. It's been sort of nice to follow these playoffs without having a particular rooting interest, since the Jazz are so terrible. I can just watch all the games and appreciate the high quality of play from all teams. (Although I would like to see the Suns move on. Have to be loyal to the Arizona boys.)

It's funny -- I haven't been on a date in several weeks. I kept myself fairly busy this weekend, but there still seemed to be something lacking. At the same time, though, I'm enjoying meeting and hanging out with girls but not necessarily pursuing them. I don't imagine I'll remain in this state for long, though. Soon enough, I'm sure someone will catch my eye enough to make me want to try a little harder. I'll let it happen when it happens, though.

I'm tired.

The heat of the night


Why is my room so bloody hot? Honestly, we've got the thermostat cranked down, fan blowing, and I lay there on top of the covers and I STILL sweat. This may be more of a commentary on my overweightness than anything else, but really. I'm the kind of person who absolutely has to be at least cool when sleeping. Even in winter, I use nothing more than a sheet and maybe one light blanket, and I never turn on the heat. Bleh. I hate summer. Okay, I don't hate summer, but I hate this part of summer. The sleeping in a hot room part.

More basketball -- LeBron making 'Sheed eat his words is sheer awesomeness. I have often commented that I feel about LeBron what I think a lot of people felt about Michael Jordan -- so in awe of his talent and his ability to make his teammates better than you can't help but adore him. Of course, I have plenty of good reasons to hate MJ, and I do (namely, Games 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals against the Jazz -- I still tear up when I see replays). But I have no such grudge against Bron Bron. Even when he dropped 51 on the Jazz earlier this year (and I was at the game!) I bore him no ill will, because the Jazz were sucking and I was so amazed to see him ply his trade. The man-child is awe-inspiring. We are all witnesses.

I enjoyed going to get shakes at the Malt Shoppe with Julie and Shanna. Them's my buddies. Sometimes I really enjoy being around girls and sometimes I don't. I think it's when they're in smaller groups that I like it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me that when girls congregate together, they tend to talk amongst themselves and sort of isolate the guys sometimes. Like, when a girl walks into a guy's apartment, EVERYTHING stops, and the guys immediately shift all focus onto the girl (this is usually true even if a game or movie is on). But when a guy walks into a girl's apartment, the opposite thing seems to happen -- the girls close ranks and talk about things that only they understand and the guy has to make all the effort to insert himself into the conversation. I'm speaking in generalities here, but in my experience this is mostly true.

Julie and Shanna usually aren't like this, though -- I love talking to them, either separately or together. I've been very lucky to be their home teacher/FHE dad, because they're great. (So comment on my blogs already -- I know you guys read this!)

I may actually get to bed before midnight tonight. Huzzah.

Sports Night


Man, I just watched a lot of sports. I watched BYU's final home baseball game of the year, which we won 10-3. That was a lot of fun -- I dragged AJ out of the house with me, even though he was not feeling great (he just needs to get up and do stuff instead of moping around all the time) and we met up with Isaiah and two new girls from the ward, Brittany and Nicole. The girls are both way cute -- I talked to Nicole and Isaiah for a while about various different things. I feel a little bad because AJ and Brittany sort of got left out (they were sitting on the oustide ends of our row), but I suppose they would have joined in if they had wanted to. I know AJ didn't really want to, he just needed something to take his mind off things a bit, which I hope I accomplished. I'm very good at doing that; I could do with a bit more focus in my life. Ah well. Anyway, a good time was had by all.

(Side note: how does Isaiah do it? I swear he becomes best friends with every girl in the ward right away, and they all want to hang out with him. I'm perfectly willing to admit that he's a more attractive man that I am, but there's got to be more to it than that. Isaiah the Playa. End side note.)

Then I promptly came home and went straight up to Dash's apartment to watch the rest of the Suns-Clippers game. Score when I walked in the door: Suns up by 13 points. Score two minutes later: Suns up by 19 points. Score by the end of the 3rd quarter: Suns up by 8 points. And it only got worse. And better. And worse. And better again. Two overtimes, several boneheaded plays, and an amazingly clutch 3-pointer later, the Suns pulled out the win. Most fun I've had watching the end of a game since... well, last week, when the Suns did the same thing to the Lakers. I never thought I'd enjoy the NBA playoffs more than the NCAA basketball tournament, especially in a year when the Jazz aren't playing. But this year has been superb. I'm honestly planning my schedule around Suns games (as Nick knows all too well -- sorry dude). On Thursday I'm supposed to rehearse with my band for a gig we have on Friday (at Branbury Park Apartments, 449 W 1720 N, Provo, at around 8pm, if anyone's interested). Except the Suns play right during that time. Two of my absolute favorite activities. There's gotta be some way we can do both. Anyway, suffice it to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying the playoffs and sporting myself to death.

I'm getting sick of baby-sitting at work. We have to keep training new tellers and that puts all the workload on me as the senior teller. It's lame. Two other tellers left early today, leaving me to cover all their slack and the slack from the new people. Meanwhile, my boss is yelling at me that I misplaced $1,800 in cashed checks when I know very well I didn't. (Turns out that was an error on the part of our ever-vigilant bookkeeping staff. Always seems to happen to me. Bleh.) At least I have the internet and chatting with friends to keep me somewhat occupied.

I don't know that I have much else to write about right now. My relationship life is non-existent at the moment, but I sort of like it that way for now. I'm meeting a few new girls in the ward and laying some groundwork, hopefully. Lots of time for that. Everything else is going all right. Now if only I could get rid of my nagging cough and go up and see Nick's baby, all would be well in my little world.

(Proposal #1 for Operation Cough Removal: quit freaking staying up till 2am every night.)