Friday, March 31, 2006

jeff, jeff, jeff and jeff

it is quite fun to say hi to all the different jeffs we have on our truck.
four jeffs and three japanese speakers; not too shabby.

driving home down the canyon tonight and singing along to ray charles, i felt pretty cool; that this really can be a good job sometimes. and it's times like that when i wish i had someone i could call and just say, 'hey, things are awesome and that's pretty cool.' but i don't get reception up there anyway.

it's hard. it's long. you have to learn to let a lot of things just roll of you like water off a duck's back [i like ducks]. and oh is it cold. but my friend and fellow japanese speaker bruce wing loaned me a very nice marshmallow coat and i kept nice all night long.
i avoided having any concept of what time it was or how many more shots we had, trying just to work until they called wrap. and it actually came very suddenly: the 'martini' shot was up [the last shot of the night], with our camera on a big-a crane [the 'a' stands for 'awesome] and we were getting things blocked and set up when some dude [a producer-type, i think] walked over to steve the fun a.d. and said something and suddenly he called wrap and that was that. i think we had just hit 12 hours, which would have put us all into double time, and people who pay don't like that sort of thing.

and 'pay' is somehow a hassle that has fallen upon little non-union jeffrey here. our original loader went home yesterday after hurting his back and we got a new guy for today and tomorrow- a nice guy but pretty green. mr. original loader hadn't been keeping very accurate timecard records, and mr. green loader obviously doesn't know what our times were for the first three days, so the next runt in the order is the author of this amazing blog, the amazing goose. so that's another lovely chore for me to do by tomorrow.

i've been on a variety of shows, but this is one of the biggest things i've done, if not the biggest [still never saw that hyundai commercial--if you see a spot for some suv in the futurist salt flats, driving around giant steel pinballs and falling jacks, let me know]. the last feature i did had a pretty lame script. this one is no soderberg movie, but watching the scenes, it really does seem like an average tv drama. and that's kind of cool.

i would like to write more and go through a day on set, but my mind cannot string together enough memories of the past 15 hours into an adequately clever anectdote. so i will publish this, finick with it some, and go upstairs to my hotel room and sleep for 6 hours.

while these boots are keeping my feet surprisingly dry and usually warm, and i have learned how to walk and work in them without too much pain [i should have bought the size 11s], they must be hurting my heels more than i notice, because for the past two nights i have found myself walking into the hotel on my toesies without even realizing it, making me look a little dainty.

lastly, i would like to say that for as cool as brett shumway is ['very'], his 'byu shame' is lame.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

nice lunch

pretty cool, that the holiday inn express in heber city has internet for me.

today was a pretty good day, despite me never wanting to see a movie set again when i awoke this morning. but i had a good attitude throughout most of the day. and finding out exactly how much a 'union rate' is didn't hurt much either. i'm still looking forward to being done on saturday.

all sorts of wonderful musings have been going through my mind today, and now that i sit at the computer at 3:59 a.m., i cannot remember but a small percentage of them.

staying up here was a very good idea, and not just because that drive through parley's pass and around back to provo is a literal nightmare, nor because that would mean i only get 4.5 hours of sleep, or even because the production is going to reimburse me for the room. it is good because it keeps me in the film world mindset. it can be hard to spread myself across a demanding project such as this and then go home and see my other world. staying here at a hotel in the same general area as most of the people, it's good to let the other world go for a few days and give it my all here. things are easier when you commit to them fully.

this morning our 1st assistant director walked into the camera truck and i asked him how he was. he politically declined to answer out of caution of saying something he may regret. but the steam came up and he soon let loose a venting so full of curses it may have well be a robert deniro monologue. he thanked us for letting him vent, said he felt better, and came back in a few minutes later and gave me a hug. i felt cool.

i found out that our 'a' camera operator has worked all five seasons of '24'. and i talked with him. dang.

today at lunch, brett said what was one of the kindest things anyone could ever say to me; we were observing that we were halfway through the shoot [lunch on a wednesay] and looking at how the next few days don't look too bad [i'm still unsettled by how paula the script girl heartilly laughed at me when i said that], and i mentioned that yesterday i was feeling really sour. brett commented to the grips next to him that if jeff is sour, then you know it's been a really hard time, because he's so happy and upbeat that it takes a lot to get him down.

that was really cool.

::post script:: it is one of the coolest feelings when i see comments on my blog from people i do not know in any way. really kind of a trip. a trip i like. and it boggles my mind.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

reservior dogs

i go through a myriad of emotions while working on set. it seems like the hardest time for me is generally 3/4 through the day. if i can make it over that wall, i am alright. i didn't mind leaving at 2:30 last night. but when i got home at 4:30, i wanted my life back. it's only been two days, but it's felt like a month already. i slept for 5 hours, and i have to leave in 45 minutes to do the whole thing over again. the production is offering hotels for us, which i am going to take for the rest of the week.

i bought a new pair of $35 wal-mart boots before i left for strawberry reservior yesterday. that was the best part of my day.

em, you aren't missing anything. do not quit your day job.
i want a day job.

Monday, March 27, 2006


an interesting effect of keeping this blog is that i am continually composing postings in my head as my day and thoughts unfold. at about 9-10 this moring, i was quite excited to write about all that was happening. twelve hours later, i was simply trying to get home before the dam closed.

due to the tight schedule of my life, i do not know if i will have time to revise, edit, and check for spelling errors in this post; it is much more of the freeflowing journal entry genus. today is broken down as follows:

drive 1 hour to work while listening to ben folds's 'rocking the suburbs'--i decide that 'losing lisa' is a really insightful and kickin' song.

work for 14 hours
drive 1 hour home while listening to they might be giants's 'apollo 18'--i remember that it is a really kickin' cd.

i am back in the saddle again, working as the b-camera 2nd a.c. on the pilot episode of what is touted to be 'one of fox's top five shows' for the fall. it's in the line of the current supernatural dramas, ala 'lost', 'invasion' or 'surface.' except that this one involves a meteorite that crashes in alaska [played by strawberry reservior, ut] and mysteriously kills an inuit family who ate reindeer who drank the water that melted from said meteorite. apparently 'the andromeda strain' is now obscure enough that it can be recycled into primetime.

my day on set began at a brisk 7 a.m., happy to see familiar faces in line at the catering truck [breakfast burritos guarantee you will have a better day on set] and finding out that more of my friends are also on this project, albeit they are all on the electric crew, so i will rarely see them throughout the day.

for reasons i still don't quite know, the 1st a.c.'s are in route from l.a. to our faux alaska, and so it is me and the a-camera 2nd and our loader--this is the first time i have had a loader, and it is really, really nice to have that burden lifted. cool enough, and the d.p. may very well win the contest for the funnest and most energetically positive cinematographers i have ever worked with. he and his name seem familiar to me, and i come to find out that he has worked on such things as 'firefly' the tv series [although he didn't get 'serenity', sadly]. so things are looking to be pretty darn awesome.

now, movie crews can really go one of two ways: the fun kind and the yelling kind. 'searching for mickey fish' wins the 'yelling' award, hands down. 'beyond' is much more in the 'fun kind' category--i knew this would be the case immediately this morning when the assistant director called us for a safety meeting and was generall cool. the a.d. on the last feature i was on would have killed you if it was legal and would save the production a few minutes. having a cool a.d. and a cool d.p. really does a lot for a cool shoot: the attitudes of those at the top tend to trickle down the ranks.
while we're here, our director is breck eisner, who resembles his corporate disney behemoth father in both apearance and voice and actually seems to know what he's doing.

and to top it off, our script supervisor is a)really cool [a pleasant script girl always makes the life of the camera crew better] and b)worked on '24'. i thought that was rad.

the rest of my morning was spent hanging out on the back of a stakebed truck, watching as the camera was getting shots of snow and giant 'snow cat' vehicles traversed the tundra on their giant treads as a helicopter made pass after pass overhead, getting variant shots of the same as well as a few shots of the herd of elk that were on the other side of the frozen river.
with all this foreign equipment and the unfamiliar landscape, it really can feel like you are in alaska--at the very least, it places one far enough out of any recognizable context that you forget you have an alter ego somewhere an hour and 4,000' down the mountain; that helps the day go by.
another benefit to the film production world is that you generally get fed really well. certainly better than i've been eating lately, anyway. prime rib with some really intense horseradish, sauteed squashes, and dang good apple pie today.

the second half of the day was completely different. the l.a. camera assistants arrived, and suddenly between the camera and sound department, there were four jeffs, so i am going by 'goose' again; it's been a while.
i was a little curious how this would play out, because i've heard stories about l.a. camera guys who are really intense and who do things totally different than we do in utah; no need to worry with these guys. the b-camera 1st is friendly and patient and kind, and the camera operator is a great guy who thinks it's pretty cool that i served a mission. add to that warm weather after lunch [we were walking around in t-shirts], a lighter load for b-camera [a good place to be], and the fact that the 1st's name is 'eisber' and so he goes by 'iceberg', well, it's pretty good out there.

carrying heavy camera equipment over the frozen snow crust increased the amount of pressure per square shoe as you walk, and occasionally we would break through and find ourselves mid-thigh in snow--you laugh and keep going. i've found that walking with my legs more spread out prevents such caviture. you look silly, but no more than you do stuck in quick-snow.
being a mile and a half above sea level means less atmosphere, which is really good at maintaining temperature consistancy. less air means more variance. really cold in the morning, quite nice in the afternoon, and when that sun went down, dang. the rest of this week is what we call 'splits'--half in the day, half in the nights. not fun, but better than doing 'nights'. in fact, i stayed warm for the most part. this is my first professional in a cold environment, and i did alright. i did decide that those gloves that look like mitten but can pull back the finger covers as needed are actually a very good idea. i think they are called 'glommets'. i wish i had some 'glommets'.

i think they called wrap for b-camera sometime around 7:30-8, and i thought i would actually make it to fhe. but we couldn't leave until a-camera had all of their gear put away to [we're all camera], and had it mostly done by 9-ish. i had to speak up and ask to leave when the clock struck 9:15, because there is one major detraction to shooting up in the heber valley area: the dam is closed sunday-thursday 10pm to 6am. tonight i made it across with 4 minutes to spare. for the rest of this week, when we will be wrapping around 1 or later, i will have to drive an extra half hour by going through salt lake on i-80.
that part i don't like so much.

shortly after i got home, jen called me to say that fhe was a big success tonight, and that we got a lot of work done on our movie for the ward competition [i wanted to do an intricate '24' parody, but we ran short on time; jen came up with a great idea that is much simpler and probably more fun, too]. and while i was talking with her, kristin and chris showed up at my door just to say 'hi', which really meant more to me than they realize--with essentially no roommate and no one to go visit at the end of a long long day, it was great to have a few friends over. jen came, too, and the four of us watched tonight's '24', which was really good and even a little awesome tonight.

with all that was going on today, there was one thing that was on my mind unceasingly--a few weeks ago i bought some boots at wal-mart for just such situations. they are wonderfully water-proof and kept me sufficiently warm as well. i bought them a size and a bit small, as my regular size seemed too big, and i could break these in nicely.
today i realized, steel-toed boots don't stretch. my feet really hurt.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

runner #1394

the beauty of this blogging system is that the post is dated according to when the writing began. in this case, i am finishing it three weeks after that fact.

becky and i ran the rex e. lee run today, which, if himes and maevis ever do win the byusa elections, will be changed to 'the t. rex e. lee escape'.

when i was younger and whimpier, the 'mile run' day in elementary school gym was the most dreaded day of the year. 15-20 years later, i am, for some reason, paying $20 to run 5K. but they do give us a t-shirt, and i wear it with pride.

the interlude between my signing up that morning [there is a late fee for signing up the day of, thank you] and the start of the race was spent in my little honda, learning about glands and the kidneys. hearing how many things can go wrong with my little body is horrifying, and i wonder if i should be out running more or less.

we saundered over to the starting line about 20 seconds before the announcement for everyone to line up and soon found ourselves at the front of massive crowd, roughly numbering around 800[?].
fortunately we were not the only ones who acknowledged that we are not the front of the line runners and made friends with other nervous contestants as the man on the p.a. announced that the less-experienced runners should be toward the back.
heck no. this is my one chance to be in the front, and i 'm going to enjoy it.

moments of anticiapation go by and 'george q.' the cannon goes off, starting the race.

this is an interesting moment of relative motion, as hundreds of people are passing me. confusion reigns in my physiology as my brain demands more steam, as it seems we are hardly moving. my legs holler that they are indeed going as fast as they can. in its own way, this is a bit of a trip.

by the time we reach the top of the hill, where the byu printing press is, we and our like-abilitied runners have found our place and our groove.
becky's goal is to not run the entire race.
i admire that but know that i have not been training like i should have and will do whatever i need to do.
i manage to walk/run and still keep up with her the entire way.
i feel pretty cool when we run by people holding cups of water and i can grab one from them in a splash of water.
i felt not as cool when my sister threw her half full water cup off to the side, only to hit my shoes.

our time was 30:19, which i was happy with.

the 'runner's bags' were a far cry from the oscar bags; ours contained a tube of lotion written in chinese and several coupons for various local establishments.

and they were out of water cups.
we took a trip to the chevron across the street and downed a powerade.

today, three weeks later, a girl down a few houses had me push her around the block in her stroller as she demanded 'faster! faster!'
i need to run more.

Friday, March 24, 2006

planet telex at the video store

in 'intro to film theory', we were assigned to develop our own theory about watching movies. mine was 'neo-pseudo-post-phenomenalism', building off the theory that we perceive movies as a mixture of what the movie contains and what we bring to it with our personal experiences: it's like tang--where the powdered image and the watered us meet, the movie viewing experience is made.

i took that idea further by saying that the environment in which we watch a movie is also critical to the experience. whether we watch a movie by ourselves at the end of a long day, in class after having just studied the civil war, or after having stood in line for hours to be at the premiere with similar enthusiasts, it catalyzes the viewing immensely.
what others have told us about it, what we have seen and what we are expecting, preferences based upon other favorites in the genre, or maybe we know nothing about the film going into it--all of those can be for good or ill in how we connect with the show.

sad that so much of how we receive movies is affected by such a myriad of variables.

the general
is always a classic, but the showing at the capitol theater created an atmosphere where it was impossible not to fall in love with buster keaton.

i wish i could see more movies that way.

he that hath an ear, let him hear.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

two colours

there are halls and doors and rooms
little whatifs scurry about
staying out of sight
but not out of sound
and shelves and shelves of books

i try to keep it clean and tidy
somedays visitors come
lately, it seems, not so much
and there are far more mirrors than i need
or want

a room with a piano bench
but no piano
another with accordian and shoes

some days it is cloudy, rainy, and overcast
there is no company, just me and the mirrors
even the radio gets bad reception
i want to remodel or sell the place entirely
my mansion

when the sun shines through
the walls glisten, and so do the floors
i sometimes throw parties
and it seems like everyone i know
is here having the time of their life

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

but a passing post

my computer is dying.
every time i turn it on, i have hope and wish that it will start up without incident. that happens about 25% of the time. when the miracle doesn't come, i have to restart it or shut it down entirely and gamble again that the blue screen of death remains in whatever realms it resides.

i have backed up all of my important files onto my little flash drive.
if 'audrey iii' does explode, my entire life won't go with it.

so if becky and i don't go to ghana, any money i would save for that will be added to my funds and i may have to buy that new macbook pro sometime soon.
i wanted to wait until the end of summer, when they had gotten the initial bugs out, but necessity may dictate otherwise.

i got a call to work on a pilot all next week being shot at strawberry reservior, wherever that is. they pay union rates and even cover gas. thus, i didn't get to the library as soon as i would have liked, as i spent time polishing up my camera resume. i don't know what goes on a camera assistant resume--our very first semester, before we were even accepted into the department, we were taught how to make a resume, but that was by a theatre teacher. so i just used the new high-powered format i used when aiming for the business world.

otherwise, this is just a post.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

you've got to learn to live with what you are

i remember standing outside the auditorium during my first fall at moorhead senoir high. we were preparing to audition for 'the sound of music' and i was watching all the juniors and seniors around me. they were talking about who might get what part and other shows they had done; they seemed to know what was going on and to fit in. i was a nerdy little freshman with a lame haircut and my shirt tucked in. i got the role of a nazi; i ran across the stage near the end of the show.

it felt like i had things figured out in junior high--as well a jr. high student can, anyway. but this new world brought with it three more years of people that i didn't know. with only two years in the jr. high it was pretty easy to get to the top. these people had more experience and took cooler classes, they knew each other for a while and also knew the teachers; and they could drive.

but somehow i gradually rose to through the ranks. even as a freshman i started working on the lighting crews [just being up in the catwalks held with it a certain amount of authority, perceived or otherwise]; we made friends with the older kids and somehow moved into being 'upperclassmen' ourselves. we started running things, learning how to take advantage of all that was out there, and had a ton of fun in the process. by the fall of our senior year, we were the ones with the lead roles [well, jon had the lead his junior year], we owned the place, and we were the ones who convinced everyone to not wear underwear on the opening night. [my brother proudly showed his friend the memorial we had left in the years that followed]

the mission in japan was much the same, starting as a weiner and being halfway amazing by the end.

and college was the same again.
my first few semesters were really difficult. i knew that people were out there making movies somewhere, i knew that people were going on dates, and i knew there were cool jobs i could get if only i knew where to start--but i didn't. i wanted to go out and conquer the world, i just didn't know in what direction.

same story: in a gradual move things started to work out. i got not one but three jobs, all cooler than those i dreamed of as a freshman, i went on some rad dates, and i changed from little guy holding the boom mic to having to turn down offers to shoot a movie because i was too booked. and drank 400+ bottles of apple beer with some really great roommates.

then i moved on again.

which brings me to here.

i am back at the start of the next phase, whate'er it may be. i want to go out and drink fully from it all, but am a little confused on where 'it' is hidden this time.

but it is comforting to remind myself that, while this is the biggest step yet, i have successfully made the steps before. it just takes time.

Monday, March 20, 2006

personal favorites

my favorite day of the week is tuesday

my favorite song to run to is 'mr brightsides'

my favorite dance that i can't do is tap

my favorite nintendo game is 'the legend of zelda'

my favorite book in the book of mormon is 2 nephi

my favorite movie of 2005 is 'millions'

my favorite pen is a pilot g-2 05

my favorite city is kyoto, japan

my favorite Christmas carol is 'hark the herald angels sing'

my favorite beatles cd is 'sgt. pepper's lonely hearts club band'

my favorite breed of cow is the dutch belted

my favorite movie trilogy about hobbits is 'the lord of the rings'

my favorite month is december

my favorite number is 23

my favorite class i took at byu was 'the pearl of great price' [hockey is my second favorite]

my favorite flower to give is a pink rose

my favorite musical is 'cats'

my favorite person i never see is my roommate

my favorite place to eat in provo is cafe rio

my favorite disney movie is 'the lion king'

my favorite play i ever saw at byu is 'smart single guys'

my favorite time was that one time

my favorite symphony is 'carmina burana'

my favorite current tv show is 'the office'

my favorite ice cream is new york vanilla

my favorite holiday is Christmas

my favorite Christmas cd is nat 'king' cole's Christmas cd

my favorite french movie is 'the rules of the game'

my favorite homestarrunner character is the cheat

my favorite music video is 'around the world' by daft punk and michel gondry

my favorite composer is mozart

my favorite japanese kanji is 'kyo', as in 'tokyo'

my favorite song to sing as a karaoke duet is 'daydream believer'

i don't have a favorite miyazaki movie

my favorite color is blue

my favorite song in 'singin in the rain' is 'moses supposes'

my favorite hangout in high school was 'atomic coffee'

my favorite movie i ever saw at the international cinama is 'to live'

my favorite place to sit in the library is on north side of the fifth floor

my favorite bird is the penguin

my favorite mix tape is 'senor cow's extravaganza of fun'

my favorite disco skating song is 'it's raining men'

my favorite simpsons character is milhouse, because my mom thinks i'm cool, too [so does my sister]

my favorite place to eat in salt lake city is baba's

my favorite romantic comedy is 'sleepless in seattle'

my favorite bowtie is the one with the cow-print

my favorite moment in 'the royal tenenbaums' is the 'goodbye ruby tuesday' scene

my favorite song by the eels is 'p.s. you rock my world'

my favorite season is winter

my favorite buster keaton movie is 'sherlock jr'

my favorite sandwich is pastrami and swiss

my favorite villain is darth vader

Sunday, March 19, 2006

what's in a name?

the funny thing about mormon doctrine is that it is and it isn't.

the book is arguably the most well-known book in the lds culture after the scriptures. most homes and college apartments have a copy of the black book somewhere on their shelves. but the book was originally green, and caused quite a stir when it first came off the presses in 1958.

there is a lot of rumor and smoke surrounding the book; i will try to state fact as i know it and throw in some 'plausibles' where noted.

at that time, bruce r. mcconkie was 43 years old and had served in the first council of the seventy for twelve years [this was before the organization of the general quorums of the seventy, which we have today].

the book's cover was green, with a small picture of joseph smith in the lower right corner. the dust jacket was of a black and white motiff, again with the prophet on the cover. the backside caption promised a 776-page compendium of gospel knowledge, the first of its kind.

published by the young press 'bookcraft', the book never underwent a scruntious editing process. it's tone was unmistakably mcconkie, clear-cut black or white, spoken with bold authority. the most infamous entry may be that speaking out in no uncertain words against the Roman Catholic Church, although there were several controversial entries. among these were the bold stances against practices found amongst some Latter-day Saints, including playing with face cards and my personal favorite, the pronouncement that 'light speaches' in church meetings are 'highly offensive' to the Spirit.

further, that a man had the audacity to speak so definitively on behalf of the entire Church and call the book 'mormon doctrine' ruffled several feathers itself.
despite all this, bookcraft never received a single complaint.

but that doesn't mean elder mcconkie didn't.

in january 1960, president david o. mckay asked him that the book not be reprinted. the catholic bishop of salt lake city had even contacted president mckay to express his personal displeasure regarding what the book said. understandable as that is, the point has been raised that the blunt remarks toward the catholic church were not what bothered most people; after all, how many catholics in salt lake city are buying a book called 'mormon doctrine' and getting offended? continuing this logic, it is suggested that the entry on evolution and all it's incorrectness [the longest entry in the book] is the real reason it caused so much controversy.
i have no opinion on this myself.

just the same, the book caused the first presidency enough concern that they called bruce mcconkie into their office and scolded him without reserve. said president henry d. moyle, 'i've never seen a man in the church in my experience that took our criticism--and it was more than criticism--but he took it better than anyone i ever saw. when we were through and bruce left us, i had a great feeling of live and appreciation for a man who could take it without any alibis, without any excuses, and he appreciated what we said to him.'

though the book opens with the author openly stating he takes full responsibility for all that is contained therein, and that it is indeed not an official church publication, he is one in a position of authority, and it is difficult to separate the man from the office.

as evidence for the attitudes of both parties, consider that just six years after the publication of the second edition, elder mcconkie was called to the quorum of the twelve.

this also caused much discussion about general authorities of the church writing books. since that event, a very structured and careful process has been set up to oversee any publication by those in such authority.

on july 5, 1966, president mckay called elder mcconkie into his office and said that the book may be reprinted if he made the appropriate changes, and was given elder spencer w. kimball to oversee his work. elder kimball listed roughly 50 changes to be made. none were doctrinal in nature, but rather dealt with tone and appropriateness. in a book called 'mormon doctrine', discussing the herecies of various Christian denominations was certainly unnecessary.

while only fifty changes were suggested, i have seen it noted that there are 1,067 changes between the two editions. i do not know what constitutes a 'change' in that sense, but i do know that elder mcconkie did a lot of revising on his own; some entries were dropped entirely, and 80 pages were added. a lot of the revising had to do simply with tone.

amidst all the revisions, there is no evidence that changing the title was ever suggested.

since its second edition in 1966, the book has been a staple in any Latter-day Saint home, quoted extensively in nearly every gospel study manual, and remains in print today.

there were four [or five] printings of the infamous first edition. they can be found about every month or two on ebay; a copy on good condition will sell for around $200-250. a signed copy can go for almost twice that.

the first printing of the second edition was similarly green and can be found for around $30-40. the second and subsequent printings were the black formats that we know today.

bruce's father-in-law was joseph fielding smith, at that time a member of the quorum of the twelve and one of the most notable gospel scholars of our time. he kept his copy of the book at home, fearing that if he kept it at the office, someone may borrow it and forget to return it.

in junior high, i would sometimes grab my dad's copy off the bookshelf late at night. lying on the floor, i would flip through it, reading whatever entry seemed interesting.
last winter i decided i needed my own copy. leaving deseret book that night, i was like a kid with a new toy--i carried it everywhere, excited to share with my roommates what new comment i discovered about the tribes of israel and whatever else.

one of my roommates saw it and reminded me that 'that isn't actually doctrine.'

true, the book is not official church doctrine. but truth is not determined by canonization. sections 137 and 138 of the doctrine and covenants were no truer after they were added to the scriptures than they were before.

rest assured--i have my own opinions as well.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


two years ago, in his final conference address, neal a. maxwell shared a collection of experiences and 'one-liners' that he had learned over his life. the story that has impacted me the most was an experience he had in bombay, india. on a tight schedule, they learned that their flight to pakistan had been cancelled.
'what do you expect us to do,' he asked impatiently, 'just give up and go back to the hotel?'

the man behind the counter replied with great dignity, 'sir, you never go back to the hotel.'

with a little work, they found a flight, made their appointment, and even got a night's rest.

that phrase has stuck with me very closely: never go back to the hotel.

it echoes another lesson i learned from my own life. i noticed that people often tell stories from their own lives with a good moral at the end, and i wanted to find that in myself.

a few years ago i had two tickets to see radiohead the usana amphitheater. the plan was to pick up my friend from work in west jordan, and we would go over together. i left my apartment with ample time and directions printed from the internet. yet i somehow got very lost and ended up twenty miles from where kim worked. after directions from a kind 7-11 attendant or two and a moderate amount of frustration, i made it to the mall where kim work--45 minutes late. follwing a panicked search in the mall and a desperate prayer in my heart, i found her in the parking lot, sitting in her car, wondering if i would ever show up. we excitedly shared what had happened and were off to see what had been touted as the best concert tour of the summer.
we were cutting it close for time, but we didn't give up hope [we didn't use the brake very much, either].
we followed the directions like they said and wound up in a nice residential neighborhood; i didn't see radiohead or any sort of venue anywhere at all. this was looking desperate. maybe we would miss the opening song or two, but we'd still see most of the concert, and that kept us going. we made a stop at another kind 7-11, and before we even got inside we saw directions to the amphitheater posted on the door. great! off we were again, trying to think of what songs we had missed and console ourselves that it wasn't that bad.
when we eventually found the giant parking lot, we got out and noticed 'nothing'--it was silent. no one was on stage yet! despite us being an hour late, we had only missed the opening act.
we found our way in, jumped for joy, bought posters and a shirt, and found our seats [and they were pretty good].

the concert was everything we hoped it would be. the performance, the lights, the music, it was all anyone could want.
they played for about an hour and a half then said 'goodnight' in their british accents and walked off stage. we clapped and cheered with the crowd, wanting more. we hoped there would be more, because it was so good. but this was radiohead, a band known for being eccentric; maybe they didn't do encores.

but we kept clapping and they came back out, with much cheering from the masses. the encore was great, and the set of three or four songs ended with a very good performance, and the five left the stage again.
the audience cheered again, and someone behind me said 'well, that was good enough for me', and they left. kimmy and i didn't know if it was over or not; we were outside, so there were no house lights to come on to signal the end. so we kept clapping.

we kept clapping and cheering, not knowing what we were waiting for, wondering if we were just wasting our energy and losing our chance to beat the crowd. if there was nothing more, we didn't lose much. but if there was more, then leaving would be terrible.
and it didn't feel like the end. and they did come out for a second encore. they played one song, and it was beautiful. then one member of the band stood up, waved, and walked off. the song continued, and soon another stood up, waved, and exited. after a few more minutes, a third guy did the same. this left two guys on either side of the stage, playing with recorders and mixers, creating all sorts of interesting sounds and effects. then one of them left. after what seemed to be quite a while, the final guy walked off stage, leaving the music and beats repeating, and we noticed that the giant wall of lights behind the stage was scrolling over and over, 'forever'. we sat there in silence, until it all ended. lights we hadn't noticed before came up, but we knew already that that was what we had waited for. it was the perfect ending to the concert i had waited years to see.

there are times in my life when i wonder what is left, when will it end, what am i doing here? i am tempted to give up hope, to say 'forget it'.

never go back to the hotel.
just keep clapping.

habakkuk 2:3

Friday, March 17, 2006

good day

wanting a strong cerebral movie, i watched 'solaris' last night [the soderberg version]. it was the third time i've seen it and i loved every minute of it. i wanted to write an essay about all of its observations on humanity and it all, but this morning i woke up and decided that today would be a good day.
no need for some heavy philosophy--it's saint patrick's day.

i like st. patrick's day. i like the feeling of green and the freshness that it brings in the middle of march. and a few years ago i had a really cool story to tell on this day involving me and a byu traffic cop.
looking through my files last night, i found what is hands down the best e-mail forward i have ever received. it never fails to brighten my day and make me happy, and i want to share it [i think the traffic cop is the one who sent it to me]:

always try to help a friend in need

believe in yourself.

be brave!

but remember, it's ok to be afraid sometimes.

give lots of kisses

don't be overly concerned with your weight

alway try to see the glass half full

meet new people, even if they look different to you

remain calm...

even if it seems rather hopeless!

take a nap if you need one...

have a good sense of humor and laugh often

love your friends, no matter who they are

don't waste food

take an occasional risk

relax, even on those stressful days....

try to have a little fun each day

and it's important, not matter what...

to work together as a team,

to share a joke with your friends and neighbors,

and fall in love with someone special....

say 'i love you' often.

express yourself creatively.

always be up for surprises

share with a friend

and remember the saying,
good things happen to good people!

there is always someone who loves you more than you know.

exercise a little each day!

live up to your name.

hold on to good friends--they are few and far between!
and remember, this friend is thinking about you.
happy saint patrick's day!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


when becky turned 8, she got a kitten. she named him 'smokey'.
over the years his name turned into 'moke.'
i loved moke.
he made me love cats, with all their intricacies and nuances and subtleties.

he used to like to sit by the sliding door, staring out into the world. he would imagine himself going outside, being a wild cat, jumping from house to house, catching mice and living the grand life of a feline.
sometimes we would let him out. he would rush outside and begin sneaking around, but soon realize that the world was colder than it looked and not quite what he imagined. within a few minutes, he would be at the door, wanting to come back in.
then he would sit and look out the window from where it was nice and warm.

i often thought that if i were a cat, i would be moke.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

it's oh so quiet

usually the playlist on my computer is around 350 songs. yesterday i had fifteen:
'aftermath' by r.e.m.
'ant farm' by the eels
'wandering' by ben folds
'i need some sleep' by the eels
'the scientist' by coldplay
'climbing to the moon' by the eels
'p.s. you rock my world' by the eels
'evaporated' by ben folds five
'my beloved monster' by the eels
'leaving new york' by r.e.m.
'the hardest part' by coldplay
'last stop: this town' by the eels
'fix you' by colplay
'missing the war' by ben folds five
'mess' by ben folds five

*'aftermath' has one of my favorite lines in any song:
there is no doubt, it's this here now, and you close your eyes, he's not coming back, so you work it out, overfeed the cat
and the plants are dry and they need to drink, so you do your best and you flood the sink;
sit down in the kitchen and cry

*most of the cds in my collection sing either about the girl who loves you or the girl who doesn't love you. ben folds must be an actual person, because his songs are three-dimensional.
it's not just 'yes' or 'no'.
that's why i love it so.

*the eels make the sad sound beautiful.

when tyler is holding jack's hand, he pours lye on it, causing a chemical burn. jack's natural instinct is to pour water on it, but he is told that would only spread the pain. what he needs to do is to have tyler pour the vinegar on it to neutralize the reaction. and after only a few moments of excruciating pain and the lesson is learned, he does.
there are some good moments in that movie.

why is it so quiet?
i'm standing outside a broken phonebooth with money in my hand.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

and maybe it's time to live

i hung out with
laurie at the
library for
about an hour
and was about
as bland as i
get- she had to
get back to
work, but
asked if i had
time to 'play'
after work- so
she's coming
by, whether to
snuggle or say
she's sick of
me, i don't
know. i wish i
liked her.
in a twist of a fate as sardonic as our meeting was serendipidous, i sent the above text message not to jaime, but to laurie by mistake.
we met on feb. 14. we ended on march 13.
this one's for you, eljay.

Monday, March 13, 2006

looking back at me

my sister and i have developed a strong habit of writing letters to one another, strengthened especially during the times when one of us what out of the continent. i save my e-mails, as i never kept much of a journal until about a year ago. these letters served as my personal record, but with a second point of view--there are commentaries on the other's writings and musings. when becky came home from brazil, i printed off the collection that had accumulated over the last three years or so; it totaled roughly 750 pages.
today i came across my copy of the tome when i was cleaning my room.
at the expense of finishing my taxes, i sat down and read for an hour or so.

records are amazing. there is so much i forgot, so many incidents and emotions that had either severely faded in my memory or had been lost all together. i was surprised to see how often the same questions and frustrations seemed to come up, and much more frequently than i remember. it was sometimes embarassing to see myself worried over a problem that was not even worth mentioning one week later; certainly, it is much easier to see the big picture when it is further behind me. as personal history repeats, the past provides answers for the future as well. one heck of a piece of personal history, to be sure.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

my movie

this weekend in stake conference the theme has been 'the Lord's blueprint for us'. there have been several comments about blueprints and what they are, and one person even brought one for us to see. thinking about how this applies to my own life, i found myself searching through personal experiences to which i might better relate. the blueprints were impressive: there is a lot of work and knowledge that goes into making them and to interpreting them. i don't know much about that, but i have worked with movie scripts some, and have experience in going from script to finish.

the scriptures are like our script [just writing that now, i notice the obviously close entymological relationship]: they are detailed and tell a lot about what to do, yet there is much that is to our choosing. when i was directing, the script called for certain things, including a leading guy, his fiance, a large house, a kennel, hot dog cart, and of course, several dogs. i had to have those things in my movie--the script called for them--but it still left much up to my choosing. while i needed a big house, nothing specified which house or the name of the person who was to play a part.

as i read through the script over and over, i began to see nuances about the characters and the story. it made me wonder which character proposed to the other; i saw why someone said what they did and pondered what they were really thinking. after immersing myself in the script, i started making storyboards. this was much harder than i had initially imagined, because it was all my choice. i could put the camera anywhere i wanted, move it when and wherever i thought wise--how would i know which is the right way? the story said the maid walked into the house and that the cook was preparing the food, but that was it. i had to decide how many shots would be used to show this, what camera angles would be most effective, and what shot would follow.
actually, this part came very easily. from past experiences and places i knew, i could see how i wanted this to play out. the scene where danny and sarah talk was actually the hardest to plan and decide how i wanted it to happen. not surprisingly, i think the opening scene with the cook and the maid is the best part of the movie, and that the conversation in sarah's apartment is lacking.

even though i spent a lot of time planning and blocking and looking through actors and locations [and dogs!] with people who were capable and helpful and good friends, pulling this whole thing off was still an ordeal. i had read the script and knew what i wanted from each scene; i had thought about what shot i wanted and why i wanted it that way; and i had storyboards that looked good.
but when you have spent so much energy to simply secure a location [thank you, meredith bak], pull together a crew who have lives outside of their charitable work on your student film, and keep seven homeless dogs from killing each other, it is easy to throw up your hands and say 'fine, just shoot it.' i had spent so much planning and consideration in deciding how everything would be done for a shot, but when it became difficult to bring everything in how i wanted it, i settled for what i could get, rather than what i wanted. moments in the movie that could have been funny were lost; elements that told the story were muddled, and apart from having a cool steadicam opening, it's mediocre.

but i did learn a lot.

we go through life, planning what we want to do and what is important to us. we learn what is right and what is good and what will bring us happiness, but it is our choice on how we want that to happen. like drawing the storyboards, it often makes no difference where we go to school or what we study so long as our choices are made wisely and in line with the important elements of the script. while there are many choices with a definite right or wrong, there are many others that are important only if we want them to be--i don't think the script called for 'brownie' to be a weiner dog, but i wanted him to be one; it took some work, but we got it and i'm glad we did [thank you, bryce!]. if we give up those decisions that are important to us only because it is easier, the life we are making will lose the themes and ideals that we have planned for and worked for for so long.

there are times when it feels like you have been dragging the production out for weeks, when the dogs have made an escape for freedom and your life-saving a.d. is not there that
day, when it is easy to give up, to not worry about how your choices now will fit with what you have done before. and many times you will feel like your best is not going to be good enough, yet when you see the footage, everything will match. but do not compromise or ignore the motifs and goals that you have planned for. if the scene calls for top-lighting, red napkins, and integrity, make sure those are there. it will keep your gaffer and production designer busy, but this is your movie--you know best.
happiness is when we give up what we want now for what we want most.

i'm glad i was a film major.