Monday, June 27, 2011


Yesterday at about 7pm my blog received its 500th view. That deserves a party. Let's all get together, that's right people of the interweb, we must come together and have, as they say, "a grand ol' time".

I'd like to thank the academy for being self-centered and having nothing to do with my blog whatsoever. I'd also like to thank a random stranger for potentially viewing my blog and making the world a better place. I mostly just want to see their reaction to being thanked. I think it would be a riot!

I'd like to thank you, my readers, and especially you, whom I have interacted with and learned from and written about. Thank you for teaching me, sparking thoughts, and helping me see the world a little bit differently.

You rock :-)

Friday, June 24, 2011


So two weeks ago my car died in the middle of the intersection directly under the freeway overpass. You know, the one with cars going every which way? Yeah, well, it just cuts out and I throw it in neutral to get over to the side where there's some space and start trying to ask someone to give me a jump. It was about 10:45 pm though, and I was wearing my fedora and Michael Jackson-esque jacket, so I must have looked kinda scary. No one wanted to help me.

It was sad.

Then this police officer pulled over and asked me what was wrong and I told him and he pulled around to give me a jump. I got my car running but it died again the moment the cables were disconnected so I figured the alternator must not be providing voltage like it should. He was kind enough to wait a while and let his system charge mine up a bit and I was able to get down the hill and to the gas station, all with a police escort mind you! That was pretty cool.

I had to leave it there overnight and get a ride from my mom back home. I called a few people the next day to see if anyone would be able to help me and had to finally call my cousin (what's family for right?) and he was able to lend a hand. I really didn't want to get towed somewhere so I instead spent that 100+ dollars on a new battery to get it home and then go from there. I have a friend who offered to help me if it turned out to be the alternator and I called him up and made plans to fix it the next day.

We went to AutoZone and got the part I needed and started in on the repair. In many a car the alternator is pretty easy to get to just sitting on the side of the engine and all you do is take off the belt, unplug the wires, remove three or four bolts and ta-DA! you're done. Then you just put the new one in and bolt it, plug it in, and put on the belt and then you're really done. And that should take an hour or less. But does anything ever happen the way it "should"? HAHAHAHAHA that is a good one, NO of course not! My alternator is right under the engine and above the A/C compressor and right behind the fan, so it's super awkward to get at. Unless I have a winch I ain't getting at it from the top and I ain't got no winch. So, the only other option is to jack up the car and get to it from the bottom which means you have to pull off the A/C compressor but not let it hang by the hoses or if they come off you'll have coolant and crap all over the place. Then you have to fit a wrench in there and blindly take out the bolts and the last bolt is sort of resting in a little groove so you have to lift the bottom of the alternator while rocking the top down and forward. By the way, your arm is in this weird position so lifting and holding and moving a heavy object is reeeeeeaaaaallllyyy difficult. Then you have to put the new one in by reversing the process.

Now, usually it is pretty easy once you have all that done to just throw on the belt turn on the engine and check everything. However, the belt tensioner, which is a little pulley on an adjustable arm that provides the tension necessary to hold the belt on and at a comfortable working tightness, was not moving. the bolt head that you would put a socket wrench on was stripped and so we had to pry the belt on using multiple screwdrivers.

And so we completed the job and it only took three hours. That's only three times longer than it "should" have taken. I drove home and was pleased that I wouldn't be doing THAT again.

I drove it to the trax station twice and to church and then I went on vacation and my car sat there for a little more than five days and then I noticed my lights were a bit dim on Monday when I got back and it started doing that same pre-dying sort of stuff that it had done the first time. I got home and cleaned the battery terminals and that seemed to get rid of the problem, a bit of corrosion had probably gotten in the way of the connection. The next day I got the same reluctance when I started the car and I started checking the voltage on the system. Turns out the battery was being drained which means I was probably running off the new battery the whole time I had the new alternator, and the alternator was probably bad! *Primal yell!!!*

Are you KIDDING ME?!

I could only hobble down to Big-O and they said they would check it for me. I was already late for work and my mom, bless her for her patience, took me to the trax station. The next morning I got the car and sure enough the alternator was bad. Oh. My. Goodness. I was going to punch something. I had had plans to go out to a movie with someone, yes a girl, and this was like throwing several wrenches into the works. My good friend said he'd help me again since we would know what we were doing this time and it wouldn't take as long. This was good because I wanted to see about catching a late showing of the movie if possible.

I had called the AutoZone and told them what was up and how I needed a new alternator, preferably one that worked, and they said they had one that they would test and hold for me. When I got there just a few hours later, they said they didn't have it anymore. Good one guys, nice. So they called the store a few miles up the road. They had one, yay! Before taking it, I asked them to test it and it failed. The guy said he had never seen that happen before, and we were like, "We have. Twice." I asked him to call one of the other stores to see if they had one and to make them test it before we drove over there and he said that he would as long as they weren't busy. I said that I didn't care if they were busy make them test it because if I walked through that door, I'd be making them test it anyway. They said it passed and we went to pick it up. So, now we were only two hours behind schedule.

The process went much the same only this time it only took two hours to do, which would have been a great thing and I could have gotten home and cleaned up before the movie, but as it was with the extra two hours tacked on I wasn't going to get home until the movie had already started. That was a bummer.

Stupid car parts not working.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Heart to Heart

Letting people see the soft and vulnerable places of our hearts can be one of the hardest and most scary things to do. It's kind of funny though, because letting people see that you are human allows them to be close to you. As someone shares their thoughts, fears, joys, hopes, dreams, failures, triumphs, and heartaches, you can't help but love them even more. We are so afraid of letting people in. We need to let people in.

How do you let something go when all you want to do is hold it tighter? It's the weirdest thing to sit next to someone you love and be ok with letting them go if you have to. It's not my favorite feeling mind you, but in a painful sort of way it's kind of comforting. I guess it's not painful, more heartache-y, in a happy melancholy way. Man that's a hard emotion to describe. Sitting on the sidewalk watching Scorpio dance across the sky, I realized I loved you.

I hope I have what it takes to follow my own advice. We sometimes long for things to come back, for doors to open again and let us in. When a door closes we want nothing more than for that door to be opened to us again, we would do things differently, we would be better, we would do whatever it took for that door to open just one more time. This breaks my heart because I have felt this many times before. Many, many times. But if we stand there, holding that closed door, willing it to open, staring at its surface, wishing we could get inside, or even just see inside again, we will miss every other door God opens for us. There may even be a better door just a few steps away, wide open. Until we let go and walk away from the closed door, we can never be content without it. We will always be stuck, we won't progress, we will become fearful and uncertain about many other things, and disappointment, guilt, and endless "if only"s will weigh down our souls. Who knows, that door might open again. But if it does and all we did was stare at it the whole time and make plans for how we would change and do things right, will we really, truly be ourselves, or will we constantly be striving to be what we think they want us to be? What kind of life is that?

It can be so hard to let go. But then my thoughts turn to the most famous line of John Greenleaf Whittier's poem Maud Muller: "For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'" I think we usually use this line to describe how we feel about the doors that are closed to us, but I feel like this describes even more poignantly the doors that stand so long open, but then close when we choose not to see them. It makes me wonder, "what am I not seeing that God would that I should have?"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Relationship Answers with Shinobi Jim Ph.D.

The Ph.D. stands for physically devastating, but that's just cuz I'm a ninja, I'm really supportive emotionally :)

Picture, if you will, a relationship between a guy and a girl. Pretty easy right? So, imagine that the girl dumps the guy but still wants to hang out with him because they are still "really good friends". She starts to get confused because he has begun to act like a jerk all the time. She asks him what is wrong and he gives some answer regarding some trivial aspect of the relationship that was, or is currently happening. (hint: this is not really the reason he is acting like a jerk, he doesn't actually want to address the real reason.) The REAL reason is that the girl dumped him and he's experiencing a lot of hurt and confusion as she is continuing to play an active role in his life, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. Girls may not understand why boys act this way but turn it around, if he dumped her how would she feel? Even if it were for the same noble reasons, she would feel hurt and want to withdraw. What is confusing about that?

Let's take a look at it from a different perspective, in the form of a parable.

There was a certain man who loved cookies. Cookies were wonderful things to him and chocolate chip was his favorite variety. One day he was walking through his kitchen when the cookie jar said, "Come, try this cookie, it is probably the best one I have made yet!" You see, it was a magic cookie jar that made cookies all the time, and it was good at its job. 

The man reached out and smelled the cookie, it was a perfect chocolate chip cookie. He took a bite and the cookie jar suddenly snatched it back! "Hey! What was that about?! I was enjoying that cookie, and I wasn't done!"

The cookie jar looked back at the man and said, "Well, I figured just looking at it would be as much fun as eating it. See, isn't this great? You get to stand there in the same room as the cookie and look at it, and think about how yummy it is."

The man was very frustrated and really didn't feel like being near the cookie so he said that he didn't actually want to have that cookie anyway since it had too many chocolate chips (not the real reason), and stormed off.

The cookie jar thought to itself, "you know, I bet if I took out all the chocolate chips he would love to be near this cookie." So, the cookie jar ripped out all the chocolate chips and went to find the man.

When the cookie jar found the man it showed him the newly refurbished cookie in its hands and said, "look! I took out all those annoying chocolate chips so now it's just the way you wanted it to be! Now do you want to hang out with it?"

The man had a hard time expressing his feelings about the situation and wasn't about to tell the cookie jar why just looking at a cookie that he had recently been enjoying on an entirely different and more intimate level wasn't really very satisfactory.

The cookie jar was worried by the silence and thought it knew why the man didn't like the cookie, so from then on it only made chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips. The cookie jar hoped that by changing how it made cookies no one would be dissatisfied with them ever again.

The cookie jar in this story ended up changing a fundamental part of its cookies even though the cookies weren't the problem and everyone else who ever wanted a cookie would have to deal with the lack of chocolate chips. The man may have just needed time to adjust to this new way of experiencing chocolate chip cookies or maybe things would never be the same. Regardless, changing how it made cookies didn't solve anything for that situation and wouldn't help anything in the future, in fact, assuming that no one else will enjoy chocolate chips in their chocolate chip cookies is more likely to hurt any future relationships with cookie lovers.

The chocolate chips represent something like communicating openly or in a way that builds a relationship. This "chip" isn't really a problem but removing it will be. The "chip" could be any number of things that are useful in fleshing out or adding depth to a relationship. When we look back at ended relationships we sometimes blame one of these "chips" and vow never to use that again, when in fact that chip may be exactly the right thing for a relationship this time. It can be hard to allow ourselves to give a new relationship the chance to form itself, to grow in the best possible way, because we try so hard to force it to work by using the "right recipe". Some things just take time, some need a little more of this or that, but adaptation is really important.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Second Thoughts

So, I was pretty pumped about letting people know that I have a blog, I got all happy when the number of page views jumped from 280 to 350 in one day, that's pretty fun. But now, I find that I don't feel as free to talk about whatever I want to because I know people are looking to see if I talk about them in my posts. I want to express myself without worrying if someone will read it and be (insert emotional reaction here). I know that people have a tendency to make assumptions and I don't really want to be the cause of misunderstanding or drama.

And so, it is with some apprehension and a little bit of defiance that I tell you now: Get over it! Ok, that was partly for me too. I read other people's blogs and it doesn't seem like they care what other people think or even get out of what they write, but to me people are one of the most important things in life and the people in mine are even more so, and I don't like being a jerk. What I write is the stuff I think about, so read it like that.

Thank you.

From here on out I'm going to pretend that nothing has changed and write like I ever did. And if you think you've found mention of yourself, take a moment, pat yourself on the back, maybe jump and shout a bit, you know, do what you gotta do, and then be happy. If you don't seem to find anything that relates to you, take a moment, pat yourself on the back, maybe jump and shout a bit, you know, do what you gotta do, and then be happy.

Thank you.


Have you ever met someone who so thoroughly intimidates you that you simply don't know how to function as a normal human being around them? Who makes you wonder what it is that validates your existence?

Me neither.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I do not believe that it is possible to be unhappy whilst drinking BYU Creamery chocolate milk. It is like an emotional invulnerability serum, protecting you from anything that isn't awesome. It's like Popeye's spinach, only, not green and not gross. It turns my taste buds into joy buds. Its luscious, creamy chocolaty-ness swirls past my tongue and down my throat, filling me with a sense of peaceful jubilation like the bubbling of rivulets trickling merrily into the serenity of a still pool.

If you can't tell I really like chocolate milk.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Avoiding Destiny

It's easy to see the reasons for our frustrations in the people around us. If he wasn't so lazy... if she would just say what she was thinking... if only they would listen... I would (communicate more, say what I felt, be better etc) but he/she isn't being (honest, fair, responsible, etc.) so I'm going to wait until (X) happens before I...

I am a victim of this brand of thinking. I have thought many times that things are the way they are because of someone else and when they finally get it, I'll be able to do what I wanted to do. This does not allow me to be free, nor am I able to be completely satisfied knowing that I have done what I wanted to do no matter the outcome. Notice I did not say happy. I would be happier with my hoped for result, but by doing nothing, nothing happens. This virtually guarantees that the result I hope for will not be the observed outcome. How often will someone be able to read our minds and suddenly understand how we feel and what we want and make the necessary effort to realize OUR hopes and dreams? I'll let you answer that.

I usually get to a point where I feel like I need to "understand" what the other person is thinking, and at the same time explain my point of view in hopes that they will "understand" me and where I'm coming from, and what I'm thinking and this will be the magic that makes everything happen the way I would like it to from now on. More often,... alright, nearly every time, the product of this conversation is not anywhere close to what I pictured. Half the time it's not even very good, and sometimes it's bad. Sometimes trying to "figure everything out" really just "messes everything up" which isn't what we want which is why we tried so hard in the first place to "figure everything out". As Master Oogway says on Kung Fu Panda, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." I believe this happens when we make decisions, or more broadly, act, from a perspective of uncertainty and fear. When we act out of fear it is our fear that becomes the focal point of our actions. Even though we do not want our fears to be realized and try to take actions to move away from them, they are the central influence and thus become the more likely result.

I guess what I'm saying is act out of an attitude of faith that you will succeed. With success as the understood outcome the question is no longer "If" but "how". You will not get bogged down trying to analyze and avoid everything you interpret to be undesirable, but you'll be free to move forward and create opportunities for success.

I think it's interesting how we seem to be unwilling to say what we mean in a way others will understand us. Sometimes I think we are afraid to say what we want to say because of social pressures, or because we are unsure how the other person may respond. Or how about the fact that we act contrary to what we say? I don't mean the way we all say things like, "people ought to give to charities more," and then we don't give more to charities. I mean more along the lines of maintaining continuity between our verbal and nonverbal communications. Sometimes we say "yes" but then we act like it's not something we wanted to participate in. Other times we say "no" but then we act like we're disappointed when it doesn't happen.

The topic of misdirection came up in a recent conversation I had. I mentioned how frustrating it can be when people say one thing and then act like that's not what they meant and my conversational counterpart said they didn't like that either and had decided that by not saying or doing anything which could be misinterpreted they avoided misdirecting people. Basically by being intentionally hard to read, by not actually saying or doing anything with any sort of social implication or interpretation, one would never be misread. I didn't say what I thought about that at the time because the concept was simple enough I didn't get confused until later. If you never actually say or do what you mean then no one will actually know what you mean, and will therefore misread you with any attempt to do so. So, in reality, every time someone tries to read you, you will be misread due to the very thing you do to insure that you won't be.

I'm sorry if any of the above was confusing. I suppose there really isn't just one simple explanation for the varied ways people can produce confusion for themselves and others. If I take a look at myself I see that by being overly cautious I am not actually being true to myself, I am not doing what I really mean to do and I cheat myself of my goal. Who would actually try to sabotage their own efforts? No one would consciously admit to it, but we do this all the time! Due to our past experiences we try to act in a way that will bring success to our current situation. We build a template for our actions based on the past but usually ignore the current situation's unique set of circumstances and then when we realize things aren't going the way we want we become afraid to do or say what we really think or feel. Others sometimes become confused by this type of behavior and react in a similar manner, avoiding saying or doing anything definitive which just adds to the overall confusion. Honesty really is the best policy. Honesty in this case doesn't mean to say everything that may be on your mind, don't throw away your tact, but be honest to yourself and to others by doing what you mean to do, and saying what you mean to say. It may mean that you take a moment to really think about what you want, what you want to do or say, and how to do or say it, but I feel like it will pay off more than flailing wildly through life's events, reacting unconsciously instead of consciously acting.

What would you do if you weren't afraid? You know what you're afraid of. You know what it is that holds you back, why you don't do what you want to do. In some cases you may think you don't know, or you may think that there isn't a reason, and this will usually mean that it's something you don't know how to come to terms with or don't want to admit. Good luck with that, because until you are willing to find it, define it, own it (take personal responsibility for it), and allow people to help you with it, it will plague you and affect countless other aspects of your life. What would you do if you weren't afraid? Would you try out for the team? Would you speak up in that business meeting? Would you ask out that girl everyone seems intimidated by? Would you be more generous in your communications with others? Would you be the person you want to be? When you face a challenge, will you admit defeat before the fight's begun? Or would you rise to the occasion and boldly move forward? Would you be ashamed of your shortcomings? Or confident in your efforts and plans to overcome them?

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." ~ Isaiah 41:10

"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." ~D&C 6:36

What would you do/be/say/feel if you weren't afraid?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I love subway.

Food is sooo good.

I had some.

I'm not hungry.


It happened again. It happens every day! Over and over I get these same urges. This hollowness in the pit of my stomach for more. I can't stay away. The pit grows deeper, more ravenous.

Food is sooo good.

I don't have any...

I'm hungry.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


You know who you are.

Sometimes stalkers are creepy, sometimes they can just be weirdos that don't know how to say hi but really want to and then they just hover around your periphery like an awkward satellite, orbiting you at a distance that doesn't allow for easy conversation, but is close enough to make both of you uncomfortable. Sometimes you have a stalker that you'll never find out about. And sometimes, you become friends with your stalkers :) but this can be tricky, you want to take into consideration several things before you take this step, I think you can probably think of a few things. If you can't, let's just say it has a lot to do with the amount of information they know, how creepy or normal they are around you and others, if they have other friends, or if they are anything like this. (watch from 3:30 to 5:20)

But before I go on, I hope none of you are feeling guilty right now. Don't worry, I'm a ninja. I have done lots of stalking. This was usually because I needed to not be friends with these targets people because my sword has a hard time being nice of extenuating circumstances. Just remember that the difference between a stalker and a really good friend is that you won't know you're friends with a stalker whereas you will know you're friends with your friend. Another difference is that friends are mutually interested in each other and a stalker is excessively interested in finding out everything there is to know without exposing themselves. So, if you ever find out that a person you're stalking is stalking you, you might as well say hi, you're basically friends without the friendship part, and really, it's the friendship part that is the most fun.

I love my friends. I also love you, my stalkers. But before the stalkers get too excited, remember I don't actually know you, so it's not a huge love like you have for me. Remember also that I'm a ninja and if you're the scary/creepy/dangerous kind of stalker I would strongly encourage you to get counseling before I find you. If you're the acquaintance type who facebook stalked me and found this blog, likes photography, may or may not have a really cool accent, and likes crepes, I may or may not have stalked you back,... so, let's be friends.