Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Break Part I

This is in no way a comprehensive list, but I am hoping it's a digestible amount of info about the highlights of Christmas Break thus far:

Falling down
I basically destroyed my knee(s) and face. Suffice it to say that I probably should have gotten stitches. Also, again, my body is amazing at healing.

Sleeping for 12 hours in Brown Town.
Thanks KB's family. Your mattress(es) are delightful.

Bountiful Temple
I have been to 8 of Utah's 13 LDS temples prior to this vacation. I can now claim 9. I want the rest of them too! The Bountiful Temple is incredible. I was able to go with my dad one day after my 1 year endowment anniversary. Very good way to commemorate the Christmas season. 

Dad washing dishes to pay for dinner
We have a family tradition of going to a kind of terrible pizza place whenever we are all together in Ogden. My dad thought it would be fun to "forget" his wallet and pay for our dinner by washing dishes. The bartering system is an active force, as the employees let him scrub plates for about five minutes before they decided it was maybe a bit unprofessional.

Spooning with Jenny
My sister is the best at spooning me. She's so selfless and always lets me be the little spoon. That's true love.

Wizard coats/hunting for weapons
In line with family traditions, we also make a yearly trek to an amazing (literally, so incredible) store, Smith and Edwards in northern Utah. On this particular adventure, Jen and dad and I found some military coats that made us look like medieval wizards. Accordingly, we hunted for some weapon props and had a photo shoot. Images will follow shortly.

Trying to explain Skype to Granny
My dad gave granny a Skype account and a webcam for her Christmas gift. This made one of my main tasks to attempt to explain how Skype works and the point of it to her. I sometimes forget that older generations have a totally different context than me; it's good to be reminded of that once in a while. It helps me appreciate technology more, as well as to see my timeframe as both fleeting and new.

Granny trying to make Brandon's call into the Lawrence Welk show
With the new Skype gear, and an expected call from Germany, Granny decided to make the call just-so with a lot of setting and arranging. She hung snowflakes that my brother made four years ago, and tried to persuade us to sit in front of the Christmas tree with a crackling fire lit in the background, nevermind the fact that is was about 90 degrees in her living room.

Baby brother called us from Bayreuth, Germany. Seriously, it was so incredibly good to not only talk tom but to see him for an hour and a half. He has grown immensely in his confidence, his spirit and his maturity. I will be home in October, 2k12. Can't wait. We will get to talk to him again in May.

More to come!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I just finished writing my first term paper of my graduate career (19 Pages? why yes, this IS real life).
I have one presentation and two papers left to write for the term. Those papers are only loosely formed.
I was aided in the fact that it snowed nearly the entire day in Lincoln, causing me to tumble into a veritable pit of despair and indignation. I had to channel all of my energy caused by this personal foul into something creative. The six (and growing) inches currently on the ground outside were the perfect catalyst for me to sit down and finally commit to this paper.

Snowflake Studies
Wilson Bentley
ca. 1902
Paired with some Edamame, Neko Case and The Kills, this is the Perfect Paper-Writing Storm (PPWS for future reference).

I feel only 83% good about the final outcome of the paper, but I can't really afford to spend any more time on it.

Sometimes good enough has to be good enough.

I have a lot to say about a lot of things, but I cannot fathom staring at this presbyopia- inducing screen, with all its pdfs, pixels and internet- seduction for another second. I will have to report more fully at a later date. Just be ready for lots. of. goodness.

Now I need to go take 50 Quaaludes and force myself to unwind; do not think about art, history, theory or culture, context or style for one more minute.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I am at a loss.
I can't write anything, and I can't ask questions. Of anything.
This needs to pass quickly- I haven't got time for drawn-out episodes of confusion/desultory effort.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thnxxxgiv 2k11

I embark tomorrow morning for the great (not yet) white north land.
My hopes are high, mostly because north = reunion with Marge, whom I love immensely.
I am armed with music in my pocket from a sweet boy, a homemade map and a tank full of gas.

Also I learned to sing Jingle Bells in German today. It''s good to remember the languages you learn.

I will conquer the prairie in the morning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This year may have been the worst time ever to deem "The Year of Physical Affection". I don't know anyone in Nebraska with whom I can share my physical affections without being 100% creepy (100% creepy is never my objective: I max out at 89%).
If you are reading this, and you plan to see me before the year ends, plan to make up for lost time.
And Let's PLEASE make it as awkward as possible for everyone else in the room.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I hate the word tidbit.

Here are some links that have been open on my browser this weekend seemingly endlessly:


2. Thinking you are smart.

3. Church.

4. One of the most important things in the world is freedom of the mind.

5.Knowing and inhabiting the world (I just generally love this blog...)

6. Childish. ("these girls droppin' like the NASDAQ". Genius.)

I just want to bake pies and cut my hair.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Round II

By way of update to this, I should now like to commemorate that this town often smells of aged beef jerkey, there are many strange sounds at night (such as street sweepers and owls and cackling women), often my house wiggles for the benefit of the thundering trains that pass through a block away, and I am suspicious of the cold because I am always.

To hell with this place/I want nothing more than to be in love.

there is an alarmingly increasing amount in the things I might enjoy forgetting.

I feel like this

a lot lately. Growing up is hard.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Baby

This is a semi-official link to my graduate school project. It isn't really a finished website yet, but we are working on it.
In slightly related news, I am working on writing a rejection letter to everyone who applies but whose work doesn't really fit with the project. So far I have written:

           Dear [Insert Name],
                    The Great Plains Art Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln would like to sincerely thank you for your submission to our juried exhibition, “Contemporary Indigeneity: The New Art of the Great Plains”.  We received a surprisingly large amount of submissions, and frankly, yours sucked. It was not really what we were looking for, so we ask you to please come pick it up. It will be in the dumpster located in the alley between P and Q streets off of 12th in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, as that is where we felt it was most appropriately displayed.
We hope you will apply again to our next show!
And just remember, that which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
-Alicia Harris

Obviously 100% appropriate? I haven't ever really been rejected before, so I'm not sure how to do this tactfully. Any tips??

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Generally I don't really like Halloween... issues behind that to be discussed some other time (in person, maybe?), but I think I will try to be at least a little bit festive this year.

I'm going to start by listening to this channel:


and reading this:

margot's room.

Then, tonight, I will try my hand at making chili and cornbread and maybe I will watch this:


I think this holiday would be much more fun if I had children.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


today was better.
Much better.
I'm still not certain about everything, but I am feeling less pit-of-despair today.
I had lunch with a potential mentor.
I am grateful for people who are kind.
Also, I think academia is in need of more HUGS.
thank you for your concern.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I might be having a crisis.

This post might suck: full disclosure. Just a warning.
I am having a tiny bit of an existential crisis.
I am here for this conference, and what I really want to do is run away from the stuffed shirts as quickly as humanly possible and never (ever) think about Native American art history again. Ever.

(i probably should have taken this test some time ago...)
(my answers to ALL of these are a resounding FALSE.)

Dramatic, much?

Right. So to some of you this will be a surprise, but I believe in talking through these things. Perhaps it will resolve itself sooner than later, but then again, maybe not. We will ride this out, and in accord with the name of this dear sweet old blog, I will be informed, and thereby empowered to do what I need to do.

I'm truly not certain that I am in the right place- if this is where my training has led me. After sitting in session after session today, I'm not really certain that academia is the right thing for me. I question the degree of enthusiasm I have left to talk ad nausea about Derrida's theories about  the ramifications of identity, what that might mean for me, and for my practice, if it is or is not possible to open and pursue a formal discussion of certain things, if that's even appropriate, who defines identity, and what identity even is to begin with. I just don't know if I care.

Isn't that horrible?

Let me pause here for a moment to defend myself, please.
I'm not saying I am giving up. I am saying I am having some rather serious doubts about how committed I am, and how much I am ready for this whole serious academia thing. I am nervous that I am not made of the precise mettle that I need to be in order to make graduate school work without wanting to shoot myself. 

The honest truth is that I don't think my academic training has led me to a place that I feel ready to leap from. I am in no way discounting my education at BYU, or even the few months I have spent at UNL. In my life, the years I have spent as a student have been the most fruitful and full of my life, and I believe that all education is of some degree of value insofar as it leads you to a plane of inspiration. I do not feel inspired right now. What I AM saying, is that I might be ready for a change. I might be ready to feel inspired again. I pray only that I can find a means as well as the courage to do this if I feel it's the right thing to do.

So now you will ask, What would I do instead?
Funny you should ask.
I am typing this in a living room of a hostel that is UTTERLY inspiring to me. Next to me is a boy from Japan, across from us are two cute German boys who seem to be smitten with one another, and next to them is a cat and two girls of unknown origin. They seem to really enjoy their internet time and Justin Beiber.
Behind me, three British girls are laughing about a super gory Halloween special on tv.
As I reflect, these are the moments that give me the most will to go on living. The human connections. The random encounters and bond- forming. The kitchen full of people laughing and making and eating good (or sometimes not-so-good) food, the front porch with new babies and homemade haircuts, mingling of accents and robust conversations about flavors and farming practices and boys, decorating for holidays with people who don't understand them, weird clothing layers and even weirder ideas about books, heated debates about religion and history and philosophy and hip hop, THESE are were my value system lies, NOT in academic conferences where everyone has to prove their intellectual lineage and justify rationales.
Maybe I am getting nostalgic for a time that is past.
Maybe these are growing pains, and I am willing to accept responsibility for that if it is, in fact, the case.
But I am also willing to give myself the option to get out if I need to.
I might need to.
Any advice?

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I am in Canada.
As I type four men and three ladies sleep in various bunkings around me (and one lady is awake and laughing gently at her computer screen) because I am staying in a hostel that feels a whole lot like Provo for some reason. It was either the best or the worst idea I have ever had. I'm here for this because, well, it's awesome, and I want to learn things.

There was a cute boy on the plane from Chicago to Ottawa, and I wrote a poem in the airport. It's salty, so I'd rather not share it.

Here's to adventuring in America's Hat.


Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sometimes I have Horrible, Terrible Ideas

We got our dog Buddy in the summer of 2001. Our family had moved to Chula Vista a year prior, and we really needed a dog to bring us together after that move. Officially, we got him for baby brother's birthday, but he touched all of us in remarkable and distinctly individual ways.

Yesterday, my dad had him put down, because his body was broken and he was hurting too bad to keep going. My dad sent this email to me today:
So after work I went home to pick Buddy up. I was nervous about it all morning long  I fed him a feast of American cheese, ham, grapes and banana.  He got so full he didn't want any more ham. He hurt so bad that when I asked him if he "wanted to go for a ride" he was only mildly interested. 
I took him to the vet and told him the time had come.  He said he thought I would be back since it was the right time for Buddy to go.  I held Buddy on the table while he gave him the anesthetic shot and then another overdose of the same.  Buddy immediately closed his eyes and relaxed.  The vet checked his heart and he was gone.  He looked so completely peaceful, it was good to see him at ease and not trembling. 
I managed to make it out of the office and into the truck before I started crying like a little girl.  I drove him out to the rancho and found a big rock to bury him by.  After I dug a deep hole I placed him in it in a blanket. I made a grave marker for him out of concrete.  I wasn't really sure of his birthday, so I gave it my best shot.  I put on the marker "Best Dog Ever".  I really think he was for us.  For sure he was the smartest dog we ever had. And pretty loyal with the exception of his miscellaneous wanderings in the neighborhood that got him sent to jail or when he returned to 808 after we moved to Dennis.  Remember his growling and barking at airplanes so high you couldn't even hear them?  How he killed several birds, a bunch of mice and a long list of flys?  How he was forever in pursuit of a stinky old, spitty tennis ball?  How he gave himself seizures after running head long into the wall? Rolling over, shaking, playing dead, sitting, sitting pretty, hopping and dancing?  Tearing through screens on windows and jumping out just so he could sit on the porch waiting for someone to come home? 
He had a good run of it, all in all a great little dog that will be missed and remembered.
Somehow it seems almost unfair to endeavor to love a thing so much that you know will die. It hurts to enter into new relationships and friendships and meaningful interactions because they are laced with the sublime poison of death and defeat. It is so hard and sad. 

Stupidly,  I thought is would be a good idea to watch this documentary today instead of editing things for work or cleaning my room (to be fair, i was GOING to clean my room while I watched it, but, needless to say, that didn't happen). It was a major mistake, but it felt so good to cry. I ended up in a miserable heap on my bed in the middle of the day just remembering Buddy and all the fun we had together. He was my adventure companion and he always was willing to brave the wilderness of San Diego with me, even when it was rainy and nobody else would, or when possums jumped out and hissed at us. Stupid possums...

I haven't cried at all since I have been here. You might accuse me of not dealing with my emotions, hiding them under a rock, or carrying them in my jaw (face yoga...). Well now we can all relax just a little bit, and rest assured that I am dealing again. I am working on "being in touch" etc. Proof of that is in the fact that later, I cried watching an episode of The Wonder Years. 
Fear not. I will soon be well adjusted and mature.

And I thank Buddy for that.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ME: Talking about (more) weird stuff I do sometimes!

Sometimes (tonight) I go out to bars with friends from school. This is an awkward thing for me because: I DON'T DRINK. Usually I just feel uncomfortable. Additionally I feel thirsty. Drinks in bars are really pretty (sometimes they look like antifreeze or spiderman urine!)  and the make people very funny!

Sometimes (tonight) I come home at a moderate time (1:30 am) and attempt to go to sleep because : GENERAL CONFERENCE IS TOMORROW MORNING! Usually I am a champion sleeper. But this time, (due to aforementioned thirst) no such luck. I tossed and turned for an hour. No sleep. I got up and did a face masque and some yoga. Still no sleep.

Sometimes (um... this morning?) I put on pants and head to the grocery store because: I NEED SOME ELECTROLYTES!

Sometimes the cashier checks me out. Hard core. Sometimes he compliments my shirt, which... is awesome... and maybe has eyes on the breasticle area. Also maybe I sometimes don't wear a bra because: IT'S THREE A.M.

I get it, dude. Eyes on boobs at 3 am: DISTRACTING.
Now get back to work.

And you know what? Gatorade and chocolate soymilk in the middle of the night is perfectly acceptable. Please don't judge me or stare (obvs) at my boobs while I pay. We will not make out when you get off work, because six-thirty (yes. He TOLD me that's when he was off work) comes far too early for this lassie.
Also: ew.

I still can't get to sleep, though.

Monday, September 26, 2011


ethics happen before the law.
the law takes over where ethics can't regulate your life anymore.
I went to a discussion group today.
I think people don't understand.
and I think that distinction needs to be made.
They kept wanting to talk about intellectual properties:
but the discussion was about ethics.

and that precedes the law.
Am I wrong?

In other news, I really miss my brother.
he told me today that he is starting to dream in German.
I remember those days.

I thought about having a crush, but decided it's not a good idea.

Confession: I am lonely.
How can ethics help me?

I need to write more about how BYU made us have low self-esteem (conversation from tonight...).
More later.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There is just so much

I frequently feel that my brain will explode with the extremely large amount of items that swirl around therein.

The biggest things on my mind lately (not surprisingly, or infrequently the case) is Native American history. In particular, the poem by e.e. cummings:

Buffalo Bill's


        who used to

        ride a watersmooth-silver


and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat


he was a handsome man

                      and what i want to know is

how do you like your blueeyed boy

Mister Death
I love this poem. I have been thinking a lot about the appropriation of Native American culture and traditional practice in mainstream culture. 
I am going to ride this wave and see where it takes me. In the meantime, here are some images to tide you over til I decide I can write about this.
Images are the most important thing. 



Please, no...

Seriously? NOOOO!

Now I am depressed.

THIS: not cool.

I get it: you don't realize that you are racist. 


 And just a little education so that you don't close this tab feeling completely racist, and so that you can know
 some things for future use:
1. Women do not wear war bonnets. 
2. War bonnets are sacred.
3. Many feathers have traditional uses (not to mention the impact the trend is having on other industries...)
4. Racism is still alive and well. 
5. The term "buckskin" and calling a US Dollar a "buck" are racist. Historical background: 
When colonists were settling, particularly around Virginia, they invested in the fur trade, particularly the fur of the deer,
a native animal to the North American continent. For the hide of one male deer (a buck), a person was paid one US dollar. 
Thus, the dollar took on the nickname, "buck". As wars with native peoples began, the derogatory idea was to 
refer to dead Indian men as "bucks", as they were piled in heaps like the dead deer whose hides would be traded.
So... the point in telling you this? I'm not trying to make you feel terrible for telling me how many bucks you just 
scored while big pimpin, I just want us all to be a bit more aware of the etymology of the stuff we say.
My dear sweet sister-cousin sent me a really lovely book about the history of Indian trade blankets. 
I was so excited to get some good history on them!
Here is a fun little article talking about how they have been appropriated by hipster culture. With slideshow!!

 Hippies were always trying to be Indians. As we can see, this is not a new trend.
 (PLEASE click this. This is the best scene.) 
This is from artist Arthur Amiote. He is great. Maybe I will write more about him someday.


Friday, September 16, 2011

so i am going home and taking a nap.

So... winter crept up and stole my sunshine*. It was a sneak attack of the most calculated and intricate variety. It was 96 with a heat index of 109 (which felt like 290). So hot... SO sweaty.
It is currently 50 degrees outside, and I am bundled up in my office, which apparently didn't catch the memo that it is no longer summer.
I drove to work/school because there was a cloud sitting on my house when I left this morn, and I wasn't sure my face could deal with cloud bits hitting it as I rode my bike. I like to think about my face thanking me for my well-informed decision to hide it behind a quarter inch of tempered glass.
My boss isn't here today, and I have officially completed the tasks she assigned my for this week.
I think I will now drive that tempered glass home and call it a day. My face will probably thank me for that as well.
I do not know how I am going to make it through a Midwest winter.

Also... (Imagine a rather lengthy conversational pause here, because if we were talking face-to-face, there would be some awkward body-shifting and hair pulling and twirling because i don't really know how to talk about this because, well, I don't know EXACTLY how I feel about it, but I guess it fits in with my post lamenting a larger group of friends that come with a complimentary list of other options for fun timesss)

...I am planning to go to a regional YSA dance tonight in Omaha.
I am terrified.
I haven't been to one of these guys in... years. I went to precisely ONE dance since I left high school (during which time I also attended exactly ONE officially sponsored dance). It was terrible and I left after about six minutes. I am not ready for the awkwardness that is about to ensue, and I am fairly certain that humiliation will be the outcome. I am probably psyched out (Still) from having devoured this book with K-rah during an epic weekend during senior year at BYU. I have a general distaste for organized activities for adults, PARTICULARLY ones that have a soundtrack of music that was played on Top 40 radio stations spanning a time period circa 1992-2005.

 this will be me. it will be awkward when I tell him that I don't eat meat, and then he tells me that his parents own a cattle ranch.
Furthermore, I think I was tricked into thinking that I was semi-normal in my time in Provo, where I was basically surrounded by fairly liberal thinking, globally minded people who were interested in the same things I was/am. I didn't realize how excruciating it would be to announce to my new ward family that I am a vegetarian, a feminist, or wearing DI dresses everyday (and no, not because there's something special that I am dressing up for today, but really that's basically the only clothing option that I own. I promise.), or that I am studying art history, even weirder that it is Native American art that I am pursuing, or that I am interested in the earth and what it actually means to practice the doctrine to which I espouse my belief....I came a wee bit closer to understanding how one might feel coming out as a homosexual or some other social deviant.

 I guess I am socially deviant in a lot of ways... I guess I didn't realize how strange that was. The uncomfortable stares have begun to get to me, though. I was raised to not care what people think about me. The mantra of my childhood was, "Act, don't react". My dad said it to me a trillion times in my 25 years. It taught me a lot of good lessons, and I became a strong internally motivated person who was happy to be different and acknowledge that there is a whole myriad of difference in the world. Why can't I remember what that means now? Why can't I remember that it feels good to be self-assured and confident in your own nuances and quirks?
(quarter-life crisis ensuing now...)

Maybe I should stop being a prideful-jerk-face and just decide to have fun by dancing to "Play that Funk Music White Boy" one more time??


wish me luck.

*okay, SERIOUSLY- remember how amaaaaaazing that song was in 8th grade!?!?!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

sommetimes the internet cracks me up.

I was searching for something by the artist Morris Louis:

but was instead greeted by this:


Monday, September 12, 2011

I have been here for a month and I feel like a failure

I had a goal to feel settled here in four weeks.
It has been one month exactly since I arrived.
I do not yet feel secure not settled.
Was that an unrealistic timeline?
Or have I really failed?

In other news, sometimes I don't want to do things that my church (read: only) friends want to do (read:FHE).
But I have been reading about the Renaissance for three hours, and I need a break.
It makes me wish that I had other friends here who could give me alternative options.
I miss you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Haiku for Lincoln, Nebraska

I spend lots of time these days
waiting trains which pass
and then make me late for school.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Sometimes I write emails and send them... to myself.
I do it to report on the day, and to remind myself about things. Usually when I do it, I think to myself, "Maybe someday, when I am dead, someone will figure out that most of my passwords were one of four or five combinations of the same basic things. And when they do they will unlock my email, and they will see how bonkers I really was. I am writing an email to myself. I know this is crazy, but it is also cathartic, and it makes me feel like I'm not alone."
So I keep writing.
Other times, I get emails from other (real) people, with poems that are perfect in them. Perfect because they are true and because they are real life.
I am not pregnant, though. 

Do not ever tell me that money is not magic.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lakota Girl: Or How I Taught the Cornhusker Football Team to Talk About Menstruation

I am enrolled in a History course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where about half the students in the class are on the UNL Football team. They are in the Big 10 this year, which, I guess, is a big deal.

I was so excited when my professor asked us to bring in a discussion topic about a traditional Native American mode of teaching/learning. I used the opportunity to present the Lakota practice of Puberty Ceremonies for girls at the onset of first menstruation. 

In this tradition, girls are removed from society and taken to live with a female elder from the tribe for a week. The elder instructs the girl in the way of female wisdom, socially appropriate methods of dealing with her menstrual flow, the goodness of being a woman, her connectedness to all of life through it's existence, and the beauty that can dwell with her in this state. Furthermore, the elder teaches the girl a few games that the girl will then come back to the tribe to play, further teaching them symbolically about the flow of life itself. The process is complete when the tribe holds a giveaway and has a feast to celebrate the girl's transition.

Tradition dictates that people learn through a combination of examples being given, stories being told, and the availability of advice and counsel, culminating in application of practice. This program is a fine example of these ideas, and I was excited to talk about the implications of this.

I find it useful to talk about my own experience (... and since this is my blog, i do what I want!). It is an interesting contrast to the awkward moment where all third graders are herded into the library of the elementary school to watch a severely outdated filmstrip about "becoming a woman", regardless of individual maturity and readiness.
There were a few squirms when I began, but I was surprised and elated at student responsiveness. We talked about the strangeness of dominant (European modeled) society's removal of elements of life, which elements are essential to human existence, from educational practice.  Even the football players had something to say! They commented about how it was interesting how we are taught to be separate from our bodies in the educational system of dominant society. There are two women in the class, sisters, who are Lakota themselves. It was very insightful to learn further, that this practice is still in use today.

May this people never "vanish" as Curtis so  unabashedly claimed they would.

Monday, August 29, 2011

right now

I think I believe that we are who we want to be. I have been wrestling about with this idea for a while, and I think it's making sense more and more lately. The idea is basically that each decision is a manifestation of our greatest aspirations, goals and desires. The moment is now. I am choosing this thing right now because it is the opportunity to create the me that I see in myself. Right now. 
And if I am bigger, if I need more time, I will make more decisions to become more the self that I want. 

I can give myself that at least.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

secret confessions of a weirdo

some days (today) all i want to do is eat mustard in any form I can get it.

Some days (...) I do just that.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The one where I was more freaked out than I thought I'd be: Emergency Preparedness Class

 Yup: that title was just as long as it needed to be.

Today, all the grad students at UNL had to participate in a mandatory Emergency Preparedness Class and Safety Training. We are being trained to take care of our students in the case of an emergency. I don't know why it hit such a nerve with me, but there were two topics that freaked me out pretty badly. Perhaps it's due to my stress levels and the overwhelming sense of vulnerability that I cannot seem to shake off.

The two topics, what  I was told to do, and why that scared me:

  For whatever reason, I never really felt effected by the threat of shooters before. I don't know why that was, but today, when Doreen was lecturing us about how tackling the shooter could be used as a last resort, it really struck a chord somewhere in me. I felt this immense wave of grief for people who have experienced such a scary event.

I don't know how I would cope with that.

I don't really consider myself a person who is frequently scared of things generally, and I guess I hadn't really ever thought about such a situation in any depth. I never considered how I would react, and the idea that the responsibility of others' safety will rest on me was overwhelming (at best). And to consider the utter helplessness one would feel in such a place, where a person was threatening you with a weapon that could kill you instantly and without any defensive action available to you. I'm generally not afraid of guns (I've shot my fair share), and I know how to be safe around them. This is sort of a different ballgame.

  I have never lived in a place where tornadoes were even a consideration. Really, the mountains and the ocean were always a refuge from the storms of the sky. I find a longing sense of solace in the mountains I used to call my home, and am finding myself feeling totally exposed, even raised, to the sky (in all of its majesty and beautiful power) out on the prairie. This is a great unknown to me in real life; the only encounters I have ever had with tornadoes is basically summed up in this movie:

You should probably watch all of it, because it is amazingterribleamazingterribleamazing.

Anyhoo. The story goes, tornadoes are crazy destructive and really unpredictable. This leads, embarrassingly enough, to an unquenchable fear in me.  Add to that the fact that I now live in the top story of a rather tall duplex. Seriously, it's pretty high up here.

Today we were informed that as teaching assistants, we are responsible for the well-being of our students when we have them in class. This does not bode well for me if there is ever a tornado. Mountains and oceans have failed me! I was told to take shelter in a basement or shelter in the event of a tornado, and I was also told that there would be plenty of warning, and that tornadoes rarely strike in the city.

This is all good and well, but i don't have a shelter where I live (top floor)... and we are currently (like, literally, as I type) in a double tornado watch/severe thunderstorm warning.

I'm going to go sit in the bathtub and listen for water to be sucked out of the toilets.
(why does that happen, science??)

Monday, August 15, 2011

I really enjoy forgetting:

There's a part in True Stories where David Byrne, continuous driver of an incredible convertible, is reflecting on his first interactions in the fictional town of Virgil Texas. It's one of the most poignant scenes for me, where he says, "Well. I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details: the way the sky looks, the color of white paper, the way people walk, doorknobs, everything. Then I get used to a place and I don't notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting, can I see the place again. As it really is."
(Sometimes, and in so many ways, that film is solid cinematic gold.)

This is my list of white paper about Lincoln, Nebraska.

-There is a constant buzz of  insect noise. People who are from here don't notice it anymore- I asked some. It is this loud buzz of a zillion high pitched voices chomping and celebrating and mating and living in the prairie. One person suggested cicadas. I don't even know what those are.

-One way streets. There are one way-ers in San Diego, but they aren't like these ones. These are the main thoroughfares through Lincoln, and they blow my mind. Every time. People drive fast on them ,and expect you to as well. They yell out their windows, over the heads of their babies if you aren't compliant.

-There are probably nine billion pounds of corn and soybeans growing around me. I get overwhelmed thinking about how monotonous and ecologically unsound it is to grow two things almost exclusively and so abundantly. The utter ocean of cornfield after soybean field after cornfield is mesmerizing at best.

-Nebraska is not a desert. I guess I got used to the desert of Utah, and forgot how green things can be. I guess I let myself slip into thinking that green things only grew in little hidden valleys, and never really considered the vast expanse of the central United States. It is so very verdant, so incredibly alive. It seems shameful to not know the livingness of this place.

-Lawns are very big in this place. I thought is was a falsehood that people really cared about their lawn this much, but it's real, and it's here. It makes for really beautiful looking neighborhoods.

-The sky is utterly expansive, totally engrossing, and engaging at ANY MOMENT in the day. I am beginning to think that I should have gone into meteorology with the amount of time I spend looking up. I live inside clouds sometimes. Sunrises. Sunsets. Mid- Day. Nighttime. All of it. IT is beautiful and huge, and carves itself onward, seemingly forever. I have never experienced a place where the sky was such a major element of things, it was always broken up by the mountains, or in competition with the ocean's largess.I hope I can focus. I hope I don't forget this one.

-People want to talk to me, but they don't really know how. I am trying to relearn the art of friend-making and talking. I forgot how to do that, I got comfortable and lazy in Provo with the immediacy and ease with which friendships were created there.

-Lincoln has a lot of tattoo shops. It follows, then, that there are a lot of tattoos. Mental jury is still out, but for the most part, they lean towards being overjoyed to see so much ink injected under the surface of the skin of my fellow Nebraskans. Beautiful.

-I have, with solemnity, replaced my preset radio stations. I found a replacement for KRCL, but with great trepidation and high expectations. I had to sort through A LOT of Evangelical Christian rock stations and classic rock channels to find it, but I can report a success nevertheless. The new station is... sub-par, but a college station, so I accept. They have a program where they play the music from movies. As in, all of the music. I have always thought someone should do that, so that program alone has me listening.

-The ward is a family more than any other I have ever experienced. I had a really wonderful FHE tonight, and I felt I made some in-roads to making friends. I am curious about the Elder's Quorum President. I think I have a baby crush, one of the variety that doesn't make any sense at all. That is all.

I cannot stop listening to this song (please click this link. The song is so good. I tried to embed it here, but failed miserably. Sorry. Just click. Just click.), because is it perfect for me. Add 800 miles to the part where she says "16 miles to the promised land", and you will understand. This is hard; I'm doing the best I can.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"embrace your introverted side"

I have been in San Diego for twopointfive days. It took my just as long to get here from Utah, a drive which normally takes about 12 hours. A few observations from my travels:
1. sometimes people are really really fantastic, lovely, and wonderful.
2. las vegas isn't sooooooo bad. I made a few friends there: a third, going on fourth grader, two tow truck drivers, and a shop full of extra caring fast and furious-making mechanics, one of whom has a brother who dances for the Jabbawockeez.
3. it feels about seventynine jillion times better to finally know where my mom, dad, and sister live. Respectively, I observed that their places are, in a word, awesome, interesting, and homey. I like all of those adjectives.
4. i think I will be capable of leaving Provo. I think i can.
5. it feels really good to carry people in my heart. There are a lot of people there... they hold a place because of a certain goodness and a love shared. Thank you to all of you, because you are certainly there (unless you are that weird guy in Malaysia who keeps reading my blog. WHO ARE YOU, MALAYSIA GUY!?!?!?!), and most likely to stay.
6. this family of mine, while vexing at times (to say the least) are mine, and I love them. I am learning to love the dynamic in my family, and learning to relate and fit therein. It has been hard, but I think it's going to be okay.
7. I can be fun. I am fun.
8. I like driving. I especially like doing it alone, fast and at dusk or dawn. These are the times when I feel most motivated, alive, and free.

with that, I say good day, sir.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Помогите! Pomogite! [pama'gi:te]

Once upon a time, I lived with an amazing woman.

Now she is in Russia.

This is a video about the project she made... Care to help?

Go here for more infos.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The best kinds of friends are the ones that will help you make lemonade out of lemons.

(or bread pudding out of too many hamburger buns.)

you know who you are.

and thank you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You'd know it if you saw it.


(Apparently I have a lot to say today...)

This poem PERFECTLY describes a lot of my feelings of late.

Click to listen and read along!


On a long drive recently, I came into a conversation where a friend recounted an episode where two male friends (hers, not mine) engaged themselves in a contest to see who could have the most DTRs  (click the link if you are confused. Only read the top five definitions.) in one month. It began as serious, and then turned into a joke where they were eventually DTRing with people they just barely met just to rack up their numbers. I was struck at the idea of DTRing everyone... probably fueled by an overpowering sense of insecurity and desire to receive some feedback. With the story and high hopes in my pocket, I set off to DTR with as many of my friends as possible. I figured that I am leaving this place in a little over a month, so it would be nice to have the tablets of my heart inscribed with a discussion of where our relationships stood.
Some of these conversations were horrible; others beautifully enlightening and heartwarming; a few were surprising. From the various reactions, I earned a few things about friendships, and mostly a few things about myself. Perhaps I will write more on that last it later.
For now, though, I have learned that:

1. relationships are sacred
   For most people, the beginning of the DTR was impossible, because the things we value about each other are deeply held beliefs and they are difficult to access because there isn't frequent discussion of this sort. Once that place was accessed, however, what spewed forth was tender and moving. This usually accompanied the realization that there are many things that are, in fact, indefinable about relationships. 

2. defensiveness is counterproductive
   Of the DTRs I had, a few went like this:
 me: So. What's going on between us? Like... where do we stand?
 them: Uhm... i don't know. what do you mean?
me: I am doing this project where I DTR as many times as I can. I was just wondering how it is that YOU define our relationship, I guess.
 them: I don't know. Is there a problem?
 me: I don't think so, I was just thinking it would be nice to talk to you and see where we stand. I really value your friendship, and I feel like it would be nice to see how you felt.
 them: oh- I don't know.
 These were rather unfulfilling, and helped me see more clearly that defensiveness is counterproductive... to everything. No progress was made in our relationship(s), and I extrapolated that there cannot be progress made in any realm if defensiveness is keeping you back. I myself am guilty of this, and perhaps can use this example to correct my folly in this area.

3. i need people, and people need me
  I learned this from so many of my friends. Many said it to me in telling me about how we improve one another, and how we build one another. I have long believed that the reason we have friends is to see the goodness in our own selves. What a marvelous blessing.

4. i can be good at listening and asking the right questions.
 This is becoming an increasing skill. I am working on it, and I can feel myself improving.

DTRs can be powerful good.
In other news, I sent a letter and told someone that I might love them.

On Leaving

From my journal, July 11, 2011:

"The human animal is in near-constant flux, a state of active refinement, and at a certain point, "comfort" becomes stagnation.

I am ready.

The other night while I was bedding down on the couch on the front porch, I watched a girl ride her bike up and down my block, and eventually built up the courage , right in the sometimes-circle cast only sporadically by our streetlamp, to let go of the handlebars. The moment was beautiful ; nobody else was around to applaud her or lend her their faith in her success, but she ventured anyways."

I am feeling good about my move. In a conversation today with a dear old friend, I re-committed to maintaining the strings that have thus tied us together. I know that there will be a collateral loss in leaving this place, but I am left hoping that I will see the gain in spite of the loss, and that the friendships and relationships that are strengthened thereby will be stronger by degree of those I leave behind.

  Robert Montgomrey, subversive advertiser, artist and poet 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

i had a dream

that i had to do something very publicly naked, and i found myself really body conscious, which is not my norm.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Is that what you do? So do I!

this rendition of this song is totally horrible;
last weekend was the opposite of horrible.
why not have a three-legged visit to a horde celebration of freedom with an fellow non-consumer?

(this guy was impressed with our skillz.)

then M. B.'s feet got tired.

oh hey, K$$.

uhm, M.B...?

dat's better!!


and then we slept in that treehouse again. seriously so good.

I'm pretty sure we both look the best in the morning. ;(

'lil temple excursion down to Manti. Purely joyous.

Don't we look happy?

Photochopping skillz.

I am grateful for my friends. Here's to one-and-a-half months of summery goodness.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I totally did this before it became a craze... also, we called it 'facedown', you'll kindly recall.

somebody is smoking outside right now.
I thank smokers all of the time inside of my head all of the time, even though I know (logically) that I should be disappointed or angry at them. But I also know (emotionally) (yes. they are different. and yes. they are real.) that smoke smells like Europe. I have been back for almost a year exactly. It will be exact in two weeks time. That smell is glorious, and sometimes I forget what Europe smells like. I spent a lot of time smelling Europe... Smell, in my humble opinion, is a thoroughly under-appreciated sense, so I made a point of smelling things. Sure I looked a little strange at times, sniffing the walls of churches, exotic (can western Europe be considered "exotic"?) trees, subway stations and museum artifacts.
So thank you, anonymous smoker outside. Thank you for reminding me of the continent.

this video also reminded me of the EU for it's overwhelming visual stimulation and basic foreign-ness.