Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mood Music

Some thoughts on music. I put three new songs over on the side here for El Veneno. I hope you guys will listen to all three. I love them all. The first (the one you are probably hearing right now) is from the CD that the Neverbird gave me for my birthday. I love the message it contains, about pressing forward when you're not sure about things. The next is War on Drugs by the Barenaked Ladies. It's one of the most moving songs I know of. They said at their concert that they were singing about a bridge in Canada that had the world's second-highest suicide rate (after the Golden Gate). When the city put a net under the bridge, people just moved up to the next bridge and started jumping from there. So that was the basis of the song, and it has helped me to understand people who suffer from depression more than anything else ever has. Finally, we have a song that is simultaneously funny and sad. It's called Jim Henson's Dead and Gone, by Stephen Lynch, the same guy who does Dead Puppies and If I Could Be a Superhero. I love Muppets, and so I present this song as an homage to Jim Henson. What a brilliant man, who really seemed to understand dreams and making them a reality.

In fact, my dinner group has recently been transformed into a dinner/muppets group. I love that. Turns out my buddy Robb is just as big a muppets fan as I am.

Robb and Pinetree both just got jobs at Los Hermanos. I love that job. I made $15/hour in tips again tonight. I have been making more than anyone else lately. It's been a major blessing. Alecia says I've been doing a great job there, which makes me very happy. I'm learning the joy of hard work, which was what I talked about in my testimony at this Sunday's Latter Day Sounds fireside in Ogden, speaking about the song Come Come Ye Saints. We can't fear toil and labor, but we have to wend our way with joy. The media would have us believe that work and joy are antithetical. That we work only so we can have joy later. But I believe that we are to find joy in serving, and not stop until we have finished our work or died trying. And then either way, it will be a happy day, and only THEN can we join the saints in crying "All is well."

Latter Day Sounds is so good for me. On Saturday Rachel stayed late at work and closed for me (I love that girl) and Nick let me off early so I could catch up with the choir in northern Utah. And so I took a bus to Ogden last-minute to go be with the choir. I ended up screaming in pain and cold in the pouring windy snowy rain, as I got drenched. It was super miserable, but we all have to make sacrifices for the things that are important to us, huh?

Like Pinetree has recently done. Wow. Dr. Robinson says that I'll have to get rid of every gay everything if I want to beat this thing. So of course I thought, "No, that is too much." But then I remembered the rich young man, and how he had been told he would have to give up all he had. And then i remembered Naaman, who really only had to give up his pride, but found that to be almost an insurmountable task, and I started thinking, "What wouldn't I be willing to give up in order to be the man that God wants me to be?" And really, there is nothing. So I am doing what I can with the Dr. Robinson suggestion. Cutting off contact with a lot of people. Identifying which parts of my life strengthen those dangerous connections that my brain makes, and cutting them out, as they stand in my way, triggers to the booby traps I've set for myself in years past, now obscured by dust. Time to bust out the pledge and figure out exactly where those triggers are, and dismantle them. Anyway, I had a long conversation with Pinetree about that yesterday, and then today he tells me he up and cut off someone who I know means a TON to him. I really appreciate his example. I feel like I learn so much from that kid. So now it's my turn to do the same. Time for some major spring cleaning.

I might be losing a lot of things in this process. A lot of friends. We will see.

But I will be okay. I have so MANY other friends who are so good for me these days. My friends from my ward, and from my choir, and from work. I love all of these people. On Friday Jessica and Goat and Wiggle and I are all going to go to see Guster. I am very excited. They have such haunting voices, and can sing melodies both happy and sad. Which brings me to what I really want to say tonight, a message inspired by everything in my life, and most recently and noticeably by the Jim Henson Company movie "Mirror Mask," which I recommend whole-heartedly to anyone who reads this. Anyway, on to today's moral:

I love music so much. It's so good for me. I like to listen to sad music best of all, because "sad" isn't easy for me to feel on my own.

I think sadness is beautiful, like rain and strong battered women and fancy melting candles and rooms all done up in red velvet. Like wildflowers growing raggedly from a crack in a barren rock, or like sputtering, flickering stars, fighting to shine their light down through earth's muggy, twinkly atmosphere. I want to cup the stars in my hand, make someone's sadness my own, protect it from the tempestuous winds of life, shade it from the overpowering glare of sunshine. In the summer, I lie in the crunchy golden grass and look at the ghosts of giants and heroes and magical beasts placed in the night sky to remind us that we all must pass on, that we are only visitors here in this strange land. And I love them. I love their stories. And then the sun comes out, and the stories fade to a soothing baby blue and all can be forgotten. The heroes and their tragic tales are lost. Their beauty exists only in the darkness.

Will Heaven be all light all the time? Or will there be shadows dancing from the fireplace onto the cozy earthen walls? Will there be the dark spaces between the stars, or will they all be filled in with such blinding light that there won't be stars any more at all? Will the forest still hold its dark secretive appeal, or will the leaves in the canopies be forced to move aside and let in the light, stripping the woods of all their murky mysteries? Will all music be in major chords, all clouds cumulus, all stories have happy endings? Will we mourn our damned loved ones? Will we have to forget we ever loved them?

In moving closer to God, will I have to be homogenized? Will we all eventually shine the same bright white, or can I shine golden, or spring green, or vivid tangerine? Will my dark desires be the catalysts that make me more like God, or will they keep me different? Do I give off my own wavelength of light just by moving close to God, a cosmic Doppler Effect that somehow allows my movement to shine my own color of beauty to the stationary viewer, even as I draw closer to the center of the Universe, where gods and matter end? Is my individuality burned up beautifully like a meteor as I draw closer to my goals? Is the incredible journey to sameness the thing that sets us apart in the end? Are our scars what make us beautiful?

I am still discovering so much. I love life. I love the light, and the dark, and the moments like these, right before the proverbial sun rises, when the field is still shrouded in mist, and everything is grey and blurry and coming coldly alive.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Genie in a Bottle

I have finally decided what my three wishes will be when I find a genie. Go ahead, fates, and throw that magic lamp in my path. I am of sound mind and finally prepared for unimaginable fortune.

Here's the list:

1. That when I finally die, it will be by spontaneous combustion.

2. A CTL ring for my left hand.

3. That when I finish counting things, lightning will flash.

I don't think I'm asking for too much.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Odd Shaped Pots and Other Nonsense

Holy Hannah, I've been busy. Sorry I haven't posted recently. Here are the main items of business:

I went to Jon and Sara's wedding. It was so great. Here's the story in pictures:

I am not even going to try getting all that crap in order. Well, actually, I tried really hard, and it is just pissing me off now, and it has caused further delays, and so I give up.

But the point is this: Weddings are a TON of work, but they are awesome when the people are so right for each other and they're worthy and stuff.

I got to be co-best man, and give a toast and everything. It was so much fun. I shared the theory of the odd-shaped pots. I think now we will change it to the theory of the odd-shaped tupperware, and I will explain it here:

So you're looking for the lid to your tupperware, and if your tupperware is square or round, you can find eleven lids that ALMOST fit, but not the one that actually does. If, however, your tupperware is like a heart or a parallelogram or some long, thin rectangle, it's easy cheese to find the right lid. It practically jumps right out at you. So it is for weird people who are trying to find their soul mates. They can scan the crowd and immediately rule out all the normals and the people who are odd but not their kind of odd, and all that's left is their mate. So it is with Jon and Sara. They were so easy to set up because they were also so perfectly right for each other and wrong for anyone else. And yes, that IS what I said in the toast I made at the reception. Thank you to Jessica for sharing the theory with me in the first place.

We stayed at Shelley's brother's house, which made for what is probably the most entertaining story from the trip. When we arrived, it was the middle of the night, and Shelley's mom let us in. She was also staying there as a guest. She tried to get me and Shelley to sleep on the same mattress together, but Shelley was like, "why Don't Natalie and I share and then Smurf can have the mattress to himself. Good thinking, Shelley. Her mom was all, "Oh, please, you'll be in sleeping bags, and you can just put your heads at opposite ends. Ah, converts. Gotta love them.

But what was really strange happened before all of that. Because, you see, the moment Shelley's mom opened the front door, I heard a terrible grinding buzzing noise coming from the house. And the noise didn't go away. It would beep on and off for a minute, and then be a steady on noise for a minute, and then back to the beeping. That first night at the house was hell. I could not stand the noise. When I asked what it was, Shelley told me that it was some sort of ant repellant system, and that we couldn't turn it off. She also said that she couldn't even hear it.

So, I didn't sleep much that night. The next morning, Shelley was saying that if the neighbor's dog didn't shut up, she would go after it with a baseball bat. I tried, but I could not hear the dog over the buzzing. People were starting to think I was crazy. So was I. The next night Shelley gave me ear plugs, and those helped tremendously. I found out that her little nephews had been throwing paper airplanes at me all morning and I hadn't stirred. The following day, the kids told me that the noise was just coming from a little box in the wall, and that we could unplug it at any time. They thought my suffering was funny, especially because nobody else could even hear the horrible loud noise.

I learned a few things at the wedding, though, like that if you are a woman, the word "tool" also means some sort of lacy crap that is nice to spread around at weddings. And that brides care that all their glitter is the right way up on the tables at receptions, but it still has to look just like it fell there naturally anyway. And that taking your friend to Denny's and then walking around with him outside Disneyland and letting him look through the bars but not actually go in may be a lame bachelor party, but sometimes it seems to be just what a stressed groom-to-be needs. And also that you should stop your toast the moment everyone goes "Aaaaaaawwwww" because it can only go downhill from there. And I hope Sara learned that caesar dressing has anchovies in it, and should not be served at your wedding reception when your husband is a vegetarian weirdo.

There was also a little bit of chaos when we couldn't find the dumpster at the church building, but that wasn't enough to go into detail about here.

Seriously, I felt a bit bad about the bachelor party. I told Jon that I was going to get him a cake with a stripper inside, but then I remembered the whole vegetarian thing. I love when I can tell a joke in such a way that the recipient will say two or three more sentences and then say, "Wait, what!?"

Other stuff has happened in my life, so here are the news briefs:

I went to California AGAIN (northern this time) with my mom and Mack and the maggot. I got to sit in the back seat with the maggot and Mom and Mack sat in the front. Here's a sample of the conversation from the trip:

Mom: "Straight!" That has an h and an i!
Mack: But you were still on g!
Mom: Oh yeah.
Me: Uh, mom, "straight" has a g in it too.
Mom: Oh yeah. "Objects!" That has a j!
Mack: You can't use words that are on the truck!
Mom: But it's outside the truck!
Mack: Do you want to be outside the truck?

The point of the trip was to go to my brother Ouija's sealing to his wife, who definitely should no longer be called "flavor" on my blog, since they've been married for a whole year now. So that makes two trips to California for wedding-type things in the same month. An odd fact about the sealing: I accidentally learned her new name when I was working in the temple as a set-apart veil worker. Weird.


n has moved here. I have also discovered Goat. And Carrot is back from her mission. It makes me extra excited that all my old friends are back in my life.


Work is great. I've been super busy with that and my choir and the activities committee. Also, I just want to say that I love my friends in my ward. They are excellent people, all of them.


Rose invited Dee to her bridal shower this past week. So as far as we can tell, the wedding is still going on, but maybe it's no longer a temple wedding. It's hard to say. If this wedding happens, I'm so going. And I'm also so inviting all of you, but you have to act like you don't know me at all the whole time, capiche?


See, you'd expect me to have more to talk about with a whole month gone by, but that's just not the case. Especially when I summarize everything as neatly and compactly as I just have. In any case, My next entry will have much more detail and will deal with the events from a much narrower portion of my life, and will therefore hopefully be much more interesting. Word.

Oh, and everybody watch the Backyardigans. From Nick Jr.'s website:

"Each 3D CGI-animated episode of “The Backyardigans” is a journey into the kind of fantasy play that happens in every little kid’s mind. They’re epic, musical fantasy adventures, preschool-style, fresh from the minds of Five kids – a precocious penguin named Pablo, a laid-back moose named Tyrone, the appropriately named Uniqua, a shy kangaroo named Austin, and a Happy Hippo named Tasha.

"Every day they meet in their adjoining backyards to explore wherever their imaginations take them – be it a deep tropical rainforest, an enchanted castle, or a vast ocean.

"On each fully realized adventure, “The Backyardigans” sing and dance to tango or tap, jazz or hip-hop, calypso or operetta, rockabilly or Irish jigs.
That’s right, it’s a musical. “The Backyardigans” explore different types of music just as they explore the whole wide world without ever leaving their backyards.

"And best of all, after each adventure, they always get home just
in time for a snack!"

Seriously, you guys, this is my new favorite TV show after 24. I've only seen one episode, and the kids were superheroes and the music was salsa. It was so catchy I could hardly believe it, and the kids were pretending JUST like my friends and I used to at that age. My four-year-old sister was singing along and making me pretend to be the various characters with her. It was enchanting. I also loved that some of the characters had black voices. thy were all so freaking cute. I know that the Backyardigans is true with all the fiber in my beans. Amen.