Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Message From Daddy

Every once in a while I have a day where I sincerely miss the kids I am yet to have. Today is one of those days. I used to think I'd have eleven. Sincerely. Now I don't know how many are even possible. I'm almost 26! That's over half way through my twenties. I know this is young in the grand scheme of things, and I've never been one to get all crazy over an age, but this feels significant. I should probably at least have my little Eddie by now. Where are you guys?!?!

I guess it's my responsibility to get you here. Sorry I'm such a swoah boke. I love you and miss you all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Busy as a B-

This semester is keeping me plenty busy. It's kicking my buttocks. I simply do not have the time to do everything I need to do. On a day-to-day (or week-to-week) basis, I feel like I have to choose which class (or classes) I am going to ignore for the week. It's obvious how failure friendly this formula is, but I feel it's my only real choice right now. And as for any non-school chores (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.), well those are simply luxuries that my schedule cannot afford. I think it has a lot to do with taking two languages. To really be successful in a language, you have to devote a lot of time to it. Now I have both Greek and Latin, and although I'm still at the relatively easy stage of Latin, the two are (or at least should be) using almost all of my available time. It's quite literally impossible to devote the necessary time to these things given my current schedule. And it shows. I just got back my first Greek test of the semester and it's the lowest score I've ever gotten on a Greek exam. Graduate school, here I come! Yeah, right. I so fantasize about quitting my job. It sucks to feel so overwhelmingly busy, and then to spend six hours of my day just sitting here taking stupid phone calls about stupid things--what a waste of time! I have all this anxiety about everything that needs to be done and I feel like I'm just sitting here waiting around. It's frustrating. Emotional fatigue has joined mental and physical fatigue as part of my regular student diet. It seems really early in the semester to be feeling this way. I don't think that's a good sign. Don't you just love the college life?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I'm Sorry, Do I Know You?

You may notice some subtle changes I have made to the BLOG, most notably the title, the layout, and the addition of some links on the right side of the page. Nothing too striking, of course (snicker, snicker). The previous format, which was predominantly black, made it difficult for the reader to tap into the zest for life that I hope, at least on occassion, to convey. I personally feel this change will revitalize the world of blogging as we know it. Or at least as I know it. Or at least as I do it. For now.

Speaking of my links section, I hope to add more links over time, and at least a few more will definitely be coming very soon. For now, this is more of a test. Eventually, I hope to add different SECTIONS of links, making it easy for the potential browser to quickly access funky fresh sites of a particular nature. For now, a generic links list will have to do. Please use at your leisure. (P.S., for those of you lacking computer savvy, you will often see links within my posts. I encourage you to utilize these as well.)

Lastly, feel free to pass on your feedback regarding the changes. Do you like what you see? Your opinion is very unlikely to make a difference, but I am egotistically curious nonetheless. And as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road

The only thing I like about working Sundays is being downtown when the city is so quiet. Today the city is not only empty, but grey and drizzly as well. It's beautiful. Being here is like walking through an undisturbed postcard tucked snuggly into the rotating display rack of some souvenir shop. I don't know if you can get this experience anywhere else -- Salt Lake City might be the only "major" (I use the term lightly) city to more-or-less close on Sundays. Tourists are probably complaining about the lack of urbanimation, but I'm enjoying myself. The skyscape is picturesque and soothing. I'm feeling very content.

About a year ago, JoAnna, Melanie, and I went to Seattle. Ever since I first visited the Emerald City twelve years ago, I have dreamed of living there. I love the green, I love the rain, I love being near the water. But it was different this time. More real, I guess. Too real. Busy and dingy. Not what I'd call extremely appealing. And it made me question if I'm really cut out for such a large city. I used to think it would be a good experience to live somewhere this big, at least for a year or two. But I wonder just how "at home" I can really feel in such a large place. The trip made me realize how much I like Salt Lake City, less-than-desirable climate aside. I like being in a city where I can go from one side of town to the other in 20 minutes. I like being able to go downtown without planning two extra hours for traffic and twenty extra dollars for parking. But my love affair with the pacific northwest remains, and I still find myself dreaming of living somewhere in that general area. I think as long as I'm on the outskirts of a big city -- where you have everything you need but aren't forced into urban submission -- I'll be happy. When it comes down to it, it's not going to be that up to me anyway. It will all depend on what graduate school I can get into and, eventually, where I can find a job. The most comforting thing is knowing I won't be doing it alone. Two years from now, my whole life will be vastly different. It's exciting and intriguing to guess where I'll end up. I'm sure it will be fine. It's always worse to be stuck in the waiting room...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

If you want to sing out...

Here I sit, listening to Cat Stevens, eating a bologna sandwich and drinking Mountain Dew. If only this moment could last forever...

Music (like Mountain Dew) can be so healing. Sadly, I know this moment can't last as I'm about to start working (and will likely be working by the time I can finish this and get it posted). Isn't it weird that there are people out there that don't care for music? Or at least don't get too excited about it? I just don't understand. Doesn't there have to be some piece of music that moves you, no matter who you are? Yet I've actually ran into people that seem rather indifferent. Do these people have emotions? I don't get it. I've been using music for medicinal purposes for years.

Speaking of good music, might I recommend Cat Stevens for a quick lift o' the spirit. I'd be tempted to consider him a favorite, but I don't think he qualifies, at least not yet. I haven't really listened to him much outside of a greatest hits compilation I once got from the library. Even still, I sense some strong potential. He's got catchy, simplistic, and life-loving melodies and lyrics. If you're not familiar with him, I urge you to check him out. If you need more sensory stimulation than that, you can check him out via the film Harold and Maude. He did the music for it, and the film and his musical style correlate perfectly. There's a couple of songs from the movie that I like to imagine playing and singing to my children one day. But his other stuff is also great. I almost think I'd like "Morning Has Broken" to be played at my funeral, but that's probably a whole different posting altogether...

Speaking of Cat Stevens not qualifying as one of my favorite musicians, I have a somewhat anal retentive pet peeve - the fact that almost everybody in existence lists music as one of their hobbies. If you're human (and not one of those non-music-appreciating exceptions mentioned above), you obviously enjoy music. That does not make it a hobby. If you put it as a hobby, you darn well better be a musician yourself, or collect it to some obsessive extreme, or be very knowledgeable about musical history, or something that puts you outside the range of "normal appreciator." Just because you rarely drive without the stereo on does not make music your "hobby." Also, you should not be qualifying bands as your favorite simply because they are the most recent thing on the radio to strike your fancy. If you classify an artist as a favorite, it is absolutely required that you have both heard and thoroughly enjoyed songs by this artist that are not played on the radio. You must have heard at least dozen songs or so by the artist, unless, and only in rare exceptions, the few that you have heard were so bleepin' good they redefined your very existence. It is also questionable that an artist could be appropriately deemed a favorite if you do not own one of their albums, unless it is simply because you have not had the chance to purchase one since you discovered the artist (or had their albums stolen from you, or whatever). The way some people list music as a hobby, they'd be just as justified to put "taking a leak" as a hobby. What do all my readers think (yes, both of you!)? Am I too restrictive in my definition of "hobby" and "favorite"?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Everything is food, food, food...

On another BLOG, I recently commented on a discussion regarding the classification of fruits and vegetables. My theory was that pumpkin is most likely to be a fruit, considering all the circumstantial evidence (which includes, but is not limited to, the fact that we will eat it [in pie form] with whipped cream, unlike any vegetable that I know of). This got me thinking about "weird" food combinations that I am in favor of, some of which I will share with my audience now. This will be a good posting for readers to comment on, as I hope to hear of other odd combinations that may be worth trying. So, read, ponder, consider, and try my suggestions, then post one (or two or even more) of your own. Bon appetit!

1) Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches with Cheetos
This probably doesn't sound overly weird, especially considering the fact that it is not uncommon to eat Cheetos alongside a PB&J. But, it is especially tasteful to go ahead and just pile them onto the sandwich as a delightfully crisp third topping. I don't think it would work too well with the puffy kind of Cheeto but I admit I have not tried it this way. And I think grape jelly is the most complimentary to the overall mix. It's a child's Wonder Bread fantasy come true.

2) Red Vines Dipped in Nacho Cheese
This is not something I would actually call enjoyable, but it is an interesting experience. The odd thing about it is that the flavors fail to combine. Rather, you seem to end up with two distinct impressions in your mind. You can taste the nacho cheese, and you can taste the Red Vines, but they remain separate. It's as though you had two tongues! It's just weird. Obviously, this is an expensive experiment, one most easily tried at a movie theater (as was the case with myself). But as such, it could cost upwards of $7 to try this out. I recommend you attend movies regularly with fat friends who are likely to buy all the necessary snacks and then mooch off of them.

3) Garlic Spumoni Bread
Now here is the creme de la creme! For the same price as the Red Vines and Nachos at the movie theater, you could have an entire meal from the Old Spaghetti Factory and top it off with this exquisite culinary concoction. Now what you have to do is to make sure you have some sourdough bread left over once you finish your meal (or simply request a new loaf, as they will be happy to oblige). At this point, your server should offer you a complimentary serving of spumoni ice cream. It is very important that you accept this offer! Both the spumoni ice cream and the bread are necessary! What you do once you have the ice cream is: take the complimentary loaf of bread, cut yourself a slice, and spread on the garlic butter just like you would normally do at the beginning of your dining experience. Next, get yourself a modest spoonful of spumoni ice cream, concentrating primarily on the green (pistachio) areas. Apply the ice cream to the front of the bread, just where you plan to take a bite. Now take the bite. No further explanation is necessary. You too will experience the euphoric blend that is Garlic Spumoni Bread. As many witnesses can attest, I can scarce partake of this luxurious delicacy without moaning to a nearly indecent extreme.

So there you have it. Just a few ideas to play around with. There are probably others I have forgotten to include, but watch the comments and perhaps more will arise. Plus, again, I strongly encourage all readers to post comments with their own combination ideas. Please, no funny business. Until next time...!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Who said life was fair?

Melanie and I went to the state fair last night. It's one of those things that tradition alone obligates you to do. Not going would equate to a self-inflicted ostracism from society, and who can bear such a burden? And so, despite the fact that it is nothing more than a glorified flea market, we went. We smelled the stench of the livestock that, at next year's fair, will again make an appearance, this time in the form of $4 corn dogs and slathered over hot scones to be sold as Navajo Tacos. We perused the overcrowded pavilions where companies that can't afford a half-hour infomercial on the WB hope to peddle their products to passing pedestrians. Some are actually pretty cool, such as the ultra-realistic bouquets of flowers made out of wood. Some are more unsettling, such as the casket display featuring a coffin with motorcycle stenciling on the inside of the lid. We avoided the rides - rickety structures just waiting to topple back into the thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of rusty metal that they were just 48-hours earlier. Nevertheless, it was fun for a short time.

Truth be told, the main reason we went was to see a band perform, a Christian rock group called Newsboys. Think what you will about Christian messages infused with crunchy guitars and strong drum beats, I think they are very talented musically. So it was enjoyable, but only while it lasted. The concert began at 7:30pm and was over before 9:00pm. This is particularly pathetic when you consider that the first few minutes was actually an introduction from a local pastor, and that at least 30 minutes of the concert was talking to the audience about God. That's fine, that's probably what this kind of crowd expects. But you'd think if there was going to be preaching, the show would go a lot longer than 85 minutes. The grand total of songs played was something like eight. And although they are talented and sounded good, the sound system was obviously not the best. Lots of speaker noise at times, and the vocals were often difficult to hear. But it was an experience and was a break from the usual weekend fare. Get it? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.


Friday, September 10, 2004

To blog or not to blog...

That is the question! Two blogs in one day? Why not. Do I like writing this BLOG? Sure. But would I do it if I thought nobody would actually read it? I can't honestly say I would. It seems a rather boring idea if nobody will read it. But do I actually think anybody is going to read it, at least regularly? Well, probably not. Conclusion: I must be rather content spending time with myself. I guess that's a good thing...

Alas, if you ARE reading this and DO think you might, out of sheer boredom, bookmark this page and give it a visit once a week (or month, or year), I will do my best to put SOMETHING of interest on here once in a while. Restaurant recommendations, very informal movie reviews, good quotes, interesting philosophical quandaries, etc. Gripes and complaints, warnings about companies with poor service and who to avoid. Whatever. But something that may translate into useful information for the reader.

Perhaps I could make a birthday wishlist and put it on here. My birthday is coming up very soon, after all. Hmmmm.

Okay, I'm just wasting time. Here, just to make it worthwhile, I'll throw out my first tidbit of useful information: if you have never eaten at Ruth's, you are missing out terribly. It's a small diner on your way up Emigration Canyon a short distance from Hogle Zoo. I have only eaten there a few times but every single dish I've tried has been heavenly. The only possible exception was when I just had a plain old bacon cheeseburger, but what can you expect from that? It was still good. Anyway, they are supposed to be phenomenal for breakfast, but I can only vouch for their dinner entrees thus far. And their carrot cake. As Ohio Express once said, "Yummy, yummy, yummy!" As you can tell, I'm an extremely hungry boy as I write this. Luckily, I should be eating very soon. I am writing this while I work (shhh, don't tell!) and my shift ends in just a few minutes. Excitement. It's a Friday, which is always good news. To anyone who reads this, enjoy your weekend!

Ah, the humble beginnings of narcissism...

Well, here is my first BLOG. What is a BLOG? I can only assume it's an acronym, though I don't know what it stands for. In essence, a BLOG is like an online journal -- a place where one can post any and all whimsical thoughts that happen to pass through their brain on any given day. It's all built upon the premise that every friend, family member, and hapless web surfer in existence is eager to savor your every thought simply because, hey, it's you!

So what will my BLOG have to offer? Next to nothing, I imagine. It will probably be little more than a passing obsession, and not a long one at that. I have realized of myself that I do go through small stages of obsession with different hobbies or interests. Not diverse interests, mind you, but just little things that usually relate to something I'm already interested in -- music, movies, video games (old school ones, of course), college, etc. It's an endless cycle. I'll spend a week, maybe two, eagerly engaged in whatsoever happens to be my fancy at the time. Perhaps I'll spend several hours in one day researching all the songs to hit the charts in any given year and figuring out how I can get my hands on every one of them so I can make an all-inclusive, custom CD of 1989 or 1994 or 1997 or whatever. A week later, I'm making a list of every movie I can ever remember seeing and where I saw it at (if I can remember), whether on video or at a particular movie theater. Then I spend a week obsessing over what graduate school I most want to attend two years from now, looking up several university websites and reading all about them, making comprehensive lists about all the possibilities (Univerisity of Virginia for a philosophy Master's followed by Notre Dame for a philosophy Ph.D.? Claremont Graduate University for a Master's degree in philosophical religion followed by a joint Ph.D. in classics and philosophy from Berkeley? Classics all the way from University of Washington?). Then I'll research the weather in all the cities I could end up living in and make a comparative chart of the average temperatures for every month for each locale. Perhaps I'll send e-mails to graduate students at these schools and ask them their opinion on how rich of an experience they are having. Bla bla bla. Given this fact about me, I can only imagine this BLOG will reflect such tangents. Checking in here may be like checking WeatherBug for current temperatures and conditions -- expect frequent changes.

Anyway, enough rambling for one morning. Oh, and by the way, current conditions are: I think I want to go to Claremont Graduate University for a Master's degree in philosophical religion and then find a joint Ph.D. in classics and philosophy somewhere. Likely candidates would include Berkeley, University of Washington, and Yale. This is an area I've yet to research as thoroughly as I'm sure I will. Regardless, this current plan o' mine has changed several times over the last few days and won't necessarily hold throughout the weekend. The problem is, I can't decide if I want to teach classical languages or philosophy more, and I think I want to do both. This current plan seems the most receptive to such a goal. I really think I'd love teaching a language, but do I have what it takes? In the city of Self-Confidence, current conditions are cloudy with little hope of sunny skies anytime soon. I'll let you know if something miraculous happens. Until then, I'm outtie!