History repeats

It's a tale as old as time: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy goes out of his way to be tremendously nice to girl, thus showing his interest, boy somehow slips inevitably into friendship with girl, girl reaches point where she could never conceive of liking boy because they're such "good friends," boy ends up with girl becoming yet another female who unburdens herself on him while taking advantage of his selflessness and giving little to nothing in return.

Maybe it's only an old tale to me.

I can't count the number of times this has happened, and it's happening again right under my nose. It's a bad sign when a girl texts you to make sure you're coming to Family Home Evening because she says you're "pals," right? Well, only if you have a crush on the girl, I guess. I've been spending an awful lot of time with this particular girl lately, taking her on dates, to dinner, to movies, and just generally being unbelievably kind. I've even done her dishes in her apartment for her (though that's mostly because I'm her roommates' home teacher and they're sort of gross and never do their own dishes, and I enjoy giving service).

And where has all this gotten me? Into the Gay Best Friend Zone again, of course. (Longtime readers of my blog, or just those who know me, will know that this is the term I use to describe my relationships with many, many different females -- I'm so nice and such a good listener and so willing to give of myself that they end up thinking of me as a "gay best friend," like you'd see in movies -- the kind that women feel comfortable telling anything to, because they know there's no chance whatsoever of things ever getting romantic. Not that I am in any way homosexual in the least. I'm not. But I might as well be, judging from the way girls act around me. But I digress.)

This young woman in question has gone out of her way, several times in the past couple of days, to call me her "friend" or "pal" as mentioned above. She keeps saying things like, "I'm really glad to have a friend like you" or "I never thought I'd meet such a good friend all the way across the country" or "Of course you're coming, because we're pals." I'd have to be a total moron not to pick up on these hints. Yes, it's great that I'm such a good friend. I'm flattered that she thinks so highly of me.

But dammit, I want her to LIKE me. I have no words to express how annoyed I am at how, time after time after time after time, I meet a girl and end up becoming best buddies with her, letting her vent to me about other potential boyfriends, while the thought never enters her head that I might be a candidate for that position. I don't know how it happens. I don't have the answer. I must be doing something wrong, because I'm gathering a HORDE of female friends, late-night ice cream buddies, textaholics, and phone pals, when sometimes (ashamed as I am to admit it) all I want is for them to shut the hell up and kiss me.

I feel like this is all I have to look forward to, for the rest of my life. But I don't know how to be any different. Am I supposed to force myself to be a jerk? Should I not answer when girls say they need to talk? Do I need to be more aloof just for the sake of being aloof, to create the impression that I don't care when I really do, to keep girls interested? It's completely against my nature to do these things. I'm far too naive, too honest, too forthright a person to deliberately put up such an obviously false front. I can't do it. Doesn't everyone say you're supposed to end up marrying your best friend? I fear, greatly, that if I don't figure this out, I will end up as everyone's best friend while nobody is mine.

To me, it's a tale as old as time. Well, time is getting pretty friggin old. I don't know how much more of this I can take.

Working man

I don't feel like listening in class, so at Lyndel's request, I'm posting.

Here's an average day for me:

I get up at 7:30 so I can go to work at the bank at 8:15. I work harder than anyone else there (because no other teller at my bank has more than a month of experience, so I have to pick up all the slack). I'm supposed to leave at 1, but because I have to help everybody else I'm lucky to leave the bank by 1:30. I speed over to BYU to get to my class at 2. I sit in my class from 2 to 4. Some days I even stay awake. Then I go downstairs to the newsroom, where I work until the newspaper is done (usually not until after 8pm). Then I go home, exhausted, and do it all again the next day. And if I really push myself, I MIGHT get to eat at some point during all that. Maybe.

So why am I killing myself this summer? Because I don't have a scholarship any more and I need the money. I moved home, sacrificing what little social life I have, to save money. I'm working 50-hour weeks to save money. I haven't bought anything, other than food, for myself in months. (No, I take that back -- I bought myself a new video iPod, since my old iPod died, and a Nintendo DS, because I was getting a really good price on it and I thought I deserved something for myself. Then the universe decided to get its revenge by having my car towed, which cost $200. I've learned my lesson.)

Anyway, I didn't mean to make this post a pity party. I'm just getting tired of working so much. I know it will be worth it by the end of the summer, when I have enough money for fall and winter semesters and won't have to work at all during the semester (although I still will because I enjoy the newspaper). And honestly, working isn't bad. It's not like it's strenuous work. I get to play around on the Internet while I work. I like my coworkers, for the most part. I shouldn't complain, I suppose. Maybe I'm just hungry. Being hungry makes me irritable. Meh.

(An hour later...)

Yup, fell asleep in class. And I still have an hour to go. Ugh.

On to other things. I visited my old ward last night, just to see how things were going, to say hello to some old friends, and to see if I could make some new (female) friends. The old ward was having one of their regular Sunday "dessert nights, " which is where they share various baked goods, write little "nice notes" to one another (to be dropped off later that night), and generally flirt and socialize. Well, by the end of my time in that ward, I was thoroughly sick of going to such activities, because I would get roundly ignored, receive no "nice notes," and watch as my two taller, wealthier, more attractive roommates got all the attention.

So then I moved home, and entered a different student ward which covered my residential area. But even though there are a few other home-livers in my ward, most of my ward is made up of a nearby apartment complex. And because I do not live in said complex, I get ignored in this ward as well. (I suspect it isn't intentional -- I just don't live where everyone else lives. Out of sight, out of mind.) So I decided to give my old ward's dessert night another try.

Now, five months later, I was a novelty, because the few people I still knew hadn't seen me for months, and the people I didn't know wondered who I was. It was probably one of the best times I had ever had at one of those activities. Strange that it took me leaving the ward to actually enjoy being there.

Anyway, I did in fact manage to acquaint myself with a handful of interested young women, and hopefully something might emerge there. Better than my current ward, at least.

I've been filling my spare time with several other things:

1) Serving as amateur counselor and dating adviser for my little brother, who is in the midst of a quasi-relationship with a very nice and attractive but indecisive young lady. I feel badly for him, because he has been there for her through a lot of different things and basically done just about anything she could ask of him. But she continues to be fickle and non-committal, and it's very hard on him. Meanwhile, she insists there's nothing wrong at all. I personally just think she's afraid, and doesn't communicate non-verbally very well. But it's a daily soap opera, and my brother comes to me for advice about it. (Probably not very wise, given my recent track record in relationships.) Anyway, there have been many late-night conversations on this subject. I don't regret these, but I do think that my brother could do just as well without my input. I suppose he just needs a sounding board, more than anything.

2) Writing for a Utah Jazz blog (aptly located at http://utahjazzblog.net). I've been following this site for a while, and while I liked what the authors were saying, I noticed that they weren't posting very often. I wrote an e-mail to the site administrator and offered my services. I was surprised when he promptly gave me full admin privileges and allowed me to pretty much write whatever I wanted about the Jazz. This is basically fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine -- having an outlet where I could voice my opinion and sports knowledge to anyone who felt like reading it. I've already noticed improvement in my sportswriting, too. And it's a different tone than the newspaper writing that I do -- more free, more casual. It's been time-consuming, but a lot of fun. I wish the Jazz had beaten the Spurs, but they got further than I dreamed this year, and there's every reason to hope for the future.

3) Exercising whenever I get the chance to. This is difficult, because when I get home from my jobs and classes, I'm usually exhausted and don't have much desire to do anything but eat and go to bed. But this hasn't been good on my body. Since coming home from my mission, I've gained quite a bit of weight -- I'm too proud to say exactly how much. Last fall, I ran two miles every night and lost thirty pounds. Now some of that is creeping back on, and I want to keep it off but I fear I don't have the time or the energy.

Fortunately, when I do get a chance to relax a bit, I'm able to do so. I hate hearing people say, "I work hard, but I play hard, too." I don't get it. Play is supposed to be EASY! Fun! Enjoyable! Why would people do it if it was hard? I recall a friend of mine who simply couldn't sit still -- even when she went to lay out by the pool or something, she had to bring a book or her scriptures or something. I dared her to do absolutely nothing but sit and rest (but not go to sleep) for half an hour every day for a week. She couldn't do it even once. So I'm glad to have the ability to switch off when I need to. If I didn't, I probably would already have burned myself out.

I survived the second half of my class. Now time for job #2. They call me the working man; I guess that's what I am.

The day the music died

So I'm coming out of the BYU library last night after doing some homework. I get out my iPod as I walk to the car. I try to play some tunes. The iPod freezes. I reboot it. I try to play the same song. It freezes again. I reboot it. I try to play a different song. It works, but something's wrong -- it won't change tracks quickly and has some hiccups in bringing up the track time.

I figure I should probably restore it to factory settings and just put the music back on afterwards, since I had wanted to do some shifting of what was on it (I only have a 4GB iPod mini and obviously have a ton more music than 4GB on my computer). So I restore it, then start putting stuff back onto it. After putting about .5GB of stuff on, my computer freezes. I reboot the computer, wipe the iPod again, and start over. Again, after a fraction of a GB, it kills the compy again. By now it's nearly 2am and I have class in the morning so I give up.

This is the first trouble I've ever, ever had with my iPod. I'm going to take it to get looked at after this class. I really hope that whatever is wrong with it will be cheap to fix. My greatest fear is that the repair shop will tell me it would cost $100+ to fix it and I would be better served to just buy a Nano or something. I love my mini. It's been my best friend for the past two years.

I'm scared.

Putting the band back together

So, I played a little teeny-tiny gig with my old guitarist Clark on Friday. I only played on two songs, but it was a lot of fun. I really miss the old days when we would jam all the time.

Except, we never really jammed ALL the time. I only played three or four shows with Clark and my drummer/brother Dave. I'm not sure they know how much I've listened to the stuff they recorded, though. I really think it's good stuff, and I love playing it.

I love playing live in general. It doesn't really matter how crappy the bands have been that I've played with, or how many people are watching, or anything like that -- every gig is an absolute joy. I suppose it's because of my inner love for showing off. Music is one of the few things that I do really well, and it's also one thing that has no other factors involved -- either you sound good or you don't, and if you do, it doesn't matter that you're chubby or short or not particularly confident. As long as you can rock, none of that seems to matter. When I'm on stage, I forget that it matters, too. I like that.

Anyway, the point is, Clark texted me today to say that he finally convinced Dave to try and throw together a show during the week that he and his wife will be in town (they're stopping over en route to Dave's internship in San Francisco). Dave has become less and less enamored of the rockstar lifestyle as he's gotten older, while Clark and I would still like to play at any given opportunity. This is probably because Dave's more mature than either of us, and married to boot. Anyway, given that, it was a major coup for Clark to get Dave to agree to a gig.

Now we just have to track down: 1) a drumset, 2) a bass amp for me, 3) a venue. Clark has always been good at rustling up random places to play, like apartment buildings or local cafes and such. But I'd really like to play one of the proper venues in Provo, like Velour or Starry Night. (I know the guy who runs Starry Night, so that is definitely a possibility.) I'm not sure Dave's up to a full rock-show atmosphere like that. In fact, I'm almost sure he isn't. But I'd really like to experience that while he's in town.

I didn't realize how much I liked having Dave and Jess around until they left. I didn't even hang out with them that much when they were here -- just once a week, sometimes less. But now that they're gone, I really wish I had spent more time with them, and could talk to them more easily now. The time difference makes things a bit difficult, and I'm not a big phone person at the best of times. I sure could have used closer contact with them in relation to recent events in my life. I suppose that's part of life, though -- you grow up and you find other people to confide in, or you just learn to deal. Probably more of the former than the latter as I get older.

My friend Logan came to my mini-gig on Friday, mostly so he could use my laptop to burn a mix for his yoga workouts. He left the tracks he burned in on my computer. I have since listened to that mix about six times. Logan's a total space-case sometimes. Okay, usually. But that mix is way relaxing. It's mostly very chill electronica/techno (Moby, Crystal Method, Chemical Brothers, etc), which I'm growing to like more and more. It's just funny how I totally expected to delete all those tracks off my computer after he burned his CD, but now I'm really glad he left them there.

I had an interesting conversation with my supervisor at the newspaper today. She offered me the position of copy chief at the Daily Universe (a position I knew was mine anyway because the two copy editors above me are both graduating, but it was nice to be formally offered it). And we talked for a while about my career goals in general, and how to use this job to further them. It's sort of strange to think about such things. I don't have really solid career goals. I mean, I have a general idea -- I want to write, and I want to be involved with print publications if possible. But that's pretty broad, and the more things I do, the more I find an interest in all of them. I used to want to write sports for a newspaper for the rest of my life. I'd still be very happy doing that. But I'm not the go-getter, hardcore, investigative journalist type. I love doing interviews and analyzing sports, but tracking down the hard facts of a story, especially in the face of negative opposition, is sort of unappealing to me. I also really enjoy my copy desk job, and working on the design side of things. Except I think I lack the raw artistic ability necessary for such a position, and I think I'd be outpaced in a competitive career setting. I could also try to pursue more of the media relations side of things, and find my niche in the sports world as a spokesperson or media relations agent for a professional team. That sounds pretty good, but I haven't tried it yet. I'd like to land an internship in that regard to test it out and see if I could handle it.

I suppose my problem is that my interests are too broad, and I find in myself an aptitude for many things but not a real strength. I sort of feel like I would do okay in just about anything I try, but I'd never be good enough to be the best in anything. And that doesn't bother me a whole lot, but it does make me worry that I won't be able to provide for a family (assuming I ever get one of my own, and considering recent events, that's no guarantee at all). Besides, those who really want to excel will do so at the cost of family and church and other interests. I am always surprised at people who say they want to be the absolute best in their field, because of the time and effort that will take. Money and fame and importance and prestige don't matter to me at all. I'm not sure yet if that's a good thing, to have such an utter lack of ambition. But that's how I've always been -- I reach the point of "good enough" where I'm comfortable and people like me and I make no extra effort to push beyond. Guess I'm destined to be a big fish in a little pond.

This whole post was made in an effort to avoid doing my English paper. It's supposed to be 12-15 pages long. I have done about two pages. A rough draft was due Monday. I will probably not have even that done until Friday. There are a few reasons for this. One, I'm a chronic slacker. The skill with which I waste time is truly epic. Two, I loathe that class more than just about anything (off the top of my head, broccoli and hypodermic needles are about the only things I hate more). This is because my teacher is a 70-year-old single woman who basically married herself to her studies, and treats us like we're fourth-graders. I have not learned a single thing in that class. Not one. And I've turned in reams of busy work, and haven't improved in the slightest in my writing ability. I'm not even any better at researching -- I learned a lot more in my comms research class last semester.

I find that, if I have no motivation to do things, it's almost impossible for me to do them. Moreover, if the person asking me to do something doesn't emphasize it or treats it lightly, I am far more likely to do the same (translation: blow it off). Several times this semester my English teacher has had us turn in assignments without barely a passing comment about what they entailed, then assign seemingly arbitrary point values to each of them. She'll talk about one assignment for weeks and make it worth twenty points, then barely mention a 100-point assignment that takes far less effort. Bah. I hate that class. She's getting some nasty student feedback from me.

I suppose it's mostly my fault, though. I shouldn't even be taking that class. At BYU, there are multiple ways to fulfill the advanced writing GE requirement. As a communications major, I had many more options that I realized. I am currently taking English 315 -- writing in the social sciences. Same class that psychology or political science majors would take. I could have been taking persuasive writing, or writing in the arts and humanities, or writing for publication. All of those would have been miles more appropriate. But I didn't research the matter, and my counselor told me 315 was the proper class. (See if I ever trust a school counselor again.) So I guess I really don't have anyone to blame but myself. And I'm sure if I had a better attitude the class would go better. . . yeah, not gonna happen.

Enough of this. I'm going to try to do my paper now. Which means I'm going to goof around online for a while longer before getting fed up and going to bed.

RSL vs. FC Dallas liveblog

I got to cover the Real Salt Lake game today against FC Dallas. Rather than take notes in a more disjunct manner, I chose to write a live play-by-play blog of the game. Here's a transcript.

Courtesy of TheShums, coming to you live from the Rice-Eccles Stadium press box. Will Freddy Adu fulfill his potential? Will Jeff Cunningham show the same goal-scoring form he displayed last year? Can RSL not completely suck? Stay tuned for updates...

4:02 pm: Just had the national anthem, starting lineups now being introduced. I love sitting in the press box. Perfect view, free food and soda, stat sheets up the wazoo, people all around you to talk sports with...it's great. This little tidbit from another writer: the FieldTurf at Rice-Eccles Stadium gets so hot that players run over to the sideline to get water to dump on their shoes.

4:07 pm: Freddy Adu introduced to raucous cheers from the crowd. (Can cheers be raucous if there are only seven or eight thousand people in the stands?) He's got a lot to live up to.

1st minute: GREAT chance from RSL, but Cunny can't get his head to it and Kreis deflects his shot off the keeper, then the woodwork. That would have been amazing.

3rd min: Dallas gets a decent work-up, but can't thread the ball to Ruiz. Goal kick.

4th min: Ballouchy gets kicked in the head, no card. Terrible cross off the ensuing free kick.

7th min: Dallas isn't looking very organized up front. They had a lot of changes in the off-season, most notably sending Ronnie O Brien to Toronto. So far, it shows.

9th min: Carey Talley given a yellow card after a questionable challenge. Bit of a weak call in my opinion, especially after Ballouchy got kicked in the face without a card given.

11th min: Kreis goes for goal from 35 yards out on a free kick, misses wide but still throws a scare into the Dallas keeper.

13th min: Through pass over the top is too ambitious from Talley. Goal kick for Dallas.

15th min: Kreis is playing MUCH more physically at his new position. He's already got a couple of fouls on him (although the Dallas players have been diving a bit). Speaks a lot of his professionalism that he would accept a more defensive position, even though he's the league's all-time leading goal scorer (108 career goals).

18th min: Pope hoofs the ball upfield to no one in particular. There have been one or two decent chances so far for each team, but the game has turned into a midfield battle. Ballouchy shoots wide.

19th min: GOAL, FC Dallas. Kenny Cooper slots the ball past Danny Torres, Rimando gets a paw to it but not enough to push it out. 1-0, Dallas.

21st min: Freddy skies a wide open shot over the cross-bar. He has looked good so far, but needs to finish those chances.

23rd min: Danny Torres puts a weak attempt off a corner kick right at the Dallas keeper. RSL simply can't finish at the moment.

24th min: Ruiz slots a shot wide of Rimando. He hasn't inspired a lot of confidence yet. Adu does some really nice work up the left side, earning a corner.

25th min: Talley's through ball again just too far for Adu. If that ball was on grass, that's a shot on goal for Freddy. I hate turf. The football lines don't help, either.

27th min: Nice cross from Ballouchy, but Kreis doesn't get all of it and it deflects off a Dallas defender. Corner for RSL.

28th min: Resulting corner goes out off Torres for a goal kick.

29th min: GOAL, RSL. Cunny puts it in all alone after Goodson falls down at the back. 1-1. Beautiful cross from Klein, too.

30th min: Yellow card on Goodson for falling down like a pansy while trying to defend Cunny on that last goal.

32nd min: Empty-handed after a corner and throw-in for RSL. Dallas counters but an awful first touch from the right wing leaves the ball out of bounds for RSL.

34th min: Kreis shoots right at the keeper from 30 yards out, missing Pope making a run. Still, the offense looks good. But RSL is breaking down defensively too easily on counter-attacks.

35th min: VERY nice possession workup for RSL results in a ball just out of Klein's reach. Still, impressive.

37th min: Decent possession for FC Dallas, but final cross goes wide of goal for a goal kick. That defensive series was a little better from Real, but I'm still not comfortable with it.

39th min: Ballouchy, playing out wide, punts a ball to no one in particular. I prefer him in the middle of the field.

40th min: More physicality from Kreis. I like it, even if it is costing us possession sometimes.

42nd min: ANOTHER free kick after a foul by Kreis, but the resulting cross is headed out by Dallas. Goal kick, RSL.

44th min: RSL content to play the possession game a bit, waiting for Cunny to use his speed to make a run. Doesn't pan out this time, but it's a nice idea that worked several times last season. I just hope we don't get locked into that as our only option, because we have several other weapons now.

45th min: Torres lets Ruiz turn and get into the box, but the defense clamps down and the ball is cleared. Slightly frightening, though.

HALFTIME: No stoppage time for the first half, which ends in a 1-1 tie. RSL seemed to have the better of the run of play, including several chances and offensive possessions, but the defense still isn't satisfying. Dallas are lucky to get away with the score level, though.

Start of 2nd half: I just got handed the stat sheet. RSL leads in just about every category. In fact, Dallas has had just one shot on goal (which they promptly put away for their one goal. Real definitely should be ahead here.

48th min: Adu has the ball in the offensive third but gets just a little too cute with it and loses it. RSL regains possession but Cunny strays offsides (where have I seen that before? only ALL LAST YEAR...)

50th min: GOAL, JEFF CUNNINGHAM. Cunny puts away his second of the game off a rebound from a Jason Kreis shot from the point. Dallas was begging for offsides, but I think Cunny had the right position. 2-1, RSL.

55th min: Late foul call gives Dallas a free kick 25 yards away. Ensuing free kick caroms harmlessly off the RSL wall and out of bounds for a throw.

56th min: Rimando makes the easy save from an almost accidental Dallas shot. Dallas really haven't put together anything offensively, with their lone goal coming on a counter-attack.

58th min: Another easy save for Rimando. FC Dallas' shots have no strength behind them at the moment. Both teams seem content to slow down play and conserve energy a bit for the home stretch.

61st min: Quick restart catches Ballouchy completely off-guard -- his wild attempt to switch field causes Adu to swat an arm at the ball. Stupid. Nik Besagno comes in for Eddie Pope, a switch probably designed to save wear and tear on the oft-injured, aging defender.

62nd min: Freddy tries to dribble through the ENTIRE Dallas defense, coughing up the ball in the process. Ballouchy was there to help the entire time, but he might as well have been wearing a Dallas jersey. You're great, Freddy, but not THAT great.

64th min: A mistimed lead pass results in a Dallas counter-attack, but the defense gets back in time. Just told that Pope has suffered a left hip pointer and that's why he was taken out. Like I said, oft-injured.

65th in: GREAT save from Dallas keeper Shaka Hislop (hero of the recent World Cup for Trinidad and Tobago) as he picks off a Cunny cross intended for a streaking Freddy Adu. That would have been a sure goal. Props to Hislop.

66th min: Dax McCarty comes on for FC Dallas replacing Juan Toja. All that can be said about Toja's performance today is that he had the longest hair of anyone on the pitch. Adu's volley goes high, wide and handsome -- goal kick, Dallas.

68th min: Kreis finally pays for all the physicality and fouls he's given out this game, receiving a yellow card for running down Arturo Alvarez. Rimando easily saves the resulting set-piece shot.

70th min: Klein is taken down on a run up the left side -- the crowd wants a card but the referee isn't interested. Oduro comes on in place of Alvarez for Dallas.

72nd min: Freddy gets fancy again on the right side of the box, but his shot is deflected into Hislop's hands. I wish we had a keeper like Hislop -- he just inspires confidence even when the back line has a breakdown.

74th: Besagno tries to slip a ball into Adu but is denied, and he promptly clatters into a Dallas player. Cunny breaks away as two Dallas defenders run into each other, making him miles offside. Nunez uncorks a shot directly over the crossbar.

77th min: Really good workup in the offensive third, but it comes to naught as Adu loses the ball again. He just seems to hold on a touch too long, sometimes.

78th min: Nunez blasts another, and Rimando is lucky to push this one over the goal. The resulting corner is cleared. Phew. Still 2-1, RSL.

79th min: Ballouchy out, Cutler in. Cutler is much more of a defensive-minded player. Ellinger wants to hold onto this victory -- we'll probably see a little less movement forward for the last ten minutes.

81st min: Forko plays the man instead of the ball and gives up a free kick 33 yards away. The ball bounces harmlessly through the mixer for a goal kick.

82nd min: Klein is trucked as he's making a run up the right side -- Moor receives a yellow.

83rd min: Good save by Rimando. I think RSL's going to hang on here for the big opening-day win. Going down to field level now -- be back for post-game thoughts after doing some interviews.

DAMN. In the 94th minute (and there should not have been 4 minutes of stoppage, believe me), Dallas bangs a shot that glances off defender Jack Stewart, RSL keeper Rimando makes a complete ass of himself trying to save it, and Carlos Ruiz is there for the easy put-back. Tie ball game. BOLLOCKS. RSL let three points completely slip away. There's no way Dallas was the better team today. If I hadn't been covering the game in a professional setting, I would have been swearing. A lot. Crap.

Well, that was fun.

Are you on the list?

This blog post is brought to you by things that are on (and not on) my list of awesome. The title comes courtesy of one thing that is on the list: Heroes. It's my new favorite TV show, since Lost is getting more and more bizarre and Friday Night Lights has stooped to rehashing "Remember The Titans." (I still watch those shows, though. They're still better than most of what's on TV.)

Heroes takes a lot of what makes serial dramatic television like Lost interesting -- the intertwining plots, the unfinished questions, the ensemble cast -- and colors it all in a vibrant comic-book feel. (The NBC website for the show even includes online graphic novels with amazing illustrations. Nice touch.) The story arcs are much shorter than in Lost or 24, however -- three or four episodes resolve an issue and the characters move on to another mystery, all tied together by the main purpose of preventing a nuclear bomb from destroying New York City.

There are a few missteps (I hate the hitwoman with the split personality -- her parts are boring and predictable) but for the most part, it's an excellent, well-acted show for anyone who likes superheroes or serial television. Good stuff. (Oh yeah, forgot to say, the aforementioned title of this post comes from a storyline that follows a geneticist who has a list of all likely people with superpowers and tries to track them down. But he gets more than he bargained for when... well, watch the show.)

While I'm on the subject of television, I'm a big fan of the recent trend of replaying episodes of popular shows online the following day. I'm seldom able to see the show when it first airs, since I'm often working at the time. Having the show online, where I can watch it from the comfort of my laptop in my bed any time I want, is a big convenience. And honestly, I'd rather watch it where I can have my face close to the screen, with my headphones on, than on one of the not-so-awesome televisions in my house. Anyway, whoever thought up the idea of putting episodes online should be commended.

Watched "Little Miss Sunshine" yesterday. I liked it a lot, but wasn't absolutely blown away by it. I'm a big fan of the Fox Searchlight films, though, and the Focus Features studio too. They're break-offs of major studios who are more committed to making smaller budget, more independent films. And most of their stuff I really like -- things like Eternal Sunshine and The Motorcycle Diaries (which was amazing, I'd like to watch it again). Little Miss Sunshine was interesting and very well shot and acted, but not as funny as I would have liked it to be. The big scene at the end, where the little girl does a quasi-strip dance at her beauty pageant, isn't really all that funny -- it left me more wriggling in embarrassment than laughing. But I'm always like that with that sort of humor -- I just sit there cringing because I feel so bad for everyone involved. Maybe I'm too sensitive.

Along with being too sensitive, I'm too honest and open. I don't know how to play things safe. I don't know how to take it slow. I'm so intense in my interpersonal relationships sometimes. This weekend I sort of forced myself to take a step back, and while it was really hard for me, I think it did me a lot of good. I think I just don't like being messed around with. I make up my mind pretty quickly (for better or worse) and I sort of expect everyone to be the same way, not realizing that it doesn't always work that way. I accept that people (let's be honest: girls) need time to figure out what they actually want. I just wish I knew that's what it was, instead of driving myself crazy trying to figure out what I could do better, or if I did anything wrong. Nine times out of ten whatever the issue is has nothing to do with me, but I can't seem to figure that out at the time.

It's kind of ironic, really. I know very few people who are as laid-back as I am, if by laid-back you mean chill, lazy, easy-going, doesn't get upset easily, is pretty much happy doing whatever, doesn't stress about work or school, etc. But I am anti-laid-back when it comes to friendships and interpersonal relationships. I freak out easily. I want every conversation to be super meaningful and important. As much as I know how to take it easy when I'm by myself, I can't seem to do the same with girls I'm interested in or friends I want to make into closer friends. I dunno. I'm weird. Moving on...

I still love Death Cab For Cutie, which I'm listening to right now, but I've been grooving on some other things, including Seve Vs. Evan (a local band that does what they call "Nintendo-rock," which means synth, drums and vocals and that's it), Foo Fighters (their acoustic album "Skin & Bones" is amazing), and somewhat surprisingly, Eminem (my workout music -- gets me nice and pissed off). Some other new finds lately: The Slip (indie band from Boston who I heard about from Guitar Hero, of all places) and The Films (thanks for the assist on that one, Claire). Good stuff all around.

So, the Jazz had two All-Stars this year, and it very easily could have been three (Boozer, Memo, and Deron Williams, my new favorite player). Which is crazy. I'm really proud of the Jazz. They weathered a mid-season drought where they played right around .500 ball, and they blew into the All-Star break on the six-game winning streak, all without Boozer (who got injured, AGAIN). I don't think we have a shot at a title this year, but we can definitely win a playoff series, and if we get Phoenix in the second round, we could win that one too -- we match up very well against Phoenix (as evidenced by the fact that we've beaten them three straight times this season). I hope we can keep up the pace.

Okay, I've lost my train of thought now, so we're done here.


So this is the new year
But I don't feel any different
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance

So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self-assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogues bleed into one

I wish the world was flat like the old days
And I could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes or speedtrains or freeways
There'd be no distance that could hold us back

So this is the new year.