Friday, January 13, 2012


2010 did a number on me.
Fell in love.
Found out I was more of a booty call then a boyfriend.
Started dating another girl who was better in almost every way.
Tried to to learn to be in love with her.
Got a life-threatening disease as a reaction to a vaccine.
Spent a week in the hospital.
Received irresponsible care.
Received poor follow-up care.
Went to Peru while still recovering.
Spent a few more months recovering.
Went back to work because I was bored.
Was still in pain nearly constantly.
The first girl passed away, no detectable cause.
Received more treatments, still in constant pain
Sung at Carnegie Hall with John Rutter.
Realized that I had come to love the second girl.
Realized that I still wasn't in love with her.
Despaired at my inability to learn to be in love.
Broke up.
Received more treatments.
Pain seems to be less, but still constant.
Spent Christmas at home with my family.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where have all the good men gone?

This question comes up a lot around single women who are having trouble finding a guy to date. The appropriate responses to this question are vague statements and assurances that they are out there and that they will eventually find you and see your internal worth. In person I will probably give this response because in the moment the girls asking do not want an actual answer.

From the sterility of a blog I want to give an actual answer. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, and the research was very painful, but I want to share it with the hope that it will catch some people early enough to make a difference.

The simple answer is: because you ignored them when they were interested in you.

Let me explain with an oversimplified model.
Start with a good boy and a good girl. Both are innocent, kind, and want to find happiness and companionship. The good boy wants the good girl and pursues her with respect for her space and her body. The innocent good girl either does not realize that the good boy is interested, or is distracted by the fun guy who has no respect for her space or body. The innocent good girl then becomes the not-so-innocent good girl. The not-so-innocent good girl finally realizes that she wants the good guy, but the good guy is still looking for an innocent good girl. By now the innocent good guy subconsciously realizes that he can remain the good boy and his sacrifice to remain innocent becomes a joke because the girls that are interested in him can no longer really understand or appreciate it, or he can become the fun guy without respect for boundaries and get the innocent good girl.

There are thousands of variations on this model, but this is where the good men have gone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Power of the Entertainer

Who has more power than the President of the United States? What other person holds the keys to utterly demolish the world? And yet, with a personal plea from that seat of power will your kids eat their peas?

Maybe I'm wrong, but as I was surfing youtube looking for some good music I had the disturbing realization that entertainers have held more sway across the ages than the rulers, heroes, and thinkers. Even better, the rulers, heroes, and thinkers of the past that have been the most influential have been the most entertaining. I use "entertaining" a bit loosely here, because our nature does not limit entertainment value to that which is positive or humorous. We love a tragedy at least as much as a comedy, and the abuse of power is more riveting than the just wielding of influence. Why else would war, reality shows, and horror movies attract so much of our attention?

The reason for this thought was the finding of a classically trained violinist who grew up and decided to use her talents to be entertaining instead of trying to become the worlds "best" violinist. Instead of quiet concert halls where she could perform to the elitists while wearing formal gowns she chose rock concerts where she could perform to rioting crowds while wearing outfits that make mothers with young daughters cringe. She made sexy music videos with techno beats and amazing rifts on her electronic violin. Now, she is one of the wealthiest young celebrities in the UK and has done for the violin what J. K. Rowlings did for fantasy. She has taken something magical and given it to the masses.

Since the "best" is a bit of an arbitrary title when it comes to the unmeasurable I'd say that in all likelihood Vanessa Maes has become the world's best violinist. She may not be able to draw a tear out of the statue of a Russian Tsar with her rendition of The Russian People's Prayer, but she has managed to have a hand in millions of people's lives. People who have solicited her hand in their lives, and even been willing to pay for the privilege.

To me, that is power. Force may keep people from ignoring you. Threats may make them listen. But if you can make people want to move for you, then it is a small thing to keep them moving and direct them as you wish. No industry is more powerful, has more money, or is more easily corrupted (although that is a topic for later) than entertainment. From sports, to music, to alcohol, to media, to politics, to a corporate office, the power of entertainment far outstrips all but the very basic of needs and sometimes can even give those a run for their money.

Monday, April 26, 2010

off to hawaii

My dad claims I'm nocturnal, which might be fairly accurate in this time zone. I just figure that my subconscious knew I was heading to Hawaii before my conscious mind did and so it decided to try and make the transition early.

I applied for an internship training dolphins a while back. I applied because I've always been fascinated with the creatures (although I learned to avoid any decorations that might suggest such when I was younger, they seem to be loosely categorized with rainbows and triangles). I found out about it on a date with a girl I was hopelessly infatuated with. She ended up starting to date her ex's roommate shortly thereafter, but I now knew that such an internship existed.
I was in the middle of helping start a non-profit called the Tipping Bucket at the time. Since start-ups are risky, and non-profits even more so, I was still applying for "real" jobs. Before the Tipping Bucket I had also spent 3 months living out of my parents minivan in winter in Utah*, and I didn't really want to repeat that experience if possible. I finally had some interviews pay off and I got a job offer to be a geophysicist in Houston, TX working for Western Geco.

I was in love with my job at the Tipping Bucket though, and really didn't want to leave it even if my "real" job was a smarter career move. I asked if I could start a bit later to at least wrap things up and see if everything would work out first. Western Geco let me postpone starting until the end of August! Great! A few weeks later the Tipping Bucket was seeing the financial burdens coming our way and broke up with me...

I was crushed. I also now had no way to pay rent. My job wasn't going to start for a while. I made plans to move home again, tail between my legs, and wait for the job to start. Once again I had found something that I really believed in and cared about and had failed.

Being ridiculous I started to try and figure out what to do with my last months of freedom. I made elaborate plans to learn Ruby web development at night to make myself useful for the Tipping Bucket and to surf by day because I wanted to. I was also going to study for the GMAT so that one day I could go back to the non-profits with some real business acumen and make a decent living changing the world without having to rely on grants and donations. Oh, and since I now had the summer free I figured I'd go ahead and apply for this dolphin internship thing too.

I didn't get it. I was sad, but then my brother was thinking about getting married mid summer, and I thought it might be for the best (of course he still hadn't proposed to the girl yet and it was the end of April by now). Besides, tickets to Hawaii were over $600 and I could learn to surf in Cali. Ticket prices dropped by over half and then I get an email saying they might have another spot after all... I was already a month late with my application due to a technical glitch on their website and had only submitted one of the two required letters of recommendation so I hadn't really expected much until this last email. They wanted me to fill out a questionnaire though. This thing read like an interview. I have never been so excited to fill out a survey before in my life! When I got the reply saying they wanted me I literally did a cartwheel in the dining room.

My brother did finally propose, and he is still wanting to get married mid July. I'm hoping he'll wait for me to get home, but I guess that's up to him. I start work 5 days after the internship ends so I'll only be home for one weekend anyway. I haven't found housing yet since I wasn't in the original group accepted for the internship and they already teamed up to find places. I would seriously be happy with a couple of trees to hang my hammock, a locker to store my stuff, a library with WiFi to keep in touch, a beach to go surfing and snorkeling, a place to shower, and then take my rent money and try the restaurants in the area. If I could find someone to let me use their kitchen I'd even cook for them once a day.

*I graduated on the flight home from Israel having made the mistake of graduating before getting a job lined up. Employers looking for educated people to fill entry-level positions go to the Universities to recruit, and once you are out of the system it is really hard to get a job. The fact that it was just about the bottom of the recession didn't help either. After a few months of living at home in Northern AZ I realized I needed to go back to BYU--where I got my degree--and use their resources to get interviews. Since I had no income to pay rent with, I took a couple of seats out of the Toyota Sienna, put down a memory foam mattress, stuck a dowel rod between the Oh Crap handles, and had a cozy little home. I showered and ate at friend's places, and when frost started forming on my blankets at night I moved onto their couches. I had over 40 interviews before I started working for the Tipping Bucket, but that is yet another story.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I'm having trouble sleeping tonight, so I might as well make a little update while waiting for my mind to shut down.
This last week we went to Egypt. The last time I think I packed this much into such a short period was while I backpacked Europe.
Day 1
We went to Beersheba, a place mentioned a few times in the Old Testament. We stopped to look at the wilderness of Zin. I climbed around in cave houses in Tel Avdat after exploring the main ruins on top of the hill. We toured a Kibbutz and then spent the night there. That was all before getting to Egypt.
Day 2
After we got to Cairo some of us went out to get a taste of the city. It was wonderful to have only 4 in the group, and with how strict all of the rules have been up till now I felt like I was doing something wrong flagging down a shady taxi and haggling the price myself on a dark street.
Day 3
The next day we toured the pyramids, went down in the tomb of Kafre (the guy whose face is supposed to be on the sphinx and has the second largest pyramid), toured the sphinx and an ancient temple nearby. We then went to the first step pyramids or the stacked mastabas created by Imhotep and got to go into one of those tombs. We also toured Memphis before going to catch a flight to Luxor.
Day 4
Toured the Valley of the Kings and went into 4 tombs, including King Tut's. Went to the funerary temple of Ramses III. Saw the Colossus of Memnon. Went on a Falukah ride and then a camel ride. That evening the guys split up to take the girls shopping.
Day 5
Carriage ride to Karnak Temple and then to Luxor Temple. Went swimming and then shopping again (shopping here means going to the Bazaars and haggling for hours). Got on the night train back to Cairo.
Day 6
After a miserable night sleep and bad train food we got back to our previous hotel in Cairo and had a real breakfast and then a Sacrament meeting. The guys had gotten together last Shabbat and worked out Brightly Beams, and considering half of us were sick, we had no piano, and we'd only practiced once, it was really good. We then toured the Egyptian Museum. Next, we went to the Khan al-Khalili Bazaar which was the best bazaar we'd been to, but we only had an hour. Lunch was at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Day 7
We toured the Cairo Citadel and learned a bit more about Islam. We had McDonalds to go for lunch. Then we drove straight to Mt. Sinai and went straight to bed.
Day 8
After maybe 4 hours of sleep we got up at 2 am to go and hike the mountain to be on top for the sunrise. It was cold on the ground before we started so I bought a tapestry-like blanket while waiting for everyone to load the bus. I used one of those traditional men's head scarf things to keep my head warm. We made it to the top of Mt. Sinai in plenty of time (those of us at the front were huddling together for over an hour and a half) for the sunrise. We had planned a religion class up there, but we were all so cold we took a group picture and went back down. We then had lunch and got on the bus to come back to Jerusalem. We stopped for dinner at the Kibbutz, and then got home around midnight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Minor Update

Ok, I am obviously not very good at this whole blogging thing. I've now been here for a couple of weeks. We have gone to the normal sites like the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Kotel Tunnel, a walk on the ramparts of the walls of the old city, and we have done lots of walking around the place. We are going to Egypt on Sunday. Um, yeah, that's about all I'm going to say right now.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The beginning

I don't have a lot to say yet. We got to Jerusalem just a few days ago and this is the first day that I am not brain dead from jet lag. Most of us had to take 4 flights to get here, and since then we have had lots of orientation meetings and a really quick walking tour of the old city. The center is incredible! Every view is stunning. The architecture is marvelous. Even the drinking fountains are made of chipped limestone. Our academic schedule is a little bit more than just rigorous, with us already having had to read 20 chapters in Genesis and over 100 pages in other text books (classes started yesterday, and all of that was due before class and the 100 pages weren't assigned until two days ago). I am excited for the material though. The field trips are also going to be incredible.