Friday, October 29, 2010

The Night of Fright Approaches

Excitement is in the air. (Feel it Kronk,...)
Halloween falls on Sunday. So what? Let the rest of the weekend be declared a time of celebration galore!

I won't be in Rexburg for Halloween. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the GSA (Geological Society of America) conference in Denver. I'm presenting my senior research, and that's a frightening enough event for me. Not really. I feel pretty confident in my preparation.

Can I share something with you? It's truly tragic. I got an email from our apartment manager earlier this week. I know that in the past, Rexburg Housing has been really fussy about the removal of our pumpkins from our porch prior to November 1st. In fact, if you didn't remove your pumpkin, they threatened to have a garbage removal service come by and that you would be charged $30 dollars for the removal fee. Hardly what I call a friendly request, but I wasn't too put out.
This time around, our manager informed us that we're to remove our pumpkins from our porch no later than Friday, October 29th.
Honestly. Really? Honestly?
I'm afraid so. This is no trick, nor is it a treat.

I admit that I do have a bias. I LOVE pumpkins! I really really do. It's almost scary how passionate I am about a dang piece of produce. But they are so big and bulky and unique and colorful and texturally diverse and seasonal! They come in the fall and they just make the season seem so much more festive. I've always felt this way, and the feeling grows stronger each passing year.

But this demand cut me deeper than my bias-level. This demand shouted "They've got no RIGHT!" This is America! It's the breeding ground of the modern-day celebration of Halloween! It's the setting for Washington Irving's classic tale of the Headless Horseman who lobs a flaming jack-o-lantern at the poor gangly Icabod!
Every American has, what do they call 'em ..."Inalienable rights". I think the right to display a jack-o-lantern on your porch in Halloween night falls in that category.
I'm all fired up. I have a notion to ditch my trip to Denver and spend the weekend dressed in my spooky costume, sitting on my porch, pumpkin in lap, protesting the whole removal scandal. What could they say?
"I'm sorry, but we have to take this."
"This is my personal property. It's my pumpkin. If you take it, I'll see you in court."
"I'm sorry sir, Rexburg Housing has a policy...."
"I too have a policy and it's called my pumpkin is my pumpkin and if you want it, you'll have to pry it from my cold lifeless fingers (which means so much more coming from someone dressed as a haunted-skeleton henchman ...cold ...lifeless)
I replied to the email and explained to my manager that, while I knew she wasn't the one who made the policy, I'd like the ones who did to know that tenants aren't pleased.
I submit that all of ya, every last ONE 'ya, has the right to keep and bear pumpkins!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Quote I Love

"Any man who has lived harmoniously and finished a life successfully with one wife has done well and is to be commended; but here we have one who goes him five times better!" Joseph W. Smith, son of Jesse N. Smith, in reference to his father

We had Family Home Evening at my bishop's house. He was talking about family history, and just got me thinking ...and searching.

Friday, October 22, 2010

But It's FUNNY!

I hear this a lot.
I can understand the need for a good laugh.
I dearly love to laugh.

However, laughter was never sufficient to justify other atrocities. I'll explain.
I have almost no tolerance for some TV shows. Let me list them for you.

The Family Guy
South Park

There are others, but those are the prime examples. All other elements aside for a moment, I'd like to focus on two: humor and vulgarity.
Each of these shows have elements of both, with vulgarity far outweighing the humor. The sole justification for watching these shows is always humor.

You do realize that you're getting the impact of all of the other elements of the show too, right? You know that crummy feeling you have after watching that kind of show? You know the one -the opposite of uplifted. Don't try to deny it. You may have a few laughs to relish, but is it worth it?

It's like that with most stupid-to-do things. Cigarettes have a nicotine rush. Does that make the rest of the effects good? Both science and experience say no.

I've had people try and tell me about "this funny part of an episode", and they don't understand when I stop them and politely refuse.
"But it's FUNNY!"

You'll have to come up with something better than that. I can see right past it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I knew I'd be excited for it. You knew I'd be excited for it, 'cuz I told ya I would be. The flowers are wilting, their petals are fading, but I've got all the wonderful sensations of fall to compensate for the loss.

I've been itching to post these photos, and now the time has come. Or, as Albert's mother would say, "The time we knew would come at last, has come at last." Anyways...
I went back to the Pumpkin patch in Idaho Falls this year. And me in a pumpkin patch is very much like a kid in a candy store. No joke. Enjoy the photos, and Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Are You In?

Growing up, I remember hearing people reference the scripture about being "lukewarm". It's Revelation 3:16. It says, "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will [spew] thee out of my mouth."

At the time, my concept of lukewarm was non-existent and I remember asking my Mom about the meaning of lukewarm and actually going to the kitchen faucet where she demonstrated what temperature lukewarm was, or close enough to be within a 0.01 degree error margin, for scientific purposes.

While I don't pretend to fully understand the meaning of all scriptural verse, this one says exactly what I've been feeling lately.

I'm not peeved, I just notice things that I dislike here and there, and then you get to hear about it.

Examples: Somebody, a leader or instructor, needs a head count. "How many of you need a copy of the syllabus?"

Slowly, limp and sagging limbs extend barely to within visible sight.

Why? This happens without fail in every group I've ever been in. And these aren't old feeble geezers (no offense intended), these are young adults.

I refuse to believe that they don't have the energy required to fully extend their arm and raise it into position above their head.
If you're raising your arm half-way, are you half-way committing? Does that mean you don't really need a copy of the syllabus, but it would be convenient?
Are you afraid of calling attention to yourself? Are you timid? Are you one of those rascals that loves to make the head-count difficult?

Without fail, this reminds me of another biblical event, when Moses had to have his arms propped up to ensure the victory of the Israelites. You know the story? Do the limp-armed people need someone to "lift up the arms that hang down"?

Compare this to a group of Kindergarten children. When they raise their hand, it's up high. It's sometimes even waving enthusiastically. It's visible to everyone in the room. What changes between then and now? There are the obvious answers, but honestly, think about that.

So here is my challenge: if you raise your hand, raise it high. Go all in. Refuse to go feeble and flimsy. Let this also be applied to commitment in all other aspects of life.

One thing I can't stand is people backing out or completely neglecting their commitments. I would rather have someone say that they are not going to do something than to say they will with the intent of not following through. I think some people say they'll do something just to please somebody momentarily. This just won't do.

I try to guard my own actions and make sure that I'm never semi-committed. That's why sometimes I'll just say no. It may come across as blunt or unpleasant, but that's not intentional. I just have to be true. Know what I mean?

As Ben Bailey says, "So what do you say -are you in?"

Friday, October 8, 2010

As of Late

I need to write a post. I just do.
Not that anything incredible has happened in my life, but some fun things, definitely.
And there are bits and pieces of things that I have up there in my head just itching at me, begging for me to release them on the page. So here we go:

Remember when I posted on July 5th about my Fall semester plans?

Well, it was fun to review that. I am rooming with my friend Tyler. That's been fun.

I didn't switch complexes, since my contract here at Somerset had one semester to go still.

I'm not managing a talent event, since the one I wanted to manage was canceled.

I am going to audition for "Ma A'Capella" on Tuesday! Can I tell you how thrilled I am? I love singing fun stuff like this, and now's my chance.

It's funny how we can plan things out all we want, and then reality steps in and adjusts our plans for us. That's part of the thrill of life.

Now for something serendipitous. I hesitate to tell it, and I'll tell you why after I tell you. I won an iPod Touch. I won it in a drawing at the plasma center. Anyone who donated 8 times in September was entered into a drawing, and I won.
How sweet is that? Well, it's very sweet ...for me. I soon realized that only my closest friends wanted to hear the good news. Everyone else seemed irked that I was bragging to them that I had won something cool and reminding them that they never win things.

I normally don't. Nobody normally does. But I like to think that donating plasma ups my chances. This month the promotion is a 32" flat-screen TV. I'll donate 8 times. I'll be entered to win. I won't win. I just won't, you watch. But I'll be very happy for the person who does! Is that only because I know what it's like to win? I don't think so.

Switching gears. I don't know exactly what I want to be this Halloween. I hate the fact that I have to define what I am. I would like to just dress up as something scary without putting a name to it.

But I understand why we have to do that. People want to organize their perceptions into categories. If you have some label like "zombie" or "witch" or "mummy", people know what to do with it. They can go to the file directory in their brain under the "costumes" label and look it up, and find it there and they know all about that thing, and they add you to their little file and feel all happy and comfortable and then they smile about their mental organizational skills. HOWEVER, if you don't fit their perceptual schema, if they don't have a label to put to your costume, or if it's too vague or unfamiliar, like "ghoul" or "spook", they aren't comfortable because they've got some file dangling without a place to put it. They can't wrap their mind around the idea without a category and so they have a hard time perceiving what they think you are. Maybe I should just dress scary and call my costume "something scary". Surely they've got a file for that.

I have a fear that this next segment will be taken the wrong way. So, I have a request: PLEASE don't take this the wrong way. Just listen.

I am not really a phone person. I HATE trying to converse with people on the phone. I really, really, really do hate it. It's not that I hate keeping in touch, or chatting, or all the great things that can be done in a phone conversation. I love those things. I'm not some miser, some old hermit that shuns human interaction and tries to shut out the outside world. I just don't care much for that medium of communication.

Now, don't take it the wrong way. I don't want anybody to think, "Oh, I shouldn't call him because he hates that." Please, still call, and call often. I love hearing from you. But here's the thing: don't expect me to lead the conversation. If I've got things to say, I'll say them. If I don't, I won't. Don't take that to mean that I'm in a bad mood, or don't want to talk. It means that I hear your voice in a little machine and it's not really you in person and I don't carry on a conversation well with a little machine that is saying your words. Some people have a real art of phone-chat and I just don't.

I've found that I tend to be more business-like on the phone. Let's say whatever it is we need to say so that we can get this over with and get back to the real life that's in front of our eyes.

Also, I think I feel more comfortable expressing myself in person or on the page. That's probably the main reason why I don't prefer the phone. So now you know how I feel about that.

Switching gears again: Know what I did the other night? I was really feeling the fall mood, so I stayed up late reading scary stories online with a mulled-cider scented candle burning next to me on my desk. Then I watched some of the Disney version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on YouTube. And then I found a version of the same story made for TV in the 80s starring Jeff Goldblum as Icabod Crane. Genius casting for that role, not-so-genius on any other aspect of the production. But it was worth a look, just to see Jeff Goldblum in that role. Then I looked up the actual story of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on the Online Literature Network (which I have an admitted-addiction to) and read until I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer.

That's all. That's all, until I think of something better to write. And I will. I promise.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's HERE!!!

The Mulled Cider candle is burning, filling the room with the scent of apple harvest.

The afternoon breeze tickles the tree branches and they drop their little pieces of gold into the street to be trodden on and swept by the rush of cars. Cars on the way to pick pumpkins, to shop for costumes, heading to a haunted house, a straw maze, or hay ride.

It's the perfect time of year for scary movies and ghost stories.

It's Fall. It's October. I'm already scheming what I'm going to create with my pumpkin this year.