Thursday, April 30, 2009

Randumb Thoughts

They're after us. Maybe it's me, but it seems like the news has been pretty lame lately, and with no real interesting stories out there, things that would ordinarily be only of passing interest turn into this:

In case you've been hiding out in a monastery, swine flu has completely dominated the news this week. Earlier in the week, there were a reported 149 deaths in Mexico, which Jon Stewart wants you to know puts it "last on the list of things that can kill you in Mexico," with the drug-war-caused "bullet flu" taking the top spot.

Ordinarily I would just shrug my shoulders about the oversaturation and exaggeration and say, "Meh, what else is new," but also in the news for the last two weeks has been the obsessively reported "Obama's First 100 Days." I mean, really? I don't mind noting the occasion, when it happens, but if you do the math, the 100th full day was just today. It seems like the 100th day of coverage of Obama's first 100 days, from every news outlet in the country. But I digress. Also also, reported just today, John Edwards's wife, Elizabeth, was sick upon learning of his affair (which was first reported in October 2007 and he finally admitted to last AUGUST). So, thanks for clearing that up. Until now I had assumed she was thrilled to find out her husband was a scum-sucking pig. And, also also also... oh boy, I've saved the best for last. Are you ready? This week we got the earth-shattering news that star Kelly McGillis is a lesbian. "Who?," you're probably asking. Oh, the hot chick from Top Gun. That movie from 1986. That lady who hasn't been seen since she played the wife in the crappy Babe Ruth movie. Okay, if this were 1986, or even 1995, it might be interesting for some. How long is the shelf life for has-been celebrities? She's in her 50s now. It seems like as homosexuality gets more and more mainstreamed, we're also becoming more obsessed with it. I guarantee you, if I had some minor claim that got me 15 minutes of fame a decade or more ago, I could come out of the closet and make millions. Take John Amaechi (please, take him). His book is considered groundbreaking because he's the first outed former NBA player. But you sucked, John. Horribly. Larry Miller should have fired you for stealing after you came over to the Jazz and parked your big ass on the bench. Doesn't matter. He's a hero. God bless America... it's no wonder so many people don't give a crap about current events with crap-ola like this dominating the news. Speaking of which, it's Thursday night and I'm hungry. I guess I'll go home and watch The Office and 30 Rock.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The solution to all your economic woes!

I am going to phone this one in, but only slightly. Some of you may have seen this clip on SNL a few years ago or on another blog. It seems to be making the rounds recently in the blogosphere, but hopefully it is starting to sink in a little. I love me some cool stuff just like anyone else, but I've never been a huge consumer of toys and other worthless crap, and I'm generally pretty disciplined in my buying habits, so for us, it's just the mortgage and a payment on a minivan that became a necessity a few months ago (although I do have some business debt). I had a dream the other night that an elementary school friend who is on my Facebook but I haven't actually talked to in years sent me a check for $500, saying he had put something like 15 or 25 cents in a savings account for everyone in our third-grade class in 1987 and the money had now compounded to just over $500 for everyone. I haven't worked out the math, and I doubt it is accurate, but I have found myself really bummed in the last couple of years as I've realized how few Americans are truly debt-free, and what a mess we're in with our national debt. I really wish our public schools would emphasize a curriculum that includes finances and the magic of compound interest that can be either your best friend or your most ruthless enemy, starting in about first grade. I am starting to fall in love with numbers and budgeting, because I want financial freedom and the ability to help people and worthy organizations (and just be a lazy turd) when I'm 50. Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and then follow the advice. Peace out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life at 1000 frames per second

I-Movix SprintCam v3 NAB 2009 showreel from David Coiffier on Vimeo.

My friend J. Looney shared this video with his followers, and I was completely mesmerized. Apparently this is what things look like when shot with a camera at 1000 fps. You get a clear view of the most minute details. I could watch it all day, especially the gelatinous green toy, and the Jello at the end, which hangs there for way longer than you would expect. I wonder if this is how my boy Jackson sees the world. And I wonder if that music is playing for him. It sure would explain a lot. If my eyes were privy to every law of physics in slo-mo, I would be autistic and hyperfocused on mundane objects too. The original post is from a guy named David Coiffier, and can be seen in HD and full-screen on Vimeo. I hope you enjoy.

On a side note that is not at all whiny (okay, it is), it appears that my survey on dreams didn't draw much interest, or at least many comments. That's the last time I let Becca boss me around. I guess I'll have to stick to the old standbys of food and movies. I do have some ideas for future surveys, but if you have any topics that sound interesting, please let me know.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Survey #4: Weird Dreams

I really hadn't planned on doing another survey for a week or two, but my cousin Becca has been begging for one all week, and I don't have anything else to say that couldn't wait for another day, so here we are. Today I want to hear about your weird dreams. I already mentioned one really sick and twisted one on my blog back on February 16 about going back to Africa as a missionary and belting out "The Greatest Love of All," High School Musical style. I find the dreams that I remember fascinating, sometimes much more so than reality, and often can't begin to put together how the hell some of it came into my mind. And what does Karl Malone have to do with weird dreams, you might ask? Well, during my mission in Portugal, I dreamed I was at a Jazz game, and Karl decided at halftime that it was time to retire, effective immediately. He got into his street clothes, leaving all the fans at the Delta Center stunned. I walked out with him onto the streets of Salt Lake City (in broad daylight) and never having seen him so close before, I was impressed by his physique. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt, and I said, "Wow, Karl, you have really big arms". He was extremely offended, and stopped in his tracks, narrowed his eyes and said defensively, "So?" I was a little bummed that my first and only personal encounter with the Mailman had gone so badly, and the dream ended.

Anyhoo, I want to hear about your dreams, be they traumatizing, humorous, twisted, or just plain stupid. I still remember one traumatizing one from my childhood in Logan. We lived by a brook (on a street called Brookside), and I couldn't have been older than 4. I was wading my feet in the brook, and crabs started pinching my feet, and instead of helping, my parents tried to push me in further. I don't know how or if this affected my relationship with them in later years, but it is the earliest dream I can remember. So, now I turn the time over to you, and invite one and all to comment. Take it away...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jackson Appreciation Day

For those of you who don't know, this is Jackson. It's his birthday, so instead of goofy, you get heartfelt today. I am kind of blown away that I've been a daddy for five years. We have gone through a lot in that time. I always felt I'd have a really hard time if I ever had a child with disabilities, and sometimes I did (and still do). But I have the cutest kids ever. I love them so much it sometimes makes me want to cry. If you are unaware, Jackson has autism and doesn't speak. But I feel so lucky that he is a happy kid, and that he comes into our world and shows affection more and more. I have seen other autistic children that keep their parents up all night, or cry a lot, and I think in most ways, we are pretty lucky. Jackson has the single cutest laugh ever, and we have really high hopes for him. Since starting school at NUAP, he's made a lot of progress and it's forced us to become really engaged in generating ideas about how best to help him. I don't know what is in the cards for Jackson, but I'm committed that he have a happy upbringing and that he becomes the best he can. I want him to experience friendship with an accepting circle of his peers, and have a girlfriend, and find something he can excel at, and I believe there is a great big world of possibility for him. Anyway, I'll leave it at that. I'm getting all verklempt. Happy birthday, little fella.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm surrounded by a-holes...

When I first started this blog, I expected that I'd have a lot to say about current events. However, since the election, other than Inauguration Day I have been feeling pretty apolitical, partially out of winter blues/general grumpiness, but also because I'm waiting for the honeymoon phase with President Obama to wear off and have something interesting to talk about besides the recession.  This week, with the attack of the Somali pirates on the U.S.-operated Maersk Alabama and North Korea's repeated attempts to matter by launching a satellite into orbit (which failed), I've felt the first stirrings of political interest in the past 3-4 months.  North Korea always seems so desperate for attention, and I have to laugh at their tenacity.  There is a long history of brutality and oppression in North Korea, but given the pervasive presence of asshole dictators in the world, it seems that the West simply has bigger fish to fry right now, and absent any real show of power, Kim Jong Il and his boys just aren't going to hold our attention.

Which brings me to what I really want to say.  My friend Eskimo Bob recently blogged about a religious movement of Ultimate Fighters who want to accentuate the edgier side of Jesus, and his butt-kicking capabilities.  I'm not on board with that, but I do think sometimes people forget that Jesus wasn't all sugarplums and molasses and baskets of butterflies.  He said things that sometimes were interpreted as harsh, and was definitely not the pantywaist hippie that some people seem to prefer to see him as.  Which brings me back to the pirates.  I haven't kept up on the story continuously, but I was really annoyed by our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who was laughing about the situation in a press conference, as if to say, "Those darn pirates!  Boys will be boys!"  I am rooting for the Obama Presidency to succeed spectacularly, but I am kind of wondering why this isn't being treated with the seriousness it deserves.  The pirates are completely defying the U.S. government, and it seems any time we should be putting the fear of God into them. Negotiation and diplomacy have their place, but not with terrorists, and that is all pirates are, even if Captain Jack Sparrow is a fun dude.  I had the most productive week I've had in a long time this week, so I'm in a fighting kind of mood, but for the love, can we just get this handled already?  That's all I have to say.  Discuss.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Survey #3: Best hamburger ever!

Well, the weekend is coming to a close, and I am all edified from General Conference, and I stayed up until after 1:00 AM last night after getting a sudden flash of ideas and jotting them down, so I don't feel like being too long-winded or writing anything meaningful, so let's just do another survey. As I've mentioned before, I love a good burger. Sometimes even a mediocre burger. Despite the picture I've posted, I'm not really belligerent against vegetarians, and only eat koala occasionally. But I am pretty much against any organization as smug and self-important as PETA. Anyway, what is the best burger you've ever eaten and where did you get it? The little wife and I like to go to Red Robin for a good burger, but I'm looking for great here. Something that just blew your socks off. It's usually the little dives. For me, I'd have to say the bowling alley in Rexburg. It never disappointed, but it's been several years since I've been there, and I'm kind of afraid with the growth of BYU-Idaho, the city and some of its local businesses could lose their unique appeal. Hopefully the bowling alley has prospered just enough to keep it ghetto and not gone all corporate. Bowling alleys are meant to be seedy.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Runners-up for me include Big Jud's, which in all truth might not actually reach true greatness, but due to my memories, which probably grow with time, and the experience of the place, it gets a spot notwithstanding. If anyone doesn't know, Jud's is a rural joint that serves one-pound burgers (one of which I took down as a freshman at Ricks). A couple of friends actually were able to pound doubles, which is just plain ungodly. I still remember my Japanese friend Koji, normally very proper, complaining of his heartburn the day after eating the double. Good times. Another burger dive with a special place in my heart is the A&W in Logan. My friend Kyle and I swear the burgers are better here than at other A&W locations. I don't know if it's the fact that it is such a unique orange building (that you can see clearly from some parts of campus), or that it feels so local and has been around forever, but there was truly no better place to go after a disappointing Statistics exam or just to chow down for no particular reason at all on some delicious hot cow, washed down with a frosty mug of root beer.

Anyway, I've already gone on longer than I planned to. Discuss.