When Matt and Candice were in town, Matt, Patrick, and I decided to play laser tag while Candice went to visit some old friends. Ali, who originally consented to play minature golf, grudgingly ceded to the change in plans. And I stress "grudgingly."
Once at Laser Quest, we chose our codenames. I donned the moniker of "Puuplaar"--misspelled "Puupler" by the pimply teen worker.Matt was "Blanche." Patrick became Lee Hainless AKA "LeeHainous." And Ali was the formidable "Fannie Mae."
Soon we began a solo match against 23 other people--most under the age of 10, but, a few dads, other college-aged kids, and some teenagers too--and entered the maze.
As I split from the group, "Eye of the Tiger" pounding in my head, I divided the ranks of the kids running around in packs. I hiked to the top of the level and sniped the snipers. I hid; I ducked; I strategized. I ran into Ali once or twice, and she was laughing. Needless-to-say time flew by quickly and the match was over. It was time to tally the scores.
All 27 of us gathered around the pedestal of truth as the pimply teen announced the winners of the game starting from 3rd place. "Puupler?" I walked up to the pedestal and took my score card from his hand. "Tazor." A middle-aged man waddled up to retrieve his scores. And in first place... "Fanny Mae." All of the 10-year olds, the slimy teenagers, and the parents who played the match searched the ranks for a glimpse of this hardened player. As Ali walked to the pedestal, a noticeable gasp sounded from Brad, the 10-year-old whose birthday party it was, and I shouted, "That's my wife!"
As we walked to the car, Patrick made the comment that he didn't even make it to the top 10 and was trying his hardest. Ali simply smiled and said, "I hated laser tag in high school, but it seems that the technology has really improved."
MISSING: Casio Digital Wristwatch COLOR: Silver Chrome, with silver metallic chain mesh snap band. FEATURES: Stopwatch, alarm, Indiglo, two separate time zones-telling feature, 30 different phone number storage.
If found please search through the phone number section of the watch and call the number listed under "me."
An oyasumikaiin* in Japan gave this watch to me with the double-time zone telling feature in mind.
"See," she said, as my companion and I sat with her at an open-air restaraunt, "Now you can see what time it is at home."
I don't know if she was trying to make me homesick or trying to dissuade us from "the path"--she also gave us some Coffee-flavored swiss rolls--but, the gift was appreciated!
Anyway, that watch lasted me practically 7 years and I can basically tie it in to all the milestones in my life from 1999 to present. I watched the date on its face change from 1999 to 2000 from the roof of my apartment in Japan. I got the battery changed at the BYU bookstore in 2003. I wasn't wearing it when I got married--that was my other watch--but, I would've, if it hadn't started to look so beat up.
Anyway, if anybody has any info as to the whereabouts of this dear old friend...please...
In eighth grade, my buddy transferred a legitimately helpful program over to my TI-82 calculator with a little cable he had.
You entered your birthday into this program and then, through bonafide trigonometry-based equations, it converted that data into sine waves representing your spirituality, intelligence, and quality of emotion over a month's time period.
Man, what a useful tool! How helpful it was to plug in my birthdate and see when I would be at the top of my academic game. And when I failed lousily in the empathy department, I would just point to the trough of my sine wave and sorta shrug my shoulders as if to say, "Sorry, just have to wait a week or two."
But the waves never seemed to peak at the same time, you know? When my spirituality would be up, my emotional quality would be in the middle, and my intelligence area would be bottoming out--maybe to appease some sort of cosmic balance or something...(if you believe in that smack.) Anyway, today is marathon quiz/test day and I can't help but feel all of my waves are hanging out in the deep end. Apparently there's no karmic bar on that.
So, curse you, TI-82. And you too, technology. And you three, crackpot sine wave intelligence theory. and...aw.
"You got a rifle. Why do you need a peashooter? When you already got a rifle, why do you need a peashooter?" "Kennedy...Kennedy...Kennedy...Kennedy...Kennedy is gonna be the next president of the United States...Kennedy..." -Lunatic at University Stadium Trax station.
Did I mention that I love riding on public transportation? Yesterday I met an old lady at the 55 S and State St. bus stop who was trying to convince me that Modern-day Mormons were ensnared by witchcraft and that the second-coming would happen at Zion Nat'l Park in Southern Utah...or that it had already happened there. Needless-to-say, I was confused.
All I asked her was if she wanted me to tell her when the #11 had arrived.
A few weeks ago, I was scouring the Internet Movie Database for my old BYU film friends. Ever since Jared Hess and Jon Heder hit the big time with their little over-quoted, over-loved movie, I was curious to see where all the others were. And then I happened upon this.
If you didn't get my autograph while I was living in Provo, I'm afraid it's too late...
I lost my temper teaching primary yesterday. I grabbed a particularly rude, disrespectful, and irreverent 10-year old and literally forced him away from the wall he was leaning on. As I did this, I felt a heat welling up in my brain that I haven't felt for years...
I can't help but feel those little turkeys got the best of me...
In the spirit of Halloween I've been trying to read creepy stuff.
Earlier in the month, I read through about 25 Edgar Allan Poe short stories and was delighted! Now, I'm reading Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" and I'm waiting for something to happen...but, even though the main character has "seen" several non-threatening and non-spooky ghosts, the story is more about finding out how really EVIL the children in her care are...gah! If I had wanted that, I would've rented "Children of the Corn" from Blockbuster...sheesh. Anyway, apparently Mr. James dictated this story to a transcriptionist, so reading the story is like listening to Mr. James talk. So the story's language is punctuated, so to speak, with a large, meaning a great sum, of interpolary comments and description making following it, not to put it (even if I should feel uncontrollably inclined to), rather difficult.
The only thing that keeps me reading is to find out why Yale professor William Lyon Phelps called it "the most powerful, the most nerve-shattering ghost story I have ever read....This story made my blood chill, my spine curl, and every individual hair to stand on end." Because, so far the only nerve-shattering aspect of the story is its utter lack of spookiness.
At BYU you never really see anything written or carved in the bathroom stalls, but, here at the U it's a common practice. And when I say "common practice," I mean the common practice of one particular guy! I've compiled some quotes, all in the same handwriting with the same black sharpie marker, obtained from totally different stalls in separate buildings on campus.
1.) "You fake everything." 2.) "Please stop buffing; I have nothing to read." 3.) "Even your failures are mine." 4.) "Where is the best place on campus to drop bombs?" 5.) "I say right here." 6.) "I second that motion" (different marker and handwriting).
Okay, so it's not that impressive of a collection, and it's not that funny, but, it was obtained by visiting two separate bathrooms in two separate buildings and that alone hints at the sheer tenacity of this lone stall-tagging maniac...I mean, there could be more out there. And you guys gotta admit that the image of some self-proclaimed tagging vigilante sharpie-ing something he deems "thought-provoking" on a stall and coming back later to find that noone has responded or, more realistically, that someone has answered back with childish profanity is at least mildy amusing...
Emmy award winning scriptwriter for the original Muppet Show, Jerry Juhl, passed away last month. He was one of the reasons that the show was so great, a real talent behind the scenes type. Frank Oz, in an interview with the Times on Wednesday, described Mr. Juhl's imprint on the Muppet Show.
"He was the person responsible really for the heart of the Muppets. He just knew the characters better than anybody else. He was brilliant because he could be funny but not nasty. He always saw the affection between the characters. Nobody else could do that kind of writing…. He was the Muppet writer."
Too bad there aren't more persons of influence in Hollywood with Mr. Juhl's entertaining yet pure talent.
"Never for a second did I think of myself as the sexiest guy in the world. When I was a kid, I thought I was the strongest man in the world. Then, the fastest runner and then the smartest person in the world. One by one my delusions got shut down. Now I just see myself as the lamest guy in the world." -Jack Black
This is my first semester going to a university that actually has somewhat of an American college atmosphere. You know...like the kind in movies. Kids are actually allowed to ride skateboards, smoke freely, tote coffee and actually drink it... all while on campus. There are actual fraternities. With no dress code, warmer weather revealed more skin than an afternoon of watching MTV. There's even unabashed talk of drinking at actual bars and getting drunk. I mean, we're not talkin' Animal House by any means but it certainly ain't no BYU. And, it's kinda interesting for now...
I ride the bus to and from school for a total of 2 hours a day and I see a lot of crazy characters then. But they don't bother me as much as the SMELL does! In my two weeks of commuting, I've experienced a variety of odors, each different and distinct from the other, but ultimately just as nasty. Cat odors, motor oil odors, cat-rolled-in-motor-oil odor, b.o., sweat odor, sweaty perfume odor, stale cigarette smoke odor, fat sweaty person odor, old people smells, halitosis, and more, assault my senses whenever I board. It's almost a game I play, trying to distinguish and label the plethora of stenches embedded in the seats or floating in the air-- a game I always lose, however. Don't get me wrong, riding the bus saves me a lot of money; I've just gotta invest in some nose plugs.
So here I am looking older all the time, growing older all the time, feeling younger in my mind.Superman - Goldfinger
"You look like a dad." "Like my dad?"
"No, just a dad." "What are you trying to say?"
"You don't look like 2nd ward Ryan anymore." "Oh...I'm only 26."
Shoot! I can't stay 21 forever. I guess it's time to sport the flame shoes and the mini-male mohawk again. Either that or consign myself to the fact that I really am in the 25 - 30 bracket and start tucking my shirts in whilst wearing loafers.
Yesterday, he announced that he was off to church and left the house almost two hours earlier than our ward begins. Our wardhouse is certainly within walking distance but when you're over 80 years old crossing main street without a crosswalk is a bit dangerous. I walked after him and tried to tell him that it was too soon to go but he wouldn't hear any it. He only told me that I should tell grandma that he's ornery and that he's walking. Back at the homefront, Ali's grandma told us to try picking him up in his own car...but, once again, FOILED! I ended up holding his hand leading him across the busy street. He promptly sat down in the overflow for the last 15 minutes of a mission farewell for a stranger. He probably would've continued sitting there until it was time for our sacrament to begin but they started closing the partition.
As we walked home, he was more than ecstatic about the fact that he'd attended church and didn't understand why Ali's grandma, Ali, and I had been so concerned about his safety. Even when we finally made it home, he looked bewildered when Ali's grandma told him that he could never do that again. "But, I had my two helpers, Helen," he responded. "I done good."
I've hated all of the part-time jobs I've ever had except for the ones where work was creatively disguised as fun or where physical labor wasn't required (I.E. playing with Japanese students at Disneyland or watching TV whilst on duty at the motion picture studio).
This summer I'm cleaning carpets. I know...I know... How is it that Bachelor's degree bearing BYU grad can't find a better job than cleaning up dog urine, old people fecal matter and/or blood, gum, red punch stains, and grease? And how is it that someone who hates manual labor would go back to doing it?
On the bright side, having a crappy job sure makes going back to school in the fall look all the more appealing.
I can't really say that I'm a fan of card games or dominoes... So, um, I'm dodging out on playing "trash train" with my folks, my wife, my brother, and his girlfriend.
Well, things are going well. I sleep at night; I'm gaining back weight lost; I've got a summer job; Ali and I are enjoying our new car and I've FINALLY seen a few movies that I've been dying to get at.
So what's there to complain about?
We had to buy a new grille for our car and the cheapest option available was the Cadillac look-alike. I hate Cadillacs. I hate Escalades. I hate cars that are merely status symbols and get 13MPG (on the highway). Anyway, I guess I'm kinda stretching it...
Crap...busted. "Trash train" is always on time, and I'm being forced to board.
My neighbors, for instance, are some of these very stupid people. And, yes, I know that I'm obsessed, but, I have a good reason for it. They interupt one of the most precious and important things in my life: SLEEP!
But back to stupidity. Why can't she see that he doesn't love her? Doesn't his verbal and physical abuse say that much? We've heard him say FLAT OUT TO HER FACE that he doesn't love her. Why does she have to press the point every night after 12AM? And on an even more pressing note, why, even after being given an ultimatum from the landlord, do they still have that DOG!? And it's no longer a puppy, my friends. Oh no, it's a dog! A dog that needs to be outside, live outside, and play catch OUTSIDE!
And, I swear that I'm going insane because I'm totally certain that they deliberately watch GODZILLA movies or Discovery Channel specials on building demolition at 1AM just to wake Ali and me up.
Ali and I have fought back, oh yes. We've called cops, written letters, talked with the landlord, and have even pounded on the ceiling. And that's why I'm obsessed: it's all an excercise in futility. There's no freaking closure; no matter what I freaking do, they'll still be yelling and stomping and catch-playing, and I'll be there lying in the dark, staring at the ceiling burning with hatred and contention.
I hate cars. I mean, sure, they're a necessary evil and, at times, fairly convient, but, overall, they're just plain awful.
From the moment you buy a car, its value begins depreciating. Not only that, but it still costs you money once you own it: You've got to buy gas; you've got to replace tires; you've got to have a new alternator put in...yada yada. As more time passes, the more replacements you've gotta make. A car is a money vaccuum.
Also, a car depletes a natural resource and in return pumps pollution into the air. A car is an environmentally unfriendly machine!
This is why I can't understand American's (specifically Utahns) obsession with owning a HUGE gas-guzzling monster. Now, you may say, "Ryan, it's because Utahns, on average, have six to eight children and they usually cart them along with them everytime they drive!" Well, I would then ask if there are not more efficient forms of transportation designed for carting people around than a 14MPG road beast? Why does a soccer mom have to drive a Hummer to pick up her kids? And, "Because she can afford it!" is not an acceptable answer!
Here we are in an energy crisis, where gas is upwards of $2.00 per gallon, and ol' butt-tuck, boob-job, peroxide mom over there is blowing upwards of $75 everyweek when she gasses up her H2. Now, if she were "jeeping" in Moab on the weekend, rather than driving to her pedicurist, I might not have got my panties up in such a twist.
Anyway...I don't know if any of the two people who ever read my blog are still reading this but, I only have a few meager idealistic wishes. They being that I wish Americans would walk a little more; I wish that we'd stop being in such a damned hurry all the live long day that even when we're not going 10 miles over the posted speed limit, we're still emotionally and mentally content. Someday, I wish that energy efficiency would beat out prestige/style or that energy conservation would be pursued rather than energy exploitation. Overall, I just wish that common sense would triumph.
The granting of these wishes is a long-shot at best. As long as the almighty buck rules the world, I doubt much reform will take place until we are directly faced with environmental and/or cultural meltdown. Until then, I suppose I must remain a pawn in the politics of big business and capitalism. Until then, I suppose I must make do.
Chickety Check Before You Wriggety Wreck...or something like that. Well.
Brooke moved home. Ali and I saw her load her belongings into Brian's bright yellow car and drive off as the theme of their license plate cover, "enjoy the ride," ironically set the tone for their trip to the airport.
And all is quiet and well--although I habitually wake up at 1AM thinking I'm hearing their arguing voices.
Yesterday, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I wore a shirt that had "Made in Ireland" written across it.
In my chemistry exploratory lab, a fellow student asked me if, indeed, I really was made in Ireland. I responded saying that I indirectly was and loudly rhetorically asked if we all did not have a little Irish in us. When I said this I was referring to the heritage of many white LDS persons of pioneer stock. And of course, as I turn around to seek approval from others in my direct vicinity, there happens to be a girl of Asian descent standing right behind me, desperately avoiding my gaze.
The freshmen in my Chem 106 lecture seem to think that the professor and those sitting around them can't hear them when they talk on their cell-phones, chat with their neighbor at regular conversation-volume, and audibly chew snacks.
My upstairs neighbor's haven't once thought to themselves, "there are four other apartments in this complex occupied with people. Maybe they can hear us when we scream at the top of our lungs and grapple physically across the floor."
Or..."Hey, nobody else in this complex will be affected by our breaking contract and getting a dog. The dog won't create excess noise, and it certainly won't create a problem for others by crapping on the only lawn space in the complex."
or maybe even, "Oh, wait, maybe we shouldn't vacuum at 11:30PM! It might wake the Farringtons, who might be trying to get some sleep directly below us."
Or on the road... I'm driving almost 80MPH in a 65MPH zone, yet, this simply isn't fast enough for most people who just have to get somewhere right away.
I guess it's easy to forget that the world doesn't revolve around you, sometimes. .
Last night, between the hours of 11:00PM and 3:00AM, you woke us up at least 3 times. Frustrated and tired, I came and knocked on your side door in hopes that we could talk about the current situation and maybe work out some solution. Needless-to-say, I was a little dismayed when Brian totally ignored me, walked out the front door, and drove away—consciously turning on his headlights after he pulled onto 200 South—refusing to acknowledge my presence on your doorstop.
It’s obvious that the two of you are working through some issues. And, it’s obvious that the two of you have been working through the same issues since you moved into this apartment complex more than 5 months ago! The walls and ceilings in this building are paper thin, and when the two of you shout or yell or stomp it reverberates through our entire living space! We are more acquainted with the two of you than you would probably want us to be. And we seem to get the best acquainted with you when we’re trying to sleep!
We want to work through this issue with you as smoothly as possible. We know that marriage is hard work, but, if the two of you continue to wake us up by defying Provo City noise ordinance with your loud bickering and fighting, we will have no choice but to go to the landlord and/or the local authorities.
We don’t hate you! This isn’t some sort of power trip fueled by some type of socio-political agenda; we’re just super tired.
NO DOGS ALLOWED Our upstairs neighbors got a dog... But, our fourplex doesn't allow pets. (No pets, no kids: It's specifically written on the contract.) And, please remember that these are the same neighbors that we had to call the police on when they were killing each other at inner-ear shattering decibel levels at three in the morning a few months ago. And, if you would kindly recall, these are also the same neighbors whose love life wouldn't be anymore mysterious if we, somehow, happened to find ourselves magically transported into the same room with them. Needless-to-say, Ali and I have found the idea of turning them in to our new-and-improved landlord more than tempting. However, since the dog has come, something has changed. The fighting has stopped; the shouting has dwindled; and, the only sound is that of soft padded feet traversing the expanse of the ceiling. So, we've reached a good place. But once that dog starts barking... .
Oh, the things you thought you left behind once you were married...
A few weeks ago, Ali and I were walking across campus when we ran into the Relief Society President from our ward. She's the nicest lady, er, girl, but, after some pleasant small talk she did something that totally stunned us.
She nervously began: "So, Spider-man 2 is playing at the Varsity and the volleyball team has a game this Saturday... Do you think you'll be able to go to one of them?"
We had just been asked out on our first "couple date," and, to tell you the truth, we couldn't believe it. You see, besides that fact that over half the ward had already tenatively asked us over for dinner but done nothing further than that, this was our first direct proposal since singledom. There are some things that you think you've permanently left behind once you're married, and here "awkward dating proposals" was rising from its semi-fresh grave.
"Um, sure," we both answered in unison.
Needless-to-say, Ali and I both found ourselves at the BYU volleyball game with a friendly Relief Society President and her--um, how should I say it?--polite husband. Although the evening was short-lived and pleasant enough--I only had to endure being called, "buddy and/or 'bud,'" less than a dozen times--, come to find out they both like International Cinema as much as we do.
We have a tenative second date for sometime around finals week.
"Illusional Biscuits Rock Sandy Community Venue" January 22nd, 2005
At a premiere gala event at the Turquoise chapel cultural hall, fans, both new and seasoned, were treated to four original Illusional Bisket songs and a delightful cover of Weezer's "Keep Fishing."
Composed of "four gentlemen who didn't belong in this world," Patrick on lead guitar; Devon on second guitar, bass, and lead vocals; Connor on third guitar; and Nathan on drums; the Biskets combine youthful vigor with beginner/intermediate skill to form a sound that is both energetic and thumping.
"When we first recorded this song on tape, I was listening to it in my basement and my mom said, 'Turn that CD off!' Patrick announced, introducing the band's signature piece: "Blender."
"That's when we knew it was our best song," he sheepishly remarked.
Playing a 15 minute set, the Biskets rocked the audience with that very piece, and even introduced some new favorites. "The Mockingbird and Nathan" showed the more existential side of the band, while "I'm Not Joking" revealed the more tender instincts of lead singer, Devon. The more subtle, "Flaming Pistachios,"--(They're only on fire; I asked)--left the audience wondering what exactly this band couldn't accomplish.
These rock anthems, pounded out by Patrick and company, were highlighted by the state-of-the-art lighting display achieved by Brakken, who accentuated the mood of the set by alternating accordingly between green, blue, and red lighting schemes.
"I had to tell him to go easy on the lights; We didn't want anyone going into any seizures," Patrick said, expressing concern for the elderly in the audience.
After the set was finished, both band and audience enjoyed home-made biscuits made by one of the Biskets' mom.
"I can't wait until their next concert," Jessa, a 14-year-old groupie of the band, said with a mouth half-full of biscuit and jam, "They certainly rocked!"
While uncertain when their next concert would be, Patrick did say that the band was expected to make an appearance at Eastmont Junior High's talent show later in March.
My gracious mom gave us a coupon for a baker's dozen worth of FREE bagels from Einstein Bros.. Ali and I were gonna wait until Saturday to redeem it, but, the quickly depleting supply of milk and grinding lack of interest in the same-old, drove my actions to a premature fruition.
Once there, I was like a kid in a candy store, excitedly choosing from among flavors as common-place as "Blueberry" to some as exotic as "Asiago Cheese." The stock girl was friendly and courteous, even offering to pre-cut my bagels in a chute-like mulching machine. Leaving the store with my 13 machine-cut bagels clutched tightly to my chest, I almost skipped to the car.
After a delicious breakfast of a chocolate chip bagel and a cinnamon sugar bagel "shmear"ed in strawberry cream cheese, my whole day has gone off without, unbelieveably, one hitch. The sun is shining. My brain is processing. My body is content-ing. Life couldn't be better. And so I say, mix up your breakfast routine, and you too may find that it affects your life for the better.
I can't believe how quickly the break has gone by!
After much family exposure, more than a baker's dozen movies, and a New Year's roadtrip to Boise, it's finally time to return to school.
This semester marks the return of our hero back to the land of the BYU. Good-bye green; hello blue! Aside from the uneasiness at feeling a great deal older than all of the young-uns on campus, I'm glad to be back in my natural habitat.
This semester also marks the beginning of the end for Ali. After student teaching, she'll join the ranks of those graduating this upcoming April.
So all in all, it's a promising beginning for a new year. I'm only a little sad to be leaving behind the holiday-endorsed sloth behind...