Thursday, June 30, 2011

30 days

hey, check me out.
i posted for thirty days straight, every day for a full month.

it's been kind of a hassle, especially for such a frivolous goal.  life is particularly busy right now, and i'd often be posting late at night, pre-dating the post a few hours to make sure it made it up that day (i was still up, so i think it still counted at that day.)  and i'd feel bad that some of these posts were short and quick and kind of insubstantial (actually, looking back over them, i think the quality standard is about where it usually is, whatever that means to you), until some faithful reader would check my blog only periodically and be overwhelmed at how much reading there was to get caught up on.

so, yeah, a lot of work for me and a lot of work for you.

i'll try to post regularly, just not every dang single day.
and i'll use that free time for setting and working towards productive goals.

thank you for reading.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

first choice

i'm blogging during lunch time today because i didn't have time to pack my lunch box.  such is life in a telestial world.

in our animation lecture this morning, our visiting disney guy was talking about creating interesting acting/animation and said to avoid cliches when you can.  the best way to do that is to not go with your first choice.

something about that echoed in me.  that's something i've learned in life but that i don't always put into practice for one reason or another.  there have been so many times that i've often seen how my instinctive first choice was sensible and safe, but when i would redo something (by choice or by necessity) it would be so much more dang awesome.
i've occasionally told myself that, if i had a second life, i would be the lead singer in a rock band.

i remember being in my directing class at byu, where over the course of the semester we would each have the chance to direct a scene with our group.  i remember doing our scene from casablanca and working make it as strong as i could.  at the end of the day, one of my friends said, "i think we'll have the best of the normal interpretations."
i think he was saying that positively, but i didn't like the sound of it.  if i only had one shot to direct in this class, i was not going to do something "normal."  so that night i threw everything out the window and pitched a whole new concept, much more dynamic and very moulin rouge (to give you an idea of how long ago this was).  it wasn't a work of art by any means, but it was much more memorable.

i remember being a missionary in kyoto.  we were teaching a very cool family and i was doing my best but they were starting to fade and i didn't know what to do.  i was trying to be polite without wanting to offend them and soon realized that, if i kept doing what i was doing, they would probably soon being saying, "thanks, but."
honestly, i don't remember what i changed, but i remember biking home one night and deciding that, if kept playing it safe, they would soon be gone.  so i fought for them with all that i had and the mom and daughter were baptized a few weeks after i went home.

i remember being in high school, cast in the role of voice of audrey II in little shop of horrors.  i tried to follow the notes as written and sang properly and i guess i was fine.  then, a day or two before the show was to open, i said the heck with it all and sang like i was an mean green motha from outer space.  my whole body was into it and at one point i opened my eyes and the director was in front of me, jumping up and down in exuberant elation and approval.

i'm not going to run off and join a band.
but i am trying to remember to make a first choice and then keep looking at other ways to it.  whether i'm lighting a scene or designing a new blog header or whatnot, i try to remember to not get too attached to first choice, that there are much more interesting and creative ways to approach and solve a problem, so long as i take the time and effort to get there.

and, just as i was thinking about this, my "uncle" posted this on her facebook wall:

when you write down your thoughts, always write with a pen. never second guess, erase, and rewrite. that would be second guessing, erasing, and rewriting who you are.

and you know what, i agree with that, too.  : )

incidentally, i think this post would be much stronger if i went through and revised it.  we'll see.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

a friend

so it's late and i'm trying to think of something quick to post instead of what i originally had planned.  and i realized that, in the time i would spend digging through iphoto to find some quick and cute photograph to slap up here with a simple caption, i could probably write what i was originally going to.

a few weeks ago, a friend told me, "jeff, you really have a gift for X."
and i thought about that the next day.  to me, i wasn't doing anything special, i was just doing things the way i thought they should be done.  it wasn't that i had studied it or set a goal to get better at it, i just did the obvious.
and, in some ways, i guess that what's a gift is; a talent or attribute that just comes naturally to someone.  whether it's an eye for photography or dancing or whatever it be, we all have things that just come easily to us.

as i was thinking about what my friend said, and that i didn't really say "i want to be great at X", i think that maybe it was something i wanted to be better and that i have worked at it, but that it became such a part of me that i didn't think about it after a while.

it can be easy to forget that even though something is simple for one person does not make it so clear and easy for others.  that it's important to be patient, to remember that it does take more work them, that the answers and solutions aren't always as readily apparent.

and, reflecting back on my day today, designing shader networks to make computer graphics look realistic is not one of my inherent understandings.
thankfully, tomorrow i'll be animating, which i'm less-bad at.

even if it didn't come off as arrogant or cheesy, i think this thought was better as a thought than as a blog post....

Monday, June 27, 2011

can i get a T?

as in, "T-minus one month until the tally hall concert!"

a quick distraction
a mechanic attraction
put a penny in your pocket for the slot

Sunday, June 26, 2011


so this one time i'm serving in a the most remote part of the mission in japan, a tiny and beautiful little seaside town called shingu.  there were two companionships of missionaries down there and the branch was the four of us about a half dozen old ladies.

one sunday we were having our branch conference, and so our meeting was not the familiar group of nine or ten that we usually had, but closer to thirty people packed into our little rented room.  the mission president and his wife were there, as were the district president and his family, the zone leaders, and some other visitors.  by this point in my mission (out about a year) i had gotten accustomed to giving talks in japanese--heck, one or two of us were giving a talk in sacrament meeting every week--but this morning i somehow ended up conducting the music.

i don't got rhythm.
and i can normally flap my hand well enough to pass for 4/4 or even 3/4.  but the hymn we were singing that morning was in 6/8 and standing in front of all of those visitors, i panicked.  i remember my mission president (who had some musical training) sitting in the front row, trying to encourage and lead me along by simplifying it to 3/4.  i don't think i did the greatest, but somehow we still managed to grow the church down there.

i probably haven't thought about that moment since it happened eleven years ago, but when no one volunteered to lead the opening hymn today in sunday school, i was reminded of it as i stood up and tried to conduct "love one another" in 6/8 time.
i've grown a lot since my tim in japan, but there are still some things i can't do.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

God moving over the face of the world

i went to see tree of life tonight.  the fifth film that terrance malick has made in almost forty years, this has been immensely anticipated in the cinematic world.  i went into the theater with high expectations, slightly worried that it wouldn't be what i'd built up for it.

i can't quite describe what i was expecting, but whatever i wanted, this surpassed it all, even though i really can't describe what the film was.
in one of my film classes, we learned that universal truths come from specific experiences.  malick understands and utilizes that more effectively (and ambitiously) than just about any other film maker.  (i imagined stanley kubrick watching this and exclaiming, "that's what i wanted 2001 to be!")  
it's already likely to be my favorite movie of the year and i suspect that, when i am forty years old and making my list of the ten best movies of 2010-2019, this will be on that list.  (brandon's review of it is slightly more tangible.)

it was about life.
it was about death.
it was about growing up.
it was about boys.
it was about being a man.
it was about family.
it was about fear.
it was about a woman.
it was about the relationship between a father and a son.
it was about fear.
it was about hope.
it was about a husband and a wife.
it was about being alive.
it was about the loss of innocence.
it was about love.
it was about ascension.
it was about God.
it was about the universe.
it was about millions of years.
it was about creation.
it was about birth.
it was about childhood.
it was about hurt.
it was about growth.
it was about beauty.
it was about the love of a mother.
it was about good & evil.
it was about time.
it was about eternity.
it was about eternal families.
it was about our Heavenly Father.
it was about Progression.
it was about peace.
it was about innocence.
it was about disappointment.
it was about guidance.
it was about humility.
it was about infinity.
it was about dinosaurs.
it was about balance.
it was about justice and mercy.
it was about light and dark.
it was about nature.
it was about grace.

"the only way to be happy is to love.
unless you love, your life will flash by."

Friday, June 24, 2011

strike one

i just got back from cars 2.  rottentomatoes has it at 33% last time i checked, and i'm kind of in agreement with that.
it just didn't feel like pixar; none of that energy or excitement or creativity.  the whole story seemed phoned in.  no originality, the plot and the lines were just run of the mill, painted by numbers.  it felt like monsters vs. aliens in that respect (and that's not a good comparison....)

i wonder if there's something of the godfather part 3 syndrome here, that's it wouldn't look so bad if it wasn't carrying the name of such high quality work? 

sadly, i think the short in front of the movie was even more of a let down.  these are the people who taught us the magic of the short film format with sheer genius like geri's game and partly cloudy.  this was a toy story short that also felt... pretty much what i said about cars 2: cliched, a little silly but never genuinely clever.  i almost felt a little uncomfortable, watching these great characters performing far below their potential.


i've often joked to myself that i'd probably end up at pixar right when they start to lose their streak.
thankfully, the guy from disney last week told me that they were looking to hire four permanent layout artists in the next year or so.

besides, the cars franchise has never been their most artistic series.  we're all still excited for brave (albeit a little curious, too.  which is a good thing.)

still, it's kind of left me in a disappointed mood.
but we're going to see tree of life tomorrow, so i've got that going for me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

pixels the viz hamster

so last winter me and a friend made a video for our upcoming "viz-a-go-go" spring showcase.  our concept was to do a totally over the top Art commercial, a sort of parody of the zales diamond commercials and the like.  it was the most developed of our ideas that we came up with one night, and since the idea of "hamsters" kept creeping in, we decided we had to have a hamster in this video (i also got a cake in the face, which was awesome....)

brandon bought a hamster from the local pet store (after we checked their return policy....) and i grabbed a friend who happened to be walking the halls and who had nice looking hands and had her help with the shot (she did great.)
everyone was in love with the little white russian hamster (including me), but when one of the faculty started calling him "pixels" (which, brandon astutely noted, is the cutest name you could give a hamster in the viz department), well, attachments started to happen.  our hand model decided she wanted to keep him, but she was going out of town that weekend, so brandon and i were soon at the store that evening, buying a cage, food, bedding, and everything else.

since his owner is on an internship this summer, pixels is living the back room of the viz lab.  one of the girls has taken it upon herself to take care of him (which i was very relieved to hear; i've been quietly wondering about that all summer...) and sometimes we take him out and let him roam the lab in his plastic hamster ball.

for the heck of, here's our video.  i don't think it's amazing, but dang, it was fun to set up lights and a camera again.  (we converted it to black and white, which was a bit of a sacrifice, since the colors were so beautiful, as you can see above....)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

fast food

that's actually looking rather
tasty right now....
listening to elder holland's most recent general conference talk today on my way to and from school (and there and back again), i was reminded of something my m.t.c. branch president once told us.

he was one of the most impressive men i've ever known and learned some very significant things from him in only a few weeks.  speaking of the false messages portrayed in advertising, he turned to one of the missionaries and asked, "why do you you think 'you deserve to have it your way'?"
then, looking at another elder, he said "and what have you done that makes you think 'you deserve a break today'?"

i'm all about a balance of recreation and play and of just enjoying things (if you didn't know that about me, this is probably your first time here on this blog and you probably ended up there through a google search for lyrics to a cake song), but i like being reminded of that, of the nobility of genuine hard work.

and if you did end up here by mistake, take a few moments to read that talk before you go.  you'll be glad you did.
in fact, the rest of you regulars and lurkers would do well to do so, too.

Monday, June 20, 2011

move along

about a week and a half ago, i realized that i'd posted every of june thus far, which was kind of cool.  and so i decided to try and keep it up through the month.
this is just a post to keep me going towards that.

...along with a picture of me riding an elephant, to make it worth your while.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

love divine

today in sacrament meeting we sang "in humility, our Savior," a rather standard lds hymn.  and i like it.
but in my stake choir back in college (which was headed by a conductor so passionate that, unlike most stake choirs, we nearly filled the madsen recital hall at byu for our practices) we sang a song that was the same music as "in humility" but the lyrics were ones that he'd found in an old methodist hymnbook.  the song is called "love divine, all loves excelling."  i've always liked that song far more than the lds version and loved singing it in the provo tabernacle (r.i.p.)  we actually sang it twice, since i requested it a few years later.
courtesy of (yes, really), here is the fourth and final verse:

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

best movies of the decades

i first remember debating the best movies of each decade with my brother on our hike down from timp last summer.  my knee decided to apostatize in a big way and i was in great pain for several hours coming down.  the movie discussion was just something we did to pass the time.

i kept the idea in the back of my head and planned to do a post on it some day, and some day was catalyzed when i followed a link to some movie site that joel posted on my wall and saw some other dude's list of the best movie of each decade.  i decided that my opinions were just as good as his, and here you go.

intolerance by d.w. griffith

any list of the best movies of the 1910s that i could find is made of up only three movies: birth of a nation, intolerance, and broken blossoms, all by griffith.  birth of a nation, while noteworthy in establishing a lot of cinematic rules, is so infamously racist that even including it on a list can make you look like a racist.  broken blossoms, while alright, is also astoundingly offensive: the protagonist is a chinese man played by a white guy who wore a rubber band around his head under his hat to pull his eyes narrow and the film's alternate title is "the yellow man and the girl."  intolerance was griffith's apology for birth of a nation and, while being three hours and silent, really ain't that bad.  i actually kind of enjoyed it (that we provided our own commentary throughout the film helped.)

the general by buster keaton

this was actually the hardest decade to pick from, and not for lack of options.  i'm still tempted to list dreyer's the passion of joan of arc, as it could easily be considered the best silent film ever.  i used to cite sunrise at the greatest of the era, which is also justifiable.  and after seeing the restored version of metropolis last summer, i'm pretty much blown away by that, too.
in the end, though, there's no one better than buster.

the rules of the game by jean renoir

yes, 1939 is considered the greatest year in hollywood ever.  but the last time i watched the wizard of oz, it was just, weird.  and gone with the wind?  miserable, depressing, and scarlet really bugged the heck out of me.  the rules of the game, however, is layered and complex without being dry or convoluted.  it's light and brilliant, interweaving stories of the hypocritical upper and lower classes, and even has the director (the best character in the movie) running around in a bear suit for a while.  let's see scarlet o'hara do that.
fritz lang's M and the marx brothers' duck soup are also seriously great.

casablanca by michael curtiz

because it's as perfect as a movie can be, that's why (dean duncan, i refute your refutations of this movie.)  only one other movie could arguably encompass everything that we love about the movies (see 1980s).  the stars a beautiful and cool, the dialogue is funny, clever, and quick, the side characters are lovable, and the moments are timeless.  on top of all that, the movie does the impossible: as my friend working at the local video store in high school described it, whether you're in love with someone or completely bitter towards it all, this is the perfect movie for you.

singin' in the rain by stanley donnen

sigh.  really, i would put the seventh seal and seven samurai above this one if i were doing a top 10 of all time list, but i wanted to change things up and this just as good as any subtitled chess game.  delightfully happy and fun, more quotable lines than anything else on this list (at least in my life), and dancing so joyous i rarely watch it without dancing along myself (natalie, i'm still sorry for that one time....)  heck, there isn't a tougher audience than my sister and she loves it.

2001: a space odyssey by stanley kubrick

"if it can be thought, it can be filmed," kubrick is quoted as saying.  this movie pushed down the boundaries of cinema, stepping into the infinite, so to speak, and expanding what a movie could show, convey, and be.  no other movie has encapsulated all of time, humanity, and existence within itself before, and very few have even bothered to try (although i've heard very good things about tree of life, and it better come to town soon....)  2001 exists on another level from just about any other film.
runners up: lawrence of arabia and psycho, but nothing can beat 2001.

the godfather part II by francis ford coppola

one of the great debates in filmdom is the godfather part I vs part II question.  either answer is acceptable:  part I has marlon brando, while part II has robert de niro.  in the end, part II reaches further, bookending all that happened in the first one.  there are so many lines, characters, and moments (including the the whole sequence with don fanucci) that are now the stuff of cinematic legend.
along with apocalypse now, another worthy contender, mr. coppola pretty much ruled the seventies.

raiders of the lost ark by steven spielberg

yes.  it is everything that we love about the movies ("movies", not "cinema" or "film") and all that they mean to america.  there is the rugged hero, fighting embodied evil, chasing after adventure, vulnerable but always cool under pressure.  treasure, adventure, exotic locations, car chases, fun sidekicks, mystery, danger, and even some laughs.  nothing embodies america in the movies like raiders of the lost ark.
yes, my favorite movie, fanny and alexander, is here, too, but raiders is more universal.

pulp fiction by quentin tarantino

rare is it that a shift in cultural paradigms can be so clearly identified, but this changed everything.  characters who were as cool as they were complex, dialogue that demanded multiple viewings to learn it all, fractured stories that were terrifyingly unexpected, music that heightened the feel of the screen, this had it all and redefined with raw power what movies could be.  it created waves and ripples that are still flowing today, but nothing has been like the one that started it all.
notable: fight club, for embodying the psyche of the day (literally) and for tapping that nerve to wake up.

wall-e by andrew stanton

because irrational love defies life's programming.
we already talked about this, remember?

Friday, June 17, 2011


we've spent the week learning about film language and all that goes into composing effective shots, things that are at the heart of film making.  the kind of things that i just love, even if i'm very far from mastering them.  and so, when brandon and i were talking about watching a movie tonight, i suggested something great, like night of the hunter, or even chungking express or the like.  he said he was little overwhelmed from the week, sitting through lectures on cinematic Art (and brandon's a criterion geek like me, not some wimp at their first movie night...)

and so we watched uhf.
and laughed all the way through.
it felt great.

even though i've posted it before, i'm posting this again, because it's one of my favorite moments in any movie (you hear that, bergman?)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


stepping off the plane in austin today, the air hit me hard.
utah was warm but comfortable.
denver was pleasant.
but as soon as i stepped into the hot and humid air of austin, texas, i was reminded of that same feeling almost a year ago.

just barely 11 months ago, i was in austin for a week on a job.  i remembered how the air seemed unreal as we walked from the airport to our rental car, almost disbelieving it could really feel like this outside.  i thought of how i stayed for an extra day after the shoot, that i rented a car and drove from austin to college station, to see the town that i would soon be living in and to find myself an apartment.

i've had the opportunities to travel some recently, and i've always been flying out of houston.
as i made the drive from the austin airport to college station again for the first time in many months, i thought back to that day, when i was seeing texas for the first time.
i thought of how different my life is now than it was then.
and of how it's still quite the same in some ways.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

my little corner of the world

yes, her shoes match the cake.  it's that
awesome.  even more awesome: the inner
stitching on her jeans matched, too.

why, why didn't we put the milk on the
right side, where it's darker, and the chocolate cupcake on the left in the light?
dang it.

seriously dang love the lighting here.

mirrors: a photography goldmine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

this is why i fight

i believe in love.

i really do.  if i didn't, i'd probably be married by now.  i would have found some nice girl who met a good enough standard of requirements to make a fine companion and great, there you go.

but, no.

president hinckley quoted this story many years ago:

“one of the great errors we are inclined to make when we are young is supposing that a person is a collection of qualities, and we add up the individual’s good and bad qualities, like a bookkeeper working on debits and credits.

“if the balance is favorable, we may decide to enter (into marriage) … the world is full of unhappy men and women who married because … it seemed to be a good investment.

“love, however, is not an investment; it is an adventure. and when marriage turns out to be as dull and comfortable as a good investment, the dissatisfied partner soon turns elsewhere …

“ignorant people are always saying, ‘i wonder what he sees in her [or him],’ not realizing that what he [or she] sees in her [or him] (and what no one else can see) is the secret essence of love.”

i don't believe that love and marriage is like the ending of a disney fairy tale or of a romantic comedy, where everything is suddenly grand and glorious and that's it.
and yet i refuse to accept the notion that all of the flowers and colors fade after a few years or even a few months when "reality" sets in.

there's a fine line between those two, where love and hard work coexist, and if i'm going to err, it will be towards the disney side.  frustrations, miscommunications, irritations, disappointments, sure.  but dang it, the girl i marry is the one i want to be with and she's the one i chose and i don't want to go through those experiences with anyone else.  having the one you love by your side, whether it's making dinner on sunday afternoon or touring some beautiful part of the world or even cleaning the bathroom; if she's there, then it is grand and glorious.

i've felt that a couple of times.  brief moments, far too brief, especially when contrasted with the option of forever, but enough to know that it is real.  and knowing that those feelings are out there, yes, that is why i fight.  that love is what i fight for.

president hinckley again put it well when he said, "it was you who felt that there was no one else in all the world quite like her.  it was you who wished to have her forever."

"no one else in all the world quite like her."  i like that.  heck yes.  that is how it feels, and it's wonderful.
it's also bloody rare.

i don't know how it happens.  i don't know what elements cause that reaction, how to create it.
but i know that love is out there.

that is what i see when i look in the mirror of erised.

i believe in it, i have felt it, and that is why i fight.

and, after i find it, i'll keep fighting.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

laser guided

as is often the case, there was one particular in the april general conference that seemed uncannily given just for me.
this time, it was "more than conquerors through Him that loved us" by elder paul v. johnson.  and to make sure i really got the message, a friend texted me during the talk , "this talk is just for us!"
it most certainly was.

elder johnson talked about trials, of the challenges we face, and of having the strength to endure them, seeing past them to the brighter and more glorious end.  except that he says it far better than i can summarize.  check it out some of these highlights:

but these trials are not just to test us. they are vitally important to the process of putting on the divine nature.  if we handle these afflictions properly, they will be consecrated for our gain.

no pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … all that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.

at times it may seem that our trials are focused on areas of our lives and parts of our souls with which we seem least able to cope. since personal growth is an intended outcome of these challenges, it should come as no surprise that the trials can be very personal—almost laser guided to our particular needs or weaknesses.

and no one is exempt, especially not saints striving to do what’s right. some obedient saints may ask, “why me? i’m trying to be good! why is the Lord allowing this to happen?”

a pattern in the scriptures and in life shows that many times the darkest, most dangerous tests immediately precede remarkable events and tremendous growth. “after much tribulation come the blessings.”

in the midst of problems, it is nearly impossible to see that the coming blessings far outweigh the pain, humiliation, or heartbreak we may be experiencing at the time. “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. but growth cannot come by taking the easy way. we clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete. we must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature.

as i sat in the back of the chapel, soaking up all of this, there was one term that rang so true that i knew this talk was from God: laser guided.

often, we talk about trials in a rather general sense: yes, life is difficult at times and we get tired and busy.  the weight of homework, job responsibilities, financial needs, a myriad of demands and complications surrounding family life, and whatever else builds up and we're dang tired under it all.  yes, trials.

but there have been times where the challenges i've been given have been such that only someone who knew my innermost soul would know about.  the interesting aspect of such difficulties is that only God could know this about me, only God could know these weaknesses, these tender spots that have just been struck.  not even the randomness of nature could be that precise in its targeting.  these trials must be from God and, therefore, He must know i can handle them and He is supporting me in them.

it's common to look at others and think that their problems aren't so bad, or wonder why they don't seem to have the same struggles we do.  and sometimes it's a matter of the grass seeming greener, but maybe it's because their trials wouldn't be that hard for us.  and, likewise, maybe those around us also have the same struggles we do, but they deal with them more easily yet fight tougher battles with challenges we defeat so easily we hardly give them a second thought.

whatever the case, we have our soft spots, our vulnerabilities and our hidden weaknesses and God gives us trials custom made to the most difficult situations we could face at times.  but He isn't a speculating scientist, experimenting to see what will happen when His test rat is subjected to pain.  He's guiding us to a beautiful mountain top, to grand vistas, and to seriously dang awesome happiness.

for the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
habakkuk 2:3.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

where do you stand?

editor's note: the title of this posts suggest something noble, such as a dissertation on ethics or morals.  sorry.  rather, the following post is about urinals.  we apologize if you were looking some uplifting sunday afternoon reading.

i was going through a box of files a few nights ago.  they were things that i had collected and saved from high school and the time immediately following my mission.  newspaper clippings and magazine articles about aliens and conspiracies, some noteworthy high school papers (about conspiracies), cards from graduation and good luck signs from theatre shows, and anything else i deemed worth holding onto.

at that time, the internet was still vey much in the 1.0 phase, with it being most populated with usegroups and gopher sites by college kids, when .edu was the most common way to have access (even if it was limited by the campus library.)  before people discovered the joy of forwarding cat pictures (the thought of having pictures on a computer, much less including them in an e-mail, was only for techno-thriller movies; even adding color to your e-mail text was often unlikely), this came my way, and i printed it off and saved it in the aforementioned files.

i am preserving the formatting as best as possible:

There is a code of "Restroom Etiquette" that MUST be followed.  Men should ace this test... but women may have a little difficulty.
The following is a sample urinal configuration in a men's room:

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

In the test, an X in a stall will indicate "in use."  The example indicates that urinals 3 and 6 are occupied:

|   |   | X |   |   | X |

You are to identify correctly, based on urinal etiquette, at which stall you are to stand.  Good luck!

Easy Section
|   | X |   | X |   |   |       (Urinals 2 and 4 occupied.)

Your choice: ____

Correct answer: 6              It's the ONLY one to go to and every guy instinctively knows this.
| X |   |   |   |   |   |        (Urinal 1 occupied.)

Your choice: ____

Correct answer: 6           Stall 5 is acceptable, but you run a greater risk of being next to someone who arrives later.

Kind of Tricky Section
|   |   |   |   |   |   |       (empty)

Your choice: ____

Correct answer: 1 or 6             You are tacitly saying, "I don't want anyone next to me."


|   | X |   | X |   | X |       (urinals 2, 4 and 6 occupied.)

Your choice: ____

Correct answer: 1              You're stuck being next to at least ONE guy, so you minimize the impact and get a wall on your left.  NEVER go between TWO guys if you can help it.  Exceptions to this are stadium restrooms where the herd thunders in.

Subtle, Tricky, but Important-to-know Section
|   | X |   |   | X | X |       (2, 5 and 6 occupied.)

Your choice: ____

Correct answer: 4            Believe it or not, 1 and 3 "couples" you with the guy in stall 2.  And we wouldn't want THAT now, would we?  This differs from question 4 in such a subtle way that the nuances cannot be explained.  Suffice it to say, only we men would understand!

VERY Tricky Indeed Section
| X | X |   |   | X | X |       (1, 2, 5 and 6 occupied.)

Your choice: ____

Correct answer: NONE! You go to the mirror and pretend to comb your hair or straighten a tie until the urinals "open up" a bit more.  If you have to go REAL, REAL BAD, use a door stall.

Other parts of the Unwritten Code of the Urinals:

-- NO Talking, unless it's a good friend... but even then, keep it terse and unemotional.  This ain't no clubhouse.

-- I don't think I need to tell you, absolutely NO touching of anyone other than yourself.  A touch of another's elbow is of the highest offense.

-- NO singing.  Period.

-- Glances are for purposes of acknowledgement only... "Yeah, I see you there.  I will not look again."

Friday, June 10, 2011

seven texters


Thursday, June 09, 2011

gone to look for america

disclaimer: the following photo-journey contains photographs of nauvoo, il.  readers who may find such images uncomfortable are advised to proceed with discretion.

given that some of my writings of the great cross-country trek were a little long and given that some readers here a) have offspring tugging for their attention near-constantly, b) may be illiterate, and c) just might not like me enough to bother reading whatever it is i write, i have chosen to put up a whole buncha pictures from the trip with brief captions.  because, in light of the a) through c) possibilities, there's also d) i just had a lot more that i wanted to show.

here's what we did:

day 0: the pre-show

here we are, together at one edge of the continent.
in four days, we'll be at the other side.
....provided we don't get abducted by aliens in nevada.
(the sun is in my eyes.)
my feet, the atlantic.

i think we were all a little sad that jess was
going the other direction--across the
atlantic--rather than with us.  still,
it was great to see her before she left.

day 1: A to C

so this is what new jersey looks like....

counting the cars on the [pennsylvania] turnpike...

this is one of my regrets of the trip: how boss would it
have been to have a picture of every "welcome to
[this state]" sign that we passed?  very.
lamely, i'd usually forget about it until we were almost
there.  as a result, this is one of my better shots....

i had a red door, God has a green door.

jaime, master of the self-portaits.
hello, cleveland!
 day 2: C to E

legit typography

by comparison, this is very modern nauvoo....
any place that looks like this just HAS to be good.
...except that they were closed, so we ate down the street.
still, seriously awesome marquee...

no ruby red squirt here.
day 3: E to F

it's a museum built OVER the interstate.
even if it's lame inside, it's still awesome...
truck stop technology: you choose the
ice cream and the thickness, the
machine makes you a milkshake.
what more could you want?
how about a whole chicken?
thank you, bro-tisserie.
"potter," as in "harry potter."
we also saw signs for "jack (something)", "jeffrey lake,"
"peterson", and i think there may have been a "caleb"
and a "jessica" in there somewhere, too.
ok, wyoming, you're prettier than i remember.
the fact that you aren't a snow-blown death
trap helps, too.
I-80, the third member of our journey.
day 4: F to G

jaime, walking on water.
mexican "death star valley"?

A to G.
not counting the additional two hours to the pacific.

it was an amazing trip already, but let's
drive across the golden gate bridge,
just for good measure.
we made it!! coast to coast!!
my feet, the pacific.

the reality: it was absolutely freezing out there!!
i think it was around 50 degrees out.

somewhere out there is the house from "full house,"
and one day i'll see it.

did you know san francisco had a place
like this?  i didn't.  i just recently saw this
in a clip from hitchcock's "vertigo":
jimmy stewart walked where i walked.
the sacramento temple.  : )

the parting of the fellowship at
the phoenix airport.
so, check off yet another thing i completely wasn't expecting when i said that i looked forward to the unknown adventures of 2011.