Friday, May 23, 2008

More of Me

Lately I've sort of pinned down some of the things I really like. Not that i didn't know, but you know when you're out for a walk and you start thinking to yourself and you start having little epiphanies?

I guess preferences change over the years for people, and that's definitely true for me, but there are some things that I like that I never stop liking, things that I actually like more as time goes by.

-Poetry: it's a very nerdy confession, but for some reason I really like good poetry. I'm not talking about a story forced into the form of a rhyme scheme, I'm talking the puzzling and rich literary stuff that makes more sense when you dig into it: Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare's sonnets, etc.

-Word Puzzles: I really like cross-word puzzles. Like poetry, word-play and puzzles fascinate me for some reason. I don't like the easy cross-words, or the ones that nobody -I mean, not even Professors at Yale could complete. I like the ones that are just challenging enough to keep you grippingly enthralled until you finish it. There is a puzzle published daily in the AZ Republic, that is perfect. I get the biggest thrill out of it. I'll go buy a paper sometimes specifically for the puzzle. Hang the comics and Sudoku; I'll have my puzzle. Is it any wonder that I really like word-themed games like Scrabble and Balderdash?

-Learning: I've spent nearly a year out of school, and I have this sort of stale feeling. I can't stand not learning and developing. My mind hates it! In response, I've really been doing some self-motivated study. I've gathered together some Spanish Vocab books and publications, and I've been working a lot on Spanish lately. I'm lucky to have friends who speak it fluently that help me out here and there. I've started to think in Spanish phrases at times, so I think I'm headed in the right direction. I can understand it conversationally well enough, but speaking is another story. I'm really looking forward to getting back to school in the fall (please remind me of this when I start to stress over homework again). I find learning and education so refreshing.

-Italian Soda: This is a more recent discovery, and probably more of an occasional guilty pleasure than a real habitual love. The flavors are so fresh and exotic -something new and different. But the fact that it is imported from Europe makes it all the more alluring. I've sort of weaned myself away from all soda drinks, generally. But on the odd occasion, (such as holidays and parties) I'll have a glass to keep myself from thinking that carbonation is the Devil's frothy elixir. I know I feel so much better when I stay away from it, and my teeth can testify to the benefits.

-Classic Disney: There are those I deem Masterpieces. They are timeless. They envelope meritous artwork, laudable character design, timeless musical scores, and incomparable wit: Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, The Jungle Book, ...there are more, but as a guy, I don't really feel I need to go on. Does anybody else sort of give a wince of pain each time they see that another Computer Animated film has been released? I really have to have a firm recommendation from someone whose taste I trust before I just shrug them off as not worth seeing. The more I see of the 3-D Computer renderred stuff, the more I think that it's more of a regression than progression. I think it more akin to clay-mation and take it about as seriously.
There is an element of charm that comes in no other way than old time-honored animated characters. I think it appeals more to the imagination. I sort of want to hoard up all these classics and make sure my kids are able to experience them. Whether you think it's sad or not, there won't ever be a copy of Toy Story in my home. Why settle?

So there you have it. I'm a geek/Disney lovin' kid deep down inside. And still, I'm expected to vote and pay taxes and stuff.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wrong Side of the Bed

Today was one HECK of a day. It had some good points and things to smile about, but for the most part I wanted to have a permanent time-out in the adult world where time-outs don't exist. Do you ever go through a day where you feel fate is bent against you? Everyone you meet seems to know exactly what to do to annoy you, and they do it. Each set of circumstances you encounter adds one more scoop of dung on the heap you're already carrying on your back. But after work, things improved -actually, after I got home things improved. People were even jerks on the drive home. So I think I want to stay in tonight and totally veg out watching 24 and watch Jack Bauer deal with all the crap while I kick back. Now that is some good therapy.
Here's to tomorrow being a better day!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

BYU I... accepted. It's now official. I have the letter to back it up.
I can now move forward with making plans: housing, financial aid, travel plans, the works.
No more waiting for the official word. It's here! I'm in!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Once Was Lost

I found myself at work today. A man came through my line and handed me his membership card. The name on the card read: Steven Hansen (double take).
"Hey," I observed, "we have the same name."
To which he, the other Steven, replied, "Oh yeah," just humoring me, I'm sure. I'll bet he was thinking, "Big deal. I meet a dozen Stevens every day. You're so observant. Now shut up and let's get on with the check-out."
I continued, "Last name too. Spelled just like that."
Now this was a point of interest, and the conversation started.
"Same name, but we live in different places. I was raised in Tucson, but now I live in the Far East."
He told me that he and some friends were headed to the Grand Canyon for a field-trip.
We continued to chat as I finished ringing up his items.
Then, before leaving he said, "Well, it's not often that you meet someone with your name. Here."
He gave me a business card.
It reads:

Steve Hansen
Wireline Geology Domain Champion

18th Floor, Rohas Perkasa
No. 8. Jalan Perak
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Not only does he share my name, he's a Geologist.
"Geology." I noted. "That's my major!"
"Well, the group I'm hiking the canyon with is a group of about 20 Geologists."
We were both sort of baffled. He left before any more uncanny similarities could completely unhinge our psyches.
So now I'm found. Twice.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chronicles of the Cashier

I realize that much of my blog's focus is on my work. But at present, my work occupies the better part of my day.

Here's the reflections on this day:

A girl named Alice in her early twenties was purchasing some cases of water. And rather than hefting them out onto the conveyor belt, she wanted to pull the cart around the counter and have me scan them with my hand scanner. But there was something in her way -the man who was just ahead of her in line was still standing there talking to someone. She jolted her cart to a stop, stared at the man, looked at me, then back at the man. What would she do? How was she going to get this man to move for her? In a panic, she shot a pleading glance at me for help and shrugged her shoulders. In a calm voice, I stepped forward and said, "Excuse me, could you move forward for this lady please?"
Where did I learn these tactics? Who knows. It's just as much a part of me as knowing how to zip the fly of my jeans and knowing to turn on a light when the room is dark, I suppose.

I think that somebody must've missed an episode of Barney when the magic phrase "excuse me" was introduced.

We live in a society whose basic social interactions are on the decline. People pass each other on the street and in the store and never speak a word of greeting -never nod in acknowledgement of another person. Rare are the shared smiles and friendly waves. Making eye-contact is almost a taboo. Each person's ears are inseparably connected to the ear-buds of their portable music player, shutting out their fellow beings. No wonder Alice didn't know how to initiate the "excuse me, please" dialogue. She's been living half of her life in a wonderland all of her own.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It Happens Every Day

One of my setbacks to making journal entries, or in this case blog posts, is that I'm always looking for the big important or noteworthy things to write about. It's a huge hinderance. Yet, more and more, I realize that the most fascinating and interesting things are found in the common and simple things that happen every day.

I never knew that being a cashier was such a dirty job. There are times I will find the palms of my hands covered in a dark coating of black or gray powder and wonder, "How long has that been there?" as I wipe my palms on my pant legs. Adults and children alike drizzle the contents of their shopping carts with spilt soda and sprinkle it with cookie crumbs and remnants of salted pretzel. And most carts are littered with napkins and serving cups from the demo stands. I don't know if I ever noticed them before I worked at Sam's, but there are huge gray garbage bins at the end of almost every other aisle in the store -strategically placed for the disposal of demo-trash. But who comes to the store to throw away their trash -honestly? We can't expect too much, I guess.

Most often, when people are buying meat, they fail to notice the plastic bags conveniently located in front of the meat displays. They don't bag the stuff. Maybe when they played "grocery shopping" as kids, the plastic baggies were only to put your produce in. I don't know. So I have hundreds of people lining up to hand me their dripping styrofoam trays. That's right. I get the honor of touching all of them. Slimy puddles build on the conveyor belt as people plop their juicy purchases in front of me.

Today, a lady was buying some beef roasts -nice, red, plump, and juicy. I can't say I blame her for not noticing the seepage of the blood. She was rather old, and was probably so frazzled with shopping that she just couldn't bring herself to dig her glasses out of her purse to see what was going on. But as I handled the purchase, I felt like I had travelled back to the time of Moses and blood sacrifice. My hands were dripping with a dark crimson liquid. And what was I to do, leave my register and run to the bathroom to wash it off? I grabbed a napkin from the cafe table and wiped most of it off, knowing that I'd just have to wait 'til my break to properly sanitize. And then I remembered that the cashier behind me had some hand sanitizer. Ah! A solution ---of sorts. I borrowed a bit. It was the spray-on kind. I don't know why, but I always have to smell my hands after using hand sanitizer. Well, this kind smelt funky. It was like some funky herb smell or something.

My next customer had been watching me the whole time. I joked with my co-worker: "This is some funky stuff! It smells weird." I laughed. My co-worker agreed. We couldn't quite determine what the smell was, but it was vaguely familiar. "Ah, maybe it's a new kind of perk -hand sanitzer, with a hint of lime." At this point, my customer starting laughing aloud. And she added, "for those with more elite preference when it comes to hand-sanitizers." I love it when I am reminded that the beings I am serving are actually human.
So there you have it. One insight into a moment of my work-day. Tomorrow, I have a day off. And what stories will I have to tell?