Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some Random Bits of Whatever

Once in a while, I just have to unload the stuff that's been in my mental inbox. This is one of those posts.

Do you pay much attention to where you step when you get out of the shower? I've made a habit of stepping out of the shower as far away from the toilet as I can get. I don't know, maybe I should get a professional to diagnose some of my quirks -however, this not knowing has its perks. That rhymed -unintentional. Wow. Rhyming and two movie quotes in just two short sentences. I'm spoiling you guys!

My roommate shares a shower with me, and the position of hte shower curtain after his shower would seem to suggest he plops his freshly-showered feet right next to our lovely porcelain seat. Now, I can't really pass judgement on a person for this; the towel racks in the small bathroom are, in fact, hanging right above the toilet (who decided on that anyhow? What if the towel slips off??? ...just sayin').

When I step out of the shower, I reach across to the towel rack and grab my towel and dry off before stepping out onto the floor nearest the door. It seems like that spot's gotta be a great deal cleaner than the other end -especially in a guys' bathroom. So I shudder and cringe when, each morning, I find that the shower curtain is opened to that very spot.

I also make sure to spread the shower curtain out after I'm done. You know -to let it dry. And to hide the shampoo. From thieves.

I'm exceedingly attentive to all these things.

So there's that. Now that I'm out of the shower, let's talk deodorant. Last week, I was out of town. I went down to Provo to do some geochemistry lab work at BYU.

It was such an incredible trip, full of amazing learning experiences and new lab equipment. Anyhow, I thought I'd remembered to bring everything (including my wallet full of DVDs) but soon realized that I'd neglected to grab a stick of ...pit-stick. I wasn't about to do without it in a close-proximity setting like a laboratory.

It's only fair to be considerate to others. So, I determined to purchase a travel-size stick of deode (I call it that for short. It sounds like "geode" so that makes it cool). At the local Walmart, the only pit-stick option was "AXE dry" -an anti-perspirant. I typically don't use anti-perspirant. Ever. But this was only 98 cents, and it was calling to me with that cool shiny black AXE label with electric blue letters. (They really have figured out how to catch a guy's interest. I mean, especially with the spiky-haired black rubber-ducky they include with your purchase of body wash. Anyway...) So I bought the stuff, and used it.


It felt like I had rubbed an old dried-out glue stick under my arm. I guess I expected something that stops you from sweating to feel more .....natural. My deodorant never gives me that feeling. It's always "slick as a whistle". On it goes; swipe-swipe-swipe, and I'm smellin' like a champion old-spice gent. 'Tis not the case with anti-perspirant, as I have come to find through sad experience. Even when I showered later, I tried to scrub that feeling off -AND IT WOULDN'T COME OFF! Some might call that a quality product. I call it original sin. So I used the stick for the next three days, and then said goodbye to that mess and tossed it in the trash. What? I'm not wasting! It's not like I could donate it to D.I. or anything. Yeah. Let's not even think about that one too long. Next subject.

My friend Michael will be moving in with me tomorrow. Not "Billy" Michael. He already lives here. This one is Michael Kidd. He's from Nampa, Idaho, a suburb of Boise. We have some crazy similarities. His Dad is Gaylen. Mine is Gale. His middle name is Clark. So is mine. He's got the same model of Acer laptop as I do. It has the same quirky issues. He has the same Samsonite camera case. I could go on, but I'm sensing some boredom. Anyhow, I thought I'd alert you all to the fact that there will be two Michaels living with me (no, not the craft store, ladies). I've considered calling them "Billy" and "the Kidd". I think that would work.

Well, the inbox is now a bit cleaner. That always helps me sleep a little easier at night. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go make sure our shower curtain isn't open.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Crew:

As promised, this post is an introduction to some of the crazy fun people I've met this summer. I can't include everybody, so I won't. (I'm a terrible person, I know)

First, Michael. Michael is from Atlanta Georgia. He just graduated from high school and moved to Rexburg and became my roommate.

Most of the time, we refer to Michael as "Billy". It's an inside joke, a reference to The Cable Guy. And it's sort of evolved into a nick-name. Most of our mutual friends don't know that it's not his actual name! Billy (Michael) makes me laugh. His sense of humor just clicks with me. I'm glad to have the guy around.

Carolina - Carolina has been in my ward, and was in my Family Home Evening group. This summer, we've had more of a chance to get to know each other. She's from Brazil and she served as a missionary on Temple Square. She prefers driving stick, which I think is very cool. She also helps me practice my Spanish a lot.

Summer - No, not the season, the girl. Summer's a crazy girl from Texas who we've gotten to know in the past few weeks. She's way fun and full of surprises. (Vote for Summer!)

Next, Isaac and Eliot. These brothers are from Loxley, Alabama. Isaac is going to school here and Eliot is just visiting for the summer break. Eliot's friends call him "Samberg" because he looks like Andy Samberg. They're a lot of fun. I went hiking with them in the Tetons this past Saturday ---it was a blast

Chawchi - Chawchi is from Brazil. He's a music performance major, and an excellent piano player and chef. He's got a knack for creating his own spin on American culture.

So that's it. These are the peeps I've been runnin' with this summer. It's made for a really fun few weeks, and it makes me wish that school wasn't starting so soon. We'll just have to make the most of the next couple of weeks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Subtitles? Yes, please.

This makes post 150 in my long stretch of blog posts. That's quite a fence, and it's said that "Good fences make good neighbors". (I love Frost)

150 seems like a milepost -a nice even number. But I'm not going to celebrate. No special "list of however many random things". I'm just here to type out my thoughts and make sure they're all nicely alligned with the posts I've already set.

Tonight, I watched "Valkyrie" for the third time. I really enjoy that movie. It's suspensful and a little sad, but it's a well-made film based on an incredible piece of history.

Now you all must know of my fascination for words. If not, just trust me -it's almost an obsession. When I watch a movie, especially one packed with rich meaning expressed through excellent dialogue, I much prefer to have the subtitles to reference at the bottom of the screen.

This preference has given rise to the realization that there are two camps when it comes to subtitles: those who are for (yes, please), and those who are against (I'm terribly sorry you feel that way).

Being biased towards the pro-subtitle folks, I've tried to understand the other viewpoint. Here's what I've come up with:
The most common reason I get for the opposing subtitles stance is, "You miss out on the action on the screen because your eyes keep looking down at the words."

Hmm. I guess I fail to see the negative in that reasoning. The eyes are drawn to the words? I think your inner word-loving self is trying to tell you something.

I mean sure, for some people it's annoying to try and focus on two things at once (i.e. action and subtitles), but for me, it makes the movie all the more interesting, meaningful, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Having just watched an entire movie with the subtitles on, I honestly can't remember ever having pulled my attention away from the on-screen action. It's become second-nature for me to take in a flik in that fashion. I mean, sure I may have missed seeing a few footsteps of some Nazi soldiers, but my ears captured it. My peripheral vision captured it. Action sequences before and after linked up properly. So there is no break in the mental flow of the movie in my head. I think the most ardent subtitle hater could learn to love subtitles as I do with very little training. Like most things in life, it's got a lot to do with attitude.

If you're not all that keen on subtitles, please give it a shot. There's no room for hate in this world. Let it go. And let the words live.

While I'm on the movie subject, I've been thinking lately about the way movies have changed. Cinema is a form of art -a medium for expression. Or it was once. All right, it's still a form of art, but it's rarely used to its full potential as it once was. I find several examples today where art in cinema is used only to embelish an entertainment package, when shouldn't it be the opposite -or at least a sensible balance between the two? I'll walk away from a flik thinking, "Wow. That was like a hollow skeleton, shrink-wrapped in a package called let's sell this shiz." OK, so I don't exactly think that, but later on I do -like when I'm blogging.

I love it when someone will dazzle audiences with a real masterpiece, something with real merit. That's probably why I'm prone to purchase the ones that are good. I've been told, "You sure like to buy movies". I admit, it's true. But I'll say this about it: I've got a pretty darn good collection. Maybe one day I'll post a list of the titles.

Which brings me to my next point: I don't like to lend out movies. I'll recommend good movies all day. I'll sit you down and watch one with you almost any night of the week. But when someone asks to borrow one, I start shifting in my seat and fidgeting, and try to change the subject somehow. Am I obsessed? I don't think so. I'd like to pose an analogy to help justify my stance (it's where you compare things). If you went to your friend's art gallery and asked to take his/her favorite oil painting home for a few days, what answer would you expect. OK, it's a flawed analogy. Movies are very replaceable, but still.

Next subject: I have a confession. I was in the Hispanic section of the grocery store last week, and I saw an item that I wanted. It's something that I've considered buying for years, yet never actually done it. Well on that day last week, I went through with it. I bought the thing I wanted. It's a tall candle in a glass with the "Virgen de Guadalupe" pasted around it. It was a very catholic thing to do, I know. But can you blame me? I mean, consider the coolness factor! I don't think it's a bad thing. She helps me remember to say my prayers!

Speaking of Hispanic things, I'm excited to start my Spanish cluster this coming semester. I've been studying and practicing my Spanish with friends here, and I'm really having fun with it. Learning another language is fascinating. Well, again -there's my fascination with words. Sorry.

I'm going to be atypical and tell you what my next blog post will be. I'm going to introduce you to all my summertime friends here in Rexburg. Until then, thanks for reading, and God be with you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer, Friends, and a Break from School

The past few weeks, I've been able to enjoy summer for the season it is and take advantage of good weather and evenings full of fun with a smaller group of friends. I love the summer crowd! It's whittled down to a meager few, but those few get to know each other well and develop stronger friendship than they would if the group was larger. And that makes for a lot richer and enjoyable times together that we'll remember all our lives with a smile.

On Friday, our ward took a trip to Salt Like City. We left Rexburg at 7am and returned at 11:30pm. We toured Welfare Square and the Humanitarian Center. We also toured Temple Square and had some free time to tour around and look at whatever we chose. It was very rewarding and fun. I'm so glad our ward did this! I was especially impressed with the Humanitarian Center and Welfare Square. It's reassuring to see how the church uses its resources (and our donations) to bless humanity the world over.

Friday, August 7, 2009

There and Back Again

I'm back in Rexburg after a wonderful week away.

Some after-trip thoughts:

-Joseph City is a little like Spain in some ways. The people are religious. They can be found wearing large-brimmed hats, working out in the field. They bring home fresh produce from the garden at the end of the day where it will be made into something flavorful. The older generation can usually be found taking "siesta" at around 1 in the afternoon. All we really lack is the European influence and salty sea air.

-There really is a lot to take in on the drive from Joseph City to Rexburg. Here are a few: The San Francisco peaks and surrouding cinder cone volcanoes, the Chinle Formation north of Flagstaff on the Hwy. 89, The Echo Cliffs monocline closer to Page on 89, the Glen Canyon Dam, the Vermillion Cliffs, tons of great sedimentary structures in the sandstone outcrops near Kanab, the Wasatch Mountain front -including the Wasatch fault scarp and Lake Bonneville terrace deposits, the Snake River Plain volcanic field, ...and that's just from a Geologists perspective. Life is never boring when you're surrounded by rocks. The world is an ancient history book; its pages are written in layers of stone.

-As much as I missed home, I was surprised how much I also missed Idaho when I was away. The people I left here, yes. But the place too. It's growing on me, like an eye on a spud.

-I like the freedom of having my own set of wheels again -even though the speedometer doesn't work ...and there's no AC ...and it rattles a bit ...still. I like it.

-Twelve hours behind the wheel can make you feel dizzy -and drained.

-The old Dart has seen a new state now! IDAHO!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Break

Ever Since I left Rexburg, I've been on the go. For reals. I got into Joseph City on Thursday afternoon. On Friday, I went with my Sister and her husband to Flagstaff. On Saturday afternoon, my friend Stormy passed through Jospeh City and stopped to see me -and I ended up going with her to Flagstaff.
Me, Stormy, and Becky met up with Jay at Cracker Barrel for dinner. We were taking pictures, joking, and laughing so much -I bet the other patrons were a more than a little annoyed. But we had fun.
Stormy couldn't wait to taste those steamed baby carrots.
On Sunday, Stormy (such a good friend) drove me back to Joseph City. Becky and Perla came with and got to meet a lot of my adorable family. This morning, I went to Winslow to get fresh ingredients for salsa. Tomorrow I'm taking a day-trip to Thatcher. Wednesday, I might head to Mesa for a day. And then who knows what adventures will pop up after that. At the end of the week, it's back up to Rexburg.
When I'm not out of town, I'm being chauffeured around town by the likes of this dashing young lackey: