Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I want to show you something amazing. Taken at face value, the occurrence is rather ordinary, but to the thoughtful observer it is something remarkably telling.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I went to see International Cinema's presentation of Amélie. I didn't know much about it, but it looked fun, and I wasn't doing anything else. I've been to several other movies at the IC. The usual crowd for an IC movie consists of a handful of people dispersed by asocial diffusion to chairs with a two-seat buffer in between.

But for Amélie it was different. A line had formed outside of the theatre thirty minutes before showtime. And when they let us in to be seated... every single seat was filled -- even the broken one in my row. (By broken, I really mean absent: "lacking that upon which to sit." The girl just sat on the floor with her back against the seat's back). And when all the seats were taken, a mass of people sat on the floor in front of the screen with two lines of standing people leaning against each wall.

And then we watched the movie. It was very good. It was colorful. It was funny. I left thinking, "that was a really great movie... no wonder so many people came to see it." That thought was followed by, "wait... why would people mob to see it instead of just renting it?" My observant head then observed, "probably because it was edited."

Sure enough, the MPAA said "R, R for sexual content." You've got to be kidding me?! That movie was rated R? The version I saw had no holes in the plot... there were no sudden jumps in scenes... it all flowed together to create a wonderful artistic piece -- it was delightful!

I want to show you something amazing; and the you to which I refer are the people who make movies. A throng of college kids waited in line, sat on the floor, and stood against a wall to watch this movie -- edited. This was their chance to see the movie. They can't rent it, because the superfluous smut they would have to endure is not worth it -- in fact, it ruins the movie!

Take note: we don't want the salacious slime you sneak into otherwise great movies. We're tired of saying: "It's a great movie except..." When you include graphic portrayals of sex or violence: nothing is gained; everything is lost.

It's not amazing that people want to see a movie - it's rather commonplace. What's extraordinary are the lengths to which people will go to see a clean movie - in the face of Hollywood's trend.

Here's to more filmmakers that get it!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thego Rilla

This is our gorilla. His name's Thego.

Loud Music

I don't like loud stuff. My mom raised me to keep my ears alive. We always took earplugs to movies... or if we didn't have ear plugs, we would put coats over our heads or stuff our ears with tissue from the restrooms. The first movie I ever remember seeing without ear protection was The Mask of Zorro, starring Zorro as himself. And I remember cringing every time the swords would collide. It was so loud!

I was also our High School drumline's chief proponent of salvaging hearing. I once even gifted ear plugs (and home-made caramel) to every member of the drumline for Christmas. They thought I was silly.

All that being said... every once in a while... when it tickles my fancy... when it buoys up my boat... I pump my music, whether in my car or by injecting the sound from my iPod directly into my skull. I remember one day... about a month or two before my mission, when I was coming home from work, the mood struck me: and I rolled down my windows and blasted Arise O God and Shine as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. What a feeling!

And just this week, I had another loud moment: After work one day, as the sun was setting, I turned my car onto Geneva Road. As I straightened my wheel the guitars started to build... then they broke into full tilt. I turned up the volume to hear the sweet wailing theme from Top Gun. Conveniently, Geneva Road feels a lot like a runway when there are no cars in front of you. Likewise, driving a manual transmission feels a lot like flying an airplane. So, I pumped the stereo, and put the pedal to the metal (until I reached 5 over - I'm still safe when I pump it up) and flew home. It put a smile on my face.

...but I still don't like loud things :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

and here's a desktop

Sources and Sinks

There are two kinds of people in the world: Sources and Sinks.

Earlier this week, I was sitting in the Southern basement hallway of the JFSB waiting for my Spanish class to begin. As I sat and studied, I also listened to a conversation between two girls (whom I'll call Alice and Betty) who were waiting for their sewing class. Betty, a shortish brunette wearing some sort of red (if I rightly remember), was busy sewing something while Alice, a more buoyant, taller, depressed-looking girl was sitting next to her project.

I first perked up to eavesdrop because of how sad Alice seemed to be. Every word seemed to sap strength from her sadly sorry soul. More than that, however, her gloom felt almost intentional -- like she enjoyed it.

Eventually their conversation turned to dating, as conversations at BYU tend to do. It turns out that Betty has been dating a boy for just over a year... they talked about how some people only date for a short time before marrying, while others take a while. I'm not sure of my opinion on the matter... I could see myself dipping into either bucket when the time comes.

Alice thought their story of meeting (in a class they shared) was cute -- the same way a dreary rain cloud thinks the cumulous are cute. Then she started talking about some of her friends and how they had met their respective spice. After every story, she sighed a miserable sigh and gave a wan, faraway look -- which I could only interpret as yearning for a "story" of her own.

The topic drifted to work:

"So what do you want to do?" asked Betty. (Throughout this conversation, I noticed a change in Betty. At first, she was just cordially answering Alice's questions. But then she began to see that this person needed a little more than an unhearing ear. She started to be interested in her -- kudos to you, Betty)

"I kinda don't want a job," said Alice somberly. "I hate working."

At this point, I inwardly exclaimed, "Good heavens, girl! I feel like I'm having a bad day now." Soon after, the rooms emptied their people into the hall and we all went to our classes.

There are two kinds of people in the world: Sources and Sinks; Fountains and Drains; Happys and Sads; Optimists and Pessimists. The Sinks sap energy from every situation... spreading gloom and despair in their wake. And soon, the Sinks have created the miserable hollow they imagined their life was, which brings down the dark rain even more. Sources have the opposite effect: There's not many situations in which you can't laugh at yourself or your folly. And they live the line: "There's no situation bad enough that complaining about it won't make it worse." It's fun to have Sources around you. Life seems better when they're around.

Probably we alternate between being Sources and Sinks... some days/events are just rough. But I think we can choose more often than we do to be a Source rather than a Sink. No body likes Sinks... they smell bad and house dirty dishes.

Be a Source.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


And...... we now have a whiteboard:

It's Friday night... I went to see Devdas, a Bollywood movie. It was very colorful. It ended sad, but I wasn't as devastated as many of the weeping women were. The Indian dancing was pretty cool, and I liked the camera angles. And the leading lady was cute.

After the movie I went and played the piano... transcribing a song.

Here's some more desktops. The first was taken at Temple Square. The second was taken in Arizona... the two rings belong to J&E.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Every day this semester, our EE 380 teacher has commented on how hard it is to write on the chalkboard in our classroom. And nothing ever happened to fix it.... until Thursday.

Here's a picture of the hard-to-write-on chalkboard:

The thing you should notice about this picture is that it's lacking our teacher. That's because, just prior to me snapping this, our teacher, in frustration said, "Alright, I'm going to go get the Dean. You all stay here!" And he left.

Then he came back with the Dean of the college:

And just as the end-of-class bell rang, two workers came in to put the new whiteboards up.

It's amazing what can get done when the right people know what to do.

And here's another wallpaper of mine: